French dessert of fruit encased in sweet batter / SAT 10-17-20 / Pattern of five shapes arranged like this puzzle's central black squares / Roman's foe in Gallic Wars / Whence a memorable emperor's fall / Morocco's next-largest city after Casablanca / Language from which peyote comes

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Constructor: Victor Barocas and Brad Wilber

Relative difficulty: Medium (6:40)

THEME: QUINCUNX / PLUS SIGN (1A: Pattern of five shapes arranged like this puzzle's central black squares / 62A: One of five depicted in this puzzle) — two answers refer to the five black-square formations seen in the grid (the rest of the grid is mercifully themeless)

Word of the Day: CLAFOUTI (36D: French dessert of fruit encased in sweet batter) —

Clafoutis (French pronunciation: ​[klafuti]Occitanclafotís [klafuˈtis] or [kʎafuˈtiː]), sometimes spelled clafouti in Anglophone countries, is a baked French dessert of fruit, traditionally black cherries, arranged in a buttered dish and covered with a thick flan-like batter. The clafoutis is dusted with powdered sugar and served lukewarm, sometimes with cream.

A traditional Limousin clafoutis contains not only the flesh of the cherries used, but also the nut-like kernels in the stones. Cherry kernels contain benzaldehyde, the compound responsible for the dominant flavour in almond extract. They also contain a small amount of amygdalin, a cyanogenic glycoside - a compound potentially capable of releasing cyanide if consumed, but non-toxic in small quantities. (wikipedia)

• • •

I saw Brad Wilber's name on the byline and thought it would be on the tougher side for me, since he will inevitably throw some fancy / exotic / foreign vocabulary I've never heard of before in there because he reads more than you and me put together and he's just smart that way. And sure enough, there it was, bam, QUINCUNX (!?!?), bam, CLAFOUTI ... and yet my time was totally normal for a Saturday, so I learned a couple new words without too much aggravation, which is just fine with me. I was much more aggravated by AES and HOBS and ENE and a little bit by FES (mostly because I thought it was spelled FEZ) (58D: Morocco's next-largest city after Casablanca). But I very much liked "I DON'T LIKE TO BRAG" and "RETURN OF THE JEDI," and NAHUATL (40D: Language from which peyote comes) and XANADU (8D: Site of Coleridge's "stately pleasure-dome") and SPIT TAKE (14D: Reaction to an unexpected joke) were pretty snazzy as well (for the record, this is the only way in which I will accept "SPIT" in my puzzle). I'm very much not a fan of themes on Saturday (or Friday), as they tend to be themed enough to restrict the quality of the fill but not themed enough to really be worth it. Today's theme was kind of a shrug for me. A push. A wash. I didn't care about it. It's fine. 

QUINCUNX nearly broke me up front. First of all, I wanted PENT-... something. Then I really wanted the latter part of the word to be -CRUX (because the black-square formations looked like crosses). I wasn't quite sure if the "Pattern of five shapes" was the five PLUS SIGNs or the five black squares arranged to look like a PLUS SIGN in each instance. Anyhoo, -CRUX was wrong. But knowing my Coleridge really helped because XANADU gave me not only the "X" but the "A" I needed to see UNDERSEA, and I was able to slowly piece things together from there. Found BANS very hard to get (19A: Some last a lifetime); had -ANS and still no idea, but luckily QUÉBEC fell into place and gave me that last letter I needed. Whole NE was a piece of cake. Zero problems there. Watched all of "Veep" earlier this year and still had no idea re: ANNA Chlumsky, but now that I see her face of course I know who she is. I did not realize she was the (child) star of the 1991 movie "My Girl" (opposite Macaulay Culkin) until just now. That's quite a career. 

Never saw "My Girl," but I did see "RETURN OF THE JEDI"—probably several times—and yet that didn't keep me from failing to understand the clue and initially writing in RETURN OF THE KING (12D: Whence a memorable emperor's fall). I think of Darth Vader as "Lord Vader," so "emperor" weirdly threw me off (I also, it seems, completely forgot that the Emperor was actually Palpatine, who I don't remember being in *any* of the first three "Star Wars" movies ... time for a rewatch, I guess). CLAFOUTI gave me trouble in the SW, but otherwise, smooth sailing. So overall, tough going around the two longer words I didn't know and couldn't hope to infer, and easy going everywhere else. Thus, Medium. Good day.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Harryp 1:01 AM  

It should have gone easier than it played, but I was hung up at 36Down, CLAFOUTI. I could get the crosses,separately, but as with 1Across, QUINCUNX, I couldn't see it well. Still, a very fast Saturday at 23:17

James 1:10 AM  

The emperor is The Emperor, and his memorable fall is when Vader tosses him down that shaft.

turkeyneck 1:20 AM  

I don’t care about the rest of it. It’s FEZ for god’s sake.

Joaquin 1:22 AM  

I’m okay now, but what a rough couple of days I just had. My NAHUATL was itching like crazy so I rubbed some CLAFOUTI on it. The itching stopped but it caused my QUINCUNX to fall off.

Frantic Sloth 1:49 AM  

QUINCUNX? Sure, why not? But only if you cross it with a foreign word, please.
Gotta love the Saturdee puzzle. 😁

ADA Yonath and ANA Navarro walk into a bar in SADR City, CRI at the bartender for a QUINCUNX of xylylENEs on the rocks and whine "in the name of the goat-pulled charioteer god THOR, where the hell are we and what the hell did we just order??"
When it becomes clear to them that they are being snubbed, they grow IRATE and bellow "do you know who we are??"
Uh... no idea, you got me, and nope.

Okay. It was sort of challenging, but in an off-brand kind of way. I think maybe the grid art was supposed to be the main attraction and it so was not worth it to me.
The best things in the grid were IDONTLIKETOBRAG, CLAFOUTI (which I've never had, but it looks delicious!) and the cutesy clue for HATFIELD ("Who definitely isn't the real McCoy?")

I was not wowed, but I didn't hate it. It was the term I've seen tossed around here on occasion: workmanlike. The best thing was learning the new words and people despite knowing I'll never remember them. Tsk.


jae 1:54 AM  

Easy-medium. QUINCUNX was a total WOE and CRI was an educated guess so I spent more than a few nanoseconds running the alphabet in my head before I put in the C.

Clever cluing with 2 fine long downs, liked it.

alawi 2:11 AM  

The fall being referred to is that of Emperor Palpatine -- it's a pun!

Unknown 2:30 AM  

Emperor = palpatine, not Vader

chefwen 2:40 AM  

I was elated to finish this without cheating, now after review I find that I did have a couple of incorrect letters. Damn! With QUINCUNX and NAHUATL involved, it’s no wonder. Oh Well, THEMS THE BREAKS. At least I got CLAFLUTI right.

Let’s chill with the SPITTing. It’s ICKY!

chefwen 2:41 AM  

Having issues, this is a test.


Darth Sidious is the emperor who “falls” to his presumed death at the end of Jedi. Lord Vader, who until that moment is subservient, throws him from the deck of ship into a shaft containing an enrrgy.beam destroying him. No spoilers here.

ZenMonkey 2:43 AM  

Felt like a good workout, and not a bad clue in the bunch. Absolutely love QUINCUNX. I hope I can persuade it to stay in my lexicon.

John 2:44 AM  

I think it's referring to Emperor Palpatine who seemed to die in Return of the Jedi.

bocamp 3:07 AM  

Thanks to @Victor & @Brad for this excellent puzzle. Lots of cultures represented here. Fresh fill and a couple of toughies for me, but that's part of the thrill in doing xwords – learning new things.

Overall, very much on my wave-length and a fast time, but to the tune of a costly error.

Dnf'd on "quincunx" / "cri" and was held up at the "cfo" / "clafouti" cross, not grokking the "millions" part of the clue for 47A. Knew it had to be ceo, cfo or coo, and since I didn't need a fourth consecutive vowel in "cla_outi", I went with "cfo" trying to figure out how a financial officer would be "overseeing millions" of workers. Then a d'oh moment; not workers – finances! Only one problem: when I dropped the "f" in, I got the dreaded "gong".

I had forgotten about the questionable "t" back at 1A/5D cross. Had meant to come back to that. Don't know if it'd made any difference to the outcome, since I had no idea what "Chamonix" was. I do now. :) And, for crying out loud, a French "shout" from the mountain top would be a "cri", not a "tri", right?

I did manage to get a couple of older Saturdays done correctly, so went 2 for 3 for the day. :)

Peace Salam Paix Mir Pace Frieden мир Sith שָׁלוֹם friðr tlacacemelle 🕊

Colin 3:17 AM  

The clue is referencing Palpatine, not Vader, who gets thrown down a giant pit at the end.

kaoconno 4:09 AM  

Yes! Was hoping someone would point that out.

Anonymous 5:37 AM  

The Quincunx was a bestselling book in 1991 that I happened to read and remember — lucky break!

Conrad 6:07 AM  

ADA, ANA and ANNA all in the same puzzle. Two more and they'd have a Jeopardy category, "The Women of A-A"

Camp Chef 6:22 AM  

@Rex. How about this clue? "A large sharp metal rod stuck through a piece of meat or through a whole animal to cook it slowly over low heat, usually from a bed of coals, though in modern times it can also be gas flame or electric heat.

Lewis 6:41 AM  

There I was, working in the SE after getting most of the rest of the puzzle, and NAHUATL filled in. I thought, “Is that a word? Could that possibly be the correct answer?” But only momentarily, because after having filled in QUINCUNX and CLAFOUTI I thought, “Sure! Anything, yes any Jabberwockian collection of letters, can be a word in this puzzle!”

That’s a moment I don’t remember having before in a solve – and I loved it! Constructors and Will, may there be more of them in future puzzles.

There was actually more easy (for Saturday) than hard in this solve, but there was enough hard to give me my Saturday fix. Not just the alphabet soup answers, but in some unflashy yet devious clues, like [Ornaments] for TRIMS, and in some brilliant misdirects like [Overseer of millions at work, perhaps], with that millions referring to money.

I love a puzzle that invokes a bit of kakorrhaphiophobia that is overcome – just what you two made today. Much gratitude!

TTrimble 6:51 AM  

I actually found this one of the easier Saturdays, and definitely had an easier time with it than yesterday's.

I didn't know Chamonix, but it looks like Asterix [might Chamonix be a comrade of Asterix? I'll look it up later] and I thus intuited something French/Belgian, hence CRI seemed natural enough.

And though I didn't get QUINCUNX right away, it was eventually recognizable. I know this word: the great American genius C.S. Peirce (whose work on logic I've studied) developed a special type of map called a quincuncial projection, which carries certain advantages over other types of map like the Mercator projection. For the mathematicians out there, it's related to elliptic functions: indeed, the tesselated form of Peirce's projection exhibits a doubly periodic function, i.e., a branched covering of the Riemann sphere by an elliptic curve. For the non-mathematicians out there, have a look anyway at the tesselated form: it's fun to look at and is sort of reminiscent of M.C. Escher -- if Escher didn't know of this, I'm sure he would have loved it.

As Rex noted, this puzzle is linguistically rich, and very clean: no clunkiness leaps to the eye. I see some people complaining about FES, but look it up: it's an accepted alternate spelling.

ChuckD 6:59 AM  

This had some tough moments but overall a smooth solve. Don’t care for the mini theme idea - QUINCUNX was not on the tip of my tongue - but the surrounding was fairly easy so I backed into it. Didn’t like how the center PLUS SIGN broke up the grid but both long downs were nice. The CAIRNS/SPIT TAKE corner was pretty cool - not sure our current leader could pull off SALT II. ICKIER is icky - PUMAS in lieu of the standard Avia. CRIMSON TIGERS was too easy for a Saturday.

My parents travelled France in the 60s and upon return - my mom made CLAFOUTIs often. Mostly in the summer with berries and sometimes peaches but it was simple and delicious. A nice memory for a Saturday morning.

Telvo 7:05 AM  

Joaquin, Thanks for starting my day off with a good laugh. Outstanding. Rex, this was not a 'Medium' puzzle for all the reasons Joaquin pointed out and then some. 'Challenging' where 'Challenging' is due. I was very proud of myself for finally breaking the tape at the finish line before you informed me it was just an average puzzle. It wasn't. Kudos to the constructors.

Ho 7:08 AM  


Hungry Mother 7:11 AM  

Smooth solve except for the wag in one across. Lots of easier entries than usual on Saturday, but no complaint here.

Anonymous 7:19 AM  


Beaglelover 7:37 AM  

Shouldn't 23 Across be DST( daylight saving time)?

Z 7:50 AM  

Has anyone mentioned that the clue refers to Palpatine and not Vader, yet? I half imagine that Rex wakes up this morning, has a D’Oh moment, and updates the blog.

Pretty damn close to a Saturday PR for me. Despite the QUINCUNX/CLAFOUTI WOEs (huh, my iPad doesn’t know either term either) this fell pretty easily. First word in the grid was SALT II, so I presumed a typical 20-30 minute Saturday was to come. But, Boom, I worked down the right side as if it were a Wednesday. Entered the NW from the right, and EMOTICON and UNDERSEA were fairly obvious now. I’ve been to Chamonix, so the Frenchiness of CRI was pretty easy. I live not too far from CLEMSON, now, so that was easy. Again, still the oddest thing how much Duke is absent around here (WNC). UNC rules, but CLEMSON TIGER paws are pretty common, as is Georgia Bulldog swag. You just don’t see anything Duke. Anyway, the last letter in was the suboptimal O at the CLAFOUTI/HOB crossing. My five sided die came up O (based purely on the similarity to HOBo) and the clock said 11:44. I don’t normally solve Saturdays on the iPad so I don’t actually know what my fastest Saturday is, but this is probably a PR.

Did some post-solve googling. Learned that QUINCUNX is a not uncommon design and derives from a Roman coin. Alrighty then.

Off to work for Election Services this morning. No idea what exactly I will be doing, but as the 46,000 absentee ballots requested in this county come in a lot of clerical work has to happen. I voted yesterday at our early voting site. From walking out the door to walking back in took me less than an hour. Vote.

ow a paper cut 8:02 AM  

Clafouti? One day they’ll be a cure.

mmorgan 8:20 AM  

Had to take some totally wild guesses and was astonished to get Mr Happy Pencil.

kitshef 8:25 AM  

I notice there are two constructors. I wonder if one of them did the magnificent, challenging, and fun top six rows, and the other did the dreary, easy, irritating remainder of the puzzle.

Has there ever been a better top row than QUINCUNX CAIRNS? Plus that top section has XANADU, QUEBEC, NEONATE.

Once I got out of that top section, though, it was all CLAFOUTI crossing CFO, NUNN crossing NIH, NEW AT and DJED and THOR.

And the easiness of the bottom section made this whole thing feel like a Wednesday, rather than a Saturday.

kitshef 8:29 AM  

Fun fact: Chamonix was the site of the first Winter Olympics.

Jersey John 8:35 AM  

Fez. Sparks memories of a 1971 trip by bus from Rabat to Fez. Girlfriend and I were only Anglo types on board, bus was jammed with natives, many accompanied by their chickens and goats. I traded my seat to a nice old lady in exchange for an orange. Spent a couple of days in the casbah, then back to the more “Europeanized” Tangiers. Great days.

SouthsideJohnny 8:42 AM  

******** SB Alert ********

Anyone else getting very bad karma from SB today - I’ve got three legitimate words not included so far (which I listed below). I don’t buy their jive “reasoning” that the words are too technical or “not really English”.

********* SB Spoiler ********

Had the following denied - Mach (too technical), Chyme (too technical), Allah (who knows). The SB crew must be hanging around with Shortz.

DeeJay 8:43 AM  

DST is unspecific. EDT is in the Eastern time zone

TJS 8:45 AM  

I was zipping down the east side from top to bottom andgetting ready for my usual "too easy for a (fill-in-the blank) day" when I was slowed to a crawl from SW to NW. Yay! Finally reached Saturday-level challenge. A bunch of words I had vague recollection of. Isn't "Consistency the hobgoblin of "some kind of mind? I'll get back to y'all on that, cause...

@Z, proud of you, for the vote and for taking the time to get involved. I would like to believe I would be doing the same if not stuck in the D.R. I intend to give you a free pass on the next five aggravating things you say here.

TJS 8:50 AM  

I was in the ballpark : Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote: “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines."

pabloinnh 9:12 AM  

Knowing the alphabet helped me deduce that 1D probably began with a Q, which normally leads to a U, so there was some help there. Doesn't anyone remember "dernier ___" as a clue for CRI? I sure do.

QUINCUNX and CLAFOUTI are both words I have run into and sort of got without bothering to look up a definition (some kind of shape, something to eat) so nice to be enlightened there. NAHUATL I know from teaching about the Aztecs, also a good bet that a word ending in -ote, or sometimes -ato, like tomato, came from Nahuatl.

