Saturday, August 3, 2019

Constructor: Ryan McCarty

Relative difficulty: Average


Word of the Day: SS MINNOW (Vessel in a famous 1960s shipwreck) —
The S. S. Minnow is a fictional charter boat on the hit 1960s television sitcom Gilligan's Island.
The ship ran aground on the shore of "an uncharted desert isle" (in the south Pacific Ocean), setting the stage for this popular situation comedy. The crew of two were the skipper Jonas Grumby and his first mate Gilligan, and the five passengers were millionaire Thurston Howell III, his wife Lovey Howell, movie star Ginger Grant, professor Roy Hinkley, and farm girl Mary Ann Summers.
• • •
So sit right back and you'll hear a tale, a tale of an okay grid..

Doc Daneeka, filling in for Rex. This clocked in just under my average Saturday solve, and would have been a breeze if I hadn't hit a brick wall in the NE corner somewhere between SALADA and OCTAVO and AAONLINE. I stared blankly for an eternity and, rather than help me solve the damn puzzle, my mind playfully conjured Wile E. Coyote waving the white flag.

My biggest gripe is the center. POWER STATION and SMOKED CIGARS are not the most idiomatically exciting phrases in the English Language, and when they make up the meat of your grid, the meat of your grid looks more like what you'd find in a Lunchables tray. Maybe you're thinking NAG, NAG, NAG, but it's a themeless, and so unless the grid itself is a feat of constructing ingenuity, the fill is the main attraction.  (Rex is also probably unimpressed with most feats of constructing ingenuity.)  On a separate and undeservedly self-righteous note, when can we start referring to SAME SEX MARRIAGE as just marriage?

There are some playful moments, like DEVIL DOG and OPERA HAT and COW TOWN. And any time you can incorporate Michael SCOTT into your puzzle, you're on the right track -- although I will never be Officially Impressed until someone throws DWIGHT K SCHRUTE or DUNDER MIFLIN in the mix.  Accordingly:

Finally, if you've never waded through a pea-soup fog of cigarette smoke to watch people play PAI gow at 2 AM in an off-brand casino far away from The Strip, are you even living your best life?

  • COLMES — I could not remember how to spell the name of the clownishly token faux Democrat that Fox News used to parade around every evening like the cheerful village idiot of the right-wing news circuit.
  • OPOSSUMSO, possums!  What fray was here?
  • AMAZONIA — If you're looking for something amusing to distract you from the horror of runaway deforestation under the Bolsonaro junta, Wikipedia defines the Amazon as a "moist broadleaf forest", which is both charming and gross at the same time.
  • I SAID SO — Classic parenting mistake.  "Because I said so" is a sign of weakness, and they know it early on.  Make up something complex and irrational instead -- it takes them many more years to untangle faulty logic.
Signed, Doc Daneeka, Surgeon General of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Brian 12:07 AM  

Easy Saturday 2/3 average.

jae 12:12 AM  

Easy. The symmetrical SSMINNOW and AAONLINE answers and center stack around SAMESEXMARRIAGE were delightful. Liked it.

AMAZONIA was new to me, but easily inferable.

@Doc - Excellent advice regarding I SAID SO.

Cosgal 12:36 AM  

Social commentary. Political carping. It’s like Rex never left.

puzzlehoarder 12:46 AM  

A mostly easy puzzle with the exception of the NE corner. I had DEMONDOG at 12D and it took me forever to recognize AMAZONIA and realize my mistake.

After all that the one mistake I didn't catch was COLEMEN crossing ISAIDNO. COLEMEN didn't look right to me but COLMES wouldn't have rung any bells either. Inspite of the use it's had, per xwordinfo, without the word "because", ISAIDSO looks like a partial. I never questioned ISAIDNO.

Coming into the NE corner from the south I initially misread the 29A clue as concerning "Dubai's cabinet". I considered SAUDI as a possible answer until I reread the clue.It was a good thing CONDI was so obvious (once I'd correctly read the clue). I misunderstood the 29D clue to be about card dealing. I thought CARRY must be some gambling term I've never heard of. The lightbulb didn't go off on that one until after solving. Sheesh.

jp flanigan 12:47 AM  

Are we really OK pluralizing TANG(S) and OPIUM(S)?

Tom R 12:58 AM  

I have a problem with 2D: Opium is a singular thing. There are opiates and opioids, but only one base product, a substance called opium. Hence, poppy products can't be the plural of opium. BTW, got really hung up in the NE. Salada is a new word to me and it took me forever to see devildogs and the silly aaonline.

tbd88 12:58 AM  

Whenever somebody says "same sex marriage" or "gay marriage" I say "marriage equality" to emphasize that it's not something special or extra, it's just the right to exactly the same thing that most people have had for centuries.

Larry Gilstrap 12:59 AM  

Lots of long words! Welcome to Saturday solving. This much open real estate calls for the Petri dish tactic by establishing a foothold, and spreading out. Mixed metaphor, much?

Pity the youngsters who are asked to know AMOS Alonzo Stagg. The leather helmet may have been a blessing in disguise, assuming tacklers didn't lead with their heads.

I'm a Moby-Dickhead and I live near the Pacific Ocean and it is indeed VAST, from what I've seen and heard. I just finished a terrific book, Sea People by Christina Thompson, about the Polynesians who boldly ventured into the open ocean in search of a speck of land. Makes me want to go to Tahiti, but LAX/PPT, even in coach.

I was a runner for many years and would sometimes run in races. You know, like a 5K or 10K. I paid twenty bucks and would buy into the challenge of going as hard as I could. I was running in a race in Palm Springs that featured long straightaways and my soul was being tortured as I pressed on. A Marine glommed onto me and decided to become my motivational coach. I never served, but I guess one DEVIL DOG is easily identified by another, because the rest of the race people kept growling at us. Semper Fi!

