Pam's mom on The Office / SAT 5-9-20 / Bollywood's Rukh Khan / Something Jane Goodall Rube Goldberg Nadine Gordimer have in common / Not exactly roughing it in modern lingo

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Constructor: Erik Agard and Miriam Estrin

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (6:33 on an oversized grid at a sleepy 4 in the a.m.)

THEME: none

Word of the Day: CARL Laemmle (56A: ___ Laemmle, film pioneer who cofounded Universal Pictures) —
Carl Laemmle (/ˈlɛmli/ (About this soundlisten); born Karl Lämmle; January 17, 1867 – September 24, 1939) was a German-born filmmaker and the founder and, until 1934, owner of Universal Pictures. He produced or worked on over 400 films.
Regarded as one of the most important of the early film pioneers, Laemmle was born in what is now Germany. He immigrated to the United States in 1884 and worked in Chicago for 20 years before he began buying nickelodeons, eventually expanding into a film distribution service, the Laemmle Film Service, then into production as Independent Moving Pictures Company (IMP), later renamed Universal Film Manufacturing Company, and later still renamed Universal Pictures Company. (wikipedia)
• • •

Once again, my beloved Friday puzzle arrives a day late. Lots of bounce, lots of pep, tough but doable, filled with surprises. Kind of a nice idea to turn Saturday into Friday II, since Saturday can slip into dreary drudgery from time to time, with the cluing erring on the side of toughness rather than funness. Not sure why we seem to be seeing so many over-sized grids of late. I haven't done a systematic analysis to see if this impression of more frequent larger grids is accurate or not, but it sure feels that way. But other than throwing my times off (i.e. making it harder for me to judge "difficulty" level from the clock), I don't really mind. I do generally think there should be good *reason* for going to sixteen-wide, but ... I mean, today, you have very good reason: IMPOSSIBLE BURGER (16). Bam. There's your reason. A fantastic modern entry (37A: Vegan serving in a bun). You need the sixteen, you take the sixteen. Can you build a grid around IMPOSSIBLE BURGER that lives up to the hot modern promise of IMPOSSIBLE BURGER? Oh, you can? Oh, you're gonna slash TAKE THE L and BEERAMID right across the middle of IMPOSSIBLE BURGER, in an astonishing Gen-Z grid flex? Well, sure, by all means, go right ahead, I'm not gonna stop you.

This is a roller-coaster ride of high/low culture. You have these wee moments of opera and cathedrals and cow genuses (?!) and Latin plurals and then zoom, GLAMPING! Zing, HOLLER! BEAR HUGS! SHEBANG! NUH UH! DEEP-SIXES! This thing is all over the map, in the best possible way. I was grateful that they just gave me 1A: Something Old, something New? (TESTAMENT), but after getting most of the NW, the puzzle seemed a little easy, a little plain. But then I rode TAKE THE L down into the center of the grid, and things got a Lot more interesting. I appreciated that there were enough difficult roadblocks to make it interesting for me, and that my reward for overcoming those roadblocks was always More Goodness Around The Corner. Why doesn't ULNAE irritate me in *this* grid? Because this grid is strong all over, so ULNAE is a simply a (highly bearable) bump in the road. I'd probably reclue BOS if I ran the world, but there's something almost comical about this lone bit of Maleskary crashing the party for a hot second. Like some wee old dude with a monocle accidentally stumbling into a college party. "Pardon me, might one of you be so good as to point me in the direction of the Classical Language and Literature Department. I am to deliver a disquisition on cow genuses on the morrow. I say, should you young scholars not be at your books? What's that? You're studying the ancient ... BEERAMIDs, was it? I must say I'm not familiar with these structures. Well, carry on with your merry-making, students. Boola boola, etc." I like this guy.


Five things:
  • 14D: Action film staple (SET PIECE) — I don't normally like action films, or I thought I didn't, and then I watched "The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3" (1974) earlier this week, and it was amazing. Anyway, I think I don't really know what is meant by SET PIECE here. I know the term primarily from football (i.e. soccer). But this is what wikipedia says about the film meaning of SET PIECE
In film production, a set piece is a scene or sequence of scenes whose execution requires complex logistical planning and considerable expenditure of money. The term is often also used more broadly to describe a sequence in which the filmmaker's elaborate planning is considered to allow for the maximum payoff for the audience, such as a thrilling action sequence or awe-inspiring science fiction sequence. (wikipedia)
  • 17D: Saving face? (RESCUER) — couldn't get NOBLE from just the "E" so had to approach the NE corner from underneath. Thank god for GLAMPING, because SET PIECE and this one (RESCUER) were not quick in coming. I kept doubting -UER, which did not seem a likely way for a word to end.
  • 50D: ___ patch (BRIAR) — me: "Ugh, the E/A question! Well, f*** it, I'm just picking "A" and crashing into the corner. If I'm wrong, I'm sure crosses will tell me." And I wasn't wrong. For once. 
  • 25A: Disquisition (TREATISE) — I had this down to TREATI- and *still* had no idea what word could work there. Keep in mind that at one point in my life I actually wrote a dissertation. :(
  • 54A: Mammal with a pouch where it can store its favorite rock (OTTER) — well, as OTTER clues go, this one's at least original. The way it's worded, I thought it was a fictional animal. Like, the weirdly specific information was some reference to some famous animal in some book or something. But I guess OTTERs have favorite ... rocks? Actually (I looked this up), each otter keeps its own particular rock in a loose pouch across its chest and then *uses* that rock to bust open shellfish. The clue makes it sound like the OTTER is just fond of small objects. The rocks are TOOLS (30D: Fixing things). Anyway, cool OTTER facts, man. I like the PET OTTER PHILIP stack in this grid. I imagine that someone has a pet otter. A pet otter named PHILIP. He may or may not operate a little underwater gas station. 
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. not sure how I feel about "The L" being in the grid *and* in the clue for SHO (10D: "The L Word" airer, for short). Normally, my solver-sense would say "Dupe alert! Can't do that!" But this is such an ostentatious wink at one of the freshest answers in the grid that I can't really be mad at it.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Frantic Sloth 5:51 AM  

Mr. Agard. My white whale.

Oh, he tried mightily to cow me, but I remained undaunted and refused to TAKETHEL.

I really don't know where to start because there was just so much going on:
Misdirects. Esoterica. Questionable terms. PPP from hell.
Chewy? Crunchy? Not sufficient. What do you call it when all your teeth break,
fall out of your head, and your mandible fractures to boot?

I call it cruel and inhuman punishment.

Mr. Agard calls it "Saturday."

Lucky for me that my masochism streak kicked in and got me through.

You think you won? Ha! Bianca?

bulgie 6:01 AM  

Hard for me but really fun. I plopped down TESTAMENT immediately but began to doubt it when I couldn't get the first few downs. ELUDE/EVADE both worked with the E, so I let it go and moved on.
GLAMPING and IMPOSSIBLE BURGER were easy without crosses so I began to think this might be an easy puzzle overall, but it was not. Almost everything else was hard. Great satisfaction from finishing though.

Learned about otter pouches, and the name of a Persian poet. Happy Saturday!