NEONATE, eek, reminded me of the two weeks our son spent in the neonatal ICU with a beta strep infection. Scary times, but of course he's fine and bigger and stronger than I ever was or will be, so happy ending.

Someone continues to build CAIRNS along the lane on the back side of our little lake that leads to our summer camp. I have never seen anyone doing this, so perhaps HOBS?

Lots of great words in this one, so thanks to VB and BW, but just a little on the easy side for a Saturday.

The Saturday Stumper will have me pulling my hair out soon enough.

Birchbark 9:33 AM  

Today happened to play easy and steady, 10:48 including a walk into the kitchen for a cup of coffee. 1D clue put a free "Q" in the first square --> free across and down "U"s in the second squares. From there, an educated guess at QUIN yielded a couple of crosses, then UNDERSEA, NEONATE, XANADU, and it just loped along like that from there.

Lots of fun clues and interesting words along the way. The grid design looked like it would play segmented, but plenty of room to breathe throughout.

Teedmn 9:34 AM  

A little baking knowledge is a dangerous thing, in crosswords. This summer, I made a delicious galette, which is a fruit pastry surrounded by a sweet dough. (Mine was strawberry!) Add an L, cross it with uglIER at 35A and put it in the oven for baby and me. And then figure one side of the Urals is a stepPE and you have a mess.

I plunked in XANADU (I just tried to start that word by typing Z even though I was thinking X. Does anyone else find their fingers type what they hear in their head instead of the mental image? How do my hands go behind my back like that? This used to happen to me when I was learning and typing in Swedish) as my first answer, feeling smug. I wanted UNDER SEA for 15A but couldn't see any confirming crosses. I looked at the NX in 1A and wondered if 1) a phalanx took cross formations and 2) if phallanx was a spelling variation. Seems like a theme today, of wanting to add extra L's.

And the obvious answer for 1D would start with Q but I wondered if the NATO alphabet had bothered with Q. That would make 1A a WOE (which it turned out to be). I wandered off to the NE. I eventually opened the NW by seeing USCG. 3D cleared up all of my MISHAPS in the SW and the C of ICKIER gave me CLAFOUTI. Aha, a different French dessert. CLEMSON TIGERS, as if I would ever know who won the NCAA football champs, once, twice or a dozen times.

Victor and Brad, I admire your solo puzzles a lot and this combo is really nice, thanks.

Nancy 9:38 AM  

A tough, absorbing struggle. QUINCUNX???? One of the oddest words I've ever seen at a 1 Across. Thank heavens for XANADU. Today XANADU, yesterday OZYMANDIAS -- a really good week for some of my favorite poems.

A clever, very funny clue for HATFIELD. Very nice clues for CASH, EMOTICON and DJED. And unquestionably the strangest clue for ET TU (53D) that I've ever seen.

For once, RETURN OF THE JEDI actually saved my bacon. I had had LONG, not LUST, at 22A, but now was able to change it.

But nothing saved my bacon at 47A, CFO being, I think, the trickiest clue in the puzzle. I thought of the AFL-CIO and all of the millions of workers it either once did or still did control. I wondered if they'd separated from each other -- they used to be separate at one time -- so I wrote in an "I", as in the CIO. It stands for "Congress of Industrial Relations". This falls into the category of "a little learning is a dangerous thing."

I ended up with a 1-letter DNF. CLAiOUTI looked wrong, certainly, but I had no idea how to correct it or what to change it to. Those French do sometimes use an awful lot of vowels.

Anonymous 9:40 AM  

APPARENTLY destroying him.

Anonymous 9:45 AM  

Isn’t this a crossword “blog” not a SB one?
Stop already; make one up yourself if you want comments about whatever SB is.

Joe Dipinto 9:48 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve M 10:02 AM  

No way this was medium

Steve M 10:02 AM  

No was this played medium come on it was brutal

GILL I. 10:07 AM  

There is only one way to start my Saturday....and that's with the funnies! Thank you @Joaquin and @Frantic. that out of the way...on to the puzzle.
Well, I looked at 1A and thought I should go brush my teeth. I knew QUEBEC had to be right becauseI know my NATO alphabet. So I'm looking at a Q and just knew Brad would find and expose us to some weird word. He does that and I love it. I moved on cautiously, though. I'm looking for zingers here and there and I got a few. I got my I DONT here, my USCG there and NEONATE squeezed in and, and, I remembered XANADU....So QUINCUNX it is. The Ozymandias of this world are alive and the music plays.....
A letter here, a letter there, I'm not feeling angst anymore. I can do this.....Uh oh...some NCAA thing. Starts with a C because everyone knows you need an ICE CHEST at a tailgate party. Second letter has to be L because everyone in the world knows CLAFOUTI and also knows to pit the cherries or you'll lose a tooth....and so it went.....
I get to FES/Fez. (it can be spelled both ways) and I smile because I do that when you remind me of food and travel. My mom, sister and I drove from Casablanca to Fez in a Seat 600 back in the late 60's. Three white women ( one with a lot of freckles) just didn't do that back then. We did and had a ball. We got a flat tire somewhere along the way and just sat in the middle of the desert looking forlorn. A Bedouin tribe with very smelly camels approached us and I thought for sure my sister was going to hop on a camel and take off. A Frenchman to the rescue. He stopped his Citroen, told us we were in peril, fixed the flat, gave us some of his wine and went on his way to Marrakech. We arrived safe and sound at Fez and had a wonderful, wonderful time. We ate like queens, we bought rugs and ceramic, we wandered the Medina and its magnificent walled mazes.....we had stories to tell everyone. This world can be amazing.
Oh...and I finished this puzzle. The HATFIELDs was my last entry. I am the real McCoy......

Joe Dipinto 10:10 AM  

There is only one Hatfield.

Anything interesting about this puzzle was automatically cancelled out by the inclusion of 12d in the grid. That is all.

(reposted in the proper location)

Frantic Sloth 10:13 AM  

@James 110am, I guess most people who have any interest in Star Wars, would have seen RETURNOFTHEJEDI already, so if not...too bad for them! Ha!
What's with all the spoilers, people? First Aida (Hi, Wed. 546am!), now this??

@Joaquin 122am 🤣🤣🤣

@Lewis 641am kakorrhaphiophobia, doppeltooterwhatever, and palindromeishsomethingelse, etc. - are these things just sitting around in your head, always at the ready?? Scary dude. 😘

Oh, never mind....I just started to read @TTrimble 651am, so you're off the hook.

Not a safety zone for an intellectual featherweight today, folks.

I need a break already....

Anonymous 10:26 AM  

I recalled QUINCUNX from somewhere, likely because of the merry jollity to be found in junior high school lads intentionally mispronouncing it. Need to consult a dictionary to find the meaning, but... nah.

RooMonster 10:35 AM  

Hey All !
Of course XANADU is spelled with an X! Stupid me, put a Z in, after having non-place sANAnU first. A three-letter DNF today, caused by never having heard of QUINCUNX. Sounds risque. Had a T to get QUINTsomething, plus the S at the end, ended up with QUINtUNs, because that sounds plausible, right? Plus the AnA miss. ADA? Who the who? Proud of myself for getting the rest of the puz.

CAIRNS is known from crosswords. As is NAHUATL, but not the spelling! :-)

So a nicer themeless than YesterPuz. A semi-themed themeless. Fun clue on CASH. Off to the ears clue on DJED. Yeah, you change the record (or did, at least, I think it's all buttons now), but technically is that Changing your tune? I guess it's crossword defensible. Does CLEMSON have a LABFEE? Asking for my nephew who goes there. :-) GO TIGERS! (Well, not really a College sports fan, but he's the closest I'll ever get to something college!)

aviAS-PUMAS, because it's always AVIAS, oNE-ENE, yuKIER-ICKIER, basR-SADR, CeO-CFO.

Monica SELES was good, but my all-time fav was MARTINA HINGIS. Great player, and sexy to boot! Sorry if the was ICKIER! :-)

Three F's

Nancy 10:41 AM  

Thought for the day: An interesting puzzle usually produces an interesting blog. And the comments today have indeed been interesting.

Another thought for the day: Generally speaking, the most revealing blog comments involve solvers describing what went wrong, rather than what went right. Especially when all their mistakes are completely understandable and all of them criss-cross together into one glorious mega-MISHAP. You know that that's not what happened to you...but you also know that it well might have.

Today, it's @Teedmn's 9:34 combo of GALLETTE, UGLIER and the wonderful out-of-the-box STEPPE that delighted me. Each one is a possible answer to its clue, and they all confirm one another. But every one of them is wrong! It's so interesting when that happens -- especially since you know that it's a trap the constructors couldn't possibly have planned.

Barbara S. 10:44 AM  

How's this for a coincidence? (Or should I say QUINCUNXidence?) I can do Anonymous (5:37 a.m.) one better, because on the small table beside the day-bed on which I solve crossword puzzles is a paperback copy of Charles Palliser's "The Quincunx"! Is this because it's my favorite book in all the world? you ask. No, it's because it's almost 2 inches thick and is the perfect height for supporting a table lamp that is just a little too short to cast light satisfactorily for reading or puzzle-solving. I did a book cull a couple of years ago (almost killed me) and I remember looking at "The Quincunx" and thinking maybe it could go. But where would I ever again have found such a perfect lamp base? So there it sits, fulfilling a second, unexpected function today: supplying me with both light and enlightenment.

Photomatte 10:54 AM  

You don't remember that prolonged fight scene between Vader and Luke, when the Emperor tries to get Vader to turn Luke to the Dark Side, but Luke prevails and Vader is unmasked? It was the climax of the story arc (notwithstanding the coda at the very end, where those totally useless creatures - Ewoks - were featured).
Speaking of the Dark Side - and how that term was used to indicate evil - has anyone ever noticed that the main bad guy in the Star Wars series was a huge man in black, voiced by a black man (James Earl Jones), but when he finally turned good, he was a portrayed by a small white man? Just sayin...

me 11:03 AM  

Initial reaction: WHAAAAT?!
More precisely: This made me IRATE! It made me REDDEN with anger.

What? 11:11 AM  

I don’t know what SB is but I presume it’s some sort of constructors site. Yes, doesn’t belong here but there should be a site listing ridiculous vetos from editors. Here’s one (not the Times). CZECH AIRLINES. “It sounds made up.” It’s not made up, see Wikipedia. “Doesn’t matter, it sounds made up.”

Whatsername 11:12 AM  

Not bad at all except for a few of the Propers which were killers. I knew 1D was QUEBEC so I got the QUIN part of 1A but the rest was like pulling a tooth. NAHUATL looks weird in the same way as Utahn, and CLAFOUTI might as well be Tutti Frutti for all I know. Oh well, it’s Saturday, it’s supposed to be hard, and I did finish so there’s that.

@Joaquin (1:22) 🤣 There you go again, making me do a SPIT TAKE of my coffee before I even get started. Maybe you should see a specialist about that NAHUATL. I hear there’s a good one in SADR.

Newboy 11:16 AM  

We picked the last pears of the season Thursday, so clafoutis is actually in the fridge—delightful and easily-made low calorie treat enhanced by a swirl of cognac. Unfortunately today’s grid was less satisfying where neither of us could spell worth a damn. Those words we think we many ways can the French spell “O” & don’t even start on NAHUATL? Ironically Mme Newboy is doing Babble French and I occupy staycationing time with Duolingo Spanish though neither helped much today. Thank higher powers that we both had Latin leftovers with a serving of ET TU brutally provided by Brad & Victor for clearing the palate.

mathgent 11:21 AM  

I was in the same boat with Nancy (not a bad place to be) having to guess the F in CLAFOUTI. It was the most pronounceable choice but CFOs don’t oversee anybody. So, like my boatmate, I whiffed, entering an I. Of course. Millions of dollars.

“Dernier ___” would have been too easy, but I would have liked to see it again.

GNASH, love that word, as in “gnashing of teeth.” I’ve forgotten the expression that comes from, something in the Bible, I think.

Brad Wilbur is one of the best. Always a pleasure to do one of his works. I invariably learn something.

egsforbreakfast 11:22 AM  

@Blogger Joaquin said...
I’m okay now, but what a rough couple of days I just had. My NAHUATL was itching like crazy so I rubbed some CLAFOUTI on it. The itching stopped but it caused my QUINCUNX to fall off.

I think it sounds like a terminal case of SLOPITCH

What is the plural of QUINCUNX? Quincuncodes?

ICECHEST sounds about three decades passé to me. Doesn’t everyone say “Cooler” now?

I think a peyote RAT is a NAHUATL NUISANCE.

@Z - Thanks for helping out on voting.

sixtyni yogini 11:24 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
sixtyni yogini 11:27 AM  

Ya gotta love quidnunx, Xanadu, Nahuatl, and clafoutis, even if ya hated the puzz. 😜😍😜
[haha, as I did).

Ace 11:37 AM  

My fastest Saturday time in 55 years of NYT puzzling - by 30%!

Wanderlust 11:38 AM  

I can’t love a puzzle built around a term 95% of solvers probably don’t know. And a technical fail for me as I went with QUINtUNX and TRI. I had put in QUINT for the beginning of 1A because of the “five” in the clue. And then I figured the TRI was a cry regarding the tri-color flag of France. Other than that, I liked it. Zoomed through the east and then crawled through the west. Clever clues on CFO, DJED and HATFIELD.

Frantic Sloth 11:38 AM  

(Posting this at 1135, last comment visible is 1002, so please forgive any bumbledeegook as a result. Mods have a thankless job, so no dis meant!)

@Z 730am I thought of HOBo as well, but apres solve, HOBgoblins sat up and slapped me. Talk about D'oh. As for your ES work, good on ya! (Be safe.)

@pabloinnh 912am I know - right?Who is doing this? More importantly, ***rhetorical alert*** what is it about espying a new CAIRN along the roadside that gets me all giddy??

@Anonymous 945am FYI This non-issue has already been discussed, mediated, and moderated to death. The result ( ***SB Alert*** or similar) has been determined to be enough to allow those uninterested to move quickly past without the loss of life or limb.

More on THOR and his chariot drawn by...goats? Maybe it's the sea of goat videos overflowing the internet, but there's an animal I wouldn't necessarily associate with
(a) a chariot
(b) a god riding said chariot
(c) a god as macho he-manny and fearsome as THOR (Where does he put the hammer?)

Trying to imagine this guy pulling anything other than an all-nighter

Peamut 11:42 AM  

Sounds like the lyrics to Marrakesh Express ala CSN! LOL

TTrimble 11:44 AM  

@Anonymous 9:45 AM,
Are you an Anonymous who's complained about the SB commentary before? If so, hasn't it already been explained that when you see "SB Alert", that's your cue to move on? Or are you just hate-reading it anyway, because that's what you do?

---[SB Alert]---

@Southside Johnny
(I don't think mentions of unaccepted words are spoilers.) My understanding that Allah is unaccepted because it's a proper noun. The same could be said about Mach, although that's iffier. I imagine you're thinking of Mach number, but maybe Sam Ezersky thinks that Mach as modifier still refers to the proper noun. Or that "mach" is too technical as you say. Chyme? Well, I guess you know as well as I that Sam's ideas about what is and isn't obscure can be pretty eccentric.

My own candidate for weirdly unaccepted is "cham". I think there were some others, but I can't think of them now.

---[Further SB discussion]---
---[Both for fellow SB-ers and for mods]---
---[If you hate SB commentary, then move on, this doesn't concern you]---

Speaking of "spoilers", I'm still nonplussed by the moderator the other day who deleted my attempted discussion of what I mean by "pangrammatic" (I was trying to give a precise definition so that I could use the word in future discussion and be understood by fellow SB-ers.) I never figured out what the problem was, because even my follow-up question was deleted. Very frustrating.

I'm going to try again. Please don't delete this post.

I think that we can all agree that if someone declares reaching QB, then that by itself isn't spoiling anything. How could it? But it's even more information than declaring "so far I'm pangrammatic" -- which I intend to mean that every pangram of the day was found, whether it was just one pangram or more than one. (There's always at least one pangram.) Thus, anyone who is QB is, by definition, pangrammatic. Similarly, anyone who is QB is by definition a pangrammatic Genius (meaning someone who reached Genius status and got every pangram).

Thus, if I announce my progress on an SB puzzle by saying, e.g., "I'm a pangrammatic Genius", I could not possibly be giving anything away. How can I be sure? Here's a syllogism from Logic 101 (I teach logic by the way):

Premise 1: The info "QB" implies the info "pangrammatic Genius"
Premise 2: The info "pangrammatic Genius" implies spoiler info X
Conclusion: The info "QB" implies spoiler info X.

But we agree declaring QB isn't giving anything away. Since the conclusion is wrong but the argument form is valid, one of the premises must be wrong. It's Premise 2.

So from now on, as long as SB discussions are permitted, I would like to be able to use the word "pangrammatic" with this meaning, or the phrase "pangrammatic Genius", or e.g. the phrase "pangrammatic Genius with 6 to go" to share my progress with my fellow SB-ers -- something we all do -- without fear that my post will be deleted.

