Postprandial woe / Classical record on Norman Bates's turntable in Psycho / Linguistic origin of Mulligatawny

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Constructor: Erin Rhode

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: Robert MUELLER (7D: Robert ___, F.B.I. director from 2001-2013) —
Robert Swan Mueller III (born August 7, 1944) is an American lawyer. He served as the sixth Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). (wikipedia)
• • •

Yes! Finally. A delightful, bouncy, playful, entertaining offering. What it lacked in Saturday-bite it made up for in liveliness and joy. Right off the bat, right along the top of the grid: FOOD COMA and FAT LIP. Alliterating colloquialisms! My first thought at 1A was FOOD BABY but that's only because constructor Finn Vigeland taught me that disturbing term and I now can't get it out of my head every time I think about eating too much. But I decided a BABY probably wouldn't be clued as a "woe," so then COMA went in and when several crosses worked out, I figured I was on to something. FARCE seems a rather high-falutin' (albeit accurate) word for what "Broad City" is (1D: "Broad City," for one), but I do love seeing "Broad City" in the puzzle—especially in semi-symmetrical relation to "BABY MAMA" (61A: 2008 Tina Fey/Amy Poehler comedy)—different generations of female comedy duos. Good stuff (the "Broad City" comedians, by the way, have Fantastic crossword names: ILANA Glazer and ABBI Jacobson). I normally hate all things poker, but I loved "A(AAAAA)ND I'M OUT" (15A: "That's it ... too rich for me"); somehow the addition of the conjunction makes it feel much more alive—like something coming out of actual people's mouths. The big winner of the day, though, is "I CAN'T EVEN" (13D: "This is too much"), which looks partial but is quite complete and totally captures the "OMG" zeitgeist of the social media world.

PASS A TEST (14D: Prove one's worth) is about one step up from DRIVE A CAR in terms of stand-alone-worthiness, and I can't recall ever seeing a single LINER NOTE (12D: It may be a credit to the band) ... but those answers are propping up I CAN'T EVEN, so I can't (even) stay mad. I had no idea KIBOSH was a stand-alone verb (59A: Put an end to). I have only ever heard "put the KIBOSH on..." something. That was weird. Love the clue on REY'S (46A: "___ Theme," tune from "Star Wars: The Force Awakens"), as it takes what is essentially a terrible foreign plural and gives it a new spin. Not that a possessive (clued as a title part) is Fantastic, but it's at least interesting (and contemporary). I have a picture disc of "REY'S Theme" that I got on Record Store Day back in April.

I had BIG DOGS instead of TOP DOGS (40A: Head honchos), primarily because of a t-shirt my sister got me a long time ago that said "If you can't run with the big dogs, stay on the porch." It was ridiculous. But memorable.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:12 AM  

Easy for me. My thought was that Fri. and Sat. were switched. My only WOE was CALE because the only member of the Velvet Underground I know is Nico. ELYSE on the other hand was a gimme.

Three letter French guy starting with L is almost always LUC.

Liked the different clue for ALTE.

Solid but easy Sat. with some zip, liked it.

I've gone through all of Peter Gordon's Fireball books which I used to keep in my car to give me something to do at traffic lights. To fill the void I've starting doing Sat. NYT puzzles from 1994 (early in the Shortz era I believe) at lights. (I didn't start doing puzzles seriously until 2003 or so). So far I'm through Jan. and all but one of the puzzles are tougher than anything I've seen on a Sat. this year.

Larry Gilstrap 12:46 AM  

What is the flavor of RED VINES? I'm pretty certain I've never heard KIBOSH without the definite article preceding it. Solving on paper, I experienced some difficulty with the ALTE MUELLER cross up there by the Great Lakes. I guess Germans don't appreciate arte in their galleries. I winced a bit when BABY MAMA emerged. Kinda gun-shy following recent discussions.

Mike Rees 12:55 AM  

Agree with Rex 100%. This was a ton of fun and just challenging enough. Good times :)

puzzle hoarder 2:02 AM  

It's good to see @Rex back to his old self. Yesterday he was so upset I was worried he might harm himself.
Today's puzzle has me very confused. As soon as I read the 1A clue l thought of FOODCOMA because I'd recently seen it in another puzzle. I assumed must have been the NYTP. However after finishing I went to xwordinfo and found out it was a debut entry. It hasn't appeared as a clue either. Now I have no idea why it's so familiar. Knowing who John Cale is helped finish that section.
The biggest single obstacle to finishing was changing ODOR to. OBOE. For a number of minutes I couldn't finish 61A and 66A. ODOR didn't interfere with EMOTICON which made it all the more confusing. Spotting your own mistakes is often the key to finishing late week puzzles.

Unknown 2:08 AM  

"I can't recall ever seeing a single LINER NOTE (12D: It may be a credit to the band)"

A nonsensical comment. A single liner note among many liner notes might involve a credit to "the band", whichever band that might happen to be.

Otherwise, glad you recovered from your swoon wherein a cluing in the NYT crossword apparently left you unable to function normally. Its examples like that which make me glad to be an insensitive clod.

George Barany 3:20 AM  

Nice puzzle by @Erin Rhode, even though it contained vocabulary that was new to me, and what a joyous, upbeat review by @Rex. Bravos all around!

