Aquatic dragonfly larva / SAT 6-30-12 / Fuzz Flap in comics / Cousin of kinkajou / German granny / Jumping ability in hoops lingo / Spec of Dust singer 1982 / Toilet playwright Jones

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Constructor: Tim Croce

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: none

Word of the Day: Talisa SOTO (32A: "Licence to Kill" Bond girl Talisa) —
Talisa Soto (born March 27, 1967) is an American model and actress. [...] [S]he auditioned and landed the role of "India" in her feature debut, Spike of Bensonhurst, a comedy which starred Sasha Mitchell and Ernest Borgnine. In 1989, she was cast as Lupe Lamora, in the James Bond film Licence to Killstarring Timothy Dalton and as Maria Rivera in The Mambo Kings.[6]

Soto has participated in more than twenty films, among which are: Mortal Kombat (1995) as KitanaIsland of the Dead as Melissa O'Keefe;Piñero (2001) as Sugar, starring Benjamin Bratt; and Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever (2002) as Ryne alongside Lucy Liu and Antonio Banderas. Soto also made two guest appearances on the television series C-16: FBI. In 1995, she played the role of Doña Julia, one of Johnny Depp's many love interests in the tongue-in-cheek romantic comedy Don Juan DeMarco, Depp playing the title role. She also made an appearance in Marc Anthony's music video for "I Need to Know". In 1996, Soto played the title role in the campy film Vampirella based on the comic book character. (wikipedia)
• • •

This was pretty grim. ONE FINGER SALUTE (1A: Bird) is the most original thing here, and even that wasn't as entertaining as it thought it was. Seems both crass and old-fashioned. I mean, hurray for colloquialisms, but I just didn't find this one that exciting. CALIFORNIA GIRLS is the new SCARLET TANAGERS (which was the new A LOT ON ONE'S PLATE). That is, I've seen it a bunch (or so it seems). A FIGHTING CHANCE isn't bad (17A: What every honest competitor deserves). I might actually like that better than 1A (friend of mine does *not* like that indefinite article, but I think the phrase coheres best with the "A" attached). But everything down below is dull. The rest: well, some it's OK, but a lot of is it crosswordese dressed up like it's something special (see clues on LOA, OLAV, ONO, TEL, NAIAD, ESE, OMA, AAAS, OCALA, UPS, CSA, etc.). 15 stacks are old hat—if you're going that route, make sure they really sizzle. Otherwise, use your 70 words to make a grid where "great" trumps "15."

I'm out of here for a while. A long while. I'll pop in now and again, but otherwise, you will be getting a host of guest bloggers for the next three or so weeks. And by "a host," I mean ... well, a lot. Some have filled in before, but fully eleven (by my count) have not. So be nice. And I'll see you in mid-late July.

  • 18A: Fuzz and Flap, in the comics: Abbr. (LTS) — no idea which "comics" ... ah, "Beetle Bailey," I see. I don't believe anyone's actually read it since 1970. It lives on due to some strange (and enormous) MOMENT OF INERTIA.
  • 28A: Jumping ability, in hoops lingo (UPS) — true enough. Wanted HOPS. No fit.
  • 45A: Johann ___ Koss, speed skater with four Olympic golds (OLAV) — nothing more exciting than semi-obscure Olympians' middle names.
  • 60A: "Spec of Dust" singer, 1982 (ONO) — no idea, but seeing three letters, I dropped ONO right in.
  • 1D: Southern city called the Horse Capital of the World (OCALA) — "the world?" You'd think if you were the capital, then you'd have to be one of the top 100 cities I think of when I think of horses. But no. Top 500? No again.
  • 14D: "CrazySexyCool" R&B trio (TLC) — early into the grid. Total gimme. They were massive in the '90s. I still often find "No Scrubs" running through my head for no particular reason.

