Muse symbolized by globe compass / SAT 4-14-18 / One-eighth set in statistics / Writer who called New York City Baghdad on Subway / Collaborator with Sedaka Cooke on 1964 album 3 Great Guys / Hip-hop radio/tv host charlamagne god

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Constructor: Sam Ezersky

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium


THEME: none

Word of the Day: ALI PASHA (55A: Ottoman ruler referenced in "The Count of Monte Cristo") —
Ali Pasha (1740 – 24 January 1822), variously referred to as of Tepelena or of Janina/Yannina/Ioannina, or the Lion of Yannina, was an Ottoman Albanian ruler who served as pasha of a large part of western Rumelia, the Ottoman Empire's European territories, which was referred to as the Pashalik of Yanina. His court was in Ioannina, and the territory he governed incorporated most of Epirus and the western parts of Thessaly and Greek Macedonia. Ali had three sons: Muhtar Pasha, who served in the 1809 war against the Russians, Veli Pasha, who became pasha of the Morea Eyalet and Salih Pasha, governor of Vlore.
Ali first appears in historical accounts as the leader of a band of brigands who became involved in many confrontations with Ottoman state officials in Albania and Epirus. He joined the administrative-military apparatus of the Ottoman Empire, holding various posts until 1788 when he was appointed pasha, ruler of the sanjak of Ioannina. His diplomatic and administrative skills, his interest in modernist ideas and concepts, his popular piety, his religious neutrality, his suppression of banditry, his vengefulness and harshness in imposing law and order, and his looting practices towards persons and communities in order to increase his proceeds caused both the admiration and the criticism of his contemporaries, as well as an ongoing controversy among historians regarding his personality. Finally falling foul of the Ottoman central government, Ali Pasha was declared a rebel in 1820, and was killed in 1822 at the age of 81 or 82. (wikipedia)
• • •

Sometimes the urge to come up with *Brand! New!* fill should be resisted. Constructors should always be on the alert (ALERT!) for new, current, interesting stuff, but ... well, not ECOLABEL (15A: "Non-G.M.O." or "Dolphin-safe"). I have never been a big believer in the ECO- prefix period (I mean, ECOCAR? Who says that?). I think I'd take all your normal ECO-s (e.g. -logical, -nomical, etc.), and probably -tourism, -friendly ... there are a number that are definitely in-the-language. But ECOLABEL isn't one of them. It's just a label. The label pseudopsientifically psuggests that you are doing something ECO-logical by buying the labeled product, but the label itself is not ECO- and I just don't believe this nonsense is an actual category. ROIDED is also super suspect as clued. "ROIDED out" is an adjectival phrase, but ROIDED as a verb on its own ... I don't know. Simply using PEDs would not be called ROIDing. That word usually implies not just use but a certain kind of effect or reaction, e.g. roid rage. MICROUSB is OK, though I keep parsing it MICROUS B, and I didn't even know that's what my charger was called.


I want to maximally object to DOT CO DOT UK, a garbage heap posing as a monument to cleverness. Like, if you put DOTORG in a puzzle, it would be barfy, and you know it would, so yeah, this DOT CO etc. stuff is nth degree barfy. As if *pieces* of a URL = good xword material. I mean, original, sure, but ... no. Oh, and the single MYTHBUSTER? WTF? (27D: Conductor of science experiments on TV) It's a TV show, and it's plural. One MYTHBUSTER is ... a non-answer. Oh, and the damn "inits." ACA were not "debated" in the 2010s (34D: Much-debated inits. in 2010s politics). Nobody debated the initials. They debated the legislation. Boo. Oh, and do people still NETSURF? On the Information Superhighway, maybe? I got it immediately, but I didn't feel good about it.

["COULD IT BE...?"]

Proper noun gimmes in all corners of the grid made this pretty easy to take down. Robinson CANO, gimme. SACHA Baron Cohen, bigger gimme. Hank AZARIA, biggest gimme. Jessica BIEL should've been a gimme (13D: Jessica of "The Book of Love"), but somehow I confused her and Jessica ALBA and it came out Jessica ABEL (who, it turns out, is a comic book author I know of, so ... that was all very weird). I also did my usual OUZO-for-ORZO screw-up (53D: Minestrone soup ingredient). I usually recoil from bodily fluid clues, but I think the clue on SLOBBER is really clever (8D: Baby pool?). There are lots of good answers here, too, like MASH NOTES and CUBS FAN and CUP OF TEA and FREE-STYLE (esp. as clued) (32A: Like some laps and raps). Started at ALERT (4DD: Reason to check one's phone) and ended at SCAB (52D: Provider of protective coverage), with no major hang-ups along the way.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

PS Hey, if you're looking for another free daily puzzle to fill the void in your miserable life, or the free time in your joyous life, I suppose, here is a site where you can download all the Wall Street Journal puzzles from this year (.puz versions, regularly updated). If you want the .PDF, you can just go to the WSJ puzzle site, but their .PDFs are for left-handed people (grids on the left, wtf?!), so I'm sticking with the .puz.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

118 comments:

Unknown 12:44 AM  

7-letter word for 2016 World Series celebrant starting with C (I had abduct going down)... and it WASN’T Chicago.

Yeah - that held me up for a while.

Unknown 12:48 AM  

tfw first

jae 12:51 AM  

Mostly easy-medium for me too, except for the NW. I tried DOT lO (for London), MIni before MICRO, kidnap (briefly) before ABDUCT...took a while to see SODA CAN...so tough for me.

I’ve finally seen enough GOT clues/answers so that NED was a gimme even though I’ve never seen the show.

Pretty good Sat., liked it more than @Rex did.

Graham 12:52 AM  

Just to add to the ACAdemic discussion, the ACA passed in early 2010, so the debate (or the parlimentary debate, at least) was over. People still complain and extol and all that, but in legislative terms, the debate was done.

Harryp 1:08 AM  

Everything fell but the Southwest. ORZO and AZARIA did me in. I handle for BORDER at 61Across to keep me guessing wrongly.

Chapps 1:13 AM  

I’ve been making minestrone for years, using a few different but nearly identical recipes. Orzo is never an ingredient. Ever.

Mo Pariser 2:22 AM  

First time long time. Love the blog.

Adored today's puzzle. Thought it could have been more appropriate for a Friday. Finished in record Saturday time - 39 minutes. Would still be solving if not for those reeeeal gimmes. Helped me off to a fast start.

Was in complete agreement about the pervasive usage of prefixes until I did some post-puzzle Googling to learn that Ecolabeling is actually a common, well-known practice. So maybe not such an ECO overextension.

