Von Rothbart's daughter in ballet / SAT 6-24-17 / Running gold medalist Steve / Combination undergarment / Old competitor of bikini bare / One-named singer with 2013 top 5 hit Gentleman / Jazz Fest setting informally / Company with striking footwear

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Constructor: Stu Ockman

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging


THEME: none 

Word of the Day: ALAN Bean (19A: Bean in a pod?)
Alan LaVern Bean (born March 15, 1932), (CAPT, USN, Ret.), is an American former naval officer and Naval Aviator, aeronautical engineer, test pilot, and NASA astronaut; he was the fourth person to walk on the Moon. He was selected to become an astronaut by NASA in 1963 as part of Astronaut Group 3. He made his first flight into space aboard Apollo 12, the second manned mission to land on the Moon, at the age of thirty-seven years in November 1969. He made his second and final flight into space on the Skylab 3 mission in 1973, the second manned mission to the Skylab space station. After retiring from the United States Navy in 1975 and NASA in 1981, he pursued his interest in painting, depicting various space-related scenes and documenting his own experiences in space as well as that of his fellow Apollo program astronauts. (wikipedia) (I guess Bean is in a "pod" because ... space pod? I searched "pod" on the wikipedia page and turned up nothing)
• • •

Fairly clean for a lowish-word-count puzzle, but fairly dull as well. HOPE TO GOD and MALIA OBAMA are sharp, and DEMOLITION DERBY is OK (but not original—this clue is basically recycled from 2001). But the rest just sits there. It was a fine workout, but more routine and lackluster than I expect from a Saturday. The over-reliance on proper nouns is a bit of a drag here. The NE gets particularly bad, with LAALAA next to ERNEST crossing ALAN, right in the same section with the worst cross in the whole puzzle: ODILE / OVETT. That's dire. That's a one-way ticket to Natick for some people, especially considering the relative popularity of the AVETT Brothers. Yikes. Anyway, that section is yuckily name-dense. Rest of the grid doesn't have this same issue, though ESALEN will be rough for youngSTERs (just as ODELAY will be rough for oldSTERs).  LAALAA and LALA in the same grid? With YAYAS? Nah, nah. Make better choices.


I had a rougher-than-usual time with this one, due almost entirely to the wheels coming off in the SE. Looking back, my stuckness doesn't make sense. It's stupid. I should've been much faster. I just Could Not see (or, later, spell) NOXZEMA (35D: Brand once advertised with "Take it off. Take it all off"). I had BELOW ZERO and PARALLELED and FOWL and (tentatively) BOLES, and (more tentatively) NOLA, but ... nope. Stuck. N--ZE-- was staring at me and all I could think of was NETZERO, which seemed unlikely to have had a slogan about "taking it all off." Kept plugging in *correct* answers (MEGA, FORTY, e.g.) but still not seeing things. Turns out I did that thing where I don't look at all the damned clues before behaving as if I'm stuck. Once I looked at 52A: "Love is not ___" ("Tears on My Pillow" lyric), I found I could sing the song (is it in "Grease" somewhere? Not sure how I know it), and so my brain started to sing it ("Love is not a gadget...") and bam, A TOY went in. Then DAY at the end of DAY-TO-DAY; then MEGA. Finally "got it," but "it" was ... NOCZEMA. Which left me with BOCSET for 41A: It might contain a discography). Oy. Another minute or so of befuddlement followed. Then completion.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

92 comments:

jae 12:25 AM  

An easy-medium Sat. for me. I put in OAKS and NEET and was off and running. The only place I was slightly hung up was @Rex SE and then I saw BOXSET and finished. I remembered the commercial line but it took some crosses to recall NOXZEMA (kind of an odd smell if I remember correctly).

If this one went too quickly for you I would recommend the Feb. 22, 1997 Sat. puzzle by A. J. Santora. The top half is kind of tough but the bottom half is almost 50% PPPs with several WOEs for me. I missed it by 3 squares.

Mark Barrett 12:32 AM  

I could not spell NOXZEMA either as I had NOXCEMA. For the goose I had FOUL in thinking a pinch from behind. That left me hoping for some kind of unknown weather term of another language as I made BELOUCERO.

David Fladger 12:34 AM  
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puzzlehoarder 12:36 AM  

This was really three puzzles in one. I happened to have a glass of ice water so I stopped for a drink and timed each one as I finished them. The NW corner including the two long downs went in faster than I've ever done a Monday. The middle section was like a Wednesday and the SW corner was average Monday time. I'm not a fast solver so this all added up to 33:29. This was a fun solve but the routine feeling is probably due to the dearth of debut material. The debuts were (both of them) were fairly common. Square for square the SW was the closest to a Saturday challenge mostly due to three write overs. I'll spare you the details.

George Barany 12:46 AM  

I enjoyed @Rex's analysis of his solving process on @Stu Ockman's puzzle; it somewhat matched my own, other than @Rex being much faster and much better. To @Stu Ockman (who I had the pleasure to meet at past American Crossword Puzzle tournaments), glad to see your byline back in the New York Times, and I refer those who may be interested to your constructor comments posted elsewhere.

Though I wasn't sure of the spelling, the "take it all off" clue brought back memories of this classic commercial which ran when I was in my teens [full disclosure: @Joe Namath had a penthouse in the same complex where we had a modest 3rd floor apartment, right above a bar called "The Jet Set"]. Whoops, the "take it off" tagline is even older, i.e., 1967 -- see this clip, and cringe.

Also, no Natick for me at the square marked 26, having often watched "Swan Lake" and remembering @Steve OVETT who won the gold medal in the 1500-meters race at the 1980 Olympics (his rival, @Sebastian Coe, often appears in crossword puzzles; for more, read this article).

