Castle town in 1937 film / SAT 11-22-14 / Q preceder / Stowe antislavery novel / Moon named after Greek personification of terror / Fictional locale of John Wayne western / Classic sea adventure of 1846 / Grocery product with a multiply misspelled name

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Constructor: David Steinberg

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none

Word of the Day: "RIO LOBO" (48A: Fictional locale of a John Wayne western) —
Rio Lobo is a 1970 American Western film starring John Wayne. The film was the last film directed by Howard Hawks, from a script by Leigh Brackett. The film was shot in Technicolor with a running time of 114 minutes. The musical score was composed by Jerry Goldsmith and the movie was filmed at Cuernavaca in the Mexican state of Morelosand at Tucson, Arizona.
It was the third Howard Hawks film varying the idea of a sheriff defending his office against belligerent outlaw elements in the town, after Rio Bravo (1959) and El Dorado(1966), both also starring John Wayne. (wikipedia)
• • •

Oh, well, this is more like it. Hold this up to yesterday's to see the difference between night and day. No, that's no good as a metaphor. First it's clich√© and second it doesn't get at the quality gap here. How about "the difference between chocolate and carob." Not perfect, but closer, This grid has the same (high) word count as yesterday's, but the results are electric. This is partly because even though he's just a high school senior, Mr. Steinberg is an old pro, and partly because he didn't try to cram a "Q" into the grid just 'cause. (The second part of that sentence is related to the first part.) Here's what happens when your long answers, all the way around, are fresh and cracking—your less toothsome answers? Nobody cares. I don't like RRR or TARARA or EOSIN any more than you do, but they are *not* what I remember about this puzzle, not what I see when I look at this grid. I see an aggressively contemporary puzzle packed with "Z"s and "X"s and colloquialisms both fresh and "dated" (nice save on FOSHIZZLE there, David and/or Will). This is among my favorite D.S. themelesses, if not the best he's ever done.

["NO SOAP, Mr. Norton!"]

The SE felt a little makeshifty, as MIAMI AREA sets an odd "any city + AREA" precedent, and DROID RAZR … oh, that's a thing now, I see. Motorola (the name I normally associate with RAZR) "resurrected the RAZR brand for a line of Android smartphones" (per wikipedia). I see that there is one called the DROID RAZR MAXX—consider that particular gauntlet thrown, constructors.

I mostly breezed through this puzzle. You can tell that 1D: "The ___ the words, the better the prayer": Martin Luther was a comparative adjective, so I put in the -ER. Then when I couldn't remember the damn Fashion designer Saab's name, I saw 4D: "An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding" philosopher. Total gimme (HUME). I once studied in Edinburgh, so that might've helped there, but I think I would've picked up HUME from that title anyway. So then I remembered the Saab was ELIE, then I guessed the "acid" in the 2D "bleach ingredient" ended in -IC, then I easily picked up CECE (26A: Woman's name that sounds like a repeated letter) and RIB. Then SCRIBE. And I was off. One major, nearly fatal hitch. I hit a brick wall at the end, with the following holes:

  • WIIMO-ES (13D: Handy things in the game world?)
  • -U-E (29A: Turn off, maybe)
  • -A-ET (29D: David who wrote the screenplay for "The Verdict")
  • DEI-OS (37A: Moon named after the Greek personification of terror)

This caused me a very, very frustrating 45 seconds or so. WII MOVES? Is that a thing. That seemed the only possible answer, but a. it sounded stupid, and b. -UVE made no sense for [Turn off, maybe]. It makes no sense at all, actually. The moon answer, pfft. And I was never gonna get to MUTE from that clue. It's an oblique clue. I MUTE the TV while it's still on. You can MUTE the sound, I guess, but you'd say you MUTEd the TV. Anyway, no big deal—I just wasn't gonna get it from that clue with those letters in place. That left the screenplay guy. Somehow "David" and "screenplay" eventually triggered MAMET—a name I know well, but Not At All from "The Verdict," an early-'80s Paul Newman film I never saw. So I was in real danger of a triple-proper-noun beatdown there for a little bit. But then David MAMET saved the day.

    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


    jae 12:08 AM  

    Medium-tough Sat. for me.  Got off to a bad start in NW with Erno and Xeno off the O and aSa for 5d.  EXCUSE YOU fixed all of those but it took a while.  Also had veRa briefly before EERO, aTTn before HTTP, and fERO before SERO.

    SE was the easiest with ZEPPO MARX , VALERIE, and PFIZER as gimmes. 

    Interesting that Dede, Bebe, and Gigi also fit the CECE clue.

    I'm with Rex. I really liked this one. The 8 stacks are excellent and the zip factor is huge.  I'll trade RRR, EUR and ISO for ZEPPO MARX any day of the week.

    Zeke 12:20 AM  

    No joy here, as in joyless. A butt load of Zs, not much else.

    EXCUSEYOU? I think I would punch anyone who ever had the gall to say that to me. Mind you, I've got no problem confronting rudeness, but showing such bad manners as to question someone elses (other than your child's) manners is beyone the pale. Manners are how you present yourself to the world, they're not a contest, they're not there to give you ammunition to demean someone else.

    Doc John 12:30 AM  
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    Doc John 12:31 AM  

    Phobos and DEIMOS, the moons of Mars. One man's WTF is another man's gimme.
    And I only know EOSIN (with hematoxylin) from its use as a cell staining agent in pathology. Who knew that it could be used for hair, too?
    I always spell KESEY Keasy so that had me tripped up for a while until good ol' SUSIE Q rescued me.

    okanaganer 12:37 AM  

    I just can't believe 37A wasn't PHOBOS.

    "(the Martian moon) Phobos is named after the Greek god Phobos...which was the personification of Horror" (Wikipedia)

    I spent a LOT of time trying to make Phobos work. Ended up with a novel named DREP, invented a new verb GROPHS, decided a LOTHO must have something to do with art, and David MABET sounded...well, remotely possible. Cuz Phobos just HAD to be correct.

    Whirred Whacks 12:38 AM  

    Loved Ken KESEY. I used to live on Perry Lane in Menlo Park where Kesey did a lot of his first "Acid Tests." Later neighbors would joke about stumbling upon tabs of acid tucked at the back of drawers. The Fourth of July parties were pretty wild.

    I liked the two 4-letter designer names beginning with E: ELIE and EERO.

    Anyone else think that FOSHIZZLE and its ilk are really tiresome? (Fortunately, they usually appear only in Saturday puzzles.)

    Appropriate that BREZHNEV and VALERIE (Jarrett) share a letter. :-)

    I'm a big MAMET fan. House of Games, Oleanna, The Spanish Prisoner, Wag the Dog, and Things Change are all worth seeing (again).

    Thanks for all the kinds comments made to me yesterday! Especially to @ Mohair Sam.

    Enjoy your weekends!

    AliasZ 1:05 AM  

    No doubt David Steinberg is a talented, brilliant young man. He has proven it over and over to everyone's satisfaction. Why do his puzzles rub me the wrong way then? Why is it that when I see his byline, I am tempted to not solve his puzzle? Maybe because I sense in his effort to present a "fresh" and "up-to-date" product, a superficiality and glibness that makes me lose interest half way through. DROID RAZR? WIIMOTES? NO SOAP? FOSHIZZLE? Lots of sizzle, little steak.

