People of southern Kenya / SAT 8-11-18 / Two-pointed hat worn by Napoleon / Main antagonist in Toy Story / Emmy-winning newsman Roger / Tammany Hall cartoonist / Word from Latin for seaweed / Repetitive farewell from Sound of Music / Scientists who measure exact shape size of earth /

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Constructor: Ryan McCarty

Relative difficulty: Medium (7:44)

THEME: none

Word of the Day: Luis SUÁREZ (14D: International soccer star Luis ___) —
Luis Alberto Suárez Díaz (American Spanish: [ˈlwis ˈswaɾes]; born 24 January 1987) is a
Uruguayan professional footballer who plays as a striker for Spanish club Barcelona and the Uruguay national team. Often regarded as one of the best players in the world, Suárez has won 16 trophies in his career, including five league titles and a UEFA Champions League title at club level, and a Copa América with Uruguay. A prolific goalscorer, Suárez has won two European Golden Shoes, an Eredivisie Golden Boot, a Premier League Golden Boot, as well as ending the six-year dominance of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo by winning La Liga's Pichichi Trophy in 2016. He has scored over 400 senior career goals for club and country. [...] On 20 November 2010, Suárez bit PSV's Otman Bakkal on the shoulder during a 0–0 draw. Ajax suspended him for two matches and fined him an undisclosed amount, which the club said they would donate to a "good cause" [...] On 21 April 2013, during a 2–2 draw with Chelsea in a Premier League match at Anfield, Suárez bit Branislav Ivanović; this was the second time Suárez had bitten an opponent. It was not noticed by the officials, and Suárez scored an equaliser in injury time. The bite prompted UK Prime Minister David Cameron to call on the FA to take a hard line with Suárez: the FA charged him with violent conduct and he was fined an undisclosed sum by his club. [...] For Uruguay's final group match against Italy on 24 June, Uruguay needed a win to advance to the knockout stagewhile Italy only needed a draw. Around the 79th minute and with the score at 0–0, Suárez clashed with Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini while waiting for a cross. Replays showed that Suárez lunged at Chiellini and bit his shoulder (Chiellini showed bite marks), followed by Suárez falling and clutching his face. (wikipedia) (biting emphasis mine)
• • •

So as I have said before one of my techniques for solving themelesses with quadrants that contain a stack of long Across answers is to just pound the short Downs as fast as I can, without much thought—first thing that comes to mind—and then look at the Across clues and see if what I've written makes Any kind of sense. Weirdly, despite near certainty that some if not most of my Down guesses will be wrong, this method yields results more times than not. Today, I missed the majority of the Downs in the NW, including three in a row (POUT, SOAR, LORD at 5D-7D, respectively), but I got YEARS and NILES and SUR, and somehow, through all the wrong junk, I was able to see BABY SLINGS almost immediately (1A: Alternatives to strollers). Pattern recognition is strange. Apparently you can see patterns even through a fog of bad information. Your brain can adjust to "only some of these letters are right" and find answers. Hurray, brains! Once I got BABY SLINGS, all the wrong Downs were instantly fixable (SULK, LACE, IDOL!), and the whole corner fell quickly.

Where I struggled was in the small corners, both NE and SW. POLS for [Stumpers?] was very tough. Had weird lot of trouble with ALGA because my brain kept shouting NORI at me (18A: Word from the Latin for "seaweed"). And no way I was getting the OIL part of OIL TOWNS. That was the last answer I put in the grid. They are major American cities. I don't associate them with oil (any more?) (actually, I never associated Houston with oil, and I associate Dallas with oil only because of the TV show "Dallas"). On the other side of the grid, I could swear I just saw GLENS Falls in a puzzle, only it was GLEN Falls (!?!?!?!). Weird hallucination. HELLUVA was very tough (34D: Extremely, informally). GAGMAN is a ridiculous term. MUDD I forgot. And DOTTED I'S ... ok that one I actually think is bad. Badly clued. Non-capital "I"s are by definition "dotted." Hawaii has I's. It has a double I. But ... there's nothing in the clue (and a "?" clue at that) that points to DOTTED, specifically. I would feel the same way I would if the answer to [What Chattanooga has that Nashville lacks?] was CROSSEDTS. Boo.

  • 33A: Problems resulting from a poor paternal relationship (DADDY ISSUES) — No. Gross. This is a derogatory phrase used almost exclusively of women, frequently in reference to women's sexual behavior. No one (esp. no man) has any business touching this. Another boo.
  • 48D: "Go back" button abbr. on some remotes (PREV.) — ???? What? Blecch.
  • 55A: Elite operative, for short (U.S. NAVY SEAL) — I believe you mean "for long," because people just say NAVY SEAL.
  • 23D: People of southern Kenya (MAASAI) — I did an extensive report on Tanzania in 7th grade, during which I learned a lot about the ... MASAI. Needless to say, this answer surprised me. I see that this double-, non-dotted "A" spelling is the preferred one (the one used by Wikipedia, for instance), but what the hell, middle-school reference material of 1982!? Why'd you hang me out to dry like that?
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Brian 12:10 AM  

SW brutal. Glens Mudd Avia Nast etc etc. yikes

jae 12:11 AM  

Mostly easy-medium except for the NE. Did not know SUAREZ (fortunately I’ve vaguely heard of WIZ Khalifa), did not know GEODESISTS, had usual before, tough. Liked it, I had to work a TAD harder than I typically do on a Sat.

