Ankh-holding deity / SAT 7-22-17 / cartoon avatars on Snapchat / single serve coffee holders / Wearer of h inscribed hat / Lead female role on Netflix's House of Cards / Big-box store founded in 1946 / Sportscaster Rich

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Constructor: Zhouqin Burnikel

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (suuuuper-easy, I'm told, but I have a slight concert hangover this morning, so I was just fast, not Fast)

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: ALUM (8D: Application to a cut) —
noun: alum; noun: potash alum
  1. a colorless astringent compound that is a hydrated double sulfate of aluminum and potassium, used in solution medicinally and in dyeing and tanning.
    • any of a number of analogous crystalline double sulfates of a monovalent metal (or group) and a trivalent metal.
      plural noun: alums
• • •

Must be very quick today, as I am writing inside an absurdly small window. Didn't get back from the ELVIS Costello concert at Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown until well after midnight, and I have to be out of the house again at 7:30am. So you all get maybe half an hour this a.m.—and I've already used a good chunk of it writing these first two sentences. This puzzle is just fine, though it feels like a parody of a puzzle that's trying extra super special hard to be current. Twitter! Facebook! Two Snapchat clues! Kids like the Snapchat, right? Am I Relevant Yet!? We are living in a digital world, and I am a digital girl boy, but take it easy. I actually enjoyed LATTE ART and FOAM HAND more than any of the marquee social media stuff (or BITMOJIS, for ****'s sake). And it's weirdly extra jarring to see a puzzle be so Now and then have crap like SERT and AMENRA and ATBAR in it. Fustiness stands out by contrast. But as I say, overall, this is a win, and, if you're coming from a certain cultural space (under 50), it was likely Very easy for you (compared to other Saturdays, I mean).

Quick Stuff:
  • ALUM — I apparently have no idea what this is (that is, if it's not someone who's REUNING); a large part of whatever stuck-time I had was spent here, trying to figure out how four letters ending in "M" was not BALM (8D: Application to a cut).
  • KOJAK (27A: Lieutenant of 1970s TV) — In naming the detectives he used to watch on TV, Elvis Costello name-checked this guy last night, though he saved his most effusive praise (rightly, if possibly ironically) for one Ms. Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury of TV's "Murder, She Wrote")
  • LOOSE TEA (34A: What some caddies carry) — got the TEA part fine, but the LOOSE part, ugh. See also the latter part of CREED (26D: Seminary study).
  • SATE (43D: Be adequate for) — Screw this word. One word should not be able to be clued [Be adequate for] *and* [Fill to the gills] (an actual clue once used in a puzzle by this actual constructor). I think it can also mean, simply, [Satisfy] or [Fill to something less than the gills], so this stupid word apparently means every single level of filling, and thus is useless. 
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Mark 7:31 AM  

After yesterday's discussion, I was tempted to put LETS LAY in 34D instead of LETS LIE just to prove that I'm not smarter than everyone else.

Hartley70 7:35 AM  

As luck would have it, I speak Snapchat, or did, briefly, before leaving it in exasperation. I never could enjoy photos with ears and whiskers drawn on the subjects. Luckily the photos disappeared rather quickly.

I had a good time with this easy/medium Saturday offering. I like to put a medium in there because I finished it in good time. My only slowdown was the E in if it had only been clued "your former and favorite internist"....

evil doug 7:35 AM  

K CUPS? Wow, I guess *those* are the biggest....

Had teAM HAND for a while, even though it didn't ring true. Also held out on LOOSE TEe, figuring caddies might carry those around. Nice trickery there....

Some good commands today: SIGN HERE, ENTER NOW, SIC 'EM. We've got T-MEN and TSA AGENTs. Liked the SPELT clue. EPIC WINS issues a powerful image. Read straight across at 22--THIS ASTRO LOGO--and it describes what the H wearer is wearing.

Much improved over yesterday's mess....

BarbieBarbie 7:48 AM  

@Rex: ALUM is a solid astringent you use on your face when you cut yourself shaving.
Hard for me but many passes later I got it. Liked everything @Evil liked. Good puzzle.

Two Ponies 8:00 AM  

How did someone like me manage to finish this?
I don't do Facebook, Twitter, or Snapchat.
Yes, I am a dinosaur.
As the grocery shopper of the family I knew
the pickles.

Jon Alexander 8:02 AM  

CAREER? careeN had me tripped for that answer. Never heard that def. for the former.

D 8:03 AM  

nw killed me. even got enternow... couldnt get any other foothold, especially after wanting cleats to be treads.

Loren Muse Smith 8:05 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Loren Muse Smith 8:05 AM  

For 25A, I sat there, telling myself there’s not way Pluto is Saturn’s sun. A sun is a star, not a planet.

I came sooo close to entering “peeper” for PASTEL.

@Mark: ;-)

I had a dnf because I didn’t know BITMOJIS. I’ve used’em. (Seems that the one that gives you an animal nose and ears is all the rage among teens around here. I like the one that distorts your face like you’re looking into one of those funny mirrors.) So I had “at war” for being tried. Overkill, yeah. But “witmojis” worked for me just fine.

