Criminal Minds agent with I.Q. of 187 / SAT 10-12-13 / Singer of #1 single Try Again 2000 / Treaty of Sycamore Shoals negotiator 1775 / Glenda Jackson Ben Kingsley film scripted by Harold Pinter / Musical with cow that's catapulted over castle / Morsel for guppy / Word spoken 90 times in Molly Bloom's soliloquy / 1986 Indy 500 champion

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Constructor: John Farmer

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: none

Word of the Day: FRA Mauro (44A: Venetian mapmaker ___ Mauro) —

Fra MauroO.S.B. Cam., (died 1460) was a 15th-century Camaldolese monk who lived in the Republic of Venice. He was a monk of the Monastery of St. Michael, located on the island of Murano in the Venetian Lagoon. It was there that he maintained a cartography workshop.
In his youth, Mauro had traveled extensively as a merchant and a soldier. He was familiar with the Middle East. He entered monastic life at a late stage in life. In the monastery, he became a mapmaker. Although he was no longer free to travel, due to his religious status, he would frequently consult with merchants of the city upon their return from overseas voyages. By 1450 he composed a great mappamundi (world map) of the Old Worldwith surprising accuracy, including extensive written comments reflecting the geographic knowledge of his time. The map is known today as the "Fra Mauro map". A critical edition of the map was edited by Piero Falchetta in 2006. (wikipedia)
• • •

Easy but not terribly enjoyable puzzle. I just don't believe in 1-Across. I don't believe it is a thing. Never heard anyone, child or adult, say it. Feels horribly made-up and stupid. So that's how I feel about that. "Criminal Minds" agent? (7D: "Criminal Minds" agent with an I.Q. of 187) How obscure a clue do you need for REID? People watch "Criminal Minds"? OK. Speaking of obscure, "TURTLE DIARY" (23D: Glenda Jackson/Ben Kingsley film scripted by Harold Pinter). You can put all the famous names you want in that clue—still won't make the movie famous. The rest of the puzzle is pretty inoffensive, but there's not much (if anything) I haven't seen before. I think I like CAMERASHY the best, largely because it was (for some reason) wickedly hard for me to parse. My last letter was that "C," which I originally had as an "N" (because of SNARF/SCARF confusion). I had been trying to think of what word ends in -RASHY (besides, say, "TRASHY"). So it was nice to get pleasantly fooled there at the end. And that "?" clue was a good one (34A: Not likely to be a "cheese" lover)—unlike 10D: Vacancy clause?, which makes no real sense for "NOBODY'S HOME" unless you put "clause" on the rack and stretch it til it screams.

Nice tricky clue on ELENA (32D: John Paul's successor)—think Supreme Court Justice, not Pope. I thought "one" in German was EINS, and it is, but apparently it's also EINE (?) (13D: One in a Kindergarten?). I don't know from German. I think I would've struggled quite a bit with this one had there not been such a huge lot of gimmes. "SPAMALOT"! YES! TED! RED ZONE! STP! SDI! GEHRY! 'STRO! (my friend Robert is the play-by-play guy for the 'STROs—have I mentioned that? I like to mention that. He's a good guy, and a crossword solver). Major mistakes of the day were AS A RULE for USUALLY (29A: In the main), S-SHAPED for F-SHAPED (39A: Like the sound holes of a cello), and ... I think that's it. I enjoyed remembering the GOATEE on Duchamp's parody of "Mona Lisa." But otherwise the enjoyment level wasn't terribly high. Just not to my taste. That SE corner looks pretty nice, though, I will say that. Proof that your stacks don't have to be exceedingly long to be entertaining.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Jason Gideon 12:02 AM  

Criminal Minds has been on for over eight seasons now. Still averaging 10M+ viewers an episode. Deal with it.

Anonymous 12:05 AM  

My previous best Saturday time ever was 24:36. This one came in at 16:34, with zero write-overs, which has also never happened before. I started filling in answers immediately and just kept going.

I agree that the clue for NOBODY'S HOME was literally tortured.

NASTYGRAM is a very real thing. I loved it.

Hung up at the end with GIL / SNEE / GOATEE. Scrolled the alphabet and guessed right.

jae 12:12 AM  

So, yesterday's was challenging...Huh? Must have been a wave house thing for me?

I also found this one to be on the easy side.  Easy-medium for me mostly because I went from @Rex aSaruLe to aSUsual before USUALLY.

