1973 Best Actor winner for Save the Tiger / SAT 10-27-18 / City on Douro River / Knotty tree growth / Happy Days hangout informally / Tarzan's realm / Belgium's longest-reigning monarch / Some disguised fishing trawlers

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Constructor: Byron Walden

Relative difficulty: Challenging (10:39 ... though roughly 3:00 of that for me was just being flat-out stuck in the NW)

THEME: none

Word of the Day: POTASH (9A: Fertilizer ingredient) —
Potash (/ˈpɒtæʃ/) is some of various mined and manufactured salts that contain potassium in water-solubleform. The name derives from pot ash, which refers to plant ashes soaked in water in a pot, the primary means of manufacturing the product before the industrial era. The word potassium is derived from potash.
Potash is produced worldwide at amounts exceeding 90 million tonnes (40 million tonnes K2O equivalent) per year, mostly for use in manufacturing. Various types of fertilizer-potash thus constitute the single largest industrial use of the element potassium in the world. Potassium was first derived in 1807 by electrolysis of caustic potash (potassium hydroxide). (wikipedia)
• • •

This is a truly excellent grid, especially given how low the word count is (64), but man oh man did it smack me around. Well, the NW corner did. The rest of it was pretty normal for a Saturday, and if I'd been able to proceed through the NW at a relatively normal pace, I'd've finished in a mid-7s (i.e. normal) time, normally, like normal. But that didn't happen. I'm staring at my marked-up puzzle, where I've used a red marker to highlight the trouble areas, and basically it just looks like someone bled all over the NW. Yes, SITCOMMY (great) was tough to see (34D: Formulaically humorous), and since I had DONA at 38D: Woman's name meaning "gift" (DORA), I struggled to get CROWE (48A: "Say Anything ..." director), which should've been a gimme given my solidly Gen-X credentials, oh well. But outside of that little bottom-center area, the rest of the grid didn't present any real trouble ... until I (re-)arrived at the NW, where I had ... virtually nothing. This is what my grid looked like at roughly the 7 or 8 minute mark:

Please note my brilliant error, GNAR, which ... is not the word I actually wanted. The word I actually wanted was KNAR (so close!), which means "a knot or BURL on wood." Sigh. I not only had a wrong answer, I had the wrong wrong answer. I couldn't even get the wrong answer right. Etc. To my credit, I knew that of all the things I had in place, that was the one that needed removing. Oh, I also had EVE in there earlier at 5D: Today preceder (USA). But that was also very dicey, so I pulled it too. I just couldn't make this section move. I could tell that 2D: Nebulous ended in -LIKE, but ... lots of things are nebulous. Eventually got BOATS at the end of 1D: Some disguised fishing trawlers but ... SPY BOATS? Never in a million years would I have guessed that SPY BOATS were for fishing. They sound like they're ... for spying. HEURISTIC would've been hard on a good day, but this was not a good day (3D: Method of solving). YEN SIGN (!?!?!) (8D: "Y" with a bar). No way. BRAINED? Oh, *that* meaning of [Clocked]. Oof. Nope. the *only* reason I'm not still trying to solve this thing is that I finally decided to think for a few seconds about 1A: Overweight and untidy, and I sort of cocked my head and made a face and asked myself: "SHLUBBY ... nope. SCHLUBBY? Is that how you spell it?" And bam bam bam everything fell into place. Several minutes of dead air, and then a lucky guess. Hail Mary! Lord have mercy those are the corners I have nightmares about.

Five things:
  • 4D: Transferrer of stock? (LADLE— I literally made chicken stock today and still thought this clue was about livestock
  • 15A: Sybaritic pursuit (PLEASURE) — so so mad at myself for completely forgetting what "sybaritic" means. It's one thing to be befuddled by clues, and quite another, more miserable thing to be done in by one's own impoverished, fraying vocabulary
  • 16A: City on the Douro River (OPORTO) — this is hard, and yet in retrospect, I read all about Portuguese wine and the Douro Valley terroir (!) this past summer, so I feel like I should've been quicker here
  • 13D: One with a frog in its throat? (STORK) — so ... STORKs literally eat frogs? I've seen them fish (really spectacular). I have not seen them frog, I don't think
  • 37A: Like oil spills and clearing of rain forests (ECOCIDAL) — I feel like this word is largely made-up for the sole purpose of being in this crossword, but it was at least, eventually, inferrable.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jp flanigan 12:12 AM  

UGH....i confidently threw down and kept: Slovenly for SCHLUBBY, Prenatal for PREGNANT, and Deranged for DEMENTED. I think i doubled my slowest Saturday time in years. Too many self-inflicted road blocks. I don't even know if this is good or not.

