1949 novel set in Wyoming Territory / SAT 6-20-20 / Sicilian town that lost bell to Fascists in literature / 1960 Miles Davis album inspired in part by flamenco music / Broadway character who sings God loves Nubia / Bird that lent its name to Toledo's Triple-A team / Danity girl group with self-titled 2006 #1 album

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Constructor: Stella Zawistowski

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (6:49)

THEME: none

Word of the Day: Danity KANE (34D: Danity ___, girl group with a self-titled 2006 #1 album) —
Danity Kane is an American girl group composed of members Aubrey O'DayDawn Richard, and Shannon Bex. The group originally had five members, but Wanita "D. Woods" Woodgett left the group in 2008, and Aundrea Fimbres left in 2014. Formed on the third iteration of MTV's Making the Band reality television series in 2005, they signed to Bad Boy Records by Diddy.
Danity Kane's self-titled debut studio album was released in 2006 and achieved success in the United States, shipping a million copies domestically, while spawning two singles with top 10 single "Show Stopper" and the ballad "Ride for You." Their second studio album, Welcome to the Dollhouse, was released in 2008, following the release of their second top 10 single "Damaged". The band became the first female group in Billboard history to debut their first two albums at the top of the charts. (wikipedia)
• • •

I was braced for a hard one, as that is what Stella's name means to me, but then the hardness didn't really come. I was slower than I should've been, probably, because I tend to slow down and move methodically through puzzles that are terrors. I could've turned on the gas here and didn't, is what I'm saying. And I still came in under 7 on a Saturday, which is to say I came in with a roughly normal *Friday* time. And I liked it. I like Friday puzzles. I like spending 6-8 minutes on a puzzle filled with  interesting longer answers and some thoughtfully tough clues. And so I liked this. The only part that made me even a little mad was the KANE / KAYE krossing—two proper names of not tremendous fame, crossing at a vowel ... that's dicey. But in the end (the very end, actually), the "A" was the only reasonable guess. Everything else about this grid seems very much in order. Oh, ADANO is icky crosswordese (8D: Sicilian town that lost a bell to Fascists, in literature), but that's such a minor thing, really, in the face of so much good. Love the central Across ("SKETCHES OF SPAIN"), though I initially forgot about its existence (despite *owning it*) (33A: 1960 Miles Davis album inspired in part by flamenco music). Having the -TCHES part in place, I really really wanted to make "BITCHES BREW" happen, but ... way too many squares. Also love ALL-NIGHTER and HAPPY PLACE, and METEORIC and "MANEATER"—make it fun, it's all I ask. Oh, and make it smooth. This was both.

["Lean and hungry type," in a Hall & Oates hit]

I knew "Golden Girls" was set in Florida but couldn't decide TAMPA or MIAMI so I let the crosses tell me (1A: Setting for "The Golden Girls"). I know "SHANE" very well as a movie (Alan Ladd! And my girlfriend Jean Arthur!), but I was not aware it was a novel, so that was embarrassingish (18A: 1949 novel set in the Wyoming Territory). I literally cried "SHANE" earlier today, in the voice of my cat, as my wife left the house and my cat put his paws up on the screen door and looked longingly after her. Had EL NIÑO before LA NIÑA, but of course I did (19A: Pacific Ocean phenomenon). I forgot Uno had a SKIP card and do not think of my PECs as near my abs, so yeah, that whole western section was rough for me. Luckily, it was also small. PTRAP sounds like a kind of music, and I needed many crosses to get it (40A: Plumbing fitting with a bend). Is ADD-A-LINE hyphenated? (58A: Cellphone account offering). I would think an additional or extra line would be the "offering." Somehow having a verb phrase as an "offering" felt weird, unless the answer is not a noun but a phrase of offering, i.e. "Say, would you like to ADD A LINE." Yeah, OK. Still feels weird, but OK. Was baffled by the clue on DECORS (59A: Looks inside?) until I got every last letter from crosses. Then I wasn't baffled, but by then not being baffled didn't really do me any good. My baker makes a great TRES Leches cake, which I am definitely buying (again) tomorrow (53D: ___ leches). Sweet dreams for me. Good night.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Frantic Sloth 12:00 AM  

Why is UNO suddenly all over the place again? I think I played it exactly once back in the 70s and we're supposed to know individual cards?
Well, then I failed.
Also never heard of Danity KANE or Eddie KAYE Thomas because they clearly are made-up names.
Thank heaven and earth for crosses because that MidWest section really ticked me off.
Up until then I was really liking this obviously chick puzzle with its
Anyway, very chicky and fun.
Might have said I was on the same wavelength as Stella, but then the MW happened.
Oh, well.
I really liked it though.

🧠🧠🧠 (+.5 for the MW)

Frantic Sloth 12:05 AM  

Forgot to mention that I responded to many of you late last night regarding bday wishes and other delights to be enjoyed by merely perusing that novella. I'm so nice. 😉

mathgent 12:32 AM  

I liked it very much. Less crunchy than usual for a Friday, but sufficient sparkle and good weight. 45 % of the entries have at least six letters. Cute clue for SLALOM.

I’m posting blind, no other comments have come up yet, but I expect some criticism of the clue for REAM.

Woke Millenial 2:10 AM  

Did this one south of 30 minutes with no help from Google, so I’ll chalk that up as a W (no speed solver I). Oh, btw, I recently learned that New York was named after the then Duke of York, later to be named King James. II, who founded the Royal Africa Company which, as per Wikipedia “shipped more African slaves to the Americas than any other institution in the history of the Atlantic slave trade.” I demand that the New York Times, as well as the city and state, change their names.

astrotrav 2:15 AM  

Yesterday and today's puzzle were right in my wheelhouse and I was able to set personal best times on both. Even so my times were more than double Rex. So when he says he struggles in a section does that take like only a femtosecond?

chefwen 2:36 AM  

Liked this one a lot and actually thought I was going to pull off a no cheat Saturday. Alas, I fell apart in the SKIP, KANE, KAYE area and consulted the great Uncle Google but just for KAYE I was able to figure out the rest with that.

Hand up with eL Nino. Puzzle partner aka Plumber Guy helped me with P TRAP and fixed my El Niño. Definitely a two person puzzle.

puzzlehoarder 3:18 AM  

A nice solid Saturday. How solid it was hard to say. Once again I fell asleep while solving. I should avoid the recliner after a long day of work.

Where I nodded off was trying to get into the SE. I'm unfamiliar with the album and I had a GENIE/GHOUL write over tripping me up.

When I woke up I straightened things out while overcoming a LASERS/TASERS write over.

I didn't recognize the constructors' name but you can't forget the picture. Her last late week offering was quality too. I can only hope she continues the heavy lifting.

jae 3:56 AM  

Mostly easy except for the KAYE/KANE/SKIP area. All three were WOEs so there was a fair amount of adroit guessing required...or sort of what @Frantic and @chefwen went through. Liked it and MUDHEN evoked M*A*S*H memories.

jae 4:04 AM  

....and, just for the record, Carol KANE was in The Princess Bride, Taxi, and The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. So, yes @Frantic I too was ticked off.

Jeremy S 4:38 AM  

Oof. I hated this one. H-A-T-E-D. I felt like Rex must feel the other 95% of the time.

My big complaint: sooooooo many esoteric proper noun answers. The big long answer was some Jazz album from 60 (!) years ago that I have never heard of nor care about. What a drag to need every cross on the marquee answer. That's sitting right on top of KAYE, the middle name of some actor nobody knows, and crosses KANE, some band nobody's heard of. TRALEE might as well be clued "random jumble of letters" and I'd have the same chance of knowing it. Thank god I knew Wanda SYKES.

Where the hell is County Kerry? Maybe near the random town in Sicily that nobody's ever heard of? ADANO? Maybe they have regular readings of a novel from 70 (!) years ago about Wyoming. Oh, sorry, "set in Wyoming". Not about Wyoming. That would be too recognizable.

ADDALINE is not an offering. There is no way to mangle the clue to make that answer match the part of speech. And, I'm sorry, am I supposed to be familiar with the minor league team from Toledo?

This puzzle was a big DEADSPOT for me. Definitely did not take me to my HAPPYPLACE.

GILL I. 6:21 AM  

Loved this puzzle. Loved, loved loved it until I took my heart out of my sleeve and did a little crying at KANE KAYE SKIP. Picked up my big girl britches, wiped things off, and moved along.
Miles Davis to the rescue. I had his SKETCHES OF SPAIN album. Remember his "Concierto de Aranzuez"? That was a time to be in love. If you feel up to it and if you like guitar, listen to Joaquin Rodrigo's rendition.
Then I move along to EYE CANDY and my old mind wanders again. So many, so few to adore anymore. My Mom loved George Clooney...my drool induced fantasy was Omar Sharif. It's in the eyes. You can be handsome as hell and have all the PECs you want, but you have to know how to use your eyes. Think Humphrey Bogart and "Here's Looking At You, Kid." Then look at Ingrid as she practically wets her pants.
I moved over to my HAPPY PLACE. I have lots of them. If COVID weren't around, I'd want to be sitting at Hortensio in Madrid eating a lobster bisque or sitting under a palapa in Pueblo Bonito in Cabo. I can dream, that's for sure.

Joe Dipinto 6:23 AM  

I always found "Sketches Of Spain" to be a bit of a snoozefest as Miles Davis albums go, but maybe I'll dust off my LP and give a listen, it's years since I played it.

As @jae pointed out, Carol KANE is a famous actress; and Carol KAYE, as it happens, is a fabled electric bassist and guitarist, the sole female member of the "Wrecking Crew," a group of studio musicians who played on countless hit recordings back in the '60s and '70s (check out this documentary, it's great). They would have made for a fun clue-cross there instead of what we got.

Didn't love much about this otherwise. At least they went with BASSI this time. The cluing avoids the rampant cutesiness we often get, but it seems straightforward almost to a fault. I don't know why the Friday and Saturday puzzles have been getting progressively less exciting. As it is, I sometimes bypass the early-week puzzles; I may start doing the same with the late-week ones.

ChuckD 6:30 AM  

This went quicker than I thought it would. SKETCHES in the center was first and it fell together. Loads of nouns - many I had to get from crosses but nothing too rough. The longs were clean and somewhat fresh - especially liked ALLNIGHTER crossing INAGROOVE. Hall and Oates I could do without. Overall enjoyable.

Lewis 6:38 AM  

Half easy; half tough.

EASY: IN A GROOVE (especially NW and SE), EYE CANDY (so many entertaining answers), HAPPY PLACE (like when ADANO bubbled up from the unreachable deep).

TOUGH: DEAD SPOT (midwest edge with three unknowns), ALL NIGHTER (what the entire SW quadrant felt like), MAN EATER (what the grid felt like in the tough spots until the life saving pings came).

I like easy, I like tough -- you gave me the best of both worlds, Stella, and thank you for terrific jump start to the day!

Anonymous 6:49 AM  

Men have armpits and KAYE is a guy.

Geezer 7:00 AM  

The Venn diagram of Lewis's and Rex's reactions to the puzzle is a perfect circle. I marked my calendar.

Blog Goliard 7:08 AM  

So much freshness in this puzzle! One is much more inclined to forgive infelicities when there's such lively fill. Note to other constructors: you can put together a puzzle with practically none of the see-it-every-other-day glop.

Would have been happier still to see Danny KAYE and Carol KANE in that niche, but perhaps I'm just getting old.

(Seems crazy that a group that "became the first female group in Billboard history to debut their first two albums at the top of the charts" could be so obscure...but the music business has changed so very very much, and charting isn't what it used to be.)

Conrad 7:20 AM  

@Woke Millenial 2:10: You got your wish! The City and State of New York and the New York Times have announced that they were actually named after the city of York in northern England (in the same manner as New England, New London, etc.). The dukedom was named after the city, not the other way 'round.

Small Town Blogger 7:24 AM  

Can someone explain how tank alternative is a “tee”?

Z 7:40 AM  

Did somebody say Carol KAYE?

Zawistowski means hard, so a little surprised at how easy this was for me. My first entries were BUGLER/BASSI and the whole left side fell almost like a Monday puzzle. SKETCHES OF SPAIN is not the one Miles Davis album I own and ENLACE/CATALYSTS/P-TRAP were not immediately obvious so I had to reset for the right side. AIDA/PLAN were my seeds and it took a little more piecing together than the left side, but still felt like an easy Friday at most.

@Jeremy S - Even though it’s was easy here, I was thinking this puzzle was overly reliant on the PPP. I think SKETCHES OF SPAIN is a great entry, but boy howdy, combined with the Uno/band/actor mash-up it seemed more than a little unfair. Then there’s the 4 decade old Hall and Oates song, 7 decade old novel, Irish port, Marvel villain, scooter brand name,... I am quite sure you’re not alone. I haven’t counted the PPP yet, but my gut instinct is we’re going to see a wheelhouse/outhouse chasm today.

@mathgent - It’s what a REAMer does, so why would anyone complain?

@Woke - Funny, but I think it is actually named for the place not the Duke of that place. But I’m good with New Amsterdam if you are.

@Frantic Sloth - Your Uno question had me pondering the possibility of AA Milne playing Uno. Maybe with Mel OTT.

Hungry Mother 7:41 AM  

When I did the mini in 48 seconds, I thought this might be my day, the Summer Solstice. I was right; I found this very easy, maybe Thursdayish. I was reminded of a blissful four months in Spain, where I saw Flamenco in Ronda and Seville. I saw it again more recently in Miami before a running cruise.

Z 7:41 AM  

@Small Town Blogger - They are both shirts.

amyyanni 7:43 AM  

Had to look up OTTO. Love CATALYSTS, neat word. Also a Miles fan. NW really easy, so started out with concern we wouldn't get our Saturday workout but quickly dropped that thought. Good exercise. Now out to get the physical kind.

Snoble 7:49 AM  

I also kept wanting "Bitches Brew" to fit. Loved "happy place." just about to resort to Google but resisted. That made me realize how I have grown as a puzzle solver. I used to spend all of Sunday morning with the puzzle and my Merriam-Webster's Third Edition. Now my "cheat" is to "check puzzle"--even on a Saturday. I owe much of my growth to Rex and this group, teaching me how to skillfully do puzzles. As I ease toward retirement, I think about cancelling my NYT xword subscription, but I would miss this group. I will try to step up and actually participate.

Z 8:01 AM  

A Danity KANE video with 22 million views. Apparently, they were originally from some reality tv show I didn’t know existed. Sort of a Naughts version of the Monkees. They are still performing. Alrighty then, I feel old.

Quickie PPP Analysis
Pop Culture, Product Names, and other Proper Nouns as a percentage of the puzzle. Anything over 33% usually causes problems for some subset of solvers.

22 of 68 for 32% (I did not include the John Lennon quote for PARANOIA), so this is right at the “excessive PPP” line.

Anonymous 8:04 AM  

Tank top/tee shirt.

