Mean Miss of Wizard of Oz / SAT 9-1-18 / Overhyped event in slang / Smallest country in mainland africa / Frazzled commuter's comment / Bisector of Fertile Crescent / road runners' race classification / Toon with middle initial

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Constructor: Randolph Ross

Relative difficulty: Medium-ish (8:18)

THEME: none

Word of the Day: William P. BARR (30D: Attorney general before Reno) —
William Pelham Barr (born May 23, 1950) is an American attorney who served as the 77th Attorney General of the United States. As a member of the Republican Party, Barr served as Attorney General from 1991 to 1993 during the administration of President George H. W. Bush.
• • •

Puzzle has no sense of fun, and what sense it tried to have (NOTHING BURGER) is a phrase I find stupid and repulsive—like, my least favorite slang of this decade. It's dumb political talk. Stupid. Inane. Generally used by people trying to downplay something genuinely terrible. Just say "overhyped event," it's so much nicer. TEMPEST IN A TEAPOT has a certain quaint ring to it. NOTHING BURGER just sounds like something someone barfed up. Slop. I cannot overstate how much I hate the phrase on an aesthetic level. It's ugly, and when you use it, you're ugly. Moving on. APERY!? Ugh. ME DO? Up there with the stupid BURGER for most off-putting answer. The good stuff here is just "good" in the sense of solid, sturdy, and some of that gets mucked up with bad cluing. What is it with the NYT and its name-droppy intellectualism fetish? Mensa this mensa that ... and then this CONAN O'BRIEN clue (31A: Longtime talk show host with a degree from Harvard). Ooooh lala, Hah-vahd. It's such a weak, narrow way to clue someone who is so talented and accomplished. Lots of complete assholes have Ivy League degrees. Who cares? Moving on again: What is a capital-R Road Runner? How on earth would I know that their "race classification" is TEN MILE? Garbage fill, garbage clue. BARR was Attorney General for about 8 minutes when I was in my early 20s. Not exactly puzzle-worthy. I want to say same about STIMSON, but I'm willing to bet that's not true and just chalk up my ignorance to my second-rate education and third-rate mind. ME DO not know Secretaries of (lowercase "w"?) war.

The phrases here are so stilted. HEAVENS, CAN IT BE that the puzzle HATH NE'ER considered that it NEED NOT project such an OLDSTER vibe? It MISDOES its APERY, forsooth. WILE E!? The [Toon with a middle initial] is WILE E. COYOTE. I think you meant [Toon name part that contains an initial]. The toon is the full name of the toon, not the first name and middle initial. UNOS is a bad plural. OLES is a bad plural. Hard to think of a clue / answer that I liked both in clue and answer. Maybe CONTORTIONIST (15D: One who gets bent out of shape). Is SCOTS a "language"? I thought it was more a dialect. Hmm. This is from wikipedia:
A 2010 Scottish Government study of "public attitudes towards the Scots language" found that 64% of respondents (around 1,000 individuals being a representative sample of Scotland's adult population) "don't really think of Scots as a language" but it also found that "the most frequent speakers are least likely to agree that it is not a language (58%) and those never speaking Scots most likely to do so (72%)"
So there's that. I had the most trouble in the NW, where STIMSON was unknown and 6D: Any minute was ANON for a bit and "IT'S A ZOO" just didn't compute. Anyone in a crowded area might say that. "Frazzled commuter" had me thinking the comment was going to be something about a STOP. "OUR STOP?!" I dunno. Whole corner was rough for me. Rest of the puzzle was more tractable. Looking back, it's clear that NOTHING BURGER complete drained any pleasure I might've had right out of this solving experience. MEDO didn't help.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:05 AM  

Easy. Quite a bit easier than yesterday’s. No WOEs, no erasures, just kept on going.

Too easy and, with the exception of NOTHING BURGER (does anyone still say that?), mostly bland.

Anonymous 12:08 AM  

Do you get royalties from Pixar for basing Anton Ego on your MO? Or is it just a big nothingburger? Stay sharp out there.

Brookboy 12:29 AM  

But, seriously, Rex, how did you like the puzzle?

Anonymous 12:36 AM  

Saw Rex's tweet about an 8-plus minute finish ("medium") and panicked. Yet, came in just a hair over 9 minutes, well below average!

A fair puzzle that required persistence but nothing too tricky.


puzzlehoarder 12:52 AM  

This went in slow for me. I didn't write them in but my first guesses for 1A and 7A we're SALSAS and MALAWI. INERTIA and PRO quickly eliminated the latter but I did put LITTER in at 3D until MIDSENTENCE knocked it out. BEAST was what got me to see SAMBAS.

CONTORTIONIST was easy. NOTHING BURGER I had to work for. My entry into the SW was slowed by WILEY at 41D. I kept thinking if that's his first name what middle initial could he have? I almost had to finish the SW to get ESTATE.

Almost was how I finished that SW. I wound up with a dnf of BARD crossed with NEED. There's some kind of bad karma going on there when you screw up Shakespeare's words with his title. William BARR is quite forgettable but NEER? The xwordinfo list for that is huge. Between this and BUTTLOAD it's been a bad week for yours truly.

Graham 1:04 AM  

Again, I’m confused about the very premise, the very role of crossword puzzle critic. You don’t like NOTHING BURGER as a phrase. Sure. Fine. Neither do I. It’s been used in some horrible ways by some horrible people.

But... it’s a phrase. People say it a fair bit. It’s not hate speech, per se. (Sure, it can be used hatefully, but so can a lot of things that aren’t, of themselves, hateful.)

So... a newish phrase of at least minor import in our society. Seems pretty legit for inclusion in a crossword, no? To posit your personal aesthetic as the boundary between crossword-approved and crossword-illegitimate seems as snooty as the clue writer who thinks CONAN O’BRIAN’s educational pedigree should matter.

chefwen 1:05 AM  

I have never heard the expression NOTHING BURGER but it certainly doesn’t offend me. Just sounds like a plain burger, not too exciting. Gotta have cheese, pickles, tomato etc.

Top half easier than the bottom for us. It took me forever to think of BROILER and I used ours last night. Embarrassing! Then villa wasn’t working at 42A, took it out and ages later PRADA came to me when PRIVET went in.

I assumed Road Runners was capitalized because of the cartoon, I could be wrong.

Anyway, we got it done but not without a struggle.

Larry Gilstrap 1:52 AM  

This took me some extra time to solve. I almost concur with OFL's assessment, except for his peevishness concerning the Harvard pedigree of CONAN O'BRIEN. Not certain his CV helped cement his selection as a cable TV talk show host. No offense to either.

Electronic communication begins with: "What HATH God wrought?" Prescient comment, if I've heard one. I'll be right back; gotta check my Twitter feed. I'm back. What do folks pay for digital communication and entertainment these days? Is it more than they pay for utilities or alcohol? Asking for a friend.

