Italian city near Slovenian border / SAT 2-21-15 / Allegorical painting from Picasso's Blue Period / Animated character who's five apples tall / Truth in engineering sloganeer / Former Miss America who ran for US Senate in 1980 / New Year's Eve ball-drop commentator / Ark finder familiarly / Widen as gun barrel / Power has to be insecure to be responsive

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Constructor: Doug Peterson and Brad Wilber

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: none

Word of the Day: UDINE (46D: Italian city near the Slovenian border) —
Udine […] FriulianUdinSloveneVidemGermanWeidenLatinUtinum) is a city and comune in northeastern Italy, in the middle of the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region, between the Adriatic Sea and the Alps (Alpi Carniche), less than 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the Slovenianborder. Its population was 100,514 in 2012, and that of its urban area was 176,000. (wikipedia)
• • •

This is pretty high-grade stuff from my favorite co-constructing team, but I struggled more than I normally do with their puzzles, and while most of this struggle had a good payoff, there were some rough edges, and perhaps somewhat more pure trivia than I normally like—which is, I guess, another way of saying there were a lot of proper nouns from the realm of entertainment that were clued in either a straight trivia sort of way (see KAREL, 58A: Reisz who directed "The French Lieutenant's Woman") or were clued in a way that made no real sense even after the answer became clear (see HELLO KITTY, 39A: Animated character who's five apples tall). In this group I'd also throw Anastasia STEELE, Jule STYNE, Carson DALY, and "I'M TOO SEXY" and Bess MYERSON—that "Y" was the last thing into the grid, despite the fact that Ms. MYERSON (21D: Former Miss America who ran for the U.S. Senate in 1980) died recently and I'd read the obit and everything… her name just did not come to me at all. And that clue for SYN! (24A: Loads, for many: Abbr.) Great, great stuff; saved me from being annoyed at not having remembered MYERSON. I don't include INDY or RALPH NADER or ROSA PARKS in the list of trivia answers because there's at least some misdirection / cleverness w/ the INDY clue, and the RALPH NADER clue gives us a quote from which we can infer the answer (I actually got it off just the -PH-), and the ROSA PARKS clue was the closest thing to a flat-out gimme this puzzle had (31D: She wouldn't take an affront sitting down).

The RHOMB / KAREL / STYNE stack made me frown a bit. But I realize now I'm most just annoyed at KAREL. Which is a name. One might have. The name-on-name action there is mildly annoying. But it's holding all the beautiful Downs in place, and all crosses are more than fair. Less pretty, I thought, was the UDINE section. Well, just UDINE. I mean, an UDINE-free puzzle would've made me very happy. U-DINE sounds like some latter day automat. That city is not big enough to be puzzle-worthy. It's "urban area" is half as populous as my "urban area," and if you could see my "urban area," you'd see how nuts it is that something that small and noteworthy primarily for its Slovenia-adjacentness is allowed to be in the grid. Throw in the fact that I wanted HYPERLINK—not HYPERTEXT (61A: It connects two pages)—and then LESE and SCH and DALY/DALE, and that SE corner made me something less than happy.

Tough start in the NW because back ends of Acrosses were easy, but they were no help with the front ends. Eventually figured out it was LATE TEENS for Nancy Drew, and that + CIA got me CLOCK, and I came out of there semi-triumphant:

Went from there into the SW, and then into the center where I got stalled. Had to reboot in SE. Wanted PSALTER for 40D: Prie-dieu feature (KNEELER). Pretty sure I'm the only one in the country who wanted that. Totally guessed LESE (what else was it going to be?), and ATOP, and finally DALY came to me (after I'd been through "… who's that guy? … Gloria Vanderbilt's son … Anderson Cooper! Nope, it's not him. What about the generic guy who hosts everything, from "American Idol" … Seacrest! Nope. Damn it. Oh, oh, it's the guy who used to do "TRL" on MTV and then got his own late-night show for a bit … o man … what is his name!? …"). And then once I worked out that UDINE nonsense, I was good.

Since I was blocked at the SYN / MYERSON intersection, I was worried I wasn't going to get into the NE very easily, as I'd have to come at it from underneath. But I guessed OGRE (34A: Brute) and SICS (30A: Unleashes (on)) and that was really all it took. I went from this:

… to done in like 20 seconds.
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


    jae 12:13 AM  

    Medium- tough for me too, so just about right for a Sat.   NW and SE tough, NE and SW medium.  Started off with snail followed by punch for 1d and briefly considered vegasTRIP  for 1a before it all fell into place.  Also Adage before AXIOM and ATTAch before ATTAIN.  In SE UDINE was a WOE and I was blanking Carson DALY as I also went through Cooper and Seacrest to get there. Plus I had to change uni to SCH.

    KAREL also a WOE.

    Like this a lot, a nice mix of crunch and zip.  Nice one guys!

    Whirred Whacks 1:09 AM  

    Good, challenging puzzle. Fun to look at as well: a pinwheel of triple-stacked 9s.

