Algonquin chief / SAT 1-12-13 / Pico Mountain innovation of 1940 / One of Macbeths thanedoms / 1992 chick-lit best seller set in Phoenix / Sad Sack's lament / Portrayer of June Henry June

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Constructor: Doug Peterson and Brad Wilber

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: none

Word of the Day: SACHEM (1D: Algonquin chief) —
    1. A chief of a Native American tribe or confederation, especially an Algonquian chief.
    2. A member of the ruling council of the Iroquois confederacy.
  1. A high official of the Tammany Society, a political organization in New York City.

Read more:
• • •

Felt much harder than it was, I think. What do I mean by that? Basically, brain said "ouch" but clock said "meh." My time was definitely higher than average, but not inordinately so. There seemed to be a lot of clues I didn't understand (sometimes even after I had the answer). I only vaguely remember ever seeing the word SACHEM before, and I wasn't entirely sure it was right, but that "H" was the only thing I could think of to put there, even though HAMS made *no* sense to me as an answer for 18A: On-air hobbyists? I was thinking of HAMS as overactors, excessive emoters, scenery-chewers, etc. so the "on-air" kind of made sense, but the "hobbyists" really didn't. Not until just a few minutes ago did I realize that HAMS must be a word for ham *radio* operators. This is not a world whose lingo I am familiar with. I am, however, familiar with comic books, and I have to say that the clue on CATSUITS seems pretty bogus (34D: Wear for some superheroines). I can think of only one such superheroine, and she isn't actually all that "super" (this road leads us into the dark "is Batman really a *super*hero?" forest, so let's not go there). Are the non-Catwoman superheroines (which I'm sure exist) really familiar enough to warrant this clue (even if we conceded that Catwoman is "super," which I don't).

But I digress. The grid is actually very nice, and the cluing largely devilish but totally defensible. I just had lots of trouble getting a grip. Kind of brutal that the more memorable thanedom of "Macbeth" (i.e. CAWDOR) is also six letters. Ugh. That "green jam" clue was brutal (22D: Green jam ingredient?). I had I SWEAR well before I had I SHALL (2D: Promising start?). The way I finally got into this grid was via pop culture, namely "Lord of the Rings" (27D: "The Two Towers" army = ORCS), UMA Thurman (28D: Portrayer of June in "Henry & June"), and JAFAR (9D: "Aladdin" villain). These gave me the traction I needed to get into the top part of the grid. Once I finally got going, I moved around the top half of the grid reasonably easily, but then stalled out on my way down (both in the SW and in the S, right around LATTE). TELEVISE (instead of TELECAST) kept me stuck in a rut for a bit (57A: Air), but then COLE Hamels and the Jaguar XKE got me moving again. Once I broke open those 15s, the formerly intractable SW opened right up and I ended up finishing at the "F" in FORMS (30A: Much paperwork).

  • 1A: Birder's reward (SIGHTING) — I am regularly rewarded with a SIGHTING of a hawk who appears to set up shop regularly on the island formed by a cloverleaf on-ramp that we use nearly every day. He is highly visible because the trees are sparse and short, and he is Huge. I call him Fat Hawk. 
  • 32A: "If you can find a better car, buy it" pitchman (IACOCCA) — got it off the -CA. I don't remember the pitch, but that guy was one of the biggest businessman-celebrities of my childhood / adolescence. Maybe The biggest.
  • 40A: "Deo vindice" was its motto: Abbr. (CSA) — no idea. All from crosses. 
  • 51A: Pico Mountain innovation of 1940 (T-BAR) — what mountain? Ah, I'm told that's a ski area in Vermont. OK then.
  • 52A: 1992 chick-lit best seller set in Phoenix (WAITING TO EXHALE) — wow, "set in Phoenix" couldn't have been less helpful if it tried. I remember this title mainly from the mid-90s movie starring Whitney Houston.
  • 32D: Sad sack's lament ("I CAN'T WIN") — seemed like it could've been a lot of things. "I'M A LOSER" fit.
  • 41D: Barista's injuries (SCALDS) — morbid. Also, weird as a noun.
  • 48D: Anti-cavalry weapon (PIKE) — pulled this word from somewhere out of my adolescent D&D-playing past. Did not feel right. But whadya know...
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Anonymous 12:06 AM  

Very slow start, followed by steady progress; exceptionally so for a Saturday. Some of the steadiest and best cluing I've seen in a while. I'm a definite critic of bland cluing.

Got the bottom 15s with almost no crossings, which got me moving. NW corner a little sucky with SACHEM, I SHALL, GLAMIS, and that was about the last to go. Pulled MLS from somewhere and got saved there. First appearance ever for GLAMIS; first appearance for SACHEM since 2002; thankfully, I SHALL is not seen very often either.

JARFUL was wickedly clued, but I got an AHA out of it and that was the last to go.

My entry for 2D "Promising start?", 'OFF TO A' was so awesome the puzzle should be edited to get it in. Now that's a great clue for longish partial.

I was also pretty darn pleased with WINGS at 39D for "Pair in a cage". It deserved to be right.

My only complaint was the pitiful poor clue for FOCACCIA, which I make the awesomest FOCACCIA on earth, my preferred recipe flavoring the bread with lots of fresh rosemary, lots of EVOO, and 'just enough' fleur de sel. Haven't made any in a while and I think I'll be baking tomorrow. I love making bread, but my problem is that I'll eat the whole sheet in a few hours and about go into a coma. My grandpappy used to say that once corn left the field, it was stale. It was best eaten within 100 feet of the stalk. My feeling is that bread out of the oven should be eaten before it can quite fully cool. It's all I can do to even let it rest a few minutes before making the first cut. Slathering pizza ingredients on FOCACCIA? Why? Why? Why?

