Style of Southern hip-hop / SAT 7-14-18 / Banana Republic's parent company / Symbol of change in math / City license once needed to work in establishment serving alcohol / Ancient city rediscovered in 1870 / Home to ancient Zapotec civilization / Strain of potent marijuana

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Constructor: Kameron Austin Collins

Relative difficulty: Medium (8:16) (possibly easier: one possibly idiosyncratic mistake made a Huge difference today) (possibly harder, if your knowledge of rap or weed is not strong, or at least existent)

THEME: none

Word of the Day: CRUNK (34D: Style of Southern hip-hop)
Crunk is a subgenre of hip hop music that emerged in the early 1990s and gained mainstream success during the mid 2000s. Crunk is often up-tempo and one of Southern hip hop's more dance and club oriented subgenres. An archetypal crunk track frequently uses a main groove consisting of layered keyboard synths, a drum machine rhythm, heavy basslines, and shouting vocals, often in a call and response manner. The term "crunk" is also used as a blanket term to denote any style of Southern hip hop, a side effect of the genre's breakthrough to the mainstream. The word derives from its African-American slang past-participle form, "crunk", of the verb "to crank" (as in the phrase "crank up"). (wikipedia)
• • •

What a lovely puzzle. Or, for me, five puzzles, because all five sections (the corners + the fat middle) played differently from one another. Easy, medium, hard (both inherently hard and hard-because-of-error)—this thing ran the gamut. In the end, my time was just average, but it felt like I was one kind-of-dumb mistake away from lighting it up, burning it down. After fighting my way out of the NW (ARRIS!? APSIS?! Yikes; NTESTS, ugh), I thought I'd come storming down into the middle, but after I gave up on STIP-something and wrote in STROBE LIGHT at 14D: Party flasher, things came to a halt right quick. Wrote in GNARL at 31A: Get all twisted up (RAVEL) and that pretty much killed things in the middle for a while. Then I lucked out: I knew CRUNK. CRUNK feels like a crucial answer, and a serious generational dividing line. If you know enough about rap to know subgenres, well, here's not just the answer, but a very very important "K," the lead letter in 48A: Term of respect in old westerns ... so, effectively, here is the entire SE corner, on a platter. No CRUNK, no korner. I would've been baffled by the [Term of respect...] if not for that "K," but with (only) the "K," I got KEMO SABE and the SW corner went down in sub-Monday time. Not kidding. I remember nothing. It filled itself in. Didn't even see half the clues. Total fire hazard, that corner. Whoosh. So at that point, my experience was Medium (NW), gruesome (middle), and Kids' Menu Easy (SE). Onward!

Even with the top and bottom of MORAL CENTER, still couldn't see it at first (21D: Source of guiding principles). So, two corners down, (amoral) center still elusive. Went into the NE corner very confident. Had that sweet DOT sitting there, giving me first letters of all those Acrosses. And boom there goes DISBAR, boom there goes ON TIME, bo ... bi ... er ... hmm, what "parent company" could start with a "T"? Better check the Downs ... hmmm, OK 11D: Like valentines, starts "AM-" ... how 'bout AMOROUS!? Oh yeah, now we're cooking (narrator's voice: he was not cooking). I just got destroyed up there, and all because of two answers. 8D: Like the best streams? (IN HD). This is a horrible clue, mostly because, as a "?" clue, it offers actually no "?"-type wordplay. No familiar phrase, no pun. Streaming is a real thing, streams are real things (video-wise, I mean), so there's no real "?"-worthiness. And the phrasing on the clue evokes ... nothing. So I'm looking for a word that goes with the word "stream," four letters, starts "IN-." Nothing. Same parsing problem on the "parent company." Not expecting two words. Possibly because everyone knows the store as GAP. It's officially THE GAP, but first sentence of damn wikipedia entry (which is titled "Gap Inc." btw) says, "The Gap, Inc., commonly known as Gap Inc. or Gap, (stylized as GAP) is an American worldwide clothing and accessories retailer" (emph mine). So, staring down a six-letter answer that starts with "T" that is a "parent company," I went with ... can you guess?  ... that's right, TARGET! Oy. I never made it out of there. Had to finish center and work my way back up (via back ends of STEEL CAGE and AMATORY). 

