Sci-fi natives of planet Kashyyyk / SAT 3-11-17 / Genre akin to indie rock / Piece of glib journalism often written under tight deadline / Repeated lyric in Who's Tommy / Wave function denotre in quantum mechanics

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Constructor: Natan Last

Relative difficulty: Easy (beyond easy—I set a new personal Saturday record: 4:36)

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: "ADVENTURE TIME" (53A: Award-winning Cartoon Network series with Finn the Human and Jake the Dog) —
Adventure Time is an American animated television series created by Pendleton Ward for Cartoon Network. It follows the adventures of a boy named Finn (voiced by Jeremy Shada) and his best friend and adoptive brother Jake (voiced by John DiMaggio)—a dog with the magical power to change shape and size at will. Finn and Jake live in the post-apocalyptic Land of Ooo, where they interact with other major characters, including: Princess Bubblegum (voiced by Hynden Walch), the Ice King (voiced by Tom Kenny), Marceline the Vampire Queen (voiced by Olivia Olson), and BMO (voiced by Niki Yang). The series is based on a 2007 short produced for Nicktoons and Frederator Studios' animation incubator series Random! Cartoons. After the short became a viral hit on the Internet, Cartoon Network commissioned a full-length series, which previewed on March 11, 2010, and officially premiered on April 5, 2010. [...] Since its debut, Adventure Time has been a ratings success for Cartoon Network, with the highest-rated episodes having attracted over 3 million viewers. The show has received positive reviews from critics and—despite being aimed primarily at children—has developed a following among teenagers and adults. Adventure Time has won awards including: six Primetime Emmy Awards, a Peabody Award, three Annie Awards, two British Academy Children's Awards, a Motion Picture Sound Editors Award, a Pixel Award, and a Kerrang! Award. The series has also been nominated for three Critics' Choice Television Awards, two Annecy Festival Awards, a TCA Award, and a Sundance Film Festival Award, among others. A comic book spin-off based on the series won an Eisner Award and two Harvey Awards. The series has also inspired various clothing items and related merchandise, video games, comic books, and DVD compilations. (wikipedia)
• • •

Oh my god I torched this thing. Just set it on fire. I'm not sure I've solved a *Friday* puzzle in 4:36 before, so to hit that on a Saturday is unreal. I tend to be on the same wavelength as Natan, but this was ridiculous. It's a nice, *very* modern grid, with only a small handful of infelicities (EME, LOTI, BEINS). This has Friday written all over it—lots of connectivity in the grid structure, stacks that are easy to crosscut with lots of short answers, pretty easy cluing. I'm looking at the clues and only just noticing that weird streak in the Down clues from 38 to 41 where clues are all one word, all start with "R", and are really two pairs of related clues. If 36D: "Apologies" had been (easily) changed to [Regretful expression], those Downs could've started Regret Regretful Rushed Rush Red Red, respectively. Not that I care about such things. Just noticing. I would like it to be known that I was (to my knowledge) the first person to put WHITE PRIVILEGE in a crossword grid (a couple years back, in the now-defunct Buzzfeed Crossword: see here). Eerily, mine was in the same place in the grid, at precisely 14-Across. That little connection probably helped accelerate my solving speed, but I'm guessing lots and lots and lots of people set personal Saturday records today.


Here's what I remember: first thing in the grid was AS ONE at 1D: Uniform—a ludicrous wrong answer that got me two correct letters. I still don't know what GHOST is (as clued: 12D: Popular word game), but I managed to guess WEE EFT WOLF, in that order, quickly, and the WOOKIEES became undeniable (15A: Sci-fi natives of the planet Kashyyyk). After that, ALIKE and then the long Acrosses and I was off! Not sure about ALT-POP as a thing (the POP was one of the harder things in the grid to suss out; 1A: Genre akin to indie rock), but I got through it without too much chagrin. Next hiccup was whether MARC ended in a "C" or "K." Then whether it was HADJ or HAJJ or what (HAJI). Then, after nailing "ADVENTURE TIME" with no crosses (53A: Award-winning Cartoon Network series with Finn the Human and Jake the Dog), I put in LEED at 46D: Paragraph in the newspaper, say—again, ridiculously wrong. But I wriggled out of that bind quickly and finished up somewhere over near the wonderfully-clued OLD FLAME (47A: Lover of history?). I'm guessing solving experience on this one is going to come down to knowing v. not knowing "ADVENTURE TIME." Fat gimme if you know it, likely baffling if you don't. Still, even if you'd never heard of it, looks like crosses were easy enough to help you infer the answer without too much trouble. Wish this puzzle had lasted longer. But I'll take my personal record and happily move along.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Mark 12:13 AM  

I found this puzzle much harder than Friday's, I don't know why.

Charles Flaster 12:22 AM  

Thoroughly enjoyed this one although I would label it medium.
DNF at WOLF for 24 down. I actually do not like the clue but I can live with it.
Creative cluing for TRAY, OTT, and FIGURE.
Only writeover was MOES for MelS.
GHOST brought back memories of a fun , yet educational game. Played it a lot in the fifties.
Thanks NL

jae 12:35 AM  

Very easy for me too. All my erasures involved three letter words that I started with E...Eel before EFT, EsE before EME and eYE before DYE. The rest was pretty much cake.

And I learned how to spell WOOKIEES.

Pretty good Sat., liked it!

Carola 12:53 AM  

A fast Saturday for me, too, and fun to solve. Step one was to count spaces to see if GLORIA STEINEM would fit. Yes, so in it went, and I got a lot of mileage out of the crosses. I had less luck later on, when Casanova, my "Lover of history," went down in FLAMEs.

New to me: ALTPOP, HOTTAKE, DRAMEDY, GHOST, KEGSTAND, as well as seeing for the first time that WOOKIEES has that double EE.

@Lewis, I'll be interested to hear your doppel-tally; the EEs certainly stood out.

@chefwen, aloha from a couple of islands over. It's so nice to be back.

Lee Coller 12:56 AM  

Never heard of Adventure Time - which hurt. My last entry was the Haji/Hottake cross, ran the alphabet, never heard of hot take, but once I hit H haji was obvious.