Incidentally, I noticed the other day one of the SB-ers giving away (probably by accident) that there was more than one pangram, but somehow that passed moderation muster.

(I'd be very grateful if the mod in question could now explain what he/she thought the problem was the other day. The best I could tell is that it was declaring Genius together with declaring pangrammicity that was the trigger, hence the extended discussion above that clarifies this should not be a problem.)

Carola 11:44 AM  

The EMOTICON I need for this puzzle is the one that represents rapture. Absolutely loved it, from the QUINCUNX (like an @Anonymous above, I knew the word from Charles Palliser's novel) to XANADU, NAHUATL, EUROPE's STALAG and CLAFOUTI, the CLEMSON TIGERS and a single HATFIELD.
It was a tough one for me, at least on the left side; I needed to take a waffle break in order to come back and get QUEBEC, UNMADE, and then the rest. My favorite clue was the one about the emperor's fall: my first thought (just because the story is on my mind these days) was Hans Christian Andersen's emperor with no clothes; then I moved on the the fall of the Shah, with RETURN OF...hmm, Ayatollah Khomeini isn't going to fit...THE..imam? Anyway, the appearance of the JEDI was a delightful punchline for me.

Thank you, Victor Barocas and Brad Wilber, for a wonderful Saturday puzzle.

jberg 11:45 AM  

I had the X from XANADU, and with q few more crosses -- especially the obvious Q -- I said, "Ah, QUIdnUNX!" I think I was thinking of quidnunc, but like I said, I had the X in place, so... I finally reinterpreted the clue for CRI -- a French word for shout, not something shouted in the Alps-- and I was home. I eventually recalled CLAFOUTI, and new that language ended in -AHUATL, but not how it started.

It was a nice challenge, and I learned a new word and got reacquainted with a couple more, so a productive hour.

@TTrimble, thanks for those links--you're right, those pictures are fun.

Everybody’s Token Black Friend 12:02 PM  

Anna was the first answer I filled in. I’ve watched My Girl, Uncle Buck and Home Alone a million times. My dog has a thing for Macaulay Culkin.

Anonymous 12:08 PM  

STUDS don't support a house. And if I don't want to tailgate with anyone who says ICECHEST instead of cooler.

oisk17 12:09 PM  

Same DNF as @Nancy, although I had Clabouti with CBO (budget office?) and also missed NIH with Nahuatl, having NIA and Naauatl. Bad on my part; a careful reading would have given me the "H". DNFs normally annoy be a lot, but not this time. Other than one more Star Wars reference, (ugh...would a sequel to Pinafore be called "Return of the Deadeye"?) good fill, clever cluing.

Mary McCarty 12:10 PM  

QUINCUNX is my favorite quilt-block arrangement when I have 4 of one thing and 5 of another...happens more often than you’d expect!
AES— one of those (many) seemingly ambiguous Latin words, often confused with aer, (“air”) both of which have aer- as a stem, but one has a diaeresis mark over the “e”. Aren’t you glad you asked?
CLAFOUTI and NAUHATL, CAIRNS, XANADU in one puzzle—what fun words to say (and spell!)
Pretty easy for me ( just half over my normal Saturday) except for 2 names, which fell in easily from crosses.

Anonymous 12:13 PM  

ANNA, ANA, AND ADA????? Did not appreciate that. Otherwise, fine. Felt really good about knowing SALTII and guessing HOBS really early. Wish NEONATE had been WEEBABE, for the meme.

albatross shell 12:17 PM  

What an odd and beautiful Saturday puzzle. Stuff I did not know at all, stuff I filled in with ease, stuff I just about knew, and two short women's names I filled in with no crosses and no knowledge just because they seemed to match the last name or I subconsciously remembered (ANA, ADA). Looked up CRUMQUNX. If I worked harder I might not have had to. Foolishly guessed CEO before CFO at the end. Knew NAHUATL well enough that only the 3rd letter was a guess.

I prefer the long Saturday triple stacks generally, but the vague otherworldiness of this one truly appealed.

Absolutely loved the way the surprising answer ETTU provided a wonderful echo to the clue for the long down RETURN OF THE JEDI: ... fall of an emperor.

Thanks for the laugh.

For Mr. Hatfield's performance. Still agog.

Anonymous 12:18 PM  

rex .. AGAIN .. with TBP !! a lucky day for all. im hopeing for plus signs in the grids all week.

Preferred Customer 12:18 PM  

Studs are not considered to "support a building". 💻

Nancy 12:42 PM  

Thank you, @mathgent (11:51). I'll return the compliment. Being in the same boat as you sounds like a real CLAFOUTI of a treat. As in a lovely sweet dessert*.

*This is the first time I have ever used CLAFOUTI in a sentence.

Masked and Anonymous 12:44 PM  

staff weeject pick: FES. This is evidently the Turkey-ish version of FEZ, btw.

Holy QUINCUNX CLAFOUTI NAHUATL FES-AES, Batman. Don't CRI, it'll get easier, tomorrow.

Always usually enthused about gettin a theme within a SatPuz. With cool gridart, too boot.

yep. In that there 12-D flick, Darth Vader kills off the Emperor, by throwin him down the Death Star atrium into the basement (a.k.a. the dark side of the house) far below. [Stupid Emperor forgot he could probably save his own AES by usin The Force, I guess. Maybe he panicked and tried activatin the FES instead.]

Thanx for gangin up on us, Barocas +++++ Wilber dudes.

Masked & Anonymo10Us !


Another Anon 12:48 PM  

@Anon 12:08. The clue for STUDS does not mention "supporting a house". The clue reads "Building support". STUDS are certainly supports used in the act of building. And even with your interpretation, consider removing all the studs in your house and see what happens.

pmdm 12:49 PM  

Am I the only NYC NHL fan who entered HADFIELD instead of HATFIELD?

Kurt W 1:04 PM  

If STUDS don’t support your house, how do you separate your rooms and keep your walls up ? Do you just use curtains or something like that - must be noisy (and breezy). Maybe you live in an igloo or a teepee or a submarine.

A Moderator 1:11 PM  

****SB ALERT****


Obviously, you didn't realize that your comment gave away that there was more than one pangram.

albatross shell 1:21 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joe Dipinto 1:33 PM  

Oh yeah, here's the Hatfield. He got lost when I reposted. (I blame it on Star Wars.)

chance2travel 1:39 PM  

This puzzle was delightful! Years ago I learned the NATO alphabet on a lark, so had a good start with 1D QUEBEC, giving me 4 out of 6 acrosses in the NW.

Never heard of CLAFOUTI but I have a recipe for a blueberry cream pie that looks just like the wikipedia picture - even though the pie has a crust and the clafoutis does not. If I use blueberries, it would apparently be called a flaugnarde - I'm sure that will be in Brad's next puzzle.

Did a double take (not a SPIT TAKE) when I saw ANA right after ANNA in the NE. Small price to pay for all the nice answers up there.

Would have shaved a minute or so off my time if I'd been able to remember right off the bat that CLEMSON is where the tigers are from. Came in at 2.02 Rexes

albatross shell 1:48 PM  

@Joe Di
First you remove your Hatfield link so I cannot find it when I'm posting. Next the new post doesn't link me. Doesn't bother me. Your posts are roo good.

TTrimble 1:50 PM  

---[SB Alert]---

Dear Moderator,

Thank you for explaining. I ask you again, please, not to delete this post, because I am trying to achieve a clear public understanding.

I respectfully disagree with you, because I believe I took care the other day to phrase my definition of "pangrammatic" carefully, just as I did today. I did not save my post then (I save all my posts now, after all the trouble I've had), but when it comes to defining my terms, I have a great deal of practice at that. It's part of my profession. That is to say, I think it's unlikely I made the mistake you say I made a few days ago.

In any event, I won't press my disagreement about what happened the other day any further. As long as it is clearly and publicly understood now what I mean and that assertions of "pangrammaticity" under today's definition gives away no information, then all should be fine from here on, and I won't have to worry that posts (that register my SB progress using this term) will be deleted. And since you don't indicate any disagreement with this understanding, I'll assume that's the case, unless I hear back from you.

Thanks again. Keep up the good work.

Frantic Sloth 1:59 PM  

@Joe D 133pm Thank you for the definitive version. Makes one wonder why most of these even happened.

boomer54 2:00 PM  


ALL his novels are superb and challenging

Ethan Taliesin 2:04 PM  

I suppose I could have inferred HOBS but I didn't. Didn't know CLAFOUTI so I was beaten today. I'm getting better but still hit a brick wall every now and then and have to come here to compare where my mistake is.

