Verdi opera set during the fifth century / SAT 7-3-21 / Boston's flagship medical center familiarly / McCarthyite called out in Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire" / D doctor of letters deg / Edgar Allan Poe poem written for a woman named Jane, despite its title / Demand during a gossip sesh / Sea grass seen in sand dunes

Saturday, July 3, 2021

Constructor: Kameron Austin Collins

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

Just ignore all the little blue eyes; I closed my puzz file before
taking a screenshot of the finished grid and just didn't want
to bother rekeying the whole thing, so I hit "Reveal: Entire
Puzzle" instead :/

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: REVET (3D: Strengthen, as an embankment) —
To retain (an embankment, for example) with a layer of stone, concrete, orother supporting material; provide with a revetment. (
• • •

This didn't start out well at all. Super-isolated corners, on Saturdays, tend to be miserable affairs, and that NW corner definitely threatened misery. When the only way into a corner is by desperately clinging to your roster of "60 Minutes" correspondent names ("SAFER! ... no, STAHL!"), you're in trouble. What I'm wondering most is how (in the world) I a. remembered that Verdi had an opera called "ATTILA" and b. (more amazing still) got it off just the "L" from STAHL (!?). Without that bit of dumb trivial luck, that corner gets a lot more deathly. As it was, I crawled through it at a fairly typical Saturday pace (OMELETTE helped a lot), and finally pushed the HUT in BEACH HUT down into the middle of the grid, giving me very meager purchase on whatever lay ahead. Looking back at that NW corner, yeah, I would not willingly go there again. SOGS and REVET are the kind of answers that, look, you can point at the dictionary all day long, but I am not loving (let alone ever using) those words. Aesthetically displeasing. But I survived, and there was nothing genuinely repulsive up there, plus I had a vast swath of puzzle yet to do, so things could've been worse. Started to get a little momentum with THOU (26A: It's often seen beside art) (nice clue), which gave me OATS (sea OATS being something I *definitely* learned about from crosswords) (28D: Sea ___ (grass seen in sand dunes)) and then Chaka gave me AIN'T (don't worry, yes, I am going to post the song, just hang on) and bam, HEN'S TEETH. But then just when I think we're cooking with gas ... I somehow stall (STAHL!) out. INTER and ASHE and LEE and pffft. It's 5am, I haven't had coffee, and the Saturday puzzle is now just sticking its tongue out at me (OK, OK, I'll play the song now).

But then the dam broke. Out of nowhere. Just as I'm thinking, "ugh, how am I supposed to know Boston medical centers, we didn't all go to *$&%ing Harvard, you know!," the two "S"s sitting next to each other in the grid all of a sudden go "psst ... (because two "S"s naturally say "psst") ... psst! Try MASS something. MASS GENERAL, maybe?" And there it was, and there went CAMBODIA and TRIAL RUNS and then, the answer that really turned the puzzle on its axis from sad to happy: CREATURE FEATURE! (31A: "The Fly," "The Host" or "The Thing"). Not sure I've ever had a single answer flip a puzzling experience upside-down like that; and it's sitting dead center, too. 

Such a fun marquee answer! And all of sudden my mood was lighter, and though the puzzle remained Saturday tough, I was able to enjoy its delightful parts, like the clue on TOKE, or the sick MARINERs burn (24D: Member of the only M.L.B. team never to have played in a World Series), or the alternate-universe rickrolling (billybaiting!?) that forced the lyrics of "We Didn't Start the Fire" into my head against my will—of course "against my will," how else do those lyrics get in anyone's head!? ROY COHN, JUAN PERON, TUSCANINI, DACRON, you see, it's like my brain is having a fit, it's awful! ... and yet it got me ROY COHN, so some element of sadomasochistic pleasure was involved in the whole episode. You make me think of the execrable ROY COHN *and* the execrable Billy Joel song *and* you make me kind of like it?! Impressive.

[48A: McCarthyite called out in Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire"]

Got stuck a little bit trying to get up into that NE corner. Just dead-stopped in the middle because I don't know what follows HAM and I can't figure out the Poe title and it seems like ___ FOR could be a million things (I considered PINE for a bit). It was only by realizing that "Beg pardon..." was not someone asking you to repeat what you just said, but someone trying to get your attention, that I got AHEM, which somehow solved all my problems there. Mad at myself for not (exactly) remembering the FISA part of FISA COURT ("FICA ... VISA ... what the hell is that court called?"), but luckily I grasped all the FISA crosses, including EPPIE, which is where I finished things off (14A: ___ Lederer, a.k.a. Ann Landers). What else to say? I don't know exactly what a D. LITT. is, but I have a Ph.D. in literature so I've seen the designation enough times for it to be familiar. Not sure I love it as fill, but I did love that my professional background ended up being useful For Once. Scott LITT produced some of the biggest albums of the '80s and '90s, including six R.E.M. albums and Indigo Girls' self-titled major-label debut (1989). And he solves crosswords! (don't ask, I just know). Anyway, just throwing that out there in case you are ever looking for an alt-LITT clue.

It ended up being one of those workouts that I appreciate when I'm done with them. A very worthy challenge, loaded with the cinematic (LEE!) / literary ("TO HELEN"!) / philosophical (IDEALISM!) stuff I have come to expect from a KAC puzzle—stuff I happen to like very much. I think DEETS! is my favorite answer of the day, though (42A: Demand during a gossip sesh). I had the "D" and thought "DISH!? DISSH!? ... DIRT!? DIRRT? ... DO TELL!? DO TEL!? ..." But then when I got DEETS! (short for "details!") I thought, "well, yes, that is better." Gave the puzzle a nice colloquial snap, which was very welcome among all of the more recondite stuff. Overall, a proper Saturday challenge.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Lewis 6:39 AM  

What just happened? There I was, after first pass and four entries in the grid, and thinking for the first time in ages that I just might not finish this one. Thinking, indeed, that I might not fill in one more square. Feeling like a beginner and that perhaps I will always be one.

That, by the way, is a gift, to return to beginner’s mind, at least for me. It shrinks my head size, reminds me of what my early solving days felt like, and bolsters my desire to help and encourage newer solvers.

But back to my solve. Up there in the NE, NSFW hit me, and from somewhere in my underworld, EPPIE flew out, and suddenly more answers started slipping out, and in not too long, the grid was hemorrhaging answers, right through to square last.

I’m not sure I’ve ever had a solve that went so dramatically from zero to hero. But that’s not all. I, an ardent lover of wordplay, almost pumped my fist in the air with joy at the wit behind the clues for TAN, TOKE, SILO, THOU, and BLT.

This wasn’t just a Saturday for me, Kameron. This was a thank-you-for-a-wow Saturday. I can’t wait until KAC comes back!

