Fukuda's predecessor as Japan's PM / SAT 3-16-13 / Supervillain from Krypton / Final aim to philosopher / Baroque key of glory / Role for both Burton Amos in 1977 miniseries / Italian game akin to petanque / Football Hall of Famer Minnesota Supreme Court justice / Yuri's beloved in literature

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Constructor: Julian Lim

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: none

Word of the Day: Carmen MCRAE (37A: Singer Carmen) —
Carmen Mercedes McRae (April 8, 1920 – November 10, 1994) was an American jazz singercomposerpianist, and actress. Considered one of the most influential jazz vocalists of the 20th century, it was her behind-the-beat phrasing and her ironic interpretations of song lyrics that made her memorable.[1] McRae drew inspiration from Billie Holiday, but established her own distinctive voice. She went on to record over 60 albums, enjoying a rich musical career, performing and recording in the United States, Europe, and Japan. (wikipedia)
• • •

A mostly enjoyable Saturday effort. Many tough parts for me, but I still got through it in very respectable time—8:57, on paper. Pangrams (of which this puzzle is an example) are generally less disastrous in themelesses than they are in themed puzzles because there's just so much more freedom for a constructor, i.e. you're not trying to shove every letter of the alphabet into a grid that's already pretty well taken up with theme answers. Still, whenever I see one, I have to wonder if the fill could've been better had the constructor put kwality above A-to-Z-ness. INURN is always very painful, and, with ENTS (14D: M.D.'s with tiny flashlights) and FRESCAS (!), it contributes to a rather ugly patch there in the NE. Also, DUCTED? Yuck-ted. URE PERF!? (8D: Strict follower? +  9D: Stamp feature, in philately lingo) Hoo boy, no. But: there's lots of spice and pizzaz here to make up for the short gunk. I especially liked QUICK BUCK, "I WAS HAD!" (6D: Gull's cry — a "gull" is a mark; a victim of a con or scam), and CRAZY IDEA, and the entire SE (minus the R.R.N. at 60D) really looks great. I don't know what a HOME LAB is. I assume it's a LAB that you have in your HOME. I had noooo idea who ALAN PAGE was (40A: Football Hall-of-Famer who became a Minnesota Supreme Court justice), so I had to build him brick by brick. But it's a *cross*word puzzle, so even though I was ignorant about the football player, I could use *crosses* to fill in every letter. Also, because ALAN and PAGE are both common names, even if I hadn't known all the crosses, I could've *inferred* virtually any letter in ALAN PAGE's name if I'd had to. Sorry to get all basic on you, but sometimes it's important. ("¡Minas Muletas!")

I'm somewhat surprised at how quickly I got through this thing given how laden it is with "?" clues and cross-referencing—things that tend to slow all solvers down. Maybe it wasn't so much the amount of cross-referencing as the placement. 24D: Like 49-Down is at the heart of the puzzle, connecting all the various parts together, and yet ... you can't get at it unless you get down into the SE *or* just piece it together from crosses. I chose the latter route, and ended up filling in RUBBERY and then using that to help me guess 49D: Stuff in a swim cap (LATEX). 11D: What a 64-Across may comprise was another important long answer that you needed to look elsewhere to understand. So again I just hammered at it with crosses until it resembled a word that might go with the clue at 64A: Gift for a TV buff. Getting ONE SEASON helped me change a wrong answer—IBMS to ABMS (not sure why I decided ICBMS might also be IBMS, but I did). I think the biggest aids to my quick solving today were the rapper and the JAZZ singer, both of whom were gimmes. God knows why I remember JA RULE, but I do (26A: Rapper with the 2002 #1 hit "Always on Time"). The "J" from JA RULE was undoubtedly important, but it's MCRAE who really opened up the grid, especially with the nearby cross-reference answer JAZZ (43A: Genre for 37-Across). "Z"s will break a puzzle Open! CRAZY IDEA and TANZANIAN came pretty quickly thereafter.