GILL I. 6:13 AM  

Ah, how my wandering mind gets the better of me. GLAMPING was my first entry and then I took a MINI hike over to 18A . My place to branch out was a TREE house. My girlfriend wanted me to glamp at the Tree House in Monterey. It looks so cool. It's on my bucket list. I think you need a bucket to get up there.
The clue for EGO was nifty. Actually, all the clues were in the cool beans category.
Two did not knows: That HELENE gal from "The Office: and the CARL guy, Laemmle. I so wanted to Google but I didn't. It's like looking at that luscious little chocolate bon bon that's saying "eat me" but you've already had about 4 of them and you know it's tempting to at least lick it, but you don't. Averted temptation.
So then I get to IMPOSSIBLE BURGER. I admire vegans. Can you imagine going your whole life without eating bacon? Or even a poached egg? Someone's gotta save the planet. My daughter went vegan for a while but a cheeseburger finally did her in.
I was so proud of myself for getting that fancy COALESCE word even though I would never use it in conversation. Would you say "let's COALESCE sometime and get a bite to eat?" But I do say "give me a HOLLER sometime soon."
My son-in-law is the primo BEAR HUGS pro. He's very tall and strong and loves giving them. I miss them during this don't get near me time. I miss giving little hugs to my granddaughter as well.
Did anyone else think of SNAFU before SNAGS? No? That's ok.
Nice Saturday, Erik and Miriam. Sometimes I say the whole enchilada instead of the SHEBANG... but that's just me.

Anonymous 6:23 AM  

What have you done with Rex?

Teresa 6:25 AM  

Loved it. Hard as hell for one not familiar with a lot of modern lingo and living overseas to boot, but hard is what we want for a Saturday in captivity. I suspected BOS even though I didn't know it. Why? Because it would explain why cows in popular culture used to be called Bossy. That always bothered me as a kid because I didn't think cows were particularly bossy and the poor dears didn't deserve the rap. Otters keeping favorite rocks in their pouches is just too cute. @Rex: loved your elderly gent coming to the party. Could you introduce us?

Frantic Sloth 6:34 AM  

Oh. Did I forget to mention that I really enjoyed tusslin' with this puzzle? Well, I so did!

Under the heading of delayed gratification: "I admire vegans" SAIDNOONEEVER
(@GILL I. wink wink and LOL your entire comment)

Lewis 6:40 AM  

How did I love this?
Let me count the ways
(God bless Rumi)
And God bless the clues
Puzzle after puzzle
In a puzzle

Please, you two
Continue without muzzle
I'm ready to guzzle

Anonymous 7:20 AM  

I loved the mention of one of my favorite Bollywood actors, but the clue was weird: his first name is Shah Rukh (born Shahrukh), not SHAH. It was just strange to see his name broken like that in the clue.

kaoconno 7:21 AM  

Minor quibble with respect to 25D « It may be imperfect ». The answer is TENSE. The imperfect is an aspect, not a tense. Which is why we talk about past perfect and past imperfect. Both are past tense but they differ in terms of aspect.

Wine Diver 7:35 AM  

I just bought a campervan, so the debute of GLAMPING brought a smile to my lips.

amyyanni 7:35 AM  

Wonderful! Big Fun. (ok, had to look up Shah Rukh Khan to be sure I wasn't being an oldster for DIALED.) Wow, SHEBANG, GLAMPING, BEERAMID....but wait, there's more! Clever clues. Another Rumi fan, here. Interesting musing, @Teresa, on why cows may be called Bossy. Think I'll chew on that for a while.

Hungry Mother 7:36 AM  

Just a big sigh of relief when this one was done. I’ve been on many MINIBUSES all over the world, but it was hard for me to see until the last. Quite a worthy challenge.

Suzie Q 7:42 AM  

This is just the sort of Saturday puzzle I wait for all week. I'm so glad I did not surrender because the finished grid was very satisfying. I was amazed I was able to get through it despite some real unknowns. Thanks Erik and Miriam.

Twangster 8:02 AM  

I made finishing this a lot harder than it should have been because I thought "cropped photo" was PHO and the action movie thing had CHASE in it. Finally looked up God in French, which I forgot I already knew, and sorted it out.

Anonymous 8:08 AM  

Wow. You really should't blog at 4 am. Why would a Classicist know the genus name for an cow? That's zoology, or biology. As for your pathetic caricature, I know plenty of Classicists who like beer and baseball just like you, Rex. This is appalling, and shocking, from a fellow academic in the humanities: "Pardon me, might one of you be so good as to point me in the direction of the Classical Language and Literature Department. I am to deliver a disquisition on cow genuses on the morrow. I say, should you young scholars not be at your books? What's that? You're studying the ancient ... BEERAMIDs, was it? I must say I'm not familiar with these structures. Well, carry on with your merry-making, students. Boola boola, etc."

Joaquin 8:36 AM  

Whoever it is filling in for Rex today, please come back soon.

Anonymous 8:38 AM  

Took me a ridiculously long time to solve this, but in the end I did manage to keep my streak alive. For the life of me though, I don’t understand how “pet” equates to “bad mood”. Help please.

Ernonymous 8:39 AM  

@anon 8:08 you really need a sense of humor. Rex's lost old man was hilarious. You were shocked and appalled?

puzzlehoarder 8:42 AM  

Not an IMPOSSIBLEBURGER but not easy either.

I got a good start in the NE but I couldn't accept HOLLER or SETPIECE for some reason and I couldn't recall how to spell God in French. GLAMPING was easy but it galled me to put it in as the SB wouldn't take GLAMP when MEGAPLEX was the pangram a few days back.

South of the grid spanner the puzzle was easy. It was the upper corners that were tough. In the NW my main obstacle was overcoming an ALE/ART write over.

This one was fun to figure out and at 7 minutes longer than Friday it was just right for a Saturday. The resistance was all in the clues.

I took a quick look at today's SB. It was 18 words to genius and the QB will be another 28 points so it doesn't look as easy as yesterday's.

Nancy 8:45 AM  

So when does crunchy and intriguing cross the line into patently unfair? I always feel that Erik (I can't speak for Miriam; don't know her) is dead set on making me TAKE THE L and, towards that end, will do whatever he has to do. Like including a ridiculous phrase such as TAKE THE L. And HOLLER clued as "get in contact". And SET PIECE clued as "action film staple" when there's nothing especially "action"-y about it. You can have a SET PIECE in a kitchen table drama. And "saving face" for RESCUER: what does the RESCUER'S "face" have to do with anything? Is "puts the kibosh on" really a synonym of DEEP SIXES?

And let's not even mention NUHUH. I'm usually pretty easy-going, but I would have said: "You get NUHUH out of this puzzle or this puzzle will never see the light of day."

Still, I was never bored. However unfair some of it was, I was consistently challenged and engrossed. Does that make up for the unfairness? Not completely, but mostly. Plus the fact that the clues for TESTAMENT, UNISEX, TOOLS, EGO and SHRINE are terrific.

Another Anon 8:57 AM  

Look it up.

pabloinnh 8:59 AM  

Now this is what I call a Saturdazo! Just enough real cool jive that I knew that I avoided being a square. I've even had (half of) an IMPOSSIBLEBURGER, which was over priced and definitely not a cheeseburger. Sorry planet. The "get in contact" corner had CALL__for way too long, but that was the only real holdup. The rest was just chewy enough and full of things with AHAS! to make this just right.

BOS is one of those words that make sense after you learn them, which I did some time ago, because people calling in their cows often say "Come bos!". I think a similar thing happens with the "sooey" thing for pigs.

And of course there is an OTTER, the cherry on top of this wonderful word sundae. Thanks a bunch, EA and ME. You can write my Saturday puzzle any time.

webwinger 9:01 AM  

Ouch! Except for IMPOSSIBLE BURGER—surely a debut—I did not enjoy this. Ranged from pedestrian to just weird, without passing fun. Badly hung up at the end in the NE—one strange clue after another. (Well, I did like SHEBANG.)

I don’t recall seeing BOS before, but somehow the part of my brain that has been locked down for 50+ years by high school Latin whispered “bos, bovis...bovine”, which turns out to be an accurate rendering of the final word’s origin. Also apparently the reason dairy cows used to be nicknamed Bossie.

@Rex’s lampooning of a stereotypic (Yale?) professor had the uncomfortable feel of a “cutesy” ethnic (or maybe sexual orientation) charicature, the type that would surely make OFL blow his stack.

Anonymous 9:03 AM  


Anonymous 9:20 AM  

@Anonymous trying to connect PET with “bad mood:” I think it’s British Auntie speak for “sulky.”

QuasiMojo 9:23 AM  

I used to "take the L" to Brooklyn (although it was still the LL back then) but I'm not sure I've heard this modern variation. We had "take a knee" recently. That I knew.

Fun puzzle that had me from "Holler" since I am one of those creepy classicist types who say "Gimme a holler." Not sure I was crazy about "Dialed" for "Rang" because you don't say "I dialed you." You say "I dialed you up," or "I rang you." And "rang you up" even, but you wouldn't use dialed for rang. And phone still ring even without dialing. But I'm not an operator.

Wanted GEE or AGE before EGO.

Loved the ART clue since I fell for it and put in ALE.

A "Second Edition" is not technically a "Reissue." The text has to be altered in some way to be considered a Second Edition.

MORE like this, in any case.

To my SB cohorts, I'm now hooked.

kitshef 9:24 AM  

Very, very hard for me, especially in the NW. For a puzzle that took me forever, got off to a blazing start with SNAGS leading to GLAMPING and quickly to IMPOSSIBLE BURGER, so penetration into much of the puzzle very early. Swam easily through the bottom of the grid, left to right, then wham! Hit the wall.

I enjoyed the challenge, but some of the cluing was flat out terrible.

In particular, the clue for EGO stands out as one of the worst ever. Clue for OTTER is pretty awful (and true only for sea otters). Clue for PHILIP is trying too hard to be cute. I may be misunderstanding it, but the clue for LAMPS appears incorrect. And what the flaming fudge is an ‘art glass’? My unwillingness to put that in helped make the NW so tough.

So ... on balance, a fairly good time with some tut-tutting along the way.

Z 9:25 AM  

Pretty much what Rex said. IN A Minute really stalled me in the SE, but otherwise a fine romp, with the barest of toe-holds resulting in whole sections suddenly filling quickly. Hand up for really liking the EGO clue. I thought it was going to be “gos” at first, which is a little ugly, so when EGO appeared it was a double “nice.” Other oddity that wasn’t was -GANCE. That is right there with Rex’s -UER isn’t the “Unlikely Word Endings” category. Are there other words that end in -GANCE? The closest that come to mind is “fragrance” and an R snuck in there.

I have never watched The Office so can somebody who is a fan please share whether or not HELENE is significant enough to be crossworthy?

Cleaning up from yesterday - @TJS - Oh, I could go on and on and on and..., but at some point it is just a tedious argument. Knowledge people providing facts and stats and stans providing, well, nothing. And, yes, there are arguments that can be made, but I find them far from compelling.
@Pete - Yep. Herders are smart and so very trainable, but if you don’t spend the time and energy they will take those smarts and cause trouble. Really, that’s true of most dogs, wonderful if you train them, but problematic if you don’t.
And I see someone mistakes be expensive with ELEGANCE and taste. I know some will find this shocking, but there are lots of people who aren’t interested in or distracted by shiny baubles.

Teedmn 9:26 AM  

I didn't actually write this in, but New BRUNSWICK would have fit at 1A and I figured if there was a New one, there would be an Old one. Needless to say, this led to absolutely no crosses in the NW so I went on to greener pastures, i.e. IMP crossing IN A M(oment, inute) in the SE. I had a small hitch with MINI BikES but later, UNISEX filled in and got me on the BUS.

After that, I had little to no problem (yes, to Rex's finding GLAMPING a godsend in the NE) until I branched back to the NW. TREATISE helped me replace peeLED with DIALED but then I was blank. I put in STENOS and ELUDE and crossed them out. I was sure 24A had something to do with the GO in their name but missed the crypticism of the EGO. (Is there such a thing as a "spy" house? My running of the alphabet for 5D made that a tempting attempt but, whew, I didn't go with it.)

So I did the classic "take a break" trick and when I got back, ENRAGE was the dam-breaker. Yea!

My "clue of the day" choice - 45D's "Martyr complex?" for SHRINE.

As @Frantic Sloth says so well, Erik Agard plays a large role in my personal Moby Dick, so I wasn't surprised to see his name on this. Miriam Estrin, congratulations on your debut. Long may you construct!

Anonymous 9:27 AM  


Watch more melodramas from the 30s. Some ingenue will get all snippy and snarky, and the men in the scene will say 'she's having a pet'.

Paul Emil 9:38 AM  

A person in a bad mood is said to be in a pet.

Petsounds 9:40 AM  

I always laugh when a puzzle that has my brain twisted into a pretzel is described by Rex as "Easy-Medium." And then he lists all the things he had trouble with (BRIAR? Really?), and they're things I sailed through. The NW and SE corners made me worry that I'd have to TAKETHEL on this one, but I eventually bumbled through, mostly enjoying it.

PHILIP, IMPOSSIBLEBURGER, DIEU (nice French twist), BEARHUGS, OTTER. Loved them all. Most of the fill was clean and fresh too.

But the EGO clue was so obscure to me that, even when it was filled in, didn't make sense for the longest time, and once it did, it hit the floor with a loud clunk. I really hate those cutesie-clever clues that have to do with a first letter or a last letter or, in this case, just a string of three letters. The Persian poet and Bollywood actor were impossible for me without the crosses, and I'd say, "Well, that's on me," but weren't they awfully obscure for most everyone?

Still, overall a goodie.

Richardf8 9:41 AM  

24A - The clue is clever and hives value to this tired thing.

9D - God, this again? How about “Kidnap the Family Circus mom?”

8D -Oh, c’mon, girl ninjas are AWESOME!

Z 9:41 AM  

From Merriam-Webster (entry 4 of 8 on PET) - pet noun (2): a fit of peevishness, sulkiness, or anger —usually used in the phrase ‘in a pet.’

@kaoconno - So what you’re saying is a TENSE might be perfect or imperfect?

@QuasiMojo - Or, after the long forgotten first edition is rediscovered and suddenly the publisher has to REISSUE a second edition.

@kitshef - At least two of us disagree on EGO. De gustibus and all that.

Lorelei Lee 9:43 AM  

Almost everything in this puzzle was knowable, sussible (sussable?), or ultimately workable. Erik Agard, from The New Yorker to the NYT, I'm a fan.

The last three days of puzzles have been great, culminating in sparkling.

@Nancy, think of the old time "Gimme a holler." The new version is holla. Phone call.

Lorelei Lee 9:50 AM  

@Anon 9:03, I know. How can you use the relatively unknown Dockyard and not accept Walt Whitman's "When Lilacs Last in the DOORYARD Bloom'd?"

Tip for SB that got me to dockyard (maybe you already do it). I think compound words are the most difficult so when I'm stuck, I go over the list of fours that I've found to see if anything straps together. When I got dockyard I though nuhuh. But there it was.

ghthree 9:53 AM  

Nothing much in my wheelhouse today. Enjoyed it anyway.

deerfencer 10:03 AM  

Delightful puzzle and a fun write up by Professor Rex. Kudos to Eric and Miriam!

Nancy 10:04 AM  

The problem, @Lorelei (9:43), is that I never said "Gimme a holler" -- not in the "old time" and not in the new time either. Nor did my family or friends as far as I can remember. I always say "give me a call," being a straightforward sort of person. Maybe occasionally "Give me a ring", but I doubt it. I think I had friends who said "Give me a buzz" and I have one friend -- the husband of a close friend -- who always says: "Give me a blast". Which sounds...odd. But then they spend much of the year in London, so maybe it's a Britishism.

@Z has it right: There's a Great Divide today between the EGO clue lovers and the EGO clue haters. I think I can explain it. Today's EGO clue is quintessential Cryptic-style cluing. To someone who doesn't do Cryptics, to someone who doesn't even like Cryptics, this clue would be an absolute no-no. I love Cryptics, so I enjoyed the clue. But I'm willing to admit that it probably has no place in a standard crossword.

RooMonster 10:09 AM  

Hey All !
Toughie for me. I started to Goog for impossible-for-the-ole-brain clues. Held off as long as I could. I admit when I TAKE THE L like today. Looked up 12D ALLA, because Mozart-deficient here, 25A TREATISE, because had TREspaSs there, and once I got NE corner after ALLA, ended up with an E, but just nothing bubbling up for that, and 57D RUMI because who? Har.

NW corner toughest one for me. Finished up there, lots of trickiness up there. EvaDE til almost the end not helping.

Bright spot, got IMPOSSIBLE BURGER off nothing! First wrote im SOY, but saw SOYanything would be too short, said, "Wait, wat about IMPOSSIBLE BURGER?" and lo and behold...

A Saturday puz that knew how to Saturday, to steal someone's line. NUHUH was fun, and funner when I actually thought, "NUHUH, there's no way it's NUHUH!"

Pangram try, but c'mon constructors, you need an F!

No F's 😕

TJS 10:13 AM  

OK Lewis. Let me count the ways: Elia,Darth,Helene,Carl,Philip,Shah,Estee,Rumi,Samiam,Bos.
Ulnae,Nez,Dieu,Alla. In a bun ? In? The Sistine Chapel is in The Vatican. They speak Italian there, Dio. Or Latin, Deus. Dieu? Nuhuh.
Yes there is some great fill here, but all this cutesy misdirection and flat out laziness really cut the enjoyment for me. Are we just supposed to give a blanket pass because we see the name Agard?

TheMadDruid 10:16 AM  

Thank God for Erik! I couldn’t take another grumpy Rex-day. And why are Gen-Zers getting credit for beeramids and”Ls”?? We had it/said it back in the 70s.

Richardf8 10:16 AM  

That’s true for Indo-European languages, less so for Ancient Near Eastern, where Aspect is relied on exclusively.

xyz 10:18 AM  

TAKE THE L is not in my usage, no excuse I guess; never having written a real paper myself didn't know disquisition; bigBANG seemed so right, but GGG wouldn't work (ELEGAMCE eventually) so o o , that part gave me fits on an otherwise smooth to smooth-ish solve. Jesus God did I struggle.

Decent stuff, but I will never eat an impossible burger on principle despite filling-in-the-blanks without counting to 16. Vegan burger is almost a worse combination than 'president' Trump.

I guess there could be Vegan Foie Gras?

adddm: That wasn't the debut of GLAMPING as some have suggested, right? REALLY? I know for certain it's been in New Yorker Mag puzzles, So I guess it's Eric A's word and will accept maybe until confirmed.

Lorelei Lee 10:26 AM  

@Nancy, I know. I had the "luck" in the 80s and 90s of working for an engineering firm of mostly men who loved that kind of thing, for instance, "Tell him to gimmie a holler and we'll run it up the flag pole and see if anyone salutes it." Or gimme a jingle.

To self amuse, I used to throw in comments like, "Well let's throw it against the wall and see if anyone salutes it." Or, "Let's run it up the flagpole and see if it sticks." Blank stares all around.

mathgent 10:27 AM  

Wonderful comments today. Gill in excellent form. Nancy expressing my love-hate feelings neatly. Many others.

A crossword is like a goody bag someone gave you. It has seventy or so little presents. Some are easy to unwrap, some require a blowtorch. Some have something precious like a diamond ring inside, some have an orange. Today’s goody bag had a lot of lovely sparkly things.

It was ten o’clock last night, my eyes were watering, and I still was looking at a blank NE. I was too stubborn to go to bed without finishing. I tentatively wrote in DIEU at 32A giving me ????UER for 17D. Could it possibly be RESCUER? Yes it could.

tb 10:28 AM  

@Nancy: "Is "puts the kibosh on" really a synonym of DEEP SIXES?"

"And let's not even mention NUHUH. I'm usually pretty easy-going..." NUHUH

TJS 10:35 AM  

Re. EGO, E.A, and M.E., insert a "T".

Richardf8 10:37 AM  

Not to mention that the IMPOSSIBLE bit of the impossible burger is Heme, a hemoglobin-like substance produced by GMOs.

Anonymous 10:42 AM  

I only came here today to see if you posted a video for the Roxy Music song. Did not leave disappointed.

Anonymous 10:43 AM  

@amyyanni, Good deal! Enjoy your ruminations.

John R 10:51 AM  

This one was a real struggle for me, but gave a great feeling of accomplishment when I finally finished. Took me over an hour and a half. Did the lower half of the grid last night. Finished the top this morning.

I filled in GLAMPING right away, then removed it because I wanted Adam on the Sistine Chapel ceiling. Eventually got things cleaned up.

Regarding EGO, at first I thought it would be GEE, then GOS, but when EGO filled in I was confused. Were they all famous divas? Finally saw the E at the end of their first names.

Still have never gotten to QB. I missed one six letter word yesterday. I tried DOODOO a couple of times (hoping that if I repeated it enough times the program might give in and take it). So close!

Nancy 10:55 AM  

Your made-up, mixed-up idioms are hilarious, @Lorelei Lee (10:26). Bet you were the life of the office. Too bad your humor sailed right over the heads of your co-workers.

I wish would get yourself a blue name and post here more often. Your wit is very welcome.

To my fellow Cryptic-loving friend @mathgent: How did you feel about the clue for EGO?

@Roo (10:09) -- Do you have an app that tells you which letters of the alphabet have been used in a puzzle? Does such a thing exist? How did you know that the only unused letter today was an F. I can't imagine anything more tedious than counting up how many letters have and haven't been used. There must be a shortcut or no one in the whole entire world would bother to do it. I've never understood the cachet of a pangram anyway.

johnk 11:00 AM  

Since when is "knight" a title, Sir?

egsforbreakfast 11:21 AM  

@ Petsounds 9:40. Is a pet sound the oral result of a snit?

This puzzle was a total winner for me. Like most of you I didn’t know the Persian poet, but no trouble working that out. Where I finished, and almost gave up, was with SAM_AM. Even when I ran the alphabet, the name Samiam didn’t seem right. Fortunately the light bulb came on before the “Reveal” button sucked me in.

I got to thinking about a guy walking into a Burger King and asking for a “possible burger”. A series of unruly synapses eventually made me see that St. Anselm’s Ontological Argument (also used by Augustine and Descartes) would be applicable as well to the question of which burger is better, the Possible or Impossible.

St. Anselm’s argument for the existence of god goes:
1. We can agree that God is “that than which nothing greater can exist”
2. God must have many attributes such as all-seeing, and omnipotent.
3. The attribute of existing is surely a positive.
3. An all-seeing and omnipotent God that didn’t have the attribute of existence, would be lesser than an all-seeing and omnipotent God that had the attribute of existence.
4. Therefore, the God who is all seeing and omnipotent but doesn’t have the positive attribute of existence cannot be “that than which nothing greater can exist” , for a we have established that a greater God would have the attribute of existence.

Turning to burgers, and abbreviating the argument, we conclude that, even if the Impossible Burger” is every bit as good in taste and texture, the Possible Burger is better due to the mere fact of its possibility.

Joe Dipinto 11:23 AM  

@Nancy – XWord Info always lists what letters are missing, in the "This Puzzle" notes. Today's are F, Q, V, W, Y

Mo Pariser 11:33 AM  

UNItEd. Coverage for all. Easy, what's next? DEEP something.... Another hip portmanteau? Deepvade? Deeplude? Deep fade maybe? MINI something... Mini bite? I don't get it. Cows are probable BOV but I know that's not a genus.... Ok let's go back DEEP something...

Please enjoy this approximate 20 minute long ever circling futile ride aboard my chugging train of thought.

Really did enjoy the puzzle. Would have appreciated a more specific clue of unisex, but then again simple clues have been eluding me of late. I blame Obama. And also the increase of my daily screen time. Anyway, a rare DNF for me in the Corona Era. Back on the horse for another Sunday.

Horace Clarke 11:36 AM  

Nice touch, adding “so to speak” to the clue for HOLLER, as hollering is a style of speaking.

RooMonster 11:37 AM  

I don't count every instance of every letter in every puz, that would be tedious! 😁
When I notice "Scrabbliness" like J's, Q's, or Z's, I will go back and see if all the letters are used. I go in alphabetical order, may seem like a waste of time, bit don't we all have extra time right now? To look for F's, I just "manually", as it were, go line by line and count them. My F fixation started by noticing they weren't often used as much as it seems they should be.
I would like to get some sort of program to calculate all the letter frequency from a whole year of puzs, just because I think it'd be neat. But I'm not gonna physically count a whole years worth of puzs!

And there also wasn't a Q today, I didn't mention F's were the Only letter left out.

Still glad you asked? Har. 😋

RooMonster Randomly Strange Guy

QuasiMojo 11:37 AM  

@Z, that reissue of many years later would technically be a First Edition for that publication. It is not a Second Edition of the previous book. It is a reissue or a reprint. Or to put it best, it's a new edition of a previously published work. People collect both first editions if they want various editions of an author's work.

@Lorelei Lee, I wanted DRYDOCK but apparently M/W hyphenated it. Tell that to the DRYDOCK Savings Bank. :)

Greg 11:43 AM  


Carola 11:47 AM  

Tough to get a grip on, fun to rassle with, satisfying to finish. Loved learning the OTTER lore: I knew that they used rocks to open shellfish but had no idea about the "PET" rock they can keep stashed in a pouch.

Pamela 11:48 AM  

@Frantic Sloth, I’m with you all the way. My whole head hurts.d

After a rocky start, I worked up from the bottom. I was so sure Disquisition must be related to Acquisition- maybe opposite? Or at least against or without something. That held me up for ages. I finally checked the definition, saw essay, and got my (guilty) Aha.

Lots of writeovers, and one mistake I didn’t see until coming here- I had SAMsAM crossing ELsA. I have seen enough Seuss to have figured that one out for myself.

Not the only place I was dense today, though. The NW was the ultimate sticking point for me. For 24A, why is EGO correct? I see that all 3 names start with GO- ohohohohohoh! I just saw the little e.🤭. I fought that for the longest time! 🤬

Once I had GER for the long answer I knew what it would be. Must be still in my brain from the recent Turkey version that was so elusive at the time. Live and learn, or rather Solve and learn.

Unknown 12:03 PM  

Made me feel young.

Ethan Taliesin 12:05 PM  

Completed the grid without much difficulty and went here to find out what EGO was all about.

Was not expecting that kind of clue... in the same way I don't even consider "vulgar" words like the F one. But yes, let's have some more cryptic style clues and I'll keep my antennas up. (I also welcome filthy words)

Fun stuff today

Joaquin 12:20 PM  

In other news and having nothing to do with xword puzzles: RIP Little Richard.

His "Long Tall Sally" is one of the goofiest, yet one of the best, rock songs ever.

Chris 12:24 PM  

Surprised not to see any gripes from OFL or the commentariat on the DART/DARTH crossing. I don't know the finer points of construction rules or practice, but it struck me odd.

jb129 12:30 PM  

I always love when I see Erik & his cohorts. Thank you.

The Joker 12:30 PM  

What do that escort do? SHE BANG.

JC66 12:35 PM  

Re: @Rex's review

Just wondering what would happen if they put Bruce Haight's name on an Agard puzzle and vice versa.

bstuber 12:38 PM  

Now I fully understand that I am not on a mental wavelength with any of you yesterday's was considered difficult I found it easy today's was considered easy I found it impossible

Masked and Anonymous 12:39 PM  

This SatPuz sorta seemed to be winkin at m&e a lot. When yer fill is this smoooth, U gotta do somethin to make it SatPuz-tough, I reckon. Exhibit-A: EGO clue. This is a very runtpuzzy double-questionmarked type of clue. [staff weeject pick therefore goes to EGO.]

This may be a SatPuz first, but M&A splatzed in TESTAMENT immediately, offa nuthin. Very first entry into the puz -- all 9 letters of it -- with no significant thinkin about it. Zero nanosecond burn, mateys. Mic dropsville. Things got mighty slower-goin, after that.

fave sparkler-words included: TESTAMENT. BEERAMID. IMPOSSIBLEBURGER. BEARHUGS [Are there perhaps also BEERHUGS?]. NUHUH [Not a BEERHUGS rulin].

Thanx for gangin up on us, Agard dude and Estrin darlin. And congratz to Miriam I Am on her debut … please don't stop constructin these gems until the Fat OTTER HOLLERs. [*No*, neither @RP nor Trump is bein referenced, in that previous clause.]

Masked & Anonym8Us [@Nancy: I always let xwordinfo.chen count the pretty U's.]


jberg 12:54 PM  

This puzzle was tough for me, but a lot of fun. It would have been easier if I'd noticed the capitalization in 1A right away, and still easier if I'd been able to remember IMPOSSIBLE BURGER. I had the LEB from crosses, and thought Aha! VegetaBLE BURGER! Fortunately, I counted it out before writing it in.

On wheelhouses: there's been a big RUMI craze for the last couple of decades, but I guess it's not universal, going by the mixed reactions here. If you have eaten an Impossible Burger, you've probably heard of him. If you take regular yoga classes, even more likely. (Solving tip: be careful with your 4-letter Persian poets, there's also Omar.)

Like @TJS. I thought it was maybe a tad unfair to use the French name of an Italian site to clue DIEU. I got it right away, but it seemed so wrong that I almost dropped it for car chace--I was saved by the misspelling. (To me, a SET PIECE is a stock scene that can be popped into any number of plays.)

@Nancy, I think you nailed it on EGO. I've taken up cryptics lately (inspired by the founding of Out of Left Field), and all those Gs just leaped out at me. But I can see they might not have if one had never done one.

Oh yeah, Roil vs. RILE really hung me up. UNoSEX didn't do it, though.

GHarris 12:57 PM  

Lots here I didn’t know but worked out once I changed minibikes to buses, pix to pic, Selene to Helene and gave up on the notion that an action staple had to be a car chase. So I would say I found it easy, especially for a Saturday yet after completing it on paper I entered it into my iPad just to get confirmation and that took me 6 minutes and 13 seconds. Rex did the whole shebang in just a few seconds more. How can that be?

CDilly52 12:57 PM  

@Anonymous 7:20. True that, but he is worthy of mention for sure!

CDilly52 1:06 PM  

Oh my oh my!! Happiest of Saturday’s! Think I need a long shower after that workout! This is the Agard I know and love/hate! Just exceptional in every way. What y’all said. Alas, I spent so long head scratching, refilling coffee, playing with avatar cat and her sister to gain insight, going back and forth in the puzz like a rock climber creeping up a MOUNTAIN face one tiny little foot and hand hold at a time, zig-zagging all over the place with great inefficiency, that I have whiled away an entire Saturday morning and alas I must go write a brief.

I totally agree that this was worth the effort and the best puzzle in quite a long while! Oh, my first thought at BOS, was also that must be why the archetypical cow name is Bossy. And that is what I learned today. My Gran would have giggled and clapped all through this one.

webwinger 1:23 PM  

I figured out EGO pretty quickly. Didn’t do much for mine.

@mathgent (also @jberg and @TJS): Very similar to my experience of the NE. For a long time overlooked 32A clue’s clue that the language for DIEU would be French. Was thinking DIos, or maybe DIEs (as in Dies Irae, though just checked and found that word comes from the Latin for “day”). SETPIECE seemed way too generic. Clue for RESCUER too cute for me.

@egsforbreakfast: Thank you, thank you for extending Anselm’s ontological argument to burgers! I will sleep better tonight for having seen that. (Remember reading an essay for Philosophy 101 titled something like, Is existence a predicate? Part of the reason I didn’t take Philosophy 102.)

@Mo Pariser: My sentiments exactly!

pmdm 1:29 PM  

I usually become very grumpy when solving an Eric puzzle, today being no exception. I don't mind a bit of pop stuff and some nasty proper nouns, but usually his (or their) grids have just too much of the stuff for me to react positively. I just don't care. While I recognize his talent, the puzzles just don't hit me well. I know I've said something like this before and I'm sure I will again. Bad to be boring (or repetitious).

Masked and Anonymous 1:39 PM  


One word of ad-vice, to the now covid-laced White House crew: BLEACHAMID.
Hey -- it's worth a binge shot … Trump mighta been onto somethin. Just suggestin.
[But I'm pretty sure it was in that there CDC recommendations list that Trump, out of modesty, had suppressed.]

M&A CDC-Helpins Desk

Crimson Devil 1:49 PM  

Certainly Saturday-worthy, all ‘round.
Particularly enjoyed NUHUH...heard and used it allmalife but never seen in print.

jock spit 1:51 PM  

Sorry Bride loves your comments and puzzles. I just look at the results...although Utah may claim “Runnin UTES” no one in round ball land would ever associate Utah with Running anything....the REAL running are the Running Rebels of the legendary UNLV. Led by famed coach Jerry Tarkanian, the Runnin' Rebels were among the most exciting teams in the nation. They consistently led the nation in points scored, turnovers forced, and most importantly – wins. The Runnin' Rebels were well known for going on long runs that turned close games into blowouts. They were also known for up-tempo offense and stifling defense. ...... just a jock amongst you cruciverbalists

Azzurro 1:58 PM  

Tough one but fun. I think Rex was a little generous due to his fondness for Erik; there was a lot of unnecessary Natick in this one with the various obscure/foreign celebrities, and I still don’t get PET as someone’s mood, even after reading the comments. Good, challenging puzzle overall though!

Bax'N'Nex 2:16 PM  

Mike will never dis an Agard puzzle. So this doesn’t count towards his May positive reviews...he just doesn’t want to offend his buddy.

If Bruce Haight had done this it would have been flat-out destroyed.

Crimson Devil 2:25 PM  

Jock, you so right ‘bout UNLV/Sh-Tark...but they made mistake (ERRed in crosswordese that your spouse will know) in Whuppin Blue Devils in NCAA Final, around ‘90 I think, by 30 !!(sic). Well, as fortune would have it, Devils and Rebs both made it to last game/final the very next year: and Devils returned the favor, but not by 30 by a long shot!
Caliber of college bkball has suffered greatly due to 1 & done allowance.

Anonymous 2:50 PM  

Cow genera

CaryinBoulder 2:51 PM  

While I liked the degree of difficulty after easy Thursday and Friday, I still TOOK THE L trying to finish in the SE corner. I wasn’t helped by having MINImUtES — which made sense to me as a short commute — and for too long overRIdES where DEEP SIXES should’ve been. HELENE or Helena? Could’ve been either if you don’t watch the show. BOS was a mystery, too. Imagine how children’s literature would be different if Little BO Peep had lost her cows.

Agree with @Jock about the Runnin’ Rebs of UNLV, one frenetic team. As to SET PIECE in action films, I gained a better appreciation for a genre I don’t normally watch when I saw “JVCD,” a humorous Belgian thriller about/starring Jean-Claude Van Damme that takes you through the choreography of a long action set piece. It’s probably floating around on Netflix or somewhere and very entertaining.

If you’re not really into the Star Wars universe, DARTH is just a first name and not (as I learned today) an honorific. NUHUH is pretty lame. And I’ve eaten Beyond Burgers (pretty tasty) but hadn’t heard of the IMPOSSIBLE breed. Must be because I fast forward thru all TV ads.

Finally, I want to echo @Joaquin in bestowing eternal blessings up the late Little Richard Penniman, corruptor of my youthful ears. A-Wop-Bop-A-Lu-Bop, A-Lop-Bam-BOOM. All rootie.

albatross shell 2:54 PM  

I say un-huh to NU-HUH, how about you? Or is it NUH-UH for thee?

HOLLER fine in any ole way. You see a guy who doesn't see he's in danger. You holler "hey" to make contact, point to the danger and yell "duck", pointing toward the danger.

Loved the whole SHEBANG. Had to HOLLER for help in the NE. Dug myself a hole in the NE by thinking L-word was on HBO, action staple was carchaSE and cropped photo was sho.

Good clue for TOOLS.
Fun fun fun. TOOK THE L.

Extra fun. 1A starts with the New and Old
(which was easy because of the capital letters) which was a thread running thru the puzzle (see Rex). It ends with 66A with a clue meaning ends, and the answer, DEEPSIXES, is itself DEEPSIXEd in the grid.

Stay ON IT.

Anonymous 3:03 PM  


Yeah, but Tark is #10 on the cheater's list:

We make money the old fashioned way, we steal it.

jae 3:15 PM  

Mostly medium except for the NE where I stayed with the wrong god for way too long. An excellent Sat., liked it a bunch!

@Z re: HELENE - No.

albatross shell 3:15 PM  

@jock spit151 pm
UTES or the college was clued previously in this way. A few might remember.
Had to love Tark for dissing the NCAA. My favorite towel-chewer. Walk this way.

bauskern 3:35 PM  

A toughie for me, but glad I hung in there. Everything was sussable, just took time. And wanting PIECE for 1D kept me stumped in the NW for way too long. By the way, what strange, affable being took over Rex's body?
Wait, it must be Rex. Always posts his stellar times when he cranks through a tough Saturday, but keeps his times silent when he struggles with an *unfair* puzzle.

Brian 3:51 PM  

Multiply your time by 15 then divide by 16 to compare. (Reduce by 6.25%)

HeathenBeing 4:11 PM  

Does that mean Friar Tuck was an OBLATE Father?

Whatsername 4:13 PM  

I didn’t hate it but I stand with the minority who didn’t love it either. Liked BEERAMID and SAMIAM among others but got mired down badly in the NE, and I’m still smarting from that. Don’t understand how a SETPIECE is any more a staple of an action movie than it would be for any other film genre. And saving face seems awkward as a clue for RESCUER. I mean I get it but it doesn’t work IMO. A simple “one who saves” would suffice and still be a bit of a misdirect.

Still scratching my head at the clue for UTES. When I see NCAA and “Runnin ____ the answer is always going to be the remarkable REBS of UNLV. Thanks @jock and @Crimson and @Cary for chiming in. TAKETHEL is a dynamite sports entry, MORE like THAT please. But does anyone else see TAKE ETHEL when looking at it? Maybe I’ve just been watching too many I Love Lucy reruns.

Anonymous 4:23 PM  

Are you replying to someone?

Anonymous 4:35 PM  

Find this snark and others like it odd. You’re saying that Rex actually disliked today’s puzzle—or even hated it—but pretended to like it only to suck up to the constructor. Any evidence whatsoever other than that Rex prefers certain constructors over others. Don’t you?

Anonymous 4:52 PM  

That would be Fred Mertz doing his Henny Youngman impression.

Z 5:08 PM  

@jae 3:15 - I obviously suspected as much.

@JC66 & @Bax’N’Nex - The constructor that stands out in this regard is Haight’s recent co-constructor. Go back to Collin’s early puzzles and you would think his name was Haight. But get to more recent puzzles and you will find some pans, but some glowing reviews as well. As for switching the bylines, Har. It’s like putting “Dylan” on a Wu Tang Clan single. You might fool somebody, but nobody with any familiarity with either. BTW - On the web version, the bottom of the post has a few labels, click on the constructor’s name and you will get the last 10 or so blogs about that constructor. You can go to older blogs at the bottom.

@Jock Spit - Hand up for wondering if the Runnin’ Rebels were ever called the Runnin’ Rebs.

@pmdm - I don’t mean to pick on you, but your but usually his (or their) grids have just too much of the stuff for me to react positively. I just don't care sounds a lot like something Rex said yesterday that resulted in lots of tedious pearl clutching.

@TJS and @jberg - Considering I read once that foreign language words were supposed to be avoided we do get an awful lot of them. Still, I had no problem with the DIEU clue. Art history is well established fair game, there aren’t that many crossworthy examples of paintings of God, and the clue signaled “foreign word” pretty clearly.

I don’t do cryptics, my puzzle bucket is already pretty full, but I’m wondering if most “?” clues are “cryptic style” clues.
I will add that I really love how the EGO clue works in at least three ways, they all share the letters EGO between their first and last names, we can presume that they all had an EGO in the “sense of self” sense and, being famous, we can presume they all had big EGOs. I just find it especially fun wordplay, so much better some minor character from last decade’s big sit-com.

Anonymous 5:10 PM  

"Men in black" is a terrible, terrible clue, especially without a question mark. They usually didn't really wear black, but more importantly, some NINJAs were women. You'd think with UNISEX right there...

LorrieJJ 5:15 PM  

Lots of great Indian talent and we lost one of the greatest last week ... Irrfan Khan was simply wonderful and if you haven't seen The Lunchbox, see it!

LorrieJJ 5:18 PM  

In Downton Abbey, Mrs. Patmore is always yelling at Daisy that she's in a pet.

JC66 5:31 PM  


I wasn't talking about style, but I really don't think @Rex would ever say something like this about a @Bruce Haight puzzle.

"P.S. not sure how I feel about "The L" being in the grid *and* in the clue for SHO (10D: "The L Word" airer, for short). Normally, my solver-sense would say "Dupe alert! Can't do that!" But this is such an ostentatious wink at one of the freshest answers in the grid that I can't really be mad at it."

IMO, he would have trashed TAKETHEL and then berated @Bruce for underlining the faux pas by having "L" in another clue.

As I said, it's just my opinion, so, to quote you: De gustibus...

egsforbreakfast 5:39 PM  

@Anonymous 5:10 pm. Men in black would be a terrible clue if there had been an equally well-known move title “Men and Women in Black” to serve as a misdirect. There wasn’t.

Jock Spit 5:41 PM  

@Z. @Whatsername had to respond; old jocks remember sports nickname origins because too many jock wannabes get away with names none of us never ever used.....yes @Z they were called Runnin Rebs all the time on athletic and fast as they were, most announcers just called em “Rebs”...print media tried to better describe them....

My long suffering solver wife told me someone would respond and of course they did.....I can’t speak about much other than sports and the financial markets....but to twist a sacred Knute Rockne phrase “ Someday when things are going wrong and the Naticks are beating the boys, tell them to go in there with all they've got and win just one for the Gipper.”

Anoa Bob 5:59 PM  

Lots of rural people know well how to HOLLER. Sometimes they even get together to see who is best at it. One of our Tennessee neighbors didn't need a dinner bell to let the workers in the field know that food was ready. She would HOLLER her husbands name, George Larry, in a long, drawn-out call, "Geoooooorge LaaaaaaaarEEEEEEEE", that could be heard even in the back forty. Very distinctive.

Thought TREATISE, COALESCE and ELEGANCE added a touch of ELEGANCE to the fill. Stuff like TREE TRUNK, PART TIME, IN A MOMENT and MORE THAN, not so much.

Today's offering serves as a SHRINE to the helpfulness of the letter S in getting the grid filled. For example, both STENO and NINJA in the NW get a 20% bump in grid fill capacity by just tacking on an S. PM (69D) gets a whopping 50% boost with that added S.

It's especially helpful when an across and a down entry share a final S. Makes two plural of conveniences (POC) with a single S. The most common place for this is the lower, right-most square, as happens today. With three other two-POCs-for-one-S, I'm rating this grid POC-assisted. (Ditto for yesterday's.)

Petsounds 6:28 PM  

@eggsforbreakfast 11:21 Today was the first time I've ever heard "pet" used in the way it's clued in the puzzle. So in answer to your question, NO! It's in honor of the great album by the Beach Boys and also a reference to my unpaid career as a dog rescuer. :)

webwinger 6:38 PM  

@Z and @JC66: Mon DIEU! Since Francaise appears to be la langue du jour, perhaps it should be chacun a son gout (with apologies to all diacritics)...

BTW, isn't it about time to retire STENOS? My guess is there are way more people in the workforce today who know COBOL than Gregg shorthand. (Well, actually in today's employed workforce there may be none of either.)

Anonymous 6:52 PM  

Jock Spit,
Don't bother. The last few days has made it clear that not only is Z woefully ill-i formed regarding hoops,he wishes to remain so

Joe Dipinto 6:56 PM  

@Whatsername → Don’t understand how a SETPIECE is any more a staple of an action movie than it would be for any other film genre.

It isn't, particularly. That clue is just salivating to have solvers think the answer is CAR CHASE.

Whatsername 7:01 PM  

@jock spit (5:41) There’s no requirement to be an expert on much of anything to post here. Hope you and/or your wife will join the conversation again.

CaryinBoulder 8:33 PM  

Forgot to mention earlier that the “Mozart’s Rondo _____ Turc” clue was intuitable from the great Dave Brubeck number, “Blue Rondo a la Turk.” Well worth a listen.
Blue Rondo a la Turk

JC66 8:46 PM  


I'm confused (not a surprisng).

My back and forth with @Z had nothing to do with DIEU. per se.

Bax'N'Nex 8:56 PM  

Anonymous @4:35...of course I’m not saying Mike hated it, genius. Just that if it’s Agra’s or Quigley (and his other friends) even if there were problems, he wouldn’t do anything but gush. If it’s Bruce Haight, the blog is already written...many times over.

Anonymous 8:59 PM  

Ronald Reagan and Knute Rockne stole that line from George Gipp. Rockne did admit that he got it from Gipp. We think.

Richard 9:32 PM  

The clue for OTTER (54A) was unnecessarily Monday-easy, beginning as it did with "Mammal." If it had begun with "Animal with a pouch," then many, maybe most, of us would have run the list of marsupials within our ken before the stored rock thing kicked in. So for me it was a gimme; we lived for several years in Monterey County, California, and watched the sea otters cavort in Monterey Bay. You could watch them float on their backs and hear them crack clams on their pet rocks.

The Monterey Aquarium has an otter rescue program and legend has it that one such otter, after being released back into the bay refused to return to the wild and insisted on getting back into the boat. When he was returned to the aquarium, he began scratching the glass with a rock he'd found during his few minutes of freedom. The rock was confiscated. Several more attempts to release him failed, and each time he had to be frisked to make sure he didn't sneak his rock back into his adopted home. Anyway, that's the story you'll hear from the aquarium staff.

This was a toughie for me (as are all Saturdays). Almost naticked at the TAKETHEL/SHAH crossing. That "H" just wasn't coming into focus. When it dawned on me that the expression was "Take the loss" I had to groan. We're more likely to hear, "Go for the W" (pronounced "dubya" like the feckless ex-POTUS) or "We came out of it with a W." L for "loss"? Not so much. Never heard an athlete, leaving the court, say, "Unfortunately, we took the L." Just doesn't sound like something someone would say.

Three write-overs: pIecE (as in chess)/TITLE; omar/RUMI; and Umbral/UNISEX. Re the latter: haven't looked it up, but I do think that "umbral" is a word meaning "covering." The Supreme Court has described a constellation of rights that are to be found in the "penumbra" of those specifically enumerated in the constitution, the right of privacy being one of them. Our so-called "strict constructionists" presently making up a majority of the court are driven apopleptic by that concept, and we might see that penumbra of rights dissipate before our very eyes within our lifetimes. Hang in there, RBG!

webwinger 10:29 PM  

@JC66 and @Z: French goût from Latin gustus. Latin de gustibus non est disputandum = taste is not to be disputed. French chacun à son gout = each to his own taste. Both languages actually got nods in today’s puzzle: BOS (Latin ox), DIEU (French God).

webwinger 10:56 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
JC66 11:42 PM  


Talk to me in a month.

Phil 4:39 AM  

I thought Rex rails against answers in other clues. MINIBUSES and Mini Mint a clue for TICTAC. Maybe that isn’t a crossword rule he finds faults with. Of course he has favorites and he is never too rough on Eric Agard.

‘spose bruce wouldn’t get a pass

Photomatte 11:17 AM  

More arcana has entered my lexicon yesterday (namely, the word 'pet' for bad mood), as well as more random poets and Bollywood stars. That's all good; I enjoy broadening my horizons. However, the clue for 44A just seems wrong to me. The Runnin' .....Utes? No. I live in PAC-12 country, and my mom's whole family is from Utah and I've never referred to them as anything Utes (the team, not my mom's family). So many better (and correct!) clues for Utes; why'd the constructors not check their facts first?

Maggie Walter at Missouri School of Journalism 3:17 PM  

still lost on the clue 52 across -- Aroma du vin -- with NEZ as the answer. Can anyone please explain?

Anonymous 1:57 AM  

"You gotta give the people something to love"
Kevin Parker is dope. Your students will never think you are cool. Negative vibes, as usual

bob mills 6:21 PM  

Because of COVID-19, we didn't get out Saturday paper until Monday (in the mail). So we started working on Saturday's puzzle on Tuesday morning (because the mail didn't come until late Monday). We finished this one, and got it 100%, but I'm not proud. Some of these clues are horrible, like "bang up" for MAR.

Burma Shave 12:54 PM  




spacecraft 1:18 PM  

I second @jock spit's sentiment: it seems sacrilegious to call any team the Runnin' ANYTHING except the Rebs. They will return to greatness INAMOMENT, or "soon," anyway.

I rate this puzzle challenging because of the absolutely BRUTAL cluing. ART glass? ART house? Martyr complex for SHRINE? And of course, that famous (?????) Persian poet. At least he's in a RUMI--16 wide--grid.

I did it, but it would have been IMPOSSIBLE if I hadn't at last thought of the BURGER of that name. Me? I'll stick with the BOS. The Lord gave man dominion over the animals for a reason. Birdie for the triumph points.

Anonymous 1:23 PM  

Strange. Not fun. Rejected.

thefogman 2:13 PM  

It was MORETHAN I could handle at times and I thought this one was going to be an IMPOSSiBLEBURGER but I did manage to LAND it after all.

Diana, LIW 3:33 PM  

Got the biggies (impish burgers) but not all of the puz wuz a go for me. Brain fog induced by cabin fever.

Diana, LIWFC

Anonymous 3:35 PM  

@heathen:I'm still chuckling at your line, although the full girth of your joke will probably fly over the heads of more than a few non-Catholics.

thefogman 4:28 PM  

He was an OBLATE father because he tucked away lots of greasy food from the fryer.

Anonymous 4:51 PM  

@Spock Jit:

Monday answer: Rebs
Saturday answer: Utes

And yes, really, that is their nickname.
I only know this from watching ESPN.

rondo 6:11 PM  

This puz was MORETHAN tough enough. I rang in peALED before DIALED which was annoying, but INAMinute made a mess and held up RUMI and the MINIBUSES for a while. Mon DIEU. In the end, not IMPOSSIBLE. Good gray matter exercise.

Dave A 8:55 PM  

TAKE THE L would be better clues as “80s Motels classic” #TrustMe

Diana, LIW 9:05 PM  

and, and, and - I hesitated on MINI(buses) as mini was in a clue. Wasn't it? I thought that was against "the rules." see "mini mint"

Lady Di

rondo 10:36 PM  

@D,LIW - good catch on the MINI

Unknown 3:46 PM  

And speaking of an imperfect tense... Doesn't one put the kibosh on something before it happens and deep sixes it after it happens? Just a thought!

Anonymous 3:58 PM  

Speaking of imperfect tense..... Doesn't one put the kibosh on something before it happens and one deep sixes it after it happens? Just a thought!

Anonymous 9:31 PM  

The aroma of a wine is called its "nose" in English. In French, nose is "nez." QED.

Luke 12:35 AM  

A fun puzzle but a couple of nits. "Nuhuh" is sub-English and doesn't belong in a crossword puzzle. It is like putting the sound of a grunt in a puzzle. HTF do you spell that?

I don't like it when puzzlers put clues in that reference phonics or spelling - many better ways to attack "ego" than how Jane Goodell, Rube Goldberg and Nadine Gordimer spell their names. Queen or Knight are titles. Reverse engineer the word "title" into a crossword clue and how many clues can you come up with? A LOT. IMO, bad clueing.

Anyone who knows NCAA basketball knows it is the "Runnin' Rebels". "Runnin' Utes" - WTF?

Otherwise a fun puzzle, with many of the same compliments granted by Rex.

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