Simpsons sycophant / SAT 7-1-17 / Kanthapura novelist Raja / Place to celebrate Autumn Moon Festival

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Constructor: David Phillips

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: Raja RAO (42A: "Kanthapura" novelist Raja ___) —
Raja Rao (8 November 1908 – 8 July 2006) was an Indian writer of English-language novels and short stories, whose works are deeply rooted in Metaphysics. The Serpent and the Rope (1960), a semi-autobiographical novel recounting a search for spiritual truth in Europe and India, established him as one of the finest Indian prose stylists and won him the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1964. For the entire body of his work, Rao was awarded the Neustadt International Prize for Literature in 1988. Rao's wide-ranging body of work, spanning a number of genres, is seen as a varied and significant contribution to Indian English literature, as well as World literature as a whole. (wikipedia)
• • •

It has been a gruesomely humid day and I took not one but two naps—one of them flat on my back on the hardwood floor, one of them (much longer) on my couch, from which I only recently awoke. So I was sticky and groggy, i.e. In No Mood, when I sat down to do this puzzle precisely at 10pm. Not the greatest condition in which to meet the Saturday puzzle. And yet: I crushed it. Two hits: me hitting the puzzle, puzzle hitting the floor. I only came here to do two things: kick some puzzle ass, and drink some beer. So ... I guess it's beer time? I may have screwed that last saying up. Anyway, the puzzle had no chance. Seriously, it was unconscious before it hit the floor. SOBA AMATI REST EDNA THEM—that took about five seconds. And all the answers just kept falling before me. Straight down the west until I stalled at PROST (never was good with foreign toasts, which in my experience are only ever offered by pretentious Americans), then up into the NE easily via LITA FORD and ASHRAMS. Once I got PLIÉ, that section was toast (PLIÉ providing those first letters of the Across stack that PROST should've provided in the SW). Slight hiccup at SEGWAY. Had LANK for 44A: Lean (CANT), which was wrong, but half right, and that let me drop MINERAL and MADERA (having grown up in central California helped there), and those answers let me get back into that PROST corner. Hiccup at the end of AEROLOGY (because wtf). Done at the "O" in RAO. 4:47. Absurd.

I don't have much to say about this one. The stacks are fine. TRASH TALKS (55A: Bad-mouths) and YEAH, SURE (35D: "Uh-huh ... ri-i-i-ght") are the only answers I'm at all excited about. BEN STEIN, SMITHERS, GROHL—you may as well just give me these answers already filled in, the way they're clued. Needed just the "H" for HELENA, just the TV for TV CAMERAS (30D: Soap-making equipment?), just the "C" for COOPER (39D: Mini maker, originally). The SERIA part of OPERA SERIA was probably the hardest thing in the grid for me. Had OPERA and wanted ... something meaning "song"? OPERETTA? Shrug. But crosses filled it all in easily. There's some ugly fill in here (INKA, RAO, SAES), but it's mostly all just ... fine. Fine. OK. Too easy. But acceptable.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:26 AM  

Easier than yesterday's for me, but like @Rex I had a slew of PPP gimmes....LITA FORD, BEN STEIN, SOLARIS, EDNA, GROHL, ELSA, AMATI, ASHRAMS, SMITHERS, ARAMIS...which helped a bunch.

AEROLOGY was a WOE, but no erasures.

Not as lively as yesterday's and way too easy.

Unknown 12:46 AM  

I typically enjoy @David Phillips' byline, and am in awe of @Rex for finding this particular puzzle easy. Somehow, I got about 80% of the fill mostly correct within 15 minutes, though having never heard of LITA FORD (thanks for the clip, @Rex), I plopped in an H instead of F -- does the Virgil quote work with HATE instead of FATE?

It was amusing to see both ORE and MINERAL in the same puzzle, both with suitably tricky clues, and I was looking for a trifecta with SALTmIne (the actual SALT LICK answer is new to me, sorry to say). As much as I like MATH, it was discouraging to get nowhere with CHEM in that slot; exacerbating my frustrations in that corner were the cross-reference to COSET, and wondering what 6-letter adjective to put before aRIA in the Mozart clue.

At times like that, I have no compunctions about using the "check" or "reveal" functions of the on-line solving platform. How embarrassing, since I like to think that I know a bit about Mozart operas.

The clue about CNN's Four Freedoms Award was an uplifting antidote to the network's sadder appearance in the news cycle, earlier this week.

razerx 12:54 AM  
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puzzlehoarder 1:00 AM  

If it weren't for the NW corner I'd have set a personal Saturday record. I drew a blank on SOBA and had an EMO/ORE write over. The lightbulb finally went off at AMATI and that section became as easy as the rest but it was a long time getting there.

mathgent 1:38 AM  

Easy for Rex because he knew the names of the musicians. Hard for me. But I got it without cheating by correctly guessing SMITHERS (I don't watch The Simpsons), RAO, TAHINI, LITAFORD, GROHL, AEROLOGY, SOLARIS.

COSET is not a common mathematical term. It's a term used in group theory which is usually studied in the upper division mathematics curriculum.

A good workout but not much fun except for the Mark Twain line.

Mike in Mountain View 1:41 AM  

@George, I'm with you on hATE and LITAhORD.

Otherwise, this was a super easy Saturday.