  • 10A: High-hatter's wear? (TOQUE) — Got it easily. Don't "get" it. It's high why? Does a pilot wear a TOQUE? I thought it was a chef's hat.
  • 17A: Sheepskin source (ALMA MATER) — Nice clue. Hard to see at first because I had the first letter as "N" for a while (from incorrect HINDI at 1D: Studier of sutras (SWAMI), which I changed after finally deciding MOSTEST was correct at 19A: Maximum, nonstandardly).
  • 38A: Fukuda's predecessor as Japan's P.M. (ABE) — yeah, I'm never gonna be able to keep Japanese P.M.s straight. Thank you, crosses!
  • 39A: Italian game akin to pétanque (BOCCI) — seems tough until you realize, c'mon, how many "Italian games" do you actually know? That's right. You know one. This one.
  • 49A: Yuri's beloved, in literature (LARA) — she of the Theme. Gimme gimme gimme.
  • 2D: Final aim, to a philosopher (TELOS) — I use this word all the time in my teaching. Still took me a while to get.
  • 13D: Supervillain from Krypton (URSA) — you'd think I'd've committed this non-contellation URSA to memory by now. You'd be wrong.
  • 27D: Pace of "Pushing Daisies" (LEE) — uh, OK, if you say so.
  • 31D: Baroque "key of glory": Abbr. (D MAJ.) — got the MAJ and waited ... for DUCTED. :-(
  • 47D: Role for both Burton and Amos in a 1977 miniseries (KINTE) — "...blah blah blah 1977 miniseries." Answer achieved.
  • 53D: With 54-Down, start of a historic telegraph message ("WHAT / HATH ...") — bit scary there for a bit, since I could only think of "Come here, Watson, I need you..." (yeah, phone, I know). Also, I had LED IN, not HAD IN at 58A: Welcomed to one's house, so instead of -HAT -ATH I had -LAT - ETH . After rejecting "FLAT BETH!", I proceeded in a more reasonable direction.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Anonymous 12:12 AM  

It's ABE and LEE. Not ABo and LEo.

Beth 12:15 AM  

Ok, so I'm not that well endowed. Probably less endowed than your average 8yo boy. And yes, I've been rejected, over and over and over again.

So, why the imperative to reject me once again, in this the world's most read crossword blog? My life doesn't suck enought already?

Jeffrey Johnson 12:30 AM  

Cheer up Beth; you were nearly the subject of an historic telegram.

I wish somone would explain the Gull's Cry clue. The answer makes no sense at all to me.

Rex Parker 12:34 AM  

A Gull is a mark, ie the target of a con or a scam.

Evan 12:35 AM  

Fun stuff! This is more my flavor of themeless -- 72 words, lots of rock solid entries. I think I like MOSTEST the, uh, mostest.

I guess I'd call it easy-medium. I expected it to be much tougher because nothing was over 9 letters long. As I said yesterday, I think I do better with 15-letter entries because I can usually get them once I figure out one of the smaller words in them. I didn't think I'd get the same help here, but as Rex pointed out, all those Scrabbly letters made it easier to get some traction. My only write-overs were TANK before JEEP and INTER before INURN.

I was kinda frustrated by all the cross-referencing -- I don't mind it every now and then, but four pairs in the same puzzle? It's a good thing I got DVD BOX SET off the terminal SET, and that gave me ONE SEASON off just the N.

I only know GEIST because I recently sang Beethoven's choral fantasy, which has the German "hat ein GEIST sich aufgeschwungen" in the lyrics, which I think roughly translates to "a spirit taken flight" (@Ulrich?). Don't know if I would have guessed correctly there otherwise, unless I had remembered that it comes at the end of PolterGEIST.

I made the same mistake that Rex initially wrote in his write-up: the Japanese P.M. is Shinzo ABE, and the actor is LEE Pace. I finished with ABO/LEO. I think that's my first mistake on a Saturday this year. [EXPLETIVE]!

Evan 12:37 AM  

And Rex, I assume the TOQUE clue is just a way of saying that the chef's hat reaches up high because it's tall on his head. Probably a bit of a stretch, but, eh.

Minas Muletas 12:38 AM  

So, why the imperative to reject me once again, in this the world's most read crossword blog? My life doesn't suck enought already?

jae 12:40 AM  

Pretty solid Sat.   Medium- challenging for me, NW being the challenging part. A pangram that didn't seem too forced except for the RRN.  But, DVD BOX SET is kinda zippy along with...EXPLETIVE, JA RULE, MOSTEST,  I WAS HAD, QUICK BUCK, LUMPED, HANKER...

Erasures were similar to Rex's with some additions:  saw to leD to HAD IN, iBMS for ABMS, Pane for PERF, and Lycra for LATEX.

No WOEs or problem crosses.  Liked it!  Especially after yesterday's.

