Sandy tract by sea to a brit / SAT 12-31-11 / Novelist whose character Adah speaks in palindromes / Curly-furred cats / Old Testament man of field / Thoughtful soul to solitude retires poet

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Constructor: Joe Krozel

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: none

Word of the Day: DENE (29A: Sandy tract by the sea, to a Brit) —
n. Chiefly British
A sandy tract or dune by the seashore.
n (Earth Sciences / Physical Geography) Brit a valley, esp one that is narrow and wooded (

• • •

High point: KINGSOLVER
Low point: DENE (?)
Crucial gimmes: NODS, SCION, SSW, SAGA

Took one look at that four-stack and thought "ugh, this is not going to be good." Such stunts rarely are. But I must say, as four-stacks go, this one was not terrible. Solid all the way across, and with only slightly rickety crosses here and there. Actually, only SENG seemed particularly out-of-the-ordinary (38D: Hong Kong's Hang ___ index). As RRNs (random Roman numerals) go, I actually don't mind XIII, and every other cross is decent. Nicely done. Mind you, the fill you get on a four-stack is rarely scintillating, and today is no exception. Hard to get excited about REAL ESTATE TAXEzzzzzzzzz (31A: They're often placed on parcels). But still, the whole thing comes off clean, which is about as good a result as I could have hoped for. 

Started with NODS (22A: Approvals), then guessed SCION (1D: Offshoot) and immediately got its anagramming cross, ICONS (17A: Computer screenful). NW, done. KINGSOLVER (4D: Novelist whose character Adah speaks in palindromes) and MOISTEST (20D: Like the best chicken or turkey, say) went down easily into that middle section. Off of MISS (6A: What a 61-Across will be called for only a little while longer), I guessed BRIDE-something in the SW, which got me into that section, which ended up being the easiest of all. Threw HEART SHAPE up into the middle section and thus had a very nice block of crosses to get me started (28D: Feature of many a box of chocolates). I don't remember much else, except having to change AT THIS RATE (which feels familiar) to AT THAT RATE (which feels ... something else). And I finished up in the NW—not for any particular reason; that's just how it worked out. Nothing tough up there. 

  • 23A: "The thoughtful soul to solitude retires" poet (OMAR) — had the "O" and got it instantly. I assume this is OMAR Khayyam. Yes. I guess "Khayyam" is not his last name (?) (though wikipedia sure seems to think it is). 
  • 47A: Old Testament "man of the field" (ESAU) — might have gotten this even without the "ES-" already in place. Seems pretty easy stuff for a Saturday (maybe we're supposed to end the year with an easy puzzle so everyone can feel like a winner!)
  • 34D: Red Sox anthem ("TESSIE") — I've liked the Red Sox for decades and have been to a couple games at Fenway and still didn't know this. Wanted "Sweet Caroline" or "Dirty Water."
  • 52D: Curly-furred cats (REXES) — ironically, I had absolutely no clue about this one 'til I got that "X" in there.  
Have a safe and happy New Year's Eve, everyone.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


foodie 12:06 AM  

The estate lawyer invited the heirs to his PRIVATE PRACTICE. “Before you START SOMETHING, or contemplate a CIVIL suit, you should be aware of the situation” he said. “In spite of BUDGET CUTS, your father’s business was struggling. He also needed to MAKE RESTITUTION to a number of people he had wronged, you know, make AMENDs… And with the REAL ESTATE TAXES being what they are… “

“SPARE ME” said the SCION of the family. “AT THAT RATE, we’re inheriting next to nothing! Is that your story?”

The lawyer NODS his OVOID head.

“Well, forget this! I’m outta here¡ I’m buying a HEARTSHAPED box of chocolates, picking up my BRIDE TO BE and heading to a TOGA PARTY. Thanks for nothing! IT’s been A BLAST!”

Deb 12:07 AM  

I loved this puzzle because it's one of only a handful of Saturday puzzles I came this > < close to solving with no help. I finally had to break out the dictionary to solve BUSHWA/STAT - I'd never heard of the former and really don't like "turnovers, e.g." as a clue for STAT.

imsdave 12:13 AM  

Wish I could say it was easy for me, but not so much. Maybe it was because I solved @10:15 instead of my usual 4:30 am, but it was a mighty struggle for me. Forgiving the DENE, SENG, and OHI, I thought it was a very solid and (for me), challenging puzzle.

I didn't forget my blogmates and did a little puzzle for you all. I had some computer issues last week, but have them all sorted out now. Lot's of flaws, but I know at least some of you will enjoy it.

