New Hampshire's Gate City / SAT 10-24-20 / Engage in rodomontade / HAL's earthbound twin in 2010 Odyssey Two / Muralla de Spanish landmark / Going from petticoats to pants once / Certain liberal of 21st century

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Constructor: Byron Walden

Relative difficulty: Medium (8:08, first thing in the morning) (felt way faster, ??)

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: Sazerac (21A: Sazerac cocktail ingredient => RYE) —
The Sazerac is a local New Orleans variation of a cognac or whiskey cocktail, named for the Sazerac de Forge et Fils brand of cognac brandy that served as its original main ingredient. The drink is most traditionally a combination of cognac or rye whiskeyabsinthePeychaud's Bitters, and sugar, although bourbon whiskey is sometimes substituted for the rye and Herbsaint is sometimes substituted for the absinthe. Some claim it is the oldest known American cocktail, with origins in pre-Civil War New Orleans, although drink historian David Wondrich is among those who dispute this, and American instances of published usage of the word cocktail to describe a mixture of spirits, bitters, and sugar can be traced to the dawn of the 19th century. (wikipedia)
• • •

Well this was an adventure. A little menacing, at first, when I couldn't get anything going very easily in the NW, and then harrowing, briefly, in the SW, when BREECHING (?) (52A: Going from petticoats to pants, once) and AGE TO AGE (??) (57A: Eternally, in religious parlance) crossing a word (BRAG) clued via "rodomontade" (???) got me stuck in a hole for a bit. But despite the many challenges, there were enough GIMMEs lying around that I managed to make really steady and consistent progress overall, and ended up with a very normal time. I'm actually surprised, given how many GIMMEs there were, that my time wasn't faster. The thing with GIMMEs, though, I find, is that you have to, uh, see them. So often, I find that I'm flailing around, and that if I just looked, you know, up ... or over ... I'd see a nice juicy handout that would break the section I'm struggling in wide open. Usually I have this revelation in "D'oh!" retrospect, after much time has been wasted. Good to be methodical about looking at all the clues in your stuck area, even when you are in the midst of frustration. Still, in a puzzle that just handed me RYE CREME RARE ABBA GOLDA KSU TREF SOUCI TRON and EDU, I shoulda been faster. I'll blame it on the early-morning solving time, but I won't feel good about it.

Some observations:
  • 16A: Categorized by district / 5D: HAL's earthbound "twin," in Arthur C. Clarke's "2010: Odyssey Two" (ZONAL / SAL) — the first things I wrote in the grid. Unfortunately, when I wrote them in the grid, they were ZONED and SID
  • 15D: Tesla, for one (UNIT) — had the "-IT" and thought, "he ... he wasn't a BRIT! ... wait, was he?" (A: no, no he was not)
  • 8D: The Hokies of the A.C.C. for short (VA TECH) — briefly mad at this answer, as a written-out thing, as it just looked weird, but then immediately thereafter heard in in my head (pronounced "Vah tech") and recognized that it was totally common in the college sports world as a said-out-loud thing. Kinda cruel to the "don't care about college sports" folks to put two college sports abbrs. in the same grid (see also KSU). Good for me, though. I don't care at all about college sports any more, but younger me sure did, and all that info is still there, woo hoo. And you get EDU in the bargain (its clue refers to KSU) (33D: Extension for 54-Down).
  • 11D: "This is prophetic" in "Nixon in China," e.g. (ARIA) — yikes, the non-capital title words were a real curveball. I should've recognized "Nixon in China" as an opera, but in my head I think it was just "some kind of staged production, like maybe a play or a movie..." so I needed crosses to see ARIA for sure. 
  • 18A: Function with no limits? (ORGY) — OK, I'm going to shock you all when I tell you I've never been to an ORGY, but ... I imagine that "no limits" is an exaggeration. I get that the clue is a math pun, but still. Surely there are ORGY no-nos. Ground rules. Something. Feel free to weigh in here. OR NOT.
Overall, toughish, solid, and fun. Good "?" clues (rare) are always a plus, and we got at least two today: 2D: Intellectual property? (IVORY TOWER) and 37A: Takes a ride? (REPOS). I don't know how original the latter is, but it's kind of perfect in its misdirective simplicity. Hope you had good success with this one. See you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Anonymous 6:37 AM  

Deeply, deeply offended by 50A. The insensitivity of the NYT is shameful.

Harryp 6:41 AM  

There is a beach in Waikiki named Sans Souci, which I think translates to without a care, so 56A was a GIMME for me. I couldn't decide right away on Nice or NEAT TRICK for 17A, but OBAMACRAT took care of that. IVORY TOWER was a great word to break the NW wide open, AUTODRIVE and WING AND A PRAYER helped out in that area. Altogether the long answers were critical to the solve. COVER ART was a beautiful misdirect! Fun Puz.

Hungry Mother 7:02 AM  

My daughter and son-in-law are Hokies, so that helped. I appreciated that it was mostly wordplay today. Very quick for this part of the week.

ChuckD 7:12 AM  

This was a real tester - I liked it. The long downs in the NW are outstanding - especially the misdirect with Digital in the clue for FINGERTIPS. Very little glue here - ABCD x ABBA was ugly and I had no idea with ARIA and TRON. Somewhere thru the years I can remember learning about BREECHING - but I can see solvers giving the side eye to that. AGE TO AGE is a concept I know from years of theology class in catholic school.

This challenge and today’s stumper from Greg Johnson really humbled me.

TokyoRacer 7:18 AM  

Had GODUTCH for Share a Course, which totally bogged me down, and which I still think is a better answer.

Lewis 7:18 AM  

Wonderfully wicked! I can’t say enough about how good this puzzle is. It’s vintage Walden, that is, tough but not impossible. Only allowing little cracks early on, just enough to keep me trying for more daylight. Some comes, seeds take root, and words pop up sparingly and with great celebration. At some point, I see enough to finish a section, and success spreads more quickly to the finish, but never, never a STROLL.

