Porgy novelist Heyward / SAT 9-8-18 / Useful list when troubleshooting computer / Balkan land on Olympic scoreboards / Half of 1980s sitcom duo / Member of Hoboken Four

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Constructor: Andrew J. Ries

Relative difficulty: Easy (6:50, at which point I had a single blank square I didn't know, which made me just quit ... but then I came back and got it after running the alphabet ... still Easy overall)

THEME: none

Word of the Day: TANGRAM (21D: Seven-piece puzzle) —
The tangram (Chinese七巧板pinyinqīqiǎobǎn; literally: "seven boards of skill") is a dissection puzzle consisting of seven flat shapes, called tans, which are put together to form shapes. The objective of the puzzle is to form a specific shape (given only an outline or silhouette) using all seven pieces, which may not overlap. It is reputed to have been invented in China during the Song Dynasty, and then carried over to Europe by trading ships in the early 19th century. It became very popular in Europe for a time then, and then again during World War I. It is one of the most popular dissection puzzles in the world. A Chinese psychologist has termed the tangram "the earliest psychological test in the world", albeit one made for entertainment rather than for analysis. (wikipedia)
• • •

Hey, look: I found the Friday puzzle! Where were you yesterday, buddy? I missed you!

A pattern develops

Despite an epic faceplant right out of the gate, I torched this one pretty good. There were only a few roadblocks, and those were created entirely by terms / names I just didn't know, most notably DUBOSE, TANGRAM, and TAXI SQUAD (it's weird how much I hate football now, given how much I loved it as a kid (see: CTE, white supremacist owners, etc.); if I never saw another American football clue again, I'd be perfectly happy). TANGRAM in particular messed me up, because at the very end of the solve, I managed to get it down to -ANGRAM, but that last square had a cutesy "?"-clue cross and I just couldn't process it (21A: Scratch on the table?). And I thought "well PIP and PANGRAM would work fine ... but PIP can't be right ... Why Wasn't This PIP And PANGRAM!?" So I ragequit with one square to go, having finished the rest of it in under 7. But then I ragereturned and ran the alphabet and figured out the "T" (from TIP). So "scratch" in the clue is being used as olde-timey slang for "money." Weirdly, I knew the slang meaning of "scratch," and it was the very first meaning I thought of, but, in a bizarre series of associations that could've happened only in my brain, I was thinking of "money on the table" as a gambling thing, and *that* was driven *largely* by the fact that PIP is the term for any of the spots on dice. Once PIP got in my head, it pretty much dictated the whole arena in which my brain was willing to operate, apparently. In my world, PANGRAM is a much much much much more common term, but I recognize that in normal world (say, an ordinarily google search), TANGRAM is the far more common thing. I just didn't know it. Que sera.

So, the initial faceplant: TONY (4D: Stage award) to ALLY (20A: Half of a 1980s sitcom duo) to RETAIL (1D: Sell)!!! Nailed it! (Fun fact, ALLY was doubly wrong, as the sitcom duo is actually "Kate and ALLIE"). The fact that I got out of that mess as fast as I did is my real accomplishment today. For my speedy recovery, I would like to thank ... god help me ... the worst Beach Boys song of all time, "Kokomo." Like all terrible and traumatic things, it haunts you. I just have to *see* the worst ARUBA and my brain goes "Jamaica! Ooh I'm gonna take ya!" And then it dies a little. Anyway, ARUBA OBIE KATE MARKET. I mean, I literally did a little donut in the NW corner of the puzzle. Once around wrong, and then again around right.

  • 39D: "Porgy" novelist ___ Heyward (DUBOSE) — OK, I know W.E.B. DUBOIS, and I know the opera "Porgy and Bess," but this novel and this novelist, no. He was a white author who wrote predominantly about African-American culture of the south.
  • 33D: III, in Ithaca (IOTAS) — yes, those are several IOTAS all in a row, there. The misdirect is obviously that you're supposed to see the Roman numeral THREE, which is also five letters.
  • 19D: Celine Dion, by birth (QUEBECER) — man that is a silly-looking word. I love it. Probably my favorite thing in the grid.
  • 58A: Lab dept. (R AND D) (i.e. R&D, i.e. Research & Development) — ooh, an ampersandwich. Don't see those much any more.
  • 7D: Ones sharing some shots (SNAPCHAT FRIENDS) — not quite as, uh, snappy as FACEBOOK FRIENDS. Feels like a weak analogue. But I acknowledge that it's a real thing. I guess I should be grateful the clue didn't try to do a crossreference with nearby PIX (8D: Movies, informally)
  • 43A: Name for a big wheel (FERRIS) — this is cute cluing. A "big wheel" can be a VIP, so maybe that's the misdirect here. I also briefly considered cheese, before getting a cross or two and figuring out the right context.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 3:28 AM  

Very easy. It may be a wheelhouse thing, but this went much faster than yesterday’s. My only erasure was Celery before CARROT. The rest was cake.

Solid grid but a bit crunchless, liked it.

My grandmother taught us how to play the Fan-Tan card game when we were kids. The game is based on building from 7s so...guessed right.

Unknown 3:50 AM  


Brookboy 4:09 AM  

I liked the puzzle a lot. It was more medium for me. Got hung up on 30D (Deeply Felt). Had tOUched for a while, until the crosses showed me the error of my ways. I also had pANGRAM before TANGRAM, took me a while to realize that scratch on the table could be a tip.

Enjoyed the write-up today.

chefwen 4:13 AM  

I can’t be the only one to put Canadian in 19D. Obviously, it did not work. TAXI SQUAD set me straight and that was pulled out of the depths of God only knows where.

