Prized footwear introduced in 1984 / SAT 3-14-20 / Roughly 251,655 miles for Earth's moon / 1990 Robin Williams title role / Informal name for reptile that can seemingly run on water / Participant in 1990s civil war

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Constructor: Peter Wentz

Relative difficulty: Medium (untimed clipboard solve)


THEME: none

Word of the Day: NERVE BLOCK (3D: Chronic pain remedy) —
Nerve block or regional nerve blockade is any deliberate interruption of signals traveling along a nerve, often for the purpose of pain relief. Local anesthetic nerve block (sometimes referred to as simply "nerve block") is a short-term block, usually lasting hours or days, involving the injection of an anesthetic, a corticosteroid, and other agents onto or near a nerve. Neurolytic block, the deliberate temporary degeneration of nerve fibers through the application of chemicals, heat, or freezing, produces a block that may persist for weeks, months, or indefinitely. Neurectomy, the cutting through or removal of a nerve or a section of a nerve, usually produces a permanent block. Because neurectomy of a sensory nerve is often followed, months later, by the emergence of new, more intense pain, sensory nerve neurectomy is rarely performed. (wikipedia)
• • •

Can't remember the last time I didn't like a Peter Wentz puzzle, but this one just wasn't for me. The showier answers were things I knew nothing or cared nothing about, or, in the case of "CADILLAC MAN," only barely remembered (honestly, the only thing I "remember" is that a movie with the title existed, apparently thirty years ago). I'd get an answer like NERVE BLOCK and think, "I guess that's a thing." MR. NOBODY ... "I guess that's a thing." GRAVITY FED "I mean ... it sounds like something I know." Etc. JESUS LIZARD? I think there's a band by that name, but I may be confusing JESUS LIZARD with (... looks up that band that sang "Right Here, Right Now" in 1991 ...), ah, right, Jesus Jones. Nope, the JESUS LIZARD is indeed a band (also active in 1991! Weird) (back to the puzzle...) A CPA is a "Reconciler"? OK, I guess that's a tax term, then? Fun. [Present] means POSE now? POSEs a problem, presents a problem ... OK, yes, very ... defensible. POD is ... oh, it's P.O.'D, as in "pissed off"? Huh. JV... SOCCER, is it? There's nothing in that clue that points to "JV" (17A: Activity for kids out for kicks?)—"kids" play varsity, too. And can we just "JV" any sport now? SPENDY? Why have I never heard anyone say SPENDY? Do I not have rich enough friends? Also, I could do without the disgusting white supremacist sympathizer Lou DOBBS in my grid (48D: "Independents Day" author Lou). Having both Bushes in the grid was more than enough right-wingery for one puzzle, thanks (44A: YALIE). Answer after answer, clue after clue just left me cold today. I am willing to believe this is just a case of "wrong wavelength," but it's so disappointing because Wentz is, for me, one of the few absolutely reliable bylines. I guess you can't groove on all your favorites all the time.


Not sure I'd put DOES in a grid that already has JANE DOES in it. I know that JANE DOES is a noun phrase, not a complete sentence ("Jane does what?!"), but still, that's a repeated stand-alone four-letter string. Also, that clue on DOES, yuck (20A: ___ justice). ["Ah, all right"] sounds like someone conceding something, not someone realizing something. In my mind, the person is saying "Ah, all right, go ahead." So I wanted OH SURE or OH FINE, not OH I SEE, an answer that, once I got it, made me say, "Oh ... I see." I really liked AIR JORDANS as an answer, but I don't think I "really liked" much else. It's a very sturdy grid and there's very little outright junk. Just not for me.


Stay safe.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

108 comments:

Joaquin 12:09 AM  

"Wrong wavelength" for Rex; Wheelhouse City for me. Blew through this one like no Saturday before.

I always enjoy learning something new and today it was that there is such a thing as a Jesus lizard. Best thing I've learned in many a moon!

jae 12:11 AM  

Medium-tough. Oodles of good stuff here, liked it a bunch. Definitely for me.

Tom R 1:17 AM  

Unlike Rex I really liked this puzzle. Typical Saturday toughness with a lot of interesting clues/answers. Jesus lizard (aka JesusChrist lizard),settle down, gravity fed (like a lot of small engines - no fuel pump)boot up, but the best clue/answer was oedipus. How do you not highlight that? Steno pad was pretty good, too. Best of all, no obscure names (except Flickr which I eventually guessed - OK I admit it, I'm old and not at all hip).

chefwen 2:25 AM  

It’s not your rich friends that say SPENDY, they just go out and buy it. It’s your not so rich friends, like me, that say “that’s too spendy” I’ll have to pass.

MR. NOBODY reminded me of the song in Chicago, Mr. Cellophane, loved that movie.

Figured Rex would rate this as easy as I was able to finish unassisted, so I was pleasantly surprised.

SETTLE DOWN is a common saying in this house to the avatar Coco and the rascally Robbie when they get into shenanigan mode. Every. Single. Night.

JMS 2:33 AM  

My favorite was jesuslizard. and yes, it’s a thing, and I don’t know anything about the band, but if they didn’t exist, as a band, they should.

American Liberal Elite 6:12 AM  

DOBBS made me RETCH. So did RETCH.

Lewis 6:56 AM  

Another high-quality, yummy treat from one of my favorites. Peter Wentz, ever the teacher of something new to me (GRAVITY FED, JESUS LIZARD), ever the amuser (clues for ARREST, DUMP, OEDIPUS, PETS, SPEAK), and ever the motivator ("I know if I stick with this, it will all make sense and I will feel so good for having done it").

Presenter of answers that tickle my fancy (CANDOR, BELL LAP, AIR JORDANS, JESUS LIZARD, ASKANCE), thrower in of quirky tidbits (that triple-L smack in the middle of the grid).

And once again, here it is, an artistic PW piece, sparkling as ever. Thank you, Good King Wentz-Is-More, once again.

QuasiMojo 7:20 AM  

I was sure it was Cadillac DAN which gave me Dr Nobody. I thought it was like Dr No. or Dr Who? I eventually caught the mistake but it was a SPENDY error.

Lou Dobbs to me is that guy who got fired or quit in a huff over a prescribed slight (memory hazy) and threatened to start a company about outer space or something. Space.com? This was decades ago. He's still around?

Shocked to find Flickr is still around. I used to get frequent emails from them saying my account had been hacked or I'm owed a settlement or done such bother but I never signed up for it.

TAZO? Never heard of it. I still drink Red Zinger when I can find it.

Loved learning about Jesus Lizards. We have a lot of tiny lizards where I live. When you walk they scurry in front of you in a kind of ecstatic spastic frenzy. You literally have to sort of do a soft shoe dance to avoid them.

Anonymous 7:38 AM  

Took too long to extrapolate POD to P.O.'d. Just as soon not see DOBBS at all. Was able to see the significance of 'Ah, all right' vs 'Oh, all right' after seeing the answer. CPA does more than taxes, including reconciling 'the books.' Would have liked to have seen 'Eddie Van Halen' instead of Lumberjack.

Alex S. 7:45 AM  

Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, "spendy" was just a normal word in regular use.

I had no idea it was something of a regionalism until I was about 30 and visiting New York City on a work trip. I used the word in conversation during a meeting and the other people there thought I'd made it up and teased me a bit for baby talk.

Suzie Q 8:16 AM  

In Belize there is a Jesus Christ bird.
It took forever to get started but today I was the slow and steady tortoise who finally won the race.

pabloinnh 8:20 AM  

Nice chewy Saturday for me. Almost had a DNF in the SE as BEATIT gave way to BEGONE, which did not want to leave, until BUGOFF finally appeared, whew. Thanks goodness for GRAVITYFED.

When we ran our summer place here in NH we inherited the original water system, which was GRAVITYFED. Water was pumped uphill about half a mile into two big holding tanks and then came back down, feeding about 20+ buildings. Had to be checked twice a day and the water source would be no means pass any tests for purity today. We finally drilled a well and put in a pump system which solved many problems, except for the time a big pine tree fell on the pump house. At least we were closed then. Ah, memories.

Thanks for a Saturday that knows how to Saturday, PW. Nice challenge.

Anonymous 8:22 AM  

37A clue is appropriate for Pi Day!

Unknown 8:39 AM  

What's wrong with JV soccer. My sisters played it 50 years ago. I loved pat on the back. Never heard of a bell lap but my husband had and now I know. Lots of nice clues and words.

Keith 8:40 AM  

Thank you for that explanation on POD — it was driving me crazy.

Also, the Jesus Lizard, or Basilisk, is a fascinating creature. You can learn how it manages to walk on water on the always awesome Species podcast (Jan. 12 episode).

Paul Emil 8:57 AM  

French is my mother tongue. I started doing the N Y Times puzzle to get a grasp of the idiomatic nature of the English language. I find the puzzle stimulating. I don't understand the nit picking criticism I find at this site.

Anonymous 9:05 AM  

Did anyone else put in Doc Martins before Air Jordans?

Teedmn 9:11 AM  

If I have any advice for people trying to get better at crosswords, it would be, "Learn the Greek alphabet!" I did so back in my teens when I first started solving and it has paid off in nearly every third puzzle I've done since. Yesterday I did a puzzle whose clue was "H after Z". Classic.

All that to say that TAU was one of the answers that GRAVITY FED my solve after the pump dried up in the SE. I had OEDIPal and no idea who 48D's Lou was. I finally guessed at APOGEE and TAU was a gimme and in no time at all, I was done. I had to Google USGA post-solve to realize that the green in the clue was for golf and not some unknown-to-me branch of the military like the Green Berets. Good grief!

I'm still trying to parse the clue for 25A's DUMP. If someone would explain, so I can say, OH I SEE (which I agree, the clue for 31A meant a resigned, "Oh, okay" to me, not "aha")? Thanks.

JESUS LIZARD, the band, was playing during same time period as Jesus Jones, as Rex points out, and also Jesus and Mary Chain. I then started seeing patterns - clusters of similar band names. There was a time in the late 90s when it seemed like every other band name started with SUPER. And there was the THE phase, to the point that one band named themselves THE THE, as a joke, I presume. (I love them though). More recently there was DeerHoof, Deerhunter, Deer Tick. It's weird.

SPENDY, I say it more than I'd like to admit. Can't remember when it entered the regional lexicon but it's been around for a while.

I agree with Rex about the mehness of CADILLAC MAN and I circled the clue for 20A ____ justice with a "really?" question mark because it didn't seem like a phrase (though I just realized it is common, just not all by itself). But over all, I really liked this Saturday puzzle. It gave me a good workout and was interesting. Thanks, Peter Wentz. (And thanks for the NW gimme of PIERRE, got it off the R of OR SO).

Rube 9:14 AM  

I'm po'd that POD marred what was otherwise a solid puzzle. SPENDY is awful too

Hungry Mother 9:21 AM  

Mega-slog today, but since I’m just sitting around, staying away from neighbors counting TP rolls I had plenty of time. I slammed my hand down when I got BURP and my Apple Watch thought I’d taken a hard fall and wanted to call 911. Thank the gods for these types of diversions.

E.R. Murrow 9:22 AM  

I can tolerate the NRA, members of Trump's family, and various Nazis in a puzzle.

But when you out the embodiment of pure evil, Lou Dobbs, in a puzzle, that is a line I will not cross.

Anonymous 9:24 AM  

@ Joaquin (12:09)

Your last name wouldn't happen to be "Onwater," would it?

Anonymous 9:27 AM  

Buzz off or bug out but bug off?

Frantic Sloth 9:29 AM  

HOWOARTH was that SE corner shoehorned in there?!

GRAVITYFED??

SPENDY??

And sorry, but "amscray" that begins with a B is Beatit. BUGOFF is further down the list - after BUGgerOFF and BUttOut, and perhaps even BeGOne which I couldn't get past for the longest time even though I knew it didn't make sense.

I even had GRAVITY?E? and just stared until my eyes glazed over.

Finally just gave up and did the unsciency thing, and flung SPENDY in there and whaddya know?

Before all this I was crunching my way through, fully enjoying life, and lah-di-dah, lah-di-dah, lah lah...*shkroink* "Halt! Who goes there?"