Unknown 6:52 AM  

Re: all the remarks yesterday about In'n'Out:
1. Workers are paid well above minimum wage, with full benefits. At "my" In'n'Out, the same people worked there for years. Not many fast food places can say that.
2. The food is freshly made, not sitting under a heat lamp. The open kitchen allows you to watch the burgers being cooked and even the potatoes being peeled and put into the machine that cuts them into French fry shapes.
3. Milkshakes are made with real ice cream and milk.
4. They don't franchise. That means more control over the quality.
5. Chefs ranging from Julia Child (who used to know the location of every In'n'Out) to Bourdain to Thomas Keller all praise In'n'Out for their food quality, price, and labor policies.
The NYT crossword certainly in NY centric but has plenty of clues about other places, businesses, and customs around the rest of the country. In'n'Out is a western, mostly Californian, phenomenon but is widely enough known that complaining about it being too regional to be known in NY is kind of silly.

Years ago i took in a cat whose owner had died. The cat, Katie, was a Los Angeles native. I soon realized that she was also an In'n'Out fanatic. She was normally a placid and polite kitty but when i came home with an In'n'Out bag one day, she went nuts. I shared some of the burger. Thereafter, whenever i went to In'n'Out, i got a separate burger patty for her. A worker told me that people often did that for their pets, usually dogs though. One time i forgot to get Katie a patty; when i got home she sniffed at me and knew I'd eaten at In'n'Out and quite literally turned her back on me. I pulled some grass fed beef out and cooked it up for her, and she turned her nose up at it. I never made that mistake again!

Frantic Sloth 7:00 AM  

This is sad. I spend so much time picking nits on these puzzles, that when I have none, it utterly confounds me.
Guess I'm gonna hafta be nice. Oh well, there's always tomorrow.

A little of everything:

REVET, FISACOURT - always happy to learn new things, especially on the Saturdee.

Loved CREATUREFEATURE and ROYCOHN sharing the same grid.

The PPP was either wheelhouse or entirely gettable through crosses, which is where PPP belongs.

Some entries were near-gimmes, while others...not so much. Chewy, chewy, chewy - it's like eating tough stewy. (With apologies to Ohio Express)
Overall, I was about 3 minutes over my average time and that alone is cause to celebrate this delightful solve.

If there are any nits, they would be the "?" clues. For me, they weren't terribly clever and felt just a tad off. But, I'm a tad off, so can I really complain?
I think not.


amyyanni 7:16 AM  

NW was the last to fall, oof. Even though use it all the time, CNTL KEY stumped me for too long (as did SOREBA--). My aches are usually in my legs, so stared at all that until almost cross-eyed.
Love the Katie and her burger tale.
Love the 4th weekend, too. And this year's will be a better one for so many reasons.
Happy Summer Saturday, everyone.

Son Volt 7:42 AM  

The disjoint grid definitely made it a longer go - especially some of the short unknown stuff. Like Rex I settled in with the wonderful CREATURE FEATURE - memories back to the WPIX days. Have a nephew at MASS GENERAL and was able to get ROY COHN after some thought. Really liked HENS TEETH, TO HELEN and BEACH HUT. Had to work for OREN, EPPIE and STAHL.

16a was either MARIST or Vassar - I grew up right between them.

The Scott LITT records sent REM over the top I know - but I had stopped listening to them at that point. Nothing against the music or the fame but an interview with Stipe in which he tried to disown the first two iconic albums. Try the Paul Kelly LITT produced So Much Water record.

Enjoyable solve on a cold, rainy Saturday morning.

bocamp 7:47 AM  

Thx Kameron for a crunchy Sat. puz; very enjoyable! :)

Med solve.

Fairly smooth sailing except for the SE, which took a good deal of time to sort out.

Finished in the NW with SOGS / REVET / GIVE A TRY.

Liked this puz a whole bunch! :)

yd 0

Peace ~ Empathy ~ Tolerance ~ Health ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

Z 7:49 AM  

Cause to recall -> E COLI
Many wasted nanoseconds post solve trying to suss out that one. It’s the “to” that caused me problems. Finally the penny drops (not OMITS) and I realized that E COLI is the cause (leading) to a recall. D’Oh.

I finished not understanding E COLI and totally unfamiliar with REVET so I was fully expecting to look at Rex’s completed grid and discovered I DNF’ed. Pleasantly pleased with myself on finishing correctly.

I’m increasingly torn by KAC’s PPP. On the one hand I appreciate that he tends to not give us the same old same old. But somehow EPPIE Lederer and O-REN Ishii in the same puzzle causes a cultural whiplash that I don’t quite know what to do with. Well, I guess I do wonder what would have happened if Bill had written Ann Landers instead of acting on his jealous rage in that church in El Paso.

Did anyone remember that Plato is the father of IDEALISM? “IDEALISM” as wishful thinking is so much more in the language than as a school of thought that I had forgotten it was a school of thought.

A fine Saturday. The kind of challenge I expect from a KAC Saturday puzzle.

Harry 8:10 AM  

Rex nailed the commentary on this one.

After suffering DNF's the last couple of Sats, I'm appreciative for a consistently tricky, yet approachable run today. Very nice cluing, in particular.

Frantic Sloth 8:12 AM  

@Unknown 652am Those are some impressive facts, but the star of your post is clearly Katie. LOL! What a little brat! ❤️

@Z 749am I guess that would have made for one, nay two really boring movies.

pabloinnh 8:13 AM  

Had a Lewis experience with this one, in which I spent a while looking around for a place to start and finally landed on ASHE, which had a new clue. I knew INTER which made me wonder about CAMBODIA, confirmed by MASSGENERAL, which is a gimme for most of us in NE. And away I went, dredging up stuff.

I had the S from SPITITOUT and the W from WETNURSE which gave me ISAW! as a warning. Uh, no. Actually knew stuff like EPPIE and MARIST though, so got that all sorted out. I never say DEETS and should know it by now but it always takes forever. Thought ALLEYCAT when I saw the clue but didn't like the Y in the middle of an across and when it turned out to be ROYCOHN, liked it even less.

My trouble zone was the NW, which was going nowhere until I remembered revetment from somewhere which led to REVET and the eventual successful completion of this double black diamond beast. Thanks for a Saturday that knows how to Saturday, KAC. Glad you've got a Knack for Awesome Crosswords.

TTrimble 8:16 AM  

Oof. That NW was just brutal.

It took a while to gain any purchase at all, but for me it started in the NE, then SW, then SE, and the puzzle seemed satisfyingly Saturday hard. CREATURE FEATURE and HAM OPERATOR were quite alright by me. Clever cluing for E COLI, BLT, and DUELED, all appropriately question-marked. INTER: thank you Latin class from days of yore.

Tough for me: Glass Home? (NPR), crossing EPPIE which frankly did not ring a bell. Also tough was the OREN/TO HELEN cross, neither of which I knew. Teeth-gritting at ROY COHN (didja have to clue it with that lame-ass Billy Joel song?) and also EATER which brought to mind the Hall and Oates song "Man EATER", just as execrable as the Billy Joel IMO. (Thanks anyway, Rex, but I am not going to click on that BJ vid. I might check out the Chaka Khan -- such a super-cutie.)

(Absolutely hate-hate DEETS. Here, Rex and I are on absolutely different wavelengths. I guess for him, it just has that patented "sass", or zazz, or whatev. Yeesh, it makes me shudder.)