    I understand the desire for freshness. I do enjoy a fresh, innovative, zippy puzzle. However, in my mind "freshness" carries an entirely different meaning: ingenious cluing, and regular English words that are rarely used. In my view, the way freshness is interpreted by many: made-up slang words or oddly-spelled brand names and rap monikers, etc., is way overrated.

    The problem is, by the time the puzzle is published from the date of its creation, often two or three years later, that kind of freshness turns out to be dated to the point of sounding unintentionally comical, or about as fresh as pet rocks, cabbage patch kids and fast-forgotten one-hit wonders. I personally prefer a Patrick Berry-style puzzle with a feeling of solid, classic timelessness -- exactly what I expect from the NYT. I am sure young David will eventually mature to the point of understanding what I mean.

    After a few minutes of hesitation, I decided to solve today's puzzle anyway. The result was exactly as I anticipated. FOSHIZZLE.

    I did not enjoy the puzzle, sabotaged by a large number of proper names and brand names. I did like FRACAS, SCRIBE, David HUME, DEIMOS and a few others. Oh yes, ZEPPO MARX.

    Not that anyone cares, but I will probably steer clear of future David Steinberg puzzles.

    Sorry, no music today. Nothing in this one inspired me.

    John Child 1:11 AM  

    Another Trivial Pursuit game disguised as a crossword puzzle, with 19 names and a further half-dozen proper nouns. That's a third of the puzzle made up of either-you-know-it-or-you-don't answers. I'll give Mr Steinberg "brilliant," but I had a lot more fun yesterday.

    Anonymous 1:20 AM  

    Can someone explain the origin of "no soap"? Is there a Soap Nazi?

    Is it a regional expression? I'm not young but I've never heard of this.

    chefwen 1:36 AM  

    I thought I had done well, not so.

    Had bEbE at 26A which gave me OXALIb, what do I know of bleach ingredients? Nothing. aSa at 5D. Had the ER in at 28A and immediately put in vERa, as in WANG. WAR MONGER in/out and in again. That NW territory almost done me in, a lot of messy looking squares up there. Set it down for about an hour, came back and zipped through the rest. A rarity on a Saturday, for me.

    Good puzzle Mr. Steinberg, thank you and keep 'em coming.

    Greg 1:43 AM  

    I guess the reason I have a hard time with this blog is because 'Rex' is such a whiny, bitter, cry-baby almost all of the time, and then the one time in ten that he actually likes a puzzle I find it to be rather off-putting. I genuinely like the write-ups, they obviously come from a well-informed perspective, but it's so frustrating when the default priority is to hate crossword puzzles (and specifically the editor of crossword puzzles) when most of us come here because we love crossword puzzles. And I'll keep coming here for that reason. I love the comments. I love people like CascoKid (sp?) who just honestly talk about the solving experience. To each his/her own and all, it's just bizarre to me that 'Rex' hates almost everything and then the one rare time that I don't enjoy a solve he raves about it. Maybe I'm just too much of an amateur. I sincerely, and with no ulterior motives, don't get it.

    Ravini 1:53 AM  

    Old farts like me probably went aha and filled in ASA for film speed. Oy.

    Got wiimotes w a guess...thought ossobuco most deelish.

    Nice that a young fart went with no soap...there's one you don't hear much anymore. If ever, foshizzle.

    Kept thinking start of something big would giganto- or something like that.

    Agree w the comment that this one's gonna feel mighty dated a few years from now but hey, that's not worth the sniping.

    George Barany 2:28 AM  

    What a lovely surprise to see such a positive review of @David Steinberg's puzzle from @Rex. I will try to not date myself, but I was a lot more comfortable with the biology (ZYGOTE and GENOME) and chemistry (EOSIN, OXALIC) in the puzzle than with FO_SHIZZLE, whatever that is.

    There was another opportunity for a chemistry clue with BORAX, not that there is anything wrong with the Reaganesque clue actually used. Details here and here, dealing respectively with "slime" and with a DIY method to repel cockroaches.

    The hiccup @Rex had before filling in MAMET reminds me of a famous joke. To save you the trouble of finding it, here it is, "cut and pasted" from the article that I've linked to: A down-and-out [New Yorker] asks a passer-by for cash. Refusing, the rich man says: "Neither a borrower nor a lender be –- Shakespeare", to which the beggar replies: "Go fuck yourself –- David Mamet."

    Finally, today = November 22 marks two anniversaries of note. One is celebrated in Coin of the Musical Realm and the other begs the question Too Soon?.

    KFC 2:53 AM  

    So this puzzle doesn't rate a musical interlude from his highness?  Well, here  is an obvious one from the CECE answer.

    Eat more chicken, now boneless.

    chefwen 3:12 AM  
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    Jim Walker 5:32 AM  

    I think it is remarkable that this 72 year old guy can be entertained and challenged by a high school kid. I have become a big fan of David. (Can't bring myself to call him Mr Steinberg!) it always takes a while to get on his wavelength but this one fell relatively quickly. Nothing even close to a Natick and some great cluing. Loved remembering Reagan in his cowboy outfit selling Borax. Not a bad TV program BTW. Great job, young man.

    GILL I. 6:53 AM  

    NO SOAP? Was that a TYPEE?
    Ooooh, I enjoyed this puzzzzzzle, David. I just KNOWS you'd sneak in FO SHIZZLE because it's so crazy awful and I think you introduced us to it....
    My biggest complaint is the number of proper names. I got BREZHNEV only because CRAZE had to be right. Actually, looking back, most all the names were gettable.
    SUSIE Q...loved it and then there's TARARA Boom de ay...have you had yours today? I had mine yesterday.....TARARA
    REDDIWIP is also good on ponopls and peesh.
    It's taken me a while to get on the pineapple wave length, but I'm enjoying the progression DS. Mas, por favor.

    Anonymous 7:19 AM  

    Totally agree.

    Loren Muse Smith 7:55 AM  
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    Loren Muse Smith 8:04 AM  

    I'm not really a great themeless solver; I probably finish 2.75 Saturdays. But… I always relish a Steinberg to sit down with and try to wrestle to the ground. It’s so satisfying to chip away (pick a metaphor, any metaphor…) little by little and feel all smart and clever.

    Early goofs:

    Home for HTTP
    Drout for CRAZE (yeah, yeah – I wasn't paying attention)
    Rolex for BORAX (trying to imagine a Rolex commercial, failing, erasing)
    Kant for HUME (hoo boy, no gimme there)
    Keypad for GENOME
    Fatty, fatso for BLIMP
    NFL, Phi for AFB
    Scroll for SCRIBE
    Slumped, sneered for SNEEZED
    EUR for ESL, cognizant of the impossibility of two EURs but just being dense (see "drout" above)

    I fixed most of these errors, but with "henna" firmly in place, I was just never going to figure out the northeast. Never ever.

    And… I'm a bit dismayed to cognize that I've been singing "Tra la la boom de ay" all my life. Sheesh. Oh, and TA RA RA is "Ararat" backwards. But you all knew that.

    Best favorite clues – those for NOUN and ESL. Bravo!!

