Early tragedienne Duse / SAT 11-16-13 / G-Funk Classics rapper / Spartan gathering place / Long slender glass for drinking beer / Pioneering underground publication of 1960s / Evian competitor / Norwegian Romanticist / Italian P.M. Letta /

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Constructor: David Steinberg

Relative difficulty: Challenging

THEME: none

Word of the Day: REXALL (8D: ___ Place (Edmonton Oilers' arena)) —
Rexall was a chain of North American drugstores, and the name of their store-branded products. The stores, having roots in the federation of United Drug Stores starting in 1902, licensed the Rexall brand name to as many as 12,000 drug stores across the United States from 1920 to 1977. (The "Rex" in the name came from the common Rx abbreviation for drug prescriptions.)
Since 1985, it has been the name of over-the-counter drugs and drugstores in Canada operated by the Katz Group of Companies, and of health supplements in the United States. The Canadian Rexall brand is not related to the US operations. (wikipedia)
• • •

Well I finished with two errors, which almost never happens. I cannot remember the last time it happened. I finish with errors maybe two or three times a year, tops. I can handle failure, but it's awfully painful to have that failure occur at the dead-ugliest, worst-constructed part of the grid. As you can see (see grid), my wrong squares were between the N and the B in NLRB. NLRB (National Labor Relations Board) is not an agency I even knew about until crosswords, and it never, ever occurs to me. Any time I get it, it's through crosses. Today's crosses—hoo boy. Don't know what a REXALL is. It now sounds vaguely familiar (now that I've looked it up), but Edmonton Oilers? Who the hell knows? REXALT (my wrong answer) seemed reasonable to me. And PRS? I had to ask a friend what PRS were (i.e. I thought it was a plural, i.e. many PRs). Turns out it's the letters on the "7" key on a phone before cell phones (before there was a "Q" … not sure why cell phones can have "Q"s when "old" phones couldn't, but I don't care enough to look it up right now). So I went with PSS. Not because it made sense. But because I had NTSB at 29A: Strike-monitoring org. It didn't feel quite right, but what other org. starts "N" and ends "B" (he asked, naively)? I convinced myself that strikes might, in fact, relate to transportation safety, so NTSB / REXALT / PSS it was. I can't say the real answers look any better.

The rest of this was tough but decent. DEDE is DEDEsastrous. Just the worst thing ever please never use it again, everyone. And DREWU also sucks horribly dear god I hate it. ELEONORA is just made-up looking. [Name with a bunch of vowels] would've been just as helpful there. And aren't DOUBLE BEDs made for couples (15A: Tight squeeze for a couple?)? As opposed to a twin bed, say? I remember trying to sleep two to a twin bed in college—now *that* is a "tight squeeze." DOUBLE BED seems a reasonable choice for couples, so I'm confused on that one. But I quite liked the rest of it, especially the wickedly hard but fantastic-to-reveal ZAP COMIX (35D: Pioneering underground publication of the 1960s), the barely-remembered but super-looking AEON FLUX (37D: 1990s sci-fi series), and the fantastically-clued APPLE CARE (1A: Air protection program?) (I'm typing this on a MacBook Air). "I'M TOO SEXY" was also good, but way too much of a gimme for me (17A: 1992 chart-topper that mentions "my little turn on the catwalk").

Struggled everywhere. Actually, tore down the east side of the puzzle, but getting into the middle and west was rough for me. Had GALOSH for GAITER (48D: Boot covering), which slowed me down for a while. DADA for DEDE (duh duh). ALEYARD was very hard to come up with, and in general that SW corner was the toughest. I wouldn't be surprised if many people spun out there (as opposed to the weird place I spun out). Lots of names today, which also might've sunk people: VING, NATE DOGG, ANNA, ELON, CESAR, SOROS, ENRICO (?). I knew all but the last. [First name in fashion] = RALPH was vicious. Always expect a clue like that to be Italian or at least foreign and somehow chic. Not RALPH (Lauren). RALPH does not say "fashion." Not on its own. So that was a clever/hard clue. ROSLYN? No hope (23D: Long Island Rail Road station). Needed all crosses. Gotta live in NYC area to know that one, I'm guessing. Overall, an entertaining, if flawed, effort.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Loren Muse Smith 9:25 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
chefbea 9:27 AM  

and I'm second!!! DNF cuz I'm busy packing. Will go back to it later

@JohnV…notice 30 down!!!

Loren Muse Smith 9:27 AM  

Ok - I'll go first.

Rex – I was so relieved you rated this one "challenging." I feel somewhat better.

My faux-hold was "emit" for 31A "Time reversal?" I never, ever questioned it and felt all smart and happy. (I still don't get STET there.) Then "ess" for 58A "Star opening?" and was even further encouraged. Other deadly mistakes:
"pilsner" – ALEYARD
"orange" – POMELO – I know I'm not alone there.
"pitch" – MATEY
"gins" - RYES
"dormant" – ABEYANT
"Hopi" – ROMA (Hey – it was off the I in "pitch," and I was stunned that we were to have a Hopi phrase)

When I saw David's name, I knew I was doomed to be SAVAGED, and I was. I could have carried this around with me for a week and not gotten more than the roughly half that I got this morning. ZAP COMIX, APPLE CARE, I'M TOO SEXY, ANNA, ELEONORA, POMELO, AEONFLUX, ELON, VING, TYNE, REXALL, ABEYANT, DEDE, ROSLYN, SOROS, FORCE QUIT, NATE DOGG, ENRICO, GEITER, GRIEG, ALEYARD, NLRB. . . over thirty percent of the answers that I didn't know and couldn't get from the crosses.

Loved the clues for PUTTER, LAND, DER, and RANCH.

If you've ever camped in seriously cold, snowy weather, you'll appreciate that GAITERs are just about the most vital pieces of equipment.

RELOAN. Well, yeah, I guess we have to accept that LOAN is now a verb. I can't bring myself to use it that way, though. I'm so two-faced. Really.

TOWARDS or TOWARD? I think I POKEd around that question a while ago but I can't remember what I decided.

Extremely difficult, well, impossible, puzzle for this solver. Congrats to anyone who finished

Sir Hillary 9:30 AM  

Wow, brutally hard. But an excellent puzzle.

NLRB is unfamiliar to me, but I had tEXAco for REXALL forever, so that familiarity was irrelevant. Stared at the grid for quite a while until the SE finally showed itself. Last letter in was the X in the very SW, which was a total guess. I was only able to parse XAXES after Googling it -- looks obvious in retrospect, but I just couldn't see it.

What a workout. I now need to be ABEYANT and IDLE for a bit.

Imfromjersey 9:33 AM  

"Old" phones don't have a Q or a Z, cell phones have them for texting. I think the reason for no Q was to not confuse it with O, back when people used to dial numbers by the names of the exchanges, like KLOndike-5...

Hard puzzle, but I finished! Had non trouble where @rex did but lots of trouble seeing AppleCare.

Sir Hillary 9:34 AM  

Sorry, meant to say that NLRB is familiar.

thursdaysd 9:36 AM  

I have heard of the NLRB - it turns up in news stories about unions trying to get recognition. However, I hadn't heard of any of those names down in the SW and finally gave up there. I think that next time I see this compiler's name I will just do a different crossword.

George Barany 9:36 AM  

@REXall, I had to FORCE_QUIT my computer in the middle of solving this marvelously challenging puzzle. Took forever to realize that "Alternative to die" was in German, which gave DER. The mathematical answer to 64-Across, i.e. X-AXES, clued as "Baselines?" made me think of a question of my own: Here at the @University of Minnesota, the Gophers play at the Baseline Center. Just who is this wealthy donor named Baseline?

Z 9:37 AM  

NLRB was what opened up the upper midwest for me. It has even been in the news lately in connection with entire blocking nominees/filibuster fight in the US Senate. No, it was the SW that killed me.

Seems like we had a DUSE discussion recently, but I didn't pay mine. Her first name eluded me. ZAP COMIX and AEON FLUX in the same corner is tough unless you are into comics and animation. Not my thing, but they are at least tangential to things that are.

ALE YARD is something I had to look up. I recently saw shorter versions at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. The real thing looks like something Rob Ford might own.

I also thought this puzzle skewed towards Apple ZEALOTs a little, with APPLECARE and the Apple specific FORCE QUIT as opposed to the Windows version, Ctrl/Alt/Delete.

Was hoping for a little Right Said Fred but got Barbara Mandrell instead. Now there's tight squeeze for a DOUBLE BED.

Doris 9:40 AM  

@Loren Muse Smith--STET ("let it stand") means to reverse a correction in copy editing. So at Time Magazine, STET would be a reversal.

RALPH could also be very upper-class designer Ralph Rucci, not as widely known. except by Vogue readers and fashionistas, as his designs are ultra-expensive but also ultra tasteful and gorgeous. A connoisseurs'

Carola 9:41 AM  

FORCEd to QUIT, crushed under an avalance of proper nouns and product placements. The ones I knew: Eleonora, Grieg, Ralph, Omaha, Dede. The ones I shoulda or maybe coulda gotten: Adidas, Applecare. The ones in the n-o-o-o- idea category: the rest.

I'm not sure I've ever finished a David Steinberg puzzle, but the DNF hasn't ever been this impressive. ELEONORA was all by herself in the SW and the NW was almost as uninhabited.

@loren - I also wrote in EMIT and felt like, "Ha ha I saw right through you." Not. I had to lie down for a nap to get STET: the clue means Time Magazine.

Anonymous 9:47 AM  

Ok hard puzzle...but what happened to the clever brain teaser? Some type of theme to figure out? Not just random, obscure words that I could care less about..I get bored, I finish, but bored....oh how I long for that fabulous "double feature " puzzle when two answers fit into one square all the way down...I miss that "aha" moment of accomplishment lately...

August West 9:47 AM  

I loved this puzzle as much as I hated David's October offering. For whatever reason, today's esoterica was right in my wheelhouse. Growing up, we used to go to REXALL. NLRB is familiar to attorneys. A PC user, I wasn't familiar with FORCEQUIT, but its crosses were eminently fair, although I had to suss out ENRICO. Knew all the other obscure names except NATEDOGG, but, again, his crosses were pretty much gimmes. ELEONORA Duse was in a puzzle within the last month. "Duse" was the answer last time, and I had it ELEaNORA before PEON set me straight, but memory of her recent appearance and my having then looked her up helped greatly in the SW. I blasted through this in 6:32, currently good for 14th on the Magmic ranking, so definitely easy here. I can see how it would give fits, though, if not familiar with all of the largely obscure individuals. Favorite answer: X AXES. Least favorite: ABEYANT.

lms: Think TIME magazine.

Pete 9:50 AM  

@LMS - Time as in Time Magazine, and editor will reverse a change with STET. Yes, EMIT is the logical answer, and my first.

I've never enjoyed David's puzzles, and this one was no different. Solving them is akin to speaking with and intelligent person lacking wisdom. He may get the details right, but it's just details, there's no art or understanding.

Two Apple specific answers is, at least, one too many in a puzzle. I was able to get APPLECARE, but FORCEQUIT was a total WTF for me. I looked it up and understanding changed from a WTF to a WFCs.

Since you apparantly can make marmelade out of any fruit, if the answer isn't orange, why don't you just clue it as "Name a fruit"

Anonymous 9:51 AM  

I hated this puzzle like I've never hated a puzzle before. I never say I can't be bothered to finish one, but that was the case here. Too many very obscure clues and answers, and this is from someone who's been to Edmonton a lot and got Rexall.

MetaRex 9:57 AM  

As one who becomes bilious when I google and also enjoys having my stupidity revealed, I have deeply mixed reax to this one...worked at the NLRB for a while so that was no woe but much else was. Was worried earlier that OFL had succumbed to apoplexy...v. happy to have his reax bubble up onscreen...

The ESE count for today and the MRian verdict on Evan's reworking of David W's NE corner yesterday and David's original are here

AliasZ 10:00 AM  

This was a tough one for me. Not because the clues were overly clever, but because of all the things I didn’t know, or care to know. My first entry was RANCH, and I thought this is going to be easy. However my feelings TOWARDS the puzzle took an immediate southerly turn when I saw the rapper clue and it got worse with George SOROS.

In the NE I made the mistake of entering liKE for Facebook contact. NATE DiGG made as much sense to me as DOGG, and lANERA sounded as good as PANERA. What do I know? I also had rAVAGED, which made Pqr out of the PRS phone trio. Of course, NLqB looked as good as NLRB, or any other random four-letter acronym.

The SW was even worse. I had no idea what ZiPpOfIX was. I thought maybe there was a lighter repair shop with that name underground in the 1960. Never in my life have I said, or would ever say, I RULE. To me it is “you RULE.” And if 50A DREW U, it certainly didn’t draw me.

That doesn’t mean that there weren’t lots of things to like in this puzzle: ABEYANT, DOUBLE BED, HAYSEEDS, BAD ADVICE, the rhyming AEON FLUX / ELON Musk, and OH BABY I’m ON FIRE, the only Bruce Springsteen song I can stand, were just a few of them.

To put it simply, it was a challenging solve for all the wrong reasons. I am somewhat baffled by Will Shortz’s positive, almost glowing take on this puzzle. I hope you had a better time with it than I did.