Best wishes to all for a wonderful 2012!

Happy New Year

foodie 12:15 AM  

Rex, Khayyam means "the tent-maker". Since I don't think Omar Khayyam was a tent maker himself, I have always assumed it was a family name, but it's just an assumption.

BTW, re yesterday's puzzle and Rex's comment about scientific literacy, it might be fun to google George Smoot, a Nobel Prize winner in astrophysics who won a million dollars on Are You Smarter that a Fifth Grader. He has also been outspoken about the importance of scientific literacy for society.

Jeffrey 12:35 AM  

I agree with Rex in my own way.

Rex: But I must say, as four-stacks go, this one was not terrible.

Me: Awesome puzzle. TAX answers are awesome!

And Dave, thanks for yours as well.


Noam D. Elkies 12:47 AM  

And as we know, central 4-stack & centrally symmetric grid ⇒ even height, usually (as here) 16 rows instead of the standard 15.

Not bad for the last puzzle of the year given that it had to be Saturday and thus (with too few exceptions) themeless.

On to 2012,
—NDE [captcha = ingerian = 149 scam?]

Deb 1:01 AM  

@foodie - love your story!

@imsdave - really enjoyed your puzzle :)

Yershis: chocolate for dyslexics

Odile 1:23 AM  

I saw "What a 61-Across will be called for only a little while longer" and just assumed that the four spaces would be 2011 and it was going to be some kind of rebus-y New Year's puzzle. The tax theme could only be a letdown after that, but still a fun ride.

Tobias Duncan 1:38 AM  

Have not finished a Saturday in a while, felt good.

dk showed up at my little coffee shop this morning.He fits in perfectly here in New Mexico... thats not really a compliment thought ;D

Speaking of New Mexicans, should we send out a search party for jesser?

retired_chemist 1:41 AM  

A fun solve. Medium here. Got my footholds in the NW and SE, worked inward.

The 15s were almost blank for a long time, except for RPMs, AIDA, and SENG. Deduced XIII from knowing that the modern Olympics started in the 1890s.

Much confusion in the NE, where OPUS was all I had. ONION was the food item cut into rings. Period. (I bet you did that too.) SPIT for "skewer" (13D) didn't help. Eventually ADVERB seemed a good bet @ 21A, even though it killed those two. AHA! OLIVE and STAB work, and the NE got a lot easier.

Plunked down ESAU (47A) and surprised myself by being right. He always makes me think of the Take a Pew sketch in Beyond the Fringe (Alan Bennett). "My brother Esau is an hairy man, but oi - OI - am a smooth man."

The SW had ETA for 59D, leading to some consternation when that gave me BRIDE TOTE. Fixed. 43A was CIA, which got me AT THIS RATE for 35D. That made 49A S BAR, which wouldn't wash. Also fixed, which corrected 43A.

By now I was getting enough crosses in the middle to piece the 15s together, and soon all the loose ends fell into place. The D in DENE/ADAPTORS was my last square.

A good workout, as expected for a Saturday. Felt fresh throughout to me. Thought the down fill in the middle overall was pretty d**n good considering the needs of four stacked 15s.

Thank you, Mr. Krozel. Good one.

jae 1:46 AM  

Easy -medium for me.  Only write over was EINE for OPUS.   Not as lively as yesterday's but a pretty solid Sat.   High point -- Guessing right at the MINIM/OMAR cross.

So, is OMAR a first or last or....?

santafefran 1:57 AM  

@imsdave Thanks for the present.

@foodie Thanks for the smiles.

@Tobias and dk--sorry to miss the reunion.

@retired Hands up for ONION, SPIT and CIA for a while.

MINIM is new to me.

Joe Krozel Thanks for a Sat. xword that I could struggle through!

chefwen 2:07 AM  

Medium for me. Off to a slow start which is the norm for me on Saturday. A lot of staring going on. Like retired_chem onion was my choice for rings and spit before stab was a little less violent in my eyes.

Southwest corner was the last to go in, eta before TBA at 59D skewed that area. We have a little Brittany Spaniel named Toby whom we call Tobe and when BRIDE TOBE went down it took me a few moments to parse TO BE. Color me red!

Finishing Friday and Saturday's puzzles, what a year end treat.

Loved your story @foodie, you and @joho should collaborate, you're both very imaginative. I feel a book coming on.

