Rotund archenemy of Sonic the Hedgehog / SAT 5-30-20 / Asian city on Yamuna River / Tower of classic math puzzle / Autumnal salad ingredients / Notable feature of opening clarinet solo in Rhapsody in Blue / Automotive debut of 1964

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Constructor: Brian Thomas

Relative difficulty: Easy (6:17, first thing in the a.m.)

THEME: none

Word of the Day: Tower of HANOI (37A: Tower of ___ (classic math puzzle)) —
The Tower of Hanoi (also called the Tower of Brahma or Lucas' Tower and sometimes pluralized as Towers) is a mathematical game or puzzle. It consists of three rods and a number of disks of different sizes, which can slide onto any rod. The puzzle starts with the disks in a neat stack in ascending order of size on one rod, the smallest at the top, thus making a conical shape.
The objective of the puzzle is to move the entire stack to another rod, obeying the following simple rules:
  1. Only one disk can be moved at a time.
  2. Each move consists of taking the upper disk from one of the stacks and placing it on top of another stack or on an empty rod.
  3. No larger disk may be placed on top of a smaller disk.
With 3 disks, the puzzle can be solved in 7 moves. The minimal number of moves required to solve a Tower of Hanoi puzzle is 2n − 1, where n is the number of disks.

• • •

I enjoyed this one reasonably well, though much of that enjoyment probably came from the merciful ease with which I flew through it. Early-morning Saturday solves can be brutal, and there's a feeling of both relief and exhilaration that comes with knocking them out quickly. That feeling, however, can really color your (my) opinions about a puzzle. That is, as I've said before, people tend to be warmly disposed to puzzles they crush and poorly disposed to those that you don't. I try to correct for this feeling, perhaps not always successfully. Am I pleased with the puzzle, or my own mastery? Does it matter? In my case, it probably matters, since I'm supposed to be talking about these things, at least in part, in terms of their technical specs and craftsmanship. This one seems quite solid, if somewhat workmanlike, somewhat over-conventional (in the short stuff, mostly). There's not a lot of zing, but there are also no glaring weaknesses, and there was no point where I genuinely winced or found anything more than a stray answer or too very unpalatable. It felt like it was catering to an older audience (Sonic the Hedgehog reference aside), but that's not bad. It didn't feel exclusionary. Just very much over-the-plate for X'ers boomers and up. SPRING CHICKEN itself is a phrase that would probably only be used by someone who was No SPRING CHICKEN (I think I am familiar with this phrase exclusively in the negative) (31A: No oldster). CHOO-CHOO-TRAIN is cute (36A: Something a toddler might chug?). Do toddlers still "chug" these though? Does Thomas still exist? Train sets feel very middle of last century. I love this answer, I'm just explaining why the vibe of the puzzle felt (in a nice way) older. Not a lot of slang or fresh fill, but entertaining nonetheless, and well put together.

I don't have much to say about this one, though. It's weird how fast I solved it, considering its frame of reference often isn't mine. All the "game" stuff that (I guess) puzzle solvers are supposed to know / appreciate, I didn't. Tower of HANOI was totally new to me—guessed it off the -OI. I had SPIT as SCAT (or maybe SKAT) at first—that feels like the name of a card game, but I could very easily be wrong there (as I was, literally, wrong, obviously, since the answer is SPIT) (42A: Two-player card game). I can't stand Scrabble so though I know the basic rules and format, I don't think that much about it, and I had THIRTEEN before NINETEEN there (13D: Number that can be spelled with only one-point Scrabble tiles). Can't imagine wanting to clue NINETEEN that way, just as I can't imagine wanting to clue TERMS via algebra. But your cluing brain goes where it goes, I guess.  No one section of this grid gave me any particular trouble. I was fittingly slow getting SLOWS (1D: Prepares to enter a work zone, perhaps), but SEAT HENIE ATRIA got me started up there, and then ON RETAINER blew it open (reading a lot of Perry Mason lately, and a lot of the book I'm currently reading (The Case of the Curious Bride) involves Perry doing a lot of work for a client he hasn't even officially taken on—one who in fact stormed out of his office—because he finds out after that initial meeting that the woman has already put him ON RETAINER by leaving $$$ with Della before the meeting ever started. So he's like "well, she left the money, so ... guess I better work even though she has given me nothing specific to do." Seems like you'd just return the retainer, but Perry's gonna Perry, whaddyagonnado? Anyway, after I got out of the NW, I had only occasional trouble—nothing terribly noteworthy.

[so. excited.]

Minor Trouble:
  • 26A: Calm (SEDATE) — I had SERENE. Costly.
  • 8D: "Roots" surname (KINTE) — easy, but I misspelled it KENTE.
  • 21D: Autumnal salad ingredients (PEPITAS) — hardest answer for me to get, despite the fact that I like to eat them. These are pumpkin seeds.
  • 27D: Lancaster and Cornwall, for two (DUCHIES) — I take it back; this was the hardest for me to get. And right alongside PEPITAS, too. Good thing crosses were all so gettable.
  • 43D: Stomach soother, for short (PEPTO) — was looking for a generic term, like BROMO (?) here. But it's short for the brand PEPTO-Bismol.
  • 44D: Summertime coolers (ICEES) — since I had SCAT for SPIT and I had ECO in place, this answer looked like it started AC ... and I ended up with ACEES thinking "that canNOT be an acceptable spelling of the abbr. for 'air conditioners'!" Thankfully, I was right.
  • 36D: Low-cost version, informally (CHEAPIE) — This term feels ... dated? Seems like maybe you'd use it adjectivally, but then ... why not just use 'cheap.' 'Cheapo?' The primary way I know CHEAPIE is as the thing that gangster Mendy Menendez calls Philip Marlowe in The Long Goodbye: this, and "Tarzan on a big red scooter":

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Lewis 6:53 AM  

An invigorating sprint (thank you, Brian!), in which TEEN and CHOO were NOSE TO NOSE, in which LET IT SLIDE was a good fit for GLISSANDO and SPONGE MOP, in which I wanted MASKS for the five-letter answer to [Prepares to enter a work zone, perhaps], and finally, in which I briefly wondered, "Is EGGMAN swole?"

Z 7:07 AM  

Very easy for a Saturday. Just one writeover, SErenE to SEDATE. Sonja HENIE was all I needed to fly through the NW. Leaving the mystery vowel in GLISS-NDO blank made it hard to see AGRA and SErenE meant I stalled for a little bit, but Maundy Thursday was an absolute gimme, so I built out of the SE, got Tower of HANOI and ESPY in a minimal number of nanoseconds. BAM, the thirteens were suddenly obvious and then it was just the barest of nanoseconds to fix SEDATE and clean up the NE.

This struck me as fairly NYTX standard. Lots of elderly PPP with an occasional attempt to make it seem newish (the clues for ALIA and EGGMAN could easily have been stuffy or right out of 1969) so at least an awareness that the world didn’t stop in 1999. Still, when you start with someone who died 51 years ago and end with someone who died 21 years ago your puzzle is going to leave a musty aroma. It’s hard not to like a Saturday you fly through, but objectively this puzzle is no SPRING CHICKEN.

Nickyboy 7:20 AM  

Holy crap. I read "spread too thin" as "spread toothin'", and was wondering what the hell that meant and in what part of the country. It must be a learned thing. My wife asked me once what "perse phone" meant.

BarbieBarbie 7:27 AM  

Liked seeing ESPY in both the puzzle and the Mini, with two completely different clues.
Easy Saturday. All the long answers were fun.

Hungry Mother 7:39 AM  

It felt hard, but it was done quickly. The hardest part for me was _ISTS, which fell last. Not a PR, but fast.

amyyanni 7:43 AM  

Agree generally about mastery of a particular puzzle often equals enthusiasm for it, but not today. Nothing against it, just thought yesterday's was tougher and more what I expect from Saturday's offering.
Lots to like here, clues for STAMP & NINETEEN. Funny Rex hates Scrabble; most xword fans seem to be fans. Also had serene for SEDATE for a bit. Born on Maundy Thursday so that was easy for me, too. My mom always called me on my birthday and on Maundy Thursday, whenever it fell.
And that reminds me I have far to go, so bye for now. Hope everyone has a good Saturday.

pabloinnh 7:43 AM  

Someday I will learn to spell HENIE, which will help me do crossword puzzles. Also I will read all the way through a clue to the end, which will stop me from trying to remember the original actor who played The Chief on Get Smart, to which hello again. Had the ___NDO and wrote in CRESCENDO without thinking about it very much, but GLISSANDO is of course a far better answer. Had to think about what ATRIA had to do with card games before the fog eventually lifted. Only other major stumbling block was SHAVINGKIT, as mine has never contained either brushes or oils.

A nice Saturdito, BT, for which thanks. A little on the easy side but fun enough. Nice to see the EGGMAN without the walrus.

ss 7:55 AM  

I struggled most in the NW corner as I had never heard of the skater and filled in the wrong answer DJT for "Former inits. in for-profit education." In my heart I knew it wasn't right, but I did not want to give that answer up.

Enjoyable overall, good long answers. Way too much gamey stuff as Rex mentioned, although I give the constructor credit for the variety of games invoked. Video games, card games, math puzzle games, board games, baseball games, bowling alley games...

Now that the puzzle's done, I guess I'm off to SPONGEMOP my kitchen floor ("Tile-cleaning tool"). Thanks NYTXW!

mathgent 8:03 AM  

I didn’t find it easy.

I think the clue for 1A is terrible. Of course they want us to think of painting but very few SHAVINGKITs contain oils.

That bad clue pretty much spoiled the experience for me because there wasn’t much sparkle to compensate. Lots of bland stuff like ACTIONITEM and ONRETAINER.

I follow movies pretty closely but I don’t remember the Get Smart movie of 2008. I just looked it up and it made 230 million, a big hit. Where was I? I’ll have to bring it up on Netflix because it has the magnificent Ann Hathaway in it.

I knew Maundy Thursday was during Holy Week but I‘m embarrassed to say that I didn’t know it was the day of the Last Supper. I only have ten years of Catholic school education.

MarthaCatherine 8:04 AM  

How is two of hearts ATRIA? Why to MOS precede slashes?
Is anyone else aware that ALAN ARKIN wrote a delightful children's book called Tony's Hard Work Day? My children loved it and now my grandchildren do.

Valley Hikers 8:06 AM  

This was a fun one! I was feeling pretty good about how I actually breezed though a Saturday puzzle. Then I read " It felt like it was catering to an older audience." Aha! That explains it! That line made me laugh out loud :)

aeevans 8:07 AM  

Time to reread The Long Goodbye!

Twangster 8:09 AM  

I found this pretty challenging. It's weird how one or two letters can make all the difference. Got to the point where I was stuck. Had AMIE or ABIE for ALIA but knew that was probably wrong. So I googled that, which immediately led to ALANARKIN and CANTEEN, which opened up SPRINGCHICKEN and everything else very quickly.

Z 8:28 AM  

@MarthaCatherine - Your heart has two atria and two ventricles. MOS as in “months” as in 5/30/2020 as in the “5” for the month of May precedes the slash.

Joaquin 8:30 AM  

Being basically a heathen, "Maundy Thursday" looked to me more like a typo than a clue. But, as I have often said, the best part of doing crosswords is that I often learn new stuff. That and the Tower of HANOI were both new to me.

Nancy 8:34 AM  

One big mistake and it can all be over. And it almost was for me -- one wrong word I was sure was right, confirmed by its first and last letters, and in a Really Important Spot at 36D, beginning 7 different Across answers. I had CUT RATE instead of CHEAPIE. And I thought the R was right, too: RUN instead of ARE for "add up to".

If I had known the pop culture answers EGGMAN and IGOR, but I didn't. Don't get me started. Even HANOI was clued in a way that required the arcane knowledge of a game. How I straightened this all out, I'm not quite sure. Oh, yes, I finally saw SHAG RUGS despite two wrong letters, saw that PUMP (which I'd wanted all along) was right, and realized I needed a P where the A of CUT RATE had been. Erase, change, done, whew.

A thought on COTTON TIE which I thought would be COTTON TEE. So it's 90 degrees, with 88% humidity and you guys are wearing your suits. The "lightweight option" of a COTTON TIE is really going to keep you cool...not.

I thought the non-PPP fill was almost too easy for a Saturday, whereas the PPP was everywhere and mostly Impossible. A bad combination and not at all enjoyable for me.

Joe Dipinto 8:48 AM  

Why, @Lewis, I just opened up the Sunday Magazine. :-)

GILL I. 8:50 AM  

It did seem easier than most Saturdays but it had a few huh? moments as well.
I did this in two-parts. Started late last night but I got sleepy right away. Got back up over an hour ago and tried to finish. We have some doves that do the happy feet dance on our roof and that distracted me for a while. I kept wondering what they were doing and thinking Spring is over. Shouldn't they be resting?
Anyway...My two CHEAPIEs were caving into Google and looking up that Arenado guy NOLAN. The upstairs was pretty much filled in. Some white-out needed for AoRta at 3D. OK so 19A has to be that WII think. Change it to ATRIA and LET IT SLIDE slips in. Move along and go back downstairs. Could not get started without knowing NOLAN. Sat there waiting for my coffee. Where the hell is a museum for Dr. Pepper? Why would you have a museum for a soda pop? Second Google. Oh...WACO. I'll be. I only know WACO for one thing and I don't want to think about it.
Finished this up and then went wondering. The clue for PEPITAS was kinda strange. I eat them like I do popcorn. I know you put them on salads and I guess Autumn is pumpkin season and all....but still. OK so it made me smile in an Autumnie way.
You don't like Scrabble? I thought just about everyone who loves crosswords would also love Scrabble. My grandmother and I use to play it all the time. She used it to teach me words in English - I'm sure she also cheated....I wouldn't know the difference of a periagua from a scow....but she did.
My favorite: SPRING CHICKEN. I just roasted one last night and I'm going to make chicken croquettes from the left overs. No PEPTO needed.

OffTheGrid 9:11 AM  

At 1A I quickly rejected painting for cooking. Like using oils and brushes for tasty basting. The SHAVING KIT answer is bizarre. I found out that pre-shave oils exist but I've been shaving for 60 years and never heard of them before. Probably has something to do with metrosexuality. Chug a CHOO CHOO TRAIN? WTF does that mean? And then there's COTTON TIE. JEESHUS! There were a lot of good entries today but too much junk for a Saturday.

