Italian brewer since 1846 / SAT 3-1-14 / Ghanaian region known for gold cocoa / 1987 #1 hit with line Yo no soy marinero / Carrier with pink logo

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Constructor: Ian Livengood and J.A.S.A. Crossword Class

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none

Word of the Day: ASHANTI Region (10D: Ghanaian region known for gold and cocoa) —
The Ashanti Region is located in south Ghana and third largest of 10 administrative regions, occupying a total land surface of 24,389 km2 (9,417 sq mi) or 10.2 per cent of the total land area of Ghana. In terms of population, however, it is the most populated region with a population of 3,612,950 in 2000, accounting for 19.1 per cent of Ghana’s total population. The Ashanti region and Asanteman is known for its major gold bar and cocoa production and also harbors the capital city of Kumasi. (wikipedia)
• • •

This is among my favorite of the JASA Crossword Class puzzles. They are always pretty good—as they should be, since the JASA teachers are always top-flight constructors, and the puzzles represent the collective effort of many sharp minds—but this one is particularly fresh and solid. Kudos to Will for letting KTHXBYE get through (18A: Curt chat closing). It's a jokey texting sign-off that looks nuts on the grid. Nuts good. Good nuts. I think it's often spelled KTHXBAI—that spelling certainly googles better. Speaking of Google: GOOGLE GLASS is also a nice modern reference, although … I have yet to see anyone wearing them (it? It, I guess). I mean, in real life. And yet I've been hearing about it for so long now that it already feels a bit like yesterday's news. See also BitCoin, which I'm sure will be in the puzzle Any Day Now (esp. with the recent fraud problems putting the "currency" in the spotlight). But BITCOIN isn't in this puzzle. GOOGLE GLASS is (42A: Modern device seen on a bridge). And despite its looking stupid (in its currently incarnation), some version of it is likely here to stay (not so sure about BITCOIN … or why I keep talking about BITCOIN).

Never heard of PERONI, so that area of the puzzle was probably the toughest for me. PERONI makes a beer called Nastro Azzurro, which (per wikipedia) was the 13th best-selling beer in the UK in 2010. So if that's ever in a trivia contest, boom, you're set. BATE is a funny word (3D: Moderate). Needs a terminal S to be a name, needs an initial A to be a "real" verb. I've never heard anyone use BATE in ordinary conversation. I had BAT- and still had no idea what the answer was til I ran the alphabet. Cluing generally seemed vibrant and interesting—a nice mix of tough and easy, trivia-based and wordplay-based. Nice question-markers on SUPEREGO (28A: One's own worst critic?) and PAJAMAS (59A: Sack dress?). Really enjoyable work. 72 words is the max for a themeless. High-word-count themelesses have a huge upside. Room for really interesting longer answers, but not soooo much room that you end up torturing the fill to make everything hold together. Long live the high-word-count themeless.

Happy March!

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. SOY is in the grid and also in the "LA BAMBA" clue (1A: 1987 #1 hit with the line "Yo no soy marinero, so capitán"). You're probably only noticing it now–now that I've mentioned it—so it probably doesn't matter.


Garth 12:07 AM  

Even though I didn't quite finish thanks to the western equatorial and pacific NW regions, it was very enjoyable. And even though I dnf, it seemed very easy for me for a Saturday. If I had been able to seal the deal, I was in contention for a Saturday personal best.

Kudos to @Rex for letting all of those warm and fuzzy feelings get through. I enjoyed his write-up.

wreck 12:15 AM  

Who would guess that a crossword class that was this "hip" was a bunch of seniors instead of a college class! I soared through this until I got to the NE. KTHXBYE and ATAVIST really bogged me down, even after filling SISENOR right off the bat. That was my favorite Saturday - ever.
I think this will be one of the most polarizing puzzles in awhile. People will either love it or hate it with a passion.

retired_chemist 12:17 AM  

Challenging here. Some stuff I just didn't know: MAE, BATE, ASHANTI, DRE. Some stuff I didn't see readily: the whole NW, GOOGLE GLASS, K THX BYE (but that's GOOD anyway!), ITO, REV (had dEm), UNCLE (had fencE), TATS (had sign), ARTE (had tony), etc. You get the idea - not my finest 44 minutes.

BUT - the puzzle itself was good, my inefficiency notwithstanding. Lots of fresh fill as OFL mentioned.

THX, Ian and J.A.S.A.

Moly Shu 12:23 AM  

Wow, this was good and tough. Stuck for the longest time in the NE. Didn't know ATAVIST, so I think that was the main holdup until I got TITLE which somehow led to KTH??YE and I thought " no, can't be" but it was. Glad to hear @Rex with positivity, I knew he had it in him. Didn't know BATE either, loved SNAKEBITTEN and the clue for GANG. ALTER before SUPEREGO. Took me awhile but very satisfied in the end. Thx Ian and crew

Steve J 12:36 AM  

Really enjoyed this one. Great to see a lot of really fresh stuff in there (KTHXBYE, GOOGLE GLASS - even if we've taken to calling people who wear them in public here in San Francisco "glassholes" - IPAD AIR, RETWEET), although I suspect (as @wreck intimated) there are going to be a lot of people who will very much dislike those parts. Cluing was fun, devious and clever.

While I made good progress through this, I got stuck and DNF in the NW. I had RETWEET and BIENVENUE, but nothing else. I fell for getting stuck thinking of Tony with the Danza clue, I couldn't fill in the AD part of ADWARE for some time (couldn't get malware out of my head), and I kept trying to get another Android phone to fit into 15A. Only nits I could possibly pick are that the blocks of threes in the NE and SW are a little unsightly, but at the same time they definitely helped me get traction in those corners.

Thins one certainly ranks up there near the top in the list of Saturday puzzles I've had the most fun with.

Questinia 12:54 AM  

I nearly dropped my tatting needles when ADWARE and IPAD AIR appeared. Although they were aptly presaged by GOOGLR GLASS, TMOBILE, DVD CASE, SENSOR, KTHXBYE, PDF and RETWEET

Tech-savory. More medium for me. Sweet puz. Thx.

jae 1:08 AM  

Easy-medium for me too with the NE providing the most resistance...the KTHX/ASHANTI cross was an educated guess. Much zippier than yesterday's.  Loved SNAKE BITTEN.  If you play any sports you
have at one time or another experienced this phenomena.  

I'm not sure why BEST DRAMA is informal?

LA BAMBA was a 1958   hit for me.  Ritchie Valens.

Fun puzzle. THX team Ian!

AliasZ 1:16 AM  

A disappointing Saturday after an enjoyable Friday, I'm SADD to say. Not that the clues were not challenging. They were quite so. But after getting many of the answers, I thought, so what? T-TOP, OPEN MOBILE (or was it the other way around?), LION (tiger, bear, etc.) CUB, DVD CASE, PAD THAI, and SUPER EGO were not worth it. Isn't ASHANTI a singer/dancer? PERONI who? I prefer shutterbug to LENSMAN.

ASK UP, IN B, PLED TO, LEFT BE, RETWEET and UNCOIL made me recoil. These in a Saturday puzzle with two 11's being the longest entries? Not pretty. SNAKE BITTEN didn't do much to rescue this one, and Master BATE did not help either.

GOOGLEGLASS: too many GGGGG. Reading Ian's notes in xwordinfo, I did not think it was the most inspired seed entry.

The large number of threes were also quite disappointing for a Saturday. Not the best effort by Ian Livengood, I have seen much better.

I liked BIENVENUE and BOOK CLUB, one of which was at least in English.

Sorry, not enough inspiration here for a fitting musical tribute.

Favorite word today: NEBULA.

There once was a distant NEBULA
Espied while lyin' on his scapula
By Hubble the LENSMAN
Who didn't like jasmine,
But thought that the stars were fabula.


Steve J 1:28 AM  

@jae: BEST DRAMA is informal because the actual Emmy Awards category name is Outstanding Drama Series.

Ashanti Cease Mae 2:39 AM  

I have no doubt Ian is an excellent teacher, but I question the choice of making it so techy for that group.
Having just spent a week in Florida with my 82 yr old mother and her friends, I can guarantee you,
KTHXBYE, ADWARE, IPADAIR, GOOGLEGLASS, PDF, RETWEET, TMOBILE, even DVDCASE and writing on a WALL would be so far out of their wheelhouse, it might as well be in Turkish.

Come to think of it PADTHAI, anything to do with Tina Turner, Italian beer, TATS, DRE, actually pretty much EVERYTHING in this puzzle (save BOOKCLUBS) would be beyond her ken.

Then again, she ain't me. I loved it.
KTHXBYE was beyond new to me. ACH!

I only know ASHANTI as an AIDS org, which made me SADD, but dim memories that it had something to do with meaning peace in Swahili or something.

FISHNET was sassy and it certainly wasn't the SAMEOLD SAME OLD.
Congrats, Ian and to JASA for so few SNAGS.

Anonymous 2:56 AM  

Loved this puzzle. It's about time we had a puzzle that takes place in the current millennium. Had a little trouble with NE, not with KTHXBYE, but with everything else there. Easy for a Saturday

jae 3:05 AM  

@Steve J - THX, I avoid award shows and pay more attention to the winners than the precise categories names in the LAT.

Moly Shu 4:20 AM  

@AlphaCharlieMike, as I read your post, a wave of panic swept over me. Oh no, I thought, she didn't like the puzzle. Glad I kept reading.

Looking back over the puzzle and being somewhat of a techno-idiot myself, I can see where some of these answers/clues might cause some consternation. ( make that a huge techno-idiot )

krayolakris 6:33 AM  

Loved it! Bate was lame, KTHXBAI would have been better. Just a fun Sat!

Danp 6:43 AM  

From the moment I read the clue for 1A, I had a song stuck in my head. Unfortunately, those lyrics would have been, "yo soy un hombre sincero" (Guantanamera), and I was pretty sure the song dated back to the Spanish American war. Turns out only the wrong lyrics did. Needles to say, yo no fui capitan today.

MetaRex 7:50 AM  

Enjoyed all the tech-talk.

