Wordplay vocalist 2005 / FRI 10-18-13 / Informal name of 45th state / 1999 rap hit featuring Snoop Dogg / Musician who arranged theme for 2001 / Poverty metaphorically / Dutch city ESE of Amsterdam / Turkey baseball Hall-of-famer from Negro leagues / 45 degrees for 1

Friday, October 18, 2013

Constructor: David Steinberg

Relative difficulty: Challenging


Word of the Day: Turkey STEARNES (35A: Turkey ___, baseball Hall-of-Famer from the Negro leagues)
Norman Thomas "Turkey" Stearnes (May 8, 1901 – September 4, 1979) was an African American outfielder in the Negro leagues. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2000. (wikipedia)
• • •

This puzzle has one great corner—the SE. Giant white space, filled beautifully. The rest, I was indifferent to or hated. Obscure names and off cluing made this one hard to bear. Also, it should very very clearly have been a Saturday puzzle. Wasn't even close to Friday. Times being posted at the NYT site are hilariously un-Fridayish. They're running somewhat high even for a Saturday. But back to... TESSAS? Crossing STEARNES? Crossing DEODATO (!!?) (33D: Musician who arranged the theme for "2001") *and* the astonishingly self-indulgently clued JASON MRAZ (25D: "Wordplay" vocalist)? Crossing DESERET? (29A: Informal name of the 45th state) I can accept any one of those names (except TESSAS; horrible), but that jam up is obscene. Come on. Vary your fill. Obscure proper name mobs are the Worst. NW took me the longest by far. If I hadn't known (or educatedly guessed) TOREADOR, I'd still be working on this puzzle. "STILL DRE!?" (1A: "1999 rap hit featuring Snoop Dogg) Yikes. Again, I can take it, even like it, but the crosses were wickedly vague. ORIENTE is less than great fill (20A: Cuban province where Castro was born), and the "deal" in the TWIN BILL clue makes absolutely no sense to me (23A: Diamond deal). In what sense is the word being used there? A general "thing"? I.e. the absolutely vaguest sense of that word? Is it that I pay for one ticket but get to see two games? So I get a ... "deal" ... somehow? Man, that's a huge stretch.

But back to JASON MRAZ's "Wordplay"—that song went all the way to ... 81 on the Billboard Hot 100. Eighty-one. Yes, that is, in part, why you have not heard of it. And yet we have to endure it as a clue because of the obnoxious self-congratulatory inside-jokiness of the song title, which shares its name with the 2006 crossword documentary all about Shortz and his tournament. Ugh. I liked that documentary a lot, but ugh to the smug me me me-ness of that clue, for sure. AH SO needs to die a hard, permanent death as crossword fill. Clue it however you want, it will always be some white person's racist imitation of a Japanese person. I would not be surprised if tons of people out there have an error and don't even know it at the DEODATO / PASA crossing. That "A" is utterly uninferrable. "O" seems as reasonable a guess as "A." That's a truly terrible crossing. I know the song, but ... A, O, A, O ... no idea. It's not like the title is in the lyrics.

Again, some lovely moments here and there, but the cluster of junky names and the potentially unfair crossings and some less-than-great cluing made this less-than-enjoyable for me.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Anonymous 12:16 AM  

Worst. Puzzle. Ever.

Pete 12:25 AM  

Yes, the SE was nice.

THEOREMS don't get tested, they get proven. Theories get tested. Theories are different than THEOREMS. DEODATO was great if you smoked a lot of hash back in the day.

I refuse to learn anything even remotely Mormanish because,well, I refuse to learn bat-shit crazy stuff.

chefwen 12:30 AM  

Google fest - not fun!

Questinia 12:34 AM  

This was truly tough.
The grid was a split brain with the east all nice and how-do-you-do while somewhere near the Rocky Mountains of MRAZ there was an abrupt DESERET.

Had alPhA instead of TYPEA for way too long in the SW. Guessed at STEARNES. Eyes rolled to heaven at AHSO (truly a word that needs a hatchet). CBS sitcoms from the aughts? Naught. I cobbled the SW with SHEATH, PASA, THEOREMS, ETAT and the eventual TYPEA. Thought Morricone instead of DEODATO.

Finished it but felt oddly dissatisfied. Despite liking the truly beautiful SE...

This puzzle was like eating Japanese natto with a dollop of whipped cream

Z 12:44 AM  


Got the SE but stalled everywhere else. Coneheads? I was looking for a family that appeared on TV more than a half dozen times.

Still Dre? Deodata? Jason Mraz? Alba? Joni? Turkey Stearnes? Santana? Fidel's birth province? The Coens? Tessa Virtue?


This is an over-hopped IPA that is trying too hard to be something new and hip and ends up being too bitter to enjoy.

Martin 1:19 AM  

"Is it that I pay for one ticket but get to see two games? So I get a ... 'deal' ... somehow?"

"Man, that's a huge stretch."
You gone to a major league game lately?

The main reason that you don't see many twi-night double headers today, at least compared to when I was a kid, is management greed. They're too good a deal for the fans.

August West 1:35 AM  

What Rex said. Except for TWINBILL as a "Diamond deal," which I thought one of the fairer, genuinely humorous clues in the puzzle.

On the one hand, young Master Steinberg continues to amaze with the sheer depth of generations-spanning cultural and historical miniatiae that pings around in his grey matter On the other hand, does he? Or is he just a precocious, if competent, li'l ... researcher ... intent on showing puzzledom's masses who's the smartest man in town?

Love Kubrick. Love 2001. Never heard of DEODATO. Or the province where Castro was born. Or DESERET as the "informal name of [Utah]." Which it's NOT. I did know Turkey STEARNS. Because I'm old. And grew up in a family steeped in appreciation of baseball history. I suspect, however, that our adolescent savant wouldn't know any of these things but for access to, oh, I dunno, an Internet?

I don't do rap. Not up on my ice dancing medalists. ARCTANGENT? I betcha I knew that. When I was 16. JASONMRAZ? Come on. He's nobody. Belay my last. He's nobody to other then skinny jeans wearing, latte sipping, college radio listening hipsters too cool for the room.

Rex mentioned the prevalence of "off cluing," and I had the same visceral reaction several times along the solve. A BATTLE may be described as Knock-down-drag-out. KDDO is not a battle. Does one "bury the hatchet" in its SHEATH? Really? If the puzzle wasn't so otherwise pretentiously obtuse, I might have smiled at that one. As it was, after rasslin' with so many other vagaries, I just wanted David to be standing next to me so I could give the ol' Moe Howard to the back of his head.

Liked the clues for ANSEL, AMOEBAE, DENTS and THEOREMS. Else? Remember, constructor, you exist for us. Not the other way around. Less smirky. More deference to providing enjoyment to your audience.

