Epithet for Louis VI / SAT 4-15-17 / Metaphorical rock of Matthew 16:18 / Band that shares its name with film canine / 3D White brand / Org with biennial bids / Sandy who won 1985 British Open / UT's library

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Constructor: Peter Wentz

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: Sandy LYLE (61A: Sandy who won the 1985 British Open) —
Alexander Walter Barr "Sandy" Lyle, MBE (born 9 February 1958) is a Scottish professional golfer. Lyle has won two major championships during his career. Along with Nick Faldo and Ian Woosnam, he became one of Britain's top golfers during the 1980s. He spent 167 weeks in the top-10 of the Official World Golf Ranking from its introduction, in 1986, until 1989. Lyle was inducted to the World Golf Hall of Fame in May 2012. (wikipedia)
• • •

This felt quite easy, but a few small areas really put their teeth into me for a bit there. No problem entering the puzzle in the NW and heading most of the way through the fat center of the grid. But, bizarrely, the only answer I wanted at 17A: Rich dessert was CHEESE ... TART. And then, since REC hall is not a thing to me and LAKE does not equal [Reservoir] without force ... well, I abandoned that area. The BRICKS part of HIT THE BRICKS took some doing, which left the NE unexplored for a while. When I did get up there, GYM (instead of SPA) crossed with CITY-something (instead of DOGPARKS) slowed me a bit, but JAGR was a gimme (19A: Hockey legend Jaromir), so I fixed things pretty quickly. The two real tough parts were DOTEDU (43D: School closing?), both because I've never seen that written out and because it was "?"-clued, and then lastly because I *still* don't quite understand how 63A: Chips, initially is SPUD. Are we talking potato chips? And what "chips" begin with the prefix SPUD-. Oh, wait. Is it supposed to be that (potato) chips started out (initially, pre-cooking) as a SPUD? God that is awful. Too many things are "chips" in the world for that to clue to read as at all potato-specific. And then add a plural-to-singular clue-to-answer "fake"-out. Torturous. Bad.

Last but not least in the toughness department was the whole SW, where having CAR didn't help get TOYCAR (44A: Place for a decal, maybe). and none of the initial letters on the long Downs did any good. Even getting into the short stuff with LAIR and GRE and AWAG (agag!) provided little help. I finally got the boost I needed from a *wrong* answer: POTHOLE (38D: Unforeseen trouble). That got me the "T" which got me TOY which got me PONYTAIL (37D: Women's World Cup sight). From there, I figured out POTHOLE was actually wrong (it's PITFALL) and voila—I put in the stupidly redundant SHOO AWAY and—puzzle solved! Non-trouble parts were smooth and enjoyable. I thought "THE MECHANIC" (4D: 2011 Jason Statham action flick) was a Christian Bale film, so I hesitated filling in the end (the Bale film is "The Machinist," it turns out). There are no such things as SPACE TOURISTS (yet) so cluing them like they're real is strange, though I love the answer itself (36A: Ones counting down to vacation time?). I like the WHOA SEXY juxtaposition. Makes THE JONESES seem like exciting neighbors to have. No wonder you compare yourself to them enviously (56A: Object of envious comparison). Overall, this was a pleasing, varied, bouncy puzzle.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


evil doug 7:55 AM  

Pretty macho puzzle today...Kimmel, sexy cheesecake, Spud (Webb), toy car, Captain Kirk, LBJ, Ian...NORM! Plus...

"Transporter" fit in 4D. For a couple of violently fun Jason Statham flicks I recommend his Guy Ritchie stuff: "Snatch", and "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels".

SPACE TOURISTS: I really don't get it. But I didn't understand why pilots would choose to be 'Spam in the can' astronauts, either....

Boomer Esiason was as entertaining at QB as he continues to be as a commentator. But it's Kenny Anderson who should be in the HOF as a Bengal quarterback.

I'm guessing JAGR--'YAH-grr'--wasn't intuitive for you non-hockey fans. Go Blackhawks! And clever way to work PONYTAIL in. Wanted sport[s]-bra....

Good day for St. Peter to appear. Brimstone, too. Happy Easter!

Loren Muse Smith 8:02 AM  

Great puzzle. I dispatched it pretty handily save the northeast. Like many, I bet, I had to erase “rcas” and a dumb “rmn” for DOG PARK.

I’m not going to say how long it took me to parse DOT EDU. Sheesh.

And like Rex, I went straight to “pot hole” before PIT FALL. Don’t you hate it when the pot hole is indeed unforeseen and you blow through it and it makes your teeth rattle?

@Evil - I love Jason Statham movies. Have a secret little crush on that guy. Sure, he plays basically the same character every time, but it’s a really cool character with a really cool accent. My favorite is Homefront where he plays that time-honored cliché, retired badass DEA agent whose wife has died and he and his daughter move to a small town for the quiet life where daughter gets bullied and he uncovers a nasty meth operation and even though no one knows who he is and even though he just wants a normal life he has to take care of bidness. Plots are trite, folks, because for indiscriminate viewers like me, they totally work.

AWAG is rough, but hey – it crosses TAIL. When we lived in a place that had a DOG PARK, we never could take our dogs, Fred and Ethel, to play because Ethel didn’t do well with other dogs. No tail awag for her, buddy. I regretted that. Dog parks cheer me. Love seeing all those guys running around, being happy dogs. When we moved to our farm, our dog Owen - for the first time - could be outside not on leash or in a little fenced-in back yard. He could run full out. Gallop. Play with the other two dogs who were already living here. The first day and I’m not making this up, he kept coming over to us to check in as we were unloading. I swear he seemed to be saying, Ok. Lemme get this straight. Just making sure. I’m living HERE now? And I can run anywhere I want? Seriously? And he’d run off again. I threw his leash away. These days, every afternoon as I drive up to the house, Owen and Hank are waiting at The METAL Shop, and I get this spirited k-nine escort up the dirt road. What a joy to watch two dogs open’er up and run next to me, a full-on sprint. That scene, that feeling is why people write poetry.

