Nascar driver Elliott / SAT 2-11-12 / Late 1980s Cadillac / Keys Markova / Boxing Hall-of-Famer Primo / Grass for some baskets / Collection of Blaise Pascal writings

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Constructor: Joe Krozel

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: Mickey Mouse Wearing a Gigantic Bow Tie, I Think 

Word of the Day: Elliott SADLER (29D: Nascar driver Elliott) —
Elliott William Barnes Sadler (born April 30, 1975) is a NASCAR driver. He currently drives the #2 OneMain Financial Chevrolet Impala for Richard Childress Racing in the Nationwide Series. He is one of only 23 drivers to have won in each of NASCAR's top three series. Sadler was born in Emporia, Virginia, along with his older brother, Hermie Sadler, who is an announcer for Speed Channel (wikipedia)
• • •

It wants to be a heart. It really does. It's trying so hard.

The "theme" fill here is decidedly pathetic. Your marquee, grid-spanning answer is a *partial*? How is that good? Maybe I'm supposed to be impressed by the low word-count. No dice. Also, this puzzle is totally ANTLERS™—by which I mean it's filled primarily with the most common letters in the alphabet. This is necessary for low word-count puzzles, which is part of the reason I don't generally like low word-count puzzles. Very marginal names in the SW, a very bygone and unfamous Cadillac in the NW, and plurals plurals everywhere. This is a one-trick pony, and that trick is over as soon as you see the grid.

Still, there was a small amount of toughness there, and the solving experience was not entirely terrible. With the exception of CARNERA (?) (23D: Boxing Hall-of-Famer Primo) and SADLER (??), names were my friends today. ROLLIE was a gimme (1D: Fingers on a diamond), as were WINANS (6D: CeCe of gospel) and ALICIAS (5D: Keys and Markova) (those last two gave me my first real foothold). LLEYTON was also a gimme, though spelling was (not shockingly) a problem (27D: ___ Hewitt, 2002 Wimbledon winner). Biggest issue was the NW, where 7A: Make a major decision? (GO PRO) had me stymied, largely because I had I MEAN TO instead of I PLAN TO at 2D: "That's my intention". Also, [Quickly reproduces] did not lead me to PRINTS UP very easily, perhaps because print hasn't been touted primarily for its "quickness" since roughly the 16th century. But the clue is, technically, accurate. The rest of the grid, I moved through with reasonable dispatch. Just set up your ETAPE under the ESPARTO SEA STEPS, and voilà: you're done (35D: Military encampment + 42A: Grass for some baskets + 4D: Ship's boarding ladder).

Who knew ENA had "namesakes" (28A: Spanish queen and namesakes)?

  • 1A: Fashion show disaster (R.I.P.) — I had RUN.
  • 11A: Element in many semiconductors (GALLIUM) — sounds French.
  • 24A: Collection of Blaise Pascal writings ("PENSÉES") — I had to read some of these, in French, in my first year of college. Despite being all common letters, this is one of my favorite answers in this grid. That said, I'd have preferred either BLAISE or PASCAL.
  • 34A: 9-5 connector ('TIL) — someone does not know his Dolly Parton songs/movies.
  • 10D: Food topping in France (GELÉE) — French didn't help me much here. Looks like this simply means "jelly."
  • 13D: They let traffic through after a crash (CLEARED LANES) — This is stretching "let through" a bit far. 

If you want to see a killer SAINT VALENTINE'S (Day) puzzle, you should go do Liz Gorski's WSJ puzzle this week. It's a beaut. Get the .puz file here, or a .pdf here.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


jae 12:16 AM  

I thought this was going to be very easy given the grid shape and the obvious 17a.  But noooo...  More of a medium for me.   Top easy-med., bottom med.-tough.  Three of the four pretty obscure sports figures (I don't count SELIG as obscure) were in the south along with a WTF grass.  So, some guessing was required.  Luckily I guessed right.  I suspect Andrea will have something to add.

Write overs were WAYANS for WINANS, (I thought she was Damon's sister for a while) and DER for DAS.

Fairly solid for a "sorta theme" but not much zip.

Noam D. Elkies 12:17 AM  

Yup, Gallium is named after France. So is Francium.

No wonder it's a low word count: the puzzle is 14x15 ! When was the last time that happened? Also an unusual mirror symmetry.

So 17A:SAINT_VALENTINE'S is clued as a partial. So what? It's not like the typical solver cares about the five-letter rule anyway.

The grid's not all ANTLERS either: it's true that all the 5-10 point letters are missing, but there are a couple V's and passel of P's plus some other three- and four-pointers. But then Rex would also complain if it were a pangram ;-) Or maybe he's just had enough of this silly saccharine non-holiday (four more days of NPR's f***ing flower fundraiser).

Thanks for the link to L.Gorski's take on the day, at any rate.


Anonymous 12:47 AM  

Rex, Rex, Rex -- THEME: Mickey Mouse Wearing a Gigantic Bow Tie, I Think. I cannot remember a funnier line here or anywhere else. I'm almost tempted to take back all those nasty comments about you not being fun....


Anonymous 12:55 AM  

i just Do Not Understand why shortz keeps accept these j. krozel uglies. enough!

Allante Carnera Menders 1:03 AM  

One of the things I liked about the grid is that in gradeschool you made symmetric hearts by folding the paper in half and cutting it out and then opening...
This reminded me of that!

Damn, just saw i had DOLD instead of DODD! I will never not have one square wrong! What is wrong with me?!

Sort of easy (despite the overwhelming sportsiness, @jae)
But yes, so sports-centric, that I even looked up Alicia Markova at the end to see if she were a tennis player!!
(wrong! Ballerina!)

But ok, as it's my job for posterity...I'll bite:
ROLLIE Fingers (rang a dim bell)
Bud SELIG ( ok, even i knew this, once I had the S-G)

I think this puzzle should have been submitted to Sports Illustrated...
And Michael should change the name of today's blog to
"Rex Parker Does the NY Times Crossword Puzzle and then recommends the WSJ"

FearlessK 1:21 AM  

Found a few things to like:
1) Rex's Mickey Mouse comment;
2) a very lucky guess at the ETAPE/ESPARTO crossing;
3) a record time for a Saturday - 21:23! - thanks to the very easy heart section;
4) Acme's comment about the paper hearts - boy, did I love making them! Why did I ever stop?
I know Valentine's Day is ridiculous, but I can't argue too much with a "holiday" that gives us an opportunity to show some more love. Enjoy!

chefwen 1:58 AM  

Being a former Wisconsinite, knew Rollie Fingers and his crazy mustache, Bud Selig was my next gimme. CARNERA, SADLER, AND LLEYTON not so lucky, I needed Uncle Google to assist me. Part time puzzle partner helped me with GALLIUM. He grumbled about GO PRO being a stretch, I thought it was rather clever. Being able to finish after my disastrous showing yesterday gave me a little faith.

Evan 2:51 AM  

Like @FearlessK, I broke my Saturday record, this time for the second week in a row. I always second-guess myself whenever I break my own personal records on the late-week puzzles because I never know if that means that the puzzle was simply easier on average, or if I'm actually getting significantly better at solving them. There's often way too much variation in my solving times to know for sure. It is worth mentioning that this is an irregularly-sized grid (14x15), so perhaps my time would have been longer had the puzzle been of normal size.

But some of the clues felt wicked easy for a Saturday. I dropped in MEANS NOTHING just off the M alone. Another got-it-from-the-first-M-only was MAILS TO, which of course was made simpler with the MML crossing at 25-Across. With Roman numerals, I imagine that the clues are always easier when the answer is larger than the current year -- no old Popes or ancient battles to remember, so one is left by cluing that either as a future date, or as a math problem (like "CCV x X").

Tougher stuff included GO PRO, the VESTALS/ENAS crossing, and SEA STEPS. SHANTIES wasn't easy to see either, and even though it didn't refer to songs sung at sea, it was cool seeing it right next to SEA STEPS. A hand up for LETS LIE/DOLDS, LEER AT for 31-Down, and RUNNER-UP at 8-Down.