Anoa Bob 2:09 AM  

Two things that can soothe my furrowed LIMBIC system are JONI Mitchell and a ZEN GARDEN. Oh, and Peter, Paul & Mary singing "Leaving on a JET PLANE".

Yup, there are some kick-you-in-the-private-parts stuff in the SW, but buck up people, this is late-week NYT fare. Very fine puzzle in my book. Really liked ARCTANGENT (tried ACUTE ANGLE at first).

ESP 2:44 AM  

Can't believe JET PLANE wasn't clued (25A: Richard and Linda Thompson deep cut "___ in a Rocking Chair").

jae 3:58 AM  

Medium for me except for SW...the DEODATO/STEARNES cross was a total guess...and I was not that confident about TESSA except what are the alternatives?   Also, no idea about STILL DRE so had ocCLUDES briefly.  Plus ANnie was my shooter before ANSEL.  Oh, and CaaN before COEN.  And, I really wanted Cunninghams instead of CONEHEADS.  So, medium-tough over all.

I want to thank Patton Oswald and Caleb Madison for reminding me it's  PASA. 

@Z covered the LIST (litany) of highly probable WOEs. 

Got to go with @Anoa Bob on this one.  Liked it ( it's a Friday after all) except for the you know cross.

Amoebae Coneheads Means 4:12 AM  

Beautiful looking grid!

A little too heavy on baseball for me (STEARNES, TRIPLED, TWINBILL) but I would argue gettable, because , well, i got them!
TURKEYSTEARNES is crying out to be his own theme answer, with GOOSEGOSSAGE and others, no?

Hand up for EL Condor PASo :( and that's ironic as I'm a huge S&G fan and that's one of my favorite songs of all time.

To me this had a huge musical theme...and i think it's fantastic young David covered every TYPE A song genre:
Opera (LEONTYNE Price, Carmen's TOREADOR
Folk (JONI Mitchell, JETPLANE)
Rock (aforementioned EL CONDOR PASA tho perhaps folk as well, as basedon Brazilian folksong)
Contemp (JASON MRAZ)

That's a LOT but I liked piecing them together...

Didn't mind the selfreferential, thought it cute, esp as there is not a Friday solver who isn't aware of the film, re JASONMRAZ
Tho I had Amanda yeSnowitZ!!!!!
(Thought she may have sung one of her brilliant ditties in Wordplay, which I've seen like ten times!!!!)

She's probably not famous enough for the NYT yet, but she will be one day...or deserves to be!
Who doesn't have a crush on Amanda YESNOWITZ?!
Best name waiting to be a theme answer since...
And AMANDAYESNOWITZ...15 letters!!!
She is also the dryest, most amusing FaceBook poster I've ever read.
Ok, I'm through now!

I thought the puzzle was too name-laden but quite clean and brilliant when you step back and read out all the down entries out loud.
I mean, how cool to start out with SCARFACE and the proper spelling of AMOEBAE.

Also another mini-theme, gettable despite being geographically challenged:

Only missed opportunity BIG TIME was for LEAN IN not to be clued around the Sheryl Stamberg book!
Best seller, all the talk for months, totally fresh entry for such common letters and a chance to redress the imbalance of all the baseball vs a chance for a nice feminist clue.
David, where was your mom and that one?!

Loren Muse Smith 5:15 AM  

I finished the only the southeast except for SONE and BEL – huh? "Confide" for LET IN ON, "all out" for BATTLE ("knock-down-drag-out" can work as an adjective, right?), and "LEAN up" instead of LEAN IN killed me. Oh, and "encloses" for INCLUDES.

I knew PASA from trying in the past to use "paso" because of the El Condor, and I had ERS, and ANSEL, too. But that was it.


Fridays and Saturdays are usually really challenging for me, but a lot of the time, I can finish them if I'm not too impatient. This one I could have plugged away at all day, and would never ever have gotten even a fourth of it, if even that. I agree with Acme – beautiful grid, but way way way out of my wheelhouse. I regularly do better on the Saturday Stumper than on this one.

I take my hat off to anyone who finishes this one. I sure lost the BATTLE.

Off to sub for high school Spanish.

r.alphbunker 5:25 AM  

At best THEOREMS are scrutinized not tested - unless you are in a high school math class.

Like @jae I thought it had to be TESSAS but my failure to see THEOREMS convinced me that something was wrong in the SW. Once I used Google to confirm TESSAS, THEOREMS came to me and I was done.

I am sure that the 636 puzzles that David has typed in for the Pre-Shortzian puzzle project are partially responsible for the SW corner. But this puzzle is a cakewalk compared to some of the puzzles of that era!

C. Ross Word 6:29 AM  

It's been a long time since a solving experience yielded so many plausible but incorrect answers:

blanketS / INCLUDES
confide / LETINON

It all worked out in the end but quite a workout!

optionsgeek 6:48 AM  

Mediumish for me which is a bit unusual. Love to see the High School Math stuff (THOEREM, ARCTANGENT) mixed in with the rap/hipster era musicians (Snoop Dogg, STILLDRE, JASONMRAZ) rattling around in my Pandora playlist.

Got naticked at LOMBARDi/LEONTiNE and had to google. Otherwise I thought the puzzle was tough but fair. Steinberg is becoming one of my favorite setters. It's great to get so much fresh going on. Well done.

GILL I. 7:28 AM  

Yes, SE was easiest for me but that was it.
Back upstairs, I only had ORIENTE. Such a beautiful province - too bad it spawned such an ugly monster.
Its been a long time since I've just walked away from a puzzle. Didn't even bother to Google.

r.alphbunker 7:50 AM  

There are two way to evaluate the correctness of a computer program, testing and formal verification. With testing you try the program out with various input data. With formal verification you prove various theorems about the program to show its correctness without actually running it with test data.

The difference between testing and formal verification is brought out by the following joke.

A computer science professor was teaching a course on formal verification and was asked if he would fly on the maiden flight of an airplane whose software had been formally verified by his students but never tested. He immediately said he would. When he was challenged on this, he added that knowing his students the plane would never get off the ground.

jburgs 8:17 AM  

Googlefest for me too. At first review knew nothing on the top half. Then the Southeast fell pretty well but that was it. Extremely obscure clues for my level. Unlike Rex I had no problem with El Condor PASA. That was a very big song. Never heard of YES DEAR, STEARNES, STILLDRE AND several others

Anonymous 8:23 AM  

I agree with most of Rex's comments on the obscure fill. Thankfully, I'm okay with using Google for the likes of STILLDRE, DEODATO, and JASONMRAZ. One additional annoyance: faunae/FAUNAS vs. AMOEBAE/amoebas. I much prefer the Latin forms but there should really be consistency within a given puzzle.

