SATURDAY, Jan. 24, 2009 - M. Diehl (Fifth-year exams at Hogwarts / Sands part-owner, once / Longtime North Dakota Senator Gerald and others)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Relative difficulty: Super easy

THEME: none

Word of the Day: ULSTER - A loose, long overcoat made of heavy, rugged fabric and often belted. (

This puzzle felt like a Thursday, difficulty-wise. An unthemed Thursday. I started writing at RAE (61D: English singer Corinne Bailey _____ (Rae)) and I never stopped. I wasn't trying to speed, and yet I'm sure I was done in under ten minutes, even though I was writing every answer down in the margins as I solved it, trying to create a kind of road map of how I solved the puzzle (starts at RAE, ends at RACIST (!), in case you're wondering). I kept waiting for the hard stuff to come, but it never did. Or rather, it did, twice, but got washed away in a flood of easy crosses. I did not know this new NYE guy (47A: Longtime North Dakota senator Gerald and others), although I have a vague memory of having said this about him before. I also did not know LASSEN (28D: _____ Volcanic National Park), which looks all kinds of wrong. But no matter. Tuesday-level crosses helped out. Like many a sucker, I blithely wrote in ALASKAN for 39D: Sarah Palin, by birth (Idahoan), but apparently that would have been too easy, even for this puzzle. Corinne Bailey RAE is quickly going from the Saturday RAE to the mid-week RAE, and will soon be the new Charlotte RAE / RAE Dawn Chong. If you don't know who she is ... let's see ... well, if you are watching the new "America Idol" (long shot with you guys, I know, but you never know) multiple auditioners have had a go at this, her biggest hit:

Gimme names abound in this puzzle (NYES aside). Even if RAE was unknown to you, you've got the oft-appearing ESTELLA (44D: She was a pip to Pip in "Great Expectations"), who shows up way more often than PIP, or so it seems. Anyone who vaguely followed baseball in the 80s/90s knows 57A: Pitcher Saberhagen (Bret). The only thing that slowed me up with PELE was that I misread the clue, 24A: Sports star with an accent in his name, as "Sports car ..." Everyone knows 5D: Peruvian Sumac (Yma) - if you want to clue her at a Saturday level, you'd somehow have to take her last name out; tough. ADELA is crosswordese of a T/W level (10D: Writer _____ Rogers St. John). Constructors everywhere are waiting for a more current, more famous ADELA to come along so they can use this name more often. Those letters are Choice. Two more near-gimmes in the name category: DE SADE (18A: "The Crimes of Love" author), whom I did a presentation on in high school (how is that possible? did I invent that memory?), and TIERNEY (14D: "Laura" star, 1944), whom I get confused with the boxer Gene TUNNEY. And the still-alive actress Maura TIERNEY. Which reminds me of "Newsradio," which reminds me of this. Man, this guy was a genius:


  • 1A: Brand for preparation on a stovetop (Jiffy Pop) - my first thought: "... Stove Top? Hey, it fits!")
  • 29A: Fifth-year exams at Hogwarts (Owls) - pays to have an 8-yr-old in the house sometimes. I'm about a B student when it comes to HP knowledge.
  • 38A: Moccasin sound (hiss) - the snake, not the shoe - unless you've got some tricked-out mocs with air cushions that leak.
  • 46A: Funny papers pooch (Odie) - you just gotta wait a clue like this out. Usually one cross will do. I'm waiting on ODIE, OTTO, or DAWG. IDAHOAN made it clear.
  • 4D: Them's the breaks (fate) - yes, I remember Zeus saying that, somewhere ...
  • 36D: Nominee for Best Supporting Actress in "Mildred Pierce," 1945 (Ann Blyth) - needed crosses for the last name, but somehow the first name just came to me. So clearly I'd heard of her before. I think she played the daughter in that movie, to Joan Crawford's mother and title character.
  • 37D: Hammer holders (ears) - yes, your ear has hammers. Late in the week, "hammer" should make you think "ear." Just trust me.
  • 40D: Sands part-owner, once (Sinatra) - interesting clue. I need a clip here, right?

  • 43D: Girlish accessory (hair bow) - ESTELLA wore one of these in David Lean's version of "Great Expectations"

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Anonymous 8:56 AM  

I agree, very easy, but totally relaxing after a stressful week. Good for the ego. Must read up on my Harry Potter.

Hydromann 9:05 AM  

I also concur. Super easy. The few less obvios answers were rendered solvablew by easy crosses. I can't remember the last time I solved a week's Friiday AND Saturday puzzles without resorting to Web help, much less solving both in leas than 30 minutes! Woohoo!

Jeffrey 9:09 AM  

ADONAI sandwiched between RACIST and DESADE? Finished in a JIFFY POP. And I watch American Idol on a semi regular basis.

JannieB 9:23 AM  

Disappointingly easy - no hiccups at all. Probably my fastest Saturday ever. Nothing really wrong with it, but nothing very special, either.

Anonymous 9:27 AM  

All gussied up and nothing to do, now that I solved the puzzle in record (for me) time. Well Nye stumbled on that one...

Kurt 9:29 AM  

I agree 100% with Rex. This was the easiest Saturday I can remember. My only pause was LASSEN. I wanted it to be LARSEN for some reason. That gave me REAR????? for "Lines for liners", and my mind went to places it shouldn't have gone.

I guess I'll do a BEQ and hope for a little more challenge.

ArtLvr 9:30 AM  

Super easy, yes. First fill was NEPAL, but I went south from there with HISS and counterclockwise. Wanted IRON for Press at 33A, but corrected it to URGE quickly enough -- then chuckled to see IRON starting 2D IRONAGE, finishing in the NW. Not much good foodie stuff today... Fave phrase: ALL GUSSIED UP!


Anonymous 9:32 AM  

As a New Orleanian, I hoped "Jambalaya need" might be ROUX instead of the pedestrian RICE. ULSTER, LASSEN, and ANNBLYTH were new to me. Other than that, it was pretty unremarkable.

I could do without Palin-related fill--I've seen enough of her for a lifetime.

Anonymous 9:33 AM  

Had to be easy for me to solve a Saturday in record time.
DARNIT, I didn't think it was all that ADORABLE. Guess I'm just a SADSACK.
My only mistake (for a while) was using HAIGHT for FRISCO. No San Franciscan would evah say "Frisco".
Oh, and all of a sudden I can't sign on as parshutr, so I'll be "anonymous."

Parshutr 9:34 AM  

Had to be easy for me to solve a Saturday in record time.
DARNIT, I didn't think it was all that ADORABLE. Guess I'm just a SADSACK.
My only mistake (for a while) was using HAIGHT for FRISCO. No San Franciscan would evah say "Frisco".

Anonymous 9:36 AM  

Darn, I was hoping to find that others found this one hard so I'd feel like a real genius. I would almost put this as a Wednesday, since I often have some difficulty with a Thursday and cruised through this one.

HudsonHawk 9:39 AM  

Yep, definitely one of my quickest Friday/Saturday combos (and I'm not a speed solver). Maybe Will is trying to get everybody feeling overconfident as we head into ACPT. If this keeps up next week, I will be very suspicious.

Lots of shout-outs to this forum (well, maybe it's my twisted imagination). I started in the SW and moved up the west coast. For 55A I had the UL____ and thought, ULRICH! No dice. And then the shout out on the MAT to PuzzleGirl at 23A, though it still wasn't Dan Gable. For 26D, I can hear ACME screaming about the fill. My first thought was HAIGHT, since no one from the Bay would use the bastardized word that starts with F.

Fun, breezy solve. I may have to get a head start on Sunday's...

Anonymous 9:44 AM  

I agree with everyone that this was way too easy for a Sat. puzzle.

What I didn't know (1940's movie stars) was easily gettable from the crosses.

I paused for a second at "Sarah Palin, by birth" since I had ID----- and couldn't believe that Will would allow IDIOTIC, the obvious answer in my book!

I also thought yesterday's was too easy for a Fri. I think Will goes in cycles, some weeks are easy (relative to the day) while others are tough.

I liked that JAVAMAN was next to IRONAGE -- even if they never used iron tools.

Surprised that ADONAI was an answer since Jewish tradition holds that God's name should never be written as the paper will eventually be destroyed. Hence Yahweh which is used in text instead.

HudsonHawk 9:45 AM  

@Parshutr, great minds... My comment must have been in progress.

Anonymous 9:53 AM  

JannieB said it perfectly - disappointingly easy, particularly after yesterday's tour de force.

I had "SSSS" at 38A and forgot to check the puzzle before coming here. Was thinking "SDAHOAN" with the S for Sarah @39D left a pronounceable if odd maiden name and "SOWARDS END" @38D wasn't implausible to me, so I might not have caught it anyway.

32A could have been TIBET as well, but I guessed NEPAL correctly because it generated better crosses.

No grandkids so nearly all Harry Potter references (29A) are lost on me - guessed OWLS only because it sounded like "ORALS," another scary sort of exam.

Did get hung up on 31A being OKRA (jambalaya need), but per google it isn't. Rice is.

At least that kept me from filling in 26D ('67 Summer of Love locale) as FRISCO (as in the San Franciscan's plaint, "PLEASE DON'T CALL IT FRISCO"). Frisco is actually a far north Dallas suburb. I still dislike the name.

Jon 9:53 AM  

Two Saturdays in a row! I was feeling very good about myself until I realized how easy a puzzle this was. Definitely felt Thursday level to me too, even with some fun clues. I loved the clue for JIFFYPOP and I thought PRY was clued rather elegantly.

Anyone else initially put YAHWEH in at 16A? (And anyone else a cultural-not-really-religious Jew who still balks at typing that word after years of remedial Jewish education?)

I was happy to see a non-"Science Guy" clue for NYES. Never liked that show, always weirded me out. Just watched the film SNATCH two nights ago and was reminded what a fun film that is. And really virtuosic plotting. A great script. Guy Ritchie really frittered it all away, it seems. Writing-wise, at least.

I was surprised at the number of just-sitting-there clues. I was expecting some peppy cleverness to the answers of (13D: Born loser), (2D: Early period), and (60A: Just too cute), among others. But the fill just sorta shrugged its way into the grid. I think I want more pop on a Saturday.

Finally, since I'm new to this board, I'm still catching up on the various personalities around, but I assume there are some Red Sox fans lurking in the shadows (we tend to be everywhere). Anyone else smile at the memory of BRET Saberhagen in a Sox uniform? I've always loved the Red Sox fondness for taking fliers on re-treads; the team always optimistically trots a couple out there each year. Here's hoping that PENNY will one day be clued (Boston ace Brad).

@Parshutr: I too thought HAIGHT initially, and was similarly when FRISCO revealed itself. That should have been clued (Summer of Love destination for Midwesterners) :)

PuzzleGirl 9:59 AM  

Yep, super easy. I, too, was thinking this was definitely meant as a confidence booster. I was actually fooled by a clue for MAT recently, but last night I had just finished watching the Iowa-Wisconsin dual so I was all over it. (Go Hawks!) I also read the PELE clue as "sports car" and could Not figure that out.

The last letter I entered was the N in NYE and that's a little disturbing to me. When I saw the clue, I was so So Confident! Is there anyone else reading this who knows the names of the current North Dakota senators? I didn't think so. They're Byron Dorgan and Kent Conrad. And they've both been in the senate for a long time (well Dorgan was in the House for a long time before he moved over to the Senate in 1992, but still). I even know the two senators who preceded them: Mark Andrews and Quentin Burdick (well, Jocelyn Burdick finished out her husband's term after his death, but still). So, basically what I'm saying is, I thought I knew quite enough to fill in that particular answer with no problem. And then ... huh? NYE? Ne-ever heard of him.

But I love a Saturday I can finish so today's a good day.

PlantieBea 9:59 AM  

DARN IT. I'm sad the Friday/Saturday puzzles are done, but happy that there was no crashing for this solver. I couldn't believe how easy this Saturday was. I stumbled a bit on Adonai, but that's about it. Liked JIFFYPOP, LOAFPAN, TUNAROLL, and thinking about Jambalaya.

Megan P 10:00 AM  

All the way through I thought "themeless Thursday," though I made it a tiny bit interesting by blithely plunking down YAHWEH and DUSTER (for ULSTER.) But I caught those quickly and bashed my way through the rest, I'm sure in record time for me.

SethG 10:08 AM  

Yeah, I'm sensing a theme to some of these comments. Saturday faster than Wednesday for me, my fastest ever, faster than my fastest Friday...

I didn't like IN A SPIN, but then I remembered that Mav was in trouble when he was in a flat one. And INKY is a ghost, and AURIC is Goldfinger's first name.

Laura 10:08 AM  

This was just a breeze. Not hurrying, drinking my coffee, and finished in about 8 minutes.

My only trip-up was that I originally wrote file for rice as the necessary ingredient in gumbo. But, one more cross and switched to rice.

Anonymous 10:10 AM  

Easy yes, but I managed to stumble with

FEATHER pen instead of FELTTIP pen

Plus my share of the mistakes others have listed above.

Chorister 10:30 AM  

I also had YAHWEH because of the not writing down the name of God thing. But wasn't that even written Y----H?

Also had HAIGHT for a looong time because of INKY.

False confidence building, for sure. When you realize you are overthinking a Sat. puzzle, the puzzle needs to move to earlier in the week. I think they misfiled it under Saturday.

Kurisu 10:38 AM  

@John: I had YAHWEH, then replaced that with ELOHIM, and finally got ADONAI once I got 9-down.

janie 10:53 AM  

>...I assume there are some Red Sox fans lurking in the shadows...

uh -- that would be our host rex. MAJORLY!

a SPEEDWAY of a saturday here, too. which gives me only false hope where my solving abilities are concerned...



fikink 10:55 AM  

I also had HAIGHT at first
@jon, Midwesterners refer to it as Friscansanto.
@Megan P, did you visualize the ubiquitous J Peterman DUSTER, too? I saw John O'Hurley.

Anonymous 11:01 AM  

@Jon and Bigredanalyst--
There is nothing in Jewish religion that states that Adonai (אדני) cannot be written. It is not actually God's name; it is a word roughly meaning Lord (literally, the plural "My Lords") which is used, as in English, to address God or to refer to God. The Tetragrammaton (Greek for "four-letter word"), יהוה, is mispronounced frequently as Jehovah, but also sometimes rendered as Yahweh or Yahveh. This is supposed to be the actual name of God, and is linguistically related to the Hebrew root "to be". Its pronunciation is not avoided because it's disrespectful to God, but rather because the correct pronunciation is unknown. In Hebrew, as rendered above, the letters you see are only consonants. In Biblical times, the vowels were assumed to be known. In modern Hebrew, some texts contain points and dashes to indicate vowel sounds, but in everyday use, the vowel marks are usually omitted for the same reason they were in ancient times. In prayer books, the vowel markings are used, but in the Torah, they are not.

Instead of trying to pronounce יהוה when it appears in the prayers, Jews substitute אדני.

The notion that you cannot write the name(s) of God is also incorrect. After all, how would you ever have a prayerbook without being able to write the name of God? In fact, in pointed Hebrew texts such as prayer books, the word יהוה is pointed with the same vowel symbols as the word אדני, to remind readers that it is not meant to be pronounced, and to say אדני instead. This led Christian translators to mistakenly think that the name יהוה was pronounced Iahovah or Jehovah.

Some Orthodox Jews write G-d for God (in English) and L-rd for Lord, but that is tradition, not Law. I've never seen anyone abridge the word Adonai, since it's a term referring to God, not God's name.

Holy books such as prayerbooks and Bibles are never destroyed or thrown out with the trash; instead, they are gathered in one location, and periodically buried ritually with dignity, similar to that accorded a person who is being buried.

For more details, see

Anonymous 11:02 AM  

Oh, and one more thing, Shabbat shalom to everyone!

Margaret 11:02 AM  

Not surprisingly, my fastest Saturday ever. It gives a nice boost to the ego; it's the Saturday puzzle after all -- even if it is super easy!
@Retired Chemist: we must be on the same wavelength. I had all the same misstarts -- even SSSS. Also, had ALL DECKED OUT for a few moments until URGE got me GUSSIED UP.

LARSEN/LASSEN threw me off. Plus I kept thinking liners was referring to liner notes on an album. Having another ham radio reference very recently made that clue much easier than it would've been.

Loved seeing HOWARD'S END in there. It contains one of the few Margarets in literature/pop culture I really like -- especially when she's played by Emma Thompson. (My husband -- bless his heart-- says Emma should play me if they ever filmed my life story. Probably why I married him.)

Leon 11:09 AM  

Thanks Mr. Diehl.

Thanks RP for ULSTER as the Word of the Day. I had DUSTER for a while.

Gert Fröbe was my favorite AURIC.

chefbea 11:21 AM  

I agree with the group. Easiest saturday for me - ever. Like Rex my last letter was the c in racist.

Wanted okra for my jambalaya.

Lots of food today - Roast, jiffy pop, rice, loaf pan, tuna roll.

Unknown 11:27 AM  

@Steve I
Thank you for your post...very informative.

Anonymous 11:31 AM  

Well I was patting myself on the back for getting a Saturday puzzle....but now I see it was just because it was so easy for the rest of you. Oh well....

jae 11:37 AM  

Same experience as every one else. I told my bride that either I'd suddenly become a speed solver or this was the easiest Sat. ever. The latter of course. Only misstep was ALASKAN and even as I was writing it I was thinking "that twinkie went to school in Idaho."

hazel 11:38 AM  

I loved this puzzle for its nostalgic feel - JIFFYPOP, LOAFPANS, SINATRA, RADIOSET, classy movie stars - even FELTTIPS and old expressions like SADSACK and DARNIT.

The fact that this puzzle did not have the few agonizingly obscure clues that can put my Saturdays on hold until I get them didn't bother me at all. I thought it was a wonderful puzzle because the answers made me recall a simpler time. (I am of course glad that RACIST comments are getting to be fewer and farther between.)

@Steve i - very much enjoyed your post.

mac 11:39 AM  

I will make it to the post office before it closes for a change! Easy, yes, but fun.
I forgot about Yma being a person, thought I was looking for a Peruvian tree. Jambalaya means okra to me, only time I ever used it, but I didn't get tripped up, there. I had caveman for a minute, thanks to the Geico commercials, and am embarrased to say that early on, I had "schmuck" for 13D.
Funny how "mat" now makes me think of Puzzlegirl!

Especially liked "wannabe", stately (who else wanted "shade" in there?), loafpan, and javaman and iron age right next to each other.

hazel 11:42 AM  

@Jon - Forgot to mention - I'm a RedSox fan through marriage - but a Braves fan by birth. I wish all the best to Smoltzie this year - you guys landed a winner, even if he never pitches an inning.

Chip Hilton 11:51 AM  

Rex's opening was going to be mine, as well: a lovely Thursday puzzle.

The wonderful Ms. TIERNEY of 'Laura' possessed the most appealing overbite (as Hawkeye pointed out in a M*A*S*H episode or two). I never tire of watching that film.

Seeing Smoltz in a Sox uni- is going to look mighty strange. I know it wasn't fair to the players, but the days when a player stayed with one team for a career made for some pleasant continuity.

Ladel 11:54 AM  


Thanks for all that, now tell the people what a minhag is, a gutton shabbos.

hazel 12:15 PM  

@Chip - I couldn't agree with you more - seeing Smoltz in something other than a Braves cap just looks wrong. I was mad as a hornet at HIM when I first heard of his departure, (my husband didn't have the nerve to tell me - I found out from my dentist!). After learning of the context for his departure, though, I completely respect his decision - and think it was a front office blunder more than anything. He didn't leave for money (how much does one person really need???), he left because he didn't feel valued. I say this not because of the statements he made, but because of those his teammates made. All that to say - if the Braves were still owned by Ted and not a corporation, it never would have happened. The good old days for sure.

chefbea 12:37 PM  

@hazel and chip a shame I can't put my two beets worth into your baseball conversation!!!

Doug 12:41 PM  

YAHWEH I know from the U2 song, and the real meaning came to me later. It reminds me of playing RockBand with the kids who say things like "You actually know this song Suffragette City?"

Easy, but I'll take a completed Saturday anytime. I'm now 3 for about 130 Saturdays, if I calculate that I've been doing this for about 3 years since watching Wordplay on a plane and getting sucked in. Speaking of Wordplay and today's grid, the ACPT site has pics of Ellen Ripstein INASPIN, TWIRLING her batons.

Most non-Brits didn't get the clever use of the OWLS exam in Harry Potter, which is a play on words of the "O-Levels" exams that determine if a British child will be flipping burgers or doing brain surgery. Our friends had many a holiday postponed because teenage George or Prunella had to work on French or Maths during Xmas break.

radioguy 12:41 PM  

FRISCO? Come on!

Rex, I love the picture you found of BRET Saberhagen, a picture that was taken in 1985 after the last out of his 11-0 shutout that won the Royals their only World Series. I once got a Saberhagen autograph for someone while Bret was on a Minor League rehab assignment, pitching against a team for which I used to work. He was with the Red Sox at the time.

santafefran 12:55 PM  

Knew this had to be easy when I could finish the puzzle with only a google for TIERNEY and ADELA. Your gimme is my stumper.

@mac and chefbea:
Also tried FILE first even though I think that is for file gumbo(which has okra) and not jambalaya (which doesn't contain okra).

Rex, I was hoping you would post this great Hank Williams song:

here is the url:

Bill from NJ 12:57 PM  

Even with all my motor skill problems, this was a super fast solve for me. Objectively speaking, I knew this was an easy puzzle but I still feel good about it.

@steve l-

I am a nice Jewish boy myself but your post made me feel like a Presbyterian - not that there's anything wrong with that.

joho 12:59 PM  

I enjoyed for a brief New York (Times) minute that I had suddenly become brilliant this Saturday.

Oh, well, still ... it was a fun experience if not the challenge it was expected to be.

@Artlvr ... I too, thought IRON for URGE and smiled at IRONAGE. I think this might a petit malapop.

I briefly had BADSEED for SADSACK and FINETIP for FELTTIP ... but that's not much trouble at all for a Saturday.

I do hope that tomorrow brings on a bigger challenge.

joho 1:02 PM  

@BillfromNJ ... that's funny, I am a Presbyterian, glad you don't object!

@rex ... I forgot to thank you for the Phil Hartman clip. He was a genious who died too soon.

Shamik 1:27 PM  

Agree. Super easy. My second fastest correct time for a Saturday since I started tracking.

Am in the Yahweh camp. With a good Episcopalian upbringing in Connecticut, I didn't know about the not writing Yahweh out completely "rule."

I was 18 when I went to work as a computer typesetter for the Stamford Weekly Mail and Shopper for the Rosenbaums. I received a press release with all the Yahweh's looking like Y-hweh. Being a good typsetter I filled in all the "a"s. Old Harry came back to the production room and gently explained to me that the hypen was intentional.

Anonymous 1:58 PM  

@bill from nj--Obviously, since I have no qualms about posting on Shabbat, I'm not that observant, either. However, I have to keep telling people, not being observant and not being educated are two different things. Some really bright Jews don't know a Torah from a hora or a dreidel from a kneidel.

@Ladel--An example of minhag is what writing G-d instead of God is--a custom, rather than a law. Its opposite is Halacha, or prescribed law.

One more thing I learned while fact-checking my post above--Adonis, the good-looking Greek god, derives his name from Adonai. And all along, I thought it was just a funny coincidence.

miguel 2:01 PM  

Steve I
To paraphrase Adam Sandler...that Adonis is one good looking Jew!

Anonymous 2:15 PM  

Add another vote for one of the easiest Saturday puzzles ever. Only struggle was "ADONAI" which was completely new to me.

Ladel 2:16 PM  


Poor Rex, a few more of these and he'll think his blog has been hacked by a yashiva. BTW, minhag x 3 = halacha for you.

allan 2:40 PM  

Have to agree that this might have been the easiest Saturday ever, due to the fact that I finished it in about 30 minutes, and googled nothing!

@ Rabbi Steve: How about an explanation of Adoshem.

@everyone except joho: I couldn't believe it took until after 1:00 for someone to mention the Phil Hartman clip. I loved that show because of him. And I think he was a Presbyterian. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Anonymous 2:42 PM  

I downloaded Across Lite this morning and printed out the puzzle for the first time. Up to now, I waited for the digest to show up in my e-mail but it was getting later and later. I don't know why I didn't do this earlier. It was easy.

And I don't care if this puzzle was super easy; I'll take it. It's the first Saturday puzzle that I've completed without googling and I am so happy about that.

I bought Corinne Bailey Rae's first alburm; I may be too old (too something) for that kind of thing but who cares. Her voice is really nice.

And I just happened to see Laura the other night for the first time; I think it holds up pretty well.

chefwen 2:44 PM  

Made it through a Saturday Google free and thought WOW are you getting smart or what until I realized how super, simple, easy it was. All in all had fun with it. Only goofs were okra, iron, and Alaskan which were easily corrected. Really wanted moccasin to have something to do with Minnetonkas which are my footware of choice.

fergus 2:58 PM  

Yeah, it looked like a Saturday for about a minute and a half. Usually there might be one corner that drops in -- certainly never all four. Puzzle was supposed to help me procrastinate for at least an hour, but saw it took only 12 minutes.

There was a girl at my high school called Adele St. John (no, come to think of it, her surname was St. George -- a cheerleader who showed more interest in the intellectuals than the football players), which led to my only glitch, except maybe minor suspicion over ENTAIL.

More slices of Ham.

Anonymous 3:09 PM  

After doing all of today's work (Rex, your comments, my comment), I went back and read the comments that I missed from yesterday. I don't always get a chance to do that, but I'm glad I did today. Andrea Carla Michaels said she began by having something original to say but was simply too exhausted after reading all the comments. I laughed out loud because that is just how feel. I started laughing again while typing it. I love this blog.

Anonymous 3:09 PM  

@Steve L

I like that idea about not being observant isn't the same as not being educated, if only I fully understood it!

@allan, joho, bill from nj
PRESBYTERIANS as you may not know is an anagram for BRITNEY SPEARS

If you want to add in to the baseball conversations, just change the R in BRET to E!!!!
BEET Saberhagen, now EVERYONE is included!!!!!!!

@Hudson Hawk
I'd comment on the whole FRISCO thing, but technically it's correct bec the clue was not written for folks from here, if that makes sense.
That said, I wrote in HAIGHT and was going to later carp that it should be THE Haight.

I came out to San Francisco in 1984 to be a hippie and no one told me that it had ended approx in Oct '67, when I was, like, 8
25 years later I'm still trying to do my part!
(Mostly by living on air since everything I seem to love doing is free or poorly paid!)

Your clue for AURIC would have truly made this a Saturday level.

Not to pile on, but I did feel the puzzle in addition to being super easy (and this from a Monday gal!)
it seemed stuck in the '40s
what with

I think OWLS was ALLGUSSIEDUP as a Harry Potter clue to make it seem like there was even one word in there from this century.
(Again cluing IDAHOAN with Sarah P was really just applying lipstick to a really old pig at this point)

There was a lost opportunity to make TATS hip.

So, I rate this puzzle too old and too easy...which I suppose could be a description of me!

alanrichard 3:12 PM  

This was a verrrry easy Saturday and it took me less than 10 minutes. I started in the NE with Gene Tierney and Adela Rogers St. John. I remember her from the talk shows when I was a kid. Adonai was a gimmie fron all those years in Hebrew School - finally I see some benefit!!!
I knew 1,2 & 3 ended with man, age and tip respectively and the NW was just a matter of filling in letters.
Aside from remembering Adela Rogers St. John, I also remember when Pele came to American soccer with Chinaglia and Messing.
There were no hesitations in this puzzle.
This is two super easy days in a row. I always watch The African Queen whenever its on Turner. Right Rosie old girl!!!
Jane Fonda, nee Turner, is starring on Broadway in 33 Variations. I got tickets already, so I'm sure my wife will want to get "All Gussied Up" for the show. Generally when we got to shows she tells me "Open your eyes". Usually, I'm the only one at the shows wearing shorts - so she refers to me as a Sadsack, which I might be, but at least I'm not an Idahoan; or as Sinatra would say - I'm from Hoboken not Idaho.
Meanwhile, we have Frisco and Idahoan. We have Adela and Estella. We have Rotary and Roast. We have Darn it and Tats and Agile and Aches. All in all, I liked this puzzle but it was really easy.

chefbea 3:18 PM  

@andrea thanks!! Beet Saberhagen is great

As for kneidel.. Isn't that another name for matzo balls. My mother in law use to call them that.

alanrichard 3:20 PM  

To ACM: Too old, too easy, ha ha! I watched the video of you on the game show. Too bad you didn't get past the opening round - you could have been the equivalent of Ken .... who dominated Jeopardy. Wasn't there something like that on the old Honeymooners show, where Ralph gets on a TV game show on the music categorty of his specialty and he misses the first answer, Swannee or My Old Kentucky Home???

joho 3:22 PM  

@allan: all I can say to you is MOLOTOV! (See, we do have a sense of humor around here.)

@andrea carla michaels: oh, no, NOT Britney Spears. I'm converting.

Three and out ... happy Saturday evening everybody!

Anonymous 3:30 PM  

For all those interested...

During the mid-1930s there was a Senate Committee named the NYE Committee, headed by NoDak's Gerald, that examined the United States' entrance into the first World War. The Nye Committee's ultimate conclusion was that America entered the War due to financiers and industrialists who wanted to line their pockets with defense contracts. The Committee assembled in 1935, during the depths of the Great Depression when war clouds hung over Europe, and it can be considered the height of American isolationism pre-WWII.

I know this because I've considered writing my Master's Thesis on the Nye Committee, and I was obviously delightted to see NYE clued in this context rather than The Science Guy or Comedian Louis.


Anonymous 3:30 PM  

For all those interested...

During the mid-1930s there was a Senate Committee named the NYE Committee, headed by NoDak's Gerald, that examined the United States' entrance into the first World War. The Nye Committee's ultimate conclusion was that America entered the War due to financiers and industrialists who wanted to line their pockets with defense contracts. The Committee assembled in 1935, during the depths of the Great Depression when war clouds hung over Europe, and it can be considered the height of American isolationism pre-WWII.

I know this because I've considered writing my Master's Thesis on the Nye Committee, and I was obviously delightted to see NYE clued in this context rather than The Science Guy or Comedian Louis.


Greene 3:43 PM  

Did anybody else initially put down Eve Arden for 36D "nominee for Best Supporting Actress for Mildred Pierce?" She turned in one of her usual wise-cracking, second banana, best friend portrayals which brightened up what was otherwise a pretty gloomy movie.

I can never watch Mildred Pierce without thinking of that horror of a children's book, The Giving Tree. I guess the unthinking, selfish brat of the book reminds me of the hideous, social climbing daughter, Veda (ruthlessly portrayed by ANN BLYTH) from the film; not to mention the "self-immolation" characteristic which the title characters of The Giving Tree and Mildred Pierce share. This movie is right up there in a long line of films in which mothers sacrifice themselves for ungrateful, unsufferable children: think Imitation of Life, Stella Dallas, and Terms of Endearment.

What's nifty about Mildred Pierce is that it was shot as a film noir, but featured a female protagonist. In true noir fashion, the protagonist is brought down by a femme fatale, in this this case Mildred's own daughter.

One more tidbit and then I'll shut-up, the movie is based on the 1941 novel Mildred Pierce by James Cain, which had to be considerably sanitized to satisy the puritanical restraints of the Hollywood Production Code. Cain also wrote the novellas which served as source material for the classic films The Postman Always Rings Twice and Double Indemnity.

Anonymous 3:46 PM  

@Allan--Cute, "Rabbi Steve." Sometimes at Passover my family calls me that because by comparison, I'm a rabbi. And yet, I'm typing this on Saturday. Adoshem, as far as I can see, is the ultra-Orthodox way of avoiding even Adonai in casual conversation. Adoshem is a combination of the beginning of Adonai and Shem, which simply means "Name;" in other words, the Holy Name. Beyond that, check out the Wikipedia article I cited above.

@Andrea--Yes, a kneidel. K not silent. You don't know what a kneidel is? I assume you do know what a dreidel is. A kneidel, simply put, is a matzo ball. Plural, kneidlach. As in, now it's time to put the kneidlach in the soup. Do you want one kneidel or two? Now this will bring ChefBea and Foodie into soup recipe mode, right? Borscht, anyone?

Also, you can use kreplach. Those are Jewish wontons. Really. Swear to Adoshem.

Anonymous 3:47 PM  

@andrew--NYE can also be clued simply as 12/31.

Anonymous 3:50 PM  

@Puzzle Girl I could name the two senators from North Dakota and Nye was the first answer I wrote in. And I've only been in North Dakota once.

Nothing to add otherwise. Is this

Anonymous 3:51 PM  

Easiest Saturday puzzle ever to me.
Got my paper at 6 a.m., breezed through the puzzle--no googling. Just wrote one answer right after the other.

Maybe Will is doing penance for having such an impossibly difficult puzzle last Saturday.

Nothing memorable to me.

Kathy D.

Doc John 3:54 PM  

Easiest Saturday by far- did it in less than 12 minutes! Lots of fun, interesting fill so that made it even more enjoyable. First fill- ADONAI. Hooray, going to Hebrew School for all those years finally paid off!

FRISCO is also a town on the way to Breckenridge, CO. I spent a night on a conference room floor there during a blizzard. (We were trying to get to Aspen.)

Why were there only 49 contestants in the Miss Ebonics contest? Because nobody wanted to be Miss I DA HO. (Maybe Sarah Palin's daugher is up to the challenge.)

Anonymous 4:12 PM  

@puzzle girl

I'm anonymous 3:50 from Iowa City.

chefwen 4:39 PM  

MMMMMM Leberknoedel zuppe, one of my favorites.

jeff in chicago 4:39 PM  

Earlier this week, on Wednesday, I thought it was Tuesday. Today, not even for a moment, did I think it was Thursday. Still, "super easy" it must be, as I actually finished it. Fine with me. I finished a Saturday. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

ArtLvr 5:27 PM  

@ Andrew -- Thanks for filling us in on the NYE committee of 1935! I still enjoy learning about such nuggets of US history, though I totally gave up an early passing thought of such a major when my final exam in one course consisted of one question: "Name all of FDR's Secretaries of State, in order, with details of when each one left and why." Egads, my only D in college, and I would still draw a blank!

Anonymous 5:29 PM  

I was afraid that Rex would rate this puzzle's super easy. Like Anne (congrats!), today is also my first Saturday solved sans Google. I knew it would be the easiest Saturday ever for the expert solvers when I finished almost all of it without pausing. I was slowed down by having finetip instead of FELTTIP and by not knowing ADONAI and ADELA.

My first entry was IDAHOAN- "Palin" jumped out at me (she's always kinda scared me) when I pulled the puzzle out of the printer and didn't really solve it acrosses first like I usually do.

After I finished, I Googled Ann Blythe and Gene Tierney just to learn more about them- and found out that Tierney lived a very tragic life. She contracted Rubella when she was pregnant with her first child (father was Oleg Cassini) when a sick fan snuck out of quarantine to meet her at the Hollywood Canteen. The child was born deaf, partially blind and severely mentally disabled among other things and supposedly Tierney's struggles with this child's health triggered bipolar disease. Tierney was hospitalized several times as a result and suffered through 27 shock treatments and a suicide attempt.

Anyway, sorry for the long post, but I am still on a high from my first non-Google Saturday!

Andy 5:36 PM  

I'm with the crowd who was feeling proud of themselves before visiting the blog. Solved it very fast for me (under 30 minutes) which is very slow for a lot of you. I guess maybe they should have made the clues tougher, because it seems like a pretty good-looking puzzle once filled.

Anonymous 5:41 PM  

Didn't anyone else jump to PINKBOX instead of loaf pan?

Rex Parker 5:45 PM  

PINKBOX sounds like a most unfortunate condition...


Anonymous 6:13 PM  

Damn, I thought I was a real smarty-pants to finally solve a Saturday puzzle. Well, I'm keeping it anyway!

I haved lived in San Francisco for 30 years. The first thing you learn is to NEVER call it Frisco. It's either "San Francisco" or "The City". Just a little peeve with the puzzle's (apparently) east coast constructor.

fikink 6:13 PM  

Rex, bite your tongue!

Anonymous 7:05 PM  

PINKBOX as a condition perhaps is related to HAZELNUTS.

green mantis 8:15 PM  

Rex and Chemist: ew.

I sixteenth the Frisco issue, and had what I thought was a great early misfill in Arizona: Civic club= LoJack, because I have it in my mind that LoJack is The Club thing you put on your steering wheel, which it is not, but still.

Your share car has one of those Andrea, right?

I don't understand how this puzzle got to show up today. Will has lots of puzzles marinating for each day level, right? Why would this happen? It's so wind-out-of-sails-making to gear up for the Saturday and have such a limp challenge.

mac 9:00 PM  

Maybe Will is on vacation, gearing up for the tournaments, the first of which will be in Westport, CT in TWO WEEKS! I finally met a crossword puzzler, who works at Barnes @ Noble, in that town! We will meet again at the library on the 7th. It will be fun, I think 7 or 8 Rexites will be there. I'll have them over for drinks afterward!

allan 9:25 PM  

@Steve: Congrats. You passed the test and now hold the title of Head Rabbi. (:?)

@Joho: I'm still laughing. <:o)

@acm: You have quickly become my favorite poster. By the way, did you see my instructions for posting in neon fonts yesterday. If not, check it out. [;>)

In case you haven't noticed, my emoticons make me a man of many hats; a Kippah for Steve, a clown's hat for Joho, and as close to a fedora as I could get for acm.

Jeffrey 9:46 PM  

Darn. I was hoping to be allan's favorite poster.

Anonymous 10:47 PM  

"I haved lived in San Francisco for 30 years. The first thing you learn is to NEVER call it Frisco. It's either 'San Francisco' or 'The City.'" -Danny

"SF" is also acceptable. "Frisco" and "San Fran" are considered very rude and are never heard within the city itself, and neither are considered proper in any part of the Bay Area, though the latter is less severe. The real test for an outsider, however, is to have to pronounce Gough or Noe! Back on topic now...

Only four errors for me today, certainly a Saturday record, but I definitely don't feel like I earned it given the easy clues. Despite that, there was a high amount of unfamiliar people names. Out of 11 I recognized only 4 (BRET, PELE, SINATRA, RAE) and should have recognized a fifth (DESADE). The were bad enough that just one of my errors was in a cross of two regular words. TIERNEY, ADELA, and ESTELLA are common enough to guess, and I didn't realize YMA referred to a person until I came here (end even then after some head-scratching).

-Cur/ADuNAI/DErADE: I'm kicking myself over DERADE, I should have known better. I would pronounce ADUNAI and ADONAI the same way, so it was good enough to match whatever the hell I dragged out of my memory.
-ANaBLYTH/aYES: Both unfamiliar names, I didn't worry about it too much.
-HAIRBOb/SPEEDbAY: If this wasn't one of my last fills I probably would have gotten it, but it was good enough at the end.

PS: Love the Harry Potter clue.

Linda Ball 11:23 PM  

I wished Eve Arden didn't have the same number of letters as Ann Blyth. Eve deserved the nod and as it turns out she got it, too! And she got to say this about Ann Blyth's character "Personally, Veda's convinced me that alligators have the right idea. They eat their young."

Stan 12:20 AM  

Yay -- I finished a Saturday!

(Okay so it was apparently the easiest one ever...)

@Greene: you know a lot about movies -- more than me. Nice comments on 'Mildred Pierce'.

Minor point: there is no writer whose last name is "de Sade" -- it's "Sade" (spelled but not pronounced like the singer). What's his first name, "Marquis"?

allan 2:10 AM  

@crosscan: Okay, it's a tie (see how easy I am?)

@all: good night & pleasant dreams.

Anonymous 4:16 AM  

Old and easy? Who are you , me?
Crosscan is my favorite poster
(If you don't count the giant one of the Beatles in my room) so by transitive property, all is well.
Still working on the pink neon thing.
Thanks for the unexpected compliment, tho! :) Zei gesund and kreplach to all!

Anonymous 6:36 PM  

A fun puzzle, but it needed some Saturday cluing.
How about 3D(Clue for Woodward and Bernstein) FELTTIP

I liked ALL GUSSIED UP. With ESTRELLA's adopted mother Miss Havisham, constantly in her wedding dress.

Didn't Tyler Hinman write something about FRISCO being an inapt appelation for SF ?

Anonymous 8:12 PM  

@doc john -- no one will read this, but I just wanted to register my complaint with your impressively offensive "joke" at the end of your post. No high horse here (I'm not exactly one to shy away from bad jokes or whatever), I'm just saying I think that joke crossed a line (and a line that was, interestingly, referred to in this day's puzzle...). Very few comedians could pull off an "ebonics/ho" joke on stage, and even fewer of them would refer to going to Hebrew School earlier in the bit... I'm just sayin'... ok, I guess there's a little bit of a high horse here. Sorry, but that was just bad taste.

Bob Kerfuffle 5:08 PM  

@john in NC - Other members of this group have guided me, so let me pass on the following: You are wrong when you say "No one will read this", because if you check the box which says "Email follow-up comments to . . .", any post made after yours will be automatically sent to your email address. Therefore, most of those who commented will get your comment, and mine. (And I'll bet you see this because as I did, before I knew about this feature, you will come back to see if anyone DID read it.)

Jan C 11:23 AM  

Very easy for a Saturday, or any day. But a nice way to end the week. Especially after last Saturday’s buzz kill.

One quibble. It appears to be OK to continue bashing S Palin, even after the race is done and we have, hopefully, moved on to better things. Having lived in Alaska for 25 years, I can say with some assurance that neither is she as horrible as the far left says, or as wonderful as the far rights thinks. And that goes for her family, too. There is much to be said for being gracious winners and I think our new President has set a fine example from which we can all learn.

I love coming here, even four weeks late, reading the post-puzzle wrap up by Rex and then all the wonderful commentary. However, the negative comments are grating and beneath the intelligence normally on display.

Anonymous 11:53 AM  

As I was born in San Francisco myself, I must invoke the late, great columnist Herb Caen: "May you be boiled in oil, or fried in Crisco, if you call San Francisco 'Frisco'.

Too easy today. I was going so fast I was waiting to get mired down somewhere but never happened.

cody.riggs 10:47 PM  

In syndication, so it's likely no one will read this, but...

Say it isn't so, Rex. Are you kidding? You lived in California and didn't know LASSEN national volcanic park?! Give us a break. RAE was totally obscure compared to that answer. Sheesh.

Enough with California, on to Alaska. I remembered an interview with some family member of Sarah Palin who said something to the effect of "I have no idea why she talks that way, since she's from Idaho," so that clue didn't fool me at all.

This puzzle became (needlessly) much harder if you, like me, confidently inked in FOLSOM for Summer of Love locale. FRISCO just didn't even qualify as a valid word, much less an answer, and since FOLSOM caused a string of other equally valid crossings that were also incorrect (such as OKRA instead of RICE, which led to FAILURE instead of SAD SACK)the NE corner, I have to say WAS Saturday-level.

But I digress. Why, again, was LASSEN "all kinds of wrong" ? That was a Tuesday-level clue, at least until Mt. St. HELENS becomes a national park as well.

Waxy in Montreal 11:20 PM  

Just back from Maui and this was my first NYT crossword in 2 weeks. Since I solved a Saturday in no time flat, naturally assumed all the exposure to the beautiful weather in Maui had magically rejuvinated all my little gray cells. Alas and alack, reading this blog is to learn that it was the easiest Sat ever. Rats! Oh, well, bring on Monday - I'm ready.

WilsonCPU 12:25 PM  

One more on JIFFYPOP - I must be the only person who arrived back up in the great NW with exactly these letters: ------OP ! Which of course made it look even more like STOVETOP was going in despite "stove" being in the clue! What a relief when JAVAMAN made all things clear.

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