Saturday, July 13, 2019

Constructor: David Steinberg

Relative difficulty: Challenging (for me, but I've been having the yips all week)

THEME: none

Word of the Day: Maui Wowie (17A: Potent Hawaiian Weed) —
Maui Wowie is a Sativa-dominant landrace strain of cannabis that originated in the 1970s on the Hawaiian island for which it's named.

• • •

Hey hey, everybody! This is Jeff Lin, long time reader, occasional commenter, first time blogger; it's also my birthday today so please be nice to me.

So it's been a rough week for me puzzle-wise, some of it puzzle related (like many of you, I also have NOT been a fan of the puzzles this week), some of it nervousness (I'm very self conscious, far too self conscious to post my solving time today), and a David Steinberg Saturday did not help, though I fully expected it coming (I owe you a TACO, TW).  Despite starting my solving career in senior year of HS back in [REDACTED], I still find some of these older references dubious, especially for a supposed young'n like David Steinberg.  I mean come on, CANDY GIRL? You don't know that, unless he's secretly 97 years old.  

Frankly, the whole puzzle was an ARCANE mix of old and new.  You got Tyler the Creator's IGOR, EMOJI, and JON Snow in one corner and then Cecil B. DeMille's AMPAS, Joe NAMATH, and HITHER in another (not literally of course, as some are not in corners).  

Though it's probably telling that even as a youngish [citation needed] solver, even I did not expect 17A: Potent Hawaiian weed to mean strain of marijuana.  Maybe I'm just a square blue-haired pearl-clutcher, but I just assumed we were looking for some invasive, valueless, wild-growing plant native to Hawaii.  At no point in solving did I expect the old gray lady to be printing MAUI WOWIE... not that I, an upstanding law-abiding member of society, am familiar with that sort of federal illegal controlled substance...

Phew, I think they bought that... ELAINE's buddy Ted knows what I'm talking about. N'EST CE PAS?
Anyhoo, I found this one to be on the tougher side with some strained and tenuous cluing, looking at you, clues for NEAR, UNDID, and LORE, and some first timers (CHUGALUG, CHITOWN, CANDYGIRL) in the long acrosses and downs.     But it did come together pretty quick once those new and more obscure references are in place.  Thanks for letting me do this Rex, I enjoyed it, probably more than the readers.

  • TANLINE (34A: Vacation souvenir, perhaps) — You can get these without spending money on vacation, the key is to not be diligent about using sunblock.  I'd show you my aggressive tanlines, but no one wants to see that
  • EYECUP (50A: Medicine cabinet glass) — Do people still use these things or is this more proof that David Steinberg is really 97 years old? I don't wear glasses b/c I have perfect vision ::humblebrag:: so I'm genuinely curious
  • PRIMERIB (12D: Steakhouse selection) — hot take: I'm more of a ribeye guy as it cuts right to the good part, but to each their own
  • INDIEGOGO (62A: Alternative to Kickstarter) — It's not all negativity from me, I did like this answer.  First appearance for it too.  I don't have anything to plug for funding, but I'm sure there are some good and worthy causes out there.
Signed, Jeff Lin, The Antipope of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Brian 12:08 AM  

9D Match — SEE
Please explain

jae 12:17 AM  

Easy medium. Toughest section was NE. SpareRIB before PRIME, plus I had gene before LORE for several nanoseconds (hi M&A).

A sparkly Sat., liked it a lot. Fortunately the NW and SE stacks were in my wheelhouse.

@Jeff - I’m not 97 yet but at one time (specific date redacted) I owned the vinyl album with CANDY GIRL on it. Nice write up.

lacarreno 12:17 AM  

Good write-up, David!
I just want to say that 39D is inaccurate and borderline insulting. I usually don't take stuff like this personal, but it almost made me want to stop after that clue.

puzzlehoarder 12:26 AM  

An easy Saturday. If I had just checked some downs and made my start in the NW, this could have been a personal record. As it was I wasted too much time in the NE overcoming a BIRCH/LARCH write over. Even after filling that NE corner in I wasted a little more time trying to work out from there.

Returning to the NW I immediately dropped in NAMATH and from that entry all the way down to the SE corner, the remainder of the puzzle took me only a little over Tuesday time.

At least I got a little puzzling out of that NE corner. I seem to always struggle with that academy acronym.

Hungry Mother 1:12 AM  

First puzzle I’ve done in Copenhagen. Very fast solve and very pleasant. We embark on a two week cruise this afternoon.

Robib 1:44 AM  

The SE corner, OMG. OMG. Destroyed my solve time on the puzz by 10 minutes. Perhaps if I knew someone (anyone?) who had ever used INDIEGOGO to recruit money, but no I have not. (Folks I know have used GoFundMe.)

And CANDYGIRL? Released the year I was born, but sorry, no, never heard or heard of it.

Arrrrgh, a Saturday.

Harryp 1:50 AM  

So many words put in and then pulled out, and some of theme put in again, EYECUP, CELL, MAGIC..., I loved 1Down and 20Across. Didn't know CALI for the FORNIA? Very decent Saturday solve.

Amy 1:58 AM  

Great write-up, Jeff! Felt really hard for me too.