Feel kinda loyal to my wrong answer ATAVISM...why not boost the scrabbliness w/ MRE instead of TRE? CWers did our duty and kept the memory of WWII alive for all those decades w/ LST and ETO...kinda like doing the same w/ the now-fading longest war and MRE...

Glimmerglass 8:04 AM  

Great Saturday puzzle. Anything but easy. As an old guy, I struggled with some of the pop/tech references, but dredging them up out of my recollection of contemporary media (as opposed to actual experience) was satisfying. I've been in Turkey three times, but LIRA was one of the last items to fall for me. Daniel notwithstanding, I don't think lions actually have dens.

Elle54 8:07 AM  

Didn't know Ashanti and had to google., but otherwise liked!

Muscato 8:17 AM  

A fun Saturday, although I have never seen any variation on the classic KTHXBAI, which I think of less in a texting sense than from reading too many LOLCATS.

Anonymous 8:23 AM  

Had to google after 40 minutes. After my first complete Saturday last week, welcome back to dnf. Still enjoyed it. Thought the clues were clever and fun. In Georgia we say "kdenbye". Okay, then, bye!

Anonymous 8:34 AM  

Easy peasy for a Saturday, just under 10 min and no googling. BTW PERONI beer can be ordered at most Italian restaurants. In fact, in many of them, it's the only Italian beer on the menu.

Sir Hillary 8:51 AM  

Awesome puzzle. Many unusual consonant runs, and lots of Bs, Cs, Ds, Gs, Vs, etc. The Silicon Valley vibe is great.

A couple of goofs (bearCUB, BESTDRess) held me up, but mostly I had good rhythm on this one.

Thanks to Ian and the class!

Anonymous 9:26 AM  

Only thing I missed was the first letter of 3 down, used "S" instead to give "SATE", as in "to moderate one's thirst or hunger". Didn't exactly fit, but never heard "BATE" used as a synonym for lessen or abate. Also, "LASAMBA" was probably earlier than '87, I think done by the performer of "The Girl from Ipanema"...(Joao Gilberto?).
The BAI for BYE in KTHXBAI is used mainly, I believe, by lolcats
like in your example...

Mohair Sam 9:31 AM  

I'm discarding all of my jokes about things done by committee. This was about as good as a crossword puzzle gets. Loved the cluing, loved the variety - a lot of 21st century clues, btw.

Challenging for us, and we needed two brains this morning for sure. Struggled in every area - my gimme "irk" held us up forever in NE until wife said "try VEX there". I then saw ATAVIST and she then saw ASHANTI and in a few seconds we were finished. Buy stock in Wite-out, we used a ton. But we finished - Google free.

PERONI a gimme here - half the outdoor tables at my favorite Italian restaurant have PERONI umbrellas over them. And yes, it's a good beer.

As of 8:51 nobody had mentioned Richie Valens. 1987 hit indeed. Harumph.

Anonymous 9:33 AM  

Sitting with my coffee looking out at yet another snowy morning, I felt really a part of a community. Visualizing a group having fun putting this together for my enjoyment overcame any weaknesses or too-techy-for-me (dnf)clues/answers.

Anonymous 9:35 AM  

jae at 1:08am mentioned Mr. Valens...should scan a little more carefully...

jberg 9:40 AM  

Just challenging enough for me. Fortunately, I once studied African politics, so the ancient (and still going) kingdom of ASHANTI was a gimme. If it's well known enough to have so many things steal its name, it must be crossworthy!

I'm with @jae -- kids these days only remembering the 1987 remake of La Bamba. It's an old folk song, though, Ritchie, too, just did a version. And thanks to @danp for explaining why I always think that line is from "Guantanamera."

I spent 5 hours in an ER with my wife last Sunday waiting to be seen, so I have to wonder about the clue for 23D.(She's OK, thanks - fear of a detaching retina, but it was a false alarm.)

I thought of SNAKEBITTEN early, but didn't put it in because I thought the real phrase was 'snakebit.' Finally, when I was totally stuck, I gave it a try, and the rest followed.

Note: both APES and SINGE in the same puzzle, linked by the French clue at 6D. Bother me about as much as the two SOYs.

Mohair Sam 9:41 AM  

@anon 9:35.

Yup, thanks. I always read jae too. Scanned everything looking for someone to second and missed it. Oh well.

DocRoss 9:43 AM  

I was surprised by the 1987 date, too. I knew La Bamba off the lyric, and I thought the clue was 30 years off until I remembered the movie and the Los Lobos cover. Nice misdirection on a gimme.

DocRoss 9:46 AM  

Oh, and as for repeats, we had IPAD and PADTHAI in opposite corners. I kinda liked that.

(Sent from my iPad Air)

Z 10:00 AM  

I beg to differ. This is little more than a Wired version of a TV Guide puzzle. Little balance due to a whole lot of stuff that no one will remember in half a decade. Let's take a look:

K THX BYE - Text Speak is this year's version of Valley Girl, soon to be the butt of jokes if it isn't already.
iPad Air/Samsung Galaxy - anyone remember when the Razr was cutting edge?
RETWEET - Anyone have a MySpace account?
WALL - I ditched my Facebook account over two years ago - none of my 17 - 23 year old off-spring have an account. The typical trajectory for all social media of new to cool to passé takes about five years, maybe ten if the company is lucky.
GOOGLE GLASS - Anything that generates "Glasshole" before it really hits the market does not have much of a future.
DVD CASE - I'll go to my local Blockbuster and ... Oh, wait.

There are some good bits here, SUPER EGO, BOOK CLUBS, PAJAMAS, and FISHNET for example. But there is too much ephemera here, all of it tech oriented.

Scarab 10:10 AM  

I think BATE only occurs in normal conversation in the phrase "BATEd breath."

Carola 10:13 AM  

I enjoyed this one a lot, smiled solving this tech-y puzzle with my SAME OLD pencil-on-newspaper method rather than on some device. Even in BOOK CLUBS these days, people are reading on their I PAD AIRs, Kindles, or Nooks. I liked seeing the old-fashioned LENSMAN crossing with GOOGLE GLASS, with which you can snap a photo with a wink.

Liked the international ASHANTI, BIENVENUE, PERONI, LA BAMBA, ACH. Laughed when I finally got "Sack dress?" as PAJAMAS are also my daily crossword-solving dress.

Thanks, @Ian Livengood and class, for the fun.

quilter1 10:21 AM  

I didn't hate it although it totally defeated this tech dinosaur.

Loren Muse Smith 10:29 AM  

OMG. i never use textese, so i was g8ly VEXed in the northeast – it was my ultimate downfall. ASHANTI/K THX BYE was a huge personal Natick 4 me.

"Like some double-deckers" – considered "one twos" and then "open air." Also flirted with some oreo shenanigans, wondering, "Really? They come double deckered now?"

Then I considered "Oreo Drive" for that DC thoroughfare but only because I was feeling silly and feisty.

I kept wondering what GANG a truncated form for, what with "e.g." in the clue and all. If we're seeing a trend not to alert solvers of variant spellings and abbreviations, I'm all for it. I'm so glad we're not warned that an answer is two words. (FWIW – I didn't post that day, but for some reason, I always spell it "yoghurt" and have no idea why. It's definitely not the snobbe in me trying to glamorise it, I swear.)

@Scarab -I'm going to ponder BATE as a verb today. Do you BATE a debate?

It's always a bad feeling to SINGE anything, because the smell . . . FOWL.

@Andrea – really funny 45 story yesterday!

@M&A – ya got me on the puz yesterday; I started out with the same answer for 7 and 8 down. Good one!!

@jberg – so glad everything turned out ok yesterday.

Got my PAJAMAS on last night, stood there and performed that I Have No Knife Fingernail, Teeth, Fingernail Again –Cursing - Tear Into opening of the new DVD CASE of season 1 of Downton Abbey – yep. Never seen one episode, but it was my plan to start catching up last night and watch a couple of episodes in bed. How decadent. It. Would. Not. Play. I called my kids, who are doing some sibling bonding at our farm this weekend. I asked what I could do. Their response had me feeling like I was standing in line at a music store with some old bat talking about 45s. . .

ನೀವು ಒಂದು DVD ವಹಿಸುತ್ತದೆ ಎಂಬುದನ್ನು ನಿಮ್ಮ start button ಕಾರ್ಯಕ್ರಮಗಳು programs ಪರಿಶೀಲಿಸಿ ಮತ್ತು ನೀವು ಸರಿಯಾದ type in DVD ಒಂದು ಇದ್ದರೆ, ನೀವು ಪಡೆಯಲು ಒಂದು ರೇಡಿಯೋ Radio Shack ಹೋಗಲು ಇರಬಹುದು ಅಗತ್ಯವಿದೆ. ನೀವು ನಿಜವಾಗಿಯೂ ಏನೋ ವೀಕ್ಷಿಸಲು I Tunes, ಅಥವಾ different movie, ನೀವು ನಾನು ಟ್ಯೂನ್ಸ್ ಮೇಲೆ ಚಿತ್ರ Google ಮಾಡಬಹುದು. K THX BYE.

I just h8 getting OLD. I don't even know what the heck an IPAD AIR is. It’s a fakagram of PAD THAI, that's what it is. I've never RETWEETED anything, but I have YEA (I need to let that go) opened two twitter accounts and am pretty sure I follow two people out there in Twitterdom, probably on T MOBILE.

I think I'll put on a pair of FISHNETS, SNAGS and all, go stand at the corner of BIENVENUE and PERONI, be creepy, and frighten small children.

Ian and class – lovely puzzle. I just had to, uh, say UNCLE with that ASHANTI/K THX BYE cross. Toda Raba!!

mac 10:38 AM  

Medium-tough for me, but I enjoyed every minute.

The NW was the last section to fall, partly because I had "Let It Be" stuck in my head and kept wondering if the Beatles snuck a Spanish sentence in the song somewhere.... Bienvenue was there from the start, and when I figured out Lira that corner fell as well.

@andrea: I just read on facebook that you can join this JASA class when you're over 55.... Plenty of techies there, I bet. I have to admit to thinking of an older crowd when I filled in "book club".

Fred Romagnolo 10:47 AM  

Hate to google, but had to to get La Bamba and Tmobile. Have never come across ktxhbye (or bai). we 82 yr olds really have to struggle with all the tech terms. not to mention rock music terms and people

Anonymous 10:53 AM  

Peroni is the top selling beer in Italy, and since being acquired by Miller, is common in many US bars, restaurants, and even at Nats Park in DC.

Anonymous 10:53 AM  

Peroni is the top selling beer in Italy, and since being acquired by Miller, is common in many US bars, restaurants, and even at Nats Park in DC.

Anonymous 10:54 AM  

Peroni is the top selling beer in Italy, and since being acquired by Miller, is common in many US bars, restaurants, and even at Nats Park in DC.

Anonymous 10:57 AM  

Peroni is Italy's number one beer, and is common in American restaurants, bars, and even at Nats Park. Not sure why it is important whether it ranks high in England.

Dave S. 10:58 AM  

Peroni is Italy's number one beer, and is common in American restaurants, bars, and even at Nats Park. Not sure why it is important whether it ranks high in England.

Dave S. 10:59 AM  

Peroni is Italy's number one beer, and is common in American restaurants, bars, and even at Nats Park. Not sure why it is important whether it ranks high in England.

Dave S. 11:00 AM  

Peroni is Italy's number one beer, and is common in American restaurants, bars, and even at Nats Park. Not sure why it is important whether it ranks high in England.

John V 11:07 AM  

Good Saturday, easy save for the NE, which snagged me, 18A not to be had.

Sandy K 11:09 AM  

If this puzzle had a TITLE it would B: Not the SAME OLD, SAME OLD...(as @Acme noted above)

Loved the fresh feel of almost all the entries.

Hope you get your DVD CASE open @lms- think you'll enjoy one of the BEST DRAMAs on tv now- and fall in love with the Mr. BATEs storyline.

Great job- Ian and the whole GANG!

RnRGhost57 11:10 AM  

Dave, did you have a few too many Peronis? Easy on the reposts.

OISK 11:20 AM  

@Z - I agree with you, but am a bit more hostile. What do I like least in a puzzle? Product references (Eggo, Ipadair, TMOBILE,beats by Dre) Text slang KTHXBYE ?? Really? That should not be allowed. Aside from its obscurity to the non-texting public, it is one of those answers where nearly every letter could be anything at all. Just awful. Pop culture - La Bamba, Tina Turner's middle name??? What the heck is googleglass? I somehow finished this dreadful mess, but it was little fun. A note about yesterday, where I had ODAYS instead of OJAYS, and it was pointed out that had I noticed the pangram, I would have known that there had to be a "J". Well, yes, but do people actually notice as they solve which letters are used?? I have never yet checked to see whether all the letters appeared, nor have I ever cared! The old Maleska puzzles are still, for the most part, solvable. I can't imagine anyone, say 20 years from now, enjoying this. Terrible. (well constructed, of course. Just terrible for folks like me!)

dk 11:20 AM  

🌕🌕🌕🌕 (4 Moons) Something old, something new, borrowed and blue… or FOWL.

A perfect marriage of ideas. Most collaborative puzzles result in something that could be called: BATE, often resulting in one wanting to beat ones wings to escape from the perch (other meaning of BATE). This one does not suffer that fate.

As one similar with the creative process my hat is doffed to Ian. This puzzle is a testament to your leadership of this class. That said another tip of the brim to the class itself.

One of the things I like most about this puzzle is the time span covered by fill that ranges from FISHNET to KTHXBYE with nary a hiccup.

Note: While residing in Milan I tried to love PERONI but was seduced by Riapasso and her older sister Amarone.

Grazie Ian e classe cruciverba

dk 11:21 AM  

familiar not similar… what a maroon

Ray J 11:28 AM  

I’ve seen KTHXBYE exactly once before today – Rex’s post of 11/29/13. Recalling that really helped me today.

Terrific Saturday puzzle.

wordie 11:32 AM  

I liked the puzzle fine. Found it quite difficult, more than most of you. A couple nits:

7D's clue should have the article, I know it's trying to be tricksy but in a Romance language it's just wrong.

6D's clue should not be plural if the answer is singular. The way it's clued, the correct answer is bienvenus.

Z 11:32 AM  

For those interested regarding yesterday's blog, there is this. There's more on Twitter as well as both constructor and blogger Tweet.

Garth 11:36 AM  

@dk: Agreed: PERONI, though widely available here, and pretty good, is just not "to die for."

Anonymous 11:52 AM  

Loved this. Medium for me, just under a half hour with no cross outs.

Did anyone else spend more than 2 seconds wondering how a bIbLE could be proof of purchase? When I briefly wanted KbyeBYE, that was troubling me. I had to laugh to see that answer in the NY Times crossword; though it was great.


Anonymous 12:49 PM  

Nice. Very, very nice.

