Guitar maker Fender / SAT 9-7-13 / Singer of 1987 #1 country hit Do Ya / Bygone yellow-roofed kiosks / Servant in Discworld novels / Champion between Holyfield reigns / Holy group in 17th-century literature / Largest river of southern California

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Constructor: Julian Lim

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: none

Word of the Day: Riddick BOWE (1D: Champion between Holyfield reigns) —

Riddick Lamont Bowe (born August 10, 1967, BrooklynNew York City) is an American professional boxer. He is a former two-time World heavyweight champion, first winning the WBAWBC and IBF titles in 1992, becoming undisputed heavyweight champion. Bowe's second reign as heavyweight champion was in 1995 when he won the WBO title. Bowe retired in 1996 but made a return to the ring in 2004. He has currently been inactive since 2008.
Riddick Bowe became the first fighter to defeat Evander Holyfield when he beat him in 1992 for the world heavyweight title. He then became the first fighter to knock Holyfield out, when he beat him in their rubber match in 1995. Bowe's professional boxing record stands at 43-1-0 (1 NC) with 33 KO's. He has defeated every opponent he has fought except Buster Mathis, Jr. (their bout ended as a no-contest). Bowe was ranked as the 21st greatest heavyweight of all time by Boxing Scene. (wikipedia)
• • •

Had to work for this one. Thought my relative slowness (in the 12min. range) was due to dinner/beer (mostly beer), and that may be true, but times posted so far at the NYT applet are slower than normal as well. The funniest part of this puzzle (in retrospect—less funny mid-solve) was seeing 1A: World's tallest building and thinking "Oh, I just learned this! It was just in a clue for DUBAI! It's ... two words ... got a "Q" in it ..." I was half right. And a "Q" is *kinda* like a "J", so ... yeah. YEAH. This puzzle seems like it was made expressly for 1A. Nothing much else feels very special or flashy. Pretty standard. Middle is especially dull. I do like CAN'T HACK IT. Cringed at 24A: So-called "weekend pill" once I got the answer (CIALIS). Ew. I mean, use whatever drugs you need, god bless you, but "weekend pill"? ... who is "calling" it this? That's a euphemism that creeps me right out. "Boner pill" is preferable to me. At least it's honest and direct. Also ... never on weekdays? Really? Dishonest and/or sad.

So my first pass through the NW yielded virtually nothing. RASP and LIES (which I wasn't entirely sure of). My next answer shocked me—I got PG THIRTEEN with no crosses (12D; Like every Bond film since 1989). Just ... threw it down. And it fit? And was right? Hurray for good guessing (made up for that whole 1A fiasco). Moved thru the NE and then over to the NW and managed to get the latter into shape without too much trouble (though I spent far too long thinking what could possibly end "-ILOT") (ugh). Had hard time breaking open the bottom. Stupid mistake kept me stalled for too long—had ERA for EON, and so "Holy" SONNETS (which I will be teaching in about a month) were totally invisible to me (37D: "Holy" group in 17th-century literature). I had "Holy" SOA-something. Bah. Also, I thought 44A: Some partial appointments (CRONYISM) had to end in "S" (wrong) and so I had (ugh) SCAD at 48D: Whole bunch (MESS), which caused me to happily throw down QUE SERA SERA at 53A: "C'est la vie" while thinking "that's a great clue!" I was lucky enough to know that Sibelius was Finnish, so HELSINKI really helped get me into both the middle (which was oddly tough) and the SW (38A: Site of the Sibelius monument). Off that "H" I got CAN'T HACK IT, and the rest fell from there. Last letter = "L" in CIALIS/LAM.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Anonymous 12:08 AM  

IRON ETHICS, anyone?

Martin 12:16 AM  

Cialis is not called the weekend pill because it's only used on weekends, which would indeed be sad. Rather, it's distinguished from Viagra and Levitra in that its action lasts 36 hours. (Note "action" is allowing the user to rise to the occasion -- no "call the doctor for an erection lasting more than 36 hours" intended).

The long-lasting nature of the drug means one dose can last all weekend. At least that's what I'm told.

retired_chemist 12:24 AM  

Messed with the puzzle for about 15 minutes, realized almost NOTHING was in my wheelhouse, gave up, Googled, got a few answers once I had crosses, and eventually said the h**l with it when even my best Googling didn't get me the NE corner. It was not my day. I have not been so soundly defeated by a puzzle since my rookie year.

Martin 12:27 AM  


The nickname "Weekend Pill" has been around for a decade. I don't know if this reporter, whose name is one letter away from "Herpes," thought twice about penning this article.

jae 12:51 AM  

For me this was tough.  If I didn't know Riddick BOWE and hadn't seen KT OLSIN before in crosswords...DNF.  Which is to say I ignored the 1a answer when it showed up recently  in the clue that Rex mentioned and was subsequently discussed on the blog.  That'll teach me. 

