Gudrun's victim in Norse myth / SAT 8-12-17 / Cambridge student informally / Applesauce topped nosh / Vintage military plane / Candle scent popular at Christmas / Some ancient Cretan statues

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Constructor: Kameron Austin Collins

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: Greaves (26D: Greaves, e.g.) —
A greave (from the Old French greve "shin, shin armour" from the Arabic jaurab, meaning stocking) is a piece of armour that protects the leg. (wikipedia)
• • •

Hell of a one-two punch this week with the Friday and Saturday themelesses. Both of them first rate. This one was definitely tougher, though only about as much as you'd expect a Saturday to be tougher than a Friday. Again, the 1-Across rule was in effect, as I threw down CANTAB immediately (it's about the stupidest word for any collegian that I can think of, and I know it only from crosswords). Puzzle opens up nicely when you can plunk down 1-Across with no problem. Danced around some tough cluing—verb in adjective's clothing at 2D: Not fancy at all (ABHOR), ambiguous adjective at 1D: Dateable one (CATCH)—until finally COMMITMENTPHOBE became clear and I was into the heart of the grid. There were an odd lot of gimmes up top—CANTAB DAMONE ETSY RIPPER COINSTAR—so it's a good thing there was a real wrench in the works that made me have to stop and earn my progress. That wrench: TOPONYM (16A: Champagne is one). With "Champagne," I was thinking beverage and also region, but TOPONYM is a very uncommon word, and even having TOPO- didn't help (TOP what? TOP what!?). How did I remember LILIAN Jackson Braun's name?? Probably just from seeing it on the spines of books in the crime/mystery section. She must be fairly prolific. I feel like her books often take up a fair chunk of shelf real estate. Anyway, she helped today. Thanks, LILIAN (d. 2011).

What is a BAYBERRY? (10D: Candle scent popular at Christmas). Seriously. That answer crossing TOPONYM was rough. Also rough: the SW corner. That was where I finished, and for a while it looked like I wasn't going to. First problem down there was that I went with NEUROELASTICITY as opposed to BRAIN PLASTICITY (clue has "neuro-" in it, so that's my bad) (41A: Ability to learn and adapt neurologically). After that was sorted, I had to confront the fact that I didn't really know what "greaves" were. In my head they were like some kind of reed or other basket fiber (osier?), and maybe you used them to bind ... things?? 🎶Bringing in the greaves, bringing in the greaves, we shall come rejoicing, bringing in the greaves?🎶 No idea what I was thinking of. Let's just say that I was so in the weeds that when I had it down to L-G ARMOR I went with LOG ARMOR. I also had SOILED (duh) instead of ROILED (46A: Muddied). So both WARBIRD and WENT were problems. Finally realized LOG ARMOR was ****ing stupid, and fixed it. The rest is history.

  • ATLI (5D: Gudrun's victim, in Norse myth) — vintage crosswordese. Normally highly unwelcome (like its cousin, ATRI). But I can handle a stray bit of antique oof when the overall product is this smooth and pleasing. 
  • WYNNE (40D: Arthur ___, inventor of the crossword puzzle) — Have you read "FUN" yet? It's a novel and a comic and a history of the crossword all in one. WYNNE figures prominently.
  • RANSOM OLDS (36A: Founder of two automobile companies)RANSOM OLDS is the TRINI LOPEZ of this puzzle. Full name action!
  • "SAYS ME!" (49A: Bully's reply) — I had "MAKE ME!" Felt right.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:24 AM  

Medium-tough for me. I had three erasures that made this tough: COIN Spot before STAR, BELT sizE before LINE, and snap (off the p in the wrong answer spot) before TNUT. So, bottom half easy-medium and the top half tough.

CANTAB was a WOE and the wiki explanation is tautologous.

Terrific Sat., liked it a bunch!

puzzlehoarder 12:44 AM  

Great puzzle. This makes up for what we've been missing all week. I started in the NW and oddly found CATCH to be one of the more difficult to recognize entries. I don't really know who Vic DAMONE is I just know the name. With good old ETSY right next door it was careful steady work from there until I hit the SW. A couple of bad write overs blocked me from the east and north. I broke through by coming up with LEGARMOR which gave me BRAIN and WARBIRD. It's been awhile since we've seen this constructor. I have a vague memory of his last puzzle being a standout too. This had the freshness of yesterday's puzzle only with some challenge to it.

ColoradoCog 12:51 AM  

CANTAB?? WOE was me.

This was a workout. I felt the burn, and now I'm happily exhausted.

Z 12:57 AM  

CANTAB was a WOE here as well. My favorite part of the tautologous Wiki article is that CANTAB is derived from a false Latin origin. I'm pretty sure that makes the plural Cantopodes.

Larry Gilstrap 2:24 AM  

Wow! Saturday enough for me. Like painting a battleship with a toothbrush, at sea. Those are very nice grid spanners, both might inspire me to write an autobiography. Midlife COMMITMENTPHOBE era might be a bit racy for an article in the AARP Magazine, but the segment on BRAIN ELASTICITY might be riveting, where was I?

I always feel sorry for these young solvers dealing with fill like Vic DAMONE, Mork from ORK, and even Elvis's ALOHA from Hawaii, just to mention a few archival answers. I'm not sure where OFL draws the line on old.

I think I have seen CANTAB before, but not when I actually was in Cambridge. I was thinking PUNTER. Makes sense to me. Punting on the River Cam, idyllic.

