Dolphinfish informally / SAT 2-24-18 / Pennsylvania city where Delaware Lehigh rivers meet / Irvin early cartoonist designer for New Yorker / Italian sculptor Lorenzo Bernini / Hollande's successor

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Constructor: John Guzzetta

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: none

Word of the Day: REA Irvin (16A: ___ Irvin, early cartoonist designer for The New Yorker) —
Rea Irvin (August 26, 1881—May 28, 1972) was an American graphic artist. Although never formally credited as such, he served de facto as the first art editor of The New Yorker. He created the Eustace Tilley cover portrait and the New Yorkertypeface. He first drew Tilley for the cover of the magazine's first issue on February 21, 1925. Tilley appeared annually on the magazine's cover every February until 1994. As one commentator has written, "a truly modern bon vivant, Irvin (1881–1972) was also a keen appreciator of the century of his birth. His high regard for both the careful artistry of the past and the gleam of the modern metropolis shines from the very first issue of the magazine..." (wikipedia)
• • •

Hello and good morning. Surprisingly good puzzle today. I wasn't so sure about it as I was exiting, or failing to exit, the NW corner, where HORS and AVGAS (whatever that is) had me wondering what I was wandering, or failing to wander, into. Turned out my failure to move down into the center of the grid from up top was due to a little (big) misplay there at 8D: Picker-upper (TONIC). Had the TON-, wrote in ... TONGS! Apt! But wrong. But then, when I couldn't get either of those little Acrosses, I pulled TONGS for TONIC, got PACS, threw down SLOGANEER, and was off: ASIN PIGLET AIRPLAY EDDY IDEAS PLODDER, in case you want to know the exact order of progression. My affection for the puzzle picked up when I picked up SLIPPERY SLOPE—"Alright, the puzzle came to play!" I thought. Sometimes a themeless will just ... lie there. All competent and sturdy and sad. But SLIPPERY SLOPE / PAROLE HEARING / BINGE-WATCHING (!) was a delightfully creamy discovery at the center of my puzzle snack. Nice modern clue on MACRON, up the east coast HEADLONG into the SAD SONG. At this point I'm having so much fun that I don't even scowl at the ETALI? pothole. AESTHETIC drops down easily, MAHI slides over, and I clean up the SE in Monday time—I remembered RIAA today, for possibly the first time ever! And AMATI and RAVI just sort of walked over and said, "Hey ... yeah, we don't know why we're here, all out in the open on a Saturday either. But go ahead, take us." And I did. That corner required only my most BASIC SKILLS. Total PRE-K stuff.

Only a couple tricky areas once I jumped down from the NNW. Blanked on SNOPES (a site I know well) and only half-knew COLLET (as with ROSECUT diamonds yesterday, my jewelry knowledge, she is not so good). Those were easy enough problems to overcome. The real bear down there was the basic word SCIENCE, which had such an odd clue on it (32D: Prestigious academic journal). This "very general category as clue for something specific in that category" is a SLIPPERY SLOPE. [Food] = SOUP? I mean, it's accurate, but ... I think I'm just saying that "Prestigious" and "academic" doesn't really narrow this down much. Not that I could name a ton of "prestigious academic journals" ... but neither did I know that SCIENCE was one. I guess the puzzle was so easy that underclued weirdness was considered necessary. OK. I also had a strange amount of trouble with RESHIPS, mostly because I thought 21D: Forwards was referring to a direction ... on a ship. Like, MIDSHIPS? Is that an area on a ship? Fore, aft, ABAFT, ABEAM ... I was looking for something in that category. UPSHIPS? But "Forwards" was a verb, which I realized only after (finally) getting the "R" from REDS (21A: Section of a Crayola box). So it's just ... RESHIPS. My nautical fantasies, dashed.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Lewis 6:48 AM  

I started with a sea of white, then, seemingly, an aha here and an aha there spurred swaths of answers. This puzzle had many lovely longs: FIFTH ESTATE, RUMOR MONGER, BINGE WATCHING, SLIPPERY SLOPE, PIRATE RADIO, BAILED OUT, HEADLONG. The effect of this on me, as with Rex, was a kind of giddiness. Plus, I learned COLLET, AVGAS, and SLOGANEER (great term!).

There were a good number of times when a second or third look saw an answer that was eluding me, with -- and I mean this -- a "woo-hoo!" and a "yay me!" Thank you for these great moments, John!

Two Ponies 6:48 AM  

Easy and fun.
I'll never remember Rea but collet might come in handy in a puzzle someday. In real life? probably not.

Which way do eddies swirl at the equator?

Thomaso808 7:03 AM  

Wow. Really good puzzle. SLIPPERYSLOPE is a debut, so is BINGEWATCHING. Well done, Mr. Guzzetta!

RIAA always reminds me of Weird Al’s “Don’t Download This Song”.

@Nancy, great first post yesterday!

three of clubs 7:17 AM  

SCIENCE and NATURE are the premiere peer reviewed journals. Others are targeted to more specialized audiences and have much longer names.

BarbieBarbie 7:25 AM  

Um, so, not to be pedantic, but the Coriolis Effect happens because the earth is curved, and only works on big eddies like hurricanes, because the earth isn’t curved in your bathroom. Can an eddy be big like a hurricane?
Loved the 13-letter stack in the middle. Hard NW, overall time came out Easy but it felt impossible. I can’t explain it.

Trombone Tom 7:42 AM  

Agree with @Rex and others. Easy and fun.

Only real hang-up was putting RESendS in before RESHIPS.

Know COLLET from working on lathes, not jewelry. And I've been reading the New Yorker since the 1950's so REA was a gimme. If you hang around any pilots AVGAS (aviation gasoline) is familiar.

Anonymous 7:51 AM  

Not sure why et alii was a pothole for Rex. He does have very strong opinions about what is 'fresh' and what is 'dated', but they all seem extremely subjective to me. I too found the NW challenging, while the rest of the puzzle fell iinto place failry nicely. I like this one a lot better than yesterday's.

JJ 7:53 AM  

Liked the clue for TEEN. Knew RIAA because Duke Iniversity allowed them access to the student's accounts. Many other scoops wouldn't allow it. Cost me several thousand dollars because he downloaded 50 songs from Napster( or some similar website). It was an expensive way to get help with that SE stack.

