2003 Billy Bob Thornton crime film / SAT 6-28-14 / Beer named for port on Yellow Sea / Literally different lizard / Ruler with palace near St Mark's / Start of ave maria line / Guy from Tucson in Beatles song / Obsolescent media holder / 1960 historical film written directed John Wayne

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Constructor: Josh Knapp

Relative difficulty: Medium (leaning Easy)

THEME: none

Word of the Day: "BAD SANTA" (27A: 2003 Billy Bob Thornton crime film) —
Bad Santa is a 2003 American Christmas black comedy film directed by Terry Zwigoff, and starring Billy Bob ThorntonBernie Mac, and Lauren Graham, with Tony CoxBrett KellyLauren Tom, and John Ritterin supporting roles. It was Ritter's last film appearance before his death in 2003. The Coen brothers are credited as executive producers. (wikipedia)
• • •

Perfectly adequate Saturday fare. I felt like the showier answers fell flat because they all felt like things I'd seen in themeless puzzles before. Like … things that would've been impressive a decade ago (XRAY VISION, KAFKAESQUE, AZERBAIJAN, etc.). I mean, those are perfectly good answers, but they are also about where this grid maxes out, interest-wise, so the wow factor was minimal. I actually found some of the less showy stuff, like ARE YOU SURE? and START SMALL, more impressive, because they seemed like fresh interesting colloquialisms. But overall everything seemed just fine—Saturdayesque. Clean grid, light on the junk, interesting answers, appropriate difficulty level. But nothing really gives the puzzle personality or makes it memorable.

I stared by running the short Downs up top, only I went AGEE instead of PUZO at 2D: Two-time Oscar-winning screenwriter, so despite having many others right, I got a bit stuck. First real coup was getting TSING-TAO, with no crosses (7D: Beer named for a port on the Yellow Sea). This got me OCT and ABCTV, and then ECO allowed me to shoot VACCINES across the grid, and from there I had footholds galore. Well, a couple. Muffed it by writing in CDRACK instead of CDCASE (49D: Obsolescent media holder). So the media is obsolescent, not the holder? For some reason, the rack strikes me a amore obsolescent, but the clue does seem valid. SW corner was very easy to get into because of the piece of cake clue on B FLAT MAJOR (27D: Key of Schumann's Symphony No. 1). No, I didn't know the key, but I had the B, and … what else was it going to be. I wrote in B FLAT M--OR instantly. JUNE gave me MAJOR. Rest of the corner went up in smoke. Had the most trouble with TEE ZED, specifically the TEE part. I was sure (for quite a while) that it was THE ZED, which I almost liked for its insanity.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


DocRoss 12:09 AM  

I had the obsolete CDtray. Also wrong. Also held me up for awhile.

George Barany 12:10 AM  

Thanks Josh Knapp for a good workout of a Saturday themeless puzzle, and thanks Rex for your perspective.

Today, June 28, 2014, is a historic centennial that provided Brent Hartzell and me with the theme of a 17x17 puzzle entitled Princip of the Thing. We hope you like it.

SenorLynn 12:13 AM  

Yeah, a bit easy for a Sat--34 min. Misspelled AZERBAIJAN & TORREY. With the music refer's--Beatles,Schumann, guitar solo--sad for me. I worked in record stores in the 70's (Dallas, Cleveland, Memphis) before there were CDs, and now, just 30-40 yrs later they're obsolescent--the media and the container. Like so many things--newspapers, anyone?--changed by the Internet.
Liked the French Open clue, altho it's Wimbledon's turn now.

wreck 12:15 AM  

A Saturday puzzle under an hour is really fast for me. When a puzzle is well constructed, it seems to really flow and greatly reduces my need to google because I get so many crosses. I immediately thought of AZERBAIJAN, but was a little fuzzy on the spelling. I did look that up to confirm (I was pretty close!). The SE also gave me a pause as I have never, ever got a EYEMASK freebie on an airplane and did not know ALLOSAURUS. Both Friday, and Saturday were great this week in my opinion!

wreck 12:19 AM  

.... EYEMASK should have been clued:
"covers the pits"

jae 12:22 AM  

Very easy for me.  I put in A GAS and JOJO and the rest of NW was obvious. BAD SANTA was also a gimme and opened up SW.  Same with KAFKAESQUE and X-RAY VISION for the  SE and NE.   Only erasure was ANi before ANT (Argentine WOE). 

The only real iffy part was AZERBAIJAN crossing the beer.  Crossed my fingers guessed at the I.

Liked the puzzle. Plenty of zippy stuff, just RIEN crunch. 

