Three-lobed design / SAT 2-17-18 / Brand with slogan fill your glass / Fixed cord for paratrooper / Book in which Israelites are rebuked for idolatry / 2007 satirical best seller

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Constructor: Peter Wentz

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none

Word of the Day: Jung CHANG (29A: Jung ___, author of the 1991 best seller "Wild Swans") —
Jung Chang (simplified Chinese张戎traditional Chinese張戎pinyinZhāng RóngWade–GilesChang JungMandarin pronunciation: [tʂɑ́ŋ ɻʊ̌ŋ], born 25 March 1952) is a Chinese-born British writer now living in London, best known for her family autobiography Wild Swans, selling over 10 million copies worldwide but banned in the People's Republic of China. (wikipedia)
• • •

Oh yeah, this had everything yesterday's puzzle didn't. Zing and zazz and freshness and all the good stuff. In fact, I finished it faster than yesterday's puzzle, so really this is the Friday puzzle I wanted. I got it a day late, which is better than not at all. Wentz puzzles are very often very hard, but sometimes I get right on that Wentz wavelength and it feels pretty great—leads to maximum appreciation of artistry. Actually, a grueling puzzle can leave me very impressed, it's just that the difficulty has to feel earned. I have to respect it. I don't want to get destroyed by obscurities or icky cluing that was trying too hard to be clever. The great brutal clue will have me baffled, and then when I finally get it, I have to admit, "yeah, that's good." Anyway, not sure what I'm on about, because this puzzle wasn't brutal, but it was wonderful. Stacks and columns other flashes of 7- and 8-letter answers, and all of it solid-to-brilliant (even if I don't really know what a STATIC LINE is) (12D: Fixed cord for a paratrooper). In fact, there was lots I didn't know in this puzzle that I loved. Never heard of Jung CHANG *or* the "1991 best seller "Wild Swans" that she (she?) supposedly wrote. I want to thank Jung, though, because she put ERICA *JONG* in my head well before I encountered her in the SE (where I recognized her instantly). No idea about a G&S opera with YEOMAN in the title. No idea about BOONE, NC (40A). And hoo boy, TREFOIL (22A: Three-lobed design). That word is vaguely familiar, but that didn't stop TRIFORM from getting in there and mucking things up. But these obstacles are what make puzzles fun—assuming there is gold to be found in the grid. If a grid is just workmanlike, or worse, sad and limp, then all the ??? and difficulty feels not challenging, but punishing.

Had some good luck getting a few long answers easily, like "I AM AMERICA" (by Stephen Colbert) from just the "I" (27D: 2007 satirical best seller) and ANTS ON A LOG from the -L-G (would've gotten it from nothing) (11D: Celery sticks topped with peanut butter and raisins). Had a few mishaps, though. Stared at SAMADA- (42A: Brand with the slogan "Fill your glass") and wondered what kind of exotic wine or tea brand it was going to be. Then got to 31A: "Breaking Bad" protagonist, had -A--, and wrote in ... HANK. [Sad emoji]! Loved the clue on OPTICS (5D: Public perception). So wonderfully current. Loved the clue on FOAL (30A: It's generally up and running within a few hours). Fantastic misdirection. Super-loved the MBA DEGREE / NBA GAMES crossing. And FARM TEAMS, oh man. Talk about an answer that destroys you but forces you to respect it. I had FARMT and absolutely believed that the [Professional feeders] worked on a farm, possibly feeding the livestock. FARM TEAMS are of course minor league teams that "feed" the pro leagues. Just great stuff.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:14 AM  

Easy-medium for me too. I got off to quick start with BMX, BBQS, QUIETTIME...but the south half was tougher. satS before GRES didn't help.

A solid smooth Sat., liked it.

Harryp 12:15 AM  

I had static cord before static line. I finished, but didn't get the happy tune, so went looking for the wrong answer. It turned out to be 11Down ANTSONAdOG! Technical DNF, since I wouldn't have looked for it solving on paper. For all I knew it could have been ants on a HOG. All in all, a good Saturday puzzle.

Anonymous 12:17 AM  

AlmOST before ACCOST. Thought mOM-sat was some neologism analogous to baby-sat.

puzzlehoarder 12:37 AM  

This was more of a medium than an easy puzzle for me but it was a very user friendly medium. When I get done with a puzzle I go to the xwordinfo solution list of clues to take stock of the esoterica and there was precious little to be found in this one.

CHANG as clued is a debut but with the _NG steady in place and the clue indicating it's ASIAN it was a no brainer and a good example of the user friendly feel to the puzzle.

A couple of funny things from my own mistakes. I thought the 31A clue to be the one for 21A. This caused me to have MIKE crossing OPTIKS for a while. Filling in the NE allowed me to correct this but it also meant I had to deal with that "Breaking Bad" clue all over again.

The other little confusion was thinking the 47A clue was indicating OKRA and wondering why I had OCR_. The lightbulb was a little delayed there. Then of course the real OKRA appeared later.

When I finished everything was clear as a bell. Even the sneaky 30D clue. That was one of your better ones.

A fun puzzle but I prefer my Saturdays to contain more truly unknown material.

Mel Torme 12:47 AM  

Got crushed for awhile in the northeast. I had harps instead of RANTS, the A from ID TAG, and the C from PRESENCE, and confidently plopped down sparechute, which had to be right. Until I finally realized that it was the thing wreaking havoc with everything.

Lots of fun crunchy stuff.

TomAz 12:49 AM  

The whole Axe thing creeps me out:

"I came home from work and took off my LAB COAT and settled in for a night of QUIET TIME with SAM ADAMS and NBA GAMES. Instead, I got to reading ERICA JONG and decided to put on some BODY SPRAY and go to "The Cocktail Party" in hopes of meeting some SENORITAS and ASIANS. I talked about my MBA DEGREE and my German AUTOMAKER with the fine young ladies in my PRESENCE. I was getting EYE STRAIN from imagining some of them in G STRINGS. But after I'd HAD A FEW they were saying CRIPES and DANGER this guy smells like a SEA LION. No one was responding to my STATIC LINE so I decided to SCAT[S] and go home to MAMA."

mathgent 1:41 AM  

I had BM? for 1A and ?DIN for 3D and couldn't come up with the X. I think that I have seen BMX in a puzzle before but it didn't bubble to the surface. I don't like the clue for 3D. Actually, I hate it.

Only six Terrible Threes, I can't remember a puzzle with fewer. Bravo!

I may be a sore loser, but I can't say that this puzzle was very good. There was some sparkle but it was low voltage. GSTRINGS was the best. The cluing was pedestrian.

I was pleased to get ANTSONALOG even though I have never seen this dish. Learned it from previous crosswords. In what part of the country are they served?

