Fad game of 1990s / SAT 8-10-19 / Certain online food critic / Enemies in slang / Body parts that sound like some units of measure

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Constructor: Anna Gundlach and Erik Agard

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (8:42) (at least a minute of that was self-inflicted: a dumb wrong letter that I entered, dumbly—a mistake no one else could possibly have made; anyway, I'm not factoring that minute into "difficulty")

THEME: none

Word of the Day: TYPE-A flu (51D: Most serious kind of flu) —

• • •

Loved this one, though the way it's glutted with teenspeak made me literally laugh out loud. It's like, we get it, youths. You're youthful. I got TURNT and thought, "What's next, LIT?" And thennnn ... bam, IT'S LIT. Cool. No one is going to be able to convince me that OPPS is a thing, mostly because it doesn't sound plausible. Sounds like too many other words. People would just be saying "What? Your hops? Your pops? Are you a British person trying to say APPS?" every time you tried to use it. It's a not-good bit of fill that is trying to pretend it's cool. But no matter. It's inferrable, and if not all the colloquialness lands, most of it does. There's very little not to like here. YELPER and E-SPORTS and UPSOLD are all fresh and fun. This puzzle made me feel like I still had some connection to modern youthful slang, because I knew all the terms (except OPPS, which we've established is made-up and/or dumb), but, real talk, I am an old and the way you know that I am an old is that my first answer, the first one I put into this here grid, was EWELL (3D: Tom ___, co-star of Marilyn Monroe in "The Seven Year Itch"). EWELL YELPER AESOP was how I got going. How I got *stopping* (ugh) was by being very stupid and somehow, after getting almost all of 19A: Parody (IMITATEfrom crosses, deciding to write in an "N" in the second position. In my head, I was spelling INITIATE, which ... doesn't even make sense for the clue. Did you ever do something so dumb you can't even make sense of it to yourself? Well that's what happened here. INITATE. So I (fittingly) had NO USE at the beginning of 20D: Arrow on a screen (MOUSE POINTER) for a minute (figuratively and possibly literally). That stupid mistake inflated my time pretty badly. But I don't think the actual difficulty here was too bad. Saturday-worthy, for sure, but quite doable.

Loved POWER MOVE as an answer, and loooved the clue on DEAR SANTA (62A: Start of an anti-coal petition—I sincerely wrote in DEAR EARTH at first, like ... someone was writing a letter to the earth apologizing for polluting the *&^! out of it). Why is your RES. on your "business" card? (44A: Business card abbr.) And why does ERNESTINE have such a terrible clue (60A: Woman's name that's an anagram of INTERNEES). I mean, terrrrrible. Not only could not not think of a single ERNESTINE, but you decided to conjure up internment camps as part of your clue? Oh, no. No. Weird. Was confused by LAS at first, since I figured the Los Angeles Sparks would be ... LOS; but of course L.A. Sparks, LAS. Makes sense. Had GAIA for 10A: Goddess of spring and rebirth (MAIA), so thank goodness for fair crosses, and thank goodness GUTT is not a real word (10D: Unlikely entrant in a Westminster show) (MUTT). My big accomplishment of the day was getting HALTERTOP from just the "H" (57A: Article of summer wear), and good thing, because, as I've suggested, NO USE was making that SW corner a bear. This was my kind of Saturday. Fresh, fun, hard. Knocked me around just the right amount.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


main line dad 12:17 AM  

This may have been my favorite Saturday ever, just felt so fresh. Of course, I’ll like any puzzle that references the Princess Bride’s best character (played by none other than Mandy Patinkin)

Joaquin 12:20 AM  

"Ernestine" was the telephone operator character played by Lily Tomlin on SNL, back when it was good.

Brian 12:24 AM  

Easy Saturday

oldactor 12:25 AM  

I also got haltertop off the H. Made my day. But struggled through the rest. So much to love.

jae 1:01 AM  

West side easy-medium, east side medium-tough. Solid, some great clues (e.g. for DEAR SANTA), more than a quantum of sparkle, liked it a bunch!

Larry Gilstrap 2:00 AM  

Let the kids play, and it is the weekend, after all. One Mai TAI leads to another and pretty soon you're feeling TURNT. How's the party? IT'S LIT! That HALTERTOP brings out the red in your eyes, and I'm not trying to HIT ON you. It's bad enough the party is next door, but get off my lawn!

I do like a stiff solve weekly, and this filled the bill, for better or worse. The sticky bits were up around Maine and down in San Diego, for obvious reasons. My INIGO is Jones the architect and my sponge was more aquatic and I never thought of them being PARASITIC, but now I see we're talking about the guy at the raging party who hits you up for a cigarette.

Remember Rowan & Martin's Laugh In had that receptionist ERNESTINE? "One ringy dingy, two ringy dingys..." Lily Tomlin, for crying out loud. It's only fifty years ago and would have spared us that unfortunate anagram. And another thing, the cops show up at the rowdy party and pull the plug on the Ska band and when people protest, cooler heads say WHAT did YOU EXPECT? 35A, not so much.

My 1990s featured weeks in Kauai living Aloha, to the best of my ability. POGS were a real deal then and there and oddly became a fad on the mainland. How and why?

Despite these grumblings, I enjoyed the solving experience.

