Anticonsumerists aiming to help the environment / SAT 2-20-21 / Humorist Leo who wrote Joys of Yiddish / Singer whose name becomes a city if you add an R in the middle / Cold War missile type / Word derived from Greek for age

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Constructor: Ali Gascoigne

Relative difficulty: Medium (again, as with yesterday, the preponderance of proper nouns might make it much tougher)


THEME: none 

Word of the Day: Leo ROSTEN (26D: Humorist Leo who wrote "The Joys of Yiddish," 1968) —
Leo Calvin Rosten (April 11, 1908 – February 19, 1997) was an American humorist in the fields of scriptwriting, storywriting, journalism, and Yiddish lexicography. He was also a political scientist interested especially in the relationship of politics and the media. [...] Rosten is best remembered for his stories about the night-school "prodigy" Hyman Kaplan, written under the pseudonym Leonard Q. Ross. They were published in The New Yorker from 1935[1] and collected in two volumes published in 1937 and 1959, The Education of H*Y*M*A*N K*A*P*L*A*N and The Return of H*Y*M*A*N K*A*P*L*A*N. The Education was a "close second" for one U.S. National Book Award in 1938. The second collection was one of eighteen National Book Award for Fiction finalists in 1960.  // He is also well known for his encyclopedic The Joys of Yiddish (1968), a guide to Yiddish and to Jewish culture including anecdotes and Jewish humor. It was followed by O K*A*P*L*A*N! My K*A*P*L*A*N! (1976), a reworking of the two 1930s collections, and  Hooray for Yiddish! (1982), a humorous lexicon of the American language as influenced by Jewish culture. Another Rosten work is Leo Rosten's Treasury of Jewish Quotations.
• • •

This was, for the most part, a nicely varied and sufficiently tough Saturday. The grid's not built to give you too many long answers (these are usually the most colorful), but what it does give you is decent. I especially liked FREEGANS and "GET A ROOM!"Also, this is a puzzle constructed by a man that is properly inclusive of women, so, you know, here's me giving credit instead of yelling criticism. Don't say I never etc. I do want to ask constructors, once again, to consider not just the kinds of names they use, but how well known they are, whom they're well known to, and (this is crucial) how close they all are to each other. Diversity is, for me, a paramount concern, and this puzzle is good on that front: old new, men women, Black white, cool. There were two areas, though, where proximate names created potential difficulty—this is not necessarily a criticism, as Saturdays are *supposed* to be difficult, but ... it's a question of whether you want to be getting your difficulty primarily from tricky clues and wordplay or from names, many of which are culturally / generationally exclusionary by their very nature, leaving some solvers thrilled, or at least satisfied, and others just blinking and baffled. I think it's fine to have both kinds of difficulty, but ROSTEN (used-to-be famous) next to ANYA Taylor-Joy (very recently famous) creates a real knot, and SKEE-LO crossing AKON, while easy for me, seems like a possible nightmare for someone who is less familiar with stylized one-name '90s/'00s rapper/singers from the hip-hop/R&B world. Both names I've seen before, both grid-worthy, but crossing like that, dang. You can tell the puzzle kinda knows it's in dicey territory, as it really Really goes out of its way to help you with AKON (8D: Singer whose name becomes a city if you add an "R" in the middle). Since SKEE-LO is only really famous for one song ... that crossing feels potentially demographically fatal, especially with the already tough ALICANTE up there. Also, staying in that quadrant, people who don't know SKEE-LO or AKON are maybe also less likely to know CRAY? (short for "crazy," sometimes doubled to "CRAY-CRAY"). Just hypothesizing. Anyway, space your names out and make sure your difficulty is coming from a broad array of answer types and cluing strategies. Again, all the names in this puzzle are absolutely acceptable fare. Just watch where you put 'em / how you clue 'em.


I don't watch "Queen's Gambit" and don't plan to, but I did see last year's "Emma," and ANYA Taylor-Joy was great in that. Still, I remembered her as an ANNA. Alas. Turns out that "Y" is a *crucial* letter in parsing the central Across, "IT'S A YES FROM ME" (32A: "You have my vote!"). I had "IT'S AN ..." and wanted something like "IT'S AN EASY YES," but that didn't fit. How I remembered Leo ROSTEN, I have no idea. I looked at the clue, thought "How am I supposed to remember that?," and then found my fingers typing R-O-S-T-E-N almost independently of me. Weird how you can not know something and know it simultaneously. I am certain that "The Joys of Yiddish" was on my mom's bookshelves in my childhood, along with, I don't know, that blue Zelda Fitzgerald biography, maybe? I didn't read anything on those bookshelves, but they left a strong memory imprint. Still, I did not know that I knew who wrote "Joys of Yiddish" ... until I did. So, trouble with ANYA offset by the unexpected lack of trouble with ROSTEN, which meant what could've been a very hard section created only a minor hold-up. Another hold-up: ELLA before ETTA (47D: "___ Is Betta Than Evvah!" (1976 album)) (I see that you're trying to give me ETTA by including the rhyming 'word' 'Betta' but the double-v in 'Evvah' made me think double-letters, not rhymes, were the deal, so ... ELLA). I have maybe heard of ALICANTE, but certainly don't "know" it, so that answer needed almost every cross. Otherwise I didn't really struggle much. Parsing the longest answers (including SECRET SERVICE) provided most of today's difficulty. The puzzle was very much on my cultural wavelength. 


Some more things:
  • 1A: Requirement (MUST-DO) — yeesh, that was tough. And slightly awkward. MUST-SEE feels natural (possibly from NBC's '90s TV slogan, "Must-See TV"), whereas MUST-DO feels clunky. "Have you been to the Louvre? Oh, it's a MUST-DO" ... :( ... not saying it's not a thing, but saying it clanks.
  • 39D: One doing some stitching (SEAMER) — really? Kinda weak. I'd've gone with [Four-___ (fastball type)], but also I'd've gone with something other than SEAMER.
  • 41D: Kind of state (NANNY) — this is right-wing propaganda. Total garbage. There is no such state. NANNY state is what so-called "conservatives" call a functioning government. One with taxes and regulation. And heat and electricity and clean drinking water. You can't include NANNY state in your puzzle like it's an actual, real thing. It bespeaks a fraudulent world view, or at least an extremely politically tendentious world view, and should be clued as such. I mean ... "The term was popularised by the British and American tobacco industry." This clue is cordially invited to *&$% off.
  • 43D: Buddy of "Barnaby Jones" (EBSEN) — there will never be a day when I don't hesitate when spelling EBSEN (or EPSOM, or EPSON). You'd think I could get a mnemonic going like "Buddy has a 'B' ... and the 'E' at the front has a 'buddy' toward the back." Solves the "B" and the "E" dilemma. But I guarantee I won't even remember writing this the next time EBSEN's in the grid.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

154 comments:

mikebernsVIE 6:05 AM  

Seems to be a doubled-letter theme going on today:
uSSenate
skEElo
hoTTip
wiCCan
getarOOm
itsayesfroMMe
igueSSo
aSSume
roTTen
frEEgans
eTTa
naNNy

... and the marquee answer, Secret Service, is often abbreviated to "SS"

So, could there be a meta clue here?

Conrad 6:11 AM  


Easyish Saturday except for the Natick at 15A (the "I Wish" guy) crossing 11D (the Spanish port). Needed Sergey & Larry for that one. But I give myself a gold star for the singer/city at 8D. Never heard of the singer but _ _ [R] O N was enough to give me AK[R]ON.

Joaquin 6:15 AM  

SKEE-LO sounds like it should be the name of a gospel song, possibly one sung by FREEGANS.

Frantic Sloth 6:39 AM  

Is it mostly true that it's your marquee answer that populates the middle of the grid? If so, then ITSAYESFROMME is just beyond my comprehension.
Not only does it drip banality, is it even a thing that people say? I mean people who aren't from planet Remulak.
On the other hand, SECRETSERVICE was also in the middle and that was pretty good. I also liked GETAROOM, PAYGAP, and FREEGANS, but not really much else.

Yes, yes. The puzzle put up a spat, if not a fight, and that's disappointing enough for a Saturdee. But some of these entries were just thumbing their collective nose at my wavelength.

AKON??
SKEELO crossing ALICANTE was a detour through Middlesex County, if not actually Natick.
And it's probably on me, but I'm not up on my Brexit negotiators, so URSULA von der Leyen needed all the crosses.
Leo ROSTEN? Nope.

Are there specialized sewers actually called SEAMERS? Looks made-up to me. The only SEAMERS I've heard of have to do with various fastball pitches.

Oh, and INAYEAR is 12 months from now in case anyone is wondering. πŸ™„

Another day, another dullard. Oh well.

🧠🧠.75
πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰

Telvo 6:51 AM  

The Skeelo/Alicante cross was no gimme either. And is 'Ace' now a synonym for 'Excellent'? I'm sure a rap lyric will educate me.

Lewis 7:03 AM  

Oh, Ali, you made me work and work hard, which is just what I want out of Saturday’s puzzle. You had answers that I’ve easily heard of but couldn’t slap down because the clue was a fact about the answer that I didn’t know, like [Believer in the Horned God] and [Subject of the 17th amendment]. You had answers that I plain didn’t know, like SKEELO and ALICANTE (and yes, I had to guess on that L, but it felt right). You had excellent wordplay clues to crack, like those for PRESEASON and MASCOT. You had vague clues that could have had several answers, like [Take on], and [Fairy tale villain].

And you taunted me all the way through with IGOTYA IGOTYA, but I, who had a sea of white after first pass, played the WFF game, Waiting For Flashes, going over clues again and again until there was a sudden ping, where my brain figured something out, with an “aha!” and a “whee!”, then back to the scanning in wait of another ping, which inevitably came. And slowly yet surely, the puzzle revealed itself. And you didn’t IGOTYA after all, nor did you want to – you just wanted to make me do that blissful work that crosswords can supply, as you quietly waited in the background, like CATWOMAN on TIPTOE, until I hit the finish with a thank you.

A most involving and fulfilling experience, and yes, a large thank you, Ali. More, and soon, please!

bocamp 7:03 AM  

Thank you, @Ali for a very enjoyable puzzle! Sorry I let you down at 11D. LOL

Easy but, at the same time, near impossible solve.

Looks like maybe Ali did a meta at 11D "Alicante". Even tho I dnfed on the "l", I still liked the puzzle. Will I remember "Skee-Lo" and "Alicante", time will tell.

Probably no coincidence that 11D was directly under the info (i) icon on my iPad. Had I clicked on it to see who the constructor was, I may have gotten a clue for my "Skeevo" / "Avicante" debacle. :(

Loved "Anya" Taylor-Joy in Queen's Gambit; great acting and great movie!

"Tiptoe" Through the Tulips ~ Tiny Tim
___


yd pg -4

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

Lewis 7:05 AM  

@mikebernsVIE -- Yes there were quite a few double letters, but not an unusually high number, which I mark at more than 20. As some here know, for some inexplicable reason, I track this.

Kevin C. 7:10 AM  

Solving this puzzle just after noon from ALICANTE, Spain, and boy, I didn't ever expect to see this place in a grid! There are many more beautiful cities in Spain, but there's nice weather, great food, and tons of beaches. Pop down from Valencia if you're ever in the area.

JOHN X 7:20 AM  

“Also, this is a puzzle constructed by a man that is properly inclusive of women”

Rex, I couldn’t agree with you more, as usual. This constructor dude could have made a hard Saturday puzzle, a puzzle by men and for men, but he was a real gent and dumbed it down enough so that even the gals could do it. That was a classy move.

And the diversity! I loved the diversity! I agree with Rex that diversity is great as long as it’s limited to only the things I like.

I’m glad to see a NYT Saturday puzzle that any idiot can solve, regardless of race, creed, color, national origin, gender assignment, education level, or IQ.

Anonymous 7:21 AM  

I was Naticked at 15A X 11D as well. And I was actually listening to rap circa 1995, but not really the squeaky clean, Top 40 radio, one-hit wonder kind.

Solid Medium.

Anonymous 7:30 AM  
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pabloinnh 7:31 AM  

ITSAYESFROMME? Not quite, because of that answer (hi@FraSlo) and SEAMER and INAYEAR, which all feel like they're there only because the letters are needed for something else.

Wrong age to know SKEELO or AKON or ANYA or LORI, right age to know ROSTEN and EBSEN, although EBSEN would be from the Beverly Hillbillies, and almost the right age to know EBSEN from The Wizard of Oz, except he didn't make the cut.

Have only heard CRAY as CRAY-CRAY. and even then it sounds off to me (see also GRAYS). Some nice misdirects in the clues, and GETAROOM is one of those really useful expressions I wish I'd thought of.

So a mostly fun and challenging Saturday, which is all I ask. Thanks AG.

Joe Dipinto 7:33 AM  

Oh yeah, CRONE and CATWOMAN make this puzzle creatively inclusive of women. ETTA and LORI? They're always waiting in the wings to show up. But best of all is "Squeaky" FROMME of the Manson family, who tried to assassinate Gerald Ford, slathered across the middle.

This may be the ugliest set of answers I've ever seen in a grid. Carhorns, cusps, nudes, grays, freegans, stargates, eras, esigns, Eliots, why couldn't SEAMER be plural too? That would have improved things vastly.

Joy G. 7:48 AM  
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Ted 7:49 AM  

Despite watching The Queen's Gambit and reading various articles about its star over recent months, my brain still thought she was ANNA Taylor-Joy, not ANYA.

But that same brain confidently wrote out SECRET SERVICE off only the second E and the final C. Those long funny ? clues sometimes click for me.

amyyanni 7:57 AM  

Hand up for guessing at the AKON/SKEELO cross. Figured Akron, and Skee seemed like a start, so eked out the NE corner. (Knew CRAY.) Frowned at NANNY State, yuk. Otherwise, found lots to like. And one of the cats is curled up on my lap, paws covering her face. Need to find another puzzle, I guess.

Rug Crazy 8:05 AM  

SKEE-LO crossing AKON killed me

Anonymous 8:27 AM  

Just knowing that some reference in the puzzle will set Rex off makes the whole thing just a little more enjoyable.

Barbara S. 8:29 AM  

Tough, tough solve. There was too darn much I didn’t know crossing too darn much other stuff I didn’t know. Plus I was ornery and insisted on working this late last night when I was at a mental ebb. Oh dear. And even things I knew I got wrong: oNeyear for INAYEAR and OPIoid for OPIATE. “Horned God” often refers to Cernunnos, a Celtic deity, and I couldn’t figure out why they didn't want “Celt". And on and on to tedious infinity.

@Joe Dipinto (7:33)
Banish from your mind all thoughts of Squeaky. Plastered across the grid was a nice shout-out to Mount FROMME (north of Vancouver).

Today’s writer is GEORGES BERNANOS, born Feb. 20, 1888.

“Why does our earliest childhood always seem so soft and full of light? A kid's got plenty of troubles, like everybody else, and he's really so very helpless, quite unarmed against pain and illness. Childhood and old age should be the two greatest trials of mankind. But that very sense of powerlessness is the mainspring of a child's joy. He just leaves it all to his mother, you see. Present, past, future – his whole life is caught up in one look, and that look is a smile. “
(From The Diary of a Country Priest)

Anonymous 8:31 AM  

I think that yesterday’s grid was more Saturday, and today’s more Friday. Just sayin’.

Miranda 8:32 AM  

@Frantic Sloth - People who sew dislike the term “sewer” for, um, obvious reasons. While “seamstress” is considered old fashioned, I have seen “sewist”. Never seen “seamer” outside of a crossword.

Mike G 8:35 AM  

This was my kind of grind. Just chip, chip, chip, until the right cross opens up a section (as opposed to knocking me out).

Like others, SKEE LO/ALICANTE was my last letter and I guessed right.

Completely stuck in the NW corner for the longest time because I wasn't willing to give up ICBM for the Cold War Missile, which I guess was the point of that clue. I associate SCUD with the first Gulf War, but yeah, it was a Soviet missile, so nicely done there.

puzzlehoarder 8:36 AM  

Getting the correct letter for the crossing of the rapper and the obscure foreign city felt like a redemption for yesterday's TOP dnf. That's about it as far as positive goes for this puzzle. As others have pointed out there is a lot of ugly material here. My personal low point was when I realized that 27D was going to be either GRAYS or GRIDS. It's hard to say which is more stupid as an answer. Still getting a clean grid and the late week level of difficulty it took made up for the dreck.

Joe Dipinto 8:36 AM  

Woops, forgot to post the artiste du jour.

Also, it's National Love Your Pets Day. Woof woof, meow meow.

TTrimble 8:39 AM  

The puzzle felt moderately challenging here and there, but my time was less than it felt like. Some notes:

AKON was easily inferrable from the clue and a few crosses, but the SKEELO-ALICANTE cross? Caught in slow traffic in beautiful downtown Natick.

And ACE as an adjective? I guessed it, but never heard it. Can't tell if it's old- or newfangled. Use it in a sentence. Like, "Dude, that was ACE!", maybe? Wait. Is that coming from the same douche who says, "BEER ME"?

CRAY I've only heard as half of CRAY-CRAY.

FREEGANS. I feel I should have heard of this, but in all honesty I hadn't until now. It makes for interesting reading on Wikipedia. It was apparently coined by a founder of Food, Not Bombs -- a group that I recall was once classified as a terrorist organization (the irony of that kills me). Food waste is a real thing, a really big deal actually -- it's estimated that 40% of food sold in markets gets thrown out. Meanwhile we have hunger in the midst of such abundance. Huh. Maybe I'm just an old hippie at heart.

Totally agree with Rex about NANNY state. I never let these things get to me when I'm solving, but yeah -- the guys who coin expressions like NANNY state remind me of that scumbag who, just so you know which person I mean, was addicted to cigars, grievance politics, and at one time OPIATEs even though he said illegal drug users ought to be locked up. Reading the WP on him, I have just learned he was actually awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Oh, my eyes!

Mebs!

TTrimble 8:43 AM  

@Barbara S.
Thanks for that quote from Bernanos. I haven't thought of him in decades. Although I can't bring myself to quite agree with the sentiment about childhood joy -- a very incomplete explanation at best!

Chip Tait 8:45 AM  

With the power back on, and enough water in the pipes to knock out the last few days of dishes here in the ATX, a leisurely Saturday NYTXW was just the ticket! Proud of myself for seeing (hearing?) CARHORNS on the first swipe, praying it would stand up. Had NIKE where SCUD needed to be, therefore was trying to turn Ms Von Der Leyen into an ERIKAH? (Why couldn’t that have been Ms LeGuin, in the same quadrant with STARGATES?

Delightful, nonetheless...

Anonymous 8:54 AM  
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ChuckD 8:56 AM  

Crunchy, likable Saturday. Some unknown trivia and glom here and there. The long central crosses were nice - I liked the five word ITS A YES FROM ME. Other standouts were ON TIP TOE, GET A ROOM and STARGATES. FREEGANS is useless as is MUST DO - especially starting off the puzzle. Didn’t know ROSTEN or ANYA but easily backed into them with crosses. Will we have another discussion on LAIN today?

The term is a little trite - but good or bad NANNY state is a thing.

Enjoyable solve for the most part.

Anonymous 8:56 AM  

Sorry, but AKON crossing SKEELO crossing ALICANTE is unforgivable to me. That corner alone should have merited a rejection and a rework.

Also, MUSTDO *and* TODOLIST?

ITSAYESFROMME *and* ONME?