The Obamas named their two daughters to both have A's in the 2nd and 5th positions (and no, I don't know the Secret Service code names for any of the Trump children, either). The HOMELOANS clue was especially clever. At the start of a Minnesota summer, who wants to be reminded of BELOW ZERO temperatures that we faced as recent as February.

Very Saturday clue for ALTER EGO completely fooled me, but it seems legit. My new vocabulary word for the day, CORSELET (though it appears to be a variant spelling of "corselette"), and while I'm a big fan of TAP DANCERS, the company referred to in the clue eluded me in some perfunctory Googling. Can anyone help? [more full disclosure, another resident of that same apartment complex referred to above: @Sammy Davis, Jr., near the end of his marriage to @May Britt].

Larry Gilstrap 12:56 AM  

Well, that was tough enough for me. I, like OFL, struggled in the SE and was strangely able to sing most of "Tears on My Pillow," but will stubbornly channel the original by Little Anthony and the Imperials. Other references to popular music include the Rolling Stones and Beck's ODELAY, which my phone tells me was released in 1996, believe it or not. I admire Beck as a versatile singer and a serious musician. I would buy a BOX SET, if I didn't already own the CDs. I know PSY only from puzzles.

We had the great fortune to visit the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest in the White Mountains of Eastern California. This dry and barren place is home to the oldest trees in the world, some date back 4,000 years. While visiting, we ran into botanists from the University of Arizona who were taking dendrochronology samples from the BOLES of the trees. Fascinating! We were told that specimens of dead TREE STUMPS lying on the ground were over 7,000 years old.

Now might be a good time to visit ESALEN, if you're into seclusion. Big Sur is currently even more isolated due to the massive landslide that has closed Highway 1 north of the resort. Great portions of that scenic road are without vehicular traffic.

I like both MINCEMEAT and fruit cake. particularly those that have been basted with an adult beverage.

Moly Shu 1:28 AM  

MALIAOBAMA is "sharp" but any mention of the Trump children is normalizing and likely to send OFL into a rage. C'mon @Rex, your bias is showing (hi @DavidFladger). ESALEN and ODILE were new but fairly crossed, for me anyway.

@Roo, your home town/oven made it in today. Maybe that's a good omen. Keep plugging away.

Bryce 1:29 AM  

SE killed me. I got there, but I'm glad the website doesn't keep track of maximum times because 1:19 would be up there.

ALTEREGO for bosom buddy? Does someone refer to their close friend as their alter ego? I don't get it, can someone explain this to me? Also I guess AMBLE can be a noun, but still.

Then I had EVERYDAY instead of DAYTODAY and thought ombre was Spanish and might have SIETE cards and maybe love is not EASY and...much staring. Finally BELOW ZERO clicked and a few minutes later NOXZEMA and then things went fine, and finally I could start playing guess-the-vowel in odile/ovett. I think the grid looks nice at the end, but the cluing just wasn't fun.

tkincher 2:27 AM  

The ODILE/OVETT crossing was a natick for me. Pretty challenging overall, especially the SE. but I will never mind seeing Odelay in a puzzle.

Anoa Bob 2:32 AM  

I confidently put in TREES RINGS for the 17A dendrology clue. STUMPS stumped me, at first. I'm familiar with the dendro- combining form meaning "tree" from neuroanatomy, where dendrites are branching, tree-like filaments extending away from one neuron cell body that can receive incoming signals, via synapses, coming in from the axons of other neuron cell bodies.

This puzz really taxed my synaptic axon-to-dendrite connections, which is a good thing. Ultimately DNFed at the aforementioned ODILE-OVET-LAALAA stumper.

MISUSE (or just USE) is another oddity of our language. It can be either a verb or a noun, and that determines which of two slightly different pronunciations apply, with a yooz (like the sound of a series of Us) for the former and yoose (rhymes with GOOSE) one for the latter.

ADD the prefix "un-" TO HINGED and a rather pedestrian word transforms into something much more colorful and interesting. Have you ever seen someone become unHINGED?

Hey, it's the weekend. I think I'll go out and get my LALA LAALAA SALAS YAYAS on. Maybe have an IDITAROD on the rocks at my local I BAR.

Anonymous 2:36 AM  

Great Saturday puzzle for me. Lots of tough spots, but ultimately got it all. Super low word count and virtually no junk. Just challenging enough.

jae 3:03 AM  

Forgot to say that I agree with @Rex that this was a tad bland, but still a solid Sat., liked it.

Loren Muse Smith 4:16 AM  
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Loren Muse Smith 4:19 AM  

IDITAROD and FORTY BELOW ZERO – Cool. I’ve slept outside in weather like that, and boy howdy you lie there and question whether you really have to go to the bathroom. For several hours, you question it.

@Puzzlehoarder – your comment reminded me to drink my water. I’m on a kick of trying to drink more water, so every few minutes I go stand at the sink and make myself take 14 gulps. After a few days, I blow up like a tick and abandon the whole plan.

@George B – So CORSELET is your new vocabulary word for the day. You’re gonna have some awkward exchanges with people. Let me know how that works out for ya, buddy.

We played KEEP AWAY in my front yard in Lilburn with a little stuffed bunny. We were in high school. It was surprisingly fun. D. Flake could lob that thing all the way across the yard. A megalobster.

@Larry G - any clue with “botanical” (17A) or “ –ology” (41D) are non-starters for me. Hah. TREE STUMP and BOLES are both in the world of botanicalology. Double whammy. (I’ve said before – “noted” in a clue means that this answer is so obscure I have no chance in hell of getting it.)

