Shared delusion from French / SAT 8-17-19 / Maternity option involving pool

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Constructor: Michael Hawkins

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (somewhere in the 7s, and that's with the timer going for at least 30 seconds before I even started, and with me reading some of the clues aloud to my wife, and also I've had four drinks ... so it must be easyish)

THEME: none

Word of the Day: FOLIE À DEUX (58A: Shared delusion, from the French) —
Folie à deuxshared psychosis, or shared delusional disorder is a psychiatric syndrome in which symptoms of a delusional belief and sometimes hallucinations are transmitted from one individual to another. The same syndrome shared by more than two people may be called folie à troisfolie à quatrefolie en famille ("family madness"), or even folie à plusieurs ("madness of several"). (wikipedia)
• • •

Hi from NYC, where I am holed up in a hotel on the Upper West Side trying to crank out a blog post before I pass out from exhaustion. Been a long day—drive over the Beacon, then train down, then walk from Grand Central to hotel to Harlem (so a Lot of walking) and then a big meal and lots of wine and then a subway down to Chelsea for a margarita with other friends, and then another bar one block over where literally dozens of crossword people were already hanging out, and another beer, and so much loud talking (over the music) that now voice is messed up, and then a subway back to the hotel. And here I sit. Oh, right, I'm here in NYC for Lollapuzzoola crossword tournament tomorrow—probably should've led with the context. Four drinks is three drinks more than I normally have so things might be a little shaky tonight. This puzzle felt good, though maybe that's just because I was expecting to do terrible and instead I crushed it. Neither my wife nor I likes SCREENAGER *at all*—first I'm hearing it, boo (17A: Modern young person vis-à-vis video games and smartphones). It sounds like SCREAMAGER, and also it describes ... like, nothing. Look around. Everyone's a SCREENAGER. Stop.

I will take any opportunity I can to mention the fact that I was the first person to put AMY POEHLER in a crossword. This is one such opportunity. I feel like this puzzle either got real easy or real hard depending on where you come down on the FOLIE À DEUX question. Me, I got it off the "F"—leapt right to mind. The whole SE corner actually felt like a Monday or Tuesday to me. The NW (where I started) was probably the toughest to get. All the other long answers fell really quickly. Not too much crosswordese today. Just ANYA, a handy name to know. Oh, and MERL, which, I'm sure, is, in fact, a "Blackbird" but which should, by law, always have to be clued via the late great crossword constructor/editor MERL Reagle (whom you know if you saw "Wordplay," or the "Simpsons" episode about crosswords, both of which he was in). I need to sleep so I can solve puzzles tomorrow. Byyye.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:33 AM  

Mostly easy. My problem was hAST before WAST for a tad too long. Fortunately hATER BIRTH is not a thing, although it could explain some dysfunctional parent child relationships.

We vacationed on ORCAS Island a few years ago, a lovely place.

Solid, liked it.

I’ve been working my way through the archived Saturday puzzles. I’m up to 2005 which is the year before I started doing the NYT on a daily basis. If you’d like something a bit tougher I’d recommend Patrick Berry’s April 23, 2005 offering.

puzzlehoarder 1:08 AM  

Tougher than yesterday's solve. I wish I could say it's was as successful but I dnfed with ERIS in place of IRIS. While both of them are gods and the "messenger" angle is pretty obscure it was the off looking ELEAS that had me anticipating a dnf for that square. A little more imagination and common sense would have gone a long way there.

Andy Church 1:16 AM  

Thanks. Fun puzzle. Totally agree re SCREENAGER, but thank the stars it was predictable. Enjoy NYC!!

Samuel 1:31 AM  

SW took me a very long time, mostly bc I don’t know much if any 20th century poetry. Lots of nice words there, tho, and I was moved to read for the first time a very fine poem.
I thought there were creative clues and good, fresh fill throughout. Agree that it somehow felt easy for a Friday, even with my getting pretty firmly stuck.

After yesterday’s tempest over the male gaze in crossword form, I figure you owe NYT equally fervent praise for today’s feminine hue. STILLIRISE, HERSTORY, AMYPOEHLER (which you only saw as a reason to pat yourself on the back), WATERBIRTH, IRIS, TERM. Not even a mention! I guess credit is less fun than outrage.
I’d say both are equally valid and entertaining, and certainly both are harmless.

Larry Gilstrap 1:36 AM  

OFL gets rolled in NYC. Film at 11:00. Just kidding! I love being in Manhattan.

I'm hirsute. I had nothing to do with it. Me and Nixon were cursed with the Five O'clock Shadow. When my BEARD became distinct, people would say. "Oh, you're growing a BEARD." No, I'm just not shaving. Get the difference?

I really wanted ACOLYTES from the get-go, but Capone's face was scared and my push over was a patsy and thank goodness for erasers. I felt very smart when it actually fell in. Trust the puzzle!

I'm old enough to remember when honesty was a virtue. I was reading some political commentary from the mid-nineteenth century and the author kept remarking about Lincoln's meticulous obsession with honesty. In a modern text, I just read today that "everybody lies." Really? I don't, but am I an outlier? I guess an HONEST WAGE would involve an employer playing by the rules and only taking his fair share of the profits.

Seth Bourque 1:56 AM  

I went with screamager at first.

Cory Calhoun 2:06 AM  

Re: SCREENAGER, from the Crossword Fiend blog:

"As a middle school teacher, I can verify that SCREENAGER is not only a thing, it’s the title of a movie that we’ve started showing yearly to parents to help them deal with their screen-addicted kids."

albatross shell 2:33 AM  

It must be easy because I got through it only about 12 rex's. My finish was with PERRY ELLIS cause what I know about fashion designers I know from CWs or thrift store labels and was looking for a French or Italian name. And damn it was one I knew.

I got some long ones fairly quickly. WATERBIRTH. SMARTwager to SMART MONEY when the Y showed up. FOODSTAPLE. livingWAGE to HONESTWAGE when the T appeared. AIRportHUB to AIRLINEHUB when the E got there.

Loved the clue for PLAYOFFS. I was thinking offramps until the OFF came in at the wrong end and then turnOFFS until the Y came in. Oh sports, not trucks. What fun.
Great clue for EASTER too. And ROGET again. Might need a synonym for him soon.

BLUE SEXY is a nice pair and vice versa.

Last long one in was SCREENAGER, and I thoroughly enjoyed the joke, even if if Rex is right and everyone is doing it even my own preSCREENAGER grandchildren included. To quote yesterday's comment: The world we live in.

chefwen 3:17 AM  

@jae, ditto on hAST at 1D, kept in in til the bitter end, never came across WAST before but WATER BIRTH sounded right. As Butterly McQueen said in Gone With the Wind “I don’t know nothin bout birthing babies!”

Had COddle in at 43D which messed me up for a while, ORCAS set me on the right path.

Nice puzzle, a little easier than yesterday's.

Loren Muse Smith 4:23 AM  

This one played really, really hard for me. Putting in “coddle” for COSSET (Hi, @chefwen) and “opener” for EASTER caused all kind of trouble, but I finally sorted everything out and finished.

Loved the clue for ROGET. Loved it. Hah. He also won’t let boys be boys. Won’t call a spade a spade.

Larry – the first sentences of your memoir: Call me Frizzmale. Some years ago - never mind how long precisely - having little or no bare skin on my body, and nothing particular to interest gals on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and seek the hairier part of the world.

“Dishevel” is one of those words with a non-detachable prefix. Your hair can be disheveled, but you can’t whip out a COMB and shevel it. But BUT . . . I’ve looked into this, and it seems that dis actually comes from French des, so it’s not really related to the dis in, say, disbelief, but still.

@jae and @chefwen – your “haterbirth” made me laugh.

@Samuel – I keep going back and looking at your observation, “credit is less fun than outrage.” Ain’t That the truth.

The clue for LITHE made me pause. “Pliant” and LITHE feel like cousins more than synonyms. Like, you’re pliant only if some other agent swoops in and bends you around, whereas you don’t need any help to prove you’re lithe. A steel cable can be pliant but not lithe. Hey – probably my own misunderstanding/misuse of the words. Forgive me.

It’s funny how grumpy people get with these brilliant portmanteau coinages. I don’t understand the aversion to SCREENAGER. It’s brilliant and spot-on. For me, just learning this word this morning was worth the price of admission. Walk through the cafeteria during lunch, and you’ll see 100 kids sitting there at crowded tables, each utterly alone in their personal cyberdrama.

Anytime I’m shown a new word like this, I look around the grid imagining other possibilities. “Followers of the Man of 12,000 Lies” – Whackolytes. And before you come at me enraged, please know that my family, my immediate family, is full of them. They’re currently buying parkas and stuff for vacations in Nuuk.

TAM took me back to fifth grade - I went through a phase where I sported a jaunty tam every day. And an exotic crocheted poncho Mom and Dad brought me back from Spain. Where does that self-assurance go? That courage to wear what you like, however ridiculous, because it makes you feel terrific? By middle school I had abandoned my own sense of style to frantically study Barbara W and her posse for all the fashion proscriptions and prescriptions of a cool 7th grade preenager.

Happily I’m old enough now to be back to not worrying about people’s opinions of my clothes. I overdress every day for school. You don’t like my Jackie-O sheaths and pantyhose? Sorrynotsorry. I may be a SOFTY weenie struggling teacher, but by God I’m dressed up and sheveled.