Old Beatles sang "Love Me Do." The music was so young and so innocent. Is any new music young and innocent? Does any adult or kid, for that matter, feign youth and innocence, even musically?

Hamlet is a huge play, Macbeth is one of the shortest in the canon. Most of Shakespeare's plays feature a few strong women characters. I have a soft place for Lady Macbeth, vulnerable and gutsy and what ever it takes to be the accomplice of a madman. She and her husband both give good soliloquy.

JOHN X 2:01 AM  

Wow Rex that was quite a review!

If we ever meet, Rex, I will make sure that I never ever say NOTHINGBURGER around you. Not only will I do that, I'll also take you out drinking and then to the best whorehouse we can find, and it's my treat. I'll give them a thousand dollars each and tell 'em "See that man there? Make him forget his own name!" And then I'll come back six hours later and pick you up and put you in the back of the pickup and we'll go get some milkshakes because you'll probably be quivering too much to use a fork without stabbing yourself in the eye. Have a milkshake, smoke a few cigarettes, do some more shots and then we'll go to a steak house and get you fed so you'll have your strength up for our trip to the gun range.

Oh the stories you'll be able to tell!

Dolgo 2:23 AM  

I agree. No sense of fun.

But the puzzle gave further clues about an issue I have wondered about for some time. Why is it THE Gambia? Wikipedia says only it and THE Bahamas officially use the definite article. I spent a year in Ukraine on a Fulbright lectureship and discovered that the locals don't want you to say THE Ukraine. I have stopped saying that, believing that each of us getd to decide what we want to be called, even though I have said thatost of my life. When I visit San Francisco, i still don't quite get why it's THE Castro and THE Sunset and THE Haight but Haight-Ashberry and Bayview. Maybe somebody can clear that up and make me a truly happy man for a couple of hours!

Dolgo 2:27 AM  

PS A further thought. Maybe that we say Argentina but THE Argentine holds the kernel for the solution to the conundrum. I've often suspected as much, anyway.

Harryp 2:38 AM  

I did this one after a Birthday party at a Waikiki bar, so I am not exactly sure if it slowed me down. My Saturday average is 47:03, and this came in at 34:14, so maybe it was easier than the normal fare. I have done a lot of different runs, including 6 Hawaii Marathons over the last 18 years, so I wanted 10K for 46Across until it wouldn't work. The Euprhates River wouldn't fit for the Fertile Crescent, so I flirted with the Ganges before that proved wrong. I din't know Pele as the Black Pearl, but he fit right in. Naturally, I like any puzzle I can finish, but I have to thank Randolph Ross for this one.

salty 2:59 AM  

"Love Me Do" isn't so bad, it's a Beatles song and all...

apery on the other hand...

Harryp 3:03 AM  

I meant Honolulu Marathons. My brain is on hold.

Anonymous 3:24 AM  

After all the white space left on my first pass through, I was happy to finish at all. That said, I'm happy I had need not worry after I read the review. But I'm also happy I finished.

chefwen 4:12 AM  

O.k. I just looked up NOTHING BURGER, no wonder I hadn’t heard of it, it’s political and the farther I stay away from politics the happier I am. I vote, I pay attention to the outcome and that’s as far as I go. Bet there will be a BUTTLOAD of political discussion in today’s comments. I’ll skim over them.

Nkptny 4:14 AM  

Lost me at MISDOES. Ugh.

'mericans in Paris 4:42 AM  


Easy-ish for us. Perhaps one of our fastest ever. No cheats, no errors; very much in this OLDSTER's wheelhouse.

This is going to give @Rex another reason not to like me -- in addition to being "a complete asshole" for having earned degrees from two Ivy League universities -- but I have no problem with NOTHING BURGER. Indeed, I find the phrase playful. I suppose I could look it up, but I have always assumed that it is a logical extension of Walter Mondale's challenge to his 1984 primary rival, Gary Hart -- "Where's the beef?" -- which had already been coined by the fast food chain WendEE's. (Yes, I know that's the wrong spelling.) The answer today would be: "There ain't none: it's a NOTHING BURGER."

I've heard the catchphrase mostly in connection with political pronouncements.

Me: "Am I missing something, or was there nothing to Trump's agreement with Jean-Claude Juncker to a trade truce?"

Colleague: "You're right. It was a big NOTHING BURGER."

So, for @Rex it's selected political catchphrases that SET him off; for me it's the vocalized /.

Where I do agree with @Rex's assessment of this puzzle is that some of the cluing was off. IT'S A ZOO is something people say, but more likely in describing somebody trying to fight their way towards the laxative isle among a crowd of Walmart shoppers on Black Friday.

Yes, the puzzle proffered some painful plurals (OLES?!), but it also had some nice misdirects, such as the clue for MISO. CENTRIPETAL is gorgeous.

A word of advice on anything related to Britain. They and we really are separated by a common language. In sports like rugby, and much else, Scotland is a "nation". So I can imagine that many there might label SCOTS a "language". NEER enough for the purposes of an x-word.

I had much more to say about this puzzle, but I've been interrupted MID-

George 4:43 AM  

I just happened to be driving through the Scottish Highlands yesterday, and I was thinking that the signs were in Gaelic not SCOTS. I like STIMSON, a historical figure I have read about, but whose name I could not recall immediately. Took a few crosses, and the Taft bit confused me because I always think of Taft as being Prez in the late 1890's not the 1910's. Oh, and STIMSON is a Harvard grad.

Loren Muse Smith 5:37 AM  

Ok. So I almost gave up way early in. But I got up to get some more coffee and check on the dogs’ water, and sat back down to finish. We need a word for that very real phenomenon of taking a short break and then coming back and seeing all the stuff you didn’t see.

My happiness was muted ‘cause I was left thinking I had been saying centrifugal force wrong all these years and feeling embarrassed. How many people had heard me and were laughing behind my back? In my panic, I tried to remember that ride at Six Flags over Georgia – the one where you stood up against a wall in a big ole open can and it spun until it was going so fast, the bottom dropped, and you were plastered up against the wall, supposedly having a great time. Lots of times, someone threw up, and it was even funner. (We sure have a lot of spare time, our species, now that we’ve figured out how to stay warm and fed.) I told myself that, yes, that was a centrifuge. So did that come from CENTRIPETAL? I looked it up and saw that there are both centrifugal forces and CENTRIPETAL forces, but that centrifugal force is just a poser force involving something with INERTIA, some kind of scramble to make Newton’s laws work. Centrifugal force sends the stuff away from the center and centripetal force keeps it going around in circles instead of flinging out into oblivion? I swear I can’t understand science.

I think I would associate IT’S A ZOO (out there) with commuting. But it does cross BEASTS. Hmm. My first period has almost 30 freshmen. The ones whose names precede them are still lying in wait I guess - so far so good. Maybe they’re just too sleepy and stunned at my hyperness to crank up the apery. (I’m reminded of my days as an event planner – whenever the flower girl was an unsuspecting infant festooned with one of those sassy I’M A GIRL headbands, she was invariably very quiet and looked out at the audience with a stunned, is-this-really-happening-to-me look. Every time.)