A real highlight was the adjacent 13- and 14-Down, coming from a frustrated student: "I_CAN'T_EVEN_PASS_A_TEST!" Fun clues for EGGO, EMOTICON, EDISON, and especially WATERSKIS (that latter resonated personally, especially now that it's summer).

Fascinating trivia linking Beethoven's EROICA with Hitchcock's "Psycho," a non-Steph Curry clue for WARRIOR, and a reality-check entry with MUELLER, who served with distinction under both Republican and Democratic Presidents, and now his name is barely DREDGED from memory.

I've never watched "Game of Thrones" but who out there is unaware of OONA, named after her crossword-worthy grandmother, the daughter of playwright @Eugene O'Neill and the barely legal bride (age 18) of comedic genius @Charlie Chaplin?

Though the timing didn't work out for me to post anything yesterday, I did follow the dialogue with considerable interest. How we've moved from discussing the technical merits of chemistry clues. Kudos to @Rex for his courageous stand, and for his integrity in allowing all points of view to appear in the comments.

As if we need to be reminded of what the stakes are, our country which was built on freedom from persecution and on the sweat of immigrants now faces An Embarrassment of Riches in the upcoming election. Hint: 29-Down begins with X, not with Z.

George Barany 4:08 AM  

ICYMI, today's New York Times describes @President Obama's ALONE_TIME, and yesterday's edition addressed political correctness in the Trump campaign [hat-tip to @Teedmn, who posted about the latter last evening].

On a lighter note, this delightful 5-min Simpsons' clip is relevant to Thursday's puzzle, as first pointed out by @Joseph Welling.

Erin 5:03 AM  

I'm a little not sober.

My curling teammate just had a birthday.

We bar crawled in Oakland.

Rex liked my puzzle.

This was a good day.

da kine 6:39 AM  

That was an excellent puzzle. It was a tight grid with very little crosswordese. Now I have to go back and figure out what I'm offended by. Let's see:

FARCE for "Broad City"? Why, because it has two female leads with sexual agency? Problematic.

SRTA? That's pretty binary. How do you know the TIA identifies as female? Should be SRTX.

"Barren" as a clue? I literally can't even. Thanks for being insensitive to women who can't have children. That should have been clued in a less offensive way. I bet Shortz put that in there to rile us up further.

OONA? We know what happened at the Red Wedding. Why would they include that actress' name there without a trigger warning to ensure we don't have flashbacks?

TAMIL? Wow. Considering what's been going on in Sri Lanka over the past few years, I can't believe they just threw that out there without a note about how this under-represented minority has fared under majority rule.

Wait: the constructor was female, so retract all the above criticism.

Loren Muse Smith 6:52 AM  

Rex – same thoughts on KIBOSH. I briefly investigated. Seems you can kibosh something. Kobe kiboshed the kebabs. Cool.

And I completely agree about the addition of the conjunction that adds a huge layer of meaning to a phrase AND I'M OUT. I've had the same thought on the phrase And there it is.

Me: I'm not mad. Just tired.
Husband: I can tell somethings wrong. What did I do?
Me: Nothing! Leave me alone. I just don't wanna bore you anymore with news from the crossword blog.
Husband: And there it is.

The and really adds so much to that last sentence. Like he knew all along and has always known all along and this is an underlying issue and was just waiting for me to admit it. (Disclaimer – this conversation has never occurred. I don't talk to my family about this stuff anymore because I had become exhausting. I think I've said here before, every day my husband asks how the crossword and blog were. I always say, "Fine." This is my way of punishing him for being bored and trying to disguise it back when I did talk about all this. Boy, I'm showing him.)

I agree that this was a bouncy, playful, entertaining puzzle. Thanks, ER!

Loren Muse Smith 6:57 AM  

@Cleared2Land from yesterday –I was poised to post yesterday, but when Rex's post went up, I kinda assumed he wouldn't be posting our comments so I went off to run errands. I had written mine at about 4am, utterly unaware that LOLITAS would infuriate so many because I was unaware of the novel, name, meaning, history. Utterly, completely unaware.

Even after several years here, I still feel like I'm not smart enough to participate, and it's days like yesterday that really make me feel like an outsider. Every new person who came on and said they were "appalled, disgusted, horrified" at LOLITAS just made me feel stupid. To be so unaware of a word and clue that elicited such strong reactions feels shameful to me.

But here's the thing, like several people said yesterday – it's a word and like it or not it has/had a meaning. And it’s a crossword puzzle. I guess judging from the anger yesterday, LOLITA should join the likes of DIARRHEA, PUS, ENEMA, HITLER, CARBUNCLE, and not be invited at all. Or maybe disguise the issue with the clue

SNOT – spoiled little kid
RAT SASS – lip from a stool pigeon

I was watching Gone With the Wind last night and as I watched a little slave child fan the white girls as they took their naps at the Wilkes' BBQ, I was wondering if I was supposed to change the channel in disgust because the idea of a black child slave working like that offends me. I am not being all allegorical on you here and trying to deliver some message. I really had that thought. After the firestorm that was yesterday, I suffer a bit of PTSD because I don't feel offended often about anything and then I feel guilty for not being offended.

Like today. I actually looked at BABY MAMA so closed to SEEDLESS and wondered if I was supposed to be angry about the insensitivity of the pair.