Go Democrats 7:55 AM  

They are the premier peer reviewed journals in science. Not in history, phikosophy, literature, etc

John Child 7:55 AM  

Good fun. I stared at white for a long time, then got a foothold in the SE. Very segmented grid - black squares right of 23 and in the symmetrical spot make three mini puzzles.

Only complaint is HORS. If you have a pig like this in your puzzle, just clue it up as ___ o’oeuvres or ___ de combat and move on. The fancy clue is just lipstick on the pig.

Glimmerglass 7:56 AM  

Good write-up, @Rex. For me, this was the easiest Saturday puzzle ever, but despite that, it was marvelous fun.

Anonymous 8:03 AM  

Well, I offer BarbieBarbie a thought... if you have the lucky chance to go to Ecuador, to the Quito Equator Park, now slightly celebrating the indigenous population and relocated through GPS technology, you can see water eddy in opposite swirls a foot, yes that small a distance, from one sink to another, and then be absolutely enchanted.

The earth spoke to me at that moment.

r.alphbunker 8:09 AM  

Had the following cascos.
24A. {___ Park} MENLO from _ _ _ _ _

21D. {Forwards} RESHIPS from RES_ _ _S

28D. {Extricated from a jam} BAILEDOUT from _ _I_EDOUT

33A. {Socket for setting a gem} COLLET from COLL_T

39D. {Ice cream choice} SWIRL from SW_ _L

42D. {Org. fighting copyright infringement} RIAA from R_AA

27D. {Latin list ender} ETALII from ETALI_

Details are here

Harryp 8:24 AM  

Another fun puzzle. It looked to play hard at first, so I got my start in the lower southwest corner with NEO, CRU, EST. plugged in 32D SCIENCE and had my foothold. I always love long triple stacks, and these were fine. Agree with @rex on Easy rating.

puzzlehoarder 8:24 AM  

Not only did I find this not easy I managed to finish with an ugly MAHA dnf. I was so focused on wether COLLET was correct I forgot all about that wrong looking fish. MAHI is about as familiar ad it gets do a very bad oversight.

Anonymous 8:26 AM  

Yeah, AVGAS is a bit obscure, but it's definitely a thing (and a good 5-letter word for a Saturday). As someone above said, it's a well-known term in the airline industry . . . I only knew it because I used to represent Shell Oil Co.

Overall, I thought it was a tad easy for a Saturday, but this whole week's puzzles have all felt a bit misplaced (especially Tuesday's puzzle)

Teedmn 8:27 AM  

Easy as sliding down a SLIPPERY SLOPE today. I made it a tiny bit harder for myself in the NW. Guessing 1D would be FIRST, I put in TED talk and decided 3D must be notED and 4D was TROD. So SLEDS was obvious. But now, in at 17A I had R_TO_______. Hah, I thought, "Dirt spreader" isn't gossip related after all, it's Rototiller...dang, it must be plural? SNOPES. I felt uneasy at that point, feeling way off base, so I ran over to the NE.

REDS crossing RE_____ filled in that whole area. I got BINGEWATCHING off only the 2nd ING. PIGLET and SLOGANEER let me back into the NW, where I cleaned up and the rest of the puzzle was just sliding down that greased hill.

Thanks, John Guzzetta, for letting me feel smart for 19 minutes, but I would rather have one of those brain-twisting AHS, a la 12A.

Loren Muse Smith 8:30 AM  

I’m with @Lewis – at first just a ton of white, but little by little, I got’er done. Those three across stacks are terrific.

I always say “RUMOR mill” but “gossip MONGER.” Speaking of which, if blogs, social media, etc make up the FIFTH ESTATE, then RUMOR MONGERs could be the sixth estate. Trolls could be the seventh estate. (I’ve looked into the history of this usage of ESTATE and found that it comes from when the king was first, the clergy was the second, and the commoners were the third.)

Love SNOPES. Like Rex, I use it, too. But I hate it when someone uses it against me. Like if I post something and then someone posts publicly a like to SNOPES debunking my post. I wish the take-down could be quiet and private. But, hey – guess it’s deserved. I mainly use it when Mom used to send me emails with ridiculous claims against the Obamas, like Michelle had an unprecedented number of assistants. Just look it up, find it on SNOPES and dash off that email slap-down.

BASIC SKILLS – I have seniors who can barely read or write. I have no idea what happened to their education along the way, but I tell ya, something is broken. Could be that most of the talented teachers leave our state for greener grass.

First thought on that common obsession was “phone WATCHING.” Nothing signals what an uninteresting companion I am better than the surreptitious (or blatant) glances at that phone. My husband, my kids, co-workers, my principal… such a kick in the stomach. And when it happens, when I’m set to the side for a moment, I don’t question the person’s manners but rather my own undeniable boringness. Sometimes teachers and administrators engage with their phones during a meeting with a parent, and I feel rage. And shame. Here is this mom with a struggling kid, a parent who is involved and is looking for help, and her situation isn’t as interesting as whatever text just came through. I’ve seen an administrator shopping for jackets on LL BEAN during such a meeting. I have no words… Makes me almost wish I could teach in a state with greener grass.

@JC66 – your bedtime comment made me laugh last night.

@Nancy - recent additions to our lexicon, I’m sure, stir up trouble for scrabble players. Is dunno accepted in a game? Kinda? Guarandamntee? These are all words that are now firmly in the language.

John – enjoyable Saturday romp. Thanks.

mmorgan 8:30 AM  

TONgs for me too, along with RESendS. Terrific puzzle. Easy for a Saturday for me, which is neither praise nor complaint, just an observation.

clk 8:33 AM  

Yep, Don’t Download This Song was my ear worm as I worked on this puzzle. Still couldn’t remember just which letters were in RIAA but I knew everything else about it.

Teedmn 8:34 AM  

@r.alphbunker, I bow to your putting RUMOR MONGER right in off the last R. Nice!

Birchbark 8:34 AM  

I liked CANTILEVERS and ARGENTINE. Dramatic discoveries and breakthroughs often appear first in SCIENCE or Nature.

I recommend the Portlandia episode where they're BINGE WATCHING Battlestar Galactica. When the series ends, they seek out the writer to create more episodes, and wackiness ensues.

SAD SONG is the last song on Lou Reed's dark and moving album, Berlin, and the only one with a chord progression/chorus that is remotely happy at the end.

'mericans in Colombia 8:40 AM  

This puzzle was totally in my wheelhouse. When faced with so much white space, there is always that intimidating moment at the start. But I plunked in ARGENTINE and then MENLO, and as @Rex and others already wrote, a giddy feeling came over me. I might be able to do this one!

Part of what made it so fun was that so many of the answers were either political or scientific. I entered SCIENCE without any crosses, as well as ET ALII and AVGAS. Since I work on energy policy (among other areas), AV(iation) GAS(oline) was a gimme. And since I live in France, so was MACRON. It was good I got that one early, as I would have written Plea bargAnING instead of PAROLE HEARING, and would have been thrown off the scent for many minutes.

Even many of the three-letter answers were not bad. I liked GAD, NEO, CRU, and TED. Learned a few new words along the way, such as COLLET.

Mrs. 'mericans came in after I had gotten about 2/3 of the puzzle done, and corrected some of my errors (such as tROlL to PROWL), and the rest fell pretty quickly.

I'll skip the debate on the Coriolis effect. But HORS made me think of something that bothers me on U.S. menus: calling the mane dish an "entree". Entrée in French is the entree to the meal -- it is synonymous with "starter".

'Mericans in Colombia 8:42 AM  

Oops, I mean entry to the meal.

QuasiMojo 8:52 AM  

Terrific puzzle. Very little POP tarts and has-beens today. JAM-packed with great words. COLLET apparently used to mean some kind of neckband which is why we say DECOLLETAGE. Like many of you, I had a lot of words firmly planted in the grid that I then had to remove (thank you delete button) and fill in again. RESENDS for RESHIPS. GINO before GIAN. Something SCRATCHING before BINGE WATCHING. TRAWL before PROWL. ELEM before PREK, and so on, ET ALIA/I. I was hoping for the OFFSHORE answer to be about windy, bad hairdays (WAVES) but PIRATE RADIO was great. MACRON sounds like some modern fabric to make yoga pants out of.

As for the Scrabble discussion yesterday, when I was growing up the rules for the game were adamant that slang or abbreviations were not allowed. Then suddenly when I picked up the latest Scrabble dictionary I saw words like ZA (short for PIZZA) in it. I was flabbergasted. Not only does that change the entire game since the most valuable letter is now in an easy two-letter word but it opened the door to other trendy expressions. QI for CHI didn't help much either. And SUQ for SOOK. I've lost a lot of games with young whippersnappers laying down those. Anyway, I thought yesterday's puzzle was the POW but I'm ROLLING it OVER to this one instead. John Guzzeta, U RULE.

Dr. Urth 9:00 AM  

Sigh. That trick in Quito is in fact a trick. First of all, when they drew the line, civilian GPS was no better than +/- 10 meters or so, so the distance they move the basin is within the margin of error. Oh, and the effect isn't strong enough at that range either.

Secondly, watch closely wh they do the trick. They set the basin "on the equator" about ten minutes before the next group comes up and pour the water in slowly and without imparting any spin. When they let it out it goes straight down the drain. Then they move it 2-3 meters north and pour water in on one side, giving the water a preexisting angular momentum. Letting the water out just allows the swirl to be obvious. Moving the basin south, they pour the water in the opposite way, and voilá. Fake Coriolis demonstration!

Mikey from El Prado 9:06 AM  

EASTON, PA is where Crayolas are manufactured. And not just the REDS.

Anonymous 9:07 AM  

Since SNOPES is an answer, maybe they should have checked the site on 41A.

JOHN X 9:09 AM  

Dang it I had a DNF and it wasn't that REA - ARGENTINE crossing, which it turns out I had right; no, I discovered I don't know how to spell CANTILEVER or AESTHETIC. Not properly anyway.

AVGAS is an awesome answer. That's AViation GASoline, folks, used for piston engines. Turbine engines use JET-A, which is another great crossword answer. AVGAS and JETA could be part of a petroleum-distillates themed puzzle, which everyone would enjoy.

Unknown 9:14 AM  

Not a great day for me. Still not as accomplished as most of this crowd. Started at the bottom and got most of the crosses to build out that corner. My only source of satisfaction was BASIC SKILLS with only two letters. Finally finished SE and moved up. NE fell in but just couldn’t get the middle to open up. After looking over OFL’s shoulder, hung my head a little on BINGEWATCHING. Oh well, there’s always tomorrow

RooMonster 9:23 AM  

Hey All !
I did find this puz slightly easier than yesterday. I got it done fairly quickly, although that statement might require a *. While I don't consider it cheating per se, (some of you might) when I do a Fri- or SatPuz online (like today), I fill in what I can, and then hit Check Puzzle to find my mistakes. I do that throughout the solving process. I can't seem to get the ole brain around any mistakes I make originally and suss out correct answers from the wrongness. Oh well. At least it gets me from spending the entire morning stressing! :-) Prevents me from saying I RULE! though.

Anyway, this was a nice one. Three sets of triple stacks. With open NE and SW corners also. And light dreck! Tough to do. Wanted South Park instead of MENLO. Har.

Isn't MACRON also a measurement?


kitshef 9:24 AM  

First day back from Panama, and was hoping for more resistance than this Wednesdayish, straightforward construction. Nice grid and fill, but no flair or fun in the clues.

Not a single writeover. On a Saturday.

The Hermit Philosopher 9:24 AM  

For Rex (and everyone else who gets this wrong)—
“all right” is TWO WORDS! Good grief!!

a concerned reader 9:30 AM  

who are you and what have you done with rex?

Nancy 9:35 AM  

DNF. I didn't know my DAWNS from my MORNS (36D), and I certainly didn't know my DAHAS from my MAHAS (the dolphinfish, informally). When I finally corrected both, I was so befuddled that I never thought to change MAHA to MAHI. And that's because I had ET ALIa instead of ET ALII (27D). Dumb. Really dumb.

I also was flummoxed in the NW because I had NOTED instead of FAMED at 3D. I had to correct before I came close to seeing FIFTH ESTATE and IRA ROLLOVER. It was RUMORMONGER at 17A -- a real "Aha" -- that finally gave me a glimmer that NOTED was wrong.

I plunged HEADLONG down the long SLIPPERY SLOPE that led to my abject DNF. But it was a TONIC to work on this puzzle. I found it challenging, but I never BAILED OUT. Delightful long answers. I really like John Guzzetta's puzzle AESTHETIC.

Thanks to @Thomaso808 and @Randall Clark (yesterday) for their complimentary and much appreciated comments.

cwf 9:44 AM  
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cwf 9:49 AM  

NW totally stumped me so I went to the SE and solved it from the bottom up. Nice puzzle!

@BarbieBarbie ET ALIa: here is a nice test of the Coriolis effect in a 5 foot kiddie pool. (or two five foot kiddie pools if you do the syncing thing).

(apparently ET ALII is the masculine plural so I couldn't quite make the joking puzzle reference without getting all gender normative on y'all)

Nancy 9:59 AM  

@Loren (8:30) -- So ADORBS that you picked up my very own slang, kinda and dunno, to make your point about new allowable Scrabble words. I don't have any idea, however, what guarantdamntee is and I'm pretty sure I don't want to find out. But while I think using slang in writing can be colorful if you don't overdo it, I'm a real stickler in Scrabble. At this point I think the only person I would want to play Scrabble with is @Quasi (8:52). We seem to have an identical AESTHETIC about what constitutes a real word and what constitutes a linguistic perversion, and, hence, we would never argue. If we ever meet up, Loren, let's have a couple drinks or a meal or both, but let's not play Scrabble. I'd challenge you on just about every word -- and you'd probably hate me for it :)

Two Ponies 10:08 AM  

There certainly are some interesting answers to my question about the eddy. I will most likely look for some info on my own but it's more fun to read what others here have to say. Thanks everyone.

GILL I. 10:08 AM  

Due to popular demand, I have removed my blow-up boob avatar. Husband said it was not suitable for adult viewing.
Either I'm becoming brilliant in my aging years, or these Sat. puzzles are becoming easier. With just one or sometimes two letters, I was able to get the long answers. Just from the down TROD and ELM I zipped in RUMOR MONGER. That was the a total thrill. I've never had it that easy.
I go on to the middle and 29D WHY had to be right. The Y instantly gave me SLIPPERY SLOPE . The B off of BAILED gave me the B for BINGE WATCHING. Wow. nothing really held me up. It seemed so easy that I was skeptical putting in so many answers. I mean the cluing was straight forward and not the least bit sneaky. I almost wish John had been more of a Fiend. You know...clue ARGENTINE as a Bariloche native. And REDS? throw in a wine or two....Just my two cents.
@cwf....Thank you for making me get up and go flush the toilet. My water goes counter-clockwise. Anybody else?
Someone once said TED talks sounds like the slogan for the Jehova's Witnesses. You know, designed to make people feel good about themselves. Hmmm.
I feel very smart today but I also know this was pretty easy. BINGE WATCHING my favorite because I did it with "Mad Men."

Mr. Cheese 10:13 AM  

I would have finished in record time but I was certain that cocks crow at DAWN

Rex Parker 10:15 AM  

Alright, so ...


is a "pothole" for two reasons

A. it's ugly and gross
B. that last letter can only be gotten via crosses, as it could be "A" or "I"

Wife actually fell into pothole B.


Z 10:25 AM  

@Anon7:51 - @cwf9:49 for the reason the last letter of ET ALII is a crossword pothole. Fortunately the crossing was easy.

The most fascinating thing to me about the whole EDDY/Coriolis Effect discussion is how much more people are reading into the clue and answer than is there. Key in the SNOPES article is the observation that to see the effect one needs size and time. But this doesn’t mean the clue is wrong because an EDDY is not necessarily small or short-lived although those are the sort of eddies we may think of FIRST when we think of an EDDY. A little surprising that Saturday Crossword solvers would fall into that trap since that is exactly the sort of usage trap we need to often avoid to finish a a Saturday puzzle. The clue is perfectly cromulent for EDDY.

I solved the SE first because CANTILEVERS was fresh in my brain from having seen Vertigo this week. There is this odd little scene early on where Midge and Scottie are discussing a new brassiere that uses CANTILEVER bridge concepts. Worked up to finish the NE, needing to fix MArcON before I could see PAROLE HEARING and BINGE WATCHING. I also had “streams” before AIRPLAY. The NW was the last to fall, although once IRA ROLLOVER occurred to me, it was a quick finish. A fine Saturday puzzle.

Z 10:31 AM  

If I typed faster It wouldn’t look like I ignored @Rex10:15.

@Gill I - She will be missed.

Carola 10:48 AM  

My reaction was similar to @GILL I's - have I really gotten that much better at solving Saturday puzzles, or are they being made easier? I'm suspecting the latter: the clues just don't seem as diabolical as in the misty past when I started doing them. But today I definitely was "better" because of previous puzzles: I've learned RIAA (finally) and that a something "talk" is asking for TED. The latter wias crucial in opening up the NW, leading to FIRST and I RULE and then the long Acrosses.

I liked how AIRPLAY was positioned between RUMOR MONGER (thinking of AM talk radio) and PIRATE RADIO.
FIRST, I RULE, and FAMED make a nice trio.

TubaDon 10:48 AM  

     Plunked down RUMORMONGER first then promptly fell asleep. After waking up, was able to guess most of the long answers from just a few letters. Very satisfying.
     The Coriolis force is very weak at small scales and practically all "bathtub demos" are fakes. I vaguely remember reading about a definitive test in a physics journal about 50 years ago (yes, I'm that old) where they had to wait days for random motions from filling to subside before pulling the plug. You can actually find a good debunking on !

BarbieBarbie 10:53 AM  

@Z, well, that’s why my question was not about the Coriolis effect, but a vocab question about whether a hurricane could be considered an eddy. Apart from the question of whether an eddy can be in air. I was asking about size. Does an eddy need to be little?

mathgent 10:57 AM  

I really liked Rex's column this morning. He has a most lively writing style.

@John Child (7:55): Right you are!

I've never seen a copy of SCIENCE, but I've read many articles which refer to a research finding reported in "the journal Science."

I think that journalists refer to their profession as the "fourth estate" in a self-deprecatory way. Saying that their status in the society is not only below nobility and the clergy but also below peasantry.

Enjoyable solve.

Anonymous 11:02 AM  

@Stuart - I've long wanted to suggest that you pick a hobby other than showing up here, saying nothing about the puzzle other than to criticize Rex. Please, feel free to take the previous sentence as just such a suggestion. I now realize that I should be more specific in making suggestions, as it's obvious you should avoid lexicology also.

C.F. Websters:all right or alright?

Although the spelling alright is nearly as old as all right, some critics have insisted alright is all wrong. Nevertheless it has its defenders and its users, who perhaps have been influenced by analogy with altogether and already. It is less frequent than all right but remains common especially in informal writing. It is quite common in fictional dialogue and is sometimes found in more formal writing.

See, it's not wrong; it's just not your preference, how you would write it. There's a difference.

Theresa williams 11:02 AM  
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Anonymous 11:05 AM  

Weird I started out with a sea of white too! Oh wait, that's every puzzle...

Mel Torme 11:10 AM  
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Jamie C 11:11 AM  

I was eating cheese while I solved this puzzle, and now I AVGAS.

Mel Torme 11:12 AM  

The pothole is simply whether they want ETALII or ETALIA. I invariably choose the wrong one every time. Except today, where for some reason I happened to have the final I already filled in from MAHI.

old timer 11:13 AM  

Definitely Easy for a Saturday. It put up some challenges but not hard ones.

As children I am sure we have all watched water drain out of a bathtub and been fascinated by the final whirlpool, which always went in the same direction. Like anyone who has ever visited the Equator (I spent some nights in Kenya, myself) i experimented with the bathtubs there and found it was unpredictable which way the whirlpool would rotate. You can make it go either way with a simple hand motion, while at more temperate latitudes the effect of a small hand motion is reversed by the Coriolis effect.

Anonymous 11:15 AM  

Umm... Every puzzle is "at first just a ton of white."

John Hoffman 11:46 AM  

I could not finish either the Friday or Saturday this week! Some weeks I can do them. So I’ll keep on trying...

jb129 11:51 AM  

Easy? Really?

Hartley70 11:52 AM  

Stacks! Glorious Stacks! They make my day and this was a nice example. I've gotten over my obsession with the rebus. It's so Wednesday. Now "has anybody here seen my old friend Martin?"

The Official Scrabble Dictionary is God. If it's not there fugeddaboutit* and words with asterisks are not good Scrabble entries.

I didn't know COLLET, EASTON, PIRATE (I liked "marine" better), AVGAS, or that SLOGANEERING was actually a profession. I thought they were just copywriters. Somehow I missed REA and there's been a "New Yorker" in the house since my childhood.

Stanley Hudson 11:56 AM  

What a blast! Thanks JG.

I’d pay money to see a Scrabble face-off featuring @Nancy and @LMS. More entertaining than Billie Jean King versus Bobby Riggs!

Masked and Anonymous 12:10 PM  

M&A woke up totally last night at around 1-1:30am. Couldn't figure out why, til I recalled that a US team was goin for an Oleo-limpic gold medal in the king of all winter games games: Curlin. [named after one of the 3 Stooges, btw] Tuned in and thoroughly enjoyed seein US score 5 points in one end, to take a 10-5 lead over mighty Sweden with only two ends to go. Then they easily hung on & won it all! Yay, Curlers. But, I digress.

This SatPuz was fairly neighborly, with a few exemptions [REA. GIAN. EASTON. COLLET. AVGAS (U AV PP deja vuosity).] Agree with @John Child, that the (fun-ky) HORS clue stood out as kinda overly weird. Maybe they didn't fire up the ol reliable fill-in-the-blank HORS clue, becuz they already had seven other blanker clues?

staff weeject pick: PCB. Reminded M&A of a control block used in IMS, which was (is?) an IBM database product for mainframe computers that M&A used to hob & nob with, way back before webs & hackins & binge-phonewatchin (yo, @Carl).

M&A solvequest, step 1 of 152: Headed immediately to the (darlin) weeject stack in the NE. Splatzed AHS and GAD right in there, followed up in mere nanoseconds by SADSONG, REDS, MENLO, and ARGENTINE. Then hit MACRON/EASTON trap [as in clogged trap], and moved on to PIGLET/PACS.
… etc.

Long story shorter, finished by curlin in the COLL?T/SNOP?S crossin letter on-the-button-correctly, in the final end. Collected cinnamon roll medal. (Only ended up wearin a little bit of it.)

Thanx very much, Mr. Guzzetta. themelessthUmbsUp.

Masked & AnonymoUUs


Adam 12:12 PM  

I enjoyed this, and agree with @Rex and others - fun and easy. Didn't know COLLET or REA, but totally gettable from the (fair) crosses, so good on the constructor! Loved the clues for PIRATE RADIO and PAROLE HEARING. A fun and quick Saturday. Now on to the WSJ cryptic!

JC66 12:15 PM  

Boy, the days sure were scrambled this week. For me, today was an easy Friday, while yesterday was a bear of a Saturday.

@Rex & @Z
Since I'm not a speed solver, no pothole for me with ETALi/a. I just leave it blank and wait for the cross to figure out which is correct.

I was in Quito long ago on a SCUBA diving trip. Ecuador was (and may still be) a very poor country and even though they'd known for years that the paving stones that had been put down to indicate where the equator was were off by 15 or 20 yards, all that was done to correct the error was to have small, flimsy signs with arrows pointing toward other small, flimsy signs indicating the correct location. No Coriolis Effect demonstrations, either.

‘mericans in Colombia 12:17 PM  

To those annonimice who have corrected folks who speak of “the sea of white” or “a ton of white”, arguing that every puzzle starts out that way: no they don’t. Monday and Tuesday puzzles usually have a much higher proportion of black squares, and are more compartmentalized. Also, context matters. The Thursday, Friday and Saturday crosswords are usually the hardest of the week, with stacks of long answers. To some of us, that can be intimidating.

nachty 12:26 PM  

As someone doing academic research in a STEM field, I loved the clue on Science. Made me immediately want to text my coworkers who I usually see working on the crossword at the lunch table.

Malsdemare 12:40 PM  

I really enjoyed this one! Lots of crafty clues and great answers. I knew a bunch that tripped up others - AVGAS (no idea why it was parked in my brain when the name of my former colleague in PolySci is in the wind), CANTILEVERS, RUMORMONGER. I had the same "wait and see" relationship with ETALI?, and loved the PIRATE appearance. I just read a pretty horrible piece in this paper about Jean Lafitte, a town in Louisiana whose days are numbered. Yul Brynner as Jean was a serious heartthrob back in the day when he had hair -or was that artifice?

