Pedestal support / SAT 6-25-16 / Detractors epithet for Putin regime / IHOP topping option / Municipal mainstays / Setting of so-called seven islands of Greence / 13th century bc king with namesakes / European race place / Good to Galba / butterlike product of beef fat / Winner of NBC's America's Toughest Bouncer 1980

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Constructor: Kameron Austin Collins

Relative difficulty: Medium


Word of the Day: SOCLE (37A: Pedestal support) —
noun: socle; plural noun: socles
  1. a plain low block or plinth serving as a support for a column, urn, statue, etc., or as the foundation of a wall. (google)
• • •
If you failed, allow me to tell you exactly where you failed: at SOCLE. You failed at SOCLE. On the rocky shores of SOCLE, your bark was shattered and sank. Other places certainly had their tough moments, but I don't see any other puzzle-destroying sections. SOCLE is a genuine obscurity, and SEKO ... you should probably know him, but even though I've seen his name in puzzles many times, even I wrote in that "S" tentatively. And POS!? I was totally happy, for a number of seconds > 1, with P.I.S as my [Municipal mainstays: Abbr.]. I read a lot of hardboiled crime fiction, so it made sense to me. I was going to go down with SICLE when some part of my brain (the working part) said "P.I.S ain't right." I tested the "O" and had a brief moment of how "how does P.O.S work?" but then got it: post offiices. Makes much more sense for the clue than private investigators. Still, I was not at all sure about SOCLE, and was very happy when I dropped UPDO (last thing in the grid) and the Happy Pencil came up. But hoo boy ... SOCLE. Yeah. Could've done without that scare.

I've been reading David Thomson's "How to Watch a Movie" (which weirdly makes me think of today's constructor, who writes about movies for The Ringer) and he mentions "Un Chien Andalou" at least once, so 1A: Co-writer of the Surrealist silent film "Un Chien Andalou," 1929 (DALI) was a gimme, and that whole NW corner ended up playing like a Tuesday or Wednesday for me. More mid-week level difficulty right down the west side of the grid, despite blanking on JUNO (whose actors and movie poster I could visualize clearly) (29A: Title teen in a 2007 hit indie film) and not entirely believing that SHOE ADDICTS was a thing. But then I got into the middle—the SOCLE—area, and things tightened up considerably. Just getting into the SE and NE proved tricky, and that half probably took me twice as long as the first half. DARIO? (30A: Literature Nobelist ___ Fo) DARI-no. N-ROTC!? Yikes. PILAR? Didn't know at all. Then I had CIA instead of NSA, and that tiny little error was really crucial. It was a gateway; once I fixed it, I shot right up into the NE corner and took it out. Game over.

Overall, the puzzle is this odd combo of old-fashioned and ultra-modern. Lots of good longer stuff, of which KREMLIN, INC. (12D: Detractors' epithet for the Putin regime) was easily my favorite (SCREENER DVD was a solid second). Great bite, great fun. If you failed to survive SOCLE, though, I can see how you might have very different opinions.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:25 AM  

Medium except for @Rex SOCLE. I knew SEKO from previous puzzles, but I was torn between Public Utilities PUS and Post Officies POS. Went with my first thought which was POS, lucky guess. Had DiTS before DOTS for a while because DiTS is what they are in Morse Code, but BiNA was not going to work. Also, it took a while to suss out KREMLIN INC.

Lots more zip than yesterday's, liked it. Probably still would have liked it even if I'd guessed wrong.

Karl 2:14 AM  

A JUKE HOUSE is not a thing. A JUKE JOINT, absolutely. Other than that, pretty good.

Anonymous 2:27 AM  

SEKO/SOCLE and just too much trivia

Anonymous 3:57 AM  

SHOE ADDICTS was much more difficult for me than SOCLE. Once the "C" fell into place SOCLE was pretty clear. Or, as we say over where I live, it may be piedestal to you, but it's SOCLE to me.

Anonymous 6:16 AM  

Socle! I guessed Sacle and Googled it to confirm. Nothing. No redirection. No did you mean ...? If Google doesn''t know it then why should I?

Loren Muse Smith 6:28 AM  

This. Was. Hard. And Rex, you called it – I just left that POS/SOCLE cross blank. I was thinking private detectives, too.

I came so close to a Massive fail because I was misreading the SHREK clue as a "Greek" hero. I actually had to fill in SHREK and wonder, "He was Greek?" Then I convinced myself his tunic was in fact a toga, and then I realized it was "green" instead.

Right above that, I had "the best" for TEN BEST, which had me wondering if "hash houses" were rowdy places and if "These Roses" was yet another band I didn't know.

I entered at CAM, after first considering kiss "ups."

This can't be the first time hundreds of us realized that "grass skirt" fits beautifully for ALOHA SHIRT. Speaking of which… where the heck is our beloved @Bob Kerfuffle?

I also wanted those resourceful people to find new "ways" before USES. And my dessert was a "tarte" (sic) first.

"Lozenge" fits for CODEINE.

