Tusked savanna dweller / SAT 3-21-20 / Cathedral eponym / We move world sloganeer / we deliver for you sloganeer / Mobile dwelling on steppe / Slangy part of conversation recap

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Constructor: Damon Gulczynski

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (3/4 easy, 1/4 Challenging)

THEME: none

Word of the Day: DELTA BURKE (20A: Two-time Emmy nominee for playing Suzanne Sugarbaker) —
Delta Ramona Leah Burke (born July 30, 1956) is an American actress, producer, and author. From 1986 to 1991, she starred as Suzanne Sugarbaker in the CBS sitcom Designing Women, for which she was nominated for two Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.
Burke's other television credits include Filthy Rich (1982–83), Delta (1992–93), Women of the House (1995) and DAG (2000–01).[1] She has produced and starred in made-for-TV movies, appeared in the film What Women Want (2000), and had a recurring guest role in the drama series Boston Legal (2006–07). She has also starred in the  Broadway productions of Thoroughly Modern Millie (2003) and Steel Magnolias (2005). (wikipedia)

• • •

I don't really remember anything about this puzzle besides the NW. I think it was easy. Very easy. So easy it's just a blur to me. This is in high, high contrast to the NW, where ... I haven't been that stuck in a long time. There were a total of seven Downs up there that I could not make sense of:

The Downs:
  • 1D: Pound sign? (SPCA— Had the "A" ... wanted ... maybe EZRA? I forget
  • 3D: Where the biblical Esther and Daniel are purported to be buried (IRAN) — shrug, if you say so
  • 5D: ___ tear (ACL) — this is the very heart of the matter. I, like untold thousands, wrote in ONA here. Because, with no additional info, and *especially* no info telling you you're going to bet an abbr., you go for the most obvious culprit. With ONA in there (fairly securely, in my mind), the Acrosses were all hopelessly gummed up. I think this clue is cheap. Of course an ACL tear is a thing, but so is the pact between solver and puzzle that the puzzle will give *some* indication when an answer is an abbr. Awful.
  • 7D: Instrument with a bent neck (LUTE) — shrug, if you say so. Did not know that was a distinguishing feature, and "instrument" could mean bleeping anything, any tool, so I was lost here
  • 8D: Proofreader's abbr. (ITAL.) — again with the "hard for hard's sake" cheap trickery. Of course with this clue everyone wants STET or DELE, so let's go with this other thing that is not nearly as tightly associated with proofreading, sure. Boo. Come by your difficulty honestly, you stupid puzzle!
  • 9D: R. J. Reynolds brand (KENT) — why the &#$@ are you shilling for tobacco companies. My reaction to this clue was "f*** those guys" and I have no idea what the names of cigarettes are anymore. There are so many things that are called KENT. It's a human name, a place name, part of a university name. But you want Big Tobacco? Again, boo.
  • 10D: Attempt (ESSAY) — and the last bit of cheapness ... this. ESSAY and ASSAY can both mean "attempt," so that's fun (narrator's voice: it was not fun)

I see that there was a puzzle world outside the NW today, but I don't remember it. Didn't find it remarkable. Looking it over, it seems fine. But the NW felt blecch, and that's where I spent all my time, so ... there. It's slightly instructive to look back and remember that my brain kept thinking "it's CHARLATANS ... I really wish it were CHARLATANS, 'cause that seems right ... why can't I think of another word that long that means [Fakes]??? ..." Ugh, stupid ONA. Also worth remembering that I actually *considered* ACL at one point but immediately discarded it because of the aforementioned lack of abbr.-signalling in the clue. In summation: NW annoying, the rest of the puzzle way, way too easy. Fill looks good, but the cluing just missed wide in both directions—ugly hard in one direction, blandly easy in the other. Editing is an art! OK, bye!

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:09 AM  

Easy and much easier than yesterday’s. DELTA BURKE was a gimme (for those of you who enjoyed “Designing Women”, the delightful Annie Potts can currently be seen on “Young Sheldon”), and it was smooth sailing from there. Liked it quite a bit more than Rex did.

If you’d like a more challenging Sat., I recently did the Nov. 12, 1994 Saturday puzzle by Bryant White. It’s a theme puzzle but I still missed it by 2 squares.

Joaquin 12:21 AM  

@Rex has an entire litany of this puzzle's bum fill but omits what I think was really the only one: SO I WAS LIKE.

I would expect an English professor to at least include this ignorant sounding, Valley-girl talk in his list of targets.

okanaganer 1:21 AM  

For 1990s technology, immediately put FAX MACHINE with total confidence. Boy, we used those things 50 times a day back then, before email.

For things that come with strings attached, from PARA-----S had PARAGRAPHS. Cuz in computer programming, a bunch of text is a string, so... just thought it was a geek-ish clue.

I now officially really hate "Blah blah sloganeer" clues for corp.s. (And why does USPS merit the addition of "for short", but DHL doesn't?)

UNIT for "Something named after a scientist" was kinda clever clue for a pretty blah answer. Gauss, Newton, Pascal, etc. Will there someday be a Hawking?

puzzlehoarder 2:01 AM  

An easy Saturday. No hold out sections like yesterday.

@jae, thanks for the puzzle suggestion. I don't know which two squares you got wrong but my two mistakes were adjacent. They actually made a word that fit the clue.

Solverinserbia 2:59 AM  

Gave up after 45 minutes.

Would never have gotten DELTABURKE although I have vaguely heard of her. But the issue was I had PACe for PACK. Some people pace to get ready for a speech or appointment.

jae 3:26 AM  

@puzzlehoarder - I suspect we missed the same squares.

chefwen 3:32 AM  

I agree with @Joaquin 1A set my teeth on edge.

34A was unknown, sadly I’m not up on my activists, puzzle partner helped me out on that one.

Loved the clue for 15A, strings attached.
Love DELTA BURKE, funny lady. I bet she’d like my killer PEANUT SAUCE that I make for my curried lamb potstickers.

Good Saturday puzzle, two thumbs up.

Anonymous 4:06 AM  

Agree with Rex about ITAL clued poorly with “proofreader’s abbr.”” Italics would most often be noted by copy editor not a proofreader.

Loren Muse Smith 5:36 AM  

Yeah. I got my faux hold finally at “on a” tear. Like Rex. ‘Cept maybe that wasn’t his first entry. I think my next entry was PALINDROME, got ZITI, HAWN, MORE, and PURPLE HAZE bam bam. So I was like Ok, this DJG may not be as hard as some of his.

I laughed at BUSS. I got a text from a fellow teacher asking about our busses taking food to kids, and I noticed. I hate that I noticed, but I did. I was telling my husband that with two S’s that way, it was the standard plural of BUSS. He didn’t know that meant kiss. I told him busses was acceptable, too, but considered a variant of buses. He then asked about bussing a table – two S’s or one? I was relieved that the discussion didn’t devolve into a knock-down drag out (as most of our linguistic discussions do). But I was secretly jealous that I hadn’t already seen the problematic gerund deal. No way in hell I was gonna tell him, though. (I was still fuming over our Clemson-with-a-p /// crimson-with-no-p argument. He said we add that p sound in Clemson because of the L. Wha??? (I’ll remind you that he’s a pharmaceutical patent attorney by training.) He kept following me around wanting to admit he was right, and I finally exploded and said Comfy!!!! I add a p there, too, and There. Is. No. L.

DOUP. Maybe this has already been established as a dook.

I never know if it’s LUTE or lyre and always wait for the crosses. I can’t picture either one.

Unlike @Joaquin and @chefwen, SO I WAS LIKE was my absolute favorite entry. I have to disagree that it sounds ignorant, and I bet If I could follow either of you around, I would hear you use it sometimes. Not because you’re ignorant Valley girls, but that you’re speakers of English, and this usage is extremely natural in casual speech. Unlike the quotative go (as in So I go, “Why can’t the CHARLATAN just resign and go live under a lake?”), The quotative LIKE does more semantic work. It can communicate not only spoken words, but unspoken thoughts as well. Speaker A: SO I WAS LIKE I better just keep a low profile here and not say anything. Speaker B understands that speaker A was just thinking this and did not actually say it.

I realize that a bajillion people who read this will be convinced that you also refrain from using SO I WAS LIKE. We’ll just have to agree to disagree.