Anonymous 12:18 AM  


Take your damned pick.

Brian 12:23 AM  

I first had REFILL/SITCOMLY which in a way made sense. Ugh.

Anonymous 12:33 AM  

Fishing boats for spying... Russian Trawlers. Back in the day it was a thing.

jae 12:34 AM  

Medium-tough (@Rex NW was the tough part for me also). Just about right for a Sat. A little crunch, a little zip, liked it.

Eric 12:39 AM  

This guy rips on his students on Twitter but can't remember what "sybaritic" means? FOH.

TomAz 2:06 AM  

Like Rex, the NW was the last to fall. The very first thought I had though was CLOUDLIKE for 'nebulous'.. and I didn't trust it. I scanned the crosses, got ALS immediately, but nothing else.

Unlike Rex, OPORTO was one of the first things I put in.. a foothold! I like wine. That gave me OPED and ARMOR immediately, and the rest after a while. POTASH is a word I have heard of roughly in the context of farming, so it came to me.

ECOCIDAL, APEDOM, SITCOMMY, all inferrable, but all words I have neither heard nor read, not ever. SITCOMMY ECOCIDAL APEDOM sounds like a re-imagining of Planet of the Apes as a weekly 30 minute TV show with Robin Williams in place of Charlton Heston. Imagine the possibilities.

SCHLUBBY was the only word in the puzzle that was brand new to me. Unfortunate, it being 1A and all. I'm surprised I don't know it, since given the clue it probably applies to me.

Harryp 2:07 AM  

This one took a lot of time, but I really enjoyed the challenge. SCHLUBBY was not my first choice for 1A, and HEURISTIC for 1D didn't immediately spring to mind. I wanted react for 46D RIPEN, even though 45D A BARE was already in place.41A KNAVE helped the southeast solve, while POTASH and POLECAT did it for the northeast. Last to go in was 34D SITCOMMY(?). Thank you Byron Walden for an entertaining Saturday puzzle.

TomAz 2:12 AM  

Also, I can't believe they're still playing baseball right now. I mean, it's after 11 here, meaning it's after 2 am in Boston... that poor 9 year old Red Sox fan who's so invested in the world series right now... I mean yeah, 15 innings is 15 innings, that's where we're at right now, but, c'mon man. There's gotta be a better way.

chefwen 3:01 AM  

Pretty tough for us also.

SCHLUBBY? Well at least I have a new name for my, erm, never nind.

Transfer of stock? made me a little sad, we’re going to have to say goodbye to four out of our six cattle tomorrow, I’m pretending they are going on a little holiday. OREO and Big Red will stay behind.

Liked it, but ala Rex the NW messed with me big time.

Anonymous 3:46 AM  

Per Apple's built-in dictionary: "schlubby (also shlubby)."

Marc 4:11 AM  

Did not want SITCOMMY even though it was the first thing that popped in my mind once I saw SITCOM needed 2 more letters. Never heard of Douro River or OPORTO. SCHLUBBY? Got it with all downs. APEDOM? Ugh. TOMWATSON a gimme since he is a local hero. Did not want HONKS at first because it's a sound, not a sign. Right?

Harryp 6:17 AM  

My mistake. HEURISTIC is 3Down.

Bobby 6:33 AM  

My 8:48 was way better than usual for me, just a minute off my Saturday best. Confidently put down SLOVENLY and PLEASURE then the downs were terrifying. LEMMON and ARKS were automatic and enough to get me the NE. ROMCOMMY caused headaches, as did ALLSTATE.

frankbirthdaycake 6:43 AM  

My thought exactly.

JJ 7:01 AM  

I had HEY MY MAN, which I thought made sense. I also thought the city was just PORTO, hence I had difficulty straightening out the entire north. Also left Tarzan's realm as AFRICA for a while, combined with REFILE. REFILM was the last correction to complete the puzzle. Great challenge, and came in at triple Rextime

Anonymous 7:03 AM  

Putting my hand up for GNAR.

three of clubs 7:37 AM  

What Anonymous 12:18 said. Seems almost biblical.

Tried googling SITCOMMY and the relatively few results (90k) come mainly from headlines "sitcom MY Three Sons" and 'New Sitcom My Sister is So Gay" and "BBC1 sitcom My Family" not to mention "sitcom My Crazy Roommate" and "FOX Sitcom "My Friend 50"" and oh attach append your own SITCOM to

My Favorite Martian, My Monster In Law, My Boys, My Wife's Sister, My World, My Wife and Kids...


Lljones 7:43 AM  

Ha! Had GNAR for a long time, too. Makes me feel better to see Rex trying to make it fit.

michiganman 7:52 AM  

The better way is DAYTIME!