Puzzle partner was a huge help with SEAT FILLER and ERROR LOG, I had EnteR LOG, whatever that is, DOH, it looked good at the time. He also knew GEORGIA DOME, me, no clue.

So far a no cheat weekend. You Hoo!

Harryp 4:16 AM  

I had to run the alphabet to get 21Across/Down, TANGRAM, same as OFL, otherwise a very easy Saturday.

Anonymous 4:50 AM  

I've been watching the NFL for ~25 years and don't think I've ever heard the term "taxi squad" before. Some quick research suggests it was largely replaced in the last 70s when the NFL formally adopted the use of those squads under the term "practice squad" (a term I've seen hundreds of times). Am I crazy for thinking that should've been clued as anachronistic and/or slang? My guess is the term is more familiar to crossword regulars than NFL fans under 45.

Other than that, the only clue that really gave me trouble was the Hoboken Four.

alawi 5:25 AM  

Took me so long to understand that clue. C Spot is slang for a $100 bill -- hence "high note". Ugh.

frankbirthdaycake 5:25 AM  

I had to run the alphabet before I recognized “tip” – I’ve never heard of a tangram – but the rest of the fill came together nicely. This was a nice Saturday puzzle. Perhaps there will be less acrimony among commenters today.

Hungry Mother 5:33 AM  

Started out so easy and then got tough and then seemed impossible and then I saw the light and I finished. Wow.

TrudyJ 6:14 AM  

As a Canadian I was stuck for a minute on the Celine Dion clue as there weren't enough letters for QUEBECOIS, which was of course my first thought.

kitshef 6:47 AM  

Not as easy as yesterday’s top half, but much easier than yesterday’s bottom. The center stack, which I hit pretty early after cleaning up the NW, all went in in a flash.

Missing a W for the pangram – as opposed to a TANGRAM. I wondered if at one point Mr. Ries was shooting for a pangram and had pANGRAM crossing pIP in the grid as a revealer.

Do brides wear TIARAs? Mine sure didn’t. I think that would look peculiar.

newspaperguy 6:54 AM  

Where are you Loren Muse Smith? We need you here!

Charles Flaster 7:17 AM  

Very easy with Friday being much trickier.
Only writeover was CARROT for tomato. That one took a while.
Loved clueing for IOTAS and ONE.
Thanks AJR.

JOHN X 7:24 AM  

This was pretty easy for a Saturday. My last square was also 21D, but I guessed TIP right after I figured PIP was wrong. Of course I had PANGRAM first even though I never really trusted it. This blog is the only place I've ever seen the word PANGRAM.

TAXISQUAD is still used very frequently for the officially named "practice squad." It's a Saturday puzzle so it doesn't matter you're supposed to know these things.

Z 7:40 AM  

OMFG NO. She and everyone else from there is a Québécois. Get your nasally ER out of here. The whole notion of QUEBECER is enough to reignite the flames of secession. Blurgh.

Over 41:00 yesterday, in a more typical sub 30:00 today. Yep. With one incredibly tin eared exception liked this puzzle. Except for the rage-quit, pretty much my experience at TANGRAM/TIP, although I know math teachers use TANGRAMs now, so I managed to unbury that term from the dark recesses of memory.

I did know the term TAXI SQUAD. It does seem dated though, so not surprised to learn that it is a pre-1993 term. I stopped watching football five or six years ago because it is B O R I N G. The whole not supporting CTE and nasty billionaires is purely a bonus.

mambridge 7:45 AM  

Font used for clues had me reading "Ill" instead of "III".

puzzlehoarder 7:46 AM  

I found this quite a bit harder than yesterday's puzzle. The little sections looked like potential trouble and the PIX/TAXI crossing was the last to go in.

What surprised me was how much I had to work for the middle. SEATFILLERS was the only eleven to go in all at once. DOME, JUICE and FRIENDS were easy as I came in from the NE. GEORGIA, CARROT and CHAT we're slow.

It was some good puzzling to a clean grid.

pabloinnh 8:01 AM  

Hand up for the TANGRAM WOE. Otherwise went pretty fast for a Saturday.

We live close enough to Quebec to travel there frequently and listen to English radio, on which people say Kwee-bec and Kay-becker, so I found the answer to be accurate.

I agree with @JOHN X that I've heard the term TAXISQUAD recently. I also agree with OFL that the NFL is harder and harder to watch, even when our regional team here is in the SB every damn year. It must be someone else's turn by now.

Sarah 8:13 AM  

I got stuck on the TANGRAM / TIP cross as well, but I had filled in the latter as pot early on, which then got “fixed” to pIP and pANGRAM. Had to run the alphabet to solve.

I vaguely remember seeing some tangram puzzles in elementary school 20 years ago.

Unknown 8:27 AM  

A little surprised that I'm the first person to point this out. But the first word in "Kokomo" is not ARUBA, The first line is "Off the Florida Keys". ARUBA is however the first word of the refrain...

Also weird that my solve was identical. Blew through the puzzle right up to that last T.

Robso 8:34 AM  

Me: Never heard of a TANGRAM, huh? [checks own puzzle print out; sees ZANGRAM]

QuasiMojo 8:42 AM  

Good puzzle. I knew Pangram was wrong because isn’t that essentially a 26-piece puzzle? So I threw in Zangram, thinking ZIP also means scratch. But I got the warning message and fixed it. 18 minutes total. Not bad for a Saturday. I wanted “Québécoise” but it didn’t fit. Zillionaire would also apply. Never heard the phrase “seat fillers” even though I’ve worked in “the Theatre” my whole life. We calt them comps or paper as in “papering the house.” My only quibble today is “batch” — ??? Tried bagel first. Then bialy. I’m a native New Yawker. :) Is a “Georgia Dome” a cousin of Chrome Dome? Or does it sport an “area rug”? And really Rex, I am a big fan of yours, but if you are thinking of moving to another state and finding a new job as a professor of literature I suggest you don’t go around advertising the fact you have never heard of Dubose Heyward.