I generally liked the puzzle and I'm normally a fan of Joe Krozel's work because he tends to think outside the box with his grids (particularly in that recent puzzle where he literally put a box in the middle of the grid). But Rex's point is well taken that 17-Across is just a long partial phrase that doesn't really add much satisfaction to the special holiday theme. Maybe if he could have found a way to stick DAY in the grid -- like at 34-Across at the bottom of the heart -- that would have made the theme more complete.

dk 6:28 AM  

As ENA (Bambi's Aunt) said: If you can not say anything nice, do not say anything at all.

I like the mouse tie comment made by our lead wag and I wear a STETSON (nee Resistol) at times.

A high school love interest went to ADELPHI and the CHAINED fill reminded me of the Righteous Brothers. All of which contribute to the sport... err love theme.

The heart shape like the earlier box is very cool.

I TENDERHEARTEDLY wish Andrea a happy SAINTVALENTINES with a tip of the aforementioned hat.

** (2 Stars) May this puzzle R.I.P. Perhaps it could go in the box Joe.

joho 8:41 AM  

This seemed easy for a Saturday but I do join the "One Square Wrong Club" with @Allante Carnera Menders as I had cLEYTON. Speaking of sports, I've never heard LLEYTON.

@dk, you beat me to it. Bambi's aunt is obviously a namesake of the queen!

There were a lot of active phrases:
Two UPS and two OUTS. Hmmm, sounds like baseball lingo.

Now I'm wondering what will be running on Tuesday ... I'm hoping it's St. Valentine's Day related.

jackj 9:02 AM  

All manner of fresh goodies from Joe Krozel but their totality only adds up to a SAINTVALENTINES Thursday equivalency, TENDERHEARTEDLY felt though it might be.

Two direct baseball clues, for ROLLIE (Fingers) and SELIG (for Bud), one inferred sports clue giving us GOPRO, a boxing entry, (Primo) CARNERA, a tennis star LLEYTON (Hewitt) and a NASCAR driver, (Elliott) SADLER are at least a full week’s allowed sports clues, all in this one puzzle, and even this avid sports fan thinks, enough is enough.

Too much of that guy thing, guys.

The left-right mirror symmetry Joe used makes for a lively puzzle and hopefully we’ll see more of it, (and asymmetric puzzles, too), in the future, to help forestall the puzzle routinization which inevitably begins to creep in despite the best of intentions.

Thanks, Joe. This puzzle might have rated better on a Thursday, (sports clues aside), but as a Saturday it only earns a gentleman’s C. Next time, maybe.

Anonymous 9:04 AM  

"Go pro" is not a "major decision" unless you're someone like Al Kaline (never spent a day in the minors).

evil doug 9:09 AM  

April Fools Day came early this year. Wake me up on Tuesday.


Lagomorph 9:19 AM  

By now I should have figured out that if the Friday puzzle is truly a Saturday-level puzzle, as was yesterday's, that a "specialty" gimmick puzzle is coming on Saturday. I'm growing weary of trying to be impressed by the constructor's ability to create a "cute" or date-appropriate puzzle at the expense of one finding the solving experience enjoyable, especially a Saturday. Why Will?

John V 9:21 AM  

This puzzle was the final round at Westport last Saturday. The answers are the same, but clues for five of the across and three of the down were different. Will introduced the puzzle as a Saturday re-clued to Thursday difficultly. He also commented on the grid shape, noting that the newspaper version would be stretched a bit to make it appear 15X15

The winner was Glen Ryan in 6:04! I had my back to the stage for the final -- which we all had and could solve along with the finalists -- but I think most in the room just watched the finalists in awe. Sorry, but I don't have the names of the other two finalists. Maybe the someone else from the Westport Rex-ites will fill that in.

If there is interest in knowing the alternate clues, let me know and I'll post them or provide by email.

GILL I. 9:23 AM  

If this was meant as an homage to Valentine's it sure fell short in the endearment category.
The sports clues were not my friends. I had MR BIG for 9A.MEANTIES sounded fine for the mansion opposite.

Ulrich 9:38 AM  

I always like art that subverts its obvious feel-good message. So, you think this a puzzle about tender-hearted love? Think twice: What we have through the vertical middle are the following comments:


i.e. it inevitably leads to a car wreck. Joe, you are an old cynic!

