Fictional character whose first name is Kentaro / SAT 10-1-11 / One vertex of Summer Triangle / Movie genre food staple / Transportation Sugar Hill 1941 song

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Constructor: David Quarfoot

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: none

Word of the Day: ZYNGA (26D: Company behind the popular social network games FarmVille and CityVille) —
Zynga (/ˈzɪŋɡə/) is a social network game developer located in San Francisco, United States. The company develops browser-based games that work both stand-alone and as application widgets on social networking websites such as Facebook and Myspace. (wikipedia)
• • •
Another gorgeous grid from Mr. Quarfoot, though it's so stacked with proper nouns (brands and names and pop culture and what not) that it might prove infuriating for some. STYRO is the only real clunker I see here (29D: Commercial prefix since the 1950s). Well, A CALL's not great, but those are very small prices to pay for such a lively, contemporary, edgy grid. SEX SCENEs! BOOB JOBs! (11D: Growing concern for a surgeon, informally?) Very LATE NITE. I found the puzzle hard to get into, but once I was in, I was able to make steady if slowish progress straight through — strangely, I didn't once have to reboot (i.e. start over in a new section where I had nothing). I just built on crosses, in both directions from my point of origin, until I surrounded that damn NW corner and finished things off in a well-within-normal-range Saturday time. Still, I think this might play slightly harder than average, given the preponderance of names. Initial times at the NYT site seem a little sluggish.

Started with very little (most of it wrong). Had SAT instead of ETS and SSN instead of SGT (that last one was a colossal misread) (38A: E-5: Abbr.). Finally broke through by giving JET LI a shot at 31D: "Romeo Must Die" actor, 2000. I can't remember a thing about "Romeo Must Die"—my memory has it starring Gary Oldman and Lena Olin—but for some reason JET LI was pushing his way to the front of my mind, and I liked where it put that "J"—in position to give me a last name starting with "J" at 30A: Flying Dutchman captain of film (DAVY JONES). Guessed JONES and got A-TRAIN (12D: Transportation to Sugar Hill, in a 1941 song) and ASSETS from there. Rest of the NE was easy. From there I went down and clockwise. Later returned to DAVY JONES and worked counterclockwise until I was done. NW was maddening because I've never heard of GOD'S ARMY (3D: Side in an epic battle), so even when I got ARMY, I was confused. Also, I had ---RANK and could think of only SITE and NAME as possible fill. "PERMIT ME" seemed too polite for the more pushy-sounding clue 1D: "Step aside, I'll help" and I'd never heard of MXS (hmmm ... I guess I've heard the phrase "MX missle" before ...), so there was lots of trouble up there. The "S" in GOD'S ARMY / MXS was the last thing into the grid.

Considered ODETS before ALBEE at 20A: "The Play About the Baby" playwright. Took a while to see LA PAZ (25A: City of the Altiplano). Only got MR. MOTO because I allowed myself to imagine that 1D ("PERMIT ME") ended with ME, thereby supplying the first "M" (32A: Fictional character whose first name is Kentaro). Lots of movies and sports and song and television. Was unaware Danny GLOVER had played Mandela (64A: He played Mandela on TV's "Mandela"). Was unaware (or forgot) that ANKA was Canadian. Took much longer than I should have to come up with the crosswordy movie genre named for a food staple. As with OATERS, I know DENEB only from crosswords (34A: One vertex of the Summer Triangle). I know Senator Dick LUGAR, but had no idea he co-sponsored legislation with President Obama (57A: ___-Obama Proliferation and Threat Reduction Initiative (2007 law)). NAGANO is one of those Olympics sites that I easily forget, but it was referred to on some show I watch recently, so it was fresh in my mind (49D: Olympics site that introduced snowboarding). Weird how puzzles can come together by happenstance. The SW corner felt like that—I mean, didn't believe DEER could possibly be the answer to 56D: Bucks and bucks, but imagining the "D" in place allowed me to guess (tentatively) SCROD, which then (off just the "C") (55A: North Atlantic catch) got me UNCOLA (47D: Beverage nickname, with "the"). That corner was done inside of a minute. Just ... lucky guesses. All that luck was offset in the NW, where I struggled mightily, but the overall experience was just as it should be on a Saturday—a tough and entertaining 10-15 minutes (closer to 15 today).