DJG – I always enjoy your puzzles. I really liked the clue for INFIELDERS.

Anonymous 5:39 AM  

Not to get political under the circumstances, but I found 25A to be a little more than ironic.

Conrad 5:59 AM  

Personal record, less than a third of an average Saturday. Two things helped: First, I saw the linked woman (19A) and girl (32D) immediately. The woman made 2D, 3D and 4D gimmies. That gave me 1A and it just exploded from there. I never even noticed SPCA or ACL. The second thing that helped was @LMS's discussion of the use of LIKE a few days back. That put me in a frame of mind where 1A was if not obvious at least one of the first things that came to mind. Wednesday on Saturday!

Z 6:09 AM  

’Scuse me while I kiss the sky.

The NW was mildly challenging. Unlike Rex, though, I began in the NE and worked into it from below and never saw (or maybe didn’t much think about) the clue for ACL. Amazing how missing a trap makes the solve less frustrating. I went with ESSAY because the terminal E is easier than a terminal A. I ended up with 7 downs before getting the long acrosses, but was able to deduce or infer all three to finish.

I just saw YURT, SLINK, and PURPLE rain in some other puzzles. One of those serendipities caused me a few issues before sussing out that I’d gone with the wrong greatest guitar player of all-time (I have four or five, no Clapton isn’t one of them)

@okanaganer - I didn’t verify, but it could be because DHL is the full name now while USPS is short for “United States Postal Service.”

Having DELTA BURKE and MEDGAR EVERS in the same puzzle is a little cultural whiplash, isn’t it?

SO I WAS LIKE, “CHARLATANS IN CONTROL is a little too on point.”

I’m a little surprised Rex hasn’t plugged this, but here’s another mention of Crossword Tournament From Your Couch. There’s a practice puzzle up so you can test the tech, always a good idea.

Teresa 6:12 AM  

Is there any clue that doesn't earn Rex's scorn? "Instrument with a bent neck" is perfect. Of course there are all kinds of instruments; that's half the fun. I got it instantly because I have a degree in music, but it's not THAT damn hard and yes, the bent neck a distinguishing feature. I was just happy to have so many grown-up words and not so many rap names for a change, as well as a lot of clever cluing. (That said, 1A made me cringe as well.)

kitshef 6:49 AM  

Twelve (!) answers of 10+ letters, and nine of them are excellent. Unfortunate but certainly forgivable that SO I WAS LIKE, the one clunker, appears at 1A.

Ashes around here certainly are not SHADE TREEs – they are all dead, courtesy of the emerald ash-borer.

I wonder if CHARLATANS and SCAR TISSUE originally had music clues? My guess is the latter did.

Lewis 7:00 AM  

@z -- Your second-to-last paragraph, amen, brother.

I felt like a sculptor, starting with this dense impenetrable block, chipping away here and there, here and there, with some areas untouched, due to that vague-cluing demon Gulcznski. Then, somehow, the block started to give. Flashes of inspiration broke through, accompanied by smiles at answers like SO I WAS LIKE and SWITCHEROO, and revisits by a pair I ADMIRED way back when -- MEDGAR EVANS and PURPLE HAZE.

Soon the trudge morphed into a sprint, and finally, after some fine tuning and polishing up, the creation was complete. I have set it on my top shelf, where high-quality works go, and thank you, DG, for a most enjoyable experience.

Crimson Devil 7:10 AM  

Last to fall was 1A, though have heard, like, a gazillion times. Good to be reminded of Miss Delta and Sugar Babies; there’s talented troupe in BHM by that name; best PALINDROME this year, also on a for ___tear.

QuasiMojo 7:20 AM  

I'm not surprised Rex didn't jump on the LIKE answer since he made fun of himself yesterday for being one of those people who used it constantly in the 80s.

Assay, Rex, only means "attempt" if one is speaking that ITALicized language: "archaic."

Wasn't sure I'd be down for this puzzle when I saw the constructor's name as I seem to recall being very out of his wheelhouse. But this felt right up my alley and I was done in half my usual Saturday time. And even though I have no idea who Delta Burke is I had no trouble filling it in with the downs. Which reminds me, I put in DAWN before HAWN thinking it might be Rae DAWN Chong. "...Delta Dawn, What's that flower you have on..."

Oh btw. I have a box full of unused CDs from my CDROM Drive that I've had since I bought my first Dell computer in the 90s, or was it a Compaq. They make wonderful Christmas tree ornaments. :)

amyyanni 7:25 AM  

Lived in Mississippi in 2012 and remember standing in line to vote in a town about 30 miles south of Jackson, where Medgar was killed, thinking about all those people who put their lives on the line in part so we could do what we were doing.
Grateful for a puzzle that took me to xwordland for a bit. And what @Lewis said, quoting @z.

Nick D 7:29 AM  

I finished at 5 minutes under my average, so it seems one man’s Medium-challenging is another man’s Medium-easy. Like Rex and many others, I confidently entered ONA at 5D, and also had STET for a while at 8D. But I disagree with Rex that the NE was so difficult. Once NIECE came into view at 32D, AUNT became a gimme at 19A. SPCA and OAHU quickly followed, at which point the wrongness of ONA became apparent. A very enjoyable puzzle from my point of view, although what with DELTA BURKE and MEDGAR EVERS saving PUPLE HAZE on their CD ROM DRIVE while smoking KENTs, it did skew on the older side.

Hungry Mother 7:53 AM  

I just kept moving relentlessly forward until it was done. I pulled information out of the dark recesses of my mind, make plenty of wags, caffeinated, muttered to myself, and stared. Lots of Saturday fun. Somehow, my time, though glacial, was faster than average (for me).

Speedweeder 8:01 AM  

Rex's description of solving the NW section sounds a lot like my experience with most late-week puzzles. Vague clues and stuff I don't know are things I have to work around all the time. Unlike Rex, those are the things I enjoy about puzzles, that give me a sense of accomplishment when I finally get it. If I can knock out a puzzle without a struggle, what's the point? For me, setting a personal record speed would be an indicator of a really boring experience.

This one was medium-challenging for me. Liked it.

Unknown 8:02 AM  

I was glad to get some challenge in the NW...Its a good time to have some distraction that takes more than a few minures. The SPCA clue was nicely funny...need more like that. kent was a clue that made me smile, not because i smoke but because everyone my age has heard of them over andover again but i doubt they still exist. Cig ads are gone.

Good puzzle. Thank you Damon.

Rex, some time you might remind us where all the puzzles yoy say are better reside. Can't recall enuf to find that column.

I know you like USA Today but tried them again whilw traveling and they are too, too easy. Brief fun, but very breif.

Suzie Q 8:06 AM  

Besides the challenge of the NW I also had to wrestle with the SW for a bit. At it before on it was my main problem. The clue for unit was particularly vague. I enjoyed the battle and I'm glad I did not give up. I knew the actress was Delta but the only 4 letter cigarette I could think of was Kool.
Thanks Damon for a satisfying Saturday struggle.

OffTheGrid 8:16 AM  

This was not a pleasant solve. More "Huh's" than "Aha's". There were too many times when the clue-answer match up was just off. If your PARACHUTE has strings you will probably die. I want cords on mine. Ash can be SHADE TREE but so can any tree. The elm is more associated with shade, especially in crosswords. ESSAY is way out there for a synonym for attempt. Why are ZITI "big" tubes? The event not for singles/RELAY was bad. A RELAY is actually singles taking turns. You betcha suggests a folksy answer but instead it's a formal sounding YES INDEED. One more: Encourage is to gently support. IMPEL is force without a choice. Just a disappointing Saturday.

Ron 8:23 AM  

Thanks for suggestion just did it. Which two squares? Just curious I finished without a hiccup

webwinger 8:47 AM  

Like yesterday had the hardest time in the NW. Like yesterday felt for the longest time I would fail to finish, then finally did. Time a bit shorter than yesterday, but well over average for Sarurday.

Help from Google would definitely have made it easier: DELTA BURKE rang a bell, but only after nearly all the letters were in. Like @Rex I started with EzrA at 1D and held onto him way too long, tried stet and dele before ITAL came from crosses. Somehow pictured a LUTE with a bent neck. Remembered Esther lived in Persia, now IRAN. Like @LMS I liked SO I WAS LIKE. Also INFIELDERS—my kind of baseball entry; knew it was right as soon as I filled it in, in contrast to many other answers in this puzzle. Like @okanaganer, had fax machInE before CDROM DRIVE. Agree with @OffTheGrid re 46A—wanted YES INDEEDy based on the You betcha! clue.