Cassieopia 8:54 AM  

Super easy. When I can complete a Saturday puzzle, that’s rare. When I can complete it faster than I’ve ever completed a Saturday, then that’s just ridiculously easy - although it’s ego-boosting to have done so.

Got stuck at TIP exactly like Rex did and had to run the alphabet as well.

Cringe-worthy fill: QUEBECER. No. Non. Absolument pas. That is not even a thing. Pet Peeve: pronouncing “Quebec” as “kweBEK” instead of “keBEK” I’m not Acadian or Quebecois but did live in far northern Maine for 4 years and my children were born there. Quebec was the nearest big city - we went there often. It’s stunning. And not once did we ever hear the term QUEBECER - hurts my ears.

Dawn Urban 8:54 AM  

Am I mistaken, but wasn't TIP referring to billiards felt being scratched by the end of an errant cue stick?

"ragereturned"; "ampersandwich"; funny, Rex!

GILL I. 9:05 AM  

I think I laughed at your write-up, @Rex. In a good way, I think.
I never quit rage - hell, I've paid for the puzzle, I'm going to finish it. I did. It was easier than yesterdays and nary a cheat. Alas, I kept the P for PANGRM and P for PIP.
I stopped watching football when "Deflategate" became an issue. I use to watch all the time and was a true blue follower of the Forty Niners. Kaepernick was a lousy quarterback and his kneeling debacle was a diversion from the fact that he should have been booted for not being able to play a decent game. I felt the same way about soccer when watching the World Cup and watching my favorite star - Luis Suarez - yet take another bite out of a player.
Ah, the puzzle...fun stuff. First entry was ARUBA. I'm with @Rex in hating "Kokomo." I lived in Southern California for a while and the only thing that yelled at me every day on the radio was the Beach Boys. Don't get me started on Surfing USA. Thank you Beatles.
I guess the only head scratcher was penning in QUEBECER. That is one ugly word for such a beautiful French place. It's screaming for a cois at the end, n'es pas?
Thank, Andrew for an easy and satisfying SAT. I feel BIONIC for having finished this puppy even though I had an error.

mmorgan 9:07 AM  

Very nice puzzle, very pleasant solving experience. It started out very hard and then it became easy and fun. Except that I did screw up on 6A/6D -- I assumed that the "High note" was a clever clue for gSPOT (a thousand dollar bill) which left me deciding between GUTIT and GUMIT (assuming 18A was either TAXISQUAD or mAXISQUAD), neither of which made any sense. Oh well.

I first put in TONY and ALLY but then figured TONY was too easy/obvious so I switched to OBIE which gave me KATE. Ta-dah! I also briefly had "dozen" for 24A but figured that was also too easy to be correct, so it came out quickly.

I did know DuBose Heyward -- he and his wife wrote the book for the Gershwin opera and he and Ira Gershwin wrote the lyrics. What a score...

Never heard of SEAT FILLERS or the GEORGIA DOME or SNAPCHAT FRIENDS, but they all came easily from crosses.

I generally don't pick nits in puzzles, but I did find Quebecer bizarre -- I've never heard or seen anything other than Québécois.

TJS 9:13 AM  

"Quebecer" sucks. Is there anyone out there who has ever heard that term ? So I guess I was born a Chicagoer , was a Romer for a few years, and am currently a Santo Domingoer. Good God ! Shouldn't we have to refer to people by the names that choose for themselves ?

TomAz 9:22 AM  

@Anonymous 4:50 AM -- I agree with you re TAXI SQUAD. I've been watching the NFL for about 45 years (bite me Rex), and the term is very familiar to me -- but when I saw that that was the answer (which was pretty quickly) I thought, ugh, no one calls it a TAXI SQUAD any more, it's a practice squad.

@Z -- The Q got me QUEBEC__ and I stared and stared. OIS (or, more appropriately given the clue, OISE) was not gonna fit. I eventually dropped in the ER but did so under protest.

But really I did enjoy this puzzle. This is three very good days in a row. Last week was so bad I was starting to worry I was turning into Rex. But now I can feel good about the puzzle.. and about myself!

Logan 9:28 AM  

CTE?! How about unpunished spousal abuse, reactions for Vick (rightfully) yet no one cares about Adrian Peterson whipping his 4 year old son bloody, and completely out of tune and inflammatory racial equality tones?! There's a lot more than CTE that I care about. The evidence is there for CTE, and adults can play if they want. And parents can allow their children to risk injusry if it's their prerogative. But the culture of forgiveness in the NFL and fan bases just to get a good player back disgusts me. I played through high school and was a huge fan and fantasy player for a long time. It broke my heart to boycott the NFL in all forms a few years ago, bt I haven't looked back.

Maruchka 9:29 AM  

@kitchef - I have a 1959-ish photo of a bride cousin with her attendants. We're all wearing TIARAs. She's wearing - a crown!

1959-ish style is how this puzzle felt, a moi.

Nancy 9:46 AM  

There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole.
There is a balm in Gilead to heal the sin-sick soul.

Wow! A RESIN can do all that??? (17A) I wanted SHRINE.

I had nothing in the entire NW other than a very lightly filled-in AREA RUG -- of which I was entirely unsure. But I kept the faith (pun intended) that if I behaved like a "certain pilgrim" (25D) and ventured Eastward (and also Southward), all would ultimately be revealed. And so it was. Very, very ultimately.