ChuckD 9:11 AM  

This was pretty straightforward for a Saturday - I thought some good fill also. Glissando crossing into choo choo was nice to see. All of Easter week was cancelled this year so it was nice to get maundy. I am with Rex and do not like scrabble - don’t think I’ve ever played a full game of it. I’ll always relate Waco to Koresh so you can keep that.

drewjake 9:12 AM  

“Grecian” without any qualifier (e.g., “archaic,” “poetically,” etc.) only works if we’re talking about odes and urns.

Carola 9:16 AM  

I started out with a bang - BAM! - but ended with a whimper at the cluster of the unknowns HANOI, EGGMAN, IGOR, and NOLAN. I finished, but that SW corner took the shine off GLISSANDO and its many enjoyable crosses.

DUCHIES went right in, due to my fascination with the British royal family: Prince Charles is also the Duke of Cornwall and rakes in untold £££ from his rents.

Dopey do-over: Before PUMP, I got my fill from a dUMP (as in....landfill?).

kitshef 9:18 AM  

A ton of stuff today that was new to me: PEPITAS, EGGMAN (as clued), IGOR (as clued), ALIA (as clued), URIAH (as clued), GTO (now and forever), . I only know EGGMAN as "I am the ...". Also had no idea on SHAVING KIT from the clue, nor of course GTO.

Fun thing about the tower of HANOI is how quickly the time to solve it increases. With three rings, a child an do it in about ten seconds. Ten rings, still less than a half-hour. Twenty rings will take a month. Thirty rings - a lifetime. Forty rings - a thousand lifetimes. Fifty rings - more time than since the (non-avian) dinosaurs died out. Sixty rings - 90 billion years.

Agree the puzzle felt "solid". I would be happy if the puzzle were this good every day.

RooMonster 9:19 AM  

Hey All !
My lack of musicalness strikes again! My DNF spot. Looking at it now, GLISSANDO looks perfectly reasonable. But, having KINTa in, got me IPA for USE (Single-IPA? Absolutely!), which in turn got me isIAH for URIAH, and threw in a P for the G of GRECIAN, which gote ApsA (where?) for AGRA, and failure. GLISpANDO, GLISSANDO, who knows? (I'm sure you are out There thinking "How the hell doesn't he know GLISSANDO? Uncultured idiot!")

So a yeo-word, 5 letter DNF.

Had sum for ARE messing me up in SW for a bit. Same for ten for PIN in SE. Figured the Split was Two-Ten, and since Two was in 3D clue, went with two. But, a generic PIN.

DUCHIES? Oof. I had DUCHess waving at me mischievously.

COTTON TIE got a chuckle. How much does a tie weigh that a non-COTTON TIE would add significant weight to a suit? Har.

Had NET, so spell-ran numbers for the Scrabble clue til I arrived at NINETEEN. And it's next to CANTEEN. These TEENs! Get off our lawns!

sub-ECO, opt-VIE, ohiO-WACO my other writeovers. Odd that it was just small words. Figured ohiO because it seems there are odd Museums in Ohio, no?

So a nice themeless, which forr is nice, as I like the themies (har, Re: DUCHIES) ones better.

NO F's - Aw SPIT!

TJS 9:29 AM  

I just hated this and I dont know exactly why. Too easy for a Saturday, that's for sure, but the longs were OK. Just intentionally aggravating clues.
"cottontie" absolutely sucks.

Tower of Hanoi looks like the dumbest game ever, and it's "mathematical" ?

If somebody slipped pumpkin seeds into my salad,I would be choking. The thing about eating those things is you gotta chew 'em to death before swallowing.

12 years of Catholic schooling and never heard of Maundy anything.

Rex is truly an eccentric. Hates Scrabble and writes a crossword blog. Quotes Raymond Chandler but has been "reading a lot of Perry Mason lately". Good Lord, ever try to read one of those? Wonder if OFL is gearing up for another course to go with the comic book studies. Rex Stout, Rex. Rex Stout!

Okay, I'm done.

webwinger 9:31 AM  

I liked this considerably better than yesterday’s puzzle, partly because some of the more obscure answers were gimmes for me, including GLISSANDO (Rhapsody in Blue was the first piece of “classical” music that I fell for, in high school), Mel TORME’s credit for The Christmas Song (“chestnuts roasting on a open fire…”) and WACO (home town of a close friend from college; I’ve actually visited the Dr. Pepper Museum). All of the long acrosses were satisfying.

I remember getting a CHOO CHOO TRAIN when I was 3 years old that I was told was a present from my new baby brother, who was about to come home from the hospital with my mother. (New moms remained inpatients for days back then, as astonishing as that now sounds.) I imagine this ploy was suggested to parents by Dr. Spock or some other contemporary advisor. It seems to have worked—must have delayed the onset of sibling rivalry by at least a week or so…

ChuckD 9:48 AM  

@TJS - As a game I agree it’s a little boring but most coders can probably relate to it from their intro data structures class where it’s been used for years to teach recursion.

MR. Cheese 9:49 AM  

My fastest Saturday ever.... I think.
Crosses gave me words I never would have gotten. E.g., EGGMAN, HANOI without ever having seen their clues. Lucky me.
I’m not getting cocky... not to worry. Next Saturday will probably be a doozie!

Teedmn 9:54 AM  

It's always a bit of a downer when Saturday goes down faster than Friday. Only two writeovers (I was thinking Kinta KuNTE instead of the other way around, and PEPpers before PEPITAS) so that makes it pretty clean for one of my Saturday solves, and only 14 minutes is probably close to a PR.

Not that I didn't like the puzzle. Looking back, there are a few more nice clues than I appreciated at first. I'm liking "High piles on the floor?" for SHAG RUGS - laundry was what came to mind. The NO WIN crossing an all-star player NOLAN is nicely ironic. The aha when __READ__OTHIN finally filled in was fun.

On the other hand, NOSE TO NOSE wants a clue like "In a confrontation" rather than "Confrontational", in my opinion. Am I way off?

Really, Rex had almost the same entry into the puzzle and thoughts along the way as I did, except DUCHIES and the SE corner did not cause any trouble for me. But then, I wasn't solving at the speed of light.

I had fun watching the Towers of HANOI demo, counting to verify there were fifTEEN moves. And I also hadn't heard of it and got it off the _OI.

Thanks, Brian Thomas.

Bax'N'Nex 9:58 AM  

Wow...Mike played his hand today. Stating that if he doesn’t fly through a puzzle, it’s not enjoyable. Just shows once again that doing crossword puzzles, the thing I look forward to EVERY day, is just a slog and burden for Sharpe. I LOVE when it takes a while. Not trying to just get it over with. This is a chore for Mike, people, not a pleasure like, I’m assuming, most of us here.

This puzzle was the BEST kind for me. My first run through I thought...not happening. If I get half the puzzle done, I’ll be amazed. Then, little by little, with some good guesses and, maybe, more and more experience, things started to fall. Took me 21 minutes. 21 fun, challenging, ultimately satisfying minutes. Such a great morning coffee, alone with my pup on my lap, quiet in the house, in my bathrobe, birds singing solve.

Hey should try it someday.

Bax'N'Nex 10:01 AM  

Barbiebarbie@ 7:27: Joel does that a lot. Must have the puzzle ahead of us, right? MANY times there are words in the mini that are also in the main puzzle.

Bax'N'Nex 10:06 AM  

I am the egg man
They are the egg men
I am the walrus
Goo goo g'joob

TJS 10:11 AM  

Whew, thanks for clearing that up for me, @ChuckD. Have no idea what it means, but I appreciate the response.

Stupac2 10:12 AM  

Yes, Thomas still exists. In fact, my 4-year-old is currently watching the original run (narrated by George Carlin, of all people). They continue to make new episodes/movies of the show, and there are a number of new talking train shows (Chuggington is the one I'm most familiar with). There's even a "day out with Thomas" event where a giant Thomas comes to a local train-ride place and you can ride on a train pulled by Thomas! It's a very, very large hit.

I've personally been to three different state railroad museums over the past few years.

Anyway, yes, trains are definitely still a thing with small kids.

JC66 10:13 AM  


What @Joe D 8:48 said.

Mazel Tov!

Cn't wait to solve it.

The Joker 10:22 AM  

There was a girl in my high school nicknamed "Locomotive".

Anonymous 10:23 AM  

I protest. When in junior high school, we had to memorize, among others, the countries and their capitols of Europe. A DUCHY was/is one of those micro-countries, not a landless title in Jolly Old England.

Mammy Yokum has spoken.

Anonymous 10:24 AM  

@Baxnex. Say what you will about Rex but he never tells anyone how they should enjoy a puzzle.

QuasiMojo 10:25 AM  

I only know the Egg Lady from Pink Flamingos, which I now know after living in Florida these past few years was cinema verite, not a spoof.

I'm still on retainer. Or a retainer. Every night when I go to bed. I hate it!

Shaving Kits have oils? Balmy!

"Grecian Formula" isn't archaic or poetical.

I did this puzzle at 5am. Rex's blog wasn't even posted yet. So I took a nap.

Not bad. Glissando was worth the price of admission.

You go, Lewis. Can't wait.

DavidP 10:28 AM  

“Fortunately, I was right”. Only Rex can write when commenting an answer that he got wrong! 😂

albatross shell 10:32 AM  

Yesterday was far easier for me. This one I needed many multiple cheats to finish. Very good paired answers. Are you really going to grouse about SPRINGCHICKEN? I can't even say it without a smile. Solid puzzle. Not stolid.

Well stacked and lovely.

Barbara S. 10:42 AM  

Hey, people, throw the rest of us a bone. What's in the Sunday Magazine that has to do with @Lewis??

Kathy 10:46 AM  

Hooray! I finished the puzzle without help in less than an hour, which is an accomplishment for me. Saturday’s usually take me a couple hours or more over the course of a day. The long answers were the keys to multiple toeholds which gave me a fighting chance. So it’s no wonder that Rex deems it easy. For me there were a couple Naticky crosses where I took a guess for one square and played “guess the vowel” for the other and, Voila! Setting its relative ease aside, the puzzle itself was a middle of road experience for me, lacking the clever cluing that is usually the hallmark of a Saturday.

ARE for adding up to is pretty weak.
Many strange answers, COTTON TIE, SHAVING KIT
I didn’t understand MOS—thanks for explaining, @Z!

But the Tower of Hanoi gave me a smile! Fifty years ago I taught elementary school for a few years. One year I had a group of especially brainy second graders who really hungered for learning experiences. So one day I demonstrated to them a Tower of Hanoi puzzle I made out of colored paper disks, enough disks to make it a challenge, but not take days to complete. Then they each made their own puzzles so they could give it a try. Well, these kids were so enthralled that they took them out to the playground during recess so they could continue playing. I spied them all sitting against the building furiously working the disks, determined to finish, eschewing the ball games and games of tag. Maybe I was able to instill in at least some of these seven year olds a love of puzzles that would last them a lifetime. Hee hee!

Bax'N'Nex 10:53 AM  

Anonymous @ I’m more convinced than ever that you are Mike!

Lorelei Lee 10:58 AM  

@Rex. Well written review. My description of what you're saying is "I like any puzzle I can do." This was one of them.

Also, at Rex, there's a big difference between the 1950's Lionel train set and the wooden Choo Choo preschoolers play with today. Google KidKraft, basic but intricate expandable sets good at sparking a child's imagination. That you can spend just stupid money on, forgetting they're only going to play with it for a couple of years. But I'm not here to sound rueful and taken. I'm betting Brian Thomas's child has one.

The Art of Shaving kit is of the type this puzzle refers to. Buyer of the Choo Choo will purchase one for her handsome husband. It comes with an oil that softens up daunting whiskers preshave. There's a sucker born every minute.

@Nickyboy, "perse phone" is now in the running for comment of the year.

Mary McCarty 11:01 AM  

For you Catholics out there who “never heard of Maundy Thursday”, there’s a good reason:
The Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England, which is the mother Church of the Anglican Communion, uses the name "Maundy Thursday" for this observance.[6] The corresponding publication of the US Episcopal Church, which is another province of the Anglican Communion, also refers to the Thursday before Easter as "Maundy Thursday".[7] Throughout the Anglican Communion, the term "Holy Thursday" is a synonym for Ascension Day.[6][8][9]

As of 2017, the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church uses the name "Holy Thursday" in its official English-language liturgical books.[10] The personal ordinariates in the Catholic Church, which have an Anglican patrimony, retain the traditional English term "Maundy Thursday", however.[11] An article in the 1911 Catholic Encyclopedia used the term "Maundy Thursday",[12] and some Catholic writers use the same term either primarily,[13] or alternatively.[14] The Latin books use the name Feria quinta in Cœna Domini ("Thursday of the Supper of the Lord").

Sorry...had to quote the whole thing (Google) to get the daily Latin lesson in 😉. in case the emoji didn’t come through. “coena” is the Ecclesiastical spelling for “cena” (dinner/banquet) which was the favorite activity for my Latin students for over 3 decades. Points deducted if your toga had dinosaurs or other designs printed on it.

I read Raymond Chandler’s The Long Goodbye several months ago on Rex’s recommendation, and was not disappointed*.Trying to decide which line is my favorite: “she had an iron smile and eyes that could count the money in your hip wallet”. Or, “I felt as hollow and empty as the spaces between the stars.” Good story, and great language to boot! * “not disappointed”- that’s a litotes, btw, and I mention it to bring @lms back. We miss you! Hope you’re finally getting to relax now that the “school year from hell” is over.

Anonymous 11:03 AM  

I only know the Egg Lady from Pink Flamingos, which I now know after living in Florida these past few years was cinema verite, not a spoof.

While arguably a very early example of Florida Man, it's actually a Baltimore product.

David in Brevard 11:03 AM  

That was hard, but looking at my time it was just under an hour so under my average which is shrinking as my proficiency grows. So many new words GLISSANDO, PEPITAS et al. I last shaved a quarter of a century ago so oils and brushes have no relationship to a SHAVINGKIT to me.

My biggest worry is the moral slide underway at the NYT with the highly suspect SHAGRUG. As a Brit who is multilingual, I speak English and American, I can tell you this is highly suspect and should be reported to the censors forthwith.

I’m having none of it!

David (in beautiful Brevard)

JC66 11:07 AM  

@Barbara S

@Lewis and @Jeff Chen constructed tomorrow's puzzle.

Newboy 11:08 AM  


OISK 11:11 AM  

After two one box DNF this week it was nice to be able to pretty much fly through Friday and Saturday. I liked this puzzle, because the completely obscure (to me) answers were discernible. Eggman, Hanoi, Igor, - and enjoyed thinking about the Glissando in Rhapsody in Blue. I played the clarinet as a youth, but could never hit the top note.

egsforbreakfast 11:12 AM  

I liked the puzzle generally, but agree with everyone that it was kinda easy.

Particularly liked the theodicy-shaded crossing of LASTSUPPER with PEPTO.

There is a new Perry Mason series on HBO premiering 6/21 and starring Mathew Rhys.

Choo Choo K’Choo for Brian Thomas the Tank Engine.

DrBB 11:16 AM  

Thanks to Rex introducing the term "green paint" in yesterday's Rex review, I now have the correct way of expressing my irritation at 33D.

Whatsername 11:17 AM  

This was a good Saturday for learning and honing my solving skills and I loved the long crosses. I did my level best to finish without any kind of help but finally gave up and googled a few Propers which had me at a complete standstill. As is often the case, just getting a couple of these opened up the rest and let me finish with some sense of accomplishment. Then I was surprised to come here and see the number of people who found it easy. Guess I still have a ways to go.

@Bax’N’Nex (9:58) Enjoyed your description of your morning solve which closely resembles my own most days. I look forward to that peaceful time of contentment with my pups at my feet and a cat on my lap. I can’t even imagine ruining that with a timer and the pressure to set some self-imposed record. It would take all the joy out of it for me.

@DavidP (10:28) Only Rex can claim he’s right when commenting an answer that he got wrong. I’m not sure I agree with that statement, thinking of a certain tweeter in chief.

km3t 11:23 AM  

I agree with other commenters that all it takes is one bad letter and you're screwed. But as an indicator of how unusually easy this was, my NYT statistics have been "symmetrical" for the past 3 years - in the sense that both average and best times for each day of the week follow an orderly increase from Monday to Saturday. Much slower than Rex mind you, but that shows the NYT's intent to ramp up difficulty is generally bang on.

Today my Saturday time not only crushed my record for a Saturday, it is faster than any Friday or Thursday puzzle I've done in three years.

I know everyone's puzzle experience will be different, but I think this means this one was a bit misplaced....

Wanderlust 11:23 AM  

Oh man, Your explanation is much better than mine. I was thinking knife murderer, and his MO precedes his slashes. I thought, “That’s pretty dark.” Glad to hear I was wrong.

QuasiMojo 11:32 AM  

Thank you, anon 11:03. I used to know that! :) But it's also true that I had to move here to discover its uncanny realism. Altho I could have discovered that elsewhere.

Ann Hedonia 11:39 AM  

I'm no spring chicken. I liked this one a lot!

Lorelei Lee 11:44 AM  

@David in Brevard, Oh shag rug was a thing in '70s America. A big, ugly, hairy wall-to-wall, multicolored assault on the eye. Hot pink, shades of orange, royal blue. Imagine inch-long rug fibers that actually came with a rake so that the compulsive could get them to flow in one direction like a blowing field of wheat on acid.

Barbara S. 11:56 AM  

No lookups, so the Friday-glow of yesterday has been replaced by a Saturday-glow. WII!

I had a couple of the same mistakes as @pabloinnh (7:43): bad spelling of HENIE, and thinking we were talking about "The Chief" from the 1960s. His name, by the way, was Edward Platt. We'll probably never need to know this, but after the recent appearance of Arthur Lake, the Dagwood-Bumstead-portrayer, you never know. Platt was an operatically-trained bass-baritone (says Wikipedia), which fits if you remember his deep, rich speaking voice.

I've always been fond of ALAN ARKIN, memorable in so many films. I remember reading him on the subject of making "Wait Until Dark." It was a tough shoot, made harder by the fact that Audrey Hepburn wasn't particularly well, having recently suffered a miscarriage. Alan Arkin said how difficult he found having to torment her day after day! He'd always been charmed by Audrey Hepburn and was a big fan. And this was only his second major film. Anyway, he surely rose above all that to chilling effect.

1A Like many, I quickly rejected the notion of art for the answer, and tried to go to "cHAfING dIsh," but it was too long. I initially had "seed" for IDEA at 9D, making an ending of "sh" for 1A look plausible. But really, I think I was just trying to add an "F" for @RooMonster.

Original clues for old "friends" like ALIA, IGOR, AGRA, ITT, WACO. I prefer "Cousin" for ITT. And I've always had positive feelings for WACO despite the tragedy that unfolded there, because I once met a terrific woman from WACO at a conference.

31A SPRING CHICKEN I just watched the 2006 film of "Charlotte's Web," which contains a lot of talk about Wilbur being a "spring pig." (Some of you may recall my previously-demonstrated affinity with the porcine.)

29D GRECIAN I believe GRECIAN, as opposed to "Greek," refers to an artistic or architectural style, rather than simply the nationality. I think specialists would be more likely to call the Acropolis "Classical," as opposed to "Archaic" or "Hellenistic," but presumably all those styles pass as GRECIAN. (The "Formula" is a difference matter.)

@Lewis!! Wow -- I can't wait to tackle your puzzle!!

Barbara S. 12:03 PM  

Drat, I forgot something. A lot of us fall into the trap of not reading clues accurately or all the way to the end. This wasn't about a XW clue, but I had a good reading failure this morning when I had occasion to look up the definition of "mako." This what I understood:

"A large fast-moving oceanic shark with a deep blue back and white underpants."

Anonymous 12:12 PM  

Which most people do their best to forget about!

bauskern 12:15 PM  

"That is, as I've said before, people tend to be warmly disposed to puzzles they crush and poorly disposed to those that you don't." Well that explains a lot. I actually enjoy being challenged by a Friday or a Saturday. In fact, if I feel those are too easy I'm left feeling disappointed. I don't time myself on the puzzles, but I don't time myself as I read a good book either. (Good thing, because I'm making my way through Infinite jest.)

Z 12:26 PM  

Regarding COTTON TIES, someone with more fashion interest may correct me but I think the clue is playing with us a little. First, COTTON TIES would never be considered "power ties," there is a certain informality about them. Second, if you are wearing a sport jacket, say on a warm "casual Friday" in May when your position really doesn't permit too much casualness, then you might go with "casual" COTTON TIES. In other words, "lightweight" in the clue has nothing to do with where the needle on the scale might end up.

@David in Brevard - I just got back from a 2 mile walk with the dogs. It seemed every other dog in Black Mountain was out for their walk, too. Five days of frequent showers will do that. As to SHAG RUGS - don't believe any justification for them. They have the taint of 1970's porn movies about them.

jberg 12:26 PM  

Me too for AoRtA before ATRIA--not because I thought there were two of the former, but because I get the two mixed up.

I never heard it called Tower of HANOI, but very familiar with the game. It's not that mathematicians actually like to play it, but they like to calculate things like how long it will take with n rings. Legend is that there are three monks in Tibet playing with some large number of rings, maybe 64, and when they finish the world will end. I'm not too worried.

I've heard of Sonic the Hedgehog, I've seen the drive-ins, but there my knowledge ends. So I figured his or her archenemy would be another animal; EGGMAN was hard to get.

I did like the puzzle; nice long answers, especially the stairstep 13s in the center, and nice stairstep TEENs in 13d and 14s.

I just looked it up -- the Dr. Pepper Museum is in the building where the drink used to be made and bottled. It's independent, but gets support from the company (now owned by Keurig); and its full name is the Dr. Pepper Museum and Free Enterprise Institute. I can say no more.

@Nancy, another Wit Twister today.

@Lewis, I'm looking forward to tomorrow!

Anonymous 12:34 PM  

There is a new Perry Mason series on HBO premiering 6/21 and starring Mathew Rhys.

I've no idea who's counterprogramming who, but Sundance (or another of that gaggle) will be running the B/W original about the same time.

old timer 12:37 PM  

I went to Catholic school for a while, and Sunday Mass until I was 15. But I also am an anglophile, so I knew that Holy Thursday here is Maundy Thursday there, and LASTSUPPER went right in. My problems were all in the NW, aggravated by spelling HENIE "Heine" and putting in "Haley" the author instead of Kunta KINTE, the protagonist. And forgetting about ITT and thinking instead of Trump's bogus University. BTW, we have a very good private trade school (and law school) where I live. Not every privately owned school is evil!

LETITSLIDE to the rescue, followed by the very clever SHAVING KIT. I have basically had a beard for 65 years now, but there was a period when I shaved all but the mustache, and I learned using a Gillette was more satisfying than en electric. Had the brush and foamer, but no oils, just aftershave.

The comments have been very amusing today. I miss @LMS though.

old timer 12:39 PM  

PS. I played Towers of HANOI back in the day of the earliest Mac, or maybe the AppleII GS. It took me a long time to remember it today.

jae 12:46 PM  

Yep, easier than yesterday’s. It would have been even easier if I could remember how to spell CANTEEN (sounds a little like quarantine but ends a tad differently). Smooth and, like yesterday’s, a lot to like. Jeff thought so too and gave it POW.

If you are looking for more of a challenge try the Saturday Oct. 7, 1995 archive puzzle by Frank Longo. The SE is a doozie, missed it by 2 squares.

CaryinBoulder 12:48 PM  

@Quasimojo: Laughed out loud at your comment about “Pink Flamingos” being Florida cinema verité. After reading two hilarious novels by Dave Barry (and numerous others from Carl Hiaasen) it sounds like you are spot on with that observation. Many years ago one of my best friends took his kids trick or treating to John Waters’ house. Dave said he was very nice, at least for someone who had an electric chair in his living room.

Struggles in the southeast put me slower than average time-wise. I would amend Rex’s comment a bit. I think enjoyment is relative to the amount of solver knowledge of the trivial minutiae in a given puzzle. Tyler, the Creator; Sonic the Hedgehog; Tower of Hanoi (I took a shot with lerOI); ALIA whoever-she-may-be; and Maundy Thursday, which I’d at least heard of but is one more of those Catholic things that are head-scratchingly strange to non-believers.

OTOH, I loved seeing a Colorado Rockie appear, given that what happens in the Mountain Time Zone is largely in the “obscured by clouds” range even for most baseball fans. NOLAN Arenado, for those unfamiliar, is a consistent run-producing slugger who also plays third base like the second coming of Brooks Robinson. (Which is almost sacrilege coming from an old O’s fan.)

Useless info I hope I’ll remember for as long as I keep doing crosswords: Mel TORME’s credit on “Christmas Song,” the biggest burg on the Yamuna River, and the Dr. Pepper Museum.

CaryinBoulder 12:50 PM  

Oh yeah, when we bought our house in the early ‘90s the basement — my soon-to-be office — was covered in royal blue SHAG RUG. It was THE first thing we tore out.

Frank Lynch 1:02 PM  

"Cheapie" threw me as well... I'm so familiar with the 1970's album "Cheapo Cheapo Productions Presents Real Live John Sebastian" that I wanted it to be some form of cheapo itself.

GHarris 1:07 PM  

Sometimes, when you are beginning to doubt your crossword solving skills, you need a Saturday like this one which I trounced. But before I got too puffed up I read that Rex, and many others, found it easy and that was a bit deflating. I guess what it comes down to is, some puzzles are in my wheelhouse and some are beyond my ken. On to Sunday.

Masked and Anonymous 1:38 PM  

Ahar! M&A has been to the Dr. Pepper Museum. We drank the complimentary shot of Dr. Pepper that was included, and toured every square inch of the place. Sooo … gimme 48-D WACO entry. But …
Had SKAT before SPIT, tho. And SERENE before SEDATE, of course. Also, splatzed 31-A's SPRINGCHICKEN in offa nuthin … but into the 35-A slot, by mistake. Lost precious nanoseconds, net.

Ahhh … the Jaws of Themelessness have arisen again. All is right once more in non-themed world.
Cool STAMP clue. Clue could also apply to the embattled U.S. postal service as a whole, unfortunately.

staff weeject pick: MOS. Plural abbreve meat. To quote Puz-Eatin-Spouse, at her ahar moment: "desperate!" har

These puz fillins were really smooth and nice. Cut down on the SatPuz solvequest time, at our house.
Did not know: URIAH. EGGMAN. SPIT. ("Did not know spit" … catchy!) NOLAN. Didn't precisely know GLISSANDO, either; remembered it as somethin like GLISSIANO, or somesuch.

Thanx for the fun, Mr. Thomas.

Masked & Anonymo4Us

Pamela 1:47 PM  

@David in Brevard, Lorelie Lee 11:44pm- I hate to tell you this, but SHAGRUGs are back! I have some fashion- forward friends (read ‘trendy’), who think they are just fab.

I got started today with HENIE, KINGE and MANN, the last of which gave me most of the NE. But I couldn’t get much further without a little help from friend Google- NOLAN, IGOR, and a definition for Maundy Thursday which made LASTSUPPER obvious. Hated COTTONTIE for all the same reasons you all did. Also, me too for only knowing about WACO for one thing. Once I cleared those hurdles the rest filled up quickly.

So, like many of you, easy, but hard. Or hard, then easy. Take your pick.

Anonymous 2:00 PM  

Failed on the ALANARKIN - ALIA cross. Didn't know either role. Put in ADAMARKIN (Alan's son) which would make the cross ADIA. Seemed possible. Better editing should have prevented this cross.

Anonymous 2:30 PM  

Any Catholic who doesn’t know Maundy Thursday is beyond hope. I’m guessing Spy Wednesday is also beyond your ken. Wow.

Crimson Devil 2:47 PM  

Hate to hear of SHAGRUGS comeback; next thing ya know it’ll be LAVA LAMPS.
I too wanted DJT instead of ITT.
Many memories of ‘64 debuted ride, mine was ‘66. S’ a wonder I survived.
Enjoyed stuck in corner clue. Pre-slash was good too.
SHAVINGKIT, not so much.

webwinger 2:51 PM  

@Kathy 10:46: Great Hanoi tower story! I’ll bet you are right about getting some of your students’ hooked on puzzles. Something that would be great for people still locked up b/o lockdowns to do: See if you can use today’s search tools to track down a teacher who inspired you fifty years ago, and send them a thank you!

@Z 12:26: Shag rugs and 70s porn. Har!

@Anonymous: You have certainly been at your best today—some very insightful comments. Thanks for the tip about a new Perry Mason series. I’ve been watching a lot of the old Raymond Burr shows on CBS All Access, and am increasingly wowed by them.

I’m guessing you and my Covid-hating troll are not one and the same, but just in case, you might want to check out a final (respectful) comment I left at the end of the queue for Thursday (5/28).

BTW, don’t forget that if you use the Reply box on your phone (which for some reason has never worked for me), people reading on their computers won’t be able to tell what you are replying to unless you reference it in your response. And think about assuming a Blogger identity that will let us know it’s you—feel free to email me (click on the blue “webwinger” above to access my profile and contact info) if you need instruction.

Lorelei Lee 2:55 PM  

@Pamela, Please tell me they've at least changed the color palette. I can live with that.

@bauskern, I like to be challenged. Patrick Berry always challenged me but I knew that if I stuck with a puzzle, I could finish, or at least mostly finish with a little help. That's what I mean by liking a puzzle I can do. A solving, thinking, learning experience. I almost renewed The New Yorker this year, just for his, Gorski's, and Agard's puzzles. But the thing has come to annoy me more than entertain.

I don't care for puzzles that are made difficult with an over abundance of obscure cultural references and/or poor cluing.

JC66 3:20 PM  

@Lorelei Lee

It seems your exposure to SHAG rugs was limited. They came/come in many different designs/colors.

pabloinnh 3:23 PM  


We bought our first little ranch house early in the '70's and one day decided to go rug shopping. The Rug Emporium (not its real name) was fairly empty of employees when we got there early in the afternoon, but eventually the owner appeared after what we think was a three martini lunch. And was he determined to sell us a shag rug? Yes. Yes he was. He kept picking up those little rug swatches, or whatever they're called, and flinging them down on the floor saying "Look at that! How about that!" and so on, until he finally came to a piece of the kind of shag rug that came with a rake. As I recall, it was mostly bright orange with some fluorescent yellow highlights. When it hit the floor, he could hardly contain himself.
"Wow!" he said. "Doesn't that say wow! That one definitely says wow!" Well, it didn't say wow to us, but it left us with a valuable expression. Now when we experience something that doesn't quite make it, we just say, "Didn't say wow to me.". Very handy.

@Barbara S-The mako shark story is hilarious, and more so because I find myself doing the same thing with increasing frequency. Can be really funny, but can also slow down your solve times when doing crosswords (so what?).

bigsteve46 3:50 PM  

@ Barbara S (11:56 A.M.) I remember seeing "Wait Until Dark" as a Broadway play (in 1966! groan ...) with Lee Remick, who I back then, and still do, adore, in the title role. The bad guy played by Alan Arkin in the movie, was played by Robert Duvall in the play. The movie was okay, spoiled a little for me by already knowing the "spoiler." But, this was an era when Hollywood had to glamorize its movie versions of popular Broadway titles, with bigger box office stars. This version wasn't too bad - Remick was better, of course, but Hepburn here was okay. But this did not come close to the most egregious example of this practice: replacing Julie Andrews in "My Fair Lady" with Hepburn! I mean, Audrey Hepburn as Liza Doolittle over Julie Andrews who was born to play the role. I mean, Hepburn as a cockney flower peddler had to be one of the more absurd miscastings in cinema history. But she was the "it girl" of the moment, and they probably would have cast her as Auntie Mame or Annie Oakley, had the opportunity presented itself. And, at least we had to wait until 1969 to get a movie movie version of "Paint Your Wagon" with Clint Eastwood and Lee Marvin crooning away.

Lorelei Lee 3:50 PM  

@JC66, Thank you! Those are the tasteful modern ones.

Please see @pabloinnh *****SHAGRUG STORY ALERT******

When my parents built a new house in the 1973, my bedroom blazed with a hot and pale pink nightmare that looked like my mother had exploded her strawberry jello salad over 100 square feet. My brother's was in various shades of blue. God bless my mother.

Anonymous 3:57 PM  

I haven’t done this one yet, but regarding yesterday’s puzzle, when did Y become a vowel? It was always a e i o u to me. Unless your French.

The Joker 4:14 PM  

Nobody asked but the girl I referenced earlier was called Locomotive because she liked to pull a train. Chug Chug.

Joe Dipinto 4:22 PM  

@Nancy – It's not that a cotton tie keeps you cooler, it's that it's a more appropriate look for seasonally warmer months, when you're wearing lightweight clothing. As @Z observed, it has a built in casualness in look and style – slightly nubby as opposed to sleek, typically in medium to light colors. Floral print ties are usually cotton. You wouldn't wear a cotton tie with a heavy charcoal gray wool suit. The look is totally off.

The clue would better be worded "option for a lightweight suit." But it's not wrong as is.

– Joe D, resident Tie Slut

GILL I. 4:22 PM  

@JC66 3:20....Hah. Just maybe I'd put "Pink Poly" in one of the bathrooms.....Maybe.
Here are some of my favorites: the glory days"
@pablo 3:23. Another Hah! Your story made me laugh. Did you ever watch Red Skelton and his "Fuller Brush" rendition? Your salesman reminded me of him. Wow.

Blackbird 4:32 PM  

The old stuff doesn't seem "old" too me, it's just part of a range of cultural references. Heavens to Betsy (how's that for old stuff!), what if there were clues and answers that would require knowing anything about Shakespeare, or Kit Marlowe (I use his nickname because I am so old that I knew him back in the day), or Thucydides, or Aeschylus? Or Li Po. Or Maimonides. Gracious me. Maybe old stuff is still the cat's pajamas. And I'm sure it is terribly uncool to use phat or I'm down with that or any other totally outdated slang.

Old Actor 4:41 PM  

@pablo: In"74 my first LA had a shag rug. Of course it was orange and complemented by a cottage cheese ceiling. Fortunately I got a job in "The Rocky Horror Show" and could afford to move out. Only got to rake it a couple of times.

For Maundy Thursday I wanted Boxing Day but it didn't fit. I had papayas before pepitas but couldn't understand what it had to do with Fall.

Beard oil is one of my shaving accoutrements.

QuasiMojo 4:55 PM  

@CaryinBoulder, glad you liked my comment re Pink Flamingos. John Water is indeed very nice. I met him a few times in NY. He is a very funny writer too. I always enjoyed his books of essays. He wrote a funny piece on the late, great Little Richard.

Can not wait to see the new Perry Mason. I've seen all the episodes of the older version, including the one in which Bette Davis fills in for him. Talk about camp! And while I am super-impressed that our very own @Masked&Anon has been to the Dr Pepper museum in Waco, I must confess that I visited the Erle Stanley Gardner archive in Austin Texas which has a complete replica of his home office where he churned out hundreds of his bestselling Perry Mason mysteries.

Bax'N'Nex 5:15 PM  

The joker @ 4:14. Um, yeah, that’s why nobody asked...

Nancy 5:35 PM  

You're all in for a treat tomorrow with Lewis and Jeff's puzzle. Just finished it -- and it wasn't easy. A very intricately constructed puzzle, with much thinking required on the solver's part. Always a very good thing in my book. My lips are sealed from saying anything more until tomorrow.

There was an awful lot on the blog today about SHAG RUGS. Didn't know they were known for vibrant colors. (Sounds awful doesn't it??? Rugs shouldn't give you a headache, make your eyes tear up, or fight with the couch). Didn't know SHAG RUGS had gone out of fashion. Didn't know they were making a comeback. I've always hated even the most tastefully-colored neutral ones for their "you can catch your toe in this" ridiculously loopy pile. The pile is annoyingly high -- without being especially soft or cushiony. All those loops, but you still feel the hard floor under your feet.

I have the most wonderful thick plush carpet with a backing under it. No loops. When I went to look at carpets, the salesman at the carpet place on the UES (a lot more reasonable than ABC Carpet, btw) pulled out a book of samples and instructed me to take off my shoe and sock and place my foot on it. "What do you think?" he asked. "It''s...orgasmic!!!" I replied. It was. Twenty-five years later, it still is.


jae 5:39 PM  

@Barbara S. - Alan Arkin is currently co-starring with Michael Douglas in “The Kominsky Method” a Netflix series. It is very funny.

CaryinBoulder 5:52 PM  

@QuasiMojo: Not too long after we met, in ‘72 or ‘73, my to-be-wife and I went to a double bill of Pink Flamingos and Female Trouble at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Mink Stole and one or two others of Waters’ Dreamland “stars” were there. Pretty sure Edith Massey (the Egg Lady) was one of the them. She had a band called Edie & the Eggs, and also ran a second-hand clothing store. A few years ago we were in town and went to pay our respects at Divine’s grave in Towson, MD. I agree with you that John W’s collected essays are very good. One that sticks in my mind was about the TV dance program, The Buddy Deane Show, and the inside clique of high school kids who were the regular dancers, known as The Committee. I used to watch that show and we had all kinds of fantasies about the cute girls. He explored this more in “Hairspray,” still one of my favorite films of all time.

RooMonster 5:52 PM  

@Barbara S
Thanks for throwing in an F! Valiant effort.
And thanks for the "white underpants" laugh!

RooMonster Who Also Has White Underpants Guy

burtonkd 6:06 PM  

@the joker, there was much merriment on the site last year when "pull a train" showed up as an innocent answer.

QuasiMojo 6:45 PM  

@CaryinB, lucky you! Those were the days. I like Hairspray too. The first one. :)

Teedmn 7:10 PM  

Anyone who wants something else to think of when they see WACO can click on this and watch the first 1:37 for the theme song (rap-sung by Lorne Greene). My brother and I saw ads for this 1966 movie on commercial TV back in the day and I'd bet anything, if I said WACO to him, he'd start singing "Waco, Waco, Waco". I don't think we ever did watch the movie.

Barbara S. 7:17 PM  

@bigsteve46 3:50
I like both Lee Remick and Robert Duvall -- that was a great cast. I'm fond of the film as it is, but picturing the Broadway actors in those roles is food for thought. I think the movie would have been quite different with them, but I can't seem to articulate exactly how. Can you?

@jae 5:39
Thanks for the recommendation. I live in the last household in North America not to have Netflix, but maybe some day!

Jesse Witt 7:51 PM  

I did not find that easy. Got most of it quickly, but the NW was impossible. Eventually had to resort to Wikipedia to get GLISSANDO and KINTE before the rest fell into place.

Disciple of Nan'l 8:02 PM  

Got "springCHICKEN" before "EGGman" so I guess that answers that question!

Joe Dipinto 8:32 PM  

Seconding @Nancy 5:35 – tomorrow's puzzle is buonissimo.

Where did Rex dig that movie up from? I never heard of it, and I didn't even recognize Janet Leigh. The kid is really annoying.

District 4 Toastmasters LGET Campaign 4:28 AM  

1A reminded me of Clarence Day's "Life With Father", "Father Among the Potted Palms" -- "Everything he owned had its place, and he never laid his clothes down at random. There were two drawers for his shirts, for example, another drawer for his socks, his shaving-kit was always on his English shaving-stand by the window. On his bureau were a pair of military hairbrushes, two combs, and a bottle of bay rum--nothing else. Each of his books had its own allotted place on his shelves. And on each shelf and in every drawer there was extra room. Nothing was crowded." For something 21st century, perhaps Brian Thomas looked at wikiHow's "How to Shave With Olive Oil". The brush might apply the shaving cream.

thefogman 10:31 AM  

I was doing fine until I hit the NE corner. Nothing in my wheelhouse. I resorted to Google to get TORME and then the rest fell into place albeit at a glacial pace.

thefogman 10:35 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
thefogman 10:37 AM  

EDIT - SE corner. Gotta get a new compass...

Anonymous 12:42 PM  

You are wrong about shaving kits. I've bought several shaving kits for myself, and as presents for others, and they almost always include a preshave oil to prevent razor burn, plus a postshave item that is sometimes called a balm(oils). Perhaps we have different ideas about what a "shaving kit" is.

Anonymous 1:03 PM  

Lose shavingkit, glissando, igor,and pepitas and you have a Wednesday puzzle. Did enjoy 20A.

Anonymous 1:13 PM  

That's freaking hilarious!
Bawdy meaning of freaking intended.

Burma Shave 1:37 PM  


bring a SPONGEMOP to the CANTEEN!"
That LAST IDEA to USE Gen-Xers died
when not a MAN at age NINETEEN.


spacecraft 1:38 PM  

I found this to be a bit easier than the usual Saturday, save a couple of snags. PEPITA was unknown--and must be a recent discovery, since it is not in my (4th edition) Scrabble dictionary. BTW, now that OFC says he "can't stand" Scrabble, that explains a lot. We are just two VERY different people. I did, however (after the solve, of course) find PEPINO. As it's an edible fruit, I'm glad I didn't look this up during the solve!

Writeover: GeO before GTO. Now that I think about it, the Geo appeared quite a bit later. I think. Me: world's worst timeline guy. I also don't speak office-speak, so I simply have to assume that ACTIONITEM is a thing. Powerpoint me on it ASAP. When writing SPONGEMOP I wanted to finish SQUAREPANTS. Other noteworthy ITEMs: a Heep-less URIAH and a Walrus-less EGGMAN.

One question, and I'm surprised that OFC didn't take this up: of all the names you could give to a tower, you had to pick HANOI?? Not cool. Sonja HENIE was DO a long-gone D. Honorable mention to a modern one: ALIA Shawkat. Though for a Saturday this one might have been a tad SPREADTOOTHIN, it still gets a birdie.

rondo 1:53 PM  

Wednesday called, wanting its puzzle back. Easiest Sat-puz in memory; musta finished in about three Rexes, though not shooting for time. At least one long gimme in each quad and SPRINGCHICKEN in the middle and lotsa threes to fill it all in. COTTONTIE verging on green paint. Sonja HENIE a yeah baby in her day. Fun and fast puz.

Diana, LIW 2:56 PM  

Always did like ALANARKIN. Oh - you too?

Got hung up on the type of mop for a few moments, but all in all a fun Sat. Especially after one or two of this week's puzzles.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting and it was Worth It

Anonymous 3:05 PM  

Weird - finished this one in personal record time for a Saturday but dnf Thursday and Friday.

And hey Trump: ACTIONITEM - LETITSLIDE. You're in a NOWIN situation. Take PEPTO, drink a few ICEES, and pardon Snowden.

leftcoaster 3:35 PM  

Easy? Medium? Challenging? Maybe all of those but, on balance, easy-medium for a Saturday. Made it fun to do.

Long acrosses in NW, middle, and SE were pretty easy. Less so were ALIA, HANOI, EGGMAN, and IGOR. The two TEENS in the NE were a bit of a distraction.

Played more like a Wednesday, I thought, but nonetheless a nice treat.

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