Loss of sound at start of word / SAT 7-7-18 / Fighter of Ferocious Flea in 1960s cartoons / Chemical compounds in so-called hospital smell / Bakr longtime adviser to Muhammad / Zayn formerly of One Direction

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Constructor: Ryan McCarty

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (6:03)

THEME: none

Word of the Day: APHERESIS (29D: Loss of a sound at the start of a word, as "opossum" to "possum") —
noun: apheresis
  1. 1. 
    the loss of a sound or sounds at the beginning of a word, e.g., in the derivation of adder from nadder.
  2. 2. 
    the removal of blood plasma from the body by the withdrawal of blood, its separation into plasma and cells, and the reintroduction of the cells, used especially to remove antibodies in treating autoimmune diseases. (google)
• • •

Liked this one a lot, which is surprising given that I had some *serious* 1-Across dread with ABLARE (which I got both instantly and reluctantly) (1A: Loud, as a radio). Knew it had to be ABLARE and then tested the crosses one by one. ENDS worked, ATOM MAN ... was wrong (4D: Fighter of Ferocious Flea in 1960s cartoons), but ATOM ANT ended up being right: and then there was the "L"! (3D: Close friend of Hamilton, in "Hamilton"). Me: "L L L L L ... what is it? ... oh, yeah, LAFAYETTE!"

This one felt very much up my alley, and also very smooth and lively and entertaining. I count 1, 2, 3, 4 sticking points of any significance. First the whole ATOM MAN issue (see above). Second, JAMES WATT (18A: Pioneer in steam engines). I had the JAMES and wanted the WATT but balked because I thought a. WATT was the lighbulb guy (this is true, same guy) and b. WATT was the Secretary of the Interior under Reagan, maybe?? OMG, yes, also true. I looked it up and dang, I remembered that one correctly. So there are at least two puzzleworthy JAMES WATTs. Good To Know. Anyway, I left the WATT part blank and kept moving down the west coast instead.

Then I wrote in TALK, TALK! at 17A: "I wanna hear everything" which I shoulda known was wrong. I mean, if you're gonna put TALK TALK in a puzzle...

Then there was APHERESIS, which required me to get Every Single Cross (P.S. AS A SET is by far the worst thing in this grid, delete it from your wordlists everyone, please, now, thx). Finally, there was the SW, where it was just dumb luck that I knew IDIOLECT. Even knowing that, it was only the "D" that got me into that corner—gave me PADRE, which saved me. Because "AS I AM"? MESS BOY? Oh, no. Was not about to get either of those without gobs of help.

[2018 ACPT champion Erik Agard in his ELENA Delle Donna jersey] (13D: Multi-time W.N.B.A. All-Star ___ Delle Donne)

Loved LITTLE KNOWN FACT and WACKY TOBACKY and *especially* THAT'S SO NOT OK. Perfect contemporary colloquialism. Perfect for a Saturday (really hard to parse, but got a great aha moment when I finally cracked it). I did not think DANK MEMES was a real thing outside of people mocking Jill Stein on social media two years ago (48A: Internet in-jokes that have gone viral, in modern lingo). DANK is a word normally reserved (I think) for pot, er, I mean WACKY TOBACKY. No one says DANK MEMES anymore, I don't think. But don't trust me on memes. I am definitely not a reliable source of meme lore. Lots of proper nouns in this one, but I knew most of them, so besides "AS I AM," nothing really held me up. CHEAP SEAT looks a little silly in the singular, but I'll allow it. A very fun outing overall. See you tomorrow.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. I chatted with my friend Ben Smith about the latest "Solve the Internet" crossword puzzle (published weekly by Motherboard). Solve it here. Read my chat with Ben here.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:10 AM  

This was two different puzzles for me. The top half was very easy, the bottom half was just on the tough side of medium. WACKY TOBACKY was a hoot but it took me a long time to see it. Would Millennials or Gen Z use the term Mary Jane? Seems to me that that went out in the ‘80s...’60s...?

Plus I didn’t know IDIOLECT or the Keys album but the cross was pretty obvious.

This was a lot of fun, liked it a bunch!

Unknown 1:48 AM  

FYI "dank memes" is still a very current in-the-language term on the internets.

Cory Calhoun 1:56 AM  

DANK MEMES are going strong and still a thing, FWIW!

Larry Gilstrap 2:10 AM  

Saturday is supposed to be tough and this took some time, for sure. Things I hadn't seen: APHERESIS, PHENOLS, ELENA Delle Donne, and DANK associated with MEMES. You have to hope for fair crosses, so nice puzzle.

Oxymoronic term of the day might be for-profit school.

