Often-reddish quartz / SAT 7-20-19 / Best-selling game with hexagonal board / Pioneering thrash metal band with its own music festival Gigantour

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Constructor: Sam Trabucco

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (honestly it felt pretty easy, but clock said 8:48 when I was done, and ... I wasn't actually done, because I had errors that took me another minute to sort out)

THEME: none

Word of the Day: JANK (42A: Of very poor quality, in modern slang) —

• • •

Hey, I just learned that a JANKER is a device for transporting logs (Scot.). Handy! Honestly, though, that _ANK / _ASPER crossing was a teeny bit dicey for me. I know "janky," and I guess I have heard JANK (which means ... the same thing??), but I honestly considered DANK, and then wondered how it was possible that I've never really known what DANK meant at all (me : DANK :: Joni Mitchell : clouds). *Thank*fully I knew (vaguely) that JASPER was some kind of stone (don't ask me which kind) (42D: Often-reddish quartz), and DASPER seemed super-dumb, so felt pretty confident in that "J." The main memorable moment in this puzzle, however, was not a fun one. It was my ultra-confidently (and, to be quite honest, *correctly*) putting in LEROY at 38A: Man's name that means "the king" (ELROY). See, LEROY is a name that both means "the king" *and* might belong to a non-toon human being. ELROY is solely a Jetson, whereas Leroy Brown (both the titular Jim Croce character and Encyclopedia Brown!) and Leroy Robert "Satchel" Paige and artist LeRoy Neiman and, uh, former Mariners rightfielder Leroy Stanton are all very real Leroys. Whereas when I google ELROY my first hit is a Wisconsin town of about a thousand souls. Seriously, this is the big image at the top of the first page of hits:

So when I finished I had RETILD (23D) and SEEDRIDE (!) (35D), which I knew were wrong, but I just couldn't see how anything in the grid was off. That's how solid "Leroy" seemed. Eventually I saw SLEDRIDE (35D: It's going downhill) and got to the "right" answer.

first thing I put in the grid (2D: Nebula Award winner Frederik)
The one thing I really liked about the puzzle was "BEER ME!" (59A: "Another Bud, bud!"), though I haaaaaaate the clue, which no one would say, ever. Or, you know, I hope not, 'cause it's terrible. Less terrible, but still not great, is the "AH" at the beginning of "AH, THIS IS THE LIFE" (34A: Comment of complete contentment). It's a pretty well-known crossword fact that the sound one makes when luxuriating at a spa or some other place of deep relaxation and, let's say, contentment, is "AHH" or maybe "AAH," but not "AH," which is really just a tepid form of "AHA." As in "ah, I see." The whole deal with the sound you make before saying "THIS IS THE LIFE" is that you are siiiiighing it, and the mere two-letter "AH" does not convey this sense of audible bliss at all. It's like someone just stumbled on "the life," and was like "ah ... I guess this is it." Like they found the sock they were looking for.

("... and this is Canada")
Other issues:
  • 12D: Complained loudly and publicly (MADE A STINK— had MADE A SCENE, as did you at some point, I'm guessing
  • 32D: Capital on the Balkan Peninsula (TIRANE) — ugh, *this* place. Puzzle can never decide whether it's final letter is "E" or "A," so I can't either
  • 20A: "Bandleader" with a 1967 #1 album (SGT. PEPPER) — had "SG-" to start and thought, "well, that's wrong ..."
  • 8D: Best-selling game with a hexagonal board (SETTLERS OF CATAN) — I guess lots of people play this. I know the name, of course, but was reluctant to put it in, as I thought "Catan" was spelled like "Bataan," i.e. with two a's. I guess it's just called CATAN now??? My nerd friend seemed to suggest that. I wouldn't know.
  • 15A: Fix without doctoring (HOME CURE) — oof. Pretty sure term you're looking for is "home remedy"
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Spoth56 12:08 AM  

I had SHIP and IVEGOTIT for 1D and 17A respectively for a long time and that did not serve me well,

Dan 12:11 AM  

“Why did I get stuck with the JANKy old broke hobo Spider-Man?”

jae 12:21 AM  

Easy. Solid with a fair amount of zip and pretty smooth, liked it.

@Rex - Yep, me too for MADE A SceNe before STINK.

I was mildly disappointed the SPerM BankS wouldn’t fit for 1a.

...and speaking of NERDFEST, there is a Tarantinoesque conversation* in the new season of “Stranger Things” were one of the kids explains to another why she’s a NERD. It’s worth the price of a Netflix subscription.

*something that has absolutely nothing to do with the story line, but sticks with you long after the show is over, e.g. Steve Buscemi’s tipping monologue in Reservoir Dogs or the Quarter Pounder with cheese dialogue in Pulp Fiction.

puzzlehoarder 12:36 AM  

A good Saturday. The consonants of LAM were the last two letters to go in. I don't think I've ever had a grid spanner remain indecipherable until the bitter end the way 8D did.

Had to do this on my phone. I'm in PA with most of my siblings. We have an uncle turning 90. It will be something of a family reunion.

No annoying dnfs today. As much as I prefer doing the puzzles on paper it's nice getting the happy music when the last letter goes in.

JOHN X 12:37 AM  

Ha ha this was a really devious puzzle. I was racing through it and then at the half-way point (and all the filled in boxes were distributed evenly) I hit a wall.

The second half was a slog, like the Russian front. I was just fighting the whole time. I had all sorts of wrong answers that I had to change, trying to figure this dang thing out.

42A was the weirdest one because I had WACK then WEAK then WANK then JANK, which finished the puzzle.

I thought it was great.

Z 1:10 AM  

LOL. Wrote a takedown of Fortnite and its parent company’s crossworthiness late yesterday only to have a truly huge game appear today. Fortnite compared to CATAN is ice hockey compared to football (American or the real thing). SETTLERS OF CATAN is 24 years old. Know what you call a 24 year old video game? Unplayable without emulation software.

ELROY? Yep, leROY first. I blame William of Orange.