Live and learn: a TOPONYM is a thing named for a geographical location. Dom Perignon sees stars in his glass of wine and et voila! Last week I was camping with some Orange County natives and one night we went out to dinner in town. Great place! After Thai food, folks were wanting ice cream. Somebody noticed a local eating a Balboa Bar which resulted in a frenzied quest. TOPONYM stories?

Hartley70 2:43 AM  

CANTAB as an opener made this difficult right from the start. Clearly I haven't done enough puzzles, Rex, and I'll wait for the sun to figure out why this name and are beer cans involved. I also had trouble with the proper names. I didn't know CATT or WYNNE or the first name of OLDS. I thought of Dior before COTY. COTY must have been mainly a fragrance competitor, I think. I mistakenly thought GREAVES was a person.

BANANAPIE without the cream is just wrong. Rockefeller University feels right for a research university because I know some EMORY undergraduates. It could have been LOTtA. I didn't know CELA, only cette. TOPONYM was a woe.

This made me cranky. It was a big fat DNF because I had to look up CANTAB, CELA and GREAVES. I suppose this is what a Saturday should be.

chefwen 2:47 AM  

This turned into a Google Fest for me. Who the hell puts BRAIN PLASTICITY in a puzzle? That's just nuts.

Being a crazy cat lady, LILIAN Jackson Braun was a gimme, if I haven't read all of them, I've read most of her Cat Who books. Loved them!

It's been a couple of challenging days.

Dolgo 3:24 AM  
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Dolgo 3:31 AM  
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Dolgo 3:57 AM  

This puzzle must've been the bane of your normal red-blooded American, but it was mother's milk to old Dolgoruky, your pedant-in-residence.
My misspent youth reading old Brit coming-of-age novels started me right out on CANTAB. Early love of Tennyson, my dad's prose Odyssey, and later study of the Homeric poems gave me a quick stab at LOTUS-EATERS.
My Swedish Grandpa gave me a book of Norse mythology, so ATLI was another gimme. I got slowed down with COOMIMTMENTPHOBE, 'cause I tried to get it backwards ("merinthophobia"??)
Good thing there weren't any baseball stars or rappers or it would have been DNF-CITY for me!!! (I DID know Vic Damone, though!)

Phil 5:11 AM  

CANTAB for me either and Dateable one as a mATCH didn't help
Again WYNNE was a woe and has LAb for post graduate study?? My bad

GILL I. 5:54 AM  

I started counting my oofs and knew I was in trouble. Deep breath...put puzzle down...walk around the block...worry that the eyeball piercing delved too deeply into the BRAIN and destroyed very important cells...start over.
Hey! little by little she opened up. So many guesses that turned out right as well as those that screwed me. BAYBERRY? What is it? It's always that god-awful cinnamon that stinks up the mall. Or is that Thanksgiving and pumpkin...Someone gave me a candle scented Paddywax Wassail. I left it in the bathroom and the mixed smells were something else.
Got all AMPED when both COMMITMENT PHOBE and BRAIN PLASTICITY entered without too much urging. Loved the cluing for LATKE. COIN STAR and I are friends. My son and I spent LOTSA time tossing the pennies and dimes and quarters he saved up into the supermarket machine. His eyes would light up as the jingle jangle would sound off - counting his loot - only to be disappointed that the 20 lb jar we lugged to the machine only spit out five dollars.
Agree with @Rex today. this was a fine Saturday. Not sure MADEN ICE would placate me, though.

clk 7:01 AM  

Back when I studied BRAIN PLASTICITY (which is always referred to as neural or neuro plasticity), we used CANTAB, or the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery. Still wasn't sure that name referred to the whole class of students though.
Loved the champagne answer.

BarbieBarbie 7:24 AM  

Great words, fun puzzle. Don't ask me why but BRAINPLASTICITY was my first entry, no crosses needed. @clk, it isn't "always" referred to as neuro. The class of researchers who skip peer review and publish by mass media almost always uses "brain."

I had rARBIRD for a long, long time because of bad crosses and rara avis, but I knew it couldn't be right and in honor of Evil Doug I made myself work at it until I got something that made sense, which was right. Thanks @ED!

@GilI, sounds like all went well yesterday? The itching will stop soon.

Lewis 7:35 AM  

Ahh, the glorious trudge I look for on Saturday, with answers I don't know that emerge from crosses or hide-aways in my brain, with smiles that come with cracking tricky clues, and with admirable clues (ABHOR, CURT) and answers (SAYSME, ILLOMEN).

I like that the answer clued "Split" crosses BANANA, and was held up by thinking it was BABKE instead of LATKE. Somehow it all fell, which made me feel good, yes, about my skill, but just happy all over about what a fulfilling art and craft crosswords can be. In this world, it's a WYNNE win.

Glimmerglass 7:44 AM  

CANTAB was a gimme for me because I once was one. It's short for Cantabridgean, which in turn is short fot a student at the University of Cambridge, England. At Harvard, it's just intellectual snobbery. I had two stupid errors. A) I left LOTtA for LOTSA (never looked at lotuteaters -- South Pacific milk drinkers?). B. I never put a letter in 40 -- left it blank and LAW would have been obvious if I'd noticed. I need to double check before I decide I'm done and come here. However, I really enjoyed this Saturday workout. Easy? Maybe for @Rex, not for me.

Robert A. Simon 7:51 AM  

To make a long story short, I have produced a lot of music in Nashville. There is one instrument that no matter what you do will always come through in a mix, and that's the pedal steel guitar. Cut to the Jerry Lee Lewis song OFL posted. In case you were wondering, "Gee, what's that #!&ing instrument that's all but obscuring what is no doubt a very rare and valuable performance by one of our country's most important performers?" that is what a pedal steel sounds like. I always thought you may as well give the damn thing a solo, because you're going to hear it above all the other instruments anyway.

Jon Alexander 7:54 AM  

Maybe I am splitting hairs here, but as a neuroscientist I take a little issue with BRAIN PLASTICITY. If the "neurologically" is referring to the neuron, it is called synaptic plasticity because the synapse is where the adaptations take place. If the "neurologically" refers to what a neurologist MD might say in a very, very general sense then yeah, whatever. In my field we would never use that term, though.

Anyway, much tougher on me than yesterday's blazer...but a solid Saturday

Jon Alexander 7:57 AM  

Or at a minimum neuroplasticity...but since neuro was in the clue...

QuasiMojo 7:58 AM  

Not easy for me which is just how I like it. Got stuck on War Bird as I had Rent instead of Went. I don't think of splitting as going but leaving. I agree about Banana Pie. No such thing in my food group. Pudding and Bread, yes. I had Crush before Catch and Brain Eladticity too long, also I know the olds guy as Ransom E. Olds, not just Ransom. Tough nut to crack today but worth the effort!

Anonymous 8:08 AM  

Very good puzzle, in my opinion. One or two questions. I thought solution should not be etymologically related to clue--I've mentioned this in other puzzles. Both Cambridge and Cantab derive from the medieval Latin Cantabrigia, Latin for Cambridge. Hence perhaps better clue would have been something like "Oxfordian rival"?

I'm a non-NYer. Was Barney's always upscale? I recall buying a very nice topcoat there, probably in the 1970s, at a time when I had very little money, and I'm sure I spent little and definitely would not shopped at a place that was "upscale." Maybe just a huge sale there. I think one of their specialties was "extra-tall" sizes, and my experience has been that "upscale" places tended to avoid the "tall and fat" stuff.

Anon. i.e. Poggius

Trombone Tom 8:14 AM  

I really had to work hard to get through this tough Saturday gem.

Fortunately I've done a lot of reading of British novels over the years and somewhere along the line CANTAB came up and I remember looking up the derivation at the time.

RANSOM (E) OLDS and REO come up often, but seldom without the middle initial.

Our daughter makes up a huge batch of LATKEs every year and we dollop on the apple sauce with abandon.

Given all the advantages cited I still have to rate this puzzle somewhere north of Easy-Medium.

And in the usual way of learning something new, I now know about Mr. WYNNE and his FUN puzzle that started all this craziness.

Anonymous 8:20 AM  

Am I the only person who has never heard of, nor seen and certainly never tasted, a banana pie?

Loren Muse Smith 8:26 AM  

Reporting beastly hard here from Burning Springs, WV. My experience was like @Gill’s and @Larry’s – little by little, break, a little more, break. Larry – your toothbrush comparison reminds me of the book I’m reading right now – A Man Called Ove – that Mom really liked. I’m about to stop because I just can’t abide all the comparisons. They come at you non-stop. The following lines are from just one exchange between Ove and a sales clerk:

…Ove looks at the sales assistant as if he has just spoken backwards…
….articulating his words as if the only problem here is his adversary impaired hearing…
…another silence as if two gunmen have suddenly realized they have forgotten to bring their pistols…
…Ove looks at the box for a long time as though he’s waiting for it to make a confession…
…Ove shakes his head in disbelief, as if he’s just witnessed the sales assistant walking around the counter and licking the glass-fronted display cabinet…

I really liked the BANANA PIE cooling on the SILLS right next to it.

The BELTLINE is what you want to live inside of in Raleigh. Waistline is what I watch. Wasteline is a clever remark that no one gets because they’re too dense. Sigh.

@Hartley – me, too for thinking “Dior” before COTY. I feel like COTY is a lot cheaper, so it really wouldn’t be a competitor. Either you’re there to drop the big bucks on Allure or Chanel Number 5, or you’re at Rite Aid buying COTY’S Wild Musk for $6.99.

First thought for the weight watcher’s deal was “the scale.”

BRAIN “elasticity” before PLASTICITY. (Hi, @QuasiMojo)

29A: ( split) “tore” – “gone” – “left” – WENT. Good grief.
4D: (fit) “able – “suit” – TRIM
11D: “by merit,” Never changed it, never recovered, dnf

@Robert A. Simon, I’ll see your pedal steel guitar and raise you one cowbell.

I’m with @Lewis and @Trombone Tom – really hard puzzle but highly enjoyable.

Two Ponies 8:56 AM  

Most of the good stuff has been covered already.
This was just right for a Saturday, impossibly slow start that ended with a good feeling of satisfaction.
Made nice was unexpected.
Agree on the cream pie.
Has anyone outside of cartoons ever cooled a pie on a window sill?
Yes, I'm looking at you Yogi.
Ill omen does not sound right. Isn't it an ill wind?
Coty seems too bottom-shelf to compete with Chanel.
Lots of good stuff today. Good job Kameron-with-a-K.

Tim Aurthur 8:56 AM  


[Abbrev. of Latin Cantabrigiensis.] Of the University of Cambridge. Usually succeeding noun in titles, as M.A. Cantab.

kitshef 8:59 AM  

@GILL I! Welcome back, and hope your vision has improved.