Thomaso808 2:10 AM  

I’m rushing to post earlier than usual because twice this week I’ve posted at about 4 am EST and both times nothing showed up. Moderator collateral damage?

Right up to the end I had FAR_TEAM and finally SAMADAMS saved me from entering a T. I was thinking occupational hazard of professional feeders?

Like Rex said, a very fast Saturday, but it was fun.

@TomAz, hilarious!

travis 3:29 AM  

I have trouble saying the title of I am America without adding the (And So Can You!) part so it felt a little incomplete. I put in HADAcoW not even getting the sense of the clue and it somehow gave me the whole NE. Fixing the co were my last two letters in that area.

Carolynne 4:26 AM  

I don’t think I would have got “I am America” without having Colbert on the brain from Friday’s puzzle!

Loren Muse Smith 5:32 AM  

Pretty hard, but I got’er done. Almost. Well, almost almost. The southwest was a dnf because I had “ceases” for DEATHS. So that Bible book was “Micae,” and I was wondering why so many people’s MAMAs name them Micah. Sheesh.

I agree, though, with Rex – lots to love here. I agree with what you said about all those clues. Terrific.

I actually considered "hanger" before DANGER, thinking how do these scientists know this stuff?

So I had this mystery drink, “Samacams.” I didn’t really question it. Figured it was one of the bajillion Red Bullsome drinks that my students are constantly drinking.

Before my “Samacams,” I had “Seagram’s.” Bet I’m not alone there.

Body spray. AXE. High school boys never get the email that a little dab’ll do ya. Heck, I guess lots of women don’t, either. There’s nothing worse than being stuck next to someone whose scent of choice just doesn’t do it for you. I become an instant mouth breather. So then I feel all guilty and stuff, (hey, Erica Jong) that I’m wearing my Chanel Allure cream, and maybe my neighbors will become mouth breathers. So I started just putting a little dab on the front of each shin so I won’t overpower anyone. And I still feel guilty. But, BUT my Chanel Allure smells wonderful, and other women’s perfumes don’t. So there’s that.

QUIET TIME. Hah. I use this expression almost every day. I sacrifice my planning period every day to observe a master teacher. The Supreme Teacher Goddess of the Universe. I share this not to brag but as an indicator that I need a lot of help. I’m still so lost as a teacher. So since I have lunch duty, I have another “lunch” period when I make my copies of stuff and wolf down my own lunch. (That is, IF I haven’t lost my planning AND lunch periods because I have to cover for another teacher because we have a paucity of subs and this state has a paucity of teachers and I’m going to participate in the rally this afternoon at the state capitol and I’ve never done anything like this but I digress.)

Anyhoo. After I punch lunch numbers, I go man the two doors that lead to the high school halls. No one gets by without a pass. But I’m cornered. There are two students who are always there, waiting, to talk my ear off. Mrs. Smith, Mrs. Smith, Mrs. Smith… did you know….Mrs. Smith, have you heard… wanna see…here, smell this, Mrs. Smith. I have told them that I need a break from hearing my name, that they’re to call me Carl. They do. I listen and participate as much as I can because they need to be listened to; they’re there with me and not sitting with friends for a reason. But I swear every now and then, I Just. Need. Silence. So I tell them I’m having a bit of QUIET TIME and stand in the hall on the other side of the door and stare back at them through the little glass window. They stand there looking at me. We smile at each other. They’re such massively good sports. And I feel so guilty.

Thomaso808 6:08 AM  

@LMS, I feel for you. Your story reminds me of when I taught high school physics for several years and my lunch breaks got filled up with moderating student clubs and yard duty to the point that I frequently ended up eating a late lunch in the first class period after lunch, while teaching. Sure enough, one of the seniors surreptitiously snapped a photo of me with fork to mouth and that became my yearbook photo that year. I really can’t criticize, because that’s probably how many of my students remember me!

Lewis 6:51 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lewis 6:55 AM  

@lms -- Your AXE and QUIET TIME riffs go in that book you need to write, the book that will expand your can't-wait-to-read followers outside Crossworld. That easy-to-write book that simply consists of cutting and pasting your slices of life from your posts. Do it!

Today's puzzle was like a work of art, one of those that gets chosen among the masses of published puzzles to hang in the Look What A Puzzle Can Be gallery. I had to change MOPE to MOUE, and with QUIET TIME patience, ANTS ON A LOG crawled out of some brain nook. Persistence paid off here for me. I know that answer-related things lie fallow in the brain, and as I'm working on other things, my brain roots through the dormant area, finds what's needed, and it pops out. After all these years I still find that astonishing.

Gorgeous variety in the answers, some terrific cluing (FOAL, VITAL, SHOPAHOLIC), and a journey that included the best kind of toil and much gratification. Loved it, Peter!

r.alphbunker 7:17 AM  

Lots of cascos in this one
58A. {Winner of nine Grand Slam tournaments in the 1990s} SELES from _ _ _ _ _

55A. {Book in which the Israelites are rebuked for idolatry} MICAH from M_ _AH

27D. {2007 satirical best seller} IAMAMERICA from _ _ _ _ _ERIC_

6D. {Worn-out} TRITE from TR_ _ _

14A. {Axe product} BODYSPRAY from _O_ _ _PRAY

34D. {Constantly updating GPS figs.} ETAS from E_ _S

30D. {Professional feeders} FARMTEAMS from FAR_TEAMS

13D. {One source of the umami taste} MSG from _ _ _

10D. {Threw some back} HADAFEW from HAD_FE_

Details are here

Anonymous 8:05 AM  

@mathgent "May be?"

Unknown 8:17 AM  

4D explanation please?

ghthree 8:18 AM  

REX: There's no G&S opera with"YEOMAN" in the title. The full name is "Yeomen of the Guard." Sneaky, but legitimate singular noun where the actual title is plural.

Glimmerglass 8:18 AM  

The G&S opera is “YEOMeN of the Guard.” Never saw it (I hate G&S). A STATIC LINE automatically opens the chute — no need to pull a rip cord. This was an easy puzzle for me, but only because everything hard yielded to crosses. A fun workout. Lots of aha moments.

Jon Alexander 8:20 AM  

Would of been easy for me (at least time wise) if my brain reallllllllllly refused to give up on cEAseS, and SAMADAMS just wasn't hitting me. Agree w Rex, this was a very nice I'm hungry for ANTSONALOG

Anonymous 8:45 AM  

@Calman Google "GSTRINGS." Then enjoy the rest of the day.

QuasiMojo 8:51 AM  

CRIPES! I really liked this puzzle. It did feel more like a Friday and at first glance I thought I was sunk but gradually, bit by bit, I finished it. That seems pretty awesome to me since there is a CHASM between what I know and what this constructor required of us. Never heard of I AM AMERICA (I am one of the few who doesn't "get" Stephen Colbert), never saw Breaking Bad so at first I had WILT. I also had IMBIBED for HAD A FEW. And ODOR SPRAY for AXE (I recently met someone who used that stuff. It was redolent of Janitor-In-A-Drum.) I also have never heard of ANTS ON A LOG and I hope to God that I never have to taste it (let alone see it!)

TREFOILS, Rex, are Girl Scout cookies, aren't they? I'm sure you've had a few. Although I see you more as a Thin Mint kind of guy.

I wanted to squeeze in EILEEN FORD for Model Company? AUTOMAKER seemed a bit of a let-down.

Yes, the G&S fans will have a field-day with the error in YEOMAN. It reminded me of the factoid that I gleaned from STICKY FINGERS, the new bio of Jann Wenner that I mentioned a few days ago. In it he and Billy Joel ride their HOGS like two "Easy Rider" wannabes, singing Gilbert & Sullivan tunes at the top of their lungs. Even though I once appeared in a G&S operetta, I have never warmed to their style. It's the Benny Hill of Opera. Give me the lovely SENORITAS of Carmen anyday over that mush.

I must be showing my age but I saw Suzanne VEGA and Debbie BOONE in this grid.

Nice job Mr. Wentz! And yes, @LMS, you have to write a book of your experiences as a teacher and life in general. Think of Frank McCourt.

BarbieBarbie 8:53 AM  

@Thomas808, the second-best teacher I had in high school was the physics teacher whose name I now can’t remember, but since it started with T I’m going to start thinking of him as Mr. Thomas. Hosannas to you for being a physics teacher. Loved those Slinkys.

The clue for GSTRINGS felt wrong. “Almost nothing on” is a condition, not a noun, though I can see the almost-a-noun-ness of it. Shoulda been “nothing to wear.”

Oh hey, I remembered his name. Sorry, @Thomas. In order, counting Jr High: Lorraine Immel, Shirley Woods, Mr. Trimingham (who had to teach me trig too, quickly, so that I could take his class without waiting a year, so count him twice). Thanks, @LMS and all teachers. OK, Memory Lane over. Puzzle was a DNF because I used THREAT instead of DANGER and had to Wikipedia elsewhere in that corner to figure out that THREAT was wrong. Otherwise a fun, stretchy puzzle with a Medium feel.

Birchbark 8:58 AM  

ANTS ON A LOG is about the most Maleskean appetizer I can imagine. I like Maleska, and I like peanut butter on celery. Raisins, too. But combining the three seems a little showy.

Finished in just over an hour. Par for me for Saturday is under 25 minutes, with under 15 becoming less rare. But, as @Rex says, "a grueling puzzle can leave me very impressed, it's just that the difficulty has to feel earned." In the inverted parallel universe where Y = VI, I knew @Rex and others would land on Easy or Easy-Medium. All good *for a Saturday.*

'MERICAns in Paris 9:03 AM  

I'm amazed that there are already 21 comments so early in the day. We struggled with this one, but mostly in a good way: apart from 3D it was clean, and even the PPPs were easy enough to guess at. But we'd rate it as medium-difficult, even for a Saturday. Completing it (took us 2 1/2 hours!) feels like a real accomplishment.

I knew BOONE right off the bat, because my older brother attended summer school there when he was a rising Senior in high school. Also knew STATIC LINE, as I was an avid skydiver in the 1970s, in the end making 100 parachute jumps. (Using my emergency 'chute three times.) Only my first four jumps were with a STATIC LINE. After that it was all free-fall. Nowadays, I gather, newbies jump strapped to an instructor.

Like others, had cEAseS before DEATHS, so didn't see SAM ADAMS. Then Mrs. 'MERICAns saw it and we sorted out the SW. Final clue to fall was X'D IN. Kept thinking BMi rather than BMX. Other write-overs were dolphiN before SEA LION, and POLeS before POLOS. Guessed ANTS ON A LOG without having even heard the term before.

Interesting to see VEGA proximate to AUTO MAKER. Mrs. 'MERICAns first car was a VEGA -- famous, or infamous, for its aluminum-block engine.

This puzzle was much more than a YEOMAN effort. Congratulations Peter Wentz!

Hartley70 9:07 AM  

My first entry was Axe DEODORANT and my second was ANTSONALOG. 50% isn't a bad start for a Wenz puzzle. I am never on exactly the same wavelength with PW as I am with DS. Wow, that makes me think of Patrick Berry. It's been a long time since the Maestro's work has been here. Where is he hiding? BTW has anyone else noticed that AXE, when used in abundance by the teenaged male, will strip the color from a navy towel? That is powerful stuff!

@Mathgent, you can find ANTSONALOG wherever nursery schools lurk. That's to say, everywhere. Peanut allergies have taken a toll on the traditional recipe, however, and may have caused a spike in cream cheese sales.

This was a struggle for me, but in retrospect, very fair. Has ERICAJONG become obscure yet? She has for me.

I think of BMX as local bike races for 10 year old boys. I guess there is a whole different level of BMX out there.

TREFOIL reminded me of the Girl Scouts. That's the name of a pin for the uniform, Brownie level I think. I could be wrong since I last saw mine 62 years ago.

I like Colbert, but IAMAMERICA passed me by. It slowed me down in the West, as did Jung CHANG whose fame totally escaped me.

In retrospect I really like today's puzzle, but I give it a "tough" rating. Thank goodness I could cling to the LOG, like those intrepid little ANTS, until I had worked my way across and down.

Anonymous 9:18 AM  

"IDTAG"? Are you kidding me?? I had no issue with "ants on a log," as another poster mentioned, trefoil is a type of Girl Scout cookie (after their emblem) and "Walt" from "Breaking Bad" was easy. Static line, easy for me. Where I lost it was 37A and 18A. I really, really hate that answer. Good Saturday, all in all, very challenging.

Anonymous 9:19 AM  

If YEOMeN collectively are title figures in G&S, isn’t each single YEOMAN among them a title figure? No mistake that I can see.

Jcap 9:25 AM  

Not a peep about XDIN, Rex?

Nancy 9:38 AM  

Certainly not easy for me. I never heard of BMX nor of Axe BODY SPRAY. Four letters didn't seem like enough for "chose at the ballot box (3D). So when I saw the NW, I was afraid I might have to say GOT ME to the puzzle. My first entry was all the way down at LAB COAT (38D), checked by ELIOT (53A) and I had my toehold. Lots here I either didn't know or couldn't be sure enough of to write in, but the puzzle played fair throughout. And the struggle was a lot of fun.