UncleShep 3:22 AM  

Great review, Jeff! My experience exactly, except MAUIWOWIE was the first thing I wrote in with confidence off of nothing .

chefwen 3:37 AM  

Happy Birthday, Jeff. A fine write up minus those annoying and distracting gifs, maybe that’s why you’re so nervous. Hate those things.

Had a difficult time getting started, almost had to email @mericans for 1A, but it finally came to me. Had the C and GIRL at 59A, puzzle partner JON came up with CANDY and proceeded to sing it to me, almost as annoying as gif’s, the ANIMALs started howling in protest. I agreed.

Angst at 18A didn’t help my cause, other than the A. Only one little cheat at 16A. I’ll take that as a win on a Saturday.

Anonymous 3:38 AM  

That was a fun review to read. Thanks for the levity, brevity, and wit.

frankbirthdaycake 3:49 AM  

I enjoyed Friday’s puzzle much more than today’s. Not particularly fun for me, but perhaps others might like it. I’m hoping for an enjoyable puzzle tomorrow.

mbr 5:14 AM  

@Brian: (in poker or brag) equal the bet of (an opponent).

OffTheGrid 5:52 AM  

And now for something completely different ENJOY THIS

Darren 5:59 AM  

I absolutely hated this puzzle. No fun.

Lewis 6:14 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lewis 6:23 AM  

Just what a Saturday should offer, IMO -- an F&P (Faith and Persistence) solve with a side of brain sweat, resulting in happiness. Thank you, David.

Three random observations:
* 10D, with the boy/girl name clue, was signature Steinberg. He loves making clues like this.
* 11D, [Tricks] for MAGIC was extra sneaky. I plopped that final S in there and kept it there for quite a while before it became UNDID.
* I loved the sing-song inner-rhyming answers MAUI WOWIE, INDIE GOGO, and CHUGALUG.

Ron 6:41 AM  

I see that you aren’t a poker player if you raise that question

JJ 6:43 AM  

I can’t believe the facility that David has with words. He also draws from a variety of age groups, and languages, and still his puzzles are usually “Gettable”. I never cease to be impressed by someone so young.
I have really enjoyed the past 2 days where the puzzle just opens up as you move along. I don’t recall EGGS ever being clued as projectiles, but it brings back some great memories of Halloween’s long ago.

Jon 6:56 AM  

Relatively difficult one for me. There were a few things that I had never even heard of before.

Maui Wowie was one. Is this extremely popular? There are so many different strains.

Kept doubting myself with eye cup. Had no idea this was a thing before this Saturday.

Igor and Candy Girl were new to me as well.

Jon Alexander 7:15 AM  

Think poker...”I’ll see your $1 (match), and raise you $2 more.”

pabloinnh 7:15 AM  

Anyone have a LARCH floor? Neither do I.

NW went in lickety-split and then, nada for the longest time. ANIMAL to the rescue and then off and running, or at least, jogging. OK, jogging with occasional walking breaks.

Hey Jeff, I have an EYECUP and could sing you CANDYGIRL, if my falsetto would magically reappear, and I'm still a few years short of 97. A little respect there, whippersnapper.
Can't wait to see if Joe D. posts all the lyrics to Roger Miller's CHUGALUG. Forgotten classic.

Happy birthday to Jeff and thanks for all the fun to DS, whose puzzles I always enjoy. Swell Saturday.

Baffled 7:22 AM  

I assumed it’s in the context of poker, as in I’ll “see” (match) your bet.

Schatzi 8:19 AM  

Anyone else have the New Edition “Candy Girl” song stuck in their head now?
Could’ve totally used an LL Cool J clueing on CALI as well.

Suzie Q 8:48 AM  

This required a dog-walking break to come back with a clear mind and finish. D.S. on a Saturday is a treat.
I second @ chefwen about those gifs. Many of our guests hosts have used them and they distract and annoy me.
Loved the misdirection for Namath.
Considered Zydeco before Tejano just having the O.
Eye cup reminded me of The Miracle Worker.
Pixelated reminded me of the Gary Cooper version of Mr. Deeds Goes to Town. Pixelated was a critical part of his defense but used with a completely different meaning.
Typically fun and tough Steinberg.

Unknown 9:01 AM  

Ah, to be 15 again. Sophomore year. A gimme for me.

Courtney 9:03 AM  

TF is larch?!

Some BS. That's what.

Mohair Sam 9:05 AM  

AbFab Saturday. Steinberg just gets better and better. What @Lewis said.

Youngsters bitching about CANDYGIRL and AMPAS, oldsters moaning about MAUIWOWIE and INDIEGOGO. It's a Saturday folks, and DS busted all asses.

Didn't agree with Jeff Lim's feelings about the puzzle, but he left me laughing. Nice job Jeff.

Z 9:15 AM  

Despite some missteps, this was fairly easy. ANIMAL was mamMAL, CHUG-A-LUG was CHUG down, and HITHER was nearby. These were mere toe stubs, though, all quickly fixed. The SE, though, was a dead stop for many precious nanoseconds. I had CANDY ——-, INDIE———, and GOOD AS NEW, and nothing else except a stray, and wrong, S at 47D. I was mentally flipping a coin between ibid and ET AL when INDIE GOGO finally swam to the top from some deep recess, making EGGS and ET AL suddenly obvious, then RATION to MERCH (sneaky number play throughout the puzzle today) to CANDY GIRL to HALLOW to done after confirming some acrosses. If I hadn’t remembered INDIE GOGO I’d probably still be stuck in that corner.

