Bookmaking frame that produces paper with rough edges / SAT 7-4-20 / Bush campaign manager of 1988 / Subject of 1927 royal charter / Martial art with rhyming syllables / Satirical website once owned by The Onion

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Constructor: Peter Wentz

Relative difficulty: Medium (8:04)

THEME: none

Word of the Day: WUSHU (51A: Martial art with rhyming syllables)
Wushu (/ˌwˈʃ/), or Chinese Kungfu, is a hard and soft and complete martial art, as well as a full-contact sport. It has a long history in reference to Chinese martial arts. It was developed in 1949 in an effort to standardize the practice of traditional Chinese martial arts, yet attempts to structure the various decentralized martial arts traditions date back earlier, when the Central Guoshu Institute was established at Nanking in 1928.
"Wushu" is the Chinese term for "martial arts" (武 "Wu" = military or martial, 術 "Shu" = art). In contemporary times, Wushu has become an international sport through the International Wushu Federation (IWUF), which holds the World Wushu Championships every two years; the first World Championships were held in 1991 in Beijing. The World KungfuChampionships are held every four years subset International Wushu Federation, as well. (wikipedia)
• • •

This was pretty joyless, which surprised me, as I usually groove on Peter Wentz puzzles. A few key answers felt obscure or just off, and much of the difficulty felt highly contrived, e.g. calling END OF DAYS a "setting" or calling BYLAWS "lines of code." Like, yes, I see what you're doing there, but meh. Trying hard to see what the marquee answers were supposed to be in this one. Maybe P.F. CHANG'S or CLICKHOLE? Those are at least current and freshish. The rest of the longer stuff was ... well, stuffy. Too much of this grid either clunked or just felt flat. It's AHOY, MATE*Y*, for starters (57A: Call overseas?). RAPS as a noun always feels verrrrrrrry NYT, i.e. very "hello, fellow youths!" i.e. like someone who doesn't listen to rap pretending he does. Much better as a verb, especially when talking about whole-ass songs ("chart-toppers"). The grid was very very namey too, which I guess I should be happy about, since I knew most of them, but ... nah, I wasn't happy about it. And what is ROCK-RIBBED (?), who says that? And FIVE-WAY??? Really? (8D: Like some complex intersections) That answer was easy enough to get, but ... not really believable as a thing. Possibly more believable as a sex thing than as an intersection thing, frankly. The only thing I actually enjoyed today was getting "LA STRADA" (38D: Fellini's first Oscar-winning film). I'm overstating how unpleasant this one largely because my expectations from the byline were so high. I wonder how much of any given puzzle's unpleasantness is actually editorial. I've said this before, but I think it's the overall "voice" of the puzzle that often leaves me cold, and that is very much an editor thing.

Most of my trouble came early, when I couldn't get the NW corner to work—holy crap, DECKLE!?! (1A: Bookmaking frame that produces paper with rough edges). I get it that you want to be the first to put some niche word in the grid, but oof, yipes, and all the YEOWS (plural, really?). DECKLE?! Wow. OK. I learned a word (that I will forget immediately). I think I would've resented this obscurity much less if it hadn't been 1-Across, an answer that matters very much even if you think it shouldn't. It can be hard or easy, but it shouldn't, when I finally get it, leave me going "....... what?" and disbelieving every single cross. Only other memorable trouble I had was at WUSHU, which ... is weirdly the name for all Chinese martial arts and somehow (more recently) the name of a specific, standardized martial art. Anyway, I figured the answer would be some martial art I had never heard of. But then it was this, which I know about vaguely, but only as a synonym for kung fu (i.e. Chinese martial arts generally). Weird how a five-letter answer can cause so much trouble. The clue was probably necessary to keep people from guessing ARIEL at 52D: Archangel of the Apocrypha (URIEL). Didn't know BIANCA, but the name was easy to piece together from crosses. Worst name in the puzzle by far (which I got easily, because I lived through his racist bullshit) is ATWATER (40D: Bush campaign manager of 1988). Really, really not the name you want to be floating across your grid in the summer of the year of our lord 2020. Just an asshole of the first order. Southern strategy guy. Willie Horton guy. F*** him and the party he helped steer toward the cruel racist disaster you see around you today. Homophobia: check. Smear campaigns based on stigmatizing mental illness: check check. Here, read more about this awful human being for yourself. Or don't. Black lives matter. Good night.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:21 AM  

Tough! Nice to have a Sat. that stacks up well against the ones I’m doing from 1994. Fun, liked.

I’m sharing this email from Anne, an east coast family member, only because fireflies were part of the puzzle. Have a safe and happy 4th.

I'm not Heather Richardson by any means, but I live up here in the Yankeelands (thank you Pluto for that nomenclature).  In these frabjous times, I offer the simple day of a New England coastal life for your reading pleasure or boredom.  

The last 24 hrs started with a text from a tenant saying it was our "big night".  That, by the way, is the title of a completely charming movie about food.  If you haven't seen it, do so ASAP.  But that's not what she was referring to.  She was giving me a heads up about a still night, perfect temp, no mosquitoes, moon not full, when the fireflies swarm.  Out to the garden I went, and they were everywhere in the roses, in the daylilies, in the things that are waiting for a couple of weeks to bloom, making their little semaphore messages and flitting about.  It's magic every time I see it.  Remember catching them in bottles when we were kids?  Bare feet in the dewy grass is an important part of the experience.

Today was 180 degrees from that as a marine layer came in.  ‪6am‬ temp was 72.  ‪7am‬ temp 62 and stayed that way all day with a stiff breeze and thick cloud cover.  A good day to deadhead all the stuff in the garden that had been blooming for the last month as the greenheads wouldn't be out.  I confess that I procrastinate deadheading the peonies and roses.  It's rather triste.  Another spring has passed, and the beauty that these flowers gave is gone.  But for their health I cut them back and encourage them for next year.

It was chilly enough tonight that I roasted two big baking sheets of veggies and a lovely, sparkling fresh haddock fillet.  Tomorrow we will grill hot dogs and the leftover veggies will go into a cold macaroni salad because it'll be hot and humid. You southern gals are in that weather tonight, aren't you?

I know that I carry the weight of concern with me every day, and I'm betting you all do too.  The pandemic, which I'm praying is not as out of control as I think, the government (ditto), the state of the world we're leaving to the next generation.  And yet, I try to cherish that which is before me.  And I know that you all do too.  Oldest grandchild turns 16 this coming week.  Triste indeed.

FYI next riding project is to relearn how to sit the trot.  Seems it's required at 2nd level dressage, and my body forgot how to do it.  Talk about betrayal!

I wish you all a lovely weekend and health going forward, no matter what the b#stards are trying to do to us.


PS: Yes, a glass or two of rose was instrumental in this email. ;)

Joaquin 12:39 AM  

What a complete and utter pile of crap this was.

Oh. Sorry. I just watched our *president* speak instead of doing the puzzle. I was thinking of his speech. I say DECKLE that Orange Menace and his ODIUS, ROCKRIBBED, SEMIHARD, POND scum supporters.

okanaganer 12:51 AM  

Never ever heard of PF CHANGS... or is it PFC HANGS? Of course I haven't been to the US in over 9 years and I'm pretty sure there aren't any of them up here in the great white north. The name sounds pretty silly but evidently it's the founders('s) initials and last name which isn't actually silly at all. "Great Wall of" hinted at something Chinese so I got it anyway with a little help from RICE MILK. I feel sorry for vegans / lactose intolerants... all those horrible sounding ersatz foods.

Also never heard of ROCK RIBBED. Had the ribbed part and entered HARD RIBBED which sounds just as plausible to me, although not alliterative.

Embarrassingly had LAST RIDE as Fellini's first film. Maybe starring Peter Fonda? I figured CLASSE was the opposite of DECLASSE, and BIANCI was pretty plausible.

My time was >4 Rexes tonight as the northwest was a big blank for ages. Never heard of DECKLE or CLICK HOLE or ROCK RIBBED or LAURA Prepon.