Rex – at least you had heard of SCOTS. New to me. Your question about its being a dialect is a good one. I think most of the divisions we use to distinguish “languages” are political ones. So Norwegian and Danish are considered separate languages even though I’ve witnessed a conversation between a Dane and a Norwegian, each using their own language, and it was fine. No problems. But what if you took a guy from the Ozarks and seated him next to a guy from Liverpool? Bet they couldn’t converse. So Norwegian and Danish could be dialects of a language, but the English spoken in the Ozarks and the English spoken in Liverpool could be separate languages.

As regards NOTHING BURGER – I didn’t realize it was political talk, but, yea, I can hear’em saying it on CNN. The one I keep hearing, and it sounds so smart, is unpack, as in This issue has several angles, so we have a lot to unpack this morning. I keep meaning to add this gem to my speech so I can sound smart, too. But I digress - I don’t understand the vitriol directed at NOTHING BURGER. Maybe ‘cause it’s being used by the Witch Hunt guys? I would say a nothing burger is the joyless organic hormone-free preservative-free beef on a gluten-free bun with low-sodium cheese.

A delicious chemical-laden Big Mac, now that’s a something burger.

Charles Flaster 5:45 AM  

Easiest Saturday in a while.
Liked clueing for CONTORTIONIST and INERTIA.
Thanks RR.

'mericans in Paris 6:01 AM  


Two related but distinct concepts:

CENTRIPETAL force -- "The component of force acting on a body in curvilinear motion that is directed toward the center of curvature or axis of rotation."

Centrifugal force -- "The apparent force, equal and opposite to the centripetal force, drawing a rotating body away from the center of rotation, caused by the inertia of the body."

So, think of it this way. The CENTRIPETAL force is the one pulling you ever closer towards that last piece of angel food cake that you eye as you circle the dessert table, while the centrifugal force is that directed from your brain telling you, "Don't! It's only empty calories!" The first one can trip you up; the second one urges f[r]ugality.

Lewis 6:05 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mohair Sam 6:26 AM  

So I've heard the term NOTHINGBURGER and found it kinda cute but silly. Then saw the anger here and bet my wife a dollar that Trump must have used it.

Well I lost, we Googled and the first three hits were Trump Jr. If it were Senator Warren's phrase Rex would have called it delightful and current.

Anonymous 6:32 AM  

There was a typo in your rant. You put "have" instead of "hate" referring to "nothing burger". Wouldn't want to short change you of any hatred.

Will 7:08 AM  

This was a very fast Saturday for me, but then I DNF cause I’ve never seen wizard of oz and managed to forget about Gambia. So I had a Zambia crossing zulch

Hungry Mother 7:22 AM  

Very easy here, but I don’t know why. Every dog has its day, I guess. Nice end to a tough week.

Lewis 7:41 AM  

I loved the little-used but lovely APERY, PRIVET, and PROLE. I loved the clues for PRADA, ESTATE, and GET SET.

And I loved this offering. Because my grid looked like a desert at first pass, and because, aha after aha, oases formed, then spread to a happy conclusion, this was a brilliant puzzle to me, a perfect Saturday.

Conrad 8:00 AM  

I think the Road Runners’ [note that it’s s-apostorphe] clue refers to the New York Road Runners (, sponsor of the New York Marathon and many other races. Presumably include ten mile runs.

jberg 8:14 AM  

No time, so I’ll just say that IT’S A ZOO applies to only some commuters— ones trying to board a train at Shinjuku, or drive through Kosciusko Circle here in Dorchester, during rush hour.

Yes, STIMSON was important.

@jj Not sure what “virtue signaling” is, but Rex was bragging about his constructing prowess.

Paul 8:25 AM  

Rex, please soften your tone!

I do the NYT puzzle every day in spite of its flaws, which are well documented here. I read this blog and its comments every day too. It is a great blog that benefits from an amazing group of commentators. The puzzle is good enough to keep me coming back every day and the blog is too. But just as the puzzle could be a better experience, this blog could be a better experience.

The case in point is that your lead objection to this puzzle is that it uses NOTHING BURGER, a phrase you find revolting. That is a fair point to make. But you can make that point without going on to the point of saying “when you use it, you're ugly.” By the time you’ve gotten there, I am feeling the ugliness, but now it is your ugliness! For me, and a lot of your readers, that is as unpleasant as your experience of NOTHING BURGER.

Outside The Box 8:25 AM  

Agree. Really easy for a Saturday

Note to Rex: Henry Stimson was no William Barr. He was a real important political figure in the 20th Century.

pabloinnh 8:27 AM  

HEAVENS,OFL is a grumpy primate this morning. It appears the nothingburger was no nothingburger to him.

I like any of these Saturdays that allow me to fill in long answers on my first guess and make me feel smart. My problem with this one was the clue for ADZES. Shop tools? You would use an adze to make a round log into a beam with four flat sides, but do we really do this in a shop? If an adze is a shop tool, so is an axe.

Fun enough for me, but I'm slow to anger and easily amused.

Joe 8:32 AM  

STIMSON was Secretary of War through the US's engagement in World War II, so I'd say he should count as a fairly prominent figure. Even so, I needed a couple of crosses to remember his name, which irked me, because I knew I knew it.

Road Runner with a capital R refers to the New York Road Runners, an organization that puts on races in NYC. You might have heard of this one little race they do called The New York City Marathon. I'm not even a runner (I hate running with a passion almost equal to Rex's dislike of NOTHINGBURGER, though I don't care if other people run as long as they don't want me to), but living in NYC, it's hard to not be aware of the Road Runners, they organize so many events. But it is a very NYC-centric clue.

Kate 8:38 AM  

THANK YOU! That bugged me so much. I can't believe Rex didn't mention it.

Debra 8:42 AM  

Very fine Saturday, not too hard. My favorite answer was MIDSENTENCE.

Wm. C. 8:44 AM  

Sheesh! I guess Rex didn't like this. It must've been the "Hah-Vahd" reference that kindled the fire. I guess his Pomona and Binghamton credentials set him above those "Ivy League a-holes."

He certainly dwelled on Nothingburger (btw, I thought it was an amusing piece of fill).

Overall, an enjoyable Saturday for me, even though I got flummoxed in the Southeast, putting in Slavian (as in YUGOslavian), never having heard of that 18% ethnic group, getting stuck thinking that a luxurious Italian "house" was a building, etc.

mmorgan 8:46 AM  

One of those days when I enjoyed the puzzle (and found it surprisingly easy for a Saturday) only to come here and realize I was supposed to hate it. Oh well.

TSG 8:47 AM  

get over it, graham. it's his blog.