Sir Hillary 8:23 AM  

Absolutely brutal, especially for a Friday. Only filled in about half the squares -- worst DNF for me since forever. Anyone who finished help-free has my sincere admiration.

Hurt myself with som errors: amPEd/TYPEA, ANnie/ANSEL and SNOWshoES/SNOWTIRES

SONE and BEL? No idea.

Why not repeat the 32D clue for 39D?

Off to lick my wounds. Maybe Gaffney's meta will help.

Unknown 8:34 AM  

Yeah, this falls into the Very Hard category for me. Didn't need to google, but it did take me quite a while to finish. I've gotta agree with @acme, it is a beautiful grid, and I also thought the "Wordplay" clue was cute. I love JASON MRAZ and got it right away.

MetaRex 8:35 AM  

What ACM said on the implicit musical theme...v. nice.

Enjoyed getting beaten up many w/ wrong answers written and unwritten...

Started the whole thing off with MAGIC BUS for the 1969 means of transportation and FRACAS for the knock-down drag-out...


In the SW, AMPED for TYPE-A...


Thought at first I would prob Google before it was over...felt good not to...

The grid is pretty but there's a separate spaces issue...felt kinda unsatisfied when 30 minutes in I had the blank NW to fill.

joho 8:55 AM  

I crashed and burned in the SW, but it's nothing to be ashamed of. Tough corner!

I got the rest and was satisfied to do so.

Loved BEL side-by-side with SONE.

I also wondered if a JAMTART is served in a TINPAN.

What I need now is a ZENGARDEN to regroup for tomorrow.

You're a devil, David Steinberg, a very talented devil.

Happy Birthday, @Amoebae Coneheads Means!!!

Glimmerglass 8:59 AM  

@martin When was the last time you saw a double header for one admission? They're all "day-night" with two admissions. I don't think MLB even schedules old-fashioned TWIN BILLS anymore. The Red Sox sure don't. Still, it's a fair clue, even if retro. Lower left center completely defeated me today. DNF.

chefbea 10:03 AM  

I agree - south east was easy cuz I knew Leontine and just made a jam tart last week. other than that it was impossible!!!DNF

Norm 10:18 AM  

Momma said, "If you can't say something nice, then don't say anything at all." So, I won't ... but, if I did, it would be unprintable.

Milford 10:25 AM  

Totally humbling DNF here. Quickly got the SE, like others, but then realized I had no way to move into the other 3 quadrants. Had to google more than once to finish.

JETPLANE is such a lovely song, a bright moment in solving. It also helped me get JASON MRAZ. I fell for the "Wordplay"-the-movie dupe, and was remembering a guy on a guitar in the movie...was I supposed to remember his name?? Oh no. Duh.

Resisted AH SO because it's just so wrong. Only an AHSO would say that.

bEehive before DESERET, orderS before FAUNAS didn't help either. Thankfully I did know El Condor PASA.

Brutal puzzle. Agree with @Z's beer rating. A little scared for Saturday.

Captcha is ngdammn. Appropriate.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:26 AM  

Was feeling rather smug as I worked through the tricky and obscure from top to bottom - until I got to the SW. Lost track of the actual clue for 35 A, so I settled for a name, "S J BARNES", which left me with 36 D as JESSAS (originally JESSES) and 33 D as D BODATO -- utter nonsense, but not subject to logical analysis - i.e., pure Natick.

And solving on paper, didn't notice that I also had an I rather than a Y in LEONTYNE.

Other than that, please, more puzzles like this one!

Nancy 10:31 AM  

Agree with Rex. Many too many obscure names crossing each other. Who cares? An awful puzzle.

David Steinberg 10:32 AM  

Thanks for the write-up, Rex, and I'm glad this puzzle was a good challenge.

Thanks, too, for the comments, everyone. For those of you who didn't enjoy the puzzle, I understand and respect that, but I really think comments shouldn't include personal attacks on me or any other constructor.

Evan 10:34 AM  

I got PASA/DEODATO right but the LEONTYNE/LOMBARDY cross slayed me (had an I instead). I probably should have guessed that they wouldn't have clued LOMBARDI as an Italian region when the legendary NFL coach would have done.

Other than that one mistake, I had a relatively easier time with this than it looks like many others did, and kinda liked it with all the cool entries listed above, but also winced at several others (RELISTS, TESSAS, EDE, STEARNES, DEODATO, DESERET, ORIENTE, AH SO) -- one of the downsides of low-word count puzzles like this. I started slowly but things fell pretty fast after I finally got ZEN GARDEN, which gave me JASON MRAZ off the last two letters, and that gave me JET PLANE.

Agreed about THEOREMS being a weird thing to "test," but you know what I had tested at first? THE DRUMS. That was my funniest mistake.

I didn't have a problem with the JASON MRAZ clue, but I thought the one for DETOXED was strange. Why is it "now"? Hasn't the word DETOX been around for a long time? Dictionary.com says its origin is from the 1970s. The concept has probably been around for way longer than that. Either way, that makes me wonder how modern words have to be before they lose their newness. Some day, [Modern letters] is no longer gonna be an acceptable clue for EMAIL, at least once we finally develop technology to wire messages right to our brains.

John V 10:38 AM  

What @Rex said. SE okay. S'bout it.

Milford 10:50 AM  

@Evan - I think the "now", in the DETOXED clue is a reference to the person being not clean earlier, but after getting DETOXED they are now clean.

Nick 10:52 AM  

A trivia quiz masquerading as a puzzle. Not fun at all.

JFC 10:53 AM  

David was 15 when he constructed this puzzle. How does a 15 year old have enough of a knowledge base to think of half of these entries? I agree with everything Rex said except I wouldn't give the SE corner a pass. To me it was all the same, obscure names, titles, geography, etc. Not fun. Unfortunately, that is how I find all of David's puzzles. I winced when I saw his name in to that extent I was not disappointed....


ipaguy 10:54 AM  

Wow. That sucked. Could have spent that thirty minutes doing something more enjoyable, like a DIY root canal.
I never comment, but my total dislike of that puzzle forced me to do so today. Please, make it stop. SONE? BEL? WTF?

Z 10:57 AM  

@David Steinberg - I agree 1,000% about criticizing the puzzle not the constructor. I just quickly re-read all the comments and I am curious as to which ones you understood as personal attacks. The closest I saw was @August West's and I didn't take it as a personal attack, although I can understand how one might.

In the light of the morning I wonder, too, if my reaction might have been better if this had been a Saturday puzzle. I still think there are too many obscurish names (DEARE/DEODATA/STEARNES/DESERET springs immediately to mind) but maybe a Saturday placement would have made it less jarring.

