Ibizan inn / SAT 12-1-18 / Girl saved by Don Juan / Sorceress exiled on Aeaea / Drive happy sloganeer / Frappe Chiller offerer / Brand name that spells something not nice backward / Fratty Silicon Valley techie stereotypically / Reason to ask what do you see / Game with royal marriages / Vehicle with wing-shaped tail fins / Yankees manager after Showalter

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Constructor: Ryan McCarty

Relative difficulty: Challenging (four minutes slower than my slowest Saturday; just a disaster) (yeah, it's oversized, but that was hardly the issue)

THEME: none

Word of the Day: POSADA (34A: Ibizan inn) —
  1. (in Spanish-speaking regions) a hotel or inn.
    • (in Mexico) a ritual re-enactment of Mary and Joseph's search for a lodging in Bethlehem, performed just before Christmas.
      plural noun: Las Posadas

      "the famous Oaxacan pre-Christmas posadas and processions" (google)
• • •

Just unpleasant. Words like JANGO and POSADA and ELY and LEILA (?)  just made this one so awful to solve. I think I most resent JANGO because a. the much more famous Fett is BOBA, and b. JANGO is either a gimme or a ridiculous string of uninferrable letters, and so the gimme people got a free "J"! ... ugh. My time would've been cut in half if I'd had that "J." And dear lord, no one should ever be expected to know *anything* from "Star Wars, Episode II: Attack of the Clones" or any of that regrettable second trilogy, for god's sake. Most of the middle of this grid, esp. the west-middle, was just empty. Forever. Had a word ending in -TION. Shrug. One ending in -ING. Who knows? One ending in CENTERS. You'd think that would help. Nope. Something CENTERS. No idea. I got to the gym many times a week. I just call it the gym. So yeah, that "J" woulda been gold. BOTOX INJECTION would've come into view very quickly, and then TAXES, etc. The entire NW and middle west was just blocked for me. TOSCA? No idea. I think I had DANTE in there. LEILA? (3D: Girl saved by Don Juan) Pfft. ELY? etc.

I had SUIT up before I ever ever thought of LACE up. CELEB? No hope. Wanted something to do with ads. A doc about Lena HORNE? I don't associate "Stormy Weather" with her, so no luck there. Again, that stupid, stupid cluing decision where you try to echo another clue created a forced clue at 29D: People with great head shots? (SOCCER STARS). The "head shot" thing with BOTOX INJECTION was clever. As a clue for SOCCER STARS... ugh. Also, just the phrase SOCCER STARS, ugh. [any sport] STARS is OK now? BROGRAMMER can go to hell. Tech bro culture in general, please spare me. Just ... in terms of content, in terms of cluing, in terms of overall experience, this puzzle was a downer. Just because the grid itself is reasonably clean doesn't mean the puzzle's going to be fun to solve. My kingdom for yesterday's puzzle again and again and again. I'm really tired of brostructing.

And then the clue on TUMS (51A: Brand name that spells something not nice backward)—so coy, so dumb. "Something not nice"?! Listen, you don't get to be all smutty and then also be all Puritanical about it. "Hey everyone, look at this sex thing. Oh my word, that is not nice!" I mean, really. "Not nice"? Phrasing! And you can't even be bothered to clue the product properly? Just [Brand name...]? Dereliction of cluing duties, all over the place. Had no idea about POSADA (34A: Ibizan inn). He's a baseball player. He even played for TORRE, so you could even have done some stupid cross reference stuff. But no. Thought POSADA was an IMARET and then thought it was a CASADA (whatever that is). Also had RECANTED at 22D: Was in a sorry state? (REPENTED). Ungettable (for me) "P" adjacent to ungettable (for me) "J" (from JANGO) => atrocious headache. I still don't like PARTNER DANCING as an answer (38A: Activity involving a leader and a follower). If I had to fill in the blank at ___ DANCING I don't know that I'd ever hit on PARTNER. In fact, I wrote it in at one point (after I got the "P") but then pulled it because it sounded too stupid. Of course the one letter I had in 31A: Roman who wrote "Whatever advice you give, be brief" was the damn "C" (from the *other* classical answer: CIRCE (32D: Sorceress exiled on Aeaea)) so I wrote in ... SENECA. Things really couldn't have gone worse. The only parts of this puzzle I liked were the clues on BOTOX INJECTION and AIRPORT BAR (62A: Fitting place to order craft beer?). Everything else felt contrived and icky and hard-for-hard's-sake.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld (Twitter @rexparker / #NYTXW)

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:11 AM  

Tough. However, once I stopped trying to put variations of @Rex bobbo, babbo, babba...in where JANGO was meant to go, it got quite a bit easier. (I’ve only seen the first three Star Wars movies and that was over 30 years ago). Also ramADA before POSADA didn’t help.

Solid but not as much fun as yesterday’s, which IMHO should have been Jeff’s POW. Liked it slightly more than @Rex did.

Seth 12:21 AM  

Wow. Had such a difference experience than Rex. This was perfectly hard for me: a struggle, but I moved steadily through it and finished in about 20 minutes. And I loved it.

Michael 12:25 AM  

Hmm. Tough, butI thought the clues were very clever. Even for the fill like TUBA and SHIED. Lot of "Elliptical setting"!

Harryp 12:34 AM  

I should have realized that pROGRAMMER was too easy for a Saturday puzzle, so when TUBA went in I finally got the happy tone. Good workout with this one today. Many trip-ups, but a fine construction by R.M.

Randy (Boulder) 12:39 AM  

Took me way longer than a typical Saturday, but I liked it. Difficult cluing, but seemed fair for a Saturday. Saturdays are supposed to be hard!

I really like the clues for EDGER and AIRPORT BAR.

A first pass through the grid got basically nothing. Then managed to clear the SE (never heard of BROGRAMMER; I was aiming at something like pROGRAMbro), but couldn't parse tOT or soccer STARS, so couldn't grow outward. Just hunting and grinding, squares at a time, til it ENDED.

Richard 1:03 AM  

I had a challenge similar to OFL. The middle was hard to approach from the left. Unlike OFL, I do not blame the constructor for this challenge. The breakthrough for me was the "paRTner" part of 38A. Although this was the breakthrough, I found this answer to be rather generic and even largely redundant.

Overall, I liked it. Challenging but fair with some laughs for clever cluing. I even liked the clue for TUMS

TomAz 1:32 AM  

This was the easiest Saturday I've done in quite a while, and really smooth. Stuff just fell in to place for me without much hesitation at all. I am so grateful for this puzzle after that train wreck yesterday. Netflix HQ? of course. Aeaea? Couldn't be simpler. No-d JANGO? I live for that stuff.

The only downsides were this TORRE thing -- what is that?? -- and SODA CAN. "Tab holder" to me meant Debbie Reynolds. Though that turned out to be a cover story.

Now excuse me while I return to my planet of origin. Laters, humans!

Lee Coller 1:38 AM  

I'm a software architect - and have been in this industry for over 30 years. I've never ever heard the term "brogrammer."

Anonymous 1:42 AM  

I completely agree with Rex Parker's assessment.

Larry Gilstrap 2:35 AM  

Hard puzzle for me as well. When I finally finished, I was stunned. Issues involved obscure cluing and some stuff that has never come across my desk. Back in the day, PARTNER DANCING was the only kind, even though that phrase clanks in my ear.

OFL laments the appropriateness of the clues referencing weaker Star Wars episodes. It's Saturday, so let's save the best episodes until Monday or Tuesday? Many of us are not connoisseurs of Science Fiction movies, so all referenced cluing is pretty obscure. Character Names in Star Wars movies for $800, Alex. Not wheelhouse enough? Waiting for an analysis of Batman episodes?

I am a member of some FITNESS CENTERS, and the elliptical machines offer some of the best exercise available: low impact with an opportunity for some intense aerobic exertion.

Oddly, I never associate beer in an AIRPORT BAR with air craft. If time is available for drinking, the actual boarding of a plane is sadly distant.

Did I say it was a hard puzzle? Did I say that I eventually finished? Welcome to December, believe it or else.

Brookboy 2:43 AM  

Well, I see that the sunny and charming Rex of yesterday was short-lived, and our curmudgeonly FL is back. In full force. I wish I had thought of Rex’s approach when I was in school. Then instead of thinking that I hadn’t studied enough for the damned (bio/English/math/history) exam, I could’ve instead blamed my mediocre grade on the person who had created the exam, and on the ridiculous questions. Obviously I knew the answers, but the stupid test giver didn’t ask the right questions.

Ironically enough, I also found this one tough, but that not only doesn’t come as a surprise, it also doesn’t infuriate me. I didn’t get JANGO until late in the game either, and I fess up that I can’t recall ever hearing of this character. Sadly, that is not uncommon in my case. The stuff I know might fill a book (and it might not), but the stuff I don’t know fills more books than I could possibly read in my lifetime. It never surprises me when I am stumped by a puzzle, but it often surprises and delights me when I whiz through one, infrequently though that might be.

I thought the clues for 41 and 42 across were clever. I thought that everyone associated Lena Horne with the song Stormy Weather, although I can understand some confusion with the current “famous for 15 minutes” Stormy Daniels.

Some pretty good college football games Saturday, for those who follow such things.

chris b 2:50 AM  

I dunno, I think if the cluing was better this could have been a decent saturday puzzle.

If 6D was a Joe Ely clue I would have had the SW quad way faster.


Loren Muse Smith 4:42 AM  

Oh wow. Heck yeah, this was tough. Like Rex – that middle part was just white for like forever. Except FITNESS CENTERS. That one went right in.

TOSCA was no prob, either. I never miss a chance to brag that I saw TOSCA in Verona (only ‘cause my boyfriend Friedl wanted to). I know I repeat myself here a ton - But… I don’t know from opera really. At all. I just know I was stunned the first time I heard this aria because the soprano’s voice pretty much morphs into a flute and doesn’t sound human. I watch it over and over and wonder if the woman was dreading this part because it was such a challenge? Did she relax and coast after that? Or was this at the very end? (My swan song piano recital piece was Grieg’s Concerto in A Minor - the very last part was the beastliest hard, so I never got to enjoy playing it. I just dreaded the hard part.) I bet I watch this aria once every couple of weeks, and I always have the same thoughts.

Kept going back to double and triple check that “regretted” wouldn’t fit for 23D. When you regret that you ate the entire box of ice cream sandwiches, you feel “sorry.” When you RESENT that someone found that last bagel you hid behind the bag of walnuts (?) in the pantry in the Maine cottage and you know this person lives in an area that has a squillion authentic bagel places unlike you who live in a Lenders Bagel desert, you feel not “sorry” but enraged and devastated. But you have act like you didn’t even notice. And don’t even get me started on my mother-in-law sitting on a footstool eating my cache of Fritos as she flipped between CNN and MSNBC. I had thought no one would Ever find those. My non-Frito-eating daughter who knew I had hidden them just made wide-eyed funny faces at me from across the room. Enjoying my dismay.

STICKY RICE went right in because I thought of it all last week as I ate my faux chirashi zushi bowls I had made using cauliflower “rice.” Even with the nori, pickled ginger, shrimp, shelled edamame… even though I had added the sugar and vinegar and stuff to the cauliflower rice as per YouTube instructions, It. Was. Still. Cauliflower. And oh how I longed for the real deal; I thought of STICKY RICE all week.

I’ve stopped feeling so stupid that I like every damn puzzle. I used to, used to sit and close my eyes and try to make sure that I Really liked it or if I was just trying to be kind and generous. The answer was always the same – I liked it. But I’m a linguist, fascinated with our language, so there’s always something there, some clue, some entry, some play on words – that just grabs me. Ergo my take-away comes many times not from the entirety of the solve but rather from the part that made me sit up. Today it was BROGRAMMER. Never seen it, but I loved it. How can you not imagine the possibilities?

Brozac – ranch Doritos, beer, Zach Galifianakis movie
Bropose – the way guys in shirt sleeves cross their arms for pictures and put their hands behind their biceps to puff’em out.
Broclivity – drinking straight out of the OJ bottle and not putting the commode seat down. Channel surfing with hand mysteriously inserted just at the top of jeans – not lower – but still creepy.
Brotocol – [see Broclivity]
Broclaim - "I drank beer with my friends. Almost everyone did. Sometimes I had too many beers. Sometimes, others did. I liked beer. I still like beer.”

Ryan – thanks for the fun.

Anonymous 6:06 AM  

Devilishly hard for me, though ultimately I did finish. Similar solving experience as Randy Doriese. Had GAg for 10D and wondered for a bit why I had never heard of gAKED before.
LMS: “broclaim” is brilliant!

Thomaso808 6:20 AM  

Not a great experience for me. I did like OMEGADOG, but BROGRAMMER, no. And PARTNERDANCING? C'mon, pretty desperate. For Thai dish bed I was hoping for so much more -- lemongrass? jasmine? what, just STICKYRICE? Ugh. I get what LMS says about liking every damn puzzle and I totally agree (except 9/11/14, Blindauer you know what you did, haha). It's just that some puzzles sing, and this one for me didn't.

Lewis 6:52 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
kitshef 7:20 AM  

What a great finish to a winning week. A good old-fashioned Saturday slugfest. Tough in every section, but ultimately fair.

Clue after clue after clue featuring trivia – none of which I knew. Just in that NW section we have the “give kids a smile” clue, the “bwana” clue, the Don Juan clue and the opera(?) clue. But that's OK if you can work it out.

I was hoping for a Tom Lehrer Smut link, but was disappointed.

