Eight Elvises Sixteen Jackies / SAT 10-20-18 / Ice planet in Empire Strikes Back / Astronomer with geocentric model of universe / Texter's valediction

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Constructor: Ben Gross and James Somers

Relative difficulty: Medium (probably easier, but it's 5:15am on a Saturday and my unwarm brain came in with a Medium time) (7:45)


THEME: none

Word of the Day: PTOLEMY (4D: Astronomer with a geocentric model of the universe) —

Alexandrian astronomer (of the 2nd century) who proposed a geocentric system of astronomy that was undisputed until the late Renaissance (vocabulary.com)

• • •

This one started pretty dull, but got better (and harder) toward the bottom. There's slightly too much neon junk here, like AREI and especially ILLE (ugh), and to a lesser extent APLAN ICAME AREEL. ILLE always used to get the dumb clue ["Winnie ___ Pu"], which is some Latin version of Milne, I guess. Turns out no clue is really gonna save ILLE. The longer stuff in this grid could've been more interesting too. ANTOINETTE was a giveaway, and TETE-A-TETES and RAT-A-TAT just seem like filler. I see that NETFLIX AND CHILL *wants* to be the marquee answer here, but that phrase has already appeared in the NYT crossword and (worse) already feels soooooo dated. Like, in the future, decades from now, someone will throw an "Early '10s Party" and a couple will come as both NETFLIX and CHILL and people will go "Greeg! (or whatever the new "OMG" is), your costumes are so 2014! Hey, remember memes!? [Sigh] Things sure were better back then." This is another puzzle that really wants you to feel its colloquial nowness. The upside is that this striving gets us the two best answers in the grid: BUTT-DIALED and FLIPPHONES, which are *almost* a perfect crossing; you know, if you could butt-dial a flip phone. BUTT-DIALED is even kind of sitting on FLIPPHONES. Not bad. The rest of the grid was just OK. Workmanlike. Not bad, by any means. But kind of blah.

[Grieg! "Death of ASE"—beware this crosswordese, which may return at any time to bite you!]

Fact that both good answers were "?"d made them Much harder to get, and since both good answers are long answers, not getting them meant not being able to move easily between sections. In fact, the SE corner was by far the hardest part of the grid for me, as both those answers meet down there, and AHOY, MATEY seemed way more possible than the vaguer, breezier AHOY THERE (43A: Ship-to-ship communication). And then the clue on TYPES was impossible for me, even with the "Y" in place. And clues on LAC (31A: Switzerland's ___ de Neuchâtel) and WILL (35A: Something that's "free" (although that's debatable)) meant nothing to me, and I had no idea about the WARHOLS or Hannah Montana, and the FBI is a "Spy grp."? I think of CIA as spies and FBI as, you know, cops, feds, G-MEN. Had the "-BI" and honestly didn't want to put in the "F" because the clue seemed so weird. I had no interesting wrong answers today, though I did want my NEUROTIC to be a PSYCHOTIC at first (40A: Head case, so to speak) (I'm seeing "Psycho" tonight with live orchestra, so maybe that got in my head!). Oh, right, and AHOY, MATEY, botched that one. Oh, and also, the worst one was a wee one back at the very beginning. 14A: Advanced (LENT), for which I had WENT. This led to me imagining a high-schooler asking, in a bewildered voice, "Why are we weading da CWASSICS!? I wanna wead Ward of da Wings!" (1D: Makeup of a high school reading list)

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

96 comments:

Anonymous 7:14 AM  

I absolutely loved this puzzle. Only real hang up was LEnT for LEFT (14A), mainly because 3D was entirely out of my wheelhouse. But all is forgiven, especially since the zip and zing of the clues and answers was off the charts good.

Solid medium time-wise, but once in a while for this speed solver, the experience of solving is actually more than enough to compensate for not setting the clock ablaze.

A+!

Pete S 7:24 AM  

I didn't think the FBI was a spy group either.. Counter-intelligence maybe, but I don't believe spying is part of its remit. In my attempts to make CIA and then NSA work, I conspired with OPIE to enjoy the brief if unlikely chance that "Dead ringers?" might be NOT PEELING, however off the clue would have been. The spy's stock in trade — ALTEREGO — soon put paid to that, but it took longer than it should have because too much Tour de France left me convinced that the Swiss location was going to be a COL rather than a LAC.

amyyanni 7:27 AM  

Phew! Feel redeemed after yesterday's struggle. This one was significantly easier for me. "Bean town" needed the downs: I lived in and around Boston for decades so my head got stuck there. (It's ok, kinda enjoyed it.)

anitafio 7:34 AM  

Is Barak really the right answer to 21 Across? As far as I know Barak preceded Sharon. Olmert was between him and Netanyahu. Both men had the same first name - Ehud.

Lewis 7:42 AM  

This is why I do crosswords.

Looking at the grid, the answers are not dull, but they're not, in general, jumping out to impress.

And yet... and yet... the cluing! Clues that make you smile or even laugh. Clues like locked doors requiring cleverness to open. Clues like those for MANTA, ALE, I CAME, FLIP PHONES, BUTT DIALED, TUXEDOS, PARTNER, and INMATE.