  • 24D: Cousin of a kinkajou (COATI) — No idea what a kinkajou is (some kind of Pokemon?), but I got this off the C- nonethless. Behold the Power of Crosswordese!
  • 36D: "The Toilet" playwright Jones (LEROI) — wanted INIGO, but he was more stage designer than playwright.
  • 53D: Eight-time Best Opera Recording Grammy winner (SOLTI) — this guy and other conductors like OZAWA and ARTURO TOSCANINI (who was the old A LOT ON ONE'S PLATE), show up a lot in crosswords. Even if you aren't that into classical music, you learn them.
  • 63D: German granny (OMA) — better than a suffix? If you're German, I guess.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Brian 12:27 AM  

Have a great vacation, Rex! And come back for Lollapuzzoola on August 4th!

jae 12:33 AM  

Got the top third in under two minutes (I put in 1a off the N in NAFTA) and thought this would be a romp.  No such luck.   So, easy-medium for me.  You get sucked in by the fantastic (but easy) clue/answers in the top three stack and then, boom, you have to work a little harder for the rest, which is more on the ho-hum side.

That said, how could you not like this one?  OK, Rex didn't so, I guess I have my answer.

Nice obscure clues for OLAV and LOA.  UPS?

Erasure:  MYDearest for MYDARLING

Can't see Sam Elliott's name with out thinking of The Big Lebowski where caricatured his western roles.

Anonymous 12:42 AM  

There are probably as many thoroghbred breeding farms in Ocala as there are in Lexington Ky, they've got a huge hunter-jumper winter series, eventing year round, and a massive western show series. Definitely top ten.

I couldn't remember Sam Shepherd's name so I wrote in Sam ELLIOTT's by mistake.

I believe if, on your return trip, you fly into Panama, take a series of local flights up to norther Mexico, then drive over to El Paso in the middle of the night you'll be able to smuggle an ENT back from NZ. Why you'd think of smuggling an ENT when there are more, let's say interesting, things along the path I just layed out is another matter.

Watch out for those sheep eating parrots.

optionsgeek 12:58 AM  

Way too many obscure crosses for my taste: OLAV/NAIAD, TEL/DOLES (had DOSES), LIANAS/SOTO. No real chance of finishing unless you have "The Knowledge" and can just throw these down. So I say "Boo".

syndy 1:10 AM  

no, Well I knew LIANAS but had to squeese out the others.Like @JAE had the top in a flash and then hit the wall.second third=not too bad but that third third!I must admit "MOMENT" OF INERTIA is news to me= had OF INERTIA but had NO idea-The EMS were my last desperate gasp and lo and behold.I went to wikipedia but not much kinda sounds like an oxymoron.have fun rex and bring on the substitute teachers

chefwen 2:05 AM  

@jae - Are we related? I, more often than not, have the same solving experiences as you have.

Know my Beach Boys and threw down CALIFORNIA GIRLS with no crosses. Got ONE FINGER SALUTE (gross) with only a couple of letters. A FIGHTING CHANCE was also entered with no difficulties.

Middle part put up some resistance, but the bottom third is where the brakes locked up. SPARE THE DETAILS was no problem, but 61A and 66A did me in and rendered a DNF. Close but the ceegar is still missing.

Safe travels Rex.

r.alphbunker 3:00 AM  

V for victory on this one.

Top half fell fast. Got the bottom half through sheer dynamism, writing in answers and erasing them.

SAM ELLIOT was a stranger far too long but once he was in the grid things happened fast.


A FIGHTING CHANCE could have be been clued {What every Saturday solver deserves}. This puzzle complied.

I liked the clue {early millenium year} This prevented me from writing in an M immediately since the answer could have been something like III.

Acai Californiagirl Michaels 4:06 AM  

Like everyone else, top was quick, put in AFIGHTINGCHANCE with no crosses, so everything up top cohered.
Whether to put in the A is always tricky, but the fact that it makes it 15 tips the balance towards YES!

(Then I hit my own MOMENTOFINERTIA)

SPARE(me)THEDETAILS was the fave expression of one of my best friends from highschool... She's gone, sadly, but I'll spare you the details! Miss you, Ba!

Genuine malapop!!!!!!!
But in LEROI where REINE should go, so practically fainted when it turned out to be some playwright Jones name!!! I live for that!

TIEATIE was cool.

@Anon 12:42 AM
it's so fun when something is right which you get totally from the wrong reasons...
For me it was MOMMA, bec I mixed up Michael Keaton and Billy Crystal for "Throw Momma From the Train", but that led to MRMOM anyway!