Robin 1:44 AM  

I have a PhD in climate sciences, and I know no one who uses the term AEROLOGY. Note that there is a Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, but no Journal of AEROLOGY.

Had some trouble finishing due to the SW. After guessing at MADERA, I was able to fill in OPERASERIA, which finished off COSET and SAES. WTF is SAES?

Thomas 2:22 AM  

Self Addressed EnvelopeS

jae 2:28 AM  

@Robin - Self Addressed Envelope S - sometimes seen as Self Addressed Stamped Envelopes (SASE).

@George and @Mike - You might enjoy the movie "The Runaways".

Robin 2:47 AM  

Thanks@Thomas and @jae. I think I realized that later, but decided the clueing was terrible.

Anonymous 4:01 AM  

My fastest Saturday ever...are we sure this wasn't a Wednesday? Only trouble were the bottom three clues in the SE and I was uncertain of CANT. I mean, this was laughably easy!

evil doug 5:04 AM  
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evil doug 5:09 AM  

Ben Stein is a remarkable guy: economist, actor--and game show host of "Win Ben Stein's Money", for which he and Jimmy Kimmel shared the Emmy.

Cute misdirect on STEREOS.

I was thinking mOrris for the Mini, but maybe it was the similarly named Minor....

Hungry Mother 5:39 AM  

Surprisingly easy Saturday here also. I loved COSET.

QuasiMojo 6:45 AM  

The puzzle said "German toast" not "Pretentious Americans Toast." So why the pointless jibe?

I had to guess at the C in COSET and CANT.

The expression I always knew back when I submitted stories to magazines was "SASE" (Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope). An S on the end to make it plural is unnecessary and redundant. I have never seen SAEs except here in the NYT puzzle.

I found this a dull Saturday outing. PLASTIC BAG, like so many other answers, was a disappointment. There are many other options at a supermarket. And at mine, the plastic bags are barely optional. One has almost to beg to use a cloth bag.

Trombone Tom 7:11 AM  

Not quite so easy for me; maybe the generational gap. LITA FORD and GROHL were unknowns. It took a lot of looking before I was able to get traction, but once things started to fall they yielded without too much pain. On the other hand those years of high school German paid off with PROST. Yes, we learned some drinking songs! Merced-->MADERA

The clue for 56A BYES takes honors for clever misdirection.

Whitey 7:29 AM  

I had FLANDERS for SMITHERS -- and thus, a DNF in the NW.
It was fun to channel my grandmother when trying to figure out 2D: OHMYWORD, OHMYLAND(?) ...

Brad Findell 7:33 AM  

Three problems for me:

* A subgroup is a COSET, but not vice versa.
* Double Natick at RAO and GROHL crossing SOLARIS.
* And I don't get STINTS. Wanted STINgy.

Poor cluing, IMHO.

Euler 8:36 AM  

A coset is not a subgroup -- that clue is bogus.

Rob 8:40 AM  

Pleasant enough. COSET/OPERA SERIA was very tough for me, I don't really know either term and the clue for COSET led me to believe it was a subgroup of the MATH department, per the other clue, rather than just an arbitrary math term. Luckily the other letters were gettable from crosses.

Jon Alexander 8:50 AM  

Definitely on the easy side....blew through it until the OPERASERIA, CANT, MADERA section....wanted MADERA and COSET but CANT (lean)???? Wth is that?

Bobby Grizzard 8:53 AM  

Ditto others: coming from a mathematician, the clue for COSET is horrendous.

How does CANT=lean? Anyone?

Anonymous 8:54 AM  

@Bradley I put in stingy at first just like you. However, as I reconsidered the answer, the clues seems to call for a verb. In other words, you can't substitute stingy for "is close-fisted". The clue would need to be simply "close-fisted". Stint means to short someone of money owed them. I did not know Lita Ford or the Simpsons or the Mark Twain quote so I could not finish that part without googling. I know Ben Stein but was unaware he won an emmy. When I think of famous economists, his name is not the first to come to mind--I think of his game show. That is how I know him. Opera seria has been in one or more puzzles before. I did not think of TV soaps so was lost on that clue.

evil doug 8:57 AM  

Let me just look that up for you since your dictionary seems to be misplaced....

"noun: cant; plural noun: cants
1.a slope or tilt.
"the outward cant of the curving walls"
synonyms: slope, slant, tilt, angle, inclination"

Unknown 8:57 AM  

Still not sure if I fully understand CANT for "lean"? Also - I had KOAN instead of POEM for a while, which slowed me down. Other than that, a fairly straightforward Saturday for me.

Carola 9:01 AM  

I'll give the puzzle an "Easy for a Saturday" rating, except for the NW, which put up a lot of resistance. I couldn't decide between SOBA and udon, could only think banking for CDs, and EDNA just sat there providing no help. Finally a guess at SMITHERS and BEN STEIN got me to the end.

Learned without knowing I had: SOLARIS

@George Barany and @Mike in Mountain View (and probably others), I also thought of hATE but decided to do an alphabet run, and the F for FATE and FORD seemed a better guess.

@Evil Doug, thanks for reminding me why I also wanted mOrris.

Anonymous 9:03 AM  

(to) CANT means "to tilt to one side", e.g. the ship's deck CANTED in the rough seas. I feel like it's mostly a nautical term, but I have no real evidence to back up that intuition.

