Plumeria creation / SAT 2-4-17 / Sitcom set in Lanford Ill / Best-selling celebrity tell-all book of 1978 / Spica's constellation / Item worn by count on sesame street / They're known as viennese bread in scandinavia / Medieval invader of Spain / Final car built in buick city before its shutdown

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Constructor: Patrick Berry

Relative difficulty: Medium-Easy (hard to start, then super-easy)

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: Plumeria (5D: Plumeria creation => LEI) —
noun: plumeria; plural noun: plumerias
  1. a fragrant flowering tropical tree of a genus that includes frangipani. (google)
• • •

And here I thought a plumeria was where PENs were made. I wish I were joking. I not only put in PEN for 5D: Plumeria creation, I then immediately put PEN in *again* for the very next clue, 6D: Stir. PEN PEN. Wrong wrong. Still, my plan of strafing stacks with first-guess answers on all the short crosses weirdly ended up working, despite those wrong answers (and the also-wrong ATM for 4D: One rolling dough). SMALL (3D: Minor) was right and YENS (7D: Wants) was right, and I figured the 1D: "___ vobiscum" ("the Lord be with you") would start "D" (I could think only of "Deus"), so I stuck that in there too. But I didn't get started in earnest til GALS (26A: Ben-___ (N.F.L. cheerleading squad)) over OLE (28A: Estadio cheer) (both gimmes), then VIRGO. Worked my way up to the long Acrosses from there. Once I finally figured out the Count wore a MONOCLE, "MOMMIE, DEAREST" became obvious, and instantly fixed all my wrong initial guesses on the short Downs (13A: Best-selling celebrity tell-all book of 1978). COMPANION PIECE (14A: Something work-related) was very very hard because the clue has "Work" in it and starts COMPAN- so naturally I wanted COMPANY something. Not knowing what "Plumeria" was meant that COMPANY stayed COMPANY too long. Not knowing CAP'N (by any stretch, at all, at all), also made uncovering COMPANION PIECE super-hard. But once I got out of the top, the puzzle opened up and suddenly became more like a Tuesday. Monday in the middle, Wednesday down below. Ended up finishing in very average time, despite terrible beginning.

"ROSEANNE" (yay!) was the turning point (22A: Sitcom set in Lanford, Ill.). Got it easy (right in my wheelhouse), and then everything underneath it just fell away. After that, I only had minor trouble: writing in SENTRA instead of XTERRA (37D: Nissan model discontinued in 2015); not knowing Hebrew letters (43D: Hebrew letter on a dreidel => SHIN); forgetting the manner in which PEAS were processed for babies (brain just kept going "smashed? smashed? are they smashed?"). But that's it. Puzzle is both easier and less interesting down below—very heavy on the RLSTNE, especially in the SE (!) with ESTEE on the SETTEE eating PASTRIES with her BESTIES. But overall the grid is really lovely, and the clues were suitably tough. I can tolerate a fantastic obscurity like CAP'N Bill Weedles (!?) (8D: ___ Bill Weedles (Land of Oz character)) if surrounding material is fair, and it was. Nice job.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Dolgo 6:59 AM  

Yeah, pretty easy when you can guess "Danish pastries" and "Mommie Dearest" with only a few letters!

Unknown 7:05 AM  

I needed to fall back on high school Latin for "Dominus vobiscum" - I didn't actually take Latin, but saw "Johnny Dangerously" back when I was 15 and this scene stuck...

James Joyce 7:07 AM  


(Yawns, then chants with a hoarse croak.) Namine. Jacobs. Vobiscuits. Amen.

Unknown 7:08 AM  

Like many a @Patrick Berry puzzle, daunting until it's not. I considered GAYS ahead of GALS, for the "Ben-___ " clue, and FORMULA ahead of FORMICA, with its wonderful clue. Out-of-production vehicles not my forte either, but the crossings were fair. Happy to see FARADAY--my initial breakthrough entry, delighted to learn something I didn't know before about COBALT, and amused by the clue for DANISH_PASTRIES.

Dorothy Biggs 7:24 AM  

Nice puzzle.

I had an inkling it was MOMMIEDEAREST, but I didn't know MOMMIE was spelled that way, so of course MOMMy_DEAREST didn't fit. Had I filled that in when I had the chance my time would have been much better. But just like those movies where the hero makes that one decision you know is going to cost them some time, balking at MOMMIE cost me some time.

VENIAL crossing DOMINUS - - good thing I married a Catholic.

ATONES next to DENOTED looks similar, but different.

STETSONS and STETS looks the same, but different.

DOSIDOS reminds me of Girl Scout cookies.

evil doug 7:26 AM  

[George is playing Trivial Pursuit with Donald--the Bubble Boy, forced by illness to stay in his protective plastic cage--and getting his ass handed to him....]


GEORGE: All right, Bubble Boy. Let's just play... Who invaded Spain in the 8th century?


GEORGE: Oh, Nooooo--I'm so sorry. It's the MOOPS. The correct answer is, The MOOPS.


GEORGE: I'm sorry, the card says MOOPS.




Glimmerglass 7:26 AM  

I had no idea what the Bengals' cheerleaders were called, but guessed (wincing at the cuteness -- must be wrong!) BEN GALS. That gave me VIRGO and DOMINUS, then IRON CLAD, and on up into the NW. As usual, PB gave me a fun workout. Good analysis, @Rex. I avoided some of your problems, but had others of my own (e.g. bud instead of LEI).

Anonymous 7:26 AM  

POE did what??

chefbea 7:36 AM  

Didn't do the puzzle. Just read all about it. Very busy preparing for super bowl....chili, hordoevres etc

cwf 7:45 AM  

code for BETA and means for MODES, but once those were fixed solved it quickly from the bottom up with the help of a few gimmes (POE, MOOR, DAM, OBAMAS). Still not totally clear to me why COMPANIONPIECEs are "work related," though.

Loren Muse Smith 7:51 AM  

Rex – I’ve entered it in grids, but I had to go look up “strafe.”

What a cool-looking grid. Those 14-13-12 stacks surprised me. Two early mistakes held me up for a bit: “hand vac” for MINI VAC and “bids” for the stock market events DIPS.

Oh, and like Rex, I was seeing COMPAN _ _ for the “work related” deal. I sure fell into that trap and was looking for “company” something. Well played, Patrick.

Four cars in the grid: COBALT, XTERRA, LESABRE, and ESCAPE. Well, five, actually: LOANER. What is it about the Buick LESABRE that’s so irresistible to grandparents? My bigmama drove one, a white four-door behemoth that became the car my sisters and I shared in high school. My husband’s grandmom gave us her old one when we first got married. Mom and Dad drive one to this day.

Best part of the puzzle for me was learning of this culinary finger-pointing concerning pastries. Hah. Hi, @George.

Second best part was learning that those cheerleaders are called the Ben Gals. Brilliant. (Sorry, @Glimmerglass) Other possibilities – Pat Riots, St. Eeelers, Gi Ants...

Several best parts of last year’s ACPT – one was when I rudely interrupted Tom Pepper talking to some guy to see if he and Marcia wanted to share a cab to the airport. He calmly answered and then said, “Loren, have you met Patrick Berry?” And there sat the man himself. I was stunned. Said stupid stuff and then later reviewed everything I said, how I said it. Reviewed it again in the mirror. Tried to decide if I came across as stupid. I must have done ok because after that Patrick wouldn’t leave me alone – followed me everywhere, asked my thoughts on seed entries, stared at me across the room, pestered me to test-solve a couple of puzzles, asked to share a cab to the airport. Yeah right.

Anyway, thanks to @Tita’s courage, we went and got our picture with him. He was so low-key, chill. Nice. Not at all aloof and stuck up. My avatar is the picture. I feel like he’s a private guy, so I disguised him. I disguised myself because I had a spooky, frantic look in my eyes.

Excellent puzzle, Patrick.

Unknown 8:00 AM  

@cwf, my best guess to explain COMPANION_PIECES is that one has a series of works, say musical numbers, that are related to each other. Typical of the sort of clues that require some mental gymnastics, but lead to an "aha" when sorted out.

With respect to OBAMAS--I went through the rolodex-of-the-mind on 5-letter president names, starting with ADAMS (though that one doesn't pluralize by adding an S) in chronological order, so it took a while to get to two weeks ago (hence the "onetime" in the clue). It should be emphasized that 44 has just about the most crossword-friendly combination of consonants and vowels, and he and Michelle did the constructing community additional favors when naming their daughters.

cwf 8:04 AM  

@George Barany Ah, that makes sense.

Stephen Dedalus 8:09 AM  

A cold lucid indifference reigned in his soul. At his first violent(venial)sin he had felt a wave of vitality pass out of him and had feared to find his body or his soul maimed by the excess. Instead the vital wave had carried him on its bosom out of himself and back again when it receded: and no part of body or soul had been maimed but a dark peace had been established between them. The chaos in which his ardour extinguished itself was a cold indifferent knowledge of himself. He had sinned mortally not once but many times and he knew that, while he stood in danger of eternal damnation for the first sin alone, by every succeeding sin he multiplied his guilt and his punishment.

Charles Flaster 8:20 AM  

Easy and enjoyable. Would have been super easy had I not fallen into the COMPANy abyss. Finally sussed LEI( originally hat) , and then COMPANION PIECE was last to fall.
Loved cluing for DISPLAY CASES, FORMICA , and DO SI DOS.
Write over was DIPS for tIPS.
Perhaps should have been a Friday offering.
Still very creative and thanks to PB.

Wm. C. 8:28 AM  

Chefwen -- hors d'ouvres, that is. French for "Outside the work." Meaning not part of the main course.

Dominos Vobiscum -- Et cum spirito tuo. => The Lord be with you. And with your Spirit. All altar boys know this.

Loren Muse Smith 8:32 AM  

@chef bea and @Wm. C. – I’ve shared here before that when I was the event planner at a country club, a bride-to-be emailed asking for a list of our “house-devours.” Now that I think about it, it might have been “horse-devours.” Either way is a funny goof for hors-d’oeuvres, tough for anyone to spell.

Old Lady 8:36 AM  

Everyone,including Rex,playing nice today. That's the benefit of having a good puzzle with the OBAMAS and no Erics. Hope I don't start anything, but it's still worth noting.

kitshef 8:39 AM  

The last three days have been just great, puzzle-wise.

I don't do cars, so having both LESABRE and XTERRA cranked up the difficulty a bit, but otherwise what @Rex said.

Impossible at first, just a few tentative guesses (later revealed to be wrong) until the gimmes of OLE and Ben-GALS. But that still didn't open things up.

Finally DAM/ATONES/MANSE got things going, and while from there I sure wouldn't say easy, it was steady progress.

Tremendous fakeout having COMPAN at the beginning of 14A, where making that COMPANy seemed self-evident. That was my last fix.

QuasiMojo 8:39 AM  

Even though I am a huge fan of Patrick Berry's work, and have often said he can do no wrong, I was disappointed in this puzzle. First of all it had more product placement in it than I would have expected, including two cars, a box of cereal and Formica. I wonder if "mini vac" is a trade name? And then there is eBay and Estee, the type of fill one doesn't associate with Patrick Berry. I also did not like "Danish Pastries" although the clue was fun. One never calls them that. They are "Danishes." And the clue on "Display Cases" did not seem up to snuff either because one can indeed handle things in a display case. You are just not allowed to "touch" them without asking or getting the proprietor to open it for you. Yes, I know I am being too "small" but with Patrick Berry one is used to a higher standard of excellence.

That said there was enough good stuff in this to make it worth my while. "Venial," "Companion Piece," "Electioneered," "Ariadne" and "Xenon" (one of my favorite discos in NY back in the day. I finished this in 16 minutes which may be a record for me on a Saturday.

kitshef 8:52 AM  

@QuasiMojo - Danishes might be regional? Here in The South, I only hear DANISH PASTRIES.

Does anyone else remember XENON, the pinball machine? Sultry female voice was irresistable to a teenager. May have been the first 'talkie'?

Hartley70 9:01 AM  

MOMMIEDEAREST and DOMINUS within the first minute and I was off to the races and crossed the finish line in nearly a quarter of my usual Saturday time. There were no bumps in the ride because, as usual, a Berry puzzle is oh so smooth. I couldn't have enjoyed this little confection more if it had been layer cake.

Z 9:09 AM  

@George Barany nails it with"daunting until it's not." Yep. As for the Ben Gays, I keep trying to decide if they'd be the spokes group for liniments or lubricants.

The Post clue fooled me longer than most everyone else, so no problem here with COMPANION PIECE other than sussing out that it was the arts, not business. I also had ELECT before realizing it was politics not business. Apparently Berry is anti-business.

@LMS - I was enjoying a sticky bun (with a fork, natch, can't be sticking to the paper) as I solved, so DANISH PASTRIES was apt. Having an ethnic background associated with being cheap (go Dutch), I would think being associated with pastry would be preferred. That's my excuse for thinking more along the lines of pumpernickel until the correct letters SEEPed IN.

Z 9:13 AM  

@kitshef - Pinball is always my first thought when I see XENON. That voice crossed over into the pornographic.

evil doug 9:16 AM  

"How is someone who barely graduates from college and announces that he wants to abolish the Department of Energy a reasonable choice to head that agency?"

Andrew (from yesterday)- - Rick Perry was a C-130 pilot in my sister squadron, so he's clearly a very bright and heroic man - - a steely-eyed deliverer of death from on high, and therefore eminently qualified.

Nancy 9:24 AM  

I read the clue for 1A, and while I had no idea what the answer was going to be, I knew it would rely on wonderful wordplay and that I was in for a real treat. I glanced down. PB1. Who else?

I got MOMMIE DEAREST off just the DE. It helps to have been an editor at the Literary Guild when the book came out. That enabled me to pretty much race through the entire North -- all the way past, and including LE SABRE (You didn't get me, you stupid car, and I've actually heard of you.) It was the other stupid car at 37D that might have done me in, but happily I've heard of XENON gas, so I got all the crosses. What wonderful clues for CEREAL; DISPLAY CASES; BESTIES and most of all ELECTIONEERED, a trick clue which I knew right off the bat without any crosses. Is my mind beginning to work exactly like Patrick Berry's? Too bad I can't create a grid. I changed STRAINED PEAr to STRAINED PEAS to get BESTIES -- and suddenly it was all over. Over much too soon, I might add. A puzzle that was sheer, unadulterated fun.

Numinous 9:32 AM  

Finished this one in 3:08. Har di har har. But look, that's what my stats page says. I finished this in more like an hour but even though I had everything correct, the DAM app wouldnt give me the solve. So I decided after checking and rechecking my check and then rechecking the recheck to go to 1A and start typing again. I got all the way to the S in DANISH PASTRIES and finally got the solve popup but the DAM counter wouldn't stop. I kept typing over the letters that were already there and after somewhere in ELECTIONEERING I finally got he solve and the counter stopped. Here I was, all smug when others here were complaining about their IOS apps messing up. Y'all can have the last laugh on me since I've managed to swallow that bug too. Let's hope this current revision of the app is back in BETA and being fixed and that an update will be available soon.

I wanted COMPANy too when I got back up there. I did the south first. I had ipo before DIP. I knew I knew what plumeria is but I just couldn't remember. Then, when the y for COMPANy wouldn't work it dawned on me. While researching rayon material for aloha shirts, plumeria was mentioned in the descriptions of the flowers in the patterns. (Yeah, if I have a machine, I can sew and make clothes and other stuff too.)

@George Baraney, I appreciated learning something about COBALT too. I never watched ROSEANNE so I had no idea where they were supposed to live. I had the same problem with MOMM(y)IE DEAREST that some of the rest of you had. I was suspecting that was the book in the clue, the date kinda gave it away. I even remember that around that time MOMMIE DEAREST became something of a catch phrase but I no longer recall why. Maybe I should stop taking Propecia and become smarter than, oh, never mind. BeforeI got DISPLAY CASES, I was thinking it had something to do with DIoramas. DIorama CASES would have fit but I couldn't reconcile it with the down letters I already had.

I am starting to like Patrick Berry puzzles more and more. Might be because I'm gettng better at doing them, (I can hear Gibbs saying, "Ya think?"). I just had to Gibbs-slap the back of my head there. Since I know where he lives, I have to wonder if my step-daughter ever served him at the Subway where she worked when she was living there. The week has almost come to the end and overall, I thought the puzzles were pretty good, here's hoping Sunday is as good.

Sherm Reinhardt 9:37 AM  

Like @George Barany I had BENGAYS before BENGALS and once I got the right answer from figuring out MONOCLE, I still didn't quite get it. I figured they must have been named after some beloved head coach of yesteryear with the first name BEN.

Exubesq 9:37 AM  

First pass got me Roseanne and nothing more. Just as I was thinking that I would be lucky to finish at all, STRAINEDPEAS fell and the race was on. PB puzzles seem to go that way for me a lot.

mac 9:38 AM  

Beautiful, beautiful Saturday puzzle, tough to break into, then smooth as silk. Hey, haven't seen any puzzles by Barry lately.

When my son and his Ukrainian told me they were naming their baby girl Zina, my first thought was if it would start with an X. Even now, she will never have a mug or a nameplate with her name on it....

Today is the Westport tournament with Will Shortz, at the library. Meeting many friends there, and seventeen are coming back to my house to talk words and puzzles. Afterward dinner at Rizzuto's. Always a fun event.
Then back to the superbowl party prep!

jackj 9:40 AM  

In altar boy speak, DOMINUS Vobiscum was easy.

Thankfully Patrick didn't try to use the second most remembered bit of Latin phrasing from Catholic masses, Ad Déum qui laetíficat juventútem méam, (To God, who giveth joy to my youth).

Anonymous 9:43 AM  

@Evil --

"Deliverer of death from on high..."

Hah! A C130 is a Trash Hauler, not a Bomber. Get with reality, Mr. C130.

Anonymous 9:43 AM  

My wife sometimes starts the puzzle before me so by the time I get in the app there's a handful of answers. Today there was just one: 38A was filled in as MOOP. She thought it was hilarious...I agreed

Maruchka 9:43 AM  

Divine PB in more ways than one. DOMINUS, VENIAL (boy, how we hoped they were when nuns forced us into Father Cork's confessional), MANSE, ATONES. And Mr. Berry has no smarm. At all. Ever. Thanks for the sweet story, @LMS.

I knew DANISH PASTRIES were called something else in Denmark, but it still took awhile. Always nice to be reminded of the OBAMAS in these troubled times.

Fav of the day - FORMICA. Ancestral kitchen (the site of much 'Viennese bread' baking) remodel in the early 60s. Lots easier to clean. even with no MINIVAC.


etb 9:46 AM  

My app was acting up, letters kept disappearing and it took twice as long as usual to finish. Anyone else have that problem? The upside is the timer also wasn't working, kept switching back and forth between 3 seconds and 4 seconds, so now I have a new personal best for Saturday, 3 seconds. As if.

evil doug 9:50 AM  

[Hah! I knew we'd find a live one! Deja vu all over again!]

I dare you to say that to the members of the 82nd Airborne jumping from my aircraft.

QuasiMojo 9:51 AM  

@Kitshef, I see. That is a good example of why I should wait a few hours before posting since I would have probably learned that about "Danish Pastries" and not made such a dumb generalization. It could indeed be regional. I'm from the "ice box" "warshing machine" "hero vs sub" region. And we just call them Danishes. Or did. Now I just eat "strained peas."

@Numinous, that is very funny. I've had apps mess with my mind before.

Fpbear 9:51 AM  

Had Warhol Diaries in lieu of Mommie Dearest for way too long. Aargh. Won one the old Maryann Madden competitions with Mommie Dearest and Mummy Dearest referring to King Tut.
Easy when I finally fixed it.

Anonymous 9:58 AM  

Solved this puzzle, but it's not showing up as completed in my stats on-line. Anyone ever had this happen before? Would hate to see my streak go to zero!

Teedmn 10:06 AM  

Am I the only person who had a hard time with this? I finished in an average Saturday time but that doesn't include the 15 minute break I had to take to let the SW percolate. I just had no ahas today, with the exception of CEREAL finally breaking my fixation on "something something maiL.

I actually counted out MOMMIE DEAREST right away to see if it would work and ADO seemed to point that way but first I got waylaid by VENIAL/VIRGO. The L of VENIAL fell perfectly for me to put in chiLd for "minor". Only when IRONCLAD SEEPed IN was I able to see SMALL and MOMMIE DEAREST went in there after all.

My original thought on 1A was that it was referring to those new virtuAl reality thingies (and ADO played into that one also). And hand up for COMPANy ON PIECE for a few moments. I was actually going to shrug at that one but instead STRAINED my brain a few moments longer and decided "plumeria" did not refer to magic LEy lines.

But the SW killed me. I couldn't think of any metal CO_____ that wasn't COPPER, making everything down there very hard to see. And I scoff at the "Viennese bread" clue. When I was in Norway, the continental breakfast included these very delicious apple strudels. When I was on my way back for my third one (yeah, I know), my Swedish friend, Catharina, said that she lived in Denmark for a year and after eating apple strudel every day for a year, she no longer cared for them. (I wished I could have put that to the test for myself.) Not once did the words "Viennese bread" leave her lips. But really, what else goes in front of PASTRIES but DANISH?

After my 15 minute hiatus, I thought of COBALT, giving me OBAMAS (too soon? I thought) and then it was done but this was a kick in the SHIN compared to recent Saturdays, thus very satisfying. Thanks, PB1.

And I tried my hand at the 7/15/1995 puzzle after reading so many reactions in yesterday's comments and got my butt kicked. Solving on AcrossLite, I soon resorted to using the "check" button, which is all that saved me from Googling. Ouch!

GILL I. 10:09 AM  

Finished watching Jeopardy (can't wait to see our new champ next Monday) had a couple of sips of Rioja left over so I got all comfy and started my favorite constructor's puzzle. Other than OLE and the wrong DRACO, my brain was not puzzle functioning. I was pretty good at Jeopardy but PB wasn't helping me last night.
Started again this morning. Fresh brain. Remembering the Counts MONOCLE, (and spelling it correctly) opened up that whole section for me. Got MOMMIE DEAREST off the MO; remembered my Latin DOMINUS prayer and Bacchus and ARIADNE so I began tippy tapping away.
@Rex - I can see where you might think PEN for a plumeria creation. I thought it too because that, along with plumber and a feather duster is what it means in Spanish.
Didn't like the car clues although I managed to get LE SABRE. ROSEANNE crossing SAVANT was a MINI VAC laugh. Wanted Sols for the clever misdirect Old Roman coins. Loved the more south of the border clue - quiero MAS and thought BESTIES was cute.
Sooo, It took over an hour and I had to Google XTERRA to finish her but for me, just one Google on a Sat. is a major accomplishment.
Have fun in Westport @Mac and all...send us pics.

John V 10:11 AM  

Always happy to finish a Saturday puzzle. I have simple needs that way.

And, so, off to Westport!

Malsdemare 10:27 AM  

I haven't done the puzzle. Opened it up, saw those huge triple stacks, looked at the constructor's name, and cried. I'm doomed, which could be good. This one could take all day.

Phil 10:28 AM  

Placed MOMMyDEAREST immediately just didn't fill in because unbeknowst of the spelling.
Et cum spiritu tuo is God's phine number.

Tita 10:30 AM  

What a joy to finish a Saturday on the day of the Tournament - big ego boost, even if it was too-easy-for-a-Saturday. It wasn't that it was written easy, I'm just brilliant.

DISPLAYCASES went in straightaway. The other 2 acrosses took much longer (I was thinking something to do with COMmissIONs...) DOMINUS also totally sussable.
From their I was off to the races - until I hot my Waterloo in the SW.
I knew MOOR, often sit in the LOunge at my car repair place, and fiddled with truMAn for a while. MeanS before MODES and no clue ton the letter all conspired to make it tough.
But pulled out LOunge and saw OBAMAS.

Favorite thing I learned from puzzles this week... DOSIDOS... Was really baffled by the answer once I got it from crosses, tried to make sense of it, then thought - "it can't be related to the French..."
Well, yes it can - comes from Dos et dos, or Dos à dos - back to back... So cool!!!

BENGAyS - yup. When I corrected it, didn't give the sports-related clue another thought.
@lms - now THERE's a puzle theme - fantastic!

My nieces gave my sister a USB MINIVAC for Christmas - looks just like a minute Dustbuster. I asked her to loan it to me so I could clean the railroad tracks on my Presépio - it worked like a charm.

Also loved learning the PASTRIES thing.

Tita 10:35 AM  

@lms - you had me going there...I thought - wait - I thought I introduced her (and me) to PB. I figured, oh well, my memory stinks - I guess it was one of the other PB constructors that I unabashedly went over to with Loren...

Also, love "culinary finger-pointing"...hah!
On an oddly related tangent, I have always wondered why we call Turkey turkey, and the Portuguese (and probably Spanish) call Peru peru. Peru is the Portuguese word for Turkey.
Makes my brain hurt. I'm sure they are just coincidences, but tickles my language funnybone.

Any other such examples?

mathgent 10:39 AM  

I started off thinking I was a genius. For 13A, I had O from DOMINUS and E from LEI and I triumphantly entered COFFEETEAORME.

Thanks, George Barany, for explaining the sweet clue for COMPANIONPIECE.

I don't agree with @QuasiMojo (8:39) but there were some blemishes today. Ten threes isn't too many, but they included ADO, OLE, and AND.

@Loren Muse Smith (7:51). Cute story about meeting PB. I'm planning on going to my first tournament in Stamford at the end of March. I'm hoping to meet you and some of the other regulars.

The comment about MOOP reminded me of a cryptic I did in The Nation recently. The clue was "Fake excrement that is usually found in the bathroom." The answer was SHAMPOO.

Today was another lovely piece of work by The Master.

jberg 10:42 AM  

@George, I'm still laughing over the idea of a cheerleading squad called the "Ben-Gays!" They make injured players feel better, I guess!

I wrote in COMPANy, ipoS at 18A, and, like Rex, pEn before LEI. Also gOth before MOOR, even while thinking that they weren't really medieval (and really were Visigoths, if I remember right). But it all came together -- hard until it wasn't, as many observed, and lots of fun.

But do Mounties really wear STETSONS? I'm disappointed by their lack of nationalism. Surely they could find good Canadian hats to wear. Tilleys, maybe?

Triggerfinger 10:47 AM  

Thought 1A might be crystalballs, and seemed more likely entering ado and Ariadne and stets. Took awhile to figure out
I had made a mess.

AZPETE 10:48 AM  


GHarris 10:51 AM  

After a long love affair I thought Patrick Berry and I were finally parting company (the word that screwed me up for the longest time) and spelling mommy didn't help. Finally got it all together and Patrick is back in my good graces (Dominus sancti).

Anonymous 11:11 AM  

Phew! I was SOOOO worried we'd never see OBAMA again in a NYTimes puzzle. Instead of Former White House family, Will, go for the gold: Family we wish NEVER left ♡♡♡♡♡♡!!!! Mwah!

Numinous 11:11 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
jae 11:13 AM  

Bottom 2/3s easy top third tough. Did not know the Latin but it finally occurred to me that it should start with @Rex a D which helped me get DISPLAY CASES. The clues for COMPANION PIECES (add me to those who went with a Y at first), SEEPS IN, STETS, and ESCAPE were tough, and while I knew MOMMIE DEAREST the clue did not help.

Solid grid with a fair amount of crunch, a fine Sat., liked it.

Numinous 11:16 AM  

I don't remember how to do a DOSIDO but I do remember elementary school PE where we had to learn square dancing and DOSIDOs were definitely part of it. Oh how I hated square dancing. I always got paired up with Melanie. She constantly sucked her thumbs, her hands were always damp and she had warts all over them. I hate to add this but . . . The ugly stick wouldn't have whupped her even on a dare. The way these things work, she probably turned into a spokes-model for Cover Girl when she grew up but when I was eight or nine, she gave me nightmares. "If it's Tuesday, you're going to have to go hold hands with Melanie."

Nom de plume, of course! Just not a word I use for pen. Quill comes to mind because I've made and used them. I was given a pile, a huge bag of turkey (peru) flight feathers. To make a quill one must poke a hole in the coals of a fire, or in my case, pass the ends between the element bars of an electric stove. When they are softened, the scraggly membrane scrapes right off and the quill is left clean. While still hot, the quill can be pressed and flattened somewhat to create as wide a nib as possible. A couple of careful cuts with a pen knife or a scalpel and Robert is your mom's brother. I used to make a reservoir from flattened and reshaped bobby pins. My first Renaissance Faire I had a calligraphy booth. I was always amazed that folks refused to believe that my quills were really feathers. If The Inca fell to the Spanish the way I believe they did, I guess I'm not surprised the Spanish call them Turkeys.

Before I figured out LIRE, I was thinking ases. The Roman as was, I believe, the copper equivalent of our penny. Apparently "candy" could be bought with a few of them.

Anonymous 11:22 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Stanley Hudson 11:26 AM  

Love me some PB puzzles.

"the 15 minute break I had to take to let the SW percolate" In NorCal we just say "bowel movement."

RooMonster 11:29 AM  

Hey All !
Toughie here, but persevered and managed to get it done after a few put-downs-pick-back-ups. But fell all the way for COMPANy. Didn't know what a LEy was, but parsed the Across as COMPANy ON PIECE. Sounded plausible. :-) Also had an N at ARIAnNE/nIPS cross. Only two goofs, technical DNF, but going with yesterdays assessment and saying 95% correct, which is a Win in my book!

Wanted (something)capE for Sesame Street Count clue. Forgot about the MONOCLE. Only had one writeover, LIRa-LIRE. Not too shabby for me on a SatPuz. Seems an excessive amout of POCs for a PB1 puz. Where's @Anoa Bob when you need him?

Keep thinking FARADAY had an electrical background. Like Tesla. Anyone know any truth to that? Also never heard of a Fish Ladder. Was thinking it had some Biblical reference, or maybe a Step in the evolutionary ladder.

Side story: Once owned a 1977 LESABRE that had such rusty quarter panels that when you drove it, the exhaust fumes would enter into the car when the windows were down. Had to drive it in the summer with the windows rolled up so I could breathe! Either breathe exhaust, or roast. Shortly thereafter, I had said car in a Demolition Derby. That was fun.


Joe Bleaux 11:33 AM  

And then he wrote "Great Balls of Fire" and "Whole Lot of Shakin' Going On."😏

Malsdemare 11:36 AM  

Well, dang, 34 minutes! I shan't complain (too much); it was a gorgeous puzzle. As a fallen-away (isn't that a great term? Conjures up images of someone tumbling slowly off the steeple at Notre Dame) Catholic, private girls' school where WE were the altar persons, DOMINUS was my first answer and VENIAL my second. I solved this the way I do genealogy, sort of hit, miss, regroup, hit, get distracted, start all over. I had Formula, Chrome (even though I was pretty sure Chrome was an alloy), teething-who knows, radon, data, so tons of errors. As a Cincinnati native and a sort-of Bengals fan, I'm chagrined to admit I missed the fun in BENGALS until I read y'all (I haven't read REX yet). And yeah, I considered GAyS for a moment. And I smiled at IRONCLAD, MINIVAC, COMPANION PIECE. I never read MOMMIE DEAREST. Would qualify as a good ESCAPE from reality?

Weird, could-this-be-true tale: I'm "black Irish" and my dad told us that the black hair came from the Spaniards who fled Spain during the MOOR invasion. Who knows if it's true, but I love the explanation, though my father wasn't above making stuff up to suit his mood and his audience.

Mr. Mal builds huge ship models that get put in bazillion dollar DISPLAY CASES. He keeps his shot gun handy for anyone who would dare touch the ships.

So, Mr. Berry, I think I'm catching on.

Trombone Tom 11:37 AM  

Man, the things I learn here. Former Yellowjacket @numinous just filled me in on the art of quill pen making! Thank you.

Back to the puzzle. I haven't found a Patrick Berry I didn't like and today was no exception. The misdirecting clues on Post box and work-related each took me a long while to decipher and were quite satisfying to resolve.

I didn't have the same issues starting out as @Rex. What I did do is drop in Alnico for the permanent magnet metal. That set me back for a long time until COBALT forced its way into the grid.

What a fun Saturday! Thank you PB and WS.

r.alphbunker 11:49 AM  

I was convinced the "Ben" of {26A {Ben-___ (N.F.L. cheerleading squad)} GALS} referred to Ben Roethlisberger of the Steelers. I dismissed GALS as the answer because no football team would name their cheerleaders after another team. The upper part of the puzzle was looking pretty bleak until I got 15A {Forgivable} VENIAL and then things started popping. Very nice.

Details are here.

Joe Bleaux 11:58 AM  

Ahhh ... Patrick Berry, Saturday morning, near-despair in the toe-hold scan, and then ... Yup! Finished in under half an hour with no cheating (an IRONCLAD rule; I'd rather throw in the towel than go Googling). "Ironclad" turned out to be my toe-hold by the way, and my progress parallels that of several solvers above. Thanks, Mr. Barry! @Roo -- First I've ever heard of a fish ladder, too. Funny imagery, though, right?

Malsdemare 12:01 PM  

@roo. Maybe you already sussed this out, but if not: A fish ladder is a series of steps or levels next to a dam that allows fish that swim upstream to spawn to navigate the obstruction. You'd think they'd never work (like animal bridges and viaducts built to keep animal ranges accessible despite highways and walls), but all of it does. Amazing!

RooMonster 12:03 PM  

Fun NFL Cherrleader fact:
Three teams do not have Cheerleaders, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, and NY Giants.
In case it's ever a Jeopardy question, now you know!


Teedmn 12:08 PM  

@Stanley Hudson, you NorCal people have the strangest term for "retrieving the local paper and reading the comics".

AliasZ 12:12 PM  

@Rex, "Nice job" -- nice understatement.

Loved COMPANION PIECE, which can mean a work of art, literature of music bearing a close relationship to another by the same artist, or a physical piece of a prized collection, usually sitting next to each other in the same DISPLAY CASES.

DO MINUS tres is "sol" on the diatonic scale. DOS-I-DOS on the other hand is the corruption of the French term dos-à-dos (back-to-back) in contrast with vis-à-vis (face-to-face). Now that we know this, we can move on to STRAINED PEAS and DANISH PASTRIES.

I have grown to detest the use of IMPACT as a verb. Lately every darned thing IMPACTs every other darned thing. IMPACT is a sudden, violent and often catastrophic event, like an asteroid or a meteorite hitting Earth, while the way it is used nowadays is nothing like that. IMPACT has come to replace affect, a perfectly fine word. "How did being hit by a batted ball IMPACT you as you were trying to steal second base?" "Very hard! It hurt like hell."

-- DENOTED -- Removed comments.
-- CLOSE SON -- Mother's favorite male child.
-- We see PIN at 4D, and we SEE PIN again at 10D.

Here is Bacchus and ARIADNE by Albert Roussel (1869–1937), Suite 2 from his ballet by the same title.

Enjoy your weekend.

Lewis 12:13 PM  

Got DOMINUS not from any religious training, but I guess I've heard "Dominos vobiscum" all my life on TV shows and among friends where people were imitating priests.

Nothing fancy, nothing flashy in this puzzle (okay, there *is* a 5-letter palindromic answer). Simply a spotless grid with clues from a master (I call PB's cluing "smartistic") to give a smooth solve that will reward persistence. I especially loved the clues on MINIVAC, ELECTIONEERED, COMPANIONPIECE, and DISPLAYCASES.

Quality in a crossword puzzle? Thy name is Berry.

old timer 12:17 PM  

I would have been fine if I had not started by putting "US mail" where CEREAL is. Even though as an ex-Catholic I got VENIAL and DOMINUS right away. I moved to the S and easily found DANISHPASTRIES and the rest (I knew POE married a young cousin). Then I worked my way up to the NE and finally corrected my mail mistake. "work related" was pretty unfair I thought.

Steve Earle wrote a grand song called "Galway Girl". Her hair was black and her eyes were blue. The story is that ships from the Spanish Armada captured Galway and the dark haired soldiers and sailors got the local girls and women pregnant. Many of the babies had Spanish features. It is also true that Spanish ships often called at Galway in later centuries.

Wayne Famous 12:18 PM  

Does anyone remember laughter?

Malsdemare 12:20 PM  

@oldtimer. I've never heard that story. Thanks!

Adam 12:33 PM  

I started in the middle, which as @Rex said was the easiest section of the grid. COFFEE for LOANER (Repair shop amenity) gave me some trouble, but MODE led to OBAMAS and that was that. I liked the clue for CEREAL (Post box's contents) and also wanted COMPANY- and PEN, but ultimately not a terrible Saturday and a really nice, clean puzzle.

Masked and Anonymous 12:49 PM  

@muse and PB1: nice masks.

@PB1: nice SatPuz. Played pretty easy-ish, at our house. Glad PB1 went into desperado mode, with DOMINUS/RECUT (with VENIAL collateral damage), just long enough to get us a token U. Thanx, for the respect.

fave entry: DANISHPASTRIES. Other end of the spectrum: STRAINEDPEAS.

Staff Eject Pick: SEP.

Congratz to all U words, that got Patrick Berry Usage Immunity, today. (yo, @BESTIES. Better clue: {Puts in the hotel room with Beavis and Butthead??}.)

Thanx, @PB.

Masked & AnonymoUs


Anonymous 12:57 PM  


Alex 12:58 PM (Loren Muse Smith) at 8:32 - hahaha!
I am triumphant at solving a Saturday, so I knew it would be easy for the rest of you. Having MeanS instead of MODES slowed me down considerably in the SW, as did having DOmInOS instead of DOSIDOS in the center.
But fun, as always.

Dan v. 1:01 PM  

OK, so here's a funny one. I'm thinking 36D could easily be LOADER instead of LOANER for whatever reason ("put the car on the loader so we can change it's oil"), which thus provokes the insane but apparently acceptable guess for 45A to be RADISHPASTRIES...I mean, why not? those Scandinavians do all sorts of weird things. Has anyone ever leafed through Magnus Nilsson's "The Nordic Cookbook"? It's sitting on my shelf, and boy are there some interesting recipes. Anyway, this lead to accepting MORES instead of MODES for 38D. Sure...why not? Never thought twice about it until I came here, and sadly discovered my DNF. (not really).

Happy Saturday!

Passing Shot 1:15 PM  

The most enjoyable puzzle in a long time. Thank you, PB. Long answers, tough but fair cluing, little trivia. Couldn't ask for more.

Moly Shu 1:20 PM  

I'm so angry, I think my head may explode. After 8 miserable years, the NYT makes me remember how miserable they were by inflicting OBAMAS upon us. How dare they legitimize his awfulness in my puzzle (Hi @OldLady)
Smooth and clean. I like how PB1 clues his "glue". AND LEI ADO MAS PIN, with apologies to @M&A, primo clue makin'. Hand up for initial daunting but ultimate satisfaction.
Now I'm going to re-read @ResistanceParker's twitter feed and hopefully calm down. I hope sarcasm translates.

Anonymous 1:32 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous 1:32 PM  

@Loren Muse Smith: Too funny! I had forgotten about the "go to" getaway car favored by bank robbers, the Ford Escape. Clyde Barrow loved early Fords for his bank jobs, and always stole a Ford if he could find one.

The car that Clyde preferred, one that offered both speed and comfort, was the Ford V-8. Clyde was so thankful for these cars that he wrote Henry Ford the following letter on April 10, 1934:

Dear Sir: --
While I still have got breath in my lungs I will tell you what a dandy car you make. I have drove Fords exclusively when I could get away with one. For sustained speed and freedom from trouble the Ford has got ever other car skinned and even if my business hasen't been strickly legal it don't hurt anything to tell you what a fine car you got in the V8 --

Yours truly
Clyde Champion Barrow

Yeah I know, his spelling and grammar needed work, but that man knew how to rob banks!

So Loren, who came first? Was meeting Patrick Berry the first time you experienced a constructor awe-gasm, or did that happen with Mr. Barany? That got me to wondering weather you experience that same "dampish" feelings of awe when meeting female constructors? We know you are married so you obviously like men, but are you cross-sexual? Would Andrea Carla Michaels float your boat? Or, would it take someone more venerated like Elizabeth "G"orski to hit your G-Spot? Do tell. Inquiring minds want to know!

Mohair Sam 1:35 PM  

Beaten by a Berry for the first time in a while. Nice goin' Patrick. The "I" in LEI and the "P" in CAPN. We had DISPLAYPIECE and MOMMIEDEAREST and decided that it had to be COMPANY something-or other at 14A - there is a LEY pewter you know, and why wouldn't these unknown Plumerians work with it? Huh? No hope for the "P" in CAPN so we gave up. DNF'd. COMPANy ON _IECE we wondered. COMPANIONPIECE, nice.

Century before LESABRE for a while, it satisfied ARENAS and ARC. Code before BETA, and IPOS before DIPS too, love how PB clues often give you tight choices. I didn't understand Ben-gals until I got here (duh). One of the Eagles cheerleaders was a US Army reservist - an officer who left the squad to serve in Iraq a few years back. Haven't had a DANISH in years, I'm hungry.

@Joe Bleaux - LOL - Same thought, you beat me to the post.

@Nancy - Got it off the "D", no lie.

Anonymous 2:10 PM  

@George Barany:

ROTFLMFAO! BEN-GAYS? Is that because you're from Minnesota where the cheerleaders on your NFL team are called the VI-QUEENS? We sports fans know its not an all male squad. QuasiMoto is gonna love this!

Yeah, those football teams do come up with some pretty good names for their RAH-RAH gals. My personal favorite is the Los Angeles Rams squad, namely, The Embraceable Ewes! The are a few equally bad names as well. Who about the Seattle SEA-GALS? If you were a paradigm of pulchritude, would you really want to be part of a squad whose moniker sounded so similar to Seagulls?

Just Sayin!

paulsfo 2:22 PM  

"Dominus vobiscum" literally translates to "What is God's telephone number?" [fyi, the response, in the Latin mass, is "Et cum spiritu tuo." Say it out loud.]

DrLee77 2:30 PM  

@ANON 934 and

I was never in the military but I think there is/was a version of the C-130 called the AC-130 that was used for prolonged air support that mounted mini-guns and possibly a 75 mm canon. Therefore, @EVIL is correct in both usages. If I am wrong, I apologize to anyone in the military

longoftooth 2:30 PM  

Refers to works of art

Anoa Bob 2:37 PM  

The "electrolysis" clue for 33 Across made me think of Luigi Galvani for 33A. He was a biggie in the history of electricity and is eponymous for Galvanic corrosion, Galvanic Skin Response, one of the measures recorded by the polygraph, and galvanize. But crosses quickly pointed to FARADAY, another biggie.

The first thing I noticed about the grid was all that black space, especially those B-2 Stealth Bomber silhouettes in the NW & SE corners. There is a total of 38 black squares, which is quite high for a themeless.

And I noticed as I was filling in the grid that there were a lot of Ss popping up (hi @Roo), and many of those were of the plural-of-convenience (POC) type, where a final S or ES or IES is added to boost an entry's letter-count/grid-filling power. Several were also of the two-for-one variety where a down and an across share a terminal S. Speaking of stealth, there's a disguised two-for-one POC at the shared S in 18D ARENAS & 35A CLOSESON. On the POCometer, this grid gets a "POC Assisted" score.

Dick Swart 2:40 PM  

Another great Patrick Berry!

Looked forbidding as I sat down with a cuppa and a chocolate croissant.

But Rex'x account works for me. Started at the top and found I could guess out the longs and plug in the shorts. Worked down to the bottom and was very satisfied with myself. Nice way to start the weekend.

Thank you, Patrick Berry! And great cluing!

Anonymous 2:49 PM  

so doug has the administrator moderating anti-doug posts. nice.

i tell you what doug, do us all a favor and apologize to everyone for being an ass. that's it. as a result, we anti-doug trolls stop, the good people of this blog don't have to read your tripe any more, and you save rex the trouble of having to waste his time moderating.

can you do that doug? can you turn over a new leaf, simply comment on the puzzle, and follow your own advice to keep politics out of your posts?

i doubt you can, but i'd love to be proved wrong for the sake of the entire group of people here.

Chloe's Dad 2:52 PM  

Finally finished. Had MAFIADAUGHTER (later MAFIAPRINCESS) over CONFERENCECALL in the NE. What a slog straightening that out.

puzzle hoarder 3:11 PM  

Easy for a Saturday but challenging for a PB. @HappyPencil, Teedmn, Malsdemare, Quasimojo and Nancy, if you check last Saturday's comments you'll see the 7/15/1995 suggestion was from me. There was an earlier late week puzzle that year of a similar difficulty. I'll have to dig through the hoard when I get home on Monday and let you know which it is. I'm currently in the first half of a 48 hour shift so no home access until then.

Malsdemare 3:27 PM  

Yay, @Rex. For you to step in, it must have been over the top.

Methuselah 3:54 PM  

Totally agree with Rex. I Love me some Patrick Berry because I'm always in his wheelhouse, but this was really disappointing for a Saturday. Time wise this puzzle played more like a Thursday, but because Thursday is gimmick day and often skews wildly vis-a-vis the difficulty level, I'd say today's offering was more like a challenging Wednesday. Berry puzzles are usually smooth and consistent when it comes to the difficulty factor, so I'll chalk this one up as an aberration.

@Teedmn: Thus an easy segue into the talk regarding the puzzle of 07/15/95. Anyone who was able to access it and attempted to solve it, must surely understand just how "dumbed down" the NYT puzzles have now become?

Those of us who started doing puzzles in the Maleska era realize that fact more acutely than those who started puzzling in the Shortz era. Back in the day, people didn't have personal computers. We didn't have software like AcrossLite with check/reveal. We didn't have Google, Wikipedia, etc. We had basic reference sources. Personal best times to solve a Sunday puzzle were often measured in days rather than hours. Only cruciverbistocracy dared use a pen, and a puzzle free of erasures or write-overs was a truly rare feat. Our heads became filled with arcane facts about history, geography, language, art, music, science, flora, fauna, astrology, etc, etc, etc. Was all that information something that we were likely to ever use? No, but at least it was real knowledge! I'd rather be able to tell you the names of Henry VIII's six wives, than tell you the names of the characters on the Simpsons! Will anyone be able to tell you those characters in 400 years? I'm betting Catherine Of Aragon will hold up better that Marge Simpson. Beethoven will outlast Biggie Smalls, and Rex will still be pissed at Republicans!

tgmilazzo 4:48 PM  

Completed puzzle and wouldn't show up in my stats as done. Tried resetting puzzle and letting clock run down to same time before finishing it again and then it showed up as completed in my stats but with a much shorter time than the clock says. Also my streak went down to 0. Any way to fix this?

Dorothy Biggs 5:24 PM  

I've had the same problem. The applet is buggy, probably not much can be done about it. My today best time is now 1:30. I'd like to think I just had a good day, but I doubt even Rex can do a Friday in under 2 minutes.

Anonymous 5:27 PM  

Not knowing much about the NFL, I thought for sure the cheerleader squad would be the BEN-HERS.. caused me a lot of grief.

Anonymous 5:34 PM  

@tgmilazzo Almost exactly the same thing happened to me, including trying the reset. My streak did not go down to zero, though. When I came back a few hours later, it was correctly reflected (including my original time). If you hear any explanation for what is going on, let me know. But you may find that the issue is magically corrected later.

Unicorn Slayer 5:50 PM  

Anonymous 2:49PM

Wrong again! Try and avoid areas where law enforcement personnel may be prevalent. You might get arrested for impersonating someone with intelligence!

It's people like YOU who are the problem, not the blue lettered screen names like Doug who have the cojones to stand up to your ilk! We get it. You, and probably around 90% of the regular blue letter posters here, think of this blog as your own personal little liberal fiefdom. Your liberal bubble or safe space, where any descent from liberal orthodoxy is not to be tolerated or accepted. We know you don't care that 63 million people voted for Trump, or that he won the vast majority of the 3141 counties in America.

Its not the moderate Democrats (an endangered species) like Doug and Moly Shu who are the problem. Its the Proggies like you my friend!

Look at how today started out. Even though OBAMA'S was the answer to 41A, Rex didn't mention it or throw out any other red meat. There was reason to hope that it might be a relatively quiet blog, politically speaking? Everything was fine until 8:36AM when "old lady" had to throw out:

"Everyone,including Rex,playing nice today. That's the benefit of having a good puzzle with the OBAMAS and no Erics. Hope I don't start anything, but it's still worth noting."

Probably a troll. Troll comments are usually short and sweet. I'm not buying the "Hope I don't start anything" bit. If that were really true, he/she would have kept their mouth big yap shut! That post is tantamount to the idiots who say, "Don't feed the trolls", not realizing that they are poster children for doing exactly that! The difference is in the intent!

If @Anonymous 2:49 had more experience at blogging, or a more heightened level of awareness, he would be more adept at understanding that discerning individuals can easily spot the the difference between real trolls and himself.

Why do I think that he is not a real troll but in fact a regular with a blue letter screen name? My tip off was this part of his comment to Doug:

"good people of this blog don't have to read your tripe any more, and you save rex the trouble of having to waste his time moderating."

A real troll wouldn't be interested in the "good people of the blog", or concerned about Rex having his time wasted. Most real trolls are only intent on shit disturbing!

So, let me close by asking the blog this question. Of all the people here who we know as regulars, the people who almost always post on a daily basis, who has been conspicuously absent for the last week or two? Think of several individuals who have not been shy about displaying their liberal bona fides in the past. Who has taken up this vendetta against Evil Doug?

Food for thought, no?

Nancy 5:58 PM  

My two favorite things on the blog today are @Dan V's RADISH PASTRIES (!)(1:01) and Anon 2:10's The Embraceable Ewes. I didn't know that all those pro football cheerleaders had cutesy names -- Kudos to my beloved Giants for not having any at all. Cheerleaders, that is. Thanks for telling me that, @Roo Monster.

@Methusaleh (3:54) -- No doubt -- the Maleska era Educated Person's trivia was far more Important and Worth Knowing than much of the Shortz era pop culture trivia. But, when all is said and done, it's still trivia. It's something you either know or don't know; you can't "puzzle" it out. And as @Z said the other day -- and I couldn't agree with him more -- wordplay is vastly superior to trivia where xwords are concerned. To paraphrase what some people have said about spinach: "I say it's trivia and I say the hell with it."

Z 6:19 PM  

@Evil Doug - Twice? Just for giggles I entered "C130" in my search engine and learned all kinds of interesting facts about the plane's versatility. Amazing what happens when one looks things up, eh?

@Roo Monster - Okay. But until this year there were four. No peeking until you make your guess.

Looking forward to tomorrow's "informal v insulting" debate. You?

ChemE Dave 6:29 PM  

XENON in an ion thruster? Do they exist in real life or just sci-if?

Since the Bengals opted to not play football this year, at least their cheerleaders got some press.

evil doug 6:38 PM  

Z: there's one born every minute--I couldn't help myself....

I appreciate you taking the time to research my venerable old warhorse. I don't do links, but if you want a little more check out videos of the BLU-82 "daisy cutter" bomb being delivered by a C-130; AC-130 Spectre gunship firepower; and a Herk actually tested landing on and taking off from an aircraft carrier. All easy to find on YouTube.

Andrew Heinegg 6:47 PM  

OK, Doug. Because he was able to drop bombs and was part of your squadron, he must be both bright and capable of running a department that oversees nuclear, fossil and all other forms of energy. OK, I get it.

Andrew Heinegg 6:51 PM  

When I was young, we used to call them horse do overs. That way we were purposely mispronouncing a term we had some difficulty pronouncing correctly.

tgmilazzo 6:54 PM  

Well my correct streak came back but my time which was originally in the 18+ minute range is still showing up as a new best of 8:07 which sucks I could aspire to beating my previous of 16+ someday but I'll never outdo this 8:07. At least the streak continues...

Andrew Heinegg 7:04 PM  

Fun story about being black Irish; my wife is of the same heritage (maiden name Mulligan) so I asked her if she had ever heard that story you told. She hadn't but, that doesn't mean your father is not right about it. I often wondered how my wife had freckles on her almost bright white complexion accompanied by nearly black hair (until it began to turn bright white). It is an interesting combination.

Unicorn Slayer 7:40 PM  

@Nancy 5:58 PM

Couldn't agree with you more. I do 25 to 30 puzzles a week. I rely on BEQ puzzles to keep me up to date on pop culture, memes, Millennial vocabulary, etc. I hate the fact that I have to know so much trivial current PPP stuff, but I accept it as the price to pay for remaining a master cruciverbalist. As someone who has been doing crosswords for around 50 years, I realize that trivia is trivia, no matter weather it is junk PPP or actual knowledge regarding the subjects I mentioned.

Cases in point. I hate Rap/HipHop, and I steadfastly refuse to acknowledge that genre as real music. I do not care a whit about how unenlightened or anachronistic that statement makes me sound. I wish someone would offer to provide me with the actual musical score of the most popular Rap song every produced? Hell, lets make it any Rap song! How many musical instruments were actually used in the production of any Rap/HipHop songs, with the exception of drums, drums, drums? Maybe a bass guitar? The accompaniment was probably stolen from the soundtrack of King Kong? Lets not forget the awesome ability required to turn a record backward on a turntable, thus producing a cacophony of sounds that makes dragging ones fingers across a blackboard sound positively melodious!

Then, there's the common Rap paradigm that displays the incredible artistry of using multi-syllabic words,(actually more like one or two syllables)interwoven expertly into iambic pentameter, no?

NO! More like simple doggerel that most kids have mastered by fourth or fifth grade. Our teachers were actually wrong about the concept of the three R's. Today, you can indeed become a multi-millionaire while remaining totally illiterate.

The formula is simple. Use the filthiest language possible, denounce law enforcement, glorify drugs and refer to women as whores and biatches! Blame it all on the fact that you have unduly suffered at the hands of an unjust society. Rest assured in the knowledge that there will be enough people like me who will find your excuses wanting, and therefore questionable?

Gotta tell ya seriously, I'm so glad I'm in the winter of my life! This is not a world I want to live in for much longer! At this point, my main concern is how best to allocate my wealth? I think I'll leave most of it to the NRA, Wounded Warriors, The Shelter For Abused Hookers and a local "No Kill" animal shelter? I might send Rex 10 bucks? Whadaya think? Does Rex deserve the 10 dollars?

Anonymous 7:59 PM  

That was a proper quality rant Unicorn Slayer. Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people. Someone said that once.

paulsfo 8:14 PM  

@Unicorn Slayer: You can of course do what you want with your money but, since Wounded Warriors has been well-documented as a way to enrich its founder and employees, you might want to look for a legitimate organization to benefit vets, instead.

QuasiMojo 8:24 PM  

@Nancy, I've been doing the NYT puzzle for more than 50 years myself, going back to the Will Weng era. What I recall (vaguely) about the pre-Shortz era ones is that they were filled with "esoterica" but not so much "trivia." Swiss rivers, Scottish words, Latin quotations, Shakespeariana, historical and military events, Chinese philosophers, obscure science, classical music and the occasional nod to pop culture. But you probably wouldn't find something from The Beverly Hillbillies or cartoons in it, unless it was deliberately ironic or part of timeless folklore. Sci-fi stuff was rare. The puzzles were much harder, and cleaner, but not quite the zippy fun-fest they are today. Then again, the Old Gray Lady herself was hardly a laff-riot. Now it's trying so hard to be trendy, with clearly publicity-driven filler in most of its various departments (when was the last time the Arts & Leisure section actually had an interesting and in-depth article not tied to a current release?) that it's lost its integrity.

Cassieopia 9:14 PM  

@evil doug - Herc, not Herk, correct? I come by this knowledge (semi) honestly, Hercs were the workhorses of the air when I was a kid growing up in Fairbanks, we all knew the sound. Enjoyed the YouTube of one landing on a carrier. Impressive.

Unicorn Slayer 9:52 PM  

@Anonymous 7:59

Ah yes! H.L Mencken. Most sources fail to mention that this “quote” is actually the traditional paraphrase of what Mencken actually wrote — not a true quote.

It’s based on something the acerbic journalist, editor and social critic said in his column in the September 19, 1926 edition of the Chicago Daily Tribune.

His actual words were:

“No one in this world, so far as I know — and I have searched the records for years, and employed agents to help me — has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby.”

In the same column, he went on to say:

“The mistake that is made always runs the other way. Because the plain people are able to speak and understand, and even, in many cases, to read and write, it is assumed that they have ideas in their heads, and an appetite for more. This assumption is a folly.”

So, was Jonathan Gruber correct, when he categorically stated that Obamacare was sold to the American public by gambling on the assumption that most Americans were too ignorant to understand what they were being asked to accept?

I prefer Churchill's "The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter."

Or better yet, "You can always count on Americans to do the right thing - after they've tried everything else!" Ergo Trump.

@paulsfo: Thanks, I'll perform due diligence before making any final decision. I don't trust most charities!

@Nancy and QuasiMojo: Excellent posts!

Nancy 10:11 PM  

No spoilers, I promise. But I just finished tomorrow's Sunday puzzle and I'm shaking with excitement over how original and brilliant the concept is. You all have a real treat awaiting you tomorrow. And I (sob) now have nothing to look forward to. (I started and just couldn't stop myself from finishing, alas.) But I couldn't have more fun tomorrow than I have just had tonight. One of the best Sundays I've ever done. More tomorrow.

BBPDX 10:16 PM  

MOOP is a thing. It's a Burning Man acronym for 'Matter Out Of Place'. In an effort to "leave no trace" every participant is encouraged to pick up a properly dispose of anything that wasn't there before we arrived.

Moly Shu 10:30 PM  

@UnicornSlayer. All this time I thought I was a misogynistic, islamaphobic nazi. Thanks for setting me straight. And do you really hate rap music that much?? Cheers.

Moly Shu 10:31 PM  

Oh, and where can I find these abused hookers??

Anonymous 10:51 PM  

@Tita A, The Turks were the first to domesticate the native American bird and were then adopted by the British after tasting them on their travels to the Mideast. Hence the birds are called turkeys.

@Roo Monster, electrolysis is an electrical process, just one of many done by Faraday. Your belief about his forte remains true.

@Malsdemare, as an experiment in curiosity, search your favorite engine with "Spanish DNA in Ireland. You will be surprised by what you find.

Unicorn Slayer 12:08 AM  

@Moly Shu:

Yes, I really do hate Rap that much, and I'm not going to be hypocritical by suggesting that I'm enlightened enough to pretend otherwise. I love all music, including big band, jazz, blues, C&W, classical, Doo-Wop, classic rock and roll, hard rock, etc, etc, etc. I do not recognize Rap as music, and HipHop is barely more acceptable. That's my opinion and I am entitled to it. Don't really give a FF what anyone else thinks!

No, you are not alone here! I'll always have your back because your previous posts have proven that you are worthy of being supported by people like myself and Evil Doug. Just remember that once you stray from talking about the puzzle, you're in enemy territory. It is best hold your tongue and counter punch only if necessary!

The comment about leaving money in my will to the Shelter For Abused Hookers, was kinda tongue in cheek. It would be more altruistic to donate funds to a shelter for battered women. Personally, I've never availed myself of services from a hooker. Well, maybe once or twice when I was in the Navy? Hookers are not the same as upscale escorts or courtesans. I've seen lots of them!

Most top notch courtesans will never need any kind of financial assistance in their golden years. The good ones are retired by the time they're 30ish. Do the math. Average rate of $350 to $500 an hour. Maybe 5 or 6 well heeled clients a week. Some for multi-hour dates. We're talking $250 to $300 thousand a year. If they bank one third of that, they're millionaires by their early thirties. Still hot enough to be arm candy for a $$$$ husband if they want to go that route!

It's all been well documented in TV shows and movies. Of course its not a valid choice for most women, but its finally becoming more accepted. After all, it truly is the oldest profession.

If Eliot Spitzer hadn't been such an idiot, he would have become governor of New York state. He might have even become mentioned as presidential material. He paid way to much for Ashley Dupree, and any idiot knows you don't pay for an escort with a credit card! He should have come to me first! I could have saved him a ton of money and his career as well!

Live And Learn!

Anonymous 8:11 AM  

Unicorn Slayer: You use too many exclamation points. My guess is that you are over 70, or near it.

Anonymous 5:04 PM  

I get the clue but I still don't think it quite works. It feels like it started as "Related works" then got twisted into something more difficult.

Diana,LIW 9:26 PM  

Just an early note to my Syndie pals - remember to move your clocks one hour forward tonight - for daylight saving time.

Lady Di

Anonymous 11:46 AM  

Why change the clocks? Totally useless, serving no purpose. Pick standard or daylight savings, then KEEP IT!

spacecraft 12:16 PM  

"When is a Saturday 62-worder easy?" "When it's 'Berry' well done." I actually did the NW first! Well, okay, today there really IS no NW; it's just "north." But after the "upper west" was done I had that one was a cinch. The rest fell into place, with only the minor COMPANy glitch that tripped so many of us.

In the center, I started writing in DESoto before counting the spaces, so an unnecessary inkblot there. The biggest holdup was breaking into the south. I was puzzled by "Over-the-counter product?"--an absolutely lovely clue! Found a way in along the east coast with MANSE and ATONES. This section, as OFL said, was rife with one-pointers and a bit disappointing by Berry standards. But once the X-words were down, it was all over.

[Aside: There was a pinball machine--remember them?--named XENON with awesome artwork when it came to the obligatory hottie. In fact, were it not for an entire chorus line of REAL beauties, the Ben-GALS, she'd be the DOD.]

My son was a weird baby: he scobbed up anything that was green, including STRAINEDPEAS. Soon enough he "came to my senses" (his words) and wouldn't touch a green veggie. The argument that he loved it in infancy made zero impact. I guess he was on them long enough: he's 6'6" and 240. But if you don't know 50-across you've never had a kid.

Last entry was *headslap!* FORMICA. Clue of the year so far. Birdie.

Burma Shave 12:22 PM  


but CEREAL AND STRAINEDPEAS were all she had.
She couldn't ESCAPE her YENS for DOSIDOS so tasty,


rondo 12:45 PM  

I shoulda started with the downs, 1d a gimme AND I'm not even Catholic, but I didn't so it was all the way down to ROSEANNE AND the GALS for the first two entries. Write-over with daTA before BETA AND thinking volcanic about plumeria gave me "ash" (from a plume) before I got LEId. Unhelpful. Last letter in: the D in ARIADNE/DIPS saved me from a dnf.

Kinda forgot about the Count's MONOCLE. Col. Klink woulda been easier.

Musta learned SETEE back in the Maleska days. Gimme.

I guess any one of the Ben-GALS qualifies as a yeah BAE BAE (I'll be giving that BAE BAE stuff up now).

Berry nice puz. Not that easy for me, but did not need to be a SAVANT today.

Diana,LIW 1:25 PM  

Tough to start, but once I put my mind into Berry mode is got a lot easier. Of course, you can probably guess the one letter that gave me a dnf. It marks the spot. Say no more.

Diana, Waiting for X

leftcoastTAM 3:32 PM  

My pattern of solving this one appears similar to that of several other posters: hard at first getting a good foothold, finding one in the SE, moving through the South, then through most of the North, ending in the lower NW.

The long acrosses N and S became visible (SEEPed IN?) with some down crosses. COMPANIONPIECE is the most puzzling of them, and had to assume that it is like pieces of art, music, or some such.

For White House family, the "One time" qualifier suggested some time in the more distant past before the OBAMAS became obvious. How soon we forget--then remember despite all of the noise that we recently had a presidential president.

For the repair shop amenity, had coffee before LOANER. Guess I don't expect much without paying, though cost of both the coffee and the car use may be built in to other shop charges. Nothing's free,

Clever misdirects for CEREAL and STETS.

Liked this one a lot, and no surprise because that's usually the case with a PB puzzle.

rain forest 3:43 PM  

For me, and it's all about me, the bottom 2/3 was easy-medium, and the top part challenging. Overall, though, a satisfying puzzle despite a lot of time spent in the grueling North.

I think I've mentioned this before, but I don't like DOSIDOS spelled that way. I learned in Grade 9 PE class that the word is "dosAdos", coming from Acadian, or Cajun, ie, French - "dos a dos" in French is "back to back". In the Canadian Maritimes, it is pronounced that way. QED Patrick Berry is wrong.

I avoided the COMPANy trap because I already had ADO and YENS in place, luckily, but I had a devil of a time with the rest up there. Had affeCT before IMPACT, and fade IN before SEEP IN. Thinking about that one, I guess "fade in" doesn't make sense. Anyway, with DOMINUS totally escaping me, I was thinking the tell-all book was "My fat----". Took way too long, but MONOCLE came to the rescue. Highlights were the clues for CEREAL, and FORMICA.

A competent, professional puzzle, which one comes to expect from PB1.

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