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Saturday, September 26, 2020

Constructor: Kristian House

Relative difficulty: Medium (8 to 9, somewhere in there, solving slowly, early in the a.m.)

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: KIRI Te Kanawa (9D: Soprano ___ Te Kanawa) —

Dame Kiri Jeanette Claire Te Kanawa ONZ CH DBE AC (/ˈkɪri təˈkɑːnəwə/; born Claire Mary Teresa Rawstron, 6 March 1944) is a New Zealand former opera singer. She had a full lyric soprano voice, which has been described as "mellow yet vibrant, warm, ample and unforced".

Te Kanawa has received accolades in many countries, singing a wide array of works in many languages dating from the 17th to the 20th centuries. She is particularly associated with the works of MozartStraussVerdiHandel and Puccini, and found considerable success in portraying princesses, nobility, and other similar characters on stage.

Though she rarely sang opera later in her career, Te Kanawa frequently performed in concert and recital, gave masterclasses, and supported young opera singers in launching their careers. Her final performance was in Ballarat, Australia, in October 2016, but she did not reveal her retirement until September 2017. (wikipedia)

• • •

Proper names made this one a real minefield, or potential minefield, I guess. I'm not real big on using marginal names to achieve difficulty, and I don't know what INSANA and (as clued) ZANE are here if not marginal. Seven seasons on a TV show that the clue doesn't even name ... doesn't strike me as a thing. Did anyone really watch "Suits"? That "Z" took me a weird lot of time, as I scrolled the alphabet (all the way to "Z"!) to figure out how WI- could be [Virtuoso, informally]. Of course when I got it, it was a 'duh,' so maybe if I'd just been quicker i.e. more awake I would've blown past the ZANE thing too quick to be irked by it, who knows? INSANA was way more of a problem. No way I'm guessing any of those letters, and in terms of a "field from which names come," you couldn't pick one farther from my realm of caring than "hedge fund manager." Again, not even a show or a network to go on with INSANA (not that it would've helped). RAPINOE is very (recently) famous. LUCINDA ... well, she's very famous to me (saw her at the Beacon in '05) but even if you somehow don't know her, and least LUCINDA is ultimately a recognizable name (unlike, say, INSANA). It just seemed like there were a lot of places in the grid where solvers could into Name Trouble, which honestly is not the most enjoyable kind of trouble. KIRI / ROMERO? Gimmes for me, but I can imagine possibly not for others. 

On the other hand, there are some delightful moments, like CHEERIOS sticking together (never saw that coming, really looking for something science-y there), or the simple backyard pleasures of CORNHOLE (it's my understanding that you can watch competitive CORNHOLE on one of the ESPNs, during CORNHOLE season, whenever that is—the guys on my favorite baseball podcast talked about getting weirdly into it during the early pandemic, when all normal traditional sports had been effectively brought to a halt). And if you're gonna cross proper names at a vowel, then RAPINOE crossing LUCINDA in the dead center of your grid is probably the most glorious way to do that. Some of the relative current fill today actually felt weirdly ... well, kinda old already. That may be because I've already seen it in grids and therefore its novelty isn't as striking to me. Stuff like GLAMPING and RAGEQUIT (perfectly good fill, just lacking the zing it likely once had). NERD CRED ... is just an odd phrase to say (67A: Something you might earn by having a long crossword-solving streak, informally). Say it. NERD CRED. It's like much in your mouth. Reminds me of the "30 Rock" episode where everyone kept having to say the ridiculous movie title "The Rural Juror" over and over. Awkward. 

Biggest struggle was in the SW. I blame INSANA, though I also blame my inexplicable failure to come up with the BIKE part of ROAD BIKE (35D: Transport not meant for trails). Oh, and worst of all down there, I had PLIÉ instead of KNEE (56D: It's a real bender). Really really wanted EARS right from the jump, but I guess PLIÉ must've prevented me from going for it. Oh, sorry, there's another worst of all, which is, worst of all, PLIÉ baited me into putting RAISIN (!!!) in KAISER's place (64A: Kind of roll). When four letters "confirm" your answer, your answer is *usually* safe. Usually. No other real issues today. PENCIL before PENCAP, that's about it (7D: Ink saver). Have a lovely Saturday.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Lewis 7:13 AM  

As Saturdays go, this solve was three quarters vacation, one quarter PURGATION via stretching me to my limits. That one quarter was the SW, where the terrific clues for OXYMORON and BRACKET stumped me, the vague clues for EXTERNAL and ROADBIKE held me at bay, and the answer I never heard of described how I felt (INSANA). I went back and forth and in and out, again and again, to no avail, until I had to look Mr. INSANA up, my first lookup in quite a while.

Puzzles have such different feels. A Robyn Weintraub puzzle makes me feel like I’m solving at a fiesta, say, while today’s felt more heavy, cerebral, like maybe I was solving in a carrel. Oh, I love both feels when they’re well done, as today’s was.

Some noted the high number of blocks (39) in yesterday’s puzzle; let me note the low 28 today, causing those big areas of white. And let me also note what I thought was a poetically lovely cross, that of CORNHOLE and CHEERIOS, given that cornstarch is the number two ingredient in the cereal.

Kristian, you inflated my ego through three quarters of this, and not only brought it back to size in the fourth, but shrunk it some as well, (PURGATION indeed) for which I am grateful. I loved your puzzle!

Keith D 7:15 AM  

Would love it if Rex did his reviews without looking at the name of the constructor. Will never happen, but would make the reviews a lot more consistent. Today’s puzzle was at least as good as yesterday’s, but gets a generally negative review, whereas yesterday’s was gushingly positive. I find this very annoying.

Joaquin 7:20 AM  

Anybody else spend an inordinate amount of time trying to jog their memory of high school chemistry class, searching for a science term relating to surface tension? In hindsight, the word “milk” in the clue should have been enough of a hint to 12-D (CHEERIOS) but by the time I saw the answer all my cereal was soggy.

Hungry Mother 7:26 AM  

Less than the usual slogfest for the start of the weekend. Very happy to have down this online, because otherwise the huge blot of ink would have been unreadable. For a change, I didn’t have to hunt for the one wrong square when I filled the grid.

jae 7:32 AM  

Easy-medium. NW was the toughest corner. I had to circle around and come back to it.

This was smooth with a bit of sparkle (let the DUCT TAPE discussion begin), liked it.

...and a belated thank you to @Rex for continuing to do this. Like @chefwen, I’ve been here from almost the beginning and except for the period when things got a bit crazy (pre moderators) it’s something I’ve looked forward to every day.

kitshef 7:33 AM  

DNF at PENCil (if you use one, you save ink, right?)/SiLK (no idea on the institute) lURGATION (no initial letter made sense to me there).

Long before then, I was fed up with this puzzle and its GIL, ZANE, INSANA, LUCINDA, REN, and KIRI. This is a themeless; no excuse for loading it up with names.

Went back to see if there was anything I actually liked, clue or fill. MAMMOTH, RAPINOE, OXYMORON. Pretty sure that’s it. A normal Saturday the “goods” will outweigh the “bads”. Today, the “bads” more than triple the “goods”.

ChuckD 7:33 AM  

Nice, crunchy Saturday. Most of it was pretty smooth - the SE being the toughest for me as I blanked on ENERVATE and the ISOTONE x PURGATION cross got the side eye. Other than that thought the fill was fantastic - especially the NE corner KIRI, MAMMOTH and CHEERIOS which has a great clue.

Love me some early LUCINDA - I’ve seen her 4 or 5 times live. To clue her as a folk singer is a just wrong.

Really liked solving this puzzle.

Pamela 7:48 AM  

Brutal. As Rex said, PPP’s galore. Ouch. My worst goof was EXTraman for the contractor, so even though I had ROADBIKE and KAISER, the SW was impossible. Ron who? Really?

Otherwise, in the SE Google gave me ZANE, but my brain insisted on vERbCRED, so double DNF.

Not so long ago I was an avid gardner, with a huge area to fill. I joined clubs and on line organizations, traded plants by mail, and became an expert seed-starter. I had a large network of providers- retailers, collectives and fellow gardeners all across the country. After ten years my efforts paid off, and my gorgeous garden was a strong selling point when it was time to leave.

I have never heard of a bracket as a collection of seeds. Can anyone explain?

