Brazilian city at mouth of Amazon / SAT 5-12-18 / Despot exiled in 1979 / Title setting for Shakespeare / Faux gold / Certain religious proselytizer informally

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Constructor: Alex Eylar

Relative difficulty: LOL gonna guess here at Easy-Medium because I really don't know (see below) (10:22)


THEME: none

Word of the Day: OROIDE (53A: Faux gold) —
Oroide is copper and zinc, or copper and tin, often employed inexpensively for decorative purposes where a gold-colored metal is desirable.
Oroide may refer to:
  • Brass, an alloy of copper and zinc that has a bright gold-like appearance
  • Bronze, an alloy of copper and (in modern times) tin
  • Other gold-colored copper alloys (wikipedia)
• • •

I have to remember never, ever, ever to solve Saturday puzzles in the a.m. Never ever. The difference between night-solving and first-thing-in-the-morning solving is noticeable for all days of the week, but on Saturday it can get hilarious, and today was one of those days. I had a Challenging time. The whole center was just blank for what felt like ever. Even the corners, which I could tell were pretty easy, were kinda fighting me. I mean, 1A: Husky relatives—I shoulda dropped AKITAS in there without hesitation. I love dogs, know dog breeds, solve crosswords regularly. Shoulda been a piece of cake. Instead I just stared at it and wrote in the "S" at the end. Then SAD, which was fitting (6D: Bummed). And that was just the opening gambit. My feelings about the puzzle are completely colored by the ridiculousness of the solve, the power of my brain fog, the annoyance at a giant chunk of white space in the middle of my puzzle. Stunt puzzles ("oooh, look at my white space!") bug me on a good day, and today was not a good day. That said, the center held up pretty well, ultimately, though BELEM (?) (25D: Brazilian city at the mouth of the Amazon) next to FENSTER (?) (21D: Window: Ger.) can go to hell. Get those to come out to less obscure foreignisms, and you've got yourself kind of a great middle. Cluing wasn't so great, as nobody is signing his letter FRATERNALLY; even as a 19th-century conceit, that clue seems stupid (18D: Letter closing from one brother to another). Also, thanks for spoiling the magic trick for me, jackass (31A: Where the magician hides the rabbit). Actually, I hate "magic" and don't care. I was more annoyed at myself for writing in TABLE BOTTOM (see BELEM and FENSTER being of No help here).
Cross-reference clues are never pleasant, but at least LONGS / FOR was a pair of successive Acrosses. That, I can tolerate. Part 2 in the NE and part 1 in the damn SW, no. NO TELL / MOTEL is such a great answer, the pleasure of which was gutted by my having to leave my section (NE) to go figure it out (54A: With 19-Across, spot for a tryst). No one ever uses [Girth] for anything but thickness / fatness / largeness, so I wrote in plain old SIZE, but didn't like it. I teach Arthurian literature and still balked at AVALON (1D: Place of eternal happiness). I *am* shy but still wrote in ASIDE (??) for ALOOF (44D: How shy people may stand). I think I meant APART. ALOOF implies snobbery, which is infuriating. Shy people are not talking to you because mixing with strangers is somewhat-to-very uncomfortable, not because they look down on you.
Grateful to Bobby SEALE and Eve ENSLER and Myrna LOY today for slapping my face and being like "hey, buddy, snap to it." Oh, speaking of, I had SNAP! at 20A: Response to a burn or a pun (OUCH). So it was flailing and missing all around. And yet people were posting personal record times on Twitter, so I know my experience was not typical.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. "Despot" "exile" "1979" four letters long—that's four different elements that screamed, well, something other than AMIN.

P.P.S. Is MOONIE not a slur? (51A: Certain religious proselytizer, informally). 'Cause it sounds slurry.
[google]

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

132 comments:

Lewis 7:18 AM  

A Leonard Cohen lyric says, "There is a crack in everything/That's how the light gets in." That's what this puzzle felt like to me. Those little tiny cracks opened just -- just! -- enough illumination to be able to recognize, with an aha, an answer, which kept the hunt alive. Sometimes when this happens, it feels like hard labor. Today it felt magical, like I was being coyly led on a treasure hunt. Those little slivers of light led to a dazzling glow at the end, and this puzzle will shimmer in my memory for quite some time to come.

Unknown 7:22 AM  

Yes, Rex, the rabbit is hidden by a false bottom. And the lady doesnt really get sawn in half, either.

Hungry Mother 7:24 AM  

Had no idea for MOD, so DNF.

The Big Salad 7:29 AM  

"Also, thanks for spoiling the magic trick for me, jackass..."

Illusion, Michael.

RJ 7:29 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gretchen 7:29 AM  

I think Will Shortz took this puzzle from his Monday pile by mistake. Not challenging enough to be fun for a Saturday morning.

Conrad 7:30 AM  

DNF due to a total Natick at square 53, MxD/xROIDE. I get that Reddit has MODerators, but does anyone really refer to one as a “MOD”? OROIDE was (and is) so far out of my wheelhouse that it’s a few nautical miles behind the ship, bobbing lazily where the wake used to be.

Space Is Deep 7:30 AM  

Two easy days in a row. I'm the opposite of Rex, I solve MUCH better first thing in the morning. The only thing that slowed me down was dropping in HEAVEN and trying to make it work. Then AKITA came to me, followed by AVALON, then that corner fell. Guessing about 30 minutes, a fast Saturday for me. Let's hear it for morning solving on paper with a fresh cup of coffee!

Two Ponies 7:30 AM  

This was a weird puzzle that felt like it was written by a committee.
Some answers were down-right gimmes that had me thinking "Too easy for a Sat." Then there was German for window??
Cement shoes alone was an answer worth the price of admission as was the clue for tough.
Horse hockey was great even though I've never heard it outside of M*A*S*H. Thanks, Col. Potter.
Next-door neighbor with kids in public school has nothing good to say about Common Core. @LMS, what's your take on it?
Finally, the clue about puritanism screamed SJW at me. Just think of how many things we used to enjoy that now have been spoiled by political correctness. For example, Happy Mothers Day is now on the hit list.

Glimmerglass 7:32 AM  

Pretty typical Saturday. I didn’t know ODOIDE, but the crosses gave me a correct guess. My only complaint is that 42D should have been FLAME instead of SLIME, but plurals don’t end in F. My answer was better.

Anonymous 7:36 AM  

I was nervous when I saw the four mini puzzles connected to that gaping center by only the tiniest of slivers, but everything flew so quickly, near record time for me for a Saturday (7:57).