Anonymous 2:34 AM  

ERNESTINE = Lily Tomlin: http://www.lilytomlin.com/wordpress2/lilytomlin/lily-tomlins-characters/ernestine/

Oren Kriegel 2:47 AM  

Opps is absolutely part of the language if you play games.

I'm a bridge player and opp/opps is standard lingo. I believe it is prevalent in other games too, particularly online games.

And of course it's made up. At some level, everything is.

Phil 4:33 AM  

“except OPPS, which we've established is made-up and/or dumb”
as in ‘the royal we’ or ‘I call my ego we’

Even in writeups of the stodgy old game of bridge you see the word opps referencing opponents. I’m sure there will be more comments to this brazen statement but.

I Love the puzzle. my not so dumb mistake but quite a slowdown was the POWER MOdE which is really not apropos but is in the genre and does have a real name crossing: ADA.

Maraschino 4:39 AM  

What a Saturday! The cluing was outstanding (so many red herrings!) and the nine-letter stacks had me aha-ing and of-coursing (DEAR SANTA!). The middle fifteener took every cross to get, because the abutting letters confused the hell out of me when they were by themselves: WHA(TD)(OY)O(UE)XPECT.

I didn't expect to be stymied by the NW corner, which was the last to fall. Had WANTMETOHELP and CANIBEOFHELP for the longest time. Then I remembered that a declarative clue must take a declarative entry. Not a fast solve by any means, 41:00 minutes, but so satisfying nonetheless.

Some fun trivia:

Both the host of RuPaul's Drag Race (which won 4 Emmys) and Divine (the heroine of Jean Genet's drag novel Our Lady of the Flowers) have mothers named ERNESTINE. Either might have supplied an alternate basis for the given anagram clue.

TURNT is part of a set of faux portmanteau like HUNTY (honey!), and COINT (coins) that gay millennials have coint by exaggerating the dentals, and which young women have since adopted. Ironically, the NT derives from the Middle English QUAINT and its modern C-quivalent, which gay men (particularly those frequent drag shows) invoke as a signifier for a sisterhood of the fierce and the feminine.

The poet Juliana Spahr (b. 1966) published in 2015 a very moving poem with the title "TURNT" based in part on the communitarian culture generated by the Occupy movement.

Standing outside, a woman gets kicked out of the club. The bouncer
tosses her out and into us. She is *ucked up. And this feels awful to
her. Her arms wildly swinging indicate this awful feeling. It feels
awful to us. Another woman tries to help her and she slugs her. She
misses and the woman who she has tried to slug takes her, calms
her down. I hear her saying I love you, I love you over and over.
Later I will learn that she spent the entire night talking the woman
down. It's like that. When turnt, sometimes one needs to be held.

The judicious yet jaunty use of slang really makes the poem, which is less a protest poem than a poem that uses the occasion of a protest for the tender recognition of friends and strangers. For Spahr, they tend to be gay men and women. If you're curious with how ephemera becomes art, you can read the entirety of TURNT on the Poetry Magazine website.



Anonymous 4:46 AM  

I did not understand TWOS until I started writing a comment asking about it. What's RES? Is that short for residence?

Phil 4:48 AM  

I just left an earlier comment. But in defense of Rex, he does like to run things over the top so to speak maybe a little tongue in cheek. I could never take the outrage criticism and happy he can or at least enough to not let it affect his blog. The over the top stuff make it interesting and kind of fun even if it does make us SEETHE at times.

Carry on Rex.

Hungry Mother 5:46 AM  

Stopped in my tracks by INI__. Totally forgot POGS. I enjoyed it anyway. Up early for my first 5K in a month.

Lewis 6:37 AM  

People (like me) will praise terrific entries liked STEADICAM, POWER MOVE, ATE IT, and DEAR SANTA, and they (like me) will gush over zinger clues like those for OWNERSHIP, STRESS, ULNA, and DEAR SANTA. But many may miss appreciating the art of so cleanly crafting a 68-worder -- making all those letters divinely interlock -- as A&E did.

This worked me hard -- made me climb some slick walls -- and yet triggered spontaneous STRESS-busting chuckles to make it fun. An au courant masterpiece, IMO, and a most lovely start to my Saturday.

Anonymous 6:41 AM  

Laugh-In, not SNL.

Loren Muse Smith 6:59 AM  

Man oh man early on I thought I’d have to give up with hardly anything filled in. But chipping away little by little and correcting goofs -

“all in” for ATE IT
“mishaps” for SLIP UPS
“sun ray” for STRESS
“larder” for DRAWER

- and guessing at the POGS/INIGO cross (hi, @Hungry Mother), I emerged victorious.

The clue for DEAR SANTA should go in the hall of fame. Period.

On the power of YELP – I was in Charlotte for Dad’s funeral and had Had HAD to get my oil changed. The Kia place kept taking my name and saying they’d call back. They weren’t calling back. After about four such promises, I called and said they had left me no recourse but to put my experience on YELP. I told this to the girl who kept taking my messages. I did put it on YELP. But in a few minutes I got an apologetic call from the manager, who immediately fit me in. I deleted the YELP review. He was happy, I was happy.

@Maraschino – I have read and reread your explanation of TURNT and while I don’t doubt the gay millennial story, I do doubt that it’s some kind of portmanteau, faux or real. I read that it’s a devoicing of the final ed in turned that IMITATES Black English. So the /d/ sound becomes a /t/ sound.

LIT – I’m currently reading LIT by Mary Karr. She. Can. Flat. Write. I’m already upset that I’ve almost finished and plan to immediately start over and read it again.

As I type, two people have weighed in defending OPPS and its usage in bridge. And three people have reminded us of Lily Tomlin's ERNESTINE. Wonder what the counts will end up being…

Anna, erik – wunderbar. Nice work.

TonySaratoga 7:17 AM  

Love the clue for DEAR SANTA but can someone explain to me why it doesn’t have a “?” at the end.

KM 7:24 AM  

In the modern criminal world, one’s “opps” are rival gangs/gang members. That’s the only context I’ve ever seen the word used to mean “enemies,” but it’s legitimate.

Matthew G. 8:21 AM  

Great puzzle. I'm on the wrong side of 40 to known TURNT, but thankfully I never saw that clue as I got that area from the Downs. For the most part I found this easier than Friday, which I suspect puts me in a small minority. This is one of the few occasions on which I've beaten Rex's time.

rgards 8:30 AM  

Off the initial D, and inexplicably, I had diaper for a storage site (#5D).

Anonymous 8:35 AM  

Can I please get a little help with RES (Business Card Abbr)?
Either way, it seems like a stretch.

Rube 8:44 AM  

The 100pct positive feedback should be a signal to Shortz that this is the caliber of what he should strive to publish every Saturday.

Kevin 9:16 AM  

My time was 31:04. But now that Rex has taught me that you get to deduct the time spent on wrong answers, I’m giving myself a 7:00 time! I’m even better than the King of Crosswords!

QuasiMojo 9:19 AM  

Count me in the non-100 percent. Tortured clueing, dull answers (Mouse Pointer?) inanities masquerading as wit, too hip to be hip, etc. TURNT and its ilk are hardly new. LMS is right about its origins, although perhaps old English too. Those who detest anagrams go bonkers over Ernestine? "I'm Here to Help" could have had any clue. Why the boring phrases? Who still wears halter tops. Perhaps Saudis. Stress is natural? Who has a Phone Line these days? Jokes about death (Ownership) is Borscht-belt level humor. What Do You Expect? Tighter fill, wittier ideas, lack of dumbing-down, less pop trivia, succinct clues; in short, better editing.

mmorgan 9:20 AM  

Wow, that was tough — and fabulous. So much fun, absolutely terrific puzzle! Never heard of TURNT but I felt it had to be right. Same, kinda, for OPPS. I got DEAR SANTA off the DE, so that was my HALTER TOP moment. The NW was the last to fall for me, and it took a lot of sweat. What a sweet puzzle!!!

(I was going to mention to @Joaquin that it was Laugh-In, not SNL, but others beat me to it.)

sandpiper 9:28 AM  

Had MACHO MOVE before POWER MOVE. Made the NW starting area last to fall.

Taffy-Kun 9:32 AM  

This may be picking a nit, but my I-pad app keeps telling me the “..puzzle is ready to play”. I don’t play the puzzle, I try to solve it. It’s serious business!

Teedmn 9:36 AM  

My vote for best clue of the week goes to 62A, "Start of an anti-coal petition" for DEAR SANTA. Even with DEAR S TA in place, I was blank until I got the N of LATIN. "Anti-coal", har.

On the other hand, 29D, while very misdirectional, made me groan when I understood the second "pass" = die. I'm not sure why that rubs me the wrong way. Perhaps it will lead me to consider what LIES AHEAD today, ALLOW me to make that POWER MOVE with no SLIP UPS so when I pass OWNERSHIP of my ECO car and HALTER TOP collection to my PARASITIC relatives, no one could say I was UNREADY. Okay, enough of that.

It never sank in for me that the anagram of ERNESTINE was "internees". Good point, Rex. I guess I was too busy wondering why ERNESTINE wasn't clued for the Lily Tomlin character but yeah, with the ute-fullness of this puzz, couldn't have such a musty old reference.

Easy Saturday, especially for any puzzle Erik Agard has had a hand in creating. Congratulations to Anna Gundlach on the debut puzzle! Very nice.

Darcy 9:36 AM  

Little shout out for the clue for ARE. ..nice riddle. Maybe its been deployed previously but I thought it clever.

Quite enjoyed PECS too. I threw in RADI because of nearby ULNA thinking it was just a wonky variant spelling. Then PHONELINE informed me of its incorrectness. So I triumphantly plugged in FEET but with an uncomfortable thought that that was too unclever to be right. Finally arriving at PECS was a satisfying reveal.

WestBay 9:47 AM  

Maraschino, you are digging a bit too deep.
Your referenced poem gives the ‘turnt’ a different meaning than the clue.

Anonymous 10:07 AM  

Liked it. I really did not want to give up on ABSORBANT for Spongelike. Even entered LATS as the body parts (we’ll, latitude?). Okay, no.

pabloinnh 10:10 AM  

This was a case where Spanish was not helpful, as I (finally) had everything filled in but the NW, which was going nowhere. The problem, as I eventually figured out, was that ANA was giving me a word ending in -MONE, and the only one I could think of was "pheromone", and that was certainly no help at all. And this while AVA is one of those very popular names right now. Ay de mi.

ITSLIT, eh? OK, I guess. It's a poor day when you can't learn something, and today I learnt TURNT, although I confess that "burnt" made as much sense to me.

Thanks for a tough but fair Saturday, guys, and congrats to AG on your debut.

David Stehle 10:13 AM  

No, Lily Tomlin's Ernestine was not on SNL but rather on Laugh-In.

GILL I. 10:15 AM  

Ringy dingy. May I add snort?
Oof and oof. TURNT? OPPS? At least I got MUTT and the ubiquitous TAI......moving right along.
Let's see...the cluing...what did I like? DEAR SANTA. Yeah, that one deserves a high five, or a fist bump or a yo....you da man. What else? Nope. Can't really find a tickle. I want to, but I can't.
I'm trying really hard to think if anyone said to me IM HERE TO HELP. Nope. It's usually WHAT DO YA WANT. The EXPECT comes from a grandmother.
So the ULNA reaches to touch one's hand?. Who did that ad about "reach out and touch someone?"
Yay SAUDI women. Can you drive in a burka?
So if you're in a bar minding your own business and don't want to get TURNT or HIT ON does that make you serendipitous?....I always thought a serious kind of flu was ASIAN...No, it's the TYPE A personality.
Why doesn't STEADICM have the required Y?
Hello Marilyn - goodby EWELL.

RooMonster 10:16 AM  

Hey All !
Toughie for me. Cheated, lied, stole just to stop the STRESS and SLIP UPS to finish the puz. :-)

Did know INIGO from the awesome "Princess Bride".

ITS LIT - Yell after starting a firecracker?


Anonymous 10:20 AM  

Rex is “so old” he saw “The Seven Year Itch” in 1955 when it was in theaters? Or like anyone with access to tv or computers, saw it in the present. Why does it make him “old” to recognize a clue? His logic is illogical.

Joaquin 10:21 AM  

@ Anon 6:41 - Right you are. Laugh-in, not SNL. Normally I'd say "Oops," but today I'll say, "OPPS!" (even though I know it's another error).

xyz 10:22 AM  

Some good stuff, some horrible. The kid stuff really is OK if a challenge for the older folks, but not in the 100% either.

Will again accepting suspension of anatomic reality for convenience. The ULNA does not reach to the hand, it falls short at the wrist. Orthopedically the ULNA is the distal extension of the elbow and the RADIUS is the proximal extension of the wrist. I'd like to see Will draw a human from memory, get something like those weird bicycle drawings.

Liked DSL associated with TELEPHONE LINE although my first try was USB for DSL.

NW was fill in the blanks today. That led to the middle bleeding NE and SW, but SE proved most resistant to me. Needed some G help, but

INIGO v. IN I GO for a 'swordsman' lol

Overall quite good, really.

Nancy 10:27 AM  

So far out of my wheelhouse that it might as well have been in Timbuktu, but I finished it. I'm Struggling and Suffering and looking out my window and it's a gorgeous day and I'm wondering Why On Earth I'm Wasting All This Time Indoors. Stubbornness, that's what it is, pure Stubbornness. You're not going to defeat me, O youthful constructors with your in-your-face puzzle youthiness. TURNT for drunk??? I thought I knew all the words for drunk. IT'S LIT??? Seems that should be a fire and not a party. Do I want to go to a party where IT'S LIT??? Not so much. Enemies are OPPS now??? For opponents? Are opponents really "enemies"? And is UPSOLD really a word? I know ASHED is from previous puzzles, but it's beyond ugly.

Also never heard of STEADICAM. I wanted a FREEZE FRAME to take the motion out of motion pictures.

Should I read the blog to hopefully find out why on earth DEAR SANTA is the "start of an anti-coal petition"? Or should I go out into the beautiful sunshine instead? NO RUSH you say? Yes, but I'm an outdoorsy sort of person. WHAT DO YOU EXPECT I'll do?

Ellen S 10:43 AM  

Good puzzle, learned some new slang which is probably obsolete already, not crazy about ESPORTS, but agree with the reviewers that the anti-coal petition start/DEAR SANTA was a real winner.

@Rex is on the brink of self-awareness. He didn’t know OPPS, and therefore, “because I knew all the terms (except OPPS, which we've established is made-up and/or dumb)”. So close!

Dorothy Biggs 10:55 AM  

My solve experience:

Nothing, nothing, nothing, a word, nothing, nothing, nothing, two words, nothing, nothing, everything.

It was crazy hard to get a foothold, then katie bar the door, it was all downhill from there. It may because the grid answers were all fairly unique and colloquial...so once you get a couple of letters, the thing fills itself in. That's the difference between a puzzle with a lot of crosswordese and this one: your choices are narrowed in this grid, far more than a "normal" grid.

So this wasn't fun at the start...kind of like the part of the rollercoaster that tick-tick-ticks up the hill...then it was a free fall fast ride on a short train, which made it fun.

I have kids so TURNT and LIT were gimmes. INIGO Montoya...Enugo, Inugo, Inego, Enigo...it doesn't help that Patinkin pronounces it weird in the movie.

Also, place for a tab could very easily be a "bar," just sayin.

SJ Austin 11:09 AM  

These fresh puzzles, so free of moldering movie stars and bygone mineral conglomerates, are a joy. I'm chuckling to myself that the most glaringly outdated answer in this grid is PHONE LINE. I always end up faster than my average with puzzles like this, while the far more experienced solvers come up relatively slow because they get so few gimmes. It's fun to watch.

Great puzzle. And that clue on DEAR SANTA? This is me making the chef's kiss gesture. 😚👌

Anonymous 11:15 AM  

Amen, amen, AMEN!

Anonymous 11:18 AM  

The irony is, steadicams are actually used for shots where the camera moves, seeming to float through the air. If you want a steady, unmoving shot, you would use a tripod. The clue is fine, as a steadicam does take out the unwanted movements (of a moving shot) and makes the shot feel smooth. But I really wanted freeze frame to fit in there as well,

OPPS in bridge and Lily Tomlin. (Just to add to Loren's count.)


nyc_lo 11:22 AM  

If Rex had removed the “Medium” qualifier from his rating, I’d have felt better about things. This one slapped me down hard. The entire left side of the grid stared back at me unfilled except for INIGO and PECS. Tore my hair out over EWELL for the longest time. Should have been a gimme for a self-proclaimed movie buff, but it was an itch that wouldn’t be scratched for what felt like seven years, until POWERMOVE clicked into place.

I guess OPPS is perfectly okay if you’re a bridge player, but for anyone else, total BS, especially as clued. Ditto RES, which I’ve yet to see adequately explained. Never once seen it on a business card.

WHATDOYOUEXPECT is just off. Sorry, no one says DO over DID. Lots to enjoy elsewhere, though I could have used someone saying IMHERETOHELP at some point.

zephyr 11:28 AM  

Puzzling about some baskets being big ‘twos’ I can only guess it is a score reference, ok, but what means ‘are’ from ‘what you can take but I cant’?
You can take are? Wha?
I do like the way usage and context changes a word’s meaning -enjoy being off balance- but the tip should make sense, after.
Anti coal is great-quite fun.

jberg 11:34 AM  

Am I the only one dumb enough to trip over FEET before PECS? Even as wondered why one would say that feet “sounded like” feet. That really held me up, even more than the unknown -to-me slang. Especially OPPS, for which I wanted OPPo. (By the way, are people you play bridge with really enemies?)

For those who asked, back in Tom EWELL’s day people would often list there home phone on their business cards as RES. But I DNF on that- I had tEl because I thought some sponges might be PARALITIC and failed to notice that it didn’t work after I changed the t to R. Sigh.

Birchbark 11:34 AM  

In the unexplainable mistake department, my answer to "Mai __" was mAI. I finished the puzzle, triple-checked it, knew the problem was at the mAI/mURNT crossing, and still couldn't get it. Then reread the clue (again) and my, my, it was Mai TAI. "Congratulations?" music ensued.

Also awkward how long it took to get INIGO Montoya, given how many times in "The Princess Bride" he says "My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."

@Larry Gilstrap (2:00), I think INIGO Jones of St. Paul's Cathedral fame would be a fine late-week clue. I bet your revelers-next-door would agree, if you asked.

@Marachino (4:39), I liked the TURNT prose poem and your take on it. We have an office in downtown NYC, and I remember one evening a few years ago walking by the Occupy tent-town near Wall Street, in that little triangle park with the bull sculpture. Sort of festive, what flows from this right to peaceable assembly.

What? 11:36 AM  

A steadicam is a weight balancing gizmo that allows a hand held camera to be as steady as if on a tripod.
DEAR SANTA - please don’t put coal in my stocking.

Anonymous 11:38 AM  


'You are...' is grammatically correct whereas 'I are' isn't.

JF 11:42 AM  

It is absolutely hilarious to call this puzzle modern with "PHONELINE" and "ERNESTINE" present. Connection to the outside world "PHONELINE" really? It's 2019. If you still have a PHONELINE you either live in rural Kentucky or I sure hope you don't vote. Or both.

Joe Dipinto 11:49 AM  

#MeToo. I thought immediately of Lily Tomlin. Also of singer Ernestine Anderson.

There's very little not to like here. YELPER and E-SPORTS and UPSOLD are all fresh and fun.. ←Rex

What a drag it is getting old -- isn't it Rex? I hate when people describe answers as "fresh". It sounds sooo dumb. A puzzle has words/phrases that are in the dictionary or in the language; the constructor doesn't invent them. A puzzle isn't a context that makes them "fresh".

I find very little to like about Agard's puzzles as a rule. They seem to strain desperately at current hipsterishness, but the overall effect is by contrast underwhelming. It's very strange. The 62a clue/answer is the one actual bright spot here. And STEADICAM isn't bad.

No more running for the shelter of a mother's little Yelper

puzzlehoarder 11:58 AM  

I'm conflicted in my reaction to this puzzle. It was a great solve marred by TURNT. Changing TAI to BAI was one of my "break through" moments. It was like changing ANA to AVA at 8D. Another break through was realizing I'd written in a completely incorrect UAI in place of UAW even though I knew that it stood for Workers.

This was a terrific puzzle but an entry like TURNT is a high price to pay. TURNT will not age well. I just hope I live long enough to see a time when people use Shortzian as pejoratively as Maleskan. Even though he didn't choose it TURNT just looks Shortzian to me. I can't stand hipper than thou slang of the moment. It trips me up every time On the other hand if TURNT ever makes it to the Scrabble dictionary I'd love to use it to make a cheap triple word and watch the other person's WTF is that expression. The constructors sure got me with that one.

Anonymous 12:12 PM  

Rex is “so old” he saw “The Seven Year Itch” in 1955 when it was in theaters? Or like anyone with access to tv or computers, saw it in the present. Why does it make him “old” to recognize a clue? His logic is illogical.

I'd agree with OFL for the following reason: only someone "so old" would find anything of interest in the seven-year itch (movie or personal experience) since the younger set just hook up at any whim. why wait seven years, dude?

Amelia 12:26 PM  

Rex, my first entry was Ewell, also. And I have 30 years on you. Or 25. But I guess we're both film buffs. I also loved the Dear Santa clue, among many others.

Listen, I don't like to sound like a broken record, but if you loved this puzzle (as I did) because it was challenging and frustrating and ultimately rewarding, you should know that EVERY Saturday, the Newsday Saturday Stumper does this. Every single week is like this.

I'll never mention it again.

Fred Romagnolo 12:28 PM  

I'm with Pablo on bURNT; far more logical if you're not into modern slang. Here I go again: crossword puzzles are based on the idea that crosses allow you to logically infer an answer you don't know. If you use illogically spelled words, you are, in effect, cheating. This puzzle should have had the caveat "Warning - modern slang used throughout."

Hartley70 12:36 PM  

I wanted REp for RES. It just makes more sense on a business card and I know zilch about sponges. I’m in gag about TURNT. It’s what happened to the milk at the back of the fridge. This puzzle took forever to solve but I didn’t mind one bit.

jb129 12:37 PM  

I love all of Erik's (& company) puzzles so I always stick with them - thank you.

But Erik, please don't refer to dogs at "mutts" - they are mixed breeeds.

Anonymous 1:01 PM  

Lily Tomlin used to do Ernestine on Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In (1967-73) which preceded SNL by at least one ringy-dingy (snort).

Suzie Q 1:09 PM  

Late to the party but morning at the museum then a lingering lunch kept me busy. Let me echo praise for the Dear Santa clue. Clue of the year!
I'm surprised that OFL (our feminist leader) did not comment on the female co-author and all of the feminine clues/answers. Plus we have his buddy Agard at the helm. This puzzle couldn't lose. All of that aside I really enjoyed the solve. Bravo!
Speaking of Agard, is he related to the guy in the ELO video or maybe they just have the same stylist?

DK 1:16 PM  

I believe OPPS is AAVE. Got that one off the bat, maybe bc I was recently listening to the Vince Staples song "Opps" (it's on the Black Panther Soundtrack.)

To be real though, most American slang (including "turnt" and "lit" but going back decades) derives from AAVE.

Geezer 1:21 PM  

I am smart. I vote. I don't live in rural KY. I have a PHONE LINE. I did this puzzle in 13 minutes. Sorry to disappoint.

SouthsideJohnny 1:24 PM  

@zephyr - your guess is correct. In most basketball leagues, some shots count for two points, and other (longer ones) count as three (foul shots count as one point each). Like many of us, I too am baffled by RES and would welcome some enlightenment (or even just some thoughtful speculation, lol).

Birchbark 1:27 PM  

@Birchbark (11:34) -- It's true that INIGO Jones was responsible for a renovation of St. Paul's Cathedral before it burned in the London Fire. But the fame for the cathedral as we know it today belongs to Christopher Wren. While I agree that including Inigo Jones in the pantheon of crossword-friendly architects is an excellent idea (and in my view better than your on-again-off-again campaign for Egyptian pharaoh(s) AMENHOTEP), it may be something of a challenge to find a fair and accessible clue even late in the week.

JMS 1:34 PM  

I would have preferred “jazz singer, sister of Josephine “ or something anything better than an anagram...

Space Is Deep 1:44 PM  

On Monday I'm going to ask the younger people at work if they have ever heard of TURNT. everyone I asked had not. I guess I'm old.

Linda R 1:54 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
kitshef 1:59 PM  

In the space of a few short months, I've gone from admiring Erik Agard's work to wishing he'd submit somewhere other than the NYT. I really don't need TURNT in my grid, and I don't need IM HERE TO HELP or WHAT DO YOU EXPECT as my "featured" entries.

Basically, I agree with everything Qausimojo said, but I'm grumpier about it.

Ethan Taliesin 2:00 PM  

TURNT had its heyday in the first quarter of the 19th century according to Oxford online. And we're still not back to 1930's levels.


The clue for DEARSANTA was clever

Crimson Devil 2:01 PM  

Late chiming in, but echo praise for DEAR SANTA and ARE.
RES must refer to residence phone.
Wonderful LMS avatar re 16 across.

ghostoflectricity 2:03 PM  

Rex, you never heard of Ernestine Tomlin, the smarmy AT&T phone operator/enforcer/fascist, created and performed by the incomparable Lily Tomlin? Shouldn't you have SOME familiarity with American popular culture pre-1980? BTW, she was NOT on "SNL when it was good" as stated by another commenter here; she was created years earlier on another NBC comedy program, "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In" (original run: 1968-73). It is possible that Ms. Tomlin (a Detroit native BTW, which makes this Ernestine-calls-GM sketch even more apropos) enacted Ernestine on SNL as well, I don't know. Thankfully, Ms. Tomlin is still going strong today ("Grace and Frankie," etc.).


Carola 2:13 PM  

Tough and enjoyable. As others have commented, my response to the first couple dozen clues was "Nope, nope, nope...." I had to work from the REDS - UPSOLD - SAUDIS - ESSO cluster, but thankfully that was enough for me to SPLAY out over the rest of the grid. Except...

...@Birchbark, I wish I could attach a photo of my grid with the incorrect "m" in the same spot. Having never heart of TURNT, I shrugged an "okay, whatever" at 'mURNT," wondering if it were a combination of "murdered" and "burnt."

I loved the STEADICAM + POWER MOVE + LIES AHEAD stack for evoking the seamless unrelenting tracking the camera allows.

Entry of Shame: dieGO Montoya. Good grief.

Malsdemare 3:06 PM  

I'm with you, @quasi. I could not get started anywhere except EWELL and that wasn't enough to help me. I finally resorted to cheating just so I could finish the $&#@ing thing. I'm pleased others loved it but hope not to see one like that again any time soon.

RooMonster 3:09 PM  

Hey, does anyone know what show ERNESTINE was on?



Linda R 4:09 PM  

Meant to check that video before posting earlier. Corrected--
@Suzie Q 1:09 PM - Very funny comment about Agard and the guy in the ELO video.

CDilly52 4:09 PM  

Any time I see Erik Agard’s name I know I will enjoy the wordplay and the whole solving experience. This was a double decker great with Anna Gundlach’s cleverness mixed in. Loved it.

I do not understand why @Rex thought UPSOLD was either new or fresh because it has been around since the birth of car sales people! They love to say “we will not be undersold” and that’s because the prime directive from ownership is to have the customer be UPSOLD! Here’s how I know:

I worked my way through all of my post high school education. My first “hands on” (if you will pardon the allusion to my daily experiences with inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace) was my freshman year in college at the Pontiac dealership in Champaign, IL where I heard management at the end of every sales meeting open the door as he said “remember don’t just sell, UPSELL.”

“Beefy” the head salesman used to sit in my “area” at the cashier window just next to the parts department and do running commentary on every person who set foot on the lot. And at least once a week, he would make some outrageous bet with the other salesmen to “keep things fun.” No girls allowed (yes, always “girls”) though. “Women can’t sell, they aren’t tough enough,” was the mantra (yeah, right.). So, the “guys” would pick a target for Beefy and set the terms of the bet. Typically it was for the total bonus for selling, say a loaded Firebird to an obvious person who would never pick that car. And often it ended up with the customer having to finance more than she planned on. Even in 1968, we would be talking maybe max $2,000 bonus for a loaded car depending on the model and availability. It was difficult to get the price of an American car to go above $10,000.00! The targets were always either older widowed or divorced women, very young women or first time buyers and it absolutely made me sick. I thought there must be some sort of fraud that applies but I had no idea where to go with my allegations and no idea who if anyone would listen.

Anyway, old Beefy would always try to pull me in but “let me off easy” by only betting that if he closed the deal I would go to dinner with him. I believe the phrase these days would be “As IF!”

Anyway, I would report him and the Parts Manager to ownership at least once a week and my complaints of harassment would not just fall on deaf ears, they were openly ridiculed. I would have quit but this job that paid $2.50 an hour when the minimum wage was $1.30 (I think).

I finally did quit one day when a lovely older woman came in to buy a demo Bonneville that was attractively priced and she knew it was going to be a solid safe car she could trust with her grandkids in the back seat. “The guys” were betting Beefy could get her to custom order a loaded Firebird of all things!! I was livid, and slipped out through the garage wash rack door, around the back of the dealership to where the customer was bringing her car to let them look at the trade value and I explained what was going on and how upset it made me. I knew how long it must have taken her (a widow who had never worked for a paycheck in her life) to save $3,000.00 and I urged her to stand firm and buy what she came to buy. She rose to the challenge but played along to the very last instant. She ended up with the Bonney and I walked out the door that particular Friday with no earthly idea now I was going to pay rent and bills and God help me tuition that was going to be due in about a month. Four days later a plain white envelope appeared in my mail box. Hand addressed. Inside was a check from the dealership for $2,000.00 signed by the woman who was the CPA. I had maybe spoken a dozen words to her in the 18 months I worked there, but she taught me how to buy a car and it is a skill I have used throughout my life. All her note said was “you earned this. Please don’t forget this experience and help other women make some real change.” I sincerely hope that I have.

Great puzzle day that brought up a memory that’s been on “the vault” for a long long time.

Maraschino 4:11 PM  

@Birchbark glad you enjoyed the "TURNT" poem. Juliana Spahr really excels as these skyscraper-sized poems that deal with big political issues within ordinary yet charged contexts of intimacy.

@Loren Muse Smith. I don't doubt that black-inflected linguistics are behind TURNT. That said both of our hunches can be correct, given that a lot of phrases that have since entered the mainstream ("throwing shade," for example) originate in the eighties street vernacular of gay black men in Harlem. There's a very an acclaimed documentary "Paris is Burning" that traces the sociolinguistic origins. And I imagine that the same gay black undercurrent (though more Southern) is behind these nasal and dentalized neologisms like TURNT, GOOD MORNTING, MONETY, etc. The Emmy winning drag queen host RuPaul is of course is gay and black and Southern, and one of her legendary catchphrases since the eighties has been the acronymic "Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve, and Talent." When she gets into drag as TINA TURNER, she refers to her "TINTA TURNTER realness." So even though she may not have originated these phrases like TURNT and HUNTY, I credit her with the popularization of this queer and black affectation, and you can find evidence of her influence on the way today's youth speak all over the internet.

Word Wimp 4:17 PM  

Why E Sports, and not X or G Sports as in X or G Games?, ergo XTO or GTO car.

Word Wimp 4:21 PM  

Ernestine Campagnoli, great dame of San Francisco.

DaveR8R 5:03 PM  

Been doing NYT xwords from the 2000s. if any of you think you are getting smarter/better I hate to inform you that the puzzles are just easier now. Just finished Aug 13, 2000, took me several days, brutal.

OffTheGrid 5:05 PM  

@RooMonster 3:09. I think ERNESTINE was on Hee Haw.

KevCo 8:05 PM  

I work with young people in one of Chicago's distressed neighborhoods. I hear "OPPS" about ten times a day as a reference to opposing gangs. "We can't go down that block. I have OPPS there." "I can't come to the center right now. OPPS are looking for me."

It is as much as a word as "TURNT," to be sure, although it connotes a terrible reality for our young people.

Deke 10:09 PM  

I live on the beach in Southern California and I vote and I have a PHONELINE. Connected to it is a restored vintage 1920s Western Electric 51A candlestick phone that works perfectly. I also have an iPhone.

I’ve never understood how young people seem to think a land-line is some obsolete thing; this shows a lack of understanding about communication systems and technology. During an emergency or natural disaster a land-line may be your only working connection for help, because the cell phone networks are actually pretty delicate.

Anonymous 10:43 PM  


I feel your pain. The kiddies, I guess, figure that phone calls should sound like a cement mixer filled with rocks. If you want to hear, call a landline from a landline.

CDilly52 11:31 AM  

Thanks @Maraschino for these apt observations. I have seen, and learned a great deal from “Paris is Burning.” In my next life I want to study food anthropology and linguistics.

CDilly52 11:35 AM  

AMEN @Deke! I’m in your camp with my ancient turquoise “Princess” phone. My husband wanted to get rid of it for over 45 years but I did not want to be without a phone connected to a wire-no cordless please.

Escalator 12:14 PM  

Been there done that or initiate versus imitate. I would say “what was I thinking” and my son would say “no you were thinking”

DrBB 12:32 PM  

@Anonymous OffTheGrid @RooMonster

Laugh-In, actually.

Z 8:45 AM  

@RooMonster and @OffTheGrid - Funny, but even funnier is the whooshing noise as it sails over @DrBB’s head.

Solving on Monday, so nothing much to add. Played medium hard here.

oldbizmark 9:49 AM  

Easy Saturday for me as well. Surprised to see this as a Medium-Challenging.

Anonymous 12:58 PM  

Gwyneth Paltrow, winner of Best Actress, 1999. Look it up. And while you're at it, look up Boys Don't Cry oscars--you'll find on all the reliable sites that both Swank and her co-star won Oscars for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actresses, respectively, in 2005. Yes, their movies were made the previous years, but the official listings, aside from one mistaken Wikipedia site that lists best actresses, correctly show Swank as Oscar winner of 2000 and 2005. The puzzle maker was apparently consulting the mistaken sites and put the incorrect dates in. Lazy fact checking.

Burma Shave 11:25 AM  





Finn 12:06 PM  

On a business card, RES stands for residential telephone, as opposed to Office, Business, or Mobile.

spacecraft 2:34 PM  

Done, but I had grave misgivings about TURNT. Burnt makes SO much more sense, but Mai Bai just plain wouldn't fly. I left the T in, shaking my head the whole time. Why does (it seem) all the newest slang makes you sound like a moron?

Along with many others, I loved the clue for DEARSANTA. More like this, please. Saturday difficult, but doable with attendant triumph points. DOD can be none other that Lily Tomlin, whose ERNESTINE ringy-dingied me to the floor every time. Good puzzle; birdie.

rainforest 3:31 PM  

Challenging, yes, and though overall it is a very good Saturday puzzle, I didn't enjoy parts of it: TURNT, UPSOLD, OPPS, ASHED,and my write-over of fEet slowed me up/down considerably.

I had trouble even starting, my first entry being the doomed fEet. But those little threes in the centre: DIY, TIP, RAP, UAW, and LAS gave me somewhere to radiate from (I'd say "from which to radiate", but @lefty would admonish me).

Tom EWELL finally came to me, and that had the NW done. I also was lucky just plunking down NO RUSH, HALTER TOP, and LIES AHEAD. But the pesky slang almost did me in. I don't mind slang, per se, but TURNT (?).

Okay, I *did* like it after all, but it gave me a hard time.

leftcoast 4:34 PM  

Very slow start filling in the blanks here and there.

Where's my foothold? (I asked myself). I'M HERE TO HELP YOU (a voice from somewhere above). WHAT DO YOU EXPECT? (To solve this darn thing, I answered.)

Well, I came close, but not close enough, and had SLIP UPS with POGS/INIGO, ITSLIT/TYPEA, and ESPORTS/RAP.

ERNESTINE and DEAR SANTA made my day.

P.S. @rainy -- Wouldn't presume to admonish, but likely wouldn't use "from which" either.

Diana, LIW 4:52 PM  

Pretty close is as close as I got today. Fun anyway, especially after an initial stare-down that the puzzle was winning.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP