Medieval merchants guild / SAT 11-30-13 / Accent for plus fours often / Tarte French apple dessert / Literary wife in Midnight in Paris / Recognition not sought by Benjamin Franklin / Second baseman in both of Dodgers' 1980s World Series / Relative of aloha shalom

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Constructor: Byron Walden and Brad Wilber

Relative difficulty: Challenging

THEME: none

Word of the Day: HANSA (45D: Medieval merchants' guild) —
:  a league originally constituted of merchants of various free German cities dealing abroad in the medieval period and later of the cities themselves and organized to secure greater safety and privileges in trading
:  a medieval merchant guild or trading association (
• • •

Wow, I was off my game and/or this was tough. NW and SE were reasonably tractable, but the SW and *especially* the NE just broke me. In the NE, I had the lower halves of *all* the Downs and still couldn't get any of them. Some kind of MIND. Some kind of -ANCE. Some kind of -ERED. Some kind of -NDER. Even after getting (guessing) ACT TWO (24A: Setting for many reprises), I still got only ALLOWANCE. Then crossed it with LILO (16A: Disney title character surnamed Pelekai). Then sat some more. BOY WONDER still doesn't make much sense to me—he's an [early riser] because he "rises" through the ranks at a young age? Because the BOY WONDER is Robin and a robin is a bird who rises early (this is not correct, but it's the first thing I thought of). Anyway, only after inferring BOY WONDER from -O--ONDER did I get the rest. SHOW, UGLY, CRAB, all basic words, all totally hidden from me by the clues.

SW was a bit easier but a lot messier (and I *knew* STEVE SAX) (38A: Second baseman in both of the Dodgers' 1980s World Series). Had GAVE A DAMN and DARN before HOOT. NEED before HATH (was thinking "Watson, some here, I NEED you."). NEED was a huge killer, because I wanted INTER ALIA but kept refusing to enter it because NEED seemed right (and, oh, by the way, fit with both DAMN and DARN). Gah. After my frustration waned, I looked at the grid, and I think it's really nice, for the most part. I will say I hate TATIN (what on god's green earth!?) (3D: Tarte ___ (French apple dessert)) and HANSA (I have a Ph.D. in medieval literature and don't know this term) and, to a lesser extent, BIOGAS. But the rest is overwhelmingly solid, and there are many nice longer answers. What are "plus fours"? Brad just has a much, much bigger vocabulary / knowledge of music/opera than I do, so sometimes I Really struggle with his stuff. Anyway, back to "plus fours" [looking them up …] ah, knickerbockers. Short pants, four inches below the knee. And apparently you wear them with a single ARGYLE SOCK. Jaunty (61A: Accent for plus fours, often).

SGT. SCHULTZ (from "Hogan's Heroes") is a nice answer (1A: 1960s sitcom character with the catchphrase "I see nothing!"). I could hear only Maxwell Smart and (for some reason) Gene Wilder in my head when I saw the phrase "I see nothing!" Weird. I very, very briefly entertained Fred ETHEL MERTZ (the -TZ being all I had at first). But that was a '50s sitcom. What else did I botch? Ooh, RECKONS for LOOKS AT ("K" in the same place, both answers). BEERY for SUDSY (let me tell you, SUDSY looks real good when you've had BEERY in there for a bit). DATA for TROI (quickly fixed once I got ZELDA—the sole gimme I encountered early on) (10D: Literary wife in "Midnight in Paris"). I think that's it. It was a maddening toughie (for me), but nicely built.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


jae 12:10 AM  

Deja vu!  My experience was similar to Rex's.  I breezed  through the NW (got SGT SCHULTZ with no crosses) and SE and struggled with the NE and SW.  In SW UNMATED seemed a tad awkward and unlike Rex I needed many crosses for STEVE SAX.  Plus I went through S**T..crap..damn.. (somehow missed darn) before the innocuous HOOT.  The NE was just a lot of work.  TAMARIND was a WOE and it took a while to remember LILO even with ALLOWANCE in place. Plus what Rex said.  So medium-tough for me.

Also ACT III before TWO.

Like yesterday's I  liked this a lot.  Plenty of zip with some nice crunch.

Anonymous 12:13 AM  

Little known fact: In the 30's you signaled your sexuality by which leg you wore your one ARGYLESOCK on with your plus-fours. Left leg gay, right leg hetero, both legs bi, or at least bi-curious.

I guess that's why Payne Stewart was always the most popular guy on the PGA Tour.

Anonymous 12:17 AM  

Schultz May have said "I see nothing" but the real catchphrase was "I know nothing".

Clark 12:22 AM  

Tarte TATIN is the worlds greatest dessert. Julia Child has a good recipe, but it takes some practice. HANSA shows up in "Lufthansa"; the Hanseatic League also might ring a bell.

Anonymous 12:36 AM  

Good tough puzzle.

@ Anonymous, the right/left leg thing reminds me of the right/left pierced ear distinction back in the 1970s-80s, only then left ear meant straight and right meant gay.

chefwen 1:26 AM  

Agree with this one being on the tough side. As like others, SW fell first, after that, not so much. Jon helped me a lot, I had the R E S C & K in place at 61A, where he pulled that ARGYLE SOCK out of, I have no idea, same with the A A L N S at 56A, I guess that he pulled NAIL SALONS out of the same place???

