Mount Charley Weaver's home town / SAT 10-4-14 / Lane London Theater locale / To whom Charles Darwin dedicated Different Forms of Flowers / Pioneer in literary realism / Southeastern fruits with large thick spines / Nonhuman Earth orbiter of 1961 / Sister brand of CorningWare

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Constructor: Julian Lim

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: none

Word of the Day: AGOB (25D: Oodles) —
[Nope … wait … I think that's two words … A GOB … can that be right?]
• • •

There are pockets of niceness here. Stack in the NW, nice. All the longer Downs in the middle, pretty nice. Acrosses down south, at a minimum, decent. So I think that overall it's at least a Pass. It's solid. I object mildly to ABOUT TURNS (of course I wrote in the far superior ABOUT FACES) and I object like the dickens to AGOB (or A space GOB, it seems). I know, ATON and ALOT show up ALOT, but those are so commonplace that I have come to accept them (if not (at all) like them). AGOB is, first of all, not a thing anyone would say. Second of all, I don't really need a second of all. Putting an "A" before a word is dicey in general, and this instance is just fug-ugly. ABUNCH I would not like. AHEAP I would not like. Not with AMOUSE or in AHOUSE would I like it. GOBS, weirdly, I would accept. No one says it, but it's a word, and while no one says it, far more people say it than say "A GOB."

RIAA and IDY are the only other answers that I really want to kick, though I'm no fan of whoever this ISIAH person is. Well, he's probably fine as a human being, but "Veep" doesn't exist to me. I live in a world where "Veep" isn't. So ISIAH isn't. I look forward to his acting in my world some day.

This one started in the NW for me, where MY PRECIOUS was a massive gimme. I got every answer that crossed it *except* GO TO RACK AND RUIN, which, unlike AH SO, is *actually* "old-timey" (3D: Org. that, when spelled backward, is an old-timey exclamation) => OSHA). AH SO is only "old-timey" insofar as it was OK to be racist against Asians in the "old times." Can we not agree that AH SO and all references thereto are forever banned forever and ever to the Land of Agob? I don't think this is too much to ask. I tried to get into the NE without any help and that didn't work at all, so I had to go down to DAG (easy) and build up from there. E and SE were by far the easiest parts of the grid. Done in a flash. Worked my way up to the rather dull NE, and then just had SW left to do. I kept putting in and taking out RIB. MIDAIR was my one sure thing down there until I figured the [Gold-certifying grp.] was probably an "association," so plunked an "A" in front of that "H" down there at 57A: "Really?", thus setting up the aha moment of OH YEAH! I put that corner away pretty quickly after that. Had to hunt down a typo, which was a drag, but a drag of my own making.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


jberg 8:48 AM  

Wow, am I first? Tough puzzle!

Anonymous 8:56 AM  

Could somebody please explain what BOOK has to do with a musical?

Anonymous 8:59 AM  

In a musical play, the script is called the book.

jberg 9:01 AM  

First because I solved it so fast? OH YEAH? No, just the luck of coming here right after @Rex finally posted.

He said it all, too -- my order of solving was a bit different (got the NE first), and I held on to ABOUT face a lot longer. I mean, I've never heard anyone say "ABOUT TURN." Turn about, sure, but I already had the OU where it belonged, so that was no good. I had inanITY instead of VACUITY, and red wine instead of DARK RED (which is nonsense, burgundy can be quite light), and none of them would play with the others, so I was stuck for a long time.

You could clue AH SO as Ah Sin's long-lost cousin -- but that character, aka "The Heathen Chinee," was just as racist, unfortunately.

CBCD 9:05 AM  

I have never heard or read of GOB in the singular to mean lots of, or oodles. The usage I am familiar with is always the plural - GOBS.

Anonymous 9:06 AM  

SW corner - rum for rib, Uriah for Isiah, and ara for asa gray work if one is ignorant of the names, plus 'madly' is a very much better answer to very much than badly imho. Ugh!!

Anonymous 9:08 AM  

Hey Anon:

The "book" is the libretto, you know, the stuff that happens between songs, to move the plot along. Basically, any words that you hear at the show that aren't lyrics to the songs.

Dshawmaine 9:15 AM  

Derniercri? I am new to Xwording and not bilingual, so this term - crikey! Otherwise NE was first for me too, and had no problem with about turns - do them all the time on the interstate.

Unknown 9:16 AM  

Dear Rex,

You need to get "Veep" in your life as soon as possible. If you can imagine letter-perfect comedy, executed to a tee, that speaks to everything you know about our times and memes, then you have imagined "Veep."

Danp 9:17 AM  

@Anon 9:06 - One may be madly in love, but need something badly.

Moly Shu 9:18 AM  

Very difficult. DURIANS, AGNI and BALZAC, way out of my wheelhouse. I did get RIB SAUCE without crosses. Oh, and pulled DERNIERCRI from some cobweb filled recess. DIETsOda first.

The next time I learn something new (like it's racist to say "ah so"), I'm going to say "yo comprende". Wait, would that be Latin racism? Lighten up @tRex, using a phrase from a foriegn language and racism are worlds apart if you ask me.

Moly Shu 9:22 AM  

Hmmmm @tRex? Unintentional, but I kinda like it.

mac 9:23 AM  

I found this puzzle challenging, especially in the SW and and NW. "Last" at 1D felt so right.
We use BBQ sauce on ribs.

Dernier cri, Drury Lane, vacuity and agni went in without crosses, the rest I had to struggle for. Hand up for about faces.

Good Saturday struggle, Julian Lim! First time I've found my name in a puzzle.

Glimmerglass 9:46 AM  

Good puzzle. Rex pointed out many of the things I liked. I agree that A GOB is horrible. In my world, "a gob" is equivalent to "a dab," which is the opposite of "lots." "Gobs" plural, on the other hand does mean "a lot," as in "gobs of money." Aint English grand! Hurricanes and Tropical Storms used the be SHE, but now only half of them are. The clue for 45A should be "a storm designation."

Bob Kerfuffle 10:02 AM  

Write-overs at 32 D, THUR before TUES, and 41 A, RED before RIB.