Hungry Mother 5:08 AM  

Stared at a lot of blank squares and then went through it fairly quickly. BEaT instead of BELT for a few minutes. Way on he easy side with only coffee to drink.

chefwen 5:17 AM  

@Loren, when I lived in Scotland as a young girl I attended a small, all girls school called Broomly School and proudly sported a brown TAM with a green crest with the initials BS. Hated that uniform, but at the age of five I had no idea what BS meant. Now I think it’s cute.

Teedmn 6:51 AM  

While Michael Hawkins hardly COSSETed us, this wasn't all that hard in the abstract, though I certainly set no speed records. WAST and the clue for ROE are definitely "hold the nose" entries, along with SCARRY. That was my first thought on 11D and I just said no until I had to concede to it.

ScAM first at 11A had me wondering if 12D was going to do with cONEy Island, (Fair, sort of? Maybe not). But it did give me the idea of using "Fair pay" in conjunction with carnys somehow though I can't think of a real phrase that would work.

I sure don't associate the Biblical ISAAC with laughter. More like [s]laughter (thanks, Simpsons!)

My first entry for 4D, was "tweezers" as an irritant remover but I couldn't think of any Baldwin named Zach.

Nice Saturday puzzle, thanks Michael.

@JC66, see you at Lollapuzzoola? You probably know what I look like from my email avatar.

Teedmn 7:07 AM  

@LMS, thank goodness "opener" never occurred to me for EASTER - great mistake! And I knew a well-educated woman who pronounced disheveled as dis-heeveled, not knowing about the non-detachable prefix. For once, I wasn't the mispronouncer.

Anonymous 7:26 AM  

Was this puzzle put in the wrong pile or something? It seems to be extremely easy for Saturday. When I got to 37D, Boulder location, I saw that Colorado fit and first thought that no way could such an obvious answer be used in a Saturday puzzle.

Am I missing something with the clue to 56D, "poofy bit of headgear"? Poof was an offensive term even before political correctness had been invented.

Anon. i.e. Poggius

amyyanni 7:28 AM  

Much more satisfying than yesterday's. Also stuck on semis as trucks for too long: I should know better! East side of the puzzle played much easier, even with knowing Seattle is a hub and the poem. Fun start to Saturday. Now off for 4 hour trail adventure with friends.

QuasiMojo 7:58 AM  

Sounds like everyone is having a lot more fun than I am. It's been raining non-stop for nearly a month and I'm going stir-crazy. I wish I had stayed in Maine. But such is life.

I found this puzzle curiously quirky (SCARRY is a word?) tough and fun but I finished 17 minutes faster than my average time. Go figure.

My first entry was Sperm Donor for 1A. Way wrong.


Folie à Deux is a shared state of psychosis. Not merely delusions. Don't we all share those?

Never heard of Amy Poehler. But I knew ANYA Seton.

My jaw drops more when I see teenagers and millennials typing with their thumbs. So I wanted Thumb Agers. Which reminds me of something that happened the other day. I went into my favorite cafe and saw a group of four older people seated quietly at a table. They all had something in their hands which they stared at intently so I assumed they were playing cards. Think Cezanne. But as I got closer I saw that they were all bent over reading their smart phones. Folie à quatre.

kitshef 8:13 AM  

Naticked by ELIAS/IRIS cross (hi, @puzzlehoarder). I could moan about the clue for IRIS in particular, but hey, it’s Saturday.

Puzzle seemed determined to irritate me with the clues for ARE YOU SURE and IM LOST, but balanced it out with FOLIE A DEUX, SMART MONEY, STILL I RISE.

The only ANYA I want to know about is a certain ex-vengeance demon.

Samuel 8:19 AM  

@teedmn Isaac is named after laughter because Sarah laughs out loud when the angel promises a child to her and Abraham despite her being in her 90s. The slaughter of course comes after Isaac is born.

@lorenmusesmith - I had the same reservation about pliant/lithe. I always strongly associate lithe with aesthetic notions about grace and form, whereas pliability only connects to an objective physical quality of bendiness (maybe it’s a relative quality of bendiness, like objects on yesterday’s Mohs scale). Your observation on agency seems right - a gymnast is lithe, but Stretch Armstrong is pliant. Although I imagine to a rough sort of giant, a gymnast might also be pliant due to their litheness.

Suzie Q 8:39 AM  

A tad on the easy side but plenty of fun. Nice misdirection at times. Some of the trickiness was looking for it when the straightforward answer was the correct one. An example was the Baldwin clue. Could it really be one of those brothers? Surely not. I was thinking that a Saturday answer might involve a piano.
Scarry was the worst answer. As I recall, Capone had only one scar.
Screenager makes me sad. I love my computer for the ready availability of information but I do not have and do not want a smart phone. Whatever I need can wait until I get home. The self-imposed isolation while in the company of other humans does not bode well for our future. I will live the rest of my life being an anachronism in a tam, cloche, or whatever hat suits me that day. Dressing to please yourself is one of the benefits of growing old.
The review today was pleasantly rant free.

GILL I. 8:47 AM  

Comme ci, come ca..or as the Spaniards say, com si com sa. This is how my solving went. A bit here, a bit there. Needed a lot of patience. I immediately said to myself that I needed to get on Michael's SCREENAGER wavelength. It's amazing what you remember because you've done lots of puzzles. ARCO, my first entry.
Took my time and letters emerged. From TREK/TASKS to WATER BIRTH/HER something or other. I had CHEST instead of TORSO for 24A so that was my first hold-up. Take your time....Erase....look again. Think!. Oh, so it's HER STORY and the trunk is TORSO. And so it went. This is how you do a Saturday puzzle. You can't rush. I'd fail at the ACTP tournament and quite possible at the Lolla whatever. You brainiacs think of time. I don't. I'd rather canoodle...if permitted.
I rather enjoyed this puzzle. The best this week - so far. I have to admit, though, I've never met an HONEST WAGE. I also don't know my poetry since STILL RISE took all of the crosses. FOLIE ADEUX was also new to me even though I know a teensy bit of French.
WATER BIRTH is interesting. I believe the French were the ones who pushed women to go this route. Its been around for a long time but just the thought that your new born could drown might be off putting. They don't of course - but just the thought. Seeing "Jaws" did it for me.
There's a wine called FOLIE ADEUX. We can share our psychotic disorder.

Z 8:59 AM  

See, it ain’t so hard. Women exist and can do things like write poetry, do comedy, be novelists, you know, be more than just their breasts. And look, we still get Leonard NIMOY, ELIAS Canetti, and ALEC Baldwin. It is actually possible for a man to construct an inclusive puzzle and no male egos needed to be hurt in the process. I’m not sure any sort of “credit” is deserved. I didn’t rob the bank, you should say thank you. I didn’t grope the women I supervise, give me credit. I do appreciate that many men are not myopic, self-absorbed, assholes. I don’t think anyone has to thank us for being baseline decent humans.

Hand up for needing to fix hATER BIRTH, which reminded me of “that guy” from one of my birthing classes. We men were there to learn how to be supportive to our partners as they go through what is still the single most dangerous activity women do in their lives. Most of us listened, asked appropriate questions, were generally focused on the needs of our partners. “That guy,” though, was totally focused on how hard it was going to be for him to watch the BIRTH. Mom-to-be spent as much time comforting him in class as anything else. If ever there was a recipe for an eventual hATER BIRTH, it was that couple. It’s 26 years later and I still remember “that guy” and shake my head.

No problem with SCREEN AGER other than my usual bemusement at people worried about teens and what they do. Rock and Roll is the new pornography, comic books are too violent, video games are polluting young minds. We call it “screen addiction” and get ourselves in a lather. Meanwhile, teen pregnancy and substance abuse are at some of the lowest rates ever since we started tracking. Woe is us.

Nancy 9:17 AM  

My NYT is very, very late being delivered {Grrrrr} so I haven't received the puzzle yet and probably won't be able to post until much later -- assuming I get the paper at all. Since half of Sunday is delivered with Saturday, I don't yet have tomorrow's puzzle either.

But just wanted to let you know that I have a letter to the editor in the paper today. It's not political, so people of all political persuasions can read it without being upset. As for my frustration in having this be the edition I haven't gotten -- you have no idea.

Talk to y'all later -- with any luck in much better humor.

IrishCream 9:42 AM  

This one was nicely in my Amy Poehler, folie à deux came easily, and with two kids in elementary school, “screenager” is a word I’ve come across many times!

Anonymous 9:59 AM  

John Carreyrou used FOLIEADEUX to describe the infamous Silicon Valley frauds, Elizabeth Holmes and her lover Sunny Balwani, in his book Bad Blood. I'd never heard the phrase before, but for some reason it stuck in my mind and I got it right away.

TJS 10:03 AM  

Well, I've been begging for harder puzzles, and this one kicked my ass. Every time I got some Big Mo going I ran into a brick wall. Dont know if it's my hangover this morning or what, but I just could not connect with the clues or get any hints from the fill. Actually started using "reveal word" with about 8 blanks remaining. The odd thing is, when I finally was given all the answers, I had no complaints. Amazed that so many commenters had no problems. I guess the wheelhouse effect is in full force today.

Joe Dipinto 10:13 AM  

@Nancy -- you have the lead-off letter, just so you know. Quite amusing, though I didn't read the piece last Sunday.

This puzzle had some hard cluing, imo. The whole right side fell in pretty easily, but some spots on the left almost made me think 42d.

I've been used to havin' someone to lean on
And I'm lost, baby, I'm lost

But I kept on keepin' on. We've had "starry" in that northeast section twice recently, and today we get "scarry". But there's no painting called "The Scarry Night" at MoMA. Have fun at Lollapuzzoola, those who are going. Or who are already there by now, I guess. Too far of a schlep uptown for me.

David 10:21 AM  

The kids who spend all their time codifying a new hierarchy of oppression spell it "hixtory" and pronounce it "herstory." Because, you know, "x" is the new equalizer or something.

It's interesting to read Mr. "If I don't know it it's not a thing" call the Newburg-Beacon Bridge (aka the Hamilton Fish Bridge) "the Beacon." I was growing up sailing on the Hudson when that bridge was built (the original one, not the replacement). I've driven over it 1000s of times. Nobody I know, ever, has referred to it as "the Beacon."

I had SC and ER and saw the clue for 17A and thought, "what's the most stupid locution a person could dream up for this?", aha! "screenager," of course! Is that as bad as "tweens?" I think so.

Pretty easy puzzle, not much to say about it except to point out to Mr. Shortz, for the second time in two days(!) Peter Roget was NOT an author. Stop using that clue. Lexicographer is not synonymous with author. Linguist, compiler, synonymist, neologist, sure. Author? No freakin' way. But perhaps "auxthor" would work.

Nancy 10:35 AM  

Seemed really easy in the NW but then got hard. COddle instead of COSSET threw me off in the SW and MeSS instead of MUSS threw me off in the SE. Also had COLT/PATSY before CALF/SOFTY. Must add MERL to my list of blackbirds, which so far include only crows and ravens. It would have made life easier in the AIRLINE HUB/STILL I RISE section. Was tempted to cheat on ELIAS Canetti, but didn't and solved the puzzle cleanly, I'm happy to say -- after a very late start in which my NYT was delivered three hours late. But at least it was delivered. It would have been a shame if it hadn't been as this is a very nice themeless.

jberg 10:42 AM  

1A seemed like it had to be WATER BIRTH, but I always think of it as "underWATER BIRTH," so I was reluctant to put it in -- but ARCO and TERM were enough confirmation. At the opposite corner, I got FOLIE A DEUX from the X, the opposite of Rex -- don't think I would have seen it from the F alone.

Fortunately, there's a PERRY ELLIS shirt somewhere in the back of my closet -- I haven't worn it in 20 years, but I haven't done the KonMari tidying on that particular closet, so I'm not sure if it would still spark joy.

And yeah, MERL. Got it OK, it's technically correct, but usually has a silent E at the end, and is really obscure. Good thing there were easy crosses.

@Loren, where I grew up (NE WI) we called the first day of a hunting season "opening day;" OPENER was more or less reserved for the first game of the (then) Milwaukee Braves. Good be regional, or could be bad memory on my part! (60 years ago).

Z 10:44 AM  

@TJS - For me there are a series of strategies I’ve used when late week puzzles stymie me. As you go down the list the first ones are most helpful in getting better.

1. Looking for endings - S, ED, ER, EST - this will often given a helpful crossing answer or point to a possible mistake.
2. Look for noun/verb/adjective confusion
3. Look for possible alternative/less usual meanings and capitalization confusion
4. Run vowels in likely spots. Sometimes a vowel will shake something loose

5. Set the puzzle aside for a few minutes (it’s amazing how often the opaque becomes clear when I stop thinking about a clue)
All of these strategies have helped me get better - the ones below are when I’ve surrendered to a DNF.

6. Look PPP up. I often have to resort to this one on the Stumper. The thing with late week trivia is that it doesn’t often appear enough so looking up ELIAS Canetti may be interesting, but we aren’t likely to see him soon enough for this little piece of trivia to stick.

7. If I’m solving online using an online cheat. In my experience this relieves my frustration but doesn’t really help me with future solves. This is one of the reasons I don’t like solving online, it’s too easy to give into temptation, whereas if I just put the puzzle down for awhile I might still manage to solve it on my own.

RooMonster 10:47 AM  

Hey All !
Really tough for me today, so I figured Rex would rate it Easy. And indeed he did. But all y'all are also saying it was easy? I'm gonna stand with @TJS in the butt-kicked corner. Because my rear is a bit sore.

Copious amounts of Check Puz feature, just to restart my stopped progress. Had to Reveal Word for ELIAS, as was never going to get that name. Said IM LOST with the Natick cross of STILL I RISE and MERL. Other failed attempts at answers too numerous to remember. Puzs like this to me are no fun. Oh well, first world problems all that.

WAST a weird one. IRIS who? 9D clue peregrination wha? 'Nother Natick SE at two (to me) obscure words COSSET/FOLIEADEUX. BLUE for risqué straight out of the 1920's.

So a MUSS of a puz here. But WHO cares? Gonna stop being a SCREENAGER now and get on with my day.


Carola 10:51 AM  

Solved top to bottom at no-wake speed = easy for a Saturday. Lots of nice scenery to enjoy along the way - a WATER BIRTH at TERM, along with the similarly liquid EYEBATHS; HONEST WAGE + SMART MONEY, FOLIE A DEUX; the cross of the coinings SCREENAGER and HERSTORY. I knew both ANYA and ELIAS but have read only one. Hint: as a teen.

Re: ORCAS over FOOD STAPLE. The other evening NPR reported, "The southern resident killer whales that live off the coast of Washington state are hungry, because there are fewer and fewer of the salmon they depend on."

QuasiMojo 10:57 AM  

I knew MERL as a blackbird from the character "Madame Merle" in "Portrait of a Lady." James was quite particular about his characters' names. And hers fit her well.

@Nancy, I hadn't seen the article your letter refers to but I have a sense your response to it was more amusing and enlightening.

Dorothy Biggs 11:02 AM  

I'm with Rex. Especially in NYC where you are in close proximity to people face to face, do you see that people of all ages are addicted to the screens on their phones. In suburbia, just glance over at the people around you at a stoplight (or in some cases the freeway), and you'll see people scrolling through or thumb typing ("thyping"?) on their phones. Where I live they have made holding your phone while driving illegal no matter the reason. Spoiler alert: it doesn't stop people at all. It is a pandemic that affects people of pretty much all ages, and I think there is science behind why. There is a fun little Black Mirror episode about it called "Smithereens."

I remember PERRY ELLIS cologne. Some college male friends of mine would go to Dillards and look interested in the colognes then ask the person behind the counter for free samples. See also, Lagerfeld. Ah, those were the days. The smell of those (see also also Dakkar) gives me all the feels for those guys.

"Maternity option involving a pool." I wanted something to do with an office pool and the birth date of a coworker.

"Not pulling my leg?" AREYOUSURE doesn't seem like the right equivalent. The former is a question about someone intentionally making something up, the latter is about someone saying something that could be wrong unintentionally.

"Start from the beginning" I wanted some foreign language answer there, namely "da capo" or "a priori" or something fancy. IMLOST seems off too.

"Something scratched." I had NOse from the beginning...I guess I was lost.

xyz 11:20 AM  

MERL - Scottish Blackbird

Sydney 12:03 PM  

The answer scarry reminded me of the children’s book author Richard Scarry. My son Jack was born in 1976 and over the next few years I read many Scarry books to him. There was one about professions and almost all of the illustrations featured men. So my son’s feminist mom got out her colored pencils and rectified the situation, adding hair as needed. Jack and his little sister, no doubt influenced by the new improved Scarry book, grew up to be fine people.

Newboy 12:15 PM  

@Quasimojo, I’m liking that “thumb ager” ; apt both for my arthritis text impaired digits and the grandsons fixation with any screen large or small 😉 In all honesty, I must admit to reading anything short of Harlequin Romance which was no better as character flaws go. My solve kept the world in balance from Rex’s experience; NW filled itself off the “too” easy 1A while the SE gave fits before surrendering. Pleased that yesterday’s cryptic clueing of ROGET stuck around for a reprise. As Yogi would say, “It’s deja vu all over again.”

nyc_lo 12:27 PM  

Easy-medium? Yikes. This was really tough, at least for someone semiliterate like me, for whom STILLIRISE and FOLIEADEUX were complete stumpers. Throw in MERL, an obscure Nobel laureate, and some clunkers like SCARRY and BUNTER, and this one was fairly torturous.

pabloinnh 12:50 PM  

Once a there was a MERL who had a home in an ATLE next to an ADIT, right in the middle of a crossword puzzle dictionary, which used to be a thing but no longer exists because internet. Today I discover that he is Scottish, thanks to @the redanman.

Also today I learned how Amy spells her last name, after some experimentation. And learned SCREENAGER, a word I could have used, sadly, when I was still teaching.

Oye GILL I--did you see that ARCO and IRIS are both here? (Put them together and you have the lovely Spanish word for "rainbow".)

One of those nice Saturdays that feels like it's going nowhere and then starts to make sense and finally, a nice ta-da! and you're done and you look around for applause, none, so instead you feel smug, for which thanks to MH.

Off this PM to play at another assisted living facility. I don't think we'll do "Scarry Night".

Missy 1:08 PM  

Get up on the wrong side of the futon today?

oldactor 1:34 PM  

@nancy: Put ani on your blackbird list.

"Glossy black long-tailed bird of the cuckoo family".

TJS 1:47 PM  

@Z, Thanks. I'm hip to your first five steps, esp. #5. In my paper-solving days, I could have a puzzle laying around for a month waiting for a flash of inspiration. Now that I am 6 months out of the country every year (no more Chicago winters) I have gone totally to on-line solving. And for some reason I just use check puzzle if I am PPP stumped or something I deem too obscure to waste my time on, rather than let the puzzle simmer for days. But today's experience was a real rarity, I would say I'm about 90 per cent successful without any help, but I don't mind getting whacked once in a while. Now off to try the suggested Patrick Berry from the archives.

gharris 2:20 PM  

Congratulations, enjoyed your letter. NYTimes should offer you a guest column. Brought to mind a poem I once wrote.
Most everything today is recorded so
nothing need ever be missed, even when
happening at the same time. Big games, long
speeches, royal weddings, funerals of
state, old movies, history as told by Ken Burns.
Problem is, I sometimes lose track of reality.
Is this happening now or is it already past?
Has the game ended or is it still being played?
Is there still a chance or has the ledger been
closed? Am I acting or dreaming? Doing or
reviewing? Has my fate been sealed or remain
on the line? Am I still at risk or safely home?

Hack mechanic 2:30 PM  

Cue Hitch Hikers Guide!

Chris 2:53 PM  

I am in the minority, I guess, as it played hard for me, although I was not giving my undivided attention.
@anon/poggius 7:26, as someone who wears a TAM pretty regularly as part of academic regalia, I assure you they are sort of poofy in a sense that has nothing to do with the offensive term. In fact, we pity those who have to wear those dull mortarboards.

Rube 3:23 PM  

Hardest puzzle in 5 years for me. Never heard of "Still I Rise". No idea about Anya Seton. SCREENAGER is ridiculous, and I wanted CODDLE not COSSET. No idea about FOLIE A DEUX either. Finally stopped thinking about trucks and got PLAYOFFS which helped. Had to stop and restart. Bring more like this, just without screenager.

Pengie 3:35 PM  

Registering just to say how much I liked that NIMOY crossed with the “logical” clue.

GILL I. 3:39 PM  

I don't get the NYT. Can someone - maybe @JC66 - post @Nanc's letter? "You, light up my light....."

Raoul Duke 3:48 PM  

Very easy and kind of boring, actually.

I did like the shout-out to Rex's commenters at 25-Down.

Citerna 4:52 PM  

I don't get 51 Down sign with the times OPEN.

Joe Dipinto 4:53 PM  

@GILL I -- Google is your friend...

To the Editor:

Re “Are We Living in a Computer Simulation?,” by Preston Greene (Sunday Review, Aug. 11):

Let me get this straight. I’m neither real nor alive and neither are you. Nor is anyone we know. Nor is our planet or for that matter our entire universe. We’re all merely computer simulations created by an advanced civilization in some sort of weird experiment that they’re conducting for reasons best known to themselves.

But woe to us if we ever manage to prove it. The computer simulation experiment would then become pointless to the advanced civilization and it would decide to end it. And — poof! — there would go you, me, everyone we know, our planet and for that matter our entire universe.

As if I didn’t have enough to worry about already.

Nancy Stark
New York

JC66 4:56 PM  


Your wish...

Nancy's letter.

Frog Prince Kisser 5:04 PM  

@ Gill I. 3:39 PM
Sent you an email.

JC66 5:22 PM  


Think store hours.

Nancy 7:05 PM  

Thanks to Joe Dipinto and JC66 for posting my NYT letter on the blog. I probably should have thought to do it myself, but didn't as I was running late due to the three-hour delay in delivery of the paper this morning. It was nice of you both to take the trouble to do so.

pmdm 7:18 PM  

Nancy: You must have the same delivery person as myself. (I live in Yonkers). I was on the phone queue waiting to request a delivery when my paper got delivered around 9:30 AM. And for the past 10 days, my paper doesn't arrive until after 8:30 AM. Lucky I'm retired and don't work anymore.

If you subscribe to the paper version, Don't you have access to the puzzle via the NYT puzzle page online? Or doesn't your account give you access to the Replica Edition which would let you screen capture the puzzle? Of course, if you can't print, those options wouldn't help you.

Congratulations for your letter.

And the puzzle? For me, it was passable if not highly enjoyable.Not much else to say.

BobL 7:34 PM  

What a nice day. Just 57 comments so far and no politics. We can do this every day!

Larry Gilstrap 8:56 PM  

@Loren has inspired me to write and publish my memoirs. I could be the WASP Frank McCourt. I love telling stories, my life has been filled with quality experiences, and I paid close attention. I'm not sure anyone would be interested. Hanging out with Ismael, now that's different.

I'll bury this late in the posts, but @LMS is not joking about her wardrobe policy. She looks terrific in monochromatic.

Barbara 9:25 PM  

Rex, as a Philadelphian who grew up on Merl Reagle’s puzzles, I appreciate your shout-out to him. It’s his puzzles that I take with me on vacation to do on the plane.

Z 10:22 PM  

@pmdm - A print subscription does not get you access to the electronic version of the puzzle. BUT, home delivery allows you to subscribe to the Times Digest, a synopsis of the paper that is emailed every day and always includes the puzzle and access to a “replica edition” of today’s paper on your “home delivery” page. It takes a little know-how, but both allow you to print off today’s puzzle.

Leee 11:45 AM  

At least the second Saturday in a row that took me nearly an hour to finish. For the longest time the only part of the group I feel solid on was the East, everything else was misfilled (hAST, eRoS, EYEBALmS) or required crossings (MERL). Of all things, once I got OHIO did the SW fall into place, and from there the rest of the fill too.

I twigged the SEMIS as a misdirect, but my stubborn initial thought kept going towards TOURNAMENTS.

Anonymous 2:41 PM  

Took a long time for my wife and me to get this finished. it must have been easy for a Saturday because we usually get nowhere with Saturdays.

Calling the Newburgh Beacon Bridge the Beacon (which I have never heard) is no weirder than calling the George Washington Bridge the George (which I have heard).

ELIAS crossing IRIS really is Natick territory, though admittedly I is the most likely common letter.

Diana,LIW 11:45 AM  

I haven't yet done the puzzle, but in response to yesterday's last post.. SPOILER ALERT if you haven't done Friday yet:

From the Britannica on line: Wasatch Range, segment of the south-central Rocky Mountains, extending southward for about 250 miles (400 km), from the bend of the Bear River in southeastern Idaho, U.S., to beyond Mount Nebo, near Nephi in north-central Utah.

The Wasatch Range is home of Alta, ski resort of note.

Diana, Lady

spacecraft 11:46 AM  

Lots of stuff I didn't know, so to begin: IMLOST. Finally found good OLD Spock at 44 across and I was in. STILL, I struggled. WHO is PERRY ELLIS--or is it ELLIS PERRY? Either way, a total guess. The center was wicked hard.

So too was the SE, with COddle being most difficult to dislodge. Pamper: CO+4? GOTTA be coddle! Eventually, thanks to the SMARTMONEY, I got it straightened out. The hunt clue for EASTER threw me for a while. Oh yeah, the bleepin' eggs. A few easy spots here and there, but mostly an uphill battle. I make it medium-challenging.

DOD AMYPOEHLER is nothing if not both BLUE and SEXY! I'd like to hear HERSTORY sometime. This one had enough triumph points for a birdie.

Burma Shave 1:32 PM  


WHO says you're SEXY, honey?
A LITHE TORSO now is ALL the rage,


rondo 1:43 PM  

That was some work. Hand up for COddle, 'til the crosses. And OLD was OdD, BELT was Bash, and MERL was Myna? Enough to slow things in several areas.

Yes, the compleat and SEXY AMYPOEHLER gets a yeah baby today. But that 12d column was empty save for the H, and chevycHase woulda fit. I gave it consideration.

Not a big fan of SCARRY, but a fan of this puz.

leftcoast 4:02 PM  

One of the more solver-friendly Saturday puzzles I've met in a while.

Four good, long downs and acrosses in the four quadrants were especially helpful: SCREENAGER, FOLIEADEUX, HONESTWAGE, AIRLINEHUB.

Middle took a little extra time sorting out. Got PERRYELLIS with spouse's help, and got small kicks out of the BEARD and the AERIE clues.

Carelessly stumbled over Leonard NeMOY and MElL (MERL), which led to STILLelISE (IRISE) as the "classic" name of the poem.

Seeing an OHIO university in Athens startled me for a moment, but quickly enough came to my senses.

Despite two square errors, enjoyed the puzzle.

Diana, LIW 4:22 PM  

Got a lot, had some help, then finished this Saturday Stumper.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

rainforest 4:27 PM  

Except for the SW, I found this pretty easy. WATER BIRTH went right in, had to over-write EYE dropS, and then went pretty rapidly through the NE, centre, and SE.

I've never heard of SCREENAGER, but it made sense.

FOLIE A DEUX just appeared because of the surrounding words.

Never heard of the poem, and it stumped me for too long, plus ELIAS required a guess, having no idea about IRIS. But despite sometimes getting bogged down, STILL I RISE.

Good puzzle.

  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by 2008

Back to TOP