Outside The Box 7:37 AM  

Well, “pyrite” was wrong, but oroide? Never heard of it.

Luckily I speak German, so Fenster (German nouns are always capitalized) was a gimme.

Did exactly as Rex did: filled in sad and then gave Akitas a shot. Somehow Belem came to mind immediately, so the middle became relatively easy.

Not a great puzzle, but besides wasting a lot of time on oroide, finished pretty quickly.

ghthree 7:37 AM  

A MOD is a Moderator on Reddit. Moderators are important because they make choices which propagate throughout the website.

The Big Salad 7:38 AM  

To the puzzle: easy/medium, or maybe a medium/tough Friday. NW was the last to fall, owing to a hesitation on AKITAS as well. Also dropped in meH for NAH, initially.

Slowed down in other places by Smear for SLIME and ADIeu for ADIOS.

Enjoyed it.

Richard 7:41 AM  

I tried UTOPIA in 1D; that caused some problems. I liked CEMENT SHOES.

Space Is Deep 7:41 AM  

I didn't know FENESTER, but I did know DEFENESTRATION, that's how I got to FENESTER. Had no idea it was German.

The Bard 7:49 AM  

Other sites with six letters are: Athens and Venice. Windsor does not fit.

John Morrison 7:49 AM  

Trap: PYRITE instead of ORiOIDE.

Birchbark 7:57 AM  

ORO, IDE. Two great fills in one.

And it's a tip of the hat to I, RODEO -- Asimov's excellent novel about the inner life of a buckaroo.

And with 25D and 36D ("OROIDE, BELEM, OCEANO") it is a familiar if somewhat dangerous alchemist's incantation used in the production of faux gold. Hats off to the constructor and editor for that nicely self-referential Easter egg.

Anonymous 8:01 AM  

@Two Ponies: A quote from HL Mencken, noted racist and anti-semite and a writer who was prominent 100 years ago, "screams SJW" and "political correctness" to you? Sure. That adds up.

As to the puzzle, I thought it was a pretty typical Saturday. Had some difficulties getting into the center, but ended up with an average time just over 12 minutes.

QuasiMojo 8:14 AM  

I would have beat Rex's time today, which would have been a first for me, if I hadn't put in FALSE TOP HAT before FALSE BOTTOM. Otherwise, I sailed through this waiting nervously for the other shoe to drop (I thought maybe the shape of the grid had some purpose or meaning.) But I'm glad it was easy since I have a lot to do this morning. I loved HORSE HOCKEY, seeing H.L. MENCKEN, an old wordlover from wayback, TEAPOT (made me think of Angela Lansbury), FENSTER (think DEFENESTRATE), and even FRATERNALLY. I disagree with Rex on that one since I would think a lot of fraternities, clubs and brotherhoods still use that archaic sign off. MOONIE was indeed an ANOMALY, however. OUCH.

Larry from Shipping 8:28 AM  

Well I just kicked the hell out of this puzzle once I got a few answers in. Everything just fell into place. I just seemed to know all the long answers, although I enjoyed them all. CEMENTSHOES was great! That's what mobsters wear if they don't steal enough or say the wrong thing. Sometimes they get STUFFED into 55 gallon drums which are then put into Biscayne Bay, which is my second favorite method of mafia personnel management. Third place is a tie between being CRUSHED in a automobile junk yard and getting stabbed with an ICEPICK in the back of the neck. Honorable mention is being FROZEN in a meat truck.

At first I thought the 4-letter despot was SHAH, but that's not right because he was a loving monarch who tended to his sheep wisely and did what was right for them because he knew better that's why he was the king. They were ungrateful and now look at them. Instead, it was our old pal AMIN. That poor guy just can't catch a break. He had syphillis folks! That's why he killed all those people! Leave him alone!

Speaking of the clap, how 'bout a hand for MOONIE! Is that offensive? Who cares, they'll never know they're too busy being weirdos. Plus they only read the Washington Times. I think it's a remarkably fresh answer. Wasn't there another slur the other day? I think they're fine as long as you spread it around. Give everyone a turn, I say.

H.L.MENKEN was a Baltimore columnist and an asshole. That's what I hear anyway. Bobby SEALE probably was too. And I once read that Jack KEROUAC was an excellent typist.

On the other site the constructor describes how he made this puzzle and the hardships he overcame. It's an inspiring story.

Diane S. 8:30 AM  

In Rex’s crazy worldview the Shah of Iran was a despot and the Ayatollah Khomeini was a freedom fighter.

Persian 8:31 AM  

The Shah of Iran was not a despot. If there was another four letter despot who was deposed in 1979 that I’m missing then you have my apologies.

Ry 8:42 AM  

The founder of the Unification Church was named Moon and he used the term himself before it picked up negative connotations and had its use discouraged.

Brian 8:43 AM  

Akira Akita Rough Tough

kitshef 8:46 AM  

Much too easy for a Saturday.

We had a Samoyed. Not the smartest dog, but friendly and huggable. Got along well with cats, humans, and other dogs … except for the neighborhood AKITA. Given a chance, I’m convinced they would have fought to the death.

Solving pattern today: NE, SW, SE, NW, and finally middle. When the four corners were complete, I had only one word in the middle section.

Evan Jordan 8:49 AM  

I do not understand Rex’s perported solving times. They don’t make sense to me. I blew through today’s puzzle and came in at 15mins even. He claims the whole center was blank “forever” and he hits 10:22. Is it because I’m solving on an iPhone? Is it a typing thing? I’m I very fast reader/comprehender. I always scored in the top one percentile in school. I didn’t even hesitate on most of today’s clues. But I takes some amount of time to glance at the question and type in the letters. I just don’t see how anyone could be struggling on any level and fill out the grid in 10 minutes.

Evan Jordan 8:53 AM  

You don’t have time for my ILLUSIONS.

Ken R 8:55 AM  

@ Lewis my exact solving experience. Thought it was a great puzzle with just enough cracks to finish. I am not a speed solver but I think that going for "a time" frustrates Rex and others and they miss the beauty of a well constructed well clued puzzle. I for one tip my hat to Alex for great work.

Amelia 8:58 AM  

Lovely but easy. Had all four corners before the middle, which didn't take long.

I'm Dickens, He's Fenster.

Who knew?

Keyser Soze 9:31 AM  

Only Fenster I know was played by Benicio del Toro in The Usual Suspects.

