Green Lantern's archenemy / SAT 3-19-16 / Surrounded old-style / Good name for girl who procrastinates / Patron for desperate / Magpie Grainstack / Comedican Marc who recorded memorable podcast with President Obama

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Constructor: Byron Walden

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (that threatened several times to become Challenging)

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: SINESTRO (49A: Green Lantern's archenemy) —
Thaal Sinestro is a fictional supervillain appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. The character was created by John Broome and Gil Kane, and first appeared in Green Lantern (vol. 2) # 7 (August 1961). // Sinestro is a former Green Lantern who was dishonorably discharged for abusing his power. He is one of the Green Lanterns' most enduring enemies, though he occasionally has acted in anti-heroic roles as well. In 2009, IGN ranked Sinestro as the 15th Greatest Comic Book Villain of All Time. (wikipedia)
• • •

Delightful, and a little scary. Those corners are like scary little dark rooms that threatened No Escape many times, but I somehow managed to Houdini my way out of them the couple of times I felt caught. The fill in this thing is bananas, mostly in a (very) good way. I mean, no one likes ENGIRT or MII or NO SEE, but it seems pretty narrow-minded to pick on those few answers when there's nothing else nearly that absurd in the whole grid, and when so many other answers are just dazzling. NUDISTS on a LOVE SEAT! A TREE-HUGGING ZELDA FITZGERALD! A PROPOSAL *and* "A WEDDING." And the MAGIC CHARMS of SINESTRO! Wide-ranging and entertaining material. Difficulty level was very hard to gauge because the feel of the puzzle kept alternating between breezy and stone-hard. Luckily for me, the stone-hardness didn't last long, and the puzzle finished (in the SW) very very quickly, so overall this came out on the easy side for me. Tons of fun. Let's see how it all went down. To start, well, I feel like I got very lucky, but maybe I think my instincts were just on. I didn't know the [Patron for the desperate] at 1-Across, but I guessed "ST." something-or-other, and that was enough to get me THEODORE (2D: Presidential first name), which I confirmed with A DASH, and off we go:

Biblical suffix -ETH at 5-Down and that got me MONETS, and from there, the NW didn't last long. Once I dropped the "Z" from SCHMALTZ (1D: Bathos), ZELDA FITZGERALD went right in (30A: "Save Me the Waltz" novelist, 1932)—huge gimme, and probably the single biggest reason this puzzle played on the easy side. When a grid-spanner just falls in your lap, things open up quick.

After MICHELLE WIE, I tried to drop into the SE, but to no (and I mean No) avail. So I followed NON-CITIZENS up to the NE, where I found the NUDISTS (they stand out), and managed to clean up there pretty nicely, despite some pretty brutal cluing with highly misdirective cluing, namely 11D: Main passage for SEAWAY and 26A: Brace for DYAD. "Main" meaning the "sea" (not "primary") and "brace" meaning "pair" (not "support"). I wanted LOVE NEST instead of LOVE SEAT (15A: Couples' soft spot?), and I misspelled SCALIWAG (like that), I overcame those mistakes without too much trouble.

The real struggle came in the SE, where an Altman movie starting "AW-" had me stymied (and a little angry at myself; I thought I knew the Altman corpus pretty well). None of the other Downs would come either, so I had to dive down and pick up JANIE (thank god for JANIE) (45D: Who's "got a gun" in a 1989 Aerosmith hit). But then ... I really had to work by inference again. Got nowhere until I just put in the -ED ending at 31D: Came back strong. Simply doing that gave me -ED---S at 54A: Rush relatives, which I immediately recognized as SEDGES (yet another misdirection in the cluing, this time with "Rush"). From that "G" I inferred the -ING ending on what ended up being "A WEDDING" (32D: 1978 Robert Altman comedy with Desi Arnaz Jr. and Carol Burnett). The "N" in "-ING" gave me WIENIE, and things came together from there, but that corner was easily the hardest.

Thought I might have trouble getting into the SW, as I couldn't figure out what the last word was in LOSING THE P--- (15D: Getting totally confused, idiomatically). "Page"? I didn't think I knew the phrase. Eventually stumbled on PLOT, but then saw the -MT ending on one of the Acrosses and thought "well that can't be right ... unless it's UNDREAMT." And then I looked at the clue and whaddya know (51A: Yet to be imagined). That corner came together in like 30 seconds. And ... SCENE! (40A: "And ... ___!").

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:05 AM  

Easy-medium for me too with SW again being the tough part. SINESTRO was a WOE and AMPS UP seemed a bit off for the clue. Fortunately MARON was a gimme so I had a toe hold.

MICHELLE WIE wad also a gimme as was ZELDA once I had the @Rex Z.

Might have gone with ENGIRd, but DETENTE was one of the first words I learned from doing crosswords. You tend to remember your firsts..etui, adit, Gaia...

Great looking grid with plenty of good stuff, liked it a lot. Pretty good weekend, huh?

Unknown 2:40 AM  

Wow! Great puzzle.

There were two trouble spots for me. I did not know CHENIN; I have heard of "The Clan of the Cave Bear," but the title is the only thing I know of it. That cross between CHENIN and JEAN AUEL is a killer, and AUEL is a terribly unusual name. I kept re-checking the crosses to see if I got it right. Would the answer be J.E. ANAUEL or JIA NAUEL or JOAN AUEL or JUAN AUEL or JUANA UEL? I had no clue, but I guessed correctly with an E.

I should have sussed out the SE, but I entered WeENIE instead of WIENIE, which made me think that JANIE might be spelled JANEE or JANEY. I didn't know SEDGES. I went with JANey and SyDGES. So a DNF for me.

But, hey, those problems are on me. It's Saturday; the difficulty is high; and this puzzle was a touch smarter than me (I'm looking at you, CHENIN and SEDGES).

Rex pointed out the many wonderful answers in this very impressive grid. I just want to add that I absolutely love the cluing, especially in that magical NE corner. I really cannot say enough good things about the cluing in that corner. The clues for the four 6-letter down answers were lovely: ISLAND (Christmas or Easter, for example), SEAWAY (Main passage), TAMARA (Good name for a girl who procrastinates?), and STAGED (Like heists and operas). ONE LLAMA struck me as a horrid answer saved by an incredibly clever clue (A priest, not a beast). The clues for SNARE (Brushed instrument) and DYAD (Brace) were also excellent. I mean, that corner had all that and NUDISTS on a LOVE SEAT. Great, great stuff.

Also, I absolutely loved the clue for SCENE ("And ... ___!"). Brilliant!

Carola 3:22 AM  

Loved it, but must report a double DNF: my folks with a lot of down time were MinERS and my girl with the gun was JANeE.
A disadvantage (for me) of doing the puzzle online is that when I get stuck, I'm too weak-willed to erase; instead, I use the "check" option. So when the incorrect MinERS left me with no reasonable result for the crossing "Tender," I checked - and then easily saw it should have been MOPERS. Doing the puzzle in the newspaper, I regularly erase quadrants at a time, and like to think I'd have been able to figure this one out. Never would have caught JANeE x WeENIE, though.
I also had trouble with the stocks, which first were UNissuED, and then UNliSTED, before becoming UNVESTED (which could also be something that happens on the way to becoming NUDISTS).

Sian 3:49 AM  

39d skiers. Nasty mess ensued.

George Barany 4:31 AM  

@Byron Walden is a prolific constructor known for tough wide-open low-word count puzzles, and today's offering lived up to this reputation. Further, @Rex's writeup was enlightening and instructive, and I respect that his knowledge base is broader than mine.

It was satisfying to fill in about two-and-a-half quarters of the grid unassisted before succumbing to judicious use of the "reveal" option. Having learned SUFI earlier in the week from @Lynn Lempel's puzzle certainly kept me in the game longer than expected.

The F._SCOTT_FITZGERALD theater in downtown Saint Paul is home to Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home Companion broadcasts. It was therefore fun to see ZELDA get her due, crossing SCHMALTZ which reminded me of this joke (#214). When SERENA_WILLIAMS didn't fit into 35-Across, I wondered which of her European rivals with unusually spelled first names/surnames might work, until making the obvious switch to a different sport.

Chim cham 4:41 AM  

Agree with Rex mostly. Shifted gears between on fire and stumped several times. Biggest hang up was want SCORED crossed with LOVE SHAC though it annoyed the heck out of me. The real solutions were wayyyy more satisfying. Loved seeing Zelda F in this puzzle.

Loren Muse Smith 6:08 AM  

Rex – this was stone hard for me from start to "finish." I was boogie-woogying it around the room because I had finished a Walden, that "pronosal" (sheesh) was some obscure Latin deal that meant "sale" because my "down time" guys were "miners." If I solved online, horror of horrors, I would've been alerted and hence able to fix that mistake.

And I loved "miners" for that clue, even feeling bad for Byron that he had the marin/MARINA cross.

Some of the clues were dastardly: those for SENT, MOPERS, DYAD, SEAWAY, HEWS, SCENE, NO SEE.

SCHMALTZ looks like a (tmesis-ish) portmanteau for Schlitz Malt (Liquor).

SEDGES has, well, S EDGES. Cool.

The last to fall was the northwest, but when at last I saw CHENIN, bam bam bam…done. Why CHENIN stayed hidden so long, I have no idea. I love Chenin Blanc – came out of the closet a long time ago as preferring the fruitier whites to the dry whites.

@Apple Chill (I always thought that festival should have been in the fall and not spring, right?) I learned a ton when I worked at A Southern Season – back in the day when it was still A Southern Season with just a tiny café and a mail order business in its infancy. Arturo Ciompi taught me a ton about wine, especially not to pay much attention to the people who insisted they liked only dry whites. After tastings, lots of these guys would invariably head over to the then one lone register with Chenin Blancs and Rieslings. (Loved your mechanic story! My mechanic happened to be at the edge of Eastgate behind A Southern Season.)

First thought on the procrastinating woman was Tilda, but it didn't fit. Ya know, as in I'm gonna put off cleaning out the fridge 'til da cows come home.

And my first thought on that berth site was "tourney" as I began the southwest's slow march. Madness, sure, but hey – 'tis the season.

I'm really pleased that I came so, so, so close to finishing this one. ST JUDE came through big for me this morning.

Loren Muse Smith 6:29 AM  

Oh, wow. After I "publish" my comment here, I try go over and read Xword Info, Wordplay, and Diary of a Crossword Fiend – the main write-ups at the very least. Amy's (Fiend) catch made me laugh out loud and feel wildly jealous that I missed it: the HARDEN ENGIRT WEENIE stack. I'll try to applaud her over there, but if I can't.. I hope you read this, Amy. Best catch/comment in a long time.

GILL I. 6:55 AM  

Well, which one is the hot dog? WEENIE or WIENIE? Is MICHELLE WIE a picnic short of one?
Byron Walden always makes me want to pour my self a drink, sit in front of the fireplace and sharpen my pen. I know I'm in for a good one. Yep, he delivers.
Loved the TREE HUGGING....Well, actually, no. I used to live in Mill Valley and my friends and I would hike around Muir Woods and Mt.Tamalpais. My girlfriend finally decided to get married and she chose Mt. Tam. She had 6 bridesmaids dressed in blue muu muums and the obligatory yellow mustard weed flower made into a tiara which was weaved into our hair. Since I was already married, I was the Matron of Honor. My duty was to lead everyone to a Redwood and make sure all 6 of us could fit around the tree and give it a hug. My grown children don't believe half the stories I tell them. Or maybe they do, but they're too embarrassed to admit they know me.
Byron's cluing is always devilish but his answers are doable. SCHMALTZ and SCALAWAG make me want to wear some black MOIRE LINGERIE at A WEDDING. Any takers?

AliasZ 8:53 AM  

ONE-L LAMA was an easy gimme and my first entry, followed by 'pinch' instead of A DASH. Then the M of MII, then nothing. With a little perseverance the NE filled in neatly, then the SE. Drawing a blank on CHENIN slowed me down in the NW, but only momentarily. The SW fall last because MARON was a total unknown as was SINESTRO. Those two were a bad choice in that cul-de-sac in my view, which would have benefited from a complete redesign. I NO SEE how MOPERS and PASSERS (echoers of CARERS and DYERS from yesterday), MARON and SINESTRO were worth holding on to. Certainly not befitting the same grid as the NW and NE corners.

The SE cove had its own problems. ENGIRT? Oof! But I enjoyed the humor of seeing the ENGIRT WIENIE HARDEN trio.

Favoritz: SCHMALTZ, that SCALAWAG ONE-L LAMA, the TREE HUGGING MAGIC CHARMS, and the RESURGED LINGERIE PROPOSAL. LOSING THE PLOT was a new one on me, and after reading the article, I am more confused than before. Am I losing the grip?

Still a good and clean puzzle except for the arbitrary Roman numeral, pluralized brand names and -ERS, and nine proper nouns, three of them full names (not counting ST. JUDE and SANTA). That killed much of the enjoyment for me.

I was going to offer "Rustic AWEDDING Symphony" by Karl Goldmark with plenty of SCHMALTZ in it, but this not-quite-mainstream Piano Concerto in G major by Giovanni Benedetto Platti (1697-1763) instead, performed by Felicja Blumental (1908-1991) and conducted by THEODORE Guschlbauer, is the perfect antidote I think.

Anonymous 8:55 AM  

What is "And...scene!"?

Anonymous 9:41 AM  

Today is one of the days that Rex deliberately tries to get under people's skin wth his "Easy-Medium" nonsense. There was nothing remotely easy or even medium about this puzzle. A pile of steaming dung from start to finish. A book nerd's delight, to be sure. A laborious slog through the obscure. This was not a puzzle for me, so I'm going to take my MAnlyCHARMS and leave.

Anonymous 9:41 AM  

@Anon 8:55 - A cliche from drama class. You and your scene partner thusly announce the end of your brief performance. Akin to "curtain."

I've read that ST. JUDE became a sort of last-resort patron because of reluctance to invoke Judas. Along with Judah they're the same name in Greek.

Lobster11 9:51 AM  

This thing just put me to shame. The combination of fiendish cluing -- everywhere! -- and some unfortunate personal WOEs meant that I was never able to get enough of a toehold to ever get started.

OFL is certainly right when he says, "When a grid-spanner just falls in your lap, things open up quick." Of course, the flip-side of that if said grid-spanner is a WOE, you're screwed. The almost-grid-spanning LOSINGTHEPLOT is, I suppose, inferable, but I'm sure I've never heard that expression and it took a ton of crosses for me to do said inferring. And JEANAUEL was just downright cruel. I mean, that last name is the epitome of uninferable. Given any three of those four letters, I would be left with exactly 26 equally-plausible-looking options for the other.

So, after a half-hour during which I wrote in approximately three answers -- two of which I was not at all sure about -- I gave up and Googled the "Save Me the Waltz" novelist and "The Land of Painted Caves" author, and with those two major cheats I was able to almost finish the puzzle. One of few answers in which I actually had confidence was "amps" rather than AMFM (for "Band options"), which kept me from seeing the down crosses at F and M. And in an astonishingly bad stroke of luck, the fact that my error happened to involve the word "amps" at 36A prevented me from even considering AMPSUP at 36D.

If anybody needs me today, I'll be on my couch MOPING. I feel like such a WIENIE.

Generic Solver 10:01 AM  

The sly misdirection (or whatever it's called) at the cross of 36 across and down was an example of how this puzzle is so skillfully crafted (and difficult!). I had put in AMPS for "band choices" for 36A, only to realize that 36D was AMPS UP, so that AMPS couldn't be duplicated at 36A.

I got shredded on this one a little, but it was worth it to be able to admire a great puzzle.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:01 AM  

Good one; Medium.

If a ONE "L" LAMA is a priest, would youse guys say that ONE LLAMA is a green beast?

jberg 10:03 AM  

What Rex said, except that I couldn't remember WIE for too long. My entry was our old friend the ONE L LAMA, and it went on from there.

Going home today, snowstorm tomorrow, I hear!

Teedmn 10:04 AM  

Great workout today. I was down in the MinE with @LMS and @Carola today. That use of "tender" as a noun was not there for me. Sure, legal tender is a thing and I know the verb version but I couldn't see the equivalence with PROPOSAL.

I got my start very similarly to @Rex with the ST assumption giving me THEODORE. I sat there with ZELDA a long time, thinking "the only ZELDA I know of is F Scott's ZELDA". And it still is, I guess.

I found the SW the HARDENest. LOSING THE PLOT is not a phrase I've ever heard or used. Someone get lost in the graveyard? One of those annoying people who can't follow along during the movie, I understand, but it's not an idiom in my lexicon. So, guessing 41A could be HPS so 21D could be CHARMS gave me a long awaited aha for UNDREAMT and allowed me to get only the DNF, MARiN looking fine to me.

Thanks, Byron Walden, loved this one!

Nancy 10:39 AM  

I got killed in the SW and didn't finish -- even though I had one cheat: SINESTRO. Actually, it was only half a cheat, as I had enough letters that I didn't need to look up "Green Lantern archenemy." I simply looked up Green Lantern in Wiki, and as soon as my eye caught SINESTRO -- whoever he/she/it was -- I knew it fit. But the cheat didn't help. I was sure that band options had to do with a group that plays music, and that 36A had to end in S. I never saw AMFM. I don't see AMPS UP as being a synonym for "charges", and I very much object to the clue. And MARON? Fuhgettaboutit. One cheat per puzzle is enough. Too much, actually.

I loved this puzzle, though, except for the clues above. ZELDA instead of SCOTT (why didn't he work, I kept asking myself) was such a nice surprise. ONE L LAMA at 17A was worth the price of admission. FRONDS; LOVE SEATS; SCHMALTZ; TREE HUGGING and NO SEE were fabulous too -- either because of the clue or the answer. A wonderful puzzle -- if only BW could have taken the two proper names out of the SW.

Nancy 10:45 AM  

Yes, @Anon 8:55. My problem, too. What on earth is "And...SCENE!"?

mac 10:47 AM  

Fantastic Saturday! Hard for me, though. Same problem as Rex with Scaliwag and love nest.
This was so beautiful that I didn't even mind looking up "A Wedding".

St. Jude was St. Jove for a while (by Jove!).

What a good puzzle day.

Black eyed Susan 11:12 AM  

"St. Jude St. Jude please come around.
Something's been lost and can't be found."
How many remember that chant from a nun-dominated youth?

Unknown 11:23 AM  

Finally a clue about Obama. (fawn)

Anonymous 11:39 AM  

Thanks for the and...scene explanation. As for one l llama, check out Ogden Nash!

Alison 12:05 PM  

one "l" lama and zelda fitzgerald. man oh man, what a puzzle.

Lewis 12:14 PM  

@loren -- That SE corner has a variation, LINGERIE/WEENIE/RESURGED.

I found the SE to be easily the hardest sector, not that the rest was easy. Terrific cluing: ISLAND, SANTA, SCENE, PROPOSAL, JUDGE, and DETENTES. This is one of those puzzles that exudes high quality; there's just no denying it. Thanks for this, Byron!

kitshef 12:23 PM  

Easy-medium?!?!?!?!? No. Wee-oo-wee-ie-ay that was hard, even with a couple that were gimmes for me that I imagine were trouble spots for others; SINESTRO, ONELLAMA and SEDGES all went in with no crosses.

Part of my trouble was spelling: weener, weenie, WIENER, or wienie? Michelle WIE or Wei?

Part of it was being too clever. I was certain the Couples in the soft spot was golfer Fred, so I went with sandtrap and really did not want to take it out. I immediately thought 'sea' for the Main passage, and wanted strait, except that it wouldn't fit with sand trap. And that all in the relatively easy NE. It was the NW that took most of my time. Nothing came easy there.

Hand up for initially putting in MinERS and SCALiWAG, plus bOor before LOUT, REtoRted before RESURGED.

Man, that was fun.

M and Also 12:26 PM  

Oh, yeah ...
"Patron for the desperate" was a primo puz opener.


puzzle hoarder 12:48 PM  

I came away with a clean grid on this one but at a whopping 56 minutes it felt like a Pyrrhic victory. The SE accounted for almost half that time. Seeing this rated as easy-medium made it worse. The comments gave a much more accurate picture of this puzzles' difficulty.

Andrew Heinegg 1:04 PM  

This was a great puzzle but, how OFL or anyone else could have the words easy or medium in rating this little opus is as unfathomable to me as some parts of the puzzle. But, I admit it kicked me in the posterior very hard and that hit hurt my ego.

old timer 1:04 PM  

Today's was as hard as yesterday's was Easy. Like some others, I had to Google for the ZELDA FITZGERALD novel. Made me wish I was an English professor with a specialty in the 20th Century Novel.

It wasn't for a total lack of knowledge that I double DNF'd. Oh, I had CHENIN and THEODORE and remembered JEAN AUEL. But I had UNliSTED instead of UNVESTED. And really, UNVESTED is wrong. What is sometimes UNVESTED is an employee's option to buy stock in his company. Not the stock itself, which simply does not exist until a vested option is exercised. I only put it in because MONET had to be right.

Of course I had NUDISTS and ONELLAMA, though I misspelled MICHELLE's name as WII. Probably did not need to Google for for A WEDDING, but I did, because I never heard of that movie. The SE was a bear, because I don't think a PROPOSAL is a "tender" at all. A tender is what you do to comply with a contract, i.e., an accepted PROPOSAL. You deposit the money or documents into escrow: That is a "tender". Or, you send in your stock shares in response to a buyout offer. That also is a "tender." But not a PROPOSAL.

Say, I wonder of Shortz would like to hire a crossword-loving lawyer to vet these puzzles?

Hartley70 1:07 PM  

This was such an outstanding work-out! I soldiered my way though 3 corners and the middle until I arrived at the SW and came to a full stop. MARON was a complete unknown and so was SINESTRO. I moaned about the podcast clue to a phone caller and she gave me MARON. I only recalled Obama riding around in a car with Jerry Seinfeld. Apparently he spent time in a garage also. With MARON, I could squeeze out SINESTRO and finish, although it was, of course, now a collaboration.

MattG 1:15 PM  

This was a stereotypical Saturday experience for me, in that I started it last night, couldn't get anywhere, and took two stabs this morning to finally complete it. Difficult, but very fair. It didn't help that I was positive ST. JUDE was St. Elmo. Was it The Untouchables that taught me St. Elmo was the patron saint of lost causes?

archaeoprof 1:16 PM  

I'm with Loren Muse Smith. For me this was the hardest puzzle since the "wrath of Klahn" several years ago. Just couldn't get on the right wave length. Got it, eventually, with writeovers all over the place, and enjoyed it. Saturdays used to all be like this, so I guess I've made some progress.

Robso 1:32 PM  

I declared a premature victory after ZELDA FITZGERALD fell with only three letters in . . . then went on to die a sad and bitter death in the SW (ADDS UP instead of AMPS UP; LOSING THE GYST instead of LOSING THE PLOT). But even in defeat, I have to admire this puzzles many charms.

Leapfinger 1:48 PM  

@Bob Kerfuffle, lol, is that a "Paint Your Waggin' LLAMA" Green?

I read "Clan of the Cave Bear" and two sequels many years ago. As the story of a Cro-Magnon girl raised by Neanderthalers (no,really) it was pretty interesting in terms of anthropology, language, clan rites and customs and so on. It wasn't till the third book that I started skipping pages-long descriptions of vegetation, and it wasn't till Ayla was forced from the tribe and met up with her Cro-Magnon love that I finally gave up. I have no idea of how much background was research and how much was imagination, but it was the detailed descriptions of Cro-Magnon orgasms what finally done me in.

So I didn't recognize the title, but not surprised to learn that JEAN AUEL is still cranking them out.

Seth 1:58 PM  

Holy wow this was impossible for me. So so many things I could just never get ever.

ST JUDE, who?. Bathos, word I've never seen. CHENIN, never heard of it ever. JEAN AUEL, who?? UNVESTED, made-up word from my perspective. ZELDA FITZGERALD, random name I've never seen ever. MAGIC CHARMS, a phrase I've never heard. LOSING THE PLOT, a phrase I've never heard. A WEDDING, didn't know. Brace meaning "pair": what????. ENGIRT, really? SEDGES, no idea what it means. DETENTES, no idea what it means. Marc MARON, never heard of. SINESTRO, not familiar. Bounder = SCALAWAG, oof. Still don't know why Tender = PROPOSAL, even after Googling synonyms.

Had LOVEnEsT, MinERS, pincH for ADASH (which I don't like with the indefinite article). There was just no hope for me this week.

But I can see that it's a well-constructed puzzle.

Questinia 2:22 PM  

Not a Houdini in the corners here, more like Hou-wienie. Hard af.

Fred Romagnolo 3:00 PM  

Since MARiN is a respectable name, and MinERS fits the clue better, I DNF'd in the SW. What makes a podcast memorable, in fact what is a podcast? The kind of people who say twerp would probably spell it WeENIE, and JANIE is certainly a PPPer. Being a Californian, my entry was CHENIN, but never having heard the term LOSING THE PLOT, contributed to my woes in the aforementioned SW. So, not a particular fan of Byron Walden. I did like the clues for TAMARA and ONELLAMA.

Chronic dnfer 3:29 PM  

Googled and cheated and still dnf'd.

Mohair Sam 3:32 PM  

Thank Heaven for a wife educated in parochial schools or we would have had a gimme free Saturday. STJUDE gave us THEODORE and when we eventually got the Z in CITIZEN we knew it had to be FITZGERALD and it sure wasn't Scott. Like Rex we built from there - but struggled much more than he and found this beauty challenging. But finish we did.

At 35A I determined quickly that the Williams sisters didn't fit and began a painful rundown of Eastern European tennis names ("How do you spell the one that McElroy walked out on?"). Finally Mrs. M suggested golf, and Ms. WIE was a no-brainer.

Hand up with the group having MinERS before MOPERS, and the other group not knowing "And . . . SCENE". A third hand up with the gang that struggled most in the SW. We had guessed anNIE for JANIE and were lost for a long time. Eventually realized that world peace was a form of warming and the corner fell. Tried to read JEAN AUEL's "Clan of the Cave Bear" years back, and just couldn't get through it.

Great clues throughout - especially liked TAMARA and ONE L LAMA. Speaking of TAMARA - I'd hate to be this Sunday's constructor trying to follow up on the last couple of day's puzzles. They've been exceptional.

John 3:35 PM  

Anyone else bothered by "losing the plot"? It's not an idiom familiar to me.

Hungry Mother 4:36 PM  

Happy that I finally got it, but wish I was faster at the end of the week. Good week overall. I'm tapering for a half marathon today, so I had lots of couch time available.

Leapfinger 5:23 PM  

Like others', my NW cracked with THEODORE, and figuring the 1A ST start and 5D ETH end. In general, it filled in nicely, though A_DASH was a PINCH too long, and the V of UNVESTED was my last letter.

Usually, I'm not one to JUDGE, but this SatPuzz had me LINGERIEng over a flock of NO_SEE-ums
*ENGIRT was AMIDST to start, and the 'lot of down timers' were EIDERS (which I was sad to lose).
*The 'Tender' led to various herders and carers with TLC, legal and otherwise; the final PROPOSAL felt off, because you 'tender an offer' rather than 'propose an offer'. Far as I know.
*Thought pharaohs were fanned with feather fans, so tried IBISES before forced to palm off FRONDS.
*SINESTRO was just UNDREAMT of in my universe, but it sounded likely for an evildoer, which is probably what the DC Comics guys thought.

Seems to MII the fun and the SCHMALTZ were in four of the five partz, but the SW was in danger of LOSING THE PLOTz

My High Points:
*ONE_L_LAMA, cuz some Ogden Nashery is always walcum
*After yesterday's CREPT swept the boards, liked having UNDREAMT and ENGIRT. Would Bob Dole have fared better had he been UNKEMPT?
*Interestingly, my town has a Superior Court JUDGE HARDiN, so it amused MII even more to consider JUDGE HARDEN's ENGIRT WIENIE'S EDGES.
*The whole SCALAWAGy NE corner, for various and sun-dried reasons.

Was surprised that @Rex liked the NUDISTS LOVESEAT, since so often they prove to be moist. More power to you, By Ron Walden. Come back soon.

GILL I. 6:37 PM  

I too had the same AUEL experience. It was when she got to johnduhlah or whatever his name was, that I decided the books were probably the worst things I've ever read in my life and I'm not even including the ones I read with Fabio on the cover.

Black eyed Susan 7:27 PM  

On further remembering sorry for the wrong info on St. Jude. The prayer for lost things was to St. Anthony. St. Jude was for when you were really desperate,..and there were lots of those occasions as a teenager.

Carola 8:20 PM  

@Leapfinger and @Gill I. - Another (heretofore closeted) AUEL reader. I did wonder how those Neolithic lovers seemed to have read The Hite Report.

Alysia 9:03 PM  

After a decent week providing me with a healthy ego boost, this puzzle left me an absolute wreck.

Casey 10:34 AM  

Delicious puzzle !

S sgibolon 3:21 PM  

Bathos does not mean SCHMALTZ!! Seriously, anyone else notice this?

Burma Shave 11:33 AM  


STAGED quite a SCENE with a LOUT in the garden,
it ENDS with AWEDDING PROPOSAL that they say,


rondo 12:23 PM  

Got through this one fairly quickly, though 1a was the last with the JUD squares emptily staring at me. Was it sEAN or dEAN? Nope. The I or the U for _NVESTED? Cycled through seETH/lIETH/DIETH. And then a vision of STJUDE appeared. Lutherans aren’t really into the saint stuff so much, so that was hard for me to SNARE. That whole NE just seemed to fill itself in, leading me to get ZELDAFITZGERALD from only the second Z. MICHELLEWIE was a gimme. As was JANIE.

Wisconsin DELLS is a popular vacation place.

The DYAD of yeah babies flapper ZELDAFITZGERALD on top of golfer MICHELLEWIE crossing in LINGERIE makes quite the SCENE. I distinctly remember yeah baby MICHELLEWIE winning that U.S. Open with a 69 on the final day. No gimmes in pro golf. But you could gimme some of that.

Our MPR radio station 89.3 The Current is playing Prince tunes A to W alphabetically. Started last night. Purple Rain just now. Volume up. Tear in eye.

Really liked this puz. Gonna go weep in my beer now. RIP purple one.

rondo 12:28 PM  

BTW - SCHMALTZ has to be about as long a word that you'll get with only one vowel.

rain forest 2:19 PM  

Totally agree with easy-challenging with this puzzle. I started with ST JUDE, NUDISTS, CHENIN, THEODORE, A DASH, and the NW was done. TAMARA (cute), and STAGED brought down the NE, then the centre section went fairly quickly. I was brought up short by the clues for getting confused, and the one for SCENE, which I just don't get.

So the South. That was very tough for me with lots of missteps and restarts, trying to see how AMPS UP could possibly mean "charges". Luckily I have heard of Marc MARON, and that helped to get the SW. LINGERIE was the key answer in the SE, but that was the hardest section. ENGIRT(?)/JANIE/WIENIE took a lot of time and guessing until I saw JUDGE (good one).

So I finished, and overall I liked this puzzle. Not great, but serviceable.

leftcoastTAM 6:03 PM  

Breezed through the North and Middle, but after LOSINGTHE...what? [blank] and not getting MARON, SINESTRO and most of the SW PLOT,I ungracefully bowed out.

Diana,LIW 7:35 PM  

Laid a bomb with this puzzle - you may have noticed the mushroom could in the NW skies.

The streak is over. Tho I read a ton of Hemingway/Fitsgerald etc in school, I hadn't heard of the Waltz book. Or it escaped my memory - certainly never read it. Don't know golfers. Had STJUDE right off the bat - then came trouble.

Actually, trouble started this morning when our paper carrier delivered the weekly tv guide but not the paper! Really??!!! (*&^

Didn't get the paper until this afternoon. Not. In. Good. Mood. By. Then.

Well, off to eat at a tapas bar and to watch another skating event.

Diana, Paper Waiter

Waxy in Montreal 8:48 PM  

@rondo, actually STRENGTHS trumps SCHMALTZ but only by ADASH or so.

MII, MII, this was certainly not the WIENIE version of the NYT puz. Only gimme was ISLAND which unfortunately led me astray at 15A where I became convinced that Fred Couples was being cleverly referenced for a GOLFSHOT. Wrong golfer!

Great clues for ONE L LAMA and TAMARA. My 15D was LOSINGONESWAY for far too long. CHENIN and MARON aren't in my wheelhouse but STJUDE and THEODORE revealed the NW.

And any grid featuring ZELDA and MICHELLE crossing LINGERIE sure deserves a STAR.

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