Puzzle hard, but fair. I might have felt differently if I didn’t know CANTAB. That cross with ATLI looks dangerous.

Having ICE at beginning of 30A and again at end of 34A gave me a momentary chill, but it turned out both are OK.

OTD 9:00 AM  

This was a bit of a toughy for me. Never heard or saw the word CONTAB, so had to work the crosses. Lots of crunch in this one, which makes for a perfect Saturday. Best demanding puzzle of the week. Congrats to Mr. Collins. I, too, feel sorry for those young'uns who don't know Vic DAMONE, or Mork from ORK. Makes up for those of who are Older Than Dirt and have to put up with all this modern pop culture bands.

QuasiMojo 9:08 AM  

@Anonymous 8:08 -- Barneys was a discount cost store until the 80s I think when it was reinvented as a chic mens store and then women too. It's had its ups and downs since then.

DeeJay 9:10 AM  

This was a challenge for me. I was stuck with BRAINELASTICITY for many minutes.... And CANTAB came very late. Much fun tho.

kitshef 9:11 AM  

@Anon 8:08 - that would be 'Oxonian', not 'Oxfordian'. An Oxfordian is someone who thinks Edward de Vere wrote the plays attributed to Shakespeare.

@Loren Muse Smith - add 'rENT' to the split Cascos.

Andrew Heinegg 9:12 AM  

One of the solving mistakes I make is, when I see a clue relating to a subject I think I know decently well, in this case Champagne, I jump to it. I figure I can use it as a springboard to 'open up' that part of the puzzle. Of course, with that methodology and this clue and answer, I got slapped up the side of the head and only got the toponym answer after struggling with the crosses. I never saw the word before and it didn't occur to me at the time to apply 3 years of Latin in high school.

BTW, even though I didn't pick it up, I am a believer in Latin being taught in schools from which I think it has disappeared. It really does help with word skills despite being a dead language.

I never heard of Cantab and, as Rex has noted many times, getting the 1a to start a puzzle is a good way to generate a 'I can handle this' attitude for what is for many solvers a tough nut of a puzzle to crack. The flip side of that coin is not so good.

I am somewhat mystified by the minor kerfuffle created by Bayberry. I am no arts and crafts or decorator person but, I consider that a reasonably common 'thing' in the Yuletide season. Now, banana pie, not so much; Like anonymous at 8:20, I have never heard of or seen such a pie.

The above nits aside, it was a fun workout for a Saturday and, as always when we get a puzzle of this quality, you hope it is a sign of things to come.

Anonymous 9:29 AM  

I got lucky with guesses, despite never hearing of CANTAB, ATLI or Vic DAMONE. The only thing that got me was putting in rENT for "Split". Which was a perfectly valid answer, I feel! So because I didn't question that I couldn't suss out WARBIRD. But I did guess rAwBIRD and rAhBIRD, both of which sounded sufficiently vintage and military-like, before giving in. I'm granting myself at least a partial win!


The Hermit Philosopher 9:37 AM  

I go into editing mode when I read something like, "There *were* an odd lot of gimmies...."
C'mon Rex! Don't you have a PhD in English?! A singular subject [lot] requires a singular verb [was]. Jeez!

More Whit 9:58 AM  

Lotsa names, nouns and obscurity in this one, though I liked toponym. Banana cream pie is one of my favorite desserts; banana pie got me all roiled up like Rambo because it implies it exists. Not in my world. Says me. Curtly. Has anyone done a frequency count of "Ilsa" in crosswords? Anyway, time to expand my belt line with a latke or two.

evil doug 10:01 AM  

Wanted cARBIRD or tARBIRD. Nearly settled on eARBIRD--maybe a communications aircraft?...

Just kidding. Obviously WARBIRD, and the first thing I filled in. (Really, Barbie? "rARBIRD"?)

Just took a ride down to old Lunken Airport here where they're having a 40's car/air show--big bands and lotsa blue hairs, so even before my era--and Axis Nightmare, a B-25, is present and
accounted for--read up on the Doolittle Raid and you'll understand its significance.

We get lots of WARBIRDs passing through--FiFi, the only B-29 currently flying, and Diamond Lil, a rare B-24 Liberator similar to what my father-in-law somehow survived 35 missions in. If you get a chance, take these heroic WWII aircraft in--thousands built and so few survive....

GHarris 10:03 AM  

Only answers I knew were Damone,minotaurs, Emory, latkes and test ban. Everything else depended on words unknown to me and this was a total wipeout

Mags 10:05 AM  

CANTAB was a gimme for me cuz here in Cambridge MA we call ourselves Cantabridgians (mostly with a wink at how precious it is to do so) & even have our own legendary bar in Central Square called the Cantab Lounge!

Steve M 10:12 AM  

Much tougher than Friday with cantab for openers

TrudyJ 10:14 AM  

Just stopping in to say it's SHEAVES (of wheat) that you come rejoicing while bringing in, not GREAVES.

I had to resort to googling to solve the LAW/WYNNE cross.

Peter 10:16 AM  

We had RENT ("Split") instead of WENT for a looong time, which kept us from finishing. (Isn't WENT a bit too generic for the quite specific image of someone who "split"?)

Anyway, this WENT error made us think the vintage plane was a RAG-BIRD (because, you know, Early planes were maybe made of canvas.... maybe?)

Which gave us GANSOM OLDS ... uh, sure, because any version of that name sounds weird.

It was a hard, but fair, puzzle. And it almost killed us.

Peter 10:18 AM  

Also ATLI + CANTAB was our NATICK.

I mean, even when we had it right, we could be sure it was right.

1820 Stone Colonial House 10:26 AM  

When I was covering retail for a New York newspaper, Barney's was considered a specialty store, and not a department store. The latter carried "hard" goods, furniture and the like, as well as "soft", apparel and such. Since Barney's only carried apparel and accessories, it was considered a specialty store. This hard wiring, and lack of BRAIN PLASTICITY, held me up for a long time.

Mohair Sam 10:26 AM  

Agree with Rex and all y'all - just what a Saturday Times puzzle ought to be.

We're in the group that didn't remember CANTAB from a few months ago and hence the NW was the toughest spot and the puzz overall was very challenging for us. Clean, fair, and tons of fun.

Opened with DAMONE, we saw him live at Musikfest here in Bethlehem many years ago, he was subbing for a stricken Mel Torme. Terrific voice in the old crooner fashion. Loved the two grid spanners. Got THRILLA off the "A", how 'bout you? I've never eaten a LATKE, clue therefore unfair. Didn't Letterman wear BARNEYS suits? Sat here for too long insisting LILIAN had to have two L's (I'm blaming Lillian Gish). Lillian has 63 million hits, LILIAN has only 56 million hits - just sayin'.

Knew RANSOM OLDS because I rode on the back end of an REO garbage truck on a summer job one year. TOPONYM today's new word - and a great one.

Watching "Grantchester" with our son and daughter-in-law I remarked how I had punted along the Backs in Cambridge just like Reverend Chambers and Amanda. "Oh, how romantic." remarked the daughter-in-law. "Not really," said I, "my boat mates were named Lloyd and Shorty."

@Gill I - Sounds like all went well, congrats.

Biting My Tongue 10:28 AM  

@ Trudy M-C,
It causes me actual pain to think that you did not get the
greaves/sheaves joke. Who tied your shoes for you this morning?

Teedmn 10:38 AM  

I'm so glad I didn't see the constructor's name before diving in because Kameron's puzzles usually fill me with trepidation. Seeing his name would have made me panic. Instead, I calmly picked my way around until LATKE/LEG ARMOR (thank you to all those Fantasy authors who insist on describing knights' armor in loving detail) plopped in like a BANANA PIE in the face.

I shook my head a bit at the near dupe of MADE NICE and 'mAke ME' at 49A but decided 'mass readings' couldn't end in M so that was fixed.

CANTAB and ATLI both WOEs so that was the last letter I put in, holding my breath as I waited to see what message AcrossLite would give me. Whew. Such THRILLAs aren't possible when solving on paper.

Nice Saturday, KAC. Great cluing. Not fancy at all, ha!

Anonymous 10:48 AM  

@Andrew Heinegg, your Latin wouldn't have helped you with TOPONYM, since it is Greek (topos, place + nomos, name).

Toponyms are a specialty in historical linguistics, since the names given to places are long lasting. They frequently give evidence of otherwise unknown lost languages. Hydronyms (names of rivers, streams and other waters) are the best examples.

Nancy 11:07 AM  

One of the toughest -- and most satisfying -- crosswords I've ever done. I thought I'd finished, and all without cheating. Never has cheating been so tempting. But I didn't finish. I've never heard of CANTAB and a "dateable one" is a MATCH, natch, so I ended up with mANTAB/MATCH. MANTAB seems just as "right" to me as CANTAB, and I don't *get* CATCH as a dateable one. Anyhow, because of the determination not to cheat, I spent the entire puzzle running the alphabet on more answers than I can count.

I thought of a lot of "Jack's" but not the RIPPER (7D). THRILLA (15A), brilliantly clued, eluded me. I didn't know OLDS's first name; I had apoSTLES before EPISTLES (27D). I had BRAIN eLASTICITY before PLASTICITY. I didn't know the Elvis movie (8D). When COMMITMENTPHOBE, my favorite clue/answer (17A) in the puzzle came in, I nearly jumped for joy. My last letter in was the T of the TOPONYM/TNUTS cross. It was a complete guess. I've heard of an EPONYM, but not a TOPONYM. So when I came here and saw CANTAB, I nearly broke down and cried. One letter short of personal glory. Still, a wonderful puzzle.

jberg 11:24 AM  

Well, it was tough -- and I guess that's good on a Saturday -- but I didn't really like it, despite the wonderful TOPONYM, because some of the important entries seemed a little off. First, the creamless BANANA PIE; then I guess it's called NARNEYS New York now, but I remember it is just BARNEYS (as opposed to Jonew New York, say, or DKNY). And maybe it's just me, but the macaronic COMMITMENT PHOBE seems wrong -- seemed like the first part should be Greek, as well.

Hand up for rENT; and then all I could remember about Gudrun was that she was married to Attila the Hun, so I figured ATLa would be the right Norsification.

Did anyone else go with the obvious 'nailS' for those flat-topped fasteners?

Still, it all came right in the end, so I guess it was a good struggle.

Nancy 11:31 AM  

Anon (8:08), Quasi, and Mohair -- I got BARNEYS off the EYS, and boy did I need it, since nothing else was going all that well. Yes, BARNEYS is "upscale". Very, very, very, very upscale. I've been in there exactly once. I was looking for a new ski hat that was made of actual wool and not acrylic. Acrylic's not as warm and it's usually pretty ugly to boot. I buy ski hats from street vendors, because I tend to stick them in pockets where they always fall out and I am always losing them. I lost my real wool one, and I couldn't find another anywhere. One of the acrylic thingies on the street costs about $5. Years ago in stores, you could find real wool ones for maybe $25-$35. Anyway, I found myself near BARNEYS one day and walked in. I saw an actual wool ski hat. Made by machine, not by hand. A solid color, not a wonderfully intricate pattern. There was no price tag, so I asked a salesperson, and was told it was $195. I walked out of BARNEYS and have not returned. That was about five years ago.

Anonymous 11:37 AM  

Didn't like it as much as Rex. If you're going to have crossing proper nouns, then the clue for something like "went" shouldn't be quite so misleading. It's extremely difficult to figure out where you went wrong if you don't know either "warbird" or "ransom olds."

JC66 11:49 AM  

Years ago, Barney's was located at 7th Avenue and 17th Street. It was a middle of the road men's store.

I remember buying my older son his Bar Mitzvah suit at their Barney's Boy"s Town department (he's now 47).

I don't remember when they added women's fashions and went upscale, but it's been awhile.

Teedmn 11:52 AM  

@Nancy, you know the old saying, "If you have to ask, you can't afford it"? A friend and I were in Prada one time. Seeing a small black ski hat and thinking it might be the only thing he could afford, he asked what it cost. If I recall correctly, the answer was $1200. Needless to say, we left without purchasing anything.

QuasiMojo 11:52 AM  

@Nancy, you made me LOL. Funny story. :)

Anonymous 12:12 PM  

CANTAB. (with the period) short for "Cantabrienses" similar to OXEN. (with the period) for Oxford grads.

Not "informal".

ATLI - now that's obscure.

Stanley Hudson 12:26 PM  

@Gill I, welcome back.

Ironically, enjoying a champagne breakfast as I type. Carpe diem.


old timer 12:39 PM  

The bottom fell pretty easily, not so the top. I did have RIPPER and BARNEYS early. Did not have CANTAB until I got BELTLINE. I did go online to look for Cretan statues. Did not find MINOTAUR whilst on that search, though. It leapt into my mind. So with that I found RAMBO and the mysterious BAYBERRY.

Good tough puzzle though.

Useful to know:: CANTAB = from Cambrdge, Cantabridgian. Oxon = from Oxford, short for Oxoniensis. And Exon = from Exeter, Exoniensis.

Carola 12:58 PM  

Tough for me and DNF: I see I'm in good company with rENT. First in: ATLI, but not as crosswordese, rather from the stunning Lay of ATLI; followed by BAYBERRY, which I then erased, given the unlikely position of the first Y. Two other trouble spots: like others, mATCH before I remembered CANTAB and CoTT (thinking of Lucretia Mott). This PIE lover agrees with commenters above in thinking BANANA needs cream.

Frayed Knot 1:45 PM  

Totally stumped by CANTAB, THRILLA, ATLI, RANSOM (had most of it), and, for some reason, BANANAPIE

Carola 1:59 PM  

@Gill I. - Forgot to say - I'm glad you're feeling well enough for Saturday puzzle-rasslin'!

Rube 2:16 PM  

barneys not a chain. emory not prestigious.beltline makes no sense. waistline is the term. coinstar? what is that? thrilla in manilla is very esoteric in 2017.latke is yiddish not english..

Joe Dipinto 2:19 PM  

Tricky but finishable. I've never heard or seen CANTAB but backing into that corner it couldn't be anything else, so, fine. The woes were in the bottom left -- the same ones that some others here had: RENT for WENT at first, ELASTICITY for PLASTICITY. Couldn't recall Olds's first name, so for a time I had AREEL at 35D, which seemed probably wrong since I also wanted ROILED at 46A. Once I realized "split" was supposed to be WENT, the rest came together.

Objections: BANANA PIE is not a thing. And no one says "I'm watching my BELTLINE."

Anonymous 2:34 PM  

Another post from ED that's all about him. Surprised he's not busy marching in Virginia today. A big Nazi salute to you and your fellow fascists today. Making America great again.

Anonymous 2:37 PM  

As usual Nancy your comments drive me nuts. "I don't get CATCH as a dateable one?!" Come ON.

Gene 2:52 PM  

Have heard of CANTAB, but unlike Rex, worked my way up 1D as MATCH, with which I was happy. Never fixed it, thought maybe a MANTAB was something. 😫

Joe Bleaux 3:01 PM  

Is that Buddy Emmons? The solo call was a good one, regardless. (And I hope Ralph Mooney never heard you talk like that.)

Joe Bleaux 3:21 PM  

Good, tough Saturday puzzle. @Rex. Easy-medium, my BAYBERRY (same number of letters as "cinnamon" -- smell that write-over)? Other nit I gotta pick is WENT. Too generic, as someone said. ("Even in her wheelchair, granny split for church every Sunday.") @Larry G. The posts are still coming in, but you're a lock for Best Opening Paragraph today.

Anonymous 3:28 PM  

@anon 10:48,
Well said. There's a movement in some healthcare circles to quit using toponyms, hydronyms, etc. They really cause problems for the area if the problem is severe enough. Ebola for example is the name of a perfectly lovely river.

Asounded that that so many here had trouble with cantab. It was flogged to death very recently here. More recently than the months ago Mohair cites.

Thanks Colonel Collins. A really nice puzzle.

Cassieopia 3:29 PM  

Gave up much earlier than @Nancy and am impressed with everyone who hung on for the solve or even, as in your case Nancy, the oh-so-close-to-glory solve. CANTAB, TOPONYM, BARNEYS, ATLI, what the heck. Came here mostly to see what @evildoug would say about WARBIRD. As for @Larry request for toponym stories, does it count that Baked Alaska sort of describes Fairbanks these days? I'm en route now and packing shorts and sandals rather than the usual parkas and mitts!

GILL I. 3:57 PM  

@Nancy...Your BARNEYS wool hat story brought a wonderful memory to me of my first foray into the store. It was with my sister. We were dressed to the nines and wanted to look like we belonged there. We both tried hard not to gape and at the same time look totally disinterested in prices. Yikes! We decided to try and have lunch there. When the waiter brought us the menu both of us started counting our hard earned pennies. We were too embarrassed to leave so we ordered two martinis and some little appetizer. I can't remember how much it was but we didn't have enough for a tip. We just walked out like Madonna would and never returned..
Thank you folks for the warm welcome back. This place is filled with NICE...!
The experience was something else. I had been told that LSD users experienced kaleidoscope images dancing in their head. That was it for me! Gorgeous colors that I kept trying to shape into a unicorn...then I woke up in serious bliss. Wow...No one told me about THAT happening.
Doctor told me no alcohol for a while so when I went home I poured myself a Cutty Sark, took a couple of sips and slept for hours. Woke up feeling magnificent. My pupil now has a little bionic thingy floating around. It's really cool to look at.
Next up toric lens for the right eye. Hey crossword TORIC and it's not a donut!

Anonymous 4:02 PM  

Not sure if Sharp is pulling get our leg(s) about bayberry.
Obviously it's common, but more than that, it's the dominant plant on the dunes of wait for it, the outer banks. You know, the place where he just spent a week or more on vacation. Sheesh.

Mohair Sam 4:41 PM  

Surprised how many don't know BAYBERRY candles, very Christmassy thing in this house - of course Lady M is a candle freak. Also saw a few questions about BELTLINE - I've heard that a lot, although not nearly as often as waistline - but it is a Saturday.

@Rube - Disagree across the board. D&B defines BARNEYS New York as "a luxury department store CHAIN". There are nearly 9,000 COINSTAR machines in US supermarkets, so they're common enough. And "The Thrilla in Manilla" is perhaps the most famous boxing match in history, not at all esoteric. The EMORY thing is a matter of opinion.

Anonymous 4:55 PM  

@ anon 2:34 p.m. Best comment on the internet today "It's college game day in Charlottesville today . The only question is will Lee Corso put on the Hitler head or the Stalin head. "

TCProf 5:06 PM  

Just goes to show how subjective, idiosyncrasy, and reliant on one's personal experience difficulty levels are. Fir me, this was the toughest puzzle I have encountered in quite a while.

TCProf 5:08 PM  

An academic should know how to spell. "Idiosyncratic" and "for."

Rube 5:13 PM  

barneys not a chain. emory not prestigious.beltline makes no sense. waistline is the term. coinstar? what is that? thrilla in manilla is very esoteric in 2017.latke is yiddish not english..

Anonymous 5:26 PM  

@anon 4:56. I think Rex sides with the Stalinists

BarbieBarbie 5:47 PM  

@Gil, makes me remember my visit to Saks with my roommate. There we were, trying to look like actual Saks shoppers, when we wandered into Fine China and saw a lovely setting complete with wine and cheese. I surreptitiously poked the Brie to see it it was real and... It squeaked!! Really got the giggles and...

Anonymous 5:57 PM  

Barneys New York has 27 locations. Beltline is perfectly sensible. You're lack of familiarity with the terms is the problem here. Latke has long
been assimilated into the English language just as Champagne has. US News and World Report ranks Emory the 20th best university i the US. As for The Thrilla in Manilla goes, it was indeed of one of the most celebrated fights of the last 70 years. You're simply being petulant not to acknowledge the facts as they lay.

JC66 8:44 PM  


Try again. Maybe nobody'll notice. 3rd time's a charm.

Dolgo 9:26 PM  


Nancy 10:57 PM  

Oh, I don't know, @Anon 2:37. Calling a CATCH "dateable" is to me like calling Beethoven's Ninth "listenable." Think about it, Anon 2:37: You're secretly listening at the door as a woman you want to go out with is describing you to her friend. Would you like to hear her say: "Yes, I'd call him dateable" or would you prefer to hear her say: "Boy, is he ever a CATCH." I rest my case.

@Teedmn (11:52) -- After hearing your wool hat Prada story (the mind absolutely boggles), I'm beginning to think that BARNEYS' wool hat price was a real bargain. And I knew when I asked the price that I almost certainly couldn't afford it, but, curious, I asked anyway.

@GILL (3:57) -- I knew someone back in high school who claims she used to walk into Tiffany's wearing jeans. (This was the late 1950s, and jeans were not worn everywhere and by everyone the way they are today.) She claimed she was treated like a queen. "They think you're an eccentric heiress." she said. "Or at least, they can't be sure you're not."

Asking all blog cooks: Lemon Cream Pie is a thing, but so is Lemon Chiffon Pie. Is there such a thing as Banana Chiffon Pie as well as Banana Cream Pie? In which case, BANANA PIE could be justified as standing for different kinds of BANANA PIE.

OISK 1:12 AM  

DNF. That is 2 Saturdays in a row. Guessed wrong on atli-cantab, didn't remember ransom Olds, never heard of warbird. I missed 3 squares. I never thought of "went" for "split," which was a fine clue. That cost me the SE, and that's just bad solving. However, "Cantab" was not discernable, and Utli sounded good. (maybe I was thinking of Chase...)

Rube 12:34 PM  

as a jew and american i can say that the food is a potato pancake. as possessor of advanced degrees from major RESEARCH Univs, i can say that emory is not one altho its academics are strong. the thrilla is as famous as you say but only to fight fans. barneys is not barneys boys town the original mens store on 7tv av and 17th st, but i suppose it qualifies as a chain in its current construct

Joe Dipinto 2:35 PM  

@JC66 8:44

Oh snap! ;-)

rondo 10:49 AM  

Not easy at all; this puz almost kicked me in TNUTS. I ABHOR CANTAB and ATLI and almost ABORTED the NW. Mixing Elvis and Peter Frampton got me ALive in the NE and that w/o hung around too long. South easier than north, at least from COINSTAR down.

I did have some post-graduate study in LAW. One year was enough of that.

ILLOMEN a bad answer, SAYSME.

Yeah baby Ingrid as ILSA.

LOTSA thanks to Vic DAMONE and ETSY, otherwise no chance up north. Plenty to like here, but wouldn't call it a THRILLA.

Burma Shave 11:14 AM  




spacecraft 12:27 PM  

He's done it again! Slapped down an easy-medium when I felt like I'd been through WWIII. Not only challenging, but maybe the most ever. That I actually finished. Ending in the NW, of course, and ending where OFL began: square one. Though I've actually visited Cambridge (beautiful!), I knew nothing of the nickname, and it came down to the corner: was our dateable one a CATCH or a mATCH? Either is eminently possible. Know why I went with C? Because Cambridge starts with a C. That's it. I survived a square one Natick.

I also survived without having the clues to 42 and 43 down; they simply were not printed. How I managed that is still a wonder. I don't know how a Klingon WARBIRD can be called "vintage," but it WENT (!) in on crosses. One writeover at teaBERRY before BAYBERRY. Ingrid as ILSA has had the sash before; how about the silvery-voiced Beverly SILLS for DOD? I like it. A little kultur. ICEPOPS over MADENICE gives us an ICE-ICE step. Watch your footing! You might break your LIMBS! Triumph factor a record-breaker; I'm going to give this one an eagle ONMERIT.

Anonymous 12:35 PM  

The door suddenly slammed shut on good puzzles with this pisser epidemic. Yuck.

centralscrewtinizer 12:56 PM  

This one gave me brain spasticity. Got going in the SE but nothing but MOC elsewhere. Two dnfs in a row have dented my psyche just when I was beginning to feel some puzzle swagger.
Fun to learn puzzles had an inventor and did not actually emerge from tic-tac-toe dreams of a better life.

Anonymous 1:33 PM  

This was the perfect puzzle to break in my thrift store find.
It's the 'Crossword Puzzle Name Finder' by Terry G. Falconer.
Names and Mythological gods have always been my bane.
It helped w/ 13D, 21D, 40D,and 36A.

rain forest 2:33 PM  

This was medium-challenging for me. 1A was a gimme, from a Len Deighton novel, I think, and I just plunked down ABORTED, and that made the NW relatively easy. Other entries with no crosses were DAMONE, LOTSA, RIPPER, and CELA.

Even with those in place, and I was doubting a couple of them at times, I struggled hugely with the rest of the puzzle. BAYBERRY? Is it really popular at Christmas? What is it?

Amazing actually that I was able to finish this without knowing TOPONYM, BARNEY'S, COINSTAR, and the unknowable LAGARMORE (I must Google that). I was aggrieved with that entry for quite a while.

Anyway, it must be a decent puzzle because many answers came almost en passant, as it were. I did notice that SILLS was well-placed beside BANANA PIE, but I disliked both answers. BANANA PIE is hardly "fruity".

Diana,LIW 3:37 PM  

Where's an Eli when you need one? CANTAB, right. Well, now I know it. Couldn't think of OLDS first name - R????

Got a lot, but not enuf.

Started this post hours ago - got called to home health nursing duty. ANyway, two interesting puzzles in a row, dnf'd by PPP.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

leftcoastTAM 3:38 PM  

Replay of yesterday. Fine in the South, fatal in the North. Up there, got a few, but NODICE (yesterday).


ILLOMEN? Hope not.

rain forest 5:07 PM  

Big oops. I guess I dnf today. LEG ARMOR. I actually realized that 'split' was WENT, but left the 'A' I had in there. Damn. I had a streak going there.

Diana,LIW 7:39 PM  

@Rainy - don't you hate it when you dnf by a silliness? (A silly oversight)

Lady Di

Anonymous 1:30 PM  

I don't put applesauce on anything, so once the food item BABKE came to mind it never wanted to leave. I ended up having to choose between BEE ARMOR (which kind of makes sense) and BED ARMOR (which maybe makes sense in a different sense).

thefogman 9:07 AM  

DNF for this one. Nothing was in my wheelhouse. That's the way the cookie crumbles sometimes.

Bananafish 12:52 PM  

And here I always thought a CANTAB was the thing you open a Dr. Pepper or a 7-Up with. You learn something new every day.

Longbeachlee 9:30 PM  

Love toponym? No, or shall we start cluing like anyplace in the world. Like Brooklyn, like Korea, like Timbuctoo. No No spare me.

Blogger 9:05 AM  

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