Anonymous 7:55 AM  

Think of sign as signal or evidence of.

Dawn Urban 8:01 AM  

Good Morning! Loved Rex's blog!

Did anyone notice how MET was clued in the mini-puzzle? As a NY museum. It is a performing arts center, but is it a museum, also?

Terribly perplexed and enchanted by this puzzle. Almost finished.

STORK clue may have been in reference to that popular sketch of a STORK swallowing a frog. The frog is reaching out of the stork's mouth, grabbing its neck, so it cannot be swallowed. The caption is, HANG IN THERE!!

George 8:01 AM  

In college I read a book, did a case study and wrote a paper on HEURISTIC methods in engineering, and I got an A on the project, yet I couldn't tell you what that means. I always thought HEURISTIC was a CLOUDLIKE, er...nebulous... term. And the absolute worst, lowest point of my career (I'll spare you the details but it involved a volcano, an airplane, and a fuel truck) happened in OPORTO. Lovely city but I was't happy to be there.

Conrad 8:10 AM  

@Dawn Urban: Yes, MET may be clued as the Metropolitan Opera House or the Metropolitan Museum of Art. If you've never been to the latter, I recommend it highly. It can also be a member of a New York Nine.

Ando 8:15 AM  

"Never in a million years would I have guessed that SPY BOATS were for fishing. They sound like they're ... for spying." I think you have this backwards -- it's fishing boats being used for spying, not the reverse. WIkipedia notes "During the Cold War, some countries fitted fishing trawlers with additional electronic gear so they could be used as spy ships."

Phil 8:16 AM  

Plopped in EGRET happy to have seen the ruse. Easy to fix however DNF with the one square of REFILL SITCOMLY

Rex thinks ecocide is crossword exclusive but not sitcommy????

michiganman 8:19 AM  

As I recall, "Save the Tiger" was not a great movie and the buzz was that it was Jack Lemmon's "turn". IMO his performance in "Days of Wine and Roses" was Oscar worthy. It went to Gregory Peck that year, 1963, for "To Kill a Mockingbird", also worthy. In 1961 Jack Lemmon was nominated for his performance in
"The Apartment", which won best picture and director. The best performance Oscar went to Burt Lancaster for "Elmer Gantry". Lemmon was nominated 5 other times for best performance in a lead role and also won an Oscar for best performance in a supporting role, "Mister Roberts" in 1956.

Birchbark 8:35 AM  

Sic transit a 62-puzzle winning streak, done in by SITCOMlY/REFILl.

Yes, SITCOMlY is awkward (SITCOMMY's marginally better). But I never even considered an alternative to REFILl for "double-take." I like @Anonymous's (12:18) triple-take on the answer and share @Brian's 12:23 observation as well.

kitshef 8:41 AM  

A rare day when the proper names got me started – LEMMON crossing TOM WATSON.

A very bad puzzle. I don’t care how desperate you are, you don’t get to use SITCOMMY. Nor SPY BOATS. Nor SCHLUBBY. That's just made-up junk.

If you are desperate, go ahead and use APEDOM. It’s not great, but if that had been the worst thing in the grid, I could get along with that.

Anonymous 8:46 AM  

No matter how much ice cream one adds to a bucket of poop, it remains a bucket of poop. In contrast, it takes only one drop of poop to transform a beautiful bucket of ice cream into complete crap.

It's amateurish to have a non-word (SITCOMMY/SITCOMLY) cross with two legitimate answers: REFILL (one's plate) and REFILM for "Do a double take?"

QuasiMojo 8:48 AM  

Loved this puzzle. Tough but clever and brutal but always clued interestingly. Thinking that The Last Supper was in the Vatican slowed me up big time. I still SCORED a respectable 23 minute time.

And like the fellow above I had Slovenly, then schlumpy before Schlubby, which made me laugh. Also Prenatal before Pregnant. And ECOCRIME before ECOCIDES.

As a former HACK, I take umbrage at being told I have NO TALENT. What a BUMMER. Man, trust me, it takes talent to churn that crap out. For years. And for very little reward. Thanks for the chuckle though.

I never saw Save the Tiger but I loved Jack Lemmon in Missing.

RickA 8:56 AM  

@three of clubs: If you google "sitcommy" (use the quotation marks in your search), it will return hits for sitcommy without the extraneous hits you mention. The total is just 16,300. Felt the same way about "ecocide" and "schlubby." They were all inferrable, but just didn't feel right for a well-constructed puzzle. Of course, in the end, it's all a matter of taste.

michiganman 9:02 AM  

This was supposed to be a separate comment, sorry.

Kiki 9:04 AM  

I didn't know cabbage means cash, but I knew it couldn't mean the veggie. I looked up synonyms for it and went from there. I also had SITCOMLY/REFILL. But of course REFILM is better.

I started with TUGBOAT (doesn't that look like a trawler?) and then got SPYBOAT. So then I initially had YOUNGMAN instead of YOUDAMAN. It didn't feel quite right, of course, but YOUDAMAN eluded me. We non-bros struggle with cool cant.

michiganman 9:10 AM  

This is a repeat. I posted in the wrong spot earlier.

As I recall, "Save the Tiger" was not a great movie and the buzz was that it was Jack Lemmon's "turn". IMO his performance in "Days of Wine and Roses" was Oscar worthy. It went to Gregory Peck that year, 1963, for "To Kill a Mockingbird", also worthy. In 1961 Jack Lemmon was nominated for his performance in
"The Apartment", which won best picture and director. The best performance Oscar went to Burt Lancaster for "Elmer Gantry". Lemmon was nominated 5 other times for best performance in a lead role and also won an Oscar for best performance in a supporting role, "Mister Roberts" in 1956.

Joel Palmer 9:22 AM  

Sitcommy is not even a word. Further, It is Tarzan of the JUNGLE not. "apedom", which is another made up word.

Teedmn 9:23 AM  

In spite of my original idea that "Do a double take?" would have something to do with film, I left in Anon 12:18's third choice (along with @phil phil and @birchbark) of REFILl and SITCOMlY. My nose wrinkled at SITCOMlY and even SITCOMMY should be SITCOM-Y in the wild, no? I guess it could be worse - how's about SITCOM-ish?

This puzzle filled in fast, only two Rex's. The closest to idiocy I came was putting in YEs SIGN briefly before YOU DA MAN fixed it. It seems to me that YOU DA MAN predates Bro-dom - my husband came home from fall turkey hunting in 1991. His hunting group spent a lot of time in the local bars watching the MN Twins make their way to the World Series. Whenever the pitcher retired a batter (probably Frank Viola), my brother-in-law would stand up and yell at the TV, "YOU DA MAN". Since that was a new phrase to us and because my bro-in-law was usually a quiet guy, that story made it home to me.

I did yesterday's suggested Friday 6/25/1999 puzzle and it took me 32 minutes compared to today's >21. The NW had one piece of 1999 pop culture I had no idea about and I needed to get 15A's cross-referenced 18A before I finally finished. It was fun because I love themeless puzzles but pretty dry. I'm agreeing with @kitshef that it's all relative and old pop culture is just OLD.

Thanks, Byron Walden, this was a great Saturday.

Barclay Goodson 9:29 AM  

In Mr. Roberts, Jack Lemmon played Ensign Pulver, whose shipboard responsibility was “laundry and morale.” I can relate.

Anonymous 9:31 AM  

“Apedom” comes straight out of the “Tarzan” books by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Bart 9:35 AM  

Echoing other comments: if you're going to use a made-up word (SITCOMMY), then there seems to be an obligation to not cross it with a clue that has two legitimate answers.

Changing "Do a double take?" to something like "Shoot again" wouldn't have altered the difficulty of the puzzle in a meaningful way but it would have eliminated REFILL as a legitimate option. And if you wanted to be even trickier about it "Skin again" or "Cover again" or something similar could have been used as the clue.

Unknown 9:43 AM  

I'm not sure why ECOCIDAL is questionable, any more so than genocidal or parricidal, given its contemporary resonance; it's definitely descriptive of a (very bad) thing.

John Child 9:44 AM  

I guessed right about re-taking a scene rather than a serving, But SITCOMMY is absolutely dreadful. I’m sure that would have been grounds for, “Thanks for showing this to us but it’s a no” if I had submitted the same puzzle. Otherwise a fun solve, though I hope dollar sign, euro sign, rupee sign etc. aren’t now going to show up.

pabloinnh 9:45 AM  

I liked this one a lot. Started in the SW and worked around slow and steady, wound up in the NW where I finally saw the clue about sybarites, which I know, and the 3D HEURISTIC, which is one of those words I have to look up every time I run into it. Hand up for really? on SITCOMLY, which had to be right but shouldn't be.

Funny how rivers change their names at borders. In Spain the Douro is the Duero and the Tagus is the Tajo. How do they know how to do this?

Muchas gracias, Sr. Walden. Well done you.

Hungry Mother 9:50 AM  

Pure stubbornness and an assist from my wife on what “Fabreze” is and a lot of time and I got it done. A half hour above my already slow average, but no problem. I’ll take it any way I can legally get it on Saturday.

jammon 9:54 AM  

Sclub you.

