Avian epithet fo Napoleon II / SAT 3-24-18 / Rhyming nickname for wrestling Hall of Famer Okerlund / Oper historic concert hall in Frankfurt Germany / Oldl Tv show set on Pacific Princess / Sitcom mother portrayer 1987-97 different show 2002-05

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Constructor: Byron Walden

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (except SW corner, which was kind of harrowing)

THEME: none

Word of the Day: Ferdinand de LESSEPS (37D: Ferdinand de ___, developer of the Suez Canal) —
Ferdinand Marie, Vicomte de Lesseps GCSI (French: [də lesɛps]; 19 November 1805 – 7 December 1894) was a French diplomat and later developer of the Suez Canal, which in 1869 joined the Mediterranean and Red Seas, substantially reducing sailing distances and times between Europe and East Asia.
He attempted to repeat this success with an effort to build a Panama Canal at sea level during the 1880s, but the project was devastated by epidemics of malaria and yellow fever in the area, as well as beset by financial problems, and the planned de Lesseps Panama Canal was never completed. Eventually, the project was bought out by the United States, which solved the medical problems and changed the design to a non-sea level canal with locks. It was completed in 1914. (wikipedia)
• • •

Usually love Byron puzzles, but this one was a little wobbly, a little too full of stuff that seemed odd, indulgent, and just not interesting to me. EPICISTS? GOPER? The NW corner didn't do much to endear me to this one. I have read Homer. I have taught Homer. I was reading the beginning of the Odyssey just this morning. Literally never heard anyone ever refer to him as an EPICIST. It is barely a word—this kind of esoterica makes me make faces when I solve. GOPER is slightly better, but not much. I guess people say that. Dunno. CLEVER DICK does nothing for me. I have never heard it and likely never will again. British slang that hasn't crossed over in any way? Shrug, not into it. MOTTLERS? Again, a specialty thing outside my ken. Then there's ALTE Oper (??), SIR SPEEDY (??), and LESSEPS (???), none of which I have ever seen before. So mainly the issue was that I just didn't know a lot of stuff. Lots of trivia. Trivia is not what I love about crosswords. There is some other good stuff in here, both answer- and clue-wise, but overall, this one didn't delight as much as I expected it would, other than the fact that it's always at least a little delightful to take a Saturday down in under 8 minutes.

I was so proud of myself that I got ALERT first thing (though I did have to think about it for a few seconds). TRADES RETILES EVITA and off we go. First real test came when I plunked down SLEIGHS at 11D: Haulers on runners (SLEDGES). I don't really know what SLEDGES are. I think they're like SLEIGHS. Hang on ... well, yeah, it's just a sled, and a sleigh is sled drawn by horses (or reindeer, I guess). Anyway, brief moment of chaos there while that answer sorted itself out. The only real Real resistance I got from this one came in the SW, where ALTE / SIR SPEEDY / LESSEPS / GMOS had me frozen. Oh, and ANGLOS for 39D: Whites didn't come easily either. Everything but LESSEPS had inferrable letters, though, which saved me, ultimately. KATEY SAGAL and CASSIS got me traction in the SE, and after a MAB-for-MUM mistake (34A: Queen ___), I was able to muddle my way through MOTTLERS and on to the end of the puzzle.


I feel bad for Napoleon II, as EAGLET does not exactly convey ... power (23A: Avian epithet for Napoleon II, with "the"). Maybe he was just Adorable and never grew taller than 4'2"? Wouldn't you say "HEY, Y'ALL" before "HI, Y'ALL"? I'm way out of my depth with southernisms, but something about "HI, Y'ALL" feels weird. I loved MEAN GENE even though I have no idea who the "wrestling Hall-of-Famer" (really?) Okerlund is. I just like rhyming nicknames. Like Mean Joe Green. The Round Mound of Rebound. Hakeem the Dream. Etc.

Best of luck to everyone at the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament this weekend. Also, love and respect to all the kids (including my own daughter) who are participating in the #MarchForOurLives in D.C. and all over the country today.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Mark 12:13 AM  

Tricky to put Queen "Mab" up top of the mini, and then tempt us to repeat it in the maxi

JOHN X 12:20 AM  

The SE corner of this puzzle KILLED me. I had a DNF and I never would have solved it.

You know who else had the slogan "Use it or lose it"? Jack LALANNE. That answer, which I was sure of, doomed me. I had KATEYSAGAL right, I started filling in all sorts of crap down there. I finally gave up and looked at XwordInfo and couldn't believe how badly off I was.

Moly Shu 12:28 AM  

Yep, Mab got me too, but I sorted it out. Got happy pencil but couldn’t parse GOPER for the longest time. Just stared and reread the clue and stared some more. Then GOP-ER. A DOOK in my book. Nobody has ever called me CLEVER, but a lot of people have called me a DICK. Whatever, I probably deserved it.

puzzlehoarder 12:34 AM  

My gut feeling is this is one of those puzzles that I found challenging that everyone is going to wax on about how easy it was for them. All that white space seemed to produce some kind of mental snow blindness. Doing this on a phone didn't help. I did get the congrats upon putting in the last letter but at just over an hour it was a Pyrrhic victory. I blame the tiny clue print on my phone screen for misreading the 28A clue as "Echo producer." I kept picturing this high tech cylindrical thing. I had no idea who makes it but it sure as hell wasn't some faucet company.

I could bore you to tears about how many things had to be virtually forced on me to finish but eventually they were.

I will say the bracket/SEEDS is timely. How about that Loyola team?

JJ 12:40 AM  

Literally finished on 3D by substituting consonants. I still didn't know what a GOPER was, and then the light bulb went on. I really liked ONEPUTTED..As for time, I probably spent 8 minutes staring at GOPER and EPICIST

Cliff 1:00 AM  
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Cliff 1:02 AM  

ery rough for me - 51 minutes vs 34 ave.
I too played alphabet for GOPER. Had SENTENCING for 19A, wanted NOSESERUM for 25A, got CLEVER but (ahem) could not get the DICK. Didn’t know LESSUPS and thought the English course should be XXXXLIT.
Am just now understanding how ROTARY is Pre-cell (I wanted a biology answer).
SE was total slog, although I was happy to figure out RENO from just the E and “Aces” context. The rest of that corner took a lot of embarrassing alphabet game stuff like some kind of barbarian. Ugh.

jae 1:15 AM  

Mostly on the easy side for me too, except I had to stare at the GOPER / EPICISTS for more than a few (@M&A) nanoseconds before the P hit me. Kind of agree with @Rex on this one....I mean GOPER...

Dolgo 1:59 AM  

Well, I guess I thought most people had heard of de LESSEPS. What do they teach in school these days? I guess most people are watching sitcoms on TV, since most everyone knew KATEY SAGAL.

I think I would have done better if I remembered how many bad puns are used on Saturdays (HI Y'ALL, CHINA SHOP, GOP-ER, etc.). I must admit that I had to Natick more than usual, though I did know ALTE Oper.

Anonymous 2:20 AM  

GOPER is slightly better than NFLer and its sports ilk. Is ONE-PUTTing a thing? I was surprised to beat my average as it felt as if DOMINo, Mab, and kASSIS were really holding me up. Did not know SIR SPEEDY. Fond memories of BlackADDER.

