Penalty box in hockey lingo / SAT 6-15-19 / Rocky IV rival who makes reappearance in Creed II / Time-consuming environmental procedures / Tissue affliction common during the Civil War / Program on Billy Blanks DVD / Sweet treat since 1924 / City near Tesla Gigafactor 1 / Voice-activated smart speaker introduced in 2016 / Brain wave amplifying device in X Men

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Constructor: Ryan McCarty

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (8:45)

THEME: none

Word of the Day: FLOUR BOMB (47A: Protest item that leaves a powdery mess) —
Flour bomb is a fragile container (e.g. a paper bag) filled with flour for the purpose to be thrown at a person or object to cause an inconvenient messy stain. 
Flour bombs are a classic protest method, along with the throwing of eggs and overripe tomatoes. [...] 
Flour bombs saw notable use during the controversial 1981 Springbok Tour at Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand. In an attempt to disrupt the match, flour bombs, along with flares, leaflets and a parachute-support banner reading "Biko" were dropped into Eden Park from a light plane flying overhead. A New Zealand All Blacks player was felled by one of the flour bombs. (wikipedia)
• • •

Not sure what to say about this one. It seems well made—that is quite a stack through the middle there, and there's very little of the cringey crosswordese that normally gets on my nerves. But I didn't enjoy myself at all. Some of that was because there were so many longer answers that I just didn't know, or barely knew. Then there was exceedingly dull cluing, which was often just trivia, or else blunt and vague. And then SICKROOMS was just ... morbid. Never had that feeling (the feeling I had multiple times yesterday) of "ooh, good one." Again, this all seems structurally sound. I just didn't dig its personality. Also, I wasn't sure if the puzzle was trying to make some kind of theme happen in the center/NW area, with BLUE and GREEN and RED all huddled together there. A secret shout-out to Namibia? The Gambia? New Caledonia? Azerbaijan??? I apologize if there is a theme here somewhere, but I don't apologize too much, because if a theme falls in the forest and there's no one there to hear it ... well, something like that.

[from the album "Blue"]

LOL GOOGLEHOME is a thing?? How are they losing the name recognition battle that badly? They're Google, but apparently Google is the Bing of voice-activated assistants, yikes. Had GOO---HOME and still had no idea what that one was about. GREEN TAPE, what? Just no idea. None. Had that one as a plural (with "S" on the end) for a minute. SINBIN??? Yuck, since when did hockey fans take up sing-songy moralization. This is easily the stupidest sports term I (now) know and y'all should be ashamed to keep using it. FLOURBOMB... apparently it's a "classic" protest method. I'm sure I've seen it before, but I had no idea it had a name and had FLOUR and still no idea. Also had the [City near Tesla Gigafactory 1] as BRNO, so that SE corner was a tad rough. Remembered DRAGO at 17A: "Rocky IV" rival who makes a reappearance in "Creed II" but not whether that was his first or last name so after I plunked down AMASSED (3D: Stocked up) I put down DRAGO ... and then ...  (brain: "Malfoy?"). There was somewhat more delight to be had in the middle of the grid, which is really the best thing going on here today.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


puzzlehoarder 12:32 AM  

This is a late week puzzle. Awesome central stair stack. Good resistance coming in from the north. Finding that soft underbelly in the SE really got the stalled solve moving.

After throwing in ROOTINGFOR and GANGRENE I started dropping in the SW downs and the center went pretty much in order from south to north.

Returning to the initially stubborn NW ASSISI went right in. Next IVAN came back to me and that section fell too finishing the solve.

This constructor puts out quality material and today's puzzle was an excellent example. As much as I enjoyed figuring out the trickier corners filling in the stair stack was still the highlight.

chris b 12:47 AM  

Really liked this one. Clean and engaging. I'm a hockey fan, so SINBIN was a gimme.

jae 12:56 AM  

Medium. Very solid Sat. with a fun crunchy center much liked the almond bits in a BIT O HONEY bar. Pretty damn smooth too, liked it a bunch!

No real erasures but I did need more than a few crosses to fill in STRAIGHTENER an RUNS ONES MOUTH.

Canook 1:52 AM  

Found this one substantially easier than OFL for some reason, despite not knowing most of the pop culture. I was only a few minutes north of my personal best. Needed all the crosses for CEREBRO and BITOHONEY, and I have never seen a Rocky picture, but all the pop culture felt fair. SINBIN was a nice blast from the past for this Albertan, and was the first thing to go down. Interesting how sanctimonious some "progressive" people can get over certain kinds of moral language, which reminds me, that sanctimonious is a better synonym for "Holier than thou" than SMUG. Smugness definitely has few (if any) moral connotations. With all of that said, the fill felt generally clean, even if it didn't sparkle. The only really clunky bit of crosswordese was OAST, which is a thing, but I mean how many people even know that hops needs kilning before it gets thrown into the wort? I sort of (sort of) appreciated that the cluing spanned generations and didn't skew in any particular direction. Usually a good puzz makes me smile, and this one just didn't have enough BANG. I like SHOEHORNS as a verb. I just needed to SHOEHORN that in somewhere.

Anonymous 1:58 AM  

gangrene + sick rooms = ghoulish grid

JoeTheRube 3:24 AM  

Sin bin is very rarely used by modern hockey fans. The term was actually appropriated from rugby. When a rugby player is shown a yellow card, he is removed without substitution for 10 minutes (an 8th of the game!). This punishment that leaves his team playing with 14 players vs 15 is known as the sin bin.

chefwen 3:27 AM  

Had a hard time getting out of the gate with this one, once we got a few longer ones in place it became a lot easier. I will fess up to Googling 17A. Never have seen a Rocky movie and never will. Something about watching someone punching another person in the face just doesn’t appeal to me.

Laughted at 5D, I have curly hair and straight and long was “the look” when I was in high school, I used to make my mother iron my hair. It made her cry as she spent a fortune on perms to make her straight hair curl. You always want what you don’t have.

I was also looking for a theme after seeing the BLUE, GREEN, RED all bunched together.

My kitchen looks like a FLOUR BOMB went off after an intense baking session.

Brookboy 3:29 AM  

Tough Saturday puzzle for me. It took forever to get going, and I never felt like I was home free until I plugged in that last answer.

A random thought: why is Scrooge a synonym for skinflint, miser, cheapskate, etc.? In the end, Scrooge turns out to be a pretty good guy. Yeah, it’s true, he had to be scared witless in order to change his parsimonious ways. But in the end he did change. He saw the light and he became a free spending ex-miser. It’s probably the name itself. Dickens sure knew how to pick ‘em. Imagine a guy named Jacob Marley going into business with a guy named Ebenezer Scrooge. I wonder if they argued over who his name should be first: Scrooge and Marley, or Marley and Scrooge? Do you think Old Jacob ever said to Ebenezer, “So, Eb, how about you and the Missus coming over for a drink sometime?”


Anonymous 3:37 AM  

Rex Parker in 'not enjoying a grid because he didn't know the answers' shock.

Easily a PB for a Saturday for me - I breezed through with barely a moment's thought. But then, I have a GOOGLEHOME, saw IVANDRAGO in the fabulous Creed 2 not so long ago, am a fan of early (pre-Sammy Hagar) Van Halen, X-Men and hockey.

Rex feels today like I do every other Saturday...

frankbirthdaycake 4:56 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
frankbirthdaycake 5:00 AM  

I remember a 1977 interview of the Charlestown Chiefs’ net minder, who described what it was like to be in the sin bin: “You feel shame, and then you get free.”

Loren Muse Smith 5:16 AM  

I have to agree with @Canook that this was pretty easy. I also agree with @Canook’s interesting thoughts on sanctimonious vs SMUG. Sanctimonious has a hypocritical feel to it, whereas SMUG has just a told-you-so feel. But the clue works for me just fine.

I quite liked the central 5-stack of 9’s. I mean, that whole center is beautiful. Beautiful.

GREEN TAPE was new to me, too. I really like that both parts are run-of-the-mill words that have taken on specific connotations. And they team up. Green = eco-conscious. (Red) tape = bureaucratic hurdles. So GREEN TAPE = eco-conscious hurdles. Orange tape could describe the hurdles slowing down our switching the 20-dollar bill from Jackson, that prince among men, to Harriet Tubman.

Hurdles that Dian Fossey deals with getting in and out of gorilla habitats? Gray tape.

I liked BEEHIVE crossing HONEY. Is eating a metric ton of honey a smidge less bad for you than a metric ton of white sugar? Asking for a friend.

AM I LATE? To those people who are regularly late, here’s your answer: Hell, yes, you’re late, and you’re a self-absorbed asshole who thinks your time is more important than mine. Enough has been said/written about the staggering arrogance of people who are regularly late. Just thinking about this raises my blood pressure to the point that I go from zero to enraged in a couple of seconds.

AMILATE, on the other hand, looks like a verb that means to question yourself. Am I overdressed? Am I too harsh? Am I blinking too much? Am I being too weenie-ish? Am I making enough eye contact and coming across as interested? I definitely need to cut back on my constant amilation. My husband never amilates. I admire that.

I liked learning the word CEREBRO, a device that amplifies brain waves. Hah. An invertebro could be the reverse, a device that just eradicates brain waves of people who used to be somewhat upright and respectable and turn them into disgusting toadies.

