2002 documentary with don't try this at home contents / SAT 4-22-17 / Hit 1959 Broadway play starring Sidney Poitier / Singer with recurring role in General Hospital / Historic conflict in around yellow sea / logo based on Pennsylvania Dutch hex sign / Achivements in large scale topiary

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Constructor: Adam Fromm

Relative difficulty: Very easy (faster than yesterday's, close to a Saturday record)

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: ILEA (5D: Guts, in part) —
noun: ileum; plural noun: ilea
  1. the third portion of the small intestine, between the jejunum and the cecum. (google)
• • •

I think I went sub-5 minutes once on a Saturday. I might've dreamt it, but it really feels like it happened. Anyway, today was 5:20, and I am very methodical and non-racey on Fri and Sat, so, yeah, this one was off-the-charts easy. Just giving away answers like they were party favors. Threw "JACKASS: THE MOVIE" across with just a few letters up front. Threw RICK SPRINGFIELD down with just a few letters up front. Started with a 1-Across gimme (1-Across is often a harbinger ...). Giving me Scottish island clues right out the gate is the equivalent of leaving your mediocre fastball out over the plate. I will crush it. I hit this one 456 ft. The exit velocity was 115.7 mph. I have been watching a lot of baseball.

AXILLA, ELLIE, SAYER—all gimmes. "ROXANNE"? Silver-platter, room-service gimme. I even got "A RAISIN IN THE SUN" from just the last four letters, and that was *with* a wrong letter in place (I thought they were YERTS—you know, like for TERT...leS?). It was like the puzzle wouldn't allow me any space to screw up. I did have a moment of blanking when I had the ends of *all* the long Acrosses in the SE corner, but couldn't figure out any of them. I don't know why "Jezebel" is in quotation marks in 58A: "Jezebel" costume (RED DRESS). Is that a ... show? Movie? Musical? Huh. A 1938 Bette Davis movie. And people know that? I watch TCM religiously—guess I just haven't gotten to that one yet. Anyway, "A RAISIN IN THE SUN" helped me nail down the SE. No other problems. I had some trouble making sense of 20D: Any I, e.g.: Abbr. (HWY), but crosses helped me out. I liked this puzzle fine, but a Saturday's gotta put up more fight. I had more trouble with yesterday's Easyish Friday.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Anonymous 12:04 AM  

Easy, but not record easy for me.

All in all, an enjoyable solve.

Unknown 12:12 AM  

Hat-tip to you, @Rex, for your solving prowess on @Adam Fromm's Saturday themeless, though I did detect a MINICAR theme with BUICK, CHEROKEE, and REO. Reading between the lines of material posted elsewhere, I wonder whether that JACKASS MOVIE was still relatively fresh when its constructor first contemplated this particular grid.

The "Jezebel" clue was fun, in view of an ongoing TV series called "Feud" about the rivalry between Joan Crawford and Bette Davis (final episode airing this weekend, on Sunday evening). Those who are looking for a pleasant way to spend 10 minutes or so might do well to click here for Mendelssohn's HEBRIDES Overture.

jae 12:20 AM  

Yep, easy for me too and much easier than yesterday's. CovES before CAPES and Riata before RODEO were my only erasures.

This seemed a tad heavy on the PPPs, especially on the West side.

All seven seasons EDIE FALCO's Nurse Jackie are available on Netflix. It rates an 84% on the Tomato Meter and has an 87% audience approval score. I highly recommend it.

Zip trumps too easy, liked it.

John Child 12:31 AM  

I too bought there were a lot of giveaways here, though that's going to be different for others. Three of the four spanners filled hemselves, and then the entire center, bang bang. Easy and enjoyable, but only a quickie...

Johnny 12:39 AM  

I too found it easy, but the NE put up a fight to the bitter end. I needed every cross, because I just couldn't see any answer, and I had MESSES and SAYER and SINO and THEMOVIE yet every other single square up there was a struggle.

Brian 12:46 AM  

Didn't expect JACKASS THE MOVIE as an answer to break into a NYT puzzle, but it was my starting point with no crosses. I was 16 when it came out, I was the target audience.

I can't say the rest was as easy as Rex rates it, it was solid medium territory for me. The NE was especially rough, SAYER and AXILLA were new to me.

Stanley Hudson 12:53 AM  

"Just a boy, giving it all away" -- Leo Sayer

joebloggs 12:58 AM  

So I see that tight in fact is a synonym for tipsy or a bit drunk albeit I had to scour the internet pretty hard to find any thesaurus that affirmed this but in any modern usage has anyone ever heard another say they felt tight to mean slightly buzzed? If anything the opposite! Like I felt LOOSE after a couple martinis. I think that's terrible cluing...

Trombone Tom 1:10 AM  

Maybe it's an age thing. I understand tight as a little buzzed, but I had an awful time with the proper names. It was somewhat crushing to come here and see how @Rex and most of you all whizzed through this.

I did ok until I hit the NE. AXILLA was a known, but not the rest of the movie title beyond JACKASS. Didn't know SAYER or ELLIE.

I liked the clues for TAN and HWY.

I thought this puzzle was a fun and fairly challenging one.

I skip M-W 1:45 AM  

I saw Sidney Poitier in A Raisin in the Sun, in '59, and also have watched Nurse Jackie and enough of Sopranos to know Edie Falco, plus of course Hebrides, and tight= tipsy to me, so though much older found this furiously fast for a Saturday. I've somehow heard the name Rick Springfield too, and Sino-Japanese War was a gimme, as well. I threw in (bar) none in northwest and that held me back a bit, until I recalled axilla. even have heard of Jackass the movie, though no desire to see it.

chefwen 2:49 AM  

I feel a little cheated, that was the easiest Saturday puzzle in a very long time. I usually have to consult my big uncle G on a Saturday, but not today, we zipped right through this puppy.

Like @jae had CovE before CAVE, I also had to change adage to MAXIM. NE was the last fill. MESSES and ZANILY took some time to surface.

