Soviet workers group / SAT 6-29-19 / Geographical eponym of 1970s-'80s fad diet / Woman who spends money on younger lover in modern lingo / Icon of ambient music

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Constructor: Kameron Austin Collins

Relative difficulty: Easy (5:12 without even hitting the gas) (first thing in the morning)

THEME: none

Word of the Day: OURBOROS (11D: Ancient symbol depicting a serpent eating its own tail) —
The ouroboros is an ancient symbol of a snake or serpent eating its own tail, variously signifying infinity and the cycle of birth and death. // Ouroboros derives from a Greek word meaning “tail-devourer.” While the word is not attested in English until the 1940s, the concept of the ouroboros is very ancient, used across many cultures as a symbol of cosmic harmony, eternity, and the cycle of birth and death.
The earliest known ouroboros symbol comes in a 14th-century BCE Egyptian religious text found in the tomb of King Tutankhamen. The symbol appears in a passage about the origin of the sun god Ra through a union with the death god Osiris, meant to illustrate creation through destruction. Ancient Egyptians also used the ouroboros to symbolize the flooding of the Nile, which occurred in seasonal cycles and was of great importance to ancient Egyptian agriculture and society. Other ancient cultures also incorporated the ouroboros symbol. Norse legend tells of the great serpent, Jörmungandr, who encircles the earth and bites its own tail. Hindu cosmology features an ouroboros as helping to prop up the Earth.
The ouroboros was specifically adopted by Gnostic philosophers in the 2nd century BCE. For them, it symbolized the dual nature of existence, marked by life and death, male and female, light and dark, mortality and divinity, or Earth and heaven. Alchemists notably used the ouroboros, too, to represent the element Mercury, believed to permeate and unite all matter. A drawing of the ouroboros can be found in one of the earliest alchemical texts, The Chrysopoeia of Cleopatra, from the 3rd century CE. (
• • •

First, big round of applause for the CLEO / OUROBOROS juxtaposition ("A drawing of the ouroboros can be found in one of the earliest alchemical texts, The Chrysopoeia of Cleopatra, from the 3rd century CE."). Surely unintended, but still a nice little easter egg. This puzzle was far too easy overall, with many of the clues coming in at Monday level. See, for instance, ESAI (25D: Morales of "NYPD Blue") and ATTA and DYAN and EXS and ERIN and SELA and MARIA and MAA (tho I did consider BAA there at first) and ARIE (OK, I had ARYA, but it's crosswordese and a total gimme if my crosswordese memory bank had had the light turned on this morning). Gimmes are everywhere. OUROBOROS, long gimme (with an overly literal clue). SUGAR MAMA (great!), gimme. KAZAAM, gimme. ADOSE, AREN'T, UMAMI. The construction of the grid itself is very nice, but this one had no resistance at all *unless* you ran into a proper noun you're unfamiliar with. Or didn't know the French word for "strawberry"—that might've hurt (48A: Crème de ___ (strawberry liqueur)). The only way I got hurt today was by hurting myself (badly) when I blithely threw down HEBREW ALPHABET (!?!?) at 15D: What ends with Adar (HEBREW CALENDAR), "Adar" being another bit of crosswordese that I couldn't place this morning. That one error—the dumb accident of "alphabet" and "calendar" being the same length—probably cost me a full minute. It's the only thing that cost me any time longer than a few seconds today. Didn't like a bunch of the shorter stuff today, but the solid and entertaining longer stuff more than made up for those stray infelicities.

Today's constructor is film critic for "Vanity Fair," so I was def on the hunt for movie stuff (AFI, ALICIA, CLEO, "KAZAAM," CAAN, AT-AT, DYAN). Just now realizing that I have never heard of RENI (5D: Italian artist Guido). But then I (obviously) never saw it, so gettable were the long crosses. Aside from the whole HEBREW ALPHABET incident, my only missteps were small: SNOMOBILE (!) before SKIMOBILE (12D: Winter transport), SCARSBORO (!?) before SCARSDALE (65A: Geographical eponym of a 1970s-'80s fad diet), and then a bunch of letters I couldn't figure out somewhere in the middle of ZAPAT....A (33D: Mexican revolutionary). I was thinking of the (ELIA Kazan) movie! "Viva ZAPATA!"—the ZAPATISTAs were Emiliano Zapata's followers. I always love seeing GALOP in puzzles because I consider it one of the regrettable things I've ever put in a grid myself, and so every time I see it I feel slightly less bad. Mine was even in the same NW section of the grid. I think it might even have been 3D??? (checking ...). No it was 1-Across, and it was a *plural*. LOL. I'm all by myself in the Shortz era with that one. Anyway, if you didn't know GALOP(S), now you know.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. forgot about ARTEL (51D: Soviet workers' group), which was hardcore crosswordese in the pre-Shortz era (Maleska, Weng, and Farrar all leaned on it heavily), but (to Shortz's credit) it's all but vanished in the Shortz era. It's actually funny to see how fast he turned off the ARTEL spigot—it appears a bunch of times in the mid-'90s, in grids that were likely grandfathered in from the Maleska era, and then poof, gone. Well, not gone. But now it disappears for years at a time (this latest disappearing act lasted three years).

