Supermodel Wek / SAT 5-14-16 / Cutting edge device named for its versatility / Skipper whose #6 was retired in 2014 / Nahuatl for jaguar / Golf takeback

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Constructor: Jeff Chen

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: SAWZALL (30A: Cutting-edge device named for its versatility) —
A reciprocating saw is a type of saw in which the cutting action is achieved through a push and pull reciprocating motion of the blade. // The term reciprocating saw is commonly assigned to a type of saw used in construction and demolition work. This type of saw, also known as a recip saw, Sawzall (a trademark of the Milwaukee Electric Tool Company) has a large blade resembling that of a jigsaw and a handle oriented to allow the saw to be used comfortably on vertical surfaces. The typical style of this saw has a foot at the base of the blade, also similar to a jigsaw. The user rests this foot against the surface being cut so that the tendency of the blade to push away from or pull towards the cut as the blade travels through its cycle can be countered. (wikipedia)
• • •

A familiar grid type—low word-count, segmented into distinct quadrants + a center section, each of which ends up functioning like a mini-puzzle unto itself. The fill you get in these types of puzzles tends to be passable, but not wonderful. The appeal of the puzzle is supposed to be in its difficulty (lots of daunting white space) and (if you're lucky) the clues. Well, it was sufficiently difficult—played right about Saturday-normal for me. And there were some winning clues. It's hard to get too jazzed (...) about a puzzle with SAWZALL (a brand name?) and COWBANE and ROSEATE and TWEEDLES in the middle—all real things, surely, but ... not exciting. Slightly arcane or slightly antiquated (esp. TWEEDLES). But tough and clever cluing mostly make up for the blandness of many of the longer answers. Very smooth, but not very tasty, this grid.

Grid basically has five parts—the corners and the center. NW = Medium, NE = Easy, SE = Easy, center = tough, and SW = tough (toughest by far). It's mostly a foregone conclusion in a grid like this that the SW is going to be the toughest. You have to back into that corner, i.e. come at the corner from the back ends of words. This is much much much harder than coming in the front door (note how the NE and SE were much easier for me—this is because RW- got me RWANDAN, J- got me JOE TORRE, LAW- got me LAWFULLY, MA- got me MALL MAP, etc., whereas -ONE and -RE and -D (in the SW) got me squat.

I had to dive into the nothingness in that section, and finally, after exhausting nearly every answer in there, I hit on 50A: Charon's passengers, and I knew those were SOULS. From that, I inferred that 28D: Material used in apitherapy started with BEE (thanks, Latin), and then the "O" from SOULS gave me VENOM. Then I breathed a sigh of relief because I knew I wouldn't be perma-stuck (a possibility I always fear in a blind alley on a Saturday).

Opening was pretty easy (again, thanks, Latin). "Gratia plena" means "full of grace," which is of course preceded by "Hail Mary," which in Latin is AVE MARIA. NORI, SEA and SLAG were all gimmes, and LOCAVORE was pretty obvious too, so no trouble getting out of there. It was getting into the middle that was the problem. I had TOOL SHED at 21A: Where many nuts are housed. I had no idea what SAWZALL was. These two problems tied me up for a bit. But I fought through. Cluewise, I liked 41D: Union jack? (DUES) ("jack," like "do re mi" and "cabbage" and "kale," is slang for "money") and I also liked 37A: Golf takeback, maybe (REPO) ("Golf" in this case is a make of Volkswagen) (I had REDO at one point; maybe you did too). Note that in addition to Latin's being useful in solving SOULS (Virgil!), BEE VENOM (bees = apes!), and AVE MARIA, it's also in the grid twice, once as OLD LATIN, and then again as GELATIN.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:11 AM  

Mostly easy for me except for the center which was @Rex kinda tough. I had JAZZ AGE and TWEEDLES (which I had doubts about) but the rest took some staring.

SAWZALL was a WOE and I'm not sure TOOL CASE is used in the real, shed, belt, kit, set, bench (maybe)...but CASE?

Solid Sat. (although, I agree with @Rex about "not very tasty") with a smattering of crunch. Liked it.

Anonymous 12:14 AM  

SAWZALL is a brand name exactly as Formica is: technically true but it has become a generic term for the product. Now if only that helped with the spelling.

Unknown 3:07 AM  

To say that "part of a rig" is an OIL DRILL is nonsensical. Drilling rigs have many "parts", none of which is called an "oil drill".

Dolgo 3:57 AM  

Gee, it just happens I bought a Saw all last week. What an amazing coincidence! The puzzle would have been a lot harder without knowing about it. I've wanted one for a long time, ever since a friend came over and easily cut out and replaced some rotten boards in my deck. I had never heard of them before, but they are amazingly useful as the puzzle suggests. You can easily purchase all kinds of blades for them. And, no, I'm not being paid for this enforcement!

George Barany 4:31 AM  

Another day, another friend. @Jeff Chen's Saturday puzzle provided some joy, for example the crossing of @JOE_TORRE (link is to another puzzle in which he makes an appearance) and JAZZ_AGE, but there were too many answer words that were out of my wheelhouse [or even if I knew the answer, clue too hard, like using "Golf" to indicate a car model]. But hey, that's how we learn, right?

@Rex's review was both interesting and instructive, and had me laughing at the observation about OLD_LATIN sharing grid space with GELATiN. The symmetry in @Jeff's puzzle made me think of Soup Or Symmetry? by @AliasZ under his non-alias, Laszlo Denes. Here goes my own favorite @AVE_MARIA.

Carola 5:07 AM  

Lovely puzzle with one word delight after another, and fun to solve. For me, the NW was easiest, with LOCAVORE (nice juxtaposition with SNOCONES) and AVE MARIA going right in, followed by the SW, where PERM, MEASURE, and I PROMISE quickly confirmed each other. The rest: tough.

