Loser in 1872 presidential election / FRI 3-23-19 / Pacific land west of Fiji / Fellow who might go squee / Rosé relatives

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Constructor: David Steinberg

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (for me, maybe Easy for you, gauging early Twitter reaction)

THEME: none ... well, I hope not ...  — that grid looks like a cylon bunny rabbit, so I'm half-expecting a theme to hop out at me any second, but so far ... yeah, I think there's no theme

Word of the Day: HORACE GREELEY (35A: Loser in the 1872 presidential election) —
Horace Greeley (February 3, 1811 – November 29, 1872) was an American author and statesman who was the founder and editor of the New-York Tribune, among the great newspapers of its time. Long active in politics, he served briefly as a congressman from New York, and was the unsuccessful candidate of the new Liberal Republican party in the 1872 presidential election against incumbent President Ulysses S. Grant.
Greeley was born to a poor family in Amherst, New Hampshire. He was apprenticed to a printer in Vermont and went to New York City in 1831 to seek his fortune. He wrote for or edited several publications and involved himself in Whig Party politics, taking a significant part in William Henry Harrison's successful 1840 presidential campaign. The following year, he founded the Tribune, which became the highest-circulating newspaper in the country through weekly editions sent by mail. Among many other issues, he urged the settlement of the American West, which he saw as a land of opportunity for the young and the unemployed. He popularized the slogan "Go West, young man, and grow up with the country." He endlessly promoted utopian reforms such as socialism, vegetarianism, agrarianism, feminism, and temperance, while hiring the best talent he could find.
Greeley's alliance with William H. Seward and Thurlow Weed led to him serving three months in the House of Representatives, where he angered many by investigating Congress in his newspaper. In 1854, he helped found and may have named the Republican Party. Republican newspapers across the nation regularly reprinted his editorials. During the Civil War, he mostly supported Lincoln, though he urged the president to commit to the end of slavery before he was willing to do so. After Lincoln's assassination, he supported the Radical Republicans in opposition to President Andrew Johnson. He broke with Republican President Ulysses Grant because of corruption and Greeley's sense that Reconstruction policies were no longer needed.
Greeley was the new Liberal Republican Party's presidential nominee in 1872. He lost in a landslide despite having the additional support of the Democratic Party. He was devastated by the death of his wife, who died five days before the election, and died himself three weeks later, before the Electoral College had met. (wikipedia)
• • •

Felt easier than yesterday's puzzle but took me a little longer. The universe has a way of evening things out; yesterday I was fast when everyone was slow, and today I'm mostly medium when lots of people are setting personal records. I just took too long coming out of the gate. Got LEFT JAB (tentatively) right away, but could only get JOAD and ALT to work in the Downs. That TRUES clues is really awful—when would anyone line up a bunch of T's like that? I've seen clues like that for Greek letters, e.g. [H H H] for ETAS, but that's a fairly literal clue. This one, ugh. But I digress. I had LETS ON for 1D: Intimates (LOVERS), and that was pretty much that. I mean, that put a dagger in any ultra-fast solving time that might have been in the offing. Eventually got FANBOY from the "F" (3D: Fellow who might go "Squee!") and the rest of the corner went down. Had some trouble getting out of there because BLUSH WINES is not a phrase I hear. Or, maybe, just not a wine type I drink. Even when I guessed BLUSH I wasn't sure what came next. "Can it just be ... WINES?" It was in fact that simple. I also had trouble with DISTRESSED DENIM, partly because I had LOBAL (?) instead of LOBAR for 28D: Relating to part of the lung, but mostly because I know the phrase DISTRESSED JEANS, not DISTRESSED DENIM, and lastly, "trendy"? Really? Still? But these answers aside, the fill seemed remarkably solid to me, especially when you consider the magnitude of that middle stack, good grief! That's a 3 / 5 / 7 / 9 / 11 / 13 / 15 stack with hardly a wobble in it. Really impressive. If for no reasons other than the insane grid shape and the solidity of that central stack, I really like this puzzle.

Here is my difficulty map:

It should probably say VERY EASY down below, because I came at it from the west, and once I threw SLEEP ON across, I got every short Down, in order, in quick succession, which made the long Acrosses instant gimmes. I was going Monday fast down there. Was a little worried I wasn't gonna get into the NE, when ---EBEFORE wasn't doing anything for me, but then I got COME and both ODWALLA (16A: Juice brand owned by Minute Maid) and MAITAIS (18A: Tiki bar orders) were gimmes from there, and the rest of the corner went down easily. This is the fourth puzzle in a row that I have mostly or totally enjoyed, which feels like something that hasn't happened in ages, so that's nice. Enjoy your Saturday.
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

    [Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


    jae 12:11 AM  

    More like an easy-medium Fri. than a Sat. I put in LEFT JAB and just kept going. The toughest part of this was deciding TRUES sorta made sense (still not entirely convinced).

    germs before MEMES.

    Great looking grid!

    This was fine, but yesterday’s was more interesting, liked it.

    Brian 12:25 AM  

    38D should be "¡No ___!"
    Not right to pervert the Spanish just to fake ambiguity.

    TomAz 12:28 AM  

    I like Rex's rating each section of the grid separately. That works.

    The NE was not easy for me; it was the last part of the puzzle I filled in (excepting one square, which I'll get to in a moment). "What's the name of that show where the cab driver drives around asking trivia questions?" -- took me a while. Wanted Ore-Ida for ODWALLA -- yeah, no one drinks potato juice, I know. The downs up there were brutal for me, except BASSET, which finally gave me CASH CAB, and it eventually fell.

