Japanese PM executed in 1948 / FRI 6-12-15 / Sylvia ballet composer 1876 / Ski resort that prohibits snowboarding / 2001 sports flop for short / Jay British singer with 2009 #1 hit down / Infant rocketed to earth from Krypton / Studio with horse logo / Literally elbow / emulate esne

Friday, June 12, 2015

Constructor: David Steinberg

Relative difficulty: Medium


Word of the Day: Stan GETZ (56D: "The Sound" of music) —
Stanley Getz (February 2, 1927 – June 6, 1991) was an American jazz saxophonist. Playing primarily the tenor saxophone, Getz was known as "The Sound" because of his warm, lyrical tone, his prime influence being the wispy, mellow timbre of his idol, Lester Young. Coming to prominence in the late 1940s with Woody Herman's big band, Getz is described by critic Scott Yanow as "one of the all-time great tenor saxophonists". Getz went on to perform in bebopcool jazz and third stream, but is perhaps best known for popularizing bossa nova, as in the worldwide hit single "The Girl from Ipanema" (1964). (wikipedia)
• • •

My brain was foggy from a hard ten hours sleep, but I usually crush David Steinberg Friday puzzles, so I ended up feeling like I struggled, but with a pretty normal Friday time. Lots of start and stop. Speed and stop. Usually get stopped on names I just don't know, or that won't come to me, and that was certainly true today. Spent I don't know how long imagining that 5D: Japanese P.M executed in 1948 (TOJO) was actually a clue about a former Sony exec (which is a clue you do see from time to time in crosswords, another four-letter Japanese name … I think my brain turned "P.M." into CEO and then just ignored the "executed" and "1948" parts … oh, and I still can't remember that Sony exec's name). And I've literally never heard of Jay SEAN until just now. Big SEAN, yes. Jay SEAN, no. So turning that particular corner was rough.

This puzzle started with IOTA (wrong) at 1A: Minute bit, which was quickly fixed by crosswording's favorite fisherman, the EELER, and then I went through the NW without much trouble. NE proved much tougher, as I got ANEW up into there, but then couldn't get much to work, Across-wise or Down-wise, on first pass. KAL-EL, NEXT, and AGOG—that's what I had. I thought the Hulk might be in a RAGE, but too few letters. I figured the [Land bordering western China] was a -STAN, but I wasn't sure which one. And of course TOJO, who would've helped a lot, was still a Sony exec in my mind, so I abandoned that area for the center, which then got me IRENE DUNNE, which sorted the NE out pretty nicely. Very tough clues on I'M READY (10D: "Let's roll!") and SPY (11D: Invasive plant) up there. Love the SPY clue, actually.

From there I could not get into the SE. I couldn't see DESKS in a library and I had no idea YALIEs sang like sheep, so … I got a few little answers. Crosswordese retrieval skills were on point as I brought down ISERE off the "I" and then SILAS (never seen or read "Da Vinci Code," never will). Then ALTA. But the answer that finally got the Downs down there to fall was … a comics sound effect. ZOT! Hurray!  ZOT! to SLEAZEBALL For The Win!

After that, an easy SW, and done.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. LA VIDA LOCA as a partial? (29D: Subject of a 1999 Ricky Martin hit). No. Come on.

P.P.S. best wrong answer of the day: 18A: A cameo may be seen in it (GOOGOLPLEX). I seem to have confused "cineplex" with a very large number.

P.P.P.S. Happy Birthday, Jamie B. Fowler, wherever you are!

[Follow Rex Parker on Facebook and Twitter]


Anonymous 8:11 AM  

I thought this was awful. A terrible combination of crosswordese (EELER, ZOT, ASA, ORT, etc.), some ridiculously obscure proper nouns (Jay SEAN, SILAS, DELIBES, ISERE), the now overused LAVIDALOCA (third or fourth time in the past several months?) , and the DOIT dook made this just a terrible solving experience. Boo. Hiss.

Dorothy Biggs 8:15 AM  

Given the shout out DS gave this blog (and the comments section) a shoutout over at xword.com, it's safe to say he reads these comments. Hi, David!

This was easy for me. Either DS is getting soft or I'm getting much better at his puzzles. But I was surprised in the end to see that it was his puzzle.

David, (may I call you David?), I will say you are getting better at not having as much trivia in your puzzles. I don't get the feeling I used to get of you pouring through a thesaurus or over the internet looking for alternative words or bits of arcane trivia. Kudos for that.

That said, the only real problem I had were two crossings involving some proper nouns: SILAS/DELIBES (which I insisted to myself was DELeBES...so yeah, there's that...and I am not up on my fictional monk characters found in movies I've never seen); and the BELAY/KALEL crossing. Funny how, when you're staring at a blank square, obvious letters can elude you. I knew it was KALEL but, at the time, KAfEL looked, um, okay...at a glance, any way.

Those two spots, both minor and easily fixed, were my only problems. I did have mer before LAC, but RAZORBACKS fixed that. I had atom at 1A until I came across EELER. TAJIKISTAN, while obscure to my daily life and a spelling nightmare, was completed entirely by crosses.

Otherwise David, nice puzzle.

Sir Hillary 8:15 AM  

I thought this was a blast. Lots of X, Z, J, K in the tens -- superb stuff.

SE was by far the hardest for me. The breakthrough was ZOT. Such great memories of reading the funnies as a kid, and Johnny Hart's "B.C." was always a favorite. Hart lived and wrote up @Rex's way, by the by. Elmira, I think.

I wouldn't recognize a KIASORENTO if it ran over me, but I certainly know the name. Here in the Tristate area, Kia is a constant advertiser on New York Giants radio broadcasts, and the Sorento is featured in an ad voiced by Carl Banks, ex-Giant linebacker and current color commentator. During football season, this ad runs on the radio, oh, every two minutes or so.

Is LAVIDALOCA not a standalone phrase, similar to "la dolce vita"?

r.alphbunker 8:19 AM  

SE was the last to fall. The breakthroughs came when I saw that the Hill of {Hill position} was Capitol Hill giving SENATESEAT and the {Strike setting} was a bowling alley LANE. Fave weeject was ZOT. YALIES refer to the Yale Whiffenpoofs, an undergraduate a cappella singing group who are know for there rendition of "The Whiffenpoof Song".
To the tables down at Mory's,
To the place where Louis dwells,
To the dear old Temple Bar
We love so well,

Sing the Whiffenpoofs assembled
With their glasses raised on high,
And the magic of their singing casts its spell.

Yes, the magic of their singing
Of the songs we love so well:
"Shall I, Wasting" and "Mavourneen" and the rest.

