Trading card franchise that's an alternative to Pokémon / SAT 8-29-20 / Muppet song with nonsense lyrics / Outburst from Sneezy / Haydee to Count of Monte Cristo

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Constructor: Michael Hawkins

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (5:49)

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: YU-GI-OH! (8D: Trading card franchise that's an alternative to Pokémon) —

 (Japanese遊☆戯☆王HepburnYū-Gi-Ō!, lit. "King of Games") is a Japanese manga series about gaming written and illustrated by Kazuki Takahashi. It was serialized in Shueisha's Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine between September 1996 and March 2004. The plot follows the story of a boy named Yugi Mutou, who solves the ancient Millennium Puzzle. Yugi awakens a gambling alter-ego within his body that solves his conflicts using various games.

Two anime adaptations were produced; one by Toei Animation, which aired from April to October 1998, and another produced by NAS and animated by Studio Gallop titled Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters, which aired between April 2000 and September 2004. The manga series has spawned a media franchise that includes multiple spin-off manga and anime series, a trading card game, and numerous video games. Most of the incarnations of the franchise involve the fictional trading card game known as Duel Monsters, where each player uses cards to "duel" each other in a mock battle of fantasy "monsters". This forms the basis for the real life Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card GameYu-Gi-Oh has become one of the highest-grossing media franchises of all time. (wikipedia) 

• • •

Sat down to solve this puzzle just as the news was breaking that actor Chadwick Boseman ("Black Panther") had died, very young (mid-40s), after a four-year battle with colon cancer. He was a tremendous actor (see "Da 5 Bloods" if you haven't already), and I'm just gutted. Like, the world is a lot to take generally these days, so the loss of someone so talented, someone who played iconic, transformative Black figures (James Brown, Jackie Robinson) as well as the Black superhero, on top of all this mess ... it's truly awful. "Black Panther" was the only movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that I really loved, and he had a lot to do with that. He was an important, powerful, inspiring figure in popular culture these past few years, and his death is both surprising and deeply saddening. So please forgive the rather brief write-up today—I'm feeling a little too deflated to do my usual song and dance. 

I enjoyed this puzzle, actually. It's true that some of that enjoyment came from the bizarre mind-meld I had with the puzzle. Most of my initial guesses ended up being right, which, on Saturdays, is rarely the case. So much so that I don't trust most of my initial guesses on Saturday. I am tentative about writing things in. I verify with crosses. But from AMIE to CAV to CHINOOK to CHUM, first guesses were right. I sincerely didn't know CHINOOK were anything but a kind of salmon, but I had the -OK and I know those salmon are from the "Pacific Northwest," so I went with it. Seems a bit ... denigrating? ... that when you google [Chinook] the first hits you get are for a helicopter and a dog breed. Seems like maybe the actual people should be near the top. Anyway, being on this puzzle's wavelength, and then just getting a few choice gimmes handed to me (YU-GI-OH, DIDION, CHOPRA, CINDY), really helped me move through this one quickly. The long answers in this one are generally bright and fun, which is all I ask from my themelesses. I finished this faster and liked it better than yesterday's puzzle. HEADFAKE over USVSTHEM was probably my favorite moment, and it's hard not to be cheered by "MAHNA MAHNA!" (12D: Muppets song with nonsense lyrics)

I did the thing where I drilled down the Downs in the NW as fast as I could, with the first answer I could think of. Did the first six and got three right ... and that was enough. One of my wrong answers was actually right, I just wrote it in the wrong was (CSU instead of CAL), and then I left one blank (5D: Expression of doubt OR NOT) and I wrote in ALOT instead of HEAP, but even with the static from the wrong answers, I could see AFTERYOU, which made me know exactly which answers were wrong, and I sped away from there. Not a fan of the extra (first) "H" in AHCHOO. Hate the *concept* of the SIDEHUSTLE, but I think it's actually pretty good as fill. Last letter in was the "V" in INVADE, which was (strangely) the hardest answer in the puzzle for me. I think of a "blitz" as an invasion, sure, but I don't think I'd ever substitute "blitz" for the *verb* INVADE. But that's a quibble. Overall, I liked this fine. I'm done. Take care.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Joaquin 12:09 AM  

I spent the evening watching the news of the day; now, after watching a couple of versions of MAHNA MAHNA I find myself in a good mood despite all the depressing news. Maybe as a public service, all news programs should end their reports with a minute of two of Mahna Mahna.

Oh yeah. The puzzle. Good one, Mr. Hawkins. Enjoyed it and learned something new (YUGIOH).

Harryp 12:10 AM  

I guess this is a niche puzzle for people who knew both YUGIOH and MAHNAMAHNA. I needed pretty much all the crosses to get those, so even though I got the solve, it wasn't what I like in a crossword. Now if I see Mr. Hawkins' name I will wonder what what he's hawking. Challenging, about Sunday time.

jae 12:15 AM  

Easyish. Very smooth with some great long downs. Liked it a bunch!

okanaganer 1:25 AM  

I was joyed to see CHINOOK in the puzzle. That word has some interesting meanings aside from the default one used in the clue. For instance, chinook winds bring balmy temperatures to southern Alberta in the winter. We're talking going from bone chilling -30 deg Celsius (cold!) to plus 10 C (mild) in an hour.

Chinook was also the name of a pidgin language used here in British Columbia in the early days for communication between aboriginal nations ("tribes" in the US) and also by European settlers. My mom loved to trot out some Chinook sayings, like "klahowya, tillicum" for "welcome, friend". Several common terms such as muck-a-muck (feast), chuck (water), saltchuck (ocean inlet), and hooch (booze) are used there. But my favorite is skookum, which means strong or mighty, but in a colorfully vigorous way. I still hear it used now and then, eg "That's a skookum truck".

puzzlehoarder 1:28 AM  

An entertaining mixture of easy and hard. I've never heard of either YUGIOH or MAHNAMAHNA. The former created more of a roadblock than the latter. The NW was an easy fill then there was a bit of a hold up. As per usual I just moved on to the next gimme and backfilled.

My write overs were REFI/REPO, SLIP IN/SNIPED and MOO/MAA. I also briefly misspelled SIDEHUSTLE as SIDEHUSSLE. Luckily ANTMAN was one of the gimmes so the mistake was brief.