John Hoffman 2:27 AM  

I remember the good old days when Rex asked: “Do they sell Fen-PHEN in Phnom Penh?”

John Hoffman 2:38 AM  

For Hawaii coffee place, I had BIGISLAND instead of KONACOAST.

Carola 3:03 AM  

I really enjoyed solving this one - for me it amounted to a nice mix of what I happened to know (LESSEPS), what I remembered from previous crosswords (KATEY SAGAL), what I saw coming without any crosses (DELTA), and what I was able to work out without having much of an idea (most of the SE - where my successive Queens were bee, bey misspelled ann, Mab, and MUM). I especially liked CHINA SHOP and the nod to the TRADES that steadily blow across the KONA COAST.

Harryp 3:50 AM  

I was able to suss out every section but the Southeast. Had KATEY but not SAGAL, KONA but not COAST, DRAGNET, SIETE and SEEDS. I finally gave in and googled the AAA teams home of RENO, and finished up but DNF. Tough, but good Saturday fare.

Ben 7:14 AM  

I can never remember how Katey Sagal spells her name and always want an e in there somewhere. She's fantastic on Sons of Anarchy (the second referenced show), if anyone is looking for a show to binge.

mathgent 7:25 AM  

Awesome! Twenty-five red plus signs in the margins, nearly a record number. And only four Terrible Threes.

I guessed EPICIST after getting RECIDIVISM. But it took a lot of staring. What a strange word! "What do you do?" "I'm an epicist." "A what?" "I write epics."

GOPER also seems bogus. A journalist is writing a political article and has used the word "Republican" too many times. So he or she makes up a synonym.

The EPICIST/GOPER cross took a lot of joy out of the experience, but it was still wonderful.

Riley Cooper 7:41 AM  

LOL to Anonymous: “Is ONE-PUTTing a thing?” I know, right? I certainly have never done it! Loved the puzzle as it had the right degree of difficulty for a Saturday, IMHO. Wanting BRITLIT instead of LITCRIT was my own fault. Whatever, I teach math. Speaking of which, ADDER could have been clued as “Summer?”, but at least I learned something about snakes in England.

Robso 7:54 AM  
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Two Ponies 7:57 AM  

Loved the bull in the china shop.
Mobile greeting was pretty funny. Oh, THAT Mobile.
I wonder what the story is with Aden. Just goes to show how little I know about the bible. Cain and Abel were buried in a city? Were there enough people to build a city? Like I said, most bible trivia I know I learned in crosswords.
Byron Walden puzzles are always tough for me.

Glimmerglass 8:10 AM  

I can remember a time when all GOPers were not Mr. or Mrs. Right. Nelson Rockefeller, Ed Brooke, Lowell Weiker, Joe Lieberman, Jacob Javits, and many more. You wouldn’t call a “moderate Republican” Mr. Right. This is a sad commentary on what the Tea Party has done to the GOP.

Birchbark 8:16 AM  

In northern timber country in the 1800s, they stacked huge tree trunks onto SLEDGES in wintertime. Work horses pulled the sledge over an ice track down to a stream or river. Then, when the snow melted, the timber floated downriver to a saw mill. On the St. Croix River, there were sawmills in St. Croix Falls, Marine Mills (now Marine on St. Croix), and Stillwater. Great old photos of men and horses dwarfed by the timber on the sledges.

LOVE BOAT next to EPICISTS: I finished Virgil's Georgics last night (not an epic, but Virgil = EPICIST). Then watched Aqua Teen Hunger Force followed by two episodes of American Dad on Hulu.

Teedmn 8:17 AM  

Woohoo, got it today. Some great clues: Mr. or Mrs. Right for GOPER, ROTARY for Pre-cell? I feel like a CLEVER DICK, in any case. Some of this went fairly smoothly for me but I was almost UNSEATED in the SE when I wanted Queen Mab at 34A (and I hadn't seen the mini) and couldn't think past that.

Nice Saturday, Byron, thanks.

solrlobot 8:18 AM  

LOL, if indeed everyone was watching enough horrible TV, they would have known that one of the Real Housewives of NY was once married to de LESSEPS’ descendant & still bills herself as the Countess de Lesseps

Z 8:25 AM  

Ha! I got you all beat, my queens were ann, Mab, MUM.

I’m with Rex on the whole “never heard of it and never will again” thing. At least CLEVER DICK seems like a handy term. MOTTLERS? SIR SPEEDY? SLEDGES? EPICISTS? Nope, just not part of my world and unlikely to ever be a part of it.

Anyone else find the SW a little grim? ADDERS, NOOSES, GMOS. Let’s pick the way we want to die (tbf - GMOS don’t bother me, but there is a lot of panic out there about them). Plus, when your buddy claims to have ONE-PUTTED while you were distracted everyone’s reaction is that their buddy LIVES A LIE. Grim.

Hand up for not even bothering with the vowels in SAGAL. I wait for the crosses.

Clean up from late yesterday:
Someone asked what we mean by crunchy. For me it is two fold. Letters besides the automatic ones they give the winner in Wheel of Fortune and answers that make you rethink the clue. So, EMPTY EYES isn’t crunchy for me because it is just straight trivia, while HI Y’ALL has a little crunch because there’s the “oh! That Mobile” moment.

@Joe DiPinto and @kitshef - I think rhymes are perfect for xwords exactly because they are iffy. So what you see as a fault I see as a feature. Also, @Joe DiPinto - I don’t know that the vowel shift is due to “anglicization.” Spanish is just as varied in its dialects as English and it wouldn’t surprise me if it is just that. I feel about “correct pronunciation” about the same way as I do about grammar, one needs to know it for various settings but understanding is more important than any arbitrary “standard of correctness.”

beth 8:28 AM  

Hi Ya’ll is definitely more common. We even named our sailboat that!

Vincent Lima 9:04 AM  

@Glimmerglass Lieberman was a Democrat, at least in name, and the party's vice presidential nominee.

TomAz 9:05 AM  

This puzzle lost me at GOPER and got worse after that for the reasons Rex has laid out. I had E_ICISTS and ran the alphabet (still not believing GOPER was a thing) and just sat there. LESSEPS also bad for reasons of obscurity, but at least he actually did something once. Never heard of KATEY SAGAL but upon googling her pic I see she is a familiar face on a once-popular show so I suppose that's valid. All in all not only was this not in my wheelhouse, it was not in the same part of the country as my wheelhouse.

But rather than carp I will join Rex in saluting the March for Our Lives kids today, which my daughter is also participating in here in Phoenix. It makes me proud. Here's hoping this sticks around, gains momentum, and has a lasting influence.

jberg 9:09 AM  

SE was very tough. Thank God for SIETE, or I’d still be flailing around. OTOH, I somehow remembered de LESSEPS, which helped a lot.

I guess one way to make a puzzle hard is to put in words that don’t really exist, but are Incera le. Like EPICIST & GOPER.

The concept behind 19A is weird— I guess a life sentence does cure RECIDIVISM, but that’s not really the purpose.

Cleaves is one of those lovely words that has opposite meanings. “I’m in love with my meat cleaver, I’ll cleave to it always.”

Vincent Lima 9:09 AM  

A very British puzzle. I saw Queen XXX, I thought QUEEN MUM. Then I thought, no way, not after the British ADDER, the British TRIES ON, and the British CLEVER DICK.