QuasiMojo 8:07 AM  

Which is more famous: "Shane!!!!!" Or "Stella!!!!!"?

I hate to be a grinch but I didn't think much of this puzzle. How is ENLACE to "tangle up"? ENSNARL maybe, if you're desperate during a difficult SB. The answer INDICATE was "bland, in a way" that SALT FREE will never be. Since that expression doesn't exist. One can be IN A GROOVE but still be performing unwell. To the audience, that is. "Ghouls" are evil spirits? Okay. I believe you. Why MET villains? The operas are staged all over the world and quite often it's a baritone. The real villains are the tenors with their squeaky pinched high C's and tendency to emote. And AIDA is clued as a Broadway character. Yes she is. But would you clue BLANCHE as an opera character just because Andre Previn made an opera based on the play? Why not "plumbing fitting with a bending"? So many clues twisted and tortured here. There's a rib cage between abs and a PEC. Unless you're slouched over typing into your iPhone. "Survivor" has a "motto"? Sure, Jan.

I also didn't like the SENIORS dig. Which reminds me. I never saw Golden Girls. I thought it was set in Great Neck. UNO is just some crummy pizza dive to me. A P-TRAP.

I did like the reference to Miles Davis's album. I only knew the answer because I had recently watched a doc about him on PBS. Unseen to recall them saying the album was not one of his most popular.

kitshef 8:08 AM  

Surely should have been switched with yesterday’s. Tired, tipsy and with a mild toothache I whizzed through this, despite the grid-spanning WoE SKETCHES OF SPAIN and that awful cross of KANE and KAYE, two more WoEs.

Tom Swift makes his third appearance in – what? – a month? In the TASERs acronym. Tom A. Swift Electric Rifle.

HIT ME always makes me think of Blue Velvet – brilliant or just weird?

pabloinnh 8:10 AM  

Great fun for me, starting with MUDHEN, Klinger's favorites. It's one of those team mascot
names that's fun to know, like Banana Slugs. Guessed right away that the "winding" clue was going to refer to something curvy, so SLALOM, confirmed by SEEMS. My Certified Amateur Plumber status means I know more about sinks and toilets than I wish I did, so PTRAP was a gimme. Totally agree on the KAYE/KANE intersection, which I would have clued with Danny and Citizen, but that may be based on age. Forgot about MANEATER briefly, so I had MANHATER, which sort of made sense but didn't seem like something to write a song about. Is there a barbershop version of "Sweet ADDALINE"?

Off for a morning run before it gets back to 90 (shout out to you other runners). Summer in NH is here.

Thanks for a lovely Saturdecito, SZ. Smiles all over the place.

CyC 8:18 AM  

Fun. Loved 'DECORS' when I finally got it.

Petsounds 8:19 AM  

@Jeremy S: I've had puzzle days like that, when everyone else is praising the puzzle and nothing is working for me. So I feel your pain. BUT (there's always a but), describing SKETCHESOFSPAIN as "some Jazz album from 60 (!) years ago" is just not cool. Miles was a musical giant, and this is one of his great albums IMHO. Also, and less prickly-ly, did you never watch M*A*S*H? The Toledo MUDHENS loomed large in Klinger's legend.

Had the same problem with the KAYE/KANE cross that plagued so many others. That "A" was the last thing I dropped in. Needlessly obscure, Stella.

This was the easiest Saturday for me in a long time, but I liked it for its overall freshness (ALACARTE, DEADSPOT, HAPPYPLACE, ALLNIGHTER, MANEATER) as much as my good time. Along with more Robyn, I'll take more Stella any day.

QuasiMojo 8:37 AM  

"I seem" not "unseen" in my previous post. Sorry. Also my exegesis on ghouls -- mythical beings and creatures, not really "spirits" -- didn't make the post. Sometimes a comment doesn't go through so I hit the back button and post it again and whole sentences disappear. Which I'm sure is a relief to many here.

William of Ockham 8:39 AM  

KAYE last to fill, easiest Saturday ever

What is it with UNO, never played no interest in doing so.

Mustang Bobby 8:45 AM  

I grew up in Toledo so 1D was easy; I went to their games, too. And I live in Miami, so 1A was easy because we claim the Golden Girls as our own. SHANE was a snap because I spent a summer in Jackson Hole where the film was made and the lore is everywhere. And TRES leches was also a Miami connection. The rest of it I relied on cross and down connections and remembering trivia like what was AOL's birth name. I keep forgetting that the plural of BASSO is BASSI.

Space Is Deep 9:03 AM  

As a Miles Davis fanatic, SKETCHES OF SPAIN was a complete gimme. Dropped it in without any crosses. Off to the races (relatively speaking). About 30 minutes. Easy Saturday.

jkkjb 9:07 AM  

Long time listener, first time caller. (A radio show reference? What is this, the 20th century?)

I loved this puzzle by Stella Zawistowski. Do you ever feel like you and a constructor are just on the same wavelength?

I’m a complete novice; I just starting doing crosswords when the pandemic started due to extra free time and desire to avoid the news... I couldn’t finish simple Monday’s initially. I just kept doing Monday’s back through the archive in the NYT crossword app and coming to this blog for help. After about 3 years of Monday’s (oof, sorry Garfield) I worked my way up to Tuesday’s, Wednesday’s, etc. It’s been really fun learning a new skill, and just learning in general. I couldn’t have done it without this blog. Rex’s dependable criticism and the commentariat’s response has become somewhat of a daily comfort, in addition to the crossword help. Thanks to all!

A question for the old timers and/or techno-savvy: is there a way to search through the archives (on the app or otherwise) for puzzles by constructor?

Sincerely, Convivial in Cleveland

Dan Fesperman 9:09 AM  

Saturday is when I look forward to a tough challenge. This gave me the moderate, breezy challenge of a Wednesday or (stretching it) Thursday. So, I was disappointed. A finely constructed puzzle, but not worthy of a Saturday slot.

Nancy 9:17 AM  

The album...crossing the "American Pie" actor's middle name...crossing the minor league team nickname... And that's just for starters in the NW. Ugh. The kind of puzzle I find supremely annoying and exceedingly unpleasant to work on.

It tells you everything when a constructor even chooses to clue perfectly ordinary words like MANEATER and PARANOIA and SKIP courtesy of obscure pop culture trivia. It's one thing when you can't avoid PPP in the grid and there's no other way to clue it, but MANEATER and PARANOIA and SKIP clued that way just seems deliberately in your face. "This nonsense is important to me and you'd better know it or you won't finish my puzzle. So there!"

Assuming the SKIP/KAYE cross is correct (I cared so little that I forgot to look), then I did finish this puzzle. But other than the clue for SENIORS at 20A (I was looking for some sort of inflammation) and the clue for SLALOM at 44D, I heartily disliked this puzzle.

KnittyContessa 9:20 AM  

Ditto KAYE KANE SKETCHES OF SPAIN and I had no idea what the Uno card was. Overall I liked it. Initially, it felt harder than it turned out to be. Liked the clue for Aida. DECORS was great. Finished in about 38 minutes which is a good Saturday time for me.

albatross shell 9:20 AM  

NW went in like a Monday. I actually checked what puzzle I was working on to make sure it was a Saturday. Then I knew SKETCHESOFSPAIN and almost checked again. After that it got somewhat slower. Got LANINA in before I could recall elNINo. Poor memory saved me from that trap.

@frantic sloth
You have played uno exactly one more time than I have.

Carol KANE was also in a fun movie Flashback with Dennis Hopper playing an Abbie Hoffman role and Kiefer Sutherland playing a straight arrow FBI agent who has erased his childhood history in a 60's commune and is trying to arrest Hopper.

Is ADANO "icky" because its old school crossword? Or because it was written by John Hersey? Or because its was made into a movie?

Looked up KAYE and TRALEE.

Never ran across that OTT appellation and I've read a lot about baseball. Sounded kind of icky to my ear.

Try copying your post before you post. Then you have it to repost until you copy something else.

Rube 9:23 AM  

Ban uno based clues forever. What's next? Cities in ticket to ride? Mah jongg tiles?
And by the why DICING is not a thing...except in the kitchen. Ruins an otherwise solid puzzle

AW 9:41 AM  

Way too much obscure pop culture trivia (KAYE, KANE, SKIP, CON). DEADSPOT was cleverly clued, but much of the rest was pretty tortured and unpleasant.

RooMonster 9:44 AM  

Hey All !
Being a heathen of all things artsy, ala Broadway, Painters, Operas, Novels etc., the center grid spanner had to be sussed in sections. Originally had Herr for FRAU, but once I changed it, had S_F, and figured it would be OFsomething. Which got me OTTO. Also had GolUm for GHOUL throwing a wrench in the works in that section messing up my seeing SPAIN. Did finally figure out SKETCHES frim __ETCHES, so at least pattern recognition is still working in the ole brain.

trunK-FLASK in SE holding me up a tad. elNINo-LANINA, like a bunch of y'all, gamING-DIVING making the NE last to fall. DICING? C'mon now.

Overall, a not-too-difficult SatPuz, which to me is nice. Saves the few brain cells I have left!

Technically, PECS Are on top of ABS, no? Maybe the sternum (is that the bone I'm thinking of?) is twixt them, but c'mon again. SEEMS correct to me.

One F

Anonymous 9:47 AM  

As if any further proof were needed, we are again reminded what a colossal dunce John Lennon was.

Nancy 9:53 AM  

@Quasi (8:07) -- I, too, was really, really annoyed by AIDA being clued as a "Broadway character." And I loved your comment on BASSI. But I guess I haven't seen nearly enough opera (almost none, in fact) to know that tenors sometimes squeak on their high Cs. My familiarity with tenors comes mostly from [for the great unwashed masses like me, not the true opera buffs like you] "The Three Tenors" on PBS, and none of them squeak. Or if they did squeak, I didn't notice it.

No, my bete noires on opera squeakiness are coloratura sopranos. They make my eyebrows ache mightily. They make my hair feel like it's being pulled out of the front of my head by its roots. This is true even when they're not necessarily squeaking.

Z 9:55 AM  

@jkkjb - I know of two ways, but both will show the completed grid so you have to be careful not to ruin the solve for yourself. At the bottom of Rex’s post are “labels,” one of which is the constructor. Click on the constructor’s name and Rex’s posts about that constructor’s puzzles will appear in reverse chronological order. At xwordinfo.com you can scroll down a little to find a search constructors box. That will result in a dated picture of all the constructor’s puzzles.

mathgent 10:09 AM  

Gill: I hadn’t thought of it before. Omar Sharif’s eyes. They’re what attract you. Not so much Bogart, but I can understand what you mean.

I read something in the paper since we’ve been wearing masks and we can’t smile at someone. A model was saying that you can smile with your eyes.

It seems that we’re all okay with ream meaning to juice an orange. The primary definition is to enlarge a hole. But #Z (7:40) mentioned “reamer” which can mean a tool which juices an orange. New to me.

QuasiMojo 10:12 AM  

@Albatross Shell, thank you. I do save my comments beforehand. Long ago I recommended the same to Nancy. But I often add a line or two and correct typos just seconds before posting and those addenda are the ones that occasionally disappear if there's a lag. If I weren't so impatient I could take my time to re-save them, but I'm usually eager to get off my duff and go outside for some fresh air.

@Nancy, my favorite of the Three Tenors was Jose Carreras but really only because I could hear echoes of his previous glory. He had one of the most beautiful tenor voices that sadly lost some of its heft and lustrous tones due to his illness.

@GILL are you really up at 3AM Pacific time when you post or are they saved for several hours by the blog brain?

Teedmn 10:15 AM  

I had no problem with this puzzle until I hit the west-southwest. I swear I stared at __M_IT for a long time trying to make crosses tell me if it should be suMmIT or gaMbIT, neither of which made ticklish sense. ARMPIT was one of my aha moments.

TCHES OF SPAIN - gah, I knew I knew that album name; whenever one of the college students running my favorite radio station needs a break, they put on Concierto de Aranjuez by Miles Davis. But it didn't help me much in finding the SKE. It did finally pop into my head. No help with the rest of that middle section, though.

From the E of SKETCHES, I had E_E_AN__. You know, ElEgANce is really nice to see, but it sure seemed green-paintish. I finally decided there were no PEgs near six packs, crossed out all of the letters I was unsure of in ElEgANce and voilà, EYE CANDY fell into place and I was able to finish errorlessly but at a much slower pace than my usual Saturday.

Stella, you rock, though next time go easier on the trivia please!

Birchbark 10:17 AM  

@Quasimojo (8:07),(8:37) -- I like your "Unseen to recall them saying." Read aloud with a strident sort of gravitas, it could open any number of mid- to late-20th-century poems by serious poets -- small press, hand set type, good paper, and twelve or so people in the room to hear it.

They're the right people, we say to ourselves, and what do you expect when the MUDHENs are playing at home on the same night?

Also, an exegis on GHOULs is always welcome.

Katzzz 10:25 AM  

Yep. Easiest Saturday ever. Much easier than Friday puzzle.

Anonymous 10:32 AM  

Ptrap, Kaye/Kane, Pec, add a line, skip.........these are awful. Mediocre puzzle.......where is Barry Silk when we need him.

Whatsername 10:48 AM  

I liked this a lot but do agree there are quite a few Propers that made it more difficult. I allowed a few googles starting with the Miles Davis album at 33A which gave me a good central base to build on. So with that bit of help the rest of it seemed pretty easy in general. Loved seeing SHANE for the second time this week. The SLALOM clue was a nice misdirect and tripped me up because I was thinking windy as in air blowing, not curvy. Fun Saturday, thanks Stella.

@Snoble (7:49) I found that I got even more enjoyment from the puzzle and blog after retiring than I ever did before, so nice to have the extra time to linger and ponder.

@jkkjb (9:07) Sounds like you have definitely progressed beyond the novice stage. Like you and many others, I have learned much from this blog, not to mention the entertainment value.

Happy first day of summer to all.

OffTheGrid 10:50 AM  

@Quasi, To me SENIORitis is what 12th graders get in the spring as graduation nears. Symptoms can include
reduced focus on studies, increased focus on being done with high school, going to college, getting a full time job, moving out on one's own, and of course, parties. I hate that senior became a word for old people (as apparently you interpreted this).

@Nancy and others. It so amazes me that some solvers act offended and even betrayed when puzzles have "too many" things they don't know. OTOH, others bitch that a puzzle is too easy. Such is a blog I suppose.

Anonymous 10:59 AM  

couldn't ditch Totrot for TAMALE, and elNINo, plumbing with *a* bend is the elbow, PTRAP has, at least, 2, so no fair. unless there's been some Great White Way musical version (anyone?) AIDA is at the Met. if ARMPITs are generally ticklish, most wimins' would look like guys, dontcha think? who could stand to shave while convulsing? Davis's most famous disc, by far, is "Kind of Blue" and the neatest cut is "Flamenco Sketches", so a bit of crunch. IGUANAs are known to carry salmonella, thus aren't recommended as pets. a spark plug isn't a CATALYST, which is a chemical which supports a reaction, but isn't changed by it; it's an igniter.

Joaquin 11:05 AM  

C'mon, gang. They're called crossword "puzzles", not crossword "fill-in-the-blanks". If you, like me, have never heard of Danity KANE or Eddie KAYE Thomas, you have now been brought up-to-date on some pop culture are now that much more a part of the 21st century. And I like this aspect of solving these *puzzles*.

I will concede that a Miles Davis album from 60 years ago is just obscure information of no value. Not even a "red motorcycle" answer.

pabloinnh 11:08 AM  

@Nancy & @Quasi-

Real tenors only squeak when it's called for in the score. Also, I know a lot of tenors, but few villains, but I am woefully ignorant of opera.

Newboy 11:10 AM  

@ jkkjb You might’ve been able to get most of what you need at xwordinfo which includes many helpful links as well as constructor notes that add depth to the solving experience. Welcome you brave newcomer; I lurked on this site for over a decade before placing my big toe into the commentariat pool. Your plunge into the deep end portends great posts in our future says my crystal ball.

I liked today’s puzzle. Having that EYE CANDY intersect MAN EATER brought me back to the teen dating scene...ahhhh, the 60s were a good decade. Stella’s cluing seemed ripe for those of my generation, but a juicy REAMing of today’s woke solvers who don’t have a hand juicer in the kitchen. Top half dropped in like Monday; bottom was an INERT SALT FREE TAMALE until the sour taste of KANE/KAYE intruded.

Anonymous 11:12 AM  

Way too many proper nouns in this one. There was no way I could do anything but guess for what turned out to be KAYE crossing SKETCHESOFSPAIN. Had "OFSPAIN" in place based on the clue, but I don't know UNO cards, Miles Davis album titles or 2006 girls groups.

There was some snap to it: Windy event?, Looks inside?, etc. but the dependency on pop culture proper nouns got me.

GILL I. 11:14 AM  

@Snoble 7:49...Yes, do try and participate more often. I'm probably the nag-o-rator of "please get a little avatar" here. While we may sometimes be anonys, it makes it so much easier to see your picture and get to know you better. It's easy to get one and it's free. If only I can get (sigh) @Quasi and @mathgent to do the same....Speaking of...
@mathgent. I've always believed you speak with your EYEs. You laugh with them, you cry, you look lovingly at things that give you pleasure, every single expression you have or feel comes out of those two precious orbs. You can take your mouth away as far as I'm concerned. Sometimes (for fun) I will cover the mouth of an actor who is smiling and guess if the eyes show happiness. Many people have dead glares. They've never learned to twinkle their eyes. Anthony Hopkins has mastered the dead man's glare. Look at him in The Silence of the Lambs. You can't tell if he's happy, sadistic, cruel or brain dead. When someone is attracted to you or wants to talk to you, the eyes will tell you.
@Quasi...I know. Sad isn't it. @Loren and I both have this sleep thing going on. I wake up at weird hours. I thank goodness for my puzzle and the blog. It's really my quiet time; no tv, no puppies begging to go out. If @Rex is up, I'll post, then go back to bed......
I bet everyone here just wanted to know that...right?

TTrimble 11:18 AM  

QuasiMojo, I'm not sure what you meant by "dig" on SENIORS, but in case it needs saying, these are high school or college seniors: senioritis is the condition where those soon to graduate let their coursework slide.

Carola 11:19 AM  

Seeing Stella Zawistowski's name at the top of the grid put me in the Saturday solver's HAPPY PLACE, where I remained throughout, despite the pile-up of PPP clues that attempted to dislodge me. Enjoyed (sort of) the ominous cross of MANEATER and EYE CANDY.

Help from previous puzzles: TRALEE, OTTO. Help from being old: SKETCHES OF SPAIN (in college, my to-be husband owned the album, which seemed the height of sophistication to small-town me). No idea: MIAMI, KAYE, KANE, MUDHEN. One do-over: SiNuseS before SENIORS.

@Birchbark 10:17 - Too funny!

Nancy 11:19 AM  

@GILL (6:21) -- Aha! So, now I know why our taste in men doesn't always overlap. For you it's the eyes. For me it's the smile.

I'm an absolute sucker for a smile that comes spontaneously from some place deep within and radiates the whole face. I find it irresistible. And, no, the last thing I mean is the Tom Cruise-style smile, which seems to have been practiced in front of his mirror right after shaving. I mean one that's not faked. One that shows genuine humor. JFK had it. James Garner had it. Paul Newman had it. Frank Sinatra had it. Other women were looking at Sinatra's remarkably blue eyes. I was focused like a laser on his smile.

And this has been as true for me in real life as it has been on the screen. On one occasion it was embarrassing. Someone was talking to me about a man in my life I was crazy about and asked: "What color are his eyes?" and I went "Um, er, maybe they're, I don't know, maybe light brownish? Or sort of hazel-ish? Though they also could be, perhaps, a bit darker?" Then, a bit defensively, "He wears glasses, so I'm not really sure." My friend thought I was some kind of nutcase. But I can tell you that this man's smile -- in fact the entire amused and endearing expression around his mouth -- was devastating.

egsforbreakfast 11:25 AM  

Returned last night from a road trip across three western states to visit our daughter. We observed masking, social distancing and hand washing guidelines faithfully. By and large, the residents of rural counties are acting as if COVID never existed, and they might as well all be attending tonight’s death celebration in Tulsa. Most urban areas seem to be making an effort. Our daughter’s town has abundant cheap antibody testing. We knew that hers would be positive and it was. We were disappointed that ours were negative, although we are aware that no one yet knows that the antibodies confer any long term benefit.

The puzzle, as many have observed, wasn’t hard for a Saturday, and that may explain why so many entries that could have been easier, like KAYE and KANE, were instead clued with semi-obscure references. It might have been editors trying to amp up the difficulty. I happened to recently read the section of xwordinfo titled “Will Shortz provides a clue-by-clue analysis of how he edits a crossword.” It is interesting reading, and might be an eye-opener for those commenters on this blog who seem to believe that there is only cursory and slipshod editing of these puzzles.

Nice to be back.

Lorelei Lee 11:27 AM  

Just some random thoughts.

Maneater as used in the very old Hall and Oates song is about as ugly a sexist term as you can get. Why go there?

Golden Girls. Of all the possible clues for Miami why reach back to a show that went off the air in 1992?

Sketches of Spain came out 60 years ago. I'm old and I wasn't yet in kindergarten in 1960.

Adano is best known from the 1944 book and 1945 movie and as crosswordese.

Shane, 1949.

Mel Ott retired in 1947.

Emmitt Smith for TDs? He retired in 2004. Why reach back that far for a throwaway answer like TDs if you aren't pandering to the aged?

Mudhens' pop culture references fading into the past (Major League, etc.)

Roth, could've been paired with 20 across and sealed the deal on this puzzle skewing old.

Anonymous 11:34 AM  

The woke FM station in Philly, WXPN, recently played a cut from Bitches Brew (or is it Bitch’s Brew?). It was awful. And endless.
My wife clears music for a living. She was gobsmacked by it. We chuckle, spun the dial, listens to some other tunes, flipped back toXPN, and it was still going!!!! Absolute caterwauling. Self-indulgent crud. There’s a reason Jazzis dying. And the Be-boppers and their descendants go a long way in explaining its death knell.

Iceman 11:34 AM  

I never understood all this eye reading stuff. Must be a woman thing.

albatross shell 11:38 AM  

MUDHEN is not so obscure because Radar of TV MASH was a big Toledo MUDHEN fan. Not sure if he was in the movie. Or is that M*A*S*H?

Richardf8 11:46 AM  

Reading Crankshaft isn’t always an inherently rewarding experience, but doing so meant the Toledo MUDHENS was in my wheelhouse. Also thanks for showing us the correct plural for basso, BASSI.

Hack mechanic 11:46 AM  

I never stopped calling it New Amsterdam but hey the Dutch were a bunch of slave trading bastards too

Richardf8 11:47 AM  

I think you mean Klinger.

bauskern 11:49 AM  

I think the Toledo MUDHENS is a fair AAA clue; it's not like no-one has ever heard of them. Next to the Durham BULLS, they are probably the most famous AAA team. I thought there was a lot of PPP in this puzzle, yet it was surprisingly easy for a Saturday. If people have free time on their hands (Ha!), go into the archives 15 years ago and do a Thursday, which will feel on par with this era's Saturdays!

Loved the misdirect on DECOR (59A).

Azzurro 11:50 AM  

Fun puzzle with solid fill. Way too easy for a Saturday, though. Today’s (personal) record may never be broken.

jberg 11:51 AM  

Like @Rex, I saw the constructor's name and expected a tough but enjoyable challenge. Unlike Rex, I got what I expected. Also like Rex, I know the Coltrane album but didn't remember it -- that made a huge difference, as it should have been a 15-letter gimme (I mean, flamenco in the clue, Spain in the answer).

DEAD zone, fee LINE, u-bend (before ELBOW), tendons and then sinuses before SENIORS, and, much to my embarassment, moped before VESPA, purSe before FLASK.

My first entry (partial) was the NIN in LA NINA. Here knowing it was Stella Ziatowski saved me from plunking in EL NINO without waiting for the crosses.

So it was a real struggle for me. I loved every minute of it.
Now I'll go read all of your comments.

Anonymous 11:52 AM  

Maneateris a real thing. Just ass femme fatale is. To go there is to enjoy imagery, language and yes, even the power of women.
Why not invoke a sitcom which was a ratings hit, and gave late-career boosts to women who often find limited opportunities after they grow too old to be man eaters in Hollywood’s estimation.
Sketches of Spain stinks. But not because it’s old.
Sounds like a lot of claimants to Aldano’s most common association. Which of the three is it? Care to just click off a few more?
A lot of people, movie critics included, think Shane may be the greatest Western of all time. Certainly the greatest opening scene with the Tetons and Shane framed through the Elk’s rack.
Mel Ott is an immortal. By the way, he hit more home runs in NY city than anyone in history. ( I believe The Sultan of Swat is next)
1994 is far back? Emmitt Smith is another immortal, the NFL’s all-time rushing leader and second only to Jerry Rice in TDS. To,put his career in perspective, Jim. Down retired as the all time leader in TDS. Smith beat him by 50.
Mud Hens fading into the past? Not if you live in Toledo. Or are fan of minor league baseball. Not sure where MLB figures.
Sure, you could clue it that way and complain. So I grant your point, if things were different, they wouldn’t be as they are.
By the way, Roth was the senior senator from the first state when an unctuous up and comer became its junior senator. Now that kid is a doddering old fake. And probably our next Prez.

Anonymous 11:55 AM  

Nah. Klinger was a mudhens fan. Radar hailed fromOttumwa,Iowa. He liked corn.

Masked and Anonymous 11:59 AM  

@RP: yep. Lotta EYECANDY in this SatPuz. Made old M&A wanna sing Sweet ADDALINE.

staff weeject pick: ADA. Makes m&e wanna sing Sweet ADA lines. Tough ADA clue, at our house, tho.

Two question-mark clues, today. Double yesterday's tally. Why such anemic ?-clue counts lately, U ask? Maybe they just are makin the clues slipperier without acknowledgin it with the lawful punctuation? Sorta like with {Unlikely place to find bars} = DEADSPOT? Maybe, but I didn't detect a lot of that goin on here, today.

Puzgrid has some neat Tetris-like shapes swimmin around in it. Like.

Thanx for the fairly friendly themeless fun, Ms. Z darlin. Great job, altho I should point out that SKETCHESOFSPAIN had some solvequest PAIN in it, at our house. Just sayin. Seed entry?

Masked & Anonymo4Us

p.s. Our sincere sympathies to close neighbor Tulsa. U are in our thoughts and hearts tonite. Some chance of a hail/lightnin storm, too boot … if I were all them rally folks, I'd head for home.

first unleashed in August 2014:

Anonymous 12:07 PM  

Great puzzle. Was momentarily struggling with the flamenco thing. Thought it might be something like “I get chest pains”

Greg 12:07 PM  

Wow, yesterday it was TWOS for a "hard four" in craps, and today it's DICING? Do constructors ever spend any time out in the real world, or do they just get their "knowledge" from a database?

Nancy 12:13 PM  

@egs (11:25) -- Many, many thanks for your citing of the Will Shortz clue-by-clue demo of how he edits clues. I went there, took a look, and found it enormously interesting and revealing.

jberg 12:14 PM  

I think I gave the constructor the wrong surname in my earlier comment; apologies for that!

I think Martin McDonagh wrote a play with TRALEE in the title; I'd never have got it otherwise, and I had no idea if it was really a) a port, and b) in Kerry, but once I had the double EE from crosses, and in the right place, I went with it.

My earlier comment also implied that I'd finished with elbow instead of PTRAP, but I really did get the right answer -- all from crosses, as I have no idea what it is, other than some kind of trap.

I'm too old for Hall and Oates, so I never heard of that song; fortunately, "Cassius" wouldn't fit.

OK, that's enough for today -- I have to go work on my eyes and my smile. Actually, my wife claims it's the tilt of my head; maybe I'll stick with that.

jberg 12:19 PM  

One more; Martin McDonagh didn't write anything named TRALEE; my muddled brain was mashing up his "The Beauty Queen of Leenane" with the song "The Rose of Tralee." I'm Mr. Mistaken today.

Ron 12:23 PM  

I fought DICING to the very last letter. Hated that one so much!

Rick Walker 12:25 PM  

Dead space for a place without a signal had me, even with all the downs filled in, for longer than I care to admit.

Anonymous 12:28 PM  

Only Rex’s acolytes thing the puzzle suffers from slipshod editing. That’s a lie, a calumny that’s Rex spouts way to frequently. We should call him out for it more than we do.

GILL I. 12:29 PM  

@Nancy...Don't get me wrong...I'm also a sucker for a smile....just the right kind. Take Goldie Hawn, for example. Find a picture of her smiling. Look at her lippo lips, her overly pearly whitened capped teeth and tell me that you don't immediately wonder how much money she spent....Then, cover up her smile and look at her EYES. I prefer knowing what she's up to by looking into the orbs. ;-)
My ticklish area is behind the ears.

Anonymous 12:35 PM  

Radar's food thingee was Grape Nehi, which confuses those from the Northeast. Necco wafers are named for New England (Confectionery Company), so Nehi must be too. alas, Nehi is from Georgia. life ain't fair.

Whatsername 12:38 PM  

@Nancy (11:19) Totally agree with your list of gentlemen with great smiles. My choices: Robert Redford and Barack Obama.

@GILL: Ah, the eyes. The eyes do have it. So many men, so little time to name them all but ranked solely on his baby blues, Paul Newman would be at the top of my list.

As for smiles and eyes while wearing face masks, I find myself smiling at others and then realizing they probably don’t know I’m smiling at them. I just always hope they can see it in my eyes.

Pamela 12:43 PM  

@GILL I. I certainly remember Miles Davis "Concierto de Aranzuez! The first year I lived in NY, in 1967, my room-mate had it and we played it all the time. I loved it so much I had to buy it for myself after I moved out. But my album was called, “NIGHTS IN THE GARDEN OF SPAIN,” so it didn’t help me at all today.

The puzzle today was a misery. It would have been a DNF (technically I guess it is anyway) without a great deal of help from Uncle G on the PPP’s. I’d like to think it was because, having missed a couple of days, I was out of practice, but I know better. Sigh.

Should have known PARANOIA from the clue. Knew BASSI, liked ALL-NIGHTER once I had enough crosses filled in to get it, ditto CATALYSTS, thought SLALOM was clever. Still don’t get SENIORS. Itis? Really?

Now I’ll finish reading you all.

Crimson Devil 12:47 PM  

Quite Saturday-worthy: KANE, KAYE, Miles Davis title and Kerry County Port whupped me.
DECORS one of best in memory, SLALOM good too.

Lorelei 12:47 PM  

@Anon 11:52, I hear ya and I admire your sports knowledge, but I stand by what I said. This blog strains at a gnat and swallows a camel.

Here's Google second usage definition that comes up at the top of the page if you search the term:

a dominant woman who has many sexual partners.
"he obviously imagined that she was some kind of flighty man-eater!"

Whattaya call a dominant man who has many sexual partners? A stud. A flighty stud? Nah.

Back in the day, typically used for an "aggressive woman" in the workplace.

As for sports, regional and stale. Ott is immortalized because his name is O T T. Every team has a player who hit the most home runs on that team.

Jeremy S 12:48 PM  

@Petsounds Haha fair enough! I'm just saying, I do know who Miles Davis is, but I have no idea what his album titles were. Esoteric for those of us who don't love jazz! It seems like half the commenters here actually have this album sitting on our shelf!

It reminds me of the hilarious joke in Parks and Recreation, where they're making fun of public radio, and Harry Shearer (doing a bookworm impression) starts a music break by overlaying two classic jazz pieces on top of each other. It sounds awful. They take their headphones off, and he looks at Leslie (Amy Poehler), and by way of apology, he deadpans, "Research shows our listeners love jazz." I found a clip: https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x3ipjvb

What? 1:06 PM  

Never heard of SKETCHES OF SPAIN so that kind of ruined things. Did get most of the other however but still a plod.

JC66 1:12 PM  


FWIW, New York had three teams and Babe Ruth!

Anonymous 1:27 PM  

No. Ott doesn’t hold the Giants home run record.hes immortal because he was an all star for the mighty NY giants and. wa the National Leagues home run king.

Your analogy to man is imperfect at best. There’s terms for a man who eats women alive. Womanizer, Casanova, Bluebeard. Flighty isn’t part of the makeup, male or female.

Anonymous 1:28 PM  


your welcome. George Herman Ruth went from the Saux to da damn Yunkeeeees cause Harry Frazee needed the dough to mount a vanity Broadway show for his girlfriend. the most devastating case of P-whipped in history.

QuasiMojo 1:32 PM  

@TTrimble, thank you for pointing that out about senioritis. Never heard of that. I thought it referred to senior moments of which I've been having many due to being cooped up too much lately.

Z 1:52 PM  

This showed up on my Twitter Feed:
“Fac tibi in medio animi tui locum ubi lateas ubi gaudeas ubi nullo interpellante requiescas...”

“Make a spot in the middle of your mind where you can lie hidden, rejoice, and relax with no one interrupting you.” #Petrarch

Seemed timely.

@Lorelei Lee - That's always been my least favorite H&O hit, but not because I ever pondered the idea of MAN EATER. I guess I always just thought of the term as the equivalent of "lothario," probably because the song was my introduction to the term. Interesting take. I'd say I'll make a point of not using it, but I've never used it before.

@Anon12;28 - Just to be clear, I defend Shortz' clue editing on a regular basis while decrying his editorial choices. The difference is the difference between saying a clue is wrong and saying racist terms can't be clued out of offensiveness or I want puzzles that recognize the world didn't end in 1996.

@Joaquin - I agree about it being a crossword puzzle, but I disagree on PPP. There's nothing particularly puzzling about Mel OTT or the Toledo MUD HENs or TRALEE. Either you know it or you don't (or you can guess a couple of missing letters from pattern recognition I guess). Give me more Windy event? Now there is a nice puzzler. Oh! pronounced as in "wine" not as in "win."

Concierto de Aranjuez

Anonymous 2:04 PM  

I didn’t mention you. Either you’ve got a guilty conscience or an over developed ego. Maybe both.
But thanks for gratuitous explanation.

Anonymous 2:07 PM  

To keep the cosmos in balance, I plan on using man eater a lot more frquently.
Glad to see you’re still virtue signaling z. But Lorelei’s claim is without merit. As you yourself note, there are many terms for a man who uses and abuses woman. Her claim was that no such analog existed.

Old Actor 2:20 PM  

@Jeremy S: Loved the clip but I don't think that's Harry Shearer.

Lorelei Lee 2:25 PM  

@Anon 1:27 PM, Never heard Bluebeard used that way. Womanizer seemed to be have been used more for men who cheated on their wives. And Casanova wasn't always derogatory, even women used it ... a real Casanova. And if you're the same Anon, 1994 was 26 years ago.

And "Flighty" was tacked on by some lunkhead at Google to layer up the insult and stereotype. You wouldn't see a domineering man also labeled "flighty."

@Z, Thanks. Yeah, H&O weren't singing about a starving Sunday school teacher. But I do stand corrected with the equivalent Lothario although it probably wasn't used as often or wielded as a derogatory in the workplace.

L 2:50 PM  

@Anon, Knock yourself out.

Anonymous 2:53 PM  

Maneater isn’t the term we use for pushy broads in the workplace.

Anonymous 2:55 PM  

Yah I know. It’s a typo. Smith retired in, what. 06? Or o4? Anyway, fewer than two decades ago. Not exactly ancient history.

Dave S 3:02 PM  

So disappointed. Initially had hot "to trot" which seemed kind of sophomoric and archaic at the same time, then realized it was the sillier "tamale," and crossed with "Maneater." Add in the winky nudge toward "Bitches Brew," the pecs and tds and reams and baseball and armpits and that the only actual persons mentioned are all male, and I was happily looking forward to another one of Rex's "guy puzzle" rants. Needless to say, I've never made the jump to actually checking the name of the constructor beforehand (or after usually, actually) and didn't know it until logging on here. Ah well, another day.

After breezing through the northwest, had a ton of difficulty, most of it self-inflicted where I had put placeholder answers and then forgotten how unsure i was of them. Liked catalysts a lot and happy place and paranoia, which I would have liked better if I hadn't left parallax crossing with golem there so long to confuse me. a good hard Saturday, even without the rant.

Barbara S. 3:09 PM  

Well, I’m glad most everyone had such a lovely time. This puzzle kicked my butt! I simply couldn’t finish without “help.” I didn’t know a lot of the PPP and it really hung me up. The KANE/KAYE area was made worse by the unknown SKETCHES OF SPAIN and the Uno SKIP card. But I also didn’t know OTTO Octavius, OUTPLAY in “The Survivor” motto, Wanda SYKES, TRALEE or who the heck Emmitt Smith is, so the SE was very tough. In the SW, MANEATER, TRES leches and ADA also gave me trouble. And because I made mistakes with this stuff, I messed up a number of the easier answers along the way. In general, the northern half was more accessible than the southern. But all that being said, *I liked the puzzle*. I feel it’s been a long time since I encountered a NYTXW this difficult and I enjoyed the challenge, despite all the loud and necessary moaning, groaning and teeth-gnashing.

One thing I knew right off was MUD HEN, due my husband’s owning a ball cap. It’s a prized possession. We used to have a Triple-A team here and they played the MUD HENs regularly. My husband was extremely delighted to get the chance to purchase a MUD HEN memento due to his fondness for Klinger. At this point, the cap has seen better days but it gets worn a lot.

The appearance of BUGLER reminded me that my street has acquired its own PIPER. Yes, Bagpiper! In the past couple of weeks, from time to time, a guy has appeared in full regalia and serenaded us. I dinna ken what tae say: a whiff of the auld country to stir the blood. He says he’s doing this because most of the events at which he usually plays have been cancelled and he needs the practice. But wisely, he knows that the dulcet tones of the pipes aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, so he moves around a lot and doesn’t play more than one tune at each stop. But at least around here, he always gathers quite a large, interested, socially distanced crowd.

I went lOOny the other day because the puzzle had 17 Os and 13 answers that ended with the letter O or the sound O. Today’s had only 10 Os and 2 answers that ended in O. O-Drought!

Joe Dipinto 3:41 PM  

@Anon 11:34 → There’s a reason Jazz is dying. And the Be-boppers and their descendants go a long way in explaining its death knell.

Let's see: the be-boppers came along in the early 1940's. So if jazz is (present tense) dying thanks to them, it's taking an awfully long time to croak.

syracusesolver 3:45 PM  

@Nancy 9:53 I agree with your comments about opera singers, but I do make an exception for the talented Audra Macdonald. A few years ago I was at one of her concerts, and she told of the time she asked her pre-school daughter what she thought of her mother's singing. The child replied, "Mommy, your singing makes my ears cry. "

Anonymous 4:17 PM  

@Joe, @anon/11:34

well. BB came out 1970, a period of atonal music, not just in jazz but also 'classical'. Coltrane's 'A Love Supreme' was 1964. since then we've gotten Winton Marsalis, vilified for taking jazz back to the 1940s. can't win for losing. OTOH, Jarrett and others have brought melody, albeit twisted but still recognizable, back to jazz.

albatross shell 4:54 PM  

@Richardf8 11:47am
Well I should have meant Klinger, that's for sure.

Frantic Sloth 4:56 PM  

@Lorelei Lee Lord knows I'm no bastion of self-control, but remember this: feeding the misogynistic, alt-right trolls "logic food" is just a waste of time and effort.

Crimson Devil 5:18 PM  

MUD HENS is excellent, venerable, ballclub moniker. Others, though more recent, are Biscuits, Shuckers, Jumbo Shrimp and Trash Pandas.

Anonymous 5:22 PM  

Anon 4:17/ Joe Dipinto,
You can’t be serious? Really, the sea are your arguments?
Jazzis dead. Has been for decades. Look at it sales in the 70s, 80s, 90s, and it’s downloads today. It’s dead.
In insurance there’s a term: losses incurred not yet reported.Jazz is a sad, decaying corpse. Radio stations, Satelite radio and the public can’t avoid it far enough.

Anonymous 5:47 PM  

Agree with everything said here.

Anoa Bob 6:45 PM  

This puzzle crossed the plate way outside and low for me (too many names) but I still found some things to like. One of places I tended bar long ago had a weekend band that played MAN EATER and they did a great job of it. One of the drawbacks of bartending during grad school was that I got home many a morning just as the sun came up. Not conducive to a productive day of scholarly activities.

I got MIAMI right away because I watched some of the original Golden Girls episodes---very edgy for the times---and still will watch a re-run now and then. I always thought that Blanche Derereau's last name was a play on the sound of "devour" and that she was a bit of a MAN EATER.

A couple of posts have mentioned xwordinfo.com as a way to look into past puzzles and constructors. There's a wealth of information there. I think for only twenty bucks or so, you get complete access, except the word lists. Those cost more $s. ("Just pay a separate fee. Call now!")

If you have a NYTXW account, you can get an unfilled version of every puzzle published during the Shorts era (93-now) and can solve it just as with today's puzz. If you are looking for a specific constructor, you have to know the date of the puzzle(s).

Frantic Sloth 7:22 PM  

@Anonymous 616pm I didn’t mention you. Either you’ve got a guilty conscience or an over developed ego. Maybe both.
But thanks for gratuitous complaint.

JC66 8:21 PM  


May I suggest that you change your antiperspirant. 😂

Anoa Bob 8:45 PM  

Mea culpa Blanche. It's Ms Devereau that sometimes seems to devour men.

RooMonster 10:22 PM  

Jazz is dead. Long live Polka!

RooMonster 50% Polish Guy

Z 11:20 PM  

Jazz is dead? Huh. I missed that memo.*

*Seriously, I’ve read some pretty inane things here but that has to be Top 5 Inane of all-time. I’m not even a jazz fan and own 20 odd jazz albums, including this one which points to the fact that jazz infuses modern music from rock to rap to musical theater to bluegrass. Just wow.

@LL - To be clear, my earlier comment wasn’t to disagree with you, only to point out that I hadn’t thought if it that way.

@Anons - When somebody points out that a term is demeaning there are two basic responses. One might say something like, “I didn’t know that. I’ll stop using it because I don’t intend to be offensive.” The other response is called “I’m an AssHole Signaling.” You choose.

Frantic Sloth 12:09 AM  

@Z 1120pm 👏👍

@JC66 821pm I know I should get your meaning, but must confess ignorance. 🤔

Susie 10:39 PM  

What is drunk dial???

Anonymous 10:45 PM  

@ Susie - Calling former lovers on the phone. I may have done so in my youthful drunken past but I'm too old to remember. And I may have been called before but can't really remember for the same reason.

spacecraft 11:37 AM  

I liked this one, and I had a feeling OFC would too. After all, the constructor does have the old XX chromosome. But 'twas more than that. After a METEORIC roaring out of the NW (for a change!), I thought I'd eat it alive; such was not the case. No ALLNIGHTER here, but the going went slower. In the NE, it helped that el nino and LANINA had N's at the same place, so I could work with them and get ADANO and SCAN. Eventually the gender of 19a came to light. It's You Go Girl day!

MANEATER crossing EYECANDY next to KANE? Sounds like a DOD to me! Honorable mention to the hilarious Wanda SYKES. The only entry that even slightly furrowed my brow was ENLACE. Stella, you're forgiven. Eagle.

Burma Shave 12:24 PM  


that their HAPPYPLACE SEEMS dandy:
that ALLNIGHTER OTT not wait,


Diana, LIW 1:01 PM  

Started out with a lot of nothing. I mean a LOT.

Then - phrases came to my mind. Couldn't believe I was right, but the crosses worked, and then...had OFSPAIN, and Mr. W knew SKETCHES. Opened the middle right up. Thought this would be an ALLNIGHTER and I'd get OUTPLAYed, or at least have a SENIOR'S moment, but here I am, done way before noon.

Let's all go play in a beautiful day!

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

thefogman 3:19 PM  

Excellent puzzle by a remarkable constructor. Stella Zawistowski can lift 325 pounds and has a webpage called Tough as Nails with puzzles and more:


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