On top of that, my captcha is funalli, when you arrive finally at a funeral!

jberg 9:48 AM  

This was pretty easy - as a Valentine's Day theme, it could have run on the day, it seems to me. But I agree it needed more than 2 theme answers - especially when the central down is LETS DIE - not exactly romantic!

I wanted SwAsh for 32 D, I meAN TO for 2D, and CLEAnup crewS for 13D. Once I fixed those, it was a snap.

joho 10:01 AM  

@Rex, thanks for the Liz Gorski link ... now that's a St. Valentine's puzzle!

joho 10:02 AM  

whoops, forgot "Day."

Tita 10:23 AM  

@Evan...I like your monologue and musings on puzzle difficulty.

Re: dislike of the gimmick...I'm willing to cut Will & constructors slack for the reason @jackj said:
" help forestall the puzzle routinization which inevitably begins to creep in..."
Imagine a day when ALL by-the-rules puzzles have been written!! (There are, after all, only 26 letters to work with...)

Re: Westport...
Will did say something about stretching the rules to accommodate the grid. (It was fun to see 3 giant whiteboards at the front of the room with Micky Mouse on them... (thx, Rex!)

One redirect that finally didn't fool me...I knew Sewers was clueing people who sew, not effluence pipes. Helps to be one, I guess. (Not the pipe...)

The hardest clue change was for 21A - in Westport was "Dustbuster, e.g., for short". Lots easier than "Closet item". Anyone who seen my closets know the answer could be anything at all!

chefbea 10:29 AM  

Nice grid!! Had to google a bit. Of course knew Dodd.

Read sewers as the hole where sewage goes instead of my new hobby!! Go figure!

Anonymous 10:31 AM  

R.I.P. or "rip" for 1A? I thought fashion show disaster = "rip"ped clothing?

quilter1 10:33 AM  

The NW got me. Did not know the car or ROLLIE and could not see GOPRO. I thought crossing ETAPE with ESPARTO was a bit of a Natick. But overall, I enjoyed solving this one. On to Gorski.

evil doug 10:36 AM  

No, Michael is quite serious. A model keeling over dead from malnutrition and heroin overdosing---hence, 'R.I.P'---is much more of a disaster than a simple fart. Or clothing tear, for that matter....


Eric 10:38 AM  

@rex Thanks for the link to Liz Gorski's puzzle. It was very enjoyable. Nuf said - no spoilers.

David 10:39 AM  

Only write over was NEAREST for DEAREST, otherwise this was by far the easiest Saturday puzzle ever. I think my previous best was the low 20's, today was under 15.

I've had a bunch of Gallium Scans (very similar to MRIs) in my life, falling asleep each time, so that came with 2 crosses. The two grid-spanners were ridiculously easy - one I got with no crosses, the other off of ARTED. Was right there with all the sports clues except the Nascar driver, and when you add ADELPHI as a gimme I had major footholds in all corners over and above the theme answers.

I enjoyed the far thornier puzzles of Thursday and Friday more than today's.

Anonymous 10:51 AM  

Definitely agree with Rex--the WSJ Valentine was much more FUN!!
I knew Hewitt, but got killed on the spelling of his first name. Ugh!

Loren Muse Smith 10:56 AM  

Am I the only one who had "happy" VALENTINES? That, and "leered" instead of PEERED messed me up for a while.

I agree with all of those who found it too sportsy.

I, too, had to read PENSEES in college. Pascal's Wager. Never forgot that one.

I wanted "run" for fashion show disaster. To see another fashion show disaster. . .

evil doug 11:22 AM  


Reminds me of


ArtLvr 11:30 AM  

Yes, the Liz Gorski puzzle is another of her treasures to save and savor!


Two Ponies 11:37 AM  

How fun is a puzzle when your first entry is the theme answer?
Not much.

Anonymous 11:48 AM  

Granted, letter frequency varies with the message being conveyed, but ETAONRISH all come before L on the vast majority of frequencies. ANTLERS is catchier than SENHORITA, just not as accurate.

Shamik 12:02 PM  

The best part of this puzzle were Rex's Mickey Mouse comment and the ensuing disparaging remarks about the puzzle. Had more laughs from the blog than smiles from the puzzle.

