2019 sci-fi film starring Brad Pitt / SAT 5-1-21 / Deep-fried British treat wrapped with sausage and bread crumbs / Classic moonroof alternative / Side dish in Cajun cuisine / In-depth subject for a war historian

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Constructor: Ryan McCarty

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: THE OLD VIC (5D: Historic London venue) —

The Old Vic is a 1,000-seat, not-for-profit producing theatre just south-east of Waterloo station on the corner of the Cut and Waterloo Road in Lambeth, London, England. Established in 1818 as the Royal Coburg Theatre, and renamed in 1833 the Royal Victoria Theatre. In 1871 it was rebuilt and reopened as the Royal Victoria Palace. It was taken over by Emma Cons in 1880 and formally named the Royal Victoria Hall, although by that time it was already known as the "Old Vic". In 1898, a niece of Cons, Lilian Baylis, assumed management and began a series of Shakespeare productions in 1914. The building was damaged in 1940 during air raids and it became a Grade II* listed building in 1951 after it reopened.

The Old Vic is the crucible of many of the performing arts companies and theatres in London today. It was the name of a repertory company that was based at the theatre and formed (along with the Chichester Festival Theatre) the core of the National Theatre of Great Britain on its formation in 1963, under Laurence Olivier. The National Theatre remained at the Old Vic until new premises were constructed on the South Bank, opening in 1976. The Old Vic then became the home of Prospect Theatre Company, at that time a highly successful touring company which staged such acclaimed productions as Derek Jacobi's Hamlet. However, with the withdrawal of funding for the company by the Arts Council of Great Britain in 1980 for breaching its touring obligations, Prospect disbanded in 1981. The theatre underwent complete refurbishment in 1985. In 2003, Kevin Spacey was appointed artistic director, which received considerable media attention. Spacey served as artistic director until 2015; two years after he stepped down, he was accused of sexually harassing and assaulting several students. In 2015, Matthew Warchussucceeded Spacey as artistic director. (wikipedia)

• • •

A very easy Saturday. Once again, a 1-Across gimme (1A: Like faces around a campfire at night = UPLIT) was the harbinger of a very fast late-week solve. UPLIT ICU UBOAT LACT- ... something ... had me up and moving very quickly. About that LACT- answer: when your puzzle is generally smooth (as this one is) and generally easy (as this one is) then the bad fill just hits harder. It's more jarring. And LACTEAL just looks like someone who crashed the party without even bothering to clean up first. Everyone else looks nice and is just mingling, having a good time, and LACTEAL comes stumbling in, burping and spilling drinks and generally causing a scene. He is the opposite of unassuming (I don't know why he's a he, since the answer is about milk production, but I don't cast the weird dramas in my brain; I'm not sure who you see about that). I am quite sure that LACTEAL is a word. That is the nicest thing I can say about LACTEAL. When I see LACT-, I've got basically three moves: LACTIC, LACTATE / LACTATING, and LACTOSE. When they invent a pharmaceutical called LACTIVIA, I'll have that too, but for now, three moves. LACTEAL. It sounds like the color of French lakes ("Quelle color is that?" "C'est LAC TEAL, you CLOD!"). As an adjective, it's a clunker. I also don't really know the term TIE CLASP (is that like a TIE CLIP?), but that's probably my fault for being a boor and getting stains all over the ties I don't wear every time I eat soup. I guess the TIE CLASP keeps your tie from falling into your food? I wanted something like TIE BIB, which seems like it would be more effective against stain onslaughts. But I'm not made at TIE CLASP. I'm mad at LACTEAL. This is nearly the only true complaint I have about this puzzle, and yet I can't stop talking about it—such is the effect of even a small pile of garbage in a nicely tended garden.

The most noteworthy thing about this puzzle, though, is the center, which is a huge and daunting open space that ends up being not only relatively tame but remarkably smooth and clean. Polished. Just a beautiful criss-crossing of long, strong answers. No one answer in that middle section really bowled me over, but as a group, they're stunning. Deceptively simple and straightforward—it's really, really hard to get that many long answers to come together neatly like that. You're usually gonna have to make one or two notable sacrifices in fill quality to achieve such a feat. That's a tilted stack of five 9s, sandwiched between two 8s (TIE CLASP, NUTCASES), which is then shot through with seven adjacent Downs, of which PREYS ON is the shortest one, at 7 letters. So ... [counts on fingers] ... fourteen answers, all 7+ in length, all crossing each other. And not a clunker in the bunch. Please clap (no, really). 

[Lord. Have. Mercy.]

Only difficulty I had was the aforementioned LACTEAL, then ... I wouldn't call it difficulty, more frustration: I had -STICATE and still no idea what 16D: Break was (DOMESTICATE). Seemed impossible to have that much of an answer and not be able to see it, but [Break] can be noun or verb and can mean a million things. My brain kept pronouncing the -STICATE part like SOPHISTICATE (n.). Seems preposterous that SOPHISTICATE would leap in there and DOMESTICATE wouldn't, but again, I cannot account for the drama in my brain. Thought I might have trouble breaking into the NE because of this -STICATE failure, but I got in easily, assisted by UNASSISTED, with UMP MEN PEGS giving me more than enough traction up there. Had STAYS before STEMS (48D: Inhibits), and GOTYA! before GOT 'EM! (58A: "Ha, fell right into my trap!") (so ... multiple people fell into your trap? The clue was not clear to whom or about whom you were speaking). Because the clue was about "print" (53A: Print source), I assumed the TIP at the end of the answer had something to do with information one might give a newspaper (e.g. an anonymous TIP). So FINGER came as a mild surprise. Not a huge fan of THE OX, esp. after THE OLD VIC, but it's small and it was easy and the rest of the grid is very nice, so no harm. Appreciated the clue on ARM (36A: Vaccine target). Whole family now fully vaccinated. Daughter had a somewhat rougher time with Pfizer 2 than I did with Moderna 2, but like everyone else who had mild side effects, she was fine within 48 hours. Get shot! And reshot, if that's what's called for. It's an unequivocal personal and public good. Take care. And Happy May!

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Conrad 6:51 AM  

I didn't mind LACTEAL as much as @Rex did -- I took it as a chance to learn a new word. But I minded THEOLDVIC on top of THEOX a lot more than @Rex did. Maybe it's because I despise THE Ohio State University.

Sarah 7:23 AM  

Thanks for the Little Stevie Wonder (12 years old!) clip. That was a joy!

PhysGraf 7:34 AM  

Vic Tayback!!!!!! That made my morning.

I'm angry about SKY. Easily got it from the crosses but do people actually use "sky" as a verb? It feels like it was used once in a James Cagney movie in 1935. This same poorly performing film also gave us many of the terms for money that only ever appear in crosswords...

"Yeah, see, either you hand over that KALE, see, or my friend here is gonna SKY ya, see. So c'mon now and give up the DO RE MI"...

Also angry about TIE CLASP and was trying to figure out how someone would tie a lid on a pot of soup then I realized that it was a TIE CLIP.

Still enjoyed the puzzle and wish I had tried the SCOTCH EGGS when I lived down the street from Murphy's in Seattle. Happy Saturday.