How did I manage to tip the center with no further help from the corners? Honestly, it was just CAVER (28D: Speleologist). Once I committed to that answer, GNARL went out, RAVEL went in. Then, knowing 31D: Give up probably started RE- (it did: RENOUNCE), I had the E, E, and -IC in GENETIC and I saw it! Match, meet newspaper. Once again, whoosh. There went the center. It was that easy. But only after it was that difficult. Finished up in the SW, thanks to getting GERMANE instantly, off the "G" (33D: Material), and also thanks to having recently looked up KUSH for some reason. That is, I knew it was  pot, but needed specifics. I forget why. I don't even smoke. I just wanted to know. Anyway, bone up on your pot and rap terminology if you want to have a future in solving. Not joking. OK, bye.
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

    P.S. there was hardly any junk in this grid, and what little there was was Saved By Rhyme (SBR). When your fill is slime, try a rhyme! Need AMUCK? Bring in a duck! Stuck with ARRIS? You'll always have Paris! Etc.

    P.P.S. some puzzle suggestions for you Saturday solvers. Peter Broda has a suite of Vowelless Crossword Puzzles available right now (ed. Andy Kravis). Vowelless crosswords are a really entertaining, and tough, variation on your favorite pastime. Seven puzzles, pay what you want. Get them here. Also, be sure to check out this past week's American Values Crossword second puzzle, a "labyrinth-style puzzle" by Francis Heaney, entitled "The Maze Ruiner." If you're not already a subscriber, just pay the $1 and get it a la carte. I promise you, you'll be wowed. It might take you half and hour, or an hour, or a day, or longer, but It Is Worth It. Really impressive work. Very clipboard-worthy. Get it here.

    [Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


    QuasiMojo 8:09 AM  

    Loved it. Took a while to find a foothold but once in I was like a CAVER listening IN HD to RAVEL. No junk in this CRUNK. Having read the Paul Gallico novel and seen the Angela Lansbury movie set in Paris, I felt like Maris hitting a homer, and found me some joy in throwing in TROY.

    Nancy 8:27 AM  

    OH BABY was this tough! I feel absolutely brilliant in having solved it. Which is how a good puzzle should make you feel, right? There was little to no PPP -- always a very good thing in my book -- and yet almost nothing was anywhere near my wheelhouse.

    Never heard of a "Plain white TEE." Didn't know the marijuana. Didn't know the duck short. Didn't know the orbit extremes, though I suppose I should have. Only thought of SISKEL at first for Ebert's partner. Didn't know Mrs. ARRIS, but guessed at her with a few crosses because of the Paris rhyme. Had iOTa before MOTE at 45D.

    At first, I thought this puzzle would have a missing "DOUBLE" in the answers. That's because "Hummina, hummina" (1D) had absolutely no meaning to me, other than being a double dactyl like Higgledy piggledy. And only the word DACTYL would fit. More contemporary slang I don't know. No one has ever said "Hummina hummina" to me, ever. If they do, they'd better watch out. I'll start humming and I plain won't stop. Fair warning.

    But in spite of the "humminas", I just loved this puzzle!

    FLAC 8:32 AM  

    Can't believe I'm the first to comment. Very satisfying puzzle, just right for a Saturday. No write-overs, but it required a lot of careful thought.

    Unknown 8:35 AM  

    Great Saturday puzzle. Hard without being unfair. Loved it

    dfan 8:42 AM  

    I came here all excited to see you disqualify the puzzle based on ARRIS/APSIS alone, and you barely gave it a slap on the wrist! I don't recall ever seeing either answer. xwordinfo says the last time they appeared in the Times were 2013 and 2012 respectively.

    RJ 8:56 AM  

    @Nancy pretty much said it all for me. Very tough. Northeast corner was the first to fall, then just went around filling and changing until finally finishing. Loved CRUNK and KUSH. FAULTS instead of NTESTS and TALES instead of AMUCK. I'm at that age where "classic" can mean something from my childhood.

    Birchbark 9:18 AM  

    Off to a decent start in the center and southeast, but finished over twice my usual par for a Saturday. In the end, I consulted the "Timetables of History" to get TROY and Wikipedia to find ROEPER.

    Favorite misdirect was OAXACA. I thought Mexico immediately but didn't enter it as it seemed too broad for the clue. Then with MOXIE and RATECAP in place, meXiCo it had to be. But it wasn't. Good.

    Spent too long wondering what EGRETS have to do with "Decline."

    It's a foggy morning. The meadow is spread with black-eyed Susans, purple bee balm, and a couple of monarch butterflies.

