Pseudonym of Freud's famed hysteria patient / SAT 10-24-15 / Lead-in to exalted leader's name / Faxon who won 2011 screenwriting Oscar / Fancier of melliferous plants / Jacques French psychoanalyst who studied hysteria

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Constructor: Andrew Zhou

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: Jacques LACAN (31D: Jacques ___, French psychoanalyst who studied hysteria) —
acques Marie Émile Lacan (/ləˈkɑːn/; French: [ʒak lakɑ̃]; 13 April 1901 – 9 September 1981), known simply as Jacques Lacan, was a French psychoanalyst and psychiatrist who has been called "the most controversial psycho-analyst since Freud". Giving yearly seminars in Paris from 1953 to 1981, Lacan influenced many leading French intellectuals in the 1960s and the 1970s, especially those associated with post-structuralism. His ideas had a significant impact on post-structuralism, critical theory, linguistics, 20th-century French philosophy, film theory and clinical psychoanalysis. (wikipedia)
• • •
This is pretty sweet. Didn't have high hopes, coming out of that NW corner, but the puzzle smooths out considerably in the middle. It's only in the nooks and crannies that it gets dicey—in the big white swaths toward the center, it's positively creamy. I realized today that there is some fill that is legit, but that I just don't like. Personal aversion. EOCENE is one. Feels like cheating. I mean, it's basically just all vowels, so of course constructors lean on it way more heavily than all the other epochs (of which I don't think I can name any—"Pleistocene?" Is that an epoch?). Also, AIRACE(S). I just ... don't think anyone really wants that answer. It just fits, so ... OK. but it's an answer to tolerate, at best. I can tolerate 3-, 4-, 5-letter stuff. When answers get longer, I have trouble accepting "tolerable" as the benchmark. So I balk. Or shy. Is that what a horse does? I rear up on my hind legs in alarm, is what I'm saying. I am less ambivalent about not liking answers like AGEONE and THEBEARS. Those (terrible) answers set ridiculous precedents, namely for AGE [any number] and THE [any mascot]. I sit around sometimes in the late morning and wait for THE MAIL, but ... no.

But that stagger-stack in the center there is good, as are the longer Downs that cut through it. Things didn't start out so promising, though. Got NIQAB (1A: Cover for a Muslim woman's face) immediately (NIQAB is the new COWTIPPING) (see yesterday's puzzle if that makes no sense to you), and filled that corner in pretty quickly, but ended up with ENURE / STOKE/ NESCES (which I assumed was Spanish for "nieces") (no, I'm not kidding) (1D: Two of Ferdinand VII's wives, to Ferdinand VII). But that left me with INTIVO for 2D: How many experiments are done. I found IN TIVO an intriguing answer for that clue, but ... some small, sane part of my brain said "No. Do not let that stand." Main problem here was STOKE. It looked so right. But no. EVOKE (17A: Stir up). So I stumbled out of there and managed to cross the great white divide into the bottom of the grid, such that I ended up here:

That SE corner was ridiculously easy compared to the rest of the grid. I totally lucked into an answer that broke open the center. No one who went to grad school in the Humanities (esp. in the '90s) could get out of there without hearing the name Jacques LACAN bandied about by people who wanted you to believe they knew what they were talking about. Ubiquitous, that guy. So LACAN was a fat gimme. And then LATIN LOVERS went down and the puzzle loosened up from there. My favorite part of the solve was getting to this point:

... then looking at 34A (--CKME--GN-), then just making up answers that seemed to fit, then saying something very profane ... then realizing that if I just changed the first two letters of my guess, I'd be right: KICK ME SIGNS (34A: Things some people need to get off their backs). Sometimes, just shouting out stuff that seems to fit the letter pattern actually works.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Brian 12:01 AM  
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jae 12:13 AM  

Easy-medium too for me except for the NW corner where I also @Rex had stOKE before EVOKE and sIster off the  s in stOKE.   CITI finally fixed it for me, but there was a lot of staring/alphabet running. 

I really (not the ÜBER really) wanted hijAB for 1a, especially after ARKIN and BEE and being a Homeland fan, but it just wouldn't work. 

The center 11s were worth the price of admission, liked it. 

Brian 12:22 AM  
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Da Bears 12:53 AM  

THE BEARS would have been better is they were DA BEARS.

Geometricus 6:27 AM  

Unlike @Rex, I finished up in the NW, and ended up IMDB'ing Little Miss Sunshine to get Alan ARKIN and googling to get NIQAB which I totally did not know. The rest was kind of satisfying to get.

Why did BARRELORGAN grinders have monkeys? Just to hold the money cup for donations? Did it take two hands to work the instrument? I wonder if Yogi Berra was ever QUOTED saying anything about an organ grinder or a KICKMESIGN.

Teedmn 7:39 AM  

Figuring 3D would be QUOTED kept me from the hijAB error but hand up for stOKE, my only real hold up in this puzzle. The NE fell first, then the whole bottom and the NW was last. I liked getting DENSE FOG just off the D. Had to wait for crosses to remember if it was KIRSTEN or KriSTEN Gillibrand.

I liked the clue for 35D so AGE ONE didn't bother me like it did @Rex. LACAN a total WOE. I really liked the clue for DECOR. At 10A, my first thought was "obit" but the lack of an apostrophe would have precluded that even if ASH hadn't made ATMS appear.

This was a relatively easy Saturday with lots to like. Thanks AZ and WS.

Anonymous 7:45 AM  

Started last night and filled in the corners (NW, NE, SW then SE) pretty smoothly, and got hung in the center due to EVENodds. This morning struggled awhile, tried to abandon LDS, then finally took out "odds" and finished up in a snap. I am more than pleased just to able to finish a Saturday puzzle, so a happy camper here.


Anonymous 8:25 AM  

Rex's review: "I loved it, and here are all of the terrible, unacceptable things that were in it."
I think of EVOKE more as "cause" or "lead to" than "stir up," but I guess it works.
Very much enjoyed this one, despite STARTING WITH "HAJIB" instead of NIQAB. Can't wait to hear from some of the Islamaphobes on this board about the NY Times's agenda.

TrudyJ 8:47 AM  

I'll bet NIQAB was a gimme for anyone who's spent the last two months in Canada.

jberg 8:52 AM  

I looked at 1A, thought "nijab, hajab, something like that," so I just wrote in the JAB part. Then, not knowing the movie, I thought it sounded oldish so guessed it the star was Eve ARdeN. That made the NW tough; I solved the resot of the puzzle (with little hiccups at gETS before NETS, ALL High before HAIL), a bigger one at maRinES before AI RACES (speed contest between computers?), then came back, figured Ferdie must have married his NIECES rather than his sisters (unlike the ancient Egyptians), and finally saw CITI, which gave me ARKIN and all the rest (I'd had nInE for the bank opening at one time).

A friend of mine was living in Paris while writing his PhD dissertation, and went to see Jacques LACAN give his annual lecture at the College de France. The room was packed, analysts had driven from all over the country to be there. Finally the great man came in, started writing on a blackboard, and mumbled inaudibly for an hour without ever turning to face the audience. No doubt it was all recorded and published afterward.

GILL I. 8:54 AM  

My first answer BURQA...wrong... and that got me in a bad mood. Dang, I knew 1D was NIECES so that veil had to start with an N. NIQAB! Well, shoot me! You can't wear them in Florida while having your picture taken for a driver's license.
Seems UBER manly this here puzzle what with LATIN LOVERS, VIRILITY, THE BEARS and then poor DORA being an hysterical patient and all. But wait, we have the beautiful junior United States Senator from NY whose name I couldn't remember. I knew someone was appointed after Hillary left that post. KIRSTEN Gillibrand. Wonderful name that I should remember.
I had fun filling in BARREL ORGANS. Is that where the phrase " A barrel full of monkeys" comes from? All I can picture is the cute little monkey sitting atop the organ grinders head with a little cup to collect coins.
ALL HAIL Caesar....and all. Oh, and our two tots took their preliminary steps before AGEONE.

Carola 9:16 AM  

I seem to be suffering from 1A Hesitation Syndrome - yesterday I wasn't sure enough of COWTIPPING to write it in, and today I waffled over NIQAB. So I got my start in the other corner with HERR (who is cranky about his neighbor UBER lacking its umlaut) and went around the grid clockwise. Fun to solve!


Like @Rex, I remembered (with a shudder) the days when LACAN and his other impenetrable confreres were constantly QUOTED in humanities studies. Talk about DENSE FOG.

Leapfinger 9:42 AM  

I heard about this person who was interested in looking into some VIRILITY, but couldn't find a decent VIRILestate agent.

GeezerJackYale48 9:46 AM  

Anonymous: Here I am, yours truly Islamaphobe, who is absolutely downhearted whenever he sees a Niqab - particularly when the man leading "it" is dressed in the smartest western fashion.

Steven J. St. John 9:49 AM  

It's interesting that LACAN was a gimme for a student of the humanities; I'm a Psychology Professor and still don't recognize the name. Psychoanalysis generally has more influence on the humanities than modern psychology. Overall, a pretty enjoyable puzzle.

Horace S. Patoot 9:55 AM  

Personally, I think just about anything that a student in a "101" class should come away knowing ought to be fair game in a Saturday puzzle; e.g. EOCENE for geology students. It's much more mainstream than Ferd's NIECES.

Mohair Sam 10:17 AM  

Ah well. This easy/medium Saturday became an UBER-challenging dnf in the NW when we (like Rex) decided that 1d had to be in the Spanish we do not speak - hence NIsCES was possible, and the better answer for stir up (17a stOKE) made sense. We don't have tIVO, but figured maybe those of you who do might experiment in it. Guess not.

Liked this one a lot, impressed by the overall quality in its short and long stacks. BARRELORGANS a beauty. For some reason KIRSTEN Gillibrand's name is unforgettable. Is AGEONE green paint?

Robert E. Lee spent at least a small part of the Civil War on the back of a mild SORREL mare named Lucy Long (a gift of J.E.B. Stuart) after his famous Traveler acted up and broke Lee's hands. How long Lee used Lucy as his war horse seems to depend on which historian you read and how he or she feels about Lee.

joho 10:49 AM  

Anybody else have KIssMESIGNS?

This was dnf for me but I got most of it and greatly admired all of it. Beautifully done, Andrew Zhou!

Bob Kerfuffle 10:51 AM  

Very good, Medium Saturday for me.

Two w/o: 51 A, GETS >> NETS; and, after being so smug about getting Senator D'Amato the other day, today I flubbed on Senator Gillibrand, KRISTEN >> KIRSTEN.

(Typed 10:51 AM)

Ellen S 10:53 AM  

Why is 50D PDA the answer for "reason for averted looks"? I found some blogs that explain the clues and answers to the NYT puzzles (I'm glad I found this blog before I found them, years back) -- and they were unable to explain it. I'm guessing if it's a "Personal Digital Assistant", then people may be glancing away from whatever they're supposed to be looking at, to check if they have any new messages.

Other than that, I liked both yesterday's and today's puzzles because I could do them with minimal cheats and the cluing seemed mostly intelligent and fun. Happily I had never heard of Jacques LACAN. I make a point of staying away from post-structuralists. Years ago I worked with someone whose husband was getting a master's degree in (I'm not making this up) some poet that you needed at least a master's just to talk about him. I mean, really, studying this poet was an actual field of endeavor, and nobody who had not devoted years to teasing out meaning from his [drivel] could possible hope to appreciate it. I said, if the poetry, so-called, is deliberately inaccessible to all but the inner circle (who are just pretending to understand it), what on earth is the point? Your husband should go to trade school, do something useful with his life. Okay, I didn't say that last part.

mac 11:01 AM  

Very nice, easy-medium puzzle.

I started out with lots of plural esses all over the puzzle, plus JIHAB at 1A, and a little in the South.
Then it just grew from those few almost correct words.

Lady killers for Latin lovers slowed me down a bit, but all in all I found it easier than
the Friday puzzle.

Theme? Hysteria, I guess.

Hartley70 11:07 AM  

I've never heard of LACAN and it doesn't sound like I've missed much. By the 90's I was long out of school myself and fully immersed in parenting, aka the art of turning a softball into a Mother Theresa puppet at 9pm on a Sunday night. I don't think Monsieur would have been much help.

NAJIB was a complete unknown to me because I only got as far as Burlington and didn't make it over the border, obviously. (?) I found all the other clues tough but fair. I agree that the long entries were stellar today, particularly KICKMESIGNS.

WS has given us a traditional week's worth of daily puzzles and I don't think there was a lemon in the bunch. I'm still in awe of the POTHOLES. It was a worthy follow up to last week's "outside the box" constructions. Thanks Will!

Unknown 11:09 AM  

I wish the NYT editors/constructors would Just. Stop. with any clue that is gender-related. So, today's message: men are full of VIRILITY; women, HYSTERIA. Seriously. Stop.

I love this site, btw. From a neighbor in Syracuse...

Mscharlie 11:18 AM  

Never heard of NIQAB. Didn't anyone else think it was JIHAB? That killed me!

anonymous 11:27 AM  

1 Across put me in a very bad mood which I could not shake for the rest of the solve. What next, a clue for female circumcision/mutilation?

Mscharlie 11:27 AM  

PS What does "dnf" mean?

Nancy 11:29 AM  

Overslept AND a tough puzzle, so I was sure I'd be too late to make the first cut. But I'm not. YAY! Still, I'd better type very fast and say very little -- neither one of those being so very easy for me. :)

HAJIB before NIQAB, whih loused up the whole NW for me. That was the last to come in, as I also found it hard to believe that Ferdinand married his nieces. I also had ENURE before INURE.

BEDTIME STORY is wonderfully and devilishly clued. So, too, DECOR, MOTH, GRINDS, and BLANK CDS. Was looking for a stale saying at 13D, not a color. Had EVEN oddS before EVEN BETS. When I had only the T for LATIN LOVERS, I wanted LOTHARIOS, but it didn't fit. My favorite answer: VANITY PRESS. It opened up a lot of the puzzle for me and I wish I'd looked at the clue earlier. I was in book publishing, so that one was a gimme.

Loved this puzzle. Found it very challenging, but it rewarded patience and determination.

John V 11:44 AM  

Always happy to solve a Saturday.

Tita 11:48 AM  

Ferdinand married not one, but two NIECES? The first one was Portuguese Maria Luisa Isabel, whose first baby was stillborn, and died in childbirth with the second. So he decided to try again with his baby sister's kid?
I know intermarriage was trendy in royal circles, but ick.

(No, I don't know my Portuguese/Spanish's all wiki...).
This puzzle slayed me...had to outright cheat to get the north done.

Thanks Mr. Zhou...wish I had more time to let this puzzle beat me up, but the weekend awaits!

Z 12:09 PM  

Man o Man. I expect the NYT to be less parochial than the average American. The NIQAB is no more "ARAB" than blue jeans are "American." Sure, Americans wear blue jeans and they started here, but they are worn by lots of other people. Worse, unlike Americans, most of whom wear blue jeans, the percentage of ARABs who wear a HIQAB is small. Indeed, you are at least as likely to find non-ARAB Muslim women wearing a HIQAB as an ARAB woman. You will not find many ARAB men wearing one. Is the clue wrong? No. But you can only think it is a valid clue/answer if you think ARAB=religiously conservative Muslim.

Also, because I know the accusation will be made, this is not about being politically correct, my suggestion is to not display ignorance.

AliasZ 12:10 PM  

Call me Ishmael, but I think 1A of a puzzle is like the first sentence of a novel. It sets the tone for the entire work and determines whether it will be the best of times or the worst of times. The history of 1A's this week, Mon.-Sat.: EKGS, ABEL, ACDC, LOL, COWTIPPING, NIQAB - not an entirely happy family, I must say. My ratings are in, presented here in order, best to worst: COWTIPPING, LOL, ABEL, ACDC, EKGS and NIQAB. As Leo Tolstoy said: "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."

I was trying to watch THE ROYALS (how long before this too will be an entry in a NYT puzzle?) win the pennant last night in peace and quiet, but the puzzle interrupted me. How I hate contestus interruptus! However it all came together nicely in the end. I was surprised how easy it was -- the puzzle, not the baseball game -- except for the NW mini.

VANITY PRESS and DENSE FOG fell without any crosses, as did BEDTIME STORIES and VIRILITY. The crosses in each of the last two only confirmed the obvious. Loved the nice central swath of staggerstacks leading into the open N-NE and S-SW areas. The two minis in the NW and SE corners were the only smudges on this otherwise clean and pleasant grid.

Only two WOES today: LACAN (I had no idea that the French word for 'loo' is a feminine noun) and 1A, which was in fact the last word I entered. After NIQAB a niteqap, then to bed.

ÜBER enjoyable, Andrew.

Oh yeah, Norwegian KIRSTEN Flagstad (1895-1962) was an acclaimed Wagnerian soprano who today sings for us "Ocean, Thou Mighty Monster" from Act II of the opera "Oberon" by Carl Maria von Weber. EOCENE Ormandy and his Philadelphians provide the accompaniment. Here's mud INURE eyes. And ENYA ears.

Enjoy your weekend.

Jamie C 12:10 PM  

@Ellen S, I'm sure I'll be the 300th person to let you know that PDA in this context stands for "public display of affection." Frowned upon at summer camp.

weingolb 12:15 PM  

Stereotype-heavy puzzle so not great. You hesitate entering ARAB and LATINLOVER because it seems uncool to generalize people that way.

I think KICKMESIGNS is exactly like Rex says it. You really just ignore the clue and it pops out (which is a bit of thrill and I guess suited to a Saturday... wondering if anyone would ever get it via cluing).

Not sure VANITYPRESS has the business model that the clue suggests. It's not like its publications are shopped-around rejects. It's kind of like writing a clue for YOUTUBE saying it's the home for film projects with no distribution support.

weingolb 12:18 PM  

And just to be a total grump... Giving away BLANK CDS you've burned is like putting toast into a toaster. It doesn't actually ever happen.

Lewis 12:25 PM  

@jberg -- Very enjoyable post from beginning to end!
@ellenS -- You too!

Loved the BEDTIMESTORY clue and the whole aura of ALLHAIL. Never heard of LACAN or NIQAB; I'll probably remember the latter. This was a solid puzzle, a fair fight, just what I want on Saturday. Mr. Zhou not only placed a high BAR in the puzzle, but he set one for himself.

old timer 12:29 PM  

Pretty much a DNF for me. What's Easy for OFL is often not for me. Contrariwise, I once raced through a Saturday puzzle that he rated "difficult" or somesuch.

I must not be on Zhou's wavelength at all. Never would have guessed YORE when the only clue is "old". "Olden days" would have made more sense. Certainly could not guess AIR ACES for Medal of Honor recipients, because pilots rarely get the chance, these days, to exhibit heroism above and beyond the call of duty. Maybe the last time that happened was in Korea (plenty of heroic *helicopter* pilots in Vietnam, but AIR ACES don't fly choppers).

Always wanted AGE ONE so with VIRILITY and BLANK CDS I did get the air aces answer.

Nice misdirect at 24A. because I too confidently wrote in EVEN "odds" before the brilliantly clued BEDTIME STORY put me on the right track. I started out wanting "midafternoon" there, which is silly, because that's when small children take their naps. Wanted "Sierra" LAKE before ALPINE for Tahoe.

Had to Google for NIQAB. Didn't have to Google for "Nieces", but I would have thought the Church did not allow uncles to marry their NIECES. (BTW, the Spanish word for nephew/niece is "sobrino/a". That famous old restaurant in Madrid's full name is "Sobrino de Botin" though they just call themselves "Botin" now -- famous for the roast suckling pig and for being the oldest continuously operated restaurant there is on Earth, or so they say.

Mike D 12:56 PM  

Lotta gimmees for a Saturday. VANITY PRESS, DENSE FOG, LATIN LOVERS were all silly easy for Saturday, and it made it really easy to work from the center out. A lot of nice words and a pretty grid.

Nancy 12:57 PM  

@Ellen S. -- Please, please, PLEASE identify the deliberately obscure modern poet to whom you were referring. Do it under the handle @the Emperor Has No Clothes, if you're afraid of a lawsuit, but please do it. I, too, loathe the gibberish that masquerades as poetry these days and am dying to learn who this is. Of course, I'm someone who thinks that the greatest poets in the language are Tennyson, Blake, Poe, and Kipling, FWIW. There is superb music in their work and you always know exactly what they're saying. As for the moderns: Love Cummings (again for his ear) but don't love many. My credo: All literature, poetry included, is meant to communicate. If you ain't communicating, it ain't literature.

@Teedmn -- From yesterday. Thanks for letting me know, finally, what COW TIPPING is. I thought that's what it sounded like, but then I thought: Nah. Too silly. Too difficult. Too dangerous.

Mike D 1:02 PM  

The 2-across clue should read, "1-across wearer, perhaps." Or something like that. The "e.g." implies that all ARABs wear the NIQAB. Poorly thought out pair of clues for reasonably good fill.

Bruce Springsteen 1:06 PM  

"Sandy, the fireworks are hailin' over Little Eden tonight
Forcin' a light into all those stony faces left stranded on this warm July
Down in the town, the Circuit's full of switchblade lovers, so fast, so shiny, so sharp
As the wizards play down on Pinball Way on the boardwalk way past dark
And the boys from the casino dance with their shirts open like LATIN LOVERs on the shore
Chasin' all them silly New York virgins by the score."

They don't write 'em like that anymore.

jp flanigan 1:13 PM  

I had STOKE as well. EVENODDS hurt me, too. I hobbled myself right away by writing in HURDYGURDIES instead of BARRELORGANS. yeah, i know...but i did it, and probably doubled my solve time. Also had RECON instead of DECOR. Safe to say, not my finest outing.

Abbrs R Us 1:13 PM  

@Mscharlie - dnf = did not finish

Nancy 2:03 PM  

@weingolb -- Don't know how to break this to you (and I'm speaking as a former book club editor), but regarding VANITY PRESS offerings, they're pretty much EXACTLY like "shopped around rejects." And we used to refer to the occasional group ads they ran as "tombstone ads." But I do agree with your BLANK CDS comment: as I was writing in the answer, I was also thinking: Once you burn them, they're no longer blank, are they?

old timer 2:05 PM  

I did Google for NIQAB, and according to Wikipedia, that garment is most often worn on the Arabian Peninsula. Makes sense -- you see pictures of Muslim women all over the world who cover their heads when in public but do not hide their faces.

And Don Juan, being Spanish,is definitely a *Latin* lover. Though I noted, "ladykiller" would have fit.

Hartley70 2:38 PM  

@MsCharlie, dnf is "did not finish"

Numinous 3:08 PM  

I'd never heard of a NIQAB before today. I was thinking hajiB or something like that but . . . . I had to look up "Yo El Rey" and thought, "Aha, Marias. But wait. All four of them were Marias. And his mom too. Damn." then I looked back at what else I had and it seemed like it could be NIECES but I had to check. Yep, number two was a NIECE and, oh yeah, so was number four.

I wanted IN a lab for 2D. I got part of it right. Somehow that corner came together with QUOTED and not long after, the fat lady sang.

Similarly to @Rex, I had an expletive at KICK ME SIGN but mine came after when I realized what the clue was getting at. LATIN LOVERS was an "Oh yeah, dumb me" moment too. LoThario would have been a good thought but I was trying for Something Completely Different. Something misandristic, perhaps.

Two babies were born during the hurricane in Mexico. The parents of the female decided against naming her Patricia. D'ya blame 'em? Who woulld ever mary a girl who was named after the fiercest hurricane in history? I know a chick named (this is the honest truth) Stormy Knight. I didn't marry her either.

My iPad app told me, upon completion, that there was at least one letter incorrect. I checked and checked and checked and could find no error. My solution was to clear the puzzle and retype it exactly the same as it was. That gave me the congrats box.

michael 3:18 PM  

I liked this puzzle, good clues, nice fill. But I found it quite easy for a Saturday (or even a Friday).

I wondered if someone would object to Niqab/ Arab and wasn't surprised to see that I was right. It's an interesting logical discussion -- does "Niqab wearer"/Arab imply that (1) all Niqab wearers are Arabs; or [less plausibly] (b) all Arab (women) wear Niqabs? Or is it more like "many" My own view is that the clues are ok.

Joseph Welling 5:11 PM  

weingolb said: "Giving away BLANK CDS you've burned is like putting toast into a toaster. It doesn't actually ever happen."


It was with great reluctance that I erased "DEMO CDS."

kitshef 6:57 PM  

Liked it overall, hated AIRACES,, PARTA. The clue for NAT or NYS could have been 'three random letters', for all the good they did me. It is not possible to give away BLANKCDS after burning them, as they are no longer blank. So five complaints, but look at all the yummy 11+ words we get in return.
Easy except for NW, where shaKE before stOKE before EVOKE and sIstEr before NIECES gave me fits. CITI was whateventually broke the logjam.

Wednesday's Child 1:06 AM  

I'm sure Freud had secret desires for Dora. And there's Kirsten coupled with Enya. Moranis is a Latin lover with a barrel organ so get your niqab on and avert your eyes. This puzzle is full of virility. Like a moth in a dense fog.

If any of this makes sense then you are up way too late.

Leapfinger 8:40 AM  


Not all LATIN LOVERS are Casanovas. Neither are all Casanovas LATIN LOVERS.

Sea anemones notwithstanding..

Mscharlie 11:45 AM  

Oh thank you!

Mscharlie 2:48 PM  

PDA means Public Displays of Affection.

Jane B 1:32 PM  

A late entry. But if anyone is still reading this, 28A -- SOD? I just don't see that.

Bob Kerfuffle 5:55 PM  

@Jane B - Bill Butler, at, says, "28. Course material, maybe : SOD
I guess the idea is that one might use sod on a golf course."

Jane B 9:13 PM  

Oh ho. Got it. Thanks, Bob

spacecraft 11:10 AM  

Waitaminute...shouldn't it be DABEARS?? And I must say I was surprised; okay, Payton and Butkus, but after that??

This one, as usual, was considerably harder for me than OFL says it was for him. Mini-theme CHESS and ROOK helped a little. Saturday cluing and a fair share of WOEs didn't. The fact that LACAN could possibly be a "gimme" to ANYBODY shows how un-intellectual I am. Also did not know KIRSTEN, or, of course, NIQAB. The NW was again the last and toughest barrier to bring down; for a while I thought Ferdinand might have been a Zodiac enthusiast, marrying two PISCES. Yeah, hand up for stOKE and INtIVO. But at the last minute I remembered INVIVO experiments, so EVOKE, and therefore NIECES, and done. Whew!

I don't quite get how Tahoe can be an ALPINELAKE, unless "Alpine" can refer to mountains other than, hello, the Alps. That one can slide, but EROO? Oh come on, can't we fix that? It's in a little cut-off square, not rolling around in that big (and very cool) center. How can you leave that in? Aaugh! This puzzle could have been great, but there's a flag on the field. "Sock-EROO?" See, you can't even make up a clue for it! Awful! B+, and that's with a full letter taken off.

rondo 11:32 AM  

Agree with those above that once you burn them you are not giving away BLANKCDS. Also wanted hIjAB, but knew that Yogi was QUOTED. EVENoddS was a problem, too. huRdyguRdieS was going to be a possibility, but suspected that B for a start. LACAN??? Plenty of write-over ink today. Mostly did this puz from bottom up, except that VANITYPRESS was a gimme in the middle; I may need one some day.

I’m sure @spacey will have something to say re: PARTA. And maybe GFORCE. Not so much EMAIL. But they’re all bunched together with GPA and PDA. Not a good SE corner, IMHO.

Musical yeah baby ENYA makes a frequent appearance.

POTTER could have been another musical yeah baby as in Grace, before she split from the Nocturnals. Some good tunes there!

Black Friday shopping must have put a DENSEFOG around my brain for as long as this puz took me.

Burma Shave 12:13 PM  


YORE VIRILITY INURED by Captain Morgan’s


rain forest 2:30 PM  

Nice one! Someone up there said that Canadians would be all over NIQAB, and so I was. Ridiculous debate up here about that among party leaders. That word, and MORANIS, along with ARAB, and ASH got me off to a quick start. Stumbled briefly with EVENodds, and stOKE, along with wondering why someone would burn BLANKetS before giving them away.

After fixing those entries,the rest went pretty smoothly. Interesting that that dude thought CHESS to be a waste of intelligence. Wonder what he would think of those who solve crossword puzzles. Or, those who spend their time trashing crossword puzzles. Hmmm.

leftcoastTAM 7:13 PM  

NIQAB was the last to go. I'm not a fancy cocktail drinker, so BAR was late to come. ALLHAIL, okay, but I was excepting something middle eastern. And finally, PDA? I was thinking palm digital assistant.

But I did get through them all, avoiding a DNF without any cheating. Hooray for me.

leftcoastTAM 7:43 PM  

@rain forest:

Good question about the use of intelligence on crosswords vs. CHESS.

My own view is that crosswords don't maintain, let alone increase, intelligence: rather, they test it. But I'm not really sure about that. They may simply feed our egocentric confidence as we learn which buttons to peck.

I'm not sure about CHESS either.

r.heeb 12:39 PM  

I was OK with THEBEARS (remember SNL's Da Bears?) but BLEARS was a new one for me. I was stuck on EVENODDS for 50-50 (a clever paradox?) and that led to OPENDVDS instead of BLANKCDS. Fortunately I came to my senses after BEDTIMESTORY set everything straight.

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