Food mascot in green suit jacket / SAT 8-22-20 / Performer for whom San Diego stadium was named / Beer with triangular logo / Giuseppe leader in Italy's unification / Hangout for Dorian Gray

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Constructor: Trenton Charlson

Relative difficulty: Medium (7-ish) 

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: HENRI Bergson (2D: French philosopher Bergson) —

Henri-Louis Bergson (French: [bɛʁksɔn]; 18 October 1859 – 4 January 1941) was a French philosopher who was influential in the tradition of continental philosophy, especially during the first half of the 20th century until the Second World War. Bergson is known for his arguments that processes of immediate experience and intuition are more significant than abstract rationalism and science for understanding reality.

He was awarded the 1927 Nobel Prize in Literature "in recognition of his rich and vitalizing ideas and the brilliant skill with which they have been presented". In 1930 France awarded him its highest honour, the Grand-Croix de la Legion d'honneur.

Bergson's great popularity created a controversy in France where his views were seen as opposing the secular and scientific attitude adopted by the Republic's officials. (wikipedia)

• • •

Full of things I don't care about (chess) or actively dislike (OK, maybe that's too strong a thing to say about "How I Met Your Mother," but I never understood the appeal of the show and every time it comes up in crosswords I assume the constructor is trying to kiss Will's ass since Will was featured on an episode of the show once ... I'm sure the show is fine, it just wasn't for me, kind of like this puzzle). SHAMU is off-putting because animal abuse is off-putting, and seeing the horrible DHS mentioned in the puzzle for the *second day in a row* was a downer. The grid seems largely solid, overall, but aside from containing a few of my favorite things (MAUS, LAURA Linney, Anne MEARA), it didn't give much joy today. Sputtered a bit up top in the NW and more so in the NE, but the part that really slowed me down was PAWN PROMOTION, a phrase I don't recognize at all. I'm familiar with the concept of your pawn getting turned into a queen if it makes it all the way to your opponent's back line or whatever you call it, but the PROMOTION part was a bear for me. Needed almost every cross. Math / science / chess guys assume you know the intricacies of all their ****; I don't really mind that these topics are in puzzles, since they're part of the world, but I really feel like there's more of that stuff ... to the exclusion of other stuff ... because a certain kind of man still dominates the constructor ranks. Very similar white math/sciencey guys. I know and love a few of them, but it's ... a lot. I just feel the compulsion to roll my eyes every time there's (yet another) dude byline and I have to deal with some minor mathematician or some chess terminology or whatever. And then BARNEY (I knew) ... random last name. Not too fun. Red meat for chess fans who watch CBS, but PAS my thing. Bottom half of the puzzle, esp. the SE, was Tuesday-easy.

Surprised it took me as long as it did to finish considering how many gimmes there were. SHH "HEY YA" TSETSE LAURA Linney GRETA Gerwig MAUS BASSALE SLUR ARF REM, all no-brainers. But in addition to those long central answers that I didn't fully know, I got hung up around HENRI (whom I also didn't know), and then particularly in the NE, where I stupidly wrote in HODA instead of RIPA (16A: Gifford's talk show successor). Hoda Kotb is Gifford's co-host successor ... successor to Regis in Kathie Lee's life ... Anyway, four letters, female talk show personality associated with Kathie Lee Gifford, you can kinda see how I made the mistake. Kinda. I also thought 9D: Do some fast data processing? (CRAM) was CHEW ... because after you "fast" ... you then eat ... during which, presumably, you CHEW? And the food is the "data" you are "processing"? With your teeth? Question mark? 

Lots of mistakes today. Aside from CHEW and HODA, I had HIS- before HER- (does anyone really still say "HERstory" ... feels very early '90s) (5D: Lead-in to story). I had SUNRA before SHAMU (I want to live in the world where SUNRA is the correct answer here) (4A: Performer for whom a San Diego stadium was named). I had HEIDI before HENRI and AGREE before AMITY (33D: Accord). And for 37A: Herb of the parsley family (ANISE), I had the -SE and wrote in PULSE ... yup, I sure did. That's a thing, isn't it? PULSE? [looks it up] Well, it's "the edible seeds of certain pod-bearing plants, like chickpeas and lentils," so it's *a* thing, and an edible thing at that, but it ain't related to parsley. Why would I go there and not just straight to the fairly common ANISE? I don't know. Anyway, I think that's it. Hope this puzzle resonated for at least some of you. See you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Joaquin 12:03 AM  

I have never seen “How I Met Your Mother” so BARNEY STINSON required a lot of crosses; also never heard of HEY YA so I checked Google to verify that unlikely entry; and I don’t play chess, but PAWN PROMOTION was kinda/sorta inferable. So … all-in-all a fine puzzle, fun to solve while learning some new stuff along the way.

Harryp 12:09 AM  

I agree with the medium rating, my only trouble being in the NE with RIPA and MAUS. My favorites were PAWN PROMOTION, UNION JACK, GARIBALDI and FIXATED ON. Another good Saturday.

jae 12:13 AM  

Easy. Much faster than yesterday’s, which apparently was not very close to my wheelhouse. Today I knew BARNEY STINSON, LAURA, SHAMU, GRETA, MAUS, easy. Lots of sparkle, an excellent center stair stack, liked it a bunch!

Frantic Sloth 12:16 AM  

Wow! I just had SCAD of fun with this one. Is it me, or is that an example of the SOC?

There's that PANICBAR again. I seem to recall much discussion about this the last time it appeared. Did we decide that's the bar/latch you push on an emergency exit door?

Lots of clever misdirects - most of which seemed legit to me. Maybe a couple of stretched to believable limits, it that's a personal take.

Can't say I cared for "Flipper" as the best clue for SASSIER - misdirect or not. I see that word and I think TV porpoise or a swimming fin or even those people who "flip" houses, not someone being "more" flip. It's clunky.

Otherwise, this was fun and challenging despite going even more quickly than yesterday for me. I must be in some kind of zone lately where lucky guesses are hitting the mark.

I'll take it!


jonah 12:39 AM  

I really got hung up on the SIB/GARIBALDI cross which required skimming through the complete puzzle twice before I caught it. Got stuck on SIS and the proper name wasn’t a gimme.

JD 12:54 AM  

Lovvved this. Pointillist approach with letters here and there til they piled up and I got a picture of what was going on.

Don't watch TV, started Dorian Gray 35 years ago and couldn't get into it, too impatient to play chess ... so it was tough there in the middle.

Also, Goes Berserk On has the same number of letters as Goes On A Bender and since I use the former A Lot (over eating something delicious, just attacking a dreaded task, arguing with the cable company after the third phone call, etc.) it had to be right. Finally cheated with the Check function and got unstuck.

46 minutes. I'm perversely proud of a puzzle taking a long time because it makes my feel that my
impatience isn't necessarily terminal.

PS @Rex, The least they could do is name the damn place after the whale. He earned it.

Marcus Chance 1:32 AM  

Wow, I had totally forgot that getting your pawn to the opposite end of the board allowed you to turn it into another piece. That's how long it's been since I've played chess, I guess.

I guess I need to commit ERIK to memory instead of always getting him from the crosses.

Had CEOS before CFOS, but with the spidey sense that it could go the other way. @jonah I had SIs, removed SIs, got SI- and put in SIs again. Was only saved when GARIsALDI grated on my ear.

Don't feel bad @Rex, I also plunked down hoda for 16A

Basically my experience was one continuous flail. Not smooth, but not staring at a clue in despair.

susangraphicdesign 1:41 AM  

Seemed not Saturday-wothy at all. The whole thing came together quickly until I got hung up on a few weird spots. PANICBAR was too odd, and I don't play chess so I couldn't figure out what type of PROMOTION gets you to be a queen. I love seeing women so keep the GRETA and LAURA Linneys coming! Poor SHAMU though, sad whale. Italian dude? No idea. Overall it was PAS mal.

