Ahh sloganeer / SAT 10-19-13 / 1980 new wave classic / 1996 hybrid animation/live-action film / Lewis loser to Zachary Taylor in 1848 / Rhode Island specialty cuisine / Rhyme for drool in Dean Martin classic / Female novelist whose real first name was Howard / Former Australian prime minister Rudd / Biographer biographized in Poison Pen / Supposed sighting of coast of Norway

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Constructor: Peter Wentz

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none

Word of the Day: Raymond MASSEY (14D: Raymond who played Abraham Lincoln) —
Raymond Hart Massey (August 30, 1896 – July 29, 1983) was a Canadian/American actor. [...] 
Massey scored a great triumph on Broadway in Robert E. Sherwood's play Abe Lincoln in Illinois, and he repeated his role in the 1940 film version (for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor). Massey again portrayed Lincoln in The Day Lincoln Was Shot on Ford Star Jubilee (1956), and, in a wordless appearance this time, in How the West Was Won (1962). A fellow actor is said to have remarked that Massey wouldn't be satisfied with his Lincoln impersonation until someone assassinated him. (wikipedia)
• • •

"I LUV It"! (5D: "___ It" (2006 Young Jeezy single)

Nice, toughish puzzle—clean, fresh, and with hardly a clunker or true obscurity in sight (exception: CASS!? (10D: Lewis ___, loser to Zachary Taylor in 1848); Yikes—really need to brush up on my presidential also-rans, apparently). Even though Mr. Wentz is younger than I am, I tend to be on his level, (pop) culture-wise, and today was no exception. He just handed me "WHIP IT" (1A: 1980 New Wave classic), "SPACE JAM" (7A: 1996 hybrid animation/live-action film), JAR-JAR (39D: Sci-fi's ___ Binks), HAMELS (15A: Cole ___, 2008 World Series M.V.P.), and "TAKE ON ME" (38A: 1985 #1 whose video won six MTV Video Music Awards). I remember being mesmerized by that video in 1985, watching it over and over while on vacation at my aunt and uncle's house in Bellevue, WA (vacation being the one time we could watch MTV with virtual impunity, my parents having gone through a brief but memorable phase of imagining that the network was warping my ... uh, moral sensibilities or something? ... who can say? They were not really the censorious types, but one partially seen Boomtown Rats video with a snake on a naked lady, and all of a sudden it's all Moral Majority up in my house ... never mind that the "naked lady" was actually Bob Geldof ... wait, where was I?).

Even though UNDER GOD and FAZOOL are, technically, partials, I *really* like that SE corner. It's sassy and lovely and GORGEous (yes, I just did that). Absolutely love the abutting full-named senators in the NE (12D: 1995-2013 senator from Arizona / 13D: 1985-93 senator from Tennessee). Had a little bit of trouble with the end of "WHAT'S UP, G?" Shouldn't that be "WHAT UP, G?" Sounds better that way. More authentic. And who better to speak to the authenticity of urban slang than me!? No one, that's who.

Hardest part of this puzzle for me was the SW, where, for a bit, I had only COLECO (42D: First marketer of Cabbage Patch Kids). Then I saw the JAR-JAR clue and quickly got the front ends of all the longer Acrosses, and *still* couldn't make headway. JOE...? ANN...? RES...? Also, crossing-wise, TAX...? Damn French clue was killing me (48D: ___ concours (unrivaled: Fr.) = HORS). So was the cross-referencing of clues within this tiny patch that I didn't have (EXIT / REST STOP). Man I hate when cross-referenced clues are on top of each other. "Hate" is too strong. It's just that if they happen to fall in a patch you're struggling with, it's maddening. You *can't* refer to the other clue because it's In The Same Damned Empty Area. Anyway, I just guessed ANNE RICE and then *finally* JOE BOXER came to me (should Not have taken so long), and everything fell into place. Except for a typo I had in the SE, which I had to hunt down (PAZOOL? Brain must've tried to fit PASTA in there).

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Vito Spatafore 12:06 AM  

My favorite JOHNNY CAKES is from New Hampshire.

Just sayin'.

August West 12:12 AM  

Rex, I literally laughed out loud at your Boomtown Rats reminiscences. "...and all of a sudden it's all Moral Majority up in my house..." That's good stuff.

Speaking of good stuff, what an entertaining, fun, clean, snappy puzzle. That's the way ya do it, G.

A. N. Roquelaure 12:16 AM  

I'm gonna flog that b*tch who gave me that awful name.

Steve J 12:16 AM  


Felt like Friday's and Saturday's puzzles were switched. This was much easier than yesterday's (even if I DNF both). And I found this one more enjoyable. Liked the side-by-side full-name senators as well, liked reminiscing about some loved junior high/high school songs (WHIP IT and TAKE ON ME), liked the two car-related clues (20A and 33D), liked that there wasn't a whole lot of WTF when I finished this off.

Unfortunately, two of the three WTF answers (the other being UDE) were in the SE, where I ground to a halt. FAZOOL? ATODDS? Never have run across either. And who would have thought one could get an MFA from a tech school?

SW was also tough for me, as I had QUIT for EXIT (I'd have to boot up my work computer to remind myself if that's the typical term in Windows - which would take me eons, what with it being Windows - but in Macworld, where I live most of the time, you end programs with QUIT) and SANS for HORS. Had to erase those to finally make some headway. Was also helped when I just guessed at JOHNNY CAKES (of which I have no idea regarding what they are).

Good Saturday, even with those slipups.

MaharajaMack 12:45 AM  

"When an eel bites your thigh and you think you will die that's...a moray..."

JFC 1:35 AM  

Similar to yesterday but less edgy....


Davis 2:05 AM  

That's funny--I'm a bit younger than you, Rex, but I had the same MTV experience with my mom. One day I was allowed to watch all I like, the next day mom decides it's off limits. I never did find out what video set her off.

Coincidentally, one of the front-page Sporcle word ladders the other day was an homage to Zachary Taylor, and CASS showed up there--he was apparently Taylor's rival for the nomination in the previous election.

jae 4:17 AM  

Fantastic Fri.  Tough for me mostly because I went astray in several places (and maybe because I'm on a weekend vacation and am not completely sober)...EdIT for EXIT, Dre for DMX, perks for HELPS, Rpi for RIT, and dEVIN for KEVIN (hey, I was experimenting).  In that same vein I briefly had BiDen for BOXER for no reason other than I was getting tired of looking at blank squares. 

Liked this a lot.  Mucho zip...JARJAR, FAZOOL, WHATSUP G to list 3...and it made me work but unlike yesterday no guesses were needed.

And, I'm the proud parent of an Xer and my bride and I never censored any of her TV.  Not so sure what I'd do with social media today.  I do know my daughter keeps pretty close tabs on my grandkids.  Apparently some evil maybe lurking out there. 

mathguy 5:00 AM  

@MaharajaMack: Loved the parody.

Quite a learning experience for me. Fifteen entries I didn't know. Does WHATSUPG come up in rap? Happy to have solved it without any lookups.

Ampsup Coleco Magnums 5:14 AM  

Still my fave late week constructor!

But three, wait FOUR wrong squares...
bAZOOL (once i saw FAZOOL sort of rang bell)

And fiRE for PYRE giving me fLANO. Dumb. But I had fLiNt (Michigan)...
And I didn't know JONKYL or if that was full name or a variation of jonquill. But now that sounds right, too, JON KYL.

LOVED it but struggled all the way thru...Wassssup.

Gonna get all Jewish again for a moment.
SCHMUTZ is not slang...it's Yiddish.

I don't know what KRAKEN is...and my biggest hang up was I had Oaks for symbols of strength for much too long.

Just for fun I'm gonna add up the Scrabbly letters.
J count: 3
X count :3
K count: 5
Z count: 2
v count: 3
Q count:0 :(

MMMMGOOD! Thanks, Peter Wentz!

Danp 5:27 AM  

Rhode Island has a cuisine? Who know?

GILL I. 7:00 AM  

My least favorite kind of puzzle. Way too much pop culture and far too many proper names.
I can't stand Trivial Pursuit...
Oh, and what in the world does the G stand for in WHATSUP?

Anonymous 7:04 AM  

G stands for Gangsta I believe. And this puzzle was not a puzzle at all but rather Jeopardy! in a box, a trivia fest.

Rex made me laugh with his parents all up in his house. LOL

Carola 7:12 AM  

Tough for me, 'KOS there were so many things in the "no idea" category: WHIP IT, SPACE JAM, CASS, KEVIN, TRUTV, COLECO, TAKE ON ME, FAZOOL. It seemed quite name- and title-heavy to me - I counted 25. Nice grid to admire when finished, but working on it bordered on SADO-....