    I agree with @Zeke that the biggest faux pas you can make in etiquette is calling attention to someone else's faux pas. It's a bit different when you're standing in front of 25 hellions and someone burps (happens to me at least once every week or so). Still a big mistake to say anything lest you encourage/reward the, uh, eruptive behavior.

    Serendipity – Lacking a proper palate, I prefer the fakey Cool Whip to the real dairy REDDI WIP when I slink into the kitchen (as I did just last night) to sneak a spoonful the size of an avocado; the dairy aftertaste of the real McCoy is a bit off-putting for me. And yeah, I like Cheez Whiz and Susie(sic) Q Cakes, too. BLIMP kinda felt like a hand slap.

    I couldn't disagree with @Alias Z more. I really enjoyed this one, David. Working on your puzzles has made me a better solver.

    Donkos 8:04 AM  

    I agree with aliasz,the over reliance on product names in this puzzle doesn't feel resh to me. Also the heavy reliance on very obscure people names just made this puzzle a drag. Dos, boz, cece, afb, ste, esl? Ugh.

    That said, it is still impressive that he is only in high school, so I will continue to tackle his puzzles in the future, he will only get better...

    Josh 8:16 AM  

    So today's puzzle is "electric"--despite dreck like EOSIN and OXALIC and TARARA--because it leads with FOSHIZZLE, an entry that would have been fresh five years ago.

    But yesterday's puzzle was "adequate" and "mediocre" because the constructor, in his efforts to make his puzzle a pangram, included ETSEQ and FAYS.

    Got it.

    mathguy 8:16 AM  

    Not much fun. Very little wit in the cluing. Mostly a trivia/general knowledge quiz.

    Of course I'm sour because I whiffed on the upper left. Didn't know FOSHIZZLE (although I seem to remember its being in the puzzle before), OXALIC (although I've now seen it on lists of common acids upon doing a little research), ELIE Saab (although I see that his perfume is sold at Nordstrom), costalgia, and ISO.

    I never realized before that "a" always precedes a NOUN.

    chefbea 8:24 AM  

    Too tough for me and have lots to do today so no time to finish.Couldn't print out yesterday's puzzle..the puzzle printed ok but the clues were so faint I couldn't see them . Anyone else have that problem??

    Dorothy Biggs 9:02 AM  

    Completely agree with AliasZ's frustration with Steinbergian puzzles. I never look at the byline of a puzzle unless there is reason to. For instance, when I hate the puzzle solving experience I will check out to whom I owe the feeling of contempt. 9 times out of 10 it's a DS puzzle.

    This is nothing personal toward a HS senior who obviously has talent and doesn't shy away from creating the more challenging puzzles of the NYT. So don't misconstrue this criticism as a personal attack. I'm sure he's a very nice young man.

    But I don't like his puzzles and I'm glad to hear that I am not the only one, if only for selfish reasons. It's good to know that the difficulty of a DS puzzle is somewhat unique and that it isn't just the difficulty that I am reacting to. Alias called it "glibness." John Child called it "Trivial Pursuit." I call it gratuitous.

    I swear to God there is a sense that he creates these puzzles with resource material close at hand: a thesaurus, a dictionary, and for answers that are the most arcane possible.

    I'm sure there are some who like his puzzles and will come to his defense and call me out for being negative. No worries. I'm only putting my opinion out there so that others might see that these puzzles somehow have the unique ability (almost least in my case) to sour the solving experience to the point of really, really disliking it.

    AliasZ said it best: maybe someday DS will mature into a PB type constructor and will understand that challenging fill isn't just challenging for its own isn't just filling out a puzzle with trivia. It's understanding the difference between what's arcane/trivial and what exists on the margins of our knowing.

    I apologize to DS because it is really hard to describe why the puzzle affects me so dramatically. Keep trying, young man...but just because you get your puzzles in the NYT doesn't mean that improvement isn't something to aspire to.

    evil doug 9:21 AM  

    I went with "no shizzle"--sounded like "no shit", suggesting 'how obvious', ergo, agreement--and "newer" prayer words, as in fresher.

    I wonder how many people got "AFB" for the F-15 Eagle. I did, but I had trouble believing that David/Will would go with that clue....


    Sir Hillary 9:27 AM  

    Wow, a few of these reviews are among the most condescending I've ever read here. Yes, let's just pat little Davey on the head and assure him that he'll "mature" one day. Oh brother! Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and I too have constructors whose puzzles don't float my boat, but the superiority complex in the criticism is a bit much. Sorry to stir up more vitriol, but I just had to say something.

    As for the puzzle...I found it difficult but ultimately enjoyable. Entering phobOS really threw me off -- rarely have I been so surprised to be wrong. Not a big fan of FOSHIZZLE (didn't we have it a few months ago?) but it's worth it when it leads to a stellar corner like today's NW.

    Moly Shu 9:42 AM  

    Agree with @AliasZ, @Donkos, and @NCAPrez. No love here either. Maybe has something to do with a big DNF. Like @LMS, never going to finish the NE, and SNEErED stayed for me. The A and Q clues did me in. I live in the MIAMIAREA and know El Nuevo Herald, but that one took forever. Forest for the trees, I guess.

    At least I got a Glengarry clip and a good joke from @GeorgeB.

    Unknown 9:44 AM  

    I hate to, but I fall into the AliasZ and NCA President camp...especially NCA President's last paragraph.

    I am impressed by David's accomplishments and look forward to watching his puzzle career grow.

    Bob Kerfuffle 9:49 AM  

    Another fine puzzle from David Steinberg! Medium for me at 45 minutes.

    Just one write-over, but it took a concatenation of errors on my part: At 39 D, "Jarrett of the Obama White House," my first entry was RANDALL. Hey, it fit, and there was that A from CRAN. Even after I was corrected by crosses, I thought I had confused the politician with an author, "Randall Jarrett." But now I have looked him up, and find his name is actually Randall Jarrell!

    Live and learn!

    RooMonster 10:00 AM  

    Hey All !
    Easy-Medium, Rex? Wow. I found it Challenging! Guess that's why I don't do the blog... :-)

    Saw DS as constructor, said "Damn", then went about the solve. Luckily solved online today, as definitely would have been a DNF, thank (insert random deity here) for the Check feature!

    Liked most of the entries. Always thought it REDDI WhIP, oh well. No one has explained NOSOAP yet. Seems a might obscure. Also WARMONGER for Hawk? Wanted to connect all the Z's...

    Went looking for the J and Q for the pangram, never found 'em.

    Overall,liked it, struggled with it, Check Puzzle-ed it, finished it (technical DNF, but hey, got the Congratualations message), don't want to do it again!

    PATSDRY the brow

    Dorothy Biggs 10:00 AM  

    @Sir Hillary: I'm sorry if my attempt at being tactful struck you as condescending or patronizing. I recognize I have no talent for or inclination to creating xword puzzles. True condescension/patronization would come from a place of "I know better than you."

    I just have an opinion based on doing hundreds of NYT puzzles. I can recognize good puzzlesmanship when I see it (DS's puzzles are solid overall), but I can also recognize stuff that is off-putting. As I mentioned, I would ordinarily think it was just me...but I'm not the only one that finds his puzzles off-putting.

    So, rather than just call him a hack, I tried to balance my critique with positive comments as well. I truly believe he has a mind that thinks outside the box and will "mature" as time passes. That isn't's recognizing the good and hoping for the best to come.

