Late-Triassic flier / SAT 5-22-21 / Sci-fi enemy collective perhaps / Special pawn move in chess / Deity that becomes a given name when is fifth letter is moved to the front / Electrically balanced, in chemistry / Designer with eponymous hotel in Burj Khalifa / Portmanteau coinage for uneducated and uncultured

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Constructor: Sid Sivakumar and Matthew Stock

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging (one very hard corner, the rest just normal Saturday-hard)

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: PTEROSAUR (29D: Late-Triassic flier) —
Pterosaurs (/ˈtɛrəsɔːr, ˈtɛr-/; from Greek pteron and sauros, meaning "wing lizard") were flying reptiles of the extinct clade or order Pterosauria. They existed during most of the Mesozoic: from the late Triassic to the end of the Cretaceous (228 to 66 million years ago). Pterosaurs are the earliest vertebrates known to have evolved powered flight. Their wings were formed by a membrane of skin, muscle, and other tissues stretching from the ankles to a dramatically lengthened fourth finger (wikipedia)
• • •

A grid shape that's designed to be tough, but not particularly interesting. The heavy segmentation ensures that you're never gonna get much of a flow going, and that if you get stuck in a corner, boy you really get stuck. But for all the 8+-letter answers here, there's not much in the way of pizzazz or delightfulness. The two most original-seeming answers are GENERATION ALPHA (first I'm hearing of it) and BOOBOISIE (don't believe anyone actually says this—Mencken (probably) coined it 100 years ago and we're still pretending it's a thing!?). Not in love with either of those answers, but credit for trying. On the other hand, answers like AFILISTS and POKERPROS suggest a massive constructing software wordlist that has not been carefully curated. I recognize those things as things, but they're just not thingy enough. POKER PROS was like yesterday's ITALIAN MEAL, where I got the first part, but the latter part didn't snap into place, and when I eventually got it, it elicited more of a shrug / "I guess" than an aha. It's weird to think that AFI LISTS, plural, should fly, when, I mean, you hardly ever even see AFI in the puzzle to begin with. I have watched more movies than almost anyone since the pandemic started (400-ish and counting), and though I am aware of the existence of AFI LISTS, I have never looked at one. I don't think any one of them is particularly famous or evocative. This answer wasn't hard for me to get; just felt blah. Didn't care for the corporate shilling of OK, GOOGLE. Don't believe in DONK at all (did GENERATION ALPHA invent it? I've never seen it before, except maybe as a sound effect in comic books). The clue for ON BASE is absurd without a "maybe" or some kind of qualifier (40D: Looking to steal, say). LIMA, PERU is also somewhat absurd, as are most city, country answers (where does it end? is MUNICHGERMANY OK? GDANSKPOLAND?). I liked HEIST FILMS because I like HEIST FILMS and I liked ROOT BEER because I like ROOT BEER. I am simple this way. I also liked MAKE A MOVE—it's simple but it's got freshness and energy. And the grid as a whole is solid enough. It's all just a little SEVERE without enough allaying joy. 

The SW was by far the hardest corner for me. Eventually dropped the -SAUR part of PTEROSAUR in there, but I didn't know that was a thing. My flying dino-knowledge began and ended with pterodactyl. I knew "ptero" meant "wing," but after that ... nothing. Wanted PTERODON, but it didn't fit. Also, not a thing (pteranodon is a genus of PTEROSAUR, in case you ever need that little bit of trivia). I knew MAHARISHI, but otherwise I had almost nothing down here at first pass. I decided to try IBEAM out, and that helped some. But the French chess thing, yikes (51A: Special pawn move in chess), the APOLAR clue, another yikes (38A: Electrically balanced, in chemistry). I think my breakthrough came with getting IRON off the "I", which allowed me to see the -SAUR on PTEROSAUR. Had to change GET AT to LET ON (45D: Intimate). Had to remember that the movie "HUGO" ever existed (54A: Best Picture-nominated 2011 film based on a children's book). Had to suss out the alleged portmanteau that is BOOBOISIE. Had to wrestle with the alt-spelled AMON-RA (actually, the puzzle uses so many spellings that I forget which of them is "alt") (38D: Deity that becomes a given name when is fifth letter is moved to the front). Whole corner took about as long as the rest of the grid combined. NE and SE were actually reasonably easy, but the NW put up a fight, so all in all, definitely on the dark side of Medium, this one. Always feel guilty when I have to rely so much on crosswordese to get traction (IBEAM, SRIS, ALIA, ODETS, etc.), but maybe that's why god invented it. And by god I mean OOXTEPLERNON, the God of Bad Short Fill. He first appeared to me in a vision back in 2009. And by "vision" I mean a row of consecutive answers in a crossword grid.

When OOXTEPLERNON is angry, he buries your grid in plural suffixes and random Roman numerals and names like ANSE and LAR and such. When he's pleased, he gives you just enough familiar short junk to get going, and then leaves you to enjoy the rest of your puzzle. He is a capricious god. He can be a vengeful god. Today, he definitely helped out. All PRAISE OOXTEPLERNON. Good day.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Joaquin 12:02 AM  

Sid Sivakumar always challenges me, but I’ve always been able to at least hold my own against him. So today he brings a friend and they gang up on me and totally kick my ass. Two against one; how is that even a fair fight?

jae 12:35 AM  

Tough. Like @Rex, the SW was the biggest time SUCK. BOOBOISE was a WOE and I struggled with spelling PTEROSAUR and MAHARISHI. Plus PumPED and PulsED before POOPED.

Liked it, but I agree with a lot of what @Rex had to say. Jeff at Xwordinfo gave it POW.

David Eisner 12:49 AM  

If you can trick OOXTEPLERNON into saying his name backwards he has to return to Will Shortz's attic for 90 days.

Frantic Sloth 1:27 AM  

That SE corner seemed to take forever, but I still finished right around my average time.
This amazes me because it felt like hacking through a jungle with a machete. Every once in a while an "Oh!" or a "Ah!" was tossed out of my gob just often enough to keep me interested and hopeful. Then another coconut would DONK my head.


Least favorite: AMONRA. I don't care for that spelling (prefer AMeNRA), but BeOBOISIE was clearly wrong, so I grudgingly changed it to that stupid "O".

Oh, I liked BOOBOISIE, too!

Despite some oddities (ASFOR, ILLGO, ALLOT - all were clued in unusual ways and this was just the start), our wavelengths jibed for the most part.

A really nice challenge for the Saturdee.
I do see some of the PPP hitting a nerve...
Speaking of... isn't an AXON a part of a nerve, rather than something that touches it? I always get AXONS and dendrites confused.
Along with just about everything else.


Unknown 2:28 AM  

booboisie, really? guess I need to hang with a younger crowd.