    GILL I. 9:22 AM  

    Hummina hummina, indeed. This BABY almost did me in. Starting right off the bat with SISKEL. I'm screwed. I knew his K had nothing to do with 19A. Left the left side and the right did nothing for me as well. Went on to the center......Help
    Guessed CAVER at 28D. Didn't know speleologist but I know spelunker so that sounded close enough. CAVER opened the flood gates for me and all those 11's just slid in like those HOT greasers.
    Time for more coffee...put the crossword down...go talk to the birds...more coffee....back to puzzle!
    Come on says I....Think. OK, go back upstairs and you know it's not SISKEL...who could it be? HA, I remembered ROEPER. More flood gates opening...and so it went for me. (forgive al the .... but I get excited and sometimes the ... help).
    My only WTF was 22A. DELTA is a symbol change in math? My one and only Google and for some reason that made me mad as a wet hen. I even got KUSH and CRUNK for heaven sake. Speaking of CRUNK, I watched a little episode of Will Smith doing the SHIGGY in Budapest. That's the new dance craze and it's wild! CRUNK is pretty neat as well and takes a bit of finessing with the toes but I gotta learn me some Shiggy because that's going to appear in a puzzle - mark my word!
    So...KEMO SABE is a term of respect? I thought it was Tonto (meaning stupid in Spanish) crying out to the Lone Ranger. " KEMO SABE señor Lone....I got it under control."
    A fine Saturday puzzle, KAC. Can you pronounce OAXACA?

    Teedmn 9:23 AM  

    Small DNF in the NW - I didn't know what an APSIS was but when I guessed the P for ROEPER, I decided that the two extremes in orbit were APSeS, totally ignoring the obvious singular aspect required by 19A's clue. In fact, I was really happy to see APSeS clued with no churches in sight. Sigh. Mrs. ARReS could have gone to Paris just as easily.

    The NW took well over 1/3 of my 26 minute solve. Getting no traction there but figuring 13A would end in an S, I splatzed in STROBE LIGHT at 14D, confirmed it with CD-ROM and spread out from there. My only other writeover was at 41D where I had PaSte as "Not natural".

    Rex complains about the ? in the 8D clue. I'd like to complain about the ? in the clue for 53A. I was sure it was one of those trick answers, so VOWELS was going to be my guess but never put it in because 49D didn't look like it would end in V. PEDALS, yeah, there are three of them on a piano, no question about it.

    Tough Saturday, as Kameron Austin Collins puzzles usually are for me. Nice, KAC, thanks.

    Gretchen 9:23 AM  

    Perfect Saturday puzzle! Hard enough to take a while to solve but not impossible Loved it! I am going to look for puzzles by Kameron Collins.

    pabloinnh 9:27 AM  

    My printer is out and I have a renewed and profound respect for everyone that solves online. I tend to skip all over the place and find that hard to do without more practice with my little cursor.

    I think you have to be old enough to have seen "The Honeymooners" to recognize "hummina hummina". If anyone besides Ralph (Jackie Gleason) has ever said this, I missed it.

    Fun Saturday, and nothing to recycle.

    kitshef 9:27 AM  

    Man, that NW kicked my butt. Somehow finished, with a guess at APS_S/ARR_S.

    All but the NW done after maybe 15 minutes. Another 20 minutes to fill in the last 19 squares, which included putting in HOT RODS five times – removing it four times when the crosses would not work.

    I would guess this took me longer than any other non-Sunday that I finished without an error.

    Imfromjersey 9:28 AM  

    I was happy to see KAC's byline on the puzzle as I love his themelesses he does for the AVCX. Arris crossing Apsis was really difficult but overall I finished the puzzle in 14:17 which is good for me for a Saturday. The NW corner was the last to fall and it took me forever to see GERMANE. A fun solve!

    Mister Mxyzptlk 9:37 AM  

    “Hummina hummina,” or some version thereof, is what Ralph Kramden would utter when he was at a loss for words—caught in a lie, or in the presence of devastating beauty, for example. That was my first acquaintance with the phrase. I have since come across it occasionally in comics and sitcoms.

    Lewis 9:47 AM  

    From the moment I gazed at the gorgeous grid design to when I filled in the last square, I was transported into crossword nirvana. Yes, it is an accomplishment to fill in a 64-word grid so cleanly, but it is the art, not the mechanics, that elevated me. The simple-yet-brain-teasing cluing was elegant, with answers coming from all over the great mix of life. I trusted -- accurately, it turns out -- that when coming across an answer I didn't know, it would be fairly crossed. There was enough not-so-hard to counter what was difficult.

    And thus for these reasons and others more ineffable,I felt awe and joy through my solve, and now in the afterglow, I realize the skill and talent that went into making that happen. I'll remember this one for a long time. It is the embodiment of loveliness.

