Mahi mahi by another name / SAT 10-6-18 / Oscar-winning 1974 documentary about Vietnam war / Hungarian-born mathematician / Galvanized chemically / Counterpart of pizzicato in music

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Constructor: Lewis Dean Hyatt

Relative difficulty: Medium (7:19)


THEME: none

Word of the Day: SZA (10A: Singer with the 2017 #1 R&B album "Ctrl") —
Solána Imani Rowe (born November 8, 1990), known professionally as SZA (/ˈsɪzə/ SIZ), is an American singer and songwriter. SZA was born in Saint Louis, Missouri, later relocating to Maplewood, New Jersey. In October 2012, SZA self-released her debut EPSee.SZA.Run, which she then followed up with her second EP, titled S, in April 2013. In July 2013, it was revealed that she had signed to the hip hop record label Top Dawg Entertainment, through which she released Z, her third EP and first retail release, in April 2014.
SZA's debut studio album, Ctrl, was released on June 9, 2017, to universal acclaim from music critics. It debuted at number three on the US Billboard 200 and was eventually certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The album and its songs were nominated for four Grammy Awards, while SZA was nominated for Best New Artist at the 60th annual ceremonyCtrl was ranked as the best album of 2017 by Time. (wikipedia)
• • •

This grid was weird, in that when I looked at it, I thought it was a mid-week grid—looks like it's got 74 words or so, but actually has just 66 (?!). It's that choppy middle, and the lack of discrete segmentation, that makes it look more themed than not. I was a little worried we were gonna get a themed puzzle on Saturday, and you know how I feel about that (I'm against). But nah, it's just a themeless, and a pretty ordinary one to boot. Nothing special going on here. It all felt very safe and OK, very ... lowest common denominator—not too much of the olden, not too much of the new, not too much of the highbrow, not too much of the pop ... lots of familiar phrases that the whole family can enjoy. There are some high points and low points, but overall ... it happened, and I ZINCED (er, I mean WINCED) hardly at all.


Speaking of ZINCED, this is the single stupidest moment of the entire puzzle. And I say this as someone who loves that SZA album and is generally happy to see her in my puzzles. But you cannot opt for the ludicrous ZINCED over more common and non-insane words like WINCED or MINCED. First, because the latter two offer so many more (and better) options for cluing (this is one of the most important reasons you don't go the narrow, technical route with your fill If You Don't Have To); second, because you've put a pop culture name in the grid that is completely uninferrable *and* you've crossed it with a ludicrously technical word. If you don't know SZA (and I know you people and have been knowing you for a long time now, so ... yeah, LOTTA you people did not know her), it's totally plausible that you end up in a weird guessing game with that middle square. The clue is not clearly asking for "zinc" (not "clearly" to a non-chemist, anyway). So you have needlessly added a stupid word and needlessly created a potential pop culture Natick square, all so that ... what, you could get a "Z" in the grid. Again, love SZA, pro-SZA, but in this instance, ugh. Also, this smacks of an editorial change (just a gut feeling—but this grid seems like it woulda had "M" there to begin with, and someone in editorial decided to get cute trying to avoid the crosswordese of SMA. Shoulda gotten cute trying to avoid the horror that is DORADO, imho).


Wait, no, there is something worse than that "Z" square. I forgot about the clue on DEAF. Again, talk about shooting yourself in the foot. Why would you clue DEAF as [Unmindful]!?!?! Do you really have no idea how this is going to land with a good segment of your solving population. Here's a taste.


And before you get all "well, actually..." on me, here you go:


Don't come at me with your tertiary dictionary definitions. You had an opportunity here to clue DEAF any number of ways, any number of neutral ways, any number of "let's use a DEAF person as a clue" ways. But you did this casual, sloppy thing where you equate disability with deficiency. This is a cruel world, a world where cruelty seems to be the very gas in the tank, and it would be great if we had an editorial team that was at least half-aware of the cultural context, that could read the room, and that could really watch out for racist / sexist / generally discriminatory baloney. 

Five Things:
  • 18A: Like some pans (SCATHING) — I had such an unhappy face on when I was trying to piece this answer together. Once I had no choice but to go with SCATHING, I realized this was not the "pans" of "pots and pans," but the "pans" of "his reviews of crosswords are more often pans than raves."
  • 25A: Hungarian-born mathematician Paul (ERDOS) — er ... ok. I don't know this, but it's hauntingly familiar. I managed to make EULER known to myself. ERDOS has yet to get assimilated to my brainscape.
  • 55A: Mahi-mahi, by another name (DORADO) — DOR, A DO, a female d'oh! (what the hell is happening here!?)
  • 54A: Prone to sarcasm (IRONICAL) — no one but no one is saying this word except, fittingly, IRONICALly. 
  • 15A: Cookie for the calorie-conscious (OREO THIN) — I went with OREO LITE (if you're actually "calorie-conscious," whatever that is, try OREO NOT-AT-ALL). I also thought about THAT'S THE TICKET for 16D: "Now you're talking!" I think those were my only notable missteps.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

103 comments:

Hungry Mother 8:12 AM  

Thinking I’m pretty smart finishing so fast today. Nobody burst my bubble please.

Anita Fiorillo 8:17 AM  

Well, Rex, I have to disagree about Zinc. I sure had not the foggiest about SZA but I do know and love my galvanized pails. Use them for everything from storing dahlia bulbs for the winter to keeping the chipmunks and squirrels out of my birdseed. Of course, I am an older generation than you which may explain some of it.

MichaelT 8:31 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lewis 8:36 AM  

Oh, man. This was a pleasure on so many fronts. Loveliness in the answers (all six bigs plus SCATHING, GEARED UP, and ON THE GO). Playfulness in the cluing (esp. SCATHING, TATTER, LTR, EVIL INTENTIONS, FIREHOSE). A couple of rushes (getting LABOR INTENSIVE with two letters and SLICED AND DICED with three). And the magnificent SAHL is underlined with IRONICAL and SCATHING.

Yesterday's act was tough to follow, and rather than a letdown today, it felt like more of same, a fresh and entertaining scintillating jewel. And a debut? Wow. Not to mention the luster of the constructor's first name.