BarbieBarbie 8:04 AM  

I liked it too. Lots of names I didn't know, but the crosses were fair, so no issues. Fun to do. DOGPARKS crossing SPA was a nice double-or even triple misdirect.

Anonymous 8:04 AM  

A puzzle that relies on a football player and golfer from the 1980s, swimmer from 2004, and hockey player is a little too reliant on proper names from the same category for me. Otherwise, I liked it, and the fill was otherwise great.

kitshef 8:08 AM  

This Saturday ALSO took less than half the time of the ‘easy’ Thursday. And now I’ll let that go.

Felt like a themeless Wednesday, but a really, really good one. Liked all the longs except for the redundant SHOO AWAY.

So, after seeing the Thor: Ragnarok trailer I had Immigrant Song stuck in my head for a couple of days. Yesterday, Back in the USSR shoved it out. Alas, today’s THOR(O) muscled it right back in. On the plus side, if you are going to have an earworm, it’s a great one to have.

Boomer ESIASON is my all-time favorite NFL player – the ultimate gimme.

bUD before MUD, BLacK before BLEAK, OueVRE before OEUVRE, and I'm sure with a million others, cRest before ORALB.

Forsythia 8:08 AM  

Liked it. TOTO and KANSAN and HIT THE BRICKS brought to mind the Wizard of Oz. SPUD was perfect I thought. ESIASON needed every letter especially since my sister and husband were sure it was ElIASON. Not a happy way to start a beautiful Saturday morning....BLOT, PITFALL, BRIMSTONE, LAIR, TOXIN, RUDE, RATTY, BLEAK. But YAYME, I finished it and ready to head to Myrtle Beach with my sister!

Anonymous 8:19 AM  

Excellent puzzle, but HIT THE BRICKS means to walk the streets looking for a job, not skedaddle

r.alphbunker 8:19 AM  

Was thinking that {School closing?} was DO TEST and it was a nice aha when I saw DOTEDU which required 60A {"How ___!"} CUTE-->RUDE

Details are here.

TAllan 8:29 AM  

No one was bothered by the fact that "3D White brand" when googled results in finding Crest products, not OralB?

Anonymous 8:30 AM  

SPACE TOURISTS have already been to the ISS a few times thanks to the Russians https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_tourism

Seth 8:34 AM  

I had SPACESHUTTLES and OPUSES for a few minutes, which both fit remarkably well.

Rex, I'm shocked you didn't get or love SPUD. It's a perfect Saturday clue. It's vague, it's tricky, it's plural-to singular, and it's precise and not forced at all. You make chips from a potato. Done. Awesome clue.

Unknown 8:39 AM  

Anonymous at 8:19 said:
"HIT THE BRICKS means to walk the streets looking for a job, not skedaddle"

You must be thinking of "pound the pavement."

Bella 8:41 AM  

"CHEESETART"? Way to blaspheme one of the best desserts, Rex.

Z 8:42 AM  

On the easy side of "easy-medium" here. Of course, I saw right through the "Chips, initially" clue... well I may have briefly wondered what police force Erik Estrada pretended to be on (California HIghway Patrol, I believe) so I did lose a few nanoseconds with that, but otherwise no problem.

Hand up for using Crest and so wondering what else METAL could be. OMELETTES au fromage cleared that up, although it still doesn't explain why teeth whiteners are "3D." The only other place precious nanoseconds were lost was -O-IC compound... Would Shortz allow TOXIN and tOxIC in the same puzzle? That seemed unlikely. This does raise a question. Do IONIC compounds have volutes?

Nice enough puzzle, but it seems as if it could have been punched up a little. More Fridayish than Saturday here.

Z 8:45 AM  

ORAL B 3D White

Mordechai 8:57 AM  

Didn't like the Natick of 46 Across ESIASON and 47 down IAN. Admittedly there aren't many choices after you have ?AN but still, crossing a swimmer with a football player.

QuasiMojo 8:57 AM  

I had a helluva time getting a toe-hold in this one. I kept thinking Crest before Oral B. And "How Rare" or even "how ripe!" before 'rude." And Marble Cake and even Sponge Cake before Cheese Cake. I don't think of cheesecake as being rich unless one is talking about the female variety. That can be expensive. Which reminds me I don't get the Pony Tail thing. Don't men wear them too nowadays? So that one seemed a bit myopic. Never heard of half of the people in this grid. Kimmel? Statham? Jagr? But I soldiered on. I had ESCAPE ARTISTS before Space Tourists. I like my answer better. :)

SPUD was not fair as it is not an abbreviation which is how one usually interprets "initially" and it is already a colloquial term, so I had SFPD there for too long thinking that Erik Estrada was being invoked.

Lots of fun stuff in here however. And in the end it only took me a half hour. No cheating. I'll just have to pat myself on the back. How rude indeed.

Hartley70 8:58 AM  

This was a gift of a Saturday, tough enough in just a few spots to make me feel like I struggled, but easy enough to make me feel smart. That's my kind of Saturday!

KIMMEL and STPETER, an unlikely couple, got me off to a good start. KANSAN was a help in the NE. The top half was a breeze but then I got bogged down a bit and had to work the SE. THEJONESES was a great answer there and somehow the name Boomer ESIASON floated to the surface although the clue meant zip to me. Of course. I remembered it as EL not ES, so that slowed me down.

The SW was the toughest. For some reason I could not get the very straight (not STRAIT) forward PITFALL. Of course I didn't know LYLE, IONIC, or FAT either. AWAG was a gimme because anything labeled "quaint" feels like it happened 5 minutes ago to me. Thanks for the memory, Peter.

BTW, PONYTAIL was my favorite entry today. I haven't worn one since the early 80s but I think of it fondly. It sure made it easy to scoot out the door in the morning.

Nancy 9:04 AM  

Quite easy. I saw STAT immediately at 1A, despite the tricky cluing and before checking any crosses. At which point I said to myself: I've been spending many too many hours of my life doing crossword puzzles.

Re 36A -- There's no such thing yet. You've been spending many too many hours of your life watching sci-fi movies, Peter Wentz.

When I saw the clue, "Symbol of biblical wrath," I thought to myself: Where to begin?

Re: MUD for joe (41A)-- At your urging last week, @Quasi, I bought $10 worth of ridiculously overpriced Starbucks Via Italian Roast instant coffee to replace my plebeian Folger's, which costs about one-fifteenth of the price. I had my first (and last) cup yesterday morning. It tasted like espresso, not coffee, was extremely bitter and while it might be just perfect after a heavy Italian dinner, it is not at all the sort of thing I enjoy drinking at breakfast. Whew. That was a close call. Happily, now I can still afford to keep my apartment. But Quasi, if we ever meet in NYC, where it seems you also live, I will be happy to make you a gift of the 11 unused packets. Let me know.

@Mohair -- I responded to your Dr. Zhivago post very late yesterday.

Anonymous 9:08 AM  

I do like the fact that NORM is right above ESIASON, with Norman being Boomer's actual name.

seanm 9:11 AM  

one of the easiest saturdays i can remember. much faster than yesterday. it helped of course that most of the pop culture was in my wheelhouse, with JAGR, KIMMEL, ESIASON, IAN, TOTO, KANSAN all gimmees (i imagine most of those were easy for most solvers, but possibly not). that's a lot of stuff to get for free in a saturday

Space Is Deep 9:12 AM  

Quite easy for me as well. I never time myself, but this felt like one of my fastest Saturday's. It was certainly much faster than the Thursday and Friday puzzles this week. Enjoyed it.

RooMonster 9:15 AM  

Hey All !
Seemed easier than the FriPuz over here. Fell into a bunch of the same PITFALLs as y'all. ante-SPUD, crest-ORALB, gym-SPA. Also some of my own doings, wanted PInK____ for PONYTAIL, PINKwear? and throwing in a misspelled pOkCet didn't help. Also had cHiNESE____ there, further mucking up that area. Over in the SE, was looking for a Spanish name with the ES start of the QB. Plus having ante for SPUD slowed me down a bit. Nice U count in that corner for M&A.

With my wrong gym in in NE, had ___yARdS in. Took a bit to see BRICKS. But finished in 32 minutes! YAY ME! That's super fast for me on a SatPuz. But, (isn't there always a but?) had my famous one letter DNF. ARGH! yAGR. Was proud of myself for remembering the GR ending, only to have a y for the J. LBy sounded reasonable for U.T.'s Library...

No one has mentioned the three THEs. And who is IAN Thorpe? Had jim there, along with JIM for 57D, kept them both in, figuring one was correct!


Wm. C. 9:27 AM  

@LMS I just loved our story about Owen questioning being off-leash, and he with Hank escorting you up the road on your return. Dogs can be a gift!

mathgent 9:48 AM  

Nice puzzle. Started it last night about half-way through Lion, which is well-made movie but a little too slow and sentimental for this sour old male. Finished it at about the time that the tenth killing took place on Hawaii 5-0. The puzzle could have used a little more sparkle in the cluing.

Mohair Sam 9:57 AM  

Well. If you're a sports nut, use an ORALB toothbrush, enjoy Jimmy KIMMEL (America's foremost wise ass), and watch a Lowest Common Denominator TV this puzzle was a snap. Played like a Wednesday here, we had a "clean sheet" (Hi soccer fans) - no write-overs, no Wite'Out. Talk about wheelhouse.

Fun puzzle. Loved the clues for SPUD (Rex is nuts) and PONYTAIL. How easy it is to read site for sight. Btw, is it just me or do women athletes run faster when they wear PONYTAILS? I think it is writ in the bible that every teenager must put METAL in the microwave at least twice.

Jason Statham horribly snubbed for Best Actor nomination for his brilliant turn in "Snatch" (love that flick). I lost all respect for the Academy that year.

@LMS - Thanks for the dog thoughts. Once moved a German Shepard from a ranch house in a city to a farm. The joy she tried to share was indescribable, but you came close. Thanks for the memory.

Modern Texas Dilettante 10:00 AM  

I was! That really tripped me up.

puzzle hoarder 10:02 AM  

What's easier than a cakewalk? A CHEESECAKE walk. That's what this puzzle felt like. I didn't set any records but it was like yesterday's puzzle without the CES.
Speaking of yesterday @Nancy I read your rock and roll rant "ear drum shattering music topped off by a throbbing bass." I have no idea what you were listening to but it sounds absolutely awesome! Another thing, try the Columbia variety of Starbucks Via Instant. It makes what I consider a perfect CUP of coffee. I wouldn't even try the Espresso flavor. Now how about a CUP of some steaming hot Soundgarden?

Teedmn 10:04 AM  

This was more than A TAD easy. METAL crossing A TAD started me off. I thought 3D White must be some sort of computer/TV brand so I was never tempted by cRest.

I did have one fun goof - reading the clue for 10D, I saw UT as, well, UTah (pay no attention to the man behind the curtain and those periods in U.T.). So I put in LDS as the library since JAGR hasn't found its place on my crosswordease shelf. But dLOT at 16A wasn't going to contain any spills (and neither was cLOT) so BLOT gave me LBJ and the Univ. of Texas headslap.

And other than briefly having Mac in for MUD (Joe was a synonym for "pal", I guessed) this puzzle filled right in. I join everyone who liked the Chips to SPUD clue, one of the few clevernesses in cluing that I noticed.

My husband loves Jason Statham, who is his new fave action actor, replacing Bruce Willis. I think "The Transporter" was greatly entertaining, and his comic part in "SPY" with Melissa McCarthy spoofed his usual character.

Nice Saturday, PW.

GILL I. 10:15 AM  

Loved this puzzle. All of it. Nothing made me wince. Well, maybe HIT THE BRICKS. @Seth...I, too, had OPUSES. Boy that fouled me up something fierce. THE MECHANIC took every single across - little piece by little piece.
If I could PONY up millions, I'd do it in a flash just to become a SPACE TOURIST. Imagine sipping a cocktail while orbiting around the moon = perhaps eating CHEESE CAKE OMELETTES.
Poor FAT Louis. I wonder if his minions called him Le Gros to his face.
@Loren. Loved your story. It's like a picture card right out of Grandma Moses. Nothing in the world can make me as happy as coming home to our pups. We take them to a DOG PARK close by and it's like watching children play AWAG. They ARE children!
Like @Roo, I had two JIM's. I had to give one up and then I remembered Boomer. I love that guy.
My task ahead of me is to stuff two dozen eggs. My semi-annual trek to feed the homeless. I hope Fir is still around because she loves my deviled eggs.
Happy Easter to those that believe.....

GILL I. 10:17 AM  

Oops. That should be Fur. She's my friend that wears a fur coat made out of her dead pets.

Tim Pierce 10:18 AM  

Really, really enjoyed this one. So clean and snappy. High points: HIT THE BRICKS, SPACE TOURISTS (I laughed out loud), THE JONESES.

Stumpers: JAGR, ESIASON, LYLE (sports, as always, one of my weakest spots)

Like Forsythia, I kept seeing a Wizard of Oz mini-theme in TOTO, KANSAN and HIT THE BRICKS. The TOXINs from that poppy field sure didn't do Dorothy any favors either.

SPUD was a fun misdirect for me because with S--D in the grid, I put SAND. You know, sand. Like silicon, what chips are "initially." Look, it made sense at the time, okay? Between that and having TAKEin for TAKETO, and not knowing ESIASON at all, that corner was a lot rougher than it should have been.

PeterT 10:23 AM  

Unfortunately crossed HAWAII with FALLON in the northwest early on, and took a long time to get over that mistake. Also don't like IONIC compound, but maybe that's really a thing?

Rob 10:32 AM  

Nobody but me has a problem with THORO? Is this really a thing and I just don't know it?

Decent enough puzzle otherwise, maybe even a bit easy for a Saturday.

Charles Flaster 10:38 AM  

Liked this medium, well clued puzzle.
Would have been very easy but the lower right took three fourths of my time.
Spelled ESIASON as ESIASaN so I had a DNF but liked my answer--DaTED U.
Many writeovers, many already said :
TAHITI for hawaiI, BLEAK for BLacK, SET for noT, KIMMEL for fallon, and OEUVRE for OpUses.
Very creative cluing for STAT and PONY TAIL--thought it could have been clued " World Cup trailer",
PHONE SERVICE opened up most of the puzzle pour moi.
Thanks PW

Anonymous 10:39 AM  

Matthew 16:18 refers to PETER long before he became a saint. Why are the answers to 1A, 6D, and 24A abbreviations?

Never heard of HIT THE BRICKS. Hate THORO!

Robert A. Simon 10:40 AM  

Agree. I can understand a different take on something. But not an error of fact. Thanks for bringing it up.

Ellen S 10:41 AM  

@Joseph Welling, I'm with Anon 8:19. I've always heard "HIT THE BRICKS" used to mean walk the streets looking for work.

Robert A. Simon 10:48 AM  

C'mon! Haven't you noticed that when Rex doesn't get something, it's usually the thing's fault? He also seems to take umbrage when holes in his cultural knowledge are revealed. But still. What he has done for the popularity of crosswords is incalculable. Sometimes I forget that he's not an enthusiast. He's a competitor and a critic.

Lewis 10:57 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
jae 10:58 AM  

Very easy for me. The only place I paused was the SW where PONYTAIL needed a bit of staring to emerge. No erasures and no WOEs. The BEQ medium Thurs. was much tougher and I still have no idea what 8d stands for.

Quite a bit more interesting than yesterday's, liked it.

Fun fact: Sandy LYLE also won The Masters in 1988.

Lewis 11:01 AM  

I came into this one with trepidation, because Peter and I are not usually on the same wavelength, but I believe this turned out to be my fastest Saturday ever. I'm reserving my YAYME because it sounds like it was easy for many here. I especially liked the clues for STAT, DOGPARKS, and DOTEDU. I think, all things considered, I'd rather be a TAHITI tourist than a SPACE one. And I like LAKE crossing CAKE.

There was enough resistance to make this fun -- thank you muchly, Peter!

Robert A. Simon 11:02 AM  

I really hope all you dog people have read "The Art of Racing in the Rain." No spoilers, no descriptions. Just read it.

RAD2626 11:06 AM  

I am with @Anonymous 8:19 and Ellen S. Thought it was just badly clued but not too distracting.

Liked puzzle a lot and thought it very easy for a Saturday. Long answers pretty gettable. Got PONYTAIL from the P, the A of FAT and the L off LYLE which made that corrner fall. Agree DOT EDU was tricky but an aha moment when it went in.

@Nancy your biblical aside was hysterical. Sodom and Gomorrah was clearly an early MOAB.

Trombone Tom 11:08 AM  

This one played tougher for me. Not being into hockey JAGR was a WOE, but the crosses were helpful.

I really liked the creative cluing for SPACE TOURISTS and had no problem coming up with SPUD. On the other hand I insisted for far too long on rcaS before LCDS.

And hand up for PothoLe-->PITFALL.

HIT THE BRICKS has always meant to me to go out on strike! And while many lakes are used as RESERVOIRs, that is not the first connection I think of.

Thank you Peter and Will for an interesting Saturday!

Mohair Sam 11:27 AM  

@Robert A. Simon - Yup, second your motion calling all on dog lovers to read "The Art of Racing in the Rain."

@Nancy - Considering your posts yesterday confirming your dislike of rock music and the Zhivago flick I doubt if you have any '60s credentials to pull after all. I'm betting you have a worn out tape of GWTW stuck in your VCR, and the original cast 33 RPM album of "No, No, Nanette" sitting on the RCA right now.

howard a. brenner 11:44 AM  

Thank you. Exactly.

turkeyneck 12:06 PM  

I wasn't as offended by SPUD as RP.The SW was a bear (had NASCAR instead), ultimately bailed out by PONYTAIL and the unfortunately arch AWAG.

Anonymous 12:10 PM  

It took me forever to parse DOT EDU, even after entering it in the puzzle. DOTEDU??? Ironic, because I have had an EDU email account for several decades.

JC66 12:19 PM  

@Evil (7:55 AM)

Hand up for throwing in Trainspotter at 4D

@ Mohair (9:57 AM)

How could you possibly know me so well? Your first paragraph described me to a tee!

Teedmn 12:22 PM  

@jae, I agree about the Thursday BEQ which took me two minutes longer than today's puzzle. And here's a link to explain BEQ 8D.

@Nancy, I got the "Chocolat" reference from yesterday. Good stuff, as I recall :-).

Nancy 12:24 PM  

There is a terrible self-slander on the blog today that I feel honor-bound to correct. At 9:48 a.m., @mathgent refers to himself as a "sour old man." No one, not even our current president, could be guilty of a more transparently outrageous lie. @mathgent is just about the sweetest person on this entire blog and may even, for all I know, be the sweetest person on the entire West Coast. So don't believe a word of it, any of you.

@Mohair (11:27) -- No, no, no, not "No No Nanette." The first show tune I ever sang as a child and the first song I ever played (if you want to call it that) on the piano was "Ol' Man River". I also liked singing at a young age, though I never played it on the piano, "You Can't Get a Man With a Gun." This was because the only singers who sang in my range, which is very low (Hi, @GILL) were Ethel Merman, (an alto), and Paul Robeson (a man). And btw, Mohair, "No, No, Nanette" was quite a bit before my childhood. I'm not that old!

Thanks for your comment, @Rad2626 (11:06).

Tom4 12:30 PM  

Typical...of all the things one could point to at a women's World Cup (where the USA actually does well, unlike in the men's) and we get.....PONYTAIL.

Why not just short shorts while we're at it?

GHarris 12:31 PM  

The crossing of the mechanic with St. Peter sent me to Google. Then I changed data to stat and crest to oral b and coasted the rest of the way.

Joe Bleaux 12:46 PM  

Hand up on that. Next most common (but more specific) usage of HIT THE BRICKS I've heard is that it's what you're told to do, or must do, when you get fired.

Anonymous 12:48 PM  

@TAllen, took me awhile to get past the CREST entry. Interesting. My personal tube of Crest 3D White has a TM next to designation. Ongoing lawsuit perhaps?

Carola 1:07 PM  

Tough for me. I edged my way down the right side so had to back my way into those long Acrosses, and that took a while - which was fine...lots to like, fun to finish.

Slowed down by: not writing in STAT immediately (hi @Nancy), because I thought it would have to be STATs; not trusting ROTTEN; wanting BRICKS to be "traCKS"; thinking it was "How cUtE!"; guessing JAGo.

I liked the OMELETTES au fromage crossing CHEESE.

Thanks, commenters, for the Wizard of Oz references.

mac 1:10 PM  

Very nice Saturday! On the easy side, but maybe because I did it after a good long nap after arriving in London this morning. Had to wait a long time to print it out, a massage therapist had obviously worked on the hall computer and printer, and there were some unprinted resumes with picture in the line-up.

Fallon fits where Kimmel belongs, and I had to piece together Jagr and Esiason, otherwise pretty smooth solve.
I liked the Joneses, and I clearly have to check out those Statham movies.

Moly Shu 1:10 PM  

basicSERVICE before PHONESERVICE (as in cable TV) was my main casco. Too many sports gimmies for this to put up a normal Saturday resistance. SPUD was an aha moment after I briefly considered LAPD. Hand up for enjoying Snatch and Lock Stock ....
@Tom4, typical... someone offended by cluing PONYTAIL as something feminine. Yea, we never see them at WWC games. Is it possible the answer came first and the clue was thought up after? Settle down.

Joe Bleaux 1:11 PM  

Nice to see Peter Wentz's byline again. He never disappoints me. After a tough time getting anything going, I found a spark of life in the NE with STRANDS, worked over and down, and, unlike Rex, finished in the NW, which didn't fall easily for me. The sparklier clues I enjoyed already have been cited, and most of my WOEs were PPPs (what else is new?). Speaking of which, I'd like to see the puzzle(s) produced by a handful of crack constructors vying for a prize to be awarded to the one using the fewest PPPs. Hand up on the mild grousing about SHOO AWAY redundancy (in a reply above, I noted that I most strongly relate HIT THE BRICKS to some aspect of getting fired -- but then, you'd indeed be looking for work, as someone mentioned). All around, I enjoyed this puzzle. @Lewis, as usual, said it best: Enough resistance to make it fun.
@doug: Spud Webb! I got to see him AND 'nique get past the soaring Bird when the Hawks played in the Omni.

TAllan 1:11 PM  

Anonymous said...
@TAllen, took me awhile to get past the CREST entry. Interesting. My personal tube of Crest 3D White has a TM next to designation. Ongoing lawsuit perhaps?

Not unless Procter & Gamble which owns both brands sues itself.


Anoa Bob 1:16 PM  

Mr. Wentz adds another CLASS ACT to his xword OEUVRE. The fill was interesting, colorful, even SEXY at times. Fun solve.

I don't think anyone would compare themselves enviously to THE JIM JONSESES. Ever hear of that macabre fire-and-BRIMSTONE tale that ended with a mass TOXIN ingestion?

I had a dog once. YAY ME! His name was not TOTO. Not SPUD either. He would run and jump and get his tail all AWAG and stuff.

QuasiMojo 1:18 PM  

@Nancy, I am deeply sorry if my suggestion of Via Italian Roast was a "bitter" disappointment. If I get back to the city (I moved a while back) I will definitely take you up on your offer. The good thing about those packets is they last a long time. :)

I think Mohair was referring to the revival of No, No Nanette from the 70s with Ruby Keeler. I'm pretty sure the original version would have been on 78s.

You surprised me by saying you have a deep voice. I had envisioned you as a light soprano. Is it a Lauren Bacall type voice or more of a Bea Arthur?

OISK 1:22 PM  

I really enjoyed this one, maybe because like Esiason, I am a "boomer," (or almost, I was born in 1945...) Nancy and I have similar musical tastes; I know only one song from "No No Nanette" (Tea for two, which I have heard in German as "Wenn ein Madel "Ja" gesagt (IIRC), which doesn't translate to anything like "Tea for Two." Ends a nice, clean week no errors since "Mutombe..."

CDilly52 1:25 PM  

Just a wonderful offering. Yes, perhaps a bit "sportsy" but it referenced women via the über-clever PONYTAIL clue. Tough clues, difficult corners to get to and as with so many "DOTEDU" did not look correct even when entered! Love the DOGPARK/SPA crossing. It is exactly what my "Rottman-Shepweiler" (half Rottie, half Shepherd) thinks it is. Run full tilt, play with everyone then jump in the doggie pool and bask in the sun. Perfect puzz for my taste.

Tom4 1:33 PM  

I'm sure the answer PONYTAIL came first and was clued after. The point I raised is about balance and tone - a recurring issue for me. For me, the constructor marred an otherwise lovely, thoughtful puzzle by not finding a more thoughtful clue. This is not unreasonable. It's also not the end of the world.

Anonymous 1:34 PM  


Here in CA it's "go pound sand" for go away.

Kevin 2:30 PM  

Is there any soccer regulation which forbids free hanging hair? The clue for PONYTAIL seems utterly random.

Anonymous 2:35 PM  

The Austin Lounge Lizards have a great song called Keeping Up with the Joneses. Sample lyrics:

I drive my car like Parnelli
And I've been drinking like George
Getting wrecked like ol' Casey
Drinking poison like Jim

Sorry I don't know how to embed, but this is the YouTube


Nancy 2:47 PM  

@Quasi -- Oh, I hope Lauren Bacall :) But actually, I went back to Dalton a few years ago for a day of alumni events and signed up for a "master" singing class of singing with Hal Prince's daughter, a Dalton alumna, whose first name I forget. It might be Daisy, but I'm not sure. Now I've always considered myself an alto from my earliest days, and supposedly the voice deepens over the years. Yet Ms. Prince kept moving me higher. "No, no," she was saying to the pianist, "move the key up to [whatever]." And then, after I sang in that key for a bar or two, she said: "I think you can go even higher." The funny thing was that I actually could. So maybe my alto-ness was merely a function of lack of voice training and that with training, I could at least be a MEZZO soprano. But at age 10, I comfortably sang along with Paul Robeson.

Z 3:13 PM  

@Ellen S and @anon8:19a.m. - I didn't find any support for the meaning of "looking for work" for "hit the bricks." The closest was the first example on the Wiktionary page, but even there it doesn't have that meaning by itself. Most of the other citations are either for today's cluing or the work stoppage meaning. Of course, this doesn't mean that people don't use the "looking for work" meaning, only that it's not a documented meaning.

pmdm 3:24 PM  

Nancy: These days, especially in the pop world, singing higher, which adds brightness, is the goal. For those not professionally trained, that can result ing shrillness or nasal-sounding tones. And if one just develops by oneself, the obvious choice would be to sing in the most comfortable range (assuming one isn't a masochist), which can add a husky quality to a woman's voice which can sound nice.

When a man is singing a scale upward, at a certain point (the "break" point) he needs to change from his normal register to his falsetto register. (I am simplifying things here.) Women have the same type of breakpoint. Classically trained singers work very hard to make sure a listener cannot hear when the singer changes from one register to the other.

