Soviet co-op / SAT 6-11-16 / French siege site of 1597 / Children's song about avain anatomy / Post-stunt provocation / Aye's opposite poetically / Ill-fated old-style / Poison also called white arsenic / Third-ever best actor oscar winner

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Constructor: Andrew Kingsley

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: somebody named ARLISS (42D: Third-ever Best Actor Oscar winner) —
George Arliss (10 April 1868 – 5 February 1946) was an English actor, author, playwright and filmmaker who found success in the United States. He was the first British actor to win an Academy Award, as well as being the earliest-born actor to win one. // Disraeli is a 1929 American historical film directed by Alfred E. Green, released by Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc., and adapted by Julien Josephson and De Leon Anthony from the 1911 play Disraeli by Louis N. Parker. // The title card states, Mr. George Arliss in "Disraeli". His performance as British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli won him the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. The story revolves around the British plan to buy the Suez Canal and the efforts of two spies to stop it. As with the original 1911 Broadway play and its 1917 revival, and the 1921 silent film, Arliss' wife Florence appeared opposite him in the role of Disraeli's wife, Mary Anne (Lady Beaconsfield). (wikipedia)
• • •

Yawp yarp yaope. This one had many hurty aspects. Sadly, these outshouted the nicer stuff that one can find here and there throughout the grid (e.g. "TOP THAT!", "I CAN EXPLAIN," MALL SANTA). Normally, strong longer stuff can make you forget the weaker short stuff, but there was just too much foreignisticness and bygoneitude (esp. in the proper name category), in addition to the prefixy abbrevibe of the 3- 4-letter stuff, for me to feel much joy. Problems started right away, when 1A: Ones hanging around a deli? was transparent to me because I swear I just saw it. Like ... just. SALAMIS was the first and only answer I thought of. And it fit, and the crosses worked. C'mon! "?" clues have a hardcore obligation to be Original. I sincerely thought I'd opened an old puzzle at first by mistake. But no. Then, things failed to get better. No idea what RATSBANE is (13A: Poison also called white arsenic), ALOUETTE is boring (16A: Children's song about avian anatomy), INTL is INTL, ABES were never a thing (it's like a longstanding crossword hoax, this ABES = $5 bills concept) ... then I turned the corner into the truly ACCURST part of the grid (fittingly crammed with the likes of PARI- and RARA and my good old friend ERST. Oof.) SELFIE STICK was a definite tick up in liveliness, and I like DEMIJOHN OK too. But AMIENS and J'AI were a pont trop loin after ALOUETTE. And then ONEL PTAS ... the whole thing just NE'ER got off the ground.

SO DOPE is the Green Paint of "modern lingo" (56A: Way cool, in modern lingo). DOPE, I buy. The SO part, not so much. SORAD, I also would not buy. See also SOBOSS, SONEATO, even SOCOOL. JOE COOL, however, would get a pass. I hate the word SEPAL because reasons. It reminds me of that other word I hate because I never see it except in crosswords ... SEP- something. Something Indian. Like an Indian soldier? Am I making this up? [googles] I'm not! SEPOY! Unh! Selfie High Five! Anyway, screw 5-letter SEP- words, man. Ancient, non-baseball-sitcom ARLISS (so, non-"ARLI$$") next to "Annette [Annette who!?! Funicello??] Sings ANKA" (!?) really made my knees buckle with ERST sadness. But the worst was having the last letter into the grid be the "T" in something called an ARTEL? (45D: Soviet co-op). I know you'd like me to accept that that is a thing, but that will NE'ER happen. Unless it's a motel just for arhats. Then I'm in.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Hays 12:09 AM  

So, SALAMIS (I originally put SAusage in, btw) gets a "?", but not "Whacking tool", which added who knows how many minutes because I refused to put Gun or GAT in there, as it seemed beyond the pale of a puzzle that refuses to put so so many things in for fear of upsetting... somebody (but EBONICS as the language of Spike Lee films is fine, of course). Ugh. Also all the other stuff Rex said.

Anonymous 12:58 AM  

Annette (of course Funicello! Cher who?) Sings Anka is noteworthy as it includes the song "It's Really Love" (by Paul Anka, naturally). As an instrumental it was the Tonight Show's theme song during the Johnny Carson years.

jae 1:34 AM  

Mostly easy for me too except NE was on the tough side. Had canT before LIST which WALDO finally fixed (and helped me spell AMIENS correctly) but it took a while.

