2003 top 5 hit for Fabolous / SAT 4-4-15 / Title flora in Whitman poem / Ibsen play parodying opera / Ritter's co-star on TVs 8 simple rules

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Constructor: Ned White

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: none

Word of the Day: SKID (24D: Freight platform) —
1. The action of sliding or slipping over a surface, often sideways.
a. plank, log, or timber, usually one of a pair, used as a support or as a track forsliding or rolling heavy objects.
b. pallet for loading or handling goods, especially one having solid sideboards and nbottom.
c. One of several logs or timbers forming a skid road.
3. skids Nautical A wooden framework attached to the side of a ship to prevent damage, as when unloading.
4. shoe or drag applying pressure to a wheel to brake a vehicle.
5. runner in the landing gear of certain aircraft.
6. Informal
a. period of sharp decline or repeated losses: Bad economic news sent the marketsinto a skid. The win ended the team's four-game skid.
b. skids A path to ruin or failure: His career hit the skids. Her life is now on the skids.(thefreedictionary.com)
• • •

This was a SUNNY, delightful puzzle, from start to finish, but it was pretty dang easy. Who knew the Saturday puzzle was going to be this easy? I'll tell you who knew—STEW KNEW:

Pretty good start, that, though I needed the SRAS / AVER crossing to really get going. Hard to know what to say about this. It's smooth. It's solid. It's good. It's got a very conventional structure, and none of the marquee answers are That memorable. But again, they're good. PLAY FOOTSIE is good (though I don't really know the definition in the clue—22D: Work together closely but covertly); KISS MY GRITS is good (old and good … good-old); K.O. PUNCH is good (41D: Flooring delivery) (I had the first two letters and took a flier on PUNCH, which was confirmed by PEAS). Only real issues were in and around SKID—again, not a definition I know, and I also don't know the Fabolous song "INTO YOU" (37A: 2003 top 5 hit for Fabolous), though it was highly inferable; and then in the SW, where I initially found the whole corner intractable. Weirdly (very weirdly), the words "Ibsen" and "opera" in 46D: Ibsen play parodying an opera made me think NORMA, but I have no idea why. I don't know what that work is about. At all. Anyway, confirmed NORMA with OVERT and that corner opened up. Looking at it now, I think I would've gotten "A VIEW From the Bridge" if I'd seen it first. Seems obvious. But that's it for difficulty. All else, cake.

  • 1A: Congratulatory gestures (BACK SLAPS) — I wouldn't even call it a mini-theme, but still, nice parallel between clue on this first Across answer and the clue on the last one, 64A: Celebratory gesture (CHEST BUMP)
  • 30A: Some joeys (KOALAS) — bit of an editing hiccup here I think; I *swear* I just saw this clue for KOALAS (if it was in some other puzzle, my apologies)
  • 40A: Bad case of the blues (DEEP FUNK) — I just like the unintentional musical crossing of FUNK and SOUL(s) (31D: Persons)

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Unknown 12:50 AM  

Well, If I’ve said it once, Ill say it again… (for the first time that is…)


Caused a 40-Across.

Okay, perhaps I 15-Across.


UNICUM (59-Across)

Elle54 1:18 AM  


John Child 1:40 AM  
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John Child 1:42 AM  

Not easy for me! The California area took me down: Didn't know the TV show at 24A or the 12-year-old rap song at 37A, and "work" in the clue for PLAY FOOTSIE made it impenetrable. Maybe "Fool around with covertly" would have been too easy.

Biggest DNF in a while, but apart from the FOOTSIE clue entirely my problem, not the constructor's. Good puzzle Mr White. I'll look forward to number 13. (Cue the "Twilight Zone" music...)

jae 1:49 AM  

A tale of two puzzles for me.  Top half very easy,  bottom half tough!   So, I did get a Sat. workout.   Went through Shun and SHoo before SNUB. 

Took a while to see PLAY FOOTSIE and KO PUNCH and NORMA and HULU and... but it was fun getting there.  Liked it a lot.  BACK SLAPS and CHEST BUMPS for Mr. White!

retired_chemist 2:27 AM  

Medium here. Liked it.

I had 1A high fiveS, 54A goal, 45A creEd, and 50A mEAt, all for too long, so my time was slow. IN THE NUDE as in and out a couple of times while I tried to make goal work.

Thanks, Mr. White.

Anonymous 5:32 AM  

You DID just see the same clue for KOALAS on March 28. I thought it was odd myself.

Jim Walker 5:54 AM  

I wonder how many Gem Cities there are in the USA. I grew up in the "Gem City of the Foothills" (Monrovia, CA), lived 35 years in perhaps the original (1845) Gem City (Dayton, OH). LARAMIE is most deserving of the appellation. It's a charming university town with great folks and no pretensions.

Oh, the puzzle: Medium easy with very few quibbles and no junk. Although the SCHEDULEA I just mailed was not on top, it was page 3. Good job!

Scott Thomas 6:26 AM  

I'm with elle54. ALOP for 27D? I had FLAP for the longest time. What's with ALOP?

Trombone Tom 6:51 AM  

I think of floppy ears sitting catawampus on the lop-eared Easter bunny's head for ALOP. Not so easy for me, as SW opened up early but
SE was hard to cipher. Had LeaveS for 42A for the longest time. Enjoyed this, Mr. White.

Now watching the lunar eclipse clearly visible in the western sky.

Anonymous 7:41 AM  

I can't find any dictionary with "alop", nor is it in the Scrabble dictionary, AFAICT. Totally stumped me and was surprised when I put it in (because it had to be) and the app said I was right

Charles Flaster 7:58 AM  

Medium and extremely enjoyable.
Liked symmetric feel to KISS MY GRITS and PLAY FOOTSIE.
No CrosswordEASE and creative fill.
Really well done. Thanks NW.

fortuitous me 8:15 AM  

Stared at 24 across. Didn't remember that Stephen Seagal spells his name with an "e". Never watched the show, but thought Ritter/Stephen Seagal (spelled wrong, of course) would just be one of those wacky sitcom duos that a TV network might try. Entered SAGAL, happy pencil and song ensued. Right answer, wrong reason. I'll take it.

congratulate this! 8:18 AM  

I confidently entered HIGHFIVES, then FISTBUMPS for 1a. Seems many congratulatory gestures have 8 letters. White, you bastard.

Loren Muse Smith 8:26 AM  

It's a blow to the ego to see Rex's rating as easy here. I'm with @John Child; California was my death blow.

I could have sat with this all day and not seen PLAY FOOTSIE. I guessed "Naomi" for the Ibsen work and hence a ridiculous "Ottos" for romance awards. I knew at that point I had hit rock bottom and just started digging. Bad feeling, that.

I loved the clue for 61A! How sneaky to throw in some Russian for a Saturday. Next maybe we'll have for 38D – Riccio di mare : Italian :: ________ : Japanese.

I was able to sort out the southeast when I erased "like a baby" off the B in "ibid."

Rex - yes, I got KOALAS immediately because we've seen it recently here. And great catch on the FUNK/SOUL cross.

Jae – I kept thinking "swat" there.

@Scott Thomas - me, too, for "flap."

AWOKE. Hmm. I probably could have gotten this if the clue had been "shaken." Maybe not. To me, AWOKE is something that happened with no one shaking you. Those &^%$ awaken, awoke, awoken, waked. . . I just don't understand'em and can't use'em. I would have thought "shook" would equal "woke."

Here's something that mystifies me – I'm unabashedly glued to the set watching Bravo reality women (and I *am* carefully listening to the Ladies of London and the Real Housewives of Melbourne checking to make sure that their English – pronoun case, pronoun choice. . . is changing Just. Like. Ours.), but I cannot stomach anything Kardashian. It's like the people in Korea who eat big ole worms the size of cigars being disgusted by the people in China eating centipedes. Sheesh. KRIS went in easily enough anyway.

All in all, a very tough dnf here. I finally threw in the towel, peeked, changed "Saget" to SAGAL, "Naomi" to NORMA and even then, it took a while to sort out that side. No celebratory or congratulatory gestures here. Kudos to all of you who solved this one! Very nice puzzle, Ned, but I'm off to LICKS my wounds.

George Barany 8:27 AM  

As revealed by the analysis over at xwordinfo.com, this puzzle debuts six new phrases for the New York Times during the @Will Shortz era: AM_DIAL, DEEP_FUNK, IN_THE_NUDE, CHESS_BUMP, PIPES_UP, and PLAY_FOOTSIE. Well done, @Ned White!

This puzzle also caught the eye of @Hayley Gold and is memorialized in this week's acrossanddown.net webcomic.

Finally, in the spirit of the holiday season, a friend sent me this photo. Hilarious!

Name that tune 8:30 AM  

Well, I seem to be a tad ALOP this weekend. I have many ways of insulting constructors I don't like. Sometimes it's overt, as in "when a puzzle looks this bad and has this much terrible fill, the constructor should tear it up and start again," or "The New York Times has completely gone off the rails to allow something like this to be published." Other days, I am more subtle: if I am a big fan of a constructor (looking at you, Patrick Berry), I'll rate even his easiest offering as "challenging," but if I don't like him (or, rarely, her), I'll say the puzzle was easy, even though I bet most people who read this blog had a much harder time today than yesterday. Yes, I know Saturday is supposed to be harder, but calling today "easy" and yesterday "medium-challenging" is just one more way for me to say, "Patrick Berry, I'm INTO you."

RooMonster 8:45 AM  

Hey All !
Just woke up here in the Pacific Time Zone. Off today, so slept in! Haven't done puz, but wanted to shout-out to @FredR. I responded to your late post yesterday.


Pat245 9:09 AM  

Katy Sagal was John Ritter's co-star in 8 Simple Rules. Only reason to remember this sitcom is that Ritter died unexpectedly while making it

Anonymous 9:16 AM  

Wyo Cowboy Says: Dang. I grew up in Wyoming, graduated from UW in Laramie, but had no idea it was called that. I also considered it to be in the mountains rather than the plains. Ah, youth.

Leslie 9:18 AM  

but if I don't like him (or, rarely, her), I'll say the puzzle was easy

Wow. Just wow. So if you want to indulge a personal dislike for a constructor, not his work, you do it via the rating of his work?

I guess I'm just surprised you're saying it out loud like it was no big deal.

Dorothy Biggs 9:20 AM  

WARNING: Old guy rant to follow...

I honestly don't listen to the radio much any more for music, I listen to sports talk almost exclusively. My music comes from Spotify and iTunes. My kids, 19 and 14, don't listen to the radio at all unless they are in my car listening to sports talk.

The point of this rant is 37A 2003 top 5 hit for Fabolous. Seriously? There is such a thing as a song that hits the "top 5?" I could go on and on about the death of radio and how programming has limited the rotation to about 12 songs per hour, but that would take too much space. Old timey Kasey Kasum top 40 radio is dead. The genre of pop music is too fragmented and, as I said, the rotation isn't nearly as broad as it used to be. I doubt very much that 2003 radio was much different than today given that Napster was happening about that time, along with iPods and other easier ways to hear your songs immediately.

So a) top 5 song in 2003? b) a rap song in the top 5? and c) top 5 in what? Billboard's rap chart? Billboard's pop chart? Billboard's Songs-that-someday-will-be-used-in-a-xword-puzzle chart?

/rant over

Otherwise, only a couple of nits: I don't know that Wyoming is a "Plains State." Having grown up in a plains state, I would say that Wyoming is a western state.

NARCO? Is that like porno? weirdo?

PALE (Not at all bright) can be bright. Have you ever seen a PALE person at the beach in the sun? They kinda stick out because they are so bright.

Thought Spasibo meant peace. So yeah, paix doesn't fit. I did like the Russian to French translation, though. It's like the most interesting man in the world who speaks fluent French, in Russian.

Otherwise, I would say medium challenging for me. Googled just twice...but no spell checks.

AliasZ 9:25 AM  

Wouldn't you like to see GALLIMAUFRIES with the clue "Olios" and CATAWAMPUS clued as "Alop" in a puzzle? Yes I would, if I only could, I surely would. I'm sure neither pa, NORMA would have gotten those words.

When I entered ICAME and PERISCOPE at first read-through, I thought this Sat. puzzle couldn't really be this easy. I was right, it did get a little tougher further on, but not too much.

A thoroughly enjoyable, clean puzzle with some marquee entries like BACKSLAPS and CHESTBUMP, PINGPONG, KOPUNCH, KISS MY GRITS, PLAY FOOTSIE. Plus AMANA plan, a canal, Panama. Thank you, Ned White.

OMAN, if you look at some of today's entries in random order, a very different theme may emerge. Let's see: ANNAL, CRACK, LICKS, KISS MY GRITS, AWOKE, PIPES UP, PERISCOPE, PLAY FOOTSIE, I CAME, NICE! Holy smokes, all this in the same NYT puzzle? Surely you GEST. What a disgrace!

And now, from the ridiculous to the sublime.

Conductor Robert Shaw (1916–1999) and the Robert Shaw Chorale commissioned Paul Hindemith (1895-1963) to compose a work in remembrance of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, after his death in 1945. The result was When LILACS Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd: A Requiem for those we love based on the Walt Whitman poem. It received its world premiere on May 14, 1946 at New York City Center, with soloists and the Collegiate Chorale conducted by Shaw.

Bass-baritone George London (1920–1985) was born to a Russian Jewish family in Montreal. In the summer of 1945 conductor Antal Doráti invited his long time friend, the Hungarian bass Mihály Székely, to sing at the first concert of the newly reorganized Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Because of travel difficulties Székely was unable to arrive in time, so Doráti called upon young George London as a substitute. And the rest, as they say, is history. It is a special privilege to hear him sing these words:

In the door-yard fronting an old farm-house, near the white-wash’d palings,
Stands the lilac bush, tall-growing, with heart-shaped leaves of rich green,
With many a pointed blossom, rising, delicate, with the perfume strong I love,
With every leaf a miracle......and from this bush in the door-yard,
With delicate-color’d blossoms, and heart-shaped leaves of rich green,
A sprig, with its flower, I break.


Name that tune 9:29 AM  
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Name that tune 9:32 AM  
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Carola 9:37 AM  

Agree with @Rex on "easy." For three quarters of the puzzle, I thought I might get it with one take, from AVER x SRAS clockwise through the SE. But I wasn't able to get into the SW with just the P (start to PLAYING FOOTSIE - terrific) and the KO (ending to DEEP FUNK and OLIO - had no idea what gallimaufries were). So I was glad to see those KOALAS again to help me CRACK that last quadrant.

Lots of action with BACK SLAPS, CHEST BUMPS, GRITS KISSing, PING PONGing and, PLAYing FOOTSIE, along with BOPS, LICKS, PIPES UP.

Re: SEETHE x SCHEDULE A - why I finally got a CPA to do my taxes.

@loren - I agree completely on AWOKE ("Wake me a 7" - not "Awake me at 7"). Maybe there was an earthquake, the sleeper shook and thus AWOKE.

Name that tune 9:44 AM  

I had a fight with one of my SRAS last night. I told her I like to PLAYFOOTSIE with srtas, and she said KISSMYGRITS. I watched her SEETHE as she kicked me in the SHIN and went to bed in a DEEPFUNK. As I watched Michael CERA in a rerun of a bad movie on HULU, I thought about what she said, and I was sorry for the way I ACTED. 50 Shades of Grey was on next, and it gave me an idea. I realized I'd better oblige my honey. Let's just say I got out a STRAP. I am an ADONIS, and we both sleep INTHENUDE. She AWOKE to LICKS of her PALE CRACK, and boy I OVERDIDIT. What AVIEW I had! She never KNEW what hit her. ICAME, she said. MERCI.


DShawMaine 9:44 AM  

Agree with several above on fave clues/answers: CHEST BUMPS, IN THE NUDE, KISS MY GRITS, etc., all great. Thought the clue for KOPUNCH was brilliant. SW corner stumped me - NARCOS? Who says that?! NARCs, yes. Otherwise agree with easy rating *for a Saturday* - despite giving up after reaching my attention limit of 1 hr.

Whirred Whacks 9:49 AM  

It was a grinding solve for me, but (like many of you) I liked a number of the answers, esp. DEEP FUNK and IN THE NUDE.

I have a question about the clueing of "penultimate letters" for PSIS. I studied ancient Greek, and thus know that psi is the next to the last letter before omega. I also know what "penultimate" means. Where in the clue does it suggest that I shift to Greek or any non-Roman alphabet? Or am I just being not sufficiently mentally flexible?

Anonymous 9:52 AM  

@Whirred Whacks. The last thing.

RooMonster 9:54 AM  

Ok, did the puz with help from the "Check" feature! *For a SatPuz* I did think it to be easyish-mediumish! Of course, using the Check feature, I can see what's wrong, and try to correct. Technically not cheating, but also technically not doing puz without confirmations. Judge me as you will!

IN THE NUDE was a bit of a start. Although true, and ones inner 12 year old snickering, seems a tad risqué for the NYT. Just sayin'.

Overall, liked it. Nice not to have an impossible SatPuz once I in a while. KISS MY GRITS was great. Liked Alice when I was younger. AM DIAL a little wonky. Wanted AM radio... Agree with the ALOP Huh-ers.


jberg 10:04 AM  

@Loren, OTTO would be a poor name for an award for romance, but a great one for a puzzle award!

DNF by my standards, since I had to look up cattywampus (usually spelled catawampus, but that's OK). Heard it many times, just never knew the meaning. But if there actually had been such a word as ALOP, I think I would have got it without cheating.

As for LARAMIE the official city site doesn't mention its being the Gem of the Prairie, but does tout the fun of riding your snowmobile through the Snowy Mountains.

Like @Rex, I thought of NORMA right away, but then thought, "Wait, that's a real opera, and certainly not a parody one" so I was looking for something in the Shamela, Spamalot vein-- mOmMA, maybe? but nothing worked, and I finally decided RITAS was more likely than mITAS.

I guess it was easy for a Saturday, except for the obscure-word clues.

Oh yes -- @Loren again, you have to think of AWOKE as transitive. It's one of those verbs that can go either way.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:10 AM  

Good one. Solid Medium for me.

Casey 10:10 AM  

Somehow easy.

Casey 10:11 AM  
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Steve M 10:21 AM  

EZ not

Nancy 10:25 AM  

Once again I had a solving experience remarkably similar to @Carola's. This puzzle seemed really easy -- much TOO easy -- for a Saturday...until suddenly it wasn't. I had filled in the entire east easily, with the exception of having SEE red instead of SEETHE for much too long. After finally figuring it out, I headed west, where numerous pitfalls (probably deliberately put there to fool us)awaited. I had teleSCOPE for PERISCOPE, NAchOS for NARCOS and wanted PLAY FOr something-or-other rather than PLAY FOOTSIE. I think that clue is completely inaccurate, btw. Not knowing SAGAL or INTO YOU didn't help. I guessed at MERCI, based on 2 letters.

But what really drove me crazy were the RITAS. I worked in book publishing for many years and yet could only remember the Edgars (mystery awards), Hugos (science fiction) and (unrelated), the Clios (advertising). As I said yesterday, memory! Oh, well.

I enjoyed this puzzle but didn't really love it. Don't know why that is; it's really quite a nice job, actually.

Questinia 10:26 AM  

Oh, the nostalgia of gallimaufries. The sentimentality of salmagundi.

I'm with @ NCA President. Where does one get top any song these days? Music seems like a million microbreweries with no unifying Kasemification. I've long since not paid attention to names, titles nor lyrics unless they have floridly entered the canon of cultural ephemera and I happened to be attentive at the time.

Got LARAMIE off the IE and belief that NIL was correct. Cheap thrill.

I CAME INTO YOU IN THE NUDE. Sorry, just the effects of lingering prior comment testosterone emanating from the screen.

Found this MEDIUM but that was with the distraction of a Manhattan and bad restaurant food.

Teedmn 10:26 AM  

Not easy for me today. I'm blaming my head cold.

Had the entire west done and then nothing. I wanted I CAME and AMANA early on but didn't put them in for a long time. Once I did, AM DIAL was obvious (rather than my early AM BAND) and the NW fell. Had LeaveS for LILACS for a while but OMAN seemed correct.

I had a big aha with 41D but couldn't see what the answer was. I had the K from FUNK and thought OLIOS might be right. I wanted Knockout (didn't fit) but maybe KO_____ was some sort of martial arts blow? PEAS finally resolved that.

BACKSLAPS and CHESTBUMPs to Ned White for a NICE, 63-minute Saturday puzzle. Now I have to go over my SCHEDULE A one more time.

Horace S. Patoot 10:27 AM  

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Anonymous 10:33 AM  

Examples of this use of "playing footsie" are ubiquitous. "Interestingly, the Iran-Contra scandal involved Reagan and Bush Senior PLAYing FOOTSIE with Iranian Muslim militants..."

The clue is correct, the critics are incorrect.

Chris 10:45 AM  


Liked this otherwise.

PLAYFOOTSIE with me 10:52 AM  

PLAYFOOTSIE: "To cooperate or curry favor in a sly or devious way."

"to engage in clandestine or illicit relations with."

"Cooperate or curry favor with in a sly or secret way, as in The mayor's been playing footsie with various neighborhood councils."

Clue looks a lot like a paraphrase of these definitions to me.

joho 10:54 AM  

Superior Saturday puzzle!

INTHEbUff fits, too, but was easily fixed.

I don't Google but I did to get RITAS which allowed me to finish that pesky corner. Even with OVERT and RETRO solidly in I would never have seen RITAS in a million years.

From top to bottom or from BACKSLAPS to CHESTBUMP, this was intelligent, innovative and entertaining.

Thank you, Ned White!

joho 10:56 AM  

BTW, "I shook him and he AWOKE" makes perfect sense to me.

Anonymous 11:04 AM  

@ Joho: "I don't Google but I did to get RITAS."
Reminds me of when I look at my barking dog and tell her, "You don't bark!"

I would have clued RITAS as "short Cuervo drink" or something like that.

Anonymous 11:12 AM  

DEEPFUNK is a thing, but as clued it seems a lot like GREENPAINT.

Tita 11:21 AM  

Great words today. What's not to love about Gallimaufries and Catawampus, both of which are new to me.

A more normal Saturday for me, in that I *almost* finished. But needed a coupla reveals. (My app only tells me that "an A should be a P - but doesn't tell me where that wrong letter is. So it's not as direct of a cheat. Wow - what pRimo justification of cheats!)

Had nearly nothing till the SE - even though I first dropped in INTHEbUff (hi @joho). Silly me - I thought NUDE at first, but wrote in bUff, even though NUDE is eminently more xword-friendly.
The SW, however, did me in. pRime>>pRimo>>CRACK was one struggle.
And the pathetic oscilate>vacilate>PINGPONG!! (oscilate looks so much wronger typed out here than it did in the grid...)

Thanks, Mr. White. A great start to my busy Saturday.

old timer 11:24 AM  

It sure started out easy. All the way diagonally down to TENET. And since I have slept INTHENUDE for decades, that opened up the SE corner. The mid-West was solvable too, once I changed "dock" to SKID. But I was totally stuck in the extreme SW. Did not remember the Russian for "thank you", never heard of RITAS, and never thought of NARCOS.

I don't think I've ever seen ALOP used anywhere. Not in my dictionary.

Ellen S 11:24 AM  

I consider it minor cheating to use "check letter" but I do it anyway. If I have to "check letter" all the way through the alphabet to get the right letter, that's a felonious DNF. And what I needed to get 50A. Started with mEAt, then vEAl (bit of desperation there), and finally gave up and put PEAS in the STEW. I'm a vegetarian, but obviously not a cook.

Everything else was tough, too, but fun. I came late to HULU. Their slogan now is "for the love of TV" or something like that.

@George Barany, thanks for the Gefilte Fish article. Make me feel almost Jewish again that I could get the jokes. @AliasZ, I SHOOK when I read that your musical offering was going to be by Paul Hindemuth. I should learn to like him, though. I usually say I don't like anything less than 150 years old, meaning please give me something resembling a melody ... and then comes John Williams who sounds to me like warmed-over Brahms. So, okay, thank you for the music link. It was ... educational.

GILL I. 11:26 AM  

Good gravy...when I finally finished this puzzle I looked at all those answers and thought you could really come up with a "lewdish" story or two. I see some of you already did.
I always thought Gallimaufries was a sauce or a stew and in my small world a Catawampus is a bogeyman.
I had the hardest time with this and had to Google quite a bit to get started. Once I got BACK SLAPS, KAGAN and SAGAL, it seemed to flow nice and easy though.
Of course PLAYS FOOTSIE is my favorite. Don't CHEST BUMPs hurt?
@Fred last night/morning 3:20 A.m.
I thought I was the one being called a moron!

Ludyjynn 11:33 AM  

Greetings from EDT Os' turf. It made me smile to see the team referenced in this puzz.

Other than the barf-inducing KRIS K. clue(hi, @LMS), this was an AONE offering from NW. Some writeovers, i.e., had 'airkisses' before BACKSLAPS, 'primo' before CRACK and 'leaves' before LILACS, but crosses revealed correct answers. Puzz. fell medium for me.

Interesting tidbit about "8 Simple Rules": John Ritter and Katey SAGAL's elder daughter was played by the now very famous (and very rich!) Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting from "The Big Bang Theory" and Priceline ads.

Am about to pick up my precious doggie from the Pet ER, where she spent the night after a health crisis yesterday. She rallied quickly and I can't wait to get LICKS and give hugs!

Thanks, NW and WS. NICE one.

O's fan 11:48 AM  

Don't the O's play in BALTO?

mforrest73 11:53 AM  

By far my fastest time on a Saturday that I can remember. More like a Thursday time for me. Very enjoyable though!

pfb 11:56 AM  

Are KOALAS endangered? Apparently not in the NY TIMES puzzle.

Anonymous 11:59 AM  

Along with several other commentators I cannot find ALOP in References....

Anonymous 12:03 PM  

"Some Joeys" 2 Saturdays in a row? Soon it will be a Monday clue.

Master Melvin 12:04 PM  

I opted to sleep WITH A NUDE. ;-)

MDMA 12:11 PM  

Top was easy, middle was tougher, and the bottom was the last to fall.

Got PERISCOPE straightaway from the clue with no crosses, and feeling smug about it.

The clue "Ring fingerers?" for NARCOS would have been much more suitable for NARCS. A narc is an undercover agent, a narco is just a druglord.

It's funny sometimes how wrong answers help with a cross. I had duLl for 33D PALE, which helped get the cross LILACS; and I had sUit for 53A DUES (i.e., the suit in a deck of cards), which helped get the cross KO PUNCH.

ALOP is just silly, but of little consequence since the crosses gave it away.

Anonymous 12:15 PM  

@NCA President: "The Billboard Hot 100 is the music industry standard record chart in the United States for singles, published weekly by Billboard magazine. Chart rankings are based on radio play, streaming online, and sales; a new chart is compiled and officially released to the public by Billboard on Thursday." "Into You" is the third single by American rapper Fabolous from his second studio album Street Dreams. It is also on Tamia's album More. It reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming the second single from the album to reach the top 10."

So, just because you don't like a thing, or are in denial about the existence of a thing, doesn't make it a bad clue. Your ridiculous rant says more about you than about the clue or the puzzle.
Your comment should just say "I don't like rap music, billboard charts are stupid, and I hate these stupid kids and their music." Add in some racism for good measure since all the white people on this board seem to have a problem with "black" music. You and @Nancy should form an "everything was better when I was young" club.

Fred Romagnolo 12:26 PM  

Shouldn't K O PUNCH have been clued as "abbr. ?" Neither my Britannica nor my Columbia encyclopedias list NORMA it's so obscure. Narcs sure, but not NARCOS. I agree that PSIS should have had some reference to Greek. Big DNF here.

Nancy 12:28 PM  

@Leapfinger (from late yesterday): So I went to Google "biretta" images today (never heard of a biretta, because, yes, I am not a Catholic) and you had me lol-ing, as they say in cyberworld. It does look like a cross between a tam-o-shanter and a large chocolate cake. Very droll...and I learned something too.

@GILL (also from late yesterday: I'm sure you look quite fetching in your BARRETTE. (I'd love to meet you and get to see you in it sometime.) I've had short, shortish hair all my life and therefore never needed one.)

Fred Romagnolo 12:32 PM  

@Roo Monster: Thanks for clearing up my confusion yesterday. Also, for the encouragement.

crossworderotica 12:39 PM  

Hey evil@944: When I warned my children about the dangers of the dark corners of the internet, little did I know that a crossword blog would be among them!
It's a beautiful story, and should be nominated for a RITA, an OTTO, and, yes, the coveted Stingybark (look it up)!

Lewis 12:43 PM  

@aliasz -- great post!

So we have sex in the puzzle, we also have violence -- BOP, LICKS, KOPUNCH. No wonder the puzzle is so popular!

Lots of good answers, as many have pointed out, and I liked the cluing for STRAP, AMANA, SUNNY, and KOPUNCH. It did feel easy for a Saturday, yet still Saturday-ish. A solid and lively Saturday. SPASIBO, Ted!

Anonymous 1:05 PM  

"One way to sleep:" WITHTHEFISHES.

Dorothy Biggs 1:10 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dorothy Biggs 1:13 PM  

@Anon 12:15 "I don't like rap music, billboard charts are stupid, and I hate these stupid kids and their music."

Sums it up nicely.

Thanks for adding in the racism. Funny how that works, though. Your straw man argument actually says more about you than you probably care to admit. How would that argument of yours work if I were black?

mathguy 1:13 PM  

Very tough for me. The MGI was 25, a little below average. So it must be that I was not tuned into the cluing.

Two big trouble spots. The mid-left bordered by SAGAL and SKID and the upper-right crowned by KAGAN. Didn't know SKID, SAGAL, INTOYOU, SENNA. Bewildering clues for ALOP, STRAP, and AMANA. Plus, I had MYGRITS but I couldn't remember what we were supposed to do with them.

Anonymous 1:16 PM  

Nothing racist about a comments board that tolerates opera and Paul Anka clues without blinking, and feels the need to discuss classical music daily, at length, then whenever a rap or hip hop song comes up goes off the rails. I'm sure you have many black friends, and you hung out with all of them at the ACPT last week.

A Prominent Copywright Lawyer 1:21 PM  

In case anyone is worried, there's no need to be. It's well known that AliasZ is the author of each and every entry in Wikipedia which even remotely references classical music. Thus, there's no need for him to actually give the reference when he cribs it word for friggin word.

Anonymous 1:29 PM  

AliasZ gets it from Wiki??!! And all this time I thought he was just riffing from the top of his head. Did he write the hip hop entries too? If so, maybe he should help NCA President broaden his horizons.

GILL I. 1:49 PM  

@Anony 1:16, @APCL 1:21 and @Anony 1:29....If I could, I'd make you eat some Peeps. They take unwanted snark away and they really do make you smile....

Anonymous 1:57 PM  

I am a zombie. I need to eat peeps to stay alive. Yummy!

Anonymous 1:58 PM  

Don't be taken in by the troll at 8:30. That's not Rex.

Anonymous 2:04 PM  

Doesn't look like the "troll" at 0830 is trying to take anybody in, since he/she uses a name other than "Rex Parker." Good tip, though, anon 1:58 for the less observant in the bunch.

okanaganer 2:06 PM  

A more G-rated way to sleep: LIKE A BABY.

Anyone else have UNE crossing OLEOS?

Knowing some French and German is a huge help for these puzzles; it's fun to see Russian for a change. I used to make a point of learning how to say one certain phrase in as many languages as possible. Then when you meet someone who does speak that language you can say, in that language, completely truthfully: "I don't speak ____!" They usually assume you're being modest and are actually fluent.

Ya nye pawnymayu po-Rooski!

Lewis 2:13 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lewis 2:15 PM  

Factoid: PING PONG was banned in the Soviet Union from 1930-1950 because it was thought to be bad for the eyes.

Quotoid: "I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a NICE letter saying I approved of it." -- Mark Twain

Eddie Carbone 2:19 PM  

I saw "A View from the Bridge" on Broadway last year with Liev Schreiber and SCARJO. Big thumbs up.

weingolb 2:28 PM  

Does being RETRO mean being in fashion again? I think it did once but now suspect saying something is retro simply means it is from another time, with no judgment on how fashionable it is. Maybe in my own little world.
Challenging puzzle. Plenty of clues like "in again" definitely made it hard for me. As already mentioned, PALE and bright can in some cases happen. It's pigmentation vs luminosity?
Then there is difficulty of perceiving AWOKE as a transitive verb.
What the story with LICKS? Is it a metaphor or is it just a word that's a synonym for beat or thrash. Anyone know how it came to be?

LICK me 2:35 PM  

LICK: "to beat," 1535, perhaps from figurative use of lick (v.1) in the Coverdale bible that year in sense of "defeat, annihilate" (an enemy's forces) in Num. xxii:4:
Now shal this heape licke up all that is about vs, euen as an oxe licketh vp the grasse in the field.
But to lick (of) the whip "taste punishment" is attested from mid-15c."

I agree. Most definitely not a metaphor. Bad clue.

Anonymous 2:41 PM  

It's more of a synonym or a colloquialism for punishment than a metaphor.

Anonymous 3:53 PM  

You're right, it's a complete failure of a puzzle if words are imaginary

Nancy 4:11 PM  

@Lewis --I liked your quotoid from Mark Twain, who seems to have a LOT to say about funerals. Because MY favorite Mark Twain quotoid, which I heard many years ago, is his reaction to the friends who told him they were worried about him because he didn't get nearly enough exercise. His response? (This is an approximation, not a direct quote): "But I DO get exercise. I get plenty of exercise. The exercise I get is serving as pallbearer at the funerals of all of my friends who exercise."

Lewis 4:22 PM  
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Lewis 4:23 PM  

@Nancy -- Good one!

weingolb 5:18 PM  

Thank you LICK me. This is interesting... If this sense of LICK comes from the idea of tasting punishment, esp as in the motion of a whip lashing like a tongue, then I guess there's a good case for calling it metaphorical.

RAD2626 5:23 PM  

I am with @mathguy on this one. Very hard. Tough cluing. Geometrically harder than yesterday. Tough sledding all the way through.

Happy Easter and Chag Sameach to all.

Z 9:11 PM  

Dirtiest Saturday puzzle I can remember.

Comments skipped is now exceeding comments read.

I find puzzles this bifurcated to be flawed. The P in PSIS and the S in PEAS are the only letters that connect the two halves. That theses are both POCs doesn't help. Northeast was easy, Southwest, especially SoCal, were tough.

BTW - I heard from the original Evil Doug. he sounds well.

kitshef 11:20 PM  

1) NARCO, while not technically incorrect, is very weak. Nobody actually says NARCO unless they mean narcoleptic.
2) KOPUNCH clue requires a '?' and should really have an abbrev indicator as well.
3) SAGAL, which seems to have given a lot of trouble, was my first gimme. Repulsive in Married with Children, Katey Sagal matured beautifully and in LOST was ravishing.
4) This puzzle was very, very dull. Some nice clues, but dull answers. A puzzle I feel should have gotten Grumpy Rex, instead got Happy Rex. (I look forward to meeting Sneezy Rex, or Doc Rex).

Leapfinger 6:03 AM  

Please alert me if any female has ever bumped other than a fist. From BACKSLAPS to CHESTBUMP, pure testosterone storm. Not that there's anything wrong with that...

Me too on vacillating over PINGPONG, and my run-in with 41D was worthy of Keystone KOPs. otoh, I know I've seen ALOP, I'm sure having to do with lop-eared rabbits.

Nice nod to @Melodious DEEPFUNK. Sadly, I'm more aware of a 'blue FUNK',which version goes well with a 'brown study'. The way I saw it, today we got A MAN, A plan, NEPAL.

Interesting observation, @Z, but I guess it all depends on what PSIS are your PEAS.

Kind of cute: I DEM, EPOCSI REP. (Just look back at it) A variation on 'Epoxy both their houses'.
Also saw some interesting adjacent pairs: BOP SAVER alone has great potential. Lucky for y'all that Sunday Looms.

King Kong played PING PONG at a sing song. The bell went bing bong which resulted in a ding dong cuz he simply did the wring wrong with the thong thing.

Happy celebratory weekend to all. @Gill's Peeps will give you cavities, the matzah will fill 'em.

Thanks, Ned White, for keeping your SUNNY PSIS up.

Leapfinger 6:08 AM  

A MAN, A plane, NEPAL

Almost forgot: Get thee BeHindemith, @Alias.
(That was a fascinoma.)

Unknown 6:29 AM  

Surprised that ALOP is not listed in most dictionaries. I've sen it used in literature, conversation and even crossword puzzles for as long as I can remember.

Anonymous 11:51 AM  

is PLAYing footsie WORK ?

Unknown 10:01 PM  

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Burma Shave 11:51 AM  


I OVERDIDIT after getting AVIEW of you INTHENUDE
through my PERISCOPE at your window, KRIS, if you only KNEW


there were so many ways to go here, but @evil doug and others had already crossed those bridges

BS2 11:56 AM  

And @spacecraft has recently, and brilliantly, used that one phrase, so it's been done. No reason to repeat.

rondo 1:23 PM  

Not that easy, I thought. Especially everywhere after the EZ NW. Confidently put in “goal” where SHIN ought to be (never played soccer – futbol – always considered it a commie sport), so the SE was gummed up a bit, at least until I knew I needed to be INTHENUDE. MERCI a gimme in the SW as Спасибо is very familiar since the missus is Russian and I’ve been to the former USSR a number of times – Baku,Azerbaijan; Odessa, Ukraine; Moscow, Russia.

Loved the clue for KOPUNCH – the answer was a long time coming though.

Not my kind of idea in the clue for PLAYFOOTSIE. Covert, yes. But maybe in more of “Let’s hook up” kind of way. Not work.

LILACS are finally out here in MN. We get such a late start on springtime.

I make a cassoulet with a bouquet GARNI of seasonings – a tied up cheesecloth tossed in while simmering. Recipe can be found in the Northern Exposure (TV show) cookbook. Nothing short of fantastic!

Poor KRIS Jenner. But that’s life in the spotlight.

Again, not easy for me, but rife with innuendo, so an interesting solve.

DMG 1:57 PM  

Struggled with this one. Came close to quitting when I couldn't make sense many of the clues, but eventually stuck it out to a successful end- much to my surprise. So many of my responses were of the "it fits, so it's probably right" type. I still don't understand CRACK. Short for CRACKerjack? Sigh..on to Monday.

206 Not too bad!

rondo 2:09 PM  

@DMG - I'm thinking of somewhat older movies where some cowboy or maye a cop or a bad guy with a gun was a CRACK shot (really good).

spacecraft 2:32 PM  

I HATE it when you guys say "easy!" DNF, not even close. Way, way too much I didn't know; clues that made no sense...just nothing. That clue for PLAYFOOTSIE? Makes no sense at all to me. Lots of the puzzle was like that. Obscurities abound. That "8 Simple Rules" show aired so few episodes you could keep your shoes on to count, and I'm supposed to remember the mom? Just get me the hell outa here and I'll see you tomorrow.


rain forest 5:26 PM  

Well. Easy NW and medium everything else until the SW which was just impossible for me. Nothing. I chanced "in awe" for shook, and just couldn't remove it. That whole section is just a huge expanse of white. Probably the worst DNF in a long time, and I tried, I really did. I can no longer consider myself a CRACK solver (Hi, @DMG).

I should add that the "Northern California" section was a little tough, as I was thinking that a catawampus was some sort of slimy lizard or something. ALOP? I must check it out.

OK, at least let me get some satisfaction with the numbers.

Humph. No numbers at all, so let me pretend I got 171. Yes!

Anonymous 6:05 PM  

This was a toughie and I had to look up Sagal, of whom I've never heard. How's that for the Queen's English?
Rondo, this was a missed opportunity for you to outwit Dirty Doug. He was exceptionally clever today. Straight down his puerile alley. Your comments are lighter and more devilish.

Anyway, I did enjoy the puzz even tho it was after lunchtime for me.
Lately, mornings are for errands and chores, and, at my age, afternoons are quiet time. I am in my "Rusty Years." There is nothing "Golden" after 70 IMHO.

My Psychiatrist said my whole outlook on life has changed for the better since I stopped reading the opening comments on this blog. :) I recommend it to all others.

Ron Diego La Mesa, CA

Anonymous 6:30 PM  

Rainforest, yes I saw it too. You did get 171. I'll swear to it on a stack of Quarans.

Ron Diego, teehee

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Used PC Distributor 4:46 AM  

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