Post-Passover period / SAT 1-31-15 / His servant is Kurwenal in opera / Cousins of harriers / Animistic figures / Thickburger seller / Alternative to babka / Part of goth dude's look / Warriors in L'illiade / Carlos Jackal raided its HQ / Song with lyric until we meet again

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Constructor: Tim Croce

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: none

Word of the Day: OMER (55D: Post-Passover period) —
Counting of the Omer (Hebrewספירת העומרSefirat HaOmer, sometimes abbreviated as Sefira or the Omer) is an important verbal counting of each of the forty-nine days between the Jewish holidays of Passover and Shavuot as stated in the Hebrew BibleLeviticus 23:15-16.
This mitzvah ("commandment") derives from the Torah commandment to count forty-nine days beginning from the day on which the Omer, a sacrifice containing an omer-measure of barley, was offered in the Temple in Jerusalem, up until the day before an offering of wheat was brought to the Temple on Shavuot. The Counting of the Omer begins on the second day of Passover (the 16th of Nisan) for Rabbinic Jews (Orthodox, Conservative, Reform), and after the weekly Shabbat during Passover for Karaite Jews, and ends the day before the holiday of Shavuot, the 'fiftieth day.'
The idea of counting each day represents spiritual preparation and anticipation for the giving of the Torah which was given by God on Mount Sinai at the beginning of the month of Sivan, around the same time as the holiday of Shavuot. The Sefer HaChinuch(published anonymously in 13th century Spain) states that the Hebrew people were only freed from Egypt at Passover in order to receive the Torah at Sinai, an event which is now celebrated on Shavuot, and to fulfill its laws. Thus the Counting of the Omerdemonstrates how much a Hebrew desires to accept the Torah in his own life. (wikipedia)
• • •

I want to start with ME LIKEY, because it's creeping me out, but I fully realize that my reaction is not necessarily going to be the most common one. I always felt there was some element of ethnic/racial mockery in that phrase (part of that whole "ching-chong" racist caricature of Chinese English—though some other source I just read claimed the phrase derives from Afr.-Am. / creole speech). People definitely use that phrase, and I'm pretty sure the vast majority use it with absolutely no racial inflection. And yet, I found it icky. I'm not judging: just putting a big "Question Mark" on top of that answer. (Many thanks to Erik Agard for responding to my Twitter query about this phrase with a link to this WaPo article, which refers to what must surely be "ME LIKEY"'s newsworthiness apogee). (And here are more relevant links: one referring to an instance of "ME LIKEY"'s being used in a caricature of Chinese English in a 1930s Charlie Chan film, and the other going into considerable academic detail about the etymological origins of "ME LIKEY," touching on Asian pidgin, creole, Long Duk Dong, and "Family Guy").

I mostly liked this puzzle; it's loaded with colloquialisms, most of them far more unambiguously enjoyable than the one I just mentioned. "I'M AWARE," "HOOK ME UP," "HUMOR ME," and "OH BOO HOO!"—all great. This thing seemed pitched pretty hard, though it may just seem that way by contrast with yesterday's puzzle, which was uncharacteristically easy. Getting started was a bit hard. ARUGULA was a gimme (2D: Plant called "rocket" outside the U.S.), and I clawed my way from there up into the NW corner, but then couldn't escape. Or, rather, I did this weird board game-type move where I landed on one square and used it to jump to a completely different place in the board. That is to say, AGE allowed me to infer YRS (34D: 19-Across units), and then, miraculously, that "Y" bought me GUYLINER. But then I was stuck again. Grid looked like this:

[Minion's reply] = YES … MA'AM? That was all I had for a while. Just couldn't come down out of the NW cleanly. Eventually worked from NEE to get up into the NE (after changing SIGN ME UP to HOOK ME UP). Found the whole NE very hard, despite getting ON A DIME, because HEARTHS was just never gonna come with that clue (8A: Some gathering spots) and I just did an -UP answer and didn't expect to see another so soon (ORDER UP), and Kurwenal shmurwenal and tough (but good) clue on SPELLER (14D: Person breaking his word?). Had to squeeze that corner from both sides to bring it under control. Then went crashing into the SE, thought I was on a roll, but got stuck again, here:

Wanted POOL ROOM and no other ROOM at 63A: You might take a cue from this (REC ROOM). Never heard of OMER (that I could recall—I thought he wrote "L'Illiade") and was never going to get WACO. Also, I appear to have believed that the [Common combo vaccine] was MDM, which, in this case, is 100% wrong, though I am going to assume that there is some similar vaccine initialism out there with at least one "M" in it. At this point in the solve, I was a bit worried, but ETES (50A: Conjugation part between "sommes" and "sont") and NORSK (45A: Like Grieg, to Grieg) ended up being gimmes, and they got me going again in the SW; not much trouble after that. I think I have never heard of EM SPACE. Just "em dash." But inferring was not hard. The end!
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

    P.S. Early-morning reader mail. This made me laugh: "I’ve never gathered at a hearth even though I have a fireplace." 


    aaron 12:14 AM  

    Had TROYANS/ALOHAOA for a few minutes before I figured out why the app wasn't saying Congratulations.

    Guile 12:16 AM  

    Wow...demoralizing. I know this week was easy, but this puzzle brought me down several pegs. Never mind racist overtones, "me likey" reminds me of Chris Farley for some reason. Anyone for Tommy Boy?

    jae 12:18 AM  

    Medium-tough for me too.  In NW  I had rUm before NUT and era before AGE for way too long.  Put in and took out ALLES at least twice.   Also dRY before WRY and NATO before OPEC.

    Only easy section was SW.


    Liked this one a lot.  A boat load of zip and very little dreck.  Even DPT and CTRL seem to fit just fine.  Excellent Sat.!

    Lee Coller 12:33 AM  

    Super tough. Not knowing that Carl's Jr now had a Thickburger didn't help. "Me likey" is just ugly and googles terribly (1.1 million hits isn't a lot for google). I hated guy liner too (I guess its really a thing, 11 million hits in google). Oh Boo Hoo (googles really poorly), Em Space, were just as bad.

    wreck 12:35 AM  

    This is one of those Saturday puzzles that was out of my league, but with a couple of cheats, I could fill in at a decent clip. I would have never gotten as far as I did a year or so ago. This one kept my interest, and I'll use it to be better next time. I liked this one!

    chefwen 12:48 AM  


    dls 12:59 AM  

    Even though I knew that it wasn't in the cards, I'm still sad that 54A wasn't YAK CHOW.

