Russian letter in spelling of tsar / SAT 9-19-20 / Symbols of hope during American French revolutions / Georgia who played Georgette on 1970s TV / Historic sites in Hot Springs Ark / Classic couples retreat / Treatment during sandal season informally

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Constructor: Robyn Weintraub

Relative difficulty: Easy (over 9 minutes lol but I was co-solving over zoom and chatting the whole time, so ... probably, realistically, more of a six-minute solve (fast)—this felt very much like a Friday puzzle)

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: Hot Springs, Ark. (20D: Historic sites in Hot Springs, Ark. => BATH HOUSES) —

Hot Springs is a resort city in the state of Arkansas and the county seat of Garland County. The city is located in the Ouachita Mountains among the U.S. Interior Highlands, and is set among several natural hot springs for which the city is named. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city had a population of 35,193. In 2019 the estimated population was 38,797.

The center of Hot Springs is the oldest federal reserve in the United States, today preserved as Hot Springs National Park. The hot spring water has been popularly believed for centuries to possess healing properties, and was a subject of legend among several Native American tribes. Following federal protection in 1832, the city developed into a successful spa town. Incorporated January 10, 1851, the city has been home to Major League Baseball spring training, illegal gambling, speakeasies and gangsters such as Al Capone, horse racing at Oaklawn Park, the Army and Navy Hospital, and 42nd President Bill Clinton. One of the largest Pentecostal denominations in the United States, the Assemblies of God, traces its beginnings to Hot Springs.

Today, much of Hot Springs's history is preserved by various government entities. Hot Springs National Park is maintained by the National Park Service, including Bathhouse Row, which preserves the eight historic bathhouse buildings and gardens along Central Avenue. Downtown Hot Springs is preserved as the Central Avenue Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The city also contains dozens of historic hotels and motor courts, built during the Great Depression in the Art Deco style. Due to the popularity of the thermal waters, Hot Springs benefited from rapid growth during a period when many cities saw a sharp decline in building; much like Miami's art deco districts. As a result, Hot Springs's architecture is a key part of the city's blend of cultures, including a reputation as a tourist town and a Southern city. Also a destination for the arts, Hot Springs features the Hot Springs Music Festival, Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, and the Valley of the Vapors Independent Music Festival annually. (wikipedia) (emph. mine)

• • •

[NOTE: YouTube videos seem to not be showing up for people on mobile devices (???). I hope this is a temporary problem that just fixes itself. I'm on my laptop and the videos play just fine. Apologies for the mobile weirdness]

Well I've had two drinks, which is one hundred percent more drinks than I typically have on a weekend night. The death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg just kinda pushed me into two-drink land, what can I say, I'm human? Also, I had a 9pm Zoom meet-up with my professor / crossword friends and it's the closest thing I'm going to have to "drinks with friends" for a long time, so I drank. Bourbon. Rocks. Annnnnnyway, I was in no mood to solve / blog, but then I found out that the Saturday puzzle was going to be by my favorite *Friday* constructor, Robyn Weintraub, and so my will to solve returned. I'm always incredibly happy to see her byline because I know there's a high likelihood that the puzzle will be delightful. And once again, it was. Even her Saturdays feel like Fridays. That is, even when they're on the tougher side, they're joyful. Entertaining. Fun. 

I co-solved this one on Zoom with my friend Rachel Fabi, so I'm just gonna post that video, but I'll give you some of the highlights here:

  • ICEES — we were really unsure what product the clue was referring to. ICEES are Slurpee-like drinks. I think ice pops come in (long thin plastic) "pouches," but ICEES? Not familiar. So we looked it up. And lo + behold, the ICEES (drink) brand also comes in pouches that you can buy? Weird.
  • TSE / HEME / KOA / HEP — this is just about the only stuff in the grid that I / we didn't like. There's a Russian letter called TSE?? Wow. OK. You can bet I double-checked every cross on that one.
  • Every Long Answer — LOL there are fifteen (15!!?!?!) 8+-letter answers in this puzzle, and none (0) of them are bad. I balked at RARE BOOK STORE just because something about an entire brick & mortar establishment dedicated to *rare* books seemed ... unlikely? (as you can hear me say in the video: "Rare book *room*, *used* book store!"). But everything else about the longer fill was fantastic. Highlights: HALF ASLEEP, NEVER FEAR, DON'T BE SO HASTY, DARK MONEY, DROP THE BALL. But honestly, they're all good, even the quaint WOEBEGONE. This thing is just crammed with marquee answers. Insane.
  • HEP (48D: Like the latest, in the past) — I can't quite tell what "Like" is doing here. Like, is it doing the normal thing where it means "akin to" or is it some kind of beatnik colloquialism where it's "Like, the latest, man!"? Not crazy about HEP, or about ENGEL, whom I loved on "MTM," but she's a very niche (and crosswordesey) proper name answer that lots of (younger) people will need every cross for.
Had DASHED before DARTED (23A: Ran rapidly) and AAA before KOA (47D: Roadside initials), but if you want to know what the solve was really like, you can just watch, here (side note: I say that it's the "Friday" puzzle—obviously, it's not):

See you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Joaquin 12:04 AM  

Even after almost four years of The Orange Menace, I’m still not much of a drinker so maybe it’s just me, but I’ve never heard the term TOP UP used to mean freshen a drink. “Top off” I have heard (and used).

Other than that, (alert the media!) I agree with Rex. Great puzzle; lots of fun.

Harryp 12:07 AM  

I thought it was a challenging puzzle, but everyone has their own opinion. I got everything except that small South-Center section and Naticked on OLGA/ENGEL,and couldn't see the rest, so all that nice work for a DNF. On to the next one.

jae 12:10 AM  

Very easy. Very smooth with quite a bit of sparkle but way too easy. Liked it and Jeff gave it POW. He had trouble in the SE.

Casimir 12:21 AM  

I thought this was a great puzzle. Finished most of it very quickly (for me), but was stuck go a loooong time in the southeast/south central. Ended up with an average time for me.

I admire OFL for normally having just one drink and feeling naughty for two. Because I could never see the logic in such limits, I had to give it up!

Frantic Sloth 12:45 AM  

Honestly, I could just keep on doing Robyn Weintraub puzzles forever and nobody but nobody could wipe that stupid grin off my face.

Even when I don't feel like I'm exactly on her wavelength, the challenge is always fair and entertaining from beginning to end.

And look! There's ROO!

If I were an inept, depressed private investigator in some dime store paperback mystery, I'd want my name to be DOLT WOEBEGONE.

And I just now saw only about the worst news imaginable and no longer give a rat's patoot about


Screw brains and party favors.

Harryp 12:57 AM  

I shouldn't have used the word Natick in vain earlier. It wasn't a one-letter cross that did me in, but every letter of both names. I also had sLOP at 46D, so that didn't help my WOEBEGONE self either.

egsforbreakfast 1:23 AM  

It feels small to comment on a puzzle on the night that the hopes and dreams of a nation died. But I did want to say that Robyn Weintraub is the best constructor going. God bless you RBG, and may God help us all.

okanaganer 1:24 AM  

Yes this was a solid great puzzle. All the long answers are BOOM! (there you have it).

I only had one slip-up enroute, where for "Treatment during a sandal season" I carelessly plunked in PEDO. Which made "Greek for digestion" product PEPTO (-Bismol, obviously). And surely OWNT (up) must be urban slang for "admits". Then taking a second look I thought PEDO?... no, no, ick, so wrong! "I'm going for a pedo this afternoon". Ugh.

Re TSE: the Russian alphabet (Cyrillic) is such an oddball. Many letters are the same as ours, but many kinda randomly switched around. For instance if you go Google Streetviewing a Russian city, you see the sign PECTOPAH quite often. This sounds like it should be 'peck-toe-paw', but it really is REST-O-RAN which is, of course, 'restaurant', missing the final T sound. B is V, C is S, P is R, H is N, Y is U, etc. And that wacky backwards N is an 'ee' sound. The backwards R is 'ya'. The upside down lowercase H is 'ch'. And Π¦, the thing that looks like a square U with a tail, is 'ts', as in TSAR.

JD 1:37 AM  

First two answers I popped in there were Giant Squid and Shave. Felt Pritteee Damn Good. Now I understand why so many people regretted hanging on to Dreamers yesterday. Problems ensued. There at _opup I just knew it couldn’t be Top Up because that’s redundant and if there's anything I hate it's a redundancy. @Joaquin, I feel ya.

But I worked in a clockwise, swirly sort of pattern, eventually circled back and killed the Squid, threw down Sea Monster and that little corner was done. And yet, I was defeated by Ten Foot Pole and Don’t Be So Hasty. I wanted it to be Not So Fast and of course it never would be. Revealed Ten Foot Pole and the dominoes fell.

I was a little sad til I came here and wrote this clichΓ© ridden comment, then I was really depressed.

@Frantic, Borrowed this from @Bocamp for you πŸ•Š

Loren Muse Smith 1:56 AM  

Robyn delivers again! Took me forever to find my mojo this morning but I chipped away, and BOOM. Done. HALF ASLEEP eluded me for way too long.

Who knew that the word PEPSI was Greek? How cool.

“It’s often made along with a birthday cake: - first thought was that requisite pitcher of grape Kool-Aid back in the ‘60s that moms always served up to go with the requisite chocolate cake. Talk about yer objectionable pairing. Awful.

ORION’S BELT. I can get into a spirited tangle here on whether a to or an in is a preposition or a verb particle, and my heart rate actually goes up with the excitement. I can go back and reread @okanaganer's description of Russian writing and marvel. But move on to the skies and constellations, and I’m HALF ASLEEP. I get that my interest is objectively boringer.

So I guess the Powers That Be during this COVID nightmare can be called teleophobes.

Wanted “fava” for KONA.

Ok. So I’ll admit for all the world that I really never knew what “titular” meant. Learning that it means something like “in title” sent me down a -ular rabbit hole; the suffix means “of or relating to.” Maybe spending so much time around 9th-grade boys has me seeing stuff through a hyper-immature lens, but, well, let’s revisit the word jugular,now, shall we?

Side note – some linguists hold that the pronunciation of nuclear as /NOO kyoo lar/ stems from its similarity to molecular. Your day is now complete.

Cliff 2:21 AM  

I don't remember where it was ... Las Vegas maybe? but my wife and I browsed in a rare book store. Nothing but old first editions, and really old rare books. Everything displayed in locked glass cases. Everything outside of my budget! But it was fun.

chefwen 2:43 AM  

@Roo is getting a lot of ink lately. Puzz partner filled in the final O in ROO and it kind of looks like a wee, little heart. I think you would approve, ROO.

While I was solving this I took a little break to text my neighbor and invite her to come up and pick up some lemon bars that I had just made. I said, just pop in after your beach walk with KOA (her dog) the next thing I filled in was 47D. Hah!

Friday and Saturday Goog free, love it!

bocamp 2:58 AM  

God Bless Ruth Bader Ginsburg πŸ™

Thank you @ Robyn - another delightful puzzle, as always! and @ Rex, thanks for the lovely write-up! :)

One of my favorites, Bagatelle No. 25 in A Minor, WoO 59 "FΓΌr Elise" by Evelyne Dubourg. Recently learned that the Beethoven family originally hailed from Flemish Belgium, hence the Dutch "Van" in lieu of the German "Von".


Welcome to the newest NHL team, The Seattle Kraken. The family used to attend Portland Buckaroo games, especially when they hosted their arch rival, The Seattle Totems. Portland defeated Seattle for the Lester Cup Trophy in the '60-'61 season.

What did the custard say to the pudding?

Don't be so "hasty"


First passport photo taken in Elizabeth, N.J., prior to departing for Luxembourg in 1968.


Powell's Rare Book Room in Portlandia. The store also features The "Pearl" Room.

"The City of Books was born in a former used car dealership. To this day the store maintains a no-nonsense, industrial feel. One place in the store, though, has been reserved for comfort and elegance. Across the Pearl Room from the Basil Hallward gallery, our Rare Book Room is 1,000 square feet of dark wood shelving, ambient lighting, antique furniture, and carefully selected works of art. Most importantly, though, the Rare Book Room is home to several thousand of our most valuable — and beautiful — books, including an extensive library of reference works about antiquarian books."


In 1968, my Mini-Mart franchise installed it's first Slushie-type machine. It was a raging success from the get-go. I know I drank way to many of them myself (between customers, of course). Can't recall exactly what the brand name was, maybe "Slushie", not sure, tho.


Wanted "woebegotten", but it just wouldn't cooperate, so woebegottenly I dropped "woebegone in in its stead.


Well, I'm "half-asleep" now, so I'm off to lala land in search of "pearls" of wisdom. I need them, because, apparently I have a "logic fallacy of "Petition principii" in the first paragraph of my "Orient" related post. I'll work to get it unfallacized in my dreams. I have to report back on it later. Joking aside, I really do want to learn more about this "begging the question" (petition principii) thing. I'm also told that I'm doing 372 posts a day, and since I've been following this blog from its inception (not exactly true, but close) I should know that we're to be limited to three posts per day (couldn't find that in the FAQ), but I guess common sense and decorum should have been (but will be) my guide from now on. (Being a little bit defensive) I figured, rather than to do really long posts, it would make it easier for the commentariat to pick and choose what they'd like to read (or not) of mine, if I broke them up into smaller chunks. Bottom line, mea culpa; hence, longer posts, but far, far fewer of them. Someone said a very wise thing "Why can't we all just get along"?, or something to that effect.

Good night (or good morning as the case may be) :)

Eintracht πŸ•Š

Anonymous 5:37 AM  

Fastest Saturday ever: 6:31 after a whole bottle of bourbon, and while juggling three running chainsaws! Up your game, Rex!

Charles Flaster 6:23 AM  

Loved it— a tad easier than yesterday.
Great cluing for
I detect a Berryesque touch to Weintraub’s artistry.
Goodbye RBG -> Goodbye USA.
Thanks RW.

Lewis 6:39 AM  

During this surreal time period, with its one jaw-dropping event after another, there is at least the daily and reliably enjoyable occurrence of our crossword – a sweet oasis -- and the nest that is our community of commenters. These make for a little piece of heaven and light to hold on to and provide anchor and solace as things spin awry. This is no small gift, and I am so deeply grateful for it.

CDilly52 6:48 AM  

I had on my favorite t-shirt and was just getting ready to flip on the evening news when the feed came over my phone that Justice Ginsburg had died. Why mention my shirt? It has four large pastel stripes down the front: RUTH ENA SANDRA SONIA. The loss. I still just don’t have words.

I am sure I will enjoy the Weintraub puzzle. I always do, but I have not been able to concentrate on anything just yet. Our national loss at this precarious time in our history - just mere weeks from a new term of the Court - I have now words.

ChuckD 7:01 AM  

Whoa - this one really tested me. So elegant and crunchy - little gluey stuff - fantastic puzzle. I usually finish before I go for a run on a Saturday morning but not today - didn’t wrap it up until I came back. PASSPORT PHOTO had a great clue as did TEN FOOT POLE. WOEBEGONE is so great to see in the grid and fitting today. There are some exclusively RARE BOOKSTOREs but I tend to agree with Rex - most are a section of small, private stores. I read mostly epubs now but still love to go to the Brewster Bookstore on the cape.

Melancholy today - also 46 and windy here this morning which brings me down - another season gone. However there’s a comfort in knowing we can get such an uplifting puzzles like this.

Lewis 7:02 AM  

Robyn is all about answers with zing and clues that crackle, keys to making a puzzle entertaining, and here she did it again. TEN FOOT POLE! DROP THE BALL! DON’T BE SO HASTY! BATH HOUSES! Not to mention the clues for HORA, ADA, CLOSE SHAVE, PASSPORT PHOTO, and WANE.

Plus there’s the mini-theme of double-O’s (5), and the apt crosses of GOOD TASTE with RARE BOOK STORE, and HALF ASLEEP with WANE.

Just what the doctor ordered on a dour day. Robyn, when I see your name atop a puzzle, my heart utters a little “Whee!” You are loaded with talent have nailed the art of bringing joy to a puzzle, and when the Crossword Hall of Fame opens in Natick, you’ll be in the first group enshrined. Thank you!