@lacarenno - CHICANA/Chicano, is a very specific and generally positive term, as in CHICANA Pride. Anything can be turned into a pejorative, but many people self-identify as CHICANA and Chicano, it’s no more insulting than me saying “I’m Dutch” (i.e. - my Dad’s family immigrated from the Netherlands). Now, if our periwig pated president started using CHICANA I’d assume he was being insulting, but that’s because he’s an avowed bigoted racist.

fkdiver 9:29 AM  

Pretty easy Saturday, just one cup of coffee.
Please don't complain about the old songs - - I don't complain about the new ones.

Austin's mom 9:37 AM  

Can someone help me from yesterday? In what sense is THETA between two vowels in the alpabet? I'm clueless. Thanks.

Norm 9:38 AM  

CHUG A LUG, PAW AT, ALPHA MALE, and yes, even CHICANA. Did not like this FRAT BOY puzzle.

Anonymous 10:00 AM  

@Z, I can’t speak for @lacarreno, but I find 39D both inaccurate and offensive because it assumes that CHICANAs (and Chicanos) are coming to El Norte from south of the US-Mexico border, when there is actually a substantial US-born—going back generations—Chicano/a population that includes Mexican families who became Americans when the border was drawn and have been in situ since long before the Pilgrims and other Europeans blundered across the Atlantic. The clue is both ignorant and reductive, and it plays into a tiresome narrative that paints Mexican Americans as southern intruders if not invaders.

oldactor 10:13 AM  

@Austin's mom:
Look at the Greek alphabet. I did and saw that theta has a vowel before and after it.

Glenn Patton 10:13 AM  

@Austin's mom, if you google "Greek alphabet" and look at a list of the letters, you'll see that "theta" is between the vowels "tea" and "iota".

Jay 10:17 AM  

Impossibly difficult for me. Liked the review much better than the puzzle,
Friday puzzle, on the other hand was delightfully easy.

nyc_lo 10:26 AM  

Are we accepting EMOJI as plural now? The clue is “Expressive characters” so shouldn’t it be EMOJIS?

Richard Gross 10:28 AM  

The northeast gave me so much ANGST that AGITA never entered pierced my consciousness. AARGH! As always, a challenging Saturday puzzle.

Newboy 10:36 AM  

Thanks to guest commentary & happy birthday 🎂. Totally with your “strained and tenuous cluing” assessment, but that’s what I expect when Steinberg is the constructor....and one reason I delight in seeing David’s byline. SHALL WE concede that our enjoyment or personal AGITA is at least as much a function of wheelhouse as puzzle quality? I had fun; Mrs Newboy not so much.

xyz 10:41 AM  

SEE = match in POKER
The pair of GIF's are annnnnnooooooooooooooooooooooooooyyyyyying
I must be old, wasn't that hard.
I had CHUGGING for CHUGALUG hurt me for a period
Hardest for me was INDIEGOGO and checking crosses for IGOR - proving I am 68.

Also - ¡MUST! be NYT when CHICANA and GHETTO in the same week severely wad panties enough to verbalise the pain.

xyz 10:43 AM  

Oh yeah, sorry, premature post

AGITA, hasn't anyone seen that HBO show - the Altos (or something)?

and Happy Birthday. You did just fine.

Teedmn 10:54 AM  

Whoo boy, what a mess. Since privacy seems to be the tone of the day, I don't know if I should confess how many (specific number redacted) stupid mistakes I made while thinking I was doing just fine. Let's just say that while I was patting myself on the back for catching one idiocy, more were lurking and that's a lot of errors for me.

The one I caught was at 54A crossing 55D. I put in gEST as a challenge (gest: 1 : a tale of adventures especially : a romance in verse. 2 : adventure, exploit knightly gests.) I was uncomfortable leaving CARAgS as 200-mg units so I ran the alphabet and passed that TEST. Whew.

But at 57D, while exploring the SE, I had read the clue, but I didn't re-read it when the area started filling in. Hence, in my pea-brain, I remembered 57D's "fragile" but sloughed the "projectiles". The fragile EGoS seemed correct and if INDIE-OO_GO looked weird, it certainly mirrored the equally weird MAUI WOWIE. WOW, David, nice job in symmetric weirdness, I thought.

And the NW; suffice it to say that while I questioned whether nAW was a harsh cry and had never heard of a cAMATH jet, I shrugged it off. I need to go back to French 101, sigh.

David Steinberg, nice puzzle! Sorry I mucked it up so badly. (The above errors in no way explain the inky mess that "gene" (35D) crossing "akin" (40A) left in the center right).

Z 10:59 AM  

@Anon10:00am - Perhaps you missed the "maybe" tucked onto the end of the clue to indicate that the answer isn't referring to all CHICANAs, "Woman who has traveled to el Norte, maybe" (emphasis added). That "maybe" is a pretty common crossword clue wiggle word, so I'm not surprised that people elided over it while solving.

Anonymous 10:59 AM  

Anon 10:00,
Get with the program. If @Z says it isnt pejorative, because he has Dutch ancestry, that should be good enough for you.

Anonymous 11:00 AM  

" it's also my birthday today so please be nice to me."