On xwordinfo, Jeff Chen talks about the tricky ""Polish," "Golf," and "Bucks" clues; he certainly got me with the "Polish" v. "polish" giant, as my first thought was Walensa. Laughed when SHINOLA snapped into view. Another "um, no" moment: pig LATIN (I thought the Mod Squad character might be a spy). I wanted ugANDAN before RWANDAN, but the correct letters at least were a help. I wish I could remember that the "setting" of a novel or film doesnt' have to be a location - this is far from the first time I've run the alphabet trying to come up with the name of a place (?AZ?A?E - someplace in Spain?).

Anonymous 5:20 AM  

Happy how easily I got SHINOLA, hearing the short "o' with the third or fourth read. Did not know TWEEDLE was a real word. Glad to learn that. The Mod Squad was slightly befor my time. I always thought the name was LINk, but I guess it's short for LINColn. Thought 53A might be goat roper, a derogatory term for REDNECK when I was in high school in Houston way back when.

Loren Muse Smith 5:47 AM  

Hey! ROTATE this grid only 90 degrees and it's still the same grid. I always like that.

Rex, you called it. I had a dnf because of the southwest. I've never thought about the fact that this corner is the hardest. Duh. You're back-forming answers. Makes total sense. Cool.

I just couldn't see I PROMISE once I had "it's no lie" in mind. And I had "bee honey" and "bee serum." Would never have thought of VENOM; I don't think of them as poisonous. And Jeff completely got me with the Golf clue. I had "redo" and kept questioning it only because of the (incorrect) crosses.

Yeah – my nuts were in a shed and then a belt first.

I really liked the clue for OVERDONE. I had a neighbor once who had only this gear for compliments. It would get really awkward really fast, especially when the overdone compliment was delivered alongside a comparison to her, usually kinda true, true enough that to argue would feel disingenuous and desperate.

You look so nice tonight. That dress is so flattering on you. Look at me. Now look at me. Look how overweight I am.

I think you look very nice. I love that color on you.

But I need to lose 60 pounds. My doctor said so. And look at you. I bet that's a size 4 skirt.

What do you say to this? Actually, it's a 6. I haven't gotten into a 4 for months.?? I need to lose a few myself.?? I was always lost as to how to respond.

I'm guessing that THINE was to "thy" as "an" is to "a." Pass me thy sawzall. Pass me thine oil drill.

Jeff – impressive. I sure wish I hadn't given up. Maybe I woulda seen the car angle to Golf after a bit. Thanks for the challenge!

Susierah 6:38 AM  

Somebody please explain Erin for Mayo's place.

Trombone Tom 6:55 AM  

Jeff Chen usually challenges me and this was no exception. Started off on a tear when the NW fell into place and then worked my way around until mistakes threw me for a loop in the middle. TOOLshed before TOOLCAgE before TOOLCASE. C'mon, who keeps nuts in a toolcase?!!

Also GhANiAN before RWANDAN. I can't keep African countries straight, let alone their leaders.

Initially confused Bucks with Bucs. And TWEEDLES was a wild guess.

With those write-overs I was able to get a solution, but the challenge for me was medium plus.

Liked @Rex's observation about OLD LATIN and GELATIN.

Robso 7:23 AM  

This had a Commercial Product/Joe Sixpack feel to it. I feel like the Brawny Paper Towel Man's picture should have been printed beside it.

JB 7:49 AM  

Tool case and oil drill really bug me. They're just not real things invented purely to make the grid work. Try again.

Imfromjersey 8:07 AM  

@susierah MAYO is a county in Ireland, ERIN - crosswordese (or Gaelic) for Ireland.

tb 8:25 AM  

Loved the clue for MRPEANUT. It's interesting that "shelled" means both in the shell and also out of the shell. So, Mr. Peanut is shelled, but he sells shelled peanuts (as well as shelled!)

Polish is a word that changes it meaning and pronunciation based on its capitalization. Since it was the first word in the clue, it threw me for quite a while.

For some reason, the SW was my toehold into the puzzle.

I live in Puerto Rico and am very familiar with Spanglish expressions. I said something to a friend about maybe hanging out one weekend and he said, "That sounds just like the Spanish word 'janguear''." He thought the English word had been borrowed from Spanish.

Overall, a very enjoyable Saturday.

I'm sorry I don't have any gratuitous (Latin root) links to share.

Lobster11 8:37 AM  

Pretty average Saturday for me, meaning that I needed a couple of Google cheats to finish. I loved the cluing, including the fiendish misdirects, but there were just too many WOEs scattered about to keep me from seeing them. This isn't a complaint -- I'll take the blame for not knowing these things -- but it meant I was just a couple of bits of knowledge short.

My biggest hurdles, however, weren't arcane trivia items but rather what I thought were just bad answers. I had TOOL____ for a long time, but never in a million years would have come up with CASE without crosses. As @jae said, there are tool boxes and belts and sheds and so on, but is a TOOLCASE a real thing? And in the symmetrical location I had _____WAR for a long time, but never in a million years would have come up with WAGED without crosses. Are there are other kinds of wars? Is the Super Bowl a "played game"? And as @Kris in ABCA noted, OILDRILL is a lousy answer for "Part of a rig." If I'd been able to get these, I might not have needed the Google Machine at all, and that kinda ticks me off. Which is too bad, because otherwise I thought it was a pretty great puzzle.