Nothing Burger's Dead Horse 8:47 AM  

I'm just going to say that NOTHINGBURGER is indeed a nothing burger. It embodies the very definition of a nothing burger because it's being overhyped in this comments section way beyond what it's worth. Seriously, we understand that you probably have an opinion about it, but by now, no one cares. "Well," you say, "someone might care!" No, they won't. It's a nothing burger.

See how much fun it is to read my comment while mentioning "nothing burger" a bazillion times? After about the 6th time, even in my own post, it's a nothing burger.

But by all means, continue to tell us all what you think about the phrase "nothing burger." We can't wait to hear what you think about it after having just about everyone to this point weighing in on it. I'm sure you'll think the discussion of "nothing burger" is just not complete until you've had your say.

BH 8:48 AM  

Okay, so Rex is having a bad day.

But the only nit I'll pick is about Road Runner which is a good clue for the New York Times. The New York Road Runners sponsor the New York City Marathon, one of the premier races in the world, and many several others - 5K, Ten Mile, etc. While the Times is a great journal, for some of us it's also our local paper. And here, Road Runner has meaning.

Dahab 8:48 AM  

So, "Road Runner" is a common running club name, a kin to how many soccer teams have "Football Club"/"FC" in their name. The most famous example, the NY Marathon is organized by the "New York Road Runners" who are also the organizers for most of the major open running events in NYC. Road running focuses on long distance races (5Ks and longer), so ten miles isn't a race that's specifically a "Road Runner" race, but one of the several race classifications they'd do.

I think it's certainly understandable, regardless, from the clue and made to cross Wile E. to be cute. The capitalized Rs is probably unnecessary, but a technically correct misdirect. No one who runs would argue with a lowercase r instead.

tb 8:57 AM  

One of my favorite headlines of all time was for an article in "The New Republic" magazine. I don't remember from when, maybe late '80s or early '90s. I don't even remember which Roth it was about, maybe the republican politician Philip Roth. The headline was "What Hath Roth Got?"

Anonymous 8:58 AM  


mooretep 9:00 AM  

Ahhhh, Centrifugal, vs. Centripetal.
As a physics teacher, this is one tricky concept for students that they frequently will just memorize rather than understand.

"fugit" from the Latin, to flee from, think fugitive. Petal, from petere, to seek, as in seek the center.

The difficulty of this idea comes from ones "frame of reference", so it is a wonderful example of metaphysics, even philosophy.

Forces change ones motion in either their speed or direction.
INERTIA (11D) was so apt in its inclusion in this puzzle, intersecting CENTRIPETAL.
Inertia is your tendency to want to keep doing what you are doing.

Traveling in an automobile provides the most useful examples.

When you speed up from a stop, you feel pressed backwards into your seat. But you are moving forward and the force is in the opposite direction to what you may perceive. Your body would like to stay at rest. You are not moving backwards, rather, the car is moving forward.

When you are already in motion and you take a right turn, you may feel a force moving your body to the left. This is your inertia wanting to keep moving forward, but the actual force is to the right. You are not moving to the left, rather, the car is moving to the right.

This has wonderful historical implications, especially in the early 17th century. Many intelligent scientists were able refute Galileo's claims of the Earth spinning by pointing out that the weather patterns and prevailing winds move from west to east, faster than the Earth itself was supposedly spinning! This should not be possible, weather patterns should move from east to west, due to their inertia.
It took 200 years for this phenomena to be explained by Coriolis and another 100 to be employed in meteorology.
Consider this: When you see a dynamic weather map, it shows that the storms are spinning. Clockwise north of the equator and counter-clockwise in the south of it. The weather satellites are fixed in a frame of reference that assumes that the Earth is not rotating.
The storms are not spinning, we are.

Galileo's proof of the heliocentric system was too difficult to explain back in the day.
His proof from then is difficult to explain to most today.

The best proof of the heliocentric system did not occur until 1851:

@LMS, I always come here for your comments. Will have students arrive after Labor Day for the first time in my 25-year teaching career. Always excited to start the year. Right now I am a perfect teacher. That slowly changes over the next 180 days.

Odd Sock 9:11 AM  

Reading the review made me forget what I was going to say.
Rex really should take @ JOHN X's invitation.

QuasiMojo 9:12 AM  

Count me among those who regrettably had a DNF because of ZAMBIA. Maybe it was the missing THE for GAMBIA or the fact that I didn't bother to double-check the down clues. I'm sure I should have remembered Miss GULCH. But I was so proud of myself for my knowledge of geography I missed it. I'm only telling you all because my not finishing made me admire the puzzle even more!

Disappointed to find out, however, that "Connecticut Yankee" is just an EASTERNER? I was thinking of Gene Kelly in King Arthur's Court doing pliés in striped tights and spinning about like Rumpelstiltskin. (I have a vague memory of some poorly dubbed Eastern European film released during my childhood that featured a ragged repulsive Rumpelstiltskin threatening a young Miss while dashing about like a whirling dervish. Maybe it was SLOVENE?)

Agreed, Conan whoever went to Harvard? YAWN.

This STIMSON fella was also Secretary of STATE under Hoover.

POLKAS before SAMBAS because I can't count time.

A commuter might say to someone later "IT WAS A ZOO!" but who is he going tos ay "IT's a zoo" to in a crowded subway? It's not a phrase one says in auto traffic. RAT F-CK is another term I recall from my days of being a New Yawker.

I nearly got the BENDS wrestling with CONTORTIONIST.

APERY in this context reminds me of another tempest brewing in the media at the moment. Although it's no NOTHING BURGER.

Joe Welling 9:14 AM  

Rex says he'd prefer a "quaint" answer like TEMPEST IN A TEAPOT, but if it were in the puzzle, he'd surely condemn it for its "OLDSTER vibe."

kitshef 9:22 AM  

Much, much easier than yesterday. Might have finished in half the time if the NW hadn’t been such a struggle.

Really long gimmes like CENTRIPETAL and CONTORTIONIST just open things up so fast.

We have little WRENs that nest in our drying room window, between the screen and the window glass. Let me just say, they are adorable.

Adam Lipkin 9:28 AM  

Between "Salsas" for SAMBAS and "Can I see" for CAN IT BE I managed to throw myself off for a bit (and all those correct cross letters kept me from noticing the problem). I also thought the party-haters were introverts instead of political independents (so "int" instead of IND) for a bit.

I also don't hate NOTHING BURGER and as others have noted "Love ME DO" is a pretty famous Beatles song. But APERY and MISDOES are awful, and UNOS was only acceptable because it was so easy (I don't mind OLES as much, for the same reason I'm not horrified at "hoorays" when that's used).

It definitely felt a little easier than yesterday's puzzle.

kitshef 9:38 AM  

@Dolgo - GAMBIA wanted to be "The GAMBIA" to avoid confusion with ZAMBIA. Apparently, it did not work, at least for @Will.

