Slacker's opposite in modern lingo / SAT 12-24-16 / Attractive young woman in rap slang / Arboreal sci-fi creature / Astronomer who coined term nova

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Constructor: David Steinberg

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: CARY, NC (30D: City of 150,000+ between Raleigh and Durham) —
Cary /ˈkæri/ is the seventh largest municipality in North Carolina. Cary is in Wake and Chatham counties in the U.S. state of North Carolina. Located almost entirely in Wake County, it is the second largest municipality in that county and the third largest municipality in The Triangle after Raleigh and Durham. The town's population was 135,234 as of the 2010 census (an increase of 43.1% since 2000), making it the largest town and seventh largest municipality statewide. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates the town's population to be 151,088 as of July 1, 2013. Cary is currently the second most populous incorporated town (behind only Gilbert, Arizona) in the United States. According to the US Census Bureau, Cary was the 5th fastest growing municipality in the United States between September 1, 2006, and September 1, 2007. (wikipedia)
• • •

Much more satisfying than yesterday's, partly because it was slotted on the correct day of the week (I finished this one faster), and party because it has the right balance of doability and crunch, has very little ugly nonsense fill, and lives in the 21st century. Huzzah. I imagine it is the kind of puzzle that will frustrate certain solvers because of uninferable answers beyond their ken, like, say, SHAWTY and "SEXY BACK" (well, you can probably infer the SEXY). Yet those are two isolated instances of pop culturality. Most of the rest of the grid involves common knowledge, but has clues that you have to smash with a rock for a little bit before you crack them. Also, the puzzle is peppered with toeholds, little gimmes like EWOK and QVC, that make regaining traction after wipe-out relatively easy. QVC was a lifesaver, in fact, as I had no hope on 37D: Wing covering until that "Q" slotted in and what's this? The "Q" follows the "B"? How can that ... oh, BBQ SAUCE! Woohoo etc. Anyway, the main thing is, it was Fun. The NYT has some loyalist constructors who generally know what they're doing, and Steinberg is certainly one of them.

Here's me at just under 2 min.:

You can see I jumped the gun with VJDAY, but that was easily fixed (not many words have the "J" in that penultimate position, so I discarded it quickly). The 1-Across rule of crossword easiness definitely was in play today, as you can't live around these parts (NY, just this side of PA border) without having heard a lifetime's worth of chatter about fracking. Several lifetimes' worth. SHALE was in the grid instantly. My main trouble in the NW was spelling "SHAWTY" correctly. I always thought people were saying "shorty." Maybe they are? Yes. It's a flexible, evolving term (no surprise) (here's wikipedia entry). Anyway, at least I knew enough to change my spelling to the correct variant once the crosses didn't work. After that, I didn't get into significant trouble again until the end, which for me was the NE. The EHARMONY / Y'KNOW crossing was a bit of a bear. I somehow managed to convince myself that 15D: "Like" relative was "I KNOW" (?) and I couldn't figure out how to reconcile the fact that I needed a vowel before -SSES (6D: Fixes), but a vowel before -HARM... (in the cross) seemed impossible. I must've tested "E" in my brain and then snap, bam, done.

Never heard of DEMON RUM (62A: Prohibitionists' target) or CARY (which seems hilariously obscure relative to everything else in the grid) (30D: City of 150,000+ between Raleigh and Durham). Was lucky to get handed a bunch of easy E-words to facilitate my flow through the grid. Stuff like EWOK and "ELO OLE!"* (which I own) and ECCO (43A: Danish shoe maker with more than 1,000 global stores) (which I initially misspelled as either the fashion brand or kitchenware brand, ECKO). And of course EDSEL. Good old EDSEL. Dead as a car, but reborn as a crossword savior (51A: Bomb with wheels). Whiffed on EDO today, though (26A: Japan's ___ Castle). Really beating myself up about that one ... but no matter. Fun solve, respectable time, God bless us every one. Happy Everything!

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

*OK so that's not technically an "E" word, since the actual title (and the answer, which you can plainly see in the grid) is "OLE ELO!" The sheer e-force of ELO made me see things. Forgive me.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Unknown 8:21 AM  

Lived in Cary for 5 years. It is referred to as Containment Area for Relocated Yankees.

evil doug 8:21 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dorothy Biggs 8:25 AM  

Wait, wha? Rex did you say you have never heard of DEMONRUM? Either you were drinking too much nog when you wrote that or you're nuts. Who hasn't heard of DEMON RUM? If true, wow.

A couple of questions:

What part of the 4D clue, "Firm backing?" implies an abbreviation? And to a lesser extent, but because of 4D, what about 15D "'Like' relative" implies the apostrophe?

I got YKNOW because of the crosses...but LTD (with zero clue that it would be an abbreviation, much less a British abbreviation) crossing SHAWTY (ugh) is awful.

Otherwise, the puzzle was fine. Challenging for me, but fine.

That NW with 4D was a problem though.

evil doug 8:28 AM  

Uh, oh. 1A should get things cooking...

Happy to see ELO make it to the RnR HOF.

Terrific example of what the Times puzzle can be. When I gave up on the obvious "A Team" and recalled "DC CAB", everything unlocked.

When I taught public speaking, trying to eliminate vocalized pauses--like, um, er--was a primary goal, so Y'KNOW came to mind immediately.

SHAWTY? If you say so....

Merry Christmas,

mathgent 8:29 AM  

I was happy to see that Rex wasn't that sure of SHARTIE even though he follows rap music. I Naticked there making it SHAWLIE, which also seems to be a woman in rap lyrics.

Very good puzzle. I learned a few words. Jeff Chen said that he liked it a lot but that it almost felt like a lesson.