Dolgo 3:34 AM  

Yeah, it was pretty easy. But the NW gave me some trouble. Word Smith that I am widely consider Ed to be, I never ran across AXILLA. No anatomy classes, I guess. I also tried to fit in BAR SHEM ( TOV), which is a good example of how I always try to make things harder than they actually turn out to be. I'm embarrassed to say that I had to give up and Google "armpit!"

Larry Gilstrap 3:45 AM  

I met no impasse on this Saturday effort, yet still challenging enough for my money's worth. Not sure I spent that much, but it's a figure of speech. The puzzle features intersecting grid spanners, tight fill, and a minimum of short stuff. Nice!

I, like OFL, follow baseball, although I rarely "watch" a game, just podcasts and highlights. Now, when a guy creams a ball it is all about exit velocity and launch angle. I'm not making this stuff up. Let's run the numbers: turns out that Mike Trout, for example, is a great ball player.

Hanging out tonight at the local bar, the entertainment was Glenn Smith and he is called the "Human Jukebox" for good reason. Years ago he was singing "ROXANNE" and dropped the lyric: "all dressed up and no where to go" and I approached the stage and got all huffy and explained his error. Now, when I walk in the place he will soon launch into the tune and sing the lyric "all made up..." Hey, I tip $5.

JACK ASS THE MOVIE is way low on my Netflix queue. Good thing I'm not in the movie production game because I would have thought a film about guys getting kicked in the nuts was a BAD IDEA.

I knew about that athletic ATALANTA and her Golden Apple, but had no clue that she was a cabin hostess with the Argonauts.

BITE ME! Really? Hello? Breakfast test is apparently a thing of the past. Or, perhaps I'm biting a bullet, or my tongue, or...?

Dolgo 3:48 AM  

Of course, I meant the NE. That suggests it's been a hard day. I suspected MESSES, and should have gotten MAZES, and would have done but for the BAR SHEM thing. I should have given up till my customary 3 am arrousal when things sometimes amazingly fall into place.

Loren Muse Smith 6:24 AM  

@George Barany – Welcome home! Hope you’re back to stay! On that Jezebel dress, I immediately thought of this scene from Gone with the Wind.

I have to agree with @Johnny - the northwest was brutal for me. I almost gave up until I changed “aqualine” to AQUILINE and remembered it was RICK SPRINGFIELD and not “Mark.” And I had “hadji” first.

Like Rex, I went “yerts” before YURTS. Nerts.

The clue for BUICK totally got me. With “Riviera” I went straight to Cannes or Geraldo. For Geraldo I vaguely thought “quack” off that _ U _ CK.

My really big goof was botching the Poitier title and putting in “Raisins in the Sun” first.

My really embarrassing goof was going right to that little-known dust-up, “Sino-Javanese War.” Sheesh.

My really understandable goof was “dye” before TAN as a way to change one’s tone. Helloooo, Clairol.

@Happy Pencil – I responded about the purist deal on yesterday’s thread. I wanted to email you to save everyone from the fine print of a prescriptivist/descriptivist discussion which I totally get is as boring for some as a discussion of B-sharp vs C-flat. But your profile doesn’t include your address, so I had to post my comment.

Terry di Tufo 6:31 AM  

Jezebel was the warm up for Gone with the Wind, with Bette Davis the Southern girl who won't behave and Henry Fonda the man who loves her until she goes too far...by wearing a red dress to a party. I can't imagine a TMC Bette Davis fest which doesn't show it.

Forsythia 7:01 AM  

Tough but doable...dk the movie or Rick the actor so those two longs held things up. Thought about dye before TAN. Proud of myself for knowing aquiline and axilla with no crosses. Learned something about the Argonauts since I had no idea ATALANTA joined that adventure. HWY/AWS took a run through the alphabet to get the W and still didn't realize it was Highway for interstate until I actually saw it in the puzzle. Good puzzle for me!

kitshef 7:30 AM  

Proof that a great puzzle and a pangram are not mutually exclusive.

Unfortunately, yes it was too easy for a Saturday. 1A went right in, and it was off to the races.

Negative vibe: MESSES, JACKASS, JEER, MAR, BAD IDEA, MAKING ‘DO’, BITE ME, CUFF, CAREWORN, SHODDY, and that’s just in the acrosses.

Does everyone else remember First Monday Annabel as ATALANTA?

Unknown 7:41 AM  

I think that was my fastest ever Saturday. As for the Jezebell dress, I think it's the one that belongs to ROXANNE.

Glimmerglass 7:44 AM  

Kudos to @Rex for crushing this. It gave me plenty of resistance. SLIVERING? I had pulVERIzE for a very long time. That's a lot of wrong letters confidently entered in the grid. Also the famous indo-chiNESE WAR. The pop references are much harder for me. So my time (if I kept time) would have been pretty normal for a Saturday. @joebloggs: tight is defnitely TIPSY. In the 1950's, when I was first experiencing it, tight was sort of a polite, genteel state of inebriation: "Oh, he wasn't really drunk, just a little tight." If, as I suspect, your grandfather was getting tight in the 50's, I'm not surprised it was unfamiliar to you, but I am surprised you couldn't find a reference. DIBS and BITE ME made me smile

Anonymous 7:44 AM  

Felt like a Wednesday to me

Tita 8:06 AM  

No one else dnf'd with ShIVERING, as in "Shiver me timbers"?

This was really tough for me...I didn't know any of the pop. I did struggle through, but ended with that one wrong letter.

The calf muscles clue made me sad. I'd add it to @kitshef's list.

Jezebel is on TCM...another of my mom's favorites. She was watching it with her 8 year old granddaughter, who asked "Do you remember wearing those dresses?".

Has anyone ever heard AQUILINE without being followed by nose? If you google the word, the wiki entry presents itself off the aquiline...
I associate it with descriptions of roman busts. And myself, of course.
Reading the wiki article, I now very sadly know that there are different types of earwax, which is something that astonishes me not only that there are multiple types, but that anyone actually noticed.