Teresa 9:40 AM  

It's clues like Road Runner's Classification that reminds you that this is in fact the New York Times crossword puzzle, i.e. occasionally a bit NYC centric. Occasionally there will also be clues about specific subway lines that are obvious for NYC residents, but I can't imagine they'd come easy for anyone who doesn't have to deal with navigating MTA on a regular basis. Up for debate how much of a good or bad thing this is.

PhiskPhan 9:50 AM  

I got crushed by the NEED NOT thing. I felt the answer needed (sorry) an "s," which turns out not to apply in the case of NEED NOT. Is there any other verb that is allowed to get away with this?

Bob in Nampa 9:50 AM  

Nice work, mooretep... makes it easy to remember and explain to others.

Nancy 10:02 AM  

Probably too easy for a Saturday, but I didn't care. This came as a wonderful contrast -- antidote, even -- to three days in a row of what I can only describe as junk fill. (Even the Thursday rebus puzzle was spoiled by it, and that's not easy to do in my book.) Look what isn't here today: no candy brand names, textspeak, pop singers and their albums, esoteric abbreviations. I liked NOTHING BURGER, actually, and the phrase is certainly in the zeitgeist. The puzzle isn't especially sparkling or witty, but it's clean as a whistle -- and in a week such as this one, very much appreciated by me.

Madtom 10:07 AM  

First-time poster (?post-er?). Long-time lurker. I’ve learned a lot about the craft of crosswords from reading this blog - I thank Rex for that. But I hope I never reach his level of curmudgeonly-ness when I get old. I’m 70 now. It may happen any day. I fret about his students. I would hate to have been graded by anyone as arbitrary and judgmental. Re: me and crosswords - I measure my times in ‘portions of a day’ rather than minutes and seconds. Re: today - two flubs: Zambia/Zulch and SUNY/sentripetal.

Z 10:08 AM  

I have to wonder if all the people complaining about Rex’s complaint really understood Rex’s complaint. “Generally used by people trying to downplay something genuinely terrible.” So, yeah, Trump’s co-conspirators use it. But so do Ohio State fans and Michigan State fans. And it isn’t only Republicans who use it politically (as if any party has cornered the market on bad behavior). Personally, my reaction to it wasn’t as visceral as Rex’s, but he is right. If you find yourself using the term to defend someone in your own tribe you are probably defending something terrible and you should probably hope that there isn’t video evidence. And aren’t we all just a little sick of people putting tribe before country and both before doing right? So, yeah, truly horrid modern slang and we all should feel just a little uneasy that our political culture created the term.

Loved CENTRIPETAL and also love all the explanations.

I know I know, but really felt as if the clue should have been, "Love, love ____”

Crimson Devil 10:08 AM  


TubaDon 10:11 AM  

As a physicist, I had no trouble with INERTIA and CENTRIPETAL, but though I'm also an OLDSTER, I mistakenly wrote in STASSEN-wrong politico, and goofed on CCNY, both of which caused delays. I thought ADZES were used in lumbering, not in a carpentry shop. Thanks to PELE and his Italian friend AL DENTE for helping me in the SE corner, since I only knew HAN as a Solo.

GILL I. 10:15 AM  

First thing I thought was how come this is Saturday and yesterday was Friday. Sounds crazy but this was pretty easy for me. I usually have to Google a ton for a Sat. I did, but only to confirm my answers. Yay me.
I've heard NOTHING BURGER and thought what a cute little phrase. My daughter was telling me a funny story about going to McDonalds and asking for a plain burger. She hardly ever goes to fast food but she just had a baby and was dying for a little greasy burger. Anyway, she got her NOTHING BURGER. No little chopped onions nor ketchup and nary a pickle. Just a plain piece of grey burger on two limpy buns. What she meant was she wanted a burger without cheese.....!!!!
I was proudest to get PRADA because I initially thought villa. Strangely enough, 15A CUISINE took me the longest. I had the C for the easy CONTORTIONIST and the U for Miss Mean GULCH so I kept thinking of some Indian or Mexican name that started CU.
Two UGHS for me ADZES and MIS DOES. Just look at those words. They are BUTT UGLY.
I liked the SCOTS HATH FATS. I learned a new word: SERIO comic. I thought PROLE was awful as clued. 42D Drudge? PROLE - really? What happened to CHORE. The Brits use PROLE a lot - usually to refer to someone of low working class. They do that a lot. @Rex would hate that one.
Hey, @Mohair is back...I missed you and the Mrs. and I know others did as we'll .....
Happy long week-end everyone. Hard to believe the summer is almost over and it will be against the law for me to wear white after Monday.

Anonymous 10:21 AM  

Easy Saturday. I’m not a fan of the expression “nothing burger” either but it’s a current phrase and has only been in the puzzle once before. That is good fill whether I like the expression or not. LOL on Rex’s reaction to the Conan clue. He oughta lighten up.

JC66 10:36 AM  

@ Mohair Sam

Welcome back. I think you're right that Rex's reaction to NOTHINGBURGER was an anti-Trump reaction. But I think it was Jared Kushner, not Don Jr. who used it to characterize the infamous Trump Tower meeting.


Your good at analyzing PPP so you may want to use that ability to analyze @Rex's posts. Today he appears to have spent 22.3% of it bashing NOTHINGBURGER. That may be why so many people are commenting (and what @Rex hoped to accomplish).

JC66 10:37 AM  

Just kidding on the percentage. I just eyeballed it.

cristiano 10:41 AM  

you have to be a very annoying kind of believer to believe that unbelievers have ever asked that question once.

RooMonster 10:45 AM  

Hey All !
I was a Connecticut Yankee EASTERNER for 13 years. Then got out of the BEASTS of snow storms and moved to Las Vegas (which isn't ridiculously hot all year, only basically mid-June through September).

Had to Reveal Word twice today, SPUN and HAN. Never knew Rumpelstiltskin SPUN. I was trying to get some sort of sleeping thing in there. That was him, right? Asleep for many years?

Also had two wrong letters after finishing, sUNY (what/where is CUNY?), PROnE/TAnENTS. Oh well, not too shabby for me on a SatPuz. Was proud of myself for sussing out other parts of the puz. CANITBE had me seeing CAN I something, SEE? No. TRY? No. What is CAN I TBE? Har. ICES also tricky. Had adES there forever.

MISDOES is an ouch. He MISDOES math all the time , or am I MISusing it? ARTICLE as clued was a Really? type answer. Har, ARTICLE 1...

So enjoyed this puz just fine. Didn't find it as easy as some of y'all. But didn't piss me off, either. OLES!


TomAz 10:52 AM  

I started this last night, after dinner and drinking wine, and it was tough going. I put it aside, picked it back up this morning with a fresh clear head, and it fell easily. So I have two very different experiences with this puzzle that really have less to do with the puzzle itself than my own circumstances.

I have never heard of the New York Road Runners but it was perfectly fine. The answer was inferable -- I figured it had something to do with people running on a road as in a marathon, and T_N gave it to me (this morning -- last night I had no idea). NOTHING BURGER was fine I guess -- I mean it's dismissive and trite, and in its political usage it is a marker for the sort of smug denial of plain facts that characterize our era -- but it has other, valid applications.