To determine your true range, it would be helpful to discover your break point, which would more of less determine which type of singer you really are.

How about the puzzle? These last couple of days I've learned themeless puzzles are not much fun when you a running a fever and continuously coughing up crap. So just let me mount my horse and ride off into the distance, trying not to infect onyone.

Unknown 3:41 PM  

It messed me up entirely

jae 3:42 PM  

@Teedmn - Thanks for the link.

Mohair Sam 3:55 PM  

@Kevin - I watch a lot of the US National Team play. To my knowledge there is no hair regulation. But a lot of the athletes with longer hair wear PONYTAILs on the pitch just to keep the hair out of their face. U.S. Goalie Hope Solo's Pony Tail became more or less a trademark.

Geometricus 4:12 PM  

I look forward to retirement from being a math teacher so I have more time to read books written by Loren Muse Smith. Her dog story made me happy today.

And the puzzle was a fair entertainment that I finished 20 min under my normal Saturday time.

Maria Vee 5:13 PM  

The inherent sexism of the women's World Cup sight being "ponytail" didn't bother anyone but me? Lots of male soccer players rock the man bun and also the ponytail...

evil doug 5:22 PM  

"Inherent sexism"--give me an effin' break. Is that really the best place to invest your feminist capital, or do you maybe want to apply a little judgment instead of flailing at every innocent moment? People like you are why people like me roll our eyes skeptically when radical feminism rears its ugly head....

Anonymous 5:46 PM  

Can someone explain how 'walks or runs is a clue for STAT? I don't get it at all.

evil doug 5:57 PM  

Baseball statistics.

Unknown 6:02 PM  

WTF?!? No mention by Rex of the horrible, horrible IAN/ESIASON Natick? dAN/ESdASON looks much more probable. An obscure basketball star from the 80's?!? C'mon... With JAGR up above, this was a puzzle of dumb sports spellings. Maleska quality grid.

Numinous 6:18 PM  

Walks, runs, RBIs, home runs, ERAs, and errors are all Baseball stats.

PONY TAIL. Day before yesterday I woke up with one. During the day I went to Great Clips. They have a program where they donate hair to children who have lost theirs to cancer chemo. My PONY TAIL was about fourteen inches long so I got to donate it. I started growing it to keep hair out of my eyes but after a while I heard of the hair for cancer patients. Not all of them donate the wigs they make but Great Clips does. I reckon if anyone is going to get any money out of my hair it should be me. What I got is a good feeling. I was going to send @LMS a photo of me in my twenties when I had hair to my shoulders with the statement, "I used to be a long haired hippy" then a photo of my profile with the PONY TAIL with the line, "But now I've put that all behind me." Best laid plans and all that.

The puzzle kept me guessing a lot but somehow I managed to finish in twenty minutes under my average. I thought it was fairly clean. I even thought IOC was cute.

Dolgo 7:42 PM  

Well, I came up with it easily enough, and it makes sense, but AWAG does not passed my "fair game" test, viz. if you can Google it, it's fair game. SPACE TOURISTS, as others have pointed out, is a bit beyond the bounds of fairness as well. It's one of those cues that make sense, but is really intended to show off clever clue making.
This one was hard for me. Sports figures are always s challenge.

RooMonster 7:53 PM  

Good stuff. Glad you donated it. I was also a long-hair in my 20's, got to probably 12 inches, but decided to cut it one day, for all things a girl I knew I couldn't get regardless. Ah, youth. But then grew it back long, but once again cut it off and donated to Locks of Live after I got tired of messing with it! Now I'm a limo driver, so every two months I get it cut with #3 shaver attachment. What hair I have left, that is!


brainpercy 9:01 PM  

Wish people wish people would recognize women's World Cup has more to offer than PONY TAIL and sports bras. Really don't like the clue and its implications.

Is STAT no longer considered an abbreviation?

Still, this is one of the few Saturdays I've ever done without any uncertain entries for me, so was definitely easy in my book. Sexism/belittling of women's sport aside, a satisfying construction for me.

Any reason for two Wizard of Oz references right next to one another or was that just incidental? (Thought it made TOTO a little too easy so I even hesitated a bit when I had T--O soon after filling KANSAN)

brainpercy 9:06 PM  

I'm with you, @Maria. The implication that the most notable element to the WWC is the players' hairstyle is disagreeable to many, including me. I was hoping the answer for the clue would actually have something to do with the sport/event/game.

What would be the answer if it were about beach volleyball?

brainpercy 9:10 PM  

Ah ahah. I didn't see the other Oz references in there, thanks for pointing them out!

Happy Pencil 10:06 PM  

I don't see where anyone's saying that pony tails are never seen at women's world cup games -- I think the point being made is that these are elite athletes with an impressive track record and they're getting reduced to their hair style. This is, I'm quite sure, the winningest team in women's soccer, with multiple world cup titles to their credit (remind me again how many WCs the US men's team has won?), and all we can say about them is: "Hey, look at their cute little pony tails"?

It's almost as bad as cluing Marie and Irene Curie as wives, which happened not too long ago. There is a tone-deafness about these kinds of clues that is disturbing. Unless my calendar is wrong, it's 2017, not 1957.

Anonymous 11:06 PM  

@Happy Pencil, sexism never goes out of fashion. Makes no difference whether this is 1957 or 2017, nor will it in 2107. Technology changes, people don't.

Mohair Sam 11:22 PM  

@Happy Pencil - The clue did not mention the U.S. Women's team, nor did it mention cute. It did, however assume that the last thing a solver would think of concerning women athletes at the World Cup level would be a hair style. It's called a misdirect, and it was a damned good one. I laughed when it filled because I was fooled, and have no idea why anyone would think it diminishes the women athletes in any way.

And what on earth does the performance of the U.S. men's soccer team have to do with your point here?

@Numinous - Tip of the cap! Good man.

JFe 9:20 AM  


My daughter attended a leading university. Super smart. In a class of mostly boys, he thought it hilarious to refer to her as "ponytail girl" for the semester. "Let's hear what ponytail girl has to say."

I guess to complain would have been "radical feminism" unleashed.

Marc 9:54 AM  

The women's world cup is ONE place where you can find a ponytail. Do crossword clues have to be definitives? Obviously not, by design. No problem with the cluing for me.

bswein99 10:35 AM  

Most of the puzzle went pretty quickly but I had to take a break from the SW corner because I couldn't make significant headway. When I came back I finally got the absurd "toycar" and (like Rex) that gave me ponytail, and it hit me why I couldn't solve that corner--I HATE the idea that the sight associated with the incredible athletic performances in the Women's World Cup is a f---ing ponytail!

Ruth F 1:05 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Len Van Vliet 1:40 PM  

Dot.edu? Took me two days to understand that one. Granted, I've been busy cooking, but really! What the heck is that!

Len Van Vliet 1:40 PM  

Dot.edu? Took me two days to understand that one. Granted, I've been busy cooking, but really! What the heck is that!

Burma Shave 9:45 AM  


WHOA, her PONYTAIL is SEXY, give her CHEESECAKE photos a peep,
this CLASSACT just RECs me, I go DEAF when she TOXIN her sleep.


BS2 10:06 AM  


THEMECHANIC had a PITFALL, it SET up a PAWS, ATAD BLEAK and bizarre,

brought to you by DOT.EDU

rondo 10:31 AM  

About 23 minutes with several of the common PITFALLs of the day. My toothpaste was at first cRest, my TVs were rcaS, and my lifetime works were OpUses/OEUrvE/OEUVRE. THORO inkfests there, clean the rest of the way.

ESIASON/IAN not a Natick. Boomer still announces games and who could forget the Thorpedo?

Today’s yeah babies gotta be THEJONESES, SEXY CLASSACTs Grace and Norah, that is. TAKETO and call me in the morning.

That about USESUP my break time. Back to work, YAYME.

spacecraft 12:41 PM  

Easy-medium sounds about right. The vivid memory at the end of "Amok Time," when Spock discovers Kirk isn't dead: "Captain! JIM!!" is still fresh. Then off the J came THEJONESES and NOISEMAKERS, and I thought, is this really Saturday?

But the marvelous--yet very fair--misdirect at 1-across blocked a start there, so once again the NW became my finishing place. Are you ready for this? I have never heard of Jason Statham. The new, extreme action-adventure flicks are NOT my thing. They are literally "2 Fast, 2 Furious." But crosses eventually determined we had "THE--" something, so 1a wasn't a plural after all. Aha! STAT!

Enjoyed a mini-trip back to Oz with TOTO and KANSAN Auntie Em...might as well throw in DOD young Judy Garland.

This puzzle is a solid CLASSACT and gets a birdie.

rain forest 3:12 PM  

Easy medium here, as well. First entries were KANSAN, BLEAK, TOTO, and I briefly thought we had an Oz theme happening. HIT THE BRICKS reinforced that. Btw, that phrase, to me, means to cease work and go on strike, but I see that today's clue is just fine.

Lovely grid with just a couple of wincers (THORO, AWAG), good long downs, and clever cluing. Is SHOO AWAY really redundant? Does someone say, "I shooed those dogs", or "I shooed those dogs away"? I think the latter, but of course, I've been known to be unnecessarily redundant.

I knew all the sports figures, but STAT was difficult to parse for too long.

A good week of puzzles, I say.

Diana,LIW 3:20 PM  

Had a one-letter Natick - yup, the proper names ES_ASON/_AN - I guessed Dan. Household names, I'm sure, from 13 and 19 years ago.

The rest followed my Saturday strategy - slow but steady. Was really proud of getting THEMECHANIC, since that would not ever be a film I'd view. And PONYTAIL, TOYCAR, SHOO (not send) AWAY, PITFALL, THEJONSES. YAYME!

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Anonymous 3:27 PM  

Two answers had to be looked up. Esiosan and Taketo. The first meant changed Cared to Nosed. Was still having trouble because Asseup did not make sense. Double checked and there were no as_e_p words at all in the database. Hence there was a mistake. I realized Joe was not Mac,but Mud. So if you count that is 3 hints. If not then 2 to solve today's puzzle. I needed to look up 6-7 letters.


Wooody2004 3:55 PM  

Another Wizard of Oz reference could be HITTHEBRICKS if you think of Pink Floyd's The Wall video. Also, a 4th grade CLASSACTed in the video.

If there was a Crossword Puzzle Annual Awards Ceremony (the Griddies?) 36A, ones counting down to vacation time, would be nominated for Best Clue.

37D, PONYTAIL, would be nominated if there was a Bechtel Test/Razzie Award for most sexist answer.

leftcoastTAM 5:13 PM  

There's a whole lot to like about this one. Some good clue-answers like CLASSACT, PONYTAIL, and THEJONESES, not to speak of the SPUD to chips process, a neat process.

Slowed down with THEMECHANIC, HITTHEBRICKS (not the road?), TOYCAR, and DOGPARKS (good one).

And then, Louis the who? FAT? Okay, but I had cAT and the crossing PITcALL. Though they both made sense.

But I was wrong.

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