1800s migrant / SAT 4-18-20 / Old parent company of RCA / Distressing character in Bible / Reward for bad NBA team / Obsolescent music holder / Runner-up to Affirmed in every 1978 Triple Crown race

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Constructor: Ryan McCarty

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (6:40)

THEME: none

Word of the Day: John WYCLIFFE (33D: John ___, English philosopher and theologian who made an early translation of the Bible) —
John Wycliffe (/ˈwɪklɪf/; also spelled WyclifWycliffWiclefWicliffeWickliffe; c. 1320s – 31 December 1384) was an English scholastic philosopher, theologian, biblical translator, reformer, priest, and a seminary professor at the University of Oxford. He became an influential dissident within the Roman Catholic priesthood during the 14th century and is considered an important predecessor to Protestantism.
Wycliffe attacked the privileged status of the clergy, which had bolstered their powerful role in England. He then attacked the luxury and pomp of local parishes and their ceremonies.
Wycliffe also advocated translation of the Bible into the vernacular. In 1382 he completed a translation directly from the Vulgate into Middle English – a version now known as Wycliffe's Bible. It is probable that he personally translated the Gospels of MatthewMarkLuke, and John; and it is possible he translated the entire New Testament, while his associates translated the Old Testament. Wycliffe's Bible appears to have been completed by 1384, additional updated versions being done by Wycliffe's assistant John Purvey and others in 1388 and 1395. (wikipedia)
• • •

This was just fine. I never really enjoy heavily segmented quadrant designs like this, where you have very little interconnectedness and are essentially presented with four different puzzles (today, five, counting the center). You could do very well and then hit a small-necked corner and not even be able to get in, so these can be "hard" in a weird, uneven way, solely because of their structure. But this one offset the inherent structural difficulty with (to my mind) pretty gettable clues, and so it all averaged out to pretty typical Saturday stuff, difficultywise. But then I knew WYCLIFFE, which seems like a name that a. a lot of people might not know, and b. a lot of people might not be able to infer the letters of. Cross it with ROLF (a name I didn't *really* know) and you could have yourself some trouble down there. I had my trouble (and my only real trouble) in the NE. Getting into that corner from the bottom up proved impossible, which was slightly scary, because I just had to pray that something in that little section would give me enough traction to work my way down and out again. Luckily, I am a "Scooby-Doo" connoisseur, so, between DAPHNE and PDA, I got what I needed (still took some work—weirdly couldn't get OPTIC or the TEST part of APTEST (wanted CHEM?). As for THE FORCE (10D: "A mixture of what appears to be ESP and early Christian faith," per a 1977 New York Times film review) and IN STOCK (11D: Shelved, for now?), good clues on those, but very very hard to see if you've only got the last letters. I felt a little better when I finally got them and realized I actually had very little chance of getting them off just the -CE and -K, respectively. Though, now that I really *see* the full clue on THE FORCE ... I feel like I probably should've gotten that off just the -CE. We're talking about the 1977 movie that I saw the most. By far. In fact, I haven't seen any movie in the theater, ever, as much as I saw "Star Wars" that summer.

This grid holds up nicely, even through the center, which is architecturally impressive. I wish "architecturally impressive" did more for me. LOTTERY PICK and CYBER ATTACK are nice answers; the rest of the stuff in there is fine, but still I think a puzzle like this feels more "look at me!" whereas a more open Friday (like yesterday) feels more "have some fun!" I guess I do appreciate variation in grid look. I'm just trying to get at the difference between appreciation and love, between admiring craftsmanship, on the one hand, and barely noticing craftsmanship because you're just so happy with the experience, on the other. This is undoubtedly all a matter of personal taste. It's just that the "architectural feats" have a tendency to leave me cold. This one, as I say, didn't. I genuinely liked it. So maybe that is a big deal—a stunty looking grid that, despite its stuntiness, managed to be reasonably fun to solve.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. shout-out to COOL MOM, which is inspired (34D: Stereotypically lenient parent)

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Paul Emil 6:00 AM  

Easy Saturday.

Joaquin 6:02 AM  

My solving style is to never enter a word that is not attached to a previous entry (after, of course, entering 1A or 1D). But this puzzle just destroyed me and I wound up solving it as five separate puzzles. After finishing I’m not sure what the problem was - no real tricky entries.

Maybe I just need to get out more. Oh … wait. Never mind.

Loren Muse Smith 6:22 AM  

Oh, wow. What an impressive, daunting grid. I thought it’d be a bear, but once I changed “add to” to ADD IN, I finally sorted out the northwest and finished.

I also first had “cough attack” for the hack job. Makes sense, right? And I was thinking that people would complain that “cough attack” isn’t a *thing*.

First entry was ALYDAR ‘cause I have memorized all the runners-up of Triple Crown races. Ahem.

Loved the clue for LAV. I wrote in “loo” first. LAV is always my number two choice.

PET SPA – if I could afford it, I’d take my dogs once a week to be bathed, powdered, hair-bowed. We used to board our newfie, Beverly Ann, and when we picked her up, she was clean, brushed, and adorned with a ridiculous little clip-on bow. I tell ya, there aren’t many things better in life than a cuddlewithable newfie.

SNOBALL. Hmm. I adore crappy chemical food, but I draw the line at those things. While I’m at it, those soft orange peanut thingies are nasty, too. And Twizzlers.

Great clue for TBAR. It’s fun having to relook at a word and pronounce it differently. A junk drawer could be an artist who specializes in nudes.

“Good cop” before COOL MOM. My daughter once told me that I was cool because on picture day, I let my kids dress themselves, didn’t fret over their hair, blah blah. So their pictures always looked exactly like they looked every day. Not always a great look, but still. I felt bad for the inevitable kid with a Ward Cleaver cardigan, bow tie, and shiny slicked-back hair.

My mom strove to trick relatives into thinking I was something I was not, so on picture day, she’d show up at Rivermont Elementary with a rat-tail comb, hair spray, and a ridiculous little clip-on bow. I was a huge tomboy with tomboy hair, but on picture day, Mom teased my pixie into an impressive four-inch tall helmet.

Unknown 6:32 AM  

This puzzle had me at COOL MOM, which -- before I became a parent -- I would have deemed to be a compliment. These days, not so much . . . when I hear "cool mom," I think of the overly-lenient parent who tries to be her child's best friend instead of being an actual, you know, parent (i.e., Regina George's mom in Mean Girls).

It's been a pretty decent week with the NYT Crossword . . . looking forward to this evening to see if Sunday's puzzle can keep it going...

bulgie 6:39 AM  

It must have been easy, because I got it in less than an hour. I'm slow but very persistent...

After entering DEvIL__ for the distressing bible character, I stared and stared, especially after I got the H from HOMESTEADER. Why was DELILAH so hard to see? Who knows. Huge a-ha (and Fauci-like facepalm) when I got it.

I have nothing against people who like horse racing, but I've never been able to muster the slightest interest. I just tried right now to name all the horses I know. I got Seattle Slew probably because I'm from Seattle, then Sea Biscuit, Mr. Ed and Bojack Horseman. Even though I'm a huge Bojack fan, I still can't remember the racehorse that he wanted to be cast to play in that horse's bio-pic. (Needless to say I got ALYDAR completely from crosses.) Tried to remember track or race names, came up with Kentucky Derby and then petered out. Isn't there one in England called Upson Downs? No, that's from Auntie Mame.

Anyway, great fun. The six eleven-letter words in the middle were amazeballs, even though I suspect RADIUMS is NO FAIR. Radipodes?

bulgie 6:46 AM  

@LMS, thanks for the laffs. Can't decide which I like better, "LAV is always my number two choice", or "cuddlewithable newfie".

Z 6:47 AM  

The SW was where I stalled. Spent a lot of time trying to remember Leisl, which if I ever had I would have known didn’t fit, so ROLF was a pleasant surprise (well, as much of a pleasant surprise as a Nazi youth can ever be). BTW - Looking up Leisl led me to discover that Wikipedia, at least, insists that the spelling is ROLFe.

Anyway, WYCLIFFE was wandering around in the deeper recesses of my brain, I saw through the DOC clue right away, and I’M FREE corrected COOL dad. I still needed to run the alphabet at -E-L to find MacNEIL, but that was enough to finally show me ALIEN, NO FAIR, and that my snake was the plumbing tool kind. I’m not sure, but I’m guessing 8 minutes of my 24 minute solve was spent sussing out those 27 squares.

I love the DELILAH clue. I was mildly amused that we got the Women’s National Team after yesterday’s minor FIFA kerfuffle (why do sexists say some of the stupidest things? It really is better to be silent and thought an ass than to speak and remove all doubt). The GAS CAPS clue suffered from familiarity, like somebody asking you a riddle the second time. My first thought was Scooby and Shaggy, but PDA fixed that immediately. My only other correction was DAnA to DARA.

I’m right with Rex on not liking the highly segmented grid design. I like my challenge to come from word play first, trivia second, and grid design not at all. Well, take that back a little. The Thursday BEQ was all about the grid design, but that one gave me the Aha! frisson of layered discovery. So if the grid design adds I’m okay with it being a source of the challenge. As I whacked away at that SW corner, though, it was just working up a mental sweat for no real purpose, nothing extra beyond a pat on the back for somehow knowing WYCLIFFE.

Lewis 7:02 AM  

Four minis and Fantasy Island, that mass of white in the center that most constructors, IMO, would fantasize about filling out as cleanly as Ryan did. Look. At. All. That. Interlocking. White.

