Asexual informally / SAT 6-12-21 / Obelix's friend in comics / Orchestra that performs an annual fireworks spectacular / Cause of an uptick in Scottish tourism beginning in 1995 / "Star Trek" catchphrase

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Constructor: Brooke Husic and Brian Thomas

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: OMAR Benson Miller (44D: Actor ___ Benson Miller) —
Omar Benson Miller (born October 7, 1978) is an American actor. He is known for his work as Walter Simmons on CSI: Miami (2009–2012), as Charles Greane on Ballers (2015–2019), as the voice of Raphael on Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and on the CBS comedy series The Unicorn (2019–2021). [...] Miller is almost 6 ft 6 in (1,97 m) tall. (wikipedia)

• • •

I am so happy this puzzle came out today. Well, I'm happy it came out at all, because it's so good (one of my favorite Saturdays of recent memory), but I'm happy it came out today because it does what yesterday's puzzle was Trying to do so much better than yesterday's puzzle actually did it. That is, it is very deliberately inclusive of a younger demographic. It's very inclusive in general. But it's also incredibly well balanced with its pop references, swooping and darting All Over The Cultural Landscape (BOSTON POPS! "BRAVEHEART"!! ASTERIX!!!). It's also just loaded with great fill, and the clues are frequently clever, and these are the most elemental considerations in puzzle-making, after all. I felt like bouncy, delightful, sometimes zany stuff was coming at me around every corner, so solving felt like opening a bunch of presents, as opposed to trekking through mud (bad) or, I don't know, just riding the conveyor belt to the end (boring) (This has been How Not To Metaphor, with your host Rex Parker). Even when I got caught out by a name I absolutely did not know, I felt like the puzzle was rooting for me, recognizing my struggle and trying to make it worthwhile. I am speaking specifically now about Rihanna's real name, my lord! I'm sure this is commonplace knowledge to many, but honestly I still haven't gotten the spelling of RIHANNA down yet (still keep wanting to spell it with the "h" before the "i" like Fleetwood Mac's "Rhiannon"). And it's not like she's just a name to me. I was just thinking yesterday how "ANTI" is one of the greatest albums of the last ten years. Anyway, ROBYN FENTY just about took my head off (28D: First and last name of Rihanna). And yet! As I walked on eggshells (FRAGILE!) through the SE corner, struggling to get every letter of ROBYN FENTY, just waiting for the one bad cross that would do me in, what I found was just ... entertainment. Fun and gettable answer after fun and gettable answer. By the time I had ROBYN FENTY completely filled in, I was AMPED and ready to dive back into the remaining empty space. I liked this one so much I kept stopping and taking screenshots. I'm not sure I ever exclaimed "I'M AMAZED," but that was the overall vibe. The puzzle did IMPRESS ME (much).
Yes, the puzzle opened with some corniness :) ...
But then, very shortly thereafter, the puzzle really put the pedal down. I could feel the roller coaster car start to pick up speed, and then, whooosh, this happened:
And we were off like a shot. I may even have actually said "Oh, here we Go!" That is a statement answer. That is a "buckle up, friends" answer. And the puzzle did not disappoint. The roller coaster analogy is apt because, as you've seen, I experienced stomach-dropping terror in the ROBYN FENTY portion, but before that I think I actually squealed with delight at ASTERIX
That is one of the best "X" crossings of all time. The clue on PRESSBOX was so good (53A: It covers the field). And the thing is, the puzzle kept on like this. Relentlessly entertaining, front to back. That clue on ACE! I was just thinking this past week (because of Pride-related stuff) "When's the asexual clue for ACE coming?" and bam, here it is! 
And I finished it all off with SPARKLERs (and another great clue). 
Such a good time. Along the way, I learned a new actor name (OMAR), waved at the now-McDonalds-famous K-Pop group BTS, and smugly wrote in the "correct" spelling of JURY-RIG (I grew up hearing, and thus thinking it was spelled, "jerry-rig," which is actually an accepted variant but which technically (I just read) arises from a conflation of JURY-RIG with "jerry-built"). No significant mistakes. Wrote in EPI-graph before TRI-graph (22A: Prefix with -graph). Wrote in ALY at 29D: ___ Raisman, second-most-decorated Olympic gymnast in U.S. history but in struggling to get POOL (31A: Compile) started to second-guess that "L" ... considered ARY (?) for a bit, but then it was ALY after all. ALMOND flour, MACARONI, PERSIMMON, BASMATI! Now I'm hungry. Good day!

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Joaquin 6:28 AM  

I had the ASM portion of 32A [Fragrant rice] and confidently dropped in “jASMine”.
And because I don’t know jTS from BTS (or BTS from my elbow, for that matter) that had me on the ropes for a while.

Lots of very cool answers today; my only complaint is SEES REASON which sounds rather awkward to me.

OffTheGrid 6:42 AM  

I enjoyed this, too. I struggled with some of the "trivia" but it didn't bother me. It was offset by some easy fill and some good cluing.

I hope the BRIDE did not have an STD. I guess her IUD failed and she ended up needing a nursing BRA.

Lewis 6:47 AM  

A lovely solve incorporating easy, medium, and hard – if Saturdays had titles, a good one for this would have been last Sunday’s OLIO. I found it Saturday worthy in its variety of answers and resistance, and I left it feeling very satisfied.

The hardest parts were things I didn’t know – the Star Trek phrase, Rihanna’s name (which were crossed fairly, God bless good constructing and editing). Then the vague one-worders (SHAKE, RATE). I enjoyed the PuzzPair© of VEG and LAZE, as well as TRICOT in the fifth row, and the row that read OPEN KEG AMPED, plus the one above it, VEG TIL INFO, which reminded me of a college applicant and their family waiting around a computer during those moments before a college releases the information on who it has accepted.

Thank you, Brook and Brian, and I hope to hang out at the B&B again soon!

bocamp 6:59 AM  

Thx Brooke & Brian for an excellent Sat. puz; crunchy, and very doable! :)

Easy/Med solve.

Top to bottom solve, ending up at EENSY in the SE.

Not particularly in my wheelhouse, but steady progress with fair crosses got the job done. :)

yd pg -2

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

ss 7:02 AM  

Snappy puzzle. Learned some new things, but not too much of a struggle. The Rihanna clue was the only thing that felt unfair, Fenty in particular. I could see the Star Trek clue being the same way although HESDEADJIM at least has entered meme territory. I thought Rex would ding the puzzle for using "I'm" twice - IMAGONER and I'MAMAZED.

Son Volt 7:14 AM  

Not a stumper - but just a wonderful puzzle nonetheless. The Bones quote, COOPTS and JURY RIG were fantastic. Loved the little sub theme with BOSTON POPS and SPARKLER. AUTO MAKE and SEES REASON are awkward.

Agree with Rex on the X cross being solid. Didn’t love the space given to the Rihanna clue - small percentage of solvers will know it - crosses are fair but it’s a long entry to back into. HARPER, PERSIMMON, PLAY DIRTY - so many top notch clues in this one.

Highly enjoyable Saturday.

BarbieBarbie 7:29 AM  

My Saturday PR, so it couldn’t be too youth-oriented. This was just a great, fun, fun puzzle. Downright Weintraubian in its language fun factor. I wish I could do it again. Thank you!

JOHN X 7:34 AM  

This puzzle wasn’t just easy, it wasn’t just People magazine easy, it was domestic airline in-flight magazine easy. It was not a NYT Saturday puzzle.

I set a personal Saturday record here, and it was sub-Monday average. Plus I was horribly drunk and possibly hallucinating when I solved it (I only say “possibly” because some of that stuff might have been real) so there’s also that.

This is a great puzzle only if you enjoy writing fast.

SouthsideJohnny 7:50 AM  

That Star Trek clue sounds a little morbid - it was a catchphrase ? Did they use it as an advertising slogan to sell Star Trek candy bars or something like that ?

Special props to all of you who actually knew both the cartoon friend’s name and the Black History Month author - that’s quite an exacta to be that up to speed on - and if you also knew Rihanna’s real name, congratulations, you win today’s Trivial Trifecta (and on a Saturday, no less) ! ! !

I’m a little confused as to protocol - the “Strat” clue doesn’t appear to be an abbreviation for anything, yet the answer is VEGAS - would we similarly answer “Home of the Empire State Building” as YORK (or NYC) ?

MarthaCatherine 7:55 AM  

I soooooo wanted "I'm a doctor, Jim!" for 24A. But of course, it didn't fit.

That one also cause my only overwrite, where I had rIA before DIA. Anyone else? Hey, river of kings sounded reasonable to me. What? "river" would be "rio"???? My knowledge of Spanish doesn't go much beyond "yo quiero taco bell," I'm ashamed to say.

Z 7:59 AM  

Is HE’S DEAD JIM really a “catchphrase?” Seems more like a meme, to me. What’s the difference? I don’t know if there even really is one, but HE’S DEAD JIM strikes me as something one might say with a twinkle of mock. All to say, that clue needed more crosses for me to see the answer than it took Rex. It still made me smile. I do wonder, though, how much of a roadblock that might be for people. To me it seems like Star Trek is universally known, but it is still PPP and that means trouble for some solvers. That’s the thing with PPP, smile inducing if you know it, curse inducing if you don’t. It seemed fairly crossed to me, but it’s in my wheelhouse so I’m not a good judge of THAT.

Two question mark clues today. IMHO the question marks were again unnecessary.

Protanomaly?! Is that the Saturdayest clue ever for RED?

Right with Rex on Rihanna’s First and Last names. The hardest cross for me was the F in INFO because INtO was blocking me from understanding the clue. Ran the alphabet, got to F, and did the D’Oh slap. Speaking of, @Joaquin - One of our regular guest bloggers is a BTSstan, so I’m surprised that wasn’t automatic.

Wondering why I know OMAR Benson Miller. I don’t watch those shows, I can’t recall ever reading anything about the guy, but wanted OMAR immediately. Is it something about the meter of the name that caused it to stick the one random time I heard it? That’s my best guess because I know of no other reason why OMAR seemed obvious to me.

I’m with Rex that today’s puzzle seemed less force than yesterday’s. I wonder if it is just a “de gustibus and all that” situation, though. I am having a hard time pinning down exactly why this seemed better to me.

@TTrimble - Hey, sorry if my moralizing seemed personal, but from my perspective asking others to take on more work because we occasionally screw up is not a reasonable request. Is it hard to do? Nope, I literally have a half dozen such accounts set up for myself. But the mods already do a damn good job of approving posts quickly nearly 24 hours a day.

Calabinasian Golfer 8:11 AM  


Must be talking about the future of crossword puzzles.

That hardly be a tag line, a frequent line of dialogue, sure. It's certainly a legitimate answer, but a really stupid clue.

Frantic Sloth 8:14 AM  

Even though I've seen it in the wild, never been a fan of the singular FIREWORK. Sounds like cavemanese to me.
So good thing it wasn't the answer to 6A.

Aside from boneheaded moves like that one, this was quick and easy for me. And I'm sure some of the wheelhouse things I like will prove to be the bane of others' existence. (Looking at you, HESDEADJIM.)

To which I say "Sorry. My turn." 😊

Several things made me happy for my own peculiar reasons:

IMAGONER could be my mantra - it's at least my motto.

I've watched the BOSTONPOPS July 4th celebration for as long as I can remember. The 1812 Overture (complete with cannons and carillon ) gives me the chills every time.
On a side note, I've only been to the esplanade once, which was fun, but nuts.
Back in the early 80s, some friends invited me to stay over at their home in Natick, which actually helped me all these years later with that infamous cross in the BEQ puzzle from 2008. Kinda seems disingenuous of me now to join Rex and others in taking that name in vain, but... I'll soldier on. πŸ˜†

And finally, seeing MACARONI just thrrrrills me. Again, it harkens back to my childhood when that's what we called it. Pasta/Schmasta. It's MACARONI!!

More like this please! (Although I would enjoy more of a challenge, too)


Carola 8:15 AM  

BRIDE and SPARKLE made a lovely opening, along with the crossing SAID I DO, possibly with a TREMOR of nerves. Also liked the pairing of HE’S DEAD JIM with the departed soul’s affirmation I’M A GONER. The toughest area for me was the lower SE’s ?OOP?S, as I didn’t know ACE or FENTY, and thought the. OO was “oooh” rather than “oh-ah.” Alphabet run to the rescue.

pabloinnh 8:18 AM  

Well this was certainly smile-inducing all the way through, but just too easy for a Saturday. The only slowdown was the Rihanna answer, the kind of thing I always read and think, no idea, but I'll figure it out. Helps that the BOSTONPOPS are fairly close by and their Fourth of July concert is regionally famous. Also EDGINGOUT before EASINGOUT was a glitch, but easily fixed.

Only nit was SENORS, which needs an E between the R and the S to make a plural. I have seen the other version too often on student papers and it always makes me cringe.

Lots of fun with a Saturdecito, BH and BT. You Both Have Beaucoup Talent.

Z 8:26 AM  

@MarthaCatherine - ✋🏽 - Also considered “Beam me up, Scotty.”

@Southside Johnny - VEGAS is a common alternate name for Las VEGAS. For example, the hockey team is the VEGAS Golden Knights Hockey Club. You’ll also see references to musical acts “playing VEGAS.” It is closer to “the Big Apple” than to shortening “New York” to “York.” Don’t mind the maggots.

@Son Volt - Agree on AUTO MAKE, but SEES REASON seems very in the language to me.

@John X - Wow. I didn’t time myself and wasn’t really paying attention to how hard it seemed, but it felt within the normal range for a Saturday here. I’m sure I was nowhere near a Monday time. My only explanation is that you must be a huge Rihanna fan.

Nancy 8:28 AM  

Who's DEAD? Who's JIM?

I didn't know "___de los Reyes" either, and my first thought was rIA. Or mIA or tIA or vIA. But when I ran the alphabet, I settled on DIA, because I thought whoever-it-was was probably DEAD, not READ or MEAD or STEAD. (HE STEAD, JIM).

I guessed that a "dendrogram" was a TREE -- giving me BTS for what seems a very, very strange name for a "K-pop group". Whatever that is. Korean, maybe?

With two inspired guesses (lol) and no cheats, I suppose this puzzle really didn't PLAY DIRTY (nice clue/answer). I've always heard 26D as JERRY RIG, not JURY RIG, but I guess that's just me.

Elsewhere, the puzzle was a SPARKLER and managed to IMPRESS ME. I could have skipped ASTERIX and ROBYN FENTY (who consumed much too much real estate), but the clue for MACARONI was great. Also liked PRESS BOX, SEES REASON, and ROMCOM.

Joe Dipinto 8:29 AM  

@Southside Johnny – "He's dead, Jim" was a line of dialogue spoken by Dr. McCoy to Captain Kirk in the original "Star Trek", typically right after he briefly examined a suddenly-felled crewman. People realized that he said it frequently over the course of the show, so it took on the air of a running joke. ("She" may have been dead once or twice, but it was almost always "He".)

BlueStater 8:30 AM  

I agree -- a great puzzle, trick- and error-free. More like this, please.

TJS 8:31 AM  

I guess if we accept abbreviations without cluing them as such on Saturday we have to accept "Vegas" but I'm not happy about either circumstance. "Odds" had me suspecting "Vegas" anyway.

Is there anyone else in the universe that would give "Asterix" 3 exclamation points of delight?

Actually went back to a story I had read in todays' paper about 5 minutes before starting the puzzle to get BTS, but for some reason I have decided that's not cheating.

Easy but lively puzzle.

albatross shell 8:37 AM  

@Z, Southside
Most famous of all
What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

kitshef 8:37 AM  

jASMine shares a lot of letters with BASMATI. Thank god for BTS (bet I never say that again) for bailing me out.

ACE as clued is news to me.

My sister has a two-year old who is currently obsessed with Bluey, which caused me to watch a few episodes to see what it was about. The very first episode I watched, the father, in response to a leaf from the neighbor’s tree landing in his yard, jumped up and yelled “By Toutatis!” This Asterix reference gave me immediate respect for the show, which turns out also to be creative and sweet.

mathgent 8:44 AM  

I usually struggle with the Friday but not last night. Sailed through it while watching the basketball game. But still, quite enjoyable.

Sixteen longs. That's a lot (good!).

I didn't watch Star Trek so I looked up HESDEADJIM and found a YouTube video with dozens of clips of characters saying "He's dead, Jim" or, simply, "He's dead.". Jim is Captain Kirk.

HARPER is her middle name. I'm quite sure that there are other famous people known by their middle names but I can't remember any of them.

Hungry Mother 8:45 AM  

No red letters today, but I did have to do some revising to get it right. On paper it would be a DNF. I thought a nursing Bee would be a cool idea.

kitshef 8:52 AM  

Looks like until last year, the STRAT was short for Stratosphere, so it would have been a shortening a la 'Vegas'. But then they renamed it The Strat.

Diane Joan 8:57 AM  

Fenty is the name of Rihanna's clothing design line. Knowing this helped immensely in the SE corner. Maybe a few of these answers did skew to the young solvers. Fun puzzle! Enjoy your Saturday everyone!

Georgia 9:00 AM  

HA, I also counted the squares for "Beam me up" with and without "Scotty" at the end. ☺️

Z 9:03 AM  

@TJS - Let’s see, there’s a satellite named after ASTERIX, They used ASTERIX for the 1992 Summer Olympics, he got on the cover of Time, and the Royal Canadian Navy has a ship named ASTERIX. Wikipedia also asserts, The Asterix series is one of the most popular Franco-Belgian comics in the world, with the series being translated into 111 languages and dialects as of 2009. So, yeah, while three exclamation points is hardly surprising from a guy who teaches comics and graphic novels, he is hardly alone.

@Albie - πŸ‘πŸ½πŸ‘πŸ½

@mathgent - Did you forget ROBYN Rihanna FENTY already? BTW, No fair teasing us without a link.
Also, I’m a doctor, not a …

Michigan Pub Crawlers 9:05 AM  

I wish there was a "like" button for NYT crosswords bc this one would get it from me. I haven't enjoyed a Sat puzzle as much as this on in a while - so many great answers and clues - it helped that I got BRIDE right away, then when I hooked onto the vibes of the cluing with ERR and the tone of voice of the constructors, I felt on got in sync with their wavelength.

Personally, I find it fascinating that, even though I'll probably never meet Brooke and Brian, I feel like I'd enjoy being around them as people, just based on the way they've written clues and answers and my solving experience of their work. Same goes for other constructors whose puzzles I enjoy solving. And, on the flip side of the coin, I feel I wouldn't get along with constructors whose puzzles I didn't enjoy solving or the way they clued an answer.

I wonder if others feel the same way - something I've thought about but never put down in writing...

Anyways, Michael keep the awesome work with the blog - I read it every day and enjoy your comments a ton! I get a sense of connectedness when I struggle/succeed with a puzzle in the same way that you do!

Frantic Sloth 9:08 AM  

To the person or people who questioned the Invasion of the Body Snatchers reference the other day:
Today's Rex = Pod person.
jk - I'm happy he's happy.

With @Joaquin 628am on jASMine rice until "saved" by BTS, which I only know from GuestRex Claire's incessant fangirling. Thanks, Claire!

According to Wiki, the Strat was formerly known as The Stratosphere.

"Beam me up" and "I'm a doctor, Jim" both occurred before HESDEADJIM, but they're all in a virtual tie IMHO.

Sixthstone 9:10 AM  

Like most, I enjoyed this one a lot for all the reasons that others have cited. One additional point: even the 3-letter fill is good. There is almost no cheap crosswordese in these little guys: ERR, RED, FDA, TRI, COT, DIA, CIA, BTS, STD, VEG, TIL, ALY, KEG, IMP, ACE, NOB. Most are actual English words with only a few common abbreviations, one Spanish word, and two proper names. Well played, constructors!

Barbara S. 9:20 AM  

I found this to be a puzzle of many moods, reflecting my change of mood while solving it. First mood was slap-happy (and I don’t have @JOHN X’s excuse of either drunkenness or hallucinations). I interpreted the “First and last name of Rihanna” clue as meaning that she has the *SAME* first and last name, like the author Jerome K. Jerome. As crosses started to reveal that this wasn’t true, I got the giggles. Then I was boggled by a trio of absurd and meaningless DOOKS: I MAMA ZED, EAS IN GOUT and SAI DIDO, the last I’m sure inspired by @Gill’s DI(L)DO joke of the other day. The duo of I’M A GONER and HE’S DEAD JIM tipped me over the edge of black humor, despite my ability to conjure Dr. McCoy’s stricken face – I was really expecting something a little more uplifting like “Live long and prosper” or “The needs of the many…” I know, I know – both too long.

From the ridiculous to the sublime: PERSIMMON, ALMOND and BASMATI put me in a garden with OMAR Khayyam LAZing beside a POOL, under a dendrogram – I mean, a TREE, with shy DOES browsing in the undergrowth. Not a ROMCOM this, but a love story for the ages.

Whew! Back to earth. Interesting story about JURY-RIG. My mother was in her 20s during WWII and her name was Gerry, short for Geraldine. The nickname “Jerry” and the expression “jerry-rig” were associated with the Germans during the war, at least in her neck of the woods, and these expressions always made her uncomfortable. I don’t think she realized that “jerry-built” actually dated back to another century – another time and place entirely. I don’t know if that knowledge would have made her feel any better.

Today there’s an excerpt from ANNE FRANK, born June 12, 1929.

“I have one outstanding trait in my character, which must strike anyone who knows me for any length of time, and that is my knowledge of myself. I can watch myself and my actions, just like an outsider. The Anne of every day I can face entirely without prejudice, without making excuses for her, and watch what's good and what's bad about her. This 'self-consciousness' haunts me, and every time I open my mouth I know as soon as I've spoken whether 'that ought to have been different' or 'that was right as it was.' There are so many things about myself that I condemn; I couldn't begin to name them all. I understand more and more how true Daddy's words were when he said: 'All children must look after their own upbringing.' Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person's character lies in their own hands.”
(From The Diary of a Young Girl)

Teedmn 9:20 AM  

I'm with @joaquin and @kitshef on the jASMine vs BASMATI conundrum and was saved by sub-blogger Clare's BTS obsession. While contemplating j_S there, I was wondering how many K-pop bands I needed to know. So far, just the one, whew.

My favorite clue today was “Very low stake?” for TENT PEG. Perhaps it's because I went to playing poker and antes; with _ENT___ in place, cENTavo was beckoning but that would not only be a very low stake, it would be playing dirty, with the language not indicated. Hence the smile when TENT PEG filled in.

This took just a few seconds longer to solve than yesterday's name fest, so I would agree it was easy, but it's a sparkler, so thanks, Brooke and Brian.

TheMadDruid 9:24 AM  

Macaroni it is!

TTrimble 9:30 AM  

What day of the week is it again? Saturday? Whew, because for a minute I was very confused, thinking it had to be a Wednesday.

This puzzle fairly RACEd BY for me. It flew by so fast that the Black History Month clue went unnoticed, so I don't think I can claim a win for @Southside's Trivial Trifecta, but I did know ASTERIX (more popular in Europe than in the States) and ROBYN FENTY. How does a burgeoning old fart like me know ROBYN FENTY? Well, the name registers because to me it looks unusual and cool and it thus it adheres well in my mind, and second because I happen to think the singer it actually adheres to is awesome. Does that make me HEP*? You decide.

BTS on the other hand I studiously ignore, so I barely know the difference between that and BTK (oh, I kid).

Just in case @Southside didn't know: HE'S DEAD, JIM is from the original Star Trek series, from the 60's. Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy would wave his little tricorder thingie vaguely within the aural nimbus of the nameless extra, and make this pronouncement from time to time. God, I loved that series when I was a kid. Hokey and dated as much of it may seem today, whoever was involved in the development had a great sense of dramaturgy, right down to the artful display of light and shadow, which doesn't seem as evident to me in later iterations of Star Trek. But then, I'm prejudiced.

When I was a kid, we had a PERSIMMON tree in the front yard. These were American PERSIMMONs where the fruits are much smaller than what are used in Asian cuisine. We called them "squishies", because the ripe fruits would squish unpleasantly between the toes when you're playing outside in bare feet in the summer. Squishies and Star Trek: remains from childhood days.

Thanks, but either you missed or I didn't make clear that the point was not to have anyone take on more work. I can tell you from my own moderator experience that it's sometimes simplest to explain in a short discreet private message what the issue may be, rather than explain in public (necessarily cryptically in some cases). Moreover, the mods would *never have to* use private messages; it would just be an available option if it seemed the expedient thing to do, i.e., if it made for less work and overall frustration. (Parenthetically: of course the mods do a fine job. But there are also cases of honest misunderstandings as opposed to "we screw up" -- it's not always a matter of heroes and screw-ups/assholes.)

* That was from Wednesday.

Mikey from El Prado 9:31 AM  

Oh man, I ripped through this really cool puzzle. HESDEADJIM was sweet. For some reason the phrase answers just came quickly, which is rare for me on Saturdays. I’ll chalk it up to some good coffee. After a night of some good cocktails, decent sleep and the stars all aligned in my brain this morning. OK, now off finish up the drip system for our recently planted new trees (rather large piΓ±ons, junipers, blue spruces, ponderosas) up here in Northern New Mexico. Everyone should plant trees. We were way behind, so playing catch up.

TJS 9:41 AM  

@Z, Wow, one of the most popular Franco-Belgian comics in the world !!!
How could I have missed it ? Mea culpa.

Nancy 9:47 AM  

@Barbara S -- Like you, I, thought that Rihanna would have the same first and last name. I was sort of relieved when she didn't. I mean, that would have just been too ODDS.

Great minds and all that.

Wordplay Blog has put up a compilation of HE'S DEAD, JIM clips. Y'all might want to take a peek. Here was my response, FWIW:

If one wants the most eloquent depiction imaginable of why "Star Trek" must surely have been the most mindless TV show of all time, look no further than the hilarious compilation that Caitlin linked to today. Thank you, Caitlin. Because of you, I shall never again have to justify the fact that I've never watched a single episode of "Star Trek" and never will.

RMK 9:49 AM  

BOSTON POPS is incorrect. It is the Boston Esplanade orchestra that plays the July 4th concert. Although that includes a few BSO musicians it is primarily comprised of Boston area freelancers.

JD 9:54 AM  

Maybe I'm Amazed, but I'm not as excited as the rest of the crowd today. Fun was had, but not exactly euphoria. I think it might've been a mood thing.

Like @MarthaCatherine, wanted "I'm a doctor Jim." When I look back on the grid I see, "I think, "He's dead Jim, hold my Bra." Why is that? Didn't like, "Let's See What You've Got," for I'm Impressed. Now we don't just have to guess what someone said, we have to guess what they said next. Auto Make? I suppose it's a thing, but I've only ever heard it referred to as Make or Make and Model.

Did love Stick Around For The 4th. Didn't know Harper was Lee's middle name but was delighted to find out. Had Marine Band at 27d for a while but course corrected with a head slap. The logic that led to IX to complete Aster__ got me Macaroni and Press Box. That was fun.

@Frantic, I'm with you on Macaroni. Pahhhhsta. Why did that happen?

sixtyni yogini 10:00 AM  

Jasmine for Basmati (considered the fragrant one.j.

Yes, Rex’s crit is 🎯.

But haha I’ve learned from this site to be annoyed by obscure names and with Basmati I pick a nit!

Unknown 10:01 AM  

How about phasers on stun

Frantic Sloth 10:07 AM  

@JD 954am Well, if you go with my father's theory from the 80s it was "the Yuppies" who ruined MACARONI and polenta. He often chuckled derisively about how they fancified a food that fed the poor back in the day: "$12? For polenta?? We only ate that because we couldn't afford anything else!"

Hand up for the same first and last name for Rihanna. Then again, I still call Mark Wahlberg "Marky Mark".

Anonymous 10:11 AM  

The jury-rigged/jerry-built is a terrific example of morons not understanding what they’re hearing, not understanding the actual meaning of the phrase balling it up and bequeathing is with a mess.
Jury-rig is not at all the same as jerry-built. And because they are two very different t things it’s worth having two differ phrases. When the phrases get mashed up, the language isn’t growing. It’s being debased. We lose something when we can readily differentiate between something made as hoc as opposed to something built shoddily. There is clearly a distinction to me made.
You miss the boat by hedging that “technically arising from a conflation”. In fact there nothing technical about it. There’s no gotcha or fine print. It is solely and flatly a conflation. And conflating two different things is an error.and error has no rights.

JD 10:13 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
RooMonster 10:14 AM  

Hey All !
Add me to the group that knew BTS immediately thanks to Clare's near obsession with them. Don't they have like, ten members or something?

Wondering if your addled/sexual/primitive [too far?] brain thought of another five letter word at 1A. πŸ˜‚

Said by @kitshef 8:52 and @Frantic 9:08, The Stratosphere was renamed just The Strat fairly recently (side note: as much as we English speakers love shortening words, shortening Stratosphere to Strat doesn't seem in-the-language-y, still call it Stratosphere. Weird), so since it takes puzs a while to get into the NYT, I presumed that the clue was going for VEGAS as opposed to the full Las VEGAS. Stratosphere=Strat vis-a-vis Las VEGAS=VEGAS. (Another side note: Go Knights Go!)

Wanted DAMN IT JIM for the Star Trek thing, but too short. Damn it! πŸ˜‹ I'm of the Jerry RIG knowers as opposed to JURY RIG. The latter makes me think of a fixed JURY.

Quick SatPuz for me, although it seemed to big down for a bit. Started fast, but struggled to the end. But ended up error free! Speaking of ERR, can someone explain that clue? The ole brain is again not seeing it.

Who doesn't know ROBYN FENTY? Har. Them's the jokes, people.

Time to go VEG with a KEG by the POOL, hopefully not IMAGONER with someone saying "HES DEAD JIM".

Two F's

Whatsername 10:15 AM  

Well IM AMAZED THAT except for a couple of impossibles which were way OUT there, I had hardly an ERR in this one. But ask me much of anything about Rihanna or Star Trek and IM A GONER. Learned a new word in protanomaly. Now if I could only pronounce it.

BRIDE SAID I DO was a nice nod to June, the traditional wedding month. I’ve never been a fan of the particular AUTO MAKE, but Matthew McConaughey sure makes those Lincolns look fetching.

ALY made me wonder: Who is the most decorated Olympic gymnast in US history? The lovely effervescent Miss Simone Biles, a genuine SPARKLER.

Time now to go EASING into the weekend. Whether you PLAY, go to the RACES or VEG and LAZE - enjoy!

Joe Dipinto 10:23 AM  

Two more:

"She's gonna blow, Captain!" –Scotty

"Fascinating." –Spock

jberg 10:50 AM  

It was a bit on the easy side, but lots of fun. I've watched Star Trek a few times, but didn't recall that phrase at all -- but as soon as I had HESDE.. it somehow popped into my mind.

But "inclusive of a younger demographic?" Well, thee's BTS, and arguably Rihannon -- but they're badly outnumbered by Star Trek, Asterix, Harper Lee, BRAVEHEART, and TRIgraph. Not too many PPP overall, I guess, so maybe 1 or 2 is enough.

I loved ASTERIX (and its rival Tintin), but when you look back on them they're fairly racist, in a background sort of way. Probably no different from the vast amount of literature of their time.

Just last night my wife and I were listening to a concert mostly of arias from Monteverde, one of which was all about the similarity of lovers and warriors, with the latter ready to fight "obstinate Belgians." She wondered what was obstinate about them, and I cited Caesar's Gallic Wars -- but I should have thought of ASTERIX then! The whole thing makes me want to go out and find some wild boar with dinner (but not with mint sauce!)

But are PERSIMMONs really a "major Chinese export?" I guess it depends on how you define that phrase. China may be the world's major exporter of persimmons, but I don't think that persimmons are a major part of the country's exports. Would you clue CRANBERRIES as "major U.S. export?" A nit, I know; and obvious from the crosses.

Unknown 10:56 AM  

@ JOHN X What planet do you live on? Maybe this puz was smack in your wheelhouse, but no way was this on a par with an in-flight easy puzzle. I would say it was a typical crunchy Saturday.

I didn't really feel the joy that y'all seem to be awash in, although MACARONI made me laugh out loud, and HESDEADJIM made me crack a smile (although I don't really remember this being a "thing" back in the day). And ERR for overthrow was probably the best cluing I've ever seen for that, so kudos to the cluer!

Being RED-green color blind, I sussed that one out, tho never heard of it. And what is a TRIGRAPH? OK, looked it up, never heard of that one either. But fair game for a Saturday. Nice puz, a few SPARKLERS, but overall a pretty typical Saturday.

Son Volt 11:06 AM  

@Joe D 10:23a - yes and Scotty’s usual preface to “she’s gonna blow” - “I’m giving her all she’s got”.

Raven Starkly 11:14 AM  

I didn’t know BTS so I was trying to cram Jasmine in there too but knew the whole time something was off. I thought jerry rig was a derogatory phrase on Germans who, at the end of WWII did a lot of jury rigging…I thought jury rig specifically meant when a lawyer rigs a jury during selection…live and learn.

Unknown 11:17 AM  

To "over throw" a ball is to commit an error, hence, to ERR.
As in baseball.

eddy 11:18 AM  

Alas, I'm 78 very soon. Who's Brihanna? IMAGONER.

Doc John 11:19 AM  

He likes it! Hey Mikey!
Fun puzzle. You had me at HE’S DEAD, JIM.
Did anyone else have “friable” before FRAGILE?

GILL I. 11:20 AM  

Well, I want to know why Yankee Doodle stuck a feather in his hat and called it MACARONI....Anyone?
Did Jim kill him?
Nice Saturday but I'm not exactly gushing. Maybe I gushed at PLAY DIRTY. I don't really do that. I like to SEES REASON with the FRAGILE. Yes, you need to IMPRESS ME before my BRAVE HEART bursts with a too tight BRA.
@pablito....Without so much as batting an eye, I wrote in SENORA. What's this SENORS thing? Does it need a moment? What do you have against an E?
I'm in Auburn enjoying trees and flowers and good food with my BFF and her Standard Poodle. Life is finally returning to normal and its good.
Hasta la vista, baby.

old timer 11:23 AM  

I'M not A GONER today! Finished it, though I knew nothing about Rihanna's names. Nor did I know OMAR,though it was kinda infrable. Nor HE'S DEAD, JIM" though it did sound like a Trekkie phrase from decades ago. The SE was easy, with only COOPTS not obvious, and the NE was almost too easy.

Best clue/answer: PRESS BOX. Second best, right above it, MACARONI, which always makes me think of dear Mr. Doodle, who wore a feather in his cap. A MACARONI in those days was a foppish dresser, which is as true for Italians today as it was in 1775.

Hands up for having EdgING OUT before EASING, and also had SAID yes before the far apter SAID I DO. And for thinking of many similar words before EENSY. (ACE was by no means obvious). Had AmY before ALY, too.

Word to the wise: Our resident Saint, JOHN X, who may be a reincarnation of history's least known Pope, is not necessarily to be trusted.

August West 11:48 AM  

Dictionaries and 8K prior XW’s are wrong. According to today’s SB, “adit” is not a word after all.

JD 11:48 AM  

@Doc John, I learned friable through some writing I had to on naturally occurring asbestos years ago. So I think of Friable as easily crumbling into fine particles. That too would be Fragile, although I think an egg would crack into pieces rather than crumble.

But did you think of it because it's used in medicine that way (bones maybe)?

Chewbacca 11:54 AM  

CHEKOV: “Yees Kyaptin”

jb129 12:06 PM  

Aside from not being a Star Trekkie (don't hate me) & not knowing Rhianna's name, I still liked it a lot.

jae 12:10 PM  

Easy-medium with the west side easier than the east. Me too for no idea about Rihanna but grateful for the fair crosses. SPARKLER is right, liked it a bunch!

Anonymous 12:12 PM  

@Nancy. You needn't ever have to justify not watching Star Trek. But there's also no need to be smug about not watching it.

nyc_lo 12:16 PM  

Wow, I’ll have what Rex is having. This one left me, if not cold, at least tepid.

Some occasionally fun fill with HESDEADJIM, ASTERIX and IMAGONER. But the southeast put me in a get-off-my-lawn mood with ROBYNFENTY and ACE. Compounded by early onset something-or-other that refused to let me parse COOPTS, even with only two squares left. Bah.

August West 12:23 PM  

Dictionaries and 8K prior XWs notwithstanding, “adit” is not a word according to today’s SB.

Z 12:34 PM  

@Frantic Sloth’s dad’s MACARONI take reminded me that the guys on Highly Questionable did a pretty funny MACARONI riff on yesterday’s episode. I don’t really know how to post a link from ESPN(this link launches the app on my iPad so I don’t know if it will work for anyone else), but it was pretty funny.

@JD - I think, "He's dead Jim, hold my Bra. πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ€£ πŸ‘πŸ½πŸ‘πŸ½

@TJS - I know, right?!

@Whoever mentioned the background racism of ASTERIX - Here’s an interesting view from a librarian.

@Barbara S - Now I’m imagining my mom saying “I MAMA ZED.” She was French on her dad’s side, but her second language was Spanish. Still…

@Teedmn - You described my TENT PEG journey.

@Michigan Pub Crawlers - But what if you meet your favorite constructor and they turn out to be a miserable person? I don’t think I could handle that. I like to think that even people on a total different wavelength than me are still good people, but who knows. I know in Ultimate I have liked 99.9% of the people I’ve met over the years, but, boy howdy, the exceptions are exceptional.

@TTrimble - tangentially, I don’t equate “screw-up” with “asshole.” Everyone screws up. If somebody posts a spoiler I don’t think “what an asshole,” I think, “oh, they don’t realize/forgot that people don’t always solve puzzles in order.” Seeing you equate the terms makes me think you thought I was reacting stronger than I thought I was. To me, these are (for regulars here), spilt milk situations. Clean it up, move on, no need to shed tears/expend extra effort.

Anonymous 12:42 PM  

The only catch phrase I got from ST

"I cannae change the laws of physics!"
-- Scotty

What? 12:51 PM  

Strange puzzle for me. I only knew about half the clues but finished with just one? - the B in BTS and BASMATI. How was this possible? The crosses of course but it left an odd taste. ROBYN FENTY? Talk about obscure - ok I will (The middle name of the President of Nepal).
The crosses gave it to me and now I will never forget it. It is permanently etched in my neurons. It will keep me up at night, and during the day, ready to pounce at a cocktail party during a lull in the conversation (will they ever invite me back?). I will name my next grandchild after her. It will be my Rosebud.

Hanedawg 1:07 PM

Oh Please 2:22 PM  

Rihanna's make-up brand is "Fenty", so that helped a few of us.

JC66 2:28 PM  

Earler this week, @Rex and some others went bananas over the inclusion of MIRAMAX in the puzzle. Not a peep today about BRAVE HEART.


MyName 2:43 PM  

Yes it is. To the extent of me once saying "those macaroni westerns" just automatically...

Breakfast Tester 2:54 PM  


Patri15 3:08 PM  

Macaroni was an 18th century fop, a dandy.

Anonymous 3:09 PM  

5D clue is "Overthrow, e.g." and somehow the answer is "ERR" - which makes absolutely NO SENSE to me. Feel free to enlighten me, anyone!

albatross shell 3:29 PM  

Threw over the first baseman or made a bad pitch by trying to throw to hard or trying to put too much spin on the ball.

Linda R 3:37 PM  

@Anonymous 3:09 PM - "overthrow" as in a throw that goes too far (also a verb - to throw further or harder than intended

Douglas 4:09 PM  

Err as in make an error - like overthrowing to first base in baseball.

bocamp 4:10 PM  

Had Biryani before BASMATI. LOL

@Anonymous (3:09 PM)

The player did err in judgment, resulting in an errant throw to first base, and was accordingly charged with an error.


PEACE ~ Empathy ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

Douglas 4:11 PM  

I’m surprised the woke mob has not gone absolutely crazy for jury rig and its associated, extremely offensive cousin.
Glad to see Asterix in the puzzle, although Tintin > Asterix, but both great.

TTrimble 4:21 PM  

Sigh. I wasn't equating "screw-ups" with "assholes". They were meant as a pair of possibilities, actually alternative to one another. I can try to think of a parallel use of the slash mark (better than the obvious he/she), but until then you'll just have to trust me. Slash marks are not the same as equality signs in my book.

Anybody doing the SB? I'm pg -10 for today. Another long list!

albatross shell 6:27 PM  

I guess I'm the only one who knew ROBYN (or almost knew it, ROBiN) but not FENTY. Looked her up because every time I tried to get one of my favorite singer-musicians on the web, Rhiannon Giddens, the last name I tend to forget and first name I tend to misspell, I would end up buried in Rihanna websites. Turns out Rhianna does some nice stuff. I came across her first real name and it stuck because of my middle name. But Ms.Giddens is much more in my musical mainstream. Check out her Gaelic song in Another Time Another Place. Or her channeling of Oddetta doing Waterboy. Or her North Carolina Chocolate Drops stuff. Or even her duet with Tom Jones doing St. James Infirmary.

This weekend I'm at the Billtown Blues Fesival writing this in spare moments. Waiting for the tonight's finale with Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band (guitar washboard drums) and listening to some good blues.

Gospel Sunday morning.

About 2/3 of this puzzle went in very quickly. The East and Soutn in slo-motion and needed 2 PPP look ups. I was in a hurry. The festival started yesterday.

Rich Glauber 6:33 PM  

Wow this one was hard for me; surprised to see so many folks thought it was easy. Had CODE for the word that goes with 'secret' and 'source' so that took a minute to rectify. Didn't know the proper names, BTS Robyn Fenty, Omar or Aly so there were no gimmes. Good cluing, challenging puzzle 30 minutes, but so it goes. Happy to hear the victory music haha

Anonymous 6:36 PM  

This is @3:09pm saying THANK YOU to everyone who explained why "ERR" is the answer to 5D. Much appreciated. (Baseball's obviously not my strong suit!)

Anonymous 7:13 PM  

To Gill I. (11:20 a.m.), on origins of macaroni as name of Yankee Doodle's cap. It's true, as others have responded, that the term was used in reference to an 18th-century fop. It more particularly was used for a mixture of and high styles, and perhaps a fop was supposed to be someone actually of low culture attempting to be impressive. Like a macaroni first course, all looks a little mixed up. I once in Naples at a very cheap but fine pizzeria was given a menu in terrible English, where *macaroni* was translated as "crazy mixed up noodles," one of many examples on the menu where all made perfect sense in Italian but none in English. Aside from food, the term "macaroni" is best known to describe a kind of verse, where one line in Italian and the next in Latin for the entire poem. Again this is a kind of mixture of style. Yankee Doodle rides a pony, rather low-brow, and puts a feather in his cap to make an impression. (Perhaps this entire puzzle could be described as "macaroni" or macaronic.)

I knew Asterix, and like Pogo, I rarely read it but have few scenes indelibly etched in my memory. My favorite was when the ancient Brits (or whatever) are fighting the Romans, and the Brits have to suspend fighting in the later afternoon, so that all can have drink of hot water (tea, it is explained, had not been invented yet).

Anon. i.e. Poggius

Eniale 7:59 PM  

@ttrimble, I'm also having a hard time with SB today. pg -8. Likely to give it up. Maybe you've progressed since posting.

Escalator 8:42 PM  

Rex must have taken his happy-pills this morning…..

TTrimble 11:11 PM  

Yeah, I'm pg -3 now. Haven't looked at it in some hours.

Bob Mills 8:58 AM  

Good puzzle, but "EENSY" for "MINUTE, INFORMALLY" is a real stretch...more abnormal than informal.

Erik O 1:50 PM  

2nd Saturday completion ever for me. Very easy as far as Saturdays go. I have about a 1% completion rate so that speaks to this puzzle's ease of fill... I knew most of the PPP though.

thefogman 10:38 AM  

Challenging - in spite of what Rex says. Toughest part was solving the SE corner. 28D was unknown to me so I had to solve ROBYNFENTY via the crosses. If you knew that it would have been a much easier solve,

spacecraft 11:18 AM  

Like @breakfast tester, I thought of TOBOLDLYGO for 24a. I would have no peace TIL I got that one. But I started elsewhere. KMART was a gimme, but I stalled trying to work off that. Turns out I made an ERR, thinking Nike for Bolt's sponsor. NE wound up being my finishing area. Restarted with BRA/BOSTONPOPS and soon had SE. Then PLAYDIRTY, JURYRIG--and bam! That J did it: HESDEADJIM! Ironically, the two most dramatic death pronouncements by our good doctor were declaring JIM himself dead! (The Enterprise Incident, Amok Time).

Twin gimmes VEGAS and ODDS helped down south. MACARONI got the SW moving. Funny thing about 1a: my first thought was BRIDE, but I wouldn't commit to it. Turns out I was right all along. I will say this one did in fact IMPRESSME; even more if EKED could have been avoided. The natick at 32 nearly made me say IMAGONER, but the distaff half came to my rescue with BASMATI. Six people, maybe seven are going to know that one. I guess many more know the Kpop group; I do not.

Rihanna, ROBYNFENTY...a DOD by any other name! (Bonus STTOS title there!)

Still trying to figure out how we get from "compile" to POOL. E pluribus unum, I guess, but whoa! What a stretch! I make it medium; lot of colorful entries. Self-examination mini-theme with IMPRESSME, IMAMAZED and IMAGONER; two's plenty there. Still, a birdie. No grid containing EKE will ever get an eagle.

Burma Shave 12:13 PM  


breaks his HEART and says,"HE'SDEADJIM."


rondo 2:24 PM  

Oh @spacey, BASMATI is a gimme; helped me get through the NW. But in the SW my word with secret and source was 'code', so that didn't help at all until it had to be OPEN. Also didn't help that the paper had no clue printed for 5d.

ALY Raisman earns yeah baby.

What are the ODDS you'll find KENO in VEGAS? 100% I imagine

leftcoaster 4:00 PM  

This tale may have been told by an idiot, but here’s my bitter-sweet version:

We have to EASe him OUT.
And he refused to SEE REASON.
Thank god, I’M not A GONER like him.

P.S. I”M pretty AMAZED I survived this puzzle without ERRor.

leftcoaster 4:23 PM  

P.P.S. ...With due respect to Burma Shave whose entry I did’t read or attempt to CO-OPT earlier.

Diana, LIW 6:50 PM  

ACE and COOPTS was my Natick. Too many names the last 2 days!!!!

Otherwise, I was proud of getting the rest of the puzzle with no help whatsoever.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

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