Or this.

Came out on the other side, bloody, beaten, and in somebody's trunk, but glad to be alive.

Nancy 9:29 AM  

After struggling everywhere, but hitting a wall in the NE, I realized I'd have to cheat to finish. And I also knew that once I cheated, I almost certainly would finish. Because the long Robin Williams title role would open up the rest of the section. And even though I had CAD-------N, I had no idea what the answer was. Was there a man's first name that began with CAD? I couldn't think of one.

This is the problem with proper names. You know them or you don't. I never heard of CADILLAC MAN. And I hate being forced to cheat.

Also: "Oh, that's so SPENDY." "Oh, what a SPENDY thing to do." Who said that ever? Spellcheck's not accepting it and I say: good for Spellcheck! SPENDY is trendy? I hope we can ENDY it right now and SENDY it packing.

Other than that, though, I loved this puzzle. What great clues for OEDIPUS; DUMP (that one I saw right away); STENO PAD; POSE and BURP. What lovely answers in GRAVITY FED; JV SOCCER; and NERVE BLOCK. And even though they're product names, I liked AIR JORDANS and ARBYS, as clued. A tough and engrossing puzzle.

QuasiMojo 9:32 AM  

Re my post @7:20. "Perceived," not "prescribed." Autocorrect is daft.

JC66 9:36 AM  

@Teedmn

"What a DUMP!"

Frantic Sloth 9:39 AM  

@Teedmn For "refuse" think noun, not verb.

Although @JC66 has a better answer. :-)

pabloinnh 9:47 AM  

@Anon 9:24-

According to Gravity's Rainbow, his last name is "Stick".

burtonkd 9:48 AM  

Here is 3 minutes on the Jesus lizard with the soothing narration of Sir David Attenborough:

http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20170127-jesus-christ-lizard-runs-on-water

Turn down the volume and wait for the ad, it’s worth it. Don’t know how the CAMERAMAN does it...

Solid Saturday

Sir Hillary 9:52 AM  

Saw the Peter Wentz byline and dug myself in for a tough challenge. Never happened -- I blew through this like I've never done with a Wentz puzzle before.

Likes:
-- Nice and Scrabbly.
-- The long downs are beauties.
-- Never knew it was called a JESUSLIZARD, but how perfect.
-- Clues for OEDIPUS and STENOPAD.
-- Lots of diversity: LAO, INCA, SERB, UTES...and Lou DOBBS! :)
-- LLL smackdab in the middle of the grid.
-- When wearing his AIRJORDANS, MJ often seemed anything but GRAVITYFED.

Not-so-likes:
-- POD. I get it now, but still don't like it.
-- SPENDY. No, no, and no.
-- Clue for DOES. Woof!
-- An "Ah..." clue for an OH... entry. Come on, do better.
-- If it's possible to make an in-the-language thing like JVSOCCER feel green-paintish, today's clue DOES so.
-- By what definition is TRON a "classic film"?
-- My brief error: BeGone before BUGOFF

Coming soon from @Rex: complaints about right-wingery when BIDEN shows up in a puzzle.

TJS 9:52 AM  

I am going to try @Nancys' method of not reading Rex or anyone else until after I comment here. I hate this puzzle. Battled this thing down to the Middle and south East and said to myself "If this is Mr. Nobody, I quit." Ran the check word and confirmed it, so enough. Does and does ? jvsoccer ?Arbys and Hefty and Xtra and I reckon and Dobbs and tazo and ohisee and pry and tau and flickr ? Flick this thing ! I see now that I saved myself the aggravation of bug off and spendys and gravity fed. Good God.

Anonymous 9:53 AM  

Jesus Lizard = genus Basiliscus, common name Basilisk.

Malsdemare 10:08 AM  

@Nancy, I'm chuckling away here. Nicely done!

Teedmn 10:09 AM  

Thank you, @JC66, I couldn't get past DUMP as a verb. If I did think noun, it didn't pass the breakfast test :-).

Joaquin 10:10 AM  

@Anonymous (9:24) - My full "nom de net" is Joaquin Santiago but I like your idea. I'll use it when I start my own religion.

Tale told by an idiot? 10:15 AM  

When I get home from my daughter’s jv soccer game I boot up the spendy new computer so I can cater to my need to put pictures of our lives on Flickr. Sometimes my wife Jane does that instead of me but before she does, she usually has a sip or more (and it ain’t tazo ) so I then have to dump her pictures if I don’t want Pierre, le gendarme, to arrest her. (In all candor, I often think I should tell her to bug off. Go to Arby’s, Jane, lower your hdl, raise your ldl, find Mr. Nobody, get a keycard at a cheap motel.)

My son, the Yalie, has a fake ID. He goes to a bar (owned by the brewer, I reckon) to doodle on his steno pad and watch the TVs: on one, USGA tournaments; on another, the Serb, Lao and Inca peoples; and on the third, cute pets. He asks the bartender to rinse his glass and fill it again. He drinks to tau day (‘cause he missed pi day.)

Oh, I see it is the bell lap: Axman cometh, story ends, goodbye all.

burtonkd 10:19 AM  

@Teedman and JC66
Refuse, the noun synonym for trash goes there.
The d from dump gave me __DOUBTFIRE, was wondering if she was a Ms.
I had Jr soccer first.
I put in OHISEE, and removed it, only to end up having it confirmed.
Both HDL and LDL cholesterol make the flower phonetically the same and seem like plausible alternative legit spellings.
Do people really pronounce PIERRE as pee air?
DRESSY, SPENDY, YALIE sound infantile. They also go together conceptually.
Is TRON a classic? Is the criteria just being old, or is there a quality component? It was fine for its kind, but classic?

JC66 10:26 AM  

@burtonkd

Thanks for the clarification on refuse/trash going to the DUMP (still like the BD clip, though).

GolfNerd 10:28 AM  

Solved this one from the middle out, rather an odd manner.
Really enjoyed JESUS LIZARD.

But ... we all have our nits.
USGA as green org. is too loose, the green guys are the GCSAA. Ditto using that clue for LPGA, PGA LGU, RANDA

Golf has greens, (but a tan golf course is preferable to green as it saves water, plays better is healthier, etc.)
the USGA makes and administers RULES of golf, runs some competitions
USGA.ORG is the website

So all that loose free-association is good enough for Will Shortz

I have yet to see GCSAA (or for that matter ASCGA) in a CW-puzzle

Z 10:32 AM  

Anyone else confuse Jesus Jones and EMF? Anyone else wonder if those guys look at those videos today and have the same visceral RETCH that I have of pictures of teenage me in a leisure suit?

The waiting room clue is temporarily out-dated. My son works with older clients, so his sore throat sent him to the Boulder Medical Center. Checked-in at a tent and waited in his car to be called on his cellphone when it was his turn (Doc said it was probably just a cold but getting a full check to make sure). No TVS.

The FLICKR clue also got the raised eyebrow. “Niche photo-sharing site” would be more accurate these days.

Fine enough Saturday for me.

Nancy 10:36 AM  

@Tale told by an idiot (10:15) -- Wonderfully funny and clever satire, using just about every answer in the puzzle. You sound suspiciously as though you might be either @Joe Dipinto or @JOHN X. If you're neither one, maybe you'd like to tell us who you are? I don't think you've ever appeared here before -- at least not under this nom de blog. Of course, I have no memory and could be wrong.

Thanks, Mals.

TJS 10:38 AM  

Yes @burtonkd, I wiuld guess that about one hundred per cent of non-Pierreians say the French version. Good thing we had a comment in the last few days that told us differently.

Anonymous 10:39 AM  

As long as there are aspiring Latin American immigrants, Lou Dobbs will have no need for Viagra.

Newboy 10:44 AM  

Wanted JANErOES since DOES existed already, but had to abort that effort. Tough but fair & that’s a Saturday, so thanks Peter.

jberg 10:47 AM  

Tough, but I liked it fine. gET seriOus fit just enough crosses to go in before SETTLE DOWN, which kept me from seeing lots of things; likewise Ok, thEn before OH, I SEE. But as I've said before, Rex, you need to get out more so that you'd know things like GRAVITY FED.

OTOH, I had no idea about the JESUS LIZARD, but it's such a neat nickname that I cried out with you when I saw what it was gong to be.

Just one Q short of a pangram.

jberg 10:50 AM  

@webwinger, thanks for correcting my Chicago history yesterday! I even looked it up, but forgot to check the primary!

Malsdemare 10:51 AM  

@Burtonkd, wonderful video. Thanks for sharing.

GILL I. 10:51 AM  

Good gravy, @Rex..... I have this urge to want to take you out for a drink followed by a nice dinner. Anything to make you smile again.....
Peter Wentz is my favorite pro. I LOVED THIS PUZZLE. Had fits and starts. Like funny @Nancy (as in you made me laugh - not as in you're weird) I did cheat with two names I could not get. I've never heard of that DOBBS character. So he's a racist as well? Oh, and would you have preferred "I did not have sexual relations with that woman" Clinton and wife? Ay, dios. And my other cheat was OTERI. Damn names.
I JUST COULD NOT get Mrs. Doubtfire out of my head. I think I've seen every one of Robin Williams films but dang, I don't remember CADILLACMAN. His absolute best and funniest movie ever was The Birdcage. I think I might re-watch it today. I have plenty of toilet paper. AND....I cried for days after he left his sad world.
Like @pablito I did a coin toss with begone and but out before BUG OFF . I'm not even sure what APOGEE is but I've seen it plenty of times here and it fit.....
Love me some JESUS LIZARDs. They look so cute running across the water. Like their pants are on fire or some big old toad is chasing them. BUG OFF.
Does one really BURP if getting a pat on the back?

Pete 10:56 AM  

My wife got a NERVEBLOCK on her foot a few weeks ago. She then woke up in the middle of the night with her face swollen and with a red rash all over it. Two days later that had abated, but the area where they froze her foot as an anesthetic had blisters all over it. The blisters healed in time, though her foot was in even greater pain for a week. By the time all that was over, her foot was no better than before.

By all means, go get yourselves nerve blocks from podiatrists. What could go wrong?

Kathy 10:57 AM  

It’s not often I get into a constructor’s head, but it happened today, and on a Saturday yet! I tried ridiculous words I didn’t know like CADILLACMAN and JESUSLIZARD, and, by gosh, they worked. There were no answers that couldn’t be sussed out by hacking away. Mostly clever clueing too. @pabloinnh had the perfect description—chewy.

I had fun with this one and learned some new things too, like how to pronounce Pierre. I have never been there to hear it pronounced by natives but I do know all my state capitals...so it was an easy get. Same for the Greek alphabet, had to memorize it as a sorority pledge long ago. Handy XW tools, both.

Did anyone else start with Belmont for final part of a track race?

Pete 10:59 AM  

Also, these damned kids these days with their stupid new words. I'm looking at you SPENDY!. You've only been around 100+ years, how dare you invade my space!

What am - I chopped liver? 11:06 AM  

@Teedmn
@JC66
@burtonkd

Also, thank you @Frantic Sloth 9:39am

RooMonster 11:18 AM  

Hey All !
100% correct today, with no cheats, no lookups, no Check feature! Wow! *Has a sip*

So, apparently it was easy, as I know my solving skills aren't improving. :-)

Had curSES for ABUSES til the very end, which caused consternation on getting GRAVITY FED, because with the C of curSES, I had USmc, as in Marine Corps for the Green org. clue. I thought how clever I was. Finally put SERB back in, as I took it out, and guessing that TAU basically had to be right, got me to see ABUSES and GRAVITY. And then the Happy Tune! Which was surprising, as the west center was also a guess, with DOES repeated (I didn't think that could possibly be right, as the ole brain never parsed it as DOES something, was stuck on the DOES as in JANE DOE), and the basic guess of either the H or L of HDL, but put 'em in, and hoped for the best. Correct!

Had ___Leg for BELLLAP, which got me SPEeK for 22D, so changed it to the A. BELL LAP a new one to me. I did a puz titled Groupies that had a four letter string in the themers. They were DECREE EERILY, STALL LLOYD, KAZOO OOMPH, BOYCOTT TTOPS. Looked neat in the grid.

Agree with the SPENDY oddness, though I believe I have heard that before. Like a bunch of y'all, had BeGOne for BUGOFF for a while, but figured BERP wasn't anything, and BURP fit the clue, so take out the e-o-n-e of BeGOne,... Aha! BUGOFF! Which gets you two F's! So a much better answer. :-)

Some other writeovers, roomkey-KEYCARD, weapon-FAKEID, aforementioned curSES-ABUSES. Went through a few Robin Williams movies. Mrs. Doubtfire? No. Patch Adams? No. Aladdin? No. Garp? No. Awakenings? No. (That was a great movie, though, if you've never seen it. 1990) Shakes the Clown? No. (Har, I've Googled his movies!)

Anyway, a nice puz.
Hope y'all have a great Pi Day! 3/14.
I have a t-shirt from The Ultimate Pi Day of 3/14/15, which has the time of 9:26 also on it! Too bad I was only able to wear it that one day... But, a toast went up at 9:26 AM! Get yourself some pie to celebrate, and stay safe out there.

Four F's (not too shabby)
SPENDY MR NOBODY
RooMonster
DarrinV

Anonymous 11:23 AM  

it's JANE rOE, as in vs.WADE.

couldn't get rid of Patch Adams for a long time. still didn't know CADILLAC MAN.

the last time the LAST LAP was signaled by a BELL was likely 1970.

Birchbark 11:43 AM  

@Teedmn (9:11) re: THE THE -- I have one of their albums (assuming there was more than one) on vinyl. Definitive mid-'80s college party music.

Another note to new solvers: Don't spell AScANCE wrong. You won't know what to do about c_YCARD. So instead of confidently moving on to finish the three or four remaining answers in the southwest, you'll fall into a feedback loop of self-doubt over correct ones already solved. How could AXMAN, STENO PAD, XTRA, and ENOKI be wrong? They weren't. And once "K" replaced "C" in ASKANCE, it was a matter of seconds to complete a struggle of more minutes than one cares to mention.

The rest was smooth and on the challenging side of an easy Saturday.

Teedmn 11:46 AM  

@Frantic Sloth, sorry, I thanked @JC66 before I had reloaded the comments so you were left out.

What? 11:47 AM  

Finally finished with no cheating but took about two hours, on and off. Often when I get stuck I rest my brain and then fills appear as my nerve junctions realign. Grateful for something to think about other than the 15 cans of tuna fish and 15 pounds of pasta on my counter. Hunting for toilet paper later.

Masked and Anonymous 12:32 PM  

Nice, smooth themeless. Only stuff that was hazy for m&e: TAZO. SPENDY. And sort of JESUSLIZARD. The Sat-Puz-tanic clues made it seem like a lot more stuff was hazy, of course.
Has the almost-requisite Jaws of Themelessness in the puzgrid. Homey. Like.

My seed-entry hunch: JESUSLIZARD. Perhaps also AIRJORDANS? Those two were my fave entries, along with BUGOFF and IRECKON.
staff weeject pick: POD. With flat-out sadistic clue of {Peeved}. So, not at all like "Two peeves in a pod".

I zipped thru most of the puz without any big trouble. Thought maybe FLICKR was FLICKA, and PRY's clue was slightly raised-by-wolves, so that and TAZO was probably my first area with a whiff of nanosecond distress. Only other long pause to contemplate my cinnamon roll was at GRAVITYFED/SPENDY. Pretty stress-free at our house, for a SatPuz, tho.

Thanx for everything but the RETCH, Mr. Wentz. (All that, and nothing MUR.)

Masked & Anonymo5Us


**gruntz**

Z 12:34 PM  

I’ve been thinking that the proper punctuation would be “JESUS! LIZARD!”

@Newboy10:44 - I see what you did there.

@Pete - Nice link. Although, in Rex’s defense, it doesn’t seem like it’s ever achieved really wide usage. I found the “chiefly American” with British citations bit pretty amusing.

@What? - You do realize that the shortages are being caused by panic buying, don’t you? If you just wait a couple of days there will be plenty of TP on the shelves again. I am still fascinated by our combined over-reaction/under-reaction to the pandemic. I’ve seen lots of recommendations on things to do (wash hands, stay home if you’re sick, don’t be in a large crowd especially in a confined space, et cetera) and none of the rational ones have ever said “hoard supplies.”
One suggestion I have seen and fully endorse is to tip 40%. Service workers are going to be especially hard hit by the slowdown coming and they will appreciate the extra dollars far more than you will miss them. So if you do go out for a meal or even get delivery or carry-out, toss in a couple extra Washingtons or Abes. It’s a small thing that we all can do.

old timer 12:35 PM  

If Mr Taletold is not @John X I will eat my hat. Well done, whoever it was. Today's puzzle was tough, and I came very close to Googling for CADILLACMAN, but didn't have to in the end. A good workout for my fading brain.

I know from my JANEDOEs. Anonymous defendants in England were sued as John Doe with Richard ROE as a backup. In this country you would occasionally find plaintiffs given the Doe or ROE name in very sensitive cases. If the unnamed party could only be a female it became JANE Doe or ROE. Without looking it up, I am guessing that ROE v Wade had more than one female plaintiff, and JANE Doe dropped from the case -- maybe she lost be baby, maybe she just wanted out of the case. Didn't JANE ROE end up opposing abortion, years later?

Whatsername 12:42 PM  

I don’t always do Saturdays but when I do, it’s with the intention of learning something to improve my solving skills and absolutely no expectation of finishing without help. Today was ideal because I had to work for it and there were some unfamiliar answers, but it was still doable. Thank you so much Mr. Wentz!

Some exceptionally good new fill, new to me anyway. I always thought ARBY’S was for Roast Beef, apparently a common misconception. I love the idea of a JESUSLIZARD but never saw or heard of one. I would never CATERTO the likes of Lou DOBBS or his ilk. SPENDY was old hat to me for something quite pricey like AIRJORDANS. When my nephew was a teenager he saved his money for months to buy a pair.

@GILL: I agree The Birdcage is by far Robin Williams’ best film. He was at his side-splitting best, even though he was eclipsed in many scenes by the hilarious Nathan Lane. Any movie with those two plus Gene Hackman and Diane Wiest, I would sit down and watch any day of the week.

Mr. Benson 12:44 PM  

SPENDY is definitely a northwestern regionalism. People use it there the way the rest of the country would say “pricey.”

ghostoflectricity 12:51 PM  

All of the following were active in rock/pop in the late '80s/early '90s:

The Jesus Lizard
The Jesus and Mary Chain
MC 900 Ft. Jesus
Jesus Jones

There were probably others. Also active were:

Collective Soul
Soul Coughing
Soul Asylum

None of which played anything vaguely resembling soul music.

Carola 12:58 PM  

Whee! This was as much fun as the CARAMEL-CORN-accompanied Scrambler ride at the carnival - the joy of being whip-sawed around between euphoria and fear of death. Speaking of which - JESUS LIZARD!
I liked the male trio CADILLAC MAN crossing AXMAN + MR NOBODY and the neighboring SETTLE DOWN + GRAVITY-FED.

Tip of the hat to the commenter on the earlier state capitals puzzle for PIERRE.

@Hungry Mother 9:21 - LOL! Thank you for the laugh.

Lewis 1:17 PM  

@z -- Right on comment on tipping!

Giovanni 1:24 PM  

@anon 11:23 I'm replying to the comment that they have not rung a bell since 1970. They do ring an actual bell. I'm a former track cyclist and my son races at the Velodrome now so I attend a lot of these races. That is where the cyclists ride in a circle, and you see them riding sideways up on a wall. It's a lot of fun but scary as hell. The nature of track cycling is that you are never really sure how many laps there are to go and how many you have already ridden. You need to concentrate on too many other things, such as not hitting another rider, determining when to pass and other strategies. They ring a bell when you pass the Start/Finish line to signal "one lap to go." This is known as the bell lap. There is also a track event called "Unknown Distance."This race could be 5 laps it could be 59 laps. You have to listen for that bell. When the bell is rung, all hell breaks loose.

They also ring a bell in Criteriums. Sometimes the announcer also yells out "one to go" while ringing the bell. In Cyclocross there is sometimes a bell, and at other times someone holds a card showing how many laps are left. In cyclocross the race is based on time, so before the race no one knows how many laps to expect. The officials base it on the first place rider's pace, and decide on number of laps after the race starts. In cyclocross you are not going as fast as in criteriums or track racing, so you can glance at the card when riding by.

Tale Told By An Idiot 1:35 PM  

@Nancy 10:36. I am honored to be compared to @Joe Dipinto and @John X, though I am neither of them. I am a 70-something retired person living in beautiful Oregon who started doing the NYT puzzle in college (the same college attended by Annabel, the formerly tired ((but not retired)) first Monday guest blogger.) I have been reading this blog (off and on ((or is that on and off?))) for 2 or 3 years and I enjoy it and learn a lot and I feel as though I know some of you, although of course I don’t (well, at least I don’t know that I know you. Perhaps a nom de plume is concealing an old friend!)

The tale I posted contained all of the across words in the puzzle (at least that was the intent and the 2 times I checked, I had got them all in.)

I had not posted until yesterday, which was Friday the 13. I have the bad luck to suffer from writing logorrhea (an extreme loquacity ((is that a word?)) on Friday the 13 and to overcome it, I speak (or write ((can you write loquaciously?)) parenthetically. Yesterday’s nom de blog was appropriate for yesterday’s post (well, I hope so but one never knows ((or should that be one can never tell? Tell is a wordier word (((if there is such a thing))) but knowledge is a virtue.))) ;-)

In any case now that almost every thing I was scheduled to do this month is canceled, perhaps I will have time to write more. On the other hand, the local grandchild is out of school so there may be babysitting.

JC66 1:51 PM  

@TTBAI

Welcome! Go "blue" and keep 'em coming.

Richardf8 1:57 PM  

I don’t know why it happened, but I took one look at that hint, had a mental image of a gecko running on whater and filled in Jesus Lizard. Everything else coalesced around that. I enjoyed it, but like the rest of the week, it seemed easy for its day.

Sunnyvale Solver 2:06 PM  

I liked it - correct difficulty level for Saturday - although not uniformly.

Toughest part was the NE. For the hygienist’s order, I had CLOSE, then WIDER before finally putting in RINSE. Both CLOSE and WIDER had some correct letters, so I felt stymied. Also I kept changing the tribe, from OTOS to CREE to finally UTES.

I really hate clues like 12D Present. Multiple meanings, multiple parts of speech, even multiple pronunciations.

GILL I. 2:17 PM  

@Tale of (((((())))))). Yes, go blue and join the fray.
Sacramento has now officially gone pandemic insane. I made the mistake of going to Target to pick up a few items. The lines were out the door. I just wanted some orange juice and coffee. Pile high carts with TP and water and canned goods. I left. Daughter and son-in law told not to come to work and to begin filling for unemployment. Family In Europe all on lock down. Son-in-law went to Costco yesterday to do his monthly shopping. Lines out the door and nary a piece of fondillo-wipe to be found. Anyone have a good idea of where I can go and hide? Thank goodness for Hulu and Netflix.

CDilly52 2:18 PM  

Had some real wheelhouse issues as I always do with Mr. Wentz. Thought I would never get a toehold, but JANE DOES got me started. Then I remembered PIERRE and my brother’s friend from undergrad, Dave Knudsen, himself a South Dakotan, who taught us all how to remember the capitals of the Dakotas, “PIERRE reached up to get a Bismarck.” And that natives, pronounce it “peer.”

Much of this puzzle demonstrates the old adage that nothing you learn is ever wasted. Having had more than one NERVE BLOCK, to ARREST chronic pain, that one didn’t give me trouble once I had a few letters. Because I am involved on a daily basis advising county government elected officials and sat on the city council in a largish university city, I have also learned a great deal about urban utility systems. Sewage lines, for example that GRAVITY FLOW are much ore economic to maintain than those that require pumping and lift stations. In other words, if “it” can’t naturally flow downhill, it’s expensive to move.

Good word play, a fine Saturday workout.

Unknown 2:20 PM  

I liked this puzzle a lot, as a Saturday I found hard but not so hard I got stuck in one corner for whole minutes, which often happens. I have no memory of Cadillac Man whatsoever, and I'm not sure anyone really wants to be reminded of it. Inferable from crosses though. I also hated "does" as an answer to justice. I have friends that say "spendy" though.

Anoa Bob 2:21 PM  

Any puzzle that has JESUS LIZARD splatzed in the middle of the grid has won me over completely.

Ever notice those big water tanks/towers as you drive around towns and cities? They are ubiquitous, right? Water is pumped up into those and then most residents and businesses will have a GRAVITY FED water supply.

My first thought for 20D "Mexico's national flower" was the PEYOTE blossom. I wonder who has the final say in such matters?

Whatsername 2:25 PM  

@TaleTold: Welcome! Glad you decided to join the commentariat, among whom there are at least a few of us fellow retired ones. Looking forward to more of your clever wit and insight.

Masked and Anonymous 3:02 PM  

@RP: Thanx for the "stay safe" blog wishes. You and yer family stay well, as well.

Rather than y'all goin out to some crowded bar, I have enclosed a weekend extra diversion, to hopefully keep all U wonderful Comment Gallery folks occupied(er), indoors(er) and safe(r). And perhaps a tiny bit happier, puz-wise, I hope. Anyhoooo … please take care.

M&A Runt Clinic

p.s.
I'm told that drinkin lots water can also help. Helps flush them throat germs away from the lung areas.
Hey -- it's possibly true, as it didn't come from the Handshaker-in-Chief.


**gruntz**

emily 3:07 PM  

I agree!

LeaveItToYourGoat 3:20 PM  

It must be exhausting getting triggered so easily by a single name in a crossword puzzle. But, hey, it wouldn't be RPDtNYTCP without your daily reminder that everyone right of Trotsky is a racist, sexist, xenophobic, gay-hating white supremacist. Too bad not everyone can be as inclusive as RP.

As far as the puzzle itself, it was a pretty standard Saturday difficulty-wise. Had no idea PIERRE was single-syllable. Is it pronounced like "peer" or something? After securing all the crossings in the NE, I kept misreading JANE DOES as a verb. Jane does what, exactly? The clue for BREWER had me thinking abbreviation, so CHI CUB or SL CARD? I thought it was an unwritten rule that a an abbreviated clue meant an abbreviated answer.

I didn't hate it, but I never really had any satisfying, "OH-I-SEE" moments. Even the solid long fill kinda fell flat because of the basic-ass cluing. Was pretty cool seeing AIR JORDANS in the puzz, but hell, you gotta do better than just looking up the most mundane facts about them on Wikipedia to come up with your clue.

Alison 3:24 PM  

Me too. Ruined the puzzle

Anonymous 3:25 PM  

Uh, Rex, compared to today's GOP the Bushes, and even RR, are hardly "right wing".

foxaroni 3:40 PM  

The Kansas City Star has ceased publication and delivery on Saturdays. Why am I posting it here? Because the Star also delivers--and has halted Saturday delivery--of the NY Times. So today is the first day we received no scheduled newspaper delivery. (There are many days when both papers are late, when we receive just one or the other, or when we get the Star and the Wall Street Journal, instead of the NY Times. But that's a different story.)

I pay over $100 a month for the Times. There is no way I'm going to spend another $40 to get the puzzle. Does anyone know of a way to get the puzzle (just one day a week) without cost?

Thanks in advance.

Anonymous 3:57 PM  

He mentioned Lou Dobbs in a crossword puzzle?? . . . HANG HIS ASS!!!!

Anonymous 4:00 PM  

" Is it pronounced like "peer""

yes


@anon/3:25
Uh, Rex, compared to today's GOP the Bushes, and even RR, are hardly "right wing".

au contraire. RR, well AuH2O, set them on this path. Republicans vehemently opposed FDR's efforts to end the Great Depression, so the Orange Caligula is just the Final Solution. it's always been the party of Social Darwinism.

amyyanni 4:18 PM  

Fun one! Had a boss in legal services who ended every meeting with "Go out and Do Justice!" Lived in South Dakota for a while so Pierre was a gimme. And an old friend appeared in the SE: (my mom used to read this to me)

I know a funny little man,
As quiet as a mouse,
Who does the mischief that is done
In everybody’s house.
There’s no one ever sees his face,
And yet we all agree
That every plate we break was cracked
By Mr.Nobody

‘Tis he who always tears our books,
who leaves our doors ajar;
he pulls the buttons from our shirts,
and scatters pins afar,
that squeaking door will always squeak,
because of this you see:
we leave the oiling to be done
by Mr Nobody.

He puts damp wood upon the fire,
So kettles cannot boil;
His are the feet that bring in mud
And all the carpets soil.
The papers always are mislaid,
Who had them last but he?
There’s no one tosses them about
But Mr. Nobody

F.T. Print 4:21 PM  

@foxaroni (3:40 pm);

Funny you should ask. I am a digital subscriber to the NYTimes as well at to the crossword. These have been separate subscriptions, charged separately (i.e. $40 per annum for the puzzle) But, the NYTimes just increased the digital subscription price by a few bucks a month and said, "what the heck, with the increase we will also include the crossword with your basic digital subscription." So.... no more separate charge for the puzzle for digital subscribers.

I assume your subscription to the "hard copy" paper includes digital access. It is likely, then, that your digital access to the paper will now include access to the puzzle at no additional charge. You should check it out. :)

F.T. Print 4:28 PM  

@foaxroni (3:40 pm)

Also, on the NYtimes website in customer service you can report undelivered papers and have the money credited to your account. It's a very easy submission - and credits for those Saturdays will soon add up to real money!!

Joe Dipinto 4:37 PM  

Experiment...site is refusing to Preview my posts in Mobile View...will it Publish?

Joe Dipinto 4:44 PM  

Question: is anyone else having trouble with the Mobile version of the site? For about a week now my phone has refused to Preview or Publish when I am in Mobile mode, which is what I am normally set to.

JC66 4:48 PM  

I just posted this from my phone using the Safari browser.

Robin 4:55 PM  

Liked some of the long ones on this.

SPENDY may be a regionalism. I've only heard it said by people in SE Idaho, and few of them. First occasion I can recall was maybe 15 years ago when I was in a sporting goods store and the woman helping me out said some particular piece of backpacking gear was a bit SPENDY.

LenFuego 5:28 PM  

This was my hardest slog in months. I do not often agree with Rex, and he was clearly sandbagging his normal bile because of his respect for Wentz, but this one was just awful. Hard for hardness sake. Way way way too many vague indirections with no payoff. When many other words and phrases are just as apt for the clue, it just gets too sloggy. JRSOCCER is just as valid an answer as JVSOCCER. So is BEGONE for BUGOFF. Just way too much "yeah, I guess that is a thing that sorta fits the clue."

I mean "It's office-bound" for STENOPAD?!? Really? There is nothing "office-bound" about a steno pad - a steno pad is not either travelling toward an office nor anchored to an office, which is what "-bound" rammed onto the end of "office" necessarily indicates. So somehow just ramming the concepts of office and bound into a word that makes the clue itself wrong is sufficient for a clue these days? That is just awful.

And the quoted clues were awful too, for the most part. "Ah, all right" for OHISEE? Doesn't fit. When you fill a grid with OHISEE, you are asking for trouble to begin with. "Ah" for OH is pretty droll to start with, but OK, fine, move on to the rest. Something like "Ah, I get it" would be a fair translation, but of course, Mr. Wentz could not use "I" in the clue. So rather than find something else that translates to the "ISEE" portion, he just added "all right" for ISEE, which ... yeah, does not translate. But, when you are trying to make a puzzle hard enough for a Saturday, you just say "oh, close enough, someone in the world might possibly substitute those phrases". I am sorry, but when you go "close enough" on twenty clues, that is not "close enough" to a puzzle that should be approved for publication.

Dreadful.

WhatDoing 6:09 PM  

Spendy?

Huh?

It can’t be SPENDY!

I mean .... wait ... did you say SPENDY?

That can’t be right.

(Consults searchy)

Oh, it’s a Portland thing.

Weirdos.

Charles 7:05 PM  

This puzzle made me realize what an oddity "p.o.'d" is. It's a verb turned into an acronym, then turned into a contraction when used in the past tense, so there are as many punctuation marks in the word as there are letters.

What really pisses me off (heh) about the word is if you expand it out again, it becomes "piss offed"? Or is it redundant and it's "pissed offed"? This is why we reserve the use of acronyms for nouns, people. 😉

Charles 7:12 PM  

@LenFuego I agree about STENOPAD, I think that clue was a misfire. A STENOPAD is something that is bound and can be found in an office, but the hyphen indicates that its "boundness" (so to speak) is dependent on the office, which is not the case.

Mr. Nobody 8:00 PM  

@ LenFuego, You just might be out of your league. Bound in this clue refers to a steno being a spiral bound pad of paper. Tricks like this are standard Saturday. Not understanding a puzzle doesn't make it bad for anyone except you. Sorry to be so blunt.

Unknown 8:56 PM  

Timberland was my goof.

pmdm 9:03 PM  

For those who have an account with the NYT, login to your account. On the left side of the logon home page, you should see under the Account box a link called "What's included". Click on the link and go to the bottom of the page. When I do that,I see on the right side "Read our articles in the format of your choice". If you see a link to the Replica Edition, click on it. You can save and print the puzzle using a screen grab application. (On a Mac the app is in the Utilities folder and called Grab.) Accessing the Sunday Magazine is a little tricky. If I provide too much detail, the moderator may decide not to publish this comment. (And if your subscription does not include the Replica Edition, this comment is pointless.) When my paper is not delivered, it's how I access the puzzles.

I only finished the puzzle now,since I spent a lot of fruitless energy trying to get paper towels. I didn't understand why people went into hoarding mode during the gas crisis, and I don't understand it decades later. At least I did enjoy the puzzle.

Unknown 9:52 PM  

Confusing The Jesus Lizrd w Jesus Jones LOL

Bill G. 10:04 PM  

Maybe picky but I see the clue for 25A as off. I understand the misdirection, buy why the "!" in the clue?

TJS 10:07 PM  

Hey Nobody, if you are sorry to be so blunt then don't be. there are other ways to explain things without being a jerk. Sorry to be so blunt.

burtonkd 10:17 PM  

Pierre is named after a French person, so how can S Dakotans get offended if we don't manage to pronounce it the way they mispronounce it? They say "peer", apparently. By the way, it is only one syllable when pronounced by a French person, i.e. pyair.

I went in my grocery store to get a couple of items to top off dinner and got right back out. I couldn't think of a better way to spread the virus than cramming into tight spaces where everyone is touching and breathing. Where did this hoarding advice come from? On the way back from family hiking, stopped at Costco today and it was completely out of rice and eggs, never saw that before. Store is big enough to keep 4 foot radius around me and cart:)

GILL I. 11:00 PM  

Forget about Eggs Benedict Brunch. Forget about coronavirus.....Do the Sunday puzzle. Fancy pants @Nancy has done this Sunday.....Yay.

Monty Boy 11:55 PM  

I liked this one some. I had to use my Fri/Sat rule of unlimited lookups - only three today.

So late this is mostly for the Syndies I expect: When in a meeting and someone asks "Any questions?" I always ask "What is the capital of South Dakota?" Usually no one knows.

Mickey Bell 6:00 AM  

Nothing wrong with it at all. It’s the clue that was misleading. Some reference to not being on varsity may have been a way to provide a little specificity?

chipschap 6:08 PM  

Thought it to be really easy for Saturday. A couple of wonky fills but overall nice, with some new information easily enough guessed from cross fills.

Getting a little annoyed with Rex criticizing puzzles because of what he considers to be right wing content. Get over it, it's just a puzzle, not a political statement.

Charlotte 9:06 PM  

I spent yesterday watching the Italians singing from their balconies, so I didn't get to the puzzle until today (Sunday). If anyone's still reading, I'm from Oregon and I don't say "spendy" but my cousins do. Viva l'Italia!

kitshef 9:44 PM  

SPENDY?????????????????????????????

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