Overall, this felt good, like a Saturday should. (9D got me playing a bunch of those old tobacco commercial jingles in my head...)

BTW, I had the hardest of many hard times today getting my browser to accept the rexwordpuzzle.blogspot.COM url. Anyone else having this problem?

pabloinnh 8:48 AM  

So there I was a couple of days ago trying to see if LMS approved of "like" as a verb meaning "to say", and today I found out she does. Ironically, it was about the last thing I filled in, having fallen into the ONA trap. A mind is a terrible thing to waste, or not to have a mind, is very wasteful.

I don't think I've ever seen DELTABURKE in anything but as soon as I had DEL it went right in. How does that work?

An ash tree provides shade, but they are generally tall and narrow, so not your ideal choice. They do split nicely though.

PURPLERAIN didn't help things at all. Time to learn some lyrics and stop listening to the guitar.

Fun Saturday, DG, for which thanks. Time to find another set of distractions for today.

WhatDoing 8:48 AM  

Medgar Wiley Evers (July 2, 1925 – June 12, 1963) was an American civil rights activist in Mississippi, the state's field secretary for the NAACP, and a World War II veteran who had served in the United States Army. He worked to overturn segregation at the University of Mississippi, end the segregation of public facilities, and expand opportunities for African Americans, which included the enforcement of voting rights.

A college graduate, Evers became active in the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s. Following the 1954 ruling of the United States Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education that segregated public schools were unconstitutional, Evers challenged the segregation of the state-supported public University of Mississippi, applying to law school there. He also worked for voting rights, economic opportunity, access to public facilities, and other changes in the segregated society. Evers was awarded the 1963 NAACP Spingarn Medal.

(From Wikipedia)

TJS 9:08 AM  

I enjoyed the challenge throughout. Every section of this puzzle made me stop and rack my brain for some distant memory. So glad I couldn't come up with Betty Whites' name or I might still be working on the NE. Of course the NW was the last to fall, and ! Across is an abomination, but I thought this was a true Saturday struggle. Remembered the guitar work before I came up with the song name. I'm not sure if I should be ashamed of that or not. On to the suggested Saturday from the Archives. Stay Safe.

Anonymous 9:16 AM  

Linda Burke, Wanda Burke, Zelda Burke, and finally Diana Burke all stopped by and overstayed their welcomes before Delta Burke finally arrived.

RooMonster 9:22 AM  

Hey All !
Thankfully this puz had names of people I knew/heard of. Let me get some long answers which helped with the trickier ones. Overall, though, this ended up an easy puz for me, 16 mins 36 secs, which I believe to be my record fast SatPuz time. Way easier than YesterPuz.

What's up with these tough NW's this weekend? Todays not as bad as yesterdays, but it was the last section to fill. Already having the ends of 4 & 6D, HOG and TREE, helped immensely to get a toehold up there. Threw in the WART and SHADE, erased my wrong oboE for LUTE, and was able to get the rest.

As many of you like real tough challenges on a SatPuz, I like the occasional one like this that doesn't cause the ole brain to go into convulsions. Or maybe I'm just getting better at solving. Let's go with that. YES INDEED ☺️

Did have my one-letter DNF, naturally. Spelled EVERS' name wrong. MEDGeR. ARGH! And UNe just as good as UNA for that unknown tango. (Not into tango-ing). Thought I'd have a wrong entry at BUSS, had BaSS in, but it is T E YURT, cause a YaRT isn't a thing. YURTs are kinda cool. Basically hard shell tents.

So, two good themelesses this Fri Sat, and this coming from someone who like themed puzs better. A SWITCHER-ROO maybe? (Groan 😋)

One F

Debra 9:22 AM  

Very enjoyable puzzle. Took some doing, especially in the SW, but worth the effort.

Birchbark 9:24 AM  

He only says, 'Good fences make good neighbors.'
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
Why [<-- ITAL] do they make good neighbors? Isn't it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And whom I WAS LIKE to give offense.

-- Robert Frost, "Mending Wall"

I'm fine with Saturday clues skipping some of the hints (e.g., abbr.) we see earlier in the week. Part of the fun.

Teedmn 9:27 AM  

A classic Saturday puzzle for me, right at my average, with the usual, "ack, I'm never going to find my way into this thing". Strangely, for me, the PPP was my savior today, with SNO as my first correct entry (yes, "on a" tear was the first over all, but I put it in with trepidation, knowing it wasn't a Saturday level answer). HAWN, NEALE, TIVO, PURPLE HAZE, all lent their aid to my solve.

My head was somewhere else in the NW. I saw the Reynolds of 9D's clue and my brain went to tin foil, ye gods. So with two blank squares in 1A, SO I WAS L__E is it SO I WAS LatE? But aTAL isn't anything aT ALl, and suddenly I heard the LIKE and realized 9D was the cigarette company. Big eye roll but a successful finish.

Damon at Xwordinfo and @kitshef both referenced music in regards to SCAR TISSUE. Damon actually specified the Red Hot Chili Peppers and thinking I didn't know the song, I checked out the video. I had to laugh - if you fast forward to 2:48, you can watch the lead guitarist play the instrumental outro on a LUTE. (Turns out, I did know the song just not the title, which is so often the case for me.)

Thanks for the Saturday brain exercise, Damon. Your puzzles are always a good challenge.

Barbara S. 9:40 AM  

New word today: LEMMA (44A -- little theorem within a bigger theorem). Is it really new or have I failed to notice?

I had the most problem in the NW too but I seemed to be quashing small fires all over the grid. In the NW I absurdly filled in Colt for KENT based on the T in DELTA BURKE. So, not a smoker or a beer-drinker, you say. That mistake made 1A look as if it was going to end in "slice," as in "It's been a slice," which also didn't fit (or possibly even make sense). The AUNT/NIECE pairing escaped me for far too long. But I did prevail in the end. And I like that MEDGAR EVERS is resting below a SHADE TREE.

I just successfully completed the practice puzzle in today's virtual tournament. Not a big accomplishment, you might say, given that it's easy. But I've never done any competitive solving before and I thought I might utterly choke in the face of that time clock relentlessly counting down...

Z 9:43 AM  

@WhatDoing - The next two lines are sort of important: Evers was assassinated in 1963 by Byron De La Beckwith, a member of the White Citizens' Council in Jackson, Mississippi. This group was formed in 1954 in Mississippi to resist the integration of schools and civil rights activism.

GILL I. 9:45 AM  

SO I WAS LIKE DEAD in the water throughout most of this puzzle. I put it down like four or five times. Did I like it? Well, yeah after I got something. My first something was CHARLATANS. I love that word. So many fakes. Why do women wear fake eyelashes?
I was all over the place trying to get my much needed AHA. Waiting till after I had a few hours sleep did help. I'm in no hurry. Like @OffTheGrid, I wondered about little old strings holding your PARACHUTE together. I want lots of cords. I'm going to sky dive before I die.
I didn't know MEDGAR EVERS. I wasn't around here during that time. DELTA BURKE was a cheat and I had to look up the word osculation. What a dumb word for a kiss. BUSS is pretty bad as well. A kiss is just a kiss.
I looked at 41A (Hi @chefwen) and really wanted pickle something. I had the P for PAUL in there. I've made a lot of Satay so PEANUT SAUCE finally entered the menu. Oh, LEMMA was my other cheat.
Did any one else think Narwahl before WART HOG? My favorite is Disney's Pumba.

Anonymous 9:58 AM  

I don't give Will_S enough credit for using ACL properly, even if he slaughters most anatomic and Orthopedic terminology. I was really surprised today that Rex was thrown by it.

Will gets ACL right. A prize for Shortz, It is PRIME 21st century crosswordese.