Aegis Civil Minims 2:36 AM  

Malapopped as my 62A was AmeNd instead of ATONE which I crossed with 51D, also AMEND, so i had to wait and see which one blinked...

I loved the four stack...esp getting the Xs in there.
Took a long time as I has sTAmpS on my parcels...

Plus I started with a TWO Car garage, damn me and my upscale notions!

I know DENE from Scrabble (learn your fours!) but chikened out and tried DuNE even tho it had to be RE- something for crop again.

Loved @foodies story...but no mention of OTBS and BETON?!

Anyway, very festive puzzle for New Years Eve with Bridal and toga parties and then ITSABLAST .
Definitely not a SNORE. Nice one, Joe!
Thanks for ending the year on a nice high note.

Anonymous 5:09 AM  

Rex: But I must say, as four-stacks go, this one was not terrible.

Only on the dark side would you get a double negative to say something positive....

Liked TOGA PARTY over BRIDE TO BE...and right next to LATEX.

MADE RESTITUTION is a long past way of saying ATONE?

Lots of legal and financial stuff in this one. Nothing wrong with that. Just sayin....


johnranta 5:32 AM  

As we say "up heah", this one was wicked pissah easy. I do have to say, I've been to a lot of Red Sox games, and have never heard anyone sing "Tessie". "Sweet Caroline" and "Shipping up to Boston", for sure, but never "Tessie". JR

Bill from FL 7:52 AM  

"Tessie" was a Red Sox anthem (from a Broadway show of that era) early in the 20th century. It was revived for modern punk version by the Dropkick Murphys a few years ago:

retired_chemist 8:07 AM  

@ imsdave - your puzzle was a nice way to start the morning. Thanks, and Happy New Year back at'cha!

Glimmerglass 8:20 AM  

Medium for me, too. Lots of stuff I didn't know, but the crosses and good guesses eventually won the day. My experience was just like most of the others who didn't find this easy. Happy New Year, all.

Smitty 8:28 AM  

Darn I just thought I was extra smart this morning.

Loren Muse Smith 8:45 AM  

@Smitty and Glimmerglass - medium for me, too. Great puzzle with lots of clever misdirections. Wanted 31A to end with STAMPS with the ATTHISRATE cross. (@Rex - I had to change THIS to THAT, too.) Had SOAP instead of SAGA. @Retired_Chemist - I didn't let myself fall for ONION at 10D, but I wouldn't call sliced OLIVEs "rings." Also appreciated AIDA's alliterative cluing. I don't finish them as quickly as everyone else, but I love it when I dispatch a Saturday without resorting to Google! Is there a blog for Newsday's Saturday Stumper?

Nickyboy 8:55 AM  

"Hey honey, could you slice me up some olive rings, please?"

I defy anyone to claim they have ever said this. Olive rings?

exaudio 8:56 AM  

dnf only because of ATTHISRATE. Should have known an S-bar was unlikely. "Poisonwood Bible" is one of my favorite books of all time, glad to see it in a puzzle.

Jeffrey 9:22 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Xena Warrior Princess 9:24 AM  

KINGSOLVER also my high point! Finished without the endless up-it-up/put-it-down that generally accompanies my Saturday solves. Honestly, I was glad for the boost; I've been feeling a little stalled out the last few months in the crossworld. Good to be back!

Jeffrey 9:25 AM  

@loren: "Is there a blog for Newsday's Saturday Stumper?"

There sure is for that and every other "good" puzzle.

Crossword Fiend

chefbea 9:27 AM  

Had to google a bit and still DNF

Busy to get the ducks ready etc.

Trouble downloading ImsDave's puzzle

Happy New Year to all

foodie 9:36 AM  

The Quick & Dirty Index (under my avatar) puts this squarely in the EASY category. In fact, it would be an EASY MEDIUM for a Friday. Absent SanFranMan (I hope he's enjoying his break), I have some older stats that he posted that by the end of the day can help confirm or deny this assessment.

Thanks for the friendly comments re the little story. I think that these are possible for the same reason that @Andrea's malapops exist-- the constructor is in a particular zone of associations that get communicated to us as the overall vibe of the puzzle. For example, there is very little about nature or food in this puzzle, but a lot on various types of social rules and social interactions-- taxes (and therefore death), marriage, parties, betting (Yes Andrea, that should have been one more reason there was so little to inherit in my story!) and guilt!

Speaking of guilty pleasures: Happy New Year to Rexville! May it continue to be joyful, peaceful and fun. And of course to all its denizens and their loved ones.

Lindsay 9:46 AM  

Hand up for Sweet Caroline. Also Pineapple at 10D.

SPAREME = ancient rowing craft with many amenities.

Nancy in PA 9:47 AM  

MINIM brought back happy memories of Wait a Minim! I remember it, my parents took us to the show in 1968 (?) and then played the LP endlessly until we knew all the lyrics, though we couldn't do the clicks. Have just listened to several of the songs on Youtube.

Loved TOGAPARTY and ITSABLAST. Happy New Year, everyone.

Loren Muse Smith 9:51 AM  

@Crosscan - thanks! I just took a look and got lots of needed help for today's wicked Stumper. I was so quick to use SOAP in the NYT, and so slow to see it in the Stumper!

skua76 9:52 AM  

Couldn't crack the NW without googling for KINGSOLVER (ugh) since I started with 1A knOck crossing OVate, well, that is what my prickly pears were. @imsdave, thanks for the treat!

donkos 9:56 AM  

What a great way to finish the year - with a Saturday that at first glance looks impossible, but then comes together! And no googling!

I was able to gain some purchase in the SW off toga party. After that, the NW came together on the SMOKE/SPAWN (!). Once I got the K, Kingsolver was a gimme.

My FAVORITE part of the puzzle the cross between AMEND and ATONE - the cluing could lead one to interchange those two answers.

Fun puzzle with fun little twists and turns (like ONION for OLIVE)

Thank you Joe.

Happy new year to all!

evil doug 10:05 AM  

Wanted 'virgin' for 6A. Right.

In a vacuum, 'real estate taxes' is a yawner. But given the twisted clue, the combo is good stuff.

Glad it was a toga party and not a KKK bonfire.

Moistest: Hard to enunciate, but always a good thing in my experience.

Never think of rpm's with CD's. LP's or 45's or V8's? Yes.

Joe lost some points with me given the obvious suck-up at 52D.


GenJoneser 10:14 AM  

I got KINGSOLVER! I got KINGSOLVER! My mantra for the new year. No Googles here and a decent time for me for Saturday. Thanks Joe K!Nice way to end an otherwise not so nice year. Happy 2012 all!

AnnieD 10:15 AM  

Nice Saturday puzz. SE corner was first for me and the NW was last. Struggled and struggled and when I finally figured them out, it was groan city, with several "Dohs!" thrown in.

Thanks for a fine finish to 2011!

(I'll be anxious to see Sunday's puzz...always had this suspicion that Wil made them extra hard at the beginning of the year to break anyone's new year's resolution to finish every Sunday puzzle. )

@foodie, if you're still "smoot"ing don't forget about Oliver Smoot who was used as a unit of measure to measure the Harvard Bridge....which is 364.4 smoots +/- an ear.

r.alphbunker 10:19 AM  

Enjoyed the puzzle but not an easy for me. Googled KINGSOLVER, NEWGUINEA, OMAR, ERAT and SENG in order to finish in one sitting.

I am on the road and stayed in Green River, Utah last night. I just saw a tumbleweed roll by the motel window as I am writing this. It is probably doing its migration to the Pacific ocean. ([1] The Big Lebowski).

Initially had oxIDETuBE for "Shower head". Given that then 6A could be ruSt instead of MISS. (I really like it when baffling clues like 6A suddenly make sense.)

I refused to put in halloween for the sheet clue and onion for the rings clue. I call those pink elephant clues. BTW, anybody who has ever been in the sandwich line at Subway's has probably noticed the olive rings.

JC66 10:21 AM  

@ imsdave

Thanks for the bonus puzzle. Lots of fun.


chefbea 10:28 AM  

@foodie meant to say this earlier...great story!!!

NPR Listener 10:31 AM  

For those who may have missed it, here from All Things Considered is their incisive investigative report on a certain red root vegetable.

retired_chemist 10:36 AM  

@ AnnieD - I was there! The SMOOT was first used in October 1958. Fittingly, Oliver Smoot (MIT '62) was at one time Chairman of the American National Standards Institute's Board of Directors.

Done with Oliver Smoot, on to Oliver Ings. I see them all the time in salads etc. Never heard them called that however. Just sliced olives. I think the clue is fine, although clearly intended to trick us into using ONION.

imfromjersey 10:38 AM  

This puzzle made me feel like a KINGSOLVER, as I was able to finish it! (I usually DNF on Saturday) but I have to say that since I've been reading @rex's blog, and doing more puzzles, I think I have improved my solving skills. NW was the last to fall for me, I smiled at the cluing/answer on 19A, had something...stamps for quite a while on 31A and that slowed me down. A very nice puzzle to finish out the year.