    Hey, I'm a professional musician who sees younger talented musicians commit the same mistake. Youth has a way of stepping outside the lines that is indeed gratuitous. As the person "matures," stepping outside the lines becomes more intelligent and therefore more masterful.

    You may or may not agree. That's fine by me. I will still endeavor to come to terms with why I consistently find displeasure in DS puzzles while finding the human decency to respect his efforts.

    joho 10:05 AM  

    I was faked out with thinking "Letters" at 44A would be plural so quickly wrote in Searle. However LITHO, MAMET gave me HTTP and I cleaned up that corner. LOVED ZEPPOMARX!

    DNF in the NW even after I changed SLeevE to SCRIBE. Great misdirection with, "Old record keeper."

    Will I now remember what FOSHIZZLE means? Yes!

    Sneaky, David, how you included the "Q" with SUSIE.

    Excellent Saturday puzzle FOSHIZZLE!

    John V 10:09 AM  

    What @AliasZ said.

    jdv 10:14 AM  

    Medium. I had the most trouble in the SW trying to come up with REDDIWIP. I begrudgingly filled in FOSHIZZLE; it's starting to become crosswordese in a 'ateenagerinlove' kind of way. Overall, this was pretty average for a Saturday.

    Horace S. Patoot 10:16 AM  

    I guess I'd react negatively to EXCUSEYOU at a business meeting or a dinner party, but at the kids' table on thanksgiving, a Boy Scout hike, or a bicycle ride home from school it was practically expected in my crowd. It's part of the normal banter of boys, or at least it was when I was one. Have children grown more polite? I think it's a perfectly acceptable clue.

    I loved the clue for ESL.

    Unknown 10:20 AM  

    75 min then quit. Challenging. Unsussable. Ungoogleable. I did the SE correctly and had extensive wrongness, well crossed with other wrongness, throughout the rest of the puzzle.

    I pulled wolfe for Kool-Aid out of the recesses, and saw it knock out my good-guesses KNOWS for cognizes and SUzIE Q. Warm-> FRI____? FRIcasse! Stools->BARback. Lake catch-> bass, gave me verbally attacked-> barbed. MartinLuther: truER words. Film speed: asa, then din. First two guesses were "wrong" across the grid. Nan you: REggi? Art buy: lardo. Ok, I know it should be lladro, but by this point, I had stopped trusting David and Will.

    This puzzle reminds me of the older Steinbers when Daivd cared not-a-whit for solver experience. I'm sure this puzzle was a lot of fun for him to construct and clue. That Rex found it easy means I have a million miles to go, yet.

    Meanwhile, greetings from Ann Arbor, MI. With any sort of luck, I will be schooled by a local educator sometime this week. There may even be pictures. You may even see them.

    jberg 10:23 AM  

    My 38-year old daughter was born on my birthday, so we had a belated celebration last night with her fiance (who works for PFIZER) and my wife. Anyway, when she was a young girl she would say "Dad! EXCUSE YOU!" on certain (in)appropriate occasions. That memory saved the NW for me, where I was torn between CECE and SCRoll.

    I liked the puzzle, because it was a hard solve and I got it, and I didn't mind the proper NOUNs even though I knew few of them. But I did think 'sternutate' and 'costalgia' were needlessly obscure, and I agree with @Rex about MIAMI AREA. AREA is sort of a geographic POC equivalent.

    Thanks, @Evil Doug, for explaining 50A. I was sure it was the football team, which had to be in the AFC or AFL or something like that -- but fortunately I was even surer of 20-mule-team BORAX.

    I had not idea OXALIC acid was in bleach, but the only other 6-letter acid I could think of was acetic, and bleach doesn't smell like vinegar. And, probably like most, I went with phobOS first. What I learned today: Phobos and DEIMOS are twin brothers, sons of Ares, both representing the terror of war. Why the planet should be Latin and the moons Greek is beyond me.

    Leapfinger 10:23 AM  

    @Zeke, why would you punch someone else if you were the first to be rude?

    @Doc John, ditto me for using H&E on my mouse embryo slides (cleft lip/palate development). So I thought EOSIN perfectly valid, bet Rex would hate HEMATOXYLIN even more!

    @Anon 1:20a.m. -- Two hippos sitting in a tub. One hippo says "Pass the SOAP, please"; the other one answers "NO SOAP, Radio".
    I hope that helps. Moi, I first put in NO SALE.

    EXCUSE YOU was first in, but wanted MEGALO, because a ZYGOTE can grow into something small also. Whatever it is, it'll be bigger than the ZYGOTE. Hmm, think I might start using that instead of 'bigger than a breadbox'.

    Went astray with the phobic crowd and
    pities/ GROPES
    torso/ LITHO
    made good/ REPLACED
    So not too much to exHUME, though the misdirects made the going slow. O Mama, still think MIA MIA REA looks strange. Couldn't figure out how to make SHHHH fill all those spaces before 'Boom'.

    Most definitely, the current key to SZteinberg puzzles is: When in doubt, think Z. That let me finally close out the NW corner. FOSHIZZLE is fairly RANCID, but overall I found this a FRIENDLY FRACAS.

    The best: FUDD on Thursday, WIIMOTE today. I really liked that.

    Happy Birthday, David! Guess you'll be voting in 2016.

    Anonymous 10:25 AM  

    To find EOSIN in cosmetic dyes you have to ignore the overwhelming number of citations as a histological dye. I've done a few H&Es in my life and based on the benzene rings alone I wouldn't put this on my skin (or anyone else's). Heck the structure looks scarier than PCB which has many parts for country in an uproar, needlessly I might add. PCB is inert. Yup, the EPA is wrong.

    Teedmn 10:36 AM  

    DNF for me, one dictionary look up for "sternutation" and one Google to check my spelling on PhIZER. Wrong!

    I thought this puzzle flowed well but agree the number of names and products/chemicals are problematic.

    SCRoll, HTml, spOts for KNOWS slowed my progress somewhat. Like @Evil Doug, I wouldn't have been surprised if it had been nEWER/nOSHIZZLE but started with the correct combo. MAMET wasn't a gimme but once surmised, it saved me from the wrong alleys @Rex went down.

    Loved to see FRACAS, BREZHNEV, WARMONGER. We're coming into the season where there will be multiple articles reminding you to PATS yourself DRY to avoid dry skin, sigh. Clever clue on ZYGOTE and SUSIE ( briefly wanted SUZEE).

    Thanks, David Steinberg.

    Captcha wanted to auto- correct to "yeti this"

    Nancy 10:38 AM  

    @Alias Z --
    I agree!

    And with NCA Pres; G. Barany; Greg; Moly Shu; Susan McC; and John V.

    Despite the awful arcane trivia, I guessed my way through 3/4 of the puzzle, somehow getting such horrors as WIIMOTES and DROID RAZR. But I gave up in the NW, because I hadn't a clue (forgive the pun) about FOSHIZZLE; thought it was "the NEWER the words, the better the prayer," rather than FEWER; and never heard of EXCUSE YOU (and am quite glad I never did.) I do, however, blame myself, when I had W-RM-N-E-, for not getting WAR MONGER. Don't know if I could have solved even then, but it certainly would have helped.