Out of 202 tracked Saturday puzzles (yes, I need a life), this was the 13th easiest. At the end of the day, Will TENDERHEARTEDLY LETS this puzzle DIE. However, for some odd reason, I really liked VESTALS and ADELPHI.

captcha is:

socki: misspelled Japanese wine, kind of salmon or baby pick it

Anonymous 12:07 PM  

I like that we're now allowed to comment on non-NYT puzzles. It makes for a much more interesting discussion, like Crosswordfiend already has on her blog.

Cheerio 12:20 PM  

Is Lleyton a common spelling? Wherever did it cone from? Llama? There are lots of ways to misspell this name, just to note.

wyonative 12:22 PM  

My solving experience this entire week has been weirdly parallel, with the northeast corner the last to fall every day. Kind of like a blind spot. Pleased to finish yet another Saturday, I am joining those who prefer Fri/Sat puzzles to Sundays.

foodie 12:33 PM  

Like @Ulrich, I saw the dark side of this puzzle-- I mean RIP and SAW at the tippy top of the heart!!! CHAINED within? And MEANS NOTHING intersecting the deep PENSEES? Not exactly a heart filled with joy!

May be TENDER HEARTEDLY is a counterpoint, but PEER AT, LURES IN and STRAP down in that neighborhood scream for you to be careful!

Lewis 12:55 PM  

Naticked at ESPARTO/ETAPE, took me a while to figure out LASCALA, so I learned a few things, and, well, the heart is cute!

Greg Charles 1:04 PM  

La. Scala means "the ladder" doesn't it? I mean it might mean staircase too, but the coat of arms on La Scala shows a ladder and that's the only reason we'd know that word.

Vac in a closet is vacuum, or is that Marcus Bachman's nickname?

Rudy Shankar 1:46 PM  

So give this washed up tennis hero LLEYTON Hewitt some love! He of the "starting the lawn mower fame" when he hit a good shot and humbled his opponent. He who once accused a black linesman at the US Open of favoring James Blake, a black player with a call. This fellow was not exactly likeable. But like McEnroe his reputation can grow with age.

Anonymous 1:54 PM  


SAW and CHAINED, as in the chainsaw massacre.

REST, as in R.I.P.

TIL. as in til death do us part.

MEANSNOTHING, as in a Chinese gang member...


Loren Muse Smith 3:14 PM  

MIDASSTOUCH came on The New Yorker's radar screen.

Matthew G. 3:54 PM  

Valentine's Day isn't until Tuesday. There was no need to run this today. Keep your themes out of my Saturday puzzle. Harrumph!

Lindsay 3:59 PM  

Whoa. I went to a symposium earlier today, but left before the final talk "Historic Antlers of Portsmouth." Did the puzzle, came here and .... antlers.

I'm being stalked.

foodie 4:24 PM  

@Lindsay, what type of symposium is it?

Deb 4:31 PM  

Thanks for that link, Loren. I will never think of the word "scumbag" the same way. (That's not to say I won't use it!)

Loren Muse Smith 4:42 PM  

@Deb -(That's not to say I won't use it!) Use which? ;-)

Tobias Duncan 5:01 PM  

...choking on so much sports rage I can barely type...

evil doug 5:04 PM  

"I would call the French scumbags, but that, of course, would be a disservice to bags filled with scum. I say we invade Iraq, then invade Chirac." —Dennis Miller


Chip Hilton 5:23 PM  

Llet's call the whole thing off.

Lindsay 5:29 PM  

@foodie --- The symposium is organized by Portsmouth (NH) Historic House Associates, and focuses on the history of the Piscataqua region. Here's a link to info on PHHA's website:

I truly have no idea how antlers came to be involved.

Anonymous 6:02 PM  


The New Yorker article includes scumbag, shit and fuck to somehow compare MIDASSTOUCH, but once you get past those shock and awe verbal bombs it ends by quoting someone who posted at Wordplay, not here, so I don't think Rex appreciates bringing it up....


quilter1 6:22 PM  

Liked the Liz Gorski puzzle.

mac 6:41 PM  

From windy, cool Palm Beach:

Easy Medium, as well. I sort of followed it in Westport, but the champ's handwriting was so atrocious that I could not read his answers.