OffTheGrid 7:23 AM  

Saturdays are usually tough but not rough. I agree with Rex today. It had some beauty and cleverness but too many clunkers. TALLIESUP? No "UP" needed, clunky. Craft beer because a plane is a "craft"?. lame. BOTOXINJECTION? Good answer, bad clue. PARTNERDANCING? What the hell is that? It's a chip shot, not an IRONSHOT. BROGRAMMER-too cute. I get that head=LOO, but what's a derby head? The clues for INKBLOTTEST and REPENTED are a little off, not crisp. I like a challenge but need the payoff that just wasn't there.

QuasiMojo 7:28 AM  

A lot of this was out of my wheelhouse except perhaps Horace and Circe, but I managed to complete it in 19 minutes which is super fast for me on a Saturday. I thought some of it was clever and engaging, not quite “lovely” or even “nice.” I don’t know much about TUMS but I recognize it when I see it. That was a dumb clue. So was the one for SAMBA. How is that a partner dance? Isn’t it mostly a bunch of scantily clad Brazilian beauties on floats during CARNIVAL (sans ocean liners)?

The Craft clue had me thinking SeaPort Bar. Go listen to Noel Coward’s signature tune “A Bar on the Piccola Marina.”

Which reminds me... you don’t associate Stormy Weather with Lena Horne??? That’s like saying you don’t associate Over the Rainbow with Judy Garland, or My Way with Frank Sinatra, or the polio vaccine with Salk.

Maybe Lewis can help me here but I’m pretty sure we had Brogrammer in a puzzle earlier this year.

Tallying it all up I give this one a Thumb Up, kind of like Horace at the Colosseum.

Hungry Mother 7:36 AM  

Faster than usual, but still a slog. Very few writeovers, just blanks until filled. Very entertaining way to start the weekend.

OffTheGrid 7:37 AM  

DOH! Derby, England.

Z 7:39 AM  

It’s not PARTNER DANCING. It is god damn DANCING. They aren’t FITNESS CENTERS, they are god damn gyms. People don’t get BOTOX INJECTIONS, they get friggin’ Botoxxed. This is the lamest set of central 14’s I can recall seeing. Yeah, they are all things, but only just barely and there are better terms for all of them. INKBLOT TEST and SOCCER STARS are a smidgen better, but just a smidgen. That’s a whole lot of grid real estate dedicated to blandness. Any one of these in the service of some sparkle would have been fine, but all the sparkle is in the corners. The central answers remind me of driving on I-75 in Ohio, nothing but cornfields and depressed small towns for 200 miles.

I just briefly perused the write-ups and grids of this constructor’s 8 NYTX puzzles, all published in the past 17 months. Roughly half were good, the rest about like this one. Obviously the guy has some talent, but a few more rejections were probably deserved. I also read the constructor’s comments over at xwordinfo.com. “I wanted to try an open middle design with stacked 14s, which I quickly found was much more difficult than the stacked 11s and 12s that I'd been more used to working with.” Yep. And Shortz should have told you to keep trying.

@Larry Gilstrap - I feel you. Star Wars, Harry Potter, and LoTR are so ubiquitous that all of them are crossworthy, but if fantasy isn’t your thing all those names are just so many random letters. JANGO Fett, Jabba the Hutt, Jar Jar Binks. Need a J in your grid? Go to Star Wars.

Anonymous 7:51 AM  

I liked it. It was tough. Took me three minutes more than my usual Saturday time. I agree with Rex that some of the answers were practically unknowable (ie Jango Fett) but I think that’s part of the fun - having to figure it out through crosses and ultimately learning a new word.

I agree with Rex that “soccer stars” is terrible phrasing. As someone who played on the US national team and keeps up with the sport, I can honestly say that no one ever uses this phrase. And if anyone is interested in seeing a good game this weekend, UNC and FSU battle it out for the third time this season on Sunday in the NCAA women’s championship game. FSU has a bunch of international “stars” (including Deyna Castellanos, a Venezuelan international was a finalist for the FIFA player of the year award, and Yujie Zhao, a stunningly good freshman from China). UNC has some “stars” in its own right as they go for their 22nd title. The two teams split their games this year - this promises to be a great final!

BarbieBarbie 7:57 AM  

How can you not associate Stormy Weather with Lena Horne? Way before my time too, Rex, but it’s classic. And a string of Italian that looks like a line from some kind of aria? Five letters? OPERA or TOSCA. Discuss.

I found this difficult, but not difficult for a Saturday. Really enjoyed all the long, puzzling phrases, moments where I wondered how to spell Rorschach, mulling over whether PARTNERDANCING is really a thing (I lean toward green paint there). It never occurred to me that FITNESSCENTER wouldn’t be normal usage, because- listen closely, now, @Rex- I have in my lifetime stayed in hotels and read the posted signs (and followed them, and hogged the treadmill, but that’s beside the point). Today’s review was such a great illustration of entitled wheelhouseiness. The puzzle was crunchy, full of new stuff, and very satisfying to do.

Unknown 8:06 AM  

I had WARM up, not LACE up. Ugh. This puzzle was very annoying. A lot of the clues were contrived and not intuitive. PARTNER DANCING, STAY SANE, and SHIED all had terrible clues and were terrible answers. And just a big “no” to BROGRAMMER.

Lewis 8:11 AM  

This puzzle has two vertical and three horizontal stacks, all with strong answers; that must have taken lots of trial and error to produce, and thank you for that effort, Ryan. But what stands out to me in this offering is Ryan's art of making a puzzle with strong-but-not-flashy answers exceptional through talented cluing. My abridged wow-clue list: SODA CAN, SEGA, EDGERS, FITNESS CENTERS, TAXES, AIRPORT BAR, BOTOX INJECTION.

This is what I want in a Saturday -- a tough puzzle (five words out of my wheelhouse but fairly crossed) glimmering with quality. Bravo, sir.

Lewis 8:21 AM  

@quasi -- No, BROGRAMMER is a debut. I do seem to recall an answer with a cute BRO angle, but don't remember what it was. I see that in 2015 there was a BROMANTIC COMEDY, but I'm guessing that's not what you are thinking of.

QuasiMojo 8:27 AM  

@Lewis, found it. It was the August 13 New Yorker puzzle by Anna Schectman. 12D.

amyyanni 8:30 AM  

Love LMS's bromos. And I like the brogrammer clue, so I'll just duck out now and get on with December.

mmorgan 8:48 AM  

I liked a great deal of this, but PARTNER DANCING was definitely green paint. I thought the clues for SEGA and SODACAN, among quite a few others, were terrific. The NW really held me up, since I couldn't let go of JASMIN for the Thai rice even though I knew that was the wrong spelling. And it took me a while to get past the misdirection on the Carnival cruise.

Even when I like a puzzle I often get a kick out of a scathing review from Rex. But today it sounded more like he just had trouble with it than a knock-down, spot-on, vicious critique. C'mon, Rex, you can do better (um, worse?) than that! (Though I agree that yesterday's was much more fun and pleasant.)

@Quasi - cheers from Mrs. Wentworth-Brewster!