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


PurpleGuy 12:25 AM  

Maybe it's the frame of mind I'm in, or the cocktail I'm sipping...
DNF and did not care to.
I found this puzzle inappropriate and offensive, and I'm surprised it was approved for publishing.
Shame on the NYT.

Shanti -

syndy 12:27 AM  

okay I guess maybe This didn't take as long as it seemed? So much I just scratched my head about. I had Resolve but the JUM needed a "B" Page rank is gobblygook to me-Zynga ??kissoff..MXS/CTS/ETS/RITA total random letters! and I'm sorry GODS ARMY- BOOB JOB just too cutsey for their own good .the rest is NOT BAD but I cannot ABSOLVE mr quarfoot entirely

foodie 12:35 AM  

Well, I loved PERMIT ME on top of JUST GO, the UNCOLA next to MERLOT, and BOOB JOB, although in my Saturday gyrations, I had NOSE JOB for a while (they grow when you lie..., right?).

I needed to google DAVY JONES to get anywhere in the top half, and had SAPORO instead of NAGANO until I googled LUGAR, so it was definitely on the hard side of medium.

All kinds of ideas I needed to set aside before EMOTICON revealed itself :).

And is it OK to have AMEX CARD and yet have CARD in two clues (For NRA and INDEX?) Actually I had the X on INDEX and kept thinking AMEX card (a malapop that does not fit) and then really resisted putting AMEX CARD in the NW..

Still, in spite of my own limits and this one criticism, I can appreciate the construction of this puzzle.

foodie 1:01 AM  

My Quick & Dirty Index puts this clearly in the Challenging range. UNLESS something is going on, like people watching a late game... It took 100 minutes for 50 people to complete this puzzle. On Saturdays, usually, it takes an hour for 50 on line solvers to have posted.

amex card-la michaels 1:26 AM  

took me an hour and I'm bummed bec I have to get up early for my Scrabble tournament, but I loved this puzzle so I had to chime in.
And of course the Scrabbliness helped (AB)solve, esp where LAPAZ, DAVYJONES, JETLI, SEXSCENE,etc.
most fun moment was deciding between nOse and BOOB.

And eerily along @Rex thinking re ME/MRMOTO and forgetting or not knowing that ANKA was Canadian (started with eNyA, close enough to be confusing.

Also unite, enrol before enter.

Hey@foodie, you are right about the whole card thing...what's up with that?!

Anyway, so excited about finishing so had to post just so I could go to bed!

jae 2:14 AM  

I liked this one a lot. A "delightful," if not YUMmy, offering from Mr. Quarfoot. NW was very tough but the rest was on the easy side, especially SW, so medium seems right.

Me too for SAT and SITERANK, but those were about it.

Anonymous 8:28 AM  

Boob job is a pretty low-class
entry for a crossword intended for the general public.

dk 8:49 AM  

Had to reveal OUSTS. :(

The rest of the solve was my usual reluctance to go with my gut. Even as I slurped my SOYLATTE and day dreamed of watching OATERS with my dad.... sigh.

Too bad eighty six was not in the grid then we would have had an overboard theme with SCROD, OUST and DAVYJONES.

I see for some BOOBJOB is a MORAL offense. Blame it on Barbie... That is why we shoot them (the Barbies).

*** (3 Stars) Although I wanted more Ks

Nakitab 9:02 AM  

NW got me, too, but squeezed it out at last. Got "allow me" in my head for 1 down and couldn't get it to stop spinning there. Once I got eaves instead of hives for 21 down I was good to go. Very satisfying Sat puzzle and boob job didn't offend me in the least.

Z 9:09 AM  

Really liked the clue for EMOTICON, spent a lot of time considering digestion before I got the smiley face.

Had nOseJOB as well. Noses and earlobes grow your whole life after all.

@ 8:28 anon - BOOBJOBS are actually a fairly upper class activity. The lower classes are too busy putting food on the table and keeping a roof over their heads to pay for cosmetic enhancements.

I'm not a coder, but it seems to me that search engines try to optimize the search algorithm, while advertisers and bloggers try to maximize page rank, so I think 1A is just wrong.

Smitty 9:23 AM  

I would have rated it easy-challenging for the different parts of the grid, so medium works for me, Good "aha" moments with RED STATE, STYRO, TO DO LIST, EMOTICON, ARSON. New fill like PAGE RANK, JUMBOTRON.

Anonymous 9:42 AM  

I was hoping to see the month that was :(

Blue Stater 9:46 AM  

"Furious" about covers it.

Blue Stater 9:48 AM  

Ooops. I meant "infuriating." This was one big Natick.

Anonymous 10:04 AM  

I agree with Blue Stater. I almost never need to Google at all, and this was DNF even with several. Medium for bottom half, maybe.

jackj 10:15 AM  

Umbrellas won’t provide enough protection when the rains of righteous indignation come pummeling down on Messrs. Quarfoot and Shortz in response to this super edgy (and super) puzzle. Provocative, thy name is Quarfoot.

I wonder if any one word was the root entry for this puzzle; certainly many will feel it was the envelope-pushing BOOBJOB but it seemed to me that the word acting as anchor for this puzzle was JUMBOTRON. Of course, with the lively mind of this constructor he could have launched it with YUM.

In any event, I can’t recall ever being presented with such spirited, aggressive fill and wondered if maybe Pee-Wee Herman had played the Dana Delany guest role for DQ in its construction. (“Good morning, Mr. Puzzleman!”)

Praise to David and Will for the sheer boldness of this puzzle; it will likely be a subject of debate for many moons.

Jim 10:21 AM  

Tough Tuff puzzle. Only thing I couldn't really finish was GODSARMY/OUSTS connectors. Had MRSULU and couldn't let go.

Lots to love though S played very easy and entire N was impenetrable for a while. Believe it or not, guessed DENEB just off the E in JETLI (how, I have no idea...just some of that intangible guesswork rex was talking about) and then guffawed when I got BOOBJOB. Great clue, great answer!

It strains credulity that anyone legitimately a) is offended by the term (or maybe concept) of BOOBJOB and b) feels compelled to tell us about it. As Stephen Fry said, when told by someone his remarks offended them, "so what? Why shouldi care about your whingeing" (gotta love the British).

You know what's really offensive? SKORTS!

Anyway, a truly ball-breaking Saturday, just the way I like 'em.


Campesite 10:33 AM  

Not surprisingly for DQ, this grid contains 12 entries new to the NYT, but Sex Scenes isn't one of them. Boob Job: yep.

hazel 10:44 AM  

count me in the infuriated camp! not because i found the fill offensive, but because i found the clues maddening - that NW corner can go straight to HELL!

Anonymous 10:51 AM  

Can someone explain the Davy Jones clue? I couldn't find any film of The Flying Dutchman.

r.alphbunker 11:05 AM  

Googled ZYGNA and ATRAIN. Filled in MRMOTO on my own but drew a blank on the downs that contained the T and O so I googled to confirm. Once I saw it was correct, I saw OUSTS and then ARSON and STYRO and I was done. I wonder if there is any cognitive model that can explain why knowing that an answer is correct helps you with other intersecting answers.

ASSET so close to BOOBJOB made me thing that it might be a variation of ASSETTE, i.e., a surgically reduced rear end.

Evan 11:09 AM  

@ 10:51 Anonymous:

Davy Jones is the villain in the second and third "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies and captain of the ship called the Flying Dutchman.

Anonymous 11:10 AM  

Purple Guy get a life. where some write checks? How about make checks. I don't think of writing when making a check mark on a list.Tough but good puzzle. GBM

Evan 11:24 AM  

Not sure why anyone would be offended by BOOBJOB unless he or she is offended simply by thinking of breasts. The clue was simply making a playful reference to a plastic surgery procedure. It's not like it demeaned women by saying it's something they should get.

Hand up for first putting in NOSEJOB, but then when I saw the B in ABATE, I thought to myself, they didn't actually do it, did they? That was one of the best "a-ha!" moments I've had in a while: One where I realized the NYT was pushing the envelope of its breakfast test, causing some indeterminate amount of pearl clutching around the world.

quilter1 11:30 AM  

Just kept plugging away until done, but I found this quite challenging. I liked the misdirection of some of the clues, but JUMBOTRON and PAGERANK are unknown to me and had to come from crosses. Didn't hate it, as I like a challenge, (like BEQ puzzles) but I didn't get quite the same satisfaction from it as usual. Good Saturday all.

GLR 11:30 AM  

Challenging on my scale, but did manage to finish without help. The east side came pretty easily. Northwest was the last to fall - had the hardest time coming up with PAGE RANK, even when I had everything but the P & G.

@Z - Search engine optimization is the term used for tweaking the content of a web site to raise its visibility in search results.

