Patronize off-track betting say / SAT 5-26-18 / 2014 Facebook acquisition / Portrayer of Warren Buffet in HBO's too big to fail / Intimate practice done at distance / War-torn mideast city

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Constructor: Peter Wentz

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (7:02) (honestly thought I was like a minute faster, oh well...)

THEME: none

Word of the Day: LARGO (8D: Slow and dignified) —
adverb & adjective
  1. 1. 
    (especially as a direction) in a slow tempo and dignified in style.
  1. 1. 
    a passage, movement, or composition marked to be performed in this way. (google)
• • •
Thought I was going to go to sleep and solve this one in the morning, but then I couldn't fall asleep right away (I blame my afternoon nap) and then my wife began solving the puzzle Right Next To Me,   which made sleep impossible ("what's she writing? she's writing fast, is it easy? why can't I turn this part of my brain off?"), so I had to just get up and solve the thing. I don't think I was as affected by near-sleep as I am when I try to solve immediately after actual sleep, but some kind of slo-mo effect did seem to be in place. I thought I torched this, but my time was just Pretty Good (by my standards). My fingers apparently weren't moving as quickly as I thought they were. I expect the puzzle to be a CROWD PLEASER, both because it's on the easy side (for Saturday) and because the marquee answers are both bright and familiar. Nothing very obscure in this grid (except Thatcher's husband's name, wth!?). My only gripe is that the SE is just a little too overladen with techy stuff. Two 8-letter apps *and* HTTP in the same little corner = overkill. Spread it oouutt. Oh, and no way the clue for THE CURE should refer to the song "Friday, I'm in Love" when IN LOVE is also in your grid. That is an editing error. THE CURE's catalogue is pretty sizable. No reason for that to happen.

The vast majority of this grid felt quite easy for a Saturday, but there were a few answers in key positions that I struggled to come up with. Slowish start in the NW where I dumbly passed up the chance to write in AZT (4D: Drug marketed as Retrovir), because even though it was my first guess, I thought, "that can't be right ... 'retrovir' sounds more like some kind of Viagra-type pill—Retrovir: Returns Your Manhood!" But the three-letter pill was Of Course AZT, so boo hiss to my instincts. I also opted for LENTO over LARGO, because I will forever get those two confused. But after that initial awkwardness, I settled in. Still, here are the handful of answers that noticeably stopped my flow:

Flow stoppers:
  • 32D: Margaret Thatcher's husband (DENIS) — again, I ask, wth? (who the hell?). That's a French St.'s name and that's really all that that name is. 
  • 41A: Heat (ESTRUS) — as this answer crosses DENIS, you can see how things got a little mucked up there in the middle east of this puzzle. Talk about your vague-cluing. [Heat]! That could go a ton of ways. I had EST- and never once considered ESTRUS. That's not a word I've thoguht of or seen in a long long time. [Heat] has so many literal and slang meanings. Argh. So, yes, the DENIS-in-ESTRUS portion of our puzzle was rough going.
  • 36D: Certain voter ID (DEM) — I am booing this answer so hard. This is an answer where the constructor high-fives himself and the solver just stares at him, eyes half-lidded.
  • 47D: "Never stop improving" sloganeer (LOWES) — I am truly terrible at all slogans. Even the ones I know (from TV advertising) I think, "Oh, right that ... slogan ... what was that advertising again?" So now of course I can hear the LOWES guy's voice sloganeering this slogan, but while solving, nope.
  • 58D: Some shelter volunteers, briefly (RNS) —that danged first letter! I should've just left it and it would've filled itself in easily enough from the cross, eventually, but of course I had to sit there and *think* about the stupid letter. Costly, time-wise. 
But again, mostly this thing was not a struggle at all. Had a ton of trouble parsing "THE LEGO MOVIE" (39A: Blockbuster 2014 animated film), but parsing problems are part of the package. That's just Saturday being Saturday. All in all, a solid production, with a HOT PHONE SEX bonus. How lucky we are to be alive right now.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:12 AM  

Mostly easy for me too except for the NW where OMELET and AMAZONIA were tough, and it took a while to dredge up PATAKI.

Also tIN before LID and DavId before DENIS.

This one was loaded with good stuff, liked it a bunch! Best one of the week IMHO. (I just checked Xwordinfo and Jeff agrees).

@GILL I - I’m in San Diego but I do turn in late. If @Rex posts around 1 am my time, I’m likely to see it (I’m retired so I don’t need to get up early for work). LMS, on the other hand, works and is in WVA so she may be a tad sleep deprived?

Trombone Tom 12:15 AM  

Certainly on the easy side for a Saturday.

I sailed along except for a couple of detours: basEROW-->HOMEROW and levity-->GAIETY.

