Heroine in Verdi's Il Trovatore / SAT 5-2-20 / Obsessive fan slangily / Title song character who's asked Did your mom get back from her business trip / Slangy phrase following unpopular opinion / Do-si-do do

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Constructor: Paolo Pasco

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (6:20)


THEME: none

Word of the Day: "STACY's Mom" (50A: Title song character who's asked "Did your mom get back from her business trip?") —
"Stacy's Mom" is a pop rock song by American rock band Fountains of Wayne. It is the third track on their third studio album, Welcome Interstate Managers. "Stacy's Mom" was released on the radio on May 20, 2003. The song was released as the lead single from Welcome Interstate Managers on September 29, 2003, through S-Curve Records and Virgin Records. "Stacy's Mom" was written by bassist Adam Schlesingerand vocalist Chris Collingwood, both of whom produced the song alongside Mike Denneen. Its subject matter was inspired by a friend of Schlesinger's when he was young who had a crush on his grandmother. It is a power pop song with which the group hoped to emulate the sound of The Cars.
"Stacy's Mom" reached number 21 on the US Billboard Hot 100, becoming the band's highest-charting hit in the United States. Additionally, the song peaked within the top 10 in Ireland and the top 20 in the United Kingdom and Australia. The single was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America for sales of over 500,000 copies, and it was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Vocal Pop Performance. The song was accompanied with a music video in which model Rachel Hunter plays the titular role. "Stacy's Mom" was the only mainstream hit by Fountains of Wayne.
The song has been frequently misattributed to pop punk band Bowling for Soup, who in response released their own cover version of the song in 2011. (wikipedia)
• • •

Well, helloooooo, Friday puzzle! Where were you yesterday, when I needed you most!? Oh well, better late than never, I guess. This one was more Friday-like in terms of difficulty *and* in terms of my enjoyment level than yesterday's ho-hummer, and I solved it (mostly) with great joy. Paolo Pasco simply doesn't disappoint. I don't think I've ever disliked one of his puzzles. That might not be 100% true, but it feels true. He's like Robyn Weintraub, in that I see his name on the byline and I feel certain I'm in good hands. It's a rare, nice feeling. Love the slanginess of this one ("... SAID NO ONE EVER," "DENY, DENY, DENY!") as well as the highly varied, wide-ranging fill. Written by a teenager, and it feels it (at times, in a good way) but it doesn't *over*-feel it. This thing goes from "Il Trovatore" to Mary Poppins to "STACY's Mom" (nice nod to co-songwriter and Fountains of Wayne co-founder Adam Schlesinger, who died of COVID-related illness last month). As modern as STAN and as old-fashioned as LAND'S SAKES ALIVE!—which, honestly, is the only weak part of the puzzle—not because it's quaint and bygone and olde-tymey, but because it's an unholy mashup of many different expressions: "Land's sakes!" "Sakes alive!" "My lands!" Who says all of those things at once!? A HOEDOWN chaperone? Seems pretty ... STAGY to me.


Was able to get into this one pretty easily via a few accurate Downs, namely: RIDS, EDS, HOEDOWN, INS, NEA, and GRETA. Built the top from there. Swung back around to the west where the "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" name wasn't in my repertoire but somehow ... honestly, for no good reason, LEONORA just came to me, with only the "L" and "N" in place (14D: Heroine in Verdi's "Il Trovatore"). I surprised myself when I plunked it down and the crosses started checking out. Had SLOP for GLOP (not *great* fill, but since I had to endure GLOOPS earlier this week, it seems fine). Had SOAPY for STAGY (34D: Excessively theatrical). Had STOIC for STONY (46D: Poker-faced). Got -STOCK and -TANK and was not immediately sure what words were supposed to precede them, but "DENY, DENY, DENY" went across easily, and I just built the lower part of the grid from there. Finished up at VOW (41A: Reason to raise one's hand), which, before I read the clue, I had entered as LOW. Turns out I had LIVID instead of VIVID for 41D: Striking. I think something that's LIVID can be striking. Anyway, this puzzle was striking. Good, smooth fun, overall.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

147 comments:

Joaquin 12:05 AM  

He likes it! Mikey likes it! So did I. Looked more intimidating than it was but still a challenge and lots of new stuff.

puzzlehoarder 12:23 AM  

Once again someone has dropped the puzzle stack at the NYT and switched Friday and Saturday. This was way easier than yesterday's solve and not a misspelling in sight.

It's a cool looking grid. To me it looks like a Superman S with a snowman face in it. When I saw those 12 stacks I thought that there's no way they can make those things difficult and they didn't.

My brain storm for 1A was CLOVENHOOVED. I don't even know if that's true or not but EDS went right in and blew it out of the water.

Guessing AMULETS for 4D I wound up checking the crosses and got sucked into that HUR /HELMET area. The pickings were easy there and I wound going clockwise back into the top tier.

A special thanks to all the commentors who like using the phrase SAIDNOONEEVER. Today it was a sitting duck.

TRIADS was a bit of a roadblock, I was slow with WONT and STACY was an unknown. Other than that the rest of it flew in. That's enough chatty Kathy. I'm just happy I didn't eff this one up.

If anyone is still working on it the Friday SB has only 21 words

jae 12:30 AM  

Easy and @puzzlehoarder definitely easier than yesterday’s. So, a pretty, pretty, pretty good Sat. (Yes, we’ve started watching the latest season of Curb. Larry in a MAGA hat is worth the price of admission). Only erasures were tBAR before I, and norm before WONT.

Great looking grid with more than a smattering of sparkle. Liked it a bunch.

Amanda PEET is featured in the final season of Brockmire currently showing on IFC. It is very funny and it has a 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes....and there is baseball.

...also @puzzlehoarder I’ve got 16 so far.

TomAz 12:56 AM  

Rex didn't comment, and I wonder if the constructor was aware, but here's this from NPR a month ago:

Adam Schlesinger, one of the most prolific and decorated songwriters of his generation, died Wednesday from complications caused by COVID-19. He was 52. ... With former songwriting partner Chris Collingwood, Schlesinger enjoyed his greatest commercial success as a musician with Fountains of Wayne, which released five studio albums between 1996 and 2011. In 2003, "Stacy's Mom" was a hit for the band; that song later helped Fountains of Wayne land a pair of Grammy nominations.

Loren Muse Smith 1:15 AM  

Pretty much what Rex said. Easier for me than yesterday’s, for sure.

Cluing ATOMIC as “small” always makes me like Oh right. Atoms are tiny. ATOMIC always feels really, really big. If you have an atomic break-down in public, it’s spectacular and may involve blood and broken stuff.

And the clue for GODSEND surprised me. For me, it doesn’t necessarily have to be unexpected. As in,I finally broke down and bought a fan for my classroom. It's been a GODSEND. I’m thinking now that this isn’t how most people use it. GODSEND is your basic irl deus ex machina. Kinda.

What are some statements that would elicit SAID NO ONE EVER? Sure! I’d love to stand here and look at the 43 pictures on your phone of your 4-year-old nephew’s birthday party! Yay!

I liked the safe clues for OBESE and GETS FAT. Hah. When I’m teaching I can go hours without thinking of food, but at home, jeez louise. The siren call of the tub of cookie dough just won’t let up.

Ok. So Rex, the one thing I totally disagree on is your complaint of LAND SAKES ALIVE. First of all, maybe it’s not a mashup. Maybe your LAND SAKES! And SAKES ALIVE! are truncated iterations of the mother ship. And if it *is* truly a mash-up, who cares? Your observation sent me off in a big think on stuff like that. I couldn’t come up with other examples of marrying two interjections – I’m sure there are some standard ones– but it was fun rolling my own:

All right on!
What the hellfire and damnation!
Holy mother of goddamn!

I was reminded of the newish expression There’s a white elephant in the room. So then I started thinking of mixed metaphors. Don’t count all your chickens in one basket. Just keep me in the loophole. Time is money talks.

@puzzlehoarder – I went back and saw the Superman S. Good call.

SAID NO ONE EVER has to be a debut. I’ll check. . . Yep. So are DENY DENY DENY, FREE THINKING, GETS FAT, ISOLATION TANK, TEA RACK, and VEGETABLE STOCK. Whoop de Dude! Paolo! You da man oh man oh man!

egsforbreakfast 1:25 AM  

Mini-mini theme:: 37A Gets fat and 42D obese.

Other than that, I’m struck by an ISOLATIONTANK filled with VEGETABLESTOCK. It actually sounds kind of luscious to me as I’ve been fastidiously saving the non-presentable ends, peels and tops of carrots, fennel, turnips, leeks, etc. for vegetable stock. An isolation tank isn’t too far afield from my freezer, where I keep the goodies in anticipation of a delicious risotto.

Speaking of vegetables, and with all due apologies for straying from x-word-relevant subjects, I have a boatload and a half of ripe rhubarb in my back yard and no one interested in taking it. I know about pies, Betty’s, cobblers, cakes, chuties, etc. But this is a bunch of rhubarb. I’m probably going to take it to the food bank, but I don’t think that. most recipients are going to be thrilled. I googled rhubarb cocktails, and there are a bunch of them, but none seem tempting. Any suggestions?

okanaganer 1:59 AM  

@puzzlehoarder, hands up for CLOVEN HOOVED, including the not-knowing-if-true part. I didn't actually type it in, but with nothing else yet in the grid, it jumped up in my face, saying "type me in, type me in!".

