Cosmetic injections for guys / When repeated, cry in Matthew 27 / Abstract Expressionist Rauschenberg / John who directed "Tarzan, the Ape Man" / Nairobi-to-Johannesburg dir. / Grp. recognizing international titleholders in 18 different weight classes

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Constructor: Andy Kravis

Relative difficulty: reasonably easy (4:04, difficulty not found)

THEME: none

Word of the Day: SPATLESE (27D: German wine made from late-harvest grapes) —
Spätlese (literal meaning: "late harvest"; plural form is Spätlesen) is a German wine term for a wine from fully ripe grapes, the lightest of the late harvest wines. Spätlese is a riper category than Kabinett in the Prädikatswein category of the German wine classification and is the lowest level of Prädikatswein in Austria, where Kabinett is classified in another way. In both cases, Spätlese is below Auslese in terms of ripeness. The grapes are picked at least seven days after normal harvest, so they are riper and have a higher sugar content. Because of the weather, waiting to pick the grapes later carries a risk of the crop being ruined by rain. However, in warm years and from good sites much of the harvest will reach Spätlese level. 
The wines may be either sweet or dry; it is a level of ripeness that particularly suits rich dry wines from Riesling, Weißer Burgunder, and Grauer Burgunder grapes for example, as at Auslese levels the alcohol levels may become very high in a dry wine leaving the wine unbalanced, making wines with at least some residual sweetness preferable to most palates. However, most German wines are traditionally dry, and the amount of sugar is not the only factor balancing a wine. Dry German wines can be very balanced, and usually get higher rates from German wine journalists than a comparable wine with more sugar. 
Many Spätlese wines will age well, especially those made from the Riesling grape. (wikipedia)
• • •
A bit about me first: I'm Christopher Adams, and I'm a prolific solver and constructor of crossword puzzles. Most of my puzzles are at my own site, but a few have made it to dead tree media, including last Thursday's LAT and next Tuesday's NYT. A lot of my philosophy as a constructor comes from my feelings as a solver, but some it also comes from advice from veteran constructors, including one Andy Kravis, whose puzzle I'm EXCITED to be blogging today.

Full disclosure: when Rex offered to let me blog this Saturday, I already knew it was going to be an Andy Kravis puzzle. In fact, Andy had even told me ahead of time that he thought I'd like it, and that he had a good feeling about my time on this puzzle. And he was correct on both counts.

Looking over the grid post-solve, I was reminded of this article I came across recently, in that there were quite a few clues near the beginning that I latched onto from having seen (in some form) and remembered. ROTE, appropriately, but also WAR ACE, ATARI, HERS, EXE, NOSE. That cleared out most of the top middle and fed nicely into the center stagger stack, where the first two answers (the wonderful AVA DUVERNAY and E-CIGARETTES) dropped in nicely.

Possibly the only thing stopping me from going much faster was the third answer in that stack (Mr. Television, by another name). I dropped in MILTON BERLE first, and then UNCLE MILTON, and only finally, near the end, fixed it to MILTIE. That error, coupled with the always vague Roman numeral clue at 43A (Late sixth-century year), as well as a wine (SPATLESE) and country music artist (ERNIE Ford) I didn't know, made for a corner that was slightly more difficult than the rest of the puzzle. I suspect some solvers might be naticked at the crossing of SPATLESE and ERNIE; I guessed that square, but I also figured the E looked more right, and SPATLESE vaguely rang a bell somewhere.

reminded of this by 19A: Crane arm (JIB)

But that's just one corner, and there's much to ADMIRE here besides the aforementioned stagger stack. BROTOX filled itself in from crosses, but it elicited a nice chuckle from me. ROLLED R, especially with the clue (Churro ingredient?), brought back memories of high school Spanish (which was, unfortunately, taught by a Brazilian).  Similarly, GRANOLA (Bar food?) had a nice punny clue. I do wish ARCHRIVAL had been clued with respect to the Yankees and Red Sox, who I gather kicked off a series Friday, but other long entries, like REMARRIED and CONSTANTINE, had fun facts for clues, and I enjoyed learning a little something while I solved.

Perhaps the only thing that took away from this was the shorter fill when considered IN ALL. On the whole, I tend to be very particular about fill in my puzzles, and this puzzle does very well for the most part. No one entry sticks out; however, while solving, I did notice a glut of NSA FAA NBA ORS SSW WBO DXC: mostly abbreviations and things that feel like that. But it was mostly spread out, and the entire puzzle was clean and smooth, so no harm overall.

Yours in puzzling, Christopher Adams, Court Jester of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Harryp 12:19 AM  

Outside of the AVADUVERNAY/SPATLESE cross this was a romp. ROLLEDR, I had to take on faith, but saw the reasoning after looking at it. Something like a Scottish Burr.

Unknown 12:43 AM  

Wednesday-level on a Saturday, while Thursday's trash was unsolvable. Ridiculous.p

Trombone Tom 12:46 AM  

Thank you, Christopher, for a cogent and accurate review. I found that I was pretty much on Andy Kravis's wavelength and whizzed through this, finding it not too Saturday challenging.

Of course, I was delayed deciding where to put the two chess entries. And the spelling of ANA's surname was beyond my ken until the crosses clarified it. A lot of government and other initials in the short fill, but it didn't ruin things for me.

I'm old enough that UNCLE MILTIE was a gimme. And I had a chuckle at BROTOX.

Outside The Box 12:51 AM  

Pretty decent puzzle, easy for a Saturday. Had more trouble earlier in the week.

Timcj 1:20 AM  

My fastest Saturday ever. Just got on a roll, losing a little time with my reluctance to give up AIRace. Fun - mostly because it was so fast.

jae 1:37 AM  

Easy-medium. Great center plus some fine long downs, liked it more than yesterday’s.

Quite a few directors...DEREK, DUVERNAY, Welles (in the clues), and FELLIN I at 54 across if you ignore the black square.

Larry Gilstrap 2:38 AM  

Yep! Glut of three letter fill doesn't scream Saturday, but at least they were acronyms. My family got our first TV in the early 50s and UNCLE MILTIE was before my time, believe it or not. Maybe my mom didn't like him. TV was a family thing back in the day.

I know some folks who left the real threat of the Mexican DRUG CARTELS, but anything resembling grounds for asylum is not possible. Immigration issues are a huge mess. Have you noticed?

Thank goodness my face has held together. I have used lotion for years, as should you. BROTOX seems like something one might see featured on Channel 55, or something up in that range.

Palm Springs' locals loved Frank Sinatra and embraced him as a pillar of the community. Generous and unassuming, as opposed to Bob Hope, for example. He lucked out with Barbara, struggled a bit with Mia, and was tortured by Ava, who he never married. Nancy gave us Nancy. The guy was a huge talent.

The story of how Christianity became the religion of Western Culture is convoluted, at best. Constantine embraced it and that set the tone. I see it is referred to as the Nicene Creed, which seems rather unequivocal as stated. Straining to look for any ecumenical loopholes.

Marc 2:41 AM  

Competing groups in Mexico is DRUG CARTELS? Wow.

Unknown 3:18 AM  

Naticked at Spatlese and Ava Duvernay

Elle54 4:56 AM  

A lot of Naticks for me

puzzlehoarder 5:47 AM  

As slow as this solve was for me I still beat Thursdays by two minutes. In the north I had a TOPGUN/WARACE write over. Next it was WBA/WBO. Worse than the write overs was how long it took me to come up with ELI.

AVADUVERNAY was an unknown and therefore the biggest stumbling block of the puzzle. SPATLESE was also an unknown. A MILTON/MILTIE write over slowed down my entry to the SE. I only put in MILTON because MILTY didn't fit.

I mostly had to back fill the middle by starting with FAJITA and FELONS in the SW. LOGY with one G just looks wrong. My final issue was thinking the Tarzan movie clue was referring to the old Tarzan movies and it made D_REK hard to figure out. I played whack-a-vowel to get the happy music and could easily have had a dnf on paper. After checking the xwordinfo clue list for DEREK I'm convinced this is the Bo DEREK guy.

Lewis 6:06 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Loren Muse Smith 6:15 AM  

Christopher, I enjoyed your take on today’s puzzle and look forward to next Tuesday’s NYT. Congrats!

@TimCJ1215 – me, too, for “air” before WAR.

I agree this was pretty easy. My solving pattern is that there is no pattern. I usually jump all around the grid in a panic that I can’t get anything. S here ED there… so today seeing two director clues scared me. (Mornin’, @jae – great catch on FELLINI!) I don’t speak film, can’t throw around directors’ names. I wish I could. People who cogently discuss individual movie directors seem really smart to me.

Hey – but I did know SPÄTLESE. Even put in the little umlaut. But then DUVERNAY doesn’t have the umlaut and we’re back at the tilde problem. I wonder if they complain in France if, say GARÇON crosses CONNAIS at the C. Do people whine that CONNAIS doesn’t have the cedilla? I get that the whole problem is that the guy who decided what the alphabet would be in Spanish made the call that n and ñ are two separate letters, couldn’t you argue that c and ç are?

The clue for BY JOVE was most excellent.

Never heard the term BROTOX, but how fun. (What. Does it target bro’s feet?) If my husband used my blowdryer, would it then be a brodryer? I’m reminded of this cartoon. (I was thinking the other day that even though I’m not all goth and young and edgy, I really like the look of guyliner, another portmanteau. If I could get my husband to wear it, I might would try.)

I like clues that refer to letters in a word, so I loved ROLLED R. I sometimes hear people say they can’t roll their r’s. Listen. Say the words shuttle, butter, writer or shudder, madder, paddle. The little thing you’re doing with your tongue on the t or d parts of those words is the first little part of a ROLLED R. You can do it! Just harness that feeling and run with it! Good luck. Keep me posted.

Mr. Kravis – nice job.

Lewis 6:15 AM  

With big answers succumbing with few letters (REMARRIED, DRUG CARTELS, CONSTANTINE) , and UNCLE MILTIE dropping in with none, this puzzle crumbled under my momentum, a rare Saturday event. I don't know if it was me or the puzzle, but the cluing felt easyish as well. No LOGY here.

Nice cross of the crane arm and RAISES, and rare mini-theme of double-L's (6), and terrific clues for GRANOLA and JIGSAW. This puzzle was balm after my scraping and scrapping through the past two, satisfying my Libra stasis-loving sensibilities. Thank you, Andy!

Anonymous 6:55 AM  

I'm sure it's an oft-repeated complaint, but an A is not an A-umlaut---correctly written, it should be SPAETLESE because "ä" denotes "ae".

Don't get me started on other diacritical marks....

FLAC 7:07 AM  

Is anyone else tired of the “bro” phenomenon? When did all men become either lechers or louts, or both? Time for some bro-micide.

pabloinnh 7:33 AM  

Some people say who's (Tennessee) Ernie Ford, and I say who's Ava Duvernay? Different strokes.

Sound advice from @LMS about the rolled r in Spanish. The tongue flick off the roof of your mouth is way closer to a Spanish r, or rr, than the English r sound, which in Spanish sounds just awful. One reason I got interested in learning Spanish is that I can trill an r like nobody's business.

Fun puzzle, if not terribly challenging for a Saturday, and a solid writeup.

JOHN X 7:36 AM  

Friday's puzzle was very easy for me. This Saturday puzzle was exactly 20 seconds harder.

This week has all been easy puzzles. I thought they were well made and fun to solve, but there was no challenge. I'm doing some Friday and Saturday puzzles from 1998 and hoo-boy are they cruel and unusual. But that's what makes them great, they are merciless. That's when I started doing the NYT puzzle and I had to step up to the challenge of the late week grids.

David 7:43 AM  

For women it's "botox" so for men it's "brotox"? Right. 'Cause for a man to get a botox shot would be girly.

Competing groups in Mexico? I'm thinking futbol mexicano but, of course, it's drug cartels. Because, you know, Mexico.

This is the world we live in.

Anonymous 7:49 AM  

You still have a bug up.........about Thursday.

Anonymous 7:51 AM  

What are you trying to say?

Odd Sock 7:54 AM  

Chris sounds like a smart guy but that was a very dry review.
Long answers were a lot easier than the short fill.
So this was a decent puzzle except for
2 film directors
3 Mexican clues
1 random compass point
1 random Roman numeral
2 basketball clues
2 federal agencies as bookends in the south

C team? Now that sounds like some desperate made-up crap.
Lots of ways to clue Robert but it's Saturday so let's choose this one?
All the hype over vaping. I don't trust it. Looks like a good way to coat your lungs with shellac. Time will tell.

QuasiMojo 8:01 AM  

Welcome to the blog Mr. Adams. I look forward to your own puzzle and will seek out the LAT one later.

I found today's offering a bit of a slog, what with drab stuff like "e-cigarettes" which already feels dated and desperate. I almost cheated when I saw the clue for "A Wrinkle in Time" because I just didn't care enough to try and figure out what the director's name is. The reviews for that film were less than stellar. The Mexican clue was thoughtless and tone-deaf. Bar Food for GRANOLA doesn't make sense since a Granola Bar is not the same as Granola. That's like saying Florentine food would be EGGS even though it has Spinach too. "C-Teams" was very weak.

I did like BY JOVE. (which reminds me! I was watching My Fair Lady the other day and throughout the first scene outside Covent Garden the much-maligned word "tec" is bandeyed about in reference to Henry Higgins since he appears to be a detective writing down everything Eliza says. I had always assumed it was an American pulp term, but clearly not. It's British slang, going back I suppose, if the script is accurate, to Shaw's time.)

Sinatra may have been married four times but was he "remarried" three times? I'll let our resident linguist explain that one to me. I know Liz Taylor remarried Richard Burton but would that have counted as her having "remarried" in the same context?

Just some guy in Idaho. 8:32 AM  

Yeah... what they said about the umlaut "a" and "ae" and "c team".
But Wednesday easy for me.

Anonymous 8:36 AM  

Drug cartels thoughtless and tone deaf?
Ask the families of their victims.
Ask folks who live along the border.
Ask the asylum seekers.
The truth hurts sometimes.

Teedmn 8:38 AM  

DNF due to being unsure of DUVERNeY crossing SPeTLESE wine. Otherwise this was a pretty smooth solve. Far too easy in the top half. The ROLLED R got ROLLED eyes from me when I finally realized churros weren't made with some sort of ROLLEuR tool. I didn't actually put that in but I considered it.

39D, I was expecting something to do with animal husbandry, not prisons, so FELONS was fun to get. Doesn't 41D need "puzzle" at the end of the answer to get a "fitting pastime" out of a JIGSAW?

Over all, a nice Saturday, BY JOVE. Thanks, Andy Kravis.

Nice write-up, Chris. I meant to tell you I really liked your Fireball puzzle from a couple of weeks ago.

Anonymous 8:44 AM  

I'm surprised no on is commenting on the adjective LOGY. I've never heard that word before and only got it from the cross FELONS. I was questioning that corner the whole time, even though I was able to get it through fill. Although it took me considerably longer than Chris Adams (15:34), the SE fell for me very quickly. I always think it's interesting when what is easy for me isn't for someone else. And, sorry, Chris, but when you solve the puzzle in about four minutes, I find it hard to believe you have time to chuckle at anything.

John Child 8:44 AM  

I agree with the majority so far that this was easy - not quite a best ever, but exactly half the time of an average Saturday and faster than either this week’s Thursday or Friday puzzles. The only resistance was waiting for the director of “A Wrinkle in Time” and DRUG CARTELS to fall to crosses. The latter landed with a thud due to the utterly tone deaf clue.

Suzie Q 8:46 AM  

When I slammed in Constantine and Uncle Miltie I thought I had it made but quite a few answers took some real effort so medium for me.
Logy? I can't see me using that one in casual conversation.
I did like the "rolled R" answer. That sort of clue/answer always makes me feel clever. Like Silent _ or Soft _.
I'm also getting tired of bro-this and bro-that. The novelty has worn thin.
Citizenfour sounds dark and BigBrotherish. Esp. if the NSA is involved.
When is Rex coming back?

QuasiMojo 8:53 AM  

@Anonymous 8:36Am, I didn't say "drug cartels" are thoughtless and tone deaf. I said the clue as written was. Mexico is known for many things besides drug cartels, and considering there is an election going on there right now, "competing groups" is a needlessly bland way of describing something so tragic.

Mohair Sam 9:03 AM  

Way to easy for a Saturday - but never blame a constructor for that. Only write-over was ARCHenemy for ARCHRIVAL - we like lots more resistance this day of the week.

Know AVA DUVERNAY only phonically but her pronunciation rings true to her spelling - so we were saved a natick at the last A. UNCLEMILTIE and Tennessee ERNIE gimmes here, but must have been brutal to anyone not in retirement - throw them in with John DEREK and this puzz skews ancient, AVA and ECIGs notwithstanding.

Speaking of ECIGARETTES - I'd like to thank a couple of friends and relatives who have switched from tobacco to ECIGs - I have no idea what you're doing to your lungs, but you're much more fun to be around.

Interesting DOOK for Lady M. - she saw me fill APTEST and asked how the hell it was clued - "Most likely to do something"?

Heard on the news last night that over 100 politicians have been murdered in the run-up to the coming election in Mexico. Would have liked a less friendly clue for DRUG CARTELS.

Z 9:06 AM  

4:04? Maybe I’ll get my Monday time there someday. Not quite that easy here. ANA DUVERNAY’s last two vowels had to wait for the crosses. The last A was at least partly an informed guess.

BROTOX is kinda of amusing. Of course, so is BOTOX. I played ultimate one winter league with a BOTOX doctor. Assembly line injections for lots of money. He seemed happy enough, but I wonder what his mid-life crisis is going to be like. Catering to the vanity of rich people doesn’t seem fulfilling to me, but the world is full of difference, so maybe he and his co-workers are just fine raking in the cash.

Anyone else amused by FELONS/FELL IN? Just me? Alrighty then.

@Anon8:36 - Consider getting your news from a less racialized source. Or maybe you’re fine sounding like a racist bigot.

Andrea 9:08 AM  

Competing groups in Mexico? I can think of political parties, football teams, tv networks, even ancient tribes (you know, like the Toltecs allying with the Spaniards to defeat the Aztecs), but I wasn’t prepared to see DRUGCARTELS sitting there so.... as if nothing, as if that’s quite normal.
I don’t know. There IS a big cartel problem in Mexico, but I personally didn’t like this clue.

mmorgan 9:16 AM  

UNCLE MILTIE and AVA DUVERNAY (and ERNIE) were gimmes, but I could could could not give up on aiR ACE for the longest time. Some great clues, but I share the reservation/objection of QuasiMojo and others regarding the clue for DRUG CARTELS.

Thanks to all the guest bloggers! I'm assuming I'll soon get back to being told that the puzzle I just enjoyed solving is a despicable travesty. Hope Rex is having a great vacation!

Bob C 9:19 AM  

I wanted proTOnS for periodic changers. Something amiss with my brain chemistry, perhaps.

Anonymous 9:23 AM  

What?!!! Mexico is just shy of being a failed state. And its all due to drugs. Theres nothing bigotted about that analysis.
You sound like a self righteous jerk when you graciously allow that someone elses profession is ok. What nerve you have. But please tell us all more about your frisbee time.

Anonymous 9:23 AM  

This is a Saturday?

'merican in Paris 9:40 AM  

Hi all,

I've been doing the puzzles this week -- though DNF on several of the most recent days -- but did not have time to post. Did this one in 16 Rexes (or, in this case, Christophers), but I'm proud to say I got the happy pencil noise immediately, which feels like an accomplishment.

Lots of write-overs, of course. Didn't help also that for awhile I had FAhiTA. Once I changed that "h" to a J, the SW fell quickly. Also had confused the location of Lagos with Nairobi, so had SSe before SSW.

Figuring out which word to enter first, DRAW or MATE, also slowed me down some. Nice cluing on GRANOLA, OCTANE and ROLLED R.

But LOGY? I can't recall ever hearing that word, or even reading it, not even once.

France plays Argentina in the World Cup in 40 minutes. Wish us luck!

Anonymous 9:48 AM  

easiest Saturday in memory. i see people said played like a Wednesday, i was thinking like a Tuesday.

TubaDon 9:57 AM  

Pencilled in GRANOLA and promptly fell asleep. After a nap, UNCLEMILTIE and SPATLESE opened up the center and bottom of the puzzle, delayed only slightly by my wanting EXCONS at 39D. Guessed right on AVA's last name. Last letter in was the B in BROTOX, if there is such a thing.

Nancy 10:07 AM  

I FELL IN so many traps today. They slowed me down and made this one quite hard for me.

AS ONE before IN ALL (20A), leading to EASE INTO before LEAD INTO (21D). Leading to SERE before ARID (29A). Then, in a separate section, AIR ACE before WAR ACE (5A) leading to ABA before WBO (5D). All my mistakes were fated to LEAD INTO perfectly plausible other mistakes. Did you plan it that way, Andy?

I'm getting quite good at guessing Millennial neologisms. Didn't know BROTOX, but guessed it from just a few crosses.

Great clues for GRANOLA (2D), JIGSAW (41D)and REMARRIED (34D).

Didn't know ATARI was retro. It's back before I even knew it was gone.

God, I hated UNCLE MILTIE! But in this puzzle, he was a huge help. His was the only name I knew from the clues. The directors were no damn help at all.

Anonymous 10:13 AM  

APTEST as a DOOK is a stretch and not a real word.

Bob Mills 10:14 AM  

Easy except for "SPATLESE." I got GRANOLA from the crosses but still don't understand the clue.

Banana Diaquiri 10:14 AM  

@anon/9:23 (and the others)
And its all due to drugs.

the usual float down the denial. Mexico, et al, wouldn't be in the drug business without the rich white suburban kids in the USofA having the money to buy same by the tonne. drugs aren't, and never were, just a black/brown/urban/ghetto problem. it's just finally being so bloody obvious that fish belly folks in the empty states are the major source of drug demand. and, as always, they blame somebody else. same nonsense as good people on both sides in Charlottesville.

Anonymous 10:20 AM  


RooMonster 10:21 AM  

Hey All !
Managed to get through this not-too-shabbily-for-a-SatPuz. But that middle section cost me a DNF. Two Directors crossing, plus an (for me) obscure German wine, and a 1941 Welles role. Oof. Had to play vowel tag on AVAs last name with both DEREK and SPATLESE. Agree with the BROTOX CTEAMS ugh-ness. Rare puz in that most of the Downs were better than the Acrosses.

Had as one for IN ALL in NW slowing me down there. I guess if you're gonna go RRN, go big, DXC. Har. Is LOGY pronounced LOG-E or LOW-GEE? ADMIRE, RESPECT, EXCITED, BY JOVE! Positive JIBe.

So a fun puz, not quite ADORBS status, but a TEAR didn't fall. But now ITS OVER.


bagelboy 10:30 AM  

Record Saturday for me too. I'm old enough to know UNCLE MILTIE as a gimme. And ERNIE Ford from reruns of I Love Lucy. AVA DUVERNAY mostly from crosswords, though unsure of the A or E cross with the wine. I had AMINUS before OCTANE but didnt get stuck there for long.

Nancy 10:36 AM  

Good point on REMARRIED, @Quasi (8:01). Would you believe I was all set to write in UNMARRIED for that answer?

Interesting that Sinatra was so beloved in your community, @Larry G (2:38). I adored him in my pre-teen and teen years -- had the hots for him, truth to tell -- but I thought we'd all discovered in the decades since that he really was a complete [expletive deleted]. No?

@FLAC (7:07) -- Dare I admit that I find your "bromicide" extremely funny?

@Loren (6:15) -- If we ever meet, let's have an R-rolling contest. I can roll my R's with the best of them! I had to work like hell to (almost, but not quite) master the gargle of the French R, but the Italian ROLLED R just comes naturally. If they ever do my ancestry test. I imagine they'll find more than a little bit of Italian heritage there. And perhaps some Scot, too.

Anonymous 10:42 AM  

Nice rant Banana.
But the question was whether drugs have made Mexico a failed state. They have. Or do you deny that?

Anonymous 10:46 AM  

Float down the denial?
The de in denial acts as the. You are some kind of slappy Banana.

Anonymous 8:36 10:46 AM  

Man, what a bunch of knee-jerk barracudas! I was speaking in sympathy of the folks who are collateral damage of the drug cartels and I get jumped on esp. by @Z. Forget I ever spoke and go back to putting your head in the sand or wherever it is you stick it to ignore the ugly truth.

mathgent 10:46 AM  

I will typically write fifteen or twenty red plus signs in the margins of a Saturday, but today only five. And none of them for clever clues. A dud, IMHO.

Lewis is a valuable asset on this blog. I especially love his best clues of the week listing. So I guess that I am just being a cranky old man when I confess that I get annoyed when he thanks a constructor for a puzzle, especially when it is mediocre like today's. I understand that we overuse "thank you." When a waiter brings me a second glass of wine, I thank him. What for? Doing his job? Getting it to me before I get the shakes?

Birchbark 10:47 AM  

A ridiculous mistake didn't slow things down at all. I carelessly entered ACdITY (acidity) at 33D ("Sharpness"). Never noticed until the end -- almost all the crosses worked fine. Eventually, I stopped forcing D.n. CLEMInTIE to be "Mr. Television," and UNCLE MILTIE magically appeared.

The year half gone, and not one AMENHOTEP in the NYT crossword. Constructors take note: it's not a bad pharaoh-answer -- mostly alternating consonants and vowels. Four of them reigned in a row (I think), so there's the whole random-Roman-numeral angle too if you need it. Admittedly, AMENHOTEP may skew a little Maleska-ish, and @Rex might go off the rails. Maybe time the release for a guest-blogger week or an Anabel Monday. These are just thoughts -- now to mow the lawn.

gruffed 10:47 AM  

I enjoyed this puzzle; it took me a good half-hour, but I finished it without a single Google and was quite proud of myself...until I read Christopher Adams' blog. 4:04 minutes!? I think it would take me that long just to enter random letters! I do the puzzle on line - is it faster to do it in pen/pencil? Just wondering.

jberg 10:54 AM  

@Loren, thanks for the r-rolling tip! I don’t think I’ll try it here in my dentist’s waiting room, but wait till I get home!

Anonymous 11:01 AM  

Dont sweat it. Z gets all kinds of things wrong. Save for linking to Wikipedia, its appears to be his favorite thing. Few, if any, are as virtuous or wise as he. Just ask him. Or wait a couple minutes. He'll be here in no time bloviating away.
FWIW, i read your comments at 8:36 as wholly sympathetic. And accurate.


Some bigot whogets his news from a radical site---The NY Times

puzzlehoarder 11:02 AM  

Someone recently complained about the "over" use of the term "tone deaf" by the comments section. The reason that term fits so well with the clue for DRUGCARTELS is that these "Mexican" groups are as American as apple pie. They're financed by American money and armed with American guns. The war they wage on their own people is the end result of our own failed war on drugs policy. The only result it has produced is they get the war and we get the drugs. Today's glib clue for DRUGCARTELS trivialzes their suffering.

GHarris 11:04 AM  

Uncle Miltie was the rage back in the early days of television. Only one family on the block owned a TV set and everyone in the neighborhood was invited. Everyone crammed into a shabby Bronx living room every Tuesday night with us kids squatting in front. Ah, those were the days. Yeah, this puzzle was relatively easy but, hey, when you are able to breeze through a Saturday without an error it’s a proud moment.

Nausee 11:04 AM  

Same question as gruffed. I might do a Monday in about 7 minutes on my iPad, where I’m filling in squares almost without pause. How is 4:04 even physically possible, and how can the solver avoid getting stuck on any clues?

jberg 11:12 AM  

A lot of folks here need to drink more wine. Work your way up to trockenbeerenauslese—but win the lottery first. ARCHRIVAL to Ch. d’Yquem

I had no idea Milton Berle was called “Mr. Television,” nut tv nickname starting with U? That was all I needed. The more recent AVA DUVERNAY was slower to come. I loved the book, which I read with my kids, but never saw the movie. But I think she’s done other genres.

WAR ACE took way too long, because there are so many fly-by-night wrestling and boxing organization that aiR seemed fine there. Also, I get my directions mixed up so I had SSe for far too long, even though I could visualize the line on the map correctly.

25D was certainly badly-timed— if tres Patti do’s has fit, I’d have gone with it.

I think the hygienist is ready for me, TTYL

GILL I. 11:13 AM  

@Christopher 4:04...? Really? It takes me longer to zip up my pants. Over one hour to complete this one even if it was fairly easy for a Saturday.
I started off pretty well with the 1,5 and 11 A. Yay me. I suppose it took me so long because I kept pausing at answers that seemed too easy. = BRR BY JOVE ITS OVER. Only write over up in that corner was BODY instead of the NOSE for the sommeliers concern. What took me the longest in the right coast was SPATLESE. I don't know my Riesling grapes. No offense, but I'm not crazy about German wines.....
The 3 middle stacks also gave me a bit of grief. ARCH enemy didn't help. By working backwards ie I had ERNAY/RETTES/EMILTIE so the front fill- ins became a lot easier.
25D had me thinking soccer. I finally had the CARTEL in so DRUG it was. Didn't like the clue either. @Banana is right although it might have been said with. a tad more aplomb. Actually, Mexico first started supplying us with booze during prohibition. Our drug du jour thugs found ways to get it shipped in. From booze, it was easy to bring in anything else we wanted. San Diego youth was happy to pay Mexico for their highs.
Strangely enough my last entry was ROLLED R. I love churros, I make churros, what the hell has the ROL something or other in it. AHA. That OLD trick.
@Loren....I suppose your butter might be the closest to the Spanish ROLLED R but it's not, really. The difference between one R vs two RR's is tongue torque...(For lack of a better word). So hard to explain and that's why you have to be a child with no inhibitions to be able to truly learn the technique. Try saying TORO then CHURRO. The rolling of the tongue is in a slight different place. I'm sure @pabloinnh has it down pat and I'd love to hear him say burrito churrasco en Bariloche.
BROTOX isn't just for cosmetics. It's a great remedy for headaches.

Anonymous 11:20 AM  

& Nino Rota revolving around Fellini...

Arden 11:20 AM  

Fast work on this. Felt like Wednesday level.

Banana Diaquiri 11:27 AM  

But the question was whether drugs have made Mexico a failed state. They have. Or do you deny that?

no more than Prohibition made the USofA a failed state.

in any case, Mexico was a fascist state (government of, by, and for corporations) long before the cartels grew up. I don't really know about you, but fascist states are failed by definition. some, of course, want fascism that benefits them, but not by name, of course. remember Operation Wetback from 1954? the Left started by drawing the analogy between it and today. what they forgot, or didn't know, is that Wetback was a Mexican program at the behest of Mexican corporations who didn't want all that cheaper labor headed El Norte. read the wiki.

one might speculate that Canada, a small country/economy, isn't a fascist/failed state because it derived from British Common Law, while Mexico and most of the countries on South are derived from Catholic European Autocracies. their cultures are used to being peons. after all, Canada supplied the USofA during Prohibition to great profit. wasn't it a failed state? shouldn't we build a wall up there? and much of it goes right along the 49th parallel.

old timer 11:32 AM  

I cheat on many Saturdays. This time it was by looking up the director. Once I had AVA DUVERNAY that corner fell into place.

In a misguided moment I wrote in Red Skelton and wrote over it to get UNCLE after which Milton and finally MILTIE came in.

I have no idea why French has garcon with its cedilla rather than an s. Maybe the feminine "garce" came first?

Kimberly 11:41 AM  

Relatively easy Saturday.

Today’s guest blogger was excellent. Nice insights, positive and uplifting commentary, and even the observations on what was less than perfect were presented in a constructive manner. Made me appreciate the puzzle even more in retrospect. Loved the linked article as well. Thank you!

Masked and Anonymous 11:45 AM  

Pretty much what earliest commenter @harryp said.

But … Figured out the A in AVADUVERNAY/SPATLESE, from my faint college German memoirs. "Spat" (mit umlaut) means "late". Lost few precious nanoseconds.

Walk in the park, compared to the FriPuz lost in the maze, at my house. Knew about everything for sure except DUVERNAY and BROTOX. And let me be the 100th sucker on the block to admit to AIRACE, before WARACE.

staff weeject pick: WBO. Wanted WBA, after I got over AIRACE. So, a nice wrong again M&A breath experience, in that N-Central zone. Spent a few precious nanoseconds sayin "ACTANE? … ACTANE?" dully to self several times.
Honrable mention to DXC, btw. "Oh, I wish I was in the land of CTN … "

fave fillins: FAJITA. ROLLEDR [great clue]. ARCHRIVAL. BROTOX.

Thanx for a SatPuz I could solve, Mr. Kravis & Shortzmeister. Primo jaws of themelessess on the gridsides, too boot.

Masked & AnonymoUUs


Anonymous 11:47 AM  

Overuse? Saying "thank you" is a way of showing that you are civilized.

Hartley70 11:58 AM  

I'm just the right age to remember Tennessee ERNIE and UNCLEMILTIE and to know AVADUVERNAY. I have to admit that ERNIE was much easier to take than MILTIE, even at 7 years old.

This puzzle played faster than yesterday but it was still a challenge in the bottom corners. The cluing was fun, I especially liked BROTOX, ROLLEDR, FELONS, GRANOLA. Oh and I use LOGY all the time so it's a valid word in my universe, especially when it's hot.

Kimberly 12:05 PM  

The fact that he thinks it’s pointless to thank a server for serving him and can’t figure out for what he would be thanking that person says everything you need to know about him. Scariest thing is that people like him vote. And they’re like cockroaches: they’re everywhere. Our entire senses of “normal” and “acceptable” have shifted off the scale of civilized behavior. No wonder... we’ll... you know how that sentence ends.

Anonymous 12:17 PM  

You are so right. Only the rude for Trump. The left is gracious, polite. Why i beleive Maxine Waters is currently writing a book on etiqutte.

Masked and Anonymous 12:36 PM  

Oh... "themelessness", not "themelessess", in first msg. attempt.

While I'm here, mucho thanx to today's Court Jestopher sub, and all the other impressive subbloggers that pitched in this week, while @RP was a lil bit off. Downright upstandin of U, to donate all y'all's time for the advancement of whatever this place is. It's sorta like callin in the sub-Marines to save the day. Well done, folks. Booyah.
Booyah bada boom, even.

Allrighty then, so now the snark-o-potamus's cage is pretty much all hosed down, for his eventual return…


pabloinnh 12:53 PM  

Hola @GILL I--that would be fun to say, but my favorite rr word is still "ferrocarril".

Adam 1:21 PM  

Loved the puzzle overall. Dropped UNCLE MILTIE with no crosses, but wanted DIC instead of DXC, which held me up in the SE for a while. Got Tennessee ERNIE Ford with only a couple crosses. Loved the clue for OCTANE - great misdirection!

DRUG CARTELS as "Competing groups in Mexico" is uncalled for in the current climate; there have to be ways to clue this that don't implicate our neighbor to the south.

Loved DRAW on top of MATE, which helped with the NW, and ROLLED R took me a while because I didn't want DR at the end, since I couldn't find __ AND R in Churros. Finally got there, though.

Overall a nice clean Saturday. Between today and yesterday, things are looking up at the NYT puzzle!

Anonymous 1:28 PM  

Nice to see baritone Tennessee Ernie Ford is still remembered. His most famous song was the 1955 hit “Sixteen Tons” . “I owe my soul to the company store,”

Chip Hilton 1:30 PM  

42A. England captain, Harry - would’ve been a lot more timely and up-to-date.

And, oh, how I wish this were original: Don’t cry, 4-3, Argentina.

Fun Saturday, quite doable.

mathgent 1:43 PM  

@Kimberly (12:05): Thank you for being you.

Mohair Sam 2:11 PM  

@Anon (8:36) - Don't even try to defend yourself. You used the word "border" in a sentence. Proof positive that you are a racist bigot who is glued to some horror like Fox news. @Z is hard to fool.

@Z - You should have taken the advice I gave you the other day from Dr. Gates.

@Banana (10:14) - Thanks, I slept through the sixties and like so many others here I thought narcotics were used only by jazz musicians of color living in coastal cities. And thanks for your revision of Mexican history too. Never too late for me to learn.

@Anon (10:13) - Of course APTEST ain't no word. That's what made the DOOK worth mentioning. I was gonna dis your sense of humor, but I remember the old lesson that if you have to explain a joke it wasn't very good in the first place.

Anonymous 2:25 PM  

Got AVADUVERNAY and UNCLEMILTIE first, worked out from there. Did not care for the "Competing Groups in Mexico" clue today, in particular. With the World Cup going on, I first thought this was a soccer reference, then once realized what it actually wanted, seemed ill-timed given that people are marching today, in part, to make the point that not everyone who comes over the border is a criminal/member of drug gang.

Other than that, fun puzzle. Loved the mention of John Derek's Tarzan, one of the best worst movies of all time.

Anonymous 2:58 PM  

aptest advanced placement Biology is current TV show APBIO
I know a guy that was married 6 times the limit in some states it's said, but never REMARRIED. Puzzle before jigsaw. but I do own a Jigsaw very handy

Nancy 3:01 PM  

Wonderful rejoinder, @mathgent. @Kimberley -- Never has anyone on this blog so misjudged a fellow Rexite. You obviously don't know him at all, which is your very great loss. I do know him -- and I can tell you he's the kindest and most thoughtful man you can possibly imagine.

@Mohair -- FWIW, I liked your APTEST joke and you certainly didn't need to explain it to me.

Anonymous 3:03 PM  

I am another voice for the UGH! reaction to "Drug Cartels" being clued as Mexican because

1. There are drug cartels everywhere on earth.

2. We have a President demonizing Mexicans everyday.

3. We took the Southwest U.S. by military force & the population being labelled "immigrants" are mostly descended from the actual native peoples.

Anonymous 3:21 PM  

Good puzzle. I think today that the Random Roman numeral was not really random. When you have 3 spaces and you are told that it is a late century date, that seems to be the only possible answer that would fit.

Anon 4:09 PM  

Sinatra and Ava Gardner were married

fiddleneck 4:11 PM  

I spell logey, but it definitely is a word, and logy is more obviously a hard g. It's a good word. I use it often.

Anonymous 4:54 PM  

At least people have heard of Orson Welles and Citizen Kane

Anoa Bob 5:10 PM  

If anyone uses or is thinking about using E CIGARETTES because it is supposedly a safer way to get a nicotine fix, you should check out this YouTube video of some of them exploding and catching on fire. There are some pretty gruesome pics on the net of vaping gone bad. There is even a report of a vaper being killed when the device exploded.

And if that's not enough to dissuade use, recent research has found that the vapor has many of the same cancer causing compounds as regular cigarette smoke.

sanfranman59 5:24 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 3:43 4:30 0.83 6.2% Easy
Tue 5:37 5:21 1.05 61.1% Medium-Challenging
Wed 6:44 6:39 1.01 57.4% Medium
Thu 16:24 9:33 1.65 94.4% Challenging
Fri 8:43 12:55 0.68 9.3% Easy
Sat 11:26 15:59 0.72 13.7% Easy

This week might be my best Friday/Saturday solve time combination ever. I zipped through this with SPATLESE (27D) being about the only speed bump I can recall. I didn't really know AVA DUVERNAY (32A) either, but the spelling of the last name seemed familiar. Otherwise, the crossing with SPATLESE might have been a Natick.

My erasures were ADored before ADMIRE (1D ... the tense of 'put' in a clue can be tricky!), WBa before WBO (5D) and tsA before FAA (54D). So few write-overs is very unusual for me on a Saturday.

I wasn't aware that BROTOX (15A) was a neologism, but it was inferrable. ROLLED R (24A) was tough and that terminal DR had me worried enough to take out the DRUG part of DRUG CARTEL (25D) for a while. In the current political environment, I'm not crazy about associating DRUG CARTELS with just Mexico. There's no shortage of countries all over the world where they compete with each other, including our own.

kitshef 7:23 PM  

Natick at AVA DUVERNeY/SPeTLESE. Unbelievably easy Saturday other than that. I'll add to the DRUG CARTEL clue boos.

JC66 7:44 PM  

Hand up for finding the DRUG CARTEL clue POOR.

Anonymous 9:00 PM  

Anon 3:03,
We took the east and north by force too. It was called the Revolutinary War. Whats your point?

Benko 6:08 AM  

"'Most German wines are traditionally dry."
Nope. Now you're stepping on my toes. This is my expertise, and it is totally wrong.

Anonymous 7:39 AM  

Traveling yesterday so didn't get to comment, but I remember suffering through months of "Sixteen Tons" by Tennessee Ernie Ford as number one on "Hit Parade." Sometimes helps to be old.

PGregory Springer 8:30 AM  

I've spent a lot of time in Mexico City, Oaxaca, Chiapas, Merida, and Puebla over the last two years. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens in Sunday's election. If this is a failed state, we should be so lucky. Linking Mexicans with drug cartels is like saying the word "Americans" and only thinking of Chicago gang members shooting each other.

LHS 888 8:38 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Banana Diaquiri 1:40 PM  

just out of curiosity, what is the 1D clue in the innterTubes version?

Banana Diaquiri 2:03 PM  


99.44% of college freshmen first got lit on liebfraumilch. well, when I was a freshman, anyway.

Anonymous 3:59 PM  

"Put on a pedestal"

spacecraft 10:43 AM  

"...But it was spread out so no harm done?" The "glut" of acronyms and abbrs. certainly WAS spread out: it visited every part of the grid! I never saw so much junk. You have your RCD, your RRN, your letter add-ons (ROLLEDR, CTEAMS--CTEAMS, really? sheesh!) and your genuine full-blown Natick, only rescued by my recall of German regarding "late." Yuck.

The major misleader for me was "Grade in the high 80's or low 90's", which [of course] was A MINUS. This was confidently inked in, so for the longest while I couldn't come up with that 9-down emperor. I mean, how many emperors have there been?? Very nearly caused a DNF, until back-solving from the center forced CONSTANTINE, which was the first name I thought of anyway. Had to scrub the school grade. That was really an unfair misdirect, as it so clearly described a school grade. It got fixed but with much effort.

Even some of the premier long stuff was unpleasant to think about: EATALIVE, ECIGARETTES (that whole genre is just dumb to me: either you smoke or you don't) and especially DRUGCARTELS. I wanted to take a shower.

The DOD of all DOD's, "10" Bo DEREK, makes an appearance. Plunked into these surroundings, she's an anomaly. Bogey. Sorry, Bo.

thefogman 11:13 AM  

Medium I guess for a Saturday. Things got LOGY in the top middle portion of the puzzle. I had wwiACE before aiRACE and finally WARACE. There were plenty of misdirects. OCTANE only came about after I solved ARCHRIVAL which LEADINTO erasing the A as the first letter for 18A. Not sure if 25D (DRUGCARTELS) is fair cluing or just another disRESPECTful Trumpian insult directed towards Mexico/Mexicans. Anyways, it got by the EDITORS. All INALL, it was a most enjoyable solve. Muchas gracias señor Kravis.

Burma Shave 11:19 AM  

I am AGED enough to recall a famous Hollywood wager:




thefogman 11:29 AM  

PS - From Jeff Chen's site there's an interesting comment from Andy Kravis about how his original cluing for 25D was rejected by Will Shortz:

My favorite clue that didn't make the cut was [Coke machines, for example?] for DRUG CARTELS.

Did WS suggest the clue that made it to print? If so, not his finest moment.

rondo 2:05 PM  

Hand up for aiRACE at first, otherwise everything else FELLIN where it belonged. Mighta gone for aminus, but ATARI prevented that. Seems there's not 16 tons of RESPECT for Tennessee ERNIE Ford.

SIDENOTE: CTEAMS is kinda weak, but I have heard CTEAM used in the wild in terms of a contractor's paving crew.

Maybe it's been done, but if we're gonna have SSW in that location put some others in the other corners and the spelled out N,E,W,S along the edges and maybe "compass" in the middle. You're welcome, constructors.

Since yeah baby Bo DEREK has been taken, I'll settle for Emmy award winner Carol KANE, not to be confused with Candy KANE.

Pretty easy puz. Blink and ITSOVER.

rainforest 2:43 PM  

Hey @thefogman, I like Kravis' original clue better.
@Burma Shave, funny one.

I liked this puzzle, finding it "medium", having to discard CharlemagnE for CONSTANTINE.
Almost fell for aminus, but noting the "?" on the clue, I waited for crosses.

I think I was a CTEAMER on my high school basketball team. Good shooter but way too slow on defense. My job was to score more points than I allowed. I managed that once.

Nice to have a relatively quick Saturday.

leftcoastTAM 3:19 PM  

Surprisingly easier than Thursday's or Friday's puzzles this week. Glad to see this for a change.

The middle stack of proper nouns helped open things up in all directions.

SPATLESE earned its word of the day status. Never heard of it, and not really into German wines.

Seeing two J's, for JIB and FAJITA, in one puzzle struck me as somewhat unusual.

Wanted stall before DWELL, A-minus before OCTANE, and fumbled around with DXC for a bit.

INALL, enjoyed it.

Diana,LIW 3:29 PM  

OK. The aiRRACE and ROLLEDR did me in. Need I say Morrrre? I think it's all ben said - and done.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Gloucester de la Vegas 2:48 PM  

I thought this was terrible, in terms of clueing and answers. E.g.s 5A WarAce 15A Brotox (which should have had a ? for would-be humor) 53A Ors (which I guess is "ORs").
44D CTeams It is do-able (which is the sort of word that might have been an answer here) but just tedious.

Clinique Medespoir 10:02 AM  

Super article !

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