Finished grid. (1:07:31)

jae 12:09 AM  

Excellent Sat. by a couple of pros.  I zipped through center diagonal very quickly and then ground to a halt in the North.   The South also went fairly fast.   So, over all medium feels right.  

Erasures: Nyet for NEIN, reaMS for FORMS,  pUp for CUB, ETHos for ETHIC, mri for TAT,  various attempts at spelling FOCACCIA

WOE:  SACHEM which made 25a tough until I remembered Major League Soccer.  NW was the last to fall. 

The 15s were pretty zippy and the cluing was fun.  Nice work guys!

Andrew 12:41 AM  

Thanks to Hark a Vagrant, I will always remember GLAMIS. Easily confused with Glam Castle; that's the one David Bowie would hang out in.

chefwen 1:01 AM  

I love it when 1A settles in with no question. As loose as a goose was another early lead with just a few letters in place, same as chain link fences.

Friday and Saturday puzzles usually find me quaking in my rubber slippers, not so this weekend. Loved them both. My big DNF this weekend was Ian Livengood's LA Times puzzle, I'm still growling over my ineptness in trying to solve that one.

Looking forward to a fun Sunday whilst cheering for the Pack.

Qvart 1:04 AM  

Didn't feel too challenging. Medium.

Got off to a good start with TON, NEIN (although thought it might be NYET), JAFAR, JARFUL, USERNAME, ENDEAR, ISLE, HAMS, ELITE, COURT, ARS, ACNE, DOTIME, HONDA, ALTAR, and ETHIC (had ETHOS at first).

Funny, I typed HENNAED when I only had the H and the D, but backspaced it out because I thought it was too awkward for an answer. Lo and behold, that was it.

I stalled a bit towards the bottom. Couldn't remember the Jaguar model at first, didn't know COLE, had CAT instead of TAT, had HAZED instead of CANED ("Did a rush job on?"). SCALDS and CATSUITS were both pretty weak.

The top two 15s went down pretty easy. The bottom two 15s took slightly longer because I entered HAZED (which I think is a better answer). But with HABITAT came CUB and LUNGS and then ahhhh... that "chick-lit best seller" was also a chick-flick - WAITINGTOEXHALE (otherwise this answer probably would have stumped me more).

Finished at the top when I realized the only possible answers for 25A with "L" in the middle were MLB and MLS.

Fun, but nothing stumped me for long.



Anonymous 1:04 AM  

Amazingly I finished this one in under 30 minutes, despite some tricky cluing: SACHEM, GLAMISH, sheesh. I started with just XKE and ARS and a dazed look on my face.

And somehow I didn't remember Jafar despite having read that book (half asleep) to my 5 year old only a zillion times. I guess I tuned out the names ...

Btw, Rex, you got the spelling of Iacocca right in the grid, but wrong in your writeup. I remember those commercials from my teens or college years too ;>

retired_chemist 1:25 AM  

Devilishly challenging but fair. Took me 13 minutes longer than last Saturday but I enjoyed it. Where Rex got his toehold (pop culture) I was drawing blanks.

The S was the easier part. The N - Could. Not. See. a lot at first. had to give up OPT TO @ 21A, BUSHEL @ 9A, ANISE and later PEACH @ 29A, NYET @ 7D, NHL @ 25A, and more. Somehow convinced myself that 17A might be CHAINSAW KILLERS. And that, despite having some chain link dog runs myself.

Leave it to a chemist - 37D was at one point HAFNIUM. Hey, it's an element....

Some brilliant cluing - ECOCAR, LUNGS, even JARFUL. Had _A_FUL and NO knowledge of what to do with _AFAR and _ON. CON, DON, JON, LON, SON (hey, they both presumably have/had fathers), VON, and, eventually, RON (I have heard of neither). But it finally clicked and Mr. Happy Pencil deigned to make his appearance.

Thanks, Messrs. Peterson and Wilber.

Unknown 1:48 AM  

For 15A (Not nervous at all), my girlfriend immediately called out COOL AS A CUCUMBER. We high-fived. However, she also knew SACHEM, and we soon had to erase her answer (which we still prefer to AS LOOSE AS A GOOSE).

syndy 2:25 AM  

Wow! I finished this faster than yesterday's.I had the Cawdor writeover but GLAMIS was my second choice when HOIST made that untenable.JARsof became JARFUL with little pain.The crosses took everything else.I agree whichever of you is makimg pizza with focaccia-stp it!Thanks boys and thank REX!WHOOHOO!

Allocate Cabana M-----LS 3:25 AM  

Nice...but shockingly one letter wrong MLb :(. Tripped up on a sports clue...imaginez-vous!

I actually liked and was surprised by the feminine vibe: HENNAED (how did Doug and Brad know about that?!) , WAITING TO EXHALE, CATSUITS for catwoman, CLARAS HEART... Well, I guess it's balanced by COLE, XKE, and the war stuff.

FOCACCIA/IACOCCA are practically anagrams.

Hand up for pUp, mri/TAT, and PONDERing Nyet vs NEIN and how to spell FOCACCIA.
Never made the AETNA Etna naming connection...and that's my job!