GAMBIA without the THE, though, is a total fail. MISO, as clued, is even worse, in my view: MISO is fermented soy bean paste, and in MISO soup it is combined with stock and other ingredients; the MISO does not "hold" the stock in any way. It would be like cluing 'chicken' as 'noodle holder'.

So yeah a flawed but acceptable puzzle. Not the disaster Rex makes it out to be.

Anonymous 10:56 AM  

Always read the blog and love the comments. What a great group! Only the second time I've ever posted but wanted to clarify the adze. Yes, it can be a large 2-handed tool for shaping beams, but in the shop it is a standard chair-maker's tool, the adze and the score (another great term) for carving a chair seat. There are also bowl-makers adzes, so there are tools that are found in woodworking shops (although not mine).

marilyn katz 11:03 AM  

Rumpelstiltskin did NOT spin. Rapunzel did - Rumpelstiltskin was the ogre. A rather glaring mistake.

And while nothing burger was dumb, "Prole" for drudge is outright insulting. Most of the people of the world are 'proles" or proletarians, those 99 percent who don't 'own the means of production but work for others"

Mary McCarty 11:04 AM  

@PhiskPhan: “need” in the phrase NEED NOT is used as a modal, sorta like “might not, can’t, couldn’t, wouldn’t....etc” , all of which require or assume an infinitive (without the “to”) to complete the thought, as in “we NEED NOT agree ”= we do NOT NEED TO agree.” That’s why the NEED is not conjugated; but without the “NOT”, it does change like most other verbs: I need to..., you need to..., s/he needS to...
Now, how about the phrase “needs must”? The English language is so fun!

Anonymous 11:09 AM  

OOPS. my comment on the adze. The word accompanying the adze is the scorp. I think autocorrect did me in...

Warren Howie Hughes 11:11 AM  

"Love, Love ME DO, you know I love you...Beatle Mania, Rex!

Teedmn 11:21 AM  

I found this pretty easy compared to yesterday - five minutes faster today, so I think the puzzle days were inverted. But this puzzle had very little pop-culture which probably makes the difference.

I fell for two WILEE misdirections (whether intentional or not) where I put in witCH for 7D and actually wrote in reptILE for 46A, all the while re-thinking everything I thought I knew about Road Runners. Sheesh. Were they long-legged lizards? NEED NOT was my saving grace in that spot. Another detour I took led me to BUDGETing, BUDGET Cap, BUDGET CUT.

Got the NOTHING BURGER off the N which CUT a swath through the middle. I'm with Rex on it being an icky phrase, along with "it is what it is" (which I actually said not long ago and wanted to slap myself) and "it's the exception that proves the rule" which is nonsense in my book. I also stay away from "24/7" and go with the longer "24 hours a day, 7 days a week". At that point, you realize you need to find a better way to express yourself, :-). Strange, the likes and dislikes people form for language.

Thanks, Randolph Ross. I really liked FEET for "Pedal pushers" with its tricky non-S plural and the aha of "house" for PRADA.

Nils Berger 11:26 AM  

Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play ?

retired guy 11:41 AM  

As Sec of State under Hoover, Stimson closed down State's code-breaking capability, commenting that "Gentlemen do not read each other's mail." As the 1930s and 40s made clear, however, we weren't dealing with gentlemen. Fortunately, the Navy kept its code-breaking operation running. In any case, Stimson was by no means an obscure figure in the first half of the 20th century.

GILL I. 11:43 AM  

@Marilyn Katz:
From the Brothers Grimm: Rumpelstillskin:
"Round about, round about
Lo and behold
Reel away, reel away
Straw into gold."

Also Brother Grimm:
"Rapunzel, Rapunzel let down your hair."

Rumpel was the spinner and Rapunzel the one with the long golden hair.

Suzie Q 11:43 AM  

Finally a puzzle that felt more satisfying than the last several.
Thanks to @ mooretep 9:00 for the physics lesson. I liked it.
The crossing of talents and prole nearly did me in but the cutest crossing was Wile E. and the Road Runners clue. Nice.

Do you think it's possible that Rex's rant is really his way of punking us up? A Nothing Burger about a Nothing Burger?

Warren Howie Hughes 12:05 PM  

Nils Berger,"Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?" "Oh, I very much delighted in it, but sadly, my Abe found it rather mind-numbing"

Stanley Hudson 12:06 PM  

What @retired guy said.

A good short book on Stimson is David Schmitz, Henry L. Stimson: the first wise man.
The classic popular biography is Hodgson, Godfrey. The Colonel: The Life and Wars of Henry Stimson, 1867-1950.

Lewis 12:08 PM  

Will someone explain how MISO is a "Japanese stock holder"? I love the connection of MISO with Japanese stock; what I don't get is the "holder" part.

Amos Hart 12:10 PM  

Went along at a rather enjoyable steady clip until I reached the SE corner. It didn’t help that I had NOTHING BURNER instead of NOTHING BURGER. Never heard of the latter and thought the former was a variation on the expression BARN BURNER. And then I started coming up with all sorts of incorrect answers, such as PET NAME for 35D and TITHING for 50A. A frustrating end to what was an otherwise pleasant puzzle.

Malsdemare 12:10 PM  

Yay! I finished without an error in a respectable time. Given the shambles I've made of puzzles of late, this made me feel good. I liked it a lot more than Rex did — probably because I DID finish — but had same reaction to NOTHINGBURGER. I don't mind it being in the puzzle but wish had been clued with its more demeaning connotation. I wasn't crazy about APERY either; isn't it more jAPERY? And I wanted Antic even though I didn't think it was a word without the S.

I'm not clear on just how one would clue CONANOBRIEN in a way to make him distinct from the plethora of talk show hosts; his alma mater seems as reasonable and Saturday-ish as anything. I loved CENTRIPETAL force, the TIGRIS RIVER, the MIDSENTENCE interrupter (I'm looking at you, Mr. Mal!).

Nice puzzle, overall. Now to see what the other bloggers have to say.

Beadola 12:23 PM  

@dolgo - Having grown up in The Sunset district of San Francisco, I think it is just a regionalism. In Northern California, we take (freeways) 580 to 680, in SoCal (another difference), we take the 7 to the 405. In the west, we stand in line, in the east, we stand on line. Ask @loren - I'm sure she can give you tons of examples.

Carola 12:44 PM  

I was surprised to read that the puzzle "has no sense of fun" - but then, I guess the fun I had came less from zingy entries than from the pleasures of working out the answers - or sometimes the reward of knowing a tiny bit of history like HATH. Along with references to Miss GULCH, Rumpelstiltskin, and my favorite toons....

Solidly on the fun front for me was the cross of WILE E. with TEN MILE clued with reference to the Road Runners; married to a marathoner, I knew they were a NYC group, but I thought the cluing, with its cartoon connection, and was genius. It's all about the apostrophe.