Here's the thing – I have someone very close to me who is an alcoholic. She struggles mightily with it, and because she's so close, it affects me a great deal. But I never feel angry or offended the bajillion times a puzzle refers to a sot, tippler, boozehound, hic producer, sponge, souse, lush, elbow bender, boozer, toss pot, hooch hound, barfly, pub crawler, tipplemeister, juicer, drunkard…

I do understand that words can affect, startle, offend people. Hey, the ______ mightier than the sword.

Trey 7:24 AM  

Good puzzle. Struggled to get WARRIOR, and thus WATERSKIS. Once I had those, SW corner fell but it was a struggle until then, especially when I had bigDOG as well

johnnymcguirk 8:06 AM  

This was a nice puzzle thanks.

Deb C - San Antonio 8:06 AM  

Nice Robert Plant reference! I had SHINER in that spot first.

Anonymous 8:08 AM  

Joyless slog for me. Too much unknown pop reference and other assorted out of wheelhouse trivia. I couldnt even...

Hartley70 8:33 AM  

@Erin, I bet we all liked it! This was a jolly Saturday puzzle that I finished in average time without any sturm und drang. Some of the answers, like ANDIMOUT and ICANTEVEN were so close to the vernacular that it could have been a theme. Good job!

Dorothy Biggs 8:40 AM  

Erin: "Rex liked my puzzle." Don't get used to it.

Since you're here...hi!

I'm with @Larry Gilstrap: KIBOSH isn't a's a noun. As it's clued, it's hard to imagine the answer being anything other than a verb. "Put an end to." <-- screaming for a verb answer. KIBOSH =/= verb.

Lots of 1st personness in this puzzle: IMLATE, ANDIMOUT, ICANTEVEN. I'm sure there are no rules against this, but as I did the puzzle I was very aware of it and shied away from entertaining answers with yet another reference to "I."

Like the ONELOVE reference.

When will I ever remember how to spell Shaq's last name? I can't even...

I can't find much wrong with the puzzle...and I most certainly didn't groan. A puzzle with no puns is always a bonus.

LaurieG in Connecticut 8:45 AM  

I enjoyed your puzzle, thanks!

Anonymous 8:55 AM  

What LMS said.

Cleared2Land 8:55 AM  

@LMS - Thanks for the response. I enjoy your contributions here and was curious as to your reaction. You stated your position well, as always.

Carola 9:06 AM  

Plenty to like but a couple of demerits for the PPP overload.

Z 9:10 AM  

@Erin - Congrats
@LMS - To be clear, it wasn't the word, it was the cluing. As for not belonging - Har. You probably don't realize that you engender those exact same feelings in others. Just remember that, for all of us, what we don't know far far FAR exceeds what we do know.

I do have one complaint about today's puzzle, it is a little heavy on Pop Culture, Product Names (let go me EGGO), and Proper Nouns, coming in at 24/70, or 34%. There is lots of good stuff here (personal fav - clue to answer for WATER SKIS), and I love the double trivia on the esey EROICA, but there is quite a bit here that, while it is in my wheelhouse, will be in peoples' outhouse.

And not directly relevant to anything, Play Like a Girl.

Donkos 9:20 AM  

@erin, "I'm a little not sober", curling, bar crawl... Sounds like fodder for your next puzzle!

Trombone Tom 9:57 AM  

Running late out here on the left coast. Kudos to Erin Rhode for an interesting puzzle. As usual I would rate this tougher than does OFL. This old codger has a tough time coming up with names like CALE and I tried to force TINO into TItO.

Also slow to come to KIBOSH without the article.

What's not to like about a puzzle starting out with FOODCOMA and FATLIP.

JC66 9:59 AM  

Well said, Loren

Nancy 10:12 AM  

I seem to be the outlier here so far. The PPP in the NW meant that I DNF -- and I could have stared at that corner all day and never solved it. I never heard of FOOD COMA -- and even though I had the OMA, I still couldn't get it. (I was thinking of booze, and was initially looking for HANGOVER or HEADACHE.) I would never say AND I'M OUT, I'd say I'M OUT. The AND seems superfluous. I didn't know the candy; what "Broad City" is; which player has a big foot; the Velvet Underground guy -- and all this stuff was squooshed together in one section. The rest of the puzzle I liked, but the NW was a real irritation.

GILL I. 10:17 AM  

@Loren...Good post. I too, had no idea about the offensiveness of the word LOLITAS. I absolutely hate it when I say something that might offend someone. For instance, I always mix up TWIT for TWAT. I invariably use twat and the eyebrows go flying...
Speaking of language...mulligatawny sounds so Irish to me. TAMIL was the last to go in. Still, I'm glad @REX liked it because I did too.
FOOD COMA was my favorite entry. In Spanish we call it empacho (for those that care about these things) I also liked BABY MAMA. Speaking of things that sound like scratching a chalk board....I can't stand that know what I mean? I know, it is what it is.
Happy about to be 4th to everyone....Potato salad in the making!

Anonymous 10:25 AM  

'odor' for 57 down threw me for a bit

Laura 10:34 AM  

Almost perfect Saturday. The NE gave me a little trouble -- instead of FOODCOMA, I had HANGOVER, but maybe that was because I had one.

Theresa S 11:04 AM  

A in the cross between aleast (autocorrect doesn't like this word!) and rad was last letter to fill in and was totally a guess. Can you help out a newbie?

GeezerJackYale48 11:07 AM  

I started this puzzle a couple hours ago, then gave it up for a while to let my brain get a fresh start. It worked. All in all, a good challenging Saturday for me. Maybe a quibble with Shaquille ONeal categorized as an NBA star, since he retired in 2011. And I still have no idea what a liner note can be, but I assume if I was 70 years younger I might know.

