Hairstyle that's short on the sides / SAT 10-3-20 / Larva of dragonfly named after Greek myth / Sauce ingredient in Londoner's pie mash / Neighbor of Belarusian / Chemical compounds in bubble gum

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Constructor: Brad Wilber and Doug Peterson

Relative difficulty: Easy (well, 3/4 easy for me, and then a bit of a freefall in the NE that was largely stupidity-driven, so I'm just gonna call it Easy overall)

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: TARN (42A: Alpine lake) —
a small steep-banked mountain lake or pool (
• • •

Really enjoyed this one, despite its faint patina of crosswordese (INES SST RAE LETT SETTO DAH OLEG OLES etc). The long answers really hold up—nothing particularly current or flashy, but solid winners nonetheless. Seriously, all the groupings of longer answers are truly fine. And it's worth noting, or confessing, that even though excessive crosswordese bugs me, it's often what gives me my toeholds in tough puzzles, so maybe I should be a little nicer to it. You know, here and there. Not too nice. It's just that the overfamiliar stuff, if doled out in moderation, can be a big help. I mean, I got started by going SOPS SST LETT, not the prettiest combo, but then that opened up SILK BOXERS "ONE FINE DAY" and PET CARRIER, so I mostly forgot about the first few words I put in the grid. Do people really pay a lot of money for SILK BOXERS? Huh. Live and learn. It was definitely a quick solve that went predominantly counterclockwise, starting in the NW and ending up in the NE, and it was in the NE that the wheels came totally off my speedsolvingmobile. If I could eliminate Morse code units from all future puzzles, boy would I? DITs and DAHs ... Gah! Anyway, [T as in telegraph?] just didn't register for me—if it had, I likely would've seen THE CITADEL much sooner (12D: South Carolina college). I had CARPS for CRABS, which was probably the most fatal mistake I made in that quadrant (34A: Kvetches). I really think my answer fits the clue better, and I had the "C" and the "S," so I was reluctant to doubt it. Wanted SNOOTY at 30A: Nose-in-the-air, but then when it didn't work well with CARPS, I doubted SNOOTY, not CARPS, ugh. Thought maybe SNOBBY (?). Again ugh. The biggest ugh, though, was actually having the "IC-" at 21A: Something hanging near Christmas lights and ... coming up with nothing. In retrospect, that seems impossible. I think at that point I was doubting so much, I started to doubt that "C" (from CROCK). But I even tried ICE-something at one point. It's true that the clue is kinda stretching the meaning of "near," but still, ICICLE should've been close to instant with that "IC-" in place, and I just blanked. Embarrassing. 

Here are some other things that happened:

Other Things:
  • 24A: Pirates' terms of address (HEARTIES) — I put this in but never felt totally confident of it until I finally sorted out the SNOOTY CRABS part. Piratespeak always seems so contrived to me, and I'm never sure if I have it right. 
  • 20A: Sticky pad? (NEST) — Had the "N" and "S" and honestly thought NASA at first (like ... a launch pad?); but this is pretty good, as "?" clues go: nests are made of "sticks," a "pad" is slang for a home ...
  • 40A: Larva of a dragonfly, named after Greek myth (NAIAD) — it's the "named after Greek myth" part of this clue that bugged me; it's not named after "Greek myth," it's named after a *particular figure* from Greek myth that you should've specified in some way.
  • 28D: Spring or fall, e.g. (ACTION VERB) — proud to figure this one out very quickly, less proud that I thought the phrase was ACTIVE VERB.
  • 37D: Post master? (ADMIN) — Had AD MAN for a bit and didn't really get it, but AD MAN is crosswordese and they're always doing wacky "?" clues for ad-related stuff so I wasn't gonna question it ... until it didn't work. I guess here the ADMIN is the person who oversees "posts" (to online forums).
  • 27D: What robots might be used to reduce (HUMAN ERROR) — if scifi has taught me anything, this is a pipe dream. The only thing robots are going to "reduce" is the human population. Stay on your toes, people.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. a message from one of today's constructors, Brad Wilber, about the Boswords 2020 Fall Themeless League:
John Lieb and Andrew Kingsley, the creators of the Boswords summer tournament, now present The Boswords 2020 Fall Themeless League.  The League will play out every Monday night at 9 p.m. Eastern in October and November. Solvers may compete as individuals or as a pair.  Contestants can also choose a preferred difficulty level. The entire collection of the themeless crosswords will be edited by Brad Wilber.  To register, to view the constructor line-up, and to get more information, go to
Registration closes on Sunday, Oct. 4, so act now.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:04 AM  

Easy-medium. Solid but not quite as much sparkle as yesterday’s. The biggest nanosecond drain for me was Roan before RUST (ESTERS should have been a gimme). Liked it.

....and me too for Carps at first.

Harryp 12:09 AM  

All the 10 letter pairs and trips made this a romp, even with a plethora of PPP. My old friend TARN showed up, and EEL came back as a sauce today, so I learned something. As soon as I read the clue for 26A, I plunked down PHARAOH, since I was considering HUSTLE for 29D. I have no nits to pick, and I invariably like a puzzle I can finish, plus some I can't.

Frantic Sloth 12:35 AM  

This was a challenge and it was fun!

Not sure I understand how a "Sticky note?" is a NEST. That question has been rolling around in the ol' bean for a while and to no avail…I'm sure ONEFINEDAY, some fine Joe will enlighten me…

I don't know...maybe I don't participate often enough in "Talk Like a Pirate Day", but I wanted yEmaTIES before HEARTIES. Even though I didn't like the spelling of maties…prefer mateys, which looks odd now, but seemed like a good idea at the time. And how many disasters have ensued after that exact thought?

I thought the whole shebang for 8D "Wharton, for one" being EDITH was bizarre. And yet, it was an instantaneous entry for me. I just knew it was wrong and I'd have to change it later, but later never came. Very strange.

And look! There's TARN! Haven't seen that oldie but moldie in a grid for what seems like forever. (And never see it on the Spelling Bee word list, but I digress…with annoyance.)

Couple of great puzzles yesterday and today to kick off and amble through the weekend. Here's hoping Sundee keeps up with the trend!

๐Ÿง ๐Ÿง ๐Ÿง .5

Joaquin 1:19 AM  

I solved this while watching the news of the night unfold on CNN. I find it really hard to care about the xword when I have the feeling I'm headed somewhere unknown and I'm going there in a handbasket.

And while I wish no one ill, it is hard for me to muster any sympathy for those who so blatantly ignored the advice of their own experts and put so many others at risk.

Frankly, I enjoy the solves much more when I have a football game on in the background instead of the news.

That said, this was a fine puzzle. Just a bit grumpy tonight.

Now ... Get off my lawn!

Frantic Sloth 1:23 AM  

AAAARGH! Just read Rex and saw the now-only-too-obvious explanation for NEST as a sticky pad. *sigh* What a jamoke. ๐Ÿ™„

Anyone have additional info or reviews about Boswords? Seems like more of a commitment than a one-off tournament. Maybe because it is?

chefwen 2:03 AM  

I’m probably the sixteenth person or say this 20A sticky pad as in where you live is a nest made out of sticks for little birdie homes.

Anyhoo, puzzle was anything but easy for us. Got it done, but not without blatant consultation with my reliable Uncle Goog. As I look back over it I can’t figure out why I struggled so much. Guess it just wasn’t my day.

jae 2:28 AM  

@Frantic - It’s “Sticky pad” not note. Pad as in home as in a home made of sticks as in NEST.

...and I’m almost positive I’m at least the 5th poster to explain this.

phil phil 3:29 AM  

Always thought it interesting to have Motown do their parallel take of the opera classic, Un bel di, of Madam Butterfly. Hope the Chiffon’s wasn’t as ill fated as in the opera.

Had to do a search for the crossing error of ‘L’ not ‘I’ in LLOSA x LOLA.

Anonymous 3:33 AM  

The clue for NEST is "sticky pad?" (Not "note"). As in a pad (home) that is sticky (made of sticks). Nice.

Jason 3:54 AM  

The clue was “sticky pad?” where pad means house and sticky means made of sticks. Tough one but I liked it once I got it.

Christopher Robin 4:01 AM  

@Frantic Sloth: "Sticky pad" is a nest because it's made of sticks and it's a bird's home, i.e. pad.

NotMe 5:23 AM  

Re “stretching near”:

Many people hang Christmas lights from their eaves, where an icicle might also be.

Charles Flaster 5:54 AM  

Loved it but had a DNF as I never changed sErb to LETT.
Otherwise EZ for a Saturday (except for NW).
Favorite cluing was for ACTION VERBS and AUDITOR.
Thanks DP/BW.

Anonymous 6:27 AM  

@Rex explained NEST.

Lewis 6:32 AM  

SILK BOXERS, ONE FINE DAY, and the NYT-debut ACTION VERB and its terrific clue – [Spring or fall, e.g.] – were my favorite parts of this puzzle, which featured an unsuccessful start and beaming finish in the NW. I light up when I see these two names headlining a puzzle, because pleasure is guaranteed to be embedded in the solve as it was today. Thank you, gents, and stop by soon please for another go around!

ChuckD 6:53 AM  

Didn’t like this as much as Rex - again he gives his friends a pass which I get - but there was a lot of short gluey stuff in this one. Really liked ACTION VERB and THE CITADEL and the other longs weren’t terrible. It was KFC, XERS, AMT etc that turned me off. TARN is bad and so are UHOH, DAH and SFO.

When the virus started back in March I downloaded a free book for my iPad - 100 Novels You Have to Read Before You Die. A lot of classic novels we’ve read growing up but some obscure stuff. Ethan Frome was included which I probably read in high school? I barely got half way thru it and gave it up - so I would take EDITH out of that collection.

ncmathsadist 7:12 AM  

The larva of a dragonfly is a NYMPH, not NAIAD. Annoying goof.

American Liberal Elite 7:16 AM  

I haven't seen TARN since Hector was a pup.

pabloinnh 7:22 AM  

The NEST discussion reminds me of one of my favorite dumb riddles, which should be done in a British accent:

Q: What's brown and sticky?

A: A stick.

Got nowhere in the NW for starters so LUCY led instantly, a la OFL, to ACTIONVERB. HUMANLABOR had to be changed because of HUMANERROR, but things went pretty smoothly after that, with the usual confusion of trying to read small numbers and missing some obvious answers. I learned Morse code back in my Boy Scout days with dits and DAHS, the dot--dash convention was frowned upon, so that one was OK by me.

Finally got the NW untangled with a nanosecond disaster of trying DOG and then CAT for the animal in the CARRIER, when a PET came to the rescue and hey presto, I was done.

Very fun Saturday guys, for which thanks. I have to admit that I've never owned any SILKBOXERS, and probably never will, but everything else was familiar enough.

Rug Crazy 7:26 AM  

Difficult, but satisfying

vtspeedy 7:29 AM  

Lots of good stuff here, cruised through pretty quickly ( for me on a Saturday) but stumbled in the SW because is was so sure 27D was “human labor”.

Schuly 7:34 AM  

To kvetch is to complain, more so than to carp, but kvetches are most assuredly crabs, so crabs is the better answer to these Jewish ears.

David Fabish 7:47 AM  

Not to be pedantic, Rex, but can something be "the most fatal?" Like some things only make you a little bit dead?

A solid Saturday. Nothing really exciting, but nothing really bad, either. I did enjoy the cluing for NEST...

Anonymous 7:53 AM  

LLOSA crossing LOLA did me in. It was all “plug letters in until I get the happy music”. Rex usually frowns upon things like that...two really obscure (to me anyway) proper names crossing like that! Otherwise I liked some of the longer answers but if I’d been solving on paper I would’ve DNFed.


Pamela 8:03 AM  

Hand up for CarpS before CRABS- oh hello, Rex! And plunking in EDITH while being sure it was wrong- hey there, @FS.

But my fatal flaw was SayS The Man instead of SHES, making DAa and _ELy. DNF๐Ÿ˜ฅ

Anonymous 8:17 AM  

Surely I can't be the only one who put down "On a fine day" and was sure that Latt is short for Latvian. DNF.

Someone please enlighten me on "Dah" for T as in Telegraph?

Z 8:22 AM  

@NotMe - Good point. I was going to mention that tinsel is sometimes called ICICLEs, but your explanation is better.

SILK BOXERS are on the poster for form over function. Well, unless the function is to call attention to the family jewels. They do that function quite well.

@Chuck D - I think the question is always, “are the long answers (or theme) interesting enough to not call attention to the dreck?” For me, the only long answer that fails this test is ACTION VERB (ooh, grammar, be still my heart). Otherwise, the long answers held my attention enough that the dreck only became evident on post-solve review. It does help that I didn’t start solving at 1-3D, but worked back into the NW. I think if SOPS/INES/LETT had been how I started my overall impression would have been skewed more negatively. Also, like Rex, seeing these names inclines me towards favorability, and most definitely not because they’re my friends. Rather, it’s that experience tells me a puzzle by these guys is likely well done. Even with the flaws, I think this puzzle is generally well done and fun.

@ncmathsadist - Wikipedia claims both are used. Searching through the article for a source I saw an illustration from a 200 year-old text, and several paragraphs where the two terms were used interchangeably. Any entomology etymologists out there?

Z 8:35 AM  

@Anon 8:17 - DAH is crosswordese for Morse Code. T is a single DAH in Morse Code (apparently- I don’t actually know Morse Code).

@Anonymous Deb - Definitely a generational natick. There are three common LOLA clues, Falana, the Kinks song, and the temptress in Damn Yankees, all three pretty easy if you are of a certain age. Rex is close enough to being of that certain age that I think the natickiness just didn’t register. But now that you point it out, definitely a natick for people under 50. And a foreign name starting with LL... definitely sub-optimal.

TTrimble 8:41 AM  

I liked the cluing for NEST as well.

Actually, despite having tried CarpS as well, the NE was the first to fall (ACTION VERB, pfft) for me, and the NW the last. I had trouble understanding SETTO (or perhaps SET-TO) for "scrap" and had to look that one up afterwards. And, like Rex, had difficulty understanding ADMIN as "post master", and -- duh! -- of course his explanation is the right one. There were pockets of trickiness in this one.

I tried "Gen X" before X-ERS. I'm not used to hearing just "X-ers" as opposed to Gen X or Gen X-ers -- is that really so common? Same question for "Y-ers" and "Z-ers". If so, maybe just to parallel "boomers"?

FADE -- so that's what they're called. Ugh, god, I'm so sick of seeing them. My wife and I were watching The Last Kingdom, and at first Uhtred seemed to sport a halfway plausible-looking hairstyle for 9th century England, but then it became this ridiculous looking FADE thing by the end. Or, maybe I'm wrong, and they did find the time to close-crop just the sides of their heads in between heroic bouts.

Wikipedia says they're called nymphs or NAIADs.

mathgent 8:47 AM  

I’m happy to learn that the clue meant that nests are made of little sticks. I thought that the clue referred to nests being sticky in another way. Remember our discussion about bird’s nest soup?

Very enjoyable puzzle. It took me on a tour of some places I haven’t been to lately. Lucy pulling the football away from the place-kicking Charley Brown. The poetic writing of Pat Conroy (a graduate of The Citadel). A melody from the sixties. Being at the Rose Bowl game when Stanford and Jim Plunkett whipped Ohio State. My boyhood friend Oleg Susdulev. Two of my favorite performers, Lady Gaga and Elton John.

Not easy for me. Feel good that I was able to solve it clean.

Rube 9:18 AM  

I have a nit to pick with 58A. When you go to a restaurant and order a salad, you might ask about dressings. If I were the waiter and you asked for "balsamic", I would say "balsamic what?" As balsamic is an adjective often combined with vinaigrette which is of course a salad dressing.

The clue at 58A is green, where the connotation is environmentally beneficial. The answer is ECOLOGICAL which means relating to the science of ecology. Burning thru the ozone layer is an ecological phenomenon but certainly not "green". I guess this is a bit picky, but I don't like it When words are misused this way. Im done now.

Overall pretty solid Saturday

Lewis 9:20 AM  

I was inspired to learn a little more about Mario Vargas Llosa, and in the process came across two of his quotes, which, IMHO, bear repeating:

“My three years in politics was very instructive about the way in which the appetite for political power can destroy a human mind, destroy principles and values, and transform people into little monsters.”

“Maintain democracy or go to dictatorship: that is what is at stake in these elections.”

A Snoot 9:28 AM  

Well, today's discussion confirmed one long (secretly, til now) held opinion I've had about this site. None of you have women in your lives who go to extra lengths to let you know "tonight's the night", otherwise you wouldn't think SILK BOXERS were ridiculous men's wear.

Happy as I am that the Traveling Wilbersons are back together and on the road, but they need more practice time. The good parts were good, not sparkly, and there was more than a little squeeze out of the glue, marring the overall picture.

Richardf8 9:36 AM  

If something kills 5/10 people, it’s fatal, but some that kills 10/10 would be most fatal.

Nancy 9:43 AM  

A second enjoyable themeless in a row -- one with a lot of interesting clues that made me have to think. Like PHAROAH; DELI; STAGE NAMES; and ANTELOPE. It also engendered some idle thoughts:

I thought silk underwear was a woman's thing, not a man's. Live and learn.

I thought THE CITADEL was in Virginia, not South Carolina.

For those of you who've been stumped by "DR J" in recent puzzles, here he is in the flesh: ERVING. (As in Julius).

If you have your "nose in the air", you can not only be SNOOTY, but also SNOtTY and SNObbY.

Re 27D: Yes, but what about ROBOT ERROR?

Re 37D: ADMIN is an abbrev. and needs an abbrev. for a clue.

And finally -- for those of you who didn't know BIANCA, I give you lyrics from Cole Porter's "Kiss Me Kate" song of the same name:

I'd even give up coffee for Sanka,
Even Sanka, Bianca, for you!

Anonymous 9:48 AM  

Reminiscent of Ren and Stimpy’s “It’s log”. It’s big, it’s heavy, it’s wood!

RooMonster 9:51 AM  

Hey All !
Put my Last letter in with fingers crossed, and... Happy Music! WooHoo! Feels great to break the one-letter DNF! (But, might return tomorrow!)

Extraneous exclamation points aside, this was a nice Themeless. Tough all over, but managed to chip away and get words little by little. Crunchy, but solvable.

Is it sexist to think 1A required a female undergarment? Chuckled when I figured out SILK BOXERS. A few writeovers, iRVING-ERVING (apologies to all Dr. J fans!), SNOOTs-SNOOTY, ClApS-CRABS, OdES-OLES, dogCARRIER-PET.

Luckily, had a few "knows" to help me along in the solve, ala LUCY, LOLA (yes, old enough to know of Ms. Falana), XERS after a third look. Not many, but enough build-off-able.

Overall, nice puz, ye HEARTIES. DAH. Har.

TRES F's ☺️
SCAM mini-theme

Anonymous 9:51 AM  

Very apt quotations. Thank you!

Bill 9:54 AM  


Teedmn 9:57 AM  

Easy for a Saturday for me (18:10, so no speed demon I). I'm glad I don't look at the constructors' names before solving because Brad Wilber's name would have had me girding my loins for a battle. Instead, I presumed 1A would start with SILK. KFC provided the proof and I really spent very little time stuck anywhere during this solve.

Nymph went in immediately, but I was also sure ACTION VERB was right, confirmed by 63A ORBS. NAIAD, okay.

I wanted ADMaN for the same reasons as Rex but I was ready for a large chorus of indignation since it would cross AD SPEAK. SENTINEL had my back there.

I also finished in the NE, similarly to Rex, and had the CarpS problem, but ICICLE went in as soon as I filled in CROCK and the setter was certainly playing VOLLEYBALL, so CRABS it is.

So BW and DP, thanks for a slightly sticky (in a non-nest way) Saturday that had many nice entries.

Barbara S. 9:57 AM  

Here’s our friend, Ogden Nash, to cleverly tie together 1A (undergarments), 21A (clued as something to do with Christmas) and 38D (ANTELOPE).

Once there was an antelope
Who said, “I’ll write to Santa Clope.”
“You mean, my son, to Santa Claus,”
His mother told the antelaus.
“I know, but Mom it never rhymes –
I’ve tried it half a dozen times!”
And so he wrote: “Dear Santa Climes,
Do you have skates for antelimes?”
“My son, see here, this will not do,”
His mother told the anteloo.
“It’s Santa Claus! Now try again.”
And so he wrote: “Dear Santa Clen,
I’d like some skates, I’d like a sled. . .”
“No, no,” said Mrs. Anteled,
“It’s Santa Claus, not Clope or Cled
Come quit this joke and go to bed.”
The outcome is that Santa Claus,
Not hearing from the antelaus,
Forgot to think of sleds and skates
And brought red flannel underwates!
Which makes me, friends, in your behalf
Compose this final paragraph.
It’s sometimes best to stick to prose
When writing notes to Santa Close.

Nancy 10:18 AM  

Well, it's not by LLOSA, but as long as Lewis is citing timely political quotes, I'll cite two I like a lot. The first, which I'd never heard before now, was cited by David Brooks in his NYT Op Ed two days ago. It's by William Seward:

"There was always just enough virtue in the republic to save it. Sometimes none to spare."

The second is one I've known for years and it's from Otto Von Bismarck:

"God has a special providence for fools, drunkards, and the United States of America."

I hope neither quote proves over-optimistic at a time of unparalleled peril to our nation's democratic traditions -- at least in modern times.

Conrad 10:25 AM  

@Z: You left off a LOLA, "Manilow showgirl."

My issue -- which has been around since the 60's -- isn't with the puzzle but with the lyrics of the song "One Fine Day." It says, "You're gonna want me for your girl." Shouldn't that be "You're gonna want me *AS* your girl?"

Anonymous 10:28 AM  

any puzzle with Mario Vargas Llosa is a winner for me. "The War of the End of the World" is a must-read.

I found this to be a very good satpuz. didn't know about pharaoh, remembered this and got that, and finished in a reasonable amount of time.



Z 10:28 AM  

@A Snoot - Not recalling any woman suggesting that tonight was the night through the wearing of SILK BOXERS, I thought I might ask uncle Google. Unk’s response was 14 men in SILK BOXERS before the first image of a pair designed for women, a ratio that a quick glance confirmed was consistent. And glancing through more and more images, nothing about the women’s SILK BOXERS suggested romance. Indeed, the designs seemed far more utilitarian than the men’s. Not trusting our good uncle (he is infamously sexist, after all) I thought maybe I’d best ask aunt Victoria about her secrets (research can be such a burden). Sadly, when I typed SILK BOXERS into her search box (not a euphemism) I got nothing back (also not a euphemism, nor a metaphor). Apparently, my dear aunt does not consider SILK BOXERS in the same way as you do.

ArtO 10:31 AM  

Coming here for a rare appearance not just because I finished a Saturday puzzle, a rare occurrence, without assistance but to comment on BIANCA. It was a reminder of a song from "Kiss Me Kate", that wonderful Broadway production based on "The Taming of the Shrew," launched in 1949 that ran for more than 1,000 performances. The show was one of my Dad's favorites and Cole Porter's lyrics had a great deal to do with it. The song related to today's puzzle includes the lyrics "I'd even give up coffee for Sanka, even Sanka Bianca for you" sung by Lucentio to Bianca.

And, yes, I was old enough to enjoy it back then.

Deb Sweeney 10:31 AM  

NAIAD was the killer for me. I had NYMPH. I'm an amateur naturalist and I've never heard these larvae called a naiad, maybe it is regional as I was easily able to find it as a term on the internets. Was way too stubborn on that one, because it was clearly creating improbable crosses. Once I finally gave up on both NYMPH and GENX things started to come together. I'm getting better at these.

Sixthstone 10:33 AM  

I played this just like Rex (albeit more slowly), counterclockwise and having the same issues (carps/crabs, snooty/snobby, etc.). I just couldn't get on the wavelength with the clues and made a few dumb mistakes along the way (misspelling ERVING as IRVING and PHARAOH as PHARAOH). However, each time I figured a long answer out, everything made perfect sense. Very solid, enjoyable Saturday!

Newboy 10:35 AM  


Brilliant cluing and Rex has an epiphany (maybe I should be a little nicer) all on the same day. I think this is truly ONE FINE DAY in Crossworld.

Newboy 10:48 AM  

And after that cluing and Rexical insight, we get @lewis, @z and @Nancy: truly ONE FINE DAY redux,

Anonymous 10:49 AM  

it's HUMAN labor

I guess I'm the dumb one, since no else has asked: how is SETTO synonym for 'scrap'???

Barbara S. 10:57 AM  

What’s not to like about a Saturday that requires no look-ups or fudging of any kind? I don’t know about “tonight [being] the night” (hi @A Snoot, 9:28 a.m.), but I’ve worn my share of silk boxers, so I immediately thought 1A was referring to female “underthings” (hi @Nancy and diligent researcher, @Z). I really wanted to find a way to cram “dune buggies” into 11A (beach patrol conveyances). I had SNObbY before SNOOTY and that messed things up for a while. (There’s really a college named THE CITADEL?? Sounds forbidding. Oh, I’ve just looked it up: a military college. OK, then. I liked having CITADEL and SENTINEL in the same puzzle.) I had another malapop – that’s two in less than a week! I stuck in SPA for 59D (Hotel room extra). I know that doesn’t really make sense, but I was thinking Jacuzzi, or some spa-like amenity in your room. But, of course, SPA was the “cryotherapy setting” at 33D.

For a while my sister had two residences, one in the east and one in the west, the better part of 3000 miles apart. She was an independent consultant and pretty much always worked remotely from her clients, so it didn’t much matter where she was. She’d live in one place and rent out the other, and this went on for several years. She had a cat during this period, a cat named Lina, who got very used to flying back and forth between homes in PET CARRIERs. I’m sure she never exactly liked it, but she did fine. Finally my sister decided to move west permanently and realized she wanted to drive across the country so she could take a bunch of fragile/delicate stuff with her. (Another load was coming via a moving company.) So she decided to arrange for Lina to fly alone and arrive when she was free to pick her up at the destination. She phoned the airline to ask about organizing this, and the first question the rep asked her was: “Is the cat alive or dead?” When my sister got her voice back, she said (somewhat shrilly), “ALIVE when she leaves and ALIVE when she arrives!” What a question! It makes you wonder if people commonly ship dead animals around the country by air (or indeed by any form of transport). ???

Unknown 11:00 AM  

A tough puzzle for me. I never saw the X in BOXERS; I just knew it couldn't be an N. So a DNF. But I take some partial solace that rex found this to be a very tough puz as well, since he is too embarrassed/proud to post his finish time.

I note that some of you have used up your three daily posts before 11:00 am.

Oh, I wouldn't consider "fraud" to be a TORT. Fraud is typically treated as a crime, and is prosecuted in the criminal justice system. Torts are dealt with via civil lawsuits. I guess that would be my one nit for today.

P.S. 40,000+ plus people got the virus yesterday in America.

Hack mechanic 11:04 AM  

We may be "turning the corner"
just not the one the speaker intended.

Hack mechanic 11:07 AM  

Just rereading The Dream of the Celt at the moment.

bertoray 11:16 AM  

A sticky note pad is an admin Post-it?

Carola 11:19 AM  

Easy. ATVS x VOLLEYBALL was a high-yield first cross that provided plenty of opportunity to make inroads into the rest of the grid. Favorite pair: the water-dwelling NAIAD + TARN (which I filled in with a "Hah!" of satisfaction, since I'm particularly partial to the word, and the Spelling Bee puzzle doesn't allow it). And I liked learning about PHARAOH. I also noticed the NORMAL STROLLS pair: maybe masks necessary....not six feet apart. Said the resident of the Badger State, where pestilence reigns.

Z 11:26 AM  

@Anon 10:49 - I think you’re the second to ask but the previous asker had the answer: SET TO. SET TO is another synonym for “row,” “spat,” “brouhaha,” “fracas,” et cetera.

@Unknown 11:00 - I just knew it couldn't be an N. ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ Although, pondering the concept there might be a market for such attire. Less messy than sticking a banana in one’s jeans.
I have to disagree with your nit, though. “fraud” can be criminal or civil.

Nancy 11:34 AM  

Oh, wow, @Barbara S! (9:57) What a delightful Ogden Nash opus! It's wonderful! I can't believe I've never seen it. I thought I knew all his poems. And it inspires me to write this ode:

Hurray, hurray for Mother Goose,
And A.A. Milne, and Dr. Seuss,
And Lewis Carroll -- each sublime,
For all of them could spin a rhyme.

But when it comes to light verse passion,
I recommend some Ogden Nashin'.

GILL I. 11:37 AM  

Dang it...I had one dang Google which led me to sing Roger Miller's song and finally to a quote by FDR: "When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on."
This was cool beans - even if I couldn't remember THE CITADEL was in S.C.
Where to start.....My first entry was KFC and I hate that stuff. Then I moved on to bossy boots, fussbudget, LUCY....I was all over the place. I sniffed an answer here and there; I put the puzzle down, I picked it up, I did an ooh and an ahh when I got things like HUMAN ERROR. Then I pondered that one. To err is human after all...I went down to the ROSE PARADE and smiled remembering that I went to exactly one with a bunch of my girlfriends, drank all night, froze my behind off and slept throughout most of the shindig.
Little by little, doors opened for me. Had trouble remembering BIANCA in "The Taming of the Shrew" even though I played Kate in my high school drama class. Never heard of HEARTIES, didn't know EEL is a sauce and forgot how to spell PHARAOH. What made this so delightful, is that everything was gettable - with time.
Now to go wash the grime off the car.

Frantic Sloth 11:50 AM  

@Lewis 920am Great quotes - thanks for sharing. Politics everywhere and nary a stop to think. ๐Ÿ˜•

@Barbara S. 957am Brilliant association! Always happy to hear from Ogden Nash - thank you! @1057am ๐Ÿ˜‚ Pet Carrier Story. Maybe taxidermy?

@Z 1028am I'm not sure that's what @Snoot was saying. Then again, I have no idea what @Snoot was saying, so never mind. And 1126am God help me, your comment sent me a-Googling.

***It's Likely Nobody Cares, But When Has That Stopped Me? Alert***

As many of you have previously understood, no more callers please - we have a winner!
Honorable mentions go to @Christoper Robin, @pabloinnh, and @mathgent for pun-, joke-, and Eew!-factor (respectively) responses. ๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ‘

I'm left wondering how many of you (gobsmacked at my stupidity, you must have been) hardly even began shaking your head before answering my question. There were so many ways I could have avoided the "need" to even ask it, but what even led me to that point?
Best guess: Somewhere, in the nanosecond between seeing "sticky pad" and what my brain interpreted, "sticky note" rudely shouldered its way through, took up lodging, and stubbornly hunkered down in my mind.
Is there a name for that? What could possibly be briefer than short-term memory? Instant-term memory? Is there another question one could pose? Hang on, let me ask myself. ๐Ÿ™„

Anyway, whatever memory it was, it obviously spectacularly failed me. Thank you all for coming to the rescue. And many, many apologies for the inevitable clutter of answers.

Lesson learned? Absolutely not. (You even have to ask? Have you been paying attention??)

Anonymous 12:11 PM  

@Rube - BALSAMIC is our transliteration of the Italian word balsamico which means, of course, vinegar. In this case, it is not an adjective as much as it sounds like one.

Crimson Devil 12:23 PM  

Re Fraud = TORT. Civil fraud is compensable in damages, often punitive.
I always misspell PHARAOH.
Did anyone ever figure out what STICKY PAD might be?

Anonymous 12:30 PM  

SET TO is another synonym for “row,” “spat,” “brouhaha,” “fracas,” et cetera.

of course, where I grew up, the word is SCRAPE. SCRAP is what you do to a junker car.

bocamp 12:42 PM  

@ Brad & Doug - another most enjoyable offering. Thank you both!

Right down the pipe; knocked it out of the park! Well under ave. time. :)

Had Lhosa before "Llosa", but "Hola" didn't resonate.

Fond memories of watching (on tv) the "Rose Parade" , followed by the "Rose Bowl Game". Sadly, never attended either event, but visited the UCLA campus many times when my ship was in port at Long Beach.

"This time I'm going to kick that football clear to the moon"

First thought "adman", but left it out; didn't quite fit the bill; good thing, too!

Wore boxers for a time (definitely not silken).

Was a wanna-be boxer at Knott St. in Portland. In '65, trained for a short time under the tutelage of Chuck Lincoln, who was one of the classiest individuals I've ever had the privilege to know.

My style was somewhere between "silky smooth" and "lumbering plodder."

Never had a boxer; did have a faithful poodle, name of Jacques; he'd accompany me on early morning training runs; never did beat me to the finish, tho – too busy taking detours.

Was a boxer in the shipping dept. of Karstadt Haus Oberpollinger in Munich, '69.

Would have voted for Boxer; didn't reside in California at the time, tho.

Peace Miers Paz ๐Ÿ•Š

Joe Dipinto 12:44 PM  

I believe it's the guy who's supposed to wear the silk boxers in @A Snoot's little vignette. You know, to show he took his lady's hint.

foxaroni 12:50 PM  
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JC66 12:59 PM  

@Anon 12:30

Where I grew up words could have more than one meaning; i.e. they eked out a living/they scraped by.

old timer 1:07 PM  

You know, @Barbara S, your dear sister was a bit SNOOTY (or snotty) when she called the airline. "Alive or dead?" was a reasonable question. All airlines ship human remains, and I guess some of them ship pet remains, too. Pet graves are not just for back yards -- I went to a military base once that had a pet cemetery. The permanent residents may have arrived by plane.

This puzzle was definitely easier than yesterday's, which is pretty common in my experience. I screwed things up by confidently writing in "tinsel" before ICICLE (if only CROCK had come to mind immediately, that would not have happened). And I wrote in "Nymph" before NAIAD, and when I got NAIAD decided it was an ACTIve VERB. NORMAL cleaned that up. I wondered about ADMIN, but it came to me that OFL is the ultimate ADMIN of this blog, empowered to accept or delete posts.

Z 1:08 PM  

@anon12:30 - I’ve heard “scrape” to mean “row” and “scrap” for what you do to a car, too. Don’t ask me what I heard as a child, though, that was a long time ago.

jberg 1:23 PM  

Those puzzled by Belarusan neighbors, just remember the song:

In Spain the best upper sets do it;
Lithuanians and Letts do it.
Let's do it, let's fall in love.

@Nancy, great poem! Until you said you'd just written it, I was honestly wondering if it was Dorothy Parker.

As for the HUMAN ERROR -- sure, if the robot does everything, there is only robot error, as Nancy points out. But if the robots destroy humanity and take over, then there was a single, colossal human error made by whoever decided to turn them on.

I was going to talk about my experience with SILK BOXERS, but decided it was TMI.

Whatsername 1:26 PM  

Well me being me, an average student on my best day, I wouldn’t call it easy but at least it wasn’t a total stumper. I didn’t particularly like “stew vessel “ as a clue for CROCK. Stews are cooked in crock pots but it wouldn’t be customary to put stew in a an actual crock. Another nit was AMT wit the clue has being the same three letters as the answer. I always thought that was a no-no. No?

@Joaquin (1:19) I agree with you wholeheartedly about having a football game (or just about anything else) on instead of the news. Sadly, our world champion Kansas City Chiefs will not be playing tomorrow as planned. The game has been postponed due to Cam Newton and unnamed Chiefs players having tested positive for you know what.

Ernonymous 1:59 PM  

I got this done in 1 hour and 29 minutes without looking up anything. I think it's funny when people say it's easy but I think if you do these for years your crosswordese expands.
For me the NW was so hard because I don't know SOPS, BIANCA, LETT, EDITH, NAIAD, ESTERS. Where Rex got a fast start I had to use process of elimination, and usual letter combos to solve it.
I thought of Wharton as a school. A kind of funny problem I had, was before I got SILK BOXERS , I had BLACK BOXES in that airplane spot! Then I got the boxers, and was wondering, would you have Boxers and Boxes right near each other? And the X in the Wharton was making no sense.
It was a slow go but a great feeling when the music played. I had to fix LATT to LETT. And I had Erving as Irving and fixed those vowels and Oiula!
Chris "we are going to have to accept some deaths to open the economy" Christie is the next fly to drop.

DigitalDan 2:01 PM  

Hands up for HUMAN LABOR.

Anonymous 2:11 PM  

Years and years ago "TARN" was used a lot in crossword puzzles, so much so it became an 0h-geez-not-again word to me. But as a few commenters have similarly noted, I can't remember when I saw it last. I always assumed it got put in the crossword puzzle editors' doghouse from overuse. I guess the time has come to let it out, hopefully just once in a while.

KarMur 2:15 PM  

Someone please explain how SOPS are “concessions”

JC66 2:25 PM  


See second definition.

Z 2:45 PM  

@Frantic Sloth 11:50 - I’m guessing that God had very little to do with it. Your googling just raises so many questions: One size fits all? Or maybe stretch fabric? Or maybe, ow, compression fabric (I see on the TV ads that compression fabric helps with performance). Are there designs for men who are, uh, unbalanced? Do they come with any four hour warnings? Are they legal in Rye? Are they comfortable when riding the old wooden roller coaster? Do they come with matching face masks? Just so many questions.

Joe Dipinto 2:49 PM  

More clue issues today, as usual. The editors use "noted" whenever they can't think of another adjective (see also: "classic"). A "noted" football prank? Why not "recurring", or better yet "running", which would provide a double-entendre?

And that line from "One Fine Day" isn't that memorable, and isn't situated near the title in the song. A better choice: "you're gonna want me for your girl", which follows the title at the end of each verse to make the singer's point.

And then there's 53d. Instead of, say, "common Russian male first name" we get this WS garbage clue.

Fun to be reminded of Lola Falana though. She was a fixture on all those variety shows like "Hollywood Palace" back in the day.

Oh well. The Sunday and variety puzzles await. The Acrostic is off this week.

Today's musical feature contains twenty-six solutions, one misspelled.

Anonymous 3:08 PM  

Rex, there is such a thing as an "active verb," but that's a reference to its voice. An action verb is called that to distinguish it from a linking verb. (So you can have an active action verb, actually.)

Doc John 3:19 PM  

I've also heard of tinsel referred to as ICICLE.

Frantic Sloth 3:39 PM  
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KRMunson 3:43 PM  

Where in the Badger State are you @Carola? I’m in MKE.

Frantic Sloth 3:54 PM  

@Z 245pm "Are they legal in Rye? Are they comfortable when riding the old wooden roller coaster?"
Not only is it legal in Rye, the "You must be this tall to be allowed on this ride" sign at the satanic wooden roller coaster entrance is right next to another sign requiring one.
I can't speak to the comfort of same. You've been warned.

As for "Do they come with matching face masks?" You're welcome.

Barbara S. 4:22 PM  

@Nancy (11:34)

Boffo poem! Thanks for posting it.

Lisa D 4:31 PM  

I hang glass icicles right on my tree in front of the lights so that they sparkle!

Anoa Bob 5:19 PM  

This puzzle has some of that magical quality that comes from looking at the completed grid and marveling at how that rat's nest of letters all jumbled together in a seemingly chaotic way actually created in a very orderly fashion with words crossing one another. I wonder if we solve too many crossword puzzles we lose some of that magical sense.

I couldn't help from noticing that the grid is a fitting end to what has been for me a celebration of the plural of convenience (POC) week, especially for the uber grid-fill friendly two-for-one POC, where a down and an across entry share a final S. Today we have four of those, including one where this kind of POC is most likely to appear, in the lower rightmost corner square.

Plus there's one I've never seen before at 14 Down and 24 Across. Both SHY and HEARTY would be two letters short of those slots, so we get the rare "drop the Y and add IES" for both words in the two-for-one POCPOC. I feel like an avid bird watcher who has spotted some ultra rare species for the first time. My day is complete! Now I wonder if tomorrow's grid will have an S in the lower rightmost square.

bocamp 5:43 PM  

@ Giovanni 1:59 PM

Glad to see you're making progress. There was a time when it took me far longer than 1 1/2 hrs to do Fridays and Saturdays; almost always dnfs. Keep on truckin'! :)

Lola Falana - "Disco Medley"

Used a "pet carrier" once for my cat on a visit to the kids. Aspen was his name; he loved the grandkids and vice versa. :)

The Chiffons - One Fine Day (1963)

Spent three weeks in Deli in '70; wait, make that Delhi (or New Delhi, to be precise). Spent a few minutes in a "deli" once or twice, tho.


Love "hearties"; was a Pirates fan back in days of Clemente… what a class act he was! ๐Ÿ’ž

"Pharaoh" not American Pharoah!

Always enjoyed my visits to the Oregon coast; fresh "crab" was one of the main attractions.

Was always confused re: dots and dashes or dits and "dahs".

Another class act: Pelรฉ!

"Dr. J": top 5 all-time, IMO.

Went "green" in '71; audited a class at the U of O (Eugene) related to "recycling" and haven't looked back. Was a founding member of the recycling ctr. in Walla Walla in '73.

Favorite sport to play: "volleyball", hands down!

**** SB ALERT ****

- 10

Peace Miers Paz ๐Ÿ•Š

albatross shell 6:00 PM  

Looking at a blank SW I put in ERVING thinking "Well, it could be Malone (Moses).
SCAM ARTIST confirmed Dr.J.
I got HUMAN and wanted to put in LABOR which would need Malone. That did make me CRABBY for a while.

_ADE crossing S_O? I had to play Wack-a-Letter. Tried S before F.

Had to look up 2 names and a dragonfly to finish that far. Google gave me Nymph. In retrospect I have heard of NAIAD in connection to dragonflies, I think. Have only read a few comments. I hope someone explains that one. Got EDITH right off. Sure glad it wasn't the SCAM ARTISTS's fake Alma Mater. Now to check if Nancy's poem is one o EDITH's.

albatross shell 6:10 PM  

@JC 1259 am
The woman who go paid for voice-overs of various startled screams on movie soundtracks eeked out a living.

Monty Boy 6:55 PM  

@frantic - Stop it. Now I've got spit-take all over the keyboard.

JC66 7:20 PM  


I had to read it twice before I got it.

Good one!

Pamela 9:26 PM  

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

@bocamp- same here, -10 and losing interest.

jae 10:10 PM  

****SB Alert****

@Pamala & bocamp- -6 but some of them are from my study list of obscurities from previous Bs - also losing interest

TTrimble 10:30 PM  

---[SB Alert]---

I'm two away. But I feel the pain of others.

bocamp 10:40 PM  

**** SB ALERT ****

@ Pamela 9:26 PM

I hear ya; packin' it in at -8 :( Tomorrow's another day :)

@ jae 10:10 PM

No buts about it; you deserve credit for keeping track of the outliers and studying them. ๐Ÿ‘

I started listing them when you first mentioned it a couple of weeks ago, but alas, I haven't developed a routine for studying them. :(
Will get on it! :)

Peace ๅ’Œๅนณ Salam ฮตฮนฯฮฎฮฝฮท Pax Sith ๐Ÿ•Š

bocamp 11:10 PM  

**** SB ALERT ****

@ TTrimble 10:30 PM


Peace ๅ’Œๅนณ Salam ฮตฮนฯฮฎฮฝฮท Pax Sith ๐Ÿ•Š

jae 11:56 PM  

****SB Alert****

@bocamp - I review the list before I start a new SB and after I write in the previous day’s failures.

@TTrimble - Nice going!

Frantic Sloth 12:37 AM  

@Monty Boy 655pm Sorry, not sorry. ๐Ÿ˜

kitshef 11:15 PM  

Thought "it should be SENTINEL", but that doesn't work with AD MAN, so it must be an alternate spelling. Also, figured someone from LATVIA would be a LATT, which worked with ON A FINE DAY. So a double-dnf for me.

thefogman 11:17 AM  

Had Nymph before NAID, ChAtS before CRABS and HUMANlabOR before HUMANERROR and that held me up a lot. Medium challenging for me.

Burma Shave 11:18 AM  


got COT, no-one STROLLS nude in THE ROSEPARADE.


thefogman 11:18 AM  

PS - Also had ADMaN before ADMIN. Misdirections everywhere...

spacecraft 11:20 AM  

Well, if I'd just read the clue for 13a, ONEFINEDAY would've dropped in like a stone, and Carole King would be DOD instead of honorable mention. But the Falana clue caught my eye, so LOLA became my starting point--and my DOD.

Thus fell the SE, surprisingly quickly for a Saturday, and I wound up in the NW going "Oh, DUH!" when I saw the above. Is our boy Will mellowing out? These weekend puzzles lately have been, while still stimulating, pitched right down the middle, and I for one have a bat to give 'em a good whack. Roughest point was getting the H of HEARTIES. Arr! Birdie.

Quote of the week: "It's Friday, or as I like to call it, hour 96 of Election Day." (Stephen Colbert) Patience, people, patience...

rondo 11:30 AM  

Not too tough. As OFL noted, some of the -ese was helpful. Found the SE to be particularly E-Z, as they say in ADSPEAK.

I'll wager @spacey's biggest gimme was Julius ERVING - Dr. J.

For help there's ess-oh-esses (SOSS) in the corners.

LOLA, no, not the Kinky one, gets a yeah baby.

ONEFINE SaturDAY, I'd say.

Diana, LIW 2:22 PM  

Got enough of this to give myself an A-


I'm not waiting!!!!!

Diana, The Lady

spacecraft 5:44 PM  

Not long after my post, CBS called it for Biden! Proud to say Philadelphia, home of my beloved Eagles--put him over the top. Now maybe we can return at least a little sanity into this crazy world.

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