Tickets in slang / SAT 9-17-16 / Book before Philemon / Cliched gift for prisoner / Staple of victorian architecture / Cry before rage-quitting / Round end of sort / Snack brand first produced at Disneyland in 1960s

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Constructor: Andrew J. Ries

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: FARMERS ONLY (37A: Website for people interested in "cultivating" a relationship) —
Carrying the tagline "city folks just don't get it," launched with about 2,000 members, but grew to more than 100,000 users by 2010 as nonfarmers embraced the sensibility. // "You don't have to be a farmer," Miller, who's based in Cleveland, said. "You could work at a restaurant, or the feed store, but are looking for someone who has those values." (some Yahoo (appropriately) article)
• • •

The only remarkable things here are NOT GONNA LIE, which is Great, and FARMERS ONLY, which is not. I am having the most ridiculous back-and-forths right now on Twitter with FARMERS ONLY defenders, or, if not defenders, FARMERS ONLY knowers. Not only have I never heard of it, it seems like some dumb-@$$ $!^#. Just reading about it made me stupider. It's unusual, though, I'll give it that. Anyway, everything else was pretty forgettable, except the NE, which had a lively bunch of first-person exclamations: "OH MY! WHAT A DAY! I'M SO MAD!!! ... Where are my DORITOS, TORI!?" A nice corner indeed. Almost makes me not notice AMU. Almost.

[LISA / LISA and Cult Jam: "His kiss is credit in the bank of love / Never leave home without it!"]

I didn't know Philemon *or* TITUS were books (of the Bible?) so that wasn't easy. I don't like I AM being in the grid with I'M SO MAD. It's a dupe, contraction be damned. Hey, look, it's the LeBron "King James" reference I asked for yesterday! Fast service! (18D: King James, e.g.). Can't believe I'm saying this, but this puzzle coulda eased up on the sports. UCLA (clued via tennis), CAV, BUC, GATOR, ATL, STEPH, FOUL LINE; we get it, you're a sports fan. Clues were suitably tricky, and that is some bonkers trivia re: DORITOS (22A: Snack brand first produced at Disney land in the 1960s). But mostly it was shrug and ugh. More shrug. Actually, not a lot of ugh. And then some good parts. So ... an average Saturday, I guess.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Anonymous 12:07 AM  

Living in KS, farmersonly was a gimmee. I see those damn commercials all the time...

You don't have to be lonely, at farmers only dot com!

Jim 12:13 AM  

@Rex - Let me get this straight; the thought that a farmer (you know, one of those fly-over folks who actually produce food) might be interested in meeting someone who's into that lifestyle makes you stupider? Can you say "Intolerant elitism"? I know you can!

jae 12:23 AM  

Easy-medium for me too.

My first thought on Bulldog was Yale not Georgia.

Was looking for an author for 1a. Nice misdirect.

Had PLay before PLUG?

Is 12d down a shout out to the Thurs. puzzle?

I've lived in San Diego for over 40 years and know LA MESA quite well. I've never heard it called the "Jewel of the Hills".

Reasonably smooth with some a bit of zip, liked it.

ZenMonkey 12:27 AM  

The only things I've ever exclaimed while rage-quitting are not remotely printable in the NYT (or most places). I'M SO MAD goes with something like "...they changed the privacy settings on Facebook again." Maybe other ragey folk are more appropriate and articulate, but this gamer gal does her Brooklyn-born parents proud and then some to accompany a rage-quit.

Despite a all my crosses I remained in denial about completing FARMERS ONLY because I too was (blissfully) ignorant. Well, honestly, I enjoy learning these kinds of snippets from the puzzle. I enjoyed working on this one right after Berry's, so that says something.

TJ 12:37 AM  

Living in Oakland, when I watch Steph Curry on TV during the away games (I have season tickets (excuse me, Season Ducats)), I see Farmers' Only commercials all of the time. Don't call Rex an elitist for saying Farmers' Only makes one stupid; The commercials are cynically dumbed down. With dialog such as, "She shure is purdy." "Yup. And she can fish!" and implying that men entering the site will be overwhelmed by scores of buxom horse riding blondes, Farmers' Only is treating rural America like rubes.

Anoa Bob 12:47 AM  

Surprised to see a Saturday grid with 34 black squares. That would be a low count for an early-week themed puzzle, like Lynn Lempel's recent Monday offering, but it's unusually high for a late-week themeless. Results in quite a lot of short fill, including 16 threes.

So I figured there would be some kind of mitigating uniqueness, some extra special fill to warrant the high black square count, but danged if I can find it. GYPSUM is nice, and, as a former San Diegan, LA MESA brought back pleasant memories (the clue made me think of La Jolla first), but that's about it for me.

Well, nothing to SOB or TEAR UP about. Maybe I'll listen to some EMO to find out what all this angst is about.

Anonymous 12:59 AM  

3-second Google search showed that there are currently more than 1.5 million users on Be less ignorant.

puzzle hoarder 1:07 AM  

This puzzle was some kind of Saturday lite posing as an actual Saturday. If you couldn't first guess the answers you could just work around them. I did make some effort to slow myself down with write overs like WEMADEIT/WHATADAY. Best of all was ALEDGE/ALLEGE. As a phrase it would have been correct.I had to solve on my tablet as the home computers were tied up and I couldn't print the puzzle out. On paper this could have been a personal record for speed or at least mistakes.
Who calls tickets of any kind DUCATS? Prior to this puzzle it's been used only four times '50,'58,'70 and '97. I can't imagine it gets much use in the real world either. I also have no idea what PLUG has to do with payola. Then again I didn't have to. I don't know why but this FARMERSONLY thing reminds me of what a comedian once said about why Mississippi was so inbred "It's because no one else will f*ck these people." That was his opinion not mine.

Anonymous 1:18 AM  

Thumbs up for FARMERS ONLY -- fun answer and gettable with a few crosses. Can't fathom why reading about that would make you stupider

Put in LISA at 15a, without so much as a pause. LISA Lisa and the Cult Jam rank high in the sound track of my early adolescence. Lost in Emotion!!

Sent the wrong way by 39D -- Isn't LaJolla, AKA LaJoya, quite literally the jewel of San Diego? But no matter a near-record Saturday.

Anonymous 1:43 AM  

Reporting from the PacNW, have never, ever heard of Will be curious to read the comments as they come in to see who's familiar with it.

TomAz 1:58 AM  

This played like a Wednesday for me. Easiest Saturday I can recall. Record time, according to the app. I did this in half the time of Friday.

Didn't know FARMERS ONLY but it was easily inferable. I guess cuz I grew up in the Midwest and dated a farmers daughter in high school.

I barely noticed the glue. The puzzle was ok except I felt guilty that it was so easy. Exacerbated by my Post Thursday Stress Disorder.

Larry Gilstrap 2:08 AM  

Hey, all you constructors, I have a great idea. Why not have all the answers be anagrams? 10D could be Spelling with lines: TRIO would be the answer and the solvers would love it, or not. Definitely a San Diego vibe in this Saturday effort, what with LA MESA. more Bitter ALE, and Tijuana, the birthplace of the CAESAR SALAD, a mere Trolley ride away. I was a student at SDSU back in the day, Go Aztecs!, and with Viet Nam nipping at my heels, I was quite a dedicated LEARNER unless one of my roommates scored a LID. Not sure I agree with OFL's dismissal of Arthur Ashe's Alma Mater UCLA as being part of a sports clue. Really? I did see some of the US Open and was surprised that some of the semis were played on the Lisa LISA side court. I made that up. Thank you MA'AM, or in this case Sir Andrew.

John Child 2:51 AM  

@Anoa Bob is right about the three letter words that hold this together. I noticed the six cheaters that go with the staggered stack in the center, but didn't think about the short fill. Heck, I needed some of it!

I liked this quite a bit; laughed out loud at "King James." I was so convinced that "Christ's end" was going to be MAS that I struggled up in that corner. Otherwise easy-medium as OFL says.

@TomAz Post Thursday Stress Disorder. Very droll...

Ellen S 3:15 AM  

In the real world, I think DUCATS was slang for tickets about 100 years ago. A real hundred, not an exaggeration hundred. Or at least 60: if I hadn't heard it used in a Sigmund Romberg operetta, or something with Rudy Vallee, then it was in an Archie & Jughead comic in the 50s. In my actual life, never. (I went to a lecture where the speakers described the Water Barons as "louche", the first time I ever encountered that world in the wild, but DUCATS, never.)

I'm not too happy with PEEN as "rounded end, of a sort." I looked it up. I thought PEEN was the "other" end of any hammer, but no, it refers to "peening" (If I can get auto-correct to leave that alone), which is a way of working metal by bashing it with the end of a hammer. There are different shapes for different peening effects, apparently: chisel-peen, ball-peen, and some others, only one of theml rounded.

I don't know if there is a dating site for people who understand how to use a peening hammer but I'm guessing Mr. Ries doesn't hang out there much. Or am I wrong?

I know even less about architecture than I do about metalworking, but the Victorian houses here in Sacramento, I don't think they have TURRETs. Gingerbread, yes, aplenty. Jeff Chen shows a picture of a castle over at xwordinfo, but is that a Victorian castle? Or is it the name of a famous Victorian architect? Turret Staple?

I agree it was on the easy side, because often I can't even break into a Saturday, let alone finish. I managed all the sports clues and enjoyed many of the longer answers; in fact, I'm sorry I led with my complaint about DUCATS. Nice work Mr. Ries.

George Barany 3:29 AM  

With respect to @Andrew Ries's Saturday puzzle, I for one was grateful for all those sports references, which provided me with some footholds. However, why AMU wasn't clued for "atomic mass units" is beyond me!

Martín Abresch 6:07 AM  

Flew through this one. From slowest to fastest for me this week: Wednesday, Monday, Tuesday, Saturday, Friday, Thursday.

A few years ago, I worked in a store that had televisions playing ESPN all day. commercials were ubiquitous. There commercials probably have the catchiest jingle of the past decade. For the curious, here is a fun blog post on a FarmersOnly commercial by one of the best sportswriters in the business, Joe Posnanski.

Unusual grid design. I was impressed at first glance, but the more that I look at it, the less that I like it. Staircased 11s crossed by two 15s either side of the center column. Then those 15s crossed by 10s. That is a lot of interconnection, and there's no way that this gets filled without all those three-letter words that @Anoa Bon mentioned. I feel that the shorter answers are working overtime to support the seven longest answers. I'm not sure how to put it, but this grid seems unstable to me. Like a Jenga tower.

I liked the clue for DORITOS (Snack brand first produced at Disneyland in the 1960s). I did not know that. Also liked the clues for "OH MY!" (Exclamation sometimes said with a hand over the mouth), NOTEPAD (It has rules for writing), and USED CAR SALESMAN (One who works a lot?), though "He works a lot?" seems snappier.

I can see that effort was put into the cluing, but the clues often seemed a bit off to me. Why does the clue for BLTS (Counter orders?) have a question mark? And my gut says there must be a better way to land the joke for FOUL LINE (Place to do some shots?). "Place," "do," and "some" pile up too much obvious vagueness. Perhaps "One might go there to do shots?" Or take the clue for TOE ("One exposed by a flip flop?"). I get what it's trying to do, but it's not quite right: "exposed" gives away the game too easily.

I feel that there is a lot of ambition in this puzzle, both on the grid and the clues, and I respect it for trying. But, yeah, I feel as if it's not quite there. Too interconnected a grid demanding too many compromises to the fill, and too many slightly-off clues.

Loren Muse Smith 6:24 AM  

I had the N in place from ROMANIA but next to that I had "assert." Saw the clue for 37A and immediately knew FARMERS ONLY. So I changed "assert" to ALLEGE. I'm with those who don't understand the disdain. I'm surrounded by such people, and while they may, yes, speak and dress like the actors on the commercials, they're some of the smartest people I know. Maybe not smart the Right Way like us, but smart in ways that leave me, time and time again, indebted to their kindness, generosity, and expertise in all kinds of things like, say, running water on the blink, a washed-out driveway, a car that won't start.


I have a couple of friends who preface almost everything with things like, "I'll be totally honest…", "To tell you the truth…", NOT GONNA LIE. It's hard not to go back and do a quick mental revisit of their previous statements, wondering if those were actually *not* true.

Speaking of slippery, I liked USED CAR SALESMAN crossing NOT GONNA LIE. Right.

@ZenMonkey - Hah! Good point. I'M SO MAD for rage quit words. For Mary Tyler Moore, maybe.

Very early on, I had "arial" before AGATE.

I also was thinking "flu _ _" something before FOUL LINE for the shot place.

I also was leaning toward "cake" for the prisoner's gift. Ya know – hiding the RASP. That I always thought was just a file.

@jae – yup – all kinds of wink-winks at Thursday's historic puzzle: IAN, I'M SO MAD, OH MY, LOUSE, EPIC, SOB, TEAR UP… If you aren't good at the trick, you're SOL.

Nice puzzle, Andrew. Oh. I forgot – I had a dnf because I can't spell GYPSUM. I went with "gypsom/amo." Damn.

evil doug 7:16 AM  

You sophisticated coastal elitists don't recognize good tongue-in-cheek humor from flyover country? Figures. The ads are so much better than those Russian dating promos and phone sex sites you probably prefer. So are the women....

Scott 7:34 AM  

I enjoyed the FARMERSONLY answer. I more or less only watch TV on the DVR, fast-forwarding through all the commercials, yet their commercials are so ubiquitous that I can hear their jingle in my sleep. They are intentionally kitschy in a way that has made the site kind of a meme by default. They've been joked about on late night shows and in sitcoms. I mean, the tagline is "City folk just don't get it." You have to laugh!

Anyway, smooth sailing for a Saturday. I went to sleep after a few minutes of putting in easy ones, and when I woke up USEDCARSALESMAN lept out at me, and it was a breeze from there. Fun puzzle! And remember...

♫You don't have to be lonnnnely, at Farrrmersonnnnly dot commmm!♫

da kine 7:50 AM  

Screw those flyover rubes and their dating sites. I bet they don't even grow organic, bio-dynamic kale and quinoa!

Amy Shecks 7:50 AM  

Hey LMS, could you be any more condescending?

Billy C. 8:02 AM  

Sometimes when I'm frustrated, I punch walls.

Egon Y. Barrage 8:07 AM  

@George Barany:

Are you somehow associated with chemistry???!!! That is fascinating!

We did not know that!

Anonymous 8:11 AM  

Correctly guessed a few things I didn't know, with the help of crosses (e.g., LISA), but BIL_O/_UC was a Natick for me.

Amy Shecks 8:17 AM  

Yeah, those rural folk are so smart. I know they are because they fix things for me: my driveway, my water, my car...

Susierah 8:25 AM  

Fastest Saturday ever, under 20 minutes, so it must be easy! As a UGA Bulldog fan, threw in Gator right away (gator hater), In Georgia, I hear people looking for "ducats" all the time, maybe it's a southern thing! Really liked this puzzle. Go Dawgs!!!

Egon Y. Barrage 8:32 AM  

Sorry, I have a boil under the elastic of my underwear today, so I'm in a bad mood.

Anonymous 8:35 AM  

Well Michael Sharpe hasn't heard of something it must not be a "valid thing" as you claim on Twitter.

Michael, I'm sure you're a wonderful human being in real life, but do you have to be such a d--- on the Internet? The parody of you done by the Wordplay blog a few years ago is spot-on.

I read the blog mainly to get a sense of how others reacted to the puzzle but, intentional or not, you come across on the internet as a priggish jerk who's unhappy about 75% of things in the world.

It's especially ironic as an English professor, one would think you more than anyone would be sensitive to balance writing, but why don't you try being 30% nicer in your blog posts?

--Long time reader

MR. Cheese 8:45 AM  

Fastest finish ever! Am I getting better or was this VERY EASY?

Jocasta Guyon 8:50 AM  

You didn't need to know who LeBron is to get CAV for King James. King James Cavalier... it's even a dog breed. Just me? I like how it works both ways though.

Jocasta Guyon 8:52 AM  

Mr. Cheese: mine too! And I don't know the answer to your question either!

Kim Colley 8:56 AM  

Agree with Zen Monkey -- the typical rage-quit comments I'm used to are along the lines of, "F#%{ you, losers!" With at least one pejorative epithet added in for good measure, usually along the lines of race or sexual orientation. I think perhaps only farmers say, "I'm so mad," when rage-quitting.

mathgent 9:03 AM  

No fun. D as in dud.

QuasiMojo 9:09 AM  

I know the expression, I'm so mad I could spit; but never quit. Not gonna touch the "farmers" issue today -- and wish OFL hadn't -- except to say that when I moved to the country from Manhattan a few decades agao I was immediately branded by the rural folk as a "citidiot" which I found amusing. And true! This puzzle was way too easy for a Saturday, and a bit on the yawning side. I wanted Jules for 1A but was pleased to see Bilbo. As for enamelware. Sounds more like something you'd find in a dentist's office. But then I don't cook, which is why I thought the answer to "wing it" was "eat out." :)

Teedmn 9:11 AM  

This took me 10 minutes longer than Friday, so it was Saturday tough in my world. The obvious "We made it" before WHAT A DAY a la @puzzle hoarder, and guessing wrong on whether ADES went at 51D or 62A could have been the bitter end (see 57D) but Boards instead of BASICS at 1D caused the most damage. And gOaL LINE tried to LOUSE up my 39A but EMO (again?) got me FARM so no harm, no FOUL.

@LMS, I loved your AMO 'cause that's what I had too! Nice avatar, very true.

I live in fly-over country, grew up in farm country but have never seen a FARMERS ONLY commercial until watching @LMS' link. I know some people to whom that would appeal and I say more power to 'em. They're lookin' for love in all the right places.

Andrew J Ries, nice themeless debut, thanks.

Z 9:19 AM  

Guys stop! I'm overdosing on schadenfreude from all your hurt feelings. Too precious by half.

I've seen a FARMERS ONLY ad, as well as ChristIAN only ads. I find them both pretty offensive for their base xenophobia. Yes, @EvilDoug, I know the FARMERSONLY ads are firmly tongue-in-cheek, but behind that is a nasty and divisive form of elitism exemplified by the tag-line. And look, all the defenders here busy calling names and claiming victimhood. Sad. Hardly surprising, but sad. BTW - Anon12:59 - 1.5 million is less than one half of one percent of the US population. And in case you're wondering or don't know, I'm a Midwesterner, raised in one of the most conservative areas in the country, and in an area where corn and blueberries were major crops, so yes, I've known lots of actual farmers (and have a son looking for some land to start farming).

BILBO and STEPH, looking out for the "little" guy this morning (STEPH is only little by NBA standards, he's listed at 6'3"). As for DUCATS, I've heard it, not often but also not all that rarely either. Usually I hear it used in reference to some hard to get ticket, like for Hamilton or a playoff game. Agree, just a wee heavy on the sports clues this morning. I didn't notice the high three count while solving, so no demerits from me there. I did notice the IAN/IAM near dupe, though. That seemed more bug than feature to me. Generally speaking I liked this puzzle.

Carola 9:24 AM  

Tough on top, tender on the bottom. I had to scratch my way from AMOUR x ORES on the left and TORI x could-it-be-DORITOS? on the right to fill in the top. Once VELCRO was firmly in place, though, the rest cascaded easily. Liked learning FARMERS ONLY. Also new to me: DUCATS. Only coming here did I realize that a TURRET is a feature of Victorian architecture, as I'd misread the clue as literature and thought, "Huh, that's interesting, never realized that."

I wonder if other solvers happened to know the AMU Darya River from the work of the International Crane Foundation, which has a project to save crane habitat in that region.

Anonymous 9:31 AM  

@LT-Reader --

Can you post a link to the Michael a Sharp parody on Wordplay? I can't find it.


1820 Stone Colonial House 9:32 AM  

@jocasta: I think you are thinking of the Cavalier King CHARLES Spaniel.

jberg 9:33 AM  

I didn't know FARMERS ONLY, but it made sense, and was fun to learn about. Less so LA MESA--much less known than Natick (at least if you live in Massachusetts, as you should.)

I had 'file' and then 'cake' before RASP -- I thought those were for wood, not iron bars. When I was in jail, the bars were behind a pane of plexiglass, so you couldn't really get at them.

@Jocasta, I'm with you -- nothing but the English Civil War ever crossed my mind at 18D.

@Ellen S, thanks for all the useful PEEN knowledge! I love learning things from crosswords.

Aside from LA MESA, the hardest part was waiting for crosses to see if it was Syr Darya or AMU Darya. This was a lot easier than either of the last two days.

Robso 9:34 AM  

The river isn't ABU Darya? I'm so bad!

David Fink 9:39 AM  

My thought exactly. I think they throw us a bone every now and then.

mac 9:50 AM  

Easy but nice Saturday puzzle, with my only problem the sports clues. Too many!

I don't like those starts of opinions like "not gonna lie". The worst one: "I hate to say it".

Casco Kid 9:57 AM  

Pain-free SatPuz. No wrongness of note. At 45 min, one of the fastest on (my) record. Like @JAE, I was a long time San Diego resident and did not know LA MESA's nickname. Clearly, though, it is a grab at LA JOLLA's nickname (the pearl) and attendant luster. I had figured 1A for ORSON, but didn't insist. Also, I thought I saw pAElla appearing. Mmm. Paella. Distracting, but I settled for the prosaic CAESARSALAD like everyone else.

Long time reader, 8:35, Rex's daily animus is worth considering, principally for its consistency. Successful enterprises usually have a benign, vacant center. For instance: Any show Bob Newhart ever did. The whole of Christianity. But there is an alternative structure that is harder to pull off: the anti-vacant center. Think Archie Bunker. Rex is the anti-vacant center of this enterprise. His blog is successful when he is predictably/unremarkably present. Sniping at puzzles is just his way of saying, "All's well, carry on." Just think how unnerving it would be if he ever had a nice word to say? (Ok, he has favorites, and is predictably loyal to them.) So my strategy is to recalibrate expectation and, well, carry on.

Conrad 9:58 AM  

According to Wikipedia, "Rasps ... are used in woodworking for rapidly removing material ... Farriers use rasps to remove excess wall from a horse's hoof. Rasps are used in shaping alabaster." So the cliched gift is so the prisoner can escape from a wooden cell? Or a luxury jail made of alabaster? Or so he can properly shoe his getaway horse?

Jocasta Guyon 10:04 AM  

@1820 Stone Colonial House: oh, bugger I'm a dum-dum. Thanks for the correction.

GILL I. 10:04 AM  

I guess I'm the only dummy who had FORGERS ONLY. Didn't know DUCAT and I figured someone who was angst-ridden had an EGO problem. I learned that there is a relationship site called FARMERS ONLY. What a country..
I too thought of LA JOLLA. I think that word is a Spanish corruption of joya (jewel)...Then there's La Jolla de Mismaloya in Puerto Vallarta - they should know better.
One of my quickest Saturdays... with a mistake. Dang. Still, I enjoyed learning a few things that I will probably forget before I even finish this post.

Nancy 10:07 AM  

Once again, I couldn't get in via the NW. My entry point was TORI to TWIG in the NE. And I dutifully worked my way back and down. CAESAR SALAD, off the LAD, was my connection point. There was plenty of challenge, some off-beat cluing, and many nice long answers, so why did I go about the task without much in the way of joy? I dunno, but I'm NOT GONNA LIE. The experience was one of PLUGging away. My last two letters -- the LB of BILBO crossing -OANER and -UC -- were a pure guess. "One day's drive" for LOANER??? No! One day's drive might be SIX HOURS, but it certainly wouldn't be a car! Bad, bad clue.

The problem with 34A (in real life, not in the puzzle) is that CAESAR SALAD all too often doesn't include anchovies. It's like a very dry martini: Someone comes and waves the anchovy tin over the salad dressing. I have been known to query waiters about this, as in: "Are there real anchovies in the salad? No? Do you have real anchovies to put in the salad? No? I'll have the soup, please. (@Loren would have just loved me during her table waiting days!)

Elle54 10:09 AM  

I'm gonna suggest @Rex read and become familiar with the Bible! You won't be disappointed!

Aketi 10:13 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
r.alphbunker 10:18 AM  

Had the following cascos:

51D. {Summer coolers} ICES from [A][D]ES

61A. {Book before Philemon} TITUS from TI_ _ _

49A. {Square} EVEN from EVEN

41A. {5 1/2-point type} AGATE from A_ATE

33D. {Claim} ALLEGE from A_ _ _GE

16A. {Exclamation sometimes said with a hand over the mouth} OHMY from OH_ _

20A. {Christ's end?} IAN from [M]A[S]

Details are here.

Chris 10:18 AM  

I always say $#!^ rather than $!^# ... seems somehow typographically closer to the mark :)

Nancy 10:23 AM  

@puzzlehoarder (1:07 a.m.) -- "Payola" is the bribe you give the radio or TV station. A PLUG (for your song) is what they give you in return for the payola. Therefore, the "payoff" isn't to them, it's to you.

Numinous 10:26 AM  

No reflection on Andrew intended here! I'm feeling insulted. I'm not the fastest solver around but I managed this one in in more than half an hour under my average Saturday time. TORI went in instantly. Too bad for OFL he thought it was easy medium? This seemed like a kindergarten Saturday. I may have a slightly skewed view of end-of-week puzzles. Friday puzzles usually seem more difficult to me than Saturday's but this one was too easy by far. I guess my brain came back from La La Land after it's Post Thursday Stress Disorder.

I have never heard of FARMERS ONLY but the answer made perfect sense given the clue. I get what @Loren is saying. My earliest years were spent on a ranch. Since then, I've divided my time between rural and urban settings feeling comfortable in both. Much of that time was spent in logging country in Northern California. Believe me, you learn some smart sh*t hanging around with guys who have 18' chain saws and who drag three or four 1,000 pound logs down hills behind mini bulldozers. There was a time I can recall when I was sitting at a bar next to a logger friend of mine. We were looking out the window toward the garden and the ocean beyond. There was a hippy leaning on a hoe staring at the work in front of him. My logger friend said, "That ain't us, We'd a been done by now." That was the day I got it, what it was to be "on the land." Larry the Cable Guy gets it right. "Get 'er done."

GATOR was instant fill for me too. My step-daughter is a double Dawg @susierah and @Jae.
Nobody's mentioned it yet so I will, @puzzle hoarder. Payola was record companies paying disc jockeys to play their songs; that is to PLUG certain records over others on air. Not sure what happened there but I believe that practice came to be seen as illegal.

Before TURRET, I wanted cupola. I grew up around a lot of Victorian buildings.

Honorable mentions:
•Disneyland and DORITOS. I never knew that.
•CAESAR SALAD. I've never had one with an anchovie in it. I used to put a lot of other stuff in a CAESAR but never any fish. And all this time I was under the impression that San Francisco was the home of the CAESAR. Live and learn.

Thank you all who have volunteered to write to our Officer Candidate. I know she'll appreciate the moral support while learning to become an Officer and a "Gentleman".

evil doug 10:29 AM  

Yeah, right, Z. It's the *farmers* who are guilty of elitism. Those nice folks inside the beltway and in Hollywood are the real victims....

Matt Staloch 10:30 AM  

There's a BallPEEN Falls in Mud Flap county, Wyoming.

TimJim 10:35 AM  

I found this puzzle to be pretty easy, and enjoyed it. One nit: I don't think a court psychologist "rules," but offers an opinion or finding. A judge or jury has the final say. And if ADE is a word, why won't Scrabble accept it?

Loren Muse Smith 10:37 AM  

@Numimous– exactly. I wish I could learn more "smart sh*t" by hanging out with these guys. In the past two months, They have

1. Dropped everything to come figure out why I suddenly had no running water. It was restored in less than an hour.
2. Figured out why my truck wouldn't start and fixed it.
3. Regraded-repaired-whatevered a huge section of my driveway that had been devastated by some torrential rains.

So without their smarts, I would've been stuck in a home with no running water and no way to leave this home.

Sure, I work the NYT crossword and can throw around words like TURRET and DUCATS, but it feels a lot of the time like the joke's on me. Some people possess knowledge that feels much more important, vital, than any of the academic crap I know.

Anonymous 10:41 AM  

Ahem, Rex. I think I read somewhere that you're a professor of English literature. It's startling to see that you don't recognize references to books of the Bible. Didn't the Bible play an important role in English literature?

Teedmn 10:44 AM  

@Matt Staloch, yes, just like Big Lever is the "Ruby of the West", the "jewel in the heart of Wyoming".

Amy Shecks 10:47 AM  

My definition of smart: people who fix shit for me.

Casimir 10:47 AM  

I'm not sure why folks get so exercised if the NYT puzzle has something in it outside their interests or tastes. If I have to put up with, and even learn about, rap and comic books while solving puzzles, then what's so offensive or inappropriate in learning about "farmers only" as well? De gustibus non disputandum est.

Casimir 10:48 AM  

I'm not sure why folks get so exercised if the NYT puzzle has something in it outside their interests or tastes. If I have to put up with, and even learn about, rap and comic books while solving puzzles, then what's so offensive or inappropriate in learning about "farmers only" as well? De gustibus non disputandum est.

Mike D 10:49 AM  

I've seen a lot of anonymice rage quit this blog. Then they keep cunning back and doing it again.

Numinous 10:50 AM  

There is a difficulty, @Loren. I'd call it myopia. There are people who's imaginations and knowledge stretch no further than their hair drier cords or their shovel handles. I am a staunch advocate of education. I remember the kids asking why they needed to learn history. They have now learned that the answer was so that, later on, they will have some idea of thier place in the world. There is valuable practical knowledge and then there is "academic crap.' Both are equally important. I guess my point is to be as well-rounded a person as possible; to see beyond one's limited horizons. Sadly, not everybody gets that opportunity.

QuasiMojo 10:52 AM  

@TimJim-- agree -- makes no sense. Yet Scrabble accepts "za" for pizza which is slang at its worst, and something I've never ever heard used anywhere by anyone. Go figure.

Nancy 10:57 AM  

There are some delightfully funny posts here that are keeping me out of the beautiful sunshine for too long: @Chris's puckish typographic joke at 10:18; and Numi's Post Thursday Stress Disorder joke at 10:26. Nice, guys. And now I'm off into the sunshine.

G.Harris 11:00 AM  

Payola to plug records has always been illegal. That practice was the downfall of radio jock Alan Freed (Moondog) in the 1960s.

cascokid 11:08 AM  

@r.alph, excellent work, there! I'm convinced every puzzle is a closet Schoedinger. We just have to dig a little deeper to find it.

Also, I went to your site. Beautiful interface. I'll try it for tomorrow's puzzle. :)

Rex Parker 11:20 AM  

If your idea of being a real downhome American is shitting on cities, "urban" (racial dogwhistle) things, both coasts, education, etc. and then trumpeting your "values," then yeah, I am elitist against you. Actual decent humans from rural areas, many of whom I'm related to, I love as much as anyone. ~RP

Masked and Anonymous 11:20 AM  

Pretty much all my kin are farmers. Nice, clever folks. One of em taught lil M&A how to ride a bike. Beat em all at shootin craps, one old Sunday afternoon, tho.

What we have here is a pretty reasonable, friendly SatPuz. Blew me right out of the "perfecto" column, with ABU/IMSOBAD, tho. (yo, @Robso)

Welcome home, @Casco Kid.

fave weeject that weren't there: ABU.
fave weeject that was there: BUC.

fave dejevuosity answer: CRED. (This may not make sense to non-runtpuz people.)

fave stuffins: SPACECADET. WHATADAY. The two twin-tower 15's up the middle. GYPSUM. TWIG. VELCRO, FOULLINE.
fave desperate-lookin galoot: LEARNER.

Thanx, Mr. Ries.

Masked & Anonymo8Us


evil doug 11:28 AM  

Rex: "Not only have I never heard of it, it seems like some dumb-@$$ $!^#. Just reading about it made me stupider."

And--of course!--It has to be racism! It's always racism! The hollow argument that keeps on giving!

AliasZ 11:35 AM  

This was a somewhat boring affair for me, sorry to say. Except for NOT GONNA LIE and FARMERS ONLY, perhaps.

Who doesn't know that CAESAR'S A LAD?

Besides the clumsy dupe of I'M SO MAD and I AM that @Rex already mentioned, we also get TEAR UP, USE UP and USED CAR SALESMAN. Is there an echo in this room?

It was fun to see BUC[harest] and ROMANIA. [Thanks @Leapy!]

Törcsvár (Ger.: Türzdorf, Saxon: Tölzburg, Rom.: Bran) a small village of fewer than 6000 inhabitants about 30 km SW of the city of Brassó, was established by knights of the Teutonic Order between 1211-1215, and fell under Székely rule during the 15th century. The Castle of Törcsvár was built in 1337 with the permission of King Louis I (Louis the Great) of Hungary (Anjou dynasty, ruled from 1342 until his death in 1382), to guard an important trade route, and defend Transylvania against invading Wallachian warlords (voivodes) to the south. "The castle is a popular tourist destination, partly because it resembles the home of Dracula in Bram Stoker's famous novel." [Wikipedia]

“But, soft! methinks I do digress too much,”
― William Shakespeare, TITUS Andronicus.

Bran and DUCATS reminds me of the extraordinary English French horn player (that is, English musician who played the French horn better than anyone else) Dennis Brain (1921-1957) and the lovely Villanelle for horn and piano (1906) by Paul Dukas.

Enjoy your weekend!

Malsdemare 11:36 AM  

Hey, good to see you.@Cascokid! Are you really back?

Puzzle was fine. However, I really wanted something to keep me occupied for an hour or so since my usual distractions on a Saturday are filled with election crap. DUCATS emerged from some forgotten corner of my brain, lordy I knew TORI, filled CAV with the crosses, guessed at UCLA. I stink at sports and pop culture. So FARMERSONLY is new to me. I live 500 yards from a corn/soy bean field, will soon be listening to the grain dryer two miles away, and our roads will be clogged with combines the size of houses, and that's just fine by me. To be a successful farmer these days you have to be a financial manager, mechanic, agronomist, employer, and probably a chemist/biologist as you figure out how to protect your crops without killing your neighbors and all the beneficial insects and plants. I'm down the road from the oldest experimental farm plot in the nation (University of Illinois), and know from eavesdropping in coffee shops that crop management, diversity, genetic engineering, yields, till vs. no-till and and bankrupcy are more likely topics of discussion over coffee than that hot F150 Pete just got. So yeah, I think farming takes some brains. But Loren's point that farmers are genuinely generous is spot on; they cut our hay, hire immigrants and teenagers for work in the summer, have pulled me out of ditches, helped me haul a deer carcass off the road, have put me up in a blizzard. I like farmers, though I could live without their Trump/Pence signs. So I think it's nice there's a website for them, even if I've never heard of it; you couldn't get me to live that life for a million bucks. Okay, rant over.

old timer 11:38 AM  

You know, I felt sad after finishing this puzzle. It was enjoyable enough to make me sad it had to come to an end. Which for me was with BILBO. Because I just did not get BUC at all.

I did get AMU at once, and wanted UCLA the moment I saw the clue. DUCATS went in right away, because when I was 10 years old and a fan of the PCL's Hollywood Stars the radio play-by-play guy used DUCATS to refer to tickets. DUCATS gave me CAESARSALAD and I was off to the races.

STEPH was a gimme for anyone in Northern California. My only writeover was putting ADES where ICES is. All in all, Easy for a Saturday. Easier than Friday's puzzle, but that is usually the case with me.

Bill 12:03 PM  

I'm not an elitist easterner, but everything I learned about Farmers Only, I learned on NPR.

ArtO 12:03 PM  

First Saturday finish in a long time...and pretty fast, as well. If most of you didn't set records I'd be surprised.

@Rex's FARMERSONLY commentary owas truly awful. Totally uncalled for.

Joe Bleaux 12:13 PM  

Not 20 minutes, but purty good time for me down here in Jawjuh, too! I didn't even mind the couple of clunky clues, and got a kick out of seeing both BUC and ATL. Yup, Go Dawgs! But I've never heard anybody say "ducats" out loud.

Anonymous 12:21 PM  

Far too easy for Saturday. No anagrams - Hated it! Judges "rule", court psychologists "professionally determine". And oh yes, RASP is for wood.

Jane Thorne 12:35 PM  

King James to me meant the monarch during Shakespeare's last plays, and Cavalier meant the "tribe" of Ben Jonson, culminating in the Cavalier poets of the reign of Charles I, the son of James. The allusion is not to Cleveland but is still one less sports reference, even if far-fetched.

Aketi 12:58 PM  

Haha, not touching any FARMERS ONLY comments with a ten foot pole, given that one side of my family tree started as farmers from moving west during the Great Depression.

I have been binge solving on a train to DC headed to a memorial service for a dear friend.

I have a special AMOUR for Thursday puzzles. I was stymied when I hurriedly made my first stab at the puzzle before BJJ. I suspected that ANAGRAMs were involved and that it wasn't just a few. I quickly skimmed the comments trying too ignore the ALL CAPs so I wouldn't spoil my solve.

@Martin Abresch, I'M NOT GONNA LIE. I was SO MAD at your challenge on Thursday that I thought about rage quitting the puzzle. I also had a moment of thinking the opening comment with the hate poem was written about you.

Then I dusted myself off and thought about how I survived my black belt test. The test is always run by an East Side instructor who I thought was a mean sadistic tyrant, unlike the West Side instructors I trained with. Anytime, I thought I was going to collapse from exhaustion, I'd tell myself that I couldn't give him the satisfaction.

So, Instead of giving up on the puzzle, I thought "game on". I grabbed a pad of sticky notes, I didn't have a lot of free time in the last couple of days, but every time I did, I solved a few anagrams storing them up for the train ride.

So I packed my purse full of the sticky notes this morning and I I finished up the rest anagrams, every single one, both across and down. Then I finished the puzzle with not a single Google, not even fir the anagrams. You were right. It wasn't that hard with the right mind set and a whole lot of stickies.

Thank you for giving me a moment of perverse satisfaction.

Anonymous 1:28 PM  

The troll is back. His target and language have given me an idea of who he is and why he's not censored. The feint of all college professors being despicable was a nice touch.

OISK 1:55 PM  

Really raced through this one. Then came over here, and discovered DNF!!! I'm so bad!! And it wasn't an error made in haste, "I'm so mad " with "amu" never occurred to me, and I would have preferred "ABU" even if it had. As someone else observed, wish the clue for AMU was " there are 6 x 10^23 in a gram" or something simpler, chemistry related. (although I like geographical clues, and there was nothing wrong with the one!) There seemed to be a lot of sports in this one, which pleases me, but I thought others might object.


Anonymous 2:05 PM  

There's a site for farmers only? How delightful! The modern day grange.

Donny 2:14 PM  

Ah sware da gawd ah never hearda FARMERSONLY.

tea73 2:16 PM  

I hate sports heavy puzzles, but didn't have any problems here. No idea where Arthur Ashe went to college, but a four letter college abbreviation is always UCLA. I thought of KING JAMES Bibles. Never saw a FARMERS ONLY Ad, but it rang a bell. Now off to celebrate Oktoberfest.

Anonymous 2:17 PM  

They have FARMERSONLY commercials on TV during NFL games in Los Angeles. I love 'em.

And Rex, your comment about it was a little harsh. Your double-down defense of your comment was borderline odious.

Don 3:04 PM  

Whoa "borderline odious!" That's some pretty strong language, anonymous!

Mike D 3:08 PM  

It's really impressive how many elite crossword solvers have humble farming relatives. They probably come from hardscrabble backgrounds, grew up in squalor, etc., blah, blah. NBC should cover us Olympics style.

Dick Swart 3:13 PM  

Rex ... very condescending to the people of my area who are and have to be as sharp as any Wall Streeter and a lot more honest. It takes a lot of work and brains to be an orchardist or run a ranch or grow wheat on hundreds of acres.

re: ducats

“My daughter! O my ducats! O my daughter,
Fled with a Christian! O my Christian ducats!
Justice, the law, my ducats, and my daughter!
A sealèd bag, two sealèd bags of ducats,
Of double ducats, stol'n from me by my daughter!
And jewels—two stones, two rich and precious stones—
Stol'n by my daughter! Justice, find the girl!
She hath the stones upon her, and the ducats.”

Hartley70 3:21 PM  

This may have been my fastest Saturday ever, but that's not to say I didn't enjoy it. The cluing had some tricky parts and I learned about FARMERSONLY, PEENs, LAMESA and Ashe's university.

I'm not sure why the farmers' social media group is stupid. They live and work so far apart that It makes sense to communicate and meet each other online. Of course, there aren't many farmers here so I haven't seen a tv ad for the group and that may explain why I don't get the uproar. Farmers seem pretty wholesome and fit from afar and I'm sure there are a few here and there who don't have Trump signs in their fields. Yea Farmers! Couldn't eat without ya!

Anonymous 3:39 PM  

@Mike D, you bitter little man. You're back again.

Hungry Mother 3:39 PM  

Super quick and easy for me today. I needed a break after some of the travails of the week. I had a good week, but had to work for it. Looking forward to some rebus action tomorrow? Just no anagrams.

Anonymous 3:45 PM  

Rasp? Wrong implement. The thoughtful moll slips a metal FILE into her jailbird's birthday cake on visiting day! A bad editorial miss there.

Rasps are used to rough form softer materials like wood, masonry, stone and the like.

Super easy Saturday. Not sure how fearless leader could notch it up to Easy-Medium.

Michael 3:52 PM  

Perhaps the easiest (for me) Saturday I've ever done.

phil phil 3:55 PM  

I was very late inputting in TEARUP as much as I wanted it. I thought it was a bit illegal to use to somethingUP's as answers.

foxaroni 4:23 PM  

@Amy Shecks--give it a rest.

Anonymous 4:51 PM  

If your idea of being a real down home American is shitting on suburbs and rural area's, "flyover country" folks, (racial dog-whistle), (old white guys, farmers, rancher's, between the coasts, but know how to fish, hunt, farm, ranch and still how to solve crossword puzzles, etc.) and then trumpeting YOUR "values," then yeah, I am elitist against you. Actual decent human beings from urban areas, (college grads, ex-military, gardeners, Union employee, etc.), one of whom I'm married to, I love as much as anyone.

Mike D 4:56 PM  

Hey I'm 6'2". Bitter I'll grant you.

grammar nazi 4:59 PM  

What's with all of the apostrophes, anon@4:51?

Atram007 5:04 PM  

fastest Saturday ever in my life. crazy easy. I'm bored now!

Anonymous 5:05 PM  

4, blown, disc's, and, a, double root, canal, this, week. Maybe, too, much, Vicodin. Good, enough?,,,,,,,

Vanessa 5:33 PM  

The Doritos clue was the first one I got... Not sure what that says about my devotion to snack food and/or theme parks.

Tom 5:58 PM  

@Atram007, if you're bored try filling in with Brendan Emmet Quigley. Twice a week, challenging, and at no cost to you.

Fast Saturday for me, although late to the party 'cause I was picking pinot noir grapes in the Santa Cruz appellation all morning, then drinking the last pick from 2014 in the afternoon. A little fuzzy.

Liked the 34, 37, 38 stack, especially if'n you middle, first, last.

No trouble anywhere, started at PEEN (have three ball PEEN hammers in my toolkit), got UCLA off USEUP, and never stopped entering until the NW. Geology minor in college, couldn't figure out the answer to 5d. TMI in my geology head for a simple answer. Hardness scale? Mineral content? So easy when I finally got it. Overthink. Thursday still lurking!.

Kerry 8:18 PM  

Jesus. I see AMU also stands for American Military University. They don't have a sports team? I mean if your theme is going to be "annoying non sports fans with non-stop sports clues", at least be consistent. Hated this All Sports puzzle.

Randy 8:52 PM  

Whole thing was a breeze, thought the long answers were way too easy, but I got stuck with ABU / IMSOBAD. Not a huge sports fan but I live in San Francisco so I kind of have to know about STEPH Curry, PLAYERSENTRANCE makes sense even if I've never heard the term before. I grew up in San Diego so I liked the LAMESA shoutout (though I've also never heard that nickname).

I don't see how FARMERSONLY is worse than any other niche dating site, even if their ad spots are annoying. I don't really care if farmers don't want to date me. I doubt it would work out anyway, given the distance.

Z 10:02 PM  

@EvilDoug - Have you watched many FARMERS ONLY ads? They are about as elitist as they come. Stupid city folk who can't fish, ride a horse, or anything else us "real people" can do. Funny thing... They never seem to be farming and the "heroes" are all white men. I wonder why that is? Some may find the ads funny. I mostly see them as warped artifacts of an America that never was, parochial, sexist, and insulting.

Kimberly 12:07 AM  

I don't do sports! I'm a word nerd. I do crosswords. Surely sports illustrated is looking for sports themed puzzles? STOP! One answer here or there... Period. This many sports answers should only be used in a theme puzzle.

I did enjoy seeing LA MESA. I was just there today. It's been a while but finally the crossword is psychic again.

Warren Howie Hughes 8:28 PM  

Me likey RASP, gonna have to file that one away!

Larry Jordan 10:38 AM  

King Charles.

spacecraft 11:41 AM  

Go figure what's going to eat up most of the blogging space on any given day. FARMERSONLY; who would've guessed? Me, I never heard of it, so needed most of the crosses. That wide-open center was the last to fall. At one point I had NO- at the start of 38-across and -IE at the end--and wondered how I was going to fit a single letter into seven spaces, no lie!

Despite not knowing that website, and laying down way too quickly MaS for Christ's end, I got this one done in fairly short order, for a Saturday, so agreed on the easy-medium rating. DOD is LISA (x2). Hubba (x2)! Otherwise, this puzzle was about as exciting as a USEDCARSALESMAN. Fill is okay, though I go along with the criticism that there are too many short ones for week's end. Pet peeve non-word ADES appears: IMSOMAD! Oh well, SAY eight yards.

Burma Shave 12:00 PM  


‘Twas FARMERSONLY today,
when a USEDCARSALESMAN can’t GYPSUM to buy.


BS2 12:03 PM  

Alternative for USEDCARSALESMAN above = MADAM

leftcoastTAM 1:02 PM  

Couldn't believe this was a Saturday puzzle.

Started in the middle with easy long downs, moved East, West, and South from there, a couple of brief pauses in the North, and finished in the NW.

Fastest and smoothest finish ever done on a Saturday.

It can be boring and sometimes off-putting to recount one's path to an easy solve (on a Saturday, of all days!), but sure that I'm not alone in that today.

Not going to STRUT.

longBeachLee 1:03 PM  

@ Oisk and Randy. Welcome to the Abu/I'msobad Club.

rondo 1:09 PM  

I’ve never seen an ad for FARMERSONLY, but I think I’m with @evil doug. And @Z, I’m not sure I agree 100% with your police work there (“Fargo” ref.). Until roughly 1950, half of the states (not half of the population, that’s different) were still considered mostly rural, so that is the America that WAS, and folks needed to know those “farmer” things. Today roughly 80% of the U.S. population lives on 3% of the area of these United States. That leaves 97% of the land area as rural for the +/- 20% of the rest of us. And we enjoy it, by choice. Until the flatlanders come to visit the “rustic” areas because they need to get out of the city and don’t know the difference between walleye and Wall St. Anyone can ALLEGE that someone else is elitist, but IAM NOTGONNALIE, beware of whose turf you’re on when you do it. Rant over. For now.

Thought there might be more UProar and UPset over TEARUP and USEUP. And of course the IAM / I’M thing.

Have to admit MELISSA M. can be funny, but should mix in a CAESARSALAD; TORI Spelling only got by due to family connections, so back to the 80s when LISA LISA was a music video yeah baby.

Clean grid again today, Thursday must have re-energized the gray matter. Not bad for a rube. OHMY!!

Diana,LIW 6:48 PM  

I knew we'd be hearing "easy" when I almost finished a Saturday. Feel like a SPACECADET. OHMY.

Thanks @Teedmn for getting the puzzle to me!!!!

TITUS was in another crossword I completed today - 'magine that.

Have a friend in La Mesa - never heard that nickname.

Onward to Sunday.

Diana, LIW

rondo 8:47 PM  

I forgot to mention that I miss Ron Diego, from LA MESA, CA - he was the Jewel of the Hills.

Diana,LIW 9:19 PM  

@Rondo - I agree - where is Ron Diego?

Lady Di

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