WOEs: ZIA and  AALIYAH - Did not see Romeo Must Die but I've probably heard the song.  Just never knew who the artist was.  She died way too young in a plane crash. The cross with YSIDRO might be tough.

I've also never seen nor heard of TURTLE DIARY which @Rex is obscure enough not to show up on Netflix.

Random observation:  SDI got it's nickname from the 66a movie.

Unlike Rex I found to like here...SPAMALOT, OMAHA BEACH, NOBODYS HOME,  NASTY GRAM, DEATH STAR, RED ZONE... A fine Sat.  Judge Farmer!

Anonymous 12:17 AM  

My husband always suggests a nastygram when I'm unhappy with a product.

Questinia 12:32 AM  


Dear Mr. Farmer,

Magritte's "Rape" comes to me YES before Dali's "Mona Lisa" and YES, vagina before GOATEE. Then will I YES to solve the NW corner? First I fill YES and

{{{{{{ ripple screen }}}}}}

YES chased me across the blank NW tundra. YES my heart was going like mad and YES... your puzzle told me "no". YES I don't finish. ANAL YES. IN THE REAR YES. oN THE REAR. No.

Aaliyah Camerashy Mrs 12:33 AM  

Are you confusing John Farmer with Judge Vic Fleming?
Or is John Farmer a judge, too?

Fave CAMERASHY because it was so hard to parse.

Couldn't get past 'stache to get to GOATEE for so long, nice visual! Even thought about LHOOQ. Overthink!

Lots of two word phrases...DIDTO, ADAPTTO, STEPIN, GRASPSAT... Not criticising just noticing.

I liked @Rex saying no matter how many names you throw at it, TURTLEDIARY is obscure. I have to agree.

Surprised to see ANAL... Slippery slope (ahem)


retired_chemist 12:35 AM  

Enjoyed this easy puzzle. A full 3 minutes faster than yesterday.

1A started as poison pen. Since it had ZERO crosses in common with NASTYGRAM, it didn't last long.

AALIYAH - WTF. Interesting to read about her though. Do tablets use STYLI anymore? Haven't seen a stylus since my Treo. EYE test @ 45A complicated life briefly. Never heard of SÃO Bento - a holy Japanese boxed meal. UNSER doesn't win 'em all (41A) - RAHAL won this one. I know him only from crosswords, but he went right in once UNSER was ruled out.

54A was my go-to 3 letter Indian tribe OTO (or maybe UTE), except it turned out to be ZIA. Now I have three.

Daniel BOONE negotiated a treaty? Why isn't he in Congress now? Oh yeah, he's dead. And it was Davy Crockett who was a US representative (from Tennessee) anyway.

Thanks, Mr. Farmer.

Evan 12:48 AM  

Also on my easy side. It didn't hurt that I got OMAHA BEACH with no crosses and BAD END right off of that. My only first mistakes were EYE TEST before EXAM and PROMINENT before PROPONENT. This is the second weekend in a row where I've reached my top five fastest times for a Saturday, so maybe, just maybe, I'm getting pretty good at themelesses. Gimme two more months, and I'll get back to you on that.

I'm with @jae on the liveliness of the fill -- and would add SLY FOX to the bunch. NASTYGRAM does seem a bit odd in that it only nets about 50,000 Google hits in quotes. I'd guess that it's a new term, but I can picture it being outdated as well -- I sorta like it either way. I'm definitely with Rex on TURTLE DIARY. Only 538 ratings on IMDB? That's nothing. I have obscure, terrible horror movies in my collection that have about the same number of ratings, with no one close to even D-list star level in them.

And since I have little else to say, I'll just say, read @Questinia's comment. Then read it again.

jae 1:14 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
jae 1:17 AM  

@Aaliyah Camershy Mrs -- In the words of Questina, YES, YES I believe I did confuse the two gentlemen. John Farmer is in the telecom biz in LA (you know where that's at). Sorry about that. Still a fine Sat. Mr. Farmer!

Clark 1:20 AM  

"Eins" is used in isolation as the numeral "one." ("Wir haben mit der [Linie] eins gefahren." "We took the one [tram].")
"Einer" and "eine" can be pronouns, masculine and feminine, respectively. ("Da war nur noch eine." "There was only one [girl/woman] remaining.") If the context were such that you were thinking numbers rather than people, you might say "Da war nur noch eins." I think.