I don't understand SRO. Could someone explain it to me? JUST KIDDING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

@Tita from yesterday – what a cool memory, those movies. I could really picture y'all in my mind. I don't ever want to see someone's vacation slides from China, but I would love to see some of your home movies.

@NCA President from yesterday – I looked up NAYSAY because I couldn't believe it's a verb. The few sites I found that listed it as a verb put naysaid for the past tense. I cannot imagine it in a sentence because the thing you're saying is the nay, so it'd feel incomplete:

I wanted to make myself seem all edgy and interesting by getting some BODY ART, but Mom naysaid.

Hey, Kameron, the dnf notwithstanding, I enjoyed this challenge. Nice job.

Anonymous 6:33 AM  

Isn't it a juke joint, not a juke house?

r.alphbunker 6:55 AM  

Finished this one cleanly in triple overtime. Stewed about SOCLE at the end for about 5 minutes before deciding on SEKO (given that this is crosswordese, it should have been a gimme) and that the municipal things were post offices. Post-googling SOCLE revealed the following etymology: "French, from Italian zoccolo sock, socle, from Latin socculus, diminutive of soccus sock" But the real stall happened before getting GOMAD. It took 12 minutes of staring at the grid before that came. The details are here

Nickyboy 7:39 AM  

This is an example of they type of puzzle I hate. That is, so many names of people/characters that you either know or don't know. At least with a punny clue you can figure out the answer. But if you don't know an author's name, you're stuck.

Glimmerglass 8:09 AM  

My hand is up for JUKE jOint (I also considered road HOUSE). Finally worked it out from crosses, but JUKE HOUSE is not a thing in my experience (I have been to a juke joint). I failed on SOCLE, but my guess was SaCLE and "public address [announcement]". Good puzzle, four stars from me.

Dorothy Biggs 8:27 AM  

For all of the reasons mentioned...SOCLE, POS, DARIO...all clustered there in the middle, POS is right, Mr.SOCLE.

A few of the clues I found a little too precious, (11D Hogtie for STYMIE chief among them). I had a lot of wrong first guesses too. GOape for GOMAD, rediwhiP for HOTSYRUP (I was kinda proud of that one), Scan for SKIM, SteLE for SOCLE, and opaH for OHOH (I like mine better).

This was a rare DNF Saturday for me. I judiciously Googled here and there...and by that I mean I don't just randomly Google words, I use it mostly (at first) to check if I'm right. Except for SOCLE. I just pretty much gave up on that.

Socle. I can think of a lot of combinations of letters that should be words...but this particular combination of letters looks like something I'd have in Scrabble, waiting to see where I could use that S and cursing because I can't make a word out of those letters.

George Barany 8:37 AM  

I enjoyed @Kameron Collins' puzzle a lot, SOCLE notwithstanding, and ditto for @Rex's review. The clue for OLIVER_REED was worth the price of admission, all by itself, with the DOTS clue a close second. It was a further pleasure to become acquainted with @Kameron's movie reviewing. What a relief to find that the intersection of 49-Across/49-Down, which I originally had as a K from KAM (self-referential?!)/KOLN, was in fact a C from CAM/CAEN. Nicely played!

ICYMI, puzzles from the Fifth Minnesota Crossword Tournament, held a little less than two weeks ago, are available by clicking here. The price is only $5, and it goes to a good cause.

Anonymous 8:52 AM  

First thought PdS which made some sense but not with SdOCLE and changing it to POS gave me a very happy Mr Happy Pencil.

Teedmn 9:07 AM  

PiS/SiCLE, OH, OH yeah. Thank you, @r.alph, for showing that SOCLE is just a fancy word for a sock :-).

And I just accidentally have a tri-DNF. 32A was screaming BeNe to me but the IONIAN SEe was not a Greek Orthodox bishop's seat, obviously. B_NA at 38A with the Morse Code cross could be BiNA, BaNA or what I finally settled on, BONA. (I really wanted something like KlEptomaNIaC at 12D but it didn't fit and SUMMIT had to be correct.)

This was a long solve so very Saturday-worthy. My first entry (in my mind anyway, didn't commit right away) was JUNO. And like @r.alph, GO MAD held me up but probably not for same reason; SAN REnO got me GO NAg, GO NAh (when I was still trying to make SHOE-Aholic fit) GO NAr? when SHOE ArtIsTS was becoming an AOD (answer of desperation). Somehow I naysaid REnO, whew.

Thanks, KAC. Loved the clue for HEAD STONES and the noun usage of "Bother" at 58A.

DBlock 9:09 AM  

My quibble about POs is that they are federal agencies. The folks in DC decide what and where, not local government so I had PDs for the longest time. Once I got over my pettiness, PO did the trick. Also loved Oliver Reed-- as my mind raced through the single named maybe Oscar winners-- Gigi, Marty, Klute-- and then remembered Oliver.

Nancy 9:13 AM  

The answer that really drove me crazy was 22D. I had U--- and I just never thought of UPDO. A really good clue. I had ---EINE at 27A and still couldn't get it. Maybe that's because, no matter HOW terrible my cough, no doctor has ever prescribed CODEINE to me. To those who have had it prescribed, lucky you. What's the name of your doc?