Look at how clean this grid is! Look at how in the language almost every answer is! Look at how much white there is in this 66-worder with only 28 blocks! Look at those answers with zing – RAZOR SHARP, IVORY TOWER, NEAT TRICK, A WING AND A PRAYER, BAD BOUNCE, SOFTIE, CLOGS UP, GIMME!

And Byron piles the quality on by giving a cluing clinic, keeping us guessing with vagueness – something as simple as [Local celebration, of a sort] for STREET FAIR – to star turns of cleverness, such as the clues for COVER ART, FINGERTIPS, IVORY TOWER, LANCE, and DEBT.

Stunningly top notch, Byron. Thank you for a magnificent solving experience, and for this plunge into puzzle paradise.

Frantic Sloth 7:40 AM  

This was a workout for me. Just off my wavelength enough to give me minor fits, but wholly gettable in the end. You know the type: nothing makes any sense during the initial perusal, then you throw down some hopeful toehold on AWINGANDAPRAYER. If it works out, you're on your way. If it doesn't, you're me.

It's just a good thing this was an electronic solve because any paper version would have been more smudged than a coalminer's face.
Put the wrong word in, take the wrong word out, put the right word in, and you fake it, full of doubt. Eventually you have yourself The Cruciverbalist Hokey Pokey.

On the bright side, I learned some new words today:


Did I say "learned"? I meant "saw" - I saw some new words today. Let's not get crazy about my retention abilities.

I was a little surprised to see I finished right around my Saturdee average time because it seemed to take much longer...not sure that's a good thing - especially after yesterday's rollicking good time.
But a feisty struggle was had, enjoyed, and overcome so that's good enough for me.


From yesterday -
@bocamp, @GILL, @Whatsername - thank you for your kind words. 😘
@CDilly52 Welcome back! So sorry to hear you were ailing - I just thought you were busy working too hard. Good to know you're feeling better.
@Kenny Mitts No worries - and thank you.

Ellen C 7:42 AM  

A late night accomplishment. Surprised by how long it took to get REPOS given that we had REPOMAN (or -MEN) recently. Both stumped me.

Don't buy TREF for trey.

But a Sazerac that's light on the sugar? Now we're talkin' ...

pabloinnh 7:54 AM  

Looked most of this over and came up with an oh-oh, this does not look promising. Even knowing what a "muralla" is and thinking AVILA right away was no help in the NW. Helpful to live in NH. I've not heard NASHUA referred to as "The Gate City", but the only other places in NH that would qualify as "cities" are Manchester and Concord, and they didn't fit. Eventually other things became evident and sections were filled and I finished up and was pleased with myself, which makes this a very nice puzzle.

Felt it was aimed at least in part at teachers, what with RECS and COTEACH and ABCD, so that is always helpful, at least to me. Also liked BADBOUNCE, as I've had some experience with those, and it is World Series time.

Really fun Saturday, BW, for which great thanks.

And now on to the Stumper for the rest of today.

Anonymous 8:00 AM  

I don’t think Obamacrat is a genuine usage or at least not nearly enough of one to be in the NYT crossword puzzle, and I am one.

Paul 8:08 AM  

Not really. Go Dutch means split the check; pay your own way. Which is quite different from eating off your companion’s plate or asking the server for 2 plates/forks.

Pat 8:42 AM  

Rex, not only am I not shocked that you have never been to an orgy, I’m pretty sure you don’t know how to change the air filter in your car.

kitshef 8:58 AM  

So much sweat went into this solve. So much time and effort. Which made it all the more disappointing to fail at the final hurdle, the cross of AVILA and SAL, augmented by having ZONed not ZONAL. Figured FLeY was an alternative spelling to FLAY, so I had S_D crossing AVIL_ and went with the ‘i’.

I put 40% of the blame on myself for not sufficiently questioning FLeY, but 60% on the puzzle for the clue on SAL. So much of this puzzle was about the joy of struggling with excellent clues. It’s just a shame to end it on a PPP whatck-a-vowel.

KrystineM 9:07 AM  

There are definitely ground rules/no-nos in any decent ORGY.

Z 9:14 AM  

This was a struggle mostly because the brain was stuck in low gear. For whatever reason ÁVILA just was not bubbling up to the top. I knew it was that walled city not far from Madrid, but, boy howdy, did I struggle to remember it. In the opposite corner I thought I was being oh so clever with STREET cred. 🀦🏽‍♂️ This was “confirmed” by the -Ed at 58A with a past tense clue. Double D’Oh. I’m pretty sure I spent 80% of my solve time on the NW and SE corners while the NE to SW diagonal went down easily.

Speaking of going down easily, I know Rex was going for the joke but there’s nothing explicitly sexual about how ORGY is clued. When used as a non-sexual metaphor I think the clue is exactly spot on, besides being a math pun.

Some other clue/answers got the Arched Side Eye Circle of “Really?” First, PAYLESS. Why oh why go with the store? Just a totally unnecessary PPP cluing. And ABCD, the very definition of an ughly answer. The four letter crosses are decent, but when I put in that B and realized what the answer was going to be I groaned. I also groaned when I put in PDT. “Setting” should have clued me in right away, but the Emmy/Oscar thing did it’s job of making me assume the answer would be, you know, more interesting than a time zone. Not so much a groan as a “My, aren’t we a wee too twee” at “rodomontade.” Put your hand up if you knew this word before today. Finally, saw right through the TESLA clue because I just did a puzzle where the clue was “Tesla and Newton, e.g.” That’s not a complaint about the puzzle but I was mildly irked by the spoiler.

Anonymous 9:23 AM  

i did not understand why "Passing options" pointed to ABCD until Z's comment just above tipped me off that it was a pun. That's pretty good, actually. Nice to see ARIA clued with something contemporary (i.e. 'only' 33 years old, before a lot of today's top constructors were born! but i'll take it).

Teedmn 9:23 AM  

I've never been to an ORGY either, but I sure loved that clue. When a clue can take your mind from math to sex with just a little twist, well, that doesn’t happen every Saturday. Congrats to whoever wrote that clue!

Some fun stuff here. I wasted some time wondering if there is really a word for the pile of dirt sitting next to the hole you just dug for the tree you're planting. 49D. Is there anyone else who is amazed that you dig a hole, set a tree's root ball in the hole and use the dirt sitting next to the hole to fill in around the tree and you never have dirt left over? It always seems to me that there should be leftovers due to the roots taking up room but there isn’t. I'm sure there are issues of compaction or some such thing but it always feels like magic when I tamp down that last bit of earth and voila, all used up. We have a couple of acres and we've planted literally hundreds of trees on our property so I know what I’m talking about. OR NOT.

BREECHING seems like something whales should be doing, but that's BREaCHING. I don’t suppose whales exchange petticoats for pants all that often.

I had the OWER of 2D and tried To get brainpOWER to work but that P didn’t work at 24A. Overall, this puzzle was a lot of fun. I did groan at PDT as the answer at 45A, but otherwise this was a treat. Thanks, Byron Walden.

Yebsom 9:23 AM  

A shovel is offensive?

Rube 9:37 AM  

Having breakfast with AOC+3. I referred to some people as 'those liberal OBAMACRATS' and they looked at me as I was from the planet Lovetron. Sorry, Obamacrat does not imply liberalism. If it did, Obama care would indeed be socialized health care. Otherwise a solid puzzle.

Carola 9:41 AM  

Tough, so much fun to solve, so satisfying to finish. Terrific, witty clues! What I liked: see @Lewis 7:18. Also: the central "conveyance" cluster of the car-related HOT RODDER, REPOS, and AUTODRIVE flanking the aviator's coming in on A WING AND A PRAYER, his or her SCARF nicely crossing.
First in: CREME and the other easy NE Downs that let me into the grid; last in: FLAY x ORGY in that really hard for me NW. Do-overs: self-DRIVE, Acdc before ABBA. Had to look at a long time: BREECHING (what does childbirth have to do with petticoats and pants? OR NOT). Happy for: Mrs. Smith in high-school English relentlessly packing vocabulary words into us ("rodomontade").

@Harryp 6:41 - Interesting about the different ways we know things. I learned SansSOUCI from Frederick the Great's summer palace near Berlin.

DeeJay 9:48 AM  

That is, um, ridiculous. I do hope Anon is kidding.

DeeJay 9:49 AM  

I had potlatch for a moment.

Nancy 9:51 AM  

I must disagree for a change with my good friend, @Lewis. He calls this puzzle "tough, but not impossible". I call it very, very impossible. The entire West Coast was a misery and a mystery for me, but when I started to make inroads in the East, I thought I'd solve it by getting back there eventually. I did get back there eventually, but even so, the puzzle required three cheats for me to solve. Three cheats are enough for me to send myself to the stockade.

First I looked up NASHUA. (Sister city to Natick?) It helped -- but not enough.

Then I looked up AVILA. It helped -- but not enough.

And finally I looked up the meaning of "rodomontade", which sounded to me like a dance. Aha, BRAG.

And thusly I "solved" this bear of a puzzle.

This would have been a lot easier for me had I not had aNAlYzING instead of DNA TYPING at 32D.

And, in a million years I wouldn't have gotten IVORY TOWER or FINGER TIPS from their respective clues. "Access points"? I usually grab stuff with my entire finger, if not my entire hand. Less chance of dropping the item, whatever it is. And I think the word "property" should be in quotes for the IVORY TOWER clue. So that the clues are, yes, clever and original, but they're just Off enough to be completely ungettable by me today.

Still -- it was a terrific challenge that I actually enjoyed in a masochistic sort of way. Though I do feel I should be relegated to the stockade.

Richard Stanford 9:56 AM  

I had AGEbyAGE, which gave me COy which looked close enough, but then I also had ABCs so 49 down became sebb. Which I knew was wrong but couldn’t for the life of me figure out how - I was wondering given some of the rest if it was an obscure word for the detritus when a SPADE had been used.

WhoisMark 10:04 AM  

RUM for RYE and DOLUNCH for COTEACH caused me all kinds of fits to rectify those errors. For a time I had AWISHANDAPRAYER which did not help matters. It got so bad I had to use correction fluid. For my pen and paper solve, not on an electronic device. :)

Old White Guy 10:04 AM  

NW biggest challenge again.

I no longer start there

Whatsername 10:08 AM  

On the tough side particularly the NW corner but I finally managed after getting the long cross in the middle, which I loved. Some wonderful cluing. If I were @Lewis, “digital access points” for FINGERTIPS would make my best-of list this week.

I’ve passed by Manhattan, home of KSU many times, a little different place than the other one. Big, big sports rivalry there between the Wildcats and KU Jayhawks which coincidentally will be played out on the football field today at 11:00 CDT in the annual Sunflower Showdown.

I love the concept of OBAMACRAT but it’s the first time I’ve ever heard it. I’m surprised a certain 21st century autocrat hasn’t signed an executive order banning the term, especially if it’s ever been acknowledged by the “failing” NY Times.

Unknown 10:08 AM  

TREF is not kosher at all. It's TREYF.

I'm assuming Anonymous @ 6:37 is not really serious, and simply poking fun @ rex's political correctness. But who knows?

Yes there are rules (guidelines) for orgies. And no, I'm not surprised rex has never been invited to one. For someone who is so obsessed with finishing quickly, he would be an unwelcome guest.

Nancy 10:18 AM  

@Teedmn's 9:23 comment reminds me that DEBT (49D) was perhaps the clue that flummoxed me the most. I thought it was about dirt or sand and I also thought it would start with an "S". That's because I wanted a plural for "passing options", not seeing ABCD as the answer to 46A either.

I also had EVERMORE for "eternally, in religious parlance". AGE TO AGE may have been my last answer in.

This is very definition of a crunchy puzzle. I wrote an extremely lengthy first post and I didn't even scratch the surface of all the things that flummoxed me today.

TJS 10:32 AM  

First time I have given up on a puzzle in quite a while, but by the time I came to a dead stop in the NE, I was so pissed of at "ABCD" and "breeched" and"DNAtyping"and "Co-effing-teach" that I didn't care what kind of a "macrat" was going to show up.And "or not,eh, scratch that" is a phrase in the language??? I have an orgy request for all of it.

Lots of good stuff too, though. LOL.

Anonymoose 10:35 AM  

Nice one. Too funny.

TJS 10:49 AM  

Forgot to mention, I loved your "HokeyPokey" riff, @Frantic.

Birchbark 10:52 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
egsforbreakfast 10:55 AM  

This is the kind of puzzle that should never be published as it is apparently discouraging to veteran solvers. It’s really a post-Armageddon day puzzle appearing on a Saturday.


If I wanted a “no limits” experience of this type, I’d be at the Rye Marina right now.

Actually a tough but immensely enjoyable puzzle. Thanks, Byron Walden.

rjkennedy98 10:57 AM  

Thought 3/4 of this puzzle was just brilliant. The SW corner really got me with BREECHING. BRAG clued with a word I didn't know. ABCD which I immediately thought of but didn't think they would put that in there. AGE TO AGE was also difficult as well.

The rest of the puzzle I thought was brilliant. Tons of great ? clues. Intellectual Property for IVORY TOWER was absolutely awesome. Same with the clues for REPOS and ORGY.

Not a big fan of the clue for FINGER TIPS which I feel should've been clued with a ? since as a software engineer a digital access point to me is a browser url or a wifi router, not the tip of your finger.

Overall a great puzzle that I could progress through slowly but surely with plenty of great AHA moments!

jae 10:58 AM  

Tough. Finally a tough Sat. puzzle. Fiendish cluing (2d, 3d, 47d) WOEs...BREECHING, SAL, VATECH...misdirection (22a, 31a, 46a), this puzzle has it all. Liked it a bunch!

sixtyni yogini 11:11 AM  

Intellectual property - ivory tower. Good one. Acknowledge the clever clues.
But without a theme to make difficult fun, it was not fun and just stiffly difficult (for moi.)

GILL I. 11:25 AM  

I'm pretty sure that it was Byron that introduced me to Rex Parker. I'd see his name and automatically reach for a Thesaurus or a dictionary or the OED. He always gave me the angst virus. Today I've gotten better - but not by much. His dodecahedron rodomontade gave me the ague from hell.
I know all about ORGY but it has to be Peter Paul Reuben's Bacchanalian ORGY oil painting. I needed a WING AND A PRAYER with his cluing on that one. COT EACH? Is that some sort of food?
The oof got me today. I needed at least 5 Googles. Still, I was happy to get a lot of the long ones. VATECH looks like a disease I don't want.

Sami 11:25 AM  

Nothing in this puzzle was a gimme for me, not one unit. I had a wrong answer in every dang place, except maybe bad bounce, since I fell asleep watching the Dodgers last night. Done this AM in PDT while helping a 9 y/o with her homework - mostly math, and she was no help with functions or even the Disney. Debt was one of her spelling words, and still no help from her there.

It took me 1:29 (I even burnt my breakfast) and I had to look up Nashua. Don't look at me, I'm from Kansas. My sister went to KSU, and I still couldn't get it. Long, scary nightmare ended when the music suddenly played, and everyone congratulated me. But I was far away at a street fair with some Obamacrats still wondering what those forensic scientists are doing that's so Dainty in the lab.

Richardf8 11:26 AM  

When I read the clue I thought of a tool in my garden shed, but rereading the clue, I can see how it might be read - differently.

Barbara S. 11:31 AM  

This puzzle was so crunchy, I broke a tooth. Or, to put it another way, I ultimately sank beneath the waters of Walden’s pond.

That said, though, I liked it a lot. Lots of good brain exercise. I solved clockwise from the NW and thought I was doing fine until I hit the SW, my last quadrant. It took me a long time to suss out just about every answer there and I resorted to Google for NASHUA. (Loved LANCE as a charging implement!) Finally completed that corner – no congratulatory serenade. Sigh. Quickly saw that I had an error in the NW and corrected it (I'd had lOcAL for ZONAL). Still no music. What finally brought me down was the SE: SAY IT alOUD for SAY IT PROUD. That gave me aDT for PDT (and I still don’t understand the correct answer – oh wait, is that Pacific Daylight Time? If so, groan), and TlEF for TREF, a word I feel I should have known from other XW puzzles. So, a DNF. Never a good outcome but I accept it much more readily at the hands of a worthy opponent, which this was.

Didja notice my change in status? I reorganized my Google account and now Am I Blue.

mathgent 11:37 AM  

Lewis hit the nail on the head. Stunning.

It was one gimme away from being unsolvable, so thank you, Professor Walden, putting in a few. I’m feeling very good about solving it without a cheat.

Seventeen longs, more than half the maximum. Great sparkle (20 red plus signs in the margins), great crunch, great cluing, no junk. How could it have been any better?

I don’t think that AGETOAGE is used in Catholicism. In a particular Protestant religion?

bocamp 11:39 AM  

This puzzle was definitely not a "drag", but, then it wasn't on "auto drive" either. It was a perfect mix of "I know this" and "I don't know that". I had enough "I know this-es" to get a grip on the "I don't know that-s", and in the end, I beat my eta to the finish line. Thanks, @Bryon for a fine ride!

New to me: "riffs" (knew "riffs" music-wise) but not as clued; "Muralla de Avila"; "cover art" (as clued); "breeching" (as clued); "age to age"; "Obamacrat"; "Tron: Uprising"; "say it proud"; the Nixon in China "aria"; "rodomontade"; "dodecahedron" (seen but not remembered); "sazerac".

NW coughed up only "Sal". Moved over to the Great Lakes and at 8D dropped "WestVa" in. Couldn't manage any crosses with that, so got "Golda" at 19D. Figured 19A had to be "gimme", so gave the side-eye to "WestVa" (sorry @Muse) and twigged that West Virginia is in the Big 12, (was in the Big East, not the ACC); changed 8D to VaTech, and Bob was my uncle. "Co-teach" led to "hairdos", and I was on my way to success.

Always have trouble sorting out "krone" vs "krona". My preferred ball terminology is "bad hop", but "bounce" will do, puzzle-wise.

"ABBA", one of my all-time fav. groups: I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do

Did Women Wear Pants in the 1920s? Yes! sort of… / Breeching was the occasion when a small boy was first dressed in breeches or trousers.

"everlasting to everlasting" / Age to Age - Chris Brunelle

jae 3:32 AM yesterday πŸ‘πŸ‘

Peace FriΓ°ur Paz Χ©ָׁΧœΧ•ֹם πŸ•Š

The Joker 11:55 AM  

I would think there would be severe limits in an orgy these days, what with everyone wearing a mask.

What? 11:56 AM  

As usual for a tough themeless, I got some right away (SOUCI, GOLDA, TREF, EDU), struggled with the rest but finally finished with no errors. Very satisfying.
Sans Souci was (is?) a restaurant in DC frequented by the hoi polloi. Not much carefree in Washington these days.

Z 11:59 AM  

@TJS - I thought “Cruciverbalist Hokey Pokey” was an odd thing to call an ORGY.

No idea about the TREF controversy so I looked it up. Merriam-Webster has TREF and not “treyf.” American Heritage says TREF is a variant of “treif” and lists “treyf” in the etymology as the Yiddish source. It seems to me that Yiddish transliteration is not as straightforward as some would prefer.

@birchbark - You’re the second to comment on my current avatar. I don’t know who created it, but when I saw it back in 2013 I saved it. I ran across it again in my photos and decided to bring it out once more.

@egsforbreakfast - 🀣🀣🀣

@rjkennedy98 - De gustibus non est disputandum - The FINGERTIPS clue was one of my favorites for exactly the reason you didn’t like it. I have never quite figured out why a clue like that doesn’t get the question mark, but I prefer fewer hints on Saturday for the wordplay clues.

oceanjeremy 11:59 AM  

I, too, have never been to an ORGY. But my curiosity has led me to read a good bit about ethical nonmonogamy — and my research tells me most orgies have a strict protocol surrounding consent and communicating boundaries. It would seem they have far more rules (i.e. LIMITS) than a two-person sexual encounter. So, yeah, clue fail there.

I also have to quibble with 33D: EDU is not an extension. Files have extensions. Domains do not. The letters following the final “dot” in a domain name are the TLD - Top Level Domain.

Not an extension.

Lewis 12:06 PM  

@Barbara@ -- "... sank beneath the waters of Walden's pond" -- Hah! And congratulations on your blueness.

Anonymous 12:23 PM  

I grew up near Virginia Tech and my brother went there on a track and field scholarship. I've never heard "Vah tech". We always just said "Tech".

Old white guy 12:27 PM  

πŸ‘πŸ‘ in my humble opinion.

Steve M 12:28 PM  

very very tough but well done - needed to peek to get it done

puzzlehoarder 12:28 PM  

I haven't done a puzzle for two weeks. Coming back to a puzzle like this was a reminder of why I've been obsessed with solving for 30 years. The NE and SW corners were exquisitely difficult to crack. I had a prolonged mental block on CREME. Another day it would have been a GIMME but today I had to come up with COTEACH for it to pop up. SERB before UNIT didn't help either.

The SW went down last. BAD BOUNCE supported by ABBA just sat there "Eternally". I could see no way that 49 D could not start with an S. Every time I looked away from "rodomontade" it changed to rotomontade and I kept thinking it had to do with animation. I finally just wrote in CEDE and COO and the rest came to the surface.

Great puzzle.

Birchbark 12:29 PM  

DODECAHEDRON -- Tom Baker's Dr. Who had a memorable, awe-struck way of saying "The DODECAHEDRON." I rarely see or hear the word, but when I do, his voice comes to mind. All I remember of the context is it revealed the true cause of the crisis and just how bad the situation really was. Solution likely involved improvised use of the sonic screwdriver based on uncharted math.

Also, one of the dice in Dungeons and Dragons is a DODECAHEDRON. Enough said on that.

@Z icon -- A great sci-fi moment of revelation: Captain Picard hearing and repeating over and over "Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra" in frustration, then problem-solving, more frustration, then amazed revelation, then replying with a narration of the Gilgamesh epic by a campfire, repeating "Gilgamesh and Enkidu at Uruk," and so cracking a previously unknowable alien language built entirely on metaphor and myth, all 'mid lulls in a battle-to-the-death-turned-alliance-against-a-common-enemy-now-that-we-can-communicate. One of my very favorite episodes of a great series.

Newboy 12:29 PM  

NW was just hard! Solving today’s grid was a continual struggle to not put in the “obvious” answers to the wonderful but brutally devious cluing Rex notes. Needed most of the GIMMEs to seed and a SPADE to keep digging away in this garden of delight—thanks Byron for a lesson with wonderful words both olde & neo.

puzzlehoarder 12:33 PM  
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Hobbyist 12:35 PM  

I wish that the puzzle were always this. Mr. Walden is so smart and he doesn’t lack wit either. A good puzzle setter makes the solver feel clever and adept.

Joaquin 12:36 PM  

@Unknown (10:08) While I disagree with your TREF position, I must also award you the "Comment of the Year" award for your final sentences regarding Rex and orgies. Definitely in the category of "Wish I'd thought of that"!

puzzlehoarder 12:46 PM  
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Masked and Anonymous 12:53 PM  

Neat. Puz had a clue with "desperation" in it. Groundbreakin. [See 35-Across.]

staff weeject pick: SAL. Cuz I know a very sweet young lady named SALly. SAL's schlock flick clue was the openin GIMM&E, in my solvequest.

Zero ORGY experience here, also. Doesn't fit in well with crossword nerdfests, I reckon.

fave symmetric pair: HOTRODDER/AUTODRIVE.
ABCD? har [See 35-Across.]

Once again, many sparkly themeless clues helped make the puz entertainin. FINGERTIPS & IVORYTOWER sure got things off to feisty clue start, at our house.
Also, a primo sneaky approach to cluin REPOS.

Thanx for the challenge, Mr. Walden. Great job, especially on them clues. "Rodomontade" forta flayed m&e, tho.

Masked & Anonymo6Us

p.s. Hey, @RP -- Congratz, dude. U got a new nickname now, of "Razor (Parker)"! [See 1-Down.] Just sayin.


old timer 1:02 PM  

This reminded me of my Saturdays of yore when the solution took over an hour, and sometimes extended into the early days of the following week. Tough, but doable in the end.

As an old prep school boy who attended daily Chapel six days a week for four years, I was delighted to see AGE TO AGE. They went out of their way to assign hymns with good singable tunes, and the standard English setting of Luther's "Ein Feste Burg", "A Mighty Fortress is our God" is fun to sing. "Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus it is he! Lord Sabaoth his name. From AGE TO AGE the same. And he will win the ba-a-a-tle." Goes on to say, "Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also..." Old Martin had a way with words, and so did his translator.

PAYLESS Shoes? Are they still in business? AGES ago, I was a frequent customer, as their kids' sneakers were cheap and lasted a half year, which is all that was needed typically.

Hardest part was indeed in the NW. Took a while to get IVORYTOWER, so cleverly clued. That gave me AVILA, and I was ashamed not to have gotten it right off. We drove to Pamplona in honor of my oldest daughter's July 7 birthday, which is the first morning of the Running of the Bulls. I detoured so we could all have a look at AVILA, a truly astounding sight, and a place I had not been to before, though I had been to Pamplona as a young man. AVILA is a place I would love to stay in for a couple of days (Pamplona, not so much, actually).

Gotta say, I really enjoyed OFL's writeup today. I was grinning right along with him.

Joe Dipinto 1:12 PM  

Everybody say Yeah!

Then get on board the Sooooul Train!

I don't like to rodomontade, but:

Medium Rare (2:17, during a break in the orgy) (felt way, way...what are you doing down there, ??!!)

Ethan Taliesin 1:21 PM  

Ouch. Had GODUTCH for COTEACH and had to cheat to discover why I couldn't make progress in that area. Also had aSONGandaprayer instead of wing. Wing? Never heard that. What a mess I made of the grid. I was defeated today.

There were some clever clues but also some weird fill like BREECHING. I know nothing of this stuff. PDT? What's that like the west coast summer time zone setting? I'm not running on all cylinders today.

pabloinnh 1:33 PM  

@old timer-I've been sitting around all morning trying to think of the hymn that had "age to age" in it, as I've sung it more than a few times, so thank you very much. One of those "of course!" moments.

Also have been to Avila and very much enjoyed it. Looks like you could drive around on top of those murallas.

RichP 2:00 PM  

Why isn’t PDT the setting for the Oscars (LA) and not the Emmys (NY)?

Z 2:10 PM  

@Rich P & @Ethan Taliesin - PDT for Pacific Daylight Savings Time and in person for the Emmys but not the Oscars because it’s 2020 (I thought clues were written to not need much updating, which makes this one a bit odd).

RooMonster 2:29 PM  

Hey All !
I'm offended by ORGY. The gratutitousness of all those makes, writhing bodies. The horrors (hor ors).
Har! πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‰

That silliness aside, thought this puz a toughie! Rex easy rating, yeah, sure. ☺️ Had to work early, printed out puz, Rorschach test again. Dang. Writeover city. lAseRSHARP, ZONed, wingsANDAPRAYER, drAMACRAT (liked that one!), bLOckUP-stOpSUP, sidE (44D), ArCs (46A), STREETFest, think that's it.

Had to cheat twice, Googed for AVILA (which seemed a GIMME for some), and GOLDA, as her name was nowhere in the vast ole brain wasteland. But, after those two, 100% correct! So I'm taking it as a win.

If I do a RooDomontade, am I BRAGging about myself?

Dang, you've been killing those "0's" lately. I've been -5 past two days. Keep up the good fight!

Two nice themeless puzs in a row. Sweet!

Four F's

Anonymous 2:34 PM  

Holy cow! Is it possible to be offended that some is too easily offended? Where does it end? Are the saintly bovines going to come after me? In this context it is just an implement that creates holes.

Mary McCarty 2:36 PM  

Apart from a few totally unknowns (TREF, NASHUA, BREECHING) and what the heck is “rotomontade” (great word, tho) this puzzle was one misdirect after another. Contexts NOT in use today: clothing, dining, computers (Twice!) dirt (well, only once) color, location, math, transvestites, etc. I’m usually ready for one or two, but this made my head swim! Contexts and dooks are my downfalls. Soooo many long words-impressive!

Deb Ehnes 2:44 PM  

Oh good grief! Why does someone always have to make something out of nothing?

Maddiegail 3:07 PM  

@MathGent: "From age to age you gather a people to yourself, so that from east to west a perfect offering may be made ..." is from the Mass.

Barbara S. 3:15 PM  

@Z 2:10 p.m.
I'm probably the 17th person to say this, but I think the explanation is that the Emmys take place in September when we're still on daylight time, but the Oscars take place in the winter when we're not.

John Windle 3:19 PM  

Eeesh! I usually start (and sometimes finish) while riding BART into SF (about 25 minutes depending) but today I arrived with a few half-hearted guesses and a lot of blanks. I still don't get ABCD; I had a long religious education and never heard "agetoage"; I could go on (but won't) but I'll confess to looking up a few answers and STILL being stuck! On to tomorrow...

Crimson Devil 3:40 PM  

Suppose the Hokey Pokey IS what it’s all about?

Frantic Sloth 3:45 PM  

@egs 1055am Yeah, like you don't own the Rye marina...and their wooden orgycoaster.

@GILL 1125am "VATECH looks like a disease I don't want." I shudder at the thought of which part of the body would be affected. 😳

@Barbara S. 1131am Blue Girl! Welcome to Blogger. Now, you are of the body...BWAAAAHAHAHAHAHA!!

@Z 1159am FYI all of my ORGYs (orgies) are called Cruciverbalist Hokey Pokey. Get on board or hit the road. OMG! I just now got your avatar - and only thanks to @Birchbark 1229pm! The shame. It burns. 😞

Apropos of nothing, but sometimes I wish there was a sideshow display case of all the comments removed by blog administrators. Is it a disaster rubber-necking thing? Perhaps, but my overwhelming curiosity needs a fix...maybe someone will post a spoiler alert about something...

@Joaquin 1236pm Your compliments to @Unknown 1008am are warranted, but I wonder...isn't the gist of an orgy basically to do your "business" and move on to the next? Seems to me alacrity might be the word of the day. πŸ˜‰

@RichP 200pm (and @Z 210pm) I believe it has to do with the time of the year and whether it's PDT (Emmys) or PST (Oscars)...but what do I know? Oh, right - this. 😜

Masked and Anonymous 3:58 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymoose 4:00 PM  

The Emmys are in September when it's PDT, Pacific Daylight Time. The Oscars are in February when it's PST, Pacific Standard Time. Setting refers to a watch or clock.

Kevin C. 4:04 PM  

It shows up in the Eucharistic prayer ("from age to age you gather a people to yourself...")

Barbara S. 4:42 PM  

@ Frantic Sloth (3:45 p.m.)
I'm trying to decide whether that's an evil chortle or a really extended big sloppy kiss. In either case, thanks very much!

@Lewis (12:06 p.m.)
Thank you.

****SB ALERT****
What @Roo said (2:29 p.m.). You're the reigning Champ! (It's been a long time since I took the Crown.)

NYEDMD 5:28 PM  

Very much enjoyed this, although it was a challenge. Really clever clueing (e.g.: REPOS, ORGY, DEBT) to boot. Kudos, Mr. Walden.

Masked and Anonymous 5:55 PM  

@RazorP: As requested. M&A is havin some trouble makin up the oh-so-just-right list, tho. (This is my third try, as I keep leavin out key not-totally-gross items.)

Top Ten ORGY No-No List.

10. Oversexed pewits.
9. Vlad Putin party water bottle gift packs.
8. Weird people (with popcorn) that "just want to watch".
7. Proctology class trainees.
6. Enforced social distancing between each participant.
5. Documentary film crews.
4. Music sound track from "Deliverance".
3. Donald Trump -- even if no longer contagious.
2. Outdoor venue, during a snowstorm.

… And the number one ORGY No-No …

1. Clothes.

M&A Help Desk.

mathgent 6:26 PM  

@Maddiegail (3:07). Thanks. When they open our parish up again, I’ll look for AGETOAGE. What part of the mass?

Derek Zoolander 6:39 PM  

But why PDT ?

Eniale 7:07 PM  

I don't say I know BREECHING as a little-boy word, but in my hallway I have a family picture from about 1913 with my great-grandmother, grandparents, aunt and my father dressed in skirts, like all little boys aged two at that time.

bocamp 7:20 PM  

Dad was a great one for giving "gimmes" on the golf course; may have been because short putts were "knee-knockers" for him, so he expected lots of "gimmes" in return. LOL

35A - Had "a song and a prayer", but that "song" wouldn't play.

The grandkids call me "papa" because I'm a "softie" bear. They call their teddy bears, "stuffies".

Hairdo (at 1:53 into vid)

Ala today's puzzle, here's a "neat trick" - fools young and old alike:

Borrow a coin from someone; make up your own "patter", along the lines that you'll disappear the coin into your arm. Setup: bend your left arm (southpaws do your thing) and place the palm of your left hand on the nape of your neck. Take the coin into your right hand and rub it along your left forearm. Let the coin slip out and onto the table or floor, adding some appropriate "patter" to justify the slip. Repeat this, say three times, always picking up the coin with your left hand. The first two times, place the coin back into your right hand, and on the third pick-up, make it look like you're placing it into your right hand, but keep it hidden in the left, leaving it on the nape of your neck or allowing it to slide down into a loose fitting top; then proceed to rub the already disappeared coin into your arm. Add your own ingredients to embellish the final effect. If, for example, you leave the coin on the nape, instead of dropping into your top, you could do a reverse to make the coin appear in your right arm. This vid will clarify, if my instructions are awry: basically it goes like this.

**** SB ALERT ****

@TTrimble (miss you), @Roo and congrats on the "blue" @Barbara S. πŸ‘


The last 4/5 "0"s were all on shorter word lists. The longer lists fry my brain; just not enough time or energy to apply to them.

Peace FriΓ°ur Paz Χ©ָׁΧœΧ•ֹם πŸ•Š

PhotoAde 8:20 PM  

I kept refusing to put SAYITPROUD in because it did not match tense with the clue, Speak up boldly ==> SAYITPROUD(LY). I realize "Say it proud" is a colloquial expression, but then shouldn't the clue reflect that in some way?

GILL I. 8:23 PM  

Hey....@Barbara S got a little pumpkin. Glad you joined all of us Smurfs.......

Mike 8:41 PM  


CDilly52 9:48 PM  

Here’s how far off my wavelength this puzzle was: Started just after midnight and finished about 20 minutes ago!

Starting last night, I worked for a while and then got stuck so I went about my Saturday until something clicked. Then I’d go fill in what I figured out, stare T the blank spaces - rinse, repeat. All dang day!

One little place was in my wheelhouse, the NE down through COTEACH and EASE. I wanted to do a jig after just that tiny little chunk, but my joy was so short lived. I was able to wend my way down the right sided de down the

Z 10:06 PM  

@Barbara S & @Frantic Sloth - D’Oh - and the in-person means for the people actually attending as opposed to those watching on TV. I blame COVID-brain.

bocamp 10:56 PM  

@CDilly52 9:48 PM

I can relate: I just finished a Patrick Berry puzzle (Sun., Aug. 24, 2003). It reminded me of the old days of NYT x-words… hours, and sometimes days to complete. I love Patrick Berry puzzles and this was no exception, just way off my wavelength. What a relief when I finished it and was able to admire the over-all artistry. :)


Peace FriΓ°ur Paz Χ©ָׁΧœΧ•ֹם πŸ•Š

RooMonster 11:22 PM  

Non pangrammic Genius. Dang, can't find it.

RooMonster Figured It Was Late Enough In The Day Guy

CDilly52 11:46 PM  

OK, continuing after my fat thumb sent this off to be posted-hate that!

Anyway, I got the right hand side and on the left all I had was some cheapo PAYLESS shoes and an error on a BAD BOUNCE!

Some fabulous clues today was 2D for IVORY TOWER. The whole NW just stopped me dead in my tracks other than the RYE in my Sazerac. The remainder of the puzzle was hit or miss-mostly miss but I finally came in on A WING AND A PRAYER.

The cocktail may have been a bit too strong. I’m certain I saw a HOT RODDER STROLL into the winner’s circle after he pulled a huge PR STUNT just to get a chance to get into the winner’s circle and do a couple RIFFS on his clumsy driving that wrecked the CHASSIS of his racer. “That’s the price of racing,” he said as he gazed at the wreckage. “That last lap was dangerous,” he quipped, “but you have to admit that using my secret AUTO DRIVE to lap everybody was a pretty NEAT TRICK.”

This entire puzzle was anything but a Saturday SOFTIE, and it deserves nothing but gold stars. My solving on the other hand. . . all I can say is that I did finish!

chadwellAK 3:16 AM  

I was bothered by ORGY too. And then the expression "an orgy of ideas" sprung to mind. Then it was, as usual, an 'oh,wait' moment.

Maddiegail 8:56 AM  

@Mathgent 6:23 pm Sorry ... saw your post too late last night. "Age to age" is from one of the Eucharistic Prayers.

Tita 2:42 PM  

In spite of a picture of my father and his siblings, where he and his sister are in petticoats, his older brother BREECHed, I did not make the connection that the petticoats referred to in the clue could apply to boys!
@Eniale - my photo was probably 1901.

Hey everybody - hope the gang is well!

Unknown 3:18 PM  

Yes! Go Dutch!

thefogman 11:18 AM  

A classic Saturday. Not one easy area. Some of the clues were obtuse and/or mis-directy, but overall a pretty challenging but enjoyable solve.

spacecraft 12:35 PM  

Here we go again. The first blogger is "deeply offended" by 50a. SPADE. This is a gardening tool or a suit of cards. To lift its pejorative meaning out of this and single it out is to ACTIVELY SEEK offense. Here I am, people; please, oh PLEASE offend me! Stop this nonsense!

Now to the puzzle, which was particularly daunting at the outset. First GIMME (the word GIMME did not reveal itself for quite a while) was ABBA--which I carelessly proceeded to write in at 46 across! Saw the error right away, but the ink was in and it made it hard to see stuff in the SW. Next came VATECH, and off that I wrote in dOlunCH for "Share a course, perhaps." Makes perfect sense, and is another reason this puzzle is challenging. But despite the occasional BADBOUNCE I persevered, and completed the NEATTRICK. I SAYITPROUD: my brain was RAZORSHARP today. Near-the-end GIMME GOLDA is DOD. Buried up to my neck in triumph points, I score this an eagle.

Burma Shave 1:32 PM  


should TAKE his SHARP AUTO


rainforest 2:17 PM  

Well, a rare DNF for me after yesterday's beaut of a puzzle by Ms. Weintraub who is rapidly becoming my favourite constructor.

I just couldn't decipher the SW. BREECHING?? AGE TO AGE?? Come on already.

rondo 2:21 PM  

My first GIMME was GIMME, crossing GOLDA. Answers in the central-ish area like that really help.

Have your pets neutered or SPADE.

Deepest regrets to those never having been to an ORGY. I can SAYITPROUD that I have.

ICANT SAY I didn't like this puz.

leftcoaster 5:25 PM  

Clever and Saturday tough, particularly in the corners. ABCD caught my fancy but not my attention.

BREECHING is a NEAT TRICK ( but just once?). AGE TO AGE was and remains a new one as clued.

Overall, a bit too rich for my blood TYPe.

Diana, LIW 7:41 PM  

No RODOMONTADing from me today - just simply not enough here on my wavelength.

Diana, Lady-in-waiting for Crosswords

Diana, LIW 7:45 PM  

PS - @Spacey - I do believe the first commentator was kidding - overstating "offense" as a way of kidding those who get so offended. At least, that's what I'm believing.

Lady Di

rondo 7:56 PM  

@D,LIW- I thought the same.

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