The parts of this puzzle that didn't partake in the trivia-fest were great, thanks Mr. From.

evil doug 8:23 AM  

Is Rick Springfield still on GH? Is GH still *on*? I remember watching that with my wife back in the early Luke and Laura days....

Always thought "Message in a Bottle" came first. After that and ROXANNE, their music got pretentiously el sucko....

DIBS? Talk about dated. But CUFF is a good verb. Probably in those same old movies where everything is JAKE....

The cop commercials say driving TIPSY is driving drunk. No more "a little tight"....

"Slaughter of the Cardinals"? As a Cubs fan, I like the sound of that....

MAKING DO and EKED out? EKE is rapidly approaching Oreo in overused status....

JamieP 8:31 AM  

I'm relatively new to even attempting Friday and Saturday puzzles. I was amazed how well I was doing and how things were falling into place. Finished in 15+. Imagine my dismay to learn that this was one of the easiest Saturdays the vets can remember! Strangely in my wheelhouse, I teach "A Raisin in the Sun," have a strange affinity for Johnny Knoxville, and my sister listened to Rick Springfield's "Jessie's Girl" on a loop for an entire summer (1981?). My only mistake was writing "lunchbox" after only reading the "brown bag" part of the clue. That made for some strange mental gymnastics ("I'm sure I've seen "bunck" before). Anyway, a triumph for one man.

Teedmn 8:44 AM  

This was totally in my average Saturday time, so not easy for me today. I had a very desultory solve, starting with AXILLA/SAYER in the NE. I exclaimed, "EKED" when I saw 26D in a Saturday puzzle, which gave me Jeep CHEROKEE. EDIE FALCO went right in and I began to think this would be as easy as yesterday's puzzle but I just POKEd along and came out the other end at the near 30 minute mark.

ILEA cost me some stare time. I was reluctant to settle for that one; I know anatomy much better than geography but still don't necessarily know the guts of the small intestine. So I was confusing "ileum" with "ilium" and was not seeing how guts and bones were the same thing. But the crosses seemed solid so I stuck with it and didn't get DNFed.

I laughed when I finally got HWY for 20D. I had the Y and wanted AWS at 22A but couldn't think of anything _WY. HAH! And did anyone else have "whiR" as a fan sound for 23A

The lyrics to this song make a play on the word "tight" for tipsy (see the fourth verse) which always makes me wince when I hear it sung by Joni Mitchell.

evil doug 8:47 AM  

[Loren: I followed you back to yesterday.]

Lindsay 9:04 AM  

Several years ago I went (with a friend; I was wearing earplugs) to a Sting concert. He did this whole schtick about "Hello Boston! I love you Boston! You're the first city to make our first number one (ROXANNE!) number one!

And then he didn't sing the song. So I figured he's saving it for the encore, but then they turn on the lights and everyone's leaving and people are asking me to move so they can get by, but I'm sitting there thinking he's gonna do Roxanne, right? I mean it's a whiny excuse for a song, but you don't thank a city for your first #1 and then go home without playing it, do you? I guess you do.

I had the popular CovES >>> CAPES writeover. Also 51D anon >>> TRAD

Never heard of JACKASS THE MOVIE, but can sing the Leo SAYER song.
Yeah, I grew up in the 70s.

Anonymous 9:14 AM  

Loren chose to hilariously (in her mind anyway) put a picture of DJT in a Jackass The Movie poster. As a woman of principle, I'm sure she'll forfeit all the gains her 401K has made the last six months.

Mordechai 9:18 AM  

Not really that easy. Had a hard time getting traction. One person's gimme is someone else's WTF. Didn't help that my "gimmes" included TENSE instead of TIPSY for "a little tight", WHIR instead of JEER for "fan sound" and WRANGLER instead of CHEROKEE for "Jeep model".

Charles Flaster 9:26 AM  

Total agreement with Rex and many others.
Whole lot of old time trivia with ENOS being my favorite.
and NATE.
Creative cluing for DIBS and MAZES( my last entry).
Thanks AF

QuasiMojo 9:26 AM  

Fops wear ascots, or fey rich guys, but not preppies. NEVER. I know. I am a preppie. Or was. I couldn't afford to go now.

Like Rex, I trotted along through this and was surprised by how easy it was once I got going. Still it took me 19 minutes. No cheating. And I had never heard of a Jack-Ass movie. Nor of those TV shows. But it was a well-constructed puzzle and that made it fun to fill out. I loved seeing "aquiline" "axilla" and "cherokee" and didn't Teddy Roosevelt win a Nobel Prize for helping out with the Sino-Japanese War?

As for "Jezebel" it is considered one of Bette Davis's best films. She allegedly did it as a kind of audition for GWTW. Or maybe it was in reaction to not getting the part of Scarlett. I forget. (As with most Hollywood lore, sometimes it's both versions. One has to be mightily skeptical of what you read about stars. It's all hype. And yes, @George Barany, FEUD is wonderful stuff. I highly recommend it to all. Finally a TV series with real wit and knowledge of its subject. Susan Sarandon is uncanny as Bette Davis.)

@LMS, I agree with your overall point. It's rude to correct people. For instance I often hear people say "short-lived" as if it rhymes with the verb "to live" but actually it is "short-lived" as in "thrived." There's no point correcting people about that anymore. It's pretentious. But I do take issue when people misuse words or misappropriate phrases as when a friend of mine recently said that he was speaking "mano a mano." He meant "man to man" (not hand-to-hand) but he didn't know what it meant. Is that rude to point out?

Sorry I rambled. Earth Day is my Birth Day, guys. So be nice.

seanm 9:30 AM  

top left by diagonal half of the puzzle went in really fast. SE was brutal for me though. CAREWORN, ATALANTA, YURTS, and ARAISININTHESUN are all words that i believe i have never before seen.