And now to clean up my dog prior to a pet therapy gig today at Hack Illinois, a massive geeky event that brings computer wizards from universities all over to a marathon coding contest. Lots of great swag! And my dog is always a huge hit!

semioticus (shelbyl) 12:55 PM  

Before I start: There are three journals that a natural scientist would love to get published in: Nature, Science, Cell. I didn't think the clue was weird or anything, maybe because of my affinity but yeah, that's a fact.

On to the puzzle: It was very good in parts (the central part was beautifully done), but the tails and the corners could have used some work. That being said, it didn't give me any significant headaches and was fun to solve so, still very good. The long answers were all amazing. I kind of wish CANTILEVERS didn't cross PCB, but that's OK. Cluing was also very Saturday-appropriate, zesty enough.

But yeah, those corners. If only. This could have been a legendary puzzle.

GRADE: A, 4.4 stars.

Amelia 1:01 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tom R 1:06 PM  

So to all you "easy" people, did you ever have a puzzle that was just out of your wheelhouse? This puzzle destroyed me. I am often bemused by seeing Rex say easy on hard puzzles for me and hard for puzzles I find fairly easy. Don't get me wrong - an easy puzzle for me still takes longer than a hard one for Rex; I'm not that good. But for some reason this puzzle just kicked me in the jewels. Still fun, though.

Anonymous 1:11 PM  

You're mystified by the riddle of avgas? Which part has you stumped? The av as in aviation or gas, as in gasoline? While you ponder that, you might want to treat yourself to a dremel tool. They're versatile, inexpensive and you might even learn what a collet is. IMHO, you could use more knowledge of tools and less about Bechdel tests.

Rex Parker 1:14 PM  

I have *some* knowledge of tools ...


pabloinnh 1:15 PM  

Really liked this one. Don't you love it when you look at a clue and your first thought is I bet that's (whatever), and then whatever turns out to be exactly right? Happened a few times in this one.

Yes, an eddy is always small. A large eddy is known as an edward.

Undomiel 1:15 PM  

In the physical sciences, specifically. But since that’s a little like having one or two highly prestigious journals that cover all the humanities at once, and humanities journals didn’t develop that way, I think it’s fair to treat Science and Nature as a special level of famous/prestigious for crossword clueing.

Matthew G. 1:25 PM  

Great puzzle!

Technically, PAROLE does not end a sentence. It lets the parolee serve a portion of the sentence in the community rather than in custody. It’s still the same sentence and they go back to prison if they violate the parole terms. But that’s just a nit in an outstanding Saturday.

Unknown 1:30 PM  

True, but sometimes the whiteout lasts long enough to be, you know, a thing.

Unknown 1:46 PM  

Nah, it’s just coz the other three estates were there before “journalism” existed, and early journalists weren’t rude enough to shoehorn themselves in after the fact.

Chip Hilton 1:47 PM  

I was wedded to oak instead of ELM and that misplaced K convinced me that the Dirt spreader was amtalkradio, but then PIRATERADIO said, “Well, that can’t be.” So, I sat and stewed over the NW for way too long. Otherwise, smooth sailing on a puzzle loaded with snappy stuff. Good one, John Guzzetta! Thanks.

Diana 1:52 PM  

@Rex Parker: I think if you look at your Twitter feed you can figure the author of the 1:11 PM post.

Harryp 1:56 PM  

@pabloinnh,Good One!

Unknown 1:56 PM  

Did not find this puzzle as easy as many here, but it was a great puzzle with tasty, chewy answers, tricky but fair cluing, and lots of AHAs for me. Was the proximity of RUMORMONGERS and FIFTHESTATE just a coincidence?

Suzie Q 1:58 PM  

If you hang around this blog long enough you'll soon learn about "tools".
Good one Rex!

Z 2:06 PM  

@RP1:14 - First I laughed. Then I imagined a whooshing sound.

@Tom Rowe - Just in case you don’t realize this, the full rating is “Easy for a Saturday.” If I really try I can get down around 5:00 to finish a Monday. An easy Saturday under 15:00 would be a record. I’m typically in the 20-40 minute range on Saturday. Others here range from Rexian speed to more leisurely hour plus. And yes, we have almost all done puzzles not in our wheelhouse. The term for those puzzles is “outhouse.”

I am aware of SCIENCE, getting the occasional free issue to try to convince me to subscribe. Is any publication that dips it toe in the mud puddle of popular culture really considered “prestigious?”

Loren Muse Smith 2:13 PM  

@pabloinnh- funniest comment since our @Larry had that hamster firing up the exercise wheel at 3am.

Phil 2:30 PM  

Fun fun fun

I probably enjoyed it even more than Rex as I had to fight thru the NW. He probably plopped down one or two of the acrosses.

But I stuck in —eST for guiness record adj and had to move out of that corner And wrestle with it later.

The cantilevered bridge beams are often called outriggers. But cantilevered is an apt description ... and fits and PCB was a gimmee to help out that corner.

Reminded me of a PB puzzle.

Nancy 2:36 PM  

@Amelia (1:01) -- So if you were writing all the TV commercials, I'd stop muting them. Gal, you are good!!! I mean really good!!!

It reminds me of when I worked briefly -- and I do mean briefly (!) -- for an advertising firm whose clients were all publishing houses. Seeing how much better my advertising friends were paid than any of us in publishing, I thought I'd use my combo writing/publishing background to move laterally into advertising, where I would then make the big bucks. My first day there I was asked to write a headline for a novel. I was encouraged to write "as many as you can think of." I thought of maybe three or four which I thought were fairly punchy. I brought them into the copy chief. It was about 11:45 a.m on Monday. "Oh, no," he said, "I mean really come up with a lot of ideas." I didn't have a lot of ideas, but I wrote them down anyway. And every damn day of that week, the copy chief asked for more headlines. No body copy, btw, just headlines. By Wednesday my stomach was churning and I was realizing I'd made a horrible mistake. Was this the way I was going to spend the rest of my days? My weeks? I waited until a week from that Friday -- didn't want to look like a job hopper:) -- and resigned. Worst two weeks of my entire working life.

Being a writer doesn't necessarily make you a good advertising copywriter. Your mind has to work in a special way. Mine doesn't. @Amelia's evidently does.

Anonymous 2:46 PM  

Straight down.

GILL I. 3:08 PM  

How pleasurable and engaging this @Rex blog has become.
Reminds me of when a dear friend of mine came out of mourning and traded her black clothes for some lovely pastels. It immediately changed her mood.
Thank you, @Rex and your moderators.

TomAz 3:22 PM  

I don't really know what my record is for Saturday (the website says it is 2:13, which is hilarious and obviously long). I did this in 12 minutes and I can't remember ever doing a Saturday that fast.

Like others, I was just putting a few things in here and there (AVGAS may have been the first.. I don't know why I know it, other than I ride on airplanes sometimes). I was not optimistic until SLIPPERY SLOPE appeared and -- just like Rex -- my whole attitude changed. BINGE WATCHING fell shortly after and then it was off to the races.

I am with Rex on the ET ALI? thing, except, in this context, I thought it was obvious: one is unlikely to end a list by saying "and one other" (might as well just write down the last thing on the list).. "and others" makes much more sense. Plus MAHI was a total gimme for me.

I lost count of my estates and had sIxTH ESTATE briefly. I also wanted midSHIPS even though I knew it was wrong and didn't fit, it took a bit for my mind to unstick from that. No idea about REA, GIAN, EASTON, or COLLET, but it didn't seem to matter. Never even saw RIAA til I read the review. I liked the clue for SCIENCE.. a bit of a misdirection.

This was probably "too easy" for a Saturday but I don't really care, it was a fun puzzle!

TomAz 3:23 PM  

ugh. first paragraph: I mean obviously wrong, not long. DOH.

Joe Dipinto 4:11 PM  

I feel I must point out that Crayola has never arranged its boxes into single-color sections. This is still true.

That having been pointed out -- I really loved this puzzle. So many great answers and great clues. Started in the SE, moved up to the NE, then the NW and finished up at SCIENCE. Smooth sailing the entire time, except for having RESENDS (thinking of email) before RESHIPS. But that got fixed once I got BINGE WATCHING (probably my favorite answer).

Now I am in the mood for AIRPLAY of SAD SONGs by RAVI Shankar and Sheena EASTON on a PIRATE RADIO station, while sipping REDS from my favorite CRU.

Larry Gilstrap 4:35 PM  

That was a good one. I would never use Saturday and easy in the same sentence, but this thing came together nicely. Those stacks are very much in the language and free of names from pop culture. That's a good thing.

The cluing for EDDY had me wondering if the toilet flush really does reverse rotation in Brisbane. I actually thought about a post-solve visit to SNOPES, and lo and behold, Buster rears his mythical head. Was that really his name?

Does Billboard still use AIR PLAY and what exactly is that in this era of streaming audio and algorithms?

I used to enjoy teaching Chaucer's "The Nun's Priest's Tale" featuring Chanticleer, that scholarly, pedantic rooster. He crows every hour on the hour, by calculating the transit of the sun across the sky, at fifteen degrees per hour. The bird knew that the world was not flat; it was written in 1385. Hello, Columbus!

Michael 4:41 PM  

I thought this was very easy for a Saturday. My only hiccup was writing in "gossips" for 21D ("forwards"). I almost immediately knew this was wrong, but sort of liked the answer.

Carlos Danger 4:45 PM  

@Michael, too funny!

Malcolm Gibson 5:04 PM  

Good puzzle because of interesting fill. But also my fastest Saturday ever -- about 10-15 minutes while watching Jeopardy. Saturdays are usually SLOW!

Unknown 5:18 PM  

Late to the party today - I usually solve the night before, but last night I went swing dancing, and this morning I helped my wife plant a tree, so the crossword had to wait.

The first thing I put in was IRAROLLOVER, and when that turned out to be correct the whole NW fell into place. Feared I'd hit the hard part eventually, but finished in under 19 minutes, which has got to be my record on a Saturday by far. Had to hold my breath at the end, though. The last two letters to go in were the AR of ARGENTINE (a word I heretofore only knew as describing one of the navies involved in the Falklands War, or corrupt Presidents Kirchner). Figured it could be AHS or oHS, and went with the A and guessed at the R of REA. Whew, lucked out!

QuasiMojo 5:28 PM  

@Nancy, and @Amelie, I once took an advertising class and we had to come up with catchy print-ad slogans. I coughed up two that the teacher liked: 1) "Rent-a-Wreck, It's a bargain from bumper-to-bumper!" and 2) for Goya Olives, a picture of a martini glass with no gin, just a single olive, tagline: "Hold the Martini."

JC66 5:38 PM  


# 1's good, but I love #2!

Nancy 5:43 PM  

Love your Goya olives tagline, @Quasi (5:28). That makes 2 out of 3 of us who are good at this. :)

Girish 5:49 PM  

@Rex Parker 10:15 AM Mahi to the rescue. Howver, et alia/et alii is definitely filler. Thanks for a nice write-up. ��

Girish 5:55 PM  

If we took the Bechdel test seriously (and, perhaps, we should,) would Aliens be the last movie we could watch, successfully? It’s a slippery slope and might entail some binge-watching.

Larry Gilstrap 5:59 PM  

@Loren, High school kids who can neither read nor write most probably have grown up in a culture that is either illiterate or does not value literacy, or perhaps even resents it. In the desert, we have many immigrant families; they do most of the work, and many of those people are illiterate in English and Spanish. But. boy, do they value an education and are very supportive of the schools and other literacy programs. As a result, many of our kids leave town and get an education or training. Their parents hope for a better life for them than the one's they live. In some communities, the goal is for the boys to get a truck and the girls to get a baby, game over. Teachers have a tendency to be idealistic, but the reality is that there is only so much that can be done. Also, if the political climate is anti-public education, then you're swimming upstream and the society is stuck with the residue. Remember, some teachers sow seed over fertile ground, others sow seed over a paved parking lot, that's what I did for much of my career. Pavement cracks and some seeds take root and even prosper. Or, get out of Dodge! Any school would be lucky to have you.

dm3000 6:08 PM  

C'mon...this rates at least a medium. I struggled with AVGAS.