I didn't find it too tough, apart from (weirdly) the NW. I kept playing around with udon (for the noodle) and anti (for opposing side), and getting nowhere with it. It's weird how your brain falls into ruts.

Unknown 9:05 AM  

Thank you for explaining cant

Tim Pierce 9:20 AM  

Mostly I liked this puzzle -- TRASH TALKS, YEAH SURE, LISTEN HERE, I THINK I CAN, OH DEAR ME -- lots of fun stuff. Mostly very easy for a Saturday. But then...

OPERA SERIA crossed with COSET, MADERA and SAEs, along with the obliquely clued CANT, stopped me dead. I whipped through the rest of the puzzle in about 10 minutes flat -- a record for me -- and spent the next seven staring hopelessly at that corner. I've seen OPERA SERIA before but never remember it. Never heard of MADERA in my three visits to California as an adult. Not familiar with SAES as a variant of SASES. In the end I had to look up both OPERA SERIA and MADERA just to go on.

And COSET is just mean. If you haven't studied group theory (as I have not) you'll have no chance of getting COSET. Bad, bad clue. Bad clue. No clue biscuit.

Aketi 9:24 AM  

My dear husband is. PLASTIC BAG hoarder so we have a silent war going on. He collects them and I toss them out. No amount of canvas BAGS will keep him from dragging more in.

David W 9:38 AM  

The clue on 44 Down is, if I'm not mistaken, simply incorrect. And the answer is hyper-obscure!
And in what semantic universe does CANT = Lean? I've never heard it and quick dictionary searches are no help. Anybody? Bueller?

RooMonster 9:38 AM  

Hey All !
Felt like Rex on the East side of this puz (though I'm sure not as fast) as it filled in relatively easy. Twixt knowing a bunch of answers and word recognition, I flew through there with nary a care. Then . . . SW. Stall, big time. Did have COOPER, but had austin/Cafe cross in, with SALTmIne, creating massive havoc down there. Check/Reveal function to the rescue!

Then Rex's "extremely" easy NW had me flummoxed but good. anti for THEM, flandERS for SMITHERS, SOBA an unknown (couldn't get ramen out of the ole brain), tricky clue on STEREOS, blargh (Rex). So again, Check/Reveal came into play.

What a blow to the ego, after being so confident after solving East so easily. Did have a few wrireovers in E, otoe-UTES, harleY-SEGWAY (nice misdirect, that).

So East, all nice and clean. West, black and red marked squares abound! Kind of wished I'd solved this with the Casco Kid, would've gotten a hoot on his explaining of the wrong answers!


Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 9:39 AM  

I believed the German toast is spelled PROSiT.

Nancy 9:46 AM  

I knew it had to be COSET. I knew it had to be OPERA SERIA. I thought it was probably MADERA instead of MoDERA. But I never filled in CANT. I just didn't see how it could possibly mean "lean," But it didn't matter that I DNF in that spot, because I was already DNFing in the %$#% PPP-filled SE corner. I had actually been enjoying the puzzle up to that point. Grrrr.

And despite not knowing any of it, I was making some good guesses. SEGWAY, BETA and (even though it's not PPP) AEROLOGY, which I never heard of. I had written in the OLOGY right away, but held off on the AER. It was the sci-fi novel crossing the Foo Fighters singer -- that proved to be just Too Much. So what was too easy for Rex because he knew all the PPP was too hard for me, because I didn't. And here's the way I feel about the whole thing. I blame myself for the CANT-related DNF and I blame the constructor for the PPP-related DNF. You either know it or you don't know it; that's just the way it is.

Birchbark 9:49 AM  

I was double-Naticked on RAO/SOLARIS/GROHL (guessed RAI/SIDARIS (sort of starlike for a sci-fi-fi clue)/GROHD -- should have known that last was wrong). Like @GeorgeBarany, I cruised through much of the puzzle, then hit a wall in multiple places. I had to look up LITA FORD in Wikipedia. When terribly stumped and before hitting "Reveal", I turn to the bookshelf, Wikipedia, or IMDB (not Google, as it too often hits on the actual crossword answer). Once I've found the right word, the "penalty" is to read the article and learn something about what I didn't know -- a fair trade for exiting the solve-it-yourself playing field. At my level, I engage in this exercise perhaps one out of three or four Fridays or Saturdays.

STEREOS and ORE fell at the same time in the northwest and brought a real smile -- both nice misdirects in the cluing.

RooMonster 9:51 AM  

Aketi 9:24
Don't throw them in the garbage! Recycle them. Your local supermarket should have a bin for used bags. If not, just leave them on the curb during recycling pickup and let the recycling plant deal with them.

And to everyone, please recycle. Our dumps can only take so much garbage.


Two Ponies 9:55 AM  

Any puzzle with Mark Twain in it is fine with me. He's definitely invited to my fantasy dinner party.
Isn't Rao's a famous Italian restaurant in NYC?
Mineral next to salt lick caught my eye.

Carola 9:56 AM  

@Greater Fall River Committee - The German dictionary I use has the entry under "prost," with the addition of "prosit" as colloquial umgangssprachlich).

Peter 9:58 AM  

I knew CANT from film classes, where "canted angle" is another term for "Dutch angle" or "Dutch tilt." Think the off-kilter shots in BATMAN tv fights, confrontation scenes in "Do the Right Thing," or the moody paranoid world of "The Third Man."

Two Ponies 9:58 AM  

Reading the comments before you post allows you to avoid asking questions that have already been answered.
I guess @ evil doug is the only person with a dictionary (wink).

Warren Howie Hughes 9:58 AM  

This Saturday outing by David Phillips was "Too Easy" for "The Big Giant Head,AKA The Ninth Greatest Crossword Solver in the Universe" Kinda makes me feel like a mere pea brain in comparison.

Teedmn 10:02 AM  

This was almost total wheelhouse for me. My husband and I loved to watch "Win BEN STEIN's Money" or whatever the title of that show was, so when that entry cleared up my indecision of 1A's "udon" or SOBA, I was off!

Except for pausing at the COSET/MADaRA/OPERA_aRIA area and being YEAH, not so SURE about GROHL in the SE, this was a romp. Though I did put in HavaNA instead of HELENA at first which deserves a face palm; my maternal grandmother was born in HELENA and my great-grandfather, who adopted her, shows up in a book about the great men of Montana (I'd post a link but my internet connection is too tenuous to make Google searches). So while I may not have "greatness" in my GENES, I've had a brush with it. :-)

Nothing to TRASH TALK about this puzzle, except possibly for it being too easy, so thanks DP.

Mohair Sam 10:02 AM  

We struggled much more than most and finally dnf'd at the GROHL/RAO/SOLARIS cross in the SE. Thought it was GROH, might have guessed SOLARIS if I had the "L". Oh well.

The PPP that many of you found so easy was, on the whole, tough going for us. SMITHERS had to fill, don't watch "The Simpsons" - loved them on Tracey Ullman Show but never cared for the full half hour. Don't know LITA FORD, bad on California locales, and misdirected myself on COOPER. Still, it was a fine Saturday test - no complaints (well, a mumble about COSET).

I've said it before - Television game shows and comedy peaked with "Win Ben Stein's Money", it's been all downhill from there. I will never forgive Jimmy Kimmel for leaving the show, never.

@Evil Doug - The Morris Mini Minor debuted in 1960 according to Wikipedia. I drove one in the sixties in England for a while - loved the beast. And yes, I too cleverly filled in the gimme mOrris at 39D. The girl who owned it dumped me so I bought my own '49 Ford Prefect that had a crank start for cold days. You can laugh, but (unlike the girlfriend) the damned thing never let me down.

Nancy 10:03 AM  

I've been on both sides of the MSS-submitting process -- as editor and as writer. And I had the same reaction that @Quasi (6:45 am) did. It's SASE, not SAE. This is not a minor quibble; that 2nd S is a stamp. And you'd damn well better have a stamp on your return envelope if you ever want to see your manuscript again. Remember --I've given you all fair warning.

@mathgent (1:38 am) -- I also loved the Mark Twain quote and thought it was far and away the best thing in the puzzle.

jberg 10:08 AM  

Like @Whitey, I had Flanders before SMITHERS, and but it became clear pretty soon that it wouldn't work,and I eventually became sure it was either SMITHERS or SMuTHERS or SMaTHERS (just couldn't remember). But I couldn't imagine BEN STEuN, let alone STEoN, so that worked out. tilT before CANT, and OPERA buffA before SERIA. (I've seen the opera, but long ago, It was a Boston Lyric Opera production, in the old days when they were more adventurous, and all I can remember is that they had big stuffed sheep all over the place, including on the walls -- so that seemed pretty buffa to me!) Like @George and others, I had hATE before FATE (and love before that!), but LIT hORD seemed improbable. I also seriously considered aril before BYES, bu never wrote it in.

Relatively easy, excetp for that NE corner.

Warren Howie Hughes 10:08 AM  

AMIS is as good as a MILAN...TAHINI, my island TAHINI... "Nothing comes between me and my GENES"

Nancy 10:25 AM  

@Mohair (10:02) -- Curious, I Googled photos of 1960s-era Cooper minis. I was underwhelmed. What a boxy-looking car, although it does look pretty comfortable, at least in the front seats. It may have been a wonderful car in many ways that I will never understand, not being a car person. Yet somehow I don't picture you in such a car. I picture you, dressed in your spiffy Air Force uniform, sitting with one or another of your various redheads, in a T-Bird or a Corvette. Red, of course.

joannamauselina 10:29 AM  

Once again - finish Saturday, happy, read Rex who says "easy", deflated.

Hartley70 10:29 AM  
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Hartley70 10:32 AM  

This was easy right up until it got tough. The SE slowed me way down when I met Dave the Foo Fighter and his friend Stanislaw. I persevered, however, and when I saw GROHL, I vaguely remembered it. Lem and his book are nowhere to be found in the memory bank.
I thought I had aced this until the E in MADERA and the S in COSET let me down. Curses, foiled again.

I totally enjoyed this one. It felt fresh and many of the clues were aimed at a younger solver. I get an extra kick when I figure those out. Hi LITA and Dave and Mr. Smithers!