Erasures: HBO formTMC, EXPounds for EXPOSITS, liSP RASP, urE for ILE, and TIme for TIDE. 

Liked this a lot. Very crunchy with a bit of zip.  I mean, in addition to CIALIS and CANT HACK IT, when is last time you saw a string like RJKH?

Questinia 1:11 AM  

Totally satisfying because of that NW corner.

The tallest building in the world seems to shift between a place in the mideast and projected or past places in the far east, so all the names have portmanteau-ed several times over in my head. Suspending a country singer, a computer operating system, a line from Shakespeare, an extinct photo-chain, a fighter, etc.. from an across that mutable and iffy made it the most challenging part of the puzzle to me . Superbly constructed because it was ultimately doable.

Vacillated between oPT and APT TO as my final fill, opting for APT.

EXPOSITS was preceded by EXpounds and Espouses.

A yummy brocade of words. Thank-you Mr. Lim!

Evan 1:58 AM  

Definitely tough. In retrospect I think this grid is pretty smooth. A TIDE, ILE, COOLIE, and YAGO are probably the worst entries -- the latter I've never, ever seen, even as a wine lover. I thought the 11- and 10-stacks were solid and appreciated being able to get all of BURJ KHALIFA from the crosses, though as @jae says, I could see that tripping up a lot of people who haven't heard of Riddick BOWE or KT OSLIN.

I only broke into each section by taking flyers on answers that happened to be good guesses -- threw in HELSINKI with no crosses because I knew Sibelius was Finnish, and that made the southwest corner fall in short order. After that, just nothing for a long time. I had MAJOR -----E and could not see LEAGUE at al. I had LAST R-----S too and wanted it to be RESORTS, but just couldn't quite accept it until I thought, screw it, put RESORTS down, see what happens. It worked out.

I didn't have as many write-overs today, but the ones I did have each took a while to resolve. EXPLAINS before EXPOUNDS before EXPOSITS, URE before ILE, and one of my first answers in the grid, QUE SERA SERA before AND SO IT GOES. I also made things tougher on myself by misreading the clue for 40-Across as [Castle's place, informally], so I completely left chess out of the equation to figure out some geographical location that might have a famous castle in it.

Anyone else strongly consider the Norah Jones song to be "Tell HER Mama"?

Steve J 2:11 AM  

Thought this was going to be remarkably easy as I started this. For whatever reason, I readily remember BURJ KHALIFA is the tallest building, so I dropped that in straight away, as well as PIC at 12A. Poked at the downs, and BOWE, UNIX and RASP fell into place immediately, as well as FOTOMAT (wish I could remember where I was in the last year or so where I saw one in a strip mall parking lot; it had been turned into a drive-up coffee shop).

The thoughts of this being easy disappeared after that, as I ground to a halt. Had HBO instead of TMC for a long time, could not remember KT OSLIN at all, thought of SUNNI but talked myself out of it. Lots of googling for me.

Didn't find much that really caught my attention in this one. Surprising lack of lively cluing (although 30A's clue for SEIKO was good). A couple bits of good fill - I liked ON AUTOPILOT and IMMACULATE - but overall it didn't feel remarkable to me. Not much that was bad, either (as long as I ignore YAGO). Just there.

John Child 2:31 AM  

Am i the only one who thinks the short stuff in the NE is dreadful? An abbreviation for a television show, described as a "staple"? TMS, whatever that is. (I can't even tell from Google.) TLC. YER. YEAH... Not!

I liked the rest of it, but was totally beat up in the NE.

Benko 2:31 AM  

very difficult puzzle, hardest one in a while for me. But I liked that about it. It's been too long since I hit the 10 minute mark (just barely, but still) on a non-Sunday.

Evan 2:42 AM  

@John Child:

TMS is Trademarks.

And while I don't necessarily care for GMA as an initialism, it at least refers to a show that has been a morning staple for a long time, so I don't mind the clue.

America Cronyism Majorleagues 3:03 AM  

@john child
TMS are for TradeMarks to thwart pirating.

Three wrong squares SUnnI because for radio i had bEamS and, like @jae had TImE. :(

Loved the challenge. Never heard of BURJ KHALIFA so I had to get EVERY letter of the downs, not one intuitive. 'specially the J.

Also WorDOfTruTH slowed me down...
And triviAL, nomINAL before MINIMAL was no trivial, nominal, MINIMAL

I'm sure COOLIE is nonPC. But other than that, IMMACULATE!

jae 3:27 AM  
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jae 3:29 AM  

@Andrea -- Had the same thought about COOLIE.

Should add sUmO for JUDO and @Rex Era for EON to my list of erasures.

And "HBO form" should be "HBO for" in my initial post. Missed the space bar on my iPad.