My only minor complaint is "What's usually about 12 people" for JURYBOX. I'm giving it an A.

I was talking to another regular off blog and we agreed that La La Land, the Oscar favorite, isn't very good. Are we wrong?

Teedmn 8:35 AM  

Challenging for me, or maybe just what a Saturday used to mean for me - used to be I would get 3/4 filled and the last quadrant took the rest of the weekend. Today, the NE took most of my hour solve, with only one teensy error. I let my brain do victory laps before I should have, leaving in YaNOW in at 15D. (I considered SEXY mAmA for 17A but AMBI and ENCODE stopped that in its tracks).

Lots of unknowns for me; ECCO, TRYHARD (ick), SHAWTY (though I think I've seen it before), SEXY BACK, BRAHE, DCCAB, CARY, NC.

And I couldn't dredge up HSN's competitor for anything. What should have been a gimme became a hard-won entry gotten from BBQ SAUCE and not the other way around.

But the NE. I wanted MESSES from the get-go but like Rex, with AHEAD OF in at 7D, I couldn't connect with any EH words. It didn't help one bit that Steven Colbert was speaking slYLY. I had AMBI in as one of my toeholds and LIMON and ROAMER and, and, and, could not break through. I went out to get the paper (too early), wandered around the kitchen, decided Colbert was speaking dRYLY (which morphed into WRYLY), finally saw E-HARMONY and everything went in except for that K in Y'KNOW.

I find it irritating when I hear myself say things like "Y'KNOW" or "I MEAN". What purpose is served by such phrases? One of my co-workers constantly says, "I mean, that's what I said" before every other sentence and when I hear him on the phone with a customer, I just wince. Is it just to give our brains a chance to catch up with our mouths? What's wrong with a brief, silent pause? I will continue my efforts to weed out such unnecessary add-ins from my speech. Perhaps I will someday be known as "Teedmn the Silent" (yeah, right) :-).

Mr. Steinberg, another fine puzzle!

I am not a robot 8:35 AM  

This certain solver didn't know Shawty but got it on the crosses, knew Sexy Back, and was doing fine in the north. But came to screeching halt in the south. Grear cluing, great puzzle. Learned a few things.

The tryhards are home for the holidays today and I'm gonna impress em when I work Shawty into the conversation (and I will or be damned).

Merry Christmas Evil Doug, et al. Happy Hanukkah to my Jewish friends. Shalom to all.

Sir Hillary 8:46 AM  

Great puzzle. Just a Z short of a pangram, almost like he was teasing us. That scrabbly SE quadrant is a thing of beauty.

Happy happy to all, whatever you're celebrating.

Dan Ruby 8:47 AM  

HAMONRYE and EHARMONY make a nice twosome.

evil doug 8:48 AM  

"I find it irritating when I hear myself say things like "Y'KNOW" or "I MEAN". What purpose is served by such phrases? Is it just to give our brains a chance to catch up with our mouths?"

Teedmn--I think the problem starts with impatient listeners. Nature abhors a vacuum, so when the speaker pauses the listener often instinctively feels obliged to jump in and fill that gap. The speaker wants to preemptively defend that hole and be able to continue, so they plug it with a vocalized pause while they arrange their next thoughts. A visual indication of an impatient listener is head-nodding, which kind of means, "yes, yes, go on, I'm caught up, and if you pause I'm going to jump in and finish your thought for you...."

I am not a robot 8:55 AM  

Oh btw, I might have gotten demon rum but I need a 'with the' prompt. That's how I'd always heard it.

Loren Muse Smith 9:06 AM  

I had never heard of DEMON RUM. And I was not drinking too much egg nog.

Anonymous 9:08 AM  

Good puzzle. Tripped up on SHAWTY which i know from The Wire as "shorty" (how it sounds), and from crime fiction-- never having seen it in print spelled as the puzzle has it. Also from context, never could infer "attractive"; just saw it to mean any young woman. Even if I were an avid fan of Rap, I doubt that I would have guessed it. Unless, most unlikely, I actually hunted down Rap lyrics to read them. Settled on SHAWLY crossing LLD. Sigh.

QuasiMojo 9:23 AM  

I am also shocked that some of you, including Rex, have never heard of Demon Rum. It is a very well-known phrase, and a much overused one. This puzzle was a cinch to finish but absolutely cringeworthy. A real "mess." Ugly words and current faddish drivel. Malware, EHarmony (ugh), SexyBack, Shawty, Ewok, Viacom (mega-ugh) etc. Anyone who has ever served on a jury knows that there are more than 12 people in it because of the alternates. Some of the fill felt like squeezing in letters because they are needed, rather than coming up with interesting answers. "Ahead of"? "limon" "fica" "yknow"?? "try hard" and Speak To? Come on Mr. Steinberg. You can do better than that. And very few cabaret performers are "showgirl"s. Maybe in Vegas but I would never want to see Barbara Cook in a g-string.

Hartley70 9:30 AM  

I spanned the ages today, getting both DEMONRUM and SHAWTY right off the bat. I knew SHAWTY was a girl. I didn't know she necessarily was a looker. It moved beyond rap to pop by the time Jesse McCartney sang "Leavin'" in 2008. Why oh why do I know these things?

This was challenging for me. OLEELO and TRYHARD were new to me and MESSES and Y'KNOW were tough. It was a satisfying struggle.

Charles Flaster 9:54 AM  

Agree totally with Rex today except it was challenging, had a DNF, and a fun tutorial.
My DNF--never changed EXpLAIn to EXCLAIM but I did invent two new companies in the process --QVp and VIACOn.
Other write overs were EWOK for ElOi and AVOW for AVer.
There was some wonderful cluing with my favorites being MARBLE, EDSEL, ELEVATOR, and RAW DATA. Amazed I was able to suss all the ultra modern lingo.
Thanks DS.