Milford 8:13 AM  

Solvable Saturday, so I'm happy. My parents could be very strict but for some reason didn't mind us watching MTV non-stop during the WHIP IT and TAKE ON ME years. Of course, that was before the reality shows started and the videos were much tamer.

Had many write-overs, as per usual: mccain before JON KYL, sans before HORS, orange for Simpson hair before POINTY, Rpi before RIT. And I had WHAsS UP, G first, trying to be extra cool with the kids.

As soon as I saw 1A I knew we were going to have unhappy folks here. I just know that the stuff in this puzzle is stuff that lives my brain, for whatever reason. And I love all the Ks, especially for (release the) KRAKEN!

Favorite area, hands down, was UNDER GOD, MM MM GOOD, SEX SELLS.

Great puzzle, thank you Peter!

Z 8:23 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Z 8:25 AM  

Lewis CASS has a street named after him in Detroit and was once governor, so of course, I knew him right away.

Three reasons this was better than yesterday, quantity of proper nouns is a little less, word count is a little up, it is Saturday.

DNF because of PLANO/KYL/KELLEY pile up. If PYRE had occurred to me I might have sussed that out. I had JONKob, KITTY KErbEY, and orANO. OORE could be some mythical setting, couldn't it?

EXITS? Every computer I've ever owned has "quit" as the last File Menu item. This made 56A really hard to see. Had 75% of the letters before window opened.

Z 8:27 AM  

And by, "I knew him right away," I mean it took all four crosses.

Milford 8:36 AM  

@Z - didn't know that it was that CASS. And my sister lives a block off CASS Ave. Good to know, I should probably put this I my brain with the other stuff.

Smitty 8:44 AM  

When you swim past a rock and get electric shock that's a moray

WA 8:55 AM  

Did this puzzle first appear in the back of Vibe magazine? What is next week TV Guide?

Sir Hillary 9:11 AM  

Really enjoyed this one. All four corners are beauties. "Soup line" is a great clue. Took me a long time to parse ATODDS even after it was filled in.

Will definitely got his Fri/Sat mixed up this week. Like yesterday, I learned some things today (e.g., mythical sea beasts and where JOHNNYCAKES are from). Unlike yesterday, I finished today.

chefbea 9:15 AM  

Too many names I didn't know. too tuff for me. Didn't understand the G at the end of whats up. DNF

Samantha 9:48 AM  

Lewis CASS is mentioned in the They Might Be Giants song "James K. Polk." Got it on crosses, but recognized him after that.

Steve J 10:07 AM  

Duh, it wasn't ATODDS, it was AT ODDS (thanks, @Sir Hillary). I feel dumb.

Interesting reading my contemporaries' MTV experience. My parents were going through their ill-advised (and, thankfully, since-dropped) super-conservative religious phase, so pop music as a whole - let alone videos on MTV - was off limits. We didn't have cable, anyway, so it was a bit of a moot point. Of course, I did have friends with cable, so I nevertheless managed to take in most of the landmark videos (including WHIP IT and TAKE ON ME).

MetaRex 10:17 AM  


Loved getting messed up by the two side-by-side first name-last name senators...remembered Jim SASSER from Tennessee and couldn't get MCCAIN out of my head though I knew he wasn't right.

TAKE ON ME/TAX PREP was the last to fall. Enjoyable confustication to the end.

Never watched the a-ha video at the time...had benign contempt for hair bands back in the day. Just searched for it and loved it...gal w/ Princess Di hair and beautiful boy in pencil...yes!

On the tricky issue of comparison b/w yesterday and today...there's a huge diff b/w a grid w/ 62 words like yesterday's and a grid w/ 70 words like today's. Constructors like David S. yesterday or Joe K. or MAS who push the envelope on the tech w/ low word counts and open fields are gonna get pushback. But they are helping the CWP genre move forward, and doing something really cool. Right on to Peter W. and to his beautiful puzz today...and right on also to David S. and his puzz.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:23 AM  

Fine puzzle.

One write-over, as noted by others, RPI before RIT.