Happy New Year all...

Loren Muse Smith 10:52 AM  

@Evil Doug - MOISTEST is hard to get your mouth around, but try saying "toy boat" three times fast.

Rudy Shankar 10:56 AM  

Hats of to Krozel for planting clue at 10a & 53 a to see the fork in the road and take it (OLIVE Or ONION and ONECAR or TWOCAR); the not usual 8d directional crutch (not ENE); and for that arcane 32D clue instead of "part of QED". And the middle 4-stack was impressive! Heard of "straighten up", "clean up", "clear up" but 30d NEATENUP was new and welcome phrase.

Agree with @imfromjersey that this forum has made me more adept. And a peek or two and help from Google does go a long way

jackj 10:57 AM  

Can't resist offering a crossword friendly analogical hodgepodge which suggests that having a Nothnagel on Friday and a Krozel on Saturday is like playing golf against ISAO AOKI in the morning and then going up against ERNIE ELS in the afternoon.

Great fun!!

Cats suck 11:16 AM  

All you guys out there that know about these internets thingies - Is there anyway to look up anything even remotely related to cats without being bombarded by billions of stupid cat pictures/videos/pathetic people crying about how much they love cats? I tried to figure out what a rex cat was, but can't get past the cat pathologies.

JaxInL.A. 11:26 AM  

NEW GUINEA and ORIGAMI also very cool. Filled in NW and SE first, then pleased to finish without help to wind up the year.

Beautiful sunny weather here for the new year, which is good for the day-late, never-on-a-Sunday Rose Parade. I'll be there, but nowhere near the front of the puzzle where the cameras are. Just imagine me with a sign saying Hi to Rexworld.

Thanks for the present, @imsdave. Thanks for the story, @joho. Thanks for the sunshine, @Aegis Civil Minim. Thanks for a year of camaraderie, Rex and everyone else.

Happy New Year.

Bob Kerfuffle 11:35 AM  

Very nice Saturday puzzle to finish the year.

@imsdave - Thank you for the year-end Rexworld puzzle. Obviously, loved 29 D. And then there is our favorite dog, ASTA, with his feet perched atop 52D and 563D, and his nose nuzzling 29A!

But is it proper to have the4 same answer twice? -- 5 D and 78 D! (Must be OK, because there are also 22A and 37D.)

jberg 11:37 AM  

I really liked this one - as Rex probably meant to say, the stack of 4 15s was terrific, and then it crossed a lot of long downs, as well. All common phrases.

Also entranced by the idea of having favorites among random Roman numerals. In this case, I got the three Is from the word endings, and just had to guess about X or V to start it off. Guessed wrong, but it got fixed. Also fell for OnIon.

The real pleasure was in the high-density deceptive cluing. Lots and lots of 'ahas' as I figured out what the clue meant. My solving time was slow, but that's because I was having a breakfast-table conversation with my wife while I solved. I usually get up a lot earlier, and finish it before she appears.

As for OMAR, my first thought was GRAY, followed by OVID, but neither worked. I think people in Persia at his time may have been just starting to have surnames, so nobody ever refers to him as Khayam. I had always been upset that my great grandfather changed his name when he came to the US, but learned later that Norwegian peasants in his day didn't have surnames - just a patronymic and, in his case, the name of the farm he worked on, which I had thought of as the old family name. When they immmigrated, most of them kepth their patronymic, and passed it along to their descendants. Something similar may have been hapening with OMAR.

Not sure enough to write them in, though. My only real writeover was in THAT cAsE.

So are REXES a breed, or just a type of coat? Never heard of it - but though we have one, I'm definitely not a cat fancier.

Thanks for the great story, @foodie - and Happy New Year to everyone!

jberg 11:41 AM  

@cats suck - if you include "breeds" in your search, you get some meaningful answers. Rex cats are cats that look like Jimmy Wales.

imsdave 11:56 AM  

@BobK re: "But is it proper..."

Of course not, but very little else in the puzzle is either.

Surprised you didn't site 1D/29D as another example of this error.