We will serenade our Louis
While life and voice shall last
Then we'll pass and be forgotten with the rest.

We are poor little lambs
Who have lost our way.
Baa! Baa! Baa!
We are little black sheep
Who have gone astray.
Baa! Baa! Baa!

Gentlemen songsters off on a spree
Damned from here to eternity
God have mercy on such as we.
Baa! Baa! Baa!

RooMonster 8:19 AM  

Hey All !
Wow, Rex late today. Am one of the first posts!
Found puz medium also, tried to not hurry through, as rushing always seems to screw me up. Went through section by section, got NW first, then NE, SE, finished in SW. However, couldn't get SENATE hEAd out of my head, so finally wrote it in and hoped for the best. Well, DNF, as I came here to find. SENATE SEAT. Drat! Also one other wrong letter. Had K for T in kOJO/k(whatever)stan. So close! Oh well, good for me for a FriPuz!

Steinberg is starting to get into smooth Berry territory. Even with sticking in Scrabbly letters. Only missing the Q for the pangram today. Nice. Four corners of 10's, and cleanly, is a feat. Plus the middle long downs. Good one, DS! When I grow up, I want to make puzs like DS! :-P


joho 8:21 AM  

Since I was able to finish this before turning out the light I thought @Rex would rate this easy so I'm pleasantly surprised to see the medium rating.

Toughest spot for me was getting the T in TOJO.

Did anybody else have ivY before SPY?

How much TRAVELTIME does it take for a MASSEXODUS to make to the OCEANFRONT? Did that man from TAJIKISTAN go on a RAMPAGE when he raided the JEWELRYBOX? Did the SLEAZEBALL drive his KIASORENTO to his SENATESEAT?

Fun Friday, thank you, David!

George Barany 8:23 AM  

It's a pleasure to see another New York Times byline from my young friend @David Steinberg. Relatively recently, I observed on this forum how puzzles can evoke interesting recollections, and today's offering is no exception.

My marquee word-of-the-day is ELECTROLUX. As recently arrived immigrants living in Flushing, Queens but working in Manhattan in the early 1960's, my parents hired young women from Germany to live with us as what, in modern parlance, would be termed "au pairs." A door-to-door salesman peddling Electrolux vacuum cleaners came by once, successfully convinced my mother to buy from his product line, and was smitten by M___. A courtship ensued, followed by wedding bells, and last time I checked, they were still married. As for the product, it really sucked, and I mean that in a positive way.

One doesn't have to go back nearly so far, though. A Disney film called "Tomorrowland," released not that long ago and currently in theaters, takes its inspiration from the 1964 World's Fair in (you guessed it) Flushing. One of the film's protagonists, as a boy, invents a jetpack that includes, among other key components, an Electrolux. Click here for a 1-minute clip, near the end of which the product placement is eminently clear.

AliasZ 8:38 AM  

This David Steinberg puzzle was markedly better than many if his previous offerings, simply because he wasn't trying consciously to be oh-so cool, fresh and zippy. However it still contained too much pop, sports, brand-name etc. trivia for my taste. My tolerance for those is no more than three combined per 15x15. LA VIDA LOCA, while this is its first appearance here in its full glory, has, in its parts, been in so many NYT puzzles already, I think it is time to retire it permanently. Is Ricky Martin still fresh and relevant? I have no idea.

Of the fourteen tens three contained an X -- is this significant? -- yet none of them struck me as super elegant or sparkling, except IRENE DUNNE of course. As I was solving the puzzle last night, the 1931 version of "Cimarron" was playing on TCM, starring Richard Dix (whose first name I always thought was redundant) and IRENE. How is that for fortuitous happenstance?

But we also have the inelegant XFL, ORT, ASA, ZOT, ANEW, AGOG, EELER, TOJO, etc. GEE David, doesn't IF NOT mean the same thing as IN THAT CASE? Let's see: "Take a big bite out of that steak. DO IT! Otherwise, IF NOT / IN THAT CASE, just NIP AT." And this, my friends, is why I don't like partials.

It seems we are continuing with the hidden gem theme today inside the JEWELRY BOX.

Favorite entry today: Léo DELIBES, whose idea of the king amusing himself is quite different from mine.

For RAZORBACKS the clue could have been "Slang term for Sus scrofa", or feral pigs, some of whom wander aimlessly into this blog and go ON A RAMPAGE on occasion, turning into SLEAZEBALLs.

Speaking of jewelry: @Mary Wideau, I'm just wantin' to mention that your genteel wanton pun went over like a one-ton brick with at least one commenter. I had a serious belly laugh when I saw the response. That was jewelish.

Like IRENE said, stick a fork in me, I am DUNNE.

Unknown 8:43 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lewis 8:45 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown 8:48 AM  

I made it through the NW and SW quadrants without too much trouble, but the NW and SE were ungettable. KALEL is something I'll learn from XWs one day. Regretably. TOJO is someone we should all know. I didn't and am duly ashamed. ISERE took six tries with google to locate. Plenty of other 5 letter rivers and valleys came up first.

With all the accurate, responsive wrong entries in the SE, the long downs were buried. Invisible. ALTA was the only correct fill from my unassisted pass.

DESKS was unclued. I don't know a single library with lined-up desks. How about [State department posts] ? Or [News bureaus]?

Incorrigible wrongness (before google)

DEbussy for DELIBES. It felt anachronistic.
aNgRy____ for ONARAMPAGE
raj for ASA
lAmbs for YALIE
We'REoff for IMREADY

1:15 medium challenging. Started googling after 45 minutes. Ultimately googleable with six googles.

Opus Dei doesn't have monks. (What? You mean I've found an error of fact in The DaVinci Code? Well, I never. . . )

Haiku Nerd 8:48 AM  


Lewis 8:53 AM  

@joho -- hand up for ivY.
@NCA -- I too guessed at SILAS/DELIBES

Stan GETZ reminds me that we just lost a terrific saxophonist, one I love, Ornette Coleman...

Look at this gorgeous grid, with its four triple-tens, with their interesting scrabbly answers! I love David's cluing that keeps the brain on high alert: DUSK, SPY, LANE, MASSEXODUS, YALIE, YEAS. There is a very mini mini theme with KALEL and LANE. EELER and ORT were countered with ZOT, IMO.