Destiny’s child 8:28 AM  

No. No one did watch Suits. And let’s hope that’s the end of any reference to it’s cast. Not to nitpick. But to nitpick. The Salk Institute is in La Jolla. Though a part of San Diego. It’s very much it’s own town. Otherwise liked the puzzle. Love the idea of sea of having nerd cred.

pabloinnh 8:31 AM  

Felt like this was maybe on the Friday side of Saturday but that's probably a wheelhouse thing, as most of the longer answers felt familiar, a la OFL. If you[re looking for more of a Saturday-type challenge, I really liked today's Saturday Stumper.

CORNHOLE looked like a lot of fun when I first saw it played somewhere so I got plans online and built some boards(?) and ordered some beanbags and started playing with my two sons and assorted neighborhood Bobs. It is a lot of fun, but I still have some reservations about the name, and my boys and I just refer to it as "the game". I guess there are still some Puritans left in New England.

Fun enough for me, KH, just over too soon.

Frantic Sloth 8:32 AM  

I believe we have a pangram, n'est-ce pas?

Dang! Nearly demolished any NERDCRED I might have earned with this one. Little stinker just didn't wanna give, but I refused to RAGEQUIT and prevailed after "only" 24 mins. Take that, speed solvers!

Favorite sneak attack: "Collection of seeds?" for BRACKET

The PPP gave me fits. I don't think I knew a single person...

GIL (of the one L)? Don't know squadoosh about jazz, so that's a hard nope.
LUCINDA Williams? Folk music after 1973? Sure, I'm a fossil, but no.
INSANA? Really? I got nuthin', so tthhhppp!

I did know SALK, ROMERO, ZANE, and EFRON, so...I guess maybe I lied. It must have hurt a lot more during the solve. Whatevs.

No care I because the challenge is the thing. (Sorry, Hammy)
And this wasn't one of those interloper early week puzzles edited with clueing steroids to pump it up with Saturdee muscle. This was legit beefcake and I devoured it with relish...and a nice Chianti?

Fun stuff! Keep 'em comin'!

Side note: DUCTTAPE next to KIMCHI gave me pause. Anyone familiar with RPDR (prior to season 10) would understand. Am I right??


Whoosey Whatsis 8:35 AM  

Once again, I enjoy seeing the ones that give Rex difficulty are different from mine. I didn't get Insana right away, but after a few letters it was, oh sure, Ron Insana! Likewise, I immediately knew it was "Suits" they were looking for. I can't think of anything else Meghan Markel was famous for until she married a prince. (And yes, some people watched "Suits" - I don't think it would have run for seven seasons if no one did. The first few seasons were lots of fun.) Again, I couldn't come up with her character's name right away but it wasn't exactly a struggle. Especially after getting "wiz" quickly. I sort of got Rapinoe but couldn't remember how to spell it. Rappino? Rapinno?

.I don't do a lot of puzzles, but try to do the NYT I don't recall ever seeing "oxymoron" in a puzzle before, so that was a delight.

I had difficulty here and there but it was always the kind that's fun when you finally figure it out - wow, purgation. Cheerios - cool. I loved Nerd Cred. Speaking of science, I had two years of college chemistry and I don't think I ever heard the term "isotones." I knew it couldn't be isotopes, so I threw my hands in the air and, well, I guess it must be "isotones"! Learn a new, useless word every day. And I wasn't looking for the Latin plural of gymnasium. Duh. I should know better by now.

About the only thing that bothered me was "mammoth," a perfectly good, real word for an au courant portmanteau "ginormous." Not that it was difficult... it just doesn't seem right.

Whoosey Whatsis 8:45 AM  

So happy to see DUCT TAPE used correctly, tape originally used for joining and sealing heating and air ducts before others in the construction trades realized how convenient it is for... well... everything. I know the common usage now is "duck" tape, but seriously, when did anyone ever tape a duck to anything? (And if they did, they probably used duct tape to do it.)

B Right There 8:45 AM  

Totally agree that the names spoiled this otherwise enjoyable one. It's crossWORDS, people! Not random letter strings that came up in your database as names. Sure, I expect to be asked to know the classics (leaders of large-ish nations, famous artists, ground-breaking, history-making scientists, and the like), but hedge fund manger? No. And furthermore, am not a fan of two of the crosses at INSANA. ROADBIKE (35D) sounds Green Paint to me. Maybe it's more familiar to those in the biking world. Off-road bike, sure. Mountain Bike, OK. But ROADBIKE? Hmm. And similarly, my other nit to pick is MISCAST (42D). Is this really a thing? Or, again, is it something said all the time in the movie/TV industry? Things I liked: well, starting right at 1A with DUCTTAPE! We have a roll or two EVERYWHERE! In the shop, the garage, the truck, the kitchen. Our saying is that your two best friends are DUCTTAPE and WD40.
One will make things stick, the other makes them unstick. Solves 90% of household problems! Also liked GLAMPING (16A). Used to love camping (the real tent and air mattress kind) when I was young. Now I would consider it only in an RV or, better yet, cabin. One hopefully not infested with ticks, chiggers, mosquitoes, and all the other little critters that I respect, but care not to allow to make me their breakfast, lunch, and dinner. CORNHOLE (34A) also made me smile. My husband just built his first set this year. It's big around my area of the mid-Atlantic and shows up at every tailgate event or neighborhood picnic. Also like NERDCRED (67A). Wish I could have gotten some of that when I was a nerd in middle and high school, but, alas, the cool kids didn't agree. This was in the time when being a nerd was Also liked that Megan RAPINOE is such a center entry in the middle of the grid. She's cool. But I always want to spell her name with an H like Arapaho Native Americans or something. Luckily the crosses worked that out for me, though I will admit that even after I filled in 30D GROW (Bloom or balloon) from further crosses, I didn't get it. Was looking at Bloom or balloon as nouns and could not parse them as verbs until the third time I looked at it! Doh moment! Also had PENCil at 7D even though I had SALK at 24A originally. And lURGATION at 29A looked just fine to me. Guess I had liturgical on the brain, so, sure, why not lURGATION?

So, I give it a B-. Lots of enjoyables; not too much dreck, but spoiled by the names.

Anonymous 8:48 AM  

In a tournament, the SEEDed teams are BRACKETed.

Kevin 8:51 AM  

I can’t believe that Rex didn’t go out of his way to complain about the constructor’s using all the letters of the alphabet in the puzzle! Usually he disapproves of that feat as producing Scrabbley fill.

Keith D 8:52 AM  

Seeds = rankings here. As in sports tournament rankings.

r.alphbunker 8:59 AM  


Had CO_NHOLE. Never heard of the bean bag game. GROW for {Bloom or balloon} seemed right if they were verbs so I reluctantly put in the R to get CORNHOLE which I know only as a verb that I first heard in the Army 55 years ago.

Details of my solution are here

Anonymous 9:00 AM  

Road Bike is most definitely a thing and not “green paint.”

The Joker 9:01 AM  

Goin' to ACE hardware and buy me some AKRON Rubber Duck tape.

Keith D 9:01 AM  

You might want to look up the origins of “duck tape”. You’ve more or less got it backwards.

Sioux Falls 9:09 AM  

@Pamela.... Think of March Madness. The teams are “seeded” from last to first, leading to the “brackets” that everyone carries around, hoping to win the office pool...

Ellen C 9:11 AM  

Maybe I'm not your average crossword puzzle person, but I had no trouble getting Insana. I worked in NYC in business news, and he was a big deal ... At least before Maria Bartiromo came along.

Donald 9:13 AM  

I finished quickly even though I am not a fast solver and don’t intentionally try to solve quickly. I didn’t know Insana, Zane, or Rapinoe, but the other proper names were gimmies and everything else just fell without a fight. I usually like more of a challenge on Saturday, but I thought this was a fun puzzle to solve.

57stratocaster 9:14 AM  

Enjoyed it. Pencil for pencap killed me (how does a pen cap save ink anyway?), as did isotopes for isotones (I learned something.)

Paul Statt 9:14 AM  

I was ready to send a congratulatory e-mail to Ron LIEBER, whom I knew as a student at Amherst, and who is, after all, a finance reporter at the New York Friggin Times--but was misled by some kind of insanaity.

Rube 9:14 AM  

I have no idea what glamping is . ZANE? No idea. But INSANA was a gimme for me. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. And that's OK.

What's not ok is 41A... an opinion is not necessarily biased so oxymoron is just well moronic. If you show me two rug swatches and ask which one I prefer that's an unbiased opinion.
Of course I am sure that Amy Coney Barrett will NOT have any unbiased opinions so in that particular case, yes unbiased opinion is an oxymoron

albatross shell 9:15 AM  

LUCINDA: Real problem there, even though I bought her first two records on vinyl and a few CDs around Car Wheels on a Gravel road. Bricks and Barbwire. Just never classified her as a folk singer. I would not dispute the designation. Record companies didn't seem to know what box to put in either. It did not help me that I misread the NATE clue as Man's name that rhymes with number, A whole lot came together after I finally reread the clue.