Oh No Jono! 1:48 AM  

HERSTORY is used in drag circles; you’ll frequently hear RuPaul on Drag Race describing a challenge or surprise event as happening “for the first time I. Drag Race herstory”

puzzlehoarder 2:13 AM  

SIS gave me a dnf. I never questioned it as that was what opened the SW for me. GARIBALDI sounds familiar but I never gave the name a good enough look.

I've never seen anything of " How I Met Your Mother" for awhile I thought 36A might be BRATTYSTEPSON.

This is the first puzzle I've had time to do since last Saturday's Joe DiPietro puzzle. Seems like a month ago.

There was no hold out section like there was with that puzzle. This had a very even level of resistance throughout.

Back to the grind.

Mr. Belvedere 2:32 AM  

Wow. Math, science and chess are “white guy things?”

I get that Rex’s deal is being the super-woke curmudgeon who is off put by anything that isn’t pulp fiction about lesbians, but there comes a point where pooh poohing things perceived to be endemic to a gender or race crosses a line to become exclusionary.

All races and genders are into math, science and chess.

(And if PAWN PROMOTION a commonly used phrase that you personally are unfamiliar with, that is not an error by the puzzle constructor.)

chefwen 2:53 AM  

Know nothing about Chess, never watched How I met your Mother. GOES ON A BENDER saved me in that area, not speaking from experience, of course.

Got a little worried when I spotted 33D Accord and thought Honda with 44A JAGS, we'd be onto another day of car speak. ACK! Thank God it was AMITY.

Fun Saturday.

Greg Charles 2:55 AM  

Did anyone else know Henri Bergson from Monty Python?

Michael Miles: Jolly good. Well your first question for the blow on the head this evening is: What great opponent of Cartesian dualism resists the reduction of psychological phenomena to physical states?

Woman: I don't know that!

Michael Miles: Well, have a guess.

Woman: Henri Bergson.

Michael Miles: Is the correct answer!

Woman: Ooh, that was lucky. I never even heard of him.

Michael Miles: Jolly good.

David Sinclair 5:53 AM  

Some of my best friends are white math/sciencey guys.

Anonymous 5:55 AM  

Nothing wrong with us white math/sciencey guys---careful not to assault your audience, "Rex"

Pamela 6:06 AM  

Rough for me, like most Saturdays. The Deep South was no problem, but the rest took real work. I knew GARIBALDI, but not HENRI, and had to look up BARNEYSTINSON. Dimly remembered the chess term once I had a few crosses. KEEBLERELF? I think I’ve seen it here before, but it completely escaped me today. And Flipper, even though I now get it, seems unfair. If it weren’t for Google, this would be a DNF.

Speaking of Google, I enjoyed refreshing my memory of Dorian Gray. I never realized that the book was based on a real person- that story is quite fascinating, ranging from the milieu of Oscar Wilde to the priesthood. Not your every day bio.

Hungry Mother 6:42 AM  

Typical Saturday for me: despair to victory, one square at a time. Lots of great cluing.

ChuckD 6:46 AM  

No real complaints here - tough but fair Saturday. Never watched the tv show so BARNEY STINSON had to be backed into. PAWN PROMOTION and the ITS A SECRET, CHEAPSKATE stack were all solid. Used to drink BASS ALE - taste changed for some reason and I never went back. Knew ANISE and thought the clue for SASSIER had just enough trick to it.

If Rex lived along the coast during these months - he wouldn’t mind seeing FEMA as much as possible.

Lewis 6:57 AM  

This felt like my first marathon. I started shot out of a cannon in the NW, had plenty of good steam in the SE, started slowing in the middle, then trudged... trudged! through the SW. As for the NE, it was like my last few marathon miles, where someone looking at me would say, "Yes, he's running," but people were actually walking by me.

Nonetheless, I crossed the finish line, and my brain went giddy, as it did after this puzzle. I looked at column five (HER RASPY EPIC) and my brain shouted "Me and Bobby McGee!" I saw UNION JACK and out came "The Call of the Wild!" (even though Jack London was American). I saw MAUS and ROAR AT and what hit me was a 1959 Peter Seller movie!

Finally I settled down, contented and feeling like I accomplished something worthwhile, both after the race and after this puzzle. My head didn't get big, no, it didn't become an ONION DOME; let's just say it was filled with warm smiles. And when a puzzle makes that happen, it's top of the line. Trenton, thank you for all the work (three years!) you put into this.

Anonymous 7:12 AM  

The first 11 posts today were earlier than yesterday's last post 2:49 AM. (Unless Garboy is on the west coast and wrote at 11:49.)

ALPAPilot 7:14 AM  

Apparently our”wok eater” hasn’t seen “Hidden Figures.”

Anonymous 7:25 AM  

Hey Rex, check your social justice wokeism at the door. So you didn’t know “PAWN PROMOTION”, that’s no excuse for a Rex Rant.

Travis 7:36 AM  

PAWN PROMOTION is part of the standard rule set of chess. Be glad the editor and constructors don't go as deeply into the game of chess as they do into the game of baseball; you'd be having to know the names of rarely used openings and second-tier players from a hundred years ago.

Clammer 7:48 AM  

Had VIRGINAIR before UNIONJACK, which slowed me down.
Used to go clamming in Garibaldi, north of Tillamook, under the giant G, so that came easy.

tompdavis 8:16 AM  

DNF due to SIB crossing some Italian guy. I had SIS with no way to find the error.

Leslie 8:19 AM  

Fun Saturday although easy.

pabloinnh 8:19 AM  

This was a lot like decoding something, as virtually all of the pop culture references were complete unknowns, so I was thinking things like, guy's name ending in NEY? Let's try BARNEY. Woman's name? Gotta be LAURA. Ditto with GRETA. Nice to have some longer entries that went in without too much thought, although I have to say that FLIPPER doesn't do it for me. What's the superlative, FLIPPEST?

Was also a little disappointed that KEEBLERELF does not have the same number of letters as JEFFSESSIONS, but this is not the fault of the constructor.

Nice crunchy Saturday, TC. Always enjoy your stuff.

57stratocaster 8:24 AM  

Garisaldi? Of course... his sis was big Sertha.

Dave S 8:25 AM  

Thought this was going to be easy-peasy since the NW and SE fell into place right away. Henri was a gimme, Barney Stinson definitely not, as I had to fill in virtually every letter with crosses and was convinced his name was Dabney for a good long time, which left me wracking my brain for obscure beers. Struggled with pawn promotion even after I knew we were talking about chess, and a pawn being converted to a queen, which you think would be enough. Had Sis for Sib, which along with Dabney up above (and maybe just early morning fog) made Garibaldi take far too long to click in. Also was blanking on Ripa even though she's from these parts, and couldn't wrap my head around the part of speech for Flipper. 50 down should have been simple, but I kept trying to translate the clue rather than the answer. All looks pretty simple now that it's done, but I managed to make it a good challenge.

Z 8:27 AM  

Liked this more than Rex. I play disc with a FEMA guy. He and his wife are those people who come in post disaster and assess the damages. it’s an interesting gig. He has some interesting views on Flood Insurance and coastal living, which is probably why they settled in the mountains. Anyway, exactly one writeover on a Saturday probably means this fell closer to easy here (STAnd before STAYS). The details of Italian unification have pretty much escaped my notice, but somehow GARIBALDI was a gimme. I think it might have something to do with Babylon Five.

I had the moment prick of superiority reading that Rex struggled with HENRI Bergson. Not because I knew Bergson, but because I saw “French” in the clue, already had an H and I in place, and threw down HENRI. That HENRI Bergson helped me get KEEBLER ELF is a crossword conundrum. I was pretty much the woman in that Monty Python sketch. No such help with BARNEY STINSON. Like Rex, the BARNEY part was automatic, the last name was going to come from crosses. Would Henry L STINSON have been better?

CEOS, CFOS, COOS, CTOS... Title inflation continues. First all the suits went from vice presidents to presidents so the corporations needed a title higher than president so they became a Chief Officer. Now all the suits are chief this and chief that and chief who cares. It seems like we are just about due for the next layer of title inflation.

Huh? I assumed it was HER story. My arched eyebrow in that section was the image of a Newfie going ARF. I’ve never actually heard a Newfie bark, but ARF strikes me as more Scottie than Newfie.

@Frantic Sloth - I think I audibly groaned when I sussed out “more flip” and put down three S’s. SASSIER felt like cheating.

Anyone else mentally append a “so far” to the 21A clue? Just me? Alrighty then.

Conrad 8:28 AM  

@JD: Love your "Pointillist approach!" I end up doing that a lot and I'm grateful to have a name for it.

@puzzlehoarder: I never watched How I Met Your Mother either. If I had thought of BRATTYSTEPSON I would've DNF'd.

Struggled in the NW. All I had on the first pass was SHH at 1A, and even then I left the middle square blank because it could have been an s. Moving on, I looked at the clue for 20A, "___ sleep" and said, "I know that! It's "and so to sleep." But I had trouble squeezing seven letters into three squares and finally entered REM sleep.

That's when the floodgates opened. REM gave me MEARA and FEMA (I'd originally had OSHA) and those two gave me ROAR AT and I was off to the races.

When I was in high school I got together with some friends to form a Chess Club. After the last meeting I said to myself, "I don't like this game" and I haven't played since. But somehow PAWN PROMOTION stuck in a back corner of the brain.

Petsounds 8:33 AM  

@Greg Charles: Thank you for that little bit of Python. Hilarious! I got HENRI Bergson just because "French philosopher" starting with H has gotta be...

One of my best Saturday times ever, but I still felt as @Hungry Mother did--despair to victory one square at a time. I don't play chess and have never seen "How I Met Your Mother," so the midsection needed a lot of luck on the Downs. And I guess I was lucky today because pretty much everything except 31 and 35A came to me fairly easily. Didn't know the description by Jerry Seinfeld of 22A, but who else could it be? I knew PANICBAR from the long discussion on this blog when it appeared a while back. That's how the whole puzzle worked for me.

I've never heard SCAD used in the singular--it's always "scads of [whatever]." So I looked it up, and it seems there is such a word as scad but "usually used in the plural." There's another definition, however: any of several carangid fishes chiefly of the genus Decapterus.... So I'm grateful that Mr. Charles went with the less obscure usage.

Finally, if you haven't explored the First Time Hearing videos on YouTube, check them out. It's a lot of fun to watch these two young men hear music that, for many of us, is classic and burned into our brains, for the first time. Utterly charming!

TTrimble 8:35 AM  

Quite a nicely constructed puzzle, says this white (white?) chess-playing math guy. Being that guy, I did not find it very difficult for a Saturday. Lots of crunch though, and very low on dreck.

Rex doubling down from yesterday:

"Math / science / chess guys assume you know the intricacies of all their ****"

Uh, no, with all due respect, I really don't think "we" do (and neither do the "math/science/chess gals"). Indeed, if we did, then we wouldn't think it rises to the level of a Saturday, which is supposed to offer a challenge.

Anyone who teaches STEM classes could also tell you "we" assume no such thing. In fact we're always happy to explain our ****, if and when you have questions.

Thanks for calling it "****", by the way. ("Shit", you mean.)

Asmazz 8:39 AM  

It typically takes me 2-3 times longer than Rex to finish. Why? Maybe because I can never remember the little things like whether it’s SSH or SHH. Or if it’s AAH or AHH (that one wasn’t in today’s puzzle but it gets me every time.) Then, for 4D SLU_, ‘slur’ didn’t make sense to me, and I had SSH for 1A, giving me SEN_I for 2D. This is all to help explain why I didn’t get PRYOR right away. Embarrassing.

Preferred Customer 8:56 AM  

Travis 7:36am 👏🏻👏🏿👏🏼👏🏾👏👏🏽

albatross shell 8:57 AM  

Zounds! I love the way your mind works. Great connections you made there. Sellers Janis London. I might have gotten 2 of them myself but the puzzle wore me out. Maybe if it were a MTW.

Anyhow broke through in the SE. That filled in in good time for a Saturday. After that random words here and there eventually got me PAWN PROMOTION BASSALE and that chipped away at the center and SW. Had FanATical for 10D. Then FanATic ON before BENDER CRAM AXIS FIXed it all up.

Was trying to decide if the green giant was naked from the waist up before I hit on the cookie ELF.

When the music did not play I discovered I had somehow misspelled PRiOR (the song title. no idea) and fell into the SIs SIB trap and that sure made the Italian politician more than a random sounding Italian name.

Anonymous 8:58 AM  

What a misogynist! Women aren't smart enough to be into math, science or chess? WOW! For someone who often claims to be offended by verbiage, this guy takes the cake. Also, I love the "Very similar white math/sciencey guys. I know and love a few of them...". Very similar to "I'm not a racist, I know and love a few black guys."

This guy is so woke he went back to sleep.

Anonymous 8:58 AM  

Rex, Rex, Rex
You go on and on and on about "white male privilege this, white male privilege that", champainging for women's rights until you're "shouting at the sky", but today you put in HIS for 5D, and not only does that put you in a male-centric position but then you berate the HERstory. "Does anyone still say HERstory anymore?" And then that's it. No run on about how great an answer it is. Make up my mind. Damn.

And Moderators, yesterday @TTrimble had 15 posts, and I'm not making that number up. And at least 8 of them were very long posts. C'mon, something should be done.

kitshef 8:59 AM  

Well, that was ridiculous. Easier than an average Wednesday. Easier than some Tuesdays.

And that is without knowing some of the proper names (STINSON, HENRI, iffy on GRETA, RIPA).

In the early days of COVID quarantine, I often had VH1 classic on, and concluded that most music videos are terrible. But the one for HEY YA, I thought was very clever for a couple of reasons. The overall theme is a kind of a reverse British invasion – an American group appearing on a British Ed Sullivan-type TV show. And in the video all the band members are played by one person (Andre 3000, one of the members of Outkast). Here it is

evil doug 9:06 AM  

Check out Joho and Jeff Chen at the WSJ. Rex wouldn't like it, so you know it's fun stuff.

Anonymous 9:07 AM  

Some Italian guy? I learned about Garibaldi in elementary school!

RooMonster 9:15 AM  

Hey All !
Glad y'all found it easy (well, a bunch of ya did.) This was a typical tough SatPuz for me. A few Googs to keep me from tearing what little hair I have left out. NW, HENRI and HEYYA toughies, NE MAUS wha?, SASSIER as clued, plus had OPera DEN first!

Middle, never watched How I Met, even though I've heard it's funny, so the character name was slow emerging, SW with ERIK (again, more TV and Movie knowledge for me than books, opera, sophisticated stuff), SCAD another wha?, and wanting lAbatts for BASSALE first. SE, every time I see skinflint, it sounds to me like something pornographic. ☺️ I'll try to remember it means CHEAPSKATE.

But with my few Googs, finished in a reasonable time. So, IN YOUR FACE! puz! PPP seems high, @Z?

Off to clean my JAG. Well, no, I don't have a JAG. I'm a skinflint! Har.

Three F's

TJS 9:16 AM  

This thing just annoyed the hell out of me.REM got me started but then "Flipper" ? ugh. TVAD ? SCAD ? Barney whatever. And "I'll stay" is what you say when you match someones' bet. Not when you decline to draw. That's" I'll stand pat" or "I'll play these" or just tapping your cards.
Lots of good stuff in here but still grated on me. Enjoy the weekend, people.

United says you can't fly without test results within the last five days.

Keith D 9:27 AM  

And why is a reference to Shamu “offputting”? It’s just a fact. Rex, in the immortal words of Don Henley, “lighten up while you still can”.

Everyone 9:29 AM  

@TT. Please stop.

Rube 9:33 AM  

Shamu is part of some protected class, but we dismiss all but white men as math/sci/chess folks? Someone needs to watch Hidden Figures...or check up on what happened to Mike Milbury this week

Nancy 9:36 AM  

The long pop culture names took up a lot of real estate, so I suppose if you knew KEEBLER ELF and BARNEY STINSON, this would have seemed pretty easy for you. I knew neither, so it played sort of hard. But it was all gettable and I have no complaints.

Re the food mascot in green: The last one I paid any attention to was The Jolly Green Giant. He came before the days of the mute button and the fast-forward button you can use when you've prerecorded something. The KEEBLER ELF came after them both and I'm not sure I've ever seen him. Does he look anything like the Geico mascot?

(Don't spend any $$$ on me, you TV AD people. It's money right down the drain.)

Didn't remember that Dorian Gray smoked OPIUM. I thought he spent all his time in his Own saloN. (Loved that book, btw. Devoured it by flashlight in Bunk 10 at Camp Pinecliffe. The film's not nearly as good.)

Great clues for UNION JACK (30D) and SASSIER (12D).

Guessed PRYOR (19A) and a very nice clue for him. I sort of knew that all comics rate him as the absolute best. He never did all that much for me though, truth to tell.

An enjoyable if a bit name-heavy Saturday.

Anonymous 9:43 AM  

Rex - Even if 16A was referring to Hoda, the correct answer would have been Kotb, since the clue referenced a last name, "Gifford"

Teedmn 9:52 AM  

This played much easier than yesterday's puzzle. REM crossing FEMA got me off to a smooth start. By the time I got to HENRI, I had to decide if 1A would be SsH or SHH (like aah or ahh). _EN__ French name, HENRI, got it.

It wasn't until the SW was the last section unconquered that I wanted to hit the PANIC BAR. I had nothing below the G of 31A. With __WN PROMOTION I actually considered goWN PROMOTION as beauty *queen* contest jargon!? I imagined an A in place of the o and got PAWN. ___NEY, is there really anyone named BARNEY left on earth? is what stopped me from trying that but BASS ALE swooped in and I finished in a very swift (for me) under 14 minute Saturday.

Thanks, Trenton, it was fun.

mathgent 9:53 AM  

I imagine Lewis smoking a cigarette after doing the puzzle.

What’s wrong with “understand”? The popular substitute used to be “grok.” Now it’s “wrap my head around.”

Today’s puzzle. Professional job, but not much fun.

I think that everyone knows that the portrait of Dorian Gray aged while Dorian himself didn’t but I wonder how many have read the novel. I haven’t.

Chess is all skill and no luck. Shooting dice is all luck and no skill. My favorite game is backgammon, an excellent mix of the two.

Unknown 9:53 AM  

I agree w/ @ Nancy that this puz was a bit name-heavy, but it had a real Saturday crunch. And it was a toughie for Rex so I don't feel bad that I struggled. (As we all know by now, when he decides to not post his actual time, yes it's a toughie, even for him). I had THYME for the longest thyme before I sussed out ANISE. I sussed out GARIBALDI with just the GA; I think I once saw a statue of him? I started to wonder about how much thyme rex puts into his rants versus how much time he spends grinding away @ the puz. Let's say it took him 20 minutes to craft his screed, and 10 minutes to do the puz (I think that's what 7+ equates to): that's a half hour of unhappiness for him. What a way to start the day! Off to do my chores and enjoy the beautiful sunny day! Wishing all a happy Saturday, even you white chess playing geeks!

Perry 9:53 AM  

Having never watched 'How I Met Your Mother,' I had a hard time with BARNEYSTINSON. Part of the problem is the name itself. As I understand it, NPH's character on the show is a bit of a lothario. I have a hard time believing that someone named Barney Stinson could be a successful womanizer. The dorktastic name would slam the door shut before the womanizing had a chance to even get started.

Whatsername 9:56 AM  

Normally I expect a Saturday slog but the slog happened on Friday for me this week so this one wasn’t so bad. Some of the Propers slowed me down. Couldn’t think of the name of the beer and wasn’t a fan of HIMYM. Never saw the appeal of the show or of Neil Patrick Harris for that matter. LAURA Linney on the other hand is a treasure. Loved ARF, BOOMTOWNS and UNION JACK.

SCAD sounds suspiciously like a singular of convenience. “I have a SCAD of KEEBLER ELF cookies in my cupboard,” said no one ever. ITS A SECRET that I CRAM them down with some BASS ALE. I’m guessing Rex’s distaste for the DHS is connected to immigration issues, but other agencies like FEMA do provide necessary services apart from that. Sadly, in today’s world it is a necessary evil.

So Rex is kind of IN YOUR FACE to the mathists again today. As far as I’m concerned, they make great crossword constructors and I’ve learned a lot from them over the years. Anyway, girding myself for another counter assault, highly justified IMO. But please God, don’t let anyone suggest that JAGS are just HONDAs on a different platform. I don’t think I can take another day of car debates.

Anonymous 9:58 AM  

Why would I go there and not just straight to the fairly common ANISE?

same reason any reasonable person would: parsley is a leaf and ANISE is a seed, in use, that is.

crashBAR is more exact, in that an exit by emergency isn't, necessarily, in PANIC, but a crash of people. sometimes, crushBAR for the same reason. both fit the boxes, alas.

for those of us in the lower echelon of intellect, the answer is 'KING ME'. that's checkers. not Nixon's dog, either.

gerry w 10:03 AM  

Many years ago I read an essay by Isaac Asimov in which he tells the following story.

He was on a committee reviewing the academic records of students who might be placed on probation. They came upon a student named Cicero who had failed Latin and everybody laughed. Ha-ha, the great Roman orator failed Latin, they all laughed. Not long after, they came upon a student named Gauss who had failed Math. This time only the Math/Science people laughed.

Asimov went on to say that the fact that they were unaware that Gauss was possibly the greatest mathematician of all time didn't bother him nearly as much as that they didn't care that they didn't know, didn't think that a rudimentary knowledge of the history of science was part of the body of knowledge that an educated person should possess.

As far as I can tell from Rex's blog, he a perfect example of that mentality. His blog, amusing as it usually is, becomes irritating when he goes on one of his anti-science rants, as today.

Gerry Wildenberg

Rug Crazy 10:11 AM  

I'm with REX!

DrBB 10:11 AM  

PAWN PROMOTION isn't that obscure is it really? I don't play chess but that was pretty clear after a few key crosses and a fun clue I thought.

Also, Henri Bergson was obscure to you? Thought you were a literature professor 'n' stuff, but every once in a while I gotta wonder.

"I had SUNRA before SHAMU (I want to live in the world where SUNRA is the correct answer here)"
So do I!!!

Also: I came here to see how Rex would eviscerate "Flipper" for SASSIER, which was the real clinker here for me (and apparently several others). "More flip," seriously? "Said no actual human ever" is the only response to that one.

Lewis 10:12 AM  

@evil! -- Welcome back! Don't be a stranger!

jberg 10:17 AM  

Wow, lots of white fragility here today. Lighten up, guys!

I used to play a lot of chess, got PAWN PROMOTION from the P. But Stratego??? How come no one’s complaining about that?

I thought Flipper was a good Saturday clue— and it was nice seeing him up there near SHAMU.

Good tough puzzle, but DNF for me—I misspelled PRiOR. In my defense, I had Bruce first, never heard of HEYYA, and it was getting hard to make out the letters in the sea of writeovers—but still, embarrassing.

Frantic Sloth 10:18 AM  

Hand up for the never having watched HIMYM. Is/was it really as popular as way too many crosswords seem to indicate?? I think not, but I'm old.

@pabloinnh 819am Whyyyyy did you have to mention KEEBLERELF and Jeff Sessions in the same sentence?? Now I can't get Kate McKinnon's various impersonations out of my head and that's half a day's worth of rabbit hole!

@Petsounds 833am I've really tried to understand your meaning regarding Jerry Seinfeld and 22A SIAM and it's driving me nutser. Please explain!

VH1 still plays music videos?(hi, @kitshef!) There are music videos still being made?? I gotta stay in more.

@Everyone 929am Going from "anonymous" to "everyone" is quite the leap. And you don't speak for me.

Sixthstone 10:18 AM  

Solid puzzle with some good long answers, but I struggled with pawnpromotion (never heard this term) and barneystinson. That stole some of the joy here, but otherwise a solid Saturday puzzle.

I guess Rex's inclusiveness does not include math, science, and chess people. Why so bitter? Math, science, and chess are decidedly NOT "white male" things and the suggestion that they are is bigoted in its own right.

DavidP 10:31 AM  

Remember, ladies, according to Rex, chess is not your thing.

William of Ockham 10:32 AM  

I didn't watch How I met Your Mother, I don't like Will and this was easy for Saturday. Had I known the HIMYM clue, it would have been a breeze.

Ace 10:35 AM  

LOL! Rex is truly cranky, often to the point of nuisance tedium or offense, but, I TOO want to live in a world where "Sun Ra" is the name of a San Diego stadium! Uh, that makes _two_....

Whatsername 10:49 AM  

@pdplot (last entry on Friday, posted at 9:39 this morning): Just wanted you to know I did read your comment and probably so did several others. I sometimes start in the evening too but it’s the next day’s puzzle. Maybe you’re working from a newspaper that isn’t delivered until morning, but getting the next day online at 10 Eastern time would allow you to start in the evening and not be a day late.

@TTrimble (from 12:09 last night): That was a lovely post you left about the commentariat and the blog in general. I wholeheartedly agree with you and suggest that others take a moment to go back and read it. Well spoken and worth the time.

@Anonymous (8:58 re TTrimble had 15 posts yesterday): There were also 26 posts from @Anonymous yesterday and 33 on Thursday, some of them quite snarky. Perhaps something should be done about those too. Just saying.

Anonymous 10:51 AM  

if y'all go look at the data, yes, in fact, math, science, and chess are PREDOMINANTLY white boy sectors. now, the issue is whether those white boys (or those in control of those sectors, also mostly white boys) act to exclude all others. mostly, not. all, esp. chess, are pure meritocracies. many believe, including humble self, that girls are discouraged (based on many, many reports) from math and science by middle school. not so much active exclusion but simple diversion into more 'gender appropriate' sectors. this is more often in those God Fearing Red States where wimins are supposed to be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. the best edumacation for all isn't the plan. you don't need none to make babies or walk behind a plow. party like it's 1859!!!!

again, is it nature or nurture? I've seen no data that girls brains are different, before they're shuttled into home ec and basket weaving. let's go look...
"Also, males may be more likely to choose science because they are less likely than females to have strong reading, writing and language skills"

Thor make axe!!! Mary make dinner!!

as Trump promised, all those white suburban housewives must be protected from big scary black men. alas, June Cleaver has left the neighborhood.

Carola 10:54 AM  

Today I lucked out in the name lottery, and that put this one in the °easy for a Saturday° category for me. Enjoyed writing in BOOM TOWNS along with OPIUM DEN and UNION JACK. Help from previous puzzles: ERiK, PANIC BAR. Do-over: loAD before SCAD.

Speaking of HERstory, let's not forget Anita GARIBALDI, Giuseppe's wife and comrade in arms.

Hoboken Mike 10:55 AM  

As you've acknowledged your weakness in math I won't hold you to the percentages but perhaps you can just count the number.

2 References to games in this puzzle
Pawn promotion and spy
2 References to advertising
TV ad and keebler elf
2 References to history and 1 to herstory, generously
Garibaldi and Union Jack
8 References to performers and parts Ripa,Heyya Laura, Meara, Prior, teen, Erik and yes Shamu not to mention Gurwig

And what does science have? Maybe tse-tse, Maybe REM. Bones for sure.

Rex, are you seriously trying to argue we have too much science math ang games

JD 10:59 AM  

@Conrad, Thanks! Some days, like today, it's that approach along @Hungry Mother's Despair to Victory march.

@Frantic, Here's Merriam-Webster's first definition of Scad, "any of several carangid fishes (especially of the genus Decapterus)." What's not to love there!

egsforbreakfast 11:02 AM  

It strikes me that the math / science / chess guys don’t complain about what we might loosely call the literature / art / entertainment answers. I suspect that in many cases, that is because our knowledge is actually well-rounded. I detect in Rex a bit of a self-defense mechanism whereby things that are unknown to him should not be known (his proverbial ****); and those who know these things are not good people. It feels Trumpish in the smallness of the Weltanschauung. But it also seems not subject to point-by-point debate. It is simply one person’s limited worldview. It is what it is.

Anonymous 11:10 AM  

remember the last charlson one being a slog. this was pretty good. nothing made me shake my head and any slip up was my own stupidity. definitely got tripped up in the north east

Anonymous 11:11 AM  

There were also 26 posts from @Anonymous yesterday and 33 on Thursday, some of them quite snarky. Perhaps something should be done about those too. Just saying.

an ancient canard. we aren't one mouse, but a hoard of mice. a while back (when this complaint reared its head, for the umpteenth time) one of the moderators replied to the question, whether mods and OFL can track the mice by IP addresses, thus distinguishing the hip mouse from the nerd mouse from the black mouse from the brown mouse (the white mouse is trapped in the lab, and can't post comments) from the field mouse from the rat in training. my recollection is that the mod said mods don't see IP address on comments, but that OFL, being the 'owner' of the blog, might. as one of the mice pointed out at the time, if one is concerned, each mouse reveals a personality, so those concerned can 'count' the # of comments per discreet mouse.

Birchbark 11:19 AM  

From the never-heard-of-but-no-problem desk: BARNEY filled easily from the crosses. STINSON by a fuzzily inferred echo of Simon STImSON, Grovers' Corners alcoholic choir director in "Our Town".

Simon STImSON says: "Now you know: that's what it was to be alive. To move around in a cloud of ignorance; to go up and down trampling on the feelings of those -- of those about you. To spend and waste time as though you had a million years. To be always at the mercy of one self-centered passion or another."

It's not exactly "How I Met Your Mother," but there is a certain cadence in it.

Newboy 11:20 AM  

I’m with @Frantic today. His “ Lots of clever misdirects - most of which seemed legit to me.” sums up my solve. Like several posters, I’ve missed the commercial networks & their TVADs since about 1997 when I played my final chess move. (Would that count for a PAWN deMOTION?) but as @Lewis noted tortoise-paced solves bring their own rewards. Thanks Trenton for an interesting if sloggy Saturday.

JC66 11:24 AM  

I may be wrong (if so, it'll be my 1st mistake this year 😂), but I think @Rex uses phrases like "Math / science / chess guys assume you know the intricacies of all their ****;" to stir the **** and roil the commentariat so readership is increased.

And then, @Evil Doug shows up after being absent for an eternity to flog today's WSJ puzzle constructed by some of his friends.


You're still a noob on the blog, but fast approaching @Z in being able to attract the trolls.

Keep it up.

Hack mechanic 11:24 AM  

We have made Italy, now we must make Italians ?

Unknown 11:29 AM  

The Lucky Charms LEPRECHAUN wears a green jacket too. Same number of letters too.

ghkozen 11:32 AM  

Rex’s feelings about chess/math bros mirror my feelings about baseball bros. I know lots of baseball names, but I get frustrated every time I have to remember that such an inane sport even exists.

Banya 11:53 AM  

Very fun and easy Friday level crossword.

Anonymous 12:02 PM  

You’re complaining about “math/sciencey guys” on the internet?
You do know who Vinson Cerf and Bob Kahn are, right?How about the web? Tim Bergers- Lee also worthy of your sneer?
How about the electricity used to power it? Were those guys too math-y, sciencey or white? Or are they too much of each.

Masked and Anonymous 12:13 PM  

Pretty good themeless. Only gripe would be the BARNEY GARIBALDI incident. Havin spent most of the past week buldin 15x15 themeless [360-symmetric(al), cuz they're prettier] puzs, I've picked up on a few things:

1. If they pay U $300 for one out of 5 of these puppies, U is workin for around 2 cents/hour.

2. If U go with 6 or 8 inter-lockin grid-spanner seed entries, it's amazin how desperate your fillins will get, somewhere in some ignominious corner of the puz. U start to want to make phrases up there, just to survive. Or use some short entry that ain't seen daylight in the NYTPuz since 1951. "OMEI! ... yeah … that's the ticket!" Fortunately, the PuzEatinSpouse comes over and slaps m&e around a little, when I try to get away with that.

3. Avoid PEWIT. Even if U have to rip up half the puzgrid. [I often have several grid paper versions goin, for the same single puz construction … it's sorta like a competition, to see which one can finish the race.]

4. Don't cross real long obscure names. Way too desperate a feel. And not too fair to solvers, too boot. Stick with short desperate names. Recent M&A example: TEY.

The last point applies, for today's puz. Still … there's plenty to like, here. It has the Jaws of Themelessness. It also has [and perhaps debuts?] the Hockey Sticks of Themelessness. Primo.

It starts out with SHH [staff weeject pick], which granted old M&A immediate access to writin stuff in. M&A likes to have an early gimme in his puzs, to lure ever-hopeful people in.

It only has 68 words. That's the low-end of word-counts, for any of my own 5.2 themeless puzs, so far.
And only missin yer Q and Z. And with the ultra-brave UNIONJACK entry. Impressive.

Thanx for the feisty fun, Mr. Charlson. U do gooder work.

Masked & Anonymo5Us

Saturday biter:

Frantic Sloth 12:16 PM  

@Anonymous 1111am It's true that you're not all one person and it is often obvious who's who, but not always. Not even close to always. One thing is certain, however: the nastiest comments invariably come from one (maybe even more) of those calling themselves "anonymous".
My suggestion, if it were possible - as it is on some sites - is to not allow "anonymous" comments at all. Even if you make up a name (as is clear with some of us here) it's better than being a complete chickenshit.
Otherwise, fairly or not, you are all "the same" person.

@Newboy 1120am I appreciate the like sentiment, but how on earth did you understand that mangled sentence in my first post?? LOL!!

@Whatsername 1049am Agreed! On everything. Plus, most "posts" are actually replies that would populate the space directly underneath the original post if this site had that capability. I suspect the Mods also take that into consideration.

Also, what @JC66 1124am said to @TTrimble

@JD 1059 am I consider it a small mercy that that wasn't the clue. But, who doesn't love useless knowledge? Not my brain, I can tell you that!

pmdm 12:37 PM  

I don't think I'm ever on Trenton's wavelength. I do solve the puzzles, but it involves more seaching the net for PPP entries than I care for. I'm not sure how I would define for myself a "fun" puzzle, but I certainly know of a number of constructors that seem never to construc a puzzle that would satisfy my definition. Maybe that's why I do like Ken Ken and Sudoku. Tough to construct a topical puzzle when all you are dealing with is numbers.

Pn an aside, when I first started reading the entries on this blog, Mike still responding frequently enough to comments left here. I remember he responded to one of my comments with a derogatory comment concerning my writing style. At the tie, I tried to think of one word that best described the persona he seemed trying to cultivate on his blog. After reading his entry today, I think I've finally found it. Anti-intellectual. Not that in real life he is one. But the rants dealing with the sciences etc. (like what he says in today's write-up) seem to me to veer in that direction. Perhaps it is just stoking the pot, hoping to seed more comments. Don't think that much needed here. Anyway, just an asisde not meant to be taken seriously.

Chip Hilton 12:37 PM  

Couldn’t have said it better, Mr. B., so I won’t try.

Anonymous 12:38 PM  

Frantic sloth,
Your argument regarding anonymity is logically incoherent. That you can not differentiate one anonymous from another does not grant License to identify them as a single person. And of course, it is not only possible to prohibit anonymous comments, but as you note, some sites do prohibit it. This site has opted to allow anonymity. Your beef is with Rex, not those who avail themselves of a perfectly licit, and blog-sanctioned, option. If you find it that so problematic, perhaps it’s you who should leave.
Last, calling posters chickenshit, whether need or anonymous, is nasty. You’re as guilty as anyone of uncivil behavior.

600 12:46 PM  

Okay, I give. Why is SLUR (D) a gimme for Rex? I have no idea why SLUR is a tie in music. Otherwise, pretty good Saturday for me, definitely easier than the usual Saturday.

Casimir 12:47 PM  

Strangely, I remembered that the chess word "zugzwang" had appeared in the recent past and looked up OFL's response to it. Indeed, it was 1-down on September 3, 2016 -- the recent past to me! Rex's response was almost good natured (ok, for him).

My favorite chess player of all time is Paul Morphy because of his strange/tragic biography. And, I don't really play chess at all!

MetroGnome 12:48 PM  

RE: "Herstory": Sorry, but no. I'm all for gender equity in language, but not when it goes etymological facts. "History," of course, as nothing to do with "he" or "him" -- its root is the Greek "historia," meaning "inquiry" or "knowledge acquired by investigation." "Herstory" is about as egregious a coinage as "womynstrate," a neologism for "menstruate" I used to hear back in the Scum Manifesto days of the 1960s and early '70s. No one does anyone any favors by making up ideologically correct words that do nothing but reveal one's own linguistic ignorance.

GILL I. 12:53 PM  

I enjoyed this. It was like waking up in the morning to the smell of coffee wafting in the bedroom and finding that your mate got up earlier than you did. Almost as good as breakfast in bed.
Nothing really gave me any trouble. A smile here with the SHH and ITS A SECRET. You'd say that to a toddler. Mean librarians use the other.
I knew of PAWN PROMOTION but it took me the PANIC BAR and the mobsters RASPY voice to convince me. Memories of trying to play chess and getting frustrated when your opponent wouldn't make the obvious move. At least it gave me time to get up and pour myself a drink.
I also knew BARNEY; I couldn't remember his last name. Downs to the rescue.
I'm so fortunate that I don't know any CHEAP SKATEs. My friends and I like to indulge. None of us really have a lot of money but when we do, we like to spend it. The skinflints I know are usually rolling in the dough.
I'm off to try and breath some fresh air. I need it.

Nancy from Chicago 1:03 PM  

@Pamela, thanks for mentioning the real story behind Dorian Gray. I never knew about that either and it is very interesting!

Anonymous 1:09 PM  

in music, as in drunken speech, a SLUR is the blending, generally on purpose (and possibly notated?) of two (or more?) adjacent notes. calling it a 'tie' I guess is supposed to mean that said notes come out together? no idea if 'tie' is also a music term, notated or not. :) Miles Davis made a living on it.

Nancy 1:14 PM  

@Birchbark (11:19) -- The sendup is so subtle, so droll and so devastating. You are such a gift to this blog, @Birchbark.

CDilly52 1:26 PM  

I felt like I was trying to learn to drive a standard shift sports car for the first time, and doing it in the UK. Zoom-screech!!!! Zoom-screech!!!! PAWN PROTECTION and BARNEY STINSON caused me no end of troubles. I had no idea about either, and had to do a whole bunch of guessing. The parts between those two long answers took way too long for me to suss out. The remainder was fairly easy but seemed a bit disjointed or something. Certainly no very clever clues (at least to me).

Upon consideration, though, the puzzle was not a theme puzzle so, is “disjointed” a fair criticism? No idea, but compared to yesterday that, even as an “unusual for a Friday” themed puzzle, was just a beauty, notwithstanding the fact that it nearly took me to the cleaners!

Would have set a personal Saturday best time (that I only notice because the app keeps track), but for those two unrelated and completely unrelated long Across Answers. That’s all I have.

DF 1:33 PM  

The GARIBADLI/SIB cross was rough. Had GariSaldi and siS and could not figure out what was wrong for the longest time when the app told me there was a mistake.

anon 1:37 PM  

Referring to chess and math as “white guy things” evidences Rex’s fundamentally racist world view.

The Joker 1:51 PM  

What kinds of cars (or trucks) do famous mathematicians drive? That's the important question.

badmathguy 1:55 PM  

3 words, Rex. "Hidden Figures".

Whatsername 2:06 PM  

@Frantic (12:16) That’s pretty much the point I was trying to make, that anonymous posts are ... anonymous ... of unknown origin and not positively identifiable by individual. Therefore, readers and moderators can only guess at whether or not it’s the same person making all 26 0r 33 posts in one day. No, it probably isn’t, but as you-know-who says, it is what it is.

mikelebov 2:09 PM  

Math and science aren't white guy things but Rex Parker is literally a white guy.

Anonymous 2:09 PM  

Can’t say what kind of car John Nash drove, but he died in a taxi cab with his wife. She’s one of those math sciencey types that Rex says are so broey. All she had was a PhD in physics from MIT. What’s Rex’s degree in? Comic books?

DigitalDan 2:13 PM  

Rex. henceforth I insist you buy the physical NYT and solve the puzzle with a stick blackened in the fire, to keep you away from what all those mathy, sciency guys made. Also, your blog should be posted on a tree somewhere, scraped out with a stone knife. I apologize for our role in ruining your life by adding terms related to our crafts to the sacred puzzles.

Richardf8 2:14 PM  

Pawn Promotion? Is that when the hock shop runs adds on TV?

DigitalDan 2:19 PM  

Both slur and tie use the same notation, an arced line above the affected notes. A slur indicates that the notes are to be played without articulation. A tie carries the same note into the next measure, extending it without re-articulating. (Articulation is different for different instruments, making a distinct attach on a new note.) To make things even more fun, sometimes slur=ish marks are meant simply to group notes, without implying that they should be slurred.

DigitalDan 2:25 PM  

I don't think Vinson Cerf and Tim Bergers-Lee are real people.

Frantic Sloth 2:35 PM  

@Joker 151pm LOL!

@Whatsername 206pm Exactly. Hence my "fairly or not" statement, which I had hoped would be obvious as overgeneralizing, but ...IIWII is true!

@Anonymous 1238pm I'll cop to and apologize for the chickenshit allusion. As for the rest, you may be right or not.

Here's me caring:

Douglas 2:48 PM  

Hee hee. Too bad Rex doesn’t read these posts. I would have loved to see his response to being compared to Trump.

Anonymous 2:55 PM  

Interesting. So Rex now says that being a chess player and having doctorate in physics and mathematics makes me a male chauvinist pig. Personally I think that this flavor of being more pious than the Pope hurts his cause. Actually it would hurt any cause.

Anonymous 2:55 PM  

it's a typo, Cerf's real first name is Venison so he's a little gamey if you disagree with him, and he's the brother of Bennett Cerf; also a first name that's generally a last name.

Kathy 2:59 PM  

Oh, are we snarky today.
Mathy/sciency guys, Anonymice, over-posting...

Rex’s disdain for the former has become tiresome, as has his virtue-signaling that he must constantly come to to the defense of us females. I rarely finish a Saturday, and I finished today, thank you very much.

I never knew mice to be particularly discreet, but the mathy ones among us might attempt to discern discrete mice.

ghthree 2:59 PM  

Q: How do you know the Anglicans don't understand chess?
A: They tried to promote a queen to a bishop.

I heard this one (around 2000) from a friend who happens to be
(I'm not making this up)
an Anglican Argentine Swiss (former) Mennonite priest!

As Lenny Bruce once said, "Is there anybody here I haven't offended yet?

Ethan Taliesin 3:21 PM  

All I have to add is OPIUM DEN by the always entertaining Neptune Power Federation.

Z 3:50 PM  

@TTrimble - What @JC66 said. I’d like to think my getting you fired up over the E mathematicians played a small part in your popularity. 🧐

@Travis - I’m pretty sure Tal has made an appearance. Granted, no Mel Ott, but still. I also have a vague memory of a Fischer/Spassky puzzle, but I’m not at all sure that’s right or if it might not have been some other puzzle. Of course, the big problem for Chess Grandmasters is they don’t have useful short names. Kasparov and Karpov will never match Yoko Ono eating Oreos.

It really irks me when the usual mob criticizes Rex for what they think he said instead of what he actually wrote. Here, I don't really mind that these topics are in puzzles, since they're part of the world, but I really feel like there's more of that stuff ... to the exclusion of other stuff ... because a certain kind of man still dominates the constructor ranks. He’s not talking about math and science. He’s not even really talking talking about mathematicians and scientists. Really, he is talking about Shortz.

@Frantic Sloth - While not every, or even most, anonymous poster is a chickenshit, it is without exception that every chickenshit posts anonymously.

Anonymous 4:14 PM  

It really irks me when someone slaps a "usual mob" moniker on everyone who disagrees with [pick your personal foible here]. But especially unpleasant is a little dirty trick of cutting out the parts that don't support the stated thesis from the supposedly supporting it quotations. Point in case: you've conveniently omitted the ending here: "a certain kind of man still dominates the constructor ranks. Very similar white math/sciencey guys." QED.

Cate 4:26 PM  

@gerryw, thanks for the Asimov anecdote.

Anonymous 4:26 PM  

...and here’s Z, right on time to defend Sharp.
Z, thought you’d still be under a rock licking your wounds after the whipping the mouse (mice?) gave you yesterday.
Everyone can read. You have no special insight. Spin it anyway you want, but Rex’s science ignorance and animus is well known to all the regulars and on full display today.

Frantic sloth,
Your apology was gracious though unnecessary. z’s post above proves it. His is an agrgressive, gratuitous and wrong headed post, but it’s signed , albeit by a pseudonym which of course ensures anonymity.
My best to you, because I’ll take gracious over logical any day.
My apologies to you for being too strident.

Ernonymous 4:31 PM  

@z most of the anons are fine but there is one whose whole life revolves around sitting here all day waiting for someone to say something that offends him. Then his writing style is easy to spot. It has this air of superiority and is filled with the most clichéd Latin and Greek phrases he can shove in like quid pro quo, ad infinitum, persona non grata. Also the writing is riddled with poor punctuation while trying to sound learned with all the Latin clichés.

Michiganman 4:33 PM  

@Z. Thanks for clarifying @Rex's comments. His words get twisted almost on a daily basis.

Fred Wollam 4:46 PM  

Wait... you mean black folks *don't* play chess in parks on warm days in Natick? Imma have to drive up from... New York... someday, see for myself, before I'd believe such a crazy thing!

Anonymous 5:05 PM  

One thing is certain, however: the nastiest comments invariably come from one (maybe even more) of those calling themselves "anonymous".

I have to humbly disagree. I joined the ranks of the mice just because I was harassed, for a considerable period of time (meaning below the belt responses from named commenters who chose to hold a grudge, long after some disagreement). I suspect that's why most of the mice have made the choice. It doesn't take a lot of thought to tailor one's comments into various personae (grammar, vocab, punctuation, voice, etc.); I suppose if you have a supercomputer with a text analyzer, slotting each of us (and our doppelgangers) is a piece of cake. While I've not done so (cross my heart), I suspect a mouse or two have conducted 'conversations' among his/her selves. Masters & Johnson studied such behaviour.

Birchbark 5:53 PM  

This afternoon at a store, I heard the word "busies" in a sense unknown to me, and used as a noun.

The woman at the counter was with another customer when I arrived. I went about finding what I was looking for, back near the storeroom. Through its open door, another woman was up on a ladder, working in the high shelves. The door chime rang -- a third customer had now entered.

"It's the busies," said she atop the ladder, aloud to no-one but herself and eavesdropping me.

Then she corrected: "Excuse me. They are the busies."

(I think she was right the first time but couldn't risk blowing my cover.)

Anoa Bob 5:53 PM  

I know the clue to 29A says so, but rain will not ruin SUEDE. Or any leather for that matter. Leather, including SUEDE, is more likely to degrade from drying out rather than from holding too much moisture, and will benefit from an occasional moisturizing with water. If your SUEDE gets rained on, no worries. Wipe it down with a soft, clean, absorbent cloth and let it air dry for a few days. Give it a light brushing. Good as new.

I was watching one of those custom car TV shows and the guy was restoring some seat leather, on one of those early JAGS I believe, that was in very bad shape. Looked like there was no way to bring it back to life. The guy used a steam wand making many light passes over several days and the results were incredible. I could still see that it was very old leather but it looked really great. And just with water!

@mathgent, I think about the luck vs skill ratio in games a lot. A decade plus of playing poker will do that to you. As I recall, chess has a luck factor, a very small one, but one nonetheless. In the long run, White has a slight statistical advantage over Black, all other things being equal, and that is (or should be) a matter of chance. I like to play Hearts, the card game, because I think it scores high on skill and low on luck. Most poker players, myself included, can tell you bad luck stories that will make you shake your head in SAD disbelief.

Petsounds 6:25 PM  

@Frantic Sloth: CRAP! It was early and I referenced the wrong clue. I meant the clue for PRYOR, not SIAM. Sorry for the confusion. I was running off to the farmers' market and hadn't even had a second cup of coffee. Mea culpa.

Anonymous 6:25 PM  

What a surprise!!!!!!! Michiganman’s views align perfectly with Z’s. What a coincidence. 🙄

Anonymous 6:31 PM  

600, Digital dan et al: Digital Dan is correct that the symbol for a tie and a slur look the same. One way of looking at it is this way: a tie lengthens the duration of a not. [A quarter note tied to another quarter note results in a half not. Expressed differently in British nomenclature which makes me dizzy.] A slur indicates the notes should be played legato (smooth) as opposed to staccato (detached).

Z: I think what bothers people is the overall effect day after day.For example a daily post can make yu think he dislikes Shortz. Reading many posts might convince you he hates Shortz. He has stated that in real life he is a bit passive. (He said when he had a chance to approach Patick Berry at a crossword puzzle competition, he did not because of that reason. Or something like like. So I think many who comment here, myself included, don't really know who he is. That hardly prevent many from expressing over the top pronouncements.

teevoz 6:36 PM  

Keith D - I agree completely, except the song was written by Jackson Browne & Glenn Frey, sung by Frey with just a bit of harmony from Don.

Smirkin 7:31 PM  

I enjoyed this, and finished in around 20 minutes (never time myself on Saturdays). But then again my being forced to learn chess as a kid finally came in handy, as did my (semi) familiarity with “…Mother” (Literally semi; remembered “Barney” right off the bat, needed a few crosses for “Stinson).

Add my name to the of people who would like to live in a world where Sun Ra has a station named after him…also would be nice to live in a world where The Replacements’ Tommy Stinson was well-known enough time merit a NYTXW answer…

Amrit 7:53 PM  

+1 to Chip Hilton and Mr. B. This really rankled me today. I speak as a non-white non-American science / math (not so much chess though I enjoy watching chess YouTube videos) enthusiast.

Eniale 8:29 PM  

"Though much is taken, much abides..." (Tennyson) Way back when, like 1960ish, I discovered Henri Bergson's book on Laughter - I just checked and there it is on Wikipedia. Can't say I remember any math, but the liberal arts stuff seemed to stick better.

CDilly52 8:47 PM  

@Puzzlehoatder 2:13 AM. I feel your pain!! For the first time in at least 30 years, I missed more than one day in a row - 13 consecutive days in July! And I have skipped three days (not consecutive) in August!! No idea what keeps you grinding, but you have my very best wishes that the pressure lifts soon. Hang in there!.

CDilly52 9:00 PM  

I agree, @Travis, 7::36 AM. Chess isn’t my game and PAWN PROMOTION was
Way beyond my ken, but at least when I saw PAWN, I realized it probably had something to do with chess. At first I thought it must be PAWN PROtection, but alas one letter too many. Just had to wait and get the crosses. As for BARRY STINSON, Inhad no frame of reference so poor old BARRY couldn’t lend a hand to the PAWNs. And now I know something about chess to help with the next time.

Joe Dipinto 10:22 PM  

@Birchbark – I love your little vignette. Perfectly captured in your writing.

Frantic Sloth 12:29 AM  

@Z 350pm That is a good point that I wholeheartedly agree with. In any case, I no longer care.🤷‍♀️

@Anonymous 426pm Thank you for the kind words and apology accepted.

@Anonymous 505pm We can disagree. No problem there. I didn't know about your story, but I can imagine that everyone has one - whether or not it influenced a decision to embrace anonymity. If you felt attacked I can't say I blame you.

@Petsounds 625pm Har! Thank you!! Now that you mention it, I really should have been able to suss that out myself! No biggie, but maybe next time you'll think about checking with me before you go out. 😉

J'adoube 10:58 PM  

felt like an easy Friday puzzle. PAWN PROMOTION: the American chess Grandmasterr Hikaru Nakamura was just in the news recently. He just signed with TSM (an Esports group). Google "Hikaru Nakamura BONGCLOUD" . I''m a GenXer who's barely played any chess, but watching Hikaru's Youtube videos is addictive. Hikaru narrates while he crushes everyone.."if he takes I'll take...". I started playing online chess with people all over the world (it's cut into my crossword regimen)

Burma Shave 9:45 AM  


LAURA knows OPIUM will send HER


Burma Shave 10:02 AM  

Easiest Sat-puz ever. Finished it in about 1.5 Rexes, that is, just over 10 minutes. ITS NOT ASECRET, or at least I'm not surprised, that OFL went straight for animal abuse upon seeing SHAMU. I'm tiring of those comments. Time to SKIP the top I guess. Too much INYOURFACE. LAURA Linney over the always annoying Kelly RIPA for yeah baby. A quick finish, no BONES about it.

thefogman 10:33 AM  

A lot easier than last Saturday. I had Green Giant before KEEBLERELF. Not EPIC or AAA, but pretty, pretty good.

spacecraft 10:48 AM  

Well well, #BS can do more than write poetry. Sorry. my rhyming friend, but I must disagree about DOD Kelly RIPA. I think she's someone I could be friends with.

The puzzle is like a lot of late-week offerings: daunting in the extreme at the start, then not so bad when you get a couple of things. Yeah, I play chess and watch CBS (is there another in the big 4 with ANYTHING worth watching?), although How I Met, etc. is not one of them. That bad boy went in on crosses. But the PAWNPROMOTION thing? Gimme.

Not a lot to quibble about fill-wise, and quite a few triumph points. Birdie.

Anonymous 2:11 PM  

Judith Polgar, Grandmaster extraordinaire, would be offended by this post. Just because you are clueless about chess, or who plays it, doesn't mean everyone is.

Erik Bender 3:05 PM  

Made the NYT Crossword. Life is good (even if my surname is used in pejorative way).

leftcoaster 3:14 PM  

Making slow progress in "finishing" Saturday puzzles. Got 85% of the words before conceding to lookups.

Wanted dinoS before BONES, chIC before EPIC. The little-known BARNEY STINSON? Guys are LADS? So SCAD is a "great deal" without the pluralizing S? And so on.

My votes go to LAURA Linney and GRETA Gerwig.

rainforest 4:42 PM  

Like @Spacey, I had a hard time getting into the puzzle. I think my "foothold" was BASS ALE, but SIAM and REM also came early. Anyway, once I had a few answers, I got some momentum, especially in the SE (where my last name appears; always a treat) then moved on up to the centre which gradually fell. Didn't know BARNEY STINSON, but he came on a combination of guess and crosses.

I'm with @Burma Shave in not seeing the appeal of Kelly RIPA, but chacun a son gout, as the French say.
I quite liked this one.

wcutler 7:32 PM  

@Greg Charles 2:55 AM
"Did anyone else know Henri Bergson from Monty Python?"
Well, I never thought I was a fan of Monty Python. Now I have to temper that thought.

@Anonymous 12:38 PM
"That you can not differentiate one anonymous from another does not grant License to identify them as a single person."
Yes, it does. It's your CHOICE to use an identifier that's shared. There's no need for moderators to go to any trouble to distinguish you. If you want to be distinguished, you know what to do.

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