Almond syrups used in cocktails / SAT 9-5-15 / 1978 covert bailey best seller on exercise diet / treacly spirit of unity / aria from Faure's requiem / remarkably humanlike fingerprints / Hidalgo honorific / Classic novel whose title means wanderer / Old Pittsburgh work areas

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Constructor: Byron Walden

Relative difficulty: Challenging

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: ORGEATS (7D: Almond syrups used in cocktails) —
A sweet syrup flavored with almonds and orange blossoms, used in cocktails and food.

[French, from Old French, syrup made from barley, from Old Provençal orjat, from ordj, orge, barley, from Latin hordeum.] (
• • •

Yikes. This started easy and then ... I just fell into a pit. I was stuck, everywhere, for a long time. Looking back (and this is unfortunate), the difference between this puzzle's being pretty doable and this puzzle's being merciless was ORGEATS. Never heard of it, and, now that I have, no amount of pleading is going to make me think it's "good." I think it's "acceptable" in a very tough, low word-count puzzle such as this. But to have the dealbreaker be an obscure word like that, one that is likely in the grid only because it's the only word that could make the grid hold together—that's a bit of a buzzkill. No one ever thought "Oh, it's ORGEATS!" Only "Oh ... it's ORGEATS ... what's ORGEATS?" Unless you knew it, in which case I'm guessing you knew it immediately and didn't have to puzzle over it. My point (in the end) is that had I known that answer, the whole solve would've been very different. Much, much easier, I think. It would've dominoed me down into the SE, and I would've come up and around into the SE and would've eventually pinched the puzzle to a close somewhere around HAHA. As it was. I went from here:

to here:

in no time, but then that was pretty much it for many, many minutes. Many. I got AGR- at 11D: Farm-related prefix. Then I got URGENT (16A: Pressing). *Then* I got STEEL (yay) MILLS (boo). That second word became many things before it became YARDS. Here is a screenshot entitled "millionyearslater." As you can see, at this point, it's STEEL SHOPS (!?):

As you can also see, I imagined there was a "best seller on exercise and diet" entitled FIT TO FAT. Somehow never occurred to me that my version of the title had reversed the direction of typical diet book claims. "Tired of being in shape? Wish you were much, much heavier? Well get *on* that couch and change your life with my revolutionary diet book, FIT TO FAT!" Sigh. But before that, even getting the SE was a bear. Couldn't anagram RY COODER (wanted ROY somebody). Couldn't figure out the crocodile place (that is an insane / hard / arbitrary clue for ORINOCO) (39D: Home to 15-foot-long crocodiles). The only thing I could do, eventually, was guess most of ONONDAGA (I am never sure about which vowels go where), because they're an [Upstate New York tribe] and I'm an Upstate New York person. Oh, and I had NOG. NOG was easy. In the beginning, there was NOG, and I had it. And it didn't matter much. Eventually I scratched my way out. I settled on the -NYM suffix, then tested TREMORS and was able to get (finally) SMOG TEST and RY COODER. Then I built to what you see above. Then I sat some more. Why did I think TEA came from the Virgin Islands? I don't know.

[Whoa, flashback to peak-MTV-watching early teens ...]

The rest of the puzzle was solved via alphabet-running, starting with the square before -HOS in 44A: Certain hash ingredients. Luckily, I didn't have far to run, as "A" gave me IDAHOS and that gave me a Huge boost of momentum: SW done in a matter of seconds. Then it was up and smack into the ORGEATS wall. Wanted BAPTISTERY, but wasn't sure that was a thing. Ran alphabet again at -IRE, until I hit "D" for DIRE, which gave me IDEAL MAN, Open MRI, all of it. Turned corner with KUMBAYA (9D: Treacly spirit of unity) and not long after that ended up at the STEEL SHOPS / PUT TO A STOP / FIT TO Fat mess. In retrospect, the whole thing feels like an Easy-Medium Saturday, with this terrible eternal wandering in darkness part shoved in the middle. Again, I blame ORGEATS. "Where the orgy at?" Is that how you pronounce it? I don't care. I hope I never see it again as long as I live.


Oh, and I think the grid is really quite good for 66 words. ORGEATS is really the only thing I hate, and it just *happened* to be the solve-destroying answer. Sucks for me.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


chefwen 2:45 AM  

Sometimes it's better to cut your losses before you sink a lot of time in a project that you know is not going to have a favorable outcome, and that is what I did here. I'm off to party land with Mr. Reagle's puzzle book where I know i won't develop a headache that I could sell to science. In other words, are you kidding me?

wreck 2:51 AM  

I was about a sheet and a half to the wind when I started this and struggled mightily! Google was of no help. Too tough for me!

r.alphbunker 4:39 AM  

Puzzle report
Was this originally submitted to Newsday as a Saturday Stumper and Stan Newman rejected it because it was too difficult? Gave up early on and started asking for letters. My program indicates that I asked for 24 of them!

My list of showstoppers is longer than Rex's:
ANGLOPHONE {Like Grenada, but not Granada} <-- nice!
BAPTISTERY {Pool house?}
BOODLE {Bribe money}
FITORFAT {With 47-Across, 1978 Covert Bailey best seller on exercise and diet}
GNOMON {Part of a sundial that casts a shadow}
HAHA {Funny ___}
HOPONPOP {Book whose last line is "Ask me tomorrow but not today"}
KUMBAYA {Treacly spirit of unity}
ONONDAGA {Upstate New York tribe}
ORGEATS {Almond syrups used in cocktails}
PIEJESU {Much-performed aria from Fauré's "Requiem"}

Thomaso808 5:32 AM  

Difficult puzzle, but very enjoyable with several fun misdirections. Amazing construction. The NW starts with a horizontal 8-letter three stack, which intersects a vertical 7-letter three stack, which in turn crosses a double stack of 10 letters which itself crosses a vertical triple stack of 10 letters. Not very many black squares in this one!

Major head scratchers: ORINOCO / ONONDAGA, GNOMON, ORGEATS, and BOODLE, all unknown to me.

Favorite misdirection: "Street boss?" PERRYMASON -- very good.

Xwordinfo says there are twelve debut words in this puzzle which I guess is pretty high. Best debut: KUMBAYA. Worst debut: ORGEATS (first and last use, one and done, maybe please?).

Not sure I get the clue for HOMO. "Our kind of people?" Are there other kinds of people? I suppose Homo Erectus or Homo Neanderthalis could be other kinds of people, but look, they're still HOMO. Is it a sexual orientation thing?

This was about as tough a puzzle for me as I've seen in a long time, but ultimately it was possible to grind it out. That makes for a very enjoyable solve.

Loren Muse Smith 6:14 AM  

Always going for the fill-in-the-blanks first, my very first entry was HAHA. Unfortunately, crossing HAHA, my casual Friday item was "khakis" first, and I know I'm not alone there. Rex – me, too for AGR? And then I waited to be reminded if it's "agra" or AGRO. I laughed at your book Fit to Fat. Mine was Fat Fixor And I bet a gazillion of us thought "tea" came from the Virgin Islands.