ENDEAR is a bleedover and I'm tempted to reprint the lyrics to I WILL, but I'll (paradoxically) refrain.

jae 4:28 AM  

@chefwen -- Ian's LA Times puzzle was a true challenge. It was a major AHA when I finally caught on to what he was doing. Tougher than this one by far. I do the DEAD TREE version of the LA Times as I'm a subscriber (don't get me started on what a piece of dreck the San Diego Union-Tribune has become). If you don't get it on your door step every morning you can down load it from

dj1969 5:41 AM  

CATSUIT is legit. From Merriam-Webster:
: a close-fitting one-piece garment that covers the torso and the legs and sometimes the arms
First use: 1960

Loren Muse Smith 7:06 AM  

Beautiful. What else can you say about this? I agree - some of the cluing was devilish, but utterly fair.

Like @Rex (and probably thousands of others)– “televise” and “I swear” first.

@Qvart – I considered “hazed,” too. @Jae – I showed restraint and held off on the nyet/NEIN decision until ENDEAR fell, but I, too, confidently wrote in “pup.”

@retired_chemist – I laughed out loud at those pesky “chainsaw killers” making your dogs run. Smart dogs.

@aCme – thanks for pointing out the similarity between FOCACCIA and IACOCCA. Which C gets doubled? I never know. Toss in eCoCar and we practically have an unusual C-fest (not to mention PANIC, ORC, ETHIC, and ACNE)!

Fleeting quasi malapop – Little ALTARs Everywhere for the 1992 chick lit novel. Too long.

Quasi bleedover – yesterday’s DANDER-free EIDER down duvet no thanks to today’s GANDER. Plus, 1A sets the avian stage for SIGHTING, GANDER, GOOSE, NESTED, HENnaed, Chicken Little, chick lit, pair in a cage. . And we have the CATsuit and the CUB, WAITING in the, uh, wings. . .

Thanks, Doug and Brad. Really, really good one.

jackj 7:50 AM  

When Doug Peterson and Brad Wilber team up you had best bring your “A” game because these guys take no prisoners and they don’t seem to have any “crossword tells” that reveal a style, so just go at it and be prepared to PONDER your entries from time to time.

Double stack 15’s with only two threes each to help?
They’ve got ‘em.

Entries that make you think you’re going cross-eyed? IACOCCA and FOCACCIA!
They’ve got ‘em.

Cousins, “Promising start?” and “Promising location? ISHALL and ALTAR!
They’ve got ‘em.

Some really fun stuff going on here and an absolute minimum of odd balls with only JAFAR and ORCS, maybe GLAMIS and RON but not any more and they all benefit from cooperative crossings.

Lots of good guesses working today like tossing in SCALDS with no other letters around, same for ALLOCATE, GANDERS and JARFUL. (And TCU and XKE but I’m slightly embarrassed in claiming them).

HENNAED with its end of AED was exquisite and while there were many, many clues of note, three favorites were “In the wrong business?” for NOSY, “Oil deposit problem” for ACNE and “Green jam ingredient” for ECOCAR. As Bowser might say, “Wowser!”

Finally, in the matter of the double stack 15’s, the first two lit up the board, ASLOOSEASAGOOSE over CHAINLINKFENCES; they were, in fact, ENDEAR(ing).

What a way to wind up the week! Thanks, Doug and Brad.

Anonymous 8:06 AM  

Just must add that to see Iacocca used with a fair sounding clue hides what a hideous liar the man was, pushing K cars on those who would believe his sincere pitch, having to know it was a lousy car, a terrible one. that he was lionized by the media and had a best selling book is part of the horror show. He's a Nixon type, exploiting those who want to believe, and vote with their innocent hearts and wallets. Sorrowfully.

r.alphbunker 8:07 AM  

Great puzzle.

Like @Finished Grid 12:07 I spent a bit of time with the olives clue. Had cupful, canful early on and at the end was staring a _ARFUL and the J just didn't register in my alphabet run. The {"Aladdin" villian} going down was no help.

Danp 8:14 AM  

Never heard of a Honda Fit. I was certain they had the "ELEMENT" clue listed for down accidentally.

A few new names for me: Jafar, Sachem, Ron Underwood. But fun puzzle - just right for a Saturday morning.

Shamik 8:34 AM  

A whole lot of fresh fill, but also the second easiest NYT Saturday of 248 I've tracked at 8:24. That's two way easy puzzles this week. Maybe I'm just on the wavelength today! Or maybe it's a clue to register for the ACPT. Looking for another woman to room with if possible. E-mail me off this blog at

Smitty 8:44 AM  

For once I side with the easy-medium group. Got SIGHTING, JAFAR, TON, ACNE and HAMS right away. I hesitated on SACHEM because it said Algonquin - the term is common here in NW.

Top half felt like a Tuesday, bottom half like a Thursday.

Anonymous 9:35 AM  

Can someone please tell me how Honda is "fit for the road, say" (37A)? -David L.

Anonymous 9:40 AM  

For the longest time, I had LoNGa (long "a") for 'Two in a cage,' as in, two long A sounds in "a cage."

Loved ...GOOSE x GANDER and LUNGS x ...EXHALE.

Sir Hillary 9:41 AM  

After complaining that yesterday's cluing was too easy, I can hardly moan that today was too tough. What a great Saturday workout and a nifty payoff with some stellar entries. So many potential misdirections along the way (COOLASACUCUMBER, LOST---- instead of LESSENED, PUP for CUB, TELEVISE, etc.).