After he started working on it he said after seeing 3D, "that's my favorite dessert, how come you never make me those?" Guess what's in my not too distant future?

Good but difficult puzzle, a DNF here as I did have to consult Uncle Google a couple (or more) times.

Evan 2:05 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Evan 2:14 AM  

Really hard. In fact both today's and yesterday's kicked my ass harder than most other Friday/Saturday combos in recent memory, but as with pretty much all of Byron Walden's and Brad Wilber's creations, they're tough but fair. The northeast corner was actually one of my easier spots -- the whole east side of the grid, really. REDDER was a gimme and I took successful flyers on SILENCE, HE-MAN, ACT TWO, and LILO. All of that made that corner fall relatively quickly.

It was the northwest and southwest corners which really tortured me. Other than Col. Klink I couldn't name any other "Hogan's Heroes" characters (before my time), so even with SGT -C-ULT- I was stumped. In fact, I wanted it to be MCNULTY instead of SCHULTZ, thinking that they named the main character on "The Wire" after this mystery 50s sitcom officer. Even URANIUM ORE was very tough to suss out. I had UR--I-MOR- and still no clue. It's amazing how an unmemorable cross like SNITS broke the rest of that corner open for me.

And in the southwest goodness. IAMS before ALPO, HEAR before HATH (I was thinking of "Now Hear This"), I wanted some butchered spelling of ET CETERA for INTER ALIA, and everything else was blank for just about forever. I figured 32-Down was GAVE A something, and that gave me UNMATED, which finally got me rolling towards the finish line. I should have gotten STEVE SAX off of SAX, not because I knew which team he played on, but because I remembered his name from the classic "Simpsons" softball episode.

Like I said, tough but fair, and with a really clean grid to boot. PICOT isn't my favorite term, though it's better than if they had done DICOT (a flowering plant with two seed leaves). I was a little iffy on OMELET PAN as an entry -- I'm sure it's a thing, though I wonder if people usually call it simply a PAN when cooking.

I'm glad I stuck this one out till the bitter end.

John Child 2:53 AM  

The long a crosses went down remarkably easily for me. Only DATING POOL put up a fight. Hogan's Heroes was right in my zone, I knew what pitchblende is, and HANSA and PAAR were gimmes.

But the long downs were very hard I thought. Hated the clues for CLUSTERED and BOY WONDER, but adored Minor payment for ALLOWANCE. INTER ALIA took every cross to see, and I rejected OMELET PAN early because OMELETTE didn't fit.

TATIN was a WOE, but filled itself in because I had the crosses easily. If @bhikkubum is right I pierced the wrong ear in 1975!

I agree with Anon 12:17 that SGT SCHULTZ primarily knew nothing, "nothing at all!"

Crunchy and fun, though a DNF for me because I just couldn't see CRAB, UGLY, and SHOW in the NE.

Questinia 3:29 AM  

Challenging is right.

I just had tarte TATIN after dinner, but abandoned French and put film instead of CINE. That gave me odium before SPITE.
I knew Colonel Klink and General Burkhalter (go figure) but could not drag up SGT SCHULTZ for a long time and that shoulda been as easy as yesterday's PUDDYTAT.

I filled half the puzzle quickly then came to a dead halt. The grid was wonderfully constructed with the merest of passageways from quadrant to quadrant making inroads difficult but ultimately doable.

SE fell quickly with ARGYLE SOCK the last to drop.

Knew TAMARIND was Saturday's ingredient for Worcestershire giving me something to work with in the NE together with LILO and the beautifully clued ALLOWANCE. Still a tough place.

Damn or HOOT? Had sMokE oven (?) before OMELET PAN even though in my mind's eye I pictured a beautiful copper OMELET PAN.

Thought STEVE SAX would never come, even tried the more obscure cliVE SAX.

What a great puzzle to finish. Greatly appreciated Lords Byron and Brad! Super-FUN.

Col. Klink 4:01 AM  

@Anon & John Child -- When I checked Wiki this is what I discovered that traitor was doing:

"When Schultz is confronted by evidence of the prisoners' suspicious activities, Hogan reminds him of all the bribes he would have to report to Klink or would otherwise talk Schultz out of reporting anything. Sometimes Schultz, not wanting to deal with the situation, will simply look the other way, repeating "I hear nothing, I see nothing, I know nothing!" (or, more commonly as the series went on, simply "I see nothing–NOTHING!") to avoid being blamed for allowing things to have gotten as far as they already had—which might see him given a one-way trip to the Eastern Front."

Gareth Bain 4:45 AM  

"In the NE, I had the lower halves of *all* the Downs and still couldn't get any of them. Some kind of MIND. Some kind of -ANCE. Some kind of -ERED. Some kind of -NDER." This was me for a good ten minutes, after the earlier wrong guesses mentioned elsewhere! Although I tried ACTIII early on, ACTTWO didn't occur to me - crossword-ese mentality! HANSA is a perfectly acceptable answer - they were a major part of medieval German history!

Allowance Clustered Mrmet 5:14 AM  

NW corner super easy with SGTSCHULTZ (played by a Jew, as was Klink) no crosses, so got everything up there and then screeching halt.