Bob Kerfuffle 12:07 PM  

Dave, you should know I have a problem in that I always forget my emoticons. :>))

My comment should have been bracketed with smiles: :>))

Only the best of good humor was intended! :>))

Two Ponies 12:11 PM  

I've never heard of Kingsolver so that O was my last entry. Since the clue for 27A was the slangy "dunno" I thought the answer might "Uh I". Guessed right, yay.
I thought this was a very impressive grid since those long acrosses intersected with some long downs.
Even if Rex called it easy I felt good nailing it.
Record crowd predicted here in Vegas.
If you've never been here for NYE I recommend it. The fireworks start at the south end of the Strip and each casino fires off one by one all the way to downtown. They close the Strip to cars and people swarm the street. It's a huge party. Too bad I can't stay up that late anymore.

Lewis 12:34 PM  

I figured it would be rated easy -- my best Saturday ever, finishing with no errors and but one Google (52D), and I'm kicking myself because if I was a bit more patient, I don't think I would have needed it. Sigh. Well, a good lesson learned on the last day of the year.

I'm ready for another wild ride, 2012!

Tita 12:36 PM  

Best puzzle moment was finding my niece 34D...
Could not believe that the answer was TESSIE - but at least now I can forgive her for being a Red Sox fan - they named their anthem after her! She is thrilled to have made it into NYT puzzledom at such an early age...

DNF without a little help, but great puzzle!

Liked the alliterative clue for 33D, but it made me think answer might start with S too...

PRImary PRACTICE made that section impossible to finish...even thought PRImATE PRACTICE!! doh!

Had a malapop with AMEND at 62A, thought it was cool that it crossed with eMEND at 51D - what fun!


@imsdave - thanks!!

@Odile - also thought that clue would reference New Year's Eve...

Happy New Year all!

archaeoprof 12:37 PM  

Started slow, then it all went very quickly.

I liked the 4-stack.

@Foodie: today's is one of your best.

Happy New Year! (or whatever holiday you may be celebrating)

syndy 12:41 PM  

I fell for both pink elephants!But I kept on getting up and getting on with it.A fun solve-my time was 48 mins- medium for a sat.Mr. Krozel should have a capeand wand-he's such a master of Presidigitation.

mac 12:41 PM  

Good puzzle! Easy and quick this morning, just as well since I'm running today.

Thanks for the extra puzzle, Dave, I'll savor it later in the day!

A very happy and healthy new year to all of you.

Shamik 12:41 PM  

Oh my! So fun to have that pit of the stomach dropping out feeling of seeing Joe Krozel's name on the first puzzle I've looked at in 5 days...and then find it to be an easy Saturday! Yay!

@ims dave: And so much more fun to find your very irreverent puzzle that honors so many of us. I kept laughing and then having to pause the timer so I could tell my oh-so-not-interested husband a clue or answer.

Happy New Year everyone!

bedha: What I will probably say tonight if I get called out for work at 2 a.m.

Shamik 1:02 PM  

Is anyone else's Crossword Butler not functional today?

quilter1 1:41 PM  

First, my Kingsolver story. I lent The Poisonwood Bible to a friend who grew up as a missionary kid in Tanzania. When he returned it he said, "I knew every single person in this book."

The puzzle now, I had to do over lunch as I had a funeral this a.m. Started at SPAREME, and went from there. My car knocked before it SMOKEd. But otherwise very high quality puzzle to me. I always like to figure out those long grid spanners.

Happy New Year, folks.

joho 2:03 PM  

Had to leave the house very early so arrive here very late.

@Foodie, loved your story. It's interesting how you see all the words that work together to form a coherent story. I'm struck by different words in the puzzle that I'll string together to create a totally non-sensical scenario. So you make sense and I don't. Go figure :)

@evil doug, 5D is definitely NOT a suck up to @Rex because he doesn't even have curly hair. So there.

I buy my OLIVEs already sliced into rings so had OnIon first.

@Aegis Civil Minims, I had AMEND crossing EMEND until I changed to ATONE and TBAR.

@imsdave, thank you for your puzzle and Happy New Year to you, too!

Happy New Year to everybody here, especially Rex who makes this all possible.

And thank you, Joe Krozel, for a wonderful Saturday puzzle and stellar farewell to 2011.

Русская мафия 2:07 PM  

Hang SENG was my surest gimme
It's right there on the financial page

funny this REgurgey stuff

С наступающим Новым Годом

Chip Hilton 2:09 PM  

Opposite reaction to Rex here: I love seeing a four stack! This one didn't disappoint - taxing and fun for a year-end Saturday. KINGSOLVER, ORIGAMI, and BRIDETOBE made my day while I, too, drew a blank with TESSIE. Those Red Sox fans sing way too much anyway. Watch the game!

