Longtime music collaborator with Royce da 5'9" / SAT 10-10-20 / Angry arenagoer in slang / Fast food order that had all the flavor one less layer / spider named for its presence around train tracks / Enterprise once known as California Perfume Company / Italian soccer club with three Champions League titles / Who just keeps rollin along in a classic show tune / Traveler with turbine / Global news concern of mid-2010s / Lufthansa supplier

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Constructor: Brian Thomas

Relative difficulty: Easyish (6:23)

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: INTER MILAN (12D: Italian soccer club with three Champions League titles) —

Football Club Internazionale Milano, commonly referred to as Internazionale(pronounced [ˌinternattsjoˈnaːle]) or simply Inter, and known as Inter Milan outside Italy, is an Italian professional football club based in MilanLombardy. Inter is the only Italian club never to have been relegated from the top flight of Italian football.

Founded in 1908 following a schism within the Milan Cricket and Football Club (now A.C. Milan), Inter won its first championship in 1910. Since its formation, the club has won 30 domestic trophies, including 18 league titles, 7 Coppa Italia and 5 Supercoppa Italiana. From 2006 to 2010, the club won five successive league titles, equalling the all-time record at that time. They have won the Champions League three times: two back-to-back in 1964 and 1965 and then another in 2010. Their latest win completed an unprecedented Italian seasonal treble, with Inter winning the Coppa Italia and the Scudetto the same year. The club has also won three UEFA Cups, two Intercontinental Cups and one FIFA Club World Cup. (wikipedia)

• • •

Couple of answers I found too grim for my tastes (EBOLA SCARE, "I'M HIT!"), and there's an obsession with Scrabbliness that I find a little cutesy (especially when it results in not-so-great-results like JESU / MACJR). Not a huge fan of the extra choppy grid. But in the main, the fill is solid, and there are some nice longer answers (FOOD DESERT, HOVERCRAFT, AFROBEAT, BOO BIRDS, I'M SURE OF IT) that make the experience feel worth it. Also helps (my mood) that it's on the easy side. Most of my trouble was in the NE and SW—especially the SW, where I had trouble with OL' MAN RIVER and then wrote in OLD and screwed everything up, however briefly. Also had "NOT on good terms" and COMPELS down there for a bit, and never fully grasped RIM until I was done (even now, it seems pretty tenuous; I guess the "corona" is the RIM of whatever object is doing the eclipsing...). Also thought the [Far-off explorer] was a SPACE CADET. And there was no way I was going to get from "weaponry," CAST IRON being known to me only as a pair words that can precede "skillet." But crosswordese fluency / experience with ambiguous dental clues got me DDS, and OVID was a gimme and EROS wasn't tough, and, I don't know, I guess FATS DOMINO eventually got me out of trouble. In the NE, my problems were fewer, but wow, *INTER* MILAN? Never heard of it. I know of AC MILAN, which seems to be the (much) more successful team. INTER MILAN won three Champions League titles, OK, but two of them were in the '60s. I had to get every bit of INTER from crosses. Otherwise, no real holdups with this one.

I don't want to accept WHAP as a thing (1A: Smack!). My start in the NW was a little sticky because of that, but more because of a very unfortunate mistake one-two. The "one" was RAIL and the "two" was OLIVE. I really thought RAIL spider was a slam dunk, and then when OLIVE worked in the cross, and seemed a defensible answer for 19A: Vodka go-with, I just went with it. But no, it was HOBO TONIC all along. Do you put olives in a vodka martini? I would never drink a vodka martini, so I don't know. The way I fixed that corner was weird: I worked backward from CYAN (23A: Color in a color printer) ... CYAN to RACY to TONIC to HOBO. And then off I went. And now, to bed. See you Sunday.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Harryp 12:02 AM  

The NE corner did me in. Just too many names!

Frantic Sloth 12:05 AM  

I liked a lot about this one:

Plus good misdirects and shiny fill.

Actually, I'd never heard of FOODDESERT, but it was perfectly sussable and interesting to learn about.

A thoroughly enjoyable workout!


jae 12:06 AM  

Medium. Scrabbly with a bit more sparkle than yesterday’s. Liked it.

INTERMILAN was a WOE but the rest was fine. I new FATS was from New Orleans from the HBO show Treme...and me too @Rex for SPACEcadet.

Joaquin 12:14 AM  

Quite the learning experience for me. Did you know that "Zubin Mehta" has the same number of letters as SEIJI OZAWA? And while Zubin is not so well-known for any Boston connection, he did once conduct the Natick Symphony Orchestra.

puzzlehoarder 12:41 AM  

Mostly an easy puzzle. I did linger over the conductor's name. The E of INTER was pretty much a foregone conclusion but for the TV character the most likely name seemed to be TED. However SEITI rang no bells and just looked wrong. I got lazy and ran the alphabet. I'm talking mentally but it's still cheating. The constructor obviously has a hard on for the letter J and SEIJI just looked right.

Another routine solve. Lately I only do the Saturdays. Last week my phone wouldn't let me comment. The Saturday before that I just didn't have time to comment.

Blackhat 12:59 AM  

10 names, 5 foreign words.....

Pamela 1:07 AM  

I’m in heaven - SEIJI OZAWA conducting Beethoven’s Fifth- Glorious! I could have listened to the whole thing, except that I need to go to sleep.

Oh, the puzzle... a true Saturday for me, even though Rex thinks it’s easy. I was quite pleased with myself for sussing out HOVERCRAFT with very few letters. Then I worked my way down pretty solidly from top to bottom, feeling very confident. Hah. Then I got very stuck in the NE and SW and stayed that way forever, it felt like. I had IRON, but not CAST, didn’t catch on to the SOFA trick until only the F (hey, @Roo!) was missing and still didn’t see it for a while. OLMANRIVER started as OLd until it wouldn’t fit. I was Earthbound so SPACEPROBE took a while, but once I had that everything else filled right in.

The NE was much worse. I thought gaINS for 36D, so the hot water thingy started out as _AgU_Z__. Couldn’t remember JED, and sports are not my thing, though I do know a few names from crosswords and by osmosis- and none of them are Italian. For the 911 clue, I started with hELp, then considered call but 10D had to be ART. So what is RENO? Some TV show I never heard of? Or what?

I don’t get THEBAMBINO. I have heard of FOODDESERT, once it was mostly filled in. Also liked the clue for ACTOR, among others, and got a kick out of PLANET.

Anyway, I finished. Whew! Then read Rex, and clicked on the Beethoven Symphony that I feel like I lived in, and saw SEIJI and the orchestra transported... Me too.

okanaganer 1:13 AM  


I like Afro Celt Sound System, so for 8 down I dumbly put in AFRO CELT. (Turns out one band does not a genre make.) Which held things up for ages. Time wise I normally run about 3 Rexes; today I was more like 6 Rexes.

Never heard of the term FOOD DESERT. In 1953 my dad bought a lakefront lot in the middle of nowhere and built a cabin. Over the decades many many other cabins were built, first on the lake then on any land near it. About 20 years ago a full service supermarket with liquor store opened in the nearest village. Then a few years ago at the intersection of our road with the main road, a local developer built a "country store" with cafe, gas pumps, propane, laundromat, campground, videos, books, etc. 5 minutes walk to buy everything you need and now we're a shopping hub of the North Shuswap. I recently had a dream that a Staples was built next door.

travis 1:27 AM  

I can't imagine knowing AC Milan and not Inter Milan[I can easily imagine someone not being familiar with either]. They are about equal fame for me. Same number of Serie A titles. There is also an MLS team, Inter Miami, that stylizes their name after them. Other European clubs that MLS clubs have inexplicably named themselves after include Manchester United, Real Madrid, and Sporting Lisbon. Olympique Lyonnais has an NWSL team. AC Milan was in the puzzle last year when you called it a brutal answer. So I'm not sure you've heard of AC Milan because it is more famous, but more because it has been in the puzzle twice before. Which is a rather circular way to define crossword worthiness.

alawi 1:40 AM  

The corona is the rim of the sun when it's *being* eclipsed.