Joaquin 7:44 AM  

To use @Rex's analogy - for me LACTEAL was the woman who was invited but no one knew. "Hey, who's that attractive new arrival?" Although it is a new word for me, it was an obvious and good fit.

A TIECLASP, on the other hand, belongs nowhere. If you are one of the few who still wear a tie, chances are you use a tie tack, tie bar, or tie pin. Or nothing.

Reminds me of the time my wife and I were shopping in the men's department at Macy's. Two men - an apparent couple - near us were shopping for ties when one of the men said to the other as he looked for a tie with a cooking theme, "I need a tie with food on it." Without missing a beat, my wife said to the guy, "All my husband's ties have food on them." And she just kept on walking.

Flying Pediatrician 7:47 AM  

Played average for me; I didn’t find it easy.

PSA: CHEST COLDs almost never need to be treated with antibiotics. If you think this pandemic is bad, wait until you see a world plagued by rampant antibiotic resistance (and I do mean plagued). Pro tip: ask your doctor “Do I really need this Z-pack?” That might give him/her the courage to do the right thing, put the Rx pad down, and appropriately prescribe tincture of time instead!

bocamp 7:49 AM  

Thank you @Ryan for this fresh, crunchy Sat. puz. Right down my base path! ⚾️

Easy+ solve.

Off to an excellent start in the NW, down and around, ending up in the NE. No major hitches.

Always like to see an ANGORA CAT in my grid!

Actually witnessed an UNASSISTED triple play in Little League. It was in our pitching machine league for 7-8 yr. olds. Bases loaded, line-drive to 3rd caught (out 1), baseperson tagged 3B (out 2), then tagged the runner coming from 2nd who was obviously confused (out 3). The 3rd base coach was hoarse after that debacle. Btw, I was UMPing at home.

SMORES were always a fave at camp.

Centerfield ~ John Fogerty

yd pg-2

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

Anonymous 8:04 AM  

How does "hit high in the air" become sky? I don't see the pun.

Mike G 8:34 AM  

Not quite as easy for me as Rex, but I still loved this one. The only groaner for me was THE OX (not a fan of the random THE) but that was easily glossed over by the multiple lines of clean fill and those strong downs: WATER HAZARD, UNASSISTED, EAR TRUMPET, DOMESTICATE, and SCOTCH EGG really tied this one together. Even THE OLD VIC was good (THE is part of the generally accepted title of the venue so it doesn't feel like it was tacked on to make the grid work).

Bravo, Ryan. Thank you for a great start to my Saturday!

TJS 8:41 AM  

Nicely constructed but too easy for a Saturday, imo.

pabloinnh 8:49 AM  

So first the puzzle played Tuesday easy for me and then OFL writes another glowing review.

Confusion abounds, and jar is king.

@Anon 8:04--Baseball announcers use "skies" for hitting a ball high in the air often.

Very smooth, RMC, but I would prefer something Rather More Challenging.

Frantic Sloth 8:57 AM  


Oh, never mind! I'm just repeating everything.
What a rollicking good time that was! It was just over too soon. Superb!

You're having guests over and just as everyone moseys on over to the dining table, ONCUE ANGORACAT reminds you to be more diligent with supplying the Petromalt.


bocamp 9:00 AM  

What @pabloinnh (8:49 AM) said re: baseball; also this: SKY Shots.

"In golf a SKY shot occurs when the clubhead hits the ball near its bottom pole which sends the ball high into the air but not much forward."

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

Unknown 9:03 AM  

Used all the time in baseball.

“And the ball is skied to left. Easy play, one away in the sixth...”

TheMadDruid 9:12 AM  

It’s a baseball term. A high fly ball.

TheMadDruid 9:14 AM  

Aglow crossing lactile. A not-so-easy puzzle then.

Barbara S. 9:16 AM  

This was a terrific Saturday that I sailed through on a luxury yacht in calm waters. Mind you, I got off to a bad start with “aglow” for UPLIT, a word I don’t think I’ve ever heard, in crossword puzzles or out. It didn’t seem to matter, though, because the rest of the answers flowed so smoothly. I astounded myself by getting EAR TRUMPET (which I loved) off the first R! Liked a lot of answers here, including these little ‘uns: OWS (Smart remarks?) and ABS (Focus of middle management?). Not so fond of TIE CLASP, which seemed made up for this puzzle. Learned LACTEAL from Spelling Bee. “Per ardua AD ASTRA”! A great motto for the Royal Air Force, and Canada’s used it too, until for some reason they changed it into something less distinguished.

I know SKY as a verb in a completely different context. In the Salon, the official art exhibition of the French Academy, paintings were hung floor to ceiling in every square inch of space. If your work was hung at ceiling height, it was unlikely to be noticed by anyone (public or critics), a great disadvantage to the furthering of your career. This was called having your painting SKYed (or maybe “skied”, although that looks like a winter sport). In any case, artists used to fight like dogs with the establishment to avoid that calamity.

Please, someone, tell me how to make DIRTY RICE. Oh, and by the way, I hear it and the SCOTCH EGGS are particularly good at Z’s Placebo and Tentacle.

Today there are three excerpts by JOSEPH HELLER, born on MAYDAY! MAYDAY! 1923.

“There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one's safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn't, but if he was sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn't have to; but if he didn't want to he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle.
‘That's some catch, that Catch-22,’ he observed.
‘It's the best there is,’ Doc Daneeka agreed.”
“It was miraculous. It was almost no trick at all, he saw, to turn vice into virtue and slander into truth, impotence into abstinence, arrogance into humility, plunder into philanthropy, thievery into honor, blasphemy into wisdom, brutality into patriotism, and sadism into justice. Anybody could do it; it required no brains at all. It merely required no character.”
“’Why are they going to disappear him?'
‘I don't know.'
‘It doesn't make sense. It isn't even good grammar.’”
(All from Catch-22)

Son Volt 9:16 AM  

Goofy looking grid but Rex is right - the center is filled so smoothly there was no real pushback. Liked DICE CUP, UNASSISTED and LOVE SEATS. THE OX and DESEX not so much. Couldn’t warm to DOMESTICATE as break.

@PhysGraf 7:34 - watching the Yanks last night there were a bunch of “he skies this one deep to right” out of Michael Kay - very common in baseball vernacular. Also - count yourself lucky to have missed out on the SCOTCH EGGS.

Very enjoyable Saturday.

JD 9:21 AM  

My late father-in-law was deeply involved in scouts, played in a summer baseball league and coached little league. My mother-in-law, now 96, only recently gave up her crossword because the cluing had gone beyond her.

In my mind, I see her in black and white, sometime in the '50s, sitting at the kitchen with her puzzle and coffee saying, "Herb, what's a baseball play rarer than a no-hitter?" Or, "What did they call WW I headgear?" And, "What's a popular camp assembly?"

Maybe he would be yelling back the answers from the bedroom and then saying, "Have you seen my Tie Clasp?"

This puzzle is a black-and-white photo of Chevy's with Bald Tires, people suffering Chest Colds, giant newspaper headlines about UBoats. At a time when the term Nut Case was actually said. When Uplit faces around campfires were smudged with chocolate from S'mores because the Boy Scouts' trip didn't have to be cancelled. With an obscure baseball term.

It reminded me of Gary Trudeau's trips through Ronald Reagan's brain strip in the 1980s.

Lacteal (a word where the first four letters were obvious) just crashed the party. Ear Trumpet fit perfectly.

Z 9:21 AM  

It is a Ryan McCarty double as the LATX is also by him. The grids have very similar shapes, with the LATX having just a bit more black space. Both solid, professionally made grids with minimal dreck.

MADAM had a LOL funny clue in the AVCX this week, but not a clue we will ever see in the NYTX.

I’m towards Rex on LACTEAL. Taking the Latin root and adding EAL doesn’t really strike me as a “new” word. If I had ever run across LACTEAL in the wild it wouldn’t have slowed my understanding of the sentence for even a trice. I might have wondered why the simpler “milk-producing” wasn’t used. Still, that EAL is needed to start the staggered stack, so definitely a less than wonderful word worth having for all else it allows.

My only other moment of arched eyebrow was calling the ADORATION a “motif.” To me “motif” suggests something that recurs in larger works while the ADORATION is a larger work in and of itself. I can do some gymnastics to make it work (there are lots of works about the ADORATION, so it is a “motif” within the large category of “Christian art”), but I needed lots of crosses before I saw where the clue was going.

I assume 38D refers to Rye.

Frantic Sloth 9:26 AM  

Yeah. Gotta agree with Rex's take on LACTEAL, though I didn't really notice it at the time. His little diatribe is too damn funny.

@Conrad 651am makes a good point about THE Ohio State, but I don't agree with everyone's "THE" nit. Simply because it's one, well actually two of those instances where it's part of the name. People say "THE OLD VIC", not just "OLD VIC" and likewise, it's "Year of THE OX" (or "THE" any other animal), not "Year of OX."
I'll allow it. Them.

@Joaquin 744am 🀣🀣 Your wife (like you) is hilarious, too!

@pabloinnh 849am has it right about SKY, too - and he's performing without a printer! πŸ˜‰

Barbara S. 9:28 AM  

@JD (9:21)
Fantastic post!

Nancy 9:31 AM  

Tough for me -- and all the toughness was in the devious cluing. There were virtually no proper names -- to which I say Hurray. Well done, Ryan.

Though I didn't write it in, I thought that "Smart remarks?" would be LIP rather than OWS -- so I wanted an "I" to start off "Where many a drive ends, unfortunately." And none of the "I"s fit: not IN THE ROUGH nor IN THE TRAP nor IN THE WATER. Curses. WATER HAZARD, when it finally came in, was great.

Never thought of TIE CLASP. I wanted a BIB or an APRON. Didn't you? Terrific clue.

For the old-timey hearing aid, I was looking for something like a CONCH SHELL. I never thought of EAR TRUMPET. Great answer.

If I'd known MARON, I'd have seen MADAM earlier. But I was stumped there until the end.

When you have THE L---VI- (LIP, remember?), you're not going to see THE OLD VIC.

And of course I wanted GOT YA, not GOT EM.

I struggled everywhere and thought it was a great Saturday -- one that was very deceitful but also completely fair.

Tom T 9:31 AM  

Three theories on TIECLASP: 1) it is a creaky old name for those metallic accessories; 2) it is a regional term; or 3) both. I grew up in the South many, many moons ago, and TIECLASP is the only word I knew for that whatchamacallit as a child. Perhaps that's why the answer came to me immediately, even though I haven't thought of it or spoken it in a loooong time.

I suppose the "CLASP" part comes from the jagged piece of metal that goes behind the TIE and grips or clasps, securing the garment to the shirt and keeping it out of one's soup.

Z 9:36 AM  

BTW - SKY is used as a verb in basketball and ultimate about athletes who leap especially high. In Ultimate it also is used to describe what happens to the player who doesn’t jump high enough, and so gets “skyed.” There was even a SKYd magazine. And I definitely have heard it used in baseball for years, decades even.

Frantic Sloth 9:40 AM  

@Barbara S 916am I think Canada's new motto for the Air Force is "Well, we like SKY" or the Latin of same. πŸ˜‰
BTW Z's Placebo and Tentacle Pub also serves DIRTY RICE, but good luck getting the recipe - where do you think the "Tentacle" part of the name came from?πŸ˜‰

@JD 921am Heartwarming nostalgic take on the tone of this grid. Seriously. ❤️
Now someone tell a joke! @GILL - Quick! Who's walking into a bar?

@Z 921am "I assume 38D refers to Rye."
Of course you did. So did I. It's impossible not to anymore. πŸ™„

Rube 9:44 AM  

So I found this more chalkenging and here is why. Rex cavalierly dropped in UPLIT which worked
I went with AGLOW which worked for abomb at 1d and lac_ at 3d. PENNIB is pretty weak and 5d could have been Wimbledon

So it could gave been difficult to complete unassisted except UNASSISTED was a huge gimme for me.

RooMonster 9:44 AM  

Hey All !
Another impressive construction feat. Getting also those Longs to cross with clean fill is a tough thing to accomplish. And still having nice big NE and SW corners.

Only sorta Ugh thing for me is THEOX, however, @Frantics 9:26 post has me seeing it as OK. So a super clean filled, nicely clued SatPuz. Bravo Ryan.

Had GOTEM in at first, but took out as couldn't see anything else. Turned out to be a correct. See also: OWS. Weird how that happens. Looking for pangram after the SW's K, X, Z. But, no.

I have UNASSISTED ADORATION for this puz. ☺️

One F

Birchbark 9:44 AM  

BALD TIRES are a WATER HAZARD. I do not NEED A RIDE from that guy.

The idea of a SCOTCH EGG is better than the reality. But SMORES are good to think about and good to eat.

THE OLD VIC. There was a small theatre called the THE New VIC outside my hometown of Kalamazoo, Michigan. According to local legend, David Soul (of "Starsky and Hutch") acted in a production or two there before he struck it rich.

Z 9:46 AM  

@Tom T - I think there are three different types of TIE attachers, the TIE tack, the TIE Clip, and the TIE CLASP. The Clip and CLASP may look very similar, the difference being behind the TIE. The TIE Clip attaches the TIE to the shirt while the TIE CLASP has a little chain that attaches to a button. A quick search of images seems to support that this distinction is made by at least some, but I don’t know how universal it is.

Ahmed Adoudi 9:59 AM  

Peak overlooking Armenia’s capital crossing Turk is timely.

Teedmn 10:10 AM  

My first instinct at 1A, as many of you mention, was AGLOW but I couldn't make any crosses with it so I didn't write it in. I did consider trying to pry ORS into 4D but there was that niggling "the clue isn't really plural" idea. When ON CUE gave me ICU, I dropped the "aglow" urge and got down to work.

BALD TIRES with no crosses, score!

I had many crosses in place for 6D but could not wrap my head around how an UNASSISTED triple play could happen, so I appreciate the clip over at xwordinfo.com. Cool play.

@Joaquin, that quip by your wife is a once-in-a-lifetime bon mot!!

Ryan McCarty, thanks for the very nice, smooth Saturday puzzle.

JD 10:17 AM  

@Barbara S., Thank you.

@Frantic, Did I ever tell you about my grandfather? He had the heart of lion but all he got for it was a lifetime ban from the Pittsburgh zoo.

TTrimble 10:17 AM  

LACTEAL, huh? Let me add to the list though: "galactic" and "galaxy". I guess the connection is Milky Way? Yes, indeed! Apparently the word entered in late Middle English (although the roots are of course Greek).

Strange how different brains work. Apparently, UPLIT was the first thing that occurred to Rex. For me, it was "aglow", and TBH, I don't know that I've ever seen or heard of UPLIT before today, although the meaning is obvious. "Lit up", sure.

The solving time was better than average time for me, but I wouldn't call this very easy. Side eyes at THE OLD VIC and THE OX appearing in the same puzzle (as noted by Rex). Baseball minitheme (UMP + UNASSISTED -- not being into baseball, I couldn't get that UNASSISTED by crosses).

The NE and SW are curiously cordoned off, with only two points of access to either, making this effectively three separate puzzles. The first to fall for me was the NE. Down in the SW I see MARINAS, and I foresee (could I say SCRIE? SCRIES from yesterday is also new to me) the inevitable reference to Rye, NY. For reasons that escape me, the Rye Marina and its concomitants (a wooden roller coaster, some tentacle pub) seem to be an unending source of mirth here. I think I missed what was so funny the first time around, and now it's almost a shibboleth. It reminds me of a joke a student of mine once told, that in some jail the prison mates told the same jokes over and over, so much so that after a while they numbered the jokes and referred to them by number. One day a prisoner yelled 7, and the newly arrived convict laughed uproariously. Why? Because he'd never heard that joke before...

Missed words from the SB several days ago: LAMELLA, LAMELLAE, and MAHIMAHI.
Today I'm pg -2, and am hopeful. But work beckons.

Whatsername 10:19 AM  

A few things that made me raise an eyebrow but overall an enjoyable Saturday. Never heard SKY* used as a verb, ADORATION as a motif or neuter described as DESEX. LACTEAL gave me fits but only because I had it spelled with an I. That with HBOMB at 1D in HILIT at 1A took a bit of time to unTIE.

Thought of @Nancy at 36A and her shot in the non ARM. My calico non ANGORA CAT, who is quite vocal, injured her paw and made an “OW” sound when I inspected it. When I attempted to treat it, she then switched to making a “no” sound. Cats can communicate quite clearly but most of the time they just don’t want to bother.

*I’m not much of a baseball fan but I do know the Kansas City Royals are leading the AL Central Division right now. I also know what a triple play is but didn't know there was such a thing as an UNASSISTED one. If you’re curious like I was and want to see how it’s done, here is an excellent video of an UNASSISTED triple play so smooth it even fooled the TV announcers.

Plus there’s a picture of a SCOTCH EGG which I’d never quite figured out either. Both make perfect sense now.

Carola 10:24 AM  

This one was truly Saturday-hard for me at first: after being able to populate the top half with only an UMP, an ANT and a TURK, I fled to the south, hoping for friendlier territory. Indeed, MEH over ELOPE got me the HE of SCOTCH EGG, and off I went. Such fun to solve, with one sparkling answer materializing after another.

Do-over: GOT ya. Actually entertained: TIE CLAmP. Should-have-been-help from previous puzzles: MARON, which I've seen often enough but could only respond to with M-something? Phenomenon known to nursing mothers: LACTEAL SPRITZ.

kvilksen 10:25 AM  

aglow in 1A killed me too for an unfortunately long time.

JOHN X 10:30 AM  

Man, this was too freakin' easy. This puzzle was Tuesday difficult at best. Even worse was the Friday puzzle, all nine minutes of it. That's like an easy Monday puzzle. But I really liked the Thursday puzzle.

Don't hate me because I'm good at this.


I finally figured out (mostly) what happened to me last Sunday night at Jack Nicholson’s Oscar party. I accidentally snorted a whole bowl of PCP mixed with powerful horse amphetamines, the kind they use at the Kentucky Derby. Jack likes to pour it into his giant aquarium and everyone bets on which fish will eat who. Not this year they didn’t. I thought it was regular blow. The last thing I remember I was sticking my face in that bowl. I snorted it all and they tell me I ran right through the front door. It was not open.

I pieced together the rest through my contacts on the force. I used to be LAPD, worked bunco and vice in Hollenbeck Division; Bill Johnson was my partner, Chet Jones was watch commander. I left because I wasn’t getting enough bribes and also they fired me. My sources tell me I was picked up late Sunday night in the huge Union Pacific railroad yard in Colton, 60 miles east of the Hollywood Hills. The deputy I talked to said they got a call from U.P. security that there was a “vagrant” in the rail yard. They responded, and while they were beating the shit out of the vagrant they noticed me hanging upside between two boxcars, unconscious, with my leg caught in a ladder. I guess I was trying to climb to the roof. They said my shoes were around my calves because the soles had completely worn away; only the uppers were left and they were slightly smoking. The general theory is that I ran the 60 miles from Jack’s to Colton, probably at a very high speed. I have no memory of any of this. It explains why my shoes were missing, but why I was wearing my underpants on the outside of my tuxedo trousers remains a mystery. I woke up in the tank on Monday, and when I got back to Jack’s my Buick LeSabre was parked exactly where I left it. So I guess I did run 60 miles, which I think is a pretty good accomplishment.

eddy 10:39 AM  

Absolutely convinced that 1 down was either SONAR or RADAR. It was neither (UBOAT). Combined with not knowing LACTEAL, or THEOLDVIC, I was stymied.

Easy, NOT (for me!). Hate ratings.

albatross shell 10:45 AM  

Not one but 2 THEs in the puzzle. Merely an observation. We established many months ago that this is within the bounds of propriety.

I knew LACTEAL was right cause happy music. I looked tt up and it has something to do with the lymphatic system absorbing fat from the small intestine. ???. Need some more biology on that to get to milk.

Solved from the SW east and north, the top third taking more time than the bottom two thirds. Easier for me than than Friday's. And a Saturday without google which only happens every 2 or 3 months for me .

I had a twinge of morbidity yesterday connecting "take a turn"(hearing "for the worse" in my head) and "went" (and hearing died in my head). Today it was the golf clue: Taking a drive that unfortunately ends in a water hazard with perhaps fatal results.

But I cheered myself up thinking of The DESEXER of males who carries around two pieces of luggage, one of which is a NUTCASE. And the clues for FINGERTIP BALDTIRES FAD UMP SPRITZ ABS ARM TINHAT MADAM NEEDARIDE BEACH ELOPE. Many bits of fun. EARTRUMPETS ALAMODOME very much appreciated as fill.

Took to 2hr. 15min. But I was watching the Laker game. People were masked and no crowd shots. No JOHNX no Jack. I missed the first 5 minutes and the PREGAME. Anybody else spot our man?

MARINAS plural. All 3 of them !RYE N.Y., Rhye from Queen, and the miniature one I have carved from 14 (in honor J. Heller) loaves of stale rye bread during the pandemic that is ironically named the Wry Marina. The sign hangs across the pier.

egsforbreakfast 10:45 AM  

There is an amazing and fairly recent unassisted triple play posted by Jim Horne at the end of today’s xwordinfo writeup. It completely fooled the broadcast announcers until they watched it in slo-mo.

This was an incredible puzzle, with almost no PPP other than SCOT CHEGGS, who I believe was the founder of a short-lived chain of fast food haggis restaurants called Skinny Malinky Longlegs.

Thanks for a wonderful Saturday, Ryan McCarty

mathgent 10:51 AM  

I knew that Nancy would love it -- virtually no proper nouns. Plus clever cluing . I loved it, too.

Thanks Barbara for the quote explaining Catch 22.

Not easy for me. It required some serious brainwork to untangle some of the clues. But not hard, either. Only one mystery clue/entry, MARON. Some Saturdays have about 20 of them.

Tom T 10:53 AM  

@ Z Interesting research in the tie accessory department. I was totally unfamiliar with the concept of the chain that attaches to a button. Looking at images, it seems like the chain might be used with a bar or a clasp. Still thinking that what makes a clasp a clasp is the clasping jagged nature of the part that goes behind the tie and (in my childhood) held it snugly against the shirt.
Classic Rex blog fun, having these in depth explorations of terms like TIECLASP & SKY!

Steve M 10:54 AM  

Lacteal bah humbug!!

Bax'N'Nex 10:57 AM  

Hey Mike...what did you think of LACTEAL??

bocamp 11:01 AM  

@TTrimble 10:17 AM

The Rye 'Shibboleth'. LOL

SB stuff alert

Didn't miss lamella/e; never knew it in the first place; do now! Did miss mahi-mahi (dolphinfish) a few weeks ago and was disappointed; fished for them in Hawaii. Didn't miss it this time. :)

td pg -2

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

jae 11:02 AM  

Easy, no real problems anywhere. Very smooth with a fine middle stair stack. Liked it a bunch!

Amelia 11:03 AM  

Totally agree with Rex. And love his way of talking about the vaccines. That's exactly it. A personal and public good. I wish all those hesitant (the ones who will let others do it or misunderstand herd immunity or are just ornery, not those who are worried about effects) people would get that. It is the same with masks. The mask you wear is to protect OTHERS. People never got that. Oh well, may it be history soon.

Puzzle was too easy, but it was lovely. Maybe if it were harder, it wouldn't be as nice. (Wow. I'm being charitable today.)

As for sky, those who don't watch baseball don't get it. Those who do get it in spades. Somehow a ball that's skyed never becomes a homerun. I wonder why.

Go Yanks! (Came alive last night.)

Beautiful day here. Off to the Jewish Museum for a photo show. Vaccination rate in my zip code is among the highest in the city. Infection rate is among the lowest.


sixtyni yogini 11:05 AM  

Several clever, mind-flexing clues, for me - a good thing!

CreamyT 11:17 AM  

My wife and I had a great time with this one. A few tricky spots - NE (same issues Rex had getting in there with ___sticated), and NW. We had litup before UPLIT, and ended up fixing after getting BEACH/ONCUE. I still find that wording a little odd. UBOAT is a "subject"? I get why it's technically correct, but it doesn't sit well. It's not like U-boat would ever refer to a single thing, and "U-boat" isn't *A* subject. I dunno. Maybe it's me.

Nitpicks aside, had a great time. Fun fill, very little PPP I think. Or at least nothing that we struggled with. Many clever clues and great words.

Had no idea what an unassisted triple play was, or that it would even be remotely feasible. But it's an answer you can suss out without knowing, and it's a great way to learn a new term.

Faster than our typical Saturday, although I'll call it medium and just say we're getting better :).

Nancy 11:17 AM  

@Whatsername (10:19) -- Yes, I thought of me, too, at the ARM clue and winced. The far more painless answer would, of course, have been ASS. For all of you who suffered ARM pain on your Covid shot(s) -- remember my words for next time.

I'm getting my 2nd Pfizer this coming Friday and just hope that everything goes as smoothly and painlessly as the first one did and that the kind and cooperative nurses from last time will be there and remember me. I also hope I won't suffer the side effects that 2nd doses are known for. I had wanted the "one-and-done" J&J but it's been almost impossible to get in NYC -- even before they paused it. Once they paused it, I realized immediately that I had to do something else, however reluctantly.

Everyone is treating vaccination hesitancy as a political issue. Yes, it's often that, too, but I think it's much more of a scaredy-cat issue that no one acknowledges -- especially not the macho male types who are swaggering around complaining about the infringement of their personal liberties. They're going to admit that they're afraid of needles because needles hurt? No way.

So 1) STOP SHOWING NEEDLES GOING INTO PEOPLE'S ARMS 87 times a day on TV news. Stop showing it 5 times a week on the front page of The New York Times. This has been going on for 6 months and it's extremely triggering. I always close my eyes, but seldom quickly enough. And therefore, I usually "watch" the vaccine news portions of the program with my eyes shut the entire time.

And stop using the terminology "We need to get shots in people's arms." Also extremely triggering. Just say: "We need to get people actually vaccinated."

I think there's been a lot of denial and naivete on the part of both the news media and the government.

Richard Stanford 11:18 AM  

At least with both of those THE is a common part of the name, especially THE OLD VIC. Still not great but not completely gratuitous.

GILL I. 11:18 AM  

Is it possible to fall in love with a Saturday? I did. The ADORATION piled on from my UPLIT face to the GUSTS of a blast at the end. This MADAM HOT POT sailed practically UNASSISTED.... even my EAR TRUMPET did the SPRITZ DANCE.
I had most answers dangling at my FINGERTIPS....except that little LACTEAL. Did anyone else think a TEA TOWEL might gather up all the goop from your soup? I did. Strange that I don't know anyone who wears a TIE CLASP. That one word and the TEAL thing made me get up from my LOVE SEATS and visit that REPTILE, Google.
Very satisfying end. I wanted more. I wanted SCOTCH EGGS piled on with DIRTY RICE, I wanted to sit at the BEACH overlooking the MARINAs, swipe the ANTs and yell GOTTEM, eat some SMORES, do SHOTS of some Jack and throw my TIN HAT to the wind.
Thanks for the fun, Ryan.
My DESEX runneth over.

Unknown 11:19 AM  

Great PSA. Retired ED doc. The scourge of modern medicine...

Masked and Anonymous 11:25 AM  

I think I get it, that @RP is LACTEAL intolerant.

Ah yes -- The Jaws of Themelesness black square clumps are open again for business. Refreshin to see.

Liked this rodeo a lot. It was a bit on the easy side for a SatPuz at our house, too. The clues were tryin hard to feist things up, but they couldn't quite compensate for all the smooth fillins. Sure worked for m&e, tho.

staff weeject pick: It is, of course, our daily honor to bestow some respect on them cute lil 3-letter runtwords. Today LOU Hoover seemed to really stand out, since her name seems totally new to the likes of M&A. Always fun, when a weeject puts up a fight. Thanx, LOU -- good for us to suffer.

My PuzEatinSpouse is on a morning expo-dition with her sister, so I wanted to save the bottom puzhalf for her for later, along with some of the coffee and maybe a cinnamon roll. Sooo … had to do that puz part in my head, without writin stuff down. Altho many nanoseconds were lost via that technique, M&A still succeeded -- another tribute to how smooth the fillins were.

some fave sparkle splatzes: DIRTYRICE. ANDORACAT+NEOPET. FINGERTIP [kinda feisty clue]. EARTRUMPET [reverse-techno-nerdy]. SCOTCHEGG. NUTCASES. SPRITZ. THEOX. WATERHAZARD. LIZZARD [har … my first real desperate stab at the REPTILE clue].

Thanx so much for a SatPuz that I could solve in mind-ink, Mr. McCarty. Primo-est of work.

Masked & Anonymo6Us


Teedmn 11:41 AM  

For all of the scoffers earlier this week, I was walking through my front yard inspecting pine cones this morning and I'm now trying to rid myself of PINE SAP. It isn't on the hard cones, it's on the longer, softer cones.

JD 11:49 AM  

@JohnX, Change your handle to @JohnXXX, start your own blog XXXWorld and really blow the lid off. Or just blow through a lid. The world needs to know.

Z 12:09 PM  

@Tom T - Yeah - differences that make no difference. I suppose if you work selling ties having a distinction between a “clip” and a TIE CLASP might help ease confusion.

15 UNASSISTED Triple Plays in the modern era. All like the one in the video except for Johnny Neun and George Burns, who tagged the runner first than tagged 2nd base. Both did it while playing first base. Both in the 1920’s so probably no video evidence. Also interesting that 6 of the 15 happened in the 1920’s, then not another one until 1968. I think the sabermetricians frown on the no out double steal these days, so it is very unlikely we will have another one any time soon.

@JD 10:17 - Boooooo! πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚

@TTrimble - You confused me so I had to look it up. According to Etymology Online all things LAC are from Latin and all things “gala” are from Greek and both of those are from Porto-Indo-European.

@albatross shell - A wry Rye triptych! I love it.

albatross shell 12:11 PM  

Are tie clasps suppose to save your tie from soup stains or your shirt? And how does the clasp help in either case? And is this one of the purposes of a tie in the first place? I'm not understanding the mechanics here.

OffTheGrid 12:12 PM  

Lacteal is a word. That it is unfamiliar is not reason for scorn. My word nit today is UPLIT (does not mean LIT UP) as clued. It simply means illuminated from below. I guess it could work if the "faces" were above, looking down at the fire but most campfires are viewed from the same level as the fire. This deserved a much better clue.

albatross shell 12:28 PM  

Not only is an unassisted triple play possible, but an unassisted triple play where the fielder never touches the ball is possible, but has not yet happened. And probably won't.

JC66 12:29 PM  


The TIE CLASP pins (CLASPS) the tie to the shirt. preventing it from falling into the soup when leaning over to take a sip, thereby preventing a stain.

Frantic Sloth 12:38 PM  

Hand up for Aglow before UPLIT, because Rex's mind lives...well, Gof knows where. When I think of UPLIT, it involves sitting around a campfire - yes - but, with a flashlight held under the chin of the ghost storyteller. I can hear the goat now. (American Graffiti) reference for you youngsters.)

@JD 1017am I don't believe you did and clearly I'm the poorer for it. Spill! (You can email me if you want to avoid "comment clutter". Not that I think it would be clutter, but you know.) Why do I have this nagging sensation that I missed a joke?

@TTrimble 1017am That pun is beneath you. But waist-high and over the plate for me! Did you not see my 926am post? I thought I made myself perfectly clear, Mr. Man. Or do I have to Chicksplain to ya?

@JOHN X 1030am Brilliant, once again!
I wanna live in your pocket, but then God knows where I'd end up. Suffocation by tightly-whitey is not a good look for me.

mathgent 12:38 PM  

Ryan McCarthy, the author of today's excellent puzzle, also write today's LAT crossword.

oceanjeremy 12:51 PM  

First things first: HOORAY for the dearth of PPP on this one!

As is our ritual, my fiancΓ©e and I solved together (on paper). We got stuck in the NE, before we realized we had filled in the squares wrong (UasSSISTED instead of UNASSISTED). Once that small error was corrected we sailed through the rest of it, then (as is our ritual) I read to her aloud Rex’s post.

I did not mind LACTEAL as much as OFL. The definite article in THE OLD VIC doesn’t bother me at all, but I feel like it should have been clued “Year of _____ (2021)” to get the same definite article into THE OX. This might have introduced a tad of (welcome!) resistance by omitting the “Chinese Zodiac” portion of the clue.

What did bother me was PEN NIB. Just say it, aloud. It’s inelegant in your mouth. Unpoetic. But this is probably a personal problem (mine).

Let’s see… my fiancΓ©e didn’t appreciate the crossing of two baseball clues with UNASSISTED and UMP (6A/6D). Otherwise a pleasant (if too easy) diversion on a Saturday morning.

Allow me also to defend the humble TIE CLASP: I love tie clips, tie bars and TIE CLASPs. I have occasion to dress up less often than even once a year (maybe once every 2.5 years I’d say), but when I do I insist on a TIE CLASP and a (muted) pocket square. It’s also been in the NYTXW twice before, in 2009 and 2010 on a Monday and a Tuesday.

My personal favorites of today:
UPLIT (clued via campfire) in the same puzzle as SMORES: What a cozy thing to evoke!
BALD TIRES (worn on the road): I knew this would have something to do with tires when I first read the clue, and I was delighted when I discovered I was right.
FINGERTIP (print source): Like Rex, I also thought this would have to do with a “tip” from a source / lead. This time I was delighted when I discovered I was wrong.
U-BOAT (in-depth subject for war historian): chef’s kiss
SCOTCH EGG: Okay, now I’m hungry.

@Flying Pediatrician 7:47 AM: I wish more physicians were as ethical about antibiotics as you are. I have told previous doctors that I don’t want antibiotics and they insisted on giving me the prescription anyway. (I didn’t fill them.)

@Ahmed Adoudi 9:59 AM: Well noted! (re: Armenia vis-Γ -vis Turk appearing in the same puzzle, and this week)

@ Z 12:09 PM: "Galakto" is the Greek for "Milk," which has both the "gala" and the "lact" in it. Allow me a tangent: My fiancΓ©e's family is Greek, and her mother and sister both make quite a nice Galaktoboureko — if you've never had it, I recommend you try it.

RooMonster 1:01 PM  

Since we're all sharing, my first 1A was litup. Har. Wasn't jiving with any of the Downs, so took it out only to see it was UPLIT. Good stuff.

And the overlooking Armenian peak at first was MT ETNA, naturally.

RooMonster Clean Up Guy (baseball tie-in!)

jberg 1:06 PM  

Wasn’t THEO X a pope? And THEO LDVIC could be anagrammed into THEO DCLVI, a Pope of the future.

Also, am I the only one who wrote in LACTant, a much more word-like option?

But I agree, a fine puzzle.

@Nancy, needles have come a long way. They are much thinner, and not painful. But your mileage may vary, of course.

Z 1:49 PM  

@Frantic Sloth - Re:@JD’s joke - Did it dawn on you yet? Think literally. Maybe read it in Groucho’s voice.

Frantic Sloth 1:50 PM  

@JD I should pay attention to my nagging sensations. Mrs. Sloth got it right away. I'm such a jamoke. πŸ™„

Ferguson 1:54 PM  

Tie clasp is a mainly British term for the U S tie clip. No big deal.

A 1:55 PM  

Not so easy when you’re looking at “eerie” campfire faces. Left it blank, along with the rest of that area, and hopped around trying to find a FINGERhold. Found a few short entries, but finally got a good, solid grip at 32D. SCOTCH EGGs used to be an occasional treat at a local Irish Pub. Too salty to be a favorite, but all that salt sold a few extra pints of Guinness, I’m sure.

Radiated out from there, inch by inch, grappling with all those ambiguous clues, gaining confidence with each new “aha, GOT’EM!”

The final section to fall was the TIN HAT FINGERTIP area. I took a break and was looking on our local garden guru’s website to see about a rose sale. Stumbled on a comment about his garden REPTILEs, and the skink/gekko heat lamp came on. I do not consider that a cheat. It was pure serendipity.

Never heard of LACTEAL but don’t get Rex’s hate. And what’s wrong with TIE CLASP? Isn’t that the kind that has the chain? It’s true you don’t see them much. Hmm, another formerly ubiquitous item gone obsolete.

Happy Birthday, Judy Collins! One of her first compositions is the wonderfully lyrical Albatross. (Sorry, no shell)

Congratulations, Mr. McCarty, on this excellent crossword puzzle!

Master Melvin 1:58 PM  

Interesting culinary entries today.

I was staying with a friend in New Orleans, and another guest, a Cajun guy, was cooking dinner. What's for dinner? Coon Ass Po'k Chops and DIRTY RICE.

Another time in the San Francisco area, our Chinese-American hosts served up a memorable Mongolian HOT POT.

First encountered SCOTCH EGGS in a British-style pub someplace in the Midwest. Boiled egg encased in Sausage, then in bread crumbs and deep-fried. What's not to like? Pass the Lipitor.

Julie 2:05 PM  

Primary care MD here. Couldn’t agree more.

Unknown 2:10 PM  

@ nancy 11:17 if watching a PSA that shows people getting vaccinated is so "triggering" for you, maybe you need to turn off the TV. Seriously. I think the ads are simply great - - - and hopefully are encouraging folks to get vaccinated.

while i rarely agree with Rex's takes on puzzles (mainly because I like most of them, and he hates most of them), I absolutely agree with him today. The middle section was a work of art.

However, I had AGLOW for 1A, so i didn't get off to quite the same "easy start" that he did.

oriordan 4:08 PM  

Agree with @Nancy and @Carola on the difficulty level. Hugely admired all those long answers but not many of them came easily for me. Exactly what makes Saturday puzzle should be!

@Nancy - good luck with the 2nd shot! I felt fine; my wife struggled a bit for 24-36 hours. But we’re done - yay!

A 4:23 PM  

@Joaquin, a TIE quip!

@bocamp, LOL at the Little League story!

Thanks all, for the SKY info - I don’t often watch golf or baseball on TV so I had no idea. I like going to live baseball games, and sometimes even playing golf, but mostly for the company.

@Barbara S, that Heller gave me shivers - there’s that “eerieness” I was looking for!

@Nancy, yes to bib, conch, GOTya, and not knowing MARON - the description “deceitful but completely fair” is perfect!

@TTrimble, the “numbered jokes” joke I heard is that a new inmate calls out a joke number and nobody laughs. He asks why, and they say, “Guess you just can’t tell a joke.”

Yes, RYE and her MARINA are CLASPed ARM in Tentacled ARM.

@John X, keep working on that mystery. Inquiring minds want to know. BTW, were they the same pair you had worn underneath?

@M&A, your “LACTEAL intolerant” Rex is inspired! And congrats on your “mind-ink solve” - I do that in spots when I want to confirm a guess, but to do half a grid that way quite a feat.

Bruce Fieggen 5:02 PM  

What is going on with this blog lately? We used to have LMS veering off into tangents but at least she started out by commenting on the puzzle. Barbara throws in random book passages and I’ve yet to figure out how they relate to today’s post. JohnX is spouting off nonsense about God-knows what. There is usually some anonymous troll stirring up the pot. And others are talking about COVID and vaccines. But nobody else seems put off by this. I guess I must be the odd one out here expecting to read people discussing the puzzle.

Nancy 5:13 PM  

Nope, @Unknown. Not causing people to get vaccinated. Quite the opposite: Causing some people to not get vaccinated.

You want pro-vaccination PSAs? Show smiling celebrities walking up to smiling nurses. Show them sitting down in chairs, still smiling. Even show them rolling up their sleeves -- but only if you absolutely must. But do not show harrowing close-ups of needles going into arms!!! Just Don't. It's sadistic, it's dumb, and it's completely counterproductive.

albatross shell 5:16 PM  

I was going to congratulatwe you on giving a sensible reason because I had not thought of it. But the tie would have to be just long enough to land in the soup, and not long enough to be below the table. Seems unlikely. But certainly possible. So kinda I guess. Was a tie an offspring of a bib? Man's tie = bib?

bocamp 5:29 PM  

@albatross shell (12:28 PM)

I had to chuckle at your 'unassisted triple play where the fielder never touches the ball'. Back in the late '90s/early'00s I participated on a few baseball boards, and your teaser would have engendered a major discussion, which I'm sure I would have enjoyed immensely. πŸ€”

@A (4:23 PM) πŸ‘

Don't recall ever having SKYed a golf ball, but many times a baseball/softball. LOL


Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

TTrimble 5:49 PM  

Fascinating blurb on THE OLD VIC. I don't think I made it over there whilst living in London for six months.

NEOPET is a FAD that passed me by.

@Frantic Sloth
I'll see your jamoke and raise you one!

Which is to say, yes, please chicksplain away, but not here, please. In fact, I'll get the ball rolling with an email.

@Bruce Fieggen
Did you want to say anything about the puzzle?

Frantic Sloth 7:15 PM  

@A 423pm 🀣 I got that joke!

JC66 7:43 PM  


On Monday or Tuesday, ties are "Trump" length.

Not so on Saturdays. πŸ˜‚

TTrimble 7:44 PM  

0 for me too.

Did you notice on Thursday's SB that NATICK would have been possible? I mean, if only.

The play-online variety puzzle this weekend is a vowel-less crossword. I glanced at it before deciding I'd need to set aside time and coffee. Maybe tomorrow.

JC66 7:46 PM  


re: the vowel-less. Take the time, it worth it.

Anonymous 7:59 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Unknown 8:06 PM  


Anon @ 7:59 doesn't trigger anything with you?

bocamp 8:09 PM  

@TTrimble (7:44 PM) πŸ‘

Not only did I notice it, I plunked it in, just because I could. LOL I often do that with such, cos it provides a view of the letters in a different arrangement and sometimes leads to a word that can be used. πŸ˜‰

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

GILL I. 8:23 PM  

@Bruce, at exactly 5:02. Yes...you must be the odd one out here....or maybe not. feel free to add your spouts; some of them are fun. Oh...we discuss the puzzle and add our little je ne said quoi's. It's fun...maybe you should try it instead of grousing to exactly no one.
@Frantic...amiga...A jerk walk into a bar and.........

JIM Y 9:10 PM  

@ Bruce 5:02PM

I agree with you. That rapscallion JOHN X is just a nogoodnik who can't stay out of jail. Who is he kidding?

Still, if I wasn't a Mormon with 3 wives and 22 children, I'd gay marry him in a second.

A 10:23 PM  

@Bruce Fieggen, I'm mystified by your comment. Out of the 76 comments up when I wrote this, the vast majority do discuss the puzzle. Your post was actually one of the few exceptions.

I love that people have fun with their posts. A few posters group puzzle entries in clever and amusing ways. Some point out something in the puzzle that is relevant to current events. A few are replying to posts which did discuss the puzzle, or a previous puzzle. The vaccine talk today is from the clue for ARM. I find none of this to be off topic.

Barbara S. writes very thoughtful puzzle-related comments before sharing her quote of the day. The quotes have been well received, but they are easy to skip if you’re not a fan.

As regards John X……well, he does fly far afield but he starts by commenting on the puzzle. I enjoy his madcap adventures, but again, you can just read his puzzle comments and skip the rest.

Maybe something just struck you wrong?

I do have couple of barely puzzle-related comments.

@Flying Pediatrician, overuse of antibiotics for COLDs is one of my pet peeves - thanks for spreading the word!

@albatross shell, if the Wry Marina had a mascot, would it be a Weimeraner?

And showing myself out.

Joe Dipinto 10:56 PM  

@Bruce Fieggen – Cheer up. It could be worse: if Will Shortz were here, he'd point out that if you remove the first two letters and last two letters of your surname, the result is a common breakfast food. Which would have nothing to do with the puzzle *and* be more annoying than the posts about the vaccine (which, incidentally, anagrams to the name of an Australian rock star if you add a "k").

JC66 11:21 PM  

@Joe D

Good one. πŸ‘

Steve 11:22 PM  

LOU was my first entry. She and her husband co-translated De Re Metallica, Agricola’s monumental 16th century treatise on medieval mining De Re Metallica, from the original Latin. I teach epidemiology and there is a depressing description of lung cancer contracted in the Bohemian silver mines. It is equally depressing to learn how few of my students can identify Herbert Hoover, and then to watch their astonishment at learning he was one of our only two presidents who was an engineer.

albatross shell 12:03 AM  

I had this ready to go in case nobody asked:
Nobody asked me how you can make an unassisted triple play without touching the ball. Y'all incurious or geniusopodes? Heck with ya. I ain't talking.
But my brother's solution may not even be right because we assumed we knew which player got the put out if an infield fly rule is called and the ball not touched. But somebody forgot to tell google. I cannot find the rule on this but I am pretty sue its the closest fielder. Anyway there's a hint.

Also nobody mentioned the M-W definition of LACTEAL referring to the the fats of the small intestine. And this turns into milk in the breasts? I thought some doc would give me the lowdown on this downlow.

At least some people care about ryes and ties.

egsforbreakfast 1:25 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Unknown 1:40 PM  

Needles re called “sharps” in the medical refuse area.

Bob Mills 7:03 PM  

Finally got it, but only after I had "OUTOFBOUNDS" for where a drive often ends up instead of "WATERHAZARD." Except for that misjudgment I found the puzzle relatively easy for a Saturday.

kitshef 7:42 PM  

Another in a string of stellar Saturday puzzles, unfortunately being let down by a definite lack of challenge. Possibly having THE OLD VIC and SCOTCH EGG be gimmes influenced that opinion today, though.

kitshef 7:43 PM  

Saw Garbage on tour with Blondie a couple of years ago in the Rage and Rapture tour. They wee Faaaaaantastic.

thefogman 10:52 AM  

Rex, ICU rated this one as being easy. Mere mortals disagree.
PS - Who will be DESEX POT in Burma’s poem today?

spacecraft 11:14 AM  

Okay, first of all I need some gigantic help. All of a sudden Googling Rex puts me on a Twitter site, and not on the old familiar green & gold blog page. I had to go farther down, get one for the WRONG DATE, and then scroll laboriously through until I finally got to the correct date. I cannot keep going through this! I will save this page to the bottom line--but this will only be the right page today! HELP!!

On to the puzzle. There he goes again with his "easy!" There is NO WAY, SHAPE OR FORM that this can POSSIBLY be called "easy!" To wit:

Right out of the box: AGLOW/WIMBLEDON. Of course; perfect. Thus 1-down ABOMB, and BIBCLASP. Not sure I ever saw a bib clasp, but it made more sense than TIECLASP. How does a TIECLASP prevent a soup stain? I guess by not letting the tie hang straight down...trying to picture someone in a tie being that sloppy. Doesn't work, for me. Undoing all that took some major effort.

Then, the Chinese year. As we know, their new year is not ours, on the calendar. '20-21 was indeed THE (yougottabekiddingme) OX. But '21-22 is, guess what? TIGER. Five letters, T to start. If ever there has been a NASTY, totally UNFAIR misdirect, it is this clue. Everybody and his brother instantly wrote TIGER in there--and don't tell me you didn't!

With hard work, I managed to unravel these horrid red herrings and finish, but to call it easy is a travesty. I don't like when a constructor deliberately points my boat toward the shoals--and besides, the awful TTOP rears its ugly head again. So despite numerous triumph points, this one's a bogey.

Burma Shave 12:12 PM  


MADAM, we are here ONCUE,
with ADORATION we have MET;
ENACTS of DIRTY LOVE will ensue,
should we ELOPE or DOSHOTS and PET?


rondo 12:29 PM  

Not easy, maybe medium. No write-overs but took some rumination. That middle section is really good.

Zen ice cream chant: ALAMODE OM.
POT? Smokem if ya GOTEM.

MUDS in the corners.

MARINA'S the one. MARINA Sirtis of Counselor Troi fame.

I really liked this puz. 97 degrees here today, time for a BEACH.

Diana, LIW 1:40 PM  

You've heard of butterfingers? Well I must have stepped in some oleo, because my buttertoes could not get a toehold on this puzzle. Just...could...not...get...going...

After some judicious fact checking, AKA cheating, I was able to finish, but with no triumph points. Just not on the wavelength today. So not easy in this corner. And no, @Spacey, I did not write in TIGER. Since I had OILED for SPRITZ, I wrote in nothing at all. But I did have AGLOW. Oh the humanity.

Waiter - what is this tie clasp doing in my soup????

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for my brain to kick in

Anonymous 3:15 PM  


leftcoaster 6:01 PM  

@Diana -- Had a nice chuckle at your tie clasp joke. Otherwise wasn’t really into this one,

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