@jackj: nice analogy. Were you also looking for 'links' when you first saw that clue for DENE?

Happy New Year, everyone.

Tita 2:10 PM  

Remember enough of the cyrillic alphabet to know your name is Russian mafia, but had to google to see Hapy New Year...
To you too!

Tita 2:12 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Clark 2:24 PM  

@cats suck -- Let me google that for you.

evil doug 2:30 PM  


I hear he does, but it's on his back.

Happy New Year's Eve-il

Tita 2:34 PM  

SPOLIER ALERT for the gift puzzle!
blur eyes and scroll down if you haven't solved it...


Thanks! (I think...)
Very fun solve, and pretty awesome to have, on the same day, both my niece and I glorified in puzzles...
(would that be "crucified"?)

However, my husband says he will have to place a EPEE up your WAZOO for telling all of Rexdom my bra size...

Seriously - I am in awe of all constructors, and just love the playfulness in this puzzle where you can be unfettered by Farrar's rules. Loved 29D, glad you had a fabric in there that I HAD heard of.

Have to point out one error - an egregious one...
1A is totally wrong...correct answer sb STELLAR, but it doesn't fit :(

quilter1 3:45 PM  

@imsdave: just finished your puzzle and found it fun and full of friends. Thanks for the bonus.

Matthew G. 3:49 PM  

Lifelong Yankees fan and Red Sox-hater here--and my first entry in the grid was TESSIE. I know my enemy.

Pretty sweet Saturday, Joe. It's weird--now that I look at the grid, I see a ton of crosswordese, but I never noticed it while solving. It's all pretty smooth.

Matthew G. 3:51 PM  

Oh, and I actually thought this was easier than Friday's puzzle.

Sparky 4:21 PM  

Happy New Year Rexites in Rexland.

Anonymous 5:01 PM  

Evil Doug @ 2:30 - You have to stop that or I will bust a rib from laughing so hard....


quilter1 5:27 PM  

We once had a neighbor with a very hairy back. We called him the forest primeval.

chefbea 5:42 PM  

@NPR listener..That was great. Too bad I'm not serving those red tubers with the duck tonight!!!

@ims dave thanks for the puzzle

Anonymous 5:54 PM  

To the lady who said she wanted to get better at solving -- I, years ago, used Maura Jacobson's puzzles in New York magazine for exactly that purpose. Even if they aren't in there now, one could copy them at the library. A lot of short answers but fun and the confidence comes quickly.

I knew onion was too easy for Sat so ran into trouble there too. I have a friend with Rexes and Kingsolver was, for a time, my fav. Still, did not really enjoy this one. Double-crostics are my big excitement but do do all the dailies. I enjoy all the comments. Thanks!

John V 6:01 PM  

Wrote in MAKES RETRIBUTION (nice) and broke the middle. Not a Red Sox fan, never heard of Tessie. Otherwise liked it. Don't know about Saturday ratings because I so rarely have the bandwidth to tackle a Saturday puzzle. Struck me as about what I'd expect.

A REX is a curly-furred cat? Could have fooled me.

AnnieD 6:07 PM  

Only know Kingsolver from her book "animal, vegetable, miracle" which was very good. Haven't had a chance to read poisonwood bible yet as I'm too busy doing xwords!


Tuning Spork 6:11 PM  


To be mentioned in crossword puzzle is to be "crucified". I love it!

Two Ponies 6:35 PM  

I really want to see @imsdave's puzzle but my Mac wants me to choose an application to open it. Any suggestions from the Mac users?

Anonymous 6:55 PM  

Had pizza yesterday with fresh tomatoes, onions, and black olive rings. Yum.

Anonymous 7:30 PM  

I didn't think this was so easy.

Dirigonzo 7:33 PM  

In a bit of syndication synchronicity, yesterday's (five weeks ago) puzzle in the Land of the Late was also a Joe Krozel production featuring 4-stacks, so I had some practice for this one.
My finished grid ain't pretty but I finished with no errors and I'm feeling pretty good.

Of course, Rex said, "Seems pretty easy stuff for a Saturday (maybe we're supposed to end the year with an easy puzzle so everyone can feel like a winner!)". Maybe so, but I still feel pretty good about finishing the last Saturday puzzle of 2011. Happy New Year, everyone!

Heide Fleiss 7:39 PM  

@loren muse smith - In my (extensive) experience,
MOISTEST is easiest to get your mouth around.