Greg 1:12 AM  

I was lucky enough to attend a Gloria Steinem lecture at the University of Nevada a couple of months ago; among other things, she discussed white privilege. So it was fun to see those two stacked, I guess.

Oldflappyfrommississappy 1:19 AM  

Does anyone remember Nancy eating and pooping tofu?

Brian 1:29 AM  

Most of this puzzle fell pretty quickly, but for some reason I got held up in the SW (and I even knew ADVENTURE TIME straight from the clue), so I ended up with an average Saturday time.

Childhood Star Wars-nerd me loved WOOKIEES. If you want to see some legendarily bad TV, look up the Star Wars Holiday Special on YouTube, which is set on Kashyyyk. It only aired once, and supposedly George Lucas tried to destroy every copy of it, but thanks to the internet, you can subject yourself to it.

Marty Van B 1:44 AM  

Yup, easy except for a couple areas that wouldn't yield. A DNF for me.

Had gEEz for JEER thinking HAJI was a mAgI and thus was looking for something akin to a manger where they would kneel rather than a SHRINE. Still I don't associate kneeling with a Haj. The video and photos I've seen of pilgrims in Mecca are circling in and around the Great Mosque. But I suppose there are other types of haj and other facets to the famous one in Mecca than just that.

CDilly52 1:48 AM  

I really enjoyed this puzzle even though it ate my lunch! But the snappy, current and fun fill with the clever cluing was "wow" while simultaneously leaving me pulling out my hair. Fun Saturday!

Trombone Tom 2:04 AM  

Crunchy-munchy puzzle. (Anybody who went to Berkeley in the 50's and 60's remember Al the "Crunchy Munchy Man" who sold ice cream bars from his tricycle?) No way was this easy for me, but I got through it . . . finally.

Never heard of ADVENTURE TIME or its characters so that slowed me down.

I thought the clues for HOME EC and OLD FLAME were superb. And I spent a long time trying to come up with an occupation or sport for 51A; nice misdirect.

Thanks, Natan Last, for a great start to the weekend.

Trombone Tom 2:21 AM  

@jae hand up for trying each of those same three-letters for starters.

Also, I learned about a HOT TAKE.

Dolgo 2:59 AM  

Some cute clues! That's about all I can say about it except to agree that it was pretty easy. Exceptions noted already. There HAD to be an extra e in wookiees, of course. I seem to remember the good old days when the longer answers were not so obvious.

Dolgo 3:21 AM  

PS Continuing our ongoing discussion from yesterday, it occurs to me that puzzles are more fun when they have a wide mixture of clue types-- pop and "high" culture, old and new knowledge, material known to multiple age groups, etc. After doing the NYT puzzles over a long period, you get better and better at psyching out the clever clues.For my money, yesterday's puzzle was more fun because it had a much richer variety of stuff. When you have a dnf, maybe you learn something new which sends you off to places you've never been before. It seems that Americans all too often opt for easy entertainment. God forbid we should ever have to learn something!

Loren Muse Smith 6:00 AM  
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Loren Muse Smith 6:02 AM  
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Loren Muse Smith 6:03 AM  
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Anonymous 6:17 AM  

Michael Sharp put "white privilege" in a crossword? At Buzzfeed? This shit writes itself.

Lobster11 6:42 AM  

This must have been "easy" because I finished it with no cheats -- and in less time than usual for a Saturday. (I solve on paper and don't time myself, so don't know if it was a personal record.) And this despite not having heard of ADVENTURETIME, which was easily inferable given some key crosses.

Aphids are born pregnant? Who knew?

In other news, I bought and downloaded Patrick Berry's pdf book on crossword construction when it was mentioned here a week or so ago, and have been working through it a little at a time. It's worth at least twice the price just for the puzzles, but the text is an interesting and entertaining read as well. I've long said that I had no interest in constructing, but maybe one of these days....

evil doug 7:06 AM  
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BarbieBarbie 7:11 AM  

Record for me too but did not feel at all easy. Is that what "crunchy" means?
Had the Pony down as a PUB, which is so wrong that entire section stayed blank for awhile. Stupid mistake, because I would think a pub would need to be in a settled area.
Never heard of A.T. But put Gloria S in with no crosses. However, the one is off the air and the other is only modern because she isn't dead yet-- the referenced event was half a century ago. Modern, Rex??
Hope Tuesday's puzzle is a good one. Nor'easter coming.

Anonymous 7:24 AM  

No comment from OFL on 41D Red DYE? That's the green-paint-est entry that I've ever seen in the wild, and nary a word on it in the review!

evil doug 7:36 AM  
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Unknown 7:49 AM  

Too Gen X for me (aside from Gloria!)

Glimmerglass 8:01 AM  

This was not in my wheelhouse. More like a beanball. It solved pretty normal for me. Never heard of HOT TAKE, and -H-INE escaped me for a long time, obscuring HAJI. These crossed the Bible reference I still don't undrstand (which ARK is that, Noah's or the covenant?). So I spent more time in the midwest than in all the rest combined. (Though it took me a while to get SPRY; isn't doddery the opposite of spryNESS? SPRY is the opposite of dodderING.) It appears the early posters are divided on the difficulty.

Space Is Deep 8:05 AM  

I don't time myself, but I don't recall ever finishing a Saturday puzzle in less time than it takes to drink one cup of coffee, but today that happened. Wow.

Rachel 8:05 AM  

This was by far my fastest and easiest Saturday too. WHITEPRIVILEGE and ADVENTURETIME were the two answers I filled in first after a quick scan of the clues, so getting those two right off the bat really helped everything else come together. Even if it was the easiest Saturday ever, apparently, it was fun to be able to zip through one for once!

r.alphbunker 8:09 AM  

The momentum did not abate today. Knew that this would be classified as easy.

Details are here

Loren Muse Smith 8:09 AM  

@ED - yeah. You're right. Sorry 'bout that.

evil doug 8:14 AM  

No apology necessary. You're the best thing going here.

evil doug 8:17 AM  

C'mon, Michael. What's Natan got on you? A Saturday puzzle that's this suckingly easy deserves the same outright opprobrium you cheerfully offer other weak grids.

Loren: when I broke it off with my pinmate, she jabbed my fraternity pin in my thigh. But when I had remorse later, she'd sneak out on her new beau with me....

Sallie (FullTime-Life) 8:18 AM  

Knew you would find this very easy because I solved it last google, no scratch outs. Never heard of the cartoon, but crossings did it. The two Es in those sci-fi natives gave me pause for a minute, but had to be right. It was fun and definitely a Saturday record for this oldest living fan (hovering somewhere between doddering and spry (44A).

Johnny 8:20 AM  

I had most of this solved in no time but those top four rows just killed me. I couldn't see anything for tne longest time, and I didn't believe the spelling on WOOKIEES.

@anonymous 6:17AM I laughed pretty hard at that comment

Anonymous 8:21 AM  

Filled 1/3 of the white squares before I had to resort to my first peek at the answer. So I guess this qualifies as "easy". Lots of terms that were foreign to me. Had ORATE in 13D instead of TV SET. So I could not see GLORIA STEINEM.
Way more difficult for me than Friday.
Wow! 4:36 for Rex. I cannot write the answers that fast even if I had all the answers in fron of me. Some people have their brains wired with a more sophisticated circuitry than mine.

QuasiMojo 8:31 AM  

Having never heard of "wookiees" (whatever that is) I had a hard time finishing this puzzle without resorting to google. And since I don't own a TV, I found all the Disney clues (did they just buy the NYT?) took a while to fill out. "Hot Take" was new to me. All in all, I thought this was okay. Nothing to write home about. I'm so glad Rex whizzed through it. It makes me happy to see him gloat over his times. Personally I prefer to spend forty minutes on a puzzle rather than just four. Speed is not the reason we do them, is it? RED DYE btw is very much a thing. It's the stuff they banned years ago from food and drink. I remember because it affected some of my favorite liqueur imports. I enjoyed seeing Gloria Steinem in the grid as well as Old Flame and The Nerve.

Wm. C. 8:34 AM  

@GG --

SPRY can be either of the two adjectives: doddering or doddery.

Forsythia 8:44 AM  

Easy easy with my 30-something daughter! She could confirm things I didn't know but it all fell fast. "Sane" before SPRY. SNOTS is mean.
SEE_ME_GYRATE...doing a happy dance to finish a Saturday!

Anonymous 8:47 AM  

@LMS What happened to your story about the the young girl student that was here just a while ago? That was a beautiful post and was very appropriate here.

Wm. C. 8:53 AM  

Oops, meant SPRY can be the opposite of the two. [blush]

Teedmn 8:53 AM  

Average here for me, not easy. Like @Carola (I wish I was on Maui!), I counted out GLORIA STEINEM, but unlike her, did not have the courage to splatz it in there so I wandered through the weeds longer than need be.

I thought "3, 4, 5 and occasionally more" would be "a few", which would work if 43D was "abate". Luckily, I had no convictions on that either so I quickly crossed it out. I finally got my toehold at WEE crossing Eel, which became EFT when the big, bad WOLF made his appearance.

ADVENTURE TIME took all the crosses - I've never heard of it and my husband is an animation-phile so I'm surprised.

I loved getting the gravid APHID off the D (did not know that "fun" fact) and also how silly I felt after guessing any three letter Tolkien item had to be eNt or orc and "Prancing Pony" did not sound like an orc name (most of whom seem to be nameless). HAJI solved that dilemma.

@r.alph, your solve impressed me, especially how fast you caught on to OLD FLAME. I was busy racking my brain for a literary figure.

Thanks, Natan Last, for the GYRATions my brain had to go through for this Saturday puzzle.

Hungry Mother 8:55 AM  

Yes, very quick. I had a fleeting thought that I was getting good at this stuff, then I realized how easy it was. Fun.

Moly Shu 8:56 AM  

Easy? Not here. I had to pull the old step-away-and-come-back-later trick. AsonE before ALIKE and soSORRY before IMSORRY. Couldn't see FIGURE, HOMEEC, or PARS but like all three of the clues. Finished up in the HAJI area which allowed me to get INN, cuz you know, anything Tolkien is an ent elf or orc. Well, unless it isn't.
@Glimmerglass, I'm guessing both, because of "double standard"
@anon6:17, post of the year so far. Bravo! Giant HOT(spit)TAKE occurred.

genn 9:02 AM  

how is the double standard clue for ark supposed to be understood? thx

Tom Faure 9:03 AM  

Adventure Time is wonderful and sometimes brilliant. Dark, too. Pairs nicely with Oryx & Crake.

Mohair Sam 9:10 AM  

Hey @Rex - this was easy even if you'd never heard of ADVENTURE TIME, trust me.

Lots of stuff we didn't know, but crosses were very easy for a Saturday so things filled in fast. We never time ourselves, but we're looking for things to do on this frosty Saturday. Anybody recommend a good book?

Always learn something in the Times puzzle, but I'm not sure what to do with the APHID information. I missed the BE INS in the '60s. The KEG STAND doesn't sound like much of stunt, does it? I was a member of the first class of boys to take a HOME EC course at my High School, they coaxed a few members of the JV basketball team to take the plunge after the state required a certain number of boys to take HOMEC and girls to take shop. Had a ball, never regretted it - used the skills learned all my life.

Apparently @LMS posted something interesting (doesn't she always?) and took it away. Come back Loren.

ArtO 9:12 AM  

3,4,5 are pars but "occasionally more" not so.

Unknown 9:12 AM  

Within 7 seconds of an average Saturday time. Adventure time was an unknown, but the downs made it easy. Not remembering how to spell Wookiee( two e's? who knew?)caused a few unnecessary fits in the northwest. Remember siti-ins and love-ins from college days in the sixties, but beins is a term of which I am unaware. Overall an enjoyable Saturday morning day starter

Davidph 9:23 AM  

Loren, that was a wonderful story that you took down. Post anything you want and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

mathgent 9:27 AM  

I think that the word "take" in journalism came from the days when reporters wrote their stories on typewriters. If a story came in just before deadline, the copy editor would tell the reporter to give it to him in "short takes." The reporter would write a paragraph or two and give it to the copy boy who was standing nearby. He would run it to the editor, who would quickly mark it up, and then rush it to the composing room where it would be set in type.