Enough gimmes to pull me through but not so much as to get in the way of a rash of zingy aha moments, so a most glorious solve.

And yesterday's wordplay-fest continues, clues for DELILAH, RENTS, GAS CAPS, CYBERATTACK, FERAL, T-BAR, and IN STOCK!

A masterpiece by a master builder. Bravo, sir!

puzzlehoarder 7:43 AM  

An average Saturday solve but a stellar grid design. While the interlocking debut 11s in the center is impressive in and of itself what really stands out is how well he filled out the rest of the center and continued with the debut coup into the SW corner pairing COOLMOM next to WYCLIFFE.

The SW was the one area I had a moment of confusion. This was thanks to my lame solution to 34A as being SABERATTACK. Even as I put that in I knew it had to be wrong. It kept me from throwing DOC in. Instead I dropped in DRAINS and got enough crosses to recognize WYCLIFFE and the CYBER lightbulb came on.

Otherwise the solve was smooth sailing through very good looking material.

Anonymous 7:49 AM  

@Z: In the film, Rolfe is spelled with the trailing e. In the stage production, it's just Rolf, according to ibdb.com.

OffTheGrid 7:51 AM  

This was a good challenging Saturday. I decided to do the middle puzzle first and it went pretty well. The corners were harder for me. But all great fun.

QuasiMojo 8:01 AM  

First, kudos to Joe et al for the ongoing Green Paint Mystery reappearing yesterday.

I really like Ryan McCarty's puzzles. This was a very good one. If easier than most Saturdays.

Follow your bliss, if "the Force" was a fave. Nancy and I walked out of that movie in 1977. Not together. :)

SNO BALLS were grotesque. Like edible Tribbles.

I kept seeing names in the grid, not clued as names. Ruth DRAPER. June HAVOC. SEAL. Will FERAL. MOS HART. And the APTEST of the moment: ELAN Musk.

pabloinnh 8:16 AM  

Agree with with the "five puzzles " take. NW went in first, then all my intuitive guesses turned out to be right going down the middle--well STARPUPIL didn't fit,but STUDENT took care of that. SE not bad, although it reminded me that the first time I saw an HOV lane sign it took forever to decipher. Country boy here. On to the SW, and did I know WYCLIFFE? Why yes, yes I did. COOLMOM replaced CUPCAKE, which even I thought was ridiculous when I wrote it in. More experience with snakes and DRAINS than I like to think about. The NE fell last, mostly because I kept thinking of FIOS as having to do with some kind of withholding tax, which is a dumb mistake, not the other kind.

Nice Saturdito, RMcC. Wish more of it was outside my wheelhouse, I'd still be working on it.

Hungry Mother 8:16 AM  

Very easy here this morning. Maybe my 4:30am five mile run got my brain stoked up, or maybe I was just lucky. I found that I knew CRYHAVOC, but I don’t know why.

August West 8:23 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
rtkelly 8:24 AM  

Yes, Rolfe with an e! That really perplexed/annoyed me. I just pulled up the end credits of the movie and sure enough it’s spelled with an e.

Anonymous 8:25 AM  


Suzie Q 8:27 AM  

Bleed-over from yesterday, runner up but singular today.
Cry havoc was not familiar to me.
I thought 10D was asking for a movie title.
Some of the "tricky" clues were too easy such as rents and gas caps.
I did like the clues for Delilah, loo, and Doc.
Satisfying solve but over too quickly.

okanaganer 8:28 AM  

Wow what a nice puzzle. Quite challenging for me, stopped dead in my tracks for quite a while in the southeast.

I entered STAR WARS right off the bat instead of THE FORCE, just from the date.

I remember when the movie came out, I thought: WTF? (Well, not in those words, because we didn't say that back then, AFAIK.) It's not science fiction; but rather science fantasy. And actually pretty much a big spoof/satire, with the cheesy low budget transitions and dialogue. And even today I don't understand why people like it so much.

There could have been a much more exciting clue for I'M FREE!!

Ernonymous 8:33 AM  

I read on xwordinfo that the constructor wanted DRAPER clued with MADMEN and the editor changed it to British cloth merchant. I checked xwordinfo and
DRAPER has always, every single time, been clued as some variation of "seller of cloth in Britain." I think that makes it something that one would only know from xwords. Is this common knowledge? Will saw the Madmen clue provided by the constructor, looked up what he's always used to clue it, and changed it to that.
It could have been clued Don Draper with an easy or difficult clue for Saturday, but no, stick with the stuffy status quo crosswordese, don't go for a popular TV show from this century. I get what Rex is saying, this NYT puzzle is stale and this is just one example of unwillingness to change a clue to something more current.

Anonymous 8:36 AM  

CRYHAVOC and NIHIL in the same part of the grid gave me a smile, though the writer missed the opportunity to reference Julius Caesar to link both.

kitshef 8:40 AM  

I really enjoyed this, in all the ways I did not enjoy yesterday’s. The long answers are great words and phrases (CONCERTINA, STAR STUDENT, HOMESTEADER, SPY CAMS, LOTTERY PICK) rather than dull phrases. Won’t use spoilers, but the equivalent in this grid is IM FREE. Yeah, it’s something said. But I don’t want a grid built around it.

Plus, I had to think hard today. Each of the grid segments had a little something I had to fight through or dredge from the cobwebby corners of my brain.

One major self-inflicted holdup – saBER ATTACKS before CYBER ATTACKS. Even as I filled in the former I thought it was a poor answer. So happy when I had to tear it out thanks to WYCLIFFE.

JJ 8:44 AM  

I was at the Belmont when Affirmed beat Alydar for the Triple Crown. All 3 races came down to the wire—2 beautiful horses almost equal in talent, and Affirmed edged him every time.
The border collie’s herding also got me off to a great start, but the rest was definitely not “Easy”. I was stuck on Liesl, thinking there was a rebus, or a letter off that beautiful looking grid.
I never cease to be amazed by all of the clever, misdirecting, clues. Thanks to the constructor, and may THE FORCE be with you in these trying times.

WhatDoing 8:55 AM  

Awful puzzle solely due to the obscure entries such as WYCLIFFE and HOV, which even after Googling I’ve never heard of before. Is this some west coast thing, because we sure don’t have them in Detroit or Chicago. Mac-NEIL is just random, why not Mac-Jake or Mac-Toby? And don’t get me started on the conceit of thinking I know what the Seven Sisters are (and I have a cousin that went to Mount Holyoke)!

I appreciated the clever clueing on much of this but it was just wrecked by too many arcane answers. A tedious, tedious slog.

Anonymous 8:57 AM  

StinkS for SMELLS at 54A cost me dearly. Also ROLF did me no favors in my SW struggles.

Craig Aamodt 8:59 AM  

Finished in about my average time, but would have been much faster had I been able to see the SE corner quicker. I was able to pick my way through the other areas pretty cleanly with only a few trip-ups on some of the misdirection clues, but for some reason had trouble with the SE. As I look at it now that should have been the cleanest for me, however I had DoRA instead of DARA and that was enough to throw me off and question all the other entries I first assumed were gimmes. After too many minutes of staring at it, I finally saw my error and it all came together quickly.

I love a puzzle that offers resistance, but ultimately gives way with enough persistence. That is what I found today. In looking at the completed puzzle, the middle stack is impressive.

Have a great day, all

QuasiMojo 9:14 AM  

He was called ROLF in the original Broadway production.

August West 9:17 AM  

Samson and Delilah

webwinger 9:18 AM  

Agree this was a handsome grid, but not much fun to solve. About average Saturday time. Hardest segment for me was NE: No knowledge of Scooby-doo. CatSPA before PET. Did not grok THE FORCE until I read @Rex—figured it was the title of some Bruce Willis movie I’d never seen. I too find it hard to understand the enormous appeal of this franchise, though I’ve had some fun with it.

WINTER SCENE was what I saw outside yesterday morning: 10 inches of new snow, temperature 10 deg F in northern Colorado. Biggest snowfall here since November. Fortunately it should all be melted by Monday.

Anonymous 9:24 AM  

@Joe Dipinto (from last night)

Got a big chuckle out of The Green Paint Mystery. Great collaboration but you guys really left us dangling. Glad to see Rudy Steiner in there. He had such a great inspiration with biodynamic farming. Did the authors sketch out a rough plot beforehand, or did everyone just make it up as the torch was passed? Glad you shared the fruits of your labors.

Anon. Sherlock Holmes

Anonymous 9:30 AM  

MacNEIL is a real surname. MacJake & MacToby no.

CDilly52 9:30 AM  

@LMS: you and I must have had the same mom! I loathed picture day! It was the first instance (of many) I can recall when, with hands on hips I berated her with the “When I have kids I will never tell them how to look!” And I never did. All of my sweet girl’s school pix look exactly like her at whatever age. She, with her theatrical proclivities from the womb, always concocted a “costume” for every event. We now love those school shots. It was the only day the nuns allowed the kids to wear clothes other than school uniforms in elementary school, and my Kate took advantage! I remember in third grade Sister Mary Mark asking me if there was any way for me to ask her to be “less flamboyant.” I told her that would depend upon the mood of the subject on the morning of pictures. That was the year I did have to intervene. Kate had heard the good Sister’s comment and was scrounging around in the Halloween box for her witch garb. When I asked her what was up, she said she thought she would have this year represent Sr. MM! So, we had a short discussion about respect and consequences, and ultimately I have a third grade beaded,”hippie-ish” school picture. Not a trace of a smile, peace sign brandishing. That’s my girl! Protesting to the last.

