Native name for Iroquois Confederacy / SAT 3-28-20 / Kind of wind across Aegean / 1980s disco hit that became gay anthem / Section often symbolized by speech bubble / Kevlar developer

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Constructor: Erik Agard

Relative difficulty: Medium (untimed)


THEME: none

Word of the Day: ETESIAN (57A: Kind of wind across the Aegean) —
The etesians (/ɪˈtʒənz/ or /ɪˈtziənz/Ancient Greekἐτησίαιromanizedetēsiailit. 'periodic winds'; sometimes found in the Latin form etesiae), meltemia(Greekετησίες,μελτέμια; pl. of μελτέμι meltemi), or meltem (Turkish) are the strong, dry north winds of the Aegean Sea, which blow from about mid-May to mid-September. The Etesian winds are a dominant weather influence in the Aegean Basin. [...] The word etesian ultimately derives from the Greek word ἔτος etos "year", connotating the yearly fluctuation in frequency of appearance of these winds. Etesians have been described since ancient times; their Turkish and the Modern Greek names are probably a loan from Italian mal tempo 'bad weather'. Though it is sometimes called a monsoon wind, the meltemi is dry and does not correspond to an opposite wind in the winter. However, the etesians are distantly correlated with the summer monsoons of the Indian subcontinent, as it is a trough of low pressure into the Eastern Mediterranean region that enforces, if not causes, the etesians to blow in summer. A Mediterranean climate is sometimes called an etesian climate. (wikipedia)
• • •

STILETTO HEELS
Well that was mostly delightful. There was not a single letter in HAUDENOSAUNEE that I knew or had any hope of inferring (37A: Native name for the Iroquois Confederacy). Not a one. But, hey, fair crosses work wonders. Outside of that, only ETESIAN gave me any proper name trouble. The rest of the grid was just regular Saturday-hard, and it was full of interesting fill and clues. "IT'S RAINING MEN" is of course great (and a huge gimme—sometimes the puzzle gives you HAUDENOSAUNEE, sometimes it gives you "IT'S RAINING MEN"; you lose some, you win some, that's life) (35A: 1980s disco hit that became a gay anthem). BOO HISS, TRAVEL MUG, and PAIN MED (esp. with that clue) (52A: Number in a pharmacy, informally): all winners. I have trouble believing in the reality or validity of HAIRSPA, but I think that's just me wishing people didn't invent stupid names for things (18A: Salon, fancily). The clue did say "fancily," but I'd say "pretentiously" or "preposterously" is probably more accurate. Unless we're actually talking about a spa facility that is also a hair salon, in which case ... the clue [Salon] isn't really accurate. Looks like HAIRSPAs are just fancy (expensive?) places to have your hair not only washed and styled but "massaged" in some fashion. Your hair gets pampered as if it were an independent being or a pet.  Did I mention I have no hair?

[THE WEATHER GIRLS (15) — put 'em in a puzzle, people!]

HOP A CAB was such a nice way to start things out. So bouncy and colloquial. And nostalgic. Reminds me of a bygone time when people left their homes and went somewhere. To the HAIRSPA, perhaps. [Person on horseback?] (CENTAUR) was one of those clues that annoy you initially, but then grow on you; once I got the answer, I went from making a dubious, pained face to shrugging and eventually nodding "OK," all in the space of about three seconds. "Oh come on, that's ... well ... yeah, that's pretty good, I guess." The toughest thing in the puzzle for me (outside the Iroquois Confederacy dealie) was AEON (21A: Timeline swath). Had it down to A-ON and still had no idea. In retrospect, this seems impossible. But I think of timelines as being filled with meaningful events, named periods. I have a hard time imagining one with a segment ("swath," if you must) labeled simply "AEON." Vast period of time, sure, that's an AEON. It's the word "timeline" that really messed me up.


Coulda done without the whole INT/EXT intersection/crossreference (47A: Kind of shot that's the opposite of a 38-Down in a screenplay / 38D: Kind of shot that's the opposite of a 47-Across in a screenplay), which is just bad fill joining together and calling attention to itself, noisily. And yet I did have a weird jolt of delight when I figured it out, so I guess it wasn't all bad. ERUCT is close to all bad, as only a 19th-century osteopath would say such a thing. Not a big fan of cluing plural TEEPEES with singular "lodging." You can line up your lawyers to explain to me how "lodging" is a singular noun that might refer to a plural entity (see, say, "fare" or "equipment"), but ... bah I don't really have the energy to argue with this clue. It just seems like one of those "watch me try to trick you" clues, which I never like. I like tough clues, but I don't like when the toughness seems cheaply come by, as it does here. BOO HISS. I also am not a fan of PALEOLITHIC DIET, both because everyone everywhere shortens it to just PALEO and also because the clue doesn't distinguish between the fad diet and the actual diet of paleolithic-era people (3D: Vegetables, fruits, nuts, roots and meat, classically). I need something in this clue that indicates that we're dealing with the diet for people who want to cosplay cavemen. "Classically"?? LOL. That's a pretty fancy word to use in conjunction with a phenomenon that is younger than Miley Cyrus. Again, maybe the clue is trying to point us to the actual dietary patterns of paleolithic-era people, but the phrase PALEOLITHIC DIET really only has legs in our culture as a modern fad diet. A marketing term. And, again, it's usually just PALEO DIET. Good day.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. if you are mad about MENS crossing "IT'S RAINING MEN," well, the fact that I didn't notice doesn't mean you're not right—duping the word "MEN" in a grid isn't *so* bad, but crossing MEN answers is probably not the best look.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

155 comments:

Lobster11 6:27 AM  

Agreed that you can (maybe) get away with a random-letter string like HAUDENOSAUNEE if every cross is fair, but I don't think either ALSATIANS or ERUCT count as fair -- especially crossing at vowels. DNF for me because of those two squares.

If anybody had ever said to me, "I'm ERUCTing my baby" I would have called the police.

Snoble 6:29 AM  

At first I had "con" for 8 across. That gave "containment" next to CDC. I thought --with a shudder--it was going to be a pandemic puzzle. Cross of burping Iriquois Confederacy total Natick.

sf27shirley 6:31 AM  

My quibble is that "Chile" usually means a type of pepper whereas "chili" refers to the dish of beans and-or meat, such as chili con carne.

Lewis 6:56 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lewis 7:07 AM  

This had bingos left and right for me, where answers that had been eluding me finally clicked, accompanied by bursts of joy. Bingos left and right all the way to that final TADA.

This is what I hope for on a Saturday -- not an ego-lifting quick-conquer, but hesitations, stabs, erasures, and victories that mean something.

HAUDENOSAUNEE, which will worm my ear all day, was a huge gift -- a complete unknown 13, even with 11 letters filled in -- forcing me to crack the crosses, and when it finally filled in, its musicality thoroughly charmed me.

Add answers like BOO HISS, CASE INSENSITIVE, and PAIN MED, and clues like [Rider on a carousel?], [Person on horseback?], and [Number in a pharmacy, informally], and this offering struck me strongly as a scintillating and succulent Saturday. Thank you Erik!

Anonymous 7:08 AM  

My objection to the TEEPEES clues isn’t the singular “lodging” it’s the singular “Plain.” Teepees were used on the Great Plains or the Plains, not on the Plain. You couldn’t write this clue as “Lodging on the Plain.”

pabloinnh 7:43 AM  

Count on EA for a fun Saturday, just wishing it had played a little harder so I could still be doing it.

ERUCT is one of those words I knew without knowing how I knew it. Happens.

Had the M from TRAVELMUG and wanted 35A to end in YMCA. Uh, no.

Learned that long unknown across. I wonder if EA found it somewhere and decided it had to be in a puzzle.

Today's gimme was ANDOVER . There's another Phillips prep school in Exeter, NH, called fittingly, Phillips Exeter, and yet another prep school in Andover NH, called, of course Andover. To quote another puzzle gimme, SEE?

Keep those COMMENTS coming, amigos. This is becoming a bigger and bigger part of the day.

puzzlehoarder 7:45 AM  

I can't tell you how long I've been waiting for HAUDENOSAUNEE to show up in a puzzle so I could just throw it in off of just one letter, only not. Other than the last letter being an E because of words like Menomonee every single letter in that entry came from the crosses. Luckily they were all fair because most of that word just looked wrong.

ERUCT was no problem. I like knowing things like that an ERUCTation is a belch, oscultation means kissing, and that hirsute is hairy. I could go on and on. The point is I thought the puzzle was great. Only a minute and a half longer than yesterday's solve so not as disproportionately long for it's day of the week but still a good solve.

The one place I feared a Natick was the ending of 38D and 47A. That word "shot" in the clues really threw me off. I thought it meant some kind of bedded instructions for what kind of camera action should be used, along the lines of zooming in or panning out. I was playing whack a vowel with that one square and sensing an inevitable dnf. Strangely one more rereading of the clues caused T to pop up and I just knew it was right without really knowing why.

After solving I looked up the terms and found out they stand for INTerior and EXTerior. I imagine most people didn't hesitate at all on that but it turns out that that this was a debut clue for both entries.

I think that when Shortz goes that extra mile to come up with debut clues it's because he thinks the puzzle was with it. The quality of today's offering would support that idea.