Anonymous 3:55 AM  

Electrically balanced in chemistry is 'nonpolar,' not 'apolar.' Even now spell check is ok with nonpolar but not apolar. Signed, Aman Ra

kitshef 6:26 AM  

Some woeful detours on my part, each of which worked with multiple crosses:
fraNcS before LEONES
And most painfully, TaINo before TRINI – you get three crosses in a five-letter word and figure you’re good.


Bad enough we have to deal with AMEN-RA where it should be AMUN-RA; now you want AMON-RA, too?

Despite all of the above, a very easy Saturday.

And of course, we get BOOB crossing POOP.

Lewis 6:36 AM  

This one took me to my limit; the theme for me was STRAINER, as that’s what I was through most of this. Though it’s amazing how one or two words can break a section open. I was badly stuck in the NE when I remembered RAMIS, then saw AXON, and bam! That whole section filled in before two blinks.

But that was the exception today for me. Mind you, I’m not complaining. Figuring things out is one of the great pleasures in life, IMO, and the tougher the thing to figure out, the more satisfying it is when you do.

And so there was much sweat and satisfaction from this one, plus a bit of learning (regarding LIMA and that prehistoric flier), and glorious smile-drawing wordplay on the clues for LEG, ON BASE, HEIST FILMS, and IRON. That is, just what I hope for on Saturday. Thank you, guys!

Anonymous 6:40 AM  

... and the ever-popular Amun Re!

Z 7:11 AM  

My difficult corner was the NE. ALIA may be crosswordese, but I don’t have this one filed away, yet. MAKE A MOVE is so very 60’s I’m a little embarrassed it took me so long. And after the aside starter was not psst my brain refused to discuss any other possibilities. SEVERE finally unstuck the log jam.

I’m now imagining AMON-RA and Ooxteplernon riding the wooden roller coaster in Rye together before having dinner at Z’s Placebo and Tentacle. Those two are just a hoot.

I did not like this grid shape much. It is striking to look at, but it is weird to have a grid spanner and still have a highly segmented grid where each corner feels like it’s own separate puzzle.

Proof Rex doesn’t read the comments: I’m 90% positive the first time I read about GENERATION ALPHA was in these comments. I’m sure I still haven’t run across it in the wild.

Chen’s POW? Yep, we are just rarely anywhere near the same wave length. It must be the Lake Michigan Tide’s fault.

kitshef 7:23 AM  

@Z's 7:11 comment prompted a little research and it turns out Generation ALPHA was in @Nancy's 8/27/2020 puzzle. That puzzle was the hardest in at least the last five years, and I probably did not notice it among all the KATE Dicamillos and JAWAs and CACHINNATEs.

Anonymous 7:25 AM  

DONK??? Bonk or conk, sure.

bocamp 7:40 AM  

Thx Sid & Matthew for a fun and enjoyable Sat. puz! :)

Med unsolve.


Otherwise, all proceeded well. :)

yd 0

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Anonymous 7:42 AM  

SPOILER ALERT–yesterday’s “brain tickler.”

The Friday “brain tickler” asks for the first and last names (4, 5) of a famous American which rhyme with the first and last names of Sean Penn. I thought about it a little (it’s an easy puzzle to run the alphabet on) and came up with John Alden, of Mayflower fame. That seemed a little odd, and I realized soon John Glenn was wanted, which was given with today’s newspaper. But I am not entirely sure John Alden is incorrect. Does anyone know if it is incorrect to say Alden rhymes with Penn, simply because of the extra syllable?

Anon. i.e. Poggius

Hungry Mother 7:44 AM  

TRINI eluded me, so DNF. A few unknowns today.

Son Volt 7:45 AM  

I don’t know - grid looked like a Tetris board - figured the segmented corners would be tough at first look. NW went in smooth - liked ROOT BEER. The center triple stack does nothing for me - just a flat front and center. Trivia laden fill here - the SE corner really SUCKS.

Typical nonPOLAR is the common usage - but assuming APOLAR means lack of polarity I guess it could work. The constructors haven’t watched baseball recently or they’d know that no one looks to steal when they are ON BASE anymore - homers and strikeouts is all that’s left. Agree with Rex and didn’t like that clue.

Liked the fact that this put up a fight like a Saturday should. Just wasn’t an overly enjoyable battle.

pabloinnh 7:58 AM  

Hey t's four, four, four puzzles in one! I'm not a huge fan of these segmented types but today's was interesting in that folks seemed to have difficulties in different quadrants.

For me it was the SE. as DONK is just sheer desperation and "Touches" may somehow be IPODS but that's news to me. AFILISTS had to be right but that was also an unknown.

Fortunately I am old enough to have read quite a lot of Mencken and thought the clue for BOOBOISIE was such an exact description that I wrote it right in, so there. Also knew ENPASSANT after a couple of letters, so a good day for vocabulary trivia.

EVILEMPIRE should always be clued as "NY baseball team". and I've never said OKGOOGLE, but everything else seemed fair enough (except DONK).

Fun enough Saturday, so thanks to SS and MS fo a Slightly Slow but Mostly Satisfying solve.

Z 8:04 AM  

@kitshef - Good to know that Rex doesn’t remember things based on one appearance, too. At least I remembered I had heard of it in a puzzle.

JD 8:13 AM  

@Frantic hacked through this with a machete. For me, it was like walking through the grid, rifling through the big bag of letters, making a guess as to what letter could go beside the one that was already there and then moving on. Biggest moment - that there very well could be an R after a T ... aha Strainers.

Everything was just letter by letter, corner by corner, between a suss and a guess. Suessed my way around, never on a roll.

Also, I don't get how Also is the start of an aside (had @Z's experience with Psst), and think that Fill Mein could be the face kids give you when they're hungry.

amyyanni 8:21 AM  

Wow, just about everything here is not in my wheelhouse. I did enjoy the movie HUGO, but that is about it. Learned some things so that is good. As is Saturday. Have a great one.

Unknown 8:57 AM  

I just refused to believe DONK would be in a puzzle since it is most definitively not slang for anything except a male genital in Australia. It had to be, but it's just wrong.

Barbara S. 9:01 AM  

I was feeling oh so smug about my puzzling prowess until I hit the SW quadrant and it all came crashing down. For the longest time I had nothing I was sure of except IBEAM and MAHARISHI. Like Rex, I had PTERO and didn’t know how to end it, till finally SAUR suggested itself. But then I had only those three down answers for another age. I tried a bunch of things, finally AMONRA worked, but in the end I had to google both HUGO and BOOBOISIE. I’m sure I’ve run into the latter before – I looked it up and it was used by Jeff Chen in a 2017 puzzle. EN PASSANT is such a lovely expression; I wish it could have been clued in a non-chess way. But I learned a lot: AXON, GENERATION ALPHA, what a Madrileño and a TRINI are, and that, however unlikely it may seem, LAOS is the “Land of a Million Elephants”.

DONK in film.

The game is afoot! Today’s selections come from ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE, born May 22, 1859.