Good to learn the word, though. After reading the book by Kory Stamper on working for Merriam Webster, I appreciate even more the phenomenon of new words and phrases entering our language and have deputized myself as a New Phrase Spotter. The other day, I checked to see if batshit crazy has been added. I whooped when I saw that Merriam Webster has entered batshit as an adverb.

batshit - adverb
Joey is aware that there are a lot of people, … who are just batshit crazy. — David Brooks, Weekly Standard, 28 Apr. 2003
… over the years he's been called everything from ruthless to batshit insane … — Seth Mnookin, Vanity Fair, December 2008

ELVIS (Presley) had his NYT debut in 1956, a couple of months before he gyrated into the living rooms of lots of dismayed older folks via Ed Sullivan. Hah. Maybe that entry was the BIGGIE SMALLS of its time?

I see the point Rex makes about all the digital phrases, and surely there will be solvers who object. I didn’t mind them. There are other newish entries, too - not just the social media ones - that our grandparents might not recognize: FOAM HAND, TSA AGENT, LATTE ART, EPIC WINS, KCUPS. I’ll fire the initial shot at those who don’t like TWITTER ALERT, FRIEND REQUEST, etc. ZIP CODE first started showing up in English in 1963 and made its NYT debut in the same year. Wonder if some Maleska holdouts whined at Farrar about ELVIS and ZIP CODE. In retrospect, it’s almost laughable that people would object, huh?!

Head case, fender bender, Oval office, zip code, chocoholic, wiggle room, blindside, space walk, brain drain, pant suit, graphic novel… all these phrases entered the language in the 1960s. I just went spelunking into this neat little section of Merriam Webster called Time Traveler. I doubt many of these words or phrases appeared in crosswords in the pre-Shortzian era. I’m glad to get really current entries now, though. Makes you revisit 18A.

Once in a blue moon I get a FRIEND REQUEST from a commenter here, and it makes my day. It’s fun to know people here beyond their blue fake name. I’ve learned the hard way that the FRIEND REQUEST from a military guy who’s widowed and has no pictures or friends is not someone from this blog but rather probably some group of scumbags up to no good. (Scumbag first appeared in 1957.)

Glimmerglass 8:15 AM  

A. This puzzle was not super easy for me. My efforts were about normal for a Saturday. For most of the time, all I had in the NW was ATTAIN, THIS, and SON, plus my Hunter was Tab, not IAN. After solving (with difficuly) most of the rest of the puzzle, LAND HO was the epiphany that did the trick. Never heard of BITMOJI, but by process of elimination, I guessed AT BAR. (If somebody sued Islam, would that be ALLAH AT BAR?) I also had balM for ALUM (ALUM is what's in a styptic pencil, an astringent). AT BAR gave me ALUM.

mennoknight 8:42 AM  

Was CAREER clued for CAREEN (something about driving fast) for anyone else? That really hooped me.

Birchbark 8:46 AM  

The northeast, east, and long central crosses fell in Tuesday time. Oddly, those were the most jargon-laden zones, and this particular jargon isn't really in my ambit.

Query whether the distinction between solvers/constructors of one epoch versus another is all that useful in predicting solving ease. Much of it is inferable even without a lot of crosses. And in real life, we're all constantly immersed in information that's before and after our time. By osmosis, we can use it to solve crosswords.

Or just figure out the answers inferring likely patterns and learn something along the way.

Northwest, south, and southeast were slower and really crunchy. Had LETS SIT for LETS LIE, but once corrected really liked LANCET and EDENS.

Dolgo 8:51 AM  

What a strange mix! I'm willing to bet, for example, that anyone who's ever used alum for shaving ever uses Snapchat.

Brett 9:04 AM  

I so associate this constructor with Mondays that it was interesting to see how she handled Saturday.

Eprailick 9:07 AM  

I'm sorry ... I finished but how is "Drive like hell" equal to "CAREER"?

Unknown 9:12 AM  

You should blog @Loren muse smith
Do you? How new is the word blog? May I use it as a verb?

Bill Feeney 9:15 AM  

I agree that ELVIS rose to national fame on the Ed Sullivan Show, but for us Presley fanatics it was Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey's Show Time that introduced us to the legend. For those of you who know Presley only from his movies and later songs, try his Sun Records years to hear what an amazing performer he really was. Mystery Train for e.g.
This puzzle was another Check Puzzle-fest for me. Age is withering my synapses.

Mohair Sam 9:24 AM  

Somebody alluded to it earlier, but five'll get ya ten that anyone who says AT BAR will never have heard the term BITMOJIS.

Played tougher for us than most of you guys because we struggled in the NW. We pulled a Casco with ChronIC for CLASSIC and wouldn't let go for the longest time. We were all at sea until Lady M yelled LANDHO!, then finished quickly from there.

Beyond that we're going to let sleeping dogs lay.

Nancy 9:25 AM  

I felt the amused eyes of Ms. Burnikel staring at me as I struggled with this puzzle. "You say my puzzles aren't crunchy enough, smarty pants? You say my cluing is too straightforward? Dull, even? Well I'll give you crunchy, sweetie pie! I'll give you crunchy enough to make sure that you don't have an EPIC WIN. I'll make sure you have an EPIC FAIL instead." And so I did, Ms. Burnikel. Congratulations.

So much here I didn't know. There's such a thing as LATTE ART??? What on earth can that be? ALUM is something you apply to a cut? I wanted BALM or ALOE. Or even a BANDAID if it had fit. I've heard of both FRIEND REQUESTS and TWITTER ALERTS, though I've never experienced either one, myself. But BITMOJIS??? Fuhgeddaboudit. That's not, however, where I struck out, guessing right in all the above instances. No, I could only see TECS instead of TMEN at 42A, which gave me EISEs at 28D. I disliked this so much that I never wrote the first S in. And what, pray tell, is a FOAM HAND?????????? The cross of TMEN and FOAM HAND is where I had my EPIC FAIL. Although failure was threatening pretty much everywhere. I liked this a lot, with a few PPP exceptions like EISEN, CLAIRE, MANN and VLASIC. But none of them got me today. It was FOAM HAND, whatever the hell that is, that got me today. But thanks, Ms. Burnikel, for making me work so hard. I was never bored.

Warren Howie Hughes 9:27 AM  

Rex, Old MANN, So you found this CLASSIC VLASIC Saturday serving by Zhouqin Burnikel to be Easy-Medium, SUUUUPER-Easy, which is an insult of the highest order to one of our favorite constructors in the Crossword Puzzle solving world! We, my better half and I, being in a certain "cultural space" (over 80)regarded it exceedingly challenging and had to resort to peeking at the answer sheet with just about every other answer, as the clues were of an other-worldly ilk! In short, we were in a VLASIC Pickle jar attempting to unravel this CLASSIC gem on the part of our beloved Zhouqin!

kitshef 9:33 AM  

Soooo not easy.

Like yesterday’s, this puzzle had a lot of trivia and words of recent vintage. Unlike yesterday’s, this puzzle also had a lot of mental gymnastics based on tough clues that needed to be worked through.

Got off to a flying start with AT BAR, ARROGANT, REEBOKS, LUSTRE, MOB, KOJAK and FRIEND REQUEST. Then ground to a halt – so much so that at one point I took out the clearly correct FRIEND REQUEST because I couldn’t get any crosses to work.

Never heard of either actor Hunter or singer Hunter.

Really thought I was headed for DNF with unknown House of Cards junk and the U. 2’s clue (one of the worst clues EVER) and having the incorrect but just as reasonable as the actual answer BoTMOJIS. Saved by (eventually) getting ALUM which made CLAIRE seem likely.

A solid workout.

Teedmn 9:35 AM  

Gah, this took me forever to get started. You know how it feels to walk through foot-deep mud and your boots get stuck in the MIRES and start to pull off and then you're standing on one leg trying to get your foot back in your boot without sticking your sock in the mud? Meanwhile your other foot is sinking further because all your weight is on that side? And if you are grouse hunting in a swamp with your husband, you are also holding a 20-ga. shotgun that you can't put down? That's how this felt to me.

Sure, I had THIS crossing STEPS in the NW and MOB in the NE but I really didn't get a foothold until SPELT hit me - I've seen that clued thusly before. I don't know if Mt. Olive is a brand that is sold here (though C.C. lives in MN so probably. Though I suppose she could have clued it as Gedney's and it got changed.) But any brand starting with VL has to be VLASIC so that was that.

LemonTEA gave me a teAMH_N_ at 31D which held me up considerably. The IT of 30D had me wanting a rebus (dang IT, darn IT, damn IT, IQUIT!) I considered a budget gAP but I CAREERed away from that successfully. Did anyone else wonder if Dinah Shore used to say "guNgHO" on her show? (2D, right).

Thanks CC, you came through with a tough, for me, Saturday.

GHarris 9:35 AM  

If ever a puzzle made me feel inadequate it was this one. Got about five words and nothing else. Thought the only Rock Center muralist was Diego Rivera. Guess I'm playing in a league over my head.

Two Ponies 9:38 AM  

Not being a Starbucks kind of girl but more likely to be seen in an Irish pub, latte art reminded me of the shamrock the bar maid draws in the creamy head of a Guinness.
I can't muster the strength to try to explain a foam hand.
They were quite funny the first time I saw one.

kitshef 9:49 AM  

For those confused about CAREER:
verb - move swiftly and in an uncontrolled way in a specified direction. "the car careered across the road and went through a hedge"

CAREER would once have been considered the only acceptable answer. Modern usage allows CAREEN as well.

Dr Muffy 9:55 AM  

Can someone please explain U. 2's as a clue for TAS?

Kdunk 10:00 AM  

Why is this puzzle so British?

Anonymous 10:01 AM  

@ Dr Muffy I finally figured out that U. 2's are university seconds or teaching assistants - TAS. Pretty obscure in my opinion.

Anonymous 10:06 AM  

Bitmojis crossing the extremely obscure U.2s =nope.

Warren Howie Hughes 10:09 AM  

Kdunk, This puzzle was so Terribly British, evidently was due to the fact you were under some sort of SPELT!?

ColoradoCog 10:11 AM  

@Dr Muffy. Rightly or wrongly, after getting TAS through crosses I assumed it was supposed to be TAs, or University seconds/assistants. If I am right, I really don't like the clue. There's a point where a clue crosses from cute to strained, and I think this crossed it.

But overall, I thought the puzzle was fine. A little under my average, but not by much, and enjoyably challenging. I'm at the cusp of the demographic sweet spot, but I do have a 16-year-old I can turn to and ask "Are BITMOJIS a thing?"

RooMonster 10:15 AM  

Hey All !
A Saturday CC, wow. Rex pisses me off with his suuuuuuper easy. :-) This was a toughie! Although some clues really rankled. Drives like hell = CAREER? No, needs more clue, like 'What makes you drive like hell'. 8 Down also. ALUM? I thought men just used toilet paper squares! FOAM HAND I guess is valid, but everyone calls them FOAM fingers, right? LATTE ART clue also off, putting a heart in the LATTE FOAM isn't 'Pouring out', shouldn't it have been 'Pouring one's heart into a coffeehouse'? Just saying some clues were off-ish to the ears. LOOSE TEA was iffy, too.

But for a SatPuz, overall it was good. Using Check and Reveal features, of course, bible for CREED messing up that section. obTAIN-ATTAIN, balM-ALUM, trA-SHA, gMEN-TMEN. Also couldn't get Klinger out of the ole brain for KOJAK.

So nice one CC, but could you please stick to the Mon or TuesPuzs? This hurt me head!

@Nancy, FOAM HANDs(fingers) are oversized HANDs made of FOAM with the first finger pointed in the air, like the gesture for 'We're Number One!' that you buy at sporting events. If you ever watch a baseball or football game, you might see one.


DBlock 10:20 AM  

I was my own worst enemy on this one
Wanted twitter blasts rather than alerts
Haifa rather than Basra
Decals rather than cleats
And just didn't adjust willingly so everything's was a struggle
And thanks for the etymology on career/careen
I truly believed it was a typo that simply became common usage

Unknown 10:21 AM  

The clue for ALUM calls to mind another great word for a crossword puzzle: stiptic, as in stiptic pencil.

Phipps44 10:24 AM  

I agree a good workout for me too. I've always heard foam finger, instead of foam hand.

Anonymous 10:33 AM  

Great puzzle.

jberg 10:44 AM  

DNF because I had no idea about CLAIRE and couldn't figure out TAS or guess what kind of MOJIS we were dealing with. I think I could have worked all that out if I'd only thought of the retrospectively obvious LUSTRE.

I think when you CAREER you're out of control, and when you CAREEn you're bouncing off things. I started with the latter, while telling myself it might be the other.

Here is a FOAM HAND. And here's another one.

@Warren Howie and @RooMonster, @Rex didn't say it was suuuper easy, he said others told him that it was though he found it easy/medium. It stumped me, though -- but, like @Nancy, I liked it all the same.

Anne 10:48 AM  

GHarris, this puzzle was NOT easy for me, and I have been working these for a long time. I thought I wouldn't get anywhere on this one, but finally it came together. Sometimes it helps to step away for a while. When you come back, you'll read a clue in a different way and viola! you're on your way.

Anonymous 10:58 AM  

I absolutely loved this puzzle and I am well over 50. Definitely doable if one is not a Luddite so I think the comment about someone knowing ALUM is anti-hemorraghic and knowing Twitter terms is a bit unfair...and I had ALOE before ALUM. My dad kept a styptic pencil in our medicine cabinet and I checked to see if it is still sold. It is now made with ingredient "anhydrous ALUMinum sulfate" instead of "hydrated potassium ALUMinum sulfate" (the REAL alum?) for the new generation of shave aficionados that buy the shaving brush (with mug) and expensive straight razors.

Nancy 11:08 AM  

Thank you @Roo and @jberg for the FOAM HAND. I don't plan to wear one myself any time soon, but it's good to find out what it is. Now, if someone wants to embed some LATTE ART for me...

Nancy 11:09 AM  

Oh, and a BITMOJI while you're at it.

Lewis 11:27 AM  

Quite a few words were not in my wheelhouse, but I trust CC enough to know that they would be fairly crossed. CC made me work hard on this one, but she is the careful and thorough kind of puzzle maker I'm inspired to work for. And at the end, for me, satisfaction, and for CC, my gratitude.

JC66 11:28 AM  


you might want to add to your favorites.

It'll answer most of your questions.

jae 11:47 AM  

Medium-tough for me. Pretty solid Sat. NW was the last to fall. I have a tendency to confuse the muralist SERT with the puppeteer SARG which results in some strange spelling errors. I also had problems in the CRETE/CREED/ERE/ASRTO/EISEN (who was a WOE) area.

BITMOJIS was also a WOE, but I knew the other social media stuff.

A nice workout, liked it.

GILL I. 11:53 AM  

Last night I was watching America's Got Talent and trying to do the puzzle at the same time. Then this 9 year old named Angelica came on and sang "Girl on Fire" and I was so blown away I couldn't even do this puzzle. Boy, I just stared at this thing and nothing was coming to me. OK, I finally got KOJAK and KCUPS and called it a night.
Stared some more this morning. Googled CLASSIC and AT BAR just to get started. That was enough to open up the puzzle little by little. AHA...BITMOJI! Brought a smile and a fun recollection of my British niece getting me on Snaphchat and downloading BITMOJI and turning me into a toon character. She had fun tweaking my nose.
I don't TWITTER but I FRIEND REQUEST. I've met up with some long lost friends thanks to to exchange fotos and food recipes.
Loved seeing LATTE ART as well. I make a mean cafe con leche. I foam up the milk, pour it over some Italian dark roast and draw a little emoji.....!!! YUP.
Does C.C. now have the distinction of having constructed a puzzle for every day of the week? I would say she has some mighty fine EPIC WINS...

katherine catmull 12:11 PM  

ugh for me this was the DNF of all DNFs. And the social media stuff was fine (though LATTEART? ALUM?
Wha-?), it was just the cluing that tripped me up nearly every time. I think sometimes you just cannot get on the constructor's wavelength. Or anyway I can't.

Seastate5 12:20 PM  

Disclaimer: I am not a language pedant; career or careen matters not to me. Nevertheless, here's a little history:
Careen originally referred to turning a ship on its side to clean the bottom; indeed, the original Oxford English Dictionary from early 1900's does not show a definition for any sort of movement in any other way.
Career originally was a field for display of horsemanship; one would career over the field with a goal in mind; only in the early 1800's did it begin to take on a meaning of one's pursuits in life. Sometime in the 20th century people, most likely mistakenly, began using it to describe erratic movement. But, common usage now, that's the beauty of English.
Puzzle was just perfect; at first I though it was unsolvable, then it gradually yielded.

JJ_Rural_MO 12:30 PM  

The career/careen discussion is a continuation of yesterday's lay/lie/lain/laid thread, except this is one I master sufficiently so I can affect the "Tsk, so sad the benighted commentators lack my erudition" mien.
I won't mourn the lain/laid distinction being lost, but will miss the almost certain extinction of career's (from the same Latin root as car/carriage) "go fast" definition, replaced by careen (from the Latin for keel, and thus originally describing a boat leaning over on its side). Sort of like so many people thinking that 'nonplus' means unfazed, the exact opposite of its "proper" meaning of stunned, that when used for the proper meaning most people assume you are the one in error.
Overall, good puzzle, stumbled a bit in the NW but eventually got the happy music.

Lurker Librarian 12:32 PM  

@Nancy LATTE ART is a picture the barista draws in the steamed milk FOAM when you order a latte at a schmancy coffee place. If you Google for "latte art" and then click the link that says "images" under the Google search box, you'll see lots of gorgeous examples.

Google is unfortunately much less helpful for BITMOJI. That was a new word for me, but reasonably crossed. Agree with @Rex that the puzzle seemed to be trying a little too hard to cram in social media terms.

Anonymous 12:34 PM  

The clue for LATTE ART is grammatically incorrect (clue is a verb, answer is a noun).

[Pouring one's heart out at a coffeehouse?] would be MAKING LATTE ART.

Crossword Diva 1:01 PM  

For god's sake, learn how to Google stuff, rather than expect others to explain things to you.

Stanley Hudson 1:06 PM  

This one wasn't in my wheelhouse, alas. My first DNF in quite awhile.

Off tomorrow at daybreak for a week of camping in a remote area without Internet or cell phone access. Enjoy the last full week of July all.

Chim cham 1:09 PM  

NE cost me like 10 minutes. Hadn't heard AT BAR before; makes sense in hindsight but couldn't remember BITMOJI's since I don't use Snapchat. Had AT WAR. Ugh. DNF off of one letter hurts.

cwf 1:12 PM  

CAREERing, Public Image Ltd.

Mike in Mountain View 1:13 PM  

There is nothing wrong with ATBAR. Any discussion of a case and the relevant precedents needs a phrase to use when comparing the case AT BAR to the precedent, which is referred to by name. "This case" is often too imprecise.

puzzlehoarder 1:16 PM  

This has been bad weekend for me. I did better than yesterday. Today I only had a single dnf. I read "en masse" as the billiards technique and put in HOP. This was what allowed me to see ARROGANT. When KOJAK gave me REEBOK I was still thinking sports so I just thought "oh it's LOB." Since I know nothing of Snapchat I considered getting BITLOJIS from the crosses to be something of a gift horse. I should have looked in it's mouth. I've heard of bitcoins and emojis but bitmoji seems counter intuitive. I was just glad to be shot of that section since their were just as big of fish to be fried in the rest of the puzzle. As of this writing @ Mathgent still hasn't commented. I'm curious to see if he still thinks C.C. is like that Meryl Streep character

Carola 1:18 PM  

broke my wrist so will telegraph in. agree with @dolgo re alum and snap chat - and facebook and twitter. struggled, managed to finish. enjoyed the narco-clouded struggle.

Mark 1:21 PM  

@Anonymous 12:34 "Pouring" in that case is a gerund functioning as a noun, NOT a verb.

Anonymous 1:23 PM  

@Mike in Mountain View,
I know how the doctors felt a couple of weeks ago when Sharpe muddled his way you an erroneous Co cousin regarding carsi. Now he thinks he's a lawyer. Of course, everyone does. Even after 28 years I'm still amazed at all the legal expertise of folks who aren't admitted to the bar.

Masked and Anonymous 1:28 PM  

[ELVIS has entered the puzgrid…]

Sosh meeds theme! At least, real close:
* BITMOJIS. [Never heard of em, but somehow it was sorta deductible.]
* TWITTERALERT. [Heard of TWITTER. And, in a separate universe, heard of ALERT.]
* FRIENDREQUEST. [Heard of FRIEND. And also sep-heard of REQUEST.]
* FOAMHAND. Clue can go ahead and popularize the texter-term, in this case ... {The FH in LMFHO??}.
* Theme Revealer: {"What is ___?"} = THIS.

NW: Easy-ish. Had to get LATTEART from crosse-s. Better clue: {Snobby dude that pours joe down at the diner??}. Also: Luved the LANDHO clue.
NE: Hardish. CLAIRE [Underwood] was a gimme, but got confused by the SnapChatter. fave weeject: TAS, with clue that I liked ["U." part] and un-liked ["2's" part].
Central: Trouble: Sosh meed themers, plus KCUPS & EISEN.
SW: Slow go. Liked FOAMHAND themer. LOOSETEA epic-wins today's M&A "Most Desperate Luv" award.
SE: Pretty easy. Liked SIGNHERE/LIGHT crosse-s … Eleganht. CAREER clue was trying hard to suck a CAREEn error out of us poor, sweet, innocent solvers, tho. Don't make m&e come down there, CC.
Overall: Easycult.

Thanx for the fun, CC. Woulda made M&A tweet for mercy, if he was at all soshiable.

Masked & Anonymo3Us


Unknown 1:34 PM  

Why that's the most ridiculous thing I eva heard!

Teedmn 1:35 PM  

Har, M&A, your post had me laughing my foam hand off. And Sosh meeds is adorbs (once I said it out loud a few times.)

Anonymous 1:43 PM  

Your handle here is well chosen …

Bill L. 2:08 PM  

I found it mostly easy and then face planted spectacularly in the NE. Who loves ya, baby? hOgAn does. hOgAn loves you. Yes, I stuck hOgAn in there for the 70s TV lieutenant. After consulting IMDB it turns out he was a colonel and more 60s than 70s. And I've seen those K-CUPs, of course, but I guess I'm a neanderthal since I pour hot water from a kettle through an eyeballed amount of coffee grounds in a no. 2 cone filter every morning. So h-CUP and hOgAn stayed. My stupid brain even overlooked the misspelling of BITMOgIS. And forget about REEBOns or tEEBOnS. I was at sea over AT BAR. I waffled over AT wAR and AT BAt and finally threw in the towel and checked in here.

I liked the puzzle C.C. The DNF is all on me.

Joe Dipinto 2:36 PM  

Not a bad solve at all. Three writeover victims: treads replaced by cleats, rate replaced by sate, creme replaced by crepe. Better content and construction than yesterday's, imo.

Kelly 3:35 PM  

What's the website that tells how many times a particular clue has been used?

OISK 3:36 PM  

Happy to finish, unlike yesterday, where the big "Z" of Jonze was beyond my male gaze. This had plenty of unfamiliar material (to me), but it is Saturday, and there were no "total guess" crosses. Never watched Roseanne, nor House of Cards, don't know what bitmojis are, and have never received nor sent a "twitter alert". I don't tweet, I growl. Never heard of Kcups nor Latte art either. And there was another "product" clue - I have no idea what Mt. Olive sells, but once I got the "VL___" I vaguely recalled Vlasic. That is 7 unfamiliar references, compared with 10 yesterday. I will chalk up today's puzzle as one of my epic wins.

Oh, and names of characters on a Netflix series are unacceptable clues, AFAIAC.

Anonymous 4:07 PM  

I wanted Lt. Trask, or I think he was a Lt.---or a police officer or something on Perry Mason?? I agree with those who say the clues were off a bit. I suppose this was done to toughen it up for a Saturday. Being over 50, many things were out of my wheelhouse. I have netflix but don't watch any of their series. I read about Sophie Turner in passing and thought she might be the answer so was stuck there a while. A creed might be studied in seminary but it is not something one would spend a semester course studying and not really a topic of study IMHO. Through persistence, I did manage to finish this one off! YEAH!

Bryce 4:21 PM  

I wonder what a histogram of "ages of people who have created bitmojis" look like? My wife, daughter, and I (37, 6, 37) have done so.

Loved the puzzle. Apart from "ATBAR," nothing felt forced or weird. I really enjoyed it.

Unknown 4:23 PM  

I was hoping the answer to "What is ___?" would be Aleppo, but it didn't fit.

Lt. Tragg 5:04 PM  

See Ray Collins.

Nancy 5:36 PM  

Of course I can Google any and all of the above. I was just trying to be amusing. Looks like my attempt at a small joke fell flat. Mighty glad I'm not in the stand-up comedy biz.

Joe Dipinto 5:43 PM  

@OISK 3:36 -- Just curious: why are names of characters on a Netflix series unacceptable clues as far as you are concerned? What about "Archie's wife on 'All In The Family'", which was used just a month or two ago. How is there a difference?

@Cass Garnet 4:23 -- totally hilarious!

QuasiMojo 5:45 PM  

People who say google it forget they asking questions is part of having a conversation which is the reason some of us come on here. Nancy is within her rights to ask anything she likes. If you don't like it, go on to the next comment. Tricky and gritty Saturday after a lackluster Friday. But "epic wins" felt forced to me. Nice one overall!!

Malsdemare 5:51 PM  

Yikes! This was brutal. Take everything everyone else said and just add me to the list. NW was the last to fall but I cheated a couple times before getting that far. The breadth of CCs knowledge astounds me, from TWITTERALERTS to LANCET to CLAIRE. Kudos, Ma'am.

jC66 et al, I know Google will answer questions, but if you ask them here, you skip the opportunity for the serial-killer-how-to-build-a-bomb-teen-love-slave-become-an-ISIL-terrorist sites to pop up and smack you upside the head. I've gotten some eye-popping hits when googling the most innocent stuff.

Trombone Tom 6:04 PM  

Very late as got back from vacation trip last night. Another great one from CC (@mathgent are you still there?) I stumbled around for a long time with no traction until the SE began to reveal itself.

Anything to do with Snapchat is WOE, but the crosses are fair. Whoever made the comment about those familiar with AT BAR being lost here was right on target. This JD had no clue at what kind of emoji this could be, even with the "B" revealed.

A little troubled by the verb-->noun on LATTE ART. I've been to the Prado, but learned here where the El Greco Museum is located.

Somewhere in the past I believe I learned this meaning of CAREER from crosswords.

Mohair Sam 7:24 PM  

@Joe DiPinto - I don't agree with OISK at all, especially when the series involved is one as well known as "House of Cards" (I'm a fan). But "All in the Family" was available free to anyone with a television set, Netflix is shown via a premium service that requires the proper equipment to view. I get his point.

Hell, HBO is a premium service I choose not to pay for and I get annoyed when clues appear for actors names in the "Game of Thrones" series. I've read all five books and Will expects me to pony up $300 a year to get a gimme now and then? Collusion!

JC66 8:01 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
JC66 8:05 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Larry Gilstrap 11:40 PM  

Late news! If you plug in The Nanny for ROSEANNE in the SW, much staring will ensue.

Then, there's LETS LIE, Hi @Loren! She gets complimented for her posts here, and she is a witty writer, knows her language, and has respect for the craft of constructing. I'm a pushover for teachers, specifically those in the trenches. I'm in awe. I did it for many years and asked myself everyday, I do this everyday? Is she nice in person, or is she really a bot and not a person?

While I'm dishing out the praise, I am very impressed by OFL's work ethic. I find it challenging to complete the puzzle, read the blog, and make comments that don't suck, and I have free time! He does it maybe 350 times a year?

The puzzle featured misdirection. I liked "Pouring one's heart out at a coffeehouse." That is a Saturday clue!

Joe Dipinto 1:14 AM  

@Mohair Sam -- Point taken. I don't have cable or any kind of special-view type service either, and won't bother with them. But I am aware that House Of Cards or, as you mentioned, Game Of Thrones, are extremely popular shows, and I don't see why clues relating to them should be deemed "unacceptable" simply because someone chooses not to pay to subscribe to the service that provides them.

Matthew G. 8:47 AM  

Sure would have helped if I knew that AMEN RA is an acceptable spelling of that deity. The only spelling I have ever seen is AMON RA. Not having heard of Michael MANN, that left me with _IROS at 47A. Was certain the O was correct and so was stuck.

Rebecca 10:34 AM  

I'm a youngun myself, and while I got BITMOJI and FRIENDREQUEST with a little help, I've never heard TWITTER and ALERTS said consecutively. NW and SE gave me lots of problems, must have written over at least 5 clues.

Oh, and I'm 99% sure it's AMUN-RA, not AMEN-RA. And "ankh-holding deity felt a little cheap. I'm pretty sure every Egyptian god has held an ankh at one time or another.

Matthew G. 10:48 AM  

Yours is the most correct. My post-puzzle googling indicated that Amun-Ra is the preferred spelling, with both Amon-Ra and Amen-Ra as accepted variants. I myself had only seen Amon-Ra before, though.

Anonymous 4:59 PM  

Feel like "havens" would have been a better clue than "heaven" for EDENS

AW 5:53 PM  

This wasn't a DNF for me, it was a CNS (could not start). Brutal, strained cluing for social media stuff I know nothing about culminating in the WOE of the unforgivable "U. 2s." The kind of puzzle that makes me never want to do another puzzle. Ever.

Anonymous 1:39 PM  

@Evil Doug OMG. Everyone look at that row starting at 22 across. "When you see it..." as the kids say.

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rondo 9:41 AM  

C.C. on Saturday, not easy, maybe too current for my AGE. Had The aPp Store for way woo long, and CAREEn, and axe for CUT, Problems all. So not easy.

Yeah baby for Robin Wright as CLAIRE.

Going on vaca, hit or miss for a week or so. THIS puz a struggle.

Burma Shave 10:20 AM  




5wksltr 12:53 PM  

Tough puzzle.
@Stanley Hudson - Going to jail, huh? A week's not too bad. We'll miss you.
Got alum from watching boxing.

Anonymous 1:00 PM  

Easy? No way. Four pissers in the NW without completing it finished this stinker. Rejected.

Nomad UK 1:23 PM  

@Kevco I think your post yesterday regarding @Nancy was spot on and far more restrained than I would have been since she had the temerity to slate the brilliant young cruciverbalist, Paolo Pasco. She certainly doesn't mind dishing it out, but cannot even take what I judged to be a respectful critique.
There are only 2 people on this blog I cannot abide and one of them is @Nancy. The reason for this, I think, is that she is in my demographic, i.e. mid 70's, retired with obviously too much time on her hands, but not enough to be conversant with current PPP as she has stated in the past.
This what gives seniors such a bad living in the past and not open to what is relevant today.
As regards the puzzle, with the exception of naenae (easy to get from crosses), I was familiar with each of the people clued in the puzzle including Zayn, presuming he had dropped his last name since leaving Simon Cowell's 'made up' boyband, One Direction, who use to be HUGE. How can anyone, particularly someone living in NYC, not be at least vaguely aware of today's zeitgeist.

spacecraft 2:04 PM  

Well, you can relax, Fearless One. I am not gunning for you. I'm out to get those guys who "told" you this was "Suuuper-easy." If I find 'em, I'm gonna kill 'em. This was not only difficult--it was IMPOSSIBLE! After one solid hour of concentrated brainwork here's what I had:

CLEO (maybe!), REEBOKS/MOB/KOJAK, BASRA/BETS, something-MEN and teAMlogo (wrong!).

That's it. That's all I had after a whole hour. I gave up and had breakfast, went back to it and found CLEATS/CLASSIC, and most of the NW--but LATTEA__? And C_O___for the stick? Are you kidding? The stick they use in lacrosse CROSSE? Who would know that, one of the tens of lacrosse fans?

I wasn't just smacked around with this one; I was totaled. Call Geico. Never mind DNF: DNEGS (Did Not Even Get Started)! You win, C.C.

Diana,LIW 2:14 PM  

Even tho the puzzle was SATEd with WOES for me (actors, shows, tech stuff), it was my own blockheadedness that dnf'd me today. For example, just got back from a week of CLASSIC cars, but could I think of that word? What do you think?

Cut for CAN, aPp for UPS - you get the pic. Or snap. SCAPEL for LANCET (I like making up words, I guess). And Col KlinK stood in for KOJAK (yeah, I know, wrong title) for a while.

Got many of the misdirects (caddies, pouring heart, etc.) But I couldn't come up with the apt answer.

IMO, CC just gets better and better.

Oh yes - @Teedmn - loved your 1st paragraph. I know that feeling, except for the shotgun. ;-)

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Unknown 2:45 PM  

An easy puzzle---but only if you're up on the latest social media jargon. Super difficult if you're not.

Anonymous 3:08 PM  

Hmm. Am I the only septuagenarian to have employed a BITMOJI? This was quite difficult for me, even if SHA was a geriatric gimme. I remain puzzled about TMEN: Are they the only ones pursuing dodgers? Draft-dodgers, perhaps? Shouldn't TMEN pursue evaders—tax-evaders—instead?

Diana,LIW 4:01 PM  

@Spacey - you get the laugh of the day for the tens of la CROSSE fans. My feelings exactly. (Hockey, golf, baseball? polo, sure)

Lady Di, Can't even remember what the CROSSE hits, or catches, or...

leftcoastTAM 5:14 PM  

Just plain out of my wheelhouse, if I have one. Feeling much older today than I did yesterday.

leftcoastTAM 6:39 PM  

@rainy--To repeat, where are you?

Diana,LIW 7:50 PM  

@Lefty - I felt ancient too. Not at all easy for my decrepit self.

And agree - where is our @Rainy. Did he get lost in the eclipse?


Uke Xensen 7:50 PM  

Hard for me.

thefogman 8:02 PM  

Close but no cigar. Two squares short of a complete but 28A burned me. I settled for thE when the answer was ERE. I have no idea who this EISEN fellow is and ChEED sounded like something or someone they might study at a seminary. Holy smokes was I wrong! Everything else turned out alright, but not without a fight. I had ATwAR before ATBAR, skieS before EDENS, olive before LIGHT, KlinK before KOJAK and almost wrote down gMEN before I realized it had to be TMEN. Oh well, ashes to ashes and erasures to eraser dust. PS - It was in my opinion tougher than the usual Saturday puzzle.

thefogman 8:34 PM  

Agree with posters above who stated the clue U.2's was obscure and unfair. Smiled to find out Diana LIW also had KlinK instead of KOJAK like I did for a bit. All in all, lots of misdirects, too much tech lingo and a few downright despicable clues made this one way tougher than OFL claims.

Unknown 12:10 PM  

I'm surprised nobody has said they wanted "painT" for 44 down. Especially with "LATTE ART" and "LOOSE TEA" in the grid.

Good puz though. I found it way harder than Rex did, but in a good way. It fought back hard before I was finally able to wrestle it to the ground.

Mixing new stuff with old ("fusty," per Rex) stuff is perfectly acceptable to me, and actually quite fun. I don't know why anybody objects to this. There's no rule that says all entries must be of similar vintage.

Great job, CC!

Unknown 9:11 AM  

Me, too. It is careen in the Midwest.

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