I DNFed on the AALIYAH/YSIDRO cross. Hate it when I just know that I don't know.

August West 1:24 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
August West 1:40 AM  

Yesterday I was eleven minutes faster than THU; today, two minutes faster than yesterday. Just chock full of hanging curveballs. Easiest Saturday in recent memory.

And such great stuff! I now and again must send NASTYGRAMs to adversaries in litigation. That went in first, off the clue. It's danglers fell like drops from an icicle, 1-5, 7, 9. GRAbsfor momentarily before GRASPSAT, quickly corrected by SDI, STP. Thought INTHEREAR must be wrong, as I couldn't imagine anyone's name might begin with AALI. Next saw San YSIDRO, and AALIYAH emerged from the dark, dank recesses of my wife's pop collection. Blecch.

Didn't meet the "as a rule" trap, as i'd already entered USOPEN. Didn't know FRA, ZIA, SAO, or TURTLEDIARY, for that matter, but didn't need to, as they all easily filled from their crosses. Didn't know Bobby RAHAL won the '86 Indy, but I did know that he'd won it, sometime...back then.

No other hiccups. Loved the clues for NOBODYSHOME (c'mon, Rex, it's good!), ENTOURAGE, PROPONENT, POOLHALLS and STEPIN.

Chris SNEE, an anchor of the Giants offensive line for a decade, is a personal friend from town, son-in-law to Coach Coughlin, and unfortunately facing likely career-ending hip surgery next week. I'm sick over it. Ironic he should turn up in today's puzzle, as he'll be meeting with team doctors later to discuss surgical options. My heart goes out to Chris and Kate today. This whole Giants...thing is giving me an ULCER.

Noam D. Elkies 1:52 AM  

Another vote for 1A:NASTYGRAM. Example: "grow a spine!" is a nastygram of "Spiro Agnew" ;-)

Mad? OK, senile.

[Yes, I know Dick [sic] Cavett's canonical nasty anagram for SPIRO AGNEW, and I know that a "nastygram" is not actually a nasty anagram. This word is a fun 1A, and has the nice feature that even if a Saturday solver somehow hasn't heard of that word for a nasty missive and has to guess it from the crossings it looks like a good match for the clue.]

chefwen 2:56 AM  

It seemed a lot more difficult while I was solving it than it does now looking back at the outcome. Had to look up a couple of things 8D 41A and 65A were total unknowns, and I didn't have my friend here to help. He's getting pretty good at the theme-less puzzles. Although, I do have to question his intelligence, he flew from Kauai to Baltimore to attend the Packer/Ravens game?????
Maybe he could not have helped me here.

Hi to @Gil I.P. at 21D and to me @34A. Get that camera out of my face!

Rex Parker 3:17 AM  

This Halloween I'm gonna go as "Angry 'Criminal Minds' Fan":

"Trick or treat ... What do you mean you don't know who I'm supposed to be? I'm f***ing REID!? What do you mean, 'who's that?' From 'Criminal Minds,' man. What do you mean you've never heard of it?! It's been on for 15 years! It's the greatest show on television, you idiot. Almost 3% of America watches it! [sigh] Just gimme some candy."


Dr. Johnny Fever 4:14 AM  

Rex is right.  Probably should have clued it with my buddy who played Venus Flytrap. Now that guy was funny. 

Anonymous 5:04 AM  

ANAL crossing IN THE REAR... I had a good chortle that that passed the censor!

JenCT 5:43 AM  

@August West: I feel your pain...

@Questinia: Whaa?

Too Old to Care 6:15 AM  

To @so many of you: Saturday is for the obscure. You all sound like you've been eating SLY FOX's sour grapes. NASTYGRAM has been around for a long time, but it isn't related to the anagram. Telegram is the progenitor. Now AALIYAH is what I call obscure, but I'm not complaining. As for Criminal Minds, Rex, it has been around for years on prime time major network CBS, leads off for CSI, and reruns can be seen almost continuously on several cable channels. Previous star Mandy Patinkin, and current star Joe Mantegna aren't exactly unknown.

Since I am in a rare foul mood, a nastygram is in order. @ retired chemist, part of the fun of crosswords is learning something from the answers. It's good to know that OTO and UTE are Native American tribes; better to know where they range. Thus armed, you probably wouldn't think of them first, when you think of New Mexico, or New York, for that matter.