By the way, Wears a Wig fits LIVES A LIE....

jberg 9:10 AM  

Nice boat name, @beth.

Mr. Cheese 9:16 AM  

Didn’t get GOPER until I came here. Had Queen BEE which held me up for a long time.

It’s easy to OnePutt for a double bogey.

kitshef 9:16 AM  
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kitshef 9:17 AM  

Never heard of GOPER, and I hate it, but the Google machine says it’s OK.

Absolutely love KATEY SAGAL, unspellable name be damned. To me she will always be Leela on Futurama first.

Only three writeovers today; SLEiGhS before SLEDGES, Albumi before ANGLOS and reEPoTTED before ONEPUTTED.

Oh! I’m just now understanding HI Y’ALL. I got it from crosses and thought it was some kind of App.

Anonymous 9:19 AM  

@Z - while there are plenty of dialectic variations in Spanish, within any given dialect, it’s my understanding that there is much more vowel standardization. I think it may even be quite true to say that an E is never going to rhyme with an A in Spanish. I suspect that anglicization is afoot in the case of TELENOVELA. Of course, I only play a linguist on TV!

I do wholeheartedly agree that iffi-ness is a large part of wordplay and therefore inherent to crosswords.

BarbieBarbie 9:20 AM  

@Z, I have fun imagining the “as long as we understand it, it’s fine” grammar hipsters grabbing their phones when the IRS, credit bureaus, etc call with ominous news, while the Fans of Fourth Grade Teachers don’t pick up because a genuine US-based organization would get their prepositions and articles right. Pedants win! Grammar is also a great way to detect region of origin on selling sites like Amazon. It is definitely a useful tool.

I found this one difficult, mainly in the SE, where my special brushes were BATIKERS. And yes I am quite ready to agree that’s not a thing. Wow, I’m glad I didn’t think of LALANNE; I was trying to come up with a shoe brand and could easily have gone that way. The four-letter farm-team location had me too: Cuba? Mesa?.... for longer than it should have.

DNF in the end because I had to look up the MWCh actress. Very glad to find out she doesn’t spell her name Caitey.

DBlock 9:29 AM  

One more hand up for Mab plus was sure Cassis began with a K
Lost lots of time there
Thanks for explaining Goper

kitshef 9:32 AM  

Reading the comments, thankful I have never heard of Queen Mab, as that apparently messed up a lot of people.

@Ben - the two referenced shows are Married... with Children and 8 Simple Rules. Sons of Anarchy is much later and really, really not a sitcom.

Nancy 9:32 AM  

@Teedmn says she feels like a CLEVER DICK in solving this and all I can say is: And well you should! How ever did you? I was having so much fun and was so pleased with myself as I worked out all the trickery in the NW, SW and NE, and it never occurred to me that I would be completely flummoxed by the SE. But I didn't have a prayer of finishing. KONA what? asked I. (Hawaii didn't fit.) KATEY who? I wondered. (I don't watch sitcoms.) Who? Gene, I queried. And, to louse everything up completely, I had LALAINE instead of ROGAINE for the "use it or lose it advertiser". I also had Queen BEE instead of MUM, but was toying with ANN as well. Never thought of MUM. With BEE up there, I wanted either EVICTED or EJECTED at 35D, but neither fit. So I never saw UNSEATED. And MOTTLERS???? What on earth are they?

Still, even though it whupped me, I loved this lively and engrossing puzzle.

Anonymous 9:33 AM  

I love kids as much as the next guy but mental health is the real issue. Go march about that.

QuasiMojo 9:43 AM  

I almost wrote EPIC FAIL in the Homer space because I had a helluva time doing this puzzle. Easy for Rex at 8 minutes? lol. It took me nearly 40 to do it but eventually I won out, and pat on shoulder, no cheating. I love EPICISTS. So there.

I'm with @DOLGO.

My biggest hurdle was putting in CALLE OCHO for the word before ocho, and then when that didn't work putting SETTE (which is Italian for seven, a language I know a lot better than Spanish from having studied Opera.) But gradually I saw the light.

De LESSEPS was a gimme (knowing a bit about AIDA's debut for the opening of the Suez Canal...) but I still put in LESSELS first. That held me up un moment.

Napoleon II, @Rex, never ruled as Emperor and died of tuberculosis at a young age so I think the nickname EAGLET is not only fair but kind of sweet. Hardly an insult.

I also typed in Queen BEE first and then EXPELLED coming down. I guess I was remembering Joan Crawford in one of her worst films and my own expulsion once from a class. Not LIT CRIT, however. I ACE'd that.

HEY Y'ALL, good luck to "all y'all" up there at the tournament! I wish I could have been there this year but considering my performance on this puzzle today, I'm probably better off doing Word Searches while sitting at the beach and enjoying the gorgeous weather.

'merican in Paris 9:52 AM  

No, Anonymouse @ 09:33, mental health is NOT the real issue, or at least not the main one. The kids are (all) right.

But to the puzzle. This one took us a long time. I completed most of it, but got stuck in the SW and SE. Mrs. 'mericans sussed out ONE PUTTED (I was thinking green = environmental), and ROGAINE, but we did not get the happy puzzle, and had to click on "check puzzle", which showed two mistakes in 36D. I've purchased many kinds of paint brushes, but mostly in France, and have never heard of MOTTLER.

Like @Rex, I cringed at GOPER and EPICISTS, but liked most of the rest of the puzzle. KONA COAST was a gimme (hey, @chefwen!).

Not much else to say. We get the Sunday puzzle a day early, in the weekend edition of the International New York Times, and my prediction is that @Rex is not going to like it.

Unknown 10:00 AM  

Umm mum?

kitshef 10:08 AM  

DOOVER was a nice DOOK.

If Dr. Ugo becomes famous enough that would be a great crossword name and potential DOOK (note: this comment will make a lot less sense once the moderators take down the spellcaster post).

DR UGO 10:17 AM  


Anonymous 10:19 AM  

The Right's pivoting on the gun issue is tiresome. Yes, mental health is a factor in a small percentage of these shootings but, it is a small percentage according to every expert that has studied them except for Donald Trump. The problems are that Trump has not studied the issue and isn't an expert on it. The U.S. has right around the same percentage of mental illness as Europe but many times the amount of overall gun violence and mass shootings.

Having seen the violence first-hand, the kids marching today grasp that it is time to demand something other than prayers and sympathy from politicians. There is no reason not to ban gun stocks and assault weapons because they have no purposes other than illegal violence. Likewise, there needs to be stronger background checks and tighter regulations of sales at gun shows.

No one is trying to take away a citizen's right to hunt or defend themselves. But, the amount of violence we are experiencing as a society should tell us that sympathy, prayers and planning for new mental facilities many years down the road just is not going to cut it.

Oh yes. It might help if the NRA mandated law that the CDC is not permitted to do research on the causes of gun violence in the U.S. be repealed and, at the same time, that Trump reverse his decision to cut the budget of the CDC by 20% or $1.4 billion.