I think the puzzle solver's ability to keep the faith when a puzzle initially looks hopeless is what separates the novice from the experienced solver. You've been there and done that and, more often than not, it all works out in the end. I struggled and suffered and prevailed -- and I loved, loved, loved this challenging but entirely fair and junk-free puzzle.

Nancy 9:59 AM  

Let me join @Z, @GILL, @TomZ and others: It definitely should be COISE -- and that bothered me no end too.

@Robso 8:34 -- Yes, damn it, I had the same DNF as you, but didn't realize it until just now. zANGRAM/ zIP, because "scratch" means nothing and ZIP means nothing. But, of course, TIP is a much, much, much better and more apt answer to the clue. As for TANGRAM: Like so many here I never heard of it. ZANGRAM seemed just fine to me.

Teedmn 10:00 AM  

I was stymied for the longest time on this one - I wandered as if on an UNLIT street, lost and scared I would never break into this thing. I tried the fill-in-the-blank trick - ___ score, "Porgy" novelist ______ Heyward and 1099-____(bank issued tax form). I knew the last one but that lonely gimme wasn't going to break open anything.

I had thrown in OTIS up top and thought SOURCE would be the horse's mouth, so to speak, but where was Celine Dion from? With SOURCE in place, she could be tUnisian (nah, that seemed like something I would know, but it would work if 18A ended in "team") or she could be aUstrian. I finally got ODDEST and OED and the NE fell. But I left 19D at QUEBEC__ because, like @Z, I was thinking it should end in the non-fitting Cois, and might end in Can and never considered CER until the SEAT-FILLERS filled in.

TANGRAM, Wikipedia says it was last popular around WWI in Germany, must be why I've never heard of it. Since I originally had "pot" in at 21A, as in poker, I just left the P in for the pIP-pANGRAM cross and figured you played dice with money...yeah, right. So, DNF in that one [C]SPOT.

Thank you, Andrew, for providing what, for me, was a classically tough Saturday.

Rube 10:02 AM  

Just a question..how do you decide to put in Canadian? Even though it fits, all the letters are wrong and it requires 32A to end in an I which very unlikely? Do you not try to prove your answers before slotting them in?

Unknown 10:22 AM  

It required it to end in a D. Everybody tries to prove their answers before slotting them in.

Anonymous 10:56 AM  

Public financing of stadiums was the old NFL model. Do some reading, owners have been bearing the cost for a while now.

Also, I checked the wiki article, I can see no name other than Miata, and Eunos. Please cite where in the article there's another name. Or better simply tell us all the name.

TomAz 11:02 AM  

If the NFL were really run by white supremacists, wouldn't Trump love it? But no.. he uses the NFL as one of his many go-to punching bags to gin up support with actual white supremacists. Meanwhile, the late Dan Rooney, owner of the Steelers, was an early and ardent Obama supporter and wound up being Obama's ambassador to Ireland. Facts work so much better than convenient stereotypes, Rex.

As regards "scratch on a table" -- I was trying to figure out the right term from my limited, but not zero, knowledge of hip-hop. "Scratching" being a thing DJs do on turntables. Scratch meaning money didn't occur to me til I ran the alphabet.

Amelia 11:05 AM  
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Anonymous 11:07 AM  

Anon 10:59,
Its in writing, it would be libelous if it could be shown that it cause material harm. Fortu ately no one, at least no sane person takes Banan or rex or Z seriously. I mean, come on. The claim is risible on its face.
Be of good cheer, theres a full slate of games this week. We already had a dandy when Mr. Blank's guys almost got Mr. Laurie's guys.
I invite everyone on tne board to read about Arthur Blank, the Falcons owner, and Mr. Laurie, The Eagles owner. I very much doubt anyone will repeat tne surious white supremevaist claim if they bother to read even a caual bio.

Anonymous 11:18 AM  

Tom Az,
The Rooney family's generosity and decency is well known. So too the Maras. And Lamar Hunt--now his son Clark. The Halases???? Puhlease.
Does anyone think tne owner of tne Jacksonville Jaguars is a wbite supremacist?!!!? Really?!!! Google him and get back to me.

Anonymous 11:29 AM  

I THINK that the term SEATFILLERS refers to the people at events like the Academy Awards. They fill the seats when the celebs are presenting awards and also in the event of celeb no shows.

JC66 11:36 AM  


I think SEATFILLERS refers to the people who sit in (sorry) for the stars at events like the Oscars when they vacate (sorry, again) their seats to present or perform.

I'm really old and remember when Paul Brown was the coach of the Cleveland Browns back in the 50's. To get around the NFL's limit on roster players, he had the owner (I'm to lazy too Google) hire 6 or 8 additional players to be cab drivers for the taxi company he owned. They practiced with the team during the day and drove a cab at night, earning almost as much driving as they would have if they were on the roster.

TubaDon 11:38 AM  

PIX/TAXISQUAD were the first entries, but I had to struggle a bit to finish the puzzle. Never listened to the Beach Boys or read Oprah's mag, but _JUICE got me going again and eventually had everything except the middle spine. TI_ and _AS had me puzzled, and I was seesawing between AMITY and UNITY, but finally intuited CSPOT and that gave me the hint for SNAPCHAT though I abstain from social media on principle.
(Still don't understand HAS).

Anonymous 11:39 AM  

Arthur McBride.

JC66 11:39 AM  

@anon 11:29

Great minds...

Malsdemare 11:45 AM  

Hand up for QUEBECoise and pANGRAM. I tried QUEBECAN before the equally awful ER, but even though somewhere in our 50 year collection of stuff we have a TANGRAM, I too inserted a P. If only I had run the alphabet, I'd have caught my error. As it is, DNF.

@Nancy, while I have my moments when I want to throw up my hands and quit, you are right that having done a lot of these and prevailed does give the experienced solver an edge. There are lots of puzzles I would have abandoned a few years ago but fight my way through now.

