1942 Preakness winner / SAT 8-25-12 / Captain Hook's alma mater / Modern drag / Mariposa's close relative / Chard cab alternative / Hawks old haunt / Teen series title character never seen / Old revolutionist

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Constructor: Caleb Madison

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: none

Word of the Day: Bobby LAYNE (18A: Football Hall of Famer Bobby) —

Robert Lawrence "Bobby" Layne (December 19, 1926 – December 1, 1986) was an American footballquarterback who played for 15 seasons in the National Football League. He played for the Chicago Bears in 1948, the New York Bulldogs in 1949, the Detroit Lions from 19501958, and the Pittsburgh Steelers from 19581962. He was drafted by the Bears in the first round of the 1948 NFL Draft. He played college football at the University of Texas.
He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1967 and inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1968. His number, 22, has been retired by the University of Texas Longhorns and Detroit Lions. (wikipedia)
• • •

This one roughed me up a bit. A maddening mix of some fresh, current long answers and some gut-kicking, hard-to-suss-out shorter stuff (ICOSA, ALSAB, APNEAL, SEGO). Mainly, the cluing was simply very tough. The worst part of it all, for me, was that as I was solving, I kept thinking "I've seen this grid ... Caleb must have showed this to me a while back ... so ... Why Can't I Solve It More Quickly?!" My current theory is that he showed me a version that had some of these long answers but otherwise different fill. At least I hope that's true. Anyway, that long stuff is mostly stuff I'd've gotten immediately either way. TAYLORSWIFT? Gimme (11D: 2009 Grammy winner for "Fearless"). "THEHANGOVER"? Gimme (24D: 2009 comedy whose tagline is "Some guys just can't handle Vegas"). "GOSSIPGIRL"? Well, not a gimme exactly, but a gimme once a couple of letters were in place (28A: Teen series whose title character is never seen). I love all those answers, plus BUZZKILL (1A: Modern drag) and GOOGOO EYES (though the latter gave me fits as I cycled through GOOGLY, GOOGLE, GOOGIE, and even considered GOOGOL ("She had a hundred eyes?") before finally hitting on GOOGOO) (28D: Kitten's look).

I had real problems solving this puzzle, right from the get-go. The NW just lay empty until near the very end, when I somehow managed to stare it down. Wanted ZIN but couldn't get anything to confirm it (3D: Chard or cab alternative). Wrote in AM SO and LIEN instead of IS SO and LOAN, so, yeah, that Hurt. Convinced myself that LIEN didn't fit the clue, then realized IS could work instead of AM. This allowed me to see -SOUP, and that "U" allowed me to see/guess LUC (8D: Jacquet who directed "March of the Penguins"). That was all I needed. Finished in the SE, which was much, much easier. But the part of the puzzle that took me the longest was the area around MALINGERED. This is because a. I thought the "feigned" in [Feigned incapacity] was an adjective, not a verb; b. I didn't know LAYNE, so I kept trying a "K" there and getting MAKING ... something (MAKING ERE- ... what?); and c. I didn't know that's what MALINGERED meant. I think I thought it meant something more MALicious. Like ... loitering with malicious intent or something. How sad for me.

  • 9A: Founding need (METAL) — I had SMELT ... which is ... not right. SMELT is a fish. But you can see, kinda, that my brain was in the right place. A METAL-ish place. 
  • 19A: Captain Hook's alma mater (ETON) — I had no idea *and* it was a gimme. Chew on that.
  • 20A: "Tropic Thunder" director and co-star (STILLER) — still needs about a million more grid appearances before he catches his mom.
  • 40A: Altar adjunct (PRIE-DIEU) — Here's a place where knowing some French helped. Didn't help me at 2D: ___ fois que (as soon as, in Arles) (UNE). I never would've considered UNE. That is one rough clue for UNE. French also didn't help much at 10D: Even, in Évreux (EGAL). I wrote in MÊME. Different meaning of "even."
  • 49A: Hawks' old haunt (OMNI) — another (potentially) very tough clue. A gimme for me, but only because I know something about basketball (and have done enough crosswords to see OMNI clued as a sports arena before).
  • 4D: Defenders' assignments (ZONES) — I *think* this is a basketball clue. Seems like it could apply to a bunch of sports. I had CASES here (one more reason the NW ate me alive a little). 
  • 25D: Yupik lang. (ESK.) — ouch.
  • 37D: She hailed from the planet Alderaan (LEIA) — not so hard if you are a "Star Wars" fan and/or you have done a lot of puzzles. Like ETON, this answer seemed the only plausible one for its clue.
  • 54D: Old revolutionist (RED) — I wrote in REB with little thought, until I considered the resulting BEEN THERE, BONE THAT ... which has a certain ring, but ultimately doesn't work (59A: With 61-Across, "nothing new to me!").