GNOMON looks like it could be a creepy little statue in a Kingston garden.

"Mic" before MRI
"Nib" before DOT
"critters" then "crawlies" before CREEPIES
"Folk" before HOMO
"myopia" before MIRAGE
"The Nile" before ORINOCO. Well, I never finished this section, but still.
"Mr. Tee" before BERLE. Not proud of that one.

I'm wobbly around the word "treacly." It feels sticky and gooey, so I was going "gum _" for KUMBAYA, even though yesterday during my cafeteria duty guarding an exit, Daniel H had his guitar, and a bunch of us were joking around, some singing, while there were, I swear, three fights elsewhere. Funny because most of the usual fitors were over with us, and I kept requesting KUMBAYA and a group hug. Right.

First thought for "non-primates with remarkably humanlike fingerprints" – seventh graders.

Rex – I agree about ORGEATS, but I tell you, the brutal section for me was the southeast with the ORINOCO/ONONDAGA/RY COODER crosses. I was grateful for the anagram clue for COODER, but even with that woe name sussed out, any vowel there at the river/tribe cross would have looked fine to me.

I loved the clue for FORELEGS. Bought the pugilistic misdirect hook, line, and sinker. FWIW, I figured out a while back that my Newfie, Beverly Ann, would offer her FORELEG no matter what I said. I started with using the Japanese request for her most honorable hand, ote, imagining that she was bilingual. Then we would pretend she was my surgical nurse, "scalpel," "clamp," "suction." She patiently acted her part. Later I tried out other phrases, "panty hose," "courtesy flush," "Viennese waltz," and she would always play my little game. Too many syllables, though, and the exercise fell apart. "Six-inch replica of the Statue of Liberty" just earned me a blank stare. Served me right.

I'm with @chefwen and @wreck – too tough for me. My hat's off to anyone who finished this impressive beast.

DrLee77 7:07 AM  

Very tough puzzle. Nothing fell in NW corner at first. I've never heard of ORGEATS. My wife is an avid cook, so I end up watching a lot of Food And Cooking shows on TV. I still don't remember ever coming across this word. @Chefbea How common is the use of this ingredient?

Somehow NE KOALAS, URGENT, MIRAGE, and BOODLE stack came easily giving me STEEL_____. YARDS took many changes to get. Mills is far more appropriate than YARDS. ONeNDAGA in SW for ONONDAGA did not help to get 15 foot croc home of ORINOCO. I finally parsed TOPONYM.

Heard of BAPTISTRY and finally remembered GNOMON. DNF until I came to the blog. Toughest Saturday for me in a long time.

Anonymous 7:09 AM  

I agree this one was challenging, but it's always strange to see the different things that trip us up. I'd never heard of ORGEATS, but didn't struggle that much there since I knew all the perps. Over in the NE, however... Yikes! I had AGRI and LEAF COATED and was left staring at BOIFLE as a result. I've never heard of BOODLE before, so I had no way of knowing that BOIFLE was wrong, despite the fact that it didn't seem familiar either. Heck, if ORGEATS can be a real thing, why not BOIFLE?


D 7:10 AM  

i meant to say at@chefbea or @chefwen How common is this ingredient? Posting early on Sat AM amd miss typed. Sorry @chefwen. Your post just came up and I forgot how to spell your ID

ZenMonkey 7:13 AM  

Yeah this one was a Saturday toughie all right! Took me forever to finish, but I had COALAS (left over from first stab, COATIS) and LEAFCOATED preventing my finish. (I wouldn't have known they were LEADCOATED, but BOOFLE gave that one away.) I didn't check my grid twice, though, just auto-checked the puzzle for the wrong letters. Normally I'm more diligent but I was willing to concede after wrestling so hard.

It was worth it, though, for such a fine puzzle. Favorite answer: ARE YOU DONE? Runner-up: GNOMON. I love that word. A good mnemonic (gnomonic?) for that is "Time waits for gnomon." An important pun in the great text adventure "Trinity."

Unknown 7:27 AM  

Anyone can construct an undoable puzzle by stuffing it full of obscure trivia and arcane words. This is no accomplishment at all, like the riddle "what have I got in my pockets?"

krayolakris 7:28 AM  

I'll take orgeats over error codes any day. Silliness!

Anonymous 7:33 AM  

"Put to an end"? A new one on me, at least in that exact word order.

Anonymous 8:18 AM  

Challenging is a nice word for this one. Orgeats belongs in the Maleska era of obscure arcane words that can be defended solely because they exist in the OED. The cross with baptistery killed me.

Unknown 8:25 AM  

OREGEATS? I mean, I got it, but.... Struggled with the west, as I had STEELmIl linstead of YARD, ANGLOblank, and LEADCblank. Took a while but it all materialized eventually. I agree with RP's judgement on this one. Easy-Med but for some wildcards.

Susierah 8:32 AM  

Merciless is right! Way too hard for me!!!! I don't rememeber a Saturday that was so undo able.

Zwhatever 8:33 AM  

Impossible here. I hadn't resorted to Mr. Google in ages (technically I still didn't, used DuckDuckGo), but it was search or retire in the NW. What didn't I know in that corner? Everything. Heck, not even HOP ON POP was coming from that clue. I get the ION network but it isn't even on my fav list, so other than being on the list of stations I get but don't watch I know next to nothing about it. As for syrups, I don't think I've ever had a cocktail made with a syrup. PIE JESU looks like an interesting dessert.

My favorite wrong answer was the best seller FIT OR DIE. Seems to really hit the fear underlying most "health" books.

evil doug 8:36 AM  

No earthly way.

Do they call it a "smog test"? I'm familiar with 'emission tests'.

Oneidas, yes. Onondagas, no.

"Put an end to." "Put a stop to." Bad English on my part?

"Lead-coated" copper, because it's easier to poison creepies that way.

Would have preferred "HaHa" Clinton-Dix of the Packers.

Carola 8:37 AM  

Challenging for me, too, for sure, and very satisfying to finish. DIRE certainly described the outlook at the start, when a run through the Acrosses got me only a couple of plurals and the lightly penciled-in GO SOLO. An incorrect guess at CRawlIES at least got me the correct cross, which allowed me to see PERSONA and a way into the rest.

The G in ORGEATS was my last letter, after I'd told myself a million times that gloved boxers in a ring do not have FORELEGS. Oh, those boxers! I discovered that ORGEATS is pronounced or-zsa as in Zsa Zsa and that dedicated cocktail makers concoct their own at home from almonds, orange flower water, and vodka.

Do-over: AGRi.
Didn't write in but considered: cOAtiS (just because theyr'e so crossword-friendly), LEAf-COATED gutters.
Help from previous puzzles: TOPONYM.
Help from long-ago reading about horrific Minamata disease: TREMORS.
Biggest aggravation: knowing I knew GNOMON but coming up absolutely empty trying to recall it.
Biggest surprise: BOBBY RIGGS - 1939! I knew he wasn't a youngster when he played against Billy Jean King, but still.