Phil 8:54 AM  

MARIO sings the famous E luceva le stelle not TOSCA

Agree with barbiebarbie, how can you not associate Stormy Weather with Lena Horne?

Anyway wasn’t that tough for me except SODACAN even after the GATOS guess gave me GAB.

Heard the phrase DANCING PARTNER but not the other way around.

Phaedrus 8:59 AM  

@off the grid

An approach shot (ie a second shot on a par 4) is usually hit with an iron, thus is an “iron shot”. Nothing wrong with that clue/answer at all.

mmorgan 9:03 AM  

Meant to say: I see the words "stormy weather" on the page and in less than a nanosecond I hear Lena Horne in my mind, quickly followed by a visual image of her singing it. (I got to see her perform live once in a very intimate setting in Philadelphia in the early 80s. Exquisite.)

And like some others, I know less than a thimbleful of info from Star Wars, Harry Potter, or Lord of the Rings, but as long as I can fairly get something from crosses (as I did with JANGO) then I have no complaints.

JB 9:11 AM  

Deal with the fact the some trivia will be out of your wheelhouse, making a puzzle hard. I live with old baseball players, you should be graceful about legit sci fi.

Matthew G. 9:13 AM  

Definitely a subpar Saturday, so Rex's grumpiness is more or less justified today. This was hard, but for the wrong reasons: cluing that is obtuse rather than clever. I had RAMADA instead of POSADA, and since RAMADA is itself a Spanish-derived word for a shelter... thought the crosses were what had to be wrong. Jorge POSADA was one of the best-hitting catchers of the last quarter-century, so yes, he should have been the clue. STAYS SANE feels made up, or at the very least not a lively phrase. The lips are technically part of the head, but one doesn't speak of injecting the head when one injects them. Etc.

frankbirthdaycake 9:17 AM  

I forgot about Jango Fett. I wish I could forget about Jar Jar Binks.

Teedmn 9:22 AM  

I had to go all the way down to TE AMO-I MEAN to get a start on this puzzle. And I thought I had a slow solve on Thursday! Close to 40 minutes today, ouch.

I knew enough about Fett to not mix it up with Jabba the Hutt but it had the B's in it, I was sure, thinking of Boba like everyone else. So I put in __BBA. I eventually caved to the ODS at 45A so I took the B's out. When I was finally left with _ANGO, I wanted a J but thought I was probably just conflating it with "dJANGO Unchained". Besides, what word had JaCTION in it? (I had Rex's REcaNTED at 22D). I finally REPENTED of that entry. Last entry, stalling like the procrastinator I am, was TAXES. (I really wanted "Cut out" 33D to be faDED, like all the TV and radio stations of my youth. No Romans ending in F came to mind).

Like @Quasi, I had seaPORT BAR but I decided just because one would need a neuro exam to eat some of those MReS, that wasn't a good enough reason to leave it in.

I think the most misdirectional clue, for me, was referring to a large farm implement as a "planter". I couldn't get past imagining a cemetery planter with someone's name on it.

__RNE with the "Stormy Weather" clue had me writing vowels in front of the RNE. I was just about to settle on Jules veRNE when Lena's name popped into my head. Shouldn't have taken that long - I've always had a secret affinity for Lena Horne. My last name is Horan, and in my small town, many people pronounced it as "horn". My Dad always joked that we were related to Lena Horne. I was an adult before I realized the unlikelihood of that, given that we were of Irish descent. But I'd be glad to have such a great singer in my family tree.

Ryan, you got me today. Thanks for the Saturday challenge.

Anonymous 9:22 AM  

I think this grid represents very solid work. I’m familiar with FITNESS CENTERS from business travel and PARTNER DANCING from continuing education. SOCCER STARS does seem a little shaky, but @Rex is picking nits. I’m REAL impressed by all the Scrabbly letters among the stacks. No traction til I got down to SIT and TE AMO.

Jeff 9:31 AM  

Jasmine rice, which is relatively "unsticky" is WAY more common than any other variety in Thai food. Sticky varieties of rice are much more prevalent in other Asian cuisines. Am I wrong about this?
I agree with Red about pretty much everything, except his TOSCA complaint. One of the most famous arias in music--not too much to ask its source. I didn't know JANGO either, but I know there was another Fett, which is more than I can say of a lot of Saturday clues. BROGRAMMER killed me.

GAR 9:56 AM  

Hardest Saturday for me in a long time. Agree with the comments about "partner dancing". To me all dancing is partner dancing so "partner" is superfluous. I resisted putting in "partner" even when I had most of the letters. I also think the clue for "loo" is off-base. I understand that it would be called the loo at the Epsom or Ascot Derby in England, but that wouldn't be the case at the Kentucky Derby or the many other derbies in the US (Florida, Arkansas, Pennsylvania, Santa Anita, etc.) I thought the rest of puzzle's clues were hard but fair, even though I never heard of sticky rice, Isle of Ely, omega dog, or brogrammer. Misreading the clue elliptical settings for fitness center also slowed me considerably. I kept trying to think of what would you set on an elliptical, e.g. resistance, ramp incline angle, etc.

Anonymous 9:57 AM  

Line up
Step up
Ante up
Lace up
Suit up


kcuf 9:58 AM  

How does "Add" = TOT? TOT is short for total, right? It seems that there should be some indication in the clue that it is a shortened (or at least a variable) version of the word. Do you "tot" up a bar tab? Or do you total it up?

Different than Rex, I thought the clue of AIRPORTBAR was forced. Just because you can point out a common word between a beer and an airplane doesn't mean you should.

TUMS, while easy to get, was as Rex said. It reminds me of hitting grounders to infielders...you're the pitcher and the hitter...you lob the ball up in the air and then you take a swing. TUMS (lobbing the ball into the air gently) vis a vis "smut" ("ooh, so scandalous") was a swing and a miss, IMO. Which, I guess happens to the best of 'em.

orangeblossomspecial 10:01 AM  

Don't associate Lena Horne with Stormy Weather Rex? Get real. Try this: Stormy Weather

Now imagine someone who hasn't seen any Star Wars films. Try to get Jango from that.

BarbieBarbie 10:09 AM  

@Mattew, BOTOX doesn’t go in the lips, at least not primarily. it goes in the forehead. Don’t do it. I knew someone who was an early adopter, and whenever it started to wear off she looked like a Klingon. Not that I mentioned it to her.
You’re thinking of collagen. Also icky. As are the results, IMO.

Anonymous 10:15 AM  

Staying at a hotel I’d bet your more likely to see a sign for a FITNESS CENTER than a gym.

Anonymous 10:17 AM  


Anonymous 10:19 AM  

@Anonymous 9:57a

Good list; you could add "Warm up" as well.

Unknown 10:19 AM  

I had DNF with pUpA for TUBA. Because if you listen really closely to a pupa you can hear it chanting oom. It's the butterfly affect.