Evan 11:00 AM  


Ah, good point. Objection withdrawn.

Dansah 11:10 AM  

Matter of perspective. This I found easy. Loved the diversity. My favorite Friday of the year. Thanks David

Steve J 11:10 AM  

My experience was like most others: SE came together pretty well, but the rest was largely impenetrable. Did happen to know PASA, but that didn't help me in the SW. Got RELISTS straight away, but that was no help, either. Even got JASON MRAZ quickly, because I work with a guy who's fanatical about him. Still no help. Eventual googlefest (and by "eventual" I mean "pretty much right away"). Definitely played like a Saturday for me. A tough Saturday.

@August West: DESERET is indeed an alternate name for Utah. It's a Mormon thing, and it's the name of their original proposed state. The borders of that got whittled down and the state was renamed to UTAH, but it's legit.

The only reason I know it is because I used to be in the newspaper business, and one of Salt Lake City's papers is called the DESERET News.

Sandy K 11:12 AM  

Despite not knowing a Lot of the answers, I BATTLEd my way thru and felt confident that I had it...

Not SO! Had PASo! And DEODaTO? Is that a Natick?

Thought of Will Shortz before JASON MRAZ. Oh, and during last night's Jeopardy, I proudly blurted out "SISYPHUS!" Yay! Learned something...

Still liked the challenge- and also glad I knew TESSA Virtue from watching the Olympics.

Milford 11:19 AM  

@David Steinberg - I'm worried you may have been insulted by my AHSO comment, which was not meant to refer to you or constructors, rather the type of person that would use it in conversation. Apologies if you saw it as an insult.

Mr. Benson 11:28 AM  

A big assortment of lucky guesses (e.g. ARCTANGENT; the clue seemed trigonometry-related and I went through ever trig word I could remember until one fit) enabled me to finish in what I'd call easy-medium time. I looked back and wondered how the heck I managed to get the NW. It's always easy to say I liked it when I finished in decent time, but I can see the objections.

Master Melvin 11:38 AM  

@Acme: and DUCKY Medwick.

Those of us of a certain age will remember Oriente Province being frequently mentioned in the evening news in the late '50's. It was a stronghold of the Castro forces during the Cuban revolution. Didn't know it was his birthplace.

OISK 11:43 AM  

Finished it with no errors, which makes this a perfect week so far, (last week was awful) but much too pop-laden for my tastes. When the first two clues are a rap hit and an actress in a series I never watched, followed by a "Classic TV family," I just want to give up. Worked my way up from the bottom - I HAVE heard of Joni Mitchell. "Stilldre" is just an awful answer, making no sense to anyone unfamiliar with rap. When I saw the clue, I mentally scrolled through all the "rap hits" I know. That didn't take long, because there aren't any. My familiarity with the genre extends to the often vulgar, generally tuneless, loud belches of sound emanating from vehicles with loud sound systems and open windows. Never heard of Jasonmraz either, and "theories" is a better answer than "theorems" ; it just didn't fit the down clues. I like David's puzzles, but I agree with others here that he sometimes overdoses on pop trivia. (note: rap fans, please do not take offense at my comments; do they constitute an "angry gram"? - they refer only to my own experiences, which are as limited as I can possibly make them.)

And yet, I did finish it; I NEVER "Google", so it was a satisfying experience. No impossible pop-Naticks like "IKO with Minaj" that killed me last week.

Oh - didn't get to comment on yesterday's puzzle, which I loved.

Anonymous 11:45 AM  

I see David Steinberg took issue with at least one commenter and I appreciate that, but Rex was actually the brutal one.

Please stop with the trivia laden puzzles David. As you can see from the comments, they aren't fun.

Signed the 4,567,453 greatest solver in da universe.

retired_chemist 11:54 AM  

NOT a fun experience, for many of the reasons aforementioned. 20 proper name/specific knowledge answers interlaced. That is too many.

That said, I almost finished. Without knowing DEODATO, STEARNES, TESSAS, whether it was DEeRE or DEaRE, PASA, having alPhA for a long time (like @Questinia), wondering if THEOREMS was properly clued (answer: it's a stretch at best), and never having heard of YES DEAR, I thought my DNF would be the SW.

Wrong - I got it all correct, but had another error: FAUNAe and the nonsensical DENTe for 22A/5D. Didn't even check, and that looked like a discoverable error (FAUNAS is correct but seems odd anyway). Snoop Dogg isn't Dr. Dre, is he? So I wasn't quite sure what to do even with the D at 5D.

The SE was my foothold and it, at least, was fun.

@Questinia, natto is the only Japanese food I could not stand. Even my Japanese hosts said it was an acquired taste and most of them hated it at first.

On to Saturday.

dk 12:13 PM  

Going to the D state for turkey day via Thermopolis, WY.

I had Ms Price right our of the shoot but put in WIL SHORTZ for Wordplay. Was so cheesed off that was not the right answer -- I kept trying to force fit Cleavers for 13A. This only increased my ire. I then considered demonstrating an ARCTANGENT by LOBing the puzzle into the wood stove. Thankfull I have DETOXED otherwise I would have fired up a fattie.

The SE settled me down as I recall all from Woodstock (not Ms. Price of course) and practiced walking meditation a few times in ZENGARDENs. A test of the LIMBIC system on both counts: Woodstock and the garden.

All in all a 15A offering. Nearly 4 decades without a TV and not being a fan of skating rendered the SW a big guess-o-thon. PASA and DEODATO oddly saved the day.

I do not have the same visceral reaction as most but I do wish AMOEBAE would sprout protopeds and just go away.

HA! Great joke in the Leonard novel I just read:

Do you like Sex?
Do you like to travel?

Then why don't you F*ck off!

🌟🌟(2 Stars)

Two Ponies 12:13 PM  

What sort of crazy Venn diagram has an overlap of Still Dre (huh?)
and Leontyne Price?

dk 12:15 PM  

out of the shute perhaps.....

dk 12:18 PM  

@two ponies see fattie reference above, use it and then it will all become clear.

wreck 12:22 PM  


Shamik 12:26 PM  

Had a medium (for me) time for Friday of 14:29. Sadly, my Condor PASO. Can never remember if PASA/PASO and have no idea who DEODATO is/was. But I like me a meaty puzzle. And actually chuckled out loud at CONEHEADS. Looking for Ricardos, Cleavers, Cartwrights, Douglas....just wasn't expecting CONEHEADS.

Gene 12:27 PM  

LEONTYNE made the SE easy. ARCTANGENT (a gimme for this math major) allowed me to do the NW in not too long. Had to google JASONMRAZ to finish. I had heard of DESERET and STEARNES, but took a lot of crosses before they surfaced.

Anonymous 12:31 PM  

Had Jeepster for Jetplane ...oh well.