Anyway, the puzzle brought some pleasure until the NW, where I was stopped absolutely dead in my tracks, and I resorted to cheating -- utter anathema. Did not know ATTILA. Did not know ELENA. Was not seeing or conceptualizing CTRL KEY for some time. OMELETTE: not unknown, but not a customary spelling for me. REVET, for cryin' out loud. Hard to get past a baking angle for the thing that needed kneading. SOGS: that's almost like "moist"! My gosh, this corner of the puzzle was just a buzzkill. Glad it's all in the past.

Today's SB: this will probably take a while. I'm pg -17 now.

SouthsideJohnny 8:24 AM  

I’m guessing there are more than just a few of us for whom CREATURE FEATURE recalls overnighters with friends watching scary movies as teenagers. That could be a theme in and of itself - the challenge would be keeping it from being mostly a PPP-related theme (with just scary movie titles like “The Fly” or actors such as Karloff, etc).

I enjoyed the way the constructor took tried-and-true crossword entries to a new level from a cluing perspective with the clues for items like BLT and TOKE. That’s pretty impressive - it would be wonderful if the Times could attract that type of talent on a daily basis. Contrast the simple, elegant cluing of today with some of the crazy themes that they publish which are so convoluted that you have to turn yourself into a pretzel to understand exactly what is going on (or in my case - just ignore the theme and let Rex explain it before he rips it to shreds in his blog post). I vote for simple and elegant.

Monty Montague 8:25 AM  

Loved this puzzle. The SE was the last to go for me, despite the fact that I somehow got IDEALISM with just the D from Flo RIDA. Also struggled (like so many here apparently) with the NW. All the struggles were well earned and enjoyable, which is why I do the puzzle in the first place. Bravo!

PaulyD 8:31 AM  

SO many better ways to clue ELENA. \smh

And the only people who says DEETS are moms trying desperately to sound cool to their daughters (and, obviously, failing miserably).

Aside from the potential problems caused by ELENA and ATTILA in the NW, this was an enjoyable and appropriately difficult Saturday. I thought CREATURE FEATURE was especially appropriate, as Saturday nights were when we used to watch them.

Anonymous 8:34 AM  

A rare day where I was on a late-week constructor's wavelength. For some reason, SOREBACK went in immediately, and I hit no resistance until I reached the SE.

I never committed the list of names in Billy Joel's song to memory, as I didn't care for the song when it came out. Never picked up on the fact that COHN was included. Thanks to ALLEYCAT and RIDA the SE was soon worked out, though, with ZIRCONIA offering the biggest roadblock.

Cassieopia 8:40 AM  

Had to cheat to get the NW corner, having had REsod for entirely too long. Oh well learned a new word!

Spent some time reading the Roy Cohn wiki. Not a recommended way to start a holiday weekend - it’s sad to think of how much suffering and misery one unhappy man can cause.

On a more cheerful note, @Unknown 6:52, what an utterly delightful story! Thank you for sharing it.

And thank you to Kameron Collins for a smooth puzzle and a nicely challenging Saturday!

Nancy 8:41 AM  

The third puzzle in a row that challenged me and that I absolutely loved. Kudos, New York Times!

When OMELETTE, OMITS and STENCIL (very nicely clued, but I've been doing puzzles too long and got it immediately) went in right away, I thought the puzzle might be a bit on the easy side, but it wasn't -- not at all. In that corner I was looking for a kind of dough at 1A and I didn't know REVET. Nor did I know ATTILA as clued. But the rest of the puzzle may have been even harder -- at least in parts.

One wrong answer can really do you in. I had the receptionist's query being NEXT? rather than NAME? and there went my ability to see either IDEALISM or PASTICHE without many, many other crosses. I also dropped in CAMEROON before CAMBODIA and there went my progress on the other side of the puzzle. I had E-- for the "listing near a club" and didn't see the brilliantly clued BLT for the longest time.

The BLT clue is one of the best of the year, I think. Other clues I loved were for THOU, TOKE and DUELED.

Matching wits with the constructor rather than learning a bunch of unrelated DEETS is my motive for doing crossword puzzles. But when the info I'm learning is unusually interesting, then I'm all ears. In this case...

Poe was really writing to Jane when he wrote TO HELEN??? How interesting! Why on earth did he do that? Lovely, provocative clue.

Teedmn 8:41 AM  

I agree with Rex's take on the NW. I left it completely blank until the end and moved over to the NE. EPPIE got me started but I didn’t know MARIST. With MARI_T a total WOE, I relied on the sound FISA made in my head to fill in the blank and until I got the Congratulations notice, I wasn’t sure about it.

With the entire grid filled in up to HUT, I stared at the blank NW with a sinking heart. But what is a cabana other than a BEACH HUT? Shore HUT sounded too awkward. And my guess of SOtS is one of those gift mistakes that helps move things along.

REVET, is that re-vet, or is it like rivet? I don’t have enough bandwidth here in the northern WI woods to look it up.

KAC, you made me work, as usual, but I want nothing less on a Saturday, thanks.

Paul 8:41 AM  

I nearly threw in the towel on this one. Kinda of did in that nearly an hour into the solve, having struggled in the NW, the SE, and with nine open squares in the NE I hit check grid and was shocked to find all was correct, including SOGS and REVET. That inspired me to find NSFW and allow the FISA part to spark from some dark area of my subconscious. In other words this required persistence and was at the very limit of what I can solve - a perfect Saturday for me.

JBH 8:47 AM  

Thought this puzzle was great. F

inished it way fast for a Saturday, despite the challenges of the NW section.

New tidbit (to me): SHISH = skewer! Makes sense!

puzzlehooarder 8:56 AM  

Great Saturday puzzle. When I saw the constructor's NAME I expected the solve to be top notch and I wasn't disappointed.

The main section of the puzzle from NE to SW was high quality but still within the typical Saturday challenge range. What really put the icing on the cake and made this puzzle stand out was the difficulty of getting into those isolated NW and SE corners.

Of the two it was the SE that really stretched my solving skills. Thank Ja for ZIP and also for my having no reference point on that Billy Joel song. While it made dredging up that hideous ROYCOHN name much harder I'll gladly take the extra work for having been spared at least one of his songs.

If every day of the week was this engaging the SB would be an after thought as opposed to an obsession.

Swimwolff 9:26 AM  

I thought Sauron had taken over the solution!

Barbara S. 9:27 AM  

Wow, man. I loved this puzzle but I’m mopping the sweat off my brow. Like @Lewis, I had a first pass which yielded a grand total of 4 or 5 answers. I was challenged everywhere in the grid (including the NW that everyone's talking about) but ended up in the east. First the SE: I couldn’t get any of the three 8-letter acrosses (and had very few of the downs) and then suddenly saw PASTICHE and got the other two immediately.

But the NE turned out to be my Waterloo. EPPIE, MARIST and FISA COURT were all new to me (although I had COURT), and to make matters worse, I had (I thought, cleverly) answered 14D “Word with man or fire” with “powER”. But I got suspicious when that made the Monopoly token a HAw. Hmm. HAT then gave me EATER, but I didn’t connect Glass with NPR (had both NHL and NFL for a while, so gave Mr. Glass a choice of new careers).

In the end I had to look up EPPIE and run the alphabet at the S-crossing of MARIST and FISA, so I have to call it a DNF. But not a sloggy, joyless DNF – a puzzle experience that was fun and stimulating all the way. I’ll get you next time, Mr. Kameron Austin Collins (and your little dog, too!).

JD 9:27 AM  

Trouble in the far north.

The clue for Stencil was diabolical but not in a good way. I hear Hercule Poirot saying, "How did I know it was traced Mon Ami? The evidence sits right here. A Stencil you see!" I don't know how often anyone goes looking for evidence of a Stencil, but it may be close to never.

Do people really eat Omelettes out of Omelette pans or are we talking about a big pile of stuff fried with eggs at Denny's? I'm trying to picture Julia Child eating brunch out of the pan.

Revet was tough also unless you're a geotech or structural engineering professional, or lived near a levee that was revetted and in the news.

But all that was my own failing. It was the NE that I really object to. Here's a snippet from the mothership of HR professionals, "The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world's largest HR ... to help HR professionals do their jobs better each business day." It's HR. So having NS_W, all I could think was that H.R. was a misdirect from human resources.

Writing and editing material for corporate lawyers aimed at HR professionals for 10 years, never ran across H.R. or NSFW.

And then we have FISA Court Maris & Litt LLP, a law firm no one's ever heard of. But they did some pro bono work for a Wet Nurse who like many thousands before her in history were exploited by their upper class employers. There will be understandable exceptions but it's still a fact.

Everything below Across Row 4 was a joy.

Birchbark 9:28 AM  

CREATURE FEATURE -- Historically the bears around here stop wrecking our bird feeder in May, once they've regained the weight lost in hibernation. Not so this July morning. Barefoot and robed I stood in dewy grass by the meadow, awonder 'mid the detritus of Ursa's midnight snack.

It wasn't really about the bear -- it was a thought I couldn't shake. It was Jane all over again, that day in the FISA COURT, her forgettable, real name an issue at bar: lOrELEi? sara LEe? EPPIE? No. HELEN, of course -- any other would be ZIRCONIA to that diamond of a moniker. And it was over. This birdseed and wreckage in the cool sparkling dew, a sort of PASTICHE of those years I tried hard to forget.

I returned the feeder post to vertical, made the tray look halfway un-broken, and brought the feeder itself into the garage, where it will sit on a workbench for a few weeks. Then the dance will resume.

Am I the bear? Did I do this? The TRIAL RUNS long in my heart.


Wait. I think her name was actually ELENA.

@Lewis (6:39) -- "Return to beginner's mind" is good.

Barbara S. 9:30 AM  

Today’s quotation is from the work of TOM STOPPARD, born July 3, 1937.

“An artist is the magician put among men to gratify--capriciously--their urge for immortality. The temples are built and brought down around him, continuously and contiguously, from Troy to the fields of Flanders. If there is any meaning in any of it, it is in what survives as art, yes even in the celebration of tyrants, yes even in the celebration of nonentities. What now of the Trojan War if it had been passed over by the artist's touch? Dust. A forgotten expedition prompted by Greek merchants looking for new markets. A minor redistribution of broken pots. But it is we who stand enriched, by a tale of heroes, of a golden apple, a wooden horse, a face that launched a thousand ships--and above all, of Ulysses, the wanderer, the most human, the most complete of all heroes--husband, father, son, lover, farmer, soldier, pacifist, politician, inventor and adventurer...”
(From Travesties)

Unknown 9:44 AM  

You've got to read KAC's notes at Wordplay.

Z 9:49 AM  

@Frantic Sloth - Probably in the style of the French New Wave, all scenery and odd jump cuts as Bill explores his feelings with the various members of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, interlaced with scenes of Beatrix Kiddo experiencing Texas induced existential angst in the hinterlands surrounding El Paso. The contrast of majestic scenery and deep emotional turmoil wows the critics and it ends up winning 9 Oscars. All thanks to EPPIE Lederer. Most surprising Oscar will be for Best Score for Eno and Ono’s collaborative work.

There’s more than one answer to these questions pointing me in a crooked line. I forgot to mention earlier that I was bemused that Rex posted the same video I linked to earlier this week. Still, it has perhaps the best single lyric for Crosswords I’ve ever heard.

Blue Stater 9:59 AM  

Good God. I had to look up every answer but one (TOXIC) in the SE. Got all the big answers, but the middle-sized and short ones were just unspeakable. None of them wrong, as far as I could see, but so incredibly twisted as to eliminate any entertainment value in this desperately difficult slog.

Z 9:59 AM  

I agree with @unknown 9:44. Lots to chew on there. And also illuminates why we like KAC puzzles.

Whatsername 10:12 AM  

Yikes! That NW corner was like getting a root canal. Oddly enough, I had only the two proper names before finally seeing STENCIL, then BEACH, and the rest at long last fell. Dazzling clues for BLT and THOU. Learned PASTICHE and FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance) COURT and discovered that I’m apparently walking around with ZIRCONIA in my mouth. No wonder crowns are so expensive. Who knew?

The clue for 39D reminded me of my ADOREd Aunt Margie. She was an extremely funny lady of the I Love Lucy era when marriage was often viewed as a battle between the sexes. I once heard her say about husbands: “When they’re trying to get you to marry them, they act like they could just gobble you up. Then after a few years they start acting like they wish they had.”

I don’t do Sundays and you can’t MAKE ME, so I’ll wish all THOU a happy and safe Independence Day. πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ

mathgent 10:13 AM  

KAC puzzles usually have close to 20 mystery clue-entries which takes me to the border of DNF territory. But this one only had nine of them and I finished comfortably with just a bit of sweat shed at the NW.

An OK puzzle, crunchy enough but not enough sparkle.

I haven't had an In-N-Out for years. I remember them as having a thin patty and lots of lettuce. Not where I go when I crave a big juicy burger with extra tomato and mayo. I may try one again with a double or triple patty.

mmorgan 10:15 AM  

5/6 of this was great, challenging, and fun, but the NW did me in.

Nancy 10:17 AM  

@Barbara S -- Ah, that Tom Stoppard! He does have a way with words, doesn't he?

I was also wondering, Barbara, how come you didn't know FISA COURT after all that Conservative frothing at the mouth against it early in the Trump administration? You could hardly open a newspaper or turn on the TV without hearing about it. And then I thought: of course she doesn't know. She's Canadian. Lucky Barbara!

Speaking of having a way with words, your post today, @Birchbark, was...poetic. It also seemed kind of appropriate as I've always sort of pictured you living amidst bears. That's what Great Outdoorsmen do, right?

@JD -- The OMELETTE clue is correct -- not because you have to eat the OMELETTE out of it, but because an OMELETTE does tend to have its own "dedicated" pan -- at least it does when the OMELETTE maker is Julia Child or someone of her ilk. But how would you define a pan that decides on its own to turn every incarnation of scrambled eggs into an OMELETTE?

I've been making scrambled eggs for decades. I'm not a cook, but I am one of the world's best at scrambled eggs, if I do say so myself. I put swiss cheese in them, just like you would with an OMELETTE and then I scramble them instead. They don't dry out that way. They stay so much fluffier, moister, even, -- even when you're making sure that they're completely cooked through.

And that's what my old frying 8" frying pan did. My new 8" frying pan takes it upon itself to, when I transfer the eggs to a plate, flip/roll/curl them into an OMELETTE shape. They may look like perfectly normal (but fluffier than most people's) scrambled eggs when they're in the pan, but once they hit the plate, they look for all the world like an OMELETTE.

It was discomfiting at first because I can't get the pan to stop doing it. But once I realized that beneath the rolled-up shape, the eggs retain all their fluffiness and moisture, I relaxed and learned to ignore it.

BTW, On those extremely rare occasions when I eat breakfast out, I always order scrambled eggs "lightly scrambled" and never an OMELETTE.

Sixthstone 10:21 AM  

Others have captured most of my feelings on this one. Very tough, especially in the NW, and I had trouble in the SE. Not on the cluing wavelength today I guess.

In the end, I felt satisfied, if not really happy, kind of like after a long, hard day of yardwork. At least, everyone is not complaining about how easy Saturday puzzles have become!

RooMonster 10:23 AM  

Hey All !
Well, Dang, I hope all you "these SatPuzs aren't very tough lately" people got your fill from this one. 😁 Man, this one kept punching back.

Filled in some here, some there, but couldn't get the flow, well, flowing. Managed I'd guess, 85% before the cheating started! Really wanted OMELETE in that spot, but was too short. Where'd that extra T come from? SE corner was a killer. Cheated for both ROYCOHN and IDEALISM, and still almost couldn't get it. ZIP wanted to be nIl to me forever.

That MARINER clue. 1) Ouch 2) thought it was asking for a single player. I was going to complain about specified knowledge, but also praise KAC for finding the One player never to have played in a WS. Thinking about it now, I'm sure there's more than one!

All the cheating (4 times!) and still a DNF. Yeesh. Had dArEME for MAKEME, FIaACOURT, and bOHELEN, which got me bOrE for TOKE, and dARIaT for MARIST. Figured dARIaT was a small college I'd never heard of. Saw my wrongness, erased the d-r of dArEME, saw it was MAKEME, then went to pOKE, jOKE, cOKE, before finally getting TOKE. Obviously don't know the Poe poem!

So, tough, defeated, everything I could HOPE FOR on a Saturday! I need a WET NURSE. IDEALly.

Oh, just remembered my best initial wrong. Had THur for THOU. See it? It's often seen beside art. ArtTHur. ☺️

Three F's

Mr. Benson 10:26 AM  

Lifelong MARINERs fan here. Way to depress me, puzzle.

JD 10:29 AM  

@Nancy, Wow, how on earth did I read it "eaten in its own pan." Trouble in the far north was partly my senile brain. Or doing the thing at 10 PM on my phone plus my senile brain.

@Anon, You know who you are, don't bother "with next time read the clue." I get it.

@Whatsername, My 5-year-old once asked my mother what a wedding ring was for and my mother said, "It's like a little noose around your finger." And I have a beloved Aunt Margie.

Frantic Sloth 10:29 AM  

@Z 949am And at intermission, they serve OREOS and cigarettes.

Agree with @Unknown 944am and @Z 959am who was kind enough to provide a link. His "comments" take up most of the column, but they are worth the read.
Just when you think constructors are unearthly enough, you read something like that.
Makes a person want to change a name to Frantic

G. Weissman 10:37 AM  

There are some swell clues and nice answers, but the N in the NSFW / NPR cross was a mystery to me. The Ira Glass reference did not occur to me, and I had never heard of NSFW. Or, if I had, I quickly put it in my mental trash bin.

bocamp 10:40 AM  

@Unknown (6:52 AM)

Thx for the In-N-Out Burger facts and for the great 'Katie the cat' anecdote. 😻

@TTrimble (8:16 AM)

Same SB thots as you; I'm not yet p, tho. :(

@Mr. Benson (10:26 AM)

MARINERs fan here, too! Some day … 🀞

g -15

Peace πŸ•Š~ Empathy ~ Tolerance ~ Health ~ Kindness to all ~ Meow 😽

Anonymous 10:58 AM  

I had to erase *way* more than I usually do. Finished at almost exactly my average Saturday time. I loved it!

Donna 11:03 AM  

What a fun cat story!

jae 11:04 AM  

Medium. NW was tough because REVET and ELENA (as clued) were WOEs and because I had OTelLo before ATTILA. Thank goodness for STAHL. The rest was more or less a typical easyish Saturday solve.

Plenty of good stuff, liked it a bunch!

jberg 11:05 AM  

This one defeated me; I had to cheat twice, looking up ATTILA and ELENA. Nevertheless, I thought it was a great puzzle.

It started real slow; nothing in the NW, nothing anywhere until I finally found VAssar. Can I be the only one who fell for that? I've heard of MARIST, but didn't know where it was. Even though that was wrong, it got me checking the crosses, and SPIT IT OUT seemed like it must be right; and that eventually led me to HAM OPERATOR, an absolute gimme (I grew up among a lot of them; when my sister and her husband came to visit a couple years ago, they took me to visit the American Radio Relay League in Connecticut; long drive but pretty interesting." That in turn gave me BEACH HUT, which gave me absolutely no helpp at all in the NW. Well, it did give me GIVE A TRY-- but I couldn't get any crosses, and it could have been haVE or even takE A TRY, so I hesitated. So here's that dish that has to be made (not eaten, @JD) in a pan. lasagnE fit, but didn't work with BEACH HUT; paella was too short; so I thrashed around for a while and finally gave in and cheated on ATTILA, which I've never heard or seen. I now wanted SORE BACK, but wasn't very sure, until I finally thought of CTRL KEY. (The Y helped a lot.) I was still stuck, so I looked up that "Vampire Diaries" character. If I'd ever watched 60 Minutes I would have known Lesley STAHL, but no.

My other big problem was that April New Year celebration. Like almost everyone, I had no idea, but it seemed to be an East Asian language, so, ah! Thailand! Well, it wasn't THAT big; I realized right away that it could be CAMBODIA, so I waited for crosses and changed it. Thank you, CREATURE FEATURE!

People do call that hospital MASS GENERAL, but more commonly it's MGH. It's frequently parodied as MBH, or Man's Best Hospital, as a comment on what those smug folks think of themselves. It more or less merged with another big hospital a couple of decades ago, and the parent company finally forced the two to actually start working together, so now it's actually Mass General Brigham.

Better clue for ROY COHN: real life character in "Angels in America;" worse clue: one-time mentor of Donald J. Trump.

Once I had the che, PASTICHE was obvious, but I thought the word meant a combination of different styles; but I guess that does involve a lot of imitation.

@Nancy, I looked it up. Poe wanted to compare Jane TO HELEN of Troy. I don't think I've ever read the poem, but I now know that it gave us the phrase "the glory that was Greece, and the grandeur that was Rome."

sixtyni yogini 11:12 AM  

Some great brain-flexing clues and fun answers.

Only this moment have I heard of FISA COURT.
But then - and surely forever it would have been ZIP in the “F” square.

And finally experienced (and using in a sentence) a NATICK in the FISACOURT X NSFW.

But a good puzz it is!

Carola 11:29 AM  

All I HOPE FOR in a Saturday - challenging in a way that elicits a "Lemme at 'em!" rather than "Are you serious?" with a wealth creative clues and satisfying answers Agree with others about the brutal NW. For most of the solve, ATTILA was my only resident up there. The NE seemed more promising with NSFW and EPPIE x NPR...but then, nothing. Luckily, the combined resources of the HAM OPERATOR, MASS GENERAL, and HENS TEETH yielded enough ways to branch out into the far reaches. Last in: SORE BACK.x ELENA.

Help from previous puzzles: RIDA. No idea: ELENA, O-REN.

Under the "I know nothing about this, but..." heading: Looking over the grid I noticed NOUS and IDEALISM, and wondered if they were related. Wikipedia offered this:
"Plato used the word nous in many ways that were not unusual in the everyday Greek of the time, and often simply meant 'good sense' or 'awareness.'" On the other hand, in some of his Platonic dialogues it is described by key characters in a higher sense, which was apparently already common. In his Philebus 28c he has Socrates say that 'all philosophers agree—whereby they really exalt themselves—that mind (nous) is king of heaven and earth. Perhaps they are right.' and later states that the ensuing discussion 'confirms the utterances of those who declared of old that mind (nous) always rules the universe.'"

@Swimwolff 9:26 - Nice one!
@Birchbark 9:28 - LOL - but sorry about your feeder!

Shirley 11:50 AM  

Re: In'n'Out and Katie the cat:
i'm still occasionally not getting my name to post, won't go into it, but anyway the post was by me, Shirley -- not trying to be anonymous or unknown!

jb129 12:00 PM  

Should've known "DEETS" - hope I do next time.

GILL I. 12:11 PM  

Is the devil in the DEETS? Yes....Yes it is. So what DEETS gave you the heebie jeebies you ask? Well...let's start with 1A. OK, you say. WHY THE HELL ISN'T IT PIE CRUST? I don't knead no stinking knead on my SORE BACK. I want a very hot bath to SOGS it. Oops...I had SOPS.
Wasn't EPPIE a great race?
Who is H.R and why did he/she give a NSFW warning?
How on earth do you pronounce Choul Chnam Thmey?
Who is art and why is he/she often seen with THOU?
Why did HELEN change her name to Jane?
And all this time I thought HEN had TEETH. I had to take a little nap and compose myself. I did the LITT stare; a little TOKE of PASTICHE, composed myself and then, just then, I did a bit of the fandango tango. Ahhhh. Ok, so I know this one and I know that one and I will cheat with ELENA and that CTRL KEY and I don't care because this is beginning to grow on me like moss in the forest.
A Saturday feeling of dang.....this feels like I just got a pedicure and my feet look pretty again.
Just make me an OMELETTE a la @Nancy....but make mine with some Emmental.

@unknown 6:52. LOVE your In-N-Out kitty story. I think it's the oil they use that cats love.

Z 12:18 PM  

@JD - OMELETTEs, especially at an OMELETTE Bar, are made in an OMELETTE pan.
I’m also confused by your NSFW confusion. Is it the periods that threw you?

I get not getting ELENA from that clue. The clue might as well have been “Styx’s grandniece thrice removed.” Still, I thought all the crosses were fair enough, so I’m a little surprised people resorted to looking it up. For me just trusting that I could figure out the NW and SE was a big part of the solve. SOGS was a bigger leap of faith for me than ELENA, probably more because of The Smithereens than The Vampire Diaries, but still..

Whatsername 12:26 PM  

@Unknown (6:52) Loved your kitty story! And bless you for giving Katie a loving home when she needed one.

@Nancy (10:17) I’m with you. Lightly scrambled is the only way to order them in a restaurant but about half the time they still arrive dry and overcooked. I’m very impressed with your faux omelette making process, gonna have to try that.

@JD (10:29) “Noose around your finger“ is one I’ve never heard but certainly apropos. ��

Public Service Announcement: Whatever goodies you share with your pets, please please be sure you are not feeding them any onion or garlic. Sadly, either can be seriously toxic to both cats and dogs.

bocamp 12:27 PM  

@Shirley (11:50 AM)

Bless your catlovin' heart! 😽

ps: hope you get the name thing worked out. 🀞

pps: you could always append a sig block at the end of your posts, just in case.

pg -2

Peace πŸ•Š~ Empathy ~ Tolerance ~ Health ~ Kindness to all ~ Meow 😽

Anonymous 12:48 PM  

I was sure Rex would call this easy because my wife and I did it with relatively little serious trouble. We only finish about 1 Saturday in 4. Just shows how random knowledge makes a huge difference to doing the puzzle.

Had vassar first, but as soon as something didn't fit with that, had enough letters to get MARIST. Thought "what major world leader was around in the 5th century" and guessed ATTILA from one letter.

Knowing a bit about Boston seems to help with the NYT. Good old Natick, Cape ANN the other week, now MASS GENERAL.



A 12:50 PM  

Sprightly trumpet music from A. Stradella, born July 3, 1643

My main takeaway from this week, with today’s HOPE FOR/TOKE cross, and the previous POT and REEFER, is the NYT is promoting legalization. A LONG TIME COMING?

Had a good time with this one! At first I was alarmed at all the ppp in the clues but I decided to jump in and flail away. And flail I did. Unlike OFL, who floundered in the NW, I foundered and was forced to move south. Turned into a happy camper when I got HAM OPERATOR with no crosses.

But then the SW put up a fight. Blue moons before HENS TEETH. Par before BLT (Listing near a club?) MASS GENERAL put me back on my feet. Love the Oregon plate with its FIR. Didn’t know OREN but at least it saved us from another OREo.

Pet peeve - talking about people behind their backs. Gossip “sesh” is disgusting and DEETS just grates.

Wanted ZIRCONIum. Have to check that out. Also the COHN guy and the song - somehow those aren’t in my knowledge base.

Back to the NW. I’m an explorer at heart - every time I go to a new place, I drive around randomly just to see what I can see. I know all the back rounds, all the short cuts. So my 7 & 8A were side sts., and I rationalized the lack of indication of plural until I couldn’t any more. Real aha! moment seeing, simultaneously, SORE BACK and CTRL KEY. (Did cheat once - had Safer, blanked on STAHL so I went to IMDb. Lesley STAHL 921 episodes, Morley Safer 829.)

But then I stared and stared at —EATRY, wanting “test out” to be academic. Finally parsed —E A TRY, and GaVE GIVE A TRY a TRY. REVET and SOGS appeared, uninvited. REVET I’m fine getting to know, but SOGS?? Very unfortunate. Spare me the DEETS of your SOGS.

HAT makes a nice tripod with the man and fire EATERs.

Finished at MARIST/FISA COURT. Took about 3/4 of my Sat. average.

Thanks for the tussle, KAC, SPIT OUT more soon.

pabloinnh 12:59 PM  

Forgot to ask earlier--

Does anyone remember RETS for SOAKS, or is that hopelessly outdated crosswordese?