Mohair Sam 11:23 AM  

Appropriately tough Saturday and a lot of fun. We took forever battling through the NW because REDVINES and CALE are new to us, we know ELYSE only phonetically, and don't care much for the AND in ANDIMOUT. For some reason ODDLY just wouldn't come to mind for the longest time.

Loved the clues for OBOE and WATERSKIS. Remembered Beethoven in Psycho, so EROICA not too tough. Might have done the ArTE for ALTE natick trap, but MUELLER appeared before a few committees and rang a bell.

Anybody wondering why economics is called the "dismal science" need only refer to @Martin Abresch's complaint late yesterday that TAXCUT was clued as "good news for workers."

@da kine - take your tongue our of your cheek. I actually winced for fear of @rex's reaction when I saw "Broad City" as a clue, then relaxed when I noticed Erin Rhode as the constructor. If I need "Full Frontal" in my puzzle I'll have my wife ghost it.

Joseph Michael 11:27 AM  

Fun puzzle. Favorite moment: learning about Norman Bates' taste in music. Least favorite moment: hearing ONE LOVE playing in my head. Oh, no, here it comes again.

Alysia 11:27 AM  

A perfectly accepted definition for "barren" is "Not producing or incapable of producing fruit: barren trees."

Almost weekly, my husband makes a trip to the grocery store solely to purchase a SEEDLESS watermelon. They've not been in season and are pretty bad half the time, hence the frequency of the trips.

Let's all take a minute to not get bent out of shape about something completely innocuous. I CAN'T EVEN tell if dk's offense was sincere or not, but...come on. We've got way bigger issues than "barren."

Warren Howie Hughes 11:33 AM  

Here I thought that Former NBA Detroit Piston star center Bob Lanier, had the TOP DOGS ever, being his humongous sneakers are actually in a display case in the Basketball H.O.F in Springfield, Mass. Nothing but NET! Thank you Erin for having Rhode back into the Wordplay after a one years absence, and on a Saturday, no less, that must truly tickle your EGGO!? May the FARCE be with you!

Anonymous 11:39 AM  

Congrats, Erin! You have a lot to celebrate. Fun puzzle.

Tough for me because of all the pop culture stuff (I'm old) but felt totally fair because I was able to hack my way through letter by letter. Hmm, ELYSE, yeah, that could be a name... BABYMAMA, ONELOVE?, yeah, those could be songs...Broad City? Never heard of it. TV show? FAR--? OK, a genre. Gotta be FARCE....etc.

Thanks for the gimmes that got me started - ALTE, EROICA - and for teaching me something fun - I CAN'T it!

BigwiGS instead of TOPDOGS and finiSH instead of KIBOSH and quietTIME instead of ALONETIME slowed me down like you wouldn't believe but when I erased that whole mess and saw WATERSKIS, I beamed with joy and threw down the rest of that corner in seconds. How cool it must be to be like Rex and the others who just do that all the time!

JD 11:46 AM  

Thanks for the help yesterday on flasher and oriental. I see now that it stops the other car. Yes duh. I have no excuse for oriental.

Mohair Sam 12:09 PM  

@Gill I - Twat for Twit? We can't stop laughing here. That must make you tons of friends.

On the "Tawny" thing - we were thinking "dutch" from Pennsylvania Dutch - we live in Pennsylvania Dutch country (although they're trying to change it to Pennsylvania German) and we're surrounded by tawny's - having lunch in Maxitawny Township today as a matter of fact.

Teedmn 12:13 PM  

@da kine, nice send-up.

@Gill I, I have the same idea about mulligatawny. Someone was telling me they had made it and I said, "oh, that's the one with the leeks?" I was thinking of cock-a-leekie (Scottish). My friend said, "Nooo?" I looked up the mulligatawny and said, "Nope, no leeks!"

57D had me puzzled for a bit. I had the _ _ OE and put in shOE, as in horse shoe pit. I figured it out.

Thanks, Erin, and congrats on the sophomore effort!

OISK 12:31 PM  

Thanks to @LMS for the apt comment. I value sense of humor over sens-itivity. I respect other folks' completely different feelings, while not sharing them.

I was SO happy when I discovered that "Red Vines" was actually correct, so I did not have two DNF in a row. I found this to be a painful slog though. Red vines?? I love licorice, and visit the candy counters frequently - never heard of them. Never heard of Cale either, which could have been CILE, if Shaq spelled his name ONEIL . Close call for me...

I really hate clues that refer to one scene in one movie - totally meaningless to many of us. EROICA is one of the most famous symphonic works in the history of music. Surely there were possible clues that referred to the music, and not to a scene form a bad (well, I didn't like it!!) movie.

Never heard of Luc Jacquet either, but how many French names ending in "C" do I know? Did not know the name of the song, despite having heard in hundreds of times - it is featured in some commercials, right? Reys theme? I can't even? And I'm out?? So the answer to "It was all a mistake..." would be "And I'm sorry." Think of all the new possibilities - just take any common expression, and put "And" in front of it. Phooey. India Arie??? Baby Mama??? But I did like food coma, fat lip, and the cluing for waterskis, liner note (although as others have said, it is almost always plural) and rot gut.

jberg 12:35 PM  

I've never heard of RED VINES (and I used to work at a convenience store that sold a lot of candy), so I would have gone with twizzles if only z had been a Roman numeral. Also never heard of CALE or "Broad City" or watched "Family Ties" (I had heard of that one. I had given up and come here when suddenly I thought of FARCE about 10 seconds before @Rex's comment opened up. Whew, that was close!

Since he's the source of so many quotations, I almost went with Joseph AdISON (misspelled) before EDISON occurred to me. And I was seriously wondering whether a pop-up reminder window could be called a memO for about 5 minutes, until I thought of EGGO. So this one was tough.

I didn't know about EROICA in Psycho (I saw it when I was 16), but you could match that with Clockwork Orange in a Beethoven Movie Music theme. Are there others?

@Loren and others, if you'll read @Rex yesterday it's not the word. Lolita or Lolitas would be fine in a puzzle. It was that she was clued as a "tease." Anyway, you are actually the insider here, the rest of us struggle to live up to your standard!

Anonymous 12:44 PM  

@Alyssa - the barren might have a different perspective. You do not speak for everybody.

old timer 12:44 PM  

I am a shameless Googler for what Rumsfeld called the "known unknowns". In this case ELYSE, LUC and CALE. And MUELLER which I was certain I would know, but could not DREDGE UP. PEN NAME I did know, The long-time Ann Landers was the twin sister of the Abby of Dear Abby. But Ann's predecessor was a man!

For a long time I had "dumbest" instead of NUMBEST, but the Wizard of Menlo Park (EDISON) was sure to be right.

I was tickled by the clueing for BABY MAMA. The only inoffensive way to get that common phrase into the puzzle.

Tim Pierce 12:54 PM  

The Other Ellen S and I enjoyed this one too. A couple of points:

* Loved the cluing on REYS, LINERNOTE, OTTER, RAD and ROTGUT. Lots of fresh air here.
* Puzzled by the question mark on 32D: Has fun getting towed? There doesn't seem to be any wordplay in this one. Still another great clue.
* Amused to see SMUT symmetrically opposite from the ever-so-slightly risqué 21D: Something that may pop up in the morning. If this was intentional, very well played; if it wasn't, take the credit anyway.

I got briefly detoured with KayOed for KIBOSH, and sERviNg for PERCENT. I don't begrudge the KIBOSH clue, though -- it is legitimately used as a verb, even if rarely.

Much fun. More, @Erin!

Chaos344 1:15 PM  

Nice job Erin!

What Rex and jae said. Outstanding puzzle that was actually easier for me than Friday. I think they should have been swapped, but without all the Sturm und Drang yesterday's puzzle evoked.

@da kine: ROTFLMAO! Funniest post of the day so far. It has a good chance of remaining in the #1 spot barring a possible late gem from Leapy.

@George Barany: Yes, kudos to Rex for the integrity he always shows regarding opposing points of view, especially when they are obviously diametrically opposed to his. Freedom of speech on this blog is one of the main reasons I left Wordplay. F**K the emus!

I'm glad you kept up with yesterday's commentary on the blog. I hope you paid particular attention to that part of my post which ended with, "You know who you are!" Nuff said?

@LMS: To my mind, your comments of today are the best you've ever posted. I have a new found respect for you. It took a huge amount of courage to admit that you have an almost childlike enthusiasm when it comes to crosswords. That explains why you can never bring yourself to criticize anything about a puzzle or it's constructor.

Like yourself, I am not offended by anything! Well, that's not quite the truth. I am deeply offended by those who insist that I be deeply offended by the same things that deeply offend them!

If anyone belongs here, its you! You're boundless joy and hilarious stories are a breath of fresh air. No one makes me laugh like you and Leapy, but in totally different ways. We all know you're very intelligent. Don't short sell yourself. Like @Z said,"Just remember that, for all of us, what we don't know far far FAR exceeds what we do know."

@Warren Howie Hughes: Owie,old chum! So good to see you posting on a regular basis again? Leapy sorely needs some "punny" competition and I need another like-minded trooper. LOL.

Warren Howie Hughes 1:41 PM  

So elated that our yearly constructor didn't Erin on the side of caution and took instead the Rhode not taken! ANDIMOUT before some LUGS give me a big FATLIP!

Joe Bleaux 1:45 PM  

FWIW, that NW was my Waterloo, too (although I CAN'T EVEN didn't make a lick of sense to me). The rest of Ms. Rhode's puzzle was a fun romp, though (and not, for me, too easy for a Saturday).

Joe Bleaux 1:51 PM  

Remember vinyl albums? Liner notes (usually laudatory as well as informative) were published on the back of them. Back in the day, I (now a geezer, BTW) wrote them for the Mercury label for 50 bucks a pop.

jae 1:54 PM  

A bit of perspective on the 1994 NYT puzzles I've been doing...the one I just finished had a PPP of 40% with clues like "Imagist poet Doolittle" and "Oh! Calcutta!" cowriter".

Masked and Anonymous 3:06 PM  

My postprandial woe: not knowin what "postprandial" meant. (But I learned somethin, so … ok.)

I contend that the clue for DIVES rates a "?".

Knew REYS, but didn't know how to spell it. Ditto, on KIBOSH.

"HE'S Mine" was a hit 1957 song?! Thought I knew all the hits from that year … ahar … research shows it peaked at #24 for The Platters, in that year. So … semi-sorta-hit, maybe.

Otherwise, pretty eazy-E, fun, and group-of-toads-less SatPuz, warts and all. themelessthUmbsUp.

fave weeject: AND that CAN'T EVEN be anything but: CMI. {Brutally excessive noise from pigeons??} (Coo Much Information)

Masked & Anonymo5Us


Chaos344 3:27 PM  

@Z: Re: Your late post of yesterday. We shall see my friend. Go Tigers!

@jae: Great comment. The NYT has been "dumbing down" the difficulty factor of the puzzles since the Maleska era ended. I understand that maintaining a current base of solvers,(and thus revenue) is the driving force behind this long term agenda. It is also worth noting that much of the knowledge base necessary to complete Maleska era puzzles is no longer taught in K-12. Geography, history, basic classical western literature, etc.

With today's culture of instant gratification, coupled with the ability to call up vast amounts of information via several strokes on a keyboard, few new solvers accept the fact that some of us older cruciverbalists can solve a Saturday puzzle without help in under, say, 30 minutes. They do not want to wait until they are well into their 60's or 70's to amass that type of knowledge base.

Can you imagine a 30 year old doing a NYT crossword puzzle 40 years from now? Clue reads, "Early 21st century recording artist whose name sounds like a summer drink." Or, "Erstwhile Sibling of Bart."

Solvers will be like WTF? What does erstwhile mean? Of course, by that time, NYT puzzles will probably have descended to the difficulty level of TV Guide? Clues will commonly be, "How many judges serve on the Supreme Court?" College students will still be clueless, but they will be able to tell you all the names of the Kardashian grandchildren!

David in CA 3:44 PM  

@puzzle hoarder Your instinct on FOODCOMA was correct. Wife ("closer") & I do the Sunday's a week late. I was totally stuck in the NW of this Saturday when we looked at last Sunday's: 1D: "Food ____ (feelings after big meals)" - wife says "COMAS", I say "AHA!", and go back to today's puzzle and cleaned up the NW.

skua76 3:45 PM  

@puzzle hoarder...I too was SURE I came across FOOD COMA in another puzzle very recently. Checked several non-NYT puzzles from the past week--Gordon, Agard, Gaffney, and even a BEQ that someone mentioned here...couldn't find it. Looked at xwordinfo and it it listed as a debut word.

And also on xwordinfo (aftsr seeing Erin's photo confirming she's a woman--not obvious while solving...but certainly not irrelevant to the major discussion topic of the day) someone noticed that this is the first Saturday puzzle with a woman constructor since one by Elizabeth Gorski in 2014...and the previous one was two YEARS before that! Awesome. I really enjoyed a hard but still Goldilocks puzzle...just right, when the final answers came to me. Thank you thank you Erin!

Anonymous 4:19 PM  

We all appreciated good liner notes. Sometimes the bands wrote their own. Lowell George, in particular, wrote great ones.

Tita 5:14 PM will you adapt your puzzling habit when you own a self-driving car? Not sure if I should be terrified or not of your admission. I know it's only at red lights, NY, the home of the New York Minute, you might find that practice stressful.

(For the record, my dream scenario is that Everyone Else will have a self-driving car. I will then be able to drive myself without having to deal with the terminally oblivious drivers that are the cause of most woes on the roads.)

@Erin...thanks for stopping by! I second Rex's comments. This was just the kind of Saturday I love. First pass- randomly scattered footholds. Second pass, a few corners get filed in, thinking I'll never get the rest. Ignore puzzle for a few hours, fill in all but one quadrant, certain I will no way no how finish that last little bit.
Then suddenly...done!!!!! No cheats!

@David Krost...your last line...hilarious...thank you!
@da kine...pretty good too.

Great comments from all...thanks to this group for all the cleverness and insight.

puzzle hoarder 5:57 PM  

@lms, good to see you back. Your absence yesterday was notable. There's nothing wrong with you for not being offended. It just means you haven't been brainwashed. You seem to be one of the more rational people who comments here. Stick with your own opinions and if you ever get together with people form this blog don't drink the Kool-Aid.

Michaell 6:20 PM  

Fairly easy for me except for the northwest, where redlines and cale were news to me and Elyse and Mueller were in a very obscure and rarely accessed part of my brain (perhaps not the same part!). But I eventually got the corner through and I'm out, food coma, and the other (than Mueller) downs.

sara 6:41 PM  

also wondering about ALEAST and RAD, neither makes obvious sense to me. help!

Z 7:05 PM  

@Martin Abresch - I'm partial to Oranje and the Red of Espana, but if Messi said, "I'll only play in Barca colors" Argentina should do it. As for PKs, have you seen a more laughable ending than today's Italy v Germany match? I was at the Detroit City FC v Grand Rapids FC match last night. Far more entertaining soccer.

@Chaos - I don't know if you caught this tidbit from Thursday's broadcast: Tampa Bay has the second lowest attendance this year. #1? Cleveland.

@Alysia - @da kine was being satirical.

@WHW - When Lanier didn't fit I spent precious nano-seconds pondering a Saturday rebus.

@anon4:19 - Elvis Costello reissues are worth buying for his droll LINER NOTEs alone.

Warren Howie Hughes 7:22 PM  

'Allo, Chaos344, 'Owie, 'ere, 'appy to be back in the swim 'ere on Rex's Blog, as the forking emus over at Wordplay are certainly a most unforgiving lot. I better watch that I avoid my unfortunate tendency to blurt untoward phrases that got me banished for evermore in Wordplay, despite the more Freedom of Speech that Rex P's blog advocates. I should feel perfectly in my element with Leapy and Lasz tossing out the tons of puns over 'ere.

Amelia 10:12 PM  

@Erin. Best puzzle I've done all year. We were waiting on line at the Guggenheim as I was completing it, andI turned to my husband and said you know why this puzzle is so great? Because every time I get an answer, I think, ooh, that's good. Loved so many, but the parking meter was my favorite.

Amelia 10:14 PM  

@sara al east. American League East.

Anonymous 11:51 PM  

@sara 6:41 I had no idea what either was, had to look them up. The Rays play in the AL East and Old Dope is a rap (song? album?). Part of the high PPP count.

Larry Gilstrap 11:53 PM  

The coast is clear, but I can't help revisiting Lady DIANA Spencer who, as I remember had to PASS A TEST that proved that she was not at present, and was in the future capable of becoming a Royal BABY MAMA. Believe you me, I keep a sharp eye on my wife's driver.

Jim Finder 5:35 AM  

Agree with Nancy and Joe Bleaux.

Jim Finder 5:36 AM  

ALEAST means American League East, for those who asked.

Alysia 11:18 AM  

Everything could have a different perspective should one choose to find it.

Like...does no one in this world understand the seriousness of comas and the pain caused to the families of the inflicted? How dare the puzzle constructors take this malady so lightly with their jokes about FOODCOMAs every week? The insensitivity is atrocious. And shame on Rex for blah, blah, blah...

I'm quite aware I don't speak for everybody. If I did, I wouldn't feel the need to post my comment.

Suzy 8:30 PM  

Thank you!!!!!!!!!!?!

kitshef 8:29 PM  

On the other hand, I hated it. And I hated it most especially and viscerally for ANDIMOUT and ICANTEVEN.

Can anyone on this blog, or in the world for that matter, tell me they knew who Aunt ENA was before today? Do you know now?

Then there is FOODCOMA - which we just freakin' had - what - a week ago!?!?

I do admire the construction - a whole lotta WoEs yet finished with no major snags, thanks to the fairness of the crosses.

Burma Shave 10:50 AM  




rondo 11:39 AM  

So OFL has never seen a LINERNOTE? That’s impossible, or else he doesn’t know what they are. The biggest problem I created was entering bigwiGS off just the GS; a bit of an inkfest ensued there but success in the end.

@Waxy – re: yesterday, if you meant MY comment, it's pretty clear that I did NOT think the revised clue was an "upgrade".

I would have preferred “Musician J.J.” for the CALE answer, nothing wrong with the Velvet Underground either, but Lou Reed is probably the most well-known of the group. Had at least one VU album as a youth; I’m sure I read the LINERNOTEs. How else do you know their names and stuff? BTW, J.J. CALE’s first name was also John.

As @George B. mentioned, OONA Chaplin carries the name on, yeah baby. India ARIE has perhaps grown out of it.

ONELOVE as performed by Bob Marley and the Wailers is such a classic; it should be a gimme for 90 PERCENT of music lovers.

IMLATE for brunch. Even considering the RRN, this puz was not STALE. ANDIMOUT.

rondo 11:55 AM  

Almost forgot the DIANAS Ross and Spencer, both of whom, well. . . you know.

spacecraft 12:12 PM  

To the leadoff blogger: Who are you and what have you done with the real OFL? This is kindness in the extreme. Oh, it's an OK puzzle, but I see nothing to crow about with ANDIMOUT. Looks to me like she just needed three more letters to stick in front of "I'M OUT," which is what people say. They do NOT stick an "AND" in front of it. Ditto with ICANTEVEN....what? This is the perfect definition of a partial. Yes, I suppose I've heard someone trail off; not saying the entry is illegitimate; just awkward. PASSATEST is SEENAS similarly contrived. Contrast IMLATE, a la Carroll's white rabbit. Wholly contained, and IN THE LANGUAGE.

Not much punch, for a Saturday; I agree with an overall easy-medium rating--but for the end of the week? Really easy. I didn't know about OTTER diets; I'm assuming we're talking sea OTTERs here. One writeover: my "Totes" were baGS before seeing the gimme ATSTUD. Fill is not bad, but does contain the RRN and the RSD (random sports division). Hand up for thinking KIBOSH was a noun. DOD is Meredith Baxter-Birney as ELYSE (not to be confused with EROICA). Par.

Loved last night's opening ceremony, especially the Refugee Team marching under the Olympic Flag, and the inaugural Olympic Laurel for "making the world a better place through sport" to Kip Keino. Good stuff. Carry on, guys.

Anything to make us forget about "The 50-foot Fence Builder."

Waxy in Montreal 1:47 PM  

@Rondo - sorry about any confusion yesterday. Was not referring to you but who(m)ever revised the clue in the 5-weeks between prime and syndi time at the NYT.

Tough Saturday for me. Had SEGMENT before PERCENT, ICANTGOON before ICANTEVEN and SOULLESS before SEEDLESS as well as not knowing REDVINES, CALE and ELYSE in the NW and about the dietary preferences of OTTERs in the SE. Dr. Google to the rescue.

On to the Olympics.

Sailor 2:21 PM  

I found this a lot harder than most of you. As I counted it, the PPP was even a little higher than @Z had it, and a lot of it was unknown or barely-remembered trivia to me. As Z said, it's a wheelhouse/outhouse thing. ELYSE? ARIE? Norman Bate's turntable? Definitely not my wheelhouse. I was nearly KIBOSHed, and felt good about just being able to finish.

OTOH, I actually do hear ANDIMOUT and ICANTEVEN in the wild, and I enjoyed the fresh feel they gave to this puzzle. Maybe its a regional thing. Liked FOODCOMA, REDVINES and LINERNOTE,too. Loved some of the clever clues, and the EDISON quote.

I suppose it was inevitable that KIBOSH would be turned into a verb, but I've not actually seen or heard it used that way, myself, before today.

I'm looking forward to seeing the next edition of Ms. Rhode's work, and hoping, purely for my own sake, that it's a little lighter on the PPP and trivia.

rain forest 3:02 PM  

Though I liked the puzzle, maybe not as much as @Rex, I had a massive DNF - the worst one I've had in years. Maybe I had too much wine last night...

That licorice was completely unknown, and I had REDlINES in there which gave DILES for 3D and I thought they could be low bars. Clue was bit off there, or maybe needed a "?".

The North east was almost blank even though I knew EROICA, SRTA, and guessed EDENS (was EDEN the promised land? I thought it was where Adam and Eve messed things up.). Now that I look at the solution, there were a couple answers I should have got, but I CAN'T EVEN would never have come.

I was well slapped down on this one, but I could see its liveliness. @Spacey - I used to be in love with Meredith Baxter.

leftcoaster 3:10 PM  

What Rex said.

NE was last to go, made gettable by the two DIANAS, but slowed down because of Nab before NET and SnrA before SRTA.

Favorite answers: EMOTICON (don't use them) and TOPDOGS, writeover of TOPgunS.

I know that more than enough has been said about yesterday's LOLITAS issue. But I couldn't help thinking about it after reading most of the comments, and at the risk of salting the wounds....

Yes, as created by Nabokov, Humbert is a pedophile, Lolita (Dolores) is a coquette, and Nabokov's novel is rated a great work of modern literature. It may be difficult to reconcile all this with our justified outrage today about pedophilia and blaming the victim. Nabokov wasn't excusing either the pedophilia or coquetry; he was brilliantly illuminating them in a complex fictional relationship.

Was the reaction here due solely to the cluing? Maybe the clue could have been modified to avoid some of the incensed reactions, but I doubt that would have cooled the reactions of all.

The outburst against the cluing and answer seemed an echo, distant as it was, of reactions to the novel when it was first published in the 1950s: Ban the messenger and burn his message--even if I expect we've come a long way since then.

leftcoastTAM 4:21 PM  

I'm responsible for what my avatar, Tom Morehouse, just said.

Diana,LIW 4:34 PM  

I had "sleeping" and "shiner" across the top at first. Used to work with a doctor who hated teaching afternoon classes because of "Post-prandial narcolepsy," a phrase I try to get into conversations

Had fun with as much of the puzzle as I got, but had a dnf in the NW because of my cultural illiteracy. I did know REDVINES, but couldn't pull it out of my post-prandial brain. (See how I got that in there?)

Little Aunt ENA shows up often in puzzles, but probably gets written in by crosses and gets unnoticed.

@Waxy - I knew what you meant yesterday. However, I think FutureLanders got the "changed" clue and we Synders got the old one. You know how you revise something and the old version ends up popping up?

I thought the oyster cracker would be some kind of kitchen gizmo from KTel.

Two of my f-I-l's favorite expressions were KYBOSH and kaput. Most of his letters to us would have one or another.

Now, to prove my humanity. What's your least favorite pics to click on while doing the robot quiz? I hate the storefronts. The pics are so little I can't tell if it's a house, a storefront, or a barn.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

kitshef 9:16 PM  

DLIW - what is 'the robot quiz'?

Diana,LIW 9:49 PM  


When I comment, I must pass a "Please prove you're not a robot" test. I'm shown 9 photos and must identify "mountains" or "store fronts" or "street signs." Perhaps you don't have that? Anyway, the storefronts are my least favorite.


Z 10:04 PM  

@Diane,LIW - If you post from a google account you don't have to prove you're not a robot. You also get your name in blue.

Sailor 10:11 PM  

@rain forest: You are absolutely correct re EDENS. The constructor got her Bible stories mixed up. Canaan was the Promised Land. Unfortunately, it was already occupied by the Canaanites, who are still upset about that.

Sailor 10:12 PM  

"If you post from a google account you don't have to prove you're not a robot. You also get your name in blue."

And a picture!

kitshef 10:14 PM  

@Diana - ah, yes. I get that occasionally when I post from the laptop, where I have no idea how to access my Google account. When I post from the tablet, I am automatically granted humanity. [beep]

pkrbkr 10:28 PM  

So many things these days require a Google account. Cheeses!

Z 10:34 PM  

@pkrbkr - Uncle Google Sees All. Uncle Google Knows All.

Diana,LIW 10:42 PM  

Thanks @Z et alia

Since I have used my one and only cell phone a couple dozen times since I got it in 2011, it's obvious I like to keep it simple when technology roars.

So I shan't look up getting a Google Acct. But I do thank you for your info - you have often been helpful.

Now - I. Am. Not. A. Robot.


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