Charles Flaster 9:56 AM  

Great anagram catch!

GILL I. 10:03 AM  

@Teedmn "brief silent pause"...@evil "defend that hole." Yup. I'm not letting anybody interrupt me if I can help it and I'll fill it with a lot of ands and I become louder so that people look at me and sometimes I'll yell "I'm not finished yet."
I'm so glad I was up early today and able to find peace and quiet so that I could enjoy this fine puzzle....SHAWTY and SEXY BACK aside, I managed to get her done. I did Google those two and then I got stuck on ECCO (I wanted UGGS) so that was the 3 I allow myself on a Saturday....
DEMON RUM...simple syrup and apple Prohibition on Netflix.
Merry Christmas and happy everything to all of you - my daily blog fix friends....

Maruchka 10:14 AM  

Sigh of relief that me brain came AWAKE; after starin' for many minutes I started workin'. A pause can be as good as a rest (agree with@Teedmn). And, Y'KNOW, two googles for SHAWTY and SEXY BACK ain't half-bad for an AVOWed jazz, world and classical gal.

BRAHE, INCUBI, DEMON RUM, and CHOLER are especial delights. Love @Unknown's CARY break down. Many chuckles t'day, thanks to DS and fellow blog fans.

Happy Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanza/Druidic ceremonials, et.seq., and a Gladelig Jul to all!

Unknown 10:21 AM  

I may be prejudiced since @David Steinberg is a friend/editor/sometime collaborator, but yeah, this one was mostly a winner. @Rex's love for crosswords shines in his review, so thanks so much for that. As so often happens, numerous additional insights from the commentariat, both the regulars and the less-frequent contributors.

There is a great deal to love today, which makes up for the "puzzle written two years ago" vibe reflected in SHAWTY, SEXYBACK, LOVERBOY, and the "huh" clue for TRY_HARD. Fiendishly clever clues for ELEVATOR, JURYBOX, EDSEL, and BRAND. STEM sensibilities in the clues for BRAHE, EDISON (any else think of Elon Musk's car company with "Tesla"?), SONAR, RAWDATA, and ENCODE. A love of language (and overall fair play) in the clues for OLEELO and AMBI. Echo clues for YARD and SEALS. Etc., etc., Y'KNOW (not part of my working vocabulary, but inferable from the crossings).

To everyone in the commentariat, regardless of political views or religious persuasions, happy holidays! Contrary to what someone implied yesterday, the @Barany's, @Weintraub's, and @Steinberg's of the world know about SECRET_SANTA. If you want a bonus puzzle appropriate to today's holiday, find @David Steinberg's December 16, 2016 puzzle, called "Top Down Design," for the Chronicle of Higher Education by clicking on the link.

@Math gent (and others), I would love to communicate with you off-Rex about La la land (link to New York Times review, which my wife and I saw in the theater yesterday (bring on @David's clue for CINEMA). Short version, it's wonderful but in a sad and complicated way, and not for everyone. RSVP?

Nebraska Doug 10:21 AM  

I found this to be about the same level of difficulty as yesterday's puzzle. Once again, very satisfying. Got off to a slow start, thinking it would be a DNF, but gained traction in the SW. The NE was the last to fall. Never heard of SHAWTY. As for DEMON RUM, I consider that common knowledge, I'm beyond shocked that Rex had never heard if it! His brain is full of trivial knowledge, but not DEMON RUM?

r.alphbunker 10:25 AM  

Too embarrassed to repeat what I did. Details are here.

@Teedmn, @ED
I marvel at people who can flow with the conversation. I often find it hard to contribute something. Somebody else beats me by nanoseconds and once they start talking, I can't. The talking stick technique is primitive but it works.

Anonymous 10:27 AM  

Great puzzle and easier than yesterday for me, but how dare the New York Times normalize shale fracking. I must retreat to my safe space. Merry whatever it is you celebrate that is if you celebrate anything.

Nebraska Doug 10:29 AM  

I found this to be about the same level of difficulty as yesterday's puzzle. Once again, very satisfying. Got off to a slow start, thinking it would be a DNF, but gained traction in the SW. The NE was the last to fall. Never heard of SHAWTY. As for DEMON RUM, I consider that common knowledge, I'm beyond shocked that Rex had never heard if it! His brain is full of trivial knowledge, but not DEMON RUM?

Stanley Hudson 10:52 AM  

Never heard of DEMON RUM? Beyond my ken, Colbert said WRYLY.

Season's Greetings to all.

Andrew M 10:56 AM  

As a native of Ames, IA, normally I'm the one seeing my hometown in the crossword. I laughed when today my CARY-raised girlfriend got the honor. Don't tell her I said this, but it's a very weird place.

I thought this puzzle was in the sweet spot of mixing old and new, and fresh in a way the NYT too often isn't. Thanks, Mr. Steinberg!

Greg 11:20 AM  

SHAWTY? Why not declare HIZZIE and SHIZZLE and YAYO and SCRILLA to be fair game, as long as we're making up words? Thumbs down.

jberg 11:34 AM  

@Rex and @Loren, you're just too young. Back in the 19th century, DEMON RUM was a standard part of the prohibitionist lexicon. On the other hand, I'm too old -- but I knew SHorTY from watching "The Wire," so once I had SHAW_Y I was able to infer it.

The NE was hard, though. For some reason I wanted "so NOW..." leading me to think the song must be SEXY tACo. Admit it, you like the idea -- and even though AntI made no sense, AMBI didn't pop into my consciousness until Mr. Colbert finally got bold enough to speak WRYLY instead of slyly. Then I was done.

A couple of minor quibbles. First, while EBBED and let up can both be replaced by abated, they don't seem interchangeable to me. EBBED has that connotation of falling lower, pulling back, while let up means liftiing. You wouldn't say that the tide let up, or that the fog EBBED.

Second, I've been to a lot of sushi places, and I've seen two kinds of tuna offered: toro and maguro. Is AHI sushi an American thing? There seem to be several restaurants named "Ahi Sushi," so maybe it is.

Those are very minor, though, and close enough for crossword. Nice puzzle!

Malsdemare 11:34 AM  

This beat me up and left me for dead. I ended up googling for SEXYBACK, and eventually, after almost an hour, got 'er done. But oh it was ugly. Didn't know SHAWTY, BRAHE, or ECCO (I know, turn in my girl card), had ElOi before EWOK, rancor before ANIMUS, nasa, then mars before CREW, press before BRAND, Navy blue before YARD. And after listing all those missteps, I'm amazed I finished it with just the one google. Yeesh!

But I did know SHALE and . . . . Well, nothing else for a long time. Steinberg is generally my béte noir and this was no exception.

Our family doesn't arrive for celebration until Wednesday so tonight it's Mr. Mal et moi. Maybe a movie (Die Hardd got mixed, as did Scissorhands; instead it was The Thin Man, which was fine. Perhaps A Christmas Story tonight) Tomorrow, seven terrific friends will gather here with the muddy footprints, dog fur, and the over-the-top exurberant new beastie for food, wine, and maybe some DEMON RUM. Definitely laughter and love. I hope such love and laughter is part of everyone's world this week, no matter what you rejoice in.

Anonymous 11:36 AM  

@Evil - Your assessment of why people interrupt others is generous, to say the least. In my experience either
a) People are incapable of listening to paragraphs rather than sentences, or
b) They really don't give a damn about what you're saying - the other person only exists to bring up a subject upon which they can expound, and expound they will.

George 11:44 AM  

A Marty Robbins song in the blog. Thanks Rex, for that little nugget of joy on Christmas Eve! Wishing you an unexpected nugget of joy this Christmas too.

Carola 11:44 AM  

Tuff tuff tuff. After a few random sprinkles (KIR, SOSA, VE-DAY) I really had to probe the grid for my first cross - QVC x LOVER BOY - and then use every successive cross for all it was worth to make progress. An enjoyable struggle. Last in: AMBI x SEXY BACK.

DNF: Wrote in LLD instead of LTD, mixing up LLC and some sort of law degree(?).
Knew DEMON RUM from the song "Poor Lil," who "drank too deep of the DEMON RUM" and "smoked hashish and opium."
Liked BRAHE as a follow-up to yesterday's STARGAZER.

kitshef 12:09 PM  

Fantastic puzzle. Felt very hard, but seems like I finished very fast. SHAWTY a WoE. Lots of really good short stuff in here: OVID, BRAHE, AGNES, DHARMA, POMADE, CHOLER, VEDAY, INCUBI.

Feels like a puzzle @Rex would usually complain about Scrabble F^&)ing. He clearly is feeling Christmassy.

Had ONE ENO before OLE ELO.

@Malsdemare - A Christmas Story is also a worthy choice - but the other two are better.

Ellen S 12:10 PM  

Fun puzzle despite DNF thanks to SHAW_Y and SEXY_AC_ and one or two others. I had vaguely heard of CARY, of course SHALE went right in, and DEMON RUM was a gimme. I think @Rex is just not of the temperance persuasion!

Have a happy, @Rex and commenters. As always, the blog is at least as much fun as the puzzle.

old timer 12:14 PM  

A double DNF for me. Did not know SHAWTY and did not see LTD though I should have. And did not guess MESSES and the actual meaning of "fix" that was intended.

Great, tough puzzle though. +

Joseph Michael 12:28 PM  

DEMON RUM was a song that was written by George and Ira Gershwin for the 1947 Betty Grable film "The Shocking Miss Pilgrim" but got cut and was never recorded. It ended up in the 2012 Broadway musical comedy "Nice Work If You Can Get It."

As for the puzzle. too hard for me, though I recognize it was well constructed and cleverly clued. I haven't advanced yet to Saturday level.

Happy holidays to Rex and company.

Masked and Anonymous 1:36 PM  

SHAWTY?! New nickname for the Shortzmeister? Duly recorded.
But, just so he don't feel totally picked on ...

* SNAWKY. New nickname for @RP.
* STAWNKY B. New nickname for today's fine young constructioneer.
* RAWNTY. New nickname for 7x7 crossword jockeys.
* SHWAMPY. New nickname for next prez.

Got SHALE quicker than fracksnot, so that helped. Then wanted ALIVE for AWAKE, which didn't, especially.

"My HERO!" is what PuzEatinSpouse remarked, when M&A came up with DHARMA/BRAHE off almost squat. har. [We old farts xmas-cuddle-solved this SatPuz pup, as a team. Solve had some nano-slow-downs, but we got er done.]

fave weeject: QVC. Tragic waste of a U-opportunity, tho. At this point, was QonVinCed that STAWNKY B. and SHAWTY were cookin up a nice, Christmas pangram for old SNAWKY. Fell a Z-key shawt, unfawtunately. [p.s. Autocorrect just had its mind explode.]


Mawsky & Anonymo3Us

Rawnty hip-hop:

Matt B 1:51 PM  

I know CARY from a recent radio interview in which a native North Carolinian said that locals refer to the town as an acronym for Containment Area for Relocated Yankees.

Mohair Sam 2:07 PM  

Two great late week puzzles in a row - Merry Christmas to you too Will. Had to go toe to toe with this puppy in every corner but eventually held sway before the stores closed. Lucky for Lady M. - she would have forsaken her Christmas gift (I always begin my Christmas shopping about now).

Misdirected like heck on EDISON and DCCAB, neat stuff. Loved the EHARMONY clue. slYLY before dRYLY before WRYLY. Learned four or five new things today - kinda expect that on a Saturday, INCUBI the toughest.

I love saying "DEMON RUM." Anytime anyone asks me for so much as a sip of beer they will hear it. The term may be spoken WRYLY, or slyly, or dryly.

SHALE/HAMONRYE went in just like that. Our last letter was right next door however, the "T" in LTD - last because Will didn't let us know it was an abbreviation (Hi @NCA Pres). Finally gave in and put it there because nothing else made sense.

@Malsdemare and Kitshef - Every Christmas our family battles over whether or not "Die Hard" should be classified as a Christmas flick. We all love it (it's up near "Snatch" in greatness, imo) - but is it truly a Christmas flick?

A fine Saturday puzzle David Steinberg, thank you.

Everyone's Token Black Friend 2:09 PM  

My grandad would be grumbling about young ones thinking they invented everything because of their "ig-nance" if he was still with us. He called my beautiful wife Shorty in his Mississippi drawl which lent itself to the current spelling. I'm sure he and his cohorts charmed all the young ladies with that word back in the 30s. "Ain't nothin' new if you know sumthin'." Wish he was still here with his wise self.

jae 2:32 PM  

Medium for me. Top on the tough side, bottom on the easy side = medium.

@M&A alive before AWAKE (which led to ElOi), LLC before LTD and kinda before Y'KNOW contributed to the toughness of the top.

Did not know SHAWTY but did know shorty so it was fairly easy to fix.

Fresh, zippy, fun, nice one David, liked it!

Loren Muse Smith 3:14 PM  

Just asked Mom and Dad - both in their 80s. Neither knew DEMON RUM.

Badmom 3:43 PM  

Me: :) ( following a rare hiccup-free Saturday finish)
Teen daughter: now go read that guy you follow and find out how easy he thought puzzle was
Me: :(

Unknown 3:50 PM  

Nearly a record time for me today. My longest time this week was Wednesday, and my times have been getting faster as the week has progressed.

Pretty grid design. Not often that we see blocks in all four corners.

Lively grid, though a bit heavy on the SHOW GIRL, SEXY BACK, LOVER BOY stuff. DEMON RUM and SHAWTY were great entries. The southeast is excellent: a harmonious arrangement of crunchy letters.

I liked the clues for AMBI [Prefix whose last two letters are a prefix meaning the same thing] and ELEVATOR [Kind of car commonly seen in cities]. As compared to yesterday's clues, today's had greater variety but less trickery.

Crane Poole 4:31 PM  

Yarfgh. Got 1a SHALE right off, but for me this was a monster. Little by little and finally solvable only after a handful of checksquares. Too many clues that aha'd on the 51st look (but not the 50th). Loved the clues for BBQSAUCE and ELEVATOR. Didn't know DROVER, BRAHE, SEXYBACK.

From yesterday, it occurred that in Martin Scorcese's "Gangs of New York", DiCapprio's character referred to Cameron Diaz's as a "prim-lookin' stargazer". Weren't no Copernicus. Merry, Happy, and all.

@Dan Ruby - Great eye for HAMONRYE and EHARMONY. DEMONRUM? Yes, absolutely.

Dorothy Biggs 4:38 PM  

There is a musical I worked on this summer, "Nice Work If You Can Get It," based on the music of, you guessed it, George Gershwin. In the musical is a long lost song of his, "Demon Rum." It first appeared in the 1947 musical, "The Shocking Miss Pilgrim." The lyrics are by Ira's one of his hidden gems.

The shocking thing about people having never heard of the temperance phrase, DEMONRUM, is that if you've ever studied prohibition or temperance, you most surely would have had to have run across this phrase. It's like studying slavery and not hearing about the Underground Railroad or studying Eisenhauer and not hearing about "I like Ike," or Viet Nam and missing "Hell no, we won't go."

For those of you quoting others who don't know it either...this proves nothing except, evidently, that lots of other people have also been living under a rock since the prohibition days.

evil doug 4:54 PM  

... Or not knowing how to spell Eisenhower, douche bag....

Your intolerance of people who have different views, or different experience, than you, is a regular feature of this blog, NCA. Eat me, and Merry Christmas, asshole.

Unknown 4:56 PM  

@Dan Ruby Not only are HAMONRYE and EHARMONY a great pair, but they are anagrams of each other!

That was my favorite part of this excellent puzzle.

Loren Muse Smith 5:02 PM  

Yeah- which is more shameful - not knowing DEMON RUM or not knowing how to spell Eisenhower... Glass houses and stones and all that. Guess we all have our little rocks we live under.

JC66 5:05 PM  


Glad someone finally called out @NCA (NCivilized Asshole).

Dorothy Biggs 5:16 PM  

@Evil Doug: not sure what instigated such a wonderfully thought out post like that, but wow. Thanks.

Sometimes it's posts like that that really show one's character. You're a gem, for sure.

Leapfinger 5:29 PM  

So @Rex never heard of Prohibition and DEMON RUM? 'Splains why he also didn't know about that free radical of the temperance movement, CARY Nation.

SEXY Lady MARBLEs at your SHAWTY workmanship, @David S.

Teedmn 5:33 PM  

RE: DEMON RUM - I knew it, it went right in, but for the life of me, I could not figure out WHY I knew it. I somehow conjured in my brain a (probably manufactured) memory of seeing a movie with ladies talking about the dangers of DEMON RUM. Maybe a comedy? A musical?

Couldn't find any confirming reference on Google, even to the 6th page. There are references galore to the phrase in books about Prohibition but nothing so popular that one would expect it to be in everyone's wheelhouse.

Thanks, @Evil Doug, @Gill I, @r.alph, for helping me understand meaningless interjections, Y'KNOW what I mean.

GILL I. 5:54 PM  

A lull in the Merry Christmas Jolly Jolly time and food and wine. came here because, well, I like to.
@evil...Your "Intolerance of people who have different views" missile towards NCA kinda blew me away. Was that really you spewing those words? What happened to the kind, gentle, tolerant, intelligent, funny, Democrat that I've come to love? @JC66. You live in Santa Rosa, right? What don't you love about good wine, a sense of humor, and some really good info on Mahler?
Hey...Trump is our president. Open up a bottle of boxed wine and stop being so mean.

Mohair Sam 6:00 PM  

@Evil Doug - Tip of the cap.

JC66 6:09 PM  


I live in NYC,drink scotch (but don't begrudge those who like wine) and am agnostic about music. NCA's posts about wine held no interest for me, but I wasn't offended, though frequently he can, it seems to me, opinionated and be intolerant.

Today's example:

"For those of you quoting others who don't know it either...this proves nothing except, evidently, that lots of other people have also been living under a rock since the prohibition days."

Uncivilized & assholish to me.

dm3000 6:10 PM  

What is so fun about this blog is seeing where people's solving strengths and weaknesses lie. Cultural variances, age and interest differences, and of course Rex is better read than many. Happy holidays to all.

Masked and Anonymous 6:11 PM  

Knew DEMONRUM. I think from the Ken Burns Prohibition documentary, but not quite sure prohibitively. Mighta been from "The Music Man', or somesuch.

Y'KNOW has Patrick Berry Usage Immunity. Just so u'know.

'Bout time @muse broke out that primo avatar. Proves she ain't.

Got all the Christmas packages sorta wrapped. Went pretty day-um smooth, other than the scotch-taped budgie incident. Made customized gift tags, this year; tryin to make up for the gift contents.
Today, got three cards from folks I didn't send any to. So … thinkin M&A is now about 9-4.

Christmas "runtcard" to y'all in the Comment Gallery [seems appropriate], belowwards. May all yer wildest Christmas wishes come true. U 2, @RP.



Norm 6:17 PM  

A jury is usually about 12 people. The JURY BOX is a physical structure that exists whether or not there is anyone in it. I have never heard or read of anyone referring to a JURY of 12 as a JURY BOX, and I really disliked that clue — almost as much as I disliked the SHAWTY/LTD cross.

But not as much as I disliked @evil doug's gratuitous [and offensive -- are you affirmatively trying to bring back moderation?] attack on @NCA President. Grow up little boy. There was nothing -- NOTHING -- in his post that suggested "intolerance." Please get treatment for your anger issues.

And, Merry Christmas anyway. A happy new year too, although I am not hopeful on that score for any of us -- except maybe the 1%.

Mohair Sam 6:21 PM  

@Gill I - @NCA Pres was going out of his was to insult Lauren's parents because they hadn't heard the term DEMON RUM and he had. @Evil Doug just blew a gasket on her behalf.

And yes, if anyone saw my early post, I'm very familiar with the term.

Moly Shu 6:50 PM  

Brutal here. Held on to SHorTY for way too long. And woe BRAHE. Still, thought it was great and an hours worth of fun.
I've never heard of DEMONRUM either, but it's already been established that me and @OISK live in caves. Not under a rock, @NCAprez, and you fully deserved @Evil's wrath. You're "shocked" that some people don't know or haven't heard of something that you do? Wish I was a smart and informed as you are so that I could insult people I think are ignorant.
@Maldesmare, good call on the Thin Man. A Christmas Story is ok, but maybe you can still talk the hubby into Die Hard.

OISK 7:31 PM  

@Moly Shu. I wasn't in the cave just yet when "Demon Rum" was mentioned in old books and movies. However, this puzzle was chock full of completely meaningless (to me) references. Shawty? Sexy back? I got a DNF, third one this week after a clean month, but completely my fault. I had "plan out", not Play out. I thought it was Dharma, but not really sure...Dherma made it "Navy nerd." Is that an expression? (of course not!) Plan out is fine for develop, but play out is much better; I just didn't think of it, and didn't fix the error. Ironic that I got all of the pop stuff right, ( malware, QVC, Viacom, , harmony, sexy back and Shawty, only the last two completely unfamiliar) and blew it on a perfectly fine group of clues.

( got defeated yesterday when I had "fat" and not "fad" for "man buns." Different kind of buns? Nice buns!

Lit my candles, and now listening to "Christmas with the Robert Shaw chorale..." Chanukah music just doesn't do it for me....

Merry and Happy whatever makes you merry or happy, everyone!

Phil 7:39 PM  

Well SHORTY I finished in 44:44 and it t'wasn't sawed off, YKNOW!!!!

GILL I. 8:21 PM  

Wow...i guess I'm sleeping in the wrong planet. Guess I'll join my future son-in-law at the bar. He's making a bodacious eggnog.

seanm 8:59 PM  

twice as long as yesterday. i'm late to the party so it doesn't really matter, but adding a vote for never having heard of DEMONRUM despite having read a great history of prohibition, Last Call (i'm not trying to claim that phrase never appreared in that book, but that it's possible to know all sorts of history without remembering all the particular slogans of that age, as i'm sure it slipped right in and out as not an important part of the history)

Z 10:26 PM  

A Z short of a pangram? I feel dissed.

I solved this last night and wasn't feeling the love most of you felt. First, here's the complete list of Timberlake songs I can name: .

Second, I still sussed out SEXY BACK, and SHAWTY, too, for that matter. No, my issue was with a PPP count of 28/72, 39%. When the pop culture is this heavy someone is going to be left out. Maybe it's Timberlake, maybe it's Carrie Nation, Maybe it's Jeff Lynne singing OVID. One thing I'm certain of, when the percentage is larger than 33% the constructor has to pick winners and losers (sort of like the government picking big carbon and subsidizing SHALE fracking rather than solar*) in the wheelhouse/outhouse game. The Three Stooges or rap, either way someone is left out. I view any puzzle with this much PPP as inherently flawed, being more trivia contest than word puzzle.

Happy Holidays to everyone. May 2017 exceed all our worst expectations.

*Just for you Doug. You put the ball on the tee at 8:28 this morning, but I was busy driving so didn't have a chance to take a whack at it until now.

Leapfinger 10:54 PM  

LOVERMAN because I'm too old for a LOVERBOY, and other writeovers as mentioned.

One nit, which isn't about alternate jurors, because the JURYBOX only holds twelve, regardless. No, the nit's about the AMBI/bi equivalence. 'Bi' indicates 'both' or 'two', while AMBI denotes 'either'; I don't believe any AMBIdextrous person writes using 'both' hands. Awkward, Y'KNOW?

@Wolfman Doug0848, I KNOW!! I signed on for this one course in so-called 'Active Listening', mainly bec I liked the prof -- didn't expect to learn much. Learned how most people miss most of what's being said to them bec they're all prepared to jump in with their own responses to the bits they've heard. We had to practice listening to each other speaking, without answering till t'other was all done. Learned how much more you hear when you aren't all ready to pre-respond; learned how useful that can be.

@Ethan Peritz, nice catch on the HAMONRYE/EHARMONY anagram.

@E.T.B. Friend, wish I'd known your wise old grandad -- or my own, for that matter. We're going to need all the wisdom we have mustard.

Wishing y'all the Life of WRYLY, but try to mind what (and who) you eat; let's see out the old year with Style and Grace.

CARY on.

Leapfinger 11:07 PM  

@phil phil, I wouldn't used the phrase 'sawed off' in mixed company.

DHARMA Bums, should you CARe_to_ack on it.

Anonymous 11:30 PM  

Maybe the INCUBI put that SHAWTY AGNES on her SEXY BACK using DEMON RUM. The nice people in the JURY BOX EASED her into the ABBEY to TRY HARD to forget her first EHARMONY match up. Being a DIVA SHOWGIRL can lead to horrible MESSES. Never knew that LOVERBOY and his CREW could be so rough riding in an EDSEL DCCAB. Never saw such ANIMUS PLAYOUT she EXCLAIMed WRYLY.

Trenton Charlson 12:09 AM  

I enjoyed this one, though it was pretty tough (but not as hard as Friday's). The SE quadrant was definitely the highlight with the Scrabbliness and solid non-pop culture answers. EHARMONY and HAM ON RYE being anagrams was pretty cool, but was anyone else convinced that there was an anagram mini-theme? Kept looking for an anagram of the two in the SW and SE to no avail. Also, seriously, SHAWTY?

Larry Gilstrap 12:09 AM  

Tough Saturday fare for me, but fair enough with footholds here and there. That NW corner was tricky with the fragrant dressing clue for POMADE. Remember butch wax? DEMON RUM is very much in my knowledge base, but SHAWTY, not so much. That gets immunity from sexism because...? Ok, I'll Google it. Who ever has referred to an ELEVATOR as a car since, well, cars?

Name calling in reference to a crossword puzzle? Tempest in a TEA SET. When I was a child and was having a moment, my dad would sternly advise me to, "Go wash your face!" Good advice.

Jeannie Alogist 3:42 AM  

fwiw, DDE's ancestors migrated from Germany to Penna in the 18th cent., at which time the surname was spelled Eisenhauer. There seem to be different accounts of when and how the spelling changed, but -hauer had become -hower in Ike's father's generation.. Just sayin'.

CrypTic 8:15 AM  

Q.E.D. (but not STAT) = Quod Erat Demonrum

Anonymous 3:42 PM  

Maldare - earthworm genus.

Burma Shave 9:34 AM  


her LOVERBOY with wide EYES EXCLAIMed.
He’d TRYHARD, and PLAYOUT in the sack,


rondo 10:14 AM  

Y’KNOW, sometimes it amazes me what OFL has never heard of. DEMONRUM? Practically a gimme compared to many other answers. I had an inkfest MESSES with a coupla dumb tries before YKNOW showed up and with ateAm before the DCCAB arrived. Vehicle indeed. Actually knowing CARY, NC probably saved the whole puz from going down the drain. Pretty much filled it in all directions from there.

SHAWTY?? Let’s never see that again. Not my lingo.

Only one other commenter noticed that EHARMONY and HAMONRYE are anagrams? C’mon folks. And there must be a joke in there somewhere.

Surprised OFL didn’t link “Workin’ for the Weekend” by LOVERBOY. Seems appropriate.

Kinda stretching, but DHARMA, was played on TV by yeah baby Jenna Elfman. You SHOWGIRL!

Quite a challenge, I must say, but to finish, just stick with a DS puz and TRYHARD.

rondo 10:26 AM  

To @Norm, who will never see this, a JURYBOX surrounds, or "is about" 12 people. Think about things before showing your ignorance. Rant over.

spacecraft 12:39 PM  

This one was every bit as hard as yesterday's, but I didn't like it as much. Too many abbrs. BBQ, RSVP, VE(DAY), DC(CAB)--even LAX, which hardly needed an abbr. clue. I guess I just like real words, YKNOW?

I really had to hunt for a way in; found it thanks to a Jay and the Americans hit: "CARA Mia." Since that was my shoehorn, I'll make Irene CARA my DOD. Had she been born later, she might have been called (are you kidding me?) SHAWTY. Talk about forcing in on crosses! I'm looking at L_D and E_ES. Well, EYES seems obvious, but satellites? No, no, satellites orbit AROUND something else. EYES are inside the head. NOT satellites. I cry foul. LTD (duh!) came a little later. But then I'm staring at SHAWTY?!? Gawd! I left it in because...well, because that language can come up with anything. Rap and hiphop will be the solving death of me.

The man has never heard of the DEMONRUM. Look at the first column. does it remind you of a SPEAK-EASy? I might never have gotten the NW if not for the very helpful clue word "Palindromic." I never heard of OLEELO, but, well, there you are. A man, a plan, a canal: Panama.

Triumph factor again AHEADOF most days. I realize that my own aversion to all that lettering shouldn't affect the score--besides, we have to keep encouraging these wunderkinds: birdie.

Diana,LIW 2:27 PM  

YKNOW? SHAWTY? OLEELO? N n n n noooo!

Agree that Fri and Sat were switched this week.

Anyway, dnf due to a few unknowns. Another 90% Saturday.

Diana, LIW

centralscrewtinizer 2:37 PM  

Sty in my eye really messed up the NE for me.
Not a shopper so kept looking at HSN as election material. Not a TV watcher so DCCAB never got hailed, despite having CARA to confuse me. Despite DNF, really liked the puzzle.
Learned SHAWTY, KIR, and QVC.

Diana,LIW 3:54 PM  

Hmm, the dog ate my homework! Not that I had much to say, just the usual SHAWTY, OLEELO, YKNOW.


leftcoastTAM 4:03 PM  

This one is more like what David Steinberg used to do, mixing old and new, familiar and obscure, simple and too-clever, and the gettable and virtually ungettable. Y'KNOW, just a lot tougher today than he has been more recently.

Walked away a few times, and it helped some, and stared a lot, which didn't help much. Ran the alphabet several times.

Bogged down in the four corners, but worked through three of them. The NE finally got me. And the ones that got me were all gettable!: LAX, SEXYBACK, LIMON and WRYLY. Some consolation in getting INCUBI, ECCO, OLEELO, and BRAHE among other Saturday worthies.

Oh, lied about getting three of four corners. Got only two, seeing that I Naticked the SHAWTY/LTD cross in the NW.

SHAWTY??? I don't expect to see that one again, but if I do, I AVOW that I'll remember it.

rain forest 4:20 PM  

Challenging. Got SHALE, HAM ON RYE, and KIR immediately, thinking this was going to be a cakewalk (really what actually IS a cakewalk?). Wrong. AWAKE and EWOK came and from there it was hunt and peck, little by little, wasting precious nanoseconds all over the place.

Sticking with it was worth the effort, though, and I think this is a very nice puzzle, almost as good as yesterday's. Of course, SHAWTY and SEXY BACK had to come from crosses. Incidentally, how does one know how to spell SHAWTY? Does it sound like "shotty"? What does it mean?

@Z's list of Timberlake's song is exactly the same as mine. Coincidence?

For a while I thought DEMOCRAT was the prohibitionists' target, but again, the crosses. I like the phrase DEMON RUM, and yes, I'd heard it before.

Nifty clues, excellent fill, little dreck. Good one, DS!

PS Lately, I've been getting pictures from the CAPTCHA asking me to check off street signs. Weird

leftcoastTAM 5:20 PM  

@rondo, or anyone else (who probably will never see this), a bit of unsolicited advice about crossword etiquette: TRYHARD to refrain from calling fellow solvers, including realtimers, ignorant. We all may seem ignorant to one another from time to time.

Teedmn 6:13 PM  

@rainforest, the only time I participated in a cakewalk was at my parochial grade school's annual Valentine's Day carnival fundraiser. The way they ran it was sort of like a meat raffle - you bought a number and went and stood on the number taped to the floor. When all the numbers were bought, they spun the wheel and the winner whose number was picked went over to the table of cakes donated by the church ladies and picked one out. Not a whole lot of skill to it. Of course, I picked out the prettiest cake and as I was walking out of the school gymn with my prize, the kid in my class who always looked unkempt and unwashed came running up to me and excitedly told me his sister had made it. No one in my family ate any of it. We were such snobs.

rondo 8:19 PM  

@lefty - Just continuing @Norm's thread of calling out a previous poster (who was spot on BTW, and got multiple congrats) who had called out another previous poster. I guess that makes me fifth in the sequence now. BTW, I almost always agree with @evil doug, and I've said that before. Ignorance is one thing, attacks are fair game, IMHO.

rain forest 12:45 AM  

@Teedmn - That is what I call a sad story. I have to say, though, that even though my family was not in a position to put on airs, we would somehow see ourselves as "better" than others. This bothered me quite a bit.

I would have eaten a piece of that cake, but thanks for sharing this all-too-common story.

Bananafish 6:11 PM  

I am another one who not heard of DEMONRUM. Well, that is a bit of an exaggeration - somewhere deep in the bowels of my brain I had a faint notion of the use of that term by tee-totalling women during the prohibition era, probably from something like Boardwalk Empire or other movies/TV shows.

As far as Shawty goes, I was able to eliminate ho, bimbo and bit** immediately because of the number of letters, but beotch, digger, bizzle, bag hoe, banger, beezie, bopper, boofer, chassi, nut-bag, scully, spacer, stunna, etc. were harder to eliminate. Yeah, a lot of respect for women in the rap community.

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