Shamik 12:35 PM  

@r.alphbunker: Totally agree with you that those who dislike the puzzle should have a time travel experience and attempt some Maleska or Weng puzzles. Talk about stymied!

@augustwest: Re: "He's nobody to other then skinny jeans wearing, latte sipping, college radio listening hipsters too cool for the room." I can't fit my toe into skinny jeans, like my coffee black, don't have any college radio nearby and had cataract surgery yesterday so am no hipster. I know who Jason Mraz is. Perhaps I'm just too cool for the room though. ;-)

Steve J 12:37 PM  

@OISK: I think it's a bit of a stretch to say STILL DRE is an awful answer just because it doesn't make sense to people who don't know rap. The same could be said for TOREADOR and LEONTYNE for those who do not know opera.

In either case, I don't think that makes the answers awful. It just makes it stuff I don't know. Then the question becomes fairness of cluing and crosses, relative to the expected challenge of that puzzle.

I know I criticize entries - including overly obscure proper names, getting too bogged down in a single topic, etc. - but one thing I've tried to get better at over time is not declaring something bad just because I don't happen to know it. We all have our areas of expertise, and I don't expect everyone to share mine. If a puzzle has an abundance of something I don't know, that's not necessarily the puzzle's fault; it just means I'm not on its wavelength.

Anonymous 12:39 PM  

Well, this was pretty much impossible for an 85 year old like me, who can't abide the thought of Rap music let alone know any hits, who still doesn't quite know who the coneheads were, and whose trig course so many years ago apparently missed arctangent. I got the other 3 sections, but only by guessing such names as Jason Mraz. Who he? And theorems do not get tested, theories perhaps do.

Lewis 12:42 PM  

@Q -- terrific natto reference! That stuff is nasty! Even if it is good for you.

@norm --that wasn't nice

@mathguy -- how many "did not know" answers were there for you today?

The SE seemed too easy for Friday, and the rest was tough because of hard cluing and stuff I didn't know. I had to Google once, and that gave me the foothold I needed.

David, ignore the mean spirited criticisms, but take in the earnest ones. You are evolving, and have a sky high up side. Keep with it -- please!

mac 12:57 PM  

This one was tough for me, Still Dre? Deodato? Sorry, but Jason Mraz?

Some areas were fun to do, some impossible.

By the way, Bobby Orr just wrote a book.

Michael Hanko 1:03 PM  

Beautifully put, @Steve J.

Numinous 1:04 PM  

I neither loved nor hated this one but the overabundance of obscure proper nouns had me googling excessively.

Too bad that Mary _____ (doomed ship) referred to a 1950s novel and movie that Alfred Hitchcock refused to direct because The Wreck of the Mary DEARE was basically a "boring courtroom drama" when there two other truly doomed ships named Mary. The Mary Rose, Henry viii's great warship that he named after his sister. She was the first ship ever to fire a broadside in a naval knock-down-drag-out. She capsized and sank in the Solent over 400 years ago while good king Henry watched. Only 30 of the 500 or more souls abord survived. The Mary Celeste was doomed from her maiden voyage as Amazon. Years later, renamed the Mary Celeste, she was found 450 miles west of Gibraltar with two sails set and no crew aboard. No satisfactory explanation was ever found.

The puzzle? Blah! But at least I learned some interesting things.

Masked and AnonymoUs 1:25 PM  

har(d)...this here puz confused the M&A. Came close to a
Gooberhead Shutdown Shutstorm.

fave clues+fillins:
Mock words of understandin = YESDEAR.
Softball question = JAMTART.
Informal name of 45th state = CONEHEADS.
Wild things? = AMOEBAE.
First name in shootin = COEN.
"El Condor ___" = JETPLANE.
Where to bury the hatchet? = SCARFACE.
Diamond deal = DETOXED.
"In yer dreams!" = DEODATO, dude.

Standin O to anyone under drinkin age that can fill a grid like this. Stone cold brilliant. Did U get computer grid-fillin app assistance? If so, don't it have no "maximize U's" option? snort. [close as M&A can muster, to a personal attack]

Off to teach French on a submarine...


mathguy 1:28 PM  

@lewis: Eleven "don't knows," ten of them proper nouns.

I'm late with my comment because I just finished. From reading the comments, I learned that I made a mistake spelling LEONTYNE with an "i." Feel good about being able to complete it albeit with an error but I wouldn't say that I enjoyed it. Liked having three math entries although I agree with the others who criticized the clue for THEOREMS. Very clever clue for ARCTANGENT (the tangent of 45 degrees is 1).

M and A Social Registry 1:34 PM  

Happy B-Day, Andrea darlin. May all yer fondest wishes be accepted by the NYTimes.

jberg 2:02 PM  

On the one hand, DNF because of not knowing either DEODATO or TESSA -- so I guessed the Virtues were TESSeS, and bizarrely thought it was not PASA or PASo, but PASe. (self-taught, poorly, in Spanish).

On the other hand, I loved starting with STILL DRE and ending with LEONTYNE Price. And I loved LIMBIC and, when I finally got it, ARCTANGENT. (I'd completely forgotten what it was, though, so the numbers in the clue didn't help much).

On STILL DRE -- I don't know the song, but it's very inferrable. DRE is a crosswordese rapper, and the title makes sense (i.e., "I haven't changed.") I gather the "featuring" refers to a guest appearance by Mr. Dogg.

Many, many writeovers: TWI-Night before TWIN BILL, skeEt before ANSEL (I loved that one), ONE tenth before ONE IN TEN, SNOWbIRdS before TIRES REsellS, then poSTS before LISTS, and GET lost before REAL.

Apparently DEODATO is well known, and any star athlete named Virtue ought to be -- so although I DNF, I don't blame the constructor. If I had just been able to get off thinking that 'une carte' meant a menu (which it does), I might have been OK.

gifcan 2:02 PM  

Started with JONI and JAMTART and flew throught the SE. Hey, I'm getting better at this!

Then I was humbled by the NW. My wife gave me AcuTeangle and, not being a math guy, I clung to it for far too long. I gave in in a number of places and relied on Google.


@lms mentioned patience. I had a lot on my mind today, a lot to accomplish, and I was relying on the puzzle to provide a calm moment in my day. The level of difficulty increased my impatience and I jumped to Google much earlier than I should have.

I have much to learn.

Anonymous 2:18 PM  

I agree with worst puzzle ever! I would never have solved this without you. Thanks for your help! WOW!

Mohair Sam 2:25 PM  

Funny world. Brutal DNF for me, although I got almost all of it. But what so many hate (DEARE, DESERET, STEARNES) were gimmes here - although needed the "D" from DEARE to get Utah's informal name. For those complaining about DESERET, this is the name of the Salt Lake City newspaper - a dead giveaway. I learned on a TV show the other night that Deseret means HoneyBee, and Utah is the beehive state. It all fits, the clue was fine.