Eleven red plusses in the margin, below average for a Saturday. And the things I learned aren't likely to stick with me for long. WOOKIEES. SEEME is repeated in Tommy. PSI is a symbol in quantum mechanics. MARC Ecko.

The clue for PARS should be "Almost always 3, 4, 5." There are only a handful of par sixes in the world and practically no sevens.

DESievers 9:28 AM  

Wow - decided to time myself for the first time in forever and it ends up being the easiest Saturday in recent (or distant) memory. Done in 18:24 which, for me, is freakishly fast, Tyler Hinman fast. I'm happy. Have a nice day!

kitshef 9:32 AM  

@Rex - "I'm guessing lots ... of people set personal Saturday records today". BWAAAA-HAHAHAHAHAH!

This was HARD. I expect Saturday to be harder than Friday, but this took more than twice as long as yesterday's. It wasn't the WOEs like ADVENTURE TIME and KICKSTAND, which were gettable from crosses, it was the misdirects and wrong guesses.

First in was grunge (before ALTPOP). That came out quickly because of TREE. Next in was Eel (for EFT), quickly 'confirmed' by WEE.

DRAMEDY was next, and that got me rolling in the E for a little bit. But after that:
eNt before INN, wHatgall before THENERVE, Wonky before WEIRD, casanova before OLD FLAME, ogle before LEER, PhI before PSI, EsE before EME.

Then at the close, that little tiny section in the ESE was torture, with every clue a struggle. At this point SLIME and all stack were all in place, it was a little 3x3 box empty. Took me two minutes to fill that box - about half of @Rex's entire solve time (and one more Casco in there: claY before ARMY).

I thoroughly enjoyed it - I want my Saturday's to be challenging.
Some nice DOOKs of HO MEEC and ONE TOONE.

DBlock 9:36 AM  

Double take for Noah's Ark-- animals on two by two
Fastest Saturday ever
Flew by but I paused for lover of history wondering about the reference and loved response

kitshef 9:44 AM  

Tough morning - that's "KEGSTAND", not "KICKSTAND", "the stacks" not "all stack", and "Saturdays" not "Saturday's"

Tita 9:45 AM  

Not nearly enough crunch for Saturday.
Is REDDYE the new green paint? Yes, REDDYE #2 is a thing, but that's not what we have here.

I did like lots of what y'all have pointed out, especially OLDFLAME.

Liked being reminded that once I had heard that factoid about APHIDS. Though I had roach at first.
Of way more interest that learning that WOOKIEES has 2 Es.

Took me a long time to realize that bows were not a misdirect to the stage or to violins?

RooMonster 10:02 AM  

Hey All !
Bottom half easier than top. Thought WOOKIEES was spelt with only one E. EME is Language Suffix??

@M&A's SNOTS made it in! Clue for DYE= Green Paint?

Some odd clues, but nice ones also, like for TJE NERVE, which I like to say!


Anonymous 10:05 AM  

Never posted here before but always like the comments... Wanted to add a couple of things. In explanation of the 'double standard', animals came to the ark in pairs, thus the standard was double. Second, one of my favorite items was googling (yes, I cheat, especially on a Saturday - but only a little) Leo Durocher's quote referring to Giant's player/manager Mel Ott
He was evidently proud of his contribution to our popular lexicon, even going so far as to name his 1975 autobiography Nice Guys Finish Last. In it, and in an excerpt published on the University of Chicago website, he recounts the tale:

The Nice Guys Finish Last line came about because of Eddie Stanky too. And wholly by accident. I’m not going to back away from it though. It has got me into Bartlett’s Quotations— page 1059, between John Betjeman and Wystan Hugh Auden—and will be remembered long after I have been forgotten. Just who the hell were Betjeman and Auden anyway?

It came about during batting practice at the Polo Grounds, while I was managing the Dodgers. I was sitting in the dugout with Frank Graham of the old Journal-American, and several other newspapermen, having one of those freewheeling bull sessions. Frankie pointed to Eddie Stanky in the batting cage and said, very quietly, “Leo, what makes you like this fellow so much? Why are you so crazy about this fellow?”

I started by quoting the famous Rickey statement: “He can’t hit, he can’t run, he can’t field, he can’t throw. He can’t do a goddamn thing, Frank—but beat you.” He might not have as much ability as some of the other players, I said, but every day you got 100 percent from him and he was trying to give you 125 percent. “Sure, they call him the Brat and the Mobile Muskrat and all of that,” I was saying, and just at that point, the Giants, led by Mel Ott, began to come out of their dugout to take their warm-up. Without missing a beat, I said, “Take a look at that Number Four there. A nicer guy never drew breath than that man there.” I called off his players’ names as they came marching up the steps behind him, “Walker Cooper, Mize, Marshall, Kerr, Gordon, Thomson. Take a look at them. All nice guys. They’ll finish last. Nice guys. Finish last.”

Anonymous 10:07 AM  

Why in God's name would anyone pay attention to how long it takes to do a crossword puzzle ? Dude you have serious issues if you're crowing about this.

GILL I. 10:09 AM  

@Loren...did you get censored by evil?
I needed ALT POP...without ALT POP I would die. I also needed GHOST. If I had GHOST I could vilify GLORIA STEINEM sitting atop WHITE PRIVILEGE SNOTS. Does she RUE her Playboy days? Where's Betty Frieden when you need her.
Like @Kitschef I had some struggles. This was one of those days where I was pretty sure I knew the answer but was scared to death to ink it in because then I couldn't take it back. Like the word vilify...
Regardless (or is it irregardless) I enjoyed this DRAMEDY. The cluing was fun - especially for the HAJI SHRINE. Loved seeing WOOKIEES in the grid. Just about everyone at our pup park who has a shitsu (sp?), names the pup WOOKIE or Smurf or Barbie.
Having MELS instead of MOES fouled me up in that middle section but by then I was getting wired so ON EDGE finally reared its pretty head. Finished. Loved the struggle.
When you go through the roof, don't you sorta fall down? Or do you SOAR to loftier abodes?
Does one GYRATE with ALTPOP?

QuasiMojo 10:13 AM  

@Tita A -- thanks for the clarification re Red Dye numero 2. Anyone else have Casanova before Old Flame?

Hartley70 10:23 AM  

I enjoyed this but it was only a teensy bit faster than usual. I can't call it easy because I've never heard of ADVENTURETIME, GHOST, KEGSTAND, MARC Ecko, EME, pregnant APHIDS, or HOTTAKE so those entries slowed me down. ALTPOP was a lucky guess invented on the spot.

The clues were great. Those for OLDFLAME, PARS, TVSET, and ARK were stellar.

@Lobster, nice to hear what I missed. I bought the Berry book, not realizing it was a download. I didn't want it on my phone and then forgot to put it on a computer within the 72 hours. Rats! Is it worth twice the price?

It's bad enough when I'm ignorant of the puzzle vocabulary, but the comments too? @Glimmerglass, what's a "beanball"?

Oh, and I love the puzzle comment that "it ate my lunch", @CDilly52. I'm seeing a bully in the middle school cafeteria.

Nancy 10:33 AM  

I can't believe how easy everyone found this. I found it "crunchy" as could be and took a number of wrong turns -- sluR instead of JEER at 37A; Eel before EFT at 22A (though I corrected quickly, thanks to GHOST); Edit before ELSE at 17A; and mostly auGUst before FIGURE at 35A. I also wanted dIRT-some-sort-of-biking where VIRTUAL REALITY was supposed to go (51A) because bikers do wear helmets and gloves, right? And out of my wheelhouse were KEGSTAND; WOOKIEES; ALT POP; ADVENTURE TIME and HOT TAKE.

My absolutely favorite clue was for OLD FLAME (47A).

So while all of you were seemingly bored to death by the puzzle's "easiness", I was having a wonderful and enjoyable struggle. And let me not forget to GLORIA STEINEM -- well within my wheelhouse, thank heaven -- for all you did for me this morning. Great fun!

Nancy 10:34 AM  


Alison 10:36 AM  

@rex, journo-ese for lead is lede, not leed. Just so you know

Alison 10:42 AM  

Animals came aboard the ark two-by-two. At least that's how I read it.

Z 10:48 AM  

Youngest listens to ALT POP and loves ADVENTURE TIME. I watch/listen to Dan Le Batard whose constant mocking of his ESPN co-workers HOT TAKES is hilarious. Not sub 5:00 easy (har) but definitely easy-medium here. 14A calls to mind the observations yesterday about the Republican reaction to yesterday's jobs report, i.e. proving once again that the two things they are good at is inheriting things and claiming ownership of a black man's work.

PPP Analysis
Pop Culture, Product Names, and other Proper Nouns as a percentage of the puzzle. Anything over 33% will cause some subset of solvers problems with the solve

Even including things like DRAMEDY and HOT TAKE as Pop Culture only gets this puzzle to 22/70 for 31%, below the "this will cause someone to DNF because of too much PPP" level. I would suggest, though, that this may be a flaw in my counting method. I count the percentage of answers, not the percentage of letters. 1A, 12A, 14A, and 15A, are only four answers but their letters take up 41 of 51 squares in the top four rows. Based on early responses I suspect the relative ease of the puzzle will mostly be function of PPP Wheelhouse versus PPP Outhouse.

Nancy 10:59 AM  

Anon (10:05) -- You really had me going for a while -- my fault entirely, but I think you'll be amused. I sort of skimmed your first paragraph and then found myself plunk in the middle of an extended and very colorful anecdote, putting the reader squarely in the dugout with Leo Durocher as he was making his immortal "Nice guys finish last" comment. It had an amazing "You Are There" quality and I found myself wondering: Who on earth is Anonymous 10:05?A sportswriter? A baseball player? I read the anecdote again, more slowly, and said: OMG, Anon 10:05 is Leo Durocher!!!!! It took a minute for me to realize: But Leo Durocher is dead!!!! (I can be a little slow on the uptake). Only then did I go back and carefully read your first paragraph, in which you explain you are quoting from his book. But the immediacy of that anecdote is stunning. Thanks for providing it. (Even though I'm a WEE bit disappointed that you're not Leo Durocher.

Stanley Hudson 10:59 AM  

@LMS, shoulda kept that post on here.

@Gill.I., you might want to research Steinem's stint as a Playboy Club employee. It wasn't what you seem to think it was.

As for WHITE PRIVILEGE, Steinem grew up in very humble, and unusual, circumstances.

Always thought Steinem faced an unusual double jeopardy: a woman of intelligence unnerved many men of her generation. And a smart, physically beautiful woman absolutely terrified some.

CDilly52 11:20 AM  

You and me both. I smoked Friday and really struggled today. Thankfully, GLORIA STEINEM and HOTTAKES (weird juxtaposition) gave me enough crosses to finish. Nice to know someone else waded more slowly through this experience.

Anonymous 11:21 AM  

Good old Gloria also self plagiarizes. The Times had to write an apology after they published an essay she had published a couple of years earlier in a different publication.
Anon at 10:05 all those words and no mention of the contention that the actual quote is nice guys finish 7th (or 8TH, whatever the number of teams in the Nation all League was at the time). Lots of folks swear that was the quote later corrupted to beanies to understand by non baseball fans.

Eddie Sawyer

Lobster11 11:34 AM  

@Hartley70: Oops! Sorry to hear it. Sure, I think it's worth twice the price, but there ought to be a better solution. My purchase confirmation included the line: "Questions or concerns? Please contact" I'd shoot him an email and see if he can get you fixed up.

GHarris 11:36 AM  

Found it a challenge but easier than yesterday since I was able to finish without resort to Google and worked it out in one sitting. Loved the Durocher story.

genn 11:56 AM  

Thanks to all for the ark answer. Completely slipped my mind about the pairs and I was thinking more about the Torah ark.

Anonymous 12:07 PM  

there are at least a dozen par 6 holes in the usa ...i've played 2 of them ...

myrtle beach and muscle shoals ...

Tita 12:10 PM  

I thought double standard meant cubits and some other biblical measure. Thanks for clarifying.

Hey...where's George B?

Wm. C. 12:11 PM  

@Hartley --

GG said that this puzzle was "...not in my Wheelhouse..." An expression meaning the part of a batter's strike zone where he could hit it out of the park. Instead, it was like a pitch intentionally thrown at his head, a beanball.

mac 12:16 PM  

Tough for me, especially in the wookiees area. Still, I like to struggle a bit on a Saturday morning.
Good one!

Anonymous 12:22 PM  

Well easy unless you are north of seventy and not into sci-fi and cartoons. This one is weighted toward young whippersnappers. I want my elderly privilege! Kicked my butt after several days of better than average times.

Anonymous 12:25 PM  

More snotty stuff. Why the cheap shot at the Republicans. All administration's take credit for the good things that happen on their watch. You're a creep.and not nearly as smart as you think you are.
You're laughably wring predictions about the election should've told you that.

Matthew G. 12:26 PM  

A quick Google confirms that Par 6 holes, although rare, are hardly unheard of.

Like Rex, I have never heard of the word game GHOST, but other than that this was the easiest themeless puzzle I've ever done. GLORIA STEINEM and WOOKIEES were both gimmes as clued, and then it was off to the races.

Lewis 12:33 PM  

@loren -- I came in late and missed your post. Can you re-post and just leave out whatever made you take it down?

I found the puzzle easier than a normal Saturday but tough enough to be an enjoyable Saturday. I loved the clues for SHRINE and OLDFLAME, and the answers KEGSTAND, HOTTAKE, and I always love FLIT.

We are on a DOOK-fest (and please remember, "dook" is a gridiom, a term I'm hoping becomes a thing here). This is the third day in a row for a dook sighting, and I see three dooks here: ONETOONE, HOMEEC, and SEEME. They are not as strong as the dooks in the past two puzzles, but I think they qualify, though, I think it's an "in the eye of the beholder thing".

And @CAROLA, not an unusually high double letter count (14) but a definite double-e mini-theme (7). This from your resident alphadoppeltotter.

Like Rex, I'm high from the relatively speedy solve, but also from the puzzle's bright feel.

Andrew Heinegg 12:36 PM  

I made the mistake of checking the difficulty rating before I started solving. This is never a good idea if you have an inferiority complex. If you are able to solve quickly and easily, big deal. If you have difficulty, you are so dumb!

This one turned out to be a schizophrenic experience for me. While I had never heard of Adventure Time, it filled itself in with the crosses. The place I got jammed up was the NW. No clue about the Wookies and White privilege; I have yet to figure out how someone like myself as interested in politics as I am had not heard of the White privilege term but, live and learn.

No wonder those aphids seem to be non-existent in your garden and then overwhelming in numbers in the blink of an eye. No time wasted getting the reproduction process started!

It was nice to see Gloria Steinem in the puzzle. It served to remind me that advances in the basic rights of any segment of our population is an advancement of our civilization. Particularly is this the case when that segment advancing makes up the majority of people on the planet.

old timer 12:47 PM  

Like@Nancy, I found the puzzle crunchy which I like on a Saturday. I really wanted "part" for PARS. In the SE I wrote in "haste" for SPATE, so was really delayed there.

I thought it was really a first-rate puzzle, fully deserving of OFL's rare praises.

My last entry was ARK. Never heard of HOT TAKE but I concluded that phrase must exist. So I decided that the ARK of the Covenant must have rested on double standards -- and if memory serves me, it was in fact suspended from identical poles carried by four priests. The concept of a "double" standard of male and female housed in Noah's ARK did not occur to me.

Masked and Anonymous 12:48 PM  

Giant Grid Jaws of the NW and SE! Enables some different length longballs to start out with, stacked on top of one another. Like. Wonder if Nate originally intended to have that extra black square in row 1.

@RP: yep. Solvequest was on the easy side, for a SatPuz. Top part went slower than the rest, at my house. Many precious nanoseconds went into explorin every possible spell-castin of WOOKIEES. Was so desperate, even briefly tried WWOOKIES. Also, missed out on KEGSTANDs, during my 4-year nerdstand in the mens dorm.

fave weeject: E-ME. This was actually a subliminal hint to the 30 E's in the grid. Or perhaps also to spellin WOOKIEES right. Honrable mention from the staff to WEE, of course.

There be really great fillin whales here:

* VIRTUALREALITY. Helmets & gloves? M&A goes commando, during his alternate universe trips.
* DRAMEDY. Watched a good SCHLOCKEDY flick, at yesterday's FriNite Schlockfest: "Zoombies". All about the animals at a zoo all turnin into zombies. Recommended.
* OLDFLAME. Primo clue.
* HOMEEC. Tricky letter combo -- makes U wanna solve it cautiously. Usin gloves & helmets.
* HOTTAKE. Did not know, but kinda looks Japanese, until U recall the clue.
* IMSORRY. Brenda Lee!
* WEIRD. THENERVE. Kanye West!
* SNOTS. Was that the name of the big doggie in "Christmas Vacation"?

Hey, Thanx a mill, Mr. Last. [Was there some extra message, to yer 20-Across clue?]

Masked & Anonymo3Us


Anonymous 12:50 PM  

If you wish to take issue with Z's post, you might want to review your post for correctly written English. Second, you criticize Z with a cheap ad hominem attack. I take it that, because he disagrees with you, he must be a creep?! Or have you met him and talked with him so that you were able to figure that out?

At least you are consistent with your fearless leader in your approach to issues. Anyone that disagrees with him on anything is overrated, lying or cheating. Personal attacks are the way to go.

GILL I. 12:55 PM  

@Stanley Hudson...Maybe because the public discord between Friedan and Steinem amused me no end. Gloria admits her stint as "Marie Ochs" was a huge career blunder and no one would hire her afterwards.
The WHITE PRIVILEGE SNOTS is none other than Hugh Heffner.
The Face of American Feminism is a remarkable woman - I just wish she hadn't dated Zuckerman.

Teedmn 12:59 PM  

@Andrew Heinegg's observation re: APHIDs had me envisioning them as the ultimate Matroyshka dolls (ick).