LOL at had "SG-" to start and thought, "well, that's wrong ..." because I had -GT to start and thought, “ well, that’s wrong.”

I’m currently reading a novel co-written by Arthur C. Clarke and Frederick POHL with PURE MATH as a central motif. Can we spell wheelhouse?

JOHN X 1:31 AM  

Also, the MADEAScene thing (MADEASTINK) and provides the "K" down there was pretty devious too.

Seth Bourque 1:53 AM  

Slang wise, dank makes a lot more sense. I’ve very really heard “jank” sans y, but I can’t get away from “dank” anywhere.

Jared 1:58 AM  

The French word for king is actually "roi" so that would have translated to Leroi and not a name. That's how I knew to put ELROY in despite only hearing about it from The Jetsons.

Anonymous 2:06 AM  

Same... and, having done it on paper, never corrected it. Fun puzzle though.

Rhiannon 2:26 AM  

I ever-so-smugly entered CHINESE CHECKERS for the hexagonal board game right off the bat and then spent a good several minutes stuck entirely when nothing else played off it. Oops.

chefwen 2:30 AM  

There was no way I was going to get 1A, so a sorry DNF in the NW, didn’t know 2D POHL, didn’t know 4D MEGADETH, Google to the rescue. Oh well, it’s Saturday.

Hand up for leROY at 38A. Father in laws middle name and he did consider himself a king. Misguided as he was.

Made the mistake of introducing Friskies Party Treats to Rice the kitty. I keep them in a drawer next to the chair I usually sit in, now every time I go near that chair she comes bounding out from wherever she is and leaps onto the table and looks at me like she hasn’t eaten in a week. The little darling is losing her girlish figure.

Liked the puzzle, but you can keep your SPAMBOTS.

SJ Austin 3:59 AM  

In a not-uncommon experience, I had the opposite difficulty rating of Rex. In fact, if not for last week's Wednesday-on-a-Saturday puzzle, today would have been a huge PR. Helped that I could drop in SETTLERS OF CATAN without missing a beat. That set me up for success as I went through the acrosses.

benzduck 4:11 AM  

I had CHINESECHECKERS for 8D, with at least one legit crosser.. This proved detrimental to my time.

Lewis 6:35 AM  

Spots became blobs became filled sections, which is how Saturdays should be, IMO, rather than a splat fest. A delicious feeling of immovable object versus unstoppable force.

This puzzle had 12 answers never before appearing in a NYT crossword, some that are easy to guess, but a couple that surprised me -- SLED RIDE and TOP FORTY. It had seven clues that particularly struck my fancy, an answer -- MADE A STINK -- that I loved, plus a "junk" and a JANK, an "Ah!" and an "Oh!", and there you go.

More than 22 million copies of SETTLERS OF CATAN have been sold, says Wikipedia, but none to me, and thus I thought for a while that those settlers were of SATAN.

The puzzle felt like it was bursting with life. Sam puzzles always throb with energy and wit, and are such a credit to the art form of the crossword. Please keep them coming, Mr. T.

amyyanni 6:58 AM  

Liked it a lot. Anyone else a fan of Peter Leroy/Eric Kraft?

David 7:00 AM  

Can anybody tell me what the red triangle with a white dot means in the app? Spent a half hour googling to no avail.


Anonymous 7:21 AM  

I had ELROY without even a thought for leROY. For some reason - probably from growing up in Wisconsin - the name that came to me was ELROY “Crazy Legs” Hirsch. Look him up. He was quite the football player - ‘50’s vintage.

- Jim C. in Maine

Wine Diver 7:22 AM  

I couldn't let go of RARE as answer to Prime Directive. It seemed like so clever.

Neal 7:40 AM  

TRIVIAL PURSUITS went in so smooooooth......

QuasiMojo 7:40 AM  

I had Settlers of SATAN. Never heard of the game. And could not grok DNC. I don't recall Dems being called "Blues". Blue states yes. Altho I hate this Red vs Blue conceit. Did we call the two parties this when we were growing up, Nancy? Or were they still Whigs?

AH is perfectly fine as a lead-in. The old standard song "Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life" would look pretty silly as "AAH."

This one JANGled my nerves but I give it a high five. Maybe because when I was a bartender I used to cringe when folks would order a Kir. "Beer me" was more my style back then. Now I'm strictly an Ensure Me kinda GUY. Oui, oui.

Suzie Q 8:10 AM  

This is the puzzle I waited for all week. Clever and fun. Not too hard but some resistance to be sure. I have no idea about the game that is so popular in someone else's universe but was able to work around. Sgt. Pepper was right up my alley with Megadeth known of but never listened to. I had Metalica at first but spelled incorrectly. I think it is Metallica.
The Elroy vs Leroy is interesting because of its roots in other languages. El rey and le roi somehow ended up in these two names.
12 debut words? Amazing. Thanks for that @ Lewis and thanks Sam M. for a nice start to my day.

Nancy 8:18 AM  

"Vive le roi" gave me LEROY at 38A and "Leroy" it remained -- completely unquestioned. Never mind that I had RETILD at 23D and SEE?RIDE at 35D. I knew there was a Big Problem, but I thought the Problem was either my DEAF at 41A or my AH THIS IS THE LIFE at 34A. But why would I question LEROY. What else could it be?

Of course DNC at 45A would have helped a lot. But how would I get that from ?NS. Were RNS a "blue group"? And that bloody "S"? That's because I had SETTLERS OF sATAN for the board game. I had guessed at SETTLERS from word pattern recognition, but what else could ?ATAN be? What on earth is/are SETTLERS OF CATAN? You think I know from board games other than Scrabble?

And so a 4-letter DNF in a puzzle I actually enjoyed a lot. Well, I did hate BEER ME (please tell me that nobody says that), but this puzzle was mostly excellent wordplay and very little pop culture. Alas, the little bit of pop culture that there was got me good.