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


JFC 12:01 AM  

I used to like Caleb because he had the same name as Caleb Haney, the backup Bears QB. But Haney is now with Denver so I don’t like Caleb any more. That’s how capricious I am. Thank heavens our blogmeister is more objective in his critique. I know his review of this puzzle is not affected by how he feels about Caleb. BTW, nice puzzle, Caleb. I especially liked PRIEDIEU. Haven’t been there, haven’t done that….


JFC 12:11 AM  

At one time the Bears had Sid Luckman, Bobby Layne and Johnny Lujack (Notre Dame). Luckman was aging and the Bears decided to go with Lujack. They let Layne go to Detroit and Lujack only played for a few years, leaving pro football for an Iowan car dealership in the family. And Layne went on with Detroit to be a great QB and win several Conference if not League championships. Later the Bears won up with three QBs, whose last names began with "B" - Brown, Bartkowski and Blanda (who was more of a kicker). Blanda left the Bears to play for the Houston Oilers in the early days of the AFL and probably still holds records for the oldest QB. The Bears like their QBs to have the same initial for their last name, at least in those days....


GILL I. 12:21 AM  

I hope all of you under the age of 20 enjoyed this. I'm proud though, I got ZIN and GUAC. I wish Tippy had fit for 44D.
Oh, I also got YORE for old. Wait, oh wait, AGRA - I also got AGRA.

Tobias Duncan 12:22 AM  

Anyone who has spent time in the service knows the word malingering, still took me forever to pop it in there. Lots of stuff in this puzzle that just made go "huh?".
I absolutly hated THEHANGOVER,not much of a STILLER fan either.
Had to guess a bunch of squares today, glad I got only a few of them wrong so DNF but if this really rates medium challenging then I cant complain.

r.alphbunker 12:30 AM  

NW was mostly empty before I Googled LUC. That gave me TENNISACE and ONIONSOUP. BUZZKILL was filled in one down answer at a time. I know I have seen BUZZKILL before in a puzzle, probably BEQ.

The SE needed Googles of ALSAB and MANN to finish. But I thought the cluing of the SE was great. Especially {Word after many presidents' names} ERA, e.g. the Clinton ERA. The OREO clue was great also. I wanted "owner" for {Time for Variety?}

Agape Cahoots Malingers 12:48 AM  

Caleb is so ONEOFAKIND!! We are lucky to have him.

I was loving BUZZKILL, OYVEY (nice tie in to Thurs), CAHOOTS, SPRAWLS, GOSSIPGIRL.

Some of the same mistakes as @Rex, amSO, e.g.

Could not parse GO ---- GIRL.
GO ShIP GIRL (was it an animated spaceship show?)
GO SouP GIRL ...some weird new slang for SUPER?
BIG DOH moment.

Also didn't help that I read Founding as Foundling. What did a foundling need? Shelter? Food?

But screeching halt in SE. Had unconfident guesses of SIGHT and MANN...but stuck on ALS?? ALSop?
Didn't even figure out OREO.

So finally googled MANN just to see if it was right. Then broke down and learned ALSAB.
That B finally triggered BEENTHEREDONETHAT.
SO not a description of this wonderfully fun, hard, fresh puzzle.
Bummed I needed to Google ALSAB, but I'd not have finished otherwise. Didn't spoil how much I had enjoyed the other 3/4.

