Conditional construct in computer programming / SAT 6-4-16 / Opera genre for Tosca Pagliacci / Hooked projection on bird feather / 1980s electronic innovation from Detroit / Lily Tomlin character headset

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Constructor: Byron Walden and Brad Wilber

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: VERISMO (23A: Opera genre for "Tosca" and "Pagliacci") —
Like Gran Turismo... it's like a video game thing ... it just tells it like it is. It's the rawest of all opera genres. (Lena, trying to say out loud what she thinks VERISMO means). If you google it, it's all Starbucks coffee stuff. Braydon: "Ugh, it's Starbucks Keurig."
 OK, the actual opera definition: "In opera, verismo (meaning "realism", from Italian vero, meaning "true") was a post-Romantic operatic tradition associated with Italian composers such as Pietro Mascagni, Ruggero Leoncavallo, Umberto Giordano and Giacomo Puccini." (wikipedia)
• • •

Byron Walden and Brad Wilber! Double B-Dubs!

Hi from D.C., where I solved this puzzle in a hotel room with my wife and my friends Lena and Brayden. I have no idea how hard it was. My time was really slow, but I was having a conversation while solving, and reading various clues out loud, so the time tells me nothing. It felt normal. Toughish. Pretty old school. When I saw ADIT, I was like "Oh, hello, old friend." From TOP CAT to Dan ISSEL to MOGAMBO to CESAR ROMERO to ERNESTINE to RAMON Novarro, this definitely skewed olden. Very much so. There were some nice moments, but most of it just lacked  the quality and pizzazz I expect from these constructors. ELSEIF? Clue for WATER-LOVING is so literal that it's laughable ... I don't even know where you'd use that term. MISS IDAHO is one of the green paint-iest answers I've ever seen. MISS [any state]? That's legal? Ditto OHIO-BORN. [Any state]-BORN??? Yuck. Also, "People" has an ART EDITOR? There are too many questionable things. And if not questionable, arcane (see BARBICEL).

I live in a New York city on the Pennsylvania border and I couldn't tell you where the hell OLEAN is (36A: New York city near the Pennsylvania border). Lena says SRO stands for "sold right out"; sounds good. I still don't believe ECOCIDE is a thing, no matter how cutely you clue it. Half of us think it's too made up to have that tricky of a clue. Half of us don't. Question: Does "hoops" sufficiently clue you into the fact that N.I.T. is an abbrev.? Is it supposed to? (37A: ___ Season Tip-Off (annual hoops event)). Also, how does [Common Allen wrench?] work? I get that it's Woody Allen, and that ANGST is a "wrenching" feeling ... is that it?

OK, it's morning now and I have to go to the Indie 500 Tournament in a few minutes. Take care.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

PS we like [Tender towards one's exes?] a lot as a clue for ALIMONIES.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Whitey 8:33 AM  

SRO = Standing Room Only

Amie Devero 8:47 AM  

SRO means "standing room only". I also can't find any documentation that Cesar Romano is related to Jose Marti. Is this just clued on the basis that all Cubans are spiritually related to Marti?
Mostly found the fill referred to stuff too obsolete for me to know.

evil doug 8:48 AM  

Technomusic: The real reason for the fall of Detroit....

Amie Devero 8:50 AM  

SRO means "standing room only". I also can't find any documentation that Cesar Romano is related to Jose Marti. Is this just clued on the basis that all Cubans are spiritually related to Marti?
Mostly found the fill referred to stuff too obsolete for me to know.

tkr 9:07 AM  

SRO == Standing Room Only

Archaic, like this rest of this puzzle. You're best chance of solving it would be if you actually remember where you were during the Davis administration.

chefbea 9:07 AM  

I don't usually do Saturdays but I figured I'd give it a try since our favorite crossworese person passed away...RIP Ali

and what does MTWTF stand for????

Anonymous 9:30 AM  

This is a good example of a puzzle that tries too hard. It's a nice try, though.

Carola 9:30 AM  

Too tough for me. I was fine on VERISMO, CESAR ROMERO, RAMON, MOGAMBO, and ERNESTINE, but had no idea about ISSEL, TOP CAT, BARBICEL, CLIOS, or ELSEIF, and with the way the latter four were linked, I became hopelessly enmired and threw in the towel. For me the MAD + IRE stack in the NE is apt, as I never connected Waterford with the crystal, which know is Irish, so I'm MAD at myself for not getting IRE (my Waterford was in ORE.). I liked the TOMBONISTS with their slides; for a long time I was sure they would be some sort of miscroscope-using ...OLOGISTS.