Let me GETREAL. I flubbed by not knowing MRAZ, BEL never rang, and (embarrassed here) ZEN never came to mind. Also thought DRE was DRy and guessed PASo for PASA.

Heck of a humbling Friday from young Mr. Steinberg - keep it up.

KRMunson 2:37 PM  

Come on! "Jason Mraz" is one of the few answers I was able to get easily! I still don't get "TwinBill". Where's the humor?

Anonymous 2:41 PM  

Old joke:

What's brown and rhymes with Snoop?
Dr. Dre.

Martin 2:41 PM  


I did mention that twi-night doubleheaders are rare now because MLB doesn't want to give up the revenue. But they still happen.

Ray J 2:55 PM  

Too much trivia in the SW did me in. The 2000s were my TV-less decade plus I didn’t know the ice dancer, the Hall-of-Famer, the boat or the musician. Enjoyed the rest of it.

@dk – Enjoy your soak in Thermopolis. If you have the time, I suggest a side trip to Meeteetse. Go to the Elkhorn Bar and order the ribeye. If you like steak you won’t be disappointed and you definitely won’t leave hungry. Also, if it won’t interfere with your detox, head across the street and get some Coor's® truffles at the Chocolatier. The dude in there started selling chocolate so he could buy a new saddle. Really.

Happy B’day @acme!

M and A Soapbox 2:58 PM  

@4-Oh - Only thing about retirin words from crosswords: most of the stuff various numerous folks want to retire are all the vowel-blecch-vowel or consonant-arggh-consonant stuff that glues these great little puzs together. Oldies but goodies, like NEN. And ROG. ESO. ASTA. Ooh... and KIL! And, of course, AHSO. Vive le weejects, dude. Viva LAS Vegas, while we're at it...

I love crossword puzs. Almost all of 'em. Certainly all of yers, warts and all. Has there ever been a perfect puz? Grant U, some have come mighty close. But 100%, balls-on perfecto? Any comin to mind?! Certainly not when U are tryin to do what young Master Steinberg is up to. Without some glue, U get a wideopen puz grid made up entirely of E's, or somesuch.

I'm more into celebratin the positives, I reckon. Everyone's sure welcome to adash of weeject personal attacks, now and then, if a word pokes 'em wrong. har. I can tell by yer spurs, that U are a cowboy. But retire everything that folks don't like plumb don't get it, IMBook. Sauce for the goose.

Lookin forward with gusto to the next PEWIT appearance,

okanaganer 3:03 PM  

Whew! Now I don't feel so bad...I eventually allowed myself to Google 1A (which I never do any more) and completed the grid, but with a couple of errors due to the previously mentioned uninferrable crossings. However I disagree with all those who labelled it "terrible", as it was challenging but worthwhile, if perhaps too challenging for a Friday.

And I would really like to congratulate David for using no stupid abbrev's today! Well done on that. ERS is the only truly lame answer.

Anonymous 3:13 PM  

Am I wrong or haven't some recent Fridays been harder than Saturdays? Maybe we are just more psyched to think of Saturday as more brutal.

Anonymous 3:32 PM  

There is a difference between difficult and obscure. Obscure is best left for trivia games.

OldCarFudd 4:04 PM  

I DNFed with a lot of white squares in the SW. Lots of stuff I'd never heard of, and still don't know after reading all the comments.

@acme - I'm a pretty consistent Friday solver, and I've never heard of Jason Mraz. Nor do I understand all the snipes about it being self-referential.

Ah so is perfectly good Japanese. Voila is perfectly good French. Many people, including me, use voila in routine English speech, much as we use tada! We are not thought to be mocking French people. I also use ah so in routine speech. I don't consider that I'm mocking Japanese people. I'm fed up with people deciding what's politically correct.

Two Ponies 4:43 PM  

@ OldCarFudd, I'm with you all the way on political correctness.

joho 5:01 PM  

@David Steinberg .. when I said, "You're a devil, David Steinberg, a very talented devil." I meant it in a good way!

Regardless of your age, you're puzzles are always top notch.

joho 5:02 PM  

That should be *your* puzzles ...

GILL I. 5:20 PM  

Hey Andrea...Happy birthday. I know it's not the first Monday yet, but I'll hum a few Lennon's in your honor..:-)

Davis 5:27 PM  

As a former math guy, I wanted to jump on the bandwagon complaining about the clue for THEOREMS. This isn't even a case of misdirection--it's just simple misunderstanding of what a theorem is.

The rest of this... I didn't love. Had STILLDR? and needed the Google to finish that off. (EDE is unfamiliar crosswordese for me.) The SW was a bloodbath. DEODATO? TESSAS? STEARNES? PASA? Tough by themselves, Natick city once you start crossing them. And a hatchet goes into a SHEATH?

OISK 5:39 PM  

@SteveJ. I am never going to know ANY answer involving a rap song. But stilldre is objectionable not just due to its obscurity, and not just because it is part of a genre completely unknown to me. Answers like "INXS" and "STILLDRE" are troublesome, because some of the letters could be anything at all, and even if one gets every other square, they still produce a natick if one doesn't know the down clue. In this case, I knew "Lhasan". But "Stilldrk," a song about the Mets Gooden, would make just as much sense if "Kde" were a possible Dutch city. Felt the same way when "Mrmxyzptlk" was an answer.

Anonymous 5:57 PM  

Why the quibble about whether it was PASA or PASO? Has to be "el condor pasa" in order to be literate Spanish.

LaneB 6:20 PM  

Looked it over for 5 minutes, filled TOREADOR and ALBA and that was it. Decided not yo waste my yime on all the names, obscure clues,etc.. A big,fat WTF to replace a well- earned DNF. No, more than a DNF: a DNGARA ( did not give.a rat's ass!)

Anonymous 6:40 PM  

I somehow finished the puzzle cleanly in a respectable time despite never having heard of Turkey Stearnes, Tesssa or Deodato but agree with the consensus that this was a miserable construction.

Anonymous 6:58 PM  

Usually I add (or "add on") my comments about particularly obnoxious, full-of-themselves puzzles, but Rex said it all today. I don't need to add anything. I remember Deodato's cover of the "2001" theme, itself a version of Richard Strauss's "Also Sprach Zarathustra," and it is one of those '70s moments that I have desperately tried to forget. And I agree that crossing "Tessa" with "Stearnes" is about as ridiculous as it gets. And kudos to Rex for his anti-racism: "Ah So" is despicable, up there (or down there) with "Yessuh, Massah" and other racist imitations of ethnic speech. What next, a revival in NYT crosswords where we get an "Italian" themed puzzle where every theme word has -a appended, or perhaps a "Chinese" themed puzzle where theme words with r's are changed to l's and vice versa? Ugh. Retch. Barf. It's the second decade of the 21st century, Shortz.

jazzmanchgo 7:00 PM  

Okay, call me an idiot (that's okay -- I do it all the time!), but I thought "FAUNA" was itself a plural; never heard of "FAUNAS". Is it actually a [singular] collective noun?