    HYPERTEXT is the "HT" of "HTML" (hypertext markup language)

    Bess MYERSON came easily: as a kid, I remember seeing here on the quiz show "I've Got A Secret"

    Liked these five-letter words with "M" after the single vowel:

    John Child 2:31 AM  

    Second excellent puzzle in a row. I picked this up first thing and struggled for 10 minutes to get eight entries, four of them right and four wrong. I came back an hour later and started fresh, finishing in a fast Saturday time. But add the initial 10 minutes of thrashing around and it was up in challenging territory.

    None of the fill particularly wowed me, but it's spot-on Saturday freshness and sadistically clued. Perfect!

    Finished with an error at vALE / vALY. In retrospect DALY is more likely, but I'd bought VALE hook, line, and sinker. vALY just looked like a name I didn't know.

    AliasZ 2:40 AM  

    What an interesting hodgepodge of scrumptious phrases and semi-obscure trivia. I enjoyed it, as I always enjoy Doug & Brad's collaborations.

    KAREL Reisz was my first entry. I still remember his "Isadora" with Vanessa Redgrave, based on the life of dancer Isadora Duncan. UDINE was a gimme, having crossed the then-Yugoslav-Italian border some 45 years ago. One man's WOE is another's gimme, I guess. RALPH NADER came from the H and N once I realized the error of my ways with "toilet" for "Facility" at 28D. ROSA PARKS came easy from the R in RALPH and K in KAREL. My stumbling blocks today: STEELE and DALY, but I managed to remember recently-deceased Bess MYERSON, from her role in the Koch administration and the Bess Mess that ended her political career.

    Eyebrow raisers: DALE/DALY, BIT/NIT, AXER, RHOMB, ENCHAIN, the ATEAM/REAM/TEEM cluster in the NW, and was surprised that SAT ON and CLOSE IN ON was allowed. But I liked the KEMPT/TEMPT pair, as well as ABOUT THAT, LEAD STORY, LIMELIGHT, OVEN READY, PAPYRI and UDINE.

    UDINE is a city first mentioned in Latin records in the 10th century. According to legend, it was built by Attila the Hun on a hill erected by his troops during the siege of Aquileia in 452 AD, just before his sit-down with St. LEO, prompted mostly by the destruction of that city. Its devastation was so complete, the site could not be recognized as a place where a city once stood. In fact, Venice was founded by the population fleeing Aquileia and the surrounding towns en masse to avoid the slaughter.

    After that somber story of ancients behaving badly, let us celebrate the weekend with the more cheerful KARELia Suite, Op. 11 by Jean Sibelius.

    Anonymous 6:02 AM  

    Found it all fairly easy but still don't get the "syn" answer for 24A.

    pfb 6:35 AM  

    Challenging with the SW corner coming last. I, too, do not get "SYN".

    Anonymous 6:39 AM  

    Ugh....meaning of 24A just came to me. Loads is a synonym for many. Duh!

    Jim Walker 7:04 AM  

    One of those occasional puzzles that I stare at for twenty minutes and finish in forty-five as the light bulb suddenly goes on. Beautiful construction and clever cluing. National consumer advocate RALPHNADER intersecting New York's version BESSMYERSON. Wanted triton to be a symbol for too long, and punch for CLOCK slowed me down a good bit. But once the dominoes started falling it was a fast, clean solve. Loved it.

    jberg 7:59 AM  

    My experience was sort of opposite of @Rex's; I didn't get 1A so went to 10A, the gimme SALT I, and the NE filled itself in quickly (ignoring my prayers to "Please don't let it be AXER!") i wasn't that happy with ENCHAIN or ATOP either, so releives when espY turned out to be OBEY instead. It generally went pretty fast for a Saturday.

    ROSA PARKS, though -- the point was that she did take it sitting down, and kept on sitting down despite orders not to. So that clue seemed a little off.

    DALY/DALE was a pure guess; she could have been gALE, for all I knew, but gALY was a little less plausible.

    What I learned today: 1) what the EMMY looks like, 2) HELLO KITTY is animated. Who knew?

    chefbea 8:32 AM  

    Too tough. I usually don't even try Saturdays. But I have read all the Nancy Drew books...way back when.

    Guess it's time for some chez mix for breakfast!!

    chefbea 8:32 AM  

    meant chex...darn auto correct

    r.alphbunker 8:38 AM  

    I really liked this puzzle.

    It is very interesting to see snapshots of Rex's solve and compare them to mine. He is such a tidy solver. I imagine him mowing through the puzzle like he is cutting his lawn whereas I am like a butterfly flitting about trying to find something to land on.

    For example, here is what my NE corner looked like before it fell. I succeeded only because I erased everything and started anew. In short, I erase my way through a Saturday whereas Rex races through.

    GILL I. 8:57 AM  

    The only paintings I liked from Picasso were his Blue Period. LA VIE came easily (would have loved to have seen "The Old Guitarist").
    I was probably the only "young" girl who never read Nancy Drew so LATE TEENS never entered my mind. That whole upstairs was a disaster for me.
    Did get RALPH NADER off the H from STRETCH and ROSA PARKS got slipped in. Stared for a long time. Got up, had a drink, walked the pups, came back and GOOGLED the hell out of the rest.
    Well, actually I did get HELLO KITTY because my eldest granddaughter is in love with that little icon.
    Really beautiful puzzle that got the better of me Doug and Brad but really RHOMB for a diamond????
    Isn't a RHOMB one of those floor sweepers?