ITAL was ETAL for a very long time for me. Sussing out SO I WAS LIKE was my roadblock as well. It is sooooooo random as to be Prime 1A stuff.

xyz 10:00 AM  

Bent neck of a Lute is ICONIC

Clrd2Land 10:01 AM  

@Birchbark - Thank you for the Robert Frost. I recently heard a recording of Frost reciting that work and it gave me goosebumps. The English language can be absolutely beautiful in the right hands

Peter P 10:16 AM  

Reasonably easy Saturday. As an English major and former copy editor, I have absolutely no problem with "SO I WAS LIKE". People, just let language be language. Like, chill. Let's celebrate its richness and various dialects, accents, colloquialisms, argot, vernacular, idioms, slang vocabulary and constructions, etc. To me, this is what makes language, any language, rich and interesting. Language would be boring if it were required to stick to an unchanging, formal register.

@okanaganer 2:01 a.m. and @webwinger 8:47 a.m. - Interesting tidbit about fax machines -- while they were very common in the 90s, they've been around for far longer than that. Far, far longer. The first fax machine predates the telephone. It was invented by Alexander Bain in 1843. Commercially, it was first used in 1865 (!). Telephone line faxes came along in the late 60s and became commonplace by around the 80s with consumers.

Petsounds 10:21 AM  

Rex seems unnecessarily petulant today, just because he had a lot of stumbles. Well, now you know how some of us feel on other days, Rex! But your complaint about the clue for LUTE is hilarious: "'Instrument' could mean any tool." Seriously? That was an excellent clue! Is self-distancing getting to you, man?

Loved all the long clues, except for SOIWASLIKE, which is still like a dentist's drill to me. Like Rex, I started with ONA for "tear," but when I got SHADETREE next and saw the two As next to each other in 17A, I knew ONA was wrong, so that didn't hang me up as it did Rex. My one head-scratcher was 22A/23D, and I can't believe how long it took me to get HUE for "Peach or plum." Never heard of the Tango classic, but unlike Rex, I'm not going to whine about it.

SWITCHEROO, INFIELDERS, PALINDROME, PEANUTSAUCE (I will eat anything dipped in that!)--all excellent. Good puzzle!

Oh, and @Z: On your penultimate paragraph: Amen!

Stay home and solve puzzles, people! Stay safe.

Frantic Sloth 10:28 AM  

After yesterday's commentariat rodeo where I felt like a barrel clown trying to survive the constant barrage of witticisms hitting us (me!) like a castrated Brahma bull with an anatomical score to settle, I'm just gonna dip...my....toe...ever so carefully....

My initial reaction at the beginning was "I HATE THIS!" But after giving it a little more time and effort it was more like "I. HATE. THIS!!!"

Okay - So, I finished it without help but any self-satisfied feeling of accomplishment upon completion was not forthcoming.

Rather, I felt an overwhelming need to rinse my mouth out with a minty-fresh wash, double rainbows, and smattering of kittens in order to remove whatever that taste was.

Rex is dead on about the clueing! Ugh! Of course I had "ona" for exactly the same reasons.

And what the what is a LEMMA?? Sounds like slang talk - definitely not something sciency or mathy or whatever the $@%#.

Here's hoping the virtual redheaded stepchild version of the ACPT can erase erase erase!!

Again employed the @Nancy method (that might be my default from now on) and wrote before reading, so apologies for any overlap.

Van Buren 10:38 AM  

Doup? Never heard it before

JC66 10:40 AM  

@Van Buren

In case you're serious, it's DO UP.

Nancy 10:44 AM  

No, this was not easy!!! SO I WAS LIKE couldn't possibly get in in the NW and had to perform a SWITCHEROO of finding somewhere, anywhere, to enter. Down and over to the right into the Middle East, where I got in at SIN/KNEED/SEE/SneaK. (Isn't it lucky that SNEAK and SLINK both end with a K?) NIECE enabled me to correct.

This was a "Keep the faith" puzzle for me -- get in somewhere and you'll solve the darn thing eventually. And so I did. I enjoyed the struggle immensely. A very engrossing and challenging puzzle. But boy was it was h-a-a-a-r-d.

Anyone else who wanted ATOM instead of UNIT for the thing often named after a scientist? UNIT??? What kind of UNIT? Also, anyone else want EMIR instead of ALIF? Of course you did! I've heard of a CALIPH, but not an ALIF. And DELTA BURKE may have been a *gimme* for some of you, but I had no idea. She was more of a LEMMA for me.

RavTom 10:44 AM  

@Rex’s shrug for the cluing of 3D: It just takes one reading of Esther and Daniel to know that they’re both set in Persia, i.e. IRAN. So, it follows that’s where their purported tombs are. I think it’s reasonable to expect a basic level of Biblical literacy.

Moon Unit 10:45 AM  

“So I was like” is in the vernacular and is a perfectly fine answer.

What? 10:48 AM  

Just started. Got PALINDROME (No not Sarah’s hockey rink). Made my week. Misdirection of the month.

Pete 10:50 AM  

6D is flat out wrong, provably wrong. I had STATETREE first, because that would be plausible. At one point Ashes were shade trees, but no longer. Now they are all dead, or half-dead and half-defoliated, thanks to the emerald ash borer. Further, they're angry with us for importing the emerald ash beetle which is killing them. They aren't shade trees, they're murderous bastards.

There's this pair of half-dead Ashes about 25' apart on my property that are literally trying to kill me. One had this huge branch overhanging where my wife walks the dogs three times daily, a branch that was dropping small branches. I knew this was dangerous, as larger branches were due to fall next. So I took out my chain saw & 10" step ladder to take off the main branch (1+ foot diameter). I'm on the next to the top step, sawing away, when the branch comes down and with that tree's last affirmative, cognitive act, the branch somehow manages to take the ladder out from under me. I'm falling, trying to keep the chainsaw away from my body, and end up jarring the hell out of every single part of my body. I bandage all the bleeding parts, then saw the branch into smaller pieces, split the smaller pieces so I can actually pick them up, load them into my cart, drive the cart to the road & stack them for people to pick up. I'm exhausted by the end of the day, but ok. Not so much the next morning, as I can't bend over without stabbing pain. Six months later, still can't most days.

The second tree has restricted itself to scaring the crap out of me. I'll be out in the yard and hear a loud noise, a 20' section of the second tree falling off the top. Scares the bejezus out of me. I think I can hear it laughing.

Bax'N'Nex 10:54 AM  

Theresa @6:12...:Mike doesn’t want to stop and THiNK when he’s racing through his puzzle just to get it over with. Why have to stop and work out a puzzle? (Because it’s a PUZZLE, that’s why). He needs to hurry, write his venom and post his blog. Then at the beginning of the year, he asks for money so we can be subjected to more of his self-righteous “expertise”.

Bax’N’Nex (too lazy to establish a screen name)

Newboy 10:56 AM  

Thanks @webwinger for posting the link to Crossword Tournament From Your Couch. It was a great idea, but I didn’t get to the blog in time to get my dogs off the ottoman....sigh as @ Lewis opined. Once again a peril of life in that other time zone! At least the garden debris is compost now. That and trying to unsee @Nancy’s Doctor’s video conferencing got me through one more day.

LEMMA??? Ahh, the puzzle was quite a SWITCHEROO from easy solving earlier this week. DO UP & ON IT were obvious, but only after they dropped as is true for so many answers like PARACHUTES & CDROM DRIVE. Add in MEDGAR EVERS, HAWN, and NEALE those names I know I know but just can’t quite pull back etc. and that’s how it went! Great to enjoy Mr. Gulczynski’s tough but just reachable grid work. But LEMMA??? I was an English major for crying out loud!

Nancy 11:02 AM  

You are not alone, @Teedmn. My mind also went to tin foil, not cigarettes. And, because I had DELiA BURKE, my tin foil was KENi. Why not? KENI -- that worthy competitor of Reynolds and Alcoa. Just because it's not in my supermarket -- well, many things are not in my supermarket.

I didn't correct it, btw, so I had a DNF. Which I didn't realize until I came here, or I would have mentioned it previously.

Sir Hillary 11:05 AM  

My solving experience was exactly like @Rex's -- I spent 3x as much time on the NW stack as on the rest of the puzzle combined. And all because of "ona". It is truly amazing how a seemingly small error can totally derail a solve. Kool didn't help either.

But unlike @Rex, I'm not bitter or somehow feeling that the puzzle was unfair. Sheesh, it's Saturday -- what do you expect?

Thumbs-up for SOIWASLIKE. "So I was like, Dude, check out 1-Across!"

The clue for RETICENCE typifies why Saturdays are special. Tough, tough, tough.

No idea what a LEMMA is. Does the bigger theorem have a name too?

Nice to see PAUL after yesterday's ROB PETER. Too bad a CDyOMDRIVE isn't a thing -- otherwise we could have had another dual clue.

clk 11:20 AM  

LMS, I would love to watch the sit-com version of your life. Your argument with your husband gave me a sorely needed chortle.
Also, I agree with you about the beauty of SOIWASLIKE. Like it or not, that is exactly how many people talk, even those who are not and have never been Valley Girls.

pmdm 11:25 AM  

Started the puzzle and thought ONA tear is way too easy for a Saturday. I then though of the injury tear. I read the write up and shook my head. Just because you solve fast and don't spend the time to think it out doesn't make a clue bad. The best clues on a Saturday should make you stop and think (while at the same time avoiding excessive "cuteness").

Alas. Can't like more. Time to listen to Cuomo(who just said "There's no reason to buy 100 rolls of toilet paper." There's a thought.

Katzzz 11:27 AM  

Reply to Webwinger and a word to Rex:
I started experiencing problems reaching Rex blog about a month ago. Both my desktop mac and my iphone browsers (Chrome and Safari) said Don't Trust this Site, Don't Go There, Possible Danger. Safari eventually opened the page for a few days after repeated tries. Then refused to go there.
I finally used my desktop, clicked on "Proceed Anyway" figuring Rex blog was a low risk and few others were having this problem. Then, after about two weeks of this, my devices let me access the site normally. Problem solved? No. That lasted about a week. This past week
, more warnings that this site is not to be trusted. Something weird and wrong is going on.

RavTom 11:29 AM  

ALIF is the first letter in the Arabic alphabet (related to aleph in Hebrew or alpha in Greek).

What? 11:30 AM  

ALIF is a variant of ALEF, the first letter of Semitic languages. As a Semite, easy for me.

What? 11:35 AM  

Terrific Saturday. At first, knew nothing. Then some neurons from somewhere kicked in and finished with no lookups. No complaints except maybe SOIWASLIKE. Got it only from the crosses. Pretty sketchy, as they say. So I was like what is that?

JC66 11:41 AM  


ALIF is answered above.

For scientific UNITs, think Watt, Tesla, Fahrenheit, etc.

albatross shell 11:42 AM  

Saturday struggle. Had to google DELTA BURKE and a couple others to make it through. About 2/3 done with no aids. As a PALINDROME enthusiast was ashamed to take so long to get that answer. Was trying to figure out how cAmINoROME was going to work.

Proud to get the best answer in the puzzle off 3 crosses: MEDGAR EVERS. Knowing most things Dylan didn't hurt.

Count me in as enjoying 1A. Good answer, often heard, and well-clued. Whether you find it grating is a no never mind. Every generation since the 60's has overused "like" it different ways, or so it seems to me. Like we are moving toward a one-word language. Universal (il)literacy.

What did catch my eye was the answer DELTA BURKE and the clue Dealt a low blow. Designing woman kneed? DELTA DEALT A LOW BLOW. Or DELTA DELTA LOW BLOW. Or a theme of greek alphabet corrupted answers: GAMMA THRONES. RHO RHO YOUR BOAT. So many ways to to play it. I think there was a Sunday one like that. Many times?

Does Aleph have a new spelling?

Nancy 11:42 AM  

@Pete (10:50) What a chilling, evocative, but also funny comment! A combo of Stephen King, Edgar Allen Poe and Larry David. Your ASH TREE appears to be every bit as as evil and malevolent as King's car, Christine, and Poe's orangutan. Expand your horrifying story a bit, Pete, and you might have a bestseller. But sympathy, nevertheless, for your awful and apparently lingering experience.

Another coronavirus anecdote for today. I called my neighborhood wine and liquor store and asked if I needed to stock up because they would be shut down after tomorrow. "No," she replied, "we're considered an essential service." Relief flooded over me. "Are you ever!!!< I said. Are you ever!!!

Newboy 11:42 AM  

English majors can do google at least: here’s what Wikipedia says about LEMMA, “SO I WAS LIKE a lemma is a "helping theorem", a proposition with little applicability except that it forms part of the proof of a larger theorem. In some cases, as the relative importance of different theorems becomes more clear, what was once considered a lemma is now considered a theorem, though the word "lemma" remains in the name. Examples include Gauss's lemma, Zorn's lemma, and the fundamental lemma.” Now I understand that as well as “imaginary numbers.”

@Pete stay indoors and fill an xword where the combination of LADDER, CHAIN SAW & SHADE TREE are less threatening!

So I was like, are you kidding me!? 11:48 AM  

Count me in with @LMS and Peter P. On SO I WAS LIKE. As an attorney, my work writing is dry, boring and grammatically correct (I hope!). Same with “in court” conversation. Off “duty” I certainly hope I can liven up and loosen up my conversation to inject some modern day colloquial slang. I get that this can get overdone (Valley Girl talk) but I feel pretty sure those folks (now in mid to late 40s?) got over this. My problem wasn’t with the phrase, but with the clue...”recap.” And when I say that, I’m not sure the clue was bad but it just didn’t evoke SO I WAS LIKE to mind. I still managed to solve this in a fairly fast time (for me) due to crosses. Fun puzzle!

Malsdemare 11:51 AM  

Hey, crossword hive! I haven't done the puzzle, haven't read Rex nor the commentariat but....I did the September 16th, 1994 puzzle last night and it was great. Tough enough and really clever. With many of us sheltering in place, it’s a great distractor. Enjoy!

egsforbreakfast 11:53 AM  

Pythagoras: Are you using a minor but proven proposition as a stepping stone to a larger theorem?
Euclid: LEMMA be clear on that.

This is the sort of nerdy geometry joke we’d make while working through Euclid’s Elements long before nerds were cool.

Z 11:54 AM  

@webwinger and @Katzzz - Rex runs on Blogger, a Google App. He doesn’t have advertisements, so everything comes from Google. My guess is that it is something on your machines. I suggest some basic troubleshooting: 1 Update your browsers. 2. Force Quit your browsers 3. Power down then Restart your device. 4. Clear your cache. 5. If those don’t clear up the issue try some anti-virus software. The first three take care of most issues, #4 is a little extreme. I haven’t needed #5 in ages.

webwinger 11:57 AM  

@Katzzz 11:27: Very similar to my experience with Safari. Some time ago I began routinely clicking ‘Proceed Anyway”, which usually works from my phone, but on the computer I now frequently just get a message saying the server can’t be accessed. I’ve taken to googling “rex parker”, then clicking on one of the several links that come up; typically have to try several times before gaining access to the site, still via “Proceed Anyway”.

Having been a math major in college, I found LEMMA a gimme, but I can see how it would be non-wheelhouse for those whose formal education in mathematics ended early.

Anonymous 11:58 AM  

I had the same thought as @Pete with respect to ASHTREE. I suppose any tree with first branches high enough to stand under could be considered a shade tree but even before the disease made them “evil” they didn’t strike me as “shade” trees. @Pete, the evil aspect cracked me up!

David 12:07 PM  

I had Lyre even though its bent parts are called "arms." The neck of a Lute is perfectly straight up to the nut. The part that is angled off the top of the neck is the pegbox. So no. Its neck is not bent. Would you look at a violin and clue it, "string instrument with a neck that twists around in a scroll"? Maybe you would. I wouldn't.

Hand up for "on a" as well.

The assassination of Medgar Evers in 1963 is generally thought of as one of the defining moments of the push to force the US into granting equal rights to all citizens. This struggle is still going on today, and with the current administration packing the Federal courts with Right Wing operatives, all else being equal, it will be going on for the next 40 years, minimum. But actually, it'll probably still be going on as long as we remain a single country.

It's been so long I didn't even remember that RJ Reynolds was a tabacco company.

I've been editing text and music for over 30 years, of course I use "ital" on occasion; of course I put stet in there.

I first thought Voodoo Child but then had the P, so Purple Haze. Still one of the greatest guitarists of all time. Bet he would have dug playing a Theorbo.

NW was the last part I finished, the rest seemed pretty easy to me.

Barbara S. 12:11 PM  

Anyone else have the sad vision of hundreds of LEMMAs throwing themselves off a cliff??

Carola 12:16 PM  

Very enjoyable. Like others here...my way in was the NE with USPS x UNFURL leading to NIECE giving me the crucial AUNT to unlock the NW; yup to "ona," "sTet," and tinfoil. Special pleasures: PEANUT SAUCE over YES INDEED (hi @Petsounds) and PALINDROME over SWITCHEROO.

Help from previous puzzles: LEMMA. No idea: DELTA BURKE. Pattern recognition failure: RETIC???? (couldn't get past a hard c).

@jae, thank you for the puzzle recommendation

LieutKije 12:30 PM  

The northwest was my problem area as well, but I still liked the puzzle. Had ONA for a while, but was open to other ideas, and ACL is sort of a fixed phrase (I don’t know what ACL even stands for) so don’t mind it didn’t have the abbr. clue. Took a while but understood from the get-go pound could refer to animals (...”No Barking”? “Adopt!”?) and Esther was married to the king of Persia so not a tough leap to guess Iran as her burial place. Had PLANETREE instead of SHADETREE for a while too. And KOOL instead of KENT (something like a quarter of people smoke, I don’t, but I dunno, seems puzzle-worthy). All in all, seemed tough but fair.

Frantic Sloth 12:32 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Danny and Rachel 12:34 PM  

Seriously though, the NW can just go die a slow painful death.

Also who names their son Medgar?

"I like the name Mike!"
"Well, I prefer Edgar!"
"Let's compromise!"

I hate it when puzzles just make me angry. Blech.

Frantic Sloth 12:38 PM  

@Barbara S.12:11pm
No, but now I do! LOL!

Russell Davies 12:44 PM  

Has anyone remarked that STET is not an abbreviation? It's an unaltered, authentic part of the Latin verb sto, stare -- a form of the subjunctive which means that STET is usually given in English as "let it stand". It is certainly a short way of saying that, but it has not been abbrvtd.

Z 12:47 PM  

Ash tree pictures - looks like they are SHADE TREEs when they are pest infested.

JC66 12:47 PM  

@jae. Just finished the puzzle. Thanks for the recommendation.

gharris 12:56 PM  

Overwhelmed at first. Finally broke in in the NE. Slowly built from there and got it all without any outside assistance. Parachutes have lines and ripcord not strings, unless it's a toy.

CaryInBoulder 12:59 PM  

I was sure LEMMA would be Rex’s WotD. Definitely not a part of my mathematical universe. Since I’ve never heard of Sara Jane Studmiuffin (or whatever her name is) I had to finally Google for DELTA BURKE, whom I’d only vaguely heard of. Since I had STET in place I was looking for a BETTE or BETTY or HETTY. Once I got that fixed everything pretty much fell into place in a better than average Saturday time. While I’m not usually fond of proper names in the put, anyone who has no idea who the towering figure of the matured MEDGAR EVERS was needs a serious remedial course in modern American history.

SO I WAS LIKE is one of those things that sets my teeth on edge. GAG ME WITH A SPOON! As far as bent instruments go, I wish I could post a picture of Dizzy Gillespie’s trumpet. Also, since mi esposa y yo are self-isolating, a picture of the amazing platter of sushi-to-go that my resterauteur friend Keizo Aoi made for us yesterday. Arigato gozaimas!

Today started with heavy fog blanketing the six inches of snow we got on Friday, making for a pretty bleak scene on top of a pretty bleak scen. But now the sun is coming out and hopefully with it a thaw. Such is spring here in Colorado. Must be time to finally go change out of my robe.

Be safe, blog people.

A friend in cheeses 1:07 PM  

Sorry, @RevTom, but I wasn't paying attention in Sunday School. I thought it was perfectly plausible that a couple of biblical elders would have been buried in Eden.

I may be a biblical ignoramus, but I actually know some tobacco industry history (because of some work I used to do), and I never would have come up with Kent as an RJR brand. They are forever Lorillard in my mind; RJR just acquired the brand late in its existence. My parents smoked Kents (with the famous micronite / asbestos filter), which is probably why they both died of pulmonary fibrosis.

Old Actor 1:23 PM  

Had the pleasure of working with Delta Burke on "Filthy Rich" and a pilot. Delightful Lady.

TinPT 1:34 PM  

Enjoyable Saturday. Finished in average time (for me, 56 min). Favorites that I got early on: SWITCHEROO, PALINDROME, CHARLATANS,PEANUTSAUCE. Had PURPLErain before filling in RETICENCE. Agree with the take on the NW being hardest, but not as difficult as yesterday’s once I moved on and came at it from other angles. Minor cheat, asked hubs for civil rights activist help when I had DGAREVER filled in as a solid start. A good TIL for me.

Anonymous 1:34 PM  

No reason other than hidebound laziness and accounts for dry a doting legal writing. Loosen up and enliven your legal writing and it will be better legal writing—more readable, more lucid, and more persuasive. Try it.

Hungry Mother 1:48 PM  

An excerpt from my Ph.D. thesis: (special characters not showing up correctly)

4.4. LEMMA. Let card X or card Y be non-measurable and letf be in C* ( X X Y).
If either of the functions E/ or H is continuous, then f is weakly uniformly
Proof. Let J^ and & be filter bases on X and F, respectively, both having property 12. We assume for definiteness that E/ is continuous. Let e > 0. Let M = Sf(X). Since card M ^ min {cardX, 2XocardF}j Card M is non-measur- able (any cardinal smaller than a non-measurable cardinal is non-measurable
[9, § 12.5]). Thus, the metric space M is realcompact. Now, the filter base S / ( ^ " ) has property 12 on M since E/ is continuous. Thus, there is a point Xoin X such that the filter base E/(^~) converges to the function S/(x0). Let 1 •••1 denote the usual sup-norm on C*(Y) and let
U = {£,(*) G M: ||E,(*) - S/(xo)||<e/3}. Then, there is a set F in J^~ such that S/(F) C J7. Thus, for x in F,
sup \f(x,y) -f(x0,y)\ < e/3.

Anonymous 1:50 PM  


at least since Newton.

how many know that the two meanings of ESSAY are only distinguished by pronunciation: ESS-ay and ess-AY?

last time I looked, a LUTE didn't have a bent neck, but a bent head. here's a picture: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lute you can't play a stringed instrument with a bent neck: the strings will ground on the bend.

the poorly educated of my acquaintance use SO I WAS LIKE to start the tale, not recap it.

Mammy Yokum has spoken.

Masked and Anonymous 1:54 PM  

Always more fun to be stumped by stuff that you've heard of before, as in: SOIWASLIKE. Neat seed entry (as per the constructioneer, at xwordinfo.chen). Eventually got it, but had to go thru a lotta bent-neck 4-letter instruments and blankity-blank "tears", to get there.

staff weeject pick: Gotta go with ACL, on account of its sadistic {___ tear} set-up sucker clue. Very funny, Shortzmeister -- but don't make us come down there.

I knew the name MEDGAREVERS a bit better than DELTABURKE, but she also sounded vaguely familiar. So the longball names did minimal nano-second damage. I think my fave entries were SOIWASLIKE and WARTHOG … sooo … well, done NW. Oh, and toss in PURPLEHAZE, which I just listened to on one of my homemade compilation CDs, just yesterday. Music (and cinnamon rolls, vodka) is more soothin than solid TV news coverage stuff.

Thanx for the semi-feisty fun, Mr. Gulczynski. Nice job. Frisky PALINDROME clue, btw.

Masked & Anonymo10Us

LenFuego 1:58 PM  

Rex is very wrong in his rant about ACL. “ACL tear” is just about as common a sports phrase as there is - you practically cannot read a sports page without seeing it. Nobody says “anterior cruciate ligament tear”, it is always abbreviated to “ACL tear” - the latter gets more than 6 times as many hits on Google. Requiring an indication that it is an abbreviation would be like requiring one for laser or scuba.

I guess this one was in my wheelhouse because I had a fast time for me. Like others, I finished in the NW, but it fell easily enough. Thought it was fun and seamless.

Masked and Anonymous 1:58 PM  

@muse darlin -- Still tryin to figure out yer "DEYESED" avatar thingy. Makes for a nice extra mini-puz. Thanx.

Unfortunately, *gruntz* device is still broke.


Z 2:29 PM  

@M&A - Muse is being crafty she is. Don't look below if you don't want a hint.

@Hungry Mother 1:48 - And somebody accused M&A of being hard to understand. HAR!

pƎƎp ǝpᴉsNI SƎ⅄ ɹo - pƎƎpNI SƎ⅄

Mohair Sam 2:36 PM  

So I said to Lady M, "@LMS will defend SOIWASLIKE" with vigor. She did and she's dead right. Formerly colloquial, in the language, grammatically imperfect but used constantly. Put a big smile on my face when we sussed it, just a great opening 1A for a Saturday. Not a bad closing at 65A "INFIELDERS" either.

Loved everything about this puzzle. You got your DELTABURKE, your MEDGAREVERS, your PEANUTSAUCE, and your PURPLEHAZE - all PPP to be proud of on a Saturday. Better have a good store of general knowledge to call all of these gimmes. And ain't SWITCHEROO just a great word?

And yes indeed, ACL tear is a common term on sports talk shows, thanks @LenFuego (1:58). It's a Saturday folks - nobody's giving you "ONA tear" on a Saturday. Sheesh.

Just a great and challenging Saturday for us. Thanks Damon.

TJS 2:39 PM  

jae, that Nov.12,1994 puzzle was excellent. Thanks so much for the tip. I'll bet one your errant letters should have been replaced by one coming late in the alphabet.

Mohair Sam 2:43 PM  

btw - Anybody else learn today that tarpaulins and INFIELDERS have the same number of letters? Lost much time there.

And yeah, I too had the gimme FAXMACHINE.

jberg 3:02 PM  

Doing a semi-Nancy, too many comments to get through on the highway. I got ACL right off the bat. OTOH I stuck with PURPLE rAin almost too the end. Even wondered if I I I I might constitute four big tubes. But I finally saw SWITCHEROO and all was well.

As for 1A, c’mon!! It says it’s a “slangy part” of a “recap.” We’re not looking for formal English here. (Only Loren, don’t try to pretend that you wouldn’t stick up for the quotative go if someone dissed it!)

Rolling across central Florida at 80 mph; with Disney shut down I 4 isn’t bad. Can’t wait to get home and isolate ourselves.

Ex bingo 3:16 PM  

Per your Annie Potts reference. I had a dream last night in which someone said "turn and walk away", and I said " Oh, like the song ny the Shirts" She didn't know what I was talking about, and I suppose no one else does, either, but it's a cool song. I really have dreams like this.

Anonymoose 3:22 PM  

Instrument with a bent neck/LUTE is CEFCWP.

Anonymous 3:25 PM  

c'mon folks. THEY AIN'T NO DAMN SPORTS ANYMORE, so ACL is a long second or third to ONA.

What? 3:50 PM  

Well, it’s a CROSSword so got it from the crosses and learned a new word which will help me the next time it’s in a crossword. It’s now in Xword file so it will be used again.
The question is how did it get by Shortz? I thought he majored in games, not math.

Jonny Ace 4:21 PM  

I was once a proofreader. It would not have been uncommon at all for me to note "ital."

An Administrator 4:30 PM  

@Frantic Sloth

No spoilers, please.

albatross shell 4:32 PM  

@MohairSam 243pm
the umpires
Umpire trio
team of umps
on base trio
domed roofs

Nancy 4:38 PM  

@Hungry Mother (1:48) -- Holy [expletive deleted]! Good grief! What in the name of...???!!!

Never once in all the years I've been on this blog have I ever read anything that made me feel so stupid. Not even the arcane posts from the chemists.

Did you take up running as an outlet for getting rid of academic tension or as a substitute for your demanding field of study. I certainly hope it's the latter. If it is, I say: wise SWITCHEROO.

Anonymous 4:46 PM  

but why would a proofreader have the authority to italicize text? wouldn't that be for either the author or editor? s/he might see it in the galley, sure, but write it?

Proofreader's abbr.

as a clue, that should mean something a PR writes, yes?

Richardf8 4:54 PM  

PB for Saturday. I view this as an indictment of the puzzle rather than praise for my solving ability. I want a Saturday puzzle that I can gnaw on throughout the day, not solve in a single session. I felt better about the fill than Rex, but agree with Rex about Kent. My knowledge of cigarette brands derives mostly from the fact that I read EVERYTHING I could growing up, and that extended to the trash framing the storm sewers on Jerome Ave. KENT, Parliament, Pall Mall, they were all there among the rest of the detritus of poor life choices standing between the rainwater and its path to the Hudson river.

Frantic Sloth 5:02 PM  

I'm sorry! I thought because it's all over now (except for the final) it would be okay.

(I would have asked on the FB page comments, but they're flying too fast and furiously!)

Again, sorry -- hope I didn't ruin anything for anyone! :(

albatross shell 5:10 PM  

Do not feel stupid.
Very specialized language in a specialized field. And using stuff that has previously been defined.

Writing clearly in math is difficult for many in the field. Logic and abstraction to the the nth degree. Most math is written to prove a statement true or false. It is not often written in a way that reveals how a solution was arrived at or a general view of why it works. Math might be better if it did, but it is not necessary to the proof. There is a elegance and beauty to it anyway. Sometimes. Opinion from someone who did not stick to the field for very non-math reasons.

Anonymous 5:26 PM  

Great challenge today. Solved it with a good effort. Kudos to the constructor!

QuasiMojo 5:51 PM  

Hey @Frantic Sloth! Good job. You beat me in the crossword couch competition. Lol. I was proud to finish all four puzzles but my times were on the slow side. I saw a few other names from here. Kudos all around.

Frantic Sloth 6:10 PM  

Hi, @Quasi -- thank you and congrats to you (and me!) for riding the wave all the way home!

What a ride! That was great fun -- finalist times around 4 minutes for that last puzzle just floors me!

I think they did a phenomenal job putting that on - and in such a short time!

Anonymous 6:19 PM  

re: math and LEMMA

there are many traps for those not in the guild.
- most math isn't done by mathmetians, but by folks who know just enough to grok some particular nook
- the vast majority math writing is done as algebraic manipulation; you know that stuff you hated in Alg.1 in 7th or 8th grade, and fervently forgotten
- real math proofs often involve lots of 'rules' from other nooks and crannies other than the one being presented; thus going from one line of the presentation to the next may well involve some 'rule' Hilbert space or topological manifolds (no, I only remember the names!) which you've never heard of. there are a bunch of 'foundational' nooks that pop up all kinds of seemingly unrelated places.
- more times than necessary the more terse the presentation, the more elegant it's assumed, quite often thus even more impenetrable to the non-guild.
- there are dozens, if not hundreds, of specialized glyphs any one of which translate into standard English as anything from a phrase to a paragraph; you're expected to know those, too.

anyway, a closed guild.

Joe Dipinto 6:21 PM  

@Anonymous 4:46 – if a proofreader is checking the work of a data entry person against a template of what is supposed to appear, and the data entry person neglected to italicize something that is in italics in the template, it would be the proofreader's responsibility to notate the correction – ital next to the underlined passage, usually – for the data entry person. It's quite common.

Frantic Sloth 6:24 PM  

@Quasi (again!) BTW -- did you get the theme for puzzle #2 "Raise the Roof"? I didn't get the connection between the title and the grid entries.
(I asked this a couple of times in FB via the comments and messaging and got no reply -- of course, I didn't really expect one with all the madness of about a bajillion people on there!)

johnnymcguirk 6:28 PM  

Came in 557th of 1642 so far, top 34 percent. Sounds about right. I think that was my high school class rank too.

jae 6:58 PM  

@Ron - I can’t really tell you which letters with out spoiling the puzzle, however @TJS you would win that bet.

Teedmn 7:02 PM  

@Frantic Sloth, I missed your original post. I thought the Couch tourney was great fun and I liked the puzzles a lot. I'm at #603, how about you? I saw Quasi's name and a couple of others who don't post any longer, but only a few from Rex unless they solved under their real names. That tough version of the final ramped up the difficulty a few tiers from today's Saturday and the winners still finished in 4-5 minutes, amazing.

QuasiMojo 7:23 PM  

@Frantic Sloth, true dat. And so many competitors, I mean, entrants! Inspiring.

Z 7:39 PM  

@Frantic Sloth - Re: Raise the Roof - The revealer is a DOOK. If that's not enough email me.

Sitting at #611 at the moment. A G%^ D^$% oversight/typo (had the wrong answer, fixed only one of the two wrong letters when I "fixed" it) cost me a prefect day and about 60 places. I guess it could be worse, Agard had one wrong letter and it dropped him from 1st to 6th.

@Teedmn - @ACME is currently sitting at #603. There are quite a few people with one puzzle outstanding, so as they finish (if they finish) the rankings adjust. I dropped 31 places while I went grocery shopping.

Teedmn 7:57 PM  

@Z, I hit reload to confirm before I posted earlier, but as you say, things changed. Now I'm at 629, possibly to change yet again. My error was falling for the question Brian Cimmet addressed for puzzle 3 (it did cross a rather obscure PPP after all). I was hoping they'd post the championship puzzle results also for us non-winners but so far, not.

JC66 8:05 PM  

Proud at 688.

webwinger 8:08 PM  

Hey Couch Tourney Solvers: I finished all of the puzzles including the playoff, but then--nothing. Sounds like rankings and some commentary are posted somewhere. How do you get to them?

bulgie 8:12 PM  

Sorry to hear about your ash trees, and your injuries.

We have lots of ash trees in Seattle, and no blight or borers that I know of. The main drag in my neighborhood is lined with beautiful ash trees. A couple miles from here, another arterial is lined with Flame Ash, named for their spectacular fall colors (not for what's left behind in the fireplace). Hopefully we have different varieties that are not so susceptible, or our climate doesn't agree with the beetles, or... Divine intervention? I can hardly imagine our neighborhood without those trees.

Frantic Sloth 8:15 PM  

@Teedmn Quasi is the only other entrant that I saw - not knowing anyone's real name (assuming that's what they used) I gave up trying the new (to me) CTRL+F tool after a while.
Last time I looked, I was at 532 of 1760 or so, but it wouldn't surprise me if that changes. You're not ACME, right? So, looks like you might have moved, too. (I started at 516 and it's been downhill ever since!)

Did you watch the finals? Unbelievable! Such mastery leaves me gobsmacked.

Now I have to email @Z because I'm thick as a brick.

JC66 8:18 PM  


Try this.

Frantic Sloth 8:44 PM  

@Hungry Mother
Just now seeing your post. Welcome to planet earth. We speak many languages here - does your planet also have a variety?
If so, is there one less akin to our Sanskrit that you might use for us mental midgets (sorry - mental little people) of the universe?
Thank you.

Teedmn 8:56 PM  

Sorry, over the three post limit, but @Frantic Sloth, there were a couple of people I know in real time from attending the ACPT and Lollapuzzoola whose names I looked for and recognized. And I looked for @Z but misspelled his first name but now I remember. I'm Theresa; if you click on my avatar and try to send me an email, it comes up so it's no secret (indeed, I'm NOT ACME!)

@Z, thanks for the clue-in on the puzzle title - I was also at sea on that one but I get it now.

Jonny Ace 9:07 PM  

You are correct that proofreaders are not supposed to copy edit, but they are supposed to catch obvious structural mistakes, like failures to capitalize, and misspelled words, and yes, words that stylistically are supposed to be capitalized, like foreign words, or book titles. But a proofreader should not make an editor's decision that a word should be italicized for emphasis.

Anonymous 9:14 PM  

No speed solver but happy I was faster than that smug Peter Sagal.

webwinger 9:32 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
webwinger 9:37 PM  

Well, I finished below 1000, but all completed with no errors. Spent precious nanoseconds checking my work at the end of each solve, and finding no mistakes. Next time I'll skip that. Also, used Safari instead of Chrome, which proved a bit sluggish in navigating. Still, it was a fun experience. Kudos to the organizing team!

Hoping the Indy 500 scheduled for early June in DC goes as planned. If so I will be there...

Anonymous 9:49 PM  

@jonny Ace 4:21 pm If so, you were overstepping you’re bounds as a proofreader. Stay in your lane next time.

Anonymous 10:53 PM  

Did Rex compete ?

Anonymous 10:55 PM  

vis a vis Rex- Deep Dark Truthful Mirror

chipschap 11:05 PM  

Of course Rex will object to "Kent" because crosswords need to be strictly politically correct, they can't just be, you know, crossword puzzles.

I found this one pretty easy for Saturday.

I don't agree with Rex on "ITAL" as "STET" and "DELE" aren't abbreviations. However "ACL" was definitely unfair.

Otherwise I actually thought it was a nice puzzle.

Monty Boy 11:19 PM  

I must be the only one who saw 6d. Ash, e.g. and promptly wrote in WEDNESDAY which caused a LOT of problems getting into NW. I finally said that can't be right, took it out and got the tree thingy with crosses.

Did you know axiom has the same number of letters as LEMMA?

Joshua 12:05 AM  

Buss? Not cool. Osculation sounds like auscultation (a medical term for listening to the heart). So, I initially had "beat" and then changed it to "bass," making "yart," not "yurt."

Funny thing is, I know (and picture in my head) what a yurt is, but didn't know the spelling. Other than buss and yurt, easy puzzle.

Jonny Ace 9:54 AM  

Sounds like someone isn't that in the "old days" proofreaders compared galleys with original copy. It was our job to correct ANY omission the typesetters made, including italics. :)

Anonymous 11:10 PM  

My ex-wife was a B Dalton's bookstore manager back when those were common in malls. She had a lot of "dumb customer" stories.... One day a customer came in and asked for the new Jimi Hendrix biography. The dialog went like this:

Customer: Do you have the new Jimi Hendrix biography?
Manager: 'Scuse me while I kiss the sky?
Customer: Ah... OK... I'll just ask somebody else.
Manager: No, no wait... that's the name of the book...

spacecraft 11:52 AM  

But was it "the sky" -- or "this guy?" In either case, Jimi ushered me into this one and helped make short work of the SW. But the A gave rise to (of course) AmIr for the "Arabic leader." Leader INDEED: like "A" is the "leader" of our alphabet. THAT clue, sir, was so underhanded as to elicit an "Unfair!" from me. It caused much consternation and delay in the SE, and the only SCARTISSUE on my grid. I finally pieced together the acrosses and got it that way.

By comparison the NW was somewhat resistant for a while, but SPCA was the aha! that got things going. I had a way worse time with the SE. So, but for one really nasty clue, I'd say this was about medium, even easy-medium. Goldie HAWN premieres as DOD; those letters don't often lend themselves to crossword construction.

I liked it overall, YESINDEED. Birdie.

Stay safe--and please don't drink Lysol!

rondo 11:52 AM  

What Rex said, especially the NW, except I knew KENT. Hand up for ona. Might have filled in the wrong PURPLE song save for reading the *entire* clue. Gimme by Jimi.


Not every day I can agree with OFL. That's a FACT.

thefogman 12:08 PM  

Rex’s review is spot on for this one. Reflects my views 100% today. Nothing more to add.

Burma Shave 12:30 PM  


SOIWASLIKE, "I need to DOUP two."
When ONIT my RETICENCE was stole,


Anders Jonas Ångström 12:44 PM  

What, they named a UNIT after me?

Anonymous 1:16 PM  

Mohair Sam - groundcrew fits, too.

rainforest 3:02 PM  

After a bit of a halting start, I found this puzzle on the easy side thanks to gimme LEMMA, MEDGAR EVERS, PEANUT SAUCE, and PURPLE HAZE. Once finished, looked it over and have to say this was a very competent construction. Really liked it.

Diana, LIW 3:39 PM  

Only one "look up" - yes, a PPP. Very enjoyable puzzle - I love it when one guess leads to another and another and...

Diana, Lady in Waiting for Crosswords

wcutler 1:54 AM  

@Katzzz 11:27 AM, getting messages about an unsafe site. One more thing to check is whether the URL you are using begins with http instead of https. It should be the latter.

James 10:04 AM  

Ziti are not large tubes. They are actually small ones. Mostaccioli are large tubes.

Anne 11:19 PM  

All these years reading this blog, maybe twice posting a response. How does one create the first post? Not that I want to... I'm just curious, as I have looked after 10 pm and I can't figure out how you do it. Thank you. :-)

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