@Loren, don't ask me why but I actually typed in LAND SAKES ABOVE and it stayed there for quite a while (until I finally conceded OBOES weren't in fact a Frequently Cited Octet). I guess that's Land Sakes mashupped with Heavens Above?

Eerie the combination of 21D epidemical ONSETS and just below, ISOLATION---- which is kinda what I'm in.

Fun fact about ATOMIC. Etymologically (geez I hope I spelt that rite), it means "indivisible", not "small". And it is often used in that context, for instance in computer algorithms.

Richardf8 2:25 AM  

What is the normative BMI for a Hutt, and do we know what standard deviation Jabba’s BMI is from that norm, and in which direction?

Enjoyed this muchly

jae 3:13 AM  

@puzzlehoarder - make that 19

Frantic Sloth 4:09 AM  

Oh, this was waaaaaay easier than Friday. I fell into the same sLOP/GLOP trap and didn't see it until scanning for the mistake in my completed puzzle. I hate when that happens.

Didn't know ROSA (don't watch that show) or STAN (don't listen to Eminem or the genre), but that was the extent of my struggles.

ISOLATIONTANK reminds me of that 1980 movie Altered States where William Hurt basically O.D.s on one and emerges as a Stone Age GEICO ad savage. Made my skin crawl.

Overall, this was a pleasant stroll in the park and the second day in a row sans nits!
Are my standards slipping or are the puzzles improving?

@puzzlehoarder 1223 & 313am You were right the first time: 21 words for 5/1 SB. I also saw the fancy-schmance "S" - and I rarely notice grid architecture or patterns that aren't part of a theme.

@LMS I'm not sure if something like this falls into your mashups category but "I have a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach" seems to have morphed into "I have a bad pit in my stomach" or "There was a huge pit in my stomach" or (my personal favorite) "I had a pitless feeling in my stomach." It's most often encountered on various "reality tv" shows and I always marvel at this little telephone-gamed effect.

And for some reason, the only thing I can dredge up for SAIDNOONEEVER is "Headcheese: breakfast of champions."

bulgie 4:19 AM  

Almost a record Saturday, though still over four Rexes.

I snorted aloud when I got LAND SAKES ALIVE and it was one row down from my immediate reaction to that answer. Really?

Has HELMET ever been clued as "knight cap" before? Though it's new to me and clever, retroactively it seems obvious.

Lots to like, even if it was a bit easy. Just a lot in my wheelhouse today, which I do not mind, makes me feel smart. Plunked in SANSKRIT with zero letters, and got VEGETABLE STOCK from only the C from LIFE HACK.

Oh and that cool-looking grid. NICELY DONE.
More like this please, tho I wouldn't mind a little more crunch.

ROSA Diaz fan,
bulgie

sf27shirley 6:01 AM  

He was my friend's cousin. Everyone is pretty devastated.

sf27shirley 6:04 AM  

Rhubarb compote, which is very good mixed with yogurt, or as a pancake topping, or with vanilla ice cream. Keeps well in fridge.

GILL I. 6:05 AM  

It's a toss up between "What a beautiful pair of Crocs" SAID NO ONE EVER or..."I just love being ignored."
Ah, yes....a Paolo Saturday full of fun and some whimsy. LAND SAKES ALIVE plunked in with just the L at the beginning and the K from the TOKES hit. Mind wandering time. I must've heard that from The Beverly Hillbilies. How else would I know that?
I really had no trouble with any of this. I was having fun and didn't want it to stop. Every time I got a little answer, my mind wandered as is my WONT. My favorite was getting to 37A. I wasn't necessarily thinking of GETS FAT for that swelled lip clue, instead I kept thinking of the Kylie Jenner thing that sweet little teeners do to their lips and then they end up looking like a blob fish. I know I'll probably go to hell for saying this, but I really get a kick out of watching those videos of actresses who show pictures of cosmetic surgery gone wrong. There was this one of Goldie Hawn after her blow fish lips ended looking like she had sucked limes all night long. I wondered how she could even breath because the upper lip looked like it was blocking her nostrils.
Ah, yes....SHAG rugs and memories of my first apartment in San Francisco. It was green. Ugly avocado green. I never lost an earring in it but I was always dropping food. If the landlord hasn't changed the carpet, he'll probably find some bacon bits.
I like ATE over VEGETABLE STOCK and the cute Jabba the Hutt being a TAD OBESE.
A NO SALT diet is just wrong. You need at least a pinch. Make it sea salt.
A Spoonful of Sugar TRILLS Mary Poppins......

sf27shirley 6:10 AM  

I loved TOKES as the answer to "takes some hits." As an old hippie I had two friends back in the day whose nicknames were variations on toke, including Havatoke. Never though it would end up in the NYTXword.

pabloinnh 6:20 AM  

Jeez, how old am I? I'm so old that my great aunt Zet (actual name) used to say LANDSAKESALIVE, all at once, just like that. Oh oh.

Started at the bottom with this one, filled my ISOLATIONTANK with VEGETABLESTOCK, and went straight up after that, smooth as a Guiness pour in an Irish pub. No real glitches, except that ROSA should always be ROSA Parks, and that's that.

My favorite sort of mashup was said by a girl in my Spanish class after trying hard to come up with what she was trying to say, "It's right on the tip of my think!". That was over fifty years ago and it still makes me smile. I could probably still name half the kids in that class, don't ask me to do the same with any class in the last year before I retired. Further proof of my self-evident axiom that initial experiences are the most memorable, and you can only do something the first time once.

Great good fun, PP. Maybe belongs in the Beginner Saturday category, but wonderfully well done. Good on ya.

CDilly52 6:23 AM  

I am obviously on a different planet than most. Clearly not speaking the same language because despite the fact that I have learned that a STAN is some sort of obnoxious über-fan, I don’t understand it, and had never come across SAID NO-ONE EVER. Oddly, this felt like a slog but I did solve faster than yesterday.

My sweet mother-in-law, a native rural Oklahoman, said LAND SAKES ALIVE often. Really often. It was her explication of surprise, disbelief, or “you got me” after a practical joke. The all-purpose phrase. I pencilled it in and when it was correct still left it in “pencil” in utter disbelief, mostly, I think due to its juxtaposition with SAID NO-ONE EVER.

Biggest snafu was really wanting flOtATION TANK for the longest time and because it is oh-so-close, it sat there mucking up the bottom. Most of my difficulty was self-made. I did not trust VOW because of the odd clueing, or TRILLS, because really only Julie Andrews’s Mary Poppins does that, and only for a hot second in one song in the movie. So sue me for being too picky/over-analytical or whatever.

Unlike @Rex, I am not wild about this one’s odd, seems-to-need-some-polish clue style (or something). Could just be the obvious multi-generational age gap between our youthful constructor and this not-so-youthful solver. I really enjoyed yesterday despite its higher difficulty and today’s was fine but nothing special.

BarbieBarbie 6:50 AM  

@egs, rhubarb fool is good. Irish and kind of like a mousse. I haven’t made it in forever, but I think it uses its fair share of rhubarb. Bonus, I think you could make the concentrate part and freeze it, and use it for cocktails or whatever.

I loved seeing DENYDENYDENY across the bottom, paired with 21D- a definite mini theme even if the constructor, well, denies it.

Lewis 6:51 AM  

Instead of the daunting, rugged, obstacle-filled path I envisioned when I saw Pablo's name, I was treated to a panoply of splendidly appealing answers that warmed my heart, and thank you for this gift, PP:

SAID NO ONE EVER, ISOLATION TANK, VIVID, SANSKRIT, GLOP, ENAMORS, CLIMB IN, GODSEND, LIFEHACK, and of course, GRETA, who shines like a star in my consciousness.

Shuls 7:03 AM  

Very good point! He may actually have been a severely malnourished Hutt.

QuasiMojo 7:16 AM  

It was okay.

DENYing seems very much in vogue this week.

I put in Amanda LEAR for the "actress" and couldn't stop laughing when I realized my mistake.

We used to call that epic movie "Get Her."

I had to go on a NO SALT diet. No more TARs. Alas.

@JoeD Landssakealive! Don't leave us hanging. Do be a Godsend and tell us the Lauren Bacall story. :)

amyyanni 7:35 AM  

Such a good time! Fresh and fun. Also loved the look of the grid, something I don't always notice.

Charles Flaster 7:42 AM  

TEA RACK= ???
Also kept lOW and lIVID.
Thanks PP

Lobster11 7:49 AM  

The word "STAGY," SAID NO ONE EVER.

Lou 7:53 AM  

Wont???? Land sakes alive said no one ever! Even spellcheck here wants either won’t or wonton.

RoccoChaz 7:57 AM  

Best puzzle of the week. Bonus points for day-of-the-week grid shape.

Jon Alexander 8:05 AM  

Great puzzle...ran really easy for me (6:34)

Got going real quick with FANTA and RIDS, and i plopped in FREETHINKING on a lark and boy was I happy when the downs started filling right in. From there it was off to the races.

Puzzle was smooth with a great mixture of clever clueing and fresh answers. Never heard of the phrase LANDSAKESALIVE, but google starts auto fill after (“land sa”) and is second on the list, so I guess it’s a thing (gonna go ahead and take a stab that the demographic who uses this phrase is older and mostly Midwestern, but that’s a guess).