Steve J 12:42 AM  

It's close to impossible for me not to like a puzzle that features KAFKAESQUE. (Meanwhile, KAFKAESQUE reminds me of what might by the funniest thing - at least to me - ever produced by The Onion.)

This was definitely an easy Saturday. At this stage, any Saturday I finish without help is pretty much, by definition, easy. Any Saturday I finish in 17 minutes (typical time with a couple googles is 25-30 minutes) is blazingly easy. Either that or this was completely in my wheelhouse. It didn't hurt that AZERBAIJAN fell into place uncrossed, and I needed minimal crosses for most other longer answers.

Loved the clues for GUITAR SOLO and XRAY VISION (I wanted a country at first).

Only hangup was inexplicably spelling PUZO PUZi at first. I think it was a typo. Check that, I really hope it was a typo.

Fun Saturday. Impression influenced, no doubt, by how quickly this came together for me.

okanaganer 12:59 AM  

Maybe 2A should be "Jewish grandmotherly plaints". None of my four (Scottish, Dutch, German, French) grandmas would have said "OY". ACH, maybe. (30 years from now: DOH!)

For 44A and 51A dual answer, I was convinced would be VEE TWO!!

Moly Shu 1:17 AM  

Yep, have to agree on the easy side. 24 minutes with only one writeover, coen before PUZO. Not entirely sure how I got AZERBAIJAN crossing ORA and TSINGTAO correct on the first pass. Sometimes luck plays a factor.

IRAQ, TORREY, and the months were my gimmies. APRICOTJAM and XRAYVISION went in as guesses without crosses and stayed.

Liked TEE ZED, and learning ALLOSAURUS.

@Casco, I spent half of my time (it seemed like) in my early 20's with a huge Samoan family. Some things just rub off. I've lived in south Florida for 25 years and can barely speak 3 words of Spanish. Some things just don't rub off.

Z 5:56 AM  

Hand up for ThE until ZED appeared from the crosses. Nice.

Easy, here, too. APRICOT JAM took awhile to appear, on the other hand, the ability to put in -FLATM--OR made the SW almost Monday easy.

GILL I. 5:59 AM  

Loved it...just loved it! Was I on Josh Knapp's wave length or what?
First entry APRICOT JAM just off the A in What A GAS!
My only OYS - sans the vey - was TSINGTAO. @Z do I have to know the names of beer now? AYE AYE..
I think I still have my yellow VACCINation card stamped by Dr. Tomas in his unreadable handwriting, attesting to the fact that I've had every single KAFKAESQUE shot required by man in order to travel abroad. No one ever looked at that card.
Speaking of San Diego..
8 of the human persuasion and 3 of the 4 paws type are all heading for a 4th of July bash before stopping for $5.00 a gallon gas now being charged in the beautiful State of California. I think I'll play the lottery and cross my fingers that the fireworks on Imperial Beach last longer than 10 seconds.

Danp 6:33 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Danp 6:38 AM  

Oyez, Come sta. Nome Tsingtao? Sorry, I don't speak Elvish.

RnRGhost57 7:24 AM  

@Steve J, thanks for the wonderful Onion link.

Anonymous 8:12 AM  

53A: MOD was new in the 60s but haven't heard it since

jberg 8:24 AM  

I guess it was easy for a Saturday, except for that Argentine ANT -- I didn't know BAD SANTA, so the N was just the most plausible guess. My first thought was that there must be an Argentine ALE, for those who find TSINGTAO too light.

Luckily for me I didn't write in 'strawberry' off the R, though it was my first thought. A GAS just seemed too right. I had to change my imagined pie to a Danish or jelly donut to get JAM.

Other tiny little problems: MEwl before MEOW, ALLIGA before I noticed that it wouldn't fit.

The pangram was so smooth that none of the pangram haters are complaining about it. Got to like that.

Loren Muse Smith 8:25 AM  

I'm resigned to the fact that any Saturday puzzle I can manage will be described as "easy." Yep – I almost "finished," except for the wrong guess at the TORREY/SEGAR cross. I guessed N there. Oh well. A dnf I'm proud of anyway.

No one yet is describing all the fits that "bridge" clue gave me in the northwest. Sheesh. "Bing cherry" foremost in my head, I put in "dental bill" off I TRY and abandoned the cherry idea. The fun time was
"what 'a day'". I was also trying to fit in some kind of "acai" concoction for APRICOT JAM. Then I decided the French open score would be "egal," but I gave that up pretty quick. My next line of thinking was "rest" or "exit" for the thing after the bridge. Nope. Then it was back to "egal" and "tug,"(draw bridge, maybe?) "leg," "dog" beginning to GUITAR SOLO. PUZO, RIEN, and MONEYED finally set everything straight. I loved, loved, loved the AZERBAIJAN/TSINGTAO cross and feel really victorious that I got all that right, that my only mistake was a personal Natick.