    Generic Solver 10:39 AM  

    How is a Euro an "alternative" to US dollars? I've shopped at plenty of places in the US that won't take Canadian pennies, let alone Euros. Maybe analogous, but not an alternative. Trying to get into this constructor's head, I was looking for some sort of abbreviation for Bitcoin.

    Sir Hillary 10:42 AM  

    @NCA Prez - Well said, and fair enough.

    Anonymous 10:46 AM  

    Great puzzle, Mr. Steinberg!

    Loved the clever cluing and the fun balance between the old and the new. Something for everyone.

    Only quibble: FOSHIZZLE is a repeat. That's the only reason I cognized it.

    mac 10:47 AM  

    Challenging but good Saturday puzzle for me.

    I think David is going to do pre-med when he gets to college.

    One write-over I remember: Attn for http.

    Anonymous 10:49 AM  

    When I see Steinberg's name my desire to do the puzzle just fizzles. I either skip it or do it half-assed. I hate all this dry esoterica: eosin, afb, oxalic, wiimotes, iso. And some of the cluing isn't worth puzzling over: Cece (what the hell?), rrr (never referred to in the singular), pat's dry and bar seat (tedious), foshizzle (dopey). Increasingly when I see this kid's name I look at it as an opportunity to take the day off and read more of the newspaper. His puzzles are just not fun.

    BillyC 10:50 AM  

    Barany starts with a joke, but can't resist promoting his puzzles again. Twice, this time.
    Oh, well ...

    Kurt 10:51 AM  

    I'm surprised that there hasn't been more reaction the the FOSHIZZLE/OXARIC crossing. I've worked the NYT puzzle every day for over thirty years and I don't remember ever seeing either answer. According to the Cruciverb data base, FOSHIZZLE appear once in an LAT puzzle six years ago, and OXARIC has never appeared. I had never heard of either word.

    I could get almost all of them both through the crosses. But the shared "O" was truly a Natick for me.

    Otherwise, great puzzle. Thanks David & Rex.

    Leapfinger 11:11 AM  

    I think that what makes SZteinberg consructions such a shibboleth is that 'Catch Me If You Can' quality. Some people like to play that game, others not as much. I expect that, like Frank Abagnale, DS will also change over time. Me, I jst see it as another constructor's different voice and try to solve 'em. [Keep an eye out for an ABAGNALE entry!]

    Residual problem here: I can come up with a shipload of words that include PHOBOS as the root for 'terror', but can't think of any based on DEIMOS. Any help out there?

    John Child 11:17 AM  

    @Leapfinger: Demon looks tempting, but the connection seems sketchy.

    Z 11:18 AM  

    @Evil - When PHI wouldn't work I tried AFa, thinking maybe that the Air Force Academy's mascot was an eagle. I did not know how an AFB would be an Eagle home.

    Replace "young" with "new" and any suspicion of condescension would disappear for me. To me, the only constructor's age that is remarkable is Ms. Gordon's. May we all be as sharp when we reach her age.

    I thought this puzzle was a little heavy on the trivial, but it is Saturday so this can only be an observation, not a complaint. I fell into the dEdE, gigi, isn't bibi a guy trap. There's a very nice restaurant over in Corktown, St. Cece's, so just a little embarrassing that CECE was so hard. Huge self-inflicted slow down with made gooD before REPLACED, which led me to removing the correct MAMET. Yikes.

    Reading Andrew Jackson's biography after finishing John Adam's reminds one that WARMONGERS have always been with us. People often make the mistake of thinking that we have somehow advanced or regressed because of things like social media or Fox/MSNBC. Read just a little history and you soon discover that the names and means change, but people are still people.

    Danp 11:24 AM  

    @josh - Foshizzle wasn't fresh 5 years ago. Snoop Dogg first used it on a Dr Dre album in 1992.

    Mohair Sam 11:27 AM  

    Since nobody has tackled NOSOAP - it was used for "not gonna do it" (same as the perfectly clued "ain't happening") many decades back and had as short a life and made as much sense as FOSHIZZLE.

    Last letter for us was the "I" in ISO - never heard FOSHIZZLE and am thrilled that it is dated. On the other hand - how many folks under 50 would know the other end of the puzzle (ZEPPOMARX)?

    Great clue for SUSIE. Learned WIIMOTES today. RIO freaking LOBO? Now that's dated.

    As for the DS discussion - I see David as a constructor with a different style, he's just a different kind of challenge. His work rarely overflows with -ese and I've found his rhythm and have solved several in row (although all play more challenging for me than for @Rex). If he has a flaw it is in over-nouning(is that a word?), but he can improve that with help from editors. No constructor is perfect, not even Patrick Berry.

    Keep 'em coming David. I enjoy the challenge.

    wreck 11:28 AM  

    I find it amusing that the same people who hate FOSHIZZLE are the same people who immediately dropped in MERTZ with no hesitation for the "Ricardo's landlords."
    I think I'm in that "in between age" where, I don't know the very old or the very new. I enjoy Steinberg puzzles very much!

    Gardener 11:31 AM  

    @Kurt - OXALIC acid. I have OXALIs (wood sorrel) growing on my front-yard slope; looks like shamrock. Wiki says it's an edible perennial but I haven't checked that out.

    Oxalis was the source from which oxalic acid was first isolated.

    Questinia 11:33 AM  

    I love carob because I never compare it to chocolate. Both are elegant.

    David Steinberg is a full-spectrum constructor. He may find many resources from which to draw but he is a nonetheless a masterful curator of the crossword and its cluing. There is the arcane, kitsch, high brow, low brow, technical, all within wisps of linguistic ephemera. There is an unmistakeable elegance. There is a signature.

    Patrick Berry is so elegant that he waltzes you through to the end leaving you not to notice that there was a cha cha, rumba, BEBOP and breakdance on the way. Consequently, you don't break a sweat and feel like a ballroom dance champion. There is a signature. He's like the Frick Museum.

    Martin Ashwood-Smith may not be as elegant but I love his work; the quad stacks are like rolling up your shirtsleeves cause there's double-digging to do. There is a signature. He's like the Egyptian wing at the Met.

    The constraints of a crossword puzzle are orders of magnitude greater than music so I don't mind being out of the box regularly with Mr. Steinberg. He's like visiting the galleries and the museums. Even when he allows himself to be hoisted by his own FOSHIZZLE from time to time.

    Zeke 11:44 AM  

    @Leapfinger Manners are the property of the person, a set of behaviors by which people present themselves to the world. They are a positive aspect of the individual. To use them as a tool to humiliate someone else desicrates the whole notion of manners, it's turning plowshares into swords. Manners are to be modelled, perhaps actively taught to ones own children, but never to be used to put another down.

    Should I burp and not say excuse me, I evinced bad manners. Should someone then say EXCUSEYOU they are doing nothing but falsely using etiquitte in an attempt belittle me, to show how much better the other is than I. Hence, the punch.

    Transpose this to correcting someone else's grammar (outside your children or your English students) at your leisure.

    Anonymous 11:45 AM  

    loved it. especially after the first pass i had written in "edwin" and nothing else although i knew 10 down would come. zenda was a complete guess and got me the NW.

    Anonymous 11:47 AM  

    Why do your comments always have to have to have ur Neanderthal politics?

    Ellen S 12:10 PM  

    @Kurt, it's OXALIC, but I don't know if it has appeared in any NYT puzzles correctly spelled, either. But that doesn't matter: Oxalic Acid is a real thing, so perfectly legit. I didn't have any trouble with that, so maybe that's why I'm not complaining about it. I "finished" with two errors, both unnecessary. Even though my kids have a Wii with "remotes" that I have used, I put in WIIMaTES, thinking it would be good to have a pal to play with. Having no idea about the Dickens pseudonym, all I knew is it was a vowel. The other error was just plain stupid: I had PFIsER / RAsR. I do know how to spell those names, just didn't. But I will remember @Leapfinger's advice: With a DS puzzle, think Z.

    But I don't get the Hippo joke. @Leapy, I know I will feel dumb but please explain?

    @Generic Solver -- Euros aren't an alternative to dollars at retail stores here, but are an alternative as a world currency. Or could be. Saddam Hussein was supposedly thinking of switching oil sales from dollars to euros, and, well, the rest is tragic history.

    I found this puzzle delightful, despite my errors. I thought the clues were fun and just hard enough. No googling, and less checking than usual for me for any day of the week, let alone a Saturday.

    Andrew Heinegg 12:11 PM  

    Amen. I too hesitate to start one of his puzzles. And I have no insight into why Rex admires DS puzzles so much. Foshizzle among others is simply unacceptably bad to me. To each his or her own.

    Oscar 12:50 PM  

    This is the punchline I've always heard:

    A well-dressed couple are coming out of the theater when a ragged guy comes up and says, "Excuse me, can you spare any change?"

    The gentleman looks down his nose and primly says, "'Neither a borrower nor a lender be.' -William Shakespeare."

    The bum looks at him and says, "'Fuck you, you fuckin' fuck!' -David Mamet."

    Leapfinger 12:51 PM  

    @Zeke, I understand your point, but don't see how taking your direction leads to a positive outcome. Ultimately, everyone leaves with epistaxis and/or a shiner. Better to cease and desist ASAP, I would say.
    Moreover, what you define as belittling, I see as softening the point with a light touch and a little humour. We are very likely hearing a different voice, and unlikely we twain shall meet. I just don't think it pays to become angry all that easily.

    @Ellen S, it's school-yard humour; the point is to laugh uproariously at your own joke ("Get it? Get it?") while listeners look blank. There is no point, and saying 'No soap, radio' becomes a little like saying '42'.
    Mohair Sam handled it straight.

    Anonymous 12:53 PM  

    Just for fun, since "a" always proceeds a noun, think about "a verb."

    Lewis 12:54 PM  

    @Q -- Right on the button re carob, and beautiful take on constructor signatures.

    I do love David's cluing, some clever, some subtle, like the clues for SCRIBE, DOS, GROPES, and REPLACED. I often have to Google with his puzzles -- as little as possible, though -- and I'm okay with that because of the terrific ahas I still get. So I did enjoy this one.

    @rex -- to read your review, you'd think there was a plethora of sparkling zingy answers, but as I look at the puzzle, there are some, but not a great deal.

    Norm 1:00 PM  

    This was okay, but not that much better than yesterday's -- if at all. I've never understood Rex's disapproval of pangrams, and, as one whose surname allegedly derives from "fen" [an ancestor apparently being one who lived by said watery area], I'm always glad to see it in play. If any number of words are possible, why not have a pangram? Ways/wen are better than fays/fen? All of which is a long way of saying that I actually enjoyed yesterday's more than today's for many of the reasons [e.g., trivia contest] already noted. I would certainly not call this one of Steinberg's best.

    GPO 1:04 PM  

    Gotta be kidding me. This was the hardest puzzle I have seen in months. The part where "This caused me a very, very frustrating 45 seconds or so"? Try twenty minutes. Overall, this took me over an hour and I was amazed to finish it with no cross-outs. I've never been more tempted to Google, or look under the kitchen sink to see what's in the bleach. But I persevered.

    evil doug 1:09 PM  

    Z: AFA's mascot is the Falcon (also the name of the F-16). While the Academy football players flew commercial, the drum and bugle corps, cheerleaders and falcon handlers were relegated to cargo aircraft. I flew them twice: Cal Berkeley and Notre Dame (the year they won the national title with Joe Montana). Good duty--ticket to the game, partying in San Francisco and South Bend, take'em back Sunday. The hooded bird spent the flights quietly resting on its post.


    Anonymous 1:13 PM  

    Anonymous @ 12:53 -- "verb" IS a noun. But, "a" does not always precede a noun; sometimes it precedes an adjective: e.g., "a pretty rose."

    Bob Kerfuffle 1:17 PM  

    More on "No soap, radio," if you can stand it:

    The way it was explained to me so long ago in Scout camp, it was two dinosaurs in a lake. One goes underwater for the longest time, then emerges and says, "No soap, radio." But here I will differ or expand upon @Leapfinger's explanation to say that it is not simply the joke teller who laughs, but in an audience of "veterans" and "rookies," all of the "veterans" join in the laughter until at least some "rookie" feels compelled to laugh. Then he is put on the spot by being asked, "What's so funny." The cruelty of youth!

    Z 1:19 PM  

    @Norm - As I said yesterday I am panognostic, but I do understand Rex's point. Look at FEN/FAYS. It could be BEN, CEN, DEN, GEN, JEN, KEN, LEN, MEN, NEN, PEN, REN, SEN, TEN, or WEN. The only reason it is FEN is to get the "F" - by extension, this cross is preserved only to get that F. The constructor choose words not because they were the best possible words but because it gives him a missing letter. The contention is that fill is more important than getting every letter into the puzzle. More, Rex asserts that getting every letter into a puzzle often results in significantly worse fill. So, if FEN was there because it is a cool word, great. But that's not why it is in the puzzle. My personal sense is that the effect on the fill is over-stated, but there have been times where the torture was palpable.

    LaneB 1:34 PM  

    Nearly completed a Sieinberg Saturday (almost never happens) but failed in the NW never having heard of FO SHIZZLE or ZYGOTE. THus the Z was missing in each word.. ALso the cross of EOSIN and WIIMOTES was missing an I since I was unfamiliar with both words. A DNF but I still feel OK about it

    Anonymous 1:39 PM  

    I'm in favor of non-palpable torture.

    Benko 1:44 PM  

    It's kind of fun to read the comments here regarding DS puzzles. It's always the same people with the same old whines--we get it, already. You don't like these kids with their pop culture references and overly difficult puzzles. How frustrating for you that DS is the most published constructor of the last year or two in the NYT.
    That said, I agree with @lewis and not @rex regarding this particular puzzle. It was a fine, good Saturday themeless. It wasn't nearly as stuffed with fresh good fill as Rex's over-the-moon review would suggest.

    Jyqm 1:48 PM  

    Glad to see I'm not the only one who was a bit nonplussed by Rex's review today. Today's puzzle is apparently a bit of genius, where all subpar fill is forgiven because it supports answers that are "fresh and cracking," whereas yesterday's got the finger for its pangram despite the presence of BUTTDIAL, EMOTICON, LOCAVORE, etc. -- which all seemed pretty fresh and cracking to me. We've all got our personal preferences, of course, but the idea that today's puzzle is somehow obviously superior to yesterday's is just bizarre to me.