I still like it better than SOGS.

OffTheGrid 1:00 PM  

Not nearly as good as yesterday's.

Joe Dipinto 1:09 PM  

Aaaaah! My eyes!

When I was small we had an illustrated book called "The Teeny Tiny Omelette". It was about a woman who makes a very small omelette and then, I think, puts the omelette on a window sill to cool off, and then something happens to the omelette but I don't remember what. Did anyone else have this book? I can't find anything about it online. (Though I did find this.)

It's really bugging me. Then also there was a book of butterflies and moths and the first entry was the Rodriguez-Arias butterfly (or maybe it was a moth) but I can't find any lepidoptera with that name now. Did I dream these things?

A song by Howard Dietz (pronounced "deets") and Arthur Schwartz.

Btw: I highly recommend the documentary film "Summer Of Soul", which I saw yesterday.

Anonymous 1:20 PM  

Please, in re SB - what does pg-17 mean? (TTrimble) Thanks

Newboy 1:27 PM  

Not a Natic in sight! Hopefully others enjoyed Kameron’s grid as much as I did.

Tough but fair makes for a challenging way to get to the bottom of the coffee pot on a SOPpy Saturday morning—at least the triple digits are done in the Pacific NW. Great fun in several clues to keep us honest (7&8D for example and STAHL/Safar and all the question marks, etc.) as well as CREATURE FEATURES and obscure words! wow! Knowing both REVET and PASTICHE should have helped, but Gads were they buried in the aging grey matter.

Back now to commentariat looking for your delightful insights.

A 2:09 PM  

am likely closer to being than most here.) It’s like getting to be young again.

@Frantic, yes, there is alway tomorrow, and it being Sunday you may need extra nits!

@Z, thanks for the IDEALISM link - when I have a couple of minutes to spare I’ll sort out all of that meaning of life stuff.

@TTrimble, same reaction to DEETS. Noticed it’s STEED backwards, though, so slight redemption. *Ah, good old @Joe D has come through with more.

@Barbara S, loved the Stoddard - good fodder for thought.

@jberg, I thought PASTICHE was a mashup too, but I’LL ALLOW IT. And thanks for sharing the lines from the Poe.

@Carola, nice NOUS catch and thanks for the Socrates quotes.

@Nancy and GILL I, you’re making me hungry!

My HAT is off to @pabloinnh, and anyone else who knew revet!

@Joe Dipinto, good luck on your quests, and wow, thanks for the Dietz/Schwartz! What great writing and instrumentation - don’t think I’d heard it before. Fred and Cyd had the most impeccable timing. Definitely not your same old song and dance. *Kinda makes me grateful for DEETS now.

Anonymous 2:15 PM  

BTW, On those extremely rare occasions when I eat breakfast out, I always order scrambled eggs "lightly scrambled" and never an OMELETTE.

you have better luck than I. I've not been to one greasy spoon that doesn't make 'scrambled eggs' just as an OMELETTE with nothing in it. proper scrambled eggs have to be made in a skillet, not a flat top, because they have to be constantly stirred on low heat. you get a pile of discreet curds, rather than a egg pancake. and you can make them as dry or wet as you like, just keep stirring until nearly the way you like, turn out onto a warm plate where they finish. yum. can't do that on a flat top (they're impossible to corral on the flat top), that's run at high heat across the deck. best trick for scrambled, not so much OMELETTE, is to add a bit of water per egg: water turns to steam and steam makes them fluffy.

and, of course, there's no such thing as an OMELETTE pan, per se. just a skillet/fry/saute (as you prefer) you use to cook an OMELETTE. if you use one such pan only to cook eggs to OMELETTEs, you're a richer (wo)man than I Gunga Din.

Nancy 2:18 PM  

@oe D (1:09)-- I can't believe I just watched the entire, very very slow and painstaking OMELETTE video. I must be a real masochist.

I think the link indicates that there are 123 more other similar videos available? Good grief!

Peter in Chicago 2:20 PM  

Speaking of sick burns: "I don't know exactly what a D. LITT. is, but I have a Ph.D. in literature" Does anyone still say "Oh Snap"? My references are 10+ years out of date and the manufacturer no longer supports updates to this operating system

bocamp 2:21 PM  

@pabloinnh (12:59 PM)

Remember it well, and always think of it when seeing 'soaks' as a clue.

Ret: "to soak (something, such as flax or hemp) to loosen the fiber from the woody tissue." (MW)

pg -1

Peace πŸ•Š~ Empathy ~ Tolerance ~ Health ~ Kindness to all ~ Meow 😽

Frantic Sloth 2:47 PM  

@J-Dip 109pm I hate to say it, but unless @bocamp works his magic and finds the impossible, that story/book is likely just a dream. On the plus side, the video is as hilariousas it is (as @Nancy described) painstaking. Who are these people??

Nancy 2:51 PM  

@Anon 2:15 -- I make my scrambled eggs exactly the same way you make your scrambled eggs, actually. I add a drop or two of water to the mix, I add Swiss cheese once they're in the pan, I scramble constantly over low heat and I end up with eggs that have lots of discreet curds, are fluffy and, while cooked through, are very slightly on the wet side.

I don't have a special egg or omelet pan. I have a pan. It's my only pan. It's 8" and it's perfect for scrambled eggs. I would be perfetly happy to fry or saute everything else in the same pan, but there's no conflict whatsoever. And that's because there is no "everything else".

I don't cook. So having more than one pan would be the height of extravagance. Scrambled Eggs with Swiss Cheese is my one cooked dish and that's only because there's no such thing as take-out breakfast. Oh, sure, I make a terrific chicken salad with store-bought pre-cooked chicken and I can make a tuna salad with the best of you. But actual cooking is an enormously time-consuming endeavor and restaurants are much better cooks than I am. And I'm also fortunate to live in a city where the quality and variety of take-out is first-rate. It's my one, perhaps only extravagance and it's worth every penny. Besides, good cooking -- which requires a plethora of ingredients and a quality protein -- ain't so cheap either.

Barbara S. 2:52 PM  

@Joe Dipinto

Is this it?

Anonymous 2:53 PM  

Why is there that extra T in D. LITT?

Anonymoose 3:17 PM  

Where's the outrage today from the spelling pedants about the British spelling of OMELETTE?

Joe Dipinto 3:21 PM  

@Barbara S. – Yes!!! I thought the story was longer, but the beginning is exactly the same so that has to be it. Since it's an Italian fable it must be something my grandmother had. I'm pretty sure it was in its own little book, probably a slightly different translation titled as I remember it. Thank you for finding it!

Now I just need the elusive Rodriguez-Arias butterfly...

Marc 3:21 PM  

I like most of Billy Joel's catalog. But "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me" may be the worst song ever about Rock and Roll and "We Didn't Start the Fire" may be one of the worst songs ever to chart.

Look, I'm a songwriter.

"Breaking Bad, Acid Rain, Forest Fires, John McCain.
Proud Boys, QAnon, Can't We All Just Get Along?
Miley Cyrus, Starbucks, Snoop Dogg, Deez Nuts.
We Didn't Start the ire..."