Also – DOES SO took forever to become clear. I kept thinking "she's so," marveling at the gazillion playground retorts there could be if you really put your mind to it. "We won't, either." "They would've, too." "You sure wouldn't've not even once ever so there."

I was amused at myself, at how I've advanced beyond the initial, anemic S's and ED's on the first pass and now also fill in the A for the Russian woman's name and, as Rex said, the M_ _OR for a musical key. Count the letters to add "sharp" or FLAT.

Off the incorrect O in "dogo," I was going the "winnebagos" route for MOTOR HOMES. 11A fixed that one.

I considered ridiculous "Ouay" France, "Woiβ" Germany, "Doko" Japan. . . My Iñupiaq is just so rusty.

"Air" MASK for EYE MASK early, wondering just how desperate airlines are getting. Glad to have erased that one, but I bet on a KAFKAir flight costumers would have to dig into their pockets as the plane nosedives. Thanks, @Steve J for that clip. Hilarious.

@Bob – I really wanted Sisto RENI for VERDI but just couldn't make it fit. VERDI?? Who the heck is *that* guy? (Loved your post yesterday, by the way. Made me feel better about not knowing that.

Argentine ANT? What. Do they tango around as they're carrying off things that weigh 1000 times more than they do? (FWIW, I don't enjoy watching an Argentine Tango. Inexplicably, I feel embarrassed and uncomfortable at all the clipped leg-swinging. It's kinda like I feel bad for the dancers that they have to do that.)

Good job, Josh. I was very pleased.

Hartley70 8:29 AM  

Great Saturday! Speedy and fun. I had to work but not so much that it spoiled the joy. So much more doable than Friday for me which I finished sometime around 9pm. If I hadn't been using my phone, I would have ripped the paper to shreds by then.

Unknown 8:39 AM  

Finally upgraded my app on the iPad. I would complain that the new interface slows me down, but I don't know for sure because there are no statistics. How hard can it be to roll out a new app with all the features, Day One? It's not like there was a pressing deadline they had to meet. Grumble.

At any rate, liked this puzzle. Pretty easy for a Sat. I was worried by all the white space after my first run thru, but they resolved soon enough. Most of my instincts were correct - sometning musical for a bridge follower, something motorized for a camper.

I will complain about one frequent flyer- ITRY. Can we all agree to retire that one? It has served honorably, now it is time to retire it.

AliasZ 8:48 AM  

Any themeless in which AGAS, STA, OYS, OCT and DOESSO are the worst entries is a LULU of a PUZZO.

It's my fault I never heard of TORREY Pines -- I watch golf about as regularly as I watch a pot of water boil. And doesn't SEGAR sound like something you smoke? DOES SO. It could have been SEGAD, SEGAL, SEGAN, SEGAS, etc. and TORDEY, TORLEY, TORNEY, TORSEY, etc.

Except for this Natick, this one seemed easier to me than yesterday's.

KAFKAESQUE appeared in a Peter Wen-TEE-ZED puzzle this past April that also featured FACEMASKS. Is that a koinkidink, or do you need to wear some kind of MASK to read a Kafka novel?

If your car HUMS less than perfectly on A GAS like Chevron, Texaco, Mobil or Hess, drive up to Canada and DOESSO.

APRICOT JAM is the best filling for palacsinta, right @Hopthumb?

Pianist György Cziffra (1921-1994) was a force of nature. He was born into utter poverty in Budapest, but was the first ever student to be admitted to the Franz Liszt Academy of Music without prior formal musical education. He was the student of István Thomán, a pupil of Franz Liszt himself and the teacher of Béla Bartók and Ernő Dohnányi, among many others.

In 1941 he was drafted and sent to the Russian front, where he was captured but escaped, only to be recaptured and sent to the Western Front as a tank commander. Later he attempted to escape from communist Hungary for which he was sent to a forced labor camp for 3 years. He finally escaped to Vienna in 1956, from which point on his meteoric career took off, culminating in his debut at Carnegie Hall. For the rest of his life he performed with a large leather wristband to support his ligaments damaged during torture, and as a memento to his years of forced labor. His interpretations of Liszt, Chopin and Debussy are legendary. But why am I telling you all this? Because I wanted you to hear two compositions played by György Cziffra:

Les barricades mistérieuses by François Couperin (1668-1733). If you did not know this piece, I guarantee you will fall in love with it.

Transcendental Etude No. 5 by Franz Liszt subtitled Feux follets (will-o'-the-wisp). Ditto.