Anonymous 9:31 AM  

I don't know if some of you are making bad jokes but the shah was considered a despot by people living in Iran. SAVAK.

Z 9:35 AM  

I could have sworn defenestration was from the Latin... Oh wait, it is. So is FENSTER from German originally or a bastardization of the Latin? Damn that devolving language thing.

Corners first, then the middle. Once cracked, each section filled quickly.

The Shah wasn’t a despot? Those massive rallies must have been because he was busy making Iran great again, not because he was hated. Hey, guess what, it is not at all atypical for the next guy to be just as much of a despot as the last guy. “All Animals Are Equal / But Some Are More Equal Than Others."

@Two Ponies - What hit list? I lost my copy.

@Evan Jordan - Imagine me saying, “I can’t believe some people run a mile in less than four minutes. My PR is 5:49 and I was going as fast as humanly possible.”* Does that help? Rex isn’t even the fastest of the fast.







*Yeah, I did. It was 40 years ago, but I did.

puzzlehoarder 9:37 AM  

Our modem is broken so even though I'm at home I had to do this one on my phone last night. This was a much better puzzle than yesterday's. Most of it was a normal Saturday solve but the SE did me in. Believe it or not I have no idea what Reddit is. I know it's some kind of site where people share things but that's as far as it goes. FWIW that is a debut clue for MOD. Putting V.I.P. in the clue completely fooled me into thinking the answer was an acronym not some form of modern half speak.

Common CORE was off the radar too. This is further proof of my wife's opinion that I don't know things because I "live under a rock and do crossword puzzles." She has a point, not that I care.

Initially the SE went as smoothly as the rest of the puzzle. MOONIES was no problem. I had ALOOF supported by DEFCON and then stopped cold. COLD in place of CORE and giving up on DEFCON when I changed ALOOF to ALONE sank any chance for solving that corner.

dfan 9:42 AM  

Evan Jordan: There were 189 squares in today's puzzle. If it took you 15 minutes to solve, then it took you close to 5 seconds per square to enter each letter. If you think you didn't hesitate on most of the close, but just needed to glance at the question and type in the letters, I think you are forgetting some of the times you were stuck for a while.

For what it's worth, my time was between yours and Rex's, and I spent some real time being stuck. It generally takes me about three and a half minutes if all I'm doing is "glancing at the question and typing in the letters", like on a Monday. Good solvers are way faster than me.

Sweet Jim 9:48 AM  

I think “fraternally” is a fairly common way for fraternity brothers to sign off on letters to each other.

Teedmn 9:52 AM  

Easy Saturday here except for that MbD-bROIDE cross. For some reason, with_ROIDE in place, the possibility of a vowel there never occurred to me. At one point, I changed ALOOF to ALOne and tried to make sense of that but ALOOF was a much better word and DEFCON seemed too right. Ah, well.

HORSE puCKEY seemed a reasonable answer for 14D, which is what I recall Col. Potter saying, so I left the pu/HO open to wait for crosses, which didn't take long to fill in.

I read "Piled leaves" not as a verb phrase (considered mounD there) so RAKED made me smile. I'm just glad we aren't in raking season. I love spring, and I'm really enjoying the warblers which are passing through. They hop around so fast, I can't really identify them but so far I've seen a Cape May and what looks like an Audobon's (though MN isn't really in their territory, according to my bird book) flitting about in my plum tree.

CHASTE above LOW LIFES above half of the NO TELL MOTEL. Now that's a HOE DOWN.

Nice Saturday puzzle, Alex, even if your computer did all of the heavy lifting :-).

Sunny 9:53 AM  

Well if you want to ban all slurs then idiots and clods apply as well.

Two Ponies 10:00 AM  

@ Z, Oh, you know, just quaint old things like Merry Christmas or standing for the national anthem. Little traditions like that. Seems that there is always someone, somewhere whose feelings are made of glass and spoils the fun for everyone.

Paul Rippey 10:04 AM  

I heard H. L Mencken replied to incoming mail with pre-printed postcards that said, “Dear Sir or Madame, You may be right. Sincerely, H. L. Mencken”.

Suzie Q 10:07 AM  

Fenster was a big ? for me and several people mentioned defenestration so I looked it up. Holy crap! There's a special word just for throwing people out of windows? That sure is my word of the day but I can't see working that into casual conversation! Ha!
Spring has sprung and hopefully we've seen the last of Jack Frost for awhile so out the door I go.

Rube 10:08 AM  

They solve on line. When you use pen and paper its impossible to write the answers in in less than about 3.5 minutes even if you know what they are without looking. My suggestion is savor the clues, don't be in such a rush, and you'll find your times are just fine. I used to focus on speed and did Fri and sat in 7 or 8 mins but what fun is that?

Mohair Sam 10:11 AM  

Jeez. Got MODerated out a couple of hours ago. Wonder what I said?

Love white space in the middle of a grid - makes for uber-stacks, and stacks are good. Hence loved the puzzle, in spite of its playing way too easy for a Saturday.

Can't recreate the rapier-like wit of my original post so I'll just relay my disappointment at discovering that the rabbit trick isn't real. Will should have given us a spoiler alert.

jberg 10:13 AM  

Way too easy for a Saturday, but a DNF for me. I just wrote in everything as I saw it (except LObrowS before LIVES, and getting the gender of the ocean wrong) -- until I got to the SE.. Aside? Apart? Abaft? ALOne? then finally ALOOF because I knew there was something called DEFCON, although I had no idea what it was (or is). But that cured -- or rahter knocked out -- the common COld. Eventually I thought of the despised CORE, but I was stil lstuck for the O. It should have occurred to methat Reddit might have MODerators, but it didn't -- so I was looking for a TLA, and had no idea. I finally cheated, and tried OROIDE in Dictionary.com. No result! But a web search turned it up.

the MOONIEs are followers of a greedy cult leader who is trying to use his influence to take over the politics of the US and other countries -- they deserve an offensive label.

@Z -- I never got through much of Tacitus on the Germans, but I'm thinking they may not have had windows until they started interacting with the Romans, so they adapted the Latin term.

@TwoPonies -- huh? Here's the original Mother's Day proclamation; no on eon the left has ever objected to theis holiday:

Arise, then, women of this day! Arise all women who have hearts,
whether our baptism be that of water or of fears!

Say firmly: "We will not have great questions decided by
irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking
with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be
taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach
them of charity, mercy and patience.