If @foodie were around, she could explian the phenomenon of the brain being so wrong it's right.

Shocked a bit by ONEFINGERSALUTE...
I constructed a puzzle where you added the word FINGER to each phrase, so that the reveal was GIVETHEFINGERTO but I sent it directly to BEQ who used it as a guest puzzle!
(If I had known that "Bird" would fly, I might have submitted it for consideration, tho secretly glad not to be the one to break that "give the finger to" barrier in the NYT!)

As for TOMKAT, I'm guessing her 5 year contract was up.

And one last time, anyone comin' to Napa (today)? Dan Feyer hosting!

Clark 4:51 AM  

I did ok on this one, except I finished with CALIFORNIA GuRuS. Oh well. I started out trying to start that one with a Hawaiian island. Let's see. Which Hawaiian island has 'A' for a second letter?

Jeremy Mercer 5:22 AM  

Not knowing the term NAIAD, I looked at the three early millennial options that started MI: MII, MIV, and MIX ... and went with NAXAD. Very tough cross considering the word is obscure and there are at least three correct answer to 'Early millennium year'.

Of course, I'm just bitter because this has been my worst solving week in two years. Failed Wednesday because of PENTONIMOES and failed Friday because of the much maligned SW corner. Today, aside from NAXAD, I also had SEATTLE for SANTAFE (Didn't the Oregon Trail go near there?) which doomed me ... It's 11h19 here. Too early for a glass of rosé for a STRESS RELIEVER?

Anonymous 6:51 AM  

Rexie, you should really look up kinkajou and COATI mundi. They're cute. You could have put in a photo of one instead of old SAM ELLIOT, who has descended to truck ads, after all.

Tita 7:50 AM  

Started out very easy for me, but woulnd up with a big dnf around LEROI (same malapop as acme), SANTAFE, SAMELLIOTT, TECS (wasn't fooled by the misdirect there, but never heard that term), LOA, UPS. Had RC ARENA. Ugh.

Favorite thing about this puzzle...51A reminding me of one of my favorite lines in a sitcom:

The Odd Couple:
Oscar: (explaining why Feilx is half under the bed) "he's looking for an outlet"
Myrna: "have you tried tennis?"

@acme - hope the Napa Challenge turns out fabulous!

Lindsay 8:24 AM  

Rex, if you can learn to autofill "3 letter singer = ONO" you can definitely learn to autofill "5 letter horses = OCALA".

I flew through the top like everyone else, but suffered mightily at the bottom. Tried SAM ELLIson (related to Ralph?) as my entree to the lower stacks. Then my SUET was SooT (doesn't soap-making involve ashes?), my head in a bucket was taP, and less was minuS.

Needless to say the 15s didn't work. But eventually stared at them long enough that they came into focus.

Have a good weekend everyone.

Lindsay 8:38 AM  

Just back from Crossword Fiend, and am compelled to confess that I have an error.

"Passes (out)" does not equal DOzES, but rather DOLES. Which makes sense, though I'd rather doze than either dole or learn French, which would have gotten me the cross.

Carola 8:58 AM  

Things went well until I got into the neighborhood of the RCA DOME, where I had "nymph" before NAIAD. I liked the CALIFORNIA GIRLS hanging around with the PERSIAN CATS, also the clues for FIG and GRIST. Oh, and yesterday's LOTTE transformed into LOTTA.

I say being an OMA is better than being a REINE any day.

Off to the Farmers' Market while it's still relatively GELID.

jberg 8:59 AM  

I really feel bad after coming here - I didn't "fly through the top" at all, partly because I put in tulsA at 1D off the A. That took a long time to fix. But then, I put in AbilenE off the E at 44D, too. Just not a good day for me, I did finish but it took forever.

I liked two things about this puzzle:

1. Not just a Random Roman Numeral, but a COMPLETELY Random Roman Numeral. Early millennium year apparently meant early in whatever millennium it was in - you can hardly consider the second of 4 to be "early," can you?

2. The repeated LEROIs at 36D and 50D ... oh, wait. Too bad. I wished they had been at 11D and 34D as well, it would have made a nice pattern, even if COATIs are cuter.

Seriously, LEROI Jones was a gimme. You young 'uns may be confused because he changed his name to Baraka in 1867. He has been a major force (at different times!) in Beat literature, African American cultural nationalism, and Newark city politics.

kippy 9:00 AM  

Breezed through the top fifteens and was hoping for smooth sailing. Got bogged down in the middle - I also had MYDEAREST for MYDARLING. Didn't know RCADOME. Got COATI with no crosses - my son was once into rainforest wildlife, so I have a pretty good repertoire of obscure animals.

I thought it was OLAF, so FASTER made no sense.

Tita 9:29 AM ARE up on your soap-making...ashes are used to make lye, which in turn is used to make soap.
Learned this by researching sources for food-grade lye, which I use to make pretzel bread...Laugenbrötchen...

So where are foodie and Ulrich?

Merle 9:43 AM  

Enjoy your vacation, Rex. Your blog is a fine accompaniment to a fine NY Times crossword puzzle, and makes up for a lousy one. This puzzle wobbled between inane and obscure, with a touch of WTF. Once again, generational differences and different interests lead to different "gimmes" and "never heard of its". Leroi Jones was easy, because I remember when his play opened. But with no interest in sports, a handicap in crosswording, I never heard of RCA Dome or Lucas Oil Stadium. Thought I knew R & B, never heard of TLC group. But, if a puzzle constructor stoops to TLC, this one used a better clue for TLC than other inane clues for a crosswordese fill. People eat taco salads? Live and learn. Thought 62 D clue and answer, was cute. But lianas, aghas, tecs, eat up too much space. And "notas" and "nota" are a bit much together in a puzzle. 'Tis a puzzlement....

pajamapartypants 9:46 AM  

5-letter cities that end in "A"...either omaha or OCALA. i'm from around omaha and know of only about 3 horses, voila! OCALA it is.

i wanted A Fair something at first, but once CHANCE showed up, i got it.

i was also struck by the crassness of ONEFINGERSALUTE. that that answer was on the top of the grid looking down over all the others made me feel like i was getting the salute for doing this puzzle.

joho 9:54 AM  

@Acai Californiagirl Michaels & @Tita, I, too, had LEROI where REINE ended up!

I couldn't parse SAMELLIOTT for the life of me. I wanted it to be SAMEuL someone. And that crossing of "three dues?" -- SEI -- did me in. I knew it was six, but SEI??? I got the TEL/DOLES crossing but that's another Natick waiting to happen ... plus as mentioned by @Jeremy Mercer the trap at MII/NAIAD another potentional Natick. I found those spots to be weaknesses in this puzzle.

@Tita, I also had RCarena for a while.

Have fun, Rex!

joho 9:56 AM  

And @Foodie ... where are you?

notsofast 10:31 AM  

I guess Rex's ennui comes from being the King; but I had a blast doing this one. Any Saturday puzzle not filled with playwrights, jewish calendars or eastern European villages is ok by me. Bravo!

Z 10:35 AM  

Hand up for the LEROI malapop. This led me to LEROy for a while.

I was fully prepared to come here and argue that MMM is the end of a millennium if necessary. This is, indeed, the most random of RRNs, edging out TENS clued as XXX. Yecch.

CALIFORNIA GIRLS went right in, so the top played Monday easy for me. Like others, the southern triple gave me problems, although GELID is now a gimme.

Dressing up OLAV as a speed skater just added to the obscure sports clue count along with the RCA DOME and Buck ONEIL. I'm a big sports fan but these border on absurd obscurities. Demolished stadiums that were not of any particular note when they were being used hardly seem fair. I can't wait until Milwaukee County Stadium becomes a theme. After all, it stood longer than the RCA dome, hosted home games for three Major League teams and an NFL team AND I attended a game there. Definitely crossworthy.

quilter1 10:37 AM  

Golly that SAM ELLIOTT is good looking. 'Nuff said.

Bird 10:46 AM  

I looked at 1A and counted the squares. THE MIDDLE FINGER fits, but I wrote it above the grid because I thought no way that would be in a NYT puzzle. Go figure. Got 16A and 17A instantly then stalled. Got a few others here and there, but alas DNF.

I spell 31A as DOY, but I now realize it is DO I. Duh!

