Home for Hogarth or Constable / SAT 5-16-20 / Unit of magnetic flux / Means of devastation on Game of Thrones / Fictional land in highest-grossing film of 2018 / Claw-proof crate / Aristocrat in British slang / Chain with loaf of bread in its logo

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Constructor: Tracy Gray and Jeff Chen

Relative difficulty: Easy (5:50)

THEME: none

Word of the Day: Donna SHALALA (41A: Congresswoman who once served in the U.S. cabinet) —
Donna Edna Shalala (Arabicدونا إدنا شلالا‎; /ʃəˈllə/ shə-LAY-lə; born February 14, 1941) is an American politician and academic serving as the U.S. Representative for Florida's 27th congressional district since 2019. A member of the Democratic Party, she previously served as the 18th United States Secretary of Health and Human Services under President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 2001. (wikipedia)
• • •

This is a completely acceptable Saturday puzzle. No real wows, but not much garbage either. Sturdy throughout. The highs were higher and the lows were lower yesterday, but I liked yesterday's puzzle somewhat more—it hit more than it missed. This one rarely misses, but only CRAZY BUSY and RUMOR HAS IT really made me sit up and take notice. The rest was just fine. Oh, I also liked WAKANDA. It's hard for me, specifically, when I finish a puzzle like this because I just don't have much to say, one way or the other. It's nice to have something *remarkable* to work with, even if what is remarkable is that the puzzle stinks. With a kind of beige / taupe / ecru puzzle like this, I was more aware of how I was solving than of the specific quality of the puzzle. For instance, starting Saturdays is almost always tough, and this was no exception. First pass at the NW yielded a few things, but nothing that allowed me to put it all together. I guessed ZIN correctly, but didn't trust it, and since I also didn't trust its neighbor, ARID, I just decided to abandon that corner and move on. I did, however, have enough sense to see the "VI" toward the end of 14A: Look down on something and write in the word VIEW. Seemed probable. Of course my next move was dropping WEASELS down from the "W" in VIEW at 15D: Spineless sorts, metaphorically (WET RAGS), so even though VIEW was the right move, it had a bad initial outcome. Sometimes even your good moves turn out bad.

What I really noticed was the power of the CRUCIAL answer (which, today, was not, in fact, CRUCIAL). Today's crucial answer was a totally banal one: ATTACH (10D: Online action symbolized by a paper clip). I don't think of ATTACHing as inherently "online," but ... I guess it is. I attach things to emails, emails are "online." I guess I think of "online" as referring to something that happens (primarily) in my web browser. Annnnnyway, I ATTACH things regularly to emails so the paper clip icon was familiar to me. Writing in ATTACH gave me the first letters of all the 4s in the NE, and that helped me knock them off 1-2-3. Which then meant that the long Downs could fall easily as well. Then it was easy to back GOATHERD into the middle of the grid, sweep down to the SW, then back up to the formerly pesky NW, which proved far less pesky this time. RAKE gave me the "K" to get down into the SE via WAKANDA, and a correct guess of BALLADS allowed me to come at the SE from the other side as well. Some trouble with NAPA, but otherwise made pretty short work of the SE and ended up with a pretty swift under-6-minute solve time. When I look back over the grid, or over my print-out of the grid, the part I like most is actually the two wrong answers I had, which I have written in the margins, one over the other: YOGA WEASELS. Now *that* is a gang I would join. (I had YOGA for 1D: ___ pants (CAMO)).

Five things:
  • 4D: Cab alternative (ZIN) — yes, my brain went first to transportation, but if you've been doing these long enough, the wine meaning of "cab" will shout at you pretty quick
  • 23A: Name that's an anagram of both 16- and 18-Across (ETTA) — not (at all) a big fan of this kind of clue, which is essentially content-free. It's annoying enough to be sent around the grid to figure out answers; to have no actual clue beyond "anagram" is very disappointing
  • 33A: Binary code snippets (BYTES) — for some reason, I wasn't sure about the "Y"; thought it might be "I." Something about bits and bytes, I don't know. Luckily, getting the "Y" from TYPE A wasn't hard (30D: Like go-getters)
  • 37A: Unit of magnetic flux (WEBER) — the fragmentary remains of my college Physics I class still clatter around my brain, so even though I couldn't tell you anything very definitive about physics, I still have a decent physics vocabulary storehouse, and with crosswords, that is often enough (fun fact: the only award I received in college was for my Physics I class, in which I got the highest grade—this is what happens when Physics is your respite from your three 200pp/week literature classes).
  • 48A: Mount near Olympus (OSSA) — considered ETNA, but that's on Sicily, which ... honestly, I don't know where "Olympus" is, but I'm pretty sure it's in Greece. Four-letter mountains from ancient literature = ETNA or OSSA (if it's three letters, you're probably looking at IDA) (if five, MT. IDA) (IDA is on Crete, btw) (also, Mount OSSA is the highest point in Tasmania ... you know, in case that ever comes up)
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Frantic Sloth 12:20 AM  

Dang it! This was much too easy for a Saturday. If ever a puzzle was crying out for a FIBONACCISERIES...

Someone explain ATTACH as an "Online action symbolized by a paper clip" to me because it looks wrong - or at the very least bizarre.
Wouldn't the "action" be ATTACHing? Or is this supposed to be some kind of directive to attach something if you see a paper clip? I gotta say I've never seen that and I'm not fond of taking orders from office doodads anyway.

Who knew the BEANIEBABY was "the world's first internet sensation"? This seems unlikely. Literally all the charm of a BEANIEBABY is having and holding one. MEREly looking at them on the internet seems unfulfilling and a tad voyeuristic. No judgement if that's your thing, but I'll need some convincing of that "internet sensation" claim.

I see WETRAGS in more of a party pooper or Debbie Downer vein than "spineless". WEinieS made more sense to me, so that was my big stumbling block.

Some nice clueing and a good amount of words with decent length, but as I started out saying - way too easy.

I want my Saturday back! 🧐

Joaquin 12:21 AM  

"Spineless weasels" is an expression I find myself using a lot of late so I, too, fell into the weasel trap. Also, never having heard of WAKANDA slowed me down as it just didn't look kosher (a quick Google lookup set me straight).

jae 12:33 AM  

Easier than yesterday’s by a bunch and yesterday’s wasn’t that tough. @Rex - me too for yoga before CAMO, which was fixed by MAIN COURSE, and which was my only erasure. There is some nice stuff here, but it’s just not a Saturday. Liked it, except...

Two archive puzzles that may give you more of a challenge are:

Frank Longo’s June 17, 1995 offering and A. J. Santora’s August 12, 1995. I’m still working on the Santora puzzle. The bottom half is more than a tad tough. As always, your milage may very.

Loren Muse Smith 1:13 AM  

CRAZY BUSY is such a fresh, in-the-language phrase. I’ve been noticing recently all the adjectives that speakers are repurposing into adverbs. That party last night was stupid crowded. Not just pretty crowded. Stupid crowded. I wish we used ugly this way. I get ugly mad sometimes: face kinda flattens out sideways, nostrils flare, ears pin back. . . Wait. We do use ugly as an adverb: when Simba, Nala, and Rafiki hold up the new baby on Pride Rock at the end of Lion King, I ugly cry. I also ugly sneeze. My daughter prissy sneezes, and oh how I covet that ability. I’m pretty sure I ugly sleep, too.

I kept going back and looking at YACHTED right next to BLOAT. A boat is a boat. A big old yacht is a bloat. It’s my dream to be a passenger on Below Deck, and whenever crew members are doing their little interviews to the camera, they’ll say only nice things about me. My plan is to be agreeable and stupid grateful for everything.

Hazards for rural travel. Hmm. Here are the things I’ve swerved to miss on the way to school in the morning: rabbits, possums, raccoons, skunks, deer, goats, a fox, a cow, two horses (who absolutely would not move off the road out of my way), fallen tree. And Mr. Poage’s wife almost hit a bear a couple years ago.

Loved the clue for NAPA. I don’t know much at all about wine, but whenever I’m supposed to be tasting one, I swirl the liquid in the glass and pretend to admire the legs. Then I put my nose all the way down in the glass to sniff it with a knowing look. At this point, I can say anything to the other tasters I’m getting a smoky bergamot with [squint, look to the side, consider] delightful pickled herring notes and like an asparagus finish. They'll all nod and agree and admire my bs talk 'cause no one wants to look like they don't understand wine, and they all want to be the most impressive taster in the eyes of the guy in charge. I tell ya, being at a wine tasting can pretentiousize the crap out of you. I usually leave small enough to fit in a matchbox.

“They’re broken at marathons” – where do you even start with that? Bones, spirits, shoes. . . I ran for years – ok jogged – and hated Every. Step. I. Ever. Took.

GOATHERD – Mom and I just got into an argument about calling children kids. Sigh. She still insists that kids are animals. Well. Duh. I asked her if she still referred to my sisters and me as her children. She said she didn’t know but that she wouldn’t call us kids but I don’t believe her since how most people *think* they speak is crazy different from how they *actually* speak and besides I chewed up an swallowed a rock once in Joanne H’s driveway so I’ve earned kid status.

Tracy, Jeff – terrific longs with CRAZY BUSY, CAT CARRIER, BEANIE BABY, RUMOR HAS IT, BLIND SPOT, MAIN COURSE, DRAGON FIRE, SUPER DUPER. . . Wicked good themeless. (But that WAKANDA/WEBER cross is right tough.)

puzzlehoarder 1:36 AM  

I don't know if the writer behind "Black Panther" knows that there's a town in Illinois called Wauconda but I do. This screwed up what would otherwise been a perfect solve. I've never seen the movie but I've read the reviews and I'd have sworn the two terms were spelled the same even though they're obviously different. I read the clue for 37D and WACONDA went right in and stayed. This was inspite of knowing that 44A was NOVA. That was what gave SAVORS away. I wrote in the NOV and forgot to change the O to an A. As for leaving 42A as RACE that was a true boneheaded mistake. I knew it wasn't right but didn't draw the obvious conclusion. That's how fixated I was on using that incorrect C for 37D. Any other person with an ounce of common sense would have instantly known it was RAKE. I don't gamble but I know what a croupier is, still I somehow knowingly left 42A as RACE. The solve was otherwise going smoothly and I didn't look back.

The Friday SB isn't going much better. There's a final 5 letter word to get QB and it's not coming.

will hunt 4:25 AM  

My mom and I tackled this Saturday together, and we definitely enjoyed it!

Like yesterday, I got lucky with some early pop culture fills like DRAGON FIRE, WAKANDA, BEANIE BABY

@Frantic Sloth, I think the clue is referring to the lucrative and expansive online marketplace of BEANY BABYs that erupted during this craze - I agree the cluing is kind of ambiguous though. Maybe "the internet's first resale sensation?" My mom and I were with you about WET RAGS, I think of it as analogous to WET BLANKET, although google indicates the spineless meaning is out there.

Lots of great cluing here for DRIBBLES, RUMOR HAS IT, MAIN COURSE and many others. SUPER DUPER and BLINDSPOT also made me smile. This was a puzzle of second guessing, where we should have just trusted our gut - we discussed YES, BLOATS, YACHTED, and even ARABIAN SEA but didn't pencil it in until much later in the solve. I had a similar vague subconscious recognition of WEBER that Rex did, yet another one I should have just gone with my gut on.

While I enjoyed the inclusion of CRAZY BUSY, I thought the cluing was slightly off. I have often described myself as CRAZY BUSY but did not really imply that I was barely hanging on. Just, well, BUSY. I was thinking along the lines of SCRAPING BY (one letter too many) or something indicating being on the brink of collapse.

We all love My Fair Lady, but I think there could have been something more interesting for IMAN, perhaps a chance to inject some cultural diversity in the entertainment references. Several famous IMANs to choose from.

Still, a fun puzzle that clipped right along for me over a light gin cocktail. Perfect Friday evening in quar before the weekly 3.5 hours of Drag Race on VH1.


Coniuratos 5:24 AM  

Turns out ARABIAN SEA has the same number of letters as GULF OF ADEN, which I confidently threw in right away. Even with having to suss out that mistake, very quick for a Saturday.

Agreed on ETTA - if you've got that, TATE, and TEAT in the same puzzle, maybe don't call attention to the fact that they're all anagrams.

GILL I. 5:57 AM  

I wanted to WEAR pants. I wanted a spineless sort to be a WEENIE and my devastation on GoT was either BEHEADINGS or DECAPITATE. I need to go to NAPA and smell the roses.
Well I did the stare bit because I do that on Saturday. ZIN didn't fool me, neither did TEAT. Do you pronounce it TIT or TEET? I get up from comfy chair, move around, think about "Operation Warp Speed" drink some more, come back and plop in BLOATS. YES SIREee, I did.
Funny how your eyeballs open up with just a few little letters. The Z and B from 4 and 6D gave me the CRAZY BUSY. I go stir CRAZY a lot and sometimes I'm BUSY as a bee but today I'm going to try and be CRAZY BUSY.
Love me some Bacchanalian beasts. I drew a few.... drinking wine and looking like a GOAT HERD.
Liked me some DRIBBLES and bits and thinking of CONES heads.
How in the world did I get BEANIE BABY just off the B? I hated those things. My daughter wanted Squealer the Pig and I have no idea why I remember that but I'm pretty sure it had something to do with a big fight with another mother at Toys R Us. I lost.
SUPER DUPER is FUN and some day I will remember what M.L.B stands for.

Avatar is me with my new mask. I decorate them now because I have nothing better to do. I will continue to wear one every day and I will distance myself because it is the right thing to do. Until the only seemingly sane person in this present cabinet ( Dr. Fauci) tells me that there is a cure, I will continue to be very careful. Resurgence in Singapore, South Korea and China. Cross fingers we don't get a horrible second coming......

Anonymous 6:13 AM  

I'm assuming the STEELDOORS are painted green.

Conrad 6:41 AM  

Luckily, I'm not as smart as Rex and numerous others. I had to wait for crosses to get WETRAG. If I'd thought of it I'd have fallen into the WEasel or WEiner trap. Ditto with CAMO/yoga.

Hungry Mother 6:54 AM  

Half my normal speed today. Wanted yoga pants and hEnry. Always happy with the Saturday W.

Lewis 6:58 AM  

Tooled along through this, pleasurably overcoming hurdles and buoyed by some terrific clues, such as those for ABCS and DRIBBLES, then got stopped cold in the southeast, where suddenly time shifted into slow motion and I realized I had stepped into quicksand. SUPER DUPER threw me a life preserver, and BATS AN EYE started pulling me out, but I was still naticked at the intersection of _EBER and _AKANDA. Then, either from the Great Beyond or the Collective Unconscious came the W with such assurance that I had no doubt.

Quite a jumpstart to my day from a pair of pros, and thank you, you two!

pabloinnh 7:29 AM  

Today's potholes were SHEPHERD for GOATHERD, which obviously makes much more sense, and misreading the numbers in the boxes, which is never helpful, and I should just break down and go find my reading glasses. Also wanted ALPHA for TYPEA because I had the final A and it sort of made sense.

SUPERDUPER is timely, no? Looks like we're about to give those other guys some SUPERDUPER missile envy.

To LMS's list of rural road hazards I would add moose. You really don't want to hit a moose. We were driving one night and came upon a large cow (moose) standing in the middle of the road. We stopped and blew the horn, and got the "you honkin' at me?" stare. Eventually she ambled off.

I always thought Donna Shalala should be Secrectary of Do Wop.

Swell Saturday, guys. Wish I were still doing it.

amyyanni 7:32 AM  

Well, after reading that so many found this easy for Saturday, here's how I made my experience linger. SEance for TRANCE, SHEPherd for GOATHERD. Yup, kept me enrapt for several whiles 8>)
Fun cluing and phrases. Many smiles occurred along my errant forays.

ss 7:36 AM  

I laughed when filling in NOB for "Aristocrat, in British slang". Nob also has a much less noble but more colorful use in British slang (e.g. nob end).

Birchbark 7:43 AM  

@Rex would call his gang the YOGA WEASELS. I would call mine the WEBER SATYRS: a bunch of mischievous old guys who like to grill stuff.

I was vaguely troubled for much of the solve, because WET RAtS have spines. Rearranging several central letters at the end finally yielded the "Congratulations" music. There is satisfaction in changing RAtS to RAGS. Neither is admirable, but one is correct.

Anonymous 7:51 AM  

Great clue for ROGET. "Substitute teacher?"

Joaquin 7:53 AM  

Loren's argument with her mother about calling children "kids" reminds me of the time my father, age 94 at the time, told me, "The kids are coming over later today." I assumed he was talking about his great-grandchildren who lived nearby. But no ... he was referring to his oldest daughter and her husband, both in their early 70s. I said, "Dad, those are hardly 'kids'; they're both on Medicare." His response: "Your children are always 'kids' to a parent." And now, years later, I understand.

Z 7:58 AM  

So much better than yesterday. See, it is possible to do a puzzle without a plethora of pop culture and product names and other proper nouns. Just 15 out of 70 entries, a Berryesque 21%.

I remember the BEANIE BABY thing as more of a McDonalds thing than an internet thing, with people buying Happy Meals to acquire the latest one. I guess some of them are fairly valuable today. They were not a thing in our house.

Just a little surprised that WAKANDA caused anyone problems. I mean, sure, 2018 was a long time ago but it seems like Black Panther talk was as ubiquitous as Hamilton talk or even BEANIE BABY talk circa 1995 (BTW - the clue is lifted straight out of Wikipedia - now I like this puzzle less).

@Frantic Sloth - I was pondering the missing “-ing” as well, and my thought is that we ATTACH, so ATTACH is the action. I am not convinced of this but it’s the best I have at the moment.

@Will Hunt - I’m with you on CRAZY BUSY. I think in some contexts it might even be used to describe a good thing, like a retail context perhaps.

@Anon6:13 - Good one.

@LMS - “Stupid crowded” was my reaction to pictures out of Wisconsin, with the emphasis on the stupid part. This was also my reaction to the local news that some self-described “christians” are suing because, you know, infecting others is a first amendment right.

@Gill I - Keep being cautious. The Spanish Flu second wave was deadlier than the first wave. We know more today than we did then, but we clearly aren’t any smarter.

QuasiMojo 8:00 AM  

TRIBBLES were the original Beany Babies. :)

I agree with Frantic. Where was my Saturday challenge? Well, I guess Dragon Fire and Wakanda. But easily got those from crosses.

Wanted Scott CAAN. Now I've got an image of Scott BAIO in CAMO pants etched in my brain.


One thing I wouldn't say about any number Rex Harrison did in My Fair Lady, is that it was a TUNE. He spoke most of his songs. Luckily.

Wasn't SHA LA LA a retro 50s boy band?

Maybe it's dyslexia but I can never remember which side is East or West. I wanted AZORE ISLES for the HORNy clue.

TYPE A people BYTE.

This was FUN but not necessarily Fantabulous.

mooretep 8:00 AM  

"The only award I received in college was for my Physics I class, in which I got the highest grade—this is what happens when Physics is your respite from your three 200pp/week literature classes)."

Michael, as a physics teacher, I always enjoyed students like you who had other proclivities, but were quite adept at analyzing the Universe.
Or, maybe, as an English major, you were really good at bulls***ing? :-)

Crossword puzzles seem to like physics units with their unique letter combinations:
Erg, ohm, weber, tesla, dyne, farad, lumen...et alia

Loren, regarding goatherd, among the battles I fight with my colleagues is using the diminutive to refer to students as "kids".
Language can be a tool of oppression.
IMHO, while I am the cruise director, our classroom should be a collaborative effort.

Oh yeah, the puzzle. Loved it, But I like all puzzles.
This one felt particularly appropriate for a Saturday.
Special < crucial.
Shepherd < goatherd
Weasel < wetrag

Agree with OFL other than the use of relegating colors as diminutives.

Z 8:12 AM  

@Birchbark - Drinking Buds while ogling the bikini clad teens playing in the pool? Or maybe sipping a nice ZIN while flirting with the recent divorcée? I’m imagining Bon Jovi and Aerosmith playing on the stereo.

Lance 8:13 AM  

Worked through most of it fairly quickly, but got to the middle and dropped special (for crucial) which felt slightly off, and shepherd (for goatherd) which felt right. I could tell that one of them was wrong, but took a while to convince myself that they were both off.

Nancy 8:40 AM  

Too easy to keep me CRAZY BUSY like so many other Saturdays do. But if you forget the day of the week, it was pretty lively and enjoyable. I YACHTED effortlessly around the top, then down the left side, hitting the MAIN COURSE only when I got to the slightly harder SE.

I certainly didn't know WAKANDA, but fortunately WEBER sounds like a real name that a unit like magnetic flux might have been named after, whereas none of the other -EBERs did. And WEBER sort of rang the teensiest bell: maybe something from my hated Physical Science 193 course in college penetrated my thick skull after all. God knows nothing else did. Some other observations:

What an odd clue for ODD (19A).

I at first thought that 15D might have been incorrectly clued, but it's not. I always confuse my WET RAGS with my WET BLANKETS.

When someone BATS AN EYE, aren't they flirting rather than "barely reacting"?

Tracy and Jeff make a good team, I believe.

Nancy 8:55 AM  

Aha, @Lewis (6:58). Maybe I got that pesky W from the same "Collective Unconscious" you got it from today and not from my hated Physical Science 193 course. (See my 8:40 comment.)

RooMonster 8:56 AM  

Hey All !
Either puz was in my wheelhouse, or I'm just a kick ass solver! (Let's go with the easy assessment...)

Another week of Fri-Sat Puzs being switched. YesterPuz's was way tougher than todays. I finished todays in 21 and 1/2 minutes, which has got to be my record, and I don't solve for speed.

Did like it for the long answers. With the exception of the Green Painty NE 12 & 13 D, they were all great! Nice stagger step of 5's in the center.

Who knew the BRAVES were the oldest MLB franchise? Grew up in PA, was a Phillies fan when younger, but now don't follow baseball, I still have my Baseball Cards from the 80's, sorta security to sell if I get financially strapped, like not working because of some virus, E.g. 😉

Gonna read y'all now. Been doing the whole post-before-reading+ anyone thing lately, causing me to repeat things already said. Oh well. At least it's fun to say SHALALA. SHALALA! See? Try it yourself.

One F
RUMOR HAS IT we're not CRAZY BUSY lately

astroman 9:06 AM  

Pretty much born dead when I happily threw down MADAGASCAR instead of ARABIANSEA.

Suzie Q 9:09 AM  

I'm glad this went quickly because it is finally nice enough to linger with my coffee in the back yard. I did enjoy it though.
I agree with @ Nancy about ODD. I don't get it and the answer to 2D was no help.
52A could have been tied or tier except bleady is not a word. Almost.

kitshef 9:10 AM  

Although I think there should be a limit of one (better yet zero) clues ending in “, say”, there were enough pleasures in here to not let that ruin things.

Surprisingly, only two overwrites: BLurRY before BLEARY and paiD before READ.

SHALALA/PANERA/OSSA is a pretty unfortunate stack.

Ms. James called; she wants here clue back.

Paul Harrington 9:26 AM  

Wild that superduper showed up the day after the Duper-in-chief souped up the stupid with that phrase. Aren't these puzzles written months in advance?

Jstarrracewalker 9:26 AM  

Secy of Do Wop deserves acknowledgement. ��

bauskern 9:36 AM  

Had SHEPHERD in place of GOATHERD, and SPECIAL instead of CRUCIAL, so that created a mess in the middle. I'm not sure that a ZIN is the best alternative to a CAB, but okay. But 44D, with the N from NOVA, that answer really had to be NICE. Nobody goes to NAPA to drink the roses, they go to quaff the CABS. So from a wine lovers perspective, it got tricky. But love a good challenge on a Saturday, so this was good. Not sure how Rex can make mistakes, get hung up, and still finish under 6:00. How does that happen??

KnittyContessa 9:41 AM  

Fell into the same traps. Natick for me at WAKANDA/WEBER. Had ShepHERD before GOATHERD.

Agree with you @Frantic Sloth I think of a WETRAG as a party pooper, not spineless.

TJS 9:45 AM  

Humble request to @Roo and all other commenters, please refrain from any mention of Baseball cards. My mother gave my collection to the Salvation Army while I was away at college in 1969. Had complete sets for 1957,58,59 and 60. That was back when you had to by them pack by pack with the gum, and when word got out that a nearby store had the new series of cards, we jumped on our bikes and headed out with all our "savings", usually about 2 bucks. This is the one subject my Mother and I agreed never to discuss, and if a reference to card collecting came up either in conversation or on TV, we would just glance knowingly at each other.

The puzzle. Agree with Rex, again! Too easy for my liking, Saturday-wise, but well-clued and smoothly filled. Wish it had taken longer. Last letter, tried M, than somehow flashed on "Max Weber"? Not sure of the first name but it worked.

Teedmn 9:45 AM  

This played CRAZY eaSY today. My favorite part was watching 10A fill in. A four letter group, AB__, could ABBA have played Sesame Street? Har.

Some nice clueing here such as “Doesn’t inhale, say” for SAVORS or “Completely ready” for RIPE.

Thanks, Tracy and Jeff, for a SUPERDUPER puzzle.

Petsounds 9:50 AM  

Hit the NW corner just as Rex did--with ZIN and ARID, and for some reason, YACHTED--a word I've never heard (and could do without hearing again)--popped into my head, and soon it was all filled in. And again, just like Rex, I entered WEASELS for WETRAGS and then compounded the error with SHEPHERD at 28A. And those two errors sent me down a wrong path that stumped me for a good long time.

Also weirdly, since I've never seen a single moment of "Game of Thrones," DRAGONFIRE came to me immediately, and the SE corner filled in easily.

But the SW killed me. Even with ARABIANSEA in place, although not confidently, nothing else was happening. And somewhere in my Philadelphia childhood, I learned that the Phillies were the oldest continuous MLB club, so that was a problem. In the end, my time on this one was above average.

@FranticSloth and others are right about the clue for WETRAGS, which are party poopers or spoilsports. Not that my WEASELS was any better in that slot.

Still, this was a good Saturday puzzle, and despite my own BLINDSPOTS, I enjoyed it, especially CRAZYBUSY, DRIBBLES, and RUMORHASIT.

Andrew Heinegg 9:55 AM  

I just loooove the look of the face mask with your sunglasses on. It's what the glamorous woman should be sporting for the foreseeable future. Not only is the look cool but, the glasses can keep out some of the C nasties from coming in via your eyes, a significant danger. Well done!

OffTheGrid 9:57 AM  

@Suzie 9:09. There were 30-ODD Trumpers crowded into the small Wisconsin bar.

Geezer 10:00 AM  

I had the "P" word for Spineless sorts.

ArtO 10:13 AM  

In contrast to most bloggers, I'm a rare Friday/Saturday solver. But always give them a go. I rarely blog as I have nothing to add to the bloggeratti who post daily and are in another league when it comes to solving. I suspect many of you participate in crossword tournaments and solve on the app. I'm a paper solver who rarely ventures beyond the NYT for my crossword action. I'm also in my ninth decade so there's a ton of current trivia which cause me no little grief. Nevertheless, I all but finished today's and therefore was not surprised to find the "easy" rating.

Just thought I'd pay a visit to let you know what the possibly average Times solver experiences. Most of you guys and gals (LMS is a treasure) are really terrific and I'm in awe of your expertise.

Stay safe and keep solving.

Joe Dipinto 10:20 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
kqrbob 10:27 AM  

Plus 1

Anonymous 10:29 AM  

Tesla had more to do with electrical fields than WEBER, which is a make of outdoor grill.

Joe Dipinto 10:31 AM  

WAKANDA is the victim of poor cluesmanship, if you ask me, since the solver is being asked for an invented name in a movie whose specific identity as a film isn't hinted at. So you have two unknowns to figure out. Clued as "Fictional land in a 2018 Ryan Coogler film" or "...in a 2018 Marvel Studios smash hit", for example, there's something to pin the film down other than just that it did well at the box office.

Also hate the ETTA anagram clue. And sorry, I don't buy WET RAGS. CAT CARRIER brought back memories of scratchmarked limbs. That's about it.

"Sha la la la la" said the girl group. "Oh yeah? Well "Sha la la la la backatcha," said the third-rate cover band.

Lorelei Lee 10:37 AM  

I loved this easy puzzle. Made me feel smart. There's an area of San Francisco known as Nob Hill where the 19th century robber barons who built the transcontinental railroad built their mansions by the thousands of square feet. David Steinberg wouldn't have clued Nob as Brit slang. One of them founded Standford University.

@Z, Drinking Buds while ogling the bikini clad teens playing in the pool? Or maybe sipping a nice ZIN while flirting with the recent divorcée?

What's the male word that corresponds to divorcée?

Anonymous 10:39 AM  


As Bubba used to say, "I feel your pain". Until now I had no idea.

Birchbark 10:47 AM  

@Z (8:12) -- The mischief mostly in the alchemy of spices for the rub, the code of the WEBER SATYRS being that true delight follows without effort. For grilling music, the Breeders works well. The beverage varies, scotch on the rocks or an IPA as often as not. True, we wonder sometimes where everyone is.

I saw a few wood thrushes by the willow tree yesterday afternoon looking around for worms. Then a turkey came out, squatted down, fluffed its feathers, pecked and scratched around in the sunshine until it was covered in a bath of dust. Interesting.

RooMonster 10:54 AM  

Dang. Parents sometimes...
My experience of buying (*deleted*) was the same. Jump on bike, go to Convience store (that was it's actual name), buy them, chew the nasty gum for about three minutes until it lost flavor, and hope you found one you didn't have.

I also had a friend in school that collected (*deleted*) also, and he seemed to always have the Real rate ones you couldn't have, so we traded. Can't remember what I had to offer...

Sorry about bringing up a rotten thing @TJS. (Notice it didn't stop me from posting, though.)

On a lighter note - SHALALA!

RooMonster (*Deleted*) Guy

JillyBean 10:59 AM  

Fun fact- I have a bided uvula, so for me the correct response would UVULAE
Agree with Rex today- perfectly fine, but lacking the crunch I look forward to on Saturdays

JillyBean 11:06 AM  

BiFED not Bided sorry

Anonymous 11:09 AM  

fun fact. long before Topps, et al in bubble gum, the carrier was chewin tabbaccy.

dadnoa 11:12 AM  

+1 for Game of Thrones. My 20 something daughter collected Beanie Babies (thanks to her doting grandmother) and years later, surprised me (I had already read the books.....as far as they were written) with “Hey Dad, have you ever seen GoT?” Our life bond is set :)

Giuditta Pasta 11:13 AM  

A "Wet Noodle" is a bore or party pooper. A "Wet Rag" is a wimp or coward.

mathgent 11:15 AM  

I have days like that, absolutely no energy. I’m a wet rag, I’ll say. That’s different from being a wet blanket. My wife might not agree.

Nancy surprised me today. We usually agree on how difficult a puzzle is, but today she thought it was easy and I had to stay up beyond my bedtime last night to finish it.

I wonder how all of you great solvers who found today’s easy can stomach a typical Monday. Maybe that’s why you time yourselves. To try to inject some interest into the deal.

I’m a big Jeff Chen fan. His puzzles are invariably technically excellent as well as being intelligently clued. He never clogs his grid with three letter words. Today only eight. And about 40% of the entries were at least six letters.

Happy to be reminded of Rex Harrison’s ironic monologue (“I’m an Ordinary Man”) and RUMORHASIT, Adele’s lovely song.

xyz 11:39 AM  

Easy if some very key trivia is in your wheelhouse

Anonymous 11:40 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous 11:41 AM  

Napa has a ton of cabs. And Merlots, and Zins, and chardonnays, and pinots both blanc and noir, and Sauvignon blancs (Sauvignons blanc?). Roses, not so much.
Blogger makes odd choices on capitalization, don’t have the motivation to correct.
Otherwise, thought it was a far better than average puzzle, fun, after I got done getting my butt kicked in the NW and left it for the end.

Newboy 11:47 AM  

Black Panther was seen, but not internalized alas. Own a WEBER, but didn’t connect. And so goes this Saturday, sigh. Clues like “doesn’t travel, say” were enough however to make the effort meaningful on a foggy North Idaho morning. With Gray and Chen tag teaming it is not surprising that this grid is what I expect on a themeless Saturday: SUPERDUPER indeed.

Whatsername 11:49 AM  

I wouldn’t call it easy but I always approach Saturdays with low expectations and got it done with only a few little cheats here and there. Off to a bad start thinking in terms of scraping by, eking out, etc. at 1A. Just didn’t get the BUSY connotation from the wording of the clue. Struggled as always with the GOT answer, not a fan. Nor did I have any idea about WAKANDA and still don’t. But it was a good challenge which is what I want on Saturday so = success.

I’ve lived in rural areas most of my life and like @LMS, have dodged quite a few critters in between the RUTS in the roads. No bears or horses, but to her list I would add coyotes, bobcats, possums, armadillos, guineas, chickens, wild turkeys and ringneck pheasants which have to be some of the most obtuse creatures on earth. They will stand in the middle of the road and stare blankly until someone gets out of the vehicle and shoos them out of the way.

@Joaquin (7:53) We solved the problem of knowing the kids from the grandkids by calling them The Bigs and The Littles.

@ArtO (10:13) I also solve on paper, untimed, and share your grief on the pop culture trivia. I do Saturdays in an effort to improve my “expertise,” if you can call it that, and feel out of my league on many days, not just with the puzzle but also some of the discussions that crop up among the commentariat. Glad you decided to pay a visit today.

LeaveItToYourGoat 11:54 AM  

I'd have figured that the BEANIE BABY fad pre-dated internet sensations by a few years, so that was FUN to learn. Also cool to learn that the Atlanta BRAVES are the oldest franchise in MLB, although I thought the clue was deceptive since the "M.L.B." initials suggested an abbreviated answer. So it had me thinking NY METS or CHI SOX.

"Shortcomings" was an interesting clue for BLIND SPOTS, which bumps up nicely next to RUMOR HAS IT.

That section where BAIO/WEBER/SATYRS/RAKE all cross BETE/WAKANDA/SAVORS/ROGET could have been Natick City, capital of The Demo-natick People's Republic of Natickstan, but luckily for me in the end it just came down to (correctly) guessing the E at the BETE/WEBER crossing.

It was wonderful seeing - for the second day in a row, the relative lack of crossword-ese in the short fill. RPM, T-BAR, OSSA, ABCS, and BAIO were the worst offenders, but I can easily forgive those since the constructors graciously limited the number of 3-letter entries to six.

I came in just shy of 18 minutes on this one, well under my Saturday average, so my praise may be influenced a bit by self-satisfaction, but I really enjoyed this puzzle.

Kudos to Tracy and Jeff!

egsforbreakfast 11:55 AM  

My sister-in-law and mother-in-law got crazy stupid into beanie babies. They not only spent a fortune on them, they got other people to give them money because they were so good at finding the really rare ones. The prices for some of them were doubling every week. End result was some 5000-odd beanie babies still sitting in their attic.

Biggest problem in this puzzle for me was that ARABIANSEA didn’t fit the first time I tried to put it in. Probably the ZIN talking. Things went a lot better when I got back to it many minutes later and found that it actually did fit.

Scott Baio could have easily drawn some Rex rant given his far-rightism

What? 12:07 PM  

Can’t believe I finished a Chen puzzle. Must have been too easy.

Anonymous 12:10 PM  

My daughter insists that SATYR is clued incorrectly as it is Greek while Bacchanalia was Roman.

Nancy 12:15 PM  

Thanks for the compliment, @mathgent (11:15), but you should know he's just being modest, everyone. You have no idea the sorts of puzzles that @mathgent can solve -- puzzles where I flounder and often fail. Mostly they're specialty puzzles by Patrick Berry -- puzzles in which the answers -- answers with the number of letters often not provided -- can be entered starting in the marked space and then go in absolutely any direction at all. Up. Down. Clockwise. Counterclockwise. So you'll sit with an answer you're almost 100% sure of and have absolutely no idea how to enter it. So you don't enter it. Nor do you enter the next one... Or the one after that...At least I don't. But @mathgent does. He's a puzzle-solving genius, that's what he is.

Suzie Q 12:16 PM  

@ OffTheGrid (9:57) OK, but why twenty- or thirty-? Odd indeed.

Z 12:25 PM  

@Birchbark - SATYRS evoke much more of a BRO vibe in my mind, your BBQ would be more to my liking but doesn’t quite say WEBER SATYRS to me.

@Lorelei Lee - ODD, but the closest I can come up with is newly eligible bachelor. Of course, either asshole or stud muffin or there’s a reason are also possibilities.

@Joe Dipinto - I realize you’re joking, but that’s a brave use of third-rate cover band

@ArtO - I’m always a little surprised when somebody suggests the regulars are some sort of elite clad of solvers. I’m better than I used to be, but hardly elite. Mostly I’m just opinionated. I have never been to a crossword tournament although I did participate in this year’s online version (finishing easily in the top 700). I think a whole lot of “average solvers” value the takeaways of people who don’t fly through the solve. Also, I do solve online on occasion, but do the NYTX in the paper usually and print out many other puzzles. I just prefer pen and paper (and I use pen because pencils don’t work great on newsprint paper).

@Whatsername - obtuse is giving pheasants too much credit.

@anon 12:10 - Suggest to your daughter that in a renaissance context and later the clue is fine. That is, when Greek and Roman art and literature were rediscovered a painter might portray SATYRS at a bacchanalia, probably not grilling with a WEBER, but likely drinking something close to a ZIN.

Crimson Devil 12:26 PM  

Not aware of ROSE in Napa.

Carola 12:28 PM  

Greetings from the State of Shame, reminders of which in the comments (see @Z 7:58 and @OffTheGrid 9:57) have somewhat blunted the pleasure of the easy, enjoyable solve. I remember when we used to be known for our common sense.

Anyway. Drawing first upon TEAT and then moving directly to the MAIN COURSE yielded me enough crosses to allow a one-stop-only* path to the bottom, with plenty of smiles along the way for the fresh entries and creative clues.

*@Teedmn 9:45: "...could ABBA have played Sesame Street?" YES! At least in my grid. One of those felicitous mistakes that pointed me right at BEANIE BABY. However, I wasn't' able to understand why anyone would be crating a bAT, so rethought. Fun to see the BAT then turn up in the last line.

Aketi 12:36 PM  

@GILL I, you have some marvelous masks. I plan on wearing mine for a long time to come. I want to add a water pistol to my arsenal or maybe even some pepper spray for those who dare to invade my space. I was already the kind of person that was indifferent to hugs unless it was a very special occasion and considered a gathering of more than four to be a crowd. Now I prefer people to stay a block away from me. It can still be achieved at 6 am in Manhattan.

I too wanted YOGA pants or NO GI pants which are much wilder than the usually tastefully sedate color of Yoga pants. I consider CAMO pants to be just another shade of muddied mottled green paint.

We must have the strangest cat on the planet. He voluntarily walks into the CAT CARRIER whenever I pull it out of the closet, even when it’s time for our other cat’s check up at the vets. I’ve had to bribe him out with treats. He barely fits into it. But he also likes to pull drawers open and climb in too. He can pull the under the bed drawers open even when the Lazy Boy recliner is pushed up against the drawers

Lorelei Lee 12:42 PM  

@Z, Thank you.

@Will Hunt, Your new name for me is Maestro (I'm watching Mozart in the Jungle on Amazon Prime). I agree with your every word.

Pam 12:44 PM  

Wow! A Google-Free Saturday! For me, a first. Sadly, though, my triumph wasn’t quite complete. I was so wedded to WETRAt, that the correct CONES became COrES to accommodate my misstep.

First to fall for me was the SE, starting with DRAGONFIRE. GOT for me was the last two seasons. Before watching, though, I studied a comprehensive cheat sheet. After each new episode I read detailed reviews, which helped me identify characters and actions that weren’t completely clear during viewing. The only reason I bothered was that at the time I was still working with the occasional young actress or model. Most of them were avid followers and pressed me to watch it. It was pretty cool that at this much later stage of my life I could still connect with these quite young women. Just short of my four score, I’ve recently decided that enough is enough. I will miss them

Last for me, other than the ill fated gaffe, was the NW. Even with 19A and 3, 5 and 6 Down, nothing worked. Finally the lightbulb went on with CRAZYBUSY, and the rest fell into place.

Guessed at W for WEBER and the fictional country. 38A was an AHA, maybe clue of the day for a non sports minded person. Otherwise, pretty straightforward, I thought.

Now to read yours...

Masked and Anonymous 12:45 PM  

Solid SatPuz. I had kinda wondered about CATCARRIER, but a little post-puz research showed that it is indeed a retailed thing. Not in the Persian Airlines sense that I'd stretch-envisioned, tho. Available from Frisco in the two door, top load plastic model, f'rinstance. Learned somethin new, there.

Very few Ow de Speration moments to dwell on. IMAN & TBAR are marginally ok, but nuthin eg-like. WETRAGS dictionary def checks out, so doesn't qualify. And CATCARRIER was my last hope … but was a nope, as mentioned above. Nuthin else BATS the EYEs, at our house.

fave sparklers: SUPERDUPER. CRAZYBUSY. RUMORHASIT. GOATHERD [propped up to greatness becuz of its clue].

Clues were extra chatty and informative, generally.
There was however the unusually sadistic crossin of two questionmark-beclued entries, at NOVA/ROGET. They were both crazy gettable answers, tho -- so nanosecond damage was mostly limited to M&A writin up a marginal protest note about it. We'll give it a begrudged pass this time … but don't make us come down there, Shortzmeister.

staff weeject pick: FUN. Self-referential puz entry, today.
Thanx for gangin up on us and for the primo diversion, Tracy darlin & Chenmeister dude. Congratz to Ms. Gray, on her first theme-free NYTPuz creation.

Masked & Anonym6Us


Aketi 12:48 PM  

FYI, I’m so CRAZY not BUSY that I got bored and tested out my oximeter and my N95 mask (which I have in case I dare to see parents and babies in person again). I discovered that my oxygenation rate is 98% when wearing the mask while sitting, 98% while wearing the mask and just finishing 50 jumping jacks, 98% while sitting without the mask, 96% while watching Star Trek flat on my back without the mask. If I turned over on my belly it went up to 97%.

Silenus 12:51 PM  

Satyrs were Greek and Roman. Hence the "Satyricon" by Petronius -- a Latin work that satirized Rome by evoking the erotic lives of satyrs. Greek satyrs had horse ears and prominent phalluses. Satyrs in Rome were usually depicted as half-goat. They both followed the God of Wine: Dionysus aka Bacchus.

jberg 12:58 PM  

I was in a car that hit a deer once;fortunately, it was a glancing blow, so it just broke off the driver's-side external mirror. Years earlier, my parents had hit one while driving home from Milwaukee (130 miles away), and had to stay overnight while the car was fixed enough to be driven. The pesky critters have a tendency to dart in front of your car from a hidden position. The best thing I had to wait for, in South Africa, was a herd of wildebeest, which charged at dusk across the road in front of us at high speed, and a waving ribbon of horns and flesh. Quite a thrill.

I grew up in a small port on Lake Michigan where there were not only lots of deer but quite a few yachts. We didn't have one, but I knew people who did -- and no one ever, ever YACHTED. Maybe they went cruising, but mostly they "took the boat out."

Obviously the "Boston Red Stockings" clue was supposed to trick us into Red Sox; but it was in the wrong location, you probably had crosses by the time you got to it, so no one seems to have been fooled.

I've never seen nor read Game of Thrones; fortunately, I once heard someone describe Hilary Mantel's novels as "like GoT without the dragons," which was all I needed.

I had to work my way back up into the NW corner, so by the time I got to 1D I had _AM_. That saved me from yoga, but I really wanted it to be dAMp.

I'm sure everyone was just kidding, but for the record, it was Wilhelm Eduard WEBER, not Max or the grill.

jberg 1:02 PM  

@Z from yesterday -- sorry, I didn't mean to single you out, I just couldn't remember who else had made that point. I guess my view was that it's not derogatory if applied to a genuine expert. (Not being more specific, because I'm posting this on the wrong day, and some may not have done the other puzzle yet.)

Snagglepuss 1:08 PM  

I must watch too much TV (not to mention the misspent youth). For "goal of a diversion" I immediately thought:

"Hey, you create a diversion while I
[] Rob the register
[] Grab a bottle of Jose Cuervo
[] Steal a box of condoms
[] Flee the scene
[] All of the above."

But I couldn't think of any suitable 3-letter crimes or misdemeanors.

Pam 1:15 PM  

Back in the 90’s, I had a friend who was a deadly serious collector of BEANIE BABIES. She scoured the Internet for rare and semi-rare versions to buy, at ridiculous prices, insisting that she’d make a killing someday.. We’re not in touch any more. I wonder if she still has them all. I wouldn’t be surprised.

I see that most of you thought the puzzle was really easy today. I still stand by my achievement. A First is a First.

I wonder what tomorrow will bring...

Jonny Ace 1:16 PM  

Didn't they do the "cab alternative" clue just a couple of months ago? Or was that a different newspaper?

TJS 1:27 PM  

Thanks for the response @Roo. When I was writing that comment, I briefly thought about describing some of the rarities of the collection, but it was too painful to dredge up the memories. I have never avidly collected anything ever since.

old timer 1:29 PM  

I grinned when @LMS referred to the WAKANDA/WEBER cross as "right tough". Poor girl, I said to myself, she's lived in West Virginia so long she speaks like the kids up in the hollers.

I thought the puzzle was super-Easy for a Saturday, and with Chen as co-constructor, expected OFL to damn it every way he could. And while there were high points (RUMORHASIT and MAINCOURSE, for instance) I really found DRAGONFIRE and YACHTED unforgivable. The first is just too reliant on having seen GOT, and the second is simply not a word anyone ever uses. People who have YACHTS go sailing, or maybe go for a cruise. They don't YACHT.

Hands up for once owning a CATCARRIER. If you have kids, you gotta have pets in their lives. My eldest daughter, who has two kids now, lucked out when she and her husband bought their house. It came with very nice next-door neighbors who had a cat who walked into their house on day one and now has two houses and yards in his domain.

WEBER was somewhere in the back of my brain. For a mandatory science class in school, I opted for Physics, in order to avoid Biology/Chemistry. I learned all about atoms, electricity, and other simple stuff, and was free to concentrate on history and Spanish poetry, which I loved. And bridge and hearts and folk music and, yes, Broadway musicals.

If you go wine tasting in NAPA, they always offer you a rose'. Best forgotten. Cross the Mayacamas to Sonoma, where every great little winery has a rose' better than you are likely to find in France.

Frantic Sloth 1:36 PM  

@Z 758am Yeah, thanks for your ATTACH attempt, but I see you're not convinced yourself. I think it's simply the wording of the clue.
"Something you do online [email would be better] that's symbolized by a paper clip" or the like - but less clumsy - would make ATTACH work for me. Still a crap combo.

@Nancy & @mathgent Get a room. 😜

RooMonster 1:52 PM  

To all the Spelling-ers out there, Today's Bee is fascinating! I'm *this close* to QB, I just have a feeling, but haven't looked at Nyt.Bee to see how many words I'm missing. I'm trying my darndest to get it by myself!

Don't fret about never collecting anything, I have stuff that I've "collected" that ain't worth a bag of spit!


bigsteve46 1:56 PM  

I guess since a lot of us have more time on our hands these days, there seem to be more comments than ever and longer and longer posts. How do get through them all? My two suggestions to speed things up:

1. For the folks who post EVERY SINGLE DAY - read them only on alternate days.
2. As soon as someone starts talking about their "solve times" - move on immediately. If there is something less interesting than how long it took John Doe to complete a crossword puzzle, I haven't run into it yet.

What do you do with your newly acquired time? Take some advice from Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks: "I think I'll have another drink..."

CDilly52 1:58 PM  

@LMS: in my neck of the woods, ugly is often “adverbalized.” Specifically as in, “every time, I see the end of that sad movie, I ugly cry.” Obviously that can be a normal adjective as well.

Anonymous 1:59 PM  

Scott Baio could have easily drawn some Rex rant given his far-rightism

Learned from awful experience: never marry, or even date, an actor, since they're expert at faking sincerity. Same goes for reality teevee stars. Did you know that John Wayne was never in the military, just lots and lots of war movies? That he won, naturally.

burtonkd 2:06 PM  

Hands up for thinking ABBA must have played on Sesame Street. Swedish Chef possibilities on Muppet Show would be worth the price of admission. This is the closest it came to happening.

In case embedding still doesn't work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hnydie5SwM

Masked and Anonymous 2:07 PM  

@Aketi - yep. CRAZY BUSY here at the M&A old rodeo folks home, too. Sprayed the garage for roaches was probably the hi-lite. Speed-read an Isaac Asimov novel, while flat on my butt. Don't have no oxi-meters [sounds fun, tho] -- but do have a N-95er mask apiece for each of us rodeo hands, due to some quik-mix concrete adventures that we undertook several years back.

Star Trek binge watchin sounds pretty day-um good. Really miss not havin the Fri-Nite schlock flickfests with the bro-in-law, due to social distancin and such. He found a couple temptin "Manos - Hands of Fate" inspired flicks, lately. One a prequel [mostly about the rise of Torgo], and the other a sequel [sorta like a reunion story]. Can't hardly wait to view em.

Due to the superduper busyness, M&A has also tended to generate many many more runtpuzs than would really be advisable by the CDC. On the bright side, some of em are truly spectacularly desperate. Am currently workin on a sorta newspaper advice column puztheme series. First two puztitles: "Ask Ice Landers" and "Ask High Landers". Probably more such possibilities loom out there, somewheres.

Example themer from the "Ask Ice Landers" one:
{Dear Ice: How would a cool cat get to Reykjavik?}. [Answer could be: CARRIER].
Still fleshin this puppy out, clearly. Any suggestions for additional themer ideas would always be glommed onto gratefully, btw. (If U got nuthin else marginally better to do between oxi-meter readins.)

Thanx for yer update, and stay oxi-diced.

M&A Weekend Update Desk

Birchbark 2:12 PM  

@Z (12:25) -- The WEBER SATYRS descend from the sort who gamboled at midnight in the woods outside the Puritan villages of Hawthorne's short stories. Nowadays they mostly just grill stuff out on the back deck late on a weekend afternoon, but in a mischievous way.

@Aketi (12:48) -- I wonder whether different shows produce different oxygenation rates. Likewise within the Star Trek franchise, as between TNG and Voyager for example. If someone asks why you are watching so much TV, you can just say you're conducting scientific research.

Andrew Hazlitt 2:14 PM  

Thanks for the Rickie Lee Jones video. Pulled out her debut album from 79 after finishing the puzzle. Pure bliss!

burtonkd 2:20 PM  

This is closest ABBA came to Sesame Street.

JC66 2:23 PM  


I just emailed you my Embedding Cheat Sheet.

Hope it helps.

Dennis D. 2:24 PM  

Without 23A's anagram clue, 16A and 18A would have been much more difficult. And also crude in may eyes. The anagram revelaer made it all work and turned "crude" into okay fun.

burtonkd 2:26 PM  

@JC66, I am using the one you were kind enough to send last time. I replace URL with the website copied from youtube, then get an error message that it doesn't like the https. When I chop that off, it accepts the post, then produces an Error 404 if you click the link. Just tried again removing the quotation marks around the URL in case that is the problem. Sorry to use this as a testing ground.

burtonkd 2:37 PM  

@JC66 - Success! Removing the quotation marks along with URL did the trick. I think putting the quotation marks in would imply that you should only replace what is between the quotation marks and not the marks themselves.

Thanks again for your kind help.

Z 2:39 PM  

@jberg - I’m never bothered by being singled out.

@Lorelei Lee - Thank you. I’d actually pondered asking the same question myself when I checked the spelling and the “specifically a woman” part of the definition caught my eye. It was fun considering the possibilities.

@old timer - DRAGONFIRE was easy enough here, but I would have preferred a Farmer Giles of Ham clue.

@Birchbark - Puritan SATYRS? Heaven Forfend.

Richardf8 2:48 PM  

I did feel cheated out of my Saturday crunch, though the NW put up a respectable fight. I got TEAT easily. Having the clue for ETTA tell me that yet another answer was an anagram of it felt like I was being given something for free. On the other hand, I was happy to have a clue that wasn’t Etta James and I would not have gotten to the TATE gallery on my own otherwise. Arizona in the clue for ARID kinda felt Monday easy. Is not trusting an answer because it’s “too easy” a legitimate misdirection?

TJS 2:58 PM  

@jae, 44:29 on the Longo, 21:14 on the Santora. Wheelhouse effect on the second one, I think. Liked them both, thanks for the tip. I've been working thru the Fri. and Sat. from '09,10, and 11. Not a speed-solver, obviously. Don't know how they do it. I like to stop and think.

TonyP 3:34 PM  

‘Like much of Arizona’ is a dreadful clue, since Arizona means ‘arid zone’ and has three-quarters of the answer within it. How did this get through?

DavidL 4:04 PM  

@kitshef, LOL re Ms. James. As I was entering ETTA, I was thinking that this was the first time I can remember it clued any other way. (I'm sure it has been, but sitting here now I can't think of another famous ETTA.)

This is odd - the puzzle that took me the most time this week was Wednesday, that nasty little number that featured the FIBONACCI SERIES (sic) and TOE JAM. I don't recall that ever happening before.

QuasiMojo 4:10 PM  

@RooMonster, thanks to you I went back to the SB just now and tried again. And got the QB! I want to shout it from the rooftop but it is much too hot out at the moment. I will do it virtually here.

Joe Dipinto 4:32 PM  

@Z 12:25 – Well, they were still a sometime-cover band at that point. But a very good one.

Charles Emerson Winchester III 4:34 PM  

It’s a British phrase that comes to mind when watching Lump (the cancer in America) at his daily briefings - but actually spelled with a “k” - as in knob end.

Charles Emerson Winchester III 4:35 PM  

Apologies for the pedantry. I’m prone to that.

Pam 4:53 PM  

@CEW -No need to apologize- I love it!

evil doug 6:50 PM  

Plus 2

pabloinnh 7:16 PM  

@QuasiMojo-Well done you. I am properly awed.

@Roo-You may be smart not to look at the word count.

As for me, got to G+ but the last thing I found was LET IT BE, and I took that for the usually sensible advice that it is.

Good luck to all the SBer's out there.

GILL I. 7:18 PM  

Oh, great...evil....you don't post in for ever and now you come back and leave me hanging?

Anoa Bob 7:47 PM  

My Random House lists an intransitive verb definition of YACHT, "to sail, voyage or race in a yacht". So semantically and syntactically, YACHTED passes muster, even though it's seldom heard in the wild. YACHT comes from the Dutch jaghtschip meaning "hunting boat", a small, maneuverable sailing craft that could handle rough seas.

Apparently the Dutch gussied one up and gave it to some British monarch as a pleasure craft and ever since YACHT has been associated with recreational sailing and racing. A boat doesn't have to be big or fancy to be a YACHT. My 28 ft. sloop qualifies as one, although I refer to her as a sailing vessel.

It became obvious to me during the solve that this puzzle had a theme. There's an impressive array of theme entries, so many that I may have missed a few. Here they are: BLOAT, ABC, RUT, WET RAG, TANG, CONE, BYTE, TAPE, STEEL DOOR, SATYR, DRIBBLE, BLIND SPOT, BALLAD and SAVOR. They all have one thing in common and it's right there in plain sight. It's a POC puzzle!

JC66 8:10 PM  

@evil doug

It's been forever.

What @Gill I said.

jae 8:15 PM  

@TJS - when I went back to the Santora puzzle this morning I realized I had a typo. Fixing it open up the SE and I finished. So, not really as tough as the Longo for me either.

Joe Dipinto 8:39 PM  

Santa baby, I want a yacht
And really, that's not a lot

Lewis 10:06 PM  

@evil -- Oh do let this be the beginning of a new stint!

Anonymous 1:28 AM  

What timing, that this puzzle drops one day after the president talked about his super duper missle at the space force flag ceremony.

Beth 3:32 PM  

The Beanie Babies were traded online :)

Unknown 5:02 PM  

Who knew 53A would be such a timely answer?

Burma Shave 11:27 AM  


With no BLINDSPOTS on CRUCIAL matters
(she EVEN SAVORS FIRE fights),
she never BATSANEYE at SATYRS,


spacecraft 11:47 AM  

Two curiosities: first, the byline in my paper ascribes this puzzle to Michael Schlossberg...again...and second, though it seemed as hard as yesterday's I was done with it in about a third of the time. Clues like "Doesn't travel, say" gave pause; once moved into the realm of sport, it was like, "Oh yeah, of course." So it was like stops and starts, a lot of "What's this?" followed by "Oh, that."

I had no knowledge whatever of WAKANDA, it filled on crosses and I just hoped all the crosses held. They did. Mini-theme with ZIN and the roses (I can't type diacritical marks on this system) of NAPA.

I think the BATSANEYE deal comes from the negative: "He didn't bat an eye." Quite OK. Getting a jump start with the triple anagram certainly helped. I make it easy-medium for the day. A fine puzzle though; nothing worse than a stray TBAR to furrow the brow. ETTA, the "anagrammette," is DOD. Birdie.

rondo 12:07 PM  

I should take a picture of my finished grid. Probably the neatest I've ever filled; being cautious, I guess. No write-overs and it didn't take all that long. FUN! Although in a couple of SECS you could turn the corners into a CESS pool. Magnetic flux withstanding, I grill a lot, and WEBER is the only brand of grill I've used in the last 35 years; better than DRAGONFIRE. Why not give a yeah BEANIEBABY to Donna SHALALA? RUMORHASIT this puz may have been SUPERDUPER.

rondo 12:14 PM  

@D,LIW - your NOVA, but not clued as salmon.
I had a seventy-something Chevy NOVA for a short while in the eighties. 350, 3 speed. Bought it for 75 bucks, drove that NOVA for a few months before the tranny blew up. NOVA indeed.

Diana, LIW 12:49 PM  

Ha - and do ever mena HA! After a few one-letter teensy dnfs, I got the Saturday. Huge triumph points, as at first I was hearing the proverbial crickets.

@R - I had a 77 Nova for many years - drove that puppy across the en-tire-eee U S of A - twice. San Diego to Albany (NY) and back via San Francisco. My first "California" car, it was my means to freedom. I do believe it was $1,200 in 1980. Sad to sell it before taking another year-long road trip in a van (1987/88).

But the st*r of this puzzle is Nova#3 - part of what gave me the lox on my win.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for brunch

Anonymous 4:03 PM  

There's also Etta Kett, the comic strip that's also old crosswordese, of which I have not seen neither Hyde nor hare of in a long long time.

leftcoaster 4:19 PM  

Have to agree with Rex :

"The highs were higher and the lows were lower yesterday, but I liked yesterday's puzzle somewhat more—it hit more than it missed."

Today, had some problems with oddly and vaguely clued answers, including ODD, ABCS, STAY, TBAR, FUN.

PREY are "low on the food chain"? Many are, some aren't. Think of sharks and certain unfortunate humans for example.

kitchentale 10:11 AM  

excellent logos.. able to find so many in one strech.Visit My site: Kitchen Tale Games

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