I didn't enjoy this particular puzzle. Too many you know it or you don't answers (SEIJIOZAWA INTERMILAN) right next to each other. Hope you figured out every single cross!

chefwen 2:08 AM  

Struggled with this one, not unusual for a Saturday. I won’t mention my write overs as it would take up too much real estate.
SEIJIOZAWA, really? I don’t even know where the first name ends and the second begins. Thanks Uncle Goog.

Love, love, love a good MOJITO, could go for one right now.

Rique Beleza 2:12 AM  

Planets do not go around in circles. They go around in ellipses.

I grow weary of the constant whingeing regarding the editor, but this seems indefensible.

Happily, Boobird makes up for it.

Conrad 5:53 AM  

I'm probably the twentieth to point this out but @Pamela, THE BAMBINO was a nickname for the baseball player "Babe" Ruth.

Trudy 6:17 AM  

Always interesting to see how different people’s knowledge bases are. Like lots of people I found the NE difficult, but for me FOOD DESERT was the gimme as I spend a fair bit of time thinking/reading about urban poverty and food insecurity.. The conductor’s name and the football club, on the other hard, could have been almost any assortment of letters. But the thing that really made that corner awful for me was BOOBIRDS (which I was reading as one word). No idea what they were looking for. At one point BOOBARDS seemed just as likely. Even now that I know it’s two words, definitely a phrase I’ve never seen or heard. Had fun solving it though.

Z 7:02 AM  

WHAP made your start sticky? Alrighty then.

RIM got the arched side eye here. Is the outer atmosphere the earth’s RIM? To me a RIM needs more solidity, something more than being a layer of gaseous plasma. Even during an eclipse it seems like the corona is what we see around the moon’s RIM rather than being the RIM Itself. I’m loath to ever call a clue wrong, but the clue stretches the essential RIMness of RIM beyond easy recognition.

Started the SEIJI OZAWA video and my first reaction was “pay the man enough to get a decent hair cut.” Then again, I was watching some Eddie Van Halen clips last night and he appears to have had the same stylist back in the ‘80’s so I guess I should just have reacted with a “Rock on, Dude.” (BTW - I love the vaguely GOML vibe of Tattoo, a song I’m only aware of because of his death - The line between ode and satire can be hard to discern at times).

MAC JR? Missed that one. Not being up on the collaborators of EMINEM, briefly mixing up Childish Gambino and THE BAMBINO, and drawing a blank on AIRBUS for some reason slowed me down. JESU saved me from the fires of hell and the South finally fell like Grant marching through Virginia (just mixing my metaphors like a good vodka TONIC).

A fine Saturday effort. Just keep rolling’ along.

Lewis 7:06 AM  

SO many lovely answers: WHAP, HOVERCRAFT, BOOBIRD, THE BAMBINO, JOE SCHMO, FOOD DESERT, JACUZZIS. Four of these are NYT debuts, and all added interest and beauty to the solve.

Brian has the chops as well, creating a very junk-lite grid that uses a mere 28 blocks.

My wheelhouse helped the solve today, as I counted nine musical references, all of which I knew, and four of which I popped in immediately. I laughed and laughed at the clever clue – [Pointless] -- for ROUND, until I learned that wasn’t the answer!

BEND made me think of the city in Oregon, and curiosity led me to learn that it is located on what was long ago a rare crossing place for the Deschutes River, and thus the locals wanted to call the city “Farewell Bend”, but the post office said the name was too big, so it became simply the second word. You’re welcome.

The main stars today were those scintillating answers. This was as much ART as it was puzzle, and thank you for starting my day with a blast of beauty, Brian!

Anonymous 7:12 AM  

This is a great puzzle if you like super-trivia, foreign words/places, and poor cluing.

Rug Crazy 7:34 AM  

TOTS????...... Cmon

ChuckD 7:35 AM  

Not as smooth for me today - too many nouns and things and not enough wordplay. Grid was well built but thought many of the longs were flat and downright cheerless - EBOLA SCARE, FOOD DESERT, OL MAN RIVER - just things I don’t want to have to fill in my puzzle. Add to that ITS WAR and IM HIT and you have a pretty rough go to start the day.

The NE corner was not easy for me - didn’t know either he conductor or the soccer team. Did like FATS DOMINO, THE BAMBINO and JACUZZIS.

Overall - not my favorite Saturday. Like Rex I don’t drink vodka martinis either - always gin and no olives or vermouth for that matter.

Hungry Mother 7:59 AM  

I tried nED and tED before getting it. Name x name = Natick too often.

Seth 8:05 AM  

Yeah, the corona clue doesn't really make much sense. The corona of the sun is its outer layers -- kind of like its atmosphere. This is true whether or not there's an eclipse. Usually the corona isn't visible because the sun's light is too bright. But during an eclipse, it's visible. The clue makes it seem like it only exists during an eclipse, which is definitely not true. It's just that we can only see it during an eclipse.

Plus, "rim" to me means an edge of some kind. The corona is definitely not an edge. It extends well beyond the edge of the normally-visible part of the sun.

pabloinnh 8:11 AM  

I'm with @Lewis in connecting with all the musical help. SEIJIOZAWA, JESU, OLMANRIVER, and FATSDOMINO went right in. I still have problems classifying rap as music, and it seems to consist solely of rhythm, but EMINEM was obvious after a few letters.

NOUSE is not a word that rhymes with house or mouse, so lost some nanoseconds there in Dook City.

SPAMMER for SPAMBOT didn't help either.

I think I most enjoyed putting in HOBO for the spider instantly and then wondering, how did I know that?

Good stuff, BT. Thanks for all the fun.

Ernonymous 8:38 AM  

@puzzlehoarder Is running the alphabet cheating? Crap, cause I thought I solved this one no cheats. But I ran the alphabet to get that J.

Unknown 8:51 AM  

This was my fastest Saturday ever (10 minutes). Thursday was the toughest for me this week.

Anonymous 8:55 AM  

SPAMMER hung around 44D for far too long this morning, leading to IMMAD at 66A and MONO for 67D, and causing INIT to disappear for awhile at 68D. That was a mess of a corner until I got more downs to help with 62A. Was not thinking baseball at all. I was stuck on Sonny & Cher and pigs...

Donkos 9:00 AM  

I see what you did there. And yes, in this puzzle at least, Natick is in the northeast!

Kevin 9:03 AM  

Is “ad biz” a special type of business? Because otherwise, the clue is terrible. It seems like every possible type of business could use “biz” — “I’m in the car biz” or the “food biz” or the “windmill biz” or the .... I’m not denying that “ad biz” is a thing, but it is a really weak clue when “ad” has no more connection to the answer that any of thousands of others.

Nancy 9:07 AM  

Was I "cheating" or "checking"? I didn't look up the entire name of the conductor, you see. I typed in OZAWA (which I sort of knew, but it came in from the crosses, too) and out popped his first name: SEIJI. That's a name I'm supposed to remember? That's a name I'm supposed to know in the first place?

I didn't know the West Wing pres, of course. I was wondering: Ned? Sid? Syd? Ted? I never once thought of JED, to tell the truth. I also never heard of BOOBIRDS. Nor INTER MILAN, though I did guess the MILAN part.

And will someone "puh-leeze" explain RENO to me as the "911 preceder". I don't get it.

Also, WHAP is not acceptable. It really isn't.

But 28D filled me with joy. For those of you who struggled with it, WATCH THIS WONDERFUL CLIP. In fact, watch it even if you didn't struggle with this answer.

Unknown 9:09 AM  

@chefwen SEIJIOZAWA is pretty well known to anyone w/ a passing interest in classical (symphonic) music. Certainly fair game for a Saturday NYT puz.
I too had SPAMMER for too long, AIRBUS was my bete noir.

EBOLASCARE seemed pretty appropriate for these dark times.

Just wondering which will ever come first: Trump reveals his last negative test prior to getting covid, or rex reveals his actual time on a day when he struggles w/ the puz.

Conrad 9:14 AM  

@Giovanni: My interpretation is that if you run the alphabet mentally it's not cheating. But if the questionable square is the only wrong one and you type in each letter in turn until you get the happy music, that's not only cheating it's worse than Googling (since Googling could lead you to an incorrect answer).

Georgia 9:17 AM  

Babe Ruth's nickname was Bambino.

bookmark 9:19 AM  

I always love to watch Seiji Ozawa conduct. Thank you, Rex. My hair looks just like Ozawa's. I haven't had a haircut since March.

Z 9:20 AM  

@Giovanni - Gosh. For me, typing in a letter one at a time until you get the happy music would be a DNF, but this is the first time I’ve seen anyone claim that mentally running the alphabet constitutes “cheating.” There are plenty of times, especially on the Saturday Stumper, where I’m running the alphabet mid-solve. I firmly disagree with @puzzlehoarder on this but I am curious what others think on the issue.

@pabloinnh and @anon8:55 - In my world SPAMmers use BOTs, but I can only recall seeing SPAMBOT in a puzzle. Still, I put in SPAMBOT without wasting even a single precious nanosecond. Does nerdcred constitute bragging?

Seeing complaints about the PPP*, but it is only 19 of 72 for 26%. Four of six long downs makes it feel more PPP laden than it actually is. If I counted up individual squares rather than answers this might skew into excessive territory.
*Pop Culture, Product Names, and other Proper Nouns. 33% is the usual cut-off for “excessive.”

Z 9:26 AM  

@Kevin - Yep. Agree completely. I wanted ad lib and then ad wIZ before figuring out BOOB IRD (it’s another specie of tit).

Nancy 9:33 AM  

Also, some other thoughts I forgot to mention:

If you wind up in court someday, I hope you'll have a real "pro" at your side, (also known as a lawyer). If the only "court pro" you have with you is a STENO, you're in big trouble.

Does a DJ "turn the tables"? I would think he turns the records.

And who knew that there's a spider that specifically hangs around train tracks?

rjkennedy98 9:35 AM  

Reno 911! was a show from the 2000s. It was a satire of the Cops series.

57stratocaster 9:40 AM  

I had to put it down twice because I was stuck, but finally finished it. Very satisfying. Funny how when I walk away and come back there always seems to be at least one answer that jumps out. I thought Jacuzzi had two c's. Never heard of the symphony guy.

WestBay 9:43 AM  

Maybe I’m nostalgic for the Eugene Maleska and Will Weng eras, but I am firm in this: aren’t we getting a bit overwrought in pursuit of popular culture and slackening of long-standing rules of grammar? Not that rap, elision, urban or pop-psychology slang aren’t FUN to figure out. Oh wait, they are not fun.

Anonymous 9:45 AM  

@Nancy — Magnificent! One of my favorite shows. Thanks for sharing...made my morning.

KarenRackle 9:46 AM  

How is Reno a “911!” preceder?

ChuckD 9:49 AM  

@Z - the RIM clue also gave me a little pause - not sure I buy it. M-W does include border in its definition which leans more to the visible than the physical - but still not discrete enough for me.

mmorgan 9:52 AM  

Enjoyed this, some of it was challenging but all gettable. Really nice misdirects e.g., Mass medium was top notch!

Pamela 9:56 AM  

@Conrad- Thanks- You were the first, so double that.

Also thanks, @Georgia

@rjkennedy- Thanks -I though it must be something like that.

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

Yesterday I ended up -7. At least 2 of those were way outside my ken.

Today looks like another slog, although the first batch went pretty quickly. Good luck, everyone!

Carola 10:10 AM  

All was harmonious on the music front, as I knew the score re: SEIJI OZAWA, FATS DOMINO, AFROBEAT, MAMAS, EMINEM, DJING, HIFI, and JESU, but then WHAP! I ran into my GO BUST square with the member of the Jackson 5: TInO or TITO? Got no help from the cross, guessed wrong, DNF.
Lots to like in the puzzle though, e.g. the airborne SPACE PROBE and HOVERCRAFT, OL MAN RIVER + Shakespeare's AVON, FOOD DESERT over TOTS.

Birchbark 10:22 AM  

"Music is the weapon of the future" -- Fela Kuti. Somewhere in the recesses of a closet somewhere is an old, overplayed cassette of his pioneering AFRO BEAT.

@Okanager (1:13) -- I'd love to see NORTH SHUSWAP in a crossword. A couple of years ago I attended a leadership retreat at a resort near Kelowna, B.C., a ways to the south of you. The lake there was big and beautiful. And I learned it was good wine country too. The story of our family's Northern Minnesota lake property, purchased 1946, and the development that grew up around it, is similar to yours.

@Z (7:02) re SEIJI OZAWA and Van Halen haircuts, odes and satire -- as they say in "Spinal Tap," "It's such a fine line between clever and stupid."

Whatsername 10:29 AM  

The Saturday challenge was almost fun today except for the NE corner which was nearly impossible without every single cross. I could have guessed at the soccer team but the Boston Symphony might as well be the Russian ballet as far as my knowledge base goes.

The last time I misplaced a remote, it was so thoroughly lost that I gave up and ordered a new one, only to find it months later . . . yup, buried in the SOFA. I am of the firm belief that in addition to batteries, every remote device should come equipped with a transponder.

TOTS crossing TITS reminded me of George Carlin. Imagine what he would have to say about the state of affairs in the world today.

Mr. Cheese 10:31 AM  

I guess I shouldn’t be shocked that someone wouldn’t know that Babe Ruth was “The Banbino”, but I’m shocked!

Anonymous 10:38 AM  

Come on Rex,
Because you would never drink a vodka martini you sneer at knowing whether it has olives? That sir, is the height of Both egotism and parochialism. Well done.

Joe Dipinto 10:39 AM  


JC66 10:41 AM  


I agree that PPP square footage can be a more accurate measurement than just the number of PPPs.


When you played the Showboat album on your hifi when you were a kid, you put the record on the turntable.

Anonymous 10:45 AM  

Swooning over conductors is the silliest bit of fanboy stuff. The conductor was able to make Beethoven’s Faith sing? Wow. What an achievement. That conductor must be some genius. No doubt, they’ll be replaying performances he conducts forever. That’s why everybody clamors for Hilgefort’s stirring effort conducting Stenerud’s concerti.
Oh wait. No one does. Nor can anyone name three 19th centurY conductors’ leading a Beethoven piece.
Yet somehow we all still know the Beethoven pieces. Why do you suppose that is? Could it be that the conductor is so incidental to the proceedings they all but disappear.

Sixthstone 10:48 AM  

Unlike Rex, this played very hard for me. I was not on the same wavelength with the clues, and many of the long answers are out of my wheelhouse (show tunes, symphony conductors, afrobeat). However, there was enough stuff in my wheelhouse (4 alcohol clues!, rock'n'roll, baseball) to muddle through.

In truth, the NE pairing of SEIJIOZAWA and INTERMILAN is really unfair, and probably a game-ender for all but the NYTXW stalwarts. Didn't help that I'm the only person on the planet with no idea about anything West Wing.

The fill is very solid. No ridiculous abbreviations or pure crosswordese. One minor nit: Getting tired of SPAMBOTS--seems to be in the grid every other day.

In the end, it was a good challenge a solid Saturday puzzle.

Sixthstone 10:52 AM  

One more soccer note: Not sure how everyone complains about recent American soccer champions Carli Lloyd and Megan Rapinoe, but no one complains about an Italian club that last won the Champions league 10 years ago...

Actually I am pretty sure...

Barbara S. 10:53 AM  

Hey, POC experts, I guess MAMAS is a plural that’s *not* a POC – cool! I completed this one with no cheats or lookups – always a triumph on a Saturday. But I did get stuck in the SE for a while – I was very slow to see THE BAMBINO and IM SURE OF IT. Also rANT for PANT in answer to “Huff and puff” (I was being too metaphorical), and PROcEsS for PROPELS (“Makes go” – I was being too dumb). I liked seeing SPACE PROBE cross PLANET (and PROPELS) and TOTS crossing TITS (hi, @Whatsername). I liked OVID, EROS and LATIN in close-ish proximity in the SW. Clever clue for COINS (“Makes up”). Is NOUSE the singular of nice?

I had to get BOOBIRD from crosses but when I saw it, I realized I’d seen it before and indeed the plural was used in the puzzle of April 8, 2020.

I count 10 music-related clues/answers and you could even include Jennifer EGAN as an eleventh, because the book for which she won the Pulitzer, “A Visit from the Goon Squad,” is all about musicians and the music BIZ.

SEIJI OZAWA was a gimme. I remember when he was the Wunderkind of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and how crushed Canadian music-lovers were to lose him to San Francisco. The black hair flew then as the silver hair does now. I love his approach to conducting -- he has a way of making the music leap out of the orchestra. Terribly exciting for the audience (and the players, too, I’ll bet).

There were 4 Js. I liked it!

@Whatsername: 39D was so close to your NYTXW clue debut -- they got the sex wrong!

Oh -- I don’t think running the alphabet mentally is cheating. It’s part of the thinking process. But, yeah, actually filling in all the letters one by one till you get serenaded – that’s the big C.

Grown-Up Autistic Kid 10:54 AM  

comic book rubbish for 1A?
Ebola SCARE ??? So NYT
TOTS perpendicular in SE to TITS? and the rest of that HiFi stereo? NW v. SE, lol
TITO is knee Jerk for Jackson
Remote in the SOFA if now officially tired crosswordese.
Far off Explorer should have been far off VOYAGER to be more elegant, if Will actually tried to be elegant

RIM for Corona? All Coronas are rims. Indeed I first learned it from Astronomy at like age 5, but enquiring minds have always wondered why was poor Rosie "The Queen of the Corona"? (I don't believe it refers to Queens)

Not up to Saturday Standards, v. easy save the messy NW

Newboy 10:58 AM  

Well, today’s was amusing here with I might say TIT for TOT with an obamA SCARE tossed in (no LIME on my RIM puh—leeze!)...and knowing that spa maker JAC???IS wasn’t much help along the way. Still I’m not a BOO BIRD for Brian’s grid. It hit the right notes with nice cluing (Mass medium for LATIN was my favorite) and a range from 500B.C. China through OVID and FATS to AFROBEAT. Boy there’s something for anyone today, and as others have noted entries to trigger a HOVERCRAFT memory of Rhodes or an imaginary TV season with an admirable JED as POTUS.....ahh, those were the days indeed.

WestBay 11:12 AM  

𝙴𝚇𝙲𝙴𝙻𝙻𝙴𝙽𝚃 𝚒𝚍𝚎𝚊 𝚊𝚋𝚘𝚞𝚝 𝚝𝚛𝚊𝚗𝚜𝚙𝚘𝚗𝚍𝚎𝚛 ... 𝚏𝚘𝚛 𝚝𝚑𝚎 𝚖𝚘𝚋𝚒𝚕𝚎, 𝚝𝚘𝚘!

Anonymous 11:13 AM  

Barbara S,
I’m intrigued. Please direct me to a performance where Ozawa “ made the music leap out of the orchestra”
I’ve heard like claims about Muti, Nezet-Seguin, Davis, Dudamel. I remain unmoved. I’ve heard orchestras play with them and without them. The performances vary. Sometimes the players are on, sometimes not. And it always, always depends on
the composition.
I’ll do the converse of what I ask of you. I’ll send you an orchestra doing the same piece by rock star conductor,and a relative unknown. I’ll bet you won’t know who conducted which piece.

GILL I. 11:14 AM  

Ooh...I loved this and I bet our friend @Joe D will too? All the music that made me sing. SEIJI when he was in San Francisco, OL MAN RIVER and his "He don't plant tators", listening to JESU Joy of Mans Desiring at Cathedral during Easter service.....well, I do like music.
I only had one head bop....I've never heard of BOO BIRD. Was that a Popeye thing? And look....@Whatsername.....you have a boyfriend at 39D....
@Anony 8:55 I also had SPAMMER/MAD but Babe THE BAMBINO, who was born in Pigtown, came to the rescue. And look! A wonderful bird is the PELICAN...His bill will hold more than his belican...
MAC JR and tater TOTS washed down with a MOJITO or maybe a vodka TONIC sitting with @chefwen under her lanai...what better Saturday?

Anonymous 11:18 AM  


only if there's an Intelligent Designer would we have a moon at just the right size and right distance to generate a 'perfect' rim corona. :)

Does a DJ "turn the tables"? I would think he turns the records.

strictly speaking, a DJ scratches by moving the turntable either faster or slower with his fingers.

no one has bested Kleiber.

Ernonymous 11:21 AM  

Well dammit. What if you run the alphabet mentally but only plug in the ones that seem probable, like Red, Ted, Jed? Then the get the music? I'm so sad to know that I'm a big fat fraud!

egsforbreakfast 11:23 AM  

Cash register sound in Djibouti? DJING

Scene from the soon-to-be-released Marvel blockbuster CASTIRON SPACEPROBE starring JOE SCHMO as JED MAC JR:

On the bridge of the HOVERCRAFT, MAC JR and his faithful lieutenant EGAN RENO are on the SOFA observing PLANET RIMs, when suddenly ——WHAP.

RENO: JESU, what was that?


RENO: Shall we CEDE?


RENO: But where sir?


Thanks for a tight, fun puzzle Brian (Jay) Thomas.

Anonymous 11:30 AM  

Low income areas, whether rural or urban, have long been referred to as FOOD DESERTs. Some, of the Right Wing persuasion, of course, deny that there is such a thing. Let them eat fast food cake, never mind the diabetes, etc.; they'll just die sooner.

pmdm 11:43 AM  

Z: As far as I am concerned, I don't believe in DNF unless you leave a square blank. So to me, it's an academic question.

I often complain about PPP, so it amuses me that a good number of people today find Ozawa obscure. That entry for me was a gimme. As was Jesu. And after I gor WHET, the rest more or less fell into place (after a hard struggle). Happy me.

Hack mechanic 11:44 AM  

And origin of the famous "curse"
which,to die hard Sox fans could never be broken until they dug the old guy up & reinterred him in Fenway Park. Luckily it never came to that.

Anonymous 11:49 AM  

Well, MY vodka martinis do!

KnittyContessa 11:53 AM  

I made most of the same mistakes Rex did and then some. SEIJIOZAWA was new to me. I had no idea where his first name ended and his last name started until I came here. INTERMILAN and FOODDESERT were also unfamiliar. The crosses were easy enough though.

the SE was slow to fall, too. Took me forever to get MACJR. I had Mc--- for the longest time. Mint before LIME and SPAMmer before SPAMBOT. I had a mess in that corner.

In the end, it was a nice, challenging Saturday.

mathgent 12:07 PM  

After solving, I review each clue and the corresponding entry. If either tickles me, I put a red plus sign in the margin. Today I had 23 of them, the most ever. Bravo, Brian Thomas!

RooMonster 12:07 PM  

Hey All !
Being the unsophisticate that I am, had my one-letter DNF at SEInIOZAWA/nED. Argh! Who names their kid SEIJI? Har. With that N, thought his name was SEInIO ZAWA. Wanted nED or tED for 22A. JED never entered the ole brain.

My paper (had to work early today, so no online doing, had to print out puz) looks like a Rorschach test! Many writeovers. Typical tough SatPuz for me, just to see Rex rate it Easy at 6ish minutes. Ego deflating.

Had slAP and lOcO for WHAP and HOBO, screwing up the NW nicely. Also AutOBEAT for AFROBEAT, so 14and 17A took some time to piece together. Put in LILLIM for EMINEM, making my LIMEd drink icedtea off the wrong I. Got EMINEM, so changed it to MOdeloS. I can barely make out the letters after all that! Others, Mcblt-MACJR, SPAMmer-SPAMBOT, inane-NOUSE, EgOS-EROS, AcT-AMT, hos-BIZ. My SW looks as inky as the rest of the puz!

After all that, turns out a decent themeless. 😊

Finally gave up YesterBee at -2. Dang. One I missed (both 9's) was one I've missed before, and will probably miss next time, the other I should've gotten. Drat. Oh well, to get that close on a big Word-er like that was fun. Not doing todays, as at work. 🙁

Four F's

RooMonster 12:35 PM  

Should have been -
lilkiM- EMINEM
In case anyone cares!


jberg 12:38 PM  

Tough but enjoyable for me. Lots of either very ambiguous or very tricky cluing. For example, Ad ____. Of course, you think it's Latin, and are trying rem, hoc, lib -- finally I gave up until I got the Z. Oh, not that kind of Ad! Brilliant, IMO.

@Pabloinnh, here's "Figure Eights" from the album Rich vs. Roach. All percussion,but it's music to me.

I was going to post Paul Robeson, too, but @Nancy beat me to it.

@anon, I admit I can only think of two: Beethoven himself, and Mengelberg. Probably Victor Herbert conducted Beethoven, but of course that's not what he's known for. Most orchestral musicians I've heard or read say that a good conductor makes a big difference.

I got RIM from the crosses, so I never noticed the clue. Are those questioning it on the ground that it is not a hard edge arguing that the sun does not have a rim? I guess that's defensible, but it seems strange to me.

I've lived in Boston since 1964, so SEIJI OZAWA was a gimme, once I saw that Kousevitsky (sp?) wouldn't fit.

Nancy from Chicago 12:50 PM  

I had the worst time with that spider. Like Rex, I started with rail, then had choo (seriously), then loco, before HOBO. Also had a lot of trouble in the NE having never heard of the conductor and not being a soccer fan. Ended up finishing but it was a struggle with some lucky guessing.

Crimson Devil 12:50 PM  

Puz quite enjoyable until it wasn’t: NE WHAPped me.
Tried to make CORONAS fit where MOJITOS ended up; thought t’would complement RIM; not to be.

Z 12:52 PM  

@JC66 - I go back and forth. When the theme is PPP based I feel like the threshold is much lower and this themeless felt like a PPP based theme. Today we get three long music answers and two long sports answers, so 50 out of either 145 (count each square once) or 290 (count each square once for across and once for down) squares. But a big BUT... short answers are solving toe-holds that solvers use to build enough of a pattern to see the longer answers. Which is worse from a solving perspective, JED or SEIJI OZAWA? As has been pointed out, that J is pretty naticky but it is also naticky at the E. That seems especially unfair for a short word, so it could be argued it’s impact on the solve is disproportionate to its length.

@Black Hat - Are you counting SEIJI OZAWA as both a name and a foreign word? Also, are “names” only people? I don’t see how you came up with 10 names.

@Anon 10:45 - I’m no huge fan of conductors, nor is Wikipedia necessarily the best measure of cultural importance, but 308 19th century conductors have Wikipedia entries so somebody is remembering them.

@Grown Up Autistic Kid - If it were “corona” as in “crown” I’d buy it. And sure, a stellar corona probably gets it name for its resemblance to a crown. Still, corona —> RIM gives me gas.

@Giovanni - Hey, implicit in all these DNF definitions is “for me.”

@pmdm - fair enough. For me, DNF is short for “did not finish correctly,” and even sometimes “did not finish correctly while understanding the theme.”

jae 1:04 PM  

@Z - for me mentally running the alphabet means trying to make sense out of an odd looking string of letters with a blank or two, which I think is perfectly legit. I just did that with a 1995 puzzle that I was doing on paper. It was a bit tedious because the letter I was look for was X. Trying plausible letters in a blank until you get the happy music would be a DNF FOR ME.

***SB Alert***
I'm still -7 on yesterday's and plan on giving it one more shot this morning

Frantic Sloth 1:15 PM  

@Lewis 706am I like your answer (ROUND for "Pointless") much more and probably would have left it in just for my own entertainment value - puzzle streak be damned!
And your BEND, Oregon story prompted a rabbit hole adventure from hell, so yes, thanks for that! 😂(Suffice it to say that the BEND, Oregon P.O. was a passel of wimpopodes for cowering at the "too big"ness of puny little "Farewell Bend".)

@pabloinnh 811am Ditto on the NOUSE DOOK (see above for the superior ROUND)

@Z 920am I've been known to run the alphabet in my head. It enjoys the wide open spaces as it lopes along. Seriously, cheating/not cheating I leave to the individual. As for myself, letter-loping is not cheating.

@WestBay 943am Your plaint is a paradoxical one, consisting of a legitimate nostalgia for the classic crossword and a GOML* attitude for anything newfangled. I love it! 👍

*Get Off My Lawn (for those who wonder)

@Barbara S "Singular of nice" for NOUSE is right up there with @Lewis's ROUND/pointless. Except I believe that it might be an SOC. 😉

@GILL 1114am I love the image of you and @chefwen sitting under her lanai! The result from over-imbibing of MOJITOs and vodka TONICs I surmise?

@egsforbreakfast 1123am I'd watch that show!

Paul Robeson was sublime.

Anonymous 1:24 PM  


I thought it given that the question was in regard to available recordings. not too many from the 19th century.

some consider Munch the finest Boston conductor. before my time.

Mary McCarty 1:26 PM  

Anyone who thinks the Mass is still said in LATIN hasn’t been to one lately. (Ok, a few are, but only by folks who never heard of Vatican II)
So many better clue options..like “language of 60A”. Was sure 62A referred to the pig, “the Gallant...” since we just saw it this week. oops.

Anonymous 1:32 PM  

Come on my man! Stick with your gut. Conductors are to orchestras what baseball managers are to baseball. Nothing.
As for wiki, come on redux. I’m not saying they’re aren’t whackadoos who list or rank or collect every thing on Gods green. But I don’t have to listen to them as they get so deep in the weeds even the other nuts start to roll their eyes.

Anonymous 1:39 PM  

Musicians sure do say that. They’ve been inculcated in a culture that says it. They’re in a cult. Take a step back and listen to 20 orchestras, first class deals, do the same piece. Then try and tell me which ones were truly different or better. It does happen. But like as not the conductor wasn’t the cause. Rather, some key player was on his or her game, or off it. Even more likely, it’s a piece a critical mass in the orchestra truly know and love and hence play with particular elan. Conductors ain’t got nothing to do with that.
And, I’ll go further out on my limb. I ve dealt, very tangentially, with members of one of the US’s top 4 or 5 orchestras every year for the last I dunno, 15. Most of them are very odd. Very odd. I wouldn’t trust their judgment on wher to get a BLT let alone what actually makes the music great.


Anonymous 1:41 PM  

By the way that wiki list is a bit a fib you rascal. Almost all those 308 were known chiefly for something other than conducting. But you knew that. Just as you know conductors are scam, by and large. Sure a hack can wreck things, but ain’t nobody improving Mozart. And I mean nobody.

Richardf8 1:58 PM  

*** SB Alert ***
I gave up at -7 myself. I wouldn’t have hit QB anyway. There’s a thing that I would never have gotten.

bocamp 2:02 PM  

Thank you @Brian for a most exhilarating solving experience. I felt as if I were in a super-charged "jacuzzi" being buffeted to and fro. In the end, I learned all kinds of stuff (and not just words, people, memes, etc.). I learned that overconfidence is a harsh taskmaster.

I breezed through the West, Rockies and north to the Great Lakes as if it were an early week puzzle. The insidious thought came that maybe I was looking at an all time best for a Saturday. Then the "jacuzzi" really kicked into warp speed. I was shot from Kansas down to Texas, over to the Gulf Coast, up to Maine, back down the Atlantic seaboard, up to Missouri, over to Kentucky, Tennessee and then back to Texas, only to repeat the vicious cycle. As in "Groundhog Day," I did manage to pick up bits of inspiration along the way, and eventually (after almost 2x my Sat. ave.) I succeeded in taming that whirlpool. What a trip, and I'm glad for every minute of it.

Here's the breakdown of my woes: 38A - had "mo-i---", but didn't know the beverage; 39D - figured it might be "Joe" something, maybe Smith, dunno…; 46A should know "Jennifer Egan" by now, but…; 50D - had the "l", but really wanted something like "wafer" (didn't spend the time defining the "medium" possibilities); 54A - had "m--j-, no idea of this "one-less-layer" fast food order; 47D, had only -i----, so ??; Decidedly, my two biggest blunders down south were 44D "spammer" and 56A "Im mad"; 62A was especially tricky due to not understanding the importance of the quotation marks. Whenever I see "babe" my first thought is "Babe Ruth" and/or a term of endearment (maybe sexist, maybe not). I think "bambino" did occur to me, but couldn't parse it, especially. due to the miscreant "m" from "spammer". Was thinking of "Some Pig", "The Gallant Pig", Babe Didrikson Zaharias, etc. Nothing was working, and the thought that "spammer" was unworthy, didn't even move me.

Well, that's enough for now. The story of redemption to follow later today.

Peace 平和 Pace Pax Frieden 🕊

bocamp 2:15 PM  

**** SB ALERT ****

@jae & @Richardf8

-7 and have "tabbed" it for later consideration; on to today's SB 🤞

Peace 平和 Pace Pax Frieden 🕊

JC66 2:38 PM  


I take your point. There are other factors: placement, crossings, etc.

BTW, I always have a problem remembering whether it's JEb or JED. ;-)

Z 2:40 PM  

@I (or is it "we") hate conductors - I'm not qualified on conductors specifically, but on the concept generally I heartily disagree. Take the baseball managers you mentioned. Sabermetricians argue that managers don't matter but what they really mean is that they haven't figured out how to measure their effect. From actually making some players better to recognizing talent to optimizing individual players' chances at success, good baseball managers clearly have a huge impact on a team's success. A great example is Jim Leyland taking the Tigers from a 91 loss team in 2005 to a 95 win team in 2006. Sure, he had Verlander and Zumaya, but people forget they had Verlander and Zumaya because Leyland said they were ready coming out of Spring Training. And Leyland managed those kids that year. It's impossible to win without talent, but a big part of managing is recognizing and then using talent well. And just because you have the most talent doesn't mean a team is going to perform at their full potential. It can be argued that the Rays are still playing instead of the Yankees because their manager used the talent better even though most would say the Yankees had more. I can only presume orchestra's are the same way.

As for that Wiki list - somebody else will need to take that one up. I just searched for "19th century conductors" and that popped up. Outside of classical music it's not at all uncommon for "conductors" to multi-task (I'm thinking of big bands, specifically), but have no clue when conducting orchestras became a specialty.

Anonymous 3:04 PM  

A neat trick. Invoking the experts—-Sabermetricians- then rejecting their expertise.
It really ends the discussion doesn’t it? I mean, you know better than they do.
Me? I think the experts are right. Managers mean nothing. Conductors too.

Aelurus 3:04 PM  

Almost finished cleanly but needed one of the downs to get purchase in the NE. Googled for the Boston Symphony conductor and was glad I did—after putting that in, the rest of the NE fell. @Joaquin 12:14 am—Ha! Clever. I can imagine the Natick Symphony Orchestra! The only two conductors I know are Georg Solti and your mentioned Zubin Mehta.

@Roo—Thought you’d be pleased with the 4 F’s. And maybe the 4 J’s too?

Liked the two different ways of answering the clue “Battle cry” (43A, 56A).

Favorite answer: BOO BIRDS (25A). Hmm, Halloween costume?

@ Giovanni 8:38 am, @ Conrad 9:14 am, @Z 9:20 am, @jae 1:04 pm, I run the letters sometimes, too, and don’t consider that a DNF it it’s done mentally. That’s just kind of like a mnemonic, isn’t it? Do agree trying all letters until you get the musical applause is cheating. I think Rex has mentioned that he has mentally run the letters on occasion.

@Nancy 9:07 am—First time hearing Paul Robeson sing Ol’ Man River. Such a wonderful deep voice. When he got to “Ol’ Man River...Ol’ Man River...” I got chills. Thanks for posting it!

Wanderlust 3:13 PM  

To me, that is cheating. I didn’t do that and ended up with SEITO and TED. So that’s a fail, though when the “so close” came up, I found the mistake pretty easily. But to Puzzlehoarder, running the alphabet mentallly is definitely NOT cheating! Can’t see why you would think that.

paulfahn 3:14 PM  

Seconding a previous comment: planets go around in ellipses, not circles. I thought there was fact-checking. Definitely should have been fixed.

Whatsername 3:23 PM  

@Barbara S (10:53) I noticed the “almost” clue too. I guess then the answer would have been JO SCHMO. 😄

@West Bay (11:12) Oh yes, the cell phones! I forgot about those. At least you have the ability to call yourself, but that doesn’t always work either does it.

Aelurus 3:25 PM  

Just watched Rex's link of Zawa's conducting of Beethoven's 5th. Great hair! But I don't get conductors, either. It looks like they're miming the musical highs and lows. And it seems most musicians aren't even looking at the conductor, in this video or as I've observed in live concerts. I'm not very knowledgeable about music theory, so maybe I'm missing the importance of the conductor. Will have to look that up, but now gotta work.

bocamp 3:30 PM  

"Fela Kuti"

"food desert"

@ Nancy 9:07 AM

Thank you for the Robeson vid; I was set to include it until I read your post. :)

@jberg 12:38 PM - It's the thought that counts! :)

@Conrad 9:14 AM - Well said!

I would be cheating myself if I were to reference any outside source, or play "whack-a-letter" on the keyboard; anything I can conjure mentally is fair game, tho. Others' mileage may vary. :)


**** SB ALERT ****

@RooMonster 12:07 PM - Congrats on the -2; that purdy darn skookum! 🐝

@ Pamela - I'm still at -7; may give it one more shot later today. 🤞

**** SB ALERT ****

Anonymous 3:38 PM  


read up the history of any major orchestra (the minor ones are, at best, part-time for both players and conductors and seldom drift from the war horses), start with the Boston. the critics (who're either ex-musicians and/or long time consumers of orchestral playing), and everyone is one, can tell when the same bunch of players are playing well and when they're not. more often then not, it's the conductor. not all of the Boston baton twirlers got the best sound from the players. OZAWA, at the end, lost the players and they played lousy; in a major orchestra relative sense. Szell turned the Cleveland from a backwater nothing into one of the majors. some conductors simply don't know how to manage 100 or so musicians. some don't know what or how to play a given piece. some only work a certain set of composers or era.

the list goes on. what appears to make the difference: respect between the players and conductor is complete, in some sense. the conductor knows what he (and almost always) wants to hear, knows how to say so without pissing off the players, and the players are sufficiently skilled to play that way. hearing the difference between a really fine orchestra/conductor and one that's just going through the motions takes knowledge and experience. expertise, in other words, a quality not always valued these days.

"I don't know anything about music, but I know what I like."

"I don't know anything about medicine, but I know what I like."

DigitalDan 3:40 PM  

The HOVERCRAFT answer had a kind of GREEN PAINT clue. Not all hovercrafts use turbine engines, and turbine engines are used more often on many vehicles and other machines that are not hovercrafts.

Anonymous 4:02 PM  


you took the bait. the clue said only 'turbine' not 'turbine engine'. the fan which drives the hover is, in fact, a turbine.

bertoray 4:27 PM  

@Nancy, Reno 911 was TV show that followed th humorous antics of inept and dim-witted officers in "The Biggest Little City in the World."

ChuckD 4:49 PM  

@Anon 3:04 - tell that to Aaron Boone. The GM and all his Ivies made game time decisions in Game 2 and shit the bed - numbers are numbers - they do not cover everything - these things are not deterministic.

bocamp 5:27 PM  

Redemption from 2:02 PM

I finally decided to plunk "the bambino" into 62A and see what came of it. First "spammer" had to go; ah, "spambot", doh! The whole SE quadrant fell into place within a couple of minutes, although 36D wasn't cooperating. Finally, "makes up" flipped the "coins" switch on, and it was off to the NE.

The only thing I was somewhat sure of in the NE was "Tito". Getting "Afrobeat" gave me the "t" in "mojitos" and "boobird" which lead to "biz" and "biome" which left upper New England for the finish. And, it took forever to suss out. In the end, I just couldn't grok "reno" as having anything to do with a "911" call; there again the quotes surrounding 911 were the key. It must be some kind of procedural to do with the city, and Bob was my uncle.

I didn't know "food desert", "Inter Milan", (wanted AC Milan) or "Seijo" and was having trouble with 10D and 10A. Finally conceded that "food desert" and "Inter Milan" worked and then "art" and "as if" made sense. And, when I grokked how "Reno" fit in, that left me with a mental "whack-a-vowel" for "Sei-o", and the golden ring. The candidates were: Jed, Ned, Red and Ted. "J" and "T" moved into the finals. Not having watched "The West Wing", I had no idea about the character in question, but "Jed" seemed more Hollywood trendy than the somewhat overworked "Ted". Also the "j" resonated better than the "t" for the Japanese name. Bottom line: I got lucky. :)

Finally on the subject (in my prior post of 2:02 PM) of overconfidence, I really should know better. I'm working on it, but some "smirches" are hard to dissolve. I always tried to hammer home the point about confidence vs overconfidence to my Little League teams. Confidence is knowing you can succeed if you keep your focus on the task at hand. Overconfidence leads to losing focus by jumping to conclusions (often false). I'm a work in progress! :)

Peace 平和 Pace Pax Frieden 🕊

Bill L. 6:16 PM  

@Rique Beleza & @paulfahn – I’m no astronomer but I think the PLANET clue is close enough for crosswords. The Earth rotates around its own axis every 24 hours and revolves (elliptically) around the sun every year.

***SB Alert***

I haven’t seen many posts about today’s offering. I’m stuck at 52 words and 201 points and have given up. I wish other SBers the best of luck with this one.

albatross shell 6:19 PM  

I tried blunt for pointless. So clever it had to be right. Wrong. I did hear a wee voice: Wouldn't that be "Pointless?" or "Point-less"?.

Had to look up OZAWA's first name and the soccer team. A lot of longs went in with few or no crosses: FOODDESERT FATSDOMINO SPACEPROBE OLMANRIVER (tried OLe before OL). The rest took a reasonable number of crosses.

Getting ILSA without knowing any romantic languages made me feel pretty nifty.

Despite the Babe and Fats and OZAWA my favorite today was JOESCHMO.

RIM is an edge or border of a circular object. A corona fills the bill as the sun appears as a disc from earth. But it does seem a bit off. I do not think it is.

A planet moves in circles the same way a beltway is a circle around a city or the same way I went in circles around the arena looking for a place to park. OK, irregular circles. Common language does not need to bow to mathematical or astronomical precision. Criticize Shortz for real stuff, not nitpicking nonsense.

Some DJs turn the turntable with their hand using the record as a musical instrument. I thought that might have been intended in the clue. Who knows is not talking here.

MAMAS is still a plural of convenience. All POC are not bad. And I would not call the answer to the clue; Half of a half of a 60s pop group

a singular of convenience.

bocamp 6:47 PM  

"Fela Kuti"

"food desert"

@ Nancy 9:07 AM

Thank you for the Robeson vid; I was set to include it until I read your post. :)

@jberg 12:38 PM - It's the thought that counts! :)

@Conrad 9:14 AM

Well said!

I would be cheating myself if I were to reference any outside source, or play "whack-a-letter" on the keyboard; anything I can conjure mentally is fair game, tho. Others' mileage may vary. :)


**** SB ALERT ****

@RooMonster 12:07 PM

Congrats on the -2; that's pretty darn skookum! 🐝

@ Pamela - I'm still at -7; may give it one more shot later. Just starting on today's; looks like a challenge. 🤞

Peace 平和 Pace Pax Frieden 🕊

Joe Dipinto 7:43 PM  

Cheating: if you can do it at a tournament, it's not cheating. Do you think no one ever mentally runs the alphabet at a tournament so as to complete the puzzle at hand? If you do, I still have a bridge for sale, cheap.

Barbara S. 7:51 PM  

@albatross shell (6:19)
I'm interested in your take on MAMAS as a POC. I thought it wasn't, because the singular MAMA isn't half of a 1960s pop group. It simply can't be used as the answer to that clue. Whereas a clue about MAMAS as the name young children call their mothers could ask for either the singular or the plural depending on the needs of the constructor in that particular area of the grid. But maybe I've got it wrong and *ALL* plural nouns in crossword puzzles are POCs?? Help!

Anonymous 8:45 PM  

Chuck D,
Huh? Is Aaron’s Boone, the manager, responsible for the Yankees loss? Or was it some cabal of Ivy League nogoodniks? You see the problem, right? Either the manager is the person responsible for the teams performance, or as you suggest, he’s only some part of the reason for the teams performance.
Way to cherry pick the data. As you know, the tigers excelled in Leylands first year. But fell off the next. And the next. And then rebounded....
Point is Leyland was the same dude. His players changed. And with them the teams results

bocamp 9:11 PM  

**** SB ALERT ****

-12 w.b. (g. or wanna-bee)

Peace 平和 Pace Pax Frieden 🕊

TTrimble 10:07 PM  

---[SB Alert]---

I'm at -4 for today. I imagine one of the words I found will occasion some protest. (But it is indeed playable in Scrabble.)

I may try some more before packing it in.

---[Acrostic Alert]---

Did anybody do the Sunday acrostic? I found it rather more challenging than the usual acrostic fare. (That Welsh festival -- oy. And I entered in something wrong for clue I. which took a looong time to sort out.)

Nancy 10:36 PM  

@jberg and @bocamp -- It makes me really happy that other people love this song, and Robeson's incandescent performance of it, as much as I do.

I'm not someone who cries easily, but I cry every single time I watch that clip. I consider OL' MAN RIVER the greatest song ever written for the musical theater. Because of the sheer gorgeousness of both the lyrics and the melody. Because of its raw emotional power -- though subtle by today's standards because it isn't an over-the-top "11 o-clock number". And because of its vital importance to the show. Take away that song and "Show Boat" loses all, or at least most of its resonance.

FWIW, it was the first song I played on the piano. I was being taught popular music in a way that allowed me to enjoy playing pieces I asked the teacher for. He bought the sheet music and wrote down all the notes and all the chords for me. I learned very little about music or how to read it, but I had a very good time. I'm pretty sure that OL MAN RIVER was in the key of C Major, which was unusual, because very few songs I played were in that key. But it was a good song to start off with.

Graham 11:58 PM  

It’s only the most popular sport in the world, Rex 🙄 Anyone my age (29) or younger will know Inter Milan from the abundance of Champions League soccer on TV these days and the FIFA video game series.

bocamp 12:05 AM  

@Nancy 10:36 PM

I love Robeson; any time I want to listen to something from days of yore, he's my go-to guy. Always enjoy your anecdotes, as well. Gives the blog more of a familial atmosphere. :)

**** SB ALERT ****


Congrats on your -3; that's impressive! 👍

Now at -11 and ready to pack it in :(

---[Acrostic Alert]---

Where does one find the "acrostic" you refer to?

Peace 平和 Pace Pax Frieden 🕊

albatross shell 12:28 AM  

@Barbara S.
I see it as being judged by the word in the grid. The complaint about POC rests in the cheating on the length of words, making the puzzle less interesting word-wise. I feel it does when there are too many of them, especially with too many crossing esses. Somehow feels like it is a replacement for an excess of black squares. It is a grid complaint some make. It is not a clue complaint. Covering up this grid complaint by finding a clue that is a PPP that is already plural is no real change in the grid plus it's an extra PPP. That is why I added my joke clue at the bottom. Half of a half of a 60s group = MAMA not being an SOC even though it would be by the cluing. Also CASS could be an answer.

PPP count: I tend to feel area of PPP answers might be more important than the number of PPP answers. In today's puzzle how do five 10 letter PPP answers compare to eleven 4 letter plus two three letter PPP answers, or to five 5 letter answers?

Of course, PPP is determined by cluing, not by looks in the grid. I learned that by looking at the grid the next morning and seeing very little PPP I commented on the lack of PPP. Z, the stat man, jumped on me because it had so much. A lot of answers may be clued as PPP or as words. MAMAS, e.g.. I also think not all PPP is created equal. If it's something 90% would be expected to know or recognize once seen give it a pass. Yeah I do know the problems with that. Is JOESHCMO PPP or a word you do not know? Is 44 for OBAMA PPP? Maybe it all averages out. Z does have a range where it starts to cause complaints.

And anyone who believes that managers do not matter is ... someone I disagree with. Who plays, who pitches, who motivates, who makes players better, who puts them in positions to succeed: not matter? It's like football coaches. What other coach would have the success with NE Pats to match Belechik. Not too many. I am sure that a coach or manager can screw up a team. GMs and owners matter too.

jae 1:05 AM  

****SB Alert*****

-6 and am iffy about getting any closer.

jae 2:14 AM  

****SB Alert *****

make that -3 but one of the 3 I just “found” is pure evil

kitshef 7:27 PM  

Flat out no. You cannot cross SEIJO with JED as clued. 95% of your audience has no chance at that cross.

thefogman 10:45 AM  

I was doing fine until I hit the last square where 11D crosses 22A. I knew nothing of either person. Was it Jed, Ned, Red or Ted Bartlet? Seiti Ozawa seemed plausible so I went with Ted. Wrong. And thus, my good feelings about this puzzle ENDON a sour note and I GOBUST. Count me among the HOBOs JOESCHMOs and BOOBIRDs who have NOUSE for puzzles with such Naticks in them. It’s ASiF the NYTXW has no editor at the helm...

Burma Shave 11:28 AM  


IN THE JACUZZI is where yo MAMA sits,
I'M INIT, too, and I'MSURE I'M a HIT,


rondo 11:41 AM  

SEIJI had to come by crosses, but RENO, TITO and JED were gimmes for me, so not a big issue. My biggest issue, therefore inkfest, was scrambling out of the %0d/67a cross at first having my 'mass medium' as LiTer crossing the 'pointless' rOUnd. Yeah, I know liter is volume, bout round is *pointless*. Finally the MACJR and IMSUREOFIT straightened things out.

FEWS what you get in the corners.

All those other Jennifers get a yeah baby, so why not the accomplished Ms. EGAN?

More Js than all week methinks. Let's all have MOJITOS and hope Sunday is not another slog.

Diana, LIW 11:43 AM  

As one who is "from" Philly, I know of BOOBIRDS. Yeah!

Saw Mr. OZAWA conduct the Boston Orchestra IN PARIS on the Champs de Mars (the "lawn" of the Eiffel Tower) with a choir and fireworks - some time in 2000/2001. For free. Didn't know it was going to happen until we saw crowds heading that way and our neighbor at a cafe told us about the concert. Some guy named Andrea Bocelli sang, too. Whadda night. No BOOBIRDS there.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for the fat lady to sing

spacecraft 11:50 AM  

The west--including the NW!--was a cakewalk for a change; the east not so much. OLMANRIVER rolled me right into the thick of it. In the SW, it took a while to get what "Babe" was going for, but after changing SPAMmer to SPAMBOT things cleared up. Finished up in the NE when I recalled the inimitable SEIJIOZAWA. Lot of Scrabble ***ing up there, but it actually helped.

Michelle Philips and "Mama Cass" Elliott receive dual DODs today as the MAMAS. Difficulty rating medium leaning toward easy; fill solid. Well done: birdie, of which Tiger is going to need a lot more if he's to repeat as Masters champion. Guy to beat: Dustin Johnson.

Anonymous 2:06 PM  

Too pisser loaded to be rated "easy". Put me in the club where "west Wing" is a menu choice at KFC.

leftcoaster 2:58 PM  

After gliding through the WSW and thinking "pretty easy", the ENE showed me otherwise. Have to END ON that note.

  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP