Baseball great who was the subject of the 2006 best seller "Game of Shadows" / Turnovers, e.g. / Winner of the lowest-scoring Super Bowl in N.F.L. history (16 total points) / Political figure who became a CNN commentator in 2015 / Locale of London's Leicester Square

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Constructor: Ari Richter

Relative difficulty: Easy (3:20)

THEME:  none

Word of the Day: AD COUNCIL (27D: Group working on P.S.A. campaigns)
The Advertising Council, commonly known as the Ad Council, is an American nonprofit organization that produces, distributes, and promotes public service announcements on behalf of various sponsors, including nonprofit organizations, non-governmental organizations and agencies of the United States government.
The Ad Council partners with advertising agencies which work pro bono to create the public service advertisements on behalf of their campaigns. The organization accepts requests from sponsor institutions for advertising campaigns that focus on particular social issues. To qualify, an issue must be non-partisan (though not necessarily unbiased) and have national relevance.
The Ad Council distributes the advertisements to a network of 33,000 media outlets—including broadcast, print, outdoor (i.e. billboards, bus stops), and Internet—which run the ads in donated time and space. Media outlets donate approximately $1.8 billion to Ad Council campaigns annually. If paid for, this amount would make the Ad Council one of the largest advertisers in the country. (Wikipedia)
• • •
Hi all! It's indie constructor Christopher Adams filling in for Rex while he's in DC for the Indie 500 this weekend. Really wish I could be there and actually see a lot of crossword friends, but I'll have to settle for solving the puzzles at home; as always, they'll be great, and I can't wait to solve them. To those of you solving live tomorrow: may your solves be fast and your grids be clean, and above all, may you have fun.

Anyway, onto this puzzle. I didn't recognize the name when I opened it, and turns out it's a debut. And a low word count debut, at that: only 62 words. The first thing I noticed was the sheer number of cheater squares; there's 14 of them. No doubt that was to aid in filling this; I have no problems with them myself, especially if they result in better fill across (and down) the board. And this puzzle had a lot of good, long answers. Every answer of nine or more letters hit home for me, and especially BLANKET HOG, NONE FOR ME, and MASHED PEAS. (THIS SECOND, maybe, thought it feels like it's missing RIGHT in front of it.) Some shorter goodies, too, including SAD FACE and SCREENER (though I feel that's more the actual physical copy of the film and not the showing itself, but YMMV).

That said, as good as the long fill was, the shorter stuff wasn't as good as I'd hoped, given all the cheater squares. Don't get me wrong; I liked the puzzle, and thought it was reasonably clean, all things considered. But a few too many ONELS, ILE, ESIGN, RETOOK, AEGIS, TFAL, SOG, SIMONES, etc for me to love it. Not that any of these are outright awful, but in toto it sours slightly, especially since I have such a high personal standard for fill. I'm sure many solvers won't bat an eye at this. And again, I liked the puzzle, but I did have slightly higher hopes. Still, a very solid debut.

As for solving, the quick time is, by and large, the result of the clues seeming way too easy for a Saturday puzzle. Of course, it always helps when 1-Across ("Baseball great who was the subject of the 2006 best seller "Game of Shadows") is a gimme (at least for this sports fan). So was ESIGN, with an incredibly straightforward clue (Authorize, as a digital contract). With the entire top row in place, most of the downs offered no resistance whatsoever. Some, like ONELS, are just things that show up all the time. Others, like EXCONS, DRONE, and SERGES, had direct clues that don't try to trip the solver up. And some, like SMOKE (Go to pot?) tried to be tricky, but I've seen so many clues along those lines that it didn't even register as clever.

Two clues that I did think was rather clever were 36-Across (Hot wheels?) and 40-Across (They're spotted at fire stations) for STOLEN CARS and DALMATIANS, respectively. (I might be slightly biased on the first; I've used "Grand theft auto?" for GETAWAY CAR myself, but it's so nice that I'd like it anyway.) Otherwise, not a lot of flash in the clues; as noted, most were straightforward.

33D: Locale of London's Leicester Square (WEST END)

  • (Winner of the lowest-scoring Super Bowl in N.F.L. history (16 total points)) PATRIOT — A gimme for me; I flew to Boston specifically to watch both The Replacements and this Super Bowl with a bunch of Boston-area friends who, if anything, were rooting against the Patriots while drinking Harpoon Dunkin' Coffee Porter. Fun times; pretty sure there were more people there wearing Shane Falco jerseys than Tom Brady jerseys.
  • (Disturbed) DERANGED — This one was pretty hard for me; it's a straight synonym, but if you asked me to define DERANGED for you, I'm pretty sure I'd start talking about permutations before getting to the actual definition.
  • (Baseball great who was the subject of the 2006 best seller "Game of Shadows") BONDS — The full title is Game of Shadows: Barry Bonds, BALCO, and the Steroids Scandal that Rocked Professional Sports; not to be confused with the Sherlock Holmes movie starring Robert Downey Jr., although I'd watch the hell out of that crossover.
  • (Annoying bedmate) BLANKET HOG — It me. (¯\_(ツ)_/¯)
Yours in puzzling, Christopher Adams, Court Jester of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:15 AM  

Easy-medium. Minor spelling issues suck up some (@m&a) nanoseconds, e.g. SYRAH i or Y?

hereTIC before SKEPTIC

Solid and fairly smooth, mostly liked it...or what @Christopher said.

Runs with Scissors 12:52 AM  

This has been a banner week. Great puzzle every day.

I had a tough time getting started on this one, but once I got a toehold I RETOOK control and got ‘er done. I solve on the website so the solve time is displayed for me, but I don’t actually pay attention to it or try to beat it. Even given that, this seemed to take longer than the actual time shown. I like that.

I can’t find any dreck. I looked. Admittedly I have a low bar, but still. No dreck. The only thing that even comes close is 11A UNARMS, which I would never use. Removes a weapon from is disarms. But that’s a nit we need not pick since it’s a crossword regular.

EXCONS are BLANKET HOGS. Or so I hear.

STOLEN CARS evoked the car wash scene from the end of the original “Gone in 60 Seconds” (NOT the one with Nicolas Cage) and the Mach 1 emerging therefrom. Classic.

I never had a SAD FACE during the solve. Not even for a nanosecond.

If you are, or ever have been, a ONE L you have my sympathy and condolences. I once took the test that gauges your ability to pass the LSAT and the bar exam, did great, and then decided against pursuing it. I can, and do, still employ the IRAC test.

If there is a theme in this puzzle, it escapes me.

NEPALI is somewhat topical with the news of traffic on Everest and deaths therefrom. Norgay would not be proud.

Liked it. Enjoyed the solvequest (hi @ M&A). Lost not too many picoseconds.

It’s 8:00 pm Friday evening here on the left coast. Sometime in the morning I’ll see what all y’all thought of it.

Mark, in Mickey’s North 40

chris b 1:26 AM  

Clean and easy, loved it. Also, in addition to Tuesday this was my second personal of this week (pats self on back).

albatross shell 1:29 AM  

Don't bother me with any complaints. Too easy for a Saturday. I finished in under an hour on a Saturday. I'm happy. The north went in like a Tuesday, the South like a Wednesday. Lots of wiggling around that was fun. Couldn't see the GORGE with the binge in the road. Because of the ? went with shooter before SWIMMER. WESTEND popped into view with 3 crosses. Felons before EXCONS, Mongol before NEPALI, MOMENT before SECOND. PASTRIES filled in while I was still thinking of sports, employment, land deals, financial deals and frying up cold MASHED potatoes.

CLAVES and SYRAH, all crosses, totally unknown. Just looked up claves. I just called them sticks. Now I know. NATAL easy to guess from crosses.

Nice grid. Tight. Very clean. Some humor. I've wrapped my hand in a corner of BLANKET and put the edge under a leg as a defense against the HOGS. Live on the WESTEND of my road. Read the SKEPTICal Enquirer, am a PATRIOT depending on your definition, have failed a test for SLEEPAPNEA (they said I had a restless leg, but have ignored it). You may call me inDECISIVE, as for MASHEDPEAS, NONEFORME.

Larry Gilstrap 2:13 AM  

Sometimes late in the week puzzles take time, but not so much this Saturday. Not sure why, but maybe just a wheelhouse thing. Oh, some erasures and pauses occurred, but the misdirects seemed fair enough in retrospect. Example: turnovers could be lots of things other than a dessert item, but PASTRIES are always a delightful surprise.

CLAVES are new to me and also legitimate, I have just learned.

I cook and there is no non-stick skillet, T-FAL or name it, that out performs Lodge blackened steel. Durable and reasonably priced and so damn good, kitchen stores don't carry them.

Spoiler alert: at ACPT while solving puzzle #8 (I was not on the podium) I balked at a clue suggesting one could actually see Lake TAHOE from Squaw Valley. I have been visiting that area for many years and know that the lake is not visible from the valley floor. Today, I rebalked at 19D, yet once reminded myself that the lake is quite visible from the top of Squaw Peak. Close enough for crosswords?

Harryp 2:29 AM  

This was fairly easy to work out, especially with all the short fill. I did try Roger Maris as the baseball great, and was surprised when a baseball great can be a cheater.
BLANKET HOG and SLEEP APNEA were gimmies. DALMATIANS and MASHED PEAS were also easy pickings. Good to see more puzzle constructors coming up though.

Eejit 2:50 AM  

Tried to post a minute ago, no cigar. This isn’t Friday. I think you have a bad cert on your mobile site.

Anonymous 3:28 AM  

What day is this? What month is this?

Brookboy 4:26 AM  

I am pretty sure that this was the Saturday puzzle, not the Friday puzzle. Either way, I liked it quite a bit. It seems like a solid Saturday puzzle. I liked the clueing, and for me it was a pleasurable solve.

I think the jury is still out on whether Bonds was a great player or a good player who used PED’s. I’ll venture a prediction that with the passage of time, the strong feelings about PED‘s will abate enough to allow some tainted players to get into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Had no trouble at all with SLEEPAPNEA as I have had three separate sleep tests at sleep labs. You go to a sleep lab to find out if you have sleep apnea. So you go to an unfamiliar place where an unfamiliar person puts gobs of grease all over your chest and in your hair, and attaches sensors that will collect data to determine if you have apnea. Then they tell you “… Good night, sleep well…“. So there you are, with all of these sensors attached, aware that someone is monitoring all these sensors, in a strange bed, and they expect you to go to sleep. I think it ironic that they expect you to sleep under all these conditions while the reason you are there is that you have sleep problems. And the amazing thing is, it works. I think sleep apnea is a much more widespread problem than is presently perceived. I wouldn’t be surprised if sleep apnea were the culprit in a huge percentage of motor vehicle accidents. Sleep apnea kills.

Christopher, I enjoyed your write-up quite a bit. I hope you visit frequently.

TonySaratoga 5:30 AM  

Squaw Valley is the name of the famous ski resort and there are MANY places on the resort property from which you can see Lake Tahoe.

@mericans in Paris 6:00 AM  

Mrs. 'mericans and I finished this one in 45 minutes, which was a lot less time than we took to complete yesterday's.

Easy, MASHED PEASy. Mrs. 'm slotted in DALMATIONS immediately, and the puzzle largely filled itself from there. I liked the cluing for APPLY (42D: "Try to get in, say"). What ONE LS do, clearly. BLANKET HOG was a nice addition, too, especially below RETOOK (the BLANKET?) and above SLEEP APNEA. Didn't like SCREENER, however. And do people refer to a player for the PATRIOTS as a PATRIOT? Seems a bit weird.

