2019 musical film with substantial cgi component / SAT 1-4-20 / Whole number in coding lingo / Textile made using bobbins / Audience response gauge / Served in sauce made with orange juice sugar Grand Marnier

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Constructor: Adam Aaronson

Relative difficulty: Easy (5:06)

THEME: WORLD WAR III (YES SIREE BOB!) — jk there's no theme

Word of the Day: "OCTOBER SKY" (17A: Movie based on the memoir "Rocket Boys" (and an anagram of "Rocket Boys") —
October Sky is a 1999 American biographical drama film directed by Joe Johnston, starring Jake GyllenhaalChris CooperChris Owen, and Laura Dern. It is based on the true story of Homer H. Hickam, Jr., a coal miner's son who was inspired by the launch of Sputnik 1 in 1957 to take up rocketry against his father's wishes and eventually became a NASA engineer.
October Sky is based on the lives of four young men who grew up in Coalwood, West Virginia. Most of the film was shot in rural East Tennessee, including Oliver SpringsHarriman and Kingston in Morgan and Roane counties. The movie received a positive critical reception and is still celebrated in the regions of its setting and filming. (wikipedia)
• • •

First things first: Yes, the WORLD WAR III answer is freakishly coincidental considering people have been hypothesizing about it since the US killed the second-most powerful Iranian two days ago (seriously WORLD WAR III was a #1 trending topic on Twitter). But it's just a coincidence and there is no actual WORLD WAR III or anything like it yet and even though we have literally the dumbest person as president and terrible things will continue to happen daily under his watch, the WORLD WAR III hysteria strikes me as a little premature, if not, uh, hysterical. Coincidences happen, this is one of them. The end. ON THAT NOTE, let's look at the puzzle: it's good! This is a debut from a college student, so good for him! It played much faster than Friday for me (I had a fastish Friday time today, and a regular Saturday time on Friday, so basically the days were flipped for me, difficulty-wise). I got off to a ridiculously good start, so even though I floundered a bit later on, I still ended up with a well below-average time (well, above-average in terms of how good it was, below-average in terms of the actual time ... you get what I mean, I hope). SHOT TOSS WACO, 1 2 3, and then even though I don't really *remember* "OCTOBER SKY," having the "OC-" and then knowing it was an anagram of "Rocket Boys" made it very easy to get. All the Downs coming out of the NW were easy, and for a while there I really thought I was on my way to a possible record Saturday. Then I hit the eastern section and things stalled out completely. SUZETTE (38A: Served in a sauce made with orange juice, sugar and Grand Marnier) PIGEON (43A: Mark) and TURNT (47A: Excited, in modern slang) were all invisible to me until very late, largely because of my struggle to get LIKE BUTTON (12D: Support mechanism?), which I couldn't make into anything except LIKE BUTTER ... :(

After stalling in the east, I ... well, I must've somehow gotten BEGUILING, because I know I got LICK off the "L," then KNEE and COOP (which was wrong—it's COTE) (55D: Animal shelter). Oh, right—I sort of went down the west and middle of the grid, and eventually got WORLD WAR III because I had the WAR part from crosses. Anyway, I went from WORLD WAR III to ZITI and finished off that pesky east, then finally took care of the SE by coming at it from both sides. Finally got past my TRICIA-for-TRISHA error, and I was done. Weakest part of this, in my opinion, was the SW, where both long Downs felt weakish, in different ways—PILLOW LACE for being somewhat esoteric (27D: Textile made using bobbins), ALL ABOUT ME for feeling rightish but not exactly right (28D: Bio header). Like, yes, you could make that your bio header, but you could just as easily make it About Me. In fact, your bio is unlikely to tell anyone *ALL* about you. But still, both those answers were gettable, and overall I thought the puzzle was very entertaining. Is INT short for "integer"? I hope so. Otherwise I have no idea what's going on there. If there's one thing I'm never going to be super-thrilled to see in a grid, it's "coding lingo," but whatever, the world belongs to the coders, I guess. I'll deal.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Stanyan 12:35 AM  

Good puzzle, but I have a problem with “tech demo”. Have you ever heard anyone say that? I worked in “tech” for 25 years and I never heard that specific pairing of words together. Hey, are you guys psyched for that tech demo over at the Apple Store tomorrow? No, sorry.

Richardf8 1:46 AM  

Yes, INT is for Integer. It’s a standard data type. PILLOWLACE seems a very conscious exercise in obscurity - it’s a synonym for Bobbin Lace, which is what I wanted. I thought EMAG weak; eZine is more typical. Generally an interesting grid, well clued and challenging enough for a Saturday. Unlike Rex, I found Friday an absolute breeze, but this was toothsome. I want to see more from this constructor.

Solverinserbia 2:03 AM  


ABOSYSTEM and YESSIREEBOB crossing was trouble as were PILLOWLACE and CATS. Good puzzle though.

jae 2:18 AM  

Easy-medium. OCTOBER SKY was a gimme (excellent movie) and the only place I had problems was where Rex did...SUZETTE, PIGEON, TURNT...

A fine fun debut. Liked it a bunch!

wrivz 3:32 AM  

That's...not what TURNT means. It's usually used to mean in some state of non-sobriety; I don't think I'd ever describe myself as "turnt" if I were excited to do something.

Cynthia 5:07 AM  

@jason 1:58am. The American people actually chose Hillary over Trump. 48.2% for Clinton, 46.1% for Donald. Just saying.

fkdiver 5:23 AM  

Fine Saturday puzzle. Never heard of "October Sky", but maybe will now have to see it. And could have done without CATS crossing SCAT. Altogether enjoyable solve.

Loren Muse Smith 5:38 AM  

Adam – congrats on your NYT debut! And a Saturday no less. Nice job!

OCTOBER SKY (Homer Hickam is a West Virginian) anagrams to stocky bore. . .

… and speaking of the ALL ABOUT ME SOB, @Jason – Rex’s “…constantly (and baselessly) bashing their choice for President is definitely a factor they will consider when you beg for donations to your blog.” You’re so right. I will definitely contribute this year again and will in fact up my donation.

Love, love, love HAMBURGLAR. Remember the Frito Bandito? Their cohorts could be the Quarter Pounderelict and the Whoppervert. Fiona could be the Chili Cheese Dogress.

ON THAT NOTE has a different meaning for me nowadays. It’s like a signal from the speaker or the listener that the conversation has turned into a real downer. Like you just said something depressing and macabre and there’s this silence and then you recognize what you’ve done and kinda make a joke like “ON THAT NOTE, we’ll end this conversation.” My daughter just used it yesterday when she called, upset, ‘cause my husband is currently in Dubai and about to head to Tel Aviv. She wouldn’t listen to my reassurances that I think it’ll be ok – she kept what-iffing. When she heard herself, she joked, So ON THAT NOTE, have a great rest of the day.

Every time I see SNARF, I’m reminded of this lead sled dog, SNARF, who was in charge of a team mushing with my daughter and me. That couple fell off their sled, but the SNARF-led team didn’t slow down a bit. We heard the couple yelling Loose sled!!! and sure enough, the team came into view guided by exactly what you’d expect a dog named SNARF to look like: wild eyes, tongue out, exuberantly maniacal. Timing it perfectly, Sage got off our sled, jumped on the loose sled, and talked SNARF down. He was a good boy deep down.

Hungry Mother 6:07 AM  

As I wrote ScARF, I thought SNARF? Only problem, only briefly. Very fast Saturday for me.

Unknown 6:34 AM  

I agree with above on turnt. Also still don’t quite understand how a swear word causes you to see stars. And is it just me, or has the rule about contractions (not in answer unless in clue) been loosened lately? (See 50 down)

Lewis 6:48 AM  

A contemporary puzzle, with wit and humor, and, for me, Saturday bite. Tough and clever clues, answers touching many areas of knowledge, with a feel of spark and shine. A very impressive debut (from one whose first name is perfect for a debut).

I started out thinking that 1A "Can't be TELESCOPE! Can't be TELESCOPE!" (And laughed when the true answer hit me -- great clue!) On 11D, even though I wanted it to be, I thought it "Can't be CLAP-O-METER! Can't be CLAP-O-METER!" (Until it was!) Oh, and my quirky brain liked the SPED out, SHOT down, and mini-theme of five double E's.

Time will tell if we have a new wunderkind in crossworld, but this offering gives me great hope that we do. It sure enriched my day. Thank you, and terrific to meet your work, Adam!

Z 7:03 AM  

What @Stanyan said about TECH DEMO.

@Richard8 - Don’t want to defend EMAG, but I disagree that e-zine is any better. Both are yuck and e-zine is worse because it echos ‘zine, short for a “fan magazine.”

I’m a ScARFer, but I’ve learnt that it’s always SNARF in the NYTX.

Easy for a Saturday here.

BarbieBarbie 7:03 AM  

What a fun puzzle. And I’m awed that anyone can make their publishing debut in the NYT and on a Saturday. I can’t wait for this guy’s first Thursday.

Clues were so differently lively that they must have come from the constructor. The clue for OCTOBERSKY would not normally be Saturday-worthy, but it is such a cool factoid that it definitely had to be there! Good edit call.

Z 7:11 AM  

@Unknown - Trump is a liar and an a**hole. Also, I don’t think the contraction thing was ever a firm rule. More like an added hint. Here, I suspect they wanted the parallel between “blue words” and SWEAR WORD (and yes, I think “word” in a clue and an answer is a serious editing flaw).

GILL I. 7:37 AM  

Yes, @Lewis....it can be TELESCOPE. That's exactly what I confidently wrote in. I use SWEAR WORDS all the time and yet I never see stars. I may get an arched eye brow or two especially when I sweetly use the F word, but never once, do the stars appear.
So I'm off to a bad start. I scratch the itch at HAMBURGLAR TURNT LICK CLAPOMETER and TECH DEMO. I finally get to SUZETTE and I'm wondering where the crepes are hiding. Even a beurre might've been encouraging. ON THAT NOTE and moving along....little by little, I manage to get a word or two.
I don't SNARF....I SLURP. YESSIREEBOB, I do. Another mistake....erase, erase...but I can't because I use pen. (sigh)...Move along. OOOH. WORLD WAR III. Got that one. I want to be dead before that happens. I want to be in a comfy bed eating ZITI PIGEON SUZETTE with FAKE TOAD EGREE.
You got me good, Adam, but so did young David Steinberg and look how good he is today. I'm looking forward to more of your "gotchas."

OffTheGrid 7:48 AM  

@Cynthia, Looks like @Jason got removed. But anyway, I'm glad to see it pointed out again that the American people did not elect Agent Orange. The f***ed up system did. How do we continue to pretend that we have a democracy and that the People determine who their leaders will be? It happened with Gore v. Bush as well. We can't know how Gore would have responded to 9/11 or if 9/11 would have even happened. But we do know that Bush started wars that continue. Donny is (at best) a total train wreck of a president. We do know that Hillary Clinton is intelligent and knows how to lead. I think we can safely say that we would not be in this horrid mess if the People had gotten the president they voted for.

Speedweeder 8:19 AM  

@Unknown 6:34 - As @Richardf8 already pointed out, INT is a standard data type in many coding languages. While it means integer, it is not an abbreviation in terms of coding. If you tried to spell out INTEGER in your code, the compiler would flag it as an error.

As for "seeing stars", I interpreted that as what you see substituted for profanity in written text, as in "what an a**hole".

Suzie Q 8:35 AM  

I did not find this easy but it was a satisfying solve and impressive debut. For the folks who complain when a puzzle skews too old I would
say this is an antidote. I do think that 5 clues using in short, in brief, in lingo, to fans, and in slang is too many.
I sure am glad that "entertains at storytime" didn't have anything to do with drag queens.
I really dislike clues such as the one for Sheet.
Swear words are sometimes typed using stars and other characters. I thought that was a clever clue.
I wish Rex hadn't started the political rant opening the gate for others to jump in. Kinda spoils this good debut puzzle.

Richardf8 8:42 AM  

It’s how they ate represented in comics - what Mort Walker dubbed a "Grawlix.” Those strings of symbols. As the creator of Beetle Bailey, Walker drew lots of them.

Z 8:42 AM  

I picked a phrase that didn’t make it clear that I was explaining, not just opining, so in print SWEAR WORDS like “asshole” or “fuck” will be printed as “a**hole” or f**k.”

@OffTheGrid - Splitting hairs here, but while a majority of voters cast their votes for Clinton (the most votes ever received by a candidate for president BTW) the American people did elect Covfefe. He’s ours. Sure, our process advantages land over people, but it’s our system until we change it.

QuasiMojo 8:43 AM  

I love Crepes Suzette; Pigeon; and TURNT de boeuf. Great puzzle. I found it intriguing throughout and impenetrable at times but managed to finish in 20 minutes or so which is fast for me on a Saturday.

Just wanted to pipe in to those saying SEERESS yesterday was not a word. Well it's in the dictionary. And that's how Cassandra was always described at least in the schools I went to. Someone complained that such "diminutives" were insulting to women. First of all the "ess" is not a diminutive. It's a feminine ending like Actress which is still used everywhere today, including the Tony and Oscar awards. Today we get OGRESS. I never saw Shrek but isn't that how she is described? So to get all ballistic over SEERESS for a character from the Iliad is plain silly.

I may be wrong but I always thought SCARF meant to chug something back with a single action while SNARF was more of a leaning down to the plate and sucking up kind of motion. Neither is behavior recommended by Emily Post.

pabloinnh 8:44 AM  

So how many folks will point out that "seeing stars" is a cartoon convention for representing SWEARWORDS? I'll put the over/under at ten.

@(el otro)Pablo from yesterday-sorry I couldn't respond sooner, was recovering from a procedure to try to fix an eyeball and was having trouble seeing, a little ironic given our age discussion. Anyway, I'm glad you're not into an age war thing and accept your explanation of frustration. All I can say is, your turn will come, and some day you'll pull clue for "basketball star James" out of your memory vault and write in LEBRON and some youngster will claim that's way too obscure, all this assuming that the NYTXW is still around a few decades from now, which I hope it is. Also hope these daily exercises bring you as much fun as they've brought me, which is consicerable.

Liked today's just fine, except possibly PILLOWLACE(???). LIKEBUTTON was not apparent, not into that stuff, but have seen such a thing in the wild, so fair enough. Congratulations to our newest constructor, looking for more from you.

Richardf8 8:49 AM  

I feel compelled to point out that it was Bush v. Gore. The initiator of the suit is named first. Wouldn’t want to miss the fact that it was Bush that sued to stop the recount in Florida.

Truth Rocket 8:59 AM  

@Cynthia 5:07 am - the American People may have cast more votes for Hillary, but they ELECTED the Trumpster as their President and Chief Executive Officer (the United States does not elect a president via a simple majority vote - there is another mechanism in place, which is detailed in the U.S. Constitution).

Anonymous 9:05 AM  

I too liked the puzzle, though I had not heard of R. L. Stine and had to hope it was not Stice, which doesn't sound like a surname. Scarf for stuffing down food is the term I knew--but I did have a vague recollection of seeing the "problem" in a previous puzzle.

39D, ZITI. I guess others may chime in on this. I would have clued it "they are totally tubular," since the word is plural. The singular should be zito, though it may be zita, since Italian words can sometime change from feminine to masculine in the plural, or have a masculine looking ending even if the plural is feminine. I don't know when the singular would be used--a g*dd*mned zito covered in tomato sauce fell from my fork and stained my shirt? I think we had this discussion with panini. But here the singular, panino, is frequently used in Italian, and if I order one in the USA I call it a panino, even if the waitperson calls it a panini.

Anon. i.e. Poggius

MichGirl 9:07 AM  

I kept thinking it's the other way around ..see stars, then swear.

kitshef 9:20 AM  

Of course I wanted ScARF, not SNARF, which led to a misspelled ann rIcE before RL STINE, and I wanted some form of You betcha BOB, so lots of trouble in the north central area.

I really like all the long acrosses, and dislike most of the long downs. Particularly bad are ALL ABOUT ME and PILLOW LACE. TECH DEMO pretty bad, too.

Quasi Addendum 9:22 AM  

Aren't the STARS the publisher's or texter's device to bleep out letters? As in F**K?

J.J. 9:23 AM  

There is some good stuff in there today, but there is also come sludge. The clue for SHEET is borderline groan inducing. Is ABFAB a real thing ? Ditto with SLC.

The clues for CPR and EMT miss the mark as well. I appreciate the effort at witty wordplay, but CPR doesn’t mend in the sense that it repairs any damage. Repair and resuscitate are not synonymous.

Quite a few nasty references as well - SHOT next to WACO is inexcusably tone deaf and unfortunate (terrible editing once again), along with STABS and the untimely reference to WWIII (not to be confused with WWi - the War to End All Wars, or the war after it, WWII) - see if Chuck III or Hawk can dig deep for that reference.

PILLOW LACE sounds like one of those made up phrases that pop up in the NYT puzzles with alarming frequency as well.

webwinger 9:27 AM  

Played hard for me—took more than an hour, but I finished, with no googling. Did get help from wife on one answer—R L STINE, whose name I had only the dimmest recollection of, made even more difficult by my having opted for ScARF instead of SNARF in that perennial dilemma. Agree that this made for a good Saturday; difficult answers were fairly crossed, so no real Naticks, just a lot of head scratching. Congrats to Adam Aa. on a fine debut!

For once find myself in complete agreement with a comment from @Z (8:42 am)—despite all his folly, so far Trump has pretty much operated and succeeded politically within the confines of the American system, though I greatly fear that may change in the not so distant future if the tide turns seriously against him. ON THAT NOTE, it sure didn’t take long for 2020 to declare itself a hot mess. We may be in the worst position ever vis-à-vis Iran, Iraq, and North Korea. (Remember W’s axis of evil?) And Australia is looking more and more like climate apocalypse now. Haven’t heard much recently about the “Doomsday Clock” maintained by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, but I’m guessing it’s ticked closer to midnight that it has in a long time. As Dave Barry commented in his recent humorous, and typically brilliant, review of the year 2019, “From somewhere beyond our solar system hostile aliens are monitoring [us] and concluding that they need not waste energy exterminating humanity, as we’re doing fine on our own.”

Loofy 9:33 AM  

This was the first Saturday I have ever attempted to solve. Likening it to trying to scale a cliff with only my hands and feet, I was pleasantly surprised to see HAMBURGLAR as one of the answers.

Also, I usually think of 'scarfing something down' rather than SNARF. Whenever I think of SNARF, I can't help but think of the Thundercats character.

Lastly, I just wanted to say that I really enjoy reading the comments, and almost always learn something new or come away seeing things in a different light. When I got SWEARWORD, I immediately thought of how obscenities were portrayed visually in comics. I didn't think about how the asterix is used to replace letters, until I read the comments here. So, thank you!

Georgia 9:37 AM  

I opened with "concussion.".

Laura 9:46 AM  

We use it in hardcore development teams but that's still a dark hole. Not expeted in nyt crossword but i think a lot of developers create puzzles based on other puzzles.

Anonymous 9:46 AM  

Short answer query: how is “mug” the answer for 30 across, “A&W rival”?

RooMonster 9:47 AM  

Hey All !
Does 1A refer to maybe getting punched in the face if you use a SWEAR WORD, ergo, see stars? Otherwise, clue over my head which isn't hard to accomplish.. ).

Agree with Rex that SE was toughest section. Got WORLD WAR III, and of the I put in torI for ZITI, because torI=tubular. Thinking I was so clever... Having PI_EON, wanted PILE ON, as PIGEON kept wanting to have a D somewhere. SUZETTE was a WOE as clued, but finally the ole brain saw BEGUILING, which got me the pasta, and was able to reinsert IGOR that I took out. Which led to LICK, KNEE, and realizing that yes, there were three S's in a row for the Broadway musical that I thought couldn't be. MISS SAIGON, nice.

TECH DEMO not helping, as that MO was hidden from me for a while. Wanted TECHshow first, then TECHDEsk.

Funny up in NW, came at OCTOBER SKY from the back, and had ____BERS_Y, then finally figuring out DAK, left me with the letters OCTO from the anagram. Kept thinking, "What is OCTO BERSKY?" Har.

Overall a nice, not terribly difficult SatPuz. Some nice long-uns, and SNARF, of course. (Which I didn't even hesitate this time putting in that N.)


Anonymous 9:47 AM  

Much prefer to discuss the crossword puzzle on this blog, but since you brought it up. Obama was a liar and an a**hole too. So was Bush. So was Gore. All politicians. Your blindness is that you only think it’s the other side. We in the middle see that it’s all of them.

Birchbark 9:51 AM  

The non-random "III" in WW III slowed me way down -- with ZITI indubitably in place, I tore out I'M SAD and BEGUILING based on a preconceived, deeply held anti-adjacent-I bias. Then I saw stars: it's an apocalypse for gosh sakes -- lion lies down with lamb, so of course III's line up next to each other in a row -- and the southeast fell with a bang. Excellent cluing.

leah712 9:53 AM  

I'm surprised nobody complained about BETH. I knew it from Hebrew School, but it's not general knowledge by a long shot.

Pablo 9:54 AM  

Excellent Saturday! I feel like Rex is more forgiving on the themeless puzzles, but maybe he's just more forgiving on Friday/Saturday when the puzzle is harder.

A lot of wrong answers helped me out today. I wrote in PILLOWcAsE, and then changed to LACE despite having never really heard of PILLOWLACE as a specific thing. Never would have gotten there without the initial error. SWEARWORD was a clever opener. BETH/BEGUILING I found tough on the B. Kept wanting something that would sound Yiddish. The SUZETTE and PIGEON section was rough too.

Thankfully, TURNT was a gimme. @wrivz, you can say "imma get turnt tonight" or you can say "this place about to get turnt". The first implies you're gonna get hammered. The second implies the place is gonna get hyped up.

Also, INT is a standard coding data type. Known by anyone who's done any coding at all, which is a pretty sizable portion of the population at this point. Something like that I'd call valid crossword material, even for a Wednesday as it's also guessable.

Other great answers RLSTINE, LIKEBUTTON, ZITI, and of course the timely WORLDWARIII.

@Pabloinnh Well I hope Lebron James isn't obscure crossword fodder in 30 years. Even today Julius Erving is Monday material and I would call Lebron the bigger star by a longshot. Here's the only age-related comment I'll make today: The downfall of every Millenial? Spelling. Took me 5 minutes of combing the puzzle to find HAMBURGLeR to HAMBURGLAR.

Dorothy Biggs 10:08 AM  

My kids use TURNT to describe someone being drunk. *Maybe,* in the recesses of my mind, I can hear someone saying "turnt up" to mean excited...but 1000x more common in my world (I work with the youth) is for it to mean drunk. It's a modern version of blotto or sh*tfaced.

I also don't think CPR "mends" a broken heart. It re-starts it...but the problem probably remains.

ACME...didn't we just have this one?

Also, FAKE doesn't really describe CGI. CGI is just computer animation...so if you're going with it equalling fake, then you'd have to say that Bugs Bunny is fake...which is a pretty wonky way to explain fiction. Photoshopping, OTOH, is fake...it pretends to be honest, but it is not. I can get behind Photoshopping as fake before I'd say CGI is fake.

AI (artificial intelligence) "deep fake" is similar to photoshopping. I guess you can use CGI for deep fake videos, but the intention is what makes it "fake," not the process.

Also, I've come to realize that "attempts" always equal STABS in NYT xword puzzles.

BobL 10:16 AM  

I just hit the LIKE button. Yessiree. Bob

Klazzic 10:29 AM  

Speaking of the dumbest president ever, I truly wonder how the orange stain would fare on a Monday puzzle.Years ago, Trump, Ivanka, and Junior were on Howard Stern and Stern asked them what 17x6 equaled. None of the trio could arrive at the correct 102. Sad. The scene is worth a YouTube search.

Fairly easy Saturday solve, although the launch was temporarily aborted by 1a (cleverly clued). YESSIREEBOB came intuitively and I had WORLD ------ and was cringingly hoping that the solve wasn't what it turned out to be. Enjoy Playoffs Weekend. I'm pulling for all the dogs.

Peter P 10:32 AM  

@Anonymous 9:46 - "MUG" is a brand of root beer, just like A&W is. I originally had IBC in that space, another root beer brand, before figuring out something was amiss.

Teedmn 10:35 AM  

whAM-alef-REgales-SUZannE - those all TURNT what should have been an easy Saturday into an average solve. And I was so happy with myself for sussing out that SUZannE off the S and Z, sheesh. (Those first wrong answers were at 40A, 35A, 42D and 38A.)

I finally understand the *$%@** "stars" clue for SWEAR WORDS. (I think...)

I circled the clue for E-MAG as the trickiest, and therefore most enjoyable to get, even if the answer itself doesn't bring me joy.

I liked the double UI (BEGUILING and SLUICE) in the grid.

ON THAT NOTE, let me congratulate Adam Aaronson on his debut and on a satisfactory Saturday challenge, thanks!

Suzy 10:40 AM  

Very nice debut— thank you, Adam. Oddly, today’s puzzle was tougher for me than yesterday’s.

I, too, feel that yesterday’s actions by the Trump machine, like so much of what he says and does, will have
terrible consequences. But I engage with this blog for amusement, and would like it to remain one place where
I don’t have to think about the evil genie we’ve let out of the lamp!

Nancy 10:41 AM  

Loved, loved, loved it! Hate, hate, hated it! Suffered mightily! Could have cheated. Possibly should have cheated. Didn't. I am one stubborn (and possibly masochistic) human being.

A one-letter DNF. I consider that a small miracle and a moral victory. It was at the HAMBURGbAR/RbSTINE cross. I should know Ronald McDonald's antagonist? I should know the author of "One Day in Horrorland"?

A big DOOK for me as I tried to figure out the Rocket Boys anagram (17A). I kept seeing OCTO-something-or-other as in OCTOPUSSY or OCTOMOM. When I finally saw WRENS at 6D and changed my third O to an E (don't ask!) I still didn't see OCTOBER SKY. What I saw was OCTO BERKSY.

A terrific puzzle, with some marvelous cluing, but with much too much pop culture and modern slang. TURNT??? But the constructor has real talent. You will cut most of that kind of stuff out next time, won't you, Adam? Please say you will?

mathgent 10:47 AM  

Very hard for me. I had been working on it over two hours and wanted to go to sleep, so I looked up WREN and finished. It may be sour grapes when I say that there are quite a few flaws in the puzzle. Many have been noted by the previous commenters: stars in swear words, EMAG, PILLOWLACE, TECHDEMO. Also: BLAM, clue for CPR, clue for SLUICE. Plus, TURNT doesn’t mean excited?

I like learning other Italian foods that are almost always are used in the plural. I knew raviolo, now I know zito and panino.

Looking over the finished grid this morning, I can find no wordplay. That’s another flaw.

Anonymous 11:01 AM  

@Jason (no longer visible):
136.7 million votes
78,900 got The Orange King the throne.

now, that's a mandate.

Unknown 11:03 AM  

INT is for integer, which is the problem since integers are not the same as whole numbers. Integers include whole numbers and their additive inverses (i.e. integers can be negative where whole numbers cannot). While the distinction may be esoteric for most, if you’re thinking about data types and need to validate an input or generally want to make sure a number can or cannot be negative you are likely keenly aware of the difference.

Cynthia 11:05 AM  

To those who commented on my pot: the original post I was responding to was taken down. But the words @Jason wrote were “The American people chose Trump over Hilary.” I contend that while the electoral system may have elected Donald, the American people chose Clinton.

Berndo 11:08 AM  

It is used when talking about video games pretty often.

pwoodfin 11:09 AM  

I had telescope and was sure it was right. Thought I was off to a great start. Put in hamburger (with an ‘er’) but no downs made sense, except Ogress, and knew telescope was wrong. Dang! Missed it by that much.

Anonymous 11:14 AM  

@Truth Rocket:
ELECTED the Trumpster as their President and Chief Executive Officer

name another country with a mixed rural/urban population that tilts the scales in favor of the grossly uneducated, living in empty states and on welfare (aka, the Farm Bill, et al).

yes, this is crossword blog, but some real world events can't be sequestered away. I'd add the right wingnut in Australia fiddling while his country burns.

eddy 11:23 AM  

Please, please! Can't we have a puzzle with more YESSIREEBOBs and less HAMBURGLARS? I mean, one is a commonly used expression, the other requires knowledge of corporate advertising. And please, please! give me a break on modern techno lingo. How many people, percentage wise, are ever exposed to a term like TURNT? And please, please, can a constructor make a difficult Saturday puzzle without an obscure author, rap singer, actor, or other Google fodder? It totally spoils the solving experience. I mean you, writer Stine.

xyz 11:25 AM  

USA is not a DEMOCRACY, it is a DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC, they are different things. I recommend studying the Electoral College, like it or not. It's not one ******man/one vote, like it or not until it changes.

I don't think this was such a great puzzle Rex, although it was easy, whoop. Again, dumb-a$$ names although not crossing like yesterday. ACL has officially become 'rote' or ironically in a somewhat coincidental way knee-jerk. A 'jerk' (Orthopedically and in engineering terms), btw is a sudden change in acceleration of two surfaces - such as a pivot shift or jerk test for (wait for it) an ACL-deficient knee. But since Will Shortz and most "Elite Puzzlers" only care about speed, not accuracy,

Time to learn the difference between "IT WAS GOOD" and "I liked it". At least it didn't have OREO.

I find TURNT and its origins offensive. Pass the COKE (Oh, that was yesterday with a real man's drink Jack & coke). UGH.

Adam 11:40 AM  

Any puzzle that iincludes the HAMBURGLAR is a winner in my book. They should bring back those ads.

COCO for CATS because I'm not very good with years. I left out the CI/SH part of TRISHA Yearwood's name because I knew I didn't know it and I figured the crosses would help, which they did. Also wanted LIKE BUTTER. I don't think I've heard of COTE, but once I got the L from BEGUILING it became clear - and was the last square I filled in.

I enjoyed the puzzle - a pretty good start for the New Year.

Newboy 11:43 AM  

Congratulations Adam on breaking the constructor barrier; I enjoyed the solve & look forward to seeing your process on Xwordinfo. Many quibbles above I would agree have validity. Maybe it’s a West Coast thing, but ScARF really seems the proper usage....snarf was used for quite a different activity by my frat fellows. I’d second the call for more wordplay & less politics on the blog, but in a CLAPOMETER world that’s unlikely to happen. ON THAT NOTE I’M 😞

Whatsername 11:45 AM  

It’s funny reading the reactions to 1A with everything from telescope to concussion, while I went a whole other direction with REDCARPET. More than likely that’s in anticipation of the Golden Globe awards tomorrow evening. ONTHATNOTE, I highly recommend you make it a point to see OCTOBER SKY. (I’m talking to you @fkdiver at 5:23.) A wonderful inspiring true story based on Homer Hickham’s equally superb memoir. It’s one of my all-time favorites and I‘ve watched it many times but was amazed to realize that I had never before noticed the anagram.

Always a debate with SNARF and SCARF which is what I do when I inhale my favorite sub sandwich. This was an excellent Saturday and “gettable” for me, as in challenging but not so hard that I gave up. Definitely hope to see more from Adam!

@Loren: At my house it’s FIONA the catress, a former stray who spent all last winter out in the cold running away from me every time I went out to leave food for her. We eventually got acquainted and I’m happy to report she is now a content and plump house princess.

MarineO6 11:46 AM  

Not so for for me!
Although my favorite part of puzzles like this is Rex’s reactions to our most wonderful leader, Donald John Trump who has just completed a bifecta:

1. Wiped a terrorist scourge off the face of the earth.
2. Made the loony left support terrorism.

And the best part is? I get to read Rex’s despair for the next five years, and maybe another 4 after that!

John Hoffman 11:53 AM  

Excellent puzzle! Good, long words and little or no partials or weird abbreviations. Big Success!

Usmcrgreg 11:59 AM  

Because it was brought up again IN A CROSSWORD PUZZLE BLOG, we have an electoral college that votes for President because the framers were afraid that Virginia would dominate the government as they were the most populous and wealthy state at the time. Fast forward a couple of hundred years and the College is still relevant. I for one would not want you New Yorkers and us here in California perpetually determining the country’s leaders. Both states are ridiculously (and poorly) one party ruled and on the downward slide

mmorgan 12:00 PM  

Tough. Good. Fun solve. Agree with @Eddy about not enjoying commercial products and corporate icons in puzzles, but HAMBURGLAR is kinda cool -- though I had HAMBURGLeR. Oops. Great debut!