Danp 6:07 AM  
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The Bard 6:54 AM  

Julius Caesar , Act III, scene I

ANTONY: O mighty Caesar! dost thou lie so low?
Are all thy conquests, glories, triumphs, spoils,
Shrunk to this little measure? Fare thee well.
I know not, gentlemen, what you intend,
Who else must be let blood, who else is rank:
If I myself, there is no hour so fit
As Caesar's death hour, nor no instrument
Of half that worth as those your swords, made rich
With the most noble blood of all this world.
I do beseech ye, if you bear me hard,
Now, whilst your purpled hands do reek and smoke,
Fulfil your pleasure. Live a thousand years,
I shall not find myself so apt to die:
No place will please me so, no mean of death,
As here by Caesar, and by you cut off,
The choice and master spirits of this age.

Loren Muse Smith 7:01 AM  
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Loren Muse Smith 7:19 AM  

I saw Julian's name and briefly considered just going back to bed. I find his puzzles wicked hard, but today was different. Today was wicked impossible! I guessed YEAH and YER (never thought of "her," @Evan, but if I had, I would have gone with "her" instead." Sniffed around everywhere and put in "rout" for NORM and "hop" for LAM. Wanted "hbo" like everyone else, but I didn't put it in because it's Julian. Guessed right on EON and got PIC. Flirted with "Agean" for MAINE owing to my admirable prowess both at geography and spelling. Then I just was too impatient and angry – not at the puzzle, but at the fact the printer kept jamming and I had to solve on the computer Which. Is. Just. Not. How. I. Do. It. So in a big snit, I googled not; rather, I used Across Lite's easlily-accessible cheating system to see BURJ KHALIFA. Seriously? What a great entry. I agree with @jae – that RJKH run is something.

Utterly at sea, I actually put in "Urdu" for UNIX, telling myself it must have something to do with some kind of Pakistani export. But then I saw that was ridiculous, deleted it, and guessed UNIX. Got JUDO and LIES but unlike @jae had "ese" for ILE.
How cool that FOTOMAT shares a grid with Instagram's PIC!

Off the EE in WISDOM TEETH, I couldn't let go of some kind of "feet" as in foot-in-the-mouth. Just not my day today. MAJOR LEAGUE dnf, AND SO IT GOES. A MESS of LAST RESORTS with my HOMIE, that "reveal" button.

I found myself being jealous of those who fared much better:
@Questinia - "Superbly constructed because it was ultimately doable." I wish.
@Rex and @Evan - "I knew Sibelius was Finnish." Do what?
@Benko -"It's been too long since I hit the 10 minute mark…" I would cheer if I *ever* finished a Saturday in 10 minutes!

I'm grateful to @retired_chemist and @jae who found this one tough, too.

Very elegant grid, Julian. I just don't have the chops yet!

MetaRex 7:50 AM  

Nice puzzes yesterday and today.

I give the palm to today's, even though it took me nearly twice as long to solve. Resisted Google and finally CAST ANCHOR in the CORNER corner.

Fine as yesterday's was, the combo of POVERTY ROW, WARSAW PACT, RETIREMENT, EAST ORANGE (a place near me that has seen better days and I hope will again), TREE GUARDS, and REGULATING gave me a gray-on-gray vibe.

I like the Bond clue a lot for today's, much as I failed to see the answer for many minutes...WIDE SCREEN was my initial guess. The Bond allusion sets up a pleasant "007 traveling around the world" implicit theme w/ PG-THIRTEEN plus BURJ KHALIFA plus CAST ANCHOR plus ON AUTOPILOT plus ISOMETRICS (associated in my mind w/ the Sean Connery early 60s) plus LAST RESORTS plus ASIAN plus SUNNI plus CIALIS...

Also like today's bizarro stack of HELSINKI EATS INTO CRANIA and the matching grumpy stack of OLD-HAT AMERICA STATE-RUN.

Carola 8:35 AM  

This one really hit the spot - the sweet sequence of despair followed by slender rays of hope and then a triumphant march....wait, not that last part....actually, crawling one-by-one through the final squares.

At 1A, I thought "BURJ-something," but, like Questinia, I wasn't sure which Mid- or Far East tower is now tallest, so went on to PIC crossing Posthumous (instead of PGTHIRTEEN). That didn't work out so well, so moving on again....

Thankfully, HELSINKI and CRANIA let me guess SANTA ANA (not only a wind, also a river!), and I ATE INTO the rest of the white space from there.

Eventually I had to face the BURJ again. Thought it was "BURJ al-" something, so that slowed me down. Finally erased EXPOundS, got the Anthonly quote and finished from there.

Glimmerglass 9:24 AM  

@Carola. My experience exactly. My crawling took almost two hours (along with breakfast and GMA), which is about as long as I've ever spent on a successful solve. I liked the challenge. I've no complaints about the Saturday cluing, though EXPOSITS is an ugly backformation. BURJKHALIFA was just letters to me -- I knew it is in Dubai, so the KHALIF part at least seemed reasonable.

Paul Keller 9:48 AM  

Spent an hour and a quarter to finish with three letters wrong, which I call a good Saturday.

One nitpick: I have never heard someone decribed as a pirate for infringing another's trademark. I think that appilation implies someone who violates copyrights, possibly patents. Would anyone say McDowel's pirates the name McDonald's?

DavidS 10:06 AM  

Took me awhile (just under 45 mins), but finished, and without googling or outside help!

Was only able to put in a few answers ONAUTOPILOT: UNIX, PIC, ANDSOITGOES (thanks Kurt Vonnegut!), and TSR. The rest came ever-so-slowly.

Erasures (or whatever the online app equivalent is): MASS for MESS, HBO for TMC, and forgetting how to spell BURJKHALIFA, even though we saw it here so recently.

Quibbles: Really, the clue for ASIAN is "like SEIKO"?? You know what else are ASIAN? A solid majority of the world's population and manufactured goods. The distinguishing feature of a watch is not its continent of origin.

What is an AIRCLEANER? Is that like an air filter? Or some sort of atmospheric maid? Awkward.

Belfast, per the Wiki, is a city of under 7,000 in MAINE. Hard to see how this cluing is fair, or the answer gettable, unless you're some kind of MAINE obsessive.

Still and all, fun to have a challenge! There wasn't anything imho that wasn't solvable at a Saturday level.

r.alphbunker 10:19 AM  

Tough puzzle.

False negative; Wrote in CANHACKIT from KIT but pulled it because none of the acrosses yielded any answers.

False positives:
{Brand on a face} was either timex or rolex so mentally put in ex.
Not be smooth-talking was liSP

The false positives slowed me down a lot more than the false negative did.

Googled the world's tallest building instead of goggling at it. When I googled "goggle at", google showed me results for "google at" first and provided a link to "goggle at" as an after thought.

Loren Muse Smith 10:36 AM  

Another sparkler today by our beloved Dynamic Duo from yesterday. Tough, tough excellent puzzle.


dk 10:41 AM  

My 7am staple is joe, java or mud not some lame ass newstainment show. Come to think of it I need more caffine. But before i go the NE was not 13d IMHO.

*** (3 stars) also had java for UNIX... Nice puzzle

joho 10:56 AM  

Big time DNF!

I thought I remembered BURJJKHALIFA, but obviously not as I had hOWE. It's weird because other than that mistake I got the NW no problem. It was entire *rest* of the puzzle that ate me up!

I thought the cluing was brutal, I don't know who to blame, Julian or Will. You know who you are!

There were lots of Hail Marys for me on thIS one and NONE of them worked!

In the end I guess I just have to admit: I CANTHACKIT!

Unknown 11:11 AM  

Exact same thought process as Rex wrt BURJKHALIFA. Thought the write-up was especially entertaining today.

Puzzle was really challenging in some places, really easy in others. Loved CANTHACKIT and most of the other 10s and 11s. Don't know why my fingers knew to type in KTOSLIN but they did, as if on AUTOPILOT.

jberg 11:19 AM  

Really challenging for me -- surprised I finished. Multiple writeovers in the middle -- thought radios were an example of mEdia, 30A started out as attic, then when I had SEIKO and SUNNI, I reasoned that it would be SUnny (I liked the SUNNI/SUnny crossing, some wouldn't), then when AMERICA finally made me see FOTOMATS (I'd been seriously thinking maybe there were FOTO innS in some obscure part of the country), I thought the top floor might be where the SUITs hung out. I actually had to get BURJ KHALIFA, and then ATHLETE, to see SUITE.

I was further troubled by drop ANCHOR, which gave me a VID to post on Instagram, and by the near-universal, it seems, EXPOundS. I didn't think EXPOSIT was a word, but it's in my dictionary, so I guess it's legit.

My real shame, though, was that I looked at v_ THIRTEEN for maybe 15 minutes without getting it. Only when I gave up and went off to fry an egg, my breakfast staple, did it pop into my head.

@Carola -- you knew it was "BURJ something?" I'm impressed - does BURJ mean something building-related? I almost wrote in 'tower' as the last five letters, but restrained myself, fortunately.

So a struggle, but I agree, an enjoyable one.

Ray J 11:24 AM  

Nearly two hours for me. Knew BOWE, guessed right for UNIX and RASP, put in _U_O for either JUDO or sUmO and then saw ON AUTOPILOT. Much hesitation as I finished this puzzle with the K and L in KT OSLIN, which is not familiar to me at all. And for all I knew Mr. Fender could have been called nEO or some such, so I was delighted to see the happy pencil show up. Wondered if KT might be the short form of Katie, as in Wednesday’s puzzle. Nope, it’s Kay Toinette.

I got lucky guessing right for AND SO IT GOES off just the D from JDS. Spent a lot of time trying to come up with something to do with dentures for 44A, “Some partial appointments.”

@Carola, your first sentence really sums it up for me. Perfectly stated.