Loren Muse Smith 7:46 AM  

Jeez Louise this was hard. I can’t even remember what my first entry was. SRS maybe? SUITCASE fell early – great clue – and then THEN the sneakiest sneaky sneak of constructor evilness: the C in SUITCASE is the penultimate letter in 32D. So I (along with masses I’m sure) wrote in “belch” and went about my business.

That business being trying to fit the YMCA song into 35A. Again, the M in TRAVEL MUG toward the end of 35A fits where the M of YMCA would fit.

TRAVEL MUG – those two parts, the lid and the bottom, are the athletic socks of the cabinet. I can be seduced into buying a nifty silver travel mug, use it a couple of times, and then lose the lid or the bottom.

If it weren’t for the gimmes, HAUDENOSAUNEE, BETEL, AND ETESIAN, I don’t think I could have finished. Hah.

I agree that the clue for PAIN MED is terrific. See also the clue for STILETTO HEELS.

I don’t know from PALEO or keto, but I do know that I’ve discovered Swerve sweetener, and it’s not bad. I’m going to fit in making lemon curd with it today, in between working a 2000 piece jigsaw puzzle, reading a Harlan Coben novel, making the requisite calls to aging family members, staring the Stumper, searching and recording any Hallmark movie that involves a prince whose real identity the girl is unaware of, and organizing another cabinet. I need to find the lid of this really cool travel mug.

GSIX: Piggly Wiggly Bagger. One of the guys around here calls the store Piggy Wigs. No. Really. And it’s in a non-ironic way.

@mooretep, @TJS, @Maxxgar from yesterday – thanks, man.

TEEPEES. Walmart finally had lots of TPs yesterday. And chicken and ground beef and eggs and butter. Now that there is a confirmed case in the county next to mine, I was for the first time nervous and jumpy the whole time I was there. If you put your mind to it, you can *really* overthink how a virus might spread, what you’ve touched, breathed. So it wasn’t until yesterday that I fully understood the horror that people in places like NYC are living through.

I sat and sobbed this morning as CNN showed all the ineffably uplifting stuff that people are doing these days. I propose that every day when the sickening, baffling, infuriating press conference airs, the media should just instead show clips like

this

and

this

and

this

Mike in Mountain View 7:50 AM  

Over at xwordinfo.com, Erik is apologetic about the flaws he perceives in his creation (and he didn't mention the MEN dupe), but I think he's being way too hard on himself. My solving experience for this puzzle was similar to a classic Patrick Berry--it started out feeling difficult and ended up in an average to slightly better than average time, with fair crosses and cluing guiding me through the puzzle at a steady clip.

Thanks, Erik.

QuasiMojo 8:00 AM  

I'm glad "It's Raining Men" clued as a "gay anthem" was a "gimme" for you, Rex. I've been gay for more decades than I can count on one hand, an AEON in fact, and have never heard this song, which I love btw, described as a "gay anthem." The word anthem implies something a bit more serious and reflective of a community. That song was sung by women about hot guys. It may be camp, it may even be "gay" but I wouldn't call it an anthem. "We Are Family" was much more commonly heard at Gay pride parades and rallies. And later "I Will Survive" became an anthem of sorts at piano bars such as Marie's Crisis or the Duplex. In time "I Am What I Am" from Cage Aux Folles became a kind of anthem. Although the consensus was that it was trying too hard.

That said, this was a super fun if slightly easy Saturday romp, even if "Hair Spa" sounds made-up to me. But boy could I use one now!

Two snaps up, Erik!

anitafio 8:01 AM  

I don’t know if it’s age or education - but Haudenosaunee came easy to me and I had never heard of It’s Raining Men - maybe because in the 80s I was juggling a newborn and full time work - and in the 70s I was getting an anthropology degree. I liked the puzzle! Int and Ext gave me the Almost finished, one square is off message. But I ran the alphabet and made a guess or two and one worked.

Barbara S. 8:19 AM  

@ What? from yesterday

Did you ever find the Bletchley Park cryptic? If not, try this:

https://www.nytimes.com/crosswords/game/paid/alan-turing

Sorry, I can't supply a live link.

Oh, and if you want to be hired as a code-breaker you have to solve it in under 12 minutes. Good luck!

BarbieBarbie 8:36 AM  

@LMS, only about half the stations are carrying that content-free press conference. Just change the channel.

I DNFd on -X- crossing IN-, and it felt emotionally Natick-y, but when I saw the EE at the end of 37A I realized I should have been able to guess it. So a fair puzzle, and a great tussle. I always like Agard’s stuff.

Birchbark 8:36 AM  

If it's Saturday, it must be ROTI.

HAUDENOSAUNEE next to GSIX is excellent.

PRO -- SHOP ("Part of a golf club") is a pleasant springtime misdirect. If you carry your clubs, pull them or take separate carts, I bet you could safely play a round of golf with your friends. The game has a socially distant infrastructure suitable to the occasion.

I have spent more time videoconferencing in the past two weeks than in the previous howevermany years. So have we all. My daughter will do her voice lesson by video this morning. So, say I, RECONNECT with that collapsed shack in the woods. Keep prying its walls and floors apart and sorting the boards and window frames to their places. This is a good way to work from home on a Saturday.

Anonymous 8:37 AM  

re 58A ANDOVER and pabloinnh at 7:43 a.m. The private school in Andover, New Hampshire, is not called Andover but Proctor Academy, and it has been around a long time. Andover is not the official name of Phillips Academy, in Andover, Massachusetts, but is sort of a nickname. The official name is simply Phillips Academy. Exeter, on the other hand, is incorporated as part of the official name, Phillips Exeter Academy and is of course nicknamed Exeter. If someone were to try to call a school Andover Academy in New Hampshire, it would be simply a shameful attempt to feed off the name of the more famous school in Massachusetts. Schools in Oxford, England, have had this problem, luring especially Americans with an "Oxford" degree, which has nothing to do with the famous university.

Trivia note: Dick Wolf (as in the howling wolf in Law and Order, etc.) and George W. Bush were classmates at Andover, graduating in 1964.

Anon. i.e. Poggius

Suzie Q 8:42 AM  

Great puzzle even if I was stumped at you-know-where.
I did have my Saturday thinking cap on but still was surprised that my first entry was Stiletto Heels. That is what years of practice will get you. That goes for seeing the trick of number too.
Centaur amused me because we discussed mermaids yesterday.

Joaquin 8:42 AM  

Maybe it’s a regional thing, but in my life I have hailed, grabbed, called, and shared one, but never did I ever HOPACAB. And I have never been to or even heard of a HAIRSPA. Is a hair spa where hair goes to get away and relax? Because if it is, maybe that’s where mine went. Haven’t seen it for ages.

My all-time WTF moment while doing xword puzzles occurred when I realized HAUDENOSAUNEE was actually correct fill.

Anonymous 8:48 AM  

I have a few comments:

I work for a baseball team and have been to Syracuse a million times for work. I usually go for a jog along Lake Onondaga - there is a historical marker about the HAUDENOSAUNEE conference. I’ve stopped and read it about a million times and have tried to memorize the spelling, but I needed pretty much every cross (except the “h” to fill it in). Also: did you know Lake Onondaga has the dubious distinction of being the most polluted lake in America?

I’m a nutritionist and have some thoughts on the paleo diet. It is certainly inaccurately named. Unless you have a time machine, you cannot eat the same diet as a “caveman”. But it does work for people who want to get leaner or stay lean. It’s expensive and takes a lot of effort. We’ve all heard the joke about vegans (How do you know someone’s a vegan? Oh, they’ll tell you.). It is the same with people on the paleo diet.

I really enjoyed this puzzle. It was semi-difficult for me (7 minutes) and took my mind off COVID-19 for a while.

In the same vein, I really enjoyed the Acrostic today. It was much more difficult than they’ve been lately. I had to guess at the last few letters in the grid (proper nouns). Any other acrostic lovers on here? What did you think?

Anonymous 9:04 AM  

Also, I think we just had Centaur in a clue with horse as answer.

pabloinnh 9:11 AM  

@Anon i.e. Poggius-Of course you're right about Proctor Academy, and I knew better, as I've been to hockey games there and watched ski jumping in town. I suppose I was thinking of how everyone around here just refers to the town and not the school. So mea culpa, and thanks for the correction.

Facts matter.

bauskern 9:13 AM  

This was the easiest Saturday I have ever encountered, so I wound up feeling a tad disappointed. Perhaps because the long answers fell pretty quickly. ERUCT? Ok, that was a toughie. I could swear we had a CENTAUR clue recently? I liked the cluing for TEEPEES, and the plural didn't bother me. I'm not sure who refers to a UNI. I think the better term is KIT. Well, now I've whiled away 15-20 minutes of my morning. Off for a run.

OffTheGrid 9:13 AM  

I'm just not seeing the "number in a pharmacy"/PAINMED thing. I'll probably do a forehead slap if/when I get it. Help? Is it a pot reference?

Paul Emil 9:18 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
bookmark 9:23 AM  

Thanks for your posts, Poggius. I always learn something interesting.

