Literally foundation / SAT 6-23-18 / Depart unceremoniously in slang / 1991 self-titled debut album / Song that debuted on Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day in 1880 / Naira spender

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Constructor: Byron Walden

Relative difficulty: Medium (9:09) (felt easy, but clock says otherwise)



THEME: none

Word of the Day: Lake EYRE (10D: Lake ___, Australia's lowest point) —
Lake Eyre (/ɛər/ AIR), officially known as Kati Thanda–Lake Eyre, contains the lowest natural point in Australia, at approximately 15 m (49 ft) below sea level (AHD), and, on the rare occasions that it fills, is the largest lake in Australia covering 9,500 km2 (3,668 sq mi). The shallow endorheic lake is the depocentre of the vast Lake Eyre basin and is found in Northern South Australia, some 700 km (435 mi) north of Adelaide.
When the lake is full, it has the same salinity level as the sea, but as the lake dries up and the water evaporates, salinity increases.
The lake was named in honour of Edward John Eyre, who was the first European to see it, in 1840. The lake's official name was changed in December 2012 to combine the name "Lake Eyre" with the indigenous name, Kati Thanda. The native title over the lake and surrounding region is held by the Arabana people. (wikipedia)
• • •

I feel like we get a Byron puzzle about once every season, and it is reliably good-to-great. His is a name that puts me at ease, not because I know the puzzle will be easy (the opposite!) but because I know the puzzle will be ambitious *and* carefully constructed. Very underrated constructor. Look at all that white space, and yet hardly any weak fill. It's Berry-esque, but actually somewhat more contemporary and playful than most Patrick Berry puzzles. I really enjoyed this, despite starting out really annoyed—not at the puzzle, but at myself for forgetting to stay off Twitter until I've finished solving. Jackasses who apparently have zero crossword-solving friends will occasionally just post the grid in various states of completion because they want to talk about it so bad, and so I know better than to look at my "crossword" feed ... until tonight, when I needed to DM someone real quick about a logistical thingie and bam, I saw a partially filled grid that someone had posted. I was like "what's this?!" and then instantly was like "Ahhhh, my eyes! No!!!!!" Luckily, the only thing that stuck with me was RADICAL FEMINIST, which, honestly, I probably would've picked up pretty quickly anyway (51A: Fierce opponent of patriarchy). My solving time suggests that I hardly got any advantage. Most of what was in the grid just didn't register. But it sucked to have that answer spoiled for me, because it's a great answer, and clue, and I would've loved to have come across it naturally and had the "whoa, cool" experience that I deserved.


I was really impressed by the cluing in this one. I mean, I was impressed by an ELOPE clue (19A: Depart unceremoniously?), and that ... is a rarity. Everyone eventually tries to get cute with their ELOPE clues. It's probably the most "?"'-clued of all answers of all time. And often the clues make me groan, but this one was low-key clever and subtle and nice. I also really liked that the clue then got doubled up and reused, w/o the question mark, at 21A: Depart unceremoniously, in slang (BAIL).  Another great question mark clue today was 16D: Childlike personality? (CELEBRITY CHEF). I had CELEBRITY and then no idea what could follow. Only when I was done did I realize, "Oh, *Julia* Child! Clever." I've seen STREEP clued as [Child actress] before, which is nice. Julia Child just has a great name for crossword misdirection. In non-question mark clues, I think I actually laughed, or at least internally chuckled, when I finally got AFFAIRS at 32D: Business, either personal or otherwise. It seemed like such a dull clue at first, but then AFFAIRS gave "Business" a sexual implication that I was not expecting. At least that's how I read the "personal" part of the clue.


Hardest part of the puzzle for me was ANA (45A: Japanese carrier) and FAQS (42A: They're answered once and for all) crossing AL QAEDA (34D: Literally, "the foundation"). I actually "knew* ANA from crosswords of old, but then I second-guessed it because I couldn't get the whole area to work. Real problem was the "Q". I was looking at AL--EDA at the only thing I could imagine was ALAMEDA. Which is a city in California, near Oakland. Seemed awfully obscure. Because it was wrong. That "Q"! Clue on FAQS is perfect, but also super hard. Once I let ANA be ANA, I saw AL QAEDA, and moved on to the SE, where I finished up. Did not remember BEEBE at all, but the crosses were all fair (47A: "A Room With a View" clergyman). My one mistake down south came at 40D: Nurse (SUCKLE), where I had SUC- and wrote in SUCCOR. All in all, a lovely, vibrant puzzle.
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

    P.S. I don't think I'd put AL QAEDA in a grid, myself. Likely to bum a lot of people out. See also NAZI.

    P.P.S. if you ever see the clue [Literally, "mall"], *then* the answer is ALAMEDA

    [Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

    114 comments:

    Brian 12:10 AM  

    Easy Saturday

    Harryp 12:14 AM  

    A very nicely constructed puzzle. More Challenging for me than Medium, but very much appreciated . ROPES IN for Recruits is unexpected, as are so many of the answers herein. 6D IM A was first in, then GO APE and NCR. From there it was hunt and peck and Ahs and Ahas. THX Mr. Walden.

    Z 12:14 AM  

    Finished at that Q. Otherwise, pretty much what Rex said. I even had ALamEDA.

    Robin 12:21 AM  

    It'd call it easy, as I finished in 2/3 of my average Saturday time.

    The long ones were nice, although i was surprised how easily they came.

    FAQS ands ALQAEDA were gimmes, I thought. Had no ida about ANA.

    Ended up getting the bottom half this before the top, finishing in the NW. Saw that 7-letter answer for first name in the Gospels and wanted to enter MATTHEW.

    jae 12:22 AM  

    Mostly easy, but the SW offered some resistance...tanIC to borIC to fomIC (not sure there is such a thing) to FOLIC...

    Solid, reasonably smooth, fun, liked it.

    puzzlehoarder 12:36 AM  

    Easy-medium for me. I started with ANTED supported by PONTIUS. Unfortunately I never caught that past tense mistake and wound up with a dnf. I did this on paper and only found the mistake when going over the xwordinfo clue lists.

    Why did SOUD look right to me? I had a hunch and sure enough "sud" is French for south. Not hard to find as I annotated it in my Webster's last time it showed up. I must brush up on my French.

    Fucking foreign entries.

    Theres a start, and yes pardon my French.

    Anonymous 1:00 AM  

    Solved easily enough, though I had to come here to figure out how CELEBRITY CHEF had any relation with its clue. Best guess had been that some celebrity chef's (or at least Gordon Ramsey) do have childlike behavior, much to the betterment of their bank accounts.

    Sue T. 1:29 AM  

    As someone who lives in Alameda, I can attest to the fact that my town has been an answer in the NYT puzzle at least a couple of times previously. For the record, Alameda means "a street lined with trees." It used to be fairly well known as the site of a large naval base, but that shut down in the 90s, well before I got here.

    I thought this was a great puzzle -- it took me about 20 minutes which is about my average for a Saturday. When I finished it, I thought "I'll bet even Rex will like this one!" and was glad I was right :)

    i skip M-W 2:00 AM  

    Never heard of ana, but FAQ kept me from putting in alameda instead of AlQaeda. (Ii thought first as Rex did, but not sure evil has to be left out of x-words.

    Btw, having just gone through the nail-biting watching of local primary-election returns dragging in over ten days, , I think of Alameda as the California County that includes Berkeley, Oakland, etc. And I think the actual Spanish meaning is more like tree-lined avenue, or even park.(Across the Bay, in Silicon Valley there's an important road called Alameda de los Pulgas, or Avenue of the Fleas.)

    Good puzzle, but is "ate over " really a thing? "Stayed for supper", yes.

    Anonymous 2:14 AM  

    Classic Maleska fill: ARETE

    Anonymous 2:17 AM  

    To Anonymous:
    The 16 DOWN reference is to Julia Child, famous TV chef of the 70s.

    Larry Gilstrap 2:26 AM  

    Who underrates constructors? Certainly not me, and this thing was tough enough and chock full of great fill, or at least stuff that was clued interestingly. Oh yeah, and all that white space forces the solver to really buckle down and look for those gimme crosses. Few and far between, but just enough to allow a foothold.

    Not a bad idea to reread the FAQS on the Rex Blog from time to time. He lays it out, pretty much. And crossing Al QAEDA reminds us of a ghost from the past. I'd almost forgotten about that bunch. Had not forgotten that an ALAMEDA was a tree lined thoroughfare.

    When I first started solving, ARETE was a WTF. Welcome back!

    Not sure that being an opponent of patriarchy is that RADICAL. Growing up, I knew who wore the pants in my family, figuratively speaking.

    Does anybody else live with an online shopper? Of course, you RELABEL and return regularly. Remember bricks and mortar?

    Ambrose Bierce wrote the Devil's Dictionary, following in the tradition of Dr. Johnson and other satirical lexicographers. The 25A clue pays homage to his bitter wit. I taught An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, which was way before its time, and I often thought of Rod Serling standing and smoking off to the side of the narrative. Didn't they make a movie based on his life?

    Today, I did some prep work for a small painting project. SPACKLE on my hand, on my clothes, and on the floor.

    Yes. @LMS and I both noted the passing of Koko, which was echoed in GO APE. Years ago at the San Diego Zoo I saw lots of exotic animals, but when I locked eyes with the gorilla, I found it disturbing. He saw me as a privileged version of himself, and seemed very unhappy. Two mammals have 32 teeth and no tail.

    phil phil 3:00 AM  

    I associated affaire with the love relation kind. I put the more self dealings as personal or private affairs. Ho hum 🤔

    Otherwise agreed with Rex on such an enjoyable puzzle. Alameda for me also. But loved the FAQ. Knew ANA but had to get JAL out of my mind as I figured repeating the Japan wouldn’t be kosher.

    Charles Flaster 3:12 AM  

    Agree with everything Rex said and more.
    Loved clue for CELEBRITY CHEF.
    Only writeover was BAIL for Bolt.
    The longs were either directly attainable or easy to suss.
    Thanks BW.

    Loren Muse Smith 3:54 AM  

    Hah. Me, too, for “Alameda” before AL QAEDA.

    I noticed the SUCKLE/LECHE cross and blushed. Don’t know why. Guess I’m just repressed? Methodist? Capricorn? I did manage successfully do do this with both kids, but still. @Aketi – I know you’ll be disappointed in me. If I’m in a room and someone is nursing, even modestly and all covered up and stuff, I still can’t really concentrate on talking ‘cause I’m trying so hard to act all comfortable and evolved and cool. Dumb, but there it is. This event is eclipsing everything else in my brain. Everything else. I’m pretty sure I’m in the minority here, and that’s a good thing ‘cause it’s not right, unfair, that I feel so awkward. Don’t get me wrong – I absolutely think women should be able to do this in public. This is my stupid issue.

    I’m reminded of when I used to be at my husband’s family house on the coast in Maine where there were cute little poems over the commodes to the effect that if you just pee, don’t flush. Flush only for the Big Jobs. This knowledge took up most of the space in my brain the whole week.

    Mother-in-law: I’m making oatmeal this morning. Should I make some for you, too?
    Me: Nah. I think THERE’S UNFLUSHED PEE IN EVERY SINGLE COMMODE HERE RIGHT NOW I’ll just have that last bagel. We still have PEE PEE PEE cream cheese, right?

    Anyway – that’s exactly how my mind is derailed when I’m in the presence of someone nursing, even though I nursed, too. I just never did it publicly ‘cause I was so modest. I feel like I’ve just come clean with a shameful little secret.

    Agree that the clue for CELEBRITY CHEF was brilliant. Last week my son called and said he’d been reading about David Chang. I said, Oh right. I’d love to eat at Momofuku, but apparently you just can’t get in. I think he was impressed that I knew about Chang. And at this point, I’m desperate to let my kids know that I’m a smart person, not just Mom, ya know?

    And I’ve met Eric Ripert. He came over to my table when I was eating at Le Bernardin. Alone. Long story that I’ve shared here before. But it was a such a hoot. Eric was pretty bashful, and he gave me a signed Zagat book as my prize for eating there alone, I guess. That same week I ate, alone, at Per Se and got to tour the kitchen. My prize there for eating alone was a real menu to take with me. But Keller didn’t sign it. He wasn’t there; he was probably eating at Momofuku.

    My daughter and I watched NIGERIANs play Iceland yesterday, and I asked her what language she thought they were speaking on the field with each other and the refs. She guessed English. Duh. She’s an American who never gives this any thought. I was thinking maybe French. But she’s probably right. Then I told her about the time in grad school when I was the one during a field-methods course who figured out that the NIGERIAN LANGUAGE, Efik, was a tone language when I repeated the word for ashes our informant had said using a different tone and asked if it meant something else. When he said, Yes, everyone got quiet and hated me for getting there first. (I think the new word meant celery, but I’m not sure. I can try to get back to you if you need to know.) She didn't seem as impressed as my son was with the Momofuku comment. Pfft.

    ZenMonkey 3:56 AM  

    I was parked in the NE for the longest time -- couldn't get BOYCOTT from "break" and mind insisted a female koala was a cow or a sow. Then suddenly, "D'oh!" (a koala, a female koala) And everything fell into place.

    Lovely Saturday workout.

    @2:00 I had to think of childhood and asking "Mom, can my friend eat over?" I'm sure I haven't used the phrase since before high school (and I'm solidly middle-aged), but it's definitely a thing.

    Nice Pete 4:17 AM  

    9:09? Shit, I did this puzzle wearing handcuffs in a holding cell while I was tripping balls on bath salts and I finished in under 8:00. And all my answers were correct. I am the greatest solver in the galaxy. I'd enter one of your little tournaments but I'd probably just get high and kill people.

    Z 5:25 AM  

    @Nice Pete - Some British dude doing a Saturday puzzle in less than 12 minutes.

    Anonymous 6:18 AM  

    Can anyone explain 23A? Be down with - HAVE. I don’t see the connection

    Lewis 6:20 AM  

    Constructing is an art and a science and this puzzle radiates quality on both fronts. The grid is clean despite having only 66 words; there's your science. The answers come from so many fields and are clued with such care and wit; and there's your art. But really, true quality doesn't need an explanation. You just know it when you experience it, and here it is in this puzzle.

    Wickedly clever cluing on DEPART, CHILDLIKE, and AGENDAS. Then there's that animal mini theme, with the APE, BEE, DUCK, MONKEY, and look at row 4 -- if you let your eyes elide over the ES, you have an ANTELOPE DOE!

    In the pocket, this puzzle. Makes me grateful for having involved myself in this little crossword hobby, so I can experience a work of beauty like this. Thank you, Lord Byron!

    Bubbabythebay 7:06 AM  

    Nice to see this published on St Jean Batiste day, national holiday in Quebec, with O Canada and Montreal and sous tossed in for good measure. In Montreal, ice hockey is just hockey. The other kind is never played in an arena

    Ted 7:10 AM  

    Having read the explanation here, I still do not understand how the cluing for Childlike personality? is supposed to lead to CELEBRITY CHEF.

    Yes, I am aware of Julia Child. Yes, I "get" the connection now... a person who acts like Julia Child would be another Celebrity Chef. But, bruh... that's brutal for the long center section.

    Too many proper nouns made this a slog. Those names are often the things you grab to get started in a corner. ENGEL next to PONTIUS? BEEBE?? Even ALANIS was hard to get a grip on, and I'm a 90s music fiend.

    Not all Microsoft Surface devices have touchpads, btw.

    Susierah 7:31 AM  

    Took me a while to get started, very few answers went in on my first crossing. But what a great puzzle! One where your hard work and patience is rewarded with all those great aha moments. I love it !!!

    Eric 7:46 AM  

    @anonymous 6:18. Have as in have the flu, have a cold.

    Suzie Q 7:51 AM  

    I adore puzzles that give me almost zero to start with and end up completed as I ask myself How did I do that?
    Celebrity chef was great. I'd be Julia's sous chef any day if she were still with us.
    If a koala was actually a bear then sow would be right. Female rabbits are also does.
    @ Nice Pete 4:17, Yes, that flakka is some wicked shit. Who gave it to you? Don from Accounting? Thanks for taking time to drop by.
    Thanks for the Concords video Rex. Excellent fun from those two as usual.

    ghthree 8:05 AM  

    @anonymous. 23A: If are down with a cold, or the flu, you HAVE that disease.
    You expect this sort of misdirection on Saturday.

    pabloinnh 8:06 AM  

    I've been to the Bell Centre a few times and confidently wrote in PROHOCKEYARENA (as has been pointed out, nobody in Montreal says "ice hockey"), so that slowed things down for a while. Thought this was a terrific Saturday puzzle.

    First in was CYNIC, it's one of those Bierce quotes I remember because I fear it might be true.

    Years ago I had this conversation with my Good Old Best Friend Jerry:

    Me-What if the cynics are right?
    Jerry-Boy, that's really cynical.

    Small Town Blogger 8:17 AM  

    Think illness - you have the flu, or are down with the flu

    Carola 8:31 AM  

    Ah, Byron Walden - time to settle in for some pleasurable, as opposed to torturous, brain-racking. Not ready to trust ABBOT and GO APE, I began with a wee sprinkle of crossword stalwarts ANTES and ARETE but didn’t really get a grip until SPACKLE x DECAL. Had to climb all the way up to ....BRITYCHEF before I caught on to that one, and I needed an alphabet run for FA?S. Favorite entry: COUCH. Such a satisfying puzzle.

    Birchbark 8:41 AM  

    The timorous question, in context:

    Shall I part my hair behind? DO I DARE to eat a peach?
    I shall wear flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
    I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

    -- Eliot, "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"

    Last night, I too heard the mermaids singing. They sound like crickets.

    Hartley70 8:51 AM  

    I got it after quite a struggle that started last night, continued at 4am, and finished this morning. Now that's a great Saturday!

    Teedmn 9:00 AM  

    That Flight of the Conchords song, "Business Time" is my all-time favorite of their songs. In the cable series they had for a while, that song played while Jemaine was sitting in a laundromat fantasizing about being married to the girl doing her laundry. That line, "Is that it? I know what you're trying to say, you're trying to say 'Aw, yeah, that's it'" kills me every time.

    Hah, funny that so many of us were SUCKLEs for ALamEDA (me too). As for 40D, I was so stuck on "nurse" as sipping on a drink that I nearly put in SUCK on so SUCKLE gave me a chuckle. And @LMS, I remember well, in 1999, eating at the Aquavit restaurant in Minneapolis which was owned by CELEBRITY CHEF Marcus Samuelsson. My Swedish friend, Catharina, had her 3-month-old son with her and she started nursing him at the table. I, too, was unable to think of anything else but only because I was too paranoid that someone would ask her to leave and do that somewhere else. Back in 1999, public nursing was very controversial here but not in Sweden. Luckily, everyone was cool or never even noticed. Maybe it helped that Marcus Samuelsson also came from Sweden and the staff were trained to be family-friendly.

    24:53 was my time for today. I had a really hard time getting a foothold but SORT crossing SEE NO got me started and nothing really held me up once I got going. @Rex's shout-outs on cluing were the ones I circled as great. I had fun remembering my French prepositions (not dans, not sur) and, thinking 2D would be a French song, trying mentally to fit "Alouette" or "La Marseillaise" (yes, I know both of those pre-date 1880 by a good long time) in there.

    I had fun thinking about how COUCH meant express carefully at the same time it brought to mind a comfy sofa.

    And in my house, the "Fiddled (with)" phrase of choice is "dicked (with)". Back many years ago, my husband and I came out of a bar in the coldest of January nights and the ignition of his truck was stuck. He fiddled with it a bit and it started up. Three blocks away, we were stopped at a light so he decided to check it out. He turned the vehicle off and of course, it didn't start back up. He ended up getting under the vehicle in the middle of the street and arcing between the coil and the starter with a wrench while I ran the key in the ignition. When he got back in the truck, he was doing a lot of swearing and it included the oft-repeated "Just don't dick with it" . Now, whenever either of us thinks the other should leave well enough alone, that's our warning catch phrase. MONKEYing with it just doesn't cut it.

    Great Saturday, BW!

    Stuart Showalter 9:07 AM  

    Good write-up by OFL, and great puz! A nice way to start the weekend. :-)

    Stuart Showalter 9:17 AM  

    And @cato — if you’re out there:
    Apropos of your recent reply to one of my comments, yes I can occasionally compliment Rex. And no, I’ve never made a puzzle so I hold no personal animosity toward him. 🙂

    Mohair Sam 9:21 AM  

    Taking a break from my World Cup binge to give a nod to Byron Walden - great puzzle for all the reasons stated by Rex and others here. And Rex's comments made me realize that, yeah, whenever I see Walden's byline I'm confident we'll have a smooth puzzle.

    Hand up with the ALamEDA crowd - I know it for its racetrack.

    I know little about 90's music, but ALANIS nearly a gimme - I know her for "Ironic", sure, but more for the classic (in my mind) Weird Al tune "My Baby's in Love With Eddie Vedder":

    "Well, I don't wear Doc MArtens and I don't wear flannel
    And I don't boycott the music video channel
    And I just can't compete with all that money and fame
    But I know two can play at this game
    Yeah, well, let's just see how jealous she'll get
    When I start stalking ALANIS Morissette"

    Anonymous 9:23 AM  

    If you’re going to freak out about anything in the puzzle you should freak out about a neutrally clued Al Qaeda, but you shouldn’t freak out about anything. All clues and answers should be fair game as long as they’re accurate.

    Nancy 9:24 AM  

    A delightful, lively, junk-free puzzle with enough challenge to keep it consistently interesting. My biggest problems were in the section (SW) where I had written in some wrong answers. First and foremost bOrIC before FOLIC. And then AnANIS to ArANIS to, finally, ALANIS, before I could see LOAN CAP. (I had RATE CAP, from the R in ArANIS, first.)

    Inspired clue for CELEBRITY CHEF. One of the best of the year, I think.

    Only a CYNIC would see ROPES IN as the answer to "Recruits." If I think for one minute that you're "roping me in", you sure as hell won't recruit me.

    I imagine one or more people have protested ATE OVER (13D). No one says that. Really awkward.

    And how did Will Shortz know to save this puzzle in order to run it a day or two after Melania's very unfortunate coat message? (See 12D). Bet there have been comments about this, too. So back now to read the blog.

    bob in Idaho 9:25 AM  

    THIS... is a New York Times crossword puzzle. This is what the puzzle should be every day.
    Damn.
    Finally.

    JIM M 9:36 AM  

    I wasn't sold on 'ate over', but you convinced me. I'm sure I used it in my childhood.

    Nancy 9:36 AM  

    Oops!!! It's DO I DARE/DOE (Thanks, @Birchbark) and not DO I CARE/COE. So 1) I had a DNF (so CAREless!) and 2) No wonder no one's mentioned Melania at all! :)

    And if I hadn't come here, I never would have known...

    Maruchka 9:38 AM  

    When a puzzle is this kind of rich, it evokes. And that's what I liked about the North, even with a Matthew/PONTIUS blip.

    O CANADA! Long years ago, mother-in-law and I strolled the St. Jean-Baptise celebration in Vieux Montreal. Many platforms set up for dancers, clutching to sexy musique en francais. As we watched, a group of big strong men approached. They eyeballed us with an air of suspicion, as one man gruffly asked, Et-vous anglais?

    Now this was the Québécois days, and my mind began racing - how to keep it cool. Non, non, monsieur, nous sommes Americans! Ah, Americans, he replied with a smile, and we all went on our ways.

    Mother-in-law asked, What just happened? I replied, Not sure, but happy we're not Brits.

    kitshef 9:47 AM  

    If the explanations given for why Get down with = HAVE are correct, it is an absolutely terrible clue in a puzzle that is otherwise full of great clues. So I hope there is some other explanation that I could get down with.

    Hard for me, in a delightful way.

    mathgent 9:58 AM  

    I had the same feeling as Suzie Q (7:51): I came up with almost nothing first time through and then it started coming apart. One neat entry after another miraculously appeared in the grid and they all fit together. Wonderful!

    Robso 10:03 AM  

    There were a couple answers in here where I had to stop, think and then smile (eg, CELEBRITY CHEF) and nothing that made me wince. Great puzzle.

    Nancy 10:20 AM  

    Is "dicked with" for "fiddled with" a Minnesotaism or a Teedmnandhubbyism? It sure isn't a New Yorkism or a Nancyism :) Actually, I enjoyed your entire post, @Teedmn, and I'm going to check out that song.

    And I enjoyed your post, too, @Marushka. Interesting occurrence.

    Speaking of occurrences, @Larry Gilstrap, Bierce's "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" is perhaps my favorite short story of all time. I didn't read it myself; it was read to us in high school by our fearsome BRIT high school English teacher, Dora Downes. Her gaze, her words, her tone could have turned molten lava to ice. Everyone in the school -- including, I found out many years later, much of the faculty --was deathly afraid of her. Apropos of last week's puzzle, she had evidently been poet Alan SEEGER's lover before he was killed at the Battle of the Somme. (You'll find a very sexy and graphic "down" reference in his poem "I Have a Rendezvous With Death") Maybe such a tragedy at such a young age is what made Miss Downes so formidable and chilly. But she read out loud more beautifully than anyone I have ever heard, before or since. Her reading of "Owl Creek Bridge" was unforgettable.

    Roo Monster 10:21 AM  

    Hey All !
    Typical difficulty for me. How some found it easy is SORT of amazing to me. Lots of Check Puzzle happenings, lots of writeovers!

    Also didn't connect the CHEF clue till I came here. Nice. Never heard of COUCH as Express carefully. RELABEL went through REmAils, REpAcks. ECONOMIC BOYCOTT apropos of the latest Trump is mucking up. I Don't Care, Do U? Har.

    Since doing online today, didn't SPACKLE the ole brain as if I printed out puz.

    HI C spiked leads to HICs. :-) Then DETOXES.

    IM A MONKEYED SUCKLE
    RooMonster
    DarrinV

    QuasiMojo 10:23 AM  

    It appears my comment from this morning was removed. I think it was at 8:30am. Is it showing up for anyone else?

    Bob Mills 10:27 AM  

    Very nice puzzle. Seemed hard, but I finished it without error, so it must have been easy (for a Saturday).

    ArtO 10:39 AM  

    A rare Saturday completion for me...expecially when it didn't get an "easy" rating. Didn't time it but certainly probably around 40 minutes. Enjoyed the clever cluing as noted by OFL.

    Banana Diaquiri 10:51 AM  

    Julia Child was not a celebrity chef. the term didn't make into the vulgate until she was long gone. she was on the public TeeVee, for cryin out loud. she never ran a restaurant; never even worked in one, near as I can tell. never a chef, you see. famous, yes. wrote about food, yes. source of original recipes? I prefer the Aykroyd version.

    Paul Rippey 10:54 AM  

    Wonderful entertaining post! Thank you. We’re all nuts in our own way.

    Nigeria has lots of languages and the players would all know English so very probable that’s what the speak on the field although if two Hausa speakers - say - go out for a beer they might revert to their maternal language, or speak a mix of Hausa and English. But not French: that would be Niger, not Nigeria!

    TubaDon 10:58 AM  

    Kept falling asleep so it took me over an hour of real time. Blanked on the Northern hemisphere, so started with ALANIS, LOANCAP, SPACKLE and worked my way up from the bottom. Had to smile at the tricky misdirection on CELEBRITYCHEF. Way to go, Walden!

    GILL I. 11:04 AM  

    A Byron Walden...on a Saturday...that I completed sans one single Google. Can this really be true?
    Did I love it? When the first long answer I entered had to do with the Tower of Babel and I didn't even pause, the answer is a loud YES!. One of the first long words I learned to spell by rote was NEBUCHADNEZZAR. Legend has it that he built the Tower in Babylonia. Evidently there is compelling evidence that it did indeed exist. My second fascination with the story is because Bruegel painted it and I love everything Bruegel.
    Then we go on to the chef of the world. Everything Julia is wonderful by me. We had PEPIN just the other day and now we get Julia clued to die for. DO I DARE say I'm a happy camper at this point?
    My biggest halt was the lower west coast. BORIC acid just about killed me. AFFAIRS were not my business until little by little the answers came to me. AL QAEDA was the last clean up. Wow so it's the damn FOLIC that just about did me in...
    I don't think I know one single RADICAL FEMINIST. I'm not even sure what that entails other than an opponent of a patriarchy. I'm an opponent and most of the men I know, agree but that doesn't make me RADICAL, does it? Ah, well....As long as you don't call me toots, and blatantly stare at my boobs, I'm good to go.
    Don't Aussies also say Blimey?

    GHarris 11:09 AM  

    Same experience as others. Nothing at first, then it all began to come together to my great satisfaction. Also stumbled in the SW because I entered boric before folic and alameda before al qaeda. The true joy was working through all the long answers. Thought prior should have had an initial capital P.

    JC66 11:12 AM  

    @Nancy

    If you ever have me OVER for dinner, I'd brag that I ATE OVER at Nancy's. (Maybe that's why you haven't invited me). 😂

    @Quasi

    I read your comment (right after @Nancy's 9:24 post), but it's gone now. No "Comment Deleted by..." either.

    Trombone Tom 11:23 AM  

    Wonderful puzzle and equally enjoyable write-up. This construction effort defines craftsmanship.

    I had a difficult time breaking in until ALANIS opened up the southwest.

    Nominate CELEBRITY CHEF for Clue of the Month. Julia may have been on PBS, but in our household she was very much celebrated.

    I didn't know if a female koala was a sOw or a DOE, but the crosses easily resolved that.

    Kudos to Byron Walden and Mr. Shortz for getting things back on track.

    GILL I. 11:24 AM  

    @Banana....EXCUUUUSE me!!! Julia Child not a CELEBRITY? Like in the state of being well known?
    She attended culinary school in France; she most definitely is a chef - as in a professional cook. She owned a restaurant; she made every single American wannabe cook look at a chicken in awe - even if it fell on the floor......

    G. Weissman 11:35 AM  

    I didn’t know that there are so few four-letter words in English that it’s open season on using any foreign word that happens to exist. See 5D.

    Sunny 11:38 AM  

    What is radical about fiercely opposing the patriarchy (51A)?

    TomAz 11:44 AM  

    This was a very pleasant Saturday puzzle full of cool misdirection and cleverness. North half was stubborn, and the only real foothold I got was LANGUAGE BARRIER, but then the South fell pretty easily and I was able to work my way back up.

    If I had to quibble, I would say the clue on 1A crosses the misdirection line and enters the area of inaccuracy. "Roping someone in" implies (to me) fooling them somehow, while "recruiting" them does not.

    I managed to avoid the ALamEDA thing because I got ANA without batting an eye. For some reason I know a lot of airline names (I'm not in the industry, though I do fly on planes a lot). Anyone similarly interested might enjoy the book "Skyfaring" by Mark Vanhoenacker, which I loved a lot.

    G. Weissman 11:45 AM  

    Lots of people say ATE OVER, as in “We ate over at Sam’s last night.” Must you designate what people do and do not say? That's smug and self-righteous and judgmental.

    Banana Diaquiri 12:10 PM  

    here's proof: https://munchies.vice.com/en_us/article/aea3v8/meet-the-man-who-created-the-celebrity-chef

    one may insist, retronymically, that Child was, but not at the time.

    Maruchka 12:12 PM  

    @Nancy - Ambrose Bierce is a favorite of mine, too. I don't know if you've happened upon a remarkable Mac Wellman solo play, 'Bitter Bierce'. Steve Mellor performed it in NYC. Fierce, moody and moving - I loved it.

    FLAC 12:21 PM  

    Ambrose Bierce
    And Samuel Johnson’s
    ‘Harmless drudge’
    Are worlds apart.

    The last, a fierce
    Linguistic champion;
    The first, a grudge
    Without a heart.

    Great puzzle.

    benjaminthomas 12:22 PM  

    @Anonymous 9:23 AM

    Agree 100%. Though I think it is telling that the appearance of a neutrally clued ALQAEDA passes with much less vitriol than a neutrally clued TRUMP.

    Masked and Anonymous 12:36 PM  

    Wow. Sooo … @RP is a speed solver, that has to remember to stay off of Twitter while solvin? M&A has no such problem -- has never ever done Twitter. Has rarely ever tried to speed-solve a SatPuz, either, as would have to remember not to go to the potty for a coupla hours, give or take a few precious nanosecs of hoppin up and down.

    Pretty darn good puz, for a themeless. Kinda feisty, tho. Had trouble landin a first punch, on this puppy. Had to wander around, visiting all the (8 lil darlin) weejects, lookin for a bone. Sooo … nearly ATE IT, OVER again, ya might say.
    A sweet lil DOE at 20-A saved m&e, and then I splatzed in HAVE right below DOE. And off M&A wended, with a coupla breaks.

    Only a 66-word grid. Woof. Some delightful desperation nooks must surely be built-into such an architecture. Let's just scan them A's and D's …
    ACROSS:
    * ARETE. Crosswordese geology gimme. Nice sight, for the desperate, semi-wily old solver. Next!
    * LECHE. Latin American partial meat. "Thanx-A-Lot" phrase comes to mind, while solvin that area. Next!
    * BEEBE. Know yer clergymen in a flick you ain't ever seen meat. Next!
    DOWN:
    * SOUS. French -- never remotely close to easy, for the M&A. Stinky HARSH. Excuse me, while I daub le deodorante on le SOUSarms. Next!
    * SUCKLE/SPACKLE. Not desperate … just cool. Next!
    * AME. staff weeject pick. African Methodist Episcopal meat. Next! … oh; there ain't no more.

    Everything else was pretty solid, and M&A dot wanna be (or vote for) one of them "zero tolerance" dudes, sooo … great gridfill, IM&AO!
    Thanx, Mr. Walden. Primo longball stacks.

    Masked & Anonymo6Us


    Next!:
    **gruntz**

    old timer 12:38 PM  

    Needed a little Google help but only little. The puzzle was just enough to make me GOAPE, a word similar, in a way, to TOAT.

    Nit: since an ABBOT is a Prior's superior, it is the Prior who might need the approval of his ABBOT. A Prior is in charge of a branch of the order, while the ABBOT answers only to the Pope, if as is often the case the Ordinary (local bishop) has no jurisdiction over him.

    Nitlet: Few BRITs say "blimey", which is a Cockney expression not native to anyone outside of London.

    I knew SOUS immediately, and remember being certain of an A in my Intensive French course when I grokked the different pronunciations applicable to SOUS (under) and "sur" (over).

    And the ordinary way to refer to a liaison between a married person and a lover is indeed AFFAIR with no e at the end.

    GILL I. 12:45 PM  

    @Banana...Julia was a CELEBRITY (state of being well known) and a CHEF long before your retronym coinage. You like to argue any point but you're out-lawyered on this one.

    Martin 12:56 PM  

    The clue doesn't say an abbot needs a prior's approval. It says he hopes for it. Any decent manager hopes his reports approve of his actions.

    Prior Smith is a prior. Just as President Kennedy was a president. That's the usual style for titles and one specified by the Times style guide.

    Bree140 1:02 PM  

    If I were going to compare a CELEBRITY CHEF's personality
    to that of Julia Child, I would say he or she had a "Child-like
    personality". Of course, putting a hyphen in the clue would
    have destroyed its trickiness, but that's a small matter
    compared to an offense against typographical correctness.

    Mohair Sam 1:05 PM  

    @Gill (12:45) - Get of Banana's case on this one. Of course you're right and Banana is dead wrong, but reminding me of Ackroyd's Julia Child earns a pass.

    QuasiMojo 1:25 PM  

    Thank you @JC66 — I thought I was losing it. For the record my main point was that I was disappointed in the “Childlike” clue since it should be “Child-like” to be accurate, thus misleading and unfair rather than a clever misdirect.

    Anonymous 1:28 PM  

    Gill (and Mohair)
    Dont underestimate Banana's intransigence.
    After he was shown tbat a 1 cylnder engine, currently in production, was gobs more poweful than a 2 cylinder engine_- a fact he claimed was impossible-he doubled down on his errror like alittle kid shaking his head and stamping his feet shouti g "no, no no!"
    Anyway, Julia is and was so famous her stove is in tne Smithsonian.

    I wont hold my breath awaiting Banana concedi g defeat, but for you two Ill save the giblets

    Nancy 1:56 PM  

    God, I loved Julia! Way to go defending her, @GILL. Has there ever been a CELEBRITY CHEF so charismatic? With such a terrific sense of humor? Especially about herself. I just couldn't take my eyes off her when she was on the screen. Nor did I ever have to. I wasn't cooking along with her, you see :)

    Julia always sounded a bit out of breath. I thought that was one of her charms. As for me, I got winded just watching her. All that lifting and trussing and carving and transferring. All that pushing and pulling heavy items in and out of the oven. And the peril! All those knives. All those hot pans. All those flames. Julia lived to be 92, I think -- perhaps because she got more daily exercise than LeBron James. Anyway, it all goes to show: You needn't be a cook or even a wannabe cook to really, really love Julia!

    @Marushka -- No, I never saw that play. Sorry I missed it -- it sounds great.

    Banana Diaquiri 2:00 PM  

    @anon:
    After he was shown tbat a 1 cylnder engine, currently in production, was gobs more poweful than a 2 cylinder engine

    you can look it up: the 701 dyno's at 61.8, but the Yamaha XRS700 dynos's at 67.7

    they both claim 74HP. so there. more cylinders (and more OHC valves) *always* gets more power. every time. the only thing a one lunger can get you is more torque (the more under-square they are), but doesn't guarantee it. that's the reason moto bikes tend to 2-cycle one lungers: they need to pull at low-speed, low-rpm.

    Anonymous 2:02 PM  

    Not sure why Rex pretends hard puzzles are easy. If he never encounters a hard puzzle, why keep doing them... and why bother rating them at all?

    James Graham 2:12 PM  

    I once dated the New York based (female) rep of ANA who assured me it was several times larger than JAL.

    ANA = All Nippon Airline

    Anonymous 2:40 PM  

    Who cares? Most of wish for your Brexit....

    Azzurro 3:05 PM  

    This one seemed really daunting at first, and I thought I might be stumped. Then it all just clicked, and I ended up setting a new personal best time for a Saturday. As Rex said, this was a really fun, solid puzzle. More please!

    Anonymous 3:38 PM  

    Not more powerful tha all two cylnder engines. Youre a dope. You missed the main point. And that was cylinder number and co configuration per se r dont twll you anything about power.
    I dont care about the yami. I too have p,enty of twins ore poweeful than my single. TNE QUESTION WAS WEATHER ANY Single could be more powerful tah a twin. Or atriple. Or wnatever. Clearly most arent. Some however are.
    This is bg way of illustrtion. Before yku polljted these waters some folks inisted that a v6 was necessarily ore powerful than inline 4. I tried to explain, that tbe number of cyli ded IN and OF ITSELF is not enough to determind power, even reLtive power. So too with how the cylinders are arranges.
    Finally, Julia Cbild was acele rity ched. That they didnt use the term when she was plying the qhiak doesnt matter a whit. You did a crossord puzzle today, rignt? Well everyone agrees the first crossword was in The New York World or somesuch in what 1918 or so etbi g? Point is it wsnt caled a crossowrd that day. Yet everyone calls it that very puzzle acrossword today.
    Doucbe.

    Ellen S 3:52 PM  

    @kitshef, it’s “BE down with” not “GET down with”. Hope that makes it better.

    Banana Diaquiri 4:07 PM  

    @anon:
    TNE QUESTION WAS WEATHER ANY Single could be more powerful tah a twin. Or atriple.

    and the answer is no. until you produce data on a one lunger with more hp/torque than a multi *at the same displacement*. you won't be able to do that. yes, some one lunger might be more hp/torque than some other multi, but, of course, that's apples and oranges. same displacement, more power. show it.

    I've shown more power, at the 701 displacement from a twin. yore turn.

    GILL I. 4:20 PM  

    @Banana @Mohair. I actually thought Aykroyd was a chef I never heard of. So you meant the SNL parody....!!!!
    I'm not at home where I stash my little notes so I can't remember how to embed a video. Maybe someone can do it for me...If you want to watch an hysterically funny Julia Child impression go to YouTube and watch Mario Cantone, Shelly Winters, Julia Child. He's FAR funnier than Aykroyd (me thinks) and maybe @Banana will laugh and stop talking about his 2 cylinders.....!

    Anonymous 5:14 PM  

    Ugh.....nkt the same dispalcement. Any, any, any single. VS any, ny, any mukti . That wa the point. I knoe its obvious to you. And to me.but not to sone otbers.
    Gosh. Of course more disp,acem t at tne same rev lwvk will ykeld more power. THATS not THE QUESTUON.

    A Real Engineman 5:20 PM  

    @Banana is strong competition to @Z for being this blog's champion blathering nitwit.

    @Banana talks about engines like someone who read a few web pages about engines and is now trying to sound like an expert. The weird slang terms used repeatedly (some of which haven't been used since the 1920s - for steam engines) are the chief giveaway. Talk like that in a real engine shop and you'll get laughed out of the place.

    Banana Diaquiri 5:32 PM  

    @anon:

    no, no, no. the question is simple: what configuration generates the most power for a given displacement (not whether some one lunger out powers some multi). here's the formula:
    1 - 4-stroke
    2 - over-square
    3 - hemi head
    4 - 4 valve/cylinder
    5 - 2 or more cylinder
    6 - DOHC
    7 - turbo/super (not convenient for bikes: http://www.mcnews.com.au/factory-turbocharged-motorcycles/)

    so far as moto goes, Bultaco owned it for decades with one lunger, long armed, 2-stroke just because moto demands torque over HP.

    finis

    Banana Diaquiri 5:34 PM  

    @Real:
    some of which haven't been used since the 1920

    which would those be??? enquiring minds want to know.

    Anonymous 5:40 PM  

    Real,
    Thank you. For the record, im sorry for hijacking the thread. Sometimes frustration gets the better of me.
    And that thank you was meant for all the regulars I prize.
    Have a good Summer Gill, Mohair, Larry G,Nancy, Jae, Jberg, american in Paris, M&A, old timer, Jc 66, george weissman, quasi, roomonster, mathgent,etc

    AW 5:58 PM  

    Can someone explain "Be down with" = HAVE? I don't get it.

    And I agree completely with @QuasiMojo, "Childlike" and "Child-like" are not one and the same. A clue has to be legit to be clever and this one isn't.

    A Real Engineman 5:58 PM  

    @Banana

    You just keep on blathering there, champ. Your BS is entertaining to me, and it'll fool everyone else here who either don't know any better or don't care.

    sanfranman59 6:10 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 3:43 4:30 0.83 6.2% Easy
    Tue 4:37 5:26 0.85 18.0% Easy
    Wed 6:46 6:39 1.02 58.4% Medium
    Thu 10:48 9:47 1.10 66.7% Medium-Challenging
    Fri 9:14 12:55 0.72 13.1% Easy
    Sat 17:42 15:59 1.11 67.1% Medium-Challenging

    A Medium-Challenging rating on a BW puzzle? That's a triumph and almost unheard of for me. He's probably my toughest regular NYT constructor. I average about 25% above my average solve times on his puzzles. So, quite naturally, I really liked this one.

    My erasures were:
    - matThew before PONTIUS (3D)
    - lIbERIAN then sIbERIAN(?) before NIGERIAN (7D)
    - ScREEnS before STREETS (14D)
    - cairo before TUNIS (28D), though I was pretty certain it wasn't Cairo
    - amino before FOLIC (39A)
    - jal before ANA (45A)
    - SUCcor before SUCKLE (40D)

    There was definitely some Saturday-tough cluing here, but enough get-able crosses made the answers possible for me. Though I love the clue, it seems to me that a hyphen should have been used in 16D Childlike personality. ATE OVER (13D) is not really in my lexicon. I don't think I knew that the PHOENIX was a symbol of the Renaissance (36D). And I know I didn't know BEEBE (47A).

    Given that Ayers Rock is probably the best known geological feature in Australia, EYRE (10D) is a toughie. Luckily, I've come across it before and remembered that it was similar to but not the same as Ayer.

    The U-less Q at FAQS (42A)/AL QAEDA (34D) was my last entry. Unfortunately, I had a typo in AFFAIRS (32D ... AFrAIRS) and couldn't figure out what the heck was going on with rA_S. I even ran the alphabet a couple of times for that one. Argh! Brilliant clue for FAQS though.

    This makes two good themelesses to finish the NYT puzzle week. Bravo!

    Monty Boy 6:33 PM  

    I'm with @real on this one. My rule: Don't feed the Banana (knows everything about everything).

    AZPETE 7:16 PM  

    Yup, me too. Took most of the day and didn’t think I could solve it, but did!

    Banana Diaquiri 8:39 PM  

    @Monty:
    I'm with @real on this one. My rule: Don't feed the Banana (knows everything about everything).

    all yore others blathering is free to prove me wrong. so far, not so much. more cylinders/displacement is more power than 1 cylinder. I wasn't the one to make that mistake. ta.

    Suzy 8:42 PM  

    Terrific puzzle! Am I the only one who wanted Matthew for 3d? Seemed so obvious— for a while.

    Oxford Dictionary 11:52 PM  

    Is 'agenda' singular or plural?

    Originally agenda was the plural of agendum, meaning ‘a thing to be done’. However, it became applied to a list of things to be done, and in this, the most usual modern sense, it has become firmly singular, with the plural agendas.

    MaWasp 1:18 AM  

    MaWasp - Yes, MATTHEW and BORIC had to be repaired by this ball pointer. Being old, it was nice to work through a puzzle almost innocent of rap artists and cult movie actors.

    Anonymous 8:05 AM  

    Ohhhhh ok thanks I suppose that makes sense. Not a fan of this one personally. Usually in that context it’s “to COME down with.” I don’t remember ever hearing someone say “I’m down with the flu.” I think this was a poor one, but the crosses were OK.

    Anonymous 8:11 AM  

    I agree and generally enjoy that sort of ambiguity but I think this was a poor clue. I expect it’s difficult to come up with a good clue for such a common word, and the puzzle was pretty great otherwise.

    Barbara D 11:45 AM  

    Abbots were higher in pecking order than priorrs, therefore the clue " ones hoping for prior approval" has it backwards. (Have read many medieval type novels with detective monks, so know my religious hierarchy!)

    Robert A. Simon 1:06 PM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    spacecraft 10:51 AM  

    Well, I guess if you can sleep over, you can eat over too. I have to eat over my plate, as I occasionally dribble. I'll buy it--though I've never heard it.

    My overwrite was MONKEYED over tiNKErED. I had CELEBRITYCHE_ and RADICAL_E_INIST, and still had trouble! Never gonna get A_E for that church. Then the OMG *headslap^ moment, and I was done.

    Mr. Walden "keeps his fire engine clean [DETOXES], it's a clean machine." Very keen. One of those where the first glance at the clue list elicits an "Oh no, I don't know any of this," but then opens like a flower, petal by petal. Triumph factor should be huge--yet it felt, after I was done, as though it wasn't all that hard. Deceiving--like many of the clues. I agree with everything OFL said about them.

    The lovely ALANIS captures DOD honors. About my only objection, besides ATEOVER, would be the ICE part of ICEHOCKEYARENAS. A dab of green paint. So, no albatross, but for sure an eagle.

    P.S. BTW, it appears Carson Wentz will be ready to go for the regular season opener!

    Waxy in Montreal 11:25 AM  

    Puzzle contains, perhaps inadvertently, even more French-Canadian soul (âme) including the circumflex. In addition, eh, to OCANADA, Ottawa's own ALANIS Morissette and the Centre Bell ici à Montréal. SOUSperbe!

    thefogman 11:42 AM  

    Wow! Even Mikey (OFL) liked it! I loved this one too. We had a few this week (notably the Steinberg rainbow) that were great. I did not think I would finish. Again I had a tough time in the spot I normally start - the NE corner. So I BAILed on the NE and left it behind to finish later. It became a pasty snow storm of whiteout but I did manage to complete. Trigger alert: I raised an eyebrow slightly when I solved 51A. No doubt a RADICALFEMINIST would oppose the patriarchy, but they do not hold a monopoly on social egalitarianism. And besides the term radical is pejorative in this case. What's so radical about having more women in power? Okay, aside from that very minor quibble, that was a fine puzzle Byron Walden. Keep 'em coming!

    thefogman 11:51 AM  

    @BarbaraD - I am not sure who is higher in the religious pecking order, but wouldn't abbots want approval of their subordinate priors - if only to boost their popularity numbers?

    thefogman 12:58 PM  

    PS - There was a scarcity of black squares in this puzzle, which added to the difficulty. Here is the NYT puzzle with the fewest black squares ever...

    http://rexwordpuzzle.blogspot.com/2012/07/french-built-rocket-fri-7-27-12.html

    Burma Shave 1:17 PM  

    HARSH AFFAIRS

    A CYNIC DETESTS their AGENDAS -
    DOIDARE say it's UNANIMOUS? -
    whether NIGERIAN ALQAEDA
    or the RADICALFEMINISTs.

    --- ANA EYRE-ENGEL

    rondo 1:42 PM  

    This was going along quite well until the S and the SW where I had bOrIC acid above the impossible combo of jal and nhl. Took a while on the CHEF part and was undecided whether M or B in the AME, then realized nhl was redundant and the inkfest began, finally successful like a PHOENIX from the ashes.

    HIC looks like the cartoon bubble of a character before he DETOXES. HIC.

    It's UNANIMOUS for yeah baby, ALANIS. I SEENO others.

    Took a while to get my DUCKS in a row, but this SORT of puz is just fantastic.

    leftcoastTAM 2:46 PM  

    Had rough before HARSH, and tough seemed an apt word for this puzzle, too. Of course, after "finishing" with some CRIBS, it looked easier than I thought.

    rainforest 3:11 PM  

    Overall, I found this puzzle "medium", but I hadn't hit the SW yet. O CANADA got me started (natch), then SOUS, the RE-something, and then, okay no more travelogue of my solve.

    But, in the SW, I had jal and nhl and so--problems. Before FEMINISTS came into view I had AvE (you know, Metropolitan Ave.) Much ink, not to mention nanoseconds were spent in that area. Never heard of ANA. FAQS saved the day. Very messy in there.

    Like many have said, this is a puzzle that is daunting at first, but get a foothold or two, and it flows, Berry-like.

    Last week I ATE OVER at my neighbours. Lasagna, with bacon (!). Molto bene.

    I think 36 D has a more general sense of renaissance than The Renaissance, no?

    Diana,LIW 3:35 PM  

    I'm always amazed when I guess on a very long answer and I'm right - and then, of course, still have a dnf due to brain farts. For example, boric/folic, as others have mentioned.

    Is it me, or have there been a plethora of middle eastern names/leaders/places put in the puzzles to trip us up lately?

    Lady Di

    centralscrewtinizer 2:01 PM  

    Sounds like Nancy had a dnf and still doesn't know. Me, I seem to be having a run of them. So sure the first name was going to be Abraham and lots of other miscues made the entire west side a war zone.

    thefogman 10:06 AM  

    @Central
    She knows.
    Check Nancy 9:36 AM above...

    nin 4:15 AM  

    Very fine, but it should've run on a FRIDAY. Too easy for a SATURDAY. I'm currently working through Byron Walden & Karen Tracey's TOUGH & TOUGHER CROSSWORDS. Those puzzles (the warriors) take me twice as much time as this one did. SATURDAY should be a challenge every week. [Childlike personality] —great clue!!
    RADICAL FEMINIST: LENIN not LEAN IN.

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