I agree with any complaints over UNARMS, in place of disARMS.

Speaking of ARMS, it was sad to wake up this morning to news of yet another mass shooting. I hope that the death toll in Virginia Beach, now 13, doesn't rise any higher. Apparently the shooter used a .45-caliber handgun equipped with a noise suppressor (more colloquially known as a silencer). Will Shortz's favourite crossword abbreviation, (the) NRA, has been trying hard to get federal laws loosened on these devices. "Thanks to lobbying from the NRA and others, a lot of states have legalized suppressors in recent legislative sessions. Currently, suppressors are legal for private ownership in 42 states."

As a result of that noise suppression, according to survivors of the massacre, they had no idea the shots were so close to their own offices, and had a hard time trying to gauge from where the shots were coming. They didn't know in which direction to run.

Another "soft target", no doubt the NRA will point out, derisively. I guess that goes for my former public schools in Miami, which I visited for the first time in many decades on Wednesday. When I was attending them in the 1960s, they were all open to the street, and cooled by breezes. (Most schools in Hawaii still look like that.) Now my former elementary, junior high and high schools all have steel barriers protecting their entrances, are surrounded by high chain-link fences, and are guarded by a police car. They look more like prisons than places of learning.


Zygotic 6:04 AM  

I counted only 12 cheater squares. end of 1A, beginning and end of 6A, end of 13A, the beginnings of 21A and 26A, and then the symmetrical counterparts. Did I miss two or did the Court Jester miscount?

I emailed Rex about the dates, we’ll see if he checks email while competing (no, I’m not special, his email is on the blog in the web version - over to the right).

Otherwise, what our guest fearless leader said. Pretty good for a debut, but the cluing could stand to be punched up a little. I have ESIGNed. Still an Ughly thing to see in a puzzle, especially in the top row. The only other arched eyebrow was at the clue for DALMATIANS. Has anyone ever seen DALMATIANS at a fire station anywhere other than a Norman Rockwell drawing? It has been a meme all my life, but I can’t recall ever seeing a dog at a fire station.

Lewis 6:21 AM  

@christopher -- Spot on review, thank you.

I come into the Saturday puzzle primed for an epic battle, wanting a puzzle that knocks me silly, and as I'm down, with spots before my eyes, there comes a snippet of clarity, a puffet of enriched air, the glimpse of a path that will not only lead me out, but strengthen my stature as I go, and by the end, I and my adversary shake hands, pat each other on the back, and continue through the day cleansed and wiser for the experience.

Today it never got to the knocking me silly point. I just kept filling in squares. Either Ari and I are wheelhouse-and-way-of-thinking twins, or the cluing was too easy. So while I didn't feel like a bully while solving, and it wasn't like skipping through the park, the experience was agita-lite for this day of the week. It's a GORGEously put together grid, mind you, and a sensational debut, and I loved BLANKET HOG and [Takes heat from], and every time I look at the crossing LEGGS and CLAVES, my brain sees LEGS and CALVES -- which somehow makes my heart smile.

That is, it was a lovely solving experience for which I'm grateful. But may next Saturday be a return to the fray.

Wood 6:27 AM  

I liked the wide-open feel of this grid... Lots of connectedness, easy to slide around. Lots of great long answers. Found it easy for a Saturday though, near-record time.

BarbieBarbie 6:27 AM  

Nice puzzle, Wednesday-solve. PR.

Birchbark 8:19 AM  

Briefly wondered at 13A whether Axl Rose had made the switch from entertainment to politics.

The law of averages says PATRIOT will be right if the clue involves a Super Bowl. SAD FACE.

STOLEN CAR -- a brooding old tune that you might think of as quality fill on Bruce Springsteen's early '80s album "The River." "Each night I wait to get caught, but I never do."

I feel sorry for RYE SEED, who barely missed the cut to appear as one of Titania's fairies in "Midsummer Night's Dream." But I heard he's doing okay.

Forsythia 8:20 AM  

Fast! 9 minutes with daughter. Lots of good long answers. But today is Saturday, June 1, not Friday May 31. The comments show 32 (!!) days in May which is amusing.

Electric Love Hog 8:30 AM  

I enjoyed this one.

Carola 8:48 AM  

Minority of one, I guess - I thought it was hard...well, at least the NW, where I had empty space over my BLANKET for a long time and had to resort to "Let's see, what letter could...?" Last in: DRONE x BONDS. Nice debut!

webwinger 8:54 AM  

Easy fun Saturday. Would have appreciated a bit more crunch from the clueing.

APNEA has made many appearances in the puzzle, but this is the first I recall for SLEEP APNEA. I was diagnosed with the condition about 25 years ago, but wasn’t adequately treated until I began having issues at work about 10 years ago. My boss had the wisdom to insist that I get help. What made an important difference for me was using CPAP with a full-face instead of just a nasal mask-[thanks to one of yesterday's posters I now know this is an Em DASH]-both more effective and more comfortable. Hardest part of the process was taking a “stay awake” test (there’s a more technical name that I can’t recall) before returning to full workplace responsibilities. Just what it sounds like—have to lie during daytime on a comfortable bed in complete darkness with no external stimulation for several hours without falling asleep. Fortunately I passed with flying colors—have rarely taken more satisfaction from performance on an exam!

Joe Welling 9:03 AM  

It felt like a Wednesday puzzle with a few not quite right clues/answers (UNARMS for disarms, SCREENER for screening, and PATRIOT for Patriots) to make it a little more difficult.

puzzlehoarder 9:15 AM  

I kept wondering when Saturday's review would get posted until I noticed that there were only 17 comments on what was marked Friday. Imagine xwordinfo being this sloppy.

Easy Saturday. Three minutes faster than Friday's solve. This didn't surprise me since my first thought on seeing the grid was how interconnected it was. I figured once it got started it would just go and it did.

ONELS is crossword 101. BLANKETHOG popped up immediatley. TAHOE dropped in just as fast. With all those solidly confirmed letters in place the puzzle became easy pickings.

I did have spelling issues with SKEPTIC and DALMATIANS and AEGIS was briefly LEGUP. These problems we're easily overcome.

This was a nice looking puzzle but I expect more of a challenge from a Saturday.

Anonymous 9:23 AM  

What is YMMV?
What are cheater squares?

Teedmn 9:25 AM  

Possibly a personal time record today - almost one third of yesterday's solve time. Maybe because I started the day solving one of M&A's Runt puzzles as an amuse-bouche, this seemed to flow very nicely.

Perhaps there are so many folks with an apparent PEA aversion due to an early introduction to MASHED PEAS. I love fresh peas, but mashed, yucky.

I wonder who decides what PSAs the public needs to be exposed to. The anti-smoking ads, the anti-pollution ads, the anti-VD ads, the anti-drugs ads. Who wakes up one morning and says, "We've got to get this message out there!"? Do they work? Should there be pro-something ads? Maybe there are pro-PSAs but if so, they didn't stick with me.

My husband is due for a sleep apnea consultation. I don't see it going well. He can't stand any white noise at night and I can't imagine those machines are soundless. We'll see...

Blanket hogs, I have no compunction about sitting up and RETOOKing my fair share. Wake you up in the process? Sorry not sorry.

Thanks Ari Richter and congratulations on your debut.

Preferred Customer 9:26 AM  

Since when is the team called "The Patriot"? Do we have a name for the opposite of Plural Of Convenience?

Anonymous 9:29 AM  

Enjoyed this one, but Patriot instead of Patriots? The team won the game, and they are the Patriots.

Wright-Young 9:36 AM  

"Rared" up? Isn't it "reared"??

BobL 9:40 AM  

What is a cheater square, please?

GILL I. 9:44 AM  

Nice, sweet little romp. Started this last night but the SLEEP fairy had me drowsing off. I wanted to finish it because it was a bit on the easy side but the Pinot - not the SYRAH grape - hinted that it was TIME.
Wide-eyed in the morn and the neurons were fired. Instead of being a SKEPTIC, I was thinking atheist. I have many friends who are non-believers and our conversations are always lively. I always start with: "How can you look at an Apollo butterfly or a broad-bill hummingbird or a baby trying desperately to walk for the first time without fear and not believe something grand, out in the nethers, had a hand in this....?".....And so the story goes. I guess I like the word SKEPTIC...stick around with me for a while and I might change your mind.
Head scratcher du jour was 34A. I've not heard of an OSCAR bait or buzz. What, pray tell, is OSCAR bait?
Never heard of NATAL astrology (should I look it up?) and CLAVES was a fun new word to learn. Everything was gettable and it was pretty smooth sailing. Much easier than yesterday's and not a Goog fest like my usual Saturdays.
If you were tormented as an infant with MASHED PEAS, then you probably grew up hating them (like many of you on the blog). Pop them in your mouth straight from the pod.
@Larry...Yes, you can see beautiful blue Lake Tahoe from Squaw Peak in Squaw Valley. Memories of skiing, taking the lifts to the highest peaks, hoping I could breath and that I could get down the ski slope without breaking my neck.
No BLANKET HOGs in this family but plenty of the pillow ilk. Husband has to sleep with about 4 of them. I like them between my LEGGS. @Brookboy - your SLEEP APNEA story sounds awful. I'd be awake all night long. Can't they give you something like a martini or a shot of Talisker before you try to sleep? Works for me.
Thank you Christopher for your nice review.

KarenRackle 9:51 AM  

Finished another Saturday without using Google! Are the puzzles getting easier or am I getting smarter? Don't answer that. Have a wonderful weekend!

Slow Poke 10:00 AM  

Three minutes and twenty seconds ? Wow ! The guest blogger makes even Rex seem slow. I was happy to finish in under twenty minutes. Oh, well. Enjoy your Saturdays.

kitshef 10:00 AM  

Slightly heavy on the crosswordese – TFAL and ONELS are the main culprits, but overall a really solid puzzle. Maybe should have run yesterday; definitely easier for me.

We were out of the country during the superb owl and I was pretty darn surprised when we got back and found out the score.

@Lewis – I normally don’t pay attention to double letters because I know you are on it and will report any oddities, but I was really struck today by how few there were in the downs. Just one unless I missed something. In your storied alpado… career, have you noticed any tendency for fewer to be in the downs?

Anon 9:23 – Your Mileage May Vary, and black squares that do not change the puzzle word count.

Nice to have @mericans back.

And yeah, BONDS is a ‘baseball great’ in the same way that Benedict Arnold is an American hero.

Zygotic 10:03 AM  

@Ann9:23 - YMMV = Your Mileage May Vary.
Cheater squares are black squares that, if removed, would not change the word count. Look at 1A. If it were one letter longer no change in the word count would happen. On the other hand (OTOH), look at 15A. Remove the black square at the end and two words become one. Constructors call them “cheater squares” because they make the puzzle easier to fill.

@Preferred Customer and @Anon9:29 - Sure, but Tom Brady is also “(a) Winner of...” so the singular or the plural can work as an answer to the clue. Omitting the article is a common, low level, cluing trick.

@Wright-Young - RARED is in the OED as clued. See the last comment here. I think it is primarily a regionalism that’s pretty much died out except for in old Westerns.

Amelia 10:15 AM  

Great debut, Ari. I'm looking forward to seeing more of your puzzles. It really should have been debuted on a Wednesday or Thursday. Then everyone would be gushing instead of saying it was too easy for Saturday. This is not your fault.

I had to laugh because after I saw new parent activity and got the answer, I looked up to see your name. Were we thinking in a synagogue? I was.

And then there were dalmatians....

New Yorker Shouts and Murmers, Animal Tales, Simon Rich, June 23, 2008


“Hey, look, the truck’s stopping.”