Brian 9:26 AM  

Imbalanced in terms of difficulty. Mostly smooth and easy for a Saturday with a few bizarre exceptions that significantly slowed the solve: HAUDENOSAUNEE was brutal and made even more painful with ERUCT. Never heard of HAIRSPA?

KnittyContessa 9:28 AM  

Had to run through vowels to get the HAUDENOSAUNEE ERUCT cross. Two new words for me.

I never knew It's Raining Men was a gay anthem. I went through every Village People song, I Will Survive, We Are Family. It took a while to get that one.

Loved the Stiletto clue.

Z 9:29 AM  

You know what else bus and subway eschewers might do? Hoofs it. Not that that slowed me down or anything.

“Did I mention I have no hair?“ got an LOL here. I do have hair and still agreed with everything Rex wrote about HAIR SPA.

“Gay anthem” was pretty worthless. I get @Quasimojo’s point about “anthem” invoking seriousness, but “anthem” is also used for any song we stand up and sing together, which is pretty much every disco song.

OK, I’ll ask it and then do the “D’Oh slap.” How does “Rider on a carousel?” lead to SUITCASE? I got it by pattern recognition and still have no clue why it works.

Hand up for knowing ERUCT. Hand up for having no idea why I know ERUCT.

@Birchbark - Har! Saw the clue and thought “it’s Saturday so it’s not naan, it’s the other one.” For whatever reason ROTa shares a synapse with ROTI and I always have to wait for the cross.

The whole concept of following a PALEOLITHIC DIET amuses me. Life expectancy in the 20’s, let’s eat like them. Our society has some pretty strong stupidity coursing through it, but our food stupidity seems like the most universal. Want to weigh less and be fitter? Eat fewer calories and move more. That’s it. Everything else is bull shit with a capital Bull and a capital Shit.

Fun time with this. Now it’s time to let the dogs out and get an EXTerior shot of the condo.

Mike Herlihy 9:37 AM  

@OffTheGrid. It numbs the pain!

kitshef 9:41 AM  

Super high highs and worrying low lows today. Mostly highs, and overall a very enjoyable solve. I was surprised post-solve to see it was an Agard, whose puzzles I generally dislike.

On the other hand … look at those threes: HTS/SRS/OHO/EXT/INT/PCS/MIA/EDU/UNI/CDC/DET/AKA. In the whole puzzle, there are two decent threes: SEE and PRO.

@LMS – remember WOW! chips made with olestra? Or your own experience eating a box of shredded wheat? Well, some people (including yours truly) react that way to Swerve. Even delightful lemon curd might not be worth the price.

kitshef 9:43 AM  

@Z - at airports, those things your checked bags ride around on when you go to collect them is a carousel.

TJS 9:43 AM  

@OffTheGrid, probably others have responded, but think of "number" as something that "numbs", ergo "pain med".

I thought this was a good Saturday tussle. @Lewis pretty much summarizes my experience, A challenging and ultimately satisfying start to the day. Hope everyone is holding up well. Imagine dealing with our current situation without the internet ! Yikes !

That "of course" attached to the approval of the "anthem" is just so Rexian, isn't it?

pabloinnh 9:46 AM  

FWIW, Erik Agard has a swell weekend puzzle in the New Yorker. Mr. Prolific.

I'll leave it to lots of other folks to tell @Z about the baggage carousel.

Nancy 9:48 AM  

I bet the seed entry of this difficult, entertaining puzzle was HAUDENOSAUNEE. It's my least favorite entry, btw, but it was gettable -- after a struggle.

My favorite entry was the clue/answer for STILETTO HEELS. Before I got it, I didn't think I'd be able to finish the fiendish midsection; once I got it, I thought I had a good chance.

The clue for SUITCASE (39A) is brilliant. I also liked the clue for SOLO ACT (17A).

I had HAIR___ and had trouble coming up with a term that was more high-falutin' than SALON. In NYC, the "beauty parlor" is the place that's affordable and the "salon" is the place that isn't. But then I did remember seeing some HAIR SPAS in recent years as I quickly scooted past. And speaking of scooting past...

When I "eschew the bus or subway, say", I don't HOP A CAB. I walk. (Unless I have a SUITCASE, in which case I'm a veritable princess.) Anyway, my suggestion A TOI is to walk, too. It's good for you and it sure saves money.

Despite HAUDENOSAUNEE, this was a fun and well-balanced puzzle with a lot of great cluing.

Anonymous 9:58 AM  

A suitcase rides on the baggage conveyor aka "carousel" at an airport.

OffTheGrid 10:00 AM  

@Mike. Thanks for the explanation of Number. I always trip over this trick. I'm trying to lock it in for next time but it likely won't work. silent B, silent B, silent B.................

Todd 10:03 AM  

A 13 letter de facto random sort crossing eruct. How is that not absurd? The rest was pretty easy for a Saturday

Petsounds 10:07 AM  

I'm a big fan of Erik Agard's puzzles, but not this one.

From the ridiculously obscure (you already know the ones I mean) to the apparently localized-within-a-50-block-area of "HOP" A CAB. Have lived in cities for most of my life--some here, some abroad--and have taken many cabs and have never heard that term used or read it anywwhere.

To the simply wrong definition for HAIRSPA, which is a series of procedures on the hair, not a salon.

Naticked entirely on INT/EXT, a bit of very insider film industry jargon. So despite some delightful clues, this one was a real disappointment, and I think Erik's commentary on his own puzzle was appropriate.

GILL I. 10:08 AM  

You guys are great.....@Whatsername, @Frantic, @JC66, @chefwen.... ALL of you. AND what would I do without my dear sweet @Nancy. I somehow know that if I fell and hit my head, you'd be there to put a bandage on this old cabeza. I love this blog and my cyber friends. I need a drink!
FINALLY got the NYT to get me up and running again. OH, we have a Saturday Erik. He and I don't always pick the same restaurant. When we do, we order from different menus. Today, we were offered a Saturday special and took it. I was liking our choices......Except he wanted the special HAUDENOSANEE and I went for the ERUCT. @Lobster....you made me laugh really hard. Yep, who wants to ERUCT a baby?
I got the STILETTO HEELS and did a yay me and then went on to 35A. Without so much as a sip of wine I inked in MACHO MACHO MAN. Oh, it's only one macho....Hmmmm. Without blinking, I went to Kevin Klein and In & Out dancing hilariously to "I will Survive." Dang....that doesn't fit. And "I'm So excited" didn't fit either. Hi @Quasi...like minds since I've never heard of ITS RAIING MEN either. I was a disco nut in the 80's and yet.....Where was I? Speaking of gay....Just the other day, I re-watched The Bird Cage. Damn, that movie makes me laugh. Only Nathan Lane is a real gay but Robin Williams and Hank Azaria do some incredible "tickle my funny bone" work.
Ah...yes, the great chili vs chile debate. the "I" version is americano, the "e" version is the real deal. We tend to get maybe lazy and change things the way we want.
Now that I look at the finished product, I see a DNF with the INT EXT. I had INE EXE. I knew Erik would order apple pie for dessert. I opted for a Fundador with my coffee.

Barbara S. 10:13 AM  

With apologies to @Tale Told by an Idiot, the inventor of the genre, and @Whatsername, a talented practitioner.

Det. Edna Beak here. I popped a pain med, picked up my travel mug, and tried to be case insensitive, since I didn't have any. Dear, dear, I shoulda given my detective agency a beta test. But, oho, who's this? Not a centaur, for sure, but a guy wearing two men's coats and carrying a suitcase. He comes in and comments that he's looking for a woman, Omega Alda aka Mia Cranes. "It feels like she's been gone an aeon. Wears stiletto heels, eats only the paleolithic diet, goes regularly to the hair spa. Always around her," he says, "it's raining men." And sighs, "To be with her is to be in the Etesian Fields." I let that one go. He'd searched in Andover and Rabat. "Rabat?" I said. "Yeah, is there an echo?" He'd even used search dogs, Alsatians. "I gather you want to reconnect?" "Yeah, I'm tired of this solo act. But boo hiss, I think she's gone off with Crag Dupont, the geode hunter. Or maybe with Haudenosaunee, an Iroquois man with whom she once chewed some betel and shared some roti. I think they may be living in teepees somewhere in Ohio." I had a sip of cola and between it and last night's anchos, tried not to eruct. I wondered if I was being soaped. "Look man, I think you've got to cut ties. Maybe she's making you atone for something. I'm sure you were up late. Hop a cab, go to a shop, get some rest." "Nein!" he shouted. But then stammered, "Ovine -- I mean, oh fine. I guess you're right. What's your fee. A G? Six? Cash or credit?" "Either/or," I said. And he was gone. Wow, all that money -- I'm a pro! Tada!

the redanman 10:17 AM  

Re: INT v EXT, I wanted badly for a 3 letter to go with PAN

ERUCT as ERUCTION is standard Medical vocabulary, cues up the juvenile joke "Your Epidermis is showing".

I did this after the new Yorker, so I was on the wavelength.

oisk17 10:23 AM  

Didn't like eruct crossing hauden...., but I imagine that nearly everyone faced with that empty square, correctly guessed the "u." This was what a Saturday ought to be, so difficult at first that I nearly gave up, but ultimately solvable and rewarding. Never heard of it's raining men, and "roti" is a word that comes after "boeuf" - didn't know it was Indian bread, not naan? Shows my dining preferences....