    Brian 9:51 AM  

    Turned out easy — 85% of average time. Just knew enough stuff not to get stuck.

    nyc_lo 9:56 AM  

    One of my poorest Saturday times in a long while. Would have been a solid medium but for the dreaded NW corner. Luckily I opted for the slightly less obvious ROEPER early on, which helped. But the APSIS ARRIS crossing threw me, next to my least favorite crossword natick ever, NTEST. Still, a fun, challenging Saturday puzzle.

    puzzlehoarder 10:12 AM  

    Awesome puzzle. I've never heard of "Hummina Hummina", CRUNK or APSIS. That last one is a perfect example of how skipping Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday puzzles for years, can cost you in crosswordese knowledge. This just meant I had to do some Saturday level of work to get around the unknowns.

    My best break through was when AMATORY allowed me to change 18A from TARGET to THE GAP. I never noticed the coincidence of the T and the G being located in the same spot for both chains.

    The last puzzle I remember from this constructor was just as excellent. I look forward to seeing his name again.

    Bob Mills 10:15 AM  

    Got everything except the NW. I think "ORNATE" for "really busy" is terrible. "BETS" for "picks' isn't much better, because one can pick a winner without betting money.

    Tom 10:19 AM  

    20% over my usual Saturday time. Fell into the Siskel trap and knew the K didn't work for an orbital term, but stuck with it until the NW was the last section I finally ground through.

    Really tough but very satisfying. Very tempted to Google, but managed to unRAVEL this challenge without giving in. Didn't know CRUNK or KUSH, but eventually got them through crosses. Wanted Duck Tales, then Duck Tracy, then finally AMUCK getting a couple of downs. Second toughest area. Same trouble as Rex with THE GAP. Even shop there once in a while, and even say "Let's try THE GAP, when were looking for something.

    Great Saturday challenge.

    FrankStein 10:24 AM  

    Just in case anyone is wondering or confused, it’s actually “Mrs. ‘arris” since her name is Harris and she’s Cockney. Wonderful book. She goes to New York in a sequel.

    mathgent 10:54 AM  

    Excellent! Immaculately clean and very sparkily.

    I don't remember Ralph Kramden saying "Hummina hummina!" and I saw most of The Honeymooners.

    I'm surprised that many of us didn't know ARRIS but did know KEMOSABE. The Lone Ranger rode into the sunset ages ago. "Who was that masked man?"

    Back in the fifties when I first studied calculus, the delta symbol was used to define the derivative, dy/dx. The delta symbol before x or y meant the difference in x or y values. The newer calculus books don't use it as much.

    Banana Diaquiri 11:01 AM  

    "really busy" --> rococo --> ornate

    pabloinnh 11:06 AM  

    Oye @GILL I--"tonto" always makes me smile. Have you heard of "kemo sabe" explained as (el) que no sabe? That makes me smile too.

    jae 11:06 AM  

    NW and SE easy, SW and NE on the tough medium?

    Started out with ORNATE which gave me OolAla for 1d which BEER NUTS fixed.

    Excellent CENTER and over all pretty smooth, a fine Sat., liked it a bunch!

    If you’re looking for a tough and probably not that fair puzzle I would recommend the Oct. 21, 2000 Sat. by Bob Klahn, which I encountered not that long ago on my journey through the archived Sat. puzzles. This is the same Bob Klahn whose Dec. 29, 2007 puzzle was featured in the right hand column of Rex’s blog page for a while under the title “The Wrath of Klahn”.

    Suzie Q 11:08 AM  

    Thank you Kameron. Loads of fun to go with my coffee.
    I remember when Banana Republic actually sold quality travel clothes.
    I am sure I've seen Duck Amuck growing up loving Warner Bros. cartoons. Hummina sounds like something a cartoon wolf would say as his eyes were bugging out of his face ogling some sexy girl. Oh baby!
    @ pabloinnh and others are probably right about the Honeymooners. Anyway it's a funny clue.
    I haven't smoked pot since it was $20 an oz. for Panama Red so what would I know about Kush?

    TubaDon 11:08 AM  

    Wrote in SISKEL and then erased it as rapidly because I recognized Mrs. 'ARRIS from library browsing. STROBELIGHT got me CABARET... and CAMERA... but took a while to finish those from crosses. PARR and MOXIE provided the wedge to the SE corner. Putting in FINISH at 50A was a roadblock in the Sw, and never having heard of CRUNK or KUSH I had to grind out that corner one agonizing cross after another. A tough puzzle, but the clue for TEE was rather vague.

    RooMonster 11:09 AM  

    Hey All !
    Posted yesterday, but when I hit Submit, it showed a cracked Blogger icon. Holy smokes, I broke Blogger!

    Trying again...