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Lewis 7:36 AM  

The low-hanging-for-me fruit was rare but well spread out, and if those few easy clues had been toughened, this puzzle would have been opaque to me. This shows the art and skill of the constructor and editors, to make the solve tough but enjoyable rather than tough and frustratingly ungettable, to make the solver feel triumphant rather than demoralized.

Thank you, Kameron and Will et al for this grand, high-quality offering!

Loren Muse Smith 7:55 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rhino 7:57 AM  

Call me old fashioned but in my day cows said 'Moo,' sheep said 'Baa,' and that was the end of it.

Suzie Q 7:57 AM  

I loved learning ouroboros and the origins. Symbols that span many cultures interest me a lot.
The clue for blooms was nice and needed to be read very carefully.
Other than that the rest of the puzzle was forgettable.

Loren Muse Smith 7:58 AM  

I really like the chutzpah of having MUCOUS MEMBRANE occupying one of the two primo spots. Wanna use a dull-yet-nevertheless-off-putting phrase in a Saturday? Go big or go home. I’m not being sarcastic; this was my favorite entry. Fun fact: MUCOUS is the adjective. Mucus is the noun. Same with callous (adj) and callus (noun). (The adjectives for sinus, anus, and phallus went in different directions.) I’ll wait while you write all this down.

XTC. Hah. Gramograms are so fun. I think xpdnc is the longest one. I use eyeshadow and liner ‘cause I have bd ii.

OUROBOROS – hmm. Man. What a word. I’m impressed it was a gimme for Rex. (It’s pronounced like You’re a Boris.) A snake eating its own tail. Could we adjectify it to ouroborotic and use it to describe a foreign policy? @kitshef – are there snakes that actually eat their own tail?

I’m reminded of this gem.

By the way, I had a dnf ‘cause I had “Ourohoros” crossing “hop.” Totally defensible.

EXTRA FRIES. KALE SALAD. That, sports fans, sums up mealtime for my daughter and me. I have to buy a ton of kale when she comes home for obvious reasons. And, get this, she massages it before using it in a salad. The act of massaging anything feels private, so I usually excuse myself so that she and her kale to have their little moment. The flip side is me ordering from any fast food place with fries. Last week at the food court at the mall, I ordered from a chicken place and wanted to make sure I got the largest possible fries, so I said The four-piece chicken strips meal, but I want EXTRA LARGE fries. I’ll pay extra. The guy said that they didn’t have extra large but assured me that the fries were large. If there hadn’t been so many people within earshot, I probably would have told him to add another side of large fries, but I was too ashamed at my piggishness. So I got my meal and was devastated that the fries, by my measure, were absolutely not a large. I could’ve eaten triple the amount. To add insult to injury, they weren’t salted enough, but I couldn’t just leave all my food and stuff on the table to trek back over to get extra salt. I can’t let this go.

I have never laid eyes on the word “effloresce.” I’ve looked into it, and the stress is on the last syllable. Dictionaries have its first meaning as BLOOM, but its second meaning is become covered with a powdery crust. So I could say that that nifty Veg-o-Matic Juice Blasteratorizer that I had to have (and I “acted now” so that I also got the mini Kale Massagerator) is efflorescing on my counter from neglect.

@gfr peace from yesterday - I kept going back to read and reread your sentence, “I once was kept off the Boston subway because I was carrying a medieval clavichord.” That’s a helluva sentence, and I was wildly nvs that I have never been kept off a subway carrying a medieval clavichord. It’s now on my bucket list.

@mooretep from yesterday – Wow! We have a lot in common. Have fun at your reunion and at Cedar Point!

Happy Saturday, everyone. Guys – may your _ _ _ _ _us never effloresce during your daily “walking around time” (to quote Steve Martin).

pabloinnh 8:13 AM  

Zippy for a Saturday, alas, because I thought it was a fine effort. MUCOUSMEMBRANE off the M, how fun is that? Thanks for the noun/adjective lesson, @LMS. The things I learn from crosswords. Also, someday I'll learn how to spell UMAMI . SEGA_ was a mystery to me, as far as a word modifying "MAMA" goes.

OFL is right to plunk in SNOMOBILE, even with the misspelling. Our winters are spent with these as neighbors, and nobody calls them "SKIMOBILES". It's always "snowmobiles" or often "snow machines", and they are often in "close proximity", which is a phrase that annoys me no end. Is there another kind of proximity?

Thanks for a smooth Saturdecito, KAC. Keep 'em coming, and up your toughness level a little.

brandsinger 8:17 AM  

Santa Maria? If this were a Rex review he'd be outraged the puzzle refers to a ship used by an imperialistic racist exploiter of native peoples.

QuasiMojo 8:23 AM  

I knew Guido Reni from having seen his work in Rome and from watching Sister Wendy on TV. He painted Cleopatra clutching her asp, btw.

Fun puzzle over too soon -- but I could have done without the OWS and OOFS, and ARIE would have been impossible if I hadn't recently read of Ouroboros in a book about the Odyssey. You can buy a gold ouroboros from Gucci. Only $2600.

kitshef 8:30 AM  

Found this to be much easier than yesterday (not uncommon for the Fri-Sat difficulty to be reversed for me). I had OUROBORuS at first, and reuSABLE before ERASABLE, and a spot of trouble with LISA and ALICIA, both WoEs, but otherwise very much a wheelhouse puzzle.

Not sure SUGAR MAMA is particularly modern.

Some very awkward PoCs: OOFS and OWS, ANISES. OASES though is a nice example of a plural, but not one of convenience.

kitshef 8:31 AM  

@LMS - as a lifestyle or habit, no. But it does occasionally happen by accident.

Jon Alexander 8:33 AM  

I hardly call OUROBOROS in gimme territory, that with ARIE (aLie) and BOP (Hop), gave me a double natick.

Seriously though, I’ve never heard the phrase “Bop along” used whereas “Hop along, now” is a more common phrase which literally means “Go”.

Rest of the puzzle was easy, more like a Wednesday feel. I spent 50% of my time in the NE corner with the “gimme” and got the error finish with those two problems mentioned above.

albatross shell 8:35 AM  

I could not believe how fast it was filling in with first thought long answers for a Saturday. Still had to Google a couple names and spellings to not quite finish correctly. The RI_ GALO_ cross. Started atoz and stopped at RIb for lambaste. When puzzle check told me that was wrong, the P just jumped out at me.

If you do the mini: I believe the pasta water clue is incorrect. It will boil slower, although the pasta may cook faster.

Thanks for the video yesterday. Sampled many versions on spotify. Dillards, Gary Davis ,Danny Kalb, Jerry Lee Lewis, Mavis Staples. Alison Krauss, Blind Boys of AL., etc. Its an endless list. Albert Brumley also wrote another of my favorites Turn your Radio on. Also I believe the video,though it seems older, was recorded in 1983 or later. Not very early for the hair styles you mentioed.

Unknown 8:38 AM  

Goats say maa

Nancy 8:40 AM  

There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of in my philosophy, and one of them is OUROBOROS. Never heard of it, and although I had OURO-O-OS, I didn't finish the answer. Nor that section. That's because I didn't know A-IE. Look, when you have a last name like Luyendyk, your first name can be anything. Add to that the fact that I didn't know if to "go" was to BOP along or POP along -- "I'll be bopping along, now"; "I'll be popping along, now". I thought both were awful answers to the clue, actually.

Thus a DNF on a puzzle that I struggled womanfully to complete everywhere else, and did. Despite all the names I didn't know in the SW -- ALICIA and LISA and the "title genie" KAZAAM -- I pulled it out. But not OUROBOROS.

(BTW, I wanted the answer to 1A to be IDIOT, but it didn't fit.)

Steve 8:46 AM  

Can you just come over and share your thoughts on... well, everything? You can bring your daughter. We have Kale.

RavTom 8:46 AM  

The clue on 15D is wrong. The HEBREWCALENDAR ends with Elul, the month before Rosh Hashanah, i.e. New Year! It’s true that the “Biblical” calendar would end on the month before Passover begins, which is what Adar is. But the Biblical calendar is not the HEBREWCALENDAR, which came later. The name Adar — indeed, the names of all the Hebrew months — aren’t Biblical; they derived from Babylonian names when the Jews lived there. Clearly, the constructor never picked up a free HEBREWCALENDAR from his local Jewish funeral home.

Anonymous 8:48 AM  

I liked today’s puzzle but I’m here mainly to say.....Megan Rapinoe!

Hartley70 9:03 AM  

I decided on a “c” for cOP as in “cop a plea” because hop and bop and pop felt so wrong. Of course that’s minor compared to how wrong OUROcOROS appeared this morning. That was just a wicked cross.

Anonymous 9:04 AM  

The Zapatista movement, more accurately the Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional (EZLN) is a modern-day far-left revolutionary and indigenous movement that controls substantial territory in Chiapas in Southern Mexico. They take their name from Zapata, the Mexican Independence hero and view themselves as Zapata’s ideological heirs. But are not Zapatas “followers” in a literal sense. The movement started in 1994 and Zapata died in 1919.

Dr. Haber 9:05 AM  

Knackered by ouroboros. Totally unfamiliar. Thus had hop for bop and Alie for Arie. This was like a Saturday clue in a Monday puzzle.

Birchbark 9:11 AM  

UNO CARD NEXT DOOR TO EXTRA FRIES -- like the coffee table in the morning after a late-nighter, back in the day. Later, EXTRA FRIES segues to SCARSDALE, as the grid establishes. After that, there is really nothing to say, and so the puzzle ends.

Subcomandante Marcos 9:32 AM  

@Anonymous 9:04, you’re right on the money.

RooMonster 9:38 AM  

Hey All !
Holy OUROBOROS! Knew the depiction, but jeez Louise if I knew that's what it's called. And why don't we see it more in crosswords?

GALOP is a great word! Not sure what kind of a dance it is, but i picture someone flailing their arms about while stomping and thrashing around. Maybe I'll look it up. Wanted JIG, too short.

Finished puz at 22 minutes, but got the "Almost!" message. Wrongness was ZAPATItTA, OUROhOmOS/hOP/AmIE. Agree with @Nancy about ARIE could be anything. Got a chuckle out of that!

Isn't a totspeak belly a TUM TUM?

I need me a SUGAR MAMA, but since I'll be 50 this year, not sure how much older she can be! Har. (Just a little joke, don't @ me. :-))

Mr. ENO is back! Wow, long time no see. @Z should enjoy that! Har.
I miss OMOO. We do get OOFS, though. Bonus F.

Wondering if seed entry was MUCOUS MEMBRANEs with the S for a 15, but KAC just couldn't get anything else to work on the symmetric end, and said, "Hey, if I put a black square there, everything works out!" Been there.

So a nice SatPuz. @M&AA gets a shout-out. :-)


Trans Man 9:43 AM  

@brad 8:17 am- It was a Rex review and you obviously don’t understand how intersectionality works on this blog.

Hungry Mother 9:46 AM  


Joe Dipinto 9:49 AM  

It's just emotion that's taken me over

And the emotion is "like". I liked this a lot. It was too easy though. Except for box 26, which as LMS notes could reasonably have been an "h" -- "horos" is Greek for "dance". A better clue for BOP would have been nice. ARTEL sounds like you meant to say "cartel" but choked on the "c". "Good heavens, it's a ck--artel!"

All those one-off guest roles Esai Morales did for years -- crossword constructors must have lamented "if only this guy would get a lead gig on a popular show, we could use him in the puzzle! And use him, and use him..."

We have to say se la, se la
Talking to the people
Se la, se la
It's time you thought about it
Se la, se la (hey, hey)
Se la, se la

Okay, Lionel, if you insist.

Lots of women's names in the puzzle: Alicia, Lisa, Maria, Dyan. Why isn't Rex salivating? Ah -- because they're all in the bottom half: a visual metaphor for inferiority. Will WS's misogyny never cease?

Lisa left you years ago

And I'm leaving to go get the umami rush that comes from a plate of kale salad with extra fries and plural anises. And Baked Pears Alicia for dessert. Happy Sat.!

Zwhatever 9:54 AM  

Thanks, @LMS, for the explanation of that extraneous O stuffed up my nose. And I agree on the odd choice of 14 letter answers. CALENDARs, HEBREW or otherwise, are about as mundane a crossword entry as one can find. And if it isn’t Insane in the MEMBRANE I wonder what it is doing in the grid. Considering KAC’s usual humor, these are odd choices to anchor a grid.

@kitshef - I was wondering about SUGAR MAMA, too. SUGAR daddy is definitely not “modern lingo.” Is it just that SUGAR MAMA is slightly newer?

@RavTom - didn’t we already have this discussion? Wikipedia has Adar as the last month of the “ecclesiastical/biblical” but 6th in the “civil.” All of them qualify as HEBREW CALENDARs I would think.

The clue for AT-AT got an arched eyebrow. Anything that can be defeated by essentially getting tripped doesn’t qualify as a “juggernaut” IMHO. Since the clue mentioned Star Wars I was thinking more Imperial Star Destroyer. I saw it was only four letters so AT-AT went right in, but I wasn’t happy about it.

Rex compliments Shortz. I think there’s a blue moon over a frozen hell.

71 in Nampa 9:58 AM  

Don’t know anybody here who calls their snowmobile a skimobile. Sellers or users. And there’s a boatload of ‘em here.
A few ticks off best, for this very easy Saturday puzzle.

Alysia 10:22 AM  


That’s all I wanted to say. I’d sound the trumpets and wake my husband, but he wouldn’t understand the excitement.

Crimson Devil 10:26 AM  

Not a good experience. SAT clue shoulda had some indicator of . . ..

puzzlehoarder 10:40 AM  

One irritating dnf on an otherwise easy puzzle. The ironic thing is that I was a little unsure of the R in ARIE. Everything else was crystal clear so BOP turning up in the place of HOP came out of left field.

ARIE has been clued this way 28x and still I was not completely sure of it. BOP on the other hand has always been clued as a jazz style or as a form of hitting. This seems like a very deliberate effort by either the constructor or the editor to create a single letter Natick on an otherwise easy puzzle. Well congratulations you got me.

If anyone could post a video of themselves BOPping from point A to point B, please do so. I could use some cheering up.

JC66 10:49 AM  


Here's your BOP video.

Joe Dipinto 10:59 AM  

Now @jcc66, really. Tee-hee.

I wonder if "rickroll" has ever been in the puzzle.

Anonymous 11:02 AM  

@Jon Alexander:
I hardly call OUROBOROS in gimme territory.

It is if your a X Files addictee.

jae 11:29 AM  

Bottom half easy, top half a tad tougher. OUROBOROS was a WOE and I debated between hOP and BOP. BOP seemed apter, but @lms et. al. it might just have been a lucky guess.

LSD and theme?

Solid, liked it.

The Snake Without a Tail 11:37 AM  

I have to admit that I get TOTALLY irked when @Rex says something like “OUROBOROS” is a gimme. On the other hand, I agree that BOP was a gimme (for me) because I will say and have heard “I’m going to bop along now” as a form of “I need to go”. Maybe MUCOUSMEMBRANE doesn’t pass the breakfast test but I was pleased to pop the answer right in. Nice to have @Rex throw Shortz a bone for a change. Thanks @LMS for bringing up the mucus/mucous distinction. I’m serious about that but wonder If I’ll be thinking of what that membrane produces (on a bad day) all day...

DBlock 11:38 AM  

There are actually four different New years on the Jewish calendar
Rosh Hashanah which marks the birthday of the world does begin on the first day of Tishrei
However the first day of a Nissan when the Jews became a people
the month of Adar is when they make changes to the Jewish calendar that’s why some years we have two Adars or days get added to sync up with the lunar calendar
I know this because over 30 years ago mythen Rabbi boyfriend now husband Proposed to me on the first day of Nissan so we would become the people the same day the Jews became a people
That’s what passes for romance in the rabbinic world

jberg 11:39 AM  

Yesterday it was Tolkien, today E.R. Eddison whom I have also read several times, though in this case I quit when I grew up. Despite that, I would have put in a couple more Us, if they'd fit. And it resolved the ERIN/Eire indeterminacy, so that helped a lot.

I counted out EXTRA cheESe, and it seemed to fit, but when I went to write it in one of the blank squares had taken it on the lam. I almost went to EXTRA large, but didn't do it right away and was amazed when some of the letters turned out to be correct.

And since I had the SK, I put in SKIMOBILE without thinking -- but then realized that nobody says that, so was figureing it must be some other kind of ski vehicle, or maybe some kind of skilift -- amazed when it proved out.

I did love seeing MUCOUS MEMBRANE in the puzzle, but agree that it was way too easy for a Saturday.