Z 12:56 PM  

I rarely leave Michigan, let alone the US, for beer, so I can't speak from direct experience regarding PERONI, but here is a not atypical review from the Beer Advocate website:

The adverts present this as a beer for beautiful people. Fashionistas and glamourous types adorn their glossy magazine ads and give this the reputation of a classy beer. In pubs it comes from an ostentatious silver pump with grand adornments making you feel you're buying a premium drink.

Sadly, it smells of not much. Maybe a bit grainy and lagery.

The appearance is poor because the head does not last and you're left with something that looks like a glass of apple juice.

The taste is not pleasant. It tastes cheap and artificial. As if someone had poured generic "beer" flavouring into a glass of sparkling water. It's a chore to finish this and you feel it isn't doing you much good. There's a slight bitterness and grainy flavour form the maize adjunct. No sign of any herbal hops or enjoyable malt backbone.

The mouthfeel is not particularly bad but the taste is so insipid and even slightly offensive that the mouthfeel doesn't seem to matter.

Overall a really poor lager that could probably put many people off beer altogether and lager in particular if this was their typical experience of the drink.

Nicki 1:15 PM  

What fun to be in the 21st century with google glass and retweet and kthxbye (which was hard but paid off so well). Even fishnet is fresh as it's a fashion trend right now. Instead of Thom McAn or adit or oast it's wall and dre and eggo. Such a pleasure.

Masked and Anonymo5Us 1:36 PM  

BATE sure seems like it oughta be somethin. We await the SatPuz with BATEd breath, am I right? The crucial question becomes, of course, what is the proper procedure to BATE yer breath? Eat earthworms and minnows? Smoke a few early week puzs? I need to chew on this issue, for a bit...

weejects anonymous: INB and AVI are hard to beat. They have a lotta crossword class.

ASHANTI sounds like somethin else.
Maybe an artsy-fartsy way of sayin K, THX, BYE? Or a gal that sings, dances and hawks Pepsi on TV?

@muse45: Yeah,. . . that #103 puz was tryin to have a theme about not havin a theme. Mighta been a little too bate-sh*t crazy.


Noam D. Elkies 1:56 PM  

KTHXBYE is neat; this is not quite the first time it appears in a crossword, but we've not seen it before in the NYTimes.


Lewis 2:09 PM  

Very enjoyable, with fun cluing. Yes, in 20 years, this puzzle may not hold up, but it is being published today.

Unknown 2:37 PM  

2:41 15 googles. Scratched at TATm/MADD. Generations of rabbits have been raised in this warren.

Gimmes/gotchas were
15A [Samsung Galaxy Note rival] surfAce, which was wrong IPADAIR
[Travel safety grp] ntsb, which was wrong then mADD, then SADD
32A [Put off] setby, which was wrong (TABLE)

PDF is NOT! a [ .Doc alternative]. .txt, .wpA are. That's bad cluing and/or bad clue editing = misery for those of us who read the clues deeply.

To openly admit in court is to stipulate. But a plea, which is usually strategic positioning and is many things before "open" can kinda, sorta be thought of at way. Mrs. Kid came to the rescue o that one.

onesself before SUPEREGO
galaxy before NEBULA

LABAMBA went in then came right out when it didn't have even one good cross.

Easy-Medium? Sure, if you avoid the myriad of credible wrong answers. Sometimes I don't think Rex even thinks about the puzzle very hard. His reflexes are so good, he fails to consider alternatives. My reflexes are so bad, the alternatives are all I come up with.

Favorite clue was [Sack dress?]. Hard, but fair.
KTHXBYE was also very good.

I rate it: Argh!

Unknown 3:00 PM  

Loved it. Perfect degree of difficulty for me, as answers slowly fell one by one. Fun and fresh, and I managed to finish with no mistakes.

OISK 3:03 PM  

I never heard of "SADD," only of "MADD." Turns out, Natick fans, that there is also "TADD" - Teens against drunk driving. "SADD" has changed their name, and SADD to say, are "against destructive decisions", which might actually make "TADD" a tad better. The down clue would then be "TATT" for "ink." Not an unreasonable abbreviation, I would say. I went for "TATS" (correctly) only because I thought that "ink" suggested a plural. Did I mention how much I didn't like this puzzle? NTHXBYE.

Gordon 3:12 PM  

No kudos to Will! 18A was crap.
And has anyone ever heard "left be" as a synonym for "ignored?"

GILL I. 3:54 PM  

Wow...I thought this was refreshing...
I had to work real hard to complete the puzzle but enjoyed every minute. Put it down...walk away...come back and plunk in an answer. Did this many times.
PERONI gave me the hardest time of all. Frankly, I've never Ever seen an Italian drink beer. Maybe I just never noticed but every red blooded Italiano I ever encountered always had something red about to be perched on his lips.
I don't know how I knew ASHANTI but I did. Also didn't know how I got KTHXBYE because when I text I don't abbr. and TG neither do my adult children.
I'm sure I was probably the only boba who had ankh for the Four roods because I only know a rood from a cross which gave me HOHO for the Froffles. I'm glad they changed the named to EGGO - so much more refined. Anyway, cleaned up my mess after my MOOGLEGLASS and came here to say SI SENOR, LA BAMBA es ARTE.
Thanks Ian and all you young JASA whippersnappers....