Benko 11:27 AM  

Rereading my comment from last night, it sounds like braggadocio. But I was thinking abou Amy's time on her blog and how it was four minutes faster than mine.
I really did enjoy the challenge of the puzzle. I think it would have been much easier if I had known the name BURJ KHALIFA instead of just "that building in Dubai". Thankfully Riddick BOWE I remember well from his two matches against Andrew Golota in the mid 90s, one of which caused a riot when Golota got DQed for hitting BOWE below the belt.

quilter1 11:36 AM  

Just couldn't make a dent in this one. Too much I did not know. Sigh.

Sandy K 11:37 AM  

It was going in slowly, but
nicely...but MESSed up on the tallest building.

I got the KHALIFA part, but like @joho, for some reason had hOWE. Why I forgot about Riddick BOWE and ended with a big ERROR like hagJ KHALIFA? - still slapping my CRANIum.


My captcha- scondom- get the CIALIS...

I think Linda Ellerbee's signature sign-off was AND SO IT GOES...

Mohair Sam 12:13 PM  

Wonderfully brutal puzzle from Julian Lim. We got a DNF after two hours of battle because we never heard of KTOSLIN or her/his song. We had correctly filled every other letter in BURJKHALIFA (I saw a documentary on the building of it last year and could not remember one letter of its name) but guessed wrong on the K.

Lots of enjoyable aha moments in this one. Was really tough because I thought LDS would do for the Obama's although I knew I was an L short - cost us ton of time down there.

With @Rex all the way on the CIALIS clue. Weekend pill? Nah, let's call a spade a spade.

And who was the late night newsman years ago with Linda Ellerby who would end most of his stories with "ANDSOITGOES"?

Blackeyedsusan 12:15 PM  

My new year's resolution was to do the Times puzzle every day, not just Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, maybe Wednesday, take a pass at Thursday and give up. So far so good, thanks to my good luck in finding this blog. I have learned so much about puzzles and solving from all of you. Plus I am endlessly amused by the byplay. So thanks for a good time every day.
My favorite puzzles are the ones with the clever cluing and not a lot of proper names and places. They seem more elegant to me. Today's was not one of those. Just too many things I have never heard of, And not good enough to "get them from the crossings" as so many of you do.
But I love the aha moments when an answer clicks in. That's the fun of being a newbie.

r.alphbunker 12:21 PM  


Experienced solvers still get the ahas but like with any addiction you need more to get them :-)

joho 12:23 PM  

What a great post, @Blackeyedsusan!
Stick around and pretty soon you'll be finishing Saturdays!

Norm 12:37 PM  

@ Mohair Sam: Lloyd Dobyns (sp?)

@ Paul Keller: Trademark piracy is not as common as term as software/copyright piracy, but it's a real thing and the clue here was acceptable.

Norm 12:44 PM  

@jberg: Google says "burj" = "tower"

Steve J 12:46 PM  

@Paul Keller: I had the same thought initially as you regarding piracy and trademarks. Piracy usually references unauthorized copying and distribution of copyrighted material, and of course copyrights and trademarks are not synonymous.

But thinking about it for a moment - and looking some things up - trademark piracy does occur, too. Personally, it seems like the term "counterfeiting" is more frequently used in this context, to describe things such as selling knockoff Gucci handbags on street corners in New York and LA, but that could be considered trademark piracy. And there are cases where it goes beyond that, to the point that there have been reports of entire fake Apple stores in China. Using a company's trademark in that fashion could indeed be considered a version of piracy (other methods I've seen include slapping a company's trademark on goods it didn't make and selling them as authentic, and using a company's trademark to imply endorsement that never occurred).

So, not the common usage, but I think the clue is Saturday-fair. (Also, doing a quick google, "trademark piracy" indeed is an established and well-used term in the right circles.)

August West 12:56 PM  

A worthy opponent, this. Like @Steve J, I thought I was off to the races starting out in the NW. BOWE - boom (His fights with Holyfield were classic!). Sheesh, we just had ____ Khalifa (world's tallest building) earlier in the week.

Really want to hate TMS, but it's so deceptively clued, I just can't. Couldn't get SONNETS, which, coupled with its cross of CRONYISM, led to the panicked application of Air Brakes! Was finally able to parse them out with the help of enough stuff girding and crossing to make them the only possible correct answers.

Could someone please explain the relevance of "partial" in the cronyism clue? That word really hung me up, as I hyper-focussed upon its potential poignance and now think it was unnecessary. Wouldn't "Some appointments" have been perfectly apt?

I thought the triple 10's and 11's were all well enough played and eminently gettable; nice job considering the construction complexity of this baby. I fought with it like you fight with a marlin, but ultimately prevailed in significantly much more time than any Saturday in recent memory.

Go Irish!

r.alphbunker 1:06 PM  

@August West

"partial" in the sense that you are partial to something if you favor it.

@Steve J
I really wanted DRM (digital rights management) for the piracy deterrent.

August West 1:16 PM  

@r.alph: "I coulda had a V-8" forehead slap! Embarrassed. D'oh!