Lots of fun, even though I all I know about the obscure AALIYAH is her name and that she died in a plane crash.

jburgs 6:54 AM  

I think this was one of the easiest Saturdays I've ever done but still get a DNF because I went with iSIDRO. Had no idea who AALIiAH was. Settled on it thinking it was some foreign spelling of a name. Otherwise,most of the more challenging answers were easily got because of the many gimme crosses.

mathguy 7:02 AM  

I wouldn't call it easy. Ten words I didn't know not quite balanced by eight gimmes. Plus I didn't like three of the clues: 10D, 32D, 57D. Oh, I just got 57D -- window blinds. I was thinking about duck blinds.

retired_chemist 7:44 AM  

ELENA made no sense to me either. Googled and found that John Paul Stevens's successor on SCOTUS is Elena Kagan. Thank God for crosses!

dk 8:20 AM  

Much ado about NASTYGRAM: Meh. Crossing ANAL with INTHEREAR to form YES ANAL! INTHEREAR MRS NIPS! Now there is a north west corner to chortle over. My inner 14 year old AROAR.

I had sea anchor for PARASAILS as I am an old school WASP and we just do not parasail. YISDRO was a hoot as I tried to recall just where that trolley went from San Diego. I have several sad smuggling stories that involve that tram that I will save for an other day.

Off to teach mass casualty management with a box of toe tags in my truck. @Rex wanna go as a DEADBODY this Halloween?

🌟🌟🌟 (3 Stars) I liked it and who cares about the rest of you.

Catherine 8:39 AM  

ANAL. INTHEREAR. YES, (YES, YES I WILL YES Molly Bloom). This is the hottest, most raunchy NYT puzzle ever printed. I think Will Shortz is checking to make sure we're paying attention.

Catherine 8:40 AM  

ANAL. INTHEREAR. YES, (YES, YES I WILL YES Molly Bloom). This is the hottest, most raunchy NYT puzzle ever printed. I think Will Shortz is checking to make sure we're paying attention.

Sir Hillary 8:48 AM  

This was a good one, although based on difficulty, it probably should have been switched with yesterday's.

Have more people seen "Criminal Minds" than "Midnight in Paris"? I would guess so, so why the fuss?

ELENA is my daughter's name. Good clue.

SMUG = complacent? Never knew that. Always meant "superior-acting" to me.

ANAL/INTHEREAR cross is an all-time classic. Mr. Farmer is quite the SLYFOX to, ahem, slip that one in.

FearlessKim 8:56 AM  


jberg 9:17 AM  

Like that commenter whose name is so like mine, I finished with iSIDRO crossing AALIiAH. Boo-hoo.

Like @Rex, I'd never heard of NASTYGRAM either, but unlike him I loved it. Makes me want to send one myself.

Unlike everyone who's commented so far, I found this one tough -- I couldn't get anything in the NW the first time through, and there were only three ways in from crosses -- the S in STP, which isn't much help; the Y in YSIDRO, which I had wrong and in any case led to a nonsense string of letters; and PSAT, which eventually got me there -- but only after I first wrote in GRAbS AT without noticing the stray P in the middle. What finally opened the corner for me was tIPS, which made be see that far bEhiND was wrong, and gave me tASTYGRAM, which just didn't sound angry enough (but another nice word).

But why isn't everyone complaining about ALGA? I looked it up in a dictionary, which defined the plural and then added (singular: ALGA). I can't imagine a context in which anyone would ever say that.

Ah well, that's sour grapes for the error, I guess. Time go get on with the day.

Anonymous 9:22 AM  

too easy for a saturday.

MetaRex 9:22 AM  

Sigh...back to mediocrity...four minutes slower than my better tushnet today after being right on his tail Thursday and yesterday...

Thx to Questinia for supporting the cause of those of us who think that maybe ya can know too much funky stuff and be too far off the beaten track to be much good at CWPs :)

Biggest mess-ups were FRETTED for F-SHAPED and PROMOTIONS for PROTOTYPES...CAMERA-SHY took a long time..wanted UNFLASHY.

chefbea 9:32 AM  

too tough for me DNF

Bob Kerfuffle 9:52 AM  

@retired_chemist, 12:35 AM - When solving 36 A, my only thought was of clay tablets!

Carola 10:02 AM  

Enjjoyed seeing some of these come into focus: NASTYGRAM, CAMERA SHY, PROTOTYPES, ENTOURAGE. Feared a DNF with the impossible-looking AALIYAH sequence, but actually DNF because the incorrect oto gave me SPAMoLOT, which I never looked at again after changing the tribe to ZIo. Otherwise, same goings astray as @Rex.