What I can teach: ICOSA must mean 20, because ecosi is 20 in Greek. And AFRO is inexplicably not acceptable in Scrabble. At least AFROS doesn't have an E.

Deb 12:59 AM  

I think xenA is just as plausible as LEIA. Also had lieN and amSO and kept trying to figure out how to complete MAkING ER_D.

Loved CAHOOTS, and not only because I got ot off the C. It's just a fun word.

Richard 1:41 AM  

I found this challenging, although it would have been easier if I had not drawn a blank on THE HANGOVER for awhile and did not get enough crossings for quite awhile to get TAYLOR SWIFT or GOSSIP GIRL.

I liked the clue and answer for 57D and was proud that I caught the misLEAD very quickly although I had trouble at first deciding between TEC and DET but guessed the later because more words end with D than with C.

Am I the only one who thinks that ING should be outlawed as an answer since it can apply to thousands of words?

Liked the puzzle a lot though as it was both fun and challenging.

Acme 1:51 AM  

ING is weak, but the clue redeems it, simple and clever

Citizen Zeus 1:59 AM  

Maybe one of easiest Saturday puzzles in memory. I do not know why but sailed through this one without any real snags. Sometimes I guess you catch one right up your alley. Even "icosa-" hedron came out correctly by default. Hopefully this starts a trend.

jae 2:00 AM  

Unlike Rex, this was on the easy side for me.   Knowing the TV/movie/music clues helped a lot.  Wheelhouse in spades.  Also, unlike Rex  The only place I got hung up was in the SE thinking Superman character instead of Star Wars off the L in SPRAWLS and shoe vice fish for sole in the same area.    Got BEENTHEREDONETHAT off the O from OREO.  The only reason that immediately  popped into my head was the author's name and the high level of zippiness in the rest of the puzzle.  I mean it would have been BUZZKILL not to finish with that.  The zippy stuff is to lengthy to list but I really liked GOOGOOEYES and CAHOOTS.

Oh, and ICOSA was a WTF but nothing else would work.

Fantastic fun puzzle Caleb.  Best Sat. in a while!

syndy 2:55 AM  

"I had no idea AND it was a gimmee" exactly! I just went with it and found myself filling in things-and having them work!Apparently if I stay very zen I can channel Mr. Madison.I put in GOOGOOEYES off of ARGO-how crazy is that?

chefwen 3:17 AM  

Started of with a negative attitude as Caleb and I are not of the same mind. His is much younger. My husband chided me on my closed mind and told me to get the upper hand and beat him. I steeled my back and won. Woo Hoo!! It wasn't a walk in the PKS but in the end it was doable and I'm glad that I didn't give up. How many times do I have to thank Mr. chefwen?

@Tobias - Loved The Hangover and love, love, love Ben Stiller after he saved our precious dog Toby from certain death. He is really ONE OF A KIND.

Milford 7:58 AM  

DNF for me, maybe 3/4 of this was fun and medium but then I just got stuck in the NW and SE. Both because I plunked down am SO instead of IS SO, and ceo instead or ERA. I can't believe that ETON and OREO were so difficult - great clues.

I am slow to realize that if I have a whole section I'm stuck on, with just one answer entered, said answer is probably wrong and I need to erase it to see the correct crossfill.

I've never seen ICOSA, but yes, eicosa- prefix does come from eikos (20) in Greek, as @acme says, so I'm assuming it's just a spelling variation. I used to study eicosanoid synthesis, and it's the reason you always hear about the importance of omega-3 and omega-6 in our diets!

I'm going to memorize ALSAB to spare myself next time.

evil doug 8:07 AM  

Started hard, ended easier. Able to get Layne, Stiller and Gossip Girl (never seen it, but maybe surfed through it a lot on the clicker?) in New York State, and from there it was like playing Risk on a roll. Just fanned out in every direction without a lot of lost battles.

'Googoo eyes' is even better than the answer I started with: Come hither.

Siege mentality: Great phrase.

Also struggled on 'founding need'. If it had said 'foundry', it would have been too easy, so I commend the misdirection. Same for things with crust on top; 'onion soup' is an aromatic treat.

'Tennis ace' and 'topspin'---quite nice.

'Arraigned' over 'been there', 'done that': Happily, no.


Lindsay 8:29 AM  

Tried to post a lame joke yesterday about our state motto "dirigo" (I lead), and how if we had two leaders the motto would be "dirigoes". Unfortunately, Blogger mistook me for a robot.

We'll see if I'm human today.

Oddly, I didn't have any of Rex's gimmees, yet flew (by my standards) through this. Never heard of THE HANGOVER or GOSSIP GIRL, but they comprise real words, so gettable. Have heard of TAYLOR SWIFT, but needed lots of crosses to connect her to the clue. On the other hand, MALINGERED is straight-forward vocabulary, and went in without crosses.

Overall, a little light on the difficulty scale, but entertaining and fresh, so thumbs up. On to the Stumper.

jackj 8:35 AM  

BUZZKILL! Hated it the first time, two months ago, loved it this time, now that it was entrenched in my gray matter and, with ZIN and ZONES sitting right there it was (almost) a gimme.

Caleb gave us a treat with fresh meat to chew on like, GOOGOOEYES, AREYOUOK, (in CAHOOTS with OUTOFIT), while forcing us to dig deep for the likes of PRIEDIEU, (those awkward one person kneelers that evoke memories of Barry Fitzgerald chewing the scenery in one of his priestly film roles) and ICOSAhedron a word only begat through the crosses and looking much more ESKimo than English to this lover of language.

It was interesting to see TAYLORSWIFT pop up in the puzzle since, in a nice coincidence, people who read the Boston newspapers are reminded daily that she has made Cape Cod her playground for the summer, her sport being chasing a teenage Kennedy lad in her trademark hunting outfit, Ray Bans and a red polka-dot bikini.

Easiest entry seemed to be the oft used quip, BEENTHEREDONETHAT but its use did allow us to enjoy a fresh clue for OREO which, when joined with ZIN, GUAC and ONIONSOUP gave us a puzzler’s blue plate special to nosh on.

This puzzle was an absolute delight, Caleb. Many thanks!

Glimmerglass 8:53 AM  

Great Saturday puzzle. Lots of erasures for me (I'm a pencil pusher), but a satisfying solve in the end[ing]. The NW gave me fits. I had aux instead of UNE (highschool French was a lifetime ago) and casES instead of ZONES (great clue for that!). ONION SOUP finally saved me, and then TENNIS ACE and BUZZ-KILL were headslappers (doh!).

Glimmerglass 8:54 AM  

It just took me three tries to prove I'm not a robot. Squeezed-together letters in a weird font are hard to read.

Z 9:20 AM  

Had ZIN, ZONES, and KNIT and refused to believe that ZZK combo. Tried finNalSAlE for the point of no return. I finally resorted to google eyes to find LUC who solved everything up there for me.

Ditto on the No Idea Gimme for ETON. Likewise ARGO. IOLCUS could have been a captcha, is that lolcus or Iolcus? Decided it was a place, therefore capital i, therefore Io, therefore something Greek, therefore ARGO. That chain of thought took .2 seconds.

Lots of phrases today, ARE YOU OK, ONE OF A KIND, BEEN THERE, DONE THAT, ONLY IF, OUT OF IT. That seems like a whole lot of letters for some pretty boring stuff. TAYLOR SWIFT, GOSSIP GIRL, and THE HANGOVER also strike me as pretty boring stuff. I enjoyed the solve, but I don't find it very "fresh."

Z 9:22 AM  

@Glimmerglass - 3 for me as well. And now I'm on # 5 to post this

chefbea 9:33 AM  

Tough for me DNF. Probably could have finished with more time but company coming for dinner tonight and lots to do.

Perhaps I should change the menu and have something with a crusty top. @Mac thanks for the best onion soup ever!!!. At least my tarts have a crusty bottom

Loren Muse Smith 10:00 AM  

@ACME – I had to look up ASLAB, too, and that one google opened it back up. Also – I agree with you on ING!

Liked having GOOGOO EYES/LEERS and as @ED pointed out, TOPSPIN/ TENNIS ACE.