Gerontius 8:36 AM  

I happen to have a few more years under my belt than you Rex and I am deeply offended by your use of the word “olden” to describe some of the clues in this puzzle. Talk about clueless! Do you ever stop to think how those five letters are being received by my segment of the population. Every day 10,000 Americans turn 65. This is no idle silent majority. We want this outrage to stop. Now! Or else. Please be more sensitive (if that is even possible.) You hear me?

mmorgan 8:49 AM  

Never heard of Sza, and I'm the farthest thing possible from a chemist, but I had no trouble at all plopping that Z in there. I mean, what else could it possibly be?

Anonymous 9:01 AM  

@MichaelT

Was that really necessary? You know that it will cause deep pain and despair to many people. Was that your intent? Is that fun?

puzzlehoarder 9:07 AM  

At a little less than a minute and a half over yesterday's easy Friday this was an almost effortless solve. It's impressive that all six 14ers are debuts. They are also common and very in the language phrases and therefore easily recognized, even the one with the documentary clue.

The fill was of good quality but ERDOS, DREXEL and SZA were the only things to really need the crosses.

I started in the NW as usual. OFFED and ODS looked very promising. Before I wrote anything in I supported OFFED by first guessing FRESHMEN,OHHI and then OINK. I then thought to myself if I can hit paydirt with that K I'll start writing. The word sesamoid threw me off for a second but then I remembered what it meant and KNEECAP became my first entry.

My only write overs we're DONOT/NONOS (this delayed EVILI TENTIONS) and DORITO/DORADO. The latter looks pretty silly but my first guess was BONITO and I couldn't quite get it out of my head when I tried to recall DORADO. This wasn't hard to fix and checking that B against the letters I had for it's crossing themer is what triggered my recognition of HEARTSANDMINDS.

A nice looking Saturday but too easily solved.

Teedmn 9:12 AM  

I totally agree with @Rex regarding 11D. Obviously ZINCED can only be used as a verb, as in "I was feeling a bit sniffle-y so I ZINCED myself". IRONICAL, anyone? Except for thinking 10A would be SiA, which would preclude ZINCED, ZINCED is the only answer I ever wanted for 11D and never considered the other usage of "galvanized", lucky POR moi.

I enjoyed the somewhat circular misdirections here; 1A, instead of "Took out" = dated or deleted, it means OFFED. But 46A, instead of "Slew" = OFFED, it means SCAD (with its counterpart LOTTA).

There's NANO NONOS as a fun duo.

I found the clue and answer R.E.M show? = DREAM a SCAD too cutesy. But POR meant my OINK reaction to that thought was overridden. Put it in, sigh.

51A, I was convinced, would be "high maintenance" for "Requiring a lot of work". My first count showed it was too long but I was adamant - I wrote it down in the margin and recounted - still 15 letters for a 14-letter slot, rats.

Lewis Dan Hyatt, this was a fun Saturday for me. I'm so impressed with your debut!

GILL I. 9:26 AM  

This wasn't talking to me last night. I tried the mind meld but all I could think of were sprinkles on my ice cream. I managed to get SOS PADS and that was it. Off to bed.
Must have slept on the wrong side of my bed because 1A was my very sure DATED for the took out clue and the tragic ends were the very sure DOA. Dang.
Take a break and go pour yourself that wonderful Latte you just made. OHO, this is good....continue my trek.
The longs were the easiest for me. I love that I can get an answer with just one or two letters. SELF IMPORTANCE came to me from the F of DEAF and the M from MIR. @Rex...perhaps we're now becoming just a bit too sensitive to words (you and several others). I'm getting to the point in my life that I have to pause at every word that may turn someone's stomach. I can't tell you how many times I've yelled "ARE YOU DEAF?" to my unmindful son as he was growing up. He's now entering the Police Academy after having served as a Marine for 20 years. My little 6 year old grandson is deaf in one ear and 80% in the other. He learned sign language at 3 and he's the apple of my eye. You should see his I LOVE YOU signing. Yet....I wasn't the least bit angered by the clue. Que sera, perhaps?
LABOR INTENSIVE brought a smile and I got that one just off the B in INBORN (no anger in that word?).
28 hours for #1 son to arrive. Thank you whoever invented the epidural.
This took a while to finish but I was so proud of myself for getting so many of these Sat. words. I did Google just once. For the life of me I couldn't see 28A NESTED. Embedded brought to mind something you inserted into a @Rex blog.
I can't imagine online dating - FOR THE LIFE OF ME. I mean look at what photo shop can do. Can you imagine this dude posting a picture of himself looking like Rock Hudson and then you finally meet him and he's really Daffy Duck. At least in the BAR SCENE you get to look up close and smell the guy. I once met a lawyer in Scott's Bar in San Francisco who was cute. Turned out to be the biggest dud and so filled with SELF IMPORTANCE that I swore I'd never go looking again. I met my husband on a flight to London. It's a long flight and you're sitting next to the guy. You can't leave - might as well listen to him yak away. He was interesting and not at all full of himself. 34 years and counting......
This is a debut? Congratulations, Lewis. Any puzzle that brings a smile and conjures up fun images in my mind, is perfecto. Hope to see you again soon.

jugcap100 9:29 AM  

Superlatively stated, Gerontius, but it will probably fall on unmindful ears.

Mark 9:31 AM  

Yo, Rex, Paul Erdos is a big deal (TM). Look up Erdos Number or even Erdos-Bacon number (that "Bacon", by the way? Kevin Bacon). Besides being an incredibly prolific mathematician he's a genuine pop culture icon to a certain but substantial slice of nerd-dom.

michiganman 9:35 AM  

I'm betting 90% of solvers had Ford not OLDS unless a cross was already in place. "Pioneer" is a little vague. "Inventor" would have been clearer.

Olds patented the assembly line concept, which he put to work in his Olds Motor Vehicle Company factory in 1901. The moving assembly line was developed for the Ford Model T and began operation on October 7, 1913, at the Highland Park Ford Plant, and continued to evolve after that, using time and motion study.

bookmark 9:37 AM  

@rex. I've been meaning to thank you for including videos of musicians in your blog. Of course I know Rihanna, but didn't know SZA. As a retired high school teacher, with sons now in middle age and no grandkids, I'm no longer always attuned to the music of the day. I miss that. Thank you for keeping us informed.

Rube 9:37 AM  

Rex is 100% correct about that z. One more thing
If I'm calorie conscious and i'm eating Oreo thins, then what I am is conscious about eating plenty of calories.