But what, you may ask, does this all have to do with today's puzzle?

They are both in B-FLAT MAJOR, that's what.

Thank you, Messrs. Knapp and Shor-TEE-ZED.

Carola 8:54 AM  

Agree about it being on the easy side. A bunch of lightly pencilled-in "maybe's" - A GAS, SONYA, VACCINES, NAG - that turned out to be correct, along with a bunch of "gotta be right's" - XRAYVISION, ELVISH, TORREY, TEE ZED got me most of the puzzle in fairly short order.

That left a blank nubbin in the center - I didn't know BAD SANTA, SEGAR, ANT, or ABCTV and had trouble with the clue for TAB. Basically I played alphabet soup until the letters fell into place.

I liked GUITAR SOLO next to TRIO, NAG next to OYS, FREE over LET GO, the British line-up MUM - ZED -MOD.

@Steve J - Thanks for the hilarious Kafka video - even with a Dostoevsky connection at the end!

Beth 9:01 AM  

Re: CDCASE, even though I think CDRACK would have been a better answer I took case to mean one of those big black cases that holds a bunch of CDs not the plastic case each CD comes in.

chefbea 9:24 AM  

Too tough for me as was yesterday's

Fred Smith 9:27 AM  

I played the Torrey Pines (south) golf course with Bob Tway's father the year after he won. The father was BT Senior, and the family resemblance was uncanny. When we checked in at the pro shop, there was a picture of Junior on the wall behind us, kissing the trophy. The guy behind the counter looked at Senior's name on his credit card, then his face, then Junior's picture, and told us that the round was free. Hallelujah!

One thing I remember most about the course was the deep arroyos along several holes that magnetically attracted my golf balls. And the signs warning "Danger Rattlesnakes." I hate snakes. I let them keep my $4 Titleists. What the heck, the round was free.

joho 9:44 AM  

It took me longer to figure out the NW corner than solving the whole rest of the puzzle! I don't speak French but somehow knew RIEN was right.It didn't help that I had endowed before MONEYED due to awS before OYS. I've never heard of TSINGTAO but finally drew AZERBAIJAN out of my "reptilian brain" (Hi, Loren!) JOJO was a gimme :)

TORREY Pines is one of my favorite golf courses so I was very happy to see it make the grid.

It's funny how EYEMASK is just a million times better than EYEPIT!

@Steve J ... my thanks, too, for that hilarious clip .. the end line is priceless!

And thank you, Josh Knapp, for an excellent pangram which as @jberg pointed out nobody is complaining about because it's smooth, smooth, smooth!

Unknown 9:45 AM  

Scratched at NoG/oNT, but otherwise a most excellent solving experience. 1:15 to a complete grid. 5 more minutes to fix NAG/ANT. No googles. This one pulled me through it!

Unknown 10:05 AM  

Am I missing something, or is the clue for DETERMINED incomplete? Seems to me it should be "not willing to give up" or "not willing to give in" rather than simply "not willing to give".

r.alphbunker 10:12 AM  

Puzzle had a sweet beginning with APRICOTJAM going in on A__I______.

Not so lucky were atoz for the {Amazon icon} and tYPO for {Something that an aichmophobe fears, briefl}

FESS brought to mind Numinous's cryptic runt.

quilter1 10:15 AM  

First puzzle after vacation and it was so easy for a Saturday. Enjoyed all of it.

Leapfinger 10:21 AM  

So I woke up this morning and found I had turned into a gigantic AYE-AYE. Very Jack Hanna-ESQUE. It must have affected my HYPOthalamus, because I had some pretty wild swings during this solve.

I had an aunt, a very elegant lady of the Old European School who survived AuschwiTZ, I think through sheer force of will; she joined us in Paris after the war, and took courses at the Cordon Bleu, just to pass the time, you know. She was a fantastic baker in particular, and one time gave me a container of preserves she had made. I don't know what kind of magic she used, but that stuff didn't spoil, never turned, and, used sparingly, it lasted for years. It was only yesterday, when I was rummaging in the fridge, that I thought of that APRICOT JAM. So I counted out the letters, and still couldn't believe it, had to confirm with a couple of crosses that Gabika hasn't lost that touch of magic. Very good in palacsinta, but mostly I saved it for the Linzer torte recipe marked 'Finom!' in her cookbook.

I'll be smiling about that bit of synchronicity for a while.

Did I DO ESSO at 36A? I did not. I agree with many that all those retorts should be put in a retort, boiled down to a residue and disposed of properly. I always regress to my worst schoolyard self when I sit there mumbling taunts to myself.