    The NW though fell very quickly so it was a good start. I suspected LEFT JAB, which made me suspect LOVERS, which immediately gave me VANUATU. I don't know why I know VANUATU, but I do, and it made everything flow. ALT and BLUSH WINES fell immediately, JOAD soon after, and the rest was gettable.

    In the middle, PHOBE and LAWYERS were easy, but I wanted udon NOODLES for too long, so that slowed me down. ERODED, SOLED, DELE, all pretty straightforward, but didn't help getting SOBA. Had ediT instead of SORT (cuz of udon) and well.. it all worked out eventually.

    In the bottom I got PISTILS (though misspelled at first) and ROAST PORK easily, but I wanted TimewaRpING instead of TELEPORTING.. I knew it was wrong but I really wanted it to be right, and it took a while to get past it.

    The very last square was the J in JAWS. I wanted mAWS -- which really is a better answer to the clue -- but DmS made no sense. I ran the alphabet and got the J but wasn't happy with it. I don't like that clue for JAWS, it's not really accurate I don't think.

    speaking of ALT: The clue/answer made me smile. I was at SXSW last week, where I saw lots of ALT music. I am a particular fan of that weird but wonderful place where country and punk sort of get mixed up together, and so I bought a Bloodshot Records tee shirt which reads "ALT COUNTRY NOT ALT FACTS".

    puzzlehoarder 12:57 AM  

    Way too easy for a Saturday. Like grid spanning stacks, stunt grids rarely generate difficulty.

    This is a debut appearance for "squee" as a clue. Luckily I've encountered it in an LA Times puzzle previously so FANBOY went right in.

    LOBAL/LOBAR and ERODES/ERODED we're my only write overs. The latter was due to forgetting the clues tense by the time I decided to write in the entry. Having both of them be solved by recognizing 37A saved some time.

    As far as I can tell the clue for TRUES is text speak for "that's the truth". Maybe TRUES is an "adorbs" way of saying the same thing.

    Carola 1:21 AM  

    Oof, he got me with those TTTs. My fault for always having thought that the island was "Vanatu" (interference from "Xanadu"?) and for being too impatient on my vowel run for the extra square, shrugging, and guessing an "e." Nope. Other than that an enjoyable romp.

    Quite a repast with various examples of SOLID FOOD: ROAST PORK, SOBA NOODLES A ROLL and one CLAM + MAI TAIS, BLUSH WINES, ODWALLA, and LEMONADE.

    Sue T. 1:40 AM  

    Woo hoo! Count me in as one of the people who scored a personal best on Saturday, which is welcome after taking 10 minutes longer than average to complete Friday.

    Anonymous 2:20 AM  

    The grid shape was intimidating, but the solve was soooo easy.

    albatross shell 2:25 AM  

    Beautiful grid, nice symmetry.
    Good stacks. The NW Rex labels medium went in easiest and quickest for me. Got DISTRESSEDDENIM with just the D in DENIM.
    I'm no expert on trendy, but if performers SNL and the late night talk shows count as trendy, custom distressed jeans fill the bill. Then enough crosses to get HORACEGREELEY and then finished the South and up to the NE which probably took me longest measured by squares per minute.
    SHUTUP before CLAMUP, a MAITAI mental block, and a memory of JERK but not SWIM.

    Nice LEFTJAB CASHCAB rhyming symmetry.
    The clues were as straight forward as any I remember lately. What happened to those crossword question marks. The LEMONADESTAND clue had me off balance.

    And what's with FANBOY and squee. A CRY of awe and excitement. I thought it was going to be FATBOY for a time, and had visions of Deliverance, and mobs chasing David with banjos flailing for the inappropriateness of it all. What do we mean or demean by fanboy? And is that mob forming? I am really ignorant on this one. No idea at all.

    Marc Kwiatkowski 2:39 AM  

    Got URSWEET, NAPS, and PERP in short order and those downs convinced me that 52A had to be timeportals. Wasted a lot of time before figuring out that 53A was ROASTPORK and that 52A had to be TELEPORTING. Still think timeportals are more futuristic. Teleporting is so late 20th century.

    chefwen 3:10 AM  

    My heart drops whenever I see Master Steinberg’s name at the top of the puzzle, as I know I’m in for a challenge. This one started out slowly, but once I found a foothold I was off to the races. Probably my fastest Saturday puzzle. I don’t time myself, but I was done before I was ready to be done.

    Never heard of ODWALLA juice, downs only. MAITAIS on the other hand are very familiar, YUM!

    Loved the clues for 50A Ten year old business and 28A Some deal with trust issues.

    Robin 3:42 AM  

    Whiplash! Fastest Thursday solve in a year followed by a really miserable Friday solve, and then there's ... this, an average Saturday solve.

    But honestly, some good clueing here. My favorite would be LEMONADESTAND.

    Regarding DISTRESSEDDENIM, I've lately noted manyfolks in the local university 'hood with holes in their jeans (oh my, is it 1979 all over again!), and wondered if there was a fashion statement in the wind. For example, recall the early '90s when tie-dye experienced a revival.

    Anonymous 4:54 AM  

    What the heck is Squee? I got FANBOY from the crosses, but don't understand the clue.

    Anonymous 4:55 AM  

    What is Squee?

    Hungry Mother 5:16 AM  

    Almost got it, but had to turn on the red letters to finish it off - two mistakes. Heading out soon to run a 5K race. I hope it goes a bit better.

    Lewis 6:09 AM  

    Well, David is [artful] in the very best sense, in his polished grids, and often his grid design, such as today's rabbit with stubby ears. I solved bottoms up after stalling in the NW, then looking for low hanging fruit, finding PERP, ISTO, and STIR, and spreading from there. There's also that cross of SLEEP ON and NAPS, and just look at that gorgeous center stack, a matrix of letters that form solid words across and down. Try making one of those some time!