Harryp 9:40 AM  

This seemed a little easy for a Saturday, but satisfying overall. Ford comes to mind as an assembly line pioneer, but Samuel Colt was most likely the first in the USA. I am sure others in other countries will have their own candidates, like the Venetian Arsenal. Thank you Lewis Dean Hyatt for a fun evening.

Anonymous 9:44 AM  

I have to go with Gernontius on this one. The use of "olden" without even a trigger warning is playing with fire. You need to be a little less tone dead... wait... I didn't mean to offend the deceased. Is deceased ok?

'mERICAns in Paris 9:53 AM  

OH HI! I'm catching up after a week of meetings in Geneva. I did most of the puzzles, but most I DNF because of PPPs. This one I liked because I finished it in an hour, and never once was tempted to Google an answer. All the PPPs were inferable. Helped, also, that I went to graduate school across from DREXEL.

The overall word choice for this puzzle felt, for me, eerily contemporary. SELF IMPORTANCE, IRONICAL SERIAL (liar) with EVIL INTENTIONS DENIED NO-NOs, while GEARED UP people in red hats yelled "THAT'S THE SPIRIT!"

Nice to see the word AND appear twice, if only in a puzzle. More and more those phrases would be written as SLICED/DICED and HEARTS/MINDS. Ugly, ugly, ugly.

Off to buy some cheese for Mrs. 'mERICAns, whose just returned from two weeks in the 'States.

Carola 10:00 AM  

I was intrigued to see a new (to me) name at the top of the grid and eager to see what he'd throw our way. I really liked it - just challenging enough, plenty of enjoyable phrases to write in, some amusingly tricky clues (TATTER, SETTLES).

First in mentally: OFFED x ODS; not able to confirm other Downs, I held that in abeyance and went on. First in actually: SAHL x ARCO, which yielded enough crosses to give me a good start. The Z of ZINCED x the never-heard-of SZA was my last square. Do-overs: LOTsA and a no-crosses stab at temple University.
I liked the parallel SHALT v. NO-NOS.

@GILL I. - Thanks for pointing out LABOR x BORN.
@michiganman - I actually wrote in "benz"...and then immediately erased it as impossible.

jberg 10:04 AM  

Me too for OREO lite. I pretty much only eat cookies that I've baked, so I know about the many oreo variations through crosswords (and I know a lot of them!) But that didn't work with tINnED, so I switched to LITE. I didn't know SZA (@Rex, you've got my number), but I was saved by my own SELF IMPORTANCE.

Speaking of "number," that was one helluva partial. What could it be? "Avogadro's," "take a," "you've got my" all crossed my mind (none of them the right length), but I needed a lot of crosses to get SERIAL.

I did love the long answers! That made the puzzle for me. And I liked the use of "Penn" in the clues with different meanings.

Slight complaint about 35D, EXCAVATE means "remove the ground from" not "remove from the ground." DORADO was fine with me -- although the other name for mahi-mahi is "dolphin." (The fish, not the mammal).

Astonishing thing I learned today: that as of 1960 Bob Hope had never been on the cover of Time.

gfrpeace 10:10 AM  

First word I put in was ARCO, and as I wrote I thought, 'Rex will complain of the unfairness of this word.' But I guess he got it on crosses.

I don't really know much of what Paul Erdos did, but I remember his Times obit clearly. Even among mathematicians he was known as an oddball. He died at a math conference; he had earlier said, of his own death, "I want to be giving a lecture, finishing up an important proof on the blackboard, when someone in the audience shouts out, 'What about the general case?'. I'll turn to the audience and smile, 'I'll leave that to the next generation,' and then I'll keel over."

Nancy 10:11 AM  

Yes, today Rex's rant is my rant, too. The SZA/ZINCED cross, where I just closed my eyes, crossed my fingers, and took a completely clueless guess. FWIW, my guess was SMA/MINCED. It could have been anything. And, of course, it was wrong.

Aww, shucks, Lewis Dean Hyatt, what a stupid way to spoil what was panning out to be one of the best themelesses I've ever done. So crunchy. So consistently interesting. Such terrific long fill -- with SLICED AND DICED; HEARTS AND MINDS; EVIL INTENTIONS and LABOR INTENSIVE absolutely lovely. And I even learned some stuff, (and, no, I'm not talking about the utterly forgettable SZA). I learned that...

OLDS, not FORD, pioneered the assembly line
SAHL, not HOPE, was the first comedian on the cover of Time
The KNEECAP is the largest whatever-kind-of bone-that-is in the body
DORADO is another name for mahi-mahi.

A fabulous puzzle with a tragic flaw -- a flaw that cost me a DNF. Were I in a tournament playing for the $100,000 first place prize, I would be dissolved in tears right now. Since I'm not, I'm not. I have pronounced this a *successful solve* in my own mind, and I've moved on.

gfrpeace 10:13 AM  

Ah, here is Paul Erdos's obit: https://www.nytimes.com/1996/09/24/us/paul-erdos-83-a-wayfarer-in-math-s-vanguard-is-dead.html

Hartley70 10:18 AM  

@Gill I, my solve started out last night exactly like your first two paragraphs and I too just couldn’t get a toehold anywhere. (BTW, loved your post today.)Things were much better this morning when DREXEL began to open up the SE. I was intimidated by the long downs until I saw FRESHMEN, reworked the NW and got EVIL. It made me nuts that I couldn’t remember HEARTSANDMINDS without a couple of crosses. It’s hard for me to fathom it was 46 years ago.
I’m in the age group that didn’t know the Z in SZA and I had to run the alphabet to get to the letter. I have a galvanized can for dry dog food but I’ve never given a moment’s thought to what that means. I enjoyed that moment this morning. Rex’s “minced” wouldn’t have done a thing for me.

TomAz 10:20 AM  

well I zipped through this in well under average Saturday time.. 13 minutes and change, which has to be close to a personal best.

stuff just dropped in pretty easily. I'm one of those nerds who could get ERDOS with no crosses just off of "Hungarian mathematician". SHINTO fell right in. DORADO. etc

that Z was the last letter to go in.. I knew SZA but she wasn't coming to mind; I was stuck on SIA. Had to run the alphabet -- which gets discouraging to find a Z! I was a little surprised that it worked because ZINCED is a clunky word.

Amelia 10:32 AM  

@gfrpeace

My first gimme was also ARCO. But I'm a string player. That's a very hard clue. That was the only one, though. Such an easy puzzle for a Saturday. You know it's easy when your gimmes are the long ones. How many other documentaries from 1974 about the Vietnam War are there? I saw bad designs and figured it would begin with EVIL and I was right. The minute the got the L and the B in Labor, I knew it was labor intensive. And so on and so on.

DEAF is now unusable in any but the politically correct way? And you wonder why the bad people are taking over the country? You will be offended all the way to the Supreme Court.

You don't need to know ERDOS, Rex, but if you were of a certain age, you'd know that every mathematician has an ERDOS number "which measures the "collaborative distance" in authoring academic papers between that person and Hungarian mathematician Paul Erdős" Just one of those things we baby boomers know.

Too easy. Too easy.

Johnny Bohnen 10:37 AM  

Paul Erdos (umlaut over the O, but I can't find it in the computer) starred in a pop science biography, "The Man Who Loved Only Numbers," which was featured on the Times best seller list. So IRONICAL that you all missed it.

Now, will someone please explain LTR?

Unknown 10:43 AM  

How is tatter make the rent?

GHarris 10:45 AM  

Best clue for 5down would have been Republican members of the Senate.

Z 10:48 AM  

I find it hard to believe that a guy with SAHL crossing SOS PADS would know SZA, so I suspect Rex is correct about that being a late editorial change. Also thought getting off to the oh so happy start of OFFED/ODS/EVIL INTENTIONS was just a little too dismal for my taste. I mean, if I wanted to start the day being depressed I’d just read The Great Gatsby. Not that I’ll ever read that waste of time.*

@Dan M late yesterday- Regarding countable nouns. In Crossworld something like “a variety of sand” is oft shortened to “a sand.” That’s how something like “a code” can be justified as a clue. Well, that and the sheer joy I imagine Shortz et al. feel at driving experts in fields crazy.










*Don’t be so serious. I’m being IRONICAL to pull a certain someone’s leg. Although sarcastic is apter than IRONICAL in this case.

Z 10:52 AM  

@unknown10:43 - “rent” is the past participle of “rend,” which means to tear into pieces.

Randy Doriese 10:54 AM  

I was cruising until the NE. Looking back, I suppose it's all fair, but that was hard! Didn't know SZA but happy to learn. I just now figured out the clue for TATTER.

Nice to see Paul ERDOS. A few years ago, some co-publishing colleagues and I tried to figure out our Erdos numbers. I think maybe 5? I do remember it was lower than we assumed we would find. Alas, I have no Bacon number and no real route to get one. :(

Amelia 10:56 AM  

@Z. I know rap and mathematics and 60's comics, and modern-day actors. I know lots of stuff from many centuries. I think it's a mistake to assume that people of a certain age have a range of knowledge limited to their age group. Some people thirst for knowledge in whatever form it takes. And that never gets old.

TubaDon 11:05 AM  

     Plunked down FIREHOSE and I was off to what is probably my fastest Saturday puzzle ever. Slight delay at OREOLITE but most of my guesses held up. That Z was the last letter in. I doubt many chemists would say ZINCED, but I guess if ZSA can be a name, SZA can also.

Mr. Magoo 11:17 AM  

I was blindsided by the answer to 5 down. Thought “blind” could be a correct response to the clue. See what I mean?

Stanley Hudson 11:17 AM  

What @Anita Fiorillo said about ZINCED.

Adam Smith talked about mass production and specialization of labor in Wealth of Nations (1776), and I believe Whitney employed them in his factory as early as the late 18th century. Or maybe I’ve been giving students the wrong info for the past 30 years.

ghkozen 11:20 AM  

How could this review not point to the Simpsons “World Worhout Zinc” edication film Bart has to watch? Pure comedy genius!

Roo Monster 11:21 AM  

Hey All !
Commenting today before reading y'all, and even before reading Rex!

Thought this a lively themeless. Liked the 6 14's with the open corners. A nice steady solve, with two entries holding me up because I was sure they were correct. (Of course they're right!) Had datED for OFFED, holding up the NW till the end. Also had ford for OLDS. Is that true? Good ole Ransom Eli Olds beat Ford to the assembly line? Interesting.

Back to NW, once I finally saw the awesomest letter F for FIREHOSE, got me to change datED to OFFED, thereby letting me see DRIVES/DEAF/SELFIMPORTANCE, which I couldn't see that 14 because I had LOTsA in making word-pattern recognition a tad tough.

Had to run the alphabet for that Z in SZA/ZINCED, of course it's a Z when you run the alphabet. Har. Plunked it in, and got the "Almost there!" message. Argh! Went back and Checked Puz to find I had SHAnT/nTR. Ouch! Dang it, another one letter DNF. Apparently I thought that Exodus was telling me "No" directly.

Good fill for all that white space. Nit (you knew it...) two UPs crossing. Not a NONOS per se, won't raise an ADOS over it.

Neat stack - OH HI, IM ON NESTED KNEECAP.

Oh, one more nit, isn't that name OREO THINS with that S? And what brilliant (read:sarcastic) mind came up with OREO THINS in the first place? You don't buy OREOs for the cookie part. My faves, Mega Stuf. It's like 3x the filling. Just typing that raised my blood sugar.

GEARED UP for the BAR SCENE
RooMonster
DarrinV

QuasiMojo 11:22 AM  

Aside from the fact that I had Lucille BALL as the first comedian on Time (she appeared on it in 1952), and wonder why those P.C. prone tweeters haven’t gone bananas about that sexist use of “comedian” since apparently the word “seeress” got their knickers in a twist recently, I thought this was a terrific Saturday puzzle. I too had no idea who Sza was but “zinced” was the only word that made sense, chemically speaking. A slight disapproval of “intensive” and “intention” being in the same grid and so close to each other, did not detract from an overall impression of a truly noteworthy debut.

Ellen S 11:25 AM  

@unknown10:43, to further clarify what @z explained, the clue wasn’t “make the rent” but “make rent”, which could have meant “earn money to pay the rent” or something entirely different.” (I’ll take Entirely Different for $200, Alex.).

But immediately above that question — I don’t get LTR either.

I started out really liking this puzzle but I’ve never seen a singular SCAD, I thought they always traveled in groups, like cockroaches. I once killed a cockroach, no, a Puerto Rican palmetto bug — as a Chicagoan, used to little European roaches, this was scary, but even scarier was the though, oh-oh, now I’ve pissed off the rest of them. They only come in SCADs. I didn’t like the SCAD of UP-UP answers. And I thought THATSTHEticket would be apter than THATSTHESPIRIT. But maybe that’s just me. Didn’t have to Google ERDÖS (do android keyboards give you various accents if you long press a key? Windows doesn’t. I think — just now — that’s what’s tipped me over to getting another iPhone for my next phone even though there’s so much I hate about it) . Where was I? Oh, the mathematician. Got him from crosses, same as the singer.

@Gill I, we are in the same time zone. I was still sleeping when you were up and sipping a latte (no accent, it’s like the Yiddish schmatte) and working the puzzle. I’m impressed but not envious. Rather be sleeping. Thanks for the Spanish translation yesterday. I taught it to the rest of the animal shelter cleaning crew. The two younger ones decided they were also too old for this “caca”, and left early. Then the 72-year-old team leader had to go home because she learned that her power had gone out and she had to be home to get it turned on, leaving me, at 75, to finish the cleaning chores. Indeed “soy demasiada vieja (autocorrect keeps putting in “Vienna”) para esta cagada.” (Did I get that right?)

Roo Monster 11:28 AM  

Oh, also wanted to say I really wanted Republicans for 19A. (Jab!)

RooMonster

Cal 11:28 AM  

Hope was on the cover of Time in the 40’s; was he not a comedian then?

Hartley70 11:31 AM  

@Johnny Bohnen, copy machines take both legal and letter sized paper.

Ellen S 11:38 AM  

@Lewis, despite the clues/answers I didn’t like, this was a fine Saturday puzzle. I am looking forward to more. A SCAD of them, in fact. (Really didn’t like SCAD..)

What the heck is LTR? Letter sized paper isn’t legal for copying? Is A4 okay? Oh ... DOH. It isn’t legal size. Okay, Mr. Constructor, you win, I really like this puzzle, in retrospect.

Nancy 11:41 AM  

Thanks for reminding me, @Johnny Bohnen 10:37, that I don't get LTR (31D) either. Anyone?

@GILL (9:26)-- It's not just the (maybe photoshopped? maybe 30 years-out-of-date?) photo that makes internet dating chancy. It's the initial lack of voice contact -- the sound of a person's voice and the quality and content of a person's speech being the single best way of assessing a date's potential, I would maintain. Add to that Spellcheck (is the guy a complete illiterate and I don't know it?) and typing on a computer (does the guy have handwriting that screams out "madman" and I can't see it?) and you have a recipe for disaster. When all the clues that humans have relied on for thousands of years are taken away, what you basically have is Russian Roulette.

Also, @GILL, I make myself coffee by pouring boiling water on Folgers' instant crystals, heating milk in the microwave to very warm, but not boiling, and combining them. Can I call what I've made "a latte"? :)

Anonymous 11:45 AM  

Charlie Chaplin was on the cover of TIME's July 6, 1925 cover.

Pam 11:48 AM  

Long ago, as an undergraduate, in the OLDEN days, I took a nutrition class. The professor told a story of a neighborhood clam bake where many guests fell ill. The clams, potatoes, corn and lobster were roasted in galvanized containers. All had been ZINCED! Zinc poisoning. That Z slid right in. But who is SZA? Now I know!

Sydney 11:51 AM  

Dorado must not be very obscure if I knew it. And if I have -inced, what else would I galvanize with but zinc?? I didn’t know Erdos, though. I couldn’t get the old brain to work last night and set the puzzle aside..I had better luck this morning, although I still had problems.
By the way...Thanks to the person who called out the Kavanaugh gloater. I was so depressed last night. Thanks also to the ones who objected to the slurs against old people.

Jonar 12:03 PM  

its so ingenuous to be critical of the answer to 'unmindful.' its a very common english usage e.g.-- be deaf to criticism .deaf to this or that concept, To make it into a politically correct issue is absurd. i agree that the 'I'm offended ' approach can lead to countervailing political consequences when it becomes misused excessively.

joabodin 12:04 PM  

Unless someone wrote it and I missed it LTR means letter-sized paper in a copy machine instead of legal-sized paper. My first post ever after eavesdryfor years.

joabodin 12:06 PM  

Eavesdropping, that is.

joabodin 12:08 PM  

Eavesdropping, that is!

Adam Lipkin 12:11 PM  

I knew SZA and still had no clue what they were going for with ZINCED.

My biggest gripe, though, is with SOS PADS. SOS is a competitor to BRILLO. Not SOS PADS. Hell, more people use "pad" with Brillo than SOS, as best I can tell. It wasn't a hard clue, per se, just a bad one.

Lindsay 12:23 PM  

This is my favorite themeless puzzle in a long long time. It's filled with abstractions & concepts rather than things. I thought to work them all into a little story, but am too lazy to actually do it.

But the tale would have involved ERICA, an OREO THIN CIA operative (which she DENIED), blending in to the BAR SCENE surrounded by SCAD (oops typo!) of SELF IMPORTANCE & EVIL INTENTIONS. OHO & OH HI, she AD LIBS. Then OFFED the OLDS with SERIAL whacks from SHINTO KNEECAP.

You can see there is a tense problem and the plot needs works. But I do like the puzzle & its atmospheric quality.

Banana Diaquiri 12:33 PM  

SAHL was, apparently, the first *standup* comic on the cover. when was the genre invented, and by whom? I've no idea.

JC66 12:38 PM  

@Banana D

But the clue doesn't mention standup.

Z 12:45 PM  

@Amelia - Every constructor has a certain “voice.” When you see lots of puzzles by Berry, Haight, and Gorski you don’t really need to see the byline to have a good idea who the constructor is. That central section (SAHL and three of the downs off of it) suggests a certain area of interest and knowledge. Looking at the entire puzzle, one, and exactly one, answer stands out as especially 21st century popular arts, does not fit with the “voice” in the rest of the puzzle. This observation has nothing to do with the constructor’s age, and everything to do with the constructor’s “voice,” what the constructor naturally finds interesting. Curious about Rex’s and my inference, I took a look at xwordinfo.com. Well, look at that, the editor asked the constructor to replace SWA and the solution was SZA. I’ll go further and suggest that, only from the picture, Hyatt is younger than “a certain age.” But, just spitballing here, I doubt he has Ctrl on repeat on his iPhone.

Malsdemare 12:46 PM  

Mr. Mal works for a company that supplies equipment to mills that galvanize steel so I got help with ZINCED. But really, once you have INCED, what else can it be? I didn't, and still don't, know SZA but she sang to me through the crosses. I tend to get really impatient at about the 30 minute mark, but by the time I hit that number today, I was mostly done. What pleases me most is any solving experience that involves work all the way through, but never gets to the point that I throw in the towel in frustration. And that lovely, LABORINTENSIVE experience was mine today.

It is sort of IRONICAL, n'est pas, that the constructor is accused of being, in essence, tone DEAF, which is, of course, the usual way we see DEAF used as unmindful. I'd explore this more, but I'm only somewhat hearing challenged, in the fashion of those in their "olden" years, so will quit while I'm behind.

Paul Bowden 12:58 PM  

Yeah galvanized isn't LUDICROUSLY TECHNICAL. Has nothing to do with my field, and still haven't googled it, but first thought was IRONED (which was wrong, seems it's always zinc). Then got zinced with just a C. It's a common element lol.

It's far less of a Natick than Arco crossing sAhl, IMO. I think far more people know of galvanizing, and Sza is a modern #1 artist (who I didn't know, but my fiance [wife in a few days] did). Also zinced is directly derivable... Arco and sAhl aren't (although A is the common sense letter).

Suzie Q 1:06 PM  

Great way to spend a rainy morning. Loved it.
I guess @ Lewis expressed it best (as usual).
Good one @ Gerontius.
A debut puzzle with so many debut answers? Wow.

48D Woman's name that rhymes with...
Anyone else think of Seinfeld and Mulva?

Anonymous 1:08 PM  

Rex,
Zinc and by extension zinced are hardly technical. Im begging you, drop by a hardware store. Not only will there be fine galvinized pails, but nails, poles, posts,etc. Good God!

QuasiMojo 1:28 PM  

@Nancy, I’ll fill in for Gill for a moment. No, you can’t really call that a “latte” since a “caffe latte” is traditionally made with espresso. But all latte means is milk anyway so pour yourself a good old glass of Borden’s and call it anything you like.

OISK 1:34 PM  

SZA??? I'm a chemist, so I knew about zinc. But my objection is not just to obscure (to me) pop culture...NAS, NWA, many other meaningless combinations of three letters that I know only from puzzles...it is that if one doesn't know the group, or person, NONE of the letters are in any way discernible . If the editor wanted a substitute for "winced with SWA," how about minced with sma? The latter could be clued either as "genetic disease of the nervous system," ( it is a leading genetic cause of infant deaths), or better, I think, "Wee, to Burns."

However, I don't think that one bad cross "zincs" this particular crossword ship. Enjoyed it, and finished it.

OffTheGrid 1:50 PM  

I think Gerontius was being ironically sarcastic.

Banana Diaquiri 2:01 PM  

@JC66:

which is why I starred it in my comment. clue is just plain wrong, of course.

Reasonablewoman 2:16 PM  

Are folks seriously bothered by "olden"?

Masked and Anonymous 2:19 PM  

Six interlockin 14-long entries. Kinda different, for a themelesspuz. Like.

Hard, but not too hard. Also, the hardness was kinda spread out, at my house. Didn't know SZA, DORADO, ERDOS, or sesamoid. Had heard of and sorta liked ZINCED. Bein ZINCED don't sound so bad; as opposed to CAR-BONED, which sounds pretty day-um painful … sorta like bein de-sesamoided, or somesuch.

staff weeject pick: LTR. Mainly becuz of its raised-by-the-zincers brilliantly confusin clue. About as mysteriously done as a WhiteHouse-directed FBI investigation. Honrable mention to SZA, which kinda looks like an ode to ZSA ZSA.

Another interestin clue: 48-D's {Woman's name that rhymes with a part of the world}. M&A wanted MAGDA. M&A talkin to self, after findin out the right answer was ERICA … "Erica?!? Wha-…?... Where …? Oh, yeah … Costerica!"

fave nUt-tick moment of Ow de Speration: GEAREDUP/SPITUP.

Thanx for all the semi-feisty fun and congratz on yer fine debut, Mr. Hyatt. Fire up some more 14-balls [maybe one or two with a U in it], and c'mon back again, soon.

Masked & AnonymoUs

pmdm 2:22 PM  

ee, Nancy, methinks the fault is not with the puzzle but with your knowledge base. Just as my fault is with the very larges gaps in my PPP knowledge. No offense meant, because we all have gaps here and there. Apparently, many have gaps involving the galvanization process.

Some intereting comments about Saturday cluing on XWordInfo.

SJ Austin 2:27 PM  

Yup, I was a Natick on that Z square.

I deleted a long essay about the cluing of DEAF. Short version: if you're skeptical of Rex's analysis, why not seek out some people with disabilities and ask them how they feel?

LDH 2:45 PM  

Thank you all for the great comments! So great to hear your thoughts and reactions, good or bad. Really sorry to all who found the clue for DEAF to be insensitive. FWIW my submitted clue was “Unsympathetic (to)”. Not sure if that is any better or not, feels like Will's clue was meant to evoke the same metaphor but be a bit harder. But in any case, sorry again.

Speaking of clues, if this weren't my first puzzle I would have submitted “Trump property” for 19A. I actually submitted “Inflated one's property” but it seems the editing team wanted a more straightforward clue there. Have to trust their experience!

Really amused watching y'all speculate on my “voice” — To be honest I was happy just to fill this beast at all! If you have a desire for even more 14s, you can check out the other version I mentioned in my xwordinfo notes here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1OENa047DtMfuylxuuPaqyr1iU6s2GsHK?usp=sharing

Really loved hearing from everyone, and thanks Rex for the fair writeup!

-Lewis

KevCo 2:58 PM  

It's a play on "rend," as in "tear apart." So if you tatter something, you have made it torn, or "rent."

JOHN X 3:03 PM  

ZINCED is the obvious answer. I've never heard of SZA. I watched the video above and was surprised by how computer-generated the music was. The video was pretty bad too. Remember CLICHE from yesterday? That's the word I'm looking for.

The instructional film about ZINC from "The Simpsons" was inspired by / stolen from "The Kentucky Fried Movie"

ZINC is a very important part of my life, and it should be an important part of yours. Buy some ZINC today and share it with your family.

Henry, a casual solver 3:09 PM  

What was wrong with “deaf”? As in “tone deaf” and not the formal music kind. As in politicians who say really stupid things.

And while i’ve never heard zinc used as a verb, galvanized, as in galvanized washtubs from long ago, use zinc. Don’t really have to be a chemist, especially once you get a few letters besides the “z”.

PS I never heard of Sza.

GILL I. 3:16 PM  

@Ellen S. Yes indeedy..."Soy demasiada vieja para esta cagada." You could always substitute cagada for mierda but you are much too refined..no?
My dear @Nancy....Folgers? Nunca....Send me your address and I'll mail you an early Christmas present of Peet's Italian Roast coffee. Do yourself a little favor: Go to Cost Plus World Market on 620 6th Ave. and buy yourself a little milk frother. Bloomies also carries them. They cost about $6.00 or a bit more depending on what you want. If you don't have a coffee press, splurge a tiny bit and get a 4 cup one.
Put 3 TBS of coffee in the press, pour a bit of boiling water in, swirl it around and then pour in the rest to the top. Cover and let rest for exactly 4 minutes. Put about 1/4 cup of milk in your favorite coffee mug and zap for 30 seconds. Use your frother to get that latte look. I add sugar and then pour in the coffee. Voila....I promise you, if you invite your friends over for coffee and you serve them this cafecito, they won't leave!
@Gerontius...Tongue in cheek? Please say yes!
@LDH. Love when constructors stop by. I don't think you've fallen on DEAF ears..... ;-)

Anonymous 3:23 PM  

Methinks this was a crunchy one. I think so, too.

TomAz 3:23 PM  

@Lewis: "Trump property" would have been absolutely fabulous. I understand why you chose not to go there though.

"Make rent" and "What isn't legal for copying" are two of my favorite clues this week. Well done!

Anon 3:39 PM  

Pennies are made of zinc with just a copper coating. Obvious answer. No other chemical fits even if you don’t know that galvanized pipes are zinc coated.

ZenMonkey 3:44 PM  

Hearing people who have never worked, played, and/or lived in the deaf community have no business deciding whether the use of the word DEAF, in this context or other, is okay. That goes for both the polite and the obnoxious commenters here. The NYT is constantly offensive to deaf people, from repeatedly calling ASL a "system" (extremely problematic for reasons I don't feel like teaching y'all about right now) to crap like this clue.

Do you think it's cool when white people defend their use of the n-word? You are being exactly that type of person in relation to deaf people. Does that feel good?

Be better. Read a book about Deaf culture. Do something other than make rude and incorrect statements and assumptions about something you know *nothing* about. If you legitimately want to know more, hit me up on Twitter at @ZentheZebra and I will be happy to help.

Nancy 3:44 PM  

I love all the @Gerontius-inspired PC satire today. It's all quite funny.

Thanks to all who told me I should have known ZINCED. But when you're pronouncing it to rhyme with WINCED (as in ZINSSED), not ZINCED to rhyme with WINKED, you're very unlikely to see the ZINC connection. Had I seen the ZINC connection, I might have related it to "galvanized". On the other hand, I also might not have.

@GILL (3:16)-- This is precisely why, when I have people over, I don't serve them coffee. I serve them liquor or wine. Your method, which I don't pretend to understand a word of, sounds infinitely more complicated than my method. My method consists of putting one heaping teaspoon of Folgers Instant Crystals in a cup, pouring a minimal amount of boiling water (boiled in a perfectly ordinary kettle) over it, heating up a half a teacup of milk in the microwave, pouring the milk into the coffee, and adding a packet-and-a-half of Splenda. No coffee presses and no milk frothers (whatever they are) required. But if I can use my method with your Peet's Italian Roast, I'd love it as a Christmas present. That is, if it's not bitter. It's not bitter, is it? If it isn't, I thank you for your generous gift in advance.

Anonymous 4:18 PM  

Having played Stardew Valley religiously (great game, you should all check it out), DORADO actually came fairly quickly to me (it’s one of the harder fish to catch in the game).

You have a point with the Z possibly being added (I’ve held back on submitting a puzzle to the Times because it included ZINCED, so now I know better...). But in a way, I can understand if they changed it from an M to a Z. Look at the rest of the puzzle: no J or Q, which is understandable, but not a single W or Y. Only one K, and that’s tucked into a corner. Only 2 Bs and Gs.

I’m certainly not trying to knock the constructor for the puzzle - god knows I’m aware how tricky it is to build a themeless - but for a Saturday puzzle, it just seemed surprising to see so many 1-point letters.

GWN 4:57 PM  

Never fails, the puzzles I find easy are the ones the pros find hard. As someone who has a terrible memory but a fairly broad set of life experience/reading, the hard part for me is the crosswordese as you call it and all the references to prime time tv, grocery brands, etc. So zinced is in fact quite deductible, whereas my limited rap experience had me thinking Rza for a few minutes... oh well, everyone has their strengths...

burtonkd 4:58 PM  

@nancy, expanding on improving your coffee, Zabars may still be selling French presses for 17$ - price includes bonus free pound of coffee, so basically a 7 dollar press! Frother nice touch ,but hardly necessary. I have a steamer I pull out for special guests/occasions but daily coffee from press. You don’t even need to heat up the milk because the coffee is already hot enough and brings it down to drinking temperature.

Justice Kavanaugh 5:02 PM  

This one crushed me. I know who Zsa Zsa is but I’ve never heard of Sza. Also, I’ve had a lot on my mind today. At least I still beat
Rex (6:32).

jae 5:03 PM  

Easy-medium. Me too for SiA before SZA, plus did in before OFFED and @Rex Ticket before spirit.

A fun set of 14s, liked it. A fine debut.

To elaborate on @Z's post here is what the author said about SZA at Xwordinfo:

"The grid you see here with the arrangement of six 14s is the second one I submitted; this puzzle is my third attempt at it. When I got the response to the second try, and the subject was "Crossword — good news!" my heart jumped — only to sink a minute later when I saw, among the generally encouraging feedback, a request to redo the NE corner to remove OREOTHIN and SWA. I knew the former was impossible, given how much the 8s and the 14s in this grid interact with each other.

I made a hard-fought effort, including going up to 68 words and adding cheater squares in various places, but there was no way to remove that singular cookie. I felt it was a great opportunity that Will had invited me to submit my next revision by email, and I didn't want to waste it, but after a week all I had was a version that was identical except for the one letter changing SWA to SZA. I found that rotating the grid by 90 degrees opened up some new possibilities, and so I made a brand new puzzle to accompany my revision and sweeten the deal. I was curious to know what the editing team thought of that one — I felt that the 14s were stronger and the 8s weaker, but I wasn't sure how it balanced out — but I never found out; they accepted the single letter change and all my dreams came true."

Adam Frank 5:36 PM  

I enjoyed the long answers. But I got naticked on the SZA/ZINCED cross - ended up with SMA/MINCED, since I had no idea that ZINCED could be a verb (my last chem class was over 30 years ago) and never heard of SZA - I wanted it to be SIA, who I actually do know (thanks to my children), but IINCED is clearly not a real word, not even in chemistry. I went through the whole alphabet, but as I was pronouncing "INCED" with a soft C, so "ZINCED" (pronounced "ZINSED", rhymes with RINSED) made no sense at all. So I settled on MINCED, figuring that SMA was maybe a Scottish rapper or someone who didn't want to be LIL and went in a different direction. Kinda ruined the puzzle for me, but other than that I found it fairly easy for a Saturday.

And @Rex, I disagree about DEAF - "He was deaf to her pleas" is fairly common, albeit cliched, usage, and IMO not particularly offensive.

TAB2TAB 5:40 PM  

Great debut by Lewis, great cluing, and I always enjoy when a puzzle's difficulty mostly comes from tilting the language ever-so-slightly sideways, rather than requiring a mastery of obscure PPPs. The NE corner gave me the most trouble; as others who have gone before me, SZA was not in my databanks (nor my Spotify rotation.) However, the real slowdown for me was 23A: "Make rent" - I was very happy with TendERS early on, and it took me a while before I begrudgingly hit the backspace key, and allowed TATTERS. I was not at all familiar with rend/rent, so I, of course, fell for the misdirect, and had to check the blog to make sense of it. My only constructive (constructor's) criticism is that the use of the question mark in the clues seemed a bit inconsistent. I found 44A: "REM show?" way too straight-forward for a Saturday puzzle to deserve the question mark (the answer seemed obvious), but I feel it would have been much more appropriate on 23A: "Make rent(?)"

What was truly a bonus delight for me was 31D: What isn't legal for copying ==> LTR. I filled this from the crosses, so I never actually connected the clue to the answer until I read it on the blog. Even so, this was one of my favorites aha moments from the puzzle, even if I had to enjoy it as a rerun.

Thanks again for a fun puzzle Lewis.

Anonymous 5:46 PM  

Where in the world do you thing its cool to ever defend the use of nigger by anyone? it is a contemptuous vile word associated with an era of hatred. do you see it ever used in a puzzle. lets leave out cow because that obviously refers to fat women. lets leave out soda jerk because jerk refers to a stupid person. the list goes on. here the word deaf doesn't refer to an individual who is hearing impaired which, in itself, is awful. its use refers to someone who doesn't pay attention. stop the tippy toeing mess we find ourselves in. there is plenty to be mad at in this political arena, using a word in an innocent way is not one of them.

Unknown 5:48 PM  

I took it in the sense of "He was deaf to her entreaties"

emily 5:51 PM  

Same for 1-dated & DOA....but agree with the deaf controversy, a bit insensitive.

Anonymous 6:20 PM  

Anon 5:46,
Mark Twain and every rapper/hip hop "artist" disagree.

Gerontius 6:24 PM  

Yes @Gill et al, just poking a little fun at Rex’s hysterical PC emoting. But then I’m quite sure he is pulling our legs too.

Anonymous 7:35 PM  

How come past tense of the verb 'to panic' is 'panicked' (there is no variation in that spelling as far as I know)? And then there's the verb 'to zinc', which has a primary spelling of 'zinced' and has 'zincked' as a secondary spelling. Get your rules straight, English!

Thanks @Gerontius and @Anon 9:44 for the big guffaw! I hope @Gerontius is right about Rex being the one to fan the fire!

I thought 4D should have been clued, "Motivation for Maxine Waters and Dianne Feinstein". Obviously there is more than one point of view on the recent theatrics.

Hungry Mother 9:45 PM  

As with prime numbers, not all mathematicians are odd.

Monty Boy 12:14 AM  

My first wrong word for ZINCED was PLATED, which felt right, except no crosses worked. Didn't know SZA but got the other crosses. Am I the only one who PLATED it?

On the used of OLDEN: When I got my flu shot the rather youngish tech told me there was one version for younger folks and another for the elderly. I'm 74 and just learned I'm elderly. Whoda thunk? I laughed all the way home.

Anonymous 1:42 AM  

Dorado was one of the first words I got. It's the Spanish name for what my grandfather's fishing buddies used to call "dolphin" and everybody now knows as mahi-mahi.

James McCann 2:37 PM  

Sorry but today’s puzzle was just dumb and boring.

Grant Edwards 9:43 PM  

There is nothing wrong with "Dorado". I filled that in with no crossings. It is also called a "Dolphin Fish". Again, as usual, Rex condemns anything he is merely ignorant of. Which seems to be a LOT of things. Way too many things, IMHO.

Grant Edwards 9:43 PM  

Yup. I filled it with no crossings.

Grant Edwards 9:45 PM  

I agree.

Grant Edwards 9:46 PM  

Yes. I read "The Man Who Loved Only Numbers" twice. Excelent.

XQQQME 1:56 PM  

Rex is tone DEAF!

kitshef 9:05 PM  

The real problem here was not ERDOS, who is legitimately famous, nor ZINCED, which was kind of figure-outable but the absolute garbage fill like AT IT, OH HI, IM ON, SCAD (singular), STN, ADOS (plural), and OHO.

Nothing in this grid, not even the mighty ERDOS, was worth that price. Puzzle had me GEARED UP to SPIT UP.

Whitey 9:27 PM  

Well said. Thank you. DEAF is only offensive if the solver wants it to be.

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