A 3:22 PM  

correction to 2:09pm - 1st comment should be: @Lewis, yes! I love the feeling of being a novice! (Which I am likely closer to being than most here.) It’s like getting to be young again.

Anonymous 3:25 PM  

D.Litt. = Doctor Litteraturum


Z 3:46 PM  

Edina spotted in the wild! Seems like an a long time since Edina last made a puzzle.

pabloinnh 4:00 PM  

@bocamp-Well good. Now I do not feel so all alone.

Still waiting for NEF, ATLE, and ADIT, among others. Ou sont les mots d'antan?

Robert Berardi 4:14 PM  

Normally I hate the expression "OK Boomer", but the very thought of having to recall the lyrics to "We Didn't Start the Fire" made me involuntarily say it.

bocamp 5:02 PM  

@pabloinnh 4:00 PM

Vertrokken in de mist. 🌫

Peace πŸ•Š~ Empathy ~ Tolerance ~ Health ~ Kindness to all ~ Meow 😽

Barbara S. 5:08 PM  

@Joe D.
Hah! Glad to do for you what you did for @Nancy the other day with Babcock and Crane. 'Fraid lepidoptera are beyond me, though.

albatross shell 5:34 PM  

What a great tiny omelette story. Thanks.

I love "We Didn't Start the Fire". Wonderful video too. I do not think "It's Still Rock 'n Roll to Me" is bad, but when it comes to Rock 'n Roll nostalgia "Keepin' the Faith" is great. I can understand why you think lyrics from list-making is cheap and easy. It would be easy to add a verse every decade to Joel's "Fire" song. So what? You could also go back a century at a time. Still it's a powerful song. Why doesn't Rex like it? Too many things and people he detests in it? That's life. Tough shit. Read the comments by Kameron in Wordplay. I thought his viewpoint on the world that is created on the small 15x15 plot of a crossword puzzle was wonderful. And his consideration of the solver was too.

As for the puzzle:
I went through all the clues once. Got 5 short ones, 2 of which were wrong. But 2 combined gave me SPIT IT OUT and pretty soon got a few more shorts and CREATURE FEATURE. Then more slow progress and then about 2/3 in before I started using cheats. Too much for me but an excellent Saturday.

JD 5:46 PM  

@Z, I misread the Omelette clue as "Eaten From the Pan." Cause I'm an idiot.

But yes, those periods in HR actually threw me off. I think there's a problem in crossworld when being too familiar with something at times can turn into a hindrance.

So when I saw H.R. I thought it was misdirect. It can't be THE HR. It's not the style anymore. IRS, VP, PE. These things are now branded into my brain. And with NSFW not something I'd run into before anyway, I was s.c.r.e.w.e.d.

I feel stupid typing all this. Village Idiot. VI.

@Bo, Has the Meow 😽 been there all along? Nice touch.

Nancy 6:17 PM  


A movie you all should DVR on TCM. That is if it's on where you live at the same time. For NYers on the blog, the time given will work for you:

Every couple of weeks I scroll ahead on TCM (Turner Classic Movies) and tape movies I might want to watch. That's what I just did. The film I'm recommending is one I've seen -- both in the theater years ago and on TCM last year. But I bet most of you haven't seen it. It's French and it's not that well-known in America.

It's "Elevator to the Gallows". In NYC, it's on Tuesday 7/6 at 4:15 p.m. Hope it's the same where you live. It's one of the 5 - 10 best suspense movies ever made -- right up there with the very best of Hitchcock. A real nail biter and very, very twisty.

Hope you all can get it at that time. I'll probably watch it again -- even though I know what happens :)

Unknown 6:37 PM  

@Marc 3:21


bocamp 6:57 PM  

@JD (5:46 PM)

Just today, in honor of @Shirley's Katie, as well as all the ALLEY CATs out there. 😽

Peace πŸ•Š~ Empathy ~ Tolerance ~ Health ~ Kindness to all ~ Meow 😽

CDilly52 7:09 PM  

Gloriosky this was a challenge! After a week with some excellent puzzles full of artistry and cleverness but ones for which I had the “wavelength code” this one has taken me all dang day to finish! One of those do a couple, put it away on frustration, come back, do a couple more, rinse-repeat. This was a tough one and no wavelength decoder ring for me! And the NW was absolutely the last to fall.
But I finally finished. And that’s about all I have to say.

bocamp 7:34 PM  

@Nancy (6:17 PM)

Thx for the 'Elevator to the Gallows' movie rec; will be watching it tonight. It's free on the Plex app (Apple TV, Canada). πŸŽ₯

Peace πŸ•Š~ Empathy ~ Tolerance ~ Health ~ Kindness to all ~ Meow 😽

Nancy 8:21 PM  

Enjoy it, @bocamp. I'm pretty much 100% sure you will. I look forward to hearing tomorrow.

JC66 8:32 PM  


I Tivoed (Tivo'd) it and will watch it Tuesday evening. I'll give you my feedback then.

Son Volt 9:17 PM  

@Nancy 6:17p - Elevator is a wonderful film no doubt - but my heart is in Atlantic City.

Joe Dipinto 9:29 PM  

"Elevator to the Gallows" has a haunting improvised score by Miles Davis. I also recommend it. A couple of plot contrivances are implausible on close examination, but you may not notice, or care. It does have some good twists.

Eejit 10:38 PM  

First pass through I had next to nothing and thought I’m not finishing this one. Unlike some, NW was first to fall, SE was harder. Somehow fumbled through with a few guesses like deets, and finished in under my average time. Good puzzle. I still don’t understand cis from yesterday’s clue, lead in to male and female though.

TTrimble 11:08 PM  

Do a ctrl-F on "cis" in the comments. Or, google cisgender.

Robin 11:20 PM  

I found it more "easy-medium". Skipping around clues at the start, the first thing I entered was MARINER, practically dead center, and then just built off it.

Several of the long answers I answered with at most two crosses.

As often seems to happen to me, the NW was where I finished because it put up more of a struggle than the rest of the puzz. Which is probably why I was skipping around at the start.

Bob Mills 8:23 AM  

Rex, I'm glad for you that "DEETS" is short for details. I'm almost 80, am fairly well read, and I've never heard of the word. I think it's just too cute to be legitimate.

crazyloon 11:46 AM  

You had to mention my Mariners

Anonymous 4:45 PM  

Yo Rex, wtf is your problem? Every time a literary clue appears, you say that you struggle to come up with the answer. EVERY F'ING TIME. I havent read "To Helen" in some 17 years, but it came to me quickly. You know why? Because IT'S REALLY F'ING BASIC.

You must be the worst lit professor in existence.

kitshef 7:54 AM  

I thought this was extremely hard, and yet I plugged and plugged through FISA Court and LITT and weird clues for ICU and OMELETTE, only to fall at the TO HELEN/OREN cross. Had 'LEE' at the end of the Poe title, which seemed as good as anything for the effing Kill Bill character, and forgot to change it when TO HELEN finally appeared.

kitshef 7:59 AM  

Oh, and I continue to resent the idea that everyone in the world knows every show/announcer/commercial from NPR.

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