Susierah 9:32 AM  

Hardest Saturday in a long time! A great big dnf!

Anonymous 9:32 AM  

Momday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday - Sat and Sunday at the end.

chefbea 9:35 AM  

Why is everyone giving the meaning of SRO???Did anyone ask?

puzzle hoarder 9:43 AM  

One comment in at the time of this writing surprises me. It may be a sign others found this puzzle to play more challenging like I did. I always wondered why my father-in-law referred to Jumanji as something like Mugumbu . Now I know why. I came away with a clean grid on this one but it took a lot of work. Technically AID should be AED. The clue is an acronym so the answer should be too. ALIMONIES dictates the spelling but considering that an automated external defibrillator is a very common piece of EMS equipment it's something of an oversight. AEDs are what's in those wall mounted EMS boxes with the lightning bolts on them. Other than that A great puzzle which required real thinking. A bit of glue holding it together doesn't bother me.

Marcy 9:44 AM  

Can someone please explain OSCAR as the answer for 3D: NATO alphabet letter? MTWTF are the days of the week.

Anonymous 9:47 AM  

Chefbea: Take a look at your weekly calendar.

Bryan 9:49 AM  

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Friday, often surrounded by SS!

Anonymous 9:54 AM  

Of course OFL knows exact what SRO stands for. I have a stricter (read superior) standard for "green paint." Green isn't one of only 50 possibilities. Didn't notice the old-skew amid the struggle. (Who is CESAR ROManO?). Liked the puzzle. The review seemed a tad pissy.

Pete 9:57 AM  

I use hydrophilic vs hydrophobic vs lipophilic all the time in my work. O
Unfortunately, only 3 people care about my work, so I'm poor and agree about the complaint about the clue. Like labs would have been better.

Unknown 9:58 AM  

Days of the week

Nancy 10:02 AM  

Do you know those puzzles that you start, thinking I'll never, never finish this because I don't know anything here, and then miraculously, you DO finish it?

This wasn't one of them.

I struggled and suffered and swore and then, Dear Reader, I abjectly gave up. Because I was reading and re-reading and re-reading the same clues over and over again and nothing was coming to me. Not the modern lingo clue. Not the computer programming clue. Not the one using slides clue. Not ECOCIDE (cute, misleading clue, but "curtains" should have had quote marks around it.) Not the Ice Bucket Challenge clue. Even after I changed SAN to LOS at 61D, I failed to get the one answer that should have been in my wheelhouse. Now what kind of a tennis SHOT is 65A? (I came here to cheat on that one exasperating clue, but it didn't open up the puzzle for me.) Most challenges I love, but this one almost led me to tear my hair out. How can Rex call this easy? I found it impossible in almost all of the NE, much of the SE; and the fact that I ultimately filled in the entire West is a tribute to my sheer stubbornness. But in the East, that same stubbornness did me very little good at all.

Crazy Cross 10:20 AM  

Re: logic of Woody Allen angst cluing-- I interpreted it as his angst usually resulting in some plot twist, in other words, a wrench in the works??

Hardest Saturday in a long time for me-- not that enjoyable.

Crazy Cross 10:23 AM  

Marcy, O is Oscar in the NATO phonetic alphabet.

Chaos344 10:26 AM  

Ahh! This puzzle was more like it. A real workout that took me about 20 minutes over my average Saturday time. I finally wrestled it to the mat, but it put up a great fight. Thank You BW&BW.

@Amie Devero: Did you look up Cesar Romero or Cesar Romano? Romero's Wiki biography cites his mother's connection to Jose Marti.

@Chefbea: I echo your sentiments on ALI. He was my favorite boxer and truly The Greatest! As to SRO, I don't know why everyone is asking either, but I think Rex's solving partner's guess was hilarious! SOLD RIGHT OUT!

@Marcy: OSCAR represents the designation for O in the phonetic Nato alphabet. OSCAR,PAPA,QUEBEC,ROMEO,SIERRA,TANGO, and so on.

Laura 10:28 AM  

Oscar is O in the NATO alphabet. (Alfa, Bravo, etc)

Wm. C. 10:47 AM  

@Marcy --

OSCAR means the letter "O" in the NATO alphabet. As in ... ALPHA, BRAVO, CHARLIE, DELTA .......