Mine too. And Harrison Ford. And some others.

Nancy 11:02 AM  

Two songs are spinning around in my head right now. One hurt me badly. The other helped me muchly.

Song 1:
Get along home, Cindy, Cindy,
Get along home, Cindy, Cindy,
Get along home, Cindy, Cindy --
I'll marry you someday.

Can I be blamed for writing in CiNDY GIRL at 59A? I never heard of CANDY GIRL. I also didn't know TEJANO, which certainly could have been TEJiNO for all I knew. Plus the "J" of JON (56A) was a total guess. It could have been RON or DON. It could have even been XON, which would have given me TExiNO for the music style -- which I quite liked, actually.

Song #2: (from "Finlandia")
...Whose woods of LARCH
And pine are green alway..."

This kept me from writing in beeCH at 16A. This one was helpful. This one didn't cause my DNF.

LIMO RIDE was the answer I got off just the M and which broke open the SW corner where I was having so much AGITA. I had wanted LATINA at 39D and was miffed when it didn't fit.

There was some Steinberg youthiness in this puzzle: MAUI WOWIE, INDIE GOGO and MERCH come to mind. But not as much as usual. A mixed bag for me: I liked parts of it and other parts not so much.

Sean Wilkinson 11:02 AM  

I guess you have to be in the fold.

Hack mechanic 11:04 AM  

Only acceptable answer for that clue is red oak.the only association I have to larch is the lumber jack song!

burtonkd 11:05 AM  

I was just expressing how much I hate gifs yesterday, but after today, I can now say that they have made me laugh twice. I thought they were something the kids are doing, but my college son informs me only people my age use them - ouch.

MAUIWOWIE would be a clue for the older set, no? That it was around in the 70s is something I HEAROF.

Thought I wouldn’t finish today, but great when the "tenuous" clues finally click and grid fills in.

Anonymous 11:05 AM  

First time to comment! It's my birthday too (happy birthday, Jeff!) and I also found this one very difficult. There were a couple of good clues in there, but I had to do a lot of trial and error. A few of the long ones came easier than a lot of the short ones today.

I think it must say something about me that I actually got Candy Girl pretty easily--even though I am not turning 95 today!--by racking my brain for the Four Seasons greatest hits, but Maui Wowie is definitely not something I had heard of before.

Hack mechanic 11:07 AM  

The mighty larch...leaping from tree to tree...I always wanted to be a lumber jack

Anonymous 11:35 AM  

@mohairsam, welcome back. Does anyone know where @loren is?

@mericans in Paris 11:36 AM  

I'll just repeat what @chefwen said: "Happy Birthday, Jeff. A fine write up minus those annoying and distracting gifs, maybe that’s why you’re so nervous. Hate those things."

HALLOW @chefwen, I had trouble with 1A, too, and got it bass-ackwards. Mrs. 'mericans saved the day on that one.

Speaking of French, the French spell MAUI WOWIE as Maui Wau'i. Don't ask me why. Perhaps it's the proper Polynesian spelling?

I found most of the puzzle smooth sailing, but also toggled between biRCH and LARCH. I think of LARCH more as a European tree. Am never a fan of such obscure acronyms as AMPAS, but at least it was the only one. Also had zydecO before TAJANDO.

Can anybody give me a good reason why I shouldn't call foul on 6D? I thought of EMOJI, of course, but that to me is a singular noun. Yet the clue is "Expressive characters", i.e plural. Explanation?!

Bastille Day here tomorrow. Unlike the recent US military display, the French President merely reviews the troops (and elite firefighters). It is not an occasion for a speech. (He does, however, address the military the evening before.)

What? 11:40 AM  

Polonius: “What do you read, my lord?”
Steinberg: “Words, words, words.”

Phil 11:44 AM  

@Teedmn 10:54 I had the GENE AKIN problem too. Maybe someone bought one of those TANGINE pots vacationing in Morocco or something like that.

got too cute plunking in RNS (60D. House support).
and on the way to correcting. that put in. INDI-A-GOGO. Got a little confused. with the famous CALI music stage (bar)

Ethan Taliesin 11:55 AM  

This was a mix.

The cluing for CHICANA was not good. In my understanding, the term is by Americans of Mexican extraction who identify with the Brown Power Movement and/or social justice and activism. Also it's been my experience that those who strongly identify as chicana are often hostile to the term hispanic, since it's derived from the word for Spain, the part of their lineage who were the conquering oppressors. I accommodate to whatever--chicana, hispanic, or latina on a case by case basis, with latina being the most anodyne default if I speak generically.
That was a tangent and not the point.
The point is that Chicanas are Americans, and thus the idea of them traveling to el Norte would not be descriptive.

LARCH was not in my wheelhouse, but now know that it's the same as a TAMARACK. Originally had BIRCH. LARCH and AMPAS took time to cross down through. Was totally overthinking what turned out to be just ALAN. I think I was trying to pull some weird old biblical name out of the ether or something. IDK

1D clue for NAMATH was great misdirection, why with all the PANAM and SST and other defunct airplane-related crosswordese used so often. Especially astride a reference to Airplane!

Overall, I enjoyed the solve.

Joe Dipinto 11:57 AM  

Happy birthday, Jeff Lin! Very funny write-up. Are you related to Jeremy of "Linsanity" fame? Sorry, you probably get that a lot. How about Jeff Lynne, founder of frequent crossword denizen ELO?

I should keep track of how often 1a is my first entry. I think today was maybe the second time this year. Also popped HESSE and CANDY GIRL right in. Pretty smooth cruising all told, no screeching halts along the way.

I like this grid better than yesterday's. Steinberg's libido is reliably present, pawing at nudes with tan lines. (I won't even mention 3d.) 10d is my most detested type of clue: "Thing that becomes another thing if you replace all the letters with completely new ones." I didn't know EMOJI was the plural of EMOJI, so I learned something useful there. And I like the modern clue for IGOR.

Other thumbs-uppers: CLOROX, ON-RAMP, GOOD AS NEW, MERCH ("Got any larch merch?"), and especially PRIME RIB, which will get 24d by me anytime, anyplace.

@pablo -- I don't know the Roger Miller song! I remember the title, but I don't think it got airplay in NYC. So I'm forced to go with the Guess Who's misspelt past participle of 52d:

It's too late
She's gone too far
She's lost the sun
She's... come... UNDUN!

Jordan 12:05 PM  

As a younger solver, I’m vengefully enjoying the complaints about the clues and answers from the young generation. This was one of the first Saturdays that came relatively easy to me. Usually the puzzles later in the week are filled with plenty of obscure cultural references popular only before I was born. Chances are if you are upset with these hip-hop and pot references, you’re gleefully detecting a Li’l Abner or Peter, Paul, and Mary reference.

jberg 12:11 PM  

Really tough for me, tougher than it should have been -- I mean, I've been in Millennium Park many times, but I still put in midTOWN, which blocked a lot of long downs that ended in AGENT, not t-note. It finally all sorted out, though.

Proud to say I got MAUI WOWIE right off, and I've never used the stuff. It's just too much fun a name to forget.

Only this morning I got some sweat in one of my eyes and it burned terribly -- I was really wishing I had an EYECUP, and here was one! It was still hard to see, though. Fortunately, tooth glass was too long.

What did trouble me was the LARCH flooring. Really? In some other part of the country, maybe. Or is it a recent fad? We've got the granite countertops and all, but our flooring is old-fashioned oak.

Anyway, thanks, the struggle was fun, as was the writeup.

Sgreennyc 12:11 PM  

Many of us with allergies rely on an eyecup to rinse the eyes and relieve itchiness. You don't have to be 97 to use one or be aware of its existence.

RooMonster 12:12 PM  

Hey All !
Had the ole brain twisting and throbbing in some parts of this puz. But, I managed to sweat and struggle through, and finished 100% with no errors! WooHoo!

I do the puzs in pen if I don't do them online. Today was a pen day, my puz looks like a Rorschach test. Highlights:
sunburn-TANLINE, which got me
latina-(too short)-CHICANA,
TEJANa-TEchNO-TEJANO (TEchNO leading to...),

Wowie. That SE corner almost broke me. EYECUP was waaay in the dark corner of the mind, and with ONRAMP fiendishly clued, took a bit for that. Plus the sunburn-TANLINE held me up quite a bit.

But still ALIVE! Another good themeless. NEAR the time I might need some MAUI WOWIE to get the ole brain GOOD AS NEW again. Har.

@OffTheGrid, you beat me to the MP LARCH link!


Marna 12:15 PM  

Greek alphabet I'm guessing omicron and upsilon are the vowels

old timer 12:44 PM  

Nah, @Z, life is so much simpler if you believe everyone is out to get you. Or that everything the orange-haired monster does is evil or racist, and ignore the fact that Obama called out the illegal aliens who committed rapes and robberies, threatened to deport them, and did, in large numbers.

BTW, "El Norte" as a term for this country is used almost entirely by Chicanos -- people who identify with Mexico and its culture who live here in the USA and may indeed be second or third generation. In Central Mexico, "El Norte" refers to Sonora and the nearby states that make up Northern Mexico. Kind of like "home" is used in Ireland to mean where you live or what part of Ireland you were raised in, while if an Irish-American says he his going "home" he is going on a visit to Ireland. Even though his parents and grandparents were born in Boston or Chicago.

Perfect Saturday puzzle. Tough but doable. I was uncertain about MAUIWOWIE as we called it MAUIzOWIE back in the day. And I confidenty wrote in "atta" where FRAT belonged. Wondered too if it was Texano rather than TEJANO, but concluded JON was better than xon. Was delighted with the olden-time HALLOW and EGGS gave me GIRL which meant the Four Seasons were all the CANDY.

Other big error: Writing in "mammal" before ANIMAL.

pabloinnh 12:46 PM  

@Joe D-Roger Miller was big stuff in the wilds of Upstate NY where I grew up.

Chugalug, chugalug,
Makes you want to holler hi-de-ho
Burns your tummy don't you know
Chugalug, chugalug.

I can see why this never made it big in the Big Apple, though.

Nice work with "undun", one of my faves.

Runs with Scissors 12:58 PM  

Darn good puzzle. It fought me, hard. But ultimately I won out.

I simply could not believe MAUI WOWIE was gonna be the answer. To whoever asked, it's been around since Noah was a mere bos'n.

A man and a mouse are both mammAL, so that killed me for a while.

CEST CE PAS looked right for a looooong time, so cAMATH was as good a jet as any, until I finally looked at it.

Liked it.

Mark, in Mickey's North 40

redwood 1:00 PM  

I live here - Calif, Cal maybe but Cali NO

Carola 1:07 PM  

Toil and trouble. Crawled across the finish line rather than hitting the tape with triumphant outstretched arms. Issues: brain set on LOW-RES + impenetrable cluing.
First cross: AMPAS x SHALL WE; last cross: RAVEN x CARATS.
Grateful to know: N'EST-CE PAS, HESSE, CHITOWN.
Extended moment of shame: not getting NAMATH off the N...or N????H...or N???TH.
Help from previous crosswords: EMOJI as plural (discussion in comments), TEJANO, TAN LINE as clued.
@Jeff, thanks for the write-up. Happy Birthday to you and all other birthday folk!

GHarris 1:15 PM  

I knew that jet planes usually involve numbers and that wouldn’t work so I immediately figured football and what Jet but Broadway Joe. So I busted open the NW and thought it was all gonna go down easy. Not to be. Though I intuited good as new nothing else came to me (except for a word here and there) and I finally had to use the crutch of auto check to bring me home.

Joe Dipinto 1:27 PM  

@pablo -- Yeah, "King Of The Road" was the only Miller hit to gain traction in NYC. From a perusal of WABC MusicRadio's surveys, they never played "Chug-a-Lug" at all, though it went Top 10 on Billboard.

Anonymous 1:31 PM  

eta iota

old timer 1:45 PM  

I bet "England Swings" made the charts in NYC too:
Eng-a-lund swings like a pendulum do
Bobbies on bicycles two by two
Westminster Abbey, The Tower, Big Ben
The rosy red cheeks on the little chil-dren

paperkin 1:52 PM  

Between the obtuse cluing and dated references I didn’t like it much either. I knew CANDYGIRL because my mom played the oldies station in the car when I was little in the 1980s and the oldies format I think was mostly 50s and early 60s at that time, but it took a few crosses to remember. It is the most shrill Four Seasons song I can think of. I also thought of the New Edition clue the constructor could have opted for; it could even have been a “Like a hit single by The Four Seasons or New Edition” type of clue. It’s kind of strange that those two songs are only 20 years apart as well. And one more note on the 80s: I’d be less annoyed with AHA fill that references the new wave band than almost arbitrary clues for it like the one today.

Masked and Anonymous 2:12 PM  

ok. Coupla things to note, here:

1. If U is gonna send poor ol' defenseless M&A up the Seine (or in-Seine, if U prefer) with a nanosecond-burner (yo, @jae) like 1-A's 9 letters of French, U sure better make sure all its day-um crossers are as friendly as possible. Mission was almost accomplished. That NAMATH clue was a bit scrappy, but … maybe ok. Close call.

2. This Steinberg upstart boy wonderkid is really a pretty good puzmaker. I mean, hell's bells … he's made 95 NYTPuzs in 8 years or so. And 56 of em are themeless pups. This dude is obviously just lookin for trouble. M&A -- usually the puzconstructioneers' best friend -- has been needin some one above-reproach young wise guy to give lotsa trouble to. I mean jeez, just for variety's sake. M&A's trusty such target used to be the Collins Dude (until he stopped usin PEWIT in his puzs -- he's been PEWIT-sober for 6 years now.)
Sooo … new just for fun EGGS-target oughta be the Steinbergmeister …

staff weeject pick: CIG. Nice desperate attempt at hidin one's desperation here, with its {Short smoke} clue. Nice try. Next.

AMPAS over LARCH. Now that's what M&A's talkin about.
Oh-so sadistically crossed with one of them there wise-ass "move a letter around to turn x into y" clues. Don't make us come down there, Young master DS.

ENROBE. har. MERCH. har with a tear of pity's sake, or two.

Very flaccid-lookin Jaws of Themelessness black puzblocks, on the E & W puzsides. They needed to be anemic to help preserve ENROBE and CALI, I reckon.

The kid does have *some* game. There were a few odd A-LIGHT SPURTS.

And … Happy b-day, @Jeff the Antipope. I notice that U did not find religion herein today, either. Very nice bullets in yer write-up, dude.

YEA, ok, thanx, kid. har

Masked & Anonymo4Us

For those that prefer themed SatPuzs:

QuasiMojo 2:27 PM  

What happened to the throngs who hate the word CALI and claim it is never used? What happened to our own CaliMarie? I made my way ploddingly and warily through this fun, frisky, faintly infuriating Friday puzzle. Nice job David. And happy birthday to our guest host. Rex, who? I went and listened to CANDYGIRL and had to turn it off very fast before my head exploded from TNT (tiny nut tunes). Sounded like a TEJANO jam session of screech owls in heat. @Joe I guess we listened to the same radio station growing up. King of the Road ruled the airwaves. :)

pabloinnh 2:38 PM  

@old timer-Or "Dang Me"? Enough Roger Miller, although I have some new songs for the Monday Night Hoot.

Joe Dipinto 2:49 PM  

@old timer -- I think you're right, "England Swings" and maybe "Dang Me" got some airplay here.

Fred Romagnolo 2:53 PM  

I'm with @Redwood; Cal or oldie Calif., but not CALI (if 2 worders were allowed, then CA OK). I wish constructors would stop using first syllables of words and clueing them as slang (MERCH). If you're in high society, you don't have to put on AIRS, only people who try to look like they are do. I"m with my fellow allergy sufferers and use an eye-cup. You don't have to be as young as Steinberg to have a lewd mind, I still do (heh heh).

Chuck Chagrin 3:21 PM  

Effing hate Cali as any true Californian does. That marks you as hopelessly wrong coast or worse, a migrant from flyover country. As for Chicana, those who identify as such are, as mentioned above, native Americans. Check out the late Dr. Hunter S. Thompson on the Brown Power Movement, LAPD, and the death of Rueben Salazar.

GILL I. 3:46 PM  

I see CHICANA and I knew there would be raised eyebrows. So here's the thing. Although I wasn't born in Mexico, I worked for Mexicana Airlines for 30 years. I practically lived in Mexico and I have a TON of CHICANA friends. I guarantee you that they wear that name like a badge of honor. Look for La Raza to be your next moniker. That's here in California. Maybe in other parts of the country, it's frowned upon....not here in the State of the finest Mexican everything in the world. Oh....and please, dear lord, don't call it CALI. Only someone living in Santa Rosa with fake spikey hair, named Guy Fieri, calls it that.
MAUIWOWIE....Memories of living in hippidome FRISCO (see how irritating that is?) and the "Peace" symbol, drug hazed zombies smoking their smokes and yelling at returning Viet Nam veterans. Not our proudest moment.
I remember not really liking young David Steinberg puzzles. Well I sure do like his chutzpah now. He has a little sumpin for everyone and if he can get @Joe D and @pablo singing, then I'm a happy camper.

JC66 4:19 PM  


Great post! Welcome back. You were missed.

Anoa Bob 4:54 PM  

Not sure what the EMOJI flap is all about. I've always thought that it was the plural since the singular is EMOJUS, right?

@M&A, the "move a letter to turn x into y" sounds to me more like a clue from the Shortzmeister than from the young Mr. Steinberg. I've heard the former a few times on an NPR call-in quiz segment thingie and those are the types of puzzlers he poses to contestants.

I heard CHICANA and CHICANO used regularly when I lived in San Diego in the 70s and 80s. I always thought of it as referring to Mexican-Americans who were supporters of the civil rights movement, especially as advocated by Cesar Chavez. I've been living in Tex Mex Land (deep south coastal Texas) since the early 90s and have never heard it here.

Speaking of which, a term that I do hear regularly in these parts is TEJANO. I believe it's from the Spanish for TEXAS, TEJAS, with the suffix meaning roughly "one who is". It's used to describe people in the region who identify with being both Texans and Mexicans or Mexican Americans, and for their culture and activities.

I liked that the clue for TEJANO used "music with an accordion and bajo sexto" because my favorite accordion player of all time is a TEJANO by the name of Leonardo "Flaco" Jiménez. Here's a short video about his induction into the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame. If you're ever feeling a little down, go to YouTube and listen to some Flaco. He'll cheer you right up.

Crimson Devil 5:43 PM  

Birthday boy here, too.
Ya know how many folks must be in a room before more probable than not that two have same birthday? 23
How ‘bout 99+% ? 75
Good to see reference to Joe Willie today.

Z 5:59 PM  

@Anon10:59 - I will let you puzzle out why it might be that none of my aunts are CHICANAs but almost all of my cousins are.

@old timer - Obama was awful on immigration. Trump is an overt white supremacist. Surely you can tell the difference.

@Ethan Taliesin - My mom, a deeply patriotic Hispanic who lost a brother in WWII, once literally threw my cousin out of the house (that is "literally" as in grabbed her by the shirt and heaved) for claiming to be a "proud CHICANA." So, yeah, a bit of a rift exists between some Chicanos and some Hispanics, even when they're related.

OISK 6:08 PM  

I generally find Steinberg puzzles to be a larch pain in the neck, so I was disappointed at seeing his name this morning. However, I did almost finish it. It was still more annoying than fun. People actually refer to CA has Cali? I've heard of a city in Colombia with that name. Indiegogo? eyecup? Merch? Another "informal" I've never encountered. Bad clue for tan line. My DNF was Ziller listing crossing Snow of "Game of Thrones." Never heard of Ziller, never watched GOT, and I made a bad guess. Can do, and Jan.

I liked this week's puzzles, except for this one. Disliked it very much even before I discovered that I had made an error.

Bertie 6:09 PM  

I wondered about this. Not my ethnicity so I wasn't sure. Thank you for confirming this is not a term to throw around casually.

Delores Huerta 6:20 PM  

The term Chicanos was originally used as a derogatory label for the sons and daughters of Mexican migrants. Some prefer to spell the word "Chicano" as "Xicano". This new generation of Mexican Americans were singled out by people on both sides of the border in whose view these Mexican Americans were not "American", yet they were not "Mexican", either. In the 1960s "Chicano" was accepted as a symbol of self-determination and ethnic pride.

GILL I. 7:00 PM  

@JC66...Only you can see it: It's a smiley EMOJI I sent you.

Anonymous 7:27 PM  

Is your aunt a chicana, or, as you suggest, a chicano?

CDilly52 7:38 PM  

Happy Birthday Jeff! I celebrated mine yesterday evening (ok, and into the early hours today) and was ready for a killer Saturday. Delightful writeup. Thanks. I couldn’t get started anywhere in the NW despite getting 1A. Thought I was headed for the dreaded DNF because o a Steinberg offering frequently challenges me (without a hangover) and this one started out that way for sure! But, I wandered HITHER and yon to CALI and CHITOWN and the remainder of the puzzle fell nicely. Don’t want to be seen as putting on AIRS, but the rest of the puzz has just enough in my wheelhouse that when I worked my way back to the NW through HESSE and TNT, I could get the downs in the NW and I finished. Liked it as I typically do with Mr. S’s work. Good Saturday.

Linda 7:43 PM  

Calm down. Everyone is insulted about anything and everything. It's so ridiculous.

floatingboy 8:07 PM  

Great writeup, Jeff. Welcome! I totally LOL'd a couple of times. And I seldom LOL.

JC66 11:04 PM  

Suffered through the NYC blackout for over 3 hours, but the powers back on and everything's good.

Thanks @GILL I.

Adam 11:15 PM  

Happy birthday!

BIRCH instead of LARCH, GENE for LORE, NO WAY instead of IXNAY, ad MAMMAL for ANIMAL all made the puzzle harder than it needed to be. But I enjoyed it. I thought there was a little mini-theme with CHUG-A-LUG and MAUI WOWIE (a term I haven’t heard since the 70s or maybe early 80s), but no. However, I liked it, despite never having heard of Tyler, the Creator. Also I had no idea what a “Lambo” was, not running in the Lamborghini-owning circles as apparently David does. But overall I enjoyed the puzzle - it get just right for a Saturday.

Anonymous 12:08 AM  

The only Californians that would use the word CALI are those that would say they are from FRISCO.

kitshef 7:23 PM  

On the one hand, I love that a puzzle that seemed like it would be impossible came together. On the other hand, IGOR? JON? INDIEGOGO? TEJANO? And cities host Olympics, not states.

The pluses far outweigh the minuses, though.

We found Western Boots 11:53 AM  

I really love this blogspot. more puzzle please

Anonymous 11:13 AM  

I don’t like be a moaner so the only comment I’ll make is that Cherry Girl didn’t even make the Jersey Boys soundtrack. To obscure even for Saturday.

spacecraft 11:31 AM  

Ha! Today I got my revenge on the NW! 1a, and after only a moment of thought, 1d, slapped themselves down, and in no time the formerly-accursed NW was done.

The rest of it? Not so fast. The NE was tough with me thinking Alex/Lexa rather than ALAN/Nala. Really? Nala??? Lemme Google...oh right--the lion queen. Pretty stretchy there, David.

Lots of slang today, but hey, it's Saturday. Any old MERCH is fair game. I have never heard of INDIEGOGO, and IGOR was unknown but inferred. NUDES helped me in the SW. Have I ever Chugalugged? 60-down, redacted. DOD, perforce, would be Julie Hagerty as ELAINE. Well, not so perforce as all that. Had a good time with it, and scored heavy revenge points on the NW to boot. Birdie.

rainforest 2:46 PM  

Nice to see David Steinberg's name as the constructor of this delightful puzzle today. Like all of his puzzles, this one looked formidable at first, but with the help of a few gimmes (1A, 1D, 17A, eg) and some good guessing, it eventually succumbed.

One place where many nanoseconds went to die was the TE-ANO/-ON cross. Could've been any of several letters. Actually, that whole SW section was tough, but CANDY GIRL helped a lot to get MERCH.

I made a note to look up LARCH to see if it is a common wood for floors - [googling] - I guess so, maybe, especially in Europe.

Basically, a perfectly appropriate puzzle for Saturday. Mucho fun.

5wksltr 2:47 PM  

That southeast corner was brutal. Thought I knew my Four Seasons but couldn't come up with Candy Girl. Admiration of but sympathy for those folks carrying that little nugget around in the old memory bank. Still not sold on Steinberg. His work seems to lack the integrity of the best puzzles, if you know what I mean.

leftcoast 4:16 PM  

Off to a good start in the NW with a happy "aha" at Joe NAMATH, then added MAUI WOWiE, and N'EST CE'PAS.

So, I thought, the tough and tricky David Steinberg is going to make nice with us.

Got through the middle, and into the SW still in the spirit of it all, with CHUG-A-LUG, and ended up in the SE, which turned a bit dark, I'm afraid.

Naticky crosses and unknown PPPs did me in down there.

Still, no loss of admiration of Mr. Steinberg's skills and challenges.

Burma Shave 5:45 PM  


asked, "SHALLWE CHUGALUG a few?",
but gave THIS MAUIWOWIE a whirl


leftcoast 6:38 PM  

@Burma Shave -- Fun stuff and nice work as usual.

Anonymous 10:20 PM  

@Spacecraft 10D is Alan to Lana not Alan to Nala.

fritz 7:10 PM  

I bought an eyecup on ebay. Mornings where my eye is scratchy or gooey I'll put it to use.

Had angst for agita for a long time. Agita? Never heard of it.

Uke Xensen 10:58 PM  

Quite correct. Chicano were created when the border crossed them, not by them crossing the border.

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