ROSTEN, EBSEN...

So much ugh.

Tom T 8:57 AM  

Finished in my fastest Saturday time ever, even though I had to try a variety of alphabet soup attempts before getting the L in the SKEELO/ALICANTE cross, which was my final space filled.

Managed to get SECRETSERVICE with no crosses, which helped get the ball rolling after being shut out in the NW and NE at the start.

Roberto 9:05 AM  

Agreed

kitshef 9:10 AM  


Much, much easier than yesterday. Not sure why they did not switch the days. But yesterday’s was much more fun. Today, every time I got bogged down it was either unknown name (URSULA, ANYA, SKEELO, ROSTEN) or those “phrases no one says” that I hate so much: IT’S A YES FROM ME; I GOT YA, OR NOT.

AKON crossing SKEE-LO is pretty much an automatic ‘reject’ stamp from me. AKON at least has the “city” part of the clue to help you along, and AKON is at least a little famous. SKEE-LO? One top-100 hit, and that peaked at #13 a quarter-century ago.

Syl Johnson was a decent pitcher in the NL in the 20s and 30s. Won over 100 games, and won a World Series with the Cardinals in 1931. Syl Johnson is about 17 times more crossworthy than SKEE-LO.

Nancy 9:12 AM  

I'm so sick of complaining about proper names. Let's start with the stuff I liked a lot. Wonderful clues for CAR HORNS; TO DO LIST; and SECRET SERVICE. Nice fill in GET A ROOM and ON TIPTOE.

Writeovers: My PAYGAP was a PAYWAR. A PAYGAP is a "conflict" only if the people involved know about it, right? Often they don't. My FREEGANS were TREEGANS. I don't know either term but TREEGANS sound a lot more environmentally concerned to me. And my ANYA was ANNA.

These three mistakes kept me from seeing both GET A ROOM and IT'S A YES FROM ME. At 32A I had filled in ITS A NESTROMME. Or, alternately, IT'S AN ESTROMME. Don't ask.

I knew ROSTEN, EBSEN and the ELIOTS. The less said about SKEELO, AKON, LORI and CATWOMAN the better.

GUT meaning to "make extremely upset" is a new one to me. I can think of at least three meanings of GUT -- noun, verb and adjective -- but today's definition is a meaning I don't know.

I enjoyed the challenge of this one a lot. But as with just about every other puzzle this week there were too many names clumped together. It always spoils a puzzle for me. It just does. Even one like this that's basically quite a good puzzle in every other way.

RooMonster 9:21 AM  

Hey All !
Despite the snow, I took a scenic drive straight through the heart of Natick. Actually, twice. Plenty to see...

Har. It was at the L (which in hindsight, seems the obvious choice) of SKEELO/ALICANTE. The other spot was the C of ACE/ALICANTE. How is ACE synonymous with Excellent? Maybe ACES, as in "This painting is ACES", but can't get there with the singular. Got down to those two non-filled squares, and sat there for a good four to five minutes, before putting in the C as best guess, and then a T for the L. Nope. Tried V (SKEEVO? why not? Rappers choose weird names..), then strted running the alphabet, B... no, D..., no, F..., no (dang), L... Yes! Happy Music ensued. But still a one-letter DNF. Ah well. SatPuzs be SatPuzs.

Had a pretty good flow going through the puz. My time says it was on the easy side, regardless of that NE corner. Worked from the bottom up. It seems that answers on the bottom half of the puz come easier than the top a lot on Fri/SatPuzs. I think it's the ole brain messing with me! Only one writeover from the initial pass through the grid. I do the puz the "wrong" way, according to Rex (and other speed solvers), I go through all the Across clues, in order, then all the Down clues, in order, then after that initial pass through, randomly bounce around the grid filling in stuff off the answers I (tentatively) have. To each their own, eh? Anyway, that answer was edgeS for CUSPS. Threw in STARGATES fully expecting to have to take it out. But turned out correct.

Also threw in YSL having nothing else, and when I was getting more of the SW corner, ended up with 32D having the three S's in a row, and almost erased YSL, but persevered! It's the simple joys that are fun.

**SB** **Possible spoiler from YesterBee** If still doing, don't read!

Another high count, high score Bee. Finished missing one pangram and 12 other words. Ouch. And c'mon with the non words zillion and gazillion. Are those real? In a dictionary? I'm sure I can look it up, but dang.

Anyway, I'm puz satisfied today. It does seem puzs are getting easier, the themelesses which once caused me consternation and ample unabashed cheating have become easier for me, and I seriously doubt it's me getting better! But, that's fine. I like to feel like, "Ha! Kicked your ass, puz!" Is that wrong? :-)

One F
RooMonster
DarrinV

mathgent 9:25 AM  

The marquee entry is the expression ITSAYESFROMME. Is that familiar? I looked it up and found that it is associated with Simon Cowell. I know him from the heyday of American Idol. I don't recall his using it then, but perhaps on the shows he's done since then?

Eighteen mystery entries. Twenty gets me into DNF territory.

"Missile" was all that was necessary as a clue for SCUD. Why add in "Cold War"? Irony? Russia sold these missiles to Third World countries during the Cold War, so it's legit. But.

SUFFRAGE fit the space and a couple of crosses for 16A and I stuck with it for a while. But it's the Nineteenth.

Rex says that he's not going to watch "The Queen's Gambit." I guess that he doesn't like stories about women excelling in a field dominated by men.

Good crunch, but a little short on sparkle. Happy to have solved it clean.


Teedmn 9:32 AM  

I leapt into the fray at ELIOTS. I made a bit of headway up (GET A ROOM, POPEYES) and down (ERASE, FROM ME) and then wandered down to my buddy, EBSEN which coincidentally is near PAL.

I had to circle around clockwise from there to get SECRET SERVICE which led to FREEGANS, a movement I have heard of. But I can't say "no complaints FROM ME" about 32A; as someone commented, it is a string of words that could be strung together but never is.

Beyond having a pro TIP and URSaLA first, I had no other write-overs. But I hemmed and hawed about that last letter, SKEE_O crossing A_ICANTE. CeeLo Green finally convinced me that there was probably a SkeeLo and I won the alphabet game, yay!

While AKON may as well be from Remulak as @Frantic Sloth speculates, the clue made me smile when A_[r]ON made the answer clear.

In its ENTIRETY, this was a pretty good Saturday puzzle, thanks Ali Gascoigne!

Z 9:32 AM  

First, if you ever claimed to like learning trivia in a puzzle you are forbidden from complaining about SKEELO/AKON/ALICANTE.

Second, Rex is flat out wrong about the preponderance of proper nouns. This puzzle comes in at a very NYTX typical 28%. If this is too much PPP maybe the Saturday xword isn’t for you. Having said that, SKEE LO being crossed by AKON and ALICANTE is a double natick that can only be truly loved by the roller coaster operator in Rye, NY. My Oh So scientific way of getting that L was constructor vanity. Of course ALI Gascoigne would put ALICANTE in the puzzle. And then ALICANTE seemed vaguely familiar so I went with it. WooHoo.

Only two writeovers today, ANnA to ANYA and icbm to SCUD. Oh, a third writeover at LAId to LAIN. Absolutely no idea why anyone thinks the one might be preferred over the other nor why anyone cares. Well, actually, I do and both can work here as clued so that square is arguably unchecked.

For your perusal- The PPP List (that’s Pop Culture, Product Names, and other Proper nouns)

SKEE LO
US SENATE
(I didn’t count STARGATES for the same reason I didn’t count CRONE)
ELIOTS
EPA
YSL
CATWOMAN
SATIRE (Aristophanes clue)

URSULA von der Leyen (That we didn’t get a Disney clue made me happy)
DRAW (Premier League clue)
AKON (AKRON)
ALICANTE
POPEYES (no idea why I knew this immediately)
SECRET SERVICE (which is never abbreviated as SS because Hitler)
CRIMEA
Leo ROSTEN
ANYA Taylor-Joy
Buddy EBSEN
ETTA is Betta than Evah
LORI Petty (Definitely a Saturday LORI)


Since it’s not always obvious, I liked this one despite the double natick.

kitshef 9:33 AM  

@Nancy 9:12 - I've only ever heard GUT in this sense used in the past tense. "When Helen jilted him at the altar, Colin was gutted."

Unknown 9:41 AM  

Apart from the AKON - SKEELO crossing, a feisty fun Saturday.
I actually found this easier than yesterday's.

Anonymous 9:45 AM  

@Rex - Thank you for that great mnemonic trick for remembering the correct spelling of Ebsen, something I always struggle with as well. Now if only I can remember it the next time Mr. Ebsen comes up in a clue!

longsufferingmetsfan 9:50 AM  

Overall, a decent Saturday workout. The crossing of a one hit wonder artist from the 90s with an obscure Spanish port is an absolute Natick, though.

Once again, can we please stick to puzzle analysis. Rex, I am cordially inviting your misplaced political opinions to *&$#@ off as you so eloquently stated it.

Doctor John 9:55 AM  

40d. Methadone and oxycodone are opioids not opiates.

Hungry Mother 10:08 AM  

That NE corner was a mess. The SKEELO/ALICANTE cross was an impossibility for me. I spent 4 months in southern Spain without encountering ALICANTE. I don’t dig rap, so very few rappers are known other than those in TV shows that I watch.

Unknown 10:20 AM  

Am I the only one who noticed hotTIP and TIPtoe?

Z 10:22 AM  

ITSAYESFROMME was no problem here. I’ve been on various boards and boards take votes after debates and sometimes people are visibly undecided until the moment they vote. IT’S A ... YES FROM ME is definitely a phrase I have heard.

@Chip Tait - URSULA Le Guin has appeared (I think fairly recently). I don’t associate her at all with STARGATES, so I was just happy that URSULA wasn’t Disneyfied.