Jon in Saint Paul, MN 12:31 AM  

I found this slightly tougher than a medium, and the only clue-answer I really enjoyed was ADIEUADIEU cuz in a musical guy. Agree that DADDYISSUES is gross. I think we can be awfully sensitive sometimes, but that is gross.

puzzlehoarder 12:31 AM  

This had good resistance in that middle section. I really fell for that blarney 30A clue. It was after I solved that I got the connection between the clue and the entry.

The puzzle started very easy. I first guessed 1A and SULK, LACE, IDOL and SUR dropped right in. I figured out that 8D was NILES and the remaining crosses went right in.

The SE was just as easy. It was transitioning from the NE into that middle that slowed me down. I got HOTDOGSTAND but then I had to skip ahead and fill in the SW corner just to get that first D of 33A. Then I changed LOADERS to LADDERS and MASSAI to MAASAI and finish the middle.

All that was left was settling on SAG over LAG. I still had to change WIL to WIZ to finish. This was on paper. No happy music, just SUAREZ being a common name.

How can you be called WIZ and not spend the whole winter writing your name in the snow?

Brian Rosen 1:01 AM  

I really balk at HELLUVA. I mean, I guess you could replace the “He’s a helluva good guy” with “He’s a(n) extremely good guy.” But it doesn’t parse well with me. It doesn’t MEAN extremely. It’s still modifying the “guy” and not the “good”. It still an adjective meaning singularly unique, not an adverb meaning extremely.

JOHN XXX 1:08 AM  

That NE corner was a killer. I had OILTOWNS because of course they're OILTOWNS my goodness what the hell else would they be. Possibly COWTOWNS, which they probably were before Spindletop blew. If you ever want a weekend of debauchery don't go to Vegas go to Dallas that town is totally crazed.

"Talk about DADDYISSUES, my baby's got 'em!" That'd be a pretty good song. I'm gonna write the rest of it because I have BEEN THERE and DONE THAT, more than once. In fact, the whole center of the grid is some kind of soap-opera plot outline: FAUXDIAMOND, DADDYISSUES, HOTDOGSTAND. Next week's episode: BIDPRICES, CAMERASHOP, PROJECTILE. You better believe I'm watching that show.

Dolgo 1:56 AM  

I consider myself a pretty good speller. But pride went before the fall tonight. I knew the Kenyan tribe, but I thought it was MAsSAI. Turns out, They were Apaches. The alternate spelling for MAASAI is "Masai." I eventually figured that one out. Worse, I thought "Saucony" was a defunct oil company. Turns out that was "Socony." There used to be a huge sign on Signboard Hill in Kansas City, Missouri, where I grew up, advertising the precursor of Mobil. That gave me more pause, and held me up in the southwest. Once I figured out my problem, mostly by swallowing my pride, I solved the puzzle in pretty much the same fashion as Rex fif though as a fan of Broadway musicals, the first clue I solved was ADIEU ADIEU.

chefwen 3:07 AM  

Tough for us, but we made it through with nary a cheat. Woohoo! Therefore, we liked it. A rare occurrence on a Saturday puzzle.

Cutest WAS 34A, HOT DOG STAND, frankly speaking, loved it.

Sunday, here we come.

Anonymous 4:01 AM  

If @Rex doesn’t think of Houston as an oil town, he needs to come down to Texas a little more often. This, from the site:


Houston is the U.S. energy headquarters and a world center for virtually every segment of the oil and gas industry from exploration and production to marketing and technology.

'mericans in Paris 5:01 AM  

HELLUVA Saturday puzzle, filled with lots of interesting words and phrases. Mrs. 'merican and I did this one as a tag team. I filled in the NW corner, and she did the SE, and then it took us what seemed like YEARS to GET the SW and middle.

The clue-answer combo that caused us the most problem was 41A: "Causing change" (ALTERANT). We got it right, but we'd only ever seen ALTERANT as a noun. Apparently it can also be used as an adjective. So we learned something new.

In the end, we DNF, because I had stupidly spelled Luis the soccer star as SUAREs. (That of course gave us WIs instead of WIZ, but that last letter could have been anything as far as I was concerned.)

Speaking of SUAREZ, I was a bit disappointed that the answer to the clue for 38A ("Bit") was not something related to bite, as it would have made a nice complement to Uruguay's most famous soccer player, who has a reputation as a biter. (Yes, you read that right.) Most infamously, during the 2014 World Cup, SUAREZ bit Italy's Giorgio Chiellini on the arm, and was consequently banned for nine games and sent home from the tournament.

BABY SLINGS makes me think of some medieval siege weapons from a Monty Python flic. "Fetchez la vache!"

Ooh la la, what a lot of French in this one. I wonder how many solvers will call FAUX!

ADIEU, ADIEU mes amis!

@Jenny Smythe from 12:08 PM yesterday: Crane and Co. now own the patents for the technology, but they didn't invent it. The Swedish krone was indeed the first to use the security strip, and I believe high-denomination currencies of the Czech Republic, Korea, and Mexico also preceded the Benjamin.

Anonymous 5:24 AM  

DOTTEDIS is not ok.

frankbirthdaycake 5:39 AM  

This one made me work, but it was fun. I’ve never heard of the term “gagman,” but I can’t complain too loudly about it.