OK, gotta lop along.

jberg 11:43 AM  

Oh I forot--@Loren, my daughter (who loathed KALE until she was maybe 20) gave us a few weeks of Blue Plate once. (If you don't know it, it's one of those services that delivers all the ingredients for a dinner in just the right amounts, and with instructions for preparing the meal). One time there was a bunch of kale with instructions for kneading it and making a salad. It does make a big difference -- makes it a little less crunchy and bitter. I've never done it since, but I wouldn't put KALE in a SALAD anyway. (And speaking of adjectives, should that be a kalic salad?)

OISK 11:49 AM  

Phooey. Since I never heard of Ouroboros, ( and I am apparently not alone,) I was left with Lyendyk's first name, and "Go along," to avoid the DNF. Got Arie, but missed Bop. Sorry, but given as obscure (to many) and indiscernible ( took me 3 tries to spell "indiscernible"!) an answer as Ouroboros, the clue for "Bop" is unacceptable. It's a style of jazz. Give me a shot! And Arie? Well, if one "Googles" "Arie," Luyendyk comes up immediately, so not as obscure as I thought.
But, bopping along, Alicia, Kazaam, XTC, Uno card, inspired by LSD? Too many annoyances for me. Would not have liked this one even had I finished it correctly. (Nancy and I are on the same page, as usual...)

Syndicate Bob 11:57 AM  

I think it was @acme who in this space first explained Rick rolling. I recently created a work of art consisting of a giant qr code. When scanned it Rick rolls you.

Newboy 12:03 PM  

Yep, I’m cross with those crosses already noted. Still fun, so applause to OFL, constructor, commentary,

Ethan Taliesin 12:24 PM  

Typed SHAZAM for KAZAAM, but corrected that forthwith.
This was a Wednesday crashing Saturday's private party.

Syndicate Bob 12:39 PM  

Believe it or not at SF State I took a class on Ouroboros. It was a proseminar, which required no prerequisites. This made it different from a regular seminar. The answer was a gimme but the spelling of it was not.

Molasses 12:49 PM  

I also thought this was pretty easy for a Saturday. I couldn't remember ESAI and needed the I to get ICECOLD, and couldn't come up with LUKE as a 4-letter Bible book. John was obviously not going to work. Otherwise, everything percolated out of the chaotic memory system that is my brain. Annoyed with myself for not being able to get AT-AT directly; all came from crosses.

OUROBOROS reminded me of my H.P. Lovecraft period. I went with my parents on a 4-seater plane trip across country (Utah to Texas to Virginia; my dad was the pilot) the summer when I was 13, and I had a paperback of his short stories to read in the back seat. I thought for sure he'd written a story called The Worm Ouroboros but Google says he didn't. It 's supposed to be 112 here today, a good day to stay inside and read. I think I'll start with Cool Air.

old timer 1:00 PM  

Never heard of OUROBOROS, hence a DNF for me. Had to look up the driver's name, but still thought it would be Hop along, not BOP. The rest of the puzzle was tough but very doable.

clk 1:01 PM  

Never heard if KAZAAM so that was the DNF spot for me. I kept trying to cram some variant of Shazam in there and it did not go well.
On the other hand, I agree that the overly literal clue made OUROBOROS a gimme. It’s just the spelling that gets me. Which Os get a U? Seems like it should be more of them.

Chip Hilton 1:03 PM  

OUROBOROS described as low-hanging fruit. A gimme. Yeah, it’s official. You’re a buffoon.

Good, testing Saturday for this all to human crossword fan. I guessed hOP instead of BOP. I’ll just have to live with it.

Fred Romagnolo 1:25 PM  

@pablo: meant to get to you yesterday: I believe that it was Wilde who, on hearing something witty, said "I wish I had said that," and it was Whistler who said "You will, Oscar, you will." On today's puzzle, I try to avoid google, but will consult reference books, (as an ex-teacher I've got a lot of them), OUROBOUROS is not in the Webster's Third, or Second.

Dave S 1:36 PM  

After having a lot of fun with Friday's puzzle, this one was not terrible, but kind of a letdown. Went quickly, though my quickly is always about five times as slow as Rex's. Too many actor's names and too many silly words like "bop" and "oof" and "tum." A lot of the short stuff was troubling: I guess "mid" means central, but I can't see ever swapping out one for the other. And is the plural of "ex" spelled exs anywhere except puzzles? I did appreciate "artel," a word I didn't know or had completely wiped from my memory banks. And "skimobile" reminded me that I've probably been spelling snowmobile wrong most of my life, leaving off the "w." That's about it, though. I'm a sucker for punny clues that make go "hah!" and I didn't see any today.

Teedmn 1:41 PM  

There was a BOP in the puzzle? I had ______O_OS and splatted in OUROBOROS without hesitation, only because I once wasted far too many nanoseconds on a trilogy with that word in the title and couldn’t finish it. I think it's still in my library waiting for when I'm able to read such pithy literature - or maybe it'll just get tossed with a lot of other drecky books I never finished. Meanwhile, I never had to read the clue for BOP.

In fact, I was BOPping along quite nicely through 3 segments of this puzzle until the SE got me. MAA was not my first guess but A DOSE made it a must. How long did I stare at UN__A_D and try to parse why UNitArDs might read “Reverse”? OOFS was the most clever of today's clues for me and I was glad when AcrossLite gave me the thumbs up on my solve.

Mr. Collins, thanks for providing a bit of a struggle today - nice puzz!

jae 1:59 PM  

Rick rolling is alive and well. Check out the latest (June 23) Last Week Tonight show with John Oliver on HBO.

JC66 2:13 PM  


Yep, that's why it came to mind when I was reading @Puzzlehoarder's post.

Zwhatever 2:38 PM  

The OUROBOROS schism has me confused because I actually corrected hOP to BOP and just assumed I learned OUROBOROS from crosswords because it is not a word I’m particularly familiar with. But lots of frequent solvers are claiming this is new, so I went looking. I found one use of the term by @AliasZ in the comments way back when, but that wouldn’t have been enough for it to stick. Then I found this Guest BEQ puzzle made by Rex and Angela Halstead back in 2011, complete with interview. This is before whatever led to Rex’s falling out with Shortz, so it’s interesting to read now. I still don’t know why I know OUROBOROS, but it is often interesting what you find while looking for something else.

puzzlehoarder 2:51 PM  

@JC66, thanks for the video. I was going to point out that John Oliver just used it but @jae beat me to it.

My only reference for BOPping as a form of movement is that line from Jim Croces' "Don't Mess Around With Jim" song that goes "Jimmy come boppin' in off the street." Big Jim Walker BOPs from the street into the pool hall. I never could understand exactly what that would look like or why anyone would use it as a figure of speech. Sounds very square.

pabloinnh 3:04 PM  

@Fred R--That sounds plausible to me. I tend to remember quotes like that that I find both funny and wise, but I prefer to cite the speaker if I can. Unfortunately, that seems to be getting a little harder these days. Anyway, thank you.

JW 3:37 PM  

This is where I learned of ouroboros some years ago:

“The German organic chemist August Kekulé described the eureka moment when he realized the structure of benzene, after he saw a vision of Ouroboros:[24]”

Fred Romagnolo 3:51 PM  

Galop Infernal is the title of Offenbach's famous can can. Its furious pace is satirized by Saint Saens in his Carnival of the Animals played very slowly as the tortoise.

Fred Romagnolo 3:54 PM  

You can get it on You Tube

Joe Dipinto 4:07 PM  

@puzzlehoarder -- I could totally picture Big Jim boppin' into a Times Square poolroom like he owned the joint. He was Da Man! With a two-piece custom-made pool cue! He even had a crew of backup singers following him around to warn others to stay away! How cool was that?

SJ Austin 4:22 PM  

Super easy Saturday. I crushed my Thursday record by a couple minutes. And that's including the same alphabet/calendar error Rex made. So it's possible that I have PR Bias, but I thought this was a really nicely done puzzle.

Runs with Scissors 5:16 PM  

Did this last night, just now having time to comment.

This was easy, until I got the "You're almost there!!" message. I went back over the grid and could not see any errors. Until, finally, after much too long, I realized that 27D "Refuges" are not eASES, but OASES - to also make the pained expressions be oral expressions of OWS, not facial expressions of eWS. Oooof!!

Other than that, I tore through this like . . . no, never mind. But it was quick.

@LMS, I'm standing in your corner on MUCOUS MEMBRANE. How cool an entry is that??? I wouldn't make it ERASABLE. But I don't do the EXTRA FRIES.

Not much else to say. Had fun solving, enjoyed the pushback noted above, and continued my streak.

Now to go back and read all y'all's comments.