Had the same impasse as @Carola in the SANTA meets NAG-OCT area; couldn't remember what comes after TSING, knew it wasn't YAO. Even tried BAD FAITH, because _EGAR could've started with almost anything, and I went with Argentine AIR, since Argentine ANT sounded unlikely [to me] without Argentine NCLE. Don't UU agree?

'ALLO, SAURUS, 'ow are you? No trouble there: ALLO and hetero are common prefixes in Genetics. Similarly no trouble with 46A: the kids are away for the weekend, so I'm pet-sitting one DOGE and three cates.

@Gilly highlighted my one small grouse: taint the VACCINE that's required, it's the VACCINation --- all we need to do is use the dang HYPO that's provided.

Nice Saturday, very KnappESQUE. Now JUNE is bustin' out all over, and I have to go see can I reel her back in.

mac 10:26 AM  

Not quite so easy for me, but I enjoyed it anyway. Oner for lulu got me stuck at the bottom.

I never heard of Bad Santa, but that was easy to figure out. What I would like to retire is the playground retorts. They seem like a crutch to me.

Ellen S 10:45 AM  

Oh, FESS up-- I just got why @Loren has Davy Crockett's player for her avatar. You clever people are so clever.

Agree with others that OY is a little off for generic grandmothers' plaints (if I can get AutoCorrect to type any words here). Bubbies would work, if we could agree on the spelling. How old is Josh? Maybe he thinks when you become elderly you automatically become Jewish. Or maybe he lives in New York.

Nancy 10:59 AM  

Not easy for me at all. Kept wanting RIEN to be either ZERO or OEUF. Thought JAM was CREAM until the end. Even when I guessed JAM, I couldn't guess APRICOT. Finally got to GU-TA- SOLO and still didn't see it. I got the SE after a huge struggle, purring with delight when I saw KAFKAESQUE. Agree that only Jewish grandmothers say OY. Agree that DETERMINED was badly clued. Also couldn't spell AZERBAIJAN, which I guessed immediately, but which, wrongly spelled, didn't fit at all. A challenging toughie -- perfect for a Saturday.

JFC 11:08 AM  

@AliasZ, great write-up. Not sure what is meant be recaptured and sent to the Western front but a fascinating story otherwise. I used to feel the same way about watching golf but the more I played golf the more watching some golf was more enjoyable. I don’t know of any other sport that requires you to play it to enjoy watching it. Golf and classical music have much in common. They provide solace and a diversion designed to allow you to forget what you want to forget. I prefer golf but only because I’m tone deaf.

I liked the puzzle. I don’t remember any Saturday puzzle, or any Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Friday either. I was forced to finish the bottom before tackling the top.


duaneu 11:11 AM  

Did this one waiting to board a flight in Atlanta, so a couple of the answers seemed rather timely, although I'm not expecting an EYEMASK on my DELTA flight.

Sir Hillary 11:14 AM  

Great puzzle, pretty easy for a Saturday.

Pretty sure I read about one of McCartney's early, versions of "Get Back":

JOJO lived abroad ASIF he were a gaijin,
But he knew he should LETGO.
JOJO left his MUM in Baku, AZERBAIJAN;
Flew DELTA to Tokyo.

mathguy 11:23 AM  

I'm so pleased that I was able to get it without Googling (although my precious wife gave me EYEMASK, MEOW, and DOESSO). The first time through, all I had was TORREY. I admire all of you who found it easy.

Loved the Kafka Airport video. Thanks, Steve J.

Leapfinger 11:44 AM  

KAFKAESQUE offers a praguematic example that being intelligent doesn't necessarily mean you'll be happy. I mean, czech out the man's wiki photo! Have you ever seen such a deer-in-the-headlights look??

Wondering whether Dr Ted will appear to refute @Loren's take on the Argentine tango.

Adding my ditto to @SteveJ's thanks for the slice of Onion. OY, such great detail.

Colin 12:05 PM  

@AliasZ, it warms my heart to see the nod to Cziffra—one of the most brilliant pianists of the last century, not as famous as Horowitz or Rubinstein but certainly not for lack of talent. His technical facility boggles the mind. (See also his Grand galop chromatique, also by Liszt, and marvel at the impossible things his hands are doing.) I didn't know that Couperin piece, and it's really lovely—thanks again!

Leapfinger 12:19 PM  


Aren't AGAS A GAS appliance? In agreement that you DO ESSO up North, esp in Lower Canada, it's very QUEbecESQUE. Not picking on you, @Alias, but it's just as well that wasn't GeorgeSAURUS; you'd have been seeing REDS.

@JFC, sometimes one had to evade both the official enemy and the ones who had drafted you.