Today I knew it was at that intersection but other times its some other place. Terrible.

Did not like the CLEMSON TIGERS thing. I don't care about sports. ...or religion or reality TV or superhero stuff.

QUINCUNX is sometimes tattooed. Thomas Edison had this tattooed on his forearm, and it also indicates membership in the juvenile street gang the "15 Street Locos," to which Edison was also a founding member when fighting for turf back in his Meno Park days.

That's what everybody's saying at least. I just put it out there and let people make up their own minds.

BEE-ER 2:15 PM  

___SB Alert___

IYI*, Each day provides info. for that day's BEE: #of pangrams, #of words, #of points possible. There is also a link to the answers.

*If You're Interested

bocamp 2:18 PM  


You did it again! 😂

@GILL I. 10:07 AM

Loved your Fez/s story. :)

@Barbara S. 10:44 AM

Your tale of "The Quincunx" is priceless. :)

@Frantic Sloth 11:38 AM

Re: "SB alert" - well said!

@TTrimble 11:44 AM

Beautiful "SB" analysis and logical conclusion!

@Everybody’s Token Black Friend 12:02 PM

Thx for the heads-up re: "My Girl". Don't think I've seen that one yet. in Canada, it's streaming on Apple TV's Netflix and CTV apps. :)

@Joe Dipinto 1:33 PM

Thx for the link to Bobby "Hatfield's" Unchained Melody :) What a beautiful rendition!

A "quincunx" of pips on the five-side of a die

A "cairn" is a man-made pile (or stack) of stones. The word cairn comes from the Scottish Gaelic: càrn

Bruxing/Bruxism guard for those who "gnash"/"grind" teeth while sleeping.

2019 CFB National Championship #2 "Clemson" vs #1 Alabama

"…on the night of the 24 March 1944, one of the most audacious projects carried out during WW2 occurred. It was the mass escape of Allied soldiers from the German prisoner of war camp 'Stalag' Luft III, the story of which was forever immortalised in the 1963 film The Great Escape, starring Steve McQueen."

the NATO phonetic alphabet

I use the "NATO alphabet" for "one word Siri shortcuts" to invoke my favorite playlists, e.g., "Siri alpha" brings up my "top 10" playlist.


"Shout" Fr.: (cri/crier)

Kubla Khan

Kubla Khan
Samuel Taylor Coleridge - 1772-1834

Or a Vision in a Dream. A Fragment

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.

@A Moderator 1:11 PM wrote:

****SB ALERT****


Obviously, you didn't realize that your comment gave away that there was more than one pangram.

Not sure I see how info on the number of pangrams is a spoiler. SBers are looking for all the words we can find, pangrams, included. Also, I imagine that most (if not all) SBers make use to see how many pangrams there are, number of words in total, numbers to reach for Genius and QB, etc. I'd like to add my support to @TTrimble's position.

I do understand and appreciate that the Mods' have a tough job (in all respects), with "SB" issues being just one facet. So, where you/they decide to draw the line, should be respected by all of us.

However, I do like to see discussion – such as @TTrimble's rationale – that may promote a reasonable guideline that we can all live with. Thank you for your dedication and efforts on Rex's and our behalf. :)

Peace Salam Paix Mir Pace Frieden мир Sith שָׁלוֹם friðr tlacacemelle 🕊

Anonymous 2:44 PM  

Ah, one of the few days my work in computer graphics and rendering comes in handy--QUINCUX is a type of texture filtering pattern. Overall enjoyed this, good balance of difficulty, interesting words. Rex already pointed out the weakest ones.

Sarah Gorham 2:47 PM  

We tend to make CLAFOUTIS fairly regularly...unless the daily carb limit has been previously shattered.

Joe Dipinto 2:49 PM  

@albatross shell – sorry, I obviously just don't have it going on today. I reposted it at 1:33.

@F-Slo – that's a very cool little travelogue through the different versions. But nope, no one can touch Bobby Hatfield. I wish he would have had more of a solo career.

mathgent 3:05 PM  

@Ethan Taliesin (2:04). I think that a well-crafted puzzle will touch on a wide range of knowledge areas so that even well-educated solvers will know a lot about one area and very little about another. That way, most solvers will learn something by piecing together words that they don’t know. Some cryptic puzzles have unclued entries — you have to guess them entirely from the crosses. I haven’t read any Harry Potter but now I know the names of several of the characters. Same with The Simpsons. Opera bores me but I’ve learned the names of some famous arias.

albatross shell 3:07 PM  

Posts crossed twice today.
I had a typo in my last one. Too good, not roo good. Not an insult to you or ROO. Thanks again.

Blackhat 3:09 PM  

10 names, 5 foreign words.....

bocamp 3:22 PM  

Dear Moderator,

I see my last post didn't come through; was it a glitch on my end or a problem with the post? It was quite lengthly, but all relevant AFAIK. I posted it about 45 mins ago.

Thank you :)

Peace Salam Paix Mir Pace Frieden мир Sith שָׁלוֹם friðr tlacacemelle 🕊

A Moderator 3:41 PM  


I never saw it. It must have been a glitch on your end. (Or maybe @TTrimble was involved.) 😂

Z 3:42 PM  

Ha Ha Ha! Called It!
Well, sort of. The update sounds more like Rex was informed rather than having that D’Oh moment.

@TJS - Only 5? I’ll try not to use them up all in one post.😉

Elvis is king.

You’re all welcome. Originally I just answered a call for election day poll workers, but the huge number of absentee ballots means Election Services has had to ramp up to process them all. Today there were 10 of us (two teams of 4 and two supervisors) preparing military and overseas voters ballots for the elected Board’s Tuesday meeting. We all have to be in a room together, which isn’t great, but we have plexiglass dividers and everyone is wearing a mask and we maintain as much distance as is possible.

A Moderator 3:42 PM  


I never saw it. It must have been a glitch on your end. (Or maybe @TTrimble was involved.) 😂

A Different Moderator 3:46 PM  

@bocamp - I found it in the Spam list, again. I do not know why some of your posts are getting shunted over there. That it is only you and nobody else seems to indicate that Blogger is flagging some of your posts for some reason.

bocamp 3:58 PM  

@A Moderator 3:42 PM - Cute 😂

@A Different Moderator 3:46 PM

Funny, I've never been aware of posts not coming through. It's possible that the previous posts you found in the Spam list were one's I posted as addendums to some of Rex's older blogs.

The other possibility is that Blogger has an issue with the browser I'm using (Brave on MacBook Air). I've removed all the "blocks" for this website though. 🤔

Will you post the "missing one" or should I repost it?

Peace Salam Paix Mir Pace Frieden мир Sith שָׁלוֹם friðr tlacacemelle 🕊

TTrimble 4:12 PM  

---[SB Alert]---

(Mods, please don't delete this benign post. I want my good mood to last!)

Thanks for your support. I do see the Moderator position that giving away whether there is more than one pangram is a spoiler at least for some people (those who choose not to make use of, and I'm happy -- nay, delighted -- to adopt that position as a ground rule -- and by my lights I've subscribed to that position all along.

However, what I fear is being overlooked is that my intended meaning of "pangrammatic" is agnostic on whether there is or isn't more than one pangram. A careful reading of my 11:44 AM post reveals this to be the case.

@Moderator 3:41, 3:42PM
Heh -- good one! But there may be glitches on your end, since the same joke was made twice. But great, twice the hilarity! :-D

Peace, Mir, Frieden, Paix, etc.

Paul Statt 4:24 PM  

If you looked at the grid, and thought, as I did, "That's a QUINCUNX--" well, the rest was easy.

bigsteve46 4:38 PM  

To add to what some other commenters have said or at least implied: why is all this SB stuff (whatever SB is) on this site? These comments should in some way or another about the NYT x-word puzzle. Let those guys start their own site. There's already too much to digest here every day that relates to the crossword, without dragging in every cockamamie internet game out there. (And I say this even though SB are my initials.)

bocamp 4:41 PM  

@A Different Moderator 3:46 PM

Just checked the blog on Safari browser and the so-called missing post shows up. Also, @TTrimble obviously saw the post and responded to it. So, next time one of my posts doesn't show up using Brave, I'll switch over to Safari.

Thx for your support! :)

****SB ALERT****

@TTrimble 4:12 PM wrote:

"I do see the Moderator position that giving away whether there is more than one pangram is a spoiler at least for some people (those who choose not to make use of, and I'm happy -- nay, delighted -- to adopt that position as a ground rule -- and by my lights I've subscribed to that position all along."

Ok, good point; I'm convinced! And, will be sure not reference the number of pangrams I have or have not found, in future SB posts.

Peace Salam Paix Mir Pace Frieden мир Sith שָׁלוֹם friðr tlacacemelle 🕊

JC66 5:14 PM  

****SB ALERT****


As 2 other posters pointed out earlier, SB comments are preceded by a warning of some sort, allowing those not interested to skip them.

A Different Moderator 5:19 PM  

@bocamp - Your long post showed up because I approved it.

bocamp 5:29 PM  

@A Different Moderator 5:19 PM

Ok, many thanks! I do see it now; looks like it got slotted into the correct "time" slot, as well. :)

****SB ALERT****

-4 and "pangrammatic" as per @TTrimble's coinage from 11:44 AM. :)

Peace Salam Paix Mir Pace Frieden мир Sith שָׁלוֹם friðr tlacacemelle 🕊

Z 5:29 PM  

Ah, yes. This is Blogger so shit happens. Why do some people show up as “unknown?” Why do we need to know html code to embed a link? Why does going blue mean you don’t have to prove you’re not a robot? Why does Blogger hate @bocamp? (I’d say it is because it hates nice people, but it leaves @Lewis alone) And why do clearly labeled spelling bee comments irk people? I despise the vary notion of solving the spelling bee and yet somehow manage not to be bothered by others’ love/addiction.

@TTrimble - Maybe it’s time to let it go.

TTrimble 5:45 PM  

Yup. Already done. Happily, @bocamp's test post reassures me (thanks, @bocamp!).

bocamp 6:02 PM  

@TTrimble 5:45 PM 👍

Peace Salam Paix Mir Pace Frieden мир Sith שָׁלוֹם friðr tlacacemelle 🕊

kitshef 6:06 PM  

@albatross shell - and here I though "roo good" was a brilliant new coinage on your part.

Anoa Bob 6:22 PM  

I've heard of QUIdnunc before, a busybody, gossipy person, but not QUINCUNX. Definitely had me scurring to my trusty Random House hard-copy. It's from the Latin for five twelfths. Okay.

The PLUS SIGN pattern does remind me of some heraldic decoration or design, like a family crest or shield, so I'm thinking that the "twelve" part comes from the twelve outside corners of each PLUS SIGN, and there's five of them. Still doesn't look right.

*******BS******* Alert

I join with those who think that the SB posts are a NUISANCE. Sure, we can see the alert and scan on past but how is this not an inconvenience and a waste of time and mental space for the rest of us?

Seems like most of the you SBers are blue so doesn't that mean you can post comments at your blog site at And others can post replies? Seems like a ready-made SB blog site just waiting for someone to step up and get it started. And it could attract the interest of lots of people who do the SB but never come here to this crossword blog and don't know about you SBers. And the founder could one day be as famous as OFL!

I think it's just another bit of on-line clutter, a very small one at that, that I've learned to deal with. No biggie. But it is a NUISANCE.

Bruce Fieggen 6:29 PM  

Amen on that!

bocamp 6:32 PM  

****SB ALERT****

-2 🤞

Peace Salam Paix Mir Pace Frieden мир Sith שָׁלוֹם friðr tlacacemelle 🕊

Bruce Fieggen 6:33 PM  

Had the same bus trip from Fez to Ceuta in 79

Charles Flaster 6:34 PM  

Only nit CiO for CFO.
Thanks VB and BW.

Barbara S. 6:35 PM  

*****SB ALERT*****
Fantastically thorough pangram regulation/logic/etiquette discussion. Thanks to @TTrimble, @bocamp, @Mods and anyone else involved. A small week ago I had two posts nixed by Mods because I blabbed quite openly about the number of pangrams that day, forgetting that some people don't look this up in advance, as I do. Anyway, I think we've all got it now.

I'm currently at minus 1 and can't seem to crack it! I'll give it another go later.

bocamp 6:58 PM  

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

@Barbara S. 6:35 PM

Right on; well said! Teamwork+ = 😊

I too, am now at -1 🤞

Peace Salam Paix Mir Pace Frieden мир Sith שָׁלוֹם friðr tlacacemelle 🕊

TTrimble 7:48 PM  

---[SB Alert]---

Aha! First time in a while I've enjoyed the sweet, sweet taste of the royal jelly.

Nice to hear from you Barbara S.! Best of luck to you and @bocamp and the other SB-ers -- hope you can join me!

JC66 7:56 PM  

****SB ALERT***


Even though you gave away the fact that it's possible to reach QB, I approved your post.

Unknown 8:23 PM  

You had me at clafouti . . . . *sigh*
The French know how to live.

I agree w/ others that it would be nice if the SB folk took their interest to another site. Just my 2 cents.

Mark 8:27 PM  


TTrimble 8:34 PM  

@Joe Dipinto 1:33 PM

Check out those melismas! Really great singing. But I have to wonder whether that one was lip-synced to the studio recording (more prevalent back in the day than now, I believe). I would love to be told otherwise by someone in the know.

I didn't happen to know it's the Righteous Brothers behind "You've Lost That Loving Feeling". I get a strong sense that performance wasn't at all lip-synced.

bocamp 8:48 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nancy 8:49 PM  

I agree wholeheartedly with everyone above who finds all the SB postings a royal pain in the neck. It's gotten completely out of control: they've grown like Topsy; they've proliferated like rabbits; they've taken over the entire blog. Yes, you can scroll by, but it takes ever longer and longer and longer to do so. It's beyond annoying, and here's my thought -- a thought I've had for weeks if not months now. A blog you mostly want to scroll through as quickly as possible is the blog you may decide not to go to in the first place.

It's not as much fun as it used to be. It really isn't. I think we've already lost a lot of Rexites unnecessarily and I'm afraid we're going to lose many more. There must be an SB devotee here who is technologically proficient enough to set up a dedicated SB blog. How hard can it be? How much time could it take? Please -- someone!!!

bocamp 8:53 PM  

Oops… forgot the ****SB ALERT**** on my previous post… my bad :( I'll delete it if the Mods don't. :)

****SB ALERT****

@TTrimble 7:48 PM - 🐝 👍

-1 here 🤞

Thx for the encouragement! :)

Peace Salam Paix Mir Pace Frieden мир Sith שָׁלוֹם friðr tlacacemelle 🕊

Anonymous 9:08 PM  

Just a hint, you can scroll past @Nancy's posts, too.

egsforbreakfast 9:29 PM  

I have to agree with @Nancy on the SB stuff. I do the SB every day. I never quit before Genius. I often finish. But it’s just a f***in word finder game. Perhaps mods could take the issue to Rex.

Joe Dipinto 9:43 PM  

@T Trimble – that "Unchained Melody" performance is from the Andy Williams Show and he is definitely singing live – for one thing, he sings the ending differently. The accompaniment sounds pretty close to the recording, but as I recall the show had an orchestra/band led by Dave Grusin, so I think that's being played live as well.

The "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" you posted is the recording, all the way. I wonder where that's from. Bobby Hatfield looks bored while Bill Medley is singing, lol.

Frantic Sloth 9:50 PM  

I'm not a huge fan of the number of SB posts myself, but having been one in the past, I can relate to the need for somewhere to share. Starting and maintaining a blog on a consistent daily basis is a commitment undertaken by basically 2 kinds of people: professional bloggers and/or dedicated (amateur) fanatics.  For this reason, it might not be a viable alternative for the SB folks.
What I have suggested in the past is adopting the Wordplay comments section as a home base. The SB answer chart is usually the first entry under "Reader's Picks" and there are usually many, many  "replies" to that where people commiserate, offer hints (without spoilers), and provide any assistance you might need.  At the time, this suggestion garnered little if any interest.
I respectfully request one or some of you SBers give it a chance.
And then maybe we can all just get along. 😊

Joe Dipinto 10:01 PM  

To the SBers – at the very least (for now), you could stop with the "congratulations!" and the "thanks for the congratulations!" posts. It's generally considered bad form to do that on a message board anyway, because it's pointless and just adds to the clutter.

Z 10:17 PM  

16 SB posts
8 Bitching about SB Posts posts
3 Bitching about Bitching about SB posts posts posts.
I don’t know about you but MetaBitching is my favorite type of bitching.

Now, can we all stop tying our halos in a möbius strip?

JC66 10:36 PM  

I just wish there were more @anons picking on @Z. 😀

TTrimble 10:48 PM  

Hmm... I think it's not been noticed that there have been recent days where SB has been very quiet indeed, if not completely silent.

I don't wish to be one of the main persona non grata around here. I enjoy the discussions I see, which go off in many different directions, many only very tangentially related to the Crossword. I love hearing the personal reminiscences of someone like @Gill I. I love the wit and laugh out loud humor of @Frantic Sloth. I love the humanity of @bocamp and @Lewis. I love to hear the sharp and incisive musical insights of @Joe Dipinto. I feel a kind of kinship with @Z who is a lifelong learner (and incidentally something of a spiritus rector here). I've been enjoying hearing from @Nancy recently and her insights into poetry. (And I enjoyed seeing and solving a recent crossword puzzle from her.) To name only a few people here. I could name many more whose posts I've taken genuine pleasure in.

For my part, I put a fair degree of time and thought and care into my posts, because I sometimes feel like sharing things that interest me and a little piece of me as a person too. I was frustrated a few days ago when one such post, a minor part of which was about SB, was deleted without explanation, and even more frustrated when I couldn't understand exactly what I said wrong because some follow-up inquiry of mine was also shut down. (There seems to be no mechanism where a discreet conversation can take place between the mods and the hoi polloi in such situations.)

In my bewilderment and frustration with this situation -- I don't like having a lot of my time and effort wasted after all -- I was seriously considering quitting this commentariat completely. Instead, I decided today to try to sort things out, but I saw no other way to do this than to publicly speak and self-advocate to the mods very directly. I was not at all comfortable doing this, by the way. But nor am I comfortable just meekly submitting to powers that be when I was quite sure I did nothing wrong, and felt that perhaps I could reason with those powers after all -- all of us are ordinary human beings, after all.

Anyway, I really don't mean to get the regulars' dander up, who have enjoyed this website for so long without what they now regard as noise. I can intuit some of their frustration as well.

I would be willing to voluntarily stop posting here for at least a month. I'd probably still lurk, but I can keep quiet. In particular, I won't mention SB at all during this period. I'll just take private pleasure if and when I reach QB, and I'll silently cheer my fellow SB-ers on and take pleasure in their success as well. I hope they will continue to post.

Please carry on. This is, with some exceptions, a very nice blog commentariat. I hope everyone stays healthy and sane during what are, for many of us, trying times. Bye for now.

TTrimble 10:51 PM  

(Sorry to already break my word. This is to @Joe D. And then I go.)

Oh! I stand very much corrected!

bocamp 11:02 PM  

@Joe Dipinto 10:01 PM wrote:

"To the SBers – at the very least (for now), you could stop with the "congratulations!" and the "thanks for the congratulations!" posts. It's generally considered bad form to do that on a message board anyway, because it's pointless and just adds to the clutter."

Thanks, Joe, I'm down with this idea. 👍

Peace Salam Paix Mir Pace Frieden мир Sith שָׁלוֹם friðr tlacacemelle 🕊

bocamp 11:04 PM  

**** SB ALERT ****

-1 and done 😴

Peace Salam Paix Mir Pace Frieden мир Sith שָׁלוֹם friðr tlacacemelle 🕊

BobL 11:31 PM  


you're on the clock

bocamp 11:42 PM  

@TTrimble 10:48 PM

I was just nodding off, but took one last look at the blog and couldn't help but feel for you. You put so much time, energy and love into this blog. I would hope that you would reconsider your intended "one month" sabbatical, and sleep on it tonight. See how you feel tomorrow. I believe that in most cases, it's not a good move to make important decisions too quickly.

I'd respectfully suggest that you continue to blog re: the xword, and maybe cut back on the SB snippets (which btw, is what I intend to do). It would still be nice to see what progress others are making on the SB – sans unnecessary embellishment – as @Joe has so tactfully pointed out.

In fact, if the SBers would be willing to simply indicate (maybe even in their "tag" line) or just below the final paragraph of their post, a number representing the current status of their SB solve, e.g. "-5", perhaps nothing more need be said. We could assume that all SBers were wishing us the best, and vice-versa. 🤔

It might be worthwhile giving @Frantic Sloth 9:50 PM,s idea a shot as well, if more detailed discussion were required on the day's SB, or on past SBs. I know there are many times I'd've loved to discuss some of the day's words and/or words that were not accepted, etc.


Peace Salam Paix Mir Pace Frieden мир Sith שָׁלוֹם friðr tlacacemelle 🕊

Joe Dipinto 11:53 PM  

@T Trimble (if you're still here) – it does very much look like they're singing YLTLF live in that video – I guess they were expert lip-syncers. But I know the recording like the back of my hand and that's what we are hearing there. It almost looks like some sort of "official" video. Hmm, must investigate...

See you tomorrow. :-)

jae 3:51 AM  


bocamp 3:39 PM  

@jae 3:51 AM 👍

Anonymous 6:24 PM  

I make clafoutis all the time. The fruit is hardly "encased" in the batter, any more than raisins are "encased" in oatmeal. It's just baked (or cooked) into it. Poor cluing.

Anonymous 8:04 PM  

Opening the puzzle with Quincunx was really deflating but it wasn't bad otherwise.

I could do with never having to see Nicaraguan death-squad supporter Ana Navarro's name ever again, though. Unless it's on the case list at The ICC.

Ag_in_TX 5:58 AM  

Was thrown by CLEMSON TIGERS because the CFP Championship is not an NCAA Championship. When I saw that clue, I thought it must be FCS D1, DII or DIII. So, the clue is technically inaccurate.

Ag_in_TX 6:01 AM  

Was throw by CLEMSON TIGERS since the CFP is not an NCAA Championship. The only football championships the NCAA recognizes are FCS D1, DII and DIII. So I was thinking Valdosta State or Mary Hardin Baylor. The clue was technically inaccurate.

thefogman 10:34 AM  

Had CLEMmON - AEm at the 38A and 32D crossing and that did me in (insert angry EMOTICON here). IDONTLIKETOBRAG but I got everything else. Pity the editor is asleep at the switch again and gave the green light to an obvious Natick that ruined the solving experience. Consequently IRATE this puzzle to be sub-PAR.

spacecraft 11:13 AM  

Because of the clue for 1-down, I never wanted anything but a Q for square 1, hence (most likely) U's for #s 2 and 13. First impression: @M&A is gonna love this. (I was right: 10 of 'em). So, the NW wasn't that much of a problem--for a change. I thought the Scrabble-f***ing went a bit overboard, but we know constructors love to stuff their grids with 5+ count letters, and U's.

The SW was another matter. Working all the acrosses, I was left with that...thing at 36d. Didn't know what to change, so I just shrugged and left it. That it was right seems like a rare accident. ANNA Chlumsky is just fine as DOD. So, we had two entries, the first and last across, refer to the black square shapes. Definitely a theme, but almost not there. This seems like a puzzle that didn't know what it wanted to be: Scrabbly, U-stuffed, themed or themeless?? I guess in the end it was just a Friday puzzle appearing on a Saturday. The score is in the grid: PAR.

Burma Shave 12:21 PM  


and THE CLEMSON TIGERS should get laid,
but those STUDS won't RETURN UNMADE.


rondo 2:09 PM  

Had more trouble with the C in CRI and H in NIH than with any of CLAFOUTI. Musta been thinkin' EATS.Between the black squares and the 'theme' there's lotsa PLUSes.

Did I ever mention that I played in a band that once opened for Johnny CASH?

ANNA, ANA, ADA, choose one. Or NUNN.

Nice half-hour diversion, not a NUISANCE.

leftcoaster 4:40 PM  

The Eastern half of this puzzle was a relatively smooth and easy going. Not quite so in the West where I had a couple of MISHAPs. Both unfortunately did me in:

Alas, didn’t suss out QUINCUNX / XANADU; then wanted “uglier" instead of ICKIER crossed by CLAFOUTI, where the F in CFO was a clever misdirection.

Fortunately got the H in NAHUATL from the NIH cross. (Have always considered NSF to be the primary research grant organization, but that may not be so these days.) Liked CASH as a "paper alternative to plastic”, especially plastic in the wild.

Interesting puzzle, mostly fun to grapple with.

Diana, LIW 7:12 PM  

I'm gonna go get my daily CLAFOUTI fix now. Doesn't everyone?

Lady Di

Raleigh Ron 4:11 PM  

Oooh, two days in a row with a song from "These Are The Vistas" by The Bad Plus! I loved that album when it came out in 2003. First song I heard was "Flim", still a fave. But thanks for the links to the Nirvana and Blondie covers - although they are sometimes barely recognizable with all the jazz diversions - in a good way.

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