Mysteries of the memory: it held the before-my-time STIMSON but failed to file BARR.
Help from previous crosswords: NES, SERIO,

@mooretep, re: the storms - it's my head that's spinning now!

pmdm 12:45 PM  

Perhaps Mike was baiting a little bit in his comments today. Doesn't really matter. Whether it's your blog or not, when you call people ugly it is appropriate for people to chastise you, especially when your complaint assumes something that may or may not be true.

I did not find anything particularly offensive about the puzzle and pretty much enjoying it. I guess I am ugly.

To be precise: Mr. Sharp has the perfect right to feel people are ugly, but people have the perfect right to retort.

old timer 12:51 PM  

SCOTS rates as a language all its own. I mean of course the language spoken in most of lowland Scotland. Up in the Highlands, they used to speak Erse (Gaelic) and still do to some extent. English as spoken in the Highlands is standard English with a bit of a Scots accent. Burns, who lived in Ayrshire SW of Glasgow, wrote in Scots, and you actually need to learn the language to understand him. It's a cousin of English for sure, but not a mere dialect.

The GAMBLA is the official name of the country along the GAMBIA River. The The is left off on maps and on at least one postage stamp I saw in the almanac.

JC66 12:53 PM  


If the S in MISO stood for stock, @ M&A might clue it as "Japanese stock holder."

Otherwise, I can't help you.

Anonymous 1:07 PM  

On Monday, yes. One Love on Saturday.

Masked and Anonymous 1:29 PM  

Wide-open grid. Only 66 words. Lotsa longball entries. Only 6 weejects. Tough puzburger to fully digest, at my house. But, kinda expect that, with a SatPuz solvequest.

It's all NEEDNOT's fault. BARR/NEER woulda shoulda coulda been BARD/NEED, otherwise.

staff weeject pick: MSS. Better clue: {Reduced mass??}. Okay … how'bout {Bit of a mess??}, then?

@RP: harburger write-up, dude. Thought ITSAZOO and CENTRIPETAL and CONTORTIONIST were all pretty praise-worthy, tho.

Thanx, Mr. Ross. Quite a constructionburger. But, I know how it goes, sometimes -- M&A had MEDO in a runtpuz lately, too; used same clue. One of them WhaddayahgonnaDO situations. Learned somethin new, with SCOTS, btw.

Masked & Anonymo4Us


Bob Mills 1:33 PM  

I hope Rex finds peace and quiet in his next life.

Joe Bleaux 1:53 PM  

Spend some time in the Haight-ASHBURY area, did you? After just a short while there, I was misspelling MY name.😉.

Frog Prince Kisser 1:55 PM  

@Paul Keller 8:25 AM
Very well put! Thank you!

Warren Howie Hughes 1:59 PM  

Bob Mills, What in rein-carnation are you talking about?

Banana Diaquiri 2:04 PM  

The headline was "What Hath Roth Got?"

likely the writer Philip. just checked, and he died in May.

some equal wit said of Updike (approx.), "A great writer with nothing to say."

emily 2:22 PM  

Kinda cranky after his vacation, no? But I have to agree I didn’t like the puzzle... apery? Who says ‘’misdoes”....

Joe Bleaux 2:48 PM  

Other soups are made with beef stock, chicken stock, etc. Miso's a "Japanese" soup, made with (holding) miso paste (stock). Is there somehow more to it than that?

Phil 3:06 PM  

How is nothing burger related to overhype. Have to agree with Rex but maybe not so strongly. Most cool phrases have a lot of meaning or wordplay.
Speaking of wordplay why is centripetal force a play on words (? Clue) of force of nature. True it has been rebranded to refer to a person but still it is not an exclussive phrase.

Joe Bleaux 3:21 PM  

I kinda liked Randolph Ross's puzzle, which was a little easy for a Saturday, but made for a good steady solve. Some of the clues/answers stunk it up a bit: MISDOES is just ugly, IT'S A ZOO is imprecise as can be, APERY usually alludes to mimicry. And I just don't like OLDSTER, why (bluster, sputter) it's as ageist as, uh ... youngster! But the fill wasn't bad -- I've seen worse than NES, MIA, PRO, HAN, and IND (speaking of which, Independent IS a party, albeit not one of the majors, right?) @Nancy, amen on the refreshing absence of some of the PPP crap we've dealt with this week. @Loren, "unpack" does indeed have a little zing ... but it's nearing overuse. They've already gone from "unpacking" complex issues to "unpacking" compound sentences. Now I wouldn't be surprised to hear a news show host tell a guest, "You described his Tweets as 'inelegant' ... unpack that one for us!"

Maruchka 3:35 PM  

Boy. So many anti-remarks ahead of my mostly-pro ones. Dare I say? I LIKE IT!

Very little PPP. NO computer/internet (yawn) boring-who-cares clues. Solid referencing to ACTUAL people, places and things. Sure, it may not have Saturday written all over but heck a lot better than CONTORTIONIST show off slog.

I'm in your debt today, Mr. Ross. Thanks.

A Grimwade 3:41 PM  

As a Scot from Ayrshire who spoke in an accent thicker than my grannie’s winter nightgown when I was a lad, please note the following. (1) Scots roll their “r”s, Spaniards trill their “r”s. There is a big difference. (2) Scots English is a dialect and not a separate language. Robert Burns and all other Scots use dialect words, but the grammar and structure of the language is English. Scots Gaelic is an entirely separate language, but nowadays is little spoken.

Anonymous 3:51 PM  

The opening of Robert Reich's post today:

Here’s why Trump’s proposed new U.S.-Mexican trade agreement is a nothing-burger.

1. The first part of the agreement...

Thanks Bob.

Maruchka 4:01 PM  

BTW - Nice to see CUNY and Hunter College, my pre-retirement living and alma mater. Sniff.

Anonymous 5:05 PM  

Wow, I am out of sync with the commentariat. Yesterday was a breeze, culturally relevant to me and nicely clued. Today is all disagreeable, generic clues and non-words. I knew I was in for it at "Spanish or Indian" = CUISINE, but MISDOES is just hideous and the cluing for APERY, which is only ever used in crosswords, doesn't even line up with the way that crosswords use APERY.

Moment of silence for OLES.

I thought the entire point of a Yankee is that he's a Northerner, not an EASTERNER (though as a West Coaster myself the latter is actually truer for me; I'm so used to East Coast-centric bias in NYT xwords that I just roll with the CUNYs of the world).

I think I might be a PPP, guys.

joannalan 5:13 PM  

I think Scots are the people, Scottish or Gaelic is the language and scotch is the whiskey.

Anonymous 5:44 PM  

Some constructors think "?" is cute.

Anonymous 5:52 PM  

I disliked the Mexican or Indian CUISINE clue. There are many, many possible followers to Indian or Mexican and many, many lead-ins to cuisine. Weak.

U. S. News & World Report 6:20 PM  

Our 2018 ranking of National Liberal Arts Colleges has Pomona tied with Middlebury at #6 just behind Swarthmore and Wellesley and ahead of Vassar and Smith.

Barbara B 6:43 PM  

I liked the crossing of Road Runner and his nemesis, Wlie E.

Unknown 7:06 PM  

And not knowing him — the Sec’y of War during WWII — is an embarrassment.

Doc John 8:10 PM  

So there's this blog that is centered on whether Rex liked the puzzle. I'm thinking that there should be another blog that rates the negativity level of this blog. I'm pretty sure we'd see a line with a steadily increasing slope.
It's as if he's adopted the role of the curmudgeon and has become trapped in that persona. I come to this blog every day and have been doing so for many years. In that time, although Rex has always been critical (many times rightly so), I have watched as the tone has become more and more negative. It's as if he's taking out his antipathy toward WS and the NYT (and maybe the direction the country is taking) on the puzzle (and constructors) themselves. Definite anger issues here.
So he doesn't like the phrase, NOTHING BURGER. So what? That should have zero influence on whether he liked the puzzle. It's a phrase in common (enough) usage, longish, different, and fun. I have no problem with its inclusion, especially since it was clued fairly. But to call people who use it ugly? That's pretty much troll territory.
Do you ever smile, Rex?

SJ Austin 9:38 PM  

It's really hard to drop off a child at college. Hang in there, RP.

Gabe Tuerk 10:06 AM  

Didn’t read any solver comments above so forgive me if I repeat (ape). The Gambia is not shortened to Gambia. That is all!

Sherm Reinhardt 12:22 PM  

I had MALAWI, RWANDA, and GUINEA before GAMBIA. Dastardly.

burtonkd 12:46 AM  

@lewis, I understood MISO to be the soup ingredient. Good misdirect having stock refer to soup broth rather than the market. I was trying to come up with acronyms for Japanese stock market, then had great aha moment

burtonkd 12:51 AM  

Nothing burger being used ad nauseum in lock step by right wing media in an attempt to discredit mueller investigation. Could have been a fun term or original thought ar one point. Do I want to see it for breakfast? :)

Ando 5:59 PM  

I think MISO as "Japanese stock holder" was terrible. Miso soup is basically dashi (fish stock) with some miso paste in it. The stock IS the soup, it doesn't hold it, unless I'm just not getting the clue. I was waiting for the Japanese word for "bowl", which I don't know, to fill itself in. Is chicken soup or consomme "stock holder"? No. Hated this clue.

Dan M 9:40 AM  

Willing to bet this puzzle was almost certainly accepted when BARR would have had a television-related clue... there was probably a “phew, at least there was a government official with that name” moment.

thefogman 11:03 AM  

I prefer themed puzzles so this was kind of a NOTHINGBURGER - i.e. no reward after all that work. The clues were contorted at times as OFL so aptly points out. Still, I'm thankful the newspaper comes to my door with a new-old New York Times crossword in it, almost every day.

spacecraft 11:05 AM  

Actually, for a Saturday, I fairly whipped through this. Last letter was sq. 28: I know CCNY and SUNY, but CUNY?? So until the very end I hadn't parsed BUDGETCUT, with CCNY in at 28 down. Then when the U was demanded, I went to SUNY. But SENTRIPETAL?? No sense. That just had to be a C. So I shrugged and left CUNY in, an institution I have never heard of. Sorry, all you (pauses to look it up) Beavers.

I NEEDNOT linger. Well done. DOD is WREN, the latest edition to the "Baby Blues" family. Ya gotta love her. ITSAZOO. Birdie.

Burma Shave 12:21 PM  


Crossword TALENTS for this OLDSTER
NEEDNOT be under HEAVEN'S control,


this stream of unconsciousness brought to you from the TENMILE GULCH ESTATE of the TIGRISRIVER, proudly serving SLOVENE CUISINE

rondo 1:43 PM  

For OPENERS, I NEEDNOT call it easy, but a nice clean grid; MISO proud MEDO well.

OLE's here, looking for Sven. He wants to tell you that HAN is Swedish for "he".
And PRIVET (Привет) [pronounced priv-yet] is Russian for "hello".

I wonder if the original clue for BARR had something to do with Roseanne before she got cut from the reboot, and on the non-yeah baby list. MIA Farrow however . . .

CANITBE I liked it when OFL did not?.

rainforest 2:32 PM  

This was a fairly breezy Saturday once I found a foothold in the SE with OPENERS and its PROXIMATE entry, NEED NOT. That made the whole South doable, and from there it was almost easy as I moved up the grid. Like @Spacey, I first had sUNY, which I've heard of, but then when CENTRIPETAL appeared, it had to be CUNY. I assume the "C" is for "colleges". Guessing.

A final decision had to be made with the crossing of the African country with the Wizard of Oz "Miss". I thought that Zambia isn't the smallest country in Africa, but I didn't remember who was in Oz. Couldn't have been one of the witches, so GULCH. But isn't it THE GAMBIA?

Overall, pretty easy for a Saturday. Not a NOTHINGBURGER.

Diana,LIW 3:19 PM  

First go thru - about 10 words some wrong. Then I got the SE and middle east finished.

Then. Nope nope. Me lookie uppie. Phil Donohue was a wrong guess. Merv Griffin would fit in there too.

I did finish after the cheating began, so there's that. Guess I'm an OLDSTER who HATH NEER MISDOES. I agree with quite a bit of @Rex today, SCOTS is a language? Eh? Meh.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

leftcoastTAM 5:31 PM  

Thought this was on the easy side (for Saturday) until closing in on the middle.

Bottom line: Didn't close it.

MEDO and MISO at the NOTHINGBURGER cross did me in, but glad to get close to finishing.

spacecraft 6:13 PM  

@rainy: After lookup, I see it's "City University of New York." I guess the same school used to be City College of New York, hence CCNY, but grew to University status when I wasn't looking.

leftcoastTAM 7:19 PM  

CALLING ALL OF THE ABOVE POSTERS (those above us snydilanders):
Rex is provoking and baiting us with his critiques of the puzzles. He makes it all go. Enjoy!

Graham 9:56 PM  

Yup. And this is the comments section. Where we, y’know, comment.

wcutler 1:01 AM  

So last Tuesday, when I had lots of missing answers, I commented that it seemed hard enough to be a Saturday. Today, Saturday, I sort-of finished the puzzle, except for zULCH, which didn't seem that wrong for a name I didn't know. Just sayin', normally, I can do Tuesday puzzles, and now and then, I can do a Saturday one.

I don't follow the US political quotes all that closely, so NOTHINGBURGER was just a word for me that I hadn't heard before and really liked. And I really enjoyed reading about meaning (and pronunciation) of centripetal, though of course I could have bothered to look it up, but I hadn't. ITSAZOO is part of my vocabulary.

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