Never heard of SIN BIN but it didn’t make me angry. What’s with the hate for sing-songy stuff? The fact that Rex used singsong (itself singsong) to disparage it had to be deliberate. Hey. It’s better than a Fault Vault or a Scold Hold.

IRR. Fun fact – the ten most common verbs in English are irregular, but they comprise only 3% of the language. [Insert ultra-rich people/working class people US economy joke here.] These verbs manage to maintain their forms purely out of being constantly uttered. (But gone/went is charging the line; stay tuned). The tendency is for lesser-used irregular verbs to evolve into regular verbs. Just sit back and listen to the verb show’s conversion to the other side. Same with wed. I bet some of you peevers might say wedded yourselves. But sometimes perfectly regular verbs go rogue and become irregular. Dive used to be regular dive, dived, dived. Now tons of people say dive, dove, dived.

And anyone who can make sense of the maelstrom that is wake, awake, woke, awoken, awaken, woke up, waked up, woken up please set us straight. I’ve went crazy worrying about it.

Hungry Mother 5:55 AM  

Pressed for time this morning, eating breakfast before a 5K race, but this one went down easily BITOHONEY had me salivating into my coffee. My vegan diet includes the product of bees, but I don’t feel guilty about it.

Matthew G. 6:57 AM  

Had a false sense of confidence starting off because the NW was very easy. The rest of the grid, especially the center and NE, was much harder. Not familiar with BIT O HONEY, so trying to figure out how many words I needed once I had BITOH really wrecked my time in the center. Yet bizarrely I got BEEHIVE off the B despite the weird clue.

QuasiMojo 7:35 AM  

Loved it. Felt like a classic Newsday Saturday Stumper. I had an Ice Pop yesterday. All natural. Felt like a TEEN again.

pabloinnh 8:42 AM  

Same problem as OFL in trying to make "procedures" plural. GREENMAPS? That was new to me and made "wine colored" impossible. The only wine I could think of beginning with a "c" was cabernet, so that was no help. Finally changed CHIPS to CHITS and home free.

As someone who went to a hockey school, SINBIN went right in. Not as common lately.

Good Saturday with just enough crunch. Thanks, RMcC.

Anonymous 8:44 AM  

Then you're not a vegan. Maybe an apiaritarian.

GILL I. 8:50 AM  

Smooth and pretty elegant. I like that.
Had so many of the "what In the world is that" thoughts. Had to get up and move around a lot. UGG was my first entry then it became a stare fest. OK, so eventually I get that whole middle top to bottom section. STRAIGHTENER off the S and T. First smile. (Hi @chefwen). I've pretty much always had long straight boring hair. I wanted Bernadette Peters hair and so I went off to a fancy salon to get a perm. I looked like I had stuck my middle finger in a live wire and my head exploded. I asked my husband if he liked it. He asked me to make some of my fabulous lasagne.
The middle section of this puzzle is primo. Nothing came easily, though. It was a letter by letter and when the answer came alive, I really did an aha. HORMONE GANGRENE FLOUR BOMB SCrOOGE I got without much pause. Why do I get such pleasure from schadenfreude....
Finished that bottom section with no real problems so I had to go back up to tackle the NW. I had ALAS and MIMI and that was it. I don't know much about hockey other than the players seem to enjoy beating the crap out of each other and none of them have teeth, so I thought SIN PIT was perfectly fine. Never saw that love story so LESBIAN wasn't showing herself. I had to Google that one and then I thought what a strange way to clue. I have to say had Ryan clued it in reference to Gentlleman Jack, I would've whooped. The finale is being called one of the finest hours in LESBIAN cinema.

Anonymous 10:08 AM  

“Waaahh....I didn’t know these terms, so it WASN’T FUN! I only want puzzles where I know everything and then IT’S FUN! Then I can get this drudgery out of the way as fast as I can” - Rex Parker What an absolute tool.

This took me about 40 minutes of working on and coming back to. This was absolutely my favorite kind of puzzle, where not much is clear the first time around then, slowly, you start to get a letter here and there or take a guess and the crosses work with that guess so, eventually, you are done. Loved it. Great way to have coffee and relax this Saturday morning watching the sun come up.

And I am only listed as anonymous since I’m not smart enough or care enough to figure out how to not be.


barryevans 10:09 AM  

OFL: "Some of that was because there were so many longer answers that I just didn't know, or barely knew."
But...but...isn't that the whole point? You (I) finally get it done and bang! Now we know!

Nancy 10:24 AM  

So, if you're an IVAN DRAGO type (villain, I assume, but I don't really know) and you come at me straight from winning the IRONMAN, bearing PEN KNIVES, a FLOUR BOMB and a CEREBRO (???) and you SHOEHORN me into the corner, say GRR, and, after a bit of TAE BO, put me in an ARMBAR (whatever that is) and make me MOAN, and there's even a chance I'll get GANGRENE, (UGG!), should I GOOGLE HOME for help? Is that what GOOGLE HOME is meant for, btw? Like "Call home" in ET?

A puzzle that's perfect for the TEEN male HORMONE, but a bit pugnacious for us women of a certain age. While it TENDS towards the pop-culture-y in its subject matter, there weren't a lot of names and because it was situated so far from my wheelhouse, there was plenty of crunch. I quite liked it, actually.

Teedmn 10:35 AM  

I MOANed when I saw the NW - the pop culture Rocky, Rent, LESBIAN love story in ASSISI was just too much. I had to bounce east to get SMUG, UGG, GOOGLE before I could start in on this puzzle. And I only knew the Google part - HOME had to come in with crosses.

Am I dreaming or did someone on the blog this week mention DRAGO and Rocky IV? I went back a couple of days but couldn't find it in the comments, but wherever I just saw it, that saved me some time.

I have seen GREEN TAPE before but I still put in __redTAPE first at 28A so 22D wanted to start RUdely. It wasn't until I had the MOUTH at the other end of 22D that I could fix that.

SICK zOneS, anyone? And letting the CHIpS fall as they may meant a lot of head scratching over the creepy pIP_OE. Peeping Tom? Ah, CHITS, TIPTOE.

I would feel SMUG about knowing OAST due to my husband's home-brewing hobby, but nowadays, you can find home-brewers on every corner.

@Carola, I never fell into the longing for straight hair. I still love having curly hair but now it only stays curly for a short time before getting all straggly unless I use leave-in conditioner - dang gray hair!

Ryan, thanks for the fun Saturday. At xwordinfo, I see you are two days away from the 2nd year anniversary of your NYT debut and you've had 11 puzzles in now, most of them Saturdays. Congrats!

@mericans in Paris 10:44 AM  

Today's puzzle played more like medium (for a Saturday) for Mrs. 'mericans and me, except for that stack of PPPs in the NW. Like @chefwen, I admit to Googling DRAGO's given name. Probably wouldn't have had to if I had spelled AMASSED correctly the first time. (I had AMmASED the first time.) ASSISI we knew. I still maintain that ol' St. Francis is the most over-rated of the saints. Was a friend to small birds and curly animals in central Italy. Gee, what an incredible accomplishment.

Learned something new about the LAO language. I had an American colleague 30 years ago, here in Paris, who was (and still is) super witty. One day I dropped into his office and he said, "What's say we converse with words containing only one syllable?" He followed that with, "You can do it if you try" and then managed to keep up his end of the conversation for far longer than I could. "I had to beg him to stop."

Try it out with your friends. It can be fun!

Question: Are GREEN TAPE and CLARET RED forms of green paint?

ghkozen 10:48 AM  

The penalty area in rugby is also called the SIN BIN. I believe in the case of rugby, that’s the formal name.

paperkin 10:48 AM  

I groaned about SINBIN too, it just sounds dumb.
RUN ONES MOUTH was funny because of the pronoun - that seems like a phrase only used by someone who’d want to fight if they heard someone using “one” instead of “you.”

Nancy 10:53 AM  

@GILL at first had SIN pIt -- which makes perfect sense. And I at first had SIt BIN -- which makes perfect sense, too. But SIN BIN is just terrific -- even if I'd never heard of it.

@Loren (5:16) -- You left out awakened. I would say "awakened" in preference to "woken up". As in "I was awakened by..." But if I insert a "me" in there, then I'd say "it woke me up." You're right -- however you say it, it's a very, very strange verb.

RooMonster 11:01 AM  

Hey All !
UGG, another Santa ??? town in CA. Man, how many of those towns are we supposed to know?
On the other Har hand, GREEN TAPE! Awesome.

This was a nice SatPuz. As others, didn't have much at first, but slowly things started to fill, then word recognition helped kick in a few answers. My solve went SE, Center Stack, NE, SW, NW. That was a pretty impressive Center. Five Nines stacked, buttressed by Eights, and crossed in the Downs by two Nines, two 12's, two 10's, and a 7 in the middle. And really no dreck elsewhere.

LOL at @LMS's AM I LATE rant. A GRR moment, for her.

@Nancy, CEREBRO is a large circular room in Professor Xavier's School For Gifted Children. He uses it with his telekinesis to locate a mutant. He built it, along with Magneto when they were still allies.
(Har! @Nancy, I know none of that made a lick of sense to you! It was just fun to do! :-))

Never got into BIT O'HONEYs, way too chewy. And it sticks to your teeth like nobodys business. (There's a weird saying, eh? How did "Nobodys Business" come to mean that, instead of 'me not wanting anyone to know what I'm doing'?) Language.

Writeovers, anteS-CHITS, anitA-LUCIA (Anita is my go-to five letter Santa ___ city), kelp-AGAR (don't ask), howmuch_AMILATE (as in, after a Bank hold-up, you ask "How much did we get?") Not too bad for me, and actuall GOT IT 100% correct! SIC!

(Have to say it, LESBIAN crossing MOAN). Into the SIN BIN with me.


Wood 11:06 AM  

I like that the grid looks something like a stylized letter Z.

Never heard of GREEN TAPE or FLOUR BOMB either... But learning from puzzles is GOOD, Rex!

nyc_lo 11:23 AM  

This was one of those “uh-oh” puzzles where I had about three answers filled in after my first across and down passes. Took a chance that it was MANY not “from” for “e pluribus unum,” then got the B in BANG and BITOHONEY saved the day. And I’m ashamed to say that my first thought on hearing SINBIN is a 1970s shag-carpeted van, but the hockey slang rang a bell as well. Good Saturday workout with a minimum of groan-inducing fill.

Zwhatever 11:28 AM  

If you think SIN BIN is rare these days you just aren’t watching enough hockey. I’m pretty sure the lead play-by-play announcer on NBC uses it at least once a game. I was curious about the rugby claim, but the earliest documented use of the term I could find on the interwebs was to those vans modified into mobile sleeping quarters (think “The Mystery Machine” on Scooby Doo only without Velma and Shaggy intruding on Fred and Daphne’s privacy).

@Canook and @LMS - If you’re SMUG you aren’t necessarily “holier-than-thou,” but if you are “holier-than-thou” you are SMUG. I worked this out after arching my eyebrow.

@LMS - Don’t ever work in Dearborn. Being 15-30 minutes late is the cultural norm. Drove me nuts, but it is what it is. One of the code-switching questions you hear from the more Americanized is, “Real time or Arab time?” It was good practice in not taking things personally, people weren’t trying to be rude, in their mind they were “on time.” OTOH - I’m right with you on SMUG professionals who use tardiness as a power assertion or professionals who just aren’t competent enough to be on time. If you ask me to inform you at least 24 hours in advance if I need to reschedule you better not make me wait 30 minutes past my appointment time.

I liked this puzzle. Chewy without being unfair. Maybe a little to dependent on trivia cluing, but then again do we really trust Shortz et al. to be “clever” without offending several million people when cluing LESBIAN? I could have lived without the cutesy .ORG/PTA cross-referencing, but when that’s the worst complaint you’ve done a pretty nice puzzle construction. FACETIMED and GOOGLE HOME are reminders of how quickly tech goes from “latest greatest” to “passé.”

Joe Dipinto 11:48 AM  

Saturday trivia: the Rodgers & Hart song "Blue Moon" was rewritten three times, with a completely different title and lyric each time, before it became the classic hit we know today.

I was rooting for this puzzle when I got IVAN DRAGO right off the bat (CREED II was terrible, btw, but CREED I was excellent). The center stack was adept (GREEN TAPE!). Other good answers: LIVE SET, FLOUR BOMB, GANGRENE (crossing SICK ROOMS!). I've seen CLARET used as a color name, but without the RED appended. Nice job overall but it still felt a little underwhelming for a weekend puzzle.

I simply gotta march, my heart's a drummer
Don't bring around a cloud to rain on my parade

Yippee, a diagramless for tomorrow!

Dan Katz 12:08 PM  

Favorite themeless in a long time... really solid grid with lively fill. Rex, I think GOOGLE HOME is a lot more well-known than you think.

Whatsername 12:13 PM  

@chefwen: You made me laugh with your hair ironing comment. I remember those days. @GILL same with your perm story. Had a good friend with a very thick very long hair who tried the spiral look and her husband had basically the same reaction.

This was the perfect blend of Saturday toughness made a little more solver-friendly with some brilliant clueing. My favorites were FACETIMED and 39A: One of 309 [ACRES] in the National Mall. Oh that’s good. DNF without a couple of cheats, but only two and for me on a Saturday that’s as rare as a BLUEMOON. Got mired in the SE with FLAG at 38A and FLOURDUST at 47A. Since I knew zilch about wrestling, seaweed or the X-Men, needed help there. Easy enough to figure out the rest once I had CEREBRO.

My other stumble was in the NW because I kept stubbornly seeing 1D as a robbery vs. delay, and I was not familiar with either of the two movies. Also didn’t know SINBIN but should have since I just watched the NHL championship series. I like it though, and I’ll never watch another hockey game without remembering it and the fact that I learned it from this crossword. And how about those STL Blues! Quite a celebration for those of us in the Midwest who have to lay claim to the nearest franchise in order to to get our sports thrills.

This was a pure delight. Many thanks to Ryan McCarthy.

Ann Marie 12:15 PM  

Sick rooms is not morbid. My kids’ pediatrician’s office has a healthy room and a sick room so that those who are contagious don’t expose those there for check-ups or injuries, etc.

Crimson Devil 12:19 PM  

Dunno definition of crunchy, but like Justice Potter Stewart, I think this is it .

Wood 12:34 PM  

And though I've never heard it, and I hate pro hockey, I think SIN BIN is a funny, apt term for the penalty box. And that BIN means trash can in the UK. Could also be a lighthearted euphemism for Hell, if you wanted to be lighthearted about it...

Masked and Anonymous 12:57 PM  

Can't help wonder if the central BITOHONEY/BEEHIVE items were the puz seed entries. Anyhoo, SHOEHORNS was also apt, becuz of all the longballs stuffed into this puzgrid. Kinda figures ... since only a 66-worder. Quite a construction -- the constructioneer musta suffered a lot, to get this puppy to roll over & behave.

staff weeject picks: Hard to decide, between GRR & IRR. So gonna go with UGG.

NW Notes: Didn't know "Rent"/"Blue Is the Warmest Color" stuff, so kinda hard to get far in the NW. Had guessed ALAS (correctly) and LONGSET (incorrectly, M&A breath). Then, like @Teedmn, ran for it … over to the UGG/TOGO rest area. That last UGG "G" helped m&e get IVANDRAGO, tho -- which helped finish off the NW sinbin.

NE Notes: Easier. Got CHITS/HUD/SATAN pretty quick. Fairly easy clues, up there.

SW Notes: Great PARADE clue.

SE Notes: Didn;t know CEREBRO/FLOURBOMB, but somehow stemmed any big nano-second leaks. Took forever to get {Website need} = HOST, tho.

GANGRENE & GREENTAPE. Now, there's yer hidden theme rodeo, @RP.

Thanx for the feisty fun, Mr. McCarty. Now go make a few TuesPuzs, until U get yer nerve back.

Masked & Anonymo4Us

snow white biter:

jberg 1:00 PM  

Had I known IVAN DRAGO or what "Blue is the Warmest Color" was about this would have been much easier -- as it was, I had the rest of the puzzle, but no way to get back in there -- until I finally noticed that SHOEHORNS ruled out the possibility aht the terminal I in ASSISI was part of Ing going down, and finally saw STRAIGHTENER. It was fun working it all out, though.

Only gripe, really, is that the color is wine is CLARET, tout court.

Nice touches: aforementioned BIT O HONEY/BEEHIVE cross, and the ORC ORG HORMONE row.

cASk before OAST, of course! Didn't anyone else do that?

Anonymous 1:26 PM  

Would someone explain GREEN TAPE?

Overall: clever, but too hard to get into. There wasn't enough help with the obscure ones.

Sunnyvale Solver 1:28 PM  

No - too many bad clues (esp. in NE) and obscure proper nouns (esp. in NW) ruined this.

Bad clues such as:

9A: CHITS are not payments. They are substitutes or markers for future payments.

19A: "Crack" - terrible one-word clue with too many meanings, and the eventual answer ADEPT does not line up closely enough in meaning and usage

21A: "What might precede a bite" - this is clued for a noun, not a vocalization

9D: "Wine-colored" - I don't believe "CLARET RED" is an name of a color. It's a name of a wine paired with a color (RED). Somehow clue and answer don't match up.

2D: Is a "LIVE SET" really a thing? Seems redundant. Does a band ever play a non-live set? I wanted "set list", then "song set".

20A: constructor can't think of a better clue for LESBIAN than referencing an obscure foreign film?

25A: a BLUE MOON isn't that rare. I was looking for something more like Halley's Comet, ever 75 years

The center was ok, once I was able to break into it. I guess "BEE HIVE" crossing "BIT O HONEY" was a nice touch.

Alex M 1:31 PM  

GREEN TAPE like red tape, aaaaahhh. Had to Google that one.

Anoa Bob 2:01 PM  

Got off to a bumpy start, never having seen "Rent", any of the "Rocky" movies or "Blue Is The Warmest Color" (I guess that's a movie). And I don't watch hockey. Plus I tried LastSET and then LateSET for what a band plays at a concert, so that NW opening corner was the last to finally fill in.

I play a lot of poker and have never, ever seen CHITS (9A) used as "Possible poker payments". Don't even know how that would work. Tried CHIpS at first. But the only acceptable "poker payment" is, of course, cash. Anything else might result in an insurrection.

I did a double-take on the clue for 25A BLUEMOON. That's not really an "Astronomical rarity" is it? Strikes me as more of a "calendar rarity", occurring because the calendar months and the lunar months don't match up exactly and the "rarity" is two full moons in a single calendar month.

It did remind me of The Marcels' Blue Moon rendition. Who could forget the classic opening lines:

Bom ba ba bom ba bom ba bom bom ba ba bom ba ba bom ba ba dang a dang dang
Ba ba ding a dong ding Blue moon moon blue moon dip di dip di dip
Moo Moo Moo Blue moon dip di dip di dip Moo Moo Moo Blue moon dip di dip di dip
Bom ba ba bom ba bom ba bom bom ba ba bom ba ba bom ba ba dang a dang dang
Ba ba ding a dong ding Blue Moon

They don't write 'em like that anymore.

I've discovered over the years that being obsessed about AM I LATE is something one encounters more often in higher latitudes, and as one goes further and further south, that becomes less and less of an issue. Took a while for this transplanted WASP norteño to adjust here in TexMex land, at about 26 degrees latitude, but now I like the more relaxed, casual pace. Being early down here is what will get you into the SIN BIN.

Fred Romagnolo 2:03 PM  

A couple of commenters seem not to have noticed that the clue specified "Range," not city (16A). Aren't there TWO Basilica San Francescos in Asssi, one on top of the other? @Americans: you forgot to include lepers and the poor and his renunciation of wealth. Not a bad record; we San Franciscans feel a little proud of whom our Bay and City are named after. The pope seems to like him, too.

Zwhatever 2:31 PM  

@Sunnyvale Solver - Those are all pretty typical late week clues:

Possible poker payments could be chips or markers or CHITS because those are all words used to signify that in poker we don’t use actual cash.

I’m ADEPT at solving puzzles, I’m a crack solver.

When a dog growls they go GRR. If you aren’t careful the dog going GRR will bite you. The GRR precedes the bite.

CLARET RED is a common color for football jerseys in Great Britain.

LIVE SET as opposed to a DJ SET.

Besides winning the Palme d’Or, the LESBIAN sex scenes got lots of, uh, coverage. Granted, it was no Harry Potter or Star Wars mega-hit, but definitely Saturday crossworthy.

BLUE MOON isn’t actually an “astronomical rarity,” it’s a calendar rarity. But “once in a BLUE MOON” is used to mean “very rare” and is as “astronomical” as Shakespeare’s From forth the fatal loins of these two foes, A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life. In language not every word is used literally, something cluers, especially, remind us of on daily basis.

Aketi 2:54 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aketi 3:05 PM  

@Nancy, I died laughing from your post. I fit into your TEEN male profile . I adore ARM BARs especially when I nail them down on big burly men.

@Chefwen, I can make a good crust but it’s not worth the time it takes to clean up my FLOUR BOMBed kitchen so I have resorted to buying premade crusts.

@Gill I, my mother repeatedly tried those homemade perms with similar results.

@LMS, whenever I invite anyone over I’m always terrified that they will arrive early. I never have mastered the timing of all the preparation involved in having guests over. Even if they offer to help my heart sinks whenever someone arrives early. The worst is hosting the breastfeeding groups. I’m always afraid that a desperate mom will arrive way too early while I’m still cleaning. Some do arrive early and ask “AM I early?” and I have to muster the energy to be nice. So far none have arrived so early that half the living room furniture is still blocking the door while the Roomba roams free sucking up all the cat fuzz in the living room.

My husband is always way too early for New York standards. I still remember the look on the couple’s faces when he insisted on arriving 30 minutes early to a dinner party one time. They were in that frantic last minute prep mode that I know so well. I made sure to help as much as I could in the kitchen to make up for it with one spouse, while the other spouse showed my husband around the apartment. He did get his comeuppance when I begged him not to knock on the door an hour early for the formal Masquerade Ball that our Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Master held for his students. I was trying to hide behind a lamp post on the street. The response was as negative as I predicted so he conceded to my original plan of hanging out at the bar down the street and fashionably late.

Runs with Scissors 4:12 PM  

Not too tough for a Saturday, played just right. Gave me some push back, made me think, made me chuckle (20A crossing both 4D and 6D Hi! @Roo).

I didn't look for a theme, and I don't care if there is one. This was a fun puzzle to plow through.

FLOUR BOMB instantly reminded me of my Boy Scout days and our modified version of Capture the Flag. No only did we have to grab the flag off the opposition's hill, we used flour bombs and water balloons to make war on each other. Everyone knew when you were taken out - you looked like cookie mix ready to pop into the oven. Har!!

Liked it!!

Mark, in Mickey's North 40.

joebloggs 7:35 PM  

With all due respect to Rex SIN BIN is a very commonly used term in ice hockey.

Runs with Scissors 7:46 PM  


"And anyone who can make sense of the maelstrom that is wake, awake, woke, awoken, awaken, woke up, waked up, woken up please set us straight. I’ve went crazy worrying about it."

They're interchangeable. It's verbimorphism in action and is a wonderful thing to experience, IMNSHO.

Once we awoke. Now we wake. Were you waked? Woken? Awakened? Or is one just woke these days?

It doesn't matter, they're all correct.

Fun sidebar: When you "wake" the dead, you aren't awakening them to assume new lives. It's an ancient term dealing with funerary rites.

klazzic 6:30 PM  

Found this puzzle rather difficult for a Sunday. Had trouble seeing it through my ASSVEIL.

GHerbert 10:01 AM  

Did anybody else feel that there was a missing comma in the clue for 22D? I thought "Go on disparagingly" should have been "Go on, disparagingly".

kitshef 9:25 PM  

Found it pretty hard, and would have had a much harder time if CEREBRO were not a gimme. Excellent themeless.

crabby 10:20 AM  

@Rex - SINBIN has been around for generations. Pay attention.

Burma Shave 11:30 AM  


TOGO TO CEREBRO for some wits -
ALAS, there's no HORMONE that can
make him ADEPT, ain't that the CHITS?


Anonymous 11:41 AM  

Wheelhouse? Not even in the same hemisphere with this one...unknown after unknown.
Even given the answers it was a giant "Huh?"

rondo 12:28 PM  

Found time for this puz, 4 Rexes and zero write-overs. Satisfies me. Do they still make BITOHONEY?

leftcoast 4:19 PM  

Primed the pump (cheated) to get a good start and save some time.

Some notable clues/answers:

LIVESET -- okay, but does it have to be at a concert?
SINBIN -- must be sardonic usage, eh?
RUNONESMOUTH -- a bit on the formal side, I'd say
TAOBO -- who's Billy Blanks, anyway?
FLOURBOMB -- hadn't heard of this one before
CEREBRO -- or this one, either

A good start is a good thing to have.

rainforest 4:55 PM  

I approve of this puzzle. Third day in a row where The Open (British Open to the unwashed) competed for time with my solving. Speaking of that, I started off with ALAS and SMUG, then had a rather large nanosecond desert until I went South and noodled around until I got all of it, CEREBRO being my last entry down there.

The rest came over a rather longer period of time in the gorgeous centre section. Loved GREEN TAPE, something I regularly deal with in my condo, constantly hoping that other people would pay attention to it. Time-consuming, yes, but worth it.

Having seen the first Rocky, I saw no need to see any of the sequels. SMUG, moi?
I thoroughly enjoyed this puzzle once The Open telecast was over (looking forward to a Lowry - Fleetwood duel tomorrow), but I do wonder whether CLARET RED is a redundancy.

Diana,LIW 5:00 PM  

Blatant cheating gave me a toehold, and then I finished.

Just because you can make a good, male-oriented, trivia contest doesn't mean you have a crossword puzzle.

And yes, I'm in a rotten mood. Not SMUG. And yet, I did manage to suss out quite a bit. Not a BITOHONEY.

Diana, LIW

spacecraft 5:17 PM  

Struggled with this one on and off all day, finally threw in the towel: DNF. NW and NE both defeated me. "Crack" - ADEPT? As in "a crack shot?" Man, that's a stretch that would make Plastic Man envious.

@rondo: so sorry to hear of your mom's passing. Heartfelt condolences.

Let us move on to tomorrow...

leftcoast 6:04 PM  

@Burma Shave --
Enjoyed your neat and clean little ditty, including the CHITS.

Waxy in Montreal 4:01 PM  

Only finished today (Sunday) after the CLARET Jug with which I assume Mr. Lowry will paint the town RED had been awarded. Both the puzzle and the Open were indeed a challenge, way over par.

Of course started with SINBIN which was a gimme - thought a hockey theme was emerging with ASSISt but ASSISI it became. Not aware of GREENTAPE (which I trust will not be put in a pickle any time soon but an excellent descriptor for future use. Luckily was HOSTing my soon-to-be-TEEN grandson who was available to help with IVANDRAGO, TAEBO & CEREBRO.

Required a BITOHONEY after the GANGRENE/SICKROOMS cross. UGG!

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