Lewis 6:05 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lewis 6:08 AM  

I learned three things: That MAASAI is more correct than "Masai"; the lovely word GEODESIST; and how to use ALTERANT as an adjective. That Z square was a Natick for me, as I didn't know the two names, but I threw in that zed with confidence, as it easily seemed to outweigh any other letter. I love the word BICORN, and especially loved the DIEU DIEU LIEU line (as my brain sees it).

The puzzle right from the start threw me in an all-business mode, where I shut out the rest of the world, and become one with the grid. Puzzles like this are like doing yoga -- you leave the cocoon with a fresh, clean perspective on the world. Thank you Ryan!

Jim Lemire 6:56 AM  

Plopped down BABYbjornS at 1A right away because, you know, it fit, and I’m such a clever guy, so it must be correct. And the downs all worked off the BABY part, so, yeah, that held me up for a bit. Luckily I remembered Frasier’s brother so the ‘bjorn’ part had to go. Of course, I misspelled NILES as NIall because I’ve worked with a guy from the UK named Niall and remember thinking, “oh, that’s how you spell that name”. So the NW gave me a little trouble.

But the SW was the worst. Between NAST and MUDD, GLENS, HELLUVA and the awful DOTTED IS, I spun my wheels there for a while. For some reason I saw GAGMAN right away - perhaps from another puzzle? - but was hesitant to put it down. I wanted 35A to be GAG, and knew both couldn’t be correct. So I just stared at empty spaces for a long time. Finally decided to go with my gut and wrote in GAGMAN. AVIA and GLENS fell from there and the others eventually fell into place.

A good, tough-enough puzzle

Joseph Jakuta 7:25 AM  

Had DOUBLEIS for the longest time. Totally threw me off.

Hungry Mother 7:32 AM  

Not far from Natick, in Franklin, MA at my daughter’s home. Almost appropriate for the rapper/player cross, but I wagged the ‘Z’ and was done.

Hungry Mother 7:38 AM  

Speaking of HOTDOGSTANDs, I operated a one person stand on the Steel Pier in Atlantic City, out by the Diving Horse show. This was in 1959 between a summer internship in the Radiology Department at UCLA and a wastrel year at FSU, partying and not class-going. That was followed by three years in the U.S. Army, including a year in Thailand.

Anonymous 7:39 AM  

Studmuffin: a man perceived as sexually attractive, typically one with well-developed muscles

So still OK to objectify men, I guess. I know it's just a puzzle, but if lame and chink are slurs.........Jeesh!

Unknown 7:54 AM  

I’m a real amateur at this, so I kept resisting ENDAT for “Stop by” because in my mind, stopping by is something you do while on your way to ending at somewhere. Even after I gave in, I complained about the clue and answer to my wife, who thought it made perfect sense and explained how. But even now, a morning after I said, “Oh, yeah, that does make sense,” my novice mind once again can’t figure out how they’re synonymous. So that’s why people like me have trouble with Saturday puzzles.

Anonymous 8:01 AM  

In the spirit of dook, maybe we should stop calling an obscure name cross a “Natick” and instead call it a “notok”. Just thinking. . . .

- Jim C. in Maine

Karen D. 8:08 AM  

Never heard of a Bagman. Liked Daddy Issues. It’s a real thing that’s never been in the puzzle before and therefore welcome, IMO.

QuasiMojo 8:08 AM  

Yes there was some goofy stuff in this one today but overall I liked it.

I tried to stuff PERAMBULATORS into the top line. Then I thought maybe it's a play on the word "strollers" as in pedestrians. Never heard of Baby Slings. Sounds like a drink you'd get in old Shanghai.


Yeech at ADONIS being clued as STUDMUFFIN. Not in a million years. BOY TOY maybe. Markie Mark was a studmuffin but never an Adonis.

Rex doesn't think of Houston or Dallas as "oil towns"? All you see are oil wells down there. Get out more, Rex. That ivory tower you live in in the middle of very PLAIN Binghamton is causing you to seem HELLUVA provincial sometimes.

Does BALSAM count as PPP? Think PSYCHO.

Thanks Ryan for a fun Saturday.

Danny 8:08 AM  

You’re not far from where I’m solving—I’m just up 495 a bit. I’ve enjoyed living near Natick for a while now. It sort of pleases me to see it so mentioned around here.

ncmathsadist 8:20 AM  

Rex, you missed the stupid "alterant." What a POS that was.

And NORI is Japanese, not Latin.

PGregory Springer 8:28 AM  

Gay men can have daddy issues as well. Not necessarily a bad thing. At all.

mmorgan 8:33 AM  

Fun and challenging puzzle, I kept finding the answers were coming in clumps and bursts. But sadly, WI_/SUARE_ was a Natick for me -- never heard of either one of them; rappers and international soccer stars (um, that would be football/futbol, no?) are not my things. Though I will actually be driving through Natick later this afternoon.

Space Is Deep 8:42 AM  

A good challenge. Took a while, but chipped away at it. Almost finished, but Naticked in the NE, two obscure names.

E. Valverde 8:43 AM  

Being a Barcelona fan helped me take a huge bite out of the northeast.

FLAC 8:44 AM  

A couple of funky clues, but overall just what a Saturday should be.

I think the "for short" part of the "SEALs" clue is that SEAL is an acronym. But Rex has a point: who says "U.S."?