GILL I. 10:25 AM  

Uh oh...Spell caster alert....
This was like a long race. Starting with a feel of euphoria and finishing exhausted.
I see Byron's name and I panic. Starting with LOVE BOAT followed by EVITA EMPTY EYES, I let out a little whoop. Little by little my ego went pfffft. RECIDIVISM was smile inducing and reminded me of all the judges here in California hating that law. What to do with the threepeater petty thief? Came to CLEVER DICK and asked Scouser husband if he knew that word. He said he's heard it but has never used it once - not ever - not even when he was drunk. He uses DICK HEAD.
GOPER...oh dear lord. Really? Add and H and then we'll talk turkey.
Finally got passed the middle section. YES INDEEDY I did but really wanted "youbetchyerbippy."
@Vincent L. Loved your "wears a wig."
Came to a halt in the SE. Had to Google RENO to get started. Didn't help one bit. I was an art major and never hear of MOTTLERS. Then again I don't do spots and blotches.
SIETE was all I had for an eternity. MUM finally came to the rescue as did UNSEATED and it by bit I got her done.
Exhausted....I finally looked at the finished product. I let out a few UGHS and MEHS. GOPER HEMI MOTTLERS EPICESTS were to blame. The OOHS got the EMPTY EYES DOOVER CASSIS HIYALL.
2 favorite clues. 31A Pre-cell? and To fix this you need to get cracking......
Does ADDER need a puff?

Mohair Sam 10:29 AM  

@Riley Cooper - The secret to having ONEPUTTED is to take a mulligan (see 41D) from the fairway and get closer to the hole. Source: Bill Clinton.

We were brutalized in the SE (did the @Nancy thing and worked with "bee" for the queen for far too long) but were saved by KATEYSAGAL finally coming to mind and opening up good old MEANGENE. On the other hand, @Rex's hated SW was cake for us because DOMINI and DOOVER were gimmes - different strokes I guess. Those of us who worked for years in a home office know SIR SPEEDY. I worked on the other definition of "cleaves" for a while, kind of a "sanction" type of word, isn't it?

Great clues for CHINASHOP and ONEPUTTED.

Our first two sons were pro wrestling fanatics as little kids so I got to see plenty of MEAN GENE - he was the TV announcer/interviewer for a couple of wrestling organizations. Who can forget the Macho Man Randy Savage, Rowdy Roddy Piper, Andre the Giant, and The Lovely Elizabeth (for whose love they battled)? Probably you.

RooMonster 10:38 AM  

HI YALL ! (:-D)
My trouble spot was same as Rex's, SW. Although that SE was a touch tricky. But I knew MEAN GENE right off, from watching too much WWF as a kid. So that helped there big time. Knew SIETE and RENO, so then was able to get everything else from those.

That SW though. Had ghOStS for a long time, and not knowing GMOS (although they faintly come to mind), plus WOEs SKATE and ALTE, I was flailing about like a flounder out of water. Finally saw SIR SPEEDY (are they still in business?) and ONE PUTTED (was thinking grass, paint, even dye) and was able to change my ghOStS to NOOSES, and it all fell.

So a 100℅ correct, no cheat fill today! And yesterday! That's unheard of for me on a FriPuz and SatPuz. So this must've ban Easy weekend! I'm sure no CLEVER DICK. NOT ME.

I think the plural of DOOK is DOOVER. :-)
With the 3's here, you can have a sentence asking you mother about aliens. SUP MUM. ANY ETS?


Sir Hillary 10:41 AM  

What a blast! Who cares if things like CLEVERDICK, MOTTLERS and LESSEPS are unfamiliar — that’s half the fun!

Some awesome entries — LITCRIT, ONEPUTTED, LIVESALIE, YESINDEEDY, to name a few — which more than compensate for junk like AHERO. Any puzzle with MEANGENE Okerlund is an all-timer — that guy was a mainstay on my frat house TV in the 80s.

And the cluing was the most whimsical I’ve seen in ages. “Mobile greeting” — genius!

Best Saturday of 2018 so far.

Azzurro 10:50 AM  

I knew CLEVER CLOGS from my kids watching Peppe Pig and tried forever to make that fit. This one was tough.

AW 10:52 AM  

Can someone kindly explain how a rotary is a "pre-cell"? Thanks.

Trombone Tom 10:55 AM  

I could have used DR. UGO's help. Instead I crashed and burned. Had to Google to get ROGAINE and MEAN GENE. My queens went from bee to Mab to MUM.

And while I ran the alphabet to come up with the GOPER/EPICISTS answers I couldn't understand the former until I came here.

I agree with others that the Mobile clue was primo (and crunchy!). Byron Walden's puz was great and it whipped me.

TomAz 11:00 AM  

Other western democracies have equal or higher rates of mental illness but virtually no gun violence because they don't have guns. The strained, twisted, evil reasoning the NRA and their lackeys go through to defend this abomination would be comical if the results were not so deadly.

Warren Pease 11:06 AM  

There are a lot of ways to clue Mum and Queen should've been at the bottom of the list. Try "What president pays showgirls to keep."

The ! after ...get cracking is a misdirecting, not in a sly, entertaining way, just a purposely misdirecting way. It would've been a great clue w/out the !

Other than all that, a lot to love. Reading War and Peace and just learned about Napoleon conquest of Italy so going to wiki to check out II, cool!

BTW, if you download W&P onto kindle, the Pevear translation is awesome, the French is still in French so you get the feel for how the aristocracy used it BUT click the footnote and the translation is there.

And there's this, you can keep track of the zillions of characters, some with multiple knick knames (haha) through a function that brings up other pages the character is mentioned on.

War and Peace for dummies!

Wm. C. 11:15 AM  

@AW10:52 --

A rotary phone of old had a rotary dial on the base, and the earphone/mouthpiece unit was attached to the base with a cord, and the base to plugs pre-wired into the walls. This was a land-line, since connection to the local switchboard was via a hard-wired cable set. (BTW, even preceding rotaries, calls were routed by local switchboard operators who asked the subscriber: "Number, Please.")

This greatly pre-dated cell phones, which of course have no direct land-line connection, but rather broadcast radio signals to cell towers, which have computer equipment to facilitate routing.

Boy, am I old! ;-)

burtonkd 11:15 AM  

MOTTLERS a great Saturday clue. I know about a mottled texture and eventually came around to the name for the brush.
@Birchbark...saw a pic like that in Quebec. Was surprised not only about the size of trees, but the thinness of the humans in the picture - definitely not the era of fast food.
@Z thanks for discussion of your PPP scale. On the other issue, hands up for Tele-Novella rhyming with a schwa being fair. Totally gettable, plus got to think about something. Also agree that rhyme scheme depends on Anglicization. As someone pointed out, E and A unlikely to rhyme in Spanish pronunciation.
Never would have gone back to figure out GOPER without this blog, so thanks.
Hands up for BIGISLAND

Anonymous 11:20 AM  

I can assure you,y"Hi Y'all" is right on the money.

Natick Runner 11:25 AM  

Think phones.

Unknown 11:33 AM  

@AW: in the PRE-CELL (-phone era) there were ROTARY phones. (There were also push-button phones, however. IDK.)

TubaDon 11:45 AM  

Sort of agree with Rex on this one. Went through the top ok after I convinced myself that EPICIST was a word, but GOPER joins ALER and NLER as "words" I wish would never appear in a crossword again. Came to a screeching halt in the SW after I guessed ROGAINE and RENO and mistakenly put BEE at 34A. Since I neither paint nor drink coffee or current liqueur, I had to get a hint from the better half to finish this section.