Maruchka 9:30 AM  

Perusing clues led me down the dreaded PPP aversion path. Easy? Not so much, here. South went smooth, totally due to RAISIN clue. After that, slogged along. ILEA wasn't a far fetch, due to ileocecal valve therapy.

SLIVERING? I could only see the chipper scene in 'Fargo', alas.

BTW - An excellent revival of RAISIN at the Arena Stage in DC is extended. Highly recommend it.

@GeorgeB - I love 'Feud! The acting is chewable. Yum.

QuasiMojo 9:32 AM  

P.S. I watched that bit on NBC News last night about the NYT Puzzle and Will Shortz. I think I saw OFL's head for a second as the camera panned the room. Any of you people in there too?

Nancy 9:36 AM  

Put me in the @Glimmerglass and @Tita camp. Very hard for me because so much of the PPP was unknown: RICK SPRINGFIELD; JACKASS THE MOVIE; ELLIE; SAYER; ROXANNE; EDIE FALCO. (I knew her name, but not that she was in The Sopranos, which I never watched. I don't get HBO.) Thank heaven for the old people's PPP: A RAISIN IN THE SUN; ENOS Slaughter and ANNAS (Pavlova). Many too many names, both old and new, I thought. Including not one, but two car makes!

But the rest of the puzzle wasn't too SHODDY, so I hung around. I do have a question about the "perhaps" in 24A: "Like an ascot, perhaps", with the answer being PREPPY. I mean either an ascot is PREPPY or an ascot is not PREPPY. One or the other, take your pick. Or is the idea that if a PREPPY wears an ascot, then it's PREPPY, but if he throws his ascot away, and a WINO picks it up and puts it on, then it's not PREPPY?

Meanwhile, I learned something today. I learned that the CBS logo is based on a Pennsylvania Dutch hex sign. Who knew?

Hartley70 9:45 AM  

I would drop @Rex's "very" and just call this easy in the most pleasant way. 1a was a nice start which gave me RICKSPRINGFIELD as my second entry. Oh, "Noah Drake"!

I thought I would the only one here who was watching GH in the early 80's. In my defense I had an infant who had me pretty much chained to the house at nap time, feeding time, and the rest of the time too. Anyway, my success with RICK led me to try the other long answers and I nearly completed the box before I even looked at the fill. ELLIE was my entry there. I had to think a while before I could add JACKASS to THE MOVIE. It's just so not my thing.

My bugaboo was the NW corner. I had HAJ, but didn't know how to end it. I tried HAJid and, in desperation, HAJer. I can recognize an AQUILINE nose but didn't make the connection with an eagle. There was that rotten, stinkin' baseball player. Even knowing JUICEBOX and SEXTAPE, I couldn't close the deal, and don't even get me started on Geraldo.

Yes, @Teedman, I went right for "whir". Only a negative person would think of JEER first, right?

Good fun!

Lindsay 9:45 AM  

@QuasiMojo .... Teddy Roosevelt brokered the Treaty of Portsmouth (NH) which ended the Russo-Japanese War.

Lewis 9:46 AM  

This puzzle could have been made ten years ago -- I'm not complaining, but I'm surprised Rex didn't.

The solve coaxed out many bits of info stored in my brain's recesses but not jogged in a while. Truly many:
Robert URICH
NATE The Great

When these things get pulled out, especially so many, it's like a shot of adrenaline. Thanks for this, Adam!

Z 9:47 AM  

Easy, but I do think we may get some wheelhouse v. outhouse discussion as the day goes on. PPP* comes in at 23 of 68, 34%, which means if Leo SAYER and Sting aren't part cultural world view you may just have a stumble or three. My biggest problems was forgetting that RAISIN IN THE SUN began with an article and plopping down Psalms confidently. EDIE FALCO to the rescue.

@joeblogg - if you watched TCM religiously you'd run across this usage of "tight."

@Evil Doug - Even my favorite artist of all-time (Elvis Costello) made a pretentiously el sucko album in the 80's. His liner notes on the reissue of Goodbye Cruel World are basically an extended apology to fans. So I cut The Police a little slack for recording in the 80's.

*PPP - Pop culture, Product names, and other Proper nouns as a percentage of puzzle answers. 33% or more and some subset of solvers will struggle.

Hartley70 9:51 AM  

@Quasi, OFL wasn't there this year. I was disappointed not to be able to say, "Hey!" I looked at the clip really hard but it panned so quickly that the only face in the crowd I could put a name to was Ellen Ripkin and only because she's a puzzler celebrity.

Hungry Mother 9:52 AM  

Yeah, 1:01 for me is pretty fast for a Saturday. I can hardly run 6 miles in that time. I'm obviousy not a speed demon in either pursuit.

Mohair Sam 9:54 AM  

Clean as they come this Saturday. Super easy for us too, maybe a record if we timed ourselves. Huge Poitier fan here, so RAISIN a gimme. Then the gimme SAYER explained to us how JACKASS could have 15 letters - and the "K" and the "O" in that string showed us the way too easy singer and war. With all four fifteens done in a flash this thing fell quickly.

Stalled a bit in the NW until we solved the Riviera misdirect and that gave us The HEBRIDES. We live near Pennsylvania Dutch country and see lots of hex signs - kinda hard to envision the CBS logo as one, but OK. Loved the clue for MAZES. And got a kick out of Cubbie fan @Evil's hoping for a literal slaughter of the Cardinals.

If BUICK thought Riviera was a sexy name it had a hard time beating REO. The REO truck named "Speed Wagon" is famous of course. But I worked a summer job decades ago on the back end of an REO garbage truck named the "Silver Streak". Beat that with your "LaCrosse" General Motors. HAH!

Tim Pierce 10:00 AM  

Very easy here, too, where "very easy" for a Saturday means under 20 minutes. 16:38 today, which I don't think is quite a record but must be pretty close to one. Getting JACKASS THE MOVIE and RICK SPRINGFIELD in the first few minutes sure made it easier to make inroads to the rest of the puzzle.

I really like the symmetry of JACKASS THE MOVIE versus A RAISIN IN THE SUN. It crosses almost the entire spectrum of dramatic performance, from worst to best. It makes me want to figure out how RICK SPRINGFIELD compares with the SINO-JAPANESE WAR, but... nah.

Carola 10:06 AM  

For me this was a mix of "Oh, boy!" (getting to write in HEBRIDES, CAREWORN, AQUILINE, SEX TAPE x JUICE BOX) and "Oh, come on!" (anotherPPP?). Managed to get it all, but it wasn't so much fun to spend all that time with perfect strangers.

@QuasiMojo, I had the same thought on fops and ascots.

QuasiMojo 10:10 AM  

@Lindsay, okay, my third and final post today will just be a Thank You for the kind correction. Those hyphenated international conflicts throw me. :) Much obliged!

GHarris 10:12 AM  

The NE did me in. If you don't know Ellie you put in Ernie, if you don't know Sayer you put in Sager. That gives you zaning which seemed somewhat reasonable. I am ashamed of not getting bar exam (I had Bar Elam, a place in Israel maybe) and so wound up with alilra for armpit. Happy to have gotten everything else right.

Nancy 10:18 AM  

@George B and @Quasi -- Just imagine if Bette Davis had played Scarlett, how very, very different GWTW would be! Much campier, I should think. But, yes, FEUD is just delicious, and Susan Sarandan is uncanny as Bette Davis. (Of course, Susan could read the phone book and I'd watch, completely spellbound.)

I ran into Susan Sarandon on the Reservoir running track last week. I, who am the world's most non-visual, unobservant person -- someone who never, ever spots celebrities. But I spotted her, when no one else on the Reservoir path did. I was only 95% sure, because she seemed so, well, short, if truth be told -- not much taller than I am, for heaven's sake. But everything else about her looked very, well, Susan Sarandanish. But could I say anything? What if I were wrong? She passed me and I thought I CAN'T GO TO MY GRAVE AND NOT KNOW! So I yelled out at her retreating back: "Susan SaRANdon????!!!! It was both a question and a statement. She turned around, gave me a half-smile that was only slightly pained and wiggled four fingers at me as if in clandestine acknowledgement. "Yes," she seemed to be saying, "It's OK if you know. I really don't mind too much. But for heaven's sake, let's keep it to ourselves, OK?"

I was as excited as any out-of-towner would have been. Even though I'm a lifelong New Yorker. Because, as I say, this sort of thing almost never happens to me. In an entire lifetime of living in New York, I've spotted, I don't know, maybe 10 celebrities. Maybe fewer. So it's a big thrill on the rare occasions when it happens, and as I said, I LOVE Susan!

Chris 10:37 AM  

I also found this very easy, and according the Times app's stats, this is was a new record time for me (probably my first sub-5:00 on a Saturday) at 4:43. Three of the four fifteens went right in, and the fourth (JACKASSTHEMOVIE) I needed a couple of extra letters to get.

Masked and Anonymous 10:46 AM  

What? My SatPuz mornin is over already? Official verdict: Easier than snot.

HAJJI must evidently be a HADJI that's extra faithful. (To high Scrabble scores.)

Lotsa great fillins, plus staff weeject pick HWY (with primo clue). Learned still more French, with PAPIER. But, themelessthUmbsUp, despite that.

Thanx, Mr. Fromm. Nice pangrammar.

Masked & Anonymo5Us


GILL I. 10:49 AM  

Oh dear lord...I just watched a clip of JACK ASS THE MOVIE and there's this dude on this vine wriggling his way across a pond filled with crocodiles and he has meat packed in his undies and the crocs are trying to grab his arse. It's like watching hair growing under the AXILLA.
OK puzzle. I just wish it made me smile. I should be happy because this is another puzzle I finished without @chewen's uncle.
HEBRIDES was so easy I was afraid to even put it in. The whole west side seemed dated because it was so easy for me. I know that doesn't make sense but without blinking I had DIBS ENOS EKED PEA BAN TAN. Those little letters opened up the West Coast and I SHINED.
Only thing that held me up a bit was @Trombone T's ELLIE/SAYER and trying to figure out what the ugly TRAD meant.
ATALANTA...well, that got a smile. The virgin huntress packed in with a bunch of Argonauts on the Argo. I picture her in her little cabin wrapped in her Golden Fleece, waiting for Jason to ravage her. I bet that's exactly what happened...
@Loren. Read your very interesting late post. I tend to agree with you but don't you find "I borrowed him a dime" a bit grating?

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 11:01 AM  

Happy Earthj Day, all! I've promised to go do a rock-clearing celebration at an organic farm, and I'm a little nervous because it is chilly and drizzly. I once agreed to do a clean-up at a Community College on Earth day, when it was chilly and drizzly, and all use older ladies showed up in our hats and raincoats only to find that the young college kids had canceled the event the weather being too nasty to be out. I'm hoping farmers don't think that way. I bring it up because it was a generational thing, I think. Like this puzzle which I did not find easy. I got A RAISIN IN THE SUN, HEBRIDES, ECCLES ( which I would have clued differently) and, well, ROXANNE. The rest of the stuff everybody younger thought was a gimme was PEA green paint to me.

Dan P 11:17 AM  

Yes, I'd much rather have seen ECCLES refer to Janet Yellen or someone similarly topical. No need to make it an abbreviation: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eccles_Building

Knitwit 11:22 AM  

Easy Saturday. And never thought I would be see BITE ME in a NYT puzzle!

MetroGnome 11:31 AM  

Sorry, but proper nouns/names/pop-cult trivia like "ELLIE," "SAYER, "JACKASS THE MOVIE," ROXANNE," "URICH," "RICK SPRINGFIELD," et al. are FAR from "gimmes," and their pestilent proliferation throughout this puzzle utterly ruined for me. (I won't include the Poitier reference in this list, because that's a legitimate American cultural landmark and masterpiece, and I can see the argument that a culturally literate adult who reads the NY Times could be expected to have at least heard of it. But those others? BITE ME!


old timer 11:32 AM  

One man gathers what another man spills. Or to repeat the ADAGE, one man's meat is another man's poison, which always amused me if someone said "poisson" instead. In other words, while I did not know or know for sure all of the names, I did get HEBRIDES off the bat and AQUILINE and HAJJI and the awful illiterate ILKS. And CHEROKEE, because my wife's first and second cars were humongous Jeeps of that ILK

Of course A RAISIN IN THE SUN was a gimme. Today's puzzle was a bit easier than yesterday's but I struggled to come up with CUFF since I did not know Mr. URICH and wasn't sure whether EDIE was Palco or FALCO.. I've heard of ATALANTA but it was news to me she was on the old Argo.

A satisfying solve, but yes, a slightly harder puzzle would have been JAKE with me.

No writeovers! And my iPhone was lost (but is being returned to me today) so no use of Google or Wikipedia.

old timer 11:46 AM  

Came back to mention that ECCLES is short for ECCLESiastes. A book so well written it was assigned reading in my 9th grade English class.

And to remind you of "Away, away with rum, by gum" as performed by the Chad Mitchell Trio, with the wonderful verse:

We never eat fruitcake because it has rum
And one little bite turns a man to a bum.
Can you imagine a sorrier sight
Than a man eating fruitcake until he gets tight?

Phil Schifley 11:54 AM  

Was a pretty quick solve for me once I got a foothold, but I enjoyed the current vibe of the clues. Had fun with this one. Saturday puzzles don't always have to take a long time to finish to be good; sometimes the style and the breadth of the topics make for a good puzzle.

Stanley Hunter 12:05 PM  

@oldtimer, nice Dead reference.

mathgent 12:10 PM  

You guys are good! It was an exhausting climb for me, a grabbing at plants, dirt on my face, climb.

I learned Rick Springfield from my wife, who is part of his generation. From time to time she will sing, "I've done everything for you, you've done nothing for me."

Call it sour grapes, but I didn't get much fun out of the solving. I just reviewed all the clues and didn't find a single clever one. And there were several clumsy ones and a couple of border-line unfair ones.

Andrew Heinegg 12:35 PM  

The only time I ever watched soap operas was in the 1972-1973 years when I had finished college and was living at home thinking of something to do.

I would watch GH with my mother and other(s) of my nine brothers and sisters on an on and off basis. I didn't have the patience to watch a whole episode and I would frequently have to have my mother explain who a character was and what situation they were in. In any event, I found myself laughing to the point of tears at times because I found it to be so campy. I did enjoy it in that fashion.

An entertaining and mostly easy little puzzle but I got bogged down in the NE with 9d. I am with Tita on the aquiline answer. Never heard of it not being associated with a nose shape. Clever double negative, no?

Happy to see Mr. Barany back in town as it were and my kudos to both sides of the blog aisle for not chasing after trolls. The one thing they can't stand is nobody paying attention to them.

Anonymous 12:36 PM  

Well, I do not strive for speed in my solving so my average is all over the place (especially due to dozing off if I solve at night) but this was my fastest Saturday at a little over 18 minutes. Easy AND landed right in my wheelhouse. @Tita, I also have seen AQUILINE only with respect to nose (my Dad had an aquiline nose) but undaunted I popped it right in. My odd hang up was "fan noise"...even after I got past the urge to put the blower fan WHIR, I resisted putting the J on EER because FANS don't or shouldn't JEER!

Rob 12:39 PM  

Easy for a Saturday, but no complaints really. No terrible clues or fill. I usually do the weekend puzzles with my wife, and she got A RAISIN IN THE SUN with just the AI in place. I read it in high school but never saw the adaptation. Nicely constructed, albeit maybe more at home on a Wednesday.

Joe Bleaux 12:50 PM  

Coming up empty in searching for an on-ramp, I lucked out (in?) in an unlikely way: Lo, my Periodic Pet Peeves (PPPs) popped up: ENOS, SAYER, ROXANNE, and I'm ready to roll. "Easy" is not among the adjectives I'd use to describe this puzzle (hi, @Trombone Tom), but it wasn't a slog. As @Lewis noted, it could be taken as a blast from the past, so that helped make it a steady go for me. Slowed in the NE by the double misdirect JEER (I wanted whir, or maybe roar, willing to let only one fan roar because, you know, license ... ). A big PILEUP awaited in the NW because I confidently -- and incorrectly -- printed (in ink) RAISINS IN THE SUN, then had to make several changes. I didn't feel like such a JACKASS when I saw that even LMS had turned that one raisin into a bunch. All around, no complaints about Mr. Fromm' s offering today. @Quasi -- Any corrections you'd offer (on short-lived and the like) wouldn't be welcomed by many folks, no matter how tactful or well-intentioned you may be. They're always quick to yell pedant, snob, or notpicker. I say good on you for being among those who value correctness for its own sake.

Anonymous 12:51 PM  

Tita A ,

I know I'm a little late, but you accept my thanks for your kind comments regarding courtesy on this board. They were greatly apprecoates.
Coincidentically, I read an insightful essay on manners and ethics. It conformed our point of view.

Also, glad your mom likes Jezebel. Hard for me to decide whether I prefer Davis's performance or Fonda's.

Mohair Sam 1:04 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
No prescriptivist 1:17 PM  

@LMS: Excellent late post on yesterday's blog. I'm almost 100% in agreement with you, but Evil Doug does have a point. Some things are simply too egregious to condone. Doug's example was perfect.