TONGA was easy; I spent a few evenings in the Fairmont Hotel's Tonga Room (complete with chlorinated rain showers) in my high school days.

Lots of computer-related stuff: DOTGOV, WHATSAPP, SNAPCHAT.

Nice puzzle, but could use more crunch.

Anonymous 12:21 AM  

DENIS went right in (thanks childhood trips to the motherland), though I'd always thought the English version of the name had two N's a la Dennis the Menace (and to be clear, I mean the English one with a dog named Gnasher, a pig named Rasher and a totally politically incorrect hate for Walter the Softy, not the sap taking up space in the Sunday comics.)

Moly Shu 12:33 AM  

Love Cats, Why Can’t I Be You, Just Like Heaven any would be good for THECURE clue, but @Rex you also dropped the ball with your link. Just my two cents, I hate that song. I also struggled with ESTRUS and heat for a long time, finally the ohhhh a dog in heat connection hit me. PLAYTHEPONIES straight in, no crosses. Evidence of a misspent youth I guess. 2.5 Rex’s for me, so yeah, easy.

Larry Gilstrap 12:43 AM  

Nice swath cut through this Saturday effort, as opposed to yesterday's stare fest. It happens! Stacks galore are featured in all their delightful themelessness.

I've always tried to stay hip to new music, so no problem with an alternative band from way back when, THE CURE. KROQ Rock of the Nineties, and other decades.

There's something so fulfilling about a clue that results in the guy's entire name. ED ASNER fits that space nicely.

Oh, that kind of heat! I didn't grow up around a lot of animals, so forgive me. What? There's a human element? Keeping it steamy, I'll have to reread OFL, but Hot was part of the clue for PHONE SEX, not part of the answer. Very low-tech stuff; even a landline would be sufficient, I've heard.

puzzlehoarder 12:45 AM  

This puzzle was right at the threshold of what I expect from a Saturday. It's hard to distinguish between easy and medium. Partly this is due to being forced to solve by phone and being interrupted.

STARBASE was the first to go in as I recognized it while testing out the fill for the NE corner. Typical of phone solving I typed in BAES and didn't notice for awhile. As soon as I corrected that CROWDPLEASER went right in.

In the SW had I EXTOLS before EXALTS. I'm not very familiar with the term HOMEROW but it must be the middle one where your fingers rest when you actually know how to type.

The NW was the last to go in. AZT led right to AMAZONIA. The rest of that section was a mop up.

I have noidea who Margaret Thatcher's husband is. I'm just glad he spells his name with a D.

Anoa Bob 12:56 AM  

Some nice touches in this one. My favorite was CROWD PLEASER, but for some reason spellcheck is not pleased with PLEASER.

For 33D, I had _AIE__ and thought IT'S ODD, I must have made a mistake. No word could possibly have a vowel sequence like that. And then GAIETY emerged. Wrong again.

Balked at the THE THE dupe at 39A/D. 42D "Warmed-over material" seemed to call for a noun but the answer REHASH strikes me as a verb.

For 22A "Dagnabit!" I tried SHEESH. Too many letters. JEEZ was one letter short. Aha! YEESH fits. But nope. NERTS. Doesn't have the pizzazz of the others, right?

Do they have PHONE SEX in UTOPIA?

Graham 1:10 AM  

I’m not in love with the clue for 1A, which asks for a noun (or gerund) and gets the verb POPAPILL. Should be POPpingAPILL to agree with the clue.

sanfranman59 1:34 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 5:19 4:24 1.21 86.6% Challenging
Tue 4:34 5:26 0.84 16.6% Easy
Wed 15:58 6:39 2.40 100.0% Very, Very (almost impossibly) Challenging
Thu 10:33 9:42 1.09 65.4% Medium-Challenging
Fri 16:14 13:05 1.24 75.6% Medium-Challenging
Sat 12:14 15:59 0.77 24.3% Easy-Medium

A quality puzzle, but maybe a bit too easy for Saturday. I often can't say that about a PW puzzle, but this one went down pretty smoothly.

I had a heck of a time getting started in the NW and thought I might be looking at a 20+ minute PW adventure. I kept entering and tearing out guesses. I had very little to show for it until I finally threw AMAZONIA (15A) across off of just the lead A and then TESTS FOR (17A) a short while later off of T__T____. I had very few erasures after getting through that corner.

ESTRUS (41A) was a toughie in the SE and particularly crossing DENIS (32D). I had some trouble remembering WHATS APP (59A). I've not used it, but have heard of it. Any puzzle with both SEX and The Beatles in it is fine by me. It seems like Will's thrown in more raciness lately.