The puzzle nearly did me in. My solve was like @Joaquin’s. Five separate puzzles. I commented last week on my trepidation when I see this type grid. Last week was a breeze. This time it was all I could handle. Hunting and pecking and thinking and hoping. Put it down and pick it up. But good clues: snakes and DRAINS being a fave. Good Saturday tussle for me, but one in which I was on a leaky raft at first - no wheelhouse in sight- and my craft soon morphed into detritus from the Titanic with me holding on for dear life! In retrospect, the answers weren’t odd or unknown but the three long center ones just flummoxed me and took forever!

Thankfully, I filled up with coffee early this morning and put my GAS CAP on my tank and fought it out. Wanted WINTERSCapE and did not give up for far too long. Finally, the light went on from my crossword archives deep within the regions of my brain and WYCLIFFE saved the day. That made me finally see CYBER and the K in CYBER ATTACK gave me INK and the WINTER SCENE became clear. Finished! A Saturday slugfest!

TJS 9:32 AM  

I'm with ya, @kitshef. I've been trying to figure out why I liked this one so much and got nothing out of yesterdays'. Kind of similar approaches, but this one just shined for me, although I usually hate a quick fill on a Saturday.

It's "Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war !". I tell ya, that Shakespeare guy could turn a phrase, huh ?

Anon. 8:25. We know, we know.

td 9:32 AM  

Took me forever to get The Force. I was looking for a movie title, and I even thought, okay, it would have come out just after Star Wars . . . Then when I got it (after remembering it's Daphne, not Dahlia, and conceding to APTEST, which to me doesn't seem informal enough to be clued as informal) I thought, oh, excellent. Like when Luke finally parries that little floating zapper thing. A fine puzzle in my book.

Nancy 9:38 AM  

Not easy for me. I thought the clues were pretty tricky and loved the ones for DELILAH (though that one I got easily); CYBERATTACK; DOC; SMELLS and COOL MOM. I was thinking of a HObo sort of person for the migrant and was surprised when HOMESTEADER came in. A HOMESTEADER is so much happier and so much less migrant-y than a hobo, don't you think?

Had a lot of trouble in the SW where I was tempted to "check" WYCLIFFE before writing it in, but didn't. It was somewhere in the back of my always-fuzzy memory, like ROLF, which I was tempted to look up on my "Sound of Music" album, but, again, didn't. Finally it came to me, bringing WYCLIFFE along for the ride.

One writeover: WINTERSCape before WINTER SCENE. I like mine better. More evocative.

Loved this puzzle. What an incredibly good puzzle-week this has been. I absolutely loved the Thursday, Friday and Saturday puzzles, and thought the Wednesday was very good, too. Wish all weeks were this strong.

Mickey Bell 9:40 AM  

This was not fine. A rat trap is not a dump. A lav is a British nickname for a bathroom and a head is an American counterpart, so why is being clued as a short form of a literal head? Haul up means what? Maybe haul IN or DOWN? Maybe one hauls up fish but you haul IN the bad guys.

A lot of the clueing was just off today. This was a Tuesday puzzle made into a Saturday difficulty by using misdirecting rather than clever clues. Ick.

Anonymous 9:45 AM  

“Lav is always my number two choice” is the funniest thing I’ve read in a long time.

Teedmn 9:50 AM  

This was a smooth Saturday and, at 23:10, a couple of minutes under my average. No section provided a TRUES struggle though I was alarmed when I finally tackled the NW. I stared at that 16A _______OC and looked at my watch so I could document how long this section would take me. I was at the 20 minute mark.

When I finally strained my brain hard enough to realize that I really did know a word that ended in OC (and wasn't DOC), I threw down CRY HAVOC (is that a quote from "Gladiator"? Shakespeare? After Googling, of course I remember "'Cry havoc', and let slip the dogs of war" from "Julius Caesar") and the rest filled in nicely.

@Giovanni, I appreciate that the clue for 55A was changed from a "Madmen" reference because I prefer my tough themeless puzzles to contain as little PPP as possible. It is unfortunate that the clue that was used turns out to be so stale. I can't think of any other use of DRAPER though.

@Suzie Q, I also thought that 10D was looking for a movie, and in fact, thought "The Force" must be a movie. It sounded so familiar. The date wasn't very helpful for me. I don't know when I finally saw "Star Wars". After "The Empire Strikes Back", I think. In 1978, my freshman year of college, when a friend abashedly admitted that her high school nickname was WOOKIEE (based on her impressive stature and wild, curly hair, I later gathered) I had to admit to ignorance on what that was.

Ryan McCarty, once again you prove to be a master of Saturday NYT puzzles. Congrats on getting POW over at xwordinfo.com.

Lewis 9:51 AM  

@quasi -- Loved your last paragraph name finds!

Anonymous 9:51 AM  

According to Playbill, in the original 1959 musical, the character’s name is Rolf Gruber. Once again, Shortz is correct.

Anonymous 9:57 AM  

[1] Like Joaquin 6:02 I use a similar fill rule — I think of it as the Contagion Strategy. Do you kind souls know if someone has written about fill strategies somewhere? I’m old and slow, and will admit that Contagion makes me slower . . . and, I guess, a bit older.
[2] For the first time ever, LMS 6:22 has erred. Twizzlers are very fine foods, right up there near Jelly Bellies!

Nancy 10:02 AM  

Yes, @Joe Dipinto (from late last night) -- Thanks so much for prying "The Green Paint Mystery" out of the [green] moss where it was moldering, shaking the cobwebs out, and displaying it in all its original glory for what perhaps may be a new generation of readers. (The generations come and go faster on the Rexblog than in real life). To those who haven't yet read it, isn't it wonderful to know that the opportunity has not passed you by?

@Jessica, also from last night: You're a very funny lady, but may I also take the liberty of calling you a spoilsport?

@Quasi, from today -- There is no one I would have rather walked out of "Star Wars" with than you. I laughed out loud at your comment.

Birchbark 10:05 AM  

THE FORCE -- I saw Star Wars in the theater seven times the summer it came out, a personal record akin to @Rex's. After the first matinee viewing, I went and mowed a neighbor's lawn. Then I raked up the clippings, because that was how they liked it done. Today's clue, combining ESP and early Christian thought, is just about where my head was at the whole time I did those chores and thought about what had just happened -- Luke's need for a quest, old Ben Kenobi the hermit-knight, Vader-breathing sounds, the twin sunset and desert-scapes, the Princess, mechanical contraptions, operatic space battles etc., etc. I hadn't really known it was possible.

The Vez 10:09 AM  

The Southwest was a real problem. Wycliffe was a real doozy, I had to Google it and then I could finally finish.

oisk17 10:09 AM  

Agree with @Nancy - a really strong week! This one was really up my alley, as a chemist and horseplayer, radiums and Alydar were gimmes, (I was AT the track when Affirmed won the Belmont Stakes...) and I pretty much raced through all but the SW. Some wonderful, punny clues like tank tops, shrunken head, and "distressing" (!!) And concertina! Bob Hope plays the concertina while serenading Jane Russell (Buttons and Bows) in Paleface. And there is also a favorite song of mine from my parents' old 78 recordings "Lina is the queen a Palesteena, just because she plays the concertina.."

I SHOULD have gotten Rolf immediately. Liesl is 16, but the last line of the song is sung by Rolf, who is a year older "I am 17 going on 18, I'll take care of you."

Really, really, enjoyed this puzzle!

JOHN X 10:13 AM  

Hey everybody. Sorry I haven't been around but the craziest thing happened. Through no fault of my own I got trapped in a coal mine for three weeks. Fortunately I had a lot of booze so it wasn't completely awful but I never want to eat South American tinned corned beef ever again.

Now this was a great Saturday puzzle. It was a manlypuzzle too, full of manly answers. Oh sure there were a few answers for the ladies but look closely at them and see if you can catch the theme.

Enough of this, I've been buried alive for three weeks I need to get me to a bar and watch me a ballgame. I just need to be around people.

Nancy 10:14 AM  

@JJ (8:44) -- Leisl is 16, going on 17. ROLF is 17, going on 18. That's why, in their duet, he sings: "I'll take care of you" and she sings "I'll depend on you."

Petsounds 10:15 AM  

I submitted a comment hours ago--nothing vicious or salacious in it, but it hasn't been printed, while some other posters have had two comments printed. So it must have gotten lost in the ether.

Don't feel like rewriting the whole thing, but I would like to know why a PROTIP is a "little" pointer. What's little about a pro tip? What am I missing?

Mark 10:21 AM  

LOTTERY PICK wasn't a familiar phrase in the NBA context for me. Is it common/colloquial in sports talk? I'm not a big follower of basketball, but I always hear people talking about draft picks.

Joaquin 10:21 AM  

@LMS (6:22) - A short while back you revealed your age and I must say that you are much too old to be making #2 jokes. And being that I am (almost) old enough to be your father I should not be laughing at such immature silliness.

So why did I LOL at the line, "LAV is always my number two choice"? I hope none of us ever grow up!

Your reference to "Tomboy" prompted me to do a bit of research on that term. It always seemed to me that the better/more accurate term would be "Tomgirl". Nothing in my investigation convinced me otherwise.

Ernonymous 10:22 AM  

@teedmn I am not big on PPP in any puzzle, so I get that. But archaic crosswordy clues I can't stand either. And for Draper, Don Draper was the lead character, not some more minor character, and people who didn't watch the show might have heard of him. I just wonder what Will's rationale was for changing the clue. Maybe having DAPHNE was one PPP too many? But I agree PPP is awful, unless it's something I'm familiar with, then it's fine, ha!