Also I figured "Checked out for a bit" was ASLEEP or NAPPING or so. I'm a prodigious library user, and with the pandemic our library has a protocol where you place an online hold or call/email in a request and drive/walk in for curbside checkout. It works fine, but it just ain't the same as browsing the stacks. How long will I have to wait til I can do that again?

astrotrav 1:02 AM  

Ugh. I can't believe they chose to include Lee Atwater in the puzzle, and on the 4th of July too. What a truly awful person. And unnecessary too, when they could have gone with the Denver Broncos HOF player Steve Atwater.

Harryp 1:03 AM  

TGIS! Something like this was needed all weak(sic), although I could have ditched 1A DECKLE, more like dreckle. Plugged away until it succumbed. last to fill was WUSHU, I had to reread the clue for the rhyme, since earlier I had put in 52D aRIEL. LEE ATWATER and ROD LAVER are oldies, LAURA and BIANCA guesses. Thank you Peter Wentz for my POW!

chefwen 1:11 AM  

Google fest for me, no fun in wenderville tonight. C’mon Sunday.

Anonymous 2:07 AM  

I liked it, seemed like an old school Saturday almost. Quite hard I thought. I like puzzles that I don’t think I can finish, but do.

Anonymous 3:07 AM  

second day with SKYES

LenFuego 6:08 AM  

Soooo ... never heard of DECKLE, WUSHU, LAURA (Prepon), RICEMILK, ROCKRIBBED, CLICKHOLE, URIEL, SETPIECES (in the film context -- I know what they are in the soccer context), BIANCA and just a ton of stuff that I was like "ummmmm, not sure if this is right, but maybe?", like is SEMIHARD cheese a thing? Is AMPLE a synonym for "Quite accommodating"? Are BOYCOTTS really Business "checks"? Is PROBONO truly a synonym for "Free", because it literally means "for good", not "for free". Is a BLOB really a "Water formation on wax paper"? ... I mean, not really right -- a BEAD would make more sense. Is "Uh-uh" really a synonym for NOHOW? Nah.

All just manufactured difficulty for the sake of making a Saturday puzzle difficult.

And while I am at it, how dare Rex call this one only "Medium". He hates to admit a puzzle is difficult, but this one definitely was.

Frantic Sloth 6:25 AM  

I didn't get stuck until 1A. Of course that PPP from hell at 5D was a yuuuge help, and it was all downhill from there.
Couldn't even finish last night because I feel asleep before 10:30 from exhaustion due to extreme slothing. (Which I think should be a new olympics event, but whatever. Nobody listens to me.)

Forty-freakin'-four minutes on this...this...thing. Yep. There it goes - my vocabulary has left the building and it's as alive as Elvis.

The only and I mean the only entries that weren't changed or were plunked in right away:
URIEL (more or less and only because of a recent puzzle)

And that is it. I sh!t you not. I'm not entirely sure what to even say until I've had a little more time to recover from that express bus of WTF that just ran over me.

I mean, just look at that list. 60% or maybe even 80% of those are PPP/TV related, so what does that tell you? Seriously, I'd really like to know. What does that tell you?
It tells me that I need to open a book more often.

My lone legit nit was "bead before drOp before BLOB" - in declensions from most to least appropriate IMHO.

All that's left is medical attention and the rating. I won't give it 5 brains only because I didn't resort to looking stuff up and that is my singular, teensy-weensy saving grace.

But it was fun!


Now to read Rex and youze!

ChuckD 6:38 AM  

I didn’t count but this just feels ripe for cracking @Z’s PPP threshold. The only worse than a trivia fest puzzle is a trivia fest puzzle with boring and useless trivia. This constructor is usually solid with wordplay - but we got none of it today. CLICK HOLE and RICE MILK?? - PF CHANGS? This was truly ODIOUS.

@ Rex four-way or FIVE-WAY are valid terms in roadway or traffic engineering describing the number of approaches at an intersection. Many older FIVE-WAY or five-legged intersections are redesigned because they present too many conflicts in allocating right of way.

Frantic Sloth 6:47 AM  

@jae Lovely imagery! I've been there. (Well, for most of it!) And "frabjous"! (Jabberwocky?) "Big Night"! (totally agree, BTW)

@Joaquin 👍😄

@okananager Totally agree on the NW -- last to fall for me as well.

@Harryp Yep. With you on POW. Finally!

@chefwen You remind me of me. It's a constant battle between my overwhelming tendency toward impatience and my overdeveloped competitiveness. Today, the competitive me won out...but just barely. Though I imagine you aren't a lollygagger like me!

@Anonymous 207am Exactly!

I have a feeling that there are bushels of comments (since 307am) not published yet (645am) so probably will have to do this all over again later on today. Beh.

Lewis 6:57 AM  

No, not SEMI HARD, many degrees beyond that for me.

First pass the grid was practically Snow White and I felt Dopey and Grumpy. But RAVE gave me ROD LAVER, then somehow, dits became dahs, DRAMS swelled into double shots, and words started slapping down, and, to my astonishment, regions followed, and yes, the whole shebang, and there I was, sitting and spinning, wondering, "What just happened?"

Classic, memorable Saturday from a CLASS A pro. Thank you, Peter!

Anonymous 6:59 AM  

Unless "warbler" just means bird, it's a bad clue for a TIT, which doesn't warble. Alliteration doesn't make up for inaccuracy.

OffTheGrid 7:11 AM  

I agree with those ripping this mess. I'll add to the list of woes. Story and TIER are not even close to being the same. I just bought a 3 tier house. I had a 4 story wedding cake.

Anonymous 7:11 AM  

I agree totally that Lee ATWATER was a despicable human being. He is one of the people that must be “credited” or better blamed for legitimizing racist code (Willie Horton ad) in our country’s political discourse. Although I try to be gentle, forgiving, and loving in my attitudes towards others (perhaps one of the many lingering effects of my Catholic upbringing), I found his end of life repentance very unsatisfactory— it did nothing to reverse the harm he caused to the people he savaged and to our polity as a whole. In a very real way, he paved the way for the obvious racist we have as our president. It was fitting that he died of an aggressive brain cancer.

— Jim C. in Maine

Anonymous 7:12 AM  

Fiveway fell easily considering an Atlanta context: Five Points, Little Five Points.

Hungry Mother 7:27 AM  

Less of a slog than my usual Saturday experience. This is my rest day from running, so I have no time pressure. Rebus tomorrow?

M. Dukakis 7:42 AM  

What saves 40D is that it could just as well (a quite accurtaely) be read "a TWATer"

David 7:43 AM  

How very fitting to have that CREEP, Atwater, in today's puzzle given the speech at Mount Rushmore last night. Full on Southern Strategy for the next four months. A short history lesson follows, and nothing more about the puzzle. You may want to ignore it and move on...

For those of you too young to remember, CREEP was the very fitting acronym of The Committee to Re-Elect the President, created for the re-election of Nixon. They developed what was called the "Southern Strategy," which emphasized the idea that any gains towards equal rights among the Black population (or any minority population) equaled a loss of rights among the White majority population. They also brought to the national race the mythologies of the lazy, poor, takers in the population that were bleeding the pure majority of their god-given gains. It's the strategy which has been used by Republicans in every Presidential race since.

At that time, Lee Atwater was just cutting his teeth in American politics. He went on to become one of the most vile proponents of this strategy, working for Reagan (with his mythical "welfare queen" driving her Cadillac around Chicago) and GHWB, creating the infamous Willie Horton ad. He died in 1991, at the age of 40, but his spirit lives on and is apparently now occupying the mind of Stephen Miller.

That's ironic, as the Southern Strategy also targets Jews. I imagine this is a big reason his family has publicly rebuked him. Again for the young 'uns, "Hollywood Liberal" means "rapacious Jews," and "New York Liberal," means "Socialist Jews." These are dog whistles they still use and their base still understands, but you won't find explanations in your high school "history" books.

GILL I. 7:53 AM  

Well I'm just going to come out and say that the best thing about today was reading @jae's post. Fireflies and dewy grass. I want some.
DECKLE CLICK HOLE sounds like something you'd order at PF CHANGS. When I could not cram PEARLY GATES at 2D, I gave up for the evening.
I woke up again around 3 in the morn and had nothing better to do. I became @Frantic Sloth. Yep...JFK NILES and ENSIGN. Yawn. Should I go back to bed or try to finish this? I got tired of Google.
ROCK RIBBED? I'll be damned if I ever have just a DRAM of my whiskey.

Twangster 8:23 AM  

I had LAST LADY and RATTER RIEL until I put the latter into google and it asked me if I meant RAT TERRIER.

Anonymous 8:24 AM  

Yes Lee Atwater was a despicable man but so what ? Do you really want to go there ? It’s a very slippery slope. I notice slave trader Eli Yale always gets a pass for some reason.

Pamela 8:24 AM  

@Frantic 6: Exactly. Except for NILES, which I had to wait for. And JFK gave me JAMB and the DOOR it framed.


pabloinnh 8:34 AM  

Finally some tough love, and I say, well, good. One pass through yielded MAORI and LASTRADA, which was more of a hopeful guess than something I actually knew. Lots of stuff we don't have around here, including PFCHANGS and FIVEWAY intersections. I have to drive fifteen miles to see a traffic light. I liked seeing DECKLE, even though it was unfamiliar, because it's the way my wife used to pronounce "decal". Also, folks are unfamiliar with ROCKRIBBED ? Maine is next door, and you can't describe it without saying "ROCKRRIBBED"", as in "the ROCKRIBBED coasts of Maine". I think that's included in most campaign speeches. Also had a nice aha! with SWIVEL, which is a great word, and whose clue was a total mystery, until it wasn't, which is the best kind.

Very nice Saturday indeed, PW, for which many thanks.

Debra 8:34 AM  

Triste indeed.

mmorgan 8:37 AM  

Good challenge for me, despite DECKLE. It just so happens that COURTROOM fits in 2D and SEXSCENES fits in 34D. Never heard of PF Chang.

Atwater was a slime but as he was dying, he did apologize to Dukakis. But still.

Anonymous 8:46 AM  

I'm familiar with deckle being the cap of fat on a ribeye steak because I just made it for dinner last night and wanted to do a little research on that specific cut of meat. Also, the obscure tennis clues are getting really tiring at this point.

Riley 8:48 AM  

The first two words I placed were NILES and SNAIL. The fact that they are in opposite corners of the grid shows how I had to scramble for a foothold. Thank goodness SNAIL got me going, and the Cowardly Lion helped me with NOHOW. I agree with the consensus that this puzzle wasn’t a lot of fun, but ultimately I crossed the finish line with no Google input. I deem it “SEMI-HARD”.

Z 9:02 AM  

Well, I liked this more than Rex and found it easier than many of you it seems, although I do appreciate that the difficulty gave rise to express bus of WTF. Thanks for that @Frantic Sloth. DECKLE crossing DOORJAMB was too cute by half, but nothing else really caught my eye. FIVE-WAY was easy here, although I’d have preferred a Cincinnati Chili clue. ROCK-RIBBED went right in. No, I don’t think I’ve ever used the term, but I definitely have heard it, probably back in the 60’s and 70’s. I also got away with only two writeovers, YElpS to YEOWS and URIah to URIEL. Medium sounds about right here.

@LenFuego - “Medium for a Saturday” sounds about right.

@ChuckD - The PPP is only 16 of 68 for a relatively low 24%. Two observations: several of the PPP are longer answers so if I did PPP as a %age of squares rather than answers it might be higher, and there’s non-PPP trivia like DECKLE and RAT TERRIER also taking up large swaths of grid real estate. These two factors may make it feel more PPP-laden. Oh, I just thought of a third factor - PPP can also help, providing toe-holds that tricky cluing often prevents. (PPP is Pop Culture/Product Names/Other Proper nouns. 33% means the puzzle is going to play especially hard for some and especially easy for others)

@anon6:59 - Huh? Does “warble” have some sort of specific meaning amongst birders us common folk are unaware of? The TITs around here all warble as far as I can tell. Maybe it is just that you don’t know how to make a TIT sing.

William of Ockham 9:08 AM  

Check out Five Points in Philadelphia.

It's a *THING*

And you don't like fiveway, Rex. There are others as well.

bigsteve46 9:19 AM  

I just don't get these social and political correctness issues in a crossword puzzle. Yes, I could see not allowing a six-letter German leader, beginning with "H" - or six-letter California slayer beginning with "M" - just old-fashioned good manners - but Lee Atwater? Not a nice guy and, by now, a little obscure, but not really a major bad guy by historical standards. Are we going to eliminate everybody who doesn't measure up to a 2020 moral cleansing? Christopher Columbus enslaved new world people and George Washington owned slaves - but they can still exist in a crossword puzzle. Its history - and history is a recording of our humanity, with all of is flaws. As somebody pointed out, does every proper name have to pass some virtuosity test? And what about our fearless leader's beloved rappers? As an aside, the rapper guys remind me of an old joke about a nice, well-mannered small town guy who returns home for a visit after six weeks at basic training in the Army,sits down to breakfast, and says, out of force-of-habit, "Hey, Ma - pass the fu*king butter!" I figure that how these rappers talk at home. Anyway ...

It's a cliche, I know, but, its only a crossword puzzle: a 15 minute or so break from the the grim reality in the rest of the paper. Find some other mole hill to make into a mountain - God knows, there's no shortage.

Is a cliche now but - still, its only a crossword puzzle: a 15 0r 20 minute respite from the serious stuff in the rest of the newspaper.

Scott Thomas 9:24 AM  

I've heard ROCK-RIBBED almost exclusively paired with Republican -- he's a rock-ribbed Republican. It's supposed to be a compliment, I guess; seems like it's about Eisenhower era. Knew DECKLE because my wife is a crafter and it's sometimes the aim to give a jagged edge to paper. Also, our Son No. 1 is named Declan, after Elvis Costello, which name (Declan) you see more and more these days and is kind of the gerund form of DECKLE.

bauskern 9:29 AM  

A tough Saturday. YELPS killed me. And I had ADRATINGS, so 31A was my bete noire.
Rex liked PFCHANGS because it is fresh, even though the chain has been around since 1993 . . . (For a chain, they're actually quite good!)
I get that Rex has some sort of unrequited thing going on w/ Will Shortz, but I don't he blasts Will for the "tone" of the puzzle, yet takes issue with answers like DECKLE (understandable) and ATWATER . . . . But aren't those the "fault" of the constructor? Will didn't pick those answers. So I think there's a bit of hypocrisy going on. Personally, I just like a tough Saturday, and this one fit the bill. Thank you Mr. Wentz.

Unknown 9:32 AM  

Come visit Twelve Corners in Rochester, Rex.

Rube 9:45 AM  

Saturdays should be for elite solvers. They should be hard and even unfair. That's how you get better. This was a legitimate Saturday that took me an extra few am extra few minutes of fun. Isn't that the idea?

Who cares if Atwatets was disgusting person or a political genius or both. It's a puzzle not a political statement. Just solve it and take pride on your achievement.

And lucky we are to be alive right the greatest city in the world.

Petsounds 9:47 AM  

OK, first off, I have to say I'm surprised at how few of you know about DECKLE-edge pages on books, because clearly everyone on this blog reads. Unlike the Supreme Idiot. Who doesn't, to our peril. I've always been aware of a controversy between those who like deckle edges (me among them) and those who prefer the neatly sheared edge. Maybe we've just gone so completely digital that paper no longer matters. But if you read any Amazon book reviews, you'll eventually come across some outraged customer who wants to send the book back because "the pages are all raggedy!" S/he has experienced DECKLE and is not pleased. Also, I've heard ROCKRIBBED all my life. Maybe because I grew up on the East Coast and among Republicans?

This is by way of saying that I got DECKLE right off the bat and ended up finishing this puzzle, unaided, in almost record time. And since I'm never among those who complete puzzles in the shortest time, I anticipated a blog full of complaints about a week of easy puzzles. Shows you what I know.

