Site of 1789 rebellion / SAT 12-6-14 / Bygone Asian dynast / Certain street dancer in slang / Four-time Pro Bowler Michael / Bygone bomber whose name is call in bingo / Director Justin of Fast Furious franchise

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Constructor: Josh Knapp

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium to Medium

THEME: awesomeness

Word of the Day: HMS BOUNTY (1A: Site of a 1789 rebellion) —
HMS Bounty, also known as HM Armed Vessel Bounty, was a small merchant vessel purchased by the Royal Navy for a botanical mission. The ship, under the command of William Bligh, was sent to the Pacific Ocean to acquire breadfruit plants and transport them to British possessions in the West Indies. That mission was never completed, due to a mutiny led by the acting MasterFletcher Christian. This was the famous Mutiny on the Bounty. (wikipedia)
• • •

I've gotten into this weird habit of late. I fall asleep early (like 9 or 10pm), then wake up a couple hours later, then solve / blog, then (eventually) sleep some more. It's pretty great. I remember reading some years ago about "second sleep"—that pre-modern sleep patterns were likely to feature a middle-of-the-night waking period. And I remember thinking, "that sounds cool." And it is. I mean, I still have that semi-sh***y "just woke up from a nap" feeling for a while, *right* before I solve the damned puzzle, so it's not all bourbon and chocolate, but I'm pretty in to the overall rhythm of the sleep-solve-write-read-sleep thing. Why am I telling you this? I don't know, but I loved this damned puzzle. I mean, Loved it. Frame it and hang it, because you're just not going to see much better than this. So clean, so current, so smartly clued. Time and again I had that great "Huh? … what the hell? … damn … OH!" feeling when solving a clue. I got through it in reasonable time, but the whole time I had that exhilarating/nauseating feeling I used to get when I'd break through to a new level of Donkey Kong and stuff would just be coming at you so fast and you feel like you're barely holding it together but you're somehow not dying! Yee haw. I don't think there's a bad answer in the grid. Not one. SO-SO POPO! Even the tiny stuff is making me smile.

[22A: Dimwitted title character of a 2001 comedy]

HA ha, I only just now got the clue at 51A: Number one number two (ADAMS). It was bugging me that I couldn't parse the clue correctly. "I know ADAM was the 'number one' man, but how do you get from there to plural ADAMS?" A: You don't. It's John ADAMS, the first ("Number one") vice president ("number two") of the U.S. Oh, HANDM—that is almost an answer I don't like, but only because it's really H&M (the way BTEN is B-10). But I've been kind of nostalgic for ampersandwiches lately. Feels like they don't come around much any more. So here's to you, HANDM. If HANDM is the worst a puzzle HANDs you, you're in good shape. I will say, though, that I'd've changed MENNEN to TENNER (10-pound note), just to get rid of HAND so close to HANDM. Picky, yes, but … well, you read this blog, so you can't be surprised.

I realized mid-solve that the puzzle was something special (which doesn't happen often—usually I'm just on GO!). Threw KIM JONG-IL across, thought "damn, that's good," then allowed myself a moment's reflection on everything I'd solved to that point: all real answers, no crap anywhere, a banks of long Downs (UNFAZED NEOCONS TWO-TONE) that's amazing in its own right, even though it's masquerading as a mere passageway from one section of the grid to another. And somehow the puzzle managed to finish (SE corner) on a high note. Oohed and aaahed (!) at every long Across as it came into view down there. It's very clear that high word--count themelesses that have been polished within an inch of their lives are the puzzles most likely to hit my happy zone. All killer, no filler, I AVER.

    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


    jae 1:40 AM  

    This was medium for me but seemed like it might be harder.  The movie/TV clues were in my wheelhouse, including the delightful "New Girl", which helped.  

    sePtet before HEPTAD was just cruel. 

    Did not know VICK was a 4time pro-bowler. 

    SOSO over POPO was just delightful!

    This puzzle was just fantastic!  From HMS BOUNTY to THE X FILES what a crunchy bunch of fun!   Or, exactly what @Rex said!

    And @Rex you're right about that sleep thing.

    chefwen 1:57 AM  

    I'm with @jae - Medium/tough here, but it's Saturday so I don't expect anything less.

    Loved the clue for 20A. Never heard of H AND M or H&M, not a whole lot of shopping choices here on "The Rock". We do have a Macy's (who doesn't) but it's more of a afterthought than a real store. Also liked 14A brewing ingredient, cute, well, not really when you think about it.

    Bring it on Sunday!

    Doc John 2:33 AM  

    Also, ADAMS being the second president makes him Number One (president) Number Two. So it works both ways!

    Andy 3:04 AM  

    Not sure about the easy rating rex gave. Even though it took me the usual amount of time, it seemed a lot harder than normal. Perhaps I just needed a nap too

    jae 3:54 AM  

    I missed my nap today (golf) so sePtet should have been sEPTet.

    mathguy 5:33 AM  

    I haven't had to Google for months but I needed help four times on this one. KIMJONGIL, THEXFILES, AMELIE, BLESSES. My hat's off to Rex and the rest who found it easy. Even the parts I got unaided were a struggle.

    shari 5:42 AM  

    What (who) is H and M?

    Jim Walker 7:10 AM  

    Once finished, I stared at the puzzle for several minutes wondering why it took so long. I balked at a few answers such as HANDM. But when I looked it up it is a very large company with two stores here in Tucson. Can't complain. JAB is not dig in everyday usage but close enough. ZOOLANDER came only with crosses. Some lovely cluing for ADAMS and EYEOFNEWT. Upon reflection, great puzzle. 7:19 AM  

    This was 2nd puzzle in a row that used the word "God"...I don't recall when the policy avoiding that word was changed, but I think it's really bad taste. Of course very offensive to orthodox Jews...and even to this secular Jew, kind of creepy.

    Bill from FL 8:05 AM  

    I agree with Rex about the sheer beauty of this grid. I wasn't sure I'd break through in the SE, even with EGG WASH and SCIENCE, because I kept wanting MAT for 52D. Once I saw COT, it gave me OSCAR and the rest eventually fell. Great, great solving experience.

    Librarian Grammarian 8:39 AM  

    With regard to smarba's concern about taking the Lord's name in vain, I can understand why yesterday's usage ("God, I hope so," IIRC) might give certain believers (of a number of faiths) pause, but I'm interested to learn that "godsend" might be similarly problematic. It's been in the language since 1792 according to the OED and strikes me as both a lovely and a useful word. Are there others among this community who can definitively speak to the relative acceptance of "godsend" in certain religious circles?

    woot! 8:55 AM  

    Fastest Saturday ever. One of those times when I just felt like I was on the constructor's wavelength. Very enjoyable, but now what will I do with the rest of my day?

    Leapfinger 9:00 AM  

    EYE OF NEWT -- Ho, ho, that's ragGing rich!

    Got into some serious sidetracking with:
    BLACK WOOL - wrong nursery, and it was three bags full, but it fit so well with 4 crossing downs!
    HMS B...eagle? No idea why.
    KhMer Rouge? Only if KhMer Rooj.
    OSCARpiks, OSCARflix... it took a RABBI to finally hand me the BAIT.

    Couple of questions:
    Is worth a WET JERSEY for a SOSO POPO?

    Liked the ElizaD clue, but wasn't it Cleopatra made the ASP IRATE?

    And how are MATES 'Ends of some board meetings?'...SIRIously. I can't make that dovetail. Thanks in advance for responding, and thanks for a very satisfying Knapp.

    This Dona is now going Mobile, CANTABILE

    offended 9:04 AM  

    Well, 7:19 Jew, I'm from PETA and I was very offended by EYEOFNEWT and the animal abuse it implies. And I know people who were held captive in North Korea, so KIMJONGIL is definitely a no-no, and I'm a born-again Christian NEOCON who believes that a RABBI should never be part of a wedding, not to mention the superstitious clap-trap peddled in THEXFILES, and the atheism of Richard Dawkins.
    Call the PC POPO if you want, but I will remain UNFAZED.

    Josh 9:05 AM  

    Finished in 8:13, my fastest Saturday in a while. To echo the comment of @woot!: I just felt as though I was on Mr. Knapps' wavelength from the get-go. The trues were tricky, yes, but they instantly clicked.

    An absolutely lovely grid. Clean and full of good stuff.

    I would love to what the clues would look like if this puzzle were published independently. It seems as though answers like VICK and LINKEDIN and KIMJONGIL and OSCARBAIT are begging for funny/snarky clues.