Anonymous 10:31 AM  

It's not sexist to acknowledge the reality of women's soccer. Or any women's sport. And the reality is women aren't as good as men. If they could compete with men, there would be a single national team comprised of women and men. But becausr eomen simply cant hanh with men we have the JV.
I warched a men's prep school give the women's US national team all they could handle and then some.
Do you play ultimate against women?!!
They can competr with your strength, speed etc? If so, wow.

Sir Hillary 10:33 AM  

Liked it a lot. Yeah, it's a stunt, but that middle section really is quite amazing. If the grid were held together with obscurities, that would be one thing, but this one manages to be technically impressive and pretty fun. Well done, Ryan!

I was ready to come here and trash the puzzle for referencing THEFORCE, which I assumed was some barely-known film from 1977. Yikes, how bad is that -- I need more coffee!

I so wanted 28A to be turretS.

I said here recently that I dislike the term PROTIP, but not today. It looks good, was helpfully placed and well-clued. I wonder if anyone went for PinkIe.

Errata -- unFAIR before NOFAIR, gErMany before TEAMUSA, and CaB… (hack = cab driver) before CYBERATTACK.

Just two days ago we had ROLFS, and I noted how few people I could think of with that first name. I had forgotten all about the little wannabe brownshirt from "TSOM". Von Trapp really blows it at the end, though -- ROLF would have let them go had the captain not mocked him.

I'm with @Giovanni (8:33AM) regarding DRAPER. Come on Will, join the 21st century!

Cinephile 10:40 AM  

"Star Wars" over "Sound of Music" all day long.

Escalator 10:43 AM  

General Question

Do we know if Rex ever uses Google or other aid to help him solve the puzzles? Methinks not.

Z 10:43 AM  

@Anon7:49 and 9:51 - Thanks. Not that it mattered to me while solving.

@WhatDoing - I seem to recall some sort of aborted attempt at having HOV lanes on Michigan Avenue from Corktown out to Dearborn. Yep, here’s an article from 2008. By the time I moved from Dearborn to Brush Park in 2013 they were gone.

@kitshef and @TJS - De gustibus and all, but I’ll take phrases over dredging up WYCLIFFE any day. It’s not that knowing WYCLIFFE is a bad thing, it’s more that not knowing WYCLIFFE isn’t a bad thing either. Mostly, though, I forgot to question STAR STUDENT earlier and @kitshef reminded me. I resisted this because to me the phrase is “STAR pupil.” A STUDENT can be good, but to be a STAR they have to be a pupil. I actually left just STAR until I had some crosses because “pupil” was obviously correct and too short.

@okanaganer - Star Wars is The Hero’s Journey with light sabers, droids, and big space ships. The story’s appeal is, I imagine, much the same as the appeal of Gilgamesh or Moses once was.

RooMonster 10:45 AM  

Hey All !
Whew! What a workout. Saw grid, said, "Hmm, five mini puzs, you can do this?" and promptly started doing section by section (after the initial first run through, which got me about 8 answers or so.)

Started in NE, had ScanS for SIFTS, so that was messing me up. Looked up FiOS on good ole Google, saw it had to be OPTIC (I did want that for the answer pre-look-up, but ScanS), so threw it in, which let me see APTEST, and finished that corner. (Although, had INSTOre there.)

Got SE next, had to look up Seven Sisters, ad 1) didn't know they were Colleges, 2) thought it was something in a book I never read. Once got that, HOV and HAULUP, done.

Managed to actually get that bid Middle section next. Started with another Google for RAE, as that was a definite unknown here (I'm not a reader, I've said it countless times!), but still might've gotten it had I just waited, ad it didn't really help to fill the Middle. Who knows. Has SPYCAMS, STARSTUDENT, MOS, LIB which through pattern recognition and steady thinking got me that section. Oh, had air for INK mucking things up a bit.

SW next, eerie for ALIEN, DOC clever clue, but again got stuck, and Googled for ROLF, since (of course) never read or saw Sound of Music. Not my taste. That got me to finish up down there.

NW, last section to go! Was tempted to look up any of the PPP there (CHANEL, DELILAH, ALYDAR) but said, "Hold on a sec, let's see if you can figure this out." Had tree for SEAL, so erased that, put back in ERR that I took out, saw CDCASE could work, which gote ADDIN, then HERDER, than saw CHANEL might work, got the great LAV clue, and was able to finish that section with no help!

So a three-lookup-to-finish-100%-correct-SatPuz. I'll take it!

Tough to fill a big section like that Middle with actual things/words/phrases, and not just nonsensical blather, so awesome job Ryan!

Four F's - Good amount!

TJS 10:46 AM  

Don't feed the Anons.

Crimson Devil 10:47 AM  

Elegant grid. Dunno how t’row can top off this puz-week.
Great to see recognition of 24 year-span medalist DARA Torres.
Good clue re DOC, and great comment re LAV # 2.

bauskern 10:48 AM  

DISTRESSING made my day. CYBERATTACK, DOC, APTEST, all stellar clues. I agree that this felt like five discrete puzzles, but it worked. And i agree with those who think that CLOTH DEALER is a stodgy clue. A nice challenging way to start the morning.

What? 11:00 AM  

Not bad but compared to yesterday, not good. Instead of colloquial phrases, we get relatively obscure names. 40A, 46A, 3D, 33D.

Carola 11:02 AM  

Pretty grid! And a pleasure to solve. The trio of DELILAH, CHANEL, and the HOMESTEADER set me on my way, giving me enough to criss-cross my way to finish at DARA x DRAMA. Loved CRY HAVOC and Bashful friend. In the "Pride goeth..." Department: riding high from knowing WYCLIFFE, I was then brought low by needing almost every cross to get THE FORCE - despite the giveaway of the year and seeing the movie as many times as @Birchbark. Nice WINTER SCENE cross of T-BAR and SNO BALL.

egsforbreakfast 11:06 AM  

@LMS 6:22. Out of curiosity where do you like to go #1? Seriously, though, please never stop commenting. It’s always a highlight of my day.

@bullgie 6:39. On xwordinfo the constructor concedes that RADIUMS is “vomitous blight”

@JOHNX 10:13. Glad you made it out of the mine. Not much to report during your absence. As to the “manliness” of the puzzle, please note that DARA, DRAMA and DULA (diagonally) all EMANATE ( but don’t MANATEE ) from square 43. DRAMA crosses TEAMUSA, and DULA, per the Urban Dictionary is “a sheisty lesbian who only thinks about herself.” Given yesterday’s contretemps regarding World Cup vs. Women’s World Cup, I can only sat “Well played, Shortz. Well played.”

Kathy 11:06 AM  

Holy gas caps, I solved a Saturday in just over an hour! That’s good for me!
A lot of trial and error, but it was a satisfying solve with cool misdirects. The middle section fell first with the northwest bringing up the rear, CRYHAVOC indeed.

Hand up for staying too long with ADDto and Pinkie (yeah, I know that’s not the preferred spelling, but ya never know...)

Yesterday I decided I should start a list of constructors I have enjoyed, beginning with Robyn, and now I am adding Patrick. I’ll be eagerly awaiting more from them!

Twizzlers are my go-to road trip snack when I hit that mid-afternoon slump. That’ll be me powering along the interstate blasting ELO and munching on Twizzlers!

Barbara S. 11:28 AM  

Such an aesthetically-pleasing grid. I found it challenging but happily doable.

2D "Border collie by nature" I wanted to fill in "semi-hysterical, overly-enthusiastic and wildly friendly," but it wouldn't fit. (My stepson has one.)

34D "Stereotypically lenient parent" My first thought was dOOr Mat. Apologies to COOL MOMs everywhere.

41D I thought "Unbroken" was a tricky clue for FERAL (and I liked it).

Tom Jones: "My, my, my Delilah." (That's an even more terrible song if you really listen to the lyrics. Don't bother.)

Leonard Cohen: "She tied you to a kitchen chair
She broke your throne and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah."

16A The nit that I want to pick today concerns CRY HAVOC. I admit that Dictionary.com uses the definition found in the clue, but I think this is controversial at best. In the play Antony says:
"Caesar's spirit, ranging for revenge...shall...cry 'havoc!' and let slip the dogs of war."
I don't think this is a warning. I think this is closer to "vengeance is mine," or "forward-ho to destruction."
Writingexplained.org says this: "Cry havoc means for [sic] a military commander to give the order to cause chaos by allowing the soldiers to pillage and otherwise destroy an area."
So, yeah, you cry havoc as a general stimulus to frenzied anNIHILation.

@bulgie 6:39
You were so close: Epsom Downs -- horses running through bathsalts?

@Nancy 9:38
I think a lot of HOMESTEADERs were migrants who were given land in the 1800s and so got to move onto farms. So, yeah, it's a happy story...for them. Not so much if you applied under the HOMESTEAD Act and were denied.

@Anonymous 9:57
Have to agree with you on Twizzlers.

Malsdemare 11:31 AM  

Hoo boy! I got the NE, NW, and central areas, not easily but with lots of false starts. I loved the DELILAH clue and was truly frustrated when for a time, I had Nulla for the latin zero. But then I saw NIHIL and that meant I was right after all about Samson’s inamorata. On the other hand, the SW and SE were horrible. I had ChumMuM for the longest time — that’s my own creation because, why not? And I’m pretty clueless about new linguistic constructions—so it was forever before I got that area sort of fixed. Not entirely though; I managed to conflate the Movie Trainspotters with the Snakes on the plane thing and so the snakes were on tRAINS and my Bashful friend was tOC; well, what do I know? Could be, right?