As I see it, the best thing about golf is the PG Wodehouse literature.

That's three.

Lewis 12:36 PM  

Hand up for CDrack. Some parts went down fast, others as slow as APRICOTJAM. Liked the clue for GUITARJAM. Not as much complaining from OFL about the downfall of the NYT crossword puzzle recently. Maybe his complaining has raised the bar!

POST PUZZLE PUZZLE (PPP™): Find another answer from the puzzle that can be justifiably grouped with the following: SONYA, TORREY, SEGAR, and IRAQ. If you post an answer, so as not to obviously give it away, just list the second letter of the word.

Numinous 1:01 PM  

Wow, under an hour, no googles, no typos, no incorrect letters. Mr Happy Pencil would have played the blues for me if I used Across Lite. I did get the "You Win" music from Magmic. Thanks Josh Knapp for a good, getable workout.

SEGAR was one of my first entrys. Why? When I started to work at Hanna-Barbera, the first show they put me on was The New Popey Hour. I became obsessed with Popeye and found o book on him and Segar which I kept in my cutting room. It detailed the creation of most of the characters, the man himself, Olive Oyl and her brother Cole, Wimpey, Brutus/Bluto etc and commented on Popeye's laugh (Arf, arf, arf) and the creation of his "Twisker Sock".

When I lived in Geneve in '66-7, Dostoyevsky works in English were, for some odd reason, easy to find do I read most of him. Digging and digging into my memory, I recalled Raskolnikov's girlfriend's name included a Y but at first I was mentally trying to put it at the begining. When I finally settled on A GAS and RIEN and erased agee, SONYA popped up and hit me in the nose. I seem to recall that in a subsequent work, not sure which, SONYA moved to a town near where Raskolnikov was imprisoned. I believe she visited him, or at least sent him packages from time to time. Do they still make girlfriends like that?

I tried Mississippi, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Florida but none would fit. Considering that I tell people I don't live in Tblisi, it's surprising that it took me a few moments to get to "Oh, THAT Georgia."

The NW was the last to fall for me. For some reason, I skip my way down through the clues and most often finish the SE first with with a few scattered answers around the grid.

Thanks @SteveJ for the airline Czech out.
A smile to @r.alph for the FESS.
Always, I appreciate @AliasZ's music links and thanks @Colin for the Galope.

Anonymous 1:24 PM  

Lisztless no more.I broke with puzzle tradition and went on to liszten to Transcendental Etude #10 in E minor. Fabulous

Questinia 1:24 PM  

@ Alias Z, thanks so much for nod to Cziffra and for the Couperin piece. I play several Couperin pieces and always skipped Les Barricades Mysterieuses on my way from Les Papillons to Les petits moulins à vent. Played it through several times this AM with delight!

@ Leapfinger, my father's mother was Hungarian and unfortunately all he could make was a mean haluski (why I complain I don't know). Fortunately he married my mother, a Swede and phenomenal baker who kept us very satisfied. She'd sometimes fuse Hungarian and Swedish baking, e.g. use Swedish dough with Hungarian filling. Oy, such a metaphor already.

@ Ellen S. Oy is the only vey to plaint in NY. Young or old, bubbelah!

Oy, now I want some haluski....

Puzzle? Like everyone else said. Easy but chewy.

Mette 1:33 PM  

Maybe on the easy side, but I needed all 3 crosses to get ANT.
@Steve J -many thanks for the link. Hilarious.

wreck 1:43 PM  

@ Lewis

L ?

AliasZ 1:57 PM  

@JFC, if you want to find out more about Cziffra's early life, from his parents being kicked out of France to his being a prisoner of war, then a political prisoner in Russian-occupied Hungary, the Wiki article on him is fairly detailed and I assume, accurate.

@Colin, I wholeheartedly agree with your assessment of Cziffra's artistry and technical prowess. Love the grand gallop video.

As ELVISH would say: Thank you, thank you very much.

@Leapy, do you enjoy picking on me?

Numinous 1:58 PM  

If you live in Australia, your grandma may or may not say "OY" but your mates most certainly will, especially if you spill beer on them.

Hartley70 2:21 PM  

@AliasZ thank you, thank you for that post. The bio was fascinating and the Couperin piece, unknown to me, was such a delight.

@Leapfinger how wonderful to have such an aunt. It was lovely to share a bit of her with us.

Lewis 2:30 PM  

@wreck -- loved your EYEMASK clue! And yes... L. Bravo!

pmdm 3:02 PM  

AliasJ and all who enjoyed the Couperin: Quite a nice performance. THe piece, a French Baroque work, was of course not written for the piano which has not yet developed at the time of the composition. I have a recording of it played on the harpsichord by Anthony Newman. If you can track down that recording, it is a nice complement to this one.