GILL I. 10:22 AM  

I wanted Jasmine. Jasmine needed to be the RICE in a Thai dish. It always is, along with aromatic lemongrass and the needed cilantro leaves lovingly placed in your soup bowl.
Yes, @Rex....that "J" for JANGO was gold. It was my first Google in the center angst field. I needed him badly. Thanks to him I got the ouch BOTOX INJECTION. I have to try that sometime. My laugh lines are taking over.
@jae: I, too, had RAMADA instead of POSADA. That was the only thing that made me mad. Spanish is my language, damn it, and my brain always thinks the Oaxacan Christmas processions are POSADAs. No CHE involved.
@Brookboy: "Obviously I knew the answer, but the stupid test giver didn't ask the right question." Perfect. Made me laugh. I enjoyed this a ton and wanted FL to do the same. Your analysis is right up there with the fabulous BROGRAMMER.
@Loren: I'm pretty sure that the Magic Flute aria you posted is one of the reasons the soprano voice sets my teeth on edge. I can't help it. Ever since watching Mimi endlessly die in La Boheme, I've developed a hate for the high pitch - even if perfect - singing. I always thought Rodolpho was so patient while Mimi took forever to die. I kept thinking, in my young mind, about how she could sing so very long and so loud all the while she had tuberculosis.
My last entry, AIRPORT BAR, was a smile as I remembered the hours of sitting at them during my flight years. I once was introduced to the cheap "Black Velvet" whisky and I loved it. I could sip it for hours while waiting for my flights. I don't understand how anyone can drink a beer then get on a flight.
Nice Saturday, Ryan McCarty.

Steve M 10:29 AM  

Bad omen for my Saturday

DeeJay 10:32 AM  

A toughie.

rorosen 10:34 AM  

another truly great Loren Smith entry!!! I loved this puzzle. Got almost nothing on the first pass and had to work backward from Torre.

JC66 10:47 AM  

You outdid yourself today, @Loren.

Nancy 10:48 AM  

I didn't need to suffer. Looking up one or more of the proper names -- LEILA; HORACE; CIRCE; JANGO; TCBG -- would have freed me up to get the extremely challenging non-name answers much more easily. But I didn't/wouldn't cheat, was sure I was headed for complete failure, and ended up solving this bear. My reward is to feel really, really smart.

4D was the big problem in the NW. I was torn between ANTE up and SUIT up. When I finally had the A from OCEAN LINER, I said Aha -- it's WARM up. But it wasn't. LACE up was just about my last answer in, and only after I finally, finally got (what kind of RICE?????), aha, STICKY RICE.

Fabulously clued non-proper name answers: INK BLOT TEST; CELEB; AIRPORT BAR; FITNESS CENTERS; SOCCER STARS; PARTNER DANCING; SHIED; TAXES (I was thinking more along the lines of cleaning out your closets); and the terrific BOTOX INJECTION.

Even the [too-many] proper names can't keep me from saying: this was one terrific puzzle.

Joel 10:50 AM  

BROGRAMMER is awful, of course, and not a thing people really say. But it would've at least been gettable if the clue for TUBA weren't so stupidly vague. As it is, I had pROGRAMMER, and tried to figure out how pUpA fit into the clue for the longest time.

RooMonster 11:00 AM  

Hey All !
Tough themelesses are not my forte. I start out diligently enough, doing the puz like I always do (which, according to Rex, is the wrong way), starting at 1A, reading all the Across clues, filling what I know, then the Downs in order, ditto. Then I bounce around the grid, filling in answers that become apparent, and finish. But with a tough SatPuz, the ample and unabashed use of Check Puzzle feature, well, features highly in my solve. As it did today.

Not cheating, per se, just checking for missteps. It helps move puz along, because my eyes get sore staring at all that white space after a while.

Agree with PARTNER DANCING being Green Paint. IRON SHOT sounds close to Paint also.

Slow downs in all sections, except for SW. For some reason, once I saw BATMOBILE, that whole corner went in Bam, Bam, Bam. Nice. Did like some of the tricksy clues. Fun to DOOK TE AMO as TEAMO. Go TEAMO!

F count = 1 (C'mon, people, try harder! 😋)
ROO count = 0 (although there is a LOO)

OMEGA DOG (Yip yip!)

David 11:02 AM  

Rex, you continue to astound with your lack of musical knowledge. Good key for Tosca because some will plunk down Mario there. Mario sings it but the source for it is the opera. (Too bad Verdi didn't write it...) You don't associate Lena Horne with her most famous song, used in the movie of the same name? Netflix it; go for Cabin in the Sky while you're at it. From the MAGA days of segregated films.

Got Omega dog just off the O, but I still don't think it's a real thing. Yes, there's the alpha and there's the runt of the litter. Futbal being the only organized team sport I bother with, I think Soccer starts is bad locution also. For elliptical centers I was thinking of working with ellipses in a graphics program, not those things in gyms. That really set my time back.

I also had suit up and Isle of Man (motorcycle racing being another sport I'll watch), so I thought 1A was something sumsup. Disliked just about everything you did, and loved the craft beer clue.

pabloinnh 11:12 AM  

Thankful for Spanish, am I. Posada went right in as did te amo and the rest of it was a beast. A couple of those misdirectional clues close together-Carnival transport,e.g., when Carnival is the first word so the capitalization is no help, and quit stalling, when the tense of "quit" is unclear--just not much help there. Did the OFL thing with Seneca before HORACE, they both give you the C for CIRCE, so time lost there. Hand up for thinking PARTNERDANCING is a real reach. Good thing I learned how to play pinochle when I was a kid. Does anyone play pinochle any more?

Hellacious Saturday. Jeez, happy December, I guess.

jjpennyless 11:13 AM  

That room at the hotel filled with nothing but ellipticals and treadmills is a fitness center 100% of the time. The place with the squat rack that smells like sweat socks is the gym.

The guy in Nampa 11:17 AM  

Yeah, but wasn't it great finally finishing?

GHarris 11:19 AM  

Left me in the dust. Had to google for Jango and Circe and even then had dnf because of staying with resented, programmer and not getting tuba. Yet, all in all, had to feel good about solving the rest. I'm really writing because I must tell LMS how much I enjoyed her bagel and Fritos stories. I once wrote a poem entitled The Bagel which recounted the difficulty of finding a good NY bagel in Western Massachusetts and my anguish when it was grabbed by a friend's annoying Tibitan terrior who ran off with me in vain pursuit.

QuasiMojo 11:22 AM  

Thanks @mmorgan! Say “ciao” back or better yet “Scusi”!

Carola 11:29 AM  

Medium here, which on a Saturday means slow but steady progress uninterrupted by moments of despair, and a fun one to figure out.
I was helped by TOSCA x STICKY RICE out of the gate, the K of which yielded INK BLOT TESTS and the first piercing of that monster of a center. Extensive reading about places I'll never go benefited me with POSADA. Never heard of BROGRAMMER, but with other BRO-words we've seen in grids lately, it was easy enough to guess. I liked LIT(abbr.) over HORACE.