I saw the delectable quote at 48A and said to myself: "Now what brilliant and funny woman wrote that?!" When ERICA JONG came in, I was delighted. "Fear of Flying" is one of the absolutely most enjoyable, lively, funny, original, and best-written novels I've ever read. But I hesitate to recommend it to y'all because it's also foul-mouthed and scatalogical. That's what it's come to be known for, ERICA having been way ahead of her time in what women were writing. Would you believe me, everyone, when I tell you that I loved this novel in spite of its purple prose? Please, please say you believe me, because it's absolutely true. If you can avoid being offended by the coarse language, I cannot recommend this novel more enthusiastically. It's absolutely brilliant.

One last thing. If you invite me over for dinner, please don't serve me ANTS ON A LOG. And if you do, please don't tell me what they are called.

Wm. C. 9:39 AM  

As someone who both holds an MBA degree and has served on several Boards, I call foul on the 56A clue: Common board requirement, in brief. Common board QUALIFICATION, yes; common board REQUIREMENT, no, unless maybe some advisory panel for an MBA program ... But even there it's overly restrictive.

Two Ponies 9:45 AM  

Great Saturday.
For a moment I thought Mr. Wentz and I had been in the same scout troop with our trefoils and bugs on a log. That is where I remember making the snack. But ants on a log was a new one.
So much fun today that any clunkers never got my attention.
Once a possum got into my yard unaware of the danger. After my dog chomped him, he did indeed just lay there until the dog lost interest.
Evidently the carnage was not as fatal as it seemed and the strategy worked because 20 min. later it was gone.

Gretchen 9:48 AM  

So much fun! Thanks for a perfect Saturday morning, Peter Wentz. I finished the puzzle before I finished my coffee which is now cold.

The Hermit Philosopher 9:48 AM  

I hope “would of” was an autocorrect fail. It *would’ve* been nice to have caught it.

Sorry. Just me being my pedantic self. 😊

ColoradoCog 9:51 AM  

This one definitely played harder than average for me. It was one of those where I somehow struggled even with answers I should have known cold. I’m a huge fan of “Breaking Bad”, seen the series all the way through three times, and yet I looked at a four letter grid and stared thinking “What the ****? The protagonist is Walter White. How can it be four letters? Jesse Pinkman won’t fit, for that matter. Finn? Hank?” WALT just didn’t occur to me. I kind of think “, familiarly” should have been in the clue on that one.

But that wasn’t my only point of struggle. I finished, and I enjoyed, but I struggled.

QuasiMojo 9:54 AM  

@Anonymous 9:19, you raise a good point. But I have my doubts. Saying "Yeoman" is a title figure from a G&S operetta is like saying that "Killer" is a title figure in "The Killers" by Ernest Hemingway, or "Aristocat" is a title figure in "The Aristocats," or "Rothschild" is a title figure in "The Rothschilds." It raises the question, which one? And I am pretty sure the apt phrase is "Yeoman of the Guard" not "yeoman" since there are many different types of yeomen but those would not be "title figures" in this particular opera.

DBlock 10:01 AM  

Went by quickly until my own stubbornness
Seagrams for Sam Adams and Mamet for Eliot slowed me down
Erased all and then it worked
And I put X in last which was my protest vote

Anonymous 10:03 AM  

I kept trying to make the Mikado fit the G&S question. Agh

TubaDon 10:04 AM  

Plunked down SENORITAS, ANTSONALOG and YEOMAN right away with only a little wince at MAN. (G&S trivia turn up quite often, Rex). Was able to guess enough unknown CHANGs, BOONEs and WALTs to finish in near record time for Saturday. Not having flown recently, are they putting ID TAGS on people now at airports or is that a synonym for baggage tag?

Z 10:09 AM  

I had to leave the ANTS part blank because I was pretty sure the (literally) scatological name I know that particular snack by was not going to fly in a NYTX. I mean, look at raisins on peanut butter on a celery stick and tell me if those raisins look like ANTS or SCATS*

Every corner was the same here, nothing nothing nothing nothing toehold done. I’ve no idea on my time because the beasts were being needy and interrupted me three or four times. I’m going to guess that it played medium challenging. And I’m with Rex, this had a freshness to it that yesterday’s puzzle lacked. I think the perfect example of this is the clue for LIT. Rather than a TRITE Brit LIT or Medieval LIT or LIT Crit clue, we get a slang term I actually see being employed on Twitter right now. Nice.

@Nancy - count yourself lucky on not knowing Axe BODY SPRAY. Apparently teen boys have no one in their lives willing to explain to them that the BODY in BODY SPRAY does not mean SPRAY it all over your BODY. Add in the relatively closed air systems of a Michigan high school in winter and one can feel they’ve been consigned to the third circle of hell.

@Joe DiPinto late yesterday - You are correct, which is why I avoid calling such clues “wrong.” Nevertheless I would never use the two interchangeably as they express two distinct, non-overlapping concepts to me. Hence, my side-eye. I’m adding this here because my RANTS had already exceeded the three comments limit yesterday.

*Crossword Blog Comment License employed there. No need to go all pedantic on me this time.

Unknown 10:15 AM  

@TomAz - Love the story, especially "DANGER, this guy smells like a SEA LION" linking back to the BODY SPRAY - hilarious!

GILL I. 10:19 AM  

This was really hard for me but, by Jove, a doable puzzle that wasn't filled with a ton of proper names.
I started this late last night and kept thinking this is too easy for a Peter Wentz. Had all that NW section in then came to a fierce halt when I flew to the NE. Nothing was coming to mind. Went to bed.
More staring in the morn. Coffee....and then one little letter at a time. I kept smiling and smiling. Oh so clever. Cluing is primo and you didn't fool me with FOAL - nor your clever G STRINGS. You did get me at TREFOIL and I didn't know BOONE nor CHANG but I got the rest, yes I did, and I was so proud of myself.
@Nancy....I join your enthusiasm for Erica Jong and Her Fear of Flying. I think I read the book about three times. Funniest thing I had read that entire year. I still remember her Zipless Fuck coinage since I went all around San Francisco using that word with all the handsome gay guys I met. They didn't understand my enthusiasm.
How can such a dainty word like Lady Fingers end up with that slime ball OKRA?
ANTS ON A LOG. How I rememberd that I really don't know. But then I remember things like pig in a blanket and toad in a hole . I won't eat any of them because they are vile - but they have cute names.
Really enjoyable puzzle today. Its put me in a good mood and put me in a good mood as well....

GILL I. 10:24 AM  

I want to add a thank you to the moderators...It looks like you were busy late last night getting rid of the sucking vampires.

Carola 10:33 AM  

Tough tough tough, verging on the despair level. Finishing the NW in a trice, I was lulled into thinking it would be another romp. Ha ha. In the west, I made it down to ASIANS, in the east I had only TREFOIL (yes, thanks to the Girl Scout sign), with a sort of uvula in the middle down to TRON. Well, also with a hesitant huddle of ELIOT and MICAH down in the corner. Anyway, it was a real fight from there, was happy to finally prevail. Wonderful clues - FARM TEAMS was my favorite.
Do-overs: loST before PAST, friGht before DANGER.

@TomAz, thank you for that story!
@BarbieBarbie, I had similar reservations about the GSTRING clue, but I think it works as "It's almost nothing" + "It's on (a person)."

DrBB 10:40 AM  

Lots of clever clues, but surely 4D, "Almost nothing on" for GSTRINGS deserves a mention? Got a real chuckle from me.

Nancy 10:41 AM  

"This guy smells like a SEA LION"! You are too funny, @Tom Az! I really enjoyed your entire riff.

@GILL, how did I know that you would also love "Fear of Flying"? I just knew that! Maybe I can whet the appetites of people who haven't read it with this opening from the novel:

There were 117 psychoanalysts on the Pan Am flight to Vienna and I'd ben treated by a least six of them. And married a seventh.

Almost as good as "It was the best of times...", I'd say. And much better than "Call me Ishmael."

Teedmn 10:42 AM  

I came right up to the end of this puzzle and AlmOST got it all correct. Like @Anon 12:17, I was ACCOSTed by 25D. Dumb, dumb.

I got down to ASIANS and was stymied. Started hitting the other sections of the puzzle and chiseled away at them. 42A was SeagrAMS for a while but I was pretty sure a hard liquor brand would not be encouraging people to "Fill your glass". A good way to lose customers, and I'm talking DEATHs here (which was cEAseS for a while.) So coming up from the SW, I had A__OST at 25D and without re-reading the clue, splatzed in AlmOST. I then spent a good amount of time trying to remember the title of the Colbert book. I knew it had some strangled grammar so I tried I is AMERICA. I be AMERICA couldn't be right because I needed a vowel in Jung lH_NG's name. I settled on I AM AMERICA and went to look at the answers here, ready to face my DNF doom, only to find my actual mistake, har!

Yup, "I AM AMERICA (and so can you)". There you are, bad grammar! Mind like a steel marshmallow, have I. (Steel marshmallow, is that what Peeps are made from? I hate those things.)

So thanks for the mostly smooth Saturday, Peter Wentz. You GOT ME.

Nancy 10:47 AM  

...and I'd been treated by at least six of them. Why can't I type like everyone else?

Bob Mills 10:48 AM  

"Almost nothing on?" doesn't work with GSTRING, grammatically. "It covers almost nothing" or "There's almost nothing to it" would be correct. Finished it, because my better half figured out ANTSONALOG for me. Also, XDIN is awkward. The constructor could have used BRO for 1-Across and ROUE for 2-Down, enabling ODIN for 3-Down, all of which would have been legit.

Harryp 11:02 AM  

@colorado cog, not withstanding protagonist, when breaking bad 4 letters showed up I immediately dropped in TUCO.

Anonymous 11:05 AM  

I have been teaching physics for 40 years - high school and college. It was a blast the first day and it continues to float my boat to this day. It is absolutely wonderful to read the comments today...LMS I am writing a book about teaching and life so it almost feels like sympatico kicking in here! I take heart that McCourt’s “Teacher Man” was written well past 50 years of age and I think his Angela’s Ashes won the Pulitzer well into his 60s. Hundreds of letters from former students have been the real it is my hope that the voices of students from Florida and so many other places in this country will become a mighty chorus that ousts far too many spineless and hypocritical “leaders” bound to special interests instead of the social contract and the Constitution they swore to uphold. My students have not lost their moral compass and I think they may have found their collective voice. I hope that is the case, because the cowardice from too many liars in DC is lighting the path to ruin for this nation. Loved the puzzle and the comments.

Jeremy 11:07 AM  

TREFOIL, WALT (never saw Breaking Bad), and BOONE crossing STATICLINE made the NE very hard for me.

Stanley Hudson 11:18 AM  

Since even the smell of raisins makes me deathly ill, ANTSONALOG just wasn’t on my radar. Otherwise, tough but very fair puzzle and a lot of fun.

Nancy loves Fear of Flying? Who woulda thunk? Wasn’t it Erica Jong who came up with the term “the Holy Wail” for the elusive female orgasm?

Mohair Sam 11:23 AM  

Tough for us, but lots of fun. We got hung up in so many places, but fought our way through. YEOMeN made the obvious ASIAN impossible forever - until we noticed the singular in the clue. Never heard of ANTSONALOG, might better be described as rabbit poop on a stick. And hand up for cEAseS before DEATHS (who's this ELIOs?) - man did that cost us time.

A few great aha moments (POLOS, FOALS, GSTRINGS, and FARMTEAMS). And not a clue we could complain about. Oh heck, what Rex said. Great stuff.

ERICAJONG an easy fill off the quote - I force-read "Fear of Flying" when it was new, so figured it had to be her. Chick book.

CHANG a gimme here. Jung CHANG's "Wild Swans" is one of the best non-fiction reads ever, imo, and I read a lot. A biography of her Grandmother (a concubine to a warlord), her mother (local leader of then new Communist Party), and herself (a Red Guard under Mao and then a free woman in England). It becomes a history of 20th century China from a woman's point of view. I got to know a former Red Guard (met at a veterinary trade show of all places) after I read it who confirmed so much that I'd learned in the book about life under Chairman Mao.

Thanks for the Saturday challenge Peter Wentz, we loved it.

BarbieBarbie 11:33 AM  

BTW an operetta is not an opera, and most G&S including Y of the G is operetta. Operetta has spoken lines which are not sung recitativo. I don’t know where the boundary is between operetta and musicals.

Diane Calvin 11:39 AM  

I don’t know why the New York Times needs culturally appropriate rap music all the the time. Surely there are other ways to clue mama.

Steve M 11:43 AM  

Going to put this behind me and have a good Saturday anyway

Two Ponies 11:49 AM  

@ Mohair Sam, Perhaps you could introduce your friend the former Red Guard to @Anon 11:05 and his students so they could hear that there is more than one way to get to the path of ruin. I'd love to meet your friend as well. Now I want to read "Wild Swans". I ate up "Fear of Flying" when it was new but I wonder how it would seem to me now.

OISK 11:57 AM  

@BarbieBarbie...Carmen is often performed with spoken lines, but in general you are right. However, the G &S works are often called "Light Opera," as performed in NY by VLOG, the Village Light Opera Guild, and at one time by the sadly defunct "LOOM" - Light opera of Manhattan.

Despite being a huge fan of G&S, it took me a long time to get "Yeoman," but I didn't mind the clue. Like that it crossed señoritas, as the main character (not the Yeoman, actually) "longed for the love of a lady.."

Never heard of BMX or Ants on a line, but that's fine. Probably some constructor has clued "Scats" as "Sings like Torme," or goes "Beboptaloobobdarandarran..."

I agree with @ diane Calvin about unnecessary "rap" clues. How about "Oy ___ bin rich verliebt..."

All of that said, I really enjoyed this puzzle, and found both it and yesterday's excellent puzzle MUCH easier than Thursday's. Thanks, Peter Wentz.

Unknown 11:58 AM  

The Yeoman of the Guard. First one I got. #English person trying to solve the NYT Crossword!

Z 12:05 PM  

@Diane Calvin - I don’t know why the New York Times needs culturally appropriate opera music all the time. Surely there are other ways to clue yeoman.

old timer 12:17 PM  

I have a song to sing, oh! Sometimes a single song carries an entire operetta. Such is the case with YEOMeN of the Guard.

Folks, how many of you came up with MICAH and wondered how many OT books did *not* rebuke the Israoelites for their idolatry?

Anonymous 12:25 PM  

Students everywhere hear and see all the paths to ruin on a daily basis, and on at least one of them they are raising their voices in an appeal to sanity. Climate change, Russian intervention subverting our democracy and hence our freedoms...the list is too long yet the core principle holds: when facts, reason, evidence, and data die, it will not be long before democracy dies too. Veterans know the horror and the fog of war, that’s why they see it as a last resort because they are the ones who fight it, not the politicians who often promote it from their safe havens far from any battlefield. And the laws of nature care not one iota about opinion; I can believe the Moon is made of cheese but it isn’t. Lakotans know the Earth is not fragile. We are.

Anonymous 12:37 PM  

@Z 12:05....Serious question. Whose culture is being appropriated by referencing Gilbert and Sullivan ? I think you know whose culture is being appropriated by all these rap references.

Masked and Anonymous 12:44 PM  

Weren't very smaller, "kiddie pool" areas for M&A to get "in" to this SatPuz. For some reason, nailed IDTAG/HADAFEW in the NE pretty quick. Then based on the -S of 16-A, got MSG, which led to CHASM which led to nuthin much. Except for executin a free-standin WALT splatz. Desperately handed it off to the PuzEatinSpouse [who eventually got it all], and went off to do the much easier [for my wavelength] Saturday Stumper.

@Carl: "… smell this …" har. Handy phrase to remember, whenever they raise their little arms and say that: "Check, please!"

Post-triage from afar observations:
* Spouse asked me the 1-D clue, and said she had ???S. M&A immediately replied "BBQS?" Howcum this puz was so much easier, after when it became someone else's responsibility? Also helped with the possum "DANGER", offa the ???GER. [@Carl: M&A has an epic possum story that includes a "smell this" sidebar. But I digress.]
* Stuff that woulda been trouble brewin, for m&e: TREFOIL/ANTSONALOG+STATICLINE. Maybe also YEOMAN/CHANG. The rest woulda been only hard becuz of the clues. Sooo … extra-smooth fill for a 68-worder!
* Cool SHOPAHOLIC clue. Ditto for FOAL at 30-A. [Advised Spouse to go with "FART", when she asked for help on that 30-A F??? puppy. After which she sorta did the equivalent of advisin me to call her "Carl".] Typical SatPuz dearth of NYT clue mercy. Like.
* fave of the mere six weejects: EMS. Pretty good clue, but another missed opportunity for a solid double-?? debut clue. Example: {Defective open-face candy samples that melt in your hand, before they get to your mouth??}. Shortzmeister: double-?? is Olympics skatin equivalent of a quad jump. Be the first in your genre to go Olympic.

Thanx for the remote fun, Mr. Wentz.

Masked & AnonymoUUs


BarbieBarbie 12:47 PM  

@OISK: good point about light opera. I had forgotten.
@anon12:37, wouldn’t the definition of appropriation shift with puzzle constructor?

jberg 12:48 PM  

DNF. I couldn’t let go of “quaffed” instead of HAD A FEW, and never figured it out. I never saw “Breaking Bad,” so dALT seemed just fine to me. I finally gave up and came here.

I did love “Fear of Flying,” but love that song @Old Timer mentioned even more. I think it’s the only truly sad element in all of the G&S oeuvre.

Suzie Q 12:49 PM  

Oh good. Let's spoil our nice Saturday workout with a pointless back-and-forth about cultural appropriation.
Personally I'd rather talk about celery and peanut butter and remember what a fun puzzle we had today.
I just feel more like Tigger than Eeyore at the moment.
No one is going to spoil my cheerful mood. Nice try.

Unknown 12:50 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown 12:51 PM  

I know what it is. I am wondering how the clue is to be understood as a noun, because the answer clearly is.

Anonymous 12:53 PM  

@Barbie 12:47. Absolutely

RJ 1:00 PM  

I love reading what people liked/didn’t like and got right away or found confusing. There are times I have the same experience as Rex and others completely not the same – like today. I really appreciated the puzzle once I “finished” it – really a DNF, look up my answers to see if they are correct, then look up unknowns one at a time and see what else I can get from those. It’s rare Saturday that I finish on my own.

This puzzle was really difficult for me because there were so many answers I just didn’t know and could not infer, such as IAMAMERICA and CHANG. The SW corner killed me. Like Hartley70, my first two entries were DEODORANT (for Axe clue) and ANTSONALOG.

I loved the cluing for FOAL and OPTICS. ERICAJONG was required reading when I was in college and it just sounded like something she said…

Who says “I have an “MBADEGREE”? “I’m going to night school for my MBADEGREE”. I guess I don’t know enough people with MBAs.

GILL I. 1:00 PM  

@Mohair....Yeah. Definitely a Chic Book. But, ONE OF THE BEST at the time. She wrote, and very funnily, about what many "chics" were thinking. I think it was around that time that women were no long afraid to say vagina out loud! Maybe if you re-read again, you'd get the humor...Gloria Steinem never had it!
@Susie Q...Good one! Dear Lord....PLEEEEEZE. :-)

Z 1:10 PM  

@anon12:05 - I think you may have misread. “Culturally appropriate” does not equal “cultural appropriation.” Two very different discussions. My knowledge of light opera is far less than that of, say @OISK, and my knowledge of rap is probably roughly equal to his. My point was intended to be that bemoaning rap clues is roughly equal to bemoaning opera clues (both of which I’ve probably done at some point or other). They are equally fair or unfair. For me, and I think most solvers here, the questions on any pop cultural references are, “are the crossings fair?” and “is the amount of pop culture references reasonably few and diverse?”. Without looking closely I think today’s puzzle is fair on both counts. As for the “appropriation” question, I don’t think inclusive cluing counts as appropriation and I’m positive no one wants to watch us argue about it.

Unknown 1:14 PM  

SAMADAMS was the last non-obvious fill for me, perhaps because I was literally drinking one while I was solving.