Katzzz 10:54 AM  

Very hard, very bad. Magazines don't have art editors; they have art directors. Miss Idaho is ridiculous. Why not clue it as Pride of Boise? So much not to like. Barbicel. Adit. Elseif (wtf?) Ohio-born. Ecocide. Adit. And so much tortured cluing. Common Allen wrench? Really? And clues for 15A should have included "alleged" since Romero's lineage remains in dispute. And, finally, a half volley is not exactly a finesse shot. Blah!!!!

jae 10:55 AM  

I zipped through the NW and thought "another easy Sat.", boy was I wrong. A long time later I changed rAD to MAD because the r was producing nonsense, and finished (ISSEL?? - not really inferable). Got fooled by the '60s president, slide users, san vs. LOS, Allen short I'm glad I solve in pencil otherwise SE would have been a mess. Similar problems in SW where OLEAN and BARBICEL were WOEs and INEPT was not that obvious.

Nice to get a tough puzzle though, liked it.

Anonymous 10:56 AM  

OSCAR = NATO phonetic alphabet (A = alpha etc.) -

Anonymous 10:56 AM  

"Medium" is being generous. Not quite full-blown challenging, but certainly caused a fair amount of trouble.

Chris 10:57 AM  

The NATO alphabet is Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo, etc, often used in the military to give initials or spell out words so there is no confusion as to the letters. Oscar represents O in that alphabet.

Casimir 10:58 AM  

The NATO alphabet is the military standard way of referring to letters. For example, "bad" is spelled "bravo, alpha, delta." "Oscar" is the word for the letter "O." An example from pop culture is "whiskey, tango, foxtrot," which spells "wtf." The NATO alphabet apparently replaced at some point the previous US alphabet -- i.e., "baker" became "bravo."

Gaurawalla 11:02 AM  

Alfa, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, ... , Oscar, Papa, .... , Zulu. The NATO alphabet is a spelling alphabet. Oscar is "O".

Unknown 11:10 AM  

The NATO phonetic alphabet uses oscar for the letter o

Unknown 11:11 AM  

The NATO phonetic alphabet uses oscar for o

Carol 11:16 AM  

I grew up in Olean so that was easy It's further west than Binghamton Caro

Tony 11:20 AM  

Oscar was "O" in the military alphabet, Abel, Baker, Charlie... Note that it is from an older version of the alphabet. O is now Oboe.

Tony 11:23 AM  

The "O" in an obsolete Military alphabet was Oscar. Able, Baker, Charlie, etc. It is now Oboe.

Get Over It 11:25 AM  

Too many obscure crosses. Not clever or enjoyable.

Mohair Sam 11:26 AM  

Did anyone else discover that Cameron Diaz begins with a C (ACTIV) and has a fifth letter of R (ERNESTINE)? ACTIV and ERNESTINE being our two gimmes at the top of the puzzle old CameRon cost us an awful lot of time, and turned a medium Saturday into a challenging nightmare. But we prevailed.

Liked the puzzle a lot. Terrific cluing, many aha moments. And really disagree with @Rex's "green paint" tag on MISSIDAHO because of the obvious misdirect in the clue. Also fault him for complaining about OLEAN (a gimme here), home of St. Bonaventure University - if he didn't complain about the Bonnies' Bob LANIER the other day, I don't want to hear it about OLEAN. (now some of you creeps are going to Google this and discover that St. Bonaventure is officially located in neighboring Allegany, NY - this is nonsense - I have attended St. Bonny games in OLEAN, and watched many on TV where the likes of Al Mcguire have told me he was live from OLEAN. Who you gonna trust?)

Been to a few operas and always enjoy them, learned today that they have genres. Also learned today why I had a lousy half-volley in tennis (FINESSE). Didn't know that about EMUS, neat fact - once had to wait out an EMU in a sand trap on a golf course near Philly, long story (no, I didn't birdie the hole).

@Marcy - I'm probably one of ten here but - OSCAR is "O" in the NATO phonetic alphabet which is used so important spellings are harder to screw up. And thanks for letting us stop scratching our heads over 48D!

Malsdemare 11:26 AM  

Ugh! Cheated like crazy. Sort of knew MOGA-something, WATER-something, got ALIMONIES and THE BURBS after a fight, and CESARROMERO arrived after I hit reveal for some other stuff that happened after about 45 minutes of flailing. I cheered for ERNESTINE, but ECOCIDE? Had ifthen for the computer construct, wild-ass guess on OLEAN. The whole thing was as dreary to complete as the rainy weather we're having here in central Illinois.