Do-overs: medea before CIRCE, attempts at boba (Var.) (hi @jae) before JANGO, FELT bAD, and the unlikely-but-your-never-know PARTNER feNCING (thank goodness for the SAMBA cross reference.)

Z you forgot your asterisk today 11:43 AM  

"Botox injections" 1.5 million Google hits.
"Fitness Center" 81 million.
"Partner Dance" 836 thousand.
"Soccer star" 5.3 million.

"Botoxxed" exactly 163.
"Botoxed" 197 thousand.

Anonymous 11:44 AM  

@LMS is the Scheherazade of this blog. I should have given it up years ago.

Anonymous 11:55 AM  

Great puzzle.

--Joe DiP

Norm 12:03 PM  

I think folks [including Rex] griping about "people with great head shots" for SOCCER STARS may be missing the point. A great striker or an offensive-minded midfielder IS going to have a great head shot aka header. Think Abby Wambach, for example. I totally agree that the NW was a mess, however, and AIRPORT BARS [in my experience] tend to serve crappy mass market brews rather than interesting craft beers -- and the craft part doesn't work in the alternative sense because you can't take your beer on the plane. If you could, that would have been a great clue. As it is? Not. And not a good puzzle overall.

TJS 12:03 PM  

This was one tough cookie. A true Saturday, imo. 48 minutes, including coffee fetching, phone calls, etc. DNF because of the B vs. P, but thats OK .
Then to come here for some truly amazing/ hilarious comments, too many to start listing. Thank you all, except @Z of course.

Lewis 12:27 PM  

@quasi -- Wow! And it even had "Fratty Silicon Valley" in its clue.

Rainbow 12:40 PM  

A guys cruise would be on a Broceanliner.

A man unhappy with his appearance might try Brotoxinjection.

In an all male dog pack the lowest member would be the Bromegadog.

Mike Rees 12:43 PM  

This one beat the hell out of me. I think I got ten words in before I gave up and hit the "check puzzle" and six of them were wrong. Just couldn't get a foothold anywhere. I want the Saturday puzzle to be challenging every week, but this was insane.

Mark 12:44 PM  

Hear, hear! I struggled with this one too but that only made the completion more satisfying. Was shocked (not shocked) to find that Rex had only a litany of complaints about what I found to be a challenging but entertaining puzzle.

Unknown 12:46 PM  


Always check your grid 12:48 PM  

@Nancy -If you had TCBG you had a DNF.

NYEDMD 12:56 PM  

Thank you, Kcuf! Had to go through like thirty comments until I found an explaination for “TOT”. Still unsatisfied, though. Has anyone — ever — used the word “tot” as a synonym/substitute for “add”. I rest my case.

Anonymous 1:16 PM  

Did you try using a dictionary? Tot is a verb meaning to add up numbers.

Masked and Anonymous 1:17 PM  

Themeless puzs are kinda weird. They lack all them cool uncover-parts-of-the-theme moments (little ahars), until U get to the Big Ahar Moment of tyin all them little themers together into the grand finale climax theme mcguffin reveal.

IM&AO, *themeless* puz ahar moments seem to break down into these categories ...

#1. Ahars caused by finally figurin out what a clue really meant. Example, today: {Genesis name} = SEGA. These are funner than snot. They help make a themeless solvequest real enjoyable.

#2. Ahars caused by finally figurin out what word(z) might fit in the pattern of letters U are starin at, regardless of the clue. Sort of a Wheel-o-Fortune rush. Also fun. Example, today: Had ?A?EP??NS for 12-D's straight-forward {Go out of one's way} clue. Once M&A stopped trying to fit MAKE into the first four positions, he had a primo ahar burst … and the answer then accidentally ended up fittin the clue. Occasionally, this can lead to an additional item#1 ahar moment, too boot.

#3. The POSADA Effect. U fight and fight to get somethin U assume will eventually look familiar, and it don't ever happen … cuz the answer ain't in yer wheel-house at all. This is more of an ahuh? moment.

#4. The PARTNERDANCING Effect. One of those long answers that make limited sense, but sound kinda desperate. Just don't quite ever make U feel rewarded, when U get there. More of an ahell moment, I reckon. Sometimes U also get stuff like BROGRAMMER, which is a blend of #3 & #4.

#5. The Ooops Effect. Where U have a solid answer in there that turns out to be solid pewit-poop. Example, today: 31-D's {Subject of the biography "Stormy Weather"} = ? ... which M&A stubbornly had as TORME. Lost precious nanoseconds. Sort of an uhoh-ahar moment.

This SatPuz had plenty of all of these puppies. Nice, well mixed, feisty barrel of raised-by-wolves monkeys. Also, liked the shaded jaws of themelessness, in the grid design. staff weeject pick: ADA. Which, when spelt backasswords, gives U somethin just as un-nice.

Thanx for the challenge, Mr. McCarty. Especially for the #1's & 2's.

Masked & AnonymoUUs


Katzzz 1:21 PM  

Yes, you’re wrong about the rice. Sure, jasmine is a Thai staple. But sticky rice is must with larb and other dishes.

FMA 1:24 PM  

I like this one. Difficult for me ( I'm lucky to break 50 minutes on Saturdays!) - but fun. JANGO was tough but after getting BOTOX the INJECTION followed rather easily - so I got the "J" that way. Personally I am sick of seeing Star Wars clues - I'd love a 5 or 10 year moratorium on all space based movie clues. Maybe reducing the number of Disney cartoon clues isn't a back idea either...

barryevans 1:26 PM  

Loved it, loved it, took me hours on and off! Cheated with Tosca, otherwise all my own work. Breakthrough was taxes-botox

Oh Please 1:30 PM  

We all know different things. E lucevan le stelle is the most famous aria from one of the most famous operas, Tosca. But if you don't know opera...

And I felt sorry for people younger than about 60 - I used to drink Tab all the time until they invented Diet Coke...maybe in the 80's?

I had Bobba Fett (which now I read is really Boba..) Didn't remember Jango at all, although I remembered there was a new Fett which thrilled the trivia nuts.

Didn't get ironshot for a long time because I know nothing about golf. Didn't get "taxes" because I'm a gardener....Couldn't see botox injection without the X and the J.

Ended up way over my Sat. average, but I enjoyed it!

Logan 1:45 PM  

I’m normally right there with Rex... same age group, cultural references, mindsets about the grid, etc. But as I solved today’s difficult grid, I thought, “the cluing today is exceptional!”. Clean grids are great, but I feel like cluing is often overlooked. Today’s was the perfect combination of difficulty, cheekiness and grammatical aloofness with rewarding answers. It was a hard puzzle, but I THOROUGHLY enjoyed it.

Suzie Q 1:51 PM  

Wow, what a week! I loved this. A puzzle like this and yesterday's are why I subscribe. I even had to take a fresh air break to walk the dogs. As usual, returning with a clearer head and fresh eyes revealed the patterns enough to fill in the blank spaces.
So many clever clues, too many to list. Puzzles like this are what I crave and prove the all of those years of solving pays off. You know that the word "craft" is trying to tell you something. A plane or a Boat? "Fratty" is your clue to the word play in brogrammer.
Ambiguous clues are the trademark of a Sat. puzzle and today IS Sat.
Fun, fun, fun!

jberg 1:55 PM  

DNF, until I gave up and did an internet search for the 3-letter Isle that wasn't Man. ELY! It isn't even an island! Still, I should have got it from crosses, if I wasn't hung up on the idea that it must be 'uzIKI" rice, or something like that. Doh!

Lots of other rabbit holes; suit for LACE, Seneca, then Cicero before HORACE (I had CIRCE, so ruled out Cicero at first -- but since I had no idea what her island was called, I wasn't 100% sure that it wasn't some other Greek sorceress. I guess Calypso was a nymph, but Odysseus seemed to run into a lot of weird things in those isles). I had EDGERS, but like everyone else the only Fett I know has a B as his penultimate letter, so I took it out.

So this took me maybe 90 minutes, with a 90 minute break to do something else, plus one web search. Great puzzle, though.

Oh yeah, eegs before MRIS, too. And SEth before SEGA, amore before TEAMO. Whew.

@NYEDMD, actually, I've seen TOT up used a lot -- may have even said it, I'm not sure. Maybe it's English (I'm not, myself, but have read a lot of their light fiction).

@GAR -- it's Derby the town, not the horse race. It's in Derbyshire.

@Loren, yeah, Broclaim. Hope to see that in the puzzle soon!

Banana Diaquiri 2:16 PM  

I was hoping for a Tom Lehrer Smut link

I'll go you one better (obscure). Lou Gottlieb, "well, here comes the smut Martha!"

Banana Diaquiri 2:22 PM  

STORMY WEATHER will always be a book by Carl Hiaasen, esp. given that it is about Hurricane Andrew and this year's season. so there.

Anonymous 2:30 PM  

Have you considered consulting a dictionary?

Definition of tot (Entry 2 of 2) transitive verb. : to add together : total —usually used with up tots up the score. intransitive verb. : add.

Sgreennyc 2:35 PM  

Rex's comments have become so subjective and dependent on the state of his fragile ego that they have become completely worthless.

Adam 2:39 PM  

Didn't finish for the first time in years. JANGO Fett? Really? I saw the first three movies (the middle three of the trilogy, for the pedantic), and that's it. No clue. Had "ANTE" instead of LACE, EEGS instead of MRIS, RAMADAS instead of POSADAS. Managed to get the right side of the grid mostly filled, and some of the bottom. TCBY - The Country's Bankrupt Yogurt. That chain hasn't been active around NYC, at least, in at least a decade. Blech.

Lynx 3:16 PM  

Am I the only one with a DNF due to GAG/GAKED, which seemed completely plausible -- spent forever reviewing my completed grid, couldn't find the error, gave up. Answers like BROGRAMMER and JANGO made it seem like the constructor would be a GAKED kind of guy.

Jellybean 3:20 PM  

Loved the puzzle- took longer than usual but I love a tough one. Funny enough- my great grandmother told me when I was a kid that she never buys TUMS since it reminds her of SMUT.

Randy (Boulder) 3:35 PM  


You win the internet today.

Anonymous 4:07 PM  

I ended up stuck on GAg x gAKED and couldn’t see the B until I Checked Puzzle, darn it! But I think "g" is fine: the Urban Dictionary defines "gaked" as "high on cocaine." Two possible solutions, in my book.

CQ 4:27 PM  

I also got tripped up because of gag/gaked. Should be allowed as an alternate solution. Rare to have an “error” fit so well.

Rube 4:40 PM  

All the whiners out today. This is what a Saturday should be. It was tough. And that's good. Save the easy stuff for Mon and Tues. We need more like this

DigitalDan 4:52 PM  

Agree with Rex about BROGRAMMER; I hope no one has ever used that word in the wild.

Otherwise, this was a tricky but fun solve. One of those where you start with nothing and then make slow but steady progress. Hard to do without filling in test words and being willing to abandon them at the "right" time.

Anonymous 5:14 PM  

To the gaked/gag crowd: There are often other "answers" that make some sense, but when you don't have the intended answer you are WRONG. DNF.

Z 5:16 PM  

@FITNESS CENTER Defenders - I’m not even remotely convinced. Yeah Yeah, the signs. That’s because “gym” smells funny even on a sign. When, exactly, does anyone use that phrase in normal human activity? “Honey, I’m going down to the FITNESS CENTER before breakfast” said no one ever. So, yeah, it is a thing. But not a real thing, just a piece corporatese that’s never used by actual people. Real people in a hotel “go work out.”

@Z forgot - No I didn’t. Again, they are all barely things, just not things used by real people in writing or speech. Contrast PARTNER DANCE with real language like “hold my beer.” One is fresh and in the language, the other is not.

@Frank Birthdaycake - Are you familiar with the Jar Jar is a Sith Lord theory? Makes a lot sense to me. I was hoping Snopes turned out to really be Jar Jar.

Sunnyvale Solver 5:25 PM  

TE AMO was badly misclued. It’s a statement of sentiment, not the sentiment itself. Of course I wrote in amore, which is the sentiment in question.

Sandy McCroskey 5:48 PM  

Putting a question mark after "Leila"? Don't get out much, do you?

‘mericans in Paris 5:57 PM  

Hi all, I haven’t been posting lately because too busy — not least because dealing with a big plumbing problem.

However, we did take the time out to grapple with this puzzle, setting it aside numerous times. Finally finished a few minutes ago (after completing Sunday’s first) for a total time for the Saturday of just under two and a half hours. Nothing to crow about, but we resisted Mr. Google, which is an accomplishment of sorts.

There is solo DANCING (e.g., gogo, pole), and group DANCING (e.g., various folk dances), so PARTNER DANCING didn’t bother us.

What? 6:00 PM  

Agree with Rex - tough for all the wrong reasons. Did Shortz edit this? Poor job.

Banana Diaquiri 6:14 PM  

while I too find it stupid, I think it's fair to say that every room filled with various exercise machines/equipment in a condo or hotel is called the FITNESS CENTER. otherwise, it's either gym or "Dear, I'm going to 'Brand Name Gym Type'".

PhilM 6:31 PM  

Just one comment on "Soccer Stars" and "Head Shot". It's not a "head shot" - it's a header. I'm currently watching Match of the Day on BBC, and it's headers all the way.

Joe Dipinto 6:39 PM  

Looks like @Anonymous at 11:55 is pretending to be me?

@Phil Phil 8:54, if you're talking to LMS, her link is to Diana Damrau singing the Queen of the Night in "Magic Flute", it's not connected to "Tosca".

Over all, I neither liked nor disliked this puzzle. I was able to toss in a bunch of answers (TOSCA, HORNE, TORRE) right away and then screeched to a halt. Actually, I did actively hate one thing: the obscure Star Wars clue. Bad enough we already get so much SW junk, do we need these unheard-of minor characters?

TubaDon 7:30 PM  

Any puzzle that includes my favorite instrument gets my attention, but when it also includes a grating neologism like BROGRAMMER, it's not going into my hall of puzzle fame. Participated in Tuba Christmas today, so I didn't get started untll 5 pm and it took an hour to fix all my self-induced traps so I might be the last poster here. Had the wrong Fett, isle and frappe source, but HORNE and TOSCA were gimmies, and I put in and erased CIRCE so many times I almost wore through the newspaper. Batman's vehicle finally gave me the clues to that nasty midsection. Have to agree with about half of Rex's rant about the weak clues.

Norm 10:33 PM  

@PhilM : A header is a shot made with the head, so, for purposes of a crossword puzzle clue, calling it a head shot is entirely legit. If you're going to insist on clues matching the precise usage of the subject area, you're going to be unhappy a lot of the time. Regards.

Nancy 11:47 PM  

@Always check your grid (12:48) --Sonofagun, I did have a DNF. My auto specification was gEAR, not YEAR. Thus TCBg, not TCBY, whatever that is. But the good news is that I have had an extremely busy day away from the computer and therefore managed to have a blissful 14 hours without realizing my mistake. Now that I know it, I shall do what I always do in such situations: Pronounce the puzzle "Solved!" in my own head -- what's one tiny letter among friends? -- and go on to the next new thing. But you do provide a valuable service, dear @ACYG. I've always felt that way -- truly.

pdplot 10:26 AM  

Brogrammer? Bromance? I made up a word a couple of years ago in a scrabble game - deerlot. A place where deer congregate.My kids disallowed it. Imagine. I'm waiting for it to show up in a puzzle.

David Fabish 12:34 PM  

Sorry, but I've been know technology for almost 30 years, and I've never ONCE gear someone use the word "brogrammer". That messed up the whole center other the puzzle for me.

David Fabish 12:36 PM  

Sorry, but I've been in technology for almost 30 years, and I've never ONCE gear someone use the word "brogrammer". That messed up the whole center other the puzzle for me.

John Doucette 2:17 PM  

Thank you thank you thank you. You echoed pretty much every one of my frustrations with this exasperating puzzle, which is why I come here after a puzzle like this. Longest solve time in ages (over 40 minutes) and I needed several word/square checks from the app at that. I feel better now.

OlyL 3:31 PM  

Ok. Not so smug today (Monday) when I finally finished Saturday. Yes, I have the flu, but no excuses. And then I went back only to discover several!!! wrong answers that I had just jammed in there. Chalking it up to delirium. Which Z ran into driving across Ohio, I shudder to think what would have happened to him if he had driven I 90 across Montana. And, Nancy, you have elected to believe that you finished the puzzle like I elect to believe that the Sea hawks beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl. Well, I guess my belief is more demonstrably wrong....

Blue Stater 4:02 PM  

Guess I was right to let this one go over to Tuesday. A real stinkerissimo. Can't we do better than this? I fondly ask.

spacecraft 12:21 PM  

DNS! That's right: didn't even start. The only thing I knew in the entire clue set was BOBA Fett--but when I tracked down the number there were five squares!! That was enough to make me cry uncle!

Burma Shave 1:55 PM  


he FELTSAD just to SIT an GAB,


El Dingo 2:03 PM  

Oh my god: a Limelighters reference!

rondo 2:21 PM  

I got the top third, or so, so fast it made my eyes water. Then an IRONSHOT to the bottom third and most of that was done right away, too. A hand of PINOCHLE got me PARTNERDANCING, and . . . stuck. I tried tORmE for HORNE and uNDiD for ENDED, so a bunch of words were not about to show up, including HORACE, CIRCE, and JANGO. And ramADA turns out to be POSADA. So . . . big fat DNF.

And for a while it as SITting as BArMOBILE. Forgot about the wings/fins part of the clue and was thinking of a pedal-pub type vehicle. Duh.

You know the CELEB parents and boyfriend of yeah baby LEILA George.**

So much for a perfect year.

** Vincent D'Onofrio & Greta Schachi, Sean Penn

thefogman 2:30 PM  

Rex is spot on with his comments about this one. Like POTUS #45, just tough for the sake of being tough. It took me forever to solve. On top of all the near-insurmountable challenges caused by the bizarre cluing, I had BArracuda instead of BATMOBILE for the longest time. In the end, the numerous erasures, smudges, write-overs and white-out blots looked like one huge INKBLOTTEST. Hard to STAYSANE after this one. Proud to have completed - with lots of help from Mrs. Foggy.

Diana, LIW 3:26 PM  

Aeaea, Aeaea Aeaea...where have you been all my crossword life?

I was waiting to hear everyone else telling me how easy it was. Or how they won in the end No write overs. You know the drill.

Nae. You all admitted the truth.

I looked up a few "starter" names - you know who they would be. Then, it was a fun puzzle. But not one to bring out at a tournament. It would have the whole crowd muttering amongst themselves. Like last year's Puzzle #5. By you-know-who. Yeah...JF.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

centralscrewtinizer 3:57 PM  

Had a dnf because I never relented and changed that l to a p, which should have been obvious.
Think dnf stands for darn nancy finish.

thefogman 4:49 PM  

There were lots of tricky misdirects in this one. I had uhAul before ALAMO, HOffa before HORNE, mAMBA before SAMBA, pROGRAMMER before BROGRAMMER, BArracuda before BATMOBILE, harbORsBAR before AIRPORTBAR and many more. It was almost insurmountable at times and not a whole lot of fun - although there were a few bright spots. A bit more get-ability in the cluing would have made this one a great one. ALAS it was not to be...

leftcoastTAM 4:56 PM  

Wasn't totally at sea, but pretty much with Rex on this one and, of course, a DNF. (Did Rex actually say he didn't finish?)

Anything to like? Yes, the BOTOXINJECTION/SOCCERSTARS overlap and their "head shot" clues.

Joe in Syndicationland 8:21 PM  

syndicationland chiming in. Has there ever been a puzzle that OFL rated challenging, and liked?
ps recapha worked smoothly today!

fritz 7:42 PM  

I hate star wars. I've learned, by crosswords, there's someone named Boba Fett. So he has an idiot brother, eh?

Carnival has cruise ships. Ocean liners are a different vehicle, totally.
Didn't like this puzzle.

J Howard 6:39 PM  

If you don't think of Lena when you hear Stormy Weather, you don't know Lena.
Kicking myself for how long it took me to come up with BATMOBILE, since I have an entire collection of them.

J Howard 6:42 PM  

"Father", actually. Jango is the DNA donor for the clone army, and Boba was his choice from the first batch to raise as a son.
(Sorry for the geek-splaining)

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