“Did they take us to the park this time?”

“No—it’s a fire. Another horrible fire.”

“What the hell is wrong with these people?”

RooMonster 10:32 AM  

Hey All !
Commenting before reading y'all, apologies if repeats.

Some nice fun ling answers here. SCREENER, although filled with very useful letters, doesn't seem like a thing to me, as clued. How about 'TSAer'? Also, seems a few POCs in here, except the one which was needed as clued, PATRIOT. That's a SOC if ever I've seen one. Again, the clue could've been different. Maybe 'One who loves their country', or somesuch.

Congrats on the debut, Ari. Pretty funky looking grid. Nice open spaces.
Had binGe for GORGE messing up me seeing (or not knowing as clued) AEGIS. So I hit Reveal Word on that. Once I *cheated unashamedly*, was able to finish puz. But (AIN'T there always a 'But'?), had a DNF. Up top, had StOKE for SMOKE, leaving me UNARtS, failing to associate answer with clue. SW corner, SaG for SOG, because SOG is wrong as clued. :-) Also, misspelling COUNseL. Even knowing SIMONE should've been that, had SeMaNES, and since haven't seen her name in a while, figured she alt-spelled it that way. Oh, how the ole brain leads one astray.

So an overall nice SatPuz. Scrabbly-ish. And two F's. Nice.


Nancy 10:36 AM  

I found this thoroughly enjoyable -- even though it wasn't especially hard by Saturday standards. Enough thinking required to keep me interested, but no struggle involved like there was yesterday.

I assume it took more than one PATRIOT to win that Super Bowl (26A). The constructor might have taken one of the esses from his two Plural of Convenience answers -- SERGES (7A) and SIMONES (52A) -- and given it to that poor, ganged-up-upon PATRIOT player. Just a thought.

Don't most people do the NAMING before they're new parents?

This was fun to solve -- though if you've been doing puzzles long enough, you won't be fooled by either the STOLEN CARS clue (36A) or the DALMATIANS clue (40A).

Mhmccarty 10:43 AM  

To those complaining about the singular PATRIOT: the clue did not ask for the team name; every PATRIOT in the game was a "winner".

70 in nampa 10:46 AM  

"Unarms" said nobody, ever.

Lewis 10:54 AM  

@kitshef -- I haven't noticed any trends regarding double letters in acrosses and downs. Sometimes one direction will have a paucity and the other be bursting -- like today, but next time it may be tons in the downs and few in the acrosses. More often than not they're close to equal.

Ellen S 10:58 AM  

@Z, Years ago I owned Dalmatians and one day out on a dog walk I met a man who said he was a retired firefighter from ALbany, NY. His fire station had had a Dalmatian who would accompany them to fires. He would go into burning buildings and show the firefighters where people were trapped. I have seen Dalmatians (not mine...) do splendid work in obedience trials, and this guy didn’t seem DERANGED, so maybe there were a few working Dals until the middle of the 20th century. I mean, if a firehouse was going to use a dog, they would kind of have to use a Dal, despite how not easy they are to train.

jberg 11:22 AM  

What everybody said, except that I never noticed CLAVES. Aren't they also some kind of ovens?

I'm not sure SOG counts as dialect -- more of a back-formation, I should think -- but good enough. My only real objection is to RYE SEED. Literally true, but really.

Hungry Mother 11:36 AM  

Almost a PR today. It just flowed smoothly the whole way. Unusual for this day of the week, whatever it is.

Crimson Devil 11:45 AM  

Learned much this AM, cheater squares, YMMV, CLAVES.
A PATRIOT, each one, was indeed a winner of that game. Good to see comment re Lodge cookware, agree, and to see SYRAH. Never heard of OSCAR bait/buzz.

OffTheGrid 11:59 AM  

Singulars of convenience indeed!

A few days ago we a single baseball player (ORIOLE) playing the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Today we have a lone football player (PATRIOT) winning a super bowl.

Single players do not win TEAM sport games. The argument that each team member is a winner is off point.

JC66 12:19 PM  


Then why is Tom Brady credited with 6 Super Bowl wins

John Hoffman 12:20 PM  

I didn’t know this:

ONE L (plural one Ls): A law student in his or her first year of law school.

GHarris 12:23 PM  

Really liked the emoji at the blog’s end. But how does one form it? I don’t seem to have the requisite keys.
Oh yeh the puzzle was fun and even though I found no gimmies (well maybe esign) I worked it out in reasonable time without resort to electronic aid; a lesson for me, persistence pays and not succumbing to outside assistance can be morale building and, ultimately,effective.

Anonymous 12:29 PM  

Dalmatians are associated with firefighting, particularly in the United States. In the days of horse-drawn fire engines, dogs would guard the horses, who could easily become uncomfortable at the scene of a fire. Dalmatians were a popular breed for this job, due to their natural affinity to horses and history of being used as carriage dogs. This role became unnecessary once horse-drawn fire engines were replaced with steam and diesel powered ones. Due to its history, the Dalmatian often serves as a mascot for the fire service, and is still chosen by many firefighters as a pet. The Dalmatian is also the mascot of the Pi Kappa Alpha International Fraternity, which has been associated with firefighting. (Wikipedia)

old timer 12:33 PM  

Way too Easy for a Saturday and I am disappointed and feel a little cheated. The puzzle and some comments to raise questions though. The reason PATRIOT feels wrong is that we often are unwilling to call a player by the singular of the team's name if it may connote something else. No problem calling someone a Ram or a Lion or any name not used by humans to refer to themselves. But to call one a Patriot raises political questions, and the same is true to a lesser extent if you call a New Orleans player a Saint.

Naming in our family was very much done in the maternity ward. Oh, we had names picked out. But the final choice had to wait until we saw the baby. We gave one of our daughters the middle name of Ann simply because she looked like an Annie.