Michiganman 7:12 AM  

Cancer has been cruel to our country. We've lost John McCain and now RBG. Both were reasonable and patriotic voices against the uncivil, illegal, and anti-American actions of Donald Trump. I've also often wondered if Joe Biden would have sought the presidency in 2016 if his son, Beau, had not recently died of cancer. It's not at all a stretch to think he would have won.

I liked the puzzle.

Z 7:20 AM  

Flew through the NW, but then got progressively slower as I moved to the SE. It felt like I spent HALF of my solve time coming up with HALF ASLEEP. Fun solve.


@JD - I didn’t explain this well yesterday, but your request wasn’t up when I posted my R.E.M. link. Still, it seemed like an apt reply. Of course, R.E.M. lyrics, especially those early ones, are open to interpretation (heck, even what Stipe is actually singing is open to interpretation):

I see your money on the floor
I felt the pocket change though all
The feelings that broke through that door
Just didn't seem to be too real
The yard is nothing but a fence
The sun just hurts my eyes
Somewhere it must be time for penitence
Gardening at night is never where

This morning I’m more Wolves, Lower
‘Spicion yourself. Don’t get caught.

Hungry Mother 7:37 AM  

About HALF my usual time for this solve. A couple of names were WOEful, but I wagged it out.

Hungry Mother 7:47 AM  

@casimir: “ Because I could never see the logic in such limits, I had to give it up!” Me too, 1989.

pabloinnh 8:10 AM  

Went through the NW so fast I thought it was a Monday, and then, screeching halt. Wound up in the SE where SLOP put the brakes on everything (Hi @ Harryp). Finally PASSPORTPHOTO went in and that opened things up, thank goodness. And it took way too long to see OWEN Meany, one of my favorite books, because of the "Meany" placement in the clue. I should know better. And the oft-used TADA for BOOM wasn't much help either.

In short, another great RW puzzle, and in it goes to the seldom-used Saturdazo file. Great stuff, and allowed me not to think of the loss of RBG and all that portends, at least for a while.

Carola 8:20 AM  

Medium here, with the went-right-ins -- WISH, PASSPORT PHOTO, ORION'S BELT, SEA MONSTER -- balanced by the please-give-me-enough-crosses -- TEN-FOOT POLE, GOOD TASTE, DROP THE BALL. Delightful all the way, It's always a treat to see Robyn Weintraub's name at the top.

Inadvertent sad note: the cut-short BADE_.

ChuckD 8:22 AM  

@Z - saw them in 82 at the Peppermint Lounge when they were touring for that EP and you’re right - at that point it was hard to understand anything coming out of his mouth. That stream of consciousness thing was his calling card until he realized he didn’t need it anymore. In 83 we saw them in Poughkeepsie with the Police and Let’s Active - and you could start to hear him annunciate the lyrics. The first two records were so good.

mmorgan 8:25 AM  

Wonderful puzzle.

Horrible, heartbreaking, terrifying news.

JD 9:03 AM  

@Z, Out of order and with no context, I somehow thought woo, that's a mood I understand.

Now I'm wondering why I was never into R.E.M. They would have dovetailed my Talking Heads / Brian Ferry phase. Thanks for today's distraction.

David Fabish 9:15 AM  

Overall I enjoyed this, and the long answers were fantastic, but I'm gonna call Natick on the ENGEL-OLGA cross. A secondary character from a 50-year-old TV show crossed with a character from Russian literature? Come on... 😜

Anonymous 9:16 AM  

Cyrillic letter Π¦, usually pronounced as ZZ in PIZZA. The tsetse fly is Ρ†Π΅Ρ†Π΅ in Russian, one of the rare instances where it's shorter than in English and exactly because of this letter. This goes even further with the letter Π© -- Shcha, as the borscht becomes Π±ΠΎΡ€Ρ‰.

Rastaman Vibration 9:24 AM  

Oh, what an excellent morning it is turning out to be - we get a video treat from OFL #1 (Rex) providing some insight as to how to tackle a weekend puzzle, and we also learn that OFL #2 (DJT) may be able to nominate another knot head to the SCOTUS which can then declare the election results invalid and gift us with four more years of the Dotard (think of the entertainment value associated with that spectacle). Rex is going to look back fondly on the days when the only things he could complain about were such mundane items as the fact that the NRA supports one of our constitutional amendments and rue the genitalia of the puzzle constructors.

RooMonster 9:40 AM  

Hey All !
Why, Robyn, I didn't know you cared for me so much! Got the full ROOMONSTER in the puz! ROO+seaMONSTER. Almost as good as getting one of my puzs published!


Nice themeless. Had me staring at White Space for some time. Little by little answers starting filling. Had T_NF__ to start TENFOOTPOLE, and wanted TiNFoil(something). Good stuff.

Some missteps, with my one-letter DNF thrown in, because my puzzling wouldn't be complete without it. Got down to OWE_/PLA_, seesawing on the N or a Y. Figuring PLAN sounded off from the wording of the clue, and some might be afraid of going to PLAYs. OWEN sounded better than OWEy, but with literary characters, you never know. Went with N. Had to do one Goog, was never gonna get it otherwise, for ENGEL. That let me finish the puz. But... Almost There! Argh! Turns out, ELISa/PaR. Dang. I was flip-flopping on that A or E also. Chose right on the OWEN N, wrong on the PaR A.

RARE BOOK STORES exist! Maybe not in Binghamton... Natick might have one.

Had tada first for BOOM, anew for PERT, and NSFW for ESTS, and all that wrongness surprisingly didn't hold me up too long in the center longies. Also sLOP for GLOP which did hold me up for a while to see WOBEGONE. Weird.

Two F's

mathgent 9:41 AM  

Very hard for me. 14 mysteries, 20% of the 70 entries, that’s the ratio that puts me on the edge of DNF land. Remembering ELISE saved my bacon.

Yesterday, Rex complained that there weren’t enough long “untethered” answers. There were 15. Today, he complimented Ms.Weintraub for having a lot of long answers (8 or more letters). There are 15.

Thanks to @okanaganer (1:24). I had never read anything about the Cyrillic alphabet before.

I never like Ms. Weintraub’s puzzles as much as the rest of us do. Today’s was low on sparkle, only 8 red plus signs in the margins. My Friday average is 11. Too many ughs — TOPUP, BADE (not a synonym for “commanded”), TSE, DONTBESOHASTY, AORB.

I think that Georgia Engel was on MTM, a show that I watched religiously. She was delightful.

Rube 9:43 AM  

A question. Giant squid is certainly a reasonable guess but how do you not immediately check the q before putting it im?

And of course this is the kind of day when puzzles can help us escape from the ills of the world around us.

Anonymous 9:51 AM  

FWIW (likely very little): I solved on my laptop in 19 minutes with zero Googles which is faster than average for me but not any kind of record. I found it enjoyable but thought a few clues were not that great. Made me think about the overall mix, so I went back and classified each of the 69 clues, as follows: GIMME (like ICEES - - come on Rex, you hesitated on that one? Very crosswordese and obvious; must have been that second Bourbon; also TOPUP, TEMPLE); Easy-With-Xs (like a plurality of the clues); CUTE/CLEVER (like "Wax off?"); Hard/Blank (just had no idea, like TSE, ELMS, OWEN); and POORLY-CLUED (like WISH and TENFOOTPOLE).

How'd it come out? 14 GIMMEs, 36 EWXs, 6 CUTE, 10 HARD/BLANK and 6 POORLY-CLUED (3 of which were also EWX), for a total of 72.

Next time I do a Saturday and find it harder overall than this one, I'm gonna repeat the exercise to see how different the mix is.......

Nancy 9:52 AM  

I always have fun with Robyn's puzzles. I find them lively and colorful and very well clued. Like the clue for REFER (39D) for example. I thought that some sort of thing was being sent elsewhere when what was being sent elsewhere was actually me. It's not only the big misleads like TEN FOOT POLE and PASSPORT PHOTO; it's also the subtle and unexpected little ones. And the best clue in the bunch is the one for ARK (34A). Inspired.

I've never heard the term TOP UP for freshening a drink. So, with ??PUP filled in, I thought "Aha!" and confidently wrote in PEP UP. And I like PEP UP a lot more than TOP UP, to tell the truth. Here's why. Let's say I'm drinking a gin and tonic. If you TOP it UP, you have the option of adding a little more tonic or even a lot more tonic. If you PEP it UP, you have only one option -- and that's to add more gin. Which is how I really want my drinks freshened.

I also had SLOP before GLOP for the unlikely Michelin-starred restaurant serving. I suppose they're more or less the same thing.

DARK MONEY kinda depressed me. With the irreplaceable, towering figure of RBG sadly gone, there's going to be a lot more of it poured into our ever more corrupted politics... and that's only the beginning of all the problems in our likely future, SCOTUS-wise.

Great job as always, Robyn.

kitshef 9:53 AM  

I really thought I was headed for a DNF today. Filled in the top half in about five minutes. Slowed down a bit but still cruising until – subjectively – spent 3.4 million years to fill in that bottom center area.

Eighty erasures today. (for comparison, yesterday had four).
Not sure that has ever happened before. Of course, most of them were the same dozen cells over and over again.

A couple of my more troublesome entries:

RARE BOOK STORE - I've never really understood collectors - of books or of anything else. A book's rarity doesn't make it a better read. A rare stamp often can't be used to mail a letter. Some folks seem to have this desire to own something that few others have. I just don't get that.

Anonymous 9:54 AM  

Agree with @pabloinnh on 46D. "Slop" seems much more reasonable than "glop" - but overall enjoyed this puzzle.

Teedmn 9:54 AM  

I'm torn about this puzzle (A OR B, I guess). On the one hand, who doesn't adore a Robyn Weintraub puzzle? On the other hand, a 12 minute Saturday solve, for me, is way too easy. I didn't have a single write-over. Only hesitated a tad in the SE, but PEDI and ENGEL ensured I would eventually succeed. More bite for Saturday is what I crave.

33A reminded me of a charming story about 3 sisters who operate (hopefully they're still in business in NYC) a RARE BOOK STORE so that answer didn't seem clunky to me at all.

I did wrinkle my nose at the clue for ORION'S BELT. "Three star picture?" ?? I can picture the belt in the sky (saw it just yesterday morning in the south sky), but that clue seems off.

WOEBEGONE = miserable is me after hearing the news about RBG. RATs.

Thanks, Robyn. As @Lewis says, the daily crossword is a source of comfort in this crazy world, and Robyn's puzzles are some of the best.

Anonymous 9:56 AM  

Yes it was: Bauman’s Rare Books. New York City was the location I visited. Same final result.

tkincher 10:03 AM  

@Cliff There's definitely one in Vegas-- Bauman Rare Books in The Venetian. The prices are, of course, outrageous, even by regular rare book standards (e.g. higher than what you would find for a similar tome on abebooks)... but they do have an amazing collection and if I ever lucked on a huge jackpot in Vegas, that's absolutely where I would go. Last time I was there they had several first editions of the Ian Fleming Bond books.

@bocamp Powell's Rare Book Room is one of my favorite places. I've only bought a couple of things from it over the years, but they are prized possessions to be sure.

Blackwells in the UK has a rare book room in their Oxford location, as well. I lucked upon a signed copy of one of my all-time favorite books, Riddley Walker, when I visited.

Anonymous 10:06 AM  

Petitio principii. Thought I had corrected the typo.
In any event, It is a simple concept.
Consider this: I am sure of God’s existence because the Bible says it’s so. And the bibleIs the word of God.

Do you see how the premise— that God exists, is assumed in the purported proof— that the Bible is the word of God?

When you assume the validity of a premise, there’s no point in argument.
A premise is a starting point, not a conclusion. When you beg the question, you make The premise the beginning and the end.

the iPhone is the best smart phone. How do I know? Because Apple makes the best mobile phones.
That begs the question.

As for your crack about my grading your papers, nothing could be further from the truth. I don’t give a whit if you continue to misuse a term. I was trying to elevate the discourse. And really, I should know better.

Grande 10:11 AM  

Beautiful puzzle. The only thing I didn't like was "Kona." It's a place. It's a variety maybe. It's not a bean. The bean is coffee.

Geezer 10:13 AM  

@Rastaman. I believe that Mitch McConnell, being an honorable man, will wait until after the election as he did in 2016. I also believe that when I fart, rainbows come out of my A**.

Joaquin 10:15 AM  

@kitshef (9:53) said, "I've never really understood collectors - of books or of anything else."

My cousin was married to a man who had a large collection of rare books. He rented the collection to movie-makers who used them to create authentic-looking libraries (usually in hoity-toity homes); he made a small fortune doing so.

Anonymous 10:27 AM  

ChuckD and I think JD,
I saw REM at roughly the same time and had the opposite reaction.
August 20 , 1983 at JFK stadium in Philly. They were the openers for Madness, Joan Jett and The Police.
They played for fewer than 20 minutes. They were booed as they left the stage.
I know they were always more of a small club kinda band, but They were out of their depth that day.

Unknown 10:36 AM  

Rare book stores are indeed a thing.
I bought "Infinite Jest" at Powell's many years ago, and finally got through it in the early months of the pandemic. Third time was the charm.

FALLASLEEP was my downfall; never would have guessed HEP, and still don't think it's properly clued. That being said, I love Robin Weintraub's work.

I also had LASSI for a while instead of PEPSI, so that made life tricky.
And I do agree that the actress ENGEL is a killer. You either know her or you don't, and I'm guessing most folks under 50 don't. Then again, it's a Saturday, so if I miss one or two squares out of the puzzle, it doesn't break my heart.
And FWIW, I do think the 3-post limit should be honored.

JD 10:40 AM  

@Rube, Awash in and blinded by endorphins released from my own vigorous pats on the back? Not as smart as I think I am? Lack of impulse control? All of the above.

A real cluster fug. But I'm naming the Rube rule after you, when I stop and think in the future that something may not actually make sense. And I'm not being sarcastic! This is my year of change.

I'm also working on, "Wait a minute, maybe (other person) is right?" The Slue Rule. Don't ask.

Photomatte 10:40 AM  

I thought I finished but got the dreaded 'Almost there' message instead. Couldn't see my error until I came here. Still don't know how the answer of HORA for "Wedding ring" can be correct (18 Across). Just don't see it.

Anyone else think Agent Orange (aka trump, aka Mashed Potato Boy) will nominate Barr for the Court? That way, he'll have at least one guaranteed ally after he's no longer in office and is being prosecuted for the myriad of high crimes he and his offspring have committed since 2016.

Today's word is FILIBUSTER

Anonymous 10:42 AM  

To all those worrying about DJT nominating a justice to replace RBG. You should hope he does.
Have you been paying attention to the recent string of decisions? Roberts and Gorsuch have been a disaster for conservative causes.

JD 10:44 AM  

Oh, and @Rube, I'm just glad your name isn't Π±ΠΎΡ€Ρ‰.

albatross shell 10:52 AM  

NW was easy for a Saturday even though ELISE TOPUP and had OLSoN for a bit. Then TEMPLE led the way in the SW and the longs in both directions s l o w l y were teased out. The CHAR COG BADE corner did not jump out at me but not too bad.
The SE corner fell pretty quickly. Lake WOEBEGONE. Is it still damned up? Can we un-damn it and get the town back? Is it underwater for good?

All but the South Central. I had fad for HEP and thought the perfect answer. How clever a clue. Then WAsh for WANE because it does take wax off. Then RElay for refer because it's a good answer. OLGA BALL were right. fALlASLEEP was OK but shouldn't there be an ING? And Georgia asGaL? Who? Beauty is dhAyL. But I was done. No energy left.
A knot too tight. A bridge too far. A white flag up a TEN FOOT POLE.

A flawless puzzle except for the up top TOP UP.

Newboy 10:55 AM  

Nice mix of easy/tough today. Long phrases were definitely in my wheelhouse, but overconfidence in “obvious” entries like fALl ASLEEP took forever to untangle . Thanks Robin for ARK & ROO clues that amused and I was amused too by Rex video with TOPped UP cup. Such a sad evening in so many ways. At least the western firefighters are able to catch a brief respite.

Masked and Anonymous 10:58 AM  

Jaws of Themelessness in the puzgrid, with lotsa great long ball answers and funny clues. Themeless thUmbsUp. Old M&A was thinkin he was one super-solvequestman, until I came here and learned that this here SatPuz also played fast for others.

fave filler: TENFOOTPOLE. honrable mention to BATHHOUSES … we once passed thru Hot Springs, lookin for the National Park. Found and ascended a real neat lookout tower on our own, but that was about it. Stopped by a neat old historic buildin downtown and learned that we were right in the middle of the park, inside that old bath house hotel. Confused the M&A Clan.

TOPUP … Can't quite decide if I've ever heard this term before or not. Was I too blitzed, when it came up?

staff weeject pick: RBG. [Special rules on that pick, today.] honorable mention to TSE, which I can evidently thank my one semester of Russian in college for. Or maybe a past runtpuz clue?

Thanx for the fun, Ms. Weintraub darlin.

Masked & AnonymoUUs


KRMunson 11:01 AM  

@Lewis. So true! Love reading your write ups.

bocamp 11:04 AM  

Thank you "sehr viel" for removing my errant late night post to yesterday's blog. I was more than half-asleep (way past my bed-time) and didn't realize I had a "comment window" open for both yesterday's and today's blog simultaneously. I was nearing the end of this morning's write-up and went on some last minute fact-checking errands; when I came back to the "comment window", it was blank. I guess I figured that that would happen some day, so on longer posts, I've gotten into the habit of saving my text along the way. I pasted what I had at that point into the text window, decided to leave the unsaved last paragraph out, hit the "Publish" button, closed out the window, and to my great horror, saw the other (today's) "comment window", with the full text of all I had written for this morning's blog. :( I am so grateful for the dedication of the "Mods" in catching this "major" faux pas. From now on, I'll ensure only one open "comment window" at a time (and go to bed well before the "half-asleep point :)


@ Harryp 12:57 AM

I know how you feel; The word "Nosferatu" appeared in a NYT puzzle of the past, and I felt Naticked on five of the crosses. I guessed right on two of them. The rest, not so well. :( I don't think I'll ever forget that word, or the words that crossed it. LOL


Had a bit of a struggle in the SW, and my "kola" bean wasn't helping matters. LOL


@ Anonymous 10:06 AM

Very nicely summed up, I appreciate it! :)

Question: what term did I "misuse"?

Apology: I take back the "grading my paper" comment; mea culpa. :(

Suggestion: Don't write me off; IOW: "give a whit". :)

Bottom line: Slowly, but surely (I think), I'm starting to grasp the concept, and will focus on not "assuming conclusions" in my "premises", i.e., not "begging the question".


Eintracht πŸ•Š

jberg 11:05 AM  

I had sLOP for GLOP (Hi, @Nancy!), really believed in it, so I didn’t believe in OLGA—finally I looked her up, and saw my error. No idea about ENGEL, which made it tougher. Also band before HORA, NEVER mind before FEAR. But what a delightful puzzle!

I say TOP UP a lot, and have seen RARE BOOK STOREs.

We’re all sad right now.

Swagomatic 11:07 AM  

Well, I put my tablet down without finishing the puzzle last night, and I when I picked it up later this morning, I found out that I had been "working" on the crossword for ten hours. πŸ˜€ so I set a new record today. Yay? Anyway it was tough and fun. I liked it.

TTrimble 11:08 AM  

Rex's video was a nice change of pace (maybe edit out some of the stuff at the beginning though). Maybe the constructor had a lot to do with the fact that he seemed like a kid in a candy store (or an autodidact at a RARE BOOK STORE? -- yeah, I think that's a thing, btw), but he genuinely seemed to be in a good mood, which is not often how he comes across in his posts. It was nice hearing his live commentary as well. (Although he did slip in a to-me gratuitous sideswipe at "dude constructors" -- there's the old Rex!)

The neurotic puzzle-solver in me wonders several things: (1) how is it that I'm so much slower than this? I had actually posted a pretty good time, for a Saturday me that is, but nothing like within touching distance of this. They didn't even seem all that fast, just a relaxed almost ambling pace. (2) How long might it have taken a two-drink Rex to do this puzzle without Rachel's input?

It was nice to see TSE clued this way. More common is something clunkier like, "when doubled, a menacing vector" or some such. Although I don't think I've ever examined the Russian alphabet with the letters spelled out in Romanized form this way. "Ah, Beh, Veh, Geh, Deh, Yeh, Yo, ..."? Oh, okay, here we go. Everyone should learn this alphabet -- it's fun, and one can get a lot of mileage out of it, as Russian has a lot of loanwords, familiar but written unfamiliarly with funny characters.

Was completely charmed by the cluing of 5D. Wouldn't be at all surprised to see this on Lewis's Monday list.

Count me among the crowd saddened and a bit distressed by the passing of RBG. Normally I try to avoid the urge to get into political discussions here, but no doubt McConnell's stance will be a complete 180 from the one he adopted in the Merrick Garland case. No consistent principle with him other than Republicans win by any means necessary. All Machiavellian Realpolitik.

---[SB Alert]---

I keep getting so dang close to QB. I still have two to go for yesterday's, and I'm at four more for today -- what *is* that longest word? Oh, I must put this away. Too much work to do!

GILL I. 11:12 AM  

Ah.....A fun @Rex write-up and a Saturday night with Robyn. Before the "I don't want to create a panic" disaster, my friends and I used to gather on Saturday nights for many a TOP UP. Unless someone had a hot date, we'd meet up at my abode and concoct any number of... (as my best friend calls them)...drinky poos. Since we hosted our daughter's wedding rehearsal, and because I wanted to be sure all of our extended family remained happy, I have a liquor cabinet filled with all kinds of left over goodies. One of my friends suggested a bacon and egg martini.
This was an easyish Sat. When I don't have to google a million times, I feel like I'm brilliant. And, I'm brilliant. I didn't fly through this but I also didn't have to really scratch the bean.
SEA MONSTER was my first long entry. I tend to go down memory lane a lot. This time it was remembering all of my pencil etching of Krakens. They are fun to draw. I then went on to PASSPORT PHOTO. Somewhere in a box, I still have all of my passports. I also have this little yellow booklet that has all these stamps that proved I got shots against malaria, chicken pocks, polio, and whatever disease was floating around. I wonder if we will need one of those once COVID is cured?
WOEBEGONE because woe has beset me Is in GOOD TASTE...which brings me immediately to @okananger....PEDO in Spanish means fart. So I can fully understand why you wanted it there for the sandal season. You could always be a little more quaint and use a flufferdoodle, an air biscuit or you might even call it a trump.

Westword 11:14 AM  

Tough but (mostly) fair. Didn’t care for clueing for “day” and really dislike random 1970s tv clues from before some of us were born. Had to google-cheat so technical dnf. But yay, great puzzle!

Alison 11:28 AM  


Anonymous 11:28 AM  


As macabre as the thought is, I suspect (and will likely find out soon enough) that if Turtle Neck goes ahead with ramming another Radical Right Wingnut onto the Court, the more certain that Biden wins in a landslide and Democratic Senate, ditto. And then the impeachment of X Justice and Gorsuch and maybe Kavanaugh. They play dirty, so should we. The alternative is a so-called 'Elected Dictatorship', ala Turkey, Hungary, and Poland. The whole point of dictatorship, of course, is for a rabid minority to pillage the majority. Our benighted elector college pretty much guarantees that low IQ Dirty Boots states make the President and Senate. It ain't intelligent design, and happened because the Slave States had no interest in a united states.

TTrimble 11:29 AM  

Re HORA: think of a Jewish wedding, with Hava Negila playing, and the celebrants dancing in rings. It's a good clue!

albatross shell 11:31 AM  

Sorry for the missing words up top. ELISE and TOPUP took awhile.

Also I might want to retreat a bit on TOPUP. Seems to me I have heard: Should I top that up for you? And maybe even; You want a TOPUP? Server coffee carafe in hand. But have I ever heard a server say want me to freshen that? Freshen meaning a new alcoholic drink at someone's home, yes. Well now I have confused myseif.

Whatsername 11:52 AM  

@bocamp (2:58) I have never been there but have ordered books from Powell’s through Amazon. Looks like an awesome place.

Well I’d say this was just about the perfect Saturday. It was tough as it should be, but I was able to finish with just a little help on a couple of Propers. Not surprising that Robyn does Saturdays as well as Fridays.

I loved KOA crossing KONA. Made me picture an RV PARK in Hawaii. I’ve been there but don’t recall seeing a lot of campgrounds. Pretty tough to get those motor homes across the ocean I guess but @chefwen would be the one who knows. I bet there’s no GLOP served at her table.

albatross shell 11:56 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Z 12:03 PM  

@mathgent - I still don’t get what Rex means by “untethered” especially in the context of a puzzle where all words intersect with others. My complaint with yesterday’s puzzle was it skewed so excessively political (as the comments bored out*), and I guess one could argue that the long answers were somehow less sparkly, but untethered? No idea what that means.

@Anon10:06 - Use a phrase that isn’t understood the way you intend by most people and then blame the reader for wanting clarification. That’s not a good look. Did you even read the link @bocamp provided? Let me suggest that you not use “beg the question” because it no longer conveys what you intend and you use “circular reasoning.”

@Anon10:27 - Yeah, Philly. Nuff said.** They played seven songs so 20 minutes seems a little short. I see they closed with Carnival of Sorts*** which reminds me that gentlemen don’t get caught.

@Albue - So it was a So. Central Rain?****

*Not a typo, snark
**I kid - They played large venues well later, but they were definitely not a stadium band in 1983.
*** This is the original audio over top of a live TV performance. The actual video was sub-optimal.
****It’s @LMS’ fault for using that album cover for her avatar yesterday.

ChuckD 12:21 PM  

@Anon 10:27 - no question they were self admittedly neophytes those first few years and really not widely popular until the Green/Automatic era when they actually did sell out arenas. Listen to Buck talk about his playing on their cover of Pale Blue Eyes early on and it’s clear it was all about the mood and not the virtuosity.

gloriosky 12:24 PM  

Loved this puzzle, but Naticked at the Hep/Engel cross. Had Hip/Ingel, which seems just as likely.

Crimson Devil 12:43 PM  

Excellent puz, as usual for this constructor, a treasure.
Sad day: RIP RBG.
Wasted much time with SEASERPENT, finally corrected. Liked WOEBEGONE, TENFOOTPOLE, and AORB.

Anonymous 12:51 PM  

RIP RBG. It’s important for Trump to appoint a woman to succeed her.

Birchbark 12:53 PM  

RARE BOOK STORE fans in Minnesota (e.g., @Teedmn (9:54)) or just visiting:

Jim and Mary Laurie have a nice bookstore in the Minneapolis warehouse district. The rare collectibles are in the stacks near the front, but the whole big floor is high quality used books -- mostly hard covers with dust jackets and erring on the side of first editions. They also sell collectible posters, maps, some music, etc. Jim Laurie is a true knower of books -- I've learned a lot from him. (I always think of "The Pale Usher" in Moby Dick.) Nowadays, they're in most days but you'll want to call ahead (or go to The steep prices as marked are usually negotiable.

Ron Rulon Miller is a dealer in St. Paul who sells higher end rare books by appointment from his house on Summit Ave. in St. Paul and online at Really high quality and a good eye, especially in history, dictionaries, and private presses. Haven't checked in lately to see if he's back to having customers. When COVID first hit, I stood in the doorway to purchase a facsimile of the "Journal of Mason & Dixon."

Midway Books on Snelling Ave. in St. Paul, a two-story used book and comic book seller, has a room with a decent collection of better quality books, many fine collectible, especially on subjects near and dear to Minnesota and the Upper Midwest. The room isn't marked, and you need permission to browse it.

There are other gems in unexpected places, e.g. Black Letter Books, a little cubby hole in Stillwater ten miles south of me. Not much truly collectible, but a very interesting eye and good prices. I got my facsimile of Shakespeare's First Folio there.

KnittyContessa 12:56 PM  

What a fun puzzle. Fresh cluing made me smile from start to finish. Loved it!

@ChuckD The Peppermint Lounge in '82 brought back some great memories. Loved going there and Danceteria.

jb129 1:06 PM  

Very sad & scary about RBG.

I love Robyn's puzzles & was so happy to see her name, especially on a Saturday.

Disappointed with myself that I had to cheat. - I had "fall asleep" for too long.

Can't wait for Robyn's next puzzle.

JC66 1:16 PM  


IMO, combining your comments into one long post seems like a good idea; limiting your posts to 3 a day doesn't. If you've got something important to say, say it.

FYI, since you're blue, you can delete a comment after it's posted by clicking on the trash can icon next to the time at the bottom of the post.

Anon 12:51

Yeah, Laura Ingraham would be a great choice.*

*Yes, I'm being facetious.

Anonymous 1:18 PM  

@anon 12:51 pm: It is likely he will appoint a woman. Front runner is Barbara Lagoa, a Cuban American from Miami. It will be tough for Democrats up for re-election to filibuster a minority woman.

Anonymous 1:21 PM  

Ignore last comment. No more filibuster for judges. It will be political suicide for any swing state Dems to deny a minority woman her chance to be on Supreme Court.

bocamp 1:24 PM  

@ Unknown 10:36 AM wrote:

"And FWIW, I do think the 3-post limit should be honored."

I'm committed to reducing the number of my posts, maybe not quite down to three, but say, not more than 4-5 (not counting the occasional one or two line "thank you's" or responses to questions, etc). :)

Just curious tho, (this is the first blog I've participated on), where does the "3-post" max. come from? Is it understood/common "blog" etiquette, and/or is it laid out somewhere in the FAQ and I just missed it?


@ JD 10:40 AM

I find everything you say to be right on. I see myself, here. :)

"The Slue Rule. Don't ask." Ok, I won't, but I did look it up , and I'm pretty confident it doesn't mean "slide rule" or "slew footing" another player in ice hockey. LOL

@ Rube 9:43 AM makes a valuable point about the "q" in giant squid. I'm learning to check at least one cross when dropping in a word/phrase I'm not 99% sure of. In your case, the "q" would have been the most likely candidate, as you basically admit. So, kudos to both of you; and, another timely reminder to me to stay vigilant on this point. The so-called "little things" reap future rewards! :)


@ TTrimble 11:08 AM

Thx for the "SB" alert; I got the requisite points for "wanna-bee" but need something like 13 more words for "QB"; I'll grab a bite, then get on it; I've been getting down to the "3-5 to go" range lately, but can't quite break through to "SB". Someone, maybe @jae keeps track of all unknown words and reviews them on a regular basis; I'm going to jump on the bandwagon.


@ albatross shell 11:56 AM wrote:

"…why did the mods remove your 2:55 am comment last night? My only guess is that you posted something about today's puzzle that was a spoiler because Rex's blog was not yet up."

Boy howdy, did I ever… a major (unintentional) SNAFU of the "half-asleep kind." See my comments of 11:04 AM for the blow-by-blow call of the debacle. LOL (although it wasn't so funny last night, or rather, early this a.m.) when I knew there was nothing I could do, but go to bed and "try" to get some sleep, waiting for my punishment to be meted out this morning. Thank God for efficient and reasonable MODs!

Aside: I did finally drift off, but couldn't sleep past 5:30, so performed the morning ablutions, grabbed a poached egg, and went to the laptop with great trepidation. All's well that ends well!

Now to give thought to that last sentence: is it "begging the question?" Perhaps my @ Anonymous 10:06 AM friend will weigh in; I've been learning about "petitio principii", from them, but am still a ways off from fully understanding the concept. It's kind of like Algebra one, some of the basics are pretty easy, but the word problems get tricky very quickly.

Anonymous 10:06 AM, don't give up on me; I'm a work in progress. :)


"Wish" - "along with a birthday cake" or "upon a star" . "When You Wish Upon a Star - sung by Jiminy Cricket (Cliff Edwards)"


"Never fear", easier said than done! A deep understanding of the spiritual purport of "Perfect Love casteth out fear" was a panacea for the paranoia I was suffering in Kabul, in the aftermath of a very bad LSD trip. πŸ™

Eintracht πŸ•Š

CDilly52 1:24 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 1:34 PM  

I have to decline your invitation. Begging the question is a subset of circular reasoning. It is not synonymous with it. I use term advisedly, knowing full well the booboisie will not understand.
And remember, I only explained it because bocamp asked. I’m a lot of things, but a pontificator I’m not.
As I told him, I have no problem letting people make mistakes. But I do respond to questions or advice when faced with either.

As for things not being a good look, may I invite you to consider the appearance of a man from Detroit pissing on Philly?

Chuck D,
I know. But their mood wasn’t powerful Enough to fill a little venue, let alone a place as cavernous as JFK. REM shared management with The Police at the time. That’s the only reason they were on the slate. Filler. Pure and simple.

Nancy from Chicago 1:39 PM  

@Lewis, I so agree! Doing the puzzle and coming hear to read the comments are high points of my day these days. Robyn, I always love seeing your name appear in the byline and this puzzle was no exception.

Anonymous 2:26 PM  

re: 3 post 'limit'

fairest version: 3 unrelated posts. sometimes, well most always, continuing conversations get a head of steam with multiple conversants. some on-topic, some off-topic. either way, they'll run to a logical conclusion. mostly.

Dalston 2:48 PM  

Loved the puzzle, and loved the phrase TENFOOTPOLE. But did anyone else feel that the clue was clever but didn't quite land? It's not that you don't want to have to use a ten foot pole per se, it's that there are some things you don't want to touch with it.

Loved "Classic couples retreat" for ark.

Rube 3:04 PM got it done. In the final analysis that's all that counts. And as it turns out, in ancestral construct, my name might be just that

Frantic Sloth 3:05 PM  

@egs 123am Agreed – on all counts.

Thanks, @JD 137am I borrowed this from me: 😘 @JD 1040am How can someone who so reeks of anarchic tendencies come up with this many rules? πŸ˜‚

@Lews 639am You said it. Despite my earlier angst-ridden outburst, I find my return here offers much-needed consolation and provides a comfortable distraction.

Also, what @Lewis 702am said.

@GILL 1112am Why you insult farts? πŸ˜‰


pmdm 3:12 PM  

Interesting how different MS comes across to me in this blog and in his videos.

Except when I work, I solve both the Saturday and Sunday puzzles on Saturday before reading any blogs. So I know the names of the constructors of this puzzle and tomorrow's, names I am quite familiar with. While I find both constructors can construct puzzle that are quite difficult for me, I prefer Robyn's puzzles. I never get a sense that the puzzle is trying to do anything but provide a challenge to solvers, not that it is trying to aim itself at a particular type of solver.

I am surprised a teacher in college is unfamiliar with the term "rare book store". Sadly book stores are becoming even rarer than what they sell.

Funny how partisans can turn a certain action on its head. Now is hardly the time to ram a Supreme Court appointee through the process. Remember that, all ye who vote.

Now some silence in memory of the Notorious RBG. Didn't agree with all of her votes, but loved her attitude and personality. She will be missed (by those who are not right leaning partisans).

What? 3:24 PM  

Was on the way to a 100 but couldn’t get past HALFASLEEP. Had FALL which messed up entire corner. Just couldn’t get to HALF. Don’t know why, RBG a good guess. A tiny mountain.

GILL I. 3:38 PM  

@Frantic....Good god, woman....if I ever come here and you haven't posted, I will blow my caca out.

Joaquin 3:41 PM  

I don't really have a dog in the "3 posts and yer out" fight, as I think three is the most I have ever posted. But ... my scrolling wheel and my thumb are both operational and this allows me to ignore any or all posts - and you can do the same if a particular discussion is not of interest. I don't get the point of limiting others.

Joe Dipinto 3:49 PM  

@Dalston 2:48 – Regarding TENFOOTPOLE: Yes. The Times puzzle editors often give me the impression that they don't quite understand idioms.

(btw, I misread your name as Dalton at first and was tempted to ask if you had any rare books for sale.)

Anoa Bob 4:00 PM  

When I was a young smart alecky wisenheimer, I would respond to someone saying "I wouldn't touch that with a ten-foot pole" by countering with something like "How about with a ten-foot Czech (or Serb, Hungarian, etc.)". Now that I'm an old smart alecky wisenheimer, I still do it!

Drinking too much PEPSI can give you dyspepsia.

When I was a kid, running in the house was a major no-no. If I let my exuberance get the best of me and violated that speed limit, my mother would yell "Whoa Anoa, DON'T BE SO HASTY".

Beethoven's "FΓΌr ELISE" is one of those pieces that is so nice, it tends to get overplayed. That being said, if yous have a couple of minutes to spare and would like to see a unique visual angle on it, click here.

Wanderlust 4:35 PM  

LAS VEGAS has a rare book store? I love that. Typical tourist plan: “Let’s go to Vegas, get wasted, gamble away our kids’ college funds, ogle some strippers and then pick up a first edition of Evelyn Waugh!!!”

JD 5:47 PM  

@Frantic, My anarchic tendencies were a lifetime effort to overthrow the established order and now I think I might be fighting the insane, chaotic lack of order with self-imposed rules.

And whooo, thanks for the party favors. I needed that.

albatross shell 5:55 PM  

TENFOOTPOLE; The saying always expresses a desire not to use one. And the saying is nearly the only usage the term gets. Therefore "Staff one would not want to employ?" nails the saying. Common phrases and sayings are often clued this way. Of course you may think they are all off.

Frantic Sloth 5:56 PM  

@GILL 338pm LOL! A glimpse inside my thought process: You write "blow my caca out" and I think "is this a variation of 'blow my brains out'?" Then comes "oooh! Brains are caca?" Finally "Oh! Shit for brains!" And we're back to trump again.

Birchbark 6:17 PM  

@JD (5:47) re anarchy --> self-imposed order: I paused on reading that, and Marcel Duchamp came to mind -- an early, influential dadaist who left it behind in favor of chess.

@Frantic (12:45 a.m.) -- I like DOLT WOEBEGONE and would read his mysteries.

@Z (7:20 a.m.) and other debaters of early REM -- I have you to thank for the mental background music much of the day, over and over, "In a corner garden (inflected "aah), House in order (inflected "aah"), punctuated with "Wolves at the door." Every now and then, late at night, I play the Chronic Town EP on vinyl down in the basement and think about things.

Z 6:22 PM  

@Anon 10:06 - I don’t know if you or @bocamp realize this, but the whole “beg the question” question is an old one around here... which may be a source of my “seriously?!?” reaction. I assume you didn’t read Merriam-Webster’s excellent exposition that @bocamp linked to last night, because if you had “assume the conclusion” would have been a sufficient response to his question. The logic usage is now secondary, so I find “circular reasoning” is sufficiently clear for most people, and “you assume your conclusion” is better than “it begs the question” if I really need to be specific. I also now try to avoid “it begs the question” for “to elicit a specific question as a reaction or response” because someone is bound to suggest that I am saying “you assume your conclusion” when I mean something else. I have “begs the question” on my no fly list.

Some other veterans can support or contradict this, but my understanding of the three post limit was that it was a Rex rule from the pre-moderator days when 100 comments was a rarity. As ever the commentariat would get tangential and it was a good reminder that you probably already made your point. Clearly the moderators don’t give a rat’s patootie about the rule so I assume, by extension, that neither does Rex. These days somebody always seems to say something funny, insightful, or gob-smacking as I type. So I’m on Team Scroll on By.

Slue Rule - Never aver nor avow that the usage you know is the only usage because language is constantly changing.
@bocamp - @JD may have a more anarchistic definition, but I believe my definition is at least close.

Someone mentioned that R.E.M. wasn’t “widely popular” in 1983. True. R.E.M. was, however, wildly popular. Rolling Stone named Murmur Album of the Year over Thriller, Synchronicity, and War. Not bad for a record that only sold 200,000 copies in 1983. My memory is that college radio stations were starting their reign as arbitrators of cool and they played Radio Free Europe constantly.

orangeblossomspecial 6:22 PM  

Rex needs to listen to Maynard G. Krebs on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis to get a better understanding of 'hep'. "Like, I'm hep, man."

Rug Crazy 6:22 PM  

I cannot believe "Wax off?" was accepted as a clue

Joe Dipinto 6:23 PM  

The saying is "I wouldn't touch *that* with a ten foot pole". *That* is the focus of the sentiment; *that* is the thing that is objectionable. You might well employ a ten-foot pole to touch sundry other objects and not mind using it at all.

The clue does not "nail" the meaning of the expression at all.

bocamp 6:58 PM  

@ Anoa Bob 4:00 PM

Whoaanoa, catchy, could be Hawaiian :)

Good humor, all the way around, and probably a Polish joke you can safely get away with. LOL

Did you get my attempt? What did the custard say to the pudding?

Don't be hasty

That vid was mesmerizing; most enjoyable! thx for that :)


Fond memories of the aptly named "Georgia Bright Engel" . What a kind, gentle, sweet character she played on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show".


@ Z 6:22 PM wrote:

"Slue Rule - Never aver nor avow that the usage you know is the only usage because language is constantly changing.
@bocamp - @JD may have a more anarchistic definition, but I believe my definition is at least close."

Nope, I don't have one, and yup yours makes sense to me. The "Slue Rule", I like it a lot. :)

Makes sense what you said about Rex having to moderate his own blog back in the day. That could be the answer to the 3-post mystery.

Thx for the vid; Love the "Walk on bye" concept.


"Kona coffee blooms in February and March. Small white flowers known as "Kona snow" cover the tree. Green berries appear in April. By late August, red fruit, called "cherry" because of resemblance to a cherry, start to ripen for picking. Each tree, hand-picked several times between August and January, provides around 15 pounds of cherry, which result in about two pounds of roasted coffee." The cherry contain the Kola beans.

maluhia 🌴 πŸ•Š

Anonymous 6:58 PM  

If a woman of color is nominated to the Supreme Court and is denied there will be Hell to pay.

JD 7:00 PM  

@Birchbark, I finally got to see Nude Descending a Staircase in Philadelphia sometime around 2014. There was a massive heatwave on and people were swimming in the fountains outside.

@Z and @bocamp, Bingo.

Anonymous 7:36 PM  

I do know that the begging the question is a long standing issue here. In fact, I’ve been here longer than you. That you find circular reasoning sufficiently clear to mean begging the questions Illustrates your lack of understanding of both terms.
May I ask why you think your understanding of long established logical terms is sufficient to to redefine them?

Eniale 7:40 PM  

@tkincher: yay for Russell Hoban's "Riddley Walker"! I have most of his books for adults, but that's one of my two best-ever. Worth the hard work reading it! Not to mention his children's books, written with his first wife Lilian, which I enjoyed reading to my kids.

Anoa Bob 8:20 PM  

I'm in the camp that thinks the clue for 5 Down sacrificed accuracy of meaning in order to go for some misdirection. The "Staff" and "employ" parts of the clue were meant to make us think that it had something to do with hiring people, right? But I've only heard it used in the expression "I wouldn't touch that with a TEN FOOT POLE". It has nothing to do with the desirability or lack thereof for using (employng) said pole (staff) and it has everything to do with the "that", the object up for discussion which apparently is so disgusting, so absolutely wretched that you would not want to get within TEN FEET of it.

Frantic Sloth 9:05 PM  

@Joe D 623pm Well argued. That's always been my understanding as well.

@JD I think we're gonna need a refresher course on all your rules/stages/phases, etc. Everything in one place so one can copy/paste/study/commit to memory/and spew upon command.

Thanks in advance.

bocamp 9:10 PM  

On the route from Munich to Kabul, our bus broke down twice and we ended up spending the better part of three weeks in Turkey. Talking August and scorching heat. The bathhouses and cool nights were a welcome respite to the heat. Wonderful people, the Turks, great mechanics, as well. :)

Barış πŸ•Š

albatross shell 10:06 PM  

@Joe Dipinto
Yes I know the saying.
The clue is about the pole. The pole in the saying is one you do not want to use.
It is not about the thing you do not want to touch. In the saying you do not mind touching the pole. You mind using the pole to touch something. The clue accurately describes the pole in the saying. It nails the pole's function in the saying which is what a clue should do. And the pole is not the subject of the saying but it is the essence of the saying. It is what gives the saying zing. There is no zing in "that" "it" "him" or "her".

Anonymous 10:17 PM  

You took a bus from Munich to Turkey? That’s more than 4,000 miles. Was your bus driver the guy CDily 52 took the boots off of?

Interested Party 11:43 PM  


Nailed it.

For example: “I don’t want to use that TEN FOOT POLE to touch that orange turd.” It’s a staff I’d rather not employ.

bocamp 11:46 PM  

@ Anonymous 10:17 PM

My Dutch friend and I drove, while our other friend, an American from Wisconsin, drove some kind of a compact car (can't recall the make). The bus was a Mercedes touring bus. We drove for an Afghan importer/exporter who brought cars into Afghanistan and exported (I think it was marble) from Afghanistan to Germany.

We picked up many hitchhikers along the wsy, which lead to… well you can use your imagination (this was 1970). An Afghani, who happened to be a judge in Kabul, accompanied us in his own car, and provided baksheesh at all the border crossings along the way. He proved to be an asset in Afghanistan a couple of months later, which is another story.

Good night, have a good sleep. :)

Ψ³ΩˆΩ„Ω‡ πŸ•Š

tkincher 1:31 AM  

@Eniale On that same trip I found a signed first edition of "The Lion of Boaz-Jachin" in a tiny bookstore in Edinburgh, as well! I need to catch up on more of his stuff, but "The Medusa Frequency" is another favorite of what I've read.

Unknown 7:22 AM  

Rare book store: Go read 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff. 1974. True story centering on Marks & Co., a Dickensian bookstore in London that somehow survived WW2. Or Between Silk and Cyanide by Leo Marks, son of 84's proprietor, whose obsession with secret codes catapulted him into a key position in Bletchley's rival organization. His father's store makes more than one important contribution to the war effort.

Anonymous 10:42 PM  

I'm *still* completely at a loss for why the clue "beauty" gets the answer "pearl" (53A). Makes no sense to me at all.

"Beauty" could be so many things, and "pearl" is definitely NOT among the first or even twentieth words to come to mind.

Anybody got any explanation or clarification to enlighten me??

Unknown 3:07 PM  

Rare Books Store:

The wonderful Argosy Book Store in NYC is run and owned by 3 sisters.

thefogman 11:19 AM  

I got killed by HEP, REFER, HALFASLEEP, ENGEL and PEARL. Had fALlASLEEP and the rest was a trainwreck.

Burma Shave 2:13 PM  


in GOODTASTE is how ELISE works,
your WOE will BEGONE in THE END,


Burma Shave 2:15 PM  

That should be Burma SHAVE.

rondo 2:22 PM  

Well, that took less than 20 minutes and I was HALFASLEEP. Very easy for SaturDAY. It's a good puz, but the way OFL fawns over Robun W is over the top. Haha, BURMA earlier in the week and SHAVE today. Where's @spacey?
PEARL=Janis Joplin=yeah baby.

thefogman 3:20 PM  

Where have all the Syndies gone?

leftcoaster 5:48 PM  

Good wordplay with consistently fair clues and answers. Can’t fault a Saturday challenge like that. Doesn’t mean I aced it, but came pretty close and didn’t badly DROP THE BALL.

strayling 6:29 PM  

Thanks, @thefogman, now I have that Paula Cole song stuck in my head. There are worse earworms to have.

I found this satisfying enough and tricky in the right places, but KOA was kompletely inkomprehensible to me until I checked it post-solve.

wcutler 6:33 PM  

@Anonymous 10:42 PM: I'm *still* completely at a loss for why the clue "beauty" gets the answer "pearl" (53A). Makes no sense to me at all.
From "The finest quality of natural pearls have been highly valued as gemstones and objects of beauty for many centuries. Because of this, pearl has become a metaphor for something rare, fine, admirable and valuable." Bing results show this line "a person or thing that is like a pearl, esp in beauty or value" but I can't find the source.

Vancouver, BC used to have at least two rare book stores' I think there are none any more.

And "top up" a drink is so common here, I can't even imagine another way to ask if you want more coffee or soda.

I thought HiP seemed ok for 48 down, giving iNGEL for Georgia, whom I didn't know. Otherwise the puzzle seemed so fun and tricky, but I finished it hours (days, even) before I usually either finish or give up on a Saturday.

Diana, LIW 8:12 PM  

I outguessed myself on a few, which gave me a dnf. Surprised, because some of it came so quickly! Ah well - see you tomorrow.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

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