I knew of Bud SELIG because of my baseball connection. The Steroid Era TAINTS the sport's legacy, especially some of the big names who have fallen into ignominy.

Foolishly, stormed out of the house when WHALE OIL was my answer for 15A. The discovery of petroleum in Pennsylvania killed the Yankee whaling industry, don't you know? Some folks might say that was a good thing for the whales. I'd be willing to bet that SHALE OIL has indirectly killed more whales than six guys in 25' boats. "I have met the enemy and he is us," WALT Kelly.

Sue T. 2:12 AM  

There's a popular podcast called "Jordan Jesse Go!" where the hosts often discuss DANK MEMES in a fairly sarcastic way, so I knew that one. But MESS BOY? Ugh. Also, I initially put NAVES at 42A instead of APSES, which gave me some trouble in the SW corner. I need to brush up on my church terminology.

Mike in Mountain View 2:38 AM  

Bottom left corner took me longer than the rest of the puzzle combined. Tried monoLECT first, then tried SWIgS (for a pub crawl, which is much more fun than the swimming stroke crawl), which gave me legLOCKS before ARMLOCKS, and I had heWN before SAWN. If only I could have seen earlier that P___E was PADRE, I could have saved myself a lot of frustration.

I've never heard of DANKMEMES. I wanted DArKMEMES like in the dark web, but TAINTS had to be right.

I've never seen Hamilton, so it took awhile to see LAFAYETTE.

APHERESIS was familiar, though.

Good puzzle. Thanks, Ryan, and congratulations on your wedding.

Kell 2:46 AM  

I can confirm that "dank meme" is very much in the internet's vocabulary to this day, and almost every person I know (college), especially those who frequent Reddit, are aware of the term. It's frighteningly current, actually. I love it.

Unknown 4:06 AM  

DNF for me thanks to my lack of Alicia Keys knowledge. A lot of arcana in this puzzle, but I guess that's what Saturdays are supposed to be....

Anonymous 5:24 AM  

MAYAS is so not OK. The MAYA people, or the MAYANS, sure, but nobody says MAYAS.

Hungry Mother 5:52 AM  

Three errors, but I got some satisfaction from the ones that I got. Since I was in Vietnam in February, I should have remembered PHO, but didn’t. I went to a museum that featured Goya, but didn’t get MAJA.

JJ 5:55 AM  

I was left with W_CKYTO__CKY and THATS SO NOT ME. Even though I knew it had to do with Marijuana, I still wanted OYS instead of AYS. I spent twice the time it took Rex to do the puzzle just sorting that out through trial and error. Had I done this on paper I would definitely have a DNF. Other than that, I thought there was a lot of very clever cluing, which is what I usually enjoy the most when solving. GO TIGERS.

sf27shirley 6:02 AM  

Can someone explain 23D?

Lewis 6:16 AM  

@rex -- Funny how tastes differ. AS A SET bothers me not a bit.

I think someone here tracks this -- is 15 plurals in a puzzle a lot or average?

ATOM ANT made me smile. Can anyone remember his six-word catchphrase? Don't spoil it for anyone by writing it here, though. It's certainly Googlable.

I cobbled this fun and lively puzzle together with crossword chops that I've come to rely on over the years, namely:
* The Covert Cache, that dark area in my brain hoarding memories of words I've long forgotten. I trust this abyss to throw me a bone or two, especially in a higher-difficulty puzzle. Today it bequeathed MAJA and PHENOLS.
* Catchall City, a hodgepodge drawer in my brain cluttered with bits and pieces of words. This messy moraine kindly gave me the ESIS of APHERESIS and, at separate times, both halves of IDIOLECT.

Brett 6:52 AM  

The southwest corner gave me some trouble, but good puzzle.
MAYAS (usage of plural aside) may also be problematic in that the clue says “Early people”. While it is true that the Mayans who used the base 20 system are in the past, Mayans are a current people. This would be like cluing NORWEGIANS as “Early people who plundered in ships”, or ITALIANS as “Early people who worshiped Jupiter”.

QuasiMojo 7:11 AM  

I hope Rex is right that no one says "dank memes" anymore (alTHO I see from the comments that he may be wrong...) Such an ugly expression. But does anyone really say BREAD anymore for money? And this whole let's use dated American slang to describe foreign money thing is dreadfully tired.

Alicia Keys did me in. I had to google her in order to finish as I was thinking BUSS BOY (even if spelled oddly, although not that uncommon) was going to be right. Which reminds me there is a sign at the local Salvation Army near me that says NO TRESSPASSING. It always makes me thing of a group of women passing their hair extensions to each other at a wig party.