Brendan McNamara 12:46 AM  

I thought of TOQUE as being high-class headgear, perhaps because the word is latinate, but it probably does refer to the chef's hat definition. Of course it's easy to see TOQUE when you already have QUICKBUCK.

Numinous 1:26 AM  

Wall aware? Wtf is that?

Alma Crazy Mic(ha)e(ls 1:27 AM  

I learned on my ACPT stint on "Dinner Impossible" that the higher the chef in respect the higher the TOQUE (Thus I had mine crushed by the chef)

It's not only a pangram (which I hadn't noticed), so smooth that it was, BUT, save FQ, it's a DOUBLE pangram!!!!
There are two of EVERYTHING...
many in the same word"
BOCCI, QUICKBUCK, JAZZ, WELLAWARE and a straightline could connect the Js.

I really enjoyed this, less time than yesterday, but still almost 45 minutes.

Malapop! 30D "Start moving" I put in STep for STIR... then STEPSITUP appeared at 1A!

Same thought process EXACTLY as @Rex that ICBMS could be IBMS; ONESEASON giving me DVDBOXSET, RUBBERY leading to LATEX, etc.

"cept good Minnesotan girl that I am, ALANPAGE came to me immediately (Well, I had the _AGE). Minnesota knowledge always trumps nonsports knowledge in my fevered existence.

Like @Evan, I balked at having to know the German word for Ghost/Spirit but then thought about polterGEIST and Zeitgeist (Spirit of the times) and you get one of those, "Wow, I know German!"

And I love Dr. Zhivago, but didn't put it together that it was THAT Yuri! I tried LedA first! Oops.

Loved the CRAZYIDEAs behind the puzzle...it was the beSTEST!!!

C. Ross Word 1:42 AM  

Tough, but ultimately solvable. Too many write-overs to list. Nice, Saturday challenge. Today: liked it; yesterday: LUMPED it!

Anonymous 1:43 AM  


This is an absolute travesty of a mockery of a crime of a travesty of a mockery of a crime!!! An infinite loop of Oh My Godness!!!

A cross of LEE and ABE!!??? With JARULE crossing LEE? LEE, ABE and JA who!!??

If your puzzle requires such an ABE/LEE crossing, then your puzzle is simply not worth making. It's really that simple!!

I'm tellin ya. This is a crime! Occiferrrrrr!!!

(Takes Rex's ball and goes home.)

Also anonymous 1:50 AM  

Hahahaha. Good one, anonymous.

syndy 3:46 AM  

I'm not usually a fan of cross references but I liked having to put the two clues together and figure out what they said about each other.(L)EE was a flat out guess.Even xwords can't interest me in Rap so JARULE didn't help.Still a pangram and I bet Mr. Lim is happy that the viper was aleady milked

Carola 4:21 AM  

Found it tough and DNF due to an incorrect guess at LEo/ ABo. Slow going, just could not put clues together with letters that I had in the grid. Found myself asking, for example, WHAT HATH seven letters, starts with HO and ends with AB?

Mistakes didn't help. Classicists will snort, but I had Seneca teaching Ovid before NERO; "once" instead of SAME, "endure" instead of LUMPED, and "itin" instead of RTES, which gave me _ _NTSUIT, and I really couldn't believe a panTSUIT was going to impress anyone.

This was a puzzle where the cross-referencing really helped me: before I got ONE SEASON, I thought the TV buff would be getting a DVr-something-or-other; R_ _ _ _RY and L_ _ _X snapped both into focus, and UCLA led me to ALMA MATER.

I liked learning that D Major is the Baroque key of glory - it does have a splendid bright sound, I think.

GILL I. 7:17 AM  

That clue for FRESCAS was just plain mean. Faeries looks so much nicer. "In the know" made me WELL AWARE that I was far from PERF in solving this puzzle.
I had a ton of write-overs and so I couldn't get much of anything from crosses.
I finally put the puzzle down and when I came back, it seemed less daunting.
Never heard of a Gull's cry so my final answer was I WASHED. WHAT HATH God wrought I asked meself. So a big DNF.

Milford 7:21 AM  

Another humbling DNF for me. Got very tangled in the MCRAE, ALAN PAGE, AGA, ABE, LEE area, but then also I could just not get any type of toehold in the NW, save for ALMA MATER. Sigh.

Didn't see the pangram (nor the nearly double pangram!). I liked CRAZY IDEA and TANZANIAN side by side to give us JAZZ, and the SE was fun.