But all of Rex's gimmes, except the infamous JAR JAR Binks, were totally unknown to me (I am too old to have ever watched MTV) and came only letter by letter from crosses.

jberg 10:27 AM  

OK, I'm weird -- the two big gimmes for me were Lewis CASS and HORS concours. I'm a historically-minded, sorta French-speaking political scientist. Without those, I'd have been really uncertain - I had AL GORE, but wasn't sure, and didn't remember JON KYL until I had KiL written in.

On the other hand, I'm 69 years old and got all the recent pop culture answers (without knowing any of them, unless you count ANNE RICE), but blew the Dean Martin ref -- like @ACME, I had MbA/bAZOOL. Never thought of Pasta FAZOOL, so that was dumb. And once it wasn't going to be BSE, MBA seemed the next most likely.

I agree with @ACME about SCHMUTZ it's no more slang than HORS CONCOURS.

@Danp - RI does have a cuisine, but it's Italian. Like pasta FAZOOL. (That's Sicilian-American for pasta e fagioli, if you're wondering.)

Nice puzzle, even if I DNF - and as a political scientist, I was happy to see two senators, two past presidents, and a past PM of Australia in there.

Oh yeah, KRAKEN -- some kind of man-eating sea monster with many arms.

I don't understand the G thing, but this novel by Paul Beatty has a hilarious scene in which two of the black guys from Harlem try to explain to a white woman when they do and don't call someone that.

Gotta go - exams to grade and leaves to rake!

Z 10:48 AM  

@MetaRex - That something can be done doesn't mean that it should be done. Just because something is hard to do doesn't mean that doing it is an accomplishment. Yesterday may have been a great technical achievement but it wasn't much of a puzzle, unless the constructor's goal was to make a legitimately clued puzzle that was unsolvable by most people. If "winning" was the constructor's goal, then it was a great puzzle. And then it should have run on Saturday, as @SanFranMan59's stats and Rex both suggested.

@Milford - Just to be clear, I was being a smart ass when I suggested CASS was a gimme. It did tickle a stray neuron when I finally got it, and Wikipedia confirmed.

dk 10:57 AM  

LOL moment. Same parental conversation (mandate) as from Rex's Ps --- except for me the subject was Mad Magazine.

Had to look up 26A as I had not a clue for her or 12D. And there was the little problem of axes for OXEN.

Oddly was talking about Cabbage Patch Kids yesterday. As a young dk I researched decision making when scarcity was at issue. Repeated the work with Tickle me Elmo and now with time (relative to healthy lifestyle choices). Sadly, decision making becomes irrational -- drawing upon superstitious behavior and self contrived data in the face of scarcity. Almost as powerful as SEX for selling in the consumer world but leads to complacency and rationalization for personal health choices. Please note that under the affordable care act if you choose poorly (re health behavior) you will soon get to pay for it. We call it accountability. So use any excuse to GORGE yourself today but know you will pay for it tomorrow.

Sorry it seems I have drifted onto a soap box while still in my JOEBOXERS.

🌟🌟🌟 (3 Stars) As Lincoln Hayes would say: Solid Man.

DJB 11:03 AM  

Don't get the clue for 38a..."whose #1" made me think it should be the group, not the song. But then...A-ha!

DBlock 11:09 AM  

a statement of who I am--Cass and Massey and Kitty Kelley gimmes, never heard of baseball or music references but got it all fair and square from crosses
and a pleasure unlike yesterday's nightmare

DJB 11:11 AM  

Don't get the clue for 38a..."#1 whose" made me think it should be the group, not the song. But then...A-ha!

Mohair Sam 11:25 AM  

My wife did most of this one, and she had not only heard of JOHNNYCAKES, but her mother had fed them to her when she was little. That fact, along with HAMELS (who needed "Cole" in the clue?), KITTYKELLEY, and TAKEONME as pretty much gimmes led to a relatively quick solve - with some pause on the SW.

Enjoyable puzzle but easy for a Saturday - should have been flip-flopped with Friday.

Loved Rex's MTV comment. We have 3 children that average about Rex's age and had the same difficulty with MTV as his folks, but we bit the bullet and they watched. Around here we refer to MTV as CSPN: Children's Soft Porn Network.

wordie 11:47 AM  

Much better than yesterday. Though I HTG again. And still DNF.

I am a bit too old to have had parental interference with watching MTV. but my father used to come stand in the doorway when we were watching reruns of Maverick and the like, which made me squirm and see the merits of what I was watching in a different light, and he would eventually say something like do you think this is a good use of your time? Our TV was very restricted.

My Mom was an elementary school teacher and when my kids were little she advised me not to let them watch the Simpsons, bc kids in her classes were saying things like Eat my shorts, very shocking in the relatively polite Midwest. My older son eventually made the argument that we should at least watch it once, just to see, as it was consistent with my oft repeated advice to try new things. To honor the valid argument (though I applied it more generally to new foods rather than LSD, e.g.), I agreed. And I let them watch from then on, and enjoyed it very much myself.

I really am getting fed up with the rappers, I don't like rap, don't follow it, and the spellings are so bizarre I have to get it from crosses. Dr. Dre and others often used are now gimmes of a sort for me. And I can see how useful the deranged letter strings can be to constructors, but it's just discouraging how much of it there is and how it's just like a rando answer I can't know most of the time.

retired_chemist 11:47 AM  

Came closer to finishing (due to tenacity, not knowledge) than I probably should have. Had JOE sOXER/sET. JOE BOXER was one of the many answers I never had heard of: WHIP IT, HAMELS, TRU TV, TAKE ON ME, DMX, WHAT"S UP G (just the G), COLECO, CASS, KEVIN, KRAKEN, ANA'S Story, and COCA COLA (OK - kidding there, just to see if anyone is reading this list).

A number of cool answers so I liked the puzzle regardless. But I can see the names in the NE bothering some.

PLANO - live 20 miles from there and used to live there. Gimme. A 5 letter crossword city with more consonants than vowels - remarkable.

Hand up for not having a clue about HORS until I had 3 crosses.

Thanks, Mr. Wentz.

Mohair Sam 11:52 AM  

@retired chemist: Yeah, ya got me on COCACOLA - thanks for the chuckle.

jburgs 11:55 AM  

I have had several DNF's in the last couple of weeks that were due to just one wrong letter. Today, I had MbA crossing bAZOOL. I had figured that RIT was Rochester Inst. of Technology. Did find it odd that they might offer an MbA but since I had the M and the A, it seemed the best fit. I remembered the Martin song and bAZOOL sounded like it was Ok. Basinga!

r.alphbunker 12:16 PM  

Had dumdUMS for MAGNUMS and that slowed me down.

I grew up in Rhode Island and AFAIK I have never had a johnnycake. A recipe is here http://allrecipes.com/recipe/johnnycakes/. It looks doable.

quilter1 12:43 PM  

Although I didn't know all the pop culture stuff I got everything but the EDGES/RDA crossing. Dang. But I enjoyed it anyhoo. Bahamian JOHNNYCAKES yummy.

Lewis 12:44 PM  

Classy high-quality Saturday puzzle. It's the only day I don't get mad at pop culture and mythical and historical and geographical entries that I don't know. I figure that Monday is patently easy, for beginners, and Saturday is ridiculously difficult, for crossword solving pros and/or those with much bigger wheelhouses than I.

Echoing @acme -- loved the Scrabbliness.

Kind of like ALGORE, global warming expert, crossing with PYRE.

I skip M-W 12:47 PM  

Managed to finish, despite confidently putting in Anais Nin before Anne Rice, and not knowing either the MTV era pop culture refs, except Jarjar, by osmosis, nor Cass. But Kevin, Al Gore and Jon Kyl were gimmes.

Unknown 12:48 PM  

A delightful scrabble-fest! Pop culture and history and rap and Dean Martin and Yiddish....OY! Fun, and easier than yesterday, for sure.

Questinia 12:52 PM  

This puzzle accessed a part of my brain I don't care to visit.
A place with the topography and charm of a strip mine.
Where Devo cavorts with Warner Bros and cabbage patch packages abut vampire novellas. Where chain stores babble with a best-selling gossip-monger.

Fortunately: SCHMUTZ

... and the SE red light district of SEX SELLS and MM MM GOOD. As far away as possible from the preppy gangsta who'd utter WHATS UP G.

@ acme , But "Q" was in a clue (2D, hobby with Q codes).

Cheerio 1:13 PM  

Too much trivia in one puzzle. I usually like Wentz puzzles better than this one. Agree that Schmutz seems like Yiddish rather than slang. 38d clue seemed too formal given the answer was tax prep. Enjoyed learning some stuff about lake baikal. Got there from the ulan-ude Wikipedia page.

Masked and Anonymo5Us 1:15 PM  

har (d).
Too many strangers running around in the puz, for the likes of m&e. Lost valuable nanosecs.

Wanted WHATSUP,Q. (hiya, @Q)
Failing that, wanted WHAZZUUP.

SE: Corner of Hope (Got it first)
NW: Corner of Nope (Got it after hours of enjoyment and a dab o'research)(hiya, UDE)

Snazzy fill, limited amount of schmUtz. themelessthUmbsUp.

Glad to see AHSO get some good press, toward the end of yesterday's comments. Outlawin words seems too much like bannin books, to my admittedly limited fazool-brain.

Happy weekend, U buncha good, smartie solvers.

Tita 1:27 PM  


Any of our resident linguists here care to name the 4 English words that retain the German-style "-en" plural?
OXEN is one...the other is archaic, and I am not totally sure that the other 2 I am thinking of count...

@Gill - hi!! I happened to stop by on Thursday, and saw your shout-out...
was it the car clue that reminded you?

This puzzle was full of clues that relate to my driving proclivities...NINETY, REV - though it's hard to have a lead foot in an OMNI.

Anyhow, I am only getting to about 3 puzzles a week, and not enough time to stop in here even to lurk... :(
Just very busy at work and at home.

Almost finished - WHASSUPG and a natick @ _OS/JON_YL, and a wish to stop in here made me give up.

Favorite fill - MMMMGOOD.

In the 90's we bought a set of eponymous Laguiole knives, made of horn in southern France during a trip there last century. They were from a small maker who was "HORS Concours" - barred from competition because they were too good.
I could probably buy an OMNI now if I put them on eBay - they've gotten very cher.

Mr. Wentz - I liked your puzzle because I almost finished it, and because of the great clues/fill and memories. So much trivia, not so much.

okanaganer 2:38 PM  

Liked it; finished with wrong letters because for some reason I just couldn't envision KOS for "lays flat", and never heard of JONKYL. However the crosses were highly gettable, so I can't cry foul there, unlike yesterday. But I would like to say again I thought yesterday was a worthwhile puzzle that just frustrated people a bit too much.

Rex, your writeup today had me laughing. More like this please! (puzzles and posts both).

mac 2:43 PM  

I think close to a quarter of this puzzle was unknown to me. One little area: Whip It, I Luv, Hamels, TruTV.

In the vein of "sado" I started with "melo" at 9D, and RPI for RIT. Anyway, trouble all over the place. Fazool was funny, though. Talkig about gems, I just returned from a show in NY.

Unknown 3:27 PM  

I liked this one. Like you, I really had a rough time with Hors Concour. Had sans concour. Once I got tax prep after head scratching for a while, nailed it.

Mette 3:33 PM  

This one played tough for me. Like @Rex, thought the SE was truly a thing of beauty. GONZO crossing FAZOOL and trying to think of a synonym for soup kitchen that started with M.

NW was my downfall. Had only SADO and PINCENEZ and wanted metric drops to be ccs or mls and hoped to drop a Q somewhere. Finally had to Google ILUV, TRUTV and HAMELS (hello @mac) to make it clear.

Really enjoyed it, Mr. Wentz.

Anonymous 3:59 PM  


I don't think that's a correct use of 'censorious'. It doesn't mean "types who tend to censor or suppress" but, instead, "severely critical; faultfinding; carping".

(Irony Alert: This comment is kinda censorious.)

August West 4:04 PM  

@ Tita

That's easy:

Boxen, Moosen, Imbecilen

ksquare 4:21 PM  

MaharajaMack 12:45 AM,mathguy 5:00AM&
Smitty 8:44AM
If an eel bites your knee when it's under the sea THAT'S A MORAY!
A friend of mine who was feeding peas to eels in Puerto Rico was bitten so badly by one that he needed stitches to repair his hand. Not funny.

wa 4:47 PM  

Did this puzzle first appear in the back of Vibe magazine? What are going to get next week TV Guide?

retired_chemist 5:20 PM  

Like a lot of Yiddish, SCHMUTZ has the same meaning in German: dirt.