    Anonymous 1:03 AM  

    Excellent Saturday puzzle. I suspect there will be very little bragging about solving times today!


    John Child 1:58 AM  

    Stumped me! I couldn't do the NE without cheating. I tried all combinations of several wrong guesses for almost as long as the rest of the puzzle. Three cheers for Saturday and Mr Croce!

    Anonymous 1:58 AM  

    i think you were thinking of MMR (measles/mumps/rubella) when you put MDM.

    bailorg 2:28 AM  

    Granted I've only been a crossword subscriber since the beginning of the year and had been doing the page-a-day calendar puzzles (with answers conveniently on the back) before this year, but I have to say this was easily the hardest puzzle of the year.

    Even with last-ditch googling I took longer than 45 minutes.

    Then again, I guess this is what the Saturday puzzle experience is supposed to be.

    Charlene 2:59 AM  

    I had YAKSTEW, so that didn't help. Also not helping: not knowing who or what a Carl's Jr. is.

    Danp 6:57 AM  

    Agree that MELIKEY is awful, and felt the same way about MANAÑA a couple days ago.

    Clunky clues:
    3D RETELLS - Would anyone say the Illiad was retold from generation to generation?
    11D RED - As in Paint - Green?
    16A ORDERUP - Sounds more colloquial than official to me.
    53-54 CARAMIA - Shouldn't Sugar at least be capitalized?

    Jim Walker 8:03 AM  

    Like @john child I spent 40 minutes on New England and 15 on the rest of the puzzle. Finally had to cheat on SPELLER of all words. Still think the clue is iffy. HEARTHS and RED do not float my boat, but overall I liked the puzzle. HARDEES also has a Thickburger but I couldn't parse hANADA. JAKE gave me CARLSJR and I was home in the Pacific Northwest.

    evil doug 8:27 AM  

    I believe Carl's Jr. and Hardee's are regional equivalents, so naturally I chose the wrong one. Had to cheat to get rolling again.

    Wow, pretty original, Canada. Better say it in French if you're in Quebec, though, or they'll hit you over the head with une baguette....

    "I mostly liked this puzzle." Man, after that isometric wrestling match with yourself, I was really hoping you'd say, "Me mostly likey this puzzle", Mikey....


    AliasZ 8:28 AM  

    I wouldn't feed a yak "yak CHOW". It may yak it up.

    When I saw SAYOK, I asked: "Isitok?"

    "Who's this?" "JAKE from State Farm." "What are you wearing, JAKE from State Farm?" "Khakis." "She sounds hideous." "She's a guy." [Am I watching too much TV?]

    I was never going to get CARL'S JR even though it was in a NYT puzzle over a year ago. But who can remember that far back? I BLAME my AGE. I am lucky to still remember erythrocyte and interrobang. CARL'S JR is Rob Reiner, isn't he?

    ALOHA OE was equally unknown to me, but the crosses in the SE were entirely fair. Not so in the NW. In fact, I spent more time in that corner than in the entire rest of the puzzle -- which came together without much struggle. Even with CANADA, ARUGULA and RETELLS already in place, the acrosses just did not want to come to me. The NW made me feel fruitier than a NUTCAKE, or like this Himalayan. OH, BOOHOO.

    Overall, MELIKEY.
    Not too much malarkey.

    Maybe BYOB and BYES. Or LATER ON ON A DIME. Or HUMOR ME ME LIKEY. Or HOOK ME UP and ORDER UP. But ME three times? Is that allowed in a theMEless?

    Les TROYENS is a grand opera in five acts by Hector Berlioz (1803-1869) based on Virgil's epic poem, the Aeneid, whose main character is obviously Aeneas (Fr. Énée -- no, not Épée. He was no épéeist). Here is the Royal Hunt and Storm from Act IV.

    Enjoy your weekend.

    Anonymous 8:35 AM  

    A big no no. Commenting two days late. Finally got to Thursday's MAN puzzle on Saturday morning (I work for a living).After finishing and "aha"-Ing, I totally predicted RP's predictable response. It is the response of a locked-in (and bitter) academician, without a creative bone in his body. And what's with the tiresome campaign to oust WS? OK, now write a few mellow crits so you can prove your detractors wrong.

    Unknown 8:39 AM  

    Hard, but I liked it. Had mmr before DPT. Thankfully, I knew about the counting of the OMER after Passover or I would have been stuck. I enjoyed all of the fun phrases.

    Susierah 8:53 AM  

    Liked this, even thought a dnf. Close!!! First wrong entries were Hardee's, try on, eyeliner, and dtp . Then changed Hardee's to Carl Jr's, which held me up forever!!!

    Just the right amount of difficult but gettable. I haven't completely finished a Saturday in weeks, but one day!

    Blue Stater 8:54 AM  

    For 36D: How are "General figure" and BODYTYPE connected, pray?

    Dorothy Biggs 9:06 AM  

    I didn't read the links that Rex shared to the etymology of MELIKEY, but I'm glad he qualified his thoughts on it because I really think he thought a wee too much on it. Regional, dialectical, or even racial colloquialisms are everywhere and sometimes work their way into our everyday usage without carrying any of the baggage of disrespect at the original speaker(s). I could list a bunch of them ("ah so" pops into mind as well as a host of african american isms) that people use all the time so often they don't even know where they came from. Me likey and Me no likey are just cutesy little phrases that add a touch of humor to an otherwise basic phrase.

    I can't think of an example off hand, but there are many times far more racist/sexist phrases show up in these, not so much.

    Funny how Rex so flippantly calls ARUGULA a gimme. I'm no salad expert (nor do I watch HGTV) so I don't know the many names by which salad greens are called. Do the French call ARUGULA "rocket?"

    Speaking of it me or has there been a lot of it lately? Thank goodness for the German and the very simple Norwegian. ETES (for me) was obscured by the "sont." I kinda know what somme is, but I was thinking verb conjugation and completely missed the saisons part.

    Just a little befuddled by the plethora of MEs...HOOKMEUP, MELIKEY, and HUMORME. Isn't there a law about that?

    Otherwise, for the record, I liked the puzzle fine. Only had to Google a couple of times...and the cluing I found difficult yet fair.

    chefbea 9:12 AM  

    Too tough for me. Knew arugula and also had Hardees

    Two chills are done...Stadium cake just out of the oven. Now to make a peanut butter cream cheese spread in the shape of a football (it won't be deflated)

    RooMonster 9:20 AM  

    Hey All !
    Tough 'un here. At home online, ample use of Check button! rUmCAKE first, natch. CARLSJR does have good burgers.