Rex review was pretty much right on, except for much: Did he mean mush or mulch?

But it was fun for humor a dogpile of good answers, a lot of I have no idea and got it anyway. Also some stuff I knew, but took way to long to See. Two I giveups, one I did know and one did not know even after I saw it. A surprisingly pleasant mostly easy-ish Saturday with a few knots,

Sixthstone 9:15 AM  

Uh oh, another female soccer player. Unleash the haters!

I agree with others that the proper names were pretty out there today. Throw in a few esoteric vocabulary words (PURGATION, ENERVATE, ISOTONES), and this could have been very difficult. But it really played pretty easy. Just enough through crosses and clever clues to allow me to work through it pretty quickly.

@ChuckD - 100% agree. Lucinda Williams is NOT a folk singer. Except maybe to the stodgy Grammy committee who doesn't know the difference between folk, country, and Americana.

Fun Saturday! Now with my NERDCRED earned, I'm off to watch some women's soccer... or maybe college football instead.

mathgent 9:17 AM  

Too hard for me. I cheated to get ZANE and that opened it up a lot but left me with the SE. RAGEQUIT and NERDCRED crossed by REN and QVC. At that point I bailed and looked up the answer at Jeff Chen.

There were 11 entries that I completely didn’t know, that’s only 15% of the 72. I can usually handle up to 25% unknowns. But these were pretty big, covering 38% of the 197 squares. That’s a lot of getting some crosses and guessing.

My hat’s off to all of you who found it easy.

Charles Flaster 9:19 AM  

Wow. Fastest Saturday in recent memory.
Wheelhoused it with INSANA, RAPINOE, ATM INSIDE, KAISER and the ever useful DUCT TAPE.
Cluing for CHEERIOS and BRACKET is wonderful.
Thanks KH.

Unknown 9:21 AM  

"Seeds" are highly ranked teams (or players) in a tournament BRACKET. That was clever.
Why would rex start a puz early in the morning, and then complain about his "slow" time because he was doing it early in the morning? I mean, that was his choice, right? And you know he's timing himself to the nanosecond, so why be coy with the actual time . . . . Too much ego, IYAM.
I thought for sure there would be a huge war amongst you all between DUCTTAPE and DUCKTAPE fans. I'm disappointed. Seriously.
I thought this was an easy Saturday, i.e., under a half hour, and I'll take that as a nice way to start the day. Had no idea who Mr. INSANA was. While I never watched SUITS, I'm guessing that enough folks did that it's okay for a Saturday clue.
And I guess women's soccer is on a roll, at least among the NERDS of the crossword universe.

Z 9:30 AM  

Yep, really a puzzle of split personality for me, too. I thought the NW was a great start (despite the DUCT TAPE error - please, it is DUCk TAPE), But having to piece together ROMERO and INSANA one letter at a time is boring. BRACKET and KNEE try to redeem the SW, but we’re just buried in trivial trivia. It seems like a better clue for EXTERNAL might have helped.
As for the NE, I know Cesar ROMERO better than George, but the R wasn’t that hard to infer with -OMERO in place. And then there is PURGATION. I guess IN HEAVEN near the top and PURGATION near the middle might be cute to some, but if there’s no “hell” near the bottom the joke seems half done. And let’s be honest, PENCil is a much better answer to “ink saver.”
And then we get GST instead of GMT in the SE (that’s Greenwich Sidereal Time for people not familiar with Crossworld timekeeping). After waiting for the DUCT/DUCk resolution at the top and trudging through INSANA and ROMERO all the warm glow of the NW was gone and waiting for the M or S put my eyebrows into permanent arch.

I did take a glance at the PPP, which is the high but not excessive range (30%). If I included food as PPP, though, it would be a different issue, KIMCHI, IDAHOS, DIJON, KAISER rolls, CHEERIOS, and, of course, CORN🌽HOLE.

This may sound like I hated the puzzle, but I actually enjoyed the solve mostly, only to be brought short by a handful of answers.

RooMonster 9:32 AM  

Hey All !
Well, as INSANA as it sounds, I found this one easy! Only a minute off my SatPuz record! Wow. Much easier than YesterPuz for me. Apparently, my years of couch-potatoeing have paid off!

Knew a bunch of the names right off, which according to the consensus, was a Big Help in solving this easily. Didn't know ZANE as clued, but after getting WSW, and having WI_, the Z seemed the obvious choice, and filled in ZANE on faith. Didn't know INSANA either, got that via crosses. Change EARS to EERS, maybe? Gets you INSANE. (Har)

Did get hung up in a few spots, but not very long. I almost felt like a speed solver! Odd, since the Mini took forevvver today.

Nice answers, light dreck, DIGGER a fun word. A bit of Rex's scrabble#$@&ing going on in that SE, but nary a peep from Rex about it. I guess if it works out, all is well.

GLAMPING, HAH. For those that don't know, it's camping with the comforts of home. As in, big tent, with a generator for electricity, with a TV, lights, heat/A/C, regular bed, stuff like that. Good stuff.

CORNHOLE always sounds to me porn-y. 😅

One F
Go AKRON Rubber Ducks!

Teedmn 9:33 AM  

Rex had me at his first paragraph. Of course, my foothold was KIMCHI so right away I was in the sector where the PPP were unknowns to me, KIRI and ROMERO, and AKRON (as clued). I fought my way out of there (along with Jeff Chen's ISOTOpES) only to find the rest of the puzzle had little to no fight in it.

LUCINDA Williams, yeah! (She has Minneapolis CRED, wrote a song about the city and married a local guy on the stage of First Avenue.)

I had fun seeing DIJON fill in. I had no idea there was any mustard in Caesar dressing (garlic, yes) and kept picturing the hundreds of Caesar salads I've had, with something that started with D. Hmmm. JAGUAR got 'er done.

Kristian, I prefer my Saturdays much harder with fewer names, but this was enjoyable. Thanks.

TTrimble 9:40 AM  

(Nice of Rex to give an inkling of his time on an off day. It's okay, Rex.)

I had trouble in the same ZANE area as he did. I went from "UTC" to "GMT" to GST, and that got me sorted out (finally), but sheesh. I also didn't know who Ron INSANA is, and would think that'd be an unfortunate name to grow up with. The sort of name where you think, "naw, that can't be right". Like @Pamela, cartoon question marks popping out of my head over BRACKETS.

There were other pockets of trouble: MAssive before MAMMOTH, ISOTOpES before ISOTONES, LUCIlle before LUCINDA (I know), which caused me to try Nero [rhymes with zero!] before NATE. "Ado" before DIN. Hive before HERD.

All that said, I love, love, love this puzzle! Fantastic collection of answers: just look at the SE corner alone: RAGE QUIT, ENERVATE, NERD CRED, wow!! PURGATION, CORNHOLE [anyone else conjure up Beavis whenever they hear that?], RAPINOE, OXYMORON, ATM INSIDE!! Was anyone else "sent" by this puzzle, IN HEAVEN? Aw man, look at that, GYMNASIA! Just a luscious treat for word lovers.

[Hey, you know something funny? I have red underlines underneath a bunch of those words. Which just goes to show how good they are!]

The downs in the NE are also pretty fab. Nice cluing for TAPS. I'm EAGER for more from this constructor.

The only downside for me in terms of word selection is GLAMPING. It could be a personal thing -- I have a visceral dislike of the person from whose maw I first heard the word issue forth -- but to me GLAMPING is about the ugliest portmanteau I've ever heard. Whoever first came up with that has no aesthetic sense at all for the sound of English. Conjures up "gallumping" and "glomming" and "glopping" (okay, I made the last one up; "glop" then) -- none having particularly pleasant associations. It's ungainly and awkward. I cringe every time I hear it.

---[SB Alert]---

Oh boy, looks like a slogfest is on for today. Yesterday I missed three: the two longest words, and one of the four-letter words (which I've seen, although it's not too common). I'll bet you know which one. So I was a little irritated when I finally looked them up.

Anonymous 9:43 AM  

I agree, and I’m off for my daily ride!

TheOmnivorousReader 9:44 AM  

Dijon goes in many vinaigrettes, but it is not an ingredient in a Caesar (or Cesare salad) any more than mayonnaise or blue cheese. Anchovies yes. Coddled or raw egg check. Those are the two ingredients that are most closely associated with a Caesar salad. Bad clue for that filler.

Harryp 9:56 AM  

Some good fill, but the surfeit of PPP almost drove me INSANA.

Nancy 10:02 AM  

Quick! What's the difference between a tough puzzle that fills you full of delicious curiosity and an absolutely ridiculous puzzle that makes you want to throw it against the wall?

Names. Names that crisscross and have to be navigated around. Names that you realize, after spending much too much of your morning trying, can't be navigated around. Names that you know will mean absolutely nothing to anyone in five years or less. Even to the people who think they are important now.

Did anyone have any doubt at all that I would RAGEQUIT this puzzle? And that I wouldn't even bother to look at the solution to find out what all those names were?

A puzzle like this does make me feel that I need a new hobby.

puzzlehoarder 10:12 AM  

A nice balance of knowns and unknowns to make a good Saturday solve. This was one of the few times that an annoying directional clue (43A) actually helped the solve.

Pamela 10:18 AM  

@anon 8:48- OOOooooooh! I was in the wrong ballpark entirely. Thanks for the enlightenment.

Joaquin 10:21 AM  

One of the great joys of doing crosswords is the accumulation of a variety of useful, semi-useful, and useless information. Not sure where the duck/duct tape debate falls on that spectrum but it certainly is interesting to learn that "duck" - which I always assumed was wrong - is actually more correct than "duct".

According to Wiki, in California the use of duck tape on ducts, is illegal. I'm guessing that the use of duct tape on ducks is also illegal.

TJS 10:28 AM  

Enjoyable Saturday. @TTrimble saves me the trouble of listing everything I liked. Felt really good about finishing this until I found out I was only in it for the "nerd cred", LOL.

TTrimble 10:30 AM  

It said Caesar [salad] dressing, didn't it? Isn't DIJON mustard a common ingredient in the dressing? Google will confirm it.

@Unknown 9:21AM
Thanks for explaining BRACKET! I'm not a big sports guy, obviously.

If you're like me and have a habit of putting pens in pants pockets, then a PEN CAP will save a little ink from leaking into the fabric.

Z 10:31 AM  

Wikipedia lists LUCINDA Williams’ genres as “Americana, folk rock, country rock, alternative country, heartland rock, country folk.” Seems about right.

@Kevin - There are two competing etymologies, both equally shaky on their sourcing. I find the DUCk one, fromDuck- “strong, untwilled linen (later cotton) fabric,’ used for sails and sailors' clothing, more compelling but nobody really knows.

@Rube - all opinions, basically by definition, are biased. If you prefer one one rug swatch over the other you are choosing based on your own biases. Likewise with my preference for DUCk TAPE over DUCT TAPE. The available facts don’t provide a definitive answer so I go with my opinion.

@TheOmnivorousReader - Wikipedia and all kinds of recipe sites disagree.

Dan 10:43 AM  

Has anyone anywhere ever used "sent" or "sends" by themselves to mean IN HEAVEN or ELATES? Because outside of crossword puzzles I don't think I've never seen it written or heard it spoken like that. Kinda annoying to see it twice in the same puzzle. And GST as a timekeeping standard is super esoteric (and not usually referred to using the acronym AFAIK) though to be fair I'm not sure what a better clue would be. Goods and Services Tax, maybe?

other than that I thought the fill was pretty good (CHEERIOS! DUCTTAPE! CORNHOLE!). I didn't think there were too many names, or maybe it just felt good since I knew most of them already.

Kathryn Horvat 10:54 AM  

What happened to Greenwich Mean Time?

jberg 10:57 AM  

I’m surprised there aren’t more complaints about ISOTONES. As clues, it’s wrong. A bunch of, say, iron atoms with the same number of neutrons are ISOTOpES, the answer I went with. ISTONES are atoms of different elements with the same number of neutrons. Also OJ Simpson’s gloves, but that’s another story.

I had HOtlicks for HORNSOLO, so it was tough to unravel that corner, but I finally saw that PURGATION would work with LUCIlle. And so it went.

Fortunately Scripps, my go-to San Diego institute, wouldn’t fit, or I’d still be deep in that rabbit hole.

Oh yeah—saw ducks in the clue, figured it was Oregon, and put in Salem. I should have thought more about why they were rubber

I did enjoy the struggle. INSANA a mystery, but fairly crossed. Tough but fair.

@Z, thanks for explaining that S= sidereal, not Standard. I guess it’s OK then.

Carola 11:02 AM  

Lotsa fun working down from the top until I ran into the RAPINOE Line (too bad she's not actually a defender), which I found very hard to breach. SOS, indeed. It took a trip to the farmers' market to accomplish the required brain+eye reset to get it done. So many terrific answers today! I really liked the central cross of LUCINDA and RAPINOE, and also liked KIRI next to IDOL, as she's one of mine.

Help from previous puzzles: GLAMPING, RAGE QUIT. Help from having a son who owns more yard games than you can shake a stick at: CORNHOLE. No idea: INSANA, ZANE.

GILL I. 11:02 AM  

This was amazingly awful. I distinctly remember forgetting just about every name you tossed my way. OXYMORONic for sure. There should be a law on how many...WIll?
So you CORN HOLE with a bean bag? Ouch. Speaking of...Yes, I watched Suits. I thought it great. Trouble was I remembered Rachel but not her last name.
I know KIRI because she is the only soprano I will actually listen to and just the other day I mentioned RAPINOE. Let's see...what else?
OK, so toss out all the proper names, wonder out loud why a DIGGER is a contractor but not an employee and then you have a fairly decent Saturday.
I liked KIMICHI. My Korean friend makes it and it stinks to high HEAVEN. I tell her all the time that she smells like napa cabbage and garlic but she doesn't care. I also love CHEERIOS. It is the only cereal I like - just add some cut up bananas to it once the cereal has melted.
I will now ENERVATE my brain and go have a piece of toast.

Michiganman 11:17 AM  

Duck tape, invented during WWII, was made out of a cotton duck fabric and it repelled water like a duck's back. Duct tape is an entirely different thing. Duck brand duct tape conflates the "issue". Happily, no one is really wrong here because we're talking about two different tapes. Don't forget to have your heating ducks cleaned before winter.

Whatsername 11:20 AM  

Yikes! Tough with all those Propers and most of them far from mainstream. But Saturday rules (mine) allow me to Google those and with that help I was able to finish the rest without too much trouble. Otherwise I might have RAGE QUIT and destroyed what little NERD CRED I’ve managed to accumulate earlier in the week.

Wonderful clues for BRACKET, OXYMORON and JAGUAR but I don’t think I have seen REG on a gas pump in decades. PURGATION was new to me as well as GST and I stuck with GMT until I could no longer deny it on 49D. Tried googling and still couldn’t come up with an answer so thank you @Z for the explanation on that one. You saved me the humiliation of having to ask.

GHarris 11:20 AM  

Having grown up in the South Bronx “hot to trot” had to mean “horny” so I wrote it in while wondering, would The NYTimes allow it? Messed me up for awhile and was only able to finish, given all the unknown names, by using “check puzzle “ periodically. to alert me to wrong letters.Mind you, I never asked for “reveal square “ and I refrained from Googling so I don’t feel like a total cheat.

David 11:32 AM  

Not for me. Unbiased opinion is certainly not an oxymoron. Or it shouldn't be. But perhaps in today's USA, where fantasy and lies are presented as the equivalent of fact and science by our "news" media, it is.

What's "familiarly" about Dijon? It's Dijon, and it's a tiny part of a contemporary Caesar dressing if it's used at all.

Pro Bowlers, Minor League Baseball, High School science, and names names names.

Yes, I have a road bike and know the difference between that and a dirt bike. It's a real thing; a 1995 BMW R1100R. Road bike was an easy get for me.

Contractors are external in the Chicago School sense, the same as pollution, climate change, Black Lung Disease, poisoned water, and all the other externalities which are somebody else's problem to deal with and pay for rather than the corporation's concern. That's what the entire "gig economy" is built on. It's why Uber calls their employees "independent contractors." Uber's the biggest tax scam in our history; 20 years ago the IRS would have been all over them. My, how times change.

Hey look! Here's another name and it rhymes with eight!

Pencil before Pen Cap because so few people use fountain pens these days.

Here's a plural no English speaker anywhere uses. It was easy to see because of that. I would never call a virtuoso a "wiz," it seems so demeaning.

It would seem my nearly rage quitting had more to do with the cluing than with the puzzle. I mean, what's not to like about: duct tape, kimchi, in heaven, glamping, ailment, cornhole, Rapinoe, oxymoron, and more? Enervate elated me as well. Best clues were for Cheerios and knee, I think, and it's nice to see Gil Evans clued this way in a grid which contains a horn solo.

Rube 11:37 AM  

Have to biasedly disagree.
In the star trek episode "Let that be your battlefield", Frank Gorshin and Lou Antonio aka Bele and Lokai are enemies because Lokai has a biased negative opinion of people black on the right side and Bele has the opposite but also biased opinion. But the enterprise crew can have unbiased opinions of these two because they don't perceive the black/white lefr/right thing to be a factor in forming their Unbiased Opinions as to goodness or badness

BarbieBarbie 11:38 AM  

Weird solve. Easy time, but a definite Saturday in that I had nothing but fill entered after the first pass. And at that point I was pretty disgusted. OK, I guess Oreo wasn’t in there, but AVIAS as a POC twofer... ugh. And many more.
And then I started to get the longer ones, starting with CORNHOLE. And it was so much fun after that, that I completely, or almost anyway, forgave the icky fill.
So: easy time. Great longs. Icky shorts, which is its own cute image (I get A Lily Pulitzer flashback).

Ethan Taliesin 11:38 AM  

A bit faster than usual for me and still just over twice Rex's time. I thought it was pretty clean, and the tricky proper names were all kindly crossed.

When I slid over from the SW corner to the unfilled SE section, I filled in NERDCRED with zero crosses so that clue was on point. GLAMPING sure gets a lot of ink lately. I had no idea what Markle did as a career.

egsforbreakfast 11:43 AM  

I struggled a bit with this one because of names, mostly, and was surprised to finish with about my average Saturday time. Really liked the ATMINSIDE clue and answer. I thought Mr. House missed a golden opportunity at 52A (Man’s name that rhymes with a number). If you’re going to clue NATE as vaguely as that, why not “Man’s name that might be short for an unfair occurrence in a crossword?”

I got a taste of a food sub-theme with KIMCHI, IDAHOS, EAR of CORN(HOLE), DIJON, KAISER and CHEERIOS.

Ellen C 11:49 AM  

Lieber would be a great fill

Ellen C 11:53 AM  

Agree. I thought perhaps,it was a waiter thing: one Caesar, hold the anjov

Joe Dipinto 11:53 AM  

I watched "Suits" briefly early on, on the recommendation of a friend, and I kind of liked it. The thing I remember most about it is that one of the two lead actors had a birthmark on his face that I found completely distracting. Whenever he was the focus of a camera shot all I could do was stare at it. I don't remember seeing Meghan Markle in it but it's possible she was there.

This puzzle may have the largest collection of ugly looking words in crossword history. GLAMPING, PURGATION, CORNHOLE, RAPINOE, OXYMORON, INSANA, NERDCRED, ATMINSIDE. Think I'll start a band called DIGGER & the ISOTONES.

Let's see what's shakin' at the GYMNASIA.

PHV 11:58 AM  

GST is unacceptable. You're thinking of GMT. If you Google GST, you can get to the Wikipedia disambiguation page which has Greewich Sidereal Time which is known only to astronomers.

Maybe we could have one day a week with no film directors, no actors, no singers of any genre, etc.

Dave S 12:01 PM  

SE was the toughest for me as the clever clues for oxymoron and bracket clicked pretty early and made up for the totally unknown to me Insana in the SW. Ragequit is only slightly more known to me than nerdcred, if there is such a thing, but mostly it was the leadin to the corner that got to me. Grow bloom or balloon still doesn't set quite right and I'm not only ignorant of Zane but glad of it. Finally wiz clicked into place and made sense of things. Also had "vetted" instead of "netted" for cleared which made 48 across a big mess for a while. But any puzzle that includes Lucinda Williams (with whom I have rocked out, rather than folked out) a number of times and George Romero is okay with me, not to mention my favorite soccer player.

Masked and Anonymous 12:02 PM  

Pangram. Thought that most of yer scrabble-twerkin was well done, tho.

Stuff M&A didn't know: KIMCHI/KIRI. PURGATION/CORNHOLE (as clued)/RAPINOE (but somewhat familiar, now that I see her all spelled out)/LUCINDA. ZANE (as clued). INSANA I sorta recalled, and the crosses on him were fair.

That there cluster of crossins of mystery in the middle really stomped all over my luvly solvequest nanoseconds. Eventually had to look up RAPINOE/LUCINDA, to stay in the game. That's ok, tho. Constructioneers probably have to look up a lotta stuff, just to fill their grids & write their clues.

staff weeject pick: TEM. First thing M&A wrote into the grid. Gave m&e hope. Feistier clue woulda been: {Met up??}.

fave clue: {Ginormous} = MAMMOTH. Also, of the 4 or so ?-mark clues, really liked {Collection of seeds?} = BRACKET.

Better HERD clue: {Word mangled by Trump in his "turd mentality" expression??}. har

Thanx, Mr. House. Sure enjoyed yer schlock flick reference at 18-A.

Masked & Anonymo3Us


DrBB 12:03 PM  

Natick Natick Natick Natick Natick. DNF because of all the obscure proper nouns, though I knew a couple of them. Really cheap way to get to a Saturday-difficulty puzzle IMO. Blech. Hated it.

Nancy from Chicago 12:04 PM  

This one seemed relatively easy (for a Saturday) until I got stuck in the NW, because I had confidently filled in PENCil where PENCAP should be. I also had ISOTOpES instead of ISOTONES. So for a while I was staring at the possibility of "soul-cleanser" being iURGATIOp. I knew that couldn't be right, and luckily the SALK institute saved me (I used to live in San Diego), giving me PENCAP, which let me see that it must be PURGATION. Fun puzzle overall, but I agree that it was pretty name-heavy.

What? 12:14 PM  

In spite of not knowing six of the Ps managed to finish but it was a struggle. So all in all pretty satisfying.
Never heard of ISOTONES, had ISOTOPES but couldn’t make it fit. PURGATORY to PURGATION and CORNHOLE we’re inspired guesses.

Cate 12:20 PM  

I just finished Thursdays. I gotta catch up.

Mark 12:29 PM  

In their need for validation, only nerds could know/like NERDCRED. Ugh. INSANA? Ugh ugh. RAGEQUIT?! No.

pmdm 12:38 PM  

PPP and more PPP. No thank you. Perhaps the constructor got pleasure from constructing the puzzle; I got none from trying to solve it. After the pleasure of solving tomorrow's acrostic puzzle, this was for me a big downer.

Quite happy to find out I am not the ony one who is complaining about the PPP.

The best thing I can say about the puzzle is that I'm reading the reast of the paper now. Don't mean to sound so negative, but this puzzle so inspired me.

Malsdemare 12:39 PM  

@Nancy, I'm with you. While I knew KIRI and RAPINOE, the rest were gibberish and almost impossible to guess. ROMERa makes just as much sense as ROMERO, you can add almost any letter in the alphabet to -ANE, and INSANA is, well . . . I rarely RAGEQUIT puzzles, but this one earned that vote.

But the many people who found it just fine make it clear that this tiny crossword world contains a pretty diverse group of NERDs. Here,s to diversity!

Anonymous 12:42 PM  

Its own town ( also its cast)
It's is a contraction of it is
And yes, my kids have named me the Grammar Police
Could have just been Autocorrect, which isn't always Correct
Just nitpicking

bocamp 12:43 PM  

@ Kristian - thx for easing me into the weekend. In my wheelhouse; lower that ave. time. :)

44D "wiz" came immediately to mind; otherwise 54A would have been "whack-a-consonant" time.

My introduction to "duct tape" came in 1972, using it to patch parts of our wheat combine in the Palouse hills of Washington State. Been a big fan of "duct tape" ever since. :)

Thx @ Rex for the Lucinda Williams vid; very nice. Here's Lucinda with, "Like a Rose".

Ala @ Rex, "pencil" before "pen cap".

Don't need to wait for "purgatory" to cleanse my soul; it's a work in progress. 🙏

@ Keith D 7:15 AM

Very good point!

@ jae 7:32 AM wrote:

"Easy-medium. NW was the toughest corner. I had to circle around and come back to it."

Notwithstanding all the improvements to the Apple Pencil over the years, I'm hoping someday to be able to "circle" or make notations directly onto the iPad NYT puzzle, without first having to take a screenshot. 🤞

@ kitshef 7:33 AM wrote:

"DNF at PENCil (if you use one, you save ink, right?)/SiLK (no idea on the institute) lURGATION (no initial letter made sense to me there)."

I also had "pencil" which resulted in the same conundrum. "Silk" just didn't sit right; "Salk" stepped in to save the day.

Peace 평화 🕊

Anonymous 12:50 PM  

the only kind of pen that benefits from a PEN CAP is a fountain pen. and then only if it's threaded, not just snapped on. 99.44% of ball points and gels and whatever else have thick ink and/or retractable.

Oldactor 12:51 PM  

@B right there: Yes indeed, miscast is used daily in the acting world. John Wayne as Genghis Kahn comes to mind.

Tom R 1:10 PM  

GMT = Greenwich Meridian Time. Seems the “standard” to me. Is GST Greenwich Standard Time? Is so is the same word in the clue and answer? I thought that violated crossword convention.

Rob 1:11 PM  

It was originally duck tape as it was made with cotton duck, a light canvas

Karl 1:21 PM  

I have always seen it spelled KIM CHEE, never KIM CHI.

Anonymous 1:34 PM  

Dan-10:43.....Sam Cooke

Amelia 1:49 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
KRMunson 2:14 PM  

Easy peasy for Saturday. Right in my wheelhouse. Never seen a Suits episode but some how got Zane.

okanaganer 2:24 PM  

The SALK institute is rock-star famous among architects for the buildings designed in the 1960s by the revered Louis Kahn.

Anoa Bob 2:28 PM  

It's a much more open grid than yesterday with triple-stacked 8s in the NW and SE and dang near quadruple-stacked 8s in the NE and SW for a classic looking themeless. It's heavy on names but with lots of good stuff to balance things out.

I lived and worked in South Korea for six months and also visited there from Japan many times in the 80s. Never did develop a taste for KIMCHI. Fermented cabbage with raw garlic isn't my cup of tea. @Gill I.'s experience with her Korean friend reminded me of the first time I boarded a city bus in Seoul. I nearly fell over backwards! The collective breath of 30-40 raw garlic eaters produced an overwhelming stench. Even though I didn't care for KIMCHI, I started eating it and other garlic dishes out of self-defense. It worked! I blended right in. I still eat lots of garlic to this day, although I always cook it first, never raw.

I've always thought it was neat that ENERVATE looks like it would mean something similar to "energize" but it actually means quite the opposite.

Wasn't Isaac and the ISOTONES a 1950s Doo-Wop band?

When I first heard of the game CORNHOLE recently, I looked around to see if anyone else was snickering. A couple of early post hints at another, let's say earthier meaning of the term, one that I first heard long ago when I was a kid in rural Tennessee. It's red neck slang for a terminus of the GI tract and if yous look it up on yous better be prepared for some serious not-safe-for-work and inappropriate-for-just-about-all-ages definitions. Definitely crude but kinda funny. Does crude plus funny equal bawdy?

TTrimble 2:28 PM  

@Dan 10:43AM
The song "You Send Me" by Sam Cooke.

@David 11:32AM
Dijon mustard would be familiarly known as DIJON.

@Tom R
As @Z explained, it's for Greenwich Sidereal Time, as a standard for astronomical use. Not in my wheelhouse, but from Wikipedia, Siderial Time, "Since it is not feasible to publish tables for every longitude, astronomical tables make use of Greenwich sidereal time (GST)". The article also helpfully says: "Briefly, sidereal time is a "time scale that is based on Earth's rate of rotation measured relative to the fixed stars"." -- and that it's used to locate celestial objects.

Frantic Sloth 2:47 PM  

@Rube 1137am Are you seriously citing an original Star Trek episode as proof of the existence of a truly unbiased opinion? Haha - love it! (P.S. Last Battlefield.) 😉

***Fire-lighting Alert***

Speaking of "unbiased opinion" probably all realize by now that the argument centers around your definition of biased/unbiased, as well as the degree of same. My angle is that virtually every choice we make has a certain amount of inherent bias - conscious or subconscious. And if it's in our subconscious, how can we truly know whether we are using it? Answer: we can't. So, to say some opinion is what degree? I'd say entirely, 100% unbiased is impossible, but if it's 99.9999999% unbiased, is that close enough? My argument is no, but the math experts might figure it differently. Plus, how on earth could you measure such a thing?
Just standing around with a container of gasoline and nowhere to put it.

***Suits Alert***

@GILL Why am not surprised? I first started watching it because I'm a sucker for that kind of premise and decided to stick with it until the bitter end -- one of my overly-abundant guilty pleasures. Later seasons seemed to concentrate mightily on Louis (who was a sublime caricature of an evil neurotic, IMHO) so it really got goofy, but did I mind? Not. The wife always complained about the ubiquitous file-tossing everyone did and it became amusing after a while. Donna was a favorite in our house.
@Joe D 1153am Which one had a birthmark and how did I never notice? Annoying cosmetic minutiae is a pet peeve of mine. I feel cheated.

@Anon 134pm 👍

CT2Napa 2:53 PM  

I know no one cares, but here is the duck tape/duck tape NGRAM

In English usage in books, "duck tape" absolutely dominates.

Newboy 3:05 PM  

Hand up for PENCil cause my last ink stain was somewhere around 1972 when I favored green ink (not paint) for encouraging students to “go for it” as writers. PPP noted by many also fell outside my comfort level, but I will never claim NERD CRED when contemporary culture is the topic so I’m not pulling out the red ink for Mr. House’s puzzle. Can’t say it ELATES me, but not enough INSANA for a RAGE QUIT. Crosses made a finished grid possible at least.

GILL I. 3:05 PM  

@Frantic....I had a love/hate relationship with Louis. He could be mean and whiny...then he'd be endearing. His wife (I've forgotten her name) was, well, someone I'd probably not enjoy having lunch with. Donna, on the other hand, rocks. One classy chic. The other classy beyond classy was Jessica. I would check out her outfits and wonder if I'd ever be able to pull off wearing a Dior to the office. A girl can dream can't she?

Rube 3:21 PM  

@FranticSloth What better way than StarTrek to show a perfect case of an unbiased opinion and a biased opinion. I could have found "real life" examples too, but this one is just so obvious. Pretty much any alien coming to earth would have nothing but unbiased opinions about anything on earth. When Richard Kiel arrives on earth (with suggestions about how "To Serve Man", any opinion he has as to whether women taste better than men or whether kids are yummier than seniors is unbiased. He can't have any bias because he has no frames of reference from which to create a bias.

CT2Napa 3:24 PM  

Does no one here use felt tip pens? If you don't cap them they dry out - or bleed all over your clothes.

Frantic Sloth 3:31 PM  


@GILL I think I had a love/hate relationship for everyone at one time or another...except Donna. But Louis merited the most extreme reaction in either direction....well, maybe a tad more toward hate. 😉

Jessica was as close to a fashion goddess as that show ever got. She was could pull that off! 😎

chefwen 3:55 PM  

Ant puzzle that has KIM CHI in it is already a winner in my book. I’m hopelessly addicted to the stuff, it’ll cure whatever AILMENT you may have, except as @Anoa Bob and @GILL have stated, bad breath. I remember going out to talk to the yard guy after munching on some cucumber KIM CHI and the guy backed up about five steps with a not too pleasant look on his face. I should have offered him some to even the score.

I enjoyed this one and managed finish cheat free. Took us ages but we did it.

Bill L. 4:00 PM  

I looked up Lucinda’s Grammy wins. She has three: Best Country Song, Best Contemporary Folk Album, and Best Female Rock Vocal performance. So yeah, she obviously has a wide range. I saw her at the Rocky Mountain Folks Festival, but don’t be misled by that. I’ve also seen Jeff Tweedy (solo), Norah Jones, and Los Lobos there (to name just a few).

Lucinda and Rapinoe were both gimmes for me so those two crossing dead center in the grid definitely helped this go fairly quickly for me.

Z 4:00 PM  

@CT2Napa - Well, I care. And since DUCk TAPE existed before 1970 the question becomes why neither term appears in the database much before then. Since, as has been pointed out, you shouldn’t use the stuff on actual DUCTs, it seems an odd misnomer.

@michiganman - Since the company that trademarked DUCk Tape calls it DUCkTAPE DUCT TAPE they’re not much help.

@Frantic Sloth re @Rube - Pretty awesome.

@Rube - Hmmmm, I’d say that episode is more about prejudices than about opinions, but okay. The Enterprise crew reaches a conclusion based on available evidence (the society’s biased opinions were destructive to the planet).

@jberg - Don’t ISOTOpES have the same number of protons but a different number of neutrons? ISO went in right away, but I needed the crosses for the rest because ISOTONES was a new term for me, but it makes sense now.

@okanaganer - Thanks Being more familiar with Detroit architecture, Albert Kahn is the Kahn whose buildings I know best.

Re: GST - This is a learned from crosswords and the commentariat thing. GST is something I’ve only ever seen in crosswords, but it seems GST appears as often as GmT, so I just wait for the cross.

PPP - Again a late week puzzle below the somewhat arbitrary 33% “excessive level” with lots of complaints. Maybe 30% is the weekend level.

Anonymous 4:04 PM  

... but it's kinda hard to see what's useful about ISOTONES??? isotopes, sure, they give us nucular bombs, carbon dating (prefer blondes, myself) and lots of other stuff.

GILL I. 4:12 PM  

@chefwen...My best garlic moments were in Spain. I would take the metro to work and hang on to the overhead straps. I was inevitably taller than most of the men (Spaniards were still reeling from their Civil War and poor eating - ergo they didn't grow very tall)...Anyway, most only came up to my arm pits. I could smell the garlic in their hair and I was scared to death they would sniff my armpits. I wasn't Into a lot of that stuff quite yet until I had Spanish garlic soup. I was hooked and wore my garlic perfume with pride..... :-) We need a name for that!

DigitalDan 4:16 PM  

Watched and enjoyed Suits. Watched and enjoyed Rachel Zane. The characters were kind of Trumps with a heart of gold.
Got me 447 worth of nerd cred. I had "gold star" though until that didn't work. Not sure what to think of that whole thing. If a solver is a nerd, what must a constructor be?

Nigel Pottle 4:35 PM  

I always amaze myself that I fill in answers sometimes not knowing why I know stuff. I didn’t know anything about Ms Rapinoe but the couple of letters I had and my brain went click and out popped a sme I shouodn’t know since I don’t follow sports at all. The Meaghan Merkle clue works because she is famous now and some would know the connection from that rather than from the show’s name - note I didn’t know it, but Wiz saved me. I saw Lucinda live too and have listened to all her music. I balked a little at “Folk” but these days what’s called “folk” is not what it used to be - Childe ballads and such. And “folk-rock” - what is that? And I use fountain pens so pencap was a gimme - it does save the ink from drying out. 24 minutes for me - I’m no Rex Parker, but hey “34 secs faster than your last Saturday”. Whee

Blue Stater 4:36 PM  

The proper names were bad enough, as OFL points out, but dear Lord, the errors! "Prime meridian std." is GMT, Greenwich Mean Time, not GST, Greenwich Standard Time (it can be GST if you don't have "std." in the clue) [60A].* "Gist" is not POINT [39D]. The phrase "Unbiased opinion" is not an OXYMORON, and an OXYMORON is not an "Unbiased opinion" [41A] I do not know how a PEN CAP can be an "ink saver" [7D] and I'm old enough to remember fountain pens. Et cetera ad nauseam. I've said it many times here before and will say it again: put the puzzles through the copy desk and much of this junk will go away. OTOH the puzzles then won't be so artificially difficult, now will they?

*I know about Greenwich Sidereal Time. But not even the NYTXW can be that obscure, can it? Can it?

Joe Dipinto 4:36 PM  

@Frantic Sloth – the actor's name the web) Macht. His character's name is Harvey. The birthmark isn't large or weird-looking – it's above his left eyebrow – but for some reason it would siphon my attention away from everything. Maybe it's just an infrequent place to have one. I see there's one on his temple as well, but it's not as noticeable from the front.

Nigel Pottle 4:41 PM  

PS - I come here to find out why the right answers I fill in are right. I often have no idea - certainly Insana was one of those, as was bracket - I don’t follow sports so didn’t get how seeds had anything to do with the answer.

Blackhat 5:18 PM  

10 people names, no foreign words.

Aelurus 5:34 PM  

I was so pleased with my answer for 7D, ink saver (as PENCIL), that it took me a while to give that up and change to SALK and PURGATION. I see others here loved PENCIL too.

Several unknown PPP: Can never remember RAPINOE (38A) and didn't know INSANA (61A), both of which I Googled. Got ZANE (54A) only by crosses. The imaginary NATE (52A) fell when I counted to eight.

Had fun with this one. Favorite answers: CHEERIOS (12D) and DUCT TAPE (1A).

Always used to skip Saturdays (as Paul Sorvino said in Wordplay, the "bitch mother" of all crosswords), but after reading this blog for several years I just dug in and persisted. Can often spot the misdirection now and think the other way, but often I can't--then Google and learn. That's how I became acquainted with Fata Morgana, the extremely detailed mirage, not the King Arthur sorceress, and was happy as a clam.

@Anonymous from yesterday 3:32 pm--was born east of the Mississippi but am now west. Have never seen a tyrant peewee and thank you for the information and your guess--which was correct. I looked it up and found a western wood-peewee (or pewee) and listened to the calls on the Cornell Ornithology Lab. The dawn song seemed like what you were describing. I'm not great at IDing birds by sound (and sometimes by sight!), but after seeing western screech owls in the backyard and hearing their call, I can ID that one--the call is so unusual! The only way I could describe it was as a slowing-down Ping-Pong ball. No one understood until a friend who's expert at bird calls knew what I meant. Great horned owls don't seem to make a call like that, just a whooo-whooo.

John Windle 5:37 PM  

Call me grumpy but it seems like the clues are getting more pathetic by the weak (uh, week). Glapming? Come on... ditto Idahos (really), ATMinside meh, Ragequit -- well that was how I felt, could hardly bother to finish.

bocamp 5:40 PM  

**** "pencap" alert ****

"How to keep your pens from drying out" , obviating the need for drawing circles to get them working again, thus saving time and ink in the bargain.

@ Joaquin 10:21 AM wrote:

"According to Wiki, in California the use of duck tape on ducts, is illegal. I'm guessing that the use of duct tape on ducks is also illegal."

Good one! LOL

@ Z 10:31 AM wrote:

"Wikipedia lists LUCINDA Williams’ genres as “Americana, folk rock, country rock, alternative country, heartland rock, country folk.” Seems about right."

Well said! :)

BTW, "pigeonholing" is passé. 😉

**** "You Send Me" alert ****

@ Dan 10:43 AM wrote:

"Has anyone anywhere ever used "sent" or "sends" by themselves to mean IN HEAVEN or ELATES?"

Kind of "old-timey" jargon, me thinks.

@ Anonymous 1:34 PM & @ TTrimble 2:28 PM covered it well; here are "Aretha Franklin" and "The 4 Seasons" to top it off (with lyrics, to boot):

You Send Me - Aretha Franklin

You Send Me - The 4 Seasons

"Darling you send me
I know you send me
Darling you send me
Honest you do, honest you do
Honest you do, whoa
You thrill me
I know you, you, you thrill me
Darling you, you, you, you thrill me
Honest you do
At first I thought it was infatuation
But wooh, it's lasted so long
Now I find myself wanting
To marry you and take you home, woah
You, you, you, you send me
I know you send me
I know you send me
Honest you do
Whoa, whenever I'm with you
I know, I know, I know when I'm near you
Mmm hmm, mmm hmm, honest you do, honest you do
Whoa, I know
I know, I know, I know, when you hold me
Whoa, whenever you…"

@ jberg 10:57 AM wrote:

"Oh yeah—saw ducks in the clue, figured it was Oregon, and put in Salem. I should have thought more about why they were rubber"

Thx for switching on the light for me.! I thought, "what a strange name for a team," and seeing that "Akron" was the correct answer, didn't give it a second thought. "Lazy-mind" again! Got to keep working on listening to "spidey-sense" and taking the time to suss it out, maybe not at the time, but surely, after completing and analyzing the puz.

(This is where it would have been handy to be able to use the Apple Pencil on my iPad, without having to take a screenshot in order to mark up the puzzle). 🤔

**** GST alert ****

sidereal time

"digger" - first part of my Pinterest handle :)

Peace 평화 🕊


Blackhat 5:42 PM  

@Nancy .....AMEN!!!!

albatross shell 6:03 PM  

No. No. No.
Duck tape is not the more correct nor more accurate name. At least not anymore. For the simple reason that Duck Tape is a trademarked name. Only Duck Tape (brand name) may be called duck tape. Other companies may sell duct tape but not duck tape. Even the makers of Duck Tape refer to it as Duck brand duct tape. They were only able to get the trademark because the term "duck tape" had fallen out of use. So the folks at Duck Tape now want you to believe that it is the better more accurate name because name because only they can manufacture it. Think Scotch and cellophane tape.
There is also reason not call it the more accurate name historically, but that argument is much more two-sided. The inventor was a woman Vesta Stoudt who got a big assist from FDR.

All those Rex nitpickers here and nobody else bothered mentioning his typo? Weird. I'm probably the second worst proofreader here.

"Say it. NERD CRED. It's like much in your mouth."

Did he mean mush or mulch?

Anonymous 6:10 PM  

Keep the faith!! The sound of a ping pong ball slowing down is perfect for that particular vocalization. I think,
I’m a born and bred and stuck Easterner, so I can’t be 100% sure you’re. Ore t. There are geographical differences. But that diminishing frequency of notes, ie the ping pong ball falling, is very familiar to all, borders. In the East, it’s also a hallmark of the Field sparrow.
Anyway, is is ok to say I love that you know about owl vocalizations.
Keep this one in your bank: “who cooks for you, who cooks for you, who cooks for you, all”
That’s a barred owl. One of the few that vocalizes in daylight. For better or worse, it’s working it’s way West.
The bad news is I too looked up peewees on Cornell’s site —- which is THE site to use— and your pew wee’s song is very different than my lifelong friend..... regardless. Sounds like you have it in hand , er um, ear.

Anonymous 6:18 PM  

what is PPP please?

Frantic Sloth 7:10 PM  

@Joe D 436pm Aaaaaah! That's right! I guess I was picturing a birth mark more in the Gorbachev splatz vein. This seems more like a mole to me, but I totally get the distraction. My most annoying distraction these days has been the prosthetic overbite and Rami Malek's blue eyes on Freddie Mercury. It's depressing to me to think what might have been...

Pamela 7:20 PM  

*****SB ALERT****

The Bee is tough today, too. Not even to G yet, and my only pangram was in the sword puzzle today. Saturday double header. Oof.

JC66 7:33 PM  

@Anon 6:18


Pop culture, Product names, and other Proper nouns. 25-30% is pretty NYTX typical. More than 33% almost always causes some subset of solvers trouble.

Monty Boy 8:40 PM  

I liked this one a lot, mostly because I finished it and got the happy tone at the last letter. No searching for the ONE wrong square. the PPP was a bit of a slog, but google helped where the wheel house failed

For those of you unhappy about the PPP, consider that 1 down could have been clued as the Great Gildersleeve's neighbor Odell. Those of us old enough to have listened to radio before TV would get that easily.

pabloinnh 9:04 PM  


*****SB ALERT******

Finally got to G after quite a long time and coming up with what I thought were some pretty cool and obscure words and G is good enough for me and I'm totally sick of all these letters and have decided that any further words would be ridiculous combinations of letters that shouldn't be words anyway, enough, and so to bed.

Anonymous 9:13 PM  

Preference and bias are synonymous?! 🙄

Joe Dipinto 9:43 PM  

*** Sunday Spoilers ***

Puzzles completed:
Crossword ✓ (@Rex will hate it)
Acrostic ✓ (easy this week)
Spelling Bee ✓ (and I have one extra word, hah!)
Patrick Berry ✓
5X5 KenKen ✓

In progress:
7X7 KenKen

I may do the Yin-Yang if I get really really bored. I messed up last week's.

@F Slo – I've always thought a small mole was, or could be, called a birthmark. But it looks like a birthmark is technically a skin pigmentation thing. So yes, what Gabriel Macht has would be moles.

bocamp 9:44 PM  

**** SB ALERT ****

@ Pamela 7:20 PM

"I feel ya" - I just became a "wanna-bee," but a long way to go for QB. I'm back on schedule now, as I spent four days trying to get the final word on Tuesday's SB. Of course, it was a "doh" moment, as I finally packed it in and looked at the answer key. 😔

Peace 평화 🕊

Pamela 11:07 PM  

*****SB ALERT******

@JoDipinto- Impressive! It looks like you win the crown for all of us today. Congrats!

I just got another few words, but still no prizes. And there won’t be today, because after seeing that so many of us are in the same boat, I peeked. I missed lots of gettables and at least a couple that were well outside my ken. This is the first time I quit without the pangram and short of Genius. I’ve only been doing the Bee for a few weeks, but it already has me firmly in its clutches. I’ve actually started a list of the words I think are far fetched. It’s expanding fast.

I hope tomorrow is more kind.

bocamp 11:37 PM  

**** SB ALERT ****

@ Joe Dipinto 9:43 PM

Congrats, Joe; looks like a clean sweep! :)

I've still got ten words to go, so I may work a few days on it. :)

Peace 평화 🕊

TTrimble 11:42 PM  

---[SB Alert]---
I didn't know that @Joe Dipinto even did these things. Congrats, Joe!

I've four to go for today's (although I haven't looked at it in hours).

old timer 12:05 AM  

Late post, but I had to complain about even the thought of DIJON mustard, or any mustard, in a Caesar Salad. Then I reread the clue. It may be an ingredient in those bottled Caesar dressings. But why? A proper Caesar salad is easily made at home. You just need first-rate olive oil, a little good wine vinegar, garlic, and the best anchovies you can find -- and an egg or two. Egg (cold or as I prefer, coddled) is what holds the thing together. And croutons, but some grocers make garlic croutons as good as you could make at home.

bocamp 1:16 AM  

**** SB ALERT ****

Five to go; they'll have to wait for tomorrow. 😴

Peace 평화 🕊

Photomatte 1:33 AM  

I didn't realize there was a Duct Tape vs Duck Tape debate; I always thought everyone knew the origin of that wonderful adhesive (taping ducts together), and anyone who called it Duck Tape was just being ironic (as the creators of Akron Duck Tape certainly were).
Lemme offer up another axiom I thought everyone knew but, apparently, they don't: Chicago is not called The Windy City because of how windy it is; it's not weather-related at all, in fact.
Okay, one more. When playing Monopoly, if you land on Reading Railroad, remember to pronounce it correctly: it sounds like Red-ing, not Read-ing. I rode at least one Reading Railroad every day for years and I grew up shopping at the Reading Terminal market (Philly).
Okay, onto Sunday.

NukeAbolitionist 11:02 AM  

prime meridian attends to GMT, not GST, doesn't it?

TheOmnivorousReader 8:53 PM  

LOL. I doubted myself as it's been awhile since I tossed a Cesare, do I did a quick troll thru Google and got out my Julia Child to be sure I was right about no Dijon. I did see an abomination on the web that called for dijon AND mayonnaise, and nearly had the vapors.

Jethro 5:24 PM  

So in the South Bronx the clue "hot to trot" would beg the answer "eager beaver"?

Matthew B 6:51 AM  

With fountain pens, which I use to solve, the cap certainly saves ink.

thefogman 10:07 AM  

Rex is spot on. So much junk is being given the green light lately by Will Shortz.

thefogman 11:32 AM  

PS - Looking forward to seeing what BS does with 34A...

Burma Shave 11:58 AM  


CORNHOLE with that NERD.


rondo 12:11 PM  

It sure helps when the top row is nothing but gimmes. So I thought this was pretty easy for a Sat-puz. Even if the four corners DIED.

Combine CHEERIO with CORNHOLE and you've got a classic Beevis and Butthead episode.

KIRI Te Kanawa was played often on MPR's former morning show 1977 - 2008. I still kinda miss it.

I've got LUCINDA yeah baby Williams on both vinyl and CD. Never much considered her 'folk', more alt-country or Americana.

I've got a trophy to prove my NERDCRED.

spacecraft 12:46 PM  

Found this one a bit on the easy side. no pencil here. -CAP was already in there, for PURGAT [ORY or ION]: I waited to see. Good thing. This was another fun solve--I guess when you've cheated death you mellow out a little--thoroughly enjoyed. DOD is the talented and cute Megan RAPINOE. Birdie.

Hand up for NERDCRED points.

rondo 3:50 PM  

BTW, LUCINDA Williams got married on-stage at First Avenue in Mpls.

Diana, LIW 4:00 PM  

Well I gave myself WORDCRED. So you know how I ended up.

I was trying to come up with something to fill in for one who had a long crossword-solving streak of minor DNFs. Ha!

Diana - Wait for It

Z 4:38 PM  

@Rondo - When?

leftcoaster 5:18 PM  

Not long ago, felt I was making real progress toward solving Fri-Sat puzzles. Then, more recently, I’ve been pretty consistently losing ground on them.

Today, wanted slapdash instead of DUCTTAPE, PURGATory instead of PURGATION, [?] instead of INSANA, and another [?] instead of Z at the WIZ/ZANE cross.

Didn’t do badly, but didn’t do very well, either.

It’s either me or the puzzles or both.

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