Peter preceder in phonetic alphabet / SAT 5-23-20 / Timor UN member since 2002 / Gitano Spanish language hit for Beyoncé and Alijandro Fernanández / Name derived from Greek for holy / First name in Springfield Elementary

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Constructor: Wyna Liu and Erik Agard

Relative difficulty: Mediumish (8-ish + find-the-vowel-error-in-the-foreign-word!)

THEME: none

Word of the Day: Tyr (40A: It's named for the Norse god of war: Abbr. => TUE.) —
Týr (/tɪər/;[1] Old NorseTýrpronounced [tyːr]), Tíw (Old English), and Ziu (Old High German) is a god in Germanic mythology. Stemming from the Proto-Germanic deity *Tīwaz and ultimately from the Proto-Indo-European chief deity *Dyeus, little information about the god survives beyond Old Norse sources. Due to the etymology of the god's name and the shadowy presence of the god in the extant Germanic corpus, some scholars propose that Týr may have once held a more central place among the deities of early Germanic mythology.
Týr is the namesake of the Tiwaz rune (), a letter of the runic alphabet corresponding to the Latin letter T. By way of the process of interpretatio germanica, the deity is the namesake of Tuesday ('Týr's day') in Germanic languages, including English. Interpretatio romana, in which Romans interpreted other gods as forms of their own, generally renders the god as Mars, the ancient Roman war god, and it is through that lens that most Latin references to the god occur. [...] 
The modern English weekday name Tuesday means 'Tíw's day', referring to the Old English extension of the deity. Tuesday derives from Old English tisdæi (before 1200), which develops from an earlier tywesdæi (1122), which itself extends from Old English Tīwesdæg (before 1050). The word has cognates in numerous other Germanic languages, including Old Norse týsdagr, Frisian tīesdi, Old High German zīostag, Middle High German zīestac, and Alemannic zīstac. All of these forms derive from a Proto-Germanic weekday name meaning 'day of Tīwaz', itself a result of interpretatio germanica of Latin dies Martis (meaning 'day of Mars'). This attests to an early Germanic identification of *Tīwaz with Mars.
• • •

Really nice grid. I struggled some with the cluing, which seemed to me, at times, too clever for its own good—so clever, that is, that I still wasn't sure I quite understood it after I got the answer. Super "thinky" clues are one way to add difficulty to a puzzle, but those really have to land for me or else I get irked. Take O'ER (31D: Shortened again), which I couldn't get at all except through crosses, and only after having it all in place did I see "oh ... so it is a 'shortened' form of a word that means 'again' ... well, ok then," which, as you might guess, is a somewhat less electrifying response than "wow" or "aha!"  And the clue on LEGAL LIMIT still has me slightly puzzled where grammar is concerned (8D: Bound to follow). "Bound" is a noun here? And I have to "follow" it in the sense of "observe" or "obey" it? Who am I in this scenario? What is the context? You wouldn't really say you have to "follow" a LEGAL LIMIT. The wording is really iffy, and all just so you can get this "haha you think it's a verb phrase but it's a noun phrase" effect. Again, if you pull this trick (a time-honored trick that, in theory, is just fine), make sure it *lands*. Not a big fan of "we made this hard by making the cluing preposterously awkward." That said, there wasn't too too much of this. This is a very snazzy grid with a lot of sparkly colloquial phrases ("ROGER THAT," "IT'S NOT A RACE," "CHECK, PLEASE, MADE IT WEIRD, etc.), and though I had a few bad experiences with clues, my dominant feelings were positive.

["They call it instant justice when it's past the LEGAL LIMIT..."]

I had the bad fortune of coming to the very end and having two bad squares—one an error, the other a giant question mark. Let's take the error first—I was super-psyched to know the answer to 36A: Festival observed every October 31 to November 2 right off the bat. I was far less psyched to spell the first word of the answer wrong. I wrote in DIO DE LOS MUERTOS because, not being a Spanish speaker, I get the gender of words all confused in my head, so DIA looks feminine to me, but it's really masculine, and sadly today that meant that my brain just decided to make the word look more masucline to my eye by taking away the "A" and replacing it with an "O" (please do not ask for logic from my brain, it will rarely oblige). This meant I had CLOSE SHOVES at 3D: Narrow escapes (CLOSE SHAVES), and while I definitely squinted at that, I figured it was some colloquial expression I just wasn't aware of (I would use "close call" a million times before I'd use "close shave," so even though I know the phrase "close shave," it just didn't shout at me). Then there was the MILL / LESTE crossing. Well, LESTE ... every letter a guess. Never heard of it. Timor, yes, East Timor, for sure, Timor-LESTE, yipes. I managed to get the -ESTE done but MILL ... you could not write a worse clue *for me* for MILL if you tried (28A: Machine shop essential). I'm not *entirely* sure even what a "machine shop" is. I get the idea that it is industrial and people use machines to make ... things ... for ... industry? But to me a MILL is where you grind grain. Or pepper. Or maybe you cut logs into lumber. The "machine shop" idea of "MILLing," totally foreign to me. So I wrote in the "L" there only because literally nothing else made sense. And so because of foreign vowel troubles and an obscure-place-name / something-way-out-of-my-wheelhouse crossing, I almost didn't finish. Phew. It was a very close shove.

Is there a paradigmatic KALE SALAD? (6A: Dish often topped with goat cheese and cranberries) I've had a bunch of them, and eat them at home on a reasonably regular basis, but goat cheese and cranberries? I mean, I might put those on any salad, but ... they don't scream KALE SALAD to me. What else? Had RURAL before RHODE (45D: R, in a postal abbreviation), and GEAR UP before SUIT UP (27D: Get ready for action). No additional problems.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Karl 12:07 AM  

A mill is a machine that is used for shaping metal. It was an obvious answer for me, but I don't know how familiar most folks are with machine shops. I found it interesting to find MATHLETES in the grid for the second time in about a week (it seems). KALESALAD = yuck.

Frantic Sloth 12:09 AM  

Call me Ahab.

Whenever I see Erik Agard's name in the byline, it's PTSD time and all the harpoons in the world cannot save me.
Yeah yeah. The grid is chock full of fresh and clever entries (DIADELOSMUERTOS was a fave) and ITSNOTARACE, but it is a war and I hate leaving the battlefield on a bloody stretcher. Doesn't even matter if I win the day, it still always takes a little something from me, like...oh, I don't know...a piece of my soul??


And yet...I keep coming back like the victim of solver abuse I so clearly am. Our respective wavelengths occasionally land a glancing blow of synchronicity, only to become complete strangers immediately afterwards, and for a much longer duration.

Add to that this little annoyance of the STVALENTINE clue not having an abbreviation. Just. Nit. Fair. (That was a typo, but I decided that I like it better this way.)

And so it goes. And do I.


Rating: 🧠🧠🧠🧠 out of 5

Joaquin 12:33 AM  

Three "UP"s: SUIT, TUNE, and LOADING. Doesn't that violate some unwritten (or written) rule?

Not to mention that 36A was essentially saying "UP yours" to me.

turkeyneck 12:50 AM  

Had to blue-sky the entire NW to finish this. Most Spanish nouns will ID their gender by ending in “a” or “o” but dia is irregular that way. LEGALLIMIT is just bogus clueing, no excuse.

Tale Told By An Idiot 12:51 AM  

The Americano was probably here for dia de los muertos. He was dressed head to toe in black. He was erect. He had a beautiful ass. His whole posture shouted “see me” and “please check, please.”

“It is not a race” said Edna. “Roger that” said Agnes, as they walked (fast) toward the stranger. Each was praying to St. Valentine; each had visions of amor in her head.

As they got closer, they saw something a bit strange. The strong, handsome Americano was eating trout and kale salad. “I don’t get it,“ said Agnes, “why not steak and potatoes?” Edna looked more closely at his companions. “Oh no,” she said, “He’s one of the geeky mathletes!” The women left.

puzzlehoarder 1:11 AM  

Seeing the grid shape when I printed the puzzle out caused me to anticipate a challenging solve. I wasn't disappointed. It's hard to tell exactly how difficult. I fell asleep while working on the SE corner. I came to and remembered AGNES. It's odd to read SEEME as a question but yes you can use it that way.

I looked back over the puzzle to see what else was still blank but it was all filled in. It almost felt like someone else did it.

With 38 words on the SB I'm still about 8 points short of the QB. Once again more challenging than the puzzle.

astrotrav 1:24 AM  

I really enjoyed this puzzle, but I agree that (like many Saturdays) the clues are difficult just to be difficult. I still have no idea what the LEGALLIMT clue means, nor the KALESALAD. I have to admit when I got to 50D I had the C and N in place and the correct answer wasn't my first thought. Think less of me if you will, gentle reader.

okanaganer 1:30 AM  

Rex: "Well, LESTE ... every letter a guess. Never heard of it." Me: "What a gimme: L'ESTE".

Also not much difficulty for MILL, cuz I did some precision metal work while getting... my bachelor's degree in physics (my practicum was building a helium/neon laser from scratch... metal work and glass blowing combined!). Precision in that case = microns (1/1000 of a millimetre).

For postal abbrev., I had RURAL then ROUTE then RURAL again. When I finally got RHODE it elicited a Homer quote.

Personally I loved the LEGAL LIMIT clue, plus the TUNE UP clue.

And I thought the long answers here were really great!

jae 1:36 AM  

Medium, with the bottom half slightly easier than the top. Delightful Sat. Liked it a bunch.

Sadly, EDNA Krabappel is no longer with us.

If you are interested in a dark, twisty, off beat comedy “Dead to Me”, currently streaming seasons 1 & 2 on Netflix, is worth a look. It stars Christina Applegate who at one time (and maybe still is) was a follower of this blog.

Loren Muse Smith 1:50 AM  

I have to disagree with Rex about the clever clues. When I finally understood the clue for OER, I *did* have a bit of an electrified response when I finally understood. I’m really glad the cluing conventions don’t mandate italics or quotation marks for a word that is to be treated as the word itself and hence on a different level from the other words in the sentence. I also like clues that sneakily change a part of speech, bound as an adjective is actually bound as a noun. But as a noun, it really does need to be bounds. As in The perfidious invertebrate’s behavior goes well beyond the bounds of decency.

I adore singing a good ROUND and take the whole thing very seriously. My concentration not to mess up is second to none.

I noticed the e-ness of SEE ME crossing SEEM. Hah. Whenever he sees me seem meek, he weeps.

Some could argue that the grid is, well, UP-LOADED. (See also 27D and 34D.)

I bet I went back four times and tried to fit “All Hallows’ Eve” for 36A, ignoring that the clue references a span of time and not just one eve. And speaking of holidays, who ever remembers that Valentine’s Day honors a saint? Oops. I mean, I knew that, but my focus is solely on getting one of those sampler boxes with the map to help me avoid the orange or pink fillings and cadge the caramel ones before anyone else can.

Loved, loved, loved MADE IT WEIRD. Yeah, holding eye contact too long can get pretty weird. What else can make it weird? Doing windmills at a company Christmas party as we guests were all standing in an awkward circle in the foyer ‘cause the host did not invite us in any farther. My husband’s boss started doing these toe-touches (full-on, heroic windmills) as we stood there trying to make small talk. Said boss explained that his back was getting tight. No. Really.

What else can make it get weird. Hmm. A fellow firefighter in North Carolina was always pulling me aside to show me a picture of his mom, but the problem was that the picture was taken at her open-casket funeral. What else. A baby shower honoree had us come up one by one, lean down, and directly address her stomach with some message for the fetus. Aw. Kward.

Wyna, Erik – so much to enjoy here. I couldn’t help but notice 9D next to 10D and the implied hanqui panqui.

Anonymous 2:55 AM  

While I've been following this blog and comment section for years, even donated a little money to RP when asked, this is the first time I've ever posted anything here. I never felt the need. But unfortunately I had a realization this week, as some of you have surely already discovered, that this entire experience is so much better when just skimming Rex's write-up for specifics about clues you're curious about, or better yet, just skipping it completely. I originally liked coming here to find any answers I couldn't get, see explanations of clues I didn't understand, or read some trivia I didn't know (or did). But now the write-ups have almost ruined the puzzle for me. I can't get two clues into a puzzle without thinking, oh he's gonna hate that and dreading the rant to come. It's like a black cloud of crossword-land here. Every puzzle is terrible. And you're terrible/racist/sexist/anti-semitic/ableist, or just too dumb to realize that. And the puzzles that aren't terrible? Well, you can usually look at the constructor's name beforehand and know if it will be a good review. As many have said, it would be interesting to see him review without knowing the name of the constructor. I apologize for the long rant. I know it's his blog, I don't have to visit, he can say whatever he wants, etc. The annoying thing is, I have the same political leanings as he does, but left wing stridency, while not nearly as annoying as right wing, is still annoying. You're not a terrible person if you didn't know to be offended by eskimo kiss. Now we know, let's all move on. Again, apologies, but since I'm leaving the site, just wanted to thank some of you for your amusing comments through the years. Good luck!

chefwen 3:06 AM  


Chewed me up and spit me out, which is exactly what I would do to a KALE SALAD.

amyyanni 3:50 AM  

Not lol, but definitely chuckling at and agreeing with @LMS's final comment. Rollicking good time. Sad it's over.
Obviously a little bit of insomnia here but at the start of a pandemic long weekend, who cares?

geoff 3:59 AM  

LEGAL LIMIT = a limit (e.g. a speed limit) that one is bound to follow (it is legally binding). Seems perfectly legitimate to me...

Diver 5:41 AM  

Perfect Saturday puzzle, just the right amount of difficulty. Loved MADEITWEIRD crossing ABITSTRANGE. Seeing MATHLETES a bit too much lateley, this has to be maybe the 4th time in the last couple of weeks (not all in the NY Times).

BarbieBarbie 6:28 AM  

I was with @OFL until the discussion of machine shops. Come ON, Mike. Your university has one. The business down the street has one. You use drills to put holes in stuff, and you use lathes and MILLS to shape stuff, and you put all that stuff in a shop (as in workroom, but you know that, Mr. Wordlist). You can easily do those operations wrong or kill yourself trying, so you need machinists to do them or help you, assuming the Parts Fairy isn’t going to come. The whole place is called the machine shop. Go and look for yours at school. It’ll be near the science buildings. Tie your loose clothing back and wear goggles. Start with aluminum.

Tough puzzle made way worse for myself by IHEARTHAT for ROGERTHAT. Which is meta, because since this was Agard I was expecting something hipsterish there, and thought I had it. Got me! Which I love. So satisfying to finish.

Lewis 6:30 AM  

Dang. This put me through the paces. From HEAD TO TOE, it had me squinching my brain and celebrating tiny fill-ins. Chipping, chipping, chipping away, like laboring at high altitude.

Hard is good when it's gettable, sublime, actually, and you two gave me sublime today. Thank you so much! And p.s. -- IMO [Bound to follow] for LEGAL LIMIT is one of the best clues of the year.

Rique Beleza 6:31 AM  

Anybody else write in Bart and then Lisa before Edna?

Two Simpsons clues deserves a shout-out.

bulgie 6:39 AM  

Anyone else unhappy with "brought into existence" for SIRED? Unless there's another meaning I'm missing... Seems to me that the contribution made by the sire to the existence of the child is often rather insignificant. At the most, you might say *helped* bring into existence. Let's not ignore the (usually much larger) contrib from the dam.

And isn't a yanqui specifically a Norteamericano? Central and South Americans are not yanquis, right? Even some residents of the former Confederate states would vigorously argue that they don't deserve such an insult. (Not me, I'm from Connecticut)

But I quibble. I liked the puzzle overall, some of it quite a lot -- a good hard workout.

Anonymous 6:57 AM  

A bound is a line or a limit, as in a boundary. That’s why in basketball the ball can go out of bounds (because the court has four bounds). Or why an unduly intrusive cop oversteps their bounds.

ss 7:35 AM  

AMERICANO would have been better clued as a coffee drink rather than a foreign demonym, imo. Much more relevant to solvers and I always feel it is better to spread the foreign language clues around - that would checck the Italian box rather than a double checked Spanish box.

Hungry Mother 7:39 AM  

Just an average Saturday outing here. I’m watching the pouring rain, waiting to run a virtual 5K race, and enjoying the wordplay. Always happy with the W on the first day of the weekend.

ss 7:43 AM  

You are right but I agree with Rex that this clue was really stretching it. I think the point is that bound is more or less only used in those idiomatic expressions as meaning the noun limit and never used that way otherwise.

mooretep 7:46 AM  

Anonymous @ 2:55 AM

I agree with most of what you said. I am like-minded.
I liked this puzzle a lot, but then again, I like all puzzles.

I have come to enjoy Michael's screeds, and I solve the puzzle like you, noting that, "Oh goodness, he is going to hate this clue/answer".

After enjoying some of the music videos related to the puzzles, I go to the comments and ctrl-F "Loren"
LMS always makes my day, especially when she relates her comments to her classrooms.

Anonymous 7:47 AM  

I loved this puzzle.

I agree with Rex about goat cheese and cranberries - I handle catering for 3 professional sports teams. We have kale salads a couple of times a week (they’re popular with athletes and we rotate through about five salads total....Caesar and kale always go over well). Anyway, I don’t think I’ve ever ordered a kale salad that had goat cheese. Cranberries are pretty common.

I would have clued it as “appetizer that is often “massaged” before serving” or something like that. Did you know the only way to make a kale salad edible it to really carefully massage the dressing over the leaves?

Sam Scott 7:47 AM  

SIRED and ERECT are notable neighbors. Nice, fun puzzle if a tad easy, which is not my usual complaint for Agard joints

GILL I. 7:52 AM  

I think I'll go upstairs and sit with @chefwen and have some fun dissing that KALE SALAD. You take two lovelies like cranberries and goat cheese and put it in food only a rabbit enjoys?
The cluing here had so many "gotchas" that I needed at least 4 get up from my comfy chair and do the laundry breaks.
I know all the Mensas here will sing the praises of MILL and LESTE but I'm not one. Had you clued MILL with pepper I might've gotten it. I've done mucho traveling but LESTE was a complete unknown. Google time.
I knew we would get some Español here because Erik does that. I was called "La pelirroja, pecosa Yanqui" quite often and wore it like a badge of honor.
Looking at SALON makes me want to cry. Oh how I miss you, my love. Please come back and give me a snip and a much needed pedicure. My hair is wild and my toenails need some loving.
DUH DOH, UP UP UP and away.

ChuckD 8:02 AM  

My typical Saturday involves starting the puzzle - going for a run and then completing it when I get back. Today’s was done before I went out. For some reason it played easy for me - but unenjoyable. There really is a difference between fresh, modern wordplay that pops and smarmy cuteness. We know the history - this constructor has the chops but he has been reaching lately.

Jstarrracewalker 8:06 AM  

How low have I sunk when my only complaints about 32 across and 57 down are about repetition?

MartyS 8:14 AM  

No comment about “doh” and “duh” in the same grid?

pabloinnh 8:27 AM  

Nice Saturday if not wicked crunchy-ROUND and ANTON went right in and of course DIADELOSMUERTOS which gives you lots of toeholds and handholds. I used to tell students that AMERICANO was used for North or South Americans but I have heard it used in Puerto Rico to refer to those of us from the Estados Unidos, so I'll give the guys a pass on this one.

In today's news from the Revelations/Confessions Dept.: I had no idea about the goat cheese and cranberries thing, which eventually went in, so when I finished the puzzle I read the clue to my wife and asked her what she thought they were talking about. She immediately said KALESALAD, and added that she eats it all the time and it's delicious, which for some reason I have never noticed. I guess she knows that I find none of those ingredients appealing. Maybe if we're married another fify years I'll get some ideas about what she's eating.

Thanks for the fun, guys. Another of those puzzles that made me wish I were still doing it.

Okoume 8:31 AM  

Ditto!! And aren't you bummed when Loren can't make it?

B. Franklin 8:32 AM  

Super nit-picky, but...

I take issue with the "R" in RI standing for RHODE. These postal abbreviations do not lend themselves to such parsing - the abbreviation is RI, not R + I, and it serves as single abbreviation for Rhode Island as a whole.* Otherwise, what is the N in MN an abbreviation for? the O in MO? the A in IA? the H in MH**?

As a postal abbreviation, the letter "R" stands for RURAL. And that is what should have been the correct answer in the puzzle.

* Actually, it is an abbreviation for Rhode Island and the Providence Plantations.

** Marshall Islands

Snoble 8:49 AM  

This puzzle shows 3 letter answers can be interesting and clever if the clues are Agard-brilliant.

kitshef 8:58 AM  

I found this pretty challenging, but it’s not clear in retrospect why. Other than the KARA/AMOR section, nothing seems particularly hard. Clue for SEE ME is a million miles off, but that’s just a nit.

MADE IT WEIRD – we had a zoom chat with friends we have not seen for a while, which was going will until one person’s dog started licking his shaved head. At first, not a big deal. But twenty minutes later, I think the rest of us were uncomfortable.

Timor-LESTE was one of my entry points. Like Cabo Verde (rather than Cape Verde), it is one of those countries where the official short form of the country name is not the name you probably learned in school. See also Cote Divoire.

webwinger 9:04 AM  

A truly scintillating Saturday! Seemed to be fighting back pretty hard all the way, but finished in about average time, after googling for the completely unknown 6D and 7D. Like others, badly misled by 45D clue, did a DUH-DOH-take when I finally got it after filling in the terrific long across entries down under. Still early, but I already feel my day’s been made.

Agree with @Frantic’s 4 Brains rating, though it seems like I enjoyed it quite a bit more than you did. Maybe it deserves a 5 in my book.

BTW—Looks like no one commented yesterday about the clue for 67A being Sharp quality. However much he grates at times, no question that OFL has an EDGE...

QuasiMojo 9:07 AM  

SEE ME not being a directive from a teacher or boss was A BIT STRANGE. Who asks SEE ME??

Not having RECALL for Auto Correction MADE IT WEIRD.

ERECT might be tied to SIRED as any visit to a stud farm would reveal. But what does it have to do with "bring into existence?" Does a building "exist"?? I DON'T GET IT.

Forgetting what an Index finger is (I call it a fore finger) made me think it was the middle finger. So I put in COWER PLEASE! as I had RAGS for "bar items." DOH!

I thought I was so smart by putting in VEE for the thing you do for peace. We all went around making VEE signs when I was a young hippie-in-waiting. Now my TETE hair, thanks to the fading lockdown, is as long as it was then. I need a SALON. Stat! And an AMERICANO, pronto!

I've never had a Kale salad so I can't say I knew the answer immediately. I did try a kale smoothie once and had to spit it out. It was a Close Shave from doing something a WEE bit more drastic.

Great story @A Tale Told by an Idiot. And @Anonymous, sad to see ya go. Been there myself.

mathgent 9:15 AM  

We have a sizable Spanish-speaking population here in the Bay Area, notably in San Jose, so I know of observances of the DIADELOSMUERTOS. I just learned that it stretches over three days.

I liked the puzzle primarily because of the smart cluing, carefully toeing the line between cleverly indirect and unfair.

Gill. My wife and I got a haircut yesterday. A salon in Pacifica, fifteen minutes away, is open. They take all the precautions.

Too many short entries for my taste. Only 21 out of 70 were six-letters or longer.

Don’t like the clue for OER. “Over” can mean “again” as in “Do it over,” but I have only seen it used to mean “above” as in “... o’er the land of the free ..”

KnittyContessa 9:22 AM  

@ Rique Beleza I, too, had Bart and Lisa first.

18A IhearTHAT before ROGERTHAT and didn't know what yanqui meant so that corner took forever.

RHODE is just wrong.

Shouldn't STVALENTINE have an abbreviation in the clue?

Nancy 9:27 AM  

A ridiculously unfair "clue" for O'ER.

A ridiculously impossible, super-DOOK-y entry for non-Spanish speakers: DIADELOS MUERTOS. (I had MUEnTOS, after going eeny, meeny, miny, moe.)

A Natick, a crash-and-burn and a DNF for me -- even after cheating on Timor-LESTE. I thought the cheat would open up the puzzle for me -- but nothing could.

Any salad topped with cranberries and goat cheese (one of my most disliked foods) sounded vile to me. What kind of SALAD did it go on? I had -A-E and didn't have the slightest idea. There was the completely unknown-to-me KARA blocking my layup. (And I'm pretty good on sports.) Only later and after cheating -- Oh, aha, a KALE SALAD!!! It figures. Goat cheese and KALE SALAD richly deserve each other.

I always feel that Erik Agard's biggest goal in life is to stump us. One way or other he mostly will. There will always be that one answer that's A BIT STRANGE. That fiendish cross that stopped you cold in your tracks and MADE IT WEIRD. I don't mind being stumped from time to time, but this defeat was more irritating than anything else.

kitshef 9:35 AM  

"Bound" is certainly used as a noun and in the singular in math - the "upper bound" or "lower bound" of a set of numbers, e.g.

@Quasimojo - does a building "exist"? Yes. Hard for me to imagine any other answer to that question unless you are a solipsist.

And how can a "DIA" last three days? Shouldn't it be DIAS DE LOS MUERTOS? Also, when did it change from being "dia de muertos" to "dia de los muertos"?

Nancy 9:38 AM  

@Tale Told By an Idiot -- I neglected to complement you on yesterday's brilliant concoction and today's is just as wonderful. You do this so, so cleverly, wittily, and with such unpredictable freshness. You're an absolute treasure on this blog!

Unknown 9:40 AM  

I first did puzzles in the 60s. And finishing a puzzle was a feat. I feel like we are getting in closer touch with th old days. Loved the puzzle. Really made me work.

Anonymous 9:47 AM  

If you’ve been to Oaxaca, you‘re also aware that they don’t say DIADELOSMUERTOS but rather DIADEMUERTOS. Us norteAMERICANOS say it wrong per usual...

Suzie Q 9:50 AM  

This was tough but in a good way. Sometimes I felt like I needed to be a mind reader to figure the angle of the clues. The NW required a brain break to walk the dogs and get back to finish.
The clue for Tues. was a surprise. I was expecting a Thor/Thursday.
Trout took forever. The clue seemed so specific to a particular bear.
I associate salmon with brown bears.
There were so many things I had no idea about but somehow it came together. Good one Wyna and Erik.

TJS 9:50 AM  

8-down, got a EG _L, REGULATORY !! Am I smart or what ? I gotta tell ya, 9-letter mistakes can really slow things down.

This puzzle had all the things that annoy me: foreign words,first names of obscurities, and place names, abbreviations out the,apr,tsa,ops,epa,alt,org,ussr. And yet I had a good time solving. Definitely a Saturday-level challenge for me, which made up for all the quibbles. Beautiful longs.

Anonymous 9:56 AM  

I'm willing to bet that O'ER is used, 99.44% of the time (at least) as ABOVE, not again. Ever again. Just sing our National Anthem once or twice this Memorial Day.

MILLing machines are by no means 'essential' to machine shops. There are lots of machining tasks that don't require milling. I've worked in a few of same. A vIce is far more essential.

Only if East Timor is a (former) French colony is LESTE acceptable. I won't even bother to look it up. You all, should, instead, pick up Ginger Baker's 'Going Back Home', and play the eponymous cut 11 out of 10 on your volume control. Screw the neighbours. He was a tad pissed.

ArtO 10:08 AM  

Well, here I am for the second time in a week to congratulate myself on a (rare) Saturday where I came so close to finishing. The R clue for "in a postal abbreviation" did me in. Thought immediately of RFD in which the R is "rural" as in "rural free delivery". Since this is probably an anachronism, only someone of a certain age would be familiar with it. Oh well. It was a fun workout and I had the satisfaction of a 97% completion.

Joe Dipinto 10:10 AM  

A restaurant near me serves a kale Caesar salad. It's yummy. The thing in the puzzle sounds yucky.

A law was made a distant moon ago here
July and August cannot be too hot
And there's a legal limit to the snow here
In Camelot

Ho-hum, another down-market Saturday offering. The number of just-plain-boring words in this thing: ROUND, CART, OBOE, MILL, ASS, MATHLETES (yes it's already boring), TETE, AMOR, those two corners of 3-letter downs. DUH. So then you have to have pouffed-up clues for the just-plain-boring words, like the clue at 13d, to make it seem like something interesting's going on.

Ooooh I see the Sunday X-Word is all...yellow. Already got the 3-point Spelling Bee answer, nyah-nyah. (if there's only one.) @Nancy, I think we're going to like the Acrostic.

Whisky and soda, rock and roll

Z 10:15 AM  

Though it nearly took a miracle to get you to stay it only took my little fingers to blow you away. There may be a few people who equal Elvis Costello in the “Great F You Lines” category but nobody is better. I have had his ode to Thatcher on repeat in my head since November 2016.
Oh, the puzzle...

Easy (for a Saturday) here. I had two writeovers, one causing more issues than the other. MADE awkwaRD was my final fix. Timor-LESTE was never going to arrive on its own (fun fact - Timor is Malay for “east” and LESTE is Portuguese for “east” so the name fully translated is East-East. Colonialism at its very finest), and O’ER was opaque and LEGAL reMIT was plausible, so many nanoseconds were spent sorting that out. Getting the T in TUNE-UP was the key for me. Fixing Rural took much less time.

Not getting how the clue works is not a problem with the clue. @Geoff3:59 a.m. succinctly explained how “bound” works in the clue.

You know what you know, I spose, but the pairing of cranberries and goat cheese with KALE seems as iconic a KALE SALAD as any KALE SALAD can be. KALE SALAD is for the kind of person who thinks a spinach salad is too bland. Personally, KALE, Swiss chard, and spinach are all best wilted in olive oil with a healthy amount of salt, fresh ground black pepper, and garlic. @pabloinnh - “I find none of these ingredients appealing” pretty much describes my initial reaction to my favorite sandwich, a rueben. Of course, I am yet to find a truly good one here in WNC. The greasiest of greasy spoons in Metro Detroit has a better rueben than anyone around here.

I was amused by Rex’s MILL take. For not knowing he pretty much nailed it.

@QuasiMojo yesterday - I’m still giving you credit for a great pun.

@Sir Hillary also yesterday - I agree. FWIW - I think the Showtime Lakers would sweep or nearly sweep any of the 90’s Bull teams.

Barbara S. 10:16 AM  

I've aced both Friday and Saturday this week, so feelin' mellow.

The SW nearly brought me down, though. I was so convinced that the postal abbreviation had to be either "rural" or "route" that I refused to enter UPLOADING (59A, Sending to the cloud, e.g.) for a very long time, even though it's the obvious answer. Once I got over that -- hooray, it's all filled in, except, wait, where's the music? I'd fallen into another trap, which is my Italian-Spanish dyslexia. I know a little Italian and virtually no Spanish (except what I've learned from XW puzzles). So I had DIA *DI* LOS MUERTOS. Found it quick, though, thanks to MiL Brooks, which looked more than A BIT STRANGE.

31A That seemed like an original clue for old friend OBOE. (Peter preceder...)

On the "hanqui panqui" front, please notice that 9D and 10D cross 18A.

@bulgie 6:39 RE: Norteamericano -- I think you'll find that Canucks won't answer to either Yanqui or AMERICANO, either.

@Anonymous 7:47 Loved your "fresh" take on supplying salads to athletes.

QuasiMojo 10:17 AM  

@Kitshef, I understand that as a thing a building exists in the real world. So does a bad clue. But one rarely describes a building as existing. It is located somewhere, or is a presence. For instance, the Old Madison Square Garden building "stood" at Madison and 26th Street. But when would someone say that it "existed" there. Perhaps I'm being too nit picky, but my point is that the constructors and editor today are needlessly ginning up a concept to make a clue seemingly more clever or confounding.

DavidP 10:18 AM  

I think LESTE and ESTE probably don’t belong in the same grid, no matter how you clue the latter.

RooMonster 10:22 AM  

Hey All !
This puz played much easier for me today the YesterPuz, but I agree with Rex on some of the clues not-exactly lining up with answers. Examples: ERECT, sure, if you ERECT something it's brought into existence, but the ole brain was looking for a different type of creation, ROUND, no idea, because the song goes ROUND and ROUND?, SEGUE, again, technically, but ugh, OER is ridiculous. And CART is anyone's icon, no? Isn't Amazon's the smiley face thingie?

Had a mini word ladder, DOT-DOH-DUH. And ** NON-PC ALERT** For those easily offended, skip this next sentence ---
For 50D, ended up with C_N_, and guess what first popped into my head?

The Longies were nice. Even though 34 black squares, it still felt like an open grid.

Tough spot was NW, with AVCRA, SALON as clued, ANTON, and EDNA. Who the heck is EDNA? I had Bart first, then lisA. Simpson-ites, help me out.

No F's (again! See? Told you they're underappreciated! 😋)

Bax'N'Nex 10:25 AM  

@Marty S’s An Agard complaints about anything ever from Mike.

Z 10:33 AM  

@David P - ESTE is clued as it is, I’m guessing, to avoid an “east” dupe with LESTE. You make a good point, I bet we don’t get the minor renaissance family name clue otherwise and it seems a stretch to me.

@QuasiMojo - My thought was the dupe clue was explicitly intended to highlight the ERECT -> SIRED connection. A “yoo hoo look at our little double entendre” wave. Is it being a stretch worth the SEE MEness? I think so but I see how others may not.

@Anon 9:56 - Or, you know, look it up and find out its a former Portuguese colony.

xyz 10:35 AM  

Re: Goat Cheese and Cranberries - RENEE's SALAD just wouldn't work and there is no way in hell hers would ever contain inedible Kale, no less be based upon it. Given Kale is so effin healthy and cranberries on salad are dried and sugary, then Goat Cheese having dreaded FAT and not being VEGAN, well KALE seems as unlikely as BEEF.

Standard Saturday, some gimme fill and some 3x removed from reality

Anonymous 10:39 AM  


Romance languages are virtually indistinguisable to us American speakers. MAGA!!!!!

Nick 10:50 AM  

Ugh. Too much random trivia to offer a foothold for the overly clever cluing. No fun. Voluntary dnf.

Crimson Devil 10:51 AM  

Good, tough, Sat puz. Had Rural and fILe way too long.
Have eschewed SALON, striving for Boris Johnson look.

Carola 10:57 AM  

Enjoyably challenging, although perhaps a kind of DNF, in that I filled in LEGAL LIMIT as my last entry, without understanding how it meant. "Bound to follow." If someone served me a KALE SALAD as clued, I'd think that the goat cheese MADE IT WEIRD: I've only seen recipes with pecorino.
@DavidP 10:18 - Interesting point about ESTE. Before figuring out MILL x LESTE, I had 53D filled from crosses and looked back at the clue to see if it would be "Punta del _____." Now I see why it wasn't.

D'OH-piest do-over: "Croc" before CART as my "Amazon icon," as I was thinking of The African Queen.

Newboy 11:07 AM  

Rural? Route? RHODE Island? Perhaps? Struggling with the clues as Rex noted, so a very looong slooog to fill vast areas of the grid today. Filling each day with some Duolingo Spanish lessons, but not up to DIA DE LOS MUERTOS yet, so that too didn’t make life easy. The number of times the cluing had logical answers that fit but were simply wrong astounded: honey and berry before TROUT, I.e. I must give credit to some nice misdirection cluing like 34D ( Auto correction ) that brought a smile as the penny dropped, but overall today was not an enjoyable experience. Liu & Agard certainly gave me a Saturday! I’m hoping that others had better luck than I, so off to see previous posts & check out constructor notes at xwordinfo.

Lorelei Lee 11:17 AM  

Ok, at its essence erect doesn't mean bring into existence. It means build upright. Would you say, for instance, I erected this poem, song, theory? I erected this hole in the ground right here? And as much as I love doing an Erik Agard puzzle, I'm bitter because that's where I threw in towel (cross arms, look sideways, mumble, "As much as I loved St. Valentine." Ditto close shave.)

Take note that classic novels and a Pulitzer prize don't confer immortality. Edna Ferber has been replaced by Edna Krabappel. The dumbing of American, though may they both rest in peace.

I'll also admit that no clue would've led me to Kale Salad because the very thought of having to put that much jaw work into a salad makes the very idea a non-thing in my shrinking universe.

@Tale, your story signifies talent.

bauskern 11:25 AM  

I had RURAL instead of RHODE, and initially I had CUETHEMUSIC in lieu of CHECKPLEASE, but the "C" fit with OCTAL and the "E" fit with 29D, so I stuck with that for too long. I thought the grid was a little closed (three rectangular thirds), and found the bottom third to be the toughest. Had ASIDE instead of SEGUE for too long, but eventually it all came together. A good solid tough Saturday. P.S. If Rex is going to post his times, why doesn't he post the exact time,instead of 8:00-ish? There's a big difference between 8:01 and 8:59, for those who care about such things. (Which I really don't. . . . .)

burtonkd 11:46 AM  

@geoff and Z, see LMS explanation for bound to follow.

DIADELOSMUERTES was featured in the lovely Disney movie COCO. You don't have to be a kid, or have one you can relate through, to enjoy this one.

beetSALAD definitely uses goat cheese. Second ingredient more likely to be roasted walnuts or pecans, but could see cranberries.

Was going to cry foul at 2 Spanish words crossing with Spanish clues for both. AMOR certainly fair as a word to know (if not the song) and finally just said Yanqui out loud and erased its WOEness.

How many people read "index finger" and pictured the middle finger and started looking for related expressions?

Just realized my 53 year old brain has now forgotten my childhood Rural Route address. Route 10 Box ??? WOW!

The school where I work serves a Kale, Cranberry, Red Onion and Vinagrette salad that is quite palatable. The smug self-satisfaction I get from eating said superfood kale eliminates any remaining bitterness.

@Z, Elvis Costello is one of those big names that I totally missed out on and totally don't get when I hear it casually. I have a feeling he is more about being current and topical with text than the actual music, though I'm willing to be convinced otherwise. Any place to start that will show his relevance/greatness?

Ann Hedonia 11:48 AM  

Not sure why you're giving this a pass. It sucked. Big time.

egsforbreakfast 11:49 AM  

I can relate to the first column, ASTI ADDS TO HUM. It certainly does if consumed beyond normal bounds.

I liked this puzzle quite a bit, particularly the clue for OER, which many disdained. I’m often flummoxed by commenters who demonstrate that a clue is “wrong”, and then blast the editors for their shoddy work. RHODE is a good example. Sure, you can make a valid case for it not being 100% correct, but 100% of us eventually got it right and understood why it is an appropriate answer to the clue. So why the crabbing? I think this is the case for virtually all clues that get criticized as “simply wrong” or some such thing.

Ethan Taliesin 11:51 AM  

Another sports coach name to try to remember--and an assistant coach to boot? Whatever. Hate it.

Other than that and the abstruse clue for LEGALLIMIT, it was good.

Birchbark 11:54 AM  

beet SALAD --> KALE SALAD. I was thinking about goat cheese and cherry tomatoes instead of goat cheese and cranberries. I still prefer the beet version, KALE being more of a chore than anything else to this palate.

The southwest was very challenging, with raGS --> KEGS and CaNE --> CONE. But especially working with "Rural" and "Route" as obvious but wrong 45D candidates, and then wondering what to do with RH_D_. It made no sense but three crosses meant it was almost certainly right. I invoked a reference (some would say "cheat") protocol for getting out of impossible situations: First look to a physical book, then if necessary Wikipedia, but not Google. (Then read the article or passage you had to look up as a constructive "penalty.")

I scanned all of the words beginning with "RH" in an abridged dictionary. There are way more than you might expect, six columns to be precise. And so eventually to RHODE. Others have noted that "R" without "I" is A BIT STRANGE. The "aha" here lacked its usual exclamation point, more of a sceptical downward inflection on the second syllable.

AGNES reminds me of agnus, meaning "lamb." Which reminds me of a delicious dinner I had last night, and some leftovers awaiting. All because "BRAISE" was in the puzzle a couple of days ago.

webwinger 12:09 PM  

@B. Franklin: Your point is well taken. However, I believe R.I. can still be considered a postal abbreviation (like Ala., Penn., et al., which regularly seem to appear in the NYTXW), so the clue works.

I’ve actually been served some very tasty KALE SALADs, but it needs to be properly prepared. Not sure if even that can be said for Swiss chard…

Possibly no interest alert! Recently I have mostly refrained from commenting here about COVID, but haven’t stopped reading, thinking, and writing about it. I continue to believe that the pandemic has been and remains a terrible scourge for humanity (though less harmful than feared), visited upon us by nature, and probably influenced much less than we want to believe by efforts to mitigate. The current economic catastrophe, almost entirely of our own making (mostly owing to ill-advised lockdowns), seems to represent by far the greater threat at this point. Masks 👍, PCR testing 👎, hydroxychloroquine 🤷🏻‍♂️, Trump 🙄. Anyone curious to read more can email me their request, and will receive at no cost the latest version of a long up-to-the-minute heavily referenced essay. Anyone not curious should ignore this paragraph.

Anonymous 12:14 PM  

The puzzle has a multitude of PC issues. I remember being in Rome in 1979-80, at the American Academy, where all of us were having great fun preparing for Halloween. I asked some of the Italian employees there if they would be joining us, and I remember a young woman mentioning that the 31 October to beginning of November was when Italians honored their dead–went to cemeteries with prayers and flowers–and she was clearly offended by our “celebrations.” I felt awful. But money rules everything, and at least by the 1990s Italians were selling Halloween costumes and having parties themselves. After Halloween, the next challenge for us Americans was to find cranberries for Thanksgiving. We normally had to beg US visitors to bring in some canned stuff. I am certain that the canned stuff can now be found on Italian shelves–and perhaps even the fresh cranberries as well.

I found also fairly quickly that younger Italians didn’t like those from the US referring to themselves as “Americans.” I suspect that they were taught as early as elementary school that “Americans” included those who were not from the US. I learned quickly to refer to myself as a “statiunitese” (sp.?).

On 10D, SIRED, meaning “bring into existence.” The term, and even more the Biblical “begat,”
reflects I think the premodern notion that the man “brings into existence” the child, with the woman a sort of vessel. The higher faculties are owed to the man; the woman can generate physical characteristics and perhaps some of the lower emotions. Modern Biblical translators try to obscure this by translating “begat” as “was the father of.” The translators are trying to be progressive but are really reactionary, attempting to conceal the male-centered prejudices of earlier times. Thus distorted translations conceal the historical quality of the Bible. There are numerous instances of this, with all kinds of subjects, and in my opinion the King James’ Bible is much better *and* more progressive.

Anon. i.e. Poggius

Anonymous 12:20 PM  

2+1 hidden Simpson's clues - nice. "It means lamb of God!"

Unknown 12:21 PM  

Love you for that tale!

Whatsername 12:34 PM  

DOH. DUH. Someone please, just SLAP me from HEADTOTOE with a hot TAMALE thing and toss me into the PUGET Sound because it would be more fun than I had trying to figure out this torture device disguised as a crossword puzzle. Completely agree with Rex on the cluing and had notes on several of the same ones he pointed out. 36A was particularly cruel; the answer just looked like gibberish since there was no indication of Spanish in the clue. I know it’s spelled the same, but a little hint like “fiesta” would’ve been nice for the bilingually challenged. STVALENTINE was a little easier but again, some indication of an abbr. - “Feb” honoree - would have been appropriate. A five-letter word for an R in a postal code is either Rural or Route. RHODE? Because it starts with an R? I say N. Don’t know what that stands for? Well, obviously it’s a word that starts with an N: No, not, nay, nix, never, non, nein, nyet, no way Jose.

One final note: if you drizzle your KALESALAD with olive oil first, it’s much easier to scrape it into the garbage. I’ll be doing that as soon as I can catch up with @chefwen and @GILL to join them for a spitting contest. We’ll probably need several ROUNDS of ASTI to get rid of the taste, possibly KEGS of it to be safe. Would that be WEIRD? Nah

Nancy 12:40 PM  

@Birchbark (11:54)-- I read about the lamb dish you were making a few days ago and immediately started to salivate. It sounded SO wonderful! I didn't say then what I was thinking, but you've given me a second chance to say it now:

A philosopher and rugged outdoorsman who also cooks gourmet meals??!! The very definition of a Renaissance man! Well, at least my definition, @Birchbark.

jb129 12:41 PM  

Usually love your puzzles, Erik, but not today :(

Looking forward to your next one.

Anonymous 12:46 PM  


agreed. just don't waste the good stuff. keep a bottle of 'olive oil' around for such purpose.

Masked and Anonymous 12:56 PM  

The DOH and DUH weeject twins [today's staff picks] aptly reflect the solvequest sound effects, at our house. Sample nanosecond rhodeblocks:

1. RHODE. Based on the clue, wanted ROUTE or RIVER. Last thing I would ever think of was RI. DOH.
2. DIADELOSMUERTOS. Day of the Dead? DOTD DUH. Almost PEWIT-level. Slightly more solvable than 15 random letters, but … yeech. And DOH.
3. KALESALAD. Served at Day of the Dead ceremonies everywhere. DUH-UGH.
4. LEGALLIMIT clue MADE IT WEIRDer than snot. DOH.
5. DOHzen crosses of mystery: ANTON/ACCRA. KARA,AMOR/KALE. LESTE/LOSMUERTOS. AGNES/ESTE. DAS/TUES [inferrable S, tho].
6. OER clue. DUH … fooled again, M&A Breath.

Very attractive quad weeject stacks, in the NE & SW. And I was able to get STVALENTINE right outta the chute. And some other nice, gettable longballs, here and there. Plus, lotsa bonus U's. Also … ITSNOTARACE had a pleasant Ow de Speration scent to it. Sooo … ok. Nuthin to Wyna 'bout, past that there legal limit bound dealy.

Thanx for gangin up on us, Wyna L-darlin and Erik A-dude. CHECKPLEASE was an apt late-puz entry, as M&A had several wrong letters in his first-splatz-out solution. (Typical M&A quality, for a SatPuz.)

Masked & Anonym8Us


jberg 12:56 PM  

Man, this one chewed me up and spit me out. I was so proud to have finished, then came here and saw that I had an error: Timor d'ESTE instead of L'ESTE. I never thought of MILL, so I figured maybe a MID-L was a kind of lathe. (I'm guessing Rex went to one of those elite all-academic high schools, with no vocational track. My school was the only one in town, so had a woodworking shop, a machine shop, and an agriculture program. I took only woodworking, though, or I might have known MILL.)

I wouldn't have known ESTE either, if I hadn't once visited Ferrara and toured their palace there. They were actually an extremely powerful, important family --- gave rise to the Hanovers, among other things -- but in the popular histories I read when young were generally referred to as Guelphs, so it was eye-opening to learn about them. I don't mind the two ESTEs in the grid when they refer to completely different things, and one of them is really LESTE.

@Loren and others, I think one can have a singular bound. One of my favorite trails in the Blue Hills Reservation, fairly near my house, is named the Hemlock Bound Trail because it terminates at a swamp full of hemlocks.

Hand up for, up to today, thinking AGNES meant Agnus=lamb. But according to my dictionary the Greek word means "chaste," not "holy."

@Nancy, another Wit Twister today. Not as good as yours -- the last line gives it away too much.

What? 1:07 PM  

Why do I even start an Agard puzzle? It always makes me think a clot traveled toe to head, making things a bit strange and weird, almost racing to the ER, a close shave. Check please, I would say to the doc. I don’t get it, he replies and suggests a kale salad to get o’er it.
Horrible way to start a three day weekend. Hopefully no acrostic tomorrow, another duh bound to follow.

ghostoflectricity 1:14 PM  

I'm a broken record on this subject, but for the Nth time, there is no such thing as one "TAMALE." The singular of "tamales" in proper Spanish is "tamal." To have this cross "DIADELOSMUERTOS" is simply a travesty. On the other hand, I liked the "MADEITWEIRD/ABITSTRANGE" cross.

Other cavils: shouldn't allow "DUH" and "DOH" in the same puzzle. "MATHLETES" is fast wearing out its welcome from rapid overuse in puzzles.

old timer 1:17 PM  

Yesterday I had to Google for lots of things. Today, I only did that after the fact, to find KARA. Also to verify LESTE but I was pretty sure that was right, because French is still the language of diplomacy, and so all countries have a French name, as well as an English name, and the name they use themselves. No doubt they all have Chinese and Russian names too, since French, English, Russian, Chinese and Spanish are the official languages of the UN. In this case East Timor is also Timor L'Este.

MILL was new to me, in that context. But TAMALE was pretty obvious.

LEGALLIMIT is just plain wrong. Bound, as a noun, means a leap. Only bounds means a LIMIT.

TAB2TAB 1:19 PM  

I had 6A cobbSALAD before KALESALAD and 62A whoME before SEEME (which feels a bit of a stretch to me). Both were disasterous, as I was certain that the "O" in whoME would make for a perfect "WHACKO" ending for 23D "Slightly off". Solidly challenging puzzle.

600 1:51 PM  

Cannot for the life of me figure out why ALT is the answer to "-weekly." Can anyone help?

Nancy 2:01 PM  

@jberg (12:56)-- Thanks so much for the compliment. And also thanks for the heads up -- I would have missed it again!!! It's mostly about how I fold the paper...but it's also about being the world's most absent-minded person.

I have to say that I think the other Nancy's quite good. I thought her scansion was off on her first Wit Twister that appeared, but since then it's been spot-on. And she found some anagrams in today's offering that I didn't have in my entire collection of 41 poems. I agree with you: it's the 3rd word that gives it away to some degree. But I wouldn't say this one was especially easy. I unsuccessfully tried SURMISE for the 1st word -- before focusing on the 3rd word. (BTW -- to those who get the paper edition of the puzzle, these are fun! Give them a whirl.)

Doc John 2:14 PM  

I held off on DOH until the bitter end because of DUH. I guess it was just a necessity of the construction?

I know a better ANTON but he's far too esoteric for crosswords- ANTON Schwarzkopf, prolific designer of rollercoasters (achterbahn in German, derived from OCT but I digress). He designed the first coasters in modern history to do a vertical loop. If you've ridden Revolution at Six Flags Magic Mountain or (for you northeasterners) SooperDooperLooper at Hersheypark, then you've ridden one of his coasters. Great Adventure had one of his milder coasters for a short while back in the late '70s. He's revered in the coaster world.

Finally, a CHECK PLEASE story. A cousin of mine is a very funny guy. He related a story in which he was seated front and center at a Don Rickles performance. Knowing full well that he was going to get abused during the whole show, when Rickles first came out, he stood up and said, "Check please!" He said that Rickles burst out laughing at that. And then proceeded to abuse him for the duration of the show.

Joe Dipinto 2:16 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ernonymous 2:33 PM  

I've only been solving 4 months. I used to let myself look stuff up on Fridays and Saturdays. The past few weeks, I don't allow look ups and it is such a great feeling to have completed this puzzle with no mistakes in 59 minutes. Yesterday as well, in a similar time.I know none of it on first pass, get royally stuck in sections, but I plod through. It feels great to strain my old mind like this. I think I'm getting the hang of it! I think last week I had one mistake Wet Rat for Wet Rag but similar good feeling. I know a lot of you solve faster but you might have been solving for years.
Before I got this NYT subscription, I would try to solve the syndicated Sunday puzzle and I rarely got more than 75% but I could also do well with the LA Times Sunday puzzle. What is baffling me, is now that I consider myself a lot better at this, I've been unable to get more than 20% of LA Times Sunday puzzle completed. I guess I'm only better at Will's clues? Maybe it is because I'm solving on my phone and I can't do paper anymore?
The other thing is that even though I can push my way through the current day's puzzle, and complete it, I can't seem to complete any Fri/Sat puz in the archives. I think it's completely psychological at this point. Any insight appreciated. Why can't I do the LAT puz anymore?

Anonymoose 3:07 PM  

I agree with @egs 11:49 regarding clue whining (my term). But if you must, at least re-read the clue and think about it for a minute. For example the "R" clue. It reads "R IN a postal abbreviation". It's not saying the R IS the abbreviation. RI is a postal abbreviation for the state of Rhode Island. The R is IN it. Rhode. OKAY?

Other: I'm amazed that some of you think the index finger is the middle finger. Is the name "Middle Finger" somehow unclear?

@Joe. There are no 3 point words in the BEE. Minimum number of letters for an acceptable word is 4 which is worth 1 point. For 5 letters and more, number of points = number of letters in word.

CDilly52 3:09 PM  

@Anon 2;55: since you have been reading for quite a while, you must also be aware that with your comment, you are singing to quite a large choir! Opinions welcome, keep dropping in and sharing. I’m a “come one come all kind of gal. . . “. Except for deliberate cruelty. Think of what the world would be like if we all just decided to put our energy toward cooperative solutions to world peace and hunger!

CaryinBoulder 3:15 PM  

Already a zillion comments by the time I got here, so I’ll mostly digress. I liked this puzzle a lot — tough clueing, but doable, especially clever longer answers. I knew East Timor, so figured there might be a OESTE (West) Timor. But I’ve never seen a MIoL in a machine shop, or any shop, really.

I went to DIA DE LOS MUERTOS in Oaxaca, Mexico, last fall and it was one of the great times of my life. Studied for a week at a Spanish Immersion school, went to the festivities at two cemeteries, caught a local celebration in a small town and got to really indulge my mezcal habit (and bring four bottles home). Plenty of colorful artistry — as a photographer it was pure gold. (See my Blogger image.) The people and food are wonderful, although it’s heartbreaking that I’ll be locked out for this year. The cemeteries were elbow-to-elbow with people, so no idea what will happen to that tradition during the pandemic. By the SEGUE, mi maestra allí, Norma Aguilar, tells me that there are plenty of people there who are behaving stupidly and resistive of social distancing and mask-wearing orders, too. So it’s not just spoiled, entitled AMERICANOS with mommy issues who don’t want to be told what to do, even by someone trying to save their dumbass lives.

DeeJay 3:21 PM  

Just. Nit. Fair.

Mind-blowingly funny.

Loved the puzzle and I like the fact that Rex is on quite the roll.

CDilly52 3:26 PM  

Let me start with the fact that I often serve cheve studded with dried cranberries (and often add toasted pecans) to friends as a dish by itself, say as an appetizer or snack with crackers. Furthermore, my fave KALE SALAD, from a small local cafe and bakery here in Norman called “Waving Wheat” has neither a crumble of goat cheese nor a cranberry in sight. Oh well. Not difficult, but one of the easier examples of making clues difficult for difficulty’s sake rather than as a marquee upon which to showcase clever wordplay.

Rural before RHODE, and my brain (still bleeding from yesterday) just could not remember ever seeing that word. Went on and then, DOH! RHODE Island, maybe? Sheesh!

I am right there with you @Frantic, 12:09. I am still in ICU from yesterday and see that the master of torture, Eric Agard along with Wyna Lou and I just had to call the blood bank to ask if it makes home delivery! Thankfully, @Tale told,. . . ,12:51 made me laugh and spurred me on to keep trying. Like yesterday, I had been working g on this one in fits and starts since late last night. As it happens, I beat my average Saturday time by quite a bit, but it felt as if the solve took a year!

Two really excellent workouts and I learned some good crossword stuff in he past couple days so the results in these cases have been worth the effort.

Z 3:28 PM  

@burtonkd - Did you think I didn’t read @LMS? @Geoff offered a more succinct and clear explanation of why the clue is fine. Everyone thinking anything unusual is going on has bound themselves up in a Gordian Knot of their own making. Maybe I can make it even simpler: a LEGAL LIMIT is a something you are (legally) bound to follow. No further convolutions are required.

As for Elvis C... Wow, way harder than you’d expect because he takes his lyric writing and dabbles in all kinds of different styles. If you’re fond of early 80’s New Wave and Joe Jackson I’d suggest Armed Forces. If you have a fondness for Americana maybe King of America If you need something that highlights the lyrics a little more I’d suggest All This Useless Beauty (which includes 4 cover tunes). Some here would prefer The Juliet Letters (Elvis and The Brodsky Quartet) or For the Stars (Elvis and Anne Sofie von Otter) while jazz enthusiasts might prefer My Flame Burns Blue (with the Metropol Orkest). He also has a couple of fun bluegrass albums, another one that is pretty much straight blues, several releases of covers (Almost Blue is better than 90% of all country albums - but then he covered some of the best), one by him and Burt Bacharach. Wherever you put a toe in, though, you will finally hear a lyric you missed on the tenth listening. Heck, even his sappy rom com theme songs have a little extra bite if you listen closely enough.

@600 - ALT-weekly as in ALTernative weekly newspapers found in most major metropolitan areas. Often free in coffee shops and hip restaurant, they focus on local art, music and politics.

@Giovanni - I think you’re just over-thinking it. The LATX and NYTX on Sunday aren’t all that far apart, and both are calibrated to be easier than most NYTX Friday’s. Set it aside for 30 minutes and come back and I bet you’ll sail through the the Sunday LATX.

@egsforbreakfast - I agree and often have railed against cries of wrongness. With very few exceptions (maybe 5 ever) Shortz hasn’t clued anything wrongly. The plaint is almost always indicative that the complainer hasn’t yet sussed out the clue. Occasionally the clue is a stretch. But “wrong?” Nope. There are times a clue might be “wrong in this limited technical context” and experts in that technical aspect refuse to acknowledge that the word is perfectly okay as clued. Still, “annoying to experts” is not the same as “wrong.”

DeeJay 3:28 PM  


Joe Dipinto 3:29 PM  

Warning to Sunday print solvers (not a spoiler):

There is a printing error in tomorrow's grid. The grid has a duplicate 92 box and no 95 box. The boxes that start the answers to clues 93(a&d), 94d, and 95d are misnumbered 92, 93 and 94 respectively.

The error had me screwed up for awhile before I noticed it. It's not related to the puzzle's theme, it's definitely a mistake.

DeeJay 3:30 PM  

SIRED gave me a quick leftward jerk of the head. What? Not really.

Anonymous 3:30 PM  


Not to worry. Barr is setting out to make all not-right-of-Attila media illegal. Then you'll still be annoyed by Faux News, but not have any alternative(-weekly).

Dave S 3:31 PM  

Chewed up far too much of my Saturday doing this, with almost all my troubles self-imposed. "Día de los Muertos" and "made it weird" fell right into place early and obviously gave me false confidence on the long answers, since I plopped in "it isn't a race" and "a bit suspect" right away and paid for it dearly later on. Along with insisting on "rural" or maybe "route" instead of "rhode" I eventually came close to total defeat, staring at the few empty squares and multiple cross outs, wondering if it were in any way possible that brown bears liked to dine on "flour." Eventually all made sense, and I was glad I stuck with with it. A good hard solve for me, and excellent musical choices by Rex today.

DeeJay 3:32 PM  

Americano could also be clued "Gin-less Negroni."

Charles Emerson Winchester III 3:36 PM  

Medium-ish for me, probably on the easier side Saturday-wise. Only two obstacles were the ‘L’ in the MILL / LESTE cross (last letter to go in with an audible DOH from me), and the ‘K’ in the KARA / KALESALAD cross. Was running parts of the alphabet for that one: sARA? mARA? dARA? until KALE clicked.

Big shout-out for including PUGET Sound, which I can literally see from my windows. Named for Lieutenant (much later Rear-Admiral) Peter PUGET who had an incredibly interesting career. His connection to these parts is that he was on Captain Vancouver’s expedition to survey the Pacific Northwest, and in 1792 he (Puget) mapped much of the sound that was named for him.

bulgie 4:20 PM  

"RE: Norteamericano -- I think you'll find that Canucks won't answer to either Yanqui or AMERICANO, either"

Yep, ROGER THAT! Seems there's a big difference between those called yanqui by folks south of the border, versus those willing to self-describe as Yankee, a much smaller group.

Joe Dipinto 4:20 PM  

@Anonymoose 3:07 I meant the Sunday Spelling Bee. It's one point for each word of 5 letters or more that uses the central letter, and 3 points for a word that uses all 7 letters (usually there is only one). I don't do the other Bee.

Anonymous 4:28 PM  

Actually, it’s the experts who know what they’re talking about. Z sounds like a guy who says “well, that’s technically correct, but....” and then some nonsensical word salad.
Oh, and by the way, no one gets out of a guilty verdict on a technicality. The technicalities are what make things precise.

GILL I. 4:48 PM  

@CaryinBoulder 3:15. Oaxaca is one of my favorite all time small cities in Mexico. THE FOOD !!!!, the people, the beautiful city is magical. I always stay at either the Quinta Real or the Hotel Siglo XVII. I'll bet you've sampled the deliciousness of suckling pig tacos, Tlayudas, Mole, Gorditas at either Casa Oaxaca or Pitiona? I'm getting all nostalgic now.... Oh...for a fun look-see, if you haven't already, watch Coco. You'll see all you can about DIA DE LOS MUERTOS. The animation is incredible - and it's not just for children!

Anoa Bob 5:00 PM  

Nearly fell out of my chair when I opened this puzzle on my desktop PC last night. I had just finished watching a San Antonio Spurs game rerun and had changed the channel to a classical music one, and came in and turned on the PC. The music sounded familiar, but was still in the background as the puzzle opened. A couple of minutes into the solve, still with nothing filled in, I came to 5 Down "Composer Bruckner" and suddenly the music was no longer in the background. It was Bruckner! I let out a shout and went to confirm my hunch. Yep, Symphony #9 in D minor. So a double thanks to ANTON today.

The rest of the puzzle could do no wrong.

I have a MILLing machine in my shop. I don't call it a MILL (28A) because that is a more generic term. The "machine" part tells me it's a work shop item rather than, say, a pepper MILL or a flour MILL.

Hereabouts---the Rio Grande Valley---I seldom if ever hear "yanqui" or "Americano" (16A). What I here most is "Norteño", i.e., "one from the north".

My go to dark green leafy vegetable is spinach. I had just as soon eat tree bark as KALE. They probably taste about the same and the tree bark would have more roughage.

Prof 5:13 PM  

Re: americano
Maybe it’s changed, but years ago when I lived in Nicaragua and Costa Rica it was clear that Central Americans resented deeply the appropriation of “American” by U.S. citizens as their nationality’s name. “Norteamericano” was always preferred, even as it begged the question of Canadians as North Americans. Yanqui was always intended to be insulting.

Anonymous 5:46 PM  

FWIW, the Old White Men who make the geography rules say that Mexico is also part of North America. Not that morons like Orange Julius care.

pmdm 5:48 PM  

Joe Dipinto: Noticed the oddity myself. You're not crazy. Thought it was a clue to the meta problem which I never bothered to figure out.

And for this puzzle:I did not hate it like I do most of Eric's creations and co-creations. But it tok me till now (17:30) to complete it (or mostly complete it). Yes, too many clues seemed too clever for their own good. Perhaps some like the challenge of a preposterously awkward clue. I don't although I don't mind a few of them at a time. For me, there were too many today. There seem to me better ways to construct a hard puzzle.

What?: Since every other week the Sunday variety puzzle page includes an acrostic, you will get one tomorrow. The clues as a whole very obviously suggest a theme (that's not a spoiler). If the theme is in your wheelhouse, it might be simple for you to solve. If not, you might become be mad. Just a prediction.

Musically, a round and a canon are pretty similar. In his last work, Bach wrote a number of canons that work like rounds. Unhappily for me, the two terms have the same number of letters.

In response to one of the comments, I would say this. Mike's review can be quite harsh, sometimes repetitively so. And it can seem some of his reviews may be softened based on the constructor's name. But if you read the reviews carefully, he seems to base his observations on the puzzle and not who constructed it. Maybe the wording is tempered, but to me it seems the final conclusion consistently reflects his general attitudes. Not always maybe.

To those in NY, happy reopening. At least partially.

Let's hope this comment gets published (unlike an earlier one I composed this week). I will click the robot button, then the publish button, then make sure the message indicates that I was successful.

Anonymous 5:54 PM  

Our resident Protestant gets it wrong again. Theotkos refutes his 10 D argument in a word.
Theater was hard to type, because I’m convulsed by laughter regarding the King James Bible.
Wait, he was serious? I’m laughing even louder.

Nancy 5:58 PM  

@Giovanni (2:33) --The Gospel of Crossword Puzzle Solving, according to Nancy:

If you can solve a really tough puzzle without a single cheat, and it takes you an hour or two to solve it, you are every bit as "good" a solver as the person who solved it without a cheat in under ten minutes.

I don't care what your time was today, @Giovanni. The fact that you can solve a puzzle this hard at all after only four months of doing crosswords is quite extraordinary. You should be very proud -- you're obviously a natural. You probably have a future of "better" times, assuming you care about such things. Unless you're planning to enter tournaments, I really hope you don't care about such things. It can spoil the pleasure of the process.

I've been doing crosswords for about 35 years now. I cheated on today's puzzle and STILL didn't complete it successfully. I don't know what my time was -- probably considerably less than yours -- but who cares? I didn't solve it. So fuhgeddabout the time: today, you were a better solver than I was.

Ernonymous 6:33 PM  

@Nancy Thank you! That is very encouraging! I've been half assing the Sunday puzzle for about 8 years, but I never did the daily. Nor did I know all this crosswordese that I now have learned. A huge part of the improvement, is that I can more easily figure out now when they want 2 words for an answer. Over the last few months whenever I could complete a puzzle with no help, the entire Wordplay comments section is "that was too easy for a BlankDay" tee hee.
@prof the same was true about 5 years ago when I was in Argentina-I was a norteamericano. The thing is that Mexico is also in North America. I had a European assume I was rooting for Mexico in a World Championship, after USA was eliminated, because after all, it's part of North America.

Frantic Sloth 6:49 PM  

Hey, all you Wit Twister types! Youz got me all jealous-like. Can you see any reason why this (and some other games I see mentioned) cannot be made available online?
All we get are "Letter Boxed" (which is maddening) and "Spelling Bee", which others (and I) have written about here. Otherwise, just some idiotic "logic" games of which I've grown extreeeemely sick and tired.

Another word game would be lovely. (I'm too impatient for Acrostics, and Cryptic Crosswords cut me off at the knees.)

I realize this is a silly "problem" which is all my own, but overblown curiosity about minutiae is my curse and I refuse to go down alone! 😉

Xcentric 7:05 PM  

Today was a challenge. Clueing was very tough to me. Took me a long time to trust uploading. Don’t know if I would call the hum of machinery as the “output” of a generator. Liked the clue for mathletes. Didn’t get oer until I came here. Leste needed all crosses. Had Cobb before kale and Cara before Kara. Rhode was a killer. Lots of 5 letter alternatives.

@anonymoose 3:18
R is also IN the postal abbreviation RFD for RURAL free delivery, RR for RURAL ROUTE, PRM for permit REPLY mail, etc.


Z 9:53 PM  

@burtonkd - just reread my first sentence and realized it could be taken as snark. “You couldn’t really believe I didn’t read @LMS, could you?” is closer to my reaction.

@Frantic Sloth - There is always stuff on the internet. I know my PuzzAzz App (for iPad and iPhone only) comes with a whole bunch of different puzzle types. The usual crosswords and variants as well as kenken and sudoku, but also anagrams, cryptograms, logic puzzles, brain teasers. Many of them are free. Some will give you a couple sample puzzles and if you like them you can buy the rest. That’s just one app offering puzzles, I’m sure there are more. And there are always downloadable games. I have one that is a combination of tetris and scrabble (when you complete a line the blocks become letters, spell words to make the blocks disappear, the longer the word the more points).

Nancy 10:09 PM  

@Frantic Sloth -- check your email.

ChuckD 11:14 PM  

@Z - I really only liked his albums with Nick Lowe. When he started playing for the critics he lost me. Aim is unmatched - led me logically to Weller and Difford/Tilbrook. Imperial Bedroom has some really wonderful moments but alot of it starts the glossy suave stuff that I can’t deal with.

Phil 12:30 AM  

Agree with ANON a bench VISE is essential and ubiquitous to machine shops. Not a big wrong but I had the I and dropped in LOVING as a “hot” thing. a little risque for NYT.

Tough puzzle happy to finish it. NW was most of my time

Chim cham 10:38 AM  

I notice your new icon says PATHLETES! How apropos:)

pdplot 6:15 PM  

DNF for me.
It's a milling machine.
Rural instead of Rhode.
At least no modern cliches, no Harry Potter (I still refuse to read it), no Elo, Emo, Eno, Elhi or Owie.

Jeff510 10:25 PM  

Spot on Karl

Anonymous 9:29 PM  

I used to live in Chile and once someone wanted to describe someone as crazy and he said he was “on Tuesday.” It took me a while to realize that he meant “on Mars”, which is the Spanish Martes, or Tuesday.... for a long time thereafter we described crazy people as being on Tuesday....

Joe in Newfoundland 10:56 AM  

Syndicationland here. Germanic is not the same as Nordic; Tuesday is from Germanic roots, Thursday is from Nordic roots.

thefogman 11:17 AM  

I don’t mind tough, but it’s got to be fair. This one was a little too cute in spots. EA is usually better than this...

spacecraft 11:39 AM  

Despite clues ranging from ABITSTRANGE (8d) to IDONTGETIT (40a, 45d), I eventually nailed this sucker, sending my triumph point total through the roof. I am foursquare with OFC on the "bound" thing; really hard to arrive at LEGALLIMIT there.

In the learned-something-new department, I discovered that the Norse god of war is NOT Thor (hence mistaken "gimme" Thur), but...well, now I know. As for the postal R, it went Rural-->Route-->RHODE. Wow, really? Oh, it certainly fits the clue, but come ON. That one was brutally sadistic.

Slight annoyances: isn't LESTE Timor really L'ESTE, for "East?" But--there's another ESTE in the grid! That's gotta be pushing the LEGALLIMIT, even if DUH/DOH doesn't. (As someone mentioned, mini-Simpsons theme). Natick at sq. 6, but K does SEEM most likely, and so done. I won't do KALE if there's raw spinach to be had. And, can we cool it already with the MATHLETES?

As I said, beating this one was the best thing about it, even though they MADEITWEIRD. Birdie.


Burma Shave 12:05 PM  


but I've MADEIT to the LEGALLIMIT.


rondo 12:31 PM  

Another error free Saturday grid. Either the puzzles are getting easier or I'm taking plenty of extra care on Fri/Sat, unlike a TUES. Not in it for speed solve these days. ITSNOTARACE with no tournament here any more. I guess I'm the longest reigning Rookie of the Year ever. Could you CHECKPLEASE?

That DAME in the four corners MADE me eat EDAM with my MEAD.

SEGUE here to give KARA Lawson a yeah baby for *that* accomplishment.

A nice puz ADDSTO the weekend.

Diana, LIW 1:21 PM  

After starting with a "minor" cheat (checking some answers I doubted could be right together) I finally finished with a flourish.

Mr W is reading Harry P, so I can ask him about magical thinking.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Sunday, since Saturday doesn't have a "paper" newspaper - blegh!

leftcoaster 3:19 PM  

Flinched a bit at seeing Erik Agard's name, and got what I expected: clever cluing, neat misdirection, and some unknown proper nouns. These stood out:

Paired "bring/brought into existence" clues.
KARA and EDNA (unknowns)
ESTE and LESTE (liked the rhyme)
Wanted Route instead of RHODE (the latter a bit sneaky)
TUES>Thurs>TUES (Thursday not for Thor)
DUH and DOH (putting down others and self)
O'ER as a "shortened again" over (good clue)
Had to think a bit about SUE for peace
And needed many crosses, DIADELOSMUERTOS

Lots of good stuff here, though didn't get it all. Needed a couple of look-ups, but enjoyed the overall cleverness and flashes of originality.

leftcoaster 3:29 PM  

Shouldn't the TUES answer for 40A be THURS for "Norse god of war" Thor?

rainforest 4:32 PM  

Unlike @rondo, quite a few write-overs here including the rural/route/RHODE trifecta of @Spacey, Thor, tARA, SSRS, among others. Challenging overall and a lot of trouble with LEGAL LIMIT, LESTE, and ALT.

Certainly an appropriate puzzle for Saturday. Had fun.

Diana, LIW 8:14 PM  

@Rondo - I guess you're the Rookie of the decade, at least. Unless you get the Minny Tourney going again (after we can all come out of the house).

@Lefty et. al. - the Tuesday guy is Tius as in:
Sunday — Sun’s Day
Monday — Moon’s Day
Tuesday — Tiu’s day
Wednesday — Woden’s day
Thursday — Thor’s day
Friday — Freya’s day
Saturday — Saturn’s day

This info is from Bill Butler's crossword blog, where he explains most of the ??? clues and answers each day. Not a commenter like @Rex, nor do his followers discuss much. He's just kinda straight ahead and get it done.

Lady Di

Anonymous 9:40 PM  

Typical Saturday for me. And EA being the constructor made it extra difficult. Just have not been able to be near his wavelength. Another DNF. Looking forward to Sunday and finishing. Rough week at the NYT puzzle page.

J Howard 2:59 AM  

And reversed in PUGET.

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