Harryp 11:45 AM  

@anonymous 9:33, Maybe Cain had mental health issues, but luckily he didn't have a rifle with a 30 round magazine capacity. Otherwise we all might not be here.

Anonymous 11:49 AM  

Goper? What the.... and I have a hard time with cleaves resulting in adhere

Anonymous 11:51 AM  

Crossing ANGLOS with NOOSES is just... horrifying.
At least it didn't also cross with HI YALL.

Laurie 12:00 PM  

I wanted clever clogs, but didn’t think clever clog would fly.

Bob Mills 12:05 PM  

The SE was too hard. I didn't understand it even after looking at the solution. "MOTTLERS?" "INNER" for monologues??????

'merican in Paris 12:06 PM  

@Harryp: Great comment!

By the way I counted up all the three-letter words in the tomorrow's Sunday puzzle: 10 in the Acrosses, and 21 (!) in the Downs, for a total of 31. That must be some kind of record.

Kimberly 12:43 PM  

Proud of your daughter... great introduction to the strength of her voice. Hope she has a thrilling, empowering experience.

mathgent 12:47 PM  

@Warren Pease (11:06): I agree with your criticism of the exclamation points. Cheap trick, out of place in this excellent work.

RooMonster 12:52 PM  

First, Spoiler Alert.
Second, I don't believe that would be a SunPuz record. I don't even think it'd be a 15x15 record. Maybe @Z would know?
Third, do you do the SunPuz on Sunday, or today?


Anonymous 1:02 PM  

“A man shall leave his mother, and cleave to his wife... “ did y’all think that meant something about hatchets?

Mohair Sam 1:06 PM  

@Harry P (11:45) - Awesome.

Anonymous 1:26 PM  

Please tell your daughter so many of us are so proud of them!

Norm 1:27 PM  

This was mostly an entertaining puzzle, but I think crossing the "unusual, to say the least" EPICISTS with the "does anyone really say that" GOP-ER was a foul blow, as was crossing the "if you don't know your TV actresses, you're screwed" KATEY SAGAL with the "no one knows this except art majors" MOTTLERS. Feel free to use them in the future, Byron, but give me a fighting chance. Two thumbs down. You wanna play hard ball; I'll play hard ball.

Birchbark 1:33 PM  

@burtonkd (11:15), right -- I have to figure the lumberjacks burned off the pancakes and bacon faster than they took it in.

Phil Schifley 1:34 PM  

Dr. Ugo Wonders turned my ex husband into a cat! He came back, but now he's more moody, tempremental and aloof then ever. Thanks Dr. Wonders, your patented 98 step process saved my marriage and drastically lowered my vet bill.

Also, nooses as was too cutely clued and I had wears a wig before lives a lie because I'm apparently clueless about how you change your identity. And rock on to all of the kids across the country who have planned March For Our Lives in their states. Their advocacy is inspiring! Guns are the problem and it's both sad and refreshing we need the youth to tell us this.

Paloma Vita 1:41 PM  

I am with you on some of the obscure stuff.. as for Napoleon II's nickname, it does sound better in French... L'Aiglon.

Banana Diaquiri 1:51 PM  

many times the amount of overall gun violence and mass shootings

what no one, that I've seen, has produced are accurate numbers: # of gun deaths and # of self-defense gun deaths. my guess is the latter is under 1% of the total. self-defense, yeah right.

Joe Bleaux 1:59 PM  

And spelled it like that? Where y'all from?

Joe Bleaux 2:03 PM  

Hear, hear!

'merican in Paris 2:21 PM  

@Roo Monster -- How is telling how many 3-letter answers there are in another puzzle giving anything away -- i.e., spoiling it? That is quite different from giving away an answer. You can look at the blank puzzle and notice all the 3-letter answers immediately.

Yes, we do the Sunday on paper, and that paper arrives Saturday morning. We usually do the Sunday puzzle on Saturday afternoon, after the Saturday one (which we now do on the iPad).

Joe Bleaux 2:27 PM  

"Curse you, Byron Walden!" Not really. I love his puzzles, but I say that a couple of times whenever he's setting me up for a DNF with the likes of that NW, where even running the alphabet turned on no bulbs for me. I read the blog, slapped my forehead like Homer (and others) and forgave him. So I won't get started on that SE. Yeah, best Saturday puzzle in I don't know when -- but damn, Byron!

Anonymous 2:32 PM  

Guns are not the problem. Mass shootings were very rare when I was young, and semi-auto rifles were common. What DIDN’T exist was social media and massive demographic and social change. The founding fathers were very wise to specifically include the right to own arms; certainly wiser than rhese children who are battling the wrong monster

Anonymous 2:40 PM  

Thank you for this logical and well-researched analysis.

Anonymous 2:42 PM  

Her voice, or herd voice?

Adam 2:47 PM  

Did anyone else enjoy the fact that SIR SPEEDY crossed YES INDEEDY? I'm with @Rex - all but the SW was relatively easy. I enjoyed it more than Rex, though, and nice to see RECIDIVISM in a puzzle (which I thought might be the answer but only put in after a couple crosses confirmed it).

Adam 2:48 PM  

Also, I was thinking QUEEN BEY or QUEEN BEE; MUM was one of the last things to fall.

Anonymous 2:52 PM  

In fact, several WE countries have a higher per capita rate of spree killing than the US. Your belief that you are right and gun owners are evil and twisted is unharlpful to a rational debate, and is exactly why gun owners own guns. The NRA, the oldest civil rights org in the country, is not the master, but the servant of its millions of members. Many more people are killed by knives than rifles, oncluding evil black assault rifles

Anonymous 2:57 PM  

Are there trivia too trivial to discuss in this discussion of trivia? Discuss!

Anonymous 3:03 PM  

Most shooters are on mind-altering drugs such as SSRIs, and I suspect this is the real cause of the non-terrorist shootings, along with social media. Neither existed in the 1960’s when I was growing up, and mass shootings were very rare, even though “assault” rifles were available. Also, massive demographic change certainly plays a factor.

Melrose 3:04 PM  

Tough one for me. Worked it through slowly but could not finish SE corner.

Anonymous 3:05 PM  

Motorcycle Mama

nyc_lo 3:09 PM  

GOPER? GOPER?? Oh, GOPer. SIR SPEEDY? Huh?? Whatever. CLEVERDICK and Queen MUM for the Times of London, maybe, but not the NYT. And I’m an artist and have never owned, used nor heard of a MOTTLER. Stipplers, yes. Mottlers, no. Easy-Medium this was not.

Z 3:20 PM  

Re: Spanish vowels - I still get hung up on “Anglicization.” It makes it seem like Henry VIII has played a role in a vowel shift when really it is just that over time and geographic separation vowels shift. I would guess that other Spanish words in other parts of the world have had their vowels shift without any Anglican influence. Shift Happens is all I’m saying.

@anon11:49 - Cleave is an auto-antonym, a word that is its own opposite (scroll down on the link definition to get the one you are thinking of). Auto-antonyms are great late week clues since the misdirection is inherent in the nature of the word.

@RooMonster - Not I, but others can probably look that up in the xword.com database.