45A is OLAF or OLAV? Ah, 46D is VASTER.

@jberg - Can't get much more random at 42A. Might as well have ben clued as RRN.

Who started singing Oh My Darling, Clementine when they got to 49A?

jackj 10:48 AM  

When ONEFIN was filled in and there were 9 more letters to be added, it was clear that Tim wasn’t looking for a FINCH as the “Bird” but the only other thing that came to mind was a rather crude entry that wouldn’t be appropriate for the Times. Would it? Ah, well, another envelope pushed.

The fifteens, all six of them were reasonably clever, with the best cluing being used for the Beach Boys' CALIFORNIAGIRLS and the less bouncy, but equally clever, SPARETHEDETAILS.

As often happens in this type of puzzle some of the best cluing takes place when least expected like FIG, which seems just a mildish put-down, “I couldn’t care a FIG” but historically is felt to have a rather rude Middle Ages, Italian birth, prompting some, (including The Bard), to think of this type of FIG as an obscenity, a “two-fingered salute”.

And then, to make the crudities a Crocian Trifecta, we can look to the seemingly straight forward TENS for the answer to the triple X clue as an implied placeholder for the hardest of hard-core film ratings and one wonders whether this puzzle should be labeled as NSFW.

Just funning you Tim, the puzzle was a pleasure to solve.

Sparky 10:48 AM  

BADTASTE yesterday, the FINGER today. Ick. Managed about 3/4 Friday and little today. Just couldn't get into it. Had CALIFORNIAGIRLS, AFIGHTINGCHANCE and MRMOM. I really like Michael Keaton.

Have a good vacation @Rex. Safe journey.

mac 10:56 AM  

A lot easier for me than yesterday's! I liked it.

Johann Olav Koss is not semi-obscure to me, I love speed skating, especially the long distance.

A little surprised by the finger. Love tie a tie.

It's too hot in Connecticut.

mac 10:57 AM  

Have a wonderful vacation, Rex and family!

Anonymous 11:26 AM  

Enjoy your vacation Rex!

jackj 11:26 AM  

If anyone wants to keep tabs on Foodie, check Amy's Crossword Fiend "Comments" each day and read postings by Huda, who is in fact, Foodie. (She announced that she was dropping her pseudonym in favor of her real first name).

To Rex and family, have a blast!

Andrew 11:44 AM  

This was the worst crossword in some time. If this was the best available, then they need to pay more so more people will construct.

A huge chunk of the "answers" simply are not real words with any meaning in life.

Enneads. Lianas. Doi. Loa. Sei. Tecs. Gelid. Oma. Tel. Soto. Coati. None of them are even acceptable as clues.

Every single one of them should have been clued "Letter sequence needed to fit this hole. Possibly a word in some language, but never used real life. Often a phony crossword 'abbreviation' that's never used in real life. Only solvable to people who do crosswords daily for decades."

BTW, "Is on" simply isn't a valid answer for "Airs." It would be a valid answer for "Airs on" or even perhaps "Airing now" but it doesn't match with "Airs."

Crossword fail.

Carola 11:47 AM  

 @Tita - When you open your online Laugenbrötchen store, I want to be on your mailing list :)  The ones from the supermarket just aren't the same....

Crosscan 11:56 AM  

The news airs at eleven.

The news is on at eleven.

Sir Hillary 12:08 PM  

Wasn't there some OK Corral movie that had a bunch of brothers in it (Carradine, Keach, Bridges)? Am I just making that up? Anyway, after getting the AME in 30D, I wrote in JAMESKEACH, which sent me off on the goosechase to end all others. I even convinced myself for a bit that "Jumping ability, in hoops lingo" might be DRJ - idiotic, of course. Finally figured out it had to be SAMELLIOTT.

Hated the MII/NAIAD cross. That's really pushing it.

Also, can someone explain how "Remote fillers, maybe" is AAAS? I am lost here.

Ah well, at least I finished, unlike yesterday.

Mr. Howard 12:12 PM  

"One whose head may be stuck in a bucket" Had the MO, immediately thought of the 3 Stooges, slapped down the E.

