Ren's cousin of cartoondom / SAT 6-23-12 / Sportscaster Andrews others / Evoker of 1950s nostalgia / Engadget's co / On-site shucking sites / 1999 Ron Howard bomb / Where John Day R flows

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Constructor: Laura Sternberg

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: none

Word of the Day: KAT Dennings (43D: "2 Broke Girls" co-star Dennings) —
Katherine Litwack (born June 13, 1986), better known by the stage name Kat Dennings,[1] is an American actress. Emerging with a role in an episode of the HBO dramedy series Sex and the City, Dennings has since appeared in the films The 40-Year-Old VirginBig Momma's House 2Charlie BartlettRaise Your VoiceThe House BunnyDefendorNick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, andThor. She also co-stars in the CBS television series 2 Broke Girls. (wikipedia)
• • •

Sandusky verdict was being read just as this puzzle came out, so I solved it with one eye on the TV and still set what must've been a Saturday record (didn't bother to time it, though, because of distracted solving circumstances). Played like a themeless Wednesday for me. I had to think a little about DEOXYGENATED (6D: Like blood coursing through one's veins) and OREG. (54A: Where the John Day R. flows) and KAT, but I hardly had to think at all about the rest. Aside from a slight excess of lackadaisical fill (your UNAWEDs, your OREGs, your ARGUERs, your two EYE answers, etc.), I don't have anything to complain about except the fact that Fri. and Sat. were radically misplaced this week (I'm quite certain today's puzzle took me less than half the time of yesterday's puzzle). Fill is mostly solid, occasionally fresh, and having the big answers run in two parallel chunks Down middle of the grid gave the puzzle an interesting architectural feel. I laughed out loud at 13D: Big Red, in the N.C.A.A. (CORNELL U.). Last week saw RICEU, which I rightly claimed was horrible. I then hypothesized what I thought was a preposterous extension of this concept: BAYLORU. Would that be accepted now? Probably not, I thought. Man was I wrong. I need to get started on my BINGHAMTONU puzzle. The ending-in-U length record is begging to be broken! Get me a 14-letter university name, stat!

This puzzle is a pangram but I don't care because anyone can make a pangram themeless puzzle. With no theme answers restricting your grid, you are wildly free to shove in all the Scrabbly letters you want. There's no evidence that fill quality was compromised to achieve a pangram. So ... it's irrelevant. But for every idiot who continues to put forth the notion that I hate pangrams *per se*, here you go: I don't hate this one.

Had QUIET DOWN (1A: Lower one's racket) and Q SCORE (1D: Measure of popularity) immediately, and once I threw the long Downs in, the whole puzzle opened up. Easy as pie to get into every cranny of this thing. Threw WONTONS (21A: Asian soup ingredients) into the NE corner off just the W. Threw RADIO DJ (55A: One might do a countdown) into the SW corner because DJ was already in place. Cluing was not tough and grid was open and interconnected in ways that allowed for easy movement—lots of ways to march through the grid. Two or three ways into every corner. BREEZIEST Saturday puzzle ever.

  • 28A: 1999 Ron Howard bomb ("EDTV") — This "bomb" will live on semi-eternally in crossword grids.
  • 36A: Evoker of 1950s nostalgia (SHA NA NA) — Evoker was always my least favorite member of SHA NA NA. A poor man's Bowzer, if you ask me.
  • 57A: Engadget's co. (AOL) — I have no idea what an Engadget is, but a "co." in three letters is Probably AOL. Plus I had the "O" in place, so: easy.
  • 64A: Like some kids' shoelaces (NO-TIE) — this is slightly alarming, as I always think of tying one's shoes as an important step on the way to becoming a minimally competent human being. We'll put wheels on their damned shoes, but god forbid they should have to tie them. PS get off my lawn.

  • 7D: On-site shucking sites (OYSTER BARS) — I was trying to outthink the clue by imagining that "shucking" had something to do with taking off your clothes. But I couldn't think of a good name for a "site" where one did this, and then eventually I got the OYS- and there wasn't really any doubt left what the answer was.
  • 10D: Sportscaster Andrews and others (ERINS) — Gimme. Which helped, undoubtedly. GWENS and LIZA, also gimmes. Which helped, undoubtedly.
  • 24D: Ren's cousin of cartoondom (SVEN) — possibly the greatest SVEN clue of all time. I'm not aware of any other SVEN clues, but I approve this one.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


jae 12:26 AM  

Much easier and not a zippy as yesterday's for me too.   But a smattering of zip ... HAVEACOW, QSCORE, SNAKEEYES... and pretty solid grid makes for an OK Sat.  Top half was very easy,  SE easy-medium, and SW medium.  So, easy over all mostly because the North offered no real resistance.

Erasures:  rOoms for DOSES and adhErE for RECEDE.

Don't see any potential Naticks.

chefwen 12:31 AM  

Had the opposite experience as our leader. I BREEZed through yesterdays and really struggled with todays. Totally messed myself up in the southwest by having paper messing up my desktop, wards before DOSES at 52D, rAp before pan at 41A, finally ended up taking out the entire section and starting over.

I so wanted to put in equals two at 15A but held off. Anyway, I liked it but I had a lot more fun yesterday with fewer write overs.

syndy 1:33 AM  

Yep I had all of CHEFWEN"S write overs and then some-Ohio instead of OREG Erik insteadof ERIN and still finished in short time!Those long answers really chewed up some real estate.But since the Bear got me yesterday I'll take an easy one today.How many scrabble points IS DEOXYGENATED?

Anonymous 1:39 AM  

I'm with Rex -- waaaay easier than yesterday's. But am I the only solver who has never heard of Q Score? And here's to Gwen Ifill hitting the big time!

r.alphbunker 2:49 AM  

Circumambulated the puzzle starting in the NE and ending in the NW. Started fast but tired by the time I got to the NW and spent a bit of time there. Had a normal Saturday time which felt shorter probably because I never experienced desperation.

Never heard of Q score. Post-googling indicates that it could be applied to XWPs. For the NYT the average Q Score of the answers of the puzzle decreases as the week progresses.

Anonymous 3:03 AM  

Of course the first thing that comes to mind with a clue of "like blood coursing through one's veins" is DEOXYGENATED. Sure.

Yesterday's puzzle was hard. Today's? Undoable. Completely undoable. I'm close to giving up on thinking I could ever be competent on Fri/Sat NYT puzzles. Very discouraging.

Anecdote CornellU Marketers 3:04 AM  

@syndy, hmmm, let's see...

DEOXYGENATED: 2+1+1+8+4+2+1+1+1+1+1+2 = only 25!
But there may be a double word score (QSCORE?) in there or triple letters.
As it's 12 letters, and you only get 7 tiles, OXYGEN had to already be on the board. Or perhaps if ENATE was there, and you played DEOXYG,D around it for a bingo, throw in another 50 pts!

I like this crossover with Scrabble vibe, complete with fun pangram! (I like less @Rex referring to those who read him regularly and dare to disagree with him as "idiots", but then he says "PS Get off my lawn" and a ray of sunshine comes through) :)

Agree yesterday and today could easily be swapped. It's very rare for a woman constructor to have a Saturday, so I liked that some of the sports figures were even women (ERIN Andrews, I'm looking at you, tho not thru a secret camera in your hotel room to record you naked!)

Definitely a feminine vibe: TERESA, KAT, LIZA, ERINS, GWENS, the TSARS Bride, STE, and I'd even be an ARGUER for QUIETDOWN as being more gal than guy! Brava, Laura!

Plus there must be some joke in Ifill fill... Yay GWEN!

OREG over GRE was interesting, tho I find that R. for River very suspect. This way to the EGESTS.

My biggest problem was having SkiRmIsh for SPARRING which I think is a much more fun answer!

NSEW could have been in any order, as far as I was concerned...and I didn't notice the two EYES. But that's not good!

As a former standup, I loved both INTRO and ANECDOTE and, um, HAVEACOW.

Attention Bay Area solvers, a week from today, Dan Feyer and his lovely gal Gretchen are throwing a Napa Valley Tourney!
3 NY Times puzzles and one site-specific one specially created by my pal Gregory Cameron and me.

We are also doing an expert
panel/Q & A with Jeremy Horowitz and Tyler Hinman...moderated by Steely Dan, so we are talking the champs of the last 8 years of the ACPT!!!
(They are also showing "Wordplay" for free!
It's not listed under @Rex's events, but it's next Sat, June 30th, 3pm, check it out here:

See you there!?

Anonymous 6:17 AM  

@Rex, just because I know you hate pangrams you don't have to call me an idiot. As for this puzzle every rule has its exception(s)....


Dan 8:14 AM  

I am apparently the Anti-Rex, since Q SCORE / QUIET DOWN was my last answer

Glimmerglass 8:24 AM  

Much easier than yesterday's, but not what I would call easy. I was traveling yesterday and working the puzzle to pass time -- it passed a heck of a lot of time! I finished it after lunch. Today's was a normal Saturday for me, which is to say about an hour. Never head of Q SCORE and didn't think of SNAKE EYES --plus, I had unOXYGENATED, so QUIET DOWN was very slow to emerge from the fog.

evil doug 8:32 AM  

ShaNaNa lived a hot, short life; I'm guessing we'll see some complaints there. Never understood why the ersatz 50's struck it rich when real music of the 50's could readily be found in record store stacks....

Nice trick on icons being 'desktop' clutter. I imagined a real desk. 'Outlet stores' seems obvious now, but it came to me slowly. Whenever we flew through Ft. Wayne we'd race outside between flights to the Archway Cookie outlet for crew snacks.

Had the 'yg' combo and nothing else, but that was plenty for deoxygenated since we were dealing with veins, not arteries.

Agree with Andrea: s--r---- led me to skirmish---a neat word---until (nice image!) receding gums (b)led to sparring.

If you enjoy 'intrigues' in novels, I highly recommend Joseph Kanon's stuff---"Istanbul Passage" is his latest.


jackj 9:21 AM  

A constructor can deal with a lot of potential unpleasantness by having SASSAFRAS, (and all those esses), as the last horizontal entry in their grid but it is also a word that might serve as the seed entry in a knotty themeless crossword. Whatever, it’s a fun thing to find in this charming puzzle.

Laura Sternberg has only one other Times Puzzle to her credit and that was over three years ago, on a Thursday in 2009, having a cute gimmick that used initials which, when spoken, made words such as GREEN WITH NV or RUNNING ON MT, a trick that might have helped to spawn today’s RADIO DJ.

Despite being a pangram, (and even allowing for DEOXYGENATED), there didn’t seem to be any obvious forced entries needed to achieve it. For example, CORNELLU, the rather unpleasant cousin of Monday’s RICEU, wasn’t crammed in to the puzzle only for its “U”; there are three other “U’s” available that are well placed, especially the one in INTRIGUES.

Some nice touches throughout with QSCORE, OUTLETSTORES, ALTERNATES and one that guarantees a smile from those who have seen SHANANA perform, make for a pleasant solve that might have been an even better fit on a Friday.

A nice return effort from Ms. Sternberg who, hopefully, won’t wait another three years before treating us to her third Times puzzle.

SethG 9:23 AM  

Andrea, he's not calling people who like pangrams idiots, he's calling people who say he automatically hates pangrams just because they're pangrammatic idiots. He's probably tired of repeating that he hates the compromises in the fill that are usually necessary to force a pangram in a 15x15, especially a themed one, where it wouldn't naturally occur with optimal fill.

I would have maybe set a record, except that I had OYSTRRBARS in place for a long time and couldn't figure out an xRP assent and still have no idea why an EXT has anything more to do with a suite no. than with a non-suite no.

Also, the GRE is offered in as many suites as it is coll.s. Some of the cluing was a bit weird, but the grid was pretty good.

Credits reader 9:32 AM  

alternate clue for SVEN: Cinematographer Nykvist.

Carola 9:37 AM  

This was no SPARRING match for me - it was an all-out battle. Good thing I'm old enough to have used USENET - that and INTRO led me to those ESTONIAN Skype developers, and I was able to crawl my way around the rest of the grid from there, finally ending up in the OYSTER BARS. Despite my (incorrectly) envisioning COOKIE bARS yesterday, I first had the shucking going on right in the OYSTER BedS, until SHA NA NA showed me my error. I liked DEOXYGENATED, TWO STEPS, and SASSAFRAS, although the cross with EGESTS is maybe a little unfortunate.

Thank you, Laura Sternberg, for the workout!

Raúl 9:37 AM  

Sha Na Na was the next to last act of Woodstock succeeded by Jimi Hendrix. They performed at 7.30 in the morning of Monday, 18th of August 1969.

Hendrix was better.10 asmentro

JC66 10:20 AM  


When listing directions, I always say North, South, East & West, in that order. Any other way seems awkward.


You hate so many things (that's part of your charm), so I'll take pangrams off the list.

orangeblossomspecial 10:21 AM  

13D CORNELLU struck me the way RICEU did last week. Those aren't the normal ways I think of those schools.

As usual, I have a different song based on an answer: 65A "The BREEZE and I", featuring Xavier Cugat's band with Dinah Shore on vocal.

I figured there had to be a song about 14D. Sure enough, "Texas TWO STEP".

Merle 10:32 AM  

Oh the shame, the shame. Couldn't do this puzzle. Started Googling my way through, and actually went to the Rex blog to get a boost or two. Too many pop culture clues -- Shanana is my pop culture speed. In the 20th century pre-Rex blog, I was the go-to person among my solving friends, and always finished all the puzzles on my own. This time, got sassafras, two steps, have a cow, Estonian, tetanus, Argo, but most of the rest was a struggle. Not a fun puzzle at all for me. Glad it was the "breeziest" (55A) for others. "Sparring" (36D) with Laura Sternberg, I lost.

joho 10:32 AM  

I was happy to see that @Rex didn't PAN this pangram.

I was so excited when I got rEOXYGENATED ... not! QUIETDOWN solved that problem.

Unfortunate to have two EYES but at least those answers were fun: SNAKEEYES & EYEBALLS. I was wracking my brain for orbiting bodies so I liked that misleading clue.

Who knew that Skype was developed by ESTONIANS?

I enjoyed this, thank you, Laura Sternberg!

chefbea 10:33 AM  

Too tough for me again today. DNF

Laughed at Cornell U!! Never heard of Qscore

Sir Hillary 10:45 AM  

Too funny. I slaughtered yesterday's "difficult" puzzle and had fits with today's "easy" puzzle. So, the Fri-Sat placement was just right for me. WARDS for DOSES cost me 30 minutes all by itself.

Unfortunately, today's grid and cluing weren't as zippy as yesterday's. Very competent package, just...a little bland. To Laura Sternberg's credit, however, I never noticed the pangram until Rex pointed it out.

Nice to see my alma mater (about 40 miles NW of Rex) at 13D, although I have never once referred to it as "Cornell U", only as "Cornell". To be fair, perhaps that is a bit arrogant, because there is a Cornell College as well (in Iowa?). My daughter starts at "Cornell U" in August - very exciting!

Anonymous 10:54 AM  

@SethG - I think @Andrea was merely suggesting that it's nice to call your regular readers idiots, especially for not getting all of @Rex's complicated nuances. As for me, I understand and understood all that stuff you wrote about Rex and panagrams but I know better. I know Rex hates pangrams, compulsively, obsessively and relentlessly....


Sarah 11:25 AM  

I found this super easy for a Saturday; minimal write overs and speedy solving. Plus I learned that the inventors of Skype are ESTONIAN (who knew?). Compared to yesterday, which was a cruciverbian SNAKEEYES, this was the BREEZIEST Saturday in ages.

Two Ponies 11:29 AM  

Very funny write-up Rex.
I struggled with the SW the most.
Never heard of Q Score either.
Never heard of GIF either so intrigues was hidden way too long.

@ evil doug, Archway Cookies! I grew up in Ft. Wayne and remember them well and fondly.

Mel Ott 11:30 AM  

Nothing easy about this one for me, but I did finish. I had trouble with the annoying collection of three and four-letter names. Still don't know what QSCORE means - I assume that's a function of my old crockdom.

Shouldn't the word in the clue for 36D be 'battling' instead of 'battle' to agree with SPARRING?

BigSteve46 12:04 PM  

I would say EDTV crossing SVEN and the fact that you needed QSCORE to get the E in EDTV - is pretty natick-y to me. I mean SVEN is a lesser character(lesser, at least, than the 2 guys who comprise the title) in an obscure TV cartoon show! C'mon!!!

Overall a nice puzzle and a little on the easy side except for the above quibble.

Texas Momma 12:26 PM  

Served okra gumbo for dinner last night causing my nephew to ask what file' gumbo was and me telling him that file' was from dried sassafras. Two hours later it's in the puzzle!

Love when that kind of thing happens.

BTW - although I am a native of New Orleans, I do not use file' in my gumbo.

Ross G-Whiz 12:43 PM  

I knew Skype was developed by Estonians but I really wanted Dropouts (though I don't know if they are). I think this is what a pangram should be, caught it early on with Q X Y and V in the top section. Had a fun time trying to guess where the Z would pop in. Took a bit of time because I had Cheeriest for 65A. A fun, breezy summer Saturday!

JaxInL.A. 12:52 PM  

What @Merle said. Yesterday and today drove me to massive googling and I still had to have extra help. Every corner was hard and none of the scant entries I had helped crack each new section.

I haven't read enough Maugham, I'm not hip enough to know QSCORE, and will someone please explain Ren and SVEN? I like the grid, but the clues killed me.

Loved Rex's pic of Q from Star Trek: Next Generation, though.

Carola 1:05 PM  

@Evil Doug, thank you for the Joseph Kanon recommendation - did not know about him. Right up my alley. After all of Alan Furst, I didn't know where to go next.

evil doug 1:21 PM  

Carola: Just finished Furst's "Mission to Paris"---excellent, as usual. You'll enjoy Kanon's stuff.


Laura Sternberg 1:44 PM  

Hi Rex,

Thanks so much to you and your commenters for all the kind words about the puzzle. I'll definitely keep your feedback in mind as I work on more puzzles!

--Laura Sternberg

Anonymous 1:47 PM  

Wanted adhere for recede cost me 15 minutes. I have no idea what a pangram is and I have been doing puzzles for 30 years and don't really care about the jargon. It was medium hard for a Saturday as always a lot of fun. I do not get all the fuss about categorizing these puzzles. Just do them and enjoy them. As hobbies go much more enjoyable than golf

JenCT 1:55 PM  

Tough for me too, as usual for a Saturday

Never knew that SASSAFRAS was a gumbo seasoning source.


Wanted Robin for Wright with an Oscar.

Anonymous 2:01 PM  

I enjoyed this puzzle. Seemed to have a bit of a New Orleans theme, with the raw oysters and gumbo.

I was able to get 9D because there's a Buck Owens song called "Just As Long As You Love Me" that has it in this order:

"North or south, east or west, you know I will stand the test
Just as long as you love me"



Masked and Anonymous 2:06 PM  

@31: that NO-TIE bullet was one of your silverest, ever. Brilliant. Reflective. Introspective. Cranky. Had it all. 1001 hars.

Re: CORNELLU. Man, am I ever torn, over this emerging cruciverbular practice. First we had OSU, ORU, MSU, etc. Pretty harmless college fun, cuz all initials. Next we get yer DREWU and RICEU, establishing a new kind of territory, all over the grid. Now 13-D. I understand that constructors are nowadays feeling the pressure to beef up their grid's U-score. Totally sympathize. If, like Laura, you're lookin' at 3 versus 4 U's in an entire grid, that's a 25% (or 33%?) improvement. U gotta go for it. thUmbsUp for the courage shown here, by a second-time tyro contributor. Good job.

Re: Pangrams: For #31, fillin's are a pretty big deal. As he's all pointed out before, several things can mess up fill:
1. Too many theme answers.
2. A killer long fill entry, where the constructor just digs in their heels and says "I want that".
3. Trying to get overly scrabbly.
4. Trying to get democratically scrabbly. Aka pangram. This doesn't happen real often, because Republicans don't care a hoot about being democratic. And Democrats are too wussy to go to the trouble.
5. Bourbon.
6. Not being Patrick Berry.

M and A, for completeness sake 2:20 PM  

P.S. Almost forgot...
7. Not enough words.

treedweller 2:24 PM  

Tried this last night. Maybe a little too late, since I didn't even get half of it done. When I come back to a puzzle I started in the NYT applet on my sleeping Mac, the partial grid is always missing so I lose any progress. I was not sufficiently motivated to reload this one and start over, since I wasn't particularly enjoying it, anyway.

A friend tried to encourage her son to learn a shoelace bow by offering an incentive. Then his dad took him to buy new shoes and he chose some that close with Velcro. The reward is still on the shelf, AFAIK. But I guess I am out of the loop, because I am not picturing how laces can be NO-TIE. One of those little spring-loaded toggles, I guess. Doesn't that leave a bunch of excess string to trip on?

mac 2:34 PM  

Nice Saturday puzzle, which had me slowing down in a couple of places. My wrong answer of the day was: anthemless for the disappointed Olympics team. Also wanted oyster farm; we had a wedding right next to one in Watch Hill, RI once, fantastic raw bar.


Bird 3:11 PM  

Needed a lot of help with this one, but still DNF with a few intermittent blanks. Better than yesterday though so I am happy.

Never heard of NO-TIE shoelaces. Velcro, snaps and toggle-loops, but how are laces NO-TIE. Seems oxymoronic to me (for lack of a better word).

Anyway, answers to the number/letter game . . .

26 L of the A = letters of the alphabet
1001 AN = arabian nights
12 So f the Z = signs of the zodiac
8 P in the SS = planets in the solar system (used to be 9 P in the SS)
13 S on the USF = stripes on the US flag
32 DF at which WF = degrees fahrenheit at which water freezes
18 H on a GC = holes on a golf course
90 D in a RA = degrees in a right angle
200 D for PG in M = dollars for passing go in monopoly
8 S on a SS = sides on a stop sign
4 Q in a G = quarts in a gallon
24 H in a D = hours in a day
1 W on a U = wheel on a unicycle
5 D in a ZC = digits in a zip code
1000 W that a P is W = words that a picture is worth
29 D in F in a LY = in february in a leap year
64 S on a CB = squares on a checker board
40 D and N of the GF = days and nights of the great flood
12 O in a P = ounces in a pound

I hope everyone had fun. Cheers!

3 and O for M and A 3:22 PM  

Thanx for the abbrevs. Here are some advanced ones, for U to work on...
10 P in a S
3 S in a T
2 B per F
10 F per G
extra credit...
3 B for SR

JenCT 3:23 PM  

No tie laces

Stevlb1 3:48 PM  

It was even easy for me(relatively)!

lawprof 3:53 PM  

I'm a bit in awe of those of you who say you "breezed through" a Saturday puzzle. They're inevitably a struggle (albeit a pleasant one) for me, and I DNF about half the time. Today's was, in the end, a satisfying challenge.

Had to put it down for a while with virtually none of the SW complete. I had just 41A (rap) and 52D (wards) -- both wrong. Had 56D JIBS initially, but chickened out when faced with a J-ending word at 55A, so changed it to rIBS (yachts do have them, no?). Still a big terra incognita in the SW.

Cleared my mind by mowing the lawn, restarted the puzzle, and it finally came together.

Writeovers: rap/PAN; wards/DOSES; nebraska/CORNELLU at 13D.

Thumbs up to Laura Sternberg. Bring 'em on!

chefbea 3:56 PM  

Here are the Skechers no tie lace shoes I have. Love them. Just slip them on.

Stevlb1 3:59 PM  

A previous blogger wondered about the definition of "pangram". I too have been doing the NYT crossword, for years, and never heard of "pangram", until coming to this website. So I looked it up. WE ARE A BUNCH OF NERDS!

Sparky 4:02 PM  

Another got-half day. The right side. Knew CORNELLU would raise reactions.

Had SASSAFRAS. Saw it growing only last week @JenCT's place. Tita, Mac and I were her guests. Great hostess. Thanks again, @Jen.

I bought those laces once but after I finally had them threaded into the holes couln't pull them open far enough to get my feet in. My Merrell's have zippers.

Anonymous 4:14 PM  

Daddy, what's a factory?
Well Jimmy, once upon a time, ages ago, we actually made things here in the states. Fabrics, clothes, even automobiles.
Daddy, quit kidding me!

How the hell could little Jimmy possibly get OUTLETSTORES? Outlet stores only exist as malls these days.

Bird 4:56 PM  

@M&A -

These are fun.

10 pins in a strike
3 strikes in a turkey (1st had sides in a triangle then got the theme)
2 balls per frame
10 frames per game

Can't guess the last one, but
3 Beers for Seth Rogen?

I still don't buy the idea of no-tie laces. Don't call them laces if they're not going to be tied. I don't have a better name just now, but anything is better than no-tie laces. Maybe it's just a brand name?

From Wiki:

"Shoelaces, which are also called shoe-strings, shoe laces, or boot laces, are a system commonly used to secure shoes, boots and other footwear. They typically consist of a pair of strings or cords, one for each shoe, finished off at both ends with stiff sections, known as aglets. Each shoelace typically passes through a series of holes, eyelets, loops or hooks on either side of the shoe. Loosening the lacing allows the shoe to open wide enough for the foot to be inserted or removed. Tightening the lacing and tying off the ends secures the foot within the shoe."

OK, break's over. Back to the yard work.

JenCT 4:58 PM  

@lawprof: I'm a day late, but I liked your solving bit-by-bit explanation from yesterday.

@Sparky: you're very welcome!

Anonymous 5:10 PM  

3 Bucks for Shoe Rental

Anonymous 5:12 PM  

I knew SKYPE was from 'up over there' north/east Europe somewhere, and the O led me to OSLOVIANS. I was soooo hoping that that was right, but deep down knew it wasnt.

michael 5:49 PM  

not easy for me, but I got it, making it appropriate Saturday-level.

Saw Big Red, and thought "that's easy, my alma mater." -- Cornell (and I live near the "other" Cornell, which is in Iowa). But Cornell didn't fit. Then I thought, "oh, well, isn't Nebraska the Big Red. Or are they the Cornhuskers. Well, Nebraska fits." But that didn't work and I eventually saw Cornell U." Don't much like it

Otherwise, an enjoyable puzzle with good, fair clues.

chefbea 6:21 PM  

@anonymous 5:10 Is that shoe rental with no tie laces???

Lewis 7:14 PM  

Not easy or breezy for me, and needed a couple of Googles, but absolutely enjoyable. Keep 'em comin' Laura.

Dirigonzo 7:44 PM  

I finished up in the SW where eNTRancES (61a, Fascinates) gummed up that whole section before INTRIGUES came in to view and saved the day.

My home town, Freeport, ME USA, is full of OUTLETSTORES and there's not a factory in sight.

@M and A - Bourbon may mess up the fill for the constructor (no. 5 on your list) but it's absolutely essential, for me anyway, to solve a Saturday puzzle. I'm not sure what that means.

Anonymous 11:05 PM  

@Stevelb1 wrote:

A previous blogger wondered about the definition of "pangram". I too have been doing the NYT crossword, for years, and never heard of "pangram", until coming to this website. So I looked it up. WE ARE A BUNCH OF NERDS!

It’s been more than a half century since I took grammar but here is how I would punctuate your post:

A previous blogger wondered about the definition of "pangram." I, too, have been doing the NYT crossword for years and never heard of "pangram," until coming to this website. So I looked it up. WE ARE A BUNCH OF NERDS!

Let me be the first to assure you that you are not a nerd….


pk 11:46 PM  

Once there was a way. . . to get back homeward.

Once there was a way . . to get back home.

Sleep pretty darling, do not cry.

And I will sing a lullaby.

pk 12:15 AM  

Bourbon was not involved in the last post, although perhaps it should have been.

Anonymous 9:55 AM  

JFC I'd be careful if I were you. NOBODY likes a grammar NERD here.

Elaine2 6:25 PM  

still looking for a 14 letter university? Carnegie Mellon.

FearlessK 10:01 AM  

Saw the clue big red and immediately thought Cornell but dismissed it given that the letter count was wrong! I'm Cornell class of 1980 and I've never heard it referred to as Cornell U.

Tita 10:33 AM  

I finally gave up. This was my worst Sat in ages! So many ungooglable clues! (A sure sign of a great puzzle...)

Fortunately, it was my best Saturday sail in ages, so all in all, a big plus of a day for moi!

Z 12:11 AM  

Finally got to Saturday's puzzle tonight. Hand up for knowing the ESTONIAN origin of Skype. Hand up for liking the word SASSAFRAS. A word I can't say without smiling.

Unlike Rex, my first thought on "shucking" was someplace on the farm to deal with the corn crop. On getting -BARS I immediately tried to fit in strippers. Ah, the twist and turns of Saturday misdirection.

Spacecraft 2:52 PM  

DNF; couldn't get out of the NE--and that was bad enough, what with the U ending for CORNELL (as in UGH!). And when I saw the solution, I did not wonder why. For starters, the first three downs: QSCORE (HUH?), UNAWED (another of those: if this is a real word it damn well shouldn't be)--then the ridiculous partial IAMNOT. Crosses offered no help.

I cannot conceive the possibility that any team of, say, two dozen people could find this puzzle "easy." Thank goodness I never tried to enter a crossword contest (I hate all timed events anyway). Let somebody else finish last.

DMGrandma 3:31 PM  

Another puzzle beyond me. Got the north pretty well, but the rest is just scattered fill. Tried again, and said forget it.
I thought Ren went with Stimpy which wouldn't fit, but I had the "s"and figured there must be an abbreviation. Other "what the..s" are the shoelace thing, no abbreviation note on the countdown clue, think "traditional" things should come from before my time, like the 1800's. What was attached to factories back then?

So, simple for some stopped me cold, didn't even look up all the answers.

Anonymous 6:23 PM  

I have issues with a couple of the clues. I thought SHANANA should have been clued "evokers," though JFC will probably tell me that while they are some people they are a group. And while "not in an all out battle" would have led me to SPARRING, "not all out battle" had me writing "SPAR wIth." I still don't see how that one lines up, but I suppose that's just Saturday clueing.

My final letter was the only wrong one. I Had GR_/E_ _STS early on and opted to move to another area and revisit. With justs two squares left I looked once more at the clue for 50d, noted that EGESTS was the opposite of digests and promptly filled in EJESTS.


Syndilandiste 12:00 AM  

No one else had the vein-flowing blood as UNCOAGULATED as opposed to DEOXYGENATED?

Anonymous 1:27 AM  

@Syndilandiste 12:00 AM - I was working toward UNCOAGULATED but I couldn't land the right crosses. Also, trying to think like a constructor, the clue seemed to me a little iffy for that word.

anonyrat 9:29 AM  

Never knew the inventors of Skype were Elbonian. Must have missed that Dilbert strip.

@JaxinLA - Ren & Sven are from the cartoon Ren & Stimpy, although, some 20 years after having watched it religiously in my youth, I didn't remember Sven, but in rhymes with Ren, so it made sense.

Lennie Augustine 4:47 PM  

Three quarters was a breeze for me, but ran into a bit of trouble in the SW. Mostly because I really liked TEETHE for "What gums might do.". That, and RAP for PAN, and LOOSE for NOTIE, made for a bit of time to get untangled. It didn't help that I had OYSTERBEDS for OYSTERBARS either. Once HAVEACOW hit me (which my three wrong SW answers crossed without a wrong letter!), it was off to the finish.

This was high on the Internet/computer scale, what with Usenet, AOL, Icons and the Skype developers.

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