It's always an adventure with DS, and this one for me was a fun grapple.

jberg 8:54 AM  

We have an ELECTROLUX, and years ago I actually had a used VW microbus that had the logo of the same painted on the side. On the other hand, my principal encounter with Leo DELIBES was attending a light opera by him somewhere in Paris. We sat in the cheapest seats, which turned out to be the very front corner of the steep third balcony; we had to lean forward to see much of the stage, but felt like we were likely to tumble over the rail and become part of the production when we did. That kept me from thinking of him as a ballet composer, so it slowed me down. (BTW, I'm listening to @AliasZ's linked clip right now, and suddenly hear the Renaissance tune "Il Estoit une Fillette," aka "La Monica" -- very fitting since it's the week of the Boston Early Music Festival here. I guess the king amusing himself is from that period.)

On the other hand, I wanted a _DJ_ --the preferred spelling of my youth -- in that _STAN, didn't know from SEAN, only dimly recalled ISERE, and took a total guess, with a little guidance from plausibility, on theat SILAS/ALTA crossing. Is that a very obscure ski resort, or am i just out of it.

All in all, 1) I enjoyed it, especially the stacked 9s circling the center; 2) found it pretty easy, despite the unkown proper names; and 3) was very pleased to learn that the ISERE arises in the Graian Alps, rather than some other kind of Alps.

As mentioned, it's Boston Early Music Festival (BEMF) week, so I'm off to two or three or four concerts.

Maruchka 9:01 AM  

Delighted to see DS's name, figured it'd be tough but fair. To my surprise, every quad went smooth until - the lower SE! Tiber/ISERE, Slimeballs/SLEAZEBALL (no plural in clue, doh), what's a ZOT?, car models, argh. Cheated, got DELIBES, then all do-over scribbles. Sigh. Much fun, tho, Mr. Steinberg.

Fav of the day - GETZ. And the great sax artist Ornette Coleman passed yesterday. Gone, never forgotten.

@r.alph - Mom sang the Whiffenpoof song while vacuuming with the ELECTROLUX. Well, maybe not, but it was certainly in her repetoire.

@GeorgeB - Sweet! And 'Our Man in Havana' is loaded with vacs as secret weapons. The best SPY send-up ever.

Z 9:02 AM  

KIA Lorenzo I would have gotten right away.

I beg to differ, this puzzle still shows some of the features that used to cause much cursing and gnashing of teeth when a DS would appear, with the SE really needing a major re-working. ISERE/SILAS/DELIBES/ALTA/SEAN/KIA SORENTO all crammed into a fairly small place. Toss in the WTF clue for the ese YALIE and you have a proper name natickville down there. 35 squares, 30 of them part of a proper name. No one answer is bad or especially problematic, but the cluster? Wowser.

Overall, I enjoyed the solved. Piecing together TAJIKISTAN one cross at a time was fun. Paused on TRISTAR because I don't have Pegasus filed as a "horse" in my brain. I also found XFL over ORT oddly appropriate. For me 75% easy, 25% challenging (Hand up for plopping down DEbussy off the DE).

Elaina 9:08 AM  

This belongs on yesterday's comments. After finishing Lewis's Hidden Gem of a puzzle I heard this hidden (at least to me) gem which seemed a fitting tribute.

The Carolina Chocolate Drops - Ruby Are You Mad at Your Man


Sadly, I do not know how to put that in as an active link. Can someone tell me how?

Loren Muse Smith 9:23 AM  

I think my first entry was SEAL. Then “ivy” (hi, @joho, Lewis) and “Clark.” Then I realized “Clark” was too easy and reread the clue. Then I remembered the name of Nicholas Cage’s son. I thought it was an apostrophe in there somewhere. Poor little guy’s gonna have a time when a sub does the roll call.

Of course off the E in EXES, I confidently put in “Debussy,” (hi, @Casco) smiling at my “mer” and so proud of our David. That misdirect had to be deliberate, right?

MASS EXODUS reminds me of my most unfortunate mistaken entry. Remember @Tita’s Hall of Fame? The clue was “mass exodus, of a sort” and I had DIA_ _ _ _A in place. I’ll spare you the details, butt let’s say I took the clue too, uh, loosely.

SAVE NOW (more in my language “order now”) scares the bejeezus out of me. I don’t know what it is about infomercials, but if one happens to have me sitting down “just for a minute” to see whatever miracle product they’re touting (two days ago it was this unbelievable burner that heats only the pot that’s on it, but the burner itself isn’t hot), invariably I am utterly taken in and just *have* to have this thing. And scurry off in a panicked frenzy to dig out my card so I can make the deadline ending in 2 minutes and 43 seconds and get two for the price of one!!!


Other temptations:

Poo Trap

visor orgainizer

potty trainer

other funny products

Good one, as usual, David.

Thomaso808 9:24 AM  

DELIBES over ISERE did me in as others have mentioned. Other than that, great puzzle.

KALEL was a gimme thanks to my mom scouring every rummage sale for comic books to try to make me at least semi-literate while countering my sports-a-holic tendencies growing up in the 60's. Thanks, Mom!

The NW was brilliant. The much maligned EELER was a key to the solve, forcing both MOTE and ENERO, which only works as a summer month because it's Latinoamerica.

Many great clues fully worthy of a Friday. Fun puzzle. Thanks DS and WS!

Anonymous 9:26 AM  

Found the puzzle mediocre. And I think some of the clues were poor. Tristar 's logo is not really a horse but Pegasus. And enero is not summer in Central America or even northern South America.

Hartley70 9:32 AM  

@LudyJynn, as an aside, can you tell me if the number 1445 has significance for you?

I looked at the grid and thought whoops, a challenge! I was right. It was heavy going but fun until I got to the SW where I met my match. Seeing the answers now, I should have been able to complete it but I had a giant senior moment and got stuck after ISERE, ALTA, SENATEaide, and half of DELIBES. I like a tough Friday, so my thanks to DS for the exercise. I may need to read a romance novel now to recover.

Nancy Klein 9:37 AM  

I am proud to say that even at my advanced age (over 55), I knew both Tojo-- from high school history-- and Jay Sean-- from raising millenials--right off the bat. I was finally cool enough to solve a DS puzzle without first fuming over its obscure clues.

mathguy 9:52 AM  

I had everything but the triple ten in the SE. And it was totally blank. I guessed DESKS from DE??? That told me that "Toyota Highlander alternative started with a K. Must be a Kia. The I in KIA gave me YALIE. Then SLEAZEBALL popped into my head and I was done. That kind of experience, having a word not in my regular vocabulary suddenly appear from the nether regions of my brain, is the kind of kick that keeps me solving.

It's hard for me to understand those of us who complain about entries that come from certain areas of knowledge, like pop, sports, brand names, trivia. I trust Shortz to certify that these entries are part of the contemporary culture and so are something that I should know.

The puzzle caused me some pain but it hurt so good!

I'm still jazzed about the Warriors winning last night. I was beginning to feel that LeBron was invincible.

Nancy 9:53 AM  

Almost undoable for me, but I finished -- with one letter wrong: sAW for JAW (7D), giving me TAsIKISTAN. (And I almost Naticked on the KALEL (who he????) crossing, but guessed right.)

@NCA Pres and @Alias Z say this doesn't have as much pop trivia and brand names as previous DS puzzles, but you can't prove it by me. I'm with @Z: There was way, way too much. So I struggled mightily and suffered greatly in the (almost) solving of this thing -- something I usually enjoy, even crave -- but I didn't enjoy this puzzle much at all. I did really like MASS EXODUS and SLEAZEBALL and I loved the clue for YALIE (I was thinking: Please no, not another pop singer!) But it wasn't.

@R.alph: I consider the Whiffenpoof song the greatest college song ever written. @Marushka: I would have loved to hear your mother singing it, minus the sound of the ELECTROLUX, thank you very much! And how many people here know that the lyrics were appropriated, almost word for word, from a Kipling poem. "Gentlemen Rankers" is the title, I think, though I'm not sure. BTW, I consider Kipling the most underrated poet ever, and I've been waiting for years for an excuse to say so on this blog.

@joho and @Lewis: I also thought ivY before SPY, though I was wise enough not to write it in. I did love the SPY clue, BTW.

Carola 10:19 AM  

Medium for me. Slow, some skipping around to probe for areas of softness, but steady progress to my final destination, TAJIKISTAN. That was my point of departure, too, as (something)-KISTAN was my first entry: like Rex, I figured it had to be a "-STAN," and I knew that Superman's name started with a K (interference from K-Tel meant I needed crosses to remember the rest). Barely averted howler: hOJO x hAJIKISTAN - just ready to call it done, when "Wait...." (And I'm old enough to remember post-WWII talk of TOJO).

Unlike others, I didn't feel that this one was quite up to David Steinberg (more recent) standards. With the exception of CHO and the KIA SORENTO, I happened to know the rest of the proper names, and while that was a help in solving, I felt that with 20 names/ titles/ products there was an overload. I'd rather grapple with a diabolical invasive plant (great clue) or a MASS EXODUS or a SLEAZEBALL ON A RAMPAGE - much more gratifying to get.

I also thought the puzzle showed too many symptoms of tired blood: EELER, ORT, OGLED, EXES, TABS, ANEW, NEE, ENERO. Of course, they were definitely a BENEFIT while solving, but DS's previous puzzles have led me to expect a bit more wit and sparkle.

Lewis 10:22 AM  

Factoid: Prince William is the first direct HEIR to the British throne who was born in a hospital.
Quotoid: "I've never heard of anybody smoking a joint and going ON A RAMPAGE. It makes you lie around on the floor and look at the ceiling. What's wrong with that?" -- Billy Bob Thornton

Danield 10:27 AM  

Phases in this DS puzzle:

I--oh, a Steinberg puzz. Sure to be challenging, fair, stimulating with interesting clues

II--80% done. What a marvelous constructor. What an enjoyable puzz. This is going to be a great day. Life is sooo good!

III--(southeast corner) What a jerk Steinberg is! Opera, crossed by obscure Euro river, crossed by dated pop fiction co-star??!!

IV--(limp across finish line) I'm not as smart as I thought I was.

Arlene 10:34 AM  

I got through most of this better than I expected - but then was left with some names crossing names that didn't know, so finished up with a few Googles.
I had no idea which IKISTAN I was going for.
I first had BOOKS, then DORKS before getting to DESKS.
I did know the YALIES and their poor little lambs who had lost their way.
I thought DEBUSSY at first, but knew that wasn't right.
I also thought SLEAZEBAGS, but since it wasn't plural, finally got to the BALL kind of SLEAZE.
And I got ELECTROLUX right away - reminded me of the vacuum cleaner of my chlldhood - but now I know they make all sorts of appliances and own Frigidaire. So their competitors are now more than just Hoover, folks.
Quite an assortment of trivia for one puzzle!

r.alphbunker 10:36 AM  

Good catch. The chorus is definitely from
Gentleman Rankers (starts at about 2:20)
More information is here

Andrew Heinegg 10:40 AM  

I did not care for some of this puzzle. Other parts I thought were just fine. My biggest nitpick is 66a.
The NCAA team with Boss Hog is Arkansas.
The nickname for that team is the Razorbacks. On the plus side, I thought the nw was well constructed with the exception of Enero. When I saw the clue, I thought it had to be Enero but, Enero, as noted earlier in this blog, is not part of Summer. All in all, not terrible but, it gives me more appreciation for Lewis's gem of yesterday.

Billy C 10:50 AM  

I had no problem with Isere. When we lived in Paris, our favorite ski area was Val d'Isere, A British friend had a condo there and we rented it on about a half-dozen occasions. Beautiful spot.

David 10:52 AM  

Mixed bag for sure. Some fun stuff like Sleazeball, a few clever misdirects, and a bunch of answers that I haven't seen before, but that were clued well enough to be very clear and solid. Nice job on that stuff.

But that block that everyone is already complaining about, with ISERE and DELIBES...rough spot. Having a potentially tough letter from both of those answers cross with TOIL sounds great, a standard word that helps finish up the names through crosses. But cluing TOIL based on an esne seemed almost spiteful, intentionally blocking the main way of finishing up two of the least inferrable letters in the entire grid. I went with TOOT, thinking maybe it was one of the million weird bird names that only ornithologists and crossworders know---an erne bred with a nene?---leaving me oSERE and DEtIBES. That seemed as good as anything else, and I really don't know what else I could have or was supposed to do to solve those correctly. Not a true Natick for me, the way that term was coined, but definitely inspired the same sense of futility that makes Naticks a problem, like the puzzle was supposed to not just be tough, but actively not solvable without a lucky guess. Because it was so avoidable---not even a grid issue, just a clue---it felt like that futility was by actually by design, and it spoiled the fun of the rest of the puzzle for me.

Ludyjynn 11:01 AM  

An easy, medium and challenging experience, all in one puzzle! Halfway through, as it got tougher, I looked at the byline. I SPY a David Steinberg, oy,oy, oy. @Z put it well.

@Hartley70, YES! Hmmm...

Thanks, DS and WS.

Anonymous 11:08 AM  

@Billy C: You are so sophisticated. We're all really impressed.

Warren Howie Hughes 11:19 AM  

16A,"Like the Hulk, typically"...ONSTEROIDS!

AliasZ 11:32 AM  

@jberg, what is even more interesting is the history of the pavane (movement 2 of the Delibes work).