@mathgent - I stopped 2/3rds of the way through the first episode. I found the plotting leaving a lot to be desired and if you can’t even nail plot elements in the first episode you’re going to have a hard time convincing me to watch the rest. But I am curious why Rex hasn’t watched given all the hype around it.

@Doctor John - It’s a puzzle, not a medical journal, and they are both most definitely called OPIATEs. I mean several recent obituaries have pointed out the dead man’s OPIATE addiction.

David 10:24 AM  

Wormhole before stargate, ICBM before scud, and no idea on the Skeelo/Alicante cross. My wife kept saying it was scud and I kept pushing back that it was not a Cold War era weapon. I see that I was wrong, now, but ..... that was frustrating.

Anonymous 10:25 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Steve M 10:35 AM  

Oy vey over and out

Whitey 10:39 AM  

Thank you. I loved the imperative sentences in the write-up informing instructors of how it must be done, and the twisting of the “nanny” answer so that it fit a politicized narrative. With more of this, soon we will all think as one. Unity and diversity will have been achieved.

Whitey 10:41 AM  

Very good comment, Lewis. You describe the solving experience very well. Ever publish anything?

Fra. Gile 10:43 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
jae 10:44 AM  

Medium-tough. This one put up a fight especially in the NE where SKEELO was a WOE and ALICANTE was a guess. I also had loco before CRAY (which I thought was spelled with a K). SW was pretty easy, but SECRET SERVICE and FREEGANS ate up a bunch of nanoseconds and ITS A YES FROM ME does not exactly trip off the tongue.

Fun challenge, liked it.

Whitey 10:44 AM  

Bingo.

Lplopera 10:45 AM  

"(Pick a country) Has Talent" uses this phrase when they vote!

Lplopera 10:47 AM  

"(Pick a country) Has Talent" uses this phrase when they vote!

Whitey 10:49 AM  

I only knew “gut” from interviews with English football fans and rock stars.

Lewis 10:51 AM  

@whitey -- Yes.

@mathgent -- "Rex says that he's not going to watch "The Queen's Gambit." I guess that he doesn't like stories about women excelling in a field dominated by men." ... Hah! And let me add that I'm of a different mind than @Z on this one -- I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Lplopera 10:52 AM  

"(Pick a country) Has Talent" use ITSAYESFROMME when they vote.

What? 10:52 AM  

Can’t complain about AKON. Add an R and you get AKRON so even though singer is unknown, the fill is deducible. Not so for SKEELO and ALICANTE. It’s the L that can’t be deduced and it’s my only miss. Not my fault, to pull a Cruz.

Whitey 10:53 AM  

Agree with the second paragraph. It’s a great blog — when it sticks to words and puzzles.

Andrew Heinegg 11:07 AM  

Many of the comments on Rex today are beyond the pale. Some people don't seem aware that they come off just as smug (or maybe more) as they accuse Rex of being. It was a fun puzzle.

sixtyni yogini 11:15 AM  

Rex makes good points about names, placement, clues. Agree.
This was a tough one, but am getting the hang of these 🧩s.
ITSAYESFROMME for Queen’s Gambit. πŸ‘πŸ½πŸŽ―πŸ‘πŸ½
πŸ€—❤️πŸ€—

Whatsername 11:18 AM  

In general I liked this a lot with just a few little GOTYAs, one of which was dead center ITS A YES FROM ME which seemed awkward but according to the constructor’s notes, he started with that as the base of his grid. I ASSUME it’s a more commonly heard phrase in London where Mr. Gascoigne resides. Perhaps the same goes for ACE as an adjective and the clue for PAY GAP which I would call the subject of a wage conflict, not a conflict per se.

When I was a DOT employee, we would occasionally get a Presidential visit which necessitated a CLOSE liaison with the SECRET SERVICE. They were always wonderful to work with, friendly and very respectful of us rank-and-file peons despite their immense responsibilities.

On those occasions when when I have LAIN in my recliner, I almost always lay low. It could be said that the US SENATE is a STAR in the structure of American government. OR in some cases, NOT. [Sigh]

newbie 11:21 AM  

SKEELO/ALICANTE was my Natick today. I finished abms (all by myself) by plugging in letters until I hit L and Congratulations came up. I did finish, though! �� (It IS Saturday, isn’t it?)

Good luck on Monday, Gil I. Sending healing thoughts and prayers.

CreamyT 11:29 AM  

The fastest my wife and I have solved a Saturday. Granted, it was 40 minutes, but felt great for us!

Reading these comments, it sounded like knowing Skee-Lo off the bat helped a whole lot. As soon as I saw that I started singing the song to my wife.

Enjoyed it overall. Never felt like we got stuck on anything for too long - for us anyway. Last solve was OBLIGE. Just wasn't popping in my head, and we had no idea about ETTA (ATTA? OTTA? who??), EBSEN, or FREEGANS.

TTrimble 11:31 AM  

@Lewis
I enjoyed The Queen's Gambit as well (and my gosh has it ever captured the public's imagination) -- but for the fact that they're virtually playing bullet chess in tournament settings, which is intolerably unrealistic to me. Like watching Rock'em Sock'em Robots playing chess. (I know, I know: I'm supposed to grant some artistic license. But still.)

I can understand that you wouldn't want to have a single camera trained on a player playing at a normal tournament speed -- for the viewer it would be like watching paint dry -- but couldn't a skilled director do something else? Like keep switching up the camera angles?

Between tournament games, there's nothing chess players like to do more than play speed chess with each other, so if you want fast-paced action plus realism in chess, there's your ticket. (Spend a little while watching people trash-talk each other over on Coffee Chess, and you'll get the picture.) These can be imbued with just as much ego and drama as one could want, it seems to me.

Just an idea.

TwoFlech 11:31 AM  

Good puzzle. But why is “ton“ wealth?

egsforbreakfast 11:31 AM  

I often would PREGAME too much before watching EMERIL LIVE PRESEASON his Cajun hotdog ratatouille or whatever. This was before I ever heard a NANNY STATE that she MUST DO something to GETAROOM with CATWOMAN.

Seems like LAIN, clued as “Reclined”, got a lot more negative notice last Tuesday than LAIN, clued as “Reclined”, got today.

Excellent puzzle in my book Ali (Cante) Gascoigne.

TwoFlech 11:34 AM  

Got all but one letter. But why is “ton” wealth?

Mikey from El Prado 11:39 AM  

Wow. I’ve got some issues with this one...

SKEELO crossing AKRON (I’m old)
I think of a ‘reaction’ (to some PDA) as nonverbal, so not too fond of the clue here.
I’ve never heard CRAY without another CRAY, as in “He’s cray cray!”

JC66 11:40 AM  

@TwoFlech

Wikipedia might help.

It's got a WEALTH of information.

Amelia 11:40 AM  

I liked this puzzle a lot. I had to think! I had to conjure up real things for every clue!

Please. You can't have something in your puzzle that's not an actual, real thing?

I give you STARGATE.
I give you CATWOMAN.
I sorta give you WICCAN.
And these days, I give you USSENATE.

I so miss Abbie Hoffman. The only far left-wing pundit who had an actual, real sense of humor. (Mind you, it didn't stop him from killing himself, but life is complicated.)

Speaking of humor, we boomer Jews ALL had the Joys of Yiddish in the house. Rosten is more well-known than most rappers, I swear. Also, that clue about the singer? That was fair game, because it was a PUZZLE. We LIKE puzzles.

Don't we?



LarryR 11:45 AM  

Like “ace move”? Cluing misdirection is part-of-speech foolery, since ace is usually a noun for someone who’s excellent at something.

Ando 11:48 AM  

Is SCUD really a "Cold War missile type"? I only became aware of them when they were featured so heavily on CNN during the first Iraq War. ICBM seems like the prototypical Cold War missile.

GILL I. 11:53 AM  

Great write-up, @Rex. You nailed it for me with the names and "many which are culturally/generationally exclusionary...."
I stopped counting at 12. How many is too many?....let me count the ways. Do you know how many SE ports there are in Spain? No? Let's see what fits....Valencia, Mallorca, La Savina....Oh, wait. Go ahead and cheat with that SKEELO dude so you can at least figure out that the second letter is an L. AHA...ALICANTE. Alicante Province was used to film a lot of American spaghetti western films. Think: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly. Hah...I bet you didn't know that.
What else stymied me besides all the names? CRAY missing his brother, forgetting about the WICCANs and worshipping the Horned God (if you enjoy modern Paganism or nature religion, then this one's for you)..,forgetting what the 17th amendment is all about....and, well, having a bloody hard time with this one.
I liked GET A ROOM and ITS A YES FROM ME. You betcha yer sweet bippy.

From yesterday. You folks on this blog are so incredibly sweet. What do I love about this place?.....YOU! Thanks so much for the well wishes. But.... I get to eat free green jello starting Monday!

A Moderator 11:54 AM  

To answer a deleted question, I know Rex started it but if you cannot be bothered to make even a passing nod to the puzzle, especially when posting anonymously, expect this moderator to delete the comment. And now that I have posted this, more than a passing nod will likely be required.

Whitey 11:55 AM  

As in “a wealth of information.”

Carola 11:56 AM  

Mostly medium for me, tougher in the NE and SE. Plenty of names I didn't know, but any annoyance at that was cancelled out by the lovely STARGATES. I really liked the array of characters - the US SENATE and SECRET SERVICE, a WICCAN, a CRONE, and a NANNY, POPEYE and CATWOMAN, and the FREEGANS - and I enjoyed the WIT of the cluing.

Re: GUT - I learned it from The Great British Baking Show, where the phrase "absolutely gutted" is often heard when contestants are eliminated from the competition.

Do-overs: icbm before SCUD, SKEE-tO before SKEE-LO: I was saved here when I realized my AtICANTE has gotten mixed up with the Atacama Desert and that an AL- start was much more likely for Moorish Spain.