    Need some explanations on a coupla. Anyone? Bueller? 22A Beethoven's Fifth=SOL? 54A, Himalayan food, maybe=CATCHOW? 51D, Turning phenolphthalein pink=BASIC? HOOKMEUP!

    GUYLINER?? Seems if I were goth, I wouldn't call it that. Just sayin'.

    ALOHAOE, was thinking Y for the last letter.


    I could go on, but who cares? :-D


    Anonymous 9:21 AM  

    Nous sommes
    Vous êtes
    Ils sont

    Plural conjugation of être.

    No seasons at all.

    This one killed me. I knew CARLSJR or hARdees was right, but I couldn't get anything to confirm one or the other. Downhill from there for me.

    Anonymous 9:26 AM  

    Hey Roo @920:
    1) Beethoven's 5th is the 5th note in the scale (Do re mi...)
    2)A himalayan is (apparently) a type of cat (think if the clue had been "siamese food, maybe"...)
    3) phenolphthalein is the REAGENT on test strips that measure pH, thus revealing if a substance is acidic or BASIC.

    Gracie H 9:26 AM  

    I looked to Rex as usual for help completing this one, par for the course on Sat. Liked SPELLER, BLAME, and RETELLS. Not so much CLIPOFF or ORDERUP. It is "official" to ORDER UP a burger from CARL'S JR?

    Anonymous 9:28 AM  
    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
    Anonymous 9:28 AM  

    "This thing seemed pitched pretty hard"??!! Is rex not a native English speaker? Because that isn't English. How 'bout "This thing seemed pretty hard" or this thing was pretty hard?" Totally gratuitous and incorrect use of "pitched." Embarrassing.

    Mark 9:30 AM  

    Got off to a strong start with HARDEES crossing ARUGULA, and the whole puzzle went pretty much like that. All in all, a satisfying solve, since I had to change things like HARDEES to CARLSJR, TAKEONE to HUMORME, step by laborious but enjoyable step. This is the hardest NYT puzzle that I've ever finished without giving up.

    Anonymous 9:39 AM  

    Tim Croce, you earned rex's highest praise: "I mostly liked this puzzle." Congrats. Now can you play "I Got a Name?"

    Unknown 9:46 AM  

    Didn't like the puzzle - too much stuff I didn't know. But @Evil Doug's comment about an angry Quebecer with a baguette made me smile.

    Aketi 9:50 AM  

    @chefwe, that's how I felt when I started this puzzle
    @Aliasz, I wouldn't try to feed a yak CHOW either, but I'm dead certain our CAT would happily eat Yak CHOW, even though he's not Himalayan. He eats anything that even remotely resembles CHOW including granola. He also steals lettuce and ARGULA off our salad plates, which mostly falls out of his mouth when he tries to chew it

    @NCA President, the only way I got the "rocket" clue was because my dh recently made a trip to Australia and he had to ask what "rocket" was. I suppose asking the dh is right up there with googling as one of my unrepentant cheating tools.

    Loved the BASIC clue today just as I loved REAGENT.

    Anonymous 9:52 AM  

    For the opera cahacter I first tried "Onegin" but then I took it offegin. Thought that clue was particularly HEARTH.

    Aketi 9:58 AM  

    I had a hard time figuring out WACO until I remembered that 1993 was the year I moved from Atlanta to New York City via a work trip to Ghana. The news around that time was about WACO, the bomb in the parking garage under the Trade Towers, and a snowstorm in Atlanta. Made me want to linger a little longer in Ghana.

    Ludyjynn 10:09 AM  

    Not even close. AS SAD as I can be. OHBOOHOO!

    But I knew DPT because it was an answer on "Jeopardy" last night.

    Is it just me or is it creepy to have AREOLAE, BREASTS and HOTITEM in the same grid?

    IBEG to differ (not to disagree) is the common expression, n'est ce pas?

    IMAWARE of how far I have to go to be play in the big leagues when a puzz. like this one comes along and ESP. humbles me.

    CATCHOW was brilliant.

    ALOHA(oe)again and BYE. Thanks for the challenge, TC and WS.

    johnranta 10:10 AM  

    Me hate. One of the worst puzzles in a long time.

    johnranta 10:15 AM  

    Full of forced word mashes, obscure words, and intentionally misleading clues. One doesn't beg to disagree, one begs to differ. I dare to disagree. Melikey has to be one of the worst solutions of all time.

    Say C. Bone 10:16 AM  

    No baguette, @ED. In Quebec, they'd probably hit you with a bowl of poutine. That's 'poutine', not 'poitrine'.

    Are you feeling all right today? Thought you'd be all over the HOT ITEMs in each quadrant: the AREOLAE on BREASTS, HOOK ME UP and les TROYENS. I'm sure that Evil eye can find more...

    Evil Doug 10:18 AM  

    Hah. I did try to fit "your mom" at 30a.

    evil doug 10:22 AM  

    That's not me. Asshole.


    RooMonster 10:25 AM  

    Thanks Anon 9:26! Shoulda known SOL, at least!

    Good one, Evil.

    OHBOOHOO shoulda been followed up by, YA NANCY!


    Anonymous 10:26 AM  

    I hated this puzzle so much, it left me irrationally angry. I just wish I had done the newspaper version so I could have the satisfaction of throwing it into the fireplace. I try not to do that with my laptop.

    Guyliner? Me likey? Foto? Grrrrr.

    Anonymous 10:30 AM  

    The wiki on the origins of the solfege scale is pretty interesting. Religious origins, as usual: "So that these your servants can, with all their voice, sing your wonderful feats, clean the blemish of our spotted lips, O Saint John!"

    jp 10:30 AM  

    Anonymous Jp said...
    Impossible is my rating for this one. Other than 8 or 9 answers spread around, I could not get any foothold. Sure I could have googled a few clues to get me started but there is not much fun in that when you are staring at so much white space.
    I have been a 30+ years NYT puzzle solver and still Fridays and Saturday regularly stump me. Quite humbling. Must be my brain is not genetically predisposed to remembering factoids.

    Mike K. 10:43 AM  

    @Blue Stater--

    General figure = Overall shape = Body type

    Carola 10:45 AM  

    Close, but no cigar: REsELLS x NUsCAKE (var. of Nusskuchen, mm-hmm). But an enjoyable struggle, of Himalayan proportions.

    Speaking of which, after previous fake-outs by "Egyptian" and "Burmese," I swore I was never going to be taken by a cat clue again, but...yetis and attempts on the summit were my first thoughts here.

    So, the other day the puzzle was all about YOU, then MAN, and today ME (hi, @NCA President) - even looking in the mirror at itself: EM SPACE.