Anonymous 12:21 PM  

Put triple A batteries in your remote...

retired_chemist 12:41 PM  


Hand up for wanting INIGO (Jones) despite knowing it would be wrong. Hand up also for NYMPH (35D) based on needing an I, V, X or M. for 42A. And LOTSA luck (25D).

Felt smug writing in with no crosses): AAAS (even though I would have preferred a clue based on it being the acronym for the American Association for the Advancement of Science), CSA, and TACO SALAD.

The N was harder for me than most, since I had 17A as A SPORTING CHANCE, even to the point where I ruled out NAFTA (2D) despite knowing it HAD to be right. Did not like ONE FINGER SALUTE - too vulgar for the Grey Lady.

MINERAL SALT may, to somebody besides the constructor, mean what a water softener removes, but not to me. Googling it gets you mostly to nutritional uses and regular salt (sodium chloride) with trace metals included for supposed nutritional value. Actually NaCl is what a water softener ADDS to your drinking water to replace the calcium and magnesium salts that make your water hard. Since the latter two are in Group II of the periodic table, I thought briefly of GROUP II SALT after I couldn't make Ca or Mg anything fit.

Overall I enjoyed the solve. Thanks, Mr. Croce.

Masked and Anonymous 12:59 PM  

Happy trails, @#31*! My invite to guest-blog must still be in the mail. Har.

Always a pleasure, to solve a bunch of 15-ers. Like playin' Wheel of Fortune. Hard to pick a fave 15, but feel like 1-A deserves at least one thUmbUp. Real partial to 17-A and 66-A, also.

Fave shorties:
TIEATIE SANTAFE Great town SAMELLIOTT Big Lebowski stranger, dude GELID TACOSALAD Let's eat.

Fave clue: "XXX". Couldn't let this one go and move on, until I felt I'd got it. Wanted XXX other things, before I got to move on. Preferred answers: CHIS EXES PORN LEWD LOVE AND KISSES,

Tobias Duncan 1:13 PM  

My childhood fascination with Grand Master Flash was a big help today:
"Can't take the train to the job, there's a strike at the station. Neon King Kong standin' on my back. Can't stop to turn around, broke my sacroiliac."

Noam D. Elkies 1:15 PM  

A host of guests? Cute. Enjoy your vacation; hope this daily blogging isn't coming to feel like a chore...


Anonymous 1:33 PM  

Please, someone, what is enneads. I just don't get it.

Anonymous 1:34 PM  

Tim Croce has had 15 solo puzzles published in the NYT, all since early 2010. Of those 6 are 15 stacks like today’s is. This is the third this calendar year. This is only the second time Rex has given Croce’s 15 stacks a bad review. In Rex’s other bad review on April 13, 2012, he wrote: “I think I was psyched out / put off my game just by the sight of this one. I am over the whole 15-stacks thing. Just seeing them now makes me depressed. 15-stacks are the new pangram, i.e. a pointless achievement that's been done many times so who cares?”

But on June 2, 2012 Rex again gave a 15 stack Tim Croce a relatively favorable review.

Today Rex is not so hot about this one but most of the comments seem to reflect that many solvers liked it. Amy Renaldo on her blog agrees more with Rex on this one and gave it a ONE FINGER SALUTE. On Wordplay Tim Croce gives some history how this puzzle evolved if anyone is interested.

As for me, I enjoyed this puzzle. MOMENT OF INERTIA is something that is important in the making of golf drivers. The higher the MOI is the less twist in the shaft and therefore the better the chances for a straight drive. The USGA has placed limits on MOI in drivers. I’ll SPARE THE DETAILS how that’s achieved.

The wife and I were at our favorite Mexican restaurant in the Bridgeport neighborhood of Chicago this week. She was noticing someone else’s dinner that had a bowl made from a shell and was wondering what it was. Of course, it was a TACO SALAD.

I’m already starting to suffer from withdrawal of snark. See ya’ Rex. Stay cool.