Mel Ott 11:38 AM  

Definitely challenging for me. The PAGE RANK, GOD'S ARMY, MXS, ETS cluster in NW is brutal. So is the ZYNGA JETLI wall. Still don't know what ETS.....oh, Educational & Teasting Service. They actually have an excellent conference center in Princeton that I've been to. Not sure what GOD'S ARMY refers to.

Some clues and answers play a little fast and loose with singular and plural nouns. Don't mind SKORTS because the "wear" in the clue is a collective. But TNOTES & OATERS are downright nasty. So is MXS if it's a plural.

BOOB JOB makes the whole thing worthwhile.

mitchs 11:42 AM  

@Mel Ott Ditto right down the line.

M07S 11:46 AM  

@Z Page rank does "try to optimize the search algorithm". It takes its name from Larry Page who came up with the algorithm. So the clue for 1A is correct.

Guiseppe 11:50 AM  

Right in my wheelhouse. L'ed OL when I got BOOBJOB. My one mistake was PAGEbANK/bITA. Seems like a silly one in retrospect. I kinda flew through this (which is not my normal experience for a Saturday), finishing in just over 30 minutes. Lightning fast for me. Like @Jim, couldn't let go of MRSULU for a long time, but got myself out of that. Thought Rex would have despised MXS, but it barely got a mention in the write-up. I threw DAVYJONES, CABANA, ALBEE, LUGAR (he and Obama were Senators then), GLOVER, ATRAIN without batting an eye. Different strokes for different folks, I guess, but I loved this one.

Shamik 12:46 PM  

Oh. My. Goodness/God.


63:46 is my time for today.

Call this one the second most challenging Saturday puzzle that I solved correctly. And the 5th most challenging (with 3 puzzles having mistakes).

That said, what an accomplishment to finish this one correctly! Went all through the puzzle only throwing in an "S" for a plural. Finally got some leeway in the SW and then SE. But then...epic stop with the NW being the most nefarious.

Not offended by BOOBJOB, although NOSEJOB was there first. Seems I know more people who have had the latter than the former. Or at least they admit it more often. NW got stuck forever when I had PERMITME, AMEXCARD, ----ARMY, KNEEPAD, LAPAZ and DAVYJONES. Filling in those final coffee went ice cold.

Brilliant puzzle, Mr. Q, brilliant.

Z 12:50 PM  

@ GLR and M07S - "Computer Science - To increase the computing speed and efficiency of (a program), as by rewriting instructions." - The Free Dictionary Online.

Optimizing PAGERANK is correct in much the same way that War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, and Ignorance is Bliss. As I said - I do not write code, and I do realize that fields often have specialized meanings for terms. But this specialized meaning is Newspeak, so it is wrong in my book. In other words, it offends me far, far, far more than BOOBJOBS or SEXSCENE.

Z 12:53 PM  

Although, to be fair, I'm not actually offended, just annoyed.

Three and out.

North Beach 12:54 PM  

I am astonished that this group of people interested in words and their meanings could be so cavalier about the appropriateness of BOOBJOB. My quibble is with the use of BOOB in the NYT. It is a pejorative term for breast or bosom that I have always found offensive. BOOB? Really? I suppose I should now be on the lookout for a whole slew of possible future answers: LIMPDICK, THATSUCKS, etc.

*gets off high horse*

Lewis 12:54 PM  

Loved the clues for EMOTICON, REDSTATE, and TODOLIST. Learned a new definition for portmateau. Learned the romance writers' award name (and feel like I'm going to forget it). Needed Mr. Google several times, and still feel guilty about that, no matter what anyone says here.

Already missing some good stories and anecdotes today...

600 12:57 PM  

Really? BOOB JOB offended some people? With all the offensive things around, BOOB JOB is even on the list? Hmmm.

I found the SE the easiest, then SW, then NE, and finally the dreaded NW. GODS ARMY held me back, along with PERMIT ME. It took what seemed like forever to get a toehold there. I was sure that bit of green would have something to do with an immigration card. That kept me stymied a long time. Perhaps it was meant to. MXS? Really? OTOH, RED STATE was very cool.

I'd rank this one challenging--took me some longer than my average Saturday, and by some measures it was a DNF. I had to look up "portmanteau"--but it didn't help. Even now I don't know how SKORTS goes with the definition (traveling case or bag for clothes.) Can anyone explain?

I see many started with Mr. Sulu. I started with Mr. Hyde. Somehow I didn't notice that first name in the clue should have ruled him out. Sulu was a way better guess. Hanging my head in shame.

I liked this puzzle. Actually, I loved this puzzle. Challenging, yes, but finally doable, and lots of good, unusual fill along the way. The best part was the great sense of accomplishment, mentioned above by @Shamik, when I finished correctly!

Anon Ed 12:57 PM  

@Jim at 10:21 Had a big LOL re your "ta-ta(s)."

It took a lot of time, but I enjoyed this one.

evil doug 1:00 PM  

Someday I'll tell you all the story about when I was in God's Army! This hot babe with a boob job wrapped herself in Saran wrap skorts! It was a late nite sex scene in her cabana that we filmed and then watched on her Jumbotron! You guys will love it! And if you find any more details on Snopes, just ignore those. This is my story, honest!

What a varmint I was!

With apologies to JoHo, and with no apologies to PurpleGuy....

miriam b 1:09 PM  

Quite challenging. My coffee got cold too, halfway through.

Isn't GODSARMY one side in the Battle of Armageddon? OK, now all you prigs are going to start whingeing about blasphemy as well as about perceived louche answers. Sorry, but I'm offended by YOUR attitude.

I'm about to tell you a true story (please note, @evil doug) about my grandmother. She spoke good English, but with a nearly impenetrable Russian accent. She enjoyed movies and hoped that listening to the dialogue would help her with her pronunciation. As it happened, her favorie films were the MRMOTO series, with Peter Lorre (who I believe was Austrian), playing the Japanese detective.

Anonymous 1:23 PM  

For me, relatively quick solve in the bottom, northeast slow, northwest darn near impossible, but finally finished. Much longer than usual time. Part of that slowness, however, was miscounting of number of letters in answer, or not seeing plural as answer for clue with wear - thought of SKORT quickly, but didn't put it in.

I often confuse the titles "Romeo is Bleeding" (the Olin/Oldman one) and "Romeo Must Die" (today's puzzle).

joho 2:14 PM  

DQ'd again.

The bottom went down easily but the NW and NE did me in.

Even with PERMITME and AMEXCARD I couldn't get that corner primarily due to PAGERANK. And with the EM in place I was actually considering EMptying for the answer!

Small nit, AMEXCARDs aren't always green.

@Evil Doug, don't apologize to me, I love it when you all get creative with the words in the grid.

Great puzzle, thank you, Mr. Quarfoot, you are my nemesis.

Stan 2:15 PM  

Very lively puzzle, with a wide scatter of cultural references from DONNE to ZYNGA. I liked the 'scholarly' corner of the puzzle where someone sits in a library ALCOVE writing LOC. cit. on an INDEX card.

Sugar Hill (I learned today) was an upscale neighborhood of Harlem during the Harlem Renaissance. Referenced in Duke Ellington's "Take the 'A' Train" and also by Sylvia Robinson, founder of Sugar Hill Records, who died last Thursday. She was also in Mickey and Sylvia ("Love Is Strange") -- remarkable woman.

miriam b 2:19 PM  

@joho - Yeah, the AMEXCARD clue flummoxed me at first, bc my card is not green.

Bob Kerfuffle 2:22 PM  

Not quite Armageddon (sorry, @miriam b, I agree that is where GOD'S ARMY will be engaged), but definitely a two-meal puzzle. Finished breakfast with half the grid blank, and Real Life nipping at my heels. Didn't have time to give up completely, though I felt like it. Then, just to see if I could get anywhere, I Googled MR MOTO, and was able to complete the puzz at lunch. I must rate this one very challenging.

And although Rex mentions it, he doesn't quite explain how he came to accept 56 D, Bucks and bucks, for DEER. What am I missing? Where is the wordplay?

600 2:37 PM  

@Lewis--Please, please--what other meaning for portmanteau did you learn today? I've spent the last hour trying to find anything on Google or anywhere else that would tell me why on earth SKORTS is an answer for portmanteau wear. Asked once, now I'm begging. Lewis? Anyone?

600 2:39 PM  

Just found it on Wikipedia! D'oh! Why didn't I look there sooner? So now I know: a portmanteau WORD. Okay. I got it. But I don't like it.

acme 2:41 PM  

DEER is the plural for BUCKS (and does) The wordplay is the singular DEER for the plural animal...
I wouldn't have gotten this but someone was talking about making a puzzle with plurals that appear singular...