Was shocked by the number of comments yesterday! Usually that means there is some pointless battle, but this time it was more of an actual discussion. Amazing.

Milford 7:26 AM  

P.S. Did anyone else put "eyes" for 22A? Dude, I thought I was being oh-so Saturday-clever. :)

OTD 7:50 AM  

A good Saturday challenge. Being from Wisconsin and a Packer fan, knew ALAN PAGE right away.

Some great fill in this puzzle. Enjoyed them all. Didn't know what a GULL was with such a weird answer, so learned something knew. Thanks, Rex, for adding that clarification.

Doris 8:07 AM  

If people just brushed up their Shakespeare, they would not have found INURNED unfamiliar.

Hamlet, Act I, scene iv:

Why thy canonized bones, hearsed in death,
Have burst their cerements; why the sepulchre,
Wherein we saw thee quietly INURN'D
Hath oped his ponderous and marble jaws,
To cast thee up again.

mea culpa 9:12 AM  

Yes, Milford, I put EYES. I also put MARY HADA for the telegraph clue.

Glimmerglass 9:13 AM  

Good Saturday! I got hung up for a long time with ramPS IT UP. I was quite sure of PLATO, so I stayed far too long with ramPS. When I finally thought of ELM ST, the light dawned. Nice write-up today, Rex.

MetaRex 9:40 AM  
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JuMp 9:52 AM  

I was a little late to yesterday's blog to comment, but for what its worth I believe no one mentioned that Rex's terse critique contained exactly the same number of words as Joe Krozel's black squares. Coincidence? I think not.

Mohair Sam 9:54 AM  

A fun Saturday puzzle for sure, great clues.

Made good time (for me) until I bumped into 27d. I've never seen "Daisies" and know no rap. So I thought jaruDe had an edgy rap sound and went with DEE, hence an uncompleted puzz.

ALANPAGE was a gimme here, he of the Purple People Eaters. A great human being too.

PERF another easy one for us thanks to Flanders and Swann's "Madeira, M'Dear."

Anyhow, a great puzzle to cheer us at the start of what looks like a miserable weather weekend. Thanks Julian Lim.

Anonymous 9:55 AM  

No surprise, Rexy opens by bitching about pangrams as a thing. I like 'em. I'll take a little trade-off for 'em. I take a little trade-off for every theme (five days in a row, week after week, year after year). There is a small price for every super-cool entry that locks in fill options. I take a small trade-off for every neat thing a constructor offers.

We get about one pangram a month. There have been more in recent years, but its hardly a public health issue threatening to consume the crossworld.

Maleska never had more than four in a year; that in his first year. During three years, there was only one per year.

(Shortz, excepting zero in '96 has always had more than Maleska ever had.)

Between '94 and '05, there were three years of double digit pangrams in a year (13, 14, 11).

From '06 to '12, there was an uptick, with pangrams appearing between 10 - 19 times per year, excepting '12, with 8 (the lowest since 7 in '02).

jackj 10:03 AM  

Always nice to get a new Saturday constructor and Julian Lim shows he can run with the big dogs, (though, hopefully, as he progresses, he’ll lose the urge to cross reference).

Things started off with a mechanical problem when the printed puzzle showed the clue to 22 Across as “, at times” and made no sense at all until an on-line check showed that there was actually a colon at the clue’s start and ISTO was then a gimme.

Getting the grouses out of the way first, DUCTED didn’t add any luster to Julian’s debut and only a bit of doggerel from the past about “Perle Mesta, the hostess with the MOSTEST” saved him from being set upon by a cranky solver.

BESTSUIT had the old time charming ring of “Sunday go to meeting suit” and ALANPAGE was easy for football fans and, interestingly, for Antiques Roadshow viewers as well, who recently saw the Honorable Justice Page having a Lincoln mourning banner he owns appraised when the show visited Minneapolis.

FRESCAS was a misdirection of the first order, as was EXPLETIVE and other favorites included QUICKBUCK, IWASHAD (lament of a seagull who nicked his beak on a rock that looked like a clam), ALMAMATER and another flash to the past for “LUMP (ED) it or leave it!”.

And, lastly, VEDIC?, HINDU?, HINDI? oh, SWAMI, (that was enough to get our Kama tied into knots).