Sports stuff took up a lot of territory between STEVESAX, SANTANTONIO and M?MET.
eg, dAyToNOhIO fits nicely there...

Made same mistake as @Rex confusing telegraph and telephone, come or need? Oh wait... HATH!
(from his writeup, it's unclear if he even realizes his mixup)

Had to Google LILO to get NE corner and STEVESAX to get everything else, AND TAmArind, as I couldn't get past TAbAsco?

Just getting Blue label = XRATING now... Maybe I shouldn't have started puzzle at 1am, as it took almost an hour...
And bizarrely knew ALPO (why was a cat a dogfood spokescat?)
Same with TATIN, no idea how/why knew it.

Hercules bleedover

UNMATED is a bit awkward.
And I thought the Watergate was a hotel, not an apt bldg.

Oh, also had to google the bobblehead when I had
M?MET and was pretty sure that David MaMET was not a mascot for any team...

Danp 5:27 AM  

Any male child prodigy can be called a boy wonder.

I guess Ben Franklin wasn't one of Ayn Rand's inspirations.

Tough puzzle; Tough clues; DNF; Best puzzle this week by far.

I skip M-W 5:54 AM  

Very good puzzle. Hard though. Uranium ore, tarte tatin, Hansa all gimmes for me, but had better things to do in sixties than watch tv, so Sgt Schultz took quite a few crosses, and still didn't know the show. Very surprised I dredged up Steve Sax. Still not quite sure why inter Alia is (Latin) condenser. Annoyed I didn't see Kant til all filled in.
Tried tomatoes before remembering tamarind, from having read the label about sixty years ago.

AliasZ 8:15 AM  

What a great puzzle!

I was BUSHWACKed by the two BOYWONDERs of Cruciverbia, Byron Walden and Brad Wilber. The inspiration for the two symmetrical B___W___ seed entries was their shared monogram, as they tell us in xwordinfo. How clever and subtly self-referential! @Acttwo Chalet Mislay, I am sure you loved the idea. Of course, I didn't see it at first either.

SGTSCHULTZ: ten letters, only one vowel. Love it!
"Comfort's partner" was JOY for me, this being the season.
If you are in a snit more than once a day, they're called SNITS.
Likewise, when bedbugs attack, the multitude of itches become YENS.

I tried NAILSALONS at first without any luck, so I jumped into the DATINGPOOL during my visit to the Playboy mansion. The water was warm and fragrant, with the occasional BIOGAS bubbling to the top, which is a PATENT breach of good manners. A lot of UNMATED people were CLUSTERED in the corner where I jumped in but no one GAVEAHOOT. I probably wasn't in my RIGHTMIND - I was wearing one ARGYLESOCK, which must have looked ridiculous. I am still UNMATED.

IKID, of course.

I KANT think of anything else to say, so TATIN for now. Besides, I have to go and get my OMELETPAN unhinged, and meet my old friend SUDSY Siegel a little later.

r.alphbunker 8:20 AM  

Nice puzzle.

Wanted nemO for LILO but thought it unlikely that a fish would have a last name. Finally Googled it and that got me through the NE.

Had losANgeles instead of SANANTONIO for a long time. Finally, all the clear skies around it made me suspect that it should be some other city. The AN was enough to give me the correct city.

Doris 8:32 AM  

Didn't have to Google, but did cheat: I have a bottle of Worcestershire sauce and consulted the label for TAMARIND. Never did know what was in that essential sauce!

That clue called to mind the wonderful British comedy revue "Beyond the Fringe," in which a character in a Shakespearean parody battle scene cried, "Oh, saucy Worcester! Why dost thou lie so still?"

Muscato 8:47 AM  

I'm a tad mystified by "nearly set for CLUSTERED, but having had a lovely tarte TATIN in lieu of pumpkin for Thanksgiving, I was at least in on that one. Not, on the whole, my favorite, this one...

Anonymous 9:00 AM  

The NW corner was so easy, and then, the rude awakening. This really IS a Saturday puzzle. But Rex, you don't know of Jewish Rye OR Tarte Tatin? You are not a foodie.

JSatz 9:04 AM  

As someone who can probably count on two hands how many times he's finished a Saturday puzzle over the years, I have to admit I'm stunned at both Rex's rating and the consensus here on the message board. I breezed through this like it was a medium Friday. I'll chalk this up as a 'Cliff Clavin on Jeopardy' situation, and not a reflection of some overnight gain in intelligence.

Dorothy Biggs 9:16 AM  

can we please come to an agreement on how to spell that egg dish made in hinged cookware? OMELET or OMELETTE? one of them has to be a variant of the other...and i'm saying the former is.

CRAB as a verb is lame sauce. moAn is better, IMHO.

BOY WONDER and CLUSTERED's clues were a bit too obtuse for me. i really love when a clue masks an obvious answer and then when you get it, you get an "aha!" moment. that's fun. but when you get the answer and the clue doesn't make sense...and then someone explains to you the connection and it STILL doesn't make sense...then i don't care. at all. which is where i was with that NE corner.

in the same way i enjoy the arcane inside jokes of medieval composers and their use of taboo musical themes, i enjoyed seeing the brothers BW get their BWs in.

that still doesn't make up for early riser, though.

Z 9:56 AM  

CLUSTERED and BOY WONDER were opaque. I've never seen a hinged OMELET PAN. I thought Garfield might have been employed by ragu, then iams. ALPO? All of that was just typical Saturday struggling. BIOGAS, though? Genuine WTF. Apparently they are just your run-of-the-mill gasses generated by anaerobic processes. The term has been around since 1971, but it's a new one for me.

UNMATED? Reminds me of the research that suggested that teens that took the abstinence pledge had a higher rate of pregnancy than teens who did not. Dating and mating share more than five letters.

Sir Hillary 10:00 AM  

This one played easy for me, purely because I was lucky that it hit a bunch of sweet spots. I was helped tremendously by teh preponderance of pop culture (SGTSCHULTZ, LILO, ZELDA), sports (STEVESAX, SANANTONIO, MRMET, ARGYLESOCK with a golfer's plus fours) and food/cooking (TATIN, OMELETPAN, TAMARIND). All of those were drop-ins -- exceptionally rare for a Saturday. With so many words done just like that, confidence kicked in, and the rest fell quickly. Quite unusual.

This grid is really strong. ORS is unfortunate, but every grid has something like that. Not a fan of the BOYWONDER clue, but I love the entry itself. Never knew what SETI was until Googling it after the solve. Don't love it.

The oddest experience I had was staring at URAN-UMORE for a while and having zero clue how to parse it, especially since pitchblende meant nothing to me. Had quite a laugh when I figured it out.

Thank you, Boys Wonder!

Anonymous 10:09 AM  

Rugged Saturday - NE corner just was very difficult! BOYWONDER indeed....

TATIN on the other hand was delectable. SANANTONIO fell into place on two or three letters.

Shamik 10:21 AM  

I saw the constructors' names and knew this one would take awhile. Then SGTSCHULTZ was a gimme, so I was lulled into a false sense of security. BAM! Only other gimmes without crosses were HEMAN, TAMARIND and YENS.

It fell NE, SE, NW and the very knotty SW. Thought BOYWONDER a great Saturday clue/answer.

This puzzle is exactly what a Saturday should be...difficult, but do-able. For me it comes out as a medium-challenging Saturday puzzle. Bravo for this puzzle! Bravo that I finished it!

Finished finally with OASES. Couldn't think what oh-sis are...then a long aaahhhhh with the plural of oasis. Slap side of head.

Glimmerglass 10:23 AM  

This is what Saturdays are all about! Nice puzzle, very hard but eventually doable. I had some of the same experiences as Rex. I got CLUSTERED entirely with crosses, but I still don't understand it. Clustered = clotted? No hope.

joho 10:24 AM  

@Evan, I'm really glad I stuck with it because finally finishing (a looonnng time later) I was happily correct and, quite frankly, in disbelief that I got it.

I'm calling Byron and Brad the Bad Boys of Crossworld.

With SAX in place, however, I did ask my husband about the Dodger's second baseman and he gave me STEVE.

I had stop for quite awhile before HALT. Wanted Carp for CRAB. Like others the NE was the last to fall. LILO/ALLOWANCE finally saved me. @Questinia, loved the clue for ALLOWANCE. (child support wouldn't fit!)

For some reason I knew HANSA and BIOGAS was my word of the day.


Tough. Tough going, but totally worth the effort.

Sensational Saturday puzzle!

John V 10:44 AM  

What @Rex said. Much too tough for me; DNF

ArtO 10:51 AM  

Glad to see the rating.

Do not believe TATIN should merit any complaint. It's one of the few gimmes in this grid. A very common dessert.

Anonymous 11:01 AM  

This was a wonderfully challenging one for me. Took me a solid hour.

Had no idea what pitchblende, had no idea who the Dodgers' second baseman was.

The NW should have been a lot easier, had I properly read "lollipop selection" instead of "section." Half a cup coffee spent wondering the different sections of a lollipop are called. Stick? Round? Jesus.

Very proud to pull out HATH, LILO and others out of the deep recesses.


Anonymous 11:13 AM  

Re. 31 down: things that are set near to each other could be considered "clustered", no?

Anonymous 11:15 AM  

Re. 11 down: things that are set near to each other could be considered "clustered", no?

Norm 11:15 AM  

Don't understand how CLUSTERED fits the clue, and strongly object to RIGHTMIND for "judicious state." The judicious state of mind is having an open mind or a fair mind. My "right" might be your "wrong" since reasonable can offer differ. The NE was obviously impossible; the rest of the puzzle played surprisingly easy for a Saturday.

quilter1 11:15 AM  

I make a good tarte TATIN. Got the NW and SE readily, then struggled to fill in the rest. BOY WONDER helped, then finally saw BUSHWHACK, but didn't know the second baseman and had r-rated before X. Good Saturday puzzle.

Cascokid 11:16 AM  

Conversely to Rex, I found BIOGAS to be a horrible solution, and I work in biochemistry wnd biophysics. Meanwhile, HANSA came to mind with only the _A_S_ exposed. I suspect that actual knowledge of a field is anathema to puzzle solving.