And at completion the feeling of That Was One Huge Blast.

Bingo, boys! Please bring more!

Anonymous 7:45 AM  

Easy for a Saturday, but still with the mostly-blank first pass that tells me the weekend is here. The center was blank for what seemed forever, but in Saturday-time it was only a while.
I really liked this one. Same reaction as OFL to the weird FBI clue, though.

michiganman 8:01 AM  

I agree with A+ but for me the experience of solving is always the only point. Time? Don't care. I must confess, though, that filling in the NW quickly was a fun way to start.

Anonymous 8:10 AM  

I've had to miss Rex's column over the last month or so. Well, maybe not "miss"-- I have not had been able to read it recently. There. Apparently he's not mellowed while I've been gone. This one is not as mean spirited as so many, but geez, how many columns have we heard about how old school or old fashioned or old-person-skewed the puzzles are. So here we have a delightful puzzle with some very new-school clues and answers and he kvetches about them too.

I still don't know why Rex puts himself through such torture on a daily basis.

Harryp 8:15 AM  

This was in my wheelhouse, so a very easy Saturday. When I got 26Down, I remember trying to come up with a more modern word for the outdated dial. I figured that with smartphones etc., we poke at the numbers so that misdial = mispoke, misdialed = mispoked, and so on. I gave up on it when translating butt dial!

mmorgan 8:16 AM  

Easy for a Saturday but still fun. I always liked Winnie Ille Pu (I have the full book in Latin somewhere).

This may sound morbid, but my mother died last week (at 98 -- avid crossword solver to the end!), and we put her flip phone in the casket with her.

Ted 8:28 AM  

Cluing the FBI as "Spy grp" is just wrong. Period.

QuasiMojo 8:30 AM  

Let them eat TORTES! Some chill fill today. I loved the one for Butt Dialed. I’ve done it myself with embarrassing results. The Flip Phone one however felt a bit forced. I know a few people who still use them. You never worried about dropping those. They were indestructible.

This one felt slightly easy to me for a Saturday but then only because I recovered super fast from my dumb mistakes. Young Man with a HORN for instance. I had Lauren Bacall in mind. And “Surely” before “Safely”. And trying to squeeze Coccyxes into the space for Tuxedos. Again this “cousin of” nonsense for inanimate objects!! Do tuxes send in their DNA looking for second cousins once removed?? As in a dinner jacket left in a taxi after a late night tryst?

Yes the FBI has spies. Remember Abscam?

“Ahoy Matey” for real, Rex? Lol. Maybe in a gay bar.

Thanks to @Lewis who has a puzzle I’m about to go find in the local paper, I checked out Erik Agard on Jeopardy. He did not disappoint (except for thinking Oklahoma was a state in 1803.) congrats Erik if you read today’s comments. You owned that show last night. Nice jackpot too!

Gretchen 8:36 AM  

Way too easy for a Saturday!

puzzlehoarder 8:45 AM  

A medium time for a Saturday. Partially this was due to flubbing the entrance to the middle. I'd gone through the NW at early week speed and before ANTOINETTE went in I put TELEPHONES in at 8D. The 17A clue was the last one I read up there. I filled in a couple of missing letters and didn't notice the out of place L.

Trying to make PHONE work in that middle section lead to some prolonged floundering. Eventually I looked back up, saw my mistake and TETEATETE went right in. The solve started moving again but the damage was done.

That middle band had some difficulty just in and of itself. The SE wasn't as fast as the NW but after a brief hesitation on FBI it went in smoothly.

The SW was where I finished and with no help from " panegyric" or "valediction." It's a rude way to have holes in your vocabulary pointed out. I can't believe this is TTYL's fourteenth appearance. I have no use for these initialisms so they don't take. They're used by the kind of people who text while driving. Still no dnfs and a rather fun if slow solve.

Hungry Mother 9:02 AM  

Luckily I had a rest day today before a trail race tomorrow, so I had the time to just slog this one out. Lots to like about the solve. Getting a Saturday is always a happy event.

Unknown 9:03 AM  

You are right, unless there is another reason he got the wrong Ehud. Wtf!

kitshef 9:10 AM  

Pleasant enough while solving, but not one I’ll remember. While there was some wordplay in the clues, it was not 'AHA!' wordplay but more like "oh" wordplay.

Hand up for Winnie ILLE Pu helping to crack the NW.

Unknown 9:11 AM  

The Barak answer was the deal breaker for me. It fit but I still can’t figure out why Olmert wouldn’t be the correct answer. Grr

GILL I. 9:11 AM  

Everything here is pretty much in the language. The cluing was fun and not too cutesy. Nothing really gave me pause except a coin toss for 38D Panegyric....Is it praise or EULOGY? Easy acrosses gave me my aha. Oh and all I could think of was a cream cheese answer for Switzerlands 31A. Isn't there one? I finally got LAC which means lake and I still kept thinking cream cheese. Kinda like that Land O Lakes butter or whatever.
I liked BESOT and BELIE...To B or not to B. Doesn't Frost's "Whose woods these ARE I" look all wrong. I would've said me but then someone would pounce all over.
NETFLIX AND CHILL was a delight. My husband and I do that every single night . Right now, we're getting our BUTT's numb from watching The Office. We did that too with our very favorite, Breaking Bad.
I wish this had been a tad more difficult because I enjoyed every single entry. I don't know too many gang members but CRIP went in without a blink. ANTOINETTE was the other blink. Does marriage by proxy still exist? I understand that after she married The Dauphin they didn't consummate until seven years later. So she waited until she was h legal age of 21? Strange.
@mmorgn. May your mom rest in peace. What may be morbid is if she phones you.
Thank you Ben and James for a mighty fine Sat.
And Erik. Congrats on last night. I fixed some real popcorn with real butter and enjoyed eating and watching you. Did Alec like your hair?

Michael 9:14 AM  

Bibi served as PM in the 90s before Barak and Sharon. LMGTFY

Little brown bear 9:14 AM  

The FBI spied on Martin Luther King, the Black Panthers and many other Americans (see Cointelpro), so completely reasonable to clue this way.

Peter P 9:22 AM  

I enjoyed this puzzle a lot, probably because this is the first time I've ever had a Saturday practically fill itself in. Maybe the beers loosened me up after coming home from a Goran Bregovic concert. I thought I was going to finish this at a Tuesday time, but got slightly snagged up in the SE, so finished at a Wednesday. I, too, somehow ended up with AHOYmatey as my preliminary fill (I mean, I had AHOY with five blanks there, so "matey" seemed the most obvious ending. Took me awhile to scan my brain for "AHOYTHERE" as a phrase), although that sorted itself out pretty quickly. And my brain, even though knowing who Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus is, just knotted for awhile coming up with the word ALTEREGO. Which is weird, because the first two thoughts on the clue I had were "psuedonym" and "stage name," so why ALTEREGO didn't come naturally, who knows. Oh, and, yes, FBI had me tripped up, but I had the I in IDLES in early, so I just went with FBI, even though I didn't think it fit the clue well.

I loved the clues for FLIPPHONE, BUTTDIALED, TUXEDOS, and even enjoyed the NETFLIXANDCHILL (probably because this was the first time I managed a 15-letter fill within the first minute or two of the puzzle.) I agree, though, that it does sound slightly dated, but I''m also not really in the demographic that uses it much anymore.

I h8 on Rex because Rex h8s on puzzles 9:28 AM  

Hey Anonymous at 8:10am:

I guess the same question could be asked of you. I bet you were happier in the intervening month that you didn't read Rex's column...which really only makes one wonder why you not only continue to read it, but what would compel you write about it? In the same way I'd bet you'd invite Rex to hook up in a modern way, Netflix and Chill, so too, you should take the same advice. He's critical...but then so are you. Get over it, salty.

Speaking of "modern invitation to hook up," I was thinking more "swipe right" or a way of saying "sexting" or even the dreaded FB "poke.." I've never been invited to Netflix and Chill....weirdly, I did go to a friend's apartment once and watched Netflix while eating chili.

CashPo’ 9:28 AM  

Anyone else put in Free WIFI before Will?

BarbieBarbie 9:29 AM  

@Gill I, it’s part of a line that runs “whose woods there are I think I know- his house is in the village, though.” Kind of clumsy fill to chop where it’s chopped, since the “I” is part of the next phrase. But forgivable, because BUTTDIALED.
@mmorgan, FLIPPHONE, har! She would have loved it, if you got your sense of humor from her.
Anon@7:45 was mine; identity-glitch, sorry all.

Lewis 9:40 AM  

@GILL I -- "What may be morbid is if she phones you." Made me laugh out loud.

Rube 9:51 AM  

Go big blue!and A+! What's the rush? Savor the puzzle. Mull over tough clues before abandoning them to fill on easy stuff. Much more fun to build crossed words one at a time than to blitz thru all the acrosses taking potshots at every turn.

Tom R 9:57 AM  

I will second Anita fiorillo. 21A has the wrong answer to the clue. I sussed out Barak (after all, how many 5 letter PMs has Israel had?) but for the clue IT IS A WRONG ANSWER! How did the Editor not catch this? How did Rex not go ballistic over this?

Beyond that, this was right down my strike zone. Every long answer I dropped in worked, although the SE corner took me awhile.

Z 10:01 AM  

I agree with Lewis. Relatively free of PPP and lots of fun cluing. The NW felt Monday easy, but there was nice chew the rest of the way.

As for the FBI clue, sure, not part of their “remit” but they’ve never let that stop them. However, did you notice 52A? FBI - Crime SPOTters.

I’m also terribly amused by the BARAK complaints. It’s almost as if people didn’t even look for a list of Israeli Prime Ministers before exposing their ignorance. Candidly, I had no memory of Ehud Olmert, so wasn’t even tempted by that misdirect. This is akin to seeing “‘60’s president before Johnson” and then discovering that Lincoln and Kennedy are both 7 letters long. Naughty clue writers, using our knowledge against us.

@Gill I - “NETFLIX AND CHILL was a delight. My husband do that every single night.” Way way WAY TMI. NETFLIX AND CHILL is how you end up with chill-dren

TomAz 10:01 AM  

Played on the easy side of medium for me, I came in a bit under average time. the NW fell easily, then the NE, and then most of the SE, and then... nothing. The ice planet made me freeze up, as it were. I had HaTH/TaRTES for a long time, but it kept bugging me.. why would they name a planet after an archaic irregular verb conjugation? Went with the O, but it was a guess.

All in all this is a very good puzzle. Memo to last Thursday: pay attention here, you could learn a thing or two. There is some gunk, yes. But I'll take the occasional APLAN or AREEL in place of The Bachelorette any day of the year.

Anonymous 10:03 AM  

Medium puzzle; hilarious write-up. Thanks, Rex. Happy Saturday, everyone!

Teedmn 10:06 AM  

@mmorgan, my condolences on losing your mother. My Dad died in July and his flip phone is still sitting in my house with all its Tracfone minutes going unused. But with cremation, hard to send it with him.... :-)

This took me a typical Saturday time. It was going quite smoothly until I hit the SE. It wasn't until I got AHOY THERE that I got any traction. _BI wasn't bringing any spy orgs. to mind. "Elvises" and "Jackies" had me wondering what game had celebrity money, a la Abes and Bens. 35A, WILL could have had a repeat clue of 34A's "Somthing a lawyer might make". "Something that's "free" (although that's debatable)" wanted to be "free" love for me.

I was psycotic (yeah, it looks weird here but it looked fine in the grid) before NEUROTIC, though with ______TI_, I considered demenTIa.

Congrats to Ben Gross and James Somers on their debut puzzle.

And congrats to Erik Agard, who made Jeopardy! look easy, and to @Lewis on his very nice LA Times puzzle.

Uncle Alvarez 10:17 AM  

"Why are we weading da CWASSICS!? I wanna wead Ward of da Wings!"

Oh so now Rex ridicules people with speech disabilities. Real classy of you.

Nancy 10:19 AM  

Terrific puzzle. As I cruised through the NW (AHOY THERE), I thought it wouldn't be challenging enough, but that changed quickly. Such great clues for PARTNER (34A); WILL (35A); INMATE (12D); and, I suppose, BUTT DIALED (26D) -- though I still don't know how or why that's done, exactly. Some thoughts:

I guess NETFLIX AND CHILL (7D) is the replacement phrase for yesteryear's "Come up and see my etchings". How unromantic! Who WOOS that way? I think I'll go re-kindle myself with @GILL's Australian firemen's pin-up calendar from yesterday.

Hey, constructors -- you guys are such pessimists. GREAT ODDS (36A) can work for you just as well as against you.

I have never met a MACHO man who I thought was especially MANLY (5D). To me, it's all bluster. A truly MANLY man doesn't need any bluster. Again, see the Australian firemen's pin-up calendar from yesterday.

Fun puzzle.

Arden 10:19 AM  

Enjoyed the puzzle although it played like a Wednesday for timing. Everything was in my wheelhouse!

Ellen S 10:25 AM  

@Z, I don’t know why you’re amused by the BARAK complaints. 21D is clued “Israeli PM between (not “before”) Netanyahu and Sharon” and there was one PM between those two, and that’s Olmert. I actually did look it up, is how I know - I always think Israel plays “musical PM’s” with all these original settlers just trading back and forth, but at least recently (like the last 20 years or so) that’s not true:
#10 Ehud BARAK
#11 Ariel Sharon
#12 Ehud Olmert
#13 Bibi Netanyahu

What surprises me is not only the editors, but also neither @Jeff Chen nor @Rex caught this. If the clue had been “Before Netanyahu” then I could see BARAK as the answer.

Yes, indeed, the FBI specializes in domestic spying. Glad so many people here are aware of that; again, maybe not surprised but disappointed that @Rex doesn’t.

Anonymous 10:28 AM  

MANTA rays are actually not harmful at all. They are not aggressive and do not possess poisonous spine tails like their smaller cousins. Bad clue.

Unknown 10:29 AM  

As a Millennial, I really enjoyed this puzzle -- it was my fasted Saturday solve ever! "NETFLIXANDCHILL", "BUTTDIAL", "FLIPPHONE", "TTYL" and "ALTEREGO" were quick solves for me that helped me crack the rest of the puzzle. As an art lover, "STILLIFE" and "WARHOLS" came equally quickly. I'm a law student at a Tort Law TA, so my teaching partner and I recently baked "TORTES" to bring to class. "PARTNER" came to me quickly for much the same reason. I did actually get stuck on "WOOS" for a second because I assumed "Courts" would be something legal, but then I remembered that this was a Saturday puzzle so it probably wasn't cluing the obvious answer. As a Bostonian, I got a little stuck on "LIMA" as bean town? but when I got it, I laughed. I should've known "ILLE" as a piece of crosswordese, but I don't actually recall seeing it that often. Fortunately, I took Latin in colleg and while I remember very little of it, I knew what letters would likely compose the answer.

More than anything, I'm happy that this puzzle largely avoided citing actors/movies from decades ago that I've never heard of -- the Ron Howard role came the closest for me. I know who Ron Howard is, but am way more familiar with him as a director and the narrator from Arrested Development lol. Still not sure what "OPIE" is truth be told.

I'm still a little shocked at how quickly this went for me! I can't tell if that was a generally easy puzzle or if it just happened to hit on a lot of answers I know. Getting many of the longer answers so quickly really filled in the rest.

pabloinnh 10:39 AM  

I am forced to accept that NETFLIXANDCHILL is a real thing, even though I have a)never done it and b)never heard of it. Never even heard either of my sons, now in their thirties, mention such a thing. I hope others enjoy their learning experiences while solving.

Surprised OFL had trouble with "peck" as a clue for TYPE, "hunt and peck" used to be a description of one-finger typing. I think in retrospect that typing was probably the most useful class I took in high school, although I haven't had to center anything manually in quite a while. Also I never learned to type with my thumbs, as is now the norm.

Fun fact-"Stopping by the Woods" and "The Doxology" make good lyrics for "Hendando's Hideaway".

Joining with all those who found this a really good Saturday puzzle, maybe because it shaded toward easy.

kitshef 10:42 AM  

@Unknown 10:29 - maybe we have different clues, but my puzzle says "powerful", not "harmful" for the MANTA clue.

Ellen S 10:44 AM  

Oh feces!!! They do play musical Prime Ministers! I apologize, @Z. I did look them up, but individually on Wikipedia, to see who followed Sharon and preceded Netanyahu, not further back before Sharon.

Randy (Boulder) 10:48 AM  

Cleanly constructed and some clever cluing, but felt way too easy for Saturday. Coulda been an easier Friday or a tricky Weds.

GILL I. 10:49 AM  

@Barbie B. Thanks for clearing up the I...I never understood Frost, anyway. ;-)
@Z...Yikes! NETFLIX wasn't around during our days of chill making. We did it the old fashion way. Just like @Nancy says: Why don't you come up and look at my painting. {insert your imagination]....
@Ellen S...amiga. If you look at @Z's list, you'll see:
Netanyahu #9
BARACK #10 then...
Sharon #11.
Remember, Bibi came around twice ...

Nancy 10:51 AM  

@mmorgan (8:16)-- I've never met your mother, but somehow I get the sense that she would be both pleased and amused. Yes, I laughed out loud at @GILL's droll and funny response, but I was actually quite touched by your action and I'm so glad you shared it with us.

I have a FLIP PHONE, but no one will bury me with it, I'm quite sure. I bought it under duress when every system in my apartment -- landline, computer and TV, all serviced by the unspeakable Verizon -- went kaput at the same time. I keep it on standby for emergencies; otherwise, it sits, turned off, in a drawer. I would much rather be buried with my Yamaha YFG50. (It's a tennis racket.)

TJS 10:53 AM  

@puzzlehoarder, was your "still no dnfs" right after "I have no use for these initialisms" intentional?

Enjoyed this puzzle for reasons as stated by others. Continue to be amazed by how Rex' mind works, this time at 5:15 in the AM.

Anonymous 11:01 AM  

My fastest time ever in a Saturday. 17 minutes. Usually takes me 30-35.

Anonymous 11:02 AM  

Pete S said: "In my attempts to make CIA and then NSA work, I conspired with OPIE to enjoy the brief if unlikely chance that "Dead ringers?" might be NOT PEELING, however off the clue would have been."

True but the spelling Would have been off too. 'NOT PEALING'?

As for me, a better-than-average time of 28 minutes

Anonymous 11:05 AM  

@Ellen S

Re BARAK - You didn't go back far enough when you looked up the PMs.

#9: Netanyahu, then BARAK, then Sharon.

The clue was correct.

Z 11:06 AM  

@Gill I - Tee Hee. A whole lot of people were thinking “what a lucky guy.”
@pablonh - not the sort of thing you mention to mom and dad.

@Ellen S - Tee Hee again. And, again, I didn’t know enough to be fooled. Ignorance is sometimes an asset. I don’t know why Olmert hasn’t registered, but BARAK went in without wasting my precious nanoseconds.

For those interested, @Lewis’ LATX Puzzle.

PanamaRed 11:09 AM  

@Ellen S

The BARAK clue was correct - you didn't go back far enough when you looked it up. Bibi was #9

GHarris 11:13 AM  

NW misled me to believe this would be a breeze. Then the rest happened. I was under the impression that when one butt dialed a call was inadvertently made not ended. How can one be having a conversation if you are sitting on the phone?

Anonymous 11:16 AM  

peRes -> begin -> BARAK

QuasiMojo 11:22 AM  

@Lewis, fine Sat puzzle today on LAT. I nearly dnf’ed! Thanks to that wicked “bug” clue. Nice job!

TubaDon 11:27 AM  

Started off with a bang with STILLLIFE, PTOLEMEY and had the NW done in no time flat. Proceeded clockwise around the edges, delayed momentarily by guesssing ALP at 31A and TTFN at 50A. Took a while to finish off the center since I am not a Netflix fan, and my FLIP PHONE is not dead (despite having lost its battery cover and being held together with tape. (Now to battle with dim and blurry Capcha fotos)

JC66 11:33 AM  

@GHarris

BUTT= rear END

Z 11:36 AM  

BTW - If you want to read about and discuss and not get (virtually) chastised for spoilers of @Lewis’ LATX, check out CC’s Blog on the LATX.

TJS 11:46 AM  

@Lewis, also enjoyed your LATimes offering.

Nancy 11:57 AM  

I just did your puzzle, too, @Lewis, and thoroughly enjoyed it. It's an interesting, and crunchy puzzle. What I didn't enjoy, though, was doing it online. I find it absolutely exhausting. I'm always clicking on the grid when I should be clicking on the clues. Except that when the clue is nowhere in sight, I first have to click on the grid to see the clue. Then, if I stay with clicking on the grid, I always get the Across when I want the Down and vice versa. But if I go back to the clue, just as soon as it reappears, then I have to go back to the grid...oh, never mind. How so many of you do things this way, I'll never know. But it's a very good puzzle and I recommend it.

The screen announced my time, even though I didn't ask it to. My time was 27:32. But that's really inaccurate. At least ten minutes of that was trying to cope with the @$#@%$ above-mentioned online seeing-and-entering process. I figure that with my usual pen and paper, I could have done the puzzle in 17 minutes. Perhaps even in 15 minutes. But it had plenty of crunch and I think y'all will enjoy it a lot. Thanks, Lewis.

JC66 11:58 AM  

@Lewis

Great puzzle; I really enjoyed it. Thanks!

GHarris 12:08 PM  

Thanks for your response JC66. I get that butt equates to rear end. I still don’t get how that squares with the clue. You don’t end a call by butt dialing, you initiate one inadvertently.

Z 12:13 PM  

@Nancy11:57 - I hear you. I much much much prefer pen* and paper. TBF, though, if you used my link then you solved in the LAT proprietary app, one I find especially clunky. PuzzAzz is the best, the NYT’s app is better than it used to be, while Across Lite and Stand Alone’s Crosswords are less glitzy but easier to navigate. So most people are solving in a much less frustrating app. And, of course, once one gets adept the apps are less frustrating. One of the things I miss about Detroit is that the Freep carries the LATX Monday through Saturday. I don’t do the LATX everyday now because I hate the app I have to solve it on. I’d print it out to solve but haven’t bothered to track down a pdf version.

*Pen because pencil tends to be too faint and writeovers of light pen is less messy than trying to erase on newsprint.

Z 12:17 PM  

@GHarris - Going OT for you. “Ended” not as in terminated. “Ended” as in used your rear-end. The ? in the clue means “really stretching the meaning of ‘ended.’”

Masked and Anonymous 12:18 PM  

Darn Good SatPuz … perhaps slightly easier than usual, at our house.

staff weeject pick: LAC. There were only 4 of the lil darlins, so kinda a LAC of a robust runt list.

Evidently the seed entry [see xwordinfo.chen commentary] was NETFLIXANDCHILL. Never have heard tell of that slogan, but seems somewhat logical. NETFLIXANDBINGE mighta even been more apt.

INTIFADA was also news to m&e. Rest of the NW was pretty easy, tho, so no complaints -- and learned somethin new. And after all, everything else in the puz was a known quantity.

Cool clues, here and there. Winningest clue/entry combo: BUTTDIALED = {Ended a phone call?}. Was, of course, sorta surprised to then see the FLIPPHONES pop up later on, and re-use the "phone" word. Not that M&A necessarily buys off on that as a hard-and-fast no-no crossword rule.

AREI. har

Thanx for the fun SatSolve and congratz to both Gross & Somers on yer NYTPuz debuts. U guys really debut-dialed it! Keep at it, but no follow-up Amazon slogans maybe, please.

Masked & Anonymo3Us


**gruntz**

JC66 1:18 PM  

@M&A

With @Lewis receiving well deserved kudos for today's LATX offering, I'd be remiss if I didn't also mention how much I look forward to and enjoy your numerous runtpuz's as well as your daily comments.

floatingboy 1:21 PM  

Started off kinda meh but then saw I was covering some territory and took it more seriously to get as good a time as possible. Ended up getting a personal Saturday best at 7:11. Too bad it takes Rex having an off day and me having a record day in order for me to beat him!

jberg 1:27 PM  

I really liked it. A lot of the long answers were easy, but lots of misdirection, too. loafS before IDLES, dial before FLIP phones, decimate, macerate before LACERATE (much better answer, just didn't pop into my head.) And, for some reason MAser before MANTA. I don't even know what maser is, but thought maybe a Massed bank of lasers all shooting at once. And eAu (as in bottled water) before LAC.

Why is @rex going on about ASE? He's not inthe puzzle, is he? Is that just a PSA for future use?

I got CODY unnoticed from the crosses, but I've actually been to that museum. It's better than you might think-- i.e., not just for Buffalo Bill fans, but more generally about the West in his era.

It's been fun following the debate about Israeli prime ministerial sequence -- it was easy for me, because I have NO IDEA about the specifics of who served when, so I rephrased the clue as "recent 5-letter Israeli Prime Minister."

FLIP PHONES were pretty resistant to butt dialing; maybe they should bring them back.

TTYL

jae 1:51 PM  

Easy week returns. The bottom half was slightly tougher than the top, but over all this was cake. That said, there were more than a couple of excellent long downs, liked it.

burtonkd 1:59 PM  

Really nice use of Netanyahu serving twice giving two possible answers.
Nit to pick. Tails isn’t a cousin so much as a variety. You can have a standard jacket length or even more formal tail length of tuxedo.
Puzzle good enough that no one complained about a Star Wars clue...
Mini theme of double LLs with a triple LLL crossing a double no less. Where are you Lewis? Taking a victory lap rather than pointing out the daily doubles?
Interesting that great odds is synonymous with terrible odds...
Now off to look up TTYL, or I hear my 16 yr old is home

burtonkd 2:02 PM  

I remember a joke from Netanyahu’s 1st term.
How do you know the prime minister is old fashioned?
He surfs the Netanyahu!!!

CDilly52 2:09 PM  

I am also a “muller,” and get enormous enjoyment from putting the puzzle down while my aging subconscious goes to work on something like “joint tenant” (INMATE) or “dead ringers” (FLIPPHONES) both of which made me smile. This started remarkably easily but I got bogged down in the center. Overall, though I found it doable and fun.

CDilly52 2:14 PM  

Agreed. FBI is late enforcement not espionage and this misrepresentation is not helpful to the perception of these hard-working men and women. And before the masses jump in to chide and grumble, I freely ack owledge that this is very simply one woman’s opinion.

Charley 2:50 PM  

If anything the FBI is counter-espionage.

Anonymous 2:52 PM  

@CDilly52 - Just don't tell all the people whose lives have been ruined by the FBI's spying, counterintelligence work, and un-American, anti-democracy, pro-white-power work over the past 100 years.
Just don't tell the FBI agents who enter a building NAMED for J. Edgar Hoover every freaking day.
Just don't bust your bubble, lady. Respect that Au-Thor-A-Tie.

emily 3:18 PM  

He must like to!

KevCo 3:22 PM  

FYI, lest you misuse the term in the wrong setting: "Netflix and chill" is a euphemism people use for "come over and we'll have sex with the TV on in the background." It is not actually used to suggest watching Netflix in earnest.

On the other hand, if you and your husband do indeed do that every night, well, kudos to you on a strong and vibrant marriage.

Masked and Anonymous 4:09 PM  

p.s.
Hey -- thanx for the "like", @JC66.

@Lewis: Nice SatPuz, over at the LAT. U count was better than the NYTPuz, too! Had several nanosecond sink-holes in yer grid at first, but then suddenly some blinkin M&A brain-lites flickered on, and woooosh -- suddenly all done. Keep up the good work, dude.

M&Also

Rainbow 4:19 PM  

How about leaving personal sex habits out of the comments. Please?

Joe Bleaux 4:46 PM  

Ditto all the kudos for today's puz. @Lewis, gotta tell you I had a good time with your excellent puzzle, which I thought was extraordinarily fine weekend LAT fare. (For what it's worth, I mentioned that fact to my wife BEFORE I saw your byline. Then I thought, "Hey, that's OUR Lewis!" ... and felt awful about having nit-picked the 58A clue😄.)

Unknown 5:55 PM  

Amen. Came here to say the same. If you read Curt Gentry’s “J. Edgar Hoover: The Man and the Secrets,” you’ll never even blink when someone clues the FBI as a spy organization!

Barry Frain 6:17 PM  

Hey @Rainbow, 1950 called and it’s missing a prude.

Barry Frain
East Biggs, CA

jae 6:29 PM  

@Z - The Crossword Fiend site and cruciverb.com both have a link to a printable Acrosslite version of the LAT. That version can also be opened in the Standalone app.

Seth 6:47 PM  

Puzzle: Lots of old stuff.
Rex: "Look how old this puzzle is."
Puzzle: Ok, contemporary stuff.
Rex: "Puzzle's trying too hard to be contemporary."
Puzzle: ...

Z 7:22 PM  

Double OT

@jberg - PSA. Rex goes from a “Greeg” joke to Edvard Grieg to Peer Gynt and Death of Ase to his PSA. Ase will show up one day and we’ll all wonder how we knew it.

@jae - Maybe it’s me, but the Crossword Fiend Link (on the Crossword Links page) takes me to the Cruciverb site. The Cruciverb Site link (under “Today’s”) takes me to the same link I shared. What an I missing?

Odd Sock 7:34 PM  

Nothing wrong with a little spice, even for us word nerds.
I can't believe I'm agreeing with @ Barry Frain!

GILL I. 8:07 PM  

You know, I seriously did not know what the modern invitation hook up referred to. Thank you @Z for pointing out its salient points.
I actually went back to read my take on it and I think it's the funniest thing I've written all year. Really. I mean talk about living in an egg shell. LMOL.. Please pass the butter. {for my popcorn]

jae 9:07 PM  

@Z - on the cruciverb.com page go to the Home page not the Today's page. In the upper right corner of the Home page there is a Today's Box. Click on the LA Times link and a printable Acrosslite version will load up. At the Fiend site click on the Today's Puzzles link and then click on the Acrosslite icon next to the LA Times. That said, the link at the Fiend site didn't work today but the cruiverb.com link was fine.

Lewis 9:16 PM  

@QuasiMojo, @TJS, @Nancy, @JC66, @M&A, and @JoeBleaux -- Thank you for your kind words re my offering at the LAT today. Something funny about that. I purposely didn't look at the puzzle for a long time so I could do it today with fresh eyes, and I had a tough time with it!

spacecraft 11:12 AM  

Weird: SE was toughest for OFL; it was my way in (HOTH) and my first section done. What nearly derailed me was NEURiTIs, a noun, instead of NEUROTIC, an adjective. Oh, but on reflection, I guess it might be a noun too, but it didn't play that way in my head. Changing it to NEUROTIC was the only way I could make sense of the surrounding stuff.

With RATATAT crossing TETEATETES, I was looking around for the woodpecker. Never heard that 7-down expression, which made things considerably harder around the SW part of the center. INTIFADA and SHIRAZ (only because it could hardly be "HHIRAZ") were unknowns that cost nanominutes in the north.

I did, however, finish error-free, so there's that. AREI is possibly the most awkward partial ever, and will only take one specific clue. OHNO, there's no way around it. But when you're working with a 64-worder you have to take it on the chin here and there. Thus forgiven, and possessed of great triumph factor, this debut(t) rates a birdie. Actress ANTOINETTE Bower, who appeared as a "Kirk girl" in STTOS, is DOD. Pretty much all those Kirk girls are sash-worthy.

End of REPORT.

thefogman 11:28 AM  

One error. I had PTOLEMe/CODe, so another careless DNF for me. Had love before WILL - like probably everyone. Cluing was uneven; Dead ringers? and Spy grp. - odd, but not so great. But "Eight Elvises" and "Sixteen Jackies" was clever and artful. But there was an overall LAC of whimsy. Not one of the Saturday CLASSICS. For that it HASTO be SPOT on. Alas, I must REPORT this one was just an OPIE - an okay puzzle. TTYL...

Burma Shave 1:40 PM  

MANTA MANLY NEUROTIC

LISTENUP: Against GREATODDS -
and my PARTNER WILL REPORT the same -
she WOOS me with ALE and SHIRAZ,
and on the SPOT, SAFELY ICAME.

--- CODY PTOLEMY

Waxy in Montreal 1:59 PM  

AHOYTHERE - as someone who still uses a flip phone (honestly), I sorta resent the 46A clue though it may just serve as a wake-up call. Never BUTTDIALED it however. Pretty sure there was a radio show in the early 50's called "I was a spy for the FBI" validating the 46D clue.

rondo 2:03 PM  

That NW corner filled in so fast it made my eyes water. Thought maybe I'd be in for a Rex-like time. But no. Slower down that NE->SW swath and slower yet in the SE due to the one write-over, having *gotTa* before HASTO. So, about 3.5 Rexes. BUTTDIAL and FLIPPHONES sound more dated to me than NETFLIXANDCHILL.

I've had a cell phone since 2002, but no FLIPPHONES among them. That first Nokia lasted about nine years, mostly charging on the console of my car.

Wouldn't mind to PARTNER for a day with Adriana LIMA. Yeah baby.

AREEL nice puz.

rainforest 4:47 PM  

Back from my second trip in two weeks. I solved yesterday's puzzle and today's at one sitting. Liked them both.

Surprised that the gimme ANTOINETTE was herein The ice planet was another, as well as 6D, because I'm not a fool...or ARE I?

There were a lot of nice answers and some wicked clues throughout this effort. I do think the FBI does engage in spy work, as when they bug your phones and secretly tail you (certainly not me).

Good stuff.

leftcoastTAM 6:02 PM  

Lots of good long and longish downs and acrosses, with NETFLIXANDCHILL leading and helping along the way.

Was glad to get that one, the Hannah Montana ALTEREGO, and TTYL as well as WARHOLS.

TUXEDOS for "Relatives of tails" was an amusing sneaker, as was LIMA for "Bean town?"

"Dead ringers?" would not amuse a couple of people I know who still use FLIPPHONES.

Good and gettable, but not easy, Saturday.

leftcoastTAM 6:05 PM  

Welcome back, @rainy. Was wondering where you were.

Diana, LIW 8:28 PM  

Hey - I have a FLIPPHONE - I used it 5 or 6 times a year. (What the bleep are people doing with their phones ALL THE TIME????)

Adored LIMA. I bean there.

I was wrong in too many places. But very little PPP, so - great!

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

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