Wow! @LMS just made my day. Hugely disappointed by her missing ACPT. Next year, it's a date. Teaching is classroom management, which we used to call discipline. I never was a parent, but either way, when your justification is I SAID SO, you're dead.

chefwen 2:40 AM  

We fared pretty well until arriving in the NE, had the same trouble as our host with SALADA, OCTAVO, etc. Puzzle partner had something crazy in at 18A which began with an A, I took it out, he put it back in, I finally looked the damn thing up. Problem solved, but I was so hoping for a Google free weekend.

Permanent Press made me smile, my motto “If it needs ironing, don’t buy it”.

jae 3:30 AM  

....and speaking of SAME SEX MARRIAGE, the movie “ Boy Erased “ makes its (@lms - does this its need an apostrophe?) TV debut on HBO this weekend. Very much worth a look.

John Hoffman 4:42 AM  

Got the Saturday puzzle done! Rare!

Anonymous 4:56 AM  

2D OPIUMS is an embarrassment of a plural.

Phil 5:26 AM  

had the same problem are but couldn’t recover. Guessed MAINLINE for a recovery program. Close as I could come without having an inkling of SALAD? tea.

Loren Muse Smith 6:05 AM  

Doc Daneeka – love that name. Great write-up. I, too, struggled in the northeast (hi, @puzzlehoarder). In fact, that was where I face-planted and gave up; that SALAD/OCTAVO/AA ONLINE junction did me in.

I had no idea that there was such thing as an OPERA HAT. Cool that there is so much equipment involved in going to see an opera. Opera glasses, hat, cloak. And you can enjoy coffee and opera cake afterwards. I just learned about this on The Great British Baking Show.

The cluing was particularly Saturdayish for me its ambiguity. . .

- “Cab alternative” - I went the “bus” route. Rookie mistake.
- “Rubber” thought it was actually 15D and counted out the letters for “prophylactic,” wondering if I was spelling it right. I was, by the way and thankyouverymuch.
- “Marine” – I was going “aquatic” or “nautical.”
- “Private practice” (misread this as “privates” and was reminded of a performance by my daughter’s kindergarten class. She was one to pick her nose on occasion, and I was a little apprehensive, but not to worry… one of her classmates hijacked the entire song with his privates practice. I wanted so much to deadpan to his mom afterwards how much I admire the way her son handles himself in public.)

So, well, I mean, how can I not address the plural OPOSSUMS? Every year, several times, students come to me and gleefully ask me if I knew that the plural of possum is possi. Hey. I’ll take it, I’ll take nasty untrue rumors circulating that involve incorrect Latin plurals rather than Savannah cheating on Dakota. I try to tell them that the plural would be possa if it did follow Latinate plural rules, but that the word is Native American and that… nah. They’re staring at me, trying to be polite, but I’ve lost’em.

Ryan McCarty – tough toughie this morning. I liked SAME SEX MARRIAGE (@tbd88 – like your “marriage equality”), POWER STATION, WHIPSAWED, RAP SHEET, and I SAID SO. (@Larry –I agree on I SAID SO and I’m really sorry I missed you at the ACPT. @jae – no apostrophe there.)

I added to the discussion yesterday about the discourse markers.

Lewis 6:27 AM  

@doc -- Nice edge to your review.

A very short story by Nietzsche:
Sentence one -- [DEVIL DOG] backward.
Sentence two -- God is dead.

I very much liked DEVIL DOG, WHIPSAWED, and OPERA HAT (my puzzle-bred learning for the day)(Hi, @loren!), and [Deal in] for CARRY and [They may go on long walks] for CANES.

I mostly liked the "aah" at the end, after surviving several "Don't know if I'm going to finish this" moments, to which I credit fair crossings. That aah is the sign of an excellent puzzle. Thank you, Ryan!

Conrad 6:40 AM  

@LMS: The correct Latin plural of possum is possumus (“Ita Possumus” = “Yes We Can”). Possum is a verb, not a noun, and we get our word “posse” from the infinitive.

Anonymous 7:22 AM  

The plural of opium is opii.

Suzie Q 7:34 AM  

I loved the moment when I realized the name of the vessel that shipwrecked. Of course I had been looking for a real ship and Edmond Fitzgerald wouldn't fit.
@ chefwen, I feel the same way about ironing and I extend it also to clothes that need dry cleaning.
I wasn't too sure about spelling opossums, two Ps or two Os?
Loved devil dog. What a great nickname.
Nice puzzle with some fun moments.

OffTheGrid 7:40 AM  

The NW went fairly easily. I plunked in Ann Arbor for midwest univ. town and that blocked the SW for a while. The SE wasn't too bad but it took me an hour to clean everything up overall. Had several write overs but it was fun to work through it. There is a mini theme of tea and wine, SALADA, PEKOE, MEDOC, ZIN.

MODERN FAMILY weighs in on same sex marriage.

pabloinnh 7:44 AM  

Hi Doc. Nice job with the review. Did you ever get Yossarian's liver problem solved?

In went WHYNOT, which is a much better answer than WELLOK. Thank goodness for the in-it-goes long answers SAMESEXMARRIAGE and THETERMINATOR, which provided plenty of toeholds. Major problems in the NE (hi everyone), but finally remembered CRIMEA after overthinking "Twinings" forever, wanted another British tea. But completing the fill gave me that satisfying feeling. Ah joy, rapture.

Nice crunchy fun Saturday. Thanks, RMcC.

QuasiMojo 7:45 AM  

Well the Netherlands wouldn't have been the first to legalize it if it were just "marriage." I appreciate the guest bloggers but why is Rex AWOL yet again? I miss his TANGS.

Super fast finish today. I remember fondly the old days when it took me a weekend to do the Saturday puzzle. And not because I was dumber.