I'm a llttle SLOW so never noticed the NASTY doings in the NW. Quite something.

joho 10:06 AM  

One very stupid wrong square at SDs/AALsYAH -- I didn't know the singer but I do know that SDs is *not* an "Antimissle plan, for short."

I had eatup before SCARF and because of that unser. OMAHAMBEACH straightened that out.

Having lived in San Diego for many years YSIDRO was a gimme.

I have to agree with everyone who got a kick out of seeing ANAL crossing INTHEREAR. I hope they didn't come to a BADEND!

I liked it, John Farmer!

retired_chemist 10:10 AM  

@ Bob K - I didn't think of that. but your context was probably the one intended. Thanks for the mini-satori.

Without a clue 10:26 AM  

I'm definitely a plodder. Hour plus is not an uncommon Saturday time for me. Done in about 20 for this one.

Never heard of nastygram? Good for you! Regrettably, I've said it, received some, and probably sent one or two. Definitely part of the vocab.

The rest of the stuff felt more Hump Day-ish (like to see that in a puzzle!).

As for your EIne, surprised a puzzle prince like you would not get that. Eins to me sounds like the verbalization when you go, eine, svei, drei...

Time left to go watch Turtle Diary! (NOT!)

Z 10:46 AM  

@Questina - "Isoteric" as ever. Your comment left me very satisfied, at least.

@Jason Gideon - Is "Criminal minds" the one where the creators plagiarized NCIS, basically imitating the characters and changing the setting and upping the violence quotient?

___ Mauro is a Wednesday clue, FRA _____ is a Saturday clue.

Likewise, first word of a two word place name is SAN if Spanish and SAO if Portuguese. Too easy.

Liked the longer answers, struggled in the SW (TURTLEDoves anyone?) until I finally got STEPIN, otherwise definitely on the "I'm easy" side.

farkj 10:50 AM  

Nastygram is a slang term and it is pretty common these days

Z 10:54 AM  

Hey, a NASTYGRAM picture in my Twitter feed.

Mr. Benson 11:17 AM  

If you folks think ANAL/INTHEREAR is pushing the envelope, consider that I initially had EINS at 13D, which gave me GOATSE at 21A. For those who don't know what that is... if you want to look it up, just know that what has been seen cannot be unseen.

August West 11:19 AM  

Best Nastygram Ever.

JenCT 11:27 AM  

@August: LOL

ArtO 11:27 AM  

Of course it's easy! Why else would I almost finish except for the AALIYAH/TURTLE.../USUALLY crossing with "asarule" fouling me up.

Had same reaction as @Rex to CAMERASHY.

Turtle Diary fan 11:46 AM  

Nobody else objected to the clue for 26A? To me, a
"discount ticket" is a seat that's available for less than the
usual price. "SRO" (standing room only) means that all the
tickets for a show are sold out except for standing room tickets.
Standing room tickets are normally less expensive than tickets
for seats in the theater, but that doesn't mean they're
discounted tickets ("discounted", at least in my mind, not being
the same as "inexpensive").

I think I can speak with some authority, since I am apparently
the only person in the world who saw Turtle Diary in a movie

Mohair Sam 11:49 AM  

Waaay easy for a Saturday. I thought the SE stack were nearly gimmes - and if you had a doubt the crossing of absolute gimmes REDZONE, USER, and SPAMALOT (haven't seen it, but only Python types would catapult cattle) confirmed the easy stack. NW filled in similar manner - and we were off and running.

Surprised Rex and a few others haven't heard the term NASTYGRAM, I know I've heard it a lot.

Never heard of REID either, and I'm guessing a math teacher named REID may have flunked old Rex in trig or something. Lot of anger there, probably pent up.

Loved the ELENA clue.

John V 12:11 PM  

11d and 8d totally new to me. Others, medium here.

Loren Muse Smith 12:24 PM  

@Rex – I wanted "snarf," too.

@retired_chemist – me, too, for EYE test first. I also had "ave" before PED.

@jberg and @chefbea – I'll stand over with you two who found this one difficult. "Backs" for NAPES and zilch in the northwest dealt me a big old ugly dnf. Pffluh.

But I agree with @chefwen – to look back at the finished grid, I feel a *little* bad that I didn't give it more time.

@jae and Acme – Isn't John Farmer a person who posts here?

Had a mysterious "earth" STAR before DEATH.

Can someone tell me why I immediately went marine/oceanic for "in the main?" Am I thinking of "on the main?" I can't find anything on Google.

@joho – good catch on adding BAD END to IN THE REAR and ANAL.

@August West - hilarious NASTYGRAM!

The dastardly sequences of FS, AA, and YS, as they emerged, made me erase and erase and erase.

Soooo many names I didn't know: RAHAL, AALIYAH, GEHRY, REID, SNEE, FRA, YSDIRO, ZIA. . .

With magnificent disregard to the clue's question mark, I was thinking some kind of chemical lact_ _ase for CAMER SHY. Agreed – it just looks weird. CAMER ASHY – some kind of greyish color? Or "My hands beCAME RASHY after I grabbed some nettles."

I rather like the idea of NASTYGRAM being a form of an anagram. TURTLE DIARY nastygrams to "reality turd."

Good job, John. I was just too SLOW, and that northeast was my DEATH STAR.

GILL I. 12:24 PM  

John Farmer: I love your puzzles and one day, just one day I'll finish you up...
AALIYAH was my only Google though. With her name in place I could finally get all the upstairs answers.
Thanks a lot for the GOATsE @Mr. Benson. I never bothered correcting that mistake. I guess it goes with today's territory.
Is a guppy the same as a tadpole? I always get them mixed up. Sorta like an "esoteric" with an "I"
Speaking of, @Z from yesterday: "Dame pan y dime tonto."
Loved NOBODYS HOME. I feel like that sometimes.

Z 12:51 PM  

@Gil I.P. - Can I just call you Johnny Depp. Seriously, it may have been a typo, but it feels so right.

@August West - Great NASTYGRAM.

@Turtle Diary Fan - Was it any good? Also, I agree that generally SRO tickets aren't discounted. However, I know my Tigers have two "discount tickets" that get you in the gate. One is called a SKYLINE ticket, the other is a Standing Room Only ticket. I think it is an okay mild misdirection.

Turtle Diary fan 1:06 PM  

@Z - Turtle Diary was pretty bad. I remember it as being
very sentimental, so I was surprised to be reminded that
Pinter wrote the screenplay.

dm3000 1:30 PM  

We used to manage a government property for a client. Every time a certain person in the client's office got a letter from a governmental agency she would call me and say she received a 'nastygram'.

Steve J 1:31 PM  

First time I've finished a Saturday sans Google and under 20 minutes, so "easy" is a very apt rating. Got enough short and medium fill on my first pass through that it enabled several of the longer crosses to fall into place. Only slow spots were briefly not remembering how AALIYAH was spelled (I had two L's instead of two A's), and a little slowness in recognizing SMUG at 52D, to enable the 52A and 63A crosses to fall for me.

As others noted, 10D is poorly clued, but most everything else was solid. The acrosses in the SE are the best concentration of fill in the puzzle.

@retired_chemist: There are still tablets that come with a stylus out there. Just looked at a PC Magazine article that notes several models that have recently appeared or will soon hit the market.

@Rob Wilson: Eins is the correct spelling for the number one in German. Ein/eine/eines/einen/einer/einem are the (case- and gender-dependent; the fact there are so many reminds me of why German drives me crazy) spellings for the indefinite article. So, while the S sound at the end of eins and the beginning of zwei will elide when said in sequence, it's voiced at the end of the word when used in isolation as well.

@August West: Indeed, fantastic NASTYGRAM.

@Mr Benson: I can't stop laughing at your GOATsE misstep. Even Duchamp wouldn't have pushed the envelope that far.

retired_chemist 1:40 PM  

@ Mr Benson -

GOATSE should be unseen and not heard. Yes, I was warned.......

Mis Manners 1:51 PM  

I am so profoundly disappointed in so many of you. All these ANAL/INTHEREAR jokes. So juvenile, so rude. You all missed NASTY/ANAL/INTHEREAR.

Tsk tsk tsk.

OISK 2:10 PM  

Hatred. Is there now some rule that EVERY puzzle needs to contain some rock-pop reference? Easy? Not if you have never heard of Aaliyah, nastygram, and never watched "Criminal Minds," all in the same section. Impossible! A big "boo" from this old chem prof. Three incomplete puzzles this week, mostly pop culture related...I used to have three DNF's in a bad six months. For once, I agree with Rex about this ugly puzzle.

ahimsa 2:18 PM  

I think the comments may be more fun than the puzzle today. :-) Y'all are hilarious and John Farmer is one SLY FOX to have created this puzzle.