Anonymous 1:51 PM  

Got this one with a struggle. Not as bad as yesterday's "Rose Royce" which was beyond the pale. But then Rex Parker always (inexplicably) cuts Patrick Berry a lot of slack. A lot of clues and words I hated, including "Ono" (felt sympathy for her for about 10 minutes after Lennon's horrible murder, 32 years ago; then she started acting like Yoko Ono again: grandiose, full of herself, expressing a lot of lazy and self-indulgent gestures as "art," and generally being her jerky self again). Didn't know or care that she released a song back in 1982; her "Season of Glass," a black-widow exploitation of John's murder the previous year, permanently made me hate her for ever.

Acme 1:59 PM  

Anon 1:33 ENNEADS are groups of 9

@M&A mine too!

Martin 2:04 PM  


You don't really mean that a water softener adds NaCl to your water, do you? Na+, yes. Cl-, hopefully not.

"Mineral salts" are what make "mineral water" mineral water, chiefly salts of Ca++ and Mg++. I think it's ok for a Saturday.

Lewis 2:06 PM  

Never would have gotten this without Google, and provided some aha moments, and good learning.

And I'm not proud of this, mind you, but proving I'm not a robot seems to be getting easier for me.

Anonymous 2:07 PM  

Let's start a petion on to the NYT asking them to stand down on their nicke-and-dime lambrain idea for double charging subscribers of the nyt for doing the puzzle online!

Anonymous 3:15 PM  

Anon at 1:34 - Exactly what I would have said. Wait. It is what I said....


PS. I hereby disassociate myself from all other Anons but neither endorse nor criticize them.

Nicki 3:24 PM  

Boy, this one was no fun.

We'll miss you, Rex!

Anonymous 3:32 PM  

@Martin and @ret chem - My reseach informs me that sodium carbonate (Na2CO3) is what is used for water softeners....


Jet City Gambler 3:36 PM  

@Sir Hillary
You're thinking of "The Long Riders," directed by Walter Hill, where the Carradine, Keach, and Quaid brothers played the Younger, James, and Miller brotherss, respectively.

Martin 3:52 PM  


You're research is a bit off. A water softener exchanges sodium for the calcium and magnesium in the mineral salts. For instance, calcium carbonate (in the hard water) plus sodium chloride (used to "charge" the ion exchange resin) becomes sodium carbonate (in the water) and calcium chloride (on the resin, eventually flushed down the drain when the resin is recharged by a timer).

The sodium carbonate doesn't make soap scum and "lime scale" on the shower walls. It does give you hypertension, which the calcium carbonate didn't.

retired_chemist 4:14 PM  

@ Martin et al. Correct re the non-addition of any anions. These are cation exchange resins. I misspoke.

Anonymous 5:16 PM  

This was the easiest Saturday for me in a long time...The little girl next door called her grandma Oma... Either I knew the answers, or could get them off the cross. This makes me feel better... The worst is when I have struggled mightily and I come to the site and everybody thought it was dirt simple.

chefbea 5:48 PM  

too hot here to concentrate on the puzzle!!
@Rex Have a great vacation. Hope it's cooler there than here

Chip Hilton 5:48 PM  

ONEFINGERSALUTE - Maleska spins.

Masked and Anonymous IIi 7:54 PM  

@acme 1:59 -- Har. Like your chances better.

While I'm here. Was bowled over to learn about my missing out on that 36-D play, "The Toilet". Didn't make it to my neck of the woods. From the title, I'd bet it would just flush the big audiences out from all over these parts. Have heard of Leroi Jones, but not of that particular work of plumbing.

See, @acme? Exhibit A to why I like your chances better...

Dirigonzo 7:56 PM  

I had RayDOME so that section eluded me. But I had the same LEROI malapop as ACM and others so I'm feeling pretty good about the company I keep.

Have a great vacation Rex, and don't worry about a thing - I'm sure the Gypsies in the Palace will take good care of everything while you are away.

Bob Kerfuffle 8:35 PM  

I've read all the comments, and once again I seem to have managed to come up with a (my one and only) write-over that no one else had:

Working off just the "C" from 57 A, TECS, I had 58 D, Dairy product container, as CASE (as in, "You will find cottage cheese in the dairy case") before CONE.

michael 8:55 PM  

@bob kerfuffle 8:35

I did this also,

Dirigonzo 9:14 PM  

@Bob K - hand up for Case before CONE, for the same reasoning. But I had lots of other write-overs and ultimately DNF, so good for you!

retired_chemist 11:28 PM  

Also CASE before CONE here.

