First chairman of EEOC familiarly / SAT 8-25-18 / Lamb by another name / Yoko Ono artistically in 1960s / Theme of Cirque de Soleil's O appropriately / renowned pirate captain during golden age piracy / Coiner of words chortle frabjous

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Constructor: Sam Ezersky

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (for me—I solved upon waking, Always a bad idea on Saturday) (I had friends find this one very easy; seems likely there's a wide divergence of experience on this one) (9:13)

THEME: none

Word of the Day: NED LOW (9D: Renowned pirate captain during the Golden Age of Piracy) —
Edward "Ned" Low (also spelled Lowe or Loe; 1690–1724) was a notorious English pirate during the latter days of the Golden Age of Piracy, in the early 18th century. Low was born into poverty in WestminsterLondon, and was a thief from an early age. He moved to BostonMassachusetts, as a young man. His wife died in childbirth in late 1719. Two years later, he became a pirate, operating off the coasts of New England and the Azores, and in the Caribbean. (wikipedia) (wiki-cluing, boo!; my emph)
• • •

Mostly enjoyed this one, though I don't particularly enjoy solving the hardest puzzle of the week first thing in the morning. This was in many ways a typical Saturday-morning solve—slow and stumbling. I'm always slower in the morning, and as the week goes on, the difference becomes more noticeable. It's not as if I was slow throughout, though. When things are pretty gettable / roughly in my wheelhouse, I can move, in the mornings, just about as fast as I can at night. It's just getting unstuck that is the real challenge. My brain can get me out of a rut much, much more quickly when I solve at night. Whereas here ... well, here, I stumbled all around the NW, putting in wrong Downs at every turn, and then, finally, I actually looked at the Acrosses, and 15A: Pop group with the 1993 #2 hit "All That She Wants (ACE OF BASS) just looked at me, shaking its head, going "what took you so long?" Yes, embarrassingly, I finally managed to get started in this one because of the kindness of 90s Europop. Sigh.

After that opening disaster, I actually moved fairly well through this one, but then again came to a total halt in the SE, which was totally empty except for the ends of CARROLL and MY FAIR LADY. Some of my struggle was the puzzle's fault (SANDPILE????? There is sand in the sandbox—no one would use SANDPILE in conjunction with a playground; absurd, I say!). But mostly it was my brain's fault. I couldn't get past how wrong FDR-R looked, so I assumed I had an error. Looking at it now, it's hard to believe I couldn't see FDR comma JR. there, but I couldn't. Was never gonna get IVIE or METS or DAH, so ... yipes. I feel like I got very lucky, in the end. I wanted the casino to be THE TAJ, esp. because "J" in the first position of a long Across felt *right*. But when that yielded nothing, I thought, "what are the other 3-letter casinos? (note: I ****ing hate casinos and their denizens and the whole "culture" of whatever that is, so ... Not exactly my strong suit) ... RIO? Is THE RIO something? That means 65A: "Abso-freakin'-lutely!" would start with an O and ... Oh ... OH! OH HELL YES!" One of those rare times where exclaiming the answer literally expresses your feelings. So I managed to finish solely because I was able to remember a second three-letter Vegas casino. You take whatever scrap of an advantage you can get and you Never apologize for it, remember that!

Other struggles: AIDE for PAGE (1D: One running for the Senate?). STAR for ICON (2D: Supercelebrity). MENS for KIDS (13D: Department store section). URL for USB (46D: Modern connection inits.). JAN for WIN (59D: The "1" in 1-9). Did *not* fall into the SHAH-for-AMIN trap; if you take anything away from the blog today, let it be that AMIN and SHAH are both exiles of 1979 so Do Not Be So Sure. Always use crosses as guide. You're welcome. Only ickiness to me, today, was NANKI- (ick to name part, double ick to the whole Orientalist enterprise that is "The Mikado") (64A: ___-Poo, son of the Mikado), and WOMYN (not used by any "feminists" I know in any serious way in forever; also, according to a trans woman friend of mine, sometimes used as a "transphobic dog whistle," indicating spaces where only cis women, i.e. women with wombs, are welcome—exclusion of MEN, implied by the E-to-Y letter change, gets taken to prejudicial extremes) (59A: Group in feminist writing).

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Lewis 7:46 AM  

So many squares in this solve for me were hard fought and well earned; this felt to me, a long-time solver, like a Wednesday puzzle might feel to a new solver. What a treat! With sparkling answers (GOON SQUAD, PLAYED GOD, OH HELL YES), clever clues (TNT, GOON SQUAD) and a hall-of-fame clue, in my opinion -- that for INFIELD.

On the one hand, deficits in my wheelhouse upped the challenge, on the other, my wheelhouse now has a few more residents.

Brett 8:06 AM  

This one would’ve gone a lot better if I had not confused deep in my brain Lewis Carroll and C.S. Lewis. It turns out CSLEWIS and CARROLL are the same length, and if you plonk the wrong one in there with total confidence, it can derail you for a considerable amount of time.

FLAC 8:15 AM  

DIS The Mikado as "Orientalist"? Really, Rex: Do you even have a clue about what G&S were satirizing?

OTOH, agree this was a very enjoyable puzzle.

QuasiMojo 8:24 AM  

Took me 40 minutes but I managed to sort it all out. Stuff like "I LIKE" seems like gibberish to me. But NEO-DADAIST made me CHORTLE.

Loved the CARROLL clue, and the LAMB one. Remembering RISKY Business was fun, too. I had many of the same initial errors that Rex had. but also ICONS for RUINS. (I'm not sure that clue makes any sense.)

I thought the World Series of Poker was at Binnions or whatever that place is called.

I pulled TONNE out of my TUSH.


SAND FILL before PILE. (That one gave me PILES.)

Isn't it YAKKITY YAK? I had JABBERING there first, which should have clued me into the CARROLL answer but that was the last one for me to fall into place.

puzzlehoarder 8:24 AM  

Great Saturday puzzle. I'm not sure if it was really that hard or not. A few wicked write overs and being blind to what should have been obvious entries had me spinning my wheels in a few sections only to have sudden break through.

In the SE I had SANDTOYS at 39D supported by THELAW at 56A. I wasted a lot of time trying to make that work.

In the meantime I worked my way over to the SW and stopped myself with URL at 46D. Back to the SE I realized I'd never looked at the 55D clue. TACH went right in and the CH gave the whole corner away.

The SW I worked out on it's own and back filled USB.

I'd started in the NE so all that was left was the NW and it really held out. In retrospect PAGE should have been obvious but all I was coming up with was AIDE. NEODADA, OF SORTS and ASAP were giving me nothing. I had no clue on the 19A jargon so I couldn't be sure if 6D was WINGS or RINGS.Why BBQ took so long to show up I don't know but once it did that whole section filled itself on correctly in seconds. Like I said I can't tell if this was on me or the puzzle but it was a good solve to a clean grid.

Patrick O'Connor 8:27 AM  

I agree with the commentator above about the fun answers. While this wasn't a pangram puzzle, it had a pretty high presence of unusual letters (all those k's in YAKKETYYAK, for instance, which also raised the quality of the puzzling experience. I too felt just a little cheaper in finding, and needing to find, ACEOFBASE very quickly. We don't praise you enough for finding apropos songs for your blog, Rex: Thanks for gifting us the Beck song this morning.

Teedmn 8:44 AM  

Zowie, this was an epic Saturday! That SE had me stumped for a long time. It didn’t help that I don’t think of turquoise or aquamarine as JEWELs, more like precious stones. So I toggled between FDR sR and FDR JR and if it was J, then I wanted Jades (even though the clue indicated no plural). And sometimes I wanted berEl (ICALLEDIT was the only thing I was sure about down there besides, like Rex, the ends of CARROLL and MY FAIR LADY). I don’t even remember what finally unjammed my brain to finish up down there but it was a 43 minute struggle over all, whew! And post-solve, I Googled PERF-DAH and got no hits. Is that the cool KIDS' uff-da?

Yoko Ono was some sort of artIST (Iknow many would argue with that :-)!) which held up the West for a while. And not knowing NED LOW had me thinking NEDler or NEDley until I came up with WALL for the kind of MAP in the classroom.

Sam, you did it again, thanks for a real toughie.

Jim Lemire 9:00 AM  

A slog of s puzzle for most Saturdays are. I agree about the ridiculousness of SAND PILE. Also had iSp before Url before USB. And IS iT before ISNT for 12D. Didn’t know anything about FDR JR or the E.E.O.C. so needed the crosses to get that...though I kept second guessing the downs given the unusual sequence of consonants.

I liked the whole SE even if it took a while to get. Tried I nAiLLED IT first. A slow, but fun puzzle in the end.

Jim Lemire 9:03 AM  

I don’t understand a couple clues/answers. Can someone explain:

59D WIN for “the 1 in 1-9”

61D DAH fit “-“

Anonymous 9:04 AM  

What @ Lewis said, every word. Difficult and fun.

Did you know that "NEw age poet" and "NEODADAIST" both contain 10 letters? I wish I didn't.

WIN clue needs to be explained to me. First place? I hope I'm missing something.

Anonymous 9:22 AM  

1-9 as in 1 win and 9 losses.

Anonymous 9:24 AM  

DAH is the word for the dash in Morse code.

kitshef 9:25 AM  

Started off liking this just fine, with PINTO BEAN and ACE OF BASE (my entry) and GOOD SQUAD.

Finished up thinking “what an awful puzzle”. Nothing I dislike more than clues in quotes, so that SE with “Told you!” and “Abso-freakin’-lutely!!” was swimming-with-jefllyfish like in its unpleasantness.

Had NErD ArtIST in at 3D, which sure works with a lot of the crosses. And YAK yak YAK worked with a lot of YAKety YAY.

Anonymous 9:26 AM  

On a recent road trip the local team played 7 games. They won three and lost four. Their record was 3-4. 3 wins, 4 losses. W-L is how they print it in the standings.

Anonymous 9:27 AM  

Morse code again: dih-dot, DAH, dash

RooMonster 9:28 AM  

Hey All !
Tough nut for me. Ridiculous use of Check Puzzle feature as I couldn't get traction anywhere. Guess I'm not as an established puzzler as I thought. :-)

Nice words in here. Good review from Rex, which is rare. I LIKE he FINDS no PLAINTS.


Brother Joscephus 9:28 AM  

I refused to believe AIDE was wrong for one down which had me staring at the NW corner forever. Same thing happened with LEANTO instead of SHANTY yesterday. Tough weekend for me...

Anonymous 9:30 AM  

This was hard for me but I slogged through. Rex was troubled by Nanki and womyn. I was offended by oh Hell yes. I’m sure others were offended by sperm and tush and plays God and who knows what else. Can’t we all just get over ourselves, enjoy a puzzle and not be so hypersensitive ? What’s offensive to some people isn’t offensive to others and vice versa. Who should be the arbiter of what’s offensive ?

Androniyes 9:31 AM  

61D. In Morse Code, dot and dash are sometimes spoken as DIT and DAH. Presumably you can speak Morse Code quicker that way

Mark 9:33 AM  

I had SHEA for 58-down for the longest time. In my NYC days, that stop was "Willets Point--Shea Stadium." Should have dawned on me sooner that the name would change after they built a new stadium.

michiganman 9:37 AM  

This was too much for my brain's data base so I googled a few things (if ya don't know ya don't know) And, per Rex, no apologies. I really liked his write up today. It wasn't negative and he sounded humble and human. The puzz was enjoyable, though quite difficult. SANDPILE seems right.

GILL I. 9:42 AM  

A joy of a puzzle that got me in parts. Two Googles today. I don't think I've met Bugs Bunny's girlfriend LOLA and if it's not THE TAJ in Vegas ,then I'm sunk. Without those two answers, I wasn't going anywhere.
I felt brilliant getting PINTO BEAN off the N of Ono's artistic talents and the E of EAU. Once I had 1A, the downs were easy for me.
I LIKE was the hardest up in the attic section, but NO SIR gave me the rest of the downs.
Lots of things in my wheelhouse. I even remembered detective DOYLE. II must have watched "The French Connection" a gazillion times. The Y in his name gave me MY FAIR LADY and so....that was how it went. All except for LOLA. She causes lots of trouble, doesn't she?
I love the Mikado. NANKI Poo, Yum yum and "three little maids." @Rex: "orientalist" ?????? Have you ever watched it? It's satire at it's finest. I had to read your last paragraph about three times and I still don't understand what you're saying. Any WOMYN out there that can clarify?
Thank you for an enjoyable puzzle. You can play it again, Sam.

Outside The Box 9:45 AM  

Friends who found this easy? This was impossible.

puzzlehoarder 9:53 AM  

Did anyone else notice a sub theme of dirty broken English?


I got into that middle west section with PLAYSGOD. When I looked at the clue for 25 D I thought don't be SPERM.
Then I checked the crosses and it was definitely SPERM.

Z 9:54 AM  

Not too different an experience from Rex. NE and SW were pretty easy. What got me going in the NW was fixing aidE to PAGE and the P giving me PINTO BEAN, confirming ICON and TONNE, giving me just enough to recognize ACE OF BASE and NEO-DADAIST and the corner fell quickly then.
The SE was much as Rex described, CARROLL, MY FAIR LADY, and TACH dipping down, and the odd looking -DR-R. I CALLED IT was tentatively entered but that didn't help much because it made JadEs look plausible. At least that gave me the F in FDR JR. It was finally guessing that the air traveler was going to be some kind of WAVE that allowed me to see JEWEL and OH HELL YES. I ran the alphabet on THE -IO to get RIO and then, Aha!, RADIO WAVES. SAND PILE gave me PRE-LIt and tETS. That PRE-LIt looked awfully lame for an Ezersky puzzle, so I considered that crossing a bit more, noticed "Queens" in subway station clue and fixed it to PRELIM/METS to avoid the single letter DNF. All in all a Fine Saturday offering.

Anyone think Rex is stating a fact when he calls SAND PILE absurd?

WOMYN does seem pretty 20th century. What I see today is WOMxN. I also see gender fluid individuals modifying gendered names ending in -A to gender neutral names ending in -IX. Can't say I understand all the nuance involved, but it does strike me at times that takes like "transphobic dog whistle" risks a neo-puritanism that I find alternately all-too-typical and bemusing.