Good day for genealogy. Have a good weekend, everyone. Drink a toast to Ali, and say a prayer -- or beseech the gods -- for Brussels.

Anonymous 11:26 AM  

Amie, here is reference to Marti:
Romero was born Cesar Julio Romero Jr. in New York City on February 15, 1907, the son of Cesar Julio Romero Sr.[2] and Maria Mantilla. His mother was said to be the biological daughter of Cuban national hero José Martí.

Unknown 11:27 AM  

Oscar is phonetic for the letter O. The NATO phonetic alphabet is available on line

Anonymous 11:37 AM  

Alpha, bravo, Charlie....

Donkos 11:37 AM  

@rex, as a programmer, I can assert that else if is a real thing although quite arcane. I got adit right away but what came to mind was " Rex is going to hate this golden oldie".

Alicia Stetson 11:42 AM  

"Thwart" is a terrible clue for HINDER. If you thwart someone, they fail to reach their goal. If you HINDER someone, you put an obstacle in their way, but the project continues.

jg 11:47 AM  

In the NATO alphabet, A = Alpha, B = Bravo, etc, and the code for O is Oscar.

linguafile 11:54 AM  

chefbea, Rex stated that SRO stood for "sold right out".

Marcy, OSCAR stands for the letter O in the NATO alphabet. ALPHA, BRAVO, CHARLIE, etc.

Robso 12:04 PM  

Ouch, this was hard.
Some people call Westchester upstate New York. Go farther and you get Syracuse and Rochester. If you dare to go even farther you find Olean.

Joe Bleaux 12:04 PM  

Monday, Tuesday et al

Sandy 12:05 PM  

Oscar is the letter O in military spelling. Y'know, Alpha Bravo etc

Zwhatever 12:08 PM  

@chefbea - Apparently some have a fractured funny bone.

@evil doug - does this mean you didn't travel north for Movement? I went out for breakfast on Monday and saw the quarter mile line waiting to get into an "after party." Yep. 8:30 on Memorial Day. How long until Bjarki makes a crossword appearance?

I was put off a little by the randomly obscure geography. Irish counties, whatever OLEAN is, yet another reason to not like Ohio (I drove from western NC to Detroit last week - saw 18 police the whole way, 16 of them in Ohio, 12 in Butler County), Quad Cities, MISS Moscow IDAHO, ARIzona (along with AriZona Ice Tea - an odd dupe), and SAN California. Not to mention cluing TECHNO MUSIC via Detroit. Felt a little quizzy as opposed to puzzly to me.

Anonymous 12:12 PM  

Can someone please explain OSCAR as the answer for 3D: NATO alphabet letter?

The NATO alphabet uses words to stand for letters. Alpha is the letter A, Bravo is the letter B, etc. Oscar is the letter O.

Raphael 12:13 PM  

NATO (and the US Military) have a word for every English letter to reduce confusion when a word is spelled aloud. Rather than simply say, "Smith. S.M.I.T.H.", you'Lloyd hear "Smith. Sierra. Mike. India. Tango. Hotel". "Oscar" corresponds to "O".

Mike in Mountain View 12:15 PM  

@Marcy: It's part of the radio alphabet. Alpha, bravo, charlie, delta, echo, foxtrot, golf, hotel, india, juliet, kilo, mike, november, oscar.

Anonymous 12:17 PM  

O as in OSCAR, like Alpha, Bravo, Charlie... Proud of myself for getting that one. "If-then" really screwed me up for "Computer conditional"

Lewis 12:18 PM  

Tough for me, with difficult cluing and no chance at VERISMO, BARBICEL, ELSEIF, and MOGAMBO. Patience and a couple of lookups paid off, and you know? This is just what I want on Saturday. To get most or all on a puzzle like this is very satisfying. To feel humble is a gift; it builds compassion. Keep 'em like this, Will!

Lou in NYC 12:19 PM  

Oscar is the military 'O'. As in Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.

cwf 12:20 PM  

Can someone please tell me what SRO stands for? ;-)


Ellen 12:21 PM

Anonymous 12:27 PM  

Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo ...OSCAR

Master Melvin 12:28 PM  

The OHIO-BORN thing is an important historical fact. Not green paint at all. Not only because a remarkable number of presidents were elected from Ohio during that period. This year, as in all election years, we will be reminded numerous times that no republican has been elected president without carrying Ohio.