Glimmerglass 8:42 AM  

This played hard for me, in progress, but in retrospect it looks like a medium Saturday. I had several troubles. I know what a SAWZALL is (my son owns one), but I spelled it with an S in place of the Z, which hid JAZZ AGE for a very long time. I rejected SOULS for a long time; the soul was not a term in Greek myth (shade didn't fit). Never did see DUES until all four crosses were in. Still think crusades is never a verb. I had REdO for REPO (didn't think,of the car until I saw that MR dEANUT couldn't be right). And so on. A satisfying Saturday workout, even if I had some serious headslapping to do.
Someone gave me some old issues of the British magazine Country Life. The crossword (we'd call it a "cryptic crossword") is great fun and very hard. The contest every week is apparently just to mail in the solution.

Glimmerglass 8:49 AM  

One more thing. A quiz. The answer is "what you don't know from SHINOLA." No one under 60 will get it right.

Anonymous 8:53 AM  


Apparently Mayo is a county in Ireland. I was baffled, too.

Dorothy Biggs 8:54 AM  

My lasting impression of this puzzle is the plethora (read: too many) ?s in the puzzle. Jeebus, they were everywhere. It just got too cute. I count 5, and I don't know what the average is, but for some reason 5 seems like a lot.

FLOG seems arbitrarily clued...if something is promoted to the point of annoyance, it is a bunch of things: beating a dead horse, tiresome, unrelenting, etc. FLOG seems no more particular to that clue than "bash" or "OD ON" or "slap" or any other 4-letter word for hitting someone. Again, too cute.

I don't think I like JC's puzzles because I just don't feel we're on the same wavelength. His puzzles seem precious to me...that is, the cluing is too nuanced...tortured, even. And I don't think I care for his humor...all puns aside.

Doing this puzzle reminds me of those times you go to family reunions and you get sat at the table in one of those spots where you can't talk with the people you want to talk with and are, instead, forced to talk with your brother-in-law who says "that's what she said" after every other sentence...or, you know, PUNS! The brother-in-law is a nice guy and all, but sheesh...spending time with him can be a FLOG.

I'm sure Mr. Chen is nice...I'm just saying, if puzzles were people, I wouldn't want to be seated across the table from it at my niece's wedding dinner.

Teedmn 8:58 AM  

Typical Saturday solve here today. My NW fell exactly like @Carola's but the SW sure didn't. I had the NW and SE wrapped up fairly fast because 49A went straight in, then COP to PLAY PENS and it was child's PLAY up to LAWFULLY.

I took TOOLshed out to the woodshed but didn't know what to replace it with. Visited the NE and SOUR crossing REDNECKS fell into place and I was able to back my way down to the SW. Did not know the origin of SHINOLA's catch phrase though I never fell for the Polish misdirection. After I was done, I found this explanation through Google Shinola Brand.

Got IN NEED from the D, put SOULS back into the grid and PERM/MORSELS filled in the rest. I never got the "Golf" referring to the car so luckily "shelled shill" made sense as MR PEANUT and I was OVER and DONE.

I will TWEEDLE off into the brisk Saturday (36 degrees last night. Last Friday it got up to 93. Welcome to May in Minnesota).

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 9:09 AM  

Hew and Fell are not synonyms, as I learned the; hewing is shaping something, felling is cutting it down.

Mayo is a county in Ireland.

Glenn Patton 9:17 AM  

Mayo is one of the counties of Ireland.

Anonymous 9:34 AM  

Mayo is a county in Ireland, archaically known as Erin.

Anonymous 9:54 AM  

Mayo is a county in the west of Ireland.

Nancy 10:03 AM  

I am so excited as I type this! I was on my way here, having given up on the NW, to see the answers to 1A; 15A; 4D; and 6D -- and 1A came to me, before my computer had a chance to open up. It was SNO CONES. But that meant that "cutting edge" at 2D couldn't be HONED, which is what I had there. The H had to be an N. So what could NO-E- be? Aha! NOVEL!

There was one other huge mistake that caused me havoc in the SE. "Promote to annoyance" at 42A had to be HYPE, didn't it? Meaning that 43D, "pickup line", had to begin with an E. Right? No! Wrong! HYPE should have been FLOG, making the pickup line GET IN! Aha again!

I thought this puzzle was tough as hell, extremely interesting to work on, and a very worthy opponent. Despite CAMAROS (so many car clues these days to make my lack of car knowledge such an enduring handicap), I really did love this one.

Steve M 10:13 AM  

Sawed right through this one......

jberg 10:14 AM  

If I understand the definition right (and I'm never sure of that), this baby has 12 cheater squares -- but somehow that seems OK when they are used like this.

I had the same experience as @Rex, except that I knew SAWZALL; loved seeing it, in fact. They're big in in the DIY world. Not that I'm inthat world, but my son is, so I pick up a few things.

Even after I saw that it was SHINOLA, I spent at least 30 seconds wondering about how that could be right -- the name of a famous pro wrestler, maybe? Finally it clicked.

By the time I got to the SW, I was so into the misdirects that I wanted SST for the former terminal giant. Fortunately, I didn't write it in, as I couldn't find any crosses. And, like @Loren, I really liked the explanation of why the SW had to be harder.

What I learned: the Twelve Tables had nothing to to with Moses. I spent way too long trying to think of a Biblical language besides Hebrew or Aramaic. Egyptian fits, but that couldn't have been true. Even when I saw OLD LATIN looming into view, I had to get all the crosses before I'd accept it.

@Loren - Nope, it's like MY and MINE. "Is that THY hot dog?" (pointing to the last one on the plate.) "No, it's THINE."

@Susierah - County Mayo in Ireland.

I think of hillbillies as up in the mountains of Appalachia, and REDNECKS as farmers down in the Black Belt, but close enough.

Kagame is memorable as the leader of the force that ended the RWANDAN genocide (he's since turned out not so good). Relatively obscure if you don't follow African affairs -- he was needed to get TOAT, so it was worth it.

jberg 10:16 AM  

@Loren, on further thought, you are also right -- the A/AN thing applies as well as the subject/predicate adjective thing. True of My/mine as well:

"Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord..."