A lot of models seem to be tripping this days, wearing enormous platform shoes.

punatic: another form of punitive?

Numbers Guy 6:44 PM  

again i'll defend the multi-objective nature of the puzzles. the theme answer may have been obvious, perhaps disappointing to many, but these theme puzzles appeal to a wider group of people than the top solvers and this partial shouldnt bother the 99%.

i put happyVALENTINES as my first entry and had to change it to enter 2d:ImeANTO, which M led to 7a:GOmed (even though i didnt like calling med a major) and 8d: defeaTED. alas ALLANTE proved this wrong so i changed it to detesTED, even though this conflicted with the V which had to be right.

maybe i liked this because it was so easy relatively. i always DNF saturday and i came close on this one (after i HTG the natick in the SE).
btw, keeping ImeANTO and adding 3d: PaINTSUP (a superfast forger?) gave me GOmaO, which i assumed was for an underwear-optional eastern philosophy major.

im sticking with detested. not breaking the political comment rule - just sayin, it can be a reason to be OUTVOTED.

Dirigonzo 7:22 PM  

Apparently ESgARTe is not a type of grass so technically this was a DNF - but I don't care, because I had fun figuring out the rest of the grid. Easy for the pros maybe, but satisfyingly challenging for me. I think I'll take a crack at the Liz Gorski puzzle (I didn't even know the WSJ had a puzzle - thanks for the link, Rex) before I return to the land of the syndicate until next Saturday.

Tita 7:50 PM  

Nice to see you here in real time...
What's the deal - you subscribe to the weekend deadtree edition, but are in the time warp the rest of the week?

chefbea 8:46 PM  

@dirigonzo I subscribe to the weekend dead tree edition. That allows me to get the nyt on line. So I go there every morning, download the puzzle and...voila...print it out and solve it. Then come here. Check it out.

Dirigonzo 9:05 PM  

@Tita and chefbea - Thank you so much for noticing my presence. I get the syndicated puzzle in my local papers Sunday through Friday, but I have to buy the NYT to solve on Saturday. I know it would be cheaper just to subscribe to the puzzle, but I love my local daily and solving on paper so I think I'll stay in my time-warp, at least for now.

Valentine's Day is approaching and an old man's fancy turns to - sailing? Winter is too long in New England.

Tita 9:27 PM  

@Diri...what, no frostbiting for you?? Shovel the snow off that Dyer and get out there!

Dirigonzo 10:20 PM  

@Tita -thanks for the encouragement but my frostbiting days are over - I'm pretty sure if you googled "fair weather sailor" you'd get a picture of me.

Sparky 10:30 PM  

Why didn't this just run on Tuesday? DNF--NW has several voids. Hand up @Loren for happy VALENTINES and lEERED before PEERED. Had MMd as confused millenium with century, so the tennis player came out dLEYTON which I knew was wrong but said to hell with it.

Crazy week. M-T-W fine. Thurs DNF, Google ate my comment two times, each for a different reason; Fri. we had our taxes done by AARP at the Library. A madhouse, but free. Took forever as new system with their computers. Today, meh. Mickey Mouse with bow tie best part.

I'm off to check out Liz Gorski. Thanks @Rex. Happy Sunday.

Z 11:00 PM  

Finished Thursday late, never did get around to doing Friday, and then really struggled with the bottom half today. Fortunately, Gorski's puzzle was a pleasant solve.

@Loren - I'm not that much younger than Haberman, and this is the first I've heard/read that usage. The Urban Dictionary lists his definition second (and seventh). Thanks for the link.

bchicke - the one who uses the scumbag?

Spacecraft 2:41 PM  

So. OFL sees Mickey with a bowtie; I see a push-up bra with wires--and that which it is pushing up. So now you know where MY mind is.