@FLAC - I'm guessing you haven't read Said lately. Even in satirizing the colonizers it is hard to impossible to remove the western perspective and patronizing aspects. It is also one of those things that once it is pointed out to you you can't help but see and wonder why you didn't see it before.

ColoradoCog 9:58 AM  

I thought it was kind of cool to see DAH appear a day after we saw DITS. I think it primed me to get the clue a bit faster today than I might have otherwise.

Bourbon Street 10:01 AM  

Confidently slapped down that Yoko Ono was some kind of artist and then looked back and saw that “artist” was part of the clue. Whoops. Recognized the song but had no idea who ACE OF BASE is, so I was struggling in the NW corner until I figured out GOON SQUAD (great clue). Then BBQ WINGS became obvious. Have no idea why I knew NANKI-Poo’s name. The last time I saw The Mikado was in college and a lot of time has passed since then! Liked the puzzle because I had a number of “AHA” moments, e.g. TACH.

mmorgan 10:04 AM  

Wow, this was tough for me. I also had AIDE for PAGE, STAR for ICON, MEN for KIDS, and SHAH for AMIN. I also went back and forth between HOTWINGS AND BBQWINGS many times -- and really wanted 1A to start with NACHO. Fortunately, in those cases I was able to correct my mistakes.

Not so in the SE, where I had SOUNDWAVE (60A), INAILEDIT (63A) and TOTALYYES (65A), all of which (more or less) fit but left me -- then and forever -- with incomprehensible downs.

Agree with Rex on casinos. State lotteries aren't much better.

Good, tough puzzle, even though I ended up with a DNF.

Joe Bleaux 10:04 AM  

From PINTO BEAN clued as a Tex-Mex morsel to the desperate SAND PILE ... nah. Maybe next time for me, SE. Lots of other folks liked it.

Anonymous 10:10 AM  

Didn’t like it. Struggled with WIN/NANKI.

Rob 10:20 AM  

Can't even find the words to express how much I hated this puzzle. Bad fill, bad cluing. I have never, ever seen anyone named IVIE (vs IVY, which would be normal). I guess an NYC subway clue is fair game in the NY Times, but it's a bit much for anyone solving outside of the city; complete guess from me based on its location in Queens. PLAINTS is not a word anyone uses. RISKY business is really only A Thing because of the movie, so I'd argue the B in business ought to be capitalized. NEO-DADAIST doesn't really belong in a puzzle at all.

I actually liked WOMYN as an answer, though I guess it's old usage now. Good misdirection on AMIN. Surprised OH HELL YES made the puzzle. The clue for WIN is trash. I didn't care for the cluing on DAH either but you can make a case for it. ELIA is an obscurity on top of an obscurity; I got it entirely from crosses and had to look it up after.

Just rough, all around.

Mr. Grumpypants 10:24 AM  

Ugh. 27A is my review of this puzzle.

Sir Hillary 10:26 AM  

Wow, this took me forever. Maybe it was the extra glass of wine last night, but I think I would have struggled with this one no matter what.

Wicked, wicked, wicked cluing (to me, at least) for WIN, PRELIM, SPERM, PELTS and JEWEL. As noted by @Lewis, INFIELD is clued brilliantly.

I would never in a million years have had any idea about TFAL or DAH, so I learned something this morning.

Thank goodness I found footholds from the vice-ridden trio of wayward cops (DOYLE), deposed dictators (AMIN) and televised poker (THERIO) -- or I would still be staring at a blank grid.

YAKETYYAK just doesn't look right to me.

hotWINGS for BBQWINGS made my task even harder.

I am hardly an expert on gender pronouns, but it feels to me like WOMYN was a thing back 30 or so years ago, but not so much now. I remember a rally at my university called "Womyn Take Back the Night" in the mid-'80s. It was in response to sexual assaults on and near campus. Amazing how little has changed since then.

Blue Stater 10:29 AM  

I'm probably alone in this view, but this was the worst puzzle for me in many, many years. One tiny example: since when are the "victims" of arrests taken to ERs? What, pray, is the "victim" of an arrest in any case? Did the constructor mean the victim of a *crime* who is taken to an ER? Or the victim of police violence committed in making the arrest who is taken to the ER? And so on. This puzzle epitomizes what has become of the NYT xwords in the WS years. I hope and pray that these years are coming to an end -- and again, this is a criticism of WS's work, not of WS personally, whom I do not know.

Suzie Q 10:31 AM  

Great Saturday workout! I felt like I needed a shower after sweating this out.
Didn't we just have a big ado over Morse code?
Ivie is a name? Ivy I have heard.
Gotta love goon squad.
Seems like the usual find in a playground sand box is cat shit!
This will be a hard act to follow. I might skip tomorrow.
Thanks Sam.

Blue Stater 10:32 AM  

OK, I retract part of my earlier comment; right after I hit the "publish" button I got the "victims of arrests" clue: cardiac (say) arrests. I still hated this puzzle, though.

nyc_lo 10:48 AM  

Lackluster fill made worse by questionable clueing. An unpleasant slog.

Anonymous 10:48 AM  

END NOW as “program closing command on a PC” is some hot garbage.

Nancy 10:59 AM  

Toughest puzzle I've worked on in, like, forever. A beautiful day -- maybe the last one for a while -- beckons outside. The NW and the SE remain pristinely white. (Except for END NOW at 19A). What's the morsel? Who's the pirate? Which Vegas hotel? What does "air traveler?" mean? Was Yoko Ono a NEODADAIST? (I had -----D-IST and at first I wanted to put her ON THE D LIST). It's all a mystery. I scrolled down with my eyes closed to write this, so I wouldn't see any answers. I'm going out, and will struggle some more when I return, many, many hours from now. Will let you know if I'm able to finish.

Crimson Devil 11:07 AM  

Enjoyed reference to revered Sat AM philosopher Bugs, and cluing for ERs, win, infield, page, sperm, tach and goon squad. Nanki not so much.

Paul 11:08 AM  

It is not that well known, but Ace of Base are associated with white supreamacists. That entry atop ‘good squad’ made me cringe. Overall, I felt the puzzle was fair to difficult for me. Hate seeing racists in the puzzle though.

Miranda 11:08 AM  

It makes me so sad to see Mikado misunderstood and dismissed. It is a brilliant, hilarious, and beautiful work of art, one of my all-time favorite shows. The satire is directed squarely at those who deserve it, much of it as relevant today as when it was written.

JOHN XOX 11:08 AM  

This was pretty easy for a Saturday even if my initial passes yielded very few "gimmes" to build from. But once I got the ball rolling the dominoes fell like corrupt hamlets in an Orientalist enterprise.

Was there really a Golden Age of Piracy? I bet that was pretty cool. In Disneyland the pirates get drunk and have wench auctions, which I think are like WOMYN I'm not sure. After reading Rex's last paragraph I'm glad I don't hang around those people they have way too many rules.

TubaDon 11:15 AM  

     Even though I guessed many long answers (MYFAIRLADY, SANDPILE, YAKETYYAK) from just one cross letter, I still struggled with this one. Fell into th AIDE-TAJ traps and was totally at sea as usual on obscure pop group names, kitchen suppliers and English pirates. Nevertheless ground it out and after intuiting ICALLEDIT, I finally finished the SE corner while exclaiming OH HELL YES! Some minor quibbles: Radio waves are not strictly air travellers, they propagate through a vacuum even better. Cluing of ALARM was wierd, but overall it was a challenging but reasonable puzzle.

internet_exploder 11:16 AM  

Wondering if the constructor is a Mac user making a subtle dig...END NOW, for me at least, usually appears as part of the "This program is not responding" kiss of death.

Carola 11:42 AM  

Wowza, was this one tough for me! I really had a sense of achievment when I finally saw that I needed to change Url to USB --> TUSH + LAY A BET --> THE RIO and the finish. I also had to redo shah and hot WINGS and the unlikely LAY A loT. Early on, I was grateful for every creaky old ELIA, ETON and AERIE and not-yet-so-creaky T-FAL and RNA to at least give me a glimmer of hope.

I give today's Diabolical Award to the Heat clue. Loved the various groups: the INFIELD, GOON SQUAD, WOMYN, YOU AND I, and the KIDS (with their SANDPILE). I also liked NED LOW x PLAINTS, many of which I'm sure he caused.

@Anonymous 9:22, thanks for explaining WIN.

@Sam Ezersky, thank you for this most enjoyable struggle.

Anonymous 11:48 AM  

TNT? I don't get it.

Lindsay 11:50 AM  

I have read my share of feminist writing and I had LiLA/WiMYN. Maybe I was thinking of "wimmin."

That is one horrible cross.

Anonymous 11:52 AM  

That's a good interpretation. I just kind of let that one go.

Hungry Mother 11:55 AM  

Close, but no cigar today. I thought pIN was right and refused to let go of it. Still a good workout and I got most of the hard stuff. I was all over that Morse Code morsel.

Malsdemare 11:56 AM  

Googling, checking Rex with eyes squinting so I only see one answer — I engaged in all the cheats and still failed. Had jaN for WIN so never had a chance to see WOMYN (which I remember as being a thing years ago). To be fair, those protests of gendered language — by reimagining terms — led to the a lot of welcome changes (humankind rather than man, mail carrier, airline attendent, etc.). Some attempts were bound to fail. That's okay; language is a living thing. Anyway, jaN gave Bugs a new girlfriend, Lena, because the line was from the Anead.

I'm with Rex on Vegas; two huge conferences there were my idea of hell, so no way would I get THERIO. I had goes for ISNT, and wanted some kind of egGS for BBQWINGS. At about the 50 minute mark, I just caved. I won't blame the constructor — my brain just didn't know a lot of this today.

For those few who like knowing this stuff, my escape artist is now wearing a GPS tracker. If we can't keep him home, we can at least know where he's gone. Sigh . . .

Tim Aurthur 11:57 AM  

The 1-9 win-loss clue was appropriate for an entry that falls opposite the METS.

Anonymous 11:59 AM  

A hypothesis: The folks most unhappy with this puzzle are those to whom solve time is everything. They lash out at the puzzle in frustration.

TJS 12:11 PM  

Three questions :
Any chance Rex and Sam are friends ?

Has Rex ever rated a puzzle "hard" ?

Anyone else glad they don't have Rex' friends ?

GeezerJackYale48 12:14 PM  

Heart arrest, perhaps?

Anonymous 12:25 PM  

Cardiac arrest

Amelia 12:36 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Masked and Anonymous 12:55 PM  

I give this puppy high marks for bein frisky. This puz had lotsa stuff in it that appeared to be desperate, but was probably just stuff I hadn't ever heard tell of -- or ever heard said thataway before [ENDNOW. SANDPILE. ACEOFBASE. SEACHART. WALLMAP. WOMYN. PERF. etc.]

SANDPILE might be the most suspicious one, tho. Seems to maybe open up the doors of glorious desperation for all the many kinds of PILEs out there. Must remember to start usin piles of em [PILEPILES] a lot in sentences -- move em into the language -- so I can then ergo use em later in my own NYTPuz submissions.

For some reason, really admired the FDRJR entry. Will add it to my JRPILE.

staff pick from the weejectpile: IMS. Nice plural abbrev meatpile example.

Thanx [a pile] for the feisty fun, Mr. E-Z. Liked the DOYLE/CARROLL pair, even tho Sir Author Conan dude didn't quite make the cut. hashtag LITERARYPILE.

Masked & Anonymo3Us


Masked and Anonymous 1:13 PM  

Reallyreally liked the closin pair of puz clues:
59. The "1" in 1-9
61. -

At first M&A tried to relate em, and answer AND for 61-Down.

Reallyreally missin @muse darlin. She really adds class to the commentpile.


Robert Berardi 2:00 PM  

"victims of arrest"? Aren't victims usually the people negatively affected by the one arrested?

jae 2:08 PM  

Medium-tough except for NW which I had to let sit overnight as I was completely blocked. My morning brain gave me NEODADIST which ended my conviction that the PC command had to be ALT something (which was reinforced by IdOl instead of ICON. Once I got rid of IdOl and saw that PAGE would work the corner fell.

Delightful puzzle, a fine challenge, like it a bunch.

Action Jackson 2:23 PM  

What's the deal with PLAINTS and COMPLAINTS?


Who made these decisions?

Anoa Bob 2:26 PM  


Anonymous 2:36 PM  

An earlier comment suggested that arrest could mean cardiac arrest in which case ERS fits well. Tricky but makes sense for this challenging puzzle.

Anonymous 2:40 PM  

cardiac or respiratory arrest

Banana Diaquiri 2:42 PM  

@Tim Aurthur:
The 1-9 win-loss clue was appropriate for an entry that falls opposite the METS.

you are one cruel dude. seems I've read the Failing New York Times in the last few days that there's life left in em. not that it's memorable one way or the other. the 62 version - no argument. just checked the wiki, to be sure of the year, which yields this:
"In 1966, the Mets famously bypassed future Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson in the amateur draft, instead selecting Steve Chilcott, who never played in the majors. "

‘mericans in Ulster 2:44 PM  

Super hard for the two of us. Ended up Googling at least three PPP answers, but still failed at WiMYN. I’m usually the go-to person for cartoon characters, but I don’t recall being introduced to LOLA (except in the Kinks’ song, which in my view would have made for a better clue).

We had many of the write-overs that others had. For ol’ Yoko, though, I confidently entered “avant gArde”, which kept us from filling in the NW for the logest time. Also wanted Morgan before being forced into NED LOW.

Worst answer: IVIE. Have never, ever seen that name.

Back to Paris tomorrow.

cpscribe 2:52 PM  

Turquoise and aquamarine are stones, not jewels. Still don't understand DAH (61D). Is it from Morse code? Ditto 59D. How is the "1" in 1-9 a win? Am I simply to thick to get it? I asked my semi-hip 14 year old granddaughter is she ever says "perf" and she said she's never heard of it. My wife agrees w/ you about womyn and I agree about the Mikado. Tough, nasty, not much fun.

Anonymous 3:00 PM  

Ezersky is Shortzs assistant. Same as Steinberg. This puzzle seems to have been snuck by Will, however.

OISK 3:17 PM  

Tis Nanki-Poo! Hail Nanki-Poo. I think he'll do, yes, yes, he'll do...delighted with the G and S reference, and did I finish correctly? Oh hell yes. Gratifying after messing up vaca-paca yesterday .

Girish 3:32 PM  

@Z 9:54 AM Thanks. 🙏 Quite similar to my impression of the Mikado. I’m guessing the caffeine hadn’t kicked in for Rex on the last four letters for sandpile although it wouldn’t remain a pile long in a playground. No one commented on neodadaist yaketyyak crossing womyn. Was that risky?

Crimson Devil 3:46 PM  

1-9 is how won loss record is described for team that has one win and nine losses.

Unknown 4:02 PM  

The Taj was in Atlantic City, not Vegas.

kitshef 4:30 PM  

@Paul - to be fair one member of Ace of Base was associated with white nationalist views, years before he was in Ace of Base, and he has repeatedly and forcefully rejected those views.

@M&A - help! runtpuz is all filled in - but the theme remains a mystery.

Banana Diaquiri 5:12 PM  

@Charlie Pearson:
Turquoise and aquamarine are stones, not jewels.

not to mention refrigerator colors from the 60s and 70s.

jberg 5:52 PM  

My toughest hurdle was insisting on DOg before DIS (the latter a far better answer) for too long, making me want the absurd (my opinion!) gEo CHART, which blocked SANDPILE. forever,thoughnot as long as either Thursday or Friday.

But listen -- I love The Mikado, my wife was once a little maid in it, I could sing "A Wandering Minstrel I" by heart, if I could sing, which I can't. And of course it's a satire of 19th century England -- but c'mon folks, the WAY it satirizes it is through racist stereotypes of Japanese culture, i.e. "orientalism" (except I think Said's Orient was the Middle, not the Far East).

Here's a plaint for you doubters.

Anonymous 6:16 PM  

I struggled with this puzzle for more than two hours, muttering to myself all the way. It was like a long uphill hike without enough water. And then I triumphed! So, of course, now my opinion of this puzzle has completely changed. Thank you for a very challenging experience, Mr. Ezersky.

Masked and Anonymous 6:56 PM  

@kitshef: ok yep. There is now a bigpile of M&A comments on that runtpuz, under the Down Home dealy.

M&A Help Desk

Robert Berardi 7:53 PM  

Ah! Thanks

Anonymous 9:31 PM  

Hey Banana
Is a diamond a jewel a stone?

Nancy 9:36 PM  

For all those of you who've been kept in unbearable suspense all day, I came home tonight and was able to finish the puzzle just now. Whew!

The NW was screwed up for me because I had AIDE instead of PAGE at 1D and HOT WINGS instead of BBQ WINGS at 6D.

The SE wasn't screwed up at all, because I hadn't written anything in. Probably a good decision. Otherwise I might have put in THE TAJ instead of THE RIO and STONE instead of JEWEL at 52D. Not writing stuff in (unless some crossing letters work) is, in late week puzzles, always the safest thing to do.

Isn't SAND the right answer to 39D? Don't kids create a SAND PILE out of the contents of the box, i.e. SAND?

YAKETY YAK sort of looks wrong to me. I wanted either two Ks or two Ts.

While I wouldn't know ACE OF BASE if I fell over it, two proper names were gimmes for me and of enormous help: MY FAIR LADY and NANKI.

As I said in my first comment, what I wanted for "Yoko, artistically" (3D) was ON THE D LIST. It fit with what I had at that juncture, -----D-IST, PERFectly.

Kudos, Sam, for coming up with a puzzle thorny enough to make me feel like a rank beginner.

Anonymous 9:40 PM  
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Anonymous 11:51 PM  

Not aware of any PC command "Endnow". This is pure make believe - try typing that into any machine - only thing that will happen is you get an error.

Unknown 9:36 AM  

Sloppy puzzle.
"Yo mama" joke, eg. is not a dis.

pdplot 10:43 AM  

Took me only 4 minutes. After reading Rex.Too many wrong guesses. Enchilada, Goodfella, iris...

Brad Findell 10:51 AM  

Sorry, Rex, but this was a bad, bad puzzle. Way too much GREEN PAINT, obscurity, and incorrect usage or clueing.

For comparison, here are Google hits (quotes capture the phrases as written):

“GREEN PAINT”: 3,490,000 hits
“WALL MAP”: 2,960,000 hits
“SAND PILE”: 192,000 hits
“SEA CHART”: 174,000 hits
“END NOW” command: 171,000 hits
“LAY A BET”: 129,000 hits

From these hit counts, I will reluctantly accept WALL MAP as a thing. Rex calls out SAND PILE, but the rest are at least as bad.

I have a degree in computer science and more than 40 years of experience, and I have never thought of “END NOW” as a command, even if the phrase occasionally appears in context menus.

Regarding LAY A BET, the Google search reveals that “lay betting” is a thing. But to “lay a bet” is to back something *not* to happen. So “Wager against” would be an appropriate clue. As clued, it seems wrong.

On a related note, TONNE needs a clue that crosses the Atlantic. In the U.S., we say “metric ton” to mean a megagram.

And then there was too much obscurity. Neither my spouse nor I had ever heard of FDR JR, ELIA, or NED LOW.

Overall, a very disappointing Saturday.

BrucieK 11:14 AM  

No, he really doesn’t, Flac. He’s posing again. I was close to thinking it was the most clueless part of his critique; but then he topped it with his empty-headed, cliche-ridden rant on modern feminism at the end.

Chip Hilton 10:19 AM  

Hi. It’s Monday morning and I finally finished this beauty. I’m guessing total time was about four hours, but, I persisted because it was such a hoot. I finished with one error - WIt and tANKI. I came here for help on the 1-9 clue and, as a sports fan, I am woefully humbled that I just . didn’t . see . it.

Anyway, belated thanks to Sam Ezersky for a hoot of a puzzle. Perfect Saturday.
And Sunday.
And Monday morning.

roscoe 88 4:04 PM  

and wednesday. why is infield right for 10D. other than that, nice hard puzzle

Burma Shave 9:38 AM  




spacecraft 10:45 AM  

DNF: naticks in the NE and SW. No idea about the pirate, and I thought of a roLLMAP--you know, like it rolls up? WALLMAP never occurred. Where else would a friggin' map be but on a wall? For the SW, I simply cannot accept that we're gonna get a clue with random numbers separated by a dash (DAH) and call it WIN-loss. WHY 1-9?? Is our constructor THAT much of a born loser?? This is the most unclear and unfair clue ever. Now, there are nine circles of (OH)HELL(YES), so maybe #1 would be sIN. Sounded reasonable to me. And Bugs had a GF? Wow, I bet one whole cartoon mentioned her. Could be just about any vowel in L_LA. So I went with siMYN as in "Simon says." Aren't they always telling us what to do?

There's other nose-wrinkling stuff, too, but it's all been mentioned. Not liking the use of THE in THERIO. Strangely, the PAGE/aide thing didn't throw me, but enough else did.

I've been experiencing some navigation difficulties on this site lately. I click on Post a comment and nothing happens. I reload the PAGE; still nothing. Then about two full minutes later, all of a sudden two or three comment pages appear across the bottom, but the blog page is gone. I hope this gets fixed. ENDNOW

spacecraft 1:07 PM  

The above post is, of course, from me. I don't know how that name got there.

thefogman 1:45 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
thefogman 1:54 PM  

The constructor PLAYSGOD with this one and WINs. Naticked at the OLLIE/ELIA crossing. I thought ICALLEDIT when I guessed OLdIE/EdIA. Was I wrong? OHHELLYES! But this was an exceptionally tough puzzle and I'm pretty happy I only had one error. Did ILIKE it? NOSIR. Not a TONNE. It was a tad unfair in spots. I could YAKETYYAK all day, but it's all been said, so I'll just ENDNOW.

peter 2:57 PM  

I miss miss Muse.

Diana,LIW 3:50 PM  

I'll allow y'all to LAYABET as to how many answers I looked up before getting a true toehold. I think I had about 8 answers and 4 of them were wrong - then....

I still almost didn't finish - with all that cheating. (The number I really did look up, after correcting the 4 errors, is very embarrassing. Very.)

So major dnf. Not to be confused with Major, Major, Major, Major

Diana, Minor Miner, and Crossword Waiter

leftcoastTAM 4:47 PM  

OHHELLYES, Lady Di, I looked up stuff, too. Had to because of the mix of the gettable, the ungettable, and the miserable.

My PLAINTS run from the ACEOFBASE to the 1 WIN in the 1-9 loss due to too many INFIELD errors, leaving both men and WOMYN unhappy.

Let's forget this one.

rainforest 6:59 PM  

Ultra-challenging. Did it in three visits to the grid. First entries were ELIA, OLLIE, CARROLL. Not promising. No time to go into details, but just before finishing, after a long time, I wrote over bEACH ART, as the S finally came to me. Totally changed the meaning.

Knew THE RIO, and WOMYN, for some reason, and spent most of the time going letter by letter. NED LOW totally on crosses. Pirate, eh?

I'd like to say I liked this, because I always do, but man it was hard!

Anonymous 11:32 PM  

To Anonymous: TNT is a cable network sometimes, but often is an explosive, as in dynamite.

What's up though with first, second, and third place being INFIELD ? Shouldn't it be first, second, and third base ? Or is he speaking of horse racing ? Or am I in the wrong universe ? Is he maybe speaking of being in the award field of anything as long as you finish first, second, or third ?

And maybe I'm so late to this party that this entry will never be read by anyone.

Unknown 11:20 PM  

Excruciatingly hard. Answer after answer that I had never heard of. Undoubtedly the hardest NY Times puzzle I have ever seen -- and I have been doing them for fifteen years.

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