"STILL DRE" was actually a cute bit of misdirection, since it "featured" an artist who wasn't the actual main/eponymous performer of the song. Never heard of "YES DEAR," though . . . likewise "TESSA [and her namesakes]" . . .

. . . and how, pray tell, is "BEL" a "Volume measure"??

BADFAN 7:16 PM  

My biggest problem (and I had lots of them today) was that I confidently entered YOU WISH (27D: "In your dreams!") instead of GET REAL. Until I finally realized I had to back that one out, I was hopelessly stuck. Exhausting.

Oh Really 7:26 PM  

clue: "___ that's what the problem was!"
answer : AH SO

ok with everybody?

OISK 7:35 PM  

The AH SO debate reminded me of a favorite line from a favorite movie...William Holden saying softly

"Ach so-o-o"

jerry k 8:01 PM  

I never google but I put Garr for 9A and then googled her and look what pops up in the credits.

Sin City Spectacular (TV Series)


Anonymous 8:05 PM  

Loved it. A smart young puzzle constructor challenged us geezers. Bully for you David.

Scarab 8:06 PM  

A bel is ten decibels. I was okay with that one. Never heard of sone, though.

andy from bawstin 8:22 PM  

Miserable DNF in the SW -- didn't know Deseret (sorry, don't read the Utahn press much), Stearnes, Yes Dear, Pasa (despite being tin the demographic for which Jet Plane and Santana are gimmies) or Tessas.

On the plus side, happy that I opened by remembering that 1 is the acrtan of 45 deg (aka pi/4 ) even though I took trig 40 + years ago. Also proud that I pulled Toreado, Twin Bill, Biscayne, and Theorems (agree that the clue is wrong) out of my, er, brain with minimal crosses.

But my favorite clue was 35D "Where to bury the hatchet?" because it reminded me of when my high school French teacher (universally known as "Madame") got into a beef with the science teacher ("Doc") because he had demonstrated in an all-school assembly that it is topologically possible to remove one's pants while one's ankles are handcuffed together. She found this offensive. As Doc recounted his attempt at a peace offering: "I said, 'Madame, let's bury the hatchet,' and she gave me a smile that said 'I'll bury the hatchet in your skull.'" Thus, an additional reason for the DNF -- I couldn't get past SKULLS to see SHEATH.

@Oh Really 7:26, here in Bawstin we'd clue it as Bostonian term for a real jerk

andy from bawstin 8:25 PM  

Update: I actually remembered that 45 deg is the artctan of 1, not the other way around. Like I said, it's been a while...

Anonymous 8:32 PM  

I think David set out to personally attack and damage all of our crossword self esteem. I know he damaged mine and I cried in frustration.I may never do another puzzle, ever! Where's my word search book?

All because of you, you Smartass punk!!!

Anonymous 8:46 PM  

Breaks = Tames?

retired_chemist 8:50 PM  

@ Anon 8:46 - think of breaking a horse.

michael 9:46 PM  

I didn't find this as hard as most of you, probably because I know a lot of names. I did have to google Jason --az to see if there was a Jason Diaz muscian (turns out that there is) and then discovered the surprising Mraz. But I knew Turkey Stearnes and arctangent and oriente and deseret and leontyne and twin bill seemed ok. Just lucky today.

sanfranman59 10:12 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)

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)

Miss Manners 12:11 AM  

@JAZZMANCHGO - I don't want to but, as you insist on it, you're an idiot.

FAUNA is the animal population of a region, so it's save to say that the FAUNAS of North and South America differ greatly.

Anonymous 1:42 AM  

For the benefit of the Times puzzle makers, and for the peace of mind of Rex and the commenters:

"AH SO" is perfectly fine Japanese, and basically means what English speakers who say it think it means. It is not "mock" or racist.

"Ah" (ああ) just means "ah", and by co-incidence, "so" (そう, more precisely transliterated as "sō" or "sou") in this context means "that's how it is", or in other words: so.

French people actually say "oo la la", Germans say "verboten", and Japanese say "AH SO". English speakers who incorporate these phrases into conversation may do so to communicate many things besides bigotry.


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Amelia 12:49 PM  

I loved it. And the clue/answer for tripled made me smile. Because, as Roth says, everyone loves a triple.

Anonymous 3:47 PM  

As a baby boomer I always begin David Steinberg with the assumption I'll do miserably -- given that they're always chock full of pop culture, rappers, recent TV and movies. Guess he thinks I'm so uncool there's no point allowing for the fact that not everybody watches his movies and TV shows and his obscure music. But having gotten that off my chest, this wasn't as bad as usual. The obscure pop culture questions filled themselves in by their surroundings. I disagree with Rex about "Twin Bill", as a baseball fan I think it's a perfectly good clue. Major complaint was (as others have said) you prove THEORIES not THEOREMS, so the clue was wrong. And of course there was no hope of ever getting THEROMS since it required you to know Jason Mraz!!!! Everything else was quick and easy except for problems in the upper left caused by David's insistence that everybody has heard of "Still Dre".

Anonymous 8:15 PM  

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Anonymous 11:10 AM  

Most of the time, I don't fully agree with Mr. Parker. This time, I do. This puzzle is far too esoteric and obscure. Better luck next time, Mr. Steinberg.
Ron Diego 8:10 AM PST

spacecraft 11:48 AM  

UNwelcome back, spellcasters.

I groaned at the 1a definition; y'all know how I feel about rap. Still, I managed, in an hour-plus, to finish this one. Challenging indeed. The SW gave me the most fits until I realized that the "carte" of 45a was a map, not a menu. DEODATO took every single cross, despite that like @August West, I too am a huge Kubrick/2001 fan.

PASA was no trouble for me; I am an even huger (?) fan of the genius of Paul Simon. Wouldn't YOU rather be a hammer than a nail?

Had some trouble in the NW; being 100% ignorant of 1a not helping. Neither did having eNCLosED before INCLUDED, and before that, REsellS instead of RELISTS. Those lovable CONEHEADS finally popped into my head, and that was that.

As for criticizing the constructor vs. the construction, anybody who can make a 62-worder earns MY respect. So if he lets in a node of obscurity, or a subject unpopular with me, that's not on him personally. After all, there was only one rap reference, and two to that great year 1969 (25 and 41 a). I imagine there are those who dislike such "ancient history" as much as I do rap.