Arlene 3:02 PM  

I guess any Saturday puzzle I can get 3/4 the way through before Googling could be considered easy!

Movies from 2003 aren't on my radar - as I need to have captioning to understand movie dialogue - and that accommodation is just now becoming available in the mainstream theater chains. (Ask me if you want more info.) But I digress.

Had a good time on this one - no angst - refreshing for a Saturday!

jdv 3:22 PM  

Easy. Liked it, but I'll be happy if I never, ever see another playground retort clue. They're not hard or clever, just really annoying. The only way to fill it in is with three or more crosses in place. No mas. First time I've seen AGAS not clued as Turkish official. APRICOTJAM looks really good in the grid.

@LMS laughed picturing ANT(s) doing the Argentine tango.

Dirigonzo 3:42 PM  

I was doing just fine until I stalled in the NW corner, where I refused to let go of dentalbill as what there might be after a bridge. I finally had to set the puzzle aside for a while and when I came back I jettisoned that wrong answer and eventually managed to get all the right letters in all the right squares, with the last letter of ORA being a total hail mary. What I lack in skill and knowledge I make up for in persistence (and sometimes luck). I did the puzzle while watching the dragonflies dip into the pool for a quick drink (or to wash their feet, maybe?) so it was an afternoon well spent.

michael 4:10 PM  

Easy for a Saturday, but very enjoyable with nice fill and clues. Stuck for a bit in the southeast, but then I saw Kafkaesque and finished quickly.

retired_chemist 5:06 PM  

Wow. I found this impossible, even after quitting 2/3 of the way through, getting a good night;s sleep, and trying again. had to check a bunch of letters, retry, and solve that way. So DNF.

First problem: CD CASE is not obsolescent in my universe. says more about me than about the clue. Had LP CASE, which led me to airlINES @ 48A. Then there is hSING dAO, which I have seen. hSING TAO, ditto, but never TSING TAO. Transliterations with several possible spellings are irksome. OYS - not particularly associated with grandmothers.

Scads of proper names with the clue difficult. AZERBAIJAN was among teh easy ones, NOME/SONYA/JOJO/ALLOSAURUS/TORREY/ELVISH/OLAF/etc. - some in my wheelhouse, most not. Hard to get traction without knowing many of them.

So,epic fail here. Not my type of puzzle. Glad most of the rest of you found it more enjoyable than I did.

bilbart 5:14 PM  

"End of the London blitz?"

Fred Romagnolo 5:18 PM  

TORREY & SEGAR a natick for me. At first I wanted "the raf" for who finished the blitz. It's SONYA or Sonia, depending on your translator. Don't speak NOMEse. Why do all New Yorkers presume that the rest of us are automatically into Yiddish? And what's wrong with having non-Jewish grammas? Finished, except for the natick, went with SEGAl and TORlEY, sigh!

RAD2626 5:28 PM  

Clearly more classical music fans than golfers based on reaction to Cziffra and number of posters who were not familiar with Torrey Pines.

Years ago there was issued a 200 CD set (in 2 disc sleeves and booklets not obsolete CASEs) called Great Pianists of the 20th Century. All of the famous recording artists were there but it also featured less famous fabulously talented artists in their own two disc compilation like Cziffra, William Kapell, Alfred Cortot. It is a wonderful set.

Puzzle was fun. Had onIon instead of CHILI in my Kung Pao chicken for a while and TEE/ZEe which slowed me down but cleaned them up.

Lewis 5:38 PM  

Post Puzzle Puzzle (PPP™) solution:

When you drop the last letter from SONYA, TORREY, SEGAR, and IRAQ, what you have left is a commonly known proper noun, or as @ralph has more elegantly put it to me, the name of a person or company. The other word in the puzzle that fit is ELVISH.

Unknown 5:58 PM  

Once again, I opened Across Lite, deleted yesterday's completed puzzle, and then neglected to click on today's puzzle and inadvertently did Julian Lim's Take The Shortcut puzzle from Fireball. It wasn't until I finished and saw the clue about the theme that I thought, "hey...this is probably not the NYT Saturday..." Any hoo...both puzzles were fun, and doing Julian's first probably made this one seem a little easier.

We are camping this weekend in the Lake George, NY area. Gosh it sure is pretty.

Z 6:10 PM  

@Gill I.P. - in my fridge at the moment I have Two-Hearted Ale, Oberon, and Raging Bitch, all beers worth trying and remember. TSINGTAO is perfectly forgettable, but the letters are better for crosswords.

LaneB 6:35 PM  

Easiest corner was the NE, but for some reason I went blank even after filling AIRPASSAGE. HYPO and CART flummoxed me inexplicably, so in frustration I cheated to get the latter and the remainder of the corner immediately fell into place. I DNF'd but felt OK about it since, for me, there are no " easy" Saturdays

retired_chemist 6:50 PM  

For a while my aichmophobe feared a tYPO.

Anonymous 7:36 PM  

I would have thought an aichmophobe feared Health Maintenance Organizations...(aitch, em, oh forget it...)

Anonymous 7:45 PM  

a link successfully

Dirigonzo 8:22 PM  

@Anony 7:36 PM - worst pun ever, so of course I love it!

@r_c - there must be a word for "fear of typos" but for the life of me I can't come up with a good one - maybe someone else is up to the task? (Bueller, M&A, anyone?)

Anonymous 9:09 PM  

With all of the music clues, I would have thought "a gas" could have had a Rolling Stones/Jumpin' Jack Flash clue...
My first ever perfect week with no cheating whatsoever! If you START SMALL and are DETERMINED, eventually you'll get the GUITAR SOLO. Now it's time to go run up a TAB.

Masked and NoUs-aphobic 9:18 PM  


There is, of course, the fear of making an error...

Sort of all-inclusive, I reckon.


p.s. Personal phobia faves (actual names aren't all that important, as they are mostly gibberish)...
* fear of palindromes
* fear of holes
* fear of being out of cell phone contact
* fear of bad breath
* fear of gravity

Anonymous 10:14 PM  

@Dear E. Gonzo,
Thank yew. Cornsiderin' yer own 'Meth Lab', caint say I'm altogether surprised , but sure am pleased it struck Accord.

How 'bout addin' on
*fear of levity?

Bob Kerfuffle 10:14 PM  

Nice puzzle; did it at the beach today.

Don't remember much about the solve except that I had the same feeling as @lms et al.: DOES SO is an outlier even for "playground retorts".

Bill 10:33 PM  

What is ASIF?

bad hair day 12:21 AM  

Argentine ANT? Can someone please explain? Is it a type of insect or does it have some other meaning?
I am happy I completed the puzzle with a minimum amount of Googling. Saturdays not easy for me.

Bill, it is two words, as in "as if I will ever complete a Saturday puzzle without the Google."

Anonymous 2:50 PM  

We liked this puzzle a lot. There was a kind of theme: With one exception there was symmetry for all the 10-letter answers beginning with the letter A.
I wonder if Mr. Knapp searched for an alternative to Kafkaesque...

D and A

Waxy in Montreal 1:48 PM  

@bad, "The Argentine Ant (Linepithema humile), a small brown ant about 2-3mm long, is one of the world's most damaging insects".

Easy for a Saturday proven by the fact I'm finished this early in the day without needing any cyberaids. Of course, gimmes like TORREY (Pines), AZERBAIJAN, BADSANTA, ALAMO and JOJO helped considerably. Only problems were EYEWEAR before EYEMASK and CDRACK before CDCASE which slowed down the SE.

Did an certain entertainer born in Tupelo, Mississippi also converse in ELVISH?

TRIO=251. ITRY but RIEN...

rain forest 2:43 PM  

Great puzzle that I can't say was easy, but one that allowed me to gradually move through the grid with an excellent range of entries.

At the French Open, the referee will give the score as,say, trente-zero, but zero is RIEN, "essentially", and along with CABANA, TSINGTAO, JOJO, and ALAMO, the whole Northwest came down, once I realized that 10D was MONEYED, and not the way I spell it--monied, which, as I checked later, is also an acceptable spelling.

Does Disney own ABC? Didn't know that, but I didn't need to, as it turned out. Enjoyable Saturday. Really liked it.

1549. Come on, tell me this is 9

DMG 2:57 PM  

My break-in point was TORREY, only because I live nearby, not because I golf. From there I struggled mightily, only to end up short in two places. Not knowing the beer and the movie messed up that area, enabled by deciding, somehow, that rOME must have meanings unknown to me. The other mistake was epCot, not helped by the facts that I would close a TAp, and my misspelled VACINES wouldn't fit. On the other hand, enjoyed the work-out. Good fun for a very welcomed, untypically rainy day here in drought-land.

118. Couldn't be worse!

eastsacgirl 4:33 PM  

Fun Saturday. TSINGTAO was first (drinking does have advantages sometimes). Most of puzzle fell fast except NW corner. Wanted something more "citric", like lime or lemon for 1A and couldn't think of AZERBAIJAN for the longest time. Geography is not my strong suit. Did get ALLOSAURUS fast. Dig those dinos!

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