I liked it more than Rex did, although I am going to put more effort into achieving that Nirvana thing just so I can stay at an ARTEL.

Dolgo 3:56 AM  

I thought "artel" would be your "wow-eord"for the day. We Russophiles know that one, but don't expect anyone else to know it. Hey, when you learn s new word, ya gotta look it up! Then ya learn it for good! I sometimes realize how old I am when I realize that there are seemingly knowledgeable movie fans who've never heard of George Arliss. When you watched early TV, his films were on all the time. He was a talented character actor and Disraeli was only one of his signature roles. Of course, being an alter cocker has its drawbacks. I've never in my life heard "so dope " but it was not hard to figure out having the first four letters.

No BS 5:35 AM  

I started with salami (with same mental image as Rex) but pretty much blanked on the rest. No, I came up with erst. Got in trouble with Antigua instead of St kitts. Had to Google ALL the proper nouns to get traction. THEN, maybe it was easy. Up to that point, more like impossible. I mean, James Murray, Stefan Whosit, Nora Dunn. LSU, Amiens??? Annette Sings Anka?? Anybody ever hoida abes outside cruciverbia?Give me a break. I went to law school but not at Harvard--only place where OneL is a thing. (Think that was the name of the book behind movie Paper Chase.) One L is the Harvard registrars designation for first year students in the law school, a deeply beleaguered group. I mean, how you going to come up with deforested without a few clue letters? Or even I can explain or mallsanta? And then, I put in sidekick for poor old Sancho. Good enough for Tonto, but Noooo. Clever cluing in several places, but some just opaque, like off=amiss. And tilt? You'd think I'd come up with list (but I cant or at least dint) since I'm doing this in the cockpit of my sailboat, which isn't listing, happy to say.

Anyway, great insomnia alternative. Beats Free Cell anyway.

George Barany 5:53 AM  

Checking in again from my California vacation to report an inability to complete today's puzzle by @Andrew Kingsley, who we learn is about to graduate from Dartmouth College. I certainly admire @Rex for finding the puzzle easy.

Yesterday, @David Steinberg informed us that teddies are often LACY, and today we learn that lingerie is INTIMATE. That is SO_DOPE (new vocabulary phrase). For more on SAME_SEX unions, check out The Union Forever!.

Tomorrow is the day of the Fifth Minnesota Crossword Tournament. Sharpen your wits with Contest Prize That's a Real Diehl by the great @Mark Diehl. It's a themeless puzzle, but you'll have to rely on the fair crossings to figure out 1-Across.

Loren Muse Smith 7:27 AM  

Hey, Rex, foreignisticness, bygoneitude, , abbrevibe - inspired coinages and a huge reason I, like @Tita, continue to "harvest" your write ups. Great way to put it, @Tita. You're one of my favorite commenters here. Always have been.

Unfortunately, my first thought was "pastramis" for the deli hangers, so I moved on. Dumb.

I was pretty surprised that this was rated "easy." Jeez Louise it was hard for me. The clues for A TON OF and KISMET were Saturday Stumper tough. But I loved'em. So dope.

I had a dnf because of ARTEL/GAT. I thought about that T but ended up just leaving it blank. Who cares when you solve on paper with a, ahem, Bic mechanical pencil? (Hi, @Lobster.) I just leave the square unfilled and outline it darker with my pencil so the deathblow is there in all its glory.

Off that P for 50A, I was tooling along writing in "Let me speak" and had one square left. Oops.

And I immediately wanted TEA TAX but felt all clever and on my game when I wrote in "tax act" so I could have my whacking tool be an "axe." But that left some T-final word for the union. Fraught? Rebuilt? Corrupt? Nah.

I had no idea that the NILE had an ile. Cool.

First thought was "Annette Sings Alto." Seriously, it was.

With no letters in place, I thought of "Streep" - had The Devil Wears Prada on while I cleaned yesterday. Man, she's good. And, yeah – who the heck is ARLISS? Didn't even know it was a man 'til I read Rex's wotd.

I liked MALL SANTA, TOP THAT, RATS BANE I CAN EXPLAIN, SELFIE STICK, TOO LATE, ALOUETTE gentille alouette. On to, gulp, Longo's Stumper.

TonySaratoga 7:44 AM  

I feel like I should know why "Mayo, for one" = MES but I don't. Help?

Glimmerglass 8:41 AM  

@Rex, you are a depressing downer. I thought this was a normally difficult Saturday puzzle. Then I came here all aglow with my success to find that not only was it "easy" but all the knowledge I was feeling smart about was either unfair (ARTEL) or boring (ALOUETTE) or overused (SALAMIS) or "fake" (ABES -- I had finS for a while). Thank goodness for LMS, who had an experience something like mine, and restored my faith in the process.

QuasiMojo 8:44 AM  

Love George Arliss. He gave Bette Davis her first break in "The Man Who Would Play God." (1932) -- Ne'er or Nair. Not sure which is more erst.

Dorothy Biggs 8:46 AM  

I grew up in Nebraska and have lived throughout the midwest and southeast most of my life. I have no idea how I know that SALAMIS hang in delis. Like Rex, but probably for different reasons, that word popped up in my head and had that quiet "I know it's right" quality to it.

I had a lot of hang ups today at various places. ARLISS looked a lot like ARneSS to me, but I knew Mr. Arness probably didn't win an Oscar, so I was suspicious. But once seen, I couldn't un-see that spot as anything but James Arness.

Any bets on how soon "sepoy" will appear in a NYT xword in the near future? Given Rex's use of "ERST" yesterday, it's almost like WS reads this blog and finds ways to work in shout outs to Rex via code words. Hi Will!

For what it's worth, I don't know that ALOUETTE is what Rex considers to be "boring." Not sure the criteria used for that but I kinda liked it. I used to sing it as a kid and I guess I never knew what it was about.

I try to imagine a world where money is called by all the names I've learned it's called in xword puzzles: ABES, sawbucks, C-notes, Washingtons, fivers, and the like. I know they exist, and I've actually used them myself in the wild, albeit ironically...but is there anyone in this country that uses those words for real?

Aye = yes. NE'ER = never. I don't see the equality...equivalent, but not equal. And the trouble with new isms like SODOPE is that they go out of fashion quickly and become almost even more old than old stuff. There was a time when lots of people said "That is so dope!" But now no one says it because you just don't say it anymore. There are many of these words/phrases that, if you try to use them to be hip, you show yourself to be really un-hip. Just try using "SODOPE" within a group of HS students or college kids and you'll see what I mean. I don't know what the new thing is now, so I just say words like "incredible," or "unbelievable," or "amazing." NOT "awesome," btw. But that's just me.

Anonymous 9:10 AM  

@Tony - I just got it. Mayo is the Spanish word for May.

Teedmn 9:19 AM  

This was 45 minutes easy - not! I thought I was so smart at 22D when I put in NO HFCS (high fructose corn syrup), thinking "What a great string of consonants for a puzzle!" And I CAN EXPLAIN the huge black blots in SW, which are due to my baroque window being an Oriel for just about the whole solve.

I got SAME SEX from TEA TAX and then wondered whose songs Annette was singing. LenA? EllA? But ANKA gave me SKELaTAL (yes, folks, stupidity gave me a DNF today because MaS seemed like a Spanish word I had seen many times, which of course, it is, just not THAT word. Sheesh. And yes, I do usually spell skeleton with two Es :-).)

I liked the clue for ONE CARAT (not graphite, as I had considered) and for WALDO. A great Saturday workout so I don't SEE FIT to complain about any of @Rex's bad fill. Thanks, AK.

Unknown 9:24 AM  


Mayo = MES (Spanish month). Took me a while too!

Anonymous 9:38 AM  

Agree with this review completely. It was ( especially in the SW) a pain in the ARTEL.


Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 9:41 AM  

I did not think Alouette was about the lark's anatomy, I thought it was about the singers' anatomy.

MAYO is the fifth mes in the Spanish ano.

I too left the cross of AR_EL and GA_ blank.

BradKimmel 9:46 AM  

@TonySaratoga: In Spanish, "Mayo" means "May" (the month) and "mes" means "month."

Nancy 9:54 AM  

When I saw SALAMIS at 1A. I thought this would be an easy Saturday -- but I had to struggle everywhere else, and I really enjoyed the challenge. There were a lot of aha moments for me -- where I didn't have the least idea of the answer, until a few crosses suddenly made it obvious. That was true of WALDO; of MALL SANTA; of ATHEISM (I loved that clue and answer, btw.) Just yesterday, I was saying to pick the most obvious answer when dealing with pop song titles and albums -- but a lot of good that did me today. I'm supposed to know that Annette sang ANKA? Did you?

The SW gave me fits, since I didn't know SO DOPE (???!!!); MURRAY at 59A (wish they'd clued the tennis player); nor NORA. But SEALE was a gimme, and I eventually did prevail. Nice puzzle.

BradKimmel 10:00 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nancy 10:01 AM  

@Glimmerglass (8:4l) -- Fuhgeddabout Rex. It WAS challenging and you are allowed to think of yourself as very smart. Continue to bask in the afterglow of your solving success (as, btw, I will, too.) Enjoy your Saturday.

Amie Devero 10:01 AM  

Same here. No clue. Mes???

GILL I. 10:15 AM  

ARTEL looms all gloomy from the Maleska era. Wow, an answer I actually popped in and not afraid.
HARD damn it, real hard. I had to work up a sweat, but in the end I thought this was a pretty good puzzle. A DNF and IDC at the RATS BANE. I had and still have RALS BANE, My barrel holder ended up being a GUT.
The Baroque window was an ORIEL instead of the correct OXEYE. Boy did that hold me up until I remembered Bobby SEALE.
I know the puzzle seemed a tad ACCURST, but I still liked the DEMI JOHNs and the ALOUETTEs and the COMPADREs.
Estamos en el MES de junio.

Katzzz 10:35 AM  

Salami was easy. Then things got hard. Arliss, artel and ratsbane. Never heard of 'em.

Mayo is Spanish for the month (mes) of May.

Ellen S 10:38 AM  

@TonySaratoga -- "MES" is Spanish for "month", and Mayo is the fifth one.

@NCA President: Aye and NE'ER are sort of equivalent, as "Never!" Is sometimes a stronger "No". Like, the answer to "Do you want whipped cream on that Mocha?" could be a simple "yes" from someone who considers that normal, or a horrified "NEVER" from someone like me who considers whipped cream a crime against chocolate.

I liked @Rex's writeup. I took a year of Russian Civilization, more about Tsars than the Soviet period (maybe 40 years wasn't enough time for perspective) and read lots of novels, and never saw an ARTEL outside of a crossword puzzle. Still, it is a crossword thing, along with ADIT (making a Crossworld comeback! Maybe coal mining is having a renaissance, though from what I read, it's tanking, and all mountain top removal anyway, no ADITs). Anyway, @Rex made me smile. Good snipes.

Unknown 10:43 AM  

No BS said:

" I went to law school but not at Harvard--only place where OneL is a thing."

No way--unless you mean spelled that way rather than using numerals. 1L, 2L, 3L (even 4L and 5L for part-time students) are used nationwide.

Maruchka 10:49 AM  

I don't mind the old stuff. ERST, ACCURST, RARA are perfectly agreeable, and he got them to cross! ABES, ALOUETTE and ARLISS pop up des temps en temps, non? It's the small stuff that trips me - TOP THAT, INNS, SO DOPE, ad. nauseum.

I wonder if Mr. Kingley is a ONE L bound SORT of guy.. something's legalistic about his process. I guess I liked the way he made me think. Thanks!

Tref/LEAF, petal/SEPAL. One cheat - ARTEL (ploha), Ran out of steam..

@NCA Pres - Agree on NE'ER. Iffy. And, yes, steal from the best, WS!

@QuasiMojo - I love ARLISS, too. He was such a trouper, and a ubiquitous presence in American film.

Unknown 11:04 AM  

Mayo es el quinto mes del año...

Mohair Sam 11:04 AM  

So we fought our way through this Saturday at a medium pace and were totally stalled in the SE. Hmmm, thought I, what on earth could Annette be singing about starting with A and containing only four letters back in 1960? ANKA! I yelled. Lady Mohair filled the bottom off that and we saw the unknown ARLISS next to ANKA within seconds. We looked at each other and laughed - "Rex is going to have a cow." We were right.

Speaking of hanging SALAMIS. We frequented an Italian deli down in Annapolis a few years ago where the owner, relatively "fresh off the boat", complained to me that he'd been cited for hanging his hams to cure in the back room. What the heck is wrong with you Yanks anyhow? I had just read Bill Buford's "Heat" and saw his point.

Bobby SEALE one of the most interesting stories of the '60s. Loved the clues for MALLSANTA and SELFIESTICK. Always think COUSCOUS as Middle East and quinoa as Latin America, guess they're alternatives on cruise ships. beCURST before ACCURST cost us a ton of time.

Kind of agree with @Rex's SEPAL rant, but not all his ranting today. It's a Saturday Rex. Having to come up with a four letter popular music thing from 1960 is a good test, just as good as being asked to know something about home brewing, Voltaire, quinoa alternatives, or Black Panther leaders.

We liked the puzzle, ARTEL or no ARTEL.

Unknown 11:05 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 11:05 AM  

Both are spanish May and month

Anonymous 11:08 AM  

Go hang a salami I'm a lasagna hog is one of my favorite palindromes.
Anytime salami is used in the Times I always remember William Safir and his terrific recollections about Katz'S deli and their " send your son a salami"
Promotion during WW 2.

kitshef 11:28 AM  

I felt the cluing was imprecise today. The Aye/NEER problem has already been commented on, and Nix isn't quite NEGATE, untold isn't quite ATONOF.

For sure not easy - probably average Saturday. Lot of WoEs: DEMIJOHN, MURRAY, NORA, RATSBANE, ARLISS, ARTEL, ONEL, STEFAN.

Good puzzle, I thought. When there are a lot of WoEs but you can still get there through crosses and logic, that's nice work.

Nothing wrong with SEPAL. You learn that in grade school, when you learn pistil and stamen and petal.

AliasZ 11:32 AM  

This puzzle was SODOPE, I couldn't have made a sodoper one myself. The first thing I noticed: it was framed by SALAMIS and SAME SEX union. How charming!

But as long as we have ALOUETTE, gentille ALOUETTE, to pluck the feathers from, I'm happy. Like the person who pulls out Dr. McCoy's hair one strand at a time, i.e., DEFORESTS Kelley.

A disgraced samurai would perform a SELFIE STICK ritual, I guess.

Let's list to an American SALUTE by Morton Gould.

Enjoy your weekend.

Carola 11:38 AM  

I was glad to have a leisurely morning to enjoy this puzzle, which for me was anything but easy. I can recommend the biography of James MURRAY, Caught in the Web of Words, a title which seems apt for a crossword discussion, too. I really liked the web of words in this puzzle - RATSBANE, COMPADRE, KISMET, the OXEYE daisy next to its SEPAL, DEMIJOHN, AMIENS.

Re: AYE - it can also mean "always," "ever," as in Hamlet:
This world is not for aye, nor 'tis not strange
That even our loves should with our fortunes change

AYE also reminded me of the Flanders and Swann skit where they refer to the phrase "Scoltland for aye" and comment that of course it should be "Scotland for me."

No BS 11:38 AM  

Joseph Welling, right about one L, no doubt, though not where I went. Ellen S, I think aye means forever or always. There's some lyric (Irish? , Scottish) that has "for aye" in that sense.

Google says:
for aye
phrase of aye
"I shall treasure the memory for aye"

Tita 12:02 PM  

Sigh...a DNF...though, a mere first-degree told me I was wrong, it cleared my errors at TryTHAT, and that was enough to see the light.

I agree with some of that godawful fill, but not ALOUETTE. That was a great clue for a beautiful word, and a beautiful bird. And, defendi it, got me to look it up, thus learning that it is Canada's unofficial song, and plenty of other tasty details.
Also liked disguising cruddy JAI with a non ___alai clue.

This was a struggle, as befits a Friday.

Hey @Z...Can you add a subcategory to your PPP analysis...age of we can have a quantitative mustiness factor. David Steinberg's gem yesterday had plenty of ancient stuff, but OFL called it "lively and contemporary".

old timer 12:08 PM  

One of the funniest writeups in the history of this blog. Well done, @Rex!

Of course, OFL must know ARTEL from when he was a kid and Maleska was the puzzle editor. That's how I knew it. Never been to an ARTEL myself, much less stayed in one. I don't think I've ever heard or read "SO DOPE" though DOPE in that sense I know. But I certainly have heard people call a $5 bill an ABE.

I had "delicate" before INTIMATE, and even so had been hoping Annette would sing Ella, not ANKA. But ANKA was easily guessed. He wrote tons of songs that were sung by other singers and not by him. Fine with me, for I never much liked his voice.

The easiest long answers, that went right in, were ALOUETTE and SELFIESTICK. DEFORESTS was fairly obvious too. The hardest? COMPADRE. That's because a COMPADRE is your friend and your equal -- originally, it described a father and a godfather of the same child (mother and godmother are "comadrees". I could actually accept Tonto and the Lone Ranger as COMPADRES because they really were friends and equals even if the rest of the world thought of Tonto as a dumb Indian. But Don Quixote thought of Sancho Panza as a servant and a country bumpkin. Sancho, in turn, thought of Quixote as a nutcase. Cervantes gave Sancho all the best lines and thought of him as a font of common sense, the perfect foil for his loony hero.

Tita 12:15 PM  

@ Greater Fall River - mais non!! The singer is definitely threatening the poor lark with plucking its feathers from various parts of the unfortunate bird's anatomy.

Read the wiki article - actually interesting, if perhaps in an "I have no life" sorta way...

And aw, shucks, @lms. How can I TOPTHAT?

(Oh - the wiki article supposes that ALOUETTE was possibly French in origin, then adapted by the Canadian fur traders as a song to help the rowers of the trappers' canoes stay in unison and row faster.
Which leads to me propose that it was in fact the Phoenicians, inventors of the Trireme, that coined the song - after all - they had lots of rowers to synchronize!)

Lewis 12:21 PM  

@rex -- Your writeup was DOPE. Everything clicked, the humor and the pointed observations.

This solve was asymptotic. It kept getting longer and longer the closer I got to the solve. I had the feeling I was never going to get there. The ending was more prosaic, I'm sorry to say. I finally looked something up -- something I didn't know, never knew, and it didn't reside in that room in my brain that holds things that I mistakenly don't think I know -- and then everything fell.

So I had the thrill of some fast filling in, the frustration of reaching for but not able to touch, the aaah of finishing, and the sigh of the look-up taint. A rather sumptuous experience, overall!

Anonymous 12:34 PM  

I could not parse AT ON OF until I came to this site!

Master Melvin 12:44 PM  

Yes, SALAMIS is too easy unless you have bad eyes and you misread the clue as "Ones hanging around a dell?" and you think what a nice clever new clue for FARMERS. Took a while to get off it, but I still like my clue and answer better. ;-)

Masked and Anonymous 12:51 PM  

@indieWHA009: What the hey-all? Must object to yer openin line's use of "Yawp yarp yaope..." Wobbly. Only YAWP has any dictionary presence, and it (unlike RARA) does not have the Patrick Berry Usage Immunity seal of approval. Are U trying to conjugate yawp, a la hic haec hoc? As PB1 would no doubt say, "YAOPE is not SO DOPE."

Was able to pull ARLISS from deep out of my … background. Had ?A??O for {One face in the crowd?}, and confidently wrote in CAMEO, which screwed me up. Was jugglin ABES & FINS for possible half-sawbuck entries, and SALAMIS saved my bacon. Didn't know DEMIJOHN, which played hard to get, as it had a couple of French crosses plus the ill-fated CAMEO. Otherwise, no big solvequest problems, but was typical SatPuz slow-goin, imo.

Kinda liked ACCURST crossin ERST & RARA. It was like the puz had gone temporarily plumb desperate all the way back to the Dark Ages. Then ripped er right back up into the sparkly-current Trump Fer Prez & AnyKardashian for Veep Age, with NOPULP and SITEMAP. Like time machine whiplash. Admirable. Just me? Thought maybe so.

JAI = "I have", A LA I = ? French confuses the M&A. So … dopey.

Thanx, Mr. Kinsley.

Masked & Anonymo5Us


Mohair Sam 1:08 PM  

@Anon 12:58am - So I YouTubed "It's Really Love" by Annette. Not only the most god-awful sound ever, but I did not recognize the "Tonight" theme in there. You owe me 2 minutes 56 seconds of my life.

Lobster11 1:12 PM  

What Rex said.

Count me among those who DNF because of the ARTEL/GAT cross.

@Loren, you've really gotta try the Pentel. The rubber grip makes it super comfy to grip, and the "quicker" clicker mounted on the side instead of the butt end is SO DOPE!

Lobster11 1:17 PM  

@George Baranby - Thanks for the link to the Mark Diehl puzzle. I really enjoyed it, though DNF because of a few crossing WOES.

Junio Cleaver 1:21 PM  

Hola, COMPADRES! Por favor, No Mas do MES lo cinco del ANO.

Id est, please pass the Mayo. Just LEAF it alone.

Joe Bleaux 1:30 PM  

Easy? For you, Rex, more often than not -- but not for me. FRIDAY was relatively easy, this one a bear in comparison. After about 45 minutes, finally congratulated myself and put down the pen. Fun cluing, with a nice one in every quad (well, maybe not NE). Hand up on Mayo=MES, and thanks to all helpers, and to Mr. Kingsley for the challenge.

Hartley70 2:18 PM  

Yikes! This was terrifically hard for me after I quickly popped in SALAMIS and RAGED. On the bright side I loved WALDO and SELFIESTICK.

Then there was, you know, ARLISS, and ARTEL and MURRAY and HUMP to spoil the fun....not to mention RATSBANE, and NORA and ANKA, and AMIENS. But do you recall? The most bizarre entry of all...OXEYE the Baroque window! And now I've renamed all of SANTA's reindeer in song. Since I couldn't correctly complete the puzzle, this will have to serve as my "Accomplishment du Jour".

Masked and Anonymous 2:32 PM  

Should been "Thanx, Mr. KinGsley", in my earlier comment attempt. The G ain't silent.

(Wrong again) M&A (breath)

Lobster11 2:42 PM  

OK, one more post from me today, this from the Interesting-Thing-I-Learned-from-the-Puzzle Department: I managed to get ALOUETTE only after it was forced upon me by crosses, because I hadn't the slightest idea what the hell that song had to do with avian anatomy. So afterwards I looked it up and learned what everyone else probably already knew, i.e., that it involves torturing a presumably live bird by plucking its feathers, one body part at a time, as retribution for singing at an inconvenient time of day. Or maybe the idea is that the bird is murdered first, and then ripped apart? I'm not sure which is worse. Anyway, that then got me to thinking about how many nursery rhymes and children's songs are truly macabre, what with farmers chopping the tails off blind mice, babies crashing to the ground from treetops, Jill presumably looking on in horror as Jack cracks his skull open, and so on. Then there's the serial sexual harrassment by Georgie Porgie, and the nightly child abuse by the old woman in the shoe. Who's in charge of this stuff anyway?

Anonymous 3:16 PM  

"Deem appropriate" was the clue for "see fit", which is wrong. "Deem it appropriate" would have been correct.

Father Squirrel 4:19 PM  

All was good, although a bit of a trudge, until entering the Artel Triangle. Never/ne'er is not the opposite of yes/aye, as someone noted above, so I could not force myself to go that route. Antel wasn't exactly shouting "it's me!", but you need something to fill that empty square. Oh'en regrets.

OISK 4:44 PM  

Loved this one. Found it to be difficult, but fair, literate, balanced, with historical, geographical, and scientific references, combined with a near lack of pop culture ( OK, I think "so dope" is so dopy, but can't really complain about just one) . So much better than yesterday's obscure movie character...

A fine Saturday puzzle!!

Pat Fortunato 4:54 PM  

It was "Send a salami to your boy in the army!"

August West 5:09 PM  

Joyless slog.

puzzle hoarder 5:59 PM  

Somehow I missed out on SALAMI. KISMET was my first entry. 5th hat gave me WAKEN and WALDO. Everything else went in fairly steadily. Never saw the clue for MES due to that section being so easy. Parts of the puzzle were that easy but enough late week material to an ed it interesting.

sanfranman59 6:06 PM  

Easy??? Easy?!? EASY!!!? Are you kidding, Rex? I've been doing NYT crosswords for many years now and have reached a certain level of competence although I still get DNFs on about 5% of Saturday puzzles. This was one of those. I managed to slog through everything except the SW corner. I got SEALE and ESP without any crosses, so I was hopeful I'd get through that section. But then I confidently entered letmEXPLAIN for ICANEXPLAIN and didn't notice the error until later. I didn't even understand SODOPE until I read Rex's write-up. OXEYE is a flower to me. James MURRAY and ACCURST were lost on me. Before I got NOPULP, I had Horn for the Zebu feature. As is my wont, when I reached the 30 minutes mark, I gave up and started Googling, but there wasn't even much to Google in that section.

Definitely not easy for this guy.

sanfranman59 6:11 PM  

... and, BTW, my rating system based on solve times posted on the leaderboard places this puzzle solidly in the Challenging category and there were about 10% fewer successful solutions submitted than on a typical Saturday.

Anonymous 6:19 PM  

As a younger person who teaches linguistics to even younger people and so gets to stay up to date with slang, I could not wrap my brain around SO DOPE being modern slang in any way. It sounds like something an old person would think the kids today were saying. I filled in 'so dank', and then was "would the NYT really have 'so dank' in their crossword?" No, no, they would not.

Mohair Sam 6:26 PM  

@lobster11 - LOL, much needed here today - thanks.

Sheryl 12:20 AM  

Not easy for me. Too many words I'd never seen before: RATSBANE, AMIENS, GAT, DEMIJOHN, STKITTS, ONEL, ARTEL. I also never heard of NORA Dunn and had no idea where Elephantine Island was. I had no chance with this puzzle. No fun.

KevCo 12:43 AM  

Very entertaining write-up. I found the puzzle harder than usual, but I'm on the younger side of solvers, and some of this stuff was completely foreign to me.

I laughed out loud at Rex's comment about "Abes." He is so right. I have seen that clue at least 10 times in the crossword, yet I have never heard anyone refer a fiver as an "Abe." Pure fiction.

Greg 12:09 PM  

Far too many proper names and places for me to finish this one. I suppose that for Rex and other life-long solvers, ARLISS, MURARY, SEALE, AMIENS, etc were all gimmees.

Burma Shave 11:02 AM  


ICANEXPLAIN to AMISS who likes to MATE with the gents:


rondo 11:17 AM  

Easy my @$$! DNF as I couldn’t see DEFORESTS for de trees. MOST of the NW fell as did SELFIESTICK and WALDO. Then ONEL (used to be ONE) PTAS and SOAR and SEALE. Then drew blanks for the longest time. And I’ve gotta pack for vacation. Had to throw in the towel with lotsa blank spaces left.

Of course Annette F. was the yeah baby of my youth, but I was born TOOLATE for her. I think.

I feel SO like a DOPE. We’ll see if I have time for a puz on vaca.

leftcoastTAM 2:53 PM  

Yeah, it looked easy after I finished it off with several cheats.

SW area was toughest, in the square bounded by ACCURST where I wanted becurst(?), and ARLISS, where I wanted Brando. Also wanted "let me explain" instead of ICAN..., and SODOPE rang no bells. Wanted oriel instead of OXEYE. Then HUMP? What is a zebu anyway? Okay, now I know.

Then, in the SE, MES is "mayo, for one"? Really? And a soviet co-op is an ARTEL? News to me.

To round off my grousing, seemed PPP heavy to me.

Diana,LIW 3:16 PM  

Not at all easy, and for many of the reasons @Rex rants about! huh!

However, I often didn't agree with his reasons for the ranting.. Thought many clues were clever, not unfair. ALOUETTE is a silly (a bit gruesome) little song. One of the few French ditties I could pronounce. Unlike J'ai, which I always somehow said wrong.

Teacher: "J'ai"
Me: "J'ai"
Teacher: N, n, n, n, non, J'ai"
Me: "J'ai"
Teacher: "N,n,n..."
Around and around we would go.

First thought of garlics for 1-A, but didn't put it in as I thought, "nah." A friend who is a wonderful cook has those bunches of garlics hanging in his pantry. I always thought his kitchen was SO DOPE.

It was tres jolie to come up with some of the longer answers - nice little "ahas." Had "temporary" before MALL SANTA. Got a couple of permanent jobs after being a temporary at Christmas time.

Read "The Professor and the Madman" - the history of the OED - some years ago. Fascinating story, which I appreciate every time I open my f-I-l's "Shorter" (4000+ page) OED.

Ultimately, too many WOES for me to get near to a finish. All's fair...

The jokester in me wanted "no MSG" or the ubiquitous "gluten free" for the Tropicana claim. Like a Lewis Black gag, "Water, still fat and gluten free!" But avoid the COUSCOUS.

Peace, out.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for hipster slang

puzzled 2:56 AM  

Too Easy. Under 22 min.
54d. NILE [Elephantine Island is in it]
I was confusing it with Elephanta Island in Mumbai Harbor.
ARTEL is fine.I think I learned it in a book on Stalin. The "K" in kulaks kept kicking my neurons until the ultimate "A" in MALL SANTA reminded me of ARTEL.
Just noticed this. Not to throw cross words at this particular puzzle, but there's absolutely no humor, even corny humor, in any of the clues.
ANKA {Less decaffeinated instant coffee?}

Blogger 5:39 AM  

There's shocking news in the sports betting industry.

It's been said that every bettor needs to look at this,

Watch this or quit placing bets on sports...

Sports Cash System - Automated Sports Betting Software.

Blogger 11:54 PM  


Professional trading signals sent to your mobile phone every day.

Follow our signals today and profit up to 270% a day.

Blogger 3:08 PM  

Do you need free Google+ Circles?
Did you know that you can get these ON AUTO-PILOT AND TOTALLY FREE by registering on Like 4 Like?

TJS 9:24 PM  

Writing from the future: Worst, but most hilarious suggestion of all time: "Annette sings Ella ".

  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by 2008

Back to TOP