Thanks, Julian.

chefbea 10:05 AM  

Too busy today to finnish the puzzle or read the comments

Got to put on my toque and start the corned beef and cabbage dinner. We are doing our St. Patty's day party tonight. Made the Irish soda bread yesterday.

mac 10:13 AM  

Very enjoyable Saturday!

I got hung up on "itin." at 21D and pant suit at 35A, and Ja Rule was really hard to suss out.

When I was around 5 a neighborhood friend had a little home lab, a little shack on their property. He had "lab kits" and tried out lots of things. And yes, he blew up the structure eventually.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:32 AM  

Very nice, easy puzzle. I hadn't noticed that it was a (nearly double) pangram, but then, I never do.

No write-overs, though I had briefly considered, at 35 A, Dress-to-impress attire, the possibility of ZOOTSUIT.

@mac - Just yesterday on the radio, I heard some discussion of the idea that these days kids couldn't get their hands on the chemicals etc. which have figured in important scientific discoveries of the past (and caused the occasional shack to blow up!)

webwinger 10:40 AM  

Lots of nice answers in this one that were mostly pretty gettable (though ALANPAGE was a complete cipher for me), but the cluing left much to be desired IMO. Not much sparkle across the board. Agree with complaints about cross-referencing—seldom if ever enhances the solving experience—and the ABE/LEE pairing—a real WTF, considering the zillions of options available. I also don’t get the appeal of a pangram for anyone but the constructor. Finished under an hour with much help from Google.

Good to see Rex back in form, finally recovered, it seems, from the double whammy of ACPT and the time change. Think I’ll take a minute to offer a few words in his behalf. While his carping can grate at times, its sources are mostly legitimate issues with the puzzles, and his wit consistently gets his points across in entertaining and memorable ways. (I’m much more tired of the commenters who can’t seem to wait to pounce on him.) Like others, I not infrequently disagree with his judgments, but part of the fun is trying to anticipate when that will happen. I suspect many of us while solving think—Hoo boy, will Rex get off on this! Adds significantly to my enjoyment. Keep the faith, O Fearless Leader!

Sir Hillary 10:57 AM  

DNF. Not even close. Couldn't get on JL's wavelength, and the cross-refs killed me. At least one of my sporting heroes made it in -- ALANPAGE, a core member of the Purple People Eaters. Go Vikes!

jae 11:00 AM  

Me too for EYES. Forgot to add it to my erasure list.

Z 11:02 AM  

ALAN PAGE was first in, followed by TANZANIAN, so I thought I was off to an easy Saturday. DUCTED/D MAJ proved me wrong. Parsing "key of Glory" as some specific Baroque paean "key to Glory" didn't help, making me doubt the obvious JAZZ for a long time.

It seems that early week ABE will be clued as Lincoln, late week ABE as a Japanese P.M. Can anyone elaborate on why I should remember LEE Pace outside crossworld?

BOCC(e or i) seemed too obvious for a Saturday for exactly the same reason Rex put it right in, it just had to be some other Italian game besides the only one anyone knows. My hesitancy there blocked the now obvious T-BAR.

@Milford - Excellent error - "eyes" is much better than the correct IS TO. I wanted ratio but it was too long.

Favorite clue today is "Major mode of transportation?"

Sandy K 11:13 AM  

Lots of write-overs for ___PS IT UP. Had bumps, ramps before STEPS- til I got SWAMI, TELOS? and ELM ST.

INter before INURN, and iBMS before ABMS MENACED me for a while. Almost Naticked by LEo/ ABo- How're we supposed to know that? (EXPLETIVE!) Pure luck CLEARED that UP.

So happy that I WAS not HAD!

Masked and Anonymo8Us 11:18 AM  

8 U's. 11 writeup bullets. Magnifico, all around. thUmbsUp.


@Sir Hillary: Yep. Go Vikes.

Best questionable clue: Strict follower?

MetaRex 11:43 AM  
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MetaRex 11:46 AM  

CrossWorld and CrossOver ratings along w/ the solve story (did MetaRex fudge today?!) at Ja Rule

PuzzleSister 12:14 PM  

Alan Page was my first in; he is one of my top five favorite Vikings, and one of my top three Minnesota Supreme Court justices (yes, I have both lists). I got tripped up right where Rex did, once again (Hindi before SWAMI, thinking "watson, come here" before realizing that was the telephone) Also had Step before STIR. Ended with two mistakes (Leo/Abo instead of LEE/ABE and Urso/Frescos instead of URSA/FRESCAS). really liked CRAZYIDEA, DVDBOXSET, and QUICKBUCK. Challenging, but ultimately quite satisfying, Saturday.