    Whirred Whacks 9:01 AM  

    @Gill I "Isn't a RHOMB one of those floor sweepers?"

    No, RHOMB is the mayor of Chicago.

    Anonymous 9:04 AM  

    Loads is a synonym for many.

    GILL I. 9:06 AM  

    @Whirred Whacks. My second guess was that guy who ran for President...!

    AnnieD 9:10 AM  

    I don't get how hypertext connects two pages... I know what html stands for, but I don't get the connect two pages part...

    Aketi 9:22 AM  

    @chefbea, haven't had breakfast yet, so I would happily eat CHEX mix at Chez Mix right now.

    Since I am not a Chef, OVEN READY was an instafill.

    I had paPERclip before HYPERlink before HYPERTEXT.

    I have developed animosity towards the OGRE that appears almost everyday in the no brainer instafill crossword puzzles given out at the subway stations in the morning. So I glared at 34 across losing a full Knute of solve time before I accepted that an OGRE had infiltrated the NYTimes puzzle for the second Saturday on a row,

    mathguy 9:22 AM  

    I don't know about this one. Feel good about getting it because it was very tough for me, but I thought that five clues stepped over the border between Cleverly Misleading and Unfair. (SYN is fair, but I didn't understand it until I read Bill Butler's blog.)

    I've never seen RHOMB in all the mathematics I've read. In fact, even rhombus is mathematically archaic. Euclid probably had a theorem or two about rhombuses and that's it.

    Anonymous 9:25 AM  

    @AnnieD - Regular text appears in a web page as black. HYPERTEXT is text that when clicked takes you to the target page, and appears in blue. Your blogger id is actually HYPERTEXT, when clicked it links to your blogger page.

    Loren Muse Smith 9:33 AM  

    Those of us in the, sniff, inner circle of solvers I bet all did a whoop when we saw the names at the top of the puzzle this morning! Our beloved Dynamic Duo!

    I never miss an opportunity to make it seem to my non-puzzle friends that the constructor(s) and I are great friends. "Oh that's a Walden? What an interesting, talented guy. Did you know that he can. . . .?" My dentist complains that he can't find hard puzzles, so when I go, I take him some themelesses. You better believe this Tuesday, after giving him today's NYT AND Stumper, he's going to end up believing that the Brad and Doug and I go way, way back. He probably already suspects that I'm a godparent to BEQ's daughter. I've become worse than a name dropper, and I just can't stop.

    Today's puzzle was so, so good! That initial panic at the pathetic couple of S's with utter failure a distinct possibility – only to chip away bit by bit to a satisfying victory. How do they DO that? Early missteps:

    ___ strap – CLASS TRIP (thinking something you grab. Is grab strap a thing?)
    adage – AXIOM with adze coming down off the D.
    Dukakis - MYERSON. Hey. She's pretty, and there was some dumb cross that worked for a while
    Cameo role – LIMELIGHT (off the M)
    Blank for CLOCK. I bet we're legion, rationalizing that the NSA was also in Argo.
    Knee pad – KNEELER.
    Paper clip - HYPERTEXT
    Rehab - DETOX
    Clusterf. . . EVENT. I have stories.
    Pet Pewitt – LATE TEENS (off the first T). I had just seen a local WSAZ newscast and the reporter's name was and I'm not making this up, Rebekah Pewitt.

    Best favorite clues by far: SYN and CLASS TRIP

    @Steve J – Is there a difference between chain and ENCHAIN? So can you also enfetter someone? And we have KEMPT, too, as in "Nancy's titian hair was always KEMPT, even with the roof down in her roadster."

    From yesterday @Beatrice, @Maruchka – I wasn't familiar with a viola da gamba, so I watched @Beatrice's link – beautiful! I notice that the musicians hold the bow almost like a (proper) dinner fork, unlike the way cellists hold it – like a dinner fork the way my husband and son hold one. The things you learn on this site. . . Thanks!

    @M&A – I laughed out loud picturing Tucker in the Wider Than Snot group at Westminster next year. Hopefully he'll entertain the audience with his frightening throat-nose-snort-I'm-about-to-die shtick (which he never once performed between ingesting the rat poison and egesting it. Hmm.)

    Brad and Doug, you dear, dear friends. Youse da ATEAM!!!!

    Dorothy Biggs 9:40 AM  

    This was a weird one for me. It was as though some xword ghost was hovering over my shoulder, and just as I was about to give up, would whisper in my ear an alternative that I hadn't considered and actually didn't consider until this "other" voice pointed it out to me. And I'm only half joking about this.

    I would go into detail, but it's a little hard to describe. One "hint" I got was to reconsider 1A for which I had --A-STRaP. It was that "strap" ending that was killing me and the cross-clued EVENT didn't make sense. And then, like that, I thought CLASSTRIP. I have no idea why, but it all made sense all at once and from there I filled in the NW.

    Another was in the NE where I had yALTa for a long time at 10A. In fact that whole NE corner I went back and forth with AXER and questioning that X with regard to a saw. Was saw a cutting tool? a verb? And then *boom!* I erased the Y and A and the entire corner started to fill itself in.

    I swear to god I just have coffee in my coffee and no other drug of any sort. Maybe it was the fact I have been basically iced in since Monday.

    I have never had this experience before and I'm a little freaked out about it. I wonder if I could use it in other aspects of my life and maybe, I don't know, become rich or something.

    Teedmn 9:42 AM  

    Great puzzle! I had many WOEs and write-overs. My favorite wrong answer was kaTriNA (and the Waves!) for ANTENNA. For the longest time, all I had was SICS/SOCIAL, DEV/EVENT and CIA. Eventually the NE fell, had an aha at SATELLITE and slowly (nearly an hour) made my way around.

    RE: Rex's link to Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., I always thought their name was inspired by the dog's name (Sammy Davis Jr. Jr.) in the book, "Everything Is Illuminated" but it isn't, according to their Wikipedia page. Sigh.

    Thanks, Mr. Peterson and Mr. Wilber.

    Whirred Whacks 9:51 AM  

    @Mathguy 9:22 "I've never seen RHOMB in all the mathematics I've read"

    My Ball of Whacks is a "rhombic triacontahedron" or 30-sided solid with RHOMBI as faces. I usually see (and use) the word RHOMBUS (RHOMBI plural), but have encountered RHOMB plenty of times in the geometry literature. (For those of of who are interested, my RHOMBUS -- in the Ball of Whacks -- is a "golden rhombus" -- meaning the ratio of its long axis to its short axis is 1.618: the "golden ratio").

    I'm currently sitting on top of my hill with my dogs waiting for the sun to come -- due up in 4 minutes. It's in the high 50s. It's days like this that I remember why I put up with California government. :-)

    Robso 9:57 AM  

    I always thought Binghamton was a thriving metropolis.
    Elmira Native

    pfb 10:16 AM  

    Finally got the "SYN" while out running in the cold. Loved having that distraction when the wind was in my face.

    malsdemare 10:17 AM  

    @NCA Pres. I write, sometimes quite well, and sometimes, REALLY well, like award-winning stuff. But that really good stuff isn't mine; I just take dictation from some part of my brain that has an idea but doesn't have fingers so it borrows mine. I'll type away like mad, look back at what I've written, and wonder to myself how I DID that. I imagine this is my MUSE -- and a fairly infrequent visit -- but since I don't earn a living this way, I'm just grateful when she shows up.

    I liked this puzzle. I got MYERSON with NO help, STYNE off the S, TOOSEXY from out of the blue (my quite sexy daughter used to sing it while prancing about the house; you could almost see the temperature rise). Thanks, team.

    Malsdemare 10:20 AM  

    Infrequent "visitor" sheesh!

    Bob Kerfuffle 10:24 AM  

    Wonderful puzzle!

    Most of the same slow-downs as others, but completely doable in the end!

    Steve M 10:26 AM  


    Mohair Sam 10:26 AM  

    Saw the Peterson/Wilber byline and thought this would be tough and fun - and was it ever. Ideal Saturday.

    Struggled mightily with entire SW until wife yelled ROSAPARKS! and espY became OBEY and the section gradually fell.

    True story - We had the S and last E in STEELE when my wife said "If I'm naming a character something as pretentious as Anastasia in my dirty book her last name would likely be STEELE, try that." Speaking of that - I've read "Harry Potter" and "Game of Thrones" for the sake of our crosswords, but nothing will get me to read soft porn aimed at women, nothing.

    @Robso - Have relatives in King Ferry who see Elmira as a thriving metropolis.

    Carola 10:38 AM  

    Tuff! Very satisfying to finish. Initial pass: CIA, MYERSON, BIT x BIBLE, with ?? at SALT I, AXER, PAPYRI, DEV. Loved seeing it all unfold.

    In the "um, no" department: remembering from the Trevi fountain that the tritons were part horse, I actually considered StalLmaTE.

    Favorite corner: LIMELIGHT, TOP SECRET, I'M TOO SEXY. CLASS TRIP over LATE TEENS also very nice.

    r.alphbunker 10:58 AM  

    @NCA President

    That is a beautiful description of my experience solving this puzzle also. It is wonderful how erasing a section somehow resets the thinking about the section also.

    Check out this New Yorker cartoon

    Malsdemare 11:12 AM  


    PERFECT cartoon!

    Ω 11:17 AM  

    CIA gave mu punCh which made me wonder why Nancy Drew's underwire would be a topic in teen mysteries. Repeat that thinking for the rest of the puzzle and you pretty much have my solve this morning.

    Other notable toe stubs, rEhab before DETOX, bore before REAM, wondering how to get Malcolm X to STRETCH to ten letters (50th anniversary of his assassination makes him at least as topical as Anastasia STEELE), Ara before LEO, and complete ignorance of KAREL, STYNE, and which soundtracks used Right Said Fred's novelty hit.

    Some days you get the bear, some days the bear gets you. At least my hair is KEMPT.

    Cheerio 11:29 AM  

    Awesome puzzle! I'm adding the constructors to my list of favorites. It's like Berry puzzles where if you take some extra time to puzzle on it, the answers will come. Loved it! Thanks! I

    Cheerio 11:32 AM  

    P.s. The character is HeLLO KITTY so that made sense to me. What doesn't make sense is why a kitty would be named with a spoken phrase.

    Cheerio 11:36 AM  

    Ps I assume the original appeal of HELLO kitty was that HELLO was an English word that even very young Japanese kids know.

    Notsofast 11:40 AM  

    I held off writing in AXER as long as I could because I couldn't believe it would be part of this otherwise excellent fill. I bet it made DP and BW cringe a little, too. The southeast corner "eluded" me. Nice work though.

    Cheerio 11:42 AM  

    @NCA President. Yes I had a similar solving experience. The fact that ones brain may work things out before we come to a "realization" of something is familiar to me, but it's pretty interesting that several of us had a similar experience of that with this particular puzzle.

    Nancy 11:56 AM  

    Just about every answer I filled in in this fiendishly-clued puzzle was a Eureka moment for me. Unlike Rex, the NW came very late--second to last for me. LATE TEENS and CLASS TRIP were clued in a way I didn't see them at all. smaCK instead of CLOCK didn't help. In the SE, rEhab instead of DETOX didn't help either. Never heard of HYPER TEXT and wanted something more like book spine, though I never wrote it in. Thought it was going to be ADANO instead of UDINE, but didn't write that in, either.

    I had a wonderful time with this, though it took me forever to finish. No, change that!. I had a wonderful time with this BECAUSE it took me forever to finish! And thus I say to all you speed-solvers: Why settle for five minutes of solving pleasure when you can have well over an hour of solving pleasure? The world could have been coming to an end, but I wouldn't have noticed; I was much too engrossed. A wonderful Saturday that I found challenging and completely fair.

    Anonymous 12:01 PM  

    I object to the Rosa Parks clue. 'She wouldn't take an affront sitting down.' In fact, she DID take an affront sitting down; sitting down was the whole point.

    Hartley70 12:15 PM  

    I'm going to ditto @Nancy's second paragraph. This was like an all-day sucker (do kids still buy those at the candy store?) and I needed that hour and fifteen minutes this morning to get my mind off a toothache. Not quite as good as Novacaine, but much better than Tylenol.

    Like most everyone else, I also picked this up and put it down again and again like a hot potato. Each time I'd see an answer more clearly. The NW and the SE were my sticking points. MYERSON was my first answer and LATETEENS was my last. She was at her loveliest then in Atlantic City.

    Just to keep this going @Robso, Elmira is a thriving metropolis to the residents of Horseheads, I believe.

    mac 12:19 PM  

    Fantastic Saturday puzzle! Love this team of constructors.

    That said, I needed to google Flash Gordon's girlfriend to finish the South. Boo.

    Quite a few of the same hold ups Loren had. That "strap" stayed in place way too long.

    Bible belt took a long time, after considering bagle, blini and (too long) borscht.

    Lewis 12:40 PM  

    Tough and delicious. I couldn't wait to do this when I saw who made it. Clues like for SYN (talk about making an ugly answer beautiful!). Words coaxed out of my subconscious. Thank you, boys!

    Fred Romagnolo 12:41 PM  

    I started off with roundTRIP,but couldn't reconcile it with EVENT. I think the Nancy Drew clue was unfair. Had to Leonard Maltin KAREL. Had to Rand McNalley UDINE. Never heard of HELLO KITTY. I don't think an AXIOM is a saw, adage, yes, AXIOM, no. Just didn't know HYPER TEXT, or DALY. The clue for CHEX was pretty tenuous, and I'M TOO SEXY was way off my radar. As usual I pretty much agree with @Mathguy. When you say "I'll bite," it means I'll take a chance; having BIT doesn't necessarily mean you've been taken in, if it did, you wouldn't say I'll bite. I'm afraid those two guys work a little too hard at throwing you for a loop. Not happy when I think about puzzles like this; no sense of it having been a fair fight.

    Steve J 12:46 PM  

    I got completely destroyed by this puzzle. But I have to admire so much of it. Some really great cluing (although the ROSA PARKS clue struck me as a real STRETCH) and some good fill (aside from OVEN-READY - I realize it's on some commercial packaging, but it still strikes me as approaching green paint).

    Thing I learned today: RHOMB is a word, not an abbreviation as I thought. I was wondering why 56D had "e.g., abbv." but 55A didn't. Looked it up after the puzzle, and lo and behold it's a word.

    @LMS: One of these days, I should look into possible historical reasons why we have both chain and ENCHAIN, snare and ensnare, etc. Today they're redundant relative to each other, but there has to be some sort of evolution in usage or etymological background that explains them.

    joho 12:48 PM  

    I might have to change the "Dynamic" to "Demonic" in "_____ Duo."

    Tough, tough puzzle for me which I could not finish without Googling which I won't do, so a big DNF.

    ATOP gave me paperclip, not!

    Regardless of my fail, there is no way I can't love a puzzle with HELLOKITTY in it.

    Doug and Brad, you never fail to please!

    Unknown 12:51 PM  

    Knew it was not going to be an easy one when Udine was the ONLY gimme during my first run through. Thankfully my family hosted an exchange student from Udine in 1982, so I've been many times and Chicca and I are still friends 32 years later. Though I certainly didn't anticpate she'd be providing an assist this morning!

    Hugh 12:53 PM  

    Agree with Jberg - ROSA PARKS clue was a bit off as her protest revolved around her remaining seated...

    Difficult for me - I usually skip today's and go right for Sunday (which are getting a bit easy for my taste) but liked OVEN READY and LATE TEENS.

    Kudos to all who can do Saturdays with relative ease and enjoyment...maybe I'll get there one day :o) but until then will continue to peek at everyone's great commentary :o)

    See you on Sunday!

    Numinous 12:53 PM  

    BIBLE belt came to me pretty easily, I live in one.
    This one took me a long long time and two googles. I couldn't get UDINE though I know I've heard of it. I had no idea who DALY is even though, get this, I watched his show on New Years Eve (his guests got pretty drunk). No, I don't recall his name ever being mentioned on that show and I wasn't paying particularly close attention anyway.

    I really dislike SALTI. Nixon signed THE SALT: there was no SALT II then. I also dislike AXER, KEMPT and ENCHAIN. I did, however love SYN when the penny finally dropped and the NYT app equivalent of Mr Happy Pencil popped up. Like many of y'all, I had a lot of rewrites, qTS before PTS, obTAIN before ATTAIN and KNEEpad before KNEELER. And that was another one I disliked. KNEELER is a description of a prie-dieu or a user of one, not a feature. Oh well….

    This puzzle kept me amused, as I said, for a long long time. Just right for a cold and blustery day in the Georgia mountains.

    Bob Kerfuffle 1:10 PM  

    By remaining seated, Rosa Parks stood up for her rights.

    Ω 1:10 PM  

    @Steve J & @LMS - You two really hance the comments section. Just sayin'.

    RnRGhost57 1:14 PM  

    @Numinous: you're right about SALT and SALT I, in a very literal sense. But as a historian, I could imagine dinging a student for not specifying SALT "I" in an essay on detente.

    Clark 1:25 PM  

    I rise to defend the clue 'She wouldn't take an affront sitting down' for ROSA PARKS. Now I did not actually get up out of my chair as I wrote that. I used the phrase metaphorically and that is how 'taking something sitting down' is used in the clue. She manifested her refusal to take an affront sitting down by steadfastly remaining seated.

    Brilliant Saturday misdirection.

    Lewis 1:29 PM  

    Can someone please explain why INDY is an Ark finder? Thanks!

    Indy 1:33 PM  

    Indiana Jones of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

    Steve J 1:34 PM  

    @Lewis: "Raiders of the Lost Ark"

    @Numinous: I think SALT I is perfectly fine. Just like it's perfectly fine to refer to World War I even though nobody contemporaneous to the Great War called it WWI at the time.

    Lewis 1:39 PM  

    Thanks, Indy and Steve!

    Tita 1:44 PM  

    Tough dnf without a little hello from my friends.
    shortTRIP, due to Paul being a rEp and those standouts being oneas was hard to fix.

    My stars were on the red carpet, and my box was stamped thiSEndup.

    My prie-dieu had a cushion.

    Good puzzle, Mssrs!

    OISK 1:48 PM  

    Very tough, but it beat me fair and square. I just didn't come up with Senator Paul, ( maybe because I dislike him?) and ended up with "Userready" instead of "oven ready," ...If you call someone a slug, you could call him a cluck, so that worked, Lasie for Picasso meant nothing, but wasn't looking for a French word (vie) from Pablo. "Ser" instead of "Sen" didn't make sense, maybe short for "sermon,"? No, no one to blame but myself and impatience. That gives me 2 DNF in three days, after nearly three perfect weeks. My failures often come in streaks! Missing three squares, though, - that hasn't happened in ages.

    I managed to get the unfamiliar pop references right, too. Hello kitty??? Karel? ( I knew Dale, of course, was her last name "Ardent"?)

    Finally, I don't like the clue for "Leo." It is not near Ursa Major. Leo is a Zodiac constellation, found in the Southern sky in winter. Ursa Major is visible all year in NY, but in the Northern sky. It should have said "Constellation near Virgo," or "Location of Regulus"

    Anonymous 2:02 PM  

    Print version and on line version have different clues for 51 across.

    Fred Romagnolo 2:08 PM  

    @OISK: assuming you're not pulling a leg: I think it's Arden.

    RooMonster 2:35 PM  

    Hey All!
    Tough-un! Ample use of Check feature, which I use on SatPuzs to cross out wrong entries so I can actually get the correct answers, or else I would just give up. I think my brain has on and off days. (More off lately!)

    Too many writeovers to write... um... over. 51A is a new one. (As clued)

    TOPSECRET was an awesome spoof movie starring Val Kilmer. Came out late 80's (I think). If you've never seen it, you're missing good stuff!


    Anonymous 2:45 PM  

    Thanks, Anon 2:02. I was wondering why the references to Buck Rogers' girlfriend.

    Clark 2:48 PM  

    @OISK: Look at a star chart. Leo is on the ecliptic (so not very far south) and Ursa Major is an enormous constellation that extends quite far to the south. Parts of Ursa Major are closer to Leo than are parts of Virgo. Here is a cool old chart/picture of the Big Bear and the Little Lion. (The head of the Big Lion is touching the paws of the Little Lion.)

    Anonymous 2:50 PM  

    Isn't hypertext used to create a hyperlink?

    Nancy 2:58 PM  

    @OISK and @Clark: Sometimes ignorance is bliss. Since I know nothing whatever about Astronomy (or Astrology either, for that matter), LEO came in unhesitatingly, once I had the O. It was one of the few answers that DIDN'T give me trouble!

    Masked and Anonymo3Us 3:05 PM  

    Yo, @muse!
    Whenever I go to the dentist, I bring him a runtpuz or two. His un-abridged comment: "Great stuff!"
    ...He often goes on to say that solvin a runtpuz is pretty much like goin to the dentist. He's always proud of himself, for comin up with that. I just haft make Tucker-like gurgles, and then rinse.

    Always luv bein ganged up on by two strong constructioneers. Sorta like a Crossword Fight Club.
    This one really worked me over mighty good. But I'm still standin, at the tail end, boys. Owe it all to cinnamon rolls and vodka. Breakfast of champions.


    wreck 3:23 PM  

    It's not unusual on a Saturday to make a complete pass-through with little to show and then get a few long answers and make strides. Today, I was much heavier into the "Roo" method. I had to make quite a few "checks" to get going. It was a fun challenge, but blew me out of the water!

    Lewis 3:34 PM  

    Factoid: By 2014, when HELLO KITTY was 40 years old, she was worth about $7 billion a year, all without any advertising.

    Quotoid: "To fall in love is awfully simple, but to fall out of love is simply awful." -- Bess MYERSON

    Unknown 3:35 PM  

    I guessed UDINE because I knew Udinese, the soccer team in Serie A. Figured there was a link...

    South gave me the most trouble. DALY seemed like the most likely name given every other letter other than that D had to be correct. Didn't catch on until I read the blog. I am not usually a New Years celebrant. Haven't heard from Carson Daly in years, or so it seems.

    Overall my time was a few minutes faster than average, so I guess I rate it Medium at most. Good puzzle.

    M and Also 3:46 PM  

    Word of the Day was no sweat, over here at our house.
    Hear that phrase all the day all the time…

    "UDINE with that day-um pyzzle bloggin, yeet?!?"


    ** gruntz + more gruntz **

    Hartley70 4:03 PM  

    Thanks for the tip @Anonymous. I was completely befuddled by the Buck Rogers conversation. WS had better cut that out or our comments will be jabberwocky!

    Numinous 4:16 PM  

    @SteveJ and RnR, you're right, of course. Looking back, Nixon signed the first Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty and that is known as SALTI. I remember that happening. I suppose that's similar to all the people who were living during The Great War and how they might feel hearing about WWI.

    Don McBrien 4:36 PM  

    What a monster!! I literally stared at a grid that was completely blank except for CIA for nearly an hour and thought that was as far as I was going to make it! Luckily, stuck with it, plowed through and finished with no errors or write-overs. Had to guess on DALE / LESE, but got lucky. Still, very satisfying to finish this one!

    Don McBrien 4:46 PM  

    Oops...just noticed I had OVERREADY / SER, so one error.

    Jeff510 4:56 PM  

    1 Down: Slug

    Answer: Me on this puzzle!

    Tough one but fun

    Chip Hilton 5:12 PM  

    @Andrew Morrison - The Udinese link helped me, as well. And, Carson DALY is featured quite regularly these days on the Today Show. It looks like they're grooming him, or Willy Geist, to take Matt Lauer's place someday. Hmm . . perhaps Brian Williams will put in an application.

    I loved this puzzle. And like @Nancy, I felt the struggle was a large part of its charm. It's Saturday, after all.

    foxaroni 5:16 PM  


    @LMS: so great to see you posting while you can. You and M&A are always highlights of the blog for me.

    As is always the case, DNF the Saturday puzz.

    mathguy 5:37 PM  

    @Whirred Whacks: I just checked with my friend Mike Serra. His geometry textbook has been one of the most used in high schools over the past five or ten years. He's read a lot more geometry than I have. He hasn't seen "rhomb" used in print. He's seen a teacher write it on the blackboard to save time.

    You've probably seen it in some specialized research you've done on rhombuses.

    Rand Paul is a racist 5:48 PM  

    Back in 2009, (Rand) Paul’s senate campaign spokesperson had a Myspace webpage that included a comment tied to the Martin Luther King holiday that read: “HAPPY NIGGER DAY!!!” above a photo of a lynching. While someone else might have posted the comment, it remained on the staffer’s page for nearly two years.

    Then in 2013, Jack Hunter, Paul’s social media director — and the co-author of Paul’s 2011 book on the tea party — was uncovered as the “Southern Avenger,” a radio shock jock who regularly donned a mask emblazoned with the Confederate flag and had a long history of making racially inflammatory statements, including praising Abraham Lincoln’s assassin for having his heart “in the right place.”

    Under pressure, Paul reluctantly fired both offending parties — but did so while denying any racism on their parts. Back in 2009, he absolved his staffer of having “any racist tendencies,” while last year he protected Hunter for two weeks before finally letting him go and blaming the media. “He was unfairly treated by the media, and he was put up as target practice for people to say he was a racist, and none of that’s true,” Paul said. “None of it was racist.”

    OISK 5:53 PM  

    @Clark is technically correct; the Southern edge of Ursa Major is not far (to the viewer) from Leo. However, for an observer in NY and points north, for a large part of the year Ursa Major is visible and Leo is not (July, for example). So the casual viewer doesn't think of the two as near each other. ( and viewers in Argentina, for example, see Leo, although upside down, but don't see much of Ursa major at all)

    Not of interest to most here, I am sure, but it is why I hesitated for a long time on what should have been a very easy clue for me.

    Anonymous 5:59 PM  

    @ 5:48
    How the puzzle?

    Anonymous 6:09 PM  

    @5:59 how the English?

    Maruchka 8:01 AM  

    Finished this morning. Cursed the NE yesterday, love it today. Went in like butter. I appreciate the cluing ambiguities, but some of the solves felt a bit strained. KNEELER, AXER, OBEY (clue and solve sharing first letters nitpick), ELUDE, OVER READY were WOEs.

    On to a Sunday Mr. Berry. Looks like fun.

    Unknown 2:58 PM  

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    rondo 11:33 AM  

    Almost nuthin’ for the longest time. Then some flat out guesses and a few light bulbs came on and I made it around the edges and finished with a mass of write-over ink in the middle. Makes up for all of the easiness earlier this week. A real struggle at something just less than an hour (only know that because of an accidental peek at the clock).

    Had Miss America’s M and pondered about how few of those former women I don’t know, except that one that used to be on TV way back when. Could it be – yes it was – and that got me to the middle.

    I don’t think you REAM a gun barrel. Maybe you REAM a hole in sheet metal, but you would have to bore a barrel if it was going to usable. Just sayin’. But the A was there from my partial guess READY, so I went with it.

    Quite challenging, lucky to survive. Perfect Sat-puz IMHO.

    Burma Shave 12:17 PM  


    We took a CLASSTRIP in our LATETEENS,
    It was quite the EVENT of our SOCIAL scene.
    It became a LEADSTORY, not TOPSECRET they say,
    MORESO, not one ADULT did we OBEY.

    So EMMY had TALENT and surely was KEMPT,
    She would STRETCH out ATOP me, my favor to TEMPT.
    It was ABOUTTHAT time EMMY SATON my lap,
    So we LIT the LIMELIGHT. I tell you no crap!

    --- DALE DALY

    BS2 12:25 PM  

    Alt ending – face , all over the place.

    spacecraft 12:31 PM  

    DNF: SE. I just could not wedge in there any way at all. Certainly not with UDINE; obscuruties like that oughta be outlawed. That's plain ungettable. I did not know who replaced dear old Dick Clark, God bless him, nor had I any idea about the French phrase. "Crowning" for ATOP?? I'm not gonna get that one, either. Another curve: EVENT. Hell, everything that happens is an "EVENT." What does CLASSTRIP have to do with it? I simply had no way in.

    The rest of it was still medium-challenging, that despite my knowing Bess MYERSON right off the bat. I had some trouble with that director, whom I somehow thought I "remembered" as Andre. ROSAPARKS made me give that one up.

    Some nice stuff; loved IMTOOSEXY. That scene in GOM was hilarious. Wish I could have finished this one off. Grade: perforce INC.

    DMG 3:15 PM  

    This one was way beyond me! Did get the entire NE corner, but beyond that just a few scattered solves, including HELLOKITTY, tho the ones I,ve seen seem to be pretty small. Maybe the clue meant crabapples? At any rate, my struggles were happily interrupted by company, and I threw in the pen! Gotta go feed the grandson!

    rain forest 4:27 PM  

    This was challenging, period, but I finished, standing up. Found the NW relatively easy once I got rid of punCh which I did because nothing that means "not mussed" starts with H.

    I couldn't accept AXER (ugh) and that held me up in the NE so I went to the SW where some lucky guesses enabled KAREL to appear, and over in the SE, I threw down SATELLITE and pecked slowly away, again guessing LESE and DALY, and removing rEhab for DETOX. Oh dear, I'm getting boring recounting my entire solve. Suffice it to say, the rest came slooowly, but once I aha'd at SYN, after an hour plus, I got 'er done. Ta da. AXER? Really? How old is that babe? I don't know--go AXER.

    leftcoastTAM 4:35 PM  

    I had to run up the white flag pretty early on this one. @Steve J's comment (way above) that this one "completely destroyed" him (!) provided some consolation.

    Anonymous 5:58 PM  

    I got about 95% done and then threw in the towel. It took all day here and there, whenever I had an extra 15 mins. I'm not sure kempt is a word but I'll look it up. I have 8 empty squares below class trip and that was the ruination of my over inflated self worth. I will now drown myself in the nearby pond.

    Ron Diego

    KariSeattle 8:14 PM  

    Thanks, Chef Bea, now I don't feel so all alone! Saturday's are my nemesis! I try for 15 or 20 minutes and then hit the blog !

    Anonymous 8:23 PM  

    He is a duplicitous ass! And a racist!

    Bananafish 6:26 PM  

    Hated this puzzle. This is only the 2nd Saturday in the past 5 years I have had to Google answers .... and I had to Google about a dozen to finish this one. I find it hard to believe a human being on this planet could have finished this one, and yet there you all are in the comments above me loving this puzzle and finishing it in no time at all.

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