Tim Aurthur 10:17 AM  

@Susierah, County Mayo in Ireland.

Tim Pierce 10:19 AM  

I'm a little boggled that a corner with LINC and ALEK and RWANDAN and SHINOLA and JOETORRE is "easy" but the SW with SOULS and MORSELS and MEASURE and OVERDONE is "hard." The SW was the first corner to fall for me and went pretty readily, while I spent at least a half hour sweating over the NE at the end. De gustibus, of course, but if the mini-puzzle difficulty is measured by obscure knowledge, the NE is quantitatively much harder.

Anonymous 10:33 AM  

It's a county in Ireland

Anonymous 10:42 AM  

Mayo is a county in Ireland, archaically referred to as Erin.

gifcan 10:43 AM  

County in Ireland

Hartley70 10:44 AM  

Curses, foiled again, Mr. Chen. I had no hope of knowing that JOETORRE was a skipper since it's a miracle that I know he was a Yankee. Without that J there was no way I was going to see JAZZAGE, because SAWZALL is a made-up word from hell. Otherwise, great Saturday puzzle.

gifcan 10:53 AM  

Ok, so I had Jamaica as the setting until OVERDONE ousted it. Like @Carola I kept thinking geography, not an era.

I found the SE to be the toughest, that and the center. AVEMARIA, UNEARNED and I PROMISE were all quick entry points for those quadrants.

Hey, @lms, liked your overdone compliment spiel. Yeah, what do you say?

Alicia Stetson 10:54 AM  

A SAWZALL is something used by people who work with their hands. It is therefore largely unknown to Rex and the vast majority of NY Times crossword solvers.

Brett 11:16 AM  

I had to look it up too, but there's a Mayo County in Ireland.

AliasZ 11:18 AM  

Despite the admitted blandness of some entries (I am looking at you, SNOCONES, ROSEATE, SNOOZED, NBA TEAM, MALL MAP etc.) mostly saved by clever cluing, and some UNEARNED LINC, ALEK and especially TOAT (which along with TOATEE, ATOZ, AANDE and DOOK, should be retired already), this one was still the best puzzle of the week. For that, thank you Jeff.

WAGES WAR reminds me of this painting displayed at The Met by American artist Henry Peters Gray (1819-1877).

For "Where many nuts are housed" at 21A, I automatically entered CONGRESS, and said to myself: "Self, this is too easy for Saturday."

I don't know if this means lot:
But Dali owned an OCELOT,
As did soprano Lily Pons
Who loved to swim in lily ponds.

This was a big taboo.
Dali called his Babou,
Lily named hers Ita,
And I'd bet my Gucci,
After Amelita

Churlish Nabob 11:18 AM  

If one takes 30 seconds to google TOOL CASE dozens of pages come up. Obviously it's a real thing.

Lise 11:21 AM  

How is Mr. Peanut a shill? He doesn't seem like someone posing as a customer, which is what I got when I looked up 'shill'. I think of him more as a mascot.

Susierah: Mayo is a county in Ireland (Erin).

Liked the puzzle, which outlasted my large mug of coffee. The middle gave me trouble, though.

Anonymous 11:21 AM  

What is the connection between ERIN and Mayo?

Sam Scott 11:29 AM  

County Mayo, Ireland (Erin)

mac 11:36 AM  

Good puzzle, but I had problems with Sawzall and Shinola. The NW was very easy but I needed a lit of time putting the NE together.
I liked the clues for cell mate and play pens, I was happy to figure out bee venom without crosses. Good solve!

GILL I. 11:46 AM  

Loved it. All of it was gettable for me as long as I took my sweet time. And that's what I did.
Lots of do-overs - my nuts were also in the shed. Same REdO mistake and the cooler gets a jailMate. It helps to pen in the answers lightly.
AVE MARIA was my first across. My sadistic chorus teacher made me sing it solo when I was about 11 years old. You really need to have a Soprano voice to get it right and I was more of a Contralto gal. I'm pretty sure I fit in the Baritone range about now. I can play the tuba!
Also like the words LOCAVORE since we see it here in Sacramento all year long. If you ever have a hanker for a really good but somewhat ugly looking tomato, come visit.
Thanks for the fun work-out Jeff Chen.

Greg 11:50 AM  

NE was hardest for me due (as usual) to the proper names. Yet another in an endless parade of NYC-centric baseball names about which I have no clue, JOETORRE, and then RWANDAN. I had AFRICAN and UGANDAN first. Finally got the crosses after much trial and error. Overall I enjoyed the puzzle, and it played slightly easier than an average Sat for me.

A non-sports-fan Midwesterner pleads for a hiatus from the Yankees and Mets clues.

Andrew Heinegg 11:59 AM  

Although I almost always solve them without a great deal of difficulty, as I did today, for reasons I have trouble elucidating, I do not like most of Mr. Chen's puzzles. Today, while tweedles is given an alternative definition as a transitive verb by Merriam Webster as enticing by song, I just don't like it.

As noted by Kris in ABCA, oil drill is an incorrect answer to the clue at 10d. Tool case, a nonexistent entity to me, is a lousy answer to the clue nut house. Ditto for lawfully as by the book;

As I constantly remind myself, there is no arguing with taste and most of the bloggers liked this effort so maybe I need to quit sucking on lemons.

Susierah- Mayo is a town and a county in Ireland, thus Erin.

old timer 12:01 PM  

NW was very smooth, because LOCAVORE and OCELOT. Didn't know CAMAROS at first, was looking for some foreign car. NE was easy, just had to change UgANDAN into RWANDAN. SHINOLA still exists at least as a company, now in Detroit I think. Plus in the oft-used phrase used to describe how ignorant someone is.

I thought the middle was quite Easy, thanks to SAWZALL which gave me JAZZAGE and stopped me from wondering if somehow "Some Like it Hot" was set in Paris or Pamplona. And unlike OFL, I had no trouble in the SW, thanks to OVERDONE which gave me BEE VENOM. For a moment, the shelled shill was MR DEANUT, but a quick change of "redo" to REPO solved that. But say, MR PEANUT is *not* shelled in the ads. I suppose "shelled" can mean "having a shell" rather than "removed from the shell"?

Now the SE was impossible for me, because I solve in ink and hate to write down an answer until I'm sure of it. If I solved online, LAWFULLY would have gone right in, and I would have seen all the other answers at once. Instead I kept thinking the 12 Tables was something Sumerian. I actually took Roman History in 9th grade, and learned about those tables (of laws). Haven't thought about them since.

One of my wife's relatives was from MAYO. We spent a little time there as we drove from Derry through Donegal towards Galway. In fact, we stayed in MAYO I believe, if that's where Westport is. One of the Chieftains, Matt Molloy who plays flute, has a pub there, and the pub is a big draw. You'll hear music there almost every night. Very petty town on the water, is Westport.

Mohair Sam 12:36 PM  

Easy Saturday became Medium/Challenging here because of the middle. Finished the four corners in a hurry, dropped in JAZZAGE, crossed SNOOZED and hit the wall. LOANWORD and SAWZALL were new to us. I blanked on NBATEAM, and could find the word TOOLCASE in my vocab. Not too happy with TWEEDLES either, but that's my problem - probably because it rhymes with wheedles.

I could have written a much more clever clue for SHINOLA. Is COWBANE not about the most descriptive word in the language? Hey @JB - If you ever find someone with a TOOLCASE they'll probably have that elusive OILDRILL in it. Got the Gimme LOVAVORE and confidently entered dAtsunS before CAMAROS. Anyone else?

Nice Saturday Jeff Chen, terrific Cluing.

woolf 12:47 PM  

I was mostly pretty okay with this one, though when I think of works associated with the JAZZAGE, _The Sun Also Rises_ doesn't leap to the top. Post-war European modernist bullfighter-fetish gender crisis, maybe, but not so much "jazz." (yes I know the era works out, shut up, my point stands)

I'm sure that my opinion of this puzzle was buffed by the fact that 1.) I tore through the acrosses diagonally from the NW to the SE, and b.) it wouldn't be a stretch to call me a LOCAVORE REDNECK (who researches LOADWORDS and owns a SAWZALL). It was in my wheelhouse, is what I'm saying.

Ken 12:51 PM  

Erin is another name for Ireland and Mayo is a county in Ireland, hence Mayo's place. Nice puzzle took some effort in the middle and SW but eminently doable. Great "latin" observation by those little "tidbits" he tosses our way.

dbg 12:58 PM  

Mayo is a county in Ireland (Erin)

purplepol 12:59 PM  

Tool case? What's that? Shed, which fits, and box, which doesn't. Oh well. Altogether, good puzzler with meanings riding the edge!

Masked and Anonymous 1:19 PM  

Got the NE area pretty fast. TOAT! har. fave weeject alert (of 4 available candidates!) = LDS. ({Low-energy LEDs??}.)

Got the NW ok, after research on Actress Singer. LORI NORI! har.

Seized up big time in the central vortex. Eventually moved on, saving it for later.

Re-booted in the SW. Got MORSELS and SOULS pronto. Wanted FEES for DUES, but that did yield a correct INNEED. All the shortie answers in this section had killer clues. Good, nutritional fill, hereabouts.

Got enough stuff in the SW to reinvent JAZZERA as JAZZAGE. Central vortex eventually caved in. TWEEDLES! har.

Waddled into the SE on a LAWFULLY and a prayer. M&A Help Desk info:

"Old Latin, also known as Early Latin and Archaic Latin, refers to the Latin language in the period before 75 BC, i.e. before the age of Classical Latin." --Wikipedia
… so, ok … solid SW corner fill.

Done and done it. Thanx for the noodle tweedle, Mr. Chen.

Masked & Anonymo4Us


Alysia 1:25 PM  

Just when I think about making a career out of this crossword thing, a puzzle like this comes along. Most was just entirely outside of my comfort zone.

Were it not for easily-accessible Google, thesaurus, and IMDb, I'd never have finished.

Okay, I jest about becoming a professional crossword solver, but still....I've been doing this for quite awhile now, and today was just damn challenging all-around.

I don't know Joe Torre, UNEARNED or the AVE MARIA, and while I may have gotten the last based on other clues, this was just far too specific. I didn't think of crusades as a verb, so was stuck there. Don't know ALEK Wek. So much of this was just lost on me, and I'm not ashamed to admit it.

da kine 2:03 PM  

I did the entire north in Tuesday time or so, then I got smacked in the face by everything below SAWZALL. Looking at the finished grid, I have no idea why, but it took forever. I had a more positive experience than Rex and enjoyed it once it became challenging.

Triggerfinger 2:06 PM  

I also can't understand "mayo's place" = Erin. Please explain.

KandRFenton 2:07 PM  

Those of us that have done some fabrication have a saying: "Sawzall solves all." It's an incredibly useful tool, if not a tad inelegant.

BigSteve46 2:11 PM  

County Mayo in Ireland (the ERIN, I presume.)

I had a friend who lived there and when visiting I bored the crap out of everyone with "Hold the Mayo" jokes. Oh well, I was much younger and less wise, then.

Lurker Librarian 2:17 PM  

@Muse Thy Sawzall is thine, and my Sawzall is mine, though thine can also be used before a vowel as you suggest. Always enjoy your comments, btw.

My LOCAVORE was a LOCoVORE first ("Eater of COWBANE?"). Didn't know COWBANE by that name, but remember well those dire childhood warnings about the poison hemlock growing in the creek beds.

Can't believe I thought MR PEANUT might be MR dohNUT for a bit. Fell into a trap with optimistic being hOpEful, which gave me haitiAN for far too long. Enjoyed the clue for CELLMATE.

In all, a pleasant Saturday morning diversion.

Anonymous 2:18 PM  

I was shocked to see 12D REDNECKS in the grid. I think that's an offensive and frankly hateful term. But thanks, @Anonymous (bless your heart) for informing me that only "goat roper" (?!) would be truly derogatory. Where's my fainting couch?

Win and Bonnie 2:20 PM  

Don't get comments about the theory that the SW is by def the hardest in a grid like this. It all depends on 1) where you start and 2) what you know. In today's puzzle my wife and I, who do the puzzle together, got the SW first, and struggled in the middle and SE to finish.

puzzle hoarder 2:23 PM  

Jeff Chen is famous for his word list and puts it to good use here. There are 11 debut entries and another 25 that have been used less than 10 times. Those 25 favorite the low single digits. That's more than half the word count. To stitch that much unique material into a puzzle like this is first rate construction.
However I'm surprised by the medium rating because today uniqueness did not equate difficulty. UNEARNED and LOCAVORE were gimmies. The SW and the SE went in so quickly I never even read the clues for EMTS and ALDA. What brought this up into lower end of the week range for myself was the trouble I had in the NE and central sections. SOUR of all things was hard to get. I own a Milwaukee Sawzall. It comes with it's own TOOLCASE but that case has no nuts what so ever!

dbg 2:24 PM  

Mayo is a county in Ireland (Erin).

Dick Swart 2:25 PM  

I really likes 'shinola', particularly with the its reintroduction as a brand of various US-made products.

The NE was the difficult quad for me.

Alby 3:05 PM  

So SHINOLA is clued in reference to a business that's been defunct for more than 50 years, rather than as the popular hipster luxury brand that's been around since 2011 (an eternity in the Internet Age)? Come on, NYT. Sometimes I wonder if the puzzle's edited from inside a fallout shelter.

Vancouver Nana 3:06 PM  

Surprised Rex or someone else didn't point out all the plurals/s endings--8, not counting LDS and dues. Plus play pens very '50's. Pretty much out of favor since the 80's. Clever/fun cluing made it a challenge.

Kimberly 3:16 PM  

It irked me that "cutting-edge" was used in two different clues, albeit one usage was punny. I've never heard of "old Latin," isn't that redundant? My smile moment came from Mr. Peanut, the shelled shill, although in retrospect I'm not sure why that tickled me. Mostly it was a lackluster Saturday. Or maybe I was just in a bad mood.

Phil 3:46 PM  

Had the OO and went with lOOnybin. Many more nuts than in a toolcase...

SE was the last and tough part for me.

Phil 3:55 PM  

Wasn't easy to flesh out, but mayo is a county in Ireland

Nicholas Meier 4:08 PM  

Mayo is a county in Ireland

KevCo 4:44 PM  

@Susierah, Mayo is a county in Ireland, which is affectionately known as "Erin," its name in the actual Irish language. Perhaps you have heard someone say "Erin Go Bragh" ("Ireland forever") around St. Paddy's Day? Technically, if the cluing were to be consistent, the clue should be in Irish as well ("Mhaigh Eo's place"), but I suspect that would have too many people scratching their heads.

This puzzle was good-not-great for me. I didn't get the golf clue until I had "Mr. Deanut" and thought "well that's not right," and so only picked up on the car reference after substituting the P for the D, but I thought it a devilishly clever clue. I thought the clue for "cellmate" was very good too, and was happily able to actually get that one right the first time around.

Tom O'Neill 4:52 PM  

Mayo is a county in Ireland.

oconomowoc 5:39 PM  

If it weren't for the multi-hour delay for our comments to appear, then you wouldn't have a particular question answered 20+ times.

I realize that I am not a "regular", but I think the "true" regulars here should be trusted enough to have their comments automatically published immediately.

Is it even possible to have an A-list? Or doesn't that type of blog technology exist?

Anonymous 5:48 PM  

Adored the clueing in this puzzle. "What's now yours" "Polish giant, once" "Revival VIPs" "Union jack?" "Cooler person to live with" None of these fooled me for long, but they were all delightful.

eliterrell 5:54 PM  

Did no one else put TROUSERS for 21 across?

GILL I. 6:04 PM  

Oh good god...can someone PLEASE explain Mayo's place and why the hell it's in ERIN? Also, what the hell is DO RE MI?
Don't...just don't!

Mohair Sam 6:05 PM  

I'm Irish on my father's side, guess what county (no lie)?

@Alby - Point well taken on SHINOLA, but I still had a better clue.

Nancy 6:21 PM  

@Carola & @Wednesday's child -- I also wanted a place, not an era, for the setting, and I also had the J from JOE TORRE. And the only place I could think of was also JAMAICA. But I nixed it right away: I've seen "Some Like It Hot" a zillion times and there's no way it's set in JAMAICA. Once I had the Z from SNOOZED, I figured out JAZZ AGE. But I agree -- "setting" is a misleading word.

@GILL -- I very much doubt your chorus teacher was a sadist. Your chorus teacher, by asking you to sing "Ave Maria" as a solo, was paying you an enormous compliment! Asking you to sing any solo would be a compliment, but the very rangy, very difficult "Ave Maria" -- wow! Do you think he/she would have asked any old chorus member at random? I was in my high school chorus and I assure you that my chorus teacher never asked me to solo. If he had, yes, I would have been scared to death, but I also would have been flattered as hell.

MetroGnome 6:21 PM  

Still don't understand how REPO is a "golf takeback" -- do people get their golf clubs repossessed??? I would have guessed "MULLIGAN," but of course that wouldn't fit . . .

1820 Stone Colonial House 6:28 PM  

@ Glimmerglass: I laughed when I saw SHINOLA. It was one of my Dad's favorite expressions, usually aimed in my direction: "You don't know shit from SHINOLA!"

Z 6:45 PM  

Did you know that the actress who played "Joanie" used to call Scott Baio "Mustard," so in reply he used to call her "Mayo." True Fact. I wouldn't lie. "Mayo" was Baio's nickname for ERIN Moran.

Dublin Jim 7:36 PM  

MAYO is a county in AAAAAAGGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!

(In the future, Rex should only allow the first comment for a minimum of 12 hours, as long as it is a question that can be easily looked up on The Google, then wait to see how many people demonstrate their cleverness by posting the answer.)

old timer 8:11 PM  

VW Golf @MetroGnome. I rented one for Hertz some years ago, and not REPO'ed thank goodness. Good car, too.

I think this blog would be a lot more fun if OFL would designate someone to quickly pass and post responses that are obviously OK, or from old-timers like me.

TonySaratoga 8:16 PM  

I don't know. I'm 47 and I've heard you don't know shit from shinola about a thousand times.

Alby 8:16 PM  

@metrognome Getting your VW Golf repo'd. The old cluing trick of putting a proper noun first.

Larry 8:30 PM  

I blew it off after I got MR PEANUT for "shelled shill." Does not compute. Seriously? Not worth my time.

GILL I. 9:31 PM  

@Nancy...You are SO sweet, but I'm pretty sure I sounded like Nicki Minaj singing AVE MARIA. You should have heard me sing "O Holy Night." When I got to "fall on you knees," I would start to sob uncontrollably.

Unknown 11:17 PM  

Golf is also a make of car.

Fred Romagnolo 3:19 AM  

Only one blogger raised the issue of REDNECK being an inappropriate term; I'm surprised.

Leapfinger 7:57 AM  

@Gillster, 'fall on your knees', you know it! Remembering how in choir, we were taught to sing it "OHO Lee Knight".

Keep hewing at something and it'll all fell down soon as it's faulted.

Please pass the dang Mayo.

Whitey 8:16 AM  

Yes, me too on Datsuns.

Leapfinger 8:47 AM  

PS: Frankly, I think that a Golf is less likely to be REPOed than a CAMARO.

And visitors who didn't know shit from SHINOLA were asked to leave their shoes outside on the porch.

nemo paradise 1:00 PM  

What is "new" Latin?

kitshef 2:30 PM  

I fill like Will saved up all the great puzzles just for this weekend. Yesterday's was as good as it gets, and this wasn't far off. Center to NE was the really gouth area. JAZZAGE was the key to unlocking it.

SAWZALL and TWEEDLES are terrible, but with so much good stuff not really minding.

Burma Shave 10:18 AM  


IPROMISEd the REDNECKS who deFAULTED they'd learn
that I'd REPO their CAMAROS since the were UNEARNED.


spacecraft 11:23 AM  

Very tough, not helped by two of my hangups: (1) the appearance in clues of verbs like "put" and "set" which do not change from present to past tense, so that TOILED should have been way easier than it was; and (2) the fact that "setting" can mean time as well as place--though to include "The Sun Also Rises" in that clue is more than a little off-putting. The book has nothing to do with the JAZZAGE except that the events happened during that period. I cry foul on that clue; having never heard of SAWZALL I very nearly DNF there. I took a wild flyer to get through it, and was just lucky. For the longest time I tried to stretch HOLYWAR into 8 spaces, before finally asking, what if "Crusades" is a verb?

But the dirtiest clue of all was "Golf takeback, maybe." You Sunday duffers might REdO a bad shot, but THERE ARE NO TAKEBACKS IN GOLF. And at the very last, when I aha!ed MRPEANUT to finally make sense of "Shelled shill," there sat REPO. Golf was just a make--no, not even a make--a MODEL (!) of car. I mean, how low can you go? The flag is out for that one, Jeff. I came oh, so close to packing it in. I did complete the puzzle, correctly with no help, but it sure seemed like you didn't want me to.

LORI Singer will do quite nicely for DOD--and perhaps even of the week. The triumph factor does much to nullify the penalty, and we wind up with a two-putt birdie from ten feet. Hey, in GOLF there are lip-outs. Live with it: no takebacks.

leftcoastTAM 2:40 PM  

I'd like to promote this puzzle to an annoyance, and FLOG it a bit.

Overall, it should have been easy, but some of its clues/answers OVERDONE, making for a SOUR (that word from a day or two ago)taste.

I've heard them called TOOL boxes, sheds, and benches, but never a TOOL CASE, never. Then SAWZALL and its COWBANE cross cut right through that whole middle area, as did LOAN WORD, real WOEs.

So I felt like a kid in a PLAYPEN, where you usually don't even have a CELLMATE to keep you company.

LINC and ALEK were unknown (never watched Mod Squad), but only petty annoyances because the down crosses forced them.

Not fun, bailed out without finishing.

rondo 3:29 PM  

@spacey – nail on the head re: JAZZAGE and Golf takeback, only golf takeback would be Mulligan which is the same as DNF in my book.

LORI Singer often shows up as a yeah baby. Funny that both she and Kevin Bacon were both closer to 30 than to high school age when Footloose came out.And her jeans must have been painted on. Can’t ignore ALEK Wek, any super model in a storm. Sudanese not RWANDAN.

In what seems like a previous lifetime a SAWZALL was the tool of choice. Cutting in roof vents would have been impossible without it. My partner (now my barber and Golf teammate) and I never MEASUREd, just cut until you hit a rafter 2-by and then go back the other way for a big enough hole. The insulation gig is no way to make a career, but in the late 70s there was huuuuge money in it.

Nothing like a funeral to start the day off, I will miss my cousin John. A mechanic who dreamed of a perpetual motion machine. Magnets were involved. Big sci-fi fan as well. Seems like some of my other cousins have become REDNECKS judging by their bumper stickers in the church parking lot.

rain forest 3:34 PM  

I liked this medium-challenging puzzle both for the grid appearance, and for the cluing. Many excellent entries, some of which I took a long time to figure out. However, perhaps oddly, the SW was the easiest section for me. I liked the Golf misdirect (I own a Jetta myself, so brand loyalty there).

The main hold-up for me was in the centre where TWEEDLES(?) and LOANWORD(?) stalled me for a long time. I have never heard of either, but in the end, they had to stay. I own a SAWZALL, and once I finally figured out JAZZ AGE that settled it.

Hmm. I don't think REDNECK is so derogatory, and even if it is, it fits the clue. I mean, to a Canadian at least, there are lots of them in the Republican party, and aren't Republicans respectable people??

ecanarensis 4:02 PM  

From the time travel land of syndication & Curmudgeon Corner: Does anyone read the posts? Surely there doesn't need to be dozens of replies of "MAYO = county in ERIN/Ireland"? The questioner no doubt figured it out after the first ten or so, at least.

I was surprised to find that OFL had the hardest time with the SW, since that was the easiest for me. a rare occasion for me to feel smart 'n' smug. Wonder when/if it'll happen again.

@ Glimmerglass 8:49 AM: I'm under 60 & now exactly what I don't know from SHINOLA. Heh heh. Probably comes from reading lots & lots of old books.

Sailor 4:49 PM  

I thought this was by far the easiest of today's "brand name" puzzles. Certainly the easiest Saturday NYT in a while. But that's a "wheelhouse" thing, and this was in mine, but maybe not THINE. Loved SAWZALL crossing JAZZAGE right in the middle, both of which were gimmes for me.

OTOH, while I love clever cluing, I thought the cluing here was a bit too clever, tricky without being particularly entertaining. And there were too many groaners and flat-out errors for me to enjoy this much. Yes, TOOLCASE is a thing, but a thing in which tools, not nuts, are stored. I had TOOLCA-- right up to the end because I refused to enter the final SE. TOOLCArt or TOOLCAge I could have lived with, but it was not to be. OILDRILL, as many have mentioned, is simply not a real thing. You drill for oil with a drilling rig. So, ultimately not a very satisfying puzzle.

Diana,LIW 5:01 PM  

Early on in the solve I "knew" this would be a "learning experience," not a "Yipee, I finished" experience.

So, I pressed my nose to the grindstone. Wrestled. Got a bruise on my nose. But finished the NW and the SE and most of the middle. Then, I wanted the Hemingway set to be in Pamplona (is there another way to spell that?) but knew Marilyn, Jack, and Tony would not be in Spain. But filling in a (never heard of) TOOLCASE (for nuts? really?) I made some changes and the age went in. I taught a course on Hemingway in college - he lived in the Jazz Age, but wrote about drinking. And bulls. And bull.

Was able to figure out SAWZALL due to watching infomercials at the gym. Just the kind of dumb name those products get.

Had INdebt in the SW, which messed me up. And REdO, though I never heard of that kind of cheating being legal in golf.

Then looked up BEEVENOM, JOETORRE, and SHINOLA. Must. Remember. Torre. And I only heard the "Sh** from SHINLOA" phrase.

Then finished. Ta da. May thine weekend be fine.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords, still learning

leftcoastTAM 6:26 PM  

@rain forest,

On reading your comment on REDNECKS and Republicans, I had to go HEH-HEH (piece of snark from yesterday's puzzle).

Diana,LIW 7:27 PM  

@ecanarensis 4:02 - you said - "From the time travel land of syndication & Curmudgeon Corner: Does anyone read the posts? Surely there doesn't need to be dozens of replies of "MAYO = county in ERIN/Ireland"? The questioner no doubt figured it out after the first ten or so, at least."

This is what comes from "moderation." It does not "moderate" the number of answers one question may receive. No, it increases the number.

Why? Asketh thou? There can be a 5 or 8 or 12-hour gap between times when folks post and finally OFL checks posts and oks them. By then, countless courteous posters may have responded to a question.

But, in the end, we all know now that mayo is part of a BLT, and Mayo a county in Ireland, Or Erin. Or eire. or...

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Moderation to Stop the Responses

Diana,LIW 7:57 PM  


Please county my apologies. I had not yet read all the a-mayo-nazing responses.

Please county my apologies. I had not yet read all the a-mayo-nazing responses.

Please county my apologies. I had not yet read all the a-mayo-nazing responses.

Please county my apologies. I had not yet read all the a-mayo-nazing responses.

Please county my apologies. I had not yet read all the a-mayo-nazing responses.

Diana, Waiting for this to end.....countying

ecanarensis 3:05 AM  

@Diana,LIW 7:27 PM: I hadn't thought of the time delay aspect. Apologies to anyone I sniped at unfairly. But the great gobs of mayo put me in mind of asking an open product question about a product on a certain online retailer behemoth, & getting a dozen "I don't know" answers, usually spread over a period of days. (Why DO people do that?! It's so
a-mayo-zingly stupid!).

pretty funny on the repeating repeating layers of mayo mayo!

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