A few comments: SCREENER is a usual term in the biz.So is OSCAR buzz. MASHED PEAS are something I have never had or wanted to have, though babies do like them. Older children and grownups like split pea soup, instead, hopefully with a ham hock in there. ONELS was cleverly clued this time. NATAL astrology is the fancy version of what you see in your paper. Your horoscope is based on your birth date, but the exact birth date and maybe hour of birth. And it seems to me you can UNARM a detachment of soldiers or police (send them out without their guns) while disarm means to take the gun away, usually from a single cop or soldier.

OffTheGrid 12:39 PM  

Because he's the quarterback, but he wouldn't do well without blockers and receivers.

Fred Romagnolo 12:41 PM  

@Harryp, @Brookboy & @kitshef: although I'm a San Franciscan, I'm with you guys; "great" should not have been in the clue. Yes, he will eventually make the HOF, maybe even Pete Rose will. As to UNARMS, crosswordese is a separate language from English, or is it a dialect?

JC66 1:05 PM  


"Because he's the quarterback, but he wouldn't do well without blockers and receivers."

Yes, and each player is a winner. It's Saturday, so the cluing can and should be opaque at times, and as @Z pointed out above, the clue reads winner, not winners.

Joe Dipinto 1:24 PM  

First of all: big cluing mistake, at least in the print edition. The 53a James Bond film was titled LICENCE (sic) TO KILL. "C", not "S". Nowhere do I see that it was ever spelled with "S", not even in the US release.

The puzz was too easy, and not as delectable as the Ezersky bon-bon of yesterday. Is "hot wheels question mark" supposed to be a clever, tricky clue? Because it screams STOLEN CARS (or car) the second you read it. And I agree with our guest columnist about SCREENER -- that's the DVD or Blu-ray or whatever that you send out to Academy members to get them to vote for your nominated entry. A screening is an actual showing of a film.

As clued, the lone PATRIOT does look kind of silly, more so than the lone Oriole did last Sunday, imo. And the clue for BURB is irksome because it implies an activity rather than a location, which would be starting point.

But enough kvetching. Most interesting answer: CLAVES (pronounced "clah-vess" if ya dint know). Clave is also a 5-stroke rhythm pattern ubiquitous in Afro-Cuban music, usually played with the claves.

Since our guest columnist already has the Pet Shop Boys cued up, I'll sign out with the Platters, complete with timpani flourish:

Now laughing friends deride
Tears I cannot hide
So I smile and say
When a lovely flame dies,
smoke gets in your eyes!

Anonymous 1:38 PM  

Movie title is LicenCe not LicenSe.

Zygotic 2:23 PM  

@JC66 and @offthegrid - “The winner” should never be just an individual on the team since no one player is the sole winner. “A winner” shouldn’t be used for a team for a specific Super Bowl (as in today’s clue) since there is only one team that won. However, “A winner could be used for a team in a general sense as in, “the Jets are a Super Bowl winner.” Likewise, any player to ever be on a winning team is a Super Bowl winner. Just remember, when the clue uses neither article either might be implied.
/article disquisition

Regarding my DALMATIANS question, the answer seems to be “only in a New Yorker cartoon.” Seems like when Rockwell was drawing DALMATIANS they were already long removed from the firehouse, something grandparents might remember from their youth. It seems like focusing solely on the interests of grandparents is a winning strategy in the long-run. Now off to read my Saturday Evening Post...

Masked and Anonymous 2:29 PM  

Openin entries, for the M&A solvequest:
1. ESIGN. Becuz it could have the crosser GREW.
2. GREW. Becuz it could have the crosser ESIGN. Always good to have some modest verification, on yer initial wild-ass SatPuz guesses.
3. WERE. Relatively shmooze-cow eazy-E, from that {"___doomed!"} clue.
4. AEGIS. This may be a sign that M&A has been doin too many crosswords for way too long, to get this from nuthin.
5. SLEEPAPNEA. Almost had to be, from that closin "?+A".

Lost precious nanoseconds in DALTON's corner. Wanted DALTRY, for some unbonded reason.

SIMONES was a nice desperate firstname-group-groper touch -- but overall, thought this was a nifty debutpuz. fave filler: BLANKETHOG. UNARMS would rate a polite "har", except for it has yer Patrick Berry Usage Immunity. fave crafty clue: {Go to pot?} for SMOKE.

staff weeject pick, of an appallinly meager 4 choices: SOG. Dialectic meat! Dialectic enough to be MIA from the Official M&A Help Desk dictionary. Sooo … Better clue: {Stray dog, for short??}.

@Teedmn: "amuse-bouche?!?" Wow. The runtz are honored, even tho they've no idea what that is. Sounds like a good slogan … "Bouche League Amusement!"

Thanx and congratz, Mr. Richter. Nice puzgrid T-decor, btw.

Masked & AnonymoUUs

bouchy potus biter:

mmorgan 2:50 PM  

Nice puzzle and I didn’t mind that it was easy. Very promising debut!

I just spent a week on the Dalmatian coast and didn’t see a single one. Lots of little white dogs, though.

emily 3:25 PM  

I still don’t get ONELS, understand it has something to do w/law school, but would like to know what it stands fir

Joe Dipinto 3:26 PM  

@GILL & @Crimson Devil -- I believe "Oscar bait" is used to describe a movie or performance that seems calculated, deliberately or not, to attract Academy Award attention. "Oscar buzz" about a certain movie or performance is when critics and industry-ites start predicting that it will get nominations.

emily 3:26 PM  

I agree

emily 3:31 PM  

Thanks! I googled it, & still didn’t get the answer.

nyestreet 4:38 PM  

Winner of lowest blah blah blah...patriotS

Michiganman 5:00 PM  

The Detroit Tiger beat the Atlanta Brave last night leading to many cheer.

Chris 5:07 PM  

@emily ONEL can refer both to the first year of law school (1-L) and the students, enrolled therein.

Easy for me--almost a PR. Certainly much easier than yesterday.
And while I am not one to carp about OFL's tone, the tone of the review today--critical where warranted, but not mean-spirited, was welcome.

In my experience, DALMATIANS are mean, and in a residential environment, prone to getting very fat.

Wright-Young 7:08 PM  

@z Thanks for the clarification. Still feels wrong! But who can argue with the OED, eh? :)

GILL I. 8:11 PM  

@Joe D. Jonathan and I would like to thank you for the "OSCAR." ;-)
@Chris 5:07. All dog breeds can be mean. The sweetest one on this earth (the Golden Retriever) has been known to bite a face...on a plane! Most of it is because of really bad owners - or they might have inherited the "bad" gene. I've met adorably "Pits." They scare me., though....I wonder why?

RooMonster 9:53 PM  

Late, I know, but the missing two cheater squares you, well, missed, are the corner ones. As in, the block of three in the NE and SW are all cheaters.


Joe Dipinto 10:00 PM  

•••••••••••THE GREEN PAINT MYSTERY•••••••••••

(Part 10 was posted at 12:20 am near the end of the Thursday 5/30 thread)

Part 11

"I believe someone at this address called the police to report a disturbance of some kind? I'm Inspector Gorp."

Jonathan and Rudolf looked at each other and then at the figure that had entered the room. He was of medium height, rather on the stout side. He seemed to be affecting some sort of exaggerated accent as he spoke. Jonathan smiled pleasantly and cleared his throat.

"Uh, yes, Inspector Gorp. It was I who phoned. To report what I thought was a break-in."

"This is your apartment then?" Gorp was staring at Jonathan in a way that made Jonathan nervous.

Jonathan coughed slightly. "Yes, I live here," he said, not very convincingly. Gorp began striding around the room, stopping to peer intently at walls and floors and examine furniture and objects and occasionally dart glances at the two men seated at the kitchen table. "What happened is, I was out, you see -- I mean, out of the apartment -- uh, for the afternoon, and when I was coming back in I heard -- uh..."

"--He had invited me to visit for the afternoon, but my friend here is so forgetful he forgot I was coming!" Rudolf interrupted, giving Jonathan a significant look. "We know each other a long time, Jonathan and I, and I have a spare key, so when he didn't answer I let myself inside to wait. But he thought--"

"I'm afraid I did forget about our meeting, and so when I heard someone inside I thought it was a burglar, or worse. I went out into the street to make the call to the police. But it was all a mistake, you can see now. My fault, so sorry to have troubled you."

"I do see," said Gorp grimly. "Your name is Jonathan? Jonathan Hunter?"

"Yes -- uh, how did you--?"

"It's on the doorbell. You didn't leave it with the operator." Gorp smiled faintly. He seemed pleased to be making Jonathan uncomfortable. Suddenly he pivoted around. "And you are who exactly?" His attitude seemed to turn slightly menacing.

"Rudolf. I was visiting--"

"Rudolf what?"

"Steiner, Inspector."

Gorp's cell phone was vibrating, both Jonathan and Rudolf could hear it. Gorp pulled it from his coat and walked toward the door. "Yes, this is Gorp" he said into the phone as he went into the hallway, then quickly flashed a look back at Jonathan and Rudy. "I'm not done yet. I'm right outside so stay put."

Jonathan nodded weakly. Rudolf faked a cooperative smile. "Of course Inspector."

Jonathan could hear the muffled sound of Gorp's voice. It was receding gradually; he could tell that Gorp was exiting the lower floor hallway to go outside. An idea suddenly seized Jonathan. He stood up -- "Rudy, come on!" he said in an urgent whisper.


(Part 12 to follow immediately)

Runs with Scissors 10:21 PM  

@Those who asked...

YMMV is "Your Mileage May Vary." In other words, your take on (insert thing) may be different than mine or anyone else's.

Joe Dipinto 10:55 PM  


(Part 11 posted above)

Part 12

Rudy knew immediately what Jonathan was thinking. "You want to leave? He's right there, how?"

"Out the bedroom window. We'll duck through the back alley onto Van Brunt and get an Uber to the Clover Club -- come on, let's go. Now before he comes back!"

Rudy was game but uncertain. They ran to the bedroom, Rudy watching the front door for any sign of Gorp's re-entry, got around the bed and out through the window. It was only one floor up so the drop to the ground was fairly easy to manage. Then into the alley behind the yard where Jonathan could see the B61 bus approaching its stop on the corner. "I know, let's take this instead!"

The bus slowed to let Jonathan and Rudy clamber aboard, fumbling for fare cards while trying to make themselves look as invisible as possible. Once the bus turned the corner Jonathan could make out the front of his building behind them. He saw Gorp put his phone away and head back toward the front door.

Jonathan exhaled with no small relief. They wouldn't have to deal with Gorp again for quite some while. In the meantime, through the Brooklyn streets to where the heady atmosphere of the Clover Club awaited, the trusty B61 chauffeured Jonathan and Rudy.

"Mr. Excitement! Wow, I'm impressed." Rudy was beaming at Jonathan. The B61 rumbled over a patch of cobblestone pavement. Jonathan felt flushed from the day's events. What else might be in store for this night, he wondered.

The bus was almost empty. They sat quietly for a little, then "How far is this place?" Rudy wanted to know. "We get off in about ten and then walk a few blocks." Jonathan started to think about the reason he had invited Rudy over in the first place. The appearance of his daughter had been a total shock, and that wasn't even part of it originally. She's still so angry with me, he thought-- I wonder if that will ever change? And what can I do to make things better?

Soon the bus arrived at Smith and Atlantic. "This is us", said Jonathan. He and Rudy disembarked and began strolling down Smith Street. "So you were gonna talk to me about something, my friend," Rudy reminded Jonathan as they passed the shops and restaurants. "When we get to the Clover Club, Rudy." Jonathan could see the sign with the neon green shamrock a couple of blocks ahead. He really wanted a cocktail now.


JC66 11:29 PM  

@Joe D

Just great!

You may want to repost earlier tomorrow to increase readership.

Joe Dipinto 12:04 AM  

Thanks, @JC66!

I think it's better to post these later in the day, though, after the puzzle comments have mostly died down. That way it doesn't usurp the thread's main content, and for people not interested in it, it's basically out of the way.

Jessica 2:11 AM  

Thank you! All three of those bugged me - just plain wrong. There are other ways to clue "Patriot" and "screener" so those seemed like particularly unforced errors.

Preferred Customer 8:11 AM  

Hi, you probably won't get this, but while I see it is technically correct if it refers to a single (unspecified) member of the team, that makes the clue and answer even lamer in my estimation.

Burma Shave 10:06 AM  


IDEAL with SKEPTICs, you see,
WERE there TIME for 'green paint',


rondo 10:21 AM  

Que SYRAH, SYRAH. Certainly the best TIME ever for a Sat-puz at 12 minutes and change without even pressing it. Good thing because I'm packing to leave Chi-town and didn't need to go a half-hour or more per usual.

Gotta say the patternless puzzles in the Sun-Times this week were outstanding. If you've never done one you should try. I get my week to ten days worth each year. They do eat up some time.

They call it a SLEEP test for SLEEPAPNEA, but it's really a wake-you-up-a-whole-buncha-TIMEs test. Try non-machine methods at home if you can. I couldn't deal with the mask, etc.

As in the SW, you've all seen yeah baby SIMONE'S LEGGS.

Fun puz. Now looking forward to 7 hours or so of driving.

spacecraft 12:15 PM  

Okay, this is really beyond the pale. Because the syndicated puzzle lands on the first of the month, AND BECCAUSE THE $^&*($*@ LINKER FELL ASLEEP YET AGAIN, I had to go to June, and had to start with the last day of the month and scroll down, three days at a time, to get all the way back to the 1st. (I tried Googling the date, but it didn't come up.) People, we have GOT to do SOMETHING about KEEPING THIS LINK CURRENT! PLEEEEEEEASE!!!!!

BLANKETHOG over SLEEPAPNEA was a hoot. Wrote in THIS minute too fast--or actually not fast enough: THISSECOND. In the process, my ASHPan changed to an ASHPIT. OTOH, DALMATIANS was a cute gimme, and the whole puzzle played on the easy side for Saturday. Learned CLAVES, and SYRAH. DOD SIMONES LEGGS were DECISIVE in winning her gold medal. Had WEST oNe before END; no idea if that square is in W.1, but it's definitely in the WESTEND.

Diana,LIW 1:02 PM  

When a puzzle begins with a sports reference, I worry. And I didn't think I'd finish this, even with 95% done.

Then...BURB came to my lil brain, followed by a sports name I actually remember, BONDS.


Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for the SyndieCats button to be remembered

leftcoast 2:33 PM  

Getting into this puzzle, it began to seem a bit too easy and familiar. Good reason for that -- I had done it while on a trip in early June. Was a good one then, but has lost some of its crispness since. [cue SAD FACE]

rainforest 4:10 PM  

@Spacey - re the syndi-linker. Most of the time, like today, you click on Syndicated puzzle, scroll to the bottom and click on "newer post". Had to do this twice today, but way faster than your method.

This was a pleasant puzzle, maybe a little easy for a Saturday, but I don't mind that. First entry was DALMATIANS and things went swimmingly from there. Resisted BONDS at first because I initially couldn't think of an answer that began with 'B' for 1D. The entire South was easy and working up to the NW revealed BURB, and that was that.

So, though easy, a fun solve. STOLEN CARS, SALON,and BLANKET HOG were the stars today.
Side note, my second son wasn't named until he was three days old because we already had a boy and were sure a girl was about to be born.

Joshua K. 9:00 PM  

I don't understand how a SCREENER qualifies as an "advance showing of a film." My understanding is that a SCREENER is a DVD (or other home video) copy of a movie that is sent to critics so that they can review the movie before it is released, or to voters for the Oscars or other awards so they can watch the movie at home and, hopefully, vote for it for awards. In other words, a SCREENER is a physical object, or maybe a download, but it's not an event or occurrence as an "advance showing" would be. That would be a SCREENing, not a SCREENER.

Anonymous 9:34 PM  

I thought patriot was a bit forced. Yes, technically correct but only technically. And onels too esoteric. It's not a word, no one uses it except crossword constructors, and so it is like an "in-thing" for those who do crosswords all the time (like me). IMHO in-things should be avoided. Otherwise the puzzle for me was fun and pleasantly doable for a Saturday.

I've played a lot of baseball and watched a lot of baseball and I've never seen a better all around player than Barry Bonds. Babe Ruth could hit for power but he was slow and struck out a lot. Willie Mays and Hank Aaron hit with power, and hit for average, but they also struck out a lot. Barry Bonds could do it all and rarely swung at a bad pitch, and rarely struck out. The only reasons he didn't get to 3000 hits lifetime were 1. pitchers were afraid to pitch to him so he walked a lot and had more intentional walks than anyone in history, and 2. he was essentially banned from baseball when he was still at the top of his game. Steroids or not he was a indisputably a phenom.

rondo 9:59 PM  

I forgot earlier, and I checked above. Nobody mentioned that Timothy DALTON was one of the BONDS.

rondo 10:12 PM  

@anon 9:34 - couldn't agree more re: Barry BONDS. Terrific player, and in the NL - no DH there, except inter-league, so the HRs are legit. In 2007 I flew from MN to San Diego for a weekend in August in hopes of witnessing history. Sat 9 rows behind the SF dugout when he hit the tying HR. Got a good photo of him still at the plate on the follow-through. He was never found to have done anything against the MLB rules of the TIME. No asterisk in my book.

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