The song was first published by the French cleric Jehan Tabourot (1519-1595) under the alias Thoinot Arbeau (anagram of his actual name), in a collection of French renaissance dances called "Orchésographie", in 1589. The song is called "Belle qui tiens ma vie" (beauty, who holds my life).

Léo DELIBES used this song in his incidental music for Victor Hugo's play "Le roi s’amuse" in the work titled "Le roi s’amuse -- six airs de danse dans le style ancien" in 1882.

Then a British composer named Philip Arnold Heseltine (1894-1930), better known as Peter Warlock, composed a set of dances for piano duet called "Capriol Suite" in 1926, orchestrated it for strings and later for full orchestra, in which he also used this same renaissance song.

I for one am grateful to all three gents. One of the prettiest songs from Renaissance France.

Billy 11:35 AM  

Aw-w-www, shucks, @anon11:08. T'warn't nothin'

Mohair Sam 11:38 AM  

Well I clearly remembered that Dan Brown named his Monk SoLAS, but I was even more positive that KIA makes the Sequoia. Hence I spent most of this morning troubling over the SE corner of David Steinberg's latest. Finally became more sure of ISERE than the car and gave in to SORENTO.

Unfortunately I decided that my knowledge of SoLAS was better than my knowledge of DELIBES and I dealt myself a DNF. First time we've been whupped by DS in a while.

Fun Friday with a mix of pop culture to please any generation - IRENEDUNNE, Stan GETZ, KEANU, and Jay SEAN.

Loved ELECTROLUX, there's no cleaner fill. And anyone who can sneak TAJIKISTAN into a puzzle can be forgiven EELER.

Tita 11:49 AM  

Tough for me, but I did finish all by my lonesome...
One of those where I get as far as I can, stare at the grid for a long time, and realize there is no way I am gonna finish this one.
Then I pick it up in the am, rinse, repeat.
I am gobsmacked that I did in fact work it all out, in spitre of plenty of wrong answers.

My knee-jerk reaction to Superman name questions is jorEL, who turns out to be Superdad. A few of my in-laws call my brother that, it being the closest approximation to the unpronounceable João (Portuguese John).

9:26Anon is right about Pegasus. Can Pegasus be considered a "variation on" a horse, making the clue correct?

ELECTROLUX reminds me of the Acme Suck-O-Lux that Roger Rabbit uses to great cartoon parody effect.

I found myself sitting next to David at the ACPT final a coupla years back. I'll let you fill in the blanks as to the feeling of a fiftyish cruciverbophile , 383rd best solver in the world, as the 17 or 18 year old constructor next to me raced through the final puzzle while I was making very tentative scribbles in the grid.
We chatted a bit - nice kid!
Do I cut him a break on my critiques of his puzzles, simply because I have met him?
Hell no - as @Carola once said, I'm a cheap puzzle date - I like 'em all (almost). (That was you, wasn't it, Carola?)

Anyhow, a Friday and Saturday should be a puzzle that I stare at for forever, think I'll never ever finish, and do. So it was a good one. Thanks David.

GILL I. 11:52 AM  

I like David's cluing in this puzzle. SPY was terrific so was SENATE SEAT and a few others. My one headshaker was for summertime being ENERO in Latin America. I always thought that "latinoamerica" was any country south of the U.S. with either Spanish or Portuguese as the primary language. That clue was exceedingly broad in my opinion...no? It's certainly summertime in Argentina and Chile but it ain't in Venezuela....
I"m siding with @Carola on this...I too thought there might be an overload of names. Even so, after I sat back and looked at the finished product, I decided I liked it.
My woes:
Any word ending with STAN gives me the heeby jeebies (sp?) I always know I won't be able to spell it.
My tempting words when I shop is HALF OFF. SAVE NOW doesn't do anything for me...
I now know all about the YALIE sheep song. I learned about the whiffinpoof right here on the blog...@Maruchka - visions of your mom doing a little Samba and singing at the top of her lungs...!
It's supposed to be about 105 degrees here in Northern California and STILL no rain. Can we please have some of Florida's deluge?

rorosen 11:56 AM  

Danield at 10:27

very funny! I went through the same phases!

old timer 12:11 PM  

One of those Fridays that leave you staring at an acre of white space, convinced that for once you won't do more than a tiny corner before giving up. The SW fell quickly with ELECTROLUX a gimme and RAZORBACKS an easy guess. I was very grateful for LAVIDALOCA, which got me into the center. Wanted TAJIKISTAN, but was stymied for a while by the belief that the Superman figure was Jor-El. SLEAZEBALL was a gift. That gave me ISE for the river, and I know of the ISERE even if I don't know where it rises.

A lot of the time, I have guesses I'm afraid to write down in ink without confirmation by the crosses. That was true of UNMET and STEER. Finally, I remembered the ill-fated XFL and the rest was easily finished.

I knew YALIE immediately -- the Whiffenpoof song was in a book on the piano of my youth. DELIZBES I had to get totally on crosses -- never heard of the dude. Cleverest clue: 16A, the one about the Hulk.

I thought it was a first-rate puzzle, but certainly not an *easy* puzzle. Friday medium, really.

Benko 12:53 PM  

@GILL: You can have all of Florida's rain as far as I'm concerned. We get it every afternoon.

I was out of town yesterday and didn't hear about Ornette Coleman. Really a shame. One of the last jazz legends. His album This is Our Music with Max Roach and Don Cherry is one of my favorites.

The Angel City Kid 12:59 PM  

29d LVL too big and easy a toehold for a Fri.

Benko 1:16 PM  

Correction: Ed Blackwell played drums on This is Our Music, not Roach, who had a volatile relationship with Coleman.

The Angel City Kid 1:24 PM  

Also I was at the XFL championship game in LA. Talk about sports history!

Carola 1:49 PM  

@Tita - Yes, that was me - although I was a little more demanding today :)

Anonymous 2:08 PM  

31-33 down slew me, crosses didn't help: desks, yalie, sean, zot, delibes - no clue.

RAD2626 2:09 PM  

Hard for me as are most of DS' puzzles. From MOTE to ORT to BELAY, lots of words requiring lots of crossing help. DNF in same area as others but I knew DELIBES. My problem was IbERE/bILAS. Bad guess on my part. I guess I should have skied more or paid better attention to The Da Vinci Code. Bar mitzvah, e.g., clue for TEEN another tough get.

All fair and clever, just hard. Really liked all the X's and Z's in the 10's. So different looking.

Mette 2:13 PM  

Hooray, I finished a DS puzzle. Gotta love SLEAZEBALL and ELECTROLUX. Did not realize the latter still existed and I spent an afternoon this week researching vacuum cleaners.

Thaks DS and WS. What a fun romp.

jae 2:16 PM  

Easy-medium for me.  Having done enough crosswords to know a few European rivers helped save me from guessing in DEBILES (a major WOE) and ISERE area.

I know CHO more from Harold and Kumar than from Star Trek.

Lots of fun zippy scrabbly stuff, liked it a bunch.   Nice one David!

Anonymous 2:16 PM  

Classic New York Times crossword discussion board--a bunch of old white people hitting the trifecta: reminiscing about their travels to the Continent, showing off their knowledge of classical music, and speaking condescendingly about a young constructor. Maybe somebody should complain that the chardonnay isn't chilled correctly or that the service in this place has gone straight downhill.

Clark Kent 2:21 PM  

I did like how we had KALEL and his love Lois LANE in the same puzzle. Alas, they were far away from each other.

John 2:29 PM  

@Alias Z - "This David Steinberg puzzle was markedly better than many if his previous offerings, simply because he wasn't trying consciously to be oh-so cool, fresh and zippy" - How exactly do you know that David was previously "trying consciously ..." in prior work? He's young, so things that seem "oh-so cool, fresh and zippy" are the norm to him, whereas to an old fart such as myself (and likely you) they're alien. Were I to construct a puzzle with many of David's references, yes it would be a conscious effort to include many of those references, but for him, not so much.

You seem to have a tendency to find deliberate intent when things simply aren't to your liking.

Fred Romagnolo 2:44 PM  

@Nancy: for great college songs, try Gaudeamus Igitur; it's a medieval university song which forms the great finale of Brahms' Academic Festival Overture. Ask Alias Z for a sample (I don't know how to do those things). @Billy C: it seems you've got an anon (11:08) stalking you the way you do the professor! Come to think of it, maybe it IS the P! Like everybody else, I fell apart in the S.E. had to google the pop singer and the auto-model, but that's D.S. for you. Tojo, of course, a gimmee for us who lived through what Archie Bunker calls the BIG war. And, OMG, Irene Dunne, a truly great lady in cinema history ( and a delegate to the U.N.) I think SAVE NOW qualifies as green paint. Isn't a unicorn a flying horse? Delibes also wrote the lovely opera, Lakme, with the Bell Song and the enchanting Flower Duet (again check with Alias Z).

MDMA 2:55 PM  

The SE corner needed to be completely reworked, it was just a cluster of obscure proper names. I was so determined not to break a streak that I spent 40 minutes on it out of sheer orneriness, and solved it in the end, but I've hardly ever felt less sure as I entered the last couple of letters and got the app's success chime. The upper SE was better but still had the problematic YALIE, which needed the crosses. How would anyone who's not an alum have heard of the "Whiffenpoof" song?

On the bright side, TAJIKISTAN was a gimme from the TOJO cross, otherwise Uzbekistan might have been a possibility. Kyrgyzstan had too many rare consonants to be plausible. I have a certain lingering familiarity with by-now-former-Soviet geography, because reasons. Anyone else remember Ulan-UDE from a few weeks back?

John V 3:02 PM  

I rarely connect with David's puzzles and today was no exception. Just not on his wavelength. Huge DNF.

Maruchka 3:41 PM  

@Nancy, @Gill - Mom woulda loved it, thanks. Wishing you a rain storm and cooling trend, @Gill. I'm visiting the Bay Area and points north in July and hoping, at least, for lotsa fog..

BillyC 3:55 PM  

@FredR --

Re: my Anon (11:08) stalker.

Naw, I doubt it's the Prof. He's got class, and wouldn't hide behind an Anon if he had something to say to me.

Now the NaziPoseur, on the other hand ...

Chip Hilton 5:06 PM  

Pretty smooth effort for me. Whiffenpoofs going Baa! Baa! Baa! got me started and having owned an ELECTROLUX didn't hurt. I like puzzles with lots of high-point Scrabble letters, and this one qualified. Belated thanks for the mirror deflection puzzle from a few days back. It proved so difficult that it ate up a good portion of a flight from DeGaulle to JFK for me. Mon Dieu!

old timer 5:24 PM  

When I said something nice about Rex Porker, someone said "don't feed the troll". But since he has a consistent schtick, a consistent name, and posts most days, I think of him as a member of this little commmunity, and I have to say I often find him amusing. When he is out of line, why not call him on it? When he nails it, why not praise what he has to say?

I feel really different about people who have not adopted a consistent name and personality, and who post anonymous slams. They are the trolls, and IMO should never be responded to. If you want to post anonymously about your solving experience, that's fine. If you want to add interesting information, that's fine too. But if you want to be negative, you deserve to be ignored, and I always (well *almost* always) am able to keep my mouth shut. It's the right thing to do.

Victoria Peckham 5:37 PM  

Right on !!!!

Victoria Peckham 5:40 PM  

What a wanker......

Victoria Peckham 5:56 PM  

Perhaps he can ask his British friends what Tosspot means !!!!

Tita 6:26 PM  

Well said, Billy C. And was that intentional, about the prof having class?

@old timer... As one who often admonished to "not feed the trolls", and then ignores her own advice, I agree with you.
It's when they bully one of my friends that I find it hardest.

RAD2626 6:35 PM  

@MDMA. I think the "Whifenpoof" song has more to do with age and less to do with being an alum. If you suffered through Mitch Miller or Your Hit Parade, likely you would have some passing famiiliarity with it. Of course, I did grow up in New Haven....

Masked and Anonymo4Us 6:54 PM  

Puz. Feisty.
TOG. Desperate. LAC S.

Me M&A.
U not.


michael 7:04 PM  

I used to really dislike DS puzzles, finding them impossibly obscure. But recently I think they are much better and more doable. This was a puzzle in which there were a number of things I just didn't know, but ended up getting it all via crosses. I actually now look forward to seeing a DS puzzle, which certainly wasn't the case a while ago (well, not that long ago, given DS's age).

Teedmn 7:41 PM  

ZOT, this puzzle got me. DNF due to kAJIKISTAN (@Roo) and was annoyed with myself when I saw TOJO. I've certainly heard of him and had a neighbor my age whose nickname was TOJO though no idea why - his real name was Floyd, Jr.

The SE held me up a bit because I didn't see DESKS in a library either (@Rex). Finally, figuring a make and model were both needed at 32D, I considered KIA and DESKS fell. Didn't know YALIE - The Whiffenpoof song is in my Dad's repertoire but only the first verse so Baa was a WOE. I have skied Val D'Isere once so that was a gimme with a cross or two. But the SW - aargh, stupid blank spots in my memory (trying to visual the opening movie sequence with the Pegasus and straining to see TRI something, um,um). I should have walked away instead of starting ANEW in AcrossLite and using the check button. The check button showed me my error at kOJO but I ended up getting all the rest of the puzzle without it being any help and then having the 'shame' of the cheat. Rats.

Tomorrow, I'm leaving the iPad where I can't cheat - onward to Saturday.

Thanks, David Steinberg!

AZPETE 7:52 PM  

The greatest college song ever written is "Give My Regards to Davey"!

weingolb 8:24 PM  

You do often see DESKS all lined up in big college libraries.

Jay SEAN is a stage name, by the way. Real name: Kamaljit Singh Jhooti

So, obviously, this puzzle could've been more obscure!

Kamaljit Singh Jhooti in the fill or not, soooo many names.

Anonymous 8:37 PM  

So is Enero part of summer in mexico and central america? Pretty wide swath of people to not include in Latinoamerica

Sykes 8:40 PM  

BillyC - no-ones hiding we just think you're a pretentious prick

Leapfinger 9:15 PM  

@r.alphbunker, thanks for posting the Whiffenpoof Song early and getting that out of the way. All New Havenites, past & present, are in your debt.

@AliaSZ, tens containing an X are significant only when matched by fives ontaining a V. Let's not give young DS any wicked ideas, okay?

Thought the [Invasive plant] might be ivY, but that turned out to be poison. Chose the wrong sport for [Strike setting] with HOME and decided I need a mnemonic for Superman's birth-name -- KALEL Gibran might work -- but I'm not going to try to remember anything from "Da Vinci Code"

Isn't there a theme struggling to GO, or TOG O, but where? Before U DIE,GO AGOG OGLED TOJO. IN THAT CASE, GO RAZORDACKS!! (Also, given TOJO, shouldn't that have been NIPON??

It was interesting to see how our recent IRENEE DUNN growed today, but Ogden Nash would have made short work of that one-R SORENTO. ISERE any chance that wasn't DELIBES-R-8?

Likely enough has been said about this, but I want to go on record as another who thought XFL was AWW-FL. DS ORT to know better. OTOH, ZOT's nice.

Thanksfor a fun Friday, David. Regards to your twin, LAVIDA.

Nancy 9:46 PM  

@Fred R: I know GAUDEAMUS IGATUR and think it's a terrific song, but it doesn't choke me up like THE WHIFFENPOOF SONG. I'm not saying my taste is especially lofty, but these things are so visceral. @MDMA: I was going to say that knowing the Whiffenpoof Song is generational, but @RAD2626 beat me to it. I didn't go to Yale either, although some Yalies did find their way to my college and actually performed the song there. I have a sneaking suspicion that Bing, and maybe even Frank, might have performed the song at one time or another. It was in the ether, as they say. And if you've never heard it -- go find it, for heaven's sake.

YES!!!! I'm right. Bing DID sing it. But the link I'm providing isn't either Bing or the Yale Whiffenpoofs. I've been listening just now and I like the Robert Shaw Chorale version. Hope you enjoy it, @MDMA and anyone else who's never heard the song before.

Billy C 9:50 PM  

Ah-h-hhh, "Sykes" is heard from. First time I've seen that name used.

I wonder what board regular he REALLY is. Hm-m-mmm, I think I have an idea ...

Unknown 11:15 PM  

Thank you for the birthday wishes! You made my day!

Victoria Peckham 11:19 PM  

YES couldn't have said it better !!!

GPO 11:37 PM  

Holy cow that was the hardest solve I have had in months if not years.

I had no idea what the hell I was doing in the SE. I thought "YAnni" might be the guy who sang kids' songs -- I was probably thinking of Raffi. I figured ZOT from BC, finally grasped SENATESEAT and then pieces it together from there.


But pulling answers out of the dim recesses of one's brain is part of the fun, right?

Grump 12:27 AM  

Those aren't Desks lined up in big college libraries; even a cursory examination reveals that those are Tables. (I'm basing this on reading rooms in a sample of 5, all roughly East Coast but including both North and South, as well as two countries. The DESKS belong to the librarians and other staff, and there are usually small ones in the study carrels in the stacks. None of the latter 'line up'.

Catadromy 2:52 AM  

I would've enjoyed this puzz a lot more had I not been led so seriously astray by 23 Across January (Enero) may be summertime in South America, but it for certain is not in Latin America, which is well above epithet Equator.

Somebody wasn't paying attention to geography.

MDMA 2:57 AM  

I'm not sure what definition of Latin America you are using, but for most people it's all the Spanish-speaking nations south of the US, plus Brazil. I.e., everything except Belize, Guyana, Suriname, Jamaica, etc.

Fred Romagnolo 3:46 AM  

@Nancy: Rudy Vallee made a rather famous recording of it. He may have been a YALIE.

Unknown 8:28 AM  

What am I missing with TEEN? I know a bar mitzvah occurs when the celebrant turns 13, but how does that make sense when the clue is "Bar Mitzvah, e.g."?

Billy C 9:06 AM  

@Julie --

"Bar Mitzvah" is a noun that can refer to either the boy or the ceremony. In this case, the boy. But I had the same confusion initially, since the usage for the ceremony is much more familiar, at least to non-Jewish people.

Elephant's Child 10:23 AM  

@Billy C, in everyday parlance, 'bar mitzvah' also comes up as a verb, as in "Has Shmulie been bar-mitzvah'd yet?". As an adjective, you might hear "I have to go embarrass the Bar Mitzvah boy With a lot of effusive X-ing and O-ing". As a noun, it doesn't really make a whit of difference whether the person or the ceremony is under consideration. Consider that (a) a person, once bar-mitzvah'd, remains a life-long Bar Mitzvah, and (b) if a person has not been bar-mitzvah'd, he can undertake to become so at any later age. In spite of those asides, both the person and the rite are ineluctably linked to the age of thirTEEN, and none of the subsequent years, with no particular exception for the ages of 14-19, can be included without considerable forgiveness on the solver's part.

i.e., Julie is entirely rite.

Proofreader 10:25 AM  

Steinberg doesn't ever 'pour' through a thesaurus.

Billy C 11:20 AM  

Elephant --

Despite your erudite discourse, I stay with my position:

A Bar Mitzvah (in the sense of a boy in the rite) is a teen. He's (usually, rare exceptions notwithstanding) thirteen, and that makes him a teen.

Victoria Peckham 12:44 PM  

Reminiscing ==== Boasting

Unknown 5:58 PM  

Thank you, Billy C!!!

Unknown 6:03 PM  

Thank you, too, Elephant's Child!!

Rastus B Watermelon 2:46 PM  

I expect he's probably already been called it so knows exactly what it means......

kitshef 6:56 PM  

Oof. By far my worst DNF in a long, long time. Basically the entire SE - 53D 31D 32D 33D. Was never going to get DESKS or YALIE from the given clues (tried DEwey and Yanni). SEAN is a WoE. Had ASA. Had ISERE in and out several times when nothing worked. DELIBES is a WoE. LinE instead of LANE. ALTA is a WoE. Tried week and SpOT for SLOT, but again nothing twigged on the long downs.

Other than that ... TRAfficjam before TRAVELTIME, note before GETZ, PlanB before PARTB. But really pretty easy outside the section of doom.

ORT is one of my pet peeve words. Never seen it in any context other than Xwords. Don't understand why clue for NEXT has a question mark. Would not have come up with KIASORENTO, as I would have thought it had two Rs. It is safe to say that any clue involving cars I need to get from crosses.

On the plus side ... ZOT!

Unknown 12:55 PM  

I am here to give testimony of how i got back my husband, we got married for over 9 years and we had two kids. thing were going well with us and we where always happy. until one day my husband started to behave in a way i could not understand, i was very confused by the way he treated me and the kids. later that month he did not come back home again and he called me that he want a divorce, i asked him what have i done wrong to deserve this from him, all he was saying is that he want a divorce that he hate me and do not want to see me again in his life, i was mad and also frustrated do not know what to do,i was sick for more than 2 weeks because of the divorce. i love him so much he was everything to me without him my life is incomplete. i told my sister and she told me to contact a spell caster, i never believe in all this spell casting of a thing. i just want to try if something will come out of it. i contacted traditional spell hospital for the return of my husband to me, they told me that my husband have been taken by another woman, that she cast a spell on him that is why he hate me and also want us to divorce. then they told me that they have to cast a spell on him that will make him return to me and the kids, they casted the spell and after 1 week my husband called me and he told me that i should forgive him, he started to apologize on phone and said that he still live me that he did not know what happen to him that he left me. it was the spell that he casted on him that make him come back to me. my family and i are now happy again. Thank you Dr. Aluta for what you have done for me i would have been nothing today if not for your great spell. i want you my friends who are passing through all this kind of love problem of getting back their husband, wife , or ex boyfriend and girlfriend to contact traditionalspellhospital@gmail.com and you will see that your problem will be solved without any delay. He cast spells for different purposes like
(1) If you want your ex back.
(2) if you always have bad dreams.
(3) You want to be promoted in your office.
(4) You want women/men to run after you.
(5) If you want a child.
(6) You want to be rich.
(7) You want to tie your husband/wife to be yours forever.
(8) If you need financial assistance.
(9) Herbal care
(10) is the only answer to that your problem of winning the lottery
Contact him today on: traditionalspellhospital@gmail.com

Mrs. Rastus B. Watermelon 8:09 PM  

Mr Watermelon we are on the same page love from. Mrs. Watermelon

Burma Shave 10:30 AM  


IRENEDUNNE tole me, “GEE, my needs are UNMET.”
I said, “INTHATCASE let’s DOIT, it’s time to GETZ set.”
“I’ll say when IMREADY for that EVENT, so please call,


spacecraft 11:42 AM  

For a DS, this one offered less resistance than usual. His easiest are medium, so I agree with that rating. KALEL and IRENEDUNNE launched me into the NE, from which the center practically filled itself. Getting into the other corners took some thinking.

I love B.C., and ZOT! was a gimme. This is second only to the late, great Don Martin's "Poit!" of MAD fame. So we had SLEAZE-something; I thought of -BAG; too short. -BALL came soon enough. Had trouble with the KIA (I'd never buy one of their cars: they're too lazy even to complete the A!), because I was convinced SORENTO had two R's. Again, SEDONA was too short.

PARTB and the RAZORBACKS got me into the SW. In contrast to the latter, INTHATCASE seems too vanilla for David's taste, but I guess he couldn't get anything zippier to work. Almost finished that section off with a mistake: HUm/mETZ. Trying to make sense of that X-O thing. Had to get my head out of the tic-tac-toe game and into the love letter to see the HUG. Great clue there. I knew Stan GETZ, but never heard him referred to as "the sound."

Finally cracking into the NW--why is that so often the hardest?--by realizing that: hey, in the southern hemisphere [you idiot] ENERO IS summer. Duh. Still, I could not parse 1-down right up to the final letter, when I at last saw MASSEXODUS. The XFL was so thorough a flop that I didn't even remember it.

The fill...what fill? None of this feels like "fill." That has to say something good. I enjoyed it, and, "Surprise, surprise, SGT. Carter!" I gave it an A.

rondo 12:00 PM  

Lotsa “gimmes” were obviously not. Like – will-> dEed -> lEIn (sic) -> HEIR, or ioTa -> MiTE -> MOTE, or PlanB -> PARTB, mer -> LAC, or Nano -> NOOK, rtie -> TEEN. The write-over ink was prodigious in that SW by the fourth iteration. But everything got fixed in the end.

A shout out to @Ron DIEGO for appearing in the grid.

Is MAS SEX ODUS Spanish for something?

Remember those guys that came around door-to-door to sell ELECTROLUX or Kirby vacs? We ended up with the former.

Not long ago I commented about my LAC Qui Parle escapades. Talk about a BENEFIT of that job! Or maybe I’m just a SLEAZEBALL? Don’t answer that.

I’m an All-Star pitcher tonight! IFNOT for today’s heat and humidity, that EVENT would be a treat.

Always fun to do a Steinberg. Didn’t say that for his early efforts.

Anonymous 3:03 PM  

Thank you, Rondo. Obviously the constructor has good taste. ha
This was an Easy/Medium for me as I had to look up two things. I've never seen a Matrix movie and forgot about Irene Dunne. Other that that, everything fell into place. I, too, was surprised to see some of the crosswordese words like eeler, mote, ort, anew, etc. They sure help us old fahts.

Hey, where is rain forest??

Ron Diego, La Mesa (Where all our I.Q.s are arranged alphabetically.

leftcoastTAM 7:53 PM  

An old friend, a writer-editor and weekend poet, once told me that if you keep pecking away at even some of the toughest NYT crosswords, you could succeed in solving them. (He was using this an analogy in contrast to his reading of much modern abstract poetry, which he found all but undecipherable.) He was right about the puzzles, particularly those like this one, which I walked away from more than once but kept pecking away at before I could finish.

Then there are some like my friend's view of modern abstract poetry....

l 8:15 PM  

Dear Mr. Rondo,

It's time for you to stop bragging about your early sexploits. It's very un-Minnesotan.


leftcoastTAM (former Minnesotan)

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