James 1:19 PM  

XDIN is bad, period. This would have incurred REX's wrath 99% of the time. Not today?

Pam Fletcher 1:24 PM  


Geophany 1:31 PM  

I can see this being wonderful if you know the key proper names. Otherwise it turns into a slog, which is sad because there’s uncanny stuff in here!

Chris 2:02 PM  

Oof. After pretty much crushing yesterday, today got me. Started very strong in the NW and made my way around, but the middle sank me. Could not see FARMTEAM or SEALION and had shopOholic, hence what should have been an easy get for SAMADAMS wasn't.
Ah well, it wasn't so long ago that I didn't even try Saturdays.

TomAz 2:11 PM  

"Almost nothing on" worked for GSTRING for me. I mean as others have noted it doesn't quite literally work but with a few crosses it was inferable.

But the answer isn't GSTRING. It's GSTRINGS. I put in GSTRING and I had one box left. Huh. Certainly they can't mean the plural can they? esp because I had rTeS at 34D. Finally I decided there was no other option but GSTRINGS and that rTeS had to be wrong.

so yeah I don't see how you get the plural out of that. but ok.

Thanks to those of you who liked my little story. I really shouldn't post when I have a bottle of wine open!

Anoa Bob 2:32 PM  

OPTICS at 5D for "Public perception" threw me. I only know it in the physical science context and a couple of late-20th century dictionaries at hand list it only that way.

A web look, however, shows it has been used as an AMERICANism to mean just that, especially in commentary regarding public perception of political issues. So, yeah, the clue is legit.

It's how it is used that strikes me as, at best, misplaced precision, where a term from an exact science is appropriated for an area that is far more complex, complicated and subjective. At worst, it sounds pretentious, as in trying to amp up the gravitas of ones comments by using the sciencey "OPTICS" when "Public perception" is what one is really talking about, and would work just fine.

Another, better I think, option would be to reference OPTICS to its two-columns-over neighbor EYE STRAIN.

Anonymous 2:37 PM  

For a second there, I considered farm teats.

Mohair Sam 2:53 PM  

@Two Ponies - "Wild Swans" a long book, but well worth your time if you have any interest in what has happened in China over the last 100 years. Interestingly my former Red Guard friend makes the case that a powerful leader like Mao was probably necessary to break the back of the feudal structure and bring China into the 20th century.

@Gill I - Oh yes, Jong's book was funny - but meant for women, this guy just couldn't "get it". And yes @Nancy, that opening line was damned good. The chick book I did like from that era was "Looking for Mr. Goodbar", although the movie was awful.

Anonymous 2:53 PM  

@ Anon 2:37, We've seen the groan-inducing udders clued as milk dispensers, so why not? Not everyone is a sports fan.

Anonymous 3:01 PM  

@BarbieBarbie 11:33

Point taken, but opera also has spoken dialog. See Carmen, Der Freischutz, and others. Incidentally, items such as letters, poems, etc. found in opera are always spoken as in La Traviata.

Stanley Hudson 3:17 PM  

@oldtimer 12:17 PM, excellent point about idolatry, Micah, and the other OT books (or Hebrew Bible books if you prefer). Although Hosea’s marriage to the harlot GOMER, as commanded by Yahweh in order to symbolize idolatry, might put that book in a class by itself!

Nancy 3:18 PM  

@Z (1:10 p.m.) -- I'm pretty knowledgeable about G&S myself, but @OISK's superior expertise blows me away, too. And I'm embarrassed to admit that while "I Have a Song to Sing O" is one of my G&S all-time faves, I did not know it was from "Yeomen". My (very, very) Bad!

@jberg (12:48 p.m.) -- I love "Fear of Flying". And I also love "I Have a Song to Sing-O". In fact, I love both of them very, very much. I'm not quite sure why I or anyone else would be asked to choose between them :)

And, as far as the sadness of "I Have a Song to Sing-O" is concerned, @jberg, I would not for a moment dub it the saddest song in the G&S oeuvre. My nominee for that would be "Tit Willow." (@OISK: Wanna weigh in here? I trust you SO much on all things G&S!)

@Mohair (2:53)-- I was the second reader on "Looking for Mr. Goodbar" when it came into the Literary Guild. No one had heard of Judith Rossner at the time. I adored it and raved about it at the Friday Editorial Meeting. There was quite a bit of buzz, I would imagine, from the publisher, and there was probably no way the Guild was going to miss taking this book as an Alternate Selection even if I'd never been born. Still, I did play a role in helping make this book a bestseller. It was riveting -- the prose just leapt off the page. You missed your calling, @Mohair -- you should have been an editor at the Literary Guild. Even though you were oh-so-wrong about "Fear of Flying."

DigitalDan 4:24 PM  

G & S can be great, or can be pretty meh, especially as brass players are concerned. "Yeomen" is one of the better ones, though, musically and theatrically.

Malsdemare 4:35 PM  

Good stuff from the commentariat here today. Hand up for finding this puzzle absolutely great and really hard. It took me a long time to correct the mistakes that kept me from seeing the error of my ways: vote for XDIN (I totally ignored the past tense), Appetizers for ANTSONALOG, Moses for MICAH, threat for DANGER. Sheesh! I ultimatly threw in the towel, got help for BMX which opened up that corner, cheated in a couple other places and then got 'er done.

Thanks, @Nancy for the reminder of "Fear of Flying." It’s a cold, snowy day here, I'm ot thrilled with what I'm reading (Killers of the Flower Moon) and, amazingly, my library had two e-copies of Fear available. I loved it once upon a time and hope it’s just as good all these years later.

I can vouch for the talent possums have of avoiding danger. Malamute Rose just scored her fifth possum in a year, kindly bringing him onto our porch so he could, I can only assume, warm up. This one did not do the whole go-totally-stiff-glassy-eyed-mouth-agape dead-looking thing; he was warm and squishy when I picked him up and released him OUTSIDE the dog yard. Gone in five minutes. Last winter, we found possums all over the house, some playing dead, some on the move, one cosily curled up on the sofa where I presume he'd been ensconced by the Rose. I even watched one evening, having let the predator out and watching so we didn't get any more critters in the house, as Rose stood for a moment in the yard, did a little snap of her fingers “I'll just run in here for a quick pick-me-up” and emerge in five seconds with a possum limp in her mouth. Told to drop it, she did, and sauntered into the house. Malamutes are not for the squeamish.

I really liked this puzzle, GSTRING and all.

Joe Dipinto 4:40 PM  

I wouldn't call this puzzle easy, but I managed to finish it with no write-overs. I was in the chorus of my college production of "The Yeomen Of The Guard", so YEOMAN went in right away with relative certainty. Off of that, SENORITAS seemed likely, as well as MOUE, so that corner got filled in first.