@Banana Diaquiri - From most to least I think it is the owner, close relatives of the owner (especially if the owner has a history of domestic violence), then I think it’s roughly (very roughly) equal between law enforcement and criminals. Victims of mass shootings are actually a relatively small proportion, the comparison I’ve seen of gun deaths by suicide and mass shootings is like deaths from car accidents compared to plane crashes. Since the one class happens one at a time and widely distributed it doesn’t register on the collective psyche the way crashes and mass shootings register.

Anyway - At least the gun discussion has remained civil today. I thought I was going to see lots of deletions, but apparently only Dr. Ugo was deleted.

Anonymous 3:21 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Hungry Mother 3:23 PM  

SE corner was hopeless for me today. I stared at the area for quite a while, getting nowhere.

Disciple of Nanl 3:24 PM  

GOPER crossing LOVEBOAT made me think of GOPhER on that same ship!

Anonymous 3:25 PM  

Mental health obviously IS the issue, since only a psychopath would shoot innocent people. Please explain how this isn’t true

'merican in Paris 3:31 PM  

Anonymous at 2:52 PM writes: "Many more people are killed by knives than rifles" in the United States each year. That is true, and so what? Have a look at the statistics for 2016 yourselves. Here is the breakdown for that year:

Murders by knives: 1,604

Murders by guns: 11,004

Of that 11,004, the vast majority (7,105) were handguns. The next largest category is "firearms, type not stated" at 3,088. Rifles come in at 374.

Conclusion: the writer is cherry-picking. Who knows how many of the "firearms, type not stated" could have been rifles? But the larger point is that almost 7 times more Americans were murdered by guns than by knives.

mathgent 3:39 PM  

Today's LAT crossword is a winner. By Debbie Ellerin and Jeff Chen.

RooMonster 3:40 PM  

Har. You are correct, you know. I was just goofing around. Don't tase me bro! :-)

I looked up the most 3's in a puz. I couldn't find the most for a 15x15, but the top three 3's are: 8/24/08- a 23x23 Sunday (rebus) with 55, 12/25/11- a 23x23 Sunday with 54, 10/1/95- a 21x21 Sunday with 54. So there ya go!


Anonymous 3:50 PM  

Regarding anglicization, I live in Austin where the downtown streets are named, east to west, after major Texas rivers, as situated geographically roughly from north to south. (I'll admit "major Texas river" is arguably a contradiction in terms. Somethings are relative.) Until recently, new transplants from out of town would have to learn how each of these Spanish names had been anglicized. I suspect this is a common phenomenon in the Southwest. In Austin the ANGLOS (pardon the expression) traditionally have pronounced Guadalupe as Gwahd-a-loop, for example. Rio Grande was always pronounced with 3 not 4 syllables. Nowadays nods to a more correct, i.e., Spanish, pronunciation are increasingly encountered among English speakers--some might see here the influence of political correctness or other pretensions. Not surprisingly, of course, among the city's large Spanish-speaking (and bilingual) population, Spanish pronunciations have long been used with greater frequency. I was amused to learn about an exception one day from a Mexican-American buddy. As he put it, not even the "Mexicans" pronounce San Jacinto with an "h" sound.

Banana Diaquiri 4:04 PM  


well, another in a long line of NRA Big Lies.
"There are more public mass shootings in America than in any other country in the world."
"Our calculations based on OECD data from 2010 show that Americans are 51 times more likely to be killed by gunfire than people in the United Kingdom."

here: https://www.cnn.com/2017/10/03/americas/us-gun-statistics/index.html

and gun ownership isn't linear: "the total number of privately-owned firearms in the U.S. at 265 million, with more than half of that - 133 million - being concentrated in the hands of just 3% of Americans, called "super owners," who have an average of 17 guns each. "
here: http://bigthink.com/paul-ratner/a-minority-of-americans-owns-most-of-the-guns-and-drives-gun-agenda-studies-show

not surprising, in that most guns are owned by the ill-educated.

IOW, the tail is wagging the dog.

sanfranman59 4:08 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 1/2/2018 post for an explanation of my method. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio & percentage, the higher my solve time was relative to my norm for that day of the week. Your results may vary.

(Day, Solve time, 26-wk Median, Ratio, %, Rating)

Mon 4:42 4:14 1.11 79.7% Medium-Challenging
Tue 5:27 5:22 1.01 55.4% Medium
Wed 5:14 6:00 0.87 27.7% Easy-Medium
Thu 11:11 10:01 1.12 67.3% Medium-Challenging
Fri 21:13 11:42 1.81 98.6% Very Challenging
Sat 30:03 16:08 1.86 97.1% Very Challenging

Another one not on my wavelength. I know I'm in for a struggle when I see BW's name on the byline. What the heck is GOPER and how does it relate to the clue? I had lOvER in there for a while. Then, I held my breath when I submitted with GOPER because the crosses all seemed solid (though EPICISTS is not a word I use). I still don't get it now.

While I completed this, I had the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament on, so getting jammed up on SEEDS is pretty ironic. Other WTFs: ETS, SIR SPEEDY, LESSEPS, CLEVER DICK, MOTTLERS, MEAN GENE Okerlund.

It was just a typical Byron Walden slog. At least I can solve his puzzles most of the time now. That wasn't always the case.

How did Rex struggle with as much as he did and still solve it in under 8 minutes? I struggled with basically the same things and it took me a half-hour.

Stanley Hudson 4:16 PM  

@TomAz, h/t to your daughter and her peers.

Dolgo 4:18 PM  

GOP-ER passes my test since you can Google it. It does seem a bit of a stretch, though.

Dolgo 4:20 PM  

Never read Shakespeare or Shelley? Or just forgot.

Dolgo 4:22 PM  

Hey! Opera lover's solidarity, @Quas!

Thomas Gradgrind 4:26 PM  

I’m an award-winning social scientist, and can state with confidence that your data is incorrect sir (or madam as the case may be).

Thomas Gradgrind
Mount Holly, OH

Uncle Alvarez 4:28 PM  

The “I’m an award winning . . .” schtick is getting damn tiresome.

Dolgo 4:28 PM  

I remember someone posted out that the word itself is it's own antonym, though the ADHERE part is maybe a bit archaic. Just remember the Biblical idea that a man should "CLEAVE to his wife." Doesn't mean he should pursue her with a cleaver (sorry--I blame today's bad puns for that one!).

Dolgo 4:30 PM  

I was flummoxed for a moment. It's usually "interior" monologues.

Fountains of Golden Fluids 4:31 PM  

Uncle Alvarez wrote: The “I’m an award winning . . .” schtick is getting damn tiresome.

Does anyone remember laughter?

Dolgo 4:32 PM  

I should have waited yt read this before my reply above!

Jack the Lad 4:38 PM  

I couldn’t quote you no Dickens, Shelley, or Keats.

Joe Dipinto 4:43 PM  

Definitely challenging. This was one of those where when I first glanced at it, I thought, okay I know EVITA and SIETE right off the bat and...nothing else. I did get through it with no write-overs though, and enjoyed it quite a bit. Thankfully I didn't go with my first impulse to put in CURLY HAIR for the Little Orphan Annie clue.