The OLIVER REED clue was great -- very clever. I liked the clues for SRO and HEADSTONES too. I liked the answer KREMLIN INC.

But mostly this just annoyed me. SOCLE???? I had the S from SEKO (which I pulled out of my you-know-where) and the C from SHOE ADDICTS and thought I had to be wrong. I wasn't wrong, but I DNF the dead center of this puzzle. I knew RHEE (how many of you will?), but at least he was an important part of history. All the rest of the contemporary PPP frustrated me and made me very cross. I found it hard and not much fun.

kitshef 9:15 AM  

Loved OLIVER REED in Oliver!, and in Richard Lester's The Three Musketeers, with Raquel Welch, Richard Chamberlain, Michael York, Spike Milligan, Christopher Lee ...

After three straight Saturday DNFs, I really, really wanted to finish with a clean grid. Well, a correct grid. 'Clean' wend out the window when arRow had to be replaced by SHREK and HOTapPle by HOTSYRUP.

DARIO/OLEO OIL/SCREENERDVD/ were all WoEs, but the SC_EENERDVD had to be an 'R, then 'I' was the most likely letter for that cross.

Which brought me to, yes, SEKO/POS/SOCLE. I wanted cyCLE, thinking a pedestal might be some bicycle/motorcycle thing, and I had been thinking SEKO, so cEKO with a soft 'C' was acceptable. But I could not come up with anything for PyS. Really wanted PdS there, but _dCLE looked impossible.

Eventually decided to go with the first instinct on SECO, which left me that S_CLE/P_S cross. Had to be a vowel there, and POS fit the clue better than any of the others. Came here to check, breathed a sigh of relief.

Donkos 9:16 AM  

I knew seko because I was born in the Congo, but yes, Rex, the foundation of my DNF was Socle.

Lobster11 9:20 AM  

"Medium Saturday" : Rex :: "%^&#@!" : Lobster11.

So far out of my wheelhouse I don't know where to begin. SOCLE was actually the least of my problems. Nearly all the proper nouns were WOEs for me (e.g. RHEE, DARIO, TALIA, PILAR). Nearly all of the longest answers were things I didn't know were things (JUKE HOUSE, KREMLIN INC, SCREENER DVD, OLEO OIL, SHOE ADDICTS). I was able to suss these out and almost finish after Googling the aforementioned PPPs, but they all left me scratching me head. And I thought the cluing in places was tortured rather than clever: e.g., I thought the clue for POS was a POS.

I'm just gonna chalk this one up to "not on my wavelength" and move on.

Carola 9:21 AM  

Fun! Which I wasn't exactly expecting with this constructor, fearing too much youthful palaver that would put the puzzle in the "no hope" category. But no! Like a LEMON TORTE, sweet with just enough bite. Favorite surprises: MUST READ, SHOE ADDICT, KREMLIN INC.

Otherwise -
I knew SEKO from the news and previous puzzle and must have seen SOCLE before, too, as it had that "it's right" feel.
DARIO Fo is on my TEN BEST Nobelist list - just kidding, but I did know his name.
Agree with others above about JUKE joint.
Under my lei was going to be a coconut bra, except that DALI nixed the idea.
At the IHOP, I had HO??Y... - HOneY something, right? That was the stickiest area for me to sort out.

@Nancy, glad you're back and received such nice TLC yesterday. I read the Huffington Post link - what a story.

John V 9:37 AM  

What @nickyboy said.

Robso 9:38 AM  

I failed at SOCLE.

Aketi 9:41 AM  

When I did my 11 week in-country Peace Corps, most of the 20 something volunteers discovered the bar scene in Bukavu. Among the drinking games that ensued, we would challenge each to repeat "Mobutu Sese SEKO Kuku Ngbendu Wa Za Banga" as fast as we could. So, I usually perform admirably when SEKO appears. Perhaps my brain retrieved a slightly more slurred version of his name, or was affected by the sun and libations of the Central Park outing, or held a subconscious desire to find as many Us as possible for M&A. I confess I first plunked down a U instead of O.

Yes, I am a SHOE ADDICT as was my mother. My Dad complained that it took him a year after he married her to pay off the debts she had incurred from buying shoes when she married him at age 19.

Had a tiny bit of trouble figuring out how SCREE(n) NERD VD related to the clue.

jberg 9:45 AM  

I was feeling good about this one until I came here. My memory managed to dredge up SOCLE, and I overcame several convincing errors: aegeAN SEA, Scan, LEMON TaRTs, JUKE joint, and HOney something at the IHOP. I would never have given up JUKE joint if I hadn't noticed belatedly that 'joint' was in the clue, and the others fell into place eventually.

Except ... no idea what a kiss CAM was, so I put in kiss CAR/ rEmS (English plural of a Latin word you might find on a prescription pad), and for some reason put in SlO even while thinking SRO. OLIVER lEEm since reasonable enough to me.

@Nancy, when I was growing up, you could get Cheracol with CODEINE just by signing your name in a register. My father owned a drugstore, so when he noticed someone buying a little more of it than usual he would phone up the other drugstores in town -- often it would turn out that the same person was buying it from them as well, whereupon they would all cut him or her off. There were only four drugstores in town, so that method worked pretty well. But I went through a period of hard-to-control coughing fits once all you could get was dextro-methorphan.

DARIO Fo did a show at our university once, and I still have a promotional T-shirt for JUNO, or the puzzle might have been even harder for me.

Nancy 9:55 AM  

OMG! I just saw @Aketi's picture of my new cell phone as her new avatar on her post yesterday afternoon -- late. She said she was going to do it and, by gum, she's done it. How nice! She said she thought it was cute. It IS cute. Take a look. But there's one thing she did get wrong...

NANCY'S NEW CELL PHONE CREDO: I solemnly swear to have this cell phone with me on any occasion where I have made plans to meet someone that same day. Where it might be vital for them to get in touch with me since I'm not going home first to check my landline. Or when one or both of us is iffy about the time of meeting. Or the place. I will have it with me when I travel anywhere where someone is meeting me at the train station or airport and needs to let me know when they've arrived and where they are. (Hi, Jimmy.) What I am emphatically NOT going to do is have it with me 365 days a year so I can be interrupted while I'm talking to friends in real life -- in a restaurant, on a park bench, wherever. Nor when I am communing with nature and listening to the birds sing. I will not babble loudly in public places and annoy people the way so many clueless and inconsiderate people constantly annoy me. Most of the time, it will sit peacefully at home, next to my landline, absorbing messages only when my landline is not working. It's here mostly for my peace of mind and that peace of mind comes at the ridiculous cost of $47/month. But I guess I daren't ever get rid of it. I just must remember to charge it every night, even though I'm barely using it. People have said that I'll change my mind -- that it will become a can't-get-along-without-it part of my life. Advice to you all: Don't bet on it!

But it still IS cute! Thanks, Aketi, for immortalizing it.

OISK 10:43 AM  

Found it very difficult, and was sure "Socle" was wrong, coming here to find out what the correct answer was. Happy surprise! Just lucky that "Seko" had lingered in the far recesses of my aging brain, and POS made some sense to me. But that is an ugly section. Androids don't use it. Air? DNA? Oh!, Finally, you mean THAT kind of Android. A brand name! I thought I had heard of IOS, so I got it.

San Remo was a gimmee, which gave me Rhee, had Aegean before Ionian, and agree that there is no such thing as a juke house. AXL Rose! Only from many, many crosswords...

But this is Saturday, and I struggled, but succeeded. That is what is supposed to happen on Saturday!

Maruchka 11:03 AM  

Really liked this one. Very fresh, despite the PPP quotient. NW went down so smooth - it just spoke to me, no SASS. Agree that OLIVER (CAROL) REED was today's bomb.

So sweet to have a PB followed by a KAC. Thanks for the presents, Will.

(Other) Fav of the day - KREMLIN INC. Capitalists and gangsters GO MAD.. so bad.

@Nancy - Yes, WTF's up with CODEINE? Triple formed! I had a prescription for chronic cramping, back in the day. Worked great and, no, I was not ADDICTed. In Canada, there was an over-the-counter analgesic blend called 222 that had codeine. Dunno if it's still available.

Beautiful, dry summer day here.

Anonymous 11:07 AM  

PO's could be police officers which would make them municipal, not federal mainstays.

Chaos344 11:09 AM  

@Nancy: Thank You for that great link in yesterday's post explaining Verizon's outlook vis-a-vis copper. Contrary to your belief, I am indeed a copper user. FIOS is not available in my area. My house has been in the family since the early 30's. Same telephone number all those years.

Glad to hear that you and Aketi had a nice time.

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 11:12 AM  

Who is Galba? Good starts with B in lots of languages.

KISS CAM? Where's that? And why?

Unknown 11:13 AM  

DBlock said...
"My quibble about POs is that they are federal agencies."

Exactly! A "municipal mainstay" suggests something connected to the municipality. If it only means something that can be located in a municipality (but not exclusively so) and is found in most municipalities, then nearly everything in the world is a "municipal mainstay."

Teedmn 11:14 AM  

I know you are all on the edge of your seats waiting to hear this but what I OH so incoherently was trying to say in my first comment is that I accidentally avoided having a triple DNF. Only the single at SiCLE.

Hartley70 11:33 AM  

I thought this was a great Saturday even though I got snared by the SOCLE/SICLE/PO/PI trap. It's all about me, so I went with the "i". Who's ever heard of a PI out in the country I want to know!

@Nancy, there's always some codeine in my prescription cough medicines for bronchitis. I'll save you some. Is anyone old enough to remember Terpin hydrate? Now that could knock your SOCLES off when I was a kid! Yum.

I got GUNSNROSES off just the U. As a supermarket music aficionado, that was a pretty good start.

@Roo from yesterday. You're the little engine that could. Don't quit. Remember Susan Lucci.

The sun is shining and it's about time for Tristram and me to head out onto the patio for a little alone time. I think I'm going to enjoy this.

GILL I. 11:37 AM  

I LOVED this puzzle. I wish every Saturday we could get a Collins puzzle. I think I'll drop him a line.
I did cheat on the SOCLE. I looked it up in my A-Z Crossword Dictionary that is falling apart because I look up these crazy oldy words once used in the Maleska era and sure enough, I find an answer that fits.
I had FETTER for the hog-tie disaster. That was the one area that took forever to clean up. TROU saved me! I loved learning that word right here in puzzle city. Same with SEKO. I remember him because I think of a dry old Spanish prune.
PILAR, stocky gypsy and the rock behind Hemingway's "For Whom the Bell Tolls." I probably read it about ten times so that little gem was a gimme.
DALI and Bunuel and a dog in Andalucia. I gotta try and see that one.
Loved the clue for HEADSTONES.
I thought BONA was a hottie. I spell it buona. So buenos dias to all.

old timer 11:47 AM  

Great puzzle. DNF for me thanks to SOCLE. It's in the dictionary at least. I had "stele" In retrospect I could have gotten SOCLE on crosses, just as OFL and some of you did. But by that point, I was mentally exhausted. I had written in "Aegean" instead of IONIAN, but finally figured out KREMLIN INC. Which gave me CODEINE. Back in the day, the doc would give you CODEINE and alcohol for a cough, and if you are a young teenager you might get a little buzz from the medicine. Worked, though!

I had "deke" before RUSE. But I figured HOUSE had to be right, and had no trouble writing in JUKE HOUSE. I figured it was a Thing. But it really isn't used much compared to JUKE joint. Dr. Google tells me there is a band of that name, and a club of that name in KC, and an American-style place in Nice, France with rave reviews. Maybe I'll go hang out in Nice for a while, but not in midsummer, thank you. SAN REMO is nicer in hot weather.

Unknown 11:54 AM  

Continuing the POS rant. . . Post Offices certainly don't correspond well with municipalities, at least not around here. In St. Louis County, there are 90 municipalities, but only 41 Post Offices. Some of the larger municipalities have several Post Offices and the majority of municipalities have none at all. Only some of them are named for the municipality where they're located. In the City of St. Louis (which is not part of St. Louis County), there are 17 Post Offices named mostly after the neighborhood where they're located. "Municipal mainstays" is no more valid than "neighborhood mainstays."

Mohair Sam 12:13 PM  

Love that @Rex sees Philip Marlowe as a Municipal Mainstay.

We battled through this delightful Saturday challenge (I say delightful only because we guessed right on the "S" at square 37) and finally got a win when Lady M yelled "Post Offices not Police Departments!!" Until then I'd been torn between a "P" or an "S" at 37, but once the "O" was in place it was clear that I'd want my Sophocles bust on a SOCLE, not a pOCLE.

Lost a ton of time in NE thinking it was I before E in CODEINE. The person who thought up the I before E jingle should rot in hell, imo - it only works when you don't need it. Wouldn't you think AXL would be useless in crosswords? Yet he's here a lot. PILAR a favorite all-time character of mine, knew a lady just like her with that name when I read the book - that's probably why. DARIa seemed like a fine name for Nobelist Fo until UPDO became obvious.

@Nancy - CODEINE just a bit habit forming, stay away.

Lots of long entries and nearly every one of them was fresh and well-clued. Fun Saturday.

Anonymous 12:19 PM  

Of course the right answer is JUKEJOINT, but it couldn't be such, as "joint" was in the clue and thus can't be in the answer.

Master Melvin 12:45 PM  

My old FRAT HOUSE was a very rowdy joint. WTF is a JUKE HOUSE? Never heard of it.

AliasZ 1:09 PM  

We've been SEKOed and RHEEd,
And also en-rot-cee'd.
A TROU and TROU bad seed.

The SIREN's a shock-all,
OHOH jumped over YOOHOO.
Little GOMAD was a nomad,
And PILAR ran away with UPDO.

At JUNO's BEHEST, the last of TEN BEST
Sailed off to the IONIAN SEA.
Due to the tempest and being a PEST,
TALIA no one did ever re-see.

Wm. C. 1:36 PM  

OK, Saturday's are supposed to be challenging, but for me it was impossible. Too many fills that I've never heard of. It's ok to have some tough fills that one needs many crosses to grok, but even with ALL the crosses I never heard of several of these. Just not right ....

MetroGnome 1:47 PM  

The term "juke house" is used in the South, not as commonly as "juke joint" (or just plain "juke"), but it's not unheard-of.

On the other hand -- no idea what the hell a "Kiss-CAM" is, no idea what IOS are, never heard of NROTC (although I'm willing to admit that maybe I should have), and have no idea who JUNO is (never saw, or heard of, the "hit indie film," obviously). For that matter, although I figured out SHOE ADDICT pretty early on, I'm still trying to wrap my mind around the concept. Maybe its near proximity to CODEINE hints at an underlying theme here??

Anonymous 2:10 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lewis 2:14 PM  

A spotless grid, albeit with a fair number of answers out of my juke house.

tb 2:46 PM  

@Hartley70... Terpinhydrate with codeine!!

My father was a pharmacist and we often had that in the house. My mother was the choir director of the southern baptist church in our rural town and kept a bottle of terpinhydrate in the choir room. On Sunday mornings when the choir left the room to go into the choir loft, most of them took a good swig of the terpinhydrate. So in the church where even the communion wine was grape juice, most of the choir sat somewhat stoned in front of the congregation. It was the only thing that made those insufferable sermons sufferable.

Tom Rooney 3:03 PM  

NROTC is the acronym for Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps. I am attached to it because that program paid for my college. After that, they taught me to fly airplanes off an aircraft carrier. All in all, a good program.

@Lobster 11 -- I'm with you on the equivalence

Joe Bleaux 3:12 PM  

I knocked out this Tuesday-level run-through in about 10 minutes (would've easily nailed it in 8, but had a chess game going on the side, and some idiot online OED editor kept calling me for advice). After I filled in the gimmes SOCLE, DARIO, and SHOE ADDICTS, the rest fell quickly. Big chuckles as I imagined tyros taking the GRASS SKIRT and JUKE JOINT sucker bait. Overall, a fun diversion, but (yawn) ... come back when you get tough.

GILL I. 3:15 PM  

@AliasZ. You outdid yourself today....Quite brilliant. I'd frame that one!

Michael 4:51 PM  

A djsaster in both the sw and the ne.

SW Just got stuck there. Just couldn't remember the band Axl Rose headed. Thought maybe there was a band called "The Strokes" (it is Saturday after all). Just gave up on the section and googled "The Strokes." It is a band! but no Axl Rose. Finally threw in the towel and googled Axl Rose. Oh, yeah -- Guns N Roses. Then finished that section.

NE Seven Islands - that's easy Aegean Sea. Totally stuck. Had to google. Ionian Sea -- never heard of it, but it is Saturday Then finished that section.

Ok, one square left s_cle...

G.Harris 4:58 PM  

Yes @ hartley70, I am old enough to remember it was called elixir of terpin hydrate

Rabi Abonour 5:07 PM  

Kameron is one of my favorite constructors, which made this so disappointing. Kind of a mess of obscura, green paint, and crosswordese. I liked SHOE ADDICT, but most of this fell totally flat for me.

Michael 5:35 PM  

I forgot to add that I thought fake-out was "juke" (which led me to try "The Strokes.")

I wish there were some way to edit these comments after they're written. This is especially hard to cases like this when my comment hasn't yet been posted and I can't reply to it.

Lindsay 6:04 PM  

Yes, my bark shattered and sank, then sank some more, on the rocky shores of SOCLE. Posting very late because I kept thinking if I just put the puzzle down often enough, at some point I will pick it up again and the answer will be obvious. But no, and now the suns sinks 'neath the yardarm (to stay with the nautical theme) so I give up.

Like others, I had PdS for the municipal mainstay, making 37A xDCLE, and all the crosses seemingly unassailable. So the answer must be an acronym. Maybe "pedestal" is an operating system or something? Or a car? And xDCLE is related to PRNDL, related to in the sense that they are both Utter Nonsense?

I saw SEKO somewhere (Politico?) just yesterday and still couldn't remember it. I think someone was suggesting that if Cameron can resign, so can SEKO. Except the name was fuzzy in my brain.

All around annoying.

OK. Deep breath. Drop the paper in the recycle bin & move on.

Larry Gilstrap 6:30 PM  

Anyone ever see When We Were Kings, the documentary about the Rumble in the Jungle? Seko wanted to get rid of the riff-raff on the streets so he herded them into the stadium and slaughtered them. The narrator claims he could still smell the blood during the extensive pre-fight preparations.

Dolgo 6:39 PM  

Rex, as is often the case, had it right on the nose. The only reason I finished is because only "posts" made sense. I'm a pretty experienced art aficionado, but I've never seen hide nor hair of that word. But, as you all know by now, I'm firmly AGAINST WHINING!!

Phil 7:15 PM  

Right on with me and socle. But my error was more realistic for municipal mainstay than Rex's. I had PD police department. The second most likely municipality. And not knowing SEKO I was HUNG.

But i stuck in cyCLE as some sort of strange clueing for pedestal.

I thought being quite resourceful i had found a new waY(s) to get HUNG.

Which happily gave me beaStyboYS. But sorted that out and had it all good finally but for googling th S in SEKO.

Fun puzzle. K.A.'s are alway daunting in the beginning. And impossible without some sort of foothold to get going.

Amelia 8:41 PM  

Boggles the mind how a Literature prof doesn't know Dario Fo.

Hartley70 10:37 PM  

@tb and @GHarris, nice to share the memory. @tb your choir story was great! I had to produce a temperature and some phlegm to get some. You only had to sing!

JJK 6:40 AM  

Maybe too late for a comment on this puzzle, but I just finished (with cheats for a couple things). Just wanted to say that I think POS is probably Purchase Orders. The only way to buy supplies for the town and expend municipal funds.

Nancy 9:17 AM  

So I've started today's puzzle, which I'm enjoying, but I can't really focus. The saga of my communications nightmare continues. I replaced my Verizon phone service with RCN and I got my dial tone back...for a brief while, after which it died. RCN is coming back tomorrow. Once again I can't make or receive calls or retrieve messages. My cleaning woman probably thinks my new cell number is a telemarketing number and won't answer it. I can't reach her. The RCN guy who came last week did me a huge favor by doing Something Special and Unusual that would enable me to keep my corded landline next to my chair rather than have it on my desk next to the computer where he originally said it would have to be. Maybe that's the problem -- that it really has to be where he said it has to be? In which case I'll have to buy a cordless phone. I barely know how to use my new cell phone and now I have to buy a cordless phone? I went online to look at some. They are all VERY COMPLICATED. They all have MANY, MANY FEATURES. But here's one feature they DON'T have. You can't turn off the bleeping ringer, except by following a "menu" on your screen. I always turn off the ringer in the BR every night by pushing a tiny button to the left. In the a.m. I turn it back on by pushing to the right. Will I be able to turn off the ringer on a cordless by pulling the wire out of the phone? Does anyone have a cordless phone with that feature? Does anyone have a really easy-to-operate cordless phone that they ABSOLUTELY LOVE? I'm jumping the gun, I know, but something is VERY, VERY WRONG right now and I'm assuming the worst. When the RCN guy left last Thursday, I had a dial tone, but it's since disappeared. I AM GOING BLEEPING CRAZY!

"It's just a phone, Nancy," said my brother, albeit very, very kindly and sweetly.

"It's just a phone, Nancy", said my niece, with just a tinge of exasperation. She had left me a message on my cell that maybe I could meet up with them for dinner since they were on the upper west side not too far from me. I retrieved the message too late and, besides, I couldn't make out what she said. Something about being on W 86th and meeting up -- didn't hear the "for dinner" part. That's the other problem: I CAN'T BLOODY HEAR ON A CELL PHONE. It's not that it isn't loud enough and, besides, I have exceptional hearing. It's th--at-earis--is (What I hear is this). Half of each word gets swallowed up and disappears completely. I HATE CELL PHONES.

The entire world is going to hell in a handbasket right now, so I do understand that my reaction may be a wee bit...self-involved. But just remember what happened to Winston Smith in "1984" when they took him to the dreaded Room 101, and he returned a broken man.

"What's in Room 101?" they asked him.

"It's the worst thing in the world!"

"But what's the worst thing in the world?" they persisted.

"Ah, but it's different for everyone."

Unknown 9:18 AM  

Dnf because of SOCLE. "disliked"

Jeff Cohen 11:41 AM  

I thought (finally) that POS was police officers. To me it doesn't make sense as Post Office because that' federal, not municipal.

alice 2:37 PM  

Would someone please explain the red cross block on the puzzles? I can't find an explanation on the blog site. Is it related to the "Red cross donation"? Thanks for the blog and comments.

Warren Howie Hughes 9:47 PM  

YOOHOO! In my humble O, KAC hit for the SOCLE in this Saturday offering!

Tom 1:47 PM  

Didn't see anybody answer to Greater Fall River, etc's question on Saturday: What is a Kiss CAM? At most major league baseball parks (GO GIANTS!), they scan the fans between specific innings and show people kissing on the giant screen. Sometimes the best kiss wins something.

DNF thanks to remembering Steven BEKO's name ('s Biko), so went with BOCLE. Not a bad DNF thanks to all the other hard stuff. Felt pretty good that it was my only mistake and I never Googled.

Anonymous 11:09 PM  

Amelia 8:41 He only teaches literature of the last decade. Everything earlier is racist, sexist, etc. and not acceptable in a modern college classroom.

Nickyboy 6:41 AM  

@Nancy, you can still get cough drops with codeine in them, over the counter, in Switzerland. They work like a charm.

Ω 7:50 AM  

It's early Tuesday and Rex hasn't posted so I thought I'd catch up on Saturday. I'm glad I did. I generally love KAC's puzzles and this was no different. I see a few complaints about the PPP, so I guess I'll try a late rundown soon. Certainly not an issue here. That GUNSNROSES just kicked off their tour at Ford Field (I.e. three blocks from my condo) Thursday night helped, Yes to flipping the five sided die at S-CLE, no to having an issue with Post Offices as municipal mainstays. Yes to being thoroughly amused by the PO'ed POS rants.

@Tom - Not just baseball games, but most professional sporting events with lots of camera and breaks have Kiss CAMs. I remember the media being all aflutter when Michelle left Barry hanging at a basketball game.

Off to count up some pop culture.

Ω 8:19 AM  

Quickie PPP

Sure enough, 24 of 70 answers are Pop Culture, Product Names, or other Proper Nouns. That is 34% and experience tells us that 33% and above is the danger zone.

@anon11:09pm - I realize that you're trying to be funny, but that is not Rex's specialty. Also, your comment isn't funny. Mostly it implies you are probably racist, sexist, etc.

Dragon@Heart 10:38 AM  


Dragon@Heart 10:39 AM  


Burma Shave 12:21 PM  


GUNSNROSES played their TENBEST songs at a JUKEHOUSE Friday night,
AXL dropped TROU to show how LONG , and his BODYART HUNG in sight.


@teedMN – ever since I read Liz Gilbert’s book, maybe even before finishing it, I have had a Post-it on a kitchen cupboard door with the most prescient thing she wrote in said book: “Sometimes you count the days, sometimes you weigh them.” It’s been some years now and it’s fading, but it’s still there. Glad you caught the “veiled” reference.

LongBeachLee 12:37 PM  

Loren Muse Smith you are my favorite commenter. I love your cleverness, and I almost always agree with your gripes, and stumble where you stumble.

spacecraft 12:46 PM  

DNF. That middle-west area just would not come. Really, though, SHOEADDICTS? Strangely, I know there are such people. Don't understand them AT ALL, but they're out there. No one needs more than three pairs, IMHO. But the term? We're supposed to come up with that? No way. Oh yeah, SOCLE would have scuppered me anyway. It was probably doomed because of Lust for "Thirst" at 23-down. When AXL's group made me change the U to an O,I just left "LOst" in there. Doesn't make sense with thirst, but by that time I'd been wrestling with it too LONG anyway. Had no idea about the hit indie film, and HUNG for "At an impasse" never occurred. There are better ways to clue HUNG...but that's another story.

I'm most disappointed I couldn't come up with anything for _O_SYRUP. Duh, HOT! A hot mess, is what this was. On to tomorrow.

rondo 3:00 PM  

Yeah, that O in the SOCRE/POS was the last thing to fall. Opposite of neg would have helped more. So a kinda lucky finish, especially with lOzEngE and who didn’t fill in JUKEjOint?

Other than yeah baby TALIA Shire (Yo,Adrian) there doesn’t seem to be another SIREN in sight today.

HUNG and LONG do share the same Gee factor, OHOH! Put a RAMSES on it. Anything to do with GOMAD? Only if it’s SANREnO.

Nearly STYMIEd (from Our Gang/Little Rascals?) and had about the same experience as OFL, THO much slower, to be sure.

leftcoastTAM 3:02 PM  

Yesterday a treat, today a "treatment," i.e., tough handling.

Closed in on the final entry--and chose SaCLE instead of SOCLE, reasoning rather futilely that the crossing POS, local post offices, "mainstays" for a long time, are being closed in some small towns because of USPS budget problems.

A bit strained, I know, but felt PaS, public announcements, was a better answer.

Diana,LIW 3:36 PM  

I knew I'd need "cross" help with 1-A, and seeing the clue for 1-D, I heard ye olde bell of doom tolling for me. A 1929 French silent movie author. Sure. Did get DALI eventually, as I did get "most" of, but not all of, the puzzle.Amazed, actually, at how much I did get. Taught a seminar on Hemingway as a senior in college. PILAR is one of his great characters - how could a lit prof not know that?

I've seen JUNO a couple of times (on TV), but didn't realize it was an indie film. Had keylimepie before LEMONTORTE, but not for long. Since I get most of my news from the radio, thot SEKO was Sike, but at least that gave me SHREK. And TENBEST turned that around.

Used to get CODEINE cough SYRUP as a kid due to many bouts with strep throat. Had my tonsils out at the tender age of 23, and that year experienced my first 3-day cold vs. 2-week near death experiences. To this day I do not like to take pain killers, even OTC ones, unless I'm convinced by my MD that it's for the best.

I'm good to go - not Galba.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

rain forest 4:32 PM  

I think I'm the only person who was *absolutely positive* that Mobutu's name was kEKO, damn it. So, a @Dirigonzo OWS DNF. Diri, where are you?

This was a puzzle I liked despite the DNF. Not much in gimmes, although my first thought for 1A was the actual answer. Remembering a number of the names was a big help, but where I was momentarily STYMIEd was at Kiss___. I thought "tag", then "off", but then Operation Charnwood came to the rescue. My 4 months in France last year helped there as well.

Overall, I'd say this was a good week for the NYT puzzle. Maybe not among the TEN BEST, but close.

Anonymous 10:00 PM  

I did the syndicated Saturday puzzle in the local paper, so am six weeks behind this thread. Anyway, just wanted to point out that PO's probably refers to the shorthand for purchase orders, which is a municipal mainstay (as a long-time public employee, I know of such things)

Sailor 6:24 PM  

In the Constructor's Notes at Wordplay, Mr. Collins writes, "This one won’t win over anyone who thinks there’s too much trivia in my work..."

Yup. That's me, and he is absolutely correct. I detest puzzles that are really trivia quizzes. Dittoo puzzles that are difficult because the clues are vague or obscure, rather than clever. This one qualifies on both counts.

As @spacecraft wrote: On to tomorrow.

Bananafish 11:44 PM  

Had NACLE for SOCLE. Figured it was the same root as "tabernacle", which I figured is some kind of religious pedestal support.

PAS seemed faintly plausible ... don't many municipalities have public address systems?

I also had LOZENGE in for CODEINE for a long time - that definitely advanced this puzzle into the "difficult" category for me.

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