Never heard of "It's Raining Men" either, but given my complete ignorance of disco, and many other genres of pop-rock-hip-hop, I have no right to complain about it.

Fine puzzle, as was yesterday's.

Nancy 10:30 AM  

Welcome back, @GILL ! You're very welcome. I know you'd do the same for me.

My favorite comments so far on today's extremely colorful blog:

@Lobster 11's at 6:27 -- That if he saw anyone ERUCTing their baby, he'd call the police.

@Joaquin's at 8:42 -- That his hair ran off to a HAIR SPA to get away and relax and hasn't been seen since.

@Z's at 9:29 -- That because it's Saturday, it's not NAAN, it's "the other one". And also, re PALEOLITHIC DIET: "Life expectancy in the 20's. Let's eat like them."

I'm sure there will be many more.

QuasiMojo 10:30 AM  

Love it, @Barbara S. Very funny.

Teedmn 10:40 AM  

I was so sure 35A had to be "I Will Survive" that I was quite taken aback when it didn't fit. Not that I'm any expert on gay anthems, but after seeing "The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" long ago, I've always believed the Gloria Gaynor hit to be said anthem. I see @QuasiMojo makes mention of that song, so I'm not completely wrong. I couldn't finish watching the "IT'S RAINING MEN" video, too weird once it brought in Mother Nature.

I had HAUDENO_AUNEE and was completely flummoxed by what shoe size specification MEN_ could be. We say we've had an "aha" moment when the brain comes up with an answer we've been wracking over. But I needed an analogy for being completely, stupidly blank. I envisioned that moment when the tide is at its lowest and the ocean floor is exposed in its grittiness. I found out the lowest tides of the year are the equinoctial tides and I experienced the mental equivalent at that crossing. Not as handy a term as "aha", I must admit. And since it was the last square I filled in, and the oceans did finally wash back into my brainpan, the "aha" moment did occur.

Did anyone else fall for sofaS for Chesterfield after last weekend's online tournament designation?

Erik Agard's puzzles, like Alex Eaton-Salners', are challenging for me usually and today was no exception. Thanks, EA, nice Saturday exercise.

Kathy 10:43 AM  

I’m thrilled to have solved my second Saturday with no help! And an Agard at that! And in under an hour! I did well all week, so either this was an easier than average week or I am getting better at my game. (I started solving a year ago January.)

Never heard these terms ever: HAIRSPA HOPACAB. But that’s forgivable when there was so much sparkle elsewhere.

Technical Natick at ERUDT and HAUDENOSAUNEE but I ran the vowels to get the U and my Congratulations.

@OffTheGrid. I’m with you, I don’t get the PAINMED clue. Wait...someone answered. Head slap! I’ve seen this play on numb before, shame on me!

Everyone: I love how this blog community has evolved and expanded to become a source of comfort and needed distraction in these uncertain times. Heretofore followers have chimed in for the first time. People are writing longer pieces and more often. I also sense that quite a few folks are living alone. We generally demonize what social media has done to society, but right now it is keeping people connected in so many positive ways. We can virtually “reach out and touch someone.” For the boomers among us, this may be our dress rehearsal for such time that we might become what was once termed as “shut-ins.” The laptop or iPad is and will be a lifeline—friends, family, blogs, support groups, books, music, games, email, photos!

Be well, XW friends!

Tale Told By An Idiot 10:43 AM  

OK: got the suitcase, coats, pain med, cola, travel mug; time to put on the stiletto heels and hop a cab. This solo act is going to the G-six meeting to reconnect with Alan Alda. (I hope to atone for the sole boo hiss - yes, that one - in case insensitive comments were not the only cause of the frayed ties of the relationship.)

But where is the meeting? The Alsatians had said “nein“ to Ohio and pushed for Rabat so I decide to brave the etesian winds and fly to Morocco.

The airport is empty. There are construction cranes near the abandoned hair spa; there is an echo of the eructions of the one or two people who had been there (clearly they had not been following a Paleolithic diet!) but there is no sign either of Alan or of anyone else. I fear I have stayed up late and made this trip in vain and will have no chance to beta test the new me.

Then suddenly - tada - it’s raining men! I see dear Alan with his pals coming to meet me. A new day dawns.

And over, and out.

Z 10:45 AM  

D’Oh. I knew it would be obvious once the light went on. I never left the amusement park. I blame COVID-19 and all the travel restrictions.

I hate to rain on @Gill I, but CHILI is the real deal and has been since 1604 or so. Americans took the word from new world Spanish who took it from Nahuatl. Whether you use an E or an I you are right.

On the great ERUCT natick debate, that U seems pretty inferable given the -SAUNEE ending and the similarity to erupt. Not a true Whac-a-Vowel moment in my opinion nor a true natick. My hypothesis was that ERUCT probably came from French. A little checking says both it and erupt come from Latin, while belch is from middle English.

I googled HOP A CAB and found usages in Florida, Texas, Oregon, Hawaii, California, and New York specific websites, just about every travel website out there including websites focused on Latin American travel, song lyrics, Forbes, Newsweek, Marie Claire, the New York Times, ... basically everywhere.

webwinger 11:00 AM  

I solved an Agard Saturday in about average time with no googling! Opposite of BOOHISS me!

Many of the same issues @Rex noted. Needed every single cross for the Iriquois name. (Still typing mostly one-handed, so I’m not even going to try to get that down here.) Never used ERUCT as a verb, but ERUCTation definitely part of medical parlance at least through the 20th century. Agree that clues for AEON and TEEPEES seemed off. AeolIAN before ETESIAN. Got PAIN MED before grokking the clue, then remembered we’d seen something similar referencing a dentist not too long ago. (That was actually more accurate IMO—typical pain meds from a pharmacy are analgesic, not anesthetic, i.e. numbing.)

Great clue for SUITCASE! Saw a very funny cartoon recently in which a man riding on a baggage carousel spots his bag on the floor alongside it while speaking into his phone the caption “There’s been a terrible mix-up, I’m afraid”. Unfortunately can’t find it now.

Have to remark that OFL clearly had on his happy face writing this review, despite picking at numerous nits. That’s the spirit, Rex! Can’t help but think the constructor’s identity may have had something to do with it, but still goes to show that you can find fault without trashing. If you are reading this (har), Michael, keep up the good work!

That’s it. No long asides today. Stay well, all...

JC66 11:00 AM  

I found this one tough, even for a Saturday. Not knowing ITS RAINING MEN and HAUDENOSAUNEE sure didn't help. I did enjoy all the misdirections others have mentioned.

@GILL I - Welcome back; you were missed.

@Everyone - Stay safe.

Anonymous 11:04 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
RooMonster 11:09 AM  

Hey All !
@Everyone
Listen to Rex's The Weather Girls clip, and I guarantee that some of you have heard ITS RAINING MEN. I'm not of the persuasion that the clue purports, but it still makes me want to dance ala Kevin Klein in "In and Out". (Hi @Gill I!) Fun song.

Have to root my horn here that I got puz 100% correct! *TOOT!* *TADA!* 😁 I pretty much held on to that U of ERUCT for dear life, thinking it was either ERUCT or ERUpT. Like some of y'all, had belCH in first. But on SatPuzs, I fill in answers I think are correct, then try to get the crosses, and erase as needed to see if something else works. Case in point, had Peru for OHIO for a while, but erased it as nothing else worked, to find out it's the city in OHIO, not Peru.

HAUDENOSAUNEE, har. Where did Erik find that? Oh wait, he probably already knew it, judging by his last knowledge while on Jeopardy. I bet if that question(answer, really) came up on Jeopardy, he'd have known it. I knew it right off, too. (And I have a bridge for sale.)

Number as numb-er. Har. Always fall for that too. Fun joke: Puns always make me feel numb, but math puns make me feel number.

TEEPEES with the correct number of E's! None of this TEPEE nonsense. And TP ala @LMS, good stuff.

@Barbara S 10:13
Phenomenal! Wow, that was great! Gave me a wide smile as I read.

How does one HOP A CAB? Do you jump on the roof?

A good themeless today, coming from someone who likes themed puzs better. Way better than that disastrous FriPuz. BOO HISS on YesterPuz! 😋

No F's (again!)
ERUCTTTTTT! (Oh, excuse me!)
RooMonster
DarrinV

R. Gonzales 11:10 AM  

Thank you, @Gill I, for your clarification of the chili/chile confusion. Here in New Mexico, it's always "chile" unless we're referring to a kind of Tex-Mex dish. Our local fare, whether red or green, is always "chile" and it's usually -- at least authentically -- pronounced CHEE-leh. We put chile on virtually anything. Little known fact: New Mexico's official State Question is "Red or Green?" 'Nuther fact, chile, in sufficient quantities, will beat back a common cold; don't know whether it works on covid-19. I'm working hard to find out. Will let y'all know.

Suzy 11:13 AM  

Loved this puzzle, perfect for a Saturday morning, Thank you, Eric!

@LMS and BarbieBarbie—. you realize that these ridiculous DJT press conferences (read totally from script, obviously for
the first time) are purposely timed to coincide with the national news networks, two of which give the public real facts! Three,
counting NPR!

ani 11:15 AM  

@LMS—thanks for posting the high school choir video. Wonderful!

Newboy 11:16 AM  

Today’s puzzle was a solve as hairy as Eric’s do! Rex had almost anything I would say covered. Fine start to our Saturday INT, shot indeed in more ways than the G7. Off to the archives!

Anonymous 11:24 AM  

Hair spas might call themselves spas but not hair spas. I used to have a writing job where I had to read their trade magazines - nope, no hair spas. How did anyone get hts for Cleveland? I'm from Cleveland, my brother retired from the Cleveland Hts PD and I didn't get it. Even if I'd thought of it, I'd never think they'd use that in a puzzle. Cavs, Indians, Browns, etc., even Cleveland State University, but Cleveland Heights? Uh-uh. Everyone I ever met outside of Cleveland always knew someone from Shaker Heights, making it the most overpopulated suburb in America, I always said. But I digress. Typical Saturday puzzle, for me. Had to look up most of it. Learned a few things. Thought of Paleolithic but didn't quite get to diet for reasons stated by Rex. Hopped a train or bus. Got a cab. - newbie

Frantic Sloth 11:26 AM  

HAUDENOSAUNEE. Well, enough said about that.

Still, I agree with Rex that all's fair in war and words if the crosses are gettable - and these were. This was a fun one. Crunched it out, chewed it up, and swallowed hard. LOVED it.

Maybe one or two nits...

In my world, it's HOPAbus and grab or take or hail a CAB. Difficult to "hop" into something you need to bend/stoop to enter. Perhaps dive...but, not hop. And, let's face it, "I'm gonna dive a cab."?? That's just silly.

The other nit was how CENTAUR is clued. Speaking location-wise, a person is not on a horse back (again, in my world). Rather the horse back extends from the person, who is more ahead (no pun) than on.

I'm not sure nits could be smaller, but those are my two FWIW.

Tom R 11:31 AM  

So Rex thought it medium, some found it easy, but I found it hard, hard, hard. Way out of my usual time frame. To some extent its because I am stubborn. I don't solve for speed - I get my kicks by methodically working my way through. Hop a cab killed me! I started with go by car, then got the cab part, but hop a? This brings up a point I consider unfair in NYTimes puzzles: They are both Large City and NY centric. I live in central Wisconsin. What do I know of NOHO, SOHO, NYCity street names, etc. Last time a took a cab was 2011 in Las Vegas. Hence, what must seem like a cute and obvious colloquialism to city guys left me sputtering in the dust with go by cab. Anyway....

I do not care you can get many letters by crosses, HAUDENOSAUNEE is patently unfair. A work I will bet not one in a hundred knows belongs in a puzzle challenge contest, not here. Yeah, I cheated, and looked it up and do not feel bad about doing that. I did get Alsatians quick (misspelled it, of course) and stilettoheels was great. I liked the puzzle overall but it took me forever.

Seth 11:35 AM  

Had everything done except I just had ER-C- for ERUCT. Didn't actually know the word, and got zero help from HAUDENOSAUNEE and didn't know OPCIT. Basically guessed ERUCT as something that felt in my head like it existed, and got away with the solve. But woof, did not care for those obscure terms all crossing each other.

rondo 11:39 AM  

I still miss evil doug.

Joe Dipinto 11:40 AM  

IT'S RAINING MEN was much better served by its previous puzzle appearance on 11/04/2013 (check it out at XWord Info). Here it just seems sadly dated in the marquee slot. And I had the same reaction to the clue as @Quasi – that's an anthem??? More of a wink-wink novelty record, like its cousin "So Many Men, So Little Time."

The brothers Serge and Guy Raoul, who opened the famous Raoul's restaurant in Soho (see accompanying front window shot), were ALSATIANS. Speaking of French cuisine...

I like the clue and answer at 14a. Mostly this left me cold though, as Agard puzzles seem to insist on doing.

Choice lyrics.

Anonymous 11:40 AM  

@Tom R

You might find the central Wisconsin crossword more to your liking.

Tale Told By An Idiot 11:46 AM  

@Barbara S @10:13. Love your tale!

OffTheGrid 11:46 AM  

@Suzy. I'm sure you are right about the timing of Trump's daily spewing of BS. I find the PBS Newshour to be the most informative and insightful source. I recently obtained streaming PBS through my ROKU account. I watch the Newshour the following morning (By 6 PM I am ready for supper and light TV entertainment). PBS streaming has a plethora of viewing for these stay home days. I am currently enjoying Ken Burns' Baseball. It's fascinating. There are almost countless others available.

Crimson Devil 11:53 AM  

Loved carousel rider. Had difficulty stretching YMCA to 13 spaces.

Carola 11:57 AM  

A tough one for me and fun to sort out. To start, I had some promising crosses: COATS x SOLE, OVINE x OMEGA, ROTI x COLA, AKA x BEAK, but only the last yielded me anything in terms of further progress, allowing me to claw my way up the grid to SUITCASE level. After that it was pick-pick-pick away to finishing with the last E of HAUDENOSAUNEE.

Do-overs: wide before MENS, ALSAcIANS. No idea: IT'S RAINING MEN, HAUDENOSAUNEE, ETESIAN. Having lived in OHIO, I guessed it was that Lima that was meant. Having lived in Cleveland HTS, I shouldn't have needed an AEON to get it.

In a lit class I once took, the professor emphasized the physicality of orally transmitted epic poetry (like Homer or Beowulf) by likening the bard's recitation to an ERUCTation. Indelibly imprinted.

@QuasiMojo and others, Thanks, "I Will Survive" is the title I was vainly trying to come up with.

@Barbara S. - Excellent!

jb129 12:02 PM  

I love all of Erik's puzzles - even (especially?) the hard ones (37 across).

Gotta go watch our hero Governor here in NY,

Be safe,

QuasiMojo 12:02 PM  

@Gill I welcome back! Great write-up! I had heard of "It's Raining Men" btw but never as an anthem. And while I do still say "hop a cab" as in "Hop a cab and come on over to see me sometime" one was much more likely to "literally" hop a cab in NYC back when traffic was impossible. It often required leaping over them to cross the street. Like Nancy, I always walked in Manhattan. So much faster and much more fun! Taking the bus could mean hours spent next to someone EITHER yelling into a phone OR smelling like one of the unwashed so poetically memorialized on the Statue of Liberty.

johnk 12:02 PM  

Right. There is no such thing as an ancho chili. Chili is an American English stew based on Mexican cuisine. Chile is a pepper.

Unknown 12:07 PM  

Lima Ohio and Cleveland Heights? Sounds to me more like the constructor is an Ohioan. but I get your point, Tom R. Kinda true. And this is the perfect place to vent about it.
"Be kind. Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." - (probably from Philo)
Stay safe. Stay home.
- newbie

aeevans 12:13 PM  

As a former NYS third grade teacher, I was thrilled to see Haudenosaunee!!

Nancy 12:13 PM  

@Joe D (11:40) -- Oh, how I love that scene in the movie!!! It's my 2nd favorite scene after the "how to stuff a chicken" in bed scene. The dish itself-- not so much, though admittedly I never had it in France. Sole Meuniere has always seemed vapid to me, because I find sole a vapid fish. The best fish I have ever had in my life was actually in NYC -- on expense account for lunch at a restaurant called "La Fontainebleu" way over East on 49th, I think. It was the [slightly] cheaper sister restaurant of Le Perigord -- a restaurant so expensive that it was off-limits to the Literary Guild editorial staff. Anyway, the dish was "Coulibiac of Salmon" and I remember it 45 years later as though it were yesterday. When I went to find a photo to post, I instead found this article by a very famous culinary expert who claims it's the greatest dish in the world.

Bunny 12:18 PM  

@Roo Monster, You're on fire! You forgot to end with, "We'll be here all week folks. Don't forget to try the shrimp!"

I don't know where that second line came from but an hilarious friend who worked his way through college bussing tables at Denny's in the '70 always said that when he got a good laugh."

Is that the right spelling of bussing or did I just say he kissed tables at Denny's? There's a job you won't see today.

Unknown 12:26 PM  

My Anonymous handle just came out as Unknown. Why? Unknown. QuasiMojo (btw, great handle), you reminded me of a quip a friend always used in NYC: "should we walk or do we have time to take a cab?"
Come to think of it, it wasn't "hop a cab." We then usually walked.
A big virtual hug to NYC, Washington State, NOLA, and everyone else. First responders, health care workers and everyone keeping things going, from janitors to postal workers to cashiers to shelf stockers - grateful to you all.
- newbie

Frantic Sloth 12:35 PM  

@LMS "TRAVELMUG...parts...are the athletic socks of the cabinet." So true/so funny.
@Quasi 8:00am - Your anthem ranthem was spot on! @Rex - no anthem! No anthem! the anthem!
@GILL I. 1008am - Hey, girl! A warm welcome back to you and your wine!
@Barbara S. 1013am - Very well done! KUDOS!
@Tale Told - you slay me!
@jb129 1202pm - I'm jealous. I miss having a hero governor. Does Cuomo give his press conference at the same time every day? I'm sometimes able to catch him, but I usually just luck into it.
@Z 929am - Loved your entire PALEOLITHIC paragraph!

Frantic Sloth 12:39 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 12:43 PM  

Z, your Paleolithic comment was hilarious.
- newbie

Ethan Taliesin 12:50 PM  

I can't believe I did it. When I put in the last letters (stabs in the dark really) I expected to get the dreaded "Almost, but.." screen.

There was a great deal of luck involved, as three or four times I just entered letters that seemed to make the sequence resemble normal looking words.

Seriously I had no idea HAUDENOSAUNEE. Alsatians I think I've heard of, but would never be able to remember without 8/9 of the letters in the right place. Maybe I just think I have heard of it. Now I'm unsure

Anonymous 12:58 PM  

@Crimson Devil:

Exactly! Is not an anthem written by and for the people of their country?

Anonymous 12:59 PM  

Agree wholeheartedly! Poorly edited clue.

Carola 1:03 PM  

For those who might not be familiar with the Newsday Saturday Stumper, I think today's could be a good intro.

Kathy 1:06 PM  

@ anonymous newbie. I am gobsmacked! I moved away from Cleveland 50 years ago and ever since, I swear, all the people I have met from that area seem to have lived in Shaker Heights. I thought I was the only one experiencing this. So there really was a population explosion! What’s with that? I got LIMA but admit I only got HTS from the cross. Sorry, that clue was out in left field.

(Could it be they were really from Parma?)

barryevans 1:09 PM  

Number! Thanks guys, was going nuts...

Joe Dipinto 1:12 PM  

"should we walk or do we have time to take a cab?"

Hah, @Unknown 12:26, who in NYC can't relate to that? Cabs were great for pre-dawn rides back to Brooklyn, back when I was more of a nightowl. Otherwise I would almost never consider taking one. And "hop a cab" sounds out-of-date. It's "take a cab" or "grab a cab" or "cab it."

@Nancy – I like a meunière preparation because it's easy to do at home and can be used for lots of different fish. And I think it's delicious. That salmon dish sounds amazing, though I'm not partial to salmon generally, but it's way too complicated to even consider making at home. I'd order it in a restaurant though.

JC66 1:14 PM  

FWIW, I live in NYC and attended Ohio University in Athens over 60 years ago and was immediately able to plop in Cleveland HTS without a second thought.

jae 1:15 PM  

Slightly harder than Wednesday’s for me (which was hard) so on the easy side even with 37 across. Fortunately ITS RAINING MEN was a gimme after YMCA and I Will Survive wouldn’t fit and it was nicely topped by STILETTO HEELS. Growing up in OHIO helped with HTS and the Lima clue.

A bit of sparkle here and there, liked it.

Smith 1:19 PM  

@Quasi 8:00
I sooo wanted it to be I Will Survive! Worked at the old 8th St. Playhouse in the Rocky Horror days and our boss blasted it every afternoon at setup. He had just broken up...

Anonymous 1:23 PM  

The tiny town of Lima, OH has a town mascot. A big green Lima bean!

Missy 1:28 PM  

Cripes! Lighten up! It's a bloody crossword clue!

Dave S 1:30 PM  

Enjoyed the puzzle, but logged in reallly to say that I lived in Cleveland Hts in the 1990s and it was by far the best place I've ever lived. Had a town income tax, but you got it back richly with town facilities and services-plus it had TWO art movie houses. Never expected to see it in the NYT puzzle though.

QuasiMojo 1:45 PM  

@newbie Unknown. Welcome!
Thank you @Frantic
@Nancy -- I never heard of that restaurant. Do you by any chance mean La Réserve? It was on 49th and was co-owned by le Perigord.

Anonymous 1:52 PM  

Overall, this was a fairly easy Saturday for me. I am going to disagree about the unfairness of HAUDENOSAUNEE, although crossing ALSATIANS at the A did seem a bit NATICK-y. But it was mostly fairly crossed and the A was mostly inferable. It seems like fair game to me to put Native American confederacies in an American crossword. It's a lot better than random streets or neighborhoods in NYC. And if you're familiar with tribes, like Hualapai or Pawnee or Arapahoe, then HAUDENOSAUNEE doesn't look so strange.

I was initially irked at the INT/EXT crossing since the IN/EX is obvious and the T is the only part that needs some thought. But once you figure out the T, it's obviously right. I thought this was a pretty satisfying puzzle, in the end.

Anonymous 1:55 PM  

What the heck is edutainment??? Terrible!

Anon 1:59 PM  

DNF. Not fun.

Barbara S. 2:05 PM  

Thanks to @everyone who was diverted by Edna Beak.

@Tale Told by an Idiot 10:43
Your story's hilarious. You are the Master-Creator. I'm so glad we posted tales on the same day.

Smith 2:12 PM  

@Z in case no one replied... a SUITCASE on an airport carousel

Whatsername 2:23 PM  

As always on Saturdays, I’m doing this just for the practice so will refrain from making a judgment call. I didn’t know HAIRSPA, but I know I’m going to be in desperate need of one before this long national nightmare is over. I can barely stand in STILETTOHEELS, much less walk. Sarah Jessica Parker in Sex and the City used to go running down the streets of Manhattan in hers when she was trying to HOPACAB. I don’t know how she did that.

@Loren: enjoyed the concerts, especially the kids.
@GILL: Good to see you back. I had a little glitch with mine a few weeks ago too.
@Barbara S (10:13) and @TaleTold (10:43) Priceless! I love this game, whatever it is.
@Kathy (10:43) very well said and you may have hit the nail on the head with the future of the boomer generation.

Yesterday this blog posted 142 comments. I have no idea what the record is, but that seems like a lot based on what I’ve seen during my tenure. I just want to say a big THANK YOU to the moderators who must surely be working overtime. A thankless job I would imagine, but FWIW, much appreciated.

Anonymous 2:31 PM  

@Nancy -- From the Weird Coincidence Department: The March 16th issue of The New Yorker has a review of a restaurant called Veronika. Seems they serve a coulibiac salmon, a "confoundingly difficult" dish.

Masked and Anonymous 2:32 PM  

Har. Well, no surprise, that HAUDENOSAUNEE is a debut word. Evidently it translates to "People of the Longhouse". Longhouse is a single-room structure often built out of wood timbers, kinda like a log cabin. Was hopin Longhouse might mean Recreational Vehicle, or somesuch. Did not know the HAUDENOSAUNEE entry, at our house -- so, learned at lot.

Solvequest went fairly gradual-like, as M&A fired up the 1-Across boxes with GOBYCAB. The crossin {Cleveland ___: Abbr.} = HTS clue almost seemed like a sadistic prank -- and the answer was also a mystery, even after I'd filled it in. Yikes … tough fill-in the blank / abbreve meat combo! Not somethin U see everyday.
HTS gets staff weeject pick, based on all the above.

Really liked the CENTAUR clue. Not so much the HTS & ATOI clues.
Was relieved to see the Epidemic Intelligence Service overseer weren't DJT. Figured the "Intelligence" part immediately disqualified him, tho. (yo, @muse opcit darlin)

Really liked U-PLATE. INT/EXT pairin was a nice desperate scorin of a scrabbly letter. And the puzgrid-spanners at 3- and 11-Down were a nice change of pace orientation.

Thanx for the feisty longhouse fun, Mr. Agard.

Masked & Anonymo5Us


**gruntz**

Nancy 2:39 PM  

@Quasi (1:45) -- Well they say that memory plays tricks on us all, and to someone like me who barely has anything resembling a memory, it seems memory is playing a huge trick that could only have been perpetrated by both halves of the 17A clue.

I've spent the past half hour trying to find Le (or La) Fontainbleu on Google and it's nowhere to be seen. I then typed in Le Perigord and a zillion hits came in. They located it at 405 E 52nd with photos that look exactly like the building that I think I remember Fontainbleu was in. I then thought I remembered that Perigord closed its location somewhere around 57th Street and moved to where Fontainbleu, which had already closed, had been. There is absolutely no record of this at all. Obviously it didn't happen. So what am I remembering? Am I losing my mind? (Don't answer).

I don't remember a restaurant called La Reserve. If I'd been putting a restaurant called La Reserve on my expense account, I'd remember it, wouldn't I? (Don't answer.)

I would have taken every last nickel I have in the bank and bet that there was a restaurant called Le or La Fontainbleu back in the '70s and that it was way over East around 49th Street.

Isn't it lucky I didn't?




GILL I. 2:39 PM  

@Barbara S....Are you a writer by trade? Your rendition of todays puzzle was primo.....Thanks for that.
@Nancy...SOLE meunière is probably the best fish to serve to those that don't particularly like fish - the other one is petrale. Neither have any taste but the sauce is good. I have never heard of coulibiac. Wow - and I love salmon. I looked at that menu and it would take me a week to make just the brioche! I've been doing lots of cooking lately. I'm emptying out my pantry and delivering to my lonely neighbors. Here's my quip of the day:
I swear my fridge just said "What the hell do you want now."
I'm going to make some "tlayudas" today. It's a Oaxacan quesadilla. I have tons of black beans and I make my own tortillas because some sweet soul gave me a tortilla press for Christmas. I have lots of time on my hands so I'm in a festive cooking Mexican mood.
On the coronavirus front...I spoke to my sister yesterday. She lives in a beautiful village about 20 miles outside of Madrid. She hasn't been outside in 5 weeks. Spain will impose a 400 euro fine if you wander outdoors without a permit. She's going nutso. My daughter and son-in-law just bought a bidet because there is nary a piece of toilet paper to be found. What a country. Keep the blog and the laughs coming....please. AND....check in on your neighbors. :-)

DigitalDan 2:40 PM  

The pedant in me insists on pointing out that very few pain meds act by numbing anything. They act by reducing inflammation or by brain magic to reduce the pain, not cover it up. I guess I'm mostly disturbed that I didn't figure it out.

Anonymous 2:41 PM  

@LMS--Have to add to your video selection by sharing my 10 year old grandson's ZOOM class experience from his Chicago Public School. They gather each morning and he demonstrated the hand signs they have developed so that they aren't all talking at once. A heart for "I liked what you said." etc. It was touching and what a creative way of realizing that children need to stay connected with others than their family. I might add that our family was ZOOMing for the first time and despite initial adjustments it was buoying.

Learned the word "shtetl" from a NYT crosswords many years ago and have felt smug ever since (Am a hopeless Midwesterner). Can't wait until that happens the next time Haudenosaunee comes up!

Alexander 2:48 PM  

Wikipedia disagrees: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chili_pepper

Hungry Mother 2:54 PM  

Quite a worthwhile challenge today. It took me almost forever to put a dent in it, and I never really glided through, but it all finally came to me and it was done. Tricky and slick. Thanks for the adventure.

LenFuego 2:59 PM  

Add me to the list of non-fans of HOPACAB. BETEL is just not a nut I think of, so I got stuck on HOPACAR (which worked either as a reference to a trolley car, or to an Uber/Lyft) with RETEL as the nut, which seemed ... almost plausible.

I despised the clues for INT/EXT. I have no problem with those being crossed and included in the grid, but I fail to see what tying those abbreviations to screenplay shots did other than make the definition wrong. “Interior” is the opposite of “exterior”, but an “interior shot” is *not* the opposite of an ”exterior shot”. They are just different - one is conducted outdoors and one is conducted indoors. You would not say, for instance, that interior paint is the opposite of exterior paint ... those are just different things with different characteristics. And the acrobatics performed to reference them as being in a screenplay added absolutely nothing to the clue - that type of loooooong addition should be included only to clarify, not obfuscate. Cluing them simply as “Oppo. of 47-across” would have been much crisper and way more accurate.

Z 3:01 PM  

@Teedmn - Not only did I have sOfaS, but it was “confirmed” by THAT ONE. Blrrrgh.

I had a classmate in college from Shaker Heights. I’ve played Ultimate at the Cleveland Polo Grounds near Chagrin Road (always wondered where that name came from), I’ve watched more than a half dozen Tiger games at Progressive Field (or whatever they’re calling it these days). But I have never knowingly been in nor do I ever recall reading about Cleveland HTS. It still went in automatically. Reminds me of an early apartment we lived in. The subdivision was “Arbor Heights.” It had been a cornfield before being developed. No trees. No hills. HTS also “confirmed” Hoofs it which confirmed sOfaS. Did I mention that Hoofs it “barely” slowed me down? Blrrrrgh.

@Roo Monster - Lima OHIO is a town I used to pass on a regular basis on my travels between Detroit and Asheville. In addition, it is fairly close to Versailles, home of the world famous Poultry Days Ultimate Tournament. But the reason I chose OHIO over Peru is because it is Saturday so it’s probably going to be “the other one.”

@anon1:55 - The most famous example of EDUtainment is probably The Oregon Trail. It was a whole genre of software “popular” in the 1990’s. I also remember there being a typing program that used letters to attack Space Invaders style. EDUtainment is probably still out there in education circles, but it seems like it was more heavily marketed to the general public in the 90’s.

@whatsername - The record is well over 200. 200 is the max for a single page of comments, comment #201 starts a second page. No, I don’t remember what spurred that many comments. @LMS, Lewis, M&A, jberg, Gill I, or some other long timer might recall.

Anonymous 3:07 PM  

Brits used to, and some still do, call German Shepherds Alsatians.

Frantic Sloth 3:20 PM  

ARRRRGH! Second attempt at correction.

@Quasi 800am = That should read "@Rex - no anthem! No anthem! You're the anthem!"

Anonymous 3:28 PM  

The iconic example of EDUtainment are "The Science Channel", "Smithsonian", various "National Geographic" ones. There are scads of 'teaching games' for toddlers. Well if you're in a family that can afford them.

tea73 3:31 PM  

Love the cab joke. So true!

Surprised so many people did not know the song. I don't remember it from its original release, but a live version was released in 2005 and it was played regularly in my dance aerobics class. I tried putting in "I will survive", but it was clear almost instantly from the crosses that it was wrong.

I don't think I've ever seen a HAIRSPA, but around here nailSPAs are a thing so I did infer it eventually.

My husband was muttering ERUpT? which we both knew was wrong, but we did eventually remember what was correct.

I my kids learned about the HAUDENOSAUNEE in 4th grade NYS history, I wasn't paying attention. I'd ask them if they remember it, but I already know that they've forgotten everything they ever learned in school except what gets used regularly.

Hungry Mother 3:39 PM  

I was a taxi driver in Philadelphia while waiting out the summer of 1961 to enlist in the Army. HOPACAB was what everybody said.

webwinger 3:58 PM  

@Teedmn 10:40: I had exactly the same response to the Chesterfield clue, for the same reason.

@Anonymous/Unknown/Newbie, @Carola, @Kathy, @JC66, @jae, @Dave S: Hand up for hailing from the Buckeye State, and getting 1D and 29D with but a moment’s hesitation. I was sufficiently surprised by Cleveland HTS in the NYTXW to wonder if there might be another place by that name near NYC. Nothing found on Google. Might have been remembering Cleveland Circle in Boston.

Two valuable articles concerning the early cruise ship outbreaks of COVID-19 were recently published, one in the CDC’s Mortality and Morbidity Weekly Report and one in the iconic journal Nature. Of particular importance are data concerning the frequency of positive tests (26%) among the 2666 passengers (median age 69) on board the Diamond Princess, the frequency of asymptomatic cases (46.5% of those testing positive), the mortality rate (1.3% of those testing positive), the effectiveness of on-board passenger quarantine measures (quite good), and the ability of active virus to persist on surfaces (up to 17 days, at odds with other recently published findings).

Jim Finder 4:11 PM  

@pabloinnh Sorry, Philips Andover = Andover, in Andover, MA. The other one is Philips Exeter in Exeter NH. There are only the two, there's no third one. They were founded by an uncle and a nephew as I recall.

Whatsername 4:29 PM  

@Z (3:01) thanks for the info. It’ll be interesting to see if we exceed that during the quarantine.

kitshef 4:31 PM  

@Whatsername 2:23. The most I can recall is for the 9/15/2016 puzzle. 256 comments at last count.

The 9/11/2014 puzzle, often regarded as the worst puzzle ever run, topped out at 247.

QuasiMojo 4:35 PM  

No worries, as they say, @Nancy. I have a similar tale which I may have previously mentioned. I went to some Chinese restaurant on the Upper East Side that had a casino in it, up a steep and narrow staircase in back. It was very late at night or in the morning really and after hours. I spent a week's earnings. I went back a few days later and there was no sign of it. This was before hip pop-up restaurants. Lol. Also I remember vividly going to some Monastery restaurant in the East 70s in which the waiters all wore cassocks. The decor was very Name of the Rose. Back when ECO in the puzzle wasn't a trendy adjective.

Anonymous 4:38 PM  

Nobody else tried Tippee Cup before travel mug? I can’t be the only seventies era mom in Rexworld?!!

Puzzled Peter 4:45 PM  

To all who replied to me yesterday:
Thank you sooo much!
I completely forgot about that kind of ball return.
I was, incorrectly, remembering how I used to return candle pin small balls.
(It was, I must add, 69 years ago. I forgive myself for forgetting.)

What? 5:07 PM  

Crossword editors like Shortz are fond of instructing wanna be constructors to use fills that would be found in everyday language. HAUD... is a complete turnoff. Totally ruins the whole puzzle. Just awful. And hypocritical. Agard is a friend of Shortz so maybe that explains it.

amyyanni 5:31 PM  

A real treat.

pabloinnh 5:35 PM  

@Jim Finder-
Well, I've been corrected earlier and apologized earlier, but I don't mind doing it again, so thanks for your input. I'm very sure there are lots of folks who know more about prep schools than I do, although some of my best friends went to prep schools.

Also, trying to up the post total. Vamos!

Anonymous 5:52 PM  

The Sunday ACROSTIC - WOW!

Anonymous 6:05 PM  

HTS usage in NYT Puzzles from xwordinfo.com

Teedmn 6:17 PM  

@Z, my city is built on reclaimed swamp. One sub-division proudly has a sign welcoming you to Woodland Bluffs. I always quip that the bluff is that there are any "bluffs" (there are some trees.)

And if not the record for number of comments, it must be close - the Sept. 15, 2016 Thursday puzzle by Ian Livengood garnered 256 comments and I don't think it was because it was popular. (I actually loved it but I'm a masochist when it comes to puzzles.)

albatross shell 6:18 PM  

Everything @Nancy 10:30am posted.
But unlike Gill I, I loved the HAUDENOSAUNEE sauce and would not order the ERUCTed pap, but I did like learning the newtome word.

Do not get fooled by number again.
Repeat 3 times.
I got fooled again.
I guess I need a notdo list. But could you ever cross-out a non-action item?

Get a cab. grab a cab, catch a cab, flag a cab. The only one I tried before hop was cop a cab which is catchy enough to be right, although I ever used either one.

Three-cheat Saturday. Not too bad for me considering the day. Could a done better. Very good puzzle. Very little went in til I tried bottom center then a whole south fell. Center was tough.

@LMS links made my glaucoma-drops-dried-eyes shed tears. Human bravery and innovation. Hooray World!

albatross shell 6:23 PM  

@anon436pm
Me too. Only knew them as grandfather.

Teedmn 6:25 PM  

@kitshef, sorry for replicating your reply, I was in such a hurry to Google what that puzzle was, I didn't read to the bottom of the comments. I don't remember the 2014 puzzle, I'll have to look it up. Good research!

Z 6:31 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
jae 6:45 PM  

I just looked at the early comments on the 9/15/16 puzzle and even @LMS was only luke warm on liking it.

Z 7:15 PM  

@kitshef - Thanks for remembering those. I see I disagreed with your assessment of the 9/11/14 puzzle. And so many voices we don’t hear from anymore.

Lanny 7:31 PM  

Chile is a country. Chili is the dish and the pepper

Whatsername 7:34 PM  

@kitshef (4:31) Wow - 256! That is incredible. I am definitely going to pull both of those out of the archives and read the comments. You’ve got a remarkable memory. And BTW, I love the photo on your profile. I’ve always been fascinated by toucans.

@Anon (4:38) No, but I tried SIPPIECUP, even knowing that probably wouldn’t be how to spell it.

CDilly52 7:40 PM  

Thanks, @LMS. I agree and as my post the other day said, am focusing my efforts on helping our challenged school districts try to get organized to deliver instruction via distance learning when so many of our rural areas have no internet!

GILL I. 7:50 PM  

@Z and Lanny....No. You can argue til the chiles come home or you can even get into the ice tea vs iced tea argument, but this gringa know her chiles. That "I" thing probably started with the Brits who went even further by adding an extra L. Now go and talk to your friendly Mexicano and ask him/her. They might tell you that they are really guajillo...but never CHILI...that belongs to the tejanos who add carne.

CDilly52 7:56 PM  

Odd gal out here because had HAUDENOSAUNEE not been in the puzzle, Mr. Agard would have stumped me. In my day, long ago, Ohio school children learned about the Iroquois Confederacy as we studied the indigenous Ohio mound builders and the migration of some of them to upstate NY with the Confederacy. On the other hand, “IT’S RAINING MEN” was a total unknown.

And that clue for SUITCASE-pure Agardian genius. This was everything I dream of in a Saturday including the nightmares! Every time I conquer an excellently crafted tough Saturday, hear Gran’s single hand clap with concurrent little squeaky exclamation that was a cross between a giggle and a cheery “ha ha!” Today was one of those days. Thanks Mr. Agard.

I’d be really stressed without this daily period of enjoyment and community. Thank you all. I am certain that many of us not “inner planets “ (homage to an earlier puzzle) but more on the periphery of this wonderful galaxy of fascinating and certainly more expert solvers who lost such clever and insightful blurbs here feel as honored as I do; honored to get to look in every day and enjoy what’s being thought and written here.

Take care one and all.

JC66 8:04 PM  

@CDilly52

I'm sure the commentariat would agree that you joined the "inner planets" a while ago.

CuppaJoe 9:06 PM  

Ah, as I grow older my wheelhouse changes. Recently filled in some family tree branches and, lo and behold, the Wheeler side has a fascinating HAUDENOSAUNEE branch. Surprised I spelled it right on the first try.

Lion 9:51 PM  

I'm with you on EXT crossing INT.

old timer 11:04 PM  

I'm probably only posting to help set a record. The puzzle was fiendishly tough, I thought. I totally forgot that Lord Chesterfield gave his name to a COAT as well as a sofa or divan. I thought e-mail addresses were CASE SENSITIVE and put it in though it did not fit. And I have never heard of those winds in my life.

However, I have often flown with my family of five to New York, and of course with kids, and a wife who uses crutches to get around, we often HOPped A CAB. My kids got a very strange view of life in the cities, because most places you cannot count on finding a CAB. In New York, we almost always had to do no more than step outside and hold up your hand, except when the Broadway theaters got out. For a while, we stayed at an apartment hotel on the East Side (midtown and affordable). One time we took a taxi to dinner at a place I liked in the Village. When we were ready to go home, I hailed a CAB and lo and behold, it was the same driver who drove us to the restaurant. Only in New York!

The reason we went to the City was because Nana and Papa (wife's parents) lived in Vermont, and it was so easy to take a train from Grand Central to Whitehall, and in later times all the way to Rutland.

GHarris 11:12 PM  

Took great satisfaction from getting this on paper with just a few erasures and no electronic assistance. I think being constrained by sheltering in place gave me the added patience and incentive to keep pushing on to the triumphant finish. Thought I knew a lot about Native American lore but never encountered that name for the Iroquois confederation. Also, first thought about a gay anthem, after YMCA, was We Kiss in the Shadows. Maybe that’s from a time when coming out was less universal.

John Hoffman 11:23 PM  

Did Not Finish. Too hard for me. But glad that lots of you ate it up, loved it.

Z 11:45 PM  

@Gill I 7:50 - If the puzzle were in Spanish I’d agree. In English, which has had the word almost as long as Spanish, either is correct for the pepper. Good luck making sense of this entry in the Nahuatl version of Wikipedia. I will note that when I searched for “chile” the page it found was the country.

Jonny Ace 12:01 PM  

Almost avoided getting Naticked by Haudenosaunee, but just couldn't eruct out the middle letter the word. Won't make that mistake again.

Burma Shave 12:18 PM  

MENS' PAIN (EITHER SHOP OR HOP)

OVER ANDOVER ANDOVER you hear
COMMENTS that ECHO, "I want THATONE, DEAR!"

--- EDNA ALDA, AKA MIA DUPONT

spacecraft 12:22 PM  

SUITably hard for Saturday, as might be expected from EA. Every single cross of 37a had to be scrupulously fair, because literally no one on Earth is going to know that. I filled it in, wondered "where my mistake was," couldn't find anything, shrugged--and left it. OHO: it was right!! Same deal with ANCHO.

Successful completion earns beaucoup triumph points, but that thing across the middle gets a BOOHISS. Wanted THAT way before THATONE. A mini-aha moment seeing EITHEROR straightened things out. Choice words indeed! MIA Sara, of FBDO fame, is DOD, with an honorable mention going to one of the CRANES--Marion, as played by Janet Leigh. Birdie on account of the t.p.

Anonymous 1:26 PM  

And here I thought that "It's Raining Men" was the answer to "Why is the game cancelled?"

rondo 2:28 PM  

There are two CASEs of doubles if you include MEN. Not trying to be INSENSITIVE. And yeah, if you're not pretty local there are many of those nations across the U.S. that you're not gonna know. Took a lot of effort because of it. That's it for my COMMENTS.

sdcheezhd 3:27 PM  

HAUDENOSAUNEE? Really? At least we'll never forget it.

Diana, LIW 4:36 PM  

It wasn't hard, merely impossible. (in the middle!!!!!)

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for fairness in Crosswords

must admit that suitcase brought a chuckle

rainforest 5:20 PM  

Blogger wouldn't allow me to comment for two hours! So, very late but here's the skinny.

Decent puzzle where the downs were the heroes. 35A and 37A relied almost totally on crosses. Luckily I knew ERUCT. The entire South was pretty easy, the NW was the hardest to get. Does onw "HOP" A CAB? HTS was a guess, ANCHO a shot in the dark. Otherwise the puzzle was basically medm in difficulty, and again, the long downs were the key, RECONNECT especially so.

leftcoaster 6:49 PM  

@rainforest -- Your comment is right-on. The middle longs and bisecting down dominated this puzzle. (I'd rate it challenging.)

Anonymous 10:32 PM  

OFL calls it delightful and then spends most of the remainder of his comments ripping the puzzle. EA is a brilliant constructor but Haudensaunee and It's raining men ruined it for me. Educational, but not entertainment.

wcutler 1:50 AM  

@Nancy 2:39 PM
I don't know the restaurant, but decided to try a search with revised spelling and came up with a Fontainebleau Restaurant at the Summit Hotel, which seems to have been at Lexington and E. 51st, SE corner. You can see photos here: https://www.urbanarchive.org/sites/URSownhQsmN/6TfrEQ8F9PN

There is also a Fontainebleau Room at The St. Regis New York
Two East 55th Street, at Fifth Avenue.

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