The SW was probably the hardest area. I had ADDER, LIVES A LIE and DO OVER, and still had trouble figuring out the rest. I've never heard of SIR SPEEDY. And do NOOSES really hang around haunted houses?

Anyway, a satisfyingly solid Saturday submission from B. Walden.

OISK 5:25 PM  

Always pleased to conquer a Saturday after failing ( a motorcycle brand..) on Friday. Damned brand names! Sir speedy? Really? I was sure "whites" referred to egg whites, when albinos didn't fit. Knew Lesseps, but not how to spell it at first, and have caught many a skate while trying for fluke. Really a very fine Saturday puzzle.

I also get the Wall Street Journal. For a REALLY tough puzzle, try the "alternate" puzzle in the Saturday WSJ. I am able to solve them about half the time. Today, impossible. (for me).

Would it be fair to use the clue "Dum da dum dum" for Dragnet?

Michael 5:48 PM  

From some reason I knew about the Reno Aces even though I live about 1,500 miles from Reno. If I hadn't gotten that, I never would have finished the corner.

As another poster noted, there is no reason to think that the rate of mental health problems is any greater in the U.S. than in many other countries which many fewer school shooting and rates of gun violence. Therefore, saying mental health is the real issue seems to be a logical fallacy.

Z knows that language changes and there is a lot of language variability. Z therefore concludes that tele might rhyme with novela in some versions of Spanish. I'd like to know where. Not in the places in Latin American where I've lived. Z might be right, but I don't think arguing on general principles works here.

Michael 5:49 PM  

lower rates of gun violence

old timer 5:52 PM  

Double DNF because (a) I looked up MEANGENE and (b) I left blank P square in GOPER. Though I would have gotten it running the alphabet I suppose. Still WS should have sent this baby back until Byron found a replacement for EPICIST which is not in my dictionary. How would you even pronounce it?

And ANGLO is bad synonym for 'white". There are native Spanish speakers who are white and not ANGLO and I would argue that in a community like mine where there are many Latinos, black and Asian kids who have no Latino ancestry qualify as ANGLO if you must divide a class into two groups, one of which is ANGLO.

for future reference 5:56 PM  

@OISK - BMX stands for Bicycle Motocross. They are racing bicycles not motorcycles.

Liz T. 5:59 PM  

The weird thing about KATEY SAGAL is that she is also currently a sitcom mom! She play s Andy Samberg's mom on Brooklyn 99. (She's only been in two or three episodes though.)

Anonymous 6:01 PM  

My dad grew up in Santa Fe during the Great Depression and once told me that the term ANGLOS encompassed all non-Hispanics. Black and white. Politics aside it’s a numbers game.

Nancy 6:26 PM  

@TomAz (9:05) and @Stanley Hudson (4:16) -- I thought it would be good to add a Boomer vibe to the March for Our Lives movement, so I showed up at the one in NYC this morning. I carried a hand-lettered sign on a not very large, not very impressive piece of drawing paper. It said: OUR KIDS WILL SAVE US. I hoped that it would be a unique-enough sentiment that it might get me some attention.

I entered Central Park in the E90s and got out at CPW at 81st St, which was the northernmost part of the staging area. It was packed and claustrophobic. I said sweetly to the nice policeman at the 81st barricade: "You're not going to pen me in, are you? I'll be able to get out if I want to, yes?" He said no prob, so I went inside the barricade and held up my relatively small sign. The parade route was down Central Park West all the way to 43rd St, and I had no interest at all in 1) marching in such a packed, claustrophobic crowd and 2) ending up in midtown, which I absolutely loathe and only go to when I'm going to theater. But I remembered the famous cry of the younger generation: "Pics, or it didn't happen." I saw an attractive young woman with a really, really serious-looking camera and I said: "Are you media?" "Yes," she said. I held up my sign. She smiled. "Would you mind if I interviewed you?" she asked. Is the Pope Catholic? "Not at all," I said. And she did. In some detail. When it was over, I asked her who she worked for. "Salon.com", she told me. Not bad at all. So now we'll see.

By this time, the space in back of me had become as congested as the space in front, what with people continuing to pour in. And the barricade looked as though it was closed off completely. Uh oh. I spotted the nice policeman, smiled sweetly again, and said: "You promised me I wouldn't be penned in. Remember?" "You can get out there," he said, pointing to an opening in the barricade that a gerbil might not have fit through. Plus there were hordes of people coming the other way. Nevertheless, I made it out of the pen, went back through the park, and ended up at the tennis courts, where I spent the next four hours. Turns out that one of my favorite people there had also been at the march with his entire family.

I'm telling this in a jocular way, but I actually believe deeply in what I wrote on my sign. When I left the demonstration, I found myself weeping a bit. Because I do believe OUR KIDS WILL SAVE US. Someone has to.

Bitter Dregs 6:45 PM  

Would someone please explain to Anoa Bob about “panning” for gold?

Stanley Hudson 6:55 PM  

@Nancy, wonderful story and will be looking for your interview on salon.com!

I share your feelings about young people. As a college professor I work with them daily and feel really good about the future being in their hands.

My wife and I attended the local March today and both of us were in tears at times, as were our friends in our age cohort, 50s and 60s. A great day in what has tended to be a very bleak time for our country. Maybe we are turning a corner.

semioticus (shelbyl) 7:01 PM  

I haven't been able to finish even half of today's puzzle. Too much trivia that I have zero idea about. Maybe some of them will come to me later on, but it's been a frustrating experience so far (except for NE corner, which gave me a couple of great aha moments)

Malsdemare 7:22 PM  

Oh, my, DNF at the GOPER/EPICISTS cross. I suppose I should have been able to infer EPICISTS, but have never heard GOPER and it just seemed not Mr. Right. And I had to do some research to het the Suez Canal guy, and the wrestler. But despite all that, I'm feeling pleased because I got what I consider tough stuff: RECIDIVIDISM, DRAGNET, ANGLOS (and I should really know that, a term I heard lots in the Navajo Nation), CHINA SHOP (awesome clue!). I do know sledges; that's what a working (as opposed to racing) dog team pulls. Got one hanging in my garage.

Off to March for our lives. Snowstorm here, but my malamut and I are INVINCABLE!

Unknown 7:28 PM  

The critic continues to boast of his knowledge, or, more troubling, his lack thereof. Why is it relevant that he has taught Homer? I have not, but I easily got “epicists” from the crosses. Isn’t that what’s important to the quality of the crossword? Ditto sledges. I think the problem is that the clock means more than reflection.

madsymo 7:37 PM  

8 Simple Rules was the 2nd sit-com (w/John Ritter and Kaley Cuoco.) SOA was rarely comedic, but nearly always great.

jberg 7:38 PM  

@nancy, I agree, but of course they need our help and support. I was in tears once or twice at the march here in Boston as I saw some of the kids looking determined and grim.

Anonymous 7:43 PM  

The5thHarp, “i think the problem is that the clock means more than reflection.”

Amen amen bro.

Dignified Deacon with Bow Tie 7:45 PM  

Not so much niggardly praise today.

Basic Math 8:07 PM  

There will always be mentally ill people. If there are fewer guns (especially war weapons), there will be fewer deaths by mass murder. Duh...

OISK 8:35 PM  

thanks, @for future reference. Now that I know what BMX stands for, I MIGHT get it right when it occurs again, as it surely will...

semioticus (shelbyl) 8:59 PM  

OK, finally done with it. I barely enjoyed this one. Seriously. I was hoping that once I get the answers, I was gonna blame myself for not figuring them out (sorta what happened with LOVEBOAT, for example). But an emphatic no to that one. Rex already listed all the words that bugged him, and we're more or less on the same page. The sacrifices were not rewarded enough. What are the good entries in this one? RECIDIVISM is cool. EMPTYEYES? KONACOAST? ONEPUTTED? SIRSPEEDY? MEANGENE? Yes, they are debut answers but I don't care about them in the slightest.

Too much gimmick for my taste. Some clues were fun. The struggle to figure things out was pleasant initially. And after that it was just mental torture. I guess I'm still not fully ready for Saturday puzzles.

GRADE: C-, 2.25 stars.

semioticus (shelbyl) 9:09 PM  

Oh, and Whites = ANGLOS is bad cluing. If those words meant the same, certain group of people would be called ASPs, not WASPs.

Z 9:17 PM  

@michael - That’s the problem with carrying over discussions from the day before. Yesterday I pointed out that wikipedia shows two pronunciations, the second with tele and novela both ending in a schwa. Wikipedia being wikipedia, no discussion on where those pronunciations are used. I looked it up specifically because others were making statements “on general principle.” Interestingly, there are more Spanish speakers in the US than in any other country than Mexico. One could argue that US pronunciations have more credence than most Latin American countries.

I don’t know about anyone else but I think this caballo muerto has been beaten enough.

Foldyfish 9:18 PM  

Goper? Ew. That sums up my feelings on this.

John 11:39 PM  

I think I join most others in saying the SE corner was much harder than the SW. This was my worst time ever on a finished puzzle. Difficulty is such a relative concept.

mmorgan 11:50 PM  

Rex's solving experience was way too similar to mine. I'm never really happy, though somewhat gratified, when that happens.

TomAz 12:14 AM  

@Nancy (belatedly): Love your story. love it. Love your sign, too.

I didn't go, myself, but I did have an idea for a sign that would have said something like Our Vote Is More Powerful Than Your Gun.

joel f. 3:12 PM  

Easy-medium? EASY-MEDIUM??!! Are you KIDDING? Rex, you are a snob and a show-off. I'm not amused.

Have a nice life, oh Lord of Snark. I'm quite done here...

joel f. 3:12 PM  

Easy-medium? EASY-MEDIUM??!! Are you KIDDING? Rex, you are a snob and a show-off. I'm not amused.

Have a nice life, oh Lord of Snark. I'm quite done here...

Rube 9:18 AM  

This is the most insightful comment I have seen here, especially the last sentence. For me de lesseps was a gimme but text alert did not come quickly. As for sledges, easily determined once lemon lime was in.

Burma Shave 9:49 AM  


EVITA’s ALERT to the LOVEBOAT trick,
and she ADHERES to it, YESINDEEDY:


rondo 10:19 AM  

HIYALL. A bout of RECIDIVISM checked by HEMI got me started on a half-hour tour with no write-overs. Took a while to understand GOPER (worse than its cousins ALER, NLER, and NFLER, etc.) and the clue for ETS shoulda been “aliens”, other than those I really liked it. DOOVER is a real DOOK.

I have ONEPUTTED a hole to EAGLET. Once.

I really liked completely spelled out yeah baby KATEYSAGAL as Peg Bundy in Married with Children. Favorite scene:
KATEYSAGAL: “Al, what’re you thinking?”
Ed O’neill: “Peg, if I wanted you to know what I was thinkin’, I’d be talkin’.”

ANYone gonna knock this puz? NOTME.

spacecraft 11:49 AM  

Challenging. GOPER crossing EPICISTS? Everything else fit, but...then finally I parsed G.O.P.-ER--and let out a groan that woke my wife. This has to be the worst entry of the year so far. And anyway, "EPICISTS" is not a word. So: boo hiss in the NW.

I assumed CLEVERCHAP, or something like, but DICK? Never heard that one. Hand up for the SLEiGhS thing; that caused a DOOVER.

Weirdly, I had the least trouble with the SW, with the golfing gimmes DOOVER and ONEPUTTED crossing. But the SE almost caused a DNF. Never heard of CASSIS--and INNER monologues?? Wha?? I mean, I finished: what else could _NNER be but INNER? I'm having an inner monologue right now, because it contains language that would never get by a LITCRIT.

So, finished, but with out-of bounds penalties all over the place. Agree on KATEY as DOD, and by association a special sash to TV daughter Christina Applegate. Have to give this one a bogey; that GOPER only needs an H to ruin the golf course.

5wksltr 1:39 PM  

And just when I thought that the word crunchy to describe crosswords had finally, mercifully died out... "IT WAS CUTE THE FIRST YOU USED IT. NOW CUT IT OUT!"

Diana,LIW 3:55 PM  

I like solving crossWORDS. CrossTRIVIA, not so much.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for some real crossword puzzle to show up

El Dingo 5:30 PM  

I am comforted in the knowledge that other people came here in search of understanding. GOPER?! EPICISTS?! I just stared, wondering if an Epicist is something like an Epicene. Oh—someone who writes epics!

GOPER remains a disgusting, desperate disgrace—although now that it has arrived as a legitimate word, I get to call my Republican friends GO-pers instead of Gee-Oh-Pee-ers.

I have other terms as well.

As for guns, I grew up in the West, so there’s that. I like shooting as a sport, but in my day, rifles were mostly bolt-action sporting arms holding maybe six rounds, and law enforcement personnel generally carried S&W .38 revolvers. I love me some 1911 Colt automatic, but I would happily comply with a ban on semiautomatics, as long as it applied to the Glock-happy pistoleros with badges who seem to fire off a full clip at one go all too often.

leftcoastTAM 6:10 PM  

Some clever and tough stuff all around, but the Southeast was a beast.

Had only KONACOAST and SEEDS to start with, but stuck with bee as answer for "Queen" clue. Needed (and cheated) to get MUM. Then the SE opened up, except for KATEYSeGAL instead of SAGAL.

Liked the long downs, especially the unknown CLEVERDICK.

YESINDEEDY, I certainly wasn't SIRSPEEDY.

leftcoastTAM 6:34 PM  

@Burma Shave -- Thanks for the very clever end-of-day laugh.

bopper not goper 4:43 AM  

A bit musty— Not much here that couldn't have been solved in 1979, perhaps while watching THE LOVE BOAT. GOPER?? that's terrible! please, no.
19a. Concern of "three strikes" laws [RECIDIVISM] comes off as soft-pedaling draconian sentencing under the guise of "concern" Concerned citizens, are we?

The "3 Strikes" proposals differ from most habitual offender laws in that they make life sentences without parole mandatory. Thus, they tie the hands of judges who have traditionally been responsible for weighing both mitigating and aggravating circumstances before imposing sentence. Judicial discretion in sentencing, which is admired all over the world for treating people as individuals, is one of the hallmarks of our justice system. But the rigid formula imposed by "3 Strikes" renders the role of sentencing judges almost superfluous.

I really enjoy Walden's puzzles. i'm working through a book of his called Tough and Tougher, they're great and Saturday tough.
-Max Roach

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