And it's a SHIP, not a boat.

Absolute crap!

GILL I. 10:00 AM  

Did I really finish a Saturday Byron Walden? I did!
See, this is primo cluing. This is what I'm talking about. Just look at the way he clues LADLE. Transferrer of stock doesn't really need a ? for a Saturday but I guess he or Will felt the urge. Of course I thought of steer and such and kept thinking an eye candy cowboy.
So much I didn't know in this lovely puzzle. Byron makes it gettable, though.
SCHLUBBY is my absolute favorite. SLOB>CHUBY. I really wanted fat slobs but the PC police wouldn't like that one.
At 23A I could not get ENIGMA out of my head. Then I thought perhaps E CODE since we have so many E words. Finally, the C from the wonderful misdirected skunky POLE CATS, gave me Mr. IBM ENIAC.
Then we get to the ECO CIDAL center. What a great word that I didn't get. I've never heard of SITCOMMY and DORA could've been nORA or cORA. At one point I had ECO CACAL. You have to put the puzzle down, walk away for a few moments, come back and stare before you get that big AHA Eureka. PDWA. ECOCIDALis now my other favorite word. SCHLUBBY SITCOMMY ECOCIDAL. I won't forget those words.
The whole puzzle made me smile. With patience I was able to finish... A huge accomplishment for me.
I'll take more, Byron.

Odd Sock 10:01 AM  

Standing O for Byron Walden!

Tim Aurthur 10:05 AM  

I really really wanted 1A to be Bannonesque or Bannon-like.

Suzie Q 10:09 AM  

I can't believe how closely my experience was to Rex's. Esp. not remembering what sybaritic means.
The trawler clue had me thinking Greenpeace. Maybe because I already had ecocide in place.
Cleft had me thinking of all of the handsome famous men from the movies.
Schlubby was my last entry and I wrote it with a laugh. Byron sure handed us an opportunity for creative (but snarky) answers there. So far you funny folks on the blog have disappointed me. C'mon guys!

Tim Aurthur 10:17 AM  


apedom, n.


The estate or state of apes.

1852 T. De Quincey Sketch from Childhood in Hogg's Instructor New Ser. 8 99/2 [They] had not yet emerged from this early condition of apedom.

Anonymous 10:24 AM  

I quite liked the puzzle but Rex would have barfed all over most other constructors for SITCOMMY. You can tell because he overcompensated with "great".

Anonymous 10:29 AM  

Did the Saturday 6/26/99 puzzle and it reinforced the point made yesterday by JOHN X. I think maybe I will just go away and live in the past.

Potato Chimps 10:43 AM  

I enjoyed it. My error was lasso for ladle, but that didn't stick long. Overall it was mehthodical and well clued. Which I like on a Saturday.

Mr. Breeze 10:45 AM  

If I commented on every clue that generated a margin note for cleverness I would be recopying the entire puzzle.
Gotta thank Dad for the hours of watching golf on TV. A sports answer that isn't baseball for once. Yay.
Schlubby is new to me but now I can't wait to use it.
It looks like a Yiddish portmanteau but of what I don't know. No matter, it's hilarious.
Great clue for severance. Not sauerkraut!

jberg 10:52 AM  

This was a wonderful puzzle, even though I failed at it. I thought I'd solved it, but I stuck with SITCOMlY/REFILl to the end. To give the puzzle credit, I should have noticed that 'sitcomly' has an adverbial field, while the clue calls for an adjective. Unlike many, I think it's a great answer, either way.

I knew the Douro was a wine region in Portugal, so I started to write in Lisbon -- but I only got as far as the I before remembering that it's on the Tagus.

As for those SPY BOATS -- I got the BO part, so it had to be some kind of boats, and since disguising was involved they had to be SPY BOATS. But the clue as long. They are not "disguised fishing boats," they are boats disguised AS fishing boats. I'm gonna say the ambiguity of that clue set me up to accept SITCOMlY. Yeah, that's the ticket.

Like @Rex, I had DOnA (muttering under my breath about the spelling) before DORA. I know a little Latin, but hardly any Greek.

For those of you who don't like to see bad people in the puzzle (me, I don't mind it) -- you can't get much worse than LEOPOLD II.

Have a fine weekend, all!

What She Said 10:52 AM  

I’ll take compact grids that LADLE out thoughtful, elegant long answers (and even a few nonwords like SITCOMMY) over larger grids laden with 3- and 4-letter junk fill any day of the week — but especially on a Saturday.

Byron, a PLEASURE as always. YOUDAMAN.

¥ ¥ ¥

Rainbow 11:01 AM  

I think the "?" (while I'm not fond of them) clearly points to a less common, non-literal meaning of "Take".

Some have also suggested REFILi. That is Bulgarian for refill.

Anonymous 11:06 AM  

I so wanted SITCOMMY to be SITCOMIC! SW was the hardest for me. --ChrisP in AA

msue 11:12 AM  

Count me aboard the SITCOMLY/REFILL train. Grrr.

Anonymous 11:15 AM  

Byron Walden,
This as fine a puzzle as tbe Times has printed in a good while. Thank you.
For my money apedom was the pick of the litter, but heuristic, sitcommy, ecpocidal were right there. And a special shoutout to spyboats. The clue and answer are straightforward and still tough. Marvelous. Just marvelous.

Any guess where ENIAC was conceived, built and worked?
Here'a clue : Hurrah for the Red and Blue.

Nancy 11:29 AM  

The NW was a real BUMMER. There was the wrong answer I belatedly fixed and the wrong answer I failed to correct. And I was so sure both were right. SLOVENLY, a much better word than SCHLUBBY, I would argue, stayed in at 1A-- preventing me from doing anything in that section, and sending frustrated me elsewhere. Then, after I corrected to SCHLUBBY, I had YOU MAMAS instead of YOU DA MAN at 17A.

Was 19A BURL or BURR? It didn't matter. I would end up with either LAMLE or LAMRE for "Transferrer of stock?" and I couldn't figure out what was wrong.

All other misdirections did get solved. DONA before DORA (38D). And I'd been looking for soup or spaghetti sauce from the "Progressive competitor" clue, so was really surprised when ESURANCE came in. I guess there's a Progressive that sells insurance.

HEURISTIC was a word that looked familiar, but whose meaning I didn't remotely know. Once it seemed to come in, I checked my Webster's to see if it had something to do with "solving", and it did.

A really, really tough but fair puzzle with no junk and many great clues. A worthy opponent that beat me by 1-2 letters today.

FrankStein 11:36 AM  

“He was full grown now, with the grace of a Greek god and the thews of a bull, and by all tenets of APEDOM, should have been sullen, morose, and brooding; but he was not.” Jungle Tales of Tarzan by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Ellen S 11:41 AM  

I gave it five stars despite not liking SANA which should have been SANAa, and I keep thinking those fishing trawlers aren’t disguised, it’s SPY BOATs disguised as trawlers. Except they really are trawlers, so...

In order to get ENIAC I had to look up Top Secret Rosies (included on Amazon Prime; compare to Hidden Figures). I should have known that, after a lifetime working for IBM.

No idea how long the puzzle took since I worked on it last night until I fell asleep at the keyboard, and finished this morning. But thank you Mr Walden, lots of fun.

Word Phun 11:42 AM  

Was the theme Made Up Words and Spellings? Because if it was, croxcellent. That's just a spelly thang I wordvented! It means crossword excellent. Here are some others:

EcoThink - Thinking up new ways to throw in Eco
EcoSchtuff - Cumulative for a bunch of unrelated eco stuff.
Abombination - A thang where a bunch of schtuff is made up and passed off as real.

Mr. Cheese 11:45 AM  

Enough said about SITCOMlY (ugh). Loved the “ladle” definition
Hung up along time in SE because I read the 35 across def as “got on board”. Don’t know where I lost the “the”.

Unknown 11:52 AM  

Yes, it's Tarzan "of the apes!"

TubaDon 11:55 AM  

First word in was PERCE and last words in were its crosses! Had no idea what Febreze did so it took me a while to come up with neologisms ECOCIDAL and SITCOMMY. Wanted PRENATAL for a whle, but had no trouble in NW since SCHLUBBY (another non-word) was inferreble from crosses.

Anonymous 11:56 AM  

Here's the problem:

Neither SITCOMMY or SITCOMLY are words. If Bryon had opted to make the correct solution REFILL/SITCOMLY, then the same arguments could be made except people who opted for M rather than L would be critical.

It was a clever puzzle in many ways. It's a shame it was poorly edited. A better clue for 56A could have eliminated this issue.

RK 12:00 PM  

Honk is not a sign of rush hour it’s a sound , for heaven’s sake

Anonymous 12:01 PM  

At one point I had YOmomMAs.

Nancy 12:02 PM  

Am reading the comments and just saw another mistake of mine. SITCOMLY rather than SITCOMMY led to REFILL instead of REFILM for "Do a double take". Well, I mean you've seen those people at smorgasbord tables taking and taking as they REFILL their plates to the rafters for the second time. REFILL seemed like a perfectly swell answer to me. And SITCOMLY certainly didn't seem any worse than SITCOMMY. Just kidding, Byron -- I loved this puzzle despite SITCOMMY.

JC66 12:06 PM  


A clap of thunder could be a "sign" of rain.

RooMonster 12:35 PM  

Hey All !
That dad-blasted NW did me in, too. Didn't cheat, but did use the Check Puz feature to root out the wrongness. So for the purists, a DNF, but for Mr, success!

Those crossing 2D and 15A clues were harsh. Had Slobbish in for a bit at 1A. Couldn't see PREGNANT forever, kept seeing PRE(something), and nothing I was thinking of fit. Finally figured it out, which got me YENSIGN, and that combined with the Check Puz, word recognition, had me figure out the rest. Did have hang-ups on other parts of puz, but managed to suss them out without too much pain in the ole brain.

So an overall nice SatPuz.


Anonymous 12:48 PM  

@Word Phun - every word in the history of the world is a word somebody invented. Get over it.

TWELVE Captcha pages to post this? A new record in annoyance, which, being here, is saying something.

Unknown 12:52 PM  

For a while now I've had no trouble with Friday and Saturday, only to get screwed by some stupid clue on Sunday. Isn't Sunday supposed to be easier than Friday and Saturday? Ridiculous.

Anoa Bob 1:11 PM  

Yikes! That SE corner is kind of scary, what with DEMENTED (I tried DERANGED at first) accompanied by SEVERANCE leading to a TRAGIC END. BUMMER!

I think of HEURISTIC as a "rule of thumb", a quick, relatively simple way to solve a problem or answer a question that will often, but not always, succeed, like "I before E, except after C".

We probably all have little HEURISTICs we use in solving crossword puzzles. For example, when the clue calls for a plural answer, we can put an S in the last square of that slot, right? Most of the time, yep, but what about "They are drawn toward flames" for FIREMEN.

Contrast that with "algorithm", a computer- or mathematical-like way to solve problems that, if followed, will always result in the correct solution.

Another gently reminder to my esteemed co-commenters; without direct knowledge, it is iffy, at best, to attribute the source of any clue to the constructor or editor. There is a HEURISTIC that can help, though. I believe it was solver and constructor extraordinaire Tyler Hinman who came up with the rule of thumb "If you like the clue, give me credit. If you don't like the clue, blame the editor."

Anonymous 1:24 PM  

@Nancy (11:29) - you’re thinking Progresso. Heh.

Anonymous 1:29 PM  

DNF -but who cares? 75% felt sybaritic! A few I would never get without crosses:
Epic battle lost to Byron - hats off!

Nancy 1:50 PM  

OMG! You're right! I was thinking of Progresso! How stupid of me! Thanks.

brainpercy 2:25 PM  

SlovenlY went in really fast for me as well. Took me a while to come back and erase that—USA Today talked me out of it.

Good puzzle, on the easy side for me for Saturday with no “I’ll just have to guess” squares—the crosses always came through. Lucky day I guess!

I think REFILM by far best fits, with the word, “take,” in the clue, so I think it’s fair to let that resolve the SITCOMMY/lY question. I don’t think SITCOMeY should have been considered a viable answer in anyone’s grid, as it doesn’t even feel real. I agree the other two sound like fake words too, but at least they *could* be English words.

mmorgan 3:03 PM  

HEURISTIC came quick and opened up most of the NW, but I misread 1D as 'Some *disgusted* fishing trawlers' which really really messed me up! Loved SITCOMMY and 1000 other things about this puzzle. Crunchy and rewarding!

Anonymous 3:35 PM  

Hey mods,
Can you do something about a poster who calls someone putz? And worse, someone who viloates the rukes of capitalization to boot.

Thanks in advance,
Everyone besides Word Phun

Anonymous 3:53 PM  

PREGNANT almost-crossing STORK just above DNATEST. Who's the father? Hopefully this was did not result from a SCHLUBBY PLEASURE of YOUDAMAN.

Anonymous 3:53 PM  

Sana'a, also spelled Sanaa or "SANA", is the largest city in Yemen and the centre of Sana'a Governorate. The city is not part of the Governorate, but forms the separate administrative district of "Amanat Al-Asemah".

Outside The Box 3:53 PM  

I also had slovenly and deranged as my first answers but quickly realized they weren’t going to work.

Anonymous 3:56 PM  

The clue for 56A is OK. The culprit is SITCOMMY.

Anonymous 3:59 PM  

Sign means "indicator" in this clue.

Indicator of rush hour-HONKS

OffTheGrid 4:03 PM  

Using Check Puz is a DNF? S***!

Joe Bleaux 4:55 PM  

Yeah, I REFILLed too, but the correct answer is the better one. You never fill your plate and say, "That's a take!"

AW 5:37 PM  

Completely agree!

DigitalDan 7:11 PM  

Agree with Harryp, Phil Phil, and jammon: SITCOMMY? No.

Wanted "Funny Once", which that definitely is. At best.

Z 12:07 AM  

Late to the party and I don’t have much to add beyond appreciating the low PPP count. DNF (guess where) and I suspect @John Child is correct that there are maybe three or four constructors who can get away with SIT-COMMY. It’s one letter too long, but SIT COMMIE could be a great answer to the clue, “Borzoi command.”

Anonymous 3:34 AM  

My favorite puzzle in months. Loved the cabbage for canning and will adopt ecocidal as word of the week. Thank goodness--no sports or pop culture references--a puzzle for grown ups that was my fastest time ever for a Saturday.

Unknown 6:51 AM  

Edit: Managed to solve Sunday!

David 7:57 AM  

Yeah, ecocide is a thing which, long term, is suicide by the human race.

Anonymous 9:54 AM  

Spy boat = Glomar Explorer

Unknown 10:12 AM  

I owe my success in this puzzle to Judd Apatow, Ben Stiller, and Jim Carrey. "Come back here! So that I may brain thee!"

DF 4:16 PM  

1D was a gimme for me. SPYBOATS are for spying, not fishing, but it wouldn't do to advertise them as such. That's why they're disguised as fishing trawlers, to make the spying more spy-y.

spacecraft 11:41 AM  

Finished! And without even an inkblot! This despite "words" that I never knew existed (do they, in fact?): SITCOMLY, APEDOM and the phrase SPYBOATS? Especially SITCOMLY, hard to believe that one's a real word. Like SPYBOATS, I get the point, but wow! Glad I held off on Africa for Tarzan's realm, off that initial A.

Gimme TOMWATSON was a huge help in the NE, but I still wouldn't call this easy, for the strange, made-up-sounding words. SCHLUBBY didn't move things along, although I did hear of that one before.

There seems to be a lack of DOD contestants today; I couldn't find a real-life DORA, so we'll make DORA the Explorer queen for the day, for her help educating the little ones.

One of my pet peeves is idiots in the gallery who shout YOUDAMAN! in the middle of TOMWATSON's--or anyone's--downswing. Despite such distractions, this one scores a solid birdie.

Diana, LIW 12:41 PM  

Whilst I had a dnf, I didn't think it was so hard. I thought my brain was petty SCHLUBBY (the only word I would never ever have come up with. Well.......maybe not never.)

The rest was a PLEASURE to fill in. YOUDAMAN the puzzle said. I used to have a boss at an architectural firm who referred to his potential clients' projects as, "PREGNANT with potential." Really. The rest of us in the office referred to PWP projects, with a snicker at such a DEMENTED KNAVE.

Too bad the constructor DEPENDED on PETODORS to fill everything in. Kept him from having a CROWE about a GEM, tho he hadn't a LEMMON. Just a tad SITCOMMY.

I'll leave you with an ECOCIDAL YENSIGN, leading to my TRAGICEND. I'll RESTUP for Sunday.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

thefogman 1:13 PM  

I was stuck in the NW corner for ages because I had SlovenlY before I finally went with SCHLUBBY - via the crosses. I had badODORS then carODORS before PETODORS. I'll bet quite a bit of MISSEDWORK was created by this rather challenging puzzle. Some of the cluing was worthy of a SITCOMMY laugh track. Definitely not a BUMMER. In fact, it was a PLEASURE to complete - and now ICAN CROWE about it.

Burma Shave 1:19 PM  


and it's with no PLEASURE ICAN


rondo 4:53 PM  

Before checking any crosses I put in DEraNgED instead of DEMENTED, so it took some nanoseconds to clean that up. No other write-overs. ICAN find only 4 three letter answers. It can be done.

No yeah baby to be found. BUMMER.

I thought this puz was a GEM

rainforest 4:59 PM  

Well, I guess I had a DNF because of REFILl/SITCOMlY, which, though I really didn't like the latter word, seemed OK. I think I like my answers better.

The entire NE was easy with gimmes OPORTO, TOM WATSON, ARMOR, LEMMON, but then it got hard. My favourite section was the SE with some clever clues and nice stacks at the bottom. Thanks to LEOPOLD II for opening up the SW. My last areas of struggle were the centre and the NW. CROWE and SCHLUBBY had to come from crosses.

I don't think it was a great puzzle, but pretty darn good (YOU DA MAN and BUMMER), and though I DNF (sort of), lots of enjoyment.

Anonymous 8:39 PM  


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