Beverage such as huangjiu or cheongju / SAT 5-15-21 / Odorless hydrocarbon / Overnight trendy breakfast / Mother father slangily / Incapable fighter in boxing slang

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Constructor: Sam Trabucco

Relative difficulty: Challenging (very slow for me)

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: Carlos VELA (25D: Soccer star Carlos) —

Carlos Alberto Vela Garrido (born 1 March 1989) is a Mexican professional footballer who captains and plays for Major League Soccer club Los Angeles FC. Described as an incredibly versatile player who can play as a forwardwinger, and attacking midfielder, Vela is known for being a creative player and prolific scorer.

Vela started his career at Mexican club Guadalajara, where he caught the eye of various European clubs after finishing as the top scorer at the 2005 FIFA U-17 World Championship, eventually joining Premier League club Arsenal that year. After joining Arsenal, he had loan spells at Spanish clubs Salamanca and Osasuna, as well as fellow English club West Bromwich Albion, settling with Real Sociedad in 2011, initially on loan and then permanently the following season. In his six-year spell with La Real, Vela played in 250 matches and scored 73 goals. In January 2018, he joined Los Angeles FC, winning the Supporters' Shield and the MLS Golden Boot in his second year, and setting a new league record for most goals in a season, with 34. He was also voted Most Valuable Player. (wikipedia)

• • •

The grid seems alright, but this was a slog for me. I just kept "ugh"-ing at clue after clue, I never felt like I got any kind of solving rhythm, and in the parts where I struggled, the payoff was repeatedly just meh. I think the best bit of fill comes right off the bat with DRAG SHOW, but it's mostly just a chore from there. Two boxing (?) clues in the same section (NE)? I was just lucky to have lived through that Riddick BOWE fight, otherwise that would've been a total mystery. It was almost a mystery as is. I was like "Oh, that guy, he's not famous ... the four-letter guy ... ends in 'E' I think ... oh yeah BOWE!" Obscure today. Also obscure: boxing slang. TOMATO CAN is nice enough fill, but as boxing slang, shrug, no idea. ON ONE HAND just doesn't stand alone well. Also in that NE section, I had IN THE no idea at 11D: Short and ON ONE no idea at 13D: Start of a two-part thought. Could only think of IN THE RED, and wanted ON ONE SIDE... instead of ON ONE HAND. Most of the solve was like this. Shrug, PLOD through crosses, get answer, shrug again. Like with READ ... I needed crosses and then though "it can't be READ can it? Like ... 'get a READ on someone?'" So I eventually *got* it, but even now it doesn't feel quite right. The whole puzzle felt like it was trying too hard to Saturdayify itself rather than be fun. I mean, DEMO UNIT? UNIT, is it? (53A: iPhone on display at an Apple Store, e.g.) I know the phrase "floor model" or "display model" or "demo model," but after I got DEMO, MODEL wouldn't fit, so here I was with just DEMO waiting for whatever random defensible but not quite right word was going to fill the void. That word was UNIT. This is exactly how exciting most of this puzzle was. 

Seems like KENOLIN x/w VELA might trip some people up. Badly. I remember KEN OLIN, but exclusively from "thirtysomething," an old show I didn't watch. I can see people imagining KENO-IN is actually someone's last name, and then not knowing VELA (VEGA is a more common name). So maybe somebody named, I dunno, Nancy KENOGIN starred on "thirtysomething." If I never saw the show (a show with no real life in reruns or on streaming services), I'm not sure how I'd know any thirtysomething actors. Crossing proper nouns ... this is an obvious issue ... but constructors and editors keep not paying attention to it. I guess on Saturday, they feel entitled to give certain solvers the middle finger. Also seems feasible that someone wouldn't know or would be unsure how to spell RAGNAROK, which makes two VELA crosses that are somewhat dicey. Proper noun pile-up with VELA in the middle seems poorly planned.

Missteps were plentiful. Whole NW was a disaster in large part because somehow, despite believing I wrote in IT, I wrote in AT at the end of 2D: Smack a baseball hard (RIP IT). So the already slightly tough SILENT B'S looked like this: SALEN-BS. I kept looking at RIP AT, but if you are only looking at the phrase and not back at the clue, RIP AT seems just fine, so it took me a loooooong time to see SILENT B'S (19A: "Dumb and Dumber" duo). Don't like OH NO NO at all, since it's just an arbitrary number of NOs after OH and I can't hear someone using two (16A: We absolutely aren't doing that!"). One, yes, three, absolutely; two is stupid, so I couldn't commit to that first NO for a bit (I had the last NO and kept wondering what two-letter word could go between OH and NO). Do kids really say "the OLDS?" Your kids aren't all assholes, you know. Weird way to go here. Just admit you put the car in your grid and clue it as the car. Your attempts at current-ness are sad. Had BREWED before WHALED (29A: Worked in Starbuck's business) and STREET FOOD before STREET MEAT (26D: Halal cart fare, informally)—I think it was the use of "fare" in the clue that made me jump to FOOD; seems like the kind of clue word you'd use when you didn't want to say FOOD. Oh well. Bizarrely gratuitous inclusion of "gay" in the clue for PUERTO Vallarta (43D: ___ Vallarta (popular gay vacation destination)). I'm thrilled by the inclusive mindset here, but the "gay" adds nothing. PUERTO Vallarta is popular with all tourists, and if you'd watched "The Love Boat," you'd know this. HEALTH SPA feels weird and redundant (30D: Where some sweaters hang). Olden. Are there unhealthy SPAs? Non-health SPAs? Where you just sit around and, like, smoke and eat trans fats and have unprotected sex with strangers? I like that the ANGORA CAT in this puzzle has been SPAYED (which cuts right through the middle of CAT), but it's one of the few little details I truly liked today.

Tricky stuff explained:
  • SILENT BS because the "B"s in phrase "Dumb and Dumber" are silent
  • WHALED because that what the character Starbuck did in "Moby-Dick"
  • READ in the sense of "get a READ on" 
  • HEALTH SPA because "sweaters" are "people who sweat"
  • BRITON because Avon is a place, a county, in the west of England (9A: Avon lady, for one)
  • WEBSITE because Safari is a web browser (8D: Safari destination)
  • HEIR because "willing" is a punny reference to a will (the legal document) (22A: Willing participant?)
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Lewis 6:45 AM  

For a while there it felt like I was riding a pony through the desert and I had no canteen. But then a water-hole showed up here, and another one there, and before I knew it, there were some fill-in floods, and then end of story.

One Natick (KENOLIN/VELA), three fabulous misdirect clues (for WHALED, BRITON, SILENT B’S, and WEBSITE), a big chuckle at seeing ONO crossing ONO crossing OH NO NO and NOPE, and that satisfied Saturday feeling that comes after completing a tough tussle.

Sam, I light up when I see your name atop a puzzle, and you didn’t disappoint. Thank you, and please get cracking on some more!

Lewis 6:45 AM  

@mathgent -- No terrible threes!

Son Volt 6:54 AM  

Not sure what puzzle Rex did - I thought this was a fantastic Saturday. Highlight for me was the lack of 3 letter fill. A couple of areas where the constructor struggled with this but for the most part he nailed it. The long quad stacks in the NW and SE are really solid - although I wanted HIT THE Deck before DIRT. Knew RAGNAROK from the movie. Never watched thirtysomething so backed into KEN OLIN.

Liked EAT LOCAL and BRITON. STREET MEAT is definitely a term in NY - I like the stuff but won’t eat it at lunch for various reasons. JULEP again so soon. Rex tying PV to Love Boat should be considered an act of white privelege.

Highly enjoyable Saturday.

Lewis 7:08 AM  

Oops, make that four fabulous misdirect clues...

Jon Alexander 7:10 AM  

My problem with 13D is that the phrase requires a “the”...

The clueing supports the phrase “On the one hand...”

ON ONE HAND sounds like the answer “where do where one glove?”

Also, I got Naticked at KENOLIN/VELA (While the G was my second guess as Rex pointed out in terms of names, my first wrong was VERA)

Richard Stanford 7:17 AM  

ON ONE HAND took me a while. I had firstHAND at first, because to me the phrase has to be “On the one hand…”

Got WEBSITE and HEIR, took forever to click on BRITON, and ended up having to google the OLIN/VELA cross. I guess I could run the letters at that point but same thing, I’d never have got that doing it on paper.

Z 7:22 AM  

Apolo Denial - OHNO NO
Apolo Diet Plan - OHNO “NO” to HO-HOs

Liked this more than Rex, probably because I thought this was an easy Saturday. That despite getting a DNF at VELo/RAGNoROK. Carlos VELA is vaguely familiar, but I just ordered my Northern Guard FCK MLS t-shirt, so you can probably figure out how much I watch the MLS. I’ll be watching Detroit City play tonight.

Way to make me feel old - Mention that it has been 28 years since SHANIA went platinum. (If you don’t know why this video is hilarious, maybe note that it is a riposte to Mr. Palmer)

Rex didn’t like HEALTH SPA. I noticed the nifty LTHSP consonant string besting the NTBS consonant string in SILENT B’S.

I had the same thought as Rex at Riddick BOWE making the puzzle. Any boxing aficionados out there want to explain why he is crossworthy in 2021? Because to me he seems pretty tertiary in the “famous boxer” category. Then again, Carlos VELA is in the puzzle.

I will note that this has a “Guy with a mid-life crisis” vibe going on. Driving a VETTE in a new TOUPEE whiling ogling SHANIA Twain and trying to be hip by drinking RICE WINE at the DRAG SHOW, trying to avoid singing his SWAN song.

@Barbara S last night - I read those John Ciardi/Isaac Asimov Limerick books decades ago. Ciardi will always be foremost a Limericist in my mind. πŸ˜‰ (I don’t know what I said to get deleted - Maybe the mods are Limerick haters)

I emailed Rex this morning because initially there was no link to the comments. Apparently there was some sort of security issue and he had to turn comments off for awhile. This must explain the absence of evening comments last night.

Anonymous 7:27 AM  

Anyone else want to complain about the clue on 5D? Are they going for the name “Swanson”? If so, seems like son and song are two very different things. Maybe the clue should have said “-son” and “song”?

Frantic Sloth 7:28 AM  

Blogger going along for the ride.
Why bother?


This was a slog throughout, but that NW corner!! I swear that took longer than the entire rest of the puzzle and that is not fun.

Call me crazy, but when you "patronize farm stands and farmer's markets", aren't you buy(ing) LOCAL, and not necessarily EAT(ing) LOCAL?

Some nice misdirects (Starbuck's WHALED, Notre Dame dome's TETE, RHETT butler, picked locks TOUPEE), all worthy of a smirk or a hmph, but nothing really sang to me.

Okay maybe TOMATOCAN and INIGO Montoya.

Ugh. I'm just really cranky about that NW corner!! Gonna have to sleep on it which I am loath to do. πŸ˜•

New day. No way. Eventually "finished" with Google hardly any help at all.

Ugh. Just ugh.


Lobster11 7:29 AM  

Just right for a Saturday as far as I'm concerned. Most of Rex's bugs were features for me. Like Rex, I was saved by remembering both BOWE and KENOLIN despite having no interest in boxing and having never watched thirtysomething.

bocamp 7:46 AM  

Thx Sam for this crunchy, fun, challenge; just what a Sat. puz should be! :)

Med + solve.

Took forever to get any foothold, then was slow going all the way. Not at all on my wavelength. Surprised my time wasn't more. I guess just determined, steady progress won the day. Nevertheless, a most enjoyable solve. :)

Lots of WETMOP wringing during the early months of Navy stint.

My friend, the ANGORA shows up again. 😺

Praying for all KURDs! πŸ™

Maria Callas Live: BIZET's Carmen Habanera, Hamburg 1962

yd 0 (13 on the List & 3 added); NA: nicad, manana, amain

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

Frantic Sloth 7:51 AM  

What Rex said. Except for DRAGSHOW which took me idiotically long to see. πŸ™„

DNF is an automatic five-brainer despite the overall experience. In this case the rating would have been closer to 3.5 brains, most of which was outhouse-flavored.
Gross? Exactly.
Still smarting over a dead "streak".

I'll attempt to lighten up a bit:

SPAYED HATERS have a point.

Nope. Still miffed.

@Z 722am Thanks for alerting Rex. Now I can go read the evening comments, too. Stupid Blogger.

Paul 7:52 AM  

I penciled in SWAN early but erased it when I was struggling to complete the NW.

ss 8:01 AM  

Even though I am a big soccer fan, I also wrote Vega for VELA at first as Carlos Vega is running for District Attorney in Philadelphia right now in a very hotly contested race (primary is on Tuesday). Fortunately I vaguely remember KEN OLIN so I was saved. Carlos VELA does play in MLS, but as soccer players go he is not on the tier you'd expect to see in a NYT crossword puzzle. Fun fact (for me at least) - Vela means both sail and candle in Spanish.

Anonymous 8:28 AM  

Can someone please explain to me what ACELA (3D, What's on the fast track?) means? TIA.

mmorgan 8:31 AM  

We’ll, I liked it, struggle and all, and was delighted to get Mr Happy Pencil!

Verdant Earl 8:37 AM  

Same. I mostly breezed through the rest of the puzzle but that NW section had me just staring at it for the longest time.

Son Volt 8:45 AM  

@anon 8:28a - ACELA is the supposedly high speed AMTRAK train in the northeast between Boston and DC. I say that because it’s less high speed and more fewer stops. Regional entry that I could see being a problem for those outside the area.

Hungry Mother 8:46 AM  

Nailed by an easy one: aMENDS instead of EMENDS. Bad proofreading, as usual. I got all of the hard stuff.

Anonymous 8:54 AM  

@Anon 8:28. ACELA is Amtrak's "fast" train in the NE corridor.

AVON hasn't been a county for 25 years now, as the UK tends to reorganize their lower level jurisdictions periodically. It's still used informally, as old habits die hard.

albatross shell 8:54 AM  

This one beat me with a two-by-four. No hope. After getting less than a third of the puzzle I started looking up all the PPP I could and then then anything else I could. I still had to surrender and just reveal some answers in the NW and SE. And after solving both Thursday and Friday with no cheats.

Ego boost to ego destroy. And I still liked it better than Rex.
I agree with him about the naticks. Almost any HW boxing champ seems Sat.-appropriate to me. I think post-solve, I understood all the tricks and puns except READ and that I just decided I was too tired to want to think anymore. Sam definitely showed me I have to keep thinking "what else could this clue actually be referring to much more persistently and consistently than I do. Especially with Sam's puzzles. And to think before I came here I never even looked at constructor's names. Now I can sometimes guess who they are w/o looking.

OH NO! NO!! did not seem wrong to me. I thought of it off the initial O. But did not put in until an N showed up.

Knew how to spell RAGNAROK because of THOR comic books.

For some reason, the WETMOP answer put a big smile on my face. Straight forward, but unexpected and retro.

SILENT B***S*** indeed. Goes with WKRP in Cincinnati?

And with the gay DRAG subtheme is SPAYED HATERS a non-PC threat to those who are offended by such? Or is SPAYED just a continuation of the spaying fixing neutering and birth control stuff we have been having lately?

And something in the phrasing of the clue made me think of Moby Dick tight away.

I did not comment yesterday but I hope you reconsider your complaint about the C-word considering the quality and importance of the documentary named. I did not follow @bo camp's link, but I assume it was addressing the matter. Good and deserved publicity for the movie in any case.

Anonymous 9:00 AM  

Lesson from Rex: The Love Boat > thirtysomething.

Kent 9:02 AM  

Acela is Amtrak’s high speed train.

Teedmn 9:02 AM  

My tough spot today was the NE, not the NW. Well, I say that but I got my start down at PUERTO crossing BRUT so the NW wasn't all apple pie easy either. But I hit the NE before the NW and had to leave with 9A and 16A mostly empty. Came back and committed myself to ETHANE (had been holding back to see if it was ETHANE or ETHeNE) and saw TOMATO CAN. I have no idea where I know that. xwordinfo shows it is a NYTimes debut answer - perhaps a different puzzle, I guess. Certainly not from my expansive boxing knowledge (I'm talking about you, BOWE). But once TOMATO CAN went in, the rest followed.

But I did have a "stupid brain" moment there. Even after filling in IN THE HOLE, I had in my head that "Short" was somehow referring to golf. No idea what led me to golf. So if someone is short in golf, they are not in the hole, right? I finally REALIZEd it was talking about money, long after I finished the puzzle. Sheesh!

WEB SITE, WHALED, hah, you held no mysteries for me, I was not fooled! And SILENT BS had me questioning when I had NTBS in place but ACELA was a gimme and led to filling in 19A. Why do I, a midwestern girl, know ACELA? Crosswords. My first solo trip to NYC, I saw the ACELA train on an elevated track and was thrilled to see in person the train I had seen in the grid so often. Never forgot that.

I love Rex's description of an unhealthy spa, though I would never go. I would never go to a health spa either. Sounds utterly boring. I have a bathtub at home.

Sam, it's been a while since your name was on a puzzle. Thanks for a nice, chewy, Saturday solve.

Nancy 9:10 AM  


TTrimble 9:17 AM  

Oh, so, it wasn't just me who couldn't access the comments for a while.

This puzzle went quite swimmingly for a while -- on pace for a PR, and then I HIT THE DIRT in the NW. SILENT B'S!! Wow, that is some good misdirection there. Also DRAG SHOW took quite a while (and that Rex got that right away: things that make you go "hmm"). I was trying to think of something mattress related to go with kings and queens. RICE WINE was a lucky guess. SWAN was also an educated guess, but now wait a minute. How is SWAN a lead-in to "son", unless it's just part of a last name? RIP IT: again, not being up on baseball, that was not instant. That said, I liked STAT -- and I like the fact that I solved the problem of why there was no plural there.

KEN OLIN -- well, I suppose that could trip some people up, but OLIN is such a standard item of crosswordese. When I first became a stay-at-home dad, very early aughts, I decided thirtysomething reruns were going to be my daytime soap -- and then they took them away. Bastards. I lovehated that show. Miles Drentell was my favorite character. Frickin' hated Hope.

I really didn't know BOWE; had to back into that one. I kind of love TOMATO CAN even though I didn't know that one either.

I wanted "buy" LOCAL before EAT LOCAL. I think that's a weird way to clue it. It's not like you're eating cobs or corn or TOMATOes right there at the farmer's market.

STATE GEM. It tickles me, the idea of state legislators arguing over and voting on what their STATE GEM or state beverage is going to be. Didja know that by far the most common state beverage among the US states is milk? Milk!! Such wholesome American values.* And now, you'd think that that must date back to an earlier time: give these cornfed kids plenty of milk so they grow up big and strong, like something off an old Wonder Bread ad. But no! Electing a state drink seems to have really taken off in the 1980's, and continues into this century. I don't get it. At least Alabama has the balls to declare that theirs is to be a drink-drink (a drinky-poo, to echo Gill I. and also my wife), namely Conecuh Ridge Whiskey. Boy, that sounds pretty brand-loyal, doesn't it?

This was a good puzzle. Good juicy clues (witness WHALED and TOUPEE and the aforementioned SILENT B'S), some juicy words (like RAGNAROK or the clue "Terra Firma" or anything else destined to be hated by @SouthsideJohnny -- I kid @SJ!). Nice way to start what looks to be a splendid day, especially when I look out the window. Have a good one!

*I'm sure Roland Barthes, who wrote on the iconography and semiology of various foods and drinks, would have appreciated this little nugget.

Barbara S. 9:21 AM  

I found this very tough and I’d have to call it a DNF but I only had to look up one measly 4-letter name, so I’m consoling myself that I did pretty well for such a hard puzzle. AND Saturdays are supposed to be hard. If there isn’t a little hair-tearing then it isn’t really a Saturday. My look-up was BOWE which, as a freestanding name, means nothing to me but when you append “Riddick” to the front then I think oh, yeah – that guy. I knew KEN OLIN right off: I remember “thirtysomething” although I wasn’t a regular viewer, but he’s still active in television, not as an actor but his name crops up as a producer and/or director quite often. The problem I had with VELA therefore was not the third letter but the first, because I couldn’t see VETTES for much too long.

I solved this from the bottom up and finished in that diabolical NW corner. DROSS! What a great word! Too bad I was fixated on tRaSh. I never did figure out what SILENT BS meant until I read Rex and up till then I actually thought BS was an initialism. (Gasp – in the New York Times!) That SE corner is some sort of optical illusion. I keep seeing DEMOUN IT and wondering what that means, and reading STATE GEM as STrATEGEM. The clue “Hip joints” suggested arthritic body parts, and I let out a guffaw when I REALIZEd it was HOT SPOTS! (Gotta get my groove back.)

The passage today is by SAMANTHA HUNT, born May 15, 1971.

“The first two days without a phone, my insides are jumpy and nauseated, a true withdrawal. My veins ache for information from the Internet, distractions from thought. I’m lonely. My neck, lungs, blood hurt like I’m getting a cold. The world happens without me because I’m exiled with no Wi-Fi. I wonder if my shoes have arrived yet. Maybe Lord is trying to reach me with news of his divorce. I have a parade of grotesque urges. I want to push little buttons quickly. I want information immediately. I want to post pictures of Ruth and me smiling into the sun. I want people to like me, like me, like me. I want to buy things without trying them on. I want to look at photos of drunk kids I knew back in high school. And I want it all in my hand. But my cyborg parts have been ripped out. What’s the temperature? I don’t know. What’s the capital of Hawaii? I don’t know anything.”
(From Mr. Splitfoot)

astroman 9:21 AM  

Very disappointed after 1A was not PINOCHLE....

Joe Dipinto 9:28 AM  

Apparently all of yesterday's comments that included links were deleted because of the security problem. (In case you didn't drop by last night, the entire comments page was removed for quite some time.)

Nancy 9:29 AM  

If only I hadn't gone to the blog last night. IF ONLY I HADN'T GONE TO THE BLOG LAST NIGHT!!!! I would have saved myself several hours of complete panic and desperation that probably took a year off my life and wasted a perfectly good half Valium. I was told I no longer had a Blogger Account!!! This after being warned in glaring red that the Rexblog was dangerous and untrustworthy and being kept off it against my will...until I wrestled it back, I don't quite remember how. And when I managed to get on it, and wrote a long comment, I was told I no longer had a Blogger Account.

I don't know how to thank @Teedmn enough who calmed me down over the phone last night. Or @Z who got it sorted out this morning. If I'd simply come here now, I would have missed the whole mix-up. Of course I thought the problem was entirely on my end, not on Rex's. And solving computer glitches is not my strong suit.

Oh, yes, the puzzle. I found it quite cruel and unfair and I had to cheat on KENOLIN to finish most of the West. I managed to avoid cheating on SILENT BS; INIGO; and TOMATO CAN. And I couldn't be bothered to cheat on the VEL-/RAGN-ROK cross. After the horrors of last night, do I really care what that letter is? It's a ridiculous Natick and no, I don't care. Very tough and not in a fun way.

It is SO good to see y'all again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

jberg 9:31 AM  

Tastes differ. I liked it because it was a struggle, which is what I want on a Saturday; I like interesting answers well enough, but they are not as important to me as they are to Rex.

That said, it was too much of a struggle. I puzzled a long time over the VELA/OLIN crossing, but I think I saw Mr. VELA in a previous puzzle, so I went with that. Unfortunately, I also misremembered the sitcom station as kpRc. After about 3 days of staring, I did notice that the apostrophe in Starbuck's came after the K, allowing me to change brewEr to WHALER, so now I had WkRc. But I never changed the rest. After I finished, I looked up pEN OLIN, and found that he was a bunch of different companies, so I looked up Thirtysomething and found KEN. A little thought should have let me see PLOD sinstead of cLOD, but that was less thought than I gave it.

All of this was made worse, btw, because I was looking the wrong direction from Bib Ben and seeing Whitehall.

The ACELA is fast for the NE, and potentially can go about 200 mph; however, it is not on a fast track at all -- between Boston and Washington that are about 10 miles of rail, somewhere in rural Rhode Island/Connecticut, where it can run at its top speed. The rest of the track is so bumpy and curvy that it can only go 90-100. I think there's money in the American Jobs Act to straighten and smooth it, but it is very expensive because it goes through some pricey real estate.

@Z and others -- @Nancy couldn't get in to the blog for a long time last night; when she tried her screen was taken over by one of those flashing, all-caps fake warnings that her system had been compromised. She emailed a bunch of people about it; eventually she checked "turn off security" and it worked again, but from what you say, perhaps the problem wasn't at her end.

Rube 9:35 AM  

At long last. A properly challenging Saturday. I felt like i actually had solved something at the end. For me that Natick was RAGNOROK VELO. Ken Olin was easy for me after WKRP which has one of the best themes in all of TV. But I won't write the lyrics here since it takes too much space. Suffice it to say it was also released as a single. Go Howard Hessmann!

jberg 9:40 AM  

@Nancy, welcome back!

As for RAGNAROK -- my grandfather was born in Norway, but brought to the US at the age of 6. He married a woman who had been born in Germany, and German was the language spoken in the home. My father, the seventh child of ten, was mostly raised by his sisters, and never showed any signs of Scandinavian culture. But somehow, my generation thinks of ourselves as Norwegian-American. My youngest brother has learned the language; my sister belongs to the Sons of Norway; my daughter has a Norwegian flag in her room as a child. So the word gave me no trouble, but I can see it might do so for others. Thanks to Wagner, Gotterdammerung is more common. (Excuse the missing umlauts.)

Blue Stater 9:42 AM  

A reversion to the norm, alas. Full of mistakes, stretchers, the usual rot. DNF, not even close. Sigh.

Frantic Sloth 9:45 AM  

Yeah. So not worth the trip back to last night's comments. Except @kitshef and the Bee. Sequel to Akeelah and the Bee. Apparently.

What the bloody hell?? Wanted to see what @albie 854am was talking about with @Z and the "C-word" and found a virtual bloodbath of yesterday's comments "deleted by blog administrator".

Somebody had twisted knickers over something. Jeepers. πŸ€”

Maybe it's all related to The Blog That Ate Poor @Nancy...

Oh! @J-Dip 928am has the explanation. Thanks! Glad we cleared that up!
Geez Louise.

Chicago Chica 9:48 AM  

Looked up BOWE. Because who’s ever heard of that guy?

Birchbark 9:51 AM  

Cruciverbial RAGNAROK -- The summer after ninth grade, back from a two-week canoe trip in the Quetico Provincial Park, I wondered I'd missed: Skylab fell safely to Earth, Arthur Fiedler died, and Jimmy Carter fired his cabinet. Here, yesterday, the blog disappeared, but I was only downstairs watching "The Avengers: Civil War" on the big screen. My READ on what I missed is just like the 1979 return from the wilderness -- interesting.

DEMOUNIT: this looks Middle-French to me, possibly arcana.

TTrimble 9:57 AM  

@Barbara S.
Great minds and all -- I too keep seeing "stratagem" (and wondered why it's not spelled "strategem", to go with strategy, not "stratagy"), and also DEMOUN IT. What's the LOCAL word for that? Not "dork"... "dook"? Doink!

I should have added a link to go with my fascinating earlier discussion. Although I know I've discussed this before. They say you repeat yourself when you get older.

For yd, currently, -2 (haven't given up yet -- got a few more soon after waking). Haven't started today's. Still wonder how you do it.

TheMadDruid 9:58 AM  

Acela is a “high speed “ train in the Northeast.

RooMonster 9:59 AM  

Hey All !
What a snafu last night! Damn computer bugs...

DNF because I just couldn't parse TOMATOCAN. Part of problem was having EtHeNE, after originally having it in correctly as ETHANE, but changed it to the E because couldn't unsee TOCAN as an ending to some long word. I was like "TOME-TOCAN? Heck, I don't know these crazy boxing terms!" Dang. I do try to see if small words are at the ends of long answers, just missed CAN.

Some nice misdirect clues. And no threes. Wow, @Lewis, is that a rarity? Not sure if that's something you track. No ©weejects pick from @M&A today?

Thanks Marvel movies for RAGNAROK. ☺️ Luckily knew KEN OLIN, or would've been in Rex's theoretic boat asking who the heck KENOLIN (k-no-lin) was.

Sneaky PLOD clue, had woOD first. Someone eludicate me on why INTHEHOLE is Short? If it's IN THE HOLE, it's a made shot, no? (Thinking golf)

Wanted ONABET, but couldn't see how 19A could possibly end with NTBS. Sort of a chuckle with the SILENT BS. A big chuckle with @albatross SIlENT B*** S***!

Is a common hair piece a Touche TOUPEE?

I REALIZE I've PLODded too long.

No threes, No F's! BRUTal!

TheMadDruid 10:01 AM  

No to “oh no no”!? But you’re good with one or three “nos “!?

JD 10:16 AM  

Well, the NW corner beat my pony (thx @Lewis) to death with a 2x4 (thx @Albatross). What @Frantic said. And this was all because of Drag Show and Rice Wine. Also agree with Anon @7:27, Swan Song and Swanson? Help, Stat.

1D was Dreck. Genet was never gonna happen. Kept wanting Run A Tab.
Further south, 30D was Steam Room and that was a hold up. Things changed when I finally remembered Ken Olin.

Olin was tough because Thirty Something was on TV when I was thirty something and now I'm 60 something. Millennials take note, when you complain about fill that panders to Boomers, know that memory loss evens the score.

Really love Whaled and Website. Acela and Briton were also fun. Got Tomato Can on crosses but, @Frantic for discussion at next IA meeting, thought it was Tom Atocan (some palooka from the 20s who lost a lot? I dunno).

Looking over the grid again I Realize an answer there is not Demount It.

albatross shell 10:18 AM  

@Z's comment is still there at 821am.
@bo camp's link was something like is the c-word (2D in Fri. Puz) the new "gay"? That I took to mean the insult now worn proudly.

Z 10:19 AM  

To be clear, all I did was email Rex with a “WTH.” All the fixing was done at Rex’s end. I’ve said it before but it bears repeating, Blogger is Ancient in terms of websites and Google does the absolute minimum to keep it functional. I have no idea what caused yesterday’s problems, but I would guess it was something about Blogger. At least now I know why my comment got deleted, it had a link to the B&N page for one of the Ciardi/Asimov book of limericks.

@Albie (and @Frantic Sloth) - Again, to be clear, my issue is not with that documentary or its title. It is with having that word not only be in the grid, but where I finished. The last impression the puzzle left is that particularly ugly word. Based on the accolades the documentary is afforded I can imagine how they take that ugly word and turn it into a movement to change the world. But the movie title isn’t in the grid, just that pejorative by itself. Better would be to have used the movie’s full title in the grid. This wasn’t “beaner” level offensive because of how the word was clued, but the word is still nasty.

@Chicago Chica - Seriously. I’m of the age where I have heard of him and I can’t imagine why anyone under, say, 45, would have heard of him. Or anyone over 45 who isn’t a sports fan.

Anonymous 10:21 AM  

33A is always, always buy LOCAL or act LOCAL. you EAT LOCAL at whatever non-national chain greasy spoon aka DINER is in your town. you don't EAT at either farm thingee unless you typically squat down, shuck the corn and consume it raw. not Good Eats.

you put off paying by running A TAB. you prepare to do that by OPENing A TAB. one is the act, the other is the preparation.

PUERTO VALLARTA may well be a gay destination now. 'The Love Boat' ran 1977 to 1986? likely not so much. the show I'll bet never had a gay episode set there.

didn't we have ANGORA CAT a few days ago?

Anonymous 10:27 AM  

yeah. early last night I kept getting the 'OOPS' screen when trying to post the bestest bon mot of all my time here on Rex World. even copied the text locally so I could try again. never got around to it. I won't repost, of course.

after a dozen or so retries, eventually got the 404, so it's either Blogspot farting or some DNS in front of it. gave up and did something worthwhile.

Joaquin 10:27 AM  

This was (mostly) a super puzzle with lots of clever clues. But I have two words for 5D ("Lead-in to son or song"): Bo. Gus.

Z 10:30 AM  

@Albie - From Wikipedia - People with disabilities deem {the c-word} an insider term as they are the group changing the meaning and usage of the word. It is looked down upon when outsiders use the word {the c-word}, as it can lead to confusion on if {the c-word} is being reclaimed or used as a slur.
{Note - substituting to avoid spoilers for those who may not have finished yesterday’s puzzle, yet}

albatross shell 10:31 AM  

Just to clarify. If you had not finished there and you had known the movie in advance of doing the puzzle your reaction and opinion would have been somewhat altered? OK, it's a hypothetical question.

Jon in St Paul 10:37 AM  

I mostly agree with Rex on the trying-too-hard / just-slightly-off cluing feedback. But the Puerto Vallarta clue is absolutely appropriate and not gratuitous. Love Boat was what...40 years ago? Yes, it's popular with everyone. But these days, it is especially popular with gay travelers.

GHarris 10:37 AM  

Got through some (not much) of it unaided. Felt really good to immediately see the misdirects that gave me quick answers to whaled and website. Had to employ my usual Saturday crutch, the auto check, to venture through the balance and come up with all the right answers. As I’ve written before, I find it somewhat amazing how much more innovative my mind becomes knowing that I am working with a safety net. Cheating? Yes. But not asking for answers to be revealed makes it seem less flagrant.

Steve M 10:41 AM  

Felt like a tomato can while trying to solve this πŸ˜‘

Tom R 10:42 AM  

Typical Saturday for me,, but I found the NW brutal. I have a strong tendency to start there and go through methodically because I don't speed solve and don't enjoy it so do not keep times. But not today. Never saw the movie, have zero idea for rice wine names. First thing in for me was the NE. Bowe and Ethane and just went down the East and around the South, up the west and finally worked out the NE. I had to cheat and google Huangju which finally gave me traction. Literally, the last letter I entered in the puzzle was the D at 1. How odd is that?

Anonymoose 10:51 AM  

I did not know the old South had its own word for butter. Oh, wait, I see the L now.

jae 10:52 AM  

Tough with SW consuming the most nanoseconds. Dredging up KEN OLIN from decades old memories helped because VELA was a WOE. I also got pwned by the Starbucks clue and couldn’t remember how to spell RAGNAROK.

Not as much sparkly as yesterday’s but mostly solid. Liked it.

GILL I. 10:54 AM  

My joy face was as exciting todays as Warhol's TOMATO CAN. I really felt like the WET MOP going through its ringer.
I always want to award a cool beans on Saturday or, as I will now call it: frijoles frescos. Instead, this got the HO HO OH NO NO award for moi. So much I didn't know and my guesses were off kilter.
Like others, I started from the bottom up. I HATE working a puzzle this way but I couldn't get a damn thing up north. PUERTO was my first entry. I then did my usual mind wandering. I LOVE that place. When I worked for Mexicana, we'd hop a flight and go down for the week-end. We could right it-off our taxes since we were (ahem) busy inspecting hotels and discos and places to sip beer downtown. I also found time to buy a pair of Huarache shoes. I was puzzled by the clue (popular gay destination) because just about all of the Mexican beaches are popular gay destinations. The gays put Islas Mujeres on the map. I got all of the downtown HOT SPOTS out of the way and worked my way up-town. All I got was OPEN A TAB. I had to get off my comfy chair and do some laundry before getting anything else. I'm glad you guys know RAGNAROK....I'm not up on my Norwegian stuff. KENOLIN made my NOOB sweat at the HEALTH SPA. Aaaaach. Google fest. Back up to the top. Is it really DRAG SHOW? is it? good gravy. Then BRITON? I don't know a single Brit who might refer to himself as BRITON and I'm married to one.
Another cheat. I left and went to the middle ground. EAT LOCAL says nobody when you patronize farm stand. You BUY LOCAL. I guess you could say STREET MEAT saved my bacon. Sigh...and then some more.
I suppose TOUPEE was my favorite although I was looking for something Afro. Since you use a pick for that Do. How do you pick your TOUPEE? You pick your teeth, you pick lint off your belly button, but do you really pick your Toup?
Well I finished it...DEMOUN IT and all but did it make me want to dance? No.
My TETE runneth over.

egsforbreakfast 10:55 AM  

This was OFTP (One F***ing Tough Puzzle) for me, but I finished without cheats. It took so long that I had to cancel Friday night TV time with the Mrs. I think I’m gonna join Rex’s Non-health SPA, “where you just sit around and, like, smoke and eat trans fats and have unprotected sex with strangers.” I think it’s called OLDS Gym.

Thanks for the merciless beating, Sam Trabucco. It felt good when it stopped.

The Joker 10:56 AM  

I always thought STREET MEAT meant something else.

bocamp 10:58 AM  

@jberg (9:40 AM)

Fond memories from the '50s of grampa and uncle singing in the Norsemen chorus at the Sons of Norway Lodge in Eugene.

@albatross shell (10:18 AM)

That seems to be the drift, altho, I don't think I'll be using the term (in the conversational sense) soon or at least until, if and when, it becomes as in-the-vogue as 'gay'.

@TTrimble (9:57 AM)

As I've mentioned before, spend 1/2 hr. on studying the List every morning before embarking on the puz. After the solve, add to the List the unknowns or toughies, look up more defs, rinse and repeat each day. Also spend more time than most (I'm guessing) on the daily solve; it's my passion, and I've got all the time in the world to have at it – altho, I have been packing it in earlier on most days when the wheels are in spin mode. :)

td npg -37

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

Diane Joan 10:59 AM  

The NW corner got me! I thought maybe "Dumb and Dumber" was on the TBS channel so I kept trying to get that to work. Then I got the word Prom stuck in my head for kings and queens. Otherwise I enjoyed the challenge of today's puzzle. Happy Saturday everyone!

mathgent 11:03 AM  

Thanks, Lewis. Indeed, I am delighted with the Terrible-Three-free puzzle. And Mr. Trabucco took good advantage with 17 longs in the grid.

It was very tough for me. I was able to solve it clean but it took me a long time. I had to stay up after my bed time. Lots of good stuff but I agree with Nancy that there are some unfairish clues.

I haven't seen anyone comment about "pwned" yet. Lots of us play video games online? Jeff Chen and Deb Amlen didn't mention it either.

Amelia 11:04 AM  

I loved this puzzle. I wish every day of the week had a puzzle like this one. It had so much crunch, I wondered if I would ever finish. I never wonder that.

Was for a long time fooled by and, as a result, loved Avon Lady, Safari Destination (embarrassing, I know) and so many more. (Nits one and two: Swan and Stems. Trying a bit too hard.)

Rex thought it was too hard, so didn't like. Rex thinks easy puzzles are too easy, and doesn't like. I honestly think the only puzzles he likes are those by his pals, and those that happen on a day he's very busy. Probably because it takes longer to hate something than to like it. Who knows. This is a man who doesn't approve of bitcoin clues.

Why do I bother?


Lewis 11:10 AM  

@roo -- Since 1994 there have been 63 puzzles with no threes.

sixtyni yogini 11:24 AM  

There are clever, fun difficult clues/answers.
And there are meh difficult clues/answers.
Too many of the latter for YT in this puzz.

Frantic Sloth 11:32 AM  

@Z, @albie For the record, I understood Z's post at the time...I just didn't remember it. πŸ™„

My link was to a Moonstruck clip, so not exactly a huge loss there.

@JD 1016am Between the two of us, we're gonna need a bigger meeting.

Carola 11:38 AM  

Super Saturday - tough, tricky, satisfying to finish. I thought the misdirects were outstanding. I found the lower half much easier than the top, which for me was brutal. Sorting into categories:
- "Can't fool me": BRITON, HEIR v. totally faked out by: WEBSITE, SILENT BS
- On my knees giving grateful thanks for knowing: GENET, LONDON EYE, RHETT, BIZET, INIGO.
- Help from previous puzzles: KEN OLIN, NOOB, SHANIA
- Really?: WET MOP, ON ONE HAND without "the"
- Do-overs: Soccer player juan Carlos, buy LOCA, "meet" before STAT.

sixtyni yogini 11:40 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 11:58 AM  

So about 5 every 2 years. (2.4/yr)

Aelurus 12:05 PM  

Had fun, thank you, Sam! And finished a Saturday in 1 hour! In one sitting! No Googles, no checking! Okay, ahem, back to my quiet voice. As you can tell, not the usual Saturday solving experience for me.

Had the hardest time in the NW. Devilish! It was the last filled in and I wasn’t sure the happy music would play because of 19A. I looked at SILENTBS and thought, Some in-joke in that movie? (Which I haven’t seem.) Silent BS? Then I saw it. The type of clue I’m awfully not fond of. I also thought it wasn’t a fair misdirect. With the quotes placed as they are, including the and, it’s the movie. If it’s the words that are the point, in my mind, it should read “Dumb” and “Dumber,” but of course that would be BS with the necessary capitalization. But perhaps I’m just picking a nit.

Moving on. So much legitimately to puzzle over. Took me a while to erase coffee from my mind and get WHALED instead of WAITED (29A). RAGNAROK (38A) was just a hope that I’d get all the crosses. Turns out it’s one hell of an apocalyptic serial foretelling.

12D TOMATO CAN also unknown. Urban Dictionary says: “In fighting sports, a tomato can is a fighter with low skills who is brought in to pad the record of more promising fighters and give them more ring experience. They are expected to lose.... The name is believed to come from the fact that tomato cans ‘leak’ red fluid (blood) like a can of tomato sauce.” How old are these tomato cans?

Fun and fair clues: 13D, ON ONE HAND; 42A, TOUPEE; 59A, HATERS; 24A, TETE; 9A, BRITON. 8D took me forever to think of a browser instead of lions and tigers and, well, giraffes.

Absolute favorite answer is 48D, for INIGO Montoya. Love those scenes in Princess Bride where Mandy Patinkin is running around emoting, ever so gently, <a href="”>Hello</a>

@Gill I. 10:54 – Love the <i>frijoles frescos</i>! May I borrow it sometime?

Newboy 12:12 PM  

I’m with a@Lewis in my awe of any Sam grid. And Rex’s observation of the VELA/KENOLIN captured my personal Natick moment perfectly. Interesting how language evolves as our @LMS would affirm. Some game designer doesn’t spot his flying fingers misssin that O next to the P key and a new term enters the world of Warcraft. Urban dictionary

TJS 12:14 PM  

Threw a lot of seeds in the dirt after cleaning the weed, but never thought of sticking the stems in there too.

I love hard Saturdays but this one sucked. swanson ??? kings in a drag show ??? whaled ???

Newboy 12:17 PM  

Opps, flying fingers hit post rather than preview, so apologies if the link in previous didn’t! Still working on code links after a year of geriatric learning

Aelurus 12:32 PM  

Me too, no blog access last night. @Nancy 9:29 am - I tried a few times to post a reply but luckily didn't get a screaming red message about this dangerous blog like you did. That would be scary to think your laptop had been breached. All the comments just disappeared and there was no access. Yes, it's good to see you all again!

@bocamp 3:50 pm yesterday -- Thanks! Hoped I had that right. I just started up again with SB, and also don’t continue past the day it appears. Last night [Thursday night] those remaining 4 words were a mystery to me. Turns out I knew them all.

Unknown 12:36 PM  

I loved all the "tricky" stuff.
The SW corner was the toughest for me.
When Rex makes a reference to The Love Boat (re Puerto Vallarta), then all his pretensions about being hip & groovy go out the window.

Aelurus 12:37 PM  

@A sometime yesterday - thanks for the link to the awesome rendition of Summertime by Sidney Bechet!

Whatsername 12:45 PM  

I’m late, busy morning. Wouldn’t call it a total slog but it was a job. Felt like I’d been through the wringer with the WET MOP when I got done. Loved clues for TOUPEE, BRITON and WEB SITE but OH NO, not SWAN. And I think if you EAT LOCAL according to the clue for 33A, you’re gonna have a tough time getting a table at that farm stand.

I went to PUERTO Vallarta once and apparently made the poor decision to go there during the rainy season. It was a HOT SPOT and so humid it felt like a HEALTH SPA most of the time. My hair frizzes just thinking about it. I wouldn’t advise eating any STREET MEAT while you’re there either.

bocamp 12:51 PM  

There's a roadside farmer's market in BC's Okanagan with a food counter serving light meals, altho EAT LOCAL, doesn't necessarily mean dining out; i.e., support your local growers, rather than buying produce from non-local sources at your grocer.

pg -10

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

David in CA 12:57 PM  

@Carola. Thank you!! I was beginning to think I was the only one in the world who didn't have time for sitcoms!
Is "WKRP" some take on "W-crap?"? Other than the leading W or K was totally random letters. Made for a double Natick DNF going with "Ben Orin" seeming a perfectly reasonable name. These crossing PPP do soil a puzzle for me.

Otherwise a nice challenging Saturday. NW almost killed me, but finally gave up on "ren faire" and "_____tea" things fell.

pabloinnh 1:01 PM  

I've given up on boxing and similar "entertainments". Any "sport" that has a winning strategy of turning your opponent's brain to mush has lost any appeal it ever had. Nevertheless, I knew TOMATOCAN right away and BOWE quickly enough.

The whole east side went in without too much of a struggle but over in the west, nothing was happening at all until I remembered RAGONORAK, which was how I spelled it, which led to a triple Natick as KENOLIN and Sr. VELA and gamer terms would all be complete guesses, which they were, and unsuccessful. Oh well.

They term I hear for hitting a baseball really hard these days is CRUSH, which was obviously wrong, and RIPIT is fine, but I hear "he rips a single", but "he crushed that one" for home runs. Matters of degree.

And count me among the SWAN HATERS. Just no.

Good tough Saturday, ST. Serious Thinking required for this one.

GILL I. 1:03 PM  

@Aelurus...12:05. Of course you may borrow "frijoles frescos" anytime you want....Also, feel free to use my "Ay Dios Mio". when filled with angst!
Just read your profile and I see we share some similarities....I, too, love the movies Chocolat and Like Water for Chocolate. I also paint watercolor and pen and ink...During the COVID stay at home mandate, I've been painting watercolor greeting cards and they're actually selling. I almost fell over my frijoles when I sold my first!
Glad you're with us and this smart, funny crowd......

CreamyT 1:03 PM  

Awful, awful, awful PPP. Virtually entirely dated. I don't know how anyone under 40 or 50 would know half of these.

WKRP - a show about a radio station that ran from 1978 to 1982. Really? A show that ran for FOUR seasons 40 years ago? That is impossible to suss out because it's just, effectively, random letters (outside of a W/K). REALLY?

KENOLIN - A guy from *another* sitcom that ran for four whole seasons, this time 30 years ago? Who has a relatively small wikipedia page, because he hasn't been in anything significant since then, apparently?

VELA - at least modern, but I don't know how anyone would know this guy if they didn't know soccer. On top of that name, it's an uncommon name, and there is absolutely no way to know it's an L, especially if you don't know Ken Olin.

WHALED - A whaling family? I...I mean, I guess they were a big whaling family. At least this is a word. But this is some obscure stuff when combined with these awful naticks next to it.

And then BOWE crossed with OHNONO...yeesh. I cannot in my head think of a normal way to say "OHNONO". "Oh, no, no!" "Oh no, no!" "Oh, no no!" - literally none of that seems natural. I can't think of anyone saying this. "NONONO" or "OHNO," both make a lot of sense and are commonly heard.

OK, done ranting. The rest of the fill felt like a good, challenging saturday. A few minor complaints (I have never, in my life, heard anyone refer to their parents as the olds), but nothing you couldn't reasonable figure out, and those oddities felt OK in a Saturday. I very much enjoyed the cluing. If the PPP wasn't awful, this would have been an amazing Saturday. But that ending really, really put a damper on it for me.

old timer 1:03 PM  

DNF here on several counts. Never heard of the boxer, nor the TV stars. There are so many AVON rivers that lady did not come to mind -- at least six in Britain, maybe more, because the original Britons used AVON to mean river. Plus AVON was short-lived as a county, no doubt because there are so many other AVONs, not in Bristol.

I did immediately guess LONDON EYE, and WHALER. HOT SPOTS makes me think of Joni, and her classic song, Big Yellow Taxi (Don't it always seem to go, you don't know what you've got till it's gone, pave Paradise....).

Being a Champagne fan, I put in Krug before the totally accurate Brut. Though with most affordable Champagnes, my advice is to go for the slight sweetness of an Extra Dry. A BRUT does not really show its stuff at less than $100 a bottle, for the grandes marques.

Photomatte 1:04 PM  

Pretty difficult Saturday. I wasn't a fan of some of the clues but that doesn't make me a "hater," does it? The answer for 59 Across, HATERS, (clued as "No fans") is such a millennial concept: "Oh, you're not a fan? You don't like what I like? Guess that means you're a hater. I can tune you out now." Labeling someone as a hater, when they're simply offering a different opinion - or even just a lack of concern for something you're passionate about - is to dismiss anyone who doesn't completely agree with everything you do/like/think/say. This mindset has been largely responsible for the Us/Them rift currently dividing the country. I wasn't a fan of that answer at all...

Z 1:04 PM  

@Aelurus - In case you’re wondering, your second quote mark is a smart quote mark, a “ instead of a " - Blogger is picky about everything except security concerns. I have no idea why your italics tags didn’t take.

I don’t quite know what to make of the NW challenging so many people. I went with ——TAB and STAT as my anchors, to —-IT and HIT THE Deck, to ACELA and -ENET (I think I just saw Jean GENET in a puzzle I solved yesterday). That gave me enough to see RICE WINE and OPEN A TAB, then DROSS and DRAG SHOW and SILENT B’S. I’m not a speed solver so that section probably took me as long as Rex’s entire solve, but for me it was not an especially hard corner compared to most Saturdays. The only thing that was at all challenging was that the grid made the corners a little stand-offish, like solving four mostly separate puzzles instead of one cohesive whole.

What I do notice is that experience has taught me to translate “huangjiu” and “cheongju” into “some sort of oriental drink” rather than worry about the fact that I have no idea what either is. My first thought there was also green tea, but none of the crosses were promising.

@albatross shell - We seem to have been posting at the same time. In case it isn’t clear, finishing with that word definitely impacted my first comment because it was fresh on my mind. But I would have preferred either the whole title or something else as opposed to the single pejorative. My reaction may have been less negative, too, if the NYTX didn’t have a history of trying to white-wash offensive terms. Even before I posted I looked up the film to verify that it justified using the term. Even with the recent changes to the editorial team, the NYTX has not earned the benefit of the doubt.
@bocamp - Wise decision unless you are a part of that community.
@Frantic Sloth - I’m crushed. You forgot one of my comments‽ 😘

Master Melvin 1:07 PM  

A boxing manager would puff up his fighter's record by pitting him against a bunch of TOMATO CANs, because they were easy to knock over and put up little or no resistance. Think of lining up a bunch of TOMATO CANs on a fence and knocking them over by shooting bullets, BBs or pellets at them, or even throwing rocks at them.

Z 1:22 PM  

@CreamyT - “Starbuck” as in Moby Dick. Other common Dick things crossword solvers are expected to know: Ahab, Ishmael, Pequod, Pip, and (on the weekend) Queequeg. “Starbuck” might also be a Battlestar Galactica reference so file away “Kara Thrace” as well.

David in CA - WKRP in Cincinnati is considered a classic by some, if for no other reason than the Thanksgiving episode. But, yeah, just a wee bit dated. I think the first season might be available on one of the streaming services. I have no idea how well it holds up in 2021.

Masked and Anonymous 1:39 PM  

No weejects! This at least ties a world record.

Hard as nails ragnarok-ish solvequest, at our house. Due probably to a combo of real unfamiliar answers and feisty clues. Felt kinda like a TOMATOCAN x-word solver.


Knew SWAN song, but SWAN son is plumb mysterious. Is that where you're sooo far gone, U can't quite ever finish singin yer SWAN son(g)? Anyway, ornerary staff weeject pick: that whole "SON" of a SWAN thing.

Thanx for the MEAT meets the STREET SatPuz, Mr. Trabucco dude. Much sufferin ensued. (Good for us.)

Masked & Anonymo3Us


emily 1:53 PM  

Ah thanks!!! We in the PTZ are penalized in so many ways!!!!

bocamp 1:59 PM  

@Aelurus (12:32 PM) yw πŸ‘

@pabloinnh (1:01 PM)

Agreed re: boxing! and any sport that depends on intentionally harming ones opponent. Needless to say, Riddick BOWE was one of the few gimmes for me.

My dad got me a punching bag and conducted regular lessons in our front room before I was of school age. Had these great big ol' gloves, which lasted many years. Got another set of gloves later on and held smokers in the garage. Boxed at various times in my experience and never passed up the opportunity to attend bouts or watch them on tv. I've slowly come to my current position: the only boxer I want to see or think about is a dog.

Now crushing a baseball is another matter, and was my first thot, too. I visually inserted it, but couldn't make any of the crosses work, so beat a hasty retreat out of the NW for greener pastures. I really do much prefer the idea of RIPping singles and doubles, tho, which I always tried to inculcate into my players' approaches to hitting.

@Z (1:04 PM) πŸ‘

pg -9

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

A 2:07 PM  

Strange combination - the PPP was where I was most challenged (differently abled?), but some of the cluing was transparent for a Saturday. I certainly didn’t feel Rex’s “ugh”-ing. Seemed like there were lot of fairly recent repeaters helping the solve, too - ACELA, EMENDS, SPAYED, ANGORA CAT, JIBS, JULEP.

Right off the bat I figured I’d be looking up a proper noun or two, but I resisted and managed to fill in quite a bit. Not afros - too short. Blanked on the Iraq language - had the S from STATE GEM and decided it must end in I, like some variation of Farsi. Wrong Ira- country. Plus I fell hard for the misdirect of “Hip joints” so it took forever to move off that bit of anatomy. Filled in a few more obvious entries and moved back up to HEIR to WEBSITE to ——SHOW, confirming the doubtful SWAN, who in turn gave up RICE WINE, which made me HIT THE Deck, which helped, until it didn’t.

Having Deck meant for the picked locks I had K—P-E. Wondered how you spell kewpie and does it have pickable locks? Then I noticed the Norse event was going to end in C-K and started to suspect Deck might be wrong. Light bulb time! HIT THE DIRT, TOUPEE went flying, along with several more. When all was said and done I had Googled GENET, BOWE, KEN O and, I’m ashamed to admit, KURDISH. But it was all fair; I think if I’d been willing to spend more time they’d have all come out of hiding, except maybe the L of VELA/OLIN.

Not sure EAT LO-CAL is entirely accurate around these parts, since farmers’ markets and stands are loaded with pies, boiled peanuts, pickled pigs feet, local cheeses and meats. OH, EAT LOCAL! (HO HO) Oh yes yes, you can definitely do that at our farmers’ markets - all kinds of goodies like mini sweet potato pies never make to the car. Plus you can get breakfast and lunch at the little cafe inside the market, all from the market vendors. Then take your fresh veggies home and put them on the grill. Yum!

Apparently it’s “Relive Your Past By Listening to the First Music You Ever Bought No Matter What It Was No Excuses Day,” so it’s every man for himself.

Our family had so much music of all kinds I didn’t really need to buy any. (Actually the first music I bought would have been sheet music, not recordings, which is what I think is meant.) I did buy Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young “So Far” and the soundtrack to Star Wars on my own. Think I’ll go with CSNY.

Enjoyed the struggle, Sam - thanks!

Anonymous 2:15 PM  

A show that ran for FOUR seasons 40 years ago? That is impossible to suss out because it's just, effectively, random letters (outside of a W/K). REALLY?

yeah, REALLY Loni Anderson is the reason.

I grew up on SWANSON teeVee dinners. La Madre wouldn't deign to cook.

CDilly52 2:29 PM  

A Saturday “Sam” fills me with both joy and trepidation. Like @Leeis, I simply stuttered around nibbling at the edges and being mostly baffled! My saving grace was actually some of the misdirects. Sam and I share some brainwaves or something, because I often get his misdirect clues fairly easily. In this puzzle, WHALES may have saved me from a DNF as a 13 year old neighbor is reading Moby Duck for school and his folks sent him over one day last week when they saw me in the yard. Young E and I had some chuckles about “Starbucks,” he opining with youthful absolute certainty that the coffee chain got its character from the book. Who k owns, but seeing that clue and having the . . . LED, WHALED dropped right in and eased my pain on the remainder of that SW corner.

HEALTH SPA was a cringe-chuckle answer that was fairly easy once I had the Melville clue. However, the remainder had plenty of crunch and some of the names took some searching the depths of my brain and honestly, some WAGs (wild-assed-guesses). But finish I did, and with great joy. Keep ‘em coming, Sam!!

Joe Dipinto 3:02 PM  

@Creamy T - "thirtysomething" was the antithesis of a sitcom. There was no humor or joy involved. It was about a bunch of boring self-absorbed yuppies (when that term was in vogue) in their mid-thirties. I used to see random episodes. I remember there was one character who, when she had a baby, decided to stop working to become a stay-at-home mom, and then all she did was complain to her husband (Ken Olin) and friends about how she missed her career. After a whole season of that, she went back to work, and I swear on her first day at the job she starting whining about how awful it was that she couldn't be home with the baby. I think that was when I threw an ashtray at the TV set.

Whatsername 3:33 PM  

@Joe (3:02) I agree with you about the boring self-absorbed sitcom. I hated that show and the entire cast of characters. Years later I saw Patricia Wettig in the movie City Slickers and she was really quite good in the role, but it was hard for me not to dislike her because I couldn’t see beyond that thirtysomething whiny wife who was perpetually unhappy.

pabloinnh 4:02 PM  

@bocamp-I'm all in favor or ripping singles, since I was never big or strong enough to take the all-or-nothing swings favored today, which result way too often in strikeouts.

I hear "crushed" on the local Red Sox broadcasts for home runs, mostly from Dave O'Brien and Jerry Remy. Third member of the team Dennis Eckersly would say "he went bridge". The Eck has a lot of idiosyncratic phrases. My new favorite describes a batter caught looking at a third strike. "He's a pair of shoes", Eck will say. Always makes me smile.

Birchbark 4:07 PM  

@jberg (9:51) -- I enjoyed your RAGNAROK diversion. I'm also part Norwegian and German, plus Italian and Danish too. The Italian side mostly won out in the kitchen, for which I am thankful. Though I did like moose sausage, strong cheese and coffee for breakfast when I visited Trondheim many years ago.

As for your Wagner cite, today's Metropolitan Opera broadcast was "Tristan und Isolde." It was a day to listen to snippets of it in an old pickup truck with the windows down, running a few local errands. I REALIZE it was not as Wagner intended, but surely one way to make a downer of an opera "fun."

Anonymous 4:23 PM  

The "B" in Dumb and Dumber is not actually completely silent.

Aelurus 4:29 PM  

@Z 1:04 - Boy was I wondering! I'm determined to get Mandy's delivery of his mantra to appear, thank you! Okay, one more time, and I'm typing the whole thing in by hand, in this little comment box which I hope knows only nonsmart quote marks (usually favor Word and a copy-and-paste), and triple-checking again (and ha! for your comment about Blogger's particular pickiness about quote marks but not security):

JC66 4:56 PM  


It worked. Good job.

BTW, with my Cheat Sheet all you have to do is copy and paste.

Aelurus 4:56 PM  

@ Gill I. 1:03 pm - Lovely. I will enjoy borrowing frijoles frescos. Didn't want to ask for two, but it's appreciated as I will also get a fair amount of use out of AY DIOS MIO. (Already said it before reposting the INIGO link.) That's wonderful about your watercolor greeting cards! Thank you for the welcome, too. Glad to be here among this wonderful commentariat. :)

@bocamp 1:59 pm - Don't think I got the memo with the definition of "yw" - yesterday's words-? yeti warning-? yodel warily-?

Anonymous 5:11 PM  

Can I go to the spa that Rex imagined?

bocamp 5:35 PM  

@pabloinnh (4:02 PM)

Yup, I'll go with those worm-burners and line drives any day! ⚾️

@Aelurus (4:56 PM)

Haha, my bad … yw = you're welcome! πŸ˜‚

And, congrats on the 'Hello' link.

pg -2

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

Frantic Sloth 7:02 PM  

@Z 104pm Just the one...that you know of. 😘

Anoa Bob 7:20 PM  

Moderators, I posted a comment on yesterday's blog about the Friday puzzle. It was about the grid structure and the liberal use of the plural of convenience. That was it. No spoilers and no nasty comments. Looks like it, along with a bunch of other comments, got deleted. I'm wondering why.

Your friend,

Anoa Bob 7:28 PM  

Aha! My post had a link so that must be why it got deleted. Never mind.

Still your friend,

JC66 7:29 PM  


If you read today's comments, you'll see what the problem was.

Larry 10:10 PM  

I quit when I saw OHNONO crossing NOPE. Not worth my time.

A 10:16 PM  

@Nancy, I tried to visit last night, too, and luckily didn’t see anything amiss except the lack of a link to comments. I figured it would be corrected and just went on my merry way. I hope you’re recovered from the trauma! If you brave a late visit today, please see the video below for a bit of light-hearted fun.

@Aelurus, yw re Bechet. And “yodeling warily” is inspired! I was trying to envision what that would sound like, so I searched for “first time yodeling” and got this video of Yodeling Ware-ily.

@bocamp, thanks for the Callas - what a voice, what character! Interesting technique she uses at times of a “break” in the voice. Sounds like a distant relative of the yodeling technique.

@GILL, I, congrats on the watercolor cards! Is there somewhere we can see them?

I feel sorry for all the WKRP HATERS, it was a funny, engaging, multi-layered show which had good characters and took on some uncomfortable subjects with humor.

Anonymous 11:14 PM  

The rare joy of rating a puzzle Easy compared to a Rex Challenging was overshadowed by disliking the solve even more than he did. Clues are getting so verbose these days I'm almost ready to step away for a while...

Anonymous 2:43 AM  

Between the boxing stuff, the ancient pop culture references (wkrp??) and a random soccer dude this was natick central. And then not much fun otherwise.

Bob Mills 9:27 AM  

The constructor might not have known that CARLOS VEGA is a soccer star, as is CARLOS VELA. A more specific clue might have been helpful to the solver.

Piano Phil 10:52 AM  

If I ever had to regurgitate names of soccer players and sitcom actors to save my life, I’d be a dead duck. And yes, I am proud of that. DNF

Kaybee 1:40 PM  

This one just made me angry. Never did figure out what was going on, just put some letters in and hoped they worked.

kitshef 7:25 PM  

Felt like I was solving in a foreign language. DEMO UNIT? ON ONE HAND? (It's always, always, on THE one hand). STREET MEAT?

Joe 6:31 AM  

Lead in to son or song…I put swan…out of desperation. It’s a horrible clue. Swan song? Sure. Swan son? What, a Swedish surname? Boooooo!!

bmille916 11:34 PM  

Is there a good place to find the brain tickler answers?

spacecraft 10:09 AM  

Yeah, challenging. Had ____ATAB and just couldn't come up with anything four letters. RUN or RAN ("Put" is one of those tricky words that don't change from present to past tense) is still only three. I can't believe how long it took to see OPEN. I always say "Start a tab--" but that's FIVE! Grr!

This finally helped me to see the SILENTBS--and red. Don't DO that!!!

I did manage to sidestep some of the other clue cuteness and finish, but not before nearly quitting twice. I took a wild stab at DOD SHANIA for the Twain album title clue; me and album titles: incompatible. I was just hoping that this particular one would happen to be simply the artist's name. Whew!

That's all for now: birdie.

thefogman 11:25 AM  

Hard! Especially the NW corner. Took a while to solve. Just right for a Saturday.

Joe in Newfoundland 12:40 PM  

Syndicationland here. Why is STREETMEAT specifically Halal? Wouldn't any cart fare be street meat?

Burma Shave 12:43 PM  




this stream of unconsciousness brought to you by LOCAL HOTSPOTS

Anonymous 12:59 PM  

Prime example of a pisser infestation.

rondo 1:00 PM  

Half an hour. NW the toughest. hotdrINk really no substitute for RICEWINE. So inkfest there. STREETfood before STREETMEAT made a bit of a mess.

Overnight OATS? If you say so.

SHANIA Twain definitely gets the SASH. Yeah baby.

ONONEHAND there's what OFL said, but NOPE, pretty good Sat-puz.

Diana, LIW 4:26 PM  

NOPE. Didn't get all of it. Loved the puns, once I got them. But too many complete unknowns, including STREETMEAT - what ev...

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

leftcoaster 4:48 PM  

Saturday puzzles can be fun, with or without errors, because of their challenge. This one is fun, like TETE (Dome of Notre Dame) paired with TOUPEE (Locks you pick?).

Others fun enough, but with errors: Missing the SILENTBS; ignoring the VETTES; buy(ing) LOCAL instead of EAT(ing) LOCAL; the LONDON what?...the EYE, dummy.

Most vulnerable to errors: VELA / RAGNAROK and their crossing.

Thanks, ST.

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