Some personal notes:
-- I love how GANDERS crosses ASLOOSEASAGOOSE.
-- I knew SACHEM only because a fraternity brother of mine attended Sachem High School on Long Island. Supposedly it is one of the largest high schools in the state, with graduating classes of more than 1000. Someone here may have better facts on this.
-- Anyone struggling to spell IACOCCA need only remember this pneumonic: I Am Chairman Of Chrysler Corporation, Alright? I don't know of a similar crutch for FOCACCIA.

Finally, some clues which are baffling me:
-- 37A: How is HONDA fit for the road? Does Honda have a model called the Fit?
-- 44D: Is CANED a reference to fraternities? Technically, crap like this would be after rush and during initiation. Given his location, Rex knows better than most how out of hand this stuff can get.

Fabulous puzzle - thanks guys!

Anonymous 9:42 AM  

Honda makes an ECOCAR called the Fit.

Anonymous 9:45 AM  

It's the name of one of their littlest cars.

jberg 9:52 AM  

If you have CANED a chair, you have woven a rush seat for it.

joho 9:54 AM  

I guessed right with the "M" in SACHEM but failed with GLAMIa. I thought that NW section was definitely the thorniest part of the puzzle. Like others, I did change Swear to SHALL, though, so just a one square DNF.

@Martin Abresch, I also thought it would be cool as a cucumber but waited to see what would appear.

My favorite clue was for LUNGS. Sure beats my initial answer: Lions!

Loved it! A perfect Saturday challenge in my book ... congratulations Doug & Brad! Well done!

Anonymous 9:56 AM  

I found this puzzle to be very entertaining, except for one clue that drocve me wild. Another Macbeth clue. Thanedom? Glamis? Are you kidding me?
By the way, there is a great commercial out where a young student tells Aaron Rodgers, the Green Bay Packers quarterback, after he says he was MVP last year, that awards are for those people who lack self esteem. That is how I feel about people who talk about the time it took them to complete a NYT puzzle. Who cares? The joy and pleasure is completing a puzzle, not completing quickly as if finishing it in a short period of time is some indication of intellectual prowess. Come on, revel in the satisfaction of completing it, and stop bragging about something so inconsequential. The bragging does nothing but show insecurity.

grouchonyy 9:57 AM  

Sachem was a term used for an officer of Tammany Hall (old timey Democrats) in NYC. The term also gave the name for the Boston (later Milwaukee and currently Atlanta) Braves, as the owner was a NY Tammany stalwart.

jberg 9:57 AM  

What everyone said. I didn't even start with CAWDOR, I wrote in Caldor instead. And I did know HAMS, but not CLARA, or Pico Mountain, or lots of other stuff - this puzzle for me was a lesson in how you don't have to know much to solve one. It was also a good application of the rule that a 3-letter actress starting with U is UMA Thurman, whether or not you have ever heard of the movie - that was the entry that got me going today.

However, I wouldn't think much of a recipe that called for a JARFUL of olives! And as for Aristotle, he wrote in Greek, and we're solving in English, so why is 20A in Latin?

And finally - what is MLS? Major League Softball? Or SKEET, to go with 16D?

Tita 9:59 AM  

Finished on a Saturday!! Oh wait - reading Rex and y'all...2 errors...oops.
Well, I still really liked the solve.

Early week I got to be satisfyingly aghast re: lack of knowledge of those I get to be on the receiving end re: GLAMIS. I had MLF, figuring it was football, and there's a Cardiff, so why not a GLAMIf?
The other was ECOCeR...[shrug]

No one else had their superheroine in a weTSUIT for a while?? Hmm...makes one wonder if Catwoman would need one if she went swimming...

Boldly started with dslmodem for Connection req't.

@chefwen - I fared better with Ian's LAT, though DNF due to those 2 outliers... It was so clever!

Thanks Mssrs Peterson & Wilbur.

Tita 10:08 AM  

Hey @Anon @ 9:56 - lighten up!
I care not a hoot for how long it takes me to solve - there are Fri & Sat puzzles that I leave laying about the house all week - eventually I finish, and am always delighted.

BUT - the overall time it takes me to solve is a partial indication of my experience with it, and therefore has as much relevance as how many writeovers I had, how much I had to google, etc.

And for those who DO get a kick out of speed solving, bully for them!


(btw - I only "post-google" - honest...)

Jeremy Mercer 10:16 AM  

Not sure if people here have seen this yet, but there is some very odd news from the English crossword scene this morning : a legendary constructor announced that he has cancer in his puzzle. Here's the Guardian article :
Guardian article

Joe The Juggler 10:34 AM  

This was the easiest Saturday I've seen in a while, for me.

I only rarely finish Saturdays without googling, and I did this one honestly in just over 16 minutes.

Started right off with GLAMIS and ARS and kept on rolling. My only backtrack was putting in WINGS for "Pair in a cage". Quick finish once I corrected that.

Zed 11:01 AM  

I think just about every super-heroine wears a CATSUIT.

Pretty easy for me except for struggles in the SW. Was pleased to see the medium challenging rating because that's where it fell for me.

MLS - Major League Soccer. First gimmee of the day since I work on the Saturday Puzzle with the EPL game on most weeks (That's English Premier League for you non-sporties).

@Anon9:56 - QTIP. And read the FAQs:

6. Why do you talk about your solving times? You must think you are So Superior. I think I enjoy the puzzle more than you because I savor it blah blah blah x infinity...