This was a great week for puzzles. Hoping for cake icing tomorrow. No SNOBALLS need apply; those things are gross.

Aketi 11:33 AM  

I didn’t have a SNOBALLS chance in hell of finishing this one without some judicious cheating.

@Joe Depinto, so glad to see the Green Paint Mysteries make a comeback.

albatross shell 11:44 AM  

Cry Havoc I knew from Shakespeare.

Blood and destruction shall be so in use
And dreadful objects so familiar
That mothers shall but smile when they behold
Their infants quarter'd with the hands of war;
All pity choked with custom of fell deeds:
And Caesar's spirit, ranging for revenge,
With Ate by his side come hot from hell,
Shall in these confines with a monarch's voice
Cry 'Havoc,' and let slip the dogs of war;
That this foul deed shall smell above the earth
With carrion men, groaning for burial.

So maybe we are not fairing so badly today. So far, anyway.

Also there is the women's war movie , Cry Havoc (1943). All male rolls are uncredited, including Robert Mitchum's.

Five puzzles: my order: SE NE SW CENTER NE. My googles: DARA DAPHNE WYCLIFFE.
My last entry: SEAL. Considered it early, but in my memory SEAL fur is common, fur seal was non-existent. But the music played. furSEAL does Google well. So along with WYCLIFFE (who sounds like an interesting chap) I learned that, there are some non-fur seals?

I do like puzzles with wide open spaces. I really like them when they fill in with few obcurities. At the end there is very little guess work. If something is wrong, it looks wrong. Satisfying solves. Enjoyed this one.

Whatsername 11:49 AM  

Great clues for LAV, INK, GASCAPS. Love the bonus center section with the long crosses and downs, beautiful. Lots of unknowns, but it’s Saturday which I always approach as a learning experience. Part of that today was looking up the Monet WINTERSCENES - both mesmerizing, especially The Magpie. It’s a dream of mine to see something like that in real life.

I consider Coco CHANEL the queen of class and taste and follow her mantra of style over fashion which doesn’t always work on ordinary people. A few years ago the rage was ladies’ tops with the shoulders cut out. Everyone was wearing them, but I never really saw anyone who looked good in them. I might wish for one though to draw attention away from my hair which may soon look more like Samson than DELILAH. The only DRAPER at my house is Don, the hunk from Mad Men which I’ve been binge watching in lockdown. (@Giovanni: so right, a more timely clue.) I never grow tired of of the DRAMA at Sterling Cooper and Co.

As @Nancy said, it’s been an exceptionally good week for crosswords. Hope it continues and everyone has an equally good weekend.

John R 11:52 AM  

I agree with the comments that this was really like five separate puzzles. The SW corner gave me the most trouble. All I had was IMFREE and the MOM part of COOLMOM. It finally came together when I realized the spots for snakes were DRAINS. I kept trying to come up with a variation of pit, nest, den, etc.

As others have said, we don't have HOV lanes in Michigan, at least not that I have ever seen. But I ran into them during my drive from Michigan to Florida, so I got that one fairly quickly.

Joe Dipinto 11:59 AM  

Too bad they didn't go with this WYCLIFFE, who's actually alive right now and probably in the general public's awareness at least as much as that 14th-century dude. I think he'd be Saturday-suitable.

And @Giovanni, you're right about that ridiculous clue for DRAPER. I've never even seen "Mad Men", but I know that Don Draper is the name of the main character.

Wonderful radium
Marvelous radium
Wonderful radium
Radium, radium
Radium, radium
Radium, radium
Radium, radium...

Saturday trivia question (no checking Wikipedia!):
What later-to-become-famous actor stepped into the role of e-less Rolf during the original Broadway run of "The Sound Of Music" after the first Rolf left the cast?

Lake Ontario Bob 12:05 PM  

I thought I recognized you. I was there too!

KnittyContessa 12:07 PM  

When I first saw the grid i thought Oh no! Could not see homesteaders for the longest time, wanted Lisl for 40a and could not figure out what the 1977 movie The.... was. It was a slow solve. Two cups of coffee and 46 minutes later I felt very satisfied solving this one!

Newboy 12:08 PM  

I’m with Rex today as his “I wish "architecturally impressive" did more for me” said it all. The V of VASSAR was the last to fall—driving a Subaru is usually helpful in North Idaho, but that logo of the Pleiades really proved a mental block. Laughed out loud when LAV materialized for 6D and took what seemed forever to recall ROLF who is the actual singer in SOM. The range of cluing seemed especially strong in Ryan’s puzzle: shout out to TEAMUSA and NBA draft balanced by an echo of the Bard (16A) & Monet while bringing pop culture to play with SNOBALLS and Scooby-Doo. As a solver, I really can’t ask for much better variety to keep me alert; only ALYDAR seemed a tad questionable. While today’s grid didn’t wow me initially, I seem to be finding a whole lotta neat stuff to report from the solve. Thanks for a worthy adversary to start our morning Mr. McCarty. Now back to see how others respond.

Linda 12:11 PM  

Rex just can’t bear to say he likes a puzzle so he makes a great effort to find fault. What a jerk.

GILL I. 12:13 PM  

Ah....YES. I slept in today. First time in ages. Wake up, make some luscious coffee, pups need tending, so off for a wonderful, very quiet walk. Only birds to keep me company. Come back to my favorite Saturday in a long while.
CHANEL....You put her in my 1A and you'll get my nod of approval. I could never afford her clothing but boy do I love her parfum #5. I'm glad that wasn't clued as a shrunken head. Oh why why why clue DELILAH as distressing and DAPHNE without her du Maurier? DRAPER definitely needed to be drool fest Don Draper and I thought maybe ROLF needed his massage technique.....My two cents that no one gives a SNOBALLS in hell chance.
HOMESTEADERS was my first long answer. I have an old friend who, along with husband, have become modern ones. They moved to Redding and live off the land. They grow some of the best tomatoes this side of the Mississipi and they even make their own clothing. It's kinda neat in a hippie way.
I only had two cheast today. I'm not into translators of the Bible so WYCLIFFE needed looking into. I was the dunce STUDENT in chemistry so RADIUMS needed a little looking into. Other than that, I was able to high five myself. I loved this little work-out.

From yesterday. @Z, @Nancy. Thank you for the revisiting of the "green paint." @Joe Dipinto is the best! What fun that was...and still is. Glop, Gorp, Tartaruga Pintado and Jonathan on the floor with a bottle of Martini and Rossi - or was it Prosecco ? I just re-read it and laughed silly.
@Nancy, I don't think anyone lost interest, it was that a few Debbie Downers complained. Even though we posted late in the evening, I guess there might have been resentment that we were having so much fun. Everyone was invited to participate. Thanks again, Joe.....

webwinger 12:20 PM  

It was fun to see again the composite composition of our blogger brethren, but compared with the “real life” adventures of JOHN X, reading it was like watching GREEN PAINT dry...

@LMS: Agree with you about SNO BALLS. I had a sister-in-law (SARAH, known as Sally in her youth) who was a consummate foodie before most people had even heard the term. As a joke I once gave her a package of that lovely treat (dyed neon orange rather than pink for some reason), and she made a face like she was holding a tarantula when she pulled it out of the bag. No argument re Circus Peanuts either, but have to take strong exception re Twizzlers. If you get a package that hasn’t gone stale they are the perfect sweet for movie watching. (But 2 out of 3 ain’t bad. I seem to remember your generating a similar flap concerning imaginary numbers some time back...)

albatross shell 12:29 PM  
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rextorturer 12:29 PM  

Liz Gorski is the best puzzle constriktor on the planet!

jberg 12:41 PM  

It's a lovely WINTER SCENE here in Boston; we got about two inches of snow overnight, but the temperature was high enough that it stuck only on the non-paved areas, lawns, trees, etc., so we got the beauty without the pain of shoveling.

Nobody's mentioned this, but if you have a bunch of different radium isotopes, you call them radium isotopes, not RADIUMS. No, just no. But aside from that - with a slight wince that the STAR pupil is called a STUDENT -- I thought it was a fine puzzle.

I guess times have changed; WYCLIFFE was in our high school history curriculum back in the late 1950s, so I got him from the W. ROLF took all the crosses, though. I've never seen either the play or the movie, though I did once spend a weekend in the Trapp Family Lodge; if I'd paid more attention to all the old posters and photos hanging on the walls I'd probably have known his name. DRAPER was a little harder, but somehow I dredged it up from reading novels. I thought there might be one in the Canterbury Tales, so I ran a post-solve search. Turns out there isn't, although there is a Draper's Arms in Canterbury; but there is one in The Three Musketeers (which I've never read, but I did see the movie).

At the time the first Star Wars movie came out, I subscribed to some science fiction magazine; the reviews within the SF field all panned it for its ignorance of science (space ships behaving like airplanes, etc.); but I had sons who were 6 and 7, so we went (getting a sitter for our 1-year old daughter), and I was hooked. I saw the first three, and then, with the boys grown, no more until the last one. But you probably don't have to have even seen it ever to know about THE FORCE.

Query: did anyone use PDA for hand-holding while they were still in use as hand helds?

albatross shell 12:41 PM  

@Mark 1021pm
The teams in the NBA who do not make the playoffs have a weghted lottery drawing for the top draft picks, now called lottery picks because of this system.

@Barbara S
dOOrMat funnier, if not better than COOLMOM. Where my mind was going, but did not think of that one. Pushover too long.

Hand-up for turrets.

Felt the same way about the Sound of Music as you. I did watch it several years ago. My beloved brother had died and on my last visit he told me it was his favorite movie. So I was watching TV with some one who had also not seen it. We watched. I think you shouldn't bother. I can see why it is so popular, but look forward to never seeing it again.

jae 12:48 PM  

Slightly harder than yesterday’s, but still easier than Thursday’s...so easy. I started with DELILAH and just kept going. The toughest corner was SW.

There’s a lot of good stuff here but it went by too fast for a Sat. Liked it and Jeff gave it POW apparently because a grid like this is very tough to fill as cleanly as Ryan did, RADIUMS aside.

Masked and Anonymous 12:48 PM  

Impressive, with 4 Jaws of Themelessness gracin the puzgrid, along with oodles of good fillins.

A few items of note ripped from the headlines of the M&A solvequest:

* ALYDAR. I knew this, but could only recall the AL?DAR part of its spellin. Since it was crossin the semi-recognizable [to M&A] CRYHAVOC thingy -- for which I had CR?HA??? -- lost many precious nanoseconds in that pesky NW area.
* SNOBALLS. My hero entry, for gettin m&e into the SE, off the startin S-.
* STARSTUDENT. Wanted STARSTUDDED, for quite a while, until them SNOBALLS froze it out.
* RADIUMS. Cutely desperate, in an elementary way. Ground-breakin stuff. Leaves the door wide open for DARMSTADTIUMS.
* MOS, INK, LIB, & RAE. These lil darlins do the heavy liftin, gluin that primo central region in place. As well as helpin transport us between puzgrid sectors during the solvequest. They therefore richly deserve & share the staff weeject pick honors, for the day.

Thanx for the fun, Mr. McCarty. Good job.

Masked & Anonymo3Us


Z 12:49 PM  

Wasn’t Don DRAPER played by Mia Hamm?

Leave it to @Barbara S to quote Some Canadian songwriter and not give us a link. I must say I thought Canadian French was a little closer to the original than that.

@Kathy - Congrats.

Re: The Muse induced Twizzler controversy, they make great straws for your Coke.

@Mark10:21 - LOTTERY PICK is specifically an NBA thing. Commonly, the team with the worst record gets the first pick, and a draft proceeds from worst to best. NBA teams are small. This means finishing with the worst record can have a big positive result, so losing is incentivized. In order to discourage losing intentionally to get the first pick, the NBA selects the draft order for the worst teams by lottery. Philadelphia somewhat notoriously tried to game this system by being especially bad for several consecutive years.

Thedoctorsopinion 12:57 PM  

HOV lanes have been around since the early 90s and can be found on both coasts.As well as Minnesota, Texas, and Utah being other notable locations.

Nancy 1:06 PM  

No spoilers here, but I had to look it up, @Joe D. Even though I saw the original stage production with Mary and Ted. Remember them well enough. Just can't remember if I saw the original ROLF or his very famous replacement. Now you might think I would remember having seen his very famous replacement if I saw him in the flesh, but the thing is he wasn't very famous back then. Anyway, I couldn't answer the quiz.

While I also loved the movie, the stage production was light years better, I thought. Mary's voice may not have the pure beauty that Julie's does, but she really succeeds a hell of a lot better as "a problem" that has to be "solved". There's an impish quality to Maria that Mary captures and that Julie doesn't. The stage production isn't nearly as sugary or sentimental as the film.

The biggest difference, though, for me, is the "So Long, Farewell" scene. The "OMG, look what they're pulling off right under the noses of the Nazis!!!!" aspect of that when it finally begins to dawn on you is so much more powerful onstage than it can possibly be on film. Nothing wrong with the film; it's just the nature of the two mediums.

But as far as the Alps are concerned, the movie wins hands down.

MR. Cheese 1:07 PM  

I neither notice nor care about grid design. What’s wrong with me? (Sigh)

Aketi 1:09 PM  

@Gill I DELILAH may have rendered Samson weak, but she’d have a hard time with the real life inspiration for the Tartaruga Pintado in my current profile pic. Last time I saw him before Social Distancing started, he was 230 lb.

Ernonymous 1:26 PM  

@Mr cleese I don't care about the grid either but there was a lot of hoopla about a week ago cause the grid was not symmetrical. I meant to ask then, why does symmetry matter?

Leon 1:27 PM  

The Bard used HAVOC several times, some more in line with this clue rather than the military meaning.:

Cry'havoc,' and let slip the dogs of war; Julius Caesar: III, i
Do not cry havoc, where you should but hunt Coriolanus: III, i
To tear and havoc more than she can eat. King Henry V: I, ii
This quarry cries on havoc. o proud death, Hamlet: V, ii
Of pellmell havoc and confusion. King Henry IV, part I: V, i
Nor fortune made such havoc of my means, Much Ado About Nothing: IV, i
Had been dishabited, and wide havoc made King John: II, i
Cry, 'havoc!' kings; back to the stained field, King John: II, i
Away with him! who hath made this havoc with them? Twelfth Night: V, i 9 results returned.

unhrdof 1:35 PM  

Has no one yet complained in the comments about "Christmas seal"?! I've never heard of this and was dying in the NW corner over it because I certainly don't know the names of horses for the cross. I also missed Concertinas and didn't know the Rae cross. Overall it was fun and easy until those last few stinkers.

JOHN X 1:44 PM  

This is a Saturday NYTX.

You either solve it or you don't solve it.

Your feelings don't matter.

Barbara S. 1:48 PM  

@Z 12:49
Yeah, yeah, duly chastened (or not). I know what you're doing. You're trying to guilt me into emailing @JC66 for the instructions on posting links. I'll think about it.

I don't know what to say about that version of "Hallelujah." I've somehow missed those guys completely and had to look them up. Good singers all, but really too polished for the raw power of that song.

QuasiMojo 1:53 PM  

Joe, was it Harrison Ford?

...And thanks @Lewis. Always good to hear from you.

QuasiMojo 1:55 PM  

Oops. @Joe, I just figured it out. Without cheating. Right after posting that. So ignore my previous suggestion.

Old Actor 2:27 PM  

Rolf was the last thing I got, and I've played the role of Max a number of times. One time with Debby Boone. I couldn't remember how to spell Leisl so thought it had four letters. Finally got the R from Drains and the light went on.

@Nancy: I too think the stage version is by far more exiting than the movie, in spite of the Alps.

I had a turret on top of my tank at first with Michael Dukakis sticking his head out.

Joe Dipinto 2:34 PM  

@WhatDoing 8:55:
Mac-NEIL is just random, why not Mac-Jake or Mac-Toby?

I hope that was a joke because I am still ROFLing.

@Petsounds 10:15 – A PRO TIP is a "little" pointer because PRO is "short" for "professional". Groan.

@Anon Sherlock 9:24 – nice catch on biodynamic Rudolf Steiner, but I stole the name from somewhere else. And we didn't map out any storyline ahead of time so nobody knew where it would end-up. After doing three sections in a row I was hoping someone else would pick up the next section, but no one ever did.

Btw, the genesis was: I made a casual remark that if there were, say, a book with "Green Paint" in the title and it became a best-seller, then Rex would no longer be able to complain about GREEN PAINT as an x-word answer. So, @Nancy decided we should start writing an actual story.

Burma Shave 2:40 PM  

Check out today's humor in Syndication Land

albatross shell 2:57 PM  
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DrBB 3:09 PM  

Did my PhD on the Lollard movement and Bible translation, so Wycliffe was a gimme for me. Wycliffe was considered the most prominent theologian of his time until he wasn't. There's a famous (well, for this stuff) bit of manuscript emendation, in which his description was changed from venerabilis doctor to execrabilis seductor.

oisk17 3:34 PM  

@Nancy, I saw Mary Martin in Sound of Music as well, and when I think of "THe Hills are alive" in my mind, it is always Mary's voice I hear! Second show I ever saw live, first was Music Man....

QuasiMojo 3:43 PM  

@Joe, nobody has said who it was so I guess it's okay to say? I'm not sure what the rules are. Let's just say he was not Barefoot in the Park while singing.

@Old Actor --I'm sure you were very good as Max.

JC66 3:48 PM  

@oisk17 & @Nancy

The first B'way show for me was South Pacific with Mary Martin.

The song starts about 3:30 in.

Joe Dipinto 3:50 PM  

In the TSOM movie, dimwit Liesl almost ruins their escape – twice. First she very conspicuously looks back at the Captain and Maria while she's exiting in the "So Long Farewell" sequence. Then at the abbey she audibly gasps when she sees Rolf(e), alerting him to their presence. They should have pushed her out of the car and left her there, since she was obviously going to keep screwing up their plans.

Molly 3:55 PM  

@Joe D- Googled it great piece of trivia.

Z 4:03 PM  

@Barbara S - I really just wanted to get in that French Canadian joke. I was going to do Pentatonix (also really polished) but then went down the Hallelujah cover rabbit hole, found that version and couldn’t resist the joke. I’m guessing you would prefer the barefoot k.d. lang version or the man himself or perhaps Steven Page or the most famous Canadian ever. Given the, ahem, palette of that last I assume it will be part of the opening credits when The Green Paint Mystery is made into a feature film.

Joe Dipinto 4:07 PM  

@Quasi – It's not him!

Okay, hints:

The actor definitely had the right "look" to play Rolf when he was younger.

The actor has been Oscar-nominated several times and won once (all nominations were for acting).

One of the actor's children has also won an acting Oscar.

Nancy 4:15 PM  

I looked it up, @Quasi, because on my own I had no idea. And you're wrong. It's not R. It's another handsome blue-eyed Nordic-looking blond. Big, at least in films, but not nearly as big as R.

@JC66 -- I was so unlucky, cast-wise. My parents, who always wrote in advance for tickets to R&H musicals, saw South Pacific from the best orchestra seats with Martin and Pinza. (My mother then proceeded to wax rapturously, one might even say orgasmically, over Pinza for the next year.) The next year when I finally got to see it, Pinza had just left the cast. I saw it with his replacement -- a real nobody named Robert Rico. I remember the name (I think) because I was so disappointed, but I'm pretty sure no one else does.

Same thing happened with The King and I. My parents saw it early with Gertie and Yul. The following year, a classmate at P.S.6 (I still remember his name, David Reichman, it was) invited a bunch of other fifth-graders to come with him to celebrate his 11th birthday. Gertrude Lawrence had just died -- like a month earlier! We saw it with someone named Constance Carpenter. Bet you never heard of her, either. But at least I saw Yul. There is no one, there never has been anyone like Yul Brynner. Swoon.

LenFuego 4:30 PM  

This was one of those puzzles where nothing comes easy, but you never really get held up either ... you just make slow and steady progress until you finally finish the solve. This was slower and steadier than some because I really held on to some very feasible alternate answers:

PINKIE instead of PROTIP for "Little pointer"
DEIDRE instead of DAPHNE for "Member of the Scooby-Doo Gang"
ADDTO and then ADDON for ADDIN for "Contribute to the mix"
TURRETS for GASCAPS for "Tank tops?"
DANA for DARA for "Swimmer Torres ..."
WEIRD for ALIEN for "Strange"
FIXES for TRUES for "Sets right"
CDRACK for CDCASE for "Obsolescent music holder"
SEWERS for DRAINS for "Spots for snakes", and
SLED for TBAR for "Tower on a mountain"

Yeah, unwinding all that took a while, but I still came in well under my Saturday average time.

JC66 4:38 PM  


I'm a little older than you. I was in the 5th grade when I saw South Pacific. My parents had bought tickets way, way in advance, but when the time came, they had to travel for some reason. My brother and I were staying with our aunt and uncle and I was chosen to go with my aunt.

The whole experience just blew my mind.

LenFuego 4:43 PM  

One more point: Although the structure of this grid did give it a 5 different puzzle aura, the few overlapping letters that existed were critical in solving, and that for me makes the grid successful.

As per my usual attack, I tried to solve the corners first, but without any luck, so I ended up solving the center first thanks to what was a gimme for me in LOTTERYPICK. The letters that peeked through from the center area into each of the corner quadrants were incredibly helpful, especially the H, O an C in the NW, and the C, Y and W in the NE -- and even the S, N and T that penetrated the SW. When I had tried solving the corners, they were somewhat impenetrable, but with those letters solved, a little elbow grease (brain grease?) did the trick on making progress in every quadrant.

Joe Dipinto 4:54 PM  

@Z 4:03 – Since I intend to retain creative control over the music in the film version, no one will be performing that song.

CaryinBoulder 5:25 PM  

@unhrdof Per Wikipedia: “ Christmas seals are labels placed on mail during the Christmas season to raise funds and awareness for charitable programs. They have become particularly associated with lung diseases such as tuberculosis, and with child welfare.“

It looks like @webwinger and I had a pretty similar experience, although we got 17” of snow here in Boulder. (A friend on FB posted a stunning video of two mountain lions walking through the deep snow in his neighborhood, less than a mile from our house.) This one took me a very long time to tease out but I persisted until that NE corner. DOG>CAT>DAY SPA kept me at bay for a long time. Finally had to Google for the Scooby-Doo person from a show I have never seen. From there I got PET and the rest finally fell into place. I’m familiar with the device, but what pray tell does PDA have to do with hand-holding?

That middle section was a pretty incredible bit of design.

Barbara S. 5:33 PM  

@Joe Dipinto

I haven't looked it up but I think the answer might be coming home to roost in my brain.

webwinger 5:42 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
webwinger 5:53 PM  

Re ROLF: I continue to be impressed that, while there seem to be errors in NYTXW clues with some regularity, there is never (in my recollection) a misspelled word in the grid. I picture there being an uncompromising, unsung, probably unrewarded and unmale long-time staffer in WS’s office who is responsible.

The first thing that comes to my mind when I see this name is the character in The Producers’ Springtime for Hitler who sings: I was born in Dusseldorf and that is why they call me ROLF—surely one of the most (intentionally) idiotic and hilarious lyrics ever penned…

I never saw TSOM on stage, but can imagine Mary Martin being a far better Maria than Julie Andrews. The movie is an overlong sentimental bore—I can barely sit through the endless shots of the Alps in the intro sequence, before Julie first bursts into song. Remember reading that Christopher Plummer referred to it during production as “The Sound of Mucus”. I have long believed that this musical in all versions, despite its commercial success, is far inferior to the R&H greats of the 1940s and 50s, both musically and dramatically, and that Maria von Trapp was a huge opportunist.

@CaryinBoulder: PDA = Public Display of Affection, usually implying much more than hand-holding…

Masked and Anonymous 6:05 PM  

@Joe Dipinto 4:07pm - Based on yer big 4:07 hint, I'd say the Rolf actor dude mighta been one who tangled in another flick with either:
1. An owl and a pussycat.
2. An anaconda.

I've zero idea for sure, if either one is right, tho. Never saw that there Broadway TSOM play.
Saw "The Lion King" one time, tho.

M&A Trivial Pursuit Desk

GILL I. 6:25 PM  

@Aketi...That's TARTARUGA????? And you killed him??????
@jae....Just finished watching "Kim's Convenience. Can't decide if I want to hug or kill "Appa.' Thanks for the fun suggestion.
@Nancy...Yul Brynner may have been the best looking bald man before Sean Connery lost his hair, but he was a supreme snoot. I happened to be shopping in a market in the Palisades and he was squeezing some tomatoes in the produce department. I was in awe...and not because of the tomatoes. I very nicely went up to him and asked if he'd sign a piece of paper I had and he looked at me as if I had just spit on his curly kale.

QuasiMojo 6:52 PM  

@Joe, dang! I realize now it was another blond. Close encounter with Sylvia Miles. Lol

Aelurus 6:57 PM  

@LMS This morning I finished yesterday’s puzzle by Robyn Weintraub and then continued over to this blog. I haven’t done today’s puzzle or read today’s blog but I read your Friday post and didn’t know Ben Zimmer so I Googled and discovered that he’s a linguist who contributes to the Atlantic and has a column at the WSJ, “Word on the Street.” Reminded me that the NYT Magazine used to publish a (purported) linguistic column by William Safire, called On Language, and that brought me to thinking about the column I most liked then, Russell Baker’s “Observer.” I looked around and rediscovered my book of a collection of Baker’s essays that I hadn’t thought of in years (So This Is Depravity) and will be happily occupied for a while. Thank you for prompting that mental meandering.

This is my first post (ever) and is also by way of thanking both Rex for starting the blog and the people who add so much interest and camaraderie to it. I solve the Sunday puzzle in the magazine and the others on my iPad, and several times I’d thought of commenting but had no idea how. @Z and @webwinger, thank you, too, for starting me down the road to figuring out how to join in — after reading copious amounts in the Google Account help area, still don’t know if I’ve got it. If I don't, any additional help would be appreciated.

Stay safe and sound, everyone, and, because I'm fond of good quotes, I’m including a snippet from Kurt Vonnegut’s collection of musings, A Man Without a Country, that a friend forwarded to me:
“But I had a good uncle, my late Uncle Alex. He was my father’s kid brother, a childless graduate of Harvard who was an honest life-insurance salesman in Indianapolis. He was well-read and wise. And his principal complaint about other human beings was that they so seldom noticed it when they were happy. So when we were drinking lemonade under an apple tree in the summer, say, and talking lazily about this and that, almost buzzing like honeybees, Uncle Alex would suddenly interrupt the agreeable blather to exclaim, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.’
“So I do the same now.... And I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point: If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.”—Kurt Vonnegut

Phil 7:24 PM  

Flat fees is a common phrase so I think that should have been a ? clue just like its neighbor Tank tops
on the other hand. Shelved, for now doesn’t ring as a ? clue to me. In stock are ‘shelved’ items. Shelved can mean a lot of things but its not a punny phrase or word

pabloinnh 7:26 PM  


17"? We got two feet here in NH.*

*First lie always loses.

PS-I absolutely believe you, it's just a conceit I'm fond of. Handy in a lot of situations. You get 30 mpg? That's it? And so on.

Z 7:30 PM  

@Aelurus - Anyone who quotes Vonnegut is alright in my book. Welcome.

@Joe D - So pop culture has turned Hallelujah into green paint? Color me beryl but that seems like the perfect theme song. I mean, we’ve got everything from Animé and Adam Sandler to Jeff Buckley and John Cale. There’s probably a version appropriate for every scene.

jae 7:41 PM  

@Aelurus - Thanks for the Vonnegut quote.

JC66 7:53 PM  


Welcome. You're doing fine. Keep up the good work.

Joe Dipinto 8:04 PM  

I believe @Quasi's got it now. :-)

pabloinnh 8:31 PM  

Aelurus-Welcome aboard. You've picked my favorite quote from one of my favorite authors, it's one I use often.