Not much to say today. Kind of grumpy. Should it have been OPIUMPODES? I thought ROTI was a French roast. I doubt people ARC surely men ARC still smoke cigars after a child is delivered. Can you even hand them out anymore in hospitals? I wonder if hipsters hand out Vapes. Why is WAGON informal? Short for Station Wagon? I don't think of SUVs in the same category or even kettle of fish. Give me a Woody over a DeNali anyday. Well OK, TSK. (Only one?)

Welcome former lurker @Maraschino. I enjoyed your take on Rita Moreno. I remember her from The Vagabond King, about Francois Villon. Can you imagine Hollywood making a musical about a poet today? As for me, what does "you do you" mean? Stick to the script?

pkelly 7:49 AM  

Nice write up! Loved the tone!

Hungry Mother 8:03 AM  

Not too bad, but I couldn’t come up with the V in VONN and VAST. Some kind of mental blind spot I guess. More worrisome was the 7.5 minutes it took me to get the mini today. I’m going to try to get my wife to stand by me at a news conference and then head to Xword rehab. Maybe shock therapy? Sensory deprivation? More caffeine? Less caffeine?

Mike Herlihy 8:07 AM  

@Cosgal Nailed it!

Suzie Q 8:16 AM  

Oops, I mean two Ps or two Ss. Does anyone ever pronounce the first O?

Nancy 8:33 AM  

I'll pay this puzzle the highest compliment by saying I allowed myself one cheat on it. My three criteria for a cheat:

1) I'm completely stymied in an area and can't finish without the cheat

2) The answer is a proper name I can't possibly be expected to know

3) The puzzle has been enormously crunchy and engrossing and the area I haven't done yet looks to be the same. Only if I cheat can I continue to have fun in that section too.

My cheat was SCOTT (8D), a character in "The Office" -- a program I've never watched. Should an entire puzzle rest on my (or anyone else's) knowledge of such a character? I say not.

Still, I'm a former book club editor and might have been expected to know OCTAVO. Only I didn't. If I'd known OCTAVO, I might not have had to cheat on SCOTT.

Re ARCS (9D) -- Who knew that the mathematical equation for such a seemingly simple phenomenon would be so complicated-sounding? I had immediately thought of ARCS, but dismissed it as too elementary for such a daunting equation.

I've gone on at length already, but haven't even scratched the surface of my reactions to many other answers in this tough and stimulating puzzle.

Z 8:46 AM  

I don’t care what any of you say, it’s obviously supposed to be opiopodes (O Pee O puh deez) (@jp flanigan - Seems like 79% of CrossWorld experienced severe side eye).

What a contrast. I counted PPP* at 24/66 with an additional 7 trivial trivia answers. That’s a lot of minutia even for a Saturday. None of it gave me too much trouble but I’m one of the Olds. I tried tetley, but Michael SCOTT quickly told me that wasn’t going to work. I had no idea where Sevastopol is, but guessed correctly off of the C. That Cab as wine not a car needs to take a break, so despite my initial gaffe, I didn’t lose too much time in the NE. My only other real slow downs were OPIodS and SMOKED a cigar. Neither really slowed me down all that much, though. This was close enough to my wheelhouse to be easy. I do predict we will see several people who found it challenging because of the high PPP count.

Checked Twitter today and it seems as though the NYT’s OpEd page has its own conservative version COLMES, a token conservative who always makes the most vapid arguments that make conservatism look bad. I mean, the guy’s columns read more like anonymice here rather than cogent explanations of values.

*Pop Culture, Product Names and other Proper Nouns. Over 33% generally leads to the wheelhouse/outhouse phenomenon where some people find the puzzle easy and others find it especially hard.

Rube 8:48 AM  

Agreed. As I have said often, it's a puzzle nor an op-ed.
Where's the comment that Sebastopol is Russia? Or a character assassination of Lindsay vonn. Or a critique of condy rice as a pianist?

GILL I. 8:49 AM  

I sometimes scare myself when my first entry in a crossword happens to be wine. By the way, the best ZIN I've had the pleasure of sipping and is under the $10 radar is called Gnarly Head. A Zin from Lodi. I get mine at Safeway.
Why SALADA? I want PGTIPS. Tea at our house...4:00 on the dot. Today I'm serving it with strawberry crumble cake.
This took a while to finish but Google to laugh at me for not knowing things like WHIPSAWED or that a private practice wasn't something to do with idle hands. Haha. I saw what you did. @Lewis, (as usual), beat me to it...I like GOD LIVED. My handsome, brave son is/was a DEVIL DOG.
SAME SEX MARRIAGE: Wasn't the Netherlands the first to legalizing pot? Those Netherlanders seems to be the first at lots of things. I bet they invented "kumbaya."
My dad SMOKED CIGARS. He made sure it wasn't something Fidel puffed on. There's something romantic about a man pacing in the waiting room, finding out he has a son and gets a CIGAR as his reward. Like in an "I Love Lucy" episode.
I SAID SO is definitely missing its because. MASSAGER is someone who works in a private practice. Doc Daneeka?

Z 8:52 AM  

I see over at that today’s seed entry had special significance for the constructor.

BarbieBarbie 8:54 AM  

@moderators, please don’t respond to other posts before they’ve actually posted. It’s confusing for the rest of us.
OPIUMS is not a thing. OPIUM is a thing. Synthetic opium or derivatives can be opioids, because there can be many kinds. Derivatives can be opiates, because there can be many kinds. Saying OPIUMS is like saying “ammoniums.”

Nancy 8:56 AM  

I loved your write up, Doc. Short, sweet, and highly amusing, especially your bullet points. Love your take on I SAID SO. How true.

You also told me why I didn't know SS MINNOW and why it didn't look even vaguely familiar even after it finally came in. I'm a lifelong newspaper reader and consider myself extremely well informed on important world events. What was this "famous" ship that was shipwrecked in the 1960s? Where was I that day and why didn't I read about it? A serious gap in my knowledge and my education. Why wasn't this ship on the tip of my tongue -- like the Lusitania and the Titanic?

And now I find out that this ship was on some stupid TV program that, like "The Office", I never watched either. It's not a gap in my knowledge of world events after all. Whew!

BarbieBarbie 9:02 AM  

Wow, autocorrect can even mess up pedantic snark. I meant “ammonias.”

Gretchen 9:07 AM  

Perfect Saturday puzzle! Fun! only took me one cup of coffee instead of the usual two. Too easy?

kitshef 9:30 AM  

Played like two completely different puzzles. One puzzle made up of the NW, SW, SE, center, and everything but a small smattering of cells in the NE. That played like a Tuesday.

The other puzzle – that last smattering of cells in the NE – that played like a really, really hard Saturday. Four WoEs in that tiny section: SALADA (???), OCTAVO, AA ONLINE, and DEVIL DOG (?).

THE TERMINATOR is one of my top ten movies. One I can watch over and over, with no apparent reduction in enjoyment.

Hand up for OPIUMS being unacceptable.

kitshef 9:33 AM  

@Gill I – Uruguay was the first country to legalize pot. It is still illegal in The Netherlands, though the law is not enforced.

Flying Pediatrician 9:37 AM  

"Handles himself in public" killed me. @lms, you're the reason I come to this page every day.

Pretty fun, fast puzzle. However, I wonder when the last time the NYTXW went a fortnight with no TSAR/CZAR/TSARINA, etc. showing-up? For baseball nerds like myself, we have Baseball-Reference and the Elias Sports Bureau for that kind of stuff. Somebody has to know, right?

Anonymous 9:44 AM  

This write up was funny.

RickA 9:50 AM  

@Nancy: The formula for the length of an arc looks complicated, but it’s actually not. Suppose you were asked what the length of an arc that makes up a half circle would be? You would say it has a length that is half the length of the circumference (the circumference being the length around the entire circle). Suppose you were asked to give the length of an arc that makes up a quarter of the circle? Of course, that would be one-quarter the length of the circumference. Suppose you were asked to give the length of an arc that makes up 3% of the way around the circle? That would be 3% of the length of the circumference.

The formula just states all of that in a mathematical way. The circumference of a circle has a length that is equal to 2πr (2 times pi times the radius of the circle). And the percentage of the circle that any arc makes up is simply (ϴ ÷ 360), where ϴ (the Greek letter theta) represents the angle of the arc, which when divided by the total angle of an entire circle (360 degrees) gives you the percentage of the entire circle that the arc represents.

Hope this explanation is not even more obscure than the formula printed in the clue!

Escalator 9:57 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Teedmn 10:02 AM  

Not so hard today, though it didn't go as smoothly as the NW led me to believe it would. I came to a halt after WHIPS_____ filled in and I had to wander down to the SE to jump start the solve again with ECO and SNOW.

I tried to misspell OPpoSUMS (hi @Suzy Q). They are depicted as fun creatures in the comics but I'm not fond of them at all. You catch sight of one in your headlights and it is invariably snarling at you like a large whitish rat. They lumber off our deck after eating all the birdseed. Not a fan.

The NE was tough - I knew Twinings was a tea but had no idea on SALADA. 8D, 16A as clued, 13D all WOEs and 18A, 11D and 12D needed a bunch of crosses to bring to mind. I'm surprised I succeeded in finishing that corner.

"Recreational pot" fits in at 32A (and I see, per @kitshef, that it would be wrong due to Uruguay's legalization).

Thanks, Ryan McCarty, for an enjoyable, fair Saturday puzzle.

Old guy in Nampa 10:03 AM  

Yep, pretty much, Cosgal...

xyz 10:07 AM  

OPIUMS is not a thing when OPIATE is making for disingenuity masquerading as a roadblock. TANGS much less so as it is in right-angled pluralizations seemingly fair game in puzzle symmetrization.

I've learnt that SALADA is rote. UGH.

Really like seeing MEDOC, although HAUT-MEDOC was my last Bordeaux, consumed on Wednesday.
(I don't care for ZIN-fandel, it's far too harsh)

I was hoping against hope that Saturday would give us CZARS instead of the pedestrian early week TSARS. Wah. Maybe next week?

(U.S.S.) THRESHER was a real shipwreck, albeit a submarine (in 1963) - shows what actual knowledge of world events will do you for in a NYT puzzle, sheeeesh. THAT set me back a lot.

I've a gripe with the #ICARE complaints about SAMESEXMARRIAGE. Folks: the clue noted "First to" therefore it was/is a milestone and is entirely absent any need to show your progressivism, you're doing NYT puzzles, you have to pay to do so, NYUK NYUK NYUK (oops, wrong day, sorry).

Typical Saturday NYT in sooooooo many ways.

Michael Scott 10:08 AM  

I’ll have the gabagool.

Oldflappyfrommississappy 10:10 AM  

Now that’s comedy!

David 10:11 AM  

I deal mostly with Royal Octavos, so that was a gimme for me. Salada though? Not so much.

Had Zip (car) before Zin. Fun with The Terminator, Devil Dogs, Opera hat, and Mile High. Meh with Power Station.

Pogo was absolutely correct, we have met the enemy and he is us. Given he said that some 40 years ago, he was even giving us a timely warning of the eventual outcome; and here we are.

Equality is the word to use.

Too bad Rex missed writing about being "lit" and smoking cigars.

Jon Lovitz 10:11 AM  

Get to know me!

Uncle Alvarez 10:14 AM  

“Doc” is as niggardly with praise as Rex is.