    Anonymous 10:46 AM  

    Hah I LOVE seeing people like @johnranta rant(a)ing.
    This was a beautiful, edgy, well-clued puzzle. The only minor nit with which I agree is " _____ to disagree" should have been "____ to differ." I've never heard the former (and it gets very few google hits), I often hear (and use) the latter.

    Anonymous 10:48 AM  

    I'll gladly pay Tim Croce to stop making his dull, pretentious puzzles.

    dk 10:51 AM  

    Best OBIT any of us might hope for in todays NYT.

    🌕🌕 (2 mOOns)

    Like jp I was stumped.. My errors were legion. Most of the time I just could not let go of the wrong fill (note dating history as well).

    For example i had Hamburger Hamlet in my head for 1a snd it would not let CARLSJR in. I also wanted some type of facial hair for 33a.

    Anyway after two hours of OHBOOHOO I limped here with the NW amess.

    Sigh. So my solving experience sucked. I am certain the puzzle itself is fine but I cannot see past the smoke of my burning bridges (see dating history comment above)

    Anonymous 10:57 AM  

    Me think this puzzle suckey.

    mac 11:10 AM  

    Beyond challenging for me. Never heard of Carl's Jr., Hardee's sounds vaguely familiar. I guess I am more an arugula than a fast food eater.

    I agree with Rex about Me Likey. Put that on the list with veggies and tummy.

    Good puzzle, though, with some clever clues.

    Anonymous 11:23 AM  

    Had MMR for the vaccine which, along with not having Carl Jrs in Canada (or people who say "me likey") messed this one up good for me.

    Steve M 11:27 AM  


    Leapfinger 11:28 AM  

    Ka-ching! CA-TCHOW!! No Himalayan that I'M AWARE of would deign to eat simple CATCHOW, but the clue is fabulous.

    Me too on having a Jr Thickburger at Hardee's [emspace] it fits both ARUGULA and RETELL, doesn't it? Also uncertain about AREOLes/-As/-AE. Plenty more that had me REELIN', like gathering in HEAvenS and at HEAterS. Oh yes, GOLEM before TOTEM. Wanted something like ORDinance. SPELLER!?!?! BYE and BYE it all came together, but nothing (except maybe the SW) came easy.

    Speaking of CARL Reiner, his sidekick, Mel Brooks, a MAN now of a certain AGE, currently has a one-Man show going, an hour ofwhich which will air on HBO Sunday 1/31 at 9 p.m. I can't imagine that it will disappoint anyone. Any man that Anne Bancroft would marry...

    So. SCHOOL'S OUT yesterday, SKOAL's IN today.

    And some old-timey songs:
    Hang Down Your Head, Tom DULY
    ALLES Blue Gown
    AREOLAE've nephew of my Uncle Sam...
    WRY Whiskey (TRIS) I cry...

    I Promise to RETELL all I know about RECROOM as soon as I figure out what CROOM is.

    PROPs to Tim Croce for a good Saturday solve.

    mathguy 11:29 AM  

    I'm reminded of the famous first line of the NYTimes review of the play "I Am a Camera" when it opened on Broadway. "No Leica."

    The puzzle soundly thrashed me. There were only three entries that I didn't know but there were 21 clues that were either fiendishly indirect or completely indecipherable (11) for me.

    I finished but I had four lookups.

    Leapfinger 11:34 AM  

    Almost forgot.

    Into the Valley rode the four hundred.

    (The Francophone accents are YRS to supply)

    TimJim 11:35 AM  

    Hand up for Hardee's, then tried CarlJrs. Needless to say mt NW was ugly but I finally got it. A fun workout.

    Maruchka 11:37 AM  

    Made me crazy! Embarrassingly long google list. But - a snarky good'un, Mr. Croce.

    Problems with what I think I know: MMR for DPT, Panama for CANADA, cool for JAKE, dry for WRY, Troyans for TROYENS, Really wanted 'Happy Trails' (LOC. cit. the Roy and Dale show) for ALOHA OE. BTW: daughter and son-in-law are off to Maui tomorrow and it's 18 degrees here, plus wind chill.

    OH, BOO HOO and JAKE, are favs of the DAY, which I'm now officially taking off.

    @Carola - Sigh, me too. I'm eating C[r]OW.

    @Wreck - I'm inspired. Now can hope that, with more practice, improvement will come.

    Elephant's Child 11:39 AM  

    OMER goodness, it can be very embarrassing to walk into a drugstore and ask for a box of Les TROYENS.

    Would like to know more about the Burly Awes of which you speak.

    Z 11:40 AM  

    From sea to sea seems like a perfectly reasonable motto for pANAmA, n'est-ce pas? Hit me with some poutine.

    SW to SE to NE to NW went medium->medium challenging->challenging->DNF. Between Panama, Hardees then CARLjrs (dope slap), NUTella, and never actually grokking the clues for 6D or 7D I have a black mass resembling smeared GUY-LINER after a Sam Smith concert.

    WACO was hard for me, it is the Branch Davidian siege outside WACO in my mind. I was trying to come up with some place in IRAQ until I got REC ROOM.

    @NCA President - I BEG to differ. ME LIKEY strikes me as "casual" or "everyday" racism. In some ways the innocence of its use makes it even worse.

    @Danp - "Mañana" is almost "Spanglish" where I grew up, used interchangeably with "later" or "tomorrow." That's not to say there weren't some choice slurs, only that "mañana" wasn't amongst them.

    Teedmn 11:54 AM  

    I haven't stepped foot in a fast food joint in 15 years and googling CARLSJR places the nearest one in Ontario or Oklahoma. I didn't even know enough to be misled by Hardee's.

    After 25 minutes I had everything ALLES and lower in the West and SKOAL and south in the East with two errors (TROYaNS and CATCHeW). Only IBMS crossing NÉE above. Took a long break but not a single breakthrough aha in sight. Started hitting the check button and it was a total DNF from there.

    @Alias Z, thanks for the commercial tie-in, I've seen that one about 30 too many times also :-).

    OHBOOHOO, Mr. Croce, you've EFLATtened my ego totally!

    Anonymous 11:57 AM  

    BRILLIANT 1 across CARLSJR/Hardees misdirect, with easy downs makeing either look good for a bit. THIS is what a great constructor does.

    Malsdemare 11:57 AM  

    I'm just relieved that I wasn't alone in my misery. Too many reveals to feel competent or smart, but I did get some stuff that I would have blanked on a year ago. I had Hardees, Thebans, NUsCAKE, Blush before BASIC (and I feel really good about getting that one). It took forever to see CATCHOW, hated MELIKEY, tho I got that too. And I liked Rex's write-up. Thanks RP and TC.