Andy Walleck 8:07 AM  

I'm not sure if it was intentional, but a solid the Joe Biden theme here: DENYDENYDENY, FREETHINKING>SAIDNOONEEVER, DRIFT, FORGETS, ONSET(dementia), ISOLATIONTANK, STAGY. A few more.

the redanman 8:11 AM  

VERY easy Saturday, but LAND SAKES ALIVE still looks wrong.

STAN must be for S(talker)FAN not pretty

Grr The absence of meat does NOT make healthy, but it is rote for CW.

Never thought of looking for a hint, easiest Saturday ever or I'm getting better at this. I'm finding Sat and Fri easier than Th and Wed because there's no crap in them that crosses don't give me.

Whatsername 8:17 AM  

Good morning puzzle peeps. I just popped in to say I will be off the blog for the next few days, busy with a family obligation. Not that I think anyone is going to miss my brilliant observations but these are not ordinary times, and I don’t want anyone to become unnecessarily concerned. I was planning to skip the Crossword today, but after reading everyone’s comments about how much easier it is than yesterday’s, I may have to take a run at it after all. Everyone have a nice weekend and stay safe.

Z 8:22 AM  

Hand up for “easy Saturday.” A little slow to start, but got HUR, cruised down into the south, then up the east coast and back west. Basically not even a minor toe stub once I wrote down HUR.

Pretty much what Rex said about the STACY clue and LAND SAKES ALIVE. I put in the L last there and had a moment of wishing hAND SAKES ALIVE was a thing. Some sort of Alien meets The Addams Family thing, maybe.

@Richardf8 - I had the same thought. Maybe Jabba is actually a prime Hutt specimen, the Hutt equivalent of STACY’s mom. I mean, do we even know if Jabba is a male or female or if Hutts even have binary sexes? So many unanswered questions.

@CDilly52 - All you really need to know is that STAN is pejorative. So is calling someone a “karen” or a “herb.” Of late, “karen” has taken a racist hue, although I don’t think it started out that way. A STAN loves their team or player so much that they are unreasonable. A karen asks to speak to the manager or complains about the U-9 soccer ref. A Herb is the guy who tries to look cool by following all the latest trends from two years ago.

@egsforbreakfast - The neighbor from my childhood, late 90’s, didn’t drive, but had a wonderful garden, made rhubarb-strawberry pie. I believe she lived to be over 100, so there’s a recommendation for gardening.

@? yesterday - I believe “bi-monthly” can mean twice a month or every other month. In my case, I am limiting my grocery shopping excursions to every other week, now. Kind of ironic, eating home more but shopping less.

Suzie Q 8:24 AM  

So much fun. I was sorry that it was over so soon.
@ egasforbreakfast, Try exploring some savory uses for your rhubarb.
It goes well with pork chops and cut up apples (not Golden Delicious).

John H 8:26 AM  

Loved this until the south east, which was a total antic for me. Made the mistake of entering vegetable broth instead of stock, which kept me from getting tea rack, stacy, stan (none of them familiar to me) and life hack (only vaguely familiar). The long accesses were very nice.

Hungry Mother 8:27 AM  

Except for the middle west, an easy one. It took me too long to see INK, and then the rest followed. Quite a worthy challenge.

mathgent 8:27 AM  

The only gimme I found going through all the clues was HUR and I wasn’t even sure of it initially. “Ben-“ could be GAY.

I’ve recently started counting entries six letters and over — they give a puzzle something. Stature? Weight? Anyway, this one had 26 out of 66, 39%. The most I’ve found so far.

I didn’t find it easy. It took some time to get a foothold. But I finished it relatively quickly for a slow solver.

Short on sparkle for a Saturday. The six grid spanners are pretty dull.



kitshef 8:27 AM  

If you are going to have SAID NO ONE EVER in your grid, you should probably not have “land sakes alive” in there.

Others complain about sportsball clues. For me, it’s music. Only holdups today were TRIADS and LEONORA.

I did know STACY, though, and that reminded me of my favorite Tuesday NYT puzzle ever: that of November 6, 2018.

Z 8:28 AM  

@Lou - WONT - It does seem to have fallen into disuse of late, so not surprised you haven’t heard it.

Teedmn 8:32 AM  

The FANTA-GRETA goalposts got me started in this puzzle and I never really had a big hitch after that.

I liked the clue for FORGETS. I kept thinking there was going to be a play on "leaves" as in shrubbery or trees. And when _OR_ETS was in place and sLOP was a possibility, I had cORsETS float through but, no.

I thank Rex for making SAID NO ONE EVER so easy to see. Seems like he makes that complaint about once a week.

I was working from right to left in the upper section so I had LIVE in place and went back to plop in LANDSAKESA with nary a hesitation. That it crosses HOEDOWN is just a bonus. My mashed-up saying is something I came up with as a teenager and I now say it without even thinking, sometimes getting a weird look: Everybody and their brother and their dog was there.

Hand up for the urge to fill in _IVID crossing _OW with an L but even I was unable to make a case for someone raising their hand because they were lOW. Low on...energy? Gas? The totem pole? VIVID got me out of that hole and it was my last letter in.

Thanks, Paolo Pasco, for the smooth, easy Saturday.

bauskern 8:36 AM  

As with most of you, found this to be super easy. I thought the cluing for 50A was uber-generational, but the crosses made it do-able. And re STAN, I come across this more in the crosswords; never in real life. Stay healthy everyone. And enjoy the beautiful weather. And can someone wake up the real Rex???

Anonymous 8:54 AM  

Always assumed this is where ‘Stan’ started:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stan_(song)#Song

Anonymous 8:59 AM  

It's nice that there was no casual sexism in today's write-up.

OffTheGrid 9:01 AM  

Thanks for the tip. I'm currently stuck at 18 but will have another go.

TJS 9:03 AM  

Good puzzle, but I wish it was a little tougher for a Saturday.Paolo is terrific though. How can someone be a regular reader of this blog and be unfamiliar with "Said no one ever" ? Knew tea trays and tea trolleys, but tea rack ? Something hung on the wall with various tea types?

I thought the Word of the Day section was hilarious.Welcome Interstate Managers gets two mentions. Someone stood next to the writers when they produced the song.And "inspired by a friend" who had a "crush on his grandmother". C'mon. Oh, and Rachel Hunter plays the "titular role". I was surprised that I missed the Bowling for Soup era, but now I realize that I don't remember anything that happened in 2011. Won't forget 2020 though.

Paul Statt 9:24 AM  

Completely agree that GLOP was weak, but not as sorry as GLOOPS was!

RooMonster 9:36 AM  

Hey All !
Had ____TABLESTOCK, kept thinking "what the heck kind of stock has 'TABLE' in it?" Aha, once I got it. VEGETABLE. Veggy-table. Har.

An overall nice themeless. Got stuck in a few spots, but persevered and ended up 100% correct!

STACY went in off just the T. As a male, that song/video (thanks Rex!, for another viewing) is indelibly entrenched in the ole brain. Hubba Hubba. 😂

So that helped me in the SE. Got a chuckle out of SAID NO ONE EVER. Nice modern "opinion". LAND SAKES ALIVE does seem a word too long. Where'd the LAND come from? Liked @Lorens list of mash-ups.

tBAr-IBAR, STOic-STONY, (almost)nOrm-WONT (did have mARS for TARS, furthering the nOrm-wanting), ptA-NEA, all-ONS. Also, couldn't get NEHI out of my head for FANTA. Knew the clue wanted a soda, didn't fool me!

Three F's
GETS FAT- Quarantine side effect
RooMonster
DarrinV

57stratocaster 9:40 AM  

Very enjoyable. Also my best Saturday time ever. I Had sorrynotsorry before saidnooneever.

DavidL 9:42 AM  

This puzzle rocks. Thanks Paolo. Set a Saturday record, and during the solve,it felt like I was knocking down a fairly challenging puzzle. Alas, sounds like most others also found it on the easy side.

@Frantic Sloth, same here -- ISOLATION TANK immediately brought to mind "Altered States." It came out in my freshman year of college, and it creeped me out so much I had nightmares for a week after I saw it.

Can someone help me with the clue on 6 Down - what does the final "do" mean in "Do-si-do do"? Like, "event"?


57stratocaster 9:46 AM  

Also had Faygo before Fanta...it's a Detroit thing.

Kathy 9:51 AM  

This one skewed young and pop culture-y. Surprisingly, against those odds, this Boomer newbie finished in under a hour!

This is the type of puzzle that will help the NYT penetrate the younger demographic, so, although I personally found parts of it annoying, overall it’s good for the XW business to bring people aboard by offering a balanced smorgasbord, gettable by crosses. As with @Z, HUR was my point of entry.

A smattering of WTF items: LOOSENS, TEARACK, STAN—thanks, @CDilly 52, for explaining! Like others, I thought the last was a mashup.

A shout-out to the answers I really liked: SAID NO ONE EVER, DENY DENY DENY (I now see these were blog faves)

Delightful long answers! Well constructed too! I give it an A.

Nancy 9:55 AM  

So easy for a Saturday. I zipped through it like...

KELP growing in a forest.
VEGETABLE STOCK heating up in a pot.
IVIES growing up the side of a building.
Dancing the only jig at the HOEDOWN.

That doesn't mean I didn't find the puzzle likable. But I didn't really need to all that much THINKING, FREE or otherwise. Yesterday's puzzle was quite a bit harder.

One thought on SAID NO ONE EVER: I don't think you say that after an unpopular opinion. I think you say that after an off-the-wall opinion or comment.

Anonymous 9:57 AM  

Must be because he woke up on the “right” side of the bed.

Escalator 9:59 AM  

Does anybody know if Rex ever uses google or some other aid to help him complete the NYT puzzles every so often? Methinks not.

Anonymous 10:00 AM  

And strawberry rhubarb pie.

Crimson Devil 10:01 AM  

Whatser
Thanks for heads up re upcoming sabbatical.
I see that Kim... has resurfaced: what’s happened to Maureen Dowd? I’s afraid she’d slipped off with him....

Anonymous 10:05 AM  

At least 50 down was clues as “slang”. It should have been so for 13 across and 30 down (which is not a word).

Anonymous 10:08 AM  

Familiar is one thing but “real” is another. Many unreal answers there.

Barbara S. 10:10 AM  

I didn't have a chance to comment yesterday, but I read the blog and really enjoyed the conversation about Buffy Sainte-Marie. I've always thought of her voice as an acquired taste, but once you do acquire it, you love it for its uniqueness. Another of her early songs I've always liked is "I'm Gonna be a Country Girl Again:"
"I tell you, all the lights on Broadway don't amount to an acre of green."
She's 79 and still going strong as both a musician and an activist. In 2015 she recorded an album called "Power in the Blood," full of hard-hitting material, which won the Polaris Music Prize in Canada (prestigious, as it's based on artisitic merit alone regardless of sales).

TODAY:
I thought SAID NO ONE EVER must be a direct quotation from Rex, taken from one of his previous reviews. (Tee Hee)

I did just fine with the puzzle, but there were a few hiccups:
StepS instead of DENTS for small bits of progress,
BrOth instead of STOCK for the soup base,
SwepT instead of DRIFT for carried away,
LimbErS instead of LOOSENS for warms (up).

6D I thought "Do-si-do" do was talking about a hairstyle at first, and was straining to think how women wear their hair at square dances. I wanted "ponytail," but it wouldn't fit.

23A After months of INK always meaning tattoos in the NYTXW, it's suddenly expanded its repetoire to mean the press as well. We've had that twice in a very short time, and I need to expand my mind accordingly.

8D No idea about the NEA and school vouchers -- must be a strictly U.S. issue.

@Teedmn 8:32
Yes to "Leaves" as parts of trees, yes to "sLOP," yes to a brief flirtation with cORsETS -- scary!

Typhoid Z 10:23 AM  

Timely to see epidemiologists as a clue. Stay safe. Wear a mask and as Richard Thompson said “keep your distance,”

Anonymous 10:28 AM  

@pabloinnh:
great aunt Zet (actual name) used to say LANDSAKESALIVE

so did my grandmother. must be a New England thing?

don't pick on WONT! it's perfectly good 15th century English. get you some edumacation.

Carola 10:28 AM  

Picking up the puzzle, I interpreted the cross in the middle of the grid as "Good luck getting out of this one ALIVE," especially as I think of Paolo Pasco as one of those young whippersnappers whose efforts regularly flummox me. But surprisingly, it turned out to be a delightful sort of slow-motion romp. Loved those long Acrosses. Also enjoyed patting myself on the back for being equally familiar with LEONORA and Jabba the Hutt (beside OBESE and GETS FAT, I liked the additional meaning GUTSIER took on).

@egsforbreakfast 1:25 - Gosh, I'm envious of your rhubarb; it's not up yet around here. Facetiously, I'd say, "Ship it to me." But I agree with @sf27shirley and @BarbieBarbie about thinking of your freezer: make compote or fast-freeze raw pieces for future pies and crisps.

AdamW 10:34 AM  

Well, we do kinda know, because in the prequels, he is shown smaller. We also know from the book descriptions.

RooMonster 10:42 AM  

Re: Spelling Bee Yesterday
Missed two! Argh! Closest yet to being Queen Bee.
Today's is a toughie. 23 words so far, and still have two score-dots left!

RooMonster Queen Bee Aspirations Guy

MR. Cheese 10:45 AM  

Had everything but FOR_ETS. Was hung up on tree leaves and I wouldn’t let go.

Happy Camper 10:49 AM  

Mostly an upbeat puzz today. Calvin and Hobbes always brings a grin.
Strange that atomic can be used for very large as well as very small. I knew someone who had shag carpet so deep that you could lose your keys in it.
I went diving in a kelp forest off Catalina Island and it was very scary. Something could be right next to you and you couldn't see it.
Seeing Grumpy Greta over stagy seems appropriate.
Isolation tank feels a little too close to home.

Anonymous 10:57 AM  

Please explain STE

Newboy 10:57 AM  

Gulped as I glanced at those long stacks top & bottom, but it went smooth as butter (NO SALT please) once SANSKRIT dropped to anchor a counterclockwise solve. Saw TRIADS with DENY DENY DENY and wasted a TAD bit of time wandering around the grid for the other themed trios—that didn’t exist. Ultimately, today was just good clean comfortable crossword time and the popular culture clues had fair crosses though they again made me feel like an old flatulent fellow, but like me the puzzle was a gas. Thanks Paola....now off to see OFL & y’all.

Unknown 10:58 AM  

Often “do” is used to mean a hairdo, I was trying to think of a hairstyle that would be worn to a square dance

21st Century Schizoid Man 11:00 AM  

As is my wont is a pretty common expression.

Nancy 11:02 AM  

A REPRISE of a previous post -- modified for today's puzzle. (Note to fans of musicals: REPRISES are often modified from Act I to Act II to accommodate changes in the plot.)

I hate KELP!
Try serving it; your family will yelp.
You put it in a salad and the salad you diminish,
You put it in the noodles and your family won't finish,
And then you'll know what others know: You should have cooked with spinash.
Oh, I hate KELP!

GILL I. 11:05 AM  

@pablo 6:20...Your mashup story made me laugh out loud. When you're bilingual, your brain sorta takes on a mind of its own. I did a lot of translating in Spain - it's not easy, believe me. Even though I'm fluent in both languages, I have to pause at times. My sisters and I had fun with some of the literal translations:
Me cai mal....He falls of me bad
Tomar el pelo....drink the hair
Dar la lata....give the can
Yeah....it's right on the tip of my think as well.

Newboy 11:15 AM  

@egsforbreakfast (1:25) https://www.theseoldcookbooks.com/strawberry-rhubarb-jam-with-jello/
Favorite 3 ingredient fridge jam from my youth. Great for morning toast & holds its own with peanut butter as a lunch/snack option. Other suggestions above look good & support for the local food bank is a 👍🏼

John R 11:18 AM  

I also thought today's puzzle was easier than yesterday's, but that is probably because yesterday was a DNF for me (at least now I think I'll never forget how to spell ukulele).

@57statocaster - thanks for the Faygo reference. I still remember their old commercials. For another Detroit reference, you can take a look at Rex's blog from Oct. 8, 2006. I have been doing old Sunday puzzles and ran across that one.

This is the first year in many that I did not get to a Tiger's game during Spring training. I had tickets for March 17th this year, but that never happened.

Bax'N'Nex 11:21 AM  

@Joaquin 12:05...well, we can check off May. He spent his monthly “like” early.

Masked and Anonymous 11:30 AM  

Yep. Kinda easy for a SatPuz. Only things unknown: ROSA/LENORA. LIFEHACK. STAN.

This is reassurin, to have the Jaws of Themelessness back in the weekend rodeo.
What's real weird tho is that I don't recall seein a single questionmark-clue again, for the second themeless puz time of the weekend. Unusual and rarer than snot.

fave entries: SAIDNOONEEVER & GLOP. GLOP seems sorta old-fashioned tho, now that we have discovered GLOOP. Noteworthy GLOP facts:

1. GLOOP dictionary defintion: "another term for GLOP".
2. Only other "unmessy" GLOP alternative in this puzgrid would be GLOR. [Jeff GLOR dude used to host the CBS evenin news show, before Norah O'Donnell darlin.] We always liked Glor, as our grand-nephew's first word was reportedly "glar".
3. GLOP has Patrick Berry Usage Immunity. Not so, for GLOOP.
4. Corn pudding is also known as: Hoppy GLOP.
5. GLOP is a giant monster that first appeared in Tales to Astonish #21.
6. A servin of GLOP oughta be known as: one GLOP gulp.
7. GLOP is reminiscent of GOP, somehow ...

staff weeject pick: HUR. Contains the entire U-haul for today's puz.

Thanx for the friendly fun, Mr. Pasco. Primo smooth puzgrid.

Masked & AnonymoU


**gruntz**

David 11:46 AM  

@eggsforbreakfast 1:25, there are a lot of good ideas for you here. Another thing you can do is make your compote or pie filling and can it for use later in the year. We do this every year with sour cherries, which have an incredibly short season and make the best pies ever.

I'm old. I am still wont to use wont often.

Slow start up top for me, unlike sheep (which definitely have cloven hooves)? Looking around, Lenora was a gimme, as was Sanskrit, then ink meant press long before it meant tattoo (in popular usage), fun to think of Julie Andrews singing trills, etc; and I worked my way across the middle. Off Helmet, I tossed in "thirds" for 44A, but then, above, Beyonce went solo and Hur was there (Ben Hur skews young?) so Gutsier went in and thirds became triads. I had a typo on glop (which Hooray! the US spelling today) and wasn't positive about atomic before gutsier went in.

To the SE, Era, Shag gave me the downs (30, 31, 34) so I guessed Stacy, put in stoic (oops) and Stan, which I've actually heard. "tock" gave me vegetable stock, but "aik" didn't give me the obvious answer, so stoic became stony and in fell the other 2 bottom longs.

Isolation tanks. Descended from the "Orgone Box" referenced in Kirchner's "Lily"--"Meet me in my orgone box, with a double bourbon on the rocks"--by the time Hurt was in Altered States (great movie, great score), water had been added and they were called "sensory deprivation tanks," recently they came back into public consciousness as "Isolation tanks" and are now (commercially at least), "float boxes."

Lastly I went back up north, finally awake: fanta, rids, enamors, tokes, hoedown, then the crosses. Yes to Lands Sake Alive.

I must have really liked this puzzle, usually I forget the solve almost immediately and just remember particular clues and answers.

Thanks Paolo.

albatross shell 11:49 AM  

LAND SAKES ALIVE by one Google account was the source for SAKES ALIVE. LAND being a replacement for Lord, whose name cannot be taken in vain. Hattie McDaniel, as Mammy in GWTW, may have popuralized it in America. I think it was used in movies before that but have not found evidence. At least one book credits her with saying it. Can't find the clip.

TEARACK was a plan for me because I think of caddy as a thing with wheels (TEAcArt), not as a shelf or container. Anyway the music played with RACK, and the dictionary says I was wrong too.

FREEwHeelING before FREETHINKING. And who knows what a sheep thinks anyway?

Don't say a word is better advice than DENYDENYDENY, sometimes at least.

WONT great answer.

Anonymous 11:51 AM  

STE. is suite in building address. 54D

albatross shell 11:51 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
webwinger 11:53 AM  

Well, I certainly did not find this easy—a full 15-minutes over Saturday mean (and almost exactly the same as yesterday), though that stat in the app is based mainly on solves using Google, which I avoided today out of recent habit even though it would have given me LEONORA earlier and possibly a considerably better time. Ended up with a no-tune completion yet again and decided to throw in the towel officially by hitting Check Puzzle. Turned out the problem was just a lousy one-letter typo. But it was time to accept that the streak is dead as of yesterday—dang you, UKULELE—RIP...

Overall the solve was quite enjoyable. Liked all of the long across stack entries. Started with flOtATION TANK for 55A—experienced one of those during a stay in Amsterdam a couple of years ago; didn’t do much for me. A bit puzzled by the clue for ERA—does it refer to a particular period—like our recent dearly departed old normal—or maybe to the still-not-ratified constitutional tweak? Either way seems a bit odd for this common “weeject” (hope it gets the M&A nod today). Look forward to seeing what think (thinks?) the commentunity (TM @LMS).

bauskern 12:03 PM  

@ Anonymous 10:57 STE is an abbreviation for "suite"

OK, did Rex even watch the video for Stacy's Mom? For someone who is so woke, I can't believe he didn't go off on a rant re: the film's overt MILF-y sexism. I think he posted it without actually watching it.

albatross shell 12:04 PM  

@anon 1057pm
Suite abbreviation. Good with rhubarb?

pabloinnh 12:12 PM  

@Anon,10:28--It may in fact be a New England thing, as I have heard folks of a certain age use it around here, but my great aunt was a native of NYS, specifically the southern edge of the Adirondacks (me too).

Hola GILL I-Funny, I've always thought of Me tomas el pelo? as "Are you taking my hair?". Using "drinking" there is really icky. I agree about translating, and I'm nowhere near as bilingual as you are. Got talked into translating at a private school once as a South American student had parents coming and the administration wanted me to help them talk to them. Turned out a lot of it involved a medical report with a lot of neurological terms. Ay ay ay. Me : "He's having problems with his brain". They paid me anyway.

CaryinBoulder 12:14 PM  

@GILL I Crocs makes more than those holey plastic abominations. I have bad feet and I’ve been wearing their super-comfy canvas loafers for years. In 2017 we stayed at a B&B in Rome and one of the proprietors, a toney gay guy, asked me about my KICKS and where he could get a pair.

Like most everyone, I found this relatively easy even with all the long acrosses and younger skewage. More like a gentle Friday than a Saturday, but I will gladly take it after yesterday’s struggles.

STAN the Man Musial is the only Stan I’ll ever need (outside of Kazakh-, Paki- or Uzbekhi-). Wasn’t familiar with this variety, but I get it. A musician friend has one that he calls his “stalker.” Shows up at all his shows and demands attention afterwards, in addition to being just plain weird.

My musical knowledge is deep but not wide enough to encompass opera, teen pop or rap — or MTV-style videos. So STACY was a head-scratcher even though it pretty much filled itself in. (That is a hot mom in the vid, though.) Ditto for LEONORA, although I have no idea where she ranks on the hotness scale.

When we moved into our house 22 years ago the basement (my office-to-be) was covered in royal blue SHAG carpet, along with faux-wood wainscoting on the walls. Needless to say, that shit got ripped out in a NY minute.

Went for a strenuous bike ride up into the mountains yesterday, helping to blow out some of the “every day is Blursday” cobwebs. Can’t tell you how much it TRILLS me that it’s the weekend. It is the weekend isn’t it? At our Monday Zoom Spanish classes mi maestra always asks what I did esta fin de semana. I’ve been in retirement for a while, but with being sequestered as well I’m always at a loss for an answer. How about, “I grabbed a rifle and stormed the state capitol demanding my right to infect and be infected by anyone I please.” Where are our lobotomists when we need them?

Joe R. 12:16 PM  

I don’t comment much, but today is a momentous occasion! I basically matched Rex’s solving time, coming in at a Saturday personal record of 6:25. I’m usually several minutes slower, at best. Flew through this one - FANTA, PEET, and GRETA got me started, and then FREETHINKING fell into place and I was off to the races. If I hadn’t put TEAtray instead of TEARACK, I might’ve shaved off those 5 seconds.

Oh, and to the early comments, sheep have cloven hooves, or else they wouldn’t be kosher.

jberg 12:18 PM  

Fun puzzle, and very timely, what with the epidemiologists, ISOLATION, and DENY DENY DENY.

TEA RACK is definitely the weak point; there may be some kind of rack used to dry the tea leaves after they're picked, but if so that's not an alternative to a tea caddy.

@Nancy, has your surname changed, or is that Wit Twister, a poem with anagrams to fill in, on p. 3 of today's paper by another Nancy?

Nick D 12:26 PM  

Wrote in SORRY NOT SORRY instead of SAIDNOONEEVER, which threw things off for a while, but other than that, a smooth, fun Friday--er, Saturday.

Michiganman 12:31 PM  

A friend sent me this RE: THAT WOMAN IN MICHIGAN

Masked and Anonymous 12:32 PM  

p.s. LEONORA. M&A misspelt hur name, in the first go-round.

@ webwinger: I reckoned the ERA clue to be thinkin that the end of an ERA might be lamented, if it was nostalgically thought to be a real great one. Kinda like the ERA where themeless puzs still had question-marked clues, or somesuch.

ERA should at least get an honorable mention, re: weeject pick. It's just about the most commonly used weeject in crossword weeject history, after all.

M&A Help Desk

albatross shell 12:36 PM  

I saw the video for Stacy's Mom before. Did Rex or someone else link it here?

I think ERA referred to some prior of time, but enjoyed the ammendment ambiguity.

I will not lament the covid19 ERA.
Nor the Trump45 ERA.

egsforbreakfast 1:06 PM  

@ michiganman 12:31. Andy Borowitz is the funniest political humorist alive, and prolific as well. I highly recommend signing up for his free daily email.

Thanks to lots of you for great rhubarb suggestions. I just dropped a garbage bag full at the food bank, but have plenty left to try in new ways.

Anonymous 1:06 PM  

@albatross:
Nor the Trump45 ERA.

well, as the saying goes, 'vote early and often'.

it was during the James Michael Curley ERA in Boston that this was, supposedly, whispered in the Irish neighborhoods. if memory serves, this was during the Irish - Italian struggle for power at its height. both sides, of course, had it in for the hundreds of years of WASP dominance.

the wiki, of course, labels it from Tammany Hall, but NYC was never The Hub of The Universe. despite what they think.

"Curley served four terms as Mayor of Boston, Massachusetts, including part of one while in prison."

can NYC top that?

JC66 1:16 PM  

@albatros

It's part of @Rex post.

@egs

Have you considered drying, rolling and using your rhubarb to TOKE? ;-)

Anonymous 1:21 PM  

Loved it! - newbie

Unknown 1:34 PM  

I really agree with the general opinion that this week's Friday and Saturday were misassigned. Fastest time ever for a Saturday for me--- three minutes shorter than my best Friday time. Yesterday's time was probably my worst Friday time ever and twice as long as my Friday average--though I did enjoy it for a while until I got hopelessly stuck in the NW. So much obscurity yesterday, especially "gin slings". (Though that answer did inspire me to make myself a nice cocktail to celebrate the week's end.)

ghostoflectricity 1:47 PM  

My one objection was that there is no such expression (or, to use the puzzle's own terminology, "SAID NO ONE EVER") as "LAND SAKES ALIVE!" "Land sakes!," yes. And "Sakes alive!," yes. But not all three words together- no one EVER said that.

I said "was" in the opening sentence of this comment. But viewing the music vid Rex included in his write-up gave rise to a second objection. That is to the reference to "Stacy's Mom." I'm not overly familiar with the song or with Fountains of Wayne's music in general. And I lament the tragic Covid-19-related early death of FOW member Adam Schlesinger. But viewing the vid, an unapologetic paean to the privileged white cis-het male gaze and the sexist objectification of women, I couldn't let that pass.

I'm a middle-aged cis-het white male from a privileged background myself. I do not think, in this time when we should be striving to be more "woke," and when the poor, people of color, and the less privileged have been impacted and are dying disproportionately from the pandemic due to social and political injustice, that we should be promoting this at all. It all severely calls into question FOW's reputation as an "alt" band. If it is, or was, "alt," it demonstrated some seriously, leeringly retrograde sexual politics in this vid and this song. Even AC/DC, an unapologetically cock-rock band (but one that didn't take itself so seriously) was not as smirkingly white-male-privilege as this.

That's it for this rant. Now I'm going to listen to several hours of Nina SImone, Public Enemy, Gil Scott-Heron, Billy Bragg, and Steve Earle to wash the bad taste left by that vid out of my brain.

Molson 2:02 PM  

The title character of Stacy's Mom is... Stacy's mom. Not Stacy. So that clue is bad/wrong. Should remove "title" from the clue.

KnittyContessa 2:04 PM  

This was fun! When I first saw the grid I braced myself. I thought I was never going to finish it. I was delightfully wrong. Especially enjoyed the slang expressions.

albatross shell 2:04 PM  

@JC66
Not sure what you are referring to. If it is LANDSAKESALIVE Rex suggested it is a mashup. I was trying to say SAKESALIVE is a spin-off instead. I was also tring to say the whole expression was used in Gone with the Wind. Rex suggests nobody says all 3 words together and it was not a good answer. I was disagreeing. I guess I was unclear or you were referring to something else. ?

Oops I see. No, I know he did today. I meant before today. I stumbled acrossed somehow a few months ago. Many of the new videos I watch are links in posts here. I thought Rex or someone here might have previously posted it. And if it was Rex then he most certainly watched it. It was suggested he hadn't. I think he had in any case. Politically sensitive yes. Prudish no.

Frantic Sloth 2:21 PM  

I apologize for the length - and I haven't even finished reading the comments!

@GILL I LOL! Is it blowfish or blobfish? Either works for me, but I'm partial to blob.

@Roo 1042am For the first time ever - and probably owing to the 21 word goal - I actually made Queen Bee....likely never to be seen or experienced again. :(

@Whatsername 817am - Thank you for the heads-up. I'll miss you!

@Z 822am Say it ain't so about "Karen" being racist! I use it often, but only because of one of my favorite videos ever!

@pabloinnh I'ma have to appropriate "it's right on the tip of my think" and sorry, not sorry. ;)

Echoing @Quasi 716am in the plea to @JoeD for the Lauren Bacall anecdote!

Oh! Oh! I just remembered! A favorite mashup of mine was courtesy of Pearl on RPDR season 7: Flazé-da. (2 separate links there) Unfortunately, there is no video of the original occurrence, which annoys me no end, but whatever.

LANDSAKESALIVE keeps making me see LAND(o)lAKESALIVE. Borrowing from @Z, I blame recent events and pornography...not necessarily in that order.

I used to eat rhubarb raw from the yard of a childhood friend. Also currants. Yum!
Now that I think about it, the years before we moved (age 13) were marked by my "black bear behavior" of scavenging for food throughout the neighborhood: apples, pears, rhubarb, currants, and my all-time favorite: mulberries!
We'd all stand inside either of 2 trees and just eat to our hearts' content. Eventually, I'd have to go in to lunch or dinner* and I'd show up barefoot with purple stained hands, feet, and mouth, "greeted" by my mother yelling "were you eating mulberries again?!?" Why I ever thought I'd get away with it, nobody knows, but my response was always always a sheepish (in my mind slick) evasion-y "no..."

And then we moved. Coincidence?

*Literally answering to a bell - a story for another time.

Anonymous 2:36 PM  

land sakes alive

well, if the https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=land%20sakes%20alive (of all places)

says it's legit, then it must be

Richardf8 2:37 PM  

It freezes well.

Barbara S. 2:42 PM  

It annoys me no end that SB won't accept MAAM. How is that remotely right, fair or just? Especially on a day like this when I'm being massacred. (Yes, I know it's only one point but I'm DESPERATE!)

@Frantic Sloth - I've always held you in the greatest respect but your "QB" achievement absolutely enshrines you. "Genius" I can often get, but "QB" never. (Sigh.)

JC66 3:03 PM  

@Barbara

I think @Rex might be an editor; it won't accept NAZI, either.

Old Actor 3:13 PM  

@LMS:You may add these to your list, SAID BY NO ONE EVER, except by my friend who had a unique way with words:

"That's just gravy on the cake".
"It's a long row to hoe".
In answer to "How's it going?" His answer, "I've got several pies in the fire".

pabloinnh 3:14 PM  

@BarbaraS- i tried maam too, perfectly good word. Got to the G level eventually, with 28, but it's just because of a streak thing. Yesterday they didn't like RAMADAN, which I thought was inspired. Hang in there, you'll make it.

OH, no QB thing yet here either. Is there someplace that tells their max number of words?

ann in france 3:19 PM  

I don't understand "life hack". Help please!!

Frantic Sloth 3:21 PM  

@DavidL 942am the last "do" is pronounced like "doo" or the actual event or "do"(HOEDOWN) where one does a do-si-do.

Hand up for TEARACK being a "huh?" moment. I assumed it was just me.

@David 1146am Right! It was a "sensory deprivation tank" in the movie and dare I hope that the eventual transformation from that to "float box" isn't the result of the dumbing down of our country?

@Michiganman 1231 pm Thanks for the Borowitz take on the Michigan mishegoss. He keeps me sane...ish.

@Barbara S. 242pm Aw! Thanks! Same here. :) I wonder if @JC66 303pm is onto something. SB is maddening with the "words" it accepts and doesn't. It's ridiculous, but I can't help myself!!

Nancy 3:43 PM  

@jberg (12:18)-- Alas, a different Nancy. I saw her first WIT TWISTER last Saturday and was not a happy camper -- especially since I had sent Will Shortz all 41 of my own creations in hard copy at least four years ago. He said he couldn't use them and I should send them elsewhere. I doubt he remembers; maybe he never even looked at them; at any rate he didn't need them...then.

Last Saturday after seeing the other Nancy's, I went through my own collection, found the ones that were only 4 lines (most of them are longer), typed them up in an online email and sent them to Will. I got back an answer within a few hours: he thought they were good; he had already made a "commitment" to Nancy Coughlin; if that changed, he'd be getting back to me.

I hope she runs out of ideas soon. Or gets a more lucrative gig doing something else. But I doubt that will happen. Or maybe the WIT TWISTER will prove so popular that Will will run one more often than once every Saturday and she won't be able to keep up.

One thing I've learned in life. Everything is timing. Not just love. Everything!

Thanks for noticing, @jberg.

GILL I. 3:50 PM  

@Frantic...Your sense of humor is contagious. When I see blowfish, I think of Mama June. Blobfish is what happens when your top lip end up in your nostrils.

@Whatsername...Safe journey!

Rug Crazy 3:51 PM  

Also had LIVID LOW cross.

Z 3:55 PM  

@Frantic Sloth - “Karen” now has also come to include the kind of Karen who calls the cops because she sees a black family in the neighborhood park. Yes, based on true events. Not always, but just a hint.

@ann in France - Rather than “good advice” or “best practice” we now have LIFE HACKs. e.g. - “set aside specific times in your workday to read and respond to email, do not respond to them as they arrive” is a LIFE HACK. Sometimes also called a “pro tip.”

@Albatross shell - I’m pretty sure I linked to some Fountains of Wayne songs when Adam Schlesinger died last month.

@Molson 2:02 - The clue is fine. STACY’s mom wouldn’t be in the title without STACY.

@ghostofelectricity and @bauskern - I suppose. Or maybe the song is making fun of the male gaze by having a tween-age boy doing the ogling at the unattainable while ignoring the age appropriate girlfriend. It’s almost as if the song and video are mocking men by suggesting that men sometimes do their thinking with their nether regions. Oh, and doing it in such a way that the testosterone impaired don’t even notice they are being satirized.
Which reminds me, @TJS - I think it is supposed to be written titular in this case. I mean, I got your point but a little typography always helps.

@michiganman - I saw reference to that piece on Big Gretch on Twitter but haven’t had a chance to enjoy it, yet. Thanks for the link. I also saw a headline or article reference to a Freep article saying that the armed assholes heckling senators from the senate gallery has capital officials rethinking their gun policy. Proving once again that free speech is a dangerous thing because it might just prove what an ass you are. I think the Ted Nugent cosplayers only accomplishment has been to make Whitmer more popular.

Damn. FAygo did not even occur to me. I hope this doesn’t mean I have to give up my Michigander Card. I did wonder about Crush, though. Seems like the last time I recall seeing Orange Crush was when the Denver Broncos defense used it as a nickname. Not a pop drinker, just an occasional Coke or Cheerwine, so maybe Crush is still huge, but I don’t remember seeing it for 20+ years it seems.

@Adam W - Are the books canon? And at 18 I was 6’3” and 140 lbs. By 22 I was 6’4” and 185 lbs. So I added a third of my body weight but was still hardly obese. Since we know nothing about Hutt norms applying human norms to his weight is unfounded. Maybe he was malnourished in the early films.

@Crimson Devil - I saw a lot of photoshop speculation on Twitter. Of course, that was mostly from people who had him dead a week ago.

@Typhoid Z - Only wear a mask if you know how to put it on, take it off, properly dispose or clean it, AND maintain social distancing practices and good hand washing practices. If you are symptomatic don’t go out at all, even with a mask. Otherwise wearing a mask is worse than not wearing a mask.

Crimson Devil 3:59 PM  

Old A
Whasswrong with “A long row to hoe”?? Have I misunderstood all ma life??

Frantic Sloth 4:18 PM  

@pabloinnh 314pm The link entitled "Read About Today's Puzzle on Wordplay" under the crossword will bring you to that blog. Click on the comments at the end of the blog, select the "Reader Picks" tab and look for an entry by "Doug" - it's usually the first one, but is sometimes farther down the page. All the replies at the end of his post also contain some hints from others. (I'm sorry I don't remember the person on here who first pointed this out.)
It comes in handy when you get stuck as it does a detailed breakdown of all the words. I have used it every day since learning of its existence - yesterday being the lone exception!

JC66 4:21 PM  

@Z

I'm confused, if you know how to put it on, take it off, properly dispose or clean it, AND maintain social distancing practices and good hand washing practices, why wouldn't you wear a mask?

Even is the odds are 100:1 that it helps, what's the downside?

Woodstock survivor 4:38 PM  

Anyone here remember the flu pandemic of 1968? It killed way more people than this one has but the world was not shut down and yet we are still here. We are being duped.

GILL I. 4:49 PM  

@Nancy....Someone is stealing your thunder????? what am I missing...Pray, tell and let me know what WIT TWISTER is....
@Z....OK, so here's the problems as I see it. I've listened to all the sides of the COVID story. I understand the need to open up our economy. I know people are suffering - especially those that NEED to get back to work. I get all of that - except the gun totting in Washington - save that for killing Bambi. BUT...the mask thing and your "Only wear it if you know how to use it" is a bit over the top. Here's why: A ton of people could/couldn't care less about social distancing. Seriously. If they are asymptomatic and cough or sneeze and you are wearing ANY KIND of mask, chances are you won't be as apt to get it. We really don't know, do we? Why take the chance? YOU can't be too careful - especially if you have a loved one who will most likely die if he gets this. We just don't know enough about it yet. So....wear a mask and think about the other person who doesn't. Next week, I'm getting new ones that are Trump approved (hah)....I will post a picture of me wearing it; I plan to to beauty it up with jewels and make it all mine. Stay tuned/tooned.

Anonymous 5:04 PM  

@Woodstock:

1 - all flu(s) death toll is *estimated* by CDC, since it isn't tracked explicitly, while Covid is being tested/tracked
2 - on the order of 90% of flu deaths are geezers in nursing homes, et al; which is not to say, as O'Reilly did, that such deaths don't matter (yeah, he did; look it up), but few people see them and they don't end up in ICU
3 - Covid, due to its pathology, has overwhelmed every healthcare infrastructure where it got a toe hold, not just NYC, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/gallup-new-mexico-riot-control-act-roads-closed-coronavirus/
4 - total seasonal flu deaths cover 6 months, or so
5 - the 66,000 Covid so far is barely 2 months; talk to me at Christmas, if you're still interested

Barbara S. 5:09 PM  

@pabloinnh 3:14
Ramadan -- yes! I went down that same STONY road yesterday, too. Also with marl and flam -- rejections all. But RE Ramadan: is there any rule in SB about not accepting proper nouns?

@Frantic Sloth 4:18
I think I had trouble finding this before but I'll take another look. But despite all my teeth-gnashing, I don't want anyone simply giving me the answers. Hints maybe, but even then the purist in me has reservations. (Another sigh.)

ss 5:27 PM  

I agree this was an easier Saturday, but I had never heard of LAND SAKES ALIVE so I was hesitant to fill it in. I had one wrong square though, dints instead of DENTS and Lionora instead of LEONORA. Dints really seemed to make sense - I never really knew what dint means on its own and "by dint of" seems like it could mean by lots of bits of small progress. Lionora seemed to work too, a la Lionel. Oh well.

OffTheGrid 5:44 PM  

I have found that SB does not accept proper nouns, abbreviations, contractions(That's why MAAM didn't work).
"Sensitive" words don't make it either. Some prefixes and suffixes make the cut.

Schuly 5:45 PM  

Stan is from an Eminem song aboutvan obsessive fan.

Barbara S. 6:14 PM  

RE SB: YAY -- Genius!! (Thanks to Doug)

Richard 6:24 PM  

There's a reason I'm posting so late.

I thought at first that this was gonna be easy (for a Saturday), as many of you apparently found it. I roared through the entire West Coast and Midwest, thinking that would all fall easily. You know, when you get to that critical mass of answers and you feel that the puzzle's just about to give up? Well, I got there and found myself staring at a whole lot of white up and down the East Coast. Couldn't see THINKING, NEEVER AND PEET up top (even with downs NEVER and GRETA in place) and STOCK, TANK and the second and third DENYs down below. Wanted broth (non-starter), cell (same), tent (more of same). Stared. Stared some more. Nothing.

There was a time when I woulda just said f%^& it and come here. But now I just put it down. Went out in the yard and pruned some tree branches. Had lunch on the patio. Came back in and played with the sound settings on the TV. Picked up the puzzle and bang! No problemo. Funny, that. Seems to be a common problem-solving phenomenon, and I'm sure there's a scientific term for it. Maybe someone could enlighten me?

Teresa 6:34 PM  

All you doubters who think you know: I'm 65 years old. "Land sakes alive" most definitely exists. I knew it as soon as I had the L. I've never heard of half the stuff in this puzzle, but I don't question its authenticity.

kitshef 6:54 PM  

A patient is brought to the hospital. The diagnosis is appendicitis. His appendix is removed, and he gets better.

@Woodstock survivor - would your conclusion be that the operation was a waste of time and money? That the patient was duped?


Z 6:56 PM  

@JC66 and @Gill I - I have tried twice and it keeps turning into a long treatise - and this has nothing to do with the puzzle. Here is as short
as I can make it - masks don’t work because most masks aren’t that good, aren’t worn right, and people do more stupid things when wearing them. If you do everything right they help, but it is more likely to give you a false sense of security and you’ll forget to maintain distancing or proper hand-washing. Social distancing and hand washing are far more effective ways to prevent the spread. What it most definitely is not is “wear one and everyone is safer.” And always wash your hands after taking one off (the reason for that should be obvious).

@Gill I - If you live with too many people who refuse to do social distancing than, yes, wear a mask. Even if it just makes you feel safer, wear a mask. But an improperly warn mask is just as bad and maybe worse than no mask at all, so make sure you’re doing it right. Where I’m at the population density is low and even the people with Trump 2020 stickers on their gun stocks are keeping their distance. Between staying home more and my neighbors being generally good, I haven’t heard a cough in weeks.

@Anon5:04 - 1968 pandemic killed ~100,000 Americans in 2 years. We have 60,000 confirmed deaths in two months. I think it is safe to tell @I’m A Jerk 4:38 to take a long walk off a short pier. I’ll be there with their Darwin Award.

JC66 7:30 PM  

@Z

You're not answering my question.

Since you know how to use a mask properly and you admit they can help, why don't you wear a mask when you go out?

GILL I. 7:34 PM  

@Z....I'm not going to start beating a dead horse. Yeah, I agree on your improperly worn mask and all that. As you know, I live in the capital of the left coast. We have people of all persuasions and the civil liberties and constitutional rights ilk do their marching thing and they are sick of not being able to go back to work. Fine. Go ahead. You live in the land of the free and you are one lucky SOB because in other countries you do what the government tells you to do. But one little thing you can do is wear something to cover your mouth. Yeah, yeah...we need to wash hands before and after but YOU know that and SO DO I. Not everyone cares. Maybe it does give me a false sense of security but I don't know. WE KNOW NOTHING about this virus. Speculation everywhere. If people are asked to cover their faces in the off-chance it might save somebody else from getting this....the so be it. Little to ask of humanity.
No room at the hospital nor at the inn......Punto, final.

Barbara S. 8:25 PM  

@Richard 6:24
Check out Incubation (psychology) in Wiki.

pabloinnh 8:42 PM  

@Barbara S-

Good for you! I'm with you on not wanting to go to a site that might give me answers, or even clues. Suspected Ramadan may have been rejected because of a capital R, and ma'am because of the apostrophe. On the other hand, a couple of days ago they had "loungy" and "youngy" as acceptable. My spell check doesn't like them any better than I do. I suspect that answers like this are going to keep me off the QB list forever.

Good way to pass the time though, especially now.

JC66 8:55 PM  

@pabloinnh

I think you're going to LOL at one of tomorrow's clue/answer.

egsforbreakfast 9:09 PM  

Another SB rule seems to be that brand names, even if long ago converted to generics, don’t fly. Three or four days ago SB wouldn’t accept yoyo. It is obviously a widely used word in various noun, verb and adjective variants. When I looked it up, it turned out to be originally a British brand name for the toy. I’m just waiting for the right letters to try Kleenex.

Giovanni 9:19 PM  

@gill amen sista. I was especially ticked off about @z saying derogatory things about mask wearers when they are protecting HIM from their spittle. He refuses to protect others from his spittle. It is not courteous, having us be recipients of your respiratory excretions. But to put down the mask wearers when they are doing you a favor! They are protecting you. Don't be so proud of your stance- you are a social menace to others. This is a fatal virus which we know very little about but it turns out there are many more asymptomatic people out there that we thought. A large percentage of carriers have no idea that they have it. This is why it's simply common courtesy to wear a mask at the grocery store. You could have it and are subjecting the cashier to it. They are working, they don't need the extra stress of non mask wearers, that could at least do the minimum to give them some extra protection.

Jonny Ace 9:30 PM  

Surprised Rex didn't embed a video of Brewer and Shipley performing "One Toke Over the Line." Or is everyone too young for that?

Joe Dipinto 9:46 PM  

@JC66 re tomorrow"s puzz – Oh!–I see which one you mean. I didn't notice the clue while I was solving, I was working the crosses. lol indeed

Anoa Bob 10:04 PM  

@Z covering our mouth when we sneeze or cough in the presence of others is a good thing, right? We've all seen those back-lit photos of someone sneezing and producing a great plume of aersolized droplets. Some contagious microbes, like the Covid virus, hitch a ride on those droplets.

And even though covering our mouth isn't 100% effective in preventing those droplets escaping, it does greatly reduce the force of their release and subsequent spread to others. Covering up is a courtesy to others, you know, a prosocial behavior.

Even though the release of aerosolized droplets isn't as dramatic when we laugh, sing, yell, talk or even breathe, it's still happening. One of the classic tests to see if someone is dead or just faking is to hold a mirror under their nose. A tell-tale misting on the surface of the mirror---evidence of aerosolized droplet condensation---shows the person is alive and breathing.

Now we are dealing with a much nastier microbe than the run-of-the-mill cold or flu germ. This one is much, much deadlier and it is highly contagious. So anything we can do to reduce the chance that we might unknowingly spread the virus to others is critical to the long run picture of how this menace plays out.

If we all do this, cover or mouth and nose when around others, it will reduce the spread of the virus and its deadly effects in the long run. The better we get at doing this---optimum mask material and wearing procedure, e.g.---the better the reduction in the spread will be.

Covering up is a courtesy to others.




Anonymous 10:15 PM  

I live in Brooklyn. People who refuse to wear masks from some sort of sophist’s perch are reprehensible. Period. Have long thought Z was a smug jerk; now it’s confirmed.

Barbara S. 10:27 PM  

@pabloinnh
@egsforbreakfast

Except that there seems to be an acceptable proper noun in today's SB. Go figure. (I found it after my 5:09 p.m. comment.)

PeterThomas 10:48 PM  

I really have to get out more. Stan, an ardent fan, life hack, tea rack?? Seriously. I am I living on the same planet? Maybe another century. Bob

webwinger 10:59 PM  

@Woodstock 4:38: CDC states there were about 100K flu deaths in the US in 1968. It now appears likely that COVID will surpass that number. Both numbers are of course subject to error, but there is no basis for claiming flu in that year killed “way more people” than COVID.

@Anonymous 5:04: Re your point 3, McKinley County NM (population 71K) has reported 1027 COVID cases (1461/100K population), 19 deaths (27/100K). It has the highest number per capita of cases in New Mexico, but is #38 among US counties. New York City has had 1635/100K cases and 124/100K deaths. The article you cite makes no mention of healthcare capacity in NM being inadequate. I have been closely watching statistics from the large Midwestern academic medical center where I am on the faculty, located in a major urban “hot spot”. It has continuously had a very substantial number of ventilators in reserve, and now sees its COVID census declining. Your statement that “COVID, due to its pathology, has overwhelmed every healthcare infrastructure where it got a toe hold, not just NYC” is completely without basis.

Please get your facts right, folks!

@Anoa Bob: You nailed it—Masking is a sign of courtesy and respect toward others. It may not be provable, but it seems highly unlikely improper masking is worse than no masking. (Remember when it was reported that 90% of infant car seats were improperly installed? CDC data nevertheless indicate they save many lives.)

Z 11:31 PM  

65A. LOL

@JC66, @Gill I, @giovanni - I follow the WHO guidelines. They are in keeping with the research I’ve seen. Here are the WHO guidelines about masks. Also, Please note the subtle use of “may” in the CDC guidelines. I know you find it shocking that an informed opinion is that widespread use of masks is probably pointless and potentially dangerous, but the science is mostly on my side. Here’s a relatively recent article on two studies. Read the whole article, but the last paragraphs pretty much sums it up.
"There's been enough research done to be able to confidently say that masks wouldn't be able to stop the spread of infection, that they would only have a small effect on transmission," Cowling said. "We shouldn't be relying on masks to help us go back to normal."
There’s a lot more out there, but you do have to winnow through a lot biased reporting both ways to find actual science. And let me be clear, it is not a settled issue with broad uniform consensus. That article I linked to definitely has information you can hold up and say “See!”

TJS 11:43 PM  

Hi. wtf is a cis-het ??

webwinger 12:46 AM  

@Z 11:31, and others: I reviewed the website article you cited, and the very recent Nature Medicine paper that was the primary reference on which it was based. The source showed modest but convincing benefit from wearing surgical masks, with no consideration of other types of masks. No mention in either publication of potential harm from improper use.

Let’s face it, we don’t really know how effective any of the currently recommended COVID mitigation measures are, particularly the stay-home orders that are the real cause of most of the economic hardship we are now and will continue to be experiencing for a long time. Consider the following (which I wrote but did not post on Wednesday 4/29):

COVID numbers for today (based on NYT tables—Coronavirus in the U.S.: Latest Map and Case Count): Compare the stats for California (politically blue, 8th youngest population, early stay-home orders—3/19) and for Florida (reddish, 5th oldest population, late stay-home orders—4/3—and host to the much maligned spring break Covidiots), both states quite warm and sunny, both similar in population density. California now ranks 34th among states in cases per capita to date (118/100,000 population), Florida 23rd (153/100K), but they are tied in 22nd place for deaths per capita to date (both 5/100K). New cases peaked around 4.3/100K/day on about 4/22 for California, 5.1/100K/day on 4/6 for Florida; current new cases roughly 3.75/100K/day for California, 3.25/100K/day for Florida. If you think California benefited from doing everything right, and Florida suffered from doing most things wrong, you might want to reconsider. And consider poor Massachusetts: 4th highest state in per capita cases (846/100K) and in deaths (46/100K), current new cases about 29/100K/day and not yet clearly at peak level, although stay-home in effect since 3/24 (and even before that a pretty high level of social distancing)—by all measures not doing well despite major effort, and having the best educated population and one of the best healthcare systems in the US. And—Boston’s population density (about 13K/square mile) is lower than San Francisco’s (about 17K/square mile).

Sweden is finally getting the attention it deserves, as it continues its no lockdown policy, in effect throughout the pandemic months to date (‘Life Has to Go On’: How Sweden Has Faced the Virus Without a Lockdown, Opinion | Is Sweden Doing It Right?). The country now has 199/100,000 population cases, 24/100K deaths, compared with Norway (144 cases, 4 deaths per 100K), Denmark (155 cases, 8 deaths), Germany (190 cases, 7 deaths), UK (242 cases, 33 deaths), and the United States (310 cases, 16 deaths). Not bad at all. Hard to attribute relatively high death rate to lack of stay-home requirement, in particular because the government has recommended that all those over 70 stay home, and has a no visitors policy for nursing homes (despite which more than 1/3 of deaths have occurred in such facilities). The country’s chief epidemiologist recently said it appears that about 25% of the population of Stockholm is now immune, and the city could reach “herd immunity … within a matter of weeks”. Will be interesting to compare economic impact of the pandemic and response to it across these countries when the smoke clears.

Finally, although mortality is considerably higher in certain groups, I have been unable to find a single statistic indicating death is more likely than not (occurring in more than 50%) among those with documented COVID infection in any definable group, including nursing home residents. Important to keep this in mind when considering isolated reports of “miracle recoveries”, no matter what the risk group.

bulgie 3:04 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
bulgie 3:57 AM  

@TJS 11:43p wrote "Hi. wtf is a cis-het ??"

Hmmm, let me google that for you.
Ah, here it is:
https://lmgtfy.com/?qtype=search&q="cis-het"

bulgie 7:37 AM  

Sorry, I just think it's so funny that the only people who don't know what cis-het means are cis-het people. There's nothing wrong with that (sincerely, I am one), it's just funny. What is the opposite of "it takes one to know one"?

Anonymous 8:49 PM  

It’s Monday. I just finished the Saturday crossword. 2 hours. About 1 hour of that because of the top 3 lines. I’ve only been in this country 30 years, so the Land sakes alive thing was problematic for me. (Curio for enamor didn’t help)
But my point is the word WONT. The only time I’ve ever heard it being used is in the expression “as is his wont.” Meaning, as he usually does.
It’s a British expression. Don’t know if anyone cares or reads this far down the commentaries, but....

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