    Liked this puz, tough spots here and there. I actually found the South tougher than the North. Had to be somewhere this morning (Pacific time zone here, so yes, it's only 8am here) so starting with the Check and Reveal features. Unabashed cheating. Hey, someone's gotta do it. :-)

    YesterPuz was a toughie too. Two nice themlesses in a row.

    People ran AMUCK when the bar RAN OUT of BEER NUTS.

    Anonymous 11:11 AM  

    Can someone please explain "NTESTS" to me? I don't get the joke or understand the meaning, and Googling isn't helping. It's obviously something obscure because other people had trouble with it... But what does it MEAN?

    JC66 11:13 AM  


    I didn't remember hummina hummina either, but I went to youtube and AHA

    Anonymous 11:14 AM  

    Let’s go to Target, Let’s go to Banana Republic, Let’s go to THE GAP
    Where did you get that? At Target? At Banana Republic? At THE GAP?

    Try omitting the THE from GAP or adding the THE to the others. No worry It’s always been THE GAP.

    Carola 11:25 AM  

    A fun one to wrangle with. Hardest and last section for me was the NW, even though I knew 'ARRIS (the book title seemed to be on everyone's lips for a while when I was growing up). After erasing siskel, I was able to piece out the rest. OH BABY!

    Minor trouble spot: unlike@Birchbark, I wrote in meXico, given its confirming cross with MOXIE. But the O in the ensuing MOTE gave me KEMOSABE and the resulting correction to OAXACA.

    Loved CANDYCOAT, SEND REGRETS x RENOUNCE, and the parallel means of ID: CABARET CARD and GENETIC CODE.


    Side-eye for: STEEL CAGE (like, it's going to be bamboo?)

    alexscott68 11:26 AM  

    NTESTS (nuclear tests) is an abomination, as are ATESTS and HTESTS (atom and hydrogen). In a corner with APSIS and ARRIS, I felt lucky to finish this one without having to google anything. Despite CRUNK and KUSH, this puzzle seemed to skew old to me (and I’m pushing 50). Too many words/phrases that didn’t seem natural to me made it Saturday hard without enough fun aha moments. I’m looking at you, MORAL CENTER.

    Seriously, though, it’s time to retire NTESTS and all its variants, things no one outside of a crossword puzzle has ever said or written, or thought.

    RobertM 11:26 AM  

    NTESTS as in nuclear bomb tests.

    Masked and Anonymous 11:35 AM  

    yep. This SatPuz has it all. KUSH. CRUNK. STROBELIGHT. HOTRODS. BEERNUTS. TNT. rodeo.

    TONS/BEERNUTS got m&e started. Finished, a ton o beernuts later, over in that there OAXACA corner. I'd rate this pup about average difficulty, for a Saturday solvequest. Like @RP & most of y'all, M&A had to RE-ROOTs hisself a few times along the way, due to some bogus "beta" answers. Example: Duck TALES, many nanoseconds before Duck AMUCK.

    Nice sparkly grid layout. Has the jaws of themelessness x 4. Gets that shady square count back up there, where it belongs. Also admired the oh-baby-so-rare center shady square. Gives the shady square crew a rare odd count (35). Also makes the whole schmear look like a giant pinwheel or somesuch.

    Only 64 words, tho. This grid-openness trend always bodes ill for the oh-baby-so-unrespected weeject litter. inhummina inhummina. staff picks: Cross-referencin lil rascals EDU & DOT.

    Thanx for all the fun, Mr. Collins. Yer MORALCENTER was just slightly off center, this time out.

    Masked & Anonymo4Us

    p.s. Rained like all tarnation at our house, last night. Some stray pooch was huddled on the porch, and growled at my bro-in-law (and me), when we opened up the front door for him (bro-in-law) to leave, after our shock flickfest night. ["The Land Unknown" b/w "Madison County", btw.] Lotta strays still roamin around these parts, as part of the noisy 4th of July fireworks fallout. This porchpooch left in a hurry, after I assured him/her that we was fresh out of cinnamon rolls. Hence the second growl? At least it had stopped rainin. Doggie was a medium-sized light-brown boxer-ish species, in case U are missin one.


    jberg 11:43 AM  

    I had to look up ROEPER, so DNF. OTOH, I got CRUNK without knowing it, just because it sounded hip-hoppy, and both ARRIS and AMUCK from the rhymes.

    Like everyone else, I put in Siskel right away,but it wouldn't work with either opTS or HOT RODS. It took me forever to interpret 'busy' correctly, though-- I would have gone with 'insAnE' if I could have made any sense of 'nons.'

    @anonymous 11:11, it's N-TESTS, i.e., tests of nuclear bombs. It makes me really happy to learn that it's no longer a familiar term.

    I kind of like plain white TEEs, but I'm cheap to buy one, given that people keep giving away tees with their logo on them.

    Have a nice weekend, everyone!

    John C. Worsley 11:49 AM  

    I’m inferring that it is a shorthand for “nuclear tests” but that is really random to me. Never seen that before.

    old timer 12:21 PM  

    DNF in the NW. Double DNF because even after cheating to get ROEPER I did not know APSIS and looked up ARRIS.

    I used to hate The Honeymooners as a child. OTOH I loved The Lone Ranger and admired Tonto so KEMOSABE went right in. The creators of the show were very smart to make their Faithful Indian Companion smarter than the alleged hero. A similar thing happened with another, less well known, Western, the Cisco Kid. Renaldo was OK as the Cisco Kid, but his sidekick Pancho was played by the immortal Leo Carrillo, whose roots in California went back to the first Spanish settlers. His estate in Santa Monica Canyon was very close to my elementary school, and his memoir is well worth reading.

    zac 12:22 PM  

    Nuclear bomb tests. As opposed to hydrogen (H) or atomic (A) tests

    Taffy-Kun 12:31 PM  

    Nuclear Tests

    Trombone Tom 12:51 PM  

    This artful grid was baffling when I tried to enter the usual door (NW). I gave that up and tried the center, quickly nailing ROM, GO OR, and CABARET CARD.

    Why would a Left Coast guy know about cabaret cards? Because I was interested in and read about all those great jazz musicians of yesteryear: people like Mezz (Mezzrow), Rabbit (Johnny Hodges), and Miles. It seems like they were often busted (perhaps for narcotics-related issues) and had their cards pulled, cutting off their source of income.

    Hand up for trying Siskel first. Also for GAP, INC before THE GAP.

    Thank you KAC for an interesting and challenging Saturday.

    Hungry Mother 1:16 PM  

    I ran a 5K race this morning and spent 30 minutes or so working on it during breakfast at 4:30am. Then, after the race, I worked on it some more while I was icing my calves. Then, after lunch, I slogged some more on the NW until I finally got it. OHBABY! Almost 3 hours, but I had the time to waste.

    Katzzz 1:27 PM  

    Sports bettors make picks.

    Geophany 1:31 PM  

    THE GAP is solid—or do you say you’re going to stop by GAP? I can see saying this a GAP shirt but not that I bought it at GAP. Those of us old enough remember their iconic slogan/song Fall into The Gap. Interesting to remember that it was named for the generation gap between boomers and their parents

    Anoa Bob 1:51 PM  

    First rate puzzle for sure but not without an eyebrow raiser or two.

    The NW and SE corners are almost completely closed off, giving it a three-puzzles-in-one feeling.

    Several two-for-one POCs (starting with the S at the end of NTEST/YR in the NW and ending with the S at the end of CREEP/PEDAL in the SE) lowers the fill difficulty factor a notch or two,

    The protective CAGE for divers is called a, ta-da, SHARK CAGE (Hi @Carola). I think a better clue for STEEL CAGE would be "Place for a WWF Smack-Down dust up".

    I would go with "Gear heads' loves" for 13A HOT RODS. "Greasers" has a different, more pejorative meaning to this old gear head.

    These are minor quibbles, nits if you will, and easily overlooked.

    Side note: My evil twin Anoa Blob tells me that CRUNK is a term for some superfine KUSH from OAXACA. I thought it was the past tense of CRANK.

    Hungry Mother 2:00 PM  

    @Mathgent: I studied Calc in the fifties also, but know delta better from NASA space shots.

    I also thought of Ralph Kramden, but wouldn’t have translated it to OHBABY. I visited OAXACA on a RV caravan  back in 2004. On the way, I was stopped by a Federale, who wasn’t happy with my pronunciation of where I was going.

    Joe Bleaux 2:15 PM  

    Damn, KAM! Great Saturday puz, but after a down-the-middle start (STROBELIGHT) and hopscotch solve, I thought I'd have to bail on you in the NW. I mean, "Hummina, hummina" ain't much of a toe-hold even when you DO know the reference. I had initially guessed at ORNATE for "Really busy," but then dismissed it as too much of a fringe definition. Then, I could envision ROEPER's face, but couldn't remember his name (probably too busy congratulating myself for never even considering Siskel). And I was very hesitant about EDU. I mean sure, one of those states COULD be followed by DOT EDU, but I kept wondering if I were missing something that would've made that the obvious, logical answer. Apart from the NW, though, it was challenging and fun throughout. Can't ask for more. Thanks.

    Monty Boy 2:30 PM  

    Tough for me, but I did finish with the aid of several Googles (OK by my rules as a slow solver).

    Most of my comments have already been cited. My additions: Am I the only one who doesn’t know APSIS, but does know apogee and perigee for ellipse extremes? Also, I guess hummina, hummina is the older version of hubba, hubba? I had quake before NTEST and Siskel before ROEPER, so NW was fouled up from the start.

    And last, for LMS, a Lone Ranger related clue (49A), and time to cue the William Tell theme music.

    Harryp 2:38 PM  

    I was able to finish the puzzle and really liked it, but I gotta say humminabug!

    Norm 3:02 PM  

    I dread KAC puzzles, because we are never on the same wavelength. You SUGAR COAT things in my world; never heard of CANDY COAT. The longs were blah for the most part, although I liked MORAL CENTER. The NW was mean, but overall I didn't dislike it as much as I do most of his offerings.

    Joe Welling 3:26 PM  

    @ John C. Worsley

    I agree "N TESTS" is not really a term commonly used in the real world, but it's very well established crosswordese.

    AW 3:56 PM  

    Had to cheat to finish this one. Never heard of DISBAR being "ban from argument." Ban from practicing law, yes-—but from argument? No. Heard of a moral compass but not a MORAL CENTER. Had to use "reveal word" for GO FOR (because I think of it as giving something your best shot, not picking it), THE GAP, and SHUNS (because I think of blackballing as excluding from something or rejecting, but not shunning). No idea on "hummina, hummina" (say what?) and only got OH BABY after cheating on YRS and BETS. Brutal and humiliating.

    Masked and Anonymous 4:05 PM  

    My first msg's p.s. shoulda said "schlock flickfest", not "shock flickfest" -- altho Otto Korrect may have been tryin to make a point, there.

    Hey! Saturday Stumper [Newsday crossword] is by Erik Agard. Tougher than snot. Ate up huge slabs of nanoseconds. Good shock puzfest, tho.

    Yo! @Mohair Sam! M&A just finished up writin a runt cookbook, as U sorta recently suggested. Will publish any day now...


    mitchs 5:55 PM  

    KAC has become my favorite constructor, hands down. He's also a terrific movie reviewer.

    Joe 6:12 PM  

    I can see why peole really liked this, but I have to say it was way too hard for me. ARRIS,DELTA, CRUNK, THEGAP (as a parent company)—I didn’t even have a guess for these that ngs.

    Graham 6:30 PM  

    Everybody says THE GAP, no one leaves off THE. I always took it to refer to the generation gap, as in, we’re so cool and for young people.

    Z 6:55 PM  

    I’ll be a little busy this week. I won’t be playing but pay close attention and you might see me on a sideline.

    Jim Lemire 7:27 PM  

    Right on my “average” time for Saturday, but that average includes all the times before I knew it even tracked time statistics or I paid attention to it (there were plenty of times where I just left the app open ticking away as I did something else) this was really a much slower than (true) average time for me. Wow, this was tough. I struggled with most of it. Never heard of a CABARET CARD, fought through OH BABY (perhaps my favorite clue in the end), and really had difficulty seeing SEND REGRETS. I was certain it was Siskel and not ROEPER (who?), and thought KEMOSABE was made up from the Lone Ranger. Speaking of KEMOSABE, the clue reminded me of the excellent Far Side comic (

    JC66 7:35 PM  


    Knock em dead.

    mmorgan 9:02 PM  

    Hummina hummina, great great puzzle!!!

    And I enjoyed Rex's write up!!

    I have a quibble with Sunday but I'll wait till tomorrow to mention it.

    foxaroni 9:15 PM  

    My first experience with "hummina" was in a "Pearls Before Swine" cartoon, oddly enough. It was said by Rat, as he and some other Pearls characters were watching a party of other, older, cartoon characters. Rat had a huge Blondie fixation.

    I believe MAD magazine once did a parody of Stonewall Jackson's song "Waterloo" in 1959 or so:

    The Lone Ranger and Tonto rode the trail
    Catching outlaws and putting them in jail.
    But the Ranger lost Tonto, it seems,
    When he found out what "kemo sabe" means.

    Thought this was a tough but very enjoyable puzzle.

    OISK 11:02 PM  

    Total fail. First time in over a year I just gave up. I associate hummina withJackie Gleason, where it meant nothing like "Oh Baby." "Arris " was completely obscure for me. "Bets" is kind of OK for "picks," but I don't like it at all; I could "pick" a horse and not bet on it...and didn't know Roeper (only Siskel). Not knowing Apsis either, I really had no chance.

    Adam 12:18 AM  

    SISKEL killed me in the NW. The ROEPER/APSIS cross was a Natick, too. I got the rest of the puzzle moving clockwise from the NE. But any puzzle that references Duck AMUCK is a great puzzle, even with that brutal corner.

    Maruchka of 10:22 AM  

    @ot - the lovable sidekicks were almost always of more interest (or, in Lone Ranger's case, Moore). I was a horse crazy kid when Leo Carrillo came to our town, to open the first supermarket. But he didn't ride in on Loco. Que lastima..

    Interesting CA history figure. Thanks for the reminder.

    spacecraft 10:17 AM  

    DNF, thanks ONCE YET AGAIN to that damnable NW! Of course, we're ALL going to write in Siskel; who the hell ever heard of ROEPER? But even after I discarded the late Eugene, I couldn't get the rest. How does "Picks" come to be BETS???? "I pick that horse to bet on??" How far-fetched can you get? Ridiculous. The clue for 1-down is a well-known Ralph Kramdenism for when he's caught in a lie or some such. It has little if any connection to OHBABY. Oh yeah: and APSIS is simply NOT a word. This section is 100% unsolvable. Thanks ATON for ruining my Saturday, Mr. Collins.

    Burma Shave 11:49 AM  


    with MOXIE you POSED as my mentor,
    but AMATORY STARES call off all BETS.


    rondo 12:23 PM  

    I woulda tried Siskel, but I already had BEERNUTS. Couldn't recall ROEPER until backing into the NW corner from other crosses. The DOT EDU combo got me HOTRODS and the rest was history. Nary a write-over, but probably 4X OFL's time.

    Do you NOUNCE something before you RENOUNCE it?

    Speaking of BIGLEADS, my softball team beat the #2 seed 42-14 last night. I hit a few to THEGAP that would GOFOR doubles. However, things would unRAVEL in the nightcap, losing to the #5 seed 22-20 as our luck, and stamina, RANOUT. Season over.

    Designing Women's DELTA Burke was CAMERAREADY when she POSED after being named Miss Florida 1974. OHBABY.

    Perfect Sat-puz IMHO.

    Anonymous 2:05 PM  

    how in the world do you get tons from a bushelful?

    thefogman 3:12 PM  

    Nice puzzle. Rex is right about it having different difficulty zones. I found the SE and NW corners to be most challenging. I groaned when I finally realized NTESTS was the answer to 3D. Shouldn't that be banned? From puzzles I mean. OK, and in real life too...

    Diana,LIW 3:41 PM  

    Oddly enough, unlike @Foggy, I found the SE to be the easiest to finish. Then I wondered what language the rest of the puz was speaking. Esp the NW with 1D - never heard that.

    White TEE - the ultimate green paint!

    Long story short, dnf.

    Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

    leftcoastTAM 3:53 PM  

    My experience was much like @spacecraft's. Did get ROEPER after trying Siskel, and BEERNUTS was a gimme. That was where my effort to finish in the NW came to an abrupt halt.

    RANOUT of time and patience.

    rainforest 4:25 PM  

    Great puzzle which took me forever. There were TONS of places where I almost just gave up, but perseverance PAID off in the end. I will say that I just slapped down STROBELIGHT, as many did, and that helped a bunch.

    I resisted putting in Siskel because I knew ROEPER was lurking. Crossing that was APSeS, but noting the singular, it became APSIS.

    At the local horse race track, there's a guy who prints out his "Best BETS" which of course just his picks. If he actually makes those bets, he's pretty poor by now.

    I just wonder about the Illinois and Indiana thing. Wouldn't the answer apply to all universities, or is there something "special" about those two?

    48 A reminds me of an old joke where Tonto says "what do you mean "we", KEMO SABE?"

    leftcoastTAM 4:26 PM  

    Today in syndiland: 8-18-18, a FULL HOUSE.

    Anonymous 7:02 PM  

    I totally agree with OISK about Ralph Kramden and hummina hummina. I never remember hearing him use that expression at the sight of a beautiful lady; only when he was nonplussed, which was often.

    leftcoastTAM 7:20 PM  

    For clue: Hummina-hummina, NO. Hubba-hubba, YES.

    thefogman 8:29 PM  

    Hummina hummina...

    Anonymous 10:07 PM  

    To Anon: Tons is slang for slang bushelful.
    Good puzzle Mr Collins except Roeper is devious in a way, but valid.

    And a lot of people agree with me 7:20 PM  

    You're still an asshole, but thanks for the puzzle recommendations.

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