“My mind," he said, "rebels at stagnation. Give me problems, give me work, give me the most abstruse cryptogram or the most intricate analysis, and I am in my own proper atmosphere. I can dispense then with artificial stimulants. But I abhor the dull routine of existence. I crave for mental exaltation. That is why I have chosen my own particular profession, or rather created it, for I am the only one in the world.”
(From The Sign of Four)
“You're not hurt, Watson? For God's sake, say that you are not hurt!"
It was worth a wound -- it was worth many wounds -- to know the depth of loyalty and love which lay behind that cold mask. The clear, hard eyes were dimmed for a moment, and the firm lips were shaking. For the one and only time I caught a glimpse of a great heart as well as of a great brain. All my years of humble but single-minded service culminated in that moment of revelation.”
(From “The Adventure of the Three Garridebs” in The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes)

Anonymous 9:06 AM  

So there is no fault, as there are no tides in the Great Lakes. Nor do the courts substitute the term high tide for high water mark. But you knew that, right?

bocamp 9:15 AM  

Got my first iPod touch in 2007. Still have two older touches I use on a daily basis.

Still a bit miffed at self for not parsing BOOB OISIE. Thot of the 'i' for MAHARISHI, but OSHI sounded better. May have been the subconscious sound of the 'o' in Yogi. :(

Otoh, en passant (in passing) was a gimme. ♟


Learned OOXTEPLERON today. Had a fun trip back to 2009, getting the history of this god and reading the comments of many familiar former Rex bloggers. I saw a few who are still with us.

@Son Volt (7:45 AM) wrote:

"… no one looks to steal when they are ON BASE anymore - homers and strikeouts is all that’s left."

One reason I don't watch MLB anymore. Give me 'Billyball' any day. ⚾️

@Poggius (7:42 AM)

SPOILER ALERT–yesterday’s “brain tickler.”

I think it might be a question of how Alden is pronounced. I would tend towards a very short 'un' rather than 'en' sound. 🤔 Nevertheless, thx for the early morning mental challenge (I did come up with the preferred answer, tho). :)

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Peter P 9:16 AM  

@Anonymous i.e. Poggius 7:42. Well, if you say all-DEN then it does rhyme with PENN. I remember it as ALL-d@n, with the @ representing a schwa, so it doesn't rhyme on account of both it's a different vowel sound and also that the definition of perfect rhyme is rhyme where the last stressed syllable and all following sounds are the same. "Alden" would have to be stressed on its second syllable to rhyme with "Penn."

That's for perfect rhyme. Poets and other wordsmiths bend these rules all the time (I prefer my rhymes more "slant") but that's the standard definition of rhyme in English.

Piano Phil 9:16 AM  

I remember when “SUCKS” used to be too vulgar for polite company. The term had a breakthrough moment on the old Tonight Show when Johnny Carson played a grumpy old coot in a skit where he used it in every sentence and that was the basis of the whole bit. (Outrageous! Hilarious!) OK, I know I’m old.

Nancy 9:19 AM  

Oh, no, no, no, no! If this had happened to me in a tournament, this ridiculous DNF, I would have been really furious and broken their wall, not my own. C'mon, guys. It can be CONK, it can be BONK, but it cannot be DONK!!! There is no such word. And when faced with a choice of IPOBS or IPOCS for "Touches", I wrote in...nothing. Fortunately you did not cost me the $250,000 First Prize, so I really don't care about such absurd ridiculousness.

Also, you forced me to cheat on Hoth, another #%$#@% "Star Wars" clue. (Is there no end to them?) Thinking it was a person and having ICEP----T, all I could think of was ICE PUPPET. Didn't write it in (it didn't work), so I looked up Hoth. ICE PLANET enabled me to get ALIA (Oh, damn, now it's "Ghostbusters"!) and finish off the PPP-laden NE.

Question: Is an OK GOOGLE inquiry different from a just plain old GOOGLE inquiry? How?

Re GENERATION ALPHA (which I never heard of before): Isn't it a little soon to be awarding yourself such an enviably top-dog generational identity? How old would you kids be now? Eight? Ten? Sure hope you live up to all the advance hoopla.

Other than my aforementioned nits, I actually enjoyed this crunchy puzzle a lot. Though you probably can't tell from my comment :)

Seth 9:26 AM  

POKER PROS is absolutely a solid stand-alone phrase -- not at all like ITALIAN MEAL. Also, surprised at the offhanded dislike of OK GOOGLE (the Android equivalent of "Hey Siri"), which is a totally valid, current, interesting entry. Corporate shilling? Soooo any corporate mention you'll frown on now?

Nancy 9:26 AM  

@kitshef -- GENERATION ALPHA was in my puzzle?????!!!!! Read my comment just now and weep for me. When I say I don't have a memory, I really mean that I don't have a memory! Never doubt it. Admittedly I don't construct grids, so I didn't come up with the term. And I'm sure I would have asked Will Nediger to clue it. And therefore, I was very hands-off on GENERATION ALPHA.

But still...

RooMonster 9:38 AM  

Hey All !
Puz made me feel like a BOOB. Was stuck, and as is my wont, started looking things up to try to regain traction. Did get NW without help! In NE, looked up "West Africa currency", came back with fraNcS, but couldn't get the crossers to jive. So then looked up "Burj Khalifa hotel" and found ARMANI. Dang, suits to Hotels. Nice. Got me off the wrong psSt for 10A. Also looked up "Golden Boy" to get ODETS. So, a big cheating corner!

Wonderful non-memory had me look up the Capital of PERU in SE. Had tmcLISTS in, making ALPHA tough to see. Once the LIMA cheat went in, saw it was ALPHA, then remembered AFI. Still unsure what/who TRINI is.

In SW, that crazy BOOBOISIE was a total unknown. Took me until reading Rex to get pronunciation. Couldn't parse it by reading if in the grid. I was like "BOO BOISE (think Idaho), what?" Looked up HUGO down there. Also had PTERO-, not thinking SAUR, but -dactyl or-adon. Got it all, or so I thought, DNF with MAHARaSHI/BOOBOaSIE. AARGH! Still would've been a technical DNF, with all the cheat checks.

You guys kicked my AXON good today. I'm POOPED. Funky grid. Knew the Chess move, but originally thought in was ENPASSE. Har. Chess, easy game to learn how to play, tough game to actually play. If that makes sense.

Writeovers I can remember, hotPLANET-ICEPLANET (is that an APOLAR wrong answer?), MAKEApass-MAKEAMOVE, ASpeR-ASFOR, IPaDS-IPODS (because, always), bONK-DONK, HEISTmovie-HEISTFILMS.

Two F's

DrBB 9:39 AM  

Ah, OOXTEPLERNON, great and powerful. But does it become a familiar first name when you move any of the letters to the top. Or end. Or anywhere else? I think not.

Anonymous 9:45 AM  

TRINI is the colloquial name for a person from Trinidad and Tobago.

DrBB 9:51 AM  

Re the SW, I had EN PASSANT as a guess early on but didn't fill it b/c I tend to think of that as functioning adjectivally (Taking a pawn "en passant," lit. "In passing") though I'm not any kind of chess player. And pretty unusual. But in the end I couldn't think of anything else it could be, and that gave me the ok for IBEAM (could it really be the old standard xword-ese? yup). So that was a big help with AMONRA/RAMONA, even though I hated it, not just b/c it seems like it at least needed an "alt." in the clue but also b/c I hate those "move one latter to get something else" clues, which are a cheap kind of clever IMO. And AFI is so not a thing for me without OK GOOGLE (which is also not a thing for me) but again I had to surrender to it because the crosses gave me no choice. So not too bad for me, a 19-minute Saturday where 15 is my target. But some fun in there with the difficulty. Like EVIL EMPIRE. But nix on TRINI, and DONK? No. Just no.

Unknown 10:02 AM  

Tough one today. I fear for @SS johnny's mental health.

DrBB 10:03 AM  

EN PASSANT = adverbial, not adjectival. Can't edit these posts dang it. But anyway, a modifier not a noun, though I guess it gets used that way. So ok.

jberg 10:04 AM  

I guess generations are now like tropical storms, we've run out of other names and are turning to the Greek alphabet. (Incidentally, subtropical storm Ana formed overnight, so we're on our way.)

I've never actually read much Mencken, though I always think I should, but he's famous for referring to the BOOBOISIE, so that was easy once I had a few crosses. And I've seen, though never owned, an iPad Touch, so that was easy enough. And speaking of tech stuff-- a few years ago Spotify decided to give all paid subscribers a free Google Home (now apparently called Google Nest), a little speaker that connects to the Internet and responds to voice commands. In order to prevent it from interpreting everyday conversation as commands, you have to first get its attention by saying "OK, Google;" equivalent to "Hey, Siri!" on an iPhone. I guess some people aren't familiar with them.

And if you ever played chess seriously, you know about capturing EN PASSANT, a move otherwise so obscure that if you try it on a beginner they think you're trying to cheat.

Yeah, DONK; not even a dook. A better clue, though still obscure would be "Jessica Mitford's nickname for her daughter."

As always, I did enjoy the puzzle, and the opportunity to learn another generation name.

Nancy 10:07 AM  

@Poggius & @bocamp -- **SPOILER ALERT, yesterday's Brain Tickler**:

My dismay on seeing the supposed "answer" today was off the charts. Because the answer is dead wrong. "John" does NOT rhyme with "Sean", which Penn pronounces "Shawn". I was looking for a "Vaughn" or a "Dawn" or even a "Fawn". I was stumped yesterday, and now I know why. WS has many skills, but it seems that rhyming isn't one of them. I was debating shooting off an email to him this morning -- I have his private email address-- but thought: And, then, maybe, he'll never take another one of your puzzles ever again. And so I restrained myself.

GILL I. 10:16 AM  

Holy enchiladas on a corn taco shell. This was hard.......Let's see....where did I even begin? Oh, wait, I actually got ROOT BEER. Wait....I also got EVIL EMPIRE. Get up, do laundry, make myself a drink, pet the pups, wash my face.....stick a few words in here and there.
I HAVE TO GET ON THESE MEN'S WAVELENGTH, WHEELHOUSE, or I will sink into DONK ASS. I kept going. I was intrigued. Could I possibly finish? Why yes, but OK GOOGLE to my damsel in distress rescue. He held my BOOB and my OISIE as we made a sweeping ENPASSANT and tip toeing through YUCK here, and an AMO RA there. Managed to finish though I wouldn't know how to spell that Triassic flyer even if he pecked me on the lips.
So I get to that panegyric clue and wondered how I'd use it in a sentence. "Honey, be a panegyric and zip my dress up, will you?" And then I think of LIMA PERU. I had no idea it was the world's largest desert capital after Cairo. I've been to Peru. The first time was very sad. The drive from the airport to the capital was depressing. So much poverty; people living in tin shacks; beggars everywhere. I kept handing out money to children and I remember my dad telling me it wouldn't change a thing. So, I bought lollypops and handed them out.'s a beautiful country; the people are very friendly and the food is incredibly good.
Do people from Trinidad like being called a TRINI?
Do my SUCKS runneth over?

RooMonster 10:17 AM  

Oh, btw, in the car world, a DONK is a car on Super big tires. Like 35's. Not hydraulic, just sitting up high.
And usually outrageous paint jobs.

RooMonster Non-DONK Guy

Z 10:28 AM  

@Nancy - ALPHA was in the puzzle, GENERATION was in the clue, in your puzzle.

@Seth - There has also been more than the occasional kvetching over the daily Apple ads in the puzzle, to the point that many of us are convinced that Apple has Shortz on the payroll. And, yes, there is at least one frequent commenter here who growls at every product that appears.

@JD - I tend to start a paragraph with a main point in mind. Also, I tend to meander about making asides.

A puzzle based on rhymes is giving people fits for the alleged “correct” answer. Shocking. Almost as surprising as there being more than one “correct” spelling for a transliteration based on a written language that used hieroglyphs. I wonder what the hieroglyph for Ooxteplernon would be? My guess is 🖕🏾

TrudyJ 10:29 AM  

I came to the comments just to see if anyone else made the same embarrassing mistake I did while frantically trying to think of cities in the desert. Fun fact: LIMAPERU has the same number of letters and the same second and final letters as TIMBUKTU. So that didn’t make that SE corner any easier.

Birchbark 10:32 AM  

I don't recall the word BOOBOISE but have today seen it twice inside of an hour. First in this morning's puzzle and related commentary. And just now, reading a brooding essay by Jim Harrison ("Caregiver," 2011, in the posthumous collection "A Really Big Lunch"):

"There is also the question in the United States of whether bad food is better than little food. Something in addition to our sodden educational system is making us stupider and stupider. There has been an immense political and media effort to make our minds smaller and smaller. There seems to be a severe evolutionary glitch unless you view our whining, indolence, fear, and ignorance as the easiest adaptation to reality. We have a clear oligarchy of the very rich and when you slip down the food chain a notch you have what H.L. Mencken called a BOOBOISIE ."

Carola 10:36 AM  

Medium here, thanks to the teamwork of the Just-Happened-to-Know Department (BOOBOISIE, EN PASSANT, HUGO) and the Star Wars Fan Club (ICE PLANET, EViL EMPIRE). First in: ROOTBEER!, which for me conjures up childhood trips to the A&W drive-in for a float, so that immediately endeared me to the puzzle. I also liked MAKE A MOVE + I'M ON A ROLL and the neighboring MAHARISHI and PTEROSAUR, and I can't get enough of HEIST FILMS. Speaking of evil empires, OK GOOGLE took a little of the shine off for me, as the idea of "talking" with electronic entities who are packaged as our "friends" makes my hair stand on end.

Do-overs: "me, toO" before I''LL GO, ONE-Person, bONK, and tIMbuktU (hi, @TrudyJ).

Geoff H 10:37 AM  

I was sure 16A “Papyrus, e.g.” had to be FONT.

mathgent 10:37 AM  

Nineteen longs (8+). That's the most since I started counting them a few months ago. Great!

Nice puzzle. Lewis expressed my feelings about it well.

I don't remember GENERATIONALPHA being in Will and Nancy's puzzle. I doubt that it was. It's the sort of new thing I like learning about in a crossword.

I vaguely remember ENPASSANT from reading chess books when I was trying to get good enough to beat my brother. I has something to do with a pawn taking another piece when its first move is two spaces.

I don't like "Start of an aside" for ALSO. Nor the clue for ONBASE.

I'm surprised that Nancy liked it. She had to cheat, which she hates to do. Plus there is no wordplay in the cluing.

Loved Barbara's Sherlock quote. Like him, I live for solving puzzles. Not crosswords, I only do one a day. I'm currently hooked on the Two Not Touch puzzles. Besides the two in the daily NYT, I do others which are available online.

I hope we haven't lost Todd Trimble.

Frantic Sloth 10:37 AM  

Hand up for "psst" before ALSO because when I think of an aside, I think surreptitious, not "and wait - there's more!"

@pabloinnh 758am Had the same thought on EVILEMPIRE, but doubt the New York Times would see it that way. 🤷‍♀️

@JD 813am Little known fact: Fill Mein originated with baby birds because, well, look at them!

@Unknown 857am Well, than you for that little tidbit. Makes me regret my first post's "DONK my head" even more. ALSO, the imagery... yeesh!

@Barbara S 901am Your link leads to a video with a name made hilarious by @Unknown's comment.🤣

Until @Nancy's 919am ICEPUPPET (which I love), it was the funniest thing of the day thus far.

And then there's @GILL's 1016am sinking into DONK ASS...🤣🤣

I gotta get outta here!

***OKGOOGLE mystery solved. Alert the media...Alert***

It's a voice command when using Google or other android type phones. Its counterpart is "Hey, Siri" for Apple products.
But really, who cares? Besides, someone else is bound to explain this more thoroughly and accurately. But whatevs.

CreamyT 10:48 AM  

Had fun, had struggles, but felt good for a Saturday overall. Not a huge fan of the largely siloed off sections. I did like most of the cluing. My wife and I only really got stuck in the SW. Overall time was above average for a Saturday, although was a 1-square DNF.

For us, the only time we thought "well this SUCKS" was with BOOBOISIE. It hits that awful intersection of obscure and bizarre looking. It looks like it's spelled incorrectly.

I couldn't remember whether it was MAHARaSHI or MAHARISHI, couldn't remember whether it was ENPASSANT or ENPASSeNT, and also hadn't heard of PTEROSAUR. All those mixed in and around BOOBOISIE was just a little too much. Our first attempt was incorrect, and it took us a few guesses to line it up. So for that reason, DNF today.

Also briefly caught up in the NE - had font instead of REED for Papyrus. I blame SNL for this:

Unknown 10:49 AM  

@Nancy @10:07 - I'm fairly sure John is pronounced Jawn which rhymes with Shawn which is spelled Sean. But then I do not like poetry, so perhaps I do not notice the nuances that you do. Even so, I think you are trying too hard for something to be dismayed about. Oh, wait, that's the whole purpose of this blog. Never mind.

Whatsername 11:10 AM  

HMM, I won’t go so far AS to say it SUCKS but I’VE not much PRAISE for this ONE either. There are Saturday stumpers and then there are Saturday thumpers as in smacking your head against the wall. My immediate reaction to 47A was rednecks, too short, then bourgeois, not a portmanteau but I was getting desperate. Sussing BOOBOISIE was hopeless, totally foreign. Then underneath that, an equally foreign chess term crossed with an obscure prehistoric creature. Definitely not ON A ROLL there. That whole corner needs to be forever exiled to the ICE PLANET, whatever that is.

I don’t know about everybody else but when I hit someone on the head, my slang term is BONK or CONK which may be why I could not find such a definition anywhere for DONK. Not even OK GOOGLE was any help. Apparently it is a nickname for certain old Chevrolets, since modified but which likely saw a lot of good times at the local ROOT BEER stands in their day. Those poor GENERATION ALPHA youngsters will never know what they missed out on.

Westword 11:11 AM  

Not much fun at all.

Wright-Young 11:13 AM  

SW sucked ALL the joy from this puzzle for me.

Anonymous 11:13 AM  

John Alden wasn't an American.

bocamp 11:18 AM  

I prefer my Google Nest (ok Google) over Siri for word defs and spellings. Sits right next to me and is always ready to go when prompted.

"EN PASSANT (French: [ɑ̃ paˈsɑ̃], lit. in passing) is a move in chess.[1] It is a special pawn capture that can only occur immediately after a pawn makes a move of two squares from its starting square, and it could have been captured by an enemy pawn had it advanced only one square. The opponent captures the just-moved pawn "as it passes" through the first square. The result is the same as if the pawn had advanced only one square and the enemy pawn had captured it normally." (Wikipedia)

@mathgent (10:37 AM)

Ditto re: @TTrimble

@Nancy (10:07 AM)

SPOILER ALERT–yesterday’s “brain tickler.”

Sean, Shawn, John, Fawn, Vaughn, Dawn all rhyme for me; just not Alden for Penn. However, each to their own. :)

SB underway

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Anonymous 11:19 AM  

Yeah, SW was badly edited.

JD 11:19 AM  

@Geoff H, With you on the font. One of the few things I just threw in there. Hah!

@Z, Aha. I always think of those as tangents but I see the dif now.

@Birchbark, I just downloaded a sample of that book you're reading based on your posts. Ah Mencken and his Booboise. I loved him, but a deeply flawed fella.

@Frantic, That is the baby bird all-mouth face in fill mode!

Anonymous 11:22 AM  

You’re contending the grid shape was designed to be not particularly interesting? That’s what your first sentence means.
If you meant the puzzle wasn’t particularly interesting you need to insert that subject in your second clause.
Also, the grid shape is kind of interesting. And one of its benefits is that it results in a measles 4 three letter answers. That’s genius level construction. Heck, you bang the drum about the Derek three letter answers cause all the time. This beauty almost eliminates them and your response is the grid is particularly interesting.
I’ll double check but I don’t recall any of your puzzles that had so few three letter answers.

Liz1508 11:24 AM  


Newboy 11:54 AM  

Just tough here! I’ve liked Sis’s grids past, but today’s just frustrated. Lots of squares running the alphabet to fill a final spot or two without the usual grin when the penny hits the slot. Still have an IPOD playing tunes in the basement workspace, but that “touch” clue whizzed right on by. Having PTER in place might’ve put me ON BASE to steal a spot EN PASSANT, but today just a humbling gap where AXONs might have fired. @Lewis liked it and Jeff gave it his POW, so clearly my funny bone needs a splint! BOOBOISIE seemed to mock the Basque center of Idaho (I know portmanteau is in that clue, but.....), and RAMONA is the result of my least favored clue type. Like a day without sunshine, this puzzle was one to be gotten through rather than savored. Hope others enjoyed it as much as @Lewis whose earlier post helped restore emotional balance.

CPG 11:54 AM  

TIMBUKTU for me!

Unknown 11:59 AM  

39 down along with 36 down upsets my Victorian sensibilities.

Z 12:11 PM  

@JD - Asides, Tangents, tomato, tomato. We, id est my college buddies and I, used to call them Rings of Saturn. But, yeah, seems we were not alone in not thinking ALSO worked. I had to puzzle out why it worked after it was entered.

@Anon11:22 - Or maybe Rex meant exactly what he wrote and your reinterpretation is off base. You might have said you found the 8 letter answers interesting or that your flow through the puzzle was fine, but instead you want to rewrite Rex to conform to what you want him to have said. Weird.

ChE Dave 12:17 PM  

Apolar does not mean electrically balanced, someone obviously used a bad online dictionary!

kitshef 12:19 PM  

@Nancy - ALPHA was in your puzzle, and I'm sure you had a perfectly reasonable clue for it. But the clue that wound up there was "Generation ___ (cohort born in the early 2010s".

Hand up for John not rhyming with Sean.

Lindsay 12:24 PM  

DONK is what the grandchildren called the Lord of the Manor in 'Downton Abbey'. Just a happy memory.

Anonymous 12:39 PM  

Rex writes in his 8/27/2020 review:

"I have never heard of this so-called "Generation ALPHA," ever (46A: Generation ___ (cohort born in the early 2010s)). Never. Generation names are always dicey, and that one ... wow, who's peddling that. They're not even 10, stop. Because of that stupid clue, I had an error, in that I put in SET AT instead of LET AT at 47D: Unleash upon and figured maybe ASPHA ... I dunno, was part of the theme, somehow? The ASPHALT Generation, I dunno. I mean, I sniffed the problem out eventually, but ALPHA, again, dubious clue *posing* as "fresh.""

Unknown 12:44 PM  

I'm mystified as to how John can be pronounced so that it doesn't rhyme with Sean or Vaughn. I've known a lot of people named John or Jon and they all pronounced it as rhyming with Dawn. Unless they spelled it Johann.

Anonymous 12:45 PM  

Reinterpretation? No, it’s simply my interpretation. A dictionary might help you friend.
As you say, it’s always fun to joust over words’ meanings. Especially when you help someone out of ignorance.
Peace and kindness to all.

Masked and Anonymous 12:52 PM  

OOXTEPLERNON is sorta the god of weejects. Or at least he's built from 4 weejects.
This whole SatPuz only had 7 weejects, total. staff pick: III, which had a cool & timely clue.

fave longballs: ROOTBEER. FILLMEIN. PLATONIC. ENPASSANT. BOOBOISIE [Kinda harsh on Boise, tho].
flipside: DONK.

Different puzgrid look. Don't need no stinkin diagonal black squares. Different = good.
Hard solvequest, at our house. SatPuzs will often do that.

Will be away from here for a spell, thanx to a long [see runtpuz title].

Thanx for the Evil Generation Heist, and for gangin up on us, Sid & Matthew dudes.

Masked & AnonymoUUs


chance2travel 12:54 PM  

@kitshef - I also confidently entered fraNcS for 11D having lived in West Africa years ago and being very familiar with CFA. It felt confirmed by ICEPLANET.

So the NE the last to fall for me.

ENPASSANT was something I learned quite early in my short attempt at a chess education, so I think it is quite fair.

And unlike Rex, I like to read lists, and once scanned the AFILISTS to see how much I'd seen.

Brooklyn Roasting 12:56 PM  

Donk deserves a bonk. AFIlist is junky AF. Generation alpha sucks. Favorite by far was enpassant below booboisie. Oh and root beer. Took a bunch of chemistry and don’t recall apolar ever popping up. Dipolar, yes. Maybe nonpolar. Apolar Doesn’t hold water.

EV 12:57 PM  

I know, I know, it’s probably a typo, but I think Rex inadvertently coined the new title of his blog:
*allaying joy.*

Are we all sitting down? I have news that may cause fainting. I'm worried about broken hips.
Killing an idle train ride, I went to the archives, finished a puzzle, read Rex and the comments.
September 10, 2013. ( my birthday)
@Lewis was there (among other old friends.)
His review can only be summed up as —- MEH!!!
MEH! I say!!!

Thank you so much, @Lewis, for your belated gift.
You ARE human! (Or you were...)

Barbara S. 1:21 PM  

@Frantic Sloth (10:37)
HAH! You're right! One really must watch the video in my 9:01 post while keeping @Unknown's 8:57 information firmly in mind!

But the truth is that when I found that clip I was actually looking for another use of the word DONK in the movies. I think it's from Two For the Road starring Audrey Hepburn and Albert Finney, an unjustly overlooked film in which A&A go on multiple car trips through France at four or five different times in their marriage. As I recall, at one point they're driving a classic MG, which develops, as Finney puts it, a DONK in the engine. This DONK leads inexorably to engine failure, which culminates in total disaster involving a haystack and a conflagration. It's been an awfully long time snce I've seen the film so apologies for any errors in the telling. Anyway, I couldn't find that scene -- this is the best I could do.

@mathgent (10:37)
I thought Holmes declaring himself a puzzle aficionado was a must-quote for this group, and I loved the startling contrast in the second passage where he reveals that after all he has a heart. Even more surprising is that he goes on to say to the guy who shot Watson: "If you had killed Watson, you would not have got out of this room alive." Yikes.

David in CA 1:30 PM  

"OK GOOGLE" is actually the "wake up phrase" for some smart phone system, Androids I think. Like "Hey Siri" for apples. So it was the more appropriate answer in this case.
Wife tried to get her phone to use "Hey google bitch", but it wouldn't take it.

La 1:40 PM  

There are 50 ways to treat your ex, and they aren’t all platonic.

DigitalDan 2:03 PM  

You learn about EN PASSANT early in chess training, but never think to use it until much later. I suspect you only learn to use it to your advantage even later still. DONK? NONK! At least I learned something about LIMA PERU which I truly didn't know. I like GENERATION ALPHA, given that the namers started too late in the English alphabet (X) when all this nonsense began. Didn't work for hurricanes, but maybe for generations it will stick. I'm waiting for GENERATION IOTA.

Georgia 2:10 PM  


Nancy 2:27 PM  

Unknown -- I've probably known close to 100 people named "John" over the course of a lifetime, plus one or two "Jons". Not one of them pronounced it "Jawn". The vowel sound is the same as "blonde", "stop", "collar", "mock". I don't know where you live or who you know, but "Jawn" would be really...odd. (Come to think of it, John is also pronounced like "odd".)

@bocamp -- Are you saying exactly the opposite of what Unknown is saying-- that you pronounce Sean like "blonde" and "odd"? That makes somewhat more sense to me than pronouncing John as Jawn. I haven't known that many (any?) Seans in real life, so I'm not an expert on how they pronounce it. I just know that Sean Penn is always referred to in interviews as "Shawn".

As for GENERATION ALPHA: Thanks to the various people with a memory of my puzzle for reassuring me that perhaps my memory isn't quite as wretched as I thought :)

Singmaster 2:53 PM  

You can’t even google DONK to mean head bump.
The Urban Dictionary defines a donk as, ” Any late 80's or early 90's American car (preferably an Impala) that has large enough wheels installed until it resembles (and rides and handles like) a Conestoga wagon.

Unknown 2:56 PM  

Personally, I don't think OKGOOGLE is corporate shilling.

I was thinking KHARTOUM for the desert capital; was not thinking city, country.
So even when I eventually had the LI------, it didn't help me at all.

I thought today's puzzle was tough. Loved the grid, but that was about it.

Unknown 3:14 PM  

@Nancy 2:27 - I'm being facetious, but I don't think you know Jack about how to pronounce John.

If you Google the pronunciation of don and dawn, they are homophones, both pronounced daan. Google John and it's pronounced jaan. Obviously, you pronounce these differently, so regional differences must be in play.

bocamp 3:26 PM  

When it comes to equal opportunity employment of electronic devices, Siri, Alexa and OK GOOGLE all provide excellent results for various functions.

@Nancy (2:27 PM)

Yes, to me, Sean, and John both have the same 'aw' vowel sound as blonde and odd, along with Shawn, Dawn, etc.. Iow, if one were to isolate the vowel sound in all these words, it would be 'aw'. Imo, rhyming with Sean would require a word to end with an 'awn' sound, which John does. So, if one was named Jawn, that would also work.

td 0

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all 🕊

JC66 3:36 PM  


Listen to how Merriam-Webster pronounces gone (which rhymes with JOHN, and fawn (which rhymes with SEAN).

I hope you can hear the difference.

Birchbark 4:00 PM  

@JD (11:19) -- I prefer the Jim Harrison fiction I've read, but this "A Really Big Lunch" is full of accidental gems that crop up amid sometimes meandering name-dropping. At times I think he misses the point completely, and a few pages later I learn something important. For example, I am going to experiment with pork cheeks because of this book.

The essays follow the themes of great food and wine and appear in chronological order -- which in spite of itself becomes a narrative about aging and accountability, and that to me is the most interesting thing about it.

@Gill I. (10:16) -- There are days when you write better than James Joyce, and today is one of them.

Unknown 4:02 PM  

@Nancy - I think I understand, you're pronouncing Sean and Shawn and Dawn differently than I (and Google) do. They all have the same vowel sound, and they all Rhyme with Don.

Out of curiosity, how do you pronounce lawn? It rhymes with John too.

Unknown 4:07 PM  

@JC66 3:36 - Yes, I hear the difference: one starts with a g and the other with an f.

CDilly52 4:11 PM  

C’mon, BOOBOISIE? And a clue designed to try to make us think the answer was au courant? It’s ancient, (HL Mencken first quarter of the 20th c.) outdated and dumb. So there. Sorry, must be channeling my inner @Rex. But really, I got no excitement from that or much else in this puzzle.

Saving good race down in the SW was my knowledge of EN PSSANT and BOOBOISIE, though, so I got finished. The one “oooh good one!” moment was the clue for IRON. I chuckled because when I figured it out, I was thinking of using an IRON for clothes, not using an IRON on the golf course!
Both get help with rough spots for sure.

Most was fairly easy, especially the NE. I clicked with our constructors up there but my slowest area was the SE. I tossed in Rasta instead of TRINI for the Caribbean and left it way too long.

Additionally, was completely unsure about ALPHA for the GENERATION, got FILMS but not HEIST for too long so I started to question FILMS, loathe answers needs no tildes that we don’t use because it buggers the crossing word, and had to look up why Touches had anything at all to do with Apple products (IPODS). Seems as if those “old fashioned” music gadgets are pretty obsolete anyway.

So I guess just color me old and a bit cranky today. This was a slog but perhaps I just had no connection with our constructors. No

Anonymous 4:16 PM  

My name is not William but SEAN Penn,
My -enn- is the -en- of John ALden.
But wait! There’s better verse to trace
(that pallid face from outer space):
Stress his penult, rhyme his last–GaGARin.

Anon. i.e. Poggius

JC66 4:17 PM  



Joe Dipinto 4:20 PM  

No word that ends in "-awn" rhymes with "John", that I can think of.

Unknown 4:29 PM  

@Nancy & @JC66 - Apparently, according to Google, you are using the British pronunciation, and I use the American version in which dawn and fawn and don and John all rhyme.

Paul Statt 4:33 PM  

"OK GOOGLE" is what you speak out loud to the machine, if you own a Google Home device.

Frantic Sloth 4:53 PM  

@Birchbark 400pm You probably already know about this recipe, but Pasta alla Gricia. Looks just dreamy to me. 😋 (It's on my to-do list, but you go first. 😉)

JOHN X 5:03 PM  

Nothing rhymes with JOHN.

It is the name that must not be spoken.

The Joker 5:05 PM  

In England John is pronounced LOO.

bocamp 5:18 PM  

I'm throwin' in the towel; never thot I was a poet, but now, for sure, I know it! :)

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all 🕊

pabloinnh 5:28 PM  

Re: Vowel pronunciations, as in "John".

My NH born wife of 50+ years pronounces the o in "clock" and "cloth" exactly the same. (See also "frog pond". This caused Upstate NY me some moments of confusion many years ago, but I probably sound more like her these days.

Birchbark 5:56 PM  

@Frantic (4:53) -- Interesting -- I will try it when an opportunity presents and report back.

GILL I. 6:26 PM  

Birchbark 4:00...Ooooh....James Joyce? Can you and I hold hands and sing the hod-carrier ballad at Finnegan's Wake?
@Frantic....I love Bridget. I watch their program all the time. I'm now making Cubano bread - a recipe I got from The Test Kitchen.....

Z 6:28 PM  

Isn’t Sean just John with an Irish accent? Why, yes, yes it is. And Jean said with a French accent is also John. But how much whiskey did they have to drink in Scotland to pronounce John as Ian?

Vowels don’t even always sound the same from West Michigan to East Michigan. It’s really kind of amazing that we ever understand each other.

Clearly Shortz missed an opportunity when cluing APOLAR.

@Liz1508 - 👍🏽👍🏽

Anonymous 6:42 PM  

If only someone here spoke Hebrew, Greek, Latin or Gaelic we might not be subjected to the calumny of a poster impugning the Scots as drunkards.
What say ye mods, did Z impugn a whole culture by saying the Scots were so besotted they somehow drunkenly transformed a word?

Cc’d 6:47 PM  

An axon is part of a neuron, a cell in the nervous system. Not all nervous system cells have axons.

Nancy 8:08 PM  

For @JOHN X -- He whose name CAN be rhymed!

There once was an "X" known as JOHN
Who had many personas to don.
This irreverent "X"
Donned them all here on Rex --
Where he knew they'd be stumbled upon.

RooMonster 8:52 PM  

Jumping in the rhyming fray,
John and Sean sound alike, I must say.
You must have great ears,
For you to be able to hears
The subtlety twixt them.

My ears mustn't be that sensitive,
Or else I'm just not that attentive.
To me, when I hear the name John,
It rhymes with anything -awn
And that's the way it sems.



TTrimble 10:18 PM  

Thanks for your concern, but I've just been very happily busy the past few days. The puzzling is definitely taking a back seat.

(Hi @bocamp)

My own order was: started in the NE (ODETS, REED, ALSO, maybe SEVERE), then ran off and completed SW, then NW, SE, and back to NE. I think. EN PASSANT was a total gimme. My dad taught me how to play chess when I was 9, and by age 10 I played my first tournament, and at age 11 was the youngest player in the state tournament. This was during the era of Fischer's meteoric and heroic rise to the World Championship, and to this day I am gobsmacked by his achievement. He and Morphy and Capablanca are among my chess heroes. I was never *very* good -- at my best I was expert level (according to how they rate these things). But I haven't played a serious game in 25 years.

Much of the rest of the puzzle was slow and steady and with furrowed brow. Reaction to DONK not dissimilar to @Nancy's, but the sound-tone is so similar to "bonk" that I just say HMM, then "whatevs", and move on. BOO to BOOBOISIE. Fun fact for LAOS. PTEROSAUR is cool in its Greekiness.

Good evening to all!

Monty Boy 10:18 PM  

An couple amusing notes on the OOXTEPLERNON discussion.

Follow Rex's link to 10/30/09 and look at the commenters. The only current commenters I could find there are JAE 1:00 and Chefwen 3:28. They get the longevity award.

Also, Rex is reading and responding to comments.

kitshef 10:25 PM  

This all goes to show why rhyming and pronunciation are poor things to use in puzzles. To Nancy, and JC66, (and most people), there is clear difference in pronunciation between 'knotty' and 'naughty', 'pod' and 'pawed', etc. To others, there is not. This is reflected it the pronunciation guides in most dictionaries.

For example, Merriam-Webster shows the first vowel in 'knotty' as ä, pronounced as a short 'o' as in 'hop' and 'pop'. And the first vowel in 'naughty' as ȯ, pronounced as 'aw, like 'lawn' and 'pawn'. But lists a second pronunciation as ä - the same ä as for 'knotty'.

Which makes me wonder how often there is a misunderstanding when someone asks for help with a knotty problem.

Art Decade 11:19 PM  

Reminds me of a story I heard a couple of years ago. Orientation week at (I think) Loyola, MD, the college prez (I think) has lunch with parents. Tells a story about another lunch he had with students prior year. During that lunch he asks kids for feedback. One young co-ed speaks up, "You know what I think sucks, Father? That we can't have boys in our rooms after 8:00. I mean, that just sucks, Father." The Prez is rather taken aback by the student's lack of, oh, self-awareness? Realizing that the battle for politeness, civility, graciousness - what have you- had been lost some time ago with this student, he merely replied, "You do know that this is a Catholic institution, don't you?" The young 'lady' grumbled, "I know, Father, but it still sucks." Priceless.

Perry 10:10 AM  

I object to 38A (by way of bona fides, chem undergrad and biochemistry PhD). APOLAR does not mean electrically balanced. APOLAR means apolar (although nonpolar is the more typically used term) - i.e., having no net polarity. Hexane is a great example of a nonpolar solvent. It has no net polarity. Water is electrically balanced (it has no net charge (i.e., it is not an ion)), but it has net polarity - referred to as a dipole moment - because of the interaction of the geometry of the molecule and the electron withdrawing character of the oxygen atom. One could imagine a molecule with a positively charged end and a negatively charged opposite end that is 'electrically balanced' and very polar. This is the kind of bad clue and bad answer that you get from someone who has only a vague and largely incorrect understanding of chemistry.

Maineiac 1:51 PM  

Re: 27A: Last I knew, the simple past tense of "stink" was still "stank," not "stunk," but I guess "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids" threw that rule out the window a long time ago. Sigh.

Tom R 3:28 PM  

A day late and a dollar short - forgot to post this yesterday. I strongly object to the clue on 15A. A nerve is a bundle of axons. Even if there are axo-axonic connections (just prior to a synapse) a clue that says something hitting a nerve for axon is just nonsense.

sdcheezhd 1:16 AM  

DONK, boooooooo, especially when there's bonk and conk. Terrible.

spacecraft 10:10 AM  

DONK is often used by POKERPROS, short for "donkey," or "fish," as in: "If you're at a poker table and can't spot the fish, it's you."

The ICEPLANET Hoth sent me on my way, and despite a couple of missteps, I was able to work it all out. Had AFIshowS instead of LISTS, and fell into the MAHARajah trap. That one didn't last long, as gimme ENPASSANT negated it. But the ink was down.

OKGOOGLE, ALIA Shawkat wins DOD. ASFOR the puzzle, hard enough for lots of Saturday triumph (over the EVILEMPIRE?) points. Birdie.

Burma Shave 10:17 AM  


PLATONIC dates? Not FOR men,
I'LLGO FOR one that DONKs.


Uke Xensen 12:00 PM  

I was so proud to get Timbuktu from just a few letters that I was loath to let go of it, seriously slowing that corner

thefogman 12:41 PM  

59A describes this puzzle. It took me forever to figure out the 48A-49D crossing. Even after I solved it I still could not believe it was given the OK by WS. DONK is mainly slang for penis and very rarely appears as slang for a hit on the head. Conk or bonk yes.. DONK? That’s a hard no. Especially when crossing the exremely obtiuse cluing for IPODS (Touches, e.g.) Badly done Will. Badly done…

PS: Puzzles should be challenging but fair (and fun) - not make you mad even though you solved them.

thefogman 12:48 PM  

BOOBOISIE is just begging for a BS2.

leftcoaster 4:49 PM  

Did I get ON A ROLL with this one? No.

Diana, LIW 4:52 PM  

Sid and Matt are on a wave I just couldn't catch. Had to look up a lot to even get "started," so I really didn't finish or even get started.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by 2008

Back to TOP