Disciple of Nanl 6:10 PM  

Speaking of AVGAS, Colette Eddy is president of Aerial Innovations, Inc.

OISK 9:19 PM  

@Anonymous 11:02. So pleased to read your post today. Not that I cared about the content, but I realized that a previous comment to @Stuart was NOT directed to me! At the time, I couldn't understand it!

Glad to see the near unanimity on this puzzle, which I found challenging but rewarding. I realize what AVGAS must mean, but didn't know it was ever abbreviated like that. Love the clue for "Hors." My chem background held me back on 12 down - containing silver, (to me) is "argentous." Give me a sentence with "Cantilever." "You'll have to pick up your laundry at the store, I cantilever. "

Clean week for me, first in a while. Good puzzles all week, not just because I finished them.

Jane Doe 10:17 PM  

@Shelby: Had never heard of the Bechdel Test, I looked it up, made me hurl.

Name that tune 10:45 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amelia 11:04 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
E.J. Copperman 9:53 AM  

Before I looked at it, I so wanted 37D to be "GEPETTO."

ChE Dave 12:15 AM  

Looked at a blank grid for five minutes, then *bing* and it fell in quickly. No clue why it took so long to start.

spacecraft 12:21 PM  

Began with gimme EASTON--in fact, PLEASE gimme Sheena EASTON, my DOD. I'm a Keystone Stater, originally. Then the first six letters of ARGENTINE, which I knew from chem class. The middle gems didn't plunk themselves down for me like they did for many of y'all, but they did emerge. I'd call it easy-medium, for the day. CANTILEVERS was a huge gimme help in the SE, though I did struggle through tROlL and tRaWL before finally settling on PROWL. Ink smudges there.

WOES were REA (had REd and almost missed correcting for SADSONG), SNOPES (this word seems strangely familiar though I never heard of that website), MACRON and new WOD COLLET. Very satisfying puzzle to solve; triumph factor not gigantic but definitely there--and clean fill, ETALII notwithstanding. I'm gonna COLLET a birdie.

Burma Shave 3:02 PM  


MORNS with such a SADSONG?"
"Well, FIRST, that HORS' on the PROWL,
FAMED for giving HEADLONG."


rondo 3:24 PM  

FIRST thing is to know which trees are oaks and which are ELMs; makes a big difference and is why the NW was where I finished. Another area of concern was RESendS (ASIN forwarding an email) before RESHIPS.

Did not like the clue for PIRATERADIO as nothing needs to be *offshore*; in the past I amazed my friends with a tiny PIRATERADIO station and I'm nowhere near being offshore. PIRATERADIO only has to do with not being FCC licensed, at least in my world.

Indeed, two thumbs up for FAMED yeah baby Sheena EASTON, the only performer of a James Bond theme song to ever appear on-screen, with good reason. AESTHETICs, I think they call it, the looks of a MODEL. And I've seen her perform live.

Nice puz that I wouldn't call easy, it took more than BASICSKILLS.

paradox 3:29 PM  

headlong down this slippery slope, big fun.

leftcoastTAM 3:47 PM  

Liked Rex's up-beat, sunny review. Also enjoyed the puzzle, apparently as much as he did. Very nice, on both counts.

Got best start in the middle three-stack. Had to wait for AIR in AIRPLAY to show up in the crosses. Just below, COLLET was an unknown, but again crosses took care of it.

NW and SE three-stacks were more resistant. For 1D, wanted something to go with __eST, but nothing worked. Gave up on it, peeked to get FIRST. Okay, I can live with a one-square dnf.

Shouldn't the 22A clue, "__ talk", have a capital T for talk? Thought Ted Talk was the official title.

SE three-stack answers at first were partially hidden by PCB and RIAA down crosses, and was puzzled by "Offshore waves?" clue for PIRATERADIO. But there it was.

Fun, easy-medium Saturday.

Anonymous 4:34 PM  

First time commenter but a long time syndication reader.

I am surprised that I appear to be the only one who threw down cyber stalking for 28A. I immediately realized it wasn't correct when I couldn't get the crosses to line up but I thought it was a great answer.

Cyber stalking and noted were the only write overs so l agree with the easy rating. Fun puzzle.

rainforest 7:05 PM  

Just what I like on a Saturday, a (easy/medium) puzzle that was a ton of fun to finish. Had a lovely brunch to go to as soon as I was done, but I thought I'd give my two cents first (actually, here in Canada we no longer have pennies, so maybe this is my nickel).

All of the stacked sections, both vertical and horizontal, were lovely, and there was sufficient clever cluing to contribute to the pleasure.

First entry was I RULE, which RULEd out an -est ending to 1D, after which TEEN and ERR
provided enough glue to cement the NW and then in every other section, a few semi-gimmes helped to polish them off, except for the SW, where SCIENCE and COLLET took some effort to reveal.

Not a stinker anywhere, not even ET ALII, which one always has to get a cross to work out, and that's why it's called a crossword puzzle.

Memorable puzzle.

strayling 7:30 PM  

@rondo: Pirate radio got the nautical monicker because unlicenced stations used to broadcast to the UK from ships in international waters. Radio Caroline is the most famous example.

Now off to SNOPES to fact-check my memory.

Oh yeah: the puzzle was great, most fun Saturday in a while. The EDDY clue is sneaky because it's natural to assume an Earthly hemisphere, where the effect is tiny.

wcutler 10:39 PM  

@TomAz 3:22 PM ("I did this in 12 minutes and I can't remember ever doing a Saturday that fast.") I did this, and I can't remember ever doing a Saturday at all.

Larry Gilstrap 5:59 PM (" Remember, some teachers sow seed over fertile ground, others sow seed over a paved parking lot, that's what I did for much of my career.") In the five years I was a Public Assistance caseworker, I actually helped one person, and I figured I was probably ahead of the game. I decided I needed to go into computer programming, where specific actions would yield expected results.

Anonymous 12:38 AM  

Maybe I'm wrong but can't one be denied parole at a parole hearing ? Wouldn't something having to do with a commutation or a pardon be a much better answer ? A parole hearing could end up as a continuation of a long sentence.

William Faulkner 3:00 AM  

Average Saturday speed. Easy Saturday but the NW corner slowed me down. We all realize that is taken from the family in my SNOPES trilogy: The Hamlet, The Town, and The Mansion, right? - William Faulkner

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