Seeing 53 A, MIDAIR. reminds me of a story ACME told on herself: As a namer hired by a new regional airline formed to serve the middle of the country, she suggested the name MIDAIR. Her clients were not amused, as they could in their minds only hear the name followed by the word "collision"!

Dorothy Biggs 10:03 AM  

Thanks for the GOB that show.

As for Darwin's dedication, yes, I admit to Googling that. But here's the thing...go ahead and Google it now. I'll wait. Okay. Notice that you have to go a long way find it? Actually I went four pages deep and still found nothing. The entire first page is basically references to this clue in the NYT puzzle.

I'm throwing the penalty flag here. It's 15-yarder and loss of down. If this information is so buried in human knowledge that you can't even find it on's too arcane to be put in a puzzle. I even went to Amazon to look in the book itself, and there is no dedication page.

It would be like asking whose name was scribbled in last movement of Mahler's 6th Symphony score. I mean seriously...(which should have been "sHeEsH," btw).

I guess Gray could have been deduced (which is how I finally came around to it), but really. 15-yards and loss of down...and a $15,000 fine for targeting.


I kinda like DINKIER. Haven't used that word in a while...and usually as "dinky."

ITD doesn't just sits and there and looks clumsy.

Otherwise, the usually three-Google and a "check puzzle" Saturday.

Sir Hillary 10:05 AM  

Kind of boring solve, but a good grid now that I step back and look at it. I like the Scrabbliness of the Bs and Cs and Ks and Zs.

Never heard of GOTORACKANDRUIN, ABOUTHTURNS or DERNIERCRI, but all were ultimately inferable with crosses, so this was nothing if not fair.

What "Veep" is to @Rex, "LOTR" is to me (i.e., a non-entity) so I needed lots of crosses to get MYPRECIOUS.

I'll never remember this one in a month, but it served its Saturday purpose.

Mohair Sam 10:08 AM  

Terrific Saturday, played medium challenging for us. Plenty of misdirection and clever cluing. Lost a ton of time thinking that sunTZU (Art of War) musta said 18A. After much struggling had the "aha" moment on well-clued RELIGIONS and let LAO fill.

Do, however, agree with Rex on ABOUTTURNS, never heard it but it must exist. What can you say?

I never think of the use of "Ah so" as racist. It's a kinda cool term. Didn't Charlie Chan say "Ah so" a lot? He was depicted as very wise. And his cinematic sons did more to break stereotyping of Chinese people than any PC police could have.

Love it when OFL goes off on a rant about something he hasn't encountered, ISIAH being today's case in point. I do hear Veep is a great show. Don't get (or want) HBO, is Veep streamable yet?

@Moly - the tRex was probably Fruedian - think Neanderthal.

LHS 888 10:12 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
LHS 888 10:16 AM  

Very tough 90 min. for an official DNF. Solving began like @Rex with gimmes MYPRECIOUS & DAG. Hand up for the ABOUTfaceS rabbit hole. However, unlike @Rex, I couldn't figure out my mistakes on my own. After an hour I used A-Lite's check function and found 4 substantial errors*. Wiped those out and proceeded to complete the puzzle - with no googles - in only 30 minutes more! Yes, it sounds like a hollow victory, but I'll take it this time.

*idlED > LAZED
*oglE > GAZE
*part > BOOK
Red > RIB
zenith > APOGEE


Lotsa really good answers in here. Favorite: MARIONETTE
Oddest looking word: DINKIER
Aha moments: BROMANCE, TEARGAS, ITD (don't much like this one, though)

Thanks JL!

joho 10:26 AM  

This one gave me A ton of aha moments which were very ... far ... apart! Tough puzzle. Saturday worthy.

@mac, loved the shout out to you at 31A!


The one blot on the puzzle was AGOB.

Unknown 10:31 AM  

Oof! Hard. Had to google for several. Haven't done that in ages. I consider googling for a crossword to be a massive failure on my part. ASAGRAY? I support the 15 and loss of down for that one. ITD? Man that is dreadful fill. Not a Tolkien fan-boy so MYPRECIOUS was a google, not a gimme.

I am a beaten man today. The puzzle won.

r.alphbunker 10:34 AM  

With the puzzle done except for SW I googled the Veep actor after 6 minutes of staring but entered ISaiH by mistake. However, this was enough for me to put back OHYEAH. I guessed RAMBO on the O, which gave me RIB. After 3.5 minutes ASAGRAY materialized magically from AS___AY. The M of RAMBO led to MIDAIR which forced me to correct my misspelling of ISIAH. After that BADLY, BALZAC and RIAA revealed themselves and I was done.

BALZAC was lurking around the fringes of my consciousness for the whole puzzle. A while ago I read Lydia Davis's "Can't and Won't" and Balzac figured prominently in several of the short stories. I think it was there that I learned that Balzac preferred quill pens over nib pens. Based on that I found a quill pen on the Internet to compare. I prefer the nib but supposedly quill pens are better on rough paper.

Carola 10:43 AM  

Nice puzzle! Maybe not the DERNIER CRI, but still, with MARIONETTE, MATRIARCH, MY PRECIOUS, much to savor.

Medium for me. Got underway with ECO CAR (nice fit with ABOUT TURNS) and motored easily through the East. Then got bogged down repeatedly in the West. Finally the incorrect GApE let me see ASA GRAY and I finished.

AGNI over GO TO RACK AND RUIN made me think of RACK of lamb, poor little things. STIRRER is nice over the DIET COKE mixer.

Loren Muse Smith 10:49 AM  

Rex - I bet a gob of people went with "about faces" first. And fwiw, I had a dnf with "a mob" crossing "amni."

"Peace" way before NO WAR. And with the GO and then DR_IN in place, I was certain the 15 was headed down some drain. Dastardly, Mr. Lim.

Off about three crosses, DERNIER CRI was one of my first entries, but I had thought it was more of a last gasp. Solve and learn, huh?

Bartenders use STIRRERS? Strainers and shakers, yes, but isn't that swizzle stick put there to let the drinker do his own stirring?