Is Eskimo just one language? I didn't do that kind of linguistics, but I thought it was a language family?

Given the recent news, the movie Wedding Crashers would have been ouchy with TAYLOR SWIFT.

Great crosses – STILLER/PESCI, ARE YOU OK/SOS. . .

And the grand finale – BEEN THERE, DONE THAT crossing OREO.

Caleb, may I commission a sequel that contains BEEN THERE, DONE THAT, GOT THE T SHIRT?

orangeblossomspecial 10:19 AM  

9A If a 'smelt' is a fish, is a 'smelter' a 'fisher'?

Learned, and am likely to forget, many unfamiliar words in this puzzle. I won't bother to ask what half of them mean.

I had 'final sale' instead of 'TENNIS ACE' for 17A, so couldn't finish the NW.

Norm 10:36 AM  

27A says it for me. Did this one set a record for dumb abbreviations? I mean, SEPS? Really? ESK? Double 27A.

joho 10:54 AM  

Plodded happily along with the SE finally falling just before the thorniest NW. Even with ONIONSOUP, KNIT and ISSO firmly in place I couldn't crack that corner until, like @Z, LUC saved the day. That was my one Google, rats! I wouldn't give up on gUy as the French director. That "L" gave me BUZZKILL and all the rest.

Fantastic puzzle, Caleb!20

joho 10:57 AM  

Weird, Blogger just let me post with avatar. Delete the 20 after Caleb ... I was trying to decipher the captcha.

fruitypants 11:12 AM  

Overall this was an enjoyable Saturday puzzle, BEEN THERE DONE THAT is nice. But....
I hate TENNIS ACE, it just irks me.

mac 11:26 AM  

Challenging for me, but fun.

In the end I missed 3 letters in tennis ace, after erasing final sale a couple of times, and gave up. Could not parse that -sace.

Alsab, Mann and Omni, plus my insisting on Mao at 54D, made the SE almost impossible, but "been there, done that" saved me. @Loren: in addition to that, an elderly gentlement had ....forgot all about it" on his hat!

@Chefbea: just made a blueberry/lemon tirami su to bring to a party tomorrow. It looks wonderful and will feed about 12.

Anonymous 11:40 AM  


Sir Hillary 12:02 PM  

Amazing. I have been in a real slump for weeks, scuffing on Fri/Sat puzzles, only to come here and find them deemed Easy. Today, I had probably my easiest Saturday experience ever, and was shocked to find Rex had struggled. Goes to show how random this all can be.

What I am learning is that Caleb and I are on the same wavelength, so maybe I shouldn't be that surprised. It felt like this puzzle was written just for me. I was really helped today by the fact that I am:
-- A father of teenage girls (TAYLORSWIFT, GOSSIPGIRL, BUZZKILL)
-- Pretty up on pop culture, in this case film (THEHANGOVER, STILLER, LEIA, MANN)
-- A former French student (UNE, EGAL)

Even things I had never heard of (PRIEDIEU, ICOSA, SEGO) were easily gotten via crosses.

Some wonderful clues today, my favorites being 22A, 43A, 38D and 57D.

By the way, wasn't BUZZKILL the 1A entry on another Saturday not too long ago?

OK, off to the rest of the weekend with more free time than I had planned. I suspect the stars shall not align quite so well for me next weekend.

Unknown 12:07 PM  

I found this one to be very enjoyable but also very tough. I agree with Rex about the tough cluing. GOSSIP GIRL, GOO-GOO EYES, ARE YOU OK, TAYLOR SWIFT, and ONE OF A KIND got quickly filled in along with their neighborhoods.

Where I got seriously slowed down was in the NW because I could not let go of the incorrect FINAL SALE at 17A “Point of no return?” (TENNIS ACE). After staring at the NW for a very long time I entered ONION SOUP and the whole section finally succumbed.

A very nice job and a pleasurable challenge. Please accept my thanks.

