French tennis player fashion icon / SAT 8-31-19 / Classic TV character whose name is Spanish for fool / 1980s feminst coinage regarding nuclear proliferation

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Constructor: Brian Thomas

Relative difficulty: Easy (4:31, should've been even faster)

THEME: none

Word of the Day: Georges PEREC (25A: French author Georges) —
Georges Perec (born George Peretz) (French: [peʁɛk, pɛʁɛk]; 7 March 1936 – 3 March 1982) was a French novelistfilmmakerdocumentalist, and essayist. He was a member of the Oulipo group. His father died as a soldier early in the Second World War and his mother was murdered in the Holocaust, and many of his works deal with absence, loss, and identity, often through word play. (wikipedia)
Oulipo (French pronunciation: ​[ulipo], short for FrenchOuvroir de littérature potentielle; roughly translated: "workshop of potential literature") is a loose gathering of (mainly) French-speaking writers and mathematicians who seek to create works using constrained writing techniques. It was founded in 1960 by Raymond Queneau and François Le Lionnais. Other notable members have included novelists Georges Perec and Italo Calvino, poets Oskar PastiorJean Lescure and poet/mathematician Jacques Roubaud.
The group defines the term littérature potentielle as (rough translation): "the seeking of new structures and patterns which may be used by writers in any way they enjoy".
Constraints are used as a means of triggering ideas and inspiration, most notably Perec's "story-making machine", which he used in the construction of Life A User's Manual. As well as established techniques, such as lipograms (Perec's novel A Void) and palindromes, the group devises new methods, often based on mathematical problems, such as the knight's tour of the chess-board and permutations. (wikipedia) 
• • •

I would not be surprised if many of you set a personal best Saturday time today. I didn't, but I probably should have. Too leisurely out of the gate, and too clumsy on the keyboard. And then, at the very end, I face-planted by totally misreading 53A: Viscous (ROPY) as [Vicious]. Ugh. Anyway, 4:31 is still very fast for a Saturday, for me. Looking back over the puzzle, it's basically a Tuesday with a few marginal proper nouns and dated phrases thrown in to act as very ineffective speed bumps. I knew PEREC, but you are very much forgiven if you didn't. I wouldn't know him if it weren't for crosswords, and I know I'm not alone in that. My proper noun downfall was TANIKA (?) Ray, co-host of "Extra," whatever that is. Is that some kind of entertainment news TV show—a form that it's hard to believe still exists. I'm not even going to check because I don't care. Anyway, all the crosses were favorable, so TANIKA didn't crush me, but she definitely held me up. The other major hold-up came from MISSILE ENVY (29A: 1980s feminst coinage regarding nuclear proliferation), which ... really? Really? Sigh. If you say so. "Feminist coinage?" What's "feminist" about it? Who is the feminist involved here? I get that it's a play on "penis envy," but ... it really doesn't sound like a term that is in common parlance, or ever was. So I needed a Ton of crosses to get it, but again, the crosses were not at all hard, so fine. I'm startled that this was a Saturday and not a Friday. Hard to fathom. It really was very, very easy (by Saturday standards).

["The Windy Apple!"]

A word about TONTO (15A: Classic TV character whose name is Spanish for "fool"). A few words, actually. First, The Lone Ranger was a radio show and a book series before it was a TV show, and TONTO was in the pre-TV stuff, yet the puzzle keeps narrowly cluing him via the TV show. Second, while "tonto" does mean "fool" in Spanish (which meant the name was changed to "Toro" or "Ponto" in Spanish-dubbed versions of the TV show), the creator had reason to believe it meant something else: "Show creator Trendle grew up in Michigan, and knew members of the local Potawatomi tribe, who told him it meant "wild one" in their language" (wikipedia). The clue kind of implies, or softly suggests, that the "fool" meaning was by design. Maybe this clue is the puzzle's way of pointing out that the character of TONTO was very much the product of white ignorance. Native Americans have long criticized the character as a form of racial caricature. Johnny Depp's portrayal of TONTO in the 2013 "Lone Ranger" caused a fairly high-profile backlash, with accusations of appropriation and racial insensitivity being leveled at the movie and its star (ironic, given that the movie was intended to offer a more authentic TONTO, rejecting earlier portrayals of the character as a mere monosyllabic sidekick). This is all to say that the character of TONTO is inextricably linked to a long history of white writers, producers, actors, etc. representing Native Americans in simplistic ways with little or any input from Native Americans themselves. I know some people who don't ever want to see TONTO in the grid again. I'm not sure I agree, but I do understand. If I felt I absolutely had to use TONTO to make a stellar grid come out right, I'd probably stick to very straightforward, factual cluing. Don't get cute.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:04 AM  

Yes, easy again. Slightly slower than yesterday’s but still too easy. I put in POSH and POSTOP and just kept going.

I did go through about three iterations before I got to EENY.

That said, solid with a bit of zip, liked it.

Pete 12:20 AM  

A fluid that has a high EXTENSIOMAL viscosity might (actually not ever in the not of rheology, but 'might') be called ROPY but the modified is absolutely required to get ROPY from viscosity.

puzzlehoarder 12:21 AM  

INEEDSOMEADVICE? How about I NEED SOME RESISTANCE. It wasn't to be found anywhere in this puzzle. When I printed it out and saw those grids spanners crossed with all those long downs I knew it wouldn't be difficult but I didn't think it would be this easy.

The top tier went in at Monday speed. The only hesitation I experienced moving into the middle was caused by misreadings and a P that I swore was an F because I was trying to write STAMP in as fast as I could. 16A was one of the long entries that was first guess material off of just a couple of letters.

TANIKA is a terrific late week entry but it's crossed with AETNA and EKES. That's the story of this puzzle in a nutshell. There's way too much crossword 101 material for a Saturday. It seems as if all difficulty was sacrificed for a low word count.

Joaquin 12:23 AM  

Not much to do with Tonto, but any mention of The Lone Ranger always reminds me of this, the best story ever:

Harryp 12:35 AM  

Easy Saturday, with TANIKA and PEREC the only ones that needed the crosses to fill in. Some good stuff like MISSLE ENVY, and I didn't know YOPLAIT, but otherwise blah.

Anonymous 1:57 AM  

When you ask for “racial sensitivity” you are tacitly implying a superior-inferior relationship.

Vincent Lima 1:59 AM  

> MISSILE ENVY . . . . Who is the feminist involved here? . . . it really doesn't sound like a term that is in common parlance, or ever was.

Helen Caldicott. Not every term in a Saturday puzzle, even an easy one, is in common parlance. Even if you're too young to have read feminist takes on the Cold War, the term is readily inferable. No less so than modern slang, which you, Rex, favor.

chefwen 2:59 AM  

Not a walk in the park for me. Didn’t know PEREC or TANIKA, knew LA COSTE, but didn’t remember his first name. Had pepper in at 3D and left in in for way too long. TeenIEST at 33D did not help the cause at all, and the NE corner was such a mess that now I can’t even remember what I had in there originally, only that I wanted some sort of a tattoo for 20A. The fact that I finished without a cheat told me that Rex would rate it easy.

Looking back over it now, I can see why. I seem to have the ability to turn easy into difficult.

John Hoffman 3:03 AM  

NEWS ALERT: I finished the Saturday puzzle!

jae 3:46 AM  

@Joaquin - I had a feeling where you were going before I plugged in the link. Late Night trivia morsel: Letterman had John McEnroe tell the story in 2013 when Jay Thomas was recovering from surgery.

Loren Muse Smith 4:17 AM  

I always feel dumb when people report in that a puzzle I struggled with was “too easy.” Today’s is a case in point: I fought mightily to finish. Hi, @chefwen.

Loved that LAST is last.

My “impression that’s only skin-deep” is a crease down the left side of my face almost every morning from either the comforter or the pillow. It’s always in the same place. Weird.

“Tip-of-the-tongue” phenomenon:
1) that minuscule canker sore that is painful to the point that it has you slurring your words and people think you’ve been drinking


2) that situation where you know exactly the thought you want to express, but you can’t find the word. A bit of evidence supporting the idea that not all of the thoughts we have are couched in language per se.

I certainly OVEREAT on Thanksgiving, but, honestly, the food is mediocre at best. Roasting a turkey is not something we do regularly enough to master it. It’s always my experience that the meat is tough and dry, the dressing pedestrian and forgettable, the perfunctory cranberry sauce underwhelming. And yet we all sit there afterwards and talk about how good everything was. That is, I, my mom, my sister-in-law, and my daughter get to chime in about how good it was after we’ve cleared the table, hand-washed Bigmama’s china, scrubbed the pots, divided the leftover dry turkey into baggies for everyone to take home, dug out Tupperware for the dressing, potatoes, gravy, and green beans, put the chairs back in their respective rooms, wiped the counters, and put Bigmama’s china back in the china cabinet. All while serving pie and ice cream to the guys enjoying the football game. Ok. My husband and son now pitch in thanks to my babyish, passive-aggressive little snit hints.

I tell ya, Rex – it has never escaped me that this site is up every day come hell or high water. When you can’t do it, you find pinch-hitters, and even that sometimes must be a pain. These first couple of weeks of school have flattened me, and I have the luxury of just sitting in a fugue state and staring off into space when I’m not working. As regards this site, all I have to do is *not* participate. Easy. The time and energy that you give our little world must be nothing short of herculean. Obviously you and I rarely agree on the puzzle, but I’m grateful for what you do.

All the tired memes you see on Facebook about teachers at the beginning of the year are on the money, man. By the end of the day, I just want to cry, I’m so tired.

PS - My sister and her husband just bought a TESLA. It’s so cool. Like, she can use her phone to summon it from its parking space to come retrieve her in front of the store. Or she Will be able to do that once she learns how. But here’s the reason to buy one – her husband figured out how to program it so that the turn signals make fart noises. And. They. Vary. When I heard this I was struck dumb. Maybe she was just messing with me, but the idea that I could have a car that did this just floors my 13-year-old boy soul. I have to own a fart signal car now, too.

PPS – you can program your Waze to sound like Cookie Monster, but don’t. It’s funny for about 20 seconds and then you want to throw your phone out the window.

Phil 4:51 AM  

I liked
OCTO crossing OCTAVE
but the kicker
BIOTA crossing IOWA...a farming state of Monsanto GMO seed and sprays.

Unknown 5:03 AM  

Put in RICH instead of POSH, and CARES instead of OKAYS, ACTIVIA instead of YOPLAIT. Really TAXed my solve. Thought SWAB was nicely clued.

Hungry Mother 5:30 AM  

Because it’s so early, as I break fast before a 5K race, I thought I was just slogging it out. I was surprised when the app told me I was done. I’ll take it!

Anonymous 6:06 AM  

I confidently put in theFacebook off the T, and thought I was mighty clever for remembering the initial name. That held me up for a while. But something had to give and Mao had to be there so I erased it and eventually the crosses led me to Tesla motors. Everything else eventually fell into place. A fun puzzle without too much resistance. And I enjoyed missile envy, but to eachtheir own.

Lewis 6:38 AM  

It felt easy-for-Saturday, either because it simply was (though several posts are already contradicting that), or because it landed in my sweet spot, that is, my wheelhouse's easily reachable areas.

As a result, I would have liked cluing that was harder to crack -- more wordplay, more vagueness.

Oh, but I did enjoy flying through this, not because I was moving quickly for Saturday, but because the grid was clean and -- because of answers with interest and spark -- shiny. Save for MISSILE ENVY, there weren't flashy answers, IMO, yet this answer set felt cozy, neither lifeless nor like a briar patch. Thus the solve was TESLA-esque, zippy and comfy, and emitting honest quality.

Tough to do all that in a 66-worder, and it made for an experience I'm glad and grateful for. Thank you, Brian!

Conrad 6:41 AM  

@LMS: if you find “the perfunctory cranberry sauce [to be] underwhelming,” try this easy (so easy *I* can do it) recipe for cranberry relish: Everyone at our T-day dinners “relishes” it:

Fresh Cranberry Orange Relish (from
Makes about three cups

1 unpeeled orange, cut into eighths and seeded
1 12-ounce package fresh or frozen cranberries, rinsed and drained
3/4 to one cup sugar

Place half the cranberries and half the orange pieces into food processor.
Process until mixture is evenly chopped.
Transfer to a bowl
Repeat with remaining cranberries and orange pieces
Stir in sugar
Store in refrigerator or freezer

Bubbabythebay 7:20 AM  

Liked the puzzle, but I have a problem with the cluing of 39 Down. Princess Charlotte is fourth in line of succession and Meghan Markle's niece. Also niece to Harry and others.

Otherwise, NIeCE and easy. Lots of time left for Saturday projects

Roberta 7:35 AM  

Missile envy actually was a feminist term in the 80s critiquing Reagan for wanting a bigger missile then the Russians, and so forth.

QuasiMojo 7:46 AM  

Took me 20 minutes, probably because I put in TANAKA.

Why the hyphens in "tip of the tongue" as clued? The hyphens imply it's about the loss-of-memory syndrome but the actual "tip of a tongue" would not be hyphenated. And didn't LISP end up on someone's Do Not Post list? No rant today?

I don't like the needless Simpson clue or the corporate names or the singleton Beer Nut. Nor the non-dancing Shaker.

Surely we can put ETTA away for a while.


I did like the clue for Home Remedy. I gotta try it. And the one for Weird Al. The STAR. And the Carousel in Colorado. Reminded me of my many sojourns in Aspen and Copper Mountain.

amyyanni 7:46 AM  

Easy for me, but I'm just back from the hardest thing I have ever completed: Rim2rim2rim at the Grand Canyon. So good to be home and enjoying the puzzle. I used to have a book by George Perec, but did NOT finish it.

Suzie Q 7:53 AM  

More of a stroll than a slog, to be sure.
Rex managed to be the wet blanket again. Watching the Lone Ranger on TV was the first time I remember having a crush on a man. Or should I say men. The Lone Ranger had such wonderfully flattering trousers and I thought Tonto was handsome and mysterious. I loved their horses too.
I guess my stroll was down Memory Lane.

Anonymous 8:00 AM  

Tonto is also a pejorative in Italian. My Italian dictionary defines it as adjective meaning "stupido," which I do not have to translate. I've never heard the term in conversations with Italians, and I wonder how widespread it is (I think Italians would recognize it, but those of us who know some Italian as a second or third language would happen upon it). Also, I've wondered if the arrived to the US via spaghetti westerns.

I also wonder if there was a little bit of irony in labeling the Lone Ranger's native American sidekick "Tonto." Certainly in the TV show he is not depicted as stupid. Also, there have been jokes stretching back an eon (31D) about the precise meaning of Kemosabe (sp.?)--I have some recollection of Far Side riffing on this, and the only person who could have possibly been offended was the masked white man.

Recently while channel-surfing I happened on the film with the new, politically correct Tonto. I honestly can't recall seeing anything so pandering and offensive--although I did not watch much of it.

Anon. i.e. Poggius

pabloinnh 8:04 AM  

Aha, a POSH to go with our earlier PISH, which became evident after I got rid of FOLKREMEDY, which didn't want to leave. Otherwise very smooth sailing here

LMS's reflections on "tip-of-the-tongue" made me think of a girl in my first year of teaching who was trying to come up with an answer and said "It's right on the tip of my think!".

Also, when I got old enough to realize how much work it was, I always did lots of the cleanup after Thanksgiving dinner, which was always at my parents' house, and was invariably delicious.

"Tonto" always makes me think of "que no sabe" (he who doesn't know) for Kemo Sabe. Felicitous coincidence, probably.

Thanks for a nice Saturdito, BT. Over too soon.

GILL I. 8:06 AM  

The cluing could've used a more beastly approach. I never though I'd say "THIS WAS EASY" on a Saturday....Ever. But I said it.
Here's the thing. I plan my Saturday puzzling very carefully. I always give myself a couple of hours because I'm constantly getting up and moving around. I'm still sipping my coffee as I write this. Never happens on hardest day of the week. Boy did I zip through this.
OKAY. I vaguely remember MISSILE ENVY. My life in the 80's centered around my work and our baby son. I didn't live in a vacuum though and wanted to keep current and all things hip. It was a book that came out and it had to do with penetration and multiple reentry and all that stuff that feminists screamed foul about. You know....our missiles are bigger than yours type thing. I've fought tooth and nails for equality and boy was I vocal in the work-place but I never got into the penis envy thing. So...I'm going to move right along to YOPLAIT. As Greek yogurts go, this one is pretty good. It's a probiotic and doesn't give you the sugar bomb that others do. So...moving right along to Thanksgiving and the OVER EAT caveat.
You'd think I had a gastric bypass with the amount of food I can't eat. I love Thanksgiving and yup, our house is a bit like @Loren's...except for Bigmamas china. I never seem to get passed one bite of turkey, some stuffing and the mashed potatoes. That's it. I once stuffed my face with a lasagna from Florence that was beyond devine and the feeling left me wanting to die for about 3 days. I love food and I love restaurants that give you all these little small plates that have just one little bite of each.
Love me some POSH bon MOT and remember, RENE LACOSTE is overpriced.
@Quasi: I left you a little note last night hoping your safe from Dorian's clutches....

Carola 8:23 AM  

Easy here, too, with POSH x POSTOP sending me off clockwise around to ENTIRE x TRIFECTA. I raised an eyeborw at BUDGE AN INCH, as I know it only in the negative, not budging an inch.
I liked the TRIFECTA from the Thanksgiving buffet: TAKE IT (the piece of pecan pie, after the pumpkin is already on my dessert plate)-->BITE MARK-->OVEREAT.

@Loren, speaking of Thanksgiving: for me, it's all about the gravy - if you flood the turkey, dressing, and mashed potatoes, life rarely gets any better.

@Pete 12:20, thank you for teaching me "rheology" (now I also understand "rheostat"). For me, ROPY = viscous in the world of yogurt (not the YOPLAIT variety).

mmorgan 8:29 AM  

I knew they were wrong, but it took me forever to give up Bend AN INCH and Seal OF APPROVAL. I guess it wasn’t as difficult as many Saturdays, but I wouldn’t say it was “easy.” I enjoyed watching several answers slowly emerge, such as HOME REMEDY and CAPITAL CITY. Loved that clip, @Joaquin!

Rube 8:46 AM  

Agreed not super easy especially if you went with LUSH not POSH and if you considered 4 dos to be echo not ocho and if you've never of Perec.

Z 8:49 AM  

I don’t know about this being a PR, but definitely easy for a Saturday here, too. My only writeover was emo to SKA punk. A typical Saturday will have several areas where my initial thoughts were wildly wrong due to mis-parsing clues. Closest other pause today was waiting to put in BOSC because flora seemed plausible.

MISSILE ENVY seemed perfectly obvious once I got it. A big part of the burgeoning debt in he 80’s as it is now was a combination of tax cuts for the richest while trying to prove ours is bigger than theirs. I think this was Rex’s middle school/high school years so he probably missed that strain of critique.

@anon1:57 - Not superior/inferior but rather advantaged/disadvantaged and it’s not implicit, it is explicit. Misconstruing disadvantage for inferiority is pretty much the definition of racism.

The Clerk 8:57 AM  

Why would Tonto know Spanish?

Z 8:57 AM  

BTW, anyone else read that entry on PEREC and Oulipo and end up understanding nothing about his work or that writing school? It is as if you need to understand their work to understand the article about their work. What the hell is a “constrained writing technique.” Or, perhaps better, are there any writing techniques that are not “constrained?” Yep, my eyes glazed over in what could easily be confused with a tryptophan coma.

Joe Dipinto 9:08 AM  

Hey @Roo Monster, we were just discussing Weird Al yesterday!

I had ECHO at 13a at first, thinking the clue was simulating a reverberation effect -- "DO'S DO'S Do's do's..." (Why someone would say "Do's" to produce an echo I have no idea.) Eventually POST-OP occurred to my Saturday morning brain. ¡Ay sí, es dos por dos por dos por dos!

A stretch between two pitches, i.e. an "interval", can be anything: a second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, octave, ninth, tenth, etc., not to mention major/minor variants. That's a nonsensical clue for OCTAVE.

But generally the whole puzzle went down easy. No trouble spots. BUDGE AN INCH strikes me as a phrase almost exclusively used in the negative ("he refused to budge an inch"). Exotic plants are INVASIVE? Don't put any of those in my post-op room.

Gotta go to the greenmarket now.

♪ No, I wouldn't put you on because it really did, it happened just this way
The day my mama socked it to the Harper Valley PTA ♪

Anonymous 9:10 AM  

Runtiest ?

Linda Vale 9:30 AM  

When I finish the puzzle without taking a sip of my hot coffee, you know the puzzle is easy...

Nancy 9:31 AM  

I enjoyed PIECING together a puzzle that deftly combines proper names I didn't know with surrounding fill that can be figured out. I was sorry when it was over and give it my (beautifully clued, btw) STAMP OF APPROVAL.

Senioritis prevented me from seeing RENE LACOSTE right off the bat. He was on the tip of my tongue, sort of like a LISP (really? is that what causes a LISP?) but I couldn't get him off my tongue and onto the page without crosses. DON HO was a woe, as were TANIKA and D REX (I've heard of a T Rex, but not a D REX.) I despise yogurt, but YOPLAIT is plastered all over the dairy section and I therefore knew it based on just the Y.

"Impression that's only skin-deep" = BITE MARK. All I can say is I certainly hope so!

Ceci 9:33 AM  

Tonto is used quite commonly in Italian, it’s like a milder version of silly or stupid, usually not meant to be really insulting. More like a “don’t be silly!” kind of thing.

Freebird 9:37 AM  

A summary of Dr. Caldicott’s book (Missile Envy) book reads as follows:

“A term coined by Dr. Helen Caldicott, it reflects the general feminist critique that the Cold War was driven by male ego with very Freudian undercurrents. When one examines the terminology of “deep penetration” and “multiple reentry” one wonders if she had a point. Caldicott went on to found Physicians for Social Responsibility, and her book became a rallying point within the anti-nuclear movement.”

Anonymous 9:40 AM  

Interestingly, the SHAKERs were/are celibate, which contributed to their decline.

Anonymous 9:44 AM  

When you ask for “racial sensitivity” you are tacitly implying a superior-inferior relationship.

so Trump calling various people variously vicious names shows that he's woke and not asserting a superior relation?

Nancy 9:49 AM  

Uh-oh! So I'm reading all your TONTO comments and thinking where is TONTO? I don't remember TONTO in this puzzle. And then I'm thinking: Oh no! Is my DON HO everyone else's TONTO? Let's see what I did...

" is Spanish for "fool". Well, that could be DON HO, couldn't it? I don't speak Spanish and I wouldn't know...

Crossing ShARpLY instead of STARKLY. For "lots of contrast". I was thinking of an HDTV and I frankly think SHARPLY is the better answer.

SPA punk instead of SKA punk for the "music hybrid" should have been the dead giveaway. Except that why can't you play punk music in a SPA? I'm sure many spas do.

Never mind. I DNF. Which I'm sure about 50 of y'all have let me know by now.

Anonymous 9:54 AM  

Who uses a pepper shaker any more? It's a pepper grinder, so they ain't two SHAKERs on any dinner table I've et at in decades.

Hard to imagine why anyone would recommend whole orange in a cranberry relish, even on Cape Cod whence OceanSpray (at least, used to be) came. No amount of food processing is going to make pith into good eats. The New England way is to use an Olde Hand Grinder for the raw cranberries, then the orange slices, then the sugar and let fester for at least a day. You can zest the oranges, if your about it.

Ciclista21 10:02 AM  

Yo, Rex, I couldn’t agree more on the clumsy cluing for TONTO. I didn’t know it was Spanish for “fool” and was very disappointed to learn that by seeing it associated with a TV (and book and radio) character who deserves better. Shame on Will Shortz for letting that pass. Makes you wonder what an editor actually does.

But really, Rex, why go off on a rant against MISSILE ENVY as a feminist coinage without doing at least a Google search that would have quickly answered the questions you raise: "Feminist coinage?" What's "feminist" about it? Who is the feminist involved here?

As other commenters have already pointed out, the “feminist involved here” is Helen Caldicott, an Australian M.D. and peace activist who founded Physicians for Social Responsibility. She also founded a group called Women’s Action for Nuclear Disarmament and was part of a wider feminist critique of the arms race.

Read more about her here:

VictorS 10:09 AM  

Tonto is also apparently an Apache word (there is a Tonto national monument and forest in Arizona) and there is some debate about where the name originated (it does mean fool in Spanish but has a different meaning in Apache

PaulyD 10:11 AM  

Barely worth the (minor) effort today. BUDGE AN INCH and RUNTIEST were particularly gruesome. If I could type, would have broken 5:00.

Still, I also liked the way SWAB was clued....

QuasiMojo 10:15 AM  

@Gill thanks for the concern in your post last night. I was at a dude ranch and had no WiFi. As far as I know Dorian is headed very far away from me. So I will be fine. The last one which was a dead-hit I slept through. The worst hurricane I experienced was in upstate NY which is ironically why I moved to Florida.

@whatshername, good summary of Madmen's charms.

@ Nancy, wouldn't it be "Don Jo?"

Ellen S 10:24 AM  

This felt like a Saturday to me. On the other hand:

I was a feminist and a peace activist in the 80s (still am, btw), and while feminists are a marginalized community and peace activists are also a minority, and feminist peace activists a tiny sect, you might say, nevertheless we made a fair amount of noise and “MISSILE ENVY” was very much in use. There are slang words in use this week which will be unheard 40 years from now by the generation yet unborn; doesn’t mean they aren’t “a thing.”

And TONTO - if it had been a “straightforward, factual clue” @Rex would have scathed it mercilessly, as overlooking the name’s insulting meaning in Spanish. I was surprised by OFL’s reaction. I thought he’d like the clue reminding us of the pervasive influence of racism and sexism in our culture. Maybe only he is allowed to acknowledge it, and anybody else tries, they get slapped down.

Linda R 10:26 AM  

@QuasiMojo 7:46 AM Why the hyphens in "tip of the tongue" as clued? It's hyphenated because it's an adjective phrase modifying the noun "phenomenon."

Ellen S 10:27 AM  

Oh, and thank you @Pete at the very beginning, regarding viscosity. I didn’t understand what you were saying, but I’d been thinking the same thing.

Teedmn 10:30 AM  

Even solving in AcrossLite wasn’t enough to slow me down. It just didn’t look like a Saturday puzzle with all of those black squares rather than the usual swaths of white space. Though it had the telltale jaws of themelessness (hi @M&A).

At least STARK[LY] showed up in the grid without a GoT clue :-).

My favorite answer was SHAKER. Why would separating the salt from the pepper make me smile? I haven't the RUNTIEST idea.

Thanks, BrianThomas.

Birchbark 10:31 AM  

@Nancy (9:49) -- The idea of Don Ho playing TONTO changes everything for the better.

As for SPA punk, I think some of the later spin-off iterations sort of went that direction in the '80s (e.g., Dali's Car post-Bauhaus, Tones on Tail post-Joy Division, I would even say the Style Council post-Jam). Yes, none of them were punk bands to begin with, but they were if you ask me. It's all good.

Every year I get up early on Thanksgiving and get the smoker going, first with lump charcoal, then with split oak and cherry wood. The turkey has been brining for a couple of days and gets a simple olive-oil+herb rub coating, so this is guaranteed to work (as long as we're patient and keep an eye on the internal temperature, which we are and do). Every year, it is the best turkey anyone has ever tasted. But I never OVEREAT because by the time the dinner is dissembling and I go up for thirds, my nephews have consumed every last scrap. I thought the problem could be solved by getting a bigger bird, but I was wrong.

In the best years, we have picked our own cranberries by putting on hip boots, wading out and climbing up on a secret bog, and filling our pails. The wild berries are smaller and more tart than store-bought. But sugar solves every problem ever invented, so that's really not an issue.

relicofthe60s 10:38 AM  

And now the mystery masked man was smart
He got himself a Tonto
'Cause Tonto did the dirty work for free
But Tonto he was smarter
And one day said, "Kemo sabe
Kiss my ass I bought a boat
I'm going out to sea"

— Lyle Lovett, “If I Had a Boat”

davidm 10:41 AM  

I got off to my usual slow Saturday start, but then, with only three down clues solved for 50 Across, on inspiration I wrote in I NEED SOME ADVICE, and after that, the entire south half of the puzzle crumpled like an outgunned army before the repeated artillery barrages of my terrible swift pen — always a nice feeling, especially on a Saturday. :)

The last redoubt was the pesky northwest, where I was stumped by the clues for 13 Across, thinking it had something to do with hairdos, and 2 Down, thinking it had something to do with baseball. Then I hit on OCTAVE, OCHO followed apace, and that was all she wrote. Much easier than the normal Saturday.

On a side note, yesterday I was in a plaza, solving the Friday Times puzzle, when a single sheet of paper capered up to my feet. It was the Sunday New York Post puzzle for Aug. 25, torn from the rest of the paper, and untrodden by either pencil or pen. It looked up at me with puppy-dog eyes and whimpered, “Please solve me.” So I did.

I was quite pleasantly surprised. The Post is a tabloid rag, aimed at dunderheads and filled with celebrity gossip, sexual innuendo and militant pro-Trump propaganda. I never read it, or do the puzzles. I figured this puzzle would be a snap, but it wasn’t. It also had five (long!) themers that were spot on, IMO. I had to finish solving it on my train ride to Coney Island. Maybe I’ll start picking up the Sunday post for the puzzle.

QuasiMojo 10:43 AM  

@Linda R. Perhaps but the actual tip of a tongue which presumably causes a lisp is not a phenomenon. It is just a part of the anatomy. And does not need hyphens. The memory syndrome is a phenomenon but it has nothing to do with lisping. So the play on words fails since they are not parallel constructions.

Wm. C. 10:44 AM  

@pablo8:04 --

Re: Your POSH with "smooth sailing starting" paragraph ...

The source of the English word POSH is relatively young, starting after the mid-1800s, when the British Crown ruled India, with British Subjects occupying most senior governmental posts.

When an Englander living in India decided to visit home prior to air conditioning, the "POSH" staterooms on the ship were on the left (port) side of the ship going to England, and on the right (starboard) side of the ship when returning to India. This was because there was less direct sunlight on those sides for most of the voyage, so they were cooler and more comfortable.

Thus the luxury ... POSH ... staterooms were Port Outward, Starboard Home.


RooMonster 10:45 AM  

Hey All !
Yep @Joe P, WEIRD how that happens! I had spoofS first in there until none of the crosses worked.

13A, Har. Wanted to out in DOS'S.

@Nancy, big laugh on your DON HO! Good stuff.

This started out slow as most SatPuzs for me, did get more answers than usual on the first pass through, though. But, it seemed easy in retrospect, as I finished in 23:25, which if not my record, it's prit near close. Before I knew it, the ENTIRE puz was filled!

@M&A gets a nice shout-out with RUNTIEST. He's had so many Runtz, it would be difficult to pick the RUNTIEST one.

Had Bon AMI messing me up for a bit. Ah, the Other Bon ___.
Knew a TANIKA once, so I threw that in on faith.
SWAB clue didn't seem like it needed its ?, right? I was thinking of shuffle or something with cards.
Snow-SKIS, a few other writeovers that I already mentioned, plus a few I've already forgotten!
Wanted BUDGE A pINCH first. :-) OOF was fun.

So a nice SatPuz that kept some brain cells from escaping. OKAYS.


What? 10:48 AM  

Easy, easy, easy. Finished it before finishing my coffee. Upset the day’s schedule.

aslightrain 10:59 AM  

Regarding 29A (1980s feminist coinage, etc.), Helen Caldicott's work was made possible by the ongoing struggle for equal rights for women which gained steam in the 60s-70s and faced increasing backlash during the 80s. Caldicott, like many other women in the 80s, advanced the cause of women by doing work they were passionate about and by rising above their critics. Caldicott was a peace activist who was inspired and empowered by the feminist theory and women's movements to take charge. At a time when 90% of world leaders were male, her work was often perceived and maligned as "feminist," but while Caldicott is certainly an inspiring figure for 21st century feminism to champion, it is not because of her work qua feminist but because she accomplished what her male opponents wouldn't.

It is hard to know the constructor's intentions, but minimal research by either constructor or editor would (or should) have made it clear that labeling the coinage "feminist" serves to undermine the work of Caldicott by repeating the smears of her detractors from the 80s.

excellent recommended short readings about Helen Caldicott:

Ellen S 11:04 AM  

Oh, and thank you @Pete at the very beginning, regarding viscosity. I didn’t understand what you were saying, but I’d been thinking the same thing.

jberg 11:05 AM  

@Nancy, I honestly thought you were pulling our collective leg by pretending to have put in DON HO. I mean, was/is he a classic TV character? Anyway, it's pretty much illegal to clue him without saying "tiny bubbles." But then I read your wonderful explanation for the mistake, the funniest comment here today. (Second funniest is @Ellen S., "I didn't understand what you were saying,but I'd been thinking the same thing.")

I knew there was a French tennis player called "the crocodile" who sold the use of his name to a clothing company -- but I couldn't remember which was the player and which the clothing line, so when the z in Izod wouldn't fit, I decided it must be some other, more recent player. It took a lot of crosses to bring me back.

@Z I see your point about the Perec entry. Probably you know this, but for those who didn't: he is most famous for his novel La Disparition (translated as A Void) in which the letter e does not appear anywhere. I haven't read it; I once started to read the English translation (quite a feat, since many French words without e are best translated by English words that have some --
as in the original title, literally The Disappearance.) This fact is so weird that it's hard to get it out of your head once it's in there. Patrick Berry once did this with a weekday puzzle, and we were all impressed.

I liked the puzzle, which wasn't all that fast for me, possibly because I was eating breakfast as I solved it.

Hack mechanic 11:05 AM  

Wanted "spare" An heir and a spare as the saying goes

Linda R 11:54 AM  

QuasiMojo 10:43 AM - Then maybe the issue is with the word "phenomenon." Whether it's called a phenomenon or something else, "tip of the tongue" is used as an adjective, so it's correct to hyphenate it, and I have to admit that the word "phenomenon" doesn't bother me even if it isn't 100% accurate.

Z 11:56 AM  

@jberg - Ahh. I didn’t realize PEREC was the “No E” guy. I think Berry’s pièce de résistance was as much a not so sly critique of the pangram as any sort of artistic statement, which is the best kind of artistic statement. I find the more typical constraints of sound and rhythm to be much more interesting than a forced constraint based on letters. The symbolism of having no E in a novel seems a little forced to me, but maybe it works. I doubt I will venture to find out, though.

Joe Dipinto 12:07 PM  

@Quasi 10:43 -- I'm not quite getting what you're saying. You would need the hyphens in both cases; without them it looks like "tongue phenomenon" is a thing that has a "tip". The hyphens clarify how to interpret the phrase.

Anonymous 12:10 PM  

I’m NOT a whiz at Saturday puzzles normally, and I view them mostly as a slog so I can congratulate myself on a week well done. But this was on the easy side and enjoyable too. I had some stumpers, but saw the puzzles with fresh eyes after yoga, and I kept SMALLEST for RUNTIEST for far too long. Though I hated some of the clues, the ones I liked made up for it: TESLA MOTORS, most of all. (And the fart story in the comments was good too.)

old timer 12:41 PM  

Thanks, @LMS, for struggling to the keyboard today, and I bet the Labor Day holiday will be quite welcome.

I found the puzzle to be quite easy, though as is often the case I got a foothold in the bottom, not the top.

I would so much like Kemosabe to be based on "que no sabe", Spanish for "that doesn't know." It's not, according to the excellent WIKI article on the word -- in fact Kee Mo Sahbe was the name of a boys' camp the author of the show went to, back when boys' camps often had Indian themes. But as you old timers know, Tonto was the smart one, compared to the Lone Ranger, so "that doesn't know" would have been a great nickname for Tonto to apply to the masked lawman. On TV he was played by Jay Silverheels, a Native American.

Anoa Bob 12:46 PM  

So the Lone Ranger and Tonto are out riding when they find themselves in a box canyon where the only way out is the way they came in. As they turn around to leave, a large group of heavily armed, menacing looking Indian warriors suddenly appears, blocking their path and making threatening gestures. The Lone Ranger turns to Tonto and says "I think we are in deep trouble here, Tonto." Tonto looks calmly at the Lone Ranger and says "Who's this 'We', pale face?"

Newboy 12:48 PM  

since I see Rex as a young whipper snapper who’s treading on my lawn, I differ with him on the 80s. I was young enough then to giggle at MISSLE ENVY when the term was prominent among my ☮️ crowd. Good memories that haven’t all gone up in legal in many states. The Times They Are achangin indeed. Thanks Trent for the stroll down memory ? (what’s a four letter word for where you wanna go). If you’re interested, here a link:
Missile Envy gives us a good look at the anti-nuclear peace movement of the mid 1980's. The author, Helen Caldicott, is an Australian physician devoted to preventing nuclear war with a religious passion. She argues that we must change our whole mindset to survive the nuclear age without a world ending war.

With this week’s creation of Space Force, let’s try to recall Santayana’s aphorism.

Yrhumble 12:56 PM  

Thanks to Brian Thomas for the completely enjoyable puzzle. Loved it, especially the cluing for octave.

Masked and Anonymous 1:09 PM  

Duct tape on a wart? RUNTIEST? Great stuff. themelessthUmbsUp.

"Apex predator" threw m&e, for some reason. Actually, the whole top half of the puz threw m&e off, for a snot-load of nanoseconds. PEREC?! All U smart folks who found it easy: I wish I had yer smarts and that U had duct tape on yer nose. Bottom puzhalf did go much better, at our house. Sooo … medium solvequest overall, here.

staff weeject pick: ACS. Plural abbrev meat.

TONTO really kicked ass in the Lone Ranger cliffhanger serial. Portrayed by Chief Thundercloud (stage name, but evidently he had more Mexican roots), he was a get-things-done, wily main character that really encouraged respect from the audience. Saved the Lone Ranger's butt, in at least every other episode's cliffhanger. Rode a horse at an apparent 60 mph. Just sayin.

fave stuff: Jaws of Themelessness (yo, @Teedmn). Duct tape clue. BITEMARK/TREX. BUDGEANINCH. RUNTIEST with BEERNUTs. STAMPOFAPPROVAL.

Thanx for the feisty/friendly SatPuz, Mr. Thomas. Good job.

Masked & AnonymoUUs


Chip Hilton 1:22 PM  

“Women. Can’t live with ‘em, pass the BEERNUTs.”

Norm Peterson

Anonymous 1:33 PM  

I don't know if anyone is still reading. At 8:00 a.m. I raised the possibility that the name Tonto came through an Italian, not a Spanish, filter, and that there might be some irony in the name, since at least in the TV series he was not portrayed as stupid. At 9:33 a.m. Ceci ("beans") noted that the Italian "tonto" did mean stupid, sort of, but was not grossly offensive. I think Ceci knows Italian better than I do, and I had not thought of that sort of nuance. I now wonder if the name Tonto was a way of playing into the "learned ignorance" (docta ignorantia) genre, which has an esteemed provenance, from the Ship of Fools to Erasmus's Praise of Folly to Dostoevski's Idiot to Forrest Gump. If Tonto is a "learned fool," meant to be a sympathetic figure, then we can debate whether such portrayals are progressive, offensive, etc. I don't like them (or at least those post-Erasmus)--but then I couldn't stand Forrest Gump, a figure whom many evidently took to.

Anon. i.e. Poggius

QuasiMojo 1:33 PM  

@Joe et al. Sorry. I'm too tongue-tied to try and explain my very minor point. If it works for you all, then fine. It's just the tip of the iceberg of my complaints with the puzzle. :)

Anonymous 1:44 PM  

@William C - Etymologist are universally dismissive of your POSH explanation. Further, if you look at the 18th and 19th century sailing routes between the two, you'll see that they are mostly north / south as the go around the south of Africa. There is very little difference in the distance travelled in the southern portion of the trip vs the northern portion, making the notion that being on the East side vs the West side virtually immaterial.

kitshef 1:45 PM  

Certainly nothing Tuesday-ish about it for me. Unknowns like PEREC and TANIKA would have seen to that. But I too fell into the eCHO trap, and if you don't know PEREC, PeSTO_ is impossible. So basically, the amount of time Rex took on his whole puzzle, I spent on just the NW corner, and finished with an error (eCHO/PeSTOP) to boot.

Evan 2:02 PM  

Bafflingly easy, I thought. 4:08, a minute under my previous Saturday best. This one felt to me almost like a Tuesday.

RavTom 3:04 PM  

RENE LACOSTE was not a fashion icon. The shirt he produced was.

Birchbark 3:09 PM  

In my backward trek through the Archives, I just reached a Saturday best (6:14) on the August 7, 2004 puzzle. Under 10:00 is rare for me on Saturdays, with par being 13:00 - 18:00 (today's was 13:11).

There are different views about whether the older puzzles are easier or harder than today's. Certainly we see lots of unapologetic Naticks and proper nouns (or PPP, in the parlance of our time) in the older puzzles. I also think that there was less rigor around the easy-to-difficult Monday --> Saturday progression. That would explain why these days, the best and worst-case scenarios on a Saturday are fairly predictable time-wise. But on the older ones, I can spend 45 minutes on one Saturday and break my personal record with a 6:14 on the next.

If anyone else is inclined to do 8/7/04 puzzle, I would be interested in whether you also found it unusually easy or whether I just got lucky.

Anonymous 5:40 PM  

As I understand it, no direct experience, if one does the puzzle with any of the on-line apps it's the case that the app signals right/wrong on each answer on entry. Thus one can, speedily if one types so, bang away at possible answers without worrying about erasing or generating a full box ink spot. Such times are bogus.

Z 6:01 PM  

@Anon5:40 - Most apps have a setting that will highlight errors. Whether or not the feature is on or off is totally up to the solver. If, though, you are trying to improve, I would suggest turning that setting off.

Kathy D. 6:07 PM  

Completely agree about Tonto. It shouldn't have been put in the puzzle, but if the constructor had to do it, then a correct, sensitive clue should have been used. But best to find another word to fill the space.

Missile envy: had trouble with that one. I was a women's rights activist in the 1980's and don't remember that phrase. It's not the most politically astute phrase for a nuclear arms race. It's not why nuclear weapons are built, i.e., envy. That's so simplistic. Find another fill.

Anonymous 6:51 PM  

TONTO should be replaced with APU.

O’Brien 7:17 PM  

All unpleasant words and phrases should be excluded from the puzzle.

Doc John 9:24 PM  

The last line in the Steely Dan song, "Only a Fool Would Say That:"
(laughing) then spoken: Solamente un TONTO diría eso.
So there's another way to use the word.

Anonymous 8:37 AM  

Where’d you get that shirt label photo “Izod Lacoste.” That’s old (70’s or 80’s). And it’s why Americans call Lacoste shirts Izods. At the time Lacoste shirts were marketed in the US by Izod. No longer. The shirts just say Lacoste today. And Rene Lacoste, on court, was known as The Crocodile. So the emblem is a crocodile, not an alligator. And Izod shirts have their own emblem today. Sorry if someone already noted this. Syndicated solver. BTW, how is “ropy” the answer to “viscous”?

spacecraft 12:30 PM  

After a slow (PIANO, har) start, I decided to use a HOMEREMEDY--though not that one--and was underway. Yes, the NW fell first, wonder of wonders. Don't know if I've ever seen an actually "easy" SatPuz, but this one came as close as any. Easy-medium, I say. MISSILEENVY: not heard, but inferable, with those obvious phallic symbols ATREST in their silos.

Most of the current Rexblog contingent being tennis buffs, they had a leg up on me for the centerpiece. I was PIECING it together down by down. Still, the cluing was mostly ONTHELEVEL and I *didn't* NEEDSOMEADVICE. Guess, like I said yesterday, I'm getting KEENER at this. DOD contenders TANIKA and ETTA forgot about 1-across! POSH Spice, Victoria Beckham, steals the sash today. Birdie.

Anonymous 12:50 PM  

39D is clearly wrong as Victoria was the NIECE of King William IV who had no children and Elizabeth II is the NIECE of Edward VIII who similarly was childless so they in fact were in the direct line of succession in those cases.

leftmost 3:18 PM  

Took some time, but a Saturday solve is always worth it, and this one was just that.

Key to this one were the two grid-spanners and the tri-stack in the middle. Have to like the clever MISSILEENVY. The two long downs linking all those long acrosses were helpful too.

Resisted the crossword-staple EKES, but the unknown TANIKA sealed the deal.

Last letters in were the "C" in PEREC and the "P" in ROPY. ("Viscous" is ROPY? Huh.)

Wordplay of the day: OCTAVE as "Strech between two pitches".

rainforest 4:04 PM  

First entries were POSH and RENE LACOSTE, and the puzzle went more or less easy/medium from there. There seemed to be more straight-forward clues than you usually see on a Saturday, but then there were a few devious ones as well. Nice variety, is what I'm saying.

My only slowdown was at the PIECING/PEREC cross. Other than that everything fell together smoothly. I liked MISSILE ENVY which made sense given the context. Also liked INVASIVE, MEDS, and RUSTS. I thought "OOh" fit the clue better that OOF, but of course it couldn't be.

Basically fun today.

Burma Shave 4:21 PM  


and I'll TAKEIT ENTIREly, pronto.
this BITEMARK I got from TONTO?


rondo 4:42 PM  

I had an itsY mistake that became EENY, otherwise pretty EZ. Not one peep about MAO?!? - responsible for vast numbers of deaths with estimates ranging from 30 to 70 million victims through starvation, prison labour and mass executions.(wiki quote there) Makes other autocrats seem tame by comparison.

TONTO punchline: "Sorry Kemosabe, doctor say you gonna die."

By a landslide, yeah baby POSH Spice.

EZ, TAKEIT or leave it. I'll TAKEIT.

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