While not "easy" today was definitely easier, at least for me, than yesterday's puzzle (which was so hard that I gave up).

But today was still a DNF. First, I misspelled YSIDRO as iSIDRO so I could not see AALIYAH. Then AALIiAH looked completely wrong so I convinced myself that SDI (the so-called "star wars" program which I'm actually old enough to remember) must really be SDs. So I changed the name to AALsiAH. Har. (Hat tip to M&A)

But these are not complaints about the puzzle - no NASTYGRAMS from me! I'm just laughing at my own errors.

I skip M-W 2:45 PM  

I loved the movie Turtle Diary, didn't notice when I watched it ( in a theater) that Pinter wrote it. Terrific acting, unusual love story. I recommend it. Plus it was a gimme for me, along with Zia from the times I spent in Los Alamos.
@rex, what's the problem w/ vacancy clause? Perfectly satisfactory clue. Fun, easy Sat for me.

gifcan 3:06 PM  

Relatively easy. Liked @August West's "chock full of hanging curve balls" comment. That's how it played for me.

Enjoyed the puzzle, Mr. Farmer.

GILL I. 3:54 PM  

@Z Johnny Depp?...I think you make me laugh. My English teaching grandmother would have loved you. She used to call me "willfully ignorant."
Did anyone else spell ULCER with an S?

Notsofast 4:07 PM  

Finally finished, but it wasn't much fun. Like a nastygram in the rear.

I want to be Gill IP's new avatar 4:20 PM  

Johnny Depp

Anonymous 4:20 PM  

@Rex, anyone who works in a corporate office knows that a NASTYGRAM is an accusatory, borderline (or beyond) inappropriate email/message. So much of a thing that it should be in the OED if it isn't already

Cheerio 4:21 PM  

I had trouble with the NW corner. I suppose that makes me a prude, in so far as the raunchiness went over my head during the solve.

I enjoyed the puzzle overall. A new clue for SNEE - I think I will file that one away. Which clue is more abstruse: Snick / or /Snee, or Chris Snee? How about: a villain in Peter Pan, misspelled.

OISK 4:24 PM  

It was failing to get the "Aaliyah" that ruined the puzzle; a punishment for not going to temple this morning...As a Cohen, I usually get the aliyah...

WA 5:21 PM  

Extremely easy for a Saturday. Loved the John Paul successor clue.
I think Aaliyah got his, her? from Old McDonald.

Joseph B 5:42 PM  

Love the image you used for in the post for Turtle Diary. It would only be better if you photoshopped Ben Kingsley's face on it.

mac 5:43 PM  

Very nice puzzle, but Aaliyah gave me a lot of trouble. Eye test before -exam and I needed all the crosses for Rahal.

I like Reid.

Lewis 5:52 PM  

Only have a sec, but this wasn't easy for me, there was a lot I didn't know. I had a Natick here and a Natick there. There were some sections that just filled right in. But others were rough...

Not that I didn't like the puzzle!

Dirigonzo 6:30 PM  

It took me under an hour to reduce the grid to one blank square, and I decided that AALI_AH could use one more "a" and so DNF. That's OK because tonight is (and I am not making this up) International Observe the Moon Night and I want to get out on the deck to celebrate the occasion. Come to think of it, maybe the puzzle was intended as a tribute to the event.

David G 9:47 PM  

@Turtle Diary fan 11:46am:
Absolutely right about 26A, "SRO". Wrongly clued.

Like you, I saw Turtle Diary when it came out. I liked it very much and never knew it was written by Pinter. Thank you, NYT!

Rex and everybody's issue with EINE/EINs is valid, but not new. I've definitely encountered this in other NYT puzzles.

But I'm definitely not on board with the objections to the clue for 10D. NOBODY'S HOME is unambiguously a "clause", specifically an independent clause in the form of a simple sentence. Look it up.

No other gripes!

LaneB 8:47 AM  

When I finish a Saturday, it must be " easy". Nough said. But that makes it enjoyable and satisfying nonetheless. A rare event.

Anonymous 3:06 PM  

Consider yourself fortunate to not have been on the receiving end of a nastygram. Very real. Google search shows wide acceptance and use.

Anonymous 8:41 PM  

No one seems to have noticed the ANAL, IN THE REAR, BAD END and F-SHAPED holes? Just me, I guess...

Dirigonzo 9:42 PM  

@anony 8:41pm - you have read the previous comments, no?

spacecraft 11:18 AM  

Boy, y'all seem to have knocked this one out of the park. Not me. While I did finish--recalling Ronnie Ray-gun's Strategic Defense Initiative just in time to solve the natick with that totally ridiculous name at 8d--it was appropriately Saturday-tough for this guy.

What are parents thinking when they name their child AALIYAH? Mystifying. Was held up for a bit in the NW because of misspelling REeD. @Rex, I don't think that show would have survived that many seasons--or been picked up by that many cable channels--if only "3%" of the people watched it. ADAPTTO the fact: it's popular.

The ELENA / John Paul thing had me buffaloed. It went in on crosses, but I had to come here to get it. Even on a Saturday, that's stretching to the limit.

Very nice stacked nines. Fill pretty good, but can we give poor ESAU a rest? He seems to STEPIN almost every other day.

Anonymous 12:34 PM  

Good puzzle, easy finish even tho I had to look up Aaliyah. C'mon Spacecraft, we need those easy words like Esau & eels to help with the more difficult ones. Today's comments had me roaring. Thanks everyone.

Ron Diego (from La Mesa, ten mis. north of San Ysidro. So there.

Anonymous 1:21 PM  

NW gave me the most trouble. Only because I tried so hard to make FLAILS AT work...knowing full well that I was eventually going to have to go with GRASPS and complete the ANAL/IN THE REAR cross. Did not need that right after breakfast.

But perhaps in the evening after a glass of wine: some SLOW NASTY ANAL IN THE REAR with the MRS.

rain forest 2:19 PM  

Easiest Saturday for me in a long time. I was able to get so many of the longer answers with no or few letters entered that it was mop-up time in no time.

@Rex - You like The Simpsons; I like Criminal Minds. Chacun a son gout.

AALIYAH, ELENA and GEHRY came completely from crosses,and I'll no doubt forget who these people are. Despite these entries, I liked this puzzle. YES!

DNG 3:14 PM  

Another Saturday, another DNF. Aside from strangely decking the Mona Lisa with a bOATEr, (don't ask), I just bombed in the NW. Wanted some kind of "letter" for 1A, and couldn't parse enough downs to work it out. Sigh! As one of the apparent few who liked it, I got TURTLEDIARY right off, even tho I mis-remembered the star as George Segal.

I agree with @OISK about the preponderance of pop clues. Seems like everyday there is some weird name that the uninitiated can only hope to get from the acrosses.

Thanks to @Not the Bard for smiley memories of the crooked man. Didn't see his post 'til this morning.

Captcha: psniata. Abbreviated opus?

Anonymous 4:12 PM  

Don't forget the 'nips' in the same corner.

Cary in Boulder 4:33 PM  

Never read "Ulysses," but I remember coming across Molly's soliloquy when it was quoted by the geniuses of Firesign Theater.

Anyway, I knew this one would be rated easy since it was a Saturday I was actually able to finish. Am I the only sports fan who quickly dropped in Chris PAUL? Only to quickly cross it out when ORRIN opened his Hatch. I then got SNEE but had no idea how I knew that name. Sorry to hear he's hurtin'.

NASTYGRAM was new to me. (Never worked in a corporate environment; never will.) But I liked it! Having recently spent a blissful week in Taos, it was good to learn where that NM sun came from. ___DRO turned on the light for YSIDRO and thence AALLIYAH, although I'm sure I could not recognize a single #1 song since the early '70s. Her name must've slipped into my brain's database of random useless stuff when she died.

Waxy in Montreal 5:04 PM  

Very easy for a Saturday (though as per @rain forest, AALIYAH, ELENA and GEHRY only evolved from their crosses). Bonus - a beautiful November day up here so more time to spend in the great outdoors.

Ginger 1:19 AM  

Late to the party. Had a little time to give the puzzle a stab as I needed to wait a bit. I cannot believe I actually finished a Saturday. No googles, and no help. Yes, lots of guesses, and several answers that caused a WTF is that. YSIDRO was a gimmie for this ex-Cal gal, as was OMAHABEACH. Never heard of AALIYAH, which made USUALLY tough.

This week has been one DNF after another. Until today. Yipee!!!

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