Thank you, Byron Walden - super Saturday!

Dorothy Biggs 8:40 AM  


For all of the reasons Rex mentioned: ORGEATS, ONONDAGA, and ORINOCO.

Plus, GNOMON?? And the cluing was extremely gratuitous and a bit unfair.

Did not like. At. All. And I suppose somewhere someone is shaking their FORELEGS (what?? that's what boxers shake hands with?? their forelegs? what???). Good for them. They can have it. This was the kind of puzzle one creates when one sets out to make a puzzle that is nearly impossible to solve with normal intelligence. Challenging, bah. This was just stupid.

Suzy 8:40 AM  

No one should have to work this hard for fun, especially on Labor Day weekend! The reason there are so few comments so far is that
no one has been able to crack this nut I mean, orgeats? Hop on Pop? Ry Cooder? At some point I stopped caring and just, well, cheated!
Thanks, Rex!

The Ear Worm 8:42 AM  

Fortunately for me, I knew ORGEAT(S) right away. As a key ingredient in a Mai Tai it's one of those things that cocktail nerds know and non-cocktail nerds have no idea about.

My biggest problem was that I wanted the tennis player to be gumBYRIGGS because, what an awesome British 30s name and Merle was totally plausible as a cameo in Pee Wee and some other movie I'd never heard about.

Eventually realized there could be no such thing as a gAPTISTERY and moved on. (Though still hung on to mERLE for a while.)

Like Rex, had STEELmillS, but HAHA and the cross-referenced COPY set me right before I went too far astray.

All that said, still a medium-challenging time for me, though I suspect that to be an order of magnitude longer than OFL.

Anonymous 8:45 AM  

Way too tough to even begin.

astroman 8:46 AM  

ORGEATS was almost the only word I got the first run-through.

Blue Stater 9:02 AM  

Brutal, and an utter waste of time.

Dean 9:18 AM  

ORGEATS and BOODLE threw me. Never heard of either. Then there was the flat-out wrong COL. Oliver North was never a COL. He was a Lt. Col., which is sometimes for brevity's sake pronounced (but never written) the same as Col. Bad clue.

RooMonster 9:20 AM  

Hey All !
Put me in the impossible category! Sure, they're all words, but come on, lay off the sadisticness. (Put that word in your puzzle and smoke it!)

Major use of the Check Puz and Reveal Letter/Word buttons. And I didn't even care. My grid has plenty of black and red marks! ANGLOPHONE?? RY COODER?? HAHA!

@Z, Fit or Die!! Now that's an awesome book title!

Going to take some aspirin now. With RUM.


Maruchka 9:42 AM  

Ouch. Brutal. Fistbump/FORELEGS, Mic/MRI, several ????/????s. Had to google (or is it spelled GOOGLE now?) way too often. Tight and tough.

KUMBAYA is treacly? Um, yah, but can be so sweet. Listen to Lord Buckley's vocalist on 'Black Cross' for the soulful dirge.

Fav of the day - RY COODER. Put on the Buena Vista Social Club CD and quaff some RUM, beloveds.

Anonymous 9:54 AM  

When my dog "shake[s] hands" with another dog she smells their butt, and they hers.

Anonymous 10:08 AM  

FUGGEDDABOUTIT, Totally ridiculous. Did Rex and anyone else really finish this without assistance?

Teedmn 10:10 AM  

HAHA, the joke is on me. This was great fun, the In and out of kHakiS, 17A starting as Fistbump to FacE something to FORELobS to using Check Error and whittling it down to FORELEGS and I was still envisioning two guys in a ring rubbing shins like friendly crickets until I got to @Carola's aha moment. Not even @LMS's bilingual Newfie story set me on the right track.

I could go on for days on my missteps on this one but the big one was in the SW. After cleaning up the NW in my AcrossLite solve, I was pretty confident I would get the happy pencil but didn't. One final Check All and my jaw dropped - I was so proud of sussing gOtO for 45D. I mean, aren't your go-to people "your" kind of people? Of course, HOMO made IDAHOS a dope slapper rather than the odd diced IDAgOS peppers I was putting in my hash.

Lovely workout, Byron Walden. And everyone, have a great Labor Day weekend.

cwf 10:12 AM  

Solved it from the bottom up and ran aground on ORGEAsS/BABTISsERY, a quasi-Natick to my eyes. This comment form counts ORGEATS (and ORGEAT, and BABTISTERY for that matter) as misspellings. Grr.

Fortunately, I have tomorrow's Patrick Berry puzzle at hand from my bulldog edition of the Times.

AliasZ 10:22 AM  

Phew, this was tough. Unfortunately, the payoff was not proportionate to its difficulty.

HOP ON POP, ORGEATS and GNOMON were totally unknown to me. Today I learned that the last sentence of HOP ON POP is "Ask me tomorrow but not today" which I will try to forget faster than I got HOP ON POP only from crosses. I also learned what ORGEATS are (thank God for PIE JESU next door), and that it is pronounced "orzhah" or "orzhaht", but it is a word I'll never ever use again in my life, so that was totally useless.

The best new word today was GNOMON, from the Greek word γνώμων meaning "one that knows" (see Gnostic or agnostic). PUT TO AN END sounds off to me, but now I'll put an end to my gripes.

Favorite entry: BAPTISTERY. St. Giovanni is the obvious name of baptisteries, these two famous ones are just exquisite: the one in Pisa, the other in Florence, Italy.

How about some battle music by William BYRD (c.1540-1623) to ease us into a long weekend?

Enjoy yours.

typical commenter 10:24 AM  

This puzzle was too hard, so I didn't like it. If I can't complete a puzzle, it has no business being published in the New York Times.

Numinous 10:29 AM  

I got it. I had to google a bunch but I got it. I loved when ORINOCO emerged. I looked that up long ago when Enya's song Orinoco Flow caught my interest so I at least knew where it is an that crocs are possible there.
RY COODER was a surprise. A very pleasant surprise, as he was, along with David Lindley, among my favorite guitarists.
Yeah, STEELmills then STEELwoRks before STEELYARDS.
IDEALMAN was a long time coming because I smugly put int aRIes before ORION.
KOALAS tripped me out (I think they are filthy, agressive and un-loveable) and I had a hard time with KUMBAYA. Treacly? I have always hated that song. Always.

And so it went all over the grid. Some of the answers like ORGEATS yielded themselves easily while Uncle Milty involved some extensive studying of my IMDB app. I hate using google search terms that will produce hits on crossword solutions. If I have to research, I might as well learn something too.

@Carola, yeah, GNOMON, a word in the 3x5 card file of my brain that somehow slipped and was lying face down under the stack.

Given Rex's comment yesterday, I don't want to go off topic, so, @Ludyjynn, Lewis, Hartley70, Teedmn and anyone else interested, click on my avatar to find my email and I'll happily respond. I've missed y'all.

joho 10:37 AM  

Yes, Byron Walden is my nemesis.