sanfranman59 6:06 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 6:13, 6:07, 1.02, 61%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 7:14, 8:15, 0.88, 15%, Easy
Wed 13:48, 9:44, 1.42, 97%, Challenging (6th highest ratio of 198 Wednesdays)
Thu 11:33, 16:30, 0.70, 7%, Easy
Fri 27:17, 17:47, 1.53, 100%, Challenging (highest ratio of 199 Fridays)
Sat 28:35, 26:35, 1.08, 74%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:43, 3:46, 0.99, 38%, Easy-Medium
Tue 4:24, 5:09, 0.85, 6%, Easy
Wed 7:39, 5:37, 1.36, 98%, Challenging (5th highest ratio of 198 Wednesdays)
Thu 6:58, 9:27, 0.74, 8%, Easy
Fri 14:53, 10:07, 1.47, 96%, Challenging (8th highest ratio of 199 Fridays)
Sat 18:51, 16:56, 1.11, 75%, Medium-Challenging

michael 6:18 PM  

I found this a fairly easy Saturday (helped by my knowledge of Senators and presidential also-rans), but did have bazool instead of fazool (which now seems vaguely familiar).

LaneB 6:48 PM  

305 pternotYou didn't have to look up WHIPIT,TRUTV,UDE! RIT,KRAKEN, KEVIN, DMX? REally? I did and I still DNF'd. "Easy" my foot! Don't know why I bother with Friday or Saturday.

The Raven 7:06 PM  

Way too young for me (78). HTG six definitions, one more than yesterday.

@jburgs: R.I.T. is well known for photography, which may be why the M.F.A.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:27 PM  

@Tita - Children, brethren (but sadly, not cistern).

Bob Kerfuffle 10:34 PM  

But both men and women!

Anonymous 10:56 PM  

Am I the only one fooled by 9D acti. Confidently used melo

Acme 12:30 AM  

I also thought there were rappers DMz and isn't it Run DMC? So that was hard.
Do i have to google KRAKEN? I guess so...
Is that one, @Tita?
What about freaky Client-ele?

Dirigonzo 8:58 AM  

As often happens with the Saturday puz I had to sleep on this one, but there was no way I was going to leave it unfinished because it has GONZO in it! I claim that as a personal shout-out as the clue exactly defines that part of diriGONZO as I intended when I invented the name.* So with that bit if egocentricity out of the way, I struggled a lot, had every write-over that others have mentioned, and had no idea what WHATSUPG meant until I came here. In other words, a pretty typical Saturday for me, and as usual OWS at bAZOOL.

(*Don't believe me? Look here.

Robso 12:14 PM  

This is the second week in a row where I finished Saturday but could not finish Friday. Are you reading this, Will Shortz? Are you?

OISK 7:03 PM  

Finished both, disliked both,but dislike Saturday more. "WhatsupG"???? REALLY????

Unknown 3:32 AM  

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Unknown 3:32 AM  

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spacecraft 10:45 AM  

"Hardly a clunker or obscurity in sight?" Yougottabekiddingme. UDE? JONKYL? COLECO? CASS? To say nothing of DMX, one of at least two rap-related entries.

You know, I feel myself getting ready to say goodbye to all of this. Rap continues to infest these puzzles, and I refuse to learn it. To me it's not music, not art of any kind. To me it's just a bunch of inner-city kids whining about their rotten life, replete with F-bombs. This is a sad chapter in the history of music. If I keep bumping into it I'm just gonna stop bothering.

I did finish today's grid, though; as a diehard Phillie fan I felt I owed it to the great Cole HAMELS, hero of a rare event: A Phillie World Series champoinship.

Other WOEs: SCHMUTZ. Never heard of it, and it's not listed among the many SCH---words in my dictionary, many of which are Yiddish in origin. And I have no idea what single letter might come after WHATSUP. I ran the alphabet for 32a and came up with GOTOVER, a very awkward phrase. While stationed in England in the sixties, the guys in the barracks used that expression to indicate that they had, um, been successful in their sex life. I suppose that could mean "Surmounted," as in the famous Grumpy Old Men quote: "(Sur-)Mount the woman!"

Amusing were the twin repeaters JARJAR and ONEONE, and the quad M's.

Anonymous 12:36 PM  

Didn't find this easy at all. I finished everything but the SE corner and gave up. Really don't care for Gonzo and Fazool. And didn't know DMX. I agree with former comment about Rap. The entire genre is more than ugly. It diminishes the entire concept and purpose of music.
Ron Diego 9:35 AM PST

Cary in Boulder 2:45 PM  

It's Saturday so I don't feel too bad about a DNF. SW was the only corner I got without help. It's a fair puzzle, I'm sure, if you know the obscurities, but full of lots of things that make me cranky.