Davidph 10:00 AM  

Terribly hard, fun puzzle. The east fell quickly, but the west turned into a Googlefest. I managed to finish in about 1 hr 20 min after finally resorting to the Wordbook puzzle solver to get the Y in ABEYANT. I've only heard the word as 'in abeyance' and just couldn't fill in the blank. Never heard of Naya water.

The clue for ALER (A or O, but not B) was very clever.

I enjoyed reading in Wikipedia about Zap Comix, Aeon Flux, and Iroquois languages on the way to the finish line. But am I supposed to know (or care about) random suburban stations on the LIRR (of which there are dozens)?

Questinia 10:04 AM  

Also two-three errors, I refused to give up "Q", so had rAVAGED and PqR.

Had AEON FoUX, because well, the 90's were crazy times and MOoDY seemed OK.

...also with "emit"@ lms @ Carola, then STEm (as in stem the tide) until I realized I was playing three-D word chess and plunked down STET.

DOUBLE BEDS? (They're fine for two, Messrs Shortz et Steinberg)

yet much brilliance!

FORCE QUIT-brilliant
APPLE CARE-brilliant

but the center of the grid...awkward!

Had a REXALL nearby in the 90's before CVS sucked it's juices to death. Those were such AEoN FOUX.

John V 10:05 AM  

Well I got 30D. Kinda says it all. Nothing personal, dude, but I have yet to finish a David Steinberg puzzle. Just WAY too much trivia/pop/proper name stuff. Just the way it goes.

Now, to the garden and eat some worms.

Glimmerglass 10:17 AM  

I was completely defeated by the left side of this puzzle -- as far out of my wheelhouse as it is possible to be. The right-hand side, I found challenging but doable. Too many quibbles to mention. Well, here's one. Since when is a "yard of ale" called an ALE YARD?

Greg Charles 10:25 AM  

What's an aler? Even Google is baffled by that.

Greg Charles 10:31 AM  

Wait, ALer? Are the Orioles ever called the Os? That's brutal!

Z 10:32 AM  

Hand up for not grokking STET. Thanks @Doris and others for clearing that up.

I agree this is a little, but just a little, heavy on proper names. It is Saturday, everything is pretty current (for example, AEON FLUX was made into a movie in 2005 and I just googled news stories and there were five references to it this week alone), the crosses are fair even when tricky. So, don't blame the puzzle, it is a fine effort. About the only thing I would change is the overly NYCcentric LIRR clues, but we've seen those before. I did not like @David Steinberg's last puzzle, either, but I found this one highly enjoyable.

For those who don't like political debates here, I will refrain from commenting on the Apple-hating comments above. Talk about discussions that inevitably devolve into needless trolling....

Nancy 10:33 AM  

Beyond challenging -- all the way to im-possible. And not fun, at least not for me. Too many names; too much pop culture.
To Loren Muse Smith: I also had "emit" and mistakenly patted myself on the back for it, but as an ex-publishing person, I can explain STET. Time magazine reversal: the decision to delete, reversed by a decision to keep the copy after all, is marked "stet."

r.alphbunker 10:34 AM  

Started Googling early on:

But when playing the puzzle back I saw a lot of good stuff that I figured out on my own so I came away with a good feeling about the puzzle.

I remember something that @jackj (where is he?) said - the solver should get to use Google as many times as the constructor did in creating the puzzle.

Not Bud Selig 10:35 AM  

@Greg Charles - American Leaguer and National Leaguer often appear as ALER or NLER. Here, Oakland A's and Baltimore Orioles are referenced in the clue.

Z 10:37 AM  

@r.alphbunker - @DS often stops by, maybe he will tell us how many times he used google. I fear the answer may be, "I didn't."

Questinia 10:56 AM  

@ August West, good going! Your experience with today's puzzle was like mine yesterday.

Anonymous 10:57 AM  

This was a 10-google DNF as the SW remained a muddle. For good reason, it turns out. While I had the correct basis for ZEALOT, I ran out of patience. 2:15 is enough time on any puzzle. The unheard of ZAPCOMIX and AEONFLUX detritus of pop culture required the unheard of ALEYARD beer glass and an association between the color blue and MOLDY, which don't equate in my mind. That whole corner was a Natick, even after exhaustive googling.

NLRB was a gimme for newshounds like me who came of age when unions still held strikes.

MATEY and OATERS are obscure, and ALER is horribly clued. I was down the rabbit holes of blood "type"s and British secondary education "GCES" final exams (A-Levels and O-Levels) before it appeared solely from the crosses.

I should be proud I solved the solvable part correctly.

Bob Kerfuffle 11:02 AM  

Challenging, indeed, and I enjoyed doing it and finishing correctly.

Few write-overs, including EMIT/STET. Interesting that so many of us thought we had out-smarted the puzz, but hadn't.

So now, time for BLEU cheese with ALE?

GILL I. 11:11 AM  

Ye gads! or should I say OH BABY?
Hand up for EMIT - thanks @Doris and to @G. Barney for the explanation of DER.
Had QUINCE for the marmalade fruit which gave me AQUA LUNG for 1A which makes about as much sense as APPLE CARE. I can't even remember what I had for a tight squeeze but it wasn't as tame as a DOUBLE BED.
I go to our local PANERA every Friday to buy a loaf of their Artisan Rye and yet I COULD NOT come up with the name.
I only have a PC so FORCE QUIT sounded like it was missing a letter or two.
I like difficult gettable not difficult impossible. This puzzle was just no fun at all. Not one AHA moment nor a smile. I guess I'm doomed to never being on young master David's wavelength.

obertb 11:20 AM  

Amazed, just flabbergasted, to see Zap Comix in the NYT crossword! Has anyone at the NYT ever SEEN Zap Comix?!

Anonymous 11:27 AM  

It was previously mentioned to be a movie, but Aeon Flux starred Charlize Theron. That made it memorable to me. (Sorry Milla Jovovitch.)

Anonymous 11:31 AM  

The puzzle is terrible. I could create a puzzle that no one would ever finish. That doesn't mean it would be acceptable. The problem is the constuctor's age.I mentioned it to Will many times,but he's got a blind spot when it comes to these young kids.Heck, you can't rent a car until you are twenty -five. Same with

Gene 11:32 AM  

Lower right went OK, upper left needed googling. Had REDS for 55D for too long. Def. for ROSLYN is ridiculous, although I'm not far from there. Happy that I refused to put in ORANGE for 2D as too simple. NLRB seemed rather obvious to me, so, as a hickory fan, REXALL seemed familiar.

jae 11:35 AM  

Yep, a tough Sat. I'm a PC person also so APPLECARE and FORCE QUIT were WOEs along with ELON, NATE DOGG, ROSLYN and ENRICO. After my first pass I thought I was looking at a DNF. But, I knew NLRB, had seen the recent ELEONORA clue, remembered the REXALL drug store from my home town so just kept plugging away and finally finished when I'M TOO SEXY became apparent in the NW. I took a loooong time to get there though.

So, lotsa zip, crunchy workout, liked it. Nice one David!

Dean 11:39 AM  

Just plain hated it. Never, never, never heard of ALEYARD (an open space to store your empties?? ), AEONFLUX, ZAPCOMIX (and I'm old enough to have owned a 45 of DE DE DINAH) or NATEDOGG. I know ROSLYNs, but none of them are on the LIRR. Not one of the proper name clues helped me in the slightest. DER is not an "alternative" to DIE - not even German lets you pick your gender and number. And enough already with OATER. No human being in the history of the universe ever used that word until someone shoehorned it into a crossword puzzle, I am willing to bet.

Mohair Sam 11:46 AM  

Not a perfect puzzle, but darned good. And talk about tough. A dnf in this house because we never heard of AEONFLUX and mold is green not blue (so MOLDY became MOoDY and FLUX became FoUr), and we never heard of COMIX and so went with a "C" at the end.

I think you can rate a puzzle as well constructed when it gives different challenges to different solvers. We had four gimmes, mostly what @rex was defeated by. The NLRB and PRS crossing was a gimme here, as was Rex's hated DEDE Dinah. CESAR a gimme too, which gave us RALPH and made REXALL a no-brainer. But APPLECARE? It was the last answer filled, and we still wondered about it.

Wonderful cluing, too many aha's and groans to list. One complaint, and I agree with several folks here - DOUBLEBED. Nah..

retired_chemist 11:51 AM  

There was so much outside my ken that it was an annoying slog through Google after about the 60% point. Some excellent clues/answers but the slew of unfamiliar proper names justified Pete's comment:" Solving them is akin to speaking with and intelligent person lacking wisdom. He may get the details right, but it's just details, there's no art or understanding." Thus, DER as an alternative to die: it isn't. One is correct, or the other. They can't be substituted for one another as grammatically correct alternatives.

1A: I have never heard of MacBook Air referred to as just Air. I'm an Apple guy and it never occurred to me.

The SW corner: down, three proper names, of which I knew only one and misspelled that one (ELEaNORA). NATE DOGG, NAYA, REXALL, and a number of others also threw me. A few of these, fine; this many, and the puzzle is destroyed for me. if I were a starting solver I would chalk it up to a learning experience. Much of this is so narrowly conceived, however, that I never expect to see it again, so why learn?

I have little hope of ever finishing a David Steinberg puzzle. Next time I may not bother to start.

AliasZ 11:57 AM  

ELON Musk is an incredibly talented and rich American businessman, investor and inventor. He is currently the CEO & CTO of SpaceX and CEO & Chief Product Architect of Tesla Motors. His latest invention is the Hyperloop, a proposed high-speed transportation system consisting of an elevated, reduced-pressure tube that contains pressurized capsules driven within the tube by a number of linear electric motors. The hyperloop would enable travel from the Los Angeles region to the San Francisco Bay Area in 35 minutes, meaning that passengers would traverse the proposed 354-mile route at an average speed of just under 598 mph, and a top speed of 760 mph. It would cost approx. $6 billion to build the infrastructure.

It sounds like a great idea on paper, but I think it’s a pipe dream.

I have to offer at least one piece of music today inspired by 45A. This is Two Elegiac Melodies for Strings, Op. 34 by Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907). More beautiful music you will not hear.

Enjoy your weekend.

Evan 11:59 AM  

Definitely hard, but I finished it with no errors, though I had to cross my fingers on the NAYA/ELON cross....I feel like I've heard the name ELON Musk and ELOM just didn't look right. POMELO I knew because it previously showed up as a Natick in a Joe Krozel puzzle crossing the P in PAVANE (which, by the way, is the most recent NYT puzzle where POMELO appeared until today).

After finishing, I thought it was tough but good -- my mistakes were WE WON before I RULE, FIJI before NAYA, NEXTEL before REXALL, and TANKARD before ALEYARD -- though I can see now why others' reactions have been more negative. I likely wouldn't have gotten REXALL if I hadn't temporarily used it as fill in one of my submissions. ALEYARD crossing ELEONORA (weird spelling) and AEON FLUX (I've seen the movie) and ROSLYN (how many LIRR stations can you name if you don't live in New York) is pretty cruel. Even ANNA crossing GAITER is tough, if you aren't sure if her name is ANNA or ANNE (I've seen all of "Breaking Bad") and don't know what a GAITER is (I didn't).

I loved seeing NATE DOGG -- I actually had him as a filler answer in one of my unfinished puzzles, but I'm starting it over because I think I've got too much junk in it otherwise.

GILL I. 12:06 PM  

@obertb: Strangely enough, ZAPCOMIc was one of the very few answers I got - though wrong since I had a "c" at the end.
I think if you were around San Francisco in the late 60's early 70's you would have read the comics. I remember there was a big brouha because of the sexual, racial, drug infused themes. Very few in San Francisco cared especially if you lived in the Haight Ashbury LSD community.....
I should look it up but I think there was a lawsuit or some such to try and band the comix...

Merle 12:08 PM  

Impossible puzzle. I Googled, and, I finally turned to Rex. So, Rex rules! Except, Rex -- huh? What's wrong with Eleonora Duse? She was a famous performer, a great interpreter of great plays. And double bed is a tight squeeze, dude! Nothing wrong with a tight squeeze if you wanna get real close, but a queen-sized bed gives you roll-over room, stretch out a little room -- and a king-sized bed gives you even more. So -- snuggle happily in a double bed, if that is your two-in-a-bed experience.

Re names -- the only names I knew were Anna (Gunn) and Eleonora (Duse). Ving? Elon? Nate Dogg? Not my cultural frame of reference.

Roslyn -- hey, a New Yawker might know that! I do. I also knew DeDe Dinah -- yo, Dawg, I'm much older than you. De De Dinah Duh! I'm not old enough to remember gaiters, but I sure knew what they were, and I know that galoshes are a type of boot, they don't go over boots.

What's a Xaxes?

Anyway, evil, unenjoyable puzzle.

Rgrant50 12:09 PM  

Being Canadian I got Rexall which easliy gave me Ralph.
It is nice to get a clue in my neighbourhood rather than NY centric like Roslyn.
Very tough puzzle otherwise.

Unknown 12:12 PM  

Well, I was hoping for a toughie and this sure was. Like Rex, I struggled everywhere, but it finally came together. I thought the PRS clue was one of the easier ones! I was ridiculously happy and satisfied to see the challenging rating. I could guess POMELO from crosses, but have never seen POMELO marmalade, ever. I also guessed ALEYARD, and imagine that must be the name of those long gimmicky glasses.

Attitude upon finishing: I RULE!

Unknown 12:13 PM  

@Merle, plural of X axis.

GILL I. 12:14 PM  

Huh... that should be ban....

Evan 12:21 PM  

(Fair warning: This comment details something about yesterday's puzzle)


It's fine if you prefer David's corner over mine, but I think it's worth mentioning that your own rating system miscounts David's answers.

KARSTS = 2 (heavy-duty obscure and a plural of convenience)
NIIHAU = 1 (heavy-duty obscure)
TATARY = 1 (I'd give this 2 for obscurity but I'll leave it as 1 for being a variant, which I consider to be worse than ALTARS)
AIRY = 0.5
RIB = 1
TAS = 3
MIRE = 0.5
ONYX = 0.5

I count that as 9.5 for David's corner, not 6.5, and higher than the 8 you gave mine. Again, just using your own system. OSSA in my corner is bad, sure, but I don't see any universe where you can knock ABUSES and ALTARS for being plurals of convenience but not KARSTS for being both a plural AND obscure. For the record, the label "plural of convenience" is, frankly, a criticism I don't understand most of the time unless it's something contrived like DEERS or a plural last name or a gigantic crutch like REASSESSES, so I usually don't see plurals as being nearly as bad as variants or obscure answers.

Curmudgeon 12:23 PM  

NLRB was a gimme, unlike most of the SW entries, which just got ridiculous.
Googling isn't solving, in my book. This wasn't any fun, basically.
Will's comments on Xword Info indicate he thinks the constructor has these facts, names, etc., in his general knowledge base. Get real. Software may ruin constructing if this keeps up.

chefbea 12:38 PM  

Has anyone mentioned PUTTER as marmalade fruit.?? What kind of fruit is that???

Evan 12:43 PM  


Check the Down clues again -- PUTTER is the [Green piece].

jae 12:43 PM  

@lms -- me too for pilsner and I started to put in orange but stopped when there was no way the "n" would work with 19a.

@chefbea -- your off by one number. PUTTER is 3d not 2d.

Anonymous 12:58 PM  

Cell phone have a Q for texting.

SvenDog 12:58 PM  

Very tough one for me, even though I do live in the NYC area (in Madison, NJ, actually) so that gave me a slight advantage for DREWU and ROSLYN. Even with those, the rest was tough sledding. I did manage to complete it, except for the NW. I strenuously object to the clue for DOUBLE BED. I had SINGLE BED, (I think that's a thing) which gave me no chance whatsoever to get POMELO (which I'm pretty sure is not a thing.) Also X-AXES I got as a result of a lucky guess at the last letter of ELEANORA, but I still didn't understand what it was, I was reading it as just XAXES, until i read the comments. Good, tough Saturday puzzle.

Steve J 1:04 PM  

LIke virtually everyone else, I ran into many walls here. Even with getting several easy (for me) footholds out of the gate - ELON, CESAR, PANERA, NLRB (I used to be a government and politics reporter, so it's in my wheelhouse), POKE - I was still left floundering early on.

I also had GALOSH instead of GAITER. I saw the YARD part of ALE YARD early, but it took me a while just to guess the ALE part (I've personally never heard those glasses refered to as ALE YARDs, just yards or "a yard of ale"). Growing up in Minnesota, there were REXALL drugs around, but I didn't make the connection with the arena (it doesn't help that I'm a bad Minnesotan in that I couldn't care less about hockey, and you hardly pick it up by osmosis in my home of California). I was never going to remember ELEONORA Duse.


Did not like DREW U, ROSLYN (at least as so specifically clued).

Really dislike the clue for ALER. I got the A and O reference quickly, but the "not B" part threw me. And I think it's wrong, as the way the clue is written, it implies that there's a National League team known colloquially as the B's. There isn't. You could have accomplished the same thing and difficulty just with "A and O" (and, yes, the Orioles are fairly commonly referred to as the O's).

Surprised to find that FORCE QUIT is so Apple-centric. I thought that was the generic term for what you had to do to stop a non-responsive program, regardless of platform.

Masked and Anonymo4Us 1:39 PM  

Finished with errors, which ain't all that unusual. Had a few rebus squares, containing favorite hearty oaths, at the end. Mr. Snarly Pencil time.

@lms: yep. EMIT is only acceptable answer for time reversal. All else is anticlimaxtic. QED.

Gimmes, off no letters:
... many of which 4-Oh wants to deport from CrossWorld. Dude! They were my only hope!

Getties, off the above:

fave fill, that I needed several letters, before I realized I knew that:


Anoa Bob 1:43 PM  

Years ago I realized that to become a good xworder I had to memorize certain lists, such as European rivers, Greek muses, constellations and their stars, Byzantine goddesses of agriculture, etc. Now I gotta learn all the LIRR stations (23D ROSLYN)? Dang! Anybody have a good mnemonic for that?

An investment club I once belonged to did so poorly so consistently that I began telling people it was called the "Buy high, sell low" club (63A). Like with this puzzle, eventually I was FORCEd to QUIT.

joho 2:08 PM  

@Steve J, yes, FORCEQUIT is Apple-centric. As is APPLECARE. So, if you're PC you're not in the loop. I got FORCEQUIT because the crosses in that corner were good. But up top I choose the improbable APPLECoRE! At least it was something I've heard of and oBEYANT looks like a real word.

SAVAGED indeed!

@Loren, @Carola and others, I was so smug "getting" the wrong EMIT.

While ZAPCOMIX and AEONFLUX are super cool they also seem super obscure. Although the crosses there were good, except ALEYARD where pilsner obviously belongs!

This one eluded me but I can see what a great grid it is.

OHBABY, David, you did it again!

Anonymous 2:09 PM  

Very odd. I "finished" as much I ever finish a Saturday puzzle - almost done, a couple of questions - in better than average time. This was before Rex had the blog entry done, a first. Surprised to see so many issues with the puzzle.

Anonymous 2:17 PM  

Yuck! Came nowhere close to finishing even with much Googling.

Anonymous 2:17 PM  

Incredibly difficult puzzle.

I wanted DOUBLEBED to be singleBED, STET to be emiT, PEON to be PawN and TRI to be Tel. Just enough right letters to really screw me up.

But seriously, people -- what's with this Googling? Is that even real, by which I mean, have you solved the puzzle if you are googling the answers? You can't use Google at your fancy crossword puzzle competitions, can you?


Lewis 2:32 PM  

@merle -- you don't have to be old to know gaiters, they exist today. Hikers, hunters, and mountain climbers use them.

People have been complaining all week that the puzzles have been too easy, and today's balances them out.

I loved it. The way David thinks is congruent with how I think; it's like we're kindred spirits. Not that this puzzle was easy and not that I didn't have to Google a couple of times. But the clever cluing and answers exuded spark to me.

PANERA echoes yesterday's PANGEA, I like HAYSEEDS crossing OATERS, and I like the contrast of IDLE crossing ONFIRE.

DavidS 2:36 PM  

Liked it! Hard but generally fair for a Saturday. I finished all but the Y in the ABEYANT/NAYA cross, in under 45 mins.

ABEYANT is gettable and fair (for a Saturday), just was too tired to wait for the answer to come to me. NAYA, on the other hand, is tough. NAYA may be a thing overseas or in Canada, but it doesn't have much of a footprint in the States.

Didn't get and didn't like the clues for ALER -- "B" is unfairly misleading! Who are the Bs? The Braves? The Brewers? Uh, no.

I can see STET as the Time mag. thing, but it's a stretch. I was emotionally committed to emit, I guess.

Surprised the constructor didn't squeeze an answer with J in there somewhere, and use the whole alphabet!

DavidS 2:38 PM  

Also, was surprised to see ALER on top of ALEYARD. The congruence threw me off, making ALER even harder to get.

Aeonflux Cesar Matey 2:51 PM  

We continue to be so parallel...
I finished with my usual One Wrong Square (OWS)

Fell for emiT.

SingLEBED I blame on listening to Bob Marley for a couple of hours on Wednesday ("we'll be together...from my single bed...give me love give me love ...I can feel it")

ELEONORA from last week...
Synchronicity helped as I saw a book about George SOROS yesterday and wondered if the comedian Suzy SORO (who has my favorite essay in "No Kidding" ) was related...

Also had just done a puzzle with CESAR which led me to RALPH Lauren as we were just discussing that like Lorne Michaels, their original last name is Lipschitz, worst last name ever.

My last entry was running the vowels for AEONFLaX, AEONFLeX, and when I got to AEONFLUX, I literally shouted I RULE!
That was my AHA moment after struggling for almost an hour.

As for @David Steinberg, highschool wunderkind, get used to it because he'll prob one day succeed Will.

But step back and admire those triple 8 and 9 stacks!
Look how pretty that
Stacks up!

I don't know if young David would have known folks from Duse to DOGG naturally, but you gotta remember he has been doing this PreShortzian lizt project and has a photographic memory and has solved more puzzles than anyone alive (except perhaps for Tyler and Dan Feyer and a handful of others), so it may indeed be he "knows" ALL of this.

Where I think there may be room to grow is that he doesn't have a feel for the subtleties of relative obscureness and almost gives all entries equal weight.
So DEDE might feel just as gettable as ROSLYN or ALEYARD.
This is where he needs a strong editor.

There's no sense in creating these masterworks if they are out of reach enjoyment-wise, but that's a very tricky, subtle, wildly subjective tightrope act.
I think his puzzles are growing as he is maturing and it's super interesting to watch.

MetaRex 2:57 PM  

[warning...obscurity alert...]

@Evan--thanks much! Wd love to see others giving their own ESE numbers on daily puzzes...creative commons license and all that...

My own application of the system has been v. lenient on long obscurity at the end of the week...I didn't bang KARSTS, TATARY, or NIIHAU for obscurity (gave KARSTS 1 for POC)...(did bang MANCUSO for 1 for obscurity cuz that seemed more extreme than the geography/geology stuff)...thus the diff b/w my 6.5 for David's NE and @Evan's 9.5.

A point in favor of @Evan over MR: Kinda like the idea that there is an average ESE level that is basically the same for themers and themelesses...MRian tolerance for long obscurity has gone along w/ lower end of the week eseometer numbers...mebbe I'll change my infallible application of the system :)

chefbea 3:03 PM  

@Evan and @jae…duh!!!

Bill from FL 3:08 PM  

ZAP COMIX brought back fond memories of R. Crumb's "Keep On Truckin'" strip. Very eye-opening for high school kid.

Acme 3:14 PM  

This is what ii was thinking of...

II wanna love you and treat you right;
I wanna love you every day and every night:
We'll be together with a roof right over our heads;
We'll share the shelter of my SINGLE BED;
We'll share the same room, yeah! - for Jah provide the bread.
Is this love - is this love - is this love -
Is this love that I'm feelin'?
Is this love - is this love - is this love -
Is this love that I'm feelin'?
I wanna know - wanna know - wanna know now!
I got to know - got to know - got to know now!

OISK 3:32 PM  

Awful. Worst ever. Like @retired chemist, when I see Steinberg's name I am tempted not even to bother, but in the past I managed to finish. Didn't enjoy it, but finished. But this? What I most dislike, product names, pop culture, this puzzle is full of. Finished the right half, but "I'm too sexy, with Naya, with applecare, Abeyant, where I had dormant, what is a Springblade?…" just not acceptable. Impossible for me, even though I got Natedogg, of whom of course I never heard. Zapcomix??? Aeonflux???? The way too cute clue for ALER ? Terrible. Take your puzzles to Teen magazine; they are unsuitable for adults. Awful. Where are Berry and Silk? Deserved to be savaged..

Anonymous 3:42 PM  

springblade producer is one of the worst clues I've ever seen.

Mette 3:51 PM  

Finally finished the east side. Based on that, really wanted the marmelade to be cumqat or qumqat. Along with ipo for LBO, needed Google to work it out. Alas, Google was no help in the SW (right you were Rex). My IDLE threats were dire, which made livid seem perfectly acceptable for turning blue.

Until then, it was fun, so it was an enjoyable experience overall.

Charlene 4:06 PM  

Sadly, Rexall was the only one I immediately knew for absolute, unshakeable certain. Nice to see something I can relate to in the midst of LLRI stations (no, really?) and dog whisper ears.

ANON Befuddled 4:25 PM  

Positively the worst. Even after I saw the solution I didn't like
many of the answers.
I think I will spend my next
Saturdays hitting my head against
a brick wall. It will be more fun.
P.S. Won't be surprised if my
comment is taken down

LaneB 4:31 PM  

Even Google could not help on this fiendish grid and awful cluing. Obviously, the clues are everything and in this case a bit too strange and, in a sense, unfair. That's why it's a Saturday puzz, I guess. Made so many mistakes that there was never a chance.
Comforted by the difficulty experienced by so many of the top-notch regulars, including Rex. ext time I see Steinberg's name at the top I,ll not waste my time and temper on the effort. Ther than today it was a good week.

Norm 5:02 PM  

I didn't particularly enjoy this puzzle, but I can't agree with some of the criticisms. I don't know how you can not know the NLRB, for example. It means you have paid no attention to labor issues for the last 50+ years -- not to mention the major (and very current) dispute over the President's power to make recess appointments. Really? NLRB is that far off your radar? Now, AEONFLUX (is that one word or two?) was complete crap IMHO, and the NW was fully of the most obscure clues possible for ADIDAS, CESAR, and REXALL, but I don't know whether to blame DS or Will for that (as well as he DIE/DER fiasco). 2

Mohair Sam 5:04 PM  

Awright. Enough complaining about ROSLYN. I have had enough Friday and Saturday puzzles dnf'd by California suburbs to last me a lifetime. I was born and raised on L.I. and am thrilled to see you Western folks suffer just this once.

Got ROSLYN on the "Y" thanks to ALEYARD, which folks are also complaining about, heck it was almost a gimme here. I got a free ALEYARD for ordering 40 ozs of craft beer (at an outrageous price) in Philly last Summer.

So there.

Norm 5:13 PM  

^^ Good one, Sam. I think SIMI Valley was in the puzzle recently, and I remember thinking ... how the heck are those NY types going to get that one? I mean, Napa, sure ... but we ask you to know Lodi and a bunch of our other obscure towns as well.

jae 5:21 PM  

@OISK - Silk did today's LA Times puzzle.

Z 5:28 PM  

@OISK- Mr. Silk did today's LATs puzzle.

@ACME - Perhaps your best piece of puzzle criticism ever. "Where I think there may be room to grow is that he doesn't have a feel for the subtleties of relative obscureness and almost gives all entries equal weight." Based on the last two puzzles I think you nailed it. I read that and said, "Yep - that's it." It is sort of the constructor side of when knowing too much causes you to stumble. Yesterday with TATARY my relative ignorance helped where those who knew more stumbled.

RANT on the Commentariat to follow - feel free to ignore:
I remember all the age based praise when Steinberg debuted. I thought it was mildly condescending then. I find the age based criticism even more condescending today. ZAP COMIX began in 1968, a good 25 years before the constructor was born. ELEONORA Duse didn't raise any age-based criticism (about the constructor, that is) when she last appeared. If you want to criticize the brand names or proper names or weird clue for ALER, fine. But the constructor's age is not relevant.

Speaking of age, Bernice Gordon had a blurb in my AARP magazine. I hope I look that good and I am that active when (if) I'm 99.

michael 5:39 PM  

A very hard puzzle that I did not enjoy. I had to google most of the northwest corner. I'm too sexy, elon, rexall, springblade/adidas all completely unknown to me. And I really had to guess (fortunately correctly) other parts of the puzzle -- nate dogg, enrico, aeon flux.

At least I knew Drew U. and Roslyn. Had moody instead of moldy for too long.

Dolgoruky 5:40 PM  

You should have learned from "Duse" several puzzles ago, Rex! You should look up those answers you don't know. The way these puzzles work, the occasional clue turns up in a different form not long after. I had trouble with the NW, even though I'm old enough to remember Rexall Drugs. Also, DEDE-Dinah was within my lifetime. It took me a bit to remember it, though.

Mike 5:53 PM  

It was a tough puzzle, but oddly enough REXALL was one of my gimmes. Since I'm a big hockey fan I knew that one. In fact, I was watching my team (San Jose) play in Edmonton at REXALL Place while I was solving the puzzle. I also remember old rotary and even push button funs with the letters on them. Even early phones with text capability used the letters on the number keys for entry, so I don't see why that clue/answer was ungettable.

Definitely some good stuff in here.

Anonymous 6:04 PM  

Get over it Rex you whiny baby.

sanfranman59 6:16 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 6:03, 6:06, 0.99, 45%, Medium
Tue 7:59, 8:15, 0.97, 39%, Easy-Medium
Wed 8:31, 9:44, 0.88, 22%, Easy-Medium
Thu 12:31, 16:44, 0.75, 9%, Easy
Fri 21:51, 19:17, 1.13, 79%, Medium-Challenging
Sat 37:26, 26:51, 1.39, 98%, Challenging (5th highest ratio of 192 Saturdays)

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:49, 3:46, 1.01, 54%, Medium
Tue 4:46, 5:09, 0.93, 21%, Easy-Medium
Wed 5:09, 5:37, 0.92, 27%, Easy-Medium
Thu 7:17, 9:43, 0.75, 9%, Easy
Fri 12:09, 11:12, 1.08, 66%, Medium-Challenging
Sat 25:38, 17:01, 1.51, 98%, Challenging (5th highest ratio of 192 Saturdays)

In addition to the high median solve times, this puzzle had by far the fewest online solvers of the Saturday puzzles in my spreadsheet (187 vs the previous low of 212 and an average of 251 for Saturdays in 2013). Given that I almost never complete DS's puzzles, I was pleased to be able to get the east half of this one without cheating. But the west half was impossible for me. Like Rex, I've always thought that DOUBLE BEDs were made for two people, which is why I steadfastly stuck with single BED for 15A. Unlike Rex, NLRB was the first thing I entered after giving up on the NW with only ELON and EDY entered up there.

Anonymous 6:20 PM  

FAR too many proper nouns (names, places, etc). Most of this puzzle was not wordplay at all: stinks!

Milford 7:08 PM  

Ouch. Tough one.

Mike E 7:50 PM  

Have to agree with the majority - too many obscure names to slog through. Got stuck in a single bed and the NW corner and border were lost. I didn't Google anything and finally caved. And I have to object to calling Edy a frozen food eponym. A presence, yes, but I have never said, "Let's go get an Edy," or something remotely like that. I have said during my lifetime, "Let's go get some Carvel."

Blackeyed Susan 8:39 PM  

Newbie here. Rex I loved DEDE Dinah! My first answer besides guessing at OMAHA. I can hear the song in my head. Guess you had to have been there...which I was, many many years ago. Also got DOE. Hey I'm thankful for small favors. Still plugging away. Love all you guys.

Dan 10:06 PM  

Heard DeDe Dinah first time ever on Sirius a few wks ago. Now I've met her twice

jberg 10:19 AM  

Worked on this intermittently while travelling home from Philadelphia, and DNF in the NW - like @Rex, don't see how DOUBLE BED fits the clue -- although it's true we have a queen-size, by choice, so I guess there's something there. As for PRS, I got it, but I'm not convinced old phones had no Q. One of our local exchanges, pre-dial, was QUIncy, and they must have accommodated that somehow.

OTOH, NLRB has been much in the news -- it had so many vacancies that there was no quorum, so it couldn't make rulings; the GOP filibustered all nominations to keep it that way (it meant illegally fired workers couldn't get reinstated, etc.); Obama decided he could make recess appointments even though Congress was not in recess: the Supreme Court threw those appointments out; Harry Reid had Biden threaten to rule that confirmations couldn't be filibustered; and they finally made a deal to let everyone be confirmed. It was quite a battle.

DEDE Scozzafava, the GOP nominee for Congress from the New York 23d special election in 2009, was the first electoral victim of the Tea Party. That would have been a great clue, but I didn't mind the one used-- the song sprang into my mind instantly. I'll be 70 Tuesday, and that helps in some of these puzzles!

Debby Weinstein 10:21 AM  

STET would be a reversal anywhere, because it refers to a correction that you've made and then changed your mind about.

Debby Weinstein 10:38 AM  

well, it's only Sunday morning, and my husband and I have finished this puzzle without a single Google. sometimes a tough one will take us several days, obviously working just at odd moments. By our rules, so much as looking at Google means ""you lose" and there's no point in continuing. I am continually delighted when the impossibly obscure becomes crystal clear because we have - between the two of us - one really good brain.

Mickey C 1:20 PM  

Been lurking here for years, but hardly ever comment, because I tend to do the puzzles a day late. (Not sure how many people will even see this comment.)

By coincidence, yesterday's NYT Arts section (where the xword appears) included a review of an art exhibit devoted to Art Spiegelman, the comics artist (best known for the graphic novel "Maus"). The article references Zap Comix as one of Spiegelman's influences. Without it, I probably wouldn't have gotten that answer (even though I'm old enough to remember Zap Comix, but not Dede Dinah).

Of course, like almost everyone else here, I still couldn't finish the puzzle. Heck, I still couldn't finish the SW! Count me in among those whose response to David Steinberg's name above the puzzle is primarily dread. The fact that the proper names span the generations -- from Grieg, Duse and "Dede Dinah" to Ving Rhames, Cesar Millan, Nate Dogg, Elon Musk, Anna Gunn and "I'm Too Sexy" -- is impressive. It means that the puzzle is probably not in anyone's wheelhouse, and isn't that what you want on Saturday? But in this case, there are just too many of them, and too many that are obscure (Roslyn, Drew U, Enrico Letta, Rexall).

This just wasn't fun. But I'll keep trying anyway.

Mike 1:26 PM  

I tried DOUBLE BED fairly early on, because I have tried to sleep two in a double bed and ouch! No room to move.

Mickey C 1:32 PM  

Roslyn was a bit better known in the late 1970's:


Dirigonzo 2:21 PM  

I put this aside last night with the right side complete and no propsects for the rest of the grid. This morning I finally cracked the NW corner with the help of a "spoiler" from facebook but the long down answers in the SW eluded me and a wrong answer (bawDY/MOLDY) erased all hope of even guessing them.

dm3000 2:45 PM  

This was hands-down the hardest puzzle of any day this year and maybe more. NW extremely hard - cheated on EDY to get rest - and SW was utterly impossible. How did I know - when 4 answers in one quadrant are unknown to me AFTER cheating. X AXES? Should've had that, maybe.

Anonymous 10:43 PM  

I had to laugh when i saw where you failed, since it was one of the only "gimme" parts on the whole grid for me.

This puzzle really sucked, and hard. I don't mind difficult at all, and i don't even mind being stumped or not finishing, but with so many answers that either looked made up or were stretches, I just didn't enjoy this one at all.

I felt like the author was trying so hard to create clever clues , that he had to force some of the answers.

DREWU, FORCEQUIT, and ALEYARD come to mind as the three worse answers, and that was from memory. i'm positive if I went back and culled the puzzle, I'd find 5 more answers that rubbed me the wrong way,

I have never heard of a yard glass referred to an ALEYARD, although yes, i guess that can fit in someone's universe. FORCEQUIT is flat out bad, and is a FORCE-FIT of an answer if I ever saw one. And DREWU? I lived in NJ for 5 years and never heard of it!

Answers should have the requirement of being actual words, or recognized abbreviations.

And I have NEVER put together "Holy Smokes!" (Which is an expression of alarm and surprise), with OHBABY. (Which is said more when something is fantastic or exciting). What a crap-tastic clue-answer combo.


spacecraft 10:21 AM  

like many, DNF. Got the SE but could not continue, despite the gimme cross of IMTOOSEXY and CESAR in the NW. I see APPLECARE and reread the clue "Air protection program?" and just go "HUH??" You lost me. And what is "Title for 65-across?" Title for a title??? What is going on? Then there's another rapper; well, there goes any chance of figuring that one out.

But I want to say what is most troubling in today's grid. I see a reference to "Breaking Bad" and am greatly troubled by this. I have not watched this. I found out that the main story is that of a man who turns from being a teacher to the manufacture and distribution of meth, and said, "Thanks for that warning." Since then I've discovered that this is one of the most acclaimed series of all time. I'm sorry, but I have to wonder what has happened to human values here. These are drugs that spread death and destruction wherever they go. To suggest that any end--ANY END IN THE UNIVERSE--could possibly justify that means indicates to me that our value system has crumbled to dust. I don't care HOW well the production is done, or how brilliant the cast is. I can't get past the premise--and I wonder, sadly, that anyone can.

Anonymous 12:38 PM  

Thank you Spacecraft and thank you Oisk. This puzz was a real stinker any way you look at it.
I did about 80% and that's it.

Ron Diego 9:40 AM PST 12/21/13

Mike Koenecke 1:43 PM  

I doubt anyone will read this, since I get the puzzle in syndication (Dallas Morning News), but felt compelled to respond to @spacecraft about "Breaking Bad." That's the ultimate point of the whole show: that the end does *not* justify the means. That is what made it such a powerful commentary. The devastation wrought by crystal meth was shown in detail. "Breaking Bad" is ultimately one of the finest anti-drug programs ever produced.

Oh, and I agree with those who thought this puzzle was a disaster.

DMG 1:53 PM  

Trivia. trivia, trivia! No fun with words or reasoning things out. Got a sprinkling of answers here and there, said "What the hey", and here I am! Somewhat gratified to discover I'm not alone in disliking this kind of effort. See you Monday!

Solving in Seattle 6:06 PM  

David Steinberg, I love your puzzles, even if you don't hit it out of the ballpark every time. Keep 'em coming.

@Spacy, I see we're a bit snarly after being under the weather. I have heard, as Mike from Dallas mentioned, that Breaking Bad is a good series for several reasons. I personally cannot watch a show based on the premise of making meth, and I'm capable of watching some pretty dismal stuff, both from a content point of view and a quality standpoint; like loving the Dexter series about a serial killer. Anyway, it's ok in a cwpuz.

I wonder if ELON Musk watched AEONFLUX while reading AERO?

Great clues at 3D & 1A (yes, I use Apple laptops).

Fav word of the day: ABEYANT.

Go Hawks!

Capcha: kal firdeet. Wasn't he the fiddler on Grand Ole Opry?

Dirigonzo 6:38 PM  

In a bit of syndication synchronicity, David Steinberg co-constructed, with Todd Gross, the puzzle in today's NYT (and that's all I have say about that for five weeks).

Charles Flaster 10:58 AM  

U got it perfectly!!

Lincoln Boyd 5:07 AM  

Got screwed by crossing COSCOB with PLEB, instead of ROSLYN with PEON. Also got stuck on ATSEA for "Turning blue, maybe" instead of MOLDY, and TER for "Alternative to die" instead of DER because of the seeming pharmacy relation.

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