Thought DOTCODOTUK was a clever clue, but could not decipher the seeming hodgepodge of letters until after I'd solved.

SE took me some time. Originally had TIMEOUTS, then CURTAINS, before settling in on REDCARDS(?) The only less-than-decent of the day. I like my Play Stoppers better.

Anyway, SO LONG :)

Mo 2:23 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Moly Shu 2:48 AM  

First pass only got me CANO AZERIA ARENA and SACHA. Then I guessed at BeaL, which was 50% correct, and stared. Little by little got it done. hijaCk before ABDUCT, swatGEAR before RIOT, juIcED before ROIDED and baDCAll before REDCARD. No clue on MASHNOTES or ALIPASHA, but the crosses all seemed to fit. I know what a FREESTYLE rap is, but what’s a FREESTYLE lap? Rafts got me before, but now I’m wise to them. Liked it A LOT.

Anonymous 2:54 AM  

Aren’t each of its stars styled individually as MYTHBUSTERs? So what’s wrong with the singular? I didn’t stumble over it in any case. I can imagine some sub-milieu in the advertising community wherein ECOLABEL is a definite thing, but, yeah, I’m with @Rex on that one. However I do think DOTCODOTUK is firmly in so-bad-it’s-good territory! @Rex, whip up a batch of minestrone with OuZO in it, and you’ll never be confused again.

Larry Gilstrap 2:57 AM  

Ok, it's late and tonight was just wacky memorable, so there's that, but this puzzle just seemed hard. I know OFL uses the objective criterion of time spent solving, but me, not so much. I try to assess how much muddling occurred divided by erasures. Sabermetrics, or the opposite.

I haven't been to London in a while, so DOT CO DOT UK will do, if you say so. Thankfully, OFL sorts this stuff out, because the cross with NED was not coming. We paper solvers just throw up our hands at such a bad cross. Hi@GameofThrones people.

I did graduate work at CSU Fullerton and had the pleasure of studying Chaucer with URANIA Petalas. Such a terrific teacher. While we're at it, studying Shakespeare is one way to get really smart. King LEAR had daughter trouble.

I admire what Rex does on this blog. He speed solves and then relates a comprehensive record of the solve. No way! I could talk at length about most of the puzzles I do, but give me a few days to work up to it. Yesterday, he gave us quadragon, and today we get pseudoscientifically, which is perhaps the longest word I have ever typed.

I follow baseball, but why did the clue 2016 World Series celebrant take forever?

Melrose 3:04 AM  

Someone please explain "roided."

Agree with Chapps, never seen orzo in minestrone.

Charles Flaster 3:40 AM  

Really liked this one.Medium due to NW where I never changed DOT tO DOT and kept MItRO USB.
Liked clueing for CUBS FAN and CREATE.
Very little crosswordEASE.
Thanks SE

sanfranman59 4:15 AM  

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 4:52 4:18 1.13 80.8% Challenging
Tue 4:25 5:37 0.79 7.3% Easy
Wed 4:46 6:00 0.79 14.6% Easy
Thur 18:02 10:09 1.78 96.7% Very Challenging
Fri 13:01 13:23 0.97 44.0% Medium
Sat 18:34 16:06 1.15 71.8% Medium-Challenging

I made a bunch of bad guesses in this one. SEAsoN before SEAMAN (1D), oars before ALOT (21A), kiDnap before ABDUCT (6D), alba before BIEL (13D), ENdO then EcTO before ENTO (12D), Chicago before CUBS FAN (22A), juIcED before ROIDED (45D), StockS before SHARES (48D). Yeesh. That is a whole lot of bad guessing. No wonder I struggled.

Is an ECOLABEL a thing? I don't recall hearing of MASH NOTES or ALI PASHA. I couldn't parse DOTCODOTUK at all (looks like an pharaoh's name to me). I had no prayer on Charlamagne THA God. I don't think a B Major or G# Major scale is the exclusive milieu of a B chord, is it?

This was a grind, but I got through it fair and square.

Loren Muse Smith 5:01 AM  

Well heck. Here’s a reason – the only reason imo – that solving on a device might be preferable to pencil and paper: the electronic confirmation that you’ve successfully completed it. (Greetings, fellow paper solver @Larry.) I had “mush notes” crossing “Urucia” and would have lived the rest of my life thinking that the little notes my husband leaves for me to find when he goes out of town (and ones I try to remind myself to leave every now and then but always forget to because it’s just not my style and then kick myself ‘cause I’m not mushier) are called “mush notes.” “Mush” there makes a heck of a lot more sense than MASH. MASH NOTES – little reminders on how to tweak your moonshine recipe. Or to use the ricer next time with the potatoes rather than the electric beater. (Seriously. You want mashed potatoes that eat like savory cotton candy? Use a ricer.)

And my “Urucia” – what do I know about those Muses. Sheesh.

“Reasons I check my phone”
*I haven’t looked at it for 25 seconds.
*I need to see if someone caught my “fearless” joke yesterday. Sigh.
*I’m waiting for a text from my son about a visit.
*I need to look up DUCT to see if I can make some kind of ABDUCT/ large intestine avatar. Ick. No.

“Reason anyone else checks their phone” -
*I’m boring them.

Lots of time spent staring off, getting my mind around the difference between SLOBBER and drool. SLOBBER feels loud and joyous. Drool feels quiet and shameful. Newfoundlands SLOBBER. Perverts drool. Can you imagine seeing someone SLOBBER while napping?

Me: You had a good nap, yeah?
Husband: Nah – I rested, but I don’t think I actually slept.
Me: Well, you were slobbering a little bit.

@Mo Pariser – welcome! Very nice comment – succinct, insightful, didn’t stray off on long stories or treatises on DOTs. Some of us could take a page out of your book. Ahem. Please don’t be a one-and-done.

Rex – after much thought, I see your point on the clue for ACA. Does nit-pick have a hyphen, or is it nitpick? And I don’t think I have a problem with ROIDED as a verb; I could absolutely imagine something like The cyclist was disqualified because he was caught roiding.
And I agree on the DOTCO DOTUK deal. (@sanfranman59 – I agree – DOTCOCOTUK is one dook of a pharaoh name – good one!) I couldn’t even get it until I googled an image. Oh. Ok. But, I have to say that Sam is a wicked-good constructor, so my thought goes from “that’s barfy” to “I need to get with the program.” Guess it’s a confidence thing.

Lewis 6:29 AM  

@lms -- Debated greatly between MASHNOTE and MuSHNOTE, and the muse supplied the right letter, but you made me laugh with your "What do I know about Muses?" remark, and FYI, MASH NOTE Googles very poorly, if you put it in quotes. I think it is a legitimate tough call there, especially because "mush notes" sounds more correct.

Even after filling in terrific answers like BAD ACTOR and CUP OF TEA (as clued), and cracking delightfully devious clues like those for SODA CANS, SCAB, and SLOBBER, this puzzle felt more like work than fun. Yet right now, just coming out of it, I feel exhilarated, primed for anything. That is a testament to a high quality Saturday puzzle by a highly skilled constructor. Bravo!



Bageleeater 6:35 AM  

To Moly Shu: a freestyle lap is a SWIM lap, that being a type of stroke. I think it means “swim this race/event any way you want” but seems to be synonymous with the crawl, sometimes called the Australian crawl.

Dave 7:00 AM  

NETSURF was absurd. This is 2018, not 1998; the only people who would still use the phrase "net surf" are the Senators who questioned Zuckerberg this week.

On the other end of the spectrum, CUBSFAN made this puzzle for me. Being a 7-letter C word, the constructor clearly wants you to think "Chicago," but with "celebrant" being part of the clue, an entire city name just didn't fit. Just a really solid Saturday clue/answer that makes you earn it, and provides a sense of accomplishment when you figure it out.

vtspeedy 7:06 AM  

The answer to “Used performance-enhancing substances” was clearly “juiced” which caused me all sorts of grief.

August West 8:06 AM  

13:07. This was a Friday.

“I want to maximally object to DOT CO DOT UK, a garbage heap posing as a monument to cleverness.”

This ^

“... and would have spent the rest of my life thinking that the little notes my husband ...” ::..checks phone..::

Glimmerglass 8:09 AM  

I died in the NW. I had SEAsoN for “salt,” confirmed by so many crosses that it never flitted across my tiny mind that I might have the wrong meaning of “salt.” Even if I had caught that, I doubt I would have had any clue about DOT CO (I did have the DOT UK part). I guess
I could agree with a rating of (medium), even though I was DNF. But by no stretch of my imagination could this be “easy.”

mathgent 8:12 AM  

Some nice stuff, some junky stuff.

Nice: OMAR (didn't know he was in the Bible), clue for SUCH, CUPOFTEA.

Junky: OCTILE (I've seen percentile, quartile, even decile, but not OCTILE. It's half a quartile, I suppose), "Half a rack" for ANTLER, "Baby pool?" "Kill it" for SLAY, BCHORD.

Not enough nice to offset the junky. Thumbs down here.

Anonymous 8:18 AM  

I have never once heard anyone say "roided" about anyone using performance enhancing substances. It's "juiced," or that guy is a "juicer." No actual human has ever said someone was a "roider" or that they "roided" back in the day. Sheesh.

Jamie C 8:24 AM  

DOTCODOTUK is the uber DOOK. Disagree with Rex about pretty much everything he said. Great puzzle.

'mericans in Paris 8:25 AM  

I just CAME BY to attest that ECOLABEL really is a thing, indeed all over the world. Do some NET SURFing, for example, on the web page of the Global ECOLABELling NETwork. It's big business, especially the certification side of it.

Whether using the products sporting an ecolabel helps the environment very much depends on the product. Not to BELABOR the point, A LOT of the first labelled products were household cleaners, using chemicals that were more innocuous or bio-degradable. BUT ALSO, personal care products are a big category. Eco-cars? I agree: two syllables that should never touch, whether separated by a hyphen or not.

As for the rest of the puzzle, I agree that DOT CO DOT UK is pretty awful. But the rest of the puzzle was OK. We made the same mistake as @LMS, writing MuSH NOTES and EcTO, learning of our mistakes only after clicking "check puzzle" on the pull-down menu. So, DNF.

SO LONG. Off to do some FREE-STYLE gardening.

kitshef 8:27 AM  

I was going to moan about the clue for NED, but then AZARIA popped up and I figured that balanced the scales.

Quite a bit of crap in here: ROIDED, ECOLABEL, ALETAP, SKED, ENTO, BCHORD (what random-letter stars are to some random-letter music terms are to me).

But at least it was over quickly – faster than Thursday or Friday.

And I got to be reminded of SCTV's “Five Neat Guys”.

Roseanne R. 8:38 AM  

For 40D, how the hell does being in a union relate to ‘go on and on about’? Are we supposed to think that union members are unusually talkative? Is it implying that teamsters take forever to get something done? Is it because LABOR rallies are loud, or the chants persistent? Is asking for better working conditions in some way offensive to the constructor? Is this a reflection of the world-view that says anything that stands in the way of profits is evil? Seriously, this has got to be the most small-minded, offensive clue/answer combination ever. Sure, we’ve all hated some insensitive clues - remember when “tease” set Rex off? And continued use of ANASAZI and ESKIMO long after it could be justified? But to come out and imply something negative about being labor essentially disparages huge numbers of people who fought long and hard for things that in other countries are law – things like sick leave, maternity leave, fair pay, decent hours. I mean, not to belabor the point but when this puzzle was submitted with that horrid clue Will should not only have rejected the puzzle, but blacklisted the composer and contacted every other puzzle outlet and shared with them this ridiculous travesty of a clue. As soon as I’m done here believe me letters will be going out the Shortz, the Times, my congressman and senators, and anyone else I can think of.

Isaac Mayo 8:39 AM  

@Glimmerglas: Also had SEASON for SALT and thus C———USB.

Andrew Heinegg 8:39 AM  

Amen!

RJ 8:41 AM  

Today’s puzzle killed me – DNF because I made so many mistakes with proper names and started filling with all the wrong answers-

“Parolees” instead of SODACANS (first fill in and an omen of things to come!)
“Enya” instead of ANKA (stupid, I know)
“Timeouts” instead of REDCARDS
“Endo” instead of ENTO
“Alarm” instead of ALERT

So many mistakes in very little time

The whole NE corner was just a series of missteps. I erased parolees after seeing the clue for 6D but wrote in “kidnap” before eventually getting ABDUCT. Then “season” instead of SEAMAN. I misspelled SACHA and made a bunch of other mistakes. This was disappointing for me after a really fun week of puzzles.

I agree with many, including Rex, on the DOTCODOTUK. When I had “parolees” in there I tried ROYAL?????. I guess I’m hearing too much about the upcoming Harry/Meghan wedding and I only listen to a PBS station.

Hate most “ECO” answers except “ecotourism” because I know it as a “thing”.

I loved the cluing for ANTLER and CUPOFTEA – a phrase I grew up with having a British mother

About MASHNOTES – I always had the idea that anything MASH had to do with weird, creepy, and unwanted sexual comments – therefore MUSHNOTES.

@Loren Muse Smith – thanks for writing about “Reasons I check my phone”
@August West - yes to .co.uk

QuasiMojo 8:53 AM  

It fascinates me when I watch old movies or TV shows and I see someone grab a SODA CAN or a BEER CAN (they are much bigger than today's) and they use some bizarre contraption that is half bottle-opener, half hawk's beak to open the darn thing. They go round and round the can and then voila! The suds flow over! You'd have to be ROIDED nowadays to ever try that. Although I sometimes have trouble pulling off the tabs on my soup cans almost as if they were champagne bottles.

This was a pretty cool Saturday puzzle. No real problems for me except that I had KIDNAP before ABDUCT (and worried that people would go ballistic that "Shanghai" is no longer politically-correct and then no one would bother to read my comments today because there would be an endless barrage of PESTERing NIT PICKING (Hi @LMS) blather about HOW DARE YOU and YOU ARE AN IDIOT for saying, etc ad nauseam.

NETSURF made me think of EUROPE ONLINE. Anyone remember that? It was the continental version of AOL for a nano-second.

I have never seen minestrone made with ORZO either. But then I put in BEAN and took a long time to remove it even though I despise minestrone.

Anyone else hate SKED??

SO LONG is an "announcement"? How 'bout GET LOST!

I cued SNOOKER before SLOBBER. What do I know about babies?

Event though I have never heard of most of the PPP here, CANO, BIEL, ALI PASHA, AZARIA and THA and whatever MYTHBUSTERS is, I managed to CAPISCE the answers, without any BELABORing and no cheating. An enjoyable workout.

QuasiMojo 9:04 AM  

P.S. Just so you all SEE my point, my Hi @LMS was not implying that she is a Nit Picker. Just acknowledging her comment earlier about how is it spelled, with a hyphen or no. I was using my variation of it. Phew!

Wm. C. 9:06 AM  


@RoseanneR --

Wow, 42D really set you off. But it's not two-word fill, it's one: BELABOR. Google it. "Argue or elaborate in excessive detail". ;-)

Unknown 9:06 AM  

My wife agrees wholeheartedly

Mohair Sam 9:16 AM  

This would have played easy for us, but we joined @Glimmerglass et al with SEAsoN for 1D. But we hung it there and eventually (thanks, ALOT) figured it out. So easy/med it is.

Disagree with Rex today, we liked it a lot more than him. Some of his gripes seem ridiculous - i.e. the ACA is still debated today. i.e. my nephew in Chicago did some work for the Mythbusters show and brags that he actually got to meet a MYTHBUSTER. And, although I see the Rexian point, ECOLABEL didn't bother me a bit. btw, I've made minestrone soup Rex, hence ORZO always beats ouzo - you should cook more.

Loved SLOBBER as clued. Recently reread "The Count of Monte Cristo" but still needed several letters to remember ALIPASHA. NED my favorite GoT character and R.R. Martin killed him at the end of volume 1. Damn.

@Roseanne - Loved how you used BELABOR in your BE LABOR rant. Are you related to Dan From Accounting?

@Sanfranman - The thought of the Great Pharaoh Dotcodotuk still has us laughing here.

@LMS - "Sheesh" indeed. While we were struggling to suss URANIA Lady Mohair actual said "No-brainer for Loren I'm sure."

Anonymous 9:19 AM  

Correct!

Two Ponies 9:19 AM  

Wow, I felt like I needed a shower after this one.
So many notes in my margins but all are overshadowed by @Roseanne R. Is that you Don from Accounting? Hilarious!
Is Game of Thrones the new Star Wars? Ned? Not a very royal sounding name.
Why the ? in the clue for untie?
No lack of ego in that hip-hop guy with a name like that.

OK, 'fess up. Anyone think of boob for half a rack?

Mohair Sam 9:19 AM  

@Quasi - I put ORZO in my minestrone. So there.

Birchbark 9:20 AM  

I've filed the LEAR quote for future deployment.

I was totally destroyed in the northwest. Four plausible incorrect downs: SEAsoN, OCTpiE, DOTanDDOTUK, CANe crossing one plausible and one obviously wrong across: spaReUSB, oinT.

"April is the cruelest month." It is cold, snowing, and the wind is steady and loud, like the sound of the ocean outside.




Anonymous 9:33 AM  

Hated dot co dot uk. I agree with Rex that just garbage fill. Mash notes were also a mystery for me. I didn't know Ali Pasha and he is not listed on the list of Ottoman sultans so seems rather obscure. Not a fun puzzle for me. I finished with googling but didn't really like the puzzle.

pabloinnh 9:39 AM  

Well, some of us remember when people used to actually write MASHNOTES, but some of us remember telephone operators too. Being one of these people is probably why I have never used a MICROUSB port, or know who a GoT patriarch is. SLOBBER should have been easier, as a granddaughter is nearly six months and producing copious amounts of (follows LMS rule) drool.

Hey @Roseanne--some of us are onto you. Pretty sure you didn't end your rant with "never mind" on purpose.

QuasiMojo 9:45 AM  

@Mohair Sam, 9:19AM, lol. Okay! I'm sure it's delicious.

Nancy 9:46 AM  

I held my breath as I came here to find out if MICROUSB/CANO/DOTCODOTUK/OCTILE in the fiendish NW were correct. They all were, and so I finished. Only because I know that MICRO means small. I mean: OCTILE could have been OCTuLE or OCTaLE or OCToLE. And it could have been Robinson CANe or CANi or CANa or CANy or CANn. (You can commiserate with me today, @Hartley, here was a sports name I never, ever heard of. Nor did I remember that the CUBS won the Series last year; how quickly we forget. Or, more accurately, how quickly I forget!)

This was not at all easy or even medium for me. I struggled everywhere. I didn't know THA of Charlamagne THA God (another truly bizarrely named rapper); nor AZARIA; nor ALI PASHA; nor BIEL; nor NED. CUP OF TEA, a wonderfully baffling clue/answer, eluded me for a very long time. It was a real Aha Moment when I filled it in. I wanted TALESE instead of O'HENRY for the Baghdad-on-the-Subway clue, and if not TALESE, then some NYC tabloid writer of much more recent vintage than O'HENRY. I never heard of MYTHBUSTER, but I'm sure glad he's out there on TV pushing real science. This was a nice challenge, but I wish I'd found it more lively and more fun. It wasn't all that pleasurable, to tell the truth.

jberg 9:48 AM  

Am I the onlyh one who saw "4 letter Biblical character starting with O" at 26A and put in OnAn without a pause?

I fixed that one, but DNF because of OCTILE (which should have been easy). I started with OCTant, then tried octave, and inadvertently ended up with octale/MaCRO USB. That made sense to me, because in some contexts a macro is a tiny little program. Should have thought, obviously.

@Loren, is that a rebus for something, or just a B CHORD? Can't figure it out. And also, how come you know all those Greek terms for rhetorical devices and linguistic thingamajigs, but don't know the muses? Or were you just faking ignorance for the sake of the pun? (No, you'd never do that!)

TubaDon 9:53 AM  

Started with my favorite muse, URANIA, and proceded clockwise until I came to a screeching halt in the NW, not helped by my first guess of BEER instead of SODA. Don't watch G.O.T. so I spent 5 minutes trying to make sense of DOT...UK, before guessing right. I suppose CO is short for COmpany(?) but can't think of any UK firms with ending Co. P.S. I like minestrone, but the kind I get usually has another pasta, not ORZO.

Z 10:04 AM  

As I finished and looked at the grid it seemed that for every answer I loved there was an answer that invoked the side-eye, so pretty much what Rex said except he’s wrong about MYTHBUSTER. Jamie Hyneman is a MYTHBUSTER, or was until they decided they needed someone younger and less interesting.

@Lewis and @LMS - MASH NOTE doesn’t google well? Huh. Definitely a thing I’ve heard of. MuSH NOTE would be something completely different. The latter I imagine as “I miss you I love you I can’t stop thinking about you” while the former is some variant of “when do we get to MASH again.” No ricer will be involved.

ECOLABEL may be a thing, but I’m with Rex that it isn’t a thing. My immediate thought as I read the clue was for all the meaningless labeling we are subjected to. Consumers Reports fairly frequently does an article about labels that are actually regulated and mean something and labels that are unregulated and are just advertising. “Dolphin-Safe” is the latter, since there’s no independent verification the label cannot guarantee that dolphins were actually safe. I can believe it is big business, I just have doubts about the ethics and efficacy of the entire endeavor.

@Roseanne R. - Pure comic genius.

@QuasiMojo - Are SKED complaints have fallen on deaf ears.

@‘mericans late yesterday - I remembered. It’s just that if some anon is going to try to heckle me they should expect return fire. Fortunately no one seems to have crossed the personally insulting line the mods would delete.

GILL I. 10:10 AM  

I guess I would rate this as easy since I finished with nary a Google. Took me a long time though. and I had several do-overs. @Mohair...I was so sure it was Jon instead of my other favorite GoT NED. I felt the same way as you did when he got offed. Walkig Dead did the same to me with Glenn!. I'm hoping they won't off Saul in Better Call Saul....
Oh, the puzzle. Well, I thought some of the cluing was good. Loved the SLOBBER one. Not sure about ALA being the lead-in to a chef's name (28D). Is it like ALA carte? ALA Gordon Ramsey?
OCTILE and B CHORD were the hardest for me. ROIDED was a new word. Sounds like a hemorrhoid type thing. O HENRY was a real card, wasn't he? I like Herb Caen better.
I don't like Minestrone but I know that one of the ALA's puts ORZO in it.
Must take off and go help with the ALE TAP at daughter's baby shower.....Can't wait for the SLOBBER and the nappies that are soon to follow....

Z 10:11 AM  

How did “our” become “are” and how did I miss it until after I posted? Sigh.

@BirchBark - Just remember that LEAR is infamous for not realizing which daughter loved him and which daughters’ greed was greater than their love.

Carola 10:20 AM  

Lovely puzzle. My way in was URANIA x ARENA. The adjacent MASH NOTES elicited a smile along with CUBS FAN, which backed me into the NW. I've mistyped the London URL enough times (which is first, the CO or the UK?) to make that one easy. Then it was line-by-line to the bottom BORDER.
Liked the BAD ACTOR with RED CARDS, the call-outs of OVER HERE and ALL ABOARD (x SO LONG); paused at LABOR next to SLAVE.

Teedmn 10:26 AM  

COULD IT BE that I will ever not DNF on a Saturday? Sometimes I have to wonder...I went with @LMS's URucIA. I eventuall remembered my corn MASH but left URAcIA. Planet URANUS tie-in perhaps? Google says no, Uranus was THA god of the sky, not a muse.

Otherwise, I found this pretty easy. Of course I fell for SEAson first and nearly left 2D as OCTatE but a MICRO USB seemed more likely than a MaCRO, and rafts had to mean A LOT.

@Anon 2:54, great minestrone recipe advice. @Roseanne R. 8:38, loved the faux BELABOR rant. And @QuasiMojo, I think you are referring to a boy scout or military can opener. We have one of those in our camping GEAR. It's nice to have as a back up but I pray I'm never forced to rely on it to survive - I would end up making a couple of slashes in the top of the can, suck the juice out and sob in hunger. I'm not handy with those sorts of things. On the other hand, those soup CAN tabs don't work all that well either, as you point out.

Thanks Sam, you provided much entertainment this Saturday.

Azzurro 10:29 AM  

@Melrose ROIDED refers to steroids.

That said, I’ve never heard anyone say “he roided.” I’ve heard things like “he juiced” and “he was roided out,” but this answer didn’t fit the clue.

“______ out (took performance enhancing drugs)” would have been a better clue. Better still would have been to change this corner around to use a real word.


Junief 10:31 AM  

But it’s so hard to use a ricer! I just could never seem to get the hang of it.

JC66 10:32 AM  

@Roseanne/Don

Good one!

DrBB 10:34 AM  

I for one was tickled to see one of my all-time favorite shows making its first (at least that I've ever seen) appearances in the NYT xword, and if you watch it you'll have occasionally heard an individual member of the group referred to as a MYTHBUSTER. So a raspberry to Rex on that one. OTOH, for me MASHNOTES was the fill I saw but didn't want to complete. They aren't "expressions of affection," they are harassment. Other than that, a most enjoyable Saturday.

Stanley Hudson 10:39 AM  

@jberg, re: “ONAN,” thanks for the morning chuckle.

@Two Ponies, “boobs” immediately came to mind. Filthy minds think alike?

Nancy 10:43 AM  

Let me join @Quasi's anti-tab-pull rant. (And I just know that Quasi has to have larger, stronger hands than I have. I have tiny girl hands. They are the weakest things on my entire body and they always have been. I can open just about nothing.) Food manufacturers think that they are doing us a favor of convenience by providing us with tab-pull cans. They are not doing me any favor, thank you very much! Once they've put in the tab-pull thingie, you see, then they completely eliminate the can opener option. And while my hands are also too small and weak to use a manual can opener that you hold in your hand, I own the greatest can opener that's ever been invented! Not an electric, because then, during a power outage, you can't eat. No, it's a manual, but it's mounted on a wall and it's effortless to use. It's called a Swing-Away, and here it is. Best Can Opener! (Teedmn, thanks again! This is so much fun! I will never throw your instructions away. Never!)

AW 10:44 AM  

DNF for me. I had "DOT UK" and couldn't begin to guess what was missing. "DOT CO" is absurd. Ditto ECO LABEL. Does anyone ever say, "I look for ecolabels before I buy"? No. Since when is a baby's SLOBBER a pool? Yeah, when they're teething they slobber a lot, but does it form a pool? Usually it's absorbed by a bib. And I agree with Michael that it's MYTH BUSTERS, not singular. And wouldn't "similar examples" be SUCH THINGS AS, not just SUCH? Also agree with Michael that what was much debated in 2010 was the Affordable Care Act, not its initials. Look up ROIDED and you'll find ROIDED OUT, not ROIDED.

Too much garbage fill, IMHO.

Banana Diaquiri 10:48 AM  

ROIDxx and NETSURF are from the same eon. no, no, no.

Birchbark 10:51 AM  

@TeedMN (10:26) and @Quasimojo (8:53): I like those can openers, but learning to use them was an exercise in lacerations and expletive incantations.

@Z (10:11): your point about LEAR is well taken and rarely remembered at the right moment.

'mericans in Paris 10:51 AM  

@Z -- “Dolphin-Safe” is THE iconic ecolabel, and has been the subject of international legal battles for decades. See this article on the Tuna-Dolphin case at the GATT and the WTO. And here is a more recent one about developments in 2017, when the WTO announced that WTO Mexico could slap trade sanctions on the U.S. in response to the tuna dispute.

Your claim that there is no independent verification that the label can guarantee that dolphins were actually safe is simply not true. Quting from the above-referenced article:

Under section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C 45) it is a violation for any producer, importer, exporter, or seller of any tuna product for sale in the US to include the labeling of "dolphin-safe" unless it can be clearly shown that this product was harvested under methods not harmful to dolphins.

In respect of Pacific tuna, and to oversimplify a bit, Mexico tends to fish off its coast, where dolphins typically swim with tuna. U.S. fleets fish a lot further to the west in the Pacific, where they don't.

JJ_Rural_MO 10:58 AM  

Nice Saturday - hard enough for me but was able to finish with the happy music.
@Unknown @12:48 - I had to look up TFW, leading to urban dictionary, and it only takes a minute on that site to abandon all faith in a virtuous human race.

@Rosanne - loved the rant; that should be a daily feature of the comments, though maybe with a co-conspirator to play the Jane Curtain/Chevy Chase role.

GHarris 10:59 AM  

Ah Roseanne, never mind. Even Google couldn’t bring me across the finish line today. Had to come here to finally get the damn dots right. Still, all in all, did okay for my weight class.

B Good 11:02 AM  

@Roseanne, are you being sarcastic about the answer Belabor, or you a person who actually does this puzzle and doesn't know the definition of belabor? Which, if your serious, means "to explain or insist on excessively." As in, "He belabored his mistaken notion."

Amelia 11:11 AM  

@Roseanne R wins the blog today. Great writing. Subtle genius.

I have heard, occasionally, roided, but not often. Juicing is more the thing. But who cares. And don't get me started on the whole subject. Condoned when it served their purpose, reviled when it didn't.

I loved this puzzle. As an anglophile, I got the uk web address right away. There were other gimmes, it's true, but still plenty crunchy for me.

@larry gilstrap I'm a huge baseball fan, and it was almost the last thing I entered. Embarrassed, given the historic nature of the event.

clk 11:12 AM  

@Dave. You are spot on about NETSURF sounding like a phrase the senators would say in the Zuckerberg hearing. So many of their questions were absolutely cringeworthy.

I am amazed that CANO was a gimme for so many. I don’t think I have ever heard or seen his name. I manage to stay blissfully ignorant of most things baseball, which is only a problem when it comes to crossword puzzles. Is it my imagination, or is baseball the most common realm of esoterica in the NYT crossword?

Rube 11:15 AM  

I don't understand. I have been doing puzzles since the Johnson administration (Lyndon not andrew). How do you just put in answers like TIMEOUTS and PAROLEES where every letter except the plural s is wrong? How do you put something in without proving it via a cross or 2? My goal is not to overwrite anything i put in in an attempt to create an aesthetically elegant as well as accurate solution.

Steve Ribustello 11:19 AM  

Agreed. Totally incorrect. ALETAP is also suspect

Bob Mills 11:20 AM  

The cross at 3-D0WN and 15-ACROSS was brutal. I had 100% except for that. Typical Saturday, tough clues and off-beat names.

oliver klozoff 11:28 AM  

Hmm. Corrected "Rex" that Mythbuster was indeed good...and said on the show...but my comment from around 2AM never was posted.
Thanks alot.

Alysia 11:54 AM  

I don’t care if it was easy-medium; I JUST FINISHED MY FIRST SATURDAY WITH NO GOOGLE/DICTIONARY/THESAURUS/IMDB!!!! I am beyond thrilled.

QuasiMojo 11:58 AM  

Yes @Teedmn that looks like the gadget! Thx! Lol. Not as speedy I reckon as @Nancy’s whirligig! :)

Trombone Tom 12:04 PM  

That NE corner nearly laid me flat. So many expressions that didn't come easily to me.

However MASH NOTES as clued rings true, although ancient. My mother talked about seeing these in school back in the day (and I'm 80).

Thanks for a real workout, Sam Ezersky.

emily 12:10 PM  

I use orzo...

Amelia 12:11 PM  

Hilarious that people aren't getting Roseanne's belaboring of the point. Because it's friggin' brilliant. Wish I had thought of it.

Austenlover 12:30 PM  

I use my sturdy kitchen shears as a lever to remove pull tabs. Works very well. I thought this puzzle was difficult but finally filled in all but the NW corner. That section took a looong time.

B Good 12:35 PM  

Ha! I mean't if you're good.

Adam Frank 12:47 PM  

*sigh* I need to start watching Game of Thrones if it's going to be making a regular appearance in the puzzle. That N was the last thing I filled in.

Could not get CUBS FAN - I had _U___AN. RUSSIAN? Was it a different World Series (maybe the World Series of Poker)? CHICAGOAN didn't fit. Grrrr. Finally got STREET (I was thinking DC Comics, not Washington), ABDUCT, and then CUBS FAN made sense. But that held me up significantly. I found the bottom half easier than the top, and the NE easier than the NW, but it wasn't terribly difficult. I enjoyed it.

Georgia 12:50 PM  

Short slang for steroid ... apparently.

Joe Bleaux 12:52 PM  

(Me too on the Neat Guys! And any reminder of anything SCTV is a day brightener. Next category: Different Balls.)

Anonymous 12:53 PM  

once had a co-worker who was roiding. one day in the van on the way to the job site he had roid rage when the driver stepped on the brake too hard, it snapped his neck he complained. He tried to strangle the driver. HR was not happy

brainpercy 1:30 PM  

Swimming

Masked and Anonymous 1:30 PM  

This played out pretty darn tough, at my house. NW had lotsa nice techy-desperate answers that I had little chance of gettin without almost every cross(word). Kinda admired DOT-CO-DOT-UK for its har-in-yer-face 'tude, tho.

staff weeject pick: THA. I didn't check on it, but will eat my BBS, if THA has Patrick Berry Usage Immunity. THA seems sorta incomplete-lookin. Only one out of 1200+ runtpuzs have deigned to splatz in a THA. Runtpuz clue was: {Common article: rap var.}. Better clue: {That ain't all there??}, or somesuch.

BCHORD har. Sound picked up by deepspace radio antenna pointed at a BSTAR.
Re: ROIDED. Better clue = {Trampled over by Roy Rodgers on horseback??}.

fave fillins: MYTHBUSTER. That WHATS-UP-DOT-CO one. COULDITBE. CUPOFTEA. SLOBBER (classic clue!). ORZO [But, better clue = {Pasta-based approximation??]. FREESTYLE.

Thanx, Mr. Sam E-Z. Fun but mighty feisty, OVERHERE.

Masked & Anonymo6Us


**gruntz**

TJS 1:38 PM  

Returning from my local drinking establishment rather late last night, (walking distance, people) I decided to knock off the Saturday puzzle and get a comment in early for a change.. Apparently something went wrong, because when I re-opened the puzzle this morning, I had only four answers, one of which was, oddly enough, BEERCAN.
Omar as a Bible name was a new one for me. And I will have to research that O'Henry quote. Just does not sound like anything he would have written.
@Rosanna R. absolutely hysterical.

Hungry Mother 2:01 PM  

Good old fashioned butt-kicking slog today. My wife went to a movie with some neighbors, so I lay on the couch and just kept with it until it CAME BY. Not much fun, but got ‘er done.

Anonymous 2:39 PM  

lame

Hungry Mother 2:42 PM  

I resemble Rex’s slap at us lefties.

mathgent 2:45 PM  

I posted a fresh math puzzle from last Saturday's WSJ a few days ago. It was to find the largest mathematical expression possible using the digits 1, 2, 3, and 4 exactly once using just the signs for add, subtract, multiply, and divide, decimal points, exponents, and parentheses. At least one person here on the blog was interested in it.

The joker is that the minus sign is not used for subtraction but to write a negative number.

Here's the WSJ solution. "Let a = .1 ^ (-4) = 10000 and b = .2 ^ (-a) = 5 ^ 10000. Then M = .3 ^ (-b) Is the maximum."

Anonymous 2:57 PM  

sophomoric

Mike Rees 3:30 PM  

Still waiting to find out WITELF is a MASHNOTE. This can’t possibly be a thing. Crossing it against some archaic reference to a muse that all of three people know is cruel, even for a Saturday.

WITELF: What In The Ever-Loving ...

William Coddington 3:42 PM  

Shohei and I nominate “rivers”.

Z 4:22 PM  

@alysia - Congrats.

@‘merican - I’m not sure where things stand today, but you pretty much proved my point. The label has been “the subject of international legal battles for decades” because it is so hard to independently verify. Ubi non accusatory, ibi non iudex (loosely - where there are no police there are no speed limits) certainly still applies on the high seas. To be clear, I’m all in favor of heavily regulating food labeling. I just don’t think most people care enough to pay the taxes required to enforce truth in labeling.

@TJS - Statistically speaking, walking while drunk is more dangerous than driving while drunk. Take a cab, it is safer and provides a job.

@mathgent - Huh? My thought was 4^321. I’m not sure how using variables is allowed under the terms of the puzzle as you presented it.

‘mericans in Paris 4:54 PM  

@Z. No. The WTO and prior GATT disputes have little to do with difficulties in being able to independently verify compliance, but rather with the unilateral imposition of product discrimination on another country’s exports on the basis of a production method that does not affect a measurable characteristic of the final product, what in trade law is called a PPM. The issue is more about extraterritoriality, and the fact that there are no established international standards on the matter. It is not that Mexican boats could not certify that their fishing minimizes dolphin deaths: it’s mor a matter of principle.

U.S. producers would be subject to heavy sanctions if they were caught claiming their tuna was “dolphin safe” if it wasn’t. And it is not just federal agents who are watching. So are organisations like Greenpeace.

Hungry Mother 5:45 PM  

@mathgent: I had 2^(3^41)

Joe Dipinto 6:03 PM  

One big ickfest of a puzzle. B CHORD? I don't think so. One would typically specify B Major or B Minor, and the latter key doesn't have five sharps. (@sanfranman 4:15 - I think you meant G# *minor* scale?).

Nothing to love or even like here. Well, I like O. HENRY and ORZO, but not for any reason relating to this creation. The DOT thing is perhaps the most horrendous answer ever to set foot in a NYT grid.

mathgent 6:30 PM  

@Z (4:22): In the expression for b, replace a with .1 ^ (-4). Then, in the expression for M, replace b with this numerical expression. The resulting expression for M is entirely numerical, no variables.

@Hungry Mother (5:45): That's what I had. Then I found .1 ^ (-4) and put that into an exponent giving a much bigger expression.

Z 6:55 PM  

@‘mericans - Call me cynical but I have more faith in the venality of corporations than in underfunded government agencies and NGO’s enforcement capabilities. How many examples do we need to know that “sanctions if caught” is not much of deterrent to corporations or organizations? Wall Street? The auto industry? Payday lenders? Law enforcement? I’ll still buy “dolphin safe” seafood, but purely on the possibility it is dolphin safe, not with certainty.

Fashionista 8:10 PM  

It would have to be boobie to fit

Mohair Sam 8:15 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
JC66 8:53 PM  

@mathgent et al

The only thing I remember from high school math is that the square route of 69 is 8.something.

Brian Alvord 5:39 AM  

Just testing how to comment. I entered a comment last night for the first time. It never turned up. Maybe I made a procedural error.

Dorian 7:53 AM  

Hello from 2 big fans of your blog, who read it every morning after we finish the puzzle. Although I suspect that the Times writers were being right for the wrong reasons, so to speak, in fact there was a great deal of debate on the ACA acronym and the name of the bill. After all, it's not actually the ACA at all. It's the PPACA, standing for the PATIENT PROTECTION and Affordable Care Act, and the decision to drop the emphasis on patient protection, literally in the name and in the execution of the bill, was highly contentious, and will continue to have ramifications for as long as the law stands.
Thank you again for your wonderful blog!

Dorian and Gareth

heidi k 12:06 PM  

agreed on mashnotes, i still don’t like it as an answer

TJS 1:24 PM  

@Z, Gee, thanks for your advice. Would love to see your "statistical" sources. If you think that driving under the influence is safer than walking two blocks to your home, you must live in a very dangerous neighborhood.

Anonymous 3:04 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Pandu 2:48 PM  

I thought it was cute that OAK and ASH were placed symmetrically from one another!

OlyL 2:23 PM  

I love to come here to affirm how really smart I am. I know most of the neoculture references many seem to struggle over. Who hasn’t heard of Jessica BIEL, Justin Timberlake’s wife? And speaking of the ancients, who wouldn’t know Urania? Once you have some of the letters, it’s so clear. Robinson Cano? Of course! In his younger years, the most beautiful face in baseball. Azaria? There it is! Only hold up was the NW dots, season, micro, octile problem. Apparently, math is not my thing. I did have to stop and think about O’Henry. It is true. I have never been to NYC. I have deliberately skirted it a couple of times, once having an unfortunate experience at a toll booth; another being sucked into some sort of interchange where everyone honked at me for some reason . I barely escaped with my life! Anyway, Although O’Henry seemed like the obvious answer given the letters I had, I stopped to ponder whether they had subways in the “Go West!” days; tried to imagine horse drawn carriages in the tunnels. Apparently, New Yorkers are smarter than I thought....

Michael McCormick 8:47 PM  

3 down was bullshit!!!!!

Ron Beasley 12:35 PM  

Rex, More of your typical inane, condescending insults. Must be interesting to feel so superior to everyone. Your insecurities are really over the top.

spacecraft 11:17 AM  

There was ALOT I didn't know, so a long way from easy-medium. One of these fine late-week days I will get the NW right off; today wasn't it. It was my last stop, again, and I almost DNF until replacing inDUCT with the AB- variety. That URL abbr., which we all agree is crap, went in purely on crosses.

Started in the SW with #1 gimme AZARIA, a really gifted actor who absolutely nailed the part of Agadore Spartacus in "The Birdcage." Loved his "Guatemala-ness." OVERHERE in the NE, FREESTYLE was an eye-opener leading to a breakthrough to the NW via NETSURF.

3-down was bad enough, BUTALSO I didn't appreciate BCHORD, another variation of the RMK. Single-letter-added answers PESTER me no end.

DOD is of course Jessica BIEL. Or Beal. Or Simpson. Or Alba. Geez, there's ALOT of hot Jeaaicas, aren't there? Some very cool fill in this one, BUTALSO some SLOBBER. Average it out to a par.

Burma Shave 12:50 PM  

ONHOLD SOLONG

MYTHBUSTER ALERT: COULDITBE ICAMEBY SUCH a demon?
URANIA will ATTENDTO me, yet SLOBBER over some SEAMAN.

--- O.HENRY AZARIA

rondo 1:17 PM  

Not easy-med for me. This took ALOT longer than it should've. SOLONG I won't even say. First pass through about all I had was the only write-over ENdO along with BBS and CANO and AZARIA and SACHA. Didn't know if it was yeah baby Jessica Alba or BIEL, or oui or NON, or nrA or ACA, or StockS or SHARES etc. But persistence paid off with a remarkably clean finish, save for the aforementioned ENTO. But I BELABOR this.

A local FREESTYLE rapper, Billy THA Kid was shot and killed a week ago OVERHERE by some BADACTOR.

Loved the workout; my CUPOFTEA.

Diana,LIW 2:14 PM  

Maybe it was listening to the wedding at 4 am this morning. Or recovering from the Macy's sale (!!!) yesterday. (Two once-in-a-lifetime events if ever...)

But - my dnf was grave today. Circled 11 clues that shoulda' been gimmes, according to OFL, but, as usual, you know me and names. Dear, dear. Who got married today? Henry and Martha?

And then my guesses for the "funny/punny" clues were all off. And who would guess OHENRY? The clue sounded too "current."

At least I got the trees, and eventually remembered being a CUBSFAN. Even knew the stadium, but only thanks to other crossword puzzles.

Of course, I got the ones that @Rex hated - ECOLABEL for example.

And last, but certainly not least, COULDnTBE led me to endlessly wonder, "What the heck is RN OT GEAR? Stuff nurses wear in overtime to protect them from angry patients? Yeah - that's where my mind was this morning. Gotta change my coffee brand...

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords and the next Royal Wedding

leftcoastTAM 2:46 PM  

Major stumbling blocks: that London/ UK web address, and that never-heard-of TV MYTHBUSTER. Also, wanted OnAn(!) instead of OMAR. Otherwise not too bad, but a DNF

5wksltr 3:32 PM  

Anyone who needs to brush up on your King Lear - and wants to have fun doing it - treat yourself to Christopher Moore's "Fool".

Anonymous 4:40 PM  

How timely for us syndicated solvers to see CANO and "Used performance enhancing substances" in the same puzzle.

rainforest 4:50 PM  

@Roseanne R's comment is hilarious. Kudos from Syndieville.

Medium challenging today, and of course the NW was the last to fall. Slapped myself silly when SODA CANS took so long to get.

I found this tough but smooth, with nothing I could pick a nit about. I even liked 3D. But that's me.

One write-over: Urac/nia, only because URANIA is a Muse I sorta know. ENTO not so much.

Excellent puzzle to end an excellent week.

Anonymous 6:04 PM  

The puzzle is oddly prescient: Robinson Cano was just suspended for 80 ganes for steroid use.

BS2 10:27 PM  


STREET REP

Robinson CANO did it FREESTYLE,
THA BADACTOR didn't SEE to avoid it,
BUTALSO ALERT an entire OCTILE
they'll be ONHOLD if they've ROIDED.

--- OMAR ALIPASHA

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