GILL I. 8:24 AM  

@Wine diver and I both had the same brilliant mistake at 1D. How else would you eat your prime rib roast? RARE. Dang. I didn't know POHL so I was playing around with all kinds of stuff for 1A's Junk that started with an R. Let's see...I like @jae's Sperm bank but I was thinking more in terms of the male genitalia or maybe a Chinese boat. Sooooo....I went to the right and filled in something I know: APERITIFS.
Lots of hit and miss - but the kind I like. I have never ever heard of SETTLERS OF CATAN and besides I had SATAN. I like satan better. I needed every single across to finish that long down. Had I known it, my life would've been easier.
The three's usually get me good but today they sorta saved my bacon. DRE LAM ANT AWE and my favorite STU. Amazing how one little know-it-all opens a gate here and there. Good ole STU gave me MADE A STINK (confession..I had the same scene as the rest). Easy to fix because I remembered the word JANK. Is that word a portmanteau of junk and rank?
Bottom half was a tad easier for me. Filled in CAT TREATS just off the C in PHONE CASE. My cat, Marmalade loved the sound of a can opener. He'd come running every single time I used it. Even if I was opening a can of lima beans.
I don't drink BEER but do you cicerone heads really say BEER ME?
Someone once told me that if you use a lot of cheap perfume, mosquitos won't ATE ALIVE you.
Fun puzzle.

Anonymous 8:25 AM  

Saw that clue for the long down and immediately wrote CHINESE CHECKERS

Anyone else?

Jyqm 8:28 AM  

Wonderfully devious puzzle - just what I want out of a Saturday! Lots of initial mistakes:
— damE before AMIE
— feEl before PLEA
— iso before BCE
— who before DRE
— leROY before ELROY
— dANK before JANK

Loved the clues on PACMAN, PUREMATH, SGTPEPPER, and PHONECASE. Top and bottom rows are all great answers, as are the medium downs: MEGADETH and LONEWOLF. Cool to see the now-classic that single-handedly launched the adult board game renaissance as a marquee answer, too.

Typical of Rex to ignore most of that fun stuff in favor of focusing on a small handful of pet peeves — but I guess I should be glad he didn’t spend another day complaining about a puzzle being overly bro-y, what with all the beer and comic conventions and metal bands, and the only woman in the puzzle clued via her relationship to a man, gracious me!

Matthew G. 8:38 AM  

People do call it “Catan” for short, but the official name remains “The Settlers of Catan.” I also know people who just call it “Settlers.”

I think I’ve vaguely heard JANK before, but needed the crosses. It sounds like something my decade-younger brother would say.

Never heard of HATARI.

But the biggest problem was the NW where I thought {Prime directive?} had to be SHIP. As in, ship my package. SHOP didn’t occur to me, because you don’t direct Prime to shop. You do that yourself.

Mohair Sam 8:41 AM  

@Jim C in Maine (7:41) - Me too on "Crazy Legs" Hirsch,never considered Leroy either. Plus there was a guy named ELROY on my high school hoops team.

Nancy 8:49 AM  

Whigs when we were growing up, @Quasi (7:40)????!!!! Speak for yourself, please. Actually, you are too funny, and, no, I don't know when the awful red/blue thing began. Probably when color TV became a household fixture and newscasters arbitrarily assigned one group of voters to blue on their election maps and the other group to red. Just think -- it could have been the other way around entirely. (Which would have been great for me: I look much better in red than I look in blue.)

@GILL (8:24) -- Re: ATE ALIVE. Mosquitos take one look at me and scream "Lunch!!!!" If I'd only known about your cheap perfume trick years ago. The problem is I would have MADE A STINK and wouldn't have been able to stand the smell of myself.

Birchbark 8:58 AM  

HATARI[!] -- without the exclamation point, it's like @Rex's missing "A" in A[A]H, THIS IS THE LIFE. Basically, rhinos bash the jeeps and elephants walk into the market and topple canned food displays. Cinema was sort of finding its way into the early '60s, wanting still to be epic. Hence the exclamation point and a bunch of stampeding giraffes.

ELROY, Wisconsin. It's in a very scenic part of the state, not too far from the Dells. I found it on the map and want to know more.

@Wine Diver (7:22), @Gill I (8:24) -- I also had "rare" for "Prime Directive" at 1D for a while and agree it's the more interesting answer. Especially crossing HOME CURE. Now I'm hungry for steak and eggs.

kitshef 9:21 AM  

Very similar experience to yesterday. Lots of blind alleys, and one very tough section to crack – today, the NW. In that NW, SHOP, AMIE and BCE (tricky) wouldn’t come, and that made HOME CURE and OH I GET IT (where I first had aHa GoT IT) hard to see. POHL (first thing in, just like Rex) and SETTLERS were my only gimmes up there, which may qualify me for a NERD FEST.

One detour was, again like Rex, having leROY before ELROY. Unlike Rex, it took me two seconds to come up with ELROY Face and ELROY “Crazy Legs” Hirsch.

PITT TRITE TIX is quite a row.

And as was the case yesterday, despite all my detours, it came together in the end. Only this time without so many proper names, which is good, but with JANK, which is bad.

I will now commit the heresy of heresies and say SGT. PEPPER’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is my least favorite Beatles album. Two great songs, a couple of memorable ones, and a lot of fluff.

KBF 9:21 AM  

Note from a nit-picking copy editor: "titular" does not refer to the title of something. It means something closer to "so-called," as in "has the title but doesn't deserve it/live up to it." So a titular Jim Croce character would be one who's not *really* a Jim Croce character, as if perhaps there's a theory that someone else wrote the song. I know that the language changes, and so it should, blah blah blah, but the concept of "titular" is a useful one, and it was nice to have a word that expressed it. (And yeah, of course, I was thrown off by Elroy too... Good puzzle, though!)

Gretchen 9:27 AM  

Perfect Saturday puzzle! I took my last sip of coffee as I put in my last letter. One hiccup was putting in LEROY and having to change it to ELROY.

kitshef 9:37 AM  

PS Glad to see my airEd iT out at 12D was unique.

Ethan Taliesin 9:42 AM  

I liked this one. Smooth-going for the most part, but had IVEGOTIT for OHIGETIT which took up a good chunk of time.

"Dating letters" was a good clue--I only understood it after writing in the answer.

Had SHIP for SHOP (Prime directive) for a hot minute

Was going to write about some of my fave answers, but there were too many!

A+ fill today.

Dave S 9:48 AM  

As I figured, since yesterday seemed so easy, today was a struggle. Felt very good eventually as I filled in an enormous amount of white space and approached the finish line. Ultimately not satisfying, though, as even though I had all the letters I've never heard of the game or the Balkan city (though the more common spelling Tirana might have rung a bell-I spent a long time staring at he seemingly solid "cat treats" to see if I might have missed something.) So I never really got a big "aha" (or even "ah") moment where I felt it all came together and had to google afterward to make sure I was right. But up until then it provided a nice challenge and I liked the clues for pure math and for 1 down a lot.

pabloinnh 9:48 AM  

My two sons both play SETTTLERSOFCATAN, so I've heard of it, but never played it. Big help there.

Everything went in faster than I thought it was going to. My know it's wrong but I'll get back to it goof up was UBERID, which I thought you might need to be an uber driver. Eventually fixed it.

I have a cat that will actually roll over for CATTREATS. Seriously. In fact, I'll say, "Do your trick" and he'll roll over and get a treat. He would do this indefinitely after that as long as he kept getting treats, unbidden. I usually telly him "No more" after the third or fourth time and he slinks off to go back to sleep.

Big thanks to Mr. Sam for a stupendous Saturday. Great stuff.

FrankStein 9:50 AM  

Anyone else put in REGIS before Elroy?

Dorothy Biggs 9:57 AM  

I am not a fan of "Blues group, abbr." I'm having a hard time thinking of a time that democrats are "blues" as in, the noun. They are adjectively "blue," but that doesn't mean they are then "blues." I mean I suppose that we used to call the Soviets, "reds." But I've never heard democrats called "blues." "Blue man group? abbr" would have worked better. If they considered that clue, they probably discarded because of the "man" part...but that clue at least uses blue as an adjective...and so it is, IMO, better than the one that made it. No matter how you slice it, it's a tortured clue for DNC.

DNC crossing with TIRANE and SETTLERSOFCATAN made that crossing tough, is what I'm saying.

Joe Dipinto 10:05 AM  

I didn't know the "Baby Elephant Walk" from "Hatari" had lyrics. It does, penned by usual Burt Bacharach-collaborator Hal David. I wonder if anyone ever recorded them:

Make believe you're in a jungle movie
Watch the baby elephants go by
The beat is groovy
It's a brand new dance you ought to try
Come to the jungle and see the animal attraction
Baby elephants in action walk

Anyway...about that NW corner. Put me down for having SHIP crossing I'VE GOT IT for the longest. OH I GET IT is a truly terrible answer to that clue. "Oh, I get it," with no light bulb, is what a person thinks after figuring out that answer, having ceased to care.

SGT PEPPER was my first entry, followed by JOS A. Banks, from whom I've purchased sweaters, then HATARI, and I was bouncing around and things were humming along until I arrived in the aforesaid NW, which corner for me was like yesterday's SW was for many people.

Contrary to what Rex thinks, Elroy is an honest-to-goodness human first name. I am acquainted with an Elroy in real life. SETTLERS OF CATAN is one of those morsels I know I will always be able to pull out of my brain, though I've never played it and know pretty much nothing about it.

I read the news today oh boy, and if you're worried about A$AP Rocky, don't be -- the Orange One has his back:
"A$AP Rocky is in a situation in Sweden. Sweden's a great country and they're friends of mine, the leadership. And we are going to be calling, we'll be talking to them, we've already started and many, many members of the African-American community have called me — friends of mine, and said could you help?" Trump told reporters on Friday when asked about the case.

Come on it's lovely weather for a sled ride together ♪...O, hi. Get it? Stu made a stink about a teal I've chopped up to make cat treats.

Sorry if I'm rambling. This isn't one of my top forty days. The puzzle was easy until it wasn't. Gonna go listen to Freddie Hubbard now.

RooMonster 10:29 AM  

Hey All !
OH, I GET IT. Yeah, now I GET IT. Had iveGoTIT there, with an obvious non-thing BCo, giving me SHiP for 1D (which I thought I was clever when I figured out it was Amazon Prime), and POvL for 2D, because who the heck is Frederick POHL?

Other confessions of not knowing things (besides authors, opera, et. al. [I'm not very cultured, as you can see]), never heard of SETTLERS OF CATAN, as haven't been into board games for a good 25+ years now. Had sATAN like a bunch of y'all, which got me Drs for DNC. Drs wear blues...? Yes?

Was secretly hoping 19A was feEl instead of PLEA. :-) Didn't fall into the MADEASceNe trap, as I already had the 15 LIFE, so the I was locked in. Started doubting it, though, but what could AH THIS IS THT LE__ be? Finally got that tough X in LUXE, getting me TIX and STINK.

I like how NERD is a term of endearment now. It used to be an insult, circa 1980's.

So a nice themeless. U SHAPE for @M&A. 4 F's for me. Now if only someone else was here, I could tell BEER ME! But, I guess I'll have to get one myself.


Newboy 10:45 AM  

DNF: JANK & CATAN both were not only not in my wheelhouse, they’re not on my boat! Frustrating but fun.

Noah Webster 10:53 AM  

@KBM - I would assume that a copy editor would know that words frequently have multiple meanings. Definition 1 has the meaning you cite, but we go on to Definitions 2 & 3, which are different. We indicate this difference in meanings by having them there in the first place, and having them under different headings. Jut because Def 2 isn't Def 1 doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Just because it's not your preferred definition doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Just because you would prefer that the singularity of Def 1 would be preserved as the only definition doesn't mean that it has been, and that Def 2 doesn't exist.

I would assume that as a copy editor you would know that "I wish you wouldn't use this word in this context" doesn't mean "that usage is wrong".

Anonymous 11:08 AM  

Well, if you've spent any amount of time with a Southerner, and figured out ___PEPPER, you can't figure out how to fit DR into that space. The quintessential Southern breakfast is a Dr. Pepper and a Moonpie. Talk about crossed wires.

Anonymous 11:17 AM  

BCE stinks. The term is designed only to be argumentative. BCE and BC are literally the same time. BCE gives no more I formation than BC save that the user is a strident secularist and feels the need to inform folks. But who cares? The date is the the important thing, not how a body feels about it. Sheesh.
WAYY, WAAY MORE OFFENSIVE THAN NRA because unlike that organization, the sole reason BCE exists is to make a rather weak and frankly boring statememt.

KBF 11:23 AM  

I know I'm being a curmudgeon, but as a copy editor I tend to correct it. (Sorry: "correct" it.) I don't know why this particular usage grates on me. I suppose just because 2 and 3 are edging out 1, and that seems a loss. Maybe not a big one, obviously the language survives, but when "titular" is used as in meaning 1, it has a certain evocative elegance because it compresses a complex situation into one useful word.

Anonymous 11:31 AM  

I thought this would be a snap when I got CHINESECHECKERS right off the bat. Wrong! Never heard of Settlers of Catan.

Birchbark 11:35 AM  

From the Wikipedia entry for ELROY, Wisconsin:

"By another account, the original residents chose "Leroy" as the name for the community and its post office, but were informed that another community in the state had that name already. Switching the first two letters was suggested and adopted."

Bonuses from the ELROY Wikipedia article: Norwegian Nobel-laureate Knut Hamsun lived there at one point. There is nice photo of the municipal swimming pool. The "See Also" section points you to an interesting "List of geographic names derived from anagrams and ananyms."

Want to know more? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elroy%2C_Wisconsin

Anonymous 11:40 AM  

you do know that putative would serve your example as well, maybe even better, right?

Elroy Face 11:41 AM  

You are no baseball fan, Rex. My 1959 season record of 18 - 1 for the Pirates is the MLB record for a season winning %.

Anonymous 11:44 AM  

Since you're having a hard time it must be a bad clue? K.

Nancy 11:50 AM  

Rex doesn't explain it. None of you have so far, either. Deb doesn't explain it over on Wordplay. So can someone tell me please: Why is the answer to 1A SHOP and what is "Prime" or "prime" in that context? Thanks in advance.

Anonymous 12:08 PM  

@Nancy - The Prime in Amazon Prime is an inducement to get people to shop more at Amazon.

Crimson Devil 12:08 PM  

Elroy: helluva record, and not too shabby forkball !!

KBF 12:12 PM  

I actually don't agree, Anonymous. There's a shade of difference: putative means something like "reputed or assumed to be," whereas titular has a slightly derisive connotation of (as I said) "so-called," or false.

A better case could be made for "eponymous."

Listen, I know all this is silly at some level, but the level varies from person to person (meaning people who care about such things at all, or even notice them), and I think usage is something worth considering -- realizing that 5 years from now "incorrect" use of titular will go right by me....

What? 12:19 PM  

Amazon Prime

pabloinnh 12:23 PM  

Hi @Nancy-Refers to Amazon Prime, shopping for us lazy people.

You may now beer me.

Z 12:25 PM  

@Nancy - Amazon Prime is directing you to SHOP on TV, radio, and the internet. Resistance is futile.
@Matt G - You probably realize this, but SHOP is the directive given by Amazon and SHiP is the directive given to Amazon. The clue works for both.
“Rare” is a much better answer, I wish it had at least occurred to me. But, hey, I knew Frederick POHL.

@KBF - Rubbing salt in the wound I suppose, but Rex’s usage is listed as first used in 1613 by Merriam-Webster, a mere 2 years after your preferred usage.

@Anon11:17 - You’re right, of course. The statement is “I’m not a myopic xenophobe who realizes that most people are not Christians.”

OISK 12:26 PM  

Amazon Prime . Too much jank here for me.

Anonymous 12:34 PM  

Dont be wrong and mean spirited. BCE is absurd. It uses Christ's birth as the measuring point. Same as BC.

old timer 12:41 PM  

If a perfect Saturday puzzle is one that makes you tear your hair in frustration, this one qualifies (and I liked it in the end). Writeovers galore. I too had MADEAScene before STINK and wrote it in. Also copped a feel (so improper in this #METOO era.) Finished up there, when I remembered you can cop a PLEA if you are arrested for being too handsy. It helped I used to read POHL stories 60 years ago. BCE was cleverly ADclued. I have always kind of resented BC and AD, since most of the world is not Christian, and yet it would be stupid to change the year of every event in Western history.

I have heard men go to the bar and say BEERME, so that was fine (I prefer a Manhattan, myself, or a glass or two of wine). My only writeover down there was "geekfest" before NERDFEST. One of my daughters is at Comic-Con at this moment.

I hope @LMS is off on a fine vacation and will soon return to this wonderful group. My favorite Muse on his blog, always.

Carola 12:45 PM  

Tough, engaging, satisfying to finish. First pass got me only a sprinkling of 3- and 4-letter words; then it was a square-by-square advance through nearly impenetrable and booby-trapped thickets but with the occasional vista opening up to revive the flagging spirit.
Help from previous crosswords: JANK.
Booby traps: like others, SceNe for STINK, i've GoT IT; also SLED RacE; wanted Air for AWE (it's truly inspired).

After reading @Rex, I was ready to leap to the defense of ELROY, but Jim C., Mohair Sam, and kitshef have already taken care of that. Crazy Legs Hirsch is a UW-Madison icon, remembered each year with a 8k run, the Crazylegs Classic. Here's some fun footage showing him in action on the field.

@jae - Re: SPerMBanks - in desperate straits in that corner, I even considered SexMarTS (?!?)
@FrankStein - "regis" was my first thought, but was suspicious of the "g" so didn't write it in.

Masked and Anonymous 12:47 PM  

Tougher than snot.
Ended up with SETTLERSOFSATAN, as didn't know any better. Had DMS for the blues group, so at least had arrived at the right party. TIRAME ain't great, but seemed ok at the time, and enough precious nanoseconds & cinnamon rolls had already given their lives.

OH! IGETIT. AH! THISISTHELIFE. HA! TARI. Real cute SatTheme idea. Coulda also splatzed in a HAR! JANK themer, then, for completeness.


staff weeject pick: AW! E.

Thanx for the feisty fun, Mr. Tabucco. Primo Jaws of Themelessness blocks.

Masked & Anonymo4Us

ow! biter:

Teedmn 12:47 PM  

Well, I'm not feeling as bad as before I read Rex, seeing that he had the same leROY thing going on that I did. However, I never dug myself out of that because I was ignorant of where those SETTLERS were (sATAN, get thee behind me, I know you aren't correct) and was uncertain on TIRANE and, and,...

At one point, I changed HATARI to HATARa because I thought something going downhill might refer to a gRaDE but that didn't spark any AHas so I returned to HATARI.

The best part of this puzzle for me was the musing sparked by 45A. I began listing the many uses of Blue - sad, pornographic, musical genre, the ocean. Unfortunately, I never went the liberal route or I swear I would have finished this puzzle correctly, but _N_ stayed there until I gave up. So how many uses of green, red, yellow? Green = inexperienced, eco-friendly; red = conservative, anger; yellow = cowardly. Blue seems to have more utility but I haven't spent a lot of time analyzing this.

Thanks, Sam Trabucco, for a puzzle that made think.

teevoz 12:59 PM  

SAME. And I was really proud of myself for it.

RooMonster 1:00 PM  

Now I know you skip my posts! Har. I know I can be odd, off, and a bore. :-)
Anyway, I did mention it in my first post.

I harbor no ill will towards you. :-)


Fred Romagnolo 1:08 PM  

Echoing @Z: BC offended people who were not Christians; BCE (before the common era) was devised to satisfy them. Both mean the same thing. Hatari was a fun movie.

Malsdemare 1:12 PM  

Ah @Roo, hand up here for putting in feEl for 19A and well, feeling a tad squeamish as I did. This was the kind of puzzle I like. There are lots of clues I was sure I'd never get and then, Voila! I'm finished in half and hour, a good time for me. I ded have to Google for MEGADETH; I had DETH and could not dredge up the rest to save my soul. I also don't know the game so it was SETTLERS OF sATAN until DNC popped unbidden into my wee brain.

I'm a copy editor as well so I'll hop in here for a minute. My job is to make the reading process smooth; hiccups for readers are a no-no, so I would have changed "titular" to eponymous or something else. My reasoning is that if a word makes me pause and scratch my head, others may as well and let's prevent that. The editing software we use would allow the author or development editor to reject my change. Blessedly, the books I edit are textbooks for health and physical fitness so I'm unlikely to see titular in any of them. But I'm hired to make authors look good and any time a reader stops and thinks, "that author just made an error" works against that goal. If a reader finds one error, or one questionable word or phrase, she will become hyper alert for more, which alters the reading process. We don't want that.

Heat index around 110 today. Stay cool, everyone.

Anonymous 1:13 PM  

Another rubbish puzzle. Hatari? Frederik Pohl? Elroy? Jank? Tirane and not Tirana? Will Shortz OUT!

Nancy 1:20 PM  

Thanks, everyone. Amazon Prime, whatever it is, can't get me to SHOP because I'm never on their website. I went there once to find out their phone number, so I could order from a real person and not put my credit card online, which I refuse to do. But they don't have a phone number. It seems they have their Rules and their System, whereas I have my Rules and my System. And never the twain shall meet. Yes, they are cheaper, but having my identity stolen by someone in, say, Romania doesn't seem like a good tradeoff to me.

There's been one huge inconvenience, but it's been overcome. My niece often welcomes an Amazon gift card as her choice of present and the first time my sister-in-law told me that I turned white as a ghost. But my sister-in-law said: Look we'll buy the gift card and you can just give us a check to cover it. And that's been what I've done.

Sorry @Roo. You never used the word SHOP as a reference point in your post. I used SHOP as my F3 keyword and your comment didn't come up. I didn't notice Amazon Prime remark because "Amazon Prime" had/has no meaning to me at all. Sorry.

First time caller, long time listened 1:21 PM  

ELROY Berdahl in Tim O’Brien’s “On the Rainy River” is one of the finest sage/mentor characters ever created in fiction. Eat your heart out, George Lucas — Yoda ain’t got nothin’ on Elroy. So I had a pleasant “aha!” moment as I corrected Leroy. (And yes, despite the fact that the narrator in said story is named “Tim O’Brien” OTRR is fiction. He told me so himself when I had a chance to meet him once.)

Teedmn 1:22 PM  

@Birchbark, the Sparta-Elroy bike trip is classic to my friends and me. Drive to Sparta and ride the 35 miles to Elroy. There are multiple BEER ME stops and three old train tunnels you have to walk your bike through, one of which is 3/4 of a mile long. Stay in the JANKy motel in Elroy (though it was closed last time I was there) and repeat the ride backwards the next morning.

@kitshef, I'll agree with you on the SGT. PEPPER'S album.

In fact, I thought the answer to 20A would be Dick Clark because of the "Bandleader" in quotes (figured he might have helmed a compilation album from American Bandstand alumni.)

@old timer, your If a perfect Saturday puzzle is one that makes you tear your hair in frustration, this one qualifies (and I liked it in the end). gave me a silly smile as I imagined you admiring your newly torn hair arrangement in the mirror. Apparently, the letting up of the humidity today has affected my sense of humor.

Masked and Anonymous 1:23 PM  

Trabucco, not Tabucco. So sorry, Sam dude -- really thought I'd tried to type that R in, at the time.
But -- good puzzle buildin, anyhoo U spell it, tho.

SETTLERS OF SATAN has a nice S.O.S. symmetry and ring to it. New game! Tagline: "Hell of a rodeo". Events: Bucking T-rexes. Sidewinder wresslin. Hearse racing. Skunk roping. Parade of pewits. Pentagram-shaped board? Or … go for broke … U-shaped board! Ooh.
But -- I digress.


oldactor 1:26 PM  

I can no longer sit in my favorite chair until 5:00 when I watch the news, have my martini and feed Amy her cat treats. If I go near it during the day she's all over me.

Hand up for CHINESE CHECKERS. I,2,and 3 down took forever.

xyz 1:35 PM  

Hey, I solved it. Yippee.

Some small messes as Rex noted most of them, but hell, I tend to celebrate complete Saturdays. DNC was my last correction. Initialisms aren't my favourite anyway.

emmet 1:36 PM  

Elroy "crazy legs" Hirsch possibly the best receiver ever. HOF both pro and college.

Anonymous 2:04 PM  

C'mon, the Blues play hockey in the NHL, and won the Stanley Cup.

Checker of Chinese 2:07 PM  

To all of you who thought Chinese Checkers was the answer: here is your opportunity to learn the difference between a hexagon and a hexagram.

Anne 2:16 PM  

I know it's creepy, but before PLEA I had FEEL.

Z 3:02 PM  

@anon - Statements like, “The term is designed only to be argumentative. BCE and BC are literally the same time,” deserve more opprobrium then even my fairly gentle observation that such statements expose myopic xenophobia. Even the most minimal of reading before posting would have saved you the embarrassment of exposure. Don’t want to be insulted? Don’t be insulting. Or even better, try to understand why “Before the Common Era” and “Common Era” are better in a highly interconnected, international, and intercultural global society. Or not.

Bill L. 3:25 PM  

Speaking of Jasper…

”Warning: Video contains contents that viewers may find upsetting.”

Aketi 3:29 PM  

@Chefwen, there are only two ways I can get our big fat cat out of the drawers under the bed after he has managed to pull them open and climb in despite having a big Lazy Boy chair blocking the drawer. One of them is to shake the bag of treats.Some days he is particularly sneaky and persistent in going back into the drawers. It takes three times before he stops coming out for the treats. At that point, I have to pull out the entire drawer and send the Roomba under the bed to nudge him out.

@Jae, I too loved the NERDsplaining episode on Stranger Things, especially the My Little Pony inclusion.

Turns out I’m headed for a double NERDFEST in Vegas in August. Despite having grown up in California this will be my first trip to Vegas. I have concluded that Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is definitely the NERDiest of the Martial Arts due to its use of body origami and labeling every small shift position with names in two to three languages. So I’m meeting up with a bunch of 60 plus year old women BJJ NERDs who are competing in the World Masters competition. Simultaneously and quite by coincidence, my niece will be at the same huge mega convention center at the same time for a “Magic the Gathering” tournament. I’m pretty sure my niece would not have needed to change SATAN to CATAN like I did if see were a Xwords NERD. My sister is a veteran of Las Vegas so she is going to show me the nonNERD things to do in Vegas. Post competition I think she’ll ensure that I go beyond just BEER ME at the pool bar at the hotel.

FYI, since my Peace Corps days, my HOME CURE when I was ATE ALIVE by mosquitoes was to BEER myself.

GILL I. 3:30 PM  

@Nancy...you have mentioned before how you won't give out your credit card number over any website. I'll venture to say that it's probably 100% safe on Amazon. Well, at least 99%. You're safer using it with them than you are at any restaurant or store. They have safe guards up the wazoo. It's important to them.
I shop them at least 2 or 3 times a month. I feel bad in a way for the mom and pops because they can't compete but when I can get a $300 dollar Le Creuset Iron cast stock pot for $80.00 and have it delivered to my door the next day, then you can bet your sweet bippy I will use them.
P.S. I sent you a wedding picture......check your e-mail.

DigitalDan 3:38 PM  

Over and over, I found that the puzzle's constructor(s) overlooked a fun clue answer and used the more or less mundane, untricky one. Example: I wanted AIR for "Truly Inspired." I got "AWE". Oxymoronically, "Meh."

Johncape 3:39 PM  

I had sexshops for junk dealers and laughed out loud at how clever the cluing was, until I discovered I was Wrong!

VictorS 4:13 PM  

Rex: referring to Tirana you say that you are never sure whether it’s (sic) final letter is e or a. Surely you meant its final letter (as you love to excoriate constructors for perceived errors)

Somali 4:31 PM  

Easy peasy Saturday. I don’t know why the moderators let Z’s racist comments slide. C’est la vie.

SteveM 4:39 PM  

I had both “cop a feel” and “on the rag”. That will get me kicked off the DNC for sure.

Nancy 5:26 PM  

You know, @GILL, you may have just convinced me, re Amazon, when no member of my family has been able to. Two or three times a month and you've been okay? Hmmmmm. Maybe it's time to re-think my entire life. :)

I just got your great wedding photo in my email box and I've already replied to it. Thanks again!

Crimson Devil 5:51 PM  

Elroy: I still have your baseball card, in a shoebox somewhere.

Joe Dipinto 5:56 PM  

@Nancy -- I shop from Amazon pretty regularly too, and I've had no problems and no complaints. Mostly I've gotten CDs (very "old school these days) or books. I can also say that when I've needed to return an item it was a breeze. And you can get a live costumer-service person on the phone if you need to, and they've always been extremely helpful, to me at least.

So, think about it. You can get free shipping if you order a certain minimum dollar amount and don't care about your item arriving the very next day. My experience is that the item usually shows up sooner than their estimated arrival date anyway.

I've not signed up for the Prime option, but I may do so in the future.

Unknown 6:09 PM  

I "got" Chinese checkers right away, and that hurt. My Prime directive was SHIP, so that made things dicey.

albatross shell 6:13 PM  

I wanted to mention how much I enjoyed your last 2 days of clues and answers. Great stuff. Thanks.

With you completely on BCE. Would not have minded a 2 letter alternative though.

Did anybody mention that chinese checkers has a hexagonal board, not an octagonal one. Almost put it in anyway.

I'm amazed I just about solved this only looking up CATAN. Got SETTLERSOF completely honestly. Looked up CATAN because I did not expect the Good fortune to continue. Ended up with 10 little problems, that did not seem right. Straightened out 5 of them on my own. Pushed check puzzle and with the aid of knowing which letters were wrong was able to complete the solve. Usually if I do that well I come here and everybody is complaining it's way to easy for a Saturday.

I fell for about half the wrong entries that a lot of others did. Even had LEROY first, even though I use to try to run like Crazylegs in the back yard.

A fine puzzle on many levels. I approve of BEERME because it matches the clue in absurdity and obnoxiousness.

Runs with Scissors 6:56 PM  

I actually JANKy in the wild yesterday, elsewhere, so that of course dropped right in off the J.

1A couldn't be anything else, though I had SPAMmerS in there first. Only to rip it back out at BCE & OUTSET (thank [insert favored deity] they've paused on onset.) BCE, though, just rubs me wrong. It's still counted from the same event. What is the significance of losing AD?

Really, really liked 34A.

I never knew the model names of the REOS, so I learnt me something today.

I'm waiting for CAT TREATS that keep the cats away from my house.

Watching MEGADETH drop in was interesting. I haven't heard of them in ages.

I liked this puzzle. Wouldn't have MADE A STINK about any of it, NYET. Almost nothing about it was TRITE.

Mark, in Mickey's North 40

Malsdemare 7:58 PM  

@Nancy our family shares Amazon Prime. I order 2-3 times a week and my kids are also frequent users. We've had NO problems. Meanwhile, a credit card that went from delivery to my door to our safe was hacked and used at an Italian resort (to the tune of $3000); the best guess is that someone at the credit card sold the data. If you set your card privacy settings so you get a notice every time $10 or more is charged, you will know instantly if there's any fraud.

Joe Dipinto 10:40 PM  

Costumer-service person -- yes, you can order costumes for plays, re-enactment events and the like from Amazon over the phone. It's great -- you never know when you'll need a zombie outfit for work the next day.

Anonymous 1:08 AM  

"Ah, this is the life" googles 331 million.
"Ahh, this is the life", a paltry 60 million.

Ah seems like the better word to me.

Unknown 1:22 PM  

I turn to a vampire any time i want to. i become a vampire because of how people treat me, this world is a wicked world and not fair to any body. at the snack of my finger things are made happened. am now a powerful woman and no one step on me without an apology goes free. i turn to human being also at any time i want to. and am one of the most dreaded woman in my country. i become a vampire through the help of my friend who introduce me into a vampire kingdom by given me their number. if you want to become a powerful vampire kindly contact the vampire kingdom whatsApp at +1 4313007649 on their email worldofvampir@hotmail.com

Fred Wollam 5:18 PM  

Spanish(y), not French. EL ReY.

joebloggs 7:48 PM  

Especially with a six sided board...

nfborz 4:25 PM  

Didn’t anyone notice that the capital of Albania is TiranA... I’ve checked and there are no alternative spellings!

We found South Bend Clutches 3:08 PM  

Finally got the answers thanks!

Steve Franc 12:11 AM  

Very fun and challenging puzzle since I am 3 years old, I use to play that with my brother, And I never win it..Did someone an show me how to be a champion o that games?Thanks for the answer.

We found Rogue Jets Aluminum Boats

colins143 2:07 PM  

this is a good way to kill some time. thanks a lot for sharing this one.

We found Pasadena Cyber Security Services

spacecraft 11:34 AM  

Too tough for me; DNF. SETTLERSOFCATAAN?? Best-selling??????? Never heard of it.

I did post yesterday; got some weird error message, then found out it was never posted. I liked it and gave it a birdie.

Burma Shave 12:44 PM  


"AWE, THISIS a NERDFEST at it's height.


rondo 1:00 PM  

Worked it from the bottom up. Not much written over except at MADEASTaNd and my Blues group? was the NHL before the DNC, and Foot before FEET.

I knew the TOPFORTY FORTY years ago. Not so much now.

AMIE Yancey from Flipping Vegas. Yeah baby.

Slightly tougher than yesterday, so about right. BEERME.

leftcoast 3:28 PM  

Moved pretty well though most of the puzzle, until....

NW as usual was tough. Stuck with kOHL instead of POHL, and SHiP instead of SHOP, which scrambled much of the corner.

The other misses were in the middle South: Had TIRAjE instead of TIRANE, and Dj's instead of DNC, leaving sATAN in place of CATAN.

Can't complain; it's Saturday, and felt I did well enough.

Diana, LIW 4:08 PM  

Nope. No octagonal games in my purview. Nor PACMeN. Hey, I was glad to get SFTPEPPER.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords, not trivia

Diana, LIW 4:10 PM  

PS - @Lefty's comment just showed up - I agree, did well enuf.


Waxy in Montreal 8:05 PM  

If you followed the Pittsburgh Pirates closely in the late 1950's (via WWVA, Wheeling, WV in my case), all-STARR reliever ELROY face was a gimme at 38A. The PUREMATH of his 18-1 record in 1959 and 3 saves in the SEESAW 1960 World Series vs. the mighty Yankees should have made him a lock for the HoF but the selectors have said NYET.

POHL, PARITY, SGTPEPPER and TOPFORTY were also gimmes but not much else. Struggled mightily with BEERME, TIX/LUXE, JANK/JASPAR and the SETTLERSOFCATAN thing which I've never heard of. But overall an excellent Saturday-worthy puzzle.

Blade 4:39 PM  

I really wanted trivial pursOOOt to work :-)

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