Wavy Gravy 10:19 AM  

In Amsterdam LIT up from smoking hashish.

Kurt 10:20 AM  

The clue for 9-Down (arcs) is different in the online puzzle than it is in the newspaper. online it's "parentheses, essentially". In the paper it's the formula - angle / 360 X 2 X pi X r. Why the change? Will?

Nancy 10:21 AM  

Thanks, @RickA (9:50). Now if I'd only known what 0 with a horizontal black line running across the center (a symbol which I can't reproduce on my 2008 Asus laptop keyboard) actually meant. I don't remember ever seeing such a symbol in math class. FWIW, I took 4 years of math in high school, the last year elective, and I chose to take an elective year of math in college. I wasn't a math major and had no intention of becoming one, so I'm not sure why I bothered: I've never needed or used a smidgen of any of the higher math I learned and have forgotten just about all of it over lo these many ensuing years. It may have served to BULK UP my brain, but beyond that it was completely useless.

But your explanation makes sense. In a complicated sort of way.

PaulyD 10:35 AM  

If you're going to burden us with your facile political views and parenting advice, at least have the courage to use your own name. It's tiresome enough wading through the regular author's political correctness and virtue signaling - the B Team should stick to the puzzle.

I think @Z nailed this puzzle with his writeup. I found it skewing VERY old: POGO? SALADA? OPERA HAT? SMOKED CIGARS? Yawn.

MILE HIGH absolutely begs for a humorous clue, whereas no one has called a Marine a DEVIL DOG in a century - they're Jarheads. Better would be something like "Cousin of a Yodel or Ring Ding" or "Drake cake".

Escalator 10:40 AM  

Had tramstEps for tramstOps. Made the time.

Anonymous 10:41 AM  

SALADA is the furthest thing from competitor of Twinings. It's competitor to Lipton, another cheap tea. a competitor to Twinings might be Tazo or Stash in megamart context.

being "Jerked in two directions at once" is the first half of drawn-and-quartered, not WHIPSAWED, which is an oscillation. " to swing suddenly to the right or left, as in rounding a sharp curve at high speed."

where I come from a DEVILDOG is a chocolate Twinkie.

a rubber, in the context, is MASSEUR

Barry Frain 10:47 AM  

Wow! @PaulyD must be fun at parties.

Barry Frain
East Biggs, CA

Birchbark 10:51 AM  

@Michael Scott (10:08) -- That's what she said.

I landed in the MILE HIGH city at 2:00 a.m. Thursday morning, having left storm-delayed New York LGA at 11:30 the night before. Did my job Thursday, then gathered my daughter from her two weeks of volunteering and hanging out with friends in Louisville near Boulder, back to MSP Thursday night and home to our little hamlet by midnight. I slept very well last night.

An often successful alternative to I SAID SO and long logical explanations is just to grunt.

Hack mechanic 10:55 AM  

Great write up in today's paper of the seemingly simple equation
8÷2(2+2) = ?

Lynx 10:59 AM  

Add one more victim of the SALAD/OCTAVO/AA ONLINE trap.

RooMonster 11:00 AM  

Hey All !
Add me to the NE being a bear club. Last section to fall, and nearly gave up and cheated, but put letters into some answers that I thought might be right to see if pattern recognition would help. Wanted andS or butS or etcS for ARCS, put LIT in, then out, then in again, out again. Had tanZaNIA for AMAZONIA. Har on that one. The ROTIS not helping, as that R was unknown (had naanS first like any rational human). So when I had _a_L for 26A, just couldn't come up with anything for "Let's ___!" Wanted nesteA or Nestle or some other specialty tea for SALADA. (Aside, remember those silly commercials for SALADA? "That's SALADA tea!" "I know, but what kind of tea is it?!") Didn't know SCOTT, as I never watched The Office (even though i grew up in a small town 10 miles north of Scranton).

Finally deleted everything above CONDI, wrote ZIN back in, which let me see AAONLIME and AMAZONIA, put my LIT back in again, then was able to finish. Whew!

And that was just that NE! Rest of puz was also tough. Did get the centers without too much of a dust-up. Solve went NW, center-ish, SE, SW, finish up center, NE.

SW gave my troubles. WAGONS. Wanted Momvans or somesuch. Do car-makers still make WAGONS? SSMINNOW. A grain once I figured that out. AMESIOWA clue only says city. Good misdirect, or bad clue? MEDOC a WOE.

COLMbS before COLMES. etnA before OSSA. Knew PAI Gow from simply walking through casinos.

Ended up enjoying this SatPuz. Didn't CRIMEA river.


Carola 11:01 AM  

A fun one. Same here for "nicely doable until the NE" - where eventually a thanks-to-previous-crosswords DEVILDOG bailed me out, allowing me to get the rest....and remember the jingle, "It's SALADA Tea time."

First in: MILEHIGH. Last in: EMTS.
Do-overs: Let's do it before ROLL.
Favorite word: WHIPSAWED. Favorite clue: Deal in.

JC66 11:08 AM  


If you're looking for hard, you might want to try the. Saturday Stumper, It's available free.

Maraschino 11:14 AM  

@Doc Loved your bullet points, especially concerning I SAID SO. Totaliparentingism is what it is.

This puzzle gives new meaning to the phrase seed entry. What, wrong crowd? In any case, I McHearty Mr. McCarthy. You made me twitter like a schoolboy in dollar-store drag by throwing slightly BDS-seamy crosses like WHIPSAWED, MASSAGER (RUBBER), PEEK-OE, INEXCESS, THE TERMINATOR down the main street of SAME SEX MARRIAGE, as if to acknowledge on behalf of the campy-and-scampy contingent that marriage isn't the be and end all of the good life. This puzzle had the same crossbuck action as yesterday's, but required more trial and error. Unlike most people, I was able to get a foothold in the NW corner, but the NE corner didn't fall until I got BULK UP (which probably eluded me because I'm a waifer).

@Joe DiPinto re RITA MORENO. I stand corrected. You know, it's even funnier that she's executive-producing West Side Story, because the joke behind all the other jokes in THE RITZ is that her character Googie Gomez thinks all the bathhouse denizens are producers in the closet who can nonetheless make her a star. KARMA.

@Loren Muse Smith Your posts on discourse markers and beyond are edifying as always.

Taking the SS MINNOW to see my DEVILDOG cuddlefish and TOUSLE his high-quaintenance before going to COWTOWN. Crosswords really are the new refrigerator magnet poetry. Until next week.


jberg 11:18 AM  

The ARC clue was really reaching, but kind of fun to figure out. Hardest part of that was taking off my glasses and holding the paper close to my eyes to see that the first character was really the Greek letter theta. Then for a while I thought 30A was going to be POtentiATION, which may or many not be technically correct, but at least is equivalently nerdy.

Hardest part was the tea company, though. Since Twinings is English, I went with 'tetley' at first; needed most of the crosses to see SALADA. That's a bit embarrassing -- Salada, originally a Canadian company, soon built a headquarters building here in Boston, for which commissioned these these beautiful bronze doors carved with scenes from the history of tea. Ownership of the building has changed several times, but each new owner has agreed to preserve the doors -- I've often taken out-of-town visitors by to see them. But since they aren't English, my mind didn't put them in the same category.

I was so glad when 13D, AA ONLINE, didn't turn out to be E- something.

@Loren, you'll see them in old (i.e., silent) movies; they're top hats that can be collapsed to flat, then pushed up into shape again. I think the idea was to wear it to the opera, then take it off so that those behind you could see. That's just a guess, though.

Chapps 11:38 AM  

Can I just say, what the hell is Salada tea? Yes, of course I've now Googled it, but a competitor of Twinings? But I did like SS Minnow - which totally flummoxed me because I was thinking of real 1960s shipwrecks.

Ethan Taliesin 12:07 PM  

Joyless, with the exception of the cluing for AAONLINE. Well, OCTAVO and WHIPSAWED were decent enough, but OPIUMS??? That wasn't OK.

Slightly under average time.

SAMESEXMARRIAGE . We should totally recognize Dutch for being ahead of the curve. Yes people in the US are now just "married," but like women getting the right to vote or water-fountains now being open to anyone, it was a watershed.

It was a crossword clue about the history of a rights movement. You have a problem with that??

Only when you recognize progress for what it is, can you then appreciate it for what it wasn't. It's a little early to be taking it for granted, esp when you look at how much of the world isn't there yet.

GILL I. 12:09 PM  

@kitshef...Well, I'll be. I also just learned that Uruguay was the first Latin American country to legalize SAME SEX MARRIAGE. Doesn't surprise me. Uruguay is probably the nicest place to live in SA. People are very friendly; good wine and food and they have a pretty good soccer team. Wish their president could sit down and have a man-to-man chat with our sitting bull.

Z 12:29 PM  

We see these short-hand variations of “competing on price makes you not a real competitor” arguments often. I don’t know where you all shop, but where I shop Twinings, SALADA, Tetley, Lipton, Tazo, Luzianne, and several others are all right next to each other competing for my dollars.

@kurt - I don’t know, but my guess is that the various apps are inconsistent in rendering ϴ, so rather than end up with a useless or unreadable clue an alternate clue was used.

@Nancy and maybe others - An easy way to type unusual characters is to use google, then copy and paste. So, for ϴ I went to google and typed in “theta.” The first hit was the Wikipedia article. I clicked on the article, which has the Greek letter in the first sentence. Highlight, copy, back to this page, and paste. Takes me all of 4 seconds. That’s the same way I get an interrobang (‽) when I need one. This is far quicker than changing keyboards or looking to the character application that our computers all have.

@Rick A - Thanks for the explanation.

@Hack mechanic - I’m one of the dolts who was arguing for 1 until my error was explained clearly. Of course, there were lots of very passionate wrong explanations for 1 to wade through and, especially humorous, wrong explanations of why people were getting it wrong.

Translating that little nugget into English seems to help the most people the quickest; 8 divided by 2 times the quantity of 2 plus 2, or 8/2*4 or 4*4 or 16. The common mistake that gets people to 1 is to convert (2+2) to four but then do the operations in 8/2*4 backwards, making it 8/8 which is 1. Anyway, the argument blew up on Twitter yesterday.

Master Melvin 12:32 PM  

I think my mother drank SALADA tea in the 1940's when she wasn't drinking Lipton or Tetley. They were all competitors with each other. Wouldn't think of them as competitors with Twinings, but they all fit.

Fred Romagnolo 12:45 PM  

Crimea was a part of Russia under Tsars, Lenin, and Stalin; Khrushchev assigned it to the Ukraine when it didn't matter because everything was run from Moscow anyhow. After the breakup of the USSR, Ukraine kept it because at the time (pre-Putin), Russia was too weak to do anything about it. OCTAVO gets its name from the fact that a large sheet of paper, when folded 3 times produces 8 equally sized smaller sheets. Suggesting that it's unfair to the young to have to know AMOS Alonso Stagg is like saying it's unfair to them for having to know Woodrow Wilson, or Enrico Caruso. When people correct me for saying something that doesn't correspond to their way of thinking, I tell them that they are rude.

QuasiMojo 12:49 PM  

Don't you all remember the ad "That's Salada tea!" As in "a lot of"? I know Nancy won't especially if she never saw Gilligan's Island. I must admit Andrea Doria was my first guess.

@JC66, thanks but I'm already a big fan of the Stumper. Best puzzle of the week. I also do the Financial Times ones when I want to be stymied.

Forgot to mention that I used to have an Opera Hat. My Dad gave me his. It would flatten down so you could tuck it away. You then would open it by giving it a stiff flick of the wrist. Worked every time. I also had a gorgeous top hat made with some exotic fur or skin that was housed in a large green box. I only wore it once on Halloween when I dressed as Abe Lincoln. Some jerk threw an egg at me and I never used it again.

Anonymous 12:49 PM  

@Marischino,re."twitter... etc ". Good God, is this what we're in for?

Anonymous 12:56 PM  

Having read all of Moby Dick, including the dry bits about how whales and sharks are the same species and ought to be classified by the same sizing system used by books, OCTAVO really saved me in the NE. I wanted naan for Indian flatbread, and then "corrected" it to rOti after I got CONDI, and then "confirmed" it with POWER capsule. That took a while to sort out, SAMESEXMARRIAGE set all that to rights.

Other erasures: Had TArtS before TANGS, and I couldn't remember how to spell VONN. Had VauN first and then VaNN before NOIRON fell. soT before LIT since I kept trying to figure out how to fit CROATIA into CRIMEA.

Seemed like a pretty down-the-middle Saturday. The only cross that seemed problematic was MEDOC/PEKOE since I drink neither wine nor tea.

Crimson Devil 1:29 PM  

Learned something today, thanks to RickA.
Figured clue and answer had to do with circle, given 360, and/or its parts, but thas as far as I got.
Excellent explanation.

Chip Hilton 1:32 PM  

Wheelhouse, apparently, as I finished in the time it took me to down a ham and cheese sandwich. Really didn’t stall anywhere, which, on a Saturday, is without precedent. Each section had a foothold. Thanks, tea drinker McCarty.

Seven days until the start of the Premier League season. Come on you Spurs!

@merican in Paris 1:40 PM  

Bleah. Zoomed through most of the puzzle, and then crashed in the NE. Googled 8D, bit that didn't help me much. Never heard of SLADA. Should have seen AMAZONIA, fortunate enough not to know that there was a thing called AA ONLINE. Wanted "mer[lot]" for the alternative, as ZIN is not sold as such here in France. So, DNF in a big way.

Have been away because for most of the past two weeks I was in Denver and beyond, attending the opposite-SEX MARRIAGE of my BULKed-UP nephew (who is almost as physically imposing as THE TERMINATOR), and all the related social activities, in SW Colorado, where there was still some SNOW on the north sides of the mountains.

Getting towards evening in Paris now; waiting for the TSARS to come out.

Rainbow 2:15 PM  

I think you can be up on world events and still watch TV, even Gilligan's Island.

Joe Dipinto 2:20 PM  

Hush hush
Keep it down now
Voices carry

This turned out to be less difficult than it appeared at first glance. SMOKED CIGARS is the laughable entry of the day. "Got hydrated, perhaps"→ DRANK SOME WATER. "Bulked up, perhaps"→ ATE POTATOES. I don't think so. OPIUMS and TANGS are sorta ridiculous as well.

Otherwise the entries are pretty good. Liked WHIPSAWED, DEVIL DOG, OPERA HAT, TOUSLE. Also the double bill of 1980s bands INXS and POWER STATION. Weren't COMBAT! and Gilligan's Island on TV at the same time?

Well, OK, I'm outta here. The rest of you can
Crimea River, Crimea River
I cried a river over you

Masked and Anonymous 2:33 PM  

Knew DEVILDOG. Old cliffhanger serial "Fighting Devil Dogs" was snuggly filed away in my schlock flick head, somewheres. SALADA, OCTAVO, PAI, COLMES … no. VONN, MEDOC, SCOTT … well, real vaguely. Everything else was tolerable friendly. This SatPuz did not overly feast on my precious nanoseconds.

staff weeject pick: PAI. Would also accept GOW. We mostly play "42" with our doms.
fave entry: NOIRON. Better clue: {M&A club selection to hit the green from 200+ yards out??}.
fave clue: {Where Sevastopol is} = CRIMEA. Sevastopol backwards is "Lo, Pot Saves". This was the limit of M&A's knowledge of that place. Learned somethin new.

moo-COW-TOWN eazy-E SatPuz clue: {Island with a state capital} = OAHU. How did yer brain parse this clue out? Was it intended to be SatPuz-tricky, somehow? Or was it just tryin to make up, in advance, for that still-totally-bafflin INEXCESS clue?

Thanx for the SALADA WAGONS of fun, Mr. McCarty.

Masked & Anonymo4Us


Anonymous 2:58 PM  

{Where Sevastopol is} = CRIMEA. Sevastopol backwards is "Lo, Pot Saves". This was the limit of M&A's knowledge of that place.

There's a fun folk song, not performed in decades I'd wager, to which Sevastopol is important:

Well, may be it still is!!

Anonymous 3:11 PM  

Equations should be unambiguous; (8÷2)(2+2)=16 or 8/2x(2+2)=16
8/2(2+2)=1 is equivalent to:

______ = 1 is equivalent to 8÷2(2+2)=1

All cases read 8 divided by 2 times 2 equals ?

Anonymous 4:11 PM  

DEVIL DOG allegedly derives from World War I when the Germans are reported to have called the Marines Teufelshunde after the Battle of Belleau Wood. Trouble is, the early reports are from American sources and give Teufel Hunden, which is not correct German. Maybe it's time to leave this word out of puzzles? Same with SALADA. I love tea and drink a variety of brands. Never heard of this company.

amyyanni 4:39 PM  

Like @Nancy, I cheated by looking up SCOTT. As a SALADA teabag tag reader, that S really helped. Loved this. Great Saturday offering; lots of the clues made me grin. Happy Anniversary Ryan, may you have many more. And more puzzles, please!

Bruce 4:41 PM  

SAMESEXMARRIAGE sounds pretty gay.

Wanderlust 4:56 PM  

Like so many others, I thought this was pretty easy until the NE, which was brutal. Never heard if SALADA or OCTAVO, and AAONLINE seemed like green paint. If google a towing service on my phone, is that AAAONLINE?

Nancy 5:06 PM  

@Rainbow -- You can, of course, but thank heavens no one forces you to!

Anoa Bob 5:09 PM  

From my evil twin Anoa Blob's journal: "Along with the Afghani and the Pakistani, the newly arrived Burmese gave us three primo OPIUMS to choose from."

Many bladesmiths believe that knives with full TANGS are stronger than those with only partial TANGS.

I've never met a Plural Of Convenience (POC) that I couldn't find some justification for, even if it is a bit of a stretch. What I always notice is that the POC is there, not because it adds anything of value or interest to the puzzle, but because it makes it easier to fill in the grid. It's kind of like non-nutritive filler in food, if you will.

I support equal treatment of all peoples. But when it comes to MARRIAGE, I think it should be outlawed, in all forms, rather than made legal. It's an unnatural institution that imprisons many people in unhappy situations. Anybody who has ever listened to much country music knows that. If MARRIAGE were a natural, instinctive arrangement, then there would be no need for divorce lawyers, would there?

I join those who think it should be abolished, or at least turned into a short-term agreement that periodically must be renewed, at which time any participant can opt out of the contract. It would be a better fit to our instinctive nature which is a tendency toward serial monogamy.

RooMonster 6:07 PM  

It's a Schrödinger answer. It is Both 16 and 1.


Gay Patriot 6:16 PM  

Same sex marriage should simply be called marriage when Pride parades are dispensed with. Seems like a fair trade. Then we will have earned de facto as well as de jure equality.

Anonymous 6:30 PM  

No one said you idiots have to read this blog

CDilly52 7:08 PM  

Yes. Down with fake plurals!

CDilly52 7:14 PM  

@chefwen, I am right there with you but my “cheat” was just to keep trying letters to fill in the SALADA, AAONLINE Natick. I knew octavo because of my “librarian life.” It came between my “musician” and “lawyer” lives as far as making a living goes. Now they all blend together, especially for crosswords.

Anonymous 7:19 PM  

actually, singular Latin words ending in -um are usually pluralized by changing to an -a ending. eg, atrium/atria, datum/data, curriculum/curricula

-us singulars gets changed to -i endings, and -a singulars get pluralized to -ae endings

Anonymous 10:51 PM  

Okay--I don't usually comment, but the hmmmmmm clue for ISEE threw me. I put it in, b/c I go for what fits and then worry about whether it makes sense later. So for me, the middle part was hardest since I don't know my wines (ZIN just fit, so in it went--had no idea until reading this it was zinfinwhatever) or apparently, Asian teas.
And I got a D in trig, and that was a gift--who knew I'd need to remember any of that debacle for a crossword puzzle?

Anonymous 10:33 AM  

Same Sex Marriage and Assisted Suicide have the same number of letters who would have thunk it? Talk about slowing things down

spacecraft 12:03 PM  

DEVILDOGS are delicious;
I love DEVILDOGS more than Marcia!

Now that I've planted that earworm, off we go. People, people, people: you have either a masseur or a masseuse (that one fits!); you NEVER have a "MASSAGER." UGH!!! Needless to say, inkblots there. Also, we're really stretching the collective plural boundaries today--and lately. How many OPIUMS/ROTIS/TANGS can there be?? Some may say, WELLOK, for crossword construction license. I say the language is being further unraveled as we go. WHIPSAWED, even.

Solving-wise, the NE was a bear, as most seem to agree. I put in guesses and they turned out right; never heard of Twinings and don't watch "The Office." AAONLINE was inferable. The rest of it was, by Saturday standards, pretty easy, once I was FORCED to dislodge the last four letters of 21-down, kicking and screaming all the way.

Co-DOD's today: Lindsey VONN and CONDI Rice. Both cool ladies. This was, WELL, OK. To the above ills we have to add AP's SITAT and OWESTO, the latter especially cringeworthy because the "TO" is superfluous. Still, props for creating a wide-open 66-worder. Score it a par, NOIRON.

Diana, LIW 3:15 PM  

The NE corner just done me wrong. Only a tiny toe hold,

But hey - I was pretty proud to get the rest, after staring blankly for quite a while.

Hey @Lefty from yesterday - saw one of those hyphenated constructions in another puzzle yesterday while trying to doze off! What are the chances?

Diana, LIW for C

leftcoast 4:30 PM  

Yeah, NE was toughest corner by far, but did manage to grind it out. (Just refused to let this sucker own me.) SW took some extra time, too, where the SSMINNOW was a bit slow to emerge.

Middle crossing longs were helpful in getting a grip on much of it. Stifled a laugh at "rubber" clue for MASSAGER.

The NW (surprise!) and SE seemed easiest, except for COLMES (Fox News? What's that?)

Enjoyed it at the finish.

@Diana, still shaking my head at that one yesterday.

rainforest 5:56 PM  

When I was in Grade 12, the father of the cute girl who sat in from of me worked for SALADA, so when I had SAL in place, that was a gimme. Most of the NE was easy from there. Where I ran into a slowdown was at 26A where I gently place let's dOit. Took a while to eventually get that, and then the entire East.

Not a bad Saturday puzzle, even with MASSAGER, which *does* describe the job, if a little wobbly. Gratuitous plurals never bother me, nor do partials.

I liked this puzzle - I SAID SO.

Burma Shave 8:15 PM  


he had LIT with an ENEMY flare gun,


come see MEDOC.

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