To those who have Facebook accounts: check out Berkeley Breathed's Bloom County cartoon for today. In fact, just friend him and get a good laugh/cry most days. Sorry, folks, I can't share a facebook post and I'm not sure where else he may publish his creations.

Suzie Q 11:54 AM  

Wow. I really had a good time with all of the tricky clues today.
So many had obvious answers that could have fit but the "third tier" answers ended up being the right ones. Thanks Mr. Ries.
My French is barely adequate enough to serve me while on vacation so the Celine clue didn't bother me.
The V8 clue made me pause. Vegetable juice or car engine?
Rex was so calm today about things he didn't know. Nice for a change.
Such a good puzzle is being wrecked by the comments today. I guess we can't relax and just have fun even for a day. (Sigh)
Favorite answer today - soulful.

GHarris 12:05 PM  

Upper middle was my undoing. Had G spot which is so much more interesting than C spot and had pot for scratch on the table which is certainly an acceptable answer (the money on the table in a card game). That left me with pangram which sure seemed right. This was one of those puzzles where I couldn’t get a start but eventually began to see the light.

Cassieopia 12:09 PM  

“He was had” = “he was conned”. I don’t know how to make the analogy with “cons” but that’s how I thought of it anyway.

RooMonster 12:21 PM  

Hey All !
Commenting before reading, apologies if repeating stuff. /Disclaimer

I found puz pretty much SatPuz difficult. Got stuck in the whole S of puz, so had to resort to good ole Goog for an answer. (Two actually, see below). Was never gonna get DUBOSE, so once I looked that up, was able to finish SW. Managed to get S center, (did you know DRINKING BUDDIES fits there?) then got stopped again in SE. Cheated for SINATRA (seriously, who knew that? :-)) and then was able to wrestle down that corner with the tough BIDE. (Wanted STAY, LEFT amongst others).

North was fairly straightforward, although TAXISQUAD was, um, taxing. Also had pANGRAM, with the cross being POT, thinking I was all smart for that. For 24A, wanted dozen, then Bundt. 29A was noS forever, until I finally saw the TIP and BATCH, which led to SNAPCHAT, and changing it to HAS.

QUEBECan messing things up also. No one say QUEBEC-ER, do they?
Liked the COURSE-SOURCE cross. Had _OU__E for both for a while. Cool they swap consonants.
Also writeover more for KATE.
Gee, is Oprah a little ego -ish? :-)


Joseph Michael 12:26 PM  

This was MILES from “Easy” for me, but I enjoyed every minute of it. Clues like those for C SPOT, SNAPCHAT FRIENDS, FERRIS, REACTS, LAV, and TIP had my brain working in every direction.

Like many others, my final entry was the “T” in TANGRAM, which I had never heard of. I also join those lamenting the intrusian of QUEBECER, but overall this was a super puzzle.

@Quasi, as a fellow member of the theatre world, I was going to point out the difference between comps and SEAT FILLERS, but it’s already been done eloquently by others above. Funny to think of that as a job description. I wonder what the qualifications are.

emily 12:29 PM  

US Open will always connote TENNIS, not that white man’s sport of GOLF

emily 12:30 PM  

I too wanted Québécois... just wasn’ Sure how to spell it.

Mike Love 12:42 PM  

Here are first two verses of Kokomo:

Aruba, Jamaica, oh I want to take ya
Bermuda, Bahama, come on pretty mama
Key Largo, Montego, baby why don't we go, Jamaica

Off the Florida Keys, there's a place called Kokomo
That's where you want to go to get away from it all
Bodies in the sand, tropical drink melting in your hand
We'll be falling in love to the rhythm of a steel drum band
Down in Kokomo

Banana Diaquiri 12:59 PM  
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Banana Diaquiri 1:02 PM  

BTW, SEATFILLERS are folks given free tickets to make a show, often Broadway, look popular. also called 'papering the house'.

Tom R 1:07 PM  

Tangram was one of the easiest clues for me, maybe because I made a set for my father as a Christmas present back when I had little money. They make a fun set. Otherwise, a lot easier than yesterday.

Stanley Hudson 1:08 PM  

@Malsdemare, thanks for the tip on today’s Bloom County.

H. Rap Brown 1:11 PM  
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Banana Diaquiri 1:17 PM  

other names of the MX-5, for those that can read and care:
400 limited edition Berkeley models sold only in the UK in 1999
1500 NAs produced for the US market being the "STO" ("Special Touring Option") versions
M2-1001 Cafe Roadster
M2-1002 Vintage Roadster
M2-1028 Street Competition Roadster
the 1991 'Le Mans' special edition

and, yes, the M2 machines are based on stock MX-5, but are distinct in name and construction.

just read the wiki with your eyes open.

Anonymous 1:27 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Masked and Anonymous 1:29 PM  

Betcha the seed entry wasn't QUEBECER. Or ERRORLOG.

I reckon I'd rate this pup about a medium-difficulty SatPuz. It set a few masked traps, such as:

* {Baker's unit} = BATCH. M&A suckered for DOZEN.
* {Excalibur's place} = VEGAS. M&A wanted STONE.
* {Scratch on the table?} = TIP. M&A had ZIP, but didn't trust it, on account of the ?-clue.
* QUEBECER. Ain't that the pulp magazine dude who just flipped, and has a vault-full of Trump secrets? M&A figured the answer to be QUEBECAN.
* {Name for a big wheel} = FERRIS. Better answer, actually, than M&A's initial stab of FERRET.
* {High note?} = CSPOT at least had the decency to put "high" in the ?-clue, thus rulin out M&A's first choice, of HIGHC. Went with SEEME at first, but weren't proud of it.
* {III, in Ithaca} = IOTAS. Since three is "TRIA" in Greek, M&A found self tryin to figure out how folks would say "three" in Ithaca, NY.

… Lost valuable nanoseconds, thanx to each of the above.

staff weeject pick: INT. Football season clue was deftly avoided, keepin @RP's blood pressure down to a medium-sized VEGAS bet. Ooooh … Better, football-oriented clue for SNAPCHATFRIENDS = {Loyal teammates in the huddle??}, perhaps?

Just a W short of a PTANGRAM?!?! Well, shoot -- ain't nuthin to it but to do it:
17. Darn and darn again?
20. Singer Perry
4. Follow, as a command
5. Like some bad weather

Hey, great write-up, @RP. Primo bullets, complete with yer pic [singular of PIX] of a Ferris wheel, for educational purposes.

Thanx for all the themelessfUn, Mr. Ries.

Masked & Anonym8Us

Anonymous 1:35 PM  
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km3t 1:44 PM  

On the off-chance that the puzzle creator or (god forbid) Will Shortz reads this blog, can I just politely grip about 55-down, "INT"?

I get it that the larger audience for this puzzle is American. No prob there. Us foreigners can usually work through many uniquely American/ pop culture references without a problem. AARP, NAACP, NEA, PBO, okay I can handle those.

But IRS forms? Come on. "INT" could be clued in a billion different ways. No doubt 90% of the audience gets that without much difficulty, but for the rest of us those are 3 uncheckable squares. Could be anything.

Just sayin'. Thanks for the blog, Rex.

Anonymous 1:51 PM  

Those "names" are synonyms, mostly, for the style of tne car. Like cafe racer is a stle of cycle. Come on. Vintaage roadster? You really believe Mazda used that designation in any market? Which one? These are all ways to describe the kind of car it is. Family sedan will no doubt show up in the wiki page for camry. That doesnt make it an alternate name.

Vegas hasnt broken ground for a stdium. . Minneapolos is not mostly public money. It just aint.
The dolhins stadium was 100 percent private. Youre cherry picking and not all that well.

Anonymous 1:57 PM  
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QuasiMojo 2:07 PM  

Thanks @JC66 and Anon. And Joseph. Interesting! I never heard that use before. Appreciate the info.

On y va 2:16 PM  

Quebecer? Quelle horreur!

Linda Vale 2:19 PM  

She lip synced, btw.

Banana Diaquiri 2:35 PM  
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Anonymous 2:42 PM  

Ive been working with footage of her performance for 28 years. This is the first tome Ive ever heard that claim.
Where'd you hear that?
The real point of course is refuting Banana's ludicrous claim that The NFL didnt sing the Anthem before 2009. Thats just nuts.

A Real Engine Man 2:46 PM  

Colin Kaepernick was a shitty QB in the Tebow mold who kneeled to draw attention to himself.

Civil rights activist? Hardly.

He just parlayed his civil rights principles for a paycheck from a company with a long history of using slave labor to make overpriced shoes that are peddled to economically disadvantaged children, resulting in enormous profits for the owners. They can now tell Kaepernick what to say and when to say it as long as it sells shoes. And who does Nike have deep financial ties to? The NFL. Let's hear him talk about Nike, shall we? He's not gonna' bad-mouth massa now. He was always a phony and now he's got a little bag of chump change to prove it.

sanfranman59 3:17 PM  

@Banana Diaquiri ... the article link you posted about the singing of the National Anthem at NFL games is just wrong. It's been the custom since the '40s. I'm not familiar with Medium.com, but I'll try to remember not to take it as my only source for information in the future.

From a more reliable news source:

"After World War II, the commissioner of the NFL at the time, Elmer Layden, made a specific plea to keep the anthem as a game-day tradition.

"The playing of the national anthem should be as much a part of every game as the kickoff," he said. "We must not drop it simply because the war is over. We should never forget what it stands for."

"While the anthem continued to be a game-day fixture, NFL players typically stayed in the locker room for it.

"There were exceptions, of course -- players observed the anthem after 9/11, and during Super Bowl games. But it wasn't until 2009 that players were mandated to be on the field for the song."

Banana Diaquiri 3:19 PM  
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Banana Diaquiri 3:21 PM  
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Anonymous 3:21 PM  

You can listen to Prof. Manil Suri's talk here about Tangrams and basis functions here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzxwwP3pNI at 31:22 mark. Prof. Manil Suri is the author of The Death of Vishnu longlisted for 2011 Booker Prize and PEN/Robert Bingham Prize.

He is a counterexample of two cultures of CP Snow. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Two_Cultures - Where as Rex Parker is an example of Two Cultures

Anonymous 3:25 PM  
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Banana Diaquiri 3:36 PM  
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Anonymous 3:55 PM  
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Anonymous 3:59 PM  
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Anonymous 4:06 PM  
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Anonymous 4:15 PM  
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Anonymous 4:40 PM  

Can we please leave MIATA behind? It's so several days ago.

Anonymous 4:44 PM  
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Anonymous 4:46 PM  
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Anonymous 4:47 PM  

The playing of the NA is just a small part of the militarization of the games and not just the NFL, but they're the worst.

CDilly52 5:10 PM  

Thankfully, we played TANGRAMs constantly as kids so this saved me from putting MAR in for 21A “Scratch...” instead of 42A. Made the middle interesting once the easy GEORGIADOME and CARROTJUICE fell in.

Banana Diaquiri 5:12 PM  
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Banana Diaquiri 5:14 PM  
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Anonymous 5:14 PM  
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Sunnyvale solver 5:22 PM  

One of the most basic facts about Sinatra is that he’s from Hoboken. A straightforward gimme.

I’m a Beach Boys fan and don’t know that song. They have so many great songs, sad to see this one clued.

Surprised to see people here not knowing TANGRAM. This blog is for puzzle aficionados, isn’t it?

Toughest clue for me today was “Ill in Ithaca”. Because of the sans serif font, couldn’t tell if it was “ILL” or Roman numeral for 3. Turned out to be three capital I’s. Super-tricky, brilliant clue.

Banana Diaquiri 5:35 PM  
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Banana Diaquiri 5:39 PM  
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Shawn 6:06 PM  

It’s funny that the guy who didn’t seem to like the answer GAMER RAGE (8-5-18) used both ragequit and ragereturned in his review.

Banana Diaquiri 6:39 PM  
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Harryp 6:40 PM  

Where are the moderators when we need them. This is out of control.

Rainbow 7:14 PM  

All this venom today and no one has mentioned Mike TYSON (10D)? Well, I guess I have.

CBC Sports · January 12, 2007

Below is an abridged version of Mike Tyson's known brushes with the law:

Dec. 15, 1988 Lori Davis sues Tyson for allegedly grabbing her buttocks while dancing at the same club on the same night.

Apr. 9, 1989 Tyson is accused of striking a parking attendant three times with an open hand outside a Los Angeles nightclub, but charges are dropped.

Apr. 26, 1989 Tyson is ticketed in Albany, N.Y., for drag racing. He is also ticketed on May 5, again for drag racing.

Aug. 17, 1990 Phyllis Polaner, former aid to Givens, sues Tyson for sexual assault and harassment.

Oct. 2, 1991 Tyson is served a $12 million US palimony and paternity by Natalie Fears of Los Angeles, but a court-ordered blood test proves he is not the father.

March 1992 Tyson is convicted on one count of rape and two counts of deviate sexual conduct against Miss Black America contestant Desiree Washington on July 18, 1991. He is sentenced to 10 years in prison, four suspended.

May 8, 1992 Tyson is found guilty of disorderly conduct and threatening a prison guard, adding 15 days to his sentence.

July 13, 1993 Noemi T. McKenzie, of Woburn, Mass., files a civil lawsuit alleging Tyson committed battery against her at a Miss Black America rehearsal on July 18, 1991.

Apr. 9, 1996 Tyson is accused of sexual battery by a beautician from Gary, Ind. at a Chicago nightclub on Apr. 7, but police announce allegations baseless on Apr. 26.

Oct. 29, 1997 Tyson breaks a rib and punctures lung when his motorcycle skids off a Connecticut highway.

Mar. 9, 1998 Chevelle Butts and Sherry Cole file a $22 million US lawsuit against Tyson claiming verbal and physical abuse at a Washington bistro on March 1.

Dec. 1, 1998 Tyson pleads no contest to misdemeanour assault for kicking Richard Hardick and punching Abmielec Saucedo following an Aug. 31 auto accident in Gaithersburg, Md. He is handed two, two-year concurrent sentences with all but one year suspended. Tyson is also fined $5,000 US and sentenced to two years probation following his release from jail.

Mar. 5, 1999 Tyson is ordered to serve an extra 60 days in jail for violating probation terms of his 1992 rape conviction.

Aug. 17, 2001 Tyson is accused of raping a 50 year-old woman on July 16 at Big Bear, Calif., but prosecutors file no charges.

Jan. 18, 2002 Tyson's second wife, Monica, sues for divorce at Rockville, Md. Tyson countersues in Las Vegas.

Jan. 22, 2002 Las Vegas police contend there are grounds for charges following a four-month investigation into allegations that Tyson raped a woman in September 2001.

Jan. 30, 2002 Clark County District Attorney's office confirms a second investigation based on a woman's accusation that she was raped by Tyson in November 2001. They would decide the next month not to pursue charges, saying it wasn't clear whether the sexual contact was consensual or forced.
August 3, 2003 Tyson files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Owing $38 million to the IRS, Tyson will contribute $14 million to paying it down after a lawsuit settlement the next year with promoter Don King.
Feb. 27, 2004 Tyson agrees to a plea deal involving counselling and community services stemming from 2003 charges from a fight with two autograph seekers in a hotel lobby.
Jan. 12, 2007 Tyson faces a four-count indictment on drug-related charges stemming from a December incident in Scottsdale, Ariz. He could face up to 7 years in prison.

One of Your Moderators 7:32 PM  

Be on Topic (the crossword puzzle or Rex’s response to the crossword puzzle)

No more than three comments a day.

Don’t be mean, especially not repeatedly mean, to other commenters.

Apologies to everyone else.

JC66 7:41 PM  



Anonymous 7:43 PM  

So just those three rules? And of course you and the other invisible and anonymous magi get to judge?
Creepy and gutless.
Post this and see what the regualars think, please.

pabloinnh 7:50 PM  


Anonymous 7:58 PM  

Hey mods,
Isnt anon 7:52 being mean? And what does Miata posts have to do witg the Puzzle or Rex's review?

Anonymous 8:26 PM  

Question regarding Rex’s review. Which NFL owners are white supremacists ? I will totally boycott their team.

Banana Diaquiri 8:50 PM  

the fact is: sometimes, not always nor for all posters, topics generated tangentially from the puzzle and/or OFL's review are lots more fun than either. 99.44% of us exist only as meaningless strings of characters. there's no reason to get personal, since there isn't a person; and no reason to feel personal, ditto. this is supposed to be fun. y'all are free to ignore comment threads if you want. some number of people know now what they didn't know before: NFL teams are sucking at the public teat majorally. all thanks to Rex/GEORGIADOME that's worthwhile. IMHO.