Cheerio 12:23 PM  

I loved this and for me also one of the easiest Saturdays i can remember. I had the opposite experience from yesterday, which seemed painfully hard to me. Yesterday was notably off my wavelength and today's was notably on. Odd

syndy 12:45 PM  

@CHEFWEN so are we gonna get the story about B Stiller and Toby? come on spill!

Masked and Anonymo5Us 1:04 PM  

...1 day today in the high fifties, warming up to in the sixties, tomorrow...

@Sir Hillary: Good call. BUZZKILL was a 1A FriPuz entry, just last June. So, it along with BEENTHERE + DONETHAT gives us a nice little SatPuz theme. Ergo, thUmbsUp. Not sure how the symmetrically-compelled ONIONSOUP can be shoe-horned plausibly into that theme. Have got to think...

Anagrams to NO U, POISON. (Har. Note to self: Been there, done that.)

ANON B 1:47 PM  

You guys live in a different world
than I do. Even when I looked at
Rex's solution, I didn't get
most of it.
I even needed two tries to
prove I'm not a robot.

david kulko 2:30 PM  

taylor swift and gossip girl. no. why should i be forced to keep up with empty pop cultural references? on the other hand i loved buzzkill and been there done that. also tennis ace is a stretch as an answer.

Joannalan 2:34 PM  

I thought buzzkill was roadkill. A real modern drag

edmcan 3:00 PM  

Fun, but not an easy outing. Agree a lot with Rex this time.

Am I the only one who hates the new captcha? I understand the need for them, but decoding them so vigorously is not my forte. Here I go again...

Carola 3:18 PM  

I saw Caleb Madison's name and dread coursed through my veins - I'd be expected to know contemporary culture and decode tricky clues. Turned out that the contemporary references weren't a problem this time - it was that 1942 Preakness winner - but I was right about the cluing in the SE. I needed to put the puzzle down and come back a few hours later, when the light went on about RED and OREO and I was able to FINish.

At first I thought chard and cab refered to vegetables so tried to come up with a three-letter nickname for some other green.

Especially liked the GOOGOO EYES, CAHOOTS, and PRIEDIEU, and after the drawn-out struggle I had in the SE appreciated being asked ARE YOU OK?

Sparky 3:26 PM  

I, too, couldn't believe the ZZK. Will never remember BUZZKILL; it is such an ugly phrase. This was a bit tough for me. Do people really say GUAC for guacuamole? Hand up for cases before ZONES. Nice to see OYVEH. Could not get TippiHedron out of my brain. SE blank, I don't even remember reading clues except the 59/61 thingy and being annoyed. Last, but not least, SEPS a bum plural. There is only one September per year. Plural season mos. would be Mar. and Sept. Who sent me these cranky pants?

I think I'll try Sunday.

DSSinDC 4:24 PM  

A bunch of erasures. Had ONEandonly for ONEOFAKIND, and IsOcA for ICOSA, but the pop trivia (TAYLORSWIFT, GOSSIPGIRL, PESCI, MANN, THEHANGOVER, and STILLER) helped a *lot*. One man's empty, meaningless pop trivia is another man's crossword balm!

NW kicked my rear, too. ONIONSOUP was somehow autofill for me, but kept wanting TurNstilE for TENNISACE, or nOte for LOAN. Any Saturday I can finish without Googling is a good Saturday, though!

chefbea 4:59 PM  

RIP Neil Armstrong

chefwen 5:09 PM  

@syndy - I tried to pull up your email address but was not successful. Shoot me your address and I will relate the story to you, it's pretty cool. I told it here a few years ago right after it happened and I don't want to bore anyone by retelling it.

Eejit 5:10 PM  

Finished this one in just under an hour which is very rare for a Saturday puzzle. Sometimes I don't finish them until Wednesday, so I expected Rex to rate this one easy. Lots of stuff I didn't know so had to use the force on answers like LUC. It was with me today. What's a GAT?

Fifth attempt on the captcha now, is that a record?

ANON B 5:59 PM  

I Googled "zin"and couldn't find anything like "chard" or "cab".
Is cab supposed to be short for cabbage?