We women of one country will be too tender of those of another
country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs. From
the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own.
It says "Disarm, Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance
of justice."

Blood does not wipe our dishonor nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons
of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a
great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women,
to bewail and commemorate the dead.

Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the
means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each
bearing after their own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
but of God.

In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a
general congress of women without limit of nationality may be
appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at
the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the
alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement
of international questions, the great and general interests of
peace.

Julia Ward Howe
Boston

GILL I. 10:18 AM  

Saturday...Just one Google: FENSTER. I don't speak German - the only thing I know is "Ich liebe dich." I cry OUCH. Next you're going to throw in LOW LIFES in the Netherlands.
I know who Jack KEROUAC is/was and I know he coined the "Beat Generation" but "Beat someone?" as clued made me really go HUH? Having got my beefs out of the way, I enjoyed this one. It felt like I was solving 5 mini puzzles. The top two were easy and fun. The middle kept me thinking but doable and the bottom was my slowdown.
I thought Colonel Potter said HORSE PUCKEY but he doesn't. He says HOCKEY and I'm glad he did because that gave me 31A and the FALSE BOTTOM. I don't like magic tricks either - especially when you're pulling a rabbit by its ears or when you have a little dove all cramped in a kerchief. When I was real little I was absolutely terrified when that man sawed the woman in half. I put magic shows in the same category as the circus. Can't stand clowns either.
Something to be said having MENCKEN SEALE AMIN MOONIE all in the bottom half.
I should be please as punch that I finished with only one Google on a Sat. and I am but for some reason, I'm wanting more. Maybe I'll try the WSJ.
Maternally yours,
GILL

Chance 10:23 AM  

Different strokes for different folks.

I did this four minutes less than my previous best time. I found it very easy. Just somehow everything clicked this time around. I put in FRATERNALLY and SEALE and AMIN and MOONIE right off; they're all in my body of knowledge (why haven't more people heard of Moonies or Bobby Seale, really)?

Anyway, I thought this was a decidedly non-challenging puzzle.

Charles Flaster 10:24 AM  

Loved this one albeit a DNF at OROIDE??
Liked clue for BEAKERS and loved TWEEZE.
The four corners (DEAN SMITH) were beautifully constructed and FRATERNALLY opened up the remainder.Overall a fun, worthwhile solve.
Thanks AE.

Anonymous 10:27 AM  

The Shah was definitely a despot, and it's about time we owned to the mess we made of Iran in the 1950s - our actions are the source of our troubles there.

BELEM really isn't at the mouth of the Amazon (rather the Tocantins) but is used as access to it.

Tom Rowe 10:31 AM  

I have never met Rex but have followed his blog for years. I would have never guessed he is shy. Does not fit somehow.

Puzzle was an average Saturday for me.

Nancy 10:40 AM  

Didn't know what Reddit was, exactly, so I had M?D for 51D, and no clue. Never heard of the word of the day, either. So I crossed my fingers, guessed dROIDE/MdD -- and DNF. OUCH. Promise me you'll be a NO-TELL in this matter. Thanks.

Otherwise, an easy-ish Saturday that was playful, lively, and a lot of fun. That the constructor has a sense of humor can be seen with the delightful CEMENT SHOES, my favorite answer. There was a misleading clue at 44A: everyone will say SHAH; it's the same year. But because I seldom write in without confirming a letter or two, I never wrote it in. I did write in sAlaD instead of RAKED much too quickly at 43A, thinking all the while that I prefer my salad "tossed" rather than "piled". And if it's an absolutely brilliant and devastating barb, you will be right much of the time if you attribute it to MENCKEN (38A). A most enjoyable if not all-that-hard puzzle. And @Lewis's (7:18) beautifully written tribute to it today may be the most exquisite praise of a crossword that I've yet seen.

TubaDon 10:43 AM  

Filled in the top two lines and came to a screeching halt. Had to solve the rest from the bottom up, as usual a painful method. I blanked on the center too, but my college German and a lucky guess on LOOKSBACKON saved me there. I have no knowledge of social media moguls and PYRITE was obviously wrong for fools gold, but I eventually decided to go with the ORO made the most sense at 53A to complete the puzzle.

Bob Mills 10:44 AM  

Really easy for a Saturday, except for the dirty trick played in the SE. "Common CORE"? Are you kidding? Common COLD, yes.

burtonkd 10:46 AM  

Still fair and gettable if you remember that “or” Is a prefix that refers to gold

Mohair Sam 11:02 AM  

@Lewis (7:18) - I'll agree with @Nancy, that was one well-written review. And no faint praise for sure.

burtonkd 11:07 AM  

@two ponies, The war on Christmas is a Fox News narrative they search far and wide every year to come up with examples to support. Big country so enough material for them to fill some news hours and it Riles the base. Many businesses use seasons greetings because they would like to sell to a wide variety of people, not because they have anything against Christmas.
As far as not standing for the national anthem goes, it was one player who did not stand for his own personal reasons until someone decided to zero in a camera on him and make a big deal out of it to force him to stand at which point the rest of the players jumped in on his cause. I do not recall anyone ever disparaging someone for standing for the national anthem.
Probably should not have taken the bait…

K Swayze 11:07 AM  

@Two Ponies: i’m not sure “feelings made of glass” is on the mark. It’s more about being bone weary of other people trying to force their Christian or patriotic (usually jingoistic) agendas on the rest of us.

Carola 11:12 AM  

Beautifu, enjoyablel puzzle, but I found it very easy for a Saturday. Loved CEMENT SHOES over BOTTOM, which is where they take you; also liked the COW and HORSE neighbors, also HORSE by TROTTED, and MAR near its cousin OCEANO. LOW LIFES, HOEDOWN, NO-TELL MOTEL - great. Two do-overs: ALOne-->ALOOF and initiAL before CAPITAL N.

Anonymous 11:15 AM  

This month's story of two shy brothers being stopped and frisked by campus police while visiting Colorado State University as prospective students - fits with RP's notes about shy vs. aloof (vs. must-be-stopped-for-not-being-white-enough...).

Two Ponies, wow you really aced the "misunderstanding who's a right-wing ahole expressing right-wing aholery" today. But that's par.

"Methodists" was derogatory in its origins and intent. The mainstream Anglican church derided the followers of Wesley and his "methods," calling them by the name. The whole church has adopted the name. Words have subtle and compicated histories. Moonies are followers of Rev. Sun Myung Moon. It's complicated.

