1991 Daytona 500 winner Ernie / SAT 3-18-17 / Longtime Cunard flagship for short / Aquarium denizen / Polymer add-on

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Constructor: Roland Huget

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: Antonio ROSETTI (36D: Mozart contemporary Antonio ___) —
Francesco Antonio Rosetti (c. 1750 – June 30, 1792, born Franz Anton Rösler, changed to Italianate form by 1773) was a classical era composer and double bass player, and was a contemporary of Haydn and Mozart.[...] Rosetti wrote a great deal of instrumental music, including many symphonies and concertos. Rosetti also composed a significant number of vocal and choral works, particularly in the last few years of his life. Among these are German oratorios including Der sterbende Jesu and Jesus in Gethsemane (1790) and a German Hallelujah.[3] He is perhaps best known today for his horn concertos, which Mozart scholar H. C. Robbins Landon suggests (in The Mozart Companion) may have been a model for Mozart's four horn concerti. Rosetti is also known for writing the Requiem (1776) which was played at a memorial for Mozart in December 1791. (wikipedia)
• • •

Hmmm, not great. Simply not entertaining, and way too dependent on proper nouns of dubious distinction (many of which cross, which will spell "disaster" for many solvers). [1991 Daytona 500 winner Ernie]?!? That is the epitome of name obscurity. I had IRVAN (correct!) and was certain I had something wrong. And crossing TRIBS? That's just terrible. TRIBS is not not not a thing. I'm solving the puzzle here with three other people in the room and TRIBS elicited nothing but jeers and groans from everyone. Wife had never heard of Bret HARTE and so had DARTE / DAZE. I'm guessing she won't be alone. I briefly had DAMIEN / MOSETTI because I misremembered the minor CT town name. Also, ROSETTI seems not at all important, historically.

I teach Comics so E.C. SEGAR was a gimme (8A: Creator of Bluto and Wimpy), but that is going to be serious N.C. WYETH / NATICK territory for people when it comes to the "E" cross. An initial crossing ... a single letter ("E" CLASS)? Brutal.

There are just too many occasions her for people to trip over uninferrable proper nouns. I guess OUSE / ROSETTI might be another. The bigger problem—bigger than obscurity—is sheer boringness. It's a trivia test, and the only entertaining thing about it, that I can see, is the clue on JIVE TALK (33D: Cat's tongue). Most everything else was a slog and a chore.

EX ANIMO ... I coulda sworn it was ANIMA (15A: From the heart, in Latin). I fixed it early, but that was rough. I know who ALDO RAY is, but only barely. Thank god for AXL ROSE, who was the sole reason I was able to take down the NW without much trouble. What the heck is "Death and the MISER"? I had -ISER and still wasn't sure. Nothing about that clue even *suggests* MISER (45A: "Death and the ___" (Bosch painting in the National Gallery of Art)). Between me and the others in this room, we had at least three different kind of FISH before we got ZEBRA FISH. I had TETRA. Brayden and Lena (my houseguests) had both ANGEL and CLOWN. That's not the puzzle's fault—just a fluke (!) that so many answers seemed plausible. Still, there *is* much to fault here. Honestly, I don't know what else to say. There's nowhere good to go from here. I look one way: E-NOTE. I look another way: PAN IN (49A: Prepare for a close-up), which is not a thing—you zoom in, you pan across. Here, I'll let this screenwriter / director explain it to you:

I get that ROSETTI was a kind of trap, in that many many many people will want SALIERI there. But the thing about traps is that you have to have that moment of "oh, wait it's not right" (check) but also "oh, whoa, it's this other thing I know" (no dice). So today, people get the experience of having been tricked, but (because no one knows ROSETTI) never ever get the experience of "aha!" Which makes the puzzle seem dickish. Which isn't fun.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. More Twitter reaction:

 [Howard Barkin, 2016 ACPT champion]

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Anonymous 12:08 AM  

Hmm. Does Will know what Axl Rose anagrams to?

Rachel 12:12 AM  

This was a rough one for me–I definitely got tripped up by a lot of the proper nouns. I wasn't sure if I was in a mAZE, dAZE, or HAZE of confusion since I didn't know "'The Outcasts of Poker Flats' author" was HARTE. IRVAN crossing TRIBS was another rough spot, as was DARIEN/ROSETTI. I managed to chip away at most of it eventually, but was left needing to check for wrong answers, and cycle through a few letters in more than one spot.

Moly Shu 12:17 AM  
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Moly Shu 12:20 AM  

DAmIEN first also and figured mOSETTI was correct, but kept looking at DAmIEN and the longer I looked, the more it felt wrong. Fixed it finally. But yea @Rex, mCSuGAR got me. Can't keep my MB classes straight and know zero Italian. Double natick city here. Did like RERAISE and knew IRVAN since I'm a go fast turn left fan. Always thought it was ALDOReY.

Unknown 12:26 AM  

As the son of two Holocaust survivors, I had to cringe upon seeing NAZI ERA in @Roland Huget's puzzle. The Z just isn't worth it! SUCK also surprised me, as clued. I tried OWL ahead of TIT on 51-Down, TET ahead of ZEB on 21-Down, and never did find AS USUAL (AS A RULE looked good in that slot, and not knowing Mozart's contemporary, with SALIERI not fitting in, compelled me to use the "check" and "reveal" functions). Many of the other points in @Rex's review resonated with my experiences, so I won't reiterate them.

I did enjoy working out JIVE TALK, YO-YO DIET, and ROME (briefly considered NOME for the latter), and dragging NIGHT COURT (with the cross-referential clues) from memories of TV shows that I've never actually watched. QUIET is not a command we use in University classrooms, but that was more than redeemed with the tricky, ultimately fair, clue for LECTURE. I so wanted IZE as the suffix to "polymer" that finding the generic enzyme suffix ASE was a bit anticlimactic. FINE TUNE is one of my favorite expressions when teaching chemistry ... contact me off-Rex if you are interested in more information.

jae 12:26 AM  
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Seth 12:28 AM  

I wanted mCSuGAR at 8A (Stuff that makes those apple pies so good? What you give to a host you really really like?).

But yeah. Naticks everywhere.

jae 12:28 AM  

Thought this was going to be easy with the obvious SAME DAY 1a answer. But it was more medium for me as things immediately got tougher. EX ANIMO was a WOE so I too was grateful for AXL ROSE. IRVAN, ROSETTI, and WEN were also WOEs.

I agree with @Rex on the EC SEGAR/E CLASS cross. I know him only from doing many many crosswords.

@Rex has some very valid points, but there is some good stuff here...liked it somewhat better than he did.

Trivia Trainwreck 12:29 AM  

Does Ronald Huget have embarrassing pictures of Will Shortz?

Ilsa Lund 12:33 AM  

So, Vichyssoisee means Clearly Vichy? I gave up true love to say with a stick in the mud dedicated to Clearly Vichy?

What a dolt am I.

Eprailick 12:38 AM  

And a pangram to boot. Woohoo. DNF.

John Child 12:52 AM  

All roads led to Natick today: I got the R and H but fell for cCLASS. Doesn't that sound mid-rangish to you? I didn't recognize AL DORAY either.

Anonymous 12:56 AM  

I overdosed on google to complete this tiresome drudgery. I liked yoyo diet but that was about all. Otherwise, an exercise in obscure trivia. Yawn. This is a sad way to end St. Pat's day. Boo!

Robin 1:13 AM  

The E-CLASS - E.C.SEGAR cross was vicious for those of us who pay no attention to car types.

Otherwise, the one they that gave me trouble was the spelling of ALDO_RAY's last name. Kept thinking it was REY, and didn't figure that out until I grokked the clueing of A.M.A.

ROSETTI came once I had some crosses. Tried to fill that originally with SALIERI, but quickly realized that wasn't going to work.

TRIBS may have been dumb, but it was actually one of the first few entries I filled in, figuring that the starting cross was TEHEE.

Robin 1:14 AM  

BTW: HARTE was a contemporary of Clemens. I've read almost nothing of his, but I do know that much.

mathgent 1:18 AM  

I liked it a lot. Unlike Rex, I found it lively and full of personality.

Fond memories of NIGHTCOURT. Love the term YOYODIET. I learned EXANIMO. Also learned that Rome was referred to as Caput Mundi. Learned who GAFFERS are. One of my favorite expressions is "on the up and up" and I don't know where it came from.

Usually I don't like puzzles that I zip through, but this one was different. It was like some of the recent Friday or Saturday Patrick Berrys. Not hard but very enjoyable.

Johnny 1:25 AM  

I had a DNF until I ran every other Mercedes class I could remember and that eventually wrapped it up.

Most of the puzzle was easy until I got to the SE. I also fell asleep twice, and that didn't help.

As a motion-picture professional in Hollywood (Burbank actually) PANIN is indeed a non-existant thing. "Pan" is short for "panorama" and is performed by rotating the camera horizontally on it's head. Rotate it vertically and that's a tilt. Move the camera and that's a dolly or a truck, and you can zoom in or out by changing the focal length of certain lenses. But you can't pan anywhere except left and right.

Johnny 1:45 AM  

Also, another huge error is using QEII as the name of the Cunard ship:

QEII refers to Queen Elizabeth II

QE2 refers to the ship

... and this is a big deal and a very formal difference. You would never refer to the queen with an arabic numeral and you would never refer to the ship with a roman numeral. In fact, they are even spoken differently.

This is a sloppy puzzle.

Carola 2:13 AM  

Pleasantly challenging for me, and I enjoyed grappling with it. It was especially fun to see JIVE TALK and YOYO DIET materialize, and, on a smaller scale, COURAGE, LUCIFER, UP AND UP

A couple of the proper names were total mysteries - ROSETTI and IRVAN - and I DNF at ?C SEGAR, my own fault for not remembering him from earlier puzzles. But by now I've learned OUSE, and I knew HARTE, have driven US ONE in FLA, and crosses helped remind me of AXL ROSE, DARIEN, and ALDO RAY. I had no problem with TRIBS; it was one of the first things I wrote in. Two do-overs: sei before ERI and oil before PAM.

Here's Bosch's Death and the Miser.

Dolgo 3:27 AM  

You all know how much I hate whining. But classical music fan that I am, I never heard of Rosetti, and never came across him in over 60 years of playing in orchestras or numerous chamber music workshops where you wind up playing lots of obscure stuff. I looked him up on Amazon, though, and there's plenty on CD. So I learned something new. I'll have to check him out!
I'm ancient enough to get Aldo Ray and E. C. Segar and "pan in" was not a problem. But I've got a red face for Rosetti, and I've got to review my English rivers.

Larry Gilstrap 3:38 AM  

I have lived and worked in Orange County for many years and have seen shiny German cars everywhere and grew up with Popeye cartoons on the TV, so I proudly leave square #8 blank.

Never cared for any of Guns N' Roses music and never cared for anagrams, so there's that. AXL ROSE's real name is DARIEN IRVAN; I just heard from a very reliable source.

I'm a bit of a birder. One of my favorite birds in riparian oak canyons is the Bush TIT which appears in busy flocks of tiny gleaning birds. Hard not to feel delight when these guys come through.

I'm the first guy to throw an F-bomb when emotion moves me and the audience is right, but I flinch at the normalization of the word
SUCK. What are we sucking here?

I'm sure glad that NAZI ERA ended 75 years ago. Seems like yesterday.

Dr. Bunger 3:48 AM  

From what I've learned from current scientific research, comparing what whales are capable of doing using sound generation with the rudimentary technology of baby man's SONAR seems an affront to cetaceans.

I skip M-W 3:50 AM  

I agree that the 8 square is inexcusable. who knows E-Class? I remember Popeye as a comic strip, but paid no attention to the artist. The Nazi era didn't end after world War II but with it, and it is also, I agree a disgusting answer. 'Pan in" sounded wrong to this very moderate film buff. e-note is not a line online, it's a method of taking notes. On the other hand, I'm sad to see that so many have never heard of Bret Harte. Angel Fish have vertical stripes, but zebra fish have horizontal ones, so minimal visualization would have helped with this answer. Could have been a much better puzzle with a few changes.

puzzle hoarder 3:54 AM  

That NW corner went down without a fight and for what was looking to be a cakewalk this turned out to be a fairly challenging puzzle. I really had to be patient to come up with DARIEN and ROSETTI. I disagree with the criticism of the obscurity. I think puzzles need to push people out of their comfort zone. It has to be a little beyond what you know for you to be able to puzzle out what you don't know.It wasn't the prettiest puzzle not with NAZI and SUCK in there but it was a satisfying solve.

I skip M-W 3:56 AM  

@Larry Gilstrap...Pleasse, I'm a war baby, and I'm not 75 yet, so the Nazi era only ended less than 72 years ago..Not counting the Trump era which seems headed in that direction, sad to say.

Charles Flaster 4:03 AM  

Liked it more than Rex. Medium due to many writeovers with some already mentioned.
SEA CRAB for lobster, SAME DAY for lAtE DAY, AS USUAL for AS a rUle, and ROSETTI for salierI.
Thanks RH

Anonymous 4:32 AM  

@Larry - wind, maybe? eggs?

Beat my average. Knew just enough of everything. Growing up, we had a coffeetable book about SEGAR's oeuvre. His signature often included a drawing of a cigar. (Get it?). Forgot his initials, but remembered the Mercedes CLASS.

Don't mind seeing NAZI ERA. It happened. I'm disgusted when the Holocaust is trivialized by the throwing about of the term NAZI. Sadly a common trope in virtue-signaling.

Paul Rippey 5:36 AM  

Friends sensitized me to the idea that while "suck" is a fine word, using it in a derogatory sense is homophobic. I resisted that for a while but I got it and I don't do that anymore.

Am I the only person who doesn't get 24A IDEST ("Phrase usually abbreviated")? What is that usually abbreviated to? I don't even see what is the phrase that is usually abbreviated. Crossing that with the 1991 Daytona 500 winner was a bit rough - Like all of us of course I can recite the Daytona 500 winners back 10 or 15 years - that's just part of what it means to be a well informed adult in today's world - but before that, it gets hazy.


The old Popeye strips are wonderful and I recommend them highly.

BarbieBarbie 6:45 AM  

Id est is i.e.
This was hard... Had to use Google so basically DNF even though it's all filled in correctly. DNFMyself I guess.

Marcus A. 6:45 AM  

Not sure I get the clue on 26A. Should it not be either "Caput Mundi" (in which case the correct answer would be ROMA) or "Head of the World" (in which case the correct response would be ROME)? To include both the Latin and the English leaves open the possibility of either answer being correct - though it seems to me that the primary position of the Latin would favor a Latin answer. At any rate, the cluing seems (to me, anyway) unnecessarily imprecise.

Rex Parker 6:52 AM  


SUCK is Homophobic? I have lived in the Most Sensitive Place On Earth (i.e. inside left-wing Academia) for a quarter century+, and ... that is a new one on me. I think your intel is off.


Loren Muse Smith 7:29 AM  

@George B - SUCK clued to mean stink seems to be a NYT debut. The word used like this embarrasses me; it’s so, well, graphic. Maybe I just don’t understand its origin because it feels AXL Rose-ish to me. But it’s firmly in the language. Firmly, firmly, firmly.

I had every single problem that Rex describes save ZEBRA. That B was already in place thanks to my incorrect “tribe” I had there because I ignored the plural in the clue.

“Wrinkle” before AGE LINE.

I have both PAM and Baker’s Joy in my cabinet, but I don’t see how they’re “competitors.” PAM is just oil spray to use before frying eggs or making muffins. Baker’s Joy is a modern-day miracle I use to skip the “grease and flour” step when I make a pound cake. I would never stand at the shelf and choose one over the other since they’re for different things. But I’m no cook; maybe I have this all wrong.

I knew DARIEN because my husband was born in Derby but I always mess up and tell people he was born in DARIEN.

I agree with @jae and @puzzle hoarder- for once I started in the northwest and thought this’d be pretty easy.

After that, I headed to the southwest and confidently put in “Vivaldi” crossing “I Nine.” Oops. When I saw US ONE, I changed “Vivaldi” to “Rossini.” Sigh.

I feel dumb that it took so long to see NAZI ERA. I kept seeing only “Nato Era” knowing it was wrong. But still. I kept lightly writing it in. Sheesh.

So, having hit rock bottom, I cheerfully started to dig…

I was thinking “Javanese” before JIVE TALK. Decided distractedly that maybe that Indonesian guy was called a Cat – from, say a place called Cataling Jaya or some such. That was about the most ridiculous answer I’ve come up with in a long time. (Right up there with putting in “Dr. Seuss” when the answer was “Dracula.”)

@Mr. Benson from yesterday – I lived in Ridgewood, NJ for several years, shopped at Kilroy’s, got my wine at Beekman’s, and it took forever to see GLEN Rock.

I have a dnf fairly often on Saturdays, so I’m not all mad and stuff, but I agree that there were lots of brutal crosses this morning. I’m done. Gonna go eat a YO YO.

evil doug 7:44 AM  

I think everything Nazi should be removed from history books,novels, movies and old newsreels. And don't get me started on Hogan's Heroes....

Arlene 7:45 AM  

I knew DARIEN and HARTE - tried in vain to fit in SOLIERI. But I had the SUCK squares empty for a long time because I didn't believe that would or could be in a NYT puzzle. Normalization of profanity? Sad.

r.alphbunker 8:01 AM  

My thought when I encountered 8A {Creator of Bluto and Wimpy} ECSEGAR/8D {Mid-luxury Mercedes-Benz line} ECLASS was I bet @Tita A knows this. I went with a K and guessed E as my second choice so there was some memory of it in my head.

Details are here.

The Michael Phelan 8:04 AM  

In addition to the (well noted) incorrect PAN IN, a GAFFER is the head of electricians on a film set. There is never more than one gaffer on set at a time, though there are many electricians.

Gerry Kelly 8:21 AM  

I'm surprised that Bret Hart wasn't known to most but found it challenging though a little too obscure. I'm sure will doesn't know what axl Rose anagrams to! He once turned down a puzzle I submitted in part because he didn't like my clue " a case of pinot envy"

Carlos Wide 8:27 AM  

Gay man here. "Suck" in any context is not homophobic.

And it looks as though WW II only ended the first nazi era.

John Child 8:28 AM  

@Rex Really? "You suck." "Suck this." "Suck up to..." No gender-preference overtones?

Ted 8:29 AM  

Connecticut Gold Coast born and raised, have been through DARIEN thousands and thousands of times, had close family living there, and I was BARELY able to get it after filling in most of the crosses.

THAT is a NATICK and a half.

GREENWICH? Sure, people know that. Maybe even FAIRFIELD couny. But DARIEN?

Glimmerglass 8:34 AM  

I eventually got it right, but I struggled with the proper nouns, so I can't say I was bored. Any tough Saturday I finish is a rush. Lots of ways to go wrong today. I began with 1D, LOBSTER (100% wrong!). That led me to lAteDAY at 1A and bogaRte (mostly wrong and misspelled anyay!) at 17A and ob something at 15A. It was so bad that I had to abandon the NW (not unusual on Saturday). Many similar stuggles elsewhere, but not so bolloxed up as the NW. When I came back, I saw that some kind of CRAB might work with BEST EVER and CRATE, but SEA??? Blueclaw, green, oyster, king, stone, etc., anything but SEA CRAB. Isn't that what @Rex calls "green paint"? A land crab is a thing; a SEA CRAB, not. Well, it all worked out. "Oh, yeah, ALDO RAY!" (great H. Bogart movie, by the way). I worked up a good mental sweat and felt the sweet ego-boost of success. Boring? By no means.

Imfromjersey 8:42 AM  

NEARLY had a DNF until I figured out that It was E-Class and EC Segar. i knew Aldo Rey because I'm over 50 and I believe he was in reruns of The Flying Nun with Sally Field that I saw as a kid. Agree with what everyone else said, this puzzle had issues.

DeeJay 8:53 AM  

As a long time resident of Westport, CT, I was heartened to learn that many people entered DAMIEN when the correct answer was DARIEN. Darien and Westport are "rivals," you see, and we, well, I, tell Darienite jokes (e.g., Buffy asks Trip to see if the emergency lights on Buffy's car are working. Trip walks behind the car and yells: "Yup. Nope. Yup. Nope. Yup....").

So it is heartening for me to hear confusion surrounding the town's name.

Wm. C. 9:03 AM  

My wife grew up in Darien, where U. S, One, the old Boston Post Road, runs through the downtown. So no problem. However, I think the term "Gold Coast" is far more often applied to the set of towns on Long island's north shore. But since Connecticut was specified, it certainly had to be the Greenwich-Darien-New Canaan-Westport-Fairfield corridor.

Lots of Natick mentions here. My daughter lives there. It's the midway point of the Boston Marathon.

Anonymous 9:08 AM  

DeeJay -- Ever run into Paul or Joanne there?

Anonymous 9:11 AM  

Right in the middle of the puzzle is how I feel about this mess: What a Joke. Ugh, ugh, and more ugh.

RooMonster 9:13 AM  

Hey All !
SE killed me. Couldn't come up with PAM, didn't know HARTE, PACE wasn't entering the ole brain, (isn't that quite a loooooong distance for a pace?) and that Z for some reason wouldn't show. (And disagree with the clue. NAZIs are still out there.)

Had a C for cCLASS/cCSEGAR. In SW, had DUsTONE, ROnETTI, making my river the sUnE. Amazingly enough, my NW was all correct! Had a writeover at iSo-ASE, but ad Rex said, AXLROSE got me a big chunk of real estate there. GnR was (is?) a great band.

Had TRIBS in, but took out to put tEtRAFISH in. Then saw OtARK and said, Wha? Saw it had to be OZARK, so put my TRIBS back in.

Maybe RH knew his puz wasn't the best? He does have WHATAJOKE in the middle. :-)

And who knows who wrote Popeye, anyway?


Suzy 9:13 AM  

@evil doug-- "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" George Santayana. Pehaps cannot should be changed to
wil not?

Tough, vut not impossible, although I did have to google the Aldo Ray/axl rose cross. Like others, had Salieri before Rosetti

Eric NC 9:16 AM  

@ anonymous 12:08. Maybe Will does know Xl Rose anagram as he left in sucks. So sorry for that

evil doug 9:18 AM  

Guess your sarcasm meter needs recharging, huh, Suzy?

Anonymous 9:19 AM  

I disagree with Rex that the clue *Death and the -----* didn't suggest an answer. Connection between death and greed common medieval and later theme. Other vices--love of one's beauty, lust, even ambition, dissipated with time. Greed only increased, as antiquity (Cicero) noted, and as other thinkers realized. The money just keeps piling up. Then, death approaching, one struck by the horror that you can't take it with you. Or, as moral philosophers said, the only good your money does is you are dead, and others can make use of it.

I hadn't seen the Bosch painting (well, probably had, but didn't remember it)--my thanks to (?) for posting the link.

Anonymous 9:24 AM  

Yeah, naticked at eclass.

Teedmn 9:28 AM  

I hit all the potholes discussed and stayed in my little rut till the very end. J CLASS, mOnETTI. My randomly made up river of York was "aUnE" which turns out to be a French measure of fabric, about 1 1/2 PACEs (47 inches).

The pOpe presided as the so-called head of the world for a while, which gave me some sort of -pod for a marine ten-legger but I cleaned up the entire NW when I finally got MADAMES.

My experience with 10D is hearing it as "This SUCKs hind TIT ". Not a gendered term there and nicely graphic when one wants to be crude.

I put myself in the puzzle briefly, when 40D was Edi[teed] before I EMENDED it.

Roland Huget, you managed to combine a really easy solve with impossibilities, an interesting Saturday experience.

QuasiMojo 9:31 AM  

I grew up in a post-Beatnik era when calling someone a "cat" had become ludicrous. Much to my horror I hear hipsters today using it all the time. "Could you ask that cat over there to pass me the agave syrup?"

As for Rosetti, I suppose the constructor could have gone the Dante Rosetti route but he chose a baroque composer. It was easy after erasing Salieri to come up with those letters. Plus he is not all that obscure. A quick glance at YouTube shows over 4500 uploads of Rosetti's music. So someone out there likes him.

But not owning a car, I don't follow Mercedes lines (unless they are Mercedes McCambridge's lines in The Exorcist.) Ha Ha. So E.C. Segar/E-Class was a woe. I only recall Popeye from TV in my youth and never paid much attention to the author's name. I just ran through the alphabet until I got it but of course that didn't work because I already had a DNF at Daze/Darte/Haze/Harte even though I have heard of Bret Harte. And one man's Aldo Ray is another man's Axl Rose. Too many names in this puzzle, obscure or not obscure, and a general DOURness (I had that before DIRE) and was anyone else put off by the frequent use of "like"?

I took someone's suggestion yesterday and went out and did the Gaffney WSJ puzzle. What a delight! Not nearly as contrived as the NYT offering yesterday and light years more enjoyable than this heavyhanded number today.

Mark 9:37 AM  

Totally agree and made the NE a real challenge for me. Especially when crossed with ENOTE, which does not seem to be so much a thing as it is a brand name, and near EXANIMO (new to me), AMA, and not knowing the actor AL DORAY. (Al Derby? Al Darby?)

runtomrun 9:38 AM  

Comments are MUCH more entertaining than this piece of work! "train-wreck", "dickish", yes!!

Blue Stater 9:38 AM  

Johnny @ 1:45 A. M. had it right: this was a sloppy puzzle. I would add to the mountains of slop amassed here my sense that, although I'm no classicist, "From the heart" in Latin is not EXANIMO, which means (I'm pretty sure) "from the soul." I have been advocating for years that the Times put the puzzle through its very fine copydesk, which would at least expose elementary blunders like this. Who edits this stuff? Oh wait....

Vincent Lima 9:40 AM  

Most interesting thing about the silly "Is SUCK homophobic?" exchange is that @Rex is back to reading the comments on his own blog!

Anonymous 9:43 AM  

Thank you for pointing out that "pan in" is not a thing. As a former camera op, this was infuriating. Who checks these things....

Anonymous 9:49 AM  

I'm surprised Rex didn't use the center answer to describe this puzzle. "What a joke."

QuasiMojo 9:50 AM  

Darn it! lol. Before someone jumps on me for mentioning Dante Gabriel Rossetti as an alternative to Antonio Rosetti, I apologize for having spelled his name wrong earlier. Of course he wouldn't work in the same space. Duh. E-NOTE to self: finish your coffee before blathering on here.

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 9:52 AM  

People seem to have liked YOYODIET clued as a verb. Gah.

*I* haven't heard of Antonio Rosetti, and if I haven't heard of him he's green paint. I'm a bit of a specialist (and if he's a contemporary of Mozart he is not Baroque).

I gave up half way through. Busy day. I wish they'd give us the hard ones on Monday.

lg 9:55 AM  

I don't think WHATAJOKE being smack dab in the middle of this one was on accident, as this mess was a huge joke. Difficult, boring and full of nonsense. And as a video producer I appreciate seeing GAFFER I am appalled at PANIN. Joke, pure joke.

Hartley70 9:58 AM  

This was really tough but I liked it. I failed on the letter E, however. I tried S and J first. I just never noticed Popeye's creator and I aged out of comic strips in the early 60's (no offense meant, Rex) Add that to the fact that my memory's going, although not as fast as @Nancy's (Hi Girlfriend!), and Seger's initial never had a chance. Since I like Swedish cars best, I don't regret my ignorance one bit.

Darien was a gimme. It's right next to Stamford, home of the ACPT. @William C New Canaan isn't coastal so kick it off your list. Add Norwalk instead.

@Anonymous at 9:08 yes, I did occasionally as I'm sure DeeJay did too. They were very down to earth and friendly.

I knew HARTE and that piece from high school English class. Thanks Mr. Wallace! How's heaven?

I worked this from the bottom up. I had trouble with the top three rows in the NW and NE, and as mentioned was stymied by the E. It was a struggle but it remained a fair fight in my eyes because I didn't need to know any baseball or football players today. Woohoo!

Thanks for the challenge and for limiting the French to MADAMES, Monsieur Huget.

Unknown 9:58 AM  

Lucky today in that I knew many of the proper names through doing too many puzzles or just general trivia. As a car guy E class was a total gimme. I echo Suzy's comment in response to evil doug's bizarre remark on the Nazis. Never Forget

Anonymous 9:59 AM  

To Blue Stater, 9:38 a.m. In my 1960 Funk and Wagnalls, *ex animo* appears, with precisely the definition in this puzzle, namely *from the heart; sincerely*. The Latin *animo*, from the masculine animus, -i, usually suggests the thinking "soul", or the mind, or sometimes the power of feeling, hence ex animo, "from the heart." For the more spiritual-type soul Latin usually used the feminine anima, -ae, which could range from the breath of life, the spiritual or immortal soul, or even the form-giving "soul," which would turn an embryo into a frog rather than a human, sort of like DNA.

AliasZ 10:04 AM  

This was a pure excuse for a NYT Saturday puzzles. WHAT A JOKE. Made up phrases interspersed with obscure names not a good puzzle make.

E CLASS and ECSEGAR: a total Natick for me. I went through all the consonants for _-CLASS, because _CSEGAR could be absolutely anything. Then just for the heck of it I tried A and E... Ta-da! Happy tune! I know there are towns named Ecser and Eger in Hungary, but Ecsegar I never heard of. Which proves the adage that sometimes Ecsegar is just Ecsegar.

PAN IN exists strictly for the benefit of this puzzle. When a plan doesn't pan out, does it pan in?

And who the hell is AL DORAY?

LUCIFER is a horse of a different color. It means "bringer of light" in Latin -- and I mean that EX ANIMO.

Antonio ROSETTI was actually German, born Franz Anton Rösler. He Italianicized his name at age 23. Try his two-horn concerto and see if his music sounds better in Italian than German.

Cheers all!

mathgent 10:06 AM  

Liked the comments today. Happy to see people in the business explain "pan in." I thought that it meant "zoom in."

Like @QuasiMojo, I loved the Matt Gaffney in the Friday WSJ. It was similar to another WSJ puzzle from a few weeks ago which many of us raved about. But the meta about the puzzle is way beyond me, sad to say.

We're sensitive to homophobic slurs here in San Francisco, but I haven't heard that "suck" is in that category.

Steve M 10:17 AM  

A bad way to start a Saturday 😫

Aketi 10:19 AM  

In my line of work it is a good thing when babies SUCK properly.
ZEBRA FISH was my entry point since they are one of my favorite aquarium fish along with neon tetras.
The names were a google fest for me except fir AXL.

OldCarFudd 10:28 AM  

Is MADAMES a correct usage in English? The French plural of Madame is Mesdames.

Dave C 10:32 AM  

Grew up in Ridgefield, CT, 20 minutes from DARIEN, and still own a home in Westport. I now live in the Chicago 'burbs, 10 minutes from DARIEN, IL. That was a nice gimme once I ran down the towns on the coast to ensure no other 6-letter towns.

I had confidently written down S-CLASS, but once I determined that, alas, SUCK was probably correct, I ran the alphabet and settled on the E.

gzodik 10:43 AM  

OK, kids, time for my morning facepalm. WTF are TRIBS?

Mohair Sam 10:44 AM  

Yup, never look below full tilt luxury at my Mercedes dealership so we naticked at the infamous "E". Maybe if he had clued Chevrolet we'd have had a shot. Lotsa wicked stuff today, happy to come through with just one bad square.

I'm going to go all @Loren here for a second and say that the cluing overall was good and the clues for YOYODIET and JIVETALK were terrific. But it's hard to argue with @Rex on a lot of this stuff - beyond obscurity. We should all know DARIEN however, they were semi-finalists in the 1958 Little League World Series - pay attention! "Night Court" was one of my favorite sitcoms ever. I've read a few Bret HARTE short stories, one of our best Old West authors, imo. Felt terribly ignorant when ROSETTI had to fill, felt better when I discovered @Rex's Twitter pal with the PhD in Music History needed a few letters there.

Speaking of which - @Rex - Love it when you sprinkle in comments from your Twitter friends. Diversity is fun, give us more.

Trombone Tom 10:45 AM  

Epic fail. Worked my way through the SE, having just used KNEEPADs to do some garden weeding (out here in Cali where it was in the 70s). Then ran into too many names and had to resort to Google for a DNF.

The reference to cats doing JIVE TALK was right out of the 1930s.

No problem with HARTE. I'm surprised so many were not familiar with this pal of Mark Twain's.

Anonymous 10:47 AM  

Played hard today. Knew SEGAR but didn't remember his inits. SALIERI before ROSETTI but knew USONE, OUSE & TSE were right...so. For some reason PANIN went right in.

Trombone Tom 10:47 AM  

@gzodic TRIBS = short for tributaries.

Anonymous 10:50 AM  

Because Caput Mundi was italian--or I guess it's latin---I had Roma instead of Rome for a while. Hand up for Salieri before Rosetti (and confess I googled it when I realized Salieri was wrong---and learned that there are quite a few 7-letter composers). Got zebra fish easily because I knew Ozark Plateau. Naziism before Nazi era. stumbled a while over the two-in-a-row clues for 15A and 16A, thinking that they were related or at least that both would contain "cor" or something similar. LOVED the clue for 33D; had Jivet for a while and thought it would be some obscure biological term.

Z 10:54 AM  

PPP Analysis (that's pop culture, product names, and other proper nouns)
38% - Well over the 33% mark and it shows.

I think it best to never ask experts about the rightness or wrongness of a crossword answer. PAN IN is okay in as much as non-experts misuse the language, too. Hell, the experts thinks "legos" is wrong.

@Ilsa Lund - How's Lisbon? SO I SEE you added an E to "vichyssoise" for your joke. Cute.

I found that Mercedes Benz has B, C, E, G, and S class cars, so 26 possible letters at the 8A/D cross is hyperbole.

Oh how I miss the good old days when we could have calm rational discussions about politics here. Instead, we have to learn that asking google, "is suck homophobic" will result in lots of hits that say "yes" (and some that say "no") and even an 8 year old article on the homophobic and racist undercurrents to the disco sucks movement. Who knew?

Gwinns 10:54 AM  

I remembered SEGAR but not his initials. HR? MC? Finally just Googled it with no regrets. That square is such a Natick, I felt entitled to a Lollapuzzoola-style Google ticket.
And as another TV writer, let me agree: you zoom in, you can't pan in. Panning is only left and right.
The only way PAN IN is an acceptable phrase is if clued as "What someone pretending to be a director with no idea what he's talking about might say."

Punctuated Equilibrium 10:58 AM  

Another Natick attack victim here! Had to Google my way through most of the proper names. I was excited to see the Curies clue but it was a shame that this Nobel-prize winning, groundbreaking, mother-daughter scientist pair only merited MADAMES.

GILL I. 11:10 AM  

Down-loaded this late last night and tried to wade in after three Tom Collins too many. Bad idea. I had SAMEDAY and just stared. Do I pour myself another drink? Do I do a late night cheat? YES...so I Googled ECSEGAR and EXANIMO. LUCIFER was calling so I went to bed.
Much easier in the morning. No fuzzy mouth. It took a while and except for my two previous peeks, I managed to get her done..
I was an Art History major and I have several books on Bosch and yet MISER took for ever to come to me. This is one in his triptych panels. Look at @Carola's post. If you like Bosch, you will remember this one.
I don't think I've ever said SUCK. Like @Larry G, I've been known to drop the F Bomb. It can be quite impressive if you say it just right and at the right time. SUCK just seems so ugh.
@Johnny...I agree with you on the QEII. ZEBRA seemed obvious to me as did DANTE writing about some Poker flat outcasts. Ah, yes...HARTE in a HAZE.
Liked this more than @Rex and his twitter friends did, but then I don't twitter nor tweak
P.S. @old timer from yesterday. I continued our saga in a late post. Fun times old mate.

Nancy 11:13 AM  

I didn't know the stupid car, OK? Nor do I know anything about Bluto and Wimpy. And so I naticked right where I was sure I would -- with bCLASS crossing bC SEGAR. (Doesn't a B CLASS car sound more saleable than an E CLASS car? Second letter down, not fifth letter down!) Boo. Hiss. Unfair cluing. The other chance for a natick I avoided, pulling the X of AXL ROSE out of my you-know-where, since I didn't know E-ANIMO. (And I took Latin, btw.

Plenty of other obscure names to contend with, but I struggled and struggled and ended up finishing except for that one E. I changed dAZE to HAZE at 46A, since there's no author named DARTE. Or even D'ARTE. I had to change eyE LINE to AGE LINE at 13D. And I had to change tEtrA FISH to ZEBRA FISH at 21D. (I'm always writing in TETRA; it's a crossword puzzle fish, even though I have no idea what it looks like or whether it has horizontal stripes, vertical stripes, or no stripes.) There were some good things about this puzzle, but it was spoiled for me by all the PPP.

Bill Feeney 11:15 AM  

Who could forget "Swervin' Irvan",the driver of the number 4 Kodak Film car? Like Dale Earnhardt Jr.,his career was shortened by head injuries as he realized what concussions could really do to cognition. Dale hasn't quit yet, but one more accident and he'll be done. Ernie Irvan was a hard-charging driver loved by most fans and voted one of the top 50 drivers of all time. He won the Michigan race four years after nearly losing his life in a practice accident at that track. There. More than you ever wanted to know. As LMS says, "As you were."

Anonymous 11:17 AM  

You don't "pan in".
Panning is a left/right movement of the camera.
You zoom in or out.

Wm. C. 11:17 AM  

@Hartley --

Re: New Canaan not coastal. Oops, you're right. But Stamford (which is coastal) doesn't exactly fit in with the rest of the "Connecticut Gold Coast" towns I mentioned. Sorry if I'm being insulting; just making a factual observation. ;-)

Re: Paul and Joanne in Westport:

My aunt lived on Park Lane down the street from them. Whenever Robert Redford had to be in New York, he scheduled things so that he could spend the weekend there. Each morning he'd walk down the street and turn the corner to go to the Drug Store on the Post Road to buy the newspaper. The old biddies on Park Lane would always arrange to be doing something in their front yard as he walked by. He was always gracious to all, smiling and wishing them a good morning.

As you say, Paul and Joanne were very down-to-earth also. As an example, they sent their kids to the Westport Public Schools. The kind of thing few celebrities would do. Of course, the honors program there was as fine an education as that of the best private schools. But of course not the same snob appeal...

GHarris 11:20 AM  

Wow got it all right except I didn't know the cartoonist so I had S class. Still consider this a complete victory since there was much I had never heard of and worked through them all. The essence of gamesmanship, I have finally arrived.

gzodik 11:25 AM  

Well thanks Tom, but "allegheny wabash trib" and "tributary trib" don't even Google. Where have you heard "trib" for tributary?

Gorelick 11:28 AM  

Averring that "suck" is homophobic is an insult to anyone who has ever been the victim of anything.

dls 11:39 AM  

Easily the worst NYT puzzle in memory. Riddled with sloppiness.

newspaperguy 11:39 AM  

evil doug said...
I think everything Nazi should be removed from history books,novels, movies and old newsreels. And don't get me started on Hogan's Heroes....

Which would be a very Nazi thing to do.

evil doug 11:59 AM  

I'm surrounded by morons here....

Nancy 12:03 PM  

Wow -- what an interesting blog today! I agree with @runtomrun that the comments are much better than the puzzle. I've never seen you before, @Johnny (1:25 & 1:45 a.m.), but your crash course in movie set camera movement was extremely interesting. Likewise your distinction between QEII and QE2. I'm baffled, though, when you say they're even spoken differently. How would you say QEII? "QE one one"???

@Wm C (11:17) -- Oh, you lucky man, you lucky, lucky man, to have been able to see Newman and Redford up close and personal any time you wanted to. I'm so envious. Of course, given the fact that I've always been observationally challenged, I quite possibly could have walked right by them and never even noticed. Come to think of it, perhaps I already have at some point in my life.

Don't believe a word @Hartley says (9:58). She's got a memory like a steel trap.

Re: SUCK. I'm someone who responds to the sound of words as much as to their meaning. And for that reason, "stink" or "stinky" have always offended me and made me cringe. I don't know if anyone else on the planet has such a reaction, but I absolutely can't stand those words. And therefore, given a choice of someone saying to me: "You suck" or "you stink", I would much prefer the former. (Though, of course, I would rather not have to choose.) But there seems to be something quite comical, even playful in the "You suck" usage, anyway. As to it being a homosexual slur -- I would venture that 99% of the people who use the phrase have nothing remotely homosexual on their minds. It comes as a huge surprise to me, and I wonder if it's even true.

Lewis 12:05 PM  

Yes, the DARIEN/IRVAN/ROSETTI/OUSE/DUOTONE cluster, and square 8 caused me to Google twice, but otherwise the puzzle put up a fair fight, and one that felt good to win. I liked the clues to YOYODIET, SONAR, LUCIFER, and JIVETALK, and the answers AGELINE and ASUSUAL. A nice cross of TEHEE and WHATAJOKE.

Laughed out loud at Brian's tweet, and felt better after reading Howard Barkin's. Overall, though, I had a good time with this. There were two sections I filled in that ten minutes earlier I thought I didn't have a chance at. There was much good in this one, Roland, and I look forward to your next.

Tom Faure 12:06 PM  

Ok I actually did finish this but it was unrewarding. I enjoyed some of the cluing but SUCK is not crossword-worthy, PANIN is not a thing, and MADAMES was insulting

Blue Stater 12:06 PM  

@Anonymous 9:59 AM, you're obviously a much better Latinist than I am (wouldn't take much). Still, using the metaphorical sense of this in the clue strikes me as way over the top, although not flat-out wrong like so much of the rest of this hot mess. I'd like to join Wm. C in praise of the Westport public schools, which I attended (in the 40s and 50s) and which gave me excellent preparation for college and graduate school.

Anonymous 12:09 PM  

Could "suck" refer specifically to the clue "get lousy"? Though I think lice don't really suck, do they? Perhaps it should have been clued "get ticky.l

Churlish Nabob 12:13 PM  

If you teach Am Lit and you're not aware of Bret Harte, then you're a goddamned fraud, plain and simple.

Johnny 12:20 PM  

@Nancy (12:03 pm)

QEII : spoken as "Queen Elizabeth the Second"
QE2 : spoken as "The Queen Elizabeth Two"

The original name of the QE2 was supposed to be "Queen Elizabeth," just like her predecessor that was built in the 1930's. When QE2 was launched by Queen Elizabeth II in 1967 (known only by its hull number), she said "I christen this ship Queen Elizabeth the Second," apparently naming it after herself. No one had told her before or after that the name was just "Queen Elizabeth." So they officially added the "2" to its name, but it indicates that it is the second Cunard ship named "Queen Elizabeth," NOT named for Queen Elizabeth II. To this day she probably still thinks the ship is named for her.

Also: I'm around more than you know.

evil doug 12:22 PM  

Okay, Suzy, Roberto, newspaperguy (and no wonder the concept of Fake News has been popularized), listen up, I'm going to lead you by your collective noses:

1.Read Barany right after midnight.

2.You obviously read my first post--clearly so hyperbolic that its ironic intent should have been apparent if you had any common sense.

3.But since you obviously lack said common sense, I responded to Suzy to make my satiric intent clear. Apparently you forgot to read that one.

Maybe you're new here, and don't realize I have been a champion of allowing every sucking word in the universe appear in the puzzle. Or maybe you're just stupid. Either way, I apologize for presuming that you'd have your shit together enough to add the clues up without me drawing you a picture.

Any further questions, Mensa members?

John V 12:39 PM  

Yes, disaster. What Rex said.

Nancy 12:44 PM  

@Johnny (12:20) -- So she has a real ego, does the Queen. What a wonderful anecdote! But are you sure she didn't say: "We christen this ship Queen Elizabeth the Second"? I'm glad you're around more than I think, @Johnny -- you know a lot of interesting stuff.

Teedmn 12:48 PM  

Hah, @Nancy, "suck" is a word I use rather often - it was one of those "go-to" words in my formative, high school years. When I'm trying to tone it down around people I don't know well, I often censor myself by substituting "stink". I'll try to refrain refraining around you!

BarbieBarbie 12:53 PM  

OK, @evildoug, at least *I* laughed out loud at your Nazi comment. Immediately made me think "I know nuh...THINK!" Which made your later morons comment also funny. I happen to think the Nazi party is alive and well on this side of the Atlantic, lately, but that's irrelevant.

evil doug 12:58 PM  

Gee, Barbie, kind of a mean thing to say about Canada....

Masked and Anonymo8Us 1:00 PM  

Less controversial PANIN clue coulda maybe been {Don't pan out??}


old timer 1:03 PM  

@George, you can't get away from the fact that NAZI ERA is a real and fairly common way to describe the 1933-45 period in Germany. I personally hope our President serves only a single term, making "Trump era" less likely. (You will note I call him "our President". For better or worse, he is, and anyone who pretends otherwise is a poor helpless snowflake).

The puzzle was good I thought, except for the ludicrous PANIN. My major problem was caused by writing "base hit" instead of OUTTAKE. I did Google a bit, though I maybe did not need to. IRVAN I could have gotten on crosses. And while I did not know EC SEGAR and googled for the initials, I really should have guessed ECLASS (had the CLASS all along).

SUCK has been around a long, long time in that sense. Don't know if it goes back to "suck eggs" or suck A- which was common when I was in college.

JC66 1:04 PM  


Maybe that's why it's the FREE dictionary. ;-)

Joe Bleaux 1:05 PM  


Unicorn Slayer 1:07 PM  

@evil doug:

LMAO! I knew you'd have to spell it out for them. Many here are so busy virtue-signaling, that the concept of sarcasm eludes them completely.

Anonymous 1:08 PM  

My feelings about this puzzle are described by 32A and 10D

Joe Bleaux 1:17 PM  

Soon as I read that post, I thought "Doug, some folks are gonna fire off posts to straighten you out." Maybe you shoulda tipped your hand far enough to show a little more of that Sarcasm card, bud.

Anonymous 1:30 PM  

"Cat's tongue"/JIVE TALK may be clever, but I found it offensive.

Ellen S 1:30 PM  

@Evil Doug, seems we've all lost our sense (senses?) (sensepodes?) of humor. Oh, dear. Sean Spicer says #45 didn't literally mean that Obama had "tapped his wires" but rather meant it metaphorically, which is why the phrase is in metaphoric quotes.

You, on the other hand, are to be taken absolutely literally. Sad.

Oh - @gzodik -- TRIBS means "tributaries" in the crossworld. Memorize it.

I had the same experience as others. Luckily knew Bret HARTE and ALDO RAY, and the attempt to Saturdayify the clue for ERI didn't fool me. I made it through most with a few Check Answers and lots of crosses, but square 8 eluded me. There may be only a half a dozen or so classes of Mercedes, but if I didn't know the mid-luxury one, I wouldn't know how many there are. Crossing first initial of a cartoonist I don't know, DNF. That kind of stuff doesn't make it mind-stretching, not what the medics mean when they say working crossword puzzles will help stave off dementia. More like, bring it about.

Joe Bleaux 1:30 PM  

Oh, old timer, how you've disappointed one who has so enjoyed your posts! Your very use of the word "snowflake" tells me a lot. Any other advice for us "cupcakes"(another cute slur bouncing around in the right-wing bubble)?

Joe Bleaux 1:44 PM  

No defense here for many of the criticisms of this puzzle, but I found it enjoyable, if a bit of a slog with all the PPPs. I started with the gimme FLA in the NE (where I ultimately racked up a rare DNF because of that 8A/8D initial). Down to the SE, I got in with HARTE (unbelievable how many posters found him an obscurity), lucked out on guesses with DaRIen and OuSE, and owe my finish in the NW to AXL ROSE / ALDO RAY cross. Cliche summary: Challenging, but fun. @Blue Stater, good on ye for appreciating a good copy desk! (Do "rim" and "slot" mean anything to you?)!

mikeametrics 1:50 PM  

I'm frankly astonished I finished the NE without error. No idea on the cartoonist... lucky guess on my limited Mercedes knowledge. SW was where the blood ran. 4 rounds of iterative guessing later I finished...

Dave 2:09 PM  

As a sound engineer I can say that MIC is the right and proper shortened version of microphone, not MIKE.
As a homosexual I think that the idea that the word SUCK is homophobic is ridiculous.

Masked and Panonymous 2:17 PM  

yo, @Alias Z ... sorry, I just noticed that I stepped on yer material, about PANIN clue ideas.
Alternative PANIN clue: {Dish off ... bowl on ... pot out ... ??}.

M&A Rewrite Desk

GeezerJackYale48 2:18 PM  

University classrooms are the minority. I liked this clue.

GeezerJackYale48 2:23 PM  

Agree. It was a struggle and it's Saturday. Isn't that what we expect? Or hope for?

Tim Aurthur 2:26 PM  

Just to chime in that square 8 is the worst Natick I've ever encountered. Usually you have to choose among a few possibilities. But this time I only eliminated A (suggests top of the line) and Z (suggests SUCKs) and X (uncommon first initial). So there were really 23 possibilities. I decided on M because Mid.

GeezerJackYale48 2:27 PM  

Agree on "suck". It just seems crude and offensive. As for the Mercedes, owning a venerable E Class was rather helpful.

GeezerJackYale48 2:36 PM  

@Paul is not alone. I think the halls of academia reflect only the halls of academia in this and many other opinions.

JC66 2:38 PM  


Thanks for the Gaffney/WSJ recommendation. I did it online and had to finish it in my head because I couldn't
figure out how to input the rebuses.

Nancy 3:00 PM  

JC66 (2:38) -- Moi?? I have a really terrible memory, but I don't think so. In fact, I've never laid eyes on the puzzle in question -- although that I am hoping that a wonderful friend on the blog will send it to me, as he has so many other terrific non-NYT puzzles in the past.

JC66 3:12 PM  


I could swear it was you, but I'm too lazy to go back to see who it really was.

Anyway, here's a link you cause to access WSJ puzzles


Bill L. 3:13 PM  

I'm a lousy golfer. I suck at golf. Nothing more to it than that. Neither offensive nor homophobic.

Rex was spot on about the rest of the solving experience. I liked a few clues but the PPP made this mostly a joyless slog for me.

Malsdemare 3:19 PM  

Oh my, this was ugly. No idea who did Popeye, blanked on HARTE, even though my wonderful malamutes come from Poker Flat Kennel, refused to accept PANIN (so wrong, says this long-ago broadcasting student), and grimaced at TRIBS (seriously, folks?). Oddly, DARIEN came out of nowhere which also oddly gave me ROSETTI -- for absolutely no earthly reason that I can discern. Sometimes I think my brain goes for a stroll through Wikipedia without me, collecting odds and ends and then waving them in front of me like some demented 2-year-old; "Look what I found!" Sheesh.

Once I cheated for ECSEGAR, I got ECLASS, MISER, for unknown reasons (see above) made sense so I went with it, but said brain hadn't collected EXAMINO and while I know AXLROSE, his name never pops into my brain no matter what song title you give me. And I was in a mAZE, and a dAZE be fore the fog descended in a HAZE. And don't get me started on IRVAN; if it has to be a race car diver, can it be someone we have a shot at knowing? Had coBRAFISH before ZEBRA; hey, why not?

I hesitated at SUCK and am baffled by PACE. Clearly, RH doesn't bake; substituting PAM for Baker's joy would suck big time.

And, yes, George Barany, QUIET is the last thing we want in a university classroom.

For once I totally agree with Rex.

Aketi 3:21 PM  

@evildoug, TEHEE over the inevitable outcome of your satire. I figure if I checked in later it would have gone in the direction it did. Unlike probably anyone else on the blog I silently chant "SUCK that TIT" to myself when working with a baby who is struggling to feed. I even know someone who wrote a book entitled "Supporting SUCKing Skills". I'm sure your interpretation of the meaning of that title would also run in entirely different directions than mine.

Of course both the FBomb and SUCK rhyme with Fire Truck and my son was among the many toddlers that enthusiastically substituted an F fir the TR when he was little.

Hungry Mother 3:38 PM  

Couple of Naticks. Goong to dinner with my friends from Natick tonight in Naples, FL.

Dick Swart 3:39 PM  

The NYT was easier for me today than the LAT. But the LAT was far more clever.

Very poor editing on 'pan' and 'mikes'. I don't mean 'poor' in the Rex sense of lack of attuned judgement. I mean 'poor' in that the answers are wrong: 'pan' by definition and 'mikes' in the spelling.

Happy Pencil 4:22 PM  

The clue for YO-YO DIET was fantastic and almost made me want to overlook all the problems that Rex pointed out. But I have to say I really, really disliked seeing two Nobel Prize winners reduced to being defined as men's wives. What a terrible clue!

I don’t know how many of you took @Joanne Sullivan up the other day on her suggestion that you try her 2015 puzzle with Byron Walden, but I did and it was great! No offence to Joel Fagliano, whose work I like quite a bit, but the other puzzle was far superior to his Thursday effort. If you want another puzzle to wash away the memories of today’s, you can get it at:


QuasiMojo 4:24 PM  

I don't feel like defending this puzzle but we've had the word "mike" before for microphone. And using Google Books I was able to find references to a "mike" meaning microphone going back as far as the 1920s. So it is legitimate usage here.

I usually feel left out of these witty back-and-forths here -- especially if it involves @Nancy or @evildoug but I am grateful for their presence. There's always something amusing going on in their posts, asides and elucidations.

Unicorn Slayer 4:42 PM  

@ Joe Bleaux 1:30PM

Hate people using Cupcake and Snowflake? You'll absolutely love this!

foxaroni 4:52 PM  

Hi...late, as usual. (I used to think my epitaph should read either "I'll try to do better next time," or "Please pass the salt." Now, however, "Late, as usual" seems to be a better option.)

Total agreement here about the 8A-8D Natick. In my case, though, I used "K," which I now remember referred to Chrysler's K-car. Also, living in a Kansas City suburb made "K.C. Segar" a reasonable option to me.

There have been criticisms of the usage of such words as Idi, Amin, Assad, Adolph, and even Obama. Those examples, as well as Nazi, don't offend me per se. There is no intent to proselytize, criticise or editorialize (that I can tell). They are just words--words that are of a certain length, that fit into a particular space.

Today's comments have been exceptionally informative, interesting and educational. Much more enjoyable than the puzzle, I might add. Even so, thanks to Roland Huget for the time and effort, and thanks to all of you for posting.

Bella 5:08 PM  

My main beef is that I don't think that knowing the names of minor places in Connecticut Is a useful stretching of the comfort zone of anyone not living in Connecticut.

nick 5:48 PM  

Triple natick, zero joy.

Norm 5:58 PM  

Evil Doug @12:58 was very funny. That's the Evil I like to read.

MetroGnome 6:11 PM  

Okay, so aside from all the names/proper nouns (and initials!) -- Am I the only one who didn't/doesn't have any idea what the hell a "contemner" is???

MetroGnome 6:21 PM  

I think it's clear that "suck" has junior-high/locker-room/homophobic roots (I remember when a kid could be smacked in the mouth for saying it in front of an adult), but I think it's lost that particular sting over time. That does happen with language, y'know -- e.g., how many folks realize that the term "paddy wagon" originated as a virulent anti-Irish slur (Irishmen, AKA "Paddys," were stereotyped as drunken bums/louts who always got hauled away in them)?

And it goes the other way, too -- a lot of us remember when the epithet "queer" was considered every bit as homophobic and heterosexist as "faggot" -- but it's been taken back and empowered by the gay community, and now it's used as an expression of identity and pride.

Carlos Wide 6:26 PM  

@MetroGnome, "queer" is still somewhat controversial in the community and is not accepted by everyone, myself included.

MetroGnome 6:31 PM  

Okay, Carlos, I appreciate the clarification -- but I think you have to admit that a lot of folks DO use it, very publicly, in a positive sense (how many colleges and universities have "Queer Studies" programs? And just today I was reading, in a very progressive publication, an article that praised Black Lives Matter because [among other things] "Queer Black Women" have been instrumental as leaders) . . . so I hope you can understand why it seems to a lot of us outside the gay community that "queer" has lost its bite. That being said, though, as a non-gay person myself, I'd never use it in casual conversation, although if I had to refer to a "Queer Studies" curriculum I'm afraid I'd end up having to use it by default.

Hartley70 6:37 PM  

@Wm C, both Stamford and Norwalk are cities that are not uniformly affluent, but each has quite lovely and expensive areas to rival the surrounding towns. I'm not offended. I don't live in either one.

Robert Redford was a dish. He once stopped me while walking and gave my pup a good cuddle. Who doesn't love a dog lover?

Hartley70 6:41 PM  

@Old timer, that's the usage I remember. Every kid in my town in the 50s and early 60s used "suck eggs" as the ultimate insult.

Anonymous 8:20 PM  

check out Emerson College's guidelines on inclusive speech.
Hoo boy. Don't want to offend anyone in, as Carlos describes it,the community.

On a much nicer note,the E in Mercedes nomenclature originally stood for enspritzen.....fuel injection. At least how I remember it.

Jane Thorne 8:53 PM  

Harte also wrote short stories using upside-down letters directly on the printing press. That takes the hot lead era of publishing to an unexpected level. Go give thanks to characters-on-a-screen.

Blue Stater 9:16 PM  

@Joe Bleaux - Hoo boy, do "rim" and "slot" ever mean a lot to me. I never got as high in the pecking order (at the Providence Journal, still a good paper though no longer a family-owned one) as the slot, but did lots of time on the rim of the suburban desk before going back to grad school and an academic career. You never get printer's ink out of your blood -- I miss it still.

Daryl 9:40 PM  

Tough and unfair. "Finished" it on the app by cycling through the various Mercedes classes until I was told I solved it. The DARTE/HARTE when DAZE/HAZE are both appropriate m answers was also annoying. Genuinely think this was the worst NYT puzzle of 2017.

Anonymous 11:01 PM  

Hey Churish,

If you weren't such a hater you might know what you're talking about. In fact, Rex said it was his wife that didn't know Bret Harte and since she is from New Zealand, that is understandable.

old timer 11:05 PM  

"Suck eggs" was of course 19th Century ("teach your grandmother how to suck eggs". "Suck a-" was a phrase when I was in college, when sucking another male part was, well, not to be mentioned even at a keg party. That dates my keg party days to the early 60's if you could not have guessed.

As for "snowflake" sometimes the Trumpistas have come up with a term I think is wholly appropriate. I have railed since the election against those who refuse to believe the facts. He is our President, for better or worse and if you like me are on the "worse" side you need to get real. There is serious work to be done and if you live in a rural Republican district, a lot of serious work to be done, which will require you to accept Trump as our President and explain why many of his proposals (or his Cabinet's, or Ryan's) are unacceptable, wrong, and likely to hurt people who could go either way in 2018.

Signing out for now and looking forward to the Sunday puzzle

Unknown 11:33 PM  

Evil doug, just guessing but you spend a lot of time commenting on this site. Right? Once or twice a week is a lot for me. So maybe Mensa dude, you should get a life beyond Rex's blog. Guessing at an advanced age you still haven't escaped from your parent's basement, and you don't have much going for you. It's ok.

Andrew Heinegg 12:18 AM  

Ok, Doug. I give you props for pointing out the absurdity of political correctness gone wild on the left. Now, explain how someone with profound and obvious mental illness(es) maintains the unswerving support of 40% or so of the country while the rest of the world is aghast and confounded.

Unknown 12:44 AM  

Andrew, the easy answer is that there was no one else reaching out to a large, aggrieved percentage of the populace. I speak as an old line conservative who did not vote for Trump. When there are constituencies who feel abandoned, and who are perhaps not the most sophisticated folks, they will reach out to charleton who promises better. A blindness on the part of the left and the traditional socially liberally right. A shame

Rabi Abonour 1:37 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul Rippey 2:05 AM  

Okay, thanks. It was actually some lesbian friends who convinced me that suck was homophobic. I'll probably continue to avoid it but no biggie.

Paul Rippey 2:10 AM  

Oh, duh. Thanks.

J-P 8:40 AM  

Why are people not more outraged about 4D ("Line online" = enote)?

Anonymous 9:54 AM  

Yes, pretty bad one. PAN IN. ENOTE. QEII. And then the Mercedes-Popeye cross. Finally solved by running through the alphabet, broke my 82 day streak as I didn't finish until Sunday morning :(

Greg 10:50 AM  

Disaster. A proper-word trivia contest masquerading as a crossword puzzle. The single-letter author name crossing the single letter car initial was the most egregious. DARIEN crossing ROSETTI crossing OUSE? Give me a break. PANIN is not a thing.

Abu Afakski 5:25 PM  

Agree on "suck" pencilled it in and was surprised it stayed.

Matthew G. 5:29 PM  

This was awful. Who wouldn't guess his name was McSegar? Particularly because if it wasn't McSegar, that means it has to be an initial, in which case it could be literally any letter other than M (or, I guess, A or Z, since presumably the mid-line car wouldn't be the A-Class or Z-Class).

Randomly guessing among 23 letters is not my idea of fun.

I'm not even in the film biz, and I was pretty sure PAN IN is not a thing. I mean, I literally had _ANIN and I was still staring. I grudgingly tried P, and when I got the happy pencil I rolled my eyes.

Abu Afakski 5:31 PM  

Don't you people use Google?
I'm not a purist, I guess...
Seriously, I'm just in it for fun, and I always google stuff I don't know.
So I don't have to worry aboutRosetti, I just google "Mozart contemporaries."
I'm also from Connecticut and remember when that bridge collapsed on I-95 and everybody had to drive through Darien, so I didn't even have to google that one.

kitshef 10:49 PM  

Went with sCLASS/sCSEGAR, which was wrong, and as bad a cross as I can imagine.
Went with DARIEN/ROSETTI, which was right, though both WoEs.
Never heard of cat's tongue in this sense.

Discussion on sucks reminds me of the movie Top Secret.
Dr. Flammond: ... one night, the Secret Police broke into my house. They tore me from my family, ransacked my laboratory and brought me to this dungeon.
Nick: That sucks.

Freddy Murcks 11:20 PM  

The fact that SALIERI was also an Antonio and a contemporary of Mozart and it also fit in the spaces had me tied up in knots. This is the first puzzle in a long time that I was unable to finish. Somewhat glad to know that other people disliked it as much as I did. Blargh!

poslfit 10:51 AM  

In addition to getting caught by everything everyone has mentioned above, I initially had AB CORDE for "from the heart", then EX CORDE thanks to AXL ROSE. EX ANIMO is certainly used to mean "from the heart" or "sincerely" in English; in Latin it literally means "(out) from the spirit" instead.

Anonymous 4:10 AM  

Lex Rosa? ;)

Anonymous 12:54 AM  

SUCK may or may not be offensive. But what could possibly be offensive about this?

art mugalian 9:44 AM  

Really, who has never heard or used the expression, "THAT sucks!"?
And, by the way, the Chicago Cubs were all over the sports pages last year with their tee-shirt slogan, "TRY NOT TO SUCK."

Burma Shave 12:41 PM  


for a TOKEN OUTTAKE from MADAME'S C cup,
TURNS out I was AWARDED a look at TIT, what a sight!


spacecraft 12:47 PM  

What, now I HAVE to fill out a profile or my post won't print? WHATAJOKE! I will try this one more time, but I'm NOT filling out a profile. If it doesn't print, then I guess you've seen the last of the ol' spacecraft.

To reiterate: I agree in large part with OFL that today's grid is too full of PPPs, some of which are obscure, to say the least, and the result is more than one problem square. I only know E- and S-CLASS Mercedes, so that was a coin flip. Knew SEGAR but not the initials. It came up S; cue the trombones.

But it's not only my 1-square DNF that makes me dis this one. The whole thing seems strained, and I can only point to pangram. this is exactly what OFL has been carping about vis-à-vis pangrams. Why do it if it's going to ruin the result? This sorely needs to be EMENDED.

Have to use a little exclusion to come up with a DOD: one of the NAVI, Zoe Saldana, is AWARDED the sash today. Sorry, PAM.

NAZIERA? MUST we ascribe an entire ERA to them? I never heard of it, and would never give them the satisfaction. Double bogey, again.

rondo 1:25 PM  

SOISEE I had a DNF due to cCLASS. That SUCKs! WHATAJOKE! And I had ASarUle for ASUSUAL for far too long. Inkfest ensued.

Nit: U.S.ONE actually begins, not ends, in FLA, at Mile Post Zero in Key West to be exact. As a highway afficianado I had to have my photo taken leaning against the sign. In the U.S., mileposts run from south to north and west to east. It's an engineering thing and there are reasons. LECTURE over.

Another nit: In my world, half of a PACE is 30", making a full PACE add up to 5'. On a survey crew a precise PACE is very handy. Back in the day I could PACE off 100' and be within 6". LECTURE 2 over.

The actual QEII TURNed 91 yesterday.

NIGHT COURT, attorney yeah baby Markie Post, one of the BESTEVER.

Congrats to anyone who correctly solved this PPP, Natick-city loaded puz. Lotsa good mixed with the other stuff made it hard to DIGEST.

Anonymous 2:41 PM  

From Syndication Land:

Had to LOL when I read imfromjersey's comment! They said they finally figured out the E in square 8. How do you figure it out if you don't know it? Running the alphabet is no use. Either you HTG or keep entering letters in the square until you got a "happy pencil" (whatever that is.)

When I started the puzzle, Segar was one of my first entries. I couldn't remember the initials, but thought I'd get them from the crosses. Much to my disappointment, that didn't happen...

Diana,LIW 3:03 PM  

Again, with so many PPP woes, I was happy to get the 80% I did. My theory is there should be a limit to obscure trivia references - anyone can make a puzzle "hard" by putting the name of their great aunt in the mix. Only a really great constructor can make a wordplay-rich puzzle hard to suss, but in the end, sussable. I'm not saying anything about this constructor - just that the puzzles that are really creative with wordplay are, well...puzzles. Not obscure trivia fests. My little rant.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Waxy in Montreal 3:50 PM  

Certainly not the BESTEVER but not the worst; I.E., it didn't altogether SUCK. Should have been FINETUNEd to remove NAVI/NAZI(ugh) and the courAGE/AGEline cross and, of course, the now-infamous Popeye/Mercedes Nattick.

Had USONE quickly so wondered for some time if Solieri could be a Salieri var. Finally ROSETTI emerged in the SW as a sort of a Rosetta Stone to complete the DARIEN gap.

leftcoastTAM 3:57 PM  

Had to work from bottom to top, where progress stopped.
Looked long and hard at the NE, where SUCK ("Be lousy") turned a dead stare into an "aha".

Then stared a while at the NW, where SEACRAB and YOYODIET opened up that corner. AXLROSE was the last one in.

Looked back at the NE after coming here. Ouch. Had stayed with the cCLASS Mercedes, and thus cCSEGAR too. E-CLASS is above my pay grade, if not EC SEGAR's as well.

This was a struggle, but will accept the consolation prize given that one-square E/c dnf.

rain forest 4:38 PM  

I knew it was SEGAR who authored Popeye et al, and I also *knew* that the Benz was either C or E. I chose E only because I think CC SEGAR just sounded wrong. So a general warm feeling of pride and well-being washed over me.

But dammit, one of the commenters up there in the big house mentioned that they had DNF because of the HARTE/HAZE cross, and I of course had entered a D instead of the H. I knew that Bret Harte had written a lot of westerns, none of which I read, but I really should have got that one.

Overall, though, I kind of liked this puzzle despite the DNF. There were enough very good entries and decent crosses to get through the name soup. In the SW, I did the SALIERI/VIVALDI/ROS---- thing for a long time, and intuited DARIEN, for some reason. So a feeling of almost triumph.

I do have to say, @Rondo, that Markie Post was/is indeed a remarkable DOD or yeah baby.

sdcheezhd 8:27 PM  

Maybe one of the car guys here can explain why the answer can't also be C Class. All Benzes are luxury cars and neither C nor E is top of the line so they can both be mid-luxury lines. It's worse than a Natick; you can know one of the 2 and still have to guess. I thought SALIERI was too easy for a Saturday, but then it worked with COSCOB so maybe not that crazy.

sdcheezhd 8:32 PM  

@rondo - the convention on milepost numbering doesn't define where a road begins or ends - perfectly reasonable I think to say US1 ends at Key West, or that I5 ends at the Mexican border.

rondo 8:47 PM  

@sdcheezhd - it is AN end, but not THE end. Anyone in the business would call it the beginning point. Anyone not in the business just doesn't know. U.S.ONE ends at the Canadian border in Maine. And don't get me started on "tar".

Unknown 8:50 PM  

The C Class, while not inexpensive, is the entry-level Mercedes, and costs quite a bit less than the E Class.

Unknown 8:51 PM  

This is just about the funniest comment I've ever read. Thanks from a syndicated solver.

leftcoastTAM 9:18 PM  


Re: USONE. If you're driving from Boston to Key West, which I did, THE end of my trip on USONE was Key West, it wasn't just AN end. The direction was irrelevant.

rondo 10:56 PM  

@lefty - The clue reads where the "route" USONE ends, not where any one individual person's trip ends. Even Wikipedia agrees:

. . . US 1 travels along the east coast of Florida, beginning at 490 Whitehead St. in Key West . . .

And then, after describing the route through states - from south to north, just like mile posts - it goes on to say USONE ends at the Canadian border.
And as we know, Wikipedia is never wrong.

Anonymous 11:12 PM  

And I5 starts at the Mexican border and ends at the Canadian

leftcoastTAM 12:05 AM  

A good semantical argument. There are meanings and there are meanings.

rondo 9:50 AM  

I said it was a nit.

Anonymous 9:22 PM  

All in all, dreadful. One of the worst puzzles I've ever seen in the NYT. MADAMES? Really? TRIBS was easy to get, but scarcely literate. "Suck" was badly clued; if the word must be used, there should have been a reference to babies. "Suck" is both vulgar and homophobic when used to mean "lousy." "Suck" has only been used to mean "lousy" because of the connection to gay men.

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