Anonymous 12:15 PM  

Very tough, as expected for a Saturday. A couple of nits: "clap o meter"?? Really? Applause meter? Yes. A "lick" has nothing to do with jazz; that's a "riff." "Lick" is more familiar to me with country or rock music.(Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks, e.g.) Nice debut for Mr. Aaronson.

rockdoc 12:38 PM  

Howdy - can I get some clarity on EMAG? Is that, like, electromagnetic issues? Ohhhhhhhhhh issue like magazine. Blechhh.

Sorry to lead with the negative - I enjoyed the puzzle 99.99%!

Wanderlust 12:43 PM  

I got the WACO answer pretty quickly but it confused me - don’t all radio call signs west of the Mississippi start with K? I looked it up, and it turns out that the dividing line wasn’t always so rigid, and once it became so, some stations were grandfathered in with their old signs. You can understand why WACO would want to keep that one.

Liked the puzzle - hardest bit for me was taking too long to fix my original answer for the SC quarter. I had TREES. I used to live in SC and knew the state palmetto tree was on the quarter. Forgot about the state bird. I also had SCARF for SNARF, which kept me from getting the vaguely familiar RLSTINE. That left me with SWEARTO_DS. What are swear toads and why would they make me see stars? Lost major time there before I saw SWEARWORDS and fixed my mistakes.

Donald 1:45 PM  

I had TORI for ZITI. Took me forever to admit I was wrong.

Nancy 1:55 PM  

After reading @Whatsername's rave recommendation of OCTOBER SKY, I went to her blog profile and saw that it's listed as one of her all time favorite movies as well. Then I looked at the other books and movies she loves and saw that many of them dovetail with mine. Then I went to YouTube and watched the OCTOBER SKY trailer. It looks great. So I'm wondering how I missed that movie the first time? In any event, I just ordered the DVD from the library. Thanks, @Whatsername.

VancouverNana 2:16 PM  

Mug is a brand of root beer. Took me awhile to get it too.

turkeyneck 2:50 PM  

Don't ever fuok me again with this word "SNARF." The correct word is SCARF and I won't settle for some clod's misbegotten spelling of a homonym just to finish their otherwise fine effort.

Petsounds 3:02 PM  

Well, I congratulate all of you who found this puzzle easy. I couldn't finish it without the Google machine. Defeated by PILLOWLACE, TURNT, LIKEBUTTON, MUG. I really disliked the SHEET and OGRESS clues, but applause to the constructor for YESSIREEBOB and HAMBURGLAR. Excellent!

Gene 3:14 PM  

When I use the F-bomb on my phone with speech to text, it smartly puts in stars in the middle

Anonymous 3:16 PM  

People who don't know RL Stine should stop by the kids' section at the library. The guy has about 9,000 books. If you want to complain, let's discuss "John Green," surely the most forgettable name in literary history.

Also, I cannot think of any topic duller than the electoral college. If we're going to go off-subject, let's talk about the spread on the Pats game -- four and a half and dropping.

Pablo 3:26 PM  

@Nancy, oh how the tables have... TURNT? Us young folks are at least happy to see some pop culture from this millennium, or at least some stuff we were alive for.

Even a puzzle that skews more modern still has the likes of ABFAB, MISSSAIGON, RYDERCUP (golf is old no matter when it happened), and TRISHA, as well as lots of out of date or older skewing vocabulary in the cluing. Granted MISSSAIGON and RYDERCUP are quite famous.

But, I feel your pain. It's incredibly frustrating to trudge through all these puns and tricks and rarities just to get to a cross you have no hope on.

However, Adam, if you read XW blog comments, leave it in! Better yet, include more!

Whatsername 3:50 PM  

@Nancy, I hope you enjoy the movie. At the end, they show the actual people it’s based on; it never fails to move me to tears. Hollywood didn’t give it any awards, but they sure missed a good chance. I loved the book too, but everyone’s taste is different. We do seem to share some of the same favorites. Great minds as they say, although I’m sure I would suffer in comparison.

Z 3:57 PM  

@Pablo 9:54 - re:HAMBURGLeR - That’s not a millennial thing. I’ve been known to moan on occasion about puzzles that end with a game of Whac-a-Vowel. The absolute worst is where two names cross at a vowel since names are notorious for essentially random spelling. Today we got a “TERR.” name for a cross, so D-K had to be the abbreviation for DAKota. The reason I didn’t waste as many precious nanoseconds as you is I’ve fallen into the AorE trap many times before so now sometimes remember to wait to see if the cross helps.

woolf 4:32 PM  

slow clap for this puzzle, in which a young constructor is clearly using art to process current events (WORLDWARIII, ALLEGES, FAKE, ALLABOUTME, SWEARWORD, TILTAT, HAMBURGLAR... i'm picking up what you are putting down, kid).

two little moments i enjoyed: a.) i'm a sucker for anagrams, so great clue on OCTOBERSKY; b.) i've bought into the cult of "Cats: The Movie," and appreciated that answer running next to MISSSAIGON.

CDilly52 4:34 PM  

@LMS. Agree wholeheartedly with your feeling about ON THAT NOTE. I had some trouble there because the clue and answer didn’t make complete sense to me.