Anonymous 11:59 AM  

Erich Seligmann FROMM was a German social psychologist, psychoanalyst, sociologist, humanistic philosopher, and democratic socialist. He was a German Jew who fled the Nazi regime and settled in the US.

jazzmanchgo 11:59 AM  

@Miranda -- the late Mississippi bluesman Son Thomas used to sing the verse: "My mother was a seamster, she taught me how to sew / My father was a sawyer, taught me how to saw . . ." Not sure whether "seamster" was a common term in Mississippi when Thomas was young, but I always got a kick out of the line either way.

@Telvo -- "Ace" is indeed, a slang for "excellent". An athlete can be an "ace" pitcher or quarterback, for example.

The Joker 12:00 PM  

The road was so icy I SCUD off the road.

MetroGnome 12:03 PM  

Rex, you're losing your touch -- no self-righteous tirade about that sexist/ ageist word, "CRONE"?? Better be careful, bro; this keeps up, you'll lose your position as Virtue-Signaler-in-Chief!

oceanjeremy 12:06 PM  

Good eye!!

Also, getarOOm

Joaquin 12:09 PM  

I might be the only one here who appreciated the clue for 11D as I frequently drive on ALICANTE Road and never had a "clue" as to the meaning of its name. Now I know.

jberg 12:10 PM  

This one was really slow to start, as virtually all the clues were ambiguous. I thought the wage conflict might be "strike," but that was a stretch so I checked some crosses and saw that GET A ROOM might work. I had to go all the way down to ELIOTS to get confirmation for that, but that let me put something into the grid, and work slowly, slowly from those two entries.

I thought the theme of this puzzle was "minor cities," like ALICANTE and AK(R)ON. I'd never heard of either AKON or SKEELO, but by now I had PAY GAP, which was enough to show me what the city could be.

As a political science professor, I had to memorize what the Constitutional Amendments were about, which helped a lot with US SENATE, and made up for my thinking the horned god must be part of some Central American religion (fortunately, it had to end in N, and neither Mayan nor Incan would fit).

I'm not sure if I actually remembered ALICANTE or if I was confusing it with the aligote wine grape. If I knew of it, I certainly didn't know where it was, so I just thought "Spanish city" and waited for the crosses.

Hey, we've got EPA crossing NANNY state. Very appropriate -- why can't people protect themselves from poisoned drinking water?

Bad Mouse 12:11 PM  

@11:54

I appear to be the offending mouse, but if you require 'more than a passing nod' you'll have to delete 99.44% of a typical day's commentary, since that's how much is devoted to tangents. spoil all our fun.

Anonymous 12:13 PM  

to the SCUD deniers, the wiki is your friend. they first appeared in 1957 and were intended to threaten Europe, you know, those folks in NATO.

toddh 12:14 PM  

I plopped cooliO down for Skee-Lo and never got unstuck.

Anonymous 12:21 PM  

Could someone explain how the clue "Card" is WIT?

The Joker 12:25 PM  

What do you call an exact copy of a witch delivering baked goods with a remotely controlled flying device?




A scone drone crone clone.

Matt 12:26 PM  

Not a fan of minimal pairs without a related schtick (ROTTEN and ROSTEN), or duplicating a word (TODOLIST and MUSTDO, which seem perilously semantically overlapping if not quite synonymous). And no one ever says "It's a yes from me!" in the same context as "You've got my vote!" I've canvassed 10,000 on political campaigns, take my word here.

The only thing that saved my bacon in the NE was I once lived for a year in AKrON so it popped into my head, fortunate since neither SKEELO nor AKON have ever once been in there (my head, that is; I don't know if they've ever been to Akron). I think there should be a rule against crossing two proper nouns from the same realm of endeavor; I thought it was already considered a style faux pas. It triggered me almost as much as the memory of my year in AKrON.

I'll give the puzzle a mulligan though for the redemptive FREEGANS (never heard of them, but sussing out neologisms in puzzles is a joy) and the delicious triple-s of IGUESSSO. And I *knew* Leo ROSTEN from my grandfather's abiding love for Hyman Kaplan stories, so I will take the shout-out to the old school as recompense for my ignorance of 2000's one hit wonders.

Frantic Sloth 12:30 PM  


Looks like SKEELO is at the bottom of everybody's main difficulty with this puzzle, either crossing with AKON or ALICANTE or both. Troublemaker.


@pabloinnh 731am (Hiya back!) Didn't EBSEN have to drop out of TWoO because of some kind of allergic reaction to the Tin Man costume/makeup? I seem to recall reading that somewhere.

@Miranda 832am Gotta agree that "sewer" isn't ideal either. I fact, it stinks. (sorry) Meanwhile, "seamstress" simultaneously crossed my mind and made me want to throw up. "Sewist", despite being autocorrected to "sexist" 'seams' to be the best of the bunch.

@J-Dip and @puzzlehoarder nailed the one-word, econo-description of this puzzle: "ugly"

@J-Dip 836am πŸ‘πŸ‘ on both.

@Chip Tait 845am Welcome back to "normal"!

@mathgent 925am Thank you fir answering my question and proving my point.

@Z 932am I like learning about trivia. I don't like trivia mounting a united attack on me and my crossword solve. It can go to Rye. Not taking the LAIN bait, Mr. Pants.
And 1022am You might have heard it repeatedly on various boards, but for anyone in the "real world" ITSAYESFROMME is crap. Nobody just talks like that.
"Wanna grab a bite.?"
"ITSAYESFROMME."
"Never mind. Just remembered I gotta be somewhere."
Oh, and I had no trouble with the plot of Queen's Gambit either. I really enjoyed it.

So...wanna step outside?🀣

@Lplopera I think you're trying to make a point, but I can't decipher what you mean. Perhaps if you say it again? πŸ˜‰

@TTrimble 1131am FYI Two words I live by when watching movies/series, "suspend disbelief" can mean the difference between hating something wholly wrong and loving it for its imagination, beauty, and/or whimsy. But that's me.

@Amelia 1140am Except for the first sentence, I agree with all of your excellent points and LOL at USSENATE.

@GILL 1153am Free green jello??? No wonder you opted for the surgery! 😘

@A Moderator 1154am I don't know what you deleted, but I know I'm grateful. πŸ‘

albatross shell 12:36 PM  

A mystery to me is what plotting elements need to be nailed down 2/3 through episode one. But I had read the book so maybe I didn't need them nailed. I don't know if I got the first scene of GoT nailed down until a few years later. But if you didn't like it, you didn't like it.

@JOHNX
I researched your comment yesterday through insurance company stats and found that chick-puzzles cause fewer car dents than rooster-puzzles per mile driven. I haven't found any data on today's claim.

Speaking of data. @Z yes I thought Rex was off on his PPP comment. So glad to have the data there.

But needed to look-up SKEELO even though I got AKON from the city part of the clue. I resisted ACE until GET(ting)AROOM. I did get an occasional paper back in high school that had A at the top and excellent written under it.

Loved the clues on the PRESEASON SECRETSERVICE cross. CUSPS NANNY FREEGANS and much more to enjoy.

I think the last few weeks has pretty much conclusively proved that duplicate words in answers are no longer a taboo for the editors. Might as well face it. You can keep pointing them out but if you want to change it harass Shortz. No reason to piss and moan here.

Z 12:40 PM  

@TTrimble & @Lewis - Maybe it’s a hyper active “get off of my lawn” sense, but if my suspension of disbelief gets unsuspended three times in the first hour or so, I’m done. It also probably didn’t help that now that I’ve read about the “magical black/gay/pick your minority friend” I’m seeing them everywhere and finding the trope annoying. It’s sort of like being made aware of naticks. Did I care about naticks before Rex pointed them out? Not really. Now though?

I’m sort of surprised that so many have only ever heard CRAY CRAY. As I understand it, CRAY CRAY is more CRAY than just CRAY.

@Ando - ICBM would definitely be the answer on Monday and Tuesday, maybe even Wednesday. But later in the week the cluing is often not the prototypical example. And, yes, I know this and still put ICBM in first.

@Andrew Heinegg - Based on everything I know I am pretty sure I am far more smug than Rex. That’s why I don’t ever call him smug. I do agree that the anti-Rexxers tend to lack self-smug-awareness.

@Whitey10:49 - I definitely learned this sense of GUT from Rebecca Lowe.

@newbie late yesterday - Yes to adding the time, especially for people with multiple comments. As for the @ symbol, it highlights nom de blogs, insuring that @Z, for example, actually indicates a prior post. It’s a courtesy to readers. Omitting it means it may take a reader precious nanoseconds to figure out what you are referencing.

Ando 12:49 PM  

Like a wealth of information is a ton of information

Nancy 1:00 PM  

@GILL --
cc@ Frantic:

"Free green jello" as a *reward* for surgery reminds me of the best "Get Well" card I ever sent:

On the cover is a drawing of a hatchet-faced "Nurse Bedpan"-type nurse. She's wielding a hypodermic needle and she looks...scary. She's saying: "Now, now, we do want to get better, don't we?"

You open up the card. She continues: "Well, then, I think the jello has been enough excitement for one day."

I think I bought three of the cards at the time, and I sent them all. I wish I'd bought dozens.

danj 1:01 PM  

If something is Excellent it is ACES! not ACE!

JC66 1:07 PM  

@GILL I & @FS

FYI, the green jello ain't free, the cost is built in to the price of the surgery. πŸ˜‚

Masked and Anonymous 1:12 PM  

The clues in this puppy kept m&e guessin, for many extra precious nanoseconds.
Also, similar problems as for others in the AKON/SKEELO/ALICANTE region. Cool save, on morphin AKON into AKRON, tho.

Re-learned some civics class info, on that USSENATE clue. 17th Ammendment made it possible for people to not re-elect Senators who take off for CanCun, when their state's in trouble [yo, @Ted].

staff weeject pick: GUT. Learned a whole new meanin for this word, today. Must try to use in some sentences, today … as in: "The NYTSunPuzs really gut @RP".

fave fillins included: ONHOTTIPTOE. ERAS/ERASE. OBLIGE. IGOTYA/ANYA. SECRETSERVICE. URSULA [Didn't know, but neat name].

Thanx for the feisty TO-Solve-LIST, Mr. Gascoigne dude. SEAMER? har

Masked & Anonymo5Us


**gruntz**

Kathy 1:19 PM  

LAIN making an appearance two days in a row! I am a grammar nerd, so that amused me.

I, too, associate SCUD with the first Iraq war thus I had ICBM initially. Wasn’t it strange to be watching an actual war as if it were Star Wars? But, since John X didn’t object, I figured the definition as a Cold War weapon was accurate.

Good one, @joker! Stay safe on them slickery roads!

My take on Nanny State is that it describes an overreaching government, not just a functioning one. As when former NYC Mayor Bloomberg wanted to ban the sale of large sizes of surgery beverages.

Even if the count doesn’t back it up, the puzzle felt PPPy to me.

A 1:28 PM  

Happy Power Restoration Day!

What’d I miss?

Ok, we had two fun and interesting puzzles, then today is just a mess. On the one hand, there’s our supporting character MASCOT SHEDding it’s coat all over the US SENATE. (Is the clue reminding us how much worse things could be fo not for the 17th amendment?) I did like ’Things you can barely see at art galleries’ as a nice setup for the ‘exhibition’ misdirect. (Saw right through it.) And there are those suits, the SECRET SERVICE, proceeding very, very quietly (ON a HOT TIPTOE) to the PROW of the SEA MER, where the WICCAN NUDES have hidden POPEYES OPIATEs.

But then came EPA ETTA ERAS AEON ANYA EAVE ONME GRAYS YSL. PSHAW!

Puz be CRAY. And yes, “_____ be CRAY” is very commonly heard without its ECCO. (From yesterday - just had to mention that’s one my absolute favorite footwear brands - supportive yet lightweight.)

The tone was also demanding and even CLOSE to rude (on the CUSPS?): MUST DO, TO DO LIST, OBLIGE, ESIGNS, ASSUME responsibility PAL, ON ME, GET A ROOM, I GOT YA CAR HORNS. Not a lot of WIT or SATIRE.

It was briefly entertaining to have SKEE__ and come up with SKEEta - like a slightly off tribute to Muhammed Ali and his “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” strategy - or was it a philosophy? Anyway, SKEEta seemed like a good rap name. If it isn’t claimed maybe I’ll use it. Hey, maybe this frigid week will diminish this year’s mosquito population. Now if we could just get the water back on.

old timer 1:37 PM  

DNF here, because I had AEON instead of AKON. Plus, one huge defect of doing the puzzle on paper is it is possible to write a right answer in the wrong place -- I had SENATE where SKEELO should be. Had I not done so, I would have figured out AKON, instead of running entirely out of patience and coming here to spot the error.

I think too many of the answers were just lame. INAYEAR TODOLIST and IGUESSSO right next to each other.

I have been to most places in Spain, from Pamplona and the Running of the Bulls (twice) to Madrid (there is a tapas bar I became a regular at on Lavapies) to Andalucia. But never to SE Spain. I remembered Almeria was down there, but it took a while for ALICANTE to come to mind.

pabloinnh 1:44 PM  

@FraSlo--Yep, that's the Ebsen story I heard too. Guess Jack Haley had some kind of natural immunity, or maybe they changed the makeup.

re-ALICANTE--Children's riddle in Spain (translated as necessary)-The King ALI went with his dog CAN to drink TE (tea) in the city I just told you. What is it.? think CAN being the dog has something to do with "canine". Contact me if this is a stumper.

Did I remember this when I was doing the puzzle? Heck no. I even had trouble coming up with ALICANTE, even though I have gone past it more than once while tootling around Andalucia.

KevMendo 1:47 PM  

Yeah. That's more of an old timey slang - "She's aces in my book!"

Whatsername 1:48 PM  

Thanks to all those who pointed out examples of ACE used as an adjective. It just seemed wrong at first but I GOT YA now. As usual, I learn as much from this blog as I do from the Crossword.

Thanks also to the Moderators for maintaining a reasonable balance in the conversations. When you group together as many different opinions as we have here, there is bound to be a certain level of debate and disagreement. I think the standard of requiring a passing reference to the crossword is an equitable one. While exchanges do spin off on certain subjects and every single post may not be specifically related, if the discussion originated with a post referencing the puzzle, that seems like a fair baseline. Anyway, the purpose of this particular comment was not so much to express my own opinion but simply to acknowledge the efforts of the Mods. They’re ACEs.

Chip Hilton 1:59 PM  

SKEErO/ArICANTE as a final letter guess/fail. I thought maybe he was self-deprecatingly going for a rhyme with zero. I went with Akron even though AKON was a mystery to me. Ironically, most of my troubles took place in the SE. FREEGANS, NANNY, the end of SECRETSERVICE just killed me but, eventually, fell. Fun Saturday, save the Natick corner.

GILL I. 2:04 PM  

@Nancy...HAH! Good one and you've given me an idea. I think I'll take a flask full of Talisker and slip it into the ugly hospital cap they make you wear. I have enough hair to hide this little puppy and I'll slip a few into my green SKEELO .....Hi @JC66.
@old timer 1:37.....Do you know that Lavapies means wash your feet? I bet you had tapas at "El Boqueron" ??? I LOVE that neighborhood.

DigitalDan 2:08 PM  

My brain is Teflon to the names of rappers, whose wares I never intentionally sample. Natick city.

Frantic Sloth 2:36 PM  

@Nancy 100pm LOL! "Jello" and "excitement" are two words you don't often see in the same sentence, and yet they work. Someone needs to take a hint from the card people and correct this.

@JC66 107pm Meanwhile...thanks for the reminder, Chuckles. 🀣

@A 128pm Welcome back! Good luck and posi-thoughts for the water restoration! BTW as for Ali, it was his strategy, but I can't rule out philosophy entirely. πŸ˜‰ Not that you asked, but my thoughts on SKEETa are it's too close to SKEETer...unless you like those little f***ers - and I don't glean that you do. 😊

@pabloinnh 144pm I'm hopelessly lost - is that a real riddle? The "what is it?" part confuses me because it seems like ALICANTE is the answer.

@Whatsername 148pm Ditto!

albatross shell 2:51 PM  

Gut, verb, definition 2:
INFORMAL•BRITISH
cause (someone) to feel extremely upset or disappointed.
"it guts me to think about what my mother and brother missed out on"
Merriam-webster does not seem to include this definition. Although they do define it as 'destroying the insides of' which, by extension from gutting a building to gutting your stomach as the source of your emotions, works the same way.

I think the Mods do a pretty good job here, but can't really say for sure cause I can't see what they don't let me see. They let people rip on Rex more than on each other. I assume they cut out overly profane or racist sexist etc. tirades too. They seem to have upped their standard on political discussions that they deem puzzle unrelated. I do not mind that either as long as it's applied with some balance. If someone here says stupid stuff, it is not a particularly safe place (nanny state not). Sometimes the stupid stuff does just get ignored. The silence is deafening.

albatross shell 3:19 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown 3:19 PM  

Crunchy puz; easier than yesterday's.
I found myself agreeing with much of Rex's critique, which is rare.

Another humble request that people observe the (former)(unwritten) 3-post limit.
Let's give room to some of the newbies and "lurkers" to express themselves.
Diversity of opinion is what makes this country great!
Let's make the blog great!
(When five folks constitute 13% of the posts, you know what I'm talking about!)
Many many thanks! :)

- Except for Lewis, he can post as often as he wants; he's just a joy.

Bad Mouse 3:40 PM  

@albatross shell:
I assume they cut out overly profane or racist sexist etc. tirades too.

That was the directive from mod(s); including nasty personal attacks, of course. Until today. Now it seems...

That mod spiked mine which was in two parts:
- just another comment on NANNY, and no more heated than some that have survived
TTrimble 8:39, jberg 12:10, Kathy 1:19 (OK, that one may be just warm)
- commented that there had been an unusual (may haps unprecedented) number of mod removals, from the point of view of then 'current' requirements for removal, and what was the cause

The latter was the 'deleted question' @11:57 claimed was Bad Mouse commentary.

albatross shell 3:42 PM  

@old timer 137pm
What did you have at 42 across?

@Kathy 119pm
LAIN wasn't in the puz yesterday, only in the discussion of LAYLOW. The decision to use LAIN is never easy for me. A wild stab is as good as dead horse.

JC66 3:48 PM  

@Uknown 3:19

As far as I know, there's no longer a 3 post limit.

There's plenty of room for everyone on this blog. I like @Lewis, too. But I also like many of the other commenters, as well.

If you don't like a comment.commenter, just skip past it to the next.

pabloinnh 4:00 PM  

@Frantic--Si si, AKI+ CAN+TE=ALICANTE. That's all there is to it. Probably too easy and
overthinking results.

Three for me, asi que, no mas.

Paul Statt 4:08 PM  

FREEGANS always put me in mind of my college friends in the 70s, whose cheeky response to "Just Say 'No' to Drugs" was "Just Say 'Sure, if I don't have to pay for it' to Drugs."

stephanie 4:11 PM  

my first saturday (i think) completed without help from google, what a day, what a time to be alive.

the NW corner was basically totally blank for me until the very end (save for ABUTS instead of CUSPS and DOFF instead of SHED which obv didn't help things) - took me way to long to remember the "star" part of "stargates" - i couldn't for the life of me recall that show even though i could see the portals in my mind's eye. SKEE-LO was my first right answer, thank glob for my love of 90s rap one hit wonders XD never heard of URSULA or ROSTEN but the crosses got me there - plus i've seen the little mermaid and i can't think of another woman's name beginning with U ;)

sad to hear you don't plan to watch the queen's gambit - my partner didn't want to watch it either but i asked him to watch the first episode with me and he was hooked and we blew through it. i did think that at the end (don't worry no spoilers) it wrapped up too quickly - one totally absurd plot point and a few characters that should have been fleshed out more. there's a lot to be said for "one and done" miniseries, but i think they could have done juuuuuust a little more justice to it. all hindsight though, i really did enjoy watching every episode. (but damned if i could remember the actress' name, lol!)

sanfranman59 4:14 PM  

Medium NYT Saturday ... 2% above my 6-month median solve time

This was kind of a slog. There just wasn't much that made me say "aha" or "good one" and there were a fair number of things at which I just shook my head, groaned or WTFed (FREEGANS {34D: Anticonsumerists aiming to help the environment}???).

Predictably, the SKEE-LO {15A: "I Wish" rapper, 1995}/ALICANTE {11D: Port of SE Spain} cross was my last letter in the grid and was more or less a guess. Crossing SKEE-LO with AKON {8D: Singer whose name becomes a city if you add an "R" in the middle} (with that clue, though I was very grateful for the blatant hint) is just ridiculous. MUST DO {1A: Requirement} is a pretty blah way to start a Saturday puzzle. 'iCbm' before SCUD {18A: Cold War missile type}, 'worm holES' before STAR GATES and URSULA {2D: ___ von der Leyen, first female head of the European Commission, who negotiated Brexit for the E.U.} were time saps in the NW. For some reason, I associate SCUD missiles with the war in Iraq, but Wikipedia confirms the Cold War link. ROSTEN {26D: Humorist Leo who wrote "The Joys of Yiddish," 1968} was a total whiff for me. 'ANnA' before ANYA {28D: "The Queen's Gambit" actress ___ Taylor-Joy} made it tough to parse ITS A YES FROM ME {32A: "You have my vote!"}, an awfully dull banner answer, even if you clue it with an exclamation mark. To my ear, 'I GOTchA' seems more like what someone would say after a prank whereas I GOT YA {35A: Jeering words after a prank} means "I understand" (though I don't think I could defend this nit very well in an argument). The clue for GUT {50D: Make extremely upset} also seems a little off the mark. I much prefer my crosswords without FauxNews buzz words/phrases (NANNY {41D: Kind of state}). SECRET SERVICE {14D: Protective suits?} gets a clever clue, but everything else is no better than pedestrian.

stephanie 4:22 PM  

@nancy you feel "gutted" when something terrible happens, like the unexpected death of a pet for example. seeing it as just "gut" was a bit awkward though.

stephanie 4:33 PM  

@anonymous 12:21PM "card" is slang for someone "quick witted" - "he's such a card!"

Joe Dipinto 4:41 PM  

On the subject of Jell-O, 20d could have been clued:

One-time TV spokesperson for Jell-O, familiarly

Or not. Probably not.

stephanie 4:43 PM  

one final note - kind of wild how people will decide that just because they don't use a phrase or haven't heard it that it doesn't exist. there are entire memes/gif replies about "it's a no from me" (see also: it's a no from me, dawg/dog) and "it's a yes from me" is the counterpart. both phrases have been used on those america/britain's got talent shows and i think american idol but i'm not sure as i don't watch any of them (but know the phrase because it trickled down into social media/The Internet) but point being those shows have literally millions of viewers, i think around 5-8 to be precise. so kind of a weird hill to die on in that case, i thought.

not to worry though, i'll close with some self-deprecating irony and say, my corpse will never budge from the hill on which no one has ever said they "lay low" as past tense ;) have a great weekend, all!

mmorgan 4:45 PM  

Had absolutely no idea about AKON or SKEELO but thanks to some miracle, I guess them correctly.

I can’t imagine why Rex would say he won’t watch The Queen’s Gambit (terrific series), but I also had a sense he expects us to know why.

Z 4:54 PM  

@stephanie4:11 - Congratulations πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰

@Albatross shell 12:36 - I hesitate because lots of people love the series and I realize I’m being a grumpy old man about it, but here’s what got me to stop watching (working from memory here so don’t ding me if I get some specifics wrong):
1. The bully who is going to become her best friend (and I’m just guessing is going to become a “magical negro”)
2. The Janitor. The wise janitor in The Breakfast Club and Frazz are the only two I accept. Any other time the clichΓ© alarms start screeching.
3. OK, I can except the awful orphanage is drugging their charges. I can accept that the state makes them stop. I cannot accept the apparent lack of any other fallout or that the drugs are not only not confiscated but still visible. This struck me as an especially clumsy way to cut of her drugs.
4. A student missing class for an unusual length of time? Okay once. After that, how bad is this teacher in an orphanage at keeping track of her students?
5. The shadows on the ceiling becoming the chessboard... I get that visually representing the interior self is hard, but can we be a little more original here?
So, somewhere around the time they were making arrangements for her to go play at the “real” school I decided “not my cuppa.”

Harryp 4:55 PM  

I enjoyed solving the puzzle, but wonder if anyone else had considered wormhole for 25Across? It held me up for quite a while.

bocamp 5:08 PM  

@stephanie 4:11 PM

Congrats on your Sat. puz success! πŸ‘

@Unknown 3:19 PM

A very polite and humble request, but if it were a vote "It'd be a no fromme", no disrespect intended. :)

Looks like many new readers have joined the commentariat over the past few months, so I don't find your argument to be compelling. πŸ€”

Besides, I think our friends who choose to post more than 3 times a day are a very welcoming lot, and those who may have been reluctant to join the fun are, indeed, jumping into the friendly waters.

There's room for all here! 😊
___



pg -4

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

stephanie 5:32 PM  

thank you Z!

re: queen's gambit, butting in [***SPOILERS WITHIN***]
1. the black bff could have been so great. and she was, but the character they wrote for her was just another tired "mammy" trope. such a shame. she exists only to prop up the main character white girl when she's in need. one thing that really galled me was, after beth leaves the orphanage, she NEVER attempts to contact Black BFF ever again. then at the end, Black BFF has to somewhat randomly swoop in and once again save/protect beth and while they're sitting on a plane together, Black BFF says "i know you'd do the same for me if i needed you." i straight up yelled at the TV! why would she ever think that? of course beth wouldn't do the same for her - ffs, she's proven as much by not even sending so much as a postcard since she walked out the doors of that orphanage! and this character was supposed to be a sort of crass "tell it like it is" kind of person. give me a BREAK.

2. i liked the janitor - he was a sad and bland sort of character but garnered favor with me because i was sure he was going to molest her or something else horrible. the second i saw her wandering into that basement creeping on him i was like "oh here we go." so, i was pleasantly surprised if nothing else i guess.

3. it wasn't like that they found out the orphanage was administering tranquilizers today, where they'd raid the place and there'd be all kinds of consequences. i think it was that, at that time, tons of drugs we don't have access to today were widely available and used for all kinds of things by all kinds of places/people, before some entity (akin to a surgeon general or FDA or AMA maybe?) finally said "actually, turns out we, uh, shouldn't be doing that so, new rule, don't do that." (remember it was also when children could walk out of any store with cigarettes, alcohol, pharmaceuticals, etc.) i imagine it like a press release to anyone doling out pills, and not like a targeted raid on that particular orphanage.

4. i used to skip class all the time and no one ever even asked where i was - and this was in the late 90's in regular school and i wasn't an orphan (so if something did happen to me the school would be dealing with two irate parents). i was an honors kid - when you're bright they tend to let you do whatever you want as long as you aren't getting up to too much trouble. plus, it seemed like the head of that orphanage was much more concerned with outward appearances than the actual wellbeing of any child there. (typical orphanage trope, imo.)

Nancy 5:46 PM  

@stephanie (4:11) -- "What a day. What a time to be alive." I can't remember if I had a similarly enthusiastic reaction the first time I solved a NYT Saturday puzzle -- but if I didn't, I sure wish I had. Your happiness is infectious and charming, and I am sure there will be many more successful Saturdays in your future. Your comments today were also charming and I hope we'll be seeing more of them in the future, too.

@Unknown -- You profess concern about "newbies" on the blog who will somehow be crowded out or discouraged if people post more than 3 comments each. Well, we were all "newbies" to the Rexblog once, and what made me feel welcome on the blog were the "old timers" who took the time to read my comments and respond to them. I felt noticed and I felt valued. Most important, I felt part of a community. I certainly didn't ask myself whether a given person had responded to me on a second post or on a fourth post. Would I have rather had them strictly adhere to a "3-comment rule" and not respond to me at all?

Instead of laboriously counting each person's number of posts and clucking your tongue about them, @Unknown, here's what I suggest you do. Peruse those posts that exceed the "limit" and see how many of them are part of a warm, supportive blog discussion that serve to enhance the Rexblog experience -- for old timers and newbies alike. Who knows -- perhaps that camaraderie might be something you will want to contribute to yourself in the future.

So here's what I suggest you do, @Unknown. Stop counting the number of posts per person and start

A 6:03 PM  

Finally checked out a couple of y’all’s (y’all’ses?) links/comments:
@Joe D, thank you - that Robert Cray video was great. “How the hell’d he get in?” The John Lewis clip at the end….

@GILL, best wishes for an easy time of it and a quick return home! Definitely spike the jello!

@Frantic, I hadn’t thought of that in AEONs. “U-G-L-Y, You ain’t got no alibi - you UGLY!” I wasn’t a cheerleader but the various junior high sports teams I ‘participated in’ (to put it generously) chanted this at games. It sounded shocking to me at first (typical uptight white kid) but it wasn’t meant in a mean way. The other side chanted it back to us, and it basically turned into a dance contest. At which point I would take my appropriate place as a bystander. (About SKEEta, I just thought it would be nice to be the pester instead of the pestee!)

@Miranda and @Frantic - My alter ego Skeet’a proposes threadster for a person who sews.

@bocamp, I saw your Tiny Tim link and it just started playing in my head - no need to click! My 7 year old self was utterly bewildered seeing him for the first time - it’s burned into my brain!

@albatross, “no reason to piss and moan here” Aw, c’mon, you’ll spoil it for everyone!

@steph, Congrats on your 1st commando Saturday! AbutS is a much better answer than CUSPS, and I hope we see doff soon. It wasn’t a link but I did what you said and searched for “that’s gonna be a no from me dog/dawg” and there it was in Urban Dictionary, and it did seem familiar. And pretty funny! So I typed in “it’s a yes from me” and UD said sorry, no results. Maybe “That’s a no from me” would have been a better puzzle starter?

Alicante looks absolutely beautiful. It’s home to the Castle of Santa BΓ‘rbara, and also to Mount Benacantil which I’m going to tuck away for future Saturday crosswords.

Unknown 6:03 PM  

@ nancy et al

Thank you all for your thoughtful comments.

To me this blog is sort of like entering a party and there are 5 or 6 folks who are talking loudly, kind of filling up the room, every day. And I get it, no one likes to be told Hey, perhaps you're dominating the conversation, maybe give a little space to some others who might be a little reluctant to jump in.
On the other hand, I also have come to realize that this blog is a real meaningful social focal point of their day, and it's very important to them, and they feel connected to their XW "friends." Not for me to judge, and I certainly don't want to intrude on that. Chat away to your heart's content. I can always find another "party" to join, no worries. No need to cluck your tongue at me, Nancy, I know where you're coming from! Peace.

oriordan 6:16 PM  

Much the same struggle for me with SKEELO/AKON/ALICANTE. But I had actually heard of the Spanish city and so had some confidence in that one. Did manage to finish unaided which is always a pleasant surprise for me on a Saturday.

Loved The Queen’s Gambit but had no clue about the actor’s name. Truly compelling series even if some of the plot shortcomings mentioned earlier are completely valid. Open to suggestions for what to watch next...

CDilly52 6:22 PM  

Well, the AKON/SKEE-LO almost got me but 60 years of solving has me trained up as a pretty darned good guesser! Where I take issue with our constructor today (not a huge issue, but a nit-picky one) is with a few clues that didn’t seem to match, from a speaking or parallelism standpoint. Consequently a few clues seemed just “off,” and gave me fits for a while.

The first was “Poppycock!” That is an old epithet meaning “BS!” On the other hand, I have yet to hear “pshaw” used as anything other than a self-deprecating (maybe humble brag) statement in response to a compliment or a gentle response to something questionable to mean “oh c’mon, don’t pull my leg.” So, it took me a while to trust my gut on that one, but when I got the W from PROW (fabulous clue!) I knew PSHAW was the answer regardless of how much I dislike it.

Next nit was also in the NE. GET A ROOM
while an answer very of the language, did not seem as if it matched its clue very precisely. In my solve-geist, that clue wanted not a verbal response to the affectionate people but rather a word describing one’s level of “yick.”. Like “discomfort” or something akin thereto but I could not come up with an alternate and went with GET A ROOM. Lo and behold!

Compare the above with the perfectly parallel 32 Across. Loved that clue-response pair. And 35A that asks for a verbal response (jeering words) and that answer I GOT YA which I incorrectly had as GOTCHA, largely because of the spate of that type of odd spelling colloquial answers we have experienced lately.

When all was said and done, though, I enjoyed this puzzle. Just enough crunch for a Saturday but not so much that my excessive fatigue from being awake most of the past week due to the various calamities survived at the hands of the winter vortex that visited so much of the south and southwest (as well as the N and NE, but folks up there are better prepared). Frozen pipes, electricity and water rationed, . When the electricity was turned off I had to keep my gas logs lit to survive and my cats love to bat their toys around on the space in front of the fireplace. I could just see the house fire cause by my falling asleep and a cat toy going up on flames.

So to all who have survived the Polar Vortex, hearty congratulations wherever you may be!! Looks like 2020 is saying to our young 2021, “hey dude hold my beer!”

GILL I. 7:12 PM  

Unknown 6:03. Intrude all you want...You can always walk away or, do as @Nancy suggests.... "perhaps the camaraderie might be something you will want to contribute to yourself in the future."
At some cocktail parties you might find the diva who walks in with a Givenchy crocodile clutch and expects devotions and lots of air time...you get to choose if you want to mingle or...you can saunter over to the smart cookie in her simple but interesting Karen Kane black dress. She just might regale you with a @Barbara S interesting quote or maybe you'd get an @A clever aphorism. I'd bet there are lots to choose from and many are right here on this blog. You can always order a beer or a martini. I don't think most people here would judge. They are a pretty nice lot.

A 7:20 PM  

@CDilly, i had the same experience with my cat and the gas logs. Glad you survived! You reminded me of a post from FB: Groundhog said six more weeks of winter. Mississippi said, "hold my beer, we finna get it done in six days."

Bruce Fieggen 7:42 PM  

I agree that NANNY state has been misused by the right wing but Bloomberg wanting to ban large sodas can’t be described better in my opinion.

bocamp 7:53 PM  

Unknown 6:03 PM

I echo @Gill's sentiments; stick around and be the positive contributor I'm sure you've always been. :)

@oriordan 6:16 PM

Here for "7 Chess Movies You Do Not Want To Miss‎". Have seen most of these. Hope you find the list useful.
___



pg -3

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

oisk17 8:13 PM  

Objecting to a term in the puzzle - nannystate - because one doesn't like the way the term is used is the essence of "snowflake." ( I don't like that term either, but it would also be appropriate in the puzzle...) Glad to see that others immediately thought of Bloomberg. I managed to finish despite never having heard of Skeelo nor of Akon, disliking the clue for "Ace" I ALSO thought SCUDS were post cold war, but would have checked before posting to criticize... Freegans?? Still I thought it was a generally fine puzzle with clever cluing; I enjoyed it.

stephanie 9:17 PM  

@bocamp thank you!

@Nancy thank you also, and for your kind words to me and to us all. (enjoyed @GILL I's words on this too.) although i've been reading the blog for a little while, i've only ventured into the comments just recently. of course i can only speak for myself but, i kind of like walking into a room of regulars, and seeing people go back and forth that obviously aren't interacting for the first time. it makes it feel more welcoming, not less. i guess it serves as a kind of proof it's a community and not just a bunch of people yelling into the void. most everyone seems supportive and good humored and certainly didn't stop me from piping up :) (i mean, most comment sections on the internet these days? YIKES.)

@A - thank you as well! and i totally agree, "it's a no from me" would have been a way better and more popular choice of the two, imho. (ps, loved the bit about the groundhog also XD)

JC66 9:23 PM  

@stephanie

Welcome. Keep 'em coming!

oriordan 10:09 PM  

@bocamp - thanks for the chess movie suggestions. I will definitely give Searching for Bobby Fischer a try. But what I’m really looking for is the next binge-worthy series. We’ve started The Bureau about the French equivalent to the CIA but it hasn’t quite grabbed us yet.

GILL I. 10:51 PM  

@stephanie...Get thee a little free avatar so that we can jump right to ya.....It's free and @JC can send you a cheat sheet. :-)

jae 11:52 PM  

@oriordan - try Borgen on Netflix or Ozark if you haven’t seen it.

jae 12:06 AM  

@oriordan - ...or if you want a long running comedy Kim’s Convenience also on Netflix is excellent!

Bob Mills 6:41 AM  

Must have been an easy Saturday, because I aced it (didn't seem easy).

bocamp 7:53 AM  

@oriordan 10:09 PM

Yes, I see now that you meant "series". My excuse is that sometimes the line between series and movie gets blurred. I noticed in my first post of the day that I referred to Queen's Gambit as a "movie". I watched it when it first came out and now its set in mind as one very long movie, a seamless masterpiece. LOL

It looks like you may be interested in a procedural series, so here's a NYT article with some Brit suggestions.

My faves are: Foyle’s War, The Bletchley Circle, The Fall, Shetland and Line of Duty.

On a totally different tack, my all-time fave series is "All Creatures Great and Small" with Christopher Timothy and Robert Hardy. (1978)

I see that others have chimed in, so I'm sure you guys will be having plenty to choose from. 😊

Cheers!



Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

CAROL 12:16 PM  

...and SCUD missiles are not from the Cold War.

CAROL 12:16 PM  

...and SCUD missiles are not from the Cold War.

Joe 3:53 PM  

Diversity in a NYT puzzle is fine. Just make sure that the diversity doesn’t include any names from the athletic world. Because that would be low-brow. Knowwhatimean, Vern? Restrict the selections so that it includes rap stars, soap opera heroes, and people from Hollywood. No athletes, or God forbid - anyone who’s perceived as conservative. Them are low blows to the solvers’ sense of well being.

Greg 3:52 AM  

@Z A crossword may not be a medical journal, but when a clue is wrong, it's wrong. OPIATE refers to natural opioids such as heroin, morphine, and codeine. OPIOID refers to all natural, semisynthetic, and synthetic opioids, which include methadone and oxycodone. The fact that a word is used incorrectly by lazy journalists does not validate the mistake.

Stevied 11:14 AM  

Keep your distorted political views the hell out of your blog. Also noticed you dropped your timing claims which wre BS

stephanie 3:15 PM  

@GILL I. & @JC is this cheat sheet about how to set up a userpic/blogger account? it's not my first time on the internet and yet i can't for the life of me figure out how. blogger.com only gives me the option to use my gmail/google account no matter what i do. and that would be fine (i don't really NEED yet another account, but) and i'd even be fine with it using the userpic i already have associated with said account but...it doesn't seem to translate. i never thought i'd be having to ask how to simply set up a display name and picture and yet...well, first time for everything i guess!

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