Exubesq 12:30 PM  

It's the military alphabet. O is Oscar. ABLE BAKER CHARLIE is ABC. This puzzle is WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT

More Whit 12:34 PM  

MTWTF = first letters for weekdays...which is why clue re often has "ss" at the end: Saturday and Sunday. Too many obscure abbreviations, mutated answers such as Ohio born and elseif...but I did enjoy alimonies. C minus for a Saturday.

demit 12:35 PM  

Yes, People magazine has an art editor. He or she oversees photographic content. Photographs being art, as opposed to copy.

Anonymous 12:36 PM  

@ Marcy - OSCAR is the phonetic for the letter "O", and is used by NATO forces as such, and because it is also in the acronym NATO it is a "NATO alphabet letter".

More Whit 12:39 PM  

Part of the NATO phonetic alphabet: N = November; A = Alfa or alpha; T = tango and O is Oscar

demit 12:41 PM  

Marcy at 9:44: It's "O" in the NATO phonetic alphabet.

da kine 12:41 PM  

OSCAR is the NATO alphabet way of saying the letter 'o'.

I DNFed because of OLEAN, BARBICEL, and MOGAMBO. The rest of the puzzle I flew threw.

For everyone telling Rex what "SRO" means, I'm guessing he was busting chops, as in "I can't believe you're using this crossword mainstay; you Sold Right Out".

Tim Pierce 12:43 PM  

@marcy: the NATO phonetic alphabet which codes each letter with a distinct word (alpha, bravo, Charlie, delta, echo, foxtrot) and so on uses OSCAR to represent the letter O.

GILL I. 12:44 PM  

I had exactly two answers for about, like, all night. ERNESTINE (one ringy dingy) and CESAR ROMERO. Speaking of, I don't think it was ever proved that he was, in fact, the grandson of Jose Marti. It's an interesting story though. His grandmother supposedly had an affair with Marti when he was in know how that goes. Out of that romantic reunion a daughter was born....she was the mamacita of CESAR.
Came back this morning to see if I could finish. A word here, a word there, a Google for BARBICEL and ELSEIF and RAMON. WAHOO which I got because that was the only thing that fit, gave me fits. I thought it was a fish. Took several sittings, but I did finish. Favorite clues were for ADOLESCENTS TROMBONISTS.
TECHNO MUSIC hovering above VERISMO....isn't that peachy?
Two ringy dingy's....

Tim Pierce 12:47 PM  

With --O----ISTS for "Ones using slides" I confidently wrote in BIOCHEMISTS. Boy, did it take me forever to crawl out of that hole. I wouldn't have finished this at all were it not for the hints from my spouse, the Other Ellen S. Between BARBICEL, VERISMO, MOGAMBO and ISSEL, I might have been entering random letters for a very long time.

Unknown 12:48 PM  

Finished after an hour with lots of ink hydrophilic is a term used in chemistry a lot and basically means polar

Nancy Klein 1:02 PM  

Oscar is the letter O in the military alphabet. Alpha, Bravo, etc.

Phil Schifley 1:02 PM  

The NATO alphabet is the phonetic alphabet: alfa, bravo, charlie, delta, echo, etc. Oscar corresponds to the letter O.

Unknown 1:05 PM  

I think I read Cesar Romero's mother's bio father was Jose Marti. so maybe she was a child outside of marriage?

I found this one somewhat hard even though most of you breezed through it!

madchickenlittle 1:13 PM  

The days of the week.

Canis Nebula 1:42 PM  

Hydrophilic is a chemistry term.

Anonymous 1:46 PM  

nato alphabet is Alpha Bravo Charlie etc. So Oscar = O

Dick Swart 1:57 PM  

I'm arcane by definition, but this was too arcane for me! Through in the napkin at about half-way!

TonySaratoga 2:19 PM  

It's the NATO word for clarifying the spoken letter "O." Like ZULU ALPHA TANGO FOXTROT for Z, A, T, F, etc.

Sactown solver 2:22 PM  

I'm surprised @georgebarany has not weighed in on HYDROPHILIC. A great chemistry word from my days as an undergrad. Although, have to agree with OFL; very literal.

Carol 2:40 PM  

SRO is standing room ony

Carol 2:41 PM  

Oops i meant standing room only

Phil 2:43 PM  

In alphabet call outs like in aviation use O is called Oscar.

Who is MISS IDAHO and is she really a pride of Moscow. The play on words aspect is what?

Anyway DNF missing MI of that down. IRE, who knows. MAD, had as rad.

So maybe there is a ross idaho, i think ross california has a lot of Russians as residents. Could be the same for Idaho.

Tita 2:57 PM  

DNF. iERISMO is Italian for heroism, right?
rAD/rISkIDAHO/ISkEL didn't help.

I am so sick of the constructor cheat of tossing random letters against sports team abbreviation wall, then if nothing sticks, the sports college wall, and then, the cable channel wall. Sheesh!
Give me a RRN or in-the-key-of any least they are somewhat inferrable.

Me, cranky from a Saturday DNF?
Cranky because my fails were from pure trivia, not from being tricked by a cleverer-than-me puzzle. Which is what I am accustomed to on Saturdays, I guess I should have known there is a Moscow in Idaho. There's a Lisbon in Ct. Hmm...maybe a theme idea?

Anonymous 3:10 PM  

The NATO alphabet, used for clarity in voice communications:

A Alfa (Alpha)
B Bravo
C Charlie
D Delta
E Echo
F Foxtrot
G Golf
H Hotel
I India
J Juliett (Juliet)
K Kilo
L Lima
M Mike
N November
O Oscar
P Papa
Q Quebec
R Romeo
S Sierra
T Tango
U Uniform
V Victor
W Whiskey
X X-ray (Xray)
Y Yankee
Z Zulu

Hartley70 3:27 PM  

Sorry, I had WTF and LOLed

Lurker Librarian 3:32 PM  

DNF for MOST IDAHO. That could be the pride of Moscow, right? oRE and IStEL looked fine to me. I like a challenging Saturday, but it's annoying to DNF on a green paint answer crossed with trivia.

evil doug 3:36 PM  

...and *that* is why I don't spend much time here anymore. 13 posts by 3:00,followed by an onslaught of 70 posts explaining Oscar....

Lobster11 4:27 PM  

Well, I'm happy and proud to announce that I (finally) finished this bad boy, and with no cheats. Granted that it took me all freakin' day, off and on, and granted that my last square was pretty much a guess (at the double-WOE VERISO/LAHTI cross). I suppose I feel a little extra pride because on those relatively rare occasions when I'm able to finish a Saturday with no cheats, I invariably come here to find that OFL and many others are complaining that it was "too easy," which clearly wasn't the case today.

In fact, I'm just so damned pleased with myself that I'm not even going to gripe. Yeah, there were some of those only-in-crosswords answers that I despise (I'm looking at you, ADIT), and there was a shit-ton of (what-seems-to-me-obscure) trivia that I didn't know and equally. However, I'm willing to give a pass on both because (1) I was eventually able to nail, or reasonably infer, all of these by crosses, and (2) the relentlessly devious cluing just made my day. Clever wordplay is my single favorite aspect of solving crosswords, and it was here in spades. I understand why some folks think the effort was too clever by half, but I had more enjoyable aha! experiences today than I can remember from a single puzzle in a long while.

I disagree with the complaints about MISS IDAHO. I would call "green paint" if it had been clued as, say, "pageant contestant," but I loved the "Moscow" misdirect. To be fair, I might have gotten a bigger chuckle out of this than others because the first two letters I happened to get from crosses were the pair of S's, which aided and abetted the fiendish misdirect by falling in exactly the right place to persuade me that the answer was (obviously) ruSSian-something.

Favorite moment: finally figuring out the answer for 48D ("Series often seen with S's on the ends") after having stared at --WTF for hours.

Michael 4:28 PM  

I didn't find this hard as most of you. Easier than usual Saturday for me. (That means I finished it without mistakes and without Googling. It does not mean fast...)

dm3000 4:52 PM  

Fun!! Got Naticked at issel...was so sure 12a was rad not mad.

Zwhatever 4:53 PM  

Structured Roman Ordinals are far better than Random Roman Numerals.

puzzle hoarder 5:35 PM  

I went through the puzzle answer by answer on xwordinfo and found I had one dnf. It was NET over NIT. As many times as it's appeared I should be familiar with it. For the longest time I was convinced it had to be NBA. That was one of many delays. CLIO can be pronounced CLEO and that's guaranteed to compound my bad spelling.
One other funny thing was I put in CESARROMERO on first guess but the person I was actually thinking of was JOSEFERRER. Only I would have spelled it FERRAR and it still wouldn'tn't have fit anyway.

Casey 5:38 PM  

My answer for 48 down-- MT.WTF. This mountain is well known to puzzle fans.

John Child 7:10 PM  

35 OSCAR explanations. So far...

Anonymous 7:45 PM  

Anyone else get sidetracked with "waterliking" instead of "water loving"? Just figured Dakis was some African president from the 60s.

Unknown 8:04 PM  

Had the exact same feeling! And dissatisfied and disappointed in the answers

Chronic dnfer 8:05 PM  

Can someone explain Davis?

Chronic dnfer 8:11 PM  

Also miss Idaho. Good grief.

AZPETE 8:52 PM  

Wish I had done that!

AZPETE 8:56 PM  

Do (m)any of u read the comments before posting? 😡

AZPETE 1:05 AM  


Virginia 1:22 AM  

Medium? No. I'm going with "impossible" here. Between the obscure cluing and the even more obscure answers, this was just not happening for me. My first DNF in some time, and that's with liberal consultation with Auntie Google. The ones I just couldn't get were VERISMO (I had "verisso" crossing "soc" instead of MOC) and NIT (I had "net" crossing "Cleo" instead of CLIO). For some reason even the ones that should have been easy eluded me for a long time -- e.g., one of the last answers I got was REB, long after I'd entered DAVIS. Frustrating. I'm assuming it's the NYT'S payback for yesterday's unusually easy Friday puzzle. There's some clever stuff here, though; I liked BOHEMIANS, TWO FOR ONE, and even MISS IDAHO (after I finally got them).

@ Chronic dnfer at 8:05 and 8:11, in case you haven't tracked down the answers to your questions yet -- DAVIS is Jefferson Davis, Confederate president in the 1860s. And MISS IDAHO is the pride of Moscow, Idaho.

Tomorrow is Sunday -- I'm hoping for a fun one!

Unknown 1:39 AM  


Anonymous 3:06 AM  

@ chronic dnfer -- Jefferson Davis was President of the Confederate States of America during 1860s. A follower of Davis is a REBel. I admit to dropping LEE and then REL (Robert E. Lee) in at first, but quickly saw my mistake.


Lobster11 7:27 AM  

@Chronic dnfer:

DAVIS was president of the Confederate States of America in the 1860s. (And that's why "Follower of 50D" is a REB.)

The trick to MISS IDAHO is that Moscow is the name of a city in Idaho.

Devious, huh?

Maruchka 9:37 AM  

DNF to the max! I like a challenge but this one is full of ridiculous misdirects, and way too much blah.

Sorry, Messrs Ws.

Wm. C. 10:56 AM  


Jefferson Davis was President of the Confederacy in the '60s -- 1860s, that is. And that's why his "follower" was a "REB."

Yep, kinda tricky.

Anonymous 3:57 PM  

Can't there be an end to cluing for Super Bowl year Roman numerals? It's just gotten to the level of laziness as a construct for clues. Stop it already!!! DNF for me: ISSEL, ELSEIF, etc. and some (to me) meaningless clues.

Sheryl 6:20 PM  

Didn't finish, didn't like. Bad cluing. Obscure answers. Not amusing.

kitshef 8:22 PM  

Posting very late, so hi there Syndiland!

First DNF since early April. Came here with two highly questionable answers - VERISMO and RUSSIDAHO. The former turned out to be OK. The latter not so much.

I was thinking ruSSIDAHO might be some unknown soccer/football team, like Terek Grozni. I did have qualms about rAD being "Extremely, in modern slang". But a lot of stuff skewed old so maybe to this constructor, rAD is modern.

And given R_SSI at the beginning of something clued with Moscow, I really should have gone with O rather than U, (as in Rostelecom), but either way I was doomed.

lipTon before NESTEA clogged up the NW for a long time.

There sure are a lot of ways folks come up with to clue EMU. Yet Eastern Mennonite University languishes in obscurity.

Anonymous 11:13 AM  

I had " Me Too, What The F*ck!!". In my head talk about getting LOST ON.

spacecraft 11:43 AM  

When the smoke cleared, I had a letter in each of the 200 white spaces. Checked here: they were all correct, more's the wonder. Don't ask how I did it; I still don't know. A few highlights:

What was "Hydrophilic?" Never heard of it, but hey, water + loving...that couldn't actually be IT, could it? 'Cause I never heard of "WATERLOVING," either. But later, getting a SW foothold with the ha! of ALIMONIES, working out REB and therefore DAVIS, and finally unable to get rid of the MT start to 48-down and so at last hitting on the weekdays, I had the W and the V where they belonged in WATERLOVING. OK, I guess. Come to think of it, we humans are that for sure; we wouldn't live long without it. Still a most strange entry.

But then again, so are about half of them. How can you call this anything but challenging? Medium? Ridiculous. I've seen MEME before, but I still don't know what it is. That one gave me fits. Trying to figure out what went in front of -BURBS...and it was just THE. By this time my brain was smoldering; I thought I was going to set off the smoke alarms.

Yet in all this I had only two letters written over. I went with the parent brand NESTle (sorry, my keyboard doesn't include diacritical marks) instead of the specific product NESTEA. And yeah, that one gave me more ANGST. TOPCAT was another WOE; never watched it. I was a dyed-in-the-wool fan of Tom & Jerry, and that Herman character who liked to say "He don't know me very well, DOOO he?" Oh, and of course Foghorn--ah say, Foghorn Leghorn.

The "green paint" state answers didn't bother me as much as it did OFL. He wants a good ol' RRN? Got one (one one). MTWTF is so bad it's good. Gotta give it points for originality. The WAHOO! factor overcomes whatever ills there are, and the "B-Dubs" score a birdie.

Burma Shave 11:50 AM  


Those ADOLESCENTS make me MAD with their NEO-TECHNOMUSIC crap,


rondo 12:19 PM  

In case you don’t know yet, SRO=standing room only and NATO O = OSCAR. Sheesh!

I had areas of disturbance, like where “san” instead of LOS gave me WATERsaVING and just below that a tennis wINningSHOT. BIgDATA didn’t help. Nor did Rmn nor Nba nor NESTle. They all got fixed in the end, but I think I ran my pen out of ink. Should’vee used @D,LIW’s gift of a pencil.

Odd way to clue the RRN.Or EMUS for that matter.

HINDER is a hard rock band that I have had the pleasure of seeing live twice. Thank you DEERE Patty for taking care of me right there in First Ave. WAHOO!

Pretty sure that yeah baby Christine LAHTI was nominated for an OSCAR. Also pretty sure she was not MISSIDAHO.

Kind of an angry puz what with MAD and IRE and IRATE and part of a SOCIOpath leaving us HINDERed with ANGST about ECOCIDE and ozone DEPLETION. Pour me up a FINESSESHOT, maybe TWOFORONE?

I don’t have the complaints some others had with this puz. For exercise today I’m going to go climb MT. WTF.

leftcoastTAM 3:35 PM  

Through in the towel early. This week, MTWTF, all gettable.

Saturday must be WTF day, at least this particular Saturday.

rain forest 3:47 PM  

Today's blog is the poster child for the inanity of comment moderation. Let's get this regime changed. My God.

Challenging for me. Got the NW very quickly, and then slammed on the brakes. I managed to make a few lucky guesses (the cross at TOP CAT/COME OPEN, STRATI, DAVIS), remembered ISSEL, and then gradually scraped away to the finish.

Some good cluing, eg, using geography for misdirects, the clues for ECOCIDE, MOC, the days of the week, and AMISH. For me the half volley is an impossible shot.

Having finished and looking back at the puzzle, it now looks much easier than I found it while solving. Yet I wonder...what's with OSCAR, SRO, and MTWTF? Let's demoderate, people. Whatever problem was supposedly solved by moderation, the present situation is much worse.

Wooody2004 9:24 PM  

Things you learn from crosswords:

The Joker has the same nationality as Ricky Ricardo.

We should blame Detroit for Daft Punk.

Emus are bisexual.

Unknown 1:33 AM  

45 down: a series with s ' (apostrophe) s, showing possession. I assumed it referred to the reference "Monday's child is fair of face; Tuesday's child is full of grace; Wednesday's child is full of woe; Thursday's child has far to go; Friday's child is loving and giving; Saturday's child must work for a living, But the child born on the Sabbath day is bon ie aND blithe, aND good and gay." The apostrophe makes the difference in the clue.

Longbeachlee 6:19 PM  

Popped in if else right off the bat, and suffered alot before I samw the errors of my way. I insist it could be either wkway.

Blogger 12:29 PM  

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