Suzy 12:45 PM  

Had tails for Toque-- really messed that part up. But then, what hath came rather easily, so who knows?
All in all, one tough puzzle, guiltynof googling more than once. Sigh-- these rappers are gonna inure me--
I was had!

Two Ponies 12:59 PM  

Good fun today.
I only just now realized that Sprites are of the soft drink kind. Making the clue and answer plurals is kinda clunky.
That mash up in the middle of a rapper (who cares), a Japanese guy, and an unknown (to me) actor was the last to fall. I feel pretty lucky to have finished. Now off for an over-nighter in the mountains!

Edna Krabappel 1:10 PM  

I'm WELL AWARE of Rex's penchant for trolling the clueless by posting a picture or video that doesn't match the clue, so I was surprised to see this post with the actual artist and song referenced in the puzzle.

I was expecting a Jay-Z video. Or maybe a picture of JaMarcus Russel.

Anonymous 1:12 PM  

Another guess for high-hat: the term also means snooty, snobby, putting on airs. An English-speaker calling a hat a toque might be doing that.

Unknown 1:27 PM  

WHAT HATH Julian Lim wrought? A very nice Saturday puzzle. I think it was @Loren who said last week that she enjoys it when you first look at a puzzle and don't believe you'll get any of it, then you get some but think you'll never get a quarter of it...and so on until it's all done. That's how this one felt to me.

First thought was methLAB for 42D, but since I live in NE Penn, that's understandable.

Stuck with EVENED OUT for for 62A "Became fair" a little to long. Made the SE corner difficult.

CBCD 2:20 PM  

Apparently the source of a sheepskin is 'alma mater' rather than 'alpaca fur''.

My how that messed me up!

Anonymous 2:28 PM  

Not convinced about LUMPED, I had always understood "like it or lump it" to mean "accept it or fight", typically uttered by a big palooka (making "like it" the only real alternative.

LUMPED could also mean "categorized", but I don't really buy that as a good match for "put up".

jberg 2:52 PM  

Solved this one with a gap while driving from Captiva to RSW I'll blame that for missing an obvious error at YApS/pINTE.

I knew ABE (he is the current premier of a major worl power, after all) so that gave me LEE. But I had Beth Inter before INURN and iter before RTES. thought O's sAGE and gAGE before PAGE, but once I got it there was JA RULE.

So I finished., one error. with no idea if it was hard or easy

Meanwhile our flight is now delayed 3+ hours -- in Boston at 1:10 AM, if we're lucky.

Lewis 3:09 PM  

My last section to go was the southeast. I liked he clues to YUM and JEEP and MICE. Made a lot of wrong guesses early. This puzzle had a good quality to it. Thank you Julian!

Unknown 3:21 PM  

Solid Saturday. Medium-ish for me, no Googling needed.

Michael Hanko 4:04 PM  

I believe the clue for toque implies that it's a tall, or high, hat. Kinda weak wordplay, if I'm correct.

okanaganer 4:52 PM  

Hello all; my first time commenting here though I have "lurked" for a couple of months.
This was my first complete Saturday ever! (except I had BOSS SUIT for 35A...I was so sure it was correct I ignored the funny sounding crosses). And in only 79 minutes!
Amazing fact: I came up with TOQUE by completely different logic than y'all: "high hats" are played by rock drummers, who often wear... toques! (a good Canadian winter wear word...I think Americans say "stocking cap").

Michael 5:15 PM  

This is my idea of a good Saturday puzzle, - challenging, but possible, good clues.

Reverse of Rex -- Alan Page a gimme, Jarule -- unknown to me gettable only by crosses with the Jarule/Lee cross a guess.

Messed up a while with "ramps it up"

sanfranman59 6:04 PM  

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

Mon 6:44, 6:14, 1.08, 82%, Challenging
Tue 10:18, 8:23, 1.23, 89%, Challenging
Wed 11:32, 10:59, 1.05, 65%, Medium-Challenging
Thu 12:23, 16:58, 0.73, 8%, Easy
Fri 24:49, 22:18, 1.11, 76%, Medium-Challenging
Sat 27:42, 24:59, 1.11, 82%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:07, 3:42, 1.11, 88%, Challenging
Tue 5:59, 4:54, 1.22, 94%, Challenging
Wed 6:41, 6:22, 1.05, 62%, Medium-Challenging
Thu 6:56, 9:56, 0.70, 5%, Easy (9th lowest ratio of 168 Thursdays)
Fri 13:41, 12:57, 1.06, 59%, Medium
Sat 19:11, 14:38, 1.31, 93%, Challenging

OISK 6:51 PM  

Good puzzle, although not as much fun (for me) as yesterday's. I missed one square, which happens from time to time, and should not completely ruin my appreciation of the puzzle. However, JARUDE, of whom I never heard, with "Dee" Pace, of whom I never heard, made as much sense to me as Jarule and Lee. A bad cross of two pop culture clues. To be fair, though, an "L" made more sense there; I need to remember to try every letter in cases like this.

Dirigonzo 7:42 PM  

I did this after work as usual and managed to get it done (almost) in just under my self-inposed two hour/two drink limit. I made all of the mistakes everyone else did but corrected them all except ABo/LEo, which seemed perfectly reasonable to me. Lots of "aha" moments made this a fun
Saturday solve for me. Does anyone go to the ice cream- or pizza-PARLOR anymore?

Joseph B 7:56 PM  

Add me to the ABO/LEO list.

I'm going to call that the Natick that it is, since ABO is an actual Japanese sir name. (E.g., Kiyokazu Abo, Imperial Navy admiral).

Maybe we're supposed to know Shinzō Abe because he was the PM of Japan. Come on: he was PM for 365 days. There's been five different Japanese PMs since Obama took office.

And the cross was Lee Pace. Geez Louise. Who???

Two Naticks in a row. Come on, Will - knock it off.

Loren Muse Smith 8:19 PM  

Big dnf for me, but maybe because I just didn’t have time to sit with it; lacrosse season is here, and I had to go line a field at 8:00am this morning.

I’m ashamed at how many versions I entertained for DVD BOX SET. Just didn’t get it, even though I had the right idea.

MICE – I’ll say again – if I go to Staples to get a mouse for my computer, see they’re on sale, and decide to buy two. . . I have bought two “mouses.” Two MICE in my Staples bag – whiskered animals. Eke!

I can’t believe I had “Kunta” forever. Jeez.

@Bob Kerfuffle –I considered “Zoot SUIT, too.

@Evan – I’m so glad you got your picture! It’s great!

@Andrea – thanks for pointing out that it’s almost a double pangram. I never would have seen that.

@GillI.P. – FRESCAS was a gimme for me today. I love FRESCA and saw that one immediately.

@okanaganer – welcome!! Congrats on your first Saturday. I finish a Saturday maybe seventy percent of the time or less. I lurked for several months before I had the courage to comment. I’m sure glad I did. I’ll look forward to more posts from you.

Terrific themeless, Julian. Thanks.

LaneB 9:13 PM  

Found several of the clues more misleading than usual and couldn't figure them out :Gull's cry; :,at times; Growled at, say; Where one may have personal reactions; and Ace [what does "adept" have to do with "Ace"?] Anyway, just another DNF and a bad end of the week. And is it BOCCE or BOCCI?

Ragazza Italiana 9:32 PM  

It's BOCCE, not BOCCI! And this is the second time I've seen that misspelling in a puzzle recently. Granted, I'm only half Italian, but I've never seen that spelling in all the decades my family's been playing that game.

Scott, K5TA 9:33 PM  

One TOQUE over the line, sweet Jesus....

Anonymous 10:20 PM  

Look you dopes. Rex is right. You don't cross a Brazilian word with a Spanish word, duh! Rex is the King of Crosswords, respect that.

Wikipedia 10:21 PM  

Bocce, sometimes anglicized as bocci or boccie, is a ball sport belonging to the boules sport family, closely related to bowls and pétanque with a common ancestry from ancient games played in the Roman Empire. Developed into its present form in Italy, (where it is called bocce, the plural of the Italian word boccia which means "bowl"), it is played around Europe and also in overseas areas that have received Italian migrants, including Australia, North America, and South America (where it is known as bochas; bolas criollas in Venezuela, bocha (the sport) in Brazil), initially among the migrants themselves but slowly becoming more popular with their descendants and the wider community.

dictionary.com 10:40 PM  


a very skilled person; expert; adept: an ace at tap dancing.