Two Ponies 11:28 AM  

@ jberg, Nice post but I used Mothers Day as an example because of the timeliness and only yesterday I saw where a big drug store chain had added a section to their display just for gender-neutral Mothers Day cards. That's the sort of left wing hypersensitivity and PC cultural disintegration that brought it to mind.
Heaven forbid "that someone, somewhere, may be happy."

Malsdemare 11:36 AM  

@Lewis says it all for me. And I love the Leonard quote.

anon 11:39 AM  

Nope.

Warren Howie Hughes 11:45 AM  

Now that the CLODS have cleared, I can see clearly now. As for OROIDE, it was nowhere to be found in my Funk & Wagner, (Pardon my French!) Heh Heh Heh CEMENT SHOES and it's classic clue, "The last pair you'll ever wear" was in MHO, SOO over the MOONIE to have yours truly in hysterics! This Saturday offering from the fertile mind of Alex Eyler, GOT more than mere honorable MENCKEN, in fact, it was ACES! ADIOS Amigos and Amigas!

Warren Howie Hughes 11:53 AM  

John Morrison, Pyrite is right as rain FOR "Faux Gold" and certainly not OROIDE, not found in any of my many Dictionaries!

Nancy 11:56 AM  

@Two Ponies -- Has anyone forcibly restrained you recently from wishing a "Merry Christmas" to anyone you like, as often as you like? Have you found it impossible, or even mildly difficult, to find greeting cards that say "Merry Christmas"? Are you in danger of losing your livelihood or your home or your liberty if you dare to send out 1 of them, or even 100 of them? Has any retailer ever said to you: "Sorry, madam, I cannot sell you that scarf if you're going to send it as a [gasp] Christmas present"? No? Didn't think so.

Certainly, no one has so prevented me. Although I'm Jewish -- albeit an agnostic from an extremely secular and non-observant family as far back as the eye can see -- I have a great many Christian friends and I wish them Merry Christmas all the time. I even wish some of my Jewish friends Merry Christmas -- as long as I know they come from backgrounds similar to mine. As for more observant and traditional Jewish friends -- I wish them a Happy Holiday. Surely, you don't have a problem with that, @Two Ponies?

Despite all of Bill O'Reilly's bloviating and hyperventilating, there is no such thing as a "War on Christmas". It's entirely a Fox News creation and a very divisive and ugly one at that. Live and let live -- that's what our country is all about. Isn't it?

Maruchka 12:02 PM  

@Keyser: Indeed. Too bad Fenster died early on. He was 'mo fun.

Malsdemare 12:05 PM  

@K Swayze. 'Bone weary' is exactly right.

Hartley70 12:09 PM  

Really fast solve, but I loved it.

Maruchka 12:12 PM  

I'm with this puzzle's delightful-delicious-delovely crew. And that goes for the grid, too.

Please give us more Mr. Eylar.

Btw: FENSTERmacher is the last name of my first teen crush boy. Never will forget it, nor him.

jb129 12:16 PM  

I was stuck in the middle too (like Rex) but I worked it through & liked this puzzle.

RnRGhost57 12:24 PM  

In my wheelhouse which probably means it’s too easy for a Saturday. But really fun to solve.

@Lewis, I’ll echo others: beautifully written praise.

old timer 12:32 PM  

You know, I am always SAD if @LMS has not posted before I do, and I post in the mornings, California time.

DNF here because I had to look up "faux gold" to find OROIDE, a word I never saw before and hope to never see again. Other than that, everything fell into place eventually, and there was a way to break in to every segment. I liked seeing dear old Mr. MENCKEN, whose virtues far outshine his then-fashionable antisemitism. I bet whenever he was accused of antisemitism, he claimed to have many Jewish friends. Such was the standard reply in elite and racist circles, and people might not say they had Negro friends, because they didn't, but they certainly were ready to say they really admired the black servants they might know, and of course they admired Joe Louis. Funny thing in my family: the heart of our fortune was owed to a Jewish banker with whom my great-grandfather partnered early and often. How any of my family could have looked down on Jews is a mystery to me.

BTW the one team no one complains about with respect to Colin K is the San Francisco 49ers. Everyone admits that he no longer was a useful QB for them and it was right to let him go. I suppose some other team should have hired him as a backup at least.

Masked and Anonymous 12:46 PM  

Took a lot of German classes, so FENSTER was a gimme off just the F. Only entries of computer-generated mystery: BELEM and OROIDE. SOO … easyish fillins, a la PB1.

Clues seemed a tad too friendly, for yer average SatPuz. I spy 5 clues in the whole shebang with ?'s, so at least they were tryin to be *somewhat* feisty. Best buttkicker of the 5 was {Beat someone?} = KEROUAC. Hardly worth the "?" ones: {Profit chaser?} = EER and maybe also {Pull one's hair out?} = TWEEZE.

Moo-cow Moment examples, clue-wise:
* {"Ciao"} = ADIOS. Tries to sucker U into splatzin down ADIEU, perhaps?
* {Husky relatives} = AKITAS. May have lucked out here, that it was the first thing that came to mind. The S also gives U {Bummed} = SAD, quicker than snot.
* {They may hold the solution} = BEAKERS. Got this off the first E in FENSTER. "Solution" word just smelled like attempted SatPuz mis-direct meat.
* {Despot exiled in 1979} = AMIN. TuesPuz clue. MonPuz clue woulda chipped in an "Idi".
* {Co-star of the "Thin Man" films} = LOY. Luv her. Tough actress to give a hard clue to m&e for.
… etc.

Cool grid layout. Pinwheel symmetry puppy. Also, as always, admire the four 6-black-square Jaws of Themelessness shapes.

Thanx, Computer of Mr. Eylar. Are U imbedded in Alex's ginormous teddybear? Do U have a "Maximize U's" setting? Just askin'.

Masked & Anonymo3Us


**gruntz**

TJS 12:54 PM  

Super fast for a Saturday for me (not a time solver) but I enjoyed this one anyway. The longer fills just fell right into place for me.
@Lewis : Loved your review today, esp. the Cohen quote, and I envy your ability to find something to enjoy in every puzzle. But just once I would like you to write something like "Hated this one. Got up and kicked my dog."

Questinia 1:01 PM  

Ormolu here for OROIDE. Until @ Lewis' golden cracks of light showed through the FENSTER.

Pete 1:12 PM  

@Two Ponies: So, some kid was raised entirely by a man or by men. Say Mom died in childbirth, or Suzie had two Dads, it really matters not one whit. This child grew up with someone doing their damned best to give that child all that a Mother would, as well as what a Father would. Say their child actually loved that or those parent[s], and wanted to make a point that they appreciated their "mother" on Mother's Day. Someone taught Suzie what she needed to know, got her through puberty and into adulthood, and that Mother deserves a card on Mothers' day, even if that person is a male. Or was female and is now male. Or vice versa. It's an expression of a child's love for a parent.

How the hell can you have a problem with that? How the hell can you have a problem with a card company filling a real need? Because it wasn't done that way in the stone age? Is anything which doesn't comport with a strict binary understanding of gender, a strict binary Christian / heathen dichotomy, a strict Jingoistic understanding of patriotism wrong in your mind?

Oh, and the Shah of Iran was a despot. The fact that what came afterwards was worse doesn't negate the fact that he was a despot, rather it supports the notion. When a popular uprising against and entrenched power succeeds and there is no liberal democratic alternative ready to take over it is usually because the old regime killed then. SAVAK killed everyone who was perceived as a threat, so the only rallying point was around a crazy cleric in exile.

Harryp 1:13 PM  

AVALON was a great misdirect, as was KEROUAC. HORSE HOCKEY is called a Potterism, since it was used by colonel Potter of MASH. All in all, a very satisfying solve. CEMENT SHOES made me smile when it showed up. MNEMONIC, MENCKEN; good stuff. Didn't like oroide but we can't have it all. Thanks Mr. Eylar, keep them coming.

Rico77 1:22 PM  

Here here!

Kimberly 1:29 PM  

ALOOF really irked me. It in no way means shy. And FRATERNALLY was a reach. In fact, for a rare moment, I pretty much agreed with everything Rex said, and that never happens, lol. I even blanked on Akita, and I have a friend who used to raise them.

I can confirm this was a relatively easy Saturday, because I was able to complete it in the morning. Without tears. After drinking two glasses of wine last night. Of course, I could delude myself into believing I’m just getting way better at this, but it’s more likely an easier-than-usual Saturday.

JC66 1:33 PM  

Other than OROIDE and FENSTER, pretty easy for a Saturday.

@Lewis

Great post. You outdid yourself today.

@Nancy and @Pete

Beautiful responses to @Two Ponies.

janet 1:57 PM  

Here squared!

ZenMonkey 2:01 PM  

@Two Ponies is very funny accusing people of having "feelings of glass" while complaining about the ways American majority groups are so persecuted these days.

And yes, everyone says MOD and it's not just a Reddit thing. It goes for any online forum and has been in use for decades. Ditto "admin" for administrator.

I enjoyed the puzzle a lot; there's so much satisfaction in knocking down long answers.

ad astra 2:04 PM  

FRATERNALLY is a common closer for correspondence from labor union leadership to membership, or between union officers, and "Brother" is the common term of address.
(Since the 1970s/80s, it's "Brothers and Sisters," but "Fraternally" is still used.)

janet 2:06 PM  

Nah, this is a grest post

PitterPat 2:17 PM  

First time commenting but read often! Liked the puzzle. How can you not love cement shoes! And city and other proper names tough but not impossible.

Joe Bleaux 2:17 PM  

Re taking the bait, I resisted in anticipation of Z doing it for me, and while he didn't disappoint, he asked only about the list. I was hoping he'd ask specifically about all the "fun things" the libruls robbed us of with their PC. I can't think of any that I miss.

Mohair Sam 2:54 PM  

@Joe Bleaux - I ain't siding with @Two ponies today. But we are getting robbed of free speech by PC. And that is a huge matter.

Malsdemare 2:55 PM  

@Nancy and Pete. Thanks for saying what I was thinking. I won't address this to @Two Ponies because I don't know what special circumstances may be the cause of those feelings. But I will mention that I don't get what's so hard about being tolerant and kind. It takes nothing but a little thought. Come the holidays, I brush up on my French and German for my overseas cousins; that's harder than remembering that Luna celebrates Hanukkah and Elighie celebrates Kwanza. When my kids were young, we skipped Mother and Father's day, instead celebrating Family Day. Everybody cooked and did cleanup and we played board games, showed home movies, swapped gifts and rejoiced in our good fortune.

I liked this puzzle. I didn't know MENCKEN was antisemitic and that knowledge depresses me. I really enjoyed the CEMENTSHOES, tho I tried boots first. Lord knows why I blanked on Akitas, but there you have it; I wanted a misdirect for husky as voice or body shape. I rather enjoyed he interesting line-up of SEALE, LOY, ENSLER,, KEROUAC, can't help thinking there's a joke in there, you know the kind where a radical, a feminist, an actress and a writer walk into a bar . . . I wanted HORSEpuCKEY, no idea why.

Banana Diaquiri 3:13 PM  

from Two Ponies:
For example, Happy Mothers Day is now on the hit list.

just the sort of low-information drivel one hears on Faux News. not only did Crooked Hillary win the counties adding up to 65% of GDP (yes, it's true), but 99.44% of the brains. :) as they say, anyone is welcome to their own opinions, but not their own facts.

Michael 3:18 PM  

I zoomed through this and was thinking it was a remarkably easy Saturday until I got stuck on a few letters in the southeast. I kept going back and forth between core and cold for 48 down and between alone and aloof for 44 down. The problem was that I didn't know oriole and defcon. I should have gotten mod, but even that might not have allowed me to finish the puzzle.

Seems like a Saturday corner in an otherwise Wednesday puzzle.

Davis 3:45 PM  

The Frightened Rabbit link is heartbreaking to see, as their lead singer took his own life the other day after a long struggle with depression.

floatingboy 3:49 PM  

Hey! I got the same time as RP!

Hungry Mother 4:06 PM  

@Teedmn: I’ve seen a couple of American Redstarts here in Naples and was surprised to see that we’re at the northern edge of their territory.

sanfranman59 4:30 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 1/2/2018 post for an explanation of my method. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio & percentage, the higher my solve time was relative to my norm for that day of the week. Your results may vary.

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

Mon 4:15 4:30 0.95 31.6% Easy-Medium
Tue 4:52 5:37 0.87 21.3% Easy-Medium
Wed 10:26 6:07 1.71 98.7% Very Challenging
Thu 7:45 9:51 0.79 20.8% Easy-Medium
Fri 13:05 13:01 1.01 53.2% Medium
Sat 12:35 16:06 0.78 28.8% Easy-Medium

ORIODE (53A)? That was one of a few WTFs for me in this puzzle (or perhaps more descriptively, these 5 mini-puzzles). The others were BELEM (25D) and FENSTER (21D) and since these were juxtaposed, it made for tough sledding in that area. Two other names that were problematic were AVALON (1A) and ENSLER (12D), though they're both up there in the gray matter somewhere.

This felt like a tough but fair Saturday as I solved, but my solve time doesn't sugget that. HORSE HOCKEY elicited a "nice" from me as I filled it in and it was fun to fill in FRATERNALLY off of just the LL.

jae 5:58 PM  

Yup, easy, although I did try manure before HOCKEY.

Alex’s comments at Xwordinfo are worth a read.

@Questinia - Thanks for reminding me of ormolu. I was trying to remember it when I read the clue and then the crosses gave me OROIDE which was a WOE.

A fine Sat. except for the difficultly level, liked it.

K Swayze 6:10 PM  

@Mohair Sam: what??? Are you now in prison for speaking up? Are you being persecuted, hunted down, blacklisted, targeted? No one ever said that racists, homophobes, misogynists, rabid patriots, etc., are not entitled to free speech — but you have to be willing to endure the push-back from people who don’t agree with you.... Show some courage if y’all really mean the nasty things you say....

Cathy 6:39 PM  

@Two Ponies-
My beautiful Mom passed away two years ago. I also do not have kids.

A coworker said happy Mothers Day.

How awesome.! Yes! It was not "My Mothers Day".

Whispers went around, then he came back and apologized. Damn PC. Blew a happy candle out.

Rube 6:57 PM  

They solve on line. When you use pen and paper its impossible to write the answers in in less than about 3.5 minutes even if you know what they are without looking. My suggestion is savor the clues, don't be in such a rush, and you'll find your times are just fine. I used to focus on speed and did Fri and sat in 7 or 8 mins but what fun is that?

Evan Jordan 7:19 PM  

True true

Dick Swart 7:37 PM  

For olde guys :

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I%27m_Dickens,_He%27s_Fenster

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qPa_HJVncRE

... and 'fenestration', not an uncommon word.

Mohair Sam 9:15 PM  

@K Swayze - I hate discussing things with folks like you who assume my argument and attack it. And what nasty thing did I say?

Research the ACLU's stance on PC speech codes in our government funded universities and elsewhere, and read their reasons why - I agree with the ACLU 100%.

Argue with them.

Jeffrey 9:48 PM  

What about Uncle Fenster of the Addams family?

Mark N 10:44 PM  

Instant approval from me for HORSEHOCKEY, one of the best folksy terms there is.

ChE Dave 10:56 PM  

FWIW, this was a record fast Saturday finish for me. Felt like a Monday and that never happens.

Pete 11:17 PM  

@Cathy Words fail me in trying to express my sorrow that you have to spend time with anyone like the coworker you mentioned. How dare he worry that he might have caused you pain, and seek to ameliorate that? The bastard! I mean, no one who has recently lost their mother doesn't relish being reminded of the pain of that in a continuous basis. And all childless women, especially those who have lost children, or are otherwise involuntarily infertal love, just love being wished a happy mother's day. His decision to apologize for being possibly hurtful is just about the meanest thing I have ever heard.
Again, words fail.

Banana Diaquiri 11:31 PM  

@Pete:

he was Uncle Fester. as in oozing blister. kind of like our current Uncle Donald.

Banana Diaquiri 11:32 PM  

oops. Jeffrey.

Anonymous 12:17 AM  

@Mohair Sam - So, I googled [ aclu stance on political correctness ] and this was the first article on ACLU.org

Ironically, the phrase “political correctness,” ostensibly invoked to promote free expression, is often actually the protest of being called to task for the first time for the consequences of previously unchallenged statements and conduct. [ https://www.aclu.org/blog/free-speech/student-speech-and-privacy/racial-justice-and-free-speech-are-not-mutually ]

[mic drop]

Monty Boy 1:06 AM  

Must be easy Saturday since I got through without a Google. Got the four corners sorta easily with the wide, white space looking back. I watched a LOT of MASH when it was first on. Can recite much of the dialogue when watching reruns. So HORSEHOCKEY was a good start. Lots of staring, trying odd stuff, but eventually won out, even with the faux gold.

And as a relative novice, I'll have you know I did the week without a Google. Late on all the puzzles and did some binge solving, but they all came together. Don't ask about next week. Probably back to novice.

Oh, and for the Syndies, this is the approximate end of the subscriber section.

Mohair Sam 8:34 AM  

@Anonymous - I recommended you google the ACLU on "PC speech codes". You did, and found they are against all speech codes at all Universities. You also found out why. So you googled their feelings on PC only.

And I agree with the ACLU (and maybe you) on their definition of P.C.

And I agree with the ACLU (and maybe not you) that the answer to those who verbally abuse others is more free speech, not less.

Read the ACLU on why they fight speech codes. But I suspect you did - and like so many others you reshape the argument and declare yourself the winner.

(I don't do that childish "mic drop" thing)

Mohair Sam 9:34 AM  

"I believe that there is no place for speech codes of any kind on a college campus," - Anthony Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU.

Mr. Romero grew up as a gay Puerto Rican in The Bronx. He knows more than a little about hate speech - and yet he deplores "speech codes" on campus. Why? "Restricting that speech doesn’t make the hate go away … You drive that hate and bigotry underground and it becomes harder and harder to control."

Wordwizzard 11:04 AM  

One of my siblings was in a magic act where she was sawed in half. She wasn’t totally a sibling exactly, since she was my half-sister.

Cathy 12:30 AM  

@Pete
Hi. Im sorry. I didn’t elaborate my point.
My coworker was a kind older gentleman who knew my circumstances.
The PC crowd whom I hardly know, guilted him to come back to me and apologize.

Had I shown any kind of anguish, maybe it would have been appropiate.

Why was it their business anyways?

Ray Yuen 2:13 PM  

As mentioned earlier, if you have get union correspondence, it's always signed with the sexist term "fraternally." Brothers and Sisters is common in opening addresses but in most talk, it's still just "brothers."

Burma Shave 10:06 AM  

CHASTE ALL AROUND

EAU, I hang AROUND LOWLIFES and CLODS as well,
and I GOT me a HOEDOWN at the NO-TELL MOTEL.

--- AVALON KEROUAC

spacecraft 10:59 AM  

Took two years of German, so FENSTER was a gimme, and the key to the center. That and DOD Myrna LOY got me going. As to the Natick, I swallowed hard, banked on the OR- prefix meaning gold, and wrote in O. Whew! Two writeovers: HEad instead of HELM, and initiALN before CAPITALN--and I don't like that crap either way!

As I LOOKBACKON it, I enjoyed the solve, except for 49-across. Colonel Potter to the rescue with HORSEHOCKEY! The 30 days thing isn't really a MNEMONIC per se, IMO. Those usually focus on acronyms (Every Good Boy Does Fine, etc.) The month thing is just a poem, because the -ember guys happen to rhyme--and also to have but 30. That's my take on it, HOMES.

Loved the NOTELL MOTEL. Get caught there with the capo's daughter and you'll be wearing CEMENTSHOES. "Oh, the cement's just there for the weight, dear..." On ALOOF, I think that's valid. The shy person APPEARS aloof because [s]he's not mixing. See how easily we misunderstand each other?

This might've been eagle material if not for that initial thingie. Birdie will have to do.

Looks like it's DJ's world, and the rest of the Open field are just living in it.

rondo 11:24 AM  

This one pretty much filled itself in until I caught a bit of a common COld but DEFCON cured that, leaving only the M_D/_ROIDE cross to suss. Light bulb on, ORO=gold, and fini.


There are probably plenty of ANNS to recognize, but how about a rip back in time for yeah baby Myrna LOY? Wonder where Asta is.


Nice set of 5 puzzles to work AROUND.

thefogman 1:51 PM  

OUCH! DNF again. The SE corner killed me. I was torn, but went with ALOne instead of ALOOF. Bad choice. DEFCON was out of my wheelhouse and so was OROIDE. Wasn't it a little bit mean to cross those two with MOD? I get it now, but I went with MED figuring it might be net lingo for Master Editor. NAH! Wrong again. Everything else was fine though. ADIOS!

thefogman 1:54 PM  

PS - I too had COld instead of CORE like others did. Not fair...

Dand 1:58 PM  

I agree with several others commenting here, that the southeast corner contained a Natick. MOD/OROIDE Am I the only one who feels that it is the puzzle editor's job to ferret out these problems before they get published? This happens a lot in the later week puzzles!

thefogman 2:54 PM  

@Dand - I agree. It's okay to be TOUGH, but you have to give the solvers a fair chance to complete. In this case I feel the SE corner was primarily designed to deceive and defeat. Consequently, Mr. Shortz fell short of his task this time. Let's hope he learned something when he LOOKSBACKON this one.

leftcoastTAM 3:02 PM  

Found this puzzle surprisingly easy for the most part, especially on a Saturday.

The spacious middle went first, opened up by FRATERNALLY. Then to the NE and SW corners. Slowed down in the SE by OROIDE, ALOOF (wanted ALOne at first) and DEFCON, but sussed them out soon enough.

NW was TOUGH (no surprise). KEROUAC is a great clue/answer, but couldn't hack it. And AVALON, which I only know as full-SIZEd Honda, eluded me. Made a mess of that corner.

Didn't finish there. OUCH!

Diana,LIW 3:14 PM  

I caught everyone else's "cold" and then left two blanks in that corner, oopsie! Not to worry, I would be wrong anyway.

Like 5 puzzles in one - at least I got 4 of them. Does that count?

Sororitally yours

Diana, Lady

leftcoastTAM 4:12 PM  

Oops...Toyota AVALON, not Honda. (Not that it matters, but it does to me.)

Satch Carlson 4:32 PM  

Amen.

Waxy in Montreal 4:40 PM  

Like many, Naticked in the SW corner. MOD clue couldn't have been more obscure. I'm way more familiar with MODs and Rockers (you young'uns look it up) or as an abbrev. for module. Also, OROIDE? And common CORE instead of COLD? Spoiled an otherwise-perfect Saturday grid. HORSEHOCKEY!

Satch Carlson 4:48 PM  

Hmm. I rarely watched MASH (which should properly have periods), because (like Alan Alda) I can’t abide laugh tracks. But this blog is the first indication that anybody in the real world has ever uttered the epithet HORSE HOCKEY, which sounds like polo on ice. I do remember HORSE PUCKEY, of course, but where I grew up, we skipped the euphemisms and went directly to—well, you know.

Ah, that benevolent dictator, Mr. Pahlavi, and his little SAVAK rascals! Good times, good times on the Peacock Throne, thanks to Allen Dulles and our compulsion to control the universe.

Ancient history now (to most)—but we will reap the consequences for at least another 50 years or so. Unless Kim Jong Un loads on us with—oh, wait. We’re pals now. I forgot

Maybe we should skip Persia and start scheming to topple that semi-French despot in the People’s Republic of Canada.

rainforest 5:42 PM  

Whoever said this puzzle was PB1ish is right on. So many sections looked impenetrable, until Bam! I filled in a long entry. Got FALSE BOTTOM off the last -0M, knew FENSTER, and FRATERNALLY off the -LY.

Unlike @Spacey, I kinda like the "letter in the word" clues, and I think the shy/ALOOF thing is accurate. I was flummoxed by 53A until I put in the initial O, and saw ORO-, shrugged my shoulders and that was that.

Now I gotta go back to watching Shinnecock Hills beat up the best golfers in the world.
Good puzzle.

centralscrewtinizer 7:16 PM  

Way hard for me. Filled in the middle first starting with FENSTER and RAKED. Had Bahia before BELEM, which slowed me down a bunch. Then attacked the corners where wolveS and waldeN kicked me AROUND and AROUND despite really wanting AROUND. Span held me up in the NE, SAIDyes messed me in the SE. Finished in the SW when MOTEL showed up above.
It was finally looking up St. ANN'S that got me going in the corners and verified AROUND.
What @Lewis said.

leftcoastTAM 10:28 PM  

@rain forest-- Regarding "shy" in clue for ALOOF. Puzzle made me accept that answer, but it struck me as inaccurate. M-W dictionary makes a pretty clear distinction between them.

Anonymous 12:00 AM  

My first time ever finishing a Saturday puzzle. So, yeah, I concur that it was way easier than normal.

rainforest 2:04 AM  

You could be right @leftcoastTAM, but I remember as a young lad I was shy and people took that for ALOOFness and arrogance. I have since become less shy, but traces of it remain, and I can see why those opinions made sense, at least to others.

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