And speaking of UP, I see it in two answers, and in both it's superfluous. One can print or ante, and no UP is needed in either. Nor is HEARTED (HOOF's mom?) needed in the middle of TENDERLY. It's just in there, as Kid Erie said in "The Sting," to round out the field. Same for the added fluff IN tacked on to LURES.
Of particular objectionableness re all this stretching is MAILSTO, since it does not fit the clue. "Sends" = MAILS; "sends to" would = MAILSTO--exept you can't use "to" in the clue. Oh, you're telling me that the "to" in the clue is understood? That's the message you're sending [to] me? Sorry, won't work. You can't have your "understood" and eat it too. Bottom line? This clue/answer is wrong. I don't know how to fix it, but it shouldn't stand as is.

Big hand up for IMEANTO. Man, that mistake almost cost me a DNF. Another misstep was LETSLIE; didn't hit on the "D" till the last second, after trying like hell to match [up] the Doles with Connecticut.

Some interesting fill here; soon as I worked out 21d the strains of Procul Harum's "Whiter Shade of Pale" started earwigging me. But after the extremely letter-bland SETSONEATEASE, I got the feeling that the whole grid MEANSNOTHING.

Solving in Seattle 3:22 PM  

There are some good puzzles, and then there are some not-so-good puzzles. My first entry was "hAppyVALENTINES" screwed me up in the NW for awhile. ROLLIE Fingers set me straight. SW went fast with VESTALS and CARNERA givens.

Agree with @JAE "with a WTF grass."

A disappointing Saturday until @Spacecraft shared his visual.

SurvivorMaam 4:21 PM  

It's St. Paddy's Day here in syndicate land. Didn't think that 5 weeks ago we had St. Valentine's Day which might have helped my solving. After my first go-through I ended up with GOPRO, OLD, CHAINED, MML, STETSON and a bunch of final S's. Was pretty sure 25d was a clue to people who sew and tried to put in tailors but MML quashed that. Thought I'd Google but then I'd have been all day googling the whole darned puzzle and what fun is that? I call the difficulty impossible. Guess I should change my handle to "I do ONLY MTW" as it's a rare Thursday, Friday and Saturday that I finish. Oddly I do okay on many Sundays.

On to Sunday's puz.

DMGrandma 4:46 PM  

Strange to see a heart instead of a shamrock this week, but that's how it goes out here! Found way too many obscure sports names for me, though I gradually got most of them, and felt pleased that I worked out "gopro". Found after I cme here that I had made the MMD error. Might have found it if I weren't so use watching today's tennis, Isner vs Djovicik. Looks like the American has a good chance, so fingers are crossed. Hope the rain that is pouring here on the coast doesn't get to the desert before this afternoon's big match. Considering that tennis is a sport I more or less follow wouldn't you think I'd have gotten Lleyton!i

Red Valerian 5:46 PM  

@SurvivorMaam--how's your dog? How are you? (As you will have guessed, I had a peek at your blog.) Hope things are looking up. We're here for a good time, not a long time... (Trooper "classic," for those not from around here.) Trooper clip It'll make you feel all existential, in a 70s kind of way.

Gave up when I had SAppy Valentines! Too much sports. And I'm with everybody who thought or implied that a RIP is not a disaster.

Dirigonzo 9:11 PM  

@SurvivorMaam - @Red Valerian's comment piqued my interest so I peeked at your blog, and I too hope that things are looking up for both you and your dog. As to the puzzle, my advice (not that you asked for it) is to keep trying the late-week puzzles; they don't get easier, but you will get better at solving them. Besides, it's not the destination that's important, but the journey.

Solving in Seattle 2:59 PM  

First, the puzzle was easy, but fun and clever for me. OK, re: James Cameron, say what you want about the super-schmaltzy "Titanic," the dude's body of work is one titanic CHA CHING! Check it out -
The Terminator (1984);
Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985);
Aliens (1986); The Abyss (1989);
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991);
True Lies (1994);
Titanic (1997);
Spider-Man (2000);
Dark Angel (2002);
Avatar (2009).

My taste in film is obviously questionable but how could you not enjoy Arnold and Jamie Lee in "Tue Lies?"

@Larry I in LA, add TUNNEL crossing to your list.

Good job Mssrs Fleming & Dunn.

Dirigonzo 3:14 PM  

@Solving in Seattle - Good comment but wrong puzzle. Apparently Rex hasn't updated the link to the syndicated blog so you got Saturday's comments section.

That happens sometimes. Best regards from the opposite coast.

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