Never heard of the peanut butter appetizer. Since I had the final G in place from DANGER, I really wanted the answer to be DISGUSTING.

Mohair Sam 5:13 PM  

@Malsdemare - "Killers of the Flower Moon" a terrific read. You'll never again wonder why Natives don't trust us. I'd also recommend "Empire of the Summer Moon" - a history of the Comanche tribe.

Aketi 6:30 PM  

@r.alohbunker, loved your alternative answer to 30d.

@Nancy and Gill I. I remember liking it but forgot about the psychoanalysts in ERICA JONG’s book. Don’t no how I ever ended up marrying one after reading that book, but my husband rarely does pay
@Nancy, wow. I’m always blown away by some of the books you got to read before the rest of us found them. I did like the book version of “Looking for Mr Goodbar” too.

@Malsdemere, great possum story. I didn’t know that dogs could treat possums the way cats treat mice. At least possums have the advantage over mice in that they can fool dogs, or at least your dog. There was one mouse that I thought my cats had spared because I watched them let it go. The next day, however, I discovered the poor little thing after they decapitated it.

@Mohair Sam, you’ve added to my must read list.

Joe Bleaux 7:01 PM  

Please don't apologize. Pedantry is perhaps the only public service whose provider is routinely resented and slandered (or worse).

Malsdemare 7:09 PM  

@Mohair. I'm not abandonning the book. But it opens with murders, and my heart's pretty heavy as it is. What I really need is something hysterically funny, maybe "I am America"? Where's Nora Ephron when you need her?

Malsdemare 7:18 PM  

@aketi I think possums taste bad. I have a friend who sends me possum recipes every time I tell him about Rosie's latest acquisition, but we're not fooled; the recipes sound god-awful. And I don't know any dogs that eat possum. The trick is they don't fight back. Raccoons are routinely killed — it’s self-defense. But critters that just lie there? No fun at all. Now, squirrels . . .

Mohair Sam 9:37 PM  

@Mals - Gary Paulsen's "Winterdance" will crack up any dog lover.

Larry Gilstrap 10:03 PM  

A late afternoon solve today and it might be my favorite time to tackle a tough little Saturday puzzle. As a result, timing is not conducive to commenting on this blog, which I do read everyday.

Thanks to you who have added a new appreciation for the word: zipless. Feel free to speak. As to the G-STRINGS and YEOMAN controversies, Live from New York, it's Saturday Puzzle.

Malsdemare 10:04 PM  

Oh, lordie, @Mohair, you are so right. But I lent it to my grandson. I'll just have to giggle to myself over some of those bits. Him getting dragged through the yard with matches in his pocket lighting up is a good start!

semioticus (shelbyl) 10:59 PM  

I was in love with the previous Wentz puzzle, so I had really high expectations. And sadly, they were not met, but that's on me.

First of all, Wentz's clues are really amazing. They are not obscurely tricky, they are pleasantly tricky (well, mostly). That never fails.

What I didn't like about this one was the fill (that NW corner and the NE region in general did not jibe with me). The lack of memorable theme/long answers also didn't help its case.

Again, a definitely good effort, but not brilliant or anything like that.

GRADE: B+, 3.7 stars.

Amelia 11:05 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Z 11:43 PM  

@Amelia - From Rex’s FAQ page:
4. "Why did you rate Monday's puzzle 'Challenging' and Saturday's puzzle 'Easy' — I solved Monday's puzzle much more quickly blah blah blah" (and variants)

I rate puzzles according to RELATIVE difficulty: that is, I rate their difficulty relative to the typical difficulty for That Day Of The Week. This baffles people so much that I may stop doing it.

Phil 12:16 AM  

SAMUELADAMS not sam adams

In these tough puzzles I try to watch for the clueing. i may have not gotten it anyway but i had no chance when the clue was not described as a shortened or casual spelling of the real answer.
DNF nav sat or geo sat. Never caught the com sat. Orbiting about. HAD A nip had me clawing for one. Thank god i remembered WALT from the __LT staring at me so I HAD A FEW.

I watched Breaking bad on and off and finally just binged on it after it was over. I just binged on Sopranos not too long ago never having watched an episode.

Anonymous 2:04 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lech Walensa 9:15 PM  

"Pierogi" or "Pierogis"?

Yer damned if ya do and yer damned if ya don't. Zut alors.

kitshef 11:53 PM  

Quite hard for me. Took forever to find anywhere to start working. VEGA turned out to be the key. Great, great puzzle.

spacecraft 11:09 AM  

Great stuff, you say. You obviously worked the NW across only, and never noticed the absolutely horrid XDIN. From that moment I was predisposed to throw in, but I persevered, getting the NW and the SE. No clue about the SW, though; with the -AMS ending I tried Seagrams, to no avail. Nothing else surfaced there. Also in the NE, I could not get beyond *some kind of* LINE on the chute, and then I saw a reference to Breaking Bad, and that did it. I lost a kid to drugs, so any plot line that makes a drug dealer out to be the hero is unacceptable to me. If you want me to finish a puzzle, then keep BB out of it. DNF.

rondo 12:34 PM  

Finished, but not without challenges. Like others had cEAseS before DEATHS and TRiFOld before TREFOIL, and the latter gave me a fan dancER for a while. Fixed 'em all and finished in about 35 minutes. Did not like XDIN.

Hey, I use Axe deodorant and BODYSPRAY, it's not just for kids anymore. Miss the Vice scent.

Pretty sure the STATICLINE is the one they're all connected to and automatically pulls the ripcords when the jump out one after another. You've seen it in the movies.

As long as she's all spelled out here's a yeah baby for ERICAJONG.

This puz was pretty good, perhaps not THEBEST.

Burma Shave 1:06 PM  


MAMA, they GOTME into DANGERous things.
CRIPES, I HADAFEW this PAST recital,
THEBEST of whom lost their GSTRINGS.


JimmyBgood 5:27 PM  

I agree with you on the ants on a log answer. My first thought was: that's disgusting! And disgusting fits!! I almost wrote that in.

leftcoastTAM 5:42 PM  

Rex says Easy-medium again? CRIPES! (Mildest of exclamations I might have used.)

This was tough but ultimately gettable--though not in my case. Needed a couple of cheats to "finish" with a did-not-finish.

Too many clues/answers seemed too oblique, slightly off, or dissonant.

Among THE BEST answers were GSTRING and HADAFEW; among the worst were the NW's XDIN/BMX/BODYSPRAY cluster ("Axe" made no sense to me at all).

Once (maybe here in the PAST) heard of ANTSONALOG but couldn't summon it up, and wanted IAMACAMERA instead of its near-anagram, IAMAMERICA.

Clever but not much fun.

Lisa H. 12:18 PM  

It's something healthy a parents makes for a healthy snack for kids. Hence the cutesy name

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