I like to time myself on occasion, especially on early-week puzzles. I'm always in a kind of low-level training for the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament (again, above link). I don't care if you are faster / slower than I am, or if you don't care about timing at all. More power to you. Everyone does the puzzle differently. There are solvers of all different speeds who read this site. There's no reason for anyone to feel defensive / self-conscious.

mac 11:04 AM  

Wanderful puzzle by the two pros. Medium for me, as well.

I tried to fit "damson" in for the green jam, but the "car" gave it away. Talking about cars, those random letters are always tough for me.

I almost ended with an earful of olives before I thought of Jar.

I'm finally feeling a little intuitive about this new Macbook Air...;-)

mac 11:06 AM  

Wonderful, of course....
What a nice article about the British constructor.

Sandy K 11:16 AM  

The cluing was pretty tricky for me. But I managed to work it all out.

Until I came back to Algonquian Chief...had SACHE_ and tho I had GLAMIS and I SHALL, and PONDERed the alphabet, PANIC set in- the M never took hold.

Soooo frustrated that Major League Soccer never occurred to me. I hope I CAN WIN tomorrow- maybe if I wear my CATSUIT?

Otherwise, a TON of fun, Doug and Brad!

Unknown 11:29 AM  

My favorite Saturday in recent memory, for reasons mentioned by others already. SACHEM is an ancestor of mine, so was glad to see the name here. The sight of 15s always intimidates me at first, but these were very gettable and offered some quirkiness to boot.

Merle 11:35 AM  

Children, children, play nice. Crossword puzzles are fun, right? And followers of Rex's blog have a common interest in playing with crossword puzzles. So -- if someone keeps track of the time it takes to complete a puzzle, let that person enjoy her/his pleasure aspect of solving without sneering. Once upon a time, a long time ago, in NYC subways, people on the way to work would fill in their puzzles, looking over at other people doing the same thing, to see if they were using pencil or pen. Wowie kazowie, pen! Confidence! So let the pen solvers enjoy their confidence. And don't sneer at pencil solvers. Nuff said?

Oh, by the way, fun puzzle. Challenging, great clues. Wheelhouse checkers, enough for everyone's wheelhouse, right? Not too many sports clues, or literature clues, or history clues, just enough of whatever clues for everyone's frame of reference. No rap artist's names, though. Whassup with that? Dissing hip-hop? No, nothing dissed. Will arise in another puzzle, for sure.

Mel Ott 11:53 AM  

I'm admittedly not up on my superheroes and -ines, but I thought Catwoman was among Batman's array of villains. When did she become a heroine?

SACHEM was easy for me. Long ago high school teams were Chiefs and yearbook was named SACHEM, which we were told meant "Chief". Don't think they've changed to more PC names.

I didn't want a mere JARFUL of olives. I wanted a whole BARREL of 'em.

Carola 11:58 AM  

Very enjoyable Saturday, though DNF: I may know my thanes, but not my Algonquin chiefs. Fun to learn the new word. Me, too, on loving the ...GOOSE/GANDERS cross; had not noticed the LUNGS/...EXHALE pair - thanks, @anonymous 9:40 for that. Loved CATSUITS, the almost-pair stack of HOT over COLE, and getting faked out by AETNA as the smoker.

@chefwen - Packer dip all ready?

Lewis 12:27 PM  

I agree with the general tenor that this was an enjoyable workout. I just loved the clue for LUNGS. Regarding timing, IT TAKES ALL KINDS.

Professional Caner 12:29 PM  

CANING and rush are completely different. They use different (completely unrelated) materials, different techniques, and different styles. Their only equivelancy is that they both result in the creation of a seat on a chair. So does a piece of plywood.

lawprof 12:32 PM  

Bless me Father, for I have sinned -- twice: first, had to ask my English teacher wife to get GLAMIS and WAITINGTOEXHALE; second, Googled CLARAS to get off the snide.

For my pennance I admit to a jillion writeovers: bARreL/JARFUL; ade/EER; cAffE/LATTE; Nyet/NEIN; FORge (as in ahead)/FORAY; reaMS/FORMS; CostUme/CATSUIT; Shop/SELL; ETHos/ETHIC.

For some reason I can never remember whether Ms. Thurman (28D)is Uma or Una. Similarly, Brian is either Eno or Edo or Ero or Exo or ... whatever. Moreover, I simply refuse to learn. Is that perverse, or what?

The first automobile pitchman to come to mind was Joe Isuzu (remember him?), but he didn't fit, so IACOCCA jumped into the frame.

A slog, but a fun slog.

Lee IACOCCA 12:40 PM  

@Anon 8:06 - It's really unjustified that you get angry with me about my KCar commercials. They were heavily edited in post production, and I had no control over what went out on the air.

What I really said during the commercials was:
If you can find a better car, buy it. First, look at the Ford dealership, they've got plenty there. Try any Japanese car maker, or GMC. If you're even thinking of buying a KCar you're probably not in the market for a German car, but damn, they are some nice automobiles. If you still haven't found anything, go to your nearest Yugo dealer. Yup, they're better. Only after you've don all this should you go to a Chrysler dealer.

For some reason, they edited out all but the first sentence. Not my fault.

Cheerio 12:41 PM  

Very enjoyable. I have been working to ingrain / improve my crosswordese and that was helpful today. I didn't finish without any googles, but I did get through the half below the diagonal without googling, so I was pleased.

I thought catsuit was OK as a clue, because to me the term can refer to any body tight Lycra wear for a woman.

Cheerio 12:44 PM  

Also, I used to live in a house on Sachem's Head outside of New Haven. I never wondered about the origin of the name, and it's nice to learn.

Acme 12:44 PM  

Whatever happened to OldCarFud what with IACCOCA, XKE, FIT ECOCAR? Interesting rant by Anon @8:06am re : IACOCCA and interesting mnemonic...
It's also interesting to see how many folks didn't know MLS so I feel less alone for my Major League Sports gap (TCU and COLE were also complete unknowns but gettable from the crosses). I guess I need to brush up on my Shakespeare!

Milford 1:18 PM  

Wow, lots of cranky pants today, and this was such a fun puzzle. Relax, folks!

I say some bragging is allowed here, and I will add to it by saying that this may be the first time I've had both a non-Google Friday AND Saturday. Progress!

I will have to agree with @Caner that caning and rushing are different (my mom used to cane chairs). Caning is the pattern where there are small holes in the end, and with rushing, I think, the end result is more tightly woven? I can see the difference but can't concisely explain it.

Loved the cluing in the puzzle, very fun to translate to the answers. Often had all but one letter and still no clue. Hand up for I Swear and AS cOOl AS A cucumber.

Thank you, Doug and Brad! I hope Sunday is a good one to match the rest of this week!

John V 1:29 PM  

Like @R.alph, JARFUL last to fall.

Felt nice to get this one after two DNFs in a row, but odd having better luck on a Saturday than on a Thursday. But, that is simply to say that this is a great puzzle by two of the great constructors, so that's what happens.

Tomorrow's is by Liz Gorski (a benefit of home delivery). Looked at it but not yet started; looks like fun.

The Bard 1:32 PM  

Macbeth ,Act I, scene III

MACBETH: Speak, if you can: what are you?

First Witch: All hail, Macbeth! hail to thee, thane of Glamis!

Second Witch: All hail, Macbeth, hail to thee, thane of Cawdor!

Third Witch: All hail, Macbeth, thou shalt be king hereafter!

BANQUO: Good sir, why do you start; and seem to fear
Things that do sound so fair? I' the name of truth,
Are ye fantastical, or that indeed
Which outwardly ye show? My noble partner
You greet with present grace and great prediction
Of noble having and of royal hope,
That he seems rapt withal: to me you speak not.
If you can look into the seeds of time,
And say which grain will grow and which will not,
Speak then to me, who neither beg nor fear
Your favours nor your hate.

First Witch: Hail!

Second Witch: Hail!

Third Witch: Hail!

First Witch: Lesser than Macbeth, and greater.

Second Witch: Not so happy, yet much happier.

Third Witch: Thou shalt get kings, though thou be none:
So all hail, Macbeth and Banquo!

First Witch: Banquo and Macbeth, all hail!

MACBETH: Stay, you imperfect speakers, tell me more:
By Sinel's death I know I am thane of Glamis;
But how of Cawdor? the thane of Cawdor lives,
A prosperous gentleman; and to be king
Stands not within the prospect of belief,
No more than to be Cawdor. Say from whence
You owe this strange intelligence? or why
Upon this blasted heath you stop our way
With such prophetic greeting? Speak, I charge you.

[Witches vanish]

Jeffrey Johnson 1:44 PM  

The problems mentioned about the CATSUIT clue need to also include the detail that cat woman is not a heroine but a villain. Are there actually any heroines who wear a cat suit?

Leopold von Sacher-Masoch 1:54 PM  

@Jeffrey Johnson - My dominatrix always wears a leather catsuit & I consider that she's saved my sanity. Does that count?

Barbara Gordon 1:58 PM  

Wearing a catsuit doesn't mean you're necessarily dressed like a cat or a Catwoman. Batgirl wears a catsuit.

GILL I. 2:00 PM  

I enjoyed this puzzle a lot. It had me looking things up after I finished. SACHEM and GLAMIS were new to me. I've never heard AS LOOSE AS A GOOSE - maybe loosey goosey. Tried to find the origin and all I got was the Urban Dic's def. which isn't printable. PECAN for shortbread flavorer had me head scratching since it's a simple recipe of butter, sugar and flour. Didn't understand AGER for 10D smoking, say and 43A in the wrong business? NOSY???
Lots of stuff that was easy though and my favorite clue was Pair in a cage.....
I wish I had another DP and BW puzzle to work on today....

Evan 2:40 PM  

Man, this one tortured me -- or rather, it was easy in most places except for two spots which really roughed me up. I had an identical experience as Rex on the HAMS/SACHEM cross. I wanted it to be HAMS, but couldn't for the life of me figure out how overacting had anything to do with being a hobbyist. Plus, while I read Macbeth way back when (in 8th and 9th grade), I had no memory of GLAMIS.

The other trouble spot was the HENNAED/HONDA/HOT/DENT combo. HENNAED just looks wrong with the -AED ending, but there wasn't really any other choice with the FOCACCIA bread crossing it. I didn't even know it could be an adjective. DENT seemed only loosely correct as a synonym for "dimple," and for some reason, I thought a chop-shop was where old cars go to die, not where HOT cars go to, uh, be hot. And I know of the HONDA Fit -- my sister-in-law drives one -- but I completely missed that a-ha moment until reading the comments here. But damn, that's clever in retrospect.

Still, I got all of those answers correct despite all of my doubts. Those two spots took me as long as the rest of the puzzle combined.


I don't read "Hark, A Vagrant!" as much as I should, but it's easily the funniest web comic out there.

@Everyone else:

Captcha for this comment is "agesac." Imagine what you will.

syndy 3:04 PM  

@TITA,@Z, et al,please do not feed the Troll!

Anonymous 3:12 PM  

I get the "green" part of ECOCAR, but not the "jam" part.

Carola 3:58 PM  

@Anonymous 3:12 - I think it refers to a traffic jam.

Milford 3:58 PM  

As in traffic jam.

Zed 4:13 PM  

@syndy - Put if you don't feed them they'll never learn to speak or roll over or anything.

joho 4:26 PM  

@mac ... "earful of olives." LOL It's definitely best to keep them in a jar!

ShortShrift 4:31 PM  

How is AGER the answer for "Smoking, say"?

@Anon 3:12 -- think traffic jam

Goose Gossage 4:48 PM  

Smoking ages you. Kind of like relief pitching. Thanks Doug & Brad for the 15A shout out!

Anonymous 4:51 PM  

My favorite Saturday in a long while, or for any day for that matter. Mercifully few proper names [enfin!] or noxious crossword-ese, with an open grid and not much short fill - just how I like it. A tough puzzle you can *muscle* through without a mountain of obscure trivia or cutesy junk. Fun, well done!

Matt G

Anonymous 4:51 PM  

The act of smoking is an ager to you physically.

I know. My downstairs neighbor smokes and all the smoke comes up here!! It's sure aging me!!!

Anonymous 4:52 PM  

My only problem with "On-air hobbyists?" was why does this clue have a question mark? There is nothing punning about the clue. It's just a description of radio hams.

Ellen S 4:52 PM  

@anon 3:12, Tita left the answer in yesterday's posts. -- it's a traffic jam of Priuses, Leafs and other all-electric or hybrids. "Green" cars in a traffic jam. I got it on crosses and had no clue until reading (yesterday's) blog.

Lucky for me, Friday was so hard I didn't finish it until late last night, so I did today's (MUCH EASIER!) and then read the blog for Friday. So I happened to see the answer to the green jam question.

@Shortshrift, an "ager" is "something that causes you to age prematurely." Like smoking.

I had to look up 36A, CLARAS (today was easier than Friday, but that's because I completely bombed on Friday) and should have recognized IACOCCA from IA_O_ _A. But didn't. I, too, wanted Joe Isuzu and sulked when it wouldn't fit.

Tried weTSUIT and jeTSUIT because CATSUIT. Figured it was only what Catwoman wore, and hand up for thinking she is a villain. But if it's just a skintight garment, then maybe that includes Emma Peel from The Avengers, and I think Diana Rigg was the superest heroine ever.

Ellen S 4:54 PM  

postscript: I guess it still works to put in "something" for unreadable numbers in the Captcha. I could see "Straightish blur, straightish blur, wigglier blur, straightish blur, straightish blur" and I put in 11511 and it took. Now let's see if I can do this one, which I can read.

Dirigonzo 5:01 PM  

The NW was the last section for me and I ultimately failed there because I, like others (Hi, ACM) didn't know MLS - thought the L might have something to do with LaCrosse. It's sad when my ignorance (of so many things) taints an otherwise beautiful puzzle.

@Gil I.P and @ShortShrift - Smoking cigarettes (among other things I guess) is said to cause one to AGE prematurely, thereby rendering it for x-word use at least an AGER.

Stephen 5:09 PM  

Wonderful. Evil. It must be a total gas to be let loose to write clues like this.

Gotta whine a little at CUB, though. I never heard of GLAMIS, but at least when you know the answer you can confirm it through google. Try that with "litter critter cub", though, and google will spit it back and say you musta meant "club". Can someone please tell me what cub is relevant here?

The fill is fab, with the exception of TCU.

Anonymous 5:20 PM  

I cannot believe most of you short time solvers do not research more than a few clues on google. Probably only proves my incompetence.

Anonymous 5:27 PM  

Sombody explain 43a NOSY to me. Please.

GILL I. 5:34 PM  

@Diri: Thanks...Now if you can come up with a decent etymology for AS LOOSE AS A GOOSE I won't feel as dumb as an oyster.

jae 5:46 PM  

@Stephen -- Try bear CUB or lion CUB.

Evan 5:52 PM  

@Anonymous 5:27:

If you don't mind your own business and get all up in someone else's, you're being NOSY.

Ellen S 6:01 PM  

@Gill, I'm jus a city kid, but I'm told geese have pretty "relaxed" gastro-intestinal systems, as in, the flow of waste is unimpeded. I'm not sure if "loose as a goose" means the same as the related phrase, "like [excrement] through a goose," which means, I believe, "moving very quickly".

That's my three.

Dirigonzo 6:06 PM  

@Gil I. P. - I refer you to the Big Bopper:
"Chantilly lace and a pretty face
And a pony tail hanging down
That wiggle in the walk and giggle in the talk
Makes the world go round
There ain't nothing in the world like a big eyed girl
That makes me act so funny, make me spend my money
Make me feel real loose like a long necked goose
Like a girl, oh baby that's what I like." I guess they couldn't squeeze all that into the grid, so they settled for LOOSEASAGOOSE.

sanfranman59 6:11 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation and my 10/15/2012 post for an explanation of a tweak I've made to my method. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio, the higher this week's median solve time is relative to the average for the corresponding day of the week.

All solvers (this week's median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Mon 7:19, 6:12, 1.18, 98%, Challenging (5th highest ratio of 160 Mondays)
Tue 9:58, 8:37, 1.16, 83%, Challenging
Wed 7:49, 11:52, 0.66, 1%, Easy (lowest ratio of 159 Wednesdays)
Thu 20:13, 17:05, 1.18, 81%, Challenging
Fri 16:35, 20:49, 0.80, 14%, Easy
Sat 21:03, 24:18, 0.87, 21%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:09, 3:39, 1.14, 94%, Challenging
Tue 5:49, 4:57, 1.18, 86%, Challenging
Wed 4:37, 6:34, 0.70, 1%, Easy (lowest ratio of 159 Wednesdays)
Thu 11:59, 9:34, 1.25, 84%, Challenging
Fri 8:54, 11:47, 0.76, 11%, Easy
Sat 12:34, 14:21, 0.88, 29%, Easy-Medium

chefwen 6:41 PM  

@Carola - Packer dip was made yesterday, new bag of Maui chip waiting to be opened, just can't decide between a Bloody or a couple of ice cold Stellas. Leaning toward the Stellas!

GILL I. 6:42 PM  

@Ellen S and @Diri. Thanks, I think...Now I have goose bumps.

Dirigonzo 7:11 PM  

@Gil I. P. - That's the first time I ever gave a woman goose bumps from 3000 miles away. To further quote the Big Bopper: "Do I what?
Will I what?
Oh baby you know what I like!"

GILL I. 7:26 PM  

@Diri: You're on a wild goose chase that lays the golden egg.
Way Too Many and Out....

Anonymous 7:27 PM  

@anonymous 9:56... The Shortz (golden) era of cruciverbalism and the ascendancy of the ACPT have established both accuracy and speed as the measure of success. Anyone who has competed (or for most, participated) at Stamford or Brooklyn is keenly aware of these metrics and uses them to gauge individual progress. Citing times may appear to be TMI but it is the argot of modern crossword puzzle solving.

Tita 8:38 PM  

@Ellen S - what's the emoticon for "sheepish grin"...?
I guess trying to read and reply to comments from my tablet is quite foolproof.

BTW - the street sign numbers part of the capchas are not part of the verification. You can type anything you want. (I always type 42.)
We are being recruited (crowdsourced) by Google as free labor to improve their Streetview database, so they can sell it.

Oh - I had wanted to e-chat with you about your rebus me pls - it's on my profile page.

Tita 8:52 PM  

@mac - congratulations - your earFUL of olives is the first entry of the new year in the
Epic Wrong Answer Hall of Fame!

To the other Anon...not all who attend ACPT do so because they think they are going to win - some go for the all-to-rare experience of being surrounded by other cruciphiles. I came in 501st in my debut!

The way I look at it, some people spend hundreds of dollars going to a ball game. They don't get to play the game themselves, and they rarely get to hang out with the winners. At ACPT, you can do it all!

Doc John 9:27 PM  

Best use of an XKE in any movie (even if they did wreck it in the end).

ERS 11:00 PM  

Here is a shout out for Lee Iacocoa. As a resident of Detroit, I greatly appreciate what he did for the City of Detroit. Anon@8:06's rant was unfair and I hope that the response entitled Lee Iacocoa is really you. I just want to say thank you for trying to help the economy in this City. Hope you are doing well

ERS 11:06 PM  

Lee, sorry I misspelled your name in my comment. My bad. I did,however, get it right in the puzzle.

Casey 9:12 AM  

The blog is almost as much fun as the puzzle.

ANON B 6:23 PM  

I don't read all the comments so
I may have missed this. What is thje
relevance of the picture of Larry
Bird and Magic Johnson in Rex's write-up?

Unknown 10:54 PM  

I would name your blog the dreamland! While Santa knocks at our door just once per year, you blog is open the whole year – wow GW2 gold, swtor credits, diablo 3 paragon leveling!

Spacecraft 2:34 PM  

What others have said about the "devilish but fair" clues. M-c is my rating too, though completed without even a writeover (enough uncertainty existed that I didn't put in first impressions like Nyet for NEIN, etc.)

Wanted SIGHTINGS right away but had to get two or three confirmations downwise first. These were slow coming. Eventually did the top, then found the Gimme of all gimmes for this Phils fan: '08 WSMVP COLE Hamels! This put C in an awkward spot across, but after some thought, PANICS came to mind, and the "CSA" soon surrendered.

SCALDS weird as a noun?? How about HENNAED as a verb?! Now THAT's weird. I knew that henna is used to dye red, but HENNAED? Really? However, everything else fit, so I left it with a shrug. Now use that baby in a sentence.

Nice 15s, and pretty clean fill. Thumbs up, guys.

DMGrandma 3:15 PM  

I really enjoyed this puzzle, even though I made nearly every cited write-over, I got there! It leaves me agreeing with @jberg "you don't have to know much to solve one"! Unknown titles, strange spellings, etc just worked themselves out as I progressed. Last for me was the JARFUL of olives, not the cup I originally envisioned, then came here to see if MLS was correct, and it was. Good start for a beautiful day.

Ginger 3:53 PM  

I keep a JARFUL of olives for my dirty martinis.

Wanted bird SpotTING, before SIGHTING.

Several years ago, Serena Williams played tennis wearing an outfit she called a cat suit. It was tight and form filling. The announcers were quite taken with it.

I parsed the smoking clue as a method to 'cure' salmon. (Yum), but on reading the comments, smoking cigarettes will certainly 'age' you, but only if it doesn't kill you first.

eastsacgirl 5:14 PM  

Was astonished to see the "medium-challenging" since I got through this pretty quick for a Saturday.

HENNAED is a word that just doesn't look right. Like the carry over of ENDEAR from yesterday even though I resisted at first.

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