The satisfying moment for me was figuring out the MATRIARCH/MARIONETTE (hey, @Mac!) cross. With "faces" in place, I swear I kept lightly filling in "Nefertiti," wondering about the mom element, and then erasing it.

Second most satisfying moment was figuring out OH YEAH. I kept wanting "that so?" off the first H.

@r.alphbunker - I actually considered BALZAC and snorted to myself. "Yeah, right," I self snorted.

"Helot" (crossing "hot" sauce) to "rebel" to RAMBO finally sorted things out down there, but not before I seriously considered that Darwin dedicated that book to the entire country of Uruguay. Who knew?

One of my favorite Saturdays in a while. And anyone who's looking for another puzzle – I found the Stumper even easier than this one and finished with no mistakes.

Julian – thanks for the work-out.

quilter1 10:55 AM  

Got it all except the SW corner as BALZAC and RAMBO remained invisible to me. I enjoyed the struggle and so many of the long answers. Did have ABOUT faces for awhile, but it was soon cleared up. Have a good weekend, everyone.

evil doug 11:01 AM  

No chance in SoCaliZona.

I've heard of about face, come about, turn about--but never "about turn".

"Ah, so" has become a pleasant little phrase of enlightenment. It's not racist--unless you pull your eyelids into little slits, offer a Cheshire cat toothy grin, and produce a lame Chinese accent.

There's no such thing, in ordinary usage, as "rib sauce". It's bbq sauce.

For "oh, yeah", I'd clue 'the first two words of "I'll Get You" by the Beatles'.

When Delta was trying to create a discount airline-within-the-airline, I suggested "DairyAir".


Norm 11:07 AM  

I have a hard time accepting RIB SAUCE as a real thing, Barbecue includes way more items than ribs, and they all use BBQ sauce or HOT sauce. ASA GRAY is very old-time crossword-ese. Wanted BOOB for 11D but was a no-go in light of the adjacent entries. Finally got the D for DURIANS from one (or more) Patrick O'Brien novels and settled for BOOK (although I had to come here to learn why it was right). A very VARIED puzzle. Really liked the clue for 31A MARIONETTE; really hated ABOUT TURNS for 37A. Such is life.

Anonymous 11:14 AM  

Can anyone explain how someone could be listed on the Times crossword page as having finished at 10:06:38 and yet not appear in the top 120 fastest solvers? Just a bug, or is there a way to get the puzzle before 10:00?

Nancy 11:21 AM  

Very hard. DNF the NW corner -- not until I came here, glanced at 1 word, but no other, BROMANCE -- which I never would have gotten in a million years. That allowed me the pleasure of solving on my own the unsolvable NW corner, but it's a cheat and a DNF.
I was done in by not knowing MY PRECIOUS, which Rex and others seem to see as a gimme. (Never saw Lord of the Rings; not my kind of movie.) Don't know why anti-spill is EASY POUR: the easier something pours, the easier it spills in my experience. :) I don't understand the BROMANCE clue at all. Why band??? Agree with those who say there's no such thing as RIB SAUCE, only barbecue sauce, though I got this section of the puzzle anyway. Also had ABOUT FACES for the longest time. And PEACE instead of NO WAR (didn't fit and seemed too easy) also threw me off in that corner. Liked the clues for TEAR GAS (which I only got after my cheat) and MARIONETTE (which I got on my own). Basically liked 3 sections of the puzzle a lot. All my nits occurred in the NW. But a nice challenge on a miserably raining day in NYC.

wreck 11:23 AM  

This was going remarkably fast until I hit both the NE and SW where I had nothing but huge white expanses. I think NCA President had the post of the day -- I was thinking along the same lines!

Hartley70 11:26 AM  

It was tough, but I was able to RAMBO along until I got to the SW where I just hit a wall. I kept putting it aside for a bit and returning, but in the end I had to google ASAGRAY. Huh? I think he/she is vaguely familiar but I'll have to google again. After that the rest of the corner came smoothly.

old timer 11:40 AM  

Ah so! "You are surprise I speak your language. I was educated in your country. At UCRA" (from an old Kingston Trio album -- and maybe there was no "Ah So" there, though Charlie Chan said it all the time).

Very Saturdayish. My last entry was "Book" -- I so much wanted "note" but it was not to be. I did see the first Lord of The Rings movie, so "my precious" was a big gimme. So was "bromance".

I'm with Rex on "a gob". This being Saturday, a perfectly good clue would have been "Tyne mouth?" Up in "Newcassel", "gob" is the Geordie word for mouth, and much used. Of course *we Americans* say Newcassel automatically, but in the Home Counties of England, it's "new cawssle"

OTOH, "Asa Gray" is perfectly fair for a Saturday. A well-known botanist in Darwin's day, probably the best known in that field.

jdv 11:44 AM  

Challenging w/2 errors. Rum for Rib. I also like MADLY more than BADLY. Spent a lot of time looking for my error at the DINKIER/DURIAN/BOOK crossings. Had ZENITH before APOGEE and BLENDERS before STIRRERS.

@anon 11:14 I think it is a bug. It's happened to me once before where I appeared in the recent tab, but didn't show up in the fastest tab.

Benko 11:48 AM  

@lms: I had "ABOUT FACES" first.
@molyshu: "AH SO" isn't a phrase from a foreign language. It could certainly be considered racist in most contexts it has been used in. But as the constructor of today's puzzle is of Asian descent I think it should probably get a pass.
Re: Veep. It's a good show which I enjoy watching...but I have hardly ever laughed out loud at it. Not exactly the highest recommendation for a comedy. State of Play, the earlier UK show by the same guy (and the movie, which features James Gandolfini and Frances McDormand) were probably better. The current Dr. Who had a regular role in it.

Benko 11:53 AM  

Correction: The UK show and movie were called The Thick of It, not State of Play.

Maruchka 12:06 PM  

A rainy morning here made my brain go all sponge-y. Three googles, two do-overs (Hi @Loren for peace before NO WAR), stop before TIME (doh).

Agree with all on A GOB (mouth, sailor, dollop) v. GOBS, and ABOUT TURNS. 1A is a 'band'? Bond, maybe. TEAR GAS - breaks up demonstrations? Oof.

That said, love the old-timey-ness of NTH POWER, RIBALD, RACK AND RUIN, VACUITY and last, but not least, DERNIER CRI. It's my Fav of the day, too.

All in all, agree with @Rex about the mix. On to Sunday!

Lewis 12:13 PM  

10 double letters in the puzzle, high. Whenever I see Juian's name I know I'm in for a workout, and while it was one, it wasn't as hard as I was expecting. I liked the clues for VACUITY and RELIGIONS, but for the most part the clues were straightforward (I would have liked a few more Saturday-ish tricky clues).

I pulled out GOTORACKANDRUIN and DERNIERCRU from I don't know where. Never heard of ABOUTTURNS (maybe British?). But this puzzle provided a fine battle, a satisfying Saturday.

Elephant's Child 12:14 PM  

I've said A GOB tons of times, GOBs and GOBs of times, even.

AH SO, AH SIN and the 'Heathen Chinee'? Let's do as we choose with the present, but Puhleeze! let's not Bowdlerize the past!! What, have Huch Finn raft down the River Niger? No WHITER sheets? Sheeits!

RooMonster 12:16 PM  

Hey All !
Extra special swaths of white still in puz, so a gigantic DNF, as I plum gave up. Not even halfway... :-(

Did get the SE corner done! The one highlight. Never, ever heard of 29D (see, still don't know the answer! ), but I'm sure it's more in a woman's vocab, as it is for fashion. I agree with the MYPRECIOUS as a gimmie, it was even parodied on South. Park! Had short RIB for RIB SAUCE, jad rhe SERI in for 39A, wasn't sure if -al or -es. And that's about it! Major puz kung-fuing of me.


jberg 12:16 PM  

@loren, STIRRERs are those things Bond tells bartenders not to use in his martini -- he wouldn't have to tell them if they didn't have them!

But really I came back to suggest a better clue for A GOB: "Start of the title of a song by Oscar Brand.

Cheerio 12:21 PM  

Don't people still say "ah so"? Probably it's a lot more common than egads. Seems like a variant of "I see."

Benko 12:24 PM  

@jberg: Of course, that movie Bond has inspired countless people to get their martinis made the wrong way! Martinis should be stirred and never shaken, so as to avoid bruising the spirits. Any good mixologist knows that. I think the literary Bond knew it too, it's just a movie thing.

Anonymous 12:28 PM  

Think "Band of Brothers"

oldactor 12:47 PM  

I used to get my hair cut at an upscale Manhatan
barber shop named Dernier Cri in the 1960s.

Haven't heard it since. Dernier Cru means "last vintage"

RnRGhost57 1:15 PM  

"in my world"

AliasZ 1:24 PM  

BROMANCE? I have no idea what that is. It is a concept as foreign to me ASA GRAY alien.

ABOUTfaces, hot SAUCE, no-splash, peace and red wine set me off in the wrong direction at first, like most everyone else, I s'pose, making the entire puzzle almost GO TO RACK AND RUIN. Eventually slowly but surely, RAMBO, MATRIARCH and VACUITY set everything straight. Luckily, I also remembered Nikolai Antonovich GETRIDOF of the Saint Petersburg Getridofs.

In my mind A GOB of and GOBS of is equivalent to "a load of" and "loads of." In their singular form they require the indefinite article, in plural, no. I use them both ways equally.

Honoré de BALZAC (1799-1850) was one of the most important authors of the early 19th century. His work influenced a generation of writers like Émile Zola, Charles Dickens and Fyodor Dostoyevsky, just to name three.

Two BALZAC quotes, just for fun (hi @Lewis):
"Laws are spider webs through which the big flies pass and the little ones get caught."
"Equality may perhaps be a right, but no power on earth can ever turn it into a fact."

How can I not post this link to Funeral March of a MARIONETTE by Charles Gounod?

Enjoy your rainy (in NYC) Saturday.

Anonymous 1:39 PM  

you know you're in for trouble when you have 9 out of 10 letters filled in, run the alphabet and still have no clue. dernier cri.

Masked and Anonym007Us 1:50 PM  

It becomes apparent. Some enterprisin constructioneer really needs to come up with the ultimate "Kind of Turns" themed puz. ABOUT can lead the way.

Top (evidently equally super-ultra-legit) entries:
* INRE (sorry--won't happen again, here)
* DOWN or up
* U. Little darlin.
Slightly more interesting possibilities, not on One Look's A list (those above were, btw)...
* BACKSIDE or back
* HALF or full
* WRONG (woulda put this on the A list, along with a few others down here)
* MONKEY (I know U are curious, what this one is)
* LAP (lap dance spin)
* MY or your
* RIGHT or left or Texas U

But I digress. Yet... see?... It coulda been worse. I mean, day-um... MONKEY TURNS!

I musta spent a good half hour starin at {Partner of many}, with just ????E? showin. Knew it had to be a gimme, but could not gim it. But sometimes I go all stubborn.

fave weeject: IDY. This was indeed an immediate gimme. First book I ever bought as a kid was a Cliff Arquette work. I specialized in the classics, back then (Droodles, Uncle Scrooge, Plastic Man).

Hardest part = SE, at my house. That long French fashion term plumb murdered m&e. Also no picnic: I?IAH/A?AGRAY intersection. But guessed it ok.


Leapfinger 1:52 PM  

In refreshing yesterday's blog, just noticed TracyB's center row: MOHS__PONE; too bad no CAR/SCAR/CARP, to yield the essential Tiramisu ingredient.

Today, I was the MARIONETTE (Hi @mac!) and Julian was stringing me along.
From the "Wrong but why not?" folder:
[BBQ finger stainer] was SPICE RUB, and I still like it better than RIB SAUCE
Got a giggle from [Goggle] being OGLE, no google to go GAZE from OGLE.
RISQUE better for [blush-inducing] than RIBALD, YES/NO?
[Musical component] BASS beforeI had to BOOK it, AH, SO!
[Green machine] somehow led to ECACHE; I must've been thinking ATM machines, have been Pavloved into E-prefixes...

From the "Get 'em any way you can" file:
Saw Amanda Plummer years ago in "Agnes of God" -- a stellar performance despite lisp, btw -- ergo AGNus, AGNI
Barring HemmingwaC, only writer with a final C was BALZAC, fortunately I didn't think of Hillaire BelloC.
Same road, --AY took me to ASA GRAY, best-known botanist of his day. More recently, it would be Jethro Tull, though maybe not widely recognized as such.

Trouble spots:
ABOUTTURN/FACE - This turncoat turned ANAL, rebussed them both in.
Charlie Weaver? No clue about who, let alone where...
TUES? I was thinking Thor/ Thursday; still need it 'splained!
DURIANS were as meaningful as Fabians or Fenians. I now know A GOB more about them stinky fruits, eg, 885 calories apop, need a DIETCOKE as a go-with.

Some free medical advice: I wouldn't advise a STENT to GET RID OF a 'ROID. Try Anbesol otc first.

Much delight in MATRIARCH, if I'm to be allowed just one DERNIER CRI. The only VACUITY imo was in the horror IT'D inflicted, OH YEAH! Everything would be perfect if Julian would now tell if he's related to Louie and Jo Lim.

Lewis 1:52 PM  

Factoid: DRURY Lane, according to the nursery rhyme, is where the Muffin Man lives. Victorian households had many of their fresh foods delivered; muffins would be delivered door-to-door by a muffin man. The "muffin" in question was the bread product we know as English muffins, not the much sweeter cupcake-shaped variety.

Quotoid: "If you don't have TIME to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?" -- John Wooden

Fred Romagnolo 1:52 PM  

I think DERNIER CRI means "last word"; Bond drinks vodka martinis, no gin to "bruise." My father was a boot-legger speak-easy owner during Prohibition, martinis were always shaken then. I didn't know DURIANS, and thought Zola was the pioneer in realism (which didn't fit).I actually learned MY PRECIOUS from the South Park parody, and was amused to find it in the Ring movie. If AH SO is racist then so is BROMANCE (Chinese, African-American) I don't watch "Veep" so blanked out there. It's station isn't included in my TV package. I put in Ryan before NEMO, apparently I was the only one. I did see both movies. I'm with those who never heard of RIB SAUCE or ABOUT TURN, and I wanted zenith before APOGEE, which is far more accurate for opposite of nadir; epigee is the opposite of APOGEE. Ultimately had to google NE and SW corners.

Lewis 1:55 PM  

@aliasZ -- those quotes are terrific

Maruchka 1:57 PM  

As a classic martini maven, must chime in. A shaken tini is better for chill, a stirred one for savor. Both have their place in a properly frosted, clean, stemmed, clear glass. Best gin v. best vodka? Experience says - not so important, if prep is done correctly. Avoid the too-fumey brands.

Fred Romagnolo 2:04 PM  

I still don't get ROID rage as a result of juicing. What's "juicing?" Aren'
t ROIDs robots? (thanks to the Capeks).

Fred Romagnolo 2:07 PM  

@Marushka: I'm nuts about the fumey ones, I can just sit and smell them for a few seconds before the fist sip. mmm!

Elephant's Child 2:14 PM  

Is there possibly anything more to say?

Right. The RAMBOs vs the NOWAR Peaceniks. That's INGEnious.
The Twilight duo, here entirely cross-friendly, our good fortune.
The deep/DARK RED wines, leading to "Have Some Madeira, MIDAIR"...
DERNIER CRI is generally the 'latest word/thing', rather than the 'last gasp'.

And just an EASY POUR MOI, the Great GRAY Greasy LIMpopo River.

TYVM, Julian & Will

Leapfinger 2:22 PM  

@FredRom - steROID rage, as distinct from hemorROID rage.

@Lewis - Indeed. I'm trying to get a fix on the spatial characteristics of the web that traps the small ones, gives the big uns a pass.

beatrice 2:24 PM  

@jberg -- in the world of color names, claret and burgundy are both shades of DARKRED.

And with 'old timer' above, and according to Wikipedia -- Asa Gray was the pre-eminent American botanist of the 19th century. Not only that, his knowledge of American flora was apparently invaluable to Darwin in developing his Theory of Evolution. They met in Kew Gardens, and became life-long friends and correspondents, Gray becoming a champion of Darwin, as well.

A very nice Wiki article, for anyone interested. I knew the name and nothing more, as I imagine was the case for many of us reading here. Hence an obscure "Saturday' clue and answer, more's the pity.

Maruchka 2:31 PM  

@Fred R - Yah, I like a good whiff, too (can't warm up to Grey Goose, But - petroleum? Third round or later. By then, who nose or cares?

RooMonster 2:34 PM  

"Juicing" is the slang (non-pc, if you will) word for taking steroids. ROIDS is short for steroids, and they claim taking them makes you angry and you strike out at those around you. Hence, ROID RAGE from juicing.
Actually parodied on South Park also....


Leapfinger 2:34 PM  


That was the DERRIERE CRI, fer sure.

Prozitz all damn captchas

Karel Capek 2:41 PM  

@FredRom, robots be DROIDS

Anonymous 2:44 PM  

Any news on why TUES instead of THUR?

RooMonster 2:46 PM  

Speaking of roids.......
Why are asteroids in the hemisphere, but hemmoroids are in your ass?
Just sayin...


Unknown 2:58 PM  

Isnt gob used in Britain?

jae 3:10 PM  

Medium- tough for me.  I struggled BADLY with the SW.  Finally, saw MATRIARCH which lead to OH YEAH and the rest filled in.  I took RIB and ISIAH out a few times.  I've seen every episode of Veep but had no idea what character he played.  I must have absorbed ISIAH from the credits.  Perhaps a a better clue would have been Sen. Clay Davis from The Wire.  @lms-me too for that so.

 MY PRECIOUS was a gimme for me also which gave me the whole section, although add me to peace before NO WAR and the faces before TURNS group. 

Very solid with A GOB of zip.  DINKIER was worth a chuckle by itself. Liked it.

Óðinn 3:21 PM  

Tuesday: Old English Tīwesdæg (pronounced [ˈtiːwezdæj], meaning "Tiw's day." Tiw (Norse Týr) was a one-handed god associated with single combat and pledges in Norse mythology and also attested prominently in wider Germanic paganism. The name of the day is based on Latin dies Martis, "Day of Mars".

Thursday: Old English Þūnresdæg (pronounced [ˈθuːnrezdæj]), meaning 'Þunor's day'. Þunor means thunder or its personification, the Norse god known in Modern English as Thor. Similarly Dutch donderdag, German Donnerstag ('thunder's day'), Finnish torstai, and Scandinavian Torsdag ('Thor's day'). Thor's day corresponds to Latin dies Iovis, "day of Jupiter".

RooMonster 3:23 PM  

It means mouth, as far as I know. Like from Monty Python, "Shut your festering GOB, you tit!" (From the Argument Sketch, priceless! )


Anonymous 3:25 PM  

Enlighten us, plese, on the rest of the days! Cool stuff.

Slide 3:26 PM  

@Benko - The TV series was called "The Thick of It," but the movie was called "In the Loop."

Anonymous 3:53 PM  

@Anon 3:25 - I don't know about the rest, but I believe Wednesday was named after a character in The Addam's Family.

Anon 3:53 3:55 PM  

@Anon 3:25 Or, you could just go to Wikipedia and copy the entries, as did Óðinn above, and spare us all the trouble.

AliasZ 4:30 PM  

TUESday: The English name is derived from Old English Tiwesdæg and Middle English Tewesday, meaning "Tīw's Day", the day of Tiw or Týr, the god of single combat, victory and heroic glory in Norse mythology. Tiw was equated with Mars in the "interpretatio germanica" (the practice by the Germanic peoples of identifying Roman gods with the names of Germanic deities), and the name of the day is a translation of Latin dies Martis (day of Mars).

Hence, all Latin languages have "Mars" in their word for Tuesday: mardi (Fr.), martedi (It.), martes (Sp.), etc., except Portuguese: terça-feira (from Church Latin Tertia Feria); however, Old Port.: martes. In Germanic languages the names of Mars' equivalents are used: Tiw, Tyr, Thingsus, or Ziu: Dienstag (Ger.), Ziestag (Swiss Ger.), tysdag (Nor.), tirsdag (Dan.), tisdag (Swe.), Dinstik (Yid.)

In Slavic languages the word for Tuesday "Вторник" (Vtornik, Rus.) is derived from the Bulgarian and Russian adjective for 'Second' - "Втори" (Vtori) or "Второй" (Vtoroi). In Hungarian similarly, the numeral "kettő" (two) or rather its ordinal version "kettedik" has been transformed to "kedd" for Tuesday. (Wikipedia)

More than you ever wanted to know.

Anonymous 4:45 PM  

About turn _ British army version of about face

GypsyHeart 4:45 PM  

Did it in 1:02:02 but had to google ASAGRAY and DERNIERCRI. First had HOT SAUCE, but then got the "I"' and then suddenly thought of PIT SAUCE. Googled to make sure it was a real thing, and found it was, and was soooo very proud of myself for a while. Finally realized it had to be RIB SAUCE. Such a letdown...

GILL I. 5:14 PM  

I really, really enjoyed this puzzle. Maybe needed A GOB or two of more words like BROMANCE...! I had GAY MANLY for a tad then I just knew no one would say that.
Easy breezy for moi. ISIAH was the only thing that made me say BALZAC.
@Leapy....One of your best laughter posts yet! And, Anbesol GETs RID of ROIDS? I had the wrong end..
@Maruchkatini: Fifty Pounds English gin or U.S. Fenimore. MUST chill martini glasses in freezer first and then only and really ONLY STIRRED.

LeapF 5:48 PM  

@Gilly, who nose? I may have been wrong end foremost as I gaily manned the ramparts.

Out of all that weekday edification, ket highlights: a) "We Are Marching to Vtorio" and b) Thingsus, perfect for letting us suss out the random thingy.

My autocorrect and I both thank you

wreck 5:48 PM  

Fill martini glass with ice and water - set aside for 5 minutes. Fill shaker with ice -- add quality VODKA. Shake 4-5 times. Empty martini glass and add generous amount of dry vermouth. Swirl vermouth in glass an then empty glass again. Strain vodka into said glass. Garnish with 2 stuffed olives and a few drops of olive juice. Enjoy

sanfranman59 6:04 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 7:15, 6:03, 1.20, 96%, Challenging (12th highest ratio of 247 Mondays)
Tue 8:11, 7:50, 1.04, 64%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 9:39, 9:30, 1.02, 59%, Medium
Thu 18:39, 17:32, 1.06, 64%, Medium-Challenging
Fri 20:24, 19:38, 1.04, 63%, Medium-Challenging
Sat 27:02, 25:57, 1.04, 67%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:55, 3:57, 1.24, 98%, Challenging (6th highest ratio of 247 Mondays)
Tue 5:22, 5:21, 1.00, 50%, Medium
Wed 6:37, 6:12, 1.07, 69%, Medium-Challenging
Thu 13:37, 11:06, 1.23, 80%, Challenging
Fri 13:13, 12:34, 1.05, 59%, Medium
Sat 18:04, 18:06, 1.00, 49%, Medium

Anonymous 7:10 PM  

Did someone answer the Charlie Weaver query? He was a bumpkin-type character played bt Cliff Arquette on the Carson Tonight Show. Related to Arquette actresses of today.

Robso 7:17 PM  

For the record, Rex, the word is "fugly."

Numinous 7:29 PM  

I googled for ISIAH. I didn't google for ASA GRAY. I went to Gutenberg and found the book and opened the HTML version and found the dedication page. I can say I only googled once but I still cheated twice. DNF.

I knew ABOUT TURN from, I don't know, British war movies? But it's still a familiar term to me. Does it help that I spent eight years living in England and Australia? Maybe.

RIB SAUCE is a thing, barely. Can't say there is AGOB of results on google but there are some, lets say just a dab.

When I was working as a bartender/waiter in Berkeley, a couple came in a little after the lunch rush. I gave them menus and asked if they'd like a drink while they decided. The woman said, "Yes, why not, we're celebrating. My book just got accepted for publication." After my congratulating her and a bit more conversation she suggested that when it came out I buy a copy of Interview with the Vampire (I did but fifteen years later).

Lots of good funny comments today. I'm too lazy to go back and cite them so I'll make this remark @y'all.

Numinous 7:32 PM  

Charley Weaver was on the Jack Paar Show, the Dennis Day Show, Roy Rogers, as well as Hollywood Squares among others. I'd completely forgotten him. The current crop of Arquettes are his grandchildren.

mac 8:08 PM  

Fantastic blog and posts!

The musical component "book" felt very comfortable because of "Book of Mormon" too.

I didn't think AGNI was hard because of "agnus dei"

@Loren: stirrers, in bar sets, look like iced tea spoons.

Funny to see Balzac and Rambo in the same little area. I remember a poignent little book by B. about German military people taking over this genteel hotel in France.

My favorite word was RIBALD.

Anonymous 8:58 PM  

Ever notice how well "Honor a BALZAC (bump) today" fits "Shave and a haircut (bump), ten cents"?

Anonymous 10:21 PM  

Did anyone else hear Don LaFontaine's movie trailer voice? "IN A WORLD without Veep, ONE MAN looks forward..."

Anonymous 10:24 PM  

@Fred Romagnolo, maybe you meant "perigee" as the astronomical opposite of "apogee".

Anonymous 10:40 PM  

I have to agree. The 'ahso' clue chilled me. Old-timey?

The old-timey 'n' word? The old-timey 'f' word?

Ah, so makes sense with a comma. But even then...

There is a defense for any language, but The NYT failed here.

Arlene 10:49 PM  

I didn't do the puzzle today - had a few other things going on, and sometimes one just needs a break from a Saturday puzzle.
Is it okay just to say HI?

Anonymous 11:01 PM  

Numinous, dear boy, thanks for telling mor about Charlie Weaver, I always enjoy the Arquettes so much at Radio City Music Hall!

OISK 11:57 PM  

The stuff I didn't like, (about turns, for example) is not what cost me a one box DNF. Can't seem to put two perfect weeks together any more. It was "Goggle" for which I had "Daze." Didn't fix it, so I had Asa Dray. Of course, Gray would have made more sense, with Gaze, but I didn't take the time to try every letter. Can't fault Mr. Lim for that. A tough but suitable Saturday, as far as I am concerned. Couldn't start it until after sun down, and perhaps 25 hours of fasting dimmed my brain a bit? As good an excuse as any...

Unknown 4:05 AM  

I am here to give testimony on how i got my wife back

My name is Benjamin Michael , my family and i live in United States.It was after seven years i got to discover that my wife was unfaithful to me.I didn’t know what was going on at first but as she got deep in the affair with her new lover, i felt that our marriage was on the rocks.I notice that she no longer light up when i touch her or kiss her in her neck and her chest cos she really liked it when i did that, she also usually get naked in front of me but when she started seeing that guy she stopped it.I remember asking her if i have done anything that makes her feel irritated when i am around her then she gives silly excuses that she has been feeling stressed up and that she need space for a while.I know when you are been asked for space its usually because there is something fishy is going on.I hired a private investigator to help find out what was going on.And in a week time he brought me prove that my wife that i have lived with for seven straight year is cheating on me with her high school lover.I had picture of her walking out a of a restaurant with him and many other photo of them kissing in public like she will never be caught by someone that knows she is my wife.I asked myself, even when we had a daughter together she could this to me.That same night i showed her the pictures that i got from my private investigator.She didn’t look at it before saying, that she is seeing someone and she know that i just found out about it.Then she said that she is in love with him.At that moment, i didn’t know if to kill myself or to kill her but the button line is that if i was going to kill anyone it was going to be me cos i was so much in love with her to even think of thinking to hurt her.As time when on she asked for a divorce and got it and even got custody of our daughter and i was all alone by myself.For a year i tried all i could to get her back with the help of my seven year old daughter.Even at that all effect was in vain, i used the help of her friend but turned out all bad.I know most people don’t believe in spell casting but believe me this was my last option and the result i most say was impressive.And i know it difficult to believe but A SPELL CASTER Dr brave really made my life much better cos he gave me my family back.He didn’t ask me to pay for what he did for me all i was to do, was to provide the materials for the spell and believe that he had the power to help me.Like he said, he was going to do something that will make her reset her love and affection for me just as it has always been.My wife told me she woke up and realized that she should have never left me that i am all she needs.To make thing clear, her life with her high school lover was great before Dr brave castled the spell they had no disagreement on anything.The guy said it himself that why she broke up with him is unexplainable.Only Dr brave can do such a thing contact him to solve your problem with his EMAIL:, or kindly visit he website . .He is real. CONTACT HIM NOW FOR SOLUTION TO ALL YOUR PROBLEMS

Fred Romagnolo 4:27 AM  

@anon10:24: of course! Thank you.

Anonymous 10:40 AM  

The first time in years I found a puzzle to be easier than rex!

Jon 4:56 PM  

I got 9 down with no crosses! "CLERGYMEN". The rest was even worse except SE. BROMANCE, GOTORACK…, ABOUTTURNS, ASAGRAY, TUES were all Naticks. I knew we sent a chimp "Ham" into space once. Never heard of Enos (why not something about an aged pitcher from the Black Leagues?). Odin, Thor, and Freya are all associated with war and battle. Never heard of Tyr, although I speak Danish (tirsdag). Stymied, my head's in the oven, except I nobly crushed the adjacent KenKen.

Z 8:51 PM  

Corners were easy, middle impossible. ABOUT face, u-turn, turn about is fair play, but never ABOUT TURN. On to Sunday.

Unknown 8:35 PM  

I want to testify that my wife is back after a Divorce !!!

Hello to every one out here, am here to share the unexpected miracle that happened to me three days ago, My name is Jeffrey Dowling,i live in Texas,USA.and I`m happily married to a lovely and caring wife,with two kids A very big problem occurred in my family seven months ago,between me and my wife so terrible that she took the case to court for a divorce she said that she never wanted to stay with me again,and that she did not love me anymore So she packed out of my house and made me and my children passed through severe pain. I tried all my possible means to get her back,after much begging,but all to no avail and she confirmed it that she has made her decision,and she never wanted to see me again. So on one evening,as i was coming back from work,i met an old friend of mine who asked of my wife So i explained every thing to her,so she told me that the only way i can get my wife back,is to visit a spell caster,because it has really worked for her too So i never believed in spell,but i had no other choice,than to follow her advice. Then she gave me the email address of the spell caster whom she visited.(}, So the next morning,i sent a mail to the address she gave to me,and the spell caster assured me that i will get my wife back the next day what an amazing statement!! I never believed,so he spoke with me,and told me everything that i need to do. Then the next morning, So surprisingly, my wife who did not call me for the past seven {7}months,gave me a call to inform me that she was coming back So Amazing!! So that was how she came back that same day,with lots of love and joy,and she apologized for her mistake,and for the pain she caused me and my children. Then from that day,our relationship was now stronger than how it were before,by the help of a spell caster . So, was now stronger than how it were before,by the help of a spell caster . So, i will advice you out there to kindly visit the same website,if you are in any condition like this,or you have any problem related to “bringing your ex back. So thanks to Dr Brave for bringing back my wife,and brought great joy to my family once again.{} , Thanks.

Kelly 9:02 AM  

My name is carol williams ,from U.S.A,in 2014 May precisely marked our 4 years of marriage without a baby or fruit of the worm, my husband wasn't happy with this problem we encounter in the family, he went out and decide to live with his colleague in office,since them my life turn down.after 5 month not seeing my husband a lady l shared apartment with introduce a Man to me DR.Ogboni.I explained my problem to him.he posted some powerful spiritual item to my Home through carrier service.he instructed me on how to use the spiritual item,without paying any Money,to my surprise after 3days he did and my husband came back to me,both of us cry our eye out 2 months later when we moved back together when i told him i was pregnant for him that we are going to have a baby l promise to share my experience because I strongly believe someone may also be in the position. you can contact him via email;(

Anonymous 1:03 PM  

There's a big empty hole in the center of my grid. I did the 4 corners but couldn't break through the center across or down. Mr. Lim is just too clever and I hope all his pencils break. haha

Ron Diego 495 = 9

Maybe I'll win the puzzlotto

spacecraft 1:04 PM  

DNF; too much I just didn't know. __nkier? No clue. DINKIER??? Nah. Never would've gotten it. Had toMb, as in Lara Croft raider, instead of NEMO. Now someone will tell me that wasn't 2003. Did I mention how terrible I am at timelines? Tried TURNABOUTS, nothing clicked. Never thought of ABOUTTURNS--I think that's British, no?

I even had DAG, which also could have been clued "Bumstead's nickname," but couldn't connect with anything, even ANNERICE. Not a fan. AHSO an "old-timey" exclamation? Naw. I know you can't reference Charlie Chan, that would give the show away, but just to call it that? No way. Nobody but Charlie ever said that.

And if that didn't draw the flag, AGOB surely does. Just one GOB isn't an awful lot; it's GOBS or nothing. That is the single most ungettabe entry I've seen in a long time. Grossly unfair. There never was any hope for me with this. Managed to get the NE and that was it. Grade: incomplete.

828: well, it's an ill wind, etc.

Anonymous 1:08 PM  

Sorry, Spacecraft. You're going to have to share.

Ron D.

rondo 2:24 PM  

I am here to give testimony that I DNF. Couldn't get the SW nor the NE nor some things along the line between thos corners.Thought of AGOB of answers for ABOUTTURNS, ABOUTfaceS was the one that got overwritten. Not much more to say with much nothing and everything else wrong in thhe SW.

unreadable word captchas - can't even split a third of the "pot"

DMG 2:36 PM  

Just couldn't hack the NE and SW. Got t a bit in the NE, but my "partner of many", VeRsED, even if it wrecked havoc with DARKRED, had me looking for some kind of GsONS for 9D. Had the same type of thing in the SE where ?..RICE left me with the unknown ROID rage. As for the SW, it's just blank! Didn't know any of the proper names, and my only sauce idea was HOT or RED neither of which helped with the Downs!

Think @Spacecraft's ill wind missed him and got me: 829

rain forest 2:49 PM  

This was challenging for me, but I completed it. Agree that A GOB is probably more than iffy. If "gobs" is lots and lots, then maybe A GOB is only lots. I don't know, but the Latin across I knew to be AGNI, so A GOB went right in. Also ABOUT TURNS is perfectly OK in my lexicon, and maybe that's because I'm Canadian.

Actually, the NW, SE, W and E were pretty easy, and the other two corners provided almost all the challenge. And, after yesterday, I'm quite happy to have finished.

Oh, except for A GOB, I liked it.

143 Ah so! An ace short.

Anonymous 3:27 PM  

I am going to consult a witch doctor to cast a spell that will remove phony hucksters (whom can't spell) from this blog permanently! Begone from this realm, charlatans!!!

Anonymous 3:30 PM  

Saturday crosswords are a google fest for me. Thank God for Sunday, usually meaty and doable!

Red Valerian 4:50 PM  

Finished! No Google and no mistakes! Yay!!! Had lots of fun. Yesterday's, hmm. I enjoyed it, but couldn't finish. It seems I was the only one who thought Bret Harte was a wrestler. That would be, apparently, Bret Hart. Don't know why I know about him!

I had NO IDEA about the person the clue actually referenced. The play does not seem to be a high point in American theatre, and I'd say the answer is worse than "Ah, so". I mean, "The Heathen Chinee"??? But history is history. No point in pretending otherwise.

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