@Anoa Bob – good one! I saw LALA and LAA LAA sharing the grid (with 6 other LAs) as a good thing. Mrs. Shalala, LaaLaa - LaLa Land lags a bit. Hey – gotta get your yayas somewhere.

And speaking of fun with language, I stopped completely with the clue (9D) “sanctions.” That word can mean two opposite things: allow or prohibit. And if you squint, so can OBLIGE – force someone else to act or do an act yourself for someone else. (And did they dust the crops with ALAR and then go home and dust the SETTEE? Or if you happen upon a woman standing there in a barely-there corselet holding a fire extinguisher, you can ask What did you put out? What do you think, George?)

@Mark Barrett – I had “foul” first because I just misspelled it. This is a fascinating clip, in a Konrad Lorenz kind of way, of a fowl. It kinda reminds me (minus the romantic aspect – I don’t have a crush on him - honestly) of what I did to Patrick Berry at the ACPT two years ago. To my credit, I was sneakier, so he hopefully didn’t notice.

Stu – nicely done. And only four three-letter entries.

phil phil 4:39 AM  

Take it all off.. swore it was Gilette or is it gillete hmm. Fits like a round peg in a square hole. But I had less prob there. It was like Rex said the name crosses that stiemied me. Even Sasha then Maria then Mahia yikes I didn't realize they have a MAHIA. Common given name in Hawaii. I believe one of there fragrent tropicals too.
The DOpE for handouts as well as pAApAA seemed reasonable to me but DNF on the rest of the names in NE.

phil phil 4:40 AM  

Oops MALIA

Thomaso808 6:21 AM  

@George, don't overthink it. Any dance company that does tap wears striking, i.e. tap, dance shoes.

I really like the puzzle though reading the reviews and comments and can see how it could be seen as dull. In Xwordinfo the constructor Stu Ockman admits he was pushing it with LALA and LAALAA, and OAKS and OKS. But the fill is all clean and diverse. My wife the supermom got LAALAA on the first L but made me work it out on the crosses, then when I figured it out said "OK what color was LAALAA?" (Answer: yellow).

I agree OVETT / ODILE is pretty brutal. I have no clue who ODILE is. I lucked out as a former high school track coach in the 80's somewhere in the back of my brain was OVETT. But ODILE / LAALAA could also be a Natick on the crossing L.

Thomaso808 6:38 AM  

Also, as @LMS mentioned, what kind of crazy word is the clue "Sanctions" (9D)? How did we English speakers get into this mess -- does anyone know? Even if we could get Congress to pass a law to sanction any further use of the word sanction, we'd be right back where we started!

Randy 6:48 AM  

Average time for a Saturday for me but felt difficult - only got a few fills in my first pass across and down. This is what I want for a Saturday, though - initially impenetrable but slowly revealing itself, very rewarding. Took me forever to remember ESALEN, which was at the tip of my tongue for a few minutes, and I think "bosom buddy" is a terrible clue for ALTEREGO. I know it can mean that, but it seems to be used much more frequently to refer to the same person presenting themselves in different ways in different circumstances, or an author's literary counterpart. "Dedalus, for Joyce", for example, would be a much better clue.

Roberta Weiner 6:50 AM  

Incredibly hard but always fascinated by our different wheelhouses. Odile was one of the few easy ones for me, from Swan Lake, possibly the most famous ballet after the Nutcracker. And yes Tears on my pillow was featured in the dance scene in the movie Grease. Am I the only one who went British with Secret Service?

Jonathan Alexander 7:06 AM  

As soon as I got LAALAA, LALA, YAYAS, my first though was "Rex will rip this apart"

Alicia Stetson 7:09 AM  

"Another minute or so of befuddlement followed. Then completion." Sounds like my sex life.

QuasiMojo 7:13 AM  

This was a tough one for me. Noxzema was a gimme since I still use the stuff. But "alter ego" messed me up because it is not what I would consider a synonym for "bosom buddy." Hardly. My mind thought it must be a joke of some sort so I was thinking of something "udderly" different. Same with that "Radiance" clue. I kept trying to squeeze Marilyn Monroe in there. Haha. I had to cheat on some of the pop stuff. PSY for instance. But I guessed right on YAYAS and A TOY. All in all a pleasant mental challenge which is just what I want on a Saturday.

Roberta Weiner 7:15 AM  
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Glimmerglass 7:53 AM  

Great Saturday! Lots of hard spots. Very satisfying for me to persevere and eventually succeed. @Rex: it should not be a surprise to you that I (and others) are far more interested in your struggles (e.g. NOXZEMA) than in your boredom. Your boredom is boring. A group of my highschool students made a videotape (reel-to-reel in those days) to show how boring school is. The film showed kids being bored. They were surprised that every audience, including other students, found it the world's worst movie ever.

Anonymous 7:57 AM  

Pod: This was in the movie The Right Stuff. There's a scene where Werner von Braun refers to the spaceship as a "pod"; however, Lyndon Johnson, having difficulty with von Braun's heavy accent, exclaims "a Pot?!!!" That's my guess as to the source of "Bean in a pod." (A funnier misunderstanding in the movie occurs when von Braun says "specimen," and Johnson replies "space man?!!!")

Anonymous 8:07 AM  

Phil Montag.

DJG 8:14 AM  

"just as ODELAY will be rough for oldSTERs"

That album came out 21 years ago, FYI.

Two Ponies 8:24 AM  

Wicked good fun.
I always hesitate when writing paralleled. The double L goes where?

I don't live in Vegas anymore but does anyone know Paradise who doesn't live there? I doubt that many tourists notice the small signs that say "Entering the town of Paradise." If they do it's probably taken as a joke. Lots of word play there like Pair-a-dice.

kitshef 8:34 AM  

LALA LAALAA. ODILE ODELAY.

NE is just brutal. LAALAA/ERNEST/ALAN/ODILE are all WoEs, crossing one another. Roaming further afield, ESALEN????? CORSELET?

Completely thrown off when TREE rings didn’t fit at 17A and could not imagine what other TREE thing it could be.

AW 9:00 AM  

How does "Be worth it" (46D) = PAY? I actually had the AY but could not get the P without using "reveal word" in the online app. And I still don't get it.

More Whit 9:02 AM  

The NE paralleled its below zero weather: hard and often seemingly unfair. Had a momentary misspelling of Noxzema but kept playing the ad in my head, did the algebra and found x in box set. But that NE corner...brrrrr.

jackj 9:30 AM  

@AW 9:00AM-

Maybe it's easiest to try a reverse look with "Crime doesn't PAY" i.e., it's not "worth it."

Trombone Tom 9:34 AM  

Went through this puzzle quickly until I nearly Naticked at the ODILE/OVETTE crossing. Somehow had ODeta stuck in my mind for Swan Lake until that icky Teletubby saved the day. Thank goodness the grandkids never got into LAALAA or Barney to any extent.

Didn't know the LAS VEGAS Paradise; we have one up near Chico in Northern California. Many summer tourists buy homes there without realizing how cold it gets in winter.

Other than that tough crossing, thought this was pretty mellow for a Saturday. Not the usual DEMOLITION DERBY.

Birchbark 9:34 AM  

I misspelled PARALELLED in the southeast, which gave me NORELCO instead of NOXZEMA. ODILE was a double-Natick of sorts with ODILE/LAALAA crosses. The L was inferable, but I didn't get the O until the third random try.

NATICK has become so familiar by now that it would be sort of fun to see it in a crossword again (maybe an April fool revealer?). My sister lives there. It's a nice town next to Wellesley, outside of Boston. And the Natick were among the first Native Americans the Puritans encountered when they settled at Boston.

Rob 9:35 AM  

Am I missing something re: 1-Down? To me, ON THE MAP isn't "worthy of notice," it's *already* noticed. You don't say that something people ought to know about is ON THE MAP. You would say that about something that's already getting acclaim.

Solid puzzle otherwise, that one clue kind of ruins the NW corner for me though. Not a fan of STER myself.

Mary Perry 9:40 AM  

When I saw the clue take it off take it all off I immediately remembered the racy ad with Joe Nameth shaving -- and filled in Gillette which caused a huge delay in solving the crosses. So this took forever but was fun. I guess you could say it pays!

RooMonster 9:54 AM  

Hey All !
Talk about an obscure clue for LAS VEGAS. I live there, and it still took a while to get. In case you were wondering (I know you were...), Paradise is a section of town not "officially" in LAS VEGAS. It's what's called Unincorporated Clark County. Technically, The Strip is also in Unincorporated Clark County. Not sure where the Official City line ends, but a bunch of the city is actually little burgs, which includes Paradise. Heck, the airport is in Paradise, and I believe most of The Strip. Weird, huh? But still an obscure clue!

Puz was typical SatPuz tough. Did online, so Check feature... um, featured a lot in my solve. Some nice entries, some obscure ones. ESALEN a big WOE.

Was in a DEMOLITION DERBY once. Fun. To get the car ready is actually a lot of work. Car I had had no brakes, which aren't necessarily necessary. But to stop or go into reverse or forward meant slamming into someone, which, of course, is the whole point. Finished second in my heat, but even if I won that heat, it meant going back for the finale, and my car wouldn't have been drivable anyway. Broke the rear axle. :-)

HOPE TO GOD KEEP AWAY BELOW ZERO (which is why I live in LAS VEGAS!)
RooMonster
DarrinV

Tim Aurthur 9:57 AM  

Had Clara before ODILE, which slowed down the NE.

Any deficits in this puzzle are more than made up for by NOXZEMA, and remembering that commercial. It's on YouTube.

mathgent 9:58 AM  

Respectable Saturday but tainted by "ombré," a card game popular centuries ago, and a couple of other clunkers. I learned a few things like "dendrochronology" and TREESTAMPS, what flanges are, what ALAR is (I thought that it was an insecticide), CORSELET (my wife hasn't heard of them).

I remembered the commercial for a shaving cream but couldn't remember which one. I had GILETTE for a while. I had to cheat to get NOXZEMA.

We had heard of The Americans which runs on FX and had watched an episode from the first season but didn't follow it. One of my sons told me the other day how much he loves it. We've started it from Netflix and are halfway through the first season. High quality production, excellent acting, smart plotting, well defined characters.

Stanley Hudson 10:15 AM  

This "oldster" (will soon turn 60) remembers ODELAY as one of the best albums of the 90s. Wonder if Beck will ever be inducted into the R'n'R HOF?

@Alicia Stetson, genuine LOL.

@Trombone Tom, I know several retirees who bought homes in Paradise, CA in summer without researching the winters. None lasted more than two years before selling and moving.

Teedmn 10:21 AM  

Easy Saturday here for me (just short of 26 minutes, so not fast). I had a lot of fun learning about TREE STUMPS when I was thinking dendrons/dendrites were brain-related. They both branch out, I guess.

Like @LMS, I have spent time in a tent in sub-ZERO temps but I think I have finally learned to just get up and get that latrine visit over right away - you get back in bed and warm up instead of lying there in dread with a full bladder. Back in my mountain-biking days, I subscribed to "Dirt Rag" magazine where I read an article about a guy doing the IDITAROD on a mountain bike. He did experience 40 BELOW ZERO temps. I found myself wondering if I could do that - my heart says yes but my hands and feet would never make it.

"Tears on my Pillow" had me convinced it was an Elvis Costello song but I was mistakenly thinking of Tears Before Bedtime, a catchy little tune now stuck in my head.

DEMOLITION DERBY was my first thought when I saw the 7D clue except HOPE TO die was demolishing my attempts to splatz it in. But HOPE TO die is less a wish than a promise - I eventually confirmed enough crosses to be able to switch die to GOD. Except for that and NOcZEMA blocking my BOX SET for about 5 minutes, this puzzle flowed smoothly - no fears from ODILE, which gave me the "huh?" of OVETT. I finally figured out who ODILE and Odette were after seeing "Black Swan" with Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis.

ODILE/ODELAY, LAALAA/LALA, I don't call FOWL on those at all, thanks Stu Ockman.


Lewis 10:24 AM  

@philphil and @maryperry -- "Gilette" killed me in the SE as well.

FACTOID: FedEx CEO Fred Smith saved his company in the 1970s by gambling their last $5000 in LAS VEGAS. He turned 5K into $32K by playing Blackjack. This allowed FedEx to stay in business a few days longer, at which point he was able to raise $11M to keep FedEx going.

QUOTOID: "Maturity is a high price to PAY for growing up." -- Tom Stoppard

swimfellow 10:37 AM  

I believe the bosom buddy clue referred to the television show with Tom Hanks, where he plays an ALTEREGO... this messed me up on this puzzle for the longest time -- nothing was happening in the SE for whatever reason and my insistence on TOMHANKS was probably why.

Hartley70 10:37 AM  

Just like @Rex, I had this until I hit the SE. NOXZEMA was the key, but Barbasol kept closing the door. The ad was good fun at the time and the Swedish model was something else. TV ads just aren't as fun any more. They seem to always want me to talk to my doctor about a drug for some dread disease I may have. I'd like to "take it off, take it all off" the air.

I loved seeing ODILE to save me from OVETT. TAPDANCERS was very trickily clued. Nicely done, Stu!

I'm crazy for MINCEMEAT, but no one else in the family can stand it, so I tend to live without it on the holidays. My neighbor had the same situation so every year one of us would make a pie and split it. Sigh. She's missed.

ESALEN was a name from the past, but easy to remember. It reminds me of a time when celebrity retreats were pleasurable and didn't involve some sort of rehab.

Anonymous 10:41 AM  

First tough Saturday in a while and I loved it.

Also: Odelay is a great album.

Unknown 10:44 AM  

Having been a teen girl in the 80s and 90s, I had no problems spelling Noxzema. The SE was still the hardest for me like most others. I had a problem with ALTER EGO. I didn't think "bosom buddy " was an apt clue for that one.

Donna Flynn 10:45 AM  

Ohhhhh. Maybe you're right.

Mohair Sam 10:45 AM  

Good Saturday battle. Guessed right at the ODILE/LAALAA crossing and avoided a dnf - brutal PPP corner there, luckily my Steve OVETT memory bubble was still in active storage (tip of the cap to Sebastion Coe for that).

IDITAROD opened the day, and then knew it had to be one of the OBAMA girls. Lady Mohair got DEMOLITIONDERBY off the two D's - beat that. Lost ton of time pulling a casco with everyDAY before DAYTODAY.

Always heard New Orleans called "Nahlins", now it seems to be "NOLA" - or have I just missed it all these years? Didn't notice the new-to-us ESALEN in the puzzle, that's how easily the NW filled. Didn't want to put in LALA because we already had LAALAA, anyone else feel that? Hesitated on PARALLELED because it seems more than similar.

Nice Saturday Stu Ockman, thanks.

swimfellow 10:46 AM  

Rough Saturday for a relative newcomer to crosswording. Though, I was proud of myself for immediately associating bosom buddy with the television series Bosom Buddies starring Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari, in which the two play ALTEREGOs... Unfortunately for me, my insistence on TOMHANKS in an otherwise dry corner for me probably increased my solve time by 10 minutes or so.

Anonymous 10:55 AM  

I can't think of anything to say.

Maruchka 11:01 AM  

Mezza mezz, here. PPPness meant many look-ups. Memory lane ain't what she used to be.

NOXZEMA was de rigueur for adolescent skin break outs. Don't know if it actually helped, but sure felt and smelt great.

Hey @RooMonster - wow, good for you. Loved DEMOLITION DERBYs back in that day. Boyfriend was in a car club, and we did all kinds of auto activities. Most were harmless, and glad to have survived the really dumb stuff that wasn't. Made me a better driver.

@StanleyH - My family vacationed at Richardson Springs every spring, after the rattlers were dynamited out. I was fascinated by the sign to 'PARADISE'. Always wanted to go there.. never did. Love those buttes.

Nancy 11:13 AM  

Interesting. @Mary Perry (9:40) remembers the Joe Namath NOCZEMA ad. I remember the Swedish model, Gunilla Knudsen, lasciviously shaving a peach, while crooning suggestively "Take it off. Take it all off!" Gunilla, of the long skinny blonde hair gently caressing her [absolutely perfect] high Swedish cheekbones.
God, I hated Gunilla. And, like everyone else, I had to wrack my brain to remember how to spell NOXZEMA. But at least I knew NOXZEMA, since I didn't know any of the other PPP. At least not from the clues.

For me this was a real toughie, I had to begin all the way down with DYES at 50A and work my way back up. I was sure, when I first looked at the puzzle, that I was going down to defeat. But I prevailed. My biggest writeover was at 15A. I had CRoAK for the "audible sign of age," and was sure I was right. I've had a cold, have been coughing, and my resultant croaking has lasted for weeks. And even when I'm not sick, my singing voice simply doesn't have the je ne sais quoi it had when I was 20. Or even 40. Sigh. (But I CREAK, too, if truth be told.) Anyway, I found this a challenging puzzle and I liked it a lot.

crackblind 11:19 AM  

I knew NOXZEMA immediately and that it had an X (I'm an old), but I didn't remember that it also had a Z so I got stuck there for a bit because of the letter count. And while it matters to Rex, I am not so bothered about a clue and answer repeated from 16 years ago.

GILL I. 11:20 AM  

Ooof. This was slow and a lot of hard work. OAKS had to be right but when the 1A is easy, I become skeptical. I then thought what the hell and added NEET. By the way that stuff never works. You want to get rid of the hairy stuff you gotta use the hot wax method...good for a month.
I was stuck in the little upper west section but I had TREE and HOPE so I was determined as hell to get that part done and over with. Completely blanked at ESALEN. I've been to Big Sur a hundred times at least. When I lived in San Francisco, it was a week-end getaway and yet I forgot all about that Gestalt-find your inner self, get a life, HOPE TO GOD LA LA land. I had been refreshed by that place by watching yummy Don in the finale of Mad Men.
Went over to the East and had my first Google taste. ERNEST and OVETT and the fat little Tubby. That opened up the whole upstairs section for me.
@Hartley I too love MINCE MEAT pie. I always make it Thanksgiving knowing no one else will touch it so it becomes all mine.
YAYAS was the only thing staring at me once I reached the basement. All Stu needed to add were TATAS to go with the torturous CORSELET that was probably invented by YSL. @Mark B...Hah! Add me to the BELOUCERO. I thought what a neat name for some weather phenomena. So...I failed!
My favorite "I'm going to figure this out no matter what and I won't Google" entry was finally getting MALIA OBAMA. I had MALI_O___A. Was thinking some kind of British Isle, something to do with the Queen and then just by staring at it long enough I finally got it. I love when that happens.
The Delta breeze is upon us in Sacramento and my brain was only fried for a week. Paradise!


AW 11:45 AM  

Thank you, jackj. Now I get it!

Carola 11:57 AM  

Nice one! I was on a comfortable AMBLE through the grid, admiring the scenery - TAP DANCERS, SALIENT, KEEP AWAY, DIADEMS - when I ran into roadblocks getting into the SE. What weather phenomenon starts with BE-? Why doesn't NOLA cross with everyDAY - or NOrelco with A TOY? In the end it all came down to "Who put the Z in NOXZEMA?" BELOW ZERO - geez, not like I've never heard of it.

ODILE almost crosses with her ALTER EGO OdETTe. Also liked the almost baseball combo of FOWL BOLES.

@Loren and @Hartley70, thank you for the laughs about the CORSELET and the drug ads.

evil doug 12:02 PM  

All hail the power of Jesus' name!
Let angels prostrate fall;
bring forth the royal DIADEM,
and crown Him Lord of all.
Bring forth the royal DIADEM,
and crown Him Lord of all.

jberg 12:04 PM  

I had no idea about OVETT, nor about Von Rothbart, but I did know there was a part in Swan Lake for ODILE, and that was enough once I had a few crosses. On the other hand, I threw in MALIA OBAMA from the M, and then IDITAROD from theD, which gave me a lot to work with. I've never played Ombre, so fifty before FORTY. All in all, pretty nice puzzle.

@Nancy, I waffled between croak and CREAK, but reasoned that once you croak, you are no longer experience age, so I went with the other one.

jberg 12:09 PM  

Spoiler alert re: yesterday's puzzle.





@Nancy, from yesterday -- my assumption was that women are much more likely to know about different fabrics than men. Maybe it's not true any more, I guess.

Tim Pierce 12:10 PM  

Rex's preferences continue to surprise me, but I'm honestly astonished that a clue like "Company with striking footwear" for TAPDANCERS didn't even rate an honorable mention here. Certainly one of the more clever and inspired clues I've seen in weeks. De gustibus non est disputandum, etc.

Masked and Anonymous 12:25 PM  

Spewed out nanoseconds like AERO-SOLS, in that nasty DIADEMS/ODILE/OVETT /LAALAA/ERNEST/Mystery Pod-bean corner of mincemeat and dismemberment. Ockword. Rest of the SatPuz went relatively smooth, once LALA started spellin out more correct, etc. Sooo … Overall Assessment: Medicum-R [medium, with a modicum of research].

STER. har

My Tears on My Pillow lyric had EASY in it for a few mo's. Until EASE popped up over in the SW -- then EASE had to probably go. But then once NOXZEMA splatzed in, ATOY suddenly gushed forth from the M&A oldie brain lobe. M&A actually owns the day-um 45rpm. Need to stop doin so many x-words & start spinnin the platters again, someday.

staff weeject pick: As @muse ably pointed out, only 4 of the little jewels to pick from. "Boy howdy" gals would call that "slim pickins", in my section of the rodeo stands. Sooo … gonna break with tradition here, and go with two weejects, held together by some GLUE: ODE+LAY. Sorta sounds like a poetic "wine, bread & thou" quickie situation, then. Now, there's yer bronc ride, Mr. Keats.

Thanx, Mr. Ockman.

Masked & AnonymoUUs


**gruntz**

Nancy 12:52 PM  

Like @kitshef (8:34) and @mathgent's wife (9:58), I've never heard of a CORSELET. But if it's as "torturous" as @GILL says (11:20), then it certainly wasn't "invented by YSL". More likely, it was invented by the Marquis de Sade. As was the original corset. And the mammogram, of course.

Old as I am, I am not of the corset generation. Not even my mother was of the corset generation. My mother was of the girdle generation. And I was of the generation that said: To hell with the girdle!!! No way I will ever wear a bleeping girdle!!! Young, corsetless, girdleless women of today: Never forget to thank the iconoclastic, comfort-seeking, free-spirited women of my generation.

Anoa Bob 1:04 PM  

Been to @RooMonster's stomping grounds, so got LAS VEGAS right away from the "Paradise" clue. Another playful spelling variation you can ADD TO @Two Ponies "pair-a-dice" is "Parrot Eyes", the name of a restaurant and bar hereabouts on South Padre Island, TX. It uuuuuuu's to be an open-air, laid-back, beach-front watering hole much frequented by locals, including me. Then they sold the spot to condo developers, moved over to the main drag, and became just another fully enclosed, air-conditioned, tourist magnet. Don't go there any more. Ho. (That was a heaved sigh.)

joannamauselina 1:31 PM  

Wow! I actually finished a Saturday after which, for the first time, when I checked with Rex, he didn't complain that it was too easy.

Melrose 1:33 PM  

A tough one for me, but fun. Couldn't quite finish SE corner, but felt good about getting the rest. I remember those Noxzema commercials, but just couldn't dredge up the name.

Palette Station 2:05 PM  

Got stuck in th SE corner...used Barbsol for Noxzema and bowl for NOLA

Sir Hillary 2:11 PM  

Fun enough, although I had to solve in chunks due to other commitments interfering, which takes some of the Joy away. That's a pretty nifty open section in the middle.

If you tell someone it's FORTY BELOWZERO, and they ask you "Celsius or Fahrenheit?" just say yes.

Hungry Mother 2:54 PM  

A long slog for me, but I got it done. When I ran the Rock n' Roll Marathon in Vegas a couple of years ago, I ran by a LASVEGAS sign, maybe Paradise was on one side? NOXZEMA came to mind, but not the shaving cream. I stuck to it, but had the wrong image in my head. It's always a thrill for me to complete a Saturday puzzle.

Nancy 3:17 PM  

OMG!!!!! You all absolutely have to click on @Loren's 4:19 a.m. embedded FOWL link!!! You absolutely have to!!! Forget your cat videos. It's the cutest, sweetest, most totally endearing thing I've ever seen!!! You may even cry. And to think -- if I'd been just a little bit busier today, I might have missed it. Thank you, Loren. What a lovely treat!

Charley 3:42 PM  

30 Down is completely wrong. The clues mean kitchen and bathroom in Spanish. The answer, SALAS means living rooms, as in parlor.

puzzlehoarder 4:15 PM  

I don't often comment twice but did anyone else notice that 7D is one letter short of DEFENSIVEDRIVING? My memory of NOXZEMA is a jingle with the lyrics "Noxzema medicated comfort shave." I haven't googled it so I can't be sure.

GILL I. 4:22 PM  

@Charley...A SALA is a room. It can also mean a hall. Here it refers to a SALA de bano and SALA de Cocina etc.
@Nancy. I love that video too. Lots of birds "Imprint" on humans if they are raised by someone during the first several months. Once that happens, you can't releases them into the wild. You are their mate for however long they live. I had a baby sparrow I found that I raised. He would stay with me wherever I went. I tried releasing him but he followed me everywhere. It was cute but it's also sad because they never mate.
Good intentions but not like god intended....

Nancy 5:39 PM  

Don't feel, sad, GILL. I'm sure the sparrow had a happy life. In you, he truly found his Significant Other. He made his choice. He had the bond that mattered most to him. What more can any creature want? :)

And it's such a sweet story!

Anonymous 6:07 PM  

No, then "Buddy" would have to be capitalized. Your alter ego is your bosom buddy because he/she is,a part of you

Aketi 6:23 PM  

@LMS, great video.

@Nancy, Spanx and compression shirts and tights are the new CORSELETS. The latter are marketed to athletes as being good for their muscles. Marketing can convince people to wear all sorts of uncomfortable body wear.

@Hartley and GIll I I don't think I've ever seen a MINCE MEAT pie, but my little sister who doesn't do Xwords is sitting next to me reading a book and telling me our aunt made one for Thanksgiving and she hated it. My memory is not as sharp as hers.

@LMS and Teedmn, as a transplanted Californian, I made many mistakes in BELOW ZERO weather when I moved to Ithaca. For some reason I thought it would be a good idea to wash the salt off my car. I did not make that mistake twice. The coldest I ever experienced was minus thirty centigrade when I went cross country skiing with friends in Montreal. At that temperature they all joked about how pee would freeze before it hit the ground. I did not attempt to determine whether or not they were joking. My eyes were almost frozen shut on that ski trip. Nose hairs freeze up sooner than eyelashes.

@Sir Hillary, good one. I figurered that out thanks to my Montreal friends.

old timer 6:44 PM  

Really tough for me and could not do it without tons of help. NOXZEMA I did not know. Would have helped a lot if I had. The SE was virtually impossible. And here it looked so easy when I got started in the NE. Finished with CAD after all that Googling there. Of course I wanted tree rings instead of STUMPS. And who could get ODILE without knowing Swan Lake start to finish ?

Still a well constructed puzzle which OFL could not really pan. And note he remained apolitical though he must miss all the Obamas these days. So do I.

Evan Jordan 12:24 PM  

I'm just getting it reading your post: "company" as in a "dance company". Bolshoi, Ailey, etc...

Anonymous 10:17 PM  


According to the US Supreme Court [Nix v. Hedden, 149 U.S. 304 (1893)], a tomato is to be classified as a vegetable instead of a fruit. It had to do with customs tariffs or some such.

spacecraft 11:49 AM  

This was A Tale of Two Puzzles. It was the best of times (SW-NE corridor); it was the worst of times (SE and--of course--NW).

I found IDITAROD, and solely off the D somehow plunked in DEMOLITIONDERBY. That got me going in the center, whence I HINGED on down to the SW. ODELAY was in on crosses before I even saw it, so I shrugged and left it in. Then, this resident of LASVEGAS knew about Parasdise: actually, the famous "Strip" (LASVEGAS Boulevard) runs through--you guessed it--Paradise. ODELAY's symmetrical counterpart, LAALAA, also went in on crosses. The Teletubbies lie somewhere outside my wheelhouse. So too did that fellow ERNEST, of the NON-importance of being variety.

But these were small problems compared to the opposite corners. I wound up guessing on about half the answers, and can only credit pure luck for my no-errors finish. ESALEN, really? Who outside a ten-mile radius would have ever heard of that? Then there was that crossing that reminded me of a '60s ditty:

Sittin' in my LALA waitin' for my YAYA...

Thank you [NOT!], Stu, for THAT earworm. I did get through it all, despite that way-off clue for ALTEREGO. I suppose that expression has been used to depict besties, but no way does the clue lead to the answer. This comes within a hair of being flat-out unfair.

Okay, here's something to undo that earworm:

You don't remember me, but I remember you.
'Twas not so long ago you broke my heart in two.
Tears on my pillow, pain in my heart over you, you...

That's a better one. DOD? Well, MALIAOBAMA is still a tad young. How about Ann Miller, surely one of the greatest TAPDANCERS ever. Birdie.

Burma Shave 12:29 PM  

MISUSE YAYAS

I HOPETOGOD my FAVORed ALTEREGO does not play KEEPAWAY,
'cuz I'm OBLIGED to wear CORSELETs so, it'll be a NEET DAYTODAY.

--- ERNEST ODELAY

rondo 12:57 PM  

Had gimmes OAKS STEELER DOLE YAYAS and NOXZEMA with not much else the first pass. The whole puz HINGED on HINGED when it came to me and the filling began. ESALEN? If you say so. CORSELET? Can't remember seeing one in the "wild". One w/o at aVETT, as in the musical brothers.

Used to go to the annual DEMOLITIONDERBY nearby. Didn't take long to outgrow that.

Since she's an adult, fair enough to give a yeah baby to all 6'+ of MALIAOBAMA. Radiance indeed.

Enough about a really nice Sat-puz. Going biking since it is a very nice DAYTODAY.

longbeachlee 1:07 PM  

@ Stanley Hudson - Oldster indeed, Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, that's oldster music.

rain forest 1:28 PM  

I found this one flat-out challenging, particularly in the NE and the SE, although the centre diagonal from NE to SW went pretty quickly. OVETT was a gimme and the key to that section was DEMOLITION DERBY and IDITAROD, off the D in both cases.

I don't know who ERNEST Cline or ALAN Bean, or even ODILE are, but I guessed right somehow.

The NOXZEMA/BOXSET section took up most of my time, but, well, I got 'er done.
A bit thorny but acceptable.

Diana,LIW 2:27 PM  

I indeed purchased that one-way ticket to Natickville in the NE with the "O" unknowns. After looking them up, and changing Eno to PSY, the rest fell quickly.

I first heard of ESALEN in the 70's in psychology circles. Pretty famous still. Everbody (sic) has a wheelhouse.

Had the same neurological guess as @Teed for dendrochronology, but then the trees sprung up.

HINGED came immediately to mind from the get go, and the SW filled in first.

Oh, and I had to change NEaT to NEET. I was "alone" on my nature walk before I AMBLEd onto the correct answer. Thanks to Ms. OBAMA.

Know some folks from Paradise, CA - near Chico, which wouldn't fit.

Thought MOWER's clue was cute.

Just heard MALIA's nickname the other day - what are the chances?

In case you didn't read my early-morning addition to yesterday, escape rooms are a new craze where you and your team "escape" by solving puzzles. Apparently they're all over the place. Not like Nova Lox mind you, but popular.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords and Escapism

leftcoastTAM 4:58 PM  

This one took t-i-m-e. Lots of it. NW and SE were the roughest, but dnf in the NE (ODInE instead ODILE and LAAnAA instead of LAALAA).

Other slow-downs: sAshA before MALIA, ALAN "Bean in a pod?". Clever clue, but not a well known astronaut.

Many PPPs, toughest in the SE: NOXZEMA, CORSELET, ALTEREGO (really a "bosom buddy"?), and all lined up beside one another.

Challenging but fair, and it looked easier, maybe, in retrospect.

Waxy in Montreal 7:36 PM  

Wonder how many other English words there are like SANCTION which can have contradictory meanings? I know that to TABLE (in terms of legislation) in the US means to postpone consideration of a bill while in the rest of the English-speaking world it means to begin consideration of the bill. Then there's BUCKLE, CLEAVE, MODEL (original or copy) and probably many others. What a remarkable language.

Great Saturday-worthy puz. My handouts were the MENU which with ODILE caused a DNF in the NE. Loved NOXZEMA which Dr. Google says came from no-eczema. Can't think of any other XZ words.

thefogman 12:04 AM  

The word SANCTION is a contronym — a word that is its own antonym. Another such word is shelled (as in shelled peanuts)and inflammable - which can have far more tragic consequences than the confusion caused by shelled and unshelled peanuts.
This was an enjoyable and suitably challenging puzzle for a Saturday. I just wish it had a theme of some type.

thefogman 2:35 PM  

Here's a blast from the past...

An old Noxzema commercial with the line "Take it off. Take it ALL off."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EkpGM_MvZ2Y

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