Steve J 4:26 PM  
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Steve J 4:32 PM  

@Z: I give Beer Advocate less credibility than I do Yelp, which is saying something. (Example, how does a beer smell "lagery"?). PERONI is nothing remarkable, being yet another fizzy yellow lager, but to me it seemed a slight step above the norm for that style. It's a little bit like Modello Especial: just a slight hint of having a bit more malt than normal. Still nothing special, but a little less unfortunate to be stuck with than, say, a Bud or a Carlsberg.

Michigan is a great beer state, with absolutely none of it coming out here to California. I do get to sample several when I go back to visit family in Minnesota. Even if it did show up here, it wouldn't be fresh. Much like you're faced with when West Coast beers make it your way.

Incidentally, Italy has developed a really vibrant, high-quality, creative craft beer scene over the last 10-15 years. Nice mix of Germanic and American influences. It's still predominantly a wine country, but it's also arguably the most creative beer country in Europe outside Belgium.

@Casco Kid: I've written up a report. I can send it to you as a Microsoft Word document, or I can send it to you as a PDF. So, yes, PDF is indeed an alternative to .doc. The clue didn't say they were editing alternatives.

One thing that took me forever to do, but helped me tremendously with solving tougher puzzles, was no longer expecting precision out of crossword clues. I agree, I'd never create a written report in Acrobat instead of Word. But I do send plenty of things I've written in Word as a PDF. I've visited dozens of breweries over the years, and I have many friends in the business, and not a single one has had an oast, yet I know that's what crosswords are looking for when they clue something like "brewery fixture". Too much knowledge can be a dangerous thing with crosswords. Focusing on approximation rather than precision has helped me solve better.

Benko 4:51 PM  

The most interesting thing about PERONI, and indeed all Italian lagers I've tasted, is the characteristic spiciness from the type of yeast they use. Gives the beer a kind of savory flavor which goes well with food.

Dirigonzo 5:27 PM  

I don't text, tweet or chat but I still managed to get through this with no help - the curt closing went in on crosses and intuition because I wasn't certain of ASHANTI, either. I was VEXed by the date assigned to LABAMBA until @DocRoss mentioned the movie.

@Z - "All life in a concatenation of ephemeralities." (Alfred Kahn) - but I bet you knew that.

Nancy 6:00 PM  

I love you OISK(11:20 a.m.)! You said it all. Nothing left to add. So much techie babble and product placement and who cares? This puzzle makes me feel old (bad) and smugly superior (good). I do not love the gadget-obsessiveness of our present era and am grateful I grew up in an earlier one. As far as puzzles go, I may not be interested in a three-toed sloth in Borneo or whatever similar clues might have appeared in puzzles of yore, but XTHXBYE has to be the worst puzzle answer I've ever seen.

LaneB 6:21 PM  

Not bad for a Saturday, but I still DNFd at several locations proving to myself how out of it I am in the computer/cyber/texting/etc. age. E.g. KTHXBYE, ARTE, IPADAIR, RETWEET, ADWARE. That did it for the NE and NW even after doing some of the fill there correctly. APES as a synonym for burlesques? Oh well.299

sanfranman59 6:54 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 6:19, 6:18, 1.00, 52%, Medium
Tue 6:27, 8:16, 0.78, 1%, Easy (3rd lowest ratio of 220 Tuesdays)
Wed 8:10, 10:14, 0.80, 7%, Easy
Thu 15:06, 18:09, 0.83, 20%, Easy-Medium
Fri 25:43, 21:04, 1.22, 87%, Challenging
Sat 23:11, 28:20, 0.82, 12%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:19, 4:00, 1.08, 82%, Challenging
Tue 4:06, 5:13, 0.79, 0%, Easy (Lowest ratio of 220 Tuesdays)
Wed 5:07, 6:17, 0.81, 6%, Easy (13th lowest ratio of 217 Wednesdays)
Thu 8:56, 10:24, 0.86, 22%, Easy-Medium
Fri 15:32, 12:11, 1.27, 86%, Challenging
Sat 14:35, 18:32, 0.79, 12%, Easy

Clark 7:23 PM  

KTHXBYE was awesome. I say that in spite of the fact that I wouldn't have gotten it in a million years. But, say it out loud. Try it. K THX BYE. Boom, boom, boom. I dismiss you.

Anyone complaining about GOOGLE GLASS really needs to get out more. I mean, you are going to have a tough time doing crosswords if you don't do at least one of the following on occasion: read a newspaper, watch tv, listen to the radio.


Z 9:21 PM  

@Dirigonzo - I'm more familiar with Albert, whose legacy is far less ephemeral than Alfred. Alfred's "expertise" (and legacy) is questionable as we all still suffer from the aftershocks of his influence, but I do agree with your quote from him. But there is a difference between, say, BACH and AARON CARTER. One is remembered and has influence on our culture 225 years after his death, the other is barely noted after he turned 16. Tech products have far more in common with Mr. Carter than Mr. Bach, and this puzzle is truly weighed down with "freshness" that will soon be forgotten. Take the Facebook clue for WALL, please. Facebook today is the MySpace of 2009 (i.e. most visited website in the US in 2006, overtaken by Facebook in 2008, now #226). Both will be as culturally significant as IPANA in a few years. Will Bach and Shakespeare and Homer and John Lennon (hi @ACME) be forgotten. Certainly. But not in the next decade.

This isn't to say that product names like IPAD AIR irks me as much as they do some, but when a puzzle is this overwhelmed with answers of the moment it is just as flawed as puzzle locked in the 1980's.

joho 9:46 PM  

@Z, Bach, Shakespeare, Homer and John Lennon will be forgotten???

Z 9:50 PM  

@joho - someday. Concatenation of ephemeralities and all that.

OISK 11:14 PM  

Bach, Shakespeare, Homer, and…………John Lennon! Haha! ROTFLMAF. (which would be just as inane as KTHXBYE)

I skip M-W 2:05 AM  

I'm 71, did the puzzle on my iPad air, and finished correctly, though I thought DVDcase was rather old fashioned. (Not as much as roods though) Had never seen kthxbye but crosses helped enough to make eventual sense of it. Didn't like the answer of where Billy Budd was heading (to his death?); also not fond of bate, but settled on La Bamba, though I couldn't recite the lyrics if you paid me in bitcoins and the time did seem off.

Dirigonzo 12:09 PM  

@Z - I didn't mean to take issue with your point, I just thought you might have read this.

acme 2:30 PM  

@oisk @oisk @oisk
Not saying you SHOULD have known it was a J, simply pointing out that pangrams can serve a positive purpose in helping one solve.
As can can running the alphabet. Lots of tricks to the trade.
Less resistance = more fun. I even learned that about sports!

Z 4:01 PM  

@Diri - I didn't think you were taking issue. My first thought was, "architect?" followed by googling "concatenation Kahn" which spit back the economist. Looked him up and found out he was one of the big deregulation gurus (and the deregulation mantra is one of modern America's largest banes). Surprised, no shocked that your thoughts didn't google higher (Maybe if you had used some tags). I don't actually know all that much about the architect, either, other than his work is prevalent throughout metro Detroit, some still beautiful, some of it (the Packard Plant) the subject of the genre now known as urban Ruin Porn. I suppose Albert Kahn's work supports Alfred Kahn's quote.

OISK 8:14 PM  

@acme - Thanks, but I did not misinterpret you, didn't THINK you were saying I should have seen it. I was just expressing my surprise that anyone notices such things!

Bob Kerfuffle 2:32 PM  

Tough one for me, but in a pleasant way. Had to put down the paper and do other things a few times before finishing the North. Slowed by write-overs at OPENAIR/OPENTOP, EASE/BATE, and mostly by thinking one little Tip of Turkey is in ASIA....

spacecraft 12:04 PM  

1987??? You clue this as a 1987 hit?? A @#^%**& COVER??? When I die, please send me to the place where there are NO covers! But it doesn't matter. I knew nothing. Even assuming a typo in the clue, LABAMBA wouldn't have led me to anything.

I filled in DOM and SAMEOLD. Oh, and AVI. And the rest of it is still blank. If this is the direction crosswords are trending, I'll have to find a new pastime. KTHXBYE? How in Tophet am I supposed to come up with that? Like some passages in these blogs, it's all Greek to me.

I bet I can pinpoint the epicenter of the recent west coast quake. It'd be right under Richie Valens' gravesite, from all the spinning. 1987 indeed. No respect. Terrible.

Solving in Seattle 2:58 PM  

I fall on the side of liking this satpuz a lot. ATAVIST, NEBULA, SUPEREGO, SNAKEBITTEN, SENSOR, etc. Fun stuff.
Yes, it is tech heavy, but we should know these terms. And, @s Diri & Z, yes, these, for the most part, are elements in a concatenation of ephemeralities, yet no less still germane to our current existence. DVDCASE more on the beginning of the puzzle's technology timeline, and GOOGLEGLASS a more current entrant.

I don't chat or tweet, so how about AMF as a sign off?

Dirigonzo 3:19 PM  

@SiS - I don't chat or tweet either (although I do groan and creak frequently) but AMF is so concise, so applicable and so deliciously un-PC that I'm surprised it's not in current usage.

DMG 4:15 PM  

What Acme said about her mother, you can say about me. Nearly joined @Spacecraft at quitting with about three words because so many clues seemed hopelessly beyond me, starting with 1A. However, I hung in for a bit and eventually ground out most of it. However, the NW and NE quadrants are noticeably blank except for SISENOR. Do you suppose the next crossword dictionary will have "words" like KTXBYE? What is happening to Shakespeare's language?

strayling 7:57 PM  

I liked this one. Every potential natick had enough crosses to make it fair, some of the clues were funny, some were throwbacks and some were modern. Also, I finished it in ink with no write-overs and no googling, so of course I like it :)

leftcoastTAM 8:44 PM  

So easy until the VEXing NE and then the unaBATED NW. Not much fun.

Unknown 12:06 PM  

NE was toughest for me. The Kansas City symphony used Google Glass this spring to give listeners and 'insider's view' of Beethoven's Fifth.

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