Dirigonzo 11:01 PM  

@Scott, K5TA = "Like"

Nigel 1:52 AM  

Yes, second time for BOCCI and the second time I entered bocce - because I was hoping that this time the constructor would get it right. Who cares how it's spelled in English - it's an Italian game hence it should be the Italian spelling. I worked this puzzle from the bottom up. No problem with WHAT HATH god wrought. And I knew the kind of gull we were looking for because I'd intuited the HAD - but couldn't figure out how to fit "I've been" into just four letters especially since I had STEPSonit instead of STEPSITUP. And I too had LEO and ABE, but I'm in good company.

Ellen S 4:55 AM  

It's now early Sunday morning and I finally finished this puzzle, which I began Friday night. Granted I haven't been working on it steadily for 26 hours but I have been googling and cheating (I mean really cheating) and still it took this long. That's my standard for whether a puzzle is hard. Enjoyed it, though. I knew LARA and BOCCE just like Rex said; everything else was a struggle.

Robin C 9:31 AM  

"Love" is related to tennis - it means score of zero... (96 across Sunday March 17).

Anonymous 10:42 AM  

For those of us old enough to remember Subic Bay in many Navy and US vis a vis Philippines relationship news stories, the left side cross wasn't as awful as Rex portrays.

crackblind 9:08 PM  

Fresca was the big "duh" moment for me. Made absolutely nonsense to me until it just did. Swapped between Kunta & Kinte until the cross confirmed the e at the end. I actually loved the ALMA MATER answer. Really good clue there.

Count me in on the BOCCE vs BOCCI dispute.

retired_chemist 6:31 PM  

OK, it's Tuesday and I am just getting around to Saturday. Nice puzzle.

True Natick at JARUL(d)E/L(d)EE. No idea. Other than that it solved straightforwardly for a Saturday. ALAN PAGE and FRESCA - no problems. VEST SUIT @ 35a was easily fixed. Guessed YAKS rather than GABS @ 46A, which helped. Guessed XLI for 60D and wondered briefly what a DID BOX SET was. D'oh.

Thanks, Mr. Lim.

Spacecraft 4:54 PM  

Well, another DNF. After much cogitation I managed to lay down the SW, and most of the NE. I was blocked out of the SE because no way could I get LUMPED out of "Put up with." That one is a big HUH? And next to it, HOMELAB??? What is that? Is it supposed to be a familiar phrase? Let's say that's the final puzzle on "Wheel of Fortune." _ _ _ E L _ _. Go ahead and give that to 100 Mensa members, complete with three random consonants. "Thing" is the category. Not one of them will come up with "HOME LAB." It's a non-saying. Ridiculous.

I was going to tackle the MW via 26a, but when I saw "rapper," that was it. I no longer cared. Just as well; never in a million years could I have gotten MOSTEST. Another one "Gull's cry?" IWASHAD? Is "gull" supposed to be short for a gullible person? Never heard of that.

The whole thing is just an unintelligible mess. Bah.

rain forest 2:52 AM  

DNF for me as well. I don't do rappers, and though apparently this was a double pangram, which deserves some adulation, it was beyond me. I gave up after roughly 2/3 of the puzzle was done. Looking at the finished puzzle, it doesn't look as difficult as I found it. Bad day.

Anonymous 12:30 AM  

No one caught the error in Roman numerals in 60D (year in Claudius's reign). The answer XLV is an incorrect form, supposedly for 45. In Roman numerals, 45 is written VL, or 5 less than 50. You don't double up with a subtraction (-10 or X) in front of the main number (L or 50) and an addition (V or 5) afterwards.

strayling 7:31 PM  

You're correct in British Latin, but I suspect this puzzle expects American Latin.

Actually, I seem to recall from my Latin classes that even the Romans accepted both forms.

Alexis De Tocqueville 1:47 PM  

Did any one else notice that the syndicated version of this puzzle came out on "4/20" *and* it contains the word "TOQUE"?... Coincidence???... Oui? Non? Hmmm... ;-)

Anonymous 10:20 PM  

Thanks for your response. I looked it up, and you are right! Only six specific pairs (in modern usage, per Wiki) are allowed where a smaller numeral ahead of a larger one indicates subtraction, namely IV, IX, XL, XC, CD, and CM (for 4, 9, 40, 90, 500, and 900).

Other combinations are simply not allowed, such as IL, IC, ID, and IM as well as VL, VC, VD, etc. Of fifteen useful pairs by my count, nine are impermissible.

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