Then again, we may be talking about different things.

michael 7:41 PM  

Medium for me. Hard to get started, but then went fairly easily. Kingsolver is a great name for crosswords, though I suppose in her case it should be Queensolver.

Acme 7:49 PM  

king solver!!!
That is great!
Happy New Year Everyone!

ARLENE 11:20 PM  

Like others who find Saturdays hard or impossible, I finshed this one and felt so smug. Then I log on here and find that it's ranked "EASY." Well, if it's a ploy to feel good on New Year's Eve, sounds like a good tradition to me!
And a good way to segue to wishing you all a HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Bob Kerfuffle 11:54 PM  

@Two Ponies - Are you clicking on the .pdf version of Dave's puzzle? On my Mac, I just hit that and the puzz appears on my desktop ready to be printed out. (Sorry, I never use the .puz versions.)

Anonymous 6:51 AM  

On the "onion" v. "olive" quagmire, clue is in error: an olive is a fruit, NOT a vegetale.

Anonymous 9:15 AM  

@Anon 6:51 - The clue read "Food item ...", no fruits or vegatables mentioned.

Z 11:56 AM  

Busy Saturday for me doing the sports thing from 9:30 to 6:30, so I ended up finishing the Saturday puzzle on Sunday morning.

We spent Christmas Eve watching old Looney Toons. I was definitely the RRN translator champion to determine the year of the cartoon. The forties and fifties were definitely the prime Looney Toon years. Favorite RRN - probably MCMLVIII.

Anonymous 6:56 PM  

@Z: MDCCCLXVIII is two better (maybe the best?).

Very slow day here today. Hangovers, anyone?

The Sunday San Francisco Chronicle has a "Quote-Acrostic Puzzle" by Polly Wright that you all might find interesting. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find a copy of it online.

Happy New Year from the lurking Golden Bear's lair.


ESAU 2:05 PM  


rain forest 2:06 PM  

For a Saturday, even with stacked 15's, this was relatively easy. Dene held me up for awhile, and, being Canadian, wanted practiSe. I am continually fearful that I will cave to Americanisms, but I resolutely hang onto "Zed". That Nissan car sounds so much more macho as the 350-zed. Especially in the coloUr yellow. Speaking of Americanisms, how can Republicans possibly be content to have candidates named Mitt and Newt? I'll comment no further.

Red Valerian 5:08 PM  

@rain forest: "practise" is a verb in Canadian English; "practice" is a noun, so the answer works even for us. It's the same with "advise" and "advice."

We use "defence" as the noun, but it's "defense" in American English. Or so I understand.

Puzzle was easy (except for sticking with OnIon for far too long), but very enjoyable. Loved SPARE ME, and knew SENG (for Hong Kong's Hang ____ Index) but wasn't sure I knew... Did not know MINIM, despite the Britishness of much Canadian English--nice to learn.

Also, DENE to this Canadian is a First Nations group in the North.

I hope @DJ Stone pops by--I'm sure s/he'd be fascinated.

Thanks @imsdave! (though you delayed the start of my non-puzzle day ;-)

Spacecraft 6:03 PM  

Easy? EASY??? You have GOT to be kidding! You didn't even MENTION the SE, which wound up totally DNF by me. With all apologies to you, sir, I have never heard of REXES. And SPAREME, though perfectly valid, just plain did not occur. The primer clue had me zoned in on grade-school reading material. That whole section just simply would not come.
Then the NW: "no trouble up there." Well, unless you start with the obvious ONION (they actually slice OLIVEs into rings? Who knew?) and PITCH: yeah, wrong track again; my instruments were musical. Even after writeovers I still had to Google MINIM and NEWGUINEA (I don't know from "Melanesia;" it sounds like a type of cancer).
Gee, and it only took five or six more Googles to get the rest of it. If this puzzle is "easy," then maybe I should just forget about these weekenders. Maybe you should think about dropping the "easy" rating altogether; it has the potential to really hurt.

Joe in Montreal 8:26 PM  

syndication here. I had SQUID which I quickly knew was wrong, and CACTI, which stuck to me for a long time. Slow start, smooth finish. Thanks!

Anonymous 10:40 PM  

okay, first Mr. Kozel, yes, another excellent puzzle, but Rex I'm surprised you didn't call a Natick at Kingsolver and oh I. I am 61, a PBK grad of an Ivy, read a daily newspaper, two news magazines a week, two monthlies...and I have NEVER heard of Kingsolver. And the cross could be "uh I", "oh I", or even "ah I"
Just sayin'

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