I was certain MONOLECT was the only possible choice other than perhaps AUTOLECT. Never heard of IDIOLECT. Count me among the SWIGS crew at the pub crawl although for a moment there I thought it might be SHIMS as in some move you'd do during one of those awful LINE dances.

Last time I was on Broadway I attempted to buy a ticket for Hamilton and found one that was $250 for "limited view." I decided I should spend that money instead by taking a friend to lunch at La Grenouille.

Trombone Tom 7:13 AM  

Wow! Ryan's puzzle captures some au courant expressions. On the other hand, Mary Jane seems a little dated.

I have no clue about DANKMEMES, but got the MEMES and the crosses gave me the first part. That SE corner was a bear and last to fall.

Great clue for SWIMS.

For me this was clever and challenging, just right for Saturday.

Jamie C 7:28 AM  

"AYS" are cries of despair?! Oy.

John H 7:44 AM  

I thought he Benjamite/ITT cross was a bit of a natick. Never heard of either, so I had an "N" at the crossing, which seemed to make sense. I agree that this was a good run, though,

Small Town Blogger 7:49 AM  

For Mary Jane I think of the cute girl’s shoe with a strap and rounded toe, so when I had the “w” and “k” I started along the lines of “walking shoes” or something like that. Took me forever to figure that one out!

ncmathsadist 7:52 AM  

MESS BOY sounds like a Jim Crow relic to me.

Birchbark 7:56 AM  

I sort of wanted PHENOLS to cross DANK MEMES. Or at least some sort of pine-scented aerosol to deal with the situation.

@Larry Gilstrap (2:10), interesting wHALE/SHALE musings.

In the steam-engine-pioneer department, Robert Fulton, who doesn't fit, was my first choice in place of JAMES WATT. Edward Somerset, Marquis of Worcester, also doesn't fit. Earlier this week, I picked up a copy of Somerset's "Century of the names and scantlings of such inventions ..." (1767). True to its title, it is a catalog of amazing inventions and secret codes, half of which are in the entertaining-but-preposterous category. But it does describe the earliest prototype of a steam engine, which Somerset calls "an admirable and most forceful way of driving up water by fire." A similar "engine for raising water by fire" played sort of a poignant role at the end of Neal Stephenson's great trilogy of historical fiction, "The System of the World." Then there're all those great old Deere tractors at the state fair, with their cheerful percussive rhythms. It's a good thing, harnessed steam.

Wm. C. 8:02 AM  

@sf27shirley --

"Bonne Chance" is French for "Good Luck."

Seth 8:08 AM  

I finished with a mistake: IDIaLECT and PHENaLS. Both seemed totally plausible. I didn't know IDIOLECT, so I thought it was like I-DIALECT. Which fits the clue perfectly. That's what it should be called in real life, in my opinion.

Carola 8:14 AM  

@Jamie C 7:28, I echo your comment! That one sank my ship.

I agree with @Rex on "easy"....except that I DNF (see above). I suffered a vowel crisis where both A and O had to be both right and wrong...and I ended up wrong with oY and DoNK. Me and MEMES - I'm so out of it.

Interesting about the stripping quality of APHERESIS; I only knew plasmaPHERESIS and was surprised that it had a linguistic relative

Same reaction to 1A: "Please don't let it be ABLARE!". THAT"S SO NOT OK! But so much else to like. Favorite light bulb moment: finally understanding MESS BOY. Tiny treat: ASKS TO. Most erased: UNwinD, UNrOLl, UNFOLD. Liked the MAYA MAJA echo.


Loose Dirt Laura Miller 8:15 AM  

That's my uncle Freddie playing James Watt.

GlenLakeSolver 8:28 AM  

23D: “bonne chance” is “good luck” in French

Anonymous 8:32 AM  

plural noun: MAYAS

a member of an American Indian people of Yucatán and adjacent areas.
the Mayan language of the Maya.

Phipps44 8:36 AM  

love it!

Anonymous 8:40 AM  

The key is IDIO
combining form
prefix: idio-

distinct; private; personal; own.

Patri15 8:55 AM  

bonne chance-- french for good luck

Anonymous 9:35 AM  

You would lose that bet. Whales were hunted to near extinction by six-guy boats.

pabloinnh 9:43 AM  

Liked seeing "AYS", as in ay ay ay ay, canta no llores, and ay ay ay and the common Spanish expression "Ay de mi (Woe is me, and I know the mi needs an accent, and if I ever figure out how to do that I will). I think it's a little stronger and more sorrowful than its cousin OY.

Learned "dank memes" and I'm sure it's the last time I'll ever see or hear it again. My only complaint about this Saturday gem is that it was over too soon.

Carl Holtz 9:45 AM  

Sorrowful cries ays? How about oys

David 9:46 AM  

I had problems with this one. Why is a little known fact a bit of fun trivia? Is the fact that a WATT is a unit of power equal to 1 joule per second fun? Wacky Tobacky??? Really? Nobody I know ever said that. And Net Surf? Maybe in the early 70s, when I was introduced to computers and we leased time on arpanet, but since the 90s it's been Web Surf. Likewise Dank Memes; must be some snapchat phrase, gone as soon as it appeared.

Pretty easy solve, but not a lot of fun for me. Tastes differ.

Z 9:54 AM  

Yep, 80% easy and then there is the tricksy SW corner. APSES or naveS? Tricksy use of “crawl.” An Album title. “Cut” is past tense clue for an answer with an irregular past tense construction. And then there’s the MESS BOY mess. I started with -LECT and lightly wrote in IDeOLECT thinking, “no, THAT’S NOT OK.” I drudged up PHENOLS which didn’t help with the APSES/navES question, but did suggest some sort of LOCKS. Tried ARM, which left -IAM. I tried AS I AM/APSES which flipped the switch on for PADRE. Then I ran the alphabet all the way to W and finally saw SAWN, fixed the e to I to make SWIM/IDIOLECT and was done. Not quite as long as the rest of the puzzle, but that corner came close.

@Anon5:24 - I’d go with MAYAnS, too, but there’s always somebody.

@Brett - True. And that clue does clang a little. OTOH, You’re alternate clue suggestions for Italians seems Saturdayish to me.

@QuasiMojo - a buss boy would be someone else entirely.

Nancy 10:17 AM  

No, Ryan, a LITTLE KNOWN FACT is not a "fun" bit of trivia. Not when dozens of them are strewn, WACKY TO BACKY across the grid, ARM LOCKing with one other and causing Naticks galore everywhere. Even if I'd even once heard of WACKY TOBACKY or DANK MEMES or the two or three other things in this puzzle that are not PPP.

But you knew that ahead of time, didn't you Ryan? Your LITTLE KNOWN FACT was a dare, wasn't it, Ryan? I'm going to fill every nook and cranny with names and other arcane trivia you never, ever heard of and you can't stop me. Will S. could have, of course, but guess what -- he didn't. THAT'S SO NOT OK, Ryan.

I didn't try to finish this. There's a glorious day outside, all a-TWINKLE through my window -- the first such day in almost two weeks. I decided not to waste another nanosecond struggling with even one more LITTLE KNOWN FACT. I leave that to the people who like this sort of thing. And they do exist -- always to my immense surprise.

Bob Mills 10:20 AM  

Just when I thought I'd aced this hard puzzle, there was "AYS" instead of "OYS" for "sorrowful cries." Has anyone ever cried, "AY!" Anyway, I gave myself an A-minus.

r.alphbunker 10:29 AM  

@Jamie C 7:28 Exactly. I went with WoCKYTABACKY because I could not believe that {Sorrowful cries} were AYS. Otherwise a very satisfying solve.

Took a while to get 7D

Details are here

JC66 10:35 AM  
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JC66 10:37 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
BarbieBarbie 10:38 AM  

Tiger! Tiger! Tiger!
Sis! Sis! Sis!
Boom boom boom BAH!
Ryan’s wedding! Ryan’s wedding! Ryan’s wedding!

Really crunchy, double-entendre-ful, fun puzzle. Loved PADRE with ASIAM, ASASET, and even HEGOATS on this special day. Thanks and more please.

TubaDon 10:44 AM  

     Hard for me, since there was a lot of cant I never heard of, i.e. DANK... APHERESIS, ASIAM, ITT, etc. Luckily I was able to KEEP IT TOGETHER long enough to guess those LITTLE KNOWN FACTs from crosses. I don't know how Rex even types in almost 200 letters in 6 minutes let alone the correct ones, but I applaud him heartily for quoting the Johnny Carson skit which I had somehow never seen. Congrats to Ryan for including a WNBA star instead of the overhyped NBA jocks.

JC66 10:46 AM  

Ay! Caramba!

I knew it had to be WACKYTOBACKY, but as an old Jew, I couldn't believe AYS for sorrowful cries.

Norm 10:53 AM  

ELENA crossing BUSTA? I'm supposed to know WNBA players AND rappers, now? Even on a Saturday, not in my world. MALIK crossing ITT [clued as obscurely as possibly]? I call two Natick fouls, which equals a red card, and this puzzle has to go the locker room.

Gwinns 10:59 AM  

Lots of fun stuff, but not a fan of the SW at all.

I had nothing west of PHENOLS, so...
Had ___ES which could be NAVES or APSES
Then had ____LECT, on top of ___LOCKS on top of ___BOY, all of which could have been absolutely anything.

Finally had to use a Google ticket and look up the Alicia Keys album.

mathgent 11:07 AM  

Liked it a lot. Got a big kick out of WACKYTOBACKY.

Also enjoyed the Johnny Carson spoof of Reagan.

The Mayans had a positional number system just as we do but theirs was based on twenty not ten. Presumeably, they counted on fingers and toes. A base-twenty positional number system requires twenty digits, zero to nineteen. But the Mayans didn't use twenty different characters, they used three characters in different patterns. The three symbols were an oval (representing zero), a dot, and a dash. A dot represented one, a dash represented five, and the other digits were combinations of these two. For example, the digit for thirteen was two dashes, one on top of the other, with three dots sitting on them.

Banana Diaquiri 11:08 AM  

last time I checked Nantucket, long ago home to whalers who decimated them, has become an isle of the idle rich (gated by the Atlantic), leaving year-rounders in a bad way: http://n-magazine.com/hungry-homeless-on-nantucket/
“When part of the community suffers, in one form or another, it impacts the entire community,” says Margaretta Andrews. “This is a problem the island cannot afford to overlook.”

while I've not been able to find a link, I was on the Cape some years ago, talking with locals who said that Nantucket service workers were left to commute from the Cape, mostly Hyannis. the rich really are different.

the whales' revenge.

RooMonster 11:13 AM  

Hey All !
@Nancys reparsing of WACKY TO BACKY is awesome!

Tough SatPuz here. That DANK MEMES was a LITTLE KNOWN FACT here. Heard of MEMES, sure, but DANK ones? News TO ME. My downfall was NW corner. Parousing (sp?) through the comments, seems I'm the only one stuck up there.

Nice misdirect at SHALE OIL, had SHeLl OIL. SluGS-SWIGS, oYS-AYS, MAYAn-MAYAS, and BONNE (along with NIN which seems obvious in retrospect) was a cheat. :-)

Liked all the long answers in this sorta funky grid.


'mericans in Paris 11:21 AM  

I'm in awe of those who truly finished this puzzle, with no Googles, no reveals, in anything under an hour. This was a team effort, with Mrs. 'mericans, and still it took us in total two hours, and I had to Google BUSTA. Also got a "there's a mistake" message from the iPad, which turn out to be the "K" at the end of 7D. THATS SO NOT On would seem to make as much sense as ... NOT OK, at least in my world.

For us, the two halves were east and west. The east we got pretty quickly, BUSTA notwithstanding, but it took us awhile to get the answers straight in the S.E., where I had at first entered "AS sets" before Mrs. miP corrected it.

I entered "steward" before MESS BOY. In answer to @John Morrison 7:52 AM, who writes that "MESS BOY sounds like a Jim Crow relic to me." I doubt it. I wasn't able to find a clear etymology, but a lot of these terms have old, British nautical roots. Until rather recently, a lot of boys, of all races, found jobs at sea, and if they were young they often found jobs that demanded less skill or were less dangerous than ones taken by older men.

Also wanted monOLECT, but finally got IDIOLECT. I thought of @LMS when I entered that one.

Completely off-topic, but for those of you who find football (i.e., soccer) to be boring, you should have seen the two World Cup quarter-final games that took place yesterday: France vs. Uruguay and Belgium vs. Brazil. The latter was super exciting, and an upset. This World Cup will be the first in a long time in which no Latin American or African team has made it to the semi-finals.

Coming up on Tuesday: Belgium vs. France. BONNE chance à tous les deux!

Suzie Q 11:25 AM  

Yesterday I was on track but today I fell off the rails.
Back in the '70s my boyfriend's father said Wacky Tobacky and thought he was so cool and funny (in his leisure suit).

Banana Diaquiri 11:41 AM  

@'mericans in Paris:
football (i.e., soccer) to be boring

well, 89 minutes and 55 seconds of kicking a ball back and forth to no effect with 5 seconds to make a goal might have something to do with it. Real Red Blooded American sports are non-stop scoring. well, may be not so much for baseball. but that was imported from England, aka rounders, so explains it. nobody but old white guys in the empty states watches any more :)

Jim Lemire 11:45 AM  

I liked this a lot. Of course I made it hard on myself by slapping in BLARED for 1A instead of ABLARE. Obviously that gave me fits for the downs, so I moved on, returning to the NW at the end. Erasing my original answer entirely proved to be key. Hubris does me in every time. I should have learned more from all that ancient Greek literature I read in school!

GILL I. 11:47 AM  

Loved it...hated it...loved it...hated it.
Had to Google ABU MALIK ASIAM. Had to, otherwise I could not get started in the left coast.
Meandered over to the right and TWINKLE little star helped me. ELENA was a guess at 13D. BONNE was last to go in at that section.
Hated the trivia names but I amused myself for getting SELIG even though I know nothing of baseball.
Loved all the long ones. Mary Jane was a pair of red shoes my mom bought me. I also had a black pair. Turns out this is about pot that was called WACKY TOBACKY back in the 70's or so.
AY Dios Mio. said in a Spanish wail. Hi @pablo...
Hated trying to come up with DANK MEMES. Loved that I got it
Do you think @Aketi will get ARM LOCKS?
Anyone else think NOSE BLEED for 30D?
MAYAS does look all wrong. Could have clued it as Angelou wannabes.
Great Sat. Ryan. Had me sweating a bunch but I learned IDIOLECT and APHERESIS and I most likely will never use those words in my lifetime but thank you anyway.

Bree140 11:58 AM  

Could just as easily have been THATISSONOTON
and DANNMEME, as far as I'm concerned. The
paradigm of a Natick, in my book.

'mericans in Paris 12:38 PM  

@Banana: non-stop scoring? In baseball? In ice hockey? OK, the scores in a hockey game a slightly on average more than in a typical soccer match, but the France-Argentina game was won 4-3.

I've watched both basketball and handball (not an American sport), and for me there is too much scoring in both. Back and forth, back and forth. Also, at least with soccer matches one gets 45 minutes of uninterrupted play.

A lot of the enjoyment of watching any sport comes in understanding its subtleties. I get a kick out of watching a beautifully executed mid-field pass, or a bicycle kick near the goal, followed by a great save by the goalkeeper -- even if it results in no goal -- because I know how hard these feats can be.

Masked and Anonymous 12:47 PM  

Wow. Average word length of: 6.0. xwordinfo.chen Freshness Factor percentile = 98.5. M&A Tougher Than Snot percentile = 101.2.

Learned lotsa new stuff: MESSBOY. MALIK. BENJAMITE. DANKMEMES. APHERESIS. ELENA Delle Donne. Enough tough longball stuff to siphon off lotsa precious nanoseconds.

THATS SNOT OK cross: MALIK/ITT. M&A went with the famous AT&T Tech & MALaK. Sooo … lost precious ACPT bonus points.

staff weeject pick: AYS. Guessed this one right (yo, @r.alph). Better clue: {Preceded by a runt-roll from above: "We have ___ to make you cry sorrowfully!"}. Primo central weeject wrow of ITT-ALY-NIN-PHO, btw. Good to see em get all that out of their system, in one huge horizontal slash. Sorta rhymes with ITALY NYMPHO, too boot.

Thanx for the mighty feisty fun, Mr. McCarty.

Masked & AnonymoUUs

Lewis 1:03 PM  

@nancy -- That was one witty/funny post!

Outside The Box 1:04 PM  

That was my answer at first!

Mohair Sam 1:13 PM  

We liked it, dnf'd 'cause we forgot "P"ho and APHERESIS is new to us. Otherwise it was an easy Saturday.

ELENA Delle Donne is in your dictionary under "Class Act". Google her to learn how much she has sacrificed to stay close to her family and especially her older sister Lizzie who has cerebral palsy and autism and was born blind and deaf. It's a love story between the two of them.

@Banana (11:41):
Soccer is too low scoring
Baseball is too slow
Football is too dangerous
Ice hockey puck is too hard to follow
Basketball is too high scoring
Tennis depends too much on the serve
Bowling involves too much beer


Banana Diaquiri 1:16 PM  

@'mericans in Paris:
non-stop scoring? In baseball?

as I said: may be not so much for baseball.

hockey is futbol on ice, fur shur. it's just way, way faster. and, in bygone days; "I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out". except for the Stanley Cup games, it barely registers on the TeeVee. I do watch those games just because it's 99.99% hockey and .01% nonsense.

it's interesting, may be, to note that attendance and viewing of NASCAR, hockey, and NFL have declined as rules changes have been implemented to reduce the non-competitive violence in them. the old white guys in empty states want to blame kneeling, but interest began to flag long before that, in step with making them "softer". it's no longer allowed to ring the running back's bell just for the hell of it. and so on. the Walter Mittys know they're rock hard warriors and would do a better job under the old rules.

Larry Gilstrap 1:22 PM  

Gonna double down on what was a sucker bet. More whales were killed in one year in the 1960s than in the 19th century. Huge factory processing ships, diesel powered whalers, electronic detection devices, and exploding harpoons facilitated the killing of millions of majestic, highly evolved mammals for cat food, among other cheap sources of protein products.

Before petroleum processing technology, the world was often a dark place and clean burning, reliable sources of light were hard to come by. Sperm whale oil still is the best. Bone and ivory were needed for implements later made of plastic.

Finally, the degradation of the world's oceans has resulted in a polluted, noisy, threatening environment for all sea life, including the great whales.

Save the whales! We share their plight.

jberg 1:28 PM  

I was with @Bree140 --THAT IS SO NOT On sounded just right for me, and DANn could have been the person who first made one of those memes; who knew? But anyway, DNF because I had to look up AS I AM. I just couldn't see the possibility that "cut" in the clue for 47A was a past participle. AS I AM let me see all those things, including changing IDeOLECT to IDIO... But I never figured out the DANK thing.

But where's @Loren? I saw APHERESIS (well, I saw it after I had most of the crosses), I thought she must be in heaven.

Stanley Hudson 2:01 PM  

Back in the 70s George Carlin did a great bit on Maryjane. The upshot was that nobody who actually smoked weed ever called it “maryjane.”

OISK 2:17 PM  

First DNF for me in over a month. Never heard of Dank memes, and like some others, ended up with Dann. But DANK sounds better, had I the sense to change "not on" to "Not OK." So it was solvable. Similarly, I had BHO instead of PHO - haven't had Vietnamese food in a long time. But ABHERESIS ? I should have tried every letter. Some Naticks are discernible, and both of these were.
Never heard of wacky tobacky, but although I WANTED the "OY," - much more a sorrowful cry than "AY," (at least in English), "wacky" rhymes, so I got that one. Also didn't know the cross of Malik with INT (tech), and could just as well have used "Malek" with "ENT." Have no idea who Zayn Malik is.

So I "hit" on two out of four guesses, which is a good batting average, but not good solving. Elena Delle Donne??? But fortunately, Busta Rhymes (???) has appeared before.

Saturdays should be difficult, but I prefer clever cluing (and there was much of that) to obscure references, so I would not have loved this puzzle even had I solved correctly. TWO MISSES! OY!

Odd Sock 2:24 PM  

Of all of the sports mentioned I like rugby better.
I know I'll hear all sorts of grief but soccer makes me laugh when I see a player crumble to the ground over a broken fingernail. Tough guys play rugby. They only seem to stop play if a body has to be dragged from the field. And then it's only if he's in the way.
OK, your turn. Tell me all the reasons I'm wrong.

Space Is Deep 3:27 PM  

MEMES, yes. DANK, no. Never heard of a DANK MEME.

Lindsay 3:46 PM  

I'm going to need to brush up on sports/athletes and musicians/song titles if I'm ever going to get good at these things. Had some version of 'saddle shoe' for Mary Jane, then could only see Wacky To Backy (@Nancy), and thought it had something to do with the front and back of the shoe not matching the middle. Oy. Ay? Nope.

'mericans in Paris 4:07 PM  

@Old Sock: I agree about rugby. Difficult to figure out the rules just by watching, but if you have somebody nearby to explain what is going on, it can be very exciting.

I had the rare privilege of watching the France-NZ final in the 2011 Rugby World Cup, in the NZ Embassy in Brussels (on TV), and it was super suspenseful till the very end. My main complaint is that when the players are all bunched together and the ref stops play, it can be hard from the stands to see what caused the stoppage.

Z 4:42 PM  

@jberg - Maine
@QuasiMojo - You replied on the wrong day. Also, I was making a lame joke about “buss” as in “kiss.”
@Stanley Hudson - There’s always somebody. In west Michigan in the 1970’s it was fairly common slang.

@‘mericans - I don’t think that was much of an upset. Brazil’s high regard was as much about past performance as anything this particular team had done on the pitch.

@banana - Har. The most watched sport in America has about 11 minutes of action in a game. Give me baseball or soccer over American football any day.

@Odd Sock - I will only say this - we occasionally get players from other sports who pick up Ultimate. Cross country runners and soccer players do great. Rugby players just can’t handle all the running. So I guess it comes down to what you mean by “tough.”

QuasiMojo 6:23 PM  

@Z, thanks man! I hope someone finds it. lol

Norm 6:41 PM  

@Z : You haven't met rugby players; just folks who couldn't handle rugby and decided to try a game without tackling. Have you ever seen a rugby match? Here's a tip if you think they don't run enough. Look for 7s.

@Odd Sock : You're not wrong. I wish the men played football the way the women do. Stay on your effing feet as long as you can and don't try to pretend you've been maimed. Yeah, I'm talking about you, Mbappe [but I'm still looking forward to France-Belgium on Tuesday].

Z 6:58 PM  

@Norm - Trust me when I say rugby players can’t hang with Ultimate players in an Ultimate game. Rugby is a lot more about power, less about the kind of acceleration, sprinting, and deceleration that happens in Ultimate. Rugby players who have no problem playing an entire match start playing rec ultimate and are the first players with hands on knees and needing to sub out every other point. Of course, most ultimate players wouldn’t be of any use in a rugby match, either.

JC66 7:37 PM  

As a neophyte, I wonder why: If they can get rid of the "gratuitous" fighting in Olympic Hockey, why can't the get rid of "gratuitous" diving in World Cup Football (Soccer)?

Banana Diaquiri 8:34 PM  


until I watched Stanley Cup a few years ago, I was convinced that basketball players were the most fit. nope. hockey takes the cake. a forward's shift lasts about 90 seconds. that's like running 10 100 meter dashes back to back. wearing about 15 lbs. of gear.

Aketi 8:39 PM  

@Gill I, Haha, one of my faves.

Hong Kong 7 9:14 PM  

Thanks Norm. I was just going to throw my Sevens in. You were quicker off the scrum

Maruchka 9:15 PM  

This may have been stated already (comments skimmed due to tired eyes) but - WHERE'S POGO? I mean, any WALT Kelly reference should include Pogo and his swamp buddies, right? Swamp politics live on, exponentially. A great American politico/socio/comic strip. Thanks, Mr. Kelly.

Nancy 9:21 PM  

Just got back from a gorgeous day in the park and a UWS al fresco dinner, so I didn't have a chance to read the blog since mid-morning. But thanks to @Roo and to @Lewis for your nice compliments.

kitshef 10:45 PM  

Remarkable the lack of overlap between me and Rex today. JAMES WATT was my entry to the grid. And the section that took me almost to the brink was the NW with not one but two Hamilton clues.


Lots and lots of trivia (LITTLE KNOWN? – yes; fun? – no). Yet the whole thing came together unusually quickly for a Saturday, so definitely fair.

spacecraft 12:24 PM  

DNF, surprisingly on only two squares. TALKTOME about your LITTLEKNOWNFACTS! I have no idea what 48 across might be; needed every cross. Got all but one. I know "THAT'S SO NOT it," but BII made no sense, so I thought it could be THATSSONOTOn. As in, boy, is that off! NOTOK just never occurred. It should've, but it didn't. And DANnMEMES made every bit of [non]sense to me as DANKMEMES.

The other square was IDIaLECT, because I bought into the "dialect" thing and thought, okay, an "I" dialect would fit the idea. Heard of PHENOLS and not PHENaLS, but I flunked organic chem, so anything was possible. If I had just put an O in there and read across, I'd have seen it. But I didn't.

In a way, I'm almost glad for the DNF, because I really disliked this puzzle. Crammed with PPPs, it offered little help. Consider the clue for ELENA. Who but a dedicated WNBA fan would know this? There are so many--I'm not saying Kagan, that would be a good Tuesday clue. But there are dozens...ELENA Kosimova, for one. At least she's DOD gorgeous.

Burma Shave 2:01 PM  


WACKYTOBACKY makes you a MESS,BOY, so don't TALKTOME that way,


BS2 2:08 PM  


A LITTLEKNOWNFACT about the IDIOLECT of that brainiac:
She KEEPSITTOGETHER by saying she's a NIN PHO maniac.


5wksltr 2:12 PM  

A grim puzzle for grim solvers. Anybody detect any playfulness in today's puzzle or commentary? Me neither.

rondo 2:35 PM  

Who'd have thunk that the combo platter of JAMESWATT and BUSTA Rhymes and yeah baby ELENA Delle would come to the rescue? All gimmes to get me started. THO the W was harder than the E. Almost went with THATSnOtOkay, but held off until crosses made it OK.


2d almost sounds down-under: She just smiled and gave me a BENJAMITE sandwich.

Another athlete, ALY Raisman, looks good in a SI SWIMSuit. Yeah baby.

I liked this puz, it stretched me almost to the LIMIT.

rainforest 3:46 PM  

With trepidation after I had filled the grid I went to the blog and was pleasantly surprised that everything was correct. Talk about your @Spacey "triumph factor" there.

There certainly was much obscure PPP, but sheer grit and some sensible crosses got the job done. I haven't seen Hamilton, and may never, given the ticket prices, but once I got ABLARE, LAFAYETTE was almost obvious.

Never heard of ITT TECH, but the answer made a certain sense. DANK MEMES, no but it had to be art DECO.

The puzzle kept me interested throughout. Nice workout.

Diana,LIW 5:21 PM  

I'm with @Spacey - dnf and not at all perburbed.

This puz had its own IDIOLECT, from ABLARE on down. One of those "guess what I'm thinking?" puzzles - tho I did easily get the long answers.

And the PPP? Pppplease…

See ya Sunday

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

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