Mohair Sam 1:33 PM  

@Norm - Lloyd Dobyns! Thank you - 30 years since that show. Wow!

Acme 1:44 PM  

Don't feel bad, I tried srilaNKa and even treblINKa (a concentration camp!) before vaguely remembering Sibelius was a composer...and just discussing HELSINKI earlier in the day!

So you Malapopped on URDU (or was that yesterday?)

Surprised no fellow harrumphing on COOLIE from someone named Lim, no less. Doesn't reach Shylock proportions, but still!

Had one of those accidental put in a way wrong answer but it helps anyway. When I tried to cram in Word(s)of TruTH for WISDOMTEETH off the TH it gave me the much needed W for BOWE... Even tho it was an accidental W. love when that happens, esp since getting BURJKHALIFA was like pulling TEETH.
Did we really have BURJ earlier this week?! In the NYT? Totally missed that. And does it mean "building"?

Acme 1:49 PM  

Ok, ii looked it up. BURJ means "tower"...
But @August west
BURJ. Is not listed in the database, or not yet in any case, so I'm not sure it was in an earlier week NYT puzzle.

dick S 1:55 PM  

No autopilot this Saturady.This puzzle was like having your wisdom teeth pulled. google was my anaesthesia of last resort.

And so it goes.

August West 2:14 PM  
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August West 2:18 PM  

Hi acme. You're right. I incorrectly recalled the wording of the clue and answer in my op. It was on Sept. 1, but read: "Burj Khalifa locale/DUBAI." But that sent me to find out just wtf this Burj Khalifa thing was, so I learned today's answer within the week. So, at least I haven't totally lost my mind :)

2:14 PM

Carola 2:19 PM  

@jberg - I've been following the history of development in Dubai with some interest for a while, so I was a little mad at myself that I hadn't been paying enough attention to know what came after "BURJ."

@August West and @acme - Last Sunday's puzzle had "Burj Khalifa locale" as a clue for DUBAI.

Carola 2:20 PM  

@August West - Jinx! :)

August West 2:22 PM  

I'm in first. Owe me a Coke.

acme 2:29 PM  

Mystery solved... I had jetlag and didn't do last Sunday's puzzle.

Anonymous 2:41 PM  

Loved BURJ KHALIFA. Easiest 1A clue in modern memory; great 11-letter entry.

August West 2:45 PM  

Never miss a Sunday, even if I do it at some window later along the week. It a family homage. My love of crosswords definitely spawns of my maternal grandfather, whom I'd watch do the Sunday in ink as he commandeered our family room TV in the summertime to root on Jack Nicklaus. As I moved into late adolescence I did as many NYTX as I could get my hands on, hoping that I, too, might someday have the confidence to sit down the the SUNDAY TIMES CROSSWORD PUZZLE and do it in INK! I soon realized that: 1) I could hang with Mon-Wed; 2) Fri-Sat were things never to be considered, but; 3) I could do pretty well with a Sunday if I just perservered. I fondly remember my first full solve, in about 2 hours and 45 minutes. Now, these decades later, I don't view the Sunday as I once did, of course, but I am also so grateful that I stuck with it to the point that Fri-Sat have long been my most anticipated challenges of the week

Anonymous 3:05 PM  

Little harder than usual. Put in HOMEYS for HOMIES, then couldn't figure out APTTO forever. When you know something is wrong, it's usually not the clue you're actually having trouble with. I hate when I forget that.

Mette 3:41 PM  

Had slew for 48D, which made the Hail Mary some kind of throw. Finally strightened out that MESS. Texture gave me a cruise at a fast trOT topped by BURq, so I flirted with throwing a qfit. My watch was Swiss, weekend pill was a downer (insert "upper" joke here) and I thought Sibelius was Polish. At the 2 hour mark, gave up and Googled. Demonic cluing.

mathguy 3:46 PM  

Very tough for me. Only two gimmes. Ten words I didn't know forcing me to get a lot of crossing entries. Needed to Google LEO Fender to get BURJKHALIFA. I thought that 34A and 44D were bad clues. On the other hand, I liked 28A, 44A, 11D, and 30D quite a bit.

Lewis 3:59 PM  

@loren -- great post!

I loved all the long answers, except for AIRCLEANER. As someone mentioned earlier, air filter, to me, is the common term. Except for GMA, I thought the three letter answers were tough. I needed to Google some to solve -- too much I didn't know and couldn't get much of a foothold.

I am grateful for toughies like this that keep me humble!

Davis 5:01 PM  

Surprising Saturday experience for me: on the Magmic app I can usually finish top 2-5% M-W, with a drop down to maybe top 30-40% on Saturday. But I beat the snot out of this Saturday puzzle, finishing only a minute off of Rex. But my excitement at the good time makes it hard to tell if that's coloring my sense that I really liked this puzzle.

Dropped in UNIX immediately. I *almost* knew BURJ KHALIFA off the bat: I knew it started BURJ, but needed a cross or two to pull KHALIFA from my brain. From there much of the NW came together, except that KT SOLIN was my last entry to get (had to guess the L, but LEO narrowed the field).

I read Vonnegut's biography (highly recommended) not long ago, and I think that helped me drop AND SO IT GOES into the grid pretty quickly as well.

A bit surprised to see CIALIS go in as clued--that seems more like an American Values Club clue.

Anonymous 5:13 PM  

Am I the only person that thought the largest river of southern California (33 down) is the COLORADO?

ANON B 5:37 PM  

Retired Chemist@12:24AM

I too am a retired chemist and
I agree with your comment. Even
when I saw the answers it was not
my idea of an enjoying puzzle.
The relationship between the clues and the answers was far out, to say
the least.
Example:Some partial appointments=
cronyism. It's bad enough that partial can also mean "in part",
but even if I knew that it meant
biased or slanted, ,it was still
too tough. Clever, yes, but ugh!

Anonymous 5:44 PM  

The British have used 'something for the weekend' as a euphemism for condom since at least 1972, when it was used in that sense in a Monty Python sketch (as I had the pleasure of pointing out to the folks at the OED, whose previous earliest citation was from 1990).

Greg 5:44 PM  

Did it!, still sweating. Was first convinced "partial appointment" had to be "dentist". Then, tried to remember when Connery stopped being Bond, so I could enter, "nonconnery".

ANON B 5:49 PM  

And, if that weren't bad enough, the Capcha or whatever it's called,
was too tough. Can't they be made simpler and still allow it to
distinguish between a computer and a person, if that's what it's for?

Dirigonzo 6:32 PM  

I haven't finished the puzzle yet (it's going to take a while, it seems) and haven't read Rex or the comments but I just had to drop in to say that I was born and raised in Belfast, MAINE and I never, ever expected it to show up in a NYT crossword puzzle. I can hardly wait to see what you all had to say about it.

michael 6:51 PM  

I finished it, but the nw sure was a struggle. Didn't know the tallest building and stuck with "expounds" too long (and still don't much like exposits). Fortunately, I've heard of Bowe and KT Oslin. Also had automats instead of fotomats for a while.

r.alphbunker 7:53 PM  

I asked a Iraqi friend what Burj Khalifa means and he replied "It translates to Khalifa tower. Khalifa here I think is the name of the Prince of Dubai (and leader of the country). The name on the other hand "Khalifa" means "One who succeeds" normally after a leader or important person."

Bob Kerfuffle 9:18 PM  

Did this one at the beach today. Challenging, indeed, but finally got everything into order.

Look for a bleed-over into tomorrow's puzzle. Who would expect BURJ KHALIFA to appear two days in a row? (Someone whose expectations are doomed to disappointment.)

Gentle reminder to all commenters: It is a no-no to mention clues or answers from any day's puzzle except the one of the day. Even silly, trivial remarks like mine immediately above! People do puzzles at different times for different reasons, and it can be quite dxeflating to have answers given away on the wrong day.

Bizarro Saturday? 10:21 PM  

i have only finished 2 saturdays ever with no errors, and the other was a patrick berry probably a year ago. i did this today sitting by the pool and was sure that it would be rated "extremely easy". i have no idea what the pros are talking about calling this difficult. shows you what i know about crosswords.

the only thing that gave me pause was the PG after putting PIC and GMA, both of which had to be right (even though i have not used instagram nor watched gma).

OISK 10:56 PM  

When I fail to finish, (about 10 puzzles per year) it is almost always due either to a pop culture clue (last Sunday) or my own carelessness. Since I never heard of KT Oslin, and didn't know the name of the building, I missed the "k". I think it is a bad cross, since if one doesn't know the Oslin, the "K" can logically be any letter at all in the alphabet. Boo. But then I noticed that I had "boat anchor" instead of "cast anchor" and never changed it even after getting the "GM" of GMA!" So I'll blame pop culture for one error, (and a bad construction in my opinion) and senility for the other. Overall, puzzle rates a "B" from me.

Dude; the worlds tallest building? 11:18 PM  

i have failed on fridays because i didnt know the name of an obscure opera character or because i have never read any shakespeare or learned hebrew or read the bible. if you are finishing saturdays then knowing the tallest bldg in the world is not a stretch, given how much it has been discussed in the NYT. i wasnt sure how to spell it, but it came together. all 7 letters of the country singer came from crosses, and i still have no idea who he/she is/was.

this was one of my favorite saturdays ever - partly because, did i mention... that i finished it without any errors.

LaneB 11:56 PM  

Worked forever on this one and had excruciatingly slow success until I got to the NE corner. Filled in OLDHAT, AMERICA and STATERUN and guessed, but did not pen in, YEAH and CORNER but hadn't the wit to complete PGTHIRTEEN. THat was it. PIC, GMA, TMS and TLC could have been anything and the proliferate use of abbreviations both defeated and irritated me. I thought that the " rules" of construction sought to limit such stuff. Oh we'll.

