Ointment with orange label / SAT 4-11-20 / High Life director Claire / 2017 #1 song whose music video has over 6.5 million views on YouTube / Syrup in mai tai / Rectangle on staff / Coin whose obverse shows King Maha Vajiralongkorn / Mono no Japanese term for gentle sadness at life's impermanence / 2006 #1 Chamillionaire hit that begins They see me rollin

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Constructor: Erik Agard and Wyna Liu

Relative difficulty: Medium (7:19)


THEME: none

Word of the Day: HALOGEN (10D: I, for one) —

noun Chemistry.

any of the electronegative elements, fluorine, chlorine, iodine, bromine, and astatine, that form binary salts by direct union with metals. (dictionary.com)
• • •

Liked this much better than yesterday's, despite my having a somewhat similar "I don't know what many of these things are!" reaction. There was definite Saturday-level difficulty here, but a. that difficulty was more straightforward and less cutesily performative, and b. there was just *more* stuff to love, so that even though the difficulty (read (mostly): my ignorance) got me down, other answers very quickly got me back up again. "AMEN TO THAT!" and "(Yer) DARN TOOTIN'!" are just so wholesome and positive, which is a vibe I definitely need in my life right now. HAVE A HEART: no BAD EGGS! I mean, yes, there were some downsides to this one. ATE DINNER falls hard into the Green Paint category, subset "EAT/ATE ___" phrases. As I've said before, my never-seen but long-awaited paradigm for this kind of answer is EAT A SANDWICH—i.e. a totally arbitrary EAT phrase that anyone might say in conversation but that does not have the solidity to stand alone very comfortably—and ATE DINNER is very close. Put any meal after ATE, and you're one step away from putting any food after ATE, at which point all bets are off, all rules out the windows, cats and dogs are friends, it's literally raining men. It's a slippery slope from ATE DINNER to utter chaos, is what I'm saying. And what is going on with the clue on AWARE??? (27D: Mono no ___, Japanese term for a gentle sadness at life's impermanence). I appreciate the attempt to broaden the puzzle's cultural frame of reference, but as a rule you don't take a perfectly good English word, for which you might come up with roughly a zillion different interesting clues, and turn it into a foreign fill-in-the-blank (!?) for which the vast majority of solvers are going to have to guess Every Single Letter. In the end, I haven't really learned anything. It's not gonna stick. I'm not gonna hear it enough. And an opportunity for a clever and tough but ultimately accessible clue goes by the wayside. You've already got three proper nouns in the puzzle that are gonna be tough going for a good portion of solvers ("DESPACITO," "RIDIN'," DENIS). You can keep things difficult without turning a basic English word like AWARE into an obscurity. That clue was a non-bright spot in an otherwise entertaining and appropriately toughish puzzle.


Hey, if you were paying attention to my write-ups of late, then you have no good excuse for not (eventually?) getting "DESPACITO," which I included on the blog back in March, when it was used in a clue for its singer, Luis FONSI. Here are the exact words I wrote:
"I expect to see FONSI again, or (maybe on a Fri or Sat) to see LUIS clued this way. And, perhaps more obviously, look for "DESPACITO" to come your way, eventually."
I told you to look for it to come your way, eventually! And here we are. Look, I'm not saying I'm prophetic, but I'm kind of saying that, a little. Truth be told, even I blanked on the song's name at first (though I knew immediately the song in question ... just not the name of it) (1A: 2017 #1 song whose music video has over 6.5 billion views on YouTube). I was also lucky enough to know the name of the [2006 #1 Chamillionaire hit that begins "They see me rollin'"]—that song, "RIDIN'," was made especially famous by the extremely popular Weird Al parody, "White & Nerdy" (which had me thinking that the Chamillionaire song title was actually "RIDIN' dirty" ... I guess "dirty" is just in the lyrics, not in the title). If you somehow have never heard either song, well, here you go:


[Wow, did *not* realize that Key & Peele were the dudes in the car at the beginning of the Weird Al video]

[Simple craft] is a very very vague clue for DORY (a kind of boat), and yet somehow I got it Fast (off the "D"). Got destroyed, however, by HALOGEN, which has a stunningly deceptive clue (10D: I, for one). First, there's the fact that "I, for one..." is a common opinion starter. Then there's the fact that I is the Roman numeral that stands for "one," so that's an angle to consider. But then "I" is a pronoun and "I" is a chemical symbol and on and on. Endless possibilities. But sadly for me I (still) haven't fully learned what HALOGEN is—I still know the term only as an adjective modifying "lamp" or "headlights"—so the fact that it's a whole category of element, let alone what those elements are ... yeah, don't know that yet. Maybe next time? I knew ORGEAT because I did a whole crossword podcast about MAI / TAIs a few years back, and I can still clearly hear the voice of my friend / podcast partner Lena expounding on ORGEAT (22A: Syrup in a mai tai). I thought BAILBOND was BAILOUTS (35D: Possible instance of predatory lending). Had real trouble with the MAP part of STREET MAP (31D: Holder of miniature blocks). Wrote in UNCLE before I GIVE (11D: Cry for mercy). But mostly I moved through this one fairly steadily, and mostly I enjoyed the ride.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. please read this blog post by the great Liz Gorski, a wonderful crossword constructor whose name you might recognize from NYT crosswords past. She stopped submitting to the NYTXW a while back. The blog post explains why. Her words (which, trust me, are diplomatic) provide a complementary perspective to that of the recent Open Letter to the Executive Director of Puzzles at the NYT, calling for, among other things, increased diversity among the test-solving and editorial staff. But Liz is writing from a place of longtime personal experience, and she's demonstrably (and understandably) less sanguine about the likelihood that small editorial policy changes are likely to seriously address the problems with gender parity and overall inclusivity at the NYTXW. Anyway, it's worth a read. She's a legendary constructor, and I'm happy she's added her voice to this discussion.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

166 comments:

jae 12:03 AM  

Medium. Bottom half was easier than the top.

The OSTEOLOGY/ORGEAT had me wondering, but it turned out to be right. I wasted a boatload of nanoseconds (😉 M&A) rechecking the crosses because ORGEAT just didn’t look right.

I’ve heard of (not heard) the 1a song but it took a while to surface. I should probably give it a listen.

About the right amount of crunch with some fine long downs, liked it.

Joaquin 12:04 AM  

Not exactly in my wheelhouse. Never heard of DESPACITO except for crossword fill and never heard of Chamillionaire or his #1 hit; never heard of ORGEAT, despite having had my share of mai tais; and why would I use BERRYs when I have fudge sauce in the pantry. I’ve probably known a hundred SARAHs in my life but not one who was known as Sally. I have, however, known a couple of Sallys who called themselves … Sally.

The HALOGEN answer baffled me so I looked it up and learned something new, which is always a good takeaway from a tough puzzle.

puzzlehoarder 12:14 AM  

Four and a half minutes longer than yesterday's solve. That's probably just an average Saturday but that center stair step section made it seem harder. I actually wondered if LOLL could describe a bear's movement. That clue had me going for awhile. I'm not familiar with ORGEAT and have no idea why "I" would be HALOGEN so the north end was no easier. However ALOE and ROOS were gimmes and I figured out the "bear" clue as well as " miniature blocks" and the center fell.

Over all a fine Saturday and that center put up a nice flight.

Robin 12:23 AM  

Ended up solving this one sort of counterclockwise, starting from the SW. Being heading impaired, I pretty much haven't paid attention to the lyrics of any pop music that has come out in the last 20 years, even assuming it had a good beat. So DESPACITO and RIDIN, hah, news to me.

So, pieced this together, finally figured this thing when I realized that Watt was a SCOT rather than a UNIT.

Loren Muse Smith 12:55 AM  

Rex – I try to read your write-ups carefully; despite our wildly differing reactions to puzzles, I learn a ton from you, and I love your way with language. So now that you remind me, I do remember your DESPACITO prediction. I had a ridiculous “Disco City” for way too long despite your alert.

I loved looking back at the grid and seeing ATE DINNER, PASSED OUT. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. When I eat, I eat eat. Meaning I tuck in a startling amount of food in one sitting. No way can I sit down and have just a little this, a little that. On the rare occasion that I EAT DINNER, I sit for a while in a torpor and then just pass out.

MORATORIA. Plural. I imagine like criteria and phenomena, MORATORIA is dying a little death, and moratoriums is gonna supplant it. Irregular forms morphing into regular forms is very, very common, so it’s weird that another irregular plural (thesis/theses, crisis/crises) is seeping into regular plurals. Lots of you reading this right now pronounce processes as /PRAH*sess*eez/. Yes, you. Put that one in your pipe and smoke it.

BAD EGGS. Oof. Tomorrow is Easter. Just sayin’.

@puzzlehoarder – I wanted “loll,” too.

I liked the clue for SWOON. I would argue that anyone who uses SWOON would not refer to a handsome man as “hot.” Aunty Pittypat swooned, and I imagine if she ever did this in the presence of hotness, she would have referred to him as dashing or winsome. [See also: PASSED OUT]

Ok. So the vapid tv I watch, especially the reality crap, is a treasure trove of current language. I’ve learned from my beloved real housewives of Atlanta that to READ means to point out someone’s flaws, give them a hard time, bring you’re A-GAME as regards being snarky and critical. Something like. . . If she has the nerve to show up, I’ma read her ass. (I must remind you that it was here that I heard the word bitchassment describing the act of gossiping about someone. I was at once stunned at and humbled by the brilliance of this word.) Oh, and cheers with that final S is a full-on regular verb meaning “to toast.”

Wait! We haven’t cheersed Kenya yet!
Who are we cheersing?
I want to cheers to Cynthia’s engagement.


One more linguisticky thing, and you don’t have to watch reality tv to hear this – the nifty way speakers are avoiding the problematic That’s my boyfriend’s and my poodle. What you’ll hear all over the place if you listen carefully is That’s my boyfriend and I’s poodle. Love it. Love the mono no aware of our glorious language.

Erik, Wyna – this was one of the most difficult Saturdays I’ve done in a long time. I thought I had finished successfully only to see here that I had “Ridig/get.” Never once considered NET and just shrugged that I don’t know from Chamillionaire. (Hi, @Joaquin.)

PS - @Old Timer, @Gill I, @Whatsername from yesterday – name the time and place! It’ll be a hoot!

Phaedrus 1:14 AM  

Regarding gender bias, why don’t popular male constructors submit puzzles under female names and see if their acceptance rate declines?

okanaganer 1:50 AM  

I really just hate, really really hate, clues having to do with US college team nicknames. So this puzzle gave me the finger at 1 across, and I never got over it. Didn't have a clue what was happening in that Northwest corner. WHOLE REST, GO TO WASTE, ALEWIFE, OSTEOLOGY (really?) no clue, never heard of any of these. And just bizarre clue for ECHO.

Did I mention I really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really hate US college team nickname clues?

On the brighter side, yesterday I talked briefly for the first time with a new neighbor from a few doors down and commiserating about the whole distancing thing and, well, the world being kind of shut down, I mentioned I had run out of books to read. So today I found a stack of books left on my front porch with her stick on notes "I liked this" and "not so sure about this one". All in all, a great day.

chefwen 3:07 AM  

Cheated right at the git go with 1A, never heard of it. I need to get out more. Oh wait, I can’t.

This one was tough. Puzzle partner knew ORGEAT, he reads labels, I don’t. Had no idea that was part of a Mai Tai and God knows I’ve had my share of them.

I’m with @Joaquin with the BERRY on top of Ice Cream, don’t take up space meant for hot fudge.

Loved the clue for ATE DINNER, reminded me of Brit Speak and Andy Capp.

Unknown 5:07 AM  

I was totally naticked on the first letter crossing of ALOE and AWARE. I confidently dropped in SLOE as the plant cultivated for its juice, and SWARE was as good as anything for a random Japanese word that no one would be expected to know, so I never found whatever mistake kept the puzzle from being "solved." Not knowing Japanese, I think my answer was as good as any. Also, AWARE really had to be clued as a Japanese word??

Otto 5:55 AM  

The HALOGEN clue is just awful. Yes, I get it, I understand the clue now, but it's just a bad clue. There is being clever, and then there is being intentionally dense to the point of absurdity. Making your puzzle difficult by making the clues practically useless is not clever.

Ernonymous 6:19 AM  

I spent the entire day with a DESPACITO earworm! I sent my son the link to the song earlier in the day and I watched it twice. Then I spoke to him on the phone and he sang a verse. Still, it took me a bit to get! I was singing the damn song all day. Strange coincidence! And I only discovered the song when FONSI was the answer in puzzle Rex mentions. I wish these super powers helped me in other areas, but alas.
I also thought of White and Nerdy when I saw the clue but I didn't know the original song was called Ridin. That's because I'm White and Nerdy. The only thing that I find hard is do I love Kirk or Picard?

Lewis 7:08 AM  

Well yes, this was for me like trying to run in water, but there was motivation too. Right from the start, the puzzle was taunting me: "Bet ya can't do this!" And my response: "Oh yeah? Try me!" It was all in good fun, yes, but I *was* going to scale this beast of a grid.

And thus, slowly drawn along by my will to succeed, answer-flashes landed here and there as well as grins (especially at the clues for STREET MAP, SELL, and ATE DINNER), and areas started falling, but never without a fight.

And when I filled in the last square, I happily TIGER BALMed my brain, while filled with gratitude. Erik and Wyna, virtual hugs for a top notch Saturday offering.

Alex S. 7:30 AM  

A fine puzzle except for one screwup.

This is also a fish called an old wife. Decidedly not a herring-type fish but that wasn't a problem for me since other than knowing an old wife exists I knew nothing about it.

DESPOCITO was a gimme. Eventually got ACCOLADES, GO TO WASTE, BRAD PITT, RID OFF and INANE pretty easily.

So faced with OL-WIFE, OLD WIFE seems pretty certain. All because I'd misspelled DESPACITO and if was completely fine with WHOLDREST was a heraldry clue and all the words from that world are fake anyway.

In fact when I was looking for why the puzzle would submit and I considered I might be wrong here, it was because I considered whether WHOL CREST might be a word. But OLC WIFE definitely isn't a fish (though probably is the license plate on the family car for a White House lawyer responsible for manufacturing justifications for whatever horrible thing the president is doing).


And "old wife" is what I confidently wrote in when

JJ 7:57 AM  

I immediately filled in DESPACITO, after the down DAWG, because I was told to remember it. I watched the video, I’ve since noticed when it comes up on TV. Thank you Rex for the warning.
There was a lot to struggle with, but made for a fun challenge. The SW corner is an apt recap of my Easter Sunday evenings—ATE DINNER,PASSED OUT.

Anonymous 7:57 AM  

"Pairs of fins" are not TENS. A fin is the bill, not the amount, just as a ten is. A pair of fins is worth the same as a ten, but it is not the same thing, any more than "A score of fins" would be a FRANKLIN.

Telvo 8:03 AM  

I was very proud of myself for solving what I thought was a "Challenging" puzzle until I read that Rex thought it was only "Medium". But when I read his commentary, it read like someone who was just at sea throughout as I was, including being baffled about why Halogen was an "I for one". Googling after I finished the puzzle, I was happy to learn that it's an Iodine. Who knew? I thought it was a tough but fair puzzle, perfect for a quarantined Saturday.

amyyanni 8:05 AM  

Tough one! Clung to sardine insread of ALEWIFE for too long, then pulled Alewfe Brook Parkway (road in Cambridge) out of my memory (lived in Cambridge a few decades ago), Admittedly, had to resort to the Googler for this one. Once I got going, softened to it.

Hungry Mother 8:19 AM  

What’s slower than a slog? That was my course through this one. Lots of unknown stuff interspersed with hard cluing. I loved to see DARNTOOTIN and thought of Pat Buttram. Great Saturday challenge!

Suzie Q 8:20 AM  

If my Saturday puzzle does not challenge me I am disappointed but clues/answers like 1A are not what I have in mind. Even if 6.5 billion people know it I am not one of them.
Yesterday was much more fun for me.
Seeing oral contraceptive made me wonder if next January and February will show a baby boom.

TJS 8:20 AM  

Yeah for a Saturday that took me 48 minutes of brain-wracking, cursing, and refusing to give up. I love it when erasing an answer, not because you are sure it is wrong, but because it just isn't helping anything around it, suddenly results in a wipe-out of an entire corner. Taking out "offer" for" put on sale" led me to take a shot with "omani" which gave me "acing" confirming Brad Pitt and wham ! Two corners fell and I was fini. This was a bitch, and I loved it.
"Oh my God! He's so hot" gets nary a mention from OFL ? Guess the shoes on the other foot.

Joaquin 8:21 AM  

@LMS (12:55) said, "What you’ll hear all over the place if you listen carefully is That’s my boyfriend and I’s poodle. Love it."

Well, much as I love you and your daily musings I must disagree. First, why would they have a poodle when there are boxers to be rescued? And second, there are so many ways to phrase that statement without sounding uneducated (but not requiring much education at all).

Regarding the proper use of English - that's where I'm at!

Paul Emil 8:23 AM  

Let's get real. Who would remember a 2017 #1 song or one from 2006? Pop culture fluff is out of place here.

Hungry Mother 8:31 AM  

I was a Chemistry major before I settled on Mathematics, so HALOGEN was my easiest answer. I once filled my bedroom with Chlorine gas when I mixed Potassium Permanganate with Nitric Acid using my chemistry set. I saw the green gas spewing from the beaker and quickly stuck my head out of the window. A few years later, in basic training for the Army, I had to do a gas mask drill in a room filled with Chlorine gas and recognized the color.

GILL I. 8:39 AM  

Oof...I really don't like starting with Oof - but there ya go. Oof, I said it again.
@Rex likes this puzzle better than yesterdays. Ok...he probably likes pizza...I don't.
Where to start: Well, I had 4 Googles today. I don't mind those little cheats if I can learn something interesting, but DAWG RIDIN ORGEAT and HALOGEN gave me angst. I wasn't feeling the SMARTIES.
There is some nice stuff here, don't get me wrong, it's just that I don't seem to ever be on Erik's cluing wavelength.
What did I like? Thinking of SWOON. I don't think I ever did one of those things. Maybe the closest I came to do it was when I first saw Elvis Presley . I was pretty young then and my grandmother wouldn't let me watch him because, you know, he did that thing with his whatever. I always thought he had very sexy lips but then he went and got all chubby and his lips sorta got fat and mushy.
I don't think I've ever put a BERRY on my ice cream - only on my yogurt.
I had ON ONES FEET instead of the correct IN ONE PIECE for 25D. So I got to the dog show winner and I put in shit tzu. That didn't look right. I can't spell. I finally figured out that mess. POODLEs always win. I like the Standard ones. Boy are they smart.
My favorite clue was for ATE DINNER. I kept thinking tucked in needed some sheets and a Duvet.
We might need a pretty big DINNER table, @Loren....lots of mighty fine people to invite.... :-)

SouthsideJohnny 8:45 AM  

Any puzzle that references a video with Zuleyka Rivera is going to deserve some ACCOLADES. Personally, I enjoy the witty wordplay (see the clue for STREET MAPS, for example) more than the archaic (MORTATORIA) and esoteric (OSTEOLOGY) - they are both valid and acceptable words - I just think it is unnecessary to use terms that perhaps one out of five or ten thousand people will easily recognize. It seems like the Times should aspire for better.