Britt 1:13 PM  

Noah's ark. The double standard is for the animals to be in pairs

Hartley70 1:20 PM  

Thanks for the suggestion @Lobster and thanks for the explanation, @Wm C. What a nasty thing a beanball turns out to be! Sounds like cause for an attempted murder charge if the pitcher considered his options and aimed for the head. If his aim was true, "Death on a Diamond" can be the tell-all.

chefwen 1:24 PM  

Aloha @Carola, welcome home.

Puzzle wasn't too easy for me. MENSAN at 23 got me off on a wrong note and SAM'S at 18A didn't help. Cheating in a couple of places got me through it, but I'll have to claim it a DNF. Bah!

Joe Bleaux 1:26 PM  

Easy? Ha! But I loved Mr. Last's puzzle, and the sense of satisfaction that came with solving it without help. Just curious: Anyone besides me raise an eyebrow at 35A (8, e.g.)? Unless there's allusion I'm missing, I think it's an egregiously weak clue for FIGURE. I think anyone responsible for such gems as 47A (Lover of history = OLD FLAME) could've given us something a WEE more creative.

Anonymous 1:32 PM  

Thanks for the advice anon. But I think you misunderstood. My criticism of Z was ad homimem for a reason. I don't care for Z'so attitude. He's a blowhard. At least around during these parts. Maybe he's just playing a role here. Maybe he's a generous and even handed paragon of civility elsewhere. But in this blog, he's an insufferable knowitall.

JC66 1:37 PM  

@ Joe Bleaux

Missing allusion: figure 8 in ice skating

Anonymous 1:42 PM  

Hello. Can someone explain why "Wolf" is the answer to "Bolt (down)?" I understand how "wolf down" means to eat quickly, but how does that get us to "Bolt?" I also understand that "Bolt" can mean to leave quickly. But I don't see the connection between the two. What am I missing?


Masked and Anonymous 1:48 PM  

yo, @Unmasked & Anonymous, 1:42pm. Definition 2 in this Dictionary text will help explain BOLT:

"bolt |bōlt|
1 [ no obj. ] (of a horse or other animal) run away suddenly out of control: the horses shied and bolted.
• (of a person) move or run away suddenly: they bolted down the stairs.
• [ with obj. ] (in hunting) cause (a rabbit or fox) to run out of its burrow or hole.
• (of a plant) grow tall quickly and stop flowering as seeds develop: the lettuces have bolted.
2 [ with obj. ] (often bolt something down) eat or swallow (food) quickly: it is normal for puppies to bolt down their food."

@muse: Sorry I missed yer (first Last) post?

M&A Help Desk

Bill Feeney 2:15 PM  

4:36 4:36! How can anyone do a puzzle this fast? Here's a view from the other end of the kaleidoscope. Somewhere north of 51 min. with the last across answer GYRATE being my first entry. Then, not one answer above 35 across. Then hit the "check puzzle" a few times and finally finish. A guy could get an inferiority complex reading the first 20 or so posts. @LMS I never saw what you posted. Anywhere to see It?

Mohair Sam 2:37 PM  

@Hartley70 - Yup, Mr.Berry's book is cheap at twice the price.

BarbieBarbie 3:05 PM  

Anon @1:42, you can bolt your food, gulp your food, WOLF your food... In the midwest we often say "woof" but then we also eat Jell-O salads. WOLF is correct. Like lettuce and apostrophes.

No comment 3:19 PM  

Favorite ADVENTURE TIME quote: I have approximate knowledge of many things.

Hungry Mother 3:39 PM  

I've been obsessing all afternoon about the infinite recursion inherent in APHIDs being born pregnant. My hear's about to explode.

Unicorn Slayer 4:05 PM  


Blasphemy! How dare you throw shade on the Oracle Of Obamastan, the Wizard of Wiki, the Master of The Flying Disc! The Z Man knoweth all. He who shall always haveth the last word, shall never be questioned!

Did you not know that everything bad which occurred during the last administration was Bush's fault? The Z Man has decreed it so.

Thus, everything good that will happen under the current administration must be credited to Lord Obama. The Z Man has decreed it so.

Lets take a look at the latest jobs report:

In a sign that the demand for labor is translating into bigger pay raises, the average hourly wage gained 2.8 percent from a year earlier, exceeding the average pace of the past several years.

In the three months through February, employment grew at an annualized rate of 9.2 percent, compared with an annualized decline of 4.5 percent during the previous five years. Construction, including heavy and civil engineering, rose at a 6.7 percent pace, up from 3.9 percent in the previous five years.Mining -- particularly in areas such as coal, as opposed to oil and gas -- saw the biggest turnaround. Other winners included machinery and finance.

There was also strong growth in hiring at clothing and accessories stores. Maybe because Ivana Trump's products are realizing off- the -chart sales records since certain liberal muckrakers tried to boycott her products?

On the other hand, today we have this headline as a reminder of the last administration:

Another Taxpayer-Funded Energy Company Files For Bankruptcy;

A cutting-edge battery maker that received millions from taxpayers has become the latest government-backed energy firm to file for bankruptcy – reviving the controversy over how stimulus dollars were spent under the last administration.

Anonymous 4:05 PM  

Gloria Steinem's got a nice rack.

Anonymous 4:12 PM  

Because it's fun to compete against yourself and see how you improve? If you use the NYT app it times you automatically and gives you stats on average & best times per day, so it's pretty obviously something a lot of people are interested in.

Larry Gilstrap 4:20 PM  

I'm way late, but here goes. I had to remind myself that Mel's was a diner and MOE'S is a tavern. I balked at the acceptability of Red DYE as fill, but close enough.

For some reason, I could not see TREE linked to family and Christmas until the aha moment. I was also glad to see that the clue "What someone may be holding while waiting" had nothing to do with a bathroom. Whew!

I can't help but wonder what was the stimulus for Mrs. Smith's missing anecdote; OLD FLAME, KEG STAND, or GYRATE. I guess we'll never know. THE NERVE!

An early childhood memory involves being in a play about Moses leading the Israelites through the wilderness. Dressed in bathrobe, sporting a sooty beard, and carrying a staff, I played an Israelite. One kid's role was Burning Bush. I remember some proud moms hiding behind the piano throwing Quaker Puffed Rice at our heads representing MANNA, God's gift of sustenance.

turkeyneck 4:25 PM  

Glad that you could do this in your beauty sleep, Rex. As for me, I had to literally sleep on it in order to return to the SW, which nagged me until I recited the mental catalog of "Tommy" lyrics sufficiently to load See Me into the corner. That broke the jam, providing "vas" (as in vas deferens) and ultimately the starts of the long ones.

JC66 4:28 PM  

@ Anonymous 4:05PM


Jeffm 4:41 PM  

I am new to Tunis.
This is my first entry.
I found this a tough day.
Friday was a breezes

Diana,LIW 7:33 PM  

Just flying the deLorean in from the past to remind all to fly one hour into the future tonight. You know...summer hours in____(fill in appropriate city)

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords and daylight

Andrew Heinegg 8:08 PM  

Thank Heaven Trump got elected so that the disastrous turn the economy took from 2009-2016 can be stopped. The sale of Ivanka Trump's accessories has single handedly turned the struggling clothing industry around. Just wait, all those chains closing stores by the hundreds will re-open them. Finally, Trump will stop lying about everything any day now. Hallelujah!!

Anonymous 8:46 PM  

couldnt do the puzzle cause it never would come on the website, so whatever!

Dolgo 8:53 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dolgo 8:55 PM  

". . . always learn something." Man after my own heart, @ mohair Sam!

Dolgo 9:03 PM  

Also 2 angels on top. That's what I first flashed on,but then thought, 'Dolgoruky, you are REALLY OUT THERE!! I guess I wasn't the only one, @old timer!

Dolgo 9:05 PM  

Never heard "bolt down your food"? My mother used to say that all the time.

Dolgo 9:07 PM  

Even though I have lived in California for 45 years and know better, I still say "woof" to be true to my Mizzurrah dialect!

Dolgo 9:09 PM  

I'm. . . could we lay off politics somewhere, sometime?!!!

Dolgo 9:11 PM  

I'm. . . I wasn't sure either. Didn't the Ark of the Covenant have two angels on it? If that's the answer, it's as far out as my brain is at two am.

Friedrich Nietzsche 10:32 PM  

@Dolgo 9:23PM

My I suggest you take up your distaste of political discourse on this blog with the origin of that discourse. Namely, He Who Shall Have The Last Word!

Thus Spoke Zarathustra, alias Z.

Anonymous 10:43 PM  

Lots of Islam-themed fill lately.

Burma Shave 11:26 AM  


MY OLDFLAME had a FIGURE at which I LEERed,
not that IMSORRY, I had THENERVE to be JEERed.
You SEEME as an ITEM


spacecraft 11:53 AM  

Extremely daunting at first, yet here I sit with the completed grid--not even a writeover--and not at all sure how I got here. So, "easy?" I wouldn't say that. Certainly not a "personal record," though I don't even keep solving-time records. Yeesh, who does that?


Never heard of a KEGSTAND (I just assumed they plunked the thing down on the floor and tapped away), or a HOTTAKE, but they were inferable once a few letters were in. GHOST is a word game?? No, not easy. Today's triumph factor was huge.

HADJ, or HAJJ, is the trip; HAJI, or HADJI, or HAJJI, is the person making such trip. Maybe we ALL better learn Arabic, the way things are going.

In honor of GLORIASTEINEM, I'll do my part to deobjectify women by leaving the DOD title vacant for today. Least I can do.

And now I have another name to add to my list of "questionames:"

Do you think Natalie Wood? (probably)
Was Marvin Gaye? (signs point to yes)
Will Natan Last? (yeah, I think so)


rondo 12:05 PM  

Easy my @$$! Musta took up the better part of an hour. I had MOES and very little ELSE until I had THENERVE to commit to GLORIASTEINEM (yeah baby in the bunny outfit). If I'da done that right off I FIGURE I could VIEFOR the title of SAVANT. As it was,not at all on that wavelength OFL mentions. Was thinking EsE and not EME, thus leaving out said Ms. STEINEM.

Have heard of ALT-country (e.g. Sturgill Simpson, Lucinda Williams, etc.) but not ALTPOP?!?

SAD, but most of my OLDFLAMEs now just seem to be OLD.

Had no DATA for ADVENTURETIME and some others. Kinda tough in places for some of us older human BEIN'S.

Joe in Nfld 1:01 PM  

Syndication land chiming in here. Yesterday, "ELI", which suited Good Friday. Today "MANNA" which suits Passover (in media res). Was Will Shortz looking ahead 6 weeks?

Diana,LIW 1:46 PM  

Having "opinion" vs. HOTTAKE did me no favors. Never heard HOTTAKE. This gave me runFOR vs. VIEFOR. A nice mess that got me into.

MOES and MANNA were my only "gimmes."

Don't play much VIRTUALREALITY (did play Myst when it came out) and never heard of ADVENTURETIME. I don't even watch TV for grownups very much.

A couple of fact checks helped me finish, but officially a dnf. "OLDFLAME" was my only smile - a good puzzle, but not a winsome one for me.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Aphid Larue 3:01 PM  

Kegstand is a handstand on the keg? Becoming more challenging throughout the evening.

rain forest 4:03 PM  

Hardly "beyond easy" here, unless "beyond" means nowhere near.

I started off like gangbusters in the North with LOT I, TREE, PIPE, and PSI which pretty well caved in that entire section. I thought I was a SAVANT for a brief time, even remembering the spelling of WOOKIEES.

After that blazing start, not so quick. Silly me, couldn't accept SAME for 26D because it was the SAME as ALIKE, and I thought we'd be looking for another def. of uniform.

Red DYE = Green paint - something to remember for future puzzles.

ADVENTURE TIME? To quote @Spacey, "nevah hoid of it", so had to get all the crosses there. There's a VAS DEFERENS between straightforward clues, and tricky ones, of which there were many in this puzzle.

So, not easy, but very enjoyable and gratifying to finish.

rondo 5:50 PM  

@rainy - VAS DEFERENS? Oh come now!

leftcoastTAM 8:24 PM  

Came late, ended late.

Too much in the East, from WOOKIEES through SEEME that I couldn't or didn't want to spend the time to piece together.

I'M SORRY, for whom I couldn't tell ya.

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