@Anonymous 9:14 AM:

You have to cut LMS some slack. She has no choice when it comes to overtly or subliminally expressing her distaste for President Trump. Loren is a teacher and must follow the diktat of union president Randi Weingarten. She is to be pitied rather than censured. Being an educator in West Virginia, it must be awfully difficult to show open contempt for the president when 68.8% of your students parents voted for him? ;-)

@QuasiMojo: Here's my take on your question. Someone who corrects another individual in front of multiple people, weather in the flesh or on a blog post, is almost always doing so for the two reasons LMS mentioned. There is also a third reason, but I won't get into that right now.

As to the "mano a mano" phrase, its been in the common vernacular so long, that most people don't even question the usage. To them, it means what it sounds like.

Years ago, I was at a family function where my younger cousin was boasting about the amount of champagne consumed at a recent party he had attended. Apparently, the only brand being consumed was Moet et Chandon. My cousin kept referring to it as Mo-Way. I worked as a bartender at the time, so I took him aside and explained that the correct pronunciation was Mo-ette. He was thrilled to know something his friends didn't.

It is unusual for the French to pronounce the last T in a word, but Moet comes from a German word, so in this case, the T is pronounced. Moet et Chandon was a very popular champagne at that time. People thought they sounded very chic and sophisticated when ordering Mo-Way. Bartenders eventually got tired of trying to correct the masses. Eventually, Moet et Chandon came out with a very good commercial that had wide national exposure. People finally realized that the company was not going to mispronounce it's own product in front of millions, an MO finally fell by the WAY side.

The proper way to correct someone's usage of a word or phrase, is to do so tactfully and in private. Most people will thank you for saving them from unknowingly embarrassing themselves in the future.

Mohair Sam 1:32 PM  

55A (ECCLES) seems an odd abbreviation. It might have might been clued as "Jennifer _______, finest song ever written by Graham Nash and Allan Clark." But I suppose that would have been too much of a gimme.

@No prescriptivist (1:17) - Excellent Post, well said. And a loud Amen to your last paragraph. I've been on the short end of that conversation more than once and have always appreciated it.

Sherm Reinhardt 1:39 PM  

I wonder if it is news to Adam Fromm and Will Shortz that there was another woman aboard the Argo: Medea. I guess Peter and Will meant "in the crew of the Argo." In fact, Medea spent the entire second half of the journey on the Argo.

Bill Feeney 1:51 PM  

In light of the growing acceptance of same sex marriage, couldn't 1across be clued more modernly?

"Tactfully and in private" 1:56 PM  

@No prescriptivist (1:17) -- So amusing that you're orating and pontificating and waxing wise about language usage and then you come up with a howler like "weather in the flesh..." (4th paragraph of this deathless post.) Let's see...Weather in the flesh. Could that be Lady Godiva riding naked through a blizzard?

Ken 2:14 PM  

To keep with your Baseball theme...this puzzle was a can of corn; an easy ground ball to short; Infield fly rule - Batter OUT!!

Joe Bleaux 2:17 PM  

Anyone who also worked this morning's WSJ puz: Kindly explain its theme ("Tie game"). Unless it's a play on "Tae" (which I doubt), I don't get it. Thanks. (I don't subscribe to the Journal, so I can't see the digital, but my delivery guy leaves me a leftover when he has one -- remember such folks at Christmastime.)

Dick Swart 2:39 PM  


This puzzle has given me a great start to my Saturday!

To assure this state of ego euphoria, I'll stay away from MSNBC and CNN.



Trombone Tom 2:46 PM  

@Joe Bleaux I think that WSJ puz was on the easy side for Liz G, but I always enjoy her efforts. I, too, was a little slow in grasping her theme. I think it relates to the "ties" or belts that show karate ranking.

Trombone Tom 2:52 PM  

Oh, and for anyone else who cares, those generally outstanding WSJ puzzles are available to all (including non-WSJ subscribers) at the WSJ crossword site.

Joe Bleaux 3:22 PM  

Thanks much, Tom. That's gotta be it, I guess. It makes sense, but it's still a bit of a reach, IMHO. I once gave the site a go, didn't find the answers right away, and, obviously, gave up too quickly. I'll be more dogged in my pursuit now.

Tom4 3:31 PM  

Since I'm new can someone clue me in on why folks refer to "Rex" as OFL? Just curious.

Can anyone explain the clue to HWY? I got itthanks to crosses. Thanks!

Unknown 3:55 PM  

@tom4 ofl = our fearless leader

Unknown 4:09 PM  

And I is for Interstate, as in I95, I80, etc.

Happy solving!

Anonymous 5:06 PM  


YES! St. Stephens

No prescriptivist 6:06 PM  

@"Tactfully and in private":

LMAO! Thank you for becoming the "poster child" that validated the point LMS and I were both trying to make.

Loren opined that your kind should be chased down the street with a baseball bat. I'm just as happy calling you out for the asshat that you are.

First of all, I never claimed that I was infallible when it comes to spelling or grammar. Secondly, proofreading doesn't always catch a mistake. Last but not least, you're the third type of Grammar Nazi I referred to in my post. You use the grammar/spelling tactic as a default to criticize or denigrate a poster when you lack the intellectual capacity or facts to rebut said poster with a valid argument.

If you had any balls, you'd just admit that we both know your real issue with my comment wasn't with the weather/whether homophone. Obviously you don't. Therefore, and to use a bit of recent crossword fill, Bite Me!

RMK 7:15 PM  

B sharp and c flat are entirely different notes. No discussion needed

Anonymous 7:59 PM  

@No prescriptivist

@Tactfully and in private is just like @Z. Yell "squirrel" and they start frothing at the mouth. Actually, I think they are one and the same. Too much fun!!!


ShortShrift 10:06 PM  

"I finished a Saturday on a Saturday!"

Anonymous 10:28 PM  

Rex, you missed a chance to use the Chris De Burgh song "Lady in Red" for your video clip!

In any case, Jezebel is a 1938 film featuring Bette Davis whose friends are shocked she when wears a red dress to the ball. Scandalous!


OISK 10:32 PM  

Really had to smile when I came here and discovered how "easy" this puzzle was. I almost gave up. Hardest puzzle (for me) in several weeks! Never heard of Jackass, the movie, axilla, Ellie Kemper, nor Leo Sayer. Don't know who Rick Springfield is either, and never, ever, watched "General Hospital", have no idea what songs the Police sang. Still, all fell into place except the NE, which remained almost entirely blank, when I left the puzzle in the car, and went to the Met game. Back in the car, after another disappointing loss, just couldn't make any headway. I had only "Sino", and suspected "Messes."

Somehow, somewhere on the Van Wyke, the idea that "Jackass" might be "The Movie" popped into my brain. And then I finished it. Since I actually knew so few of the pop culture answers, I am pleased to have finished. But that much unfamiliar stuff just makes it less fun.

Elephant's Child 9:14 AM  

So is RICK any relation to Buffalo SPRINGFIELD?

Anonymous 10:50 AM  

I shined my shoes (verb transitive) but the sun shone brightly all day (verb intransitive). I think the latter is the proper answer for 37 A.

Unknown 8:56 PM  

5:20 bite me...

rondo 10:21 AM  

@teedmn - yup, whiR fer sure. Until it wasn't. But even so, musta been a record Sat-puz at +/- 16 minutes working counter-clockwise. Good for the EGO. The X in EXAM was the last hole to fill.

My first car was a BUICK. Please don't hack my password.

Maybe in New England Leo SAYER is Leo SAYA?

All those ANNAS again and EDIEFALCO as yeah baby, too.

Nice quick puz. The END.

Burma Shave 11:00 AM  


HAH, they CUFFed her and HELD her in juvi.


spacecraft 12:11 PM  

Well, for once I knocked down the NW right off the bat, thanks to AQUILINE. I thought: this is gonna be a Scrabble-f***er, and probably a pangram. Correct on both counts. Nary a mention of the latter in the OFL writeup, which I suppose goes to show that pangrams aren't inherently evil (of course the rest of us already know that), but only if they're forced. This does not have a "forced" feel, to me. There is only one entry that seems so, and that doesn't involve anything more than a four-pointer. It is SHINED. Can we say SHINED? Isn't it "shone?" Does it actually have a different meaning, like "hung" and "hanged?"* [Looking this up on Grammar Girl is revealing. Either is acceptable, with SHINED usually taking an object and--"dirty tip"--shone when alone. With this particular clue, the word should have been "shone." Thus the forced feeling.]

If this was the only nit I could find to pick, the puzzle must have been pretty doggone good. Like so many others, I found it to be on the easy side for a Saturday. Not sure of the exits from NW, I drifted to the SE, where "Don't____thing" bothered me. Had to be a 3-letter verb + A; I ran the alphabet till hitting SAYA (lol @rondo on the Bostonese), which gave me YURTS--and off just that U, ARAISININTHESUN plopped in. Things accelerated from there.

I love ELLIE Bishop, alluringly played by DOD Emily Wickersham on NCIS. Cute mini-Police theme: "ROXANNE, you don't have to put that REDDRESS on."

This puzzle was "eaglelike"--until I spotted yet another EKED. Sorry, Adam, that cost you a stroke: birdie.

Diana,LIW 1:45 PM  

I wouldn't call the bottom 2/3 "easy," just "smooth" and fun.

What I didn't know about the top was a lot. Bar "none" didn't help. Nor "whir." Don't know much, if anything about (in order of appearance):

AQUILINE (sorry, just don't use that term. Like it. Will use in future)
JACKASS the anything (Yes, I heard of it)
HAJJI (how many ways is this spelled?)
RICK (and soap operas today)
SLIVERING (I guess it's real - I'll be slivering the firewood)
SAYER (vaguely from the past)

So you can guess what I did with the puzzle.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Diana,LIW 1:48 PM  

Hey @Rainy - answered your challenge from yesterday - late yesterday.

Diana, LIW

rain forest 2:27 PM  

What a nice Saturday puzzle. Smooth as Silk or Berry, and one of those puzzles that seemed challenging at first, and then ... wasn't.

Not knowing the movie or the play were my slow-downs, and I had a little work to do in those areas, but EDIE FALCO and RICK SPRINGFIELD were a huge speed-up even though I'm not concerned about speed of solving. No write-overs, which is rare for Saturday.

Many nifty clues, and I particularly liked the one for HWY. I only know ECCLES from ECCLES cake, a British pastry my Dad used to make. Bit of trivia for ya.
@Rondo - I also notice the SAYER/SAYA pronunciation thingy.

@Lady Di - the thing about 'time flies like an arrow' is how you might punctuate or intend it. E.g. "Time flies like (as in 'appreciate') an arrow". Or "Time flies like (as in 'in the manner of') an arrow". Or "Time flies. Like an arrow?" Or maybe some other iteration. "Time. Flies like an arrow". But, maybe time flies do like a banana!

Anonymous 2:28 PM  

I've never posted before but have to clarify....many dresses and many tests were done until the correct fabric was found that would give the look/sense of red fabric in a B&W film such as "Jezebel". The color of the dress was critical to the story line , as the character was clothed in an inappropriate color for the dance. This is a famous story about the filming of "Jezebel" as there are many such tales about "Gone With the Wind".

Diana,LIW 2:37 PM  

@Rainy - what I wrote was

FRUIT flies like a banana. Which clarifies the meaning of "like." Now, how one defines "is"...

Lady Di

rain forest 3:14 PM  

@Lady Di - Gotcha. My bad.

leftcoastTAM 5:38 PM  

Started fast in the West, slowed down in the East, had to leave for several hours, came back only to crash in the NE corner.

Details would be boring.

Otherwise, a relatively easy and smooth Saturday.

strayling 8:09 PM  

Apart from the clue for ECCLES, this was a piece of cake.

Anonymous 4:27 PM  

Very disappointing to see BITE ME in a NYT puzzle. If I were a sixth-grader, I'd think it was hilarious, though.

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