Is the clue for 53A even correct ? “Freezes” is a verb - as in “The access to funds will be restricted if the bank freezes the account “. Isn’t MORTATORIA a plural noun ? Maybe someone less linguistically challenged than I am can opine.

I agree with OFL that the foreign phrase cluing for AWARE is unfortunate and unnecessary - although it does seem like the Times’ editors do go out of their way to intentionally “gunk” things up like this - maybe it is an attempt to get some “look how smart I am” attention. I’ll just have to learn to accept it until there is a changing of the guard.

Foldyfish 8:54 AM  

Much harder than yesterday. Way out of my wheelhouse. Wanted BABYSHARK for the song. DNF.

kitshef 8:55 AM  
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Lewis 8:57 AM  
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Lewis 8:58 AM  
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Lewis 8:59 AM  
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pabloinnh 9:01 AM  

Well either you are closing your eyes to a situation you do not wish to acknowledge
Or you are not AWARE of the caliber of disaster
Indicated by the presence of a pool table in your community.
Prof. Harold Hill

That's the clue I wanted for AWARE.

Got stuck in the middle (STATEMAP? WTF?) but finally came to my senses and finished it up. If you've seen bears in motion, I still think "roll" works pretty well. And who puts one BERRY on top of ice cream? Nobody.

I guess we can add DESPACITO to death and taxes on the list of unavoidables. I really have to listen to it sometime.

I'm with OFL on the "I" thing. Was looking for a Greek pronoun for Plato. Also wanted ORGAN for a "pedal operated instrument". I really need to start thinking of the percussion section as a collection of instruments.

This produced any number of smiles and took a nice long time so a great Saturday. Thanks to EA and WL for all the fun.

Lewis 9:01 AM  

@SouthsideJohnny -- "Freeze" is also a noun, as in "The government put a freeze on imports...", and so FREEZES here is a plural noun, like MORITORIA.

Michiganman 9:10 AM  

Best moment was MORATORIA.

Only bad moment was clue for ATEDINNER.

Funniest moment was picturing a single strawBERRY sitting atop a big bowl of vanilla ice cream.

I'm familiar with ALEWIFE. From time to time Lake Michigan beaches get swamped with dead ones. Not often. Pretty sure @Z knows about this.

kitshef 9:11 AM  

This was an excellent puzzle. Very hard, but eventually gettable.

But why would you clue AWARE and POODLE in such terrible ways? Maybe a tenth of a percent of people will know AWARE used that way. And POODLEs are such magnificent dogs. Why reduce them to their performance and dog-and-no-pony show?

Agard is such a talented constructor. I just wish he would rein in his PPP (or have his editors do so).

Random note: SMARTIES in England are like slightly larger M&Ms with thinner shells.

QuasiMojo 9:27 AM  

That NW corner was brutal. I had WILD PONY and couldn't let go of it.

Despacito? Maybe that Luis guy watched his own YouTube video 6.5 billion times. I sure didn't.

Loved the LIEU clue but was disenchanted by BERRY for the ice cream topper. Who puts a berry on ice cream? A cherry maybe. I wanted BOSCO.

Even though I had to cheat on ALEWIFE (I tried TENRIFE thinking maybe Tenerife meant herring just as Anguilla means Eel) I enjoyed trying to finish this one. I can't expect to knock or out of the park every time. Ha!

Barbara S. 9:35 AM  

Not my finest hour, in fact, a DNF.

Really, everything that could go wrong did.

I had cured for RID OF, piano for HIHAT, loll for SELL (like some others).
I had a wolf baying instead of ROOS HOPping (failure to read the clue).
I had "in case of" instead of "in LIEU of."
I even failed to recognize SMARTIES, old friends from away back.

This list could go on and on, but I'll spare you. Am I ready to hang up my pencil? (Or actually my finger as I solve on a tablet.) NO!! That's the thing about crossword puzzles. Even when you're beaten and bloodied, they leave you wanting more. And I always have respect for a worthy opponent.

Horace Clarke 9:36 AM  

Sharp’s complaint about ATEDINNER is put to bed by the cleverness of the clue.

Petsounds 9:37 AM  

Just want to report that I've been working on this puzzle for 11 minutes and I have exactly 11 answers written in. I usually enjoy Erik Agard's puzzles, but nothing in this one is making any sense to me at all. To those of you who've finished, respect! I imagine my streak of completions is going to end today.

David Sinclair 9:39 AM  

@okanaganer I am so with you! Obscure fill with awful clueing. I was choking on the pretension. Almost enough to make me give up crosswords.

Teedmn 9:48 AM  

Although I had the RIDIgulous error that @LMS had at 24D, I really enjoyed solving this. Just short of a 30 minute solve puts this into semi-Stumper territory but I got 'er done.

ORGEAT gave me fits. Clicking on it over at xwordinfo assuaged my inferiority complex somewhat - the last time it was in a NYT puzzle was 1999. Not exactly crossword-ese.

I got my start with my favorite Greek alphabet pairs. IOTA led to ETA. 16A's A GAME gave me the rest of the NE and on down the east coast. I've never known a SARAH to be called "Sally".

I know there's a protocol on how cross-referenced clues like 21A and 46D are sequenced but I can never remember which is which. Is the clue with the "See such-and-such" clue the one in the front or is it the "With such-and-such"?. Today, I see that the "With" clue comes first. Will I remember that? I haven't so far...

I get Rex's point about the INANity of ATE DINNER as an answer but because the clue was so delicious, I didn't mind it at all.

I was seriously considering whether BADgers were stinky (37D) until OMANI gave me BIOME. BAD EGGS, yes.

34D was also a great clue. I kept a mental image of a bear lumbering along, trying to come up with a 4-letter word meaning the same. Ah, the Wall St. types.

I like the way Wyna Liu tempers Erik's wildass entries but kind of EGGS him on at the same time. Nice puzzle, guys! (While having absolutely no idea on mono no aware, I appreciate learning the phrase, thanks.)

Anonymous 9:50 AM  

Good one!

Anonymous 9:54 AM  

Interesting, as I never heard the song or heard of the artist, and in spite of the warning by the blog’s author, I still couldn’t possibly come up with an answer. Pop culture arrests me.

Anonymous 9:57 AM  

What is “PPP”?

Nancy 10:03 AM  

DESPACITO??? RIDIN??? SMARTIE candies??? And that Japanese sadness term that of course everyone knows...not??? HAVE A HEART, constructors -- this is really, really unfair.

Did I find this to be Agard at his absolute worst re the pop culture trivia? Not to mention the liberal sprinkling of random colloquial expressions that can be anything at all? DARN TOOTIN', I did. AMEN TO THAT, say I, seconding myself.

But not wanting to let my brain GO TO WASTE this morning, I hunkered down, ignoring my deep distaste for so much of the puzzle. And I finished. I got the WHOLE REST of the puzzle including all the PPP. I came very, very close to saying I GIVE -- but I didn't. You might take fiendish pleasure in the fact that you made me completely miserable, but you didn't defeat me. I brought my A GAME to the puzzle and ended up ACING it, Erik and Wyna. So there.

Anonymous 10:07 AM  

Early on I had “mousetrap” for “Holder of miniature blocks” (of cheese?). I thought it was a great clue for that answer!

Birchbark 10:16 AM  

Thrice normal time today.

B-DOG at 1D didn't help, Georgia football and I being star-cross'd ever since an Atlanta business trip years ago. At dinner one night, the restaurant owner checked in at our table. I'd noticed a signed football with an oblate "G" in a display case, and in friendly nordic accent asked if he was a Packers fan. I learned that restaurant-din ceases abruptly in real life, not just in the movies.

I didn't remember @Rex's forecasting DESPOSITO. But will anyone remember that I predicted AMENHOTEP when, like the Great Pumpkin, it appears one day in a puzzle? Constructors note: you have your choice of random Roman numerals I-IV (if needed) when this grid-friendly Pharaonic dynasty finally gets the credit it deserves.

Z 10:18 AM  

Rex’s ATE DINNER rant sparked the memory of Warren Zevon’s last appearance on Letterman. Asked if there were anything to learn from his terminal cancer diagnosis, Zevon replied, “Just how much you're supposed to enjoy every sandwich.". Ain’t no room on board for the insincere. Which raises another point; What’s this hot fudge or BERRY debate. I’m good with both on my ice cream.

As for the puzzle, medium? Medium!?! Not medium here, this puzzle left me bloodied and scarred, but I finally wrestled it to the ground and arose triumphant. From general ignorance to major toe stubs (my props were tent poles, oof) this puzzle forced me to grind through every section and question every gimme. ECHO started out as leda (Zeus was such a philanderer) and hand up for uniT, both errors making tent poles seem reasonable. OMANI started as irANI, LIEU started out as “in case of,” my DORY was a raft, and I still like “AMEN sister” better than AMEN TO THAT. I also took a long time considering that Claire DaNeS could be a director, too. On the plus side, I saw through the pedal clue early, grokked what was going on with bears and bucks right away, and knew the point of no return was a tennis clue immediately. I’m not a big fan of 9-Letter PPP at 1A, but otherwise I thought this was a fair challenge and I enjoyed it.

@Michiganman - Yep. I got ALEWIFE off the L in ACCOLADES and could smell the spring die off. With Lake Michigan especially high, I’m wondering what this spring is bringing. My mother-in-law reports that the beach at Tunnel Park is almost non-existent at the moment, the water is so high. Large ALEWIFE die offs and Lake Michigan knocking homes into the lake are both firmly entrenched together in my memory, although I don’t know if they are actually related to each other.

BTW - The PPP is actually pretty low, 15 of 68 for 22%.

Tom R 10:19 AM  

Tough because I just don't have the knowledge base that Rex has nor am I as intuitive. I, too, struggled with 10D (I, for one) desperately trying to find something about personal pronouns that would fit, but then I popped in Hihat (also a struggle) and bang. I is iodine and halogen just oozed in.

kitshef 10:20 AM  

@Joaquin 12:04 - SARAH was my entry to the grid, having whiffed on every single across clue up to that point. I know three Sallys, and two are Sarahs.

@Anonymous 9:57 - I never remember the exact expansion of PPP - roughly, it is Products names, Pop culture, and Proper nouns.

kitshef 10:22 AM  

@Z - in Agard's case, it's not the quantity of PPP but the obscurity of it.

Teedmn 10:23 AM  

@Birchbark, your comment nearly brought me to tears. To be honest, I did get them, in my eyes!

JC66 10:26 AM  

Hand up for bloodied but not beaten.


@Loren, GIIL I, Old Time, et al

If you hold off a while on the wine, I''d like to buy the first round.

Z 10:28 AM  

PPP
Pop Culture, Product Names, and other Proper Nouns. Too much, roughly 33%, is pretty well established to result in the wheelhouse/outhouse effect. ID EST, some solvers will find the puzzle easy because the PPP is in their wheelhouse, while others will find it especially difficult because the PPP is in their outhouse.

While this puzzle has some notable PPP, including starting off with PPP at 1A/1D, it is actually below the NYTX standard amount. 25-30% PPP is typical, so 22% is low. I wonder if there would be as many complaints if 1A were Bob Dylan or Gustav Mahler instead of Fonsi.

Katzzz 10:34 AM  

In this case freezes is a plural noun.

Anonymous 10:37 AM  

I gave up. Most difficult puzzle I've ever encountered in the NYT. I had to google 1A and 1D and still couldn't finish the NW. Googled Claire DENIS and still couldn't get the SW. Tried to google 7A but got nuttin'. LIVEN looks like a mistake, as does RIDOF. Googled 42A (POODLE) and was able to get OMANI (after first having entered irani) but still couldn't get it. Loved DARN TOOTIN, but didn't see it till I came here.

Then I just quit. I don't like "cheating," although like a few of you, I don't mind it if it teaches me something new. But if I find myself looking up about every third clue, I gotta quit. It's not worth finishing, for me, if so much of it must come from someone else's knowledge instead of my own.

Hats off to every one of you who was able to finish. I usually like to think I'm not half bad at crosswording, but today humbled me awfully.

relicofthe60s 10:49 AM  

Way too much obscure pop culture crap. Finally had to resort to Google.

RooMonster 10:50 AM  

Hey All !
Puz done kicked my butt today. Yowzers. This is the toughie all the tough-puz seekers are seeking. Knocked me down a peg from the glee of completing YesterPuz easily and error free. Had to Reveal a few words today just to be able to continue. Most Reveals were what Rex wrote about, AWARE, RIDIN, and then ECHO. Also (embarrassingly, HOP) for what ROOS do, as KangaROOS decided to HOP away from the ole brain. All I could think of were ROOsters. (Nickname brain freeze, apparently.)

Had DAmNTOOTIN first, thinking the NYTXW is getting real edgy, but a DOmY wasn't a thing. OSTEOLOGY, eesh. Tried apbiOLOGY first. pronouN/pIano for HALOGEN/HIHAT. Haven't heard of ORGEAT, don't drink Mai Tai's, but as popular as that drink is, you'd think I should have heard of it.

DESPACITO, wha? 6.5 billion views, with a B. I wasn't one of those. Also, with a memory akin to @Nancys, no way would I remember Rex's post about it.

Sally is for SARAH? Why not just call her SARAH? Usually informal names are short or smaller than the original. Bill, William e.g. Thought maybe Salvatorita, or somesuch.

So no ACING this one. It ATE me for DINNER. I cried HAVE A HEART, but puz PASSED me OUT, let me GO TO WASTE, and hade RID OF a SWOON. DARN TOOTIN. I GIVE! But, came out of it IN ONE PIECE. AMEN TO THAT!

One F
SCOT HOP
RooMonster
DarrinV

CDilly52 10:53 AM  

Yesterday was an awful day in the salt mines, and I didn’t even get to look at the puzzle until late in the evening. When I saw the grid, I assumed I was doomed. Those little “island” grids typically do me in especially on a Friday or Saturday. Nowhere to connect.

Imagine my surprise when I blazed through the NW without a stutter step. But hubris will out and I was meandering hither and thither for about an hour struggling with the oh so clever clues. By the time I solved Friday and looked in in all of your comments I was snoring on the couch with my cats. Not saying I did not enjoy all of your wisdom and humor; I did. But I was exhausted from yet another day of fighting with the new owner of the “Tiger King” zoo and I was just knackered. Now that is another story for another day.

Up this morning to find yet another of my favorite kinds of puzzles: those with clever, misdirecting, depth of one’s consciousness, work for every last square,”aha” eliciting clues. Two days in a row. Wonderful offerings. I was not as familiar with yesterday’s constructor as today’s, although less familiar with Wyman Liu than Erik Agard. I look for Agard puzzles on purpose because he has such a clever knack at creating clues for every day words that challenge one’s analytical abilities to their limits. That’s the crossword I adore.

So, two days in a row. Wonderful! And yet, as I predicted, @Rex praises today’s and was extremely and sarcastically critical of yesterday’s. It’s his blog and everyone is entitled to his opinion. I have noticed, however (and these two days illustrate my point precisely), that when a well constructed puzzle’s answers lie generally on the decks of @Rex’s “Good Ship Crossword” far away from his wheelhouse, but the content is otherwise good, he is (IMO) overly critical because it took him longer time than his speed-solving average finds acceptable. Or something.

Fast forward to a very similar puzzle, but constructed (at least in part) by one of his “A List” folks (in this case Agard), and the puzzle is lauded for its excellence. I think I’m onto something. But as I said, it’s his blog.

I loved both yesterday and today’s puzzles. Crosswords taught me more about the parts of speech, grammar and verb tenses, similes and metaphors, synonyms and homonyms, a few foreign words and of course spelling than any regular class I had in school. And the critical thinking it takes to find exactly what it is that the constructor is hiding from you makes the experience aha-worthy when the puzzles are of the quality we had yesterday and have today.

@Rex, just admit that sometimes a constructor delivers an exceptional puzzle that just flummoxes you with its clues, or includes words with which you are not familiar enough to allow you your normal (and admittedly very impressive) solving times. If speed is your goal, so be it. But if a constructor’s cleverness slows you down, but is otherwise excellent, don’t kill the messenger. Just say nice job and tuck all that you learned into the file cabinet in your wheelhouse and use it the next time.

I solve for fun and to learn things. Yesterday and today delivered splendidly.

And it’s the weekend!!! I am taking my cats’ outside play tent (I call it their “cattio”) out of storage and will give them some safe playtime in the yard while I prop myself up on the deck and read a good book. And take a nap.

Anonymous 10:57 AM  

"I, for one"

How in the world can that be a 'bad' clue??? It clearly can't mean a singular definition of 'I', now can it?? So that means 'I' is a member of some group, right???? And what's a HALOGEN??? It's the GROUP to which Iodine belongs. Now, if you've never taken any kind of science class in HS or college, then you've never heard of the periodic table. But if you did, except for math, straight up, every other vector in science has some motivation to reference the periodic table. Without it, virtually nothing in modern Western civilization is possible. If you track material progress with a) the first definition of the table and b) discovery of the elements the table said *should* exist, you'll see why.

Dang you @amyyanni, I wanted to pull the Alewife MTA station clue. :):)

MR. Cheese 11:00 AM  

Can’t ever remember a puz that I finished which had so many words/nouns I never heard of.
Viva la crosses!

Carola 11:02 AM  

Tough and terrific, playfully brutal, very satisfying to finish. First in: TENS x AGAME. Last in DESPACITO x TEST. Between them: much relying on pattern recognition (HAVE A HEART), guessing (HOP + ROOS), deep layers of crossword compost (ALEE), random happening-to-know (DENIS), I enjoyed the wit of the cluing, especially for POLO PONY and STREET MAP.

Do-overs: rial, raft, beagLE. Would-be do-over, except it wouldn't fit: codsWallop for "Rot."

Anonymous 11:05 AM  

The NYT puzzle used to be much better than it is these days. I blame Rex Parker and the rest of the PC police for tying Shortz’s hands. Think I’ll pass on Ms Gorski’s letter. Thanks for nothing.

LieutKije 11:06 AM  

mono no AWARE was the very first thing I got in the grid, thanks to my high school class on Japanese history. I think it’s fair game, it’s a core part of the country’s literary tradition, and for some of us it’s a gimme ;-)

Newboy 11:09 AM  

iPad down to 2% so I’d have to say that this was a struggle....but great fun. Beautiful clue diversity that didn’t allow any mental flow; well played constructors, fooled me several times with TEN & STAGS, etc. now back to recharge battery and coffee cup 🥴

Anonymous 11:10 AM  

FTLT. As slow getting traction as any NYTxw i can remember. NW went last, preceded by SW. Thought it was well into challenging category, but still fairly clued and fun. Surprised to not see griping about CARAT- clue was misleading, and not in a clever way- it’s a gem figure, not a ring figure. Rings don’t need gems. Clue should at least have “,maybe.” Carat occurred to me early but I kept hoping for something better.