Never heard of WUSHU but the reference to rhyming in the clue made it easier. Never heard of CLICKHOLE or FIVEWAY or the BIANCA tennis player or the LAURA actress either, but the crosses took care of those. I liked the two "free" clues, the cluing of NILES Crane as Maris's husband, and the clues for ROUTERS and ONLOAN. Also, since I'm a dog lover and rescuer, loved seeing RATTERRIER and SKYES--a two-dog puzzle! But how weird, as someone has already mentioned, to see SKYES two days in a row! The Skye terrier is hardly among the most popular breeds here.

@jae: I saw a firefly (or as we called them when I was a kid, lightning bugs) display like that when camping near the Poconos many, many years ago. I've never forgotten it--one of the loveliest things I've ever seen. And just the once. Sorry it's so chilly where you are. If I could send you some of our five-straight-days-of-90s-with-another-10-to-come, believe me, I would.

@okanaganer: I miss library browsing too. I miss browsing of all kinds. I've learned how many small pleasures I take for granted.

@Anonymous 8:24: I pretty much agree with you about whether it's OK to include tyrants, despots, and undesirables of all kinds in crosswords. In general, as long as the clue is clear about the nature of the person, I'm OK with it. But at this time and place, making reference to the odious Lee Atwater--who, as others have pointed out, played such a large part in the many political ills we endure today--seems a poor choice.

Nancy 9:48 AM  

Strike 7 and I'm out. Well, strike 6, actually, having cheated on ATWATER to no advantage. Lee Atwater. Of course. How quickly we forget.

Would I grant extra time on a test to someone who had ADHD? Don't think so. 25A was a great big "Huh?" to me. Even though I had the "A". But I also had a "B" that shouldn't have been there. CLICKBAIT instead of CLICKHOLE, you see.

In a million years I wouldn't have guessed that "lines of code" were BYLAWS. I had the "B" and I had the "W", but I didn't like having the "W". I was sure I WILL had to be wrong.

Had COAT for the light snow covering. Never thought of DUST. My bad.

I'd prefer my "aids in networking" to be MENTORS instead of ROUTERS (41D).

If I were more religious, maybe I would have had END OF DAYS instead of END OF TIME (2D).

Wanted SHOT instead of DRAM for the "small order of whiskey". DRAM IS too damned small!

WUSHU? Let's not even discuss WUSHU. And my archangel was ARIEL, not URIEL, which didn't help.

An ignominious mess of a solving attempt. The entire middle of the West was a total disaster.

Phaedrus 9:54 AM  

I’m surprised with the difficulty people had with deckle. You’ll often see “deckle edged” in the product description when buying a book at Amazon. Maybe everyone just buys ebooks nowadays.

DrBB 9:59 AM  

DECKLE was a gimme for me, having studied manuscript & book production (deckle-edged is a thing in book binding), except obscure enough that I needed some crosses to confirm I wasn't crazy. Had a bunch of other guesses in the NW (ENSIGN) but other cluing slowed me down. Then I saw that 17A pretty much had to end in -OUS and that unlocked it. ROCK-RIBBED usually followed by "Republican" or "conservative," pretty familiar to me. Most annoyed by 20D, since a BLOB can be just about anything so why this over-specific wax paper nonsense? I was sure it must be how they make an ink BLOT, as in the psychiatrist-office cliche, which made BOYCOTTS much harder to come up with, though I liked the cluing and relatively unusual word when I got it. I like the edge-of-ungettable-obscurity puzzles that do give you just enough of a fingertip hold to crack 'em. so this got an A- for me, the minus because BLOB.

SBpianist 10:04 AM  

Amen about the obscure tennis clues.

RooMonster 10:05 AM  

Hey All !
Toughie for me today. Typical for a SatPuz. Had to lookup a couple of PPPs. ROD LAVER (name rings a bell now that I see it), BIANCA (can you see I don't follow tennisanything?)(Although I did like Martina Hingis when she played, No. 1 for quite a while, and pleasing to the eyes.)

LEDE? Had LEad, natch. Couldn't figure out END OF DAYS because stupidly dyslexic-ed MAORI as MoaRI, which got me CLICKHatE, and B_TAWS for BYLAWS. Threw in an O to make BotAWS (not a thing, but hey), got the Almost There message, hit Check Puzzle and saw my bonehead misspelling. But, still would've had my one-letter DNF even if I spelt MAORI correctly at MUSHa/aRIEL. Argh! I should know URIEL, as he was a character on Supernatural for a while. Great show, BTW.

him before SHE, thinking HER/him. Honest misthought. The LA STRADA thing was fun, having LAST___, I was like LAST what? Dive, RAce, Ride, RADy? Har.

NObody-NONAME, FourWAY-FIVEWAY, Mop-MAT, NOway-NOHOW, courtroom-ENDOFDAYS thinking how clever I was to get that off nothing!

Two F's

Rug Crazy 10:13 AM  

LEDE is not in my (American Heritage) dictionary.

Crimson Devil 10:19 AM  

Certainly concur w/ David re Atwater, [Ailes], Newt, Orange, Steve Miller, and good to see comment from M Dukakis.

Anonymous 10:20 AM  

yes DECKLE edged pages one has heard of, but their created by a 'frame'? please explain.

as a kid, we got pizza from Six Corners Pizza, which was at one of the six corners. might be a rotary (or roundabout, depending on where you are) today.

with any luck, those 7.500 or so ROCK-RIBBED Right Wingnuts in SD last night will infect each other and all die from Covid. along with every Right Wingnut they know (they are tribal, so no one else is in danger). speaking of which, Kimberley frenches Junior, who frenches Orange Julius, who frenches the Cotton Swab, they all die and then the Right Wingnuts have to find someone to run against President Pelosi. something to consider. ATWATER's soul-in-hell worst nightmare.

TJS 10:22 AM  

This puzzle was a bitch, but it is Saturday. The problem for me was just that so much of the cluing was intentionally not accurate. I don't see how Rex tries to attribute this to editing when it is so pervasive throughout the puzzle, but rex was probably just scratching his Shortz itch.

@jae, what a beautifully-written post. Much appreciated. Hope no-one accuses you of "presenting" a sensitive voice.

@Rube, don't agree with anything you said, but I can't believe you live in Hayward, WI. too and we haven't met !

Anonymous 10:24 AM  

Jae- Big Night is, as you say, charming. But I don’t think it’s about food. It’s about art. How art and thee t artists find themselves in conflict with the world. Of course there are themes: sibling rivalry, fraternal love, otherness as it applies to both the stranger in the strange land, and the sometimes elusive nature of self knowledge. But man!! The food in the flick is beyond all imagining.
Suddenly I’m doing to hear Louie Prima too.
Sorry to be such a Z. Peace.

Z 10:31 AM  

ROCK-RIBBED Republican wouldn’t really be a compliment. Here’s the most complete explainer I found. M-W says it was first used in 1776 and does hint at a more positive connotation, but I think “inflexibility” is key. But, again, not exactly something I’ve heard recently.

@bauskern - is “for a chain” damning with faint praise? I do have a pleasant memory of going to one for a team dinner somewhere near Edina MN and I’d agree with your assessment. I wouldn’t seek one out, but if we were traveling and needed a meal it would be one of my top choices of mall/highway exit food.
As for Rex’s “tone” comment, if you do enough puzzles by the same constructors in other venues you have to wonder why Rex softened the comment with “I wonder.” He doesn’t wonder, he’s absolutely positive that it’s the cluing voice of Shortz that he finds stale. To the point now that he, imho, over-reacts to perfectly okay clues like the one for FIVE-WAY. In short, I agree the tone today can’t all be put on Shortz but as a general thing I agree with Rex.

Regarding ATWATER, I generally agree but want to point out that however odious he was he tapped into something that was already a part of our society. 60 million Americans willing voted for an avowed racist in 2016. ATWATER helped with that, but however much we wish otherwise, Trump is ours.

Z 10:35 AM  

@Rug Crazy - Time to buy a new one.

mathgent 10:40 AM  

I needed to cheat to get the DECKLE/CLICKHOLE cross. It reminded me that it wasn’t too long ago that I needed ten lookups to do a Saturday.

A wonderful composition. So much to like. If I hadn’t gotten Naticked, I would RAVE about it.

Some of the clues are tip-toe-ing near the border of unfair territory. Is CLICKHOLE sufficiently well-known to be in the puzzle?

Rube 10:55 AM  

It's not just my opinion....ask the Schuyler Sisters...Angelica, Eliza and Peggy

Xcentric 11:01 AM  

I’m in synch with Rex on this one. Rock ribbed, deckle, never heard of them. Had drop before blob, lead before lede, PF Chang’s wall took a while to fall for me. Been to PFC several times, never saw a wall of chocolate. Is it on a dessert menu? I never eat dessert after Chinese.
Some names were just a little too obscure for my taste. 1969 US Open? Really? Might as well drag out a name from the 1948 Olympics.
Other than that, a fun solve with a little push back here and there.

And I agree, Atwater was just a horrible, nasty person - thought I had him scrubbed from my memory - now I have to have that despicable creature in my head along with our current orange horror. Arghhh! Thanks NYT.

@Z you are right, the biggest ache in my heart is seeing the sheer volume of hateful fellow Americans popping up all over. All that hidden hate, so discouraging.

Rock vs. paper 11:29 AM  

@Z, I agree that ROCK-RIBBED was not meant as a compliment, but not really an insult either. My Dad who was a Dem might say something like...well you know, Mrs. So and so is a rock-ribbed Republican. I Kind of took it to mean...yes, she is a nice lady but she will ALWAYS vote Republican no matter what issue she might be against. This makes me think that a lot of us have become rock-ribbed in our own way.
Anyway, I don’t know if it is a regional or “dated” term I just know it didn’t come to mind until I had the BB.
I really enjoyed this puzzle because it gave me the kind of tussle I used to experience a lot...going from “this is impossible” to aha moments.

Whatsername 11:30 AM  

Saturdays are for practice and improving skills. Today I learned ROCKRIBBED and WUSHU. This was challenging, even SEMIHARD. I give it not necessarily a RAVE review, but a subdued praiseful appraisal.

A few quibbles. “Daddy can we buy more fireworks?” “NOHOW” said no one ever as a way of saying “uh uh.” Agree with someone else who said a water does not BLOB on wax paper, it beads. Is ENDOFDAYS really a “setting“ where judgment will occur? I might have clued that as “Judgment TIME.“

A TIT mouse is classified as a chickadee, not a warbler. While it doesn’t warble so much as it whistles and chirps, its song is quite melodious. I am blessed beyond measure to have many of them at my feeders the year around. They are gregarious little birds and not the least bit bothered by human activity, especially if said human is putting out more free food at the bird buffet.

@jae (12:21) Your family member is a gifted storyteller; thanks for sharing. The fireflies were AGLOW in my back yard last night too. I stepped out shortly after nightfall, and had a similar melancholy moment recalling the days of chasing them on bare feet to capture them in a mayonnaise jar.

I keep seeing where the current occupant of the WH wants to eliminate SNAILMAIL but don’t understand why he has any beef with the Postal Service. It’s not like President Obama invented it or anything.

My flag has been flying proudly since daybreak. Wishing everyone a safe and Happy Independence Day!

Hack mechanic 11:40 AM  

Me neither. Had Fave & then Fox terrier crossing Retexter.
Just couldn't dig myself out of that hole.

Loralie Lee 11:45 AM  

@Xcentric and @Z, Watch John Stewart's new movie on Amazon, Irresistible. Intense satire on the sheer volume of hateful fellow Americans popping up all over.

@X, 1948 2-time Olympic gold CA Congressman, 10 letters.

Pamela 11:51 AM  

@jae Forgot to mention before: Lovely story. A little nostalgic, as I grew up in NE. Thanks!

I’m amazed at how many of you didn’t find this so difficult. Even though I’ve been a Sunday solver for decades, I guess it’s only natural that I often run into trouble on Fridays and Saturdays. Seems like most Sundays are set somewhere around Wednesday/Thursday- ish. Nevertheless, it didn’t take all that long today. I finished within an hour, with only two G’d words. When I started doing them, Saturday puzzles took all day.

***SB ALERT***

Progress report:
After seeing all the teasers here I finally succumbed, and have been doing SB all week. Seems to me that experience makes a big difference here, too. Already a few odd words have repeated, so the 2nd time around was a gimme. Today yet again, as it has been every day, I got to Genius, including the pangram. Every day so far, I get stuck for the last word, or 2 or 3. Today it’s 3. I’m frustrated, but can’t quit now. Maybe by the end of the day I’ll get to the elusive QB. One can only hope.

Like for a lot of other things, like the future of our country.

Anonymous 11:53 AM  

don’t understand why he has any beef with the Postal Service.

easier than one might think.
1 - his addled brain stem asserts that the USPS signed a sweetheart deal with Amazon, aka Bezos, and thus must be destroyed. the Postal Regulatory Commission ran the numbers, and the deal is market value, and USPS only does the 'last mile' delivery
2 - mail critters actually earn a living wage, and thus must be destroyed

johnk 12:01 PM  

No RAVE, NOHOW. WUSHU would put your ODIOUS DECKLE out ONLOAN. Or IWILL. This was more than SEMIHARD.

Frantic Sloth 12:09 PM  

@Anon 1153am & @Whatsername

No USPS means no voting by...wait for it...mail.

Another Anon 12:12 PM  

@Anon 11:53. It's part of his war on voting by mail, even though there is not conclusive evidence that it favors one party over the other(s)

Newboy 12:28 PM  

Thanks Mr. Wentz! This was a puzzle worthy of its Saturday placement. Ms. N and I racked our collective minds with MAORI, MUSHU, and finally AHOY MATE which my head BOYCOTTS—even with the question mark cluing. And SKYES moved up from yesterday’s down dog placement. For a change the blog today was less fun than the puzzle! Though I recall the “Southern Strategy” with angst, in contrast with current “Twitter Rage” seems almost gently nostalgic. But I’m doubling back to revisit @Lewis’s post and check out xwordinfo constructor note, so there’s always something to celebrate 🎉 on this very special day.

Stay close (not too) and double rinse those sanitizer paws before lighting stuff.

jberg 12:30 PM  

This one was tough. I had to break off in the middle, as I couldn't get it finished before dog-walking time. My first entry was'napped' at 15A, which didn't help at all. But my real problems came from SEMIsoft (or SEMIripe) cheese--I've never heard it called SEMIHARD--and NO way, which, unlike NOHOW, actually fits the clue. Also antiS before YESES. I was pretty stuck until I took another look at 22A; never heard of the parkway in question, but the three letter destination was likely to be an airport, and I'm pretty sure there's no parkway to LGA. That gave me DOORJAMB, and it all fell into place.

As some anonymouse said, DECKLE is a fine word, and I could see pretty early that it would fit -- but the clue seemed to call for a device for creating deckled pages, which logically would be a 'deckler'--so I held off until there was not doubt about it.

Yes, tits and warblers are different groups of birds. In the US, tits include the chickadees and the titmice; in Europe they have bushtits, blue tits, coal tits, and great tits. They do have songs, some of which can be described as warbling. But since the actual warblers are pretty much woodland birds, the clue really jars.

So quite a struggle, but I did enjoy it!

Random observation: I can imagine saying that a meadow is AGLOW with fireflies, but I would never say that a particular firefly was AGLOW, since it is actually ablink.

@TJS, @rube--what's the thing about Harward? I keep rereading Rube's posts, and don't see it mentioned (or is this left over from yesterday?) My parents were from Phillips, not too far away -- but in Sturgeon Bay we mostly thought of Hayward (and Hurley, even more so) as a place that went crazy during deer season as it filled up with inebriated hunters from Milwaukee and Chicago. I'm probably doing the place wrong; I don't believe I've ever been there, as it's off the beaten path.

jberg 12:33 PM  

@pabloinnh --I think I've always heard "rockbound" coast of Maine, a state that used to full of rock-ribbed Republicans.

Chris A 12:37 PM  

Re FIVEWAY - you clearly have not spent time on Martha's Vineyard! There's a terrible intersection in Vineyard Haven (at least in summer) notoriously known as Five Corners - five roads coming together without a single traffic control. No stop signs or yield signs, just, "who's got the oldest, most banged up car and is willing to stick his grill out!"

Ernonymous 12:43 PM  

GELSOMINA!!! I Love that movie! I did a paper on it for a course on Italian Cinema, easy A. Once it got around campus the this was an easy course, and an easy A, it got very full. Once a week, 3 hour class, you watched a movie. Then you wrote up a one page summary on the movie. Then pick one and write a final paper.
I just finished this at 3 hours 13 minutes. I was not going to throw in the towel, finally I was naticked, so I guess I didn't really finish it, because my mistake was WUSHA/ARIEL. I finally checked WUSHA and that was the problem. But I feel good I got the rest although it took me forever.Well over 3 hours. I should have kept trying vowels at WUSHA oh well.
Was this hard?

Anonymous 12:46 PM  

WRT Maine. story in today's news that they ain't enough visitors to consume the lobstah hahvest. legend has it that early New Englanders (the 1% of their day) 'forced' the servants to eat lobstah so often that the servants rebelled. I suppose the Rock Ribbed Rockbound Republican lobstahmen will demand PPP from Orange Julius. I can hear Collins bleating imploringly now.

Ethan Taliesin 12:47 PM  

I thought it was a good puzzle. Yeah, to hell with ATWATER, but in the context of a grid I really don't see the problem.

The right sometimes criticizes the left for trying to scrub ideas, topics and opinions that they find objectionable, and I think their criticism has purchase. Trying to trigger someone on purpose is a dick-move for sure, but one that both sides a guilty of and the ATWATER clue was as anodyne as it gets. This does not mean I think both sides are equally intellectually dishonest, I don't, but I feel that "cancelling" everything you dislike is counterproductive. (And I resent having to put that last-sentence disclaimer, but here we are)


Masked and Anonymous 12:48 PM  

Well, shoot. Was gonna lead off with "SEMIHARD, indeed!", but @johnk just sorta beat m&e to it.
So instead, I'll just say that this 68-word SatPuz puppy had m&e at WUSHU.
Indeed, that was where I had to start out, was way down in the cellar regions of the puz. Cuz DECKLE/CLICKHOLE/Prepon darlin just wouldn't let old M&A enter the germ-rally, up top -- even tho I was wearin a mask. Sooo … practiced social distancin from that there NW nano-second clock hole, for quite a spell.

What were the seed entries here, U ask? Amazin revelation on that, in the constructioneer notes, over at xwordinfo.chen. It was JFK. Ergo … staff weeject pick = JFK. QED.

fave 4th of July sparkler: FIVEWAY. Slightly improved clue: {Like some complex sexual encounters}. Good way to spice up yer RICEMILK party, if U ask M&A.

LETOUT: Change to LEDOUT & re-clue. Then ATWATER becomes ADWATER. Re-clue ADWATER as: { "Just ___" (How to help Aqua- products get more attention??) }. Vwah-lah! Everybody's happier than snot.

fave q-mark-clue (of 3 candidates): {Call overseas?} = AHOYMATE. See what they did with them "overseas" word(s)? har. Don't make em come down there, Shortzmeister. [Kinda lucky U had a gorgeous WUSHU in there, or I mighta joined em.]

Thanx for the feisty fun, Mr. Wentz.
Black lives matter, indeed, @RP.

Masked & Anonymo4Us

CLASSA biter:

Ethan Taliesin 12:51 PM  

I guess what I should have also mentioned is that by having ATWATER in the grid, it gives us a chance to discuss and maybe learn about what a crappy guy he was.

BTW, there was a movie about him (that I have not seen) called Boogie Man.

Whatsername 12:55 PM  

@okanaganer (12:51) My local library has exactly the same protocol and under the circumstances I think it’s probably well advised. But like you I do miss browsing the shelves and finding a quiet spot to peruse my choices. I also miss leisurely browsing in the grocery store. Since so many where I live refuse to wear a mask and don’t even bother to observe the directional arrows, I tend to just grab what I need and get the heck out of Dodge.

@Anonymous (11:53) That certainly explains it. Personally I think the system works quite efficiently. But I can understand that if the hated Jeff Bezos is involved - or anyone else who does not bow down in humble obedience - thoughtful logic doesn’t enter into the process. Not that it ever does with him.

@Frantic (12:09) and Anon: Well duh, of course. 🤦🏻‍♀️ Can’t believe I didn’t figure that one out. But it does get exhausting trying to keep up with all the plotting, scheming and outright lies.

N 1:04 PM  

I started doing the New Yorker crossword after reading some of the Rex's posts, and it's consistently a more enjoyable experience in terms of who and what gets featured.

When I do the NYT crossword, I get clues about Lee Atwater on July 4th and racial slurs as supposed baseball terms (we all know this... but no one who follows baseball uses that term.) When I do the New Yorker crossword, I get clues about Ta-Nehisi Coates and bell hooks and other fascinating folks to be reminded of and learn about in today's age.

That's just all there is to it. It's not necessarily an active fault of the NYT crossword. To me it's just very clear that the NYT crossword cares a certain amount about who gets represented, who and what its solvers think and learn about... and the New Yorker, for example, cares differently. I don't get bothered when the NYT goes its own direction here, but I think I get less joy and growth out of it than I do with the New Yorker's. I think there might be a pernicious effect to this kind of thing, but don't really think it's actively sinister for the NYT. It's just... lame, in my opinion.

There's nothing abhorrent about thinking "Lee Atwater seems like a solid clue here, let's go with it." There's nothing wrong or overly sensitive about thinking "it's the 4th of July, a lot of this country is waking up to racism, let's actually not reference one of the key figures who helped shape those circumstances." It's just two schools of thought and I (and perhaps Rex) just value the empathy of the latter more. (repetitive rant over)

KnittyContessa 1:05 PM  

@jae I had the same thought, 1994 all over again! Thanks for sharing your lovely email. Enjoyed it much more than the puzzle.

This was a googlefest for me. I don't think I knew any of the PPP which made it torturous.


Anyone else think 34D was sexscenes? I had SCENES and then the S from BOYCOTTS so it looked right. I could not figure out that corner for the longest time. I had to google LASTRADA to make my way out of it.

Joe 1:16 PM  

Loved this puzzle. Favorite part was Atwater. I remembered him, but couldn’t remember his name. Got it from the crosses.

Joaquin 1:22 PM  

@Loralie Lee (11:45)

When I was in junior high in Los Angeles (c: 1956) BOB MATHIAS came to one of our assemblies and spoke. It was quite an event and, I imagine, quite a coup for the school to get him to speak to us. The one thing I recall about his talk was his rant against smoking - unusual for the time.

Anonymous 1:26 PM  

Water on wax paper is a "blob" and not a "bead"? Thinking poor thoughts towards the constructor, and REALLY negative thoughts towards the editor.

MartyS 1:29 PM  

“Rock-ribbed” is almost always followed by “Republican.”

Anonymous 1:35 PM  

I notice you didn’t take Rex to task for using the year of our Lord 2020. Yesterday you took a couple of swipes at that convention as a dating system. Shouldnt you explain how he’s excluding the 4 billion people who aren’t Christian?

TJS 1:50 PM  

Anyone have an insight into the "she/her" deal in the puzzle ? I'm thinking Mr. Wentz just got stuck and figured "We'll through in the gender identity thing and people will just buy it". Or maybe I'm not "woke" enough and there's something else going on.

@jberg, I just thought it was funny that someone was gushing about "the greatest city in the world" and assumed we all knew where he meant. Just a dumb joke. I do spend 5 months a year in the Hayward area, though, in "normal" times.

Steve Washburne 1:53 PM  

DECKLE was the first word in as I remembered 'deckle-edged' was a descriptor for fancy stationery.
At the other end I has CLASSY for the longest time, when LA STRADA will always be one of my favorites.
In between typical tough Saturday.
No complaints.

Masked and Anonymous 2:17 PM  

Happy Indy-Day, all U avid, puzzlin folks.



BobL 2:18 PM  

@TJS - you must be a muskie fisherman, eh?

Ernonymous 2:19 PM  

@anonymous 1:35 so now you are complaining that Z is *not* mentioning something? If this isn't trying to pick a fight, I don't know what is.

Loralie Lee 2:20 PM  

@Joaquin, You got it! And such a cool story. Makes you wonder if that's why he was speaking at schools. Any kid with sports aspirations would've listened.

sixtyni yogini 2:22 PM  

Thanks to pandemic, I’m new to daily puzzle 🧩 s so I hesitate to comment until I understand more about each day etc. .... 🤔🤗🤔

Haha! OK. but I hated this one. 😠👎🏽😠Seemed unfairly clued or contrived, as more politely labeled by Rex.

One of my favorite puzzles from the archives had theme clues relating to obscure places in the world. The answers were on the order of
‼️“How the hell should I know.”⁉️ Fun and funny.
Happy 4th, despite the unnamed 🤡👹🤡.

Rube 2:23 PM  

If you're a Hamilton fan you immediately recognize the reference to NYC in pre revolution days and beyond. @TJS apparently believes that the small town of Hayward WI. is in fact the greatest city in the world. You decide.

Anonymous 2:23 PM  

Please leave your leftist bullshit out of your CROSSWORD PUZZLE COMMENTARY. . . . and, while you`re at it - Actually GO CHECK OUT the black lives matter web site. . . click on "ABOUT US". . . and see EXACTLY what you are supporting.

Greg 2:40 PM  

Also got killed by putting in YELPS instead of YEOWS. Yeows? Just couldn't get past that with the cluing on BOYCOTT, SWIVEL and TIER. I guess it's just lack of experience, but I ALWAYS get stuck on anything that involves TV. It comes around so often, and it just gets me every time. It never occurs to me to look for TV. Maybe after today's failure it will finally sink in. "Need two letter? Consider TV!"

james lunstrum 2:49 PM  

Anyone who drinks German beer knows that a deckle (or deckel) is a cardboiad coaster under a beer glass.

Phil 2:52 PM  

classic horror film I think Steve McQueen’s first?
The Blob
classic as a tongue-in-cheek horror film. Made me laugh when I saw it as a youngster. ‘don’t poke that thing with stick dummy, eww’

TTrimble 2:53 PM  

I agree that it was tough, but I managed to post a decently better-than-average time for me. Doing the puz every day for more than six months straight, one gradually gets better. 10,000 hours, here I come.

Yes, hand up for initially entering aRIEL, which caused significant loss of time in sorting out that rhyming martial art (I'd heard of neither WaSHa nor WUSHU). In so sorting, waffled a little between RAVE and fAVE. NO HOW: ugh. That's awful. I had YElpS before YEOWS -- another time sink. Weird to think of "yeow" as a noun that can be pluralized; where I come from, it's an exclamation. Like a dummy, I entered PcCHANGS first, delaying me still further. Also had "bead" before BLOB. "Bead" is much, much nicer (who says "a blob of water"? Has anyone *ever* said that?) CLICKHOLE -- never heard of that. The rest of the puzzle seemed uneventful.

ATWATER: I was a rather young boy in '68, and wasn't particularly politically aware in 1980 in the run-up to Reagan. I was becoming aware by 1988, but not to the point where I was devouring campaign news and knew the names of the major players. So while I knew the name Lee Atwater, it didn't elicit a strong emotional reaction. A nasty guy it seems, judging by the comments. I often wonder what evil spawn gives rise to characters like him and Roger Stone (to name just one).

ROCK-RIBBED seems a commonplace to me. For some reason I also associate it with New England: the land is rock-ribbed and curiously so are the people. "Inflexible" might be one way to put it; somehow the less pejorative "staunch" and "uncompromising" come strongly to my mind. Someone who sticks to his or her principles. The person I think of most when I think of rock-ribbed, hailing from Connecticut, was old-fashioned but staunchly liberal.

puzzlehoarder 3:12 PM  

Great puzzle. One of the more entertaining solves that this constructor has put out.

I started in the NE with MILK supported by SKYES and finished by backfilling the NW. My only two write overs were RONLAVER/RODLAVER and MUSHU/WUSHU. I was obviously confusing the pork dish with the marshal art on the latter.

Happy 4th of July to all.

Anonymous 3:25 PM  

I get the feeling that between Z, N, and a fair number of the anonymouses, about a third of the comments on this blog are one guy having a conversation with himself. Hey, whatever floats your boat. Happy 4th.

JW 3:55 PM  

Anything with a Rat Terrier in it is fine, in my book :) . Great little dogs, have had two over the course of about 25 years.

This puzzle reminded me of the older NYT crosswords. Had to look up a few things, but the rest was a bit more meaty than the usual lately. And "Deckle" is not THAT obscure....

Nancy 4:15 PM  

It's not only possible to be a reader and not know DECKLE, it's also possible to have had a career in book publishing and not know DECKLE. I didn't know DECKLE. I have never heard the word spoken and I have never seen the word written.

OTOH, ROCK-RIBBED is very familiar to me, but I've only heard it applied to Republicans and to no one else.

Nancy 4:34 PM  

@Petsounds (9:47) -- FWIW, I worked in book publishing for many years and I've never heard the word DECKLE. Not spoken, not written, not anything.

OTOH, ROCK-RIBBED is a very familiar term to me. But all my life I've heard it applied to Republicans and never to anyone else. There are no rock-ribbed Democrats. No rock-ribbed New Yorkers. No rock-ribbed Marines. No rock-ribbed cowboys. No rock-ribbed vegans. Is it a pejorative? I'd say that rock-ribbed Republicans are very proud and happy to be rock-ribbed Republicans and aren't insulted in the least.

@David (9:47) -- I loved your take on the history of the ATWATER era. It's an enormously well-written rant -- informative, mordant and, I fear, completely true. For everyone here who's not a rock-ribbed Republican, I recommend reading it.

jae 5:11 PM  

I want to apologize for not being clearer in my original post. I did not write the fireflies missive. It was penned by our cousin Anne who lives outside of Boston in Ipswich, MA (we live in San Diego). She shared her thoughts going into the 4th of July weekend with us. I found them touching and delightful and when fireflies showed up in a clue I had a flimsy excuse to share them with all of you. I’m glad that many of you enjoyed them as much as we did.

Anonymous 5:31 PM  


et tu?

USA AOK 6:16 PM  

Great puzzle. Anytime I finish in under twenty minutes on a Saturday is a win for me. I’m constantly amazed at the Feyers and Agards who do these things in three minutes or so, Here’s a nice summary of the USA on 7/04/20:

Progressives: “The US is pervaded by racism and its Founders were all bigoted white dudes.”

Conservatives: “This country is great and we will defend it against attacks from those who want to destroy it.”

MSM: “Conservatives promote divisive message and foment culture war

Anonymous 6:37 PM  

Thanks for your note on Atwater. We didn’t just get to Trump from nothing. Republicans since at least Nixon have charted a path that has led directly to Trump. It always rankles when people say I’m a Republican but I don’t like Trump trying to absolve themselves of responsibility because they may not have voted for him. They, by voting year after year for bigots and science deniers set the stage for Trump.

GILL I. 6:51 PM  

@jae...amigo...I thought you made that clear. So glad you posted it.
This is the very first of July First we are not spending with family and it saddens me no end. We still hear fireworks in the distance and the pups aren't scared - so there's that. entire family was Republican - even, at one time, was I, and yet I've never heard the term ROCK RIBBED Republican. Maybe my grandmother did but she died many moons ago. None of us have kept the faith. Maybe some day the GOP will be grand again? Maybe - even - the Dems will as well. I can't name a single politico that I would want to sit down and have dinner with.