Definitely not a class thing! If you are low-class, you just get someone else to pay for them!

And I have a friend who had to have
reconstructive surgery following breast cancer, and SHE refers to it as her fabulous I think it's a matter of sense of humor, as is everything, no? ;)

Will have to steal that Stephen Fry's line!

Thanks for the "Pirates of the..." explanation, and the visual of pearl clutching! Ha!

Weird sidenote about the Austria-Hungarian Jew playing MRMOTO...
(Shades of Andy Rooney and his horrible portrayal of the CHinese Landlord in "Breakfast at Tiffany's", but at least Peter Lorre is a fabulous actor!)
ANYWAY when his daughter was abducted by the Hillside Strangler/serial murderer, he let her go when he found out she was Peter Lorre's daughter!!!!

North Beach 3:00 PM  

@acme: Much like the n-word, I can refer to MY boobs but I was under the impression that the NYT had a fairly stringent code regarding such things.

As for a sense of humor, allow me to slip you a Mickey. That other guy has his last broadcast tomorrow night.

Bob Kerfuffle 3:01 PM  

@acme - Thank you for trying to clarify, but I remain befuddled. I could get the joke if the clue were "Buck and bucks", where both the singular and plural could be answered by the word DEER. But in my NY Times paper version of the puzzle, the clue reads "Bucks and bucks," which just isn't the same thing.

. . . Or did I just have a D'Oh! moment? Are we supposed to be mis-directed into thinking that the clue has something to do with "Lots of Money"? I guess you could make a case for that.

GLR 3:19 PM  

@Z: I'm familiar with the concept of optimizing computer code, but in this case, the term refers to "optimizing" the content of the web page to maximize its page rank in a search engine. From Wikipedia:

"Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines via the "natural" or un-paid ("organic" or "algorithmic") search results. In general, the earlier (or higher ranked on the search results page), and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine's users."

For those who think "boob job" is out of bounds for the NYT, LexisNexis says the term has appeared in the paper a half-dozen times.

Chris Kearin 3:32 PM  

I was absolutely convinced that "Hans Sachs" would be the answer for the Flying Dutchman clue (the second and last letters fit), but, alas, wrong Wagner opera.

Anonymous 3:37 PM  

A waste!

Martin 4:22 PM  


Does it help to note that "Bucks" is not a valid clue for DEER? Because not all deer are bucks, the prohibition against cluing by example would require "Bucks, for instance" or some such. (You can clue OAK as "Tree" but not TREE as "Oak.")

"Bucks and bucks" gets around this convention while enhancing the misdirection somewhat. It might make the solver think in terms of cash, while "Bucks, for instance" kind of "breaks the spell" by introducing non-slang wording.

I don't think it was a top-ten clue or anything, but I think it shows some thought.

evil doug 4:59 PM  

North Beach,

Perhaps certain words should be flat outlawed, although as detestable as I find some of them to be (the "n" word, for example) I'm reluctant to censor their use. I mean, who gets to decide?

Men can get breast cancer; aren't we allowed to use every asset in the language to describe them, "boobs" included? I know men who have the condition known as "man boobs" (gynecomastia) and indeed get "boob jobs" to reduce them.

Who gets to use the "n" word? Is there a certain percentage of black genealogy that permits one to voice that horrible word? With the increasing mix of races, the line separating the races is slowly (and in my view, appropriately) fading; should we all be required to carry papers that identify us as having an element of black blood so we can say it?

If words are free to use by anyone, then they're available to everyone. Anyone, including blacks, who employ the "n" word (sadly) validate its use and condition others to accept it. Nobody gets to protect any piece of the language for their subgroup alone.

It's easier just to let all words survive, and understand that our own ethics (and situational practicality---say the wrong one and you might get your ass kicked) must be the final judge.


mac 5:03 PM  

Great challenging Saturday! My first run-through early this morning hardly produced anything at all. I think just A-train and cabana. Hours later, back for lunch, I finally pieced it together, except for the Zynga/Deneb/sgt. section. That n and g just didn't become clear.

Pagerank I think I have heard here or on facebook when someone had looked something up. I'm not clear on the bucks and bucks clue, either, @Bob.

@miriam b: LOL at the thought of that mixed accent!

David 5:04 PM  

Fun puzzle, and I love the inclusion of BOOB JOB. However, I needed a bit of Google help in that horrific NW so this is a DNF for me.

It was a tale of two puzzles - I nailed the whole bottom half in well below normal Saturday time. As nicely as that part fell, the other half was that brutal. Slogged my way across the NE, correcting ANODES for ASSETS finally, finishing with SKORTS (need to remember that one) and the aforementioned BOOB JOB.

But the NW stymied me, I just couldn't get PAGE RANK and EMOTICON without one google search.....

CoffeeLvr 5:09 PM  

The lower half was relatively easy, I did it (plus KNEEPAD & ALBEE) by myself. Then, I went through the clues looking for ones I could Google and found RITA, LA PAZ, DAVY JONES & DENEB. For 32A, I found SAKATA, SHINJO, AND MR MOTO, so that wasn't much immediate help until I thought that 1D might end in ME. That still left most of the top empty! Finally switched from paper to AcrossLite, and starting using Check, got a few more. Finally revealed the top two and GOD'S ARMY and came limping home. Oh well, the Sunday is up in two hours.

Jayke 5:30 PM  

Wow, I'm just not seeing that "Bucks and bucks" clue. I'd get it if the clue read "Buck and Bucks", as noted above. I'd also get it if DEER was a slang term for money, with the double meaning (animals and slang for cash) reflected in both the answer and the clue.

But as it is, I don't get it.

North Beach 5:36 PM  

Yes, Evil, I think we largely agree. My finer point is that this answer did not pass my "breastfast" test, if you will. While I use any number of questionable words in my daily life, I did not expect the NYT to use a demeaning slang term for any part of anybody's body. A cursory search of the NYT database proves me wrong. Color me surprised. I guess I'll retreat to my rocking chair.

fergus 5:38 PM  

Tough for me, but thoroughly satisfying. The reason I like Saturdays: it picks at a part of my nearly unconscious mind.

michael 7:24 PM  

Northwest corner did me in. Surprised by some of the comments...

Rex Parker 7:48 PM  

And now I've lived long enough to see someone compare BOOBS to "nigger." Wow. What a world.


fergus 7:49 PM  

I am going to throw a bone to Evil Doug. His commentary is usually stimulating, and makes the standard liberal left reconsider.

We've had a number of political correctness discussions in this venue before, but perhaps never have we been so impolitic to recognize that "nigga" is part of our language. Just as fuck and Ho are, too.

My wise 15 year-old son clarified the issue when he finally chose to emphasize a point with a vulgar term of speech.

joho 7:50 PM  

@North Beach ... to me its much worst to call somebody a BOOB than to talk about a BOOBJOB.

Anonymous 7:52 PM  

I started the thread last week about not glorifying rap in these puzzles, and maybe surprisingly to some, I am not offended by the word "boob". Just goes to show you there are reasonable and intelligent people with diverse values and sensibilities solving these puzzles, and the authors and editors should take this into consideration, IMO.

garma 10:35 PM  

this was adnf in spades for me-- but my rule is "no googling." no wonder i spend my life in crossword limbo!

+wordphan 12:22 AM  

This was a real gobsmacker. The "boob job" was this puzzle. Lose-lose, Rex. Really hated it on so many levels. Have a great week!

MaryBR 9:26 AM  

Definitely challenging for me. A few toeholds (LA PAZ, A TRAIN, etc) got me going for a good chunk but then just got absolutely stymied in the west. NW was tricky - had east sidE in there for a while for RED STATE and took me a while to shake it, but once I did, EMOTICON led the way to everything else. My real problem was just below that - even correctly guessing MR MOTO off of MRMO, could not see STYRO, YUM, OUSTS, ARSON or MORAL.

uncle moishy 9:46 PM  

I might be too late, since I don't know if anyone will be reading the comments at this point (it's almost Monday), but could someone please explain why the answer to
38A E-5: abbr. is "SGT" ? I can't figure it out, yet no one else asked about it and Rex's comment, while conceding difficulty, didn't explain it.

Like many others here, I managed the bottom half easily enough, then drew a big blank north of the equator. Googled La Paz and Deneb in hope that they would let me move on with my life, but they really didn't help. Got the NW eventually, but couldn't get the NE because I kept trying (Celine) Dion instead of Anka, anodes and anions instead of assets and locker instead of cabana. After way too long it eventually fell. But still can't understand the SGT answer.

Count me among those not offended by BOOB JOB. One commenter complained that we'll soon see LIMP DICK and THAT SUCKS as answers. Considering some possible clues to LIMP DICK brought a definite smile to my face. As for THAT SUCKS, my recollection is that Johnny Carson used that meaning of "sucks" on the Tonight show a generation ago.

TIA (if anyone's reading)

Z 10:20 PM  


a guy 4:31 AM  

A Burmese rebel group led by messianic pre-teens, and it's boobs that everyone's upset about.

I tried KISS ARMY for a while.

B1bomber 9:43 AM  

This one took me six days to complete, but I did complete it! No googling, no cheating, just six days of staring at the grid till it made sense. I know that's absurd for the aces out there, but gimme credit for determination!

Boobjob, page rank, tough ones indeed but I got em!

ruthshnnn 5:41 PM  

Please ignore this comment--testing the possibility of a Blogger account.

irritated anonymous 7:13 PM  

We get this in syndication, so 6 weeks late. I don't often finish a Saturday puzzle, but usually when I don't, if I come here, I go "aha!" and appreciate the cleverness of the puzzle maker. I didn't have that experience with this one, esp the NW corner.
ps really? people get offended by comments, and think it is relevant?

Dirigonzo 12:25 AM  

Also from syndication but I'm only 5 weeks late - must be a warp in the time-space continuum (speaking of which, don't forget to set your clocks back tonight). After reading all the comments and explanations, I still don't get the "Bucks and bucks" clue for DEER.

And to travel even further back in time here's what was going on at RPDTNYTCP on this date 5 years ago:
- "Solving time: 45:36"
- "OK, since you mentioned 1987 (year I graduated from high school), I am required (by my own set of internal laws) to comment. As I understand it, Billy Idol lost his virginity (possibly in the back seat of a car) while this song was on the radio, and that is why he decided to cover it later in his life. It is not my favorite Billy Idol song, but it'll do when no other Billy Idol song is around. "White Wedding" is very nice, but my favorite may be "Dancing With Myself," which, despite the fact that the title may in some way contain a not-so-thinly veiled reference to masturbation, is (coincidentally) the opening musical number in Flushed Away. You may now all admire the fabulous symmetry of this puzzle commentary."
- There were 3 comments including this from @Orange: "1. Rita the mouse/rat had such fetching pants, a can-do attitude, the voice of Kate Winslet, and boobs unlike any rodent I've ever seen. Of course you liked her."

Anonymous 2:33 AM  

Alas, the Spacecraft crash-landed on this one. Was able to do the SE and E central, but couldn't find anything west of NOTBAD and north of ALBEE. "place___" ACALL? You honestly expect anyone to get ACALL from "place___?" And what in the hey does ETS have to do with college-bound students? Are they there to learn the Latin for "and?"
Sorry, but in my view that whole section is totally ungettable. In the NE, I actually wanted ANKA, but having nothing to hang it onto, couldn't commit. It's not as if there aren't lots of four-letter Canadian singers (though how many of them have three BB #1's I can't say, and wouldn't know how to look up). I have no objection to BOOBJOB--except its UNGETTABILITY from the clue! NETTLE for 'get to?" ASSETS for "they're positive?" Sorry, David, but I'm not Kreskin. I have to have a fighting chance with a clue; i.e., something more narrow than "that could be ANYthing."
I even had UNES and UNCOLA crossing in the SW, but that's all she wrote there. Tried to Google the Mandela one--and couldn't find GLOVER or anybody else. Also, if you're going to clue ARSON with "ignition trouble," the least you could do would be to put a ? after it.
I guess when it comes to cluing, you simply have NORULES.
The weird part is: the first thing I dropped into the grid was SGT. Go figure.

Dropout 6:09 AM  

"Place a call" gets 21.7 million Google hits. Definitely in the language. "Place a bet" only gets 7.4 million hits!

ETS = Educational Testing Service -- You were joking, right?

Captcha: examinh - The Vietnamese version of College Boards!

boardbtr 12:59 PM  

Five weeks and a day later. I haven't heard of ETS in any context except Extra Terrestrials or ETs. Also I may not have read closely enough, but I didn't really see an explanation of MXS and I don't see anything in Google that helps much. Many of the clue/answer sets are of the type that make me lose interest in even continuing with attempting to solve.

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