Wm. C. 11:12 AM  


@AmyYanni8:05 --

On the Alewife fill, I thought of Alewife Pond, on the left of US Route 2 (generally referred to locally as Alewife Pond Parkway there, as you say), heading west out of Cambridge.

It's interesting that a major US Route is a two-lane road through a (high-end) residential neighborhood there. I think it's also Memorial Drive farther East in Cambridge, running along the Charles River beside MIT and Harvard, but as I recall, it's 4-lane and divided there.

By the time it passes Alewife and works its way out to Concord, it's 4-lane, but hits a series of traffic lights there, and then and a Rotary by the prison, before finally moving into Arlington, and becoming a 4-lane divided highway thereafter. I remember commuting into MIT from the west in '65, I think, when they were tearing down neighborhoods in Arlington to build the road. Arlington just didn't have the political pull of Cambridge.

I guess that when the US Interstate Highway System, developed under Ike in the '50s as a mobilization tool to react to the possibility of war with the Soviets, it wasn't politically possible to buy out and tear up property in Cambridge, because of the political pull of the residents, and maybe Senator JFK.

Anyway, that's more than 99pct-plus of y'all want to know about the Eastern terminus of US Route 2. ;-)

@HungryMother8:19 -- Tnx for the reference to Gene Autry's sidekick Pat Buttram. Do you remember what he called his Jeep?





Michiganman 11:16 AM  

@Z. Your mention of Tunnel Park brought back a fond memory. Years ago my son and I went over from Lansing for the Tunnel Park 10K. We camped in the sand at the state park. It was very windy and I think the tent might have blown away if we weren't lying in it. The bonus of the weekend was playing in the huge waves of Lake Michigan.

xyz 11:17 AM  

Bravo - the multiple cluing for | (I i 1 & l don't work in this font) was clever. Once realizing it was on, anyone not sleeping through basic Chemistry knows HALOGEN, duh, sorry.

As a former orthopedist, OSTEOLOGY is very very loosely clued as Ribs Course, even with the (?) - ribs other than eating a Southern dinner is not really a part of Orthopedics, so that took quite a while.

Also the popular culture shouted #OKBoomer in many spots despite for me - Old Town Road being worth far more than a casual listen while RIDIN' and DESPACITO being pretty indistinguishable in their genres

Geezer 11:20 AM  

I do, but won't spoil it.

Barbara S. 11:21 AM  

Forgot to mention (yes, I'm turning into Columbo) --

Among the many missteps I made today was 41A "Catchers of flies." Yesterday I tried to make a clue that wasn't about baseball into one. Today I did the opposite. So "Catchers of flies" were first "toads" and then "moths" (when I got the M) before they were finally MITTS. I think if I've made the discovery that moths eat flies, I've rewritten the book on lepidoptera.

QUESTION: 35D BAIL BOND (Possible instance of predatory lending). Is this clue straight or punny? Is it that money might be loaned to someone facing trial for being a predator? But I thought the defendant had to come up with the money to make bail. Confusion reigns on this one. Any help?

TJS 11:22 AM  

Just finished the Couch puzzles from the ACPT (Thannks for the link, @Z). I always assumed that these puzzles would be of a high degree of difficulty, but was surprised at the relative ease of completion. None were a walk in the park, but none were of the complexity of our two puzzles of Friday and today, IMO. Would the time solvers complain if their solve was interrupted by the dreaded "I'm just going to think this one over, I have a vague idea I know this" that I encounter almost every Friday and Saturday. Maybe the Couch puzzles were an aberration from those of prior contests ? Any of the regular participants have an opinion ?

Frantic Sloth 11:22 AM  

@Suzy Q 820am I wonder about what NEXTGEN Baby Boomers from this NEWERA would be called. Gen Demic?

Finished and couldn't figure out where my error(s)were hiding.
Then I realized (gET it?) they were RIDIN in Chamillionaire's car somewhere in Japan. Always the last place you look.

egsforbreakfast 11:25 AM  

If you start at 1 D and turn the corner at the bottom (56 A), you get a pretty good snapshot of an orgy, or perhaps a frat party, nearing the end:

Dawg ridin Brad. Denis passed out.

As to ice cream, if you want something about as addictive as heroin, try putting Sriracha Salt on it. Available on line at starlightherbs.com.

Geezer 11:30 AM  

Wait a sec. I did a little research. I didn't get the jeep name quite right and the jeep was on the Roy Rogers show and the sidekick jeep driver was Pat Brady. I'll leave it to Wm. C. to reveal the name.

Anonymous 11:32 AM  

I find Agard's puzzle filled with too much modern ppp. And he clearly goes out of his way to favor the distaff.
Hard pass on his virtue signaling.
Besides isnt he a signatory to that ramblong mess of a hit job letter to The Times' muckety mucks?
If Shortz is such a no goodnik, return the check and have him pull your puzzle.

webwinger 11:37 AM  

I enjoyed solving this, but it was hard, hard, hard for me, more than twice average Saturday time. Hang ups almost exactly the same as noted by @Rex, except that I overcame the misdirection around 10D (wonderful clue, IMO) pretty quickly once I had a couple letters. (OFL should consider taking a science course or two, if he has time on his hands.)

Could not remember hearing either DESPACITO or RIDIN. Once the former appeared via crosses I sensed that it was correct, maybe unconsciously recalling Rex from last month. Filled the grid initially with RIDes for the latter, thinking eNN might refer to the last letter of Vacation, and sET could be Realize? Then when there was no Happy Tune, corrected 36A and changed 39A to gET, which seemed fine for its clue, but RIDIg? Finally, aha! hit, and the music played.

Now to see what y’all have to say…

Wm. C. 11:40 AM  

Oops, my age is showing that I'm becoming geographically challenged.

US Rte 2 goes through Arlington (and then Lexington) BEFORE hitting Concord, not AFTER.

Especially bad, because I lived in a rented house in Arlington not more than a couple hundred yards from Rte 2, as it heads uphill westward (the part I referred to earlier that I passed through eastward when it was under construction).

JC66 11:42 AM  

@Barbara S

re: BAIL BOND (...predatory lending):

I didn't see the pun until you pointed it out and think it's great (on a par with the ATE DINNER clue)!

Frantic Sloth 11:47 AM  

Never mind the BERRY vs. Chocolate debate (I'm with @Z - why do I have to choose??)...

@GILL I. 839am I've heard the legend regarding life forms that don't like pizza. This is my first sighting in the wild! ;-)

Frantic Sloth 11:56 AM  

Oops! Forgot

Gen Demic © ��

Judge Judy 11:56 AM  

I have no training in bail bonding practices or finance but I don't think 35D has to do with "predators" or puns.
I googled:

Predatory Lending Definition - Investopedia
Predatory lending includes any unscrupulous actions carried out by a lender to entice, induce and assist a borrower in taking a loan that carries high fees, a high-interest rate, strips the borrower of equity, or places the borrower in a lower credit-rated loan to the benefit of the lender.

A bail bond is an agreement by a criminal defendant to appear for trial or pay a sum of money set by the court. The bail bond is cosigned by a bail bondsman, who charges the defendant a fee in return for guaranteeing the payment. ... The commercial bail bond system exists only in the United States and the Philippines.

Perry 11:58 AM  

I thought DESPACITO and AWARE were beyond the pale. I had two letters missing for DESPACITO and I still couldn't guess it. I have never listened to popular music and I never will. AWARE was just annoying. I am sure many of us have been keenly feeling the awareness of the impermanence of life, so I kind of see the point, but it was still annoying.

CDilly52 12:08 PM  

Hand up for Bosco! Does it even exist any more? I still remember the jingle. HooBOY. Getting old.

bauskern 12:09 PM  

I think today's write-up comes as close to high praise as Rex will ever give. And then he had to bring up the whole gender thing again. *yawn* P.S. This was a perfect Saturday. Not many answers on my first go around, but eventually it all fell into place. Loved SELL (moved like a bear?). Kind of timely.

CDilly52 12:10 PM  

I’m an Agard fan and this one nearly got me. Perseverance! Took me several hours over night. Put it down in exasperation then each time I picked it up I got a few more light bulbs to illuminate.

Pamela 12:15 PM  

Brutal! My daughter was Sally until we moved when she was in second grade and I gave her the choice. SARAH won. At the time, we still lived outside of Boston, so ALEWIFE was the other gimme. BRAD PITT came quickly. I had some other correct guesses and just as many wrong ones before abandoning all pretense and cheating my way through the rest of the puzzle. . Sigh.

I had to come here to understand why HALOGEN was correct, and HIHAT made no sense to me at all until Google- I only knew recessed ceiling lights or men’s headwear by that name. I’m familiar with the instrument, though, so I’m glad to have learned what it’s called.

I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s puzzle. I hope it’s fun!

CDilly52 12:18 PM  

@okanagamer - the WHOLE REST clue nearly got me as well. Last squares to fall. Brilliant in its difficulty, yet With bizarre clarity. So very Agardian.

Joe Dipinto 12:19 PM  

@Paul Emil 8:23 – lots of people link songs from their past to specific events, so they would connect song-year. And some people just keep track of that stuff, like baseball stats or whatever. If I'd continued to stay current with pop music I'm sure I would know what years those songs were hits.

Echo Park – Saturday trivia: The actor rowing the boat is the father of what actor who achieved fame in the 1980's?

JC66 12:22 PM  

@Judge Judy

In this case, the criminal is a predator.

Anonymous 12:28 PM  

SMARTIEs, like M&Ms, are biconvex, not biconcave. So not so SMARTIE after all.

Frantic Sloth 12:29 PM  

@Joe Dipinto The wife figured out Christian Slater, but we had to look up the father: Michael Hawkins.

I think people usually just remember Christian Slater's mother, casting director Mary Jo Slater.

CDilly52 12:30 PM  

@Anonymous 10:57 - excellent analysis of the HALOGEN clue. It was one of my favorites. I struggled through chemistry in much the same way that I struggled through this puzzle and it paid off because I got the periodic table clue instantly! Felt pretty dang smug, too.

Wm. C. 12:36 PM  

@Geezer11:30 --

Oops, tnx for the heads-up on my mid-identification of Pat Buttram. For the record --

Pat Buttram was Gene Autry's sidekick

Pat Brady was Roy Rogers' sidekick, and to answer my earlier question, his Jeep was called Nellybelle.

But to continue in the questioning vein (with a softball), who was Roy's TV wife?

Crimson Devil 12:39 PM  

Puz kicked mine.
Only addition I can make is re DARN TOOTIN; Buttram was Roy’s sidekick, not Gene’s (tha Singing Cowboy) and his jeep was Nelly Bell(e?).

Anonymous 12:44 PM  

For a woman constructor to claim that her puzzle wasn't accepted by the NYT solely because they're biased against women is like a man saying to a woman who won't have sex with him: "You must be frigid."

Sorry. Not buying it.

CDilly52 12:44 PM  

Spent my professional life in the prosecutor’s office )albeit on the civil side), and I deal with the unfortunate side of BAIL bonds, the bonds person writes a risky one and when the defendant absconds, the bonds person is on the hook for it unless he/she recovers the absconder - often at rather large expense. Anyway, the bail bond business is pretty usurious. Yes, limited by statutes, but the percentage “down” is not recoverable. We see folks losing their cars, their valuables and sometimes their homes just to keep “Cousin Eddie” from awaiting trial in the local hoosegow.

CDilly52 12:46 PM  

@Franitc, Z et al: Strawberries and chocolate for me!

RKD 12:49 PM  

I've just found out about this blog from a Book Review of "Thinking Inside the Box" & plan to read it often. When The Times asked about people's feelings about the puzzle a few weeks ago I was surprised that all the comments were positive while I've thought for several years that it has been dumbed down. A long time ago I interviewed Wil Weng & Margaret Farrar for an article I was writing & both said it was cheating to look things up & the puzzles should be challenging. I really liked the Friday puzzle & had a real struggle with the Saturday which is a good thing. I hate it when the Friday may as well be a Monday fill-in-the-blanks.

jberg 12:54 PM  

Really tough. At first all I had was orga for 9A, changed to piano when I saw that it could be I GIVE rather than unclE. But I was just getting nowhere until BAHT. I actually wanted 'rupee' but 'rupi' didn't seem right -- and then I finally focused on the king's name and saw that it was probably Thai, and vaguely recalled their currency name. That unlocked that whole section, which fell into place quickly. I still had out OF before RID OF, sEe and then gET before NET, Acai before ALOE. And due to my poor vision (I probably need cataract surgery, but can't get to my eye doctor until all this is over), I read the clue for 37D as saying 27D, and put in Asses as the twice-smelly things, which kept me away from the otherwise obvious ALEE. But none of those was too much of an obstacle once I had BAHT.

@Loren, me too for passing out after dinner, but there's usually a bottle (or so) of wine involved.

Ah, the ALEWIFE. The completion of the St. Lawrence Seaway opened up the Great Lakes to all kinds of ocean dwellers. First there were the lampreys, which pretty much wiped out the lake trout; then, in the late 50s or early 60s, we got the ALEWIFE, who for some reason committe suicide in their millions by swimming up on the shores and dying. Maybe they were trying to swim up creeks to spawn, like the smelt, but got lost because they didn't know the area. But they sure did smell. Out here in New England they call them herring as well as alewives, and in the old days used to catch them the same way we caught smelt. So that was pretty much a gimme.

I did remember DESPACITO, but thought it was despacio, so that cast a shadow of doubt over the answer.

And finally, OSTEOLOGY? I've always heard "osteopathy." What's up with that? (I'll see what a search turns up.)

jberg 12:56 PM  

Ah, I should have looked it up first. Turns out that OSTEOLOGY is part of anatomy, whereas osteopathy is an overall approach to diagnosis and treatment.

Unknown 1:14 PM  

I'm sure it says something about me that my first exposure to the song "Ridin" came through this, the World's Worst Church Choir: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ItMJtA8vfpw

Joe Dipinto 1:22 PM  

@Frantic Sloth – Nope. (But close.)

Coincidentally, the son's first big movie figured into the puzzle earlier this week.

Anonymous 1:26 PM  

@jberg:
Out here in New England they call them herring as well as alewives

The wife brought home some Acme herring (Wile E. Coyote's favorite brand) in cream sauce for the holidays. Social distancing is eagerly practiced. Such a foul fish. Explains a lot about the Brits' aloofness.

Barbara S. 1:29 PM  

So,
RE: BAIL BOND

Who's the potential predator in the clue: the bail bondsman or the defendant?

I guess if the clue is not a pun, then it must be the bail bondsman (and if it is, then you-know-who).

Crimson Devil 1:46 PM  

ERRATA;
Wm C , I stand corrected, Pat Brady was Nelly Bell driver. You’re exactly right.
Dale rode Buttermilk.

Anonymous 1:50 PM  

I read Liz Gorski's post.
She sounds fun. It's wonder The Times has been able to survive without her.

Blackbird 1:55 PM  

We all have different frames of reference. So our comments become a game of "What's in your wheelhouse?"

I am interested in Japanese culture, Japanese aesthetics, so I immediately knew the answer to 27D, "aware". That word is pronounced "ah-wah-ray" in Japanese. Because I have a daughter named Sarah, I know all the nicknames for Sarah, and thus I immediately knew the answer to 38A. Did not know 1A, Despacito. Did not know 56A, Denis, never heard of "High Life". I guess it is a movie. I think the clues for 47A and 53A were tantalizing, and I go the answers from crosses combined with "oh, that!", "Tiger Balm" and "moratoria". Clue for 15!, "Props", tipped me off somehow, that the answer depended on interpreting the meaning of the word "props", and somehow I knew it meant well-deserved respect, so the answer, "accolades", as soon as I filled in 1D, 2D, 3D, 4D. all of which were easy fills.

What's in your wheelhouse? Oh, yes, of course, stuff that interests you, stuff you picked up although it wasn't of interest to you. 21st century and knowledge about various aspects of every century, everything before the 21st century that might be of interest to you. Contemporary slang. Dated slang.

So, if a puzzle is chock full of clues about sports, or pop culture, I may be adrift. Music references may be hit or miss. This puzzle was an intriguing combination of clues that caused me to exult, "I know that!" and clues that caused me to brood, "WTF". That's what I enjoy about crossword puzzles -- solving based on what I know and crosses, with mystery clues

webwinger 1:59 PM  

@Wm C 12:36: Since no one else has stepped up to the plate, I’ll swing at your softball—Dale Evans was Roy’s TV wife, and also his wife IRL, if I recall correctly. Her horse was Buttercup (Roy’s was, of course, Trigger). Pat Brady’s sputtering jeep Nelly Belle was joked about as though it were a horse: “Whoa Nelly!” he was often heard to say.

Having lived many years by the shores of Lake Michigan, I had no trouble with ALEWIFE. I remember in particular that they would get caught by the gill nets that were set up on spring evenings (right around this time of year, lit by Coleman lanterns—a beautiful memory) by urban foragers out to catch smelts. Unlike the yummy smelts they were not really edible.

albatross shell 2:32 PM  

Hot fudge or a combination 2/3 chocolate 1/3 peanut butter even better. But get real - strawberries on vanilla ice cream. Slice the strawberries. Mash about a third of them. Combine with sugar, put in the refrigerator for at least a few hours, remove, let them sit til about halfway to room temperature. Now there ready to top ice cream. Add real whip cream if desired.

Small connected rant: Strawberry ice cream has been ruined by the addition of strawberries. Frozen and tasteless hunks. If you wait until the ice cream is all melted they might have some taste. All common commercial high quality strawberry ice creams have added these frozen turds.

Single hand of Google aids, and fun solving. DARN TOOTIN.

Poor nymphs, if Zeus ain't cursing you, Hera is.

ACING is a repeat as clued from a couple days past, and it still took too long to "get", but only half as long.

And yes EAT DINNER is green paint until you see PASSED OUT below it. Do ACCOLADES GO TO WASTE? Or is it WHOLE RESTs?

And two fins = TEN. Good clue to me.

HALOGEN had to be the answer, if you got HALO_ _ _. With no crosses, I was thinking "pronoun". Forgot Iodine was a halogen. Dang. But did figure the right answer.

@anonymous 1228pm
They are concave (unlike M and Ms) by the photos I've seen. Somehow I had no memory of smarties. I was thinking of the butterscotch hard candies and trying to remember lifesavers with no holes. Pez?
Thought it would likely be roll wrapped. I assume this issue has been settled by now. I ATE lunch in midpost.

AMENchorus to cOrner to TO THAT.

I GIVE HAVE A HEART.

Have mask will live

oisk17 2:34 PM  

Add me to the sware and sloe crowd. Otherwise, a good puzzle, which if I hadn't come here, I'd have thought I finished correctly. The clue for "aware" is just not fair or acceptable. But that's my only objection to a good, challenging Saturday puzzle.

Masked and Anonymous 2:37 PM  

Still marvel at why there would be a collusion of two constructioneers, to build a themeless puz. But I ain't gonna question it much, when it's this good.

Maybe M&A could collude with one of these folks, on a themeless. I could certainly contribute the theme part… Also, happy to splatz a few random U's into the proposed empty puzgrid, of course.

Cool but mysterious stuff: DESPACITO. ORGEAT. TIGERBALM. DENIS. RIDIN. AWARE [as clued]. OSTEOLOGY [but kinda inferable].
staff weeject pick: [only 4 candidates in this rodeo] - ETA. As in: ETA DINNER.

fave nano-second-gobblin clue: {Rectangle on a staff} = WHOLEREST.

Thanx for gangin up on us, EA & WL.

Masked & Anonymo1U


**gruntz**

Barbara S. 2:42 PM  

Joe Dipinto 12:19

1980s? Movie featured earlier this week? It must be somebody from Back to the Future, but beyond that I cannot go.

pmdm 3:01 PM  

Yes, with Eric it isn't how much PPP invades the puzzle, it's the quality - not the quantity. Yet: I normally hate Eric's puzzles, but with a lwered amount of PPP in this puzzle, I just put it down for a while then came back. Suddenly getting 12D from only 3 crosses, the rest fell into place fairly easily. So despite the clues that where infuriating, the puzzle in general deserves a pass.

Phaedrus: That's a question I have often asked myself.

I did click the link and read Liz's comments. This is my problem: certainly the complaints are well expressed, but the essay is short on suggested solutions. I could see why nonbelievers would called the essay whining. I personally would not care if an bonobo were to construct a puzzle as long as I liked it. But please, if you have a problem don't simply rant. Offer solutions (which in this case will probably be ignored). While discrimination of any kind is bad (in my opinion), I am more interested in reading solutions than complaints. If more essays asked the question "Will, why aren't you doing this ..." than than saying "Will, you are a bad man" I hope we would actually start to move the mountain. [Perhaps I live in Camelot.]

Joe Dipinto 3:01 PM  

@Barbara S. – Yes. @Frantic Sloth was soooo close.

Frantic Sloth 3:09 PM  

@Joe Dipinto
@Barbara S.
OMG - I had to look it up!
Bruce Glover, father of Crispin Glover!

Barbara was right about BTTF.

Whatsername 3:18 PM  

This was hard but that’s to be expected, it’s Saturday. Couple of the clues like the ones for BAHT and SMARTIES were painful. Wanted in CASE of for in LIEU of. Did not know HILITE or ORGEAT and had no idea on the YouTube song, but loved the clue for STREETMAP. I’ve known some Sarahs and some Sallys, but I never knew a Sarah who went by Sally. Skeptical that it really was a thing, I checked and Google said you’re DARNTOOTIN. So there you have it.

@Loren: Really, how great it would be to get a group together! We’ll make that table as big as it needs to be.

FWIW, I recently watched Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. Quite violent but it was worth the time just to watch DiCaprio and BRAD PITT play off each other. Both very deserving of their Academy nominations and Pitt of his win for Best Supporting. I live near his home town and when he occasionally makes an appearance to visit family, yes - people really do SWOON.

Z 3:46 PM  

I experienced lots of confusion reading the comments today.

First, Rex wrote this about yesterday’s constructor back on July 27, 2019, I generally love Byron Walden's puzzle. Back on February 20, 2019 Rex wrote, I hope you appreciate how loopy this theme is *and* how clean this (very thematically dense!) grid is. Just gorgeous work. So much for panning yesterday’s puzzle because Rex hates the constructor. (Note: I thought Rex was off base yesterday, but not because he hates the constructor).

Second @Wm. C - I was convinced you were mistaken because I was sure US 2 ended at St. Ignace, MI. Turns out we’re both wrong. The western leg of US2 ends in St. Ignace, but there is an eastern leg that runs from Maine to eastern New York. What you are thinking of is Massachusetts State Route 2. BTW, US2 from the Mackinac Bridge west to Escanaba is a beautiful drive in every season (although treacherous at times in the winter) If you stop to eat get the white fish.

@egsforbreakfast 11:25 - No confusion other than thinking I really didn’t need that image.

Third, @anon 12:28 - I was going to question your sanity, but google images did return pictures of SMARTIES shaped like M&Ms. These are the ones being referenced by the clue, and the only ones I ever remember seeing.

Finally, French vanilla, hot fudge, and strawberries is pretty canonical, but I’m ecumenical when it comes to BERRY type, ice cream type, and sauce type. I do wonder about the local specialty ice cream shop that offered a kale flavored ice cream.

Lion 4:02 PM  

I did exactly the same thing.

Lion 4:09 PM  

I thought it was brutal.

Solomon 4:18 PM  

SOLUTION TO THE GENDER DISCRIMINATION PROBLEM: People who submit crossword puzzles (and, for that matter, people who write letters to the editor), should identify themselves by only their first initials, not their whole first names. Problem solved.

Joe Dipinto 4:36 PM  

@Fran S & @Barb S – yes, crazy Crispin Glover, memorable as Marty McFly's wimpy dad in BTTF! (Very easy to confuse his name with Christian Slater's.)

Barbara S. 4:40 PM  

@Joe Dipinto and @Frantic Sloth
George McFly! Right! It's probably all 20-20 hindsight but I swear you can see a family resemblance in the wide mouths of those two guys.

@Z
Oh, for heaven's sake, is nothing sacred? What kind of ersatz "Smarties" are those? I'd call those Rockets despite what's printed on the package. Smarties are (and I quote) a "colour-varied sugar-coated chocolate confectionery," manufactured since 1937 originally by Rowntree and now by Nestle. M&Ms are similar and the idea was actually copied by Frank C. Mars "during the Spanish Civil War when he saw soldiers eating British-made Smarties." M&Ms hit store shelves in 1941. (Thank you, Wikipedia.) I had no idea that Americans are so completely deprived of Smarties culture, you poor lambs.

OK, I've regained my composure. Sorry, @Z, didn't mean to shoot the messenger!

Charles Emerson Winchester III 4:46 PM  

One had to work at this one, but it was very enjoyable despite a technical DNF: I assumed that BADEGaS was a gas unfamiliar to me and ditto some sort of limiting concept ACINa.

AWARE came easily with the memories of a freshman class, almost 40 years ago, which included an element of Japanese literature. I’m surprised OFL was so down on it since I’m told it is an element in much anime and manga which should appeal to his puerile pop culture tastes. It is also present in the work of the superlative modern English language fiction of Kazuo Ishiguro. Let me recommend the excellent novels of Yasunari Kawabata (Nobel Prize, 1968), especially Snow Country and A Thousand Cranes.

ALEWIFE was likewise a gimme since it was the terminal stop on the T Red Line in those days in Cambridge.

@Quasimojo made me laugh out loud with the idea that the Luis guy had watched his own video 6.5bn times. I’ve never heard the song (or is a rap?), nor of Mr Fonsi but had a vague awareness of the title from the noise it generated with its apparent popularity.

xyz 4:50 PM  

Hell, I'm going to use DESPACITO to expand my musical horizons. Amazon MP3 here I come, my

Spanish, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Mexican I have always enjoyed music from the Spanish language. I'm so tired of Boomers who listen to '70's oldies and Beatles music only.

kitshef 4:53 PM  

@Barbara S, @Z, @Anon 12:28 -as noted in my 9:11am post, SMARTIES difference is US vs. UK.

Best ice cream toppings: Cap'n Crunch and hot fudge.

rextorturer 5:11 PM  

Liz Gorsky and diversity among the staff? What nonsense and I'm a liberal.
Whaddya want aliens constructor.

albatross shell 5:27 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
albatross shell 5:39 PM  

@kitshef 453pm
DARN TOOTIN you did. By the time it became a convex controversy I guess we all forgot. I did. I looked at 6 images. Guess it was an all-american google.

Unknown 5:58 PM  

A whole note is not a rectangle! A double whole note is, but a plain whole note is an oval. Bad mistake! Will should have caught this.

Barbara S. 5:58 PM  

@kitshef
Thanks for the reminder. I did note your earlier post, but I was assuming (I guess wrongly) that residents of the U.K., U.S.A. and Canada all have equal access to both Smarties and M&Ms. (Canadians do.) And then I see this roll of chalky, concave candies trying to pass themselves off as "Smarties," and I snapped!

Joe Dipinto 6:05 PM  

@TJS 11:22 – The couch puzzles are *not* from the ACPT; the couch tournament was organized because the ACPT was cancelled, and used its own set of puzzles. I did the couch puzzles yesterday and to me they seemed generally easier than typical ACPT puzzles. There was nothing nearly as difficult as the ACPT's #5 puzzle, aka "The Bastard". They must have frozen the results because I didn't find myself anywhere on the list (though I didn't check back today).

Anonymous 6:23 PM  

Re 49D ARNO. I thought that southern part of Florence, going up the rather steep hill toward the Forte di Belvedere, was watered not by the Arno but by lake-reservoirs beyond the Belvedere. I know that in Florence the tap water used to cause for many newcomers a sort of stomach ache for a few days, until our stomachs got used to it. The reaction was not to bacteria but to the strong chemicals used to kill the bacteria, the Arno being filthy. If you were lucky enough to live on the hills around the Boboli gardens the tap water was perfectly fine. This was especially nice since getting to these apartments without a car involved a significant hike, and no one wanted to lug bottled water up the hill. Maybe I'm wrong on this.

Anon. i.e. Poggius

Joe Dipinto 6:33 PM  

@Unknown 5:58 – the answer is WHOLE REST, which is indeed a rectangle.

chefwen 7:12 PM  

@albatross shell 2:32 - I’d add a healthy shop of Koloa Rum to that strawberry sauce. Mmmm!

Z 7:51 PM  

SMARTIES American style.
SMARTIES UnAmerican Style

I see the American style is also sold in Canada, causing mass confusion, I’m sure. American Style is also vegan! Probably good on Kale ice cream.

@Barbara S - It’s alright, I ducked. Also note that the American Style is made in New Jersey and Ontario.
@Kitshef - Yep - Totally forgot you mentioned it earlier. It was the convex contention that got my attention.

Unknown 8:02 PM  

My bad! My husband said it was whole note and I took his word for it. It was whole rest, which is of course correct. Should always check for myself!

Joe Dipinto 8:17 PM  

@redanman 4:50 – Now just a minute. I'm a Boomer, and I happen to like "La Cucharacha" as much as any Latinx person.

Nancy 8:33 PM  

Whatever happened to hot fudge? Where has it gone? Hot fudge is the finest topping for ice cream ever invented by the mind of man. There has never been before and there will never be in the future anything to equal it.

It seems to have disappeared from the known world around the time that Schrafft's restaurants closed. Their hot fudge -- now THAT was hot fudge. Their sundaes were unforgettable.

Many decades ago, I found myself at Rumpelmeyer's -- a very expensive and chichi ice cream parlor considered the best in the city at the time. (By that time Schrafft's was gone.) I ordered coffee ice cream with hot fudge sauce. They made a counteroffer of chocolate sauce. "Our chocolate sauce is wonderful, mademoiselle," the waiter said. "Everyone loves our chocolate sauce."

No, everyone didn't. It was not hot fudge and I almost poured it over the waiter's white jacket. And then I almost cried.

P.S. I have never seen hot fudge sauce on a restaurant menu since. For those of you to young to have experienced it: you've had a very deprived childhood, that's all I can say.

Nancy 8:49 PM  

Too young.

Unknown 8:53 PM  

Knew 27D because of this album: https://p-a-n.bandcamp.com/album/v-a-mono-no-aware

Great ambient comp that is very relaxing. One of my favorite releases of that year, otherwise I would’ve had no clue!

Anonymous 8:59 PM  

Re 49D ARNO. My apologies to the puzzle constructors (and Will Shortz). I made an inquiry and see now that the Boboli gardens *are* indeed watered by the Arno, with a particular irrigation system of untreated or at last non-potable water. The adjacent private residences have a different water source, which I think I described accurately.

Anon. i.e. Poggius

Barbara S. 9:10 PM  

@Z
Yes, the American style (chalky) is both sold and made in Canada, but they're called Rockets here, thus avoiding confusion with what I consider to be *real* Smarties (chocolate inside a hard candy shell). [I really want to congratulate all of us on covering this topic so thoroughly;)]

Kale ice cream? If anything warrants a good soaking in hot fudge, I think it's that.

Joe Dipinto 9:15 PM  

Cucharacha.

JC66 9:35 PM  

@Nancy

FYI, I was a soda jerk when I was in high school.

Anonymous 9:35 PM  

From Meriam Webster:
Concave means "hollowed out or rounded inward" and is easily remembered because these surfaces "cave" in. The opposite is convex meaning "curved or rounded outward."

The clue is WRONG, period. M&Ms, like their British counterparts Smarties, are conVEX. Their surfaces do not curve inwards.

logan 9:45 PM  

Like Unknown at 5:07am, I entered "sloe" instead of aloe. Otherwise I finally finished the puzzle with just that one wrong square. However, it took two sessions to complete with a truckload of write-overs. Whew!

Barbara S. 10:01 PM  

@Anon. 9:35
You're right that both M&Ms and British Smarties are convex. But the type of Smartie in the clue is the kind referenced in the first link in @Z's post of 7:51 (SMARTIES American Style), and they're concave.

Anoa Bob 10:05 PM  

With W in place for the first letter at 17A, I thought the "Rectangle on a staff" would be WHITE FLAG. No confirming crossing downs and I abandoned that DORY pretty quickly.

Charles @4:46, your second paragraph had me thinking ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Then I looked back at your full name and had a nice guffaw. Well played, sir. Lots of MASH memories followed that one.

I lived and worked in Japan for two years in the 80s---year and a half in Tokyo and six months in Okinawa---but don't remember AWARE. Maybe too much time in downtown Tokyo pool halls and karaoke bars.

John Hoffman 11:31 PM  

My streak of completions ends today! Hard puzzle!

Mary K 7:14 AM  

All who had trouble with BAIL BOND should read some of Janet Evanovich's books!
Mary K

Cheerio 1:34 PM  

I love Liz Gorski's puzzles. I really miss them!
Just wanted to say also that I loved learning the term "mono no aware." Is there anything in English for that?

Cheerio 1:49 PM  

I was just reading the wikipedia page on "mono no aware." I am so, so glad to learn the NAME for this. In fact, I already know of it. After moving to Washington DC, I was made aware of it one beautiful spring day walking under the cherry trees by the tidal basin and marveling at the crowds of moodful Japanese visitors. It was impossible not to see that they were immersing themselves in the blooms in a foreign and reverent way. So, I started to look at cherry trees that way, the two beautiful ones in my own backyard, and every year, even in this coronavirus year, even as I put a few blossoms in water, I know that the real treat is just to stand under the tree and stare upwards for a few moments. And I associate this ritual with indeed, the ephemeral quality of life and the emotions you feel when you think on this.

Jean 1:50 PM  

Anyone see the review of Adrienne Raphel's book Thinking Inside the Box in the NYT Book Review today? About the NYTXW. It mentions Dr. Sharp AKA Rex Parker and tries to explain why all of us can't live without the puzzle. Looks like an interesting book. Read the review at least.

pdplot 2:10 PM  

This old-timer managed to finish this am. Started as usual in bed last night so I'm always the last to post here. Confession - can't stand Rap. And I'm a musician - keyboard, ukulele. So I turned off weird Al too. I give? Where's up?

Anonymous 1:10 PM  

OsteoPATH would've been a great answer given the clue "course" (!)

Burma Shave 12:07 PM  

IGIVE INN

DAWG, I ATEDINNER and PASSEDOUT,
a SWOON from BADEGGS and gluten,
O_MAN_I HAVEAHEART burn, no doubt,
can't get RIDOF this DARNTOOTIN'.

--- SCOT BERRY

rondo 12:23 PM  

A toughie for me, in part from starting with the downs. I had uniT before SCOT, and hand up for irANI before OMANI. Those little things gummed up the works for too long. Shoulda just started with 1a, despite the length of it, and spared myself the grief.

It's been so long that I kinda forgot WHOLEREST.

My favorite BERRY is Halle.

Came far from ACING it, stirred up the gray matter for the rest of the day having come out INONEPIECE.

spacecraft 1:04 PM  

"By the way, Mr. Kramden, just what IS a 'string of p'lopp'nies?'"

Wonderful stuff. So too is this puzzle, which I filled in with trepidation not knowing if I was even close! Turns out, I was ACING it! Monstrous triumph points attend.

But somebody has to explain the "tucked in" thing for ATEDINNER. That clue makes zero sense to me. Also hand up for making AWARE into something that needed every cross. In the learned-something-new department: ORGEAT. Yikes, how did some of these things get their names? Sounds like it's short for organized eating. A bite of meat, then a bite of potato, then a bite of vegetable...

I broke in with a guess on [in]LIEU[of], which led, after checking that 44 & 45d seemed plural, to PASSEDOUT. That fizzled, and I tried again with (wrong) irANI/ACING. More fizzle. To the NE and IGIVE/OVENS; that yielded better results. It went NE-->SE-->center-->SW-->you guessed it: NW. I know hardly any "music" (and I use the quotes pointedly) after the '80s. 1a thus needed every single cross. Having the BRAD part of Brad PITT helped. 39a went from sEe to gET to NET, after guessing that RIDIN looked better than RIDIg. Again, post-80's "music," unknown.

I now feel like I need a WHOLEREST. Halle BERRY is de facto DOD. Birdie.

thefogman 1:34 PM  

Crunchier than a concrete cookie, but I did it!

Diana, LIW 2:01 PM  

No fun at all for me. I'm just not on Agard's wavelength - by a long shot. Even with a ton of cheats I couldn't finish.

Diana, Waiting for Godot

Diana, LIW 2:03 PM  

@Spacey - ATE DINNER was how I tucked into the food at night. One of the very few I got on my own.

Diana, Lady in W

thefogman 2:19 PM  

To Spacecraft: Tucked into means to eat a meal with gusto. Dinner is at night, ergo ATEDINNER

El Dingo 5:07 PM  

Has anyone ever used LIVEN without following it with an immediate UP?

leftcoaster 6:46 PM  

Seeing Erik Agard's name on Saturday immediately scared me off. (Went through it afterwards, but didn't learn much except a lesson.)

Anonymous 8:54 PM  

Slow solver here.

I really try to limit myself to one hour on any puzzle, because otherwise the dishes tend to pile up.

Just had to keep going as this seemed gettable, and I got it at just under two hours.

Hooray? Or do I have a problem?

Anonymous 11:04 PM  

Hooray, I'd say.

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