My other is Rosewater's when he's welcoming babies to earth, which ends "..there's only one rule I know of, goddam it, you've got to be kind.".

And I should add his son Mark's take on the purpose of life-"We're here to help each other get through this thing, whatever it is."

Truer than ever.

Old Actor 10:10 PM  

@pabloinnh: I live in South Texas near Anoabob and it will be 100 deg. tomorrow.
@Joe Dipinto: I know. He played opposite Liz Ashley in Barefoot in the Park,
@Aelurus: When I lived in NYC on East 54th St. Vonnegut lived right across the street. I saw him often as well as Garbo. I never bothered either of them. What could I have said?

If that is not enough name dropping I'll add that right after Mary Martin left TSOM I spent an evening at the Variety Club in Philly seated between Ms Martin and Geraldine Page. Others were her husband Richard Halliday and Page's husband Rip Torn and Emlyn Williams and wife and Australian author Morris West and wife. The best night of my life!

Old Actor 10:15 PM  

In case you're wondering how that happened. Halliday was the producer of a play "Daughter of Silence" it was after a preview. Martin was visiting. It was written by West, starred Torn and Williams and Rip invited me down to Philly to see it. We all ended up at a waffle house downstairs for breakfast at dawn.

Joe Dipinto 10:24 PM  

@Z – I posted that link because the song is so ridiculously overexposed that if I never hear it again for the rest of my life I will be delighted. To my mind, any music coordinator who would suggest it for a project should be fired on the spot for total lack of imagination. I don't really see how that equates to it being "green paint".

@Aelurus – excellent quote.

Z 11:09 PM  

@Joe D - I fear you’re taking my suggestion too seriously. Anyway, @Barbara S and I were discussing the topic via email and she mentioned that the Shrek version is by Rufus Wainwright. Personally, I prefer Martha, so here is Martha Wainwright doing a Leonard Cohen song that isn’t Hallelujah.

CaryinBoulder 11:49 PM  

@Pabloinnh Fer real, we’ve had 151 inches this year, making Boulder the snowiest city (of 50K or more people) in the US. It gives me no joy, I assure you. The ski areas have been closed for over a month and I’m a cyclist.

Joe Dipinto 11:54 PM  

Trivia question answer, for those who are still here:

Jon Voight took over the role of Rolf during the Broadway run of TSOM (and, to boot, married Lauri Peters, the actress who played Liesl).

@Quasi obviously figured it out, from his Sylvia Miles ("Midnight Cowboy") reference.

webwinger 12:01 AM  

@Joe D 10:24 pm: I have to confess that I continue to be very moved whenever I hear Hallelujah, despite its ubiquity. Same goes for Pachelbel’s Canon.

@Old Actor 10:10 pm: Your real life sounds like it was almost as much fun as JOHN X’s “real life”. Are you ever going to let us peek behind your mask?

Anonymous 12:40 AM  

Did COOL MOM strike anyone else as a bit green painty, a cool ___ takes on that meaning, I don't think it's common enough to be a thing. Kids don't say, "no, it's ok, i got one of those cool moms."

Stevied 1:17 AM  

Am i the only one who buys cds? Why then is a cd case obsolescent?

pdplot 10:06 AM  

How in the world did I ever remember Aladar? It came to me right away before any other word. Your mind works in funny ways.

Petsounds 11:24 AM  

@Joe DiPinto 2:34 PM--Thank you for the explanation on "Little pointer." And "Groan" is right. That is just awful.

Monty Montague 11:11 PM  

Too funny not to share. Especially considering what Star Wars would go on to become. Classic.

May 26, 1977
'Star Wars:' A Trip to a Far Galaxy That's Fun and Funny
Star Wars," George Lucas's first film since his terrifically successful "American Graffiti," is the movie that the teen-agers in "American Graffiti" would have broken their necks to see. It's also the movie that's going to entertain a lot of contemporary folk who have a soft spot for the virtually ritualized manners of comic-book adventure.

"Star Wars," which opened yesterday at the Astor Plaza, Orpheum and other theaters, is the most elaborate, most expensive, most beautiful movie serial ever made. It's both an apotheosis of "Flash Gordon" serials and a witty critique that makes associations with a variety of literature that is nothing if not eclectic: "Quo Vadis?", "Buck Rogers," "Ivanhoe," "Superman," "The Wizard of Oz," "The Gospel According to St. Matthew," the legend of King Arthur and the knights of the Round Table.

All of these works, of course, had earlier left their marks on the kind of science fiction comic strips that Mr. Lucas, the writer as well as director of "Star Wars," here remembers with affection of such cheerfulness that he avoids facetiousness. The way definitely not to approach "Star Wars," though, is to expect a film of cosmic implications or to footnote it with so many references that one anticipates it as if it were a literary duty, it's fun and funny.

The time, according to the opening credit card, is "a long time ago" and the setting "a galaxy far far away," which gives Mr. Lucas and his associates total freedom to come up with their own landscapes, housing, vehicles, weapons, religion, politics--all of which are variations on the familiar.

When the film opens, dark times have fallen upon the galactal empire once ruled, we are given to believe, from a kind of space-age Camelot. Against these evil tyrants there is, in progress, a rebellion led by a certain Princess Leia Organa, a pretty round-faced young woman of old- fashioned pluck who, before you can catch your breath, has been captured by the guardians of the empire. Their object is to retrieve some secret plans that can be the empire's undoing.

That's about all the plot that anyone of voting age should be required to keep track of. The story of "Star Wars" could be written on the head of a pin and still leave room for the Bible. It is, rather, a breathless succession of escapes, pursuits, dangerous missions, unexpected encounters, with each one ending in some kind of defeat until the final one.

These adventures involve, among others, an ever-optimistic young man named Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), who is innocent without being naive; Han Solo (Harrison Ford), a free-booting freelance, space-ship captain who goes where he can make the most money, and an old mystic named Ben Kenobi (Alec Guinness), one of the last of the Old Guard, a fellow in possession of what's called "the force," a mixture of what appears to be ESP and early Christian faith.

Monty Montague 11:12 PM  

Second half:
Accompanying these three as they set out to liberate the princess and restore justice to the empire are a pair of Laurel-and-Hardyish robots. The thin one, who looks like a sort of brass woodman, talks in the polished phrases of a valet (I'm adroit but I'm not very knowledgeable"), while the squat one, shaped like a portable washing machine, who is the one with the knowledge, simply squeaks and blinks his lights. They are the year's best new comedy team.

In opposition to these good guys are the imperial forces led by someone called the Grand Moff Tarkin (Peter Cushing) and his executive assistant, Lord Darth Vader (David Prowse), a former student of Ben Kenobi who elected to leave heaven sometime before to join the evil ones.

The true stars of "Star Wars" are John Barry, who was responsible for the production design, and the people who were responsible for the incredible special effects--space ships, explosions of stars, space battles, hand-to-hand combat with what appear to be the lethal neon swords. I have a particular fondness for the look of the interior of a gigantic satellite called the Death Star, a place full of the kind of waste space one finds today only in old Fifth Avenue mansions and public libraries.

There's also a very funny sequence in a low-life bar on a remote planet, a frontierlike establishment where they serve customers who look like turtles, apes, pythons and various amalgams of same, but draw the line at robots. Says the bartender piously: "We don't serve their kind here."

It's difficult to judge the performances in a film like this. I suspect that much of the time the actors had to perform special effects that were later added in the laboratory. Yet everyone treats his material with the proper combination of solemnity and good humor that avoids condescension. One of Mr. Lucas's particular achievements is the manner in which he is able to recall the tackiness of the old comic strips and serials he loves without making a movie that is, itself, tacky. "Star Wars" is good enough to convince the most skeptical 8-year-old sci-fi buff, who is the toughest critic.

spacecraft 11:25 AM  

DNF, thanks to a really unfair clue that implies a FILM review, not some aspect WITHIN a film. When I couldn't make Star Wars--also 8 letters!--fit, I gave up. Totally unfair. Couldn't get the SW either, but just threw in the towel. First DNF in a long time. Bummer.

thefogman 3:23 PM  

Challenging for me but we did. I had lots of help from Mrs. Foggy which made the impossible possible.

rainforest 5:30 PM  

Very tough for me, but I finished. The NW and SE were relatively easier, though I didn't much like CRY HAVOC, or the plural of RADIUM. I left the puzzle when I encountered the SW where I had only DRAINS. Returning to the puzzle after two hours, SMELLS came next and then I had to work hard to get FERAL (great misdirect) and NO FAIR, and so WYCLIFFE just fell into place.

In the NE, THE FORCE, PET SPAS, and OPTIC were the problem children, but perseverance paid off. Mega triumph points today.

leftcoaster 5:43 PM  

With an apparently increasing number of posting interlocutors (143 today, including me), this blog is taking on the character of a Facebook thread. (Is that good or bad?)

For the most part, this puzzle was pretty COOL.

Burma Shave 2:57 AM  


ORELSE he makes DRAMA in THE halls.
He made DAPHNE CRY, "NOFAIR, not prudent!"
and HERDER say he has SNOBALLS.


Unknown 12:34 AM  

Saturdays are never easy - at least for this slogger. Almost finished, but technically a DNF which for Saturday and for me is no shame. Especially if it is a good puzzle like this one. Agree wholeheartedly with Rex about the five separate puzzle thingy, but still workable and enjoyable. Thank you Ryan, as usual.

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