@Rex, your FITtoFAT wrong answer is hilarious -- I really did laugh out loud. You really should write the book, guaranteed to be a best seller!

FOREpaws to FORELEGS. My dog now gives me his paw whenever he wants a treat which is getting increasingly often.

I did get the ORGEATS corner due to crosses. Same with the GNOMON corner. But the ONONDAGA and LEADCOATED ANGLOPHONE corners were funny HAHA ... that does mean *not* funny, right?

I did get RYCOODER so that's something!

Lobster11 10:39 AM  

I'm with @Unknown: "Anyone can construct an undoable puzzle by stuffing it full of obscure trivia and arcane words. This is no accomplishment at all, like the riddle 'what have I got in my pockets?'"

This is the first time I can remember a puzzle making me truly angry -- like, actually red in the face and yelling out loud. Every Saturday morning I look forward to doing battle with the puzzle, sometimes for hours, enjoying all the little aha! experiences that come with sussing out clever clues and misdirections. Today I feel nothing but bitterness and resentment.

(In case you can't tell, I didn't like it.)

cwf 10:44 AM  

I should note that aside from ORGEATS/BABTISTERY I found the puzzle bracing and occupying the sweet spot between incredibly tough and impossible. Lots of ink-overs, but aside from that one square, I did manage to finish it. And I thoroughly enjoyed the process.

Glad to see that I am not a robot.

Katzzz 10:45 AM  

Orgeats was a gimme. Only because I make and drink cocktails. Orgeat is a necessity if you make Tiki drinks. Essential ingredient in a mai tai, for example. Every halfway serious bartender (or cocktail enthusiast) knows about orgeat.
It's delicious, by the way.
Another example of Rex's parochialism: If he ain't heard of it, it's bad. Love the guy, but clearly he's more concerned about his puzzle-solving speed than in expanding his knowledge.

Anonymous 10:52 AM  

@Rex: Consider adding tobacco to your Fit To Fat regimen. Purchase tax-free cigarettes at the Onondaga Nation Smoke Shop (south of Syracuse at I81 exit 16).

Got most of this but the orgeats, Berle, Perry Mason area did me in. I assume someone named Street worked for Perry. Don't know and don't care. Orgeats my eye. Ugh.

RAD2626 10:52 AM  

Made every mistake conceivable first time through. Bill Tilden for BOBBY RIGGS, Florida for ORINOCO, kHakiS for CHINOS. (The only answer I was "sure of"...HAHA), HIlt for HIFI, thinking it was a gun, opium for a hash ingredient, the same STEELmillS, I am sure everyone had, and Janus for ORION (sorry). Plus others. GNOMON and BAPTISTERY spelled that way were woes. Just a brutally hard puzzle. Glad others felt the same way.

Street boss? A world class misdirection.

Norm 10:54 AM  


Mohair Sam 11:06 AM  

dnf'd on this challenging Saturday - lots of fun.

Guessed quickly on BOBBYRIGGS and PERRYMASON, SW filled quickly. Mrs. Mohair a Syracuse native so ONONDAGA vowels didn't scare us, then NOG, DOT, AGES, TART and the SE was done. Wow! Up to the NW for the 1D gimme "ebay" confirmed by the "yes" network at 19A and our day was done. Finished. Kaput. Nearly half the puzzle remaining blank.

Without that error this puzzle would have been an easy-medium (well, medium - blasted ORGEATS) because once we waved the white flag I googled to check my "yes" network only to find that "positively entertaining" belonged to something called ION. Boom! HIFI, IMONFIRE, good old OMOO, battle through ORGEATS and eventually KUMBAYA opens up entire NE, puzzle quickly finished.

Yup, one little three letter mistake can take a puzzle from undoable to a medium Saturday. ION.

Had FisttapS before FORELEGS for a second (they do that too). And loved @Rex's idea for the anti-diet book title. Triple stack clues involving a BOBBYRIGGS and PERRYMASON had to be pretty tough on anyone under retirement age. Wonder if Riggs ever dated Della Street?

I'd heard of a BAPISTERY but fought the answer for the longest time because I was dead sure the word contained no "e". It's pronounced without one (at least by me).

Ellen S 11:07 AM  

What @Roo Monster said, same here (and everyone else, but he said it best). I see so far one cocktail nerd who's heard of ORGEATS; i'm with the ohters. I knew the handshake thing could be either a pugilist or a dog, but still it took many cheats to get to FORELEGS. I wanted paws. Who shakes hands with their legs?

My favorite was the clue for KUMBAYA. Byron, I got that right way and it made up for ORGEATS and BOBBY RIGGS and all the other impossible obscurities. Thanks for starting my Saturday with a smile.

Thomas Gradgrind 11:07 AM  

Loved it.

Joseph Michael 11:09 AM  

To say that dogs shake hands with their FORELEGS is like saying that people shake hands with their arms.

From BAPTISTERY and ORGEATS to GNOMON and ONONDAGA, this puzzle was a nightmare. It was only with the help of Brother Google that I managed to get through it.

Makes me think that I should PUT AN END to doing the Saturday puzzle. It's not challenging. It's cruel.

J.D. KaPow 11:09 AM  

So funny. The first answer I put in was ORGEAT. Just dropped it right in. I almost literally could not fill in anything else in the entire puzzle. I stared and stared and eventually had to cheat to get any traction at all. Brutal, brutal puzzle. But don't blame ORGEAT.

jae 11:10 AM  

Yesterday I wanted more crunch.  I'm sorry, it won't happen again (actually it might).   Yes, this was very tough! I got it but it took a while.  I could go into excruciating detail about the erasures and staring and alphabet running and...but I'll leave it at very tough.   I mean ORGEATS...that's a POC for a WOE....Sheesh...(hi @lms and I did try khakis)...

Anonymous 11:27 AM  

It's just luck and a little depravity, but I'm married to a French man and we drink (a lot) and we have orgeat on our shelf right now. So I had no problem with that clue. I do, however, have a problem with the existence of orgeat as an actual item. It's truly disgusting. Sweet and...uh...treacly.

Glimmerglass 11:30 AM  

Brutal. I'm doing a little happy dance because I *almost* finished. I DNF the NW. ORGEATS was WTF; I missed the boxer (dog) misdirection. Good one, Byron. Even my children are getting too old for Springstein. The rest of the puzzle was super hard -- just the way I like it. Give me a struggle like this (even if I don't quite win) over a walk in the park, no matter how clever the park ranger.

Malsdemare 11:37 AM  

There seems to be a positive relationship between puzzle difficulty and comment humor. Yiu all cracked me up this am! Thanks!

After my first run through, I had DIRE. That's it. Should have been a warning. Then I got GNOMON (don't ask how I knew that; my brain is a trash can). And then I just slogged, put stuff in (STEELYARDS, BAPTISTERY, PUTANENDTO), took things out, (STEELYARDS, BAPTISTERY, PUTANENDTO), stared at stuff that should have been easy but I was so spooked by the challenge of it all (Almond flavoring? Guitar virtuoso that wasn't Andre Segovia? Yikes) that flailing became my mode of transportation.

I remember Cascokid (and where ARE you, Kid?) talking about taking an hour and a half to finish a puzzle; I figured he was a tad OCD and admired his perserverence. Today, being a tad ADHD, I started with Google after about 30 minutes, and eventually, grinding my teeth, going for straight reveals at 45. This thing was killer!

But man, the misdirects with boxers, street boss, and error codes were great. Puzzle 1, Malsdemare, 0

Alicia Stetson 11:37 AM  

This one kicked me right in the BOODLE. (And I liked it.)

Malsdemare 11:38 AM  

Sorry, must add: fit to fat? Fit or die? My sides hurt.

Master Melvin 11:57 AM  

I don't mind ORGEATS as long as you can get it with crosses. To do so you have to figure out how to misspell BAPTISTRY:

Baptistery | Definition of baptistery by Merriam-Webster
Baptistery is a new variant of the traditional word "baptistry", meaning a place ... Baptistry is the traditional and correct/preferred spelling from all accounts.

The wonderful doors on the BAPTISTRY at The Duomo in Florence are among the great works of the Renaissance. They were at the Met a couple of years ago - replicas I believe.

Lena Webb 11:58 AM  

ORGEAT, as we've all probably learned at this point, is the primary sweetener in one of the Crossworld's favorite drink, the MAI TAI. The bar I worked at made its own ORGEAT. It was the first answer I filled in the grid. When I was a kid my Italian friend's family had a bottle of "Orzata" and we would drink it in soda water. None of this is to say it has a place in the NYTimes puzzle, even a Saturday, it's just that this treacly syrup has come up very frequently in my life and to see it in a puzzle was a "it hasn't all been for naught!" moment. Although I currently have two different brands of it in my fridge, I think pluralizing it is pretty lame...

I was personally peeved by BAPTISTERY and OREL RUSSIA (OREL is a "sometimes used" alternate spelling of OROYL, an already obscure (to me) place. Lots of names two, and I don't like to see 2/3 of a 10-letter tri-stack being names.

A good workout, and I just might have to treat myself to a Mai Tai for finishing it.

Master Melvin 11:59 AM  

Who the hell is RYCO ODER?

M. David Hornbuckle 12:03 PM  

ORGEATS was the first thing I got in this puzzle, being a fanatic of tiki cocktails. I saw RUM as a semi-thematic tie-in. I had trouble with several parts of this puzzle, but not that part.

old timer 12:07 PM  

A delightful puzzle. Full of things like GNOMON that I knew I knew but could not immediately come up with, things I knew but ended up Wiki-ing out of frustration (BOBBYRIGGS, obviously guessable, but even with most of the letters I did not write it in), and things I never, ever would have known without help from Wikipedia (PIEJESU).

I think the only unfair thing was ORELRUSSIA. Which I got on crosses and still could not know was correct. ORGEATS was just fine by me. Probably that means I drink too many cocktails. My favorite aha! answer was AREYOUDONE, which is *totally* in the language. Second favorite: ANGLOPHONE. My favorite *person* in the puzzle was RYCOODER. Way back in the day I used to go see him at the Great American Music Hall in SF. I was sad when he started to devote more of his time to Hollywood and less to touring.

Like OFL and I bet a great many of us, I confidently wrote in "STEEL mills" and kept telling myself the mills had to be wrong because PUTTOQNEND and FITOR (fat) had to right. My doc wanted me to read that book years ago. Didn't, not fit, am fat, but I survive.

Did anyone else confidently write in FOREpaws before realizing, thanks to NFL, it had to be foreLEGS?

evil doug 12:10 PM  

If your boodle can take another kick, I responded to your inaccurate interpretation of my comment yesterday. [Thanks, Michael, for letting me straighten her out.]

Bill from FL 12:10 PM  

I Naticked with BOBBY GIGAS crossing GUM and ANOMON, which was particularly annoying, because I actually (now) remember Bobby Riggs from his 15 minutes as the guy who got schooled by Billie Jean King. I did like seeing HOP ON POP, which was a big favorite in my family when my kids were little.

Mmm Lobster! 12:15 PM  

Heh. @Lobster @ 1039 was "red in the face!" I love it.

Bob Marley 12:17 PM  

"GNOMON," I did not finish this puzzle.

Unknown 12:21 PM  

This puzzle was hard but deeply satisfying because 1. I knew I'm On Fire, boom, 2. Hop on Pop tickled my brain for a while pleasantly before I got it -- and both dated from the same happy days when I was a young mom -- and 3. being a fan of almond-flavored anything, I got Orgeats. The crossword smartypants bliss of the far NW propelled me through the rest.

Anonymous 12:26 PM  

"Put to and end"? Seriously. Dedicated would be a better clue than halted. I love difficult puzzles but I think this is is just plain wrong as a clue.

Judas 12:26 PM  

Dessert at the church picnic this year was PIE JESU. Mmm.

Anonymous 12:30 PM  

My husband looked over my shoulder as I was working this puzzle and called out "Rycooder!" I had to ask him what clue that was an answer to, the New York tribe, the boxer handshake or the book title - none of which I knew. Also never heard of this guitarist...

Anonymous 12:34 PM  

This was a GREAT puzzle! Very difficult but doable (35 min, no google), exactly what Saturday should be. More!

Arlene 12:35 PM  

I wasn't going to let a hard puzzle ruin my Saturday, so after browsing through the clues, I figured I'd start at the beginning - and Googled to get HOP ON POP - and kept to that strategy. It still required coming up with STEELYARDS and many others on my own - even figuring out the guitar guy anagram. I did complete the puzzle correctly this way - but it was a SLOG TEST.

Anonymous 12:38 PM  

Finished with no googling in near record time for me; came here to look, because if I can finish a Saturday in 15 minutes, everyone else will think it was easy. What a surprise! Got ORGEATS and RYCOODER only on crosses, though. I agree with old timer--this one was a delight!

Anonymous 12:41 PM  

I went to college in Syracuse, seat of Onondaga County and a philosophy professor I had taught me only one thing that semester. At one point he turned to the class and sai "Remember, Onondaga is spelled A Gad, No No!" I have never forgotten that (or remembered anything else from that course).

GILL I. 12:43 PM  

Easy peasy Saturday for moi. I got AGRO lickety split. Oh, then I trotted on down to the basement and filled in NOG. Did you know that Arthur Ashe fits in 26D? Never mind that he wasn't even born fits! Every boxer I know gives a fist pump. I can't imagine Tyson lifting his FORELEGS to anyone...Maybe while he's taking a chunk of Holyfield's left ear...
You say Grenada, I say Granada, and in my book you ANGLicise it - none of that PHONE business. HAHA.
I know my Almond syrups because I drink a lot. If you ANGLOPHONE it it become Amareto. No smart bartender would ever ask you if you want a dash of ORGEATS
Oh...I also got RUM!

ANON B 12:54 PM  

The guys who make the Saturday puzzles should
appear on Jeopardy. Even when I see the answers it's huh?
One example. "Ry Cooder". Not only have I never heard of
him, I'll bet that none of my friends has either.

JET black 12:57 PM  

I have a quibble with the answer JET for the clue "Black." I can't think of one example where the two words are interchangeable. "Hey, what color is your car?" "Oh, it's JET." Nah. Clue should be "____ black."

Anonymous 12:57 PM  

(Not bragging, but saying for context and comparison:) I finished this one without googling. Not so today's LA Times. THAT is a puzzle worth complaining about (particularly the NE).

Anoa Bob 12:59 PM  

Here's a bluesy cut from one of my favorite albums "Talking Timbuktu" by (the late) Ali Farka Touré & RY COODER, Ai Du.

mathgent 1:00 PM  

The Closer and I were relieved when we saw that Rex didn't call it easy. It's the first challenging rating he's awarded in months. We finished without the internet but we had a mistake. We guessed ORGEATS but naticked at the intersection of HOPONPOP and PIEJESU.

But it took forever. The breakthrough was PERRYMASON. As I recall, there used to be frequent Della Street references in the puzzle.

Good puzzle. Eleven learnings (e.g., they speak English in Grenada). Only 12 three-letter entries. But too much work to be called enjoyable.

Mohair Sam 1:06 PM  

OK, I'm a klutz. Just now got the boxer/dog thing thing. Nice clue.

Zwhatever 1:09 PM  

So I went and googled "Mai Tai Recipe." Of the first five recipes, one listed ORGEAT as an ingredient and another listed it or almond extract. So let's call that 30% of the time people consider ORGEATS a "necessary" Mai Tai ingredient. Hit #6 was this wiki on the Mai Tai. It seems that French Garnier ORGEAT syrup was part of the "original" recipe. So there's that. Kudos to those who knew it, but I put it along the lines of knowing the significance of 9° Plato when discussing beer or who NC Wyeth is and why he should have lived in Natick, MA.

Lewis 1:16 PM  

@earworm -- Love Gumby Riggs!
@Rex -- That was one terrific writeup, funny and insightful. My path was similar, though not as smooth, as yours.
@aliasz -- Nailed it. "Payoff not proportionate to its difficulty".

I learned a LOT doing this puzzle -- at least ten answers that have never been in my brain. That is good, learning a lot. Also, KUMBAYA made me smile, and I liked the clues for MIRAGE, DOT, PERRYMASON, and FORELEGS. I wouldn't say the puzzle was fun, but I know when to turn to research to get an answer, and it is sometime before I'm ripping my hair out, so my stress level usually doesn't go overboard. This was like a marathon, which, trust me, isn't fun, but, at the end it's an accomplishment of sorts. But marathons need to be spaced out or you lose the desire to do them. So this was good Byron and Will, but let puzzles like this come sparingly, please!

Tita 1:28 PM  

lOve>>PORN "Might as well face it - I'm addicted to lOve..."
full>>four>>COPY (as in full color or four color)

Thought copper gutters might be TEAlCOlored, what with that patina they get, but that just didn't fit.

FITtoFAT is the story of many of our lives...

Needed to clear wrong letters, and finally reveal 2 letters, to finish.
Puzzle spouse actually had ORGEATS in the dimmest recesses of his mind - the candy store with soda fountain owned by Italians in the Bronx - yeah - there were those bottles on the back shelf with syrups - what was the name??? He needed OR_EATS for it to finally bubble up!!! That made the light bulb go off for oh those kind of boxers...
@Teedmn - ROTFLMAO!

Hey - he knew RYCOODER too!!!!!!!!!!

Have pictures of the GNOMON at St. Sulpice in Paris from this May.
ANd of course, NOG.

Tough, and some green paint, but I'm more surprised when I DO finish a Saturday w/o help than when I don't, so I can't be mad at the puzzle.
Actually, if I'm going to be mad, it's at BAPTISTERY. That extra E is just not fair.

Thanks Mr. Walden!

david kulko 2:53 PM  

i would have finished it properly but for the forelegs/orgeats crossing. i had forearms of course, and prior to that i had fist (glove) bump. that tripped up nfl, pie [jesu] as well. i do appreciate some of the fill: gnomon, are you done, anglophone, but jeez... boodle? orel russia, baptist[e]ry?!?

OISK 2:55 PM  

Brutal, but I didn't give up. An hour and a half, finished, and it is almost correct. Never heard of "Hop on Pop, or I'm on fire, or Ryco oder. (or is it Ry Cooder.) Geography clues are seldom a problem; if you want a NY tribe, think of the Finger Lakes, only Onondaga fit. I have been to inner Venezuela, so I knew Orinoco. Contrivances like "Creepies" (I started with Crawlies) did not help. Probably the toughest Saturday I have ever finished; after nearly an hour I was only half done and ready to chuck it. But I was on a more than two week winning streak, had to try. Great sense of accomplishment until I noticed, too late, that I had misspelled Oronoco, because I carelessly didn't change my misspelled "Onandaga." (Probably thinking of CanAndaigua )

I join the majority in not having enjoyed this one at all. Felt that way before I knew I had a one square DNF, too. I think Funny____ is a lousy clue for Haha, and so is the clue for "dot." Hop on pop and Im on fire crossing Pie Jesu and Orgeats? I got it, but when four answers in the same quadrant are meaningless after you enter them - it's just too much. Phooey.

Chip Hilton 2:59 PM  

Bottom half first and quite reasonable. Top half? Death by crossword. I was perfectly happy with both glovetap and fistbump for the boxers clue. STEELmills, of course. ANGLOPHONE? Really? I knew one was an island and the other a city in Spain, but that answer wasn't anywhere in my area of reference. I also object to city, country answers like ORELRUSSIA. I look for one or the other, not both. Congrats to those who finished. My reaction? Pffffft!

crackblind 3:02 PM  

It was MRI that got me for some reason. That and the fact that I wanted "lady" for HAHA. Went with "mills" as well but that screwed up my "lady" but I'm glad I stuck with STEEL- to start.

Re: ORGEATS - I had "orzatas" at first there cause I love the syrup and always have it on hand. Something that's either known to you or not. Very often it's a wheelhouse thing that can make or break a puzzle so I don't thing it's fair to ding the puzzle because of something that's outside yours. BTW Try some orzata with steamed milk irradiated for a real treat.

evil doug 3:25 PM  

Posted for Stetson, late yesterday:

I take no pleasure in the fact that Japan made it necessary to kill so many of its people in order to prevent a like number of American soldiers from dying in an invasion. I'm guessing you didn't have family serving in the Pacific....

chefwen 3:30 PM  

DrLee77 -ORGEAT is in my Food Lovers Companion book, but that was a new one for me. Not being into Frou Frou drinks may have been my downfall. If my cocktail requires a paper umbrella I'll most likely take a pass.

Anxiously awaiting the Sunday puzzle and am hopeful for a return to normality.

Ellen 3:38 PM  

I loved this puzzle -- probably because ORGEATS was the first answer I spotted and filled in (my partner is a cocktail geek). The rest of the NW had to wait till the very end, though -- I worked mostly bottom-up (in pen, I never do these online) and finished all but that corner in the first 23 minutes. The NW took me another nine, though, because even once I figured out that "boxers" were probably dogs I was hung up on the idea that a word ending in "gs" had to be a gerund.

Not wild about the spelling of BAPTISTERY or Funny HAHA, didn't know the ION channel or "Open MRI" or the aria or that gutters were LEADCOATED (I wanted "sealcoated" or even "leaf-coated"), but I worked those out from crossings and didn't have to look any guesses up, which was satisfying for a Saturday.

And I learned that KOALAS have fingerprints!

Porker 3:54 PM  

This puzzle was the easiest I've done in a while. I did it standing on my head while looking at a mirror. In Romanian. It took me 2 minutes and 47 seconds, but I did take a break for coffee or it would have been faster.

Charles Flaster 4:21 PM  

Loved this challenge due to all the new words I learned.
Many of the same write overs as have been mentioned.
Definite DNF but loved the clever cluing.
Thanks BW.

Taj Mahal 4:27 PM  

I can't tell if people are joking about RYCO ODER, but RY COODER is one of the most famous and well-respected slide guitar players in American music. Significantly more talented than Paul Anka, who shows up in crosswords pretty much weekly. Cooder is exactly the kind of person who should show up in a Saturday NYT crossword puzzle. Look him up, listen to his music, and benefit from his mention here today.

Ernest Shackleton 4:38 PM  

Anybody else have ROSS for BYRD for the South Pole documentary?

Roxy 4:41 PM  

You guys never had or made a mai tai?
2 ounces aged dark rum
¾ ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 ounce orange curaçao
1/4 ounce candy syrup
1/4 ounce ORGEAT
pour over rocks or crushed ice
garnish with orange slice, cherry, lime wedge

Ludyjynn 4:50 PM  

Spent the morning blabbing on the phone, catching up with a dear friend, so I didn't get to the puzzle til noon. Coincidentally, when he bought his fixer-upper home a few years back, one of the major repairs was to replace the LEADCOATED copper gutters which had been pilfered by vandals during the housing downturn. There was also a rash of statuary thefts, including sundials, but I have to admit I never heard of GNOMON til today. (Yes, @LMS, sounds like a garden gnome to me, too).

I gave this puzzle four tries before giving up and letting Rex fill in the blanks to PUT it TOANEND. My biggest stupid answer was 'fistbump' for FORELEGS. I still like it better! Am in total accord re ORGEATS. Makes me think 'organ meats'. My favorite run was the vertical SW triple stack. At that point, I said to myself, IMONFIRE. But the reality of the 'O' filled SE quad did me in. Also liked STEELYARDS, a gimme, instantly evoking the scene in "Flash Dance", an homage to Pittsburgh, when Michael Nouri, the co. owner, seduced Jennifer Beals, the welder and part-time exotic dancer/wannabe ballerina.

Thanks, BW and WS, for a real challenge. FADE out.

John V 4:51 PM  

Beyond brutal. Hopeless.

Hartley70 4:58 PM  

Whoa! One hour and forty minutes spaced out over the day and I'm ready to comment. This was a BEAR! Fav answer was PERRYMASON hands down. Least fav was do you have another hour? I have no knowledge of RYCOODER, OREL, IMONFIRE, ORGEAT, GNOMON, TOPONYM, and ANGLOPHONE. I loved BAPISTERY. My first fill was ONONDAGA and HAHA. I found the right half easier than the left and the NW was the most difficult because I wanted paws for too long and I don't make cocktails. HOPONPOP was a great surprise answer. I was looking for a bit more gravitas there, but Dr. Seuss is always a delight.

Luckily I had nothing on my calendar more pressing than indolence and sloth today, so picking this up and putting it down will have to count as both my mental and physical exercise. Aaaaaahh!

Anonymous 5:02 PM  

super tough. even when i finally relinquished my hold on steel mills, could not guess fitto off the fi, wanted fight there badly. knew bapistry had to be correct so could not understand what the e was doing there and therefore orgeats was t-less.

I skip M-W 6:03 PM  

Often have orgeat syrup, to add to seltzer, in my cupboard. Have several Ry Cooder albums. Had to struggle to figure out Hop on Pop, though I've certainly heard of it. I thought I knew that crocodiles were strictly old world. Learned something new. Loved the puzzle—just what I hope for on Saturdays, a real struggle that I can finally solve, with first-class fill. Surprised at all the sour grapes.

Zwhatever 6:16 PM  

@Taj Mahal - What‽ No links?

Anonymous 6:18 PM  

An excellent summary of those who do the NY Times crossword (or at least those on the Rex blog): Love PERRY MASON, never heard of RY COODER.

evil doug 6:22 PM  

Look who's back! As long as you keep it brief, I'll let you stay.

Chapps 6:55 PM  

Strangely enough, I used to work with RY COODER, so I got that one right away - and was really delighted in the process. Orinoco came easily, but only because I had three or four letters and I immediately thought of the Enya song. I resisted BAPTISTERY for a while, because I thought the clue was rubbish. I put the whole thing down this morning for a while and when I came back, things leapt to my head. That's what a good breakfast will do. For the life of me, I couldn't get ONONGAGA - I only completed it by getting the down answers. ANGLOPHONE was ... grating. I was shocked at BOBBY RIGGS - I had no idea that he was playing so early. And no one ever says CREEPIES - that's another rubbish one. Still, it was leagues better than most of the NYT crosswords lately, so it was challenging and entertaining. And I learned a few things, so hat off to Walden and Shortz.

close observer 8:26 PM  

Yesterday, Rex Parker said: "Non-puzzle-related stuff is now being squashed. Also, comments about its being squashed are being squashed. Please stop. Thanks."

Today, evil doug said: "I take no pleasure in the fact that Japan made it necessary to kill so many of its people in order to prevent a like number of American soldiers from dying in an invasion. I'm guessing you didn't have family serving in the Pacific...."

This does not seem puzzle related.

One or both of them are not telling the truth.

Perry Cooder Berle 9:37 PM  

No one under the age of 35 could possibly solve this puzzle. Way too dated.

Anonymous 9:43 PM  

Better for a singer: O CRY DO RE!

J Dipinto 10:22 PM  

@Master Melvin - 11:59 am:

Ryco O. Der, in addition to being a talented musician/producer, is also the uncle of crossword constructor Kevin G. Der.

J Dipinto 10:27 PM  

@Master Melvin 11:59 am:

Ryco O. Der, in addition to being a fabled musician/producer/ethnomusicologist, is also the uncle of crossword constructor Kevin G. Der.

dls 11:43 PM  

I always used to put a little dash of orgeat in my Qube.

Leapfinger 7:15 AM  

@PCB, am betting that DSteinberg and his Associates Could, er, Coulder.

@Wolfman, don't let power go to your head.

Bob Kerfuffle 7:42 AM  

Did this, mostly, at the beach yesterday, finishing with a big mess in the NW for reasons cited by many others.

Biggest headslap this morning: Finally getting down to @lms's comment before I understood the FORELEGS clue! A standard mis-direction, but I just never caught on! Reminds me of a puzzle I did recently (was it an NYT?) with a clue "All Boxers, by birth" asking for CHINESE (as in the Boxer Rebellion.)

@crackblind, 3:02 PM - "irradiated" ????

Kyle in Brooklyn 9:28 AM

Kyle in Brooklyn 9:31 AM  

Buena Vista Social Club? Paris, TX?

KMS 11:25 AM  

Glad to know I'm amongst the semi-sane and the ORGEATS insolvable....but my beef has more to do with HOPONPOP, somehow better that an obscure quote comes from a better known work (book, film, play, etc.)....Green Eggs and Ham, The Cat in the Hat, Horton Hears a Who.., neither I, nor my kids, and wondering how many of you actually got to HOP ON POP...reminds me of a bear of a structural geology professor's final exam about interpreting a map, that everybody got wrong, and he was beside himself nobody figured out "come on, the map was drawn wrong!" But will take the loss, given the rest was "quite exhilarating", quoting Winston Churchill's description of "being shot at without result"

old timer 12:14 PM  

Thanks @Z, for the link to Ry Cooder's magnificent "Dark End of the Street". "Boomer's Story" is just about the best album Ry ever put out.

AZPETE 12:57 PM  

Had to google like hell to finish!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) 8:45 PM  

Order an almond latte from your favorite barista and you'll feel better about that syrup! And that clue. I have a bottle of it in my cupboard ... Yummy!

Rabi Abonour 10:33 PM  

"Orgeats" was a total gimme for me, and would be for anyone else with a moderate knowledge of cocktails. I'm totally fine with "orgeat" as fill, but it's one of those words where pluralizing it feels very cheap.

"Put to an end" took me forever. "Toponym" somehow evaded me, so at first I wanted it to be "Put an end to" or "put a stop to." Once I figured out the order was backwards, still had to figure out which of the two it was.

"Orel Russia" stood out to me as the kind of obscure long answer that needs to die. And it was crossed with "Bobby Riggs," sports history I couldn't care less about. I thought both of those were at least as bad as "orgeats," but maybe my frame of reference is atypical.

jbr613 9:59 AM  

I struggled with all of the answers noted above: ORGEATS (last word filled), ORINOCO, RYCOODER, ORELRUSSIA, etc. But I don't resent it. Any puzzle I can finish is a good puzzle. The difficulty just makes completion that much sweeter.

Tim Pierce 5:08 PM  

All this bellyaching about ORGEATS and not one complaint about OMOO, let alone that ridiculous OMOO/ION cross? Y'all are high!

This one took me quite a while but I made it to the end -- excepting that stupid OMOO/ION -- without looking anything up (a rarity for me for a Saturday puzzle) and without jumping around to boot. Great clues. Great fill.

Burma Shave 11:59 AM  


When it’s URGENT and IMONFIRE for an IDEALMAN and some fun,


rondo 12:28 PM  

So I checked today, an hour. Well spent I’ll add. This was a real test, the way I like ‘em. Started with 1d HIFI, looked at that F, and immediately entered Fistbump. Then looked at the across clues and knew it was trouble. Must’ve read HOPONPOP a hundred times to my daughter, and that’s what she’d do, so I recognized that. Recalled OMOO’s meaning and the Boss’s song. Did the rest of the puz and came back to realize,”Oh, that kind of boxer.” ORGEATS and PIEJESU came only from crosses.

Also had “payoLa” holding things up for a while. BOODLE? Huh.

Even @evil doug has come around to HAHA as Packer Clinton-Dix. How about some constructors?

RYCOODER has been greatly underappreciated IMHO. Fine musician for a long time.

Didn’t realize BOBBYRIGGS went back to the 1930s. Not the IDEALMAN to play Billie Jean King, at least AGES-wise.

Some of the across rows and down columns read funny. Does the STEELYARDS TART cry, ”IMONFIRE! URGENT!” ?

This puz was a brain-buster. More like this, please,

spacecraft 12:36 PM  

This was an absolute bear. And not just because of (WTF?) ORGEATS. After (at length) I had that section all but filled in, the last blank square was that T. The "at length" part was prying out MIC. C'mon, "Open___?" And it's not MIC? Jeez. Plurals really helped; 7 and 8 down pointed to a double-S in the Turgenev-birthplace clue--and that just about had to be RUSSIA. So finally the MRI hits. Is BAPTISTERY a thing? Guess so, I just typed it and got no red line.

Also hand up for CRitterS-->CRawlIES-->CREEPIES. But the place that looks like a dog threw up on it is the east central. Lord that section was tough! For 29 across I had film: every single letter wrong. Tried over and over again to stretch LEADlinED into an extra space. What then...fitted? The North title was stonewalling me till I finally aha!ed COL--good old Ollie! That gave me LEADCOATED (duh!) but I still was far from DONE. My book was titled FaTal FAT, a very reasonable title in my mind. But what was the ANGLO- ending?

I figured it all out--on my own, too, with no lookups--but yikes, what a struggle! Total WOEs, in addition to that almond thingie and the pool house (???): OREL, RYCOODER, ONONDAGA and ANGLOPHONE (remembered GNOMON, but only after I had the GNO- in). This couldn't have been rated anything BUT challenging. PERRYMASON was an inspiration from who-knows-where; I saw "Street boss?" and slapped it down. I have David Attenborough's "Planet Earth" to thank for ORINOCO. I GOSOLO; IMONFIRE, correct some ERRORCODES, and PUTTOANEND this puppy.


Anonymous 3:24 PM  

Way too CHALLENGINS for me. After 2 hrs., I had had it and gave up. with about 75% done. My congrats to anyone and everyone who stuck it out and completed this work of the devil. I am contemplating hiring a bevy of lawyers to sue Mr. Walden for mental anguish and elder abuse.
Kidding of course.

Ron Diego, La Mesa, CA (Where all things begin and end on time, even when you are early or late).

Debbie Thompson 11:20 PM  

Seriously. By the time I finished this puzzle I was having fantasies of taking Mr Walden to a baptistery and smacking him with a lead coated gnomon. In the treacly spirit of kumbaya, I decided instead to throw back a few orgeat laced cocktails and let bygones be bygones. Grrrrr!

Gambolin' Man 11:24 PM  

C'mon, this was simple (except for orgeats)!

607tweety 1:27 PM  

Started out hating this because I had so many blank spaces on the left side, but fell in love when everything eventually filled in with no googling. Racked my brain for Springsteen hits that fit, and now I can't get I'm On Fire out of my head. Nor Pie Jesu. And the jokes on me--until reading the comments, I had come to the conclusion that using forelegs to shake hands was come kind of weird boxing ritual.

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