Will Hemmings 10:31 AM  

We stand on guard for thee Rex!
Will Hemmings, Donna Humberd

LaPoodella 11:19 AM  

Funny stand in today. Now I'll have to check crossword fiend as well.

judib 4:19 PM  

so entertaining!

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Spacecraft 1:31 PM  

Well, I put in NAFTA. Then I stared, and stared some more, and said, this is gonna be impossible without Google. So I looked up six things, put them in, and "finished" from there.

When I saw "Bird" for 1a, I excitedly counted out the letters in CHARLIEPARKER. Alas, a couple short. Oh well.

VASTER?? Is there a chance in a million that this word will be used in actual conversation?--or even in PRINT, fercryinoutloud? Ugh, what a half vast word!

"Bit the dust" is a poor clue for ATEIT. Try "Obeyed Weird Al."

This just wasn't very thrilling. too much special knowledge required, IMHO. I didn't put DRESSUP in for 40a, no matter how obvious, because I thought 41d must be ACAI...but I only knew that from doing crosswords! Seems like we're getting to be a special breed of brainiacs, with in-depth knowledge of certain xword-friendly letter strings but not necessarily possessed of general intelligence. We sure know ALOU, even if we "hate" baseball!

Anonymous 4:21 PM  

Parker drops the ball again with his video choices. How many oportunities do you get to post this?

Like @Bird 10:46, I counted the squares with THE MIDDLE FINGER in mind and waited for the letters to line up, but they didn't so I wiped it from my brain. Took forever to get it back; I had nine of the fifteen letters in place before I finally saw ONE FINGER SALUTE.

I probably wouldn't have finished this one if it weren't for this blog, and somebody complaining about TEC the other day, and someone else responding with advice to remember it as common crosswordese. I don't recall seeing TEC in the past but if it's common it's probably tripped me up more than once. Today I saw the clue, read it perfectly and whacked a screaming liner into the gap.

I usually have my Tacos a la D on a plate.

DMGrandma 4:34 PM  

Sorta close, but no cigar. Just couldn't finish the bottom 15's. Everything W of NOH was a mess of guesses, including Lerei. Had ....OFINERTIA but couldn't get beyond the obviously incorrect "theory" for the first part. But then, my last physics class was in 1949, and I always consider Euler as a mathematician. Got SAM, couldn't come up with a last name, so wondered if it should be James. On the other hand, I got everyone of those crosswordese words someone listed above. Maybe I have been doing these things for too,long!

Cycled through something like 10 Captchas to find one I think I can read. time to take pity on those of us whose eyesight is less than it used to be!

Anonymous 8:58 PM  

Is he gone yet? I hope so cause he seems to need a nice long vacation. I believe this was a great puzzle, even though it was difficult and required the help of two reference books. Thank you Tim Croce. My one mistake was "faster" instead of "vaster." Hey, that's OK, I'll live. Ron Diego

Red Valerian 4:17 PM  

@Spacecraft--love your clue for ATE IT!!! And "half vast"!!!! You had me giggling.

Enjoyed the puzzle too, although (or perhaps because) it seemed on the easy side to me. For a Saturday, that is! Was pleased to see it rated medium, though I didn't see anything from @SanFranMan to have that confirmed.

So, in syndi-land, this is the start of Rex's holiday, eh? The foreshadowing in the comments is amazing!

@Tita--sorry not to write back. Crazy busy!!! But there will be holidays in about ten days. Then no crossword at all as we're off backpacking.

Red Valerian 4:19 PM  

Dang. Forgot to check for email follow-ups. Sorry to clutter your inboxes! (And probably for nothing ;-}

Dirigonzo 7:22 PM  

@Red Valerian - nice to see you checking in here; I've missed you! Checking the box for email follow-ups is never "for nothing"-sometimes comments come along weeks later. Enjoy your backpacking holiday and I hope we'll see you back here when you return.

Angela 2:40 AM  

Did not like this one at all. Even after I saw the completed grid, many of the answers made no sense. They still don't. I don't mind having to think and ponder, but if I'm using google for every other answer, that's simply not fun or interesting.

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