Is EXIT a PC thing? It's sure not in any of the menus on my Mac.

I know SCHMUTZ, but it really should've been clued with a Yiddish reference. WHATSUPG? What language is that common in? Who is G?

TAKEONME. Never heard of it or the band a-ha. Just now looked on Youtube. Like 99.9% of MTV, cool-looking video, utter crap music, and something I've long deemed not worthy of my attention.

Ditto for rap references. What's ironic is that most of my favorite music is done by African-American artists. Can't understand how a lineage that produced such soulful sounds has devolved into pure rhythm and expletives.

For 33A, once I got ____UMS, I confidently figured that Dirty Harry fired dumdUMS. Sorry, not a fan of violent action movies either.

BedfordBob 3:11 PM  

I'm with Safranman59.It was impossible for me. Way too many proper names and pop music. I did better yesterday (but not very good).

Ow well maybe we'll have a nice Rebus Sunday

BedfordBob 3:12 PM  

Sorry - I meant "sanfranman59"

Solving in Seattle 3:38 PM  

@Spacecraft, don't be grumpy about rap fill. When I first heard rap I had the same reaction: This isn't music! Then Mrs. @SiS made me listen to lyrics (not the violent ones) and asked me what I thought - Urban poetry, with rhythm accompaniment. And it's created a genre or two for a segment of our society that has grown it culturally and financially. I personally don't have a rap "song" on my playlist but there are a few artists that I don't turn off when they close the Letterman show, J Cole, for one.

Peter Wentz, thanks for a good puz and a good convesation. Nit: I do think the clue for 38D should have had an abrev.

If you've never had Rhode Island clam chowder you're missing the best.

Ok, my "that's a moray" story: Years ago while going to school in Hawaii, I was one of a group of guys who would free dive for "bugs." One day off Makapu'u Point one of the guys reached into a puka (hole in the rock) for a spiny lobster and was bitten by a moray that wouldn't let go. Finally, out of breath, he just pulled as hard as he could to get his hand away from the eel. I saw him later that week sans thumb and index finger. Nasty critters.

@Dirigonzo, I was hoping that the HQ city of Pizza Hut and JCP was "diri." Alas.

DMG 3:51 PM  

I found this puzzle teeming with clunkers and obscurities.Made a couple of runs through, noted the plethora of trivia required, and put it down. I'm with @Spacecraft on the topic of modern "music", enough already! To mildly repeat yesterday's plea, I prefer crossWORD, not crossTRIVIA puzzles. These things seem to be turning into rap age memory tests, and the fact that FAZOOL was a drop in for me, doesn't mean I'd be enamored with a jillion references to music from my growing years. Let's get back to language oriented puzzles!

rain forest 6:07 PM  

Easy-medium?? Hah! This was 5 times as hard for me as Friday's, even though I started with about as many gimmes, including FAZOOL.

Nothing wrong with a hard puzzle, but two(!) side by side senators just next to a complete unknown Presidential loser are a little much for a Canadian. OK, at least ALGORE was apparent after COCACOLA, and SPACEJAM.

"Gettable" for me today was taking a wild stab, in several places, and having it be right.

I will not rant, but those who bemoan the overabundance of trivia have my ear, though there are cases where the unusual use of simple words also counts as trivia. I dunno. I'll surmount it.

Waxy in Montreal 9:52 AM  

Very late to the party on this one so won't be repetitive. Just count me in the @spacecraft, @Cary, @DMG, @rain camp.

Anonymous 12:51 PM  

Center got me. I was spinning records in 1985, from bands that were being played on MTV, including the occasional Aha tune, so I was determined to name that tune. I Got as far as -A---NME, and from that point on I couldn't get REM's Fall On Me out of my head. I had a hunch the year was off and I was pretty sure it never got anywhere near #1, but with faces meeting at an ANGLE it seemed to fit.

But when TAX TIPS became apparent I was completely lost. TAKE ON ME, huh? That's the name of that stupid song? Well, I'll probably remember now.

Mary VK 12:02 PM  

We found this very difficult--got it a month later in the Baltimore Sun. However, an easy reference for us was Cass because we live just a few miles from Cassopolis, Michigan.

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