Marlene M. 7:05 PM  

There was almost nothing that post-dates 1990, except for like P.F. Changs. I didn't have my expectations raised by the byline (I almost never look at it and certainly not before I solve a puzzle) and I did not enjoy this. I don't think you're overstating how bad it is.

Anonymous 7:08 PM  

Rex’s view on Lee Atwater is a perfect encapsulation of his world view.
For Rex, if someone holds different views from him and does something bad, he is a monster. There no coming back from that.
I have a different world view. And so did Lee Atwater. Late in his life he converted to Catholicism. That’s a key part of Mr. Atwater’s story, and its telling that Rex left it out. Roman Catholics believe forgiveness is possible. Atwater surely did. He made great efforts, private and public, to make amends for his sins.
We are all fallen. Sinners, to put it plainly. Mr. Atwater believed, as all Catholics do, that forgiveness is possible through the World’s Redeemer. That’s why, Atwater’s story doesn’t end in death. For Rex, all stories end in the grave. That’s why he’s happy to shout F**k You over the bones of man who died in agony at age 40 of brain cancer.

Andrew Heinegg 8:25 PM  

Thank you so much for the Nazi explanation of the current political atmosphere. I feel like I have been enlightened by your unbiased fact presentation and brilliant analysis. Bravo.

TJS 8:28 PM  

@jae, I dont know about anyone else, but my response to your comment was just sloppy on my part. I knew you were quoting your cousin. I dont think you need to apologise, at least for my response. I still love the writing.
Jeez, how do you spell apologise ?

Anonymous 8:56 PM  

@Andrew- I’m sorry you don’t understand who the Nazis were. I’m sorry the US educational system failed you.

Anonymous 8:59 PM  

Roman Catholics believe forgiveness is possible.

The problem, naturally, is that gaining God's Forgiveness (and how does anyone else know it happens except by the assertion of the sinner?) does nothing for Americans and America. When I was a kid, growing up various versions of Protestant, 'we' derided the Catholics for sinning 24/7 for 6 days, then being 'absolved' on the 7th, free to rinse, repeat. The process never seemed to reduce their bad behaviour.

Anonymous 9:21 PM  

Great puzzle. It took me 35 minutes but I didn’t have to resort to Google. Hey Andrew Heinegg: why are you wasting your time commenting on a crossword blog when you could be spending it more wisely by torching minority owned businesses?

JC66 9:24 PM  

****SB ALERT***

3 words short of QB. Finally gave uo and went here to see what I was missing.

The last 3 words sucked, IMO!

TexanPenny 9:41 PM  

Try Merriam-Webster for an explanation of LEDE.

Kathy D. 5:17 AM  

Black Lives Matter! Absolutely.

Agree with Rex's write-up and the anti-racist comments here.

White supremacy isn't forgiveable. Nazism or Neo-Nazism isn't forgiveable.

Think of Charlottesville 2017, the murder of Heather Heyer by a neo-Nazi, and the injuring of 20 people. And the guy in the WH says, "there are good people on both sides." As he said when armed people stormed into the Michigan Legislature. The same thing. "They are good people."

Can't get away from politics and what's going on in this country in culture and art and even puzzles. Wish the NY Times would be more enlightened like the New Yorker in its puzzle construction.

The puzzle was meh. Not impressive, not fun to me.

E.J. Copperman 10:22 AM  

Also, why does Shortz have such an unhealthy fixation on That 70s Show?

Sandy McCroskey 11:59 AM  

Elie Mystal, at last week…
"Despite his recent rulings on abortion, DACA, and LGBTQ rights, Roberts is no moderate. He’s a rock-ribbed Republican playing the long game."

jberg 4:24 PM  

@tjs from yesterday.Thanks for explaining! I did think at first that that was what you were doing -- but then he responded to you in a way that implied he not only lived there but was naming other residents. I guess that was just taking the joke and running with it. Sometimes I'm a little slow on these things.

kitshef 10:26 PM  

WUSHU, DECKLE, LAURA all unknown to me so the NE had to be pieced together based on "most likely letter at the cross. WUSHU also unknown. First U came from crosses; second U came from the clue and made me change aRIEL.

Stevied 10:32 AM  

Most of you are ignorant assholes politically. Try medicare for all and wait 6 months for an mri like my family in canada.

spacecraft 10:24 AM  

Of course black lives matter, as do all lives.

I spotted my entry gimme immediately: ENSIGN. Sometimes it's good to be a Trekkie. But--no farther west could I go from there. Instead I went east, took a real flyer on PFCHANGS, and worked out the NE. RICE: wine or milk? Well, the clue mentioned non-dairy, so I went with MILK. Yay! I seem to recall LEDE, but am puzzled to learn, post-solve, that it is not a word. Of course, it's just a homophone for lead.

So, NE done, but with difficulty. Little did I know: that would be the easiest part of the whole thing! Even after guessing at half the SE, the west remained near impenetrable. Yeah, I had ___TERRIER, but what kind? Fox? And that martial art thingy, that took every cross. fortunately, the clue mentioned rhyme, so on that basis alone I resolved the natick at sq. 52.

The trouble with US Open clues is that the golf and tennis events are named the same. Eventually I deciphered the SW, thus leaving me with my old nemesis the NW. Yes, there was ____RIBBED, but wha? Tried "hard," no go. Never heard of 1a--and I DO read, people! Nor do I know my way around the Big Apple, there you go again catering to native New Yorkers. JFK was forever coming to light. I did, though, eventually work it all out, which landed me an all-time record glut of triumph points!

DOD is LAURA Prepon. Writeover: DUST over coaT. For the points: eagle.

Anonymous 12:38 PM  

Numerous pissers. Guilty of malice aforethought. Rejected.

Diana, LIW 1:50 PM  

Obscure? Right. Just not on my wave length today.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for next week

thefogman 2:07 PM  

I just wasn’t zoned in to Peter Wentz’s wavelength. Everything was a misdirect. Finished, but not before a gallon or two of whiteout being spilled...

Anonymous 2:58 PM  

In fact several species are named

Burma Shave 3:04 PM  


SHE said, "NOHOW IWLL be scarred."


leftcoaster 3:46 PM  

Was almost sure that DECKLE was a long-lost brother of Heckle and Jeckle, both known for their rough edges.

Never heard of PFCHANG[S]. WUSHU? Dish served at PF's place maybe?

SEMIHARD (uh-uh, no comment).

Those were my best guesses.

El Dingo 3:50 PM  

It’s an old newspaper term (remember newspapers?!). The spelling probably came about in order to distinguish it from lead, as in the metal; leading (pronounced leading) was the process of slipping thin strips of lead between lines of text in order to

take up space

and fill up a column.

El Dingo 4:10 PM  

Mannn, I coulda been a contender, if only I had seen LAST—— as LA ST——-! LA STRADA should’ve been a gimme to any film buff. I finally admitted defeat, figuring that Fellini must have directed something called LOST (or LAST) CIDA... which wotthehell Archie might be Italian for city, maybe....

Oh, well. Next time I’m at PFCHANGS I’ll try the WUSHU pork.

Anonymous 1:27 AM  

@spacecraft - Agreed that all lives matter. Bizarre that saying that has gotten radio and TV personalities fired from their positions. The BLM movement is like the KKK in reverse.

Rex is very critical of Republicans which is IMO justified. But how about the Democrats ? We are currently in the 75th anniversaries of the Hiroshima (Aug 6) and Nagasaki (Aug 9) bombings, carried out by a Democrat. The two most deadly acts in the history of mankind perpetrated upon defenseless men, women, and children. It was a Democrat who started and a Democrat who expanded the senseless war upon the Vietnamese people. It was a Democrat who ordered the annihilation of the men, women, and children of the Branch Davidians. So OFL - you need to look through both lenses of your glasses, not just one.

Another difficult Saturday puzzle with too many answers I did not know. Oh well, it happens.

Anonymous 1:33 PM  

Seriously? You are also spouting hate, it's a two way street.

  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by 2008

Back to TOP