David 10:05 PM  
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BarbieBarbie 10:19 PM  

Wow, I logged on late and I’m kind of glad.. lots of removed comments. Anonymous must be feeling frisky after his/her success on the NYT OpEd page.

I found this crunchy and fair, average for a Saturday, which for me means hard. Agree about the Celine clue. A lot of the other stuff was fun. (Do you call it fill if it’s a themeless?)

Anonymous 10:41 PM  

The only reason I come by here is because LMS has chosen this (for who knows why) to be her home, comments-wise.
She ain't here. Everybody else, and their uncle, is here today.
to be

Find a better pasture and eat that grass there.

mmorgan 11:50 PM  

Wow... It's late now and probably (almost) no one will see this, but I just came back after posting this morning to read others' observations and I can't believe how many comments were deleted by the blog administrator. One can only imagine what they said...

Oh, and @Emily: I get your point but I have a great many non-white friends who play golf. Avidly. Country-club Republicans may fit the connotation, but they do not in any way define the game. Just sayin'.

The Other Guy 2:56 AM  

What did I miss?

ZenMonkey 3:00 AM  

Also found this medium hard based on my time, but it felt more difficult while I was solving. Not a slog though, a fun workout.

I hope this wasn't the topic of those deleted comments but...I love "Kokomo." I fully realize I'm in the minority in the world and I may be banned from this blog for saying so but I can't help it. I liked it before I learned I wasn't supposed to. :D

Anonymous 12:37 PM  

Re: mixed feelings- did not totally get the them until reading your explanation- thought all were love but of course that didn't work well. But beyond that I loved this puzzle. any puzzle that referenced the far side-(along w/ Calvin and Hobbes) my favorite comics ever which sadly are no more. Well anyway, is a great puzzle. Clever and different. On a personal note- I am now on the same page with puzzles. I switched from the pricier not as good Utica Od which always was a week behind on the Sunday Puzzle to the Syracuse Post Standard - a cheaper better paper which has the current Sunday puzzle and an acrostic - plus 2 NYT puzzles- color me happy! Bunny

Anonymous 8:52 PM  

If you do not include checking on one false answer I solved everyday but Thursday without hints this week. Sunday thru Saturday.


rondo 11:22 AM  

Same finish as OFL; that three letter word went pot/poP/pIP/TIP. Only other write-over in the ERRORLOG was at QUEBECan. TAXISQUAD a gimme as was GEORGIADOME. The ampersandwich annoyed. Finished in JUSTASEC under 4X Rex.

KATE Moss, Middleton, Upton, Hudson, Jackson, Mara; choose your own BEST yeah baby.

Tough enough and nice to know I can CUTIT on Saturday.

Burma Shave 12:04 PM  


the BATCH of ANIMAL PIX never ends,
ONE SENSES it's par for the COURSE.


thefogman 12:49 PM  

I just couldn't CUTIT. DNF because I guessed wrong and had zANGRAM/zIP. I thought zip could equal zero (scratch) on an Excell table or some other ledger. Alas, ONE mistake did MAR this one for me. Just another one to add to this week's ERRORLOG...

thefogman 1:08 PM  

PS - Can somebody please explain...

56D: Head, for short - LAV

spacecraft 2:18 PM  

The "head" is the toilet on a ship, typically; thus, LAVatory. One of the several clue misdirects in a typical Saturday grid. My fave: "Small square" for ONE. Yes indeedy, ONE squared is ONE. Duh.

Started--and ended--in the SW. Ernie "Sweetness" ELS and Aesop's ANIMALs kicked me off; the Natick at #57 was last to go. SAT score, sure, OK. I did guess it, so finished, with attendant triumph points.

All ampersandwiches are awkward, but 58 across (no, I will NOT type it) really takes the cake. Automatic one-stroke penalty. Hand up for QUEBECan, my only w/o. Since @rondo didn't list Ms. Winslet with his KATEs, I'll make her DOD. Oh, but it's hard to argue with Hudson. Par.

thefogman 2:49 PM  

Cheers Spacecraft!

leftcoastTAM 3:27 PM  

Easy, huh? Not on this end.

Annoying short answers:
OBIE (not Tony)

Vexing longer answers:
DUBOSE (sealed off the SW)
IOTAS ("III, in Ithaca?")
TANGRAM (what's that?)

Easy, you say? Eat my ERRORLOG.

Diana, LIW 7:56 PM  

Hm - I posted earlier, but it didn't go thru. Yesterday was on the road, today getting settled. The X almost got me. I told @Foggy about the lavatory, too, in my earlier post. Maybe that's why it was dropped.

Diana Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

rainforest 10:34 PM  

Hey. It's night here in SE BC, or the Pacific Northwest for you Yanks, and I was at a school reunion of colleagues. Nevertheless, I finished this baby which I found much easier than yesterday's (which I finished in an amazingly long time).

Not much to say at this late hour other than:

I liked it.
DAFT is one of my favourite words.
I don't mind ampersandwiches. I always think "that's the way they are said, so what's the problem?"

Waxy in Montreal 11:28 AM  

Actually, the proper term in English for we residents of La Belle Province is indeed QUEBECER (or even Quebecker, ONE of the ODDEST spellings ever).

This must have been about the easiest SAT grids ever. Only minor problems were thinking there was an EMAGAZINE (sorry Oprah) for too long and also trying to force POT and PANGRAM at 21 AANDD (hey, if RANDD & RANDB are okay, so's AANDD!).

BTW, as TSARINA is an anagram for SINATRA, are 38D and 51D permitted in the same grid?

Now to become a SEATFILLER (TV version) for Game 2 of the Red Sox - Astros series. Given the weather on the east coast, would probably be better quality baseball if played on the GEORGIADOME (AREA)RUG.

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