    I usually like David Steinberg puzzles a lot. I'll never gripe about a fun answer like FOSHIZZLE, but I will say I'm getting tired of the various Nintendo WII answers that seem to pop up again and again these days.

    Rex may be pleased that he finally remembered ELIE Saab, but that was a Natick for me -- EdIE seemed to fit the bill just fine, as this non-chemist figured that OXAdIC was a likely a possibility as any other for 2D.

    My biggest problem, though, was in the SE, where I confidently threw down my first answer as MIAMIdade -- which, I think it's safe to say, is easily a superior answer to the "green paint"-like MIAMIAREA. I eventually corrected my mistake after getting PFIZER off the P, but not having heard of the DROIDRAZR ultimately did me in. Everyone I know either has an iPhone or a Samsung Galaxy

    To recap: David Steinberg is a great constructor. I wouldn't call this his best, but it's a fine puzzle. Rex's fawning all over it after bashing yesterday's puzzle, on the other hand, strikes me as silly and even petty.

    Lewis 2:03 PM  

    Factoid: ZEPPO appeared in the first five Marx Brothers feature films, but then left the act to start his second career as an engineer and theatrical agent, and became a multi-millionaire due to his engineering efforts. Among the products his company made were the clamps that held the "Fat Man" a-bomb inside the airplane, and a wristwatch that would monitor the pulse rate of cardiac patients and give off an alarm if the heartbeat became irregular.

    Quotoid: "A friend is one who KNOWS you and loves you just the same." -- Elbert Hubbard

    Bomaka 2:05 PM  

    DSs puzzles are always a bit of a struggle for me. I feel I have to work for every word, which is why I like doing crosswords. This one did not disappoint.

    The top half fell in easily, with aSo before ISO. Then got TRAMmeled with CRush before CRAZE, and Rotten before RANCID, GRAsps before GROPES. All that made FRuCos, BREsHtEV, and DsI?os quite mysterious. Also threw in lsd for something most Americans won't take...

    Saved in the south by TYPEE and ZEPPO. The only esoterica here, for me: EDWIN Moses and DEIMOS.

    Nice puzzzzzle!

    Anoa Bob 2:13 PM  

    For years, my go-to cleanser/scouring powder for tough stains has been Bar Keepers Friend. I've learned the hard way, though, that care must be used lest extended skin contact leads to peeling and dermatitis. The reason? It contains OXALIC acid.

    I know Moby Dick is Melville's masterpiece, but the opus that first made him popular was TYPEE, to my mind the archetype of a South Seas adventure yarn. Part, or maybe a lot of its charm lies in his encounters with the mysterious and mesmerizing FAYaway.

    Like Ravini@1:53, I first tried ASA instead of ISO for 5 Down. Shoulda cognisized better since ASA usually gets a "Happy ___lark" kinda clue. By the by, ASA is a Hebrew given name that means "physician".

    sanfranman59 2:14 PM  

    Another David Steinberg beat down for me. FOSHIZZLE? Huh? That, OXALIC and ELIE made it impossible for me to solve the NW. But I'm proud that I got the rest of the puzzle. There are a surprising number of women's names that sound like a repeated letter ... Bebe (Bibi?), Cece (Cici maybe?), Didi, Gigi. I guess that's it, but that's more than I expected. For me, Cece is the most obscure. I think CeCe Winans is the only one I know with that name.

    Teedmn 2:21 PM  

    Thanks, @ GPO, for a good laugh. My new way of saying,"Get with it" is going to be "Look under the sink and smell the bleach."

    Mohair Sam 2:23 PM  

    @Questinia (11:43) - That's one of the best posts I've ever seen here (it helps that I agree completely).

    "MAS . . . is like the Egyptian Wing at the Met." The perfect simile, wish I could express myself half so well.

    retired_chemist 2:36 PM  

    Very nice. Mr. Steinberg is getting closer to my wavelength with every puzzle published.

    Learned something: there is an oxalic acid based bleach. The usual household bleach is an aqueous solution (4-8%) of sodium hypochlorite. Oxalic acid based bleach is used for wood products - did not know that. DO NOT MIX THE TWO. If you use both on one surface, rinse the first one off thoroughly before using the second.

    Tried kant before HUME, keeping the latter in mind, but WARMONGER and EXCUSE YOU (nice!) fixed that. Actually the entire NW was one of my favorite corners in crosswords.

    lmnop first at 18A,but I knew David would be better than that. It was so.

    Could not recall who made Lipitor, but the partial RAZR gave me the Z, which was enough. reprO before LITHO - also easily fixed.

    Thanks, Mr. Steinberg. More please.

    retired_chemist 2:39 PM  

    Forgot - favorite wrong answer: the I from VALERIE, A from BORAX, and A from TRAM gave me nIcarAguA for 60A, which lasted a while. Proof that one should never stick with an answer that seems to screw you on the other crosses for very long.

    GILL I. 3:17 PM  

    @Questinia....That was wonderful. Your expressions, when you write, remind me of one of my favorite authors...Muriel Barbery!

    Cheerio 4:23 PM  

    Funny to think about Reagan selling the LORAX.

    Hartley70 4:30 PM  

    @Questina, you were absolutely gorgeous today!

    Tough tough tough for me. I got the SE and NW and then wow what a struggle. I lost.

    I'm amazed Mr. Sternberg is a HS student. What a talent! I hope he can smile if he sees how churlish we can become when we're so thoroughly thrashed.

    Seriously, THE NANNY? That is really ancient bad TV, totally forgettable outside of an unforgettable nasally voice. Ms. Taylor must have had another less obscure role in her career

    Liked the ZEPPO clue because it made me remember Groucho who I loved as a kid. It made me read about the 5 brothers this afternoon. What other HS student would know this stuff. I'm on Medicare and it's nostalgia for me!

    FOSHIZZLE, I must be the only one who's never heard of it. Huh?

    Norm 4:55 PM  

    Z: You said "The only reason it is FEN is to get the 'F' - by extension, this cross is preserved only to get that F." And you know that ... how? And, why are the other options better than the "F"? Because they're not pangrams? That's circular. As I said, I like fen and I think fays is appropriate for a Friday puzzle. So, I'll register my disagreement and be done with it. Cheers.
    Norm of the Fens

    Mass General 5:35 PM  

    I'm with Norm. The English Fens: fascinating history, fine engineering, and a great setting for any number of mystery books.

    Add to that FENway Park and you have a hit that'll knock your RED Sox off!

    Z 6:01 PM  

    @sanfranman59 - Good to hear from you. I am confidant that I'm not alone in saying that your stats are missed.

    @Norm - First - I'm just sharing the logic. I liked the puzzle fine and didn't find it overly forced. I agree on FEN over those other options, but then you also have to clue FAYS and I understand the resistance to it just to have a pangram. That's the crux of the complaint, that the fill is forced to accommodate an F and the Q. Of course, neither Rex nor I know if the F was kept to make a pangram, but we can read what the constructor wrote at, "Overall, I'm happy with how this puzzle turned out, and I'm glad I was able to get the pangram without doing anything too unnatural." (emphasis mine)

    OISK 6:47 PM  

    I had a shot at a 4 week winning streak, got on the subway with the puzzle, saw "David Steinberg", and sighed. Foshizzle??? But I got it; oxalic acid is a gimmee for a chemist. Eosin from eosinophils - a type of blood cell. Kesey and WIImotes in the NE - never heard of Kesey, and WIImotes??? Really? I dislike product clues in general, but a particular play station? Come on! But I got it. Deimos or Phobos? But I knew Mamet, so no problem. Reddiwip? Another product clue, never used it, but I got it. But the SE had me stumped. Had lunch in Manhattan, back on the subway…What the heck is "Destiny's Child"? A brand of cell phone? Product endorsed by Reagan? Arghhh! But I finished it! Somewhere, perhaps in another puzzle I have seen "RAZR." The streak is alive! Glad to have finished this one, which was a real challenge for me. I pretty much agree with prior comments by AliasZ and Nancy; David's puzzles are brilliantly constructed, but outside my comfort zone. For example, yesterday I finished correctly, but never heard of a jerkin. I looked it up. Interesting! A nice little tidbit to add to my knowledge base. Am I about to check out what a WIImote is, or foshizzle, or Droid products?

    I have sniped about David's puzzles before, but I will say that in terms of greater balance, the last few have been much fairer than the first couple.

    Dirigonzo 7:01 PM  

    The area that cost Rex "...a very, very frustrating 45 seconds or so" occupied me for most of the afternoon (running the alphabet on nearly every square is very time-consuming) but it eventually came together. Except for SNEErED, that is - had I persisted I might eventually have settled on Z but the r looked perfectly plausible so I stopped there. I have encountered FOSHIZZLE exactly twice in my lifetime, both times in the puzzle (and I think in the same place in both grids).

    Joseph B 7:36 PM  

    As a clue, "Eagles Place: Abbr." is brilliant in its misdirection. I can't imagine anyone jumping immediately to the fighter plane rather than the team. (I didn't, and I'm an Air Force brat.)

    I know the Philadelphia Eagles are either the AFC or NFC of the NFL. They also appear as PHI on scoreboards. The first three of the above go with PFIZER, the fourth goes with PHIZER. Gak!

    Nice one, David/Will.

    Arlene 9:16 PM  

    A little late to the game here - I started the puzzle and then had to decide whether I really wanted to work my way through this or not - as it required a lot of Googling. It's not my ideal solving experience,
    but . . .
    Finished everything except for a few squares in the NE.
    I appreciate everyone's perspective on this type of puzzle - now you know mine.

    jae 9:39 PM  

    @OISK - Good to hear your streak is alive. This one had some tough spots. Ken Kesey is best known for the novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. It was made into a movie staring Jack Nicholson which won 5 Oscars.

    Anonymous 2:38 PM  

    This is NOT a crossword puzzle!!!! It's a trivia contest, with the most proper nouns I've ever seen. D.S. thinks he's typical of the world, and that whatever his interests are must be gimmees for everyone else. Get real, David, the world doesn't revolve around your little social circle. (Also, his chronic ageism is an insult to many people who read this blog.) I don't care about all these proper nouns that you expect me to know: I could write a puzzle like that where you wouldn't get one word, big deal -- no skill there. I normally dread D.S. puzzles, but this was the last straw -- I promise I will never attempt another one. On a different subject, "excuseyou" is quite common amongst Blacks in New York, and not limited to those of lower social class. Used a lot by secretaries and office workers of fairly good breeding.

    Katie 10:34 PM  

    This was not fun.

    Anonymous 9:12 AM  

    I enjoyed the puzzle but have to agree; there is something off-putting when I imagine a teenager (with all the internet available) plopping down words like "sternutation", phrases like " no soap" and obscure cosmetics dyes like they commonplace " to his vocabulary" is insulting to those of us who have already spent a lifetime gathering such trivial data

    spacecraft 11:40 AM  

    Fearless leader, you simply MUST see "The Verdict." You won't regret it.

    Now to today's offering from good old (?!) David Steinberg. Looking at it, I thought, how am I ever gonna get any of this? Looking at the correctly (!) completed grid an hour later, I thought: how the hell did I pull this off?

    Well, I guess anyone who KNOWS sternutation (thank you, medical training) has a leg up. But though the solve be correct, it's not without a few messy writeovers: phobOS (phobia) before DEIMOS (demon) and Rotten before RANCID, which I fixed instantly as soon as I noticed that the 52a clue was in the past tense.

    In the SE I had MARX...but which one? Hey, there are already so many Z's in the thing, what the hell, how about another one, so I put ZEPPO--and that unlocked the rest of the MIAMIAREA. (Are you getting that the puzzle and U.S. geographies match?)

    MAMET fans will also not want to miss "House of Games." Let's risk swelling this youth's head and give him an A (NOT followed by a NOUN!)

    225: FOSHIZZLE!

    rain forest 3:03 PM  

    The last (only) time I Googled something in the puzzle, I discovered this blog, a discovery I'm glad I made, mostly.

    Today, I was almost moved to Google FOSHIZZLE, not believing it was a thing. But, I kept it in, and it worked. Harder for me was the SE which I left almost blank for about an hour, and came back to the puzzle. CRAN leapt out, and I shyly put in VALERIE as a guess, and then the whole thing came crashing together.

    However, I have to say that there wasn't a lot of enjoyment in the solve, for some reason. EASY-MEDIUM? Are you crazy? Some of Steinberg's work has been great, but today seemed more like a trivia search for me. Nevertheless, I do have a feeling of accomplishment--yay for me.

    Agree with @Spacey - The Verdict is a must-see. Newman is brilliant.

    Gimme some cards--NO SOAP.

    DMG 3:29 PM  

    Saw the author's name, sighed, and did a run through. Ended up with a few "s" guesses, BOZ, a couple,of words that rurned out right, a couple of wrongs and a headache. I clearly am not qualified to play in this arena. Mr. S. has a vocabulary that stumps me. Even looking at the solution didn't enlighten me. What the hey is a FOSHIZZLE? Congrats to those who solved it.

    Hey 108 all is not lost!

    rondo 5:13 PM  

    This wasn't easy-medium but I enjoyed the entire struggle. Like @spacey +\- an hour, except I had one major writeover.
    Had nIcarAguA in the MIAMIAREA - oops!
    I am always wary of a DS puzzle, but that doesn't mean I don't like them. Aren't xword puzzles supposed to be a sort of trivia contest anyway?
    I'd bet that I'm older than many,even most, of the complainants re: DS puzzles, but if one pays any attention at all to the outside of his/her/their (see what I did there?)box, all of the DS answers are gettable. And often things one ought to know in this day and age. Don't need to be expert just aware, and FOSHIZZLE must be 25-30 years old by itself. Where were you all?
    Somebody askd "what's a Destiny's Child?" Really?? Out of your box I say!!! Into the world.
    I really appreciated this puz, all of what OFL said and it ain't often that I agree!!!

    2621 not very good

    leftcoastTAM 7:54 PM  

    Time moves on. I haven't caught up with David Steinberg's brand of puzzles and probably won't. (I'm a septuagenarian.) Today was my toughest struggle with his works, and I resoundingly DNF. This doesn't mean that I won't continue to give them a shot.

    Prometheus unplugged 8:28 PM  

    I did okay, surprising myself, but not google free! I will still attempt solving Saturday puzzles as a perhaps futile effort to bang my head against my own ignorance: sigh . . . .

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