I'm sensitive to construction matters having been rejected on three submissions to Shortz and his minions. Justifiably certainly, but I did feel my last one was not bad (at least in comparison to a number of themed and theme less that have been published recently.). However, it failed for the stated reason that " it did not excite Will." Fair enough, but perhaps standards of excitation should be set forth somewhere. I'll keep plugging away, not because I expect acceptance but because it's fun and challenging.

Dirigonzo 2:46 PM  

An additional hour or so on Sunday helped me reduce the grid to two empty squares - I knew neither the boxer nor the country singer so the world's tallest building lacked a couple of stories.

I spent a few minutes trying to remember the word for appointing one's family members to positions (nepotism) only to have to take it out in favor of cronyism - our current Governor practices both.

I'm still totally amazed that my home town made the puzzle - it's surely much more obscure than Natick! I guess being in the clue instead of the grid makes it less objectionable. Belfast, MAINE, has changed a lot since I grew up there-you can read a little essay I wrote on the topic here, if you have a few minutes to kill and less than nothing to do with them.

Dirigonzo 8:27 PM  

I just finished (well, almost) today's syndicated Sunday puzzle. If only I had seen this earlier I might have had a shot at knowing the world's tallest building. (70a - Burj Khalifa locale > DUBAI)

Z 12:13 AM  

I've been gone all weekend, so just got to Saturday's puzzle. 51 minutes, so I was pretty pleased to see how many of you struggled so much. BURJ KHALIFA was just a subject of discussion in the blog, so a big fat gimme to start. Had to fix EXPOundS, and had forgotten BOWE, but it came together. The other three regions all took a little work, with the SE taking the longest. Was mildly surprised that I got the congratulations message after finishing CRONYISM. A little surprised that COOLIE made the puzzle and I've never heard of YAGO Sant'Gria, so thought I was missing something somewhere.

Z 12:14 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Burjked 4:12 PM  

This comment has been left the following Tuesday by the author.

Day-um. Finally finished this sucker. At long last, Mr. Eraserless Pencil has entered the building.


spacecraft 1:18 PM  

DNF. Come on, MAINE???? What, that thriving metropolis, and not the Northern Ireland capital on the LAGAN? YEAH, give us an obscure hamlet that happens to be named after a MUCH larger and more important city. That's fair. Not.

And what in the WORLD does that clue for CRONYISM evem mean? "Partial appointments??" Is that like being slightly pregnant? I mean, is it an appointment or isn't it? I've never seen a more nonsensical clue. No HOPE of coming up with anything off that.

All this was compounded by a fatal error in misinterpreting "Radios, e.g."; not knowing the Christie title and starting with ATI__ I guessed ATImE, leaving me with amfmS for 33a. Could have Binged the CA river, but by that time it was over. Cluing for the weekend is supposed to be tough, but this was beyond the pale.

Anonymous 2:08 PM  

From Syndication Land


To be partial to, is to show favoritism to. Therefore cronyism would be a "partial" appointment.

Waxy in Montreal 6:36 PM  

Aha, so Belfast, MAINE is clearly a shoutout to syndidom's own @Diri. Who else knew but Julian Lim?

Evolved most of BURJAKHALIFA from its crosses but not knowing KTOSLIN natticked the NW CORNER. The NE was much worse with its series of obscure abbreviations. So apparently they now force you to endure The Learning Channel (TLC) as a spa treatment, do they? Possibly as a 7 a.m. staple.

Thought the southern half of the grid was MAJORLEAGUE, especially the SE.

rain forest 6:47 PM  

12 minutes?! Come on!

I almost gave up on this one twice, and 3 sittings finally yielded it up.

It was just...tough. Very tough.

CRONYISM was so hard to see for the longest time, but once I saw it, I realized what a good clue that is. Didn't like COOLIE, and it took me many nanoseconds (hah!) to come up with something that ends with ---GOES. But, in the end, I got it. SWEET.

Dirigonzo 8:21 PM  

@Waxy - who else knew, indeed. Apparently not many (not surprisingly) judging by the comments, which @spacecraft summed up nicely. It did generate a few hits on my blog post about Belfast, Maine though, and that's always welcome.

Solving in Seattle 1:15 AM  

I'm very late because I thought I posted from my iphone while at the movies this afternoon. Didn't work. I spoke with Julian Lim and he told me he had originally clued MAINE as Belfast where Dirigonzo was raised, but Will Shortz nixed that because it would have been too easy.

HOMIE is a term that originated in prisons where two inmates from the same town would call each other "home boy." From that, "sup, homie."

Good sat puz. COOLIE doesn't bother me.

Dirigonzo 9:13 AM  

@SiS - That clue would only have been a gimme for syndi-solvers; prime-timers would still have struggled. It was good of Will to be so considerate of us though.

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