The clue for TYLENOL reminded me of yesterday's "Sleep on it". Overall a fun and not too stressful solve.

chefwen 3:07 AM  

Easier than yesterday’s puzzle, but it still took the tag team to get it done.

I had OOPS in at 33D, partner said that can’t be right and took it out, I said it’s cute and it’s right and put it back in. HAH! Love when I’m right.

Didn’t know DIDION and that area was our last fill, thank you downs.

And I love me some MOO SHU PORK.

Fun Saturday.

manitou 5:18 AM  

Tragic... Fittingly and eerily today was Jackie Robinson day in the MLB.

🖤 Chadwick

okauchee 5:28 AM  

Blitz = Attack (a certain way)
Invade = Enter (a certain way)

IMO, they are not synonymous at all.

Conrad 6:05 AM  

When I read "Muppets song with nonsense lyrics" I knew it had to be Mahna-Mahna, but how to spell it? I don't think I've ever seen it written. I settled on MAnNa-MAnNa, but happily Sneezy set me on the right path. The only other major hang-up was that I thought the ship's record had to be some sort of lOg, confirmed by HOHO. That messed me up until I got BIKES. The NW was the last to fall, but once I got LOGBOOK it fell easily.

mathgent 6:19 AM  

I’ve checked four online dictionaries and none had a definition of TROOPS which agrees with “Walks slowly and steadily.” It seems that the constructor wanted those of us who didn’t know the trading card franchise to enter TROMPS. Dishonest.

OHITSONNOW is terrible.

Those two bad entries spoiled it for me. Otherwise, there was a lot to like. HOTMIC, LAYANEGG, STEPPED ziggurats, SICCED, SNIPED, the clue for OOPS.

IDIOTPROOF reminded me of Keefer’s line in The Caine Mutiny. “The navy is a master plan designed by geniuses for execution by idiots.”

Lewis 6:46 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
ChuckD 6:48 AM  

Pretty quick Saturday - nice longs and not a lot of glue. CHINOOK is a great entry as are the SOCIETAL, HEAD FAKE, US VS THEM stack in the SE. Didn’t know DIDION and the TROOPS clue was tough for me - it should have referenced something about marching or walking in a group. Backed into YUGIOH but knew MAHNA MAHNA from endlessly watching Sesame Street with my kids years ago - it’s been around for awhile.

I stopped eating Chinese food a few years ago - but always liked moo shu pork.

Lewis 6:49 AM  

Holy moly, so many answers I liked! Especially AFTER YOU, DIDION (who writes with astonishing clarity), DAFT, US VS THEM, HEADFAKE, SIDE HUSTLE, MOOSHU, and MAHNA MAHNA. Plus seven double O's, the cross of SWEATY and PANT, and the comfort of CAL sitting appropriately in the west.

Just enough gimmes to keep the motivation high, highlighted by several of those marvelous moments when I return to an answer that's stumping me and BOOM I see it.

I was invited in with AFTER YOU, and soon enough it was OH ITS ON NOW, and after some OOPS and LEAPS and a little MAHNA MAHNA here and there, suddenly I'm smiling, SATEd, and thinking, "Michael, you're my best CHUM for escorting me through this sweet odyssey." Thank you, sir!

amyyanni 7:27 AM  

Started last night, lol at my Friday night fog this am. Somehow ziggurats got entangled with Zagat in my bewildered brain, so I wrote FOODIES. O yeah I did. Also spelled Joan DIDEON and stayed with it because I read the book and knew it was right. Good thing I went to bed and finished just now. Liked it a bunch. Felt light and breezy. Not enough of that so very much appreciated.

Xcentric 8:01 AM  

Like Rex, my first foothold came from being on the same wavelength as the constructor.
After you, lay an egg, gave me cash only
Wasn’t 31D used recently? Who would have thought SAHL would be such useful fill. I mean it’s not didion with all those vowels, maybe it’s the H.
Enjoyed us vs them, oh it’s on now, hot mic.
Fun puzzle. Good balance betw

Hungry Mother 8:19 AM  

Had mAV instead of CAV for a while and thought TROmPS before TROOPS, all else is constrained to silence.

pabloinnh 8:22 AM  

No traction at first in the NW so I started in UTAH in the SE, of all places, and went N. Things were pretty smooth after that. Good for all of you who knew MAHNAMAHNA (kids are too old to have seen that one) and YUGIOH right away. They looked like bad Scrabble draws to me. SNIPED in this sense was new and STYE made me wish I had had that minor a problem that required the attention of an ophthalmologist, which is a word I thought I knew how to spell, but didn't.

Maybe someone can tell me if SHE'S All That has a meetcute in it somewhere. Hope so.

Also wonder if anyone else had _ _ ITSONNOW and thought about filling in the missing SH. Makes about as much sense.

All in all a nice Saturdecito, with about the right amount of crunch, so thanks to MH.

Carola 8:27 AM  

Easy, with two stumbling blocks at YU-GI-OH and MAHNA MAHNA. Especially liked IDIOT PROOF, HEAD FAKE, SIDE HUSTLE.

@okanaganer, I enjoyed your post. I learned CHINOOK as a child reading Laura Ingalls Wilder's The Long Winter: after her family has endured months of hardship, Laura wakes in the night and realizes the sound of the wind has changed and that she can hear the sound of trickling water - the CHINOOK is blowing! A wonderful moment that sealed the word in my memory.

kitshef 8:27 AM  

So you have an answer that is nonsense. You know it is nonsense. You tell us in the clue that it is nonsense. And then you cross it with something that has two perfectly acceptable answers? Spreadsheets often have MOS in them. You absolutely MUST do a better job of cluing NOS.

I also question the spelling of AHCHOO.

And the clue for TROOPS.

And that anyone has ever said “oh, it’s on now” (they say “it is so on”).

I liked this much, much, less than Rex did. Actually, same is true for Black Panther, which I thought was disappointing but rescued by a magnificent performance from Michael B. Jordan. Avengers: Age of Ultron is my pick for best MCU. Or maybe the first Iron Man.

Z 8:34 AM  

I was on Twitter last night when the news broke about Chadwick Boseman. Two thoughts dominated through the shock, the amazing amount and quality of work he had done after his diagnosis and that nobody seemed to know he was battling cancer since 2016.

The puzzle -

HOT MIC was very timely considering the foofaraw engulfing the NY Mets yesterday. I was privately embarrassed that I didn’t get that answer immediately.

As it was, Deepak CHOkRA (mixing my chakra with my new age writer was also privately embarrassing) was my main toe hold, giving me DAHL which confirmed SAHL and the SE and NE then fell in short (for a Saturday) order. Even with RHÔNE in place, getting into the west was difficult. I took a guess at CHINOOK (yep, salmon and helicopters, it was just a guess that the they were named after a people) and I guessed DIDION from “Joan” and the SW went from impossible to done in relatively short order. That left trying to break into the NW. 23A was cReePS to TROmPS (hi @mathgent) to TROOPS, but what really helped was CHINOOK and BIKE racks allowing me to see it wasn’t —— lOg but rather a LOG BOOK. I then wasted many precious nanoseconds pondering _____ State before realizing it was probably a big state and CAL clicked. Amazing how much having the first letter helps with long acrosses. If CAL had occurred to me earlier this would have been a much easier and quicker solve. As it was, this was a pretty good Saturday.

@mathgent - The closest I could find is “to move in large numbers.” I wouldn’t go as far as “dishonest” but I do feel like it is a Saturday stretch.

I also pondered a couple of other things. CHUM in the same puzzle as CHINOOK seemed a little fishy to me. I also look at the clue “This will help ease the pain” and can’t quite suss out how it works. I guess I will just have to sleep on it. HI-RES instead of HIRES seems unnecessary, As did the “eastern” part of “Eastern Central Div. player.” Finally, my fools fall in love.

JD 8:43 AM  

This is a beautiful puzzle and my two Milenniels would've crushed it but it crushed me. It was my own fault.

Yugioh is buried at least 20 years deep in my brain but entwined with the Pokemon days as a character.

Didn't know the Muppet thing but soooo vaguely recall my daughter saying it. Maybe.

Spent the first 6 weeks of 2020 Uber-ing to/from work after I broke my knee, so that helped. Much talk with the drivers on their Side Hustle.

However, I think the Germans Blitzed London but didn't Invade England. Couldn't get Sahl and have never seen AHchoo. Protesters carry signs. Couldn't let go of Pump Fake.

Didion, Chopra, Antman, Sweaty, Poland, etc. wonderful but not enough to carry the day.

Michael Hawkins, this is a great puzzle.

Anonymous 8:58 AM  

It's a done thing and I'll just have to accept it: The abbreviation for microphone is mic. Hate it hate it. It should be mike. It just should. We don't call a bicycle a bic.

Sixthstone 9:07 AM  

Great puzzle. A bit of a challenge for me in the NE not being familiar with MahnaMahna but eventually sussed it out. How are people complaining about "Oh it's on now"? Just google the expression; there are a thousand memes about it. If you don't know what a meme is, that explains it!

Happy Saturday!

Unknown 9:17 AM  

I've totally never heard of Chadwick Boseman, which must mean something? . . . .
Never saw Black Panther. Or heard of the other movie Rex liked.
Asking you long timers: Why is it that when Rex finds a puzzle to be easy he posts his time to the second, but when it's a challenge for him, he never shares his actual time? I ask because how can he keep a true tally of his "average" times when he fudges the numbers on the tougher puzzles?

I had CHILDSPLAY for the longest time @ 13D, so that slowed up the entire NE corner.
Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking is an amazing book for anyone who is or has dealt with loss.

RooMonster 9:33 AM  

Hey All !
Two letter DNF today. Not too bad, for a SatPuz. Had HOTpIC for HOTMIC, because (usually) a scantily clad pic of a famous woman comes to light. (Don't scream "Sexist!" at thst) And pAHNA MAHNA seemed perfectly fine for MAHNA MAHNA, it's "Nonsense", after all. Other was RHOdE/DIDIOd. RHOdE, har, wrong part of the world. And what do I know of Author Joan (being unread as I am.)

But an enjoyable romp. SE corner held me up quite nicely. LAYER tough to see. Couldn't get a fireplace mantle out of the ole brain. MAKE me! as a toughie as clued. US VS THEM is rascally.

Liked IDIOT PROOF. Hardly anything is, though. Surprised no one here has bitched about SIMP (and DOLT.)

Actors deaths (regardless of color) strike me as sorrowful when I first read about it, but then it goes away, and I'm back to normal. Frankly, we don't know these people personally, so IMO shouldn't devastate you to your core. I'm not saying i am feeling-deprived, I just think it's a waste of sentiment to get so torn up about a strangers perile, as say, compared to any other stranger. Like me less if you'd like, but wanted to get that out there.

Three F's

Teedmn 9:35 AM  

I'm with @kitshef on the nonsensical-ness of 12D. I consider that the clue absolves me of error; I chose pAHNA MAHNA because I was thinking sexting and a HOT pIC could cause public embarrassment. I suppose, sigh, that a HOT MIC would cause more immediate public embarrassment but...

Weird entry into this one - I couldn't get any traction in the NW so I moved on to 30A, figured it was HOHO, confirmed with KPOP. BIKES confirmed it was LOG BOOK rather than something LOG, but then, still nothing in the NW. All the while I was solving the rest of this fairly easy puzzle, I was feeling anxious that I would never break into the NW and would have to Google 8D. But when I went back there, I said to myself, "Suppose 2D was AFAR, what would 15A be?" That finished it. Except, as I was writing down my finish time, I looked at the grid and realized I'd left the bulk of the SE empty. OOPS. That added two more minutes to the time but still, this was pretty easy for a Saturday, albeit with the DNF in the NE. pAHNA MAHNA, everybody!

Whatsername 9:38 AM  

Loved it, loved it! This is how you do a Saturday. Full of nice fresh long downs and not a speck of dreck anywhere. There’s so much to like it’s difficult to pinpoint any particular area. The west side went in fast and the east side made me work a little more but it was all good. USVSTHEM, MAHNAMAHNA, CASHONLY, the list goes on. Thanks Michael Hawkins, just the right Saturday challenge and great fun!

The movie FOOLS RUSH IN has a nice meet-cute moment between Salma Hayek and Matthew Perry. I don’t know about SHE’S All That, haven’t seen that one.

57stratocaster 9:41 AM  

Troops crossing Yugioh got me. Still a very good, fun puzzle.

egsforbreakfast 10:06 AM  

Great puzzle, but harder for me than for most, it seems. Despite raising two kids, I don’t in the least recall MAHNA MAHNA or YUGIOH. Almost Naticked at YUGIOH/HOHO cross, but dredged it up from some forgotten corner of the brain. I was horrified to review the puz this morning after solving last night and mis-parse “Here comes a fight!” as O HIT SON NOW.

Thanks to another Hawkins for another wonderful solve (yesterday’s was by Kate Hawkins).

William of Ockham 10:16 AM  


DIDION my downfall

TTrimble 10:26 AM  

I liked the puzzle overall (e.g., I liked the SAHL + DAHL pairing), but @kitshef and I have some of the same complaints: I actually wasn't sure of the syllables in the Muppets song (nahmamahna? mahmamahna?) and had "mOS" before NOS. And while I guess "OH, IT'S ON NOW" is plausible, the OH is completely superfluous. I'll join the rising chorus in questioning TROOPS.

Otherwise, a well-constructed puzzle.

Really, "hooch" is Chinook? (Looking it up now) Merriam-Webster says "short for hoochinoo, a distilled liquor made by the Hoochinoo (Hutsnuwu) Indians, a Tlingit tribe". So, okay! Some Native American tribe which isn't much in my knowledge base -- off the bat I couldn't tell you what, if any, is the distinction between Chinook and Tlingit.

Who's got the hooch?

---[SB Alert]---
-->> spoilers from yesterday <<--

Missed QB by two yesterday: CELLULE and ELECTEE. I suppose I should train myself: if a verb takes an -or or -er extension, be on the lookout for -ee as well. I wasn't at all likely to come up with CELLULE. Learn something new.

Not too many in today's! Amazing how the Y as center cuts down on the possibilities. I'm at Genius + pangram, with 7 to go.

Barbara S. 10:45 AM  

Liked this puzzle a lot, but came very close to a DNF thanks to the HOTpIC/pAHNAMAHNA and TROOPS/TROmPS problems mentioned by so many. I should have remembered the YU-GI-OH! Manga series from my book-flogging days but didn’t, and I don’t know HOHO in this context at all. So it took much finagling to get it to work out right.

The aforementioned book-flogging days gave me DIDION, CHOPRA, DAHL and SAHL – thanks.

TROOPS crossing RHÔNE reminded me of either Hannibal or WWII, I couldn’t decide which. Seeing AFTER YOU always makes me add “Alphonse” in my head, I’m not sure why.

When I saw the clue “Mantle, e.g.,” my first thought was Mickey, although he turned out to be a red herring. But this is why I thought of him and here’s a question. Does anyone know anything about sports collectibles? Going through old stuff of my mother’s, I came upon a “Press/TV/Radio Guide” for the 1975 New York Yankees. My mother had picked it up at spring training in Florida. I suspect the booklet itself isn’t worth much, but she’d collected the following signatures: Mickey Mantle, Bobby Bonds, Whitey Ford, Elliott Maddox and Jim Mason. Do any of you MLB aficionados know if the signatures might make it valuable and how I’d go about finding out?

Anonymous 10:49 AM  

Most enjoyable and quick Saturday in a long time!

glennkenny 10:50 AM  

I feel you buddy — about the puzzle, and about Chadwick.

Anonymous 10:53 AM  

I’m in education in CA, and nobody - not one person ever - has referred to our state school system as “cal” state. Horrible, horrible regional clue. “Cal” has one meaning, and it is how we refer to Cal Berkeley. State school names are never shortened to “cal.” Sucks when a puzzle goes so off-the-rails so early.

jberg 10:53 AM  

Nope. I had YUGImH and pAHNAMAH— thinking a HOT pIC might be embarrassing, and I still like TROmPS as much as TROOPS.

As for CHINOOK, the salmon themselves are Pacific NW natives, so I thought that was it.

Good thing I knew Psy, or the K in KPOP could have been anything. O(Saika) POP would fit with my rack of shoES.

Odd Sock 10:59 AM  

I'm with @ Roo about celebrities. Their opinions, divorces, and deaths are no more important than yours or mine.
I also agree than the cross of the Muppet song with an abbrev. that could go two ways (mos or nos) is a little unfair.

Joaquin 11:10 AM  

@Anon (10:53) - I believe you misread the clue. With the word "State" being capitalized, that is, indeed, the way the schools are identified. Cal State San Marcos; Cal State Long Beach; etc.

You are correct that just plain "Cal" does refer only to UC Berkeley.

The late Horace Clarke 11:16 AM  

@Barbara S:
You might be in luck. Those Jim Mason autographs are hard tp find,

Bill 11:20 AM  

Please lose the “battle cancer” phrase. Tiresome, over used. War metaphors militarize and cheapen the experience of those with this disease.

Jim 11:21 AM  

Loved it, except for TROOP and the fact that LCDs are definitely not a "feature" of a TV.

Nancy 11:26 AM  

Oh, yes, that famous trading card franchise: YUGIO...what on earth is that last letter??? Since I have no idea what a Yodel or a Swiss Roll is, I couldn't fill in the missing letter of HO?O which crosses it. HOBO? HOHO? HOJO (as in Howard Johnson's?) HOLO (some sort of greeting?) HOYO (some sort of greeting?) I gave up and wrote in nothing -- condemning myself to a DNF because I really didn't care. Not a good or fair cross.

What an odd clue for SNIPED (29D). I never heard it used that way, but then I don't bid at a lot of auctions.

Thought for the day: To a true Luddite, there is no gadget, software program or techie "instruction" manual that is truly IDIOT PROOF. Trust me on this.

Other than IDIOT PROOF, SIDE HUSTLE and US VS THEM, there was very little I liked about this brand-name heavy puzzle.

Hack mechanic 11:29 AM  

ENS clued as "two for dinner" is totally lame.

Birchbark 11:49 AM  

MAHNA MAHNA falls nourishing from the sky, and we dine on nonCENSE in the northeast. Witness the fools RUSHing IN: DOLT, SIMP, DAFT, a cartoon AHCHOO, and even a HOT MIC gaffe. They're everywhere.


SAHL the doorman is really too sensible achieve full membership in this club (his quip gets an honorable mention). But his tie-in to DAHL beyond the gate is a sort of gentle transitional phrase to the rest of what was for me a challenging puzzle.

@Okanager (1:25) -- I too liked your exposition on CHINOOK.

Anonymous 11:53 AM  

@mathgent - I don't know which online dictionaries you consulted, but if you google "troop definition", you will see that the clue for troop is correct. See the second part of the definition below:

verb: troop; 3rd person present: troops; past tense: trooped; past participle: trooped; gerund or present participle: trooping

(of a group of people) come or go together or in large numbers.
"the girls trooped in for dinner"


(of a lone person) walk at a slow or steady pace.
"Caroline trooped wearily home from work"

drag oneself

Anonymous 12:06 PM  


but totally normal. even in high brow crosswords like NYT.

relicofthe60s 12:23 PM  

Got my fastest time ever on. Saturday (under two Rexes). Faster than the Friday puzzle. Would have been even faster but I had a typo and never heard of YUGIOH, which created a semi-Natick with 23 across (TROOPS or tromps?).

Chance2Travel 12:25 PM  

I loved the light-heartedness of MAHNAMAHNA even though I totally forgot it had Hs in it. And I definitely feel for anyone who is not a Muppets aficionado.

@Hack Mechanic - I agree it's awful and I've come to peace with it being a thing

Could do without the first H on 38A

We use SNIPED in the video game I play to refer to a player swooping in at the last minute to get a treasure that another player was on course for.

Thankful for RHONE for giving me an entry to HOHO and also for fond recollections of Europe

Finished in 2.8 Rexes

GILL I. 12:29 PM  

What a happy little puzzle. We have: DOLT, SIMP, DAFT, IDIOT, LAY AN EGG, LOUD and SWEATY......
So of course I enjoyed it.
I know a bunch of fools that don't necessarily RUSH IN.....they take their time being the SIMPs.
From yesterday...Thank you for the welcome back. I missed you and being here. Still in smoky Auburn but at least we're away from downtown Sacramento's unpleasant riots.
Peace....and wear a mask.

sara 12:31 PM  

have to disagree with the person who says NO to "Cal State" -- lived in California for years, we would talk about the "Cal State system" - and there were all the different schools, e.g. Cal State LA. (Just "Cal" is for UC Berkeley, as he/she said). So that clue was a natural for me.

Anonymous 12:32 PM  

yugioh is awful. sorry, just awful.

ghthree 12:37 PM  

When I ran into 12 Down, I could sing it, but not spell it. I remembered it as MANUMANUM. The final M must have been the beginning of another repetition.

When I played it (after solving) it sounded OK, but I had never seen it written out.
Was the You Tube version Rex posed actually available when it first came out? I never saw it with captions.

old timer 12:38 PM  

I got MAHNAMAHNA entirely on crosses -- as out of my wheelhouse as ever can be. Other than that, a tough but very doable puzzle. It sure helped that I have a songbook with a traditional Oxford tune about Christ Church bells (the beerers won't leave their can until they hear the mighty Tom. In the REFRAIN, "the Verger TROOPS before the Dean". That is, he walks at the slow, steady pace given in the clue. You have very likely seen a similar procession at any English cathedral, because there is absolutely nothing else worth doing on a Sunday -- in my day at least, the pubs were closed Sunday mornings, and after all, the cathedrals put on quite a show, even for tourists who seldom go to church back in the States.

Sorry, Anon, many CSU campuses have traditionally been known as CAL State [insert town here]. CAL State Hayward, CAL State Long Beach, to name two. Though we do have Humboldt State, and Sonoma State, and San Francisco and San Jose States, here in Northern California.

What? 12:47 PM  

A Swiss Roll is a cake rolled over jam or other sweet. Hohos are similar but with outer chocolate.
Good for you in staying away from such stuff.

What? 12:51 PM  

Zipped through it which is pretty unusual for a Saturday. Ordinarily I get stuck or if I finish, it’s usually by Sunday. The fills I didn’t know were taken care of by the fills.
Very satisfying.

Ellen 12:53 PM  

Glad to see other commenters promoting Chinook Jargon.

Disappointed by IDIOTPROOF and DOLT and DAFT but otherwise a decent themeless

jb129 12:59 PM  


Masked and Anonymous 1:02 PM  

It's been a Hawkins family themeless weekend … Kate Hawkins yesterday, Michael Hawkins today.
@RP's Easy-medium difficulty ratin sounds about right, at our house. Didn't know a few things: YUGIOH. DIDION. CHOPRA. Sorta half knew MAHNAMAHNA … recalled it had a lotta M&A's in it, at least.

Also, was rootin for OHITSONNOW to begin with an S [the dive bar version].
Plus, had HOTPIC before HOTMIC. And ONRUSH before INVADE -- until RUSHIN arrived, directly below it.

staff weeject pick: ENS. Liked its pesky ?-mark clue. One of only 8 weejects. One of only two ?-mark clues.

sparkly stuff abounded & included: HEADFAKE. PLACARD. U'S VS THEM [THEM=AEIO?]. IDIOTPROOF, mixin it up with SIMP & DOLT. LAYANEGG.

Thanx for the fun, Mr. Hawkins. Yer puzgrid design was definitely a "+".

Masked & Anonymo5Us

15x15 themeless desperation:

kitshef 1:03 PM  

@Roo - I think the sadness at a star's death is a different thing from sadness at the death of a friend. You are correct, we don't know actors or singers, but we get pleasure from what they do. If you enjoyed watching Chadwick Boseman perform, then you are saddened that you will never again see a new movie with him in it (once those in the pipeline are gone), or seem him on stage. We'll never laugh at a new George Carlin Joke, or sing along to a new Johnny Cash song, or be moved by a new Chadwick Boseman performance.

And unlike the death of a friend, the loss of a performer is one we can share with everyone. There may be twenty people in the world whom I can talk about my buddy Marty with. There are millions I can talk to about Alan Rickman, or David Bowie, or xxxTenatacion.

Anonymous 1:11 PM  

Yes the signatures make it valuable. Contact Steiner Sports for valuation.

Barbara S. 1:14 PM  

@TTrimble (10:26). We shared a wavelength yesterday -- I had the same result and the same reaction to both words. (New mantra: Think EE!)

I just got QB today, having tamed the wild Y. I thought there were minimal "Huhs?" Go for it, Queens-in-Waiting. I need your company: I've stocked the palace with a feast! And jesters! And a quartet of lute, viol, tabor and crumhorn!

zephyr 1:27 PM  

Chinook salmon can be native just as much as people. Ens- two oir dinner? Is dreadful. Did nt opthalmologists look IN the eye & Not concerned with outer skin? Having been an auctioneer many years I never heard of sniped - maybe twas many years ago. Only a few stretched credulity n add to confusion. Love to learn new versions!

JC66 1:30 PM  

****SB ALERT****
Ditto on missing the same two, yesterday.

@Barbara S

Mazel Tov!

But no scotch?

Ricky Nelson 1:31 PM  

Where's the video of me singing Fools Rush In?

okanaganer 1:48 PM  

@TTrimble, Chinook was a pidgin language, so it used words from a variety of aboriginal languages. Wikipedia article.

TTrimble 2:38 PM  

Ah, you did say that originally, but I hadn't put two and two together. Thanks for linking to the Wikipedia article; it's fascinating.

"Muck-a-muck" is a fun expression. The meaning I knew was of a person in a position of power, like a chairman of the board, but now I learn something about the etymology. Great stuff -- thanks for sharing all this.

Newboy 2:59 PM  

Sorta different from most posters above. Thought today’s grid was a meh moment, almost like most Sunday offerings. Some bright spots like the DAHL/SAHL reflections, but having HEFT/ONUS with the same one word clue? It filled the time but didn’t delight.

@okaganaer let me add my thanks for the riff on CHINOOK. Your mention of Chuck and Skookum brought back memories of a canoeing trip to the Bowen Lake Park. Riding the gondola over the Frazier River certainly made clear the First Nation’s phrase Skookumchuck

Z 3:00 PM  

@zephyr - I think SNIPED might be an Ebay specific term.

Lots of complaints about the ENS clue. The arc from clever to annoying to resigned acceptance is longer for some than others. cf long and short vowel and capital letter clue/answers. Anyway, however awful you feel it is be aware that it will appear again soon in a puzzle near you.

Barbara S. 3:06 PM  

@JC66 (1:30)
All the finest blendeds and single malts -- part of the feast!

Z 3:08 PM  

@ricky nelson - Here you go.

GILL I. 3:23 PM  

@kitshef....So nicely said and so true. There are many performers I will mourn. Strangely, or maybe not, for me it was Glen Campbell. My sister and I were introduced to him when we travelled from NYC to California. It was during the Carter administration and you couldn't get gas on weekends. I was driving someone's very big black Cadillac as free transportation for them. We had to HUSTLE. Every time Glen came on singing "By The Time I Get To Phoenix," we'd cheer. I could sing "Rhinestone Cowboy" at the top of my lungs. He made our very tedious, short trip to California, a song fest of joy. Silenced forever.......
By the way, we never got to Phoenix but we did stop somewhere in Texas to get 4 used tires to put on Cadi.
We also got invited to this bar like club for a drink while we waited. You needed to be a member who had keys to their booze supply cubbies. The tire company owner told us that we were in dry county and only the "elites" had access to Johnny Walker Black..... Can you imagine?

Ernonymous 3:24 PM  

Hey everyone! I got this sucker done in 40 minutes, a bit faster that Friday's. I'm getting down below 2 hours for Saturdays now.
Also I wanted to thank JC66 for sending me this link embedding cheat sheet and I am going to try it out now. This is why you don't want to get chased by an Ostrich

Anonymous 3:51 PM  

Was a little thrown off by false generality of "Bid at the last second" - it is exclusively an online auction thing, usually by software - a human auctioneer would not permit it! ("Online last second (nanosec!) bid")

Also thrown off by referring to Yu-Gi-Oh as a "franchise" why not just call it a game; what does franchise even mean in the context of a game?

But part of fun of crosswords and this comment section are such cluing quibbles!

bocamp 4:17 PM  

Loved the puzzle; thank you Mr. Hawkins!

Well edited (nod to Mr. Shortz), with fair crosses for unknowns, e.g., Mahna Mahna, Yu-Gi-Oh.

Very much on my wave-length (for the most part) (ave. Sat. time).

Thank you Mr. Sharp for your excellent blog! I probably wouldn't have known about Chadwick Boseman's passing were it not for your heartfelt tribute. I started watching "Black Panther" (on Disney+) earlier this week, and have located "Da 5 Bloods" on Netflix.

Also, thank you for the Muppet Show clip; not sure if I ever saw it before, but was ROTFL! I doubt I'll forget Mahna Mahna; not sure about "Yu-Gi-Oh" tho, LOL.

Having lived in the Pacific Northwest (Oregon, Washington, British Columbia) for most of my life, it was skookum to see "Chinook" especially as referring to the indigenous people of the area. I was able to drop it in with only the terminal "k" in place. BTW, "skookum" is a word I frequently use, in place of the over-worked "awesome" (tip o' the hat to @okanaganer).

In re: Cal State – as another poster mentioned – it's the upper case "S" that provides the legitimacy of "Cal". The California State University (Cal State or CSU) system is not the same as the University of California system (which includes "Cal Berkley" (commonly known as "Cal"). The Cal State system includes 23 campuses with a complement of 481,929 students (Fall 2019) The University of California system includes 10 campuses with a complement 285,216 students (Fall 2019)

Chose troops over tromps based on: 1) tromps didn't sit right for "slow and steady" and 2) the "m" didn't seem as plausible as an "o" for Yu-Gi-Oh

I agree that "blitz" and "invade" are not necessarily synonyms. IMO, "blitz" connotes a sense of "swiftness" that "invade" doesn't. Yes, a blitz is an invasion, but an invasion can be slow and methodical.

"Ahchoo" seems quite appropriate; didn't "Sneezy" sometimes draw his sneezes out?

Cheers from sunny (and mild) Vancouver

JC66 4:19 PM  


Try're giving me a bad name. ;-)

****SB ALERT****

@Barbar S

Great. I stubbornly hung in to get the pangram, but I'm still 2 short of QB.

I'll keep peeking while watching the NBA playoffs.

Charles Emerson Winchester III 4:20 PM  

Well, in my California of 35 years ago, the tertiary state system was normally referred to as “CAL State” (as in Cal State Northridge, Cal State LA and Cal State San Luis Obispo.) “Cal” alone of course always referred to UC Berkeley. Maybe how one refers to the Cal State system has changed in the interim but UC Berkeley has never and will never be referred to as Cal State.

Z 4:40 PM  

@Anon3:51 - Because YU GI OH was a Manga comic before it was an anime TV series, a novel, some films, and a game. It was never as huge as the Harry Potter or Marvel Universe franchises have become, but I think it’s a fair description. If you had asked me before today I would have guessed the Manga was based on the game. A little surprised it’s the other way around. The kids went from Pokémon to Magic: The Gathering, so YU GI OH was never big in our house.

Anybody know why CAL is the answer to 1D?

Ernonymous 4:50 PM  

I'll tell you what had me bawling 2 days ago. I take a bike ride most days, and I pass one spot where I see a little bunny. He's on this strip of grass and when I ride by, he runs into the woods. Well he was dead in the road, got hit by a car. It was all too much, except I think it's really because I'm feeling the sadness of what is happening in our country. As well as horror that so many people want 4 more years of disease, chaos, murder and horror. RIP little bunny. It was a Peter Cottontail.
I'm still sad that Chris Cornell died (Soundgarden frontman), mostly because it was suicide at age of 53, and just seems so senseless.

Ernonymous 4:52 PM  

@jc66 crap I replaced the word Text, with the link,is that not correct? and I did a preview and it looked like a hyperlink. Damn!

JC66 5:12 PM  


The link replaces URL (between the quotation marks).

RooMonster 5:43 PM  

Thanks. I can definitely see that side of things. I used to be more sympathetic about people/things when I was younger. I guess I've gotten jaded over the years. *Phycological talk*
Could be I just suppress feelings to not be hurt. Could be that people just suck. 😋 Who knows? But I can tell I'm getting less and less sympathetic or empathetic as the years roll on.

Anyway, that depressing paragraph aside, with @Z on SNIPED being for eBay. Has happened to me before.
@M&A U'S VS THEM - Awesome!

RooMonster Ole Brain Needs Rewiring Guy

Monty Boy 6:52 PM  

I liked this one a lot. Rare for me to do Saturday without lookup for answers, only confirmation. When I played the Muppet song, I thought about the blooper programs. Seems like they play that music or something like it between clips.

I grew up in Montana and I always heard Chinook as a Native American word meaning "snow eater" which it did. A foot of snow gone in a day.

For the folks yesterday who don't like to use pencils in puzzles because they are hard to read. My kids got me a box of Palomino Blackwing pencils to do puzzles. Soft lead and easy to read. Erasing can be a challenge and you need an old fashioned pencil sharpener. You can also get drafting pencils and leads in softer grades. I use HB or B. If you want a hard lead, get 6H. About like writing with a nail.

Peggy Sue 6:56 PM  

@Giovanni : I hate Rush Limbaugh but he’s right about this. The division being sown in this country is largely from the left. Our cities are burning in the name of a false narrative. You are complicit. “The story that is being told at the Republican National Convention is about saving America. It’s about saving America from a race war that the Democrats are out there actively trying to promote. They’re trying to foment it. They want this country to be Black versus white, immigrant versus native, male versus female. That’s what they want. They want that chaos, they want this constant us-versus-them aspect of daily life.”

JC66 7:26 PM  

@Peggy Sue

How do you spell BRAIN WASHED?

****SB ALERT****

Thanks to your motivation, @Barbara S, I got QB.

It's Saturday night, so I'm celebrating with a martini (Scotch is my weekday drink).

Chris 7:53 PM  

[rant]Hurricane Laura gave me an enforced break from reading this blog (and finishing Thursdat's puzzle breaking a long streak) and it was much needed, as on Wed. I was about done with OFL. His constant carping about anything he finds remotely objectionable reached its peak with the calling for banning NRA, a historically important agency, and just finding the whole puzzle bad b/c he doesn't like finance. But power is back today, so I am too, and he's "hating the concept" of SIDEHUSTLE. I'm not sure I even know what that means, but I guess he finds the notion that people work 2 jobs troublesome, even though people have been doing it forever, just called something different, moonlighting, e.g. Sure, many, perhaps most, people do it to make ends meet, but lots of others do it to fund fun things, b/c it gives them an outlet that their regular job doesn't, etc. It's just a stupid bias. Finally, as an academic myself, his dismissal of any field of knowledge outside his narrow wheelhouse (last week's math dust-up, for ex.) is embarrassing for our profession.
In any case, as is stated ad nauseum, nobody is forcing me to read this, so I won't. Thanks for the fun discussions, facts, etc. Although I haven't contributed often, I have enjoyed it.[/rant]

TTrimble 7:57 PM  

I love it. I can't even explain why, because I'm not at all a fan of Country & Western generally speaking, but I always really liked Glen Campbell. Terrific voice. A lot of that music is the music of my childhood (Galveston, Rhinestone Cowboy, By the Time I Get to Phoenix which you cleverly allude to) and perhaps above all, Wichita Lineman. Here he is with the alt-rock group Stone Temple Pilots performing Wichita Lineman, I believe well after being diagnosed with the Alzheimer's that would take his life. My god, I'm getting choked up just watching this.

Yeah, the passing of Chris Cornell hurt, and so for me did that of David Bowie. As an old prog rock fan, also Chris Squires of Yes, and both Emerson and Lake (leaving only Palmer), John Wetton, Alan Holdsworth... I don't like the thought of the genre slowly fading into oblivion.

Loved the OSTRICH video. Man, that bird was hauling serious ass, and what stamina! Almost like the Road Runner. What remarkable lungs those creatures must possess.

Also empathize with some of the pain and despair you feel. It feels as if the country I was born in is simply no longer. All the old-fashioned and what I used to think of as American virtues are steadily being crushed: honesty, playing by the rules, good sportsmanship, respect for the truth, empathy, fellow human feeling and looking past differences, generosity, helping others in need... All those values taught to me in childhood -- it's as if an enormous collective middle finger were lifted against that. Unfortunately I don't have the luxury of getting out of Dodge if worse comes to worst in November.

The year 2020 in particular has been very black. I lost my best friend from childhood a month ago. Other people I had enormous respect for, such as the genius mathematician John H. Conway, dying from COVID-19. I want to move on to a new season of life.

--- SB Stuff ---
I would like to accept the invitation of Queen Barbara to her promised feast, but I'm still one away. Grrr...

Barbara S. 8:37 PM  

****SB ALERT****
Mazel Tov to you! Is your martini "a cold cloud"? (as I think Herman Wouk described the martini in one of his books.)

I'm saving you a particularly comfortable throne.

JC66 8:46 PM  

****SB ALERT****

@Barbara S

Thanks. It was a Bombay Sapphire (stirred, not shaken(nor familiar with the quote).


Don't read if you don't want spoilers.

If you don't get to QB, you might feel blue or like a fool, or both.

JC66 9:03 PM  

****SB ALERT****


BTW, it's feels really weird to have gotten to QB before you.

Anonymous 9:18 PM  

it has been the Radical Right that has sown division, since at least George Wallace and Nixon. there's also evidence that the 'violence' found during the racial justice protests is from white supremicist and Bugaloo Boys and such. don't want any of those big black boys near your white wives and daughters in the suburbs, now do we?

Joaquin 9:42 PM  

@Gill - While I am not much of a Glen Campbell fan, one of my all-time favorite "covers" is Glen and Anne Murray singing Bob Dylan's "Don't Think Twice". If you have not heard it, check it out (Just Google it - I have no idea how to embed it!).

Ernonymous 9:59 PM  

@peggy sue you are 100% wrong. The protesters are protesting systemic racism and terrible cops. Have you been the victim of racism? Has trump tried to address this at all? What is his solution? Sending in his goons? This is how he claims he will resolve this, with more force. It's NOT working. It's been going on for 4 months and he says elect me or you cities will burn? They are burning now, elect someone else who will address the grievances so the protests stop! TRUMP and his ball licking cronies love the division, and love making it worse. He wants a civil war. He has yet to condemn that murdering kid. In fact the right thinks he is a hero, he killed 3 people in cold blood. You people are disgusting. The Right is setting all this up. Fascists thrive on division. I'm for a fresh start, a new approach and solving the issue of people getting shot for their skin color. I'm sick of Trump's America where 1 person dies every minute from Covid, and he has no plan for that either. And literally makes it worse with his anti science. IN FACT the RNC had No platform! No solutions to any of it! He is using fear mongering, if the democrats win,they will burn down the suburbs. Really, and whats going on now? We suburbanites aren't fooled by this bull shit. You vote for Trump, we are at the lowest point ever in our nation, yet you'd vote for more of it? A "leader" who every day pulls some unethical, corrupt stunt to help himself in the election, shitting all over our Constitution. If you vote for Trump It's you who is complicit in the destruction of our country.

Ernonymous 10:00 PM  

@ttrimbke I enjoyed your post.

Anonymous 10:30 PM  

@Giovanni, Peggy Sue, and the rest of the political commenters: zzzzzzzzzz

TTrimble 10:34 PM  

---[SB Alert]---

Oh my god! I just got QB!

Queen Barbara, I beg pardon for my late arrival. But let us now rejoice and make merry! Drinks! [clap clap]

(A glass of Dalwhinnie for me.)

Z 10:36 PM  

Just finished Sunday and had to laugh that Magic: The Gathering appears in a clue (a terrible natick imho). Serendipity.

Glen Campbell? I think This is his best song (lyrics by Jimmy Webb). There are some other videos where he shows off his guitar skills more. I learned recently that he did session work before making it big. According to wikipedia he did session work for the Beach Boys, Bobby Darin, Frank Sinatra, Ricky Nelson, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, the Monkees, Nancy Sinatra, Merle Haggard, Jan and Dean, Bing Crosby, Phil Spector, Sammy Davis Jr., Doris Day, Bobby Vee, The Everly Brothers, Shelley Fabares, The Cascades, Paul Revere & the Raiders, Wayne Newton, The First Edition, The Kingston Trio, Roger Miller, Gene Clark, Lou Rawls, Claude King, Lorne Greene, Ronnie Dove and Elvis Presley. That’s an impressive list.

Ernonymous 11:08 PM  

@anonymous 10:30 I agree, it doesn't belong here. Peggy Sue's post just set me over the edge, it was so ridiculously backwards, so I thought OH ITS ON NOW!! I'd much rather discuss anything else.

jae 12:17 AM  

@Barbara et al. - Thanks for the invite and I’ll have a vodka rocks!

Paul Rippey 11:48 AM  

Thanks! I read your comment aloud to my wife who told me that the Skookum Chuck River is a tributary of the Chehalis River in Washington State!

Jake40 7:55 AM  


thefogman 10:45 AM  

Tough but doable. Headache inducing, but strangely enjoyable. Time for a couple of TYLENOL now.

Burma Shave 1:07 PM  


IT'S IDIOTPROOF, here's how:
AFTER their PANTs YOU have stolen,
just cry, "OH, IT'S ON NOW!"


BS2 1:12 PM  




leftcoast 3:44 PM  

Got a kick-start with a look-up at 1A, CASH ONLY. Needed it to build a foothold, which didn’t look very likely elsewhere. (So a DNF in the works right off the bat.)

NW and SE three-stacks (except for 1A) were pretty easy. The long downs in the SW and NE looked pretty good too, except for MAHNAMAHNA and YUGIOH, two more look-ups. The last of them was MOOlah instead of MOOSHU.

Speaking of “generic” (63A, US VS. THEM), NOS., LOSS, and LOUD seemed a bit too flat and generic as answers to their clues.

Okay, not a good outing, but not too bad either for my Saturday-level aptitude. Actually liked wrestling with it.

rondo 8:27 PM  

Had to turn my MOOgoo into MOOSHU, otherwise a relative piece of cake. Yeah baby CINDY crossing gimme CHOPRA was helpful. Haven't kept up with the Muppets in the last 30 years so MAHNAMAHNA by crosses as well as whatever YUGIOH is. but crosses came easy. Pretty good one.

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