    Unknown 9:06 AM  

    Medium. I can't say it thrilled me as much as it did RP, but certainly no complaints. Biggest struggle was in SW. Had I been familiar with New Hirl it would have been a slam-dunk. I knew there was some sort of ADAM intersecting with a girl's name starting in J, but just couldn't see it for the longest time. ADAMa? ADAMi? Can I fit ADAM 12 in there somehow? Finally stumbled upon JESS, and ADAMS became blindingly obvious. One head slap later and here I am.

    Anonymous 9:07 AM  

    Chess is a board game and "mate" means someone has lost.

    Anonymous 9:14 AM  

    no need to make fun of folks who find some words offensive. i think we've been down this road before.

    rise above.

    Questinia 9:14 AM  

    When I was little and living in Sweden there was a chain of clothing stores called Hennes och Mauritz. Now it's H&M and a hugely successful international purveyor of fashion-conscious, affordable, clothing.

    So far, I remain on the scoreboard.

    But I didn't find it easy. Kind of like @Rex's Donkey Kong analogy. Kind of white-knuckled it.

    @leapy, think chess.

    Unknown 9:27 AM  

    Thought it was excellent and was trying to figure out how Rex would trash it. He must have really have been sleepy, or this puzzle most have been down right fantastic! Never watched New Girl so kept tying to fit in Bess or Tess. Replacing 'Asian' with 'Korean' would have helped me a lot. But then, it wouldn't be a Saturday if it weren't an epic struggle.

    Leapfinger 9:29 AM  

    Am thinking facepalm, thnx.

    Will blame yesterday's 'If I were a Carpenter' for the hangover.

    Carola 9:31 AM  

    This was a tough one for me, but I loved every minute of the struggle. Super cluing, "Score in Italy" being my favorite.

    Managed the bottom half in reasonable time, but my sEPTAD of Harry Potter books led me to believe there'd been a rebellion in some S?? cOUNTY before I saw that the first two letters had to be H AND M, and until SWANDIVE jumped out at me from the S and D (GODSEND!), the NE looked like the site for a nose DIVE and crash and burn.

    Thanks, Josh Knapp - terrific Saturday.

    Teedmn 9:43 AM  

    A very clean solve but lacking in the aha moments of yesterday. Looking back, there were some very nice cluing: RABBI, HANKIE, MATES, EYE OF NEWT, JERSEY, ADAMS were all good but they didn't give me any pause so they didn't register as clever as they are.

    I did have some of @Rex's exhilarating/nauseating feeling every time I turned the corner to the next section, waiting for the WOE traffic jam but it never came. Spelling AMaLIE wrong slowed down the SE and I stared at IDE- for a few before IDES came (early in the solve I wanted "belt" there but luckily didn't put it in). Half of yesterday's time but still a very nice puzzle. Thanks, Mr. Knapp!

    @LEAPFINGER, thought bLAckwOOl was brilliant!

    Teedmn 9:46 AM  

    Sorry, grammar POPO! There WAS some very nice cluing!

    jberg 10:00 AM  

    Tough for me, because a) I spell it HANKy, and b) I looked at 29A, read the clue, thought "the last bowler I knew the name of was Don Carter," and moved on. I think it was my last entry to fill in -- and even then i thought 'how unfortunate for that bowler to share a name with that dog abuser." (If people want to be offended, this would be a good place to start). Also, misread the 46A clue as "dynasty" rather than dynast, which held me back. If finally came together, though.

    Nice misdirection with "classic" brewing ingredient!

    Horace S. Patoot 10:00 AM  

    I for one am shocked, shocked! to see the NYT allow Nietsche's blasphemous GOD'S END in a puzzle. No wonder it got some hackles up.

    Seriously, I think it's perfectly fine for Orthodox Jews to jealously protect the Hebrew name of their supreme being, but I think they would be overstepping to commandeer the common name of Odin, Zeus, Allah, the Christian God, or any other supreme being who doesn't mind being addressed directly.

    Whirred Whacks 10:05 AM  

    Nice puzzle (but my December streak ended as I had to check a few letters and Google a few words).

    I liked the shoutout to ZOOLANDER. It was one of those movies (along with the Coen's The Man Who Wasn't There and Redford/Pitt's Spy Game> that came out in the weeks right after 9/11 and the anthrax scare, and never received much attention until much later when they came out in DVD. A lot of interesting product got overlooked that fall as the nation grieved.

    (My third book was published the week before 9/11. Obviously, all the marketing, promos, author appearances etc. were canceled. Fortunately, it came out in paperback a year later. Eerie times, when I think back on that period.)

    Sir Hillary 10:07 AM  

    What a morning!

    I solved this while watching MY[be]LOVE[d] Newcastle HAND Chelsea their first defeat of the season by a SLIM margin of TWOT[o]ONE. It is the rare soccer game that BLESSES us with a dearth of SWANDIVES and INDIRECT free kicks, but that's what I LOOKEDAT today.. OSCARBAIT[ed] Newcastle plenty before coming off early in the second half, but each player in a black-and-white JERSEY remained UNFAZED and was supported by his MATES.

    The win was a GODSEND, as was this puzzle. As @Rex points, it has been spit-shined basically to perfection.

    So, who will ACT JOVIAL longer THAN usual today? MEME!

    Bob Kerfuffle 10:14 AM  

    Fine puzzle.

    Easy, for me, for a Saturday.

    My last fill was KIM JONG IL (which quite thoughtfully resolved ambiguities about JESS and LIN). It reminded me of a recent article in the papers. It seems that JONG UN was a common Korean name (of course, KIM is the family name. Was it Hawkeye Pierce who said, "Korea has every Kim except Novack"?) until recently. But with the appointment(?) of Kim Jong Un as dictator, the government decreed that all other Jong Un's would have to change their names, as had his father and grandfather before him!

    Davidph 10:16 AM  

    I liked "The poetry of reality," per Richard Dawkins (SCIENCE). He is one of my favorite writers. And the puzzle was nicely free of crosswordese and squirrelly clues.

    But when I see so many clues about cultural trivia, I sigh and start googling. I'll never get them on a Saturday when all the crosses are tough. Dimwitted title character of a 2001 comedy; the Bicycle Thief setting; First Fox show to finish in Nielsen's top 20 for a season; Author Deighton; Director Justin of the "Fast and the Furious" franchise; 2001 French film that was nominated for five Academy Awards; The new girl on TV's "New Girl". Don't know, and generally don't care.

    AliasZ 10:19 AM  

    Great puzzle, loved every minute of it.

    It was made doubly enjoyable by the clever cluing, like 'Classic brewing ingredients', 'Ends of some board meetings', 'Number one number two', etc. The board meeting had me baffled for a while until the chessboard occurred to me. And the winner is: 'Number one number two'. John ADAMS was both the number one Vice President, and President number two. How clever is that? This type of cluing makes you overthink the straightforward ones. Part of the fun was figuring out which is which. For instance, which nursery rhyme has a bagful of something in it? Oh, not that nursery...

    - In music it is septet, in literature it is HEPTAD. Who made up this rule?
    - I don't know about you, but I always pronounce H&M HAMPERSANDM.
    - I loved the symmetrical GODSEND and BLESSES.
    - Yesterday's ATEN and BTWO get combined today into BTEN.

    I did not enjoy seeing that dog-fighting lowlife or the dictator whose people are starving to death. Yeah, the former is "rehabilitated" and the latter is dead, his good work being carried forward by his seed, but there is something deep down wrong with people who engage in such activities. Should a NYT puzzle honor them by including their names?

    This puzzle had a rhythmic pulse to it, enhanced by some pairings that were hard to ignore: SOSO/POPO, LEN/LIN, VET/WET, OFT/ARF, JAB/JAMB, HAND/HANDM, MOM/MEME. However, I missed the pankie from the HANKIE with MY LOVE.

    There were plenty other yummy entries: the elegant ricochets, I mean SWANDIVES, ASPIRATE, LINKED-IN, JOVIAL, HMS BOUNTY, THE X-FILES, and my favorite: CANTABILE. Just saying the word sounds like singing.

    Here are three examples of what CANTABILE means, in chronological order: Mozart, Paganini and Tchaikovsky.

    Have a great weekend.

    quilter1 10:20 AM  

    Felt proud I got MEME. Found it toughish again, but worked through. I appreciated many of the same answers as others. And Eliza eventually learned her aitches.

    Z 10:26 AM  

    75% easy, but then the combination of rolling out the welcome mat and a very good second half of the Chelsea-Newcastle match meant spending a good half hour in the SE. I think it was VET --> ---CAT --> SCIENCE --> BLESSES --> EGG WASH & BIG CAT --> THE X-FILES (which didn't help fix maT). It was right after Chelsea's goal that aSCAR--I- stopped being some school holiday play and became OSCAR BAIT/COT {head slap} and I cleaned it up. CANTABILE is a big "huh?" here, but otherwise a clean puzzle.

    If you had a fashion-conscious teen-age son who thinks Abercrombie and Fitch is for over-waxed assholes then H AND M would be a gimme for you, too.

    @Doc John - Great point. I caught on to the first veep angle, but it's great cluing that it works as second prez as well.

    I was just listening to my compilation of TWO TONE music yesterday. Good Stuff. A bunch of British kids do Ska. Fun Fun Fun.

    Steve M 10:32 AM  


    Nancy 11:05 AM  

    Agree with @davidph. Too much cultural trivia, especially TV. Got ADAMS, but didn't understand the answer until I came here. Was also thinking Eve's Adam and not the V.P. Never heard of POPO. Loved the clues for HANKIE, IDES, GROOMSMEN, MATES and JERSEY. Hated the clue "Other----" Much too vague. The puzzle was easy for me in the NW, hard for me in the NE & SE. Not as lively or as much fun as yesterday.

    Maruchka 11:09 AM  

    La la la, strolling along in the xword garden, sweet clueing, smooth solving, and then - SE swampland! Mea culpa, of course. Mat for COT, no prior knowledge of OSCAR BAIT, and misreading dynasty for dynast left me FAZED.

    Fav of the day - EYE OF NEWT, for clue, solve and ref. to the Scottish play.

    Thank ye, Mr. Knapp.

    Unknown 11:11 AM  

    85 min. 4 errors. sEPTAD/sMSBOUNTY (dope slap!) ASc/cOPO. I was betting that Agatha Christie's middle initial was S, as ASP/POCO seemed less likely.

    Classic night/morning solve. 45 min into the mire last night. 35 min (and one smart wife) to climb out of it this morning. @MohairSam-style for the (near) win!

    NW was hardest. No point of entry until sEPTet/TeLl got us going. Lucky wrongness.

    Michael Levin 11:31 AM  

    But what does your wife think of your new sleep pattern??

    Unknown 11:38 AM  

    The requirement "in the language" is all we need to filter clues-answers. Will's breakfast-table rule gives him additional carte blanche to filter obscenity or unpleasantness according to his evolving tastes. But to add another layer of honorability to the screening process? Good god, no! How's this for a compromise? You go ahead and clue for Atilla the Hun or Raskolnikov or Steve Bartman or your favorite NEOCONS or my favorite tree-huggers or the spoiler of the Number 1 number 43 election (who was in just yesterday) or Michael VICK or KIMJUNGIL, and I promise I won't think you are honoring any of them. Deal?

    Danield 12:17 PM  

    This one kicked sand in my face for 2 hours before I hit the " check square" button and accepted the DQ. As usual, Saturday separated the pro's from the dilettantes (e.g. me).When all done I realized, as always, that the puzzle was doable, I just wasn't on the right wave length. New streak starts tomorrow... I hope.

    GILL I. 12:43 PM  

    @Rex, I've had that same sleep pattern you described for about 5 years now. The so-called "slept twice" that you can blame on you ancestors...I rather like it though.
    This puzzle was a 3 sitter downer for moi. Answers would come in dribs and drabs. KIM JONG IL took the longest. I'd say something snarky about IL's son Un but I'd probably get a computer virus.
    Favorite clue, hands down, was for HANKIE.
    New words for me today POPO and BBOY. POPO is kinda cute. Is it derogatory?
    @Leapy....ASP IRATE - there goes the coffee on my screen!
    Thanks for the mental work out Josh. I too loved it even when I Googled all those names I didn't know.

    Andrew Heinegg 12:49 PM  

    Ok, I disliked this puzzle and I am hopelessly defensive about it because it knocked me silly. In looking it over, I don't see any super obscure stuff although I certainly have never heard of Oscar bait or HANDM and not using any social media, I had no idea about meme. But, my bottom negative line is that I did not find the solve entertaining or any of the answers aha, humorous or informative. So, I will just take negative nabob self and go back into my hole.

    Davidph 1:11 PM  

    I'd like to propose a new crossword term: the 'ADAMS effect'. That's when a clue is so impenetrable that you have to get the answer from the crosses, and even then you have to sit and think what the clue means.

    For my money, a clue that produces the ADAMS effect for too many solvers is not a successful crossword clue. It inverts the solving process. A clue is supposed to help solve the puzzle, not the other way around. Yes, it may be fun to figure out the clue after you get the answer, but that's not solving a crossword puzzle; it's some other kind of mental challenge.

    old timer 1:14 PM  

    I certainly did not think it was easy for a Saturday, but actually easier than yesterday's. Saturdays I tend to stare balefully at huge expanses of white space, thinking, "I'll never get this one."

    EGGWASH and SALTTAX got me into the SE, and the rest of the section fell easily. In the SW, I really wanted ASPIRATE and something wedding related for 28D; Mr. Kim got me the rest, though I had been racking my brains for bygone Moghuls of India or Chinese emperors for a while. In the NW, I had BONDS and OFT and really wanted HEPTAD. I don't know what inspired me to think of EYEOFNEWT, but that solved the puzzle. My last entry was to change "help" to HAND in the middle, giving me MENNEN (a brand from my youth, but then so is Old Spice, which I buy because I still remember their jingle from the 1950's.

    stop whining 1:29 PM  

    Translation of Davidph: "Wah wah wah. I didn't get the clue, therefore it was a bad clue." You sound like Rex, only dumber. It's a fucking Saturday NY Times Crossword. People who solve it are the 1%. You are not. It is a creative and perfectly valid/sussable clue. If you want every clue solveable by/ understandable to the unwashed masses, then stick to Mondays.

    joho 1:38 PM  

    I don't think you can ask for more than this in a Saturday puzzle. It has it all: clever clues, fresh answers and lots of WTFs followed by AHAs. Bravo, Josh Knapp!

    @AliasZ, maybe clue it as VICK Chemical Company?

    Dirigonzo 1:43 PM  

    I've finally reached the stage where I enjoy the challenge of a Saturday puzzle more that I feel frustrated by it. Today's grid produced lots of enjoyable "aha" moments and my only was self-inflicted as I had OSCARBAIT sitting on top of THEofFice at the bottom of the puzzle and I couldn't decide which one to dump. Then a JOVIAL soul came along and set me straight, THEXFILES appeared whole corner filled in as if by magic - I love it when that happens.

    Maruchka 1:51 PM  

    @ Old Timer - I too remember as if yesterday:
    Old Spice means quality,
    Said the Captain to the Bosun,
    So look for the package with the
    Ship that sails the Ocean (yo-ho, yo-ho)

    Now, what happened yesterday?

    Hartley70 1:59 PM  

    In my opinion this was much more lively and fun than that March to Bataan I struggled with yesterday. Thank God, oops, it's over.

    Clever, unusual cluing made this a stellar Saturday and the pop culture references upped the do-ability factor for me.....oh except for bowling. Will all the followers of competitive bowling here please raise your hand!

    Anonymous 2:08 PM  

    Why is end of boards meeting MATES?

    Lewis 2:21 PM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Anonymous 2:21 PM  


    Lewis 2:22 PM  

    I like this middle-of-the-night Rex...

    A fine puzzle and bout. All you need are some answers that breathe life, like ZOOLANDER, POPO, CANTABILE, OSCARBAIT, and EGGWASH (which I've never heard of), and some wit in the cluing (a wealth of which has been noted by posters), plus clean fill all the way through -- and you produce a fine puzzle, like this one. Thank you JK.

    Andrew Heinegg 2:28 PM  

    Because when you play chess on a board, the end of the game is (check)mate(s).

    barbara 2:39 PM  

    Can someone explain ASPIRATE?

    Unknown 2:41 PM  

    @Davidph. I feel your pain. Daily, it seems, especially yesterday. On the ADAMS clue, I thought immediately of Ed McMahon, the #1 Second Banana in show-biz history. Then I thought of Vice Presidents, and who was #1 among them. That's a question for Doris Goodwin. Cheney wouldn't fit, because love him or hate him, Cheney was probably the most consequential VP in history. (I'm willing to be corrected on that. In fact, please do!) Then I also thought of scatological #2s, but trusted Will Shortz enough not to have to pursue that line of inquiry. Briefly, I thought of Cmdr Will Riker (TNG) who was "Number 1" to Capt. Piccard. Did another take that role later on? @Z? Finally, as ADAMS emerged, the light went on. My read was "First VP" but "President #2" is an excellent pull. Thx @Doc John!
    To paraphrase, Scarlett O'Hara, "Tomorrow is another flay."

    BTW, you don't deserve your troll . . . you never do. Good luck.

    Lewis 2:41 PM  

    Factoid: Cinecitta Studios, the world's second largest film production community (second to Hollywood), located in ROME, was founded in 1937 by Benito Mussolini.

    Quotoid: "My grandfather once TOLD me that there were two kinds of people: those who do the work and those who take the credit. He told me to try to be in the first group; there was much less competition." -- Indira Gandhi

    Masked and AnonymoUs 2:44 PM  

    Top reasons to go to bed, wake up after two hours, solve NYTPuz, and then go back to sleep...

    * Slow printer.
    * Catches the puz off guard.
    * If it's a pangram, U at least got yer two hours of decent sleep.
    * Avoid watching "Shark Tank".
    * Spellcasters have enabled U to dream of puz theme revealer.
    * Sobered up.
    * Puzs are easier to swallow, if aged properly.
    * More time in mornin to work the runtpuz.


    Agree with @63: Primo SatPuz.
    fave weeject symmetric dyad: L(E/I)N.
    fave weeject wuler: KIMJONGIL.
    Moment of U-zen: UNFAZED. ("All I want fer Christmas is my two front U's...")

    Jisvan 2:45 PM  

    pronounce (a sound) with an exhalation of breath.
    "the aspirated allophone of p occurs in “pie.”"

    If you say 'enry 'iggins, you are not pronouncing your H's.
    I always want the medical definition, relating to sucking something up, (which many of us do well...)

    barbara 2:53 PM  

    @jisvan thanks for explaining ASPIRATE.. Being an anesthesiologist I only thought of something unwanted ending up in your lungs.

    M and Also 2:55 PM  


    Couple more top reasons...

    * LA Times Puz won't know you're cheatin on it.
    * So easy, @63 can usually pre-solve it in his sleep?


    **meta gruntz week continues**

    Fred Romagnolo 3:02 PM  

    mates end chess games which are played on boards. @stop whining: you must be one of the 1%; glad I'm not. @Dividph and @Andrew Heinegg make a lot of sense about crossword puzzles.

    RAD2626 3:18 PM  

    Wonderful puzzle all the way around. Even getting a DNF (ASPeRATE/KeMJUNGIL) did not diminish the enjoyment.

    Z 3:59 PM  

    My only complaint about adding "an ADAMS" to the language (along with natick, malapop, RRN, crossriver, and and and ...) is that I'm still looking for a good term for "knowing too much causing one to a) solve slower b) DNF, or c) throw a MAJOR hissy fit over the "wrongness" of the clue/answer." Maybe an "Einstein" in honor of the "E=MC in a square" puzzle...? I've had many an adams in my solving career, so it is good to have a name for it.

    @jisvan - I wonder how many people tested "pie" to see if they exhale as saying it? (Be honest) We just got back from having pie for lunch. Detroit has so many great local places to eat these days. Tucked inside the 3rd Street Bar, you will not find better sweet or savory pies.

    Z 4:12 PM  

    @Gill I. - By the by - as of yesterday I am a great uncle again. Never once have any of my nephews or nieces said "we are pregnant," so no familial restraint has been necessary.

    Mohair Sam 4:47 PM  

    Brutally tough for us and we absolutely loved it. As @Rex said it seemed nearly every clue left a smile on your face after you finally got it.

    A lot of "that can't be" comments here followed by a smile - KIMJONGIL, OSCARBAIT, EGGWASH (nearly a gimme here, btw - probably for our chef's here too), ZOOLANDER, EYEOF friggin' NEWT, MEME, and on and on.

    Great puzzle Josh Knapp - thank you.

    mac 4:53 PM  

    Lovely puzzle! The top half felt easy-medium, but I had more of a struggle in the SE.

    Kim Jung Il and The Office held me up quite a bit.

    I got God sent, but spelled it God sent at first. Doesn't that make more sense?

    I actually used the line "eye of newt" two days ago, when I saw a home-made cream of a weird color.

    Anonymous 4:54 PM  

    Salt Tax reminded me of a very interesting book called "Salt" by Mark Kurlansky. A truly remarkable study of something we take for granted. The salt/milk/cheese chapters were completely fascinating. I kept thinking "I had no idea."

    I ordered his other book "Cod" for the holidays. I've heard it was as good.


    Leapfinger 6:11 PM  

    Lovely selection today, @Alias, and in just the right order, also!

    Cheerio 7:49 PM  

    I had a lot of trouble in the top half, but the rest of the puzzle Was nice. I disagree about the puzzle being current. Mennen isn't used any more right? It's Speed Stick, just plain. hMS Bounty? Certainly not current! Eye of Newt? As current as Shakespeare. plant food in bags? Ok, I guess fertilizer stuff does come in dry form. But it's not current per se. Even Zoolander is dated if you ask me.

    Anonymous 8:01 PM  

    Was just laughing at myself, pretty sure its not Hardcastle and McCormick, still have no idea. TedinDenver

    OISK 8:11 PM  

    Enjoyed it, and finished it. Loved clue for "eye of Newt." Glad the answer wasn't "Liver of blaspheming Jew." My first impulse for "number one number two"? Jeter! When that didn't work I tried Derek…I guess the clue above it (jersey) put me in a sporting frame of mind. Favorite use of "so-so" from Sondheim
    "I have seen Rangoon and Soho, and I like them more than so-so…"

    Lucky that I knew Len Deighton, since I thought "Mennen" was spelled "Mennon," which would give the entirely plausible "Lon Deighton."

    Nice puzzle, Josh.

    RooMonster 9:03 PM  

    Parsed Number one number two as Number ones (1st) presidents number two (veep). ADAMS.

    Tough puz for me, psychological, I firmly believe!


    August West 10:07 AM  

    This was a gem.

    Unknown 2:58 PM  

    Enjoyed this puzzle. But wasn't sure on VET calls the shots. As in animal doc? military?

    Anonymous 6:55 PM  

    Hated to see Michael Vick's name in a crossword. Yes he served his sentence but what he did to those poor dogs is unforgivable. May he rot in hell.

    Sarcastic Z 7:09 PM  

    @Anon 6:55 - It is always good to see the spirit of charity and forgiveness appear during the holiday season.

    pb 4:52 PM  

    As often is the case, I am couple of days late getting the puzzle. I liked this one but did not know BBOY nor who directed the Fast and Furious and could not get BLESSED, but otherwise loved the cluing. Not happy top see Michael Vick or Kimn Jong (mentally) Il.

    spacecraft 12:34 PM  

    Overslept and didn't have enough time to crack this one...just as well, since the very first thing I tried to put in was BTwo--and it wouldn't have mattered that it was actually BTEN. That whole genre, AS I JUST SAID YESTERDAY, ****es me off.

    I'm quite sure I wouldn't have gotten it anyway. Just...I know how fanatical you animal activists are, but really, rot in hell?? I love 'em too, but I'm not THAT over the top. Ease up!

    rondo 2:25 PM  

    EZ myass!SE near impossible; have never seen CANTABILE anywhere.
    But I love the challenge.
    And I disagree with Rex on the "freshness" factor; the freshest things in here are 14 years old. Maybe this sat in Will's XFILES for a decade??
    Again, I liked the puz, bbut disagree on ease and frshness.

    Any play today?

    Anonymous 2:40 PM  

    What a nice write-up for a change. What actually happened to old grumpypuss. Did he have multiple orgasms in between sleep? I must agree the puzzle was a real winner in all senses of the word. Medium/challenging for me but I made it with only 1 lookup for the spelling of cantabile.

    Next stop, Tasmania R.D.

    DMG 4:23 PM  

    Not easy for me! My Potter books were a "serial" for a long time. and I wanted the rebellio. To be at the Bastille, which fortunately didn't fit. the upshot of these and other what-if's is that I was simply not in tune with this puzzle. Actuallynthought for a moment we had a rebus with ADAMeve!! while I eventually got a 3/4 or so solve, parts wouldn't come. My poetry choice was SilENCE, and while I got the CANTA... part. Didn't know, and likely won't remember CANTIBLE. Aslo HANDM is unknown here. Maybe Captcha willbe kind?

    Nope: 1229=5

    eastsacgirl 5:34 PM  

    Loved this puzzle! Wouldn't call it easy-medium but got through it at a steady pace. Got the gist of 51A right away but wanted BIDEN first until the crosses fell in. EYEOFNEWT was my favorite. Was, of course, thinking of beer brewing at first.

    Must have been on same wave length as constructor because immediately thought of either football or baseball for 48A and quite a few others.

    Farthest SE was last to fall. Had THEOFFICE first because really didn't watch it much till it came into syndication so forgot what channel it was on. Really dug THEXFILES though.

    Was a GODSEND compared to yesterday.

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