    GILL I. 12:05 PM  

    @AliasZ...I swear I have tears running down my cheeks....I'll have to compose myself and come back later.
    "She sounds hideous....."

    Bassetwrangler 12:09 PM  

    Me no love you long time.

    evil doug 12:11 PM  

    Z--I'm certainly not going to encourage you to employ language you're uncomfortable with, just as I'm sure you don't intend to judge me harshly for finding its use innocently amusing and without racist undertones.

    Language is a big tent, and no one of us should presume to be the ultimate arbiter on allowable word choice, nor judge and jury on the intent behind its application. You believe you know racism when you see it--and so do I. When those lines don't coincide, I suggest we accept that fact and move on, rather than recklessly tossing around the racist label. That's a term that should be saved for those who proudly and openly seek that awful distinction--lest it become diluted and rendered less meaningful.


    Maruchka 12:22 PM  

    @Leapy - Heehee! Had a Honda 600 in airy Santa Cruz, and quoted that poem when descending into the Silicon Valley smog ..

    grrrlish1 12:27 PM  

    MELIKEY made me say "ick" out loud.

    Anonymous 12:39 PM  

    Me likey - yuck

    old timer 12:56 PM  

    Cheaters never prosper! Had I not Googled for "thickburger" I never would have written in "Hardees" and maybe sooner or later would have got CARLSJR. There's one about a mile away from where I live in California.

    I had *teedml*'s experience. My first toehold was BYOB, which got DOH and then OHBOOHOO and the SE fell quickly. CATCHOW I guessed, TROYENS I knew, and the rest of the S came in (ALOHAOE is in a book of songs that used to be on my mother's piano). But that's about all I got. I loved GUYLINER but it never occurred to me.

    Questinia 12:56 PM  

    I've always thought ME LIKEY was something a child would say. So more cute than racist. But then again the whole *Ah So* debacle was also lost on me.

    Accessing my inner-OISK, I know nothing about CARL'S JR nor do I wish to.

    Decidedly difficult for me. I don't know whether other people experience this but I notice that the more puzzles I do the worse I get at them. Like I reach a saturation point with puns, vocabulary definitions, double-entendres, etc... like I need a palate cleanser with something visual or auditory.

    Mashed and Anonymo4Us 12:56 PM  

    NW NOLIKEY M&E. Otherwise, just regular DULY sadistic.

    M&A's Wiseguy Doctor Alex: "Eat nothing but seaweed and CATCHOW, like them Himalayans, and you'll live for a thousand years!"

    M&A: "Day-um, doc... It's really possible to extend life that much, just by eatin crud all the time?"

    Doctor Alex: "Naaah... But it'll seem like that long."

    Real nice 7x7 stacks, slightly clipped. Like four Stumpy Stumpers, all in one glump.

    Gotta split.. my GUY-LINER (?!) is startin to hike up on me...


    Anonymous 1:00 PM  

    The biggest racists are always talking about how not racist they are. I'm sure some of ED's best friends are black. And when he uses racist language, it's innocent. Has NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with racism.

    Anonymous 1:04 PM  

    ....and sometimes those screaming the loudest about racism are the biggest racists themselves.

    Anonymous 1:09 PM  

    It's brutal for 1A that CARLSJR and hARdees, which are the same thing, have the same number of letters. Around here and where I grew up we have Hardees, not Carls Jrs.

    Is the correct plural of Carl's Jr Carl's Jrs or Carls' Jr?

    Questinia 1:11 PM  

    @ Leapy reminds me of an example. Himalayan to me was taken rigidly as the place not the cat breed. I racked my brain over what sort of cuisine it would be. What would a yeti eat? A Thicksherpa? Whereas a few dozen puzzles ago there would have been no issue.

    It's like I return to a naive puzzle state.

    I just found something called Semantic Satiation .

    Anonymous 1:19 PM  

    Yeah all those uppity black people shouting about disproportionate arrests for marijuana crimes or, you know, being shot all the time by the police: all racists.

    Anonymous 1:25 PM  

    HA evil doug @ 1018. Hilarious.

    Anonymous 1:27 PM  

    46a clue should be "cause of autism, per idiot hippie moms in California who are putting everyone's children at risk." Oh wait, that answer WOULD be MMR.

    dm3000 1:29 PM  

    Nut roll, nut ring? Just sayin'. I do like my sugar. Great puzzle - got hung in NE, but the rest of it fell in.

    Blue Stater 1:40 PM  

    @Mike K. - Thanks; I had already considered that before posting, but didn't think even WS's NYT puzzles would allow that distant a connection between "clue" (not) and answer. Silly me.

    Bob Kerfuffle 1:55 PM  

    A good puzzle, but impossible for me; DNF.
    Had the bottom ten lines with just one write-over: (Please don't throw me out!) 45 A, carelessly had DANSK before NORSK.

    Almost gave up with both NW and NE full of blanks, but pressed on and finished NW, despite that unlikely jumble of letters in CARLSJR, a write-over at AREOLAS/AREOLAE, pondering if NUTCAKE or NUTLOAF, and refusing to believe the Times would allow ME LIKEY.

    But I died in the NE, even though I had HOOK ME UP, ERNES, and A DAY correct, I had two crossing faux holds: 13 D, ONE TIME (as in "C'mon, just try it ONE TIME!") and 22 A, Beethoven's fifth, might be ETA, horrid as that is, as the Greek letter H which we seem to have encountered frequently in recent puzzles. I even mused that TRISTAN would fit, but my knowledge of opera isn't that great.

    And since I didn't finish, I guess I can be grumpy about 11 D, RED, and 16 A, ORDER UP, both of which seem extremely far-fetched. :>)

    Z 2:01 PM  

    @ED - There is an important distinction in my mind between racism and bigotry. "-Isms" are systemic rather than personal, a description of society rather than individuals. The phrase "everyday racism" refers to something so ingrained that we no longer easily recognize the bigoted source(s). I'm certain the vast majority of people do not realize that anyone would take offense at "something a child would say. So more cute than racist" (a sentiment I don't disagree with), just like I'm certain the poor minion responsible for the Fresh of the Boat controversy didn't realize what s/he just stepped into. What we need to come to grips with, in my opinion, is that we don't need to be "proudly and openly" bigoted to have a racist society, nor does making an insensitive remark make one a raging bigot.

    As for "arbiter of ... intent," usually that's an easy task. For instance, I think you honestly disagree with what I said. I think @NCA President sees Rex's and my concerns as "over-thinking" the issue. I think @Questina doesn't believe the issue is a big deal. Fair enough. I believe a market place of ideas is good thing and if we all agreed on everything why bother. On the other hand I have no idea why someone would pretend to be you. Figuring out the intent of mean anonymice is beyond me, but "they're an asshole" works well enough.

    M and A Language Lab 2:06 PM  

    @Q: Interestin readin, re: Semantic Satiation. Thanx.

    See also the Corollaries of Weeject Wipeout...

    I. "If U keep seein the same short crossword fill day after day after day, eventually it looks like a puzzle's fill standards are startin to deteriorate."

    II. "Short foreign words, if repeated often enough in crosswords, really should be required to secure visas."

    III. "If a weeject starts lookin like nonsense, add an -S to the end. The original weeject starts lookin better again."


    Anonymous 2:17 PM  

    Common vaccine with m and ms = MMR.
    Measles, mumps, rubella - as opposed to diphtheria, pertussis and tularemia!

    GILL I. 2:22 PM  

    Serious big OOOOF...but the comments today are well worth the price of admission....
    I love hamburgers and although we here in California have a CARLS JR on every block, I couldn't see it. (Never heard of Hardees!) @dk - Hamburger Hamlet !!! Are they still around? I went to my first one in Santa Monica..ME LIKEY!. The best hamburger I ever ate was at Joe's on Broadway in San Francisco. It was a tiny Italian establishment where you sat at the counter and watched as the cooks cooked your meal. The place was real popular and you usually had to wait an hour to get your small counter space. They expanded, then changed the name to Original Joe's, then I think it burned down....!
    Just wasn't at all on Tim Croce's brain wave trek today. I tried all my usual tricks like putting the crossword down about 5 times, Googling to get a seed entry, then finally gave up because nothing worked.
    @Questinia....Good to see you again! I was getting worried.
    Did anyone 'splain how BYES have seeds in them often?
    Sun finally out....I think I'll go call JAKE...

    Tita 2:24 PM  

    I have not been this completely PASTEd by a puzzle, not even a Saturday, in ages. An absolute disaster for me!
    I was really, really hoping that Rex and all my peeps here would blast this puzzle, so that I could feel better about the shellacking.

    ARUGULA, TROYENS, wer the only things I was sure of. and ETES. Desperate, I began cheating. Puz spouse guessed hARdees.

    @NCA - on disent "roquette". Really - I'm not making that up...

    @Ludy - I BEGged to differ there too, wondering if we had the sighting of a Saturday rebus, trying to fit "agree" to disagree.

    I'm blaming this hot mess on all those vague phrase clues and their vague phrase answers.
    I must go lick my wounds now.

    Love all the CATCHOW comments.

    Lewis 2:27 PM  

    I believe it's all in the cluing. This puzzle, IMO, could have been run on a Tuesday with different cluing -- the crosses seem fair enough. So Tim, with possibly Will's help, is a master on the cluing side, ticking up the difficulty for a Saturday level puzzle.

    I like battles like this, and I hope the NYT never dumbs down the Saturday puzzles.

    I loved the clues for BLAME, BYES, and SPELLER. Answers that had spark included HOOKMEUP, YESBOSS, OHBOOHOO and HUMORME.

    EFLAT, with a couple more letters could have been clued "_____ gate", in anticipation of tomorrow's game.

    Anonymous 2:31 PM  

    @ Gill 2:22: BYES don't have seeds, seeds (in tournaments) have BYES (free passes through the preliminary rounds).

    Anonymous 2:35 PM  

    Alternative to Babka: NUTsack.

    Anonymous 2:37 PM  

    I've been drinking heavily all day to celebrate my success at this awesome Saturday crossword. I just hope I don't get the JAKE leg!

    Nancy 2:50 PM  

    I may not frequent fast food places much, but generally I've heard of them. And I've never in my life heard of CARLS JR. I'm sure it's not in NYC and, 1 Across being such a key clue, this puzzle seems regionally biased somehow. I found it SO hard, was flummoxed in both the NW and NE, but sheer stubbornness enabled me to solve the NE. When, after hours went by that included a long walk in the cold, I suddenly saw ON A DIME, giving me the M for HUMOR ME instead of eat soME. But the NW remained undoable and I DNF.
    I thought it would be either ME LIKEE or ME LIKES, until the crosses gave me the Y. I never heard of GUYLINER (cute term) and had GUYLocks first, as in hair. I had Brick before BLAME (great clue).
    I should have loved this puzzle, as it was challenging and devoid of proper names (other than CARLS JR.) But I didn't like it. I found the vernacular expressions clued very vaguely. It seemed like the answers could have been just about anything at all. And I hated "ketchup, e.g" as a clue for RED. Don't think that's a remotely fair clue. In short: a lot of effort, a disappointing result, and not much fun.

    Masked and Arugular and Last Silver Bull Woot 2:50 PM  

    @Anon 2:17:
    U just inspired me to reflect on the need for some preventive crossword vaccines...

    * DPT shot: For DCLII-PEWIT-TONTINE immunization.
    * BIG shot: For BSTAR-IRENA-GANGNUM protection.
    * EYE shot: For ESAS-YSER-EYEPIT problems.

    Call it... ORAMA-CARE?
    Too controversial? Thought so.
    But, I digress.


    Anonymous 2:57 PM  

    Ha! Another commenter following rex's example: "I couldn't finish the puzzle, therefore it was a bad puzzle." I LOVE puzzles that humble me or are maybe outside my wheelhouse. If I could do them all easily, they wouldn't be much fun. Rex sets the tone, his minions follow suit.

    Lewis 2:57 PM  

    Factoid: Thirty-three British citizens were among the members of the Branch Davidians during the WACO siege, with 24 of them among the 80 fatalities.

    Quotoid: "I've been to CANADA, and I've always gotten the impression that I could take the country over in about two days." -- Jon Stewart

    GILL I. 3:08 PM  

    @Anony 2:31...THANKY mucho. You don't happen to be @Say C. Bone? I'd love to meet him/her....
    Oh, I wanted to say that I first heard the term GUY LINER used on Adam Lambert on American Idol. I love that guy...girl?

    Fred Romagnolo 3:19 PM  

    RED ketchup is green paint; so is NUT CAKE. Shortz really should have known better than to allow ME LIKEY. Look at the controversy just here, in the blog. It's worse than AH SO. I'm no P. C.'er but it affects what a solver would consider allowable. It's also a matter of good taste. This is after all the Great Gray Lady (even if she now allows color, how long has it been now, 20 yrs.?)

    Fred Romagnolo 3:23 PM  

    @Tita: thanks for the tip on captcha.

    Anonymous 3:26 PM  

    "This thing seemed pitched pretty hard"??!! Is rex not a native English speaker? Because that isn't English. How 'bout "This thing seemed pretty hard" or this thing was pretty hard?" Totally gratuitous and incorrect use of "pitched." Embarrassing.

    Yes, you should be embarrassed.

    Pitch (v.) to say, write, or create something so that it will be appropriate for people of a particular age, level of ability, etc.

    Often, it's better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than open it and remove all doubt.

    beatrice 3:28 PM  

    As a counterpoint to @AliasZ's most apposite musical selection for today -- a bit of 'The Return of Ulysses', one of the earliest operatic masterpieces, by one of the greatest of musical masters, Claudio Monteverdi. Being (even a minimal) part of this blog gave me the impetus to look on YouTube, where I found this remarkable performance. The entire thing is there, but here is a piece from (I think) the beginning of it.

    Whirred Whacks 3:42 PM  

    @Nancy and all the other Carl's Jr. commenters

    Here is the Carl's Jr commercial for their "All Natural Burger that is currently making the rounds on Twitter.

    It's safe for work, but just barely.

    Liz 3:53 PM  

    I call foul with the Carl's Junior thing. Where I come from it is called Hardee's. It would be nice if anyone in the country could at least have a good chance of completing the puzzle without cheating!

    Leapfinger 3:58 PM  

    @Lewis, tell Jon Stewart that impression is misleading.

    Which reminds me: a clever friend once admitted she couldn't understand why 'misled' isn't pronounced 'mizz-uld' . (Dang spellcheck!)

    @ Maruchka, it's a great couplet isn't it? Very versatile. But I can't recall whether it's 400 or 600.

    Am thinking of making a poutine Bowl tomorrow...

    Fred Romagnolo 4:25 PM  

    No one mentioned, COPACETIC was actually invented by the great "Bojangles," himself

    wreck 4:27 PM  

    I don't know what the median age is here, but most of us should remember on the old Tonight Show, Johnny Carson had a running bit for years about "Carl's Jr."

    Alfred, Lord Tennyson 4:30 PM  

    Half a league, half a league,
    Half a league onward,
    All in the valley of Death
    Rode the six hundred.
    "Forward, the Light Brigade!
    "Charge for the guns!" he said:
    Into the valley of Death
    Rode the six hundred.

    michael 4:48 PM  

    Hardest puzzle for me in a long time.Dnf. Even with googling couldn't get northeast. And I had Hardees, which I was pleased to get because I never eat there. Finally google Carljrs and got that corner...

    Had me likes which is weird, but me likey is something I never even considered.

    Z 4:49 PM  

    @Whirred Whacks - I'm not convinced by CARL'S JR "All-Natural" claim...

    Tita 4:58 PM  

    Synchronicity....note the guy clutching un sac de baguettes...

    Say C. Bone 5:05 PM  

    @Gilly, No, I am not that Anony. Obviously, you must have two different admirers.

    Thanks for the refresher, Alfie.
    I can just hear your marvelous poem, spoken in your own voice!

    Mohair Sam 5:05 PM  

    Challenging/brutal for us - but we finished clean. Worked on it off and on all day, probably the toughest puzzle we ever finished. Liked it a lot, but not comfortable with MELIKEY at all. Also hesitated at HEARTHS gatherings - who the hell gathers there anymore? It's too hot.

    Lost a ton of time because like @Z we quickly knew paNAmA had to be right. I yelled ALLES as my wife yelled NUTCAKE, and we learned that Popeye's has as many letters as CARLSJR (and Popeye's skinny burgers would naturally be advertised as Thick). Took forever to get that area corrected.

    A special thanks to Alex Trebek for including DPT in a recent Jeopardy!, a gimme we desperately needed.

    For those who don't know the western chain CARLSJR: They achieve national recognition most years by producing an overly sexy Super Bowl ad which is rejected but gets free time on TV news shows and all over the net as a result. Clever marketing.

    Anonymous 7:21 PM  

    Wanted CARL'S JR for a long time but j-word for copascetic ust seemed out of ftom latin-like lexicon to JAKE, right out of '30's chicago.....curious....the K in NORSE foiled the fill in...flashed on SAYOK...was a blank stare for the longest time....was 180 from Rex as TROYENS& TSHIRT were the launch....loved Carlos Jackal clue, a Ludlum source for many novels, & who I found out later hailed from Venezuela where lived as an ex-pat
    . Have to con ultimate on whoever it was that defined 8000 links as ONEMILE

    Anonymous 7:40 PM  

    Carl's Jr.? Never heard if it. I guess I live in the sticks.

    Infnfectious Disease Fact-checker 8:53 PM  

    So DPT is a vaccine against Diphtheria, Pertussis (whooping cough) and Tetanus; not, repeat Not against Tularemia, as was suggested earlier in the day.

    Better fact-checker 9:04 PM  

    I thought it was a vaccine against Dropsy, Penile warts, and Thalassemia.
    There are some real geniuses on this board.

    tula tula tularemia 9:07 PM  

    PS--tularemia would be an excellent crossword answer.

    Anonymous 9:18 PM  

    Anon@3:26: your comment pitched brilliant. Idiot.

    rex can do no wrong 9:21 PM  

    But defend rex no matter what. Much better than having to think for yourself.

    Robin 9:36 PM  

    Couldn't believe ketchup wasn't HUE and that Trust me wasn't correct, so had trouble with NE corner

    Anonymous 10:49 PM  

    That really sucked.

    OISK 11:26 PM  

    As usual, I agree with Nancy, but I finished this one after a long struggle. My wife, looking over my shoulder gave me arugula, which helped. But there was much to dislike. Product clue, for a chain I have never heard of CarlsJr? Obscure slang Melikey? Guy liner? Normally, I feel a sense of satisfaction after completing a tough Saturday puzzle, but not this time. Add my name to the Me Hatem ledger.

    Franland 12:47 AM  

    I still don't understand how "8000 links, or 80 chains" is ONE MILE.
    I would be so grateful if someone can help me out with this.

    Unknown 6:22 AM  

    I really wanted to like this and I did for a while - Smiled at GUYLINER, OH BOO HOO and ON A DIME but then I got all HET UP (never got that one btw). I'm not at all familiar with American burger joints or their products so things were pretty sticky up there. I love the word 'copacetic' but never ever heard of JAKE. The real problem for me was the SE though - Having I MADE IT instead of I'M AWARE didn't help, although I liked my answer better... I wonder how many songs there are with the lyric 'Until we meet again'? Guess I would have liked this a lot more if I had done better on it!

    I.M. Munologue 8:12 AM  

    Good morning, @Better fact checker.
    Better fact-check some more: thalassemia is a heritable condition, whereas vaccines work against infective agents. So whom are you calling a genius?

    The remainder of your comment? Marginally wart-while.

    Chip Hilton 12:56 PM  

    I used to love to come here and read the comments. Not anymore.

    G.G. 1:31 PM  

    Oh Boo Hoo. Me No Likey

    Dave 5:28 PM  

    Ugh. I felt like every area had a clue that took me in the wrong direction:

    Hardees for Carlsjr in the NW
    CRTS for IBMS
    Gravity for EMSpace (I brew beer...)
    MMR for DPT
    TooSoon for LaterOn

    Was hoping for Yeti BBQ for 54A, but didn't fill it in.

    My brain hurts.

    OISK 8:59 PM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Unknown 12:59 PM  

    The cloying and yes racist "me likely" had a pop culture resurgence on the tv series "Sex in the City." A favorite phrase of Sarah Jessica Parker's character when confronted with nice shoes, purses and boyfriends.

    Anonymous 10:24 AM  

    FEELING DEFLATED: Googling means I forfeit, been doing the sat puzz for 27 years, never heard of SKOAL other than the tobacco product. As a caterer i have been to well over 35 weddings never heard anyone cry SKOAL! before glasses clinked.

    Anonymous 10:15 PM  

    Wifey and I had the grave misfortune of revisiting our Saturday habit with this horrific puzzle. A celebration of obscure and otherwise lame clues/answers in my humbled opinion.

    pfb 9:03 AM  

    Came very close to finishing but struggled to get there. (Had a couple of letters wrong.) It would help if I were a better SPELLER.


    spacecraft 11:45 AM  

    Oh Lord have mercy! First the spellcasters, and now the Illuminati! Cue Robert Langdon! Filters! FILTERS!! WHERE ARE YOU??

    Today's puzzle stood before me and defied me to find a starting place. OMG, I;m never gonna get this; I don't know a single thing here. I was within a whisker of "fuhgeddaboudit." But then I saw EFLAT, and that suggested [something]-OFF for shear, and so FOTO (something developed casually?: What a clue!) and I was in. An hour later I was looking at a finished grid and thought: did I actually DO this?

    Um, yep. Every square agreed. Not without some serious misgivings, however. "Formally request" does NOT mean ORDERUP. Somebody needs to explain to Mr. Croce (or Mr. Shortz?) the difference between a request, formal or not, and an order. I really had trouble accepting that one, but it was forced in.

    The NW was next to last for me; I had no idea that ARUGULA is called "rocket" anywhere. Doesn't make a lick of sense to me. And that was a gimme?? I finally broke through there recalling a line from "The Sting," when Hooker reassures the team that "Yeah, sure, everything's JAKE." That gave me CARLSJR, and now I thought I had the "Sea to sea" mottoist: CANArd. Well, I mean they sail all over, right? But no, that's CUnard. Hmm. Then at last I realized, it's not a company--it's a country! So I DULY filled it in. My only remaining writeover, where I finished in the SW, was LETSfly for LETSRIP. CARA MIA: Italian "sugar?" OHBOOHOO. That shows you the clue level we're fighting here.

    Never was I more surprised at a correct solve than today. Accordingly, MELIKEY! A.

    rondo 12:40 PM  

    First DNF of the year for me, all because of CAR?S?R. Don't remember ever seeing one even though I've been to nearly every state. We certainly don't have them in MN, but CANADA was my first answer which I knew was correct so then Hardees wasn't going in and the L and J were left blank. Struggled all throughthis one and may not have gotten th NE if the wife hadn't caused a 15 minute interruption. Then TRISTAN popped from just the AN and i ogt though it.

    But that's not to say I didn't appreciate the challenge. MELIKEY alot. Great challenge.

    Knew ONEMILE right off as I used to work for a land surveyor, so that was a good start to the SW.

    In NORSK it would be "skål", so the tobacco product would have been a better clue IMHO.

    So even with the DNF, this is the kind of struggle I appreciate on a Saturday.

    224 - winner?

    Burma Shave 2:08 PM  


    IBEG, HOOKMEUP with a real HOTITEM,
    BASIC NORSK BODYTYPE – blonde and tall.
    No TSHIRT! BREASTS and AREOLAE, don’t hide ‘em!
    IMAWARE ITSEASY to ORDERUP such a doll.

    --- SOL CARA MIA

    Luke 2:18 PM  

    Yikes, a DNF that left me feeling like I need to go back to school. BUT, in my defense, I think complaints are legitimate on MELIKEY (since when is five year old phraseology acceptable?); ORDERUP ( somethIng you do in a restaurant is "official"?); JAKE and HETUP are very dated and were obscure even in their time; EMSPACE- was that a part of the Gutenberg printing press - I had every letter but the M and still had no idea! A number of others were difficult, but defensible, which is OK but when you combine difficult with questionable clues it tends to destroy my Saturday morning. Oh Boo Hoo indeed!

    rain forest 5:12 PM  

    Well, ME LIKEY, but I DNF, despite having CARLSJR and ARUGULA as gimmes, which had me breeze through the NW, whence I flew into the middle, and had all sorts of trouble just about everywhere.

    Even though I thought it was a good puzzle, I just gave up, feeling inadequate. Having seen the solution, there are some entries I really should have got, but I guess you just can't win 'em all.

    leftcoastTAM 8:17 PM  

    After all that Rex said about his difficulties with this one, he ranks it as a Medium Challenging??? (I'm thinking that he has a lot of pride in his undoubted talent, and needs to defend it.} As for me, the biggest DNF I've had since I started doing these things.

    Anonymous 11:56 PM  

    That reminds me of snl jeopardy with Sean Connery! Lol

    Johnny Canuck 12:55 PM  

    A Mari Usque Ad Mare (English: From Sea to Sea; French: D'un océan à l'autre) is the Canadian national motto. The phrase comes from the Latin Vulgate translation of Psalm 72:8 in the Bible:

    "Et dominabitur a mari usque ad mare, et a flumine usque ad terminos terrae"
    (King James Bible: "He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth")..

    Bananafish 3:27 AM  

    Hardest puzzle of the last five years for me. 'Nuff said.

    Tamara Barrow 6:20 PM  
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