Month in which Creation began by tradition / SAT 1-3-15 / Classic Harlem ballroom / Its last model was 1941 Skylark / Rosetta Stone figure / Dean's East of Eden role / Just for Men target / Rebellion colonial uprising / Liquor with slogan west of expected / Return of Doctor X star / Poet Howard who wrote Primer of Daily Round

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Constructor: Sam Ezersky

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: none

Word of the Day: HUPMOBILE (60A: Its last model was the 1941 Skylark) —
The Hupmobile was an automobile built from 1909 through 1940 by the Hupp Motor Company, which was located at 345 Bellevue Avenue in DetroitMichigan. Its first car, the Model 20, was introduced to the public at the Detroit Auto Show in February 1909. The company initially produced 500 vehicles. […] In 1914, Eric Wickman tried to establish a Hupmobile dealership but couldn't sell them so he started transporting miners in one of the vehicles and founded Greyhound Lines. The National Football League was created at Ralph Hay's Hupmobile dealership in Canton, Ohio in 1920.
The Skylark's grille later inspired the grilles used on Lincoln Continental models in the 1940s. Their heater technology became widely adopted in the industry. The Hupmobile dealership in Omaha, Nebraska is a prominent historic landmark. The dealership building in Washington, D.C. is now the H Street Playhouse. (wikipedia)
• • •

As I wrote Sam, mid-solve, "you had me at TONY DANZA" (3D: Boxer-turned-sitcom). I don't know how long ago he wrote this one. A while. But not that long, as he is only, like, 12 years old (he's a sophomore at UVA … sophomores are 12, right?). Anyway, I think he's only too aware of this puzzle's defects, and there aren't many, so I won't dwell on them. Let's just get them out of the way: the OLEIN / NERTS juxtaposition is unpretty. Ditto AINTI over IFY. ELUL VALS ENL is not a run of Downs anyone should aspire to replicate. I think that's all I got. Bottom half of the grid is much cleaner, even if it is, lamentably, DANZA-free. Overall, this was pretty snazzy. Lots of highly varied fill, much of it fresh and colloquial. OH I FORGOT, BY THE BY, HOLD ON A SEC, SAYS ME, all wonderful. Too bad it was so easy. I did this is at a very leisurely pace, taking time during the solve to write to Sam, and check Facebook … still solved it under 8.

[20 years old this year!!!!]

First foothold was in a banal / ugly part (where footholds often are): the CDT / AINTI crossing (latter was a total inference). At that point, I saw the DANZA clue, and the "Z" alone gave me MOZZARELLA STICK. Honestly, I probably wouldn't have needed the "Z." MOZZARELLA STICK would've been my first guess. With that in place, grid opens up. Way up. Also, for inveterate solvers, ALAN ADALE is a gimme (16A: Merry Men member). I mean, on a platter. I know him *only* from crosswords, where his name is, let's say, grid-friendly. So he opened up the NE. SE was easy-ish because SAVOY was a gimme and therefore SKYYVODKA (36D: Liquor with the slogan "West of Expected") went in and ECO-something went in and LIVE RADAR went in. Only issue down there was TRASK, which I didn't know, but crosses worked it out. Finished in the SW, which was by far the hardest part, but wasn't, in the end, hard. If I'd ever heard of HUPMOBILE (60A: Its last model was the 1941 Skylark), it would've been much easier. Not knowing that answer made me have to work, but again, not much. BOTHA, OR OUT, GRIT, OBS … none of them hard. So, more teeth would've been nice, but this was still fun to solve. Very passable stuff.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

PS, one of the answers in today's puzzle reminded me of a puzzle I completely forgot to tell you all about—one you really should do, even though the "season" has passed: it's Erik Agard's Xmas Eve puzzle, "Gift Exchange." Get it here. Do it. Free. It's … unique. Coincidence: today's NYT constructor, Sam Ezersky, co-wrote Erik's puzzle. Then again, so did I. So did A Lot Of People. Check it out.


jae 12:32 AM  

Easy-medium for me.  Not quite as tight as yesterday's, but with a bit more zip. Getting MOZZARELLA STICK (great answer) off just the M was helpful.

I have no idea how I knew HUPMOBILE. The last one came out 4 years before I was born.  Maybe there were still some around in the 50's?


Erasures: Bside before BOOTY, Tref before TARE, and SAvOR before SAPOR and I suspect I'm not alone.

Very nice Sat. Sam, I'm looking forward to more.

Jisvan 12:34 AM  

Love MOZZARELLA. STICK crossing SAFETY BELT, reminds me of dieting. Gee, everything today reminded me of dieting! (Got to love those New Years resolutions!) Also BACONs (revolution) and SAPOR...maybe even some GRITs and OLEIN, and don't even get me started on SKYY VODVA! Hey, it's been a long kale-filled day... Happy 2015 all!

Unknown 12:44 AM  

Another tough outing. 82 minutes. 5 errors, mostly oversights. 2 googles. NE was the sticking point here. There was noway to finesse ALANADALE or BACONS Rebellion, so both were googles. I was working (and getting nowhere) with friartuck, heMan for RAMBO, ["Shoot!"] askme for NERTS, [Size up, abbrev] xxL for ENL, [Rough selection] sandwedge for SEVENIRON. OK. So now I know what a SEVENIRON is for. Successful entry in NE was courtesy IDIOCY and after a long long stare, OBIT, but not before I tried a variety of expressions for expiration dates involving on or & by, viz., onor orby. nNt easy.

A VALS is a triple-time dance? Are you sure you mean triple-time? Or do you mean 3/4? Ugh. Ungettable. ELUL is beyond my ken.

Major blindspot: [Ejection protection] which entered my mind as [Ejection Projection] SAFETYBELT took a half hour, even after _ _ _ ETY_ELT. I had volcanic ejection on my mind. then CDROM. Also problematic: [One doing 40+] had to be some kind of driving pun. Faced with F_ _LTIMER, i contemplated FueLTIMER fore the light went on.

Errors were misspelling of MOZZARELLA and failure to check OYEZ and SAPOR. Also SKYeVODKA/RELe was a calculates risk. SKYYVODKA/RELY was less likely, I thought. I was wrong.

Save the quibbles mentioned, it was a decent puzzle, and doable for Robin Hood and Colonial Jamestown buffs.

Unknown 1:04 AM  

It seems triple time is indeed a synonym for 3/4 and related time signatures. I stand corrected.

It's worth noting that triple time is not (necessarily) 50 pct faster than double time. Huh! Any insights,@AliasZ?

Jim Walker 1:10 AM  

Have no idea why Rex gives this a pass. Very seldom does a puzzle actually aggravate me. This one succeeded. In my estimation it is filled with junk, bad cluing, and unpleasant references. Rather than catalogue my horribles for you I will stick with one ethical complaint: the word "wuss" is not acceptable language. It is supposed to be a euphemism for pussy, which in turn is supposed to be an insult to a man for being too much like a woman. This is insulting to all of us on multiple levels. It is also coarse and demonstrates lack of culture and civility. And if RAMBO is the opposite of pussy, put me down as the latter, please. BOOTY is not much better. Will dropped the ball on this one.

Garth 1:37 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 1:46 AM  

There's got to be a better way to rate the difficulty. You say easy and Amy says she had advanced warning that the puzzle would be a little rough.

At any rate, I did the Gift Exchange puzzle and your clue unfortunately blew Rex. Do better next time please.

Signed, Wrecks Parker: Rex's imaginary drunk friend.

Garth 2:01 AM  

@Casco Kid,
In jazz, the meaning of double time and triple time is different than in classical music. In jazz, double time is speeding up a tune to 2 times its original tempo. A double time feel is when it sounds like you're doubling the tempo (for example, the bass player will play eighth notes instead of quarter notes) but the chord progression continues at the original tempo. Triple time (It would mean doubling the tempo again) or triple time feel is rarely used in jazz.

John Child 3:45 AM  

I thought I was going to have a personal best Saturday time with two-thirds of the puzzle filled in in 15 minutes, but SEVEN IRON, FULL TIMER, and the stack in the SW took longer that the rest. So be it for [Argument-ending declaration] hurt, and GLYPH was far from obvious. Good fun overall from another young constructor. Thanks Mr Ezersky.

GILL I. 6:21 AM  

So, I'm yelling out to spouse "What's bollix in your neck of the woods?" And he yells back "testicle!" And I yell back "It starts with a B..".and well, that's how this puzzle wended its way for moi.
I liked it and all, but yiminey cricket, MOZZARELLA STICK was a gimme????? My marinara is strictly for spaghetti. About the only gimme for this GLYPH was SKYY VODKA. And while we're at it, my RAMBO was a he-man and "Just for Men target" was a GRUB (don't ask)
Eschewing always reminds me of eating rubbery calamari.
I liked HAIKU...ALAN A DALE was also a gimme????? Where did I go wrong?

Hartley70 7:06 AM  

This was an "easy" puzzle that I couldn't do. I liked the long answers just fine, but the proper names were familiar and ungettable at the same time. I didn't know enough about them and guessing didn't help. Google was my friend today and that makes me feel sorta skeevy. Blech!

Susierah 7:34 AM  

Well, I guess I'm just one of those "inveterate solvers"! It took me an hour to get most of it, but still had a few holes here and there. Hupmobile, Alan adale, new to me. This was far from "way too easy"! I have been doing SAMs puzzles and am always able to finish them, but not today.

Greg 7:41 AM  

@Jim Walker, completely agree, this puzzle was overflowing with junk; Rex's reviews are based roughly 10% on the quality of the puzzle, and 90% on how friendly he is with the constructor... thus, today's positive review.

Loren Muse Smith 7:45 AM  

I'm with @Gill – hard, hard, hard. But in the end, I almost finished; that southeast did me in and the southwest had an error I didn't question.

This was one of those themeless gems that left me with a couple of desperate plural S's and one past tense D. Forever.

I had three serious mistakes – two I fixed but that last one. . . I misread two clues:

"Ejection projection" – middle finger just wouldn't fit.

"Munchie often dipped in marijuana" - I swear. I mean, c'mon – munchie. . .

And then the death blow was thinking that there were several versions of the Batmobile and that the last one was that Skylark, trying to picture it in my mind and marveling that it had been that old.

Oh, it gets worse. When I fixed "bat," I misspelled GLYPH as "glyth" and ended up with "Tutmobile," never once questioning it and wondering how I missed *that* spectacle on the news. Sighing at how tacky that must have been. Poor guy.

Sam – perfectly-pitched Saturday themeless, if you ask me. Nicely done.

Happy 2015, all!

evil doug 8:05 AM  

Okay, I've put you down as a pussy.


Anonymous 8:07 AM  

"Very passable stuff." High praise indeed from Rex. Could he BE any more condescending?

Anonymous 8:10 AM  

Evil Doug is the classic wuss. Tries to show how macho he is because, if you haven't heard by now, he FLIES PLANES! And he feels the need to brag about it at every turn. What a hero. Then he insults other people just to show how tough and macho he is. And he can't stop. He is a permanent 17-year-old bully. Pathetic.

Generic Solver 8:27 AM  

Put in "abysm" instead of "abyss" (Webster says they are synonymous), which prevented me from seeing "Savoy". I don't drink so the closing "y" from Skyy Vodka wasn't present either. Oh well, guess I should hit the bar tonight and learn my liquors, because obviously my knowledge of pop culture is inadequate.

evil doug 8:29 AM  

"It is supposed to be a euphemism for pussy, which in turn is supposed to be an insult to a man for being too much like a woman. This is insulting to all of us on multiple levels. It is also coarse and demonstrates lack of culture and civility."

The dictionary says it's of unknown origin, so I choose to accept that as the authority instead of you. It also is defined as having to do with weakness, a trait found in both genders. Finally, you can choose to let it bother you; but you can't speak for me by claiming it to be "insulting to all of us".

Wuss is a quick and vivid term with many applications, adopted by a majority of well-meaning people as an innocent if pointed word, often used in jest or irony, and I like having it in the language--including crosswords.


Unknown 8:38 AM  

@lms We had the same 'projection' misread. I see your middle finger and raise you a thumb (in baseball) and the anticpated number of game misconducts (in hockey.) SAFETYBELT is now seeming rather tame. ;)

Anonymous 8:39 AM  

Evil Doug-- "Nigger" is also a quick and vivid term with many applications, adopted by a majority of well-meaning people as an innocent if pointed word, often used in jest or irony..." Your willful (and woeful)ignorance does not excuse the use of any word you want. Just say the truth--you're an asshole, you like being an asshole, and you will always be an asshole.

evil doug 8:48 AM  

Hiya, Loren, good to see you!

Careful with that "middle finger" stuff; there are some wusses around here that won't take kindly to that....


Bob Kerfuffle 8:57 AM  

Nice puzzle. Elegant but easy.

One write-over: GRIP before GRIT.

Off-topic: My first entry was 5 D, HAIKU. Took me back to this past summer. I was in Tuscany for a destination birthday party for a turning-70-year-old friend. One rainy day a stop on the tour was at the beautiful Castello di Ama vineyard. One of their top wines is called "Haiku," and before lunch we were all asked to compose one of those. My contribution was:

Dark clouds fill the sky.
Rain falls; the vines drink deeply.
The wine barrels sleep.

Doncha just hate it when non-poets try to get into the game? :>))

dk 9:01 AM  

🌕🌕 (2 mOOns)

A string of missspelled words slowed me down. It also seems the holiday OLIEN has gone to my head rendering me (pun intended) a puzzle wuss. I would say pussy but none of the cats who have owned me cared a whit about x-words except as a place for poop.

Joy of the morning was seeing that Evil Doug got anothers goat. His success at chuming the waters has caused me to recommend him to the family fishing fleet.

Did the Imitation Game puzzle from the other Times... I would not have got the job.

Belated New Years greetings.

dk 9:02 AM  

OLEIN for god's sake

Elephant's Child 9:05 AM  

Wonder if Roz Chast wears a SAFETY BELT.

Zygotic 9:19 AM  

I'm wondering how Rex missed the Natick at BOTHA/HUPMOBILE. I did the Head/Rear coin flip and it came up Heads, so I got it right. Back to paper after a week of skiing, so I had to wait until I checked Rex to see if it should have been BOTrA instead. Sure, easy for any South African solvers in our midst, but I barely thought about BOTHA when he was president (1979-1989 - my munchie years).

Hand up for challenging here. Finally seeing that we had another golf clue in the NE corner really opened everything up. Having the SAF helped me see SAFETY BELT, which seems really forced to me. Seat belts I know, SAFETY BELT not so much. Is it the original term or is it more race cars and fighter jets? Hand up for NEMEROV and TRASK being from the crosses (Wasn't TRASK the DA in Perry Mason?).

Zygotic 9:23 AM  

@dk - I see that "chumming" and I'm not deeply offended. What kind of weak or ineffectual person do you think I am.

Anonymous 9:38 AM  

I love how rex refers us to a crossword puzzle that's basically an homage to himself and his friends. The imagined self-importance of these people is unrelenting.

Sir Hillary 9:44 AM  

This was a letdown after yesterday's gem. Some of that is down to knowledge, or lack thereof -- ALANADALE and ELUL mean nothing to me, so that cross killed me. Got NEMEROV only from crosses. Is LIVERADAR green paint?

Especially goofy commentary this morning. Wussup with that?

Tita 9:47 AM  

It is rare enough that I finish a Saturday, and I can count on 2 fingers the # of times I finished a Saturday on Friday. Woulda been great if I had come here to find Rex rating it Challenging!

I actually look forward to struggling for a day or two with the end o'week puzzles, so I am perversely disappointed.

For those of us with cats, 47D was a gimme. At this time of year ours tell us the outside temperature to within +/- 5 degrees... Upon opening the door, one paw shake = 34F... 2 shakes of one paw = 28... 2 shakes of 2 paws = 18, and so on.

Even when it's 4-shakes out, my SOFTTOP is down. Thanks be to the inventor of the heated seat!

Lastly, ORLY is where my Presepio, or Christmas Village, started in 1951 when my Dad, flying back home without gifts for my 2 older sibs, bought the 3 central figures at teh airport store.. The rest is documented in my blog "It Takes a Villlage." (I must update it with this year's 'novidades', which include contributions from my visiting bryophytoligist cousin...(we call her a mossologist))

Hey @LMS - I was just going to write to you to see where/how you've been!

Thanks Mr.Ezersky!

Oscar 9:50 AM  

If the negative vibes here were put to positive use, we would have achieved world peace by now.

Life's too short, people.

Anonymous 9:54 AM  

No, Trask was the police lieutenant in Perry Mason--the DA was Hamilton Burger.

Anonymous 9:55 AM  

A perfect 2015 so far! Maybe I should quit while I'm ahead? Maybe, instead of getting harder each day for a week, the xword should get harder each day for a YEAR!

Anonymous 10:02 AM  

I've never fully understood the need to gripe about a blog. Don't like it? Don't read it. Easy.

I found the puzzle to be very hard but I was happy to know both sapor and bogart from past crosswords. Made me feel like I was finally becoming part of the community.

Anonymous 10:05 AM  

Rex's man-crush on Tony Danza is just weird.

Unknown 10:06 AM  

I'd rate this as average, not easy, for a Saturday. I liked SAYSME and its clue. Had a rough time with the NE, mainly because I initially had ALANODALE, a mistake I made last time it was used. SEVENIRON took a while- not a golfer. But I expect a little trouble on Saturday, so all in all, a pretty good effort.

Anonymous 10:26 AM  

Really anon 2 1002? You know BOGART from crossword puzzles??!! You need to get out more.

Unknown 10:27 AM  

Hard for me. Made a few passes at it last night, slept on it, and was able to finish it up this morning. @lms, I am ashamed to say that for "Ejection protection" I kept trying to come up with a synonym for "condom" that would fit there.

I forget who just mentioned Roz Chast but last night before starting the puzzle I read her excellent latest book, "Can't We Talk About Something Pleasant"....I would highly recommend it, it is a sweetly sentimental, funny, sad and painfully honest memoir of caring for her aging parents.

mac 10:27 AM  

Easy-medium except for the SE. Had to really puzzle there.

Sand wedge at 6A didn't stay in place long, fortunately. Alan Adale (a Dale?) I learned from puzzles as well.

Fun solve, Sam, I enjoyed it.

Good to see Loren back!

joho 10:33 AM  

DNF with one wrong sqare at kUPMOBILE. I still enjoyed this Saturday very much, thank you Sam!

mAchO, heMan ... RAMBO!

I got NEMEROV through crosses and looked up the poem when done: nice!

MOZZARELLASTICK across the middle made me smile. (I would kill for something tasty as I've been dealing with the stomach flu since last Sunday. I feel better today but still had oatmeal for breakfast. However I see a crunchy MOZZARELLASTICK dipped in a spicy marinara sauce in my (hopefully immediate) future!

I always wonder what kind of person wants to grow up to become a troll?

mathguy 10:42 AM  

Not easy for me. Like John Child, I got half of it pretty quickly and then sweated through the rest.

Only 8 squares filled with gimmes, 33 squares filed with entries I needed to get from crosses. That's an MGI of 25, typical of a tough Saturday. And 9 clever indirect clues, to boot.

Happy to be reminded of Howard Nemerov, one of the few poets I enjoy. I'm going to try to look up some of his beautiful work.

Lotsa fun.

Zygotic 10:44 AM  

@Anon9:54 - Thanks! I guess the 1955 film is more canonical than the 1957-1966 TV series, but a Perry Mason clue would have worked better for me.

If you're ever in Mont Tremblant be sure to eat at Crêperie Catherine, now on le Rue LaBelle. Just make sure to leave lots of room for dessert.

Anonymous 10:45 AM  

I'm with Jim Walker and Greg. Tons of boring crap and vague cluing in this puzzle. Botch for bollix, fulltimer, ohiforgot, toystores carry balls, the sapor/piled cross. Solving this kind of cluing is more annoying than satisfying. Add ephemera like glyph and olein and you have a pretentious as well as vague puzzle. Did someone actually call this elegant?

AliasZ 10:46 AM  

How chaste can anyone in need of a SAFETY BELT be?

Sam Ezersky is an ironist. He shot a BOGART with his SEVEN IRON. But why not the nine, five, six, etc. iron?

It's a little known fact that Sotheby's, the famous auction house for fine art, real estate, jewelry and other luxury items, has a poor country cousin called BYTHEBY's, specializing in crude art, imagined estate and second-hand items of little value, black velvet Elvi and card-playing dogs a specialty.

How unfortunate that BRAIN GAME is right next to OH I FORGOT. It was unintentional, NO DOUBT.


Let me offer a sunny work: HELIos Overture, Op. 17 by Danish composer Carl Nielsen. On the score the composer wrote the following words:

"Silence and darkness,
The sun rises with a joyous song of praise,
It wanders its golden way
and sinks quietly into the sea."

Let me try this HAIKU version:

"Silence and darkness,
The sun rises: song of praise,
then sinks into sea."

RooMonster 10:46 AM  

Hey All !
I did find it easyish *for a Saturday*. NW was first to go in, had to check to make sure today was Saturday! Usually can't get any traction on a SatPuz. Next was the middle. MOZZ-STICK helped, got the NE next, after some writeovers. SE next, although had ECOLaGenT in. Broke down and had to Goog Poet Howard, so 35D changed to ECOLOGenT. Next I got the hard SW, also had to Goog BOTHA, never would have gotten that otherwise. I have heard of HUPMOBILE, though I am into cars and such. Finished, but had some errors, looked puz over, but couldn't see it, so finally hit the Reveal Puz button, and it crossed out the EN in my ECOLOGenT. Changed to IS, and got the Congrats message!

So, two Googs, and a Reveal (at the end only!), for me on a SatPuz, counts as a win! Everyone has their own standards, I guess!

Nice to see you here, @Loren! Don't be such a stranger!

Kofi Annan, can never remember where he is. Haiti? Libya? Syria? Egypt? Finally got ASEC (after having HOLDON???? forever) which got me ??A?A, so finally saw GHANA. Man!


r.alphbunker 10:51 AM  

Allocated an hour for the puzzle and finished cleanly in 59:13 so no time bonus.

I spent a minute at the end looking at {Something discounted at a deli} TARE. Post-googling I found that it is referring to subtracting (discounting) the [TARE] weight of the container for take out items.

Wanted ODOR for both {Notice after the expiration date?} and {Just for Men target}. I personally use Grecian Formula Punk which gradually turns the hair pink.

Went through HEMAN and MACHO to get to RAMBO

Had FAN before PEN for {One with a signature role?}

DShawmaine 11:00 AM  

I was getting excited that I might actually complete a Saturday puzzle (without Google!) when after 75 minutes I had filled in the NW, center, and SE corners - and then hit the NE & SW and came to a screeching halt. Had FriarTuck at first, which led to "skeet" for "Shoot!," and even after SAFETYBELT blew that choice, held on to the Tuck. But in my defense, who says NERTS? And ELUL and VALS and HUPMOBILE were never gonna happen, so do not regret hitting the reveal. But had many "aha" moments, so very enjoyable.

Have a bucket list wish to actually construct a NYT puzzle - if this is what 20-somethings do, I cave. Impressive.

Terry B. 11:09 AM  

Did anyone else put in "Max Baer Jr" instead of "Tony Danza? I guess the death of Ellie Mae was on my mind.

old timer 11:17 AM  

I'm happy enough. I didn't think it was *easy* for a Saturday, not with all that blank space staring back at me early on. It didn't help that a mozzarella stick is not something I ever have -- bread stick, yes. Cheese stick, not so much.

Nor did I know a thing about Tony Danza, other than that he exists.In fact, the NW was the last part to go, while the vodka-laced SE was the first.

Anonymous 11:21 AM  

I don't understand the 39 down answer "tare."

Anonymous 11:30 AM  

Well, anon @ 1121, if you had google or something, you could look up TARE and find out it is "an allowance made for the weight of the packaging in order to determine the net weight of goods." So it is the weight of packaging that is "discounted" (or subtracted) from the weight of the goods purchased.

Joseph Michael 11:33 AM  

This puzzle for me was a ROUGH SELECTION. More like brain torture than a BRAIN GAME. The construction, however, is impressive.

Teedmn 11:36 AM  

Hard for me today, so exactly what Saturday should be. Had nothing except HAIKU/KEELS. Wanted IDIOCY which gave me BYTHEBY and opened up the center.

MOZZARELLA STICK was a gimme with no crosses but couldn't see 24D, OYEZ, so I took the whole thing out, which cost some time.

I had trouble in the NE, SE, and SW. The SW finally fell when I quit wanting "brew" for 53D and saw HELI, which clinched GHANA and the rest trickled in.

Had a couple of ahas in the the SE but my nemesis was the NE. Even with SEVEN IRON, SAFETY BELT and IDIOCY, I had a lot of trouble. (I really wanted "sneeze shield" for ejection protection). I finished the grid but didn't get the Congrats message. Hit the "check" button, had four errors. I fixed NEMoROV, Had NeT instead of NAT, but the double error in zACOcS was the worst, since BETA was clearly correct, not zETA!

Got them all with no Googles so even the official DNF was okay by me. Thanks, Mr. Ezersky, for a fun puzzle!

John V 11:51 AM  

A tad heavy on proper/product names for me.Couldn't get the SE.

Ludyjynn 12:00 PM  

I immediately filled-in 'Gooch", as played by the late, great Peggy Cass on B-Way and in the 31-
A film. But then, along came TONYDANZA/MOZZARELLASTICK virtually at the same time, forcing me to reconsider. Aha! moment was to write over ALICE, although I don't think she was ever referred to by the other characters as anything but Gooch.

Overall, an enjoyable solve, but an occasional stray letter here and there (hand up, @Z, for BOTrA), caused a DNF for me. I have to laugh (again) at Rex's "easy" rating. IMO, this was med.-chall. for sure.

@Casco and others, a helpful hint is to familiarize yourself w/ some Hebrew names for the months of the year. In particular, ELUL and Adar show up a lot in x-words. But here is a complete list: Elul, Tishrei, Cheshvan, Kislev, Tevet, Shevat, Adar, Nissan, Iyar, Sivan, Tammuz, Av. I know, more stuff to try to remember! Good luck.

Would have liked to see NODOUBT clued by Gwen Stefani. Got a kick out of ATHEISTIC, BYTHEBY.

Thanks, SE and WS.

Steve J 12:00 PM  

Three-quarters easy and one-quarter trainwreck for me. That NE corner was both impenetrable and rendered impossible due to a few of my missteps. I had lipId instead of OLEIN (even though I had a nagging sense it was wrong when I entered it - but the OBIT cross "confirmed" it) and draTS instead of NERTS. I was willing to remove and reconsider those, but I would not let go of meT instead of NAT at 10D.

The downs in that NE are indeed rough, but otherwise I found this smooth and lively.

@Z: One person's experience does not a Natick make. I dropped in BOTHA uncrossed. When the apartheid regime fell, his name was all over the news. Yeah, 25 years ago, but still. Of course, one person's experience does not a non-Natick make, too. It's pushing the boundary, but I do think the crossing is Saturday fair.

Elephant's Child 12:04 PM  

(smiles, as Chast-ity BELTS)
O no, Bono!

@Susan McC, I haven't read her book, but the reviews made it sound worth reading. Thanks for confirming.

Ray Collins 12:05 PM  

@Z and @Anon 9:53:

Lt. Tragg

Ludyjynn 12:11 PM  

IDIOCY on my part, above. Meant to type AGNES, not Alice. Sorry!

old timer 12:18 PM  

Let me just add, "pussy" as a synonym for, well, a scaredy-cat in fact does come from pussycat, felis domesticus. The snatomical slang is of more recent (and apparently Scandinavian) origin. Always a good idea to look these things up before climbing on your equus altus.

quilter1 12:30 PM  

Went away and came back several times for laundry, grocery store, misc. chores. Finally finished and it is good. Happy weekend.

Benko 12:31 PM  

@lms (!): Now I want to try a MOZZARELLA STICK dipped in marijuana!
@bobK: Chianti Classico is an amazing region, not only for wine, but people, landscape, and food as well.
@andrewstone: I had trouble remembering if it was ALAN ADALE or ALAN O'DALE. There was a category on a Robin-Hood-themed Jeopardy! a few days ago called "Alan or Dale."
@DShawmaine: The only time I've heard "NERTS" is on 30 Rock, said by Liz Lemon.

Nancy 12:34 PM  

Why are the only hybrid categories of puzzle difficulty things like "easy/medium" or "medium/challenging."? Why can't there be a category: "Easy/challenging"? For me, this puzzle was that. Very easy except for where it was very hard. My stubborn insistence on GRIp instead of GRIT (like you, Bob Kerfuffle), plus not knowing HU?MOBILE, plus not knowing what GLY-- could possibly be, made ATHEISTIC, which should have been gettable, UNgettable. A nice puzzle, but not finishing it made me somewhat grumpy.

Zygotic 1:04 PM  

Damn - Google ate my comment. Apologies if the following ends up being a repeat.

@Ray Collins - That'll teach me to trust the unsourced.

@Steve J - I'll grant that 1/4th of the solving public* should know the last apartheid president of South Africa, I just have my doubts that they do. Just in this group we have at least two possible BOTrA and one BOTkA. As for the cross, exactly 319 Skylarks were delivered. I think I'll stand by my Natick call.

*NATICK PRINCIPLE — "If you include a proper noun in your grid that you cannot reasonably expect more than 1/4 of the solving public to have heard of, you must cross that noun with reasonably common words and phrases or very common names." (emphasis added)

Carola 1:11 PM  

Found it challenging, was happy to finish. NE was blank for a long time, but finally the E in ENL let me guess SEVEN IRON and the Downs dropped in. Last square was the R in TARE x RELY after I corrected SKYe.

I think my BRAIN needs to be described as a SOFT TOP, as I had ...ARELLASTICK and had to ponder it. I liked the fatty OLEIN crossing BACONS as a POC (thick-cut, nitrate-free, etc.).

Cal TRASK - great role for James Dean.

Maruchka 1:18 PM  

Just a bollix buster. But - once busted, a dream! Great job, Mr. Ezersky.

Many of the same errors. Projection for PROTECTION (NASA, help!), savor for SAPOR, rigid for REDID, MOZZARELLA misspell (pronounced 'motzarell' in most of Brooklyn). I never dip sticks in marinara, do dip 'scungill'..

Fav of the day - [Speech]IFY. Yowsa.

@Jae - Love that you had tref before TARE. I know that deli! Wish there were more left..

@LMS - Tutmobile crossing GLYPH = an SNL Rosetta Stone LOL for me.

@Ludyjinn - GOOCH went in first for me, too. The Patrick Dennis books I loved at 14-15: Auntie Mame, Little Me, Genius. Hoping kids today are enjoying similarly irreverent reads.

DigitalDan 1:19 PM  

What other kind of radar is there but "live?" I guess it's a newscast thing, but ugh.

I'd think East of Eden would be a must(read, know, grok, internalize) for someone of Rex's profession. I recommend reading the "East of Eden Letters", followed by the novel itself. Incredible.

Not that much of a deli guy out here on left coast. Would never have associated TARE with that clue in a megayear. I wanted TACT, which is, I understand, often discounted in such establishments if not dismissed altogether.

Anonymous 1:29 PM  

This was a tough slog, much harder than recent Saturdays.

Never heard of TARE. With this thoroughly obscure word crossing at one end and an unguessable brand name at the other -- either you know Skyy or you don't, it's impossible to infer that spelling -- there should have been a friendlier clue than "Hinge" for RELY. Perhaps "Depend".

I did get it in the end, but only after an eternity of imagining bizarre synonyms or brand names for door hinges.

Chris 1:35 PM  

TARE was tough but fair, but RELY is not a good synonym for "hinge." If you can "rely" on something then it doesn't "hinge" on anything. I would never have guessed SKYYVODKA, which would seem orthographically improbable, had I not deferred to the constructor's bad clue for RELY.

Some nice things in there overall, but not that easy.

Fred Romagnolo 1:36 PM  

I knew the Apollo, which didn't fit, but had forgotten the SAVOY, which I associate with Doyly Carte. I got the MOZZARELLA, but didn't know STICK. Hands up for marinara for pasta. I couldn't get NEMEROVsky out of my head, and put in Caleb for TRASK, forgetting the rule about first or last names in clues. So, the Southeast was a disaster for me, had to google. Everything else worked so I liked the puzzle. I appreciate the serious discussion about things like wuss and pussy, but object to vulgar name-calling of other bloggers by COWARDLY anonymouses. I think the reference to knowing BOGART from crosswords was in connection with that rather obscure (and very uncharacteristic) role; it was a bad horror film.

Anonymous 1:36 PM  

Wow, there has been a dark vibe in these comments these last weeks.

"Really anon 2 1002? You know BOGART from crossword puzzles??!! You need to get out more."

Nope, I knew Bogart starred in the Return of Dr. X from crossword puzzles. Also, I'd argue that 'getting out' would not help me learn more about Humphry Bogart, but thanks for being a dick about it!

Fred Romagnolo 1:41 PM  

The original Doctor X (before his return as BOGART) was Lionel Atwill in an early 2 process technicolor film, must higher in quality.

Fred Romagnolo 1:43 PM  

oops, much instead of must, sorry about that

Mohair Sam 1:47 PM  

I see @nancy's point. What was easy here was very easy, but what was tough was brutal.
finished the bottom in no time, and had to struggle up top, especially the NE.

Our gimmes were pretty much the opposite of OFL's. Had a blank sheet until HUPMOBILE (my father used to jokingly tell anyone with a new car that is was nice, but no HUPMOBILE), and then TRASK (one of my favorite books). SW filled in about 1 minute, and the SE took about 2 minutes after that (SKYYVODKA becoming a near gimme off the K).

NW not too bad, but ALANADALE, ELUL, and VALS in NE all new to us. Misread 6d as "Election Projection" and thereby made the section pretty much undoable. And being a golfer made SEVENIRON a silly answer for 6a because you knew it could be any club - finally realized the misdirection was in the word "rough", not in the club choice.

Anyhow, we worked through it because wife eventually read the clue for 6d, and ALAN is a genuine natick-avoiding name.

Anonymous 2:00 PM  

Anon @ 136. "Get out much" is a colloquialism. In English. Means "experience the world." If you got out much, you'd know that.

Anonymous 2:02 PM  

Here's Ella "Stompin' at the Savoy:"

They don't do 'em like that anymore.

Anonymous 2:14 PM  

Anon @200. I'm not sure why you have chosen to direct your aggression towards me, but I regret both my sarcasm and calling you a name.
Be at peace.

Anonymous 2:17 PM  

Wow how maudlin.

Anonymous 2:18 PM  

Has rare been explained? I don't get it.

Anonymous 2:19 PM  

Tare I meant

Anonymous 2:22 PM  

Okay I just found it in Comment above.

austinTX 2:25 PM  

"Sand" is grit. "Intestinal fortitude" is grit. "Clench" may be many things, but it is never "grit".

Which is why I stared at "Atheispic" for five minutes.

That's just a sucky clue.

Anonymous 2:36 PM  

I think it is meant like 'grit your teeth'.

Lewis 2:38 PM  

@lms -- I love, Tutmobile. That word is going to stick in my head for quite a while.

For the maybe 40 years yesterday's and today's constructors have been alive combined, I am feeling good about the future of crossword puzzles.

I loved the clues for TOLET, OBIT, BOOTY, and SEVEN IRON and the freshness of OHIFORGOT and HOLDONASEC. I'm still waiting for a constructor to come up with a zero-double-letter puzzle. I wanted "rigid" for REDID. I'm probably the only person here who doesn't know what a MOZZARELLASTICK is (though I can picture it) or SKYYVODKA for that matter. Maybe I'm the one who needs to get out more.

I liked it a lot. What I want from a Saturday WORDGAME.

Anonymous 2:39 PM  

Usually Rex is pretty much on - but after struggling through a poorly constructed difficult puzzle, one that took three times my average Saturday time, to see that Rex rated it as Easy is quite disappointing. My respect for his reviews dwindles daily... he is becoming more arrogant and condescending - and worthless.

Oxford Dictionaries 2:40 PM  


Please note the first definition for "grit" as a verb.

Leapfinger 2:43 PM  

Am very impressed with the High-IQ HAIKU showing up among the comments today!

Started out on even KEELS with HAIKU ETA EBB, then promptly bollixed it up with Auntie Mame's secretary. OH, me too for Patrick Dennis in my teens, but I FORGOT 'AGNES', remembered Miss GOOCH descending the staircase (pregnant but not nude). To this day, 'one swell foop' and 'jenny say coy' stay with me.

ORLY on, not many entries came straight off the clues, but once some crossing letters were in place, things perked up. NO DOUBT, the recent automotive puzzle helped get MOZZARELLA STICK, and the golf puzzle helped PARSe SEVENIRON and BOGART. I SERTA liked the SOFT TOP PEN and the 'Flat sign' TO LET; BOTHA were very clever. Never RHODA HUPMOBILE, but heard of it somewhere; guess the name does not relate to HUP-two-three-four.

Some REDIDs:
GRIP seemed as much of a 'clench' as GRIT
Remembered CALEB first, TRASK came later
Knew the Boxers' Rebellion; the BACON'S uprising was a surprise.
Squeaky-clean thinking put a BOOTH in the 'Rear of a disco';
Philosophical confusion led to ATAVISTIC ATOMISTIC ATHEISTIC considerations

Hmm. Wasn't Leo TOYSTORE'S epic novel about leguminous vines called "Wall and Peas"?

For a musical interlude, shall we Carry On with Sibelius' VALS Triste?

Alternative choices could be some Mozart Ella schtick, or maybe we're GHANA be Stompin' at the SAVOY?

HEL, In case it makes a difference, I know some fine Southern ladies of advanced years and impeccable gentility who are more likely to pronounce "What a Wuss!" than "He's no RAMBO".

Sam, you took ABYSSel of the E-Z out of Ezersky today. Thanks for the Shabbos BRAINGAME.

Applebee's 2:45 PM  


Anonymous 2:48 PM  

How to Lose Blog Readers 101:

Give "The Interview" a Four Star Rating.

Give this puzzle an Easy rating.

When one's ratings and reviews have no bearing on reality your readers stop liking you and go elsewhere. Rex - please try to ground yourself.

Melodious Funk 2:53 PM  

I'm just an occasional poster, always late, comments hardly ever pertinent to the puzzle except on a tangent. But I'm an inveterate voyeuristic lurker, skimming the self-congratulatory, pedantic, arrogant and condescending posters, reading the intelligent ones, all the while waiting for @ED and his many trolls to surface. And seeing how neatly @ED disposes of them, of course encouraging them to continue. Like a soap series.

I have great respect for what @ED has accomplished, we share some similarities in early life experiences except he cashed in, metaphorically speaking, so my respect is well-founded. And his take on puzzles is invariably amusing. To boot.

Just sayin'.

Charles Flaster 2:59 PM  

Real late again.
DNF( no googling ever)
Mistakes held me up- grip for GRIT, Oz's for OBS and says OK for SAYS ME.
So lower left took twice as long as remainder making my solve a medium.
ATHEISTIC is a stretch even with ?.
Sam E puzzles are usually on my LIVE RADAR and this was no exception.
No crosswordEASE pour moi.
Thanks SE.

Lewis 3:05 PM  

Factoid: The first HAIKU written in English was by Ezra Pound, published in 1913.

Quotoid: "A teacher is a person who never says anything once." -- Howard NEMEROV

Lewis 3:09 PM  

Thank you, Monsieur Applebees!

Nancy 3:10 PM  

Hi, @Mohair Sam. I scrolled through the comments, but couldn't find anyone called OFL. Who is he/she please?
To @Leapfinger. I'm a refined NORTHERN (not Southern) lady of fairly advanced years and (perhaps not quite) impeccable gentility who has been known to utter the words, "What a wuss!" without turning a hair.

Anonymous 3:19 PM  

@Chris, I think the hinge:RELY thing works, if you accept that it all hinges on the appropriate definition of 'hinge'. Now substitute 'rely' for 'hinge' in that sentence.

OISK 3:33 PM  

Ugh. Did not like this one at all. Never heard of Nemerov, and although we use the word "Tare" in chemistry, never associated it with Deli, so a DNF for me. (I had Taro, but knew it made little sense) Didn't like the clue for Brain game, seven iron, never heard of Skyy vodka, although I got it by guessing "rely," an answer I didn't care for either. Never heard of a Hupmobile, but I HAVE heard of Botha, so I got it. Even though it is Saturday, if you are going to include "Nemerov," a better clue for "Tare" is called for. At least it is for me. Two DNF this week (Wed and Sat.) first time that has happened to me since the Blindauer week... Rear of a disco is a booty? Yeah, I get the slang, but I don't care much for it.

Zygotic 3:49 PM  

@Nancy - OFL is short for Our Fearless Leader, AKA Rex Parker.

Whirred Whacks 4:19 PM  

Nice sunny early afternoon sitting on my deck in NorCal.

Hard for me -- just under an hour. Solved from the bottom up. NE last to fall with SEVEN IRON.

@r.alphbunker Thanks for your explanation of TARE (I got it from crosses).

For your enjoyment, this is a one-minute video of Howard Nemerov reading his "Primer of the Daily Round"

Anonymous 4:44 PM  

Anonymous @ 1:46 AM,

When Amy mentioned "a little rough", it seems she meant "unpolished" in the sense of having too much crosswordese fill.

This is not the same as "tough", as in difficult, although for what it's worth I did find it a difficult slog myself.

Mohair Sam 4:45 PM  

@Nancy - Z always has the answer, Rex is indeed Our Fearless Leader.

Did he really like a Seth Rogan movie?

Leapfinger 4:54 PM  

Hand up here also for the Tutmobile, which I believe is sometimes called the Tsk-mobile.

Big kick from the string of Anonymical comments, esp as I suspect there is only one schizoid Anonymer having multiple conversations with theirselves. But must thank the phase of Anonymer that gave the link to Ella (and Satchmo!) Stompin' at the Savoy. Ya earned yer keep with that.

Seems that TARE is a wheelhouse thing. In the lab, we had to tare the scales when we weighed out reagents, but in the regular world, I think tare is noted more at salad bars and hot bars, than at delis.

@Ms. Nancy, I would expect no less, but frankly, am more interested in hearing what would in fact 'turn a hair'.

Anonymous 5:07 PM  

I had one of those cars, but when I was a teenager I called it the HUMPMOBILE :)

Susierah 5:12 PM  

Tony Danza went right in, fresh from the profile CBS Sunday Morning did on him last week.

This was super hard for me. I spent one hour, got most of it, but gave up with quite a few blank spaces. I was proud to get as much as I did.

I guess I am one of the "inverterate solvers" rex referred to. No idea about Alan adale or hupmobile. I don't know how this could be "so easy"! I have been doing SAMs puzzles and always finish, but not today.

If I post, it is always early morning. I was surprised to read that the posts get somewhat mean as the day wears on.

Anonymous 5:14 PM  

Rex is a little like your weird Great Uncle Bob: you're kind of nostalgic for who he used to be, and he's kind of lovable despite his obsolescence and IDIOCY. The torch has been passed, but he doesn't know it.

Anonymous 5:54 PM  

Didn't anyone else start right out with FRIARTUCK as the apparent "gimme" for 16 across? Took me a while to change it to ALANADALE, although it had crossed my mind vaguely from the beginning.

Numinous 6:15 PM  

I was impressed with this puzzle in spite of Sam's self criticism (see If, indeed, as Rex says, he is 12 years old, more power to him. How many of us here could have remotely approached constructing a puzzle like this at that age? If, indeed, he is twelve, according to his own comments, he made this one when he was ten. Jeeze!!!

Now, each puzzle should stand on its own in the paper, all of them equal blank grids to try the mettel of solvers. But with the addition of bylines, we get to know the constructors and to know what to expect from their work. This is an amazing piece of work for a novice and I happily ignore the fill some here regard as Iffy..

Sadly, I DNFed on one google and a typo. I vaguely remembered Cal but had no idea of TRASK. I guess I wasn't patient enough to see if crosses would give it to me or, maybe, I needed that google to get the long downs. Everything else except the typo resolved throug the crosses even though I had a bunch of false starts by entering letters as part of answers I thought wold be possible. Hands up for GRIp before GRIT though I never entered that "p".

@Number One Fan from yesterday:
I See Ole PeeDee River every day. Fortunately, it's mostly smooth waters and sections of rapids are rare.
It was an AKA but her attitude is amazing. She's adjusted mentally very well. She even laughed at my first joke: she has only one leg now so she only walks half as fast. If it weren't for humor, how could we ever survive?

Number One Fan 6:49 PM  

@ Numi,
Glad you got the message, dear boy.

It's been some years since my tour at the VA Spa, so I don't know the present guidelines, but if she can get a C-leg, she'll outwalk you with one foot tied behind her back.

michael 7:15 PM  

Like Rex,I found this easy, but his "easy" is a whole lot faster than my "easy." An exceptionally unpleasant set of comments today.

Never thought about wuss one way or the other -- I've heard it a lot from all sorts of people. I am always surprised about what sets some commenters off.

mac 10:09 PM  

@Numi: she sounds great, and so do you. Onward!

pfb 9:51 AM  

Just got to this one yesterday and found it pretty easy except for the SE corner because I kept trying to make CALEB work instead of TRASK. Did not know TARE or SKYYVODKA (not a drinking man) but got it and then checked to see I was correct.

spacecraft 11:42 AM  

EASY??? You have GOT to be kidding! Even with the double-long gimme start of TONYDANZA and MOZZARELLASTICK, this one was tough all the way. The clues bordered on the sadistic. Where to start? "One doing 40+?" I'm supposed to divine that the number refers to hours per week? "Start to ski?" HELI?? Tell me there's such a contraption as a HELIski?? Maybe in an Acme Mfg. Co. package addressed to Wile. E. Coyote.

Then there were the two naticks. Was it BETA/BACONS or mETA/mACONS? I went with the B. Whew. Now to that WORLD famous poet NEM_ROV. You've heard of him. Both of you. Now what TAR_ is discounted at a deli? Alphabet run. The least improbable letter I can come up with is E. What, they weigh the sheet of wax paper before the meat gets PILED on? THAT TARE? Ridiculous. But other tries are even more ridiculous, so with extreme DOUBT I wrote in E.

The grid was a mess. Silly me, I thought "month" in the 7d clue referred to, you know, a month in English. But no. It turns out to be ELUL. And yet you call this easy. As for 58a, that was solid, gelid and rigid before finally becoming REDID (yuk). I was grateful for the TRASK gimme down there--not Caleb because of the actor's last name in the clue. James: Caleb :: Dean: TRASK.

I considered this a slog, with not much more than those two opening gimmes to enjoy. I managed to get it done, with luck, so I can't give it less than a C.

rondo 12:20 PM  

Agree with @spacy re: not easy.Not 8 minutes,closer to 58 maybe, if I timed.

HELI is not the first thing I think of with ski, but have seen the videos of skiers being dropped off by copters where there are no lifts- very extreme sport.

TARE a gimme having tested road-building materials; our TARE was usually the weight of a bucket.
I believe a VALS is in 3/4 (not triple) time.

TONYDANZA is a real MOZZARELLASTICK IMHO, but he made a living at it.

For some reason wanted SKolVODKA so that gummed up that area for a bit. And RoMeO, and OLEaN slowed things as well.

Never considered RHODA award-worthy.

All in allenjoyed the challenge, but I wouldn't call this puz great.

Hoho 9013 = 4

Anonymous 1:28 PM  

I agree with most of Spacecraft's and Rondo's comments and certainly didn't find this "easy."
When I have 3 look-ups I'm not too happy with myself. But Saturday's are hard so I'll give it a break. Nemerov is not in my circle of friends. And I don't care. He doesn't know me either.

Ron Diego La Mesa, CA

Ginger 6:17 PM  

@Numinous - From 5 weeks later, wish you and you wife well, hope things are continuing to progress!

Confidently first wrote in apolo (yeah, spelled wrong)but put SAVOY in the margin. ORLY is where Lindberg landed.

There is much to recommend in this puzzle; delicious (MOZZARELLA STICK), old (HUPMOBILE), tentative (HOLDONASEC), sexy (BOGART), Grandma's delight (TOYSTORES), and a reminder of a great movie(TRASK). Jo VanFleet was incredible in the latter. All these and more are well covered by the real time commenters. So, it is sad to see the disgusting annonymice polluting what is otherwise a fine blog.

Anonymous 1:18 AM  

What is it about cats that they delight in making their owners wait while they decide in or out?
Are cats really Machiavellian aliens? Lol! Love my calico and try to mind her as a mere minion!

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