CDilly52 4:40 PM  

With you in all counts, @Z. I’m personally so tired of “e” or “i” before a “tech-ish” (or not) noun!! And I am a veteran ScARFer.

CDilly52 4:44 PM  

@Gill. It took me a long time to erase telescope and to understand the “stars” reference viz SWEAR WORDS. Finally figured out that the clue refers to when those words are replaced in text by asterisks. As in, what the F***!

Anoa Bob 4:45 PM  

The side-by-side appearance of CLAPOMETER and LIKE BUTTON had me saying an enthusiastic YESSIREE BOB. Should that be written CLAP-O-METER? That along with other BEGUILING stuff made for an entertaining solve.

Would anyone ever use ALL ABOUT ME as a "Bio header"? Would that pass muster in, say, a job application resumé? ABOUT ME maybe, but throw in the ALL and I'm thinking it might be too inclusive, maybe a little too immodest or self-aggrandizing.

I gave the "seeing stars" clue for (1A) SWEAR WORDS the side eye, having always thought that those symbols used to stand for the edited-out letters were asterisks, you know, these **** things. Stars are what you would see on the Hollywood Walk of Fame or the American Flag.

CDilly52 4:50 PM  

A wonderful debut puzzle. I experienced a stutter-step solve. In several places, I simply could not connect with Mr. Aaronson’s wavelength (the middle W block for example) and in others, I was bang on. I look forward to seeing more of his work!! Average Saturday time for me.

JC66 4:58 PM  

@Anoa Bob

Yes, they're asterisks, but don't they look like stars? They do to me.

Joe Dipinto 5:09 PM  

ALL ABOUT ME clearly doesn't belong in the puzzle. The only real way it works is in the sense of "it's all about Me", i.e. "everything and everyone else is unimportant", usually said facetiously. But that requires "It's" in front, which makes ALL ABOUT ME a too-long partial.

So presumably the editors and/or constructor invented the bio header clue to fix that little problem, even though as several posters and even Rex noted, it is in fact unlikely that anyone would use ALL ABOUT ME as a bio header.

Carola 6:51 PM  

Too tough for me, DNF. Lovely grid. Congrats to the constructor on his debut, hope I can put in a better showing for the next one.

Anonymous 9:29 PM  

That's exactly what turnt means. Now pillow lace, that's just a synonym for bobbin lace. There are a dozen named laces made from bobbins at least. Awful clue. Imagine "emotion when someone is angry" and the answer is just "mad".

One of the mods 9:50 PM  

If you want to discuss politics go to Facebook. If you want to discuss why the mods didn’t post or deleted your post, go to Facebook. Or maybe a spellcaster.

pdplot 9:58 AM  

Turnt?? Wha? This octogenarian never heard of it. Had likebutter. Knew it was snarf - but scarf is still the word. Mr. Google came in handy. This was tough for me. I knew Rex would find it easy. I just knew. But I had hoped a few more would have found it tough. Sigh.

Anonymous 10:13 AM  

Although R.L. Stice is one of my favorite authors, it appears he didn't write "One Day At HorrorLand."

Unknown 6:28 PM  


Unknown 10:22 PM  

Rex could have explained the CGI clueing. Bloggers pointed out many problems with this puzzle that Rex overlooked. Odd? Jim

57Stratocaster 3:20 PM  

@LMS. So Snarf was turnt?

spacecraft 11:09 AM  

Fairly awesome for a debut. AA+, so to speak. I did it in fairly quick time, but it didn't feel "easy." I took a STAB here and there--and they were right! Closest I came to DNF: had ScARF for 29a and almost left it, but "RLSTIcE" made no sense. I have, though DIM, heard of an R.L. STINE, so rescued there. Now that I see it, I recognize SNARF, but I like mine better.

TRISHA will do for DOD. Looking forward to more from this guy. Eagle.

thefogman 11:10 AM  

I don’t know what happened to Rex. This was a crappy puzzle. BETH/GHENT/TURNT was just mean and unfair.

Diana, LIW 12:55 PM  

Did you ever fill in a few words as a joke, then begin to think, "what if there's a second way to fill in this puzzle?" and then discover that your answers were correct?

Welcome to my world.

WORLDWARIII and ALLABOUTME were like that. Ha ha.

And no, I did not finish this without any assistance. Thanks for asking.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Anonymous 1:11 PM  

The Lunatic Fringe is out today. 1) The Hillary didn't have a chance, being one of the least likeable individuals on the national scene. 2) The Constitution and the election are history - deal with it. 3) There is another election coming, and the dems are shooting themselves in the foot daily. Toast.

leftcoaster 4:05 PM  

Troubles I had in not finishing this BEGUILING puzzle without help:


All good answers TO A DEGREE, but feeling a bit DIM today.

Burma Shave 4:58 PM  




thus concludes year five
48 capital letters, 7 lower case. 87%
answers/partial answers 8;
actual # of words in answers/partials 15
complete words not in puzzle 2

from the start:
5 X 365 = 1825
+ 2016 Leap Day=

1826 consecutive days; +/- 1900 verses including days with multiples

rondo 5:15 PM  

@ D, LIW - by the looks of the golf tournament, you've got nice weather, for February. Sure beats MN. Can I come and live in your garage?

One write-over with whAM before BLAM.

Actress BETH Riesgraf (I believe from MN) from 'Leverage', yeah baby!

ONTHATNOTE, this puz TURNT out OK.

leftcoaster 5:29 PM  

Congrats, BS. Looking ahead for many more.

JimmyBgood 6:18 PM  

For me, this scene from A Christmas Story is the very definition of what snarfing is:


  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP