Eponym of NHL's points leader award / SAT 11-7-20 / Cartoonish Will who popularized the term graphic novel / Mix-and-match children's clothing brand / Punctuate a killer performance / Pixar character with a pet cockroach / Tart taproom offering / Chapati alternative / Hebrew name meaning ascent

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Constructor: Kameron Austin Collins and Paolo Pasco

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (low 6s)

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: HETTY Green, a.k.a. the Witch of Wall Street (32A) —
Hetty Green (November 21, 1834 – July 3, 1916), nicknamed the Witch of Wall Street, was an American businesswoman and financier known as "the richest woman in America" during the Gilded Age. She was known for her wealth and was named by the Guinness Book of World Records as the "greatest miser", which meant that even when being incredibly rich, she was a renowned cheapskate, as she refused to buy expensive clothes, pay for hot water, and wear a single dress, that was only washed when it was worn out. She amassed a fortune as a financier when other major financiers were men. After her death, The New York Times stated that "It was the fact that Mrs. Green was a woman that made her career the subject of endless curiosity, comment and astonishment." (wikipedia) (side note: like many wealthy people, she inherited *so* much of her initial wealth—hundreds of millions in contemporary US$)
• • •

Kameron Austin Collins
wrote the essay that 
accompanies this recent
Criterion Blu-Ray, which 
I just bought and
am excited to open
Very happy to see the names on the byline this morning. Feel like I don't see them nearly enough. I was not surprised by how much I enjoyed the puzzle, but I was a little surprised by how easy I found it. It had a very open, bouncy, Friday feel to it—not a dreary low-word-count puzzle, not a lot of showy white space, lots of opportunities for toeholds. The toehold thing is important, and probably the reason that the center of the puzzle weirdly felt harder than any other place. If you've always got 3- and 4-letter answers near by to grab on to, then you've always got hope of getting the stacks (or blocks) of longer answers. Shorter answers are, in the main, much easier to get without crosses than longer answers are. And there are 3- and 4-letter answers available in all sections of this grid, which you'd think might make the grid kind of tiresome, short stuff being typically unexciting. And yet the short stuff is solid enough that it's not a distraction, and the longer stuff that it's propping enough is so interesting that that is what you remember. I mean, when I think about the NE corner of this grid, I think "wow, I loved that," not "ugh, ELOI and DSL again!" Anyway, I never felt truly stuck or in trouble because shorter answers kept providing the lifelines I needed to keep going whenever things got thorny. Plus, the grid is full of things I like and know, and what I don't like or know wasn't terribly hard to get. So the puzzle felt playful and spirited but not SNOTTY (or "bumptious," a word I thought I knew but I guess not ... I would've had it as "loud and crude or otherwise acting like a bumpkin" (!?) but it means "self-assertive or proud to an irritating degree").

Always nice to run into a gimme at 1A: Flatten like a bug (SMOOSH). At least, I hoped SMOOSH was right, and when I ran the crosses, enough of them came back plausible that I kept SMOOSH in place, which proved to be the right move. Most of my problems today ended up being single-letter problems, the worst of which was writing in SNAP-ON instead of SNAP-IN (the former being infinitely more common than the latter, in my unscientific estimation) (23A: Secure with a click). That little vowel problem made PILED IT ON (21D: Really didn't hold back) really hard to see, esp. because my brain wanted POURED IT ON, for which the "O" (in SNAP-ON) worked ... but of course POURED IT ON was too long, so I kind of freaked out at the possibility that the phrase was actually spelled PORED IT ON and I had somehow never realized this in my half-century+ on this planet. That answer ran through HETTY, which I also didn't know, and it's very close to STN (28D: What a dot on a map might represent: Abbr.), which was hard to get, esp. after I decided that the "dot on a map" might be a mountain (MTN). 

Elsewhere, struggled with a single letter yet again when I wrote in SAXOS before SAMOS (31A: Aegean Sea island) (probably because of analogy to NAXOS, which is also a Greek island, as well as a classical music label). Then there was the very last letter I put in the grid: the "R" in AGER / ART ROSS (46D: Smoking or drinking, e.g. / 58A: Eponym of the N.H.L.'s points leader award). I didn't struggle there so much as stumble blindly into success. I have only a very general awareness of the NHL and its rites and rituals. I've almost certainly heard of the ART ROSS Trophy (see, I knew it was a name associated specifically with a "trophy"), but there's no way I could've put that together without almost all of the crosses. So it's ridiculously lucky that the first time I actually laid eyes on the clue came when I had literally one square left to fill in. And luckily I'm familiar enough with this type of clue on AGER (as in, something that ages you), so I dropped the "R" and bam, done. ART ROSS—handled before he ever became a problem. 

I haven't highlighted the great answers in this, possibly because they highlight themselves. CELEBRITY CRUSH! DROP THE MIC! NOT ANY MORE! And wow, GARANIMALS, I had no idea I needed to see that in the grid (11D: Mix-and-match children's clothing brand). I had no idea they still made those. Feels like a throwback to my childhood, though I might be confusing GARANIMALS with UNDEROOS ... has that been in a grid!? Anyway, it's underwear with a coordinated top and bottom, with different themes like superheroes and what not. Typically (originally, anyway) for children, but now I see there is an adult line and I'm mildly disturbed so I'm going to log off now. Have a nice day.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Joaquin 6:46 AM  

Apparently, sometime last night, the Earth opened up and swallowed my wheelhouse. From SMOOSH to SNOTTY, I was at a loss for words.

k 6:49 AM  

GRRANIMALS AND EYOI RYE wasn’t helping anything and I had to wait until this came out

callyellen 7:18 AM  

You can tell that Rex went into this puzzle expecting to like it. With other names on the byline, we would have been hearing about clunkers like EMAILALERT and MRISCAN. (Seriously, who says either of those things?)

Bubbabythebay 7:22 AM  

@Joachim I think it swallowed Grumpy Rex too

ChuckD 7:23 AM  

Liked it for the most part - I knew a lot of the obscure stuff so that helped. Didn’t think the cluing was overly elegant or sparkly - a little too cute in some spots. Rex was spot on with the long entries - all pretty good with CELEBRITY CRUSH and DROP THE MIC being my favorites. I think the common usage is PILED ON without the IT so that was awkward. WEIGHT LOSS PILL is pretty bad.

Had SMOOSH right off the bat - nice start. Final exam? was my top clue. All hockey fans know the ART ROSS trophy so that cross with BAHA Men cleared that entire corner for me. BUMPTIOUS is a fantastic word.

Tough but fair on a beautiful Saturday morning.

razerx 7:52 AM  

Really tough clues. Why is 2 down MENU? dollar menu? What’s that?

Ted 8:02 AM  

This was brutal. I wanted SQUISH or SQUASH for 1A and it just almost works (the SH) but everything else was... no. No no no.

Got bits and pieces around the board but no crosses. Cluing was VICIOUS. 26A "It's administered for shedding." WEIGHTLOSS PILL. Dude. Give a brother a question mark on that. SO many things I could not get. 30 minutes to get this thing 90% filled. Absolutely vicious.

Anonymous 8:16 AM  

The Chevy Impala was offered as a sedan, but also as a convertible and as a two door coupe and four door hardtop.

Merriam-Webster 8:27 AM  

bumptious trumptious

razerx 8:36 AM  

I had mint for 2D and was stuck forever.

pabloinnh 8:39 AM  

Further proof that if you know some stuff, you like the puzzle. I remembered HETTY Green from reading the Guiness Books years ago, knew ARTROSS, Como es ESO, and then DROPTHEMIC, which made me feel all younger and hip-like. Enough crunch to be challenging and rewarding, and some first guesses turned out to be right, and that's always fun.

Thanks for a fun Saturday, guys. I'll get to the brainteasers in the Stumper eventually.

Joe Dipinto 8:43 AM  

Dreariness puzzsonified. The only upside is that 32a reminded me of the BBC detective show "Hetty Wainthropp Investigates", which I liked, not least for its theme music.

Anonymous 8:46 AM  

Quick, somebody name a children’s clothing brand that isn’t mix and match.

Dale Gribble 8:58 AM  

This puzzle made me feel like I awoke from a coma and my brain was readjusting. From start to finish I struggled on about 70% of the puzzle. Wake up Dale!

CS 9:07 AM  

For a Saturday this was a treat!

we need some happy things these days.....

-- CS

kitshef 9:09 AM  

Very challenging.

Lots of “there’s the first half, what’s the rest of it?” today.

MRI was obvious – but never heard anyone say MRI SCAN.

Got EMAIL … EMAIL what? Not really sure what an EMAIL ALERT is or why I turn it off on vacation.

RACE … tee? hat? bra?

NW corner about killed me. Among my errors:
SquaSH – SquiSH – SMOOSH
octoPOD – octaPOD – dEcApod – HEXAPOD
Hubbub – HOOHAH
utEs – OXEN

Also, a kangaroo is pretty unlikely to say I HOP, in my opinion.

Blackhat 9:15 AM  

10 names, 4 foreign words...

bocamp 9:18 AM  

@Kameron & @Paolo, thanks for the Sat. challenge. A puzzle perfectly suited for the day. :)

Average difficulty and solving time.

Hold-ups: 26A

New to me: "Priory of Sion": "Sur la Table"; "Garanimals"; "Will Eisner"; "Hetty Green".

Tweaks needed: "snap on" before "snap in"; "hoo haw" before "hoo hah"; "Baja" before "Baha"; "pored on" before "piled on";

Wanted: "poured on"; wouldn't fit, so input "pored" with a side eye.

Tricky clueing/answers: 8D "roan"; 39D "MRI scan" 9D "autopsy"; 26A "weight-loss pill"; 40A "celebrity crush".

Not grokking clue for 12D "Sci-fi race mirroring the bourgeoisie". There are only two races left on earth, the "Eloi" live on the surface, Morlocks live below. How are the "Eloi" mirroring anything? Offshoot/remnants/descendants of the bourgeoisie, maybe? Bourgeoisie-like would have made more sense to me. Dunno… Nevertheless, "Eloi" was my first and only answer for this clue; just sayin'.

The Singing "Nun" - “Dominique” (1963)

"Jeanne Deckers (17 October 1933 – 29 March 1985), aka Jeannine Deckers, better known as Sœur Sourire ("Sister Smile", often credited as The Singing Nun in English-speaking countries), was a Belgian singer-songwriter and initially a member of the Dominican Order in Belgium as Sister Luc-Gabrielle. She acquired world fame in 1963 with the release of the French-language song "Dominique", which topped the U.S. Billboard and other charts."


Praying all is well with you. šŸ™


Godspeed to you, your family and students; miss you and your comments. :)


Trust all is well with you, Ari and your family. I'm sure you're cherishing your visit. Looking forward to your future posts. :)


Hurry back. :)

th. -2; fr. -3; tough days. Today's another day, tho. šŸ¤ž

Peace ĪµĪ¹ĻĪ®Ī½Ī· ą¤¶ांą¤¤ि Paix שָׁלוֹם šŸ•Š

Wordsmith 9:22 AM  

Who would ever enter SMOOSH before they tried SQUASH or SQUISH? Makes no sense. Unless, possibly, you regard a 4-letter beginning with Q as unlikely......

Sixthstone 9:23 AM  

After a few dry days, my thirst was finally quenched with a SOUR ALE. I was LOATH to learn later that my favorite habit is an AGER.

Very solid puzzle with some nice long answers (as Rex points out) and some lame ones (as @callyellen points out). I fell into many of the same traps as others but eventually worked it out.

Solid start to a Saturday. Let's hope my Trojans keep it up. Fight On!

Z 9:27 AM  

Even starting with SquiSH and only having heard of HETTY and thinking it might be HEddY only slowed me down a little in the west. I flew down that side and wondered where my Saturday KAC* puzzle went to. Oh, there it is in the east. (*I see KAC bylines elsewhere frequently and I am always challenged - I see Pasco elsewhere, too, but his puzzles don’t challenge me the way KAC does)

I did have a small hiccough at ART ROSS because it is the ROSS Trophy and seeing that A made me doubt myself. But the downs filled in ART quickly and I went, “Oh Yeah, he had a first name.” But the east. Oof. Using two pretty famous cover bands for PUN really threw me. Then I wondered if they might also be PUbs. I had a PUN worthy groan when I realized they were PUNs. Realizing MOE Szyslak was from Calvin and Hobbes was an interesting moment. And I’m right with @callyellen on MRI SCAN. Okay, sure, that’s what it is, but I’ve had two and they’re always always always just MRIS. I had -RISCAN in place and still had no idea. I think I’ve seen that “Rubber product?” clue before so I’m mildly embarrassed that I had the answer 6/7ths filled before the light bulb flickered on. Also embarrassed by how long it took me to get NOUN. It really seems like when you’re rolling like I was on the west side even something like forgetting ART ROSS had a first name barely slows you down, but when you stall out like I did in the east even familiar tricks trip you up. 75% easy, 25% challenging here.

@Anon8:46 - šŸ˜‚šŸ˜‚

***Not an interesting discussion alert***
@John X yesterday - “What you wrote makes you look like a bigot.” versus “You are a bigot.” Is it really that hard for you to understand the difference?

Hungry Mother 9:35 AM  

It could have been any of the too many names that stumped me, but it was MOE. Such a lack of imagination to fill a puzzle with so much trivia. How about some wordplay? Too hard? SB is my primary puzzle now because no proper names. Grow up folks.

Teedmn 9:38 AM  

This was great fun, that Saturday struggle I live for all week. 24 and a half minutes of brain stretching.

I had to go to SUR crossing CUMIN to get my start. CBRADIO, check. CELEBRITY something, check. But EMAIL ALarm made a real mess of my SW. And I was thinking 53D would be Slo, as in what is sometimes painted on the road before a crosswalk. And with ALarm in place along with RADIO, I thought the NHL eponym might be zambOni. Yep, lots of black ink in that area but I was finally on the ALERT to the actual ending of 27D and all was well.

My husband's wardrobe consists of plaid button-down shirts over a t-shirt and jeans. Sometimes the color combinations he finds acceptable have me turning him back to the closet to change. Then he comes out with, "That's why I wore GARANIMALS all the time when I was a kid." So that was a total gimme with the end LS in place.

Thanks KAC and PP, nice job!

Z 9:38 AM  

@kitshef - Any sane person has their EMAIL ALERTs always off, but you can set up most programs to notify you when an email arrives. I have a vague idea that you might be able to set them up so only EMAIL from specific senders generate ALERTs, but I might be making that up. You probably told your program once, a long time ago, not to bother you with EMAIL ALERTs and that setting has just carried over ever since.

Rube 9:43 AM  

Solid puzzle. This is what Saturday should be like.
Like Rex I finished at ARTROSS but I had ages not ager and soy not sos so I kept on tryingvto force Esposito or Gretzky.

But unlike Rex I have an old bone of contention to pick. People can solve how they want, but as a Crossword Puzzle, to me at least, the optimal solve is a single toe hold experience. if I have to find more than one, then my solve cannot be perfect.

Anonymous 9:45 AM  

seemed to be constructed by some AI that had never actually spoken the english language

Anonymous 9:59 AM  

A tedious trivia quiz. @rex should solve and review before reading constructor names.

Anonymous 10:03 AM  

@Z re : your post of 8:36 AM
What you write makes you look like a dick.
You are a dick.
See the difference?

I posit that in today’s atmosphere calling someone a bigot is far more damning than calling them a dick.
But the fix is in so I’m guessing this post won’t pass muster. Mores the pity. The board could use some balance.

Nancy 10:06 AM  

It's a beautiful day today, it gets dark much earlier now, so I don't have the whole day to waste wrestling with this puzzle which is so far out of my wheelhouse that it could be on another planet. And thus the cheating began. Lots of it. But even with all my cheating, the NW -- the only part of the grid where I wasn't at the mercy of pop culture trivia that I didn't know today and won't know tomorrow -- defeated me. I was so wondering what kind of saint could have begun as a ?US. And that's because I wanted some sort of a (plural) Native American tribe at 3D. Such as UTES -- which didn't fit with SMOOSH at 1A, but would have fit beautifully with SQUASH. Don't ask. But OXEN was a clever stumbling block and it got me good. Never saw NUN.

Best clue/answer: AUTOPSY, which I got off the T.

WEIGHT LOSS PILL was nice too, but I initially couldn't see it because I had MTN rather than STN for the dot on the map. I hate abbrevs and I especially hate STN, which should always be STA. Just saying.

Don't even get me started on the clothing brand...the Pixar character (and I actually saw that movie, but I'm supposed to remember there was a pet cockroach?)...the eponym...or the car. The constructors love their proper names and their pop culture and they really PILED IT ON today. But more enjoyable things await outdoors, now that I'm finally through with this puzzle. HERE I GO.

Odd Sock 10:09 AM  

Isn't Moe Szyslak the bartender from the Simpson's?

RooMonster 10:10 AM  

Hey All !
SOUR ALE?? No. 1) Sounds nasty, 2) Where is this sold? 3)Why would one drink it?

RACE BIB?????? Racers, help me out. Is there such a thing? So you don't drool after running for 26 miles?

Got stuck in a few spots, but was able to finagle my way through. Well, most of it, anyway. AUTOPSY had me in a tizzy. Has AUTOPS_, and just could not see it as one word. AUTO PSa? AUTO PSe? At least AUTO PSa could've been a Car Advertisement. Har. Never thought of a Y. HETTY, at least after I looked her up, she isn't modern times. Then took a minute to see AUTOPSY as one word. Stupid brain.

Getting towards the end of solving, I always get impatient, just wanting to be done. Not sure why, and time doesn't matter, if I'm either 30 minutes or 60 minutes in, just looking at the few squares left, and being totally stuck, I start in any various ways to cheat. Today's was SE corner. No idea what Bumptious was, had SNeakY at one point, so Googed that. Then put in SNOoTY. Had to Reveal word on OBEY. Odd cluing, was looking for a more nefarious thing an Evil hypnotist would tell you to do. Did have ERASURE, but that RACEBIB is just silly. Wanted RACEcap (which is silly, too, but at least viable, as in, keeping the sun off your head). ABUT and ADO clued toughly, at least by that time, like I said, I just wanted to be done, and the ole brain beginning to sizzle. So, even if I had figured out that SE, I still would've had a one-letter DNF with AUTOPSa/HETTa. Ah well, that's the way the puz crumbles.

SquaSH first, not wanted to take it out, but 2D q_N_ wasn't getting me anywhere. SMOOSH is a "word" I haven't seen for a very long time. 3D was utES forever, too. Had CELEBRITY CaUSe for a while. SeR-SUR. We have one here in town, why would one buy overpriced kitchenware? To impress the ABUTs? (Har, Neighbor, get it?)

Anyway, as much as I have complained, I actually didn't hate solving this. A fine SatThemeless. Couple of things IN ERROR, but overall nice.

Now, I'm going to put on my RACE BIB, and have a run!

No F's (what did the poor little F ever do to you?)

Steve M 10:10 AM  

Hated this snotty puzzle designed for puzzle insiders like Rex

Pete 10:12 AM  

Same. Completely stumped

Birchbark 10:15 AM  

HETTY Green, the world's greatest miser -- I remember her plain, grouchy photo in my childhood copy of the Guinness Book of World Records, now long disappeared (see also @pabloinnh (8:39)). I believe she was crossing a street. The same book had a photograph of the man with the worlds longest fingernails -- they curled around and around like unruly springs.

WALL-E is one of the few genuinely kind robots.

DeeJay 10:16 AM  

I worked for a British company but most of my colleagues were American. Our boss was very comfortable trading barbs. He came back from a trip to our London HQ with a number of new colorful shirts and bowties. We figured out that the shirts and ties were bought together and each tie was to be worn with a specific shirt. After a couple of times trotting out his new togs, I remarked that he was wearing another "Garanimals" outfit. He was unfamiliar with the term and I described Garanimals as a clothing line for children with labels showing the correct of match and bottom.

He never again wore the new shirts and ties. Did I mention he had a thin skin?

mathgent 10:23 AM  

Got me. When 25% of the clue/entries are mysteries, I’m on the border of DNF Land. This was right there with 16 mysteries out of 70. Then the many cleverly-indirect clues (some unfair) kicked me over the edge.


I’ll end on a positive note. Great clue for autopsy, “Final exam?”

Anonymous 10:24 AM  

A menu of items that cost $1 at a fast food place( like McDonalds) is called a Dollar Menu

Z 10:24 AM  

@OddSock - You’re right.

Carola 10:27 AM  

I think of these youngster (to me) constructors as a couple of imps of crossword-dom and really enjoyed the mischief they cooked up for us today. I needed a lot of help from previous puzzles in order to get a grip on this one - from names like MOE and WALL-E to grid stalwarts like NAAN, ELOI, SPEC, STN, and DENT and NOUN as clued; eventually the sprinkling of filled-in squares allowed me to get the longer entries from pattern recognition. Hardest for me to see was AUTOPSY: I couldn't unsee a compound with AUTO- (like in AUTOPLAY).

New to me: SOUR ALE, HETTY, ELI, ART ROSS, EISNER. Do-over: DIsh before DIRT. Never so happy to see: GARANINMALS, the one long answer I knew right off (nicely placed next to GREW UP).

MarthaCatherine 10:28 AM  

Anyone ever see that SNL skit with (I think?) Will Farrell as an ice skater? He starts off pretty smooth, then has a little hiccup, then falls down, then falls some more, and by the end he's just spread-eagle on the ice, sliding across the rink on his belly. Hilarious.

That's how I felt today. Did a little indirect Google search (that is, just looked up to check my spelling on what I thought the answer was to a clue). Then Googled NHL awards. Then just flat out started Googling the questions themselves.

I was just sliding across the grid, my pride ruined, embarrassed at my shameless cheating.

Anonymous 10:29 AM  

Of all the puzzles, Rex, you liked this? HEXAPOD is just ridiculous. Who says that? HETTY Green? SOUR ALE? When did you ever order that in a bar? Yes. Some ales are sour, but . . . . OXEN are 'travelers'? At least SAMOS has been in the news recently. but only because of the terrible earthquake. I had Naxos which did not help me. ART ROSS? I don't watch hockey. I'm supposed to remember WALL-E had a pet cockroach? Who is MOE Syzslak? Is that the bar owner on the Simpsons? Priory of SIon? Never read the Da Vinci code or seen the movie. For me, this puzzle was a miserable slog. I will be quite happy never to see a puzzle from these two characters again. Terrible puns. Bad cluing. Just way too cutesy. Classic Will Shortz.

Unknown 10:32 AM  

I found it very difficult. Finished, but took much longer than usual.

What? 10:35 AM  

At first glance, just two fills - IHOP and SUR. It will be a long day.

Whatsername 10:44 AM  

So Rex found this easy? Okay then. Saturday school for me. Many ERASUREs and answers that had to be DRAGGED out painfully. I was definitely the problem student sitting on the front row today. I so badly wanted SQUISH at 1A but have to admit SMOOSH is pretty darn good. I cringed and held off on 6A, thinking the answer couldn’t possibly be HOOHAH which has a totally different meaning in slang, but maybe I just had my mind in the gutter. Wouldn’t be the first time.

GM no longer manufactures the Impala SEDAN. It’s a shame too because a damn fine automobile.

albatross shell 10:47 AM  

Yesterday I was going nowhere fast, and so did the obvious thing and looked up the unknown Greek word and filled in 2/3 of the grid. It did occur to me that if it was a tough Saturday the the clue and answer would be reversed. We got a smaller and easier example of this today with bug and HEXAPOD, WHICH i got w/o help. WALLE and my favorite clue today, final exam for AUTOPSY. also fell quickly. But had to look up much more today than I would want to admit. Yesterday, I only needed to look up Ernie S. to know the answer and finish the missing third.

@Z's racist and seeming racist discussion reminds me of the old one: The worst racists are people who say they love college basketball but can't watch the NBA. Not exactly true but true enough that maybe one should be careful about saying it. I like some rap in small doses. I loved The Last Poets. Also prefer 20's and 30's blues to the newer stuff. Country also. Just naturally retro or just a stick-in-the-mud I guess. No accounting for taste?

I'm just saying... 10:47 AM  

I put in "squash" instead of "smoosh" and "tedious" instead of "dragged" and it was all downhill from there.

albatross shell 10:53 AM  

I didn't know they were called RACEBIBS, but they sure look like they are. All neatly numbered too.

GILL I. 11:14 AM  

I had @kitshef's "what's the rest of it" bug.
SNAP (what)
CELEBRITY (what). I had chef of all things.
Was I the only dunce that had GARAGE SALE for 11D?
And so it went. I had to take a zillion breaks on this one. Amazing how when you re-group, some dim light bulb will eventually shine.
I started out pretty fast. SMOOSH/SHIN/HOOHAH. Cool beans. Never heard of SOUR ALE but boy did I love me some AUTOPSY. Fits and starts. A word here, a letter there. Damn...so much trivia and names I didn't know. Who the hell has a cockroach as a pet? MOE's last name is Szyslak? EISNER does a graphic novel? Oh, wait....I remembered HETTY. Love to drool at SUR La table and I know my CUMIN.
So I get to WEIGHT LOSS and stared for hours. What comes next? Oh...the PILL thing. One of my clients lost about 60 pound on Fen-phen. She also was hospitalized for near heart failure. When she got out, she gained it all back again. Americans get fat because the food is piled on. Can't anyone just eat three French fries and one slice of bacon?
CELEBRITY (what)..Oh CRUSH. I only had one when I was an angst driven teen. It was for Dr. Kildare. Then I found out that Richard Chamberlain is gay. Every single handsome, funny, smart man I seemed to meet turned out gay (except my husband....)
Well, I finished the puzzle with only 5 Googles all going to the names I didn't know....Otherwise, I rather enjoyed this.
Should I turn on the TV? Will I be happy? Is it over yet? Can I open a bottle of champagne?.......

jae 11:30 AM  

On the tough side. A bunch of WOEs...HETTY, SAMOS, GARANIMALS, NAAN (as clued), ART ROSS, EISNER...a couple of missteps...BELLE before WALL E (don’t ask), USB before DSL...so, toughish.

Liked it. Always up for a crunchy Saturday and this one bordered on Stumper territory.

Richardf8 11:35 AM  

Squash? Squish? NW was brutal for me, but I did like the way it cane together.

If I had to pick what is most likely to squick Rex in today’s grid, it would have been AUTOPSY not GARANIMALS -> Underoos -> Underoos for grownups. Never even saw that one coming.

bocamp 11:35 AM  

Squish or squash for "smoosh"

"Dollar menu" at McDonalds.

@Joe Dipinto 8:43 AM

Theme music: worth the price of admission :)

Think I may have heard Roo of Pooh – or was it @Roo – say, "I hop", once; maybe not. šŸ¤”

@Rube 9:43 AM

I adhered to the "single toe hold" method for many years, but have since gone over to the dark side. Any clues/answers are fair game, any time, anywhere. ;) When I was on the wrestling team in jr. hi. "single toe holds" were illegal.

"Race bibs"

@Birchbark 10:15 AM wrote:

"WALL-E is one of the few genuinely kind robots."

Amen to that! go "WALL-E" & cockroach!

Have to marvel at Rex's puzzle times, but then reflect on the fact that all things are relative; there are many puzzlers who are much faster than he. My only parallel would the Rubik's cube, where I would be at the equivalent of Rex's x-word times. The world record for Rubik's cube is now in the neighborhood of 3.5 seconds, so I'm not all that impressed with my own times, relatively speaking. Breakdown of Yusheng Du's 3.47 World Record Solve! (this breakdown/analysis by LaZer0MonKey is skookum to the max!

BTW, I'm still impressed with Rex's times, especially given that I very seldom can get under 2 Rex'es; did yesterday, but today was 5 R's. Used to take me hours and even days to do the Fri. and Sat. Times, so, yes "all things are relative." Just keep learning and doing the best I can with whatever I do, and don't be TOO concerned with comparing myself to others.

Peace ĪµĪ¹ĻĪ®Ī½Ī· ą¤¶ांą¤¤ि Paix שָׁלוֹם šŸ•Š

egsforbreakfast 11:37 AM  

I liked this puzzle a lot for a themeless. Really kept me on my toes. I do, however, note some ways to improve it:

38A. Cry from behind a spice shop door. CUMIN
16A. Hey, who’s beer’s this? SOURALE
15D. Put down your guns, Ichabod Crane. DROP THEM IC

Thanks, Kameron and Paulo, for a fun break from watching lies and COVID.

Joe Dipinto 11:40 AM  

Gotta do it. Wanna know what's happening in Brooklyn? :-) :-) :-)

Z 11:40 AM  

When there are trivia complaints it is usually a high PPP* puzzle. This is just 15 out of 70, 21%. In all the puzzles I’ve actually checked I think one puzzle has ever been below 20%, so this is on the low end for PPP. I’m including my list for reference.

{I didn’t include PUN because the band names are a misdirect - you don’t even have to know they are band names - 23% if you think PUN counts}
MOE Syzylak
SEDAN (Impala clue)

OXEN (Oregon Trail in clue)
Priory of SION
SUR la Table

I don’t think I missed anything so I really don’t know what to make of the “trivia fest” type comments.

*PPP are Pop culture, Product names, and other Proper nouns. Over 33% will cause some subset of solvers problems.

@DeeJay - Ouch. Never a good idea to trade barbs when one’s skin is thin. Personally, I always resented having to think about my clothes and don’t have much of an eye for what actually looks good. When it mattered I always made sure I knew what went with what, which ties worked best with which suits being especially important. I must say I did grow to appreciate a Fitted Shirt, but I am much happier with being 99% t-shirts and jeans/shorts these days. However, I just realized all my dress shirt collars are out of style so if I have to go to a funeral I’ll have to make a shopping trip.

@10:03 - Hey, I’m a retired school admin. Being a dick was pretty much in the job description. I’ve also been called a bigot by no less than Rashida Tlaib (her clients’ child being in some deep trouble - this was before she ran for any office). I somehow managed to survive both. But to my wanting to parse “looking like” and “being,” I think most people here dislike rap music so it’s a natural go to comparison when wanting to vent. That by itself doesn’t mean anyone here is necessarily a bigot. But a bunch of mostly older white people always carping about rap music? Do what you want, but using rap music as your go to boogie man (yeah, exactly) leaves an impression you might not want to leave.

Pretty sure I’m over my verbiage count today. Until tomorrow. Unless @Frantic Sloth or @LMS drop in and say something funny.

Anonymous 11:59 AM  

Did anyone else notice that there wasn’t one negative word about the fill or the clues in Rex’s review? Astonishing, considering the comments of some of the solvers. I just hope he didn’t suffer any injuries falling all over himself in his attempt to avoid any criticism of the constructors, neither of whom are old, white men. Rex’s bias is as transparent as Saran wrap.

Whatsername 11:59 AM  

@GILL: YES!! It’s over! Pop that cork. Mine has been chilling since Tuesday. I’ll be having it later today.

P.S. Still no word from @Frantic.

Newboy 12:00 PM  

Today’s solve sorta DRAGGED but AUTOPSY for 9D saved the day! And Pennsylvania returned to the fold; I can rake leaves now.

Hack mechanic 12:03 PM  

From celebrity cache to tied one on, on & on it went. A real grind

Qosmonaut 12:17 PM  

This puzzle shows just how subjective enjoyment can be. It was one of my most hated solves in a very long time, as it was full of proper nouns that I've never heard of in my life. I was looking forward to Rex's typical vitriol, so I was disappointed to see him full of praise.

pabloinnh 12:30 PM  

Hey @Roo--

Yeah RACEBIBS are a thing, still got some from road races stapled on the garage wall.

My wife was a ski racer, got some of hers too.

Her brothers were ski jumpers, got some of theirs too.

It's a big garage.

Oye GILL I--Pues abrela ya!!

Masked and Anonymous 12:33 PM  

Champagne poured. Mimosas all around. We have already toasted many things, includin Pennsylvania, which M&A now has an extremely high opinion of.

Also have a fairly high opinion of this SatPuz. SMOOSH was a tough opener, but got it faster than I got the 1-A entry yesterday, at least.

staff weeject pick: STN. Clue didn't help much, since a "dot on a map" could maybe be almost anything … such as a smooshed bug, or somesuch. [p.s.: Otto Correct wants "smooshed" to be "smooched", btw.]

First entry in M&A solvequest: ELOI. Then DSL. Then LATERON.
Last entry in " ": Can't quite recall. Musta been due to the champagne. Only evidence I got is a real small OJ stain up there in the NW, after when the big news hit.

Thanx for gangin up on us, Collins & Pasco dudes. And congratz to Biden dude & Harris darlin.

Masked & Anonymo6Us


GILL I. 12:33 PM  

@Whatsername....POP POP POP. I've saved a Moet for exactly 4 years.......time to savor..... :-)

Katzzz 12:35 PM  

Challenging. Very. Rex’s easy-medium is him bragging.

Unknown 1:22 PM  

@ Katzzz 12:35 If rex's time is accurate (it's impossible to tell; he certainly fudges his times when a puz is challenging), then Yes, this was on the easy side for him, which is why he liked it so much,and was willing to ignore some of the iffier answers.

old timer 1:25 PM  

DNF on this super-tough puzzle. Had to Google for GARANIMALS, which were not a thing when my daughters were young. I got OXEN at once and hence considered SMOOSH as the bug-killing method. I knew SION (read the silly book) amd SPEC, so WALL-E, which I never saw, was obvious all the same.

MRI SCAN I have often heard. My real problem was putting in WEIGHT LOSS Plan instead of PILL. I have always avoided such nostrums. Had "dish" before DIRT. But RACEBIB was easy -- One of my daughters has done many a triathlon (there is a great one in the Eastern Sierra, but also was one for years in Sonoma County) and everyone puts on a BIB with their number once they leave the water.

My other DNF: after cheating in the NE, I had "Astross" and "ages" instead of AGER and ARTROSS, whom I have never heard of. (You know, there are "ages" for drinking and buying tobacco).

Tim Aurthur 1:36 PM  

When I see the name Kameron Austin Collins I quake in terror. But this was mercifully not that hard. Favorite clue was for 9D, though a little macabre.

What? 1:37 PM  

So many misdirections, so many obscurities. The constructors are evil.
Couldn’t finish. Even Google didn’t help.
TRUMP IS GONE (but not forgotten).
Schadenfreude should have been a fill.

Anoa Bob 2:05 PM  

I think an occasional kicked-my-butt puzzle is a good thing because I don't become too complacent or jaded or start thinking I'm an elite solver. So this was a good puzzle in that regard. A couple of times I even wondered if this was a MULIOS (multiple-letters-in-one square) puzzle on a themeless Saturday!

I don't think I've ever seen SMOOSH before. All-knowing google defines it in the context of preparing food ("Make sure your knife is sharp so you won't SMOOSH the broccoli when you cut it.") There's a brand of ice cream cookie sandwiches called SMOOSH. Urban Dictionary says it's a portmanteau of "smooch" (Hi M&A) and "squish" and is a term of affection. (How un-like Urban Dictionary is that!?)

Taking a WEIGHT LOSS PILL, as @Gill I.'s example illustrates, is often the first step in what's called yo-yo dieting, where rapid WEIGHT LOSS is followed by rapid WEIGHT gain. This cycle is often repeated several times with the person coming out the other side weighing more than in the beginning. Plus they totally, irreversibly sabotage their health in the process. The economic health of the PILL makers, on the other hand, becomes quite robust in the process.

DvH 2:23 PM  

So agree...this puzzle was pffft but he likes the constructors , so a lot of green was acceptable...

Anonymous 2:46 PM  

To @MarthaCatherine and anyone looking for a laugh.

90% sure it was Jason Priestly, not Will Ferrell. Sequence is on Youtube as "Olympics Cold Open." Or something close to that.

Suzy 3:39 PM  

i’m with #Joaquin— definitely not in my wheelhouse! Even the 3-letter entries were brutal. Sunday
should be a welcome relief!

bertoray 4:42 PM  

Fun puzzle, although I stepped in just about every steaming pile of misdirection.
PUN clue made me think of the Fab Faux.

Anonymous 5:15 PM  

The clue for ELI is wrong. ELI on its own or shorthand for any other Hebrew name (Eliezer, Elitzur, Eliyahu, etc.) always means "My God," and is spelled with the Hebrew letter aleph. The Hebrew root word meaning to go up sounds very similar, but uses a different letter (ayin vs. aleph). I'm all for representation and learning, but if you're going to borrow culture, please get it right.

MarthaCatherine 5:27 PM  

anonymous @ 2:46. Yes! thanks for finding that! It is just so very funny. I actually feel like that on more Fridays and Saturdays than I like to admit.

Joe Dipinto 5:35 PM  

@bertoray 4:42 – I thought of the Fab Faux too! They're so cool. Jack (singing lead here) used to live a few blocks away from me, he's a super-nice guy. Sadly, they've cancelled all their 2021 performances due to Covid-19.

Carolyn 6:47 PM  

had a triple nadick in the southwest corner! Artross, Eisner, and Baha?! Really?? Not okay.

Anonymous 7:05 PM  

RE: rap

it is a fact that 'popular' music has devolved, substantially, in construction and complexity, i.e. gone brain dead since at least Brahms. yes, what is today commonly called 'classical music' was the Justin Bieber of its day.

entropy (humanoid division) in full flower. fortunately The Orange Sh!tigibbon (not my coinage, but I cleave) is on the way out. unfortunately, I am reminded that one of the talkinghead critters had the gonads (a couple of months ago) to say what I've been thinking since longer: The Orange Sh!tgibbon (not my coinage, but I cleave) is perfectly willing to sell to the Russians and/or China and/or North Korea all the intelligence material that only he is privy too (modulo the agents who collect it). hope that helps you sleep.

Barbara S. 8:13 PM  

@Joe D. (8:43 a.m.)
Totally agree about "HETTY Wainthropp Investigates", both the series and the cornet solo theme music. Dominic Monaghan was one of the stars, before he became a hobbit (Merry Brandybuck in LOTR) or got stranded by a plane crash on a mysterious Pacific island (TV show "Lost"). Patricia Routledge is a standout in the title role: smart, observant, analytical, compassionate -- she doesn't suffer fools, she cares about people and she solves the case. If that series is accessible, I recommend it highly for pandemic (or non-pandemic) viewing.

Funnily enough, after her days as Hetty W., Patricia Routledge went on to star in a British comedy series called "Keeping Up Appearances", in which she played a character who was the personification of "bumptious/SNOTTY" and was the very antithesis of Hetty. In this one, her name was Hyacinth Bucket, which she insisted be pronounced "Bouquet". To say old Hyacinth put on airs would be an extreme understatement. PR said she wanted to play this character because she so disliked people who are actually like that!

Anonymous 9:01 PM  

and, if you think that last is hyperbolic, here's one good source, not me: https://www.lawfareblog.com/can-trump-sell-us-national-security-secrets-impunity

Dr. Mike 9:22 PM  

Didn't finish. Hexapod? HATED this puzzle's NW corner. Feh.

RooMonster 9:34 PM  

Har. RACEBIB. I always spout out about things I know nothing about. Thanks to all for explaining what they are. And thanks for not calling me an idiot!

RooMonster Bib Me! Guy

Elaine2 9:49 PM  

I am on the "did not like" team for thus puzzle. Besides the bad clue for Eli, and squish/squash instead of smoosh (who says, "I smooshed a bug?) I just generally found it an unpleasant struggle.

Oh, well

JC66 9:58 PM  


FWIW, you're one of my favorite idiots on this blog.

RooMonster 10:13 PM  

šŸ‘ šŸ¤£


Joe Dipinto 10:28 PM  

@Barbara S. – oh I think maybe I saw an episode or two of Patricia Routledge as Hyacinth in that other show. Dominic Monaghan also had that "Wild Things" show with all the creepy-crawlies later. He was great as Geoffrey in HWI. I also liked Hetty's husband, and Geoffrey's girlfriend the mechanic. They were all good characters. I think it may be available on DVD.

Charles Emerson Winchester III 1:12 AM  

I think I’m about 5 years older than Rex and yet again we seem to have grown up in, and live in, completely different universes. The middle of the grid was the only place I could get a foothold. SUR, SEDAN,CUMIN and HETTY went in immediately in that order, and shortly thereafter IHOP yielded DROPTHEMIC and PILEDITON. After that, it became a long slog.

Needed every cross for EISNER (who he?), never heard of the BAHA boys (although that dreadful, primitive ditty of theirs has regrettably crossed my ears), have never read a sentence of anything Dan Brown has written, have never heard of GARANIMALS - which in the end resulted in a Natick and DNF for me. The crossing of that clothing line with a cartoon character that I was unfamiliar with left me running the alphabet and plumping for ‘C’ as in GARANIcAls and ‘cOE’

Don’t get me wrong: I actually enjoyed this puzzle but it was definitely not in my wheelhouse.

Anonymous 1:55 AM  

Glad I finished this after midnight so I technically didn’t spoil an otherwise perfect day. Surprised that no one else was bothered by “Feast or famine" (noun). What’s next? "Marinate and navigate" (verbs)? Also thought that only comedians drop the mic, and only at the end of their act. Granted, I’m nowhere as adept as most of the bloggers here, but I found it very frustrating.

Ben 2:13 AM  

Thank you—that bugged me too! (Aliyah was obviously not going to fit!)

TonySaratoga 5:04 AM  

Wow. Exactly my experience in NW.

pdplot 11:20 AM  

I'm last as usual. Impossible for me without Mr. Google. I do these puzzles at night to put me to sleep. Most I can finish before falling asleep but the hard ones have to wait until morning. Then the Googling starts. Too much pop culture althought I did see Wall-e. Remember those fat people? We're headed that way for sure.

albatross shell 1:16 PM  

@Tim 208am
You got that straight!
Oops, no you don’t. I just said what nobody ever says.
Sounds ok to me.

Nice list of fun clues. I agree anyway. Re: basketball. I wae never able to do more than graze the rim with my finger tips. Nowadays the challenge is to get my jump shot off in those few nanoseconds my feet are off the ground. On a good day I can still shoot 70% on foul shots.

@all who think MUCKUP is a theme violation:
A sounds are changed to U sounds. No violation of that rule. Does not mean that all U sounds must come from A sounds, does it? If I only had a written list of the unwritten rules of CW-themes, I might know better.

Josephine the Singer I knew because KAFKA was HERO and IDOL to me since I first read him in 9th grade. He is much like Thoreau in seeing the world backwards from most people. Most people fail to see his humor, IMHO.

Put on your big boy pants and enjoy some punnery.

Had poison for LETHAL and PrISON for POISON. Don’t think I ever noticed those last two only differ by a single letter.

Greg 1:19 PM  

NOUN, as an answer for any two random words, should not be permitted, IMO. Literally groaned out loud.

Unknown 12:09 PM  

Totally and deliberately obnoxious obtuse obfuscation

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