    So, art in the design, art in the execution, and to cap it off, one of David's fortes, cluing, where, when the answer clicks, it comes with a mini-burst of joy. That happened today for me with the clues for DUNE, POLO, JAW, LAWYERS, SOLID FOOD, and especially LEMONADE STAND.

    My only question is the [TTT] clue. If T is standing for TRUE, then two T's would have worked in the clue. Three is accurate enough for the answer, but arbitrary, whereas two is more elegant. Is there a reason for three?

    But that's as nitty as it gets, a mote in another masterpiece of crosswordery by a young master. Once again, David, bravo!

    JJ 6:33 AM  

    I agree with Rex's write up, and with Lewis. That central stack is amazing. This is the first time, before I started, that I turned my iPad to my wife and said " Hey, look at this grid!" I don't know why Rex had a problem with JEANS, instead of DENIM. The clue specifically asks for the material. Another really enjoyable Steinberg puzzle.

    SouthsideJohnny 7:26 AM  

    Wow, what does STE stand for - is it really some kind of a room in an office ? How does one get from T T T to TRUES ?

    Z 7:36 AM  

    So is today’s rating an anti-diss? Seems to me that Friday and Saturday should have flipped.

    DJ’S are Prom V.I.P.S? Aren’t they the hired help? Since king, queen, nor srs. was* not working, I had to run the alphabet to come up with that J. Yeah, yeah. I get it. That doesn’t mean I like it. Same for that TRUES clue. Otherwise a fine little tussle.

    I thought that once you can buy it at Target and Walmart it’s no longer “trendy.” Or maybe that means it is peak trendy but not “chic.” I dunno. I’ve never had problems putting holes in my jeans myself. That one that always forms where the back pocket is stitched to the jean, right below the right cheek, isn’t as attractive when one isn’t 24 anymore.

    @anon4:54/4:55 - “Squee” represents the sound a FANBOY makes when they meet their idol.
    @JJ - I and, apparently, you are among the common folk who actually read the entire clue. Rex, like lots of speed solvers, does not, relying on pattern recognition and answers being “in the language.” DISTRESSED jeans is much more common, which is what slowed Rex down.

    *A fine example of being “correct” being wrong.

    Z 7:39 AM  

    @Southside Johnny -STE = Suite, as in many offices’ mailing addresses. And in a True or False test, three TRUES in a row might be written T T T. If you think that’s weak you are not alone.

    Teedmn 7:44 AM  

    This is a very fragmented solve, but it could have been the most open of grids ever and I still would have Naticked on ADA crossing ODWALLA. Yes, ODWALLA looks very familiar now but while solving, OrWALLA looked just as good.

    Other than that, David served up a softball of a Saturday - I was only stymied by that peculiar clue for 4D crossing VANUATU and the above-mentioned DNF.

    I loved the clue for LEMONADE STAND and SOLID FOOD was good also. Thanks, David.

    mmorgan 8:12 AM  

    Didn’t know what a fanboy or a squee were, so FAtBOY seemed like something that might reasonably squee, although it also seemed a bit bizarre.

    Briefly thought those weird TTTs were supposed to be TReES.

    I don’t find the grid especially attractive but I get that the 3-5-7-etc. thing is a nifty construction feat.

    I found this tough and challlenging but rewarding and pleasant, despite my FAtBOY error.

    DavidL 8:18 AM  

    Impressive puzzle with great long answers and not much fill garbage. TRUES, FANBOY and VANUATU (that first U is a killer) all crossing each other caused me to have to leave and come back to the NW, but after some poking and hoping I got it.

    Like others, I found this much easier than Friday, which I had to google to finish (CARLO PONTI?)

    Well done Mr. Steinberg.

    Anonymous 8:22 AM  

    This was fun, but definitely NOT a Saturday. Just started throwing things down and before I knew it I'd blown my previous Saturday record out of the water (did this one in 3:32).

    Matthew G. 8:23 AM  

    If no one has a better justification for the clue on TRUES than the ones I’ve seen so far in these comments, I’m calling that a failed clue. Anyone?

    Other than that one flaw, though, I thought this was a five-star puzzle.

    susanhl 8:32 AM  

    Yes! I felt the same about this clue. A Spanish answer should have proper punctuation.

    Suzie Q 8:40 AM  

    Lovely puzzle with plenty of fun moments.
    Great clue for aliens. That is a point I have jokingly pondered.
    @ Roo, thought of you at 35D.
    Used to watch Cash Cab all the time. Sort of Jeopardy! lite.
    Remember the video of that sobbing kid upset about Britney Spears? If he ever got to meet her I'll bet he would have said Squee!
    Thanks for a fun Saturday David S.

    webwinger 8:54 AM  

    Remarkably easy for a Saturday DS puzzle. Was somewhat put off by the grid shape at first, but @Rex's comment and illustration of the adorbs bunny rabbit and praise for the big stack turned me around. Like OFL, I had "let's on" before LOVERS at 1D. Similar reactions to a number of others re DJS/JAW and TRUES. I consider myself something of a geography maven, but had never ever heard of VANUATU before. Live and learn!

    BTW, not so many years ago David Steinberg had his first NYT puzzle published at the age of 15, just like our Tuesday constructor Daniel Larsen this week.

    Anne 9:04 AM  

    STE= Suite

    Anne 9:06 AM  

    The Ts are aligned, lined up, = trued.

    albatross shell 9:23 AM  

    I went through the same list as you did, and to the same answer. DJS. But I thought it was a good answer. DJS CAN BE well-paid stars these days. Not that I know any. But they are the show. And are not all stars at concerts and perhaps many chefs at restaurants hired help and VIPs? ANYWAY that's how I took it.

    GILL I. 9:26 AM  

    So I wake up at 4 and am wide-eyed but the cells are still asleep. I just kept staring and nothing was stirring. Oh, OK, you know JOAD so just put that in and stop thinking so hard. I had the JAB part for 1A but nothing else came to mind. I'm not too good at boxing terms. Went over to meet up with the east coast and could only get MAI TAIS. Do I need a coffee break? Yes. Took one.
    I knew BLUSH for 7D was correct and the S gave me STE for 20A. That one little tiny word gave me everything I needed to open up the bunny face. Amazing how that happens. Filled in the WINES, the TOY DOGS and COME BEFORE and I let out a little squee. It's fun when that happens - especially on a Saturday.
    HORACE GREELEY off the G from DOGS. My grandmother, a lifetime Republican, admired him greatly. She gave me a book to read of his. I checked with Goog and it's called "Horace Greeley. Champion of American Freedom." He was a man way before his time. If only we had him in the White House now. He embodied so many things that I admire in an intelligent person. He loved (and never cheated on) his wife, he loved his country and treated it with respect and, and, and.....None to be found of this caliber nowadays. Does Orange even read any history?
    So I leave the middle section an go backup to the attic to see if I can finish 1A and 8A. CASH CAB finally came to mind and the little rabbit ear was completed. Loved watching that show. Went back to 1A which didn't want to open. I had UNDIES instead of LOVERS (I like undies better) and SATEEN instead of ENAMEL. It got sorted out because of REOS.
    Favorite clue: Speaking part = JAW and the LEMONADE STAND. DS does some great cluing.
    So I finished this mighty fine Saturday with only one Google. I wanted to check and see if PHOBE was correct. It was. Yay me. Back to bed.

    Nancy 9:30 AM  

    Other than the NE section, I liked this puzzle a lot. But let's start with the NW, where EMenD before EMBED (19A) gave me all kinds of trouble. Not only did this keep me from seeing FAN BOY (I have no idea who or what he is, but he sounds like someone who might go "Squee"). This gave me TR-nS for "T T T". And so I confidently wrote in TRANS, as in LGBT. Eventually I corrected all the mistakes.

    But the NE was a woe. There's a game show called CASH CAB? There's a drink called ODWALLA? MAI TAIS was a guess that enabled me to change SHUT UP to CLAM UP. I ran the alphabet to figure out the fad dance. The SkIM? The ShIM? Oh, yes, there, all the way down at W was The SWIM. That sounded like a dance, sort of.

    By comparison, the whole bottom section with the much longer answers was much easier for me. No brand names or pop culture to be found there. That section was extremely enjoyable. And the cluing was terrific throughout the entire puzzle. A fun struggle.

    Bob Mills 9:31 AM  

    Got it all except "TRUES" and "VANUATU." How in the world are T T T trues?

    RooMonster 9:38 AM  

    HI ALL !
    What a wacky grid. Like four puzs for the price of one. My first run-through netted me only 3 answers, same as yesterday, said, "Oh, boy, here we go again", but turned out not to be as tough as YesterPuz. Got NE first, with MAITAIS a big help, and P_T also helping. Got a chuckle out of the ALIENS clue. Actually went ON A ROLL and got that center 3-15 stack next. Suspected it was LAWYERS, and suspected TOY DOGS, although Pugs don't go in that category, do they? So those two opened up that stack nicely.

    Next section, NW, then the South. Only had one writeover. srS-DJS, once I saw SAW wasn't going to work for 39A. Surprised how clean my grid is! So if I can get this puz without major ink stains, it figures many are setting records. Held up for a tad at the TTT, had TR_ES, wanted either an E or a U, went with @M&A's mantra, when in doubt, put in a U. Victory!

    Minor nit, but grid would've seemed just a tad better if DS git rid of the blocks surrounding STE. C'mon DS, I know you'd be able to pull that off! :-)

    Enjoyable, very clean grid. SO SWEET, one might say.


    Birchbark 9:40 AM  

    I looked up VANUATU in my old atlas and got to studying the far-flung isles of the South Pacific. Otherwise might have come in under 10:00, which has only happened a couple of times on a Saturday.

    Re @Rex's link to Warren Zevon's "Lawyers, Guns, and Money" -- Hank Williams, Jr. did a fine cover of that fine tune. Righteous and campy, the musical version of an upside-down exclamation point. For no real reason, it became a jukebox anthem during my later-bohemian phase lo those many years ago.

    David 9:48 AM  

    STE=Suite=Office rooms, not an office room; although I could see real estate agents calling a single room a suite in order to gussy it up. And it's basically a postal address. Not that it slowed me down, it was filled by the downs. But I did look at it for a few seconds scratching my head. Now that I'm here I remember several years ago, when we moved our offices from one building, where we had the 20th floor, to another building, where we have the 24th floor, USPS would not deliver mail addressed to "Fl 24", a standard business address. When we finally got through to the powers that be we were informed the address they had on file was "Suite 2401". Ah, the obstinacy of bureaucracy.

    Got old Horace off of two letters thanks to driving along Rt. 101 in NH for decades.

    It appears TTT is textspeak for "truth" which, apparently is now "trues" in adorbspeak, as noted above.

    This one is solid, but way too easy for a Saturday.

    Anonymous 9:48 AM  

    Missing the Lawyer/Buggy connection. Help.

    GPO 9:52 AM  

    OK, So I never complain about the quality of the clues, and sometimes, I confess, smirk to myself at those who do.

    But WTF?! Are three T’s in a row supposed to be three answers to hypothetical, which is to say, imaginary, true/false questions?

    Whose idea was that? Otherwise this was a very enjoyable and easy Saturday morning puzzle.

    Joe R. 9:56 AM  

    Throw me in with the easy, easy, easy crowd. I finished in 8:04, setting a new Saturday record and beating my Sat. average by a full ten minutes. The only thing that slowed me down was that I started out with RAMENNOODLE for 33A, putting SAVE for 31D, then realized 33A had to be plural, so I replaced it with UDONNOODLES, and changed 31D to EDIT, before finally getting 31A, realizing it needed an S there instead of the E I had, and getting SOBANOODLES and SORT. Probably cost me a bit of time, but otherwise I flew through the whole thing at breakneck speed.

    Arden 10:06 AM  

    Totally agree!

    pabloinnh 10:20 AM  

    Finally find myself agreeing with OFL on a lot of answers being in the Can It Really Be That Easy? category, e.g. LEFTJAB, BLUSHWINES, ROASTPORK, MAITAIS.

    Also wanted SRS before DJS which lead to momentary befuddlement. Is STE a better abbreviation for "suite" or "sainte"? I'm partial to the latter, probably because we are in Quebec often.

    Basically this was a trip down a wide blue cruiser with freshly groomed powder, and if that isn't nice, I don't know what is. Thanks Mr. Steinberg.

    Outside The Box 10:21 AM  

    “Hated on”?? That means criticized severely?? Really??
    Dumb clue and dumber answer.

    Kindaso 10:22 AM  

    This is a great puzzle no doubt. Beautiful grid, lots of good fill and a maturity from this constructor that's just been a joy to experience. Thanks!

    That being said, I'm a little tired of all the liberties the NYT puzzle takes anymore and it's diminished the solving experience because it affects the way you approach a clue, "Is there some logic here or is it just cutesy or wrong?" Ah ha, or ah geez? @Brian is right about No Mas. That's a small one and I got it quickly from a cross, but it's a feint based on misinformation, not cleverness.

    It felt like there was a lot of sloppiness this week. Not as bad as the blogger makes it seem overall, but a cumulative effect.

    Sarah 10:48 AM  

    Beat my Saturday time record by like three minutes while sitting in the Marriott ballroom waiting for the ACPT to start. I'd prefer that it happen on a puzzle everyone else found SUPER hard, but I'll take it.

    kitshef 10:49 AM  

    Much, much easier than yesterday. Love the stack. T T T was terrible. LOBAl made DISTRESSEDDENIM hard to see.

    Ando 10:50 AM  

    Agreed too. I left MAS in there tentatively because I though there was no way they would muff the punctuation.

    Beadola 10:57 AM  

    TTT for trues is probably related to gimme the tee from the other day. T is truth. New slang, originated in the drag culture.

    twig 11:13 AM  

    It's Odie!

    nyc_lo 11:13 AM  

    Slightly faster than average, but still felt medium-tough to me. Definitely filled in from the bottom up. The lousy TTT clue had me flummoxed (shame on them), as did LOBAR and VANUATU (shame on me for never having heard of either, I guess). Other than that, a fun puzzle.

    Hartley70 11:18 AM  

    It’s not often I get excited just opening an app, but one look at this empty grid made me gleeful. I am stack starved on a regular basis since a MAS puzzle became noMAS, and to combine these lovely stacks with David Steinberg fill was just about perfect.

    It was a swell 3am romp with LEMONADESTAND and ALIENS giving me a laugh. CASHCAB was fun because whenever I catch it while channel surfing I have to stop for it. I need that cab to stop for me someday. Diana the Syndie told me yesterday that the classic “Ohrwasher’s” Bakery in NYC would make a good answer and ODWALLA felt like a weird coincidence.

    And then I hit the tiny NW corner which might have taken as long as the rest of the puzzle. I’ve never heard of FANBOY or “Squee” or VANUATU. TTT wanted to be a tri for triple and I thought EMend was very clever, much more so than EMBED. Since I had nothing better to do in the middle of the night, I had plenty of time to sort the confusion out and finished.

    davidm 11:29 AM  

    Knowing the completely useless fact that Horace Greeley was the George McGovern of 1872 got me out of the starting blocks fast on this one — it was the first answer I filled in, and it’s always good to get a long one like that on a typically brutal Saturday. Oh, wait, it’s not useless info at all — it helps me solve puzzles like this! ;-)

    JC66 11:33 AM  

    Everything filled in like a Wednesday for me except for VAteATU crossing crossing FAtBOY and TReES in the NW and OD?ALLA crossing
    S?IM in the NE.

    @Anon 9:48

    I think you're confusing 26A (DUNES) with 28A (LAWYERS).

    GHarris 11:45 AM  

    I thought Squee was a high school buddy of Brett Kavanaugh. When I’m in sync with Steinberg as I was today it’s a walk in the park except for the wholly unfair crossing of true with Vanuatu. I had trees and, therefore failed to finish.

    Anonymous 11:53 AM  

    I detest Steinberg's cluing because it always feels forced to the point of wrong or absurd. This puzzle's was no exception, especially with the execrable TTT = TRUES. Really? Come on! Prom VIPs are kings or queens, not DJS. As someone posted previously, they're the hired help for crying out loud! Is an usher a theater production's VIP? It's a ridiculous distortion of the term. Finally, you can STIR when you're coming out of a light nap, so why the misleadingly specific "deep sleep"? Bah! Phooey!

    janet 11:53 AM  

    This felt fresh - a wander through all my associative synapses instead of just the ones devoted to Crosswordese. Thank you David Steinberg for a lovely burst on a spring morning!

    Anonymous 11:57 AM  

    According to Urban Dictionary:
    FANBOY = a male fan, especially one who is obsessive about comics, music, movies, or science fiction
    squee = a cry of delight or excitement
    "I squeed like a 14-year-old fangirl when I found out"

    Who knew? Who cares?

    brandsinger 12:14 PM  

    Wait a minute, Rex. Weren't you triggered by "female flower parts"??? So sexist! You should flag that one for banning.

    Anonymous 12:23 PM  

    Urban Dictionary is completely useless as a reference site.

    Anoa Bob 12:25 PM  

    I thought "Squee" might be some kind of LGBT inside argot so I dropped in FUNBOY at 3 Down.

    The clue for LEMONADE STAND was totally dorb.

    old timer 12:26 PM  

    DNF because I had "paw" instead of JAW and the unknown DPS instead of DJS. In my day, school dances might involve records being played, but a prom *always* featured a live musicians.

    Worked this puzzle bottom up, and the bottom was super easy with SLEEPON EMER POLO ROASTPORK PISTILS all gimmes. Ever the optimist, I had commitment "prone" before PHOBE, but once I had PHOBE, BLUSHWINES came quickly. They were a thing here in wine country before customers started insisting on true rose's. (Pro tip: if your local watering hole offers a Rose' from Kokomo, have a glass).

    My only brain fart was thinking Mr. GREELEY was "Howard" before his real name came to mind.

    SandyM 12:27 PM  

    Nope. T = true as F = false

    jb129 12:31 PM  

    Never got Fanboy & don't care too.

    Chip Hilton 12:45 PM  

    Hate to be repetitive, but, like so many, I flew through this except for TTT and SObA. I guessed correctly on SOBA thanks to LOBAR making some sense, but was utterly clueless on the TTTs. Didn’t know the land west of Fiji so decided, alas, on E, after running all the vowels. Other than that, a fun, albeit under-challenging Saturday.

    Masked and Anonymous 12:50 PM  

    @RP: "cylon bunny rabbit"? Reasonably schlocky, but it don't quite elicit a squee from m&e, due to it havin only the one rabbit ear. M&A's first reaction was: Gort, barada nikto.
    Anyhoo… Primo use again of the EW-symmetry puzgrid -- really makes the solvequest seem fresh & different.

    Tough top (bunny ear?) corners, almost cut off from the civilized world. Trouble in NW due to VANUATU/FANBOY and that excellent tho raised-by-the-wolves TRUES clue. Trouble also in the NE, due to ADA/CASHCAB & ODWALLA. M&A quickly adapted, by zoomin down in panic to the puzgrid bottom, and startin to get somethin for his valuable nanoseconds, down there.

    Best desperation was the bottom land's upsweep to the west, featurin: EMER. SOSWEET. HIALL.
    Amazin fillins in that central gridpart, as @RP already mentioned. faves: LAWYERS on SOLIDFOOD.

    staff weeject pick: Spanish MAS. Couldn't clue em up in a motherly way, becuz of possible conflict with the cool JOAD clue. Honrable mention to DOT, clued up in a LO-BAR way, as abbrev. meat.

    Tanx a lot for the feisty Gortgrid SatPuz, Mr. Steinberg. (Melted my tanks.) Hope U have as much panic-filled fun with ACPT puz#5, as M&A did with this here puppy of yers. snort

    Masked & Anonymo3Us

    "last" in the series:

    CDilly52 1:18 PM  

    My experience mirrors that of @GillI 9:26 (including the being up at 4 am (restless PTSD cat because of loud thunderstorm). JOAD drops in after reading all the acrosses in the NW and NE “minis.” This solved for me exactly like many others; bottom up. Laughed when I first saw the bottom half wasn’t the hard part! I typically have trouble with Mr. Steinberg’s clues. He so cleverly uses identically spelled words that have separate meanings and pronunciation (intimATE-INtimate) and after filling the bottom half at breakneck speed, that little trick popped into my sleep-deprived brain and LOVERS fell which helped finish the NW. but the NE took me way too long. Brain wouldn’t acknowledge anything but horse and buggy, I can never remember ODWALLA even though I can see the hidioisky expensive juice bottles in the grocery am never sure how MEMES is supposed to be used in a sentence and never heard of CASHCAB. Didn’t help that I was sure rate higher was right for 8D for way way WAAAAY too long! Same old daily question for solvers: is it a wheelhouse or an outhouse day? Started in the wheelhouse and ended in the it. But I finished in average Saturday time (for me). Liked it.

    Joe Dipinto 1:25 PM  

    Way easier than yesterday. Loved the ALIENS clue -- that was my first answer to go in -- and the "10-year-old business". Is "Cash Cab" still on the air? I used to enjoy that show.

    Really, all of the entries were good, but a few harder clues would have improved it for Saturday solving, imo.

    OffTheGrid 1:28 PM  

    Elegant. Sort of easy for Saturday but very satisfying. No junk. I Liked TTT. I didn't know at first how it meant TRUES. Then I realized that it meant TRUE, TRUE, TRUE, or TRUES, as in a True False test, as @Z described. I think many disliked this clue because it flummoxed them and added to solve time. It is a quirky clue but clever and makes sense.

    Uncle Alvarez 1:29 PM  

    Iller than dope.

    Wah Jobble 1:31 PM  

    Most enjoyable

    Barry Frain 1:32 PM  

    Way too easy.

    Barry Frain
    East Biggs, CA

    Bree140 1:40 PM  

    Best thing about this otherwise hateful puzzle is that the
    clue for 19A made me think of the scene in A Christmas
    Story where Flick gets his tongue stuck to a frozen pole.
    OK, I know it’s a pole in the movie, not a post, and his
    tongue is stuck ONTO the pole, not INTO it — but just
    thinking about that scene made me smile, which is
    more than David Steinberg has ever managed to do.

    Duck Dharma 1:47 PM  

    What a hateful comment.

    Jah Wobby Bob 1:49 PM  

    Doper than ill.

    Fountains of Golden Fluids 1:50 PM  

    Does anyone remember laughter?

    Lewis 1:52 PM  

    @webwinger -- Actually this was Daniel Larson's second puzzle. He published his first at age 13, which I believe is the record at the NYT.

    Masked and Anonymous 2:41 PM  

    M&A don't wish the Steinbergmeister any bad ACPT luck, btw. Just one nice moment of puzpanic, followed by winnin the whole sheebang, if he can.

    M&A version of the @RP SatPuz difficulty diagram:

    Harder than snot / Odder than Walla
    ********* Medium-Hardish **********
    ******** Tolerable Friendly **********


    Anonymous 3:26 PM  

    T T T This is what a tool called a true square, t-square or true for short, looks like. It is used to make an accurate right angle.

    Small t-squares are used in drafting, larger ones in carpentry.

    In carpenter and construction speak, they are used to "true" an angle on a board or piece of sheetrock, for example. I use my father's old carpentry t-square to "true" or mark off right angles when I cut cloth in sewing. True, trues, truing are words commonly used in building and in making useful things.

    David Steinberg may have had in mind the True/False concept, a trio of "trues" or t-squares, or both. Whatever his intention, I thought it clever and enjoyed this puzzle.

    - Elizabeth down at the hardware store

    Anonymoose 3:52 PM  

    Observation: @Rex stumbled on DISTRESSEDENIM because he was distracted by "jeans". "Jeans" was in the clue and is obviously ruled out immediately. I find it useful to read the clues.

    albatross shell 3:56 PM  

    To defend some clues.
    DJS- See previous post.
    MAS- Punctuation????!!!
    I MEAN PUNC!!U!!A!!TION!!!
    This is crosswordese. Jeez,most clues don't have any.
    Ok that was an attempt at humor If you don't get it, Google Iverson on practice. NBA stuff.
    More sports: This NO MAS became famous because of a Roberto Duran boxing match, despite his probably never saying it. He did quit and, via Howard Cosell, TV's and headlines around the world blared NO MAS.
    It became common to hear it in American slang. Much more often used in speaking than writing. Thus the quotation marks and English punctuation are justified. I think I have seen it clued with no quotes and no exclamation mark, but that doesn't make it right.

    T T T - First notice that it is not TTT. Therefore it is not any texter's work. Also all those suggestions might give you TRUTH, not TRUES. After rejecting stuff like tri-Ts and such, thinking of true-false tests and having a T and R in place, well, duh.
    Kinda like cluing GRADES or GOODGRADES with
    A's and B's. Seems like a normal clue to me.

    What? 5:36 PM  

    Pretty easy but TTT? Are there better clues for TRUES? Yes but this is a Saturday so throw in some hard (awful) ones.

    Disciple of NANL 5:43 PM  

    41 Take time to consider
    46 Female flower parts
    "Stop and smell the roses?!"

    8 Be more important than
    9 Lovelace of computing fame
    "Be the Lovelace of XXX movies?!"

    OISK 6:08 PM  

    Just awful. Two DNF on a row, but never hacing heard of odwalla I hated on the NE. Didn't know Ada, had "shim" for the dance, never got imto the swim in this puzzle . I usually dislike Steinberg 's puzzles, with the brand names, slang, (hated on) squee??? Fanboy? Japanese cuisine, (soba?). Not a reflexion on the quality of construction at all, but he is usually way out of my wheelhouse . I disliked the top half very much, including TTT.

    Wundrin' 6:32 PM  

    I'm interested in your better clues for TRUES.

    JC66 7:35 PM  


    How about aligns?

    Unknown 7:36 PM  

    I think the TTT comes from a truth table in logic T + T = T, T + F = F, etc..

    Yam Erez 2:28 PM  

    Okay, a jaw is not a speaking part. It's not like "Have jaw, will speak". Otherwise, sharks'd speak. Right? Yeah. And "sort" is an Excel command. The only Word command in a menu is sorting a list alphabetically. Otherwise, the go-to is "edit". And the "trues"...that was far-fetched.

    Burma Shave 10:26 AM  


    NAPS are SOSWEET when you SLEEPON the covers,
    SENSING white heat, don’t COMEBEFORE your LOVERS.


    rondo 11:01 AM  

    Well here’s a constructor I haven’t met, but I seem to recall that @D,LIW has. As with many DS puzzles, it took me time to get ONAROLL, even though 1a LEFTJAB was a gimme. Having shutUP before CLAMUP and toALL before HIALL were the sticky spots. Still finished in half an hour.

    And also as with most DS puzzles, there’s usually a lack of yeah baby candidates. Today is no exception unless you want to go back nearly 200 years for ADA Lovelace. Not to be confused with Linda Lovelace, who would come, to fame, 150 years later in the Watergate political thriller Deep Throat.

    Good Saturday challenge. Time for me to CLAMUP.

    spacecraft 11:01 AM  

    HIALL! Technically a DNF for me, thanks to @BS's signature. I never heard of either the juice or the computer geek; I guessed S instead of D. Other than that, I did this one without all that much trouble, for a Saturday. Had to smile when I discovered that it wasn't the business that was ten years old--but the OWNER.

    For a change I laid down the NW in nothing flat, and thought I was ONAROLL. Not so fast. The grid shape makes exiting out of the top corners difficult if you don't know the 7/8 downs. And it took a little while to come up with STE (suite) for the office room; longer than it should've. Actually, since a suite is a multi-room layout, the clue really should have been pluralized.

    For DOD I'll have to add an extra T (one of those from the 4-down clue, maybe) to 14-down and give the prize to Angela BASSETT. No MAS.

    rondo 11:01 AM  

    Well here’s a constructor I haven’t met, but I seem to recall that @D,LIW has. As with many DS puzzles, it took me time to get ONAROLL, even though 1a LEFTJAB was a gimme. Having shutUP before CLAMUP and toALL before HIALL were the sticky spots. Still finished in half an hour.

    And also as with most DS puzzles, there’s usually a lack of yeah baby candidates. Today is no exception unless you want to go back nearly 200 years for ADA Lovelace. Not to be confused with Linda Lovelace, who would come, to fame, 150 years later in the Watergate political thriller Deep Throat.

    Good Saturday challenge. Time for me to CLAMUP.

    centralscrewtinizer 11:59 AM  

    I thought they were try squares, but could not figure why three. The logic thing works for me so thanks @myersp63.
    It's still a natick of the worst order. Otherwise a fine and fun puzz.
    My first entries were PISTILS and PERP.
    Send me lawyers, pistils, and money.

    Wooody2004 1:33 PM  


    Syndicats, syndicats, I love you yes I do
    You and your syndicat eyes
    What's new syndicats whoa oh oh
    What's new syndicats,whoa oh oh

    No cats today, just BASSETs and TOYDOGS, unless you count PHOeBE and her Smelly Cat.

    Are SOBANOODLES considered to be SOLIDFOOD?

    leftcoastTAM 3:51 PM  

    Appears that DS is mellowing a bit, if only for this relatively easy Saturday.

    Favorite answer and clue: LEMONADE STAND for "ten-year-old business".

    Least liked: TRUES clued as T T T (guessed TRiES) crossed by VANUATU (guessed VANiATU).

    Apart from that, enjoyed it.

    leftcoastTAM 4:14 PM  

    @rondo --

    Got an innocent/smirky smile out of your comment on Miss Lovelace's Watergate movie role.

    rondo 4:51 PM  

    @lefty - Good eye. Commas are a very important part of proper punctuation.

    Diana,LIW 6:33 PM  

    One letter. One letter. Can you guess which one?

    Whilst the Oxford comma may be optional in some circles, the parenthetical comma is crucial for clarification. Crucial. Ask @Rondo.

    And yes - I certainly did meet our constructor, and had the pleasure of riding the train from Stamford (ACPT) CT to NYC, and on to the airport with him. A delightful person. He collects puzzle books from all the eras - Maleska and before included - which is where he gets his encyclopedia-esque knowledge base. Well...along with just being a brilliant person who pays attention.

    Did I mention that I missed one letter? One!

    Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords
    Missing one letter

    strayling 7:33 PM  

    Nice puzzle, just hard, enough to be fun. Also, nice one @rondo.

    leftcoastTAM 8:20 PM  

    @strayling --
    You seem to be in on the punctuation matter, too.

    rondo 11:07 PM  

    Everybody funny, now you, all funny too.

    101LombardSt 6:03 AM  

    Fyi: The director Carlo Ponti was also Sophia Loren's husband.

    Anonymous 2:00 PM  

    Loved the puzzle -- David Steinberg is a joy. Yes, easier than most Saturdays, but perhaps deliberate, to give those at the ACPT a little confidence as they warmed up.

    13D: Clue should've used "Mr. Universe competition" rather than "Miss Universe pageant" -- no excuse for Shortz to *still* be using anti-equality clues that depict women as brides, models, ornaments, etc. (Yes, I saw and was grateful to ADA -- but I shouldn't *have* to be grateful. Enough already. People have been writing and talking about this issue for years -- no excuse for Shortz, and Shenk, not to get it.)
    ....... Jim Gaffigan on Mr. Universe (from his show of the same name): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2nXREpGbRQ&list=PLon-EKJHJU9TUqW9x_wyle35EzfU9GB_q&index=5

    Anonymous 11:53 AM -- Re DJs: I'm guessing that you're an old, as as am I; for us, party DJs were just people popping a stylus on a disc. Not so today -- they do all manner of innovative stuff, and many are well-known / have big followings. So perhaps accept that the clue is accurate for today's younger solvers, and that puzzles need to clue somewhat for the next gen.

    Anonymous 3:26 PM -- Thanks for the reminder about the tool called a T-square.

    OISK 6:08 PM -- Instead of HATing on Steinberg because you didn't know about the fascinating and amazing Ada Lovelace (daughter of Lord Byron), be grateful that he broadened your horizons.

    spacecraft 11:01 AM -- Ada Lovelace wasn't a "computer geek," and instead of being so dismissive you might look her up. She was a brilliant 19th-c mathematician, and the fact that her name isn't a household world speaks volumes about how women's contributions are overlooked and underscores why it's important for *all* contempo materials, even xwp, to present the varied nature of the human experience.

    rondo -- Kinda gross of you to spoil one of the few positive mentions of women in xwp (ADA Lovelace) with a comment about a woman who was coerced to appear in a porn movie. Shallow. Snide. Disrespectful. Inappropriate. Inhumane. Grow up.

    [syndie solver, 5 4 19]

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