What does "metal" have to do with


P.S. Do you people actually get
pleasure from solving puzzles like this?

hazel 6:00 PM  

@chefwen - can you send me the story too? I love ben stiller because i think he's hilarious - and am delighted to hear he's a good person too.

Bob Kerfuffle 6:14 PM  

@eejit - GAT, heater - slang words for gun.

@ANON B - zin - Zinfandel
chard - Chardonnay
cab - Cabernet

all wines

Foundry is, among other things, the art of casting metal.

Was fun for me, even though I Did Not Finish (brain freeze in the SE.)

ANON B 6:22 PM  

I Googled again and found the
relationship between ZINfandel
and CHARDdonnay and CABernet.
The worst clue and answer I have ever seen.

jae 7:56 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
jae 7:59 PM  

@ANON B -- And yet about right for a Sat. Just keep doing them. It gets easier. And, trust me, this won't be the last time you'll see a wine nickname misdirect in a late week puzzle

acme 8:51 PM  

Post again! It's relatively a new crowd and bears repeating!

syndy 8:51 PM  

@chefwen the email came though.thanks they sound like real nice folks

ANON B 9:18 PM  


I've been doing them for about
40 years and it's getting impossible. I know I'm not as
sharp as I once was but I haven't
slipped that much.
Even Rex's blog today was not
completely understandable.
Part of it is that I don't read the same things, watch the same
TV and listen to the same music
as the rest of you, but then, I never did

Dirigonzo 9:49 PM  

Finished this with the able assistance of my newbie-puzzler friend who chimed in with some answers that would have eluded me for a long time - TAYLORSWIFT went in with NO crosses, so that gave us a big leg up in that section. I, on the other hand, thought 41a Sole might be shoebottom, so that section took a while to straighten out. I contributed TENNISACE with only a couple of crosses in place so I'd like to think that I managed to carry my own weight in getting to the finish line, which we eventually crossed. I had to convince her that SEPS was right, but she still thinks it's a bogus answer. PRIEDIEU was new to both of us.

Anonymous 1:22 PM  

Can somebody please help me with "DET", "One taking the lead? Abbr" ?!?. It's driving me crazy.

GILL I. 2:10 PM  

Anonymous I don't have the crossword in front of me but I'm pretty sure DET is short for detective who of course would take the lead in a crime case....

NormanFor8 12:03 AM  

A very challenging and worth it risk there in the tiles! This was like my experience when i was applying for title loan car last year. good thing they are really helpful and its worth the risk!

Anonymous 11:52 AM  

I have to agree with @anonB on one thing. That NW corner was gruesome, resulting in a DNF. This Caleb guy must pinch babies, kick puppies and push old ladies down the stairs. First time in many moons that I couldn't finish a Sat puzz. I say lets find out where Mr. Madison lives and string em up!
Ron Diego

Anonymous 12:28 PM  

Note to @anonB: I too have been doing puzzles for over 40 years. Retired now, each morning with 2 cups of coffee, I tackle the NYT puzz just to get my juices flowing. It works and yes I do enjoy it. I admit I take use of my extensive reference library to help with some of the "modern" names, titles, french words, etc. Some call it a "DNF." I call it a "Completed Puzzle." In today's puzz, 1A & 17A did me in. The cluing for both was indeed quite a stretch and in my opinion uncalled for. Instead of hanging Mr. Madison, we should at least put him in the pillory.
Ron Diego

Spacecraft 1:38 PM  

Total, abject failure. DN come-even-close-to-F-ing. I won't list the stuff I never heard of; the blog would be too long (even for me!). I did manage to get started with "I wonder if that movie was THEHANGOVER. Let's check the V across...yeah, OYVEY works." I was able to fill out the SW, including of course GOOGleEYES. What else? I know, 41a was going ONELF_____, but I would naver have seen GOOGOOEYES. That is absolutely preposterous. Find me GOOGOOEYES in print, I dare you. Pah!

Speaking of Google, I had to, getting STILLER and GOSSIPGIRL. [It is with pride that I announce I have never watched the latter.] These two letters fit into PLAYINGDEAD perfectly for 9d, so that was fatal.

Well, to the NW. Because if I couldn't even get that with research, it was time to cry uncle. Managed to work over from the Googled LUC to fill in the right half of that corner (I, too, sussed out ETON: 4-letter English school, duh--but man, what a slap in the face! Barrie must surely have attended Harrow), but had no idea what might precede ____KILL; cf. the list I didn't print. Nor could I arrive at 17a with just ____ISACE. Now seeing it, it's a head-slapper, but at the time...it just wouldn't come. Never thought of ZONES; was thinking something like poles or gates. And the soup with the "crust?" Grr, now that I see it, sure. He meant cubed bread "crusts," croutons--not a crusty surface.

I guess that like my body, my mind is getting old and less nimble. The corners I am required to turn are too sharp; my brain jumps the tracks. At least OFL didn't say "easy." If he had, I think I would've had to throw something at him.

Texas Solver in SyndieLand 1:55 PM  

What about PKS for parks? Leaving out a letter is an abbreviation?

DMGrandma 2:45 PM  

Like @Gill I. P., I think this must have been meant for the under twenty solvers. From BUZZKILL through assorted sports and media personalities and shows, it clearly was was not for me. There were so many of them I couldn't get conformation (or not) for things I thought I knew and no assistance on things I was trying to work out. In the end I got about 3/4 of it, said OYVEY and quit rather than Google endlessly.

@Diri. Thanks for explaining CGI yesterday. I appreciate it when you fill in the blanks for me. I envy you a puzzle partner. My non-puzzle partner, is dyslexic and sticks to Suduko where spelling doesn't count!

eastsacgirl 3:09 PM  

Brutal NW section. Officially a DNF but still got about 85% then relented to googling for a few clues. Funny, started out extremely easy and thought I'd sail through.

Solving in Seattle 4:27 PM  

Watching the Ryder Cup while solving. Go USA!

@Spacecraft, had actINjuRED for 9D before crosses corrected it.

Really liked the freshness of this puzzle. Good job, Caleb.


Favorite word: CAHOOTS. I dare you to use it in a sentence if not wearing cowboy boots.

Ginger 8:27 PM  

Took me all day, and Uncle Google to get most of it. Same problems that have been mentioned; amSO, casES, and LieN messed up the NW. I'm a die hard tennis fan, but never saw TENNISACE. I think of it as ACE, though the term is technically correct. GOSSIPGIRL took forever, kept wanting bOSS something, until MALINGERED showed the way. Great word my Mother used whenever I wanted to cut school.

I make a mean GUACamole, and I would never abbreviate it to GUAC. That is just wrong, at least it should be noted that it's an abb.

@chefwen (5:09) Tell, Tell, you won't bore us!

This was a fun, fresh (yes it was) workout today. The slang phrases gave it an airy, breezy feeling, and even though I DNF, I enjoyed the trying.

Now to find some ZIN or maybe a little CAB ;-)

Dirigonzo 9:00 PM  

@DMG - glad I could help. There's no reason that we syndilanders can't be one another's puzzle partners when the need arises.

@SIS - The Republicans are in CAHOOTS with the plutocrats who want to take over our government (and I'm wearing slippers).

@Ginger - try Bourbon, it's way more efficient than wine.

Solving in Seattle 10:15 PM  

@Diri, I did a google on the etymology of Cahoots:

cahoots Look up cahoots at Dictionary.com
1829, American English, said to be perhaps from Fr. cahute "cabin, hut" (12c.), but U.S. sources credit it to Fr. cohorte (see cohort), a word said to be in use in the South and West with a sense of "companions, confederates."

Ergo, unless you're French, s Southerner or a cowboy you shouldn't use "cahoots." Especially not wearing slippers.

British Guy 5:39 AM  

@chefbea 9:33 AM - I once dated a tart with a crusty bottom.

Month Python 6:02 AM  

@NormanFor8 12:03 AM - Spam Spam Spam Spam Spam Wonderful Spam!

Monty Python 6:08 AM  

Darn autocorrect!

Anonymous 2:08 PM  

31 Down: an ipad is not an app. Ipad = hardware, app - software. Must be a typo for apple.

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