Another 2 hour DNF. UNtAkEn in the SW was my undoing there and in the center even though I suspected DAM was right, UNtAkEn was too good an overall fit to let go of. And the NE was blank, except for LILO, which at least was google-able, but not enough to save me.

Much is written about the personal nature of puzzle solving. Purists work in ink. Slow cookers grok all day long. Writing for those of us with limited gray matter, limited time budgets, but plenty of bandwidth, and therefore who admit google in our solving regimens, I ask Will and the constructors to increase the density of google-able clues. Some of you may say that solving a puzzle in an hour with 20 googles is an unworthy showing, but it is far, far better than another 2 hr DNF with leading me far away from CRAB. (Time budget, you ask? Yeah, I know. I know.)

Third DNF in a row for me, so please allow a little latitude on the soul searching.

Bob Kerfuffle 11:17 AM  

Wonderful puzzle, and indeed challenging. Was so happy to finish with no write-overs.

But put me in the crowd requesting an explication of CLUSTERED as "Nearly set?"

@I skip M-W - INTER ALIA, "among others", condenses your list by letting you not show the others (?).

Airymom 11:23 AM  

Best puzzle in months. Thanks Byron and Brad.

Could someone explain 47A--seti?

Carola 11:26 AM  

Lovely. And too much for me - major DNF. In the NE, "coLd" instead of UGLY gave me ??dWONDER, and in the SW, "iams" and that telephone-telegraph mix-up kept me from getting any of the Downs. So I abandoned the paper and went to AcrossLite to reveal my incorrect letters, after which I was able to "finish."

ACT one, comprising NW and SE, went swimmingly. I hadn't heard of SGT SCHULZ, but TATIN and CINE helped me get that corner via SPITE. TAMARIND x MIRED led me into the SE, where HANSA helpfully gave me the first letters of NAIL SALONS and ARGYLE SOCK. ACT TWO was not a reprise!

Besides appearing in LuftHANSA, the word also lives on in the names of a few German cities that belonged to the Hanseatic League, e.g., die Freie und Hansestadt Hamburg, die Freie und Hansestadt Bremen.

AliasZ 11:28 AM  

51A HATH: Clue accuracy.

From Wiki:
The electrical telegraph was developed and patented in the United States in 1837 by Samuel Morse. His assistant, Alfred Vail, developed the Morse code signaling alphabet with Morse. The first telegraph message in the United States was sent by Morse on 11 January 1838, across two miles of wire at Speedwell Ironworks near Morristown, New Jersey. HATH may or may not have been part of the message, and we may never know. We have no proof. It was definitely recorded however, that Morse sent the message What HATH God Wrought from the Capitol in Washington to the old Mt. Clare Depot in Baltimore to officially open the first telagraph line in the USA, on May 24, 1844.

Speaking of HATH, Hell HATH no fury like a woman scorned and Music HATH charms that soothe a savage beast are both often misquoted and misattributed to William Shakespeare.

The actual quotes are:

Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned,
Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned


Music has charms to soothe a savage breast.

Both quotes appear in the play The Mourning Bride (1697) by William Congreve (1670-1729).

Questinia 11:29 AM  

The clue "nearly set" if thought of as in "closely set eyes" infers the eyes are more closely or more CLUSTERED together.
"Nearly" is describing relative location. Brilliant cluing.

Anonymous 11:32 AM  

Good puzzle. Got through NW easy peasy, then rest fell clockwise. Really got stuck in NE, but finally it fell. Only mistake, which I still like, was "PArENT/UNMArED" cross. Didn't Ben Franklin not want to be recognized by all his illegitimate French bastards? And unmared certainly isn't worse than "unmated"

Anonymous 11:36 AM  

Really got stuck in SE I meant.

Lindsay 11:37 AM  

I got hung up in the NE too, but mostly because I wouldn't give up on pennyANtE for 13D "minor payment". My dog was named LILO when I adopted her, but we don't do Disney characters around here, so now she is Hester (who also turns up in puzzles from time to time).

As for the NW, I had never heard of the sitcom character, so even with SCHULTZ in place, I was looking for a first name. Couldn't get STEVE Garvey out of my head, but eventually came up with SAX.

Cold here, and a boatload of turkey trotters just ran by the house. I'm staying inside.

dm3000 11:43 AM  

SW was the only tough portion because I did NOT know Sax. Don't follow BB. Was sure Rex would rate medium or easy-medium, but no. Interesting comment above re: sexual signaling via argyle socks. Have never heard that.

O cursed spite 12:03 PM  

Did no one else have a problem with the cluing for 19A? I have
never heard the word SPITE used to mean malignant acts.
SPITE, when used as a noun, is a feeling, an attitude, a desire
to harm another person -- not an act. And while that feeling,
attitude, etc., may motivate the person who feels it to commit
malignant acts, that doesn't mean that the acts which are done
out of spite can themselves be defined as "spite". Someone
might say, "Ever since I got that promotion my co-worker
wanted, he has been committing malignant acts against
me out of spite", but I doubt that anyone would ever say,
"Ever since I got that promotion my co-worker wanted, he has
been committing spite against me".

Sandy K 12:05 PM  

Told my hubby "I KANT do this thing!!" (He threw in the towel early.)

But I kept at it and finished!!!I'm amazed, cuz the cluing was sooo confusing, and I had plenty of rewrites...esp in the NE.

Agree with Rex that UNMATED was UGLY. Thanks @Questinia for explanation of CLUSTERED. Had a big mess there for some time, til I got BOY WONDER instead of respONDER- as in 'early' respONDER.

Love a super-challenging Sat-puz!

Atlantasolver 12:08 PM  

"What Harh God Wrought" an excellent book in the Oxford series on American history.

mac 12:09 PM  

Brilliant but challenging puzzle. I finally decided to google Steve Sax and the SW was done quickly after that.

Tarte Tatin (basically an apple upside-down cake) is my husband's favorite dessert, and we lived in Hamburg, a Hansestadt. No problems there. I created a starefest by putting "moan" at 11A.

Only word I did not care for was "unmated".

Now to pick up a wreath.

Sandy K 12:21 PM  

PS- It wasn't Rex who said UNMATED was UGLY. It was me.

@jae and @ACME called it 'awkward', an UN-CRABby way of putting it...

Anoa Bob 12:23 PM  

Airymom, this puzz roughed me up pretty good---guess I wasn't in my RIGHT MIND---but one of the few entries that I got the first run through was SETI, (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. My own search for ICI (I ntracranial Intelligence) came up lacking.

Z 12:26 PM  

SETI = Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence.

Contact is a fine movie based on a novel by Carl Sagan.

Masked and Anonymo5Us 12:38 PM  

NW: Pretty easy. Knew SGTSCHULTZ and URANIUMORE, instantly. Then SUDSY, then pfft, done.
NE: Slightly harder. Couldn't spell TAMARIND. Remember tryin ACTIII for a bit. Then tried SHOW and switched to ACTTWO, and then pfft, done.
SW: Tried this next, as had OASES, DAM, and PAEAN danglin into it. Then pfft, nothin.
SE: Got MRMET, AID, APTS, MISLAY, SNL fast. Put up a fight, but PuzEatinSpouse eventually nailed its salon.
SW: Hey, spouse was rollin -- so I figured let her clean this one up. She seemed to gripe more, while doin this corner. STEVESAX had to be built from scratch, for one thing. Snarled briefly at UNMATED.

Solid, reasonably challengin fill. Ate my lunch and made me like it. Primo SatPuz.


OISK 12:59 PM  

Excellent Saturday, and was glad to see it rated "Challenging" since I finished it. (missed one square last Sat., and of course DNF the disaster of two weeks ago) It did have some features of my "least loved clues" list, like the rapper NAS ???, the Disney character Lilo???, a product name, ALPO, (albeit a very gettable one) two characters from shows I never watched, ( I knew there was a col. Klink, but not a Sgt Schultz, never watched any Star Trek but the first series, Troi?? ) never saw the X files and so had no idea what SETI meant until I came here. Still, there were no ugly Naticks, and so much stuff to love. (bushwhacker, allowance, boy wonder). Nice sense of accomplishment having finished this one. Thanks, guys!

Unknown 1:04 PM  

I enjoyed this very fun challenge. Struggled in the NE as Rex did with the lower halves of those words showing. Did not care for UNMATED, as others have mentioned. No trouble with the foodie answers of TATIN and TAMARIND. Liked kicking things off with SGT SCHULTZ and ZELDA...what an unlikely pair. Enjoyed learning about plus fours and the secret ARGYLE SOCK code. My favorite puzzle of the week!

PuzzleCraig 1:08 PM  

In case folks don't realize it, Anonymous @12:13 is joking.

Anonymous 1:12 PM  

Last hurdle was crossing of 26D and 35A. Thought for the longest time that the recognition Franklin did not seek was PARENT and wondered if UNMARED could be a mistake for UNMARRIED. Had to run the alphabet to come up with a meaningful crossing because I knew Franklin even acknowledged his illegitimate son Wiliam.

otto 1:16 PM  


joho 1:31 PM  

It just hit me, I've been reading BIOGAS as rhyming with TIOGA, or sounding like a KLAXON! BIO-GAS. No longer my word of the day.

Acme 1:43 PM  

@puzzlecraig 1:08pm
Shhhh! You'll spoil 12:13am's laughing his/her socks off that people took him/her seriously!

Steve J 1:52 PM  

Dropped in SGT SCHULTZ straight out of the gate, allowing me to get the NW filled in very quickly. Aside from that, my experience pretty much mirrored Rex's: Had the second half of all the downs in the NE and could not get any of them, and I struggle mightily in the SW (thanks in large part to giving a damn and a darn, but not a HOOT).

Took me an insanely long time to recall STEVE SAX. Before I did, I think I ran through half the Dodgers' infield from that era. I knew Steve Garvey wouldn't fit, nor would Ron Cey, but I also tried out Davey Lopes. I think that is their actual, entire infield from the 1981 series.

However, I didn't find this puzzle as enjoyable as many. Most of the long fill struck me as pretty plain - BUSHWHACK and TAMARIND being notable exceptions - and clever misdirection in the cluing was virtually nonexistent (it was just plain misdirection). Add in that the clues for three of the four downs in the NW ranged from off to inexplicable - the BOY WONDER is not an actual robin - and a couple odd/not-in-the-language answers (BIOGAS, UNMATED - I've never been married, and while I'm single and even sometimes unwed, no one has ever called me UNMATED), and this just didn't have the zip I'd like to see from a good themeless.

Not that I disliked it - other than the couple answers I mentioned, this was pretty junk-free, and other than a couple NW downs, cluing was fair - but for me those issues brought this back from the high-quality side of the continuum to pretty much square in the middle: not bad, not great.

LaneB 2:07 PM  

If one starts the NE with film ratheR than CINE, ITSnotOK the rest of the way. Did the SE correctly but everything else save a bit of fill here and there flummoxed me-- as it apparently did many others.. Still a pretty good week.

Lewis 2:11 PM  

@evan -- an omelet pan IS a thing, and called just that, in my experience.

A thank you to commenters who cleared up the clues for me for BOYWONDER (any child prodigy can be called this), and CLUSTERED (when things are set near to each other, they can be said to be clustered).

Tough puzzle, but as Evan says, fair. I didn't have the patience, and Googled a couple of times, but now I'm thinking that if I did have the patience, I had a decent shot at this.

Z 2:46 PM  

What pleases me the most is that when you search google for plus fours and argyle socks is that the puzzle solution appears about 8 rows down and Rex's STEVE SAX pic is about 18 rows down.

Anonymous 2:54 PM  

Initially had "escort" for "umpire"...hey, they're paid to make calls.

Gene 3:55 PM  

Exactly the same sequence as Rex in the NE, except BOYWONDER came before LILO.

Middlemarch 4:31 PM  

I'm still not getting 21 across. Lose one's place = show? If anyone could explain it, I would greatly appreciate it!

Anonymous 4:46 PM  

In racing - win is first, place is second, show is third. Hope this helps middlemarch.

michael 5:12 PM  

I had to google lilo to finish. I was held up for quite a while by having escort (which I thought was clever) instead of umpire.

North Carolina is redder than South Carolina, but then again so are most states. North Carolina isn't exactly Massachusetts in this respect. Jesse Helms...

Michael 5:14 PM  

oops, I meant to say that South Carolina is redder than North Carolina. Actually, I'd like to strike out this sentence altogether (North Carolina is barely red after all), but don't know how to do it.

Middlemarch 5:23 PM  

Many thanks, anonymous - that explains it!

Mohair Sam 5:35 PM  

Agreed with Rex's every word today, right down to losing a ton of time by being dead sure of "need" for HATH.

Just a gem of a Saturday. What a challenge. Clean fill, several aha moments, fun cluing (STEVESAX as a gimme!). Wife and I solve as a team - still took hours, and neither of us could have gotten it alone.

As good as a Saturday puzzle gets. Thanks Walden and Wilber.

mac 6:01 PM  

An omelet pan is a thing, but a hinged one is for sissies. I have two hinged gadgets in my kitchen: a waffle iron and a tortilla press.

Bob Kerfuffle 6:22 PM  

Meant to say earlier: When I saw 58 A, four letter word that can mean hello or good-bye like aloha or shalom, I first thought of the Fijian word "bula" which I picked up on a vacation trip long ago. I resisted CIAO for a bit because I thought it only meant "good-bye", but Wikipedia tells me Italians use it for "hello" as well.

M and Also 6:59 PM  

@Bob K... Wow. har. There's an old story about BULA (pronounced boolah, when I heard it told):

In the darkest and deadliest of all jungles, two dudes are captured by a hostile tribe, and brought before the chief.

"Y'all have encroached upon our sacred lands," says the chief. To the first captive, the chief inquires, "choose you Death or Bula?"

"Well, I guess I'll go for Bula," says the first captive, naturally a bit uncertain. The tribe goes bananas, and inflicts all kinds of gross and torturous calamities upon the hapless first captive. There ain't much recognizable left of the poor dude, when the rites conclude.

"You!" bellows out the chief at captive number two, "choose you Death or Bula?"

Hesitantly, the second captive whimpers, "that Bula deal was cruel beyond all my wildest dreams... I must choose Death."

A major awwww of disappointment reverberates throughout the tribal throng. But then, after considerable thought, the wise chief proclaims

"So be it! Death by Bula!"

(Remind me to tell yah The Monkey Joke, sometime...if you dare.)


Bob Kerfuffle 7:30 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bob Kerfuffle 7:33 PM  

Dear M & A - Yes, I've heard that joke before, although the word you have rendered as "bula" has taken various nonsensical forms.

In the interest of keeping good relations with our Fijian friends, I would urge a short visit to this website.

Dirigonzo 8:00 PM  

This seemed like four separate puzzles to WPP and me. The NW practically filled itself in and the SE caved after I took a WAG at SANANTONIO which turned out to be right. ALLOWANCE got us into the NE which was a bit more challenging, but the SW remained a swath of white until I remembered my harvest gold OMELETPAN from the '70s and that let us piece together the rest of the corner letter by letter. Once WREATH replaced aREola it all came together and we were done. CIAO!

Anonymous 9:07 AM  

Great puzzle. A minor in European history to go along with the degree in literature might have. Hansas didn't exist in medieval times

Diamond Kite 4:41 PM  

Got NW first, but had to ask husband about Hogan's Heroes ref, and he confirmed what someone said earlier about it being "I know nothing." Having the Z, I just assumed Zelda. Never heard of Pitchblende. Paean was horrible. Tamarind in W sauce, wow. For a long time my least favorite was the plus fours thing, like what in the world ARE you talking about. But I got that before the whole NE block. Oh, biogas was also terrible. And I'm also mad about nailsalons. Nothing in the clue to indicate it should be plural, and I had to live with that uncertainty for a long time. Also I am an avid embroiderer and never heard of this pilot loop. I am no genius, but can usually finish the Saturday crossword ON SATURDAY. Not this one though. This was rough.

Diamond Kite 4:48 PM  

Oh, I'm just seeing it's PICOT, and not PILOT.

Worked in a french pastry shop as a teenager and was very proud to know TATIN.

Who knows anything about the WNBA, honestly?

spacecraft 10:59 AM  

"Hey!" I thought as I read the clue for 1a, "Finally a gimme to kick off!" And when URANIUMORE plopped in right underneath, I rechecked the calendar to make sure this was Saturday.

Oh, but it was.

I very reluctantly filled in SUDSY (?????), GRAPE and the totally unknown TATIN. Not an habitual drinker, I couldn't get the beer relevance to the 1d clue, but left SUDSY in because it was the only thing that let the rest of it make any sense. Now that I see it explained, I slap my head in full NODUH! mode.

Then over to "Early riser." Really, guys? Early bird=robin=BOYWONDER? That is a stretch that would leave the most yielding elastic in shreds. And "Nearly set" for CLUSTERED?? Is the dinner table ready, Vashti? No ma'am, but it's CLUSTERED. Right. Mind. Not.

Luckily parsed XRATING, which allowed the mentally elusive STEVESAX to come roaring in. I wound up with a correct, unAIDed finish, butam in full accord with the "challenging" mark. Those three down clues, at 1, 11 and 14, may cause no more than a fluttering of the spacecraft flag individually--but together? TWEE! Fifteen yards!

Ginger 2:47 PM  

Why would a cat promote dog food? Does ALPO make cat food too? My thoughts as I resisted writing it in. Also....explains how tough this one is.

Most musicals reprise songs in the third act, and have originals in one and two. So...trouble with ACTxxx, III made so much sense, DUH.

Raided my frige for a bottle of Worcestershire and it's list of ingredients TAMARIND! aHa!

Lived in LA during the 80s, and watched the wizard of 2nd base STEVESAX many times. Good times.

In the end, many googles = DNF, but did enjoy the tough work-out.

@Diri and other Syndilanders in the NE, hope you all are warm and safe. Heck of a way to start a new year.

rain forest 4:12 PM  

Like everybody else, I got SGTSCHULTZ, and URANIUMORE immediately, and the NW was done. TAMARIND, a guessed SILENCE, HEMAN, and SHOW (all this after much thought), and BOYWONDER came to me. I think it is a good answer. A lad early in life rises to prominence. Makes sense to me. CLUSTERED was another matter, but it had to be right, and I sort of see it now.

As for the rest, ALPO, CIAO, and XRATING (which revealed STEVESAX), gave up the SW.

So, it was a challenging puzzle, but I managed to get it, after maybe an hour and a half. I think UNMATED is very iffy, more deserving of a @Spacey flag than the others.

Solving in Seattle 7:06 PM  

SiS family has a waffleiroN but no OMELETPAN with hinges. Not sure about the clue for BUSHWHACK being right. Liked Rex wondering if the plus four wearers only wear one ARGYLESOCK. I also don't get SETI for 47A.

@Spacy, you should have penalized 15 yards for CLUSTERED's clue alone.

Who didn't love SGTSCHULTZ?

Go Hawks?

Capcha: 5252664. Star date in the captain's log?

Joshua 7:55 PM  

@Ginger: Alpo used to make cat food. However, they no longer do. (Their corporate affiliates still make cat food, but not under the Alpo name.)

Dirigonzo 8:28 PM  

@ginger - thanks for your concern for those of us in the NE. The weather outside has indeed been frightful but in my little corner of syndiland the lights have stayed on and that's about all I need to be a happy camper. I'm hoping @Waxy will check in to let us know how our neighbors to the north fared.

Waxy in Montreal 12:57 AM  

Late checking in having focused on the NFL playoff games much of the day.

First, @Ginger & @Diri, thanks for your concern. However, while it's been very cold up here, fortunately for us the nor'easter slid by south of Quebec with its full fury being inflicted on Atlantic Canada. Especially Newfoundland where the power grid went down early today in the midst of frigid temperatures and the snowstorm. Brrrr.

Well, as someone born in Worcestershire, I'm RED(DER) in the face as I had no idea that one of the sauce's ingredients was TAMARIND - had to resort to reading the label on the bottle to get going in the mid-Atlantic region of the grid.

Otherwise, found this a relatively easy Saturday effort, especially with gimmes like SGTSCHULTZ, URANIUMORE, STEVESAX and ARGYLESOCK. Didn't know that an OMELETPAN was often hinged which served to unhinge me for a time. With no grandkids around, had to google the Disney title character to open up @Diri's part of the map.

I HATH nothing else to add.

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