"Blarney Stone" clue was super.

pabloinnh 9:01 AM  

I misdirected myself into lots of lost time today. SITU for LIEU was no help, which is what I get for knowing Suarez right away with its final U. Hand up for the MAASAI misspelling. Had TITUS for TIMON forever which made the SE impossible. Even with a 9-month old granddaughter kept seeing BABYSWINGS and not that other thing. In short, tough enough to make the actual no-cheat solve an occasion for the happy dance.

Also, I grew up about thirty miles from Glens Falls, and still can't believe it somehow rates being in a NYT crossword. What's next, _______ Creek? (That would be CRANBERRY.)

Anonymous 9:06 AM  

Had COWTOWNS for Dallas Houston clue.

Bourbon Street 9:22 AM  

I was so proud of myself for getting AVIA, NAST, and MUDD right away, so I figured out that the two “i”s in Hawai’i were important but my brain kept screaming at me “DOuble IS”. When I finally considered DOTTED IS I thought “Well, that’s stupid but let’s go with it” and then everything fell into place (even though for a brief moment I wanted “HEckUVA”). It was the NE corner that did me in for the longest time until SEMINOLE finally clicked. I do have a little problem with a passport or driver’s license being a LEGAL ID. As opposed to what? Is there such a thing as an illegal id? We don’t call phony passports and driver’s licenses “illegal ids”.

Nancy 9:26 AM  

So I looked at the letters I had so far for 33A: --DD----UES. The clue was "Problems resulting from a poor paternal relationship." And because the NYT has so often required me to know recently coined words and phrases that I've never heard of, I've learned to improvise and guess. And thus the "answer" rushed right into my mind:

BAD DAD BLUES. That had to be it, right? :)

This propelled me into an unnecessary struggle in the center of the puzzle. But 31D could be nothing else but DIS, giving me [belatedly] the much more prosaic and familiar DADDY ISSUES. I certainly outsmarted myself today.

Found this puzzle hard, hard, hard. Thought the clues for LOCAL COLOR (17A) and FAUX DIAMOND (30A) were striving so hard for cleverness and misdirection that they ended up being unfair. DOTTED I'S (33D) is a real stretch. There's such a thing as an OXYGEN BAR???? Also thought crossing the rapper with the soccer star was unfair. But much to like in this puzzle too. Cute Mafia clue for SNORKELED (19A). Liked HOT DOG STAND and PROJECTILE. This gave me a challenge and I enjoyed it.

Anonymous 9:31 AM  

Allow me to play the role of the native informant and mention that DADDY ISSUES is used frequently and playfully (often self-descriptively) among gay men. I coincidentally saw it written in that context just a minutes before tackling this puzzle, and filled it in with no crosses.

Does that authorize Ryan (a man—whose sexual orientation lets itself be known to the readers of xwordinfo) to, ahem, “touch it”?

Outside The Box 9:39 AM  

Rex: Houston not associated with the oil industry?

Houston is THE center for all aspects of the oil industry, from shipping, drilling technology, pipelines, corporate headquarters and so on.

Teedmn 9:40 AM  

I knew Masai was right because of the lyrics on my CD of Warren Zevon's Leave My Monkey Alone:

Down in Kenya, where the Masai roam
And the grass grows tall on the veldt
In our old colonial home
We drank our bitters while the empire fell

So like many here today, I learned the preferred spelling is MAASAI.

Anyone else have "cOunty faiR" for "Show around the area?" It worked so well with Big SUR, sigh.

I got OXYGEN BARS from the Y, DOTTED I'S from the DO and US NAVY SEAL from the first S, which was fun. This came in at my average Saturday time so I was pleased with its difficulty without getting frustrated. Had to run the alphabet to see the U of LIEU but then had SUARE_ and saw the 29A-14D cross would be Z. Coincidentally, I was at a bar yesterday and they had some sort of junior Jeopardy on the TV. The question was "Which soccer player bit another in the 2014 World Cup?" Of course the TV was muted so I didn't hear the answer but @'mericans in Paris gives me the answer and it sure would have helped in today's NE section. How does that happen?

Lots of good clues here. I'm glad the answer to "Swam with the fishes, say" had nothing to do with the mob. I was sure 34A was going to have something French with the word "frankly" in the clue so I kept looking at the FAUX in 30A and wondering what was going on. HOT DOG STAND was a great answer.

Nice Saturday, Ryan McCarty!

Sgreennyc 9:41 AM  

You never heard of the Houston Oilers?
Are you trolling us with your ridiculous PC objections? Because a term might be potentially insulting to some people shouldn't cause it to be banished from the lexicon---or crossword puzzles. For better or worse, it's part of the language.

TJS 9:43 AM  

Never thought I'd say this, but thank God for Eudora Welty.

mm 9:45 AM  

GAGMAN? Who got rid of comediennes??

Anonymous 9:50 AM  

Houston is very much an oil town, full of major refineries. Remember the hurricane last year which disrupted gas supplies for many weeks. I've lived in Dallas since 1985. Oil was sort of a thing back then, with the Mobil Oil building downtown being prominent. But not so much the past 20 years. As an aside: I live 2 miles from the house used in the opening scenes of the Dallas TV show back then. 6 lane road runs in front of it now, with suburbia fast overtaking it. Still see people taking pictures of it nearly every time I drive by.

Shep and the Limelites 9:54 AM  

First time I’ve encountered the term DADDYISSUES.

RooMonster 9:59 AM  

Hey All !
I found this a HELLUVA lot harder than alot of you. Thankfully did online today, so had my 'Check Puz' feature going overtime. Actually found SE area easiest, even though it was last fill I did. Odd.

Just a Q from the pangram. A FAUXgram? Love these ALTERANT words we make up.

Funky grid design. Cool lower threes row, GET ERE SID TAD. That DOTTEDIS threw me a bit, too. Had DOubleIS there, because that's the correct answer. :-) Other oopses, BABYSwINGS, drfrUed-SIGMUND (yea, yea, it's frEUd), Rude-RACY, kale-ALGA (har), think that's it.

Anyway, a good themeless. Didn't WIZ bang fly through. I will now bid you ADIEU ADIEU (I'm sure I'm not the first to do that!).


Stanley Hudson 10:01 AM  

Isn’t Rex old enough to remember the Houston Oilers? He’s a Gen Xer, no?

Anyway, a tough but fair Saturday workout. Thanks Ryan McCarty.

Anonymous 10:10 AM  

Aside from “daddy issues” I loved this one, yesterday too. Full of really clever, heretofore unseen (by me, anyway) clueing. I thought “Blarney stone?” was particularly good.

Wiz Kalifa’s version of 0-100 gets me up and motivated when I’m dragging. Good to see him in here.

Luis Suarez is undeniably a great finisher, but I hate him and am so glad France beat Uruguay in the World Cup and no one got bitten. Give me Mbappe or Greizmann any day!

Go Nats!

Ps - I know your name isn’t Rex, so I’m not sure how to address this to you, but: thanks for this blog. I love checking it, seeing what you think and having the forum to weigh on on what I thought and to read what others thought. It’s a really nice thing you do for us. Hope you have a great weekend!

RAD2626 10:13 AM  

DOTTED I’S a total DOOK for me. Got it from crosses but had no idea what it was until I read the write up.

Solid Saturday puzzle with some clever cluing. HOT DOD STAND the best IMO.

Unknown 10:15 AM  

I don’t know about the HOTDOGSTAND, but there’s always money in the Banana Stand.

'mericans in Paris 10:16 AM  

I'm surprised that so many solvers had a problem with NAST. I recall learning about Thomas NAST in U.S. history or civics class, during junior high school, and the fact that his name was the origin of NASTy. That's a fun fact pretty hard to forget!

Another fun fact: Roger MUDD is related to Samuel MUDD, the doctor who was imprisoned for treating the fractured leg of John Wilkes Booth after the latter had assassinated President Abraham Lincoln.

@Anonymous 7:39 AM: Good point about stud muffin being a term that objectifies men. If there's going to be a standard ...

RodeoToad 10:17 AM  

Houston is a city of crude oil and refined people.

Brian C. 10:20 AM  

re: GLENS falls, I recall seeing an answer about GLEN Rock, NJ recently.
Definitely more difficult than Medium for me! Glad to have finished it

kitshef 10:21 AM  

Fast Saturday, although I was a little worried about that GLENS/AVIA/END AT area. Turned out OK, though.

A couple of answers that made me suspect green paint, like FAUX DIAMOND and BID PRICES, appear valid, so nice work by the creator.

Really enjoyed Rex's review today, especially the closer.

AdamW 10:34 AM  

Some things are IDS, but insufficient to work for any important ID circumstance. Say, a library card, or supermarket club card.

veganhater 10:41 AM  


Suzie Q 10:58 AM  

Saturdays I always put on my special thinking cap to be on the look out for trickiness and today it served me well.
Speaking of hats, I was surprised by bicorn because I was expecting a French word.
@ 'mericans, Thanks for the "Nasty" comment. That's so cool! I had no idea.
I also had no idea about the soccer/rap intersection but so what.
After such a week of easy puzzles this was a satisfying workout that made me feel good to finish. Thanks Ryan.

Anonymous 10:59 AM  

Well trod at this point but the idea that a sentient human being in this country wouldnt associate Houston with oil is so mind boggling it beggars belief.
Liked this quite a bit Mr. McCarty. Not a damn thing wrong w dotted Is either. Thanks.

Anonymous 11:01 AM  

Do us vegans a favor and stop using hot dogs in the puzzle please.
How am I supposed to enjoy my breakfast thinking about meat?

Carola 11:07 AM  

Challenging for me and very gratifying to finish (me, too, in the NE corner). Thank goodness I watched the World Cup and remembered SUAREZ, otherwise it would have been curtains. So much to like in the long Acrosses and Downs (I had no idea that DADDY ISSUES was problematic). I liked LOCAL COLOR over SNORKELED, thinking of the reef fish it's been such a treat to see.

@Rex, I appreciated your remarks on pattern recognition. I don't use your method for crosswords (I always check crosses) but I do for acrostics, as the quote format makes it easier to see what's what and surprisingly often a wrong answer will still help somehow. And I usually can only solve cryptics when pattern recognition gets me some of the answers; then I go back and parse the clues.

@'mericans from yesterday and today - Thanks for the info on the security strip and the Nast lore.

Anonymous 11:28 AM  

Agree with Rex on the DOTTEDIS. Imagine an entire puzzle with clues like that one. What quinces have but plums do not: QUDOUBLET. What a leopard has but a jaguar does not: PENULTIMATER. What alabaster has but amber does not: THREEAS. In math, what 2 squared has but 4 does not: SUPERSCRIPTTWO. What a dog has but a cat does not: DOG. Yep, good times.

John Child 11:42 AM  

Nice grid, great clues, and just the right amount of difficulty. But there weren’t a lot of words that made me go OOOH!

Trombone Tom 11:48 AM  

Maybe someone in Houston can host @Rex to a meal at the Petroleum Club and enlighten him.

I thought this was a tough mama (Whoa! Sexist!) with some great cluing. Hard to beat something like Blarney Stone. And having SIGMUND with DADDY ISSUES was quite appropriate.

I managed to finish after getting sidetracked on ShoshonE before SEMINOLE.

Thanks Ryan for a fine Saturday.

old timer 11:56 AM  

My oldest daughter uses BABY SLINGS instead of a stroller. All the same I had "baby swings" for the longest time. And still do not understannd LACE in that context.

And a DNF for me because I had "Geodelists" instead of GEODESISTS.

Unknown 11:56 AM  

SEAL, as in U.S. Navy SEAL, is indeed for short even though as you point out, most people just say Navy SEAL. But SEAL is an acronym! Look it up.

TubaDon 11:59 AM  

     I'm with Rex on this one. DOTTEDIS is a real groaner and one of the last answers I filled in. I was stuck on the middle for a long time, since MASAII seemed odd but reasonable for 21D.
    Adieu, adieu, to yieu and yieu and yieu.

Crimson Devil 12:19 PM  

I think lace intended as to spike a drink or punch.

Chris 12:21 PM  

HELLUVA is an adjective. "Extremely" is an adverb. They are not interchangeable. He's a(n) extremely guy? No. She's a(n) extremely lot smarter than him? No. I'm helluva upset? No. Hella upset: yes. But not helluva up set. This clue seems super broken. What am I missing?

pabloinnh 12:21 PM  

@old timer--I had the same problem until I thought of the prom punch LACED with vodka.

Unknown 12:26 PM  

And, formally the Houston Oilers!

JC66 12:27 PM  

Should the fact that @Rex doesn't know Houston is big in oil impact on whether we should accept some of his other opinions (LAME, DADDYISSUES, etc)? Inquiring minds...

@'mericans in Paris

I, too, thought the NASTy deal was neat, but I checked it out online and I think your teacher "stretched the truth" about NAST being the origin of nasty.

Here's the etymology I found.

@old timer

If you LACE the punch, it's spiked.

JC66 12:31 PM  

@old timer

I busy was posting.

Sorry for the threepeat.

Anonymous 12:32 PM  

how is stop by mean end at ?

Lindsay 12:33 PM  

Really thought I was staring at a DNF as I had 9D GEODEtISTS, thinking it must have to do with geodetic surveys. 28A wanted to be SAG, but obviously SAG doesn't start with a "t". And all of this intersected the unhelpful Kenyans.

So I stepped away from the puzzle for an hour, came back & geodesic domes flitted into my head. Done.

Anonymous 12:47 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
GHarris 12:50 PM  

Medium? No. Had a helluva (extremely) hard time finishing. Also went with cowtowns at first because that was what they were “historically “.. They are presently oil towns. Was able to finish only because I went to Google for Wiz and Timon. My knowledge of rappers is nonexistent, my mastery of Shakespeare only skin deep. Still somewhat proud of my work on this one.

Jim Lemire 12:50 PM  

@Cass Garnet - nice! one of the funniest shows ever made...and one of the best plot threads. Always money in the banana stand, indeed!

Larry 12:54 PM  

The phrase "daddy issues" is now off limits, is "oedipus complex" also to be put down the memory hole.

Rex is free to run the column how ever he wants but his paperback cover website is free of the language police that seems to be employed here.
I thought he would have a problem with "gagman" since now days comedian like actor is taken to be both sexes.

JC66 1:04 PM  

@Banana D

You definitely should give today's LA Times puz a shot,

mbr 1:09 PM  

Anonymous 12:47: the concert will stop by 10pm; the concert will end at 10pm

Joe Bleaux 1:22 PM  

Tried hard, but just couldn't like it, thanks mainly to NE and SW. Yup, they're OIL TOWNS, so why throw "historically" in the clue? Once you do that, if it ain't cow towns, it's bullshit (speaking of which: DOTTED I'S). @Bryan Rosen, explained the fault with 34(D) HELLUVA well; it ain't an adverb. Elsewhere, "Hearts" is a really weak clue for GISTS. And @TJS, ditto on EUDORA (especially if, like me, you're a LEO). All right, I'll END AT (not "Stop by") that.

'mericans in Paris 1:22 PM  

@JC66 12:27 PM --

Oh Dear. I guess I should double-check these things before simply taking the word of my 8th-grade teacher. I've now checked a couple of other web sites, and one even asserts that its origins could go back to the Sanskrit word nāstik.

One site that weighs in on the etymology of NASTy also claims that the popular notion that the word "crap" comes from one of the early makers of flush toilets, the Thomas Crapper, is a myth. Rather, it claims, it comes to us from the Dutch word, krappe. But krappe in modern Dutch means "cramped". (Which sounds close to "constipated", but that word in Dutch is verstopt.) So permit me to doubt on that one.

Perhaps NASTy was a word that gained more currency when people began to associate it with the works of Thomas NAST?

Yvonne 1:30 PM  

Sorry if I've missed this in the comments, but HELLUVA is correct as clued. It can be used as an adverb. Adverbs can modify adjectives. Example: He's a HELLUVA [an extremely] nice guy. This is fair in crossword usage (think of all those misleading verb tense clues). The clue and answer don't have to be universally interchangeable.

Anonymous 1:37 PM  

Houston was never ever a cowtown. It grew up as atransporation hub-- steamshios then trains. Mind of an amzi g hostory actually. Really meteoric growth ( it was founded only in the 1830s).
Anyway tbere were no wild wwst days in Houston. It was really a Southern city more than anything else.

Cassieopia 1:49 PM  

Thought BABYSmINGS were a new type of gear that I just hadn’t heard of yet, because a mACE is spiky, right?

Anoa Bob 1:55 PM  

Yesterday we had PAVLOV, the 1904 Nobelist whose laboratory demonstrations* of what became known as classical conditioning is to this day a major part of contemporary psychology of learning (defined as an enduring change in behavior due to experience).

Today we step back into the dark ages of SIGMUND Freud, who only gets a historical footnote or two in Psyc 101, but still lives on in popular culture, such as the NYTXword. Anyone who gives credence to that mixture of ancient Greek tragedies and mystical mumbo-jumbo should read Freudian Fraud: The Malignant Effect of Freud's Theory on American Thought and Culture by E. Fuller Torrey, MD.

Quiz for today: What do BABY SLING, GEODESIST, OIL TOWN, DADDY ISSUE, LADDER, DOTTED I, OXYGEN BAR & BID PRICE have in common? Hint: POC to the rescue. And what the HELLUVA is BID PRICE anyway? Would not that just be, uh, erm, BID?

*Pavlov tried using the sound of a bell as the conditioned stimulus but it was upsetting to the dogs, so he switched to the sound of a metronome. So it's Pavlov's metronome, not Pavlov's bell. Except of course in popular culture.

JC66 1:56 PM  

@'mericans in Paris

Yeh, but your teacher did a good job in having you remember NAST. Maybe that was the plan all along.

old timer 2:00 PM  

NAST is useful if you solve crosswords.

Thanx for the explanation of LACE, folks.

And I have seen the MAASAI in Kenya and Tanzania. Lovely people in more ways than one. They are nice to us tourists, and wonderful to look at. Especially the young girls! The young men at least in theory still are expected to get their lion, as a rite of passage.

Butterflypeyton 2:25 PM  

How is no one talking about areola?

JC66 2:39 PM  

@ Butterflypeyton

No one saw the point.

Unknown 3:05 PM  

Thank goodness Rex is here to let us all know what we’re supposed to be angry about. I think he might have some DADDYISSUES

Chip Hilton 3:19 PM  

Seeing SUAREZ here just points to the growth in popularity of world football in this country. The two giants, MESSI and RONALDO, have already shown up, I believe. Look for KANE, POGBA, and MBAPPE, among others, in the near future.

Solid Saturday challenge. Thanks.

XQQQME 4:26 PM  

Hah! Good one...

Banana Diaquiri 4:28 PM  

So still OK to objectify men, I guess. I know it's just a puzzle, but if lame and chink are slurs.........Jeesh!

my third wife called me that all the time. had the desired effect. of course, she has a fabulous rack, so I didn't need lots of extra encouragement. objectification is context specific. YMMV

Anonymous 4:28 PM  

My DIRECTV remote has a PREV button - it’s a thing.

XQQQME 4:31 PM  

As a former denizen of the dark side of Las Vegas, take it from me there’s never been a stripper without serious Daddy Issues. The term may have been fathered there...ta dum. Gagman.

Unknown 4:50 PM  

No idea, but keep us abreast of anything you hear.

Amelia 6:09 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 6:18 PM  

@Banana 4:28 PM wrote:

my third wife called me that all the time. had the desired effect. of course, she has a fabulous rack, so I didn't need lots of extra encouragement. objectification is context specific. YMMV

This quote is like a space alien trying to talk like what it thinks a straight male would sound like.

Anonymous 6:46 PM  

Anon 6:18,

ZenMonkey 7:42 PM  

I'm a 45-year-old woman with no icky problems admitting I have DADDY ISSUES due precisely to what the clue specifies. It's not limited to sex and, honestly, claiming that's why it's "gross" is more sexist than the term itself. (White-knighting, anyone?) Some things are objectively insulting; those that are not should be left alone by would-be allies.

Agree fully about DOTTEDIS. I had DOUBLEIS and thought that was bad enough; I entertained the correct answer briefly before deciding it was too bad to be the real thing. And HELLUVA gave me my DNF because as many people have mentioned, it is most definitely an adjective. "This is an extremely bad clue." "This is a helluva bad clue." Extremely modifies "bad"; helluva modifies the noun phrase "bad clue." Something can't be "HELLUVA bad." Except the SW, which really was.

Enjoyed the rest a lot though.

Girish 7:58 PM  

@Anonymous 7:39 AM If Cinderella can turn into a princess, you can turn into the god of beauty and desire. Strut your stuff, man! Thought i was off to the races with the sound of music, but it was somewhat of a downhill slog, after that.

JC66 7:59 PM  


I'm no pedant, but I think that a word that modifies an adjective is an adverb.

Girish 8:05 PM  

@ Anonymous 10:59 AM They’re not cow towns?

ZenMonkey 10:02 PM  


I agree. Did I imply otherwise? I'm certainly not at my most articulate today.

JC66 10:26 PM  

@ ZenMonkey

Sorry, I misread your post.. My first mistake this year. ;-)

ZenMonkey 10:59 PM  


Well then mazel tov! :D

Anonymous 2:24 AM  

DNF. Very nearly DNS. Very soon saw the writing on the wall and decided to go straight to Rex Parker and his happy band of warriors and carping critics. Just this once, and with no apology.

rivivieri 3:21 AM  

I approve this message.

Kent Allard 6:58 AM  

I’ve seen “daddy issues” used in comics to describe motivations of male heroes and villains.

Maruchka 8:33 AM  

Too little fun, and late. I need a style primer for sussing dis.. 'tisn't anywhere near my wheelhouse. Sigh.

@'mericans - merci pour la vache et rire! I confidently wrote cowTOWN for Big D and Houston. Moo..

Anonymous 10:31 AM  

I thought Blarney stone was the perfect clue for Emerald Isle. Oh well.

Amelia 1:33 PM  
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Brian 2:49 PM  

Construction will stop by noon = Construction will end at noon.

Therefore “stop by” = “end at” in that specific context.

Unknown 1:50 PM  

Explanation, please for 11A: STUMPERS? (POL).

salty 3:38 AM  

My biggest problem with the SW was the stack of 4 proper names. I didn't know any of them, so I was left purely guessing at the awful down clues (gagman? helluva? dottedis? ugh.). I did get the last one (I went back and forth between dotted and double but thought they were both too dumb to be the answer)key but gave up with "heavily" and I don't know what for the first one. it's rare that I completely dnf but after 2+ hours I'd had enough.

Burma Shave 11:35 AM  


The BIDPRICE'S one PLAIN dollar
for what you GET at the HOTDOGSTAND,


rondo 12:00 PM  

No write-overs, but about 5X OFL's time due to diligence and before I would ENDAT the G in GET as the finale. Tempted to put in DOubleIS, but was darn sure of MUDD in the __IS.

I could picture all those SoM brats singing ADIEUADIEU and also conjured a vision of that song being performed by the Lawrence Welk crew. HELLUVA note, eh?

Feeling PLAIN? Don't just SITAR, put some Spice in your life with GERI Holliwell, I like what that yeah BABYSLINGS.

Good Saturday workout. ADIEU,ADIEU.

spacecraft 12:23 PM  

Grousing about DADDYISSUES?? OK, then from now on we can't have anything that is "derogatory." Where's your objection to DIS? I want to know why you didn't say a peep about DIS? Come on, let's be real.

This was a fairly tough solve, at least medium for a Saturday. Very restricted outlets from the NW/SE to the rest of the grid made for a couple of restarts. I got Creek mixed up with Cree, so SEMINOLE didn't come right away. Of course, the Z was a Natick, but what else for SUARE_?

ALTERANT is one of those "real" words that never GET used. Oh well. And I agree about the stupid DOTTEDIS. Talk about your green paint! Naturally I wanted DoubleIS--little better--but that wouldn't fly. Lucky I remembered NAST or I might still be floundering around in the SW. "Stop by" = ENDAT?? Horrible clue for a horrible partial. TIMON of Athens saved me in the SE, along with wild guess CPU from this definite non-TECHIE. No problem with PREV(ious). Up note: grandson is training to become a USNAVYSEAL.

No question about the DOD: GERI Hallowell. Give it a par, for 55-across.

rainforest 3:45 PM  

I found this to be an engaging puzzle, mostly medium, but the SW was very challenging for me. It didn't help that I wrote in DOubleIS and had a HELLUVA time trying to work with that. HELLUVA was my last entry, btw.

I started with a bunch of "s" words: SITAR, SIGMUND, SEMINOLE and SUAREZ, the biter, whom I learned about from this year's World Cup. He's apparently a great player who may be suffering from some DADDY ISSUES.

I liked the stacks in the NW and SE and had a good time in those areas. Loved the clue for HOT DOG STAND which I got from just off the "D". I also liked how GEODESISTS somehow made sense, thinking of "geodesic".

Who names a child EUDORA?

All in all a good Saturday.

thefogman 4:15 PM  

Medium? Not for me. Tough, but I almost solved it. Almost, because I fell for the trap at 41A and had ALTERiNg instead of ALTERANT. By the way ALTERANT is listed as "rare" in the OED, so was that really fair? Not sure especially since it crosses TIMON which isn't on anyone's top-ten list of Shakespeare works. Okay that's it. I won't throw any more MUDD at it. It was a HELLUVA tough puzzle but an enjoyable one with that one exception. Nice work Ryan McCarty. In closing let me say ADIEU ADIEU ADIEU, to yieu and yieu and yieu...

Diana,LIW 4:25 PM  

I guess I never met a proper name I DID like...they are my downfall, every time.

But I did love the HOTDOGSTAND clue.

I wanna get a BABYSLING for my kitty, who wants to be attached to me 24/7. 'Twod make life easier for all.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for a puzzle w/o names!!!

fakt chekker 7:36 PM  

@Rex, do your homework re: "long for" or "short for" USNAVYSEALS.
The "United States Navy Sea, Air, and Land Teams" are the U.S. Navy's primary special operations force and a component of the Naval Special Warfare Command.

crossword fan 3:43 AM  

Solid Saturday level puzzle. One of my favorites this year. Took me 38:00. Had to fight for every section. Thought things were gonna be easy when I threw down LEO EUDORA SITAR and SIGMUND. But I ran into a lot of walls. Liked PREV right next to DEJA.. Jesus had DADDY ISSUES. Thanks for a great crossword puzzle.

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