There doesn't seem to be much junk here to me. Two thumbs up.

Stanley Hudson 1:52 AM  

Pretty easy for a Saturday but enjoyable enough. Appreciate it Mr. Wentz.

Rex, thanks for POSTing the Cure video, one of the best LP opening tracks of the 1980s.

Harryp 2:06 AM  

Medium for a Saturday, the Southwest being my biggest holdup since I didn't know THE CURE, but US TOUR got it back on track. Thanks Mr. Wentz

John Hoffman 2:08 AM  

You’re right! CROWDPLEASER for me!

Anonymous 2:52 AM  

Smooth. NE was the toughest. LIONS a gimme, LARGO a little less so. I then saw FOR, which gave me INFO leading to TONGA. Hesitant on the first two letters of IT'S ODD—coz it is! Had hulL before KEEL, but the resulting down's were looking too implausible. I remember DENIS! tho maybe not that spelling.

I imagine SIT PAT is something someone says; me not so much. Half my average time. (About 3.5 times slower than OFL.)

chefwen 3:00 AM  

Spent many hours PLAYING THE PONIES OTB at Del Mar during the off season, that was my first fill. Fun times. That got me off to a quick start. AMAONIA, ESTRUS , WHATS APP and THE LEGO MOVIE slowed me down considerably but a pretty easy Saturday for me. YAY!

Anonymous 3:34 AM  

DENIS Thatcher should be a gimme even if one were not around for the Thatcher years. He’s a big part of the Iron Lady, the biopic that came out in 2010 or so.

Dolgo 4:03 AM  

Speaking of design flaws, it seems a bit egregious to me to have two answers beginning with "The" start off in the same square (i.e., THE LEGO MOVIE and THE CURE). Maybe it's just me. ESTRUS? That's not such a strange word for "heat" if you raise dogs, as I somewhat foolishly tried to do some years ago.

BTW, I love you, Rex, but I keep thinking you need to work on your musical terminology. LARGO is a pretty common tempo marking. It seems a bit strange to see it as your word-of-the-day feature.

'merican in Paris 5:20 AM  

This one we did on paper, so don't know our exact time, but it was probably our fastest Saturday solve ever. Having lived in Europe for so long, DENIS was a gimme. And being big users of WHATS APP, that was a no-brainer.

I'm a bit surprised that @Rex didn't give the constructor a harder time over all the answers containing the definite article: PLAY THE PONIES, THE LEGO MOVIE (cute pun in the clue, with the reference to "blockbuster"), and THE CURE. Also surprised he didn't comment on PHONE SEX. I'm confident the commitariat will have lots to say on that, though!


-- Agree with @Rex that "Heat" is an ODD clue for ESTRUS (41A). Should have been "In heat", no? Funny, though, that YETI is sandwiched between that and HOT. How do female YETI's signal that they are in ESTRUS? Does their fur turn a different color? Or do they just SIT PAT?

-- Wanted "navEl" as the lint collector, before the more boring DRYER.

-- Rather poignant to see END GAME crossing ALEPPO.

-- We always hesitate entering OMELET, as we've gotten so accustomed to OMELetTe.

-- Main hold up was entering LEMONaid, which gave me USA _ _ _ for The Beatles' 1966 event. Have never heard of LEMON TEA.

Could somebody please explain the answer to 40A ("Typing center"), HOMEROW? Given Mrs. 'merican's job, I was hoping the answer was something to do with a blood bank, where they do TESTS FOR whether your blood is type O, A, B, or AB.

All for now. DE NADA.

Hungry Mother 5:24 AM  

Really fast Saturday for me. Up early getting ready for a 5K.

Lewis 6:23 AM  

Ah, the Saturday puzzle effect, where the whole word slows down, and the previous week is put aside. I expected hard labor from Peter, based on experience, and I wasn't disappointed, but I wasn't tearing my hair out, as I sometimes do with his puzzles. There was a smile at the cross of ESTRUS and GAITY, another at HOME ROW transporting me back to when I learned to type on a manual typewriter, and I viscerally remembered the feel of pushing down those keys (and there was a "hmm" at realizing that only the first letter of HOME ROW is actually in it.) And there was a nod of respect toward some good clues, for SOLI, DOT GOV, and especially REEL IN.

Once again, the Saturday puzzle drew me into a place, which, like a spa, cleared away detritis, and left me feeling renewed. Thank you, Peter.

Kodak Jenkins 6:55 AM  

Ah! An enjoyable Saturday morning stroll instead of the usual 70 minutes of gridlock.

Admirable lack of REHASH here except RNS and ENO, both with fresh clues.

I can't keep track of Facebook acquisitions and hopefully now will finally remember the full trio of Eurasia, Oceania and EASTASIA.

I especially enjoyed:
AMAZONIA- just rolls off the tongue, has a Z and is one of nature's last stands (though falling quickly)
POPAPILL- commentary on superfluous medicating? MEDICATE fits there, by the way
DENADA- fresh clue dissecting la lengua. Adios means "to God"
CROWDPLEASER- self fulfilling clue helped get things going
PLAYTHEPONIES- never seen this in a grid before
HOMEROW- probably haven't seen this phrase since 1985 in Mrs. Smith's typing class at Grier Junior High
PHONESEX- say no more, nudge nudge

Rod Mann 7:21 AM  

So glad Rexie has finally embraced Trump and all the great things he is diong to MAGA! As Rexie says, we are so lucky to be alive right now!

Anonymous 7:27 AM  

@molly shu hates the song, so Rex screwed up. That about sums it up.

Jamie C 7:30 AM  


JJ 7:31 AM  

@amerinparis5:20. In typing class you were taught to put your fingers over the HOME keys. I assume they consider that middle row the HOME ROW.

Moly Shu 8:05 AM  

@anon7:27 it’s Moly, rhymes with holy. If you’re going to bash me, at least get my name correct. Sheesh. Oh, and while you’re at it, look up the word sarcasm. Have a wonderful day!!

Roast Beef 8:12 AM  

The only good thing about a STARBASE is that you would be many many lightyears away from THECURE.

Z 8:14 AM  

Easy Peasy. A writeover free Saturday with barely a hitch. AMAZONIA to LIONS to SOLI to IN LOVE to END GAME got me going. Then filled NE to SW, VOLE/LOWES/ETHAN made the SE easy, then back to the NW to finish up. Biggest “slowdowns” were remembering PATAKI confirming it must be POP A PILL. I don’t time myself most of the time, but this felt almost Wednesdayish.

Ah, THE CURE. Reminds me of a line from The Big Chill, “You are so... deep.” Bands that feed on all that adolescent angst just are not my cup of tea. All that moping around does sell lots of records, though. Always has, probably always will. No, give me some Elvis (no, not that Elvis) any day. If I’m going to go down you’re going to come with me.

LHS 888 8:28 AM  

The puzzle must have been easy because I finished it without a single Google. That’s a major victory for me on a Saturday. It only took me 9.3 Rex’s! Read a lot of clues without filling in any squares until IVOTED, DENADA and BEDTIMES which allowed me to solve north of the Mason-Dixon. Don’t know why THELEGOMOVIE popped right into my brain, but I was certainly glad it did!. It was the 2 southern corners that gave me the most trouble. I struggled with ESTR_S for the longest time given some mistakes buried in UTOPIA along the way. I knew the word & what it means but not how to spell it. I agree with Rex that INLOVE shouldn’t be an answer and a clue in the same puzzle. I resisted the “ITS” in ITSODD for the same reason.

help > doIT > SUIT
tENTh (which I knew had to be wrong, but what else?) > CENTS
lsd (a 3-letter crossword drug so worth a try) > AZT

Thanks for a satisfying solve! I liked it a lot.

QuasiMojo 8:32 AM  

Interesting to see AZT and THE CURE in the same grid. It didn't turn out to be but thirty years ago it at least gave some people hope.

I struggled with this one a bit since I fell for the "shelter" misdirect and hate abbreviations such as U.S. TOUR. Once upon a time the NYT editor would have indicated an abbreviation. REEL IN caught me up too in some kelpy fish line because I was thinking of train stations and had inked in PICK UP. (And BIC for the "ink" clue.)

Perhaps I'm feeling grumpy today because the clue for PATAKI seemed too deliberately vague. He was Governor of New York for three terms. He also ran for President. "Politico" makes him sound like a talking head pundit or something. My first thought was George Will. lol.

Throwing in DE RIEN didn't help either. It also means "of nothing." Or perhaps "from nothing" as in "I know from nothing about doing crossword puzzles." That's how I felt today, although I didn't manage to fill in all the answers. Eventually. Sans GAIETY.

Gretchen 8:55 AM  

My favorite kind of puzzle :First time through the clues I don't know anything and think i will finally be stumped, but then as bits and pieces start to appear, bam! It's easily finished.

Carola 9:03 AM  

Lovely puzzle, with STARBASE, PLAY THE PONIES, HOME ROW, PHONE SEX + IN LOVE, heck, EVEN VOLE and NOTCH. This one went fast for me: I started with AZT, confirmed by a mental pencilling in of braZilian and then a quick OMELET-driven correction to AMAZONIA. Criss-crossed from there to the finish.
The column POST-DRYER SUIT: after an unfortunate shrinkage incident, my husband was forbidden to "help" do my laundry.

Anonymous 9:13 AM  

Hmmmm... better check my biorhythm chart... seem to be the only one who stumbled and struggled

Exubesq 9:13 AM  

Rex, that last line of your post just reignited the Hamilton soundtrack in my head. I’m pretty ok with that.

Birchbark 9:20 AM  

I might have known dOPe PILL was wrong, but didn't know the proper-noun crosses until hindsight. So coming into the ENDGAME of May, the score is DNF - 2, AMEN HOTEP - 0.

Now and then, the small talk amongst introverts turns to how ants can lift things hundreds of times their weight. But I say, what of the VOLE? Its tentacled snout throws up mounds upon mounds of dirt many times its size in the middle of the yard. Yet in the popular imagination, moles typically get the credit. Mole hills are nothing compared to VOLE hills. If I wore a pin on Election Day, it would say I VOTED for VOLES.

Teedmn 9:23 AM  

GAyiTY, yes, I did enter that in at 33D before I decided to PLAY THE PONIES. I had a DOOKish time of trying to parse 61A REEL IN. REE_I_ had me trying to RE-ExIt at the end of the line. Even after REEL IN took its TOLL, I had to look at the clue sideways to get the fishing tie-in. Nice one!

Anyone else wonder if Jennifer LOpEz was telling us to never stop improving? And I keep my ink in a biC pen, not a SAC, har.

This was a nice Saturday, easy as @Rex says, but it gave me some NERTS moments when I was trying to get a foothold. POST and LIONS got me into the NW. Thanks, Peter Wentz.

Nancy 9:25 AM  

Too much computer stuff; too much pop culture stuff. Too many facts; not enough wordplay. The NW was especially hard for me. Think the clue for POP A PILL is much too optimistic. Had HULL before KEEL and HUNTS FOR before TESTS FOR. HOME ROW was not a term used when I took typing back in the day. PATAKI is a NY politician, but absolutely forgettable and I never thought of him. The best clue/answer was PHONE SEX. But not much GAIETY in this puzzle. I finished it, but mostly found it a slog.

Michael Collins 9:26 AM  

29D lint collecter should have been INNIE not DRYER.

Hungry Mother 9:37 AM  

Had “innie” for a lint collector for a while. Also learned HOMEROW in 8th grade and it has served me well: typing papers in scholl and college, getting out of KP and guard duty in the Army, and helping me with computer programming and documentation. Also, makes this comment go faster.

Malsdemare 9:37 AM  

What @Gretchen said. That is all.

Mohair Sam 9:51 AM  

This erstwhile easy puzzle (and a fine puzz it was) played medium/challenging for us. I'm going with Rex's oft-used excuse that I was too tired this morning. We love our new apartment, but after three months we finally got to meet our bedroom air conditioner last night. I'm an Air Force vet who slept through heavy B-52's taking off a few hundred yards away, they were sneak thieves compared to the roar of our Kenmore.

Anyhow. We flew through this thing until we hit the wall in the NW. AZT and AMAZONIA seemed logical (although we feared something to do with BraZil) and LIONS a gimme but, having forgotten LARGO and PATAKI (sleep haze victims), we were frozen out of that area forever. Lady M finally guessed KEEL (nice misdirect) and PATAKI was remembered and the rest filled quickly.

"The Truth About Cats and Dogs" is a favorite little movie here. It's a nice Janeane Garafolo flick with nifty doggies and a terrific moral. Perfect to share with your eight-year-old right? Nope. I'm guessing the movie makers realized they were in for the dreaded "G" rating and threw in a gratuitous PHONE SEX scene. Got their PG-13, keep the kids at home. Sheeze.

Very nice Saturday puzzle Mr. Wentz - Easy for those who slept.

Anonymous 9:55 AM  

FYI re: home row that might be news to one-finger typers: most keyboards have a raised dot or line on the F and J keys, to make sure the left & right index fingers feel right at home.
Mother taught us all touch typing at a young age; I had classmates in college who still needed their mommy to type papers for them (and do their laundry, and dishes, and cooking...bad mommies).

Jon in Saint Paul, MN 9:56 AM  

Only disagree with Rex on Denis - thought that was a pretty easy answer. Maybe from the film with Meryl Streep? I don't know, I got it with one or two crosses. Also, Denis is more than a French street. Main reference for me is the filmmaker Claire Denis, who did Chocolat (the first, good one) and Beau Travail - which is one of my favorite movies.

David 10:05 AM  

Way too easy for Saturday morning except for the massive decade swings. Back when Pataki was a politico and Off Track Betting was a thing, and people pasted others, causing them to Pop a Pill, there was no Snapchat or WhatsApp or even an HTTP.

Very weird puzzle.

TubaDon 10:06 AM  

Plunked down BRAZILIA at 15A. Big mistake. Filled out the other three corners ok, guessing DENIS from the D because we named a son similarly, and LEGO blocked out my brief flirtation with INNIE lint. Woke up from a nap and with the help of Irish Breakfast Tea, ye olde solver finally erases BRAZIL and PASTES in AMAZON.

I missed something 10:08 AM  

Anyone else find it amusing that Jon in SAINT Paul referred to DENIS as a French street? Sorta reminds me of a recent puzzle. Jon, just in case, DENIS is the patron Saint of France. But thanks for the chuckle.

Anonymous 10:20 AM  

@Jon - st. for saint, not street this time. patron of France.

Dr. Gary Johnson, Ph.D 10:20 AM  

Well I just screamed through this puzzle. I couldn't be stopped! I had the grid completely filled in under fifteen seconds, which is a new personal best.

Then, I come here and find that all my answers were wrong. Shit.

Anonymous 10:32 AM  


BobL 10:48 AM  

"Sit pat" also inLA Times today

jberg 10:54 AM  

I wanted a DOPA pill -- isn't that the drug from 1984? - so it was really hard to get PATAKI. Also EXtolS, do IT yourself, and winner before I VOTED. But the toughest part, never having see "Too Big To Fail," was having EDA---- aand wondering if Waren Buffett had been played by a woman. (That kind of thing happens on stage all the time, so why not in a movie?)

Well, no, the toughest thing was OMELET station -- I just wasn't thinking Sunday brunch there.

Minor quibble: a BASE, star or otherwise, is the center -- an outpost, as in the clue, is on the periphery. But goodd enough for crosswords.

DENIS Thatcher is pretty well known (meaning, "known to me!") But 'saint known for carrying his severed head around' would certainly be a better clue.

Buck Dharmody 10:59 AM  

Oh FFS, Elvis Costello was The Godfather of 80s mope rock!

mmorgan 11:03 AM  

On the easy side for a Saturday but lots of very nice stuff. DENIS was a gimme. I expected ESTRUS to be wrong but it wasn't -- and I didn't understand it or recall its meaning until about ten minutes later (when I got here).

GHarris 11:24 AM  

Not at all easy for me. Had no idea Amazonia was a place, instead had Columbia. Couldn’t see pop a pill. Got all of the long stuff, both across and down, so yea, but SW really did me in. Didn’t help that I had USA so tour didn’t fit. Also had lemonade and exerts and help yourself, God help me.

old timer 11:37 AM  

Two days in a row when I solved with no lookups and few hangups. Had "mole" before VOLE and "lento" before LARGO. And "Winner" before WHO WON". Wanted "Samoa" but knew that place was not the capital of either Samoa. Had to wait for the crosses to fall to get TONGA. (BTW was there no royalty from TONGA at the royal wedding? -- used to be the delegation from TONGA was a feature of all British royal occasions).

DENIS was an answer I knew would come to my mind eventually, and it did. Fine answer, too, and it seems silly to criticize it. PATAKI however made me retch, the same way @Rex retches at a certain other Republican whom I shall not name. I always hated PATAKI though he was never my governor or senator.

@LMS seems to be MIA today. I hope she's having a nice holiday weekend.

Anonymous 12:04 PM  

Buck Dharmony
You are so right. Costello is a twat. Has been for going on 4 decades.
My college roomate worshipped him. He was a twat too. NAVY ROTC boy who flunked calc so any times he nearly lost his scholarship.
No suprise to me that US naval surface ships keep running into things.

I always thougnt the phrase was stand pat.

JC66 12:22 PM  

@Anon 12:04

Depends if you're tired or not.

Adam Frank 12:28 PM  

Easy for me except for the NW. I had AMAZONIA and TESTS FOR and ITS ODD, but couldn't get KEEL (I thought "BASS" would have been a great answer here), ALT, or POP A (had the PILL part). George PATAKI - I know he was briefly a candidate in 2016, but talk about obscure Georges - I went through Bush (both of them), WIll, Conway, and even though I live in New York never even thought of PATAKI. Had BASHES for PASTES for a while, which also slowed me down. As @Rex said, relatively easy and pretty fun - by far the best puzzle of the last 4 days, IMO.

Love the Hamilton reference!

Masked and Anonymous 12:43 PM  

Nice, gentle SatPuz. Sorta like the yellow lab of SatPuzs. Good puppy.

fave non-theme entries: ITSODD. EVEN. CROWDPLEASER. Has anyone ever done a theme where U just stick "THE" into the middle of well-known phrases? Example: CROWDTHEPLEASER = {Get too much in the face of Mr. Happy Face??}. Probably been done about a 100 times, but if not, … "M&A dibs!!"

SNAPTHECHAT = {Get pics of the Russia meeting??}.
BEDTHETIMES = {Have a stormy encounter with the Big Apple puz editor??}.
LEGOTHEMOVIE = {"Gimme that PP tape!" ??}. Oh, man … seed entry.


staff weeject pick: DEM. Mainly becuz of its killer-sneaky clue, {Certain voter ID}. Only 9 weejects to choose from today, btw. Also admired the LID clue, {Aid in keeping food fresh}. Sucked m&e right into splatzin ICE in, there; with a major audible slurp -- lost precious nanoseconds.

Thanx, Mr. Wentz. themelessthUmbsUp.

Masked & Anonymo3Us


Roo Monster 1:05 PM  

Hey All !
Didn't find it quite as easy as a bunch of y'all, but as SatPuzs go, it wasn't the toughest ever. That being said, screw the NW! Man, had to cheat there to finally finish. Did have TONGA and SOLI, and had thought of POPAPILL, but didn't write it in, mainly because had chaT where POST is. Also thought of brAsilIA first for AMAZONIA. Broke down and hit Reveal Word, not once, but twice, for AZT and ALT. Hate being outsmarted by threes! Was able to wrestle that area down after that, even with the weird OMELET clue, and whoever the heck George PATAKI is. (I'm sure I should know...)

Had PLAYTHEhOrsES messing up that section for a bit. Really wanted GAIETY, but had an S there. Did figure that one out on my own. :-)

PHONE SEX got a chuckle. Computer crossing, HTTP/WHATSAPP/SNAPCHAT. DE NADA was first answer in. PATAKI last.



Anonymous 1:15 PM  

Just an average Saturday, with a few exceptions. ESTRUS was new and interesting. WHATSAPP was fresh. BEDTIME was kknda interesting from its cluing. OMELET STATION is something I’ve waited in line for occasionally, but you vould also get eggs done other ways, too. YETI is good only because UTOPIA and both are located in the Himalayas.

Kimberly 2:25 PM  

THE Cure THE Lego Movie Play THE Ponies. Lots of THEs crammed together was kinda weird, but other than that I found it...fine. Not exciting, not infuriating.

Anonymous 3:04 PM  

So much info about your sleep patterns Rex..seems odd.

Jamie C 3:32 PM  

As in "My teacher assigned the Odyssey. HOMER,OW!" Or "I was playing left field when I went to catch a long fly ball but I ran into the wall. HOMER, OW.!"

Anonymous 5:30 PM  

One does say "in heat" but also "in ESTRUS". So, heat/ESTRUS, no problem.

GAIETY-interesting that the adjective got hijacked but not the noun. Go figure.

SITPAT ok for xword but usually it's stand pat and sit tight.

REHASH is a noun, too.

Anonymous 6:22 PM  

@ Americans... "Agree with @Rex that "Heat" is an ODD clue for ESTRUS (41A). Should have been "In heat", no?" No.

Anonymous 6:41 PM  

Agree wholeheartedly with first and third observations. Almost posted the same.
But youve lost me on sit pat. You claim its usually stand pat; I cant even find a reasoanble citation of that. But even if i could, why would sometning thats at best unusal, per your descriltion, be ok?

Michael 6:50 PM  

I found this easy for a Saturday except for the northeast. I had blue pill crossing BushII for too long. What was most vexing was taking so long to get Amazonia. I spent a year in the Peruvian Amazon in the 1980s.

Z 7:51 PM  

@Buck Dharmody - FFS, if you don’t know what you’re talking about it’s usually better to remain silent than say things that expose your ignorance. Still, I’m pretty sure Elvis wrote this one for you and those like you. What is the use of looking if you don’t know what they mean? BTW - you spelt your name wrong when you were busy agreeing with yourself. Cute.

Anonymous 8:06 PM  

Hey z,
I mistyped his name. Another one of your wildly wrong conclusions.
You really are a jerk.
The guy who calls bs on your stupidly incorrect 2016 election claims

And yeah. Elvis is a twat.
Spelt? Spelt? Youre from Michigan, not the Cotswalds. Its spelled, you pretentious blowhard.

Anonymous 8:45 PM  

Adolescent angst isnt your cup of tea and you link to Mystery Dance?!!!?
FFS, thats the funniest thing youve ever written. Congrats. Youve outdoucned yourself. No mean feat.

Anonymous 9:45 PM  

Forget SITPAT. The real thing is "stand pat", as in Pat Paulsen's campaign slogan "We Cannot Stand Pat".

kitshef 7:34 PM  

Dip! Was that ever easy. A Tuesday-level puzzle. Working puzzles in odd order due to long weekend travel, but I think this may well have taken me less time than Monday 5/28 puzzle.

Burma Shave 9:17 AM  




spacecraft 11:13 AM  

Easy but for (again!!) the @#$%^& NW. I HATE the NW! Apologies to you Seattleites. I keep saying my favorite movie is "North by Northwest," and this is how the northwest thanks me? A five-letter country, period. NO one is going to know that unpronounceable capital city unless they've been there. OMRLET station? Oh yeah, I do go to brunch buffets; I do wait at those. But give me ______station and ask me to come up with OMELET?? Not happening. It was just forever unsnarling that damnable corner. For the second day in a row, a single corner takes the puzzle from easy to challenging.

The rest of it was Silk-y smooth, once I fixed LETSgo and LEMONade. Agree about the INLOVE glitch; WS fell asleep there. And no one SITs PAT. "How many cards?" "I'll SITPAT." No. Me? I'm standing pat. Or more likely, "I'll play these."

WHOWON DOD? Well, I'll tell ya: My loving wife of 45 years is one of the best RNS ever, so her turn has come. Don the sash, honey! And for that reason alone, I have to score this an eagle.

thefogman 2:08 PM  

DNF. I got nailed in the NW corner by the four adjacent squares that form KALE (or LAKE) between PATAKI and OMELET. I had everything else but PATAKI just didn't register. KEEL was a bit too cleverly clued. Sure it's a ship's bottom but it surely is not the sea's bottom. I get that they float in the sea but that's still a bit of a stretch. I had LentO before LARGO and that held me up a while. Then the rest of the NW fell into place - except for the above noted stumpers. All in all it was a good solid puzzle in spite of my minor belly-aching. If I was a New Yorker this one would have been a snap. Instead it was: "Oh snap!".

thefogman 2:23 PM  

ITSODD isn't it?

Drop the L on THELEGOMOVIE and you get this...


leftcoastTAM 3:27 PM  

At the end of the week, the NW corner too often is my coffin corner. Like today.

Knew of PATAKI but dug him up from memory only after big cheat to get POPAPILL. INFO (too generic), LARGO (wanted LentO), and the crossing TONGA were also of little help.

Liked the triple stack in the middle, especially PLAYSTHEPONIES and, in the NE and SW, BEDTIMES and PHONESEX.

Nice work by PW and WS.

Diana,LIW 4:14 PM  

If I told you about the dumb mistakes I made in the SW, you would think I needed to POPAPILL to get my brain going. "hurt" yourself. Oh come on. tenth instead of CENTS - and I KNEW that had to be wrong for obvious reasons. I was ready to argue with the puzzle right there.

But I'm proud of the rest, 'cause at first, I thought I wouldn't get a toe into this lovely pool. So I'm happy. (and I didn't even have to POPAPILL) (or mommapill or babypill)

At least I can say I'll "never stop improving." Watching HGTV at the gym paid off. If only they'd ask about the Property Brothers.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

PS - Heard it's going to be 100 degrees plus in NYC, Philadelphia, and Chicago. Hope @Rondo doesn't melt.

thefogman 6:48 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 6:52 PM  

DNF because of one square. Didn't think enough to get "SOLI," would never have gotten "LARGO." Tried LARGE/SELI instead.

But I have only successfully completed one Sat. puzzle ever, so I don't feel too bad about my three+ hours of (off-and-on) effort.

rainforest 6:57 PM  

Embarrassingly late, but I was doing stuff earlier, so there.

Hard to assess the difficulty today: the NW took as much time as the rest of the puzzle. The central section just laid down for me, leading into the super-easy SE. Jumped up to the NE which was almost as easy, and with the centre done, I had little trouble in the SW. Bragging over.

I flat-out struggled in the NW. Amazonia is an actual part of South America? Who is George Pataki? Only a guess of AZT enabled me to get that section. But eventually I finished, POPped A PILL, and there you go.

Good puzzle overall, though.

thefogman 7:03 PM  

@D,LIW: Speaking of POPAPILL, I started taking gingko biloba to help my memory and everything was going fine, until I forgot where I put the bottle... :-)

Diana,LIW 8:59 PM  

@Spacey - Awww...cheers to you and your bride!

Lady Di

[u] 3:53 AM  

this puzzle is 2EZ for Saturday. Had BASTES for PASTES, so that slowed me down for some time. Saw this while following Thailand rescue:
THAI CAVE RESCUE: This is really difficult, we need highly skilled people, the right tools, and a proper plan.
BREXIT: Oh, just get out, it’ll be fine.

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