Dinosaur in many Nintendo games / SAT 6-27-15 / Godfather of gangsta rap / Twain's Tom Canty / US built route that's mostly outside US / Bluegill crappie / Rice variety used in rice pudding / Handsome surgeon's nickname on Grey's Anatomy / Relatives of recitatives

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Constructor: Tim Croce

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: PONY CAR (62A: Mustang, e.g.) —
Pony car is an American class of automobile launched and inspired by the Ford Mustang in 1964. The term describes an affordable, compact, highly styled car with a sporty or performance-oriented image. (wikipedia) 
• • •

I was a bit worried when I started, as fat corners can be hard to fill well, but I think my eyes were playing tricks on me—the corners aren't that fat. In fact, this is a 72-worder (maximum for a Fri/Sat themeless), and those higher word-count puzzles usually yield pretty tasty results. And I did indeed end up enjoying the taste of this one, mostly. Didn't look like there were going to be many (any?) marquee answers—nothing longer than 8 in the grid, and only four of those—but puzzle gets a Lot of mileage out of those 8s, and the 7-laden corners come in pretty clean and occasionally sparkly. I definitely had to struggle a little with this one; with only narrow passageways in, those corners can go south on you real quick. But I was able to whack my way through the often tough cluing and finish in normal Saturday time. Satisfying work, overall.


Despite needing lots of help with both PAN FISH (?) and PAR FIVE, I got my claws into that NW corner pretty readily. Here's the opening gambit:

IRAS first (5D: They can roll over, briefly), and then, when TAPIOCA didn't work, somehow ARBORIO leapt right to mind. (I know TAPIOCA is not "rice"—why do you still insist on logic from me?) NBCNEWS followed shortly, and that was enough traction to get through the NW. Entire center felt very easy. Blew right through it. But the path into the NE was a little ... fraught. Wasn't sure the JOKE part of SICK JOKE was right. And I totally botched 8D: Leave an online game in a huff. Not a gamer, so when presented with -QUIT, I went with HATEQUIT, which I quite like. And since the "A" was right and gave me ARAL SEA, I got stuck for a bit. Luckily I knew ALCAN MATTY and NANO, so I worked RAGE QUIT out without too much trouble. Moved into SE where I forgot the SOUL part of KIA SOUL, but somehow remembered YOSHI, or at least the latter 3/5 of him (trust me, that "-SHI" mattered). Another corner down:

That left the SW, where I for sure had the most trouble. First, as I have never watched "Grey's Anatomy," I misremembered the guy's nickname as DR. DREAMY (38A: Handsome surgeon's nickname on "Grey's Anatomy"). Weirdly, ILE got me out of that ("CL-" yes, "RL-" no at 39D: Born Blonde brand). But this corner was tougher. MISHAPS just didn't come, even with MIS---S. Cluing ARIZONA as simply a "Brand name" was borderline cruel. HIT AT is always awkward to me. Didn't know if it was TICK or TOCK. Wrote in PONY CAR then felt like I'd just made it up, so took it out. Took some self-convincing to put it back. Got EASY-E but spelled it thusly. So between TICK and EASY-E, I "finished" with the "Brand name" as ARISINA:

Getting from there to the end didn't take much mental effort.

Have a nice day. Probably won't be as nice as Friday was, but we can always hope.

[grid courtesy of Matt Jones]

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:16 AM  

Tough Sat. for me mostly because I had a ton of erasures:

RIot ACT before RICO (thank you NBC NEWS)
Pet FISH before PAN
I do before VOW
Moses before MATTY
@Rex hAte before RAGE
A and W before BARQS
loGoS before FOTOS
PGA golf before TOUR

The Horton FOOTE clue was a WOE.

A fair amount of zip with only a few cringes...SLEEKED, INE, JEN...Liked it.

Anonymous 12:28 AM  

Why are the phrases SCARLETTANAGERS and ALOTONONESPLATE running around my head right now?

McFly 1:09 AM  

Disclaimer: Please note the following comment you are about to read is from an amateur solver that rarely finishes past a Wednesday. Reader discretion is advised.

First Take: Yeah...didn't finish this one, but in reading the ones I missed, this was a fair Saturday. What I'm learning from attempting the harder puzzles is for clues where I think I know where it's going, pencil in answers to reflect as such. I was fairly certain bluegill and crappie were fish--anticipate it and put fish in. Typing aloud to myself right now. I also got stuck on a few--for MISHAPS I had MESSUPS. Whoops. I had TUPUC instead of EAZYE (which I later erased but had no shot). I also had BOYCOTS for Tea Party goals, instead of TAXCUTS. I laughed to myself thinking, "That's rather bold..."

Favorite Clue and Answer: Leave an online game in a huff (RAGEQUIT). Modern clue for a colorful answer. Also a new Q entry. It should be noted that I didn't actually get this by the time I threw in the towel.

Thing I learned: Being a Giants fan, I should have known MATTY Alou. I could recall the other two brothers (Felipe was a former Giants manager) and Moises. Blanked on Matty. Shame.

Final Take: Good puzzle with some good takeaways from me. Unrelated, but I am just now catching up on the Indie 500 puzzles, and the Candy Bars one is one of the best crosswords I've done. Color me impressed!

John Child 1:52 AM  
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John Child 1:57 AM  

@McFly Your comments are welcome. When I got RAGEQUIT I said yuck. It tastes slightly better now that I see 3.7M Google hits. It's real, but I'm not sure I needed to learn it.

Just stay off my lawn after you RAGEQUIT.

Hard clues IMO. An SASE in the slush pile? HIT AT as trying to swipe? ( I don't need either explained, thank you. *grin*) Hard, Saturday clues. I'd have had a chance at completing that corner if I could have thought of a rapper with a Z in the middle, but no...

Can anyone suggest a nice sentence with HIT AT or SLEEKED in it, or even better both words? "He SLEEKED his hair back and waited to get HIT AT?" . . . GONG. Next?

I did like the Scrabble(TM)- xxxxing in the the central Runtpuz(TM). But it's hard to get excited about seven-letter words, and there are a lot of them in this puzzle.

chefwen 2:15 AM  

Liked it. NE first and fastest corner. SW last and slowest due to some rapper I wouldn't know if he HIT AT me. Like @Rex never watched Grey's Anatomy and put down dr. DREAMY also.

Jon an avid fisher dude in his youth said "you don't know PAN FISH" ? No, but I did know ARBORIO rice, smarty pants. He loves it when he knows something I don't . I did have the FISH in place which I'm sure helped him. HAH!

Unknown 3:27 AM  

I was so sure bluegill and crappie were CICHLIDS! Took me a while to let go of that one.

Rachel 4:33 AM  

Bluegill and crappie are SUnfish, and "I DO" works just as well as a veiled statement, so I was stuck in NW 5-ever :(

MDMA 4:39 AM  

NE corner was annoying. Many solvers start here (I don't, necessarily) so it sets a bad tone if it's the hardest part. ARIOSOS and ARBORIO crossing was close to a Natick, and the last square to be filled in. FOOTE was obscure and needed crosses. Learned "PAN FISH" today. RIot ACT was saved by the obviousness of NBC NEWS. The clue "They can be right-leaning" maybe was trying to misdirect "raNTS" for FONTS.

SE corner had its annoyances too. It's hard to see how HIT AT is clued by "Try to swipe". Took a swipe at, perhaps? Learned "PONY CAR" today, sounds weird. Vaguely knew ARIZONA after it was partially filled in.

The other sections were much easier. RAGEQUIT and BASS ALE were gimmes. I don't really care for this "five separate mini-puzzles" format, you have to rely on slim footholds to progress from one to the other. But as always, all's well that ends well, even if takes longer than usual to get there.

MDMA 4:41 AM  

Oops, I meant NW and SW corner. Looks like I was literally disoriented.

Anonymous 5:23 AM  

Keep on doing the puzzles Mcfly and you'll get better and better.

Now, what's with the red grid and those red bars?

MDMA 5:36 AM  


Loren Muse Smith 8:09 AM  
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Loren Muse Smith 8:30 AM  
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chefbea 8:31 AM  

too tough for me. Gotta start packing

Loren Muse Smith 8:42 AM  

I found this one really tough and had a dnf, mainly because of "sun fish" (Hi, @Rachel) and "Riot Act" (Hi, @jae and @MDMA) never, ever considering changing either of those. I also had quick but misspelled "aborrio," which had me feeling kind of like a foodie.

The U in "sunfish" really had me straining for some kind of "uni-" start to the ARIOSOS entry, as in "unipods" ("I do" was still firmly in place) - podcasts by one person,. Seriously. That's how lost I was up there. Kind of a sick joke on me that that corner was, in fact a unipod, with FOOTE up there.

No one yet has mentioned another brilliant misdirect: "glacier" before ROMAINE. I took that one hook, line, and sinker off the I in IS IT A GO. So my MA'AM was "a lot" for a bit.

Some other missteps"

"Dr Dre" then "Kanye" for EAZY E
"I'm ok" for I SEE
"I do" for VOW, along with @jae, @Rachel and a cast of thousands.
"rage exit" for RAGE QUIT
"tick" – I never considered TOCK and hence my product ended in "ina."

@McFly – I agree with @John Child; I'm enjoying your comments on your solving experiences. They're interesting and reader-friendly.

Three things I would have seriously considered had this not been Tim Croce:

1. "Logos" before FOTOS, thus having "logo" in fill and in a clue
2. Really digging in to find that V for the pangram. (It was there all along in PAR FIVE.)
3. EAZY and EASY in the same grid is a no-no.

If you’re so inclined, go back and look at the clue for 22A. You there? See that apostrophe? It makes us say the Z sound. How cool is that? A piece of punctuation that has phonology all by itself. Put that one in your pipe and smoke it.

A capital letter smack dab in the middle of the word is called "camel case." That's one of the many useful terms I've learned playing the grammar category of QuizUp. Litotes, tautology, zeugma...( and "tmesis" -guarandamntee you that's one you won't meet out in the wild.)

Tim – I still feel nervous when it's your name at the top because yours are still tough for me. Tough but fair. I could have sat with this one all day, though, and never gotten that FOOTE/RICO ACT cross with all its arms up there. Congrats to all who finished this one!

Glimmerglass 8:47 AM  

Fun Saturday. Lots of false starts, misdirection goofs, and erasures. (How does anyone do hard puzzles in ink?) Welcome, McFly -- you're doing everything right. I prevailed everywhere but the SW, where I didn't recognize ARIZONA and never know rappers (not even famous ones). I also had drDREAMY. But what threw me the most was SASE. I had cASh, thinking of "slush fund" and hIcHuPS. That's when I surrendered. No shame in a Saturday DNF.

dk 8:55 AM  

🌕🌕🌕 (3 mOOOns)

Like Rachel I had ido and my brain did not let PARFIVE creep in until I changed facts to FONTS.

I have to brush up on popular culture as 38a, 5d and YOSHI escaped me.

SLEEKED was the only big "really" of the morning. I might have clued it as the result of a preening by a seal… that is why any puzzle I construct would never be ESPOUSEd by Mr. Shortz (aka Rex's ORC).

@McFly…. did I not see you in Back to the Future. Anyway, as you journal down the rabbit hole of puzzledom you will often get mediocre advice like this: Solve with a pen and just write in your first thought. You will often be correct and the use of pen instills a sense of commitment that emboldens and increases confidence. At times the best thing to do is go faster. You can always RAGEQUIT.

Today is/was Iced Coffee Day. Used to make my own Thai Ice Coffee mahaps I shall do so agin.

I contacted Dr Aluta and it seems if I rollover my IRA to her she bring back my daily delivery of the Times. I think that is so sweet like the afore mentioned Thai Iced Coffee.

Soul and Funk review today at Franconia Sculpture and I am already humming "she's a brick house."

Lastly, A big thank you to the Supremes for two great decisions in a row.

RooMonster 9:07 AM  

Hey All !
PetFISH, right? See them swimming around in the tank. No? Okay, PARFour, still rare for an ace. RIotACT, what other ACT can it be? Who is RICO? Hires clue cruel, they still make Hires Root Beer? RAGEQUIT a new one (although I believe I've done it!). Knew it was either MCDREAMY or MCstEAMY, names that stick in the craw even though never watched the show. Also knew PONY CAR, as a car lover, I find it weird it's not more well known. Three X's and K's close to each other. For 7D thought about sex WAX for a bit. Lots of obscure cluing (even for a SatPuz). Was not an EASY ONE.

If not for doing online today with the life saving Check feature, would've RAGE QUIT!


George Barany 9:33 AM  

Congratulations to my cyberfriend @Tim Croce on his 32nd New York Times puzzle, almost half of which have been Saturday's, and over two-thirds of which have been themeless. Nevertheless, with PAR_FIVE at 1-down and PGA_COURSE at 62-across, does anyone sense a theme? Lest there be any doubt as to one of Tim's favorite sports, try his themed A Major Accomplishment, from mid-April of this calendar year.

AnnieD 9:38 AM  

Got through it, but barely. Many of the sticking points others had, I shared. I know nothing about rap and never heard of eazye. I had deAdSEA before ARALSEA.
I still don't get what SASE has to do with a slush pile. If someone would explain, I'd appreciate it.
Call me old fashioned, but in my world, hot wax is for the car!

Anonymous 9:46 AM  


The red grid is suggesting the marriage equality symbol, certainly celebrating the Supreme Court's decision yesterday striking down state laws prohibiting gay marriage. See, e.g., http://www.algbtical.org/2A%20SYMBOLS.htm.

Teedmn 10:03 AM  

DNF, today, argh. PANFISH a total gimme and IRAS and SIC had me thinking EASY ONE. And then nothing. ESSAYS and 'I do'. Move on.

Saw only one Grey's episode ever but serendipity from a Thursday party I was at where a friend was discussing McSteamy and MCDREAMY gave me what would have been a WOE a week ago. I owned a '68 Mustang fastback in the late '80s but it took me a shameful amount of time to see the PONY.

This puzzle had me clawing one toehold at a time and I succeeded for almost all of it until I had to go back and face the NW again. Took out the PAN of PANFISH. Wanted a V for the pangram, was seeing ?videOS in 3D, considered italS for 19A even though I knew the abbr. was a no-no.. Couldn't think of the rice - asarrio, barsORIO....

So Google gave me ARBORIO and FOOTE and when I saw the WOE that my smug commitment to 'I do' had caused, it was a cause for dejection. :-(

Wonderful Saturday puzzle, Mr. Croce. Do it again soon when I can solve in my kitchen on paper instead of on my iPad in my Dad's spare bedroom (obviously the cause of my DNF!)

And thanks, @LMS for my new Scrabble ammunition in 'tmesis' and 'zeugma'.

Nancy 10:13 AM  

DNF. The entire West Coast was a disaster. Top half: Had catFISH. Then I tried seaFISH. Neither worked. Another hand up for I DO instead of VOW. Never thought to change it. Ditto RIot ACT, which remained there too.

Bottom half: How could DESTINE and FORD CAR both be right. Obviously, they couldn't. But which one to change? Never heard of PONY CAR. Even worse, there's a bleeping rapper crossing a bleeping brand name and I'm obviously doomed. Nor do I get HIT IT for "Try to swipe." Those looked like the right letters, the only possible letters, but I never wrote in, because the definition seemed so off.

I aced the East Coast and Middle America, but with much, much difficulty. And everywhere -- many too many brand names for my liking. A very tough puzzle and, to my way of thinking, not especially fair.

Dorothy Biggs 10:19 AM  

DNF...thanks to the SE, so by definition, I didn't like the puzzle.

That may be "unfair" to not like something just because you couldn't finish it, but it's my personal opinion and others may have really enjoyed it.

FATS (as clued, really obtuse), YOSHI (um...no), RASSLED (as clued), FOTOS (as clued and, um, no), and PGATOUR ("runner?" Do they run in golf now?) Individually, I might have been able to hack my way through the brambles, but collectively, after a while I didn't care. So the DNF is really more a function of just giving the hell up. Even after I saw the solution there was no "aha" moment to redeem that corner...hence the reason I didn't like it.

At xword, TC mentioned that the puzzle was compartmentalized. Yes it was, at least to me. It was like doing 4 different puzzles and the southern quadrants hung me up (SLEEKED...seriously?) and of course the SE did me in.

Fortunately I've done enough of these things now that I now tomorrow will be another day...not necessarily better, but another one.

Dorothy Biggs 10:24 AM  

"...that I know tomorrow will be another day..."

Forgive my "MISHAP." Oh yeah, MISHAP. Mishap =/= blooper. Outtake = blooper. Even miscue = blooper. Mishaps happen when you spill your red wine on your white pants, or when you are in a fender bender. Just because it's a "mistake" and may accidentally get recorded on video, it doesn't mean it's a highlight on a blooper reel.

#sorrynotsorry for being critical.

joho 10:27 AM  

Lovely puzzle which I DNF, but thank you, TC for the challenge!

Like others I had sunFISH, RIotACT and Ido and ended up hopelessly lost in that corner


Excellent job, Tim Croce!

mathguy 10:27 AM  

A very tough one. It took Bill Butler 40 minutes, more than twice what he usually does a Friday in.

Like Rex, I found the SW the most difficult section. Strangely, if the entry were DESTINED and the clue "Foreordained," I would have entered it quickly, But I needed DES??N? before I got it. I still don't see HITAT for "Try to swipe." Hadn't heard of EAZYE and SLEEKED. I may have seen PONYCAR once before in a puzzle.

Did I like it? I learned PANFISH, YOSHI, ARIOSOS, EAZYE, about BASSALE's trademark, RAGEQUIT, about STCROIX coming from Denmark, KIASOUL. Plus, there were some devilish clues which were fun to decipher. Yes, indeed!

Nancy 10:32 AM  

@paulsfo (from late yesterday): Just tried the Wordplay Blog now. (Yesterday was supposed to be raining, but it wasn't, so I ran out in the a.m. and forgot all about checking the blog.) Your advice works! I was able to access the readers' comments section. They want me to log in with my email and password, and I'm not sure I want to do that. Maybe I'll just read the comments of others. But you've given me options I didn't have before, so I thank you very much for your help and interest.

grammar nazi 10:35 AM  

@Barany: Saturday's? Really??!!

Haiku Nerd 10:41 AM  


Nancy 10:47 AM  

@Annie D -- No one's answered your question yet, so I'll use my third (3 strikes and you're out) post to reply, and hope I'm not tempted to post again much later today. SASE stands for "self-addressed stamped envelope" and is requested by editors when people send in material they want returned. As both a former editor and a writer, this clue was a gimme for me. Very little else in the puzzle was.

r.alphbunker 10:49 AM  

I have never finished a Tim Croce puzzle without help.

All the bloopers that others have mentioned before 10:25 plus these
10D {"Thank you, ___"} LORD-->MAAM
65A {Fought agin} TUSSLED-->RASSLED
63A {Champion} ENDORSE-->ESPOUSE
57D {Talks, talks, talks} GABS-->YAPS
64A {Made smooth and glossy} SLICKED-->SLEEKED
51D {The Godfather of Gangsta Rap} DRDRE-->EAZYE
19A {They can be right-leaning} OPEDS-->FONTS

The string DRDRE was wrong twice. Once for the rapper and again for drDREAMY

My blooper reel is here

Moly Shu 10:52 AM  

Random thoughts/responses,
@McFly, the Alou brothers are MATTY, Jesus and Felipe. Moises is a son/nephew.
@AnnieD, Will Shortz may receive many puzzle submissions every day along with SASE's, but since only one can be published, the rest go into a slush pile.
@NCAPrez, the PGATOUR administers/hosts/runs the Presidents cup.
DNF for me also in the NW. IDO and sunFISH like every one else. I thought it odd that ROMAINE was my first entry and stayed even though I said " nah, it can't be that, too easy". Liked it, wish I could have conquered it.

Dorothy Biggs 11:11 AM  

@Moly Shu: Thanks for the clarification for "runner." That makes sense, but IMO it only points out how tortured the cluing is. I may wonder who "runs" this website. Rex does, of course. But I would never refer to him as the Rexword blog "runner." Not only is that tortured, I think it's bad grammar.

Grammar Nazi...what are your thoughts?

Anonymous 11:12 AM  

This puzzle had a lot of things that didn't exist before 2000: MCDREAMY, RAGEQUIT, EAZYE. It is therefore a bad puzzle.

old timer 11:14 AM  

I googled for FOOTE but I now think I should have gotten it on crosses. Or maybe not. It wasn't until I wrote in PARFIVE that I realized an "ace" in this case was not a sportsperson, but a hole-in-one in golf. And I googled to *confirm* EAZYE, once I realized "slicked" would never work, so SLEEKED was the only choice.

I was *outraged* to see IPSA where, surely, "ipso" belonged. I almost RAGEQUIT the puzzle. Only after I'd filled everything in did I say to myself, "D'oh! Res IPSA loquitur, the first Latin phrase you learn in Torts class in law school.

I think the only question I still have is whether there is such a thing as plasticINE. always seen it as "plasticene" myself. Probably my edition of Sgt Pepper spelled it that way. "Plasticene porters with looking glass ties"

AliasZ 11:15 AM  

It's a sad situation when two of my favorite entries are EXLAX and SICK JOKE.

An older gentleman walks into the pharmacy and sheepishly asks the nice lady behind the counter: "Do you have SexLax?" "SexLax? Maybe you mean EXLAX." "No, MAAM, I mean SexLax. I have no problem going." "Oh, you must be Joe King, I thought I recognized you. How's Mrs. King?"

This is my first Tim Croce puzzle I really didn't like. Not because it was tough. I like tough -- Saturday Stumper tough. I didn't like this one because: 1) It is five mini puzzles so isolated, it destroys any chance of meaningful cross-contamination. 2) At least six entries were uninferable to the point of not caring, like: PAN FISH, ARBORIO, RICO ACT and FOOTE, all in the prime NW puzzle to start off. 3) see 1 & 2.

- I did like BASS ALE, ST. CROIX, PONY CAR, ESPOUSE, but never heard of RAGEQUIT.
- HITAT, in contrast with a lo-tat, is high up on the DOOK scale, but lower than HADAT, GOAT or GOON.
- What is a PAN FISH anyway? One that gives two thumbs down on all its movie reviews? Fish don't have thumbs, do they?
- That FOOTE smelled like Limburger cheese. Or Manchego or Asiago or ISITAGO cheese.

EAZYE and MCDREAMY (could've been McDreary or MacReady) were WOEs, and SLEEKED, DESTINE and ENTHUSE sounded too awkward to enter at first.

Pretty grid, but a disappointment for me. Hard work, little reward.

Samuel Barber composed three ESSAYS for Orchestra. This is his second. (You are welcome to guess why I selected this performance).


grammar nazi 11:19 AM  

@NCA Pres: I agree that it's a bit of a reach, but I'm OK with "runner" for PGA and The Presidents Cup in the world of crossword puzzles. "Run" is used in the sense of "control, put on, take charge of, administer." As in "The inmates are running the asylum."

John Gotti 11:22 AM  

Boy, do I strongly disagree with those of you whinging about RICOACT. Great clue, great answer. It's in the news all the time. Once again. Just because you haven't heard of a thing, that doesn't mean it isn't a thing.

Ludyjynn 11:35 AM  

DNF after I RASSLED with this one for way too long. Like Rex and many of you, my big WOE was the SW corner. @Nancy and @MolyShu, thanks for explaining SASE. I kept thinking of a slush fund. Despite my first car being a Mustang, I did not see PONY. Would not give up 'Ford' so I was DESTINEd for failure!

Have always disliked the expression, SLEEPIN. What? As opposed to sleeping OUT?! Yet it was a gimme so I shouldn't gripe.

At the risk of offending my travel troll, Let me recommend the USVI, including STCROIX, as a travel destination in the winter. Nearby Buck Island has some of the finest snorkeling I've ever experienced. Had the rare privilege of swimming w/ a sea turtle who hangs out there.

Grading ESSAYS; the bane of every h.s. English teacher's existence. So many hours of my life tick-TOCKed away on this task.

Despite the DNF, I am quite ENTHUSEd over this puzz. due to so many clever clues. GRACIAS, TC and WS.

jberg 12:01 PM  

DNF. I knew bluegills and crappies were PAN FISH before I learned that they were also sunfish, so that got me started nicely, and I eventually figured it was RICO and not RIot ACT, and a And w didn't last long before I saw BARQS. That pangram-motivated word made me go for plastic IzE, which was harder to give up until I finally noticed that the clue for 65A said 'agin,' not 'again,' so that GSA didn't have to end in e.

But I never moved off dr DREAMY, tried 'rue' and 'ave' but not ILE, finally thought 'subm' for submission might work for the slush pile, and therefore that maybe Mr. Tee had done some rapping on the size. I didn't even get TOCK, having opted for tick instead. Finally, in desperation, thought maybe the Mustang was a 'dude' CAR. Gaah!

So I'm miserable, but I'm going to go look up tmesis to cheer myself up.

Mette 12:03 PM  

This one was fun to RASSLE with. Had Snarl for Skein, which gave me Snorkel for what people do on vacation. Fixed that but the NW was my Waterloo. Like so many, beginning with @jae, had RIotACT and Ido. Thought of Tom Wolfe at 4D. Actually, that was A Man in Full, but it was based in Atlanta and was only a few years off.

Ultimately, just like @teedmn, Googled to get FOOTE and ARBORIO. Oh, that kind of ace. Thanks to TC and WS for the entertainment.

Carola 12:20 PM  

I liked learning RAGE QUIT and enjoyed the joy jolts of "I SEE!" for diabolical clues (e.g., Mob law). I was almost ready to "Oh, forget about it" QUIT when I reached the SE compartment and was expected to know the name of a Nintendo dinosaur x some KIA model (not the Sonata today). But chipped away and got it.

Despite the gratification of finishing what was for me a tough puzzle, I didn't find it fun - for me there was an overload of proper names, brand names, acronyms, and initialisms - 26 out of 72 entries, by my count (yes, I'm compulsive). It's not that I resent having to know names of dinosaurs, car models, rappers, highways, drinks, etc., - all fair game, of course. I just find it wearing when there's an unrelenting onslaught, and that's what today felt like to me. I'd rather have more HOT WAX MISHAPS (in a puzzle grid only, of course).

Bobby Fischer 12:25 PM  

@Rex: You misuse the word "gambit". Just sayin'.

Lewis 12:30 PM  

@rex -- hand up for DRDREAMY.

Some expressed confusion for HITAT, clued as "Try to swipe". I saw it as swipe not meaning "steal" or "run a credit card", but rather in the sense of swiping at, or trying to land a blow. That works.

Never heard of PONYCAR or the rapper, and at first I thought SLEEKED was a big big stretch, but then someone here mentioned about sleeking one's hair back, and that I've heard. I love the word NEATNICK (makes me think of Felix Unger), and I loved its clue, along with the clues for ROMAINE (hi, LMS!) and FONTS. There was a bit of extra pressure because if a quadrant was tough, there wasn't much help from the puzzle outside that quadrant. As with Rex, the middle seemed relatively easy.

It is a beautiful grid to look at, just the design of the white and black squares, and like @aliasz, I liked the crunch. Grateful for this one, Tim!

Steve J 12:37 PM  

I liked three of the five mini-puzzles. I didn't like the fact that the grid was segmented into five mini-puzzles.

I had a weird progression on this one, filling in much of the NW nearly instantly, with gimmees (for me) ARBORIO, RICO ACT and ___FISH. SIC and HOT WAX fell quickly thereafter, along with VOW, and then I ground to a halt. Meanwhile, despite having nothing to speak of on my first pass through both the NE and SW, those ended up being the first segments I finished. Then center.

The SE never came together at all. I couldn't think of any models of KIA cars; I continually read the clue "Fought agin" as meaning fought again, not against, so RASSLED never would have occurred to me; and despite many hours years ago playing Super Mario games, I could not remember YOSHI's name. Finally had to resort to googling some stuff to get the last two corners to fill in.

Despite not liking the segmented grid, I did like this one for its fill.

@NCA President: runner seems fine to me. A common TV production term is to reference the head producer as the show runner. That's probably the most common usage, but I've seen others.

JFC 12:51 PM  

Not even a mention of pangram....


Fred Romagnolo 12:58 PM  

I'm with @Nancy on this one. Recitatives are the opposite of ARIOSOS; the former imitates speech, and the latter is a variety of song. Maybe @AliasZ will agree? It's a Saturday's (O K @Nazi?) so it's hard, but purposeful obfuscation gets to be annoying. It seems to be a regression to what Steinberg's used to be like before he started maturing. I've liked Croce's stuff in the past, but not this one.

Ken 12:58 PM  

I know sase is self addressed,etc but don't see the connection to slush. Please explain..

Fred Romagnolo 1:03 PM  

@Carola also makes good points about this one.

Lewis 1:06 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lewis 1:09 PM  

Factoid: A famous etiquette MISHAP occurred in 1966, when former British Foreign Minister George Brown was at a state dinner in Vienna. After enjoying some wine, he turned to "an exquisite creature in violet" sitting beside him, upon hearing the orchestra strike up a tune. Saying, “Madame, you look ravishing. May we dance?” The exquisite creature in violet turned to him and said, in perfect English, “No, Mr. Brown, for three reasons. Firstly, this is a state dinner, not a ball. Secondly, were this a ball and not a state dinner, this would still be the Austrian state anthem, and not a waltz. And thirdly, were this a ball and not a state dinner, and were that a waltz and not the Austrian state anthem, I would still be the Cardinal Archbishop of Vienna.” (etiquapedia.blogspot.com)

Quotoid: "I think that I shall never see a billboard lovely as a TREE. Perhaps, unless the billboards fall, I'll never see a tree at all." -- Ogden Nash

Anonymous 1:15 PM  

@Ken - unsolicited manuscripts (books, etc) are placed in a stack called a slush pile.

Anonymous 1:23 PM  

the west slew me. had one down as either a baseball, card or pilot reference, never thought of golf. Dr Dreamy and no clue on pony car made 38 and 39 impregnable.

Anonymous 1:36 PM  

Started off "Medium" as per @Rex.
Even suffered thru incarnations of Kanye, Dr Dre- til EazyE fell in.
But that NW Territory was BRUTAL!!!

Hartley70 1:39 PM  

I thought the grid was pretty to look at too @Lewis, but then I began.... It was a DNF for me, but not because of the brands or pop culture or legalese (yea res ipsa!) because I've got that stuff. It's the cluing that stumped me in a bit in each of the corners. I could not see PARFIVE. The A in Matty was a guess, Yoshi huh? I've never heard PONYCAR. I tried poleCAR and postCAR, think of the track, after FordCAR. Oh and I considered SASE, but I thought a slush pile consisted of the manuscripts that weren't being considered for publication. I didn't think the envelopes rated a mention. This was a good whupping, but Saturday is what keeps most of us humble. Good job at that, Tim!

AnnieD 1:49 PM  

Thank you...I knew what SASE was but didn't know "slush pile".

Thomaso808 2:20 PM  

DNF like many others here, but almost sixty comments in and so far it seems I am the first to register a failure on the ARBORIO / ARIOSOS cross. Both terms unfamiliar to me. I guessed a L at the cross.

Other than that, I liked the puzzle. I enjoy seeing a pangram develop after the first Q and Z show up.

Anonymous 2:20 PM  

@ Anonymous 9:46 AM Thanks for the red grid explanation.

Masked and Anonymous 2:51 PM  

This SatPuz was not EAZYE, for the M&A. Was tempted to do me a DUMBQUIT, on several occasions.

Top hitches in the old giddyup:

* EAZYE. Rap names are pretty creative, but make guessin them real hard. Wanted KANYE.
* IDO. I left this at 27-A, as I was/am absolutely sure it is the right answer. Ditto, with SUNFISH. Assumed the rest of the NW was riddled with rebus squares, and cordoned off the area. So, pretty much took the Tea Party approach, there.
* ARBORIO ARIOSOS. I really need to brush up on my 7-letter AR- words. ARALSEA, check. ARI(bigZ)ONA, check and recheck. (McLovin ARIOMMA, down here at deep research central, btw.)
* YOSHI. Not YOSHISAURUS, at least?
* IPSA. fave desperation answer. Other than IPSU, of course.
* ROMAINE = {Iceberg neighbor}. Luv this clue to death. Opens up a whole new realm of cluin. Lookin forward to: {Ipsa neighbor}, {Hot wax neighbor}, etc.

Solved the middle area in near record (M&A) time. Looked over the NW. Then looked past the NW. Then over looked it, altogether. Displayed the Mr. Happy Pencilquit symbol. Eazy E.

My hat tip to anyone who was able to solve this puppy cleanly. Y'all must really know yer AR-words.

@009: Supremely cool red grid layout. Where's the clues? Need to get my nerve back.

Masked & Anonymo4Us.
"Better at HAR-words"

Anonymous 3:25 PM  

JEN? I don't get it.
And what's a slush pile?

MDMA 3:33 PM  

@Anonymous @11:12,

A guy who died in 1995 "didn't exist before 2000" ?

MDMA 3:36 PM  

@Anonymous @3:25,

Jennifer Garner

slush pile, or just read your fellow anonymous @1:15 PM.

Tita 3:59 PM  

A clean finish on a Rex-rated Medium Saturday...oh joy!
Lots of misdirects, lots I didn't know, but got through it.
@Hartley...fOrdCAR here too, before the dope slap for PONY.
Never heard the term PANFISH.
read "Fought agin" as "Fought again", so wandered aimlessly there for ages with "Re_ _ __ _ _", not realizing that o read the clue wrong till I saw @r.alph's post.

ARBORIO is a common type of rice, but I had no idea that it was the go-to choice for rice pudding.

Thank you, Mr. Croce for letting me win, with a fight, on a Saturday.
Off to play bocce in the rain.

Tita 4:01 PM  

@M&A...me too for Iceberg neighbor being one of the best clues ever.

Tita 4:06 PM  

@M&A...me too for Iceberg neighbor being one of the best clues ever.

Bomaka 4:47 PM  

RASSLED this one to the ground slowly - not an EASYONE.

Loved the clues for: FATS, OINKED, FONTS, HOTWAX, AMEXCARD, and TOCK.

Like many others I do, before VOW.

@John Child: my gran mamma HIT AT any of my fellas with their Brylcreem sleeked hair that gooped up her sofa-backs.

HOTWAXing is terrifyingly painful.

Jim for JEN Garner, saved only by OINKED.

No doz for EXLAX, that slowed down my gut reactions to other clues in the middle.

Never heard of FOOTE, MCDREAMY, EAZYE, or YOSHI.

Car parked near our apartment for years, Mustang, with plates : "blue PONY.

Yes MAAM (or sir, in this case) this was a nicely sticky puzzle.

wreck 5:03 PM  

It's hard to add anything late in the day except to echo a lot of the same hang-ups. Again, I met only a slight resistance until the SW. I wanted TUPAC before EASYE forced itself in and also guessed drDREAMY and the green-paintish fordCAR before getting it worked out.

Dorothy Biggs 5:19 PM  

When I was a kid we fished at a local lake a lot. One afternoon my dad took me fishing...it was in the summer sometime...and when we through in our lines we immediately had bites. I might be remembering this wrong, but my recollection is that we stood there for almost three hours catching fish as fast as we could throw our hooks in. They were all crappe and it's where I learned the term "pan fish" since, well, crappe are big enough to fit a couple in a pan to fry them up. We had several friends over that night for a big fish fry. I'm not a big fish fan, but I remember really loving it that night.

Nancy 5:21 PM  

@Hartley: If you've got product brands and pop culture down cold and I've got sports trivia (MATTY and ORR were slam dunks for me) in my back pocket, maybe we should JOINT SOLVE rather than RAGE QUIT in the future.

Forgot to say earlier that I also had Jim rather than JEN GARNER. Am surprised that so many people thought "Iceberg neighbor" was such a clever clue. To me, it was pretty straightforward and I was grateful that I was able to get it fairly easily. I thought the cleverest clue -- and one that completely stumped me -- was the clue for PAR FIVE (1D). (Since I had catFISH, I was looking for cARd-something-or-other.)

More about the slush pile: To avoid it, you need to be an author with a name or have a highly respected literary agent. In that case, you're "coming in under the transom." If you're sending something that's unsolicited, you're "coming in over the transom" and are DESTINEd for the slush pile. If you're lucky, that is. As someone here just said -- can't remember, was it MDMA? -- almost no publishing houses today even accept unsolicited mss. Getting published now is even harder than it was in my day...and it was pretty damned hard then, believe me!

okanaganer 5:43 PM  

The answer grid is wrong!!! Everyone knows "Slush pile, for short" is SASK. (at least in the spring). And "Godfather of (something) rap" is obviously KANYE. And "half a second sound" is TICK. And a brand name I've never heard of is just as likely ARININA as ARIZONA.

mac 6:01 PM  

DNF. Trouble in the NW and SE. Never heard of ..... anyway.

You would waste your arborio rice on rice pudding?? That's risotto rice!

Even though I've seen Grey's Anatomy a couple of times, I had Dr. Dreamy as well. They just killed him off.

Very jet-lagged, just got home. Husband happy to be able to see the Women's World Cup at a godly

Arlene 6:17 PM  

I think I RAGEQUIT this puzzle. And just in time! I know my limits - the tipoff was knowing EXLAX and not a whole lot else!

NYer 8:49 PM  

I enjoyed reading the comments (especially today's factoid.Thanks, @Lewis!) more than the puzzle, which I DNF. Looking forward to Sunday!

OISK 9:21 PM  

Awful. I nearly "rage quit" this sick joke. I don't care for product clues, but am resigned to their occasional appearance. Ex Lax, Mustang (for the completely unfamiliar pony car) AriZona, Clairol, Barqs, Bass Ale, Kia Soul (never heard of it) That's seven, not counting Yelp. Far too many clues of one type. And EAZYE? I had EAZ _ E. Why I hate "rap" clues? Other than that I have no clue, there is often no way to reason out a missing letter. Why a "Y"? Since I never heard of a pony car, no reason at all! However, a Mustang is a horse, right? So pony seemed better than anything else.

Cultural references should be reasonably balanced. These were not. One of my least favorite puzzles of those I actually finished.

The Ear Worm 9:21 PM  

So ... On your punctuation comment. I recently learned that with people's names (that end in 'S'), you don't drop the possessive 'S', so the clue should have read Jesus's. It's only when the sound is not pronounced e.g. kids' where the terminal 'S' should be omitted.

Is this one of those things like the Oxford comma, which is open to interpretation or am I or the puzzle wrong?

michael 9:46 PM  

I just got stuck on the nw (like many others). Didn't know either arborio or ariosos. Desperately tried "rants" for "they can be right-leaning" but figured this was probably wrong and was right about that.

I did eventually get rico act after having riot act for a long time, but still couldn't finish.

Z 9:55 PM  

Pretty sure it is HI TAT, as in "EEEWWW, he musta been HI when he got that TAT."

Not a rice expert. No clue on recitative. PONY CAR, on the other hand, went in pretty quick.

kitshef 10:00 PM  

After a week of easy puzzles (Tuesday excepted), a DNF, missing basically the entire NW. After a week of agreeing wit @Rex, total disagreement as I hated the puzzle. And for the record, I was already hating it when I thought I was going to finish.

EASYONE, ISITAGO were the worst offenders. HITAT almost as bad. SLEEKED is pretty lame. Having ILE and INE in the same row is terrible. As LMS notes, crossing a rapper with a product sucks.

I have never heard Ms. Garner referred to as "JEN".

In that NW, I fell into the suNFISH trap. Other than that all I had in NW was IRAS, HOTWAX, VOW, NBCNEWS and ESSAYS. Actually, that doesn't sound so bad but there ws absolutely no way I was going any further. FOOTE/ARBORIO are crossing WoEs for me. I figured 17A had to end in ACT, but the best I could come up with was paCkACT, which didn't sound like a real thing but made sense with the mob clue. FONTS is a great answer for 19A, but right has so many meanings... With 1D showing S_ _ _ _ VE I was convinced I was looking for some kind of serVE, and all I could think of was RESERVE, which a) would be terrible fill b) would give me r_NFISH, which wasn't going anywhere.

And on a weird note, all my overwrites - in the area I finished, were for the 2nd day in a row on across clues. Is this a common thing? Are across clues deliberately clued differently from downs? Am I for some reason bolder when filling in the acrosses?

So now I have two things to track: difficulty of NW versus rest of puzzle (I previously posited that the NW was clued harder, constructors knowing that is where most of us begin), and cluing of across clues versus downs.

Four major WWII countries in women's world cup semis: Germany, USA, England, Japan.

Z 10:03 PM  

@The Ear Worm - As a result of your question I have found one argument where I am in agreement with Justice Thomas.

David IN CA 11:29 PM  

West defeated me, but called in my closer and we miraculously managed to pull it out.

Isn't HIT AT wrong? I can't come up with a reasonable sentence where one might substitute it for "try to swipe"?
"Don't ever try to swipe the Cardinal Archbishop of Vienna's purse.”
Just don't work.

Was going to call "foul" on 1D, thinking no one could ever ace a par-5, but luckily googled 1st - sure enough it has happened at least 3 times according to

But surprised at the surprise at PONYCAR here, since I'm pretty sure that is one I learned from the NYT Crossword.

paulsfo 1:06 AM  

DNF for many reasons. But I very rarely finish a Saturday.

@Nancy : glad that you were able to view the comments. With regard to having to enter your name and password: if i'm understanding this correctly, isn't a NYT-run blog, so they already *have* your name and password? So I'm not sure what your concern is.

@LMS: 'A capital letter smack dab in the middle of the word is called "camel case."'
Slight correction (at software companies CamelCase gets discussed/re-argued every so often): CamelCasing is capitalizing the initial letter of words within a compound word. So ArizonaStateUniversity is camel-cased, but AriZona is not.

I couldn't understand why everyone but me knew that JEN was an answer for "gamer". Oops.

There were many very clever clues (plus, as has been pointed out, a few marginal ones).

I had to look up the history of St Croix because the idea of Danish colonization in the Caribbean seemed odd to me (though my historical knowledge is limited). Turns out that that Denmark bought it from France.

paulsfo 1:18 AM  

oops. @nancy "isn't it a NYT-run blog..."

MDMA 6:19 AM  


There were Danish colonies in India too, until about 1845.

Also, in the original French it must have been Sainte-Croix, since croix is a feminine noun.

AZPETE 11:59 AM  

Thx for the link. Really enjoyed solving. Am a golf nut!

Anonymous 9:42 PM  

NW killed me. Having caught many a Bluegill and Crappie in my youth, I knew they were both "SUNfishes." Took 20 minutes just to get that corner. Yeesh!!!

Achat bien 7:12 PM  

Thanks for sharing !

spacecraft 11:34 AM  

DNF: the west got me. Fatal error in the NW was IDO where VOW is supposed to go. The PARFIVE clue made no sense to me; I suspected it might be a golf thing but a par 5? Has anyone EVER recorded a hole-in-one on a par 5?? That would negate "rarely" in favor of "never." Oh, I suppose it COULD happen, downwind in a gale they shouldn't be playing in anyway, but...no. Bad, bad clue. And that rice thing? Wife is a food expert and even SHE didn't know! 2-down must be some musical direction; sorry, I never made it to Julliard. Plus of course, hand up amongst a sea of hands for RIotACT; now that I see RICOACT I recognize it, but to come up with it cold? No way.

Then there was the SW. If you insist on populating your grid with rappers, you are going to lose me fast. I had no hope on that one. I guessed the "half-a-second sound" was either TiCK or ToCK, which left S___KED on the bottom. SLEEKED? Really? SLEEKED???? Wonder of wonders, that is indeed a verb! Who knew? I certainly didn't. I hereby begin a petition to have that word UN-verbed and returned to its natural habitat as an adjective. SLEEKED. Gimme a break. I don't watch Grey's Anatomy; the ___REAMY ending yields a D, of course, but I thought, DR.DREAMY or maybe MR.DREAMY. MCDREAMY I never would've gotten. And now someone--ANYONE--please tell me how a SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope) winds up on the slush pile??????????

I also didn't like the "tangled mass" clue for SKEIN. Skeins don't come tangled. They may wind up that way, but not necessarily. Inc.

spacecraft 12:44 PM  

Almost forgot. Let's talk about the "capitalized" middle letter of ARIZONA. Let's see: capital Z; lower case z. There's no difference in shape. The capital is just bigger. So the clue is misleading; in fact I rejected ARIZONA for that reason. Just one more flag.

rondo 12:56 PM  

Perhaps a record for MISHAPS and write-over ink. RIotACT and PARFour in the NW, instead of TAXCUTS I had notaxeS which gave me RAGEexIT which seemed plausible. kAnYE down there even while thinking, “He’s not godfather old.” My finished grid resembles a Rohrschach inkblot, but what is it? Complete.

Rockford Files anyone? Had Jim Garner before realizing it was recently re-singled fabulous yeah baby JEN. ISEE an age comment coming my way.

Hint: Follow the L PGATOUR and find the hangout bar for those players who miss the cut (usually a Friday night) and start buying drinks. Good chance you could SLEEPIN with a pro golfer. Just be a nice guy and it’s an EASYONE. Worked for me. Truedat.

The beautiful STCROIX River is about the only thing separating me from @dk. I plan to spend the entire day tomorrow on the STCROIX.

Well, I really RASSLED with this puz, but I appreciated the struggle.

BS2 6:01 PM  

PONYCAR was a gimme having read Hot Rod magazine off and on back in the day. It is not a RAGEQUIT on my part that ISEE my usual ESSAYS are not showing up. WOE is me. Maybe if I change FONTS? Give me a BASSALE and let's TOCK.

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