Keep on keepin' on, David.

Waxy in Montreal 1:59 PM  

Other than STILLDRE that I eventually had to google, thought this wasn't terribly difficult. Even being half a century older than young Mr. Steinberg, I think we're on the same wavelength.

Started with the gimme JONI which quickly opened up the SE although it also led to trying to somehow squeeze BIG YELLOW TAXI into 25A. Similarly, ORIENTE opened up the NE whilst STEARNES made for smooth sailing in the SW. Unfortunately, the HUXTABLES followed by the ANDERSONS for 13A caused nothing but trouble in the NW. Loved TWINBILL as I spent many Sunday afternoons during the '50's watching the International League Montreal Royals playing doubleheaders. Also, once I worked back to Utah as the 45th state, DESERET became obvious from the DESERET NEWS, the only Utah newspaper I know of.

Learnt that LARGO was more than a Florida key, EDE was ESE of Amsterdam - cute, and that the Israeli PM's were with LABOR, not LIKUD.

And on this 50th anniversary of the terrible tragedy in Dallas, I was really relieved that the first name in shooting (12D) turned out to be that of a photographer!

rain forest 2:13 PM  

I found this at most medium, oddly, because of several gimmes that were wtf's for others.

TOREADOR with only the last R, ARCTANGENT, DESERET (and I'm not American), TESSAS (I am Canadian), LEONTYNE, PASA, JASONMRAZ, and almost SCARFACE, after trying Babyface. Stumbled with DEAnE, before DEARE, and the rest was inferred.

I do agree that some clues were vague/iffy, but the crosses always cleared things up. I think it is a very good puzzle, with only AHSO (maybe) the clunker. Who *ever* says that?

Red Valerian 4:00 PM  

Some people trying to out-grumpy others, eh? But not out here in syndi-land, I'm pleased to see.

I enjoyed it, despite plunking in 'magic bus' for JETPLANE (only one other person did that? really?), and having absolutely no idea about that Utah is the 45th state let alone its other name or the name of that ship )which Google seems to indicate is fictional). Oh, and I (along with only one other person again??) thought STILLDRy could be a title and yDE a town. Ah, well.

Did know TESSAS (as @rainforest points out, probably easier for Canadians), though I didn't like the plural.

Thanks, David!

DMG 4:04 PM  

Well, I got one thing right with yesterday's comment that i expected to have a hard time with today's puzzle! Slow to start, I eventually crawled my way through three segments, with, it turns out only one error, eNCLosE for iNCLUDE. That's the kind of ing that happens when the crosses provide no help.
On the other hand, SW was such a confusion of crossing names and ? that I joined @Gill I P in just walking away.

In general, I much prefer puzzles that are language based, where one can often infer or derive answers, to ones like this trivia quiz. Either know it or not! On the other hand, even as I acknowlege that grid creators (gridists ?) probably need some "facts" to make things work, I'll argue that there is a lot of difference between knowing where Caesar lived and the lyrics of some song that was popular x years ago for 6 weeks. There I've had my rant! Age has its privileges?

And now I've failed the #%^# Captcha! TWICE!

Solving in Seattle 4:20 PM  

For the zillionth time the @SiS LOL award of the day goes to... @M&A.
And I watched U-571 yesterday.

Mr. Steinberg, you certainly elicited a ton of comments regarding this eclectic puz.

I was going to list all my throwdowns today, but I'm going to spare @Diri the mutual back-patting duty. Suffice to say I was on the puz WL.

Wrinkled nose on the clue for SHEATH, TWINBILL, and INCLUDES. Had INCLaDES.

For "Zoological groups" I ran down the taxonomy list and the only one that fit was "orders." So a little messy changing to FAUNAS.

cDrOm before ADDON. barrymore before COEN.

Have a great weekend, Syndies!

Capcha onothirp. The ear-splitting vocal interlude by Yoko.

Ginger 4:34 PM  

Tough One which turned into a Google fest, and still ended with many unfilled squares. Many things I did not know, too many to list, and some surprises that were gimmies. (ORIENTE, anyone?)

I am truly impressed that young Mr. Steinberg could pull this off (when he was 15 no less!) Don't let the kvetchers get you down, David, keep up the good work.

Solving in Seattle 4:44 PM  

Nice to see our neighbors to the North checking in today, especially the appearance from @Red V. @Rain forest, we have a bye week, but "Go Hawks!" anyway.

Anonymous 5:48 PM  

completely agree with rex , someone.s ego overcame purpose

Dirigonzo 6:01 PM  

I didn't google but I didn't finish, either. I thought I did pretty well to reduce the grid to only a few blank squares and a couple of wrong ones, all of them south of DETOX and west of TINPAN.

@Red Valerian - nice to see you back!

Anonymous 7:08 PM  

it's amazing. so many people so deep into something so insignificant as a crossword puzzle. i had no idea.

BedfordBob 9:44 PM  

No personal criticism of young Mr. Steinberg but this puzzle was in my opinion not fun so after solving the SE and NW and middle quit. It is after all just a puzzle.

Hope he does better next time.

sdcheezhd 4:13 AM  

NW was pretty smooth even with ACUTEANGLE instead of ARCTANGENT. SE went OK too although never heard of SONE. The rest was a real slog, especially with Turkey STEARNES and TESSAS. I listened to a lot of Top 40 in 73 so got DEODATO or it probably would have been hopeless. Got some satisfaction here seeing it is the #1 hardest Friday.

Tom Korocz 2:44 PM  

I hated this too but mainly because of my hatred of rap clues. Thankfully, I too guessed TOREADOR, and knew "El Condor Pasa" otherwise I would have DNF'd this one. Was able to overcome inserting ACUTEANGLE and LIKUDPARTY off the "L" in GETREAL before I realized it was LABORPARTY. DEODATO total mystery I could never have inferred if I hadn't known "Turkey" STEARNES.

mschro 3:57 PM  

I found most of the puzzle easy for a Friday, but then I was one of those hash smoking folks back in the seventies so the Deodato clue was a gimme. I did struggle with the northwest corner for some time having only "let in on" "add on" to work with. Eventually, toreador came into view and the rest was history.

SHAX 1564 6:18 PM  

I am in syndi-land, so probably no one will read my comments. Just wanted to say that although I'm generationally a geezer, I love David Steinberg's puzzles and look forward to solving them--or at least trying to. Puzzles are full of trivia all the time.

Dirigonzo 7:03 PM  

@SHAX 1564 - Syndi-land abounds with geezers! Please join us on a regular basis - your comments will always be read and enjoyed thanks to email comment updates many of us receive.

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