Hartley70 10:40 AM  

Yes, @Two Ponies 9:55am, it is a NYC restaurant with a colorful history. And if you're going to use a jar of sauce at home, their sauce is the one to get. Just put an extra ten in your wallet.

AW 10:46 AM  

I cry foul on COSET. It's clued as "48-Down subgroup." Well, 48D is "University department, for short" = MATH(ematics). I've never heard of a smaller (subgroup) department of mathematics called COSET, have you? Neither is COSET a subgroup of MATH, which is a field of study. COSET is a mathematical entity defined as "a set composed of all the products obtained by multiplying each element of a subgroup in turn by one particular element of the group containing the subgroup." (Yikes!) Sorry, but that is a bad, bad clue. And 26A "What's the matter?" is really clunky for ATOMS. They're in all matter, not some specific matter. Otherwise, an enjoyable Sat puzzle (although GROHL, LISA FORD, AMATI, and Stanislaw Lem (SOLARIS) were unknowns for me.

Honeysmom 10:48 AM  

Know Saturdays are supposed to be challenging,and that some solvers are apparently geniuses (easy for them, difficult for me. Definitely some far-out cluing. And,come on,saes was awful in 49d -- should be sase, "self addessed stamped envelope," of course.

pmdm 10:53 AM  

David Phillips self-maked this puzzle and gave himself a B-PLUS. Do you agree? To me, most of his puzzles have so many proper nouns I don't know I would rate them C-MINUS. But with the help of Google, I usually finish them as I did today.

There is the technically correct definition of a COSET. Then there is the freer use of the term in the vernacular of the common folk, which Mr. Shortz embraces. Another frustrating nail.

Anonymous 10:54 AM  

Kudos to "What's the matter?"
My idea of "classic" sci-fi is from the 30s, 40s & 50s not 2002.

old timer 10:54 AM  

I immediately wrote in "mein" at 1A. Ouch! The NE was a piece of cake though. So was the SW. Though I wrote in "deer" LICK before SALT and of course wanted "Fresno" before writing in MADERA. Did anyone else search for an Asian city before finding MILAN?

Finally in the NE again, I confess I looked Kimmel up on Wikipedia, and immediately noticed BEN STEIN. I actually used to watch BEN STEIN back in the day, before concluding he was an idiot. I loved the clue for ENVIED, and for some reason wrote in SMITHERS right away even though I seldom watch The Simpsons anymore. Mr. STEIN gave me SOBA instead of "mein" and the puzzle was done.

Joseph Michael 10:55 AM  

As another writer, I cast my vote with @Quasi and @Nancy about SASE. If you were to send out your "SAE" without an "S," you' would not be likely to ever see it again. In today's world, however, electronic submissions tend to be preferred, so there is no "E" or "S" to worry about.

Liked a lot about this puzzle, especially the quad stacks, and did not find it TOO EASY. Got particularly hung up around OPERA SERIA crossing COSET and MADERA.

But OH DEAR ME, I am still stumped about BYES as something seeds have. Can someone please explain?

Nancy 11:01 AM  

@Joseph Michael -- I'm going over the limit to answer your last question:
Seeds, i.e. seeded tennis players, receive BYES in the first round -- meaning they have no opponent and simply progress to the next round.

More Whit 11:06 AM  

The clues for stereos and byes were masterful misdirections that reminded me of the banana trap alluded to in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. In problem solving, one often latches onto a potential answer too soon, thereby excluding other options (one of which is correct). I agree wholeheartedly with the "coset" objections: that hound doesn't hunt. Otherwise, not easy for me but average Saturday.

Mr. Cheese 11:07 AM  

"Stereos" and "Byes" clues made me smile. Perfect puzzle bookends

GILL I. 11:11 AM  

The PPP's got the better of me. @Rex sailing through this puzzle - YEAH SURE. GROHL RAO pffft.
MADERA = timber in Spanish. You guessed was named for its lumber. Guess what else MADERA is known for...It has a water tower and a working drive-in movie theater... Wow,, huh?
I moved from 1A to 10D and INKA saved my bacon. That one little stupid word opened that section for me. Went back to the NW. My sucka wanted a KAPOW. It took me a while before getting EAT IT. Isn't that a Jackson song? OH DEAR ME and AMATI opened that door for a while. Had the same SALT MINE as the rest of ye. LICKS had to be right after getting TRASH TALKS. I should have known SALT LICKS. Our equine buddies all had a block of that stuff in their stalls. They loved licking all day long. Now I know this sounds gross, but I wanted to see what all the fuss was so I took a lick myself. Yup, it tastes just like salt.
@Aketi. @Roo is right...What I do is take them to the dog park. Even that bothers me a bit because I keep thinking how one can recycle PLASTIC with dog DOO in it.
Can someone explain BYES. My dictionary has the B's missing.

Cheerio 11:14 AM  

I don't think Ben Stein is an economist. He may call himself that, but he has only an undergraduate degree in the subject. His father is an economist, meaning that he has a PHD in the subject.Ben Stein himself is a lawyer by training and an entertainer / game show host. It should be no surprise that a lawyer would have a way with public speaking. It would be more unusual for a real economist to.

GHarris 11:28 AM  

Took me six googles to finish; Ford, Grohl, Rao, Solaris, Prost and seria. Having stingy at first didn't help.

Mohair Sam 11:35 AM  

@Cheerio - In his defense, BEN STEIN does not describe himself as an economist on his web page. He starts with speech writer, author, actor . . . . . . . and goes on and on. A few other sources, such as the NY Times do list him as an economist - hence the clue here.

@Nancy - Hang on to that picture, I haven't seen it! The back seat of the Morris Mini, btw, probably never held a human - it was meant for dogs and grocery bags. The internet photos do not do justice to just how small that car was.

booksell 12:09 PM  

This should help you remember CANT.

Definition of cantilever
: a projecting beam or member supported at only one end: such as
a : a bracket-shaped member supporting a balcony or a cornice
b : either of the two beams or trusses that project from piers toward each other and that when joined directly or by a suspended connecting member form a span of a cantilever bridge

puzzlehoarder 12:26 PM  

I'm intrigued by the number of people who are unfamiliar with CANT. Prior to taking up puzzles I memorized every word in a paperback copy of your common abridged OED dictionary that I wasn't familiar with. This really gave me an advantage when I started solving. Thanks to the comments on this blog I learned about the clue lists. This is an amazing tool which is like giving your solving steroids. Of the 38 appearances for CANT in the Shortz era alone 22 refer to the word "can't", the other 16 are a virtual definition of today's word. SAES is another example of how useful the clue lists are. This pluralized version has apppeared only 6x under this editor but take off that last S and it shows up 31x. You realize you've been beaten over the head with it for decades. @Nancy the standard SASE has been used 69x under Mr. Shortz. Pardon the TMI I didn't pick "hoarder" out of a hat.

Anonymous 12:34 PM  

@ Mohair,

You're one of my faves but you've both it bit mixed up. The Morris Minor was all you said it was important sure, but mini was ever part of its name.
The Mini was an unrelated car, designed by a genius named Alec Issigonis. It was a revelation. A world beater in some factory-backed endeavors. Check out Pat Moss's record in the Monte Carlo Rally. (How's That for Sexisme Joe Bleuax).

You're probably my second favorite around these parts, but Ben Stein is a real creep. So much so, The Times has to dump his assistant as a columnist. Check out his sleazy shilling for one those almost criminal credit score groups. Then take a shower.

Anoa Bob 12:55 PM  

I got SALT LICK easy enough. There was always one or two blocks of it on my grandparents' farms for the horses and cows. They included other ingredients besides SALT and were more correctly called MINERAL LICKs, so having those two side-by-side in the grid was nice.

I used to campaign my Austin Healey 3000 in local Sports Car Club of America autocrosses in and around San Diego back in the 60's. It was a bit too heavy for the typically short and winding courses. The nimble Mini COOPERs usually did very well in those. The Healey was better at the Road Rally events.

I don't remember ever seeing a Morris Minor at any of those. With an 1100 cc engine, it barely had enough power to pull the hat off your head. In Peter Ustinov's wildly funny skewering of sports car racing, Grand Prix of Gibraltar, he has the British team entering a detuned (i.e., even less horsepower than stock!) Morris Minor in the race. He does all the voices, including the interviewer and the different nationality race teams with appropriate accents. The interview with the French team alone is worth the listen.

Anonymous 1:04 PM  

So true Mark Twain, so true.

Anonymous 1:06 PM  

The Coopers are great obviously. And in our local patch of autocrossing, there was one that was really quick, but not quite as balanced ( or fast)as a tricked out Porsche 914. That car was unreal. I could never touch him.

Masked and Anonymous 1:10 PM  

@RP: Congratz on yer faster than snot solvetime. This SatPuz did not hit the floor, roll over and beg for a belly rub, at our house.

The NE with its long stacks was quite a bit easier than the NW's shorter stacks, go figure.
NW troublespot bullets:

* SOBA. Sounds slightly familiar, now that it's been noodled out. Woulda also been fooled by variations such as SOKA and SOPA, tho.
* STEREOS seen as investments. Is there a STEREOS commodities market? I have a vintage Sansui turntable to cash in on ...
* EDNA. Had no idea. Thought this was the "Frozen" queen name, actually.
* EATIT = {"Take THAT, sucka!"}. Had considered that answer early on [at the ????T point], but weren't proud enough of it to even lightly pencil it in.
* ORE. Sneaky clue. Had EMO lightly p'ed in.
* SMITHERS. Did somehow dredge this name up, from the -ERS endin. Been years since I watched a Simpsons show.
* BENSTEIN. Ok. Glad for him he can do somethin besides drone out "Bueller…?", I guess. Wasn't aware of the rest of his resume, or had forgot.
* ENVIED. Like the Twain quote, but didn't know of it.
* TAHINI. Unknown ingredient in an unknown dish. All M&A brain had to process on was the word "ingredient".

staff weeject pick: RAO. Only 4 3-letter choices, today. Luvly, in its exquisite simplistic desperation. Unlike AEROLOGY.
fave MATH term: COSET. Group Theory! M&A scored an A- in that college course. Wouldn't wanna try to retake the final exam now, tho. All-time fave Group Theory term : HEAP.
fave seed entry nominee: TRASHTALKS.
fave almost-knew-it name: GROHL. Knew the GRO?? part, off nuthin. Followed by a "Foo-ey, I can't remember" growhl.

Fun themeless solve, duuude. [Is there an implied rating system here? Is a 4-U duuuude better than a 3-U duuude? Buuueller … ?]
Thanx with tahini on top, Mr. Phillips. M&A rates grid vowel respect at a "duude" level, btw.

Masked & AnonymoUUs


Z 1:23 PM  

regarding 48D - First the clue cross references the answer, not the clue, so it should be reparsed as math sub-group, not math department sub-group. Wondering what the dickens the mathematical folk were going on about I looked it up. The Wikipedia article soon becomes incomprehensible, as does Wolfram. Fortunately, I (like @evil doug) know how to use a dictionary.. Clue looks perfectly okay so now I'm wondering why the mathematical folk were crying "wrong" and "horrendous."

21 minutes without really trying, so definitely easy side here, too. I spent more time puzzling over why COSET would be wrong than on the puzzle.

jae 1:36 PM  

@Hartley - RAO sauce is excellent. We get it at Whole Foods and you are correct, it is not cheap.

More Whit 1:47 PM  

In some sporting events, top "seeded" teams may draw a "bye", meaning they automatically advance to the next round. The "bye" is a way for top seeds to be rewarded for a great season and thus wait/rest until playing the winner of the first round. Hope this helps.

Joe Dipinto 1:56 PM  

Breezed through this. Definitely knew "cant" could mean "lean", so no problem there. Bottom right was a little tricky: I knew Grohl right away, but I wanted "Yeah, I bet" at first -- then I remembered the ubiquitous Elsa, so "sure" filled itself in. Ultimately a very smooth solve. But if one doesn't know Grohl or Rao or Solaris or Elsa, I can see how that corner would be rough.

The Clerk 1:57 PM  

SW was a trivia contest. Very poor. Reminds me of the "Error of Closure" where the mapmaker's slight angle imperfections all get gathered into one little corner.

Aketi 2:04 PM  

@roomonster, we live in an apartment. We put our recyclables out the door in the morning for the super who picks it all up and puts it out on the curb on the appropriate day. I haven't been to a supermarket in decades. We order groceries online and our cats are delighted with the boxes until we out them door for the super to recycle.

Who knew a puzzle would inspire TALKS about TRASH.

Joe Bleaux 2:11 PM  

Wanted MAKES A NAME for EARNS A NAME, and ran into no trouble until the SW, which I pretty much grokked out. Finished with no corrections, but ... it was slow going, and my guesses on what I didn't know were, luckily, correct. I'm among the seemingly few who wouldn't use "easy" to describe this puz. I'd have to summarize "fun and satisfying, but definitely challenging." @Two Ponies, good advice on reading comments before posting. The urge to reply without reading on should be resisted.

Anonymous 2:23 PM  

Happy to hear you know how to use a dictionary. If only you knew how not to be a dick.

Chris 2:28 PM  

No puzzle with CANT, clued as it was, crossed with COSET (WTF?), and with LITAFORD (WTF?), counts as "easy" in my book.

Mohair Sam 2:39 PM  

@Anonymous (12:34) - Well my head's spinning. I took a look at the Morris Minor on the 'net and that definitely wasn't the girlfriend's car. She drove a Mini that looked just like the Morris Mini Minor. Except it was an under-powered little beast in which we had trouble making the hills in Wales, it wasn't racing anybody. I'm not a car buff, so I'm not going to argue your point - I probably was in a different Mini.

Bill Feeney 3:44 PM  

I had smoke coming out of my IPad from hitting the check puzzle button so often. Envy those of you who found much of this puzzle to be easy.

The Lucchese crime family 3:49 PM  

Rao's, the restaurant, has an "S" in it.

Anonymous 4:58 PM  

@Anonymous 10:54, there was a Solaris movie from 2002, but the clue was for Lem's classic novel, published in 1961 at the height of that intersection between sci-fi (as speculative fiction) and real inroads into space (as living experience).

Anonymous 5:01 PM  

try "cantilevered"

OISK 6:55 PM  

What Chris said. Easy for some, but not for me. NW with "Edna" (Hairspray? What was that. Play? Movie? I should know the characters??) Soba, ( not a noodle I have used...) "eat it," (any clue with "sucka" in it refers to a different language). Rao crossing Solaris? I don't know what the Foo Fighters are/were, let alone who "founded" them. However, I DID finish it correctly. I was delayed for the longest time because I thought the economist was a woman, with last name ending "in". And I could not recall her name. The harder I thought about it, the more certain I was that she was the answer.

And between the two acts at the ballet this afternoon, it hit me. Suzy Orman~ doesn't fit, and it is "an" not "In." Tried "Ben Stein, and it all fell into place, except for _ant with _oset. I was unfamiliar with that meaning of "can't," but "coset" made mathematical sense, so I guessed right. Pretty good puzzle. But easy???

Anonymous 7:00 PM  

Stereos are depreciable assets they are not nvestments. That said pretty easy for Saturday and Rex has never been more full of himself. What a tool.

Shannon 11:18 PM  

Definitely not a fan of this one. My boyfriend and I (ages 22 and 24) do the puzzle every day and this almost broke our 47-day streak. The easy "ins" that Rex found are definitely not good for crossworders under 30. "LITA FORD"? Not only unknown for most young people, but also doesn't even sound like a name so impossible to guess. SOLARIS was published in 1961, 32 years before I was born. Pretty hung up also on STINTS, AEROLOGY (I study climate science and have never come across this rather antiquated term), and COSET (not a common mathematical term at all).

NE and SE corners had nice long across answers, but the occasionally strange downs made it miserable. Thankfully we finished before the NyTimes 12 pm cutoff.

brainpercy 1:26 AM  

I really thought so too!

EAbbe 4:13 AM  

I am a little late to the party here, but I wanted to clear up some of the confusion about the Mini. I have owned and/or driven about seven of them, dating back to 1968, when I got my license - four of the "classic" Minis and three of the "new" MINIs.

Cooper was not the "builder" of them. The parent car company when the Mini was first released was British Motors Corporation (BMC). Early versions were released under several of their "marques" (brands), but the main was was Austin (which was my first answer in the puzzle). Cooper was a separate company run by the Formula One race car driver and race car builder, John Cooper. His company tuned the Mini by putting in a larger engine (1275 cc vs. 850 cc) and other refinements. Austin liked his version and sold it with his name attached - the Austin Mini Cooper S. These are the cars that won the Monte Carlo rally and appeared in the ORGINAL (Michael Caine/Benny Hill version of "The Italian Job". They could fly!

konberg 1:06 AM  

I managed to get most of it pretty damn quickly, and thought I would also have an outrageously good clock time in the end, but that southwest just killed me. Could only see BENT for CANT, and had no idea what OPERA SERIA was. I am really impressed with CANT / COSET. I was legit impressed by that corner. Except for SAES.

Anonymous 2:58 PM  

@Tim Pierce my solving experience exactly.

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kitshef 9:46 PM  

For the record, this took me longer than 4:47.

As is so often the case, what @Rex loved most was my least favorite - YEAH SURE and the odious cluing thereof.

rondo 11:13 AM  

YEAHSURE. Some of it easy, some not so much. Gimmes with Dave GROHL and YEAH baby LITAFORD. Inkfest with a Café latte making the capital Austin for too long until my ROLEMODELS came to the rescue.

EATIT shoulda been clued as Weird Al's video take off of MJ's bEATIT. Hilarious.

Woulda liked to have seen the clue as WKRP's Bailey Quarters as played by YEAH baby Jan SMITHERS. She had it all over Loni Anderson IMHO.

CANT say it was that easy, took about an HOUR.

Burma Shave 11:44 AM  


YEAH,SURE, I did a few STINTS in some ASHRAMS,
ITHINKICAN say, "Do the MATH, ma'am,
one EARNSANAME with just one HOUR of prayer."


spacecraft 12:32 PM  

I hate it when I sweat bullets trying to figure out a truckload of unknowns, only to come here and see "easy." Was a long time hamstrung by Café latte, which of course led to (hand up, @rondo) Austin. I thought the toast was "Prosit!" Never saw it without the I. And I'm descended from Germans.

Guessed on much of this. Didn't know any of the SE, practically. That Indian dude, and the Foo Fighters dude, and all of it ending in some "classic" sci-fi novel by this Lem dude of whom I've never heard despite my being a sci-fi aficionado. In fact, leaving shortly to attend the Star Trek con. I decided on SOLARIS because it contained SOLAR and thus looked sci-fi-ish.

Did it, but it was more luck than skill. And NOT easy. I agree with the co-DOD's LITAFORD and Jan SMITHERS as mentioned above. How cool that they intersect. Those giuys must've won for a little-watched but very funny game show called "Win BENSTEIN's Money." As if. It was the network's money. But still, a lot of fun. I remember one hilarious category: "EDNA Ferber-ger." This is how they rolled. And good ol' EDNA even appears here. No TRASHTALKS this time: birdie.

Anonymous 2:36 PM  

Clues and answers may as well have been in Martian. Total pisser infestation. This one gets a well deserved F. Rejected.

Diana,LIW 2:37 PM  

A boogerfest of PPP.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for a Crossword puzzle that relies on wordplay

Diana,LIW 2:47 PM  

I should have noted that the use of PPP was "roofless." Thanks for the new word, @Rainy!

Lady Di

rain forest 5:41 PM  

Easy? My eye, or foot, or ass!

I had a lot of trouble with this, especially in the area of the SMITHERS/LITA FORD crossing. I knew neither of those folks. Same with RAO and GROHL. I saw the movie SOLARIS which I hated, and I usually like science fiction.

I started confidently by putting in UDON for 1A--bzzt. THEM and AMATI to the rescue there. Gimmes INKA, COOPER, ARAMIS, and YEAH SURE helped a bunch and the SW was actually a laydown. I was surprised to learn that Senators in the US have six-year terms, and that SALT LICKS exist in the wild.

After rather more than an hour, @Rondo, I finally finished this one. High triumph factor.

thefogman 5:56 PM  

LITA FORD almost ran me down but the crosses saved me - and The Google confirmed it. There was a fair bit of obscure stuff in this one but manageable just the same. STINTS wanted to be STINgy oh so badly. I pondered ATOMy for a while before surrendering to ATOMS and STINTS sounds like a hipster boutique). Overall, the constructor placed enough of these devilish booby traps to make it worthy of a medium-challenging Saturday puzzle.

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