Mark, in Mickey's North 40

KevinDenelsbeck 5:45 PM  

Fairly straightforward for me except that I had EWS/EASES instead of OWS/OASES and the puzzle said, nope, you're not done. I looked all over (I thought maybe MAA was something else) but I never even considered OWS/OASES. I eventually checked the puzzle and it marked the problematic square, but to my mind my answer was correct enough to count :/. Did anyone else struggle with this square? Did everyone else just fill in OWS without thinking about it and not get snagged here?

Zwhatever 5:46 PM  

@kitshef - I just saw on Twitter that KAC denies responsibility for the "in modern lingo" part of the clue and he notes that SUGAR MAMA appeared in a NYTX in 1977.

Monty Boy 5:57 PM  

Liked this one a lot, especially that I only had to look up spelling and to confirm my answers. No gratuitous Googling.

I got started in the NE with the downs except the tail eating snake. Had to get that from crosses. SE took a lot of crosses, but they were fair.

Oh, John X, let me know when you're next in Denver and we can compare reunions.

Molasses 7:10 PM  

I think of BOPping as that move Gene Wilder does in Silver Streak when he's trying to pass as a black man. Here's where it is on YouTube (the BOP starts at about 1:50):

kitshef 7:22 PM  

Thanks, @Z. Merriam-Webster does not list a date of first use, but has examples from the 1920s.

Crimson Devil 8:55 PM  

Ah, pablo..., : ya don’t tug on Superman’s cape, or piss in tha wind, or rip the mask off the Ol Lone Ranger....

Runs with Scissors 9:35 PM  

And I gotta add, the XTC is also the model of mountain bike I ride.

As an aside, does riding a carbon fiber-frame mountain bike absolve me from other carbon-intensive activities?

cleary 9:52 PM  

LMS -- great comments! You should take over this crossword blog! Very entertaining and informative. Learn something every time.

CFG 11:23 PM  

I live in Minnesota, and we know from snow, and absolutely no one calls their snowmobile a SKIMOBILE. And OUROBOROS is not a gimme!

dm3000 5:03 PM  

I was thinking the same thing. Just hoped someone else saw it.

Burma Shave 10:46 AM  


from what USEDTOBE the SUTRA Kama.


spacecraft 11:55 AM  

Not so easy for me: DNF at sq. 26. Of course having no idea what 11-down might be, I went with hOP (along) vs. BOP. Sq. 11 was also a Natick guess, but I hit that one. Total = COST? "Your bill comes to a total (BALANCEDUE) of $_____." That's your COST, I guess. Plastic Man is again envious.

Besides the NE fiasco, what bothered me today was the PPP-laden grid. Too many names. And here's another that wasn't clued as a name: ATTA. This asshole was one of the suicide pilots on 9-11, and if you want me to take offense at something, I'll pick this. Please keep that name out of your puzzles, constructors.

The plethora of PPPs does yield a fearsome CaST (almost wrote that in 10-a) of DOD's past and present. You know I love you best, SELA, but this time I award the sash to DYAN Cannon. While I can't "officially" score a DNF, I will say I didn't like this one.

Diana, LIW 12:33 PM  

Like @Spacey, I found it not so easy - due to lack of trivia knowledge. Eventually, I just didn't care any more, a rarity. But you either know it, or you just don't and never will guess.

Diana, Waiting for Sunday, oh my

rondo 1:51 PM  

SKIMOBILE?? Don't think so. Still finished without error. But don't get me to try to spell OUROBOROS without crosses.


Didn't read comments, what WAS the PPP index? Let's see . . . ERIN Andrews, MEL Harris, LISA Kudrow, MARIA Sharapova, SELA Ward, DYAN Cannon, and CLEO Laine AREN'T quite there today. I lean towards the Swedest of all, ALICIA Vikander. Yeah baby. And there's a handful of guys' names to boot.

About as easy as yesterday. Those two long downs such gimmes.

rainforest 4:53 PM  

Found this easy, got the two long downs right off, ripped through this in a fast time (though I don't time myself), and ta da - DNF. hOP instead of BOP. Didn't even consider BOP. Drat. Doesn't the red red robin come bob-bob-bobbin' along? No BOPping. Of course, no HOPping either, but still.

Otherwise, I enjoyed the puzzle despite the DNF. I always wondered why the Empire made the AT-AT with all the technology they had. A SKIMOBILE (I used to use the term Ski-Doo for years) would have been preferable to the ponderous AT-AT, especially a big, well-amoured one.

Easy, maybe too easy, with @Dirigonzo's OWS to nettle me.

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