Mag whose first cover featured Michael Jordan and two young fans / SAT 8-28-21 / UK's tallest building named for its look / Symbol for stock volatility in finance / Sarcastic remark to a slowpoke / Western city on the Humboldt River / Title hero of a 2021 Pixar film

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Constructor: Julian Lim

Relative difficulty: Challenging

THEME: None 

Word of the Day: Natural numbers (29D: Some are natural: Abbr. => NOS.) —
In mathematics, the natural numbers are those used for counting (as in "there are six coins on the table") and ordering (as in "this is the third largest city in the country").
• • •

Just not my day. Really didn't like the cluing on this one at all and so even though there are several fine entries, the solving experience was rough and unpleasant. Maybe if I had any idea what "Bridge of Spies" was, or who was in it, the experience would've been slightly more tolerable, but probably only slightly. The main problem for me was the middle. Almost all of it. I just had no way in. Never heard of THE SHARD (5D: U.K.'s tallest building, named for its look). Thought ELKO (23D: Western city on the Humboldt River) was RENO, and then ENID. And on and on. I had EDITS and eventually AFTER PARTY and that is all I had in the middle. Bottom finished, top finished, middle ... empty. Wanted an actual animal, not ASLAN, so even with -LAN in place I just kept trying to think of animals. Oh, I guessed THRASHER, so that was in there too, but it wasn't much help. Couldn't bring myself to write in SOUP for 38D: Stock holder because it seemed so stupid. "Holder?" Sigh, whatever. But the real backbreaker in the middle, the thing that, once corrected, helped me finally get traction and work my way to the end, was "GIVE IT A SEC," which was the cool answer I was sure was correct for 12D: "Be patient" ("GIVE IT TIME"). That A SEC just killed me. When I finally decided to take it out, I wrote in TIN at 36A: Spam might be kept in it, and that started everything going in the right direction. TIN gave me LINES and ANGRY and then -THING gave me HOT and then SOLO HOMER and on to the end. But honestly this was just grueling, with almost no ameliorating sparkle or cleverness. And the cluing, I just don't understand...

DARK HUMOR" is not a phrase I've ever associated with "Monty Python and the Holy Grail." I have watched that movie a million times and never thought it "dark." Yes, a guy has various limbs chopped off and they spurt blood, but honestly there's no "darkness" to that scene at all. The movie is zany. It's comedy. It's parody. Dark shmark. It's downright light-hearted. Didn't know S.I. FOR KIDS existed. I'm sure that's supposed to be a marquee answer, but if a magazine falls in the woods and I'm not there to hear it ... I can't appreciate it too much. Also, S.I. FOR KIDS. it turns out, simply isn't the title of the "mag" in question. Here's wikipedia's first line: "Sports Illustrated Kids (SI Kids, trademarked Sports Illustrated KIDS, sometimes Sports Illustrated for Kids) is a monthly spin-off of the weekly American sports magazine Sports Illustrated." "Sometimes"????? So we get a "mag" that's "sometimes" this title, and we get it in made-up abbr. form. Pfft. Cluing COURTESY via a random quote was cruel—that's a long answer to give over to a mere fill-in-the-blank clue. No joy there. Haven't been paying much attention to new movies because theaters haven't been open that long so "LUCA" got by me, I'm afraid. Had U.S. POST before U.S. MAIL (I blame this on my actual home mailbox, which says "POST" on it). I haven't heard the term FLAME WAR for what feels like decades, so I had real trouble remembering the kind of "war" I was dealing with. I think "LET'S DO THIS THING!" is valid and good and belongs in the center (37A: "Ready for action!"). And I like AFTER PARTY. Nothing much else here interests me. And there's a lot of AONE TREY YESES OGRE ADT DADAS ANION SOLTI ADHOC NOS LIETO HEE HAW ROM PSHAW STILE ERST going on here. That is, a lot of gunky short crosswordesey and somewhat erstwhile fill. The SE corner was easy, but that's the only part I moved through smoothly... actually, the NE was pretty pliable too. But overall, a slog; a slog that started with me writing in HYPO / OTHER instead of TREY / YESES (1D: Long shot, informally / Column on a survey), and never got much more pleasant. YESES, yeesh. Super glad this is over.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Lewis 6:34 AM  

ROUGH crossing RUTS – that’s how this felt for me, for much of the time. A plod, a trek. But then an answer would fill in and suddenly the surrounding area fell. Then back to the trek. I felt like a THRASHER at times, hacking away at this thing. But then an answer would fill in, and suddenly the surrounding area fell. I don’t know what a FLAME WAR is, but at times I felt like I was in the middle of one. Until it was over, when I was thinking, “Wow, this is one magnificent and brilliant creation!”

The tough clues, when their answers finally fell, turned out, IMO, to be fair. And the clever clues, like those for AD HOC, SOLO HOMER, and SOUP, were first rate.

This was, for me, a typical Julian Lim experience, character builder, which leaves me agog at his skill and mind. Thank you for making this, Julian!

bocamp 6:49 AM  

Thx Julian; an excellent Sat. puz! :)

Med.+ solve.

Little bits here and there finally all came together for a successful result.

Most enjoyable! :)
yd 0

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Anonymous 6:55 AM  

@Rex described this puzzle perfectly.

Make way for the math pedants. They'll be out in force today.

Son Volt 7:20 AM  

Liked it a little more than Rex - but not much. Fill was decent but the clueing was flat. Full boat ALAN ALDA atop SI FOR KIDS is rough as is PSHAW, YESES, DADAS, STILE and others.

Nice to see Loretta Lynn’s sister in the puzzle and thought EROGENOUS over REMBRANDT was a nice touch. I’m with Rex on Life of Brian - DARK HUMOR was not part of my thought process. Satire yes - DARK HUMOR no.

Not an overly enjoyable Saturday. The Stumper is not so great either so along with the rain - this has been a gloomy start to the weekend.

snabby 7:21 AM  

Clue for ROM is dead wrong, "Data storage acronym." ROM is read-only memory, so what can you store there? Nothing.

Did not enjoy this one. Glad it's over.

ultramet 7:27 AM  

I am having a root canal this AM. This puzzle made me look forward to this dental procedure. I didn’t care for this at all.

rjkennedy98 7:37 AM  

I have no idea how Rex hasn't heard FLAME WAR in decades. I'm pretty sure its very modern term used to describe internet arguments with trolls or other highly inflammatory exchanges. I hear it all the time on forums I go on.

Completely agree with Rex about DARK HUMOR and Monty Python. Dark Humor to me is more Hamlet interchanging with Claudius after he's killed Polonius:

KING CLAUDIUS: Where is Polonius?

HAMLET: In heaven; send hither to see: if your messenger
find him not there, seek him i' the other place
yourself. But indeed, if you find him not within
this month, you shall nose him as you go up the
stairs into the lobby.

KING CLAUDIUS: Go seek him there. (To some Attendants)

HAMLET: He will stay till ye come.

Also, was hoping if someone could explain the "Stage set?" clue for LINES.

Conrad 7:38 AM  

THE SHARD and SI FOR KIDS were WOEs. I knew the latter, as @Rex noted, "SI Kids". Had vEnice for the Santa Monica neighbor. Guessed SOLO[something] for the round trip at 42A, but then wanted SoLOS for Isolates at 35D. That was good for a few head scratches as well. Those miscues brought it from medium to medium-challenging, but I liked it a lot more than OFL did.

da kine 7:45 AM  

I usually do the Saturday in 8-10 minutes. 19+ today. That felt like a Saturday Stumper or Club 72 today.

puzzlehoarder 7:51 AM  

Nice Saturday level resistance throughout most of this puzzle. I SILOed myself with this for the better part of an hour last night. That whole northern tier and the SW corner took the lions share of that time. Once I confirmed WADER that SE corner went in quickly. This gave me the unknown THRASHER and the mid section went down all at once also. Prior to that I kept wondering why MISNOMER wouldn't fit at 42A. I've never thought about the potential similarity of OUTERSPACE and AFTERPARTY but it's not likely to come up again.

This puzzle was everything yesterdays softball wasn't. I did that one on my phone like I would any other early week puzzle so as not to waste paper. If anyone would like to set up a go fund me site to pay that constructor not to make any more puzzles I'd be happy to donate, #pleasemakerobynstop.

Joe 8:00 AM  

I felt like the cluing was oblique, as best. Trey? BS.

Ann Howell 8:07 AM  

I live in London, so THE SHARD was a gimme, but fell down on SI FOR KIDS and the Bridge of Spies stuff. However, I did enjoy the Gandhi quote, which is nice little nugget to start the day with!

Telvo 8:12 AM  

rjkennedy 98, the only thing I could come up with was 'set' as in 'group' of lines delivered on stage. Tortured, I know, but so were a lot of the clues -- and me too until it was over and even then I was more relieved than satisfied.

Anonymous 8:22 AM  

Absolutely agree...obscure clues...thoroughly unpleasant.

RJ 8:28 AM  

I (mostly) agree with Rex on this one. I love a tricky clue that makes me smile and think "so clever" but many these were just rough. Monty Python dark humor? No way. Wanted a generic animal for 26D. I also had "lets do that thing" instead of "this", so silos (never heard of that term) and soup (stock holder?) were late in coming.

AdamW 8:46 AM  

You may not store anything there, but someone did. Thus, not wrong.

amyyanni 8:49 AM  

Glad to see many of you found it a challenge, as did I. Had to Google "2021 Pixar Movies" for LUCA, otherwise the SW was going to stand unsolved. Fine Saturday offering. Happy last Saturday in August; hope you are relishing your summers (as much as possible in an ongoing pandemic).

Zwhatever 8:53 AM  

Huh? Seems pretty DARK to me. And if you don’t see the DARK HUMOR in this scene you’re missing the point. Sure, they dress it up in zaniness, but DARK HUMOR is apt.

Four times longer than yesterday’s solve, so I’m glad to see I’m not alone. I vaguely recall SI FOR KIDS being around at the barbershop and the descriptor gave it away. And if you never heard of it I get it being hard, but “SI FOR KIDS” was common. Indeed, the cover mentioned in the clue has “for” in smaller letters, and S.I. has been a common shortening as long as I’ve been alive.
My slowest and last area to solve was the PPPFest in the NE. FAD DIETS/SOLTI/WEST LA/TIN (seriously? we need a Spam clue for TIN?), combined with thinking that SIGMA seems an odd choice for volatility (according to Wikipedia, In finance, σ is the symbol used to represent volatility of stocks, usually measured by the standard deviation of logarithmic returns.) meant I spent many precious nanoseconds piecing that corner together letter by letter. The key was getting out of Florida (that initial F didn’t help) and seeing FAD DIETS. Atkins -> South Beach -> Paleo. What are we fadding on now? Or has the Age of Zoom resulted in nobody caring about their weight anymore?

@A last night - To be clear, that particular person didn’t bring the puzzle down, it was their role as part of symmetrical lines of crosswordese that did. Like SOLTI today, in and of themselves they are fine even though a little esey, but in combination they become suboptimal.

kitshef 8:54 AM  

INUIT is already plural; the singular is Inuk. What’s worse than an Anoa Bob plural of convenience™? A plural of nonsense.

It’s always a little boost when you fly through a Saturday puzzle and see Rex call it “challenging”.

vtspeedy 8:54 AM  

I gave it a sec as well and then another thirty minutes and finally ground my way through the rest.

Zwhatever 8:58 AM  

BTW - ”long shot” as in basketball, not gambling. That was a D’Oh moment here.

kitshef 9:02 AM  

@z 8:53 - I viewed Spam as a Monty Python echo.

Nancy 9:31 AM  

Important solving tip. That 4-letter fairy tale figure is always an OGRE. Always. And thank heavens he or she was up there in the NW helping me out. Because, boy, did I need her or him.

I thought it would be TREY and YESES, but delayed in writing them in. I liked the T for "divine instrument", thinking of course of a trumpet, but trumpet didn't fit.

When TAROT CARD (finally, finally) came in for "divine instrument", I thought: this may be the worst clue/answer I've ever seen.

The hardest answer for me in the entire puzzle was SIFORKIDS. I wanted "Sports Illustrated" of course*, but it didn't fit. I never heard of this magazine, which was a real DOOK for me -- even when I had 7 out of 9 letters written in. It didn't help that I wanted ELmO before ELKO -- but I didn't write that in either.

ALAN ALDA was the helpful OGRE of the SIFORKIDS section. Hint to solvers: when you have an 8-letter actor beginning with A, it's always ALAN ALDA. If it's a 4-letter answer, it's always either ALAN or ALDA. Don't question it: doesn't matter what the movie is, just write it in. There, I've said it.

I sort of enjoyed the struggle in a masochistic kind of way. And I'm proud of myself for not having to cheat, which I was sure I would have to do. I'm feeling really smart for having finished this bear of a puzzle.

*Real life Sports Illustrated story to follow.

Blue Stater 9:41 AM  

Yes, "grueling" is exactly the word to describe my experience with this hot mess. Brutal. Difficult for difficulty's sake. No fun. Etc. The New Yorker's puzzle section (which is where Liz Gorski appears to have gone) is far, far better.

bocamp 9:42 AM  

Got TREY (bball 3-pointer) at the get-go.

LUCA on Disney+ = fun Disney movie; excellent plot and moral! 🧜🏽‍♂️

With 'Apple One' subscription, the grandkids get SI KIDS via the News app.

Tough acrostic in progress. 🤞

pg -10 (now in 'slog mode')

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Nancy 9:43 AM  

Back when I was working in my first publishing job, I had a friend who worked for Time Inc. Her office was only a few blocks from mine and she said to come up and meet her there before we had lunch. I forget what floor she was on -- let's say the 6th. I'm in the elevator and it stops on a different floor -- let's say the 4th. The door opens briefly and I see two exceedingly well-dressed executive-looking type men throwing a basketball back and forth in front of the elevator. Someone gets out and the door closes again. "Sports Illustrated", one of the remaining passengers observes drily -- with no further explanation offered or needed.

jberg 9:45 AM  

DNF. Even when I ran the alphabet, AONE sounded like a river in France, so I didn't manage to parse it correctly, and went with hONE. I should have thought of TAROT CARD, but somehow I didn't. And TREY was a mystery (thanks for explaining, @Z). As for RUTS, I have been in one, but never a pattern of them, so I considered but rejected that answer.

@Rex, you should see "Bridge of Spies," it is excellent. As I've said before, I only rarely know who the actors in a movie are, nor do I know what he looks like, but I saw we wanted an 8-letter actor and told myself it was probably ALAN ALDA. Only partial credit for that, though, as I lacked the nerve to write it in without crosses.

I have heard of THE SHARD, I think I've probably seen it, but I couldn't get The Erotic Gherkin out of my mind until I had most of the crosses.

No idea SOLTI was Hungarian, either, but six-letter conductor...

But to get to the heart of the matter: am I the only one who had soDAS for pops?

Anonymous 9:45 AM  

Agree with Rex. Clueing too obscure and oblique - overly clever- for me. I still don’t get TREY.

TTrimble 9:53 AM  

Largely in agreement with Rex this morning. Certainly with regard to having the top and bottom but not the middle for quite a while. Also regarding not knowing THE SHARD and ELKO (sheesh). ALAN ALDA seems to be making a crossword comeback recently, but hell if I could get that without some crosses.

In disagreement, DARK HUMOR is fine. Bring out your dead! [clank] -- what do you call that? Also, flawed medieval logic used to condemn a witch. You just have to think back a minute, past the flesh wound scene. In general, the SW was one of the better regions of the puzzle.

Some nits: ACT IV (it looks like a misspelling of ACTIVe). The cluing isn't wrong, but it's just so random. It might be better and Saturday appropriate to name a specific event in a famous play which occurs in an ACT IV. WEST LA -- it's a little ugly to my eyes. And there are too many POC, like INUITS [I'm inlclined to say "the INUIT"] and (ugh) NOS. I can't imagine ever writing "the natural NOS" -- it's repellent.

I was pretty nervous about THRASHER. At first I had THRuSHER which could also fit (I think?), and never heard of a bird called a THRASHER, but there's no such thing as a day SPu, so I (virtually) closed my eyes and bit my lip, entered that A, and got the happy music. Whew!

I see that even @Lewis was struggling to be upbeat about the puzzle. I didn't hate it, but it has an unpleasant smell in places, IMHO.

yd pg -1 (still, but haven't given in). Congrats, @bocamp!
td pg -7. Big list today. Sam doesn't accept "figgy", as in the pudding.

Joel Palmer 9:55 AM  

Painful. with awful clues

Joel Palmer 9:56 AM  

A three point shot in basketball from outside the three point line is a trey. or "trip"

Suzy 9:57 AM  

What Rex really meant in today’s ‘flog’ was that it was too tough for him. Guess what— me, too! Just because
it’s difficult doesn’t mean that it was poorly structured or unfairly clued. (Although I do object to the “for” in SI Kids.)

Birchbark 10:02 AM  

@rjkennedy98 (7:37) -- Nice lofty DARK HUMOR banter.

To your 32D question, a play is a "set" of LINES for the stage. Your passage from Hamlet is a stage subset.

My question is what is an EROGENOUS zone? I know this as the title of a ubiquitous self-help paperback from the '70s, when I was too young to care. It seemed like everyone owned a copy. The answer came easily but no knowledge to back it up.

Visho 10:06 AM  

Agree 100%. Long struggle, but so worth the satisfaction on completion. And to have Rex rate it "challenging" is just the icing on the cake!

Keith D 10:10 AM  

Classic example of Rex whining, calling things “stupid”, etc, simply because the puzzle was not on his wavelength.

Excellent, challenging puzzle.

Can’t believe I’m in agreement with Z, but he’s right about DARK HUMOR. Rex is also wrong about that.


mathgent 10:21 AM  

There are 70 entries here and 40% of them were mysteries to me, that's 28, way over my usual limit of 20. Feel good to have solved with just a little bit of Googling.

We saw LUCA but I couldn't remember the kid's name, looked it up. I think that the great Pixar movies are all in the past. They lost their genius, John Lasseter. LUCA was a bore.

ALANALDA wasn't a costar of "Bridge of Spies." Tom Hanks and Mark Ryland were.

I learned some things. SIFORKIDS (even though that's not the title), FLAMEWAR, FRAG (as gamer jargon), what Google Docs does, THESHARD. So worthwhile, but not enjoyable.

Mr. Cheese 10:24 AM  

I rarely complete a Sat Puz without help. When I see the answers I often say, “Aha,”, “Very clever”, etc. Not this time! What a slog!

Tad 10:24 AM  

Too many clues that are not just winky/oblique/aslant but misleading without payoff or simply wrong. Sorry, but when numerous answers are incorrect it really harshes the proverbial mellow. Even Lewis’ unending (some might say tortured) optimism is clearly strained (its ok bud, just say you don’t like the puzzle).

Carola 10:33 AM  

Pleasingly difficult, with some "thank goodness!"-eliciting easy entries and a few good guesses that allowed me to keep making progress. I got into the grid from the NE and right side, meaning I had to back into the rest. That was okay through the middle...but man, the NW! I thought that might finish me off. I really enjoyed the cluing on this one. First in: REEF x FAD DIETS; last in: TREY x YESES.

Help from having friends who live in London: THE SHARD. Help from a letter or two leading to good guesses: COURTESY, LET'S DO THIS THING, SI FOR KIDS. Help from "Who else could it be?": ALAN ALDA, REMBRANDT. Do-overs: DARK arMOR; beseEchED before ENTREATED. No idea: THRASHER, TREY.

SouthsideJohnny 10:34 AM  

Some of it is so bad that it gets humorous - Jesus personified as an “ASLAN” (I missed that part in the Good Book), and my favorite of course - PSHAW ! That is so awesome. I have no clue what it means, didn’t even bother to check with Uncle Google, but boy o boy if that doesn’t sure sound like a made-up-word, nothing does. Hat’s off to Mr. Shortz on that one - way to keep them coming. LUCA crossing an artist named Millet - don’t know if Jean is (was) a guy or a gal, and s/he may be a household name to some of y’all - but nothing going on there for me. Ditto for SOLTI - which sounds more like one of those musical terms we get quizzed on from time to time (let’s see does this one mean speed up, slow down, take a bathroom break . . .).

Hopefully they got a lot of the nonsense out of their system today (DADAS, ERST, ELKO) - maybe we can go back to a preponderance of words that people actually use and say from time to time going forward into next week.

Mohair Sam 10:40 AM  

Oh PSHAW. Totally disagree with @Rex and most of you. Thought this challenging Saturday was one of the best ever. How can you not love the clues for SOLOHOMER and SOUP and TAROTCARD? I mean we were in "Aha Moment" heaven here. And the long entries all held up well, and no forced words in the stacks. Good stuff.

Only complaint - I'm with @Rex on the DARKHUMOR thing (sorry @Z), and I've only watched the movie a few dozen times. That flick defines zany. Spent some time there looking at DARK and trying to get "knight" down to five letters until I was rescued by ERST - and shook my head while entering HUMOR.

@jberg (9:45) - yup, with you on the pseudo gimme soDAS at 9d - cost us a ton of time.

Great Saturday puzz Julian Lim. Thanks.

daveyhead 10:45 AM  

I finished in under 53 minutes, which most of the folks here can do PLUS make dinner. And eat it.

Teedmn 10:46 AM  

I cheated today, several times. I never cheat (can’t say that anymore), but I was completely stymied and for some reason was unwilling to GIVE IT TIME. Two missteps I made might have kept me from solving altogether if I hadn’t looked up Crystal GAYLE, THE SHARD and checked to see if ALAN ALDA was indeed in “Bridge Of Spies”. I ascribe to @Nancy's Alan Alda rule, but in this case, imagining him in the grid wasn’t leading to any new crosses so I did a cast check on the movie and there was Alan's smiling face. I was able to guess Alan was there because ASLAN was one of the few things I was completely certain about.

My main misstep was looking at 37A’s clue and thinking “lights, camera, action.” The L of ASLAN didn’t dissuade me from this and putting in cooP as a stock holder meant camera was a go and worked if 33D was “irate”. Sheesh. What the 37A phrase would end up to be, since “action” was in the clue, I didn’t know but figured it would make sense once it filled in. HEE HAW.

Crystal GAYLE, the way I looked her up was by typing in “Don't it make my brown eyes blue”. How I could remember the song she sang but not her last name, I have no idea. Gah.

I was sure that the clue for 1A was referring to Divine, the drag queen, and as I knew nothing about her, her “instrument” wasn’t going to arrive in my back brain, and having “othEr” at 19A didn’t help. (Yes, I had OGRE in place).

Maybe Rex is right and the clueing was off today, but I think, given time, I could have conquered this without Google but, I didn’t.

Thanks, Julian Lim, but ouch!

Joe Dipinto 10:47 AM  

"Be patient" = "Give it a sec?"
Lol. For those with zero attention span.

Alternate clue for 39d:
"Word that's an anagram of 5d if you replace 5d's last letter with the letter that comes fourteen places later in the alphabet"

I couldn't find any Staten Island Fork I.D.s, but here's one in Dutchess county.

Nancy 10:52 AM  

My favorite wrong answer today is @Carola's DARK arMOR. I'm trying to picture what that would look like?

I didn't know/never heard of THE SHARD. Thought for the day, though: If it's the tallest building in the U.K. and it's in the "shape" of a SHARD, don't walk under it!!!

@amyyanni (8:49) -- "Hope you are relishing your summer..." Well, no, not exactly. This has been the hottest summer of my lifetime and rather than relishing it, I've been hiding from it. Hibernating, in fact -- or as a biology teacher friend of mine keeps correcting me, estivating. That's why I've been around so much on the blog of late.

Birchbark 10:56 AM  

Turns out my EROGENOUS zone question was ERRONEOUS. The self-help book was "Your Erroneous Zones." EROGENOUS is what you'd figure.

I needed a good laugh this morning, even at my own expense --

Anonymous 10:56 AM  

Can someone explain ASLAN to me? My addled brain just doesn’t get it…

Whatsername 11:01 AM  

Some really great answers here but getting to them was as ROUGH as I’ve ever experienced. I have great respect for this level of construction but can’t say it was very enjoyable to solve. The only bright spots were the references to Bridge of Spies, an outstanding film which also starred Tom Hanks. I bet it was a good AFTER PARTY at the TIME.

ClaremontBob 11:01 AM  

Agree that this was a painful slog, except for the evocation of Bridge of Spies—seriously, Rex, you should see this film. Desperately wanted to put Mark Rylance in 26 across. He’s the real co-star, not Alda.

Anonymous 11:03 AM  

got the far SE, then tossed it on the trash heap. the only way a paper&pen solver could get through this is with at least a dozen copies, tediously copied as boxes go dark. but wouldn't be worth the effort.

albatross shell 11:05 AM  

Broke in with AFTERPARTY confirmed by GAYLE which gave me postaL temporarily shutting down progress.

Then WADER and RARE suggested REMBRANDT confirmed by LOUD and KGB (with a bonus CIA) and led to EROGENOUS. So DARK. Ages too short, knight too long. HUMOR too out of whack for wackiness of Grail but maybe sneaks under the wire.

STILE was a long time coming because I was thinking of the old style stile that I view as a way to allow humans in and out but prevent livestock from exiting. Outsmarted myself there.

THRASHER HOT ANGRY gave me LETS DO THIS THING and looking up COURTESY let me fill in the rest of the area.

I knew ANTS and MOET which let me see DUVET, replace danish with INTUITS, complete GIVE IT TIME and get SOLTI ANION SIGMA FADDIETS. That led to REEF DADAS TREY (a b-ball fan gimmie although the dumb me put in Trip first) which gave me ROUGHIDEA and ENTREATED.

The dumb me also replaced postaL with myMAIL but gave me ACTIV and then SHELVE.

I had to look up SHARD, SI FOR KIDS, ALAN ALDA. Which gave me HEE HAW and let me replace renO with ELKO where ever the hell that is.

If alternate spellings and abbreviations w/o indications, not to mention the most obscure words and archaic definitions, why not alternative magazine titles with abbreviations? Saturday rules, right?

Clues for SOUP DUVET and more were fun.

BRIDGE TOO FAR shittiest theme this week.
Puzzle pretty good though.

jae 11:06 AM  

Medium-tough. Crunchy with a bit of sparkle, a fine Saturday challenge. Liked it a bunch!

THE SHARD crossing SI FOR KIDS took a while.

sodas > papas> DADAS

“Bridge of Spies” is very good movie and having seen it really helped except for initially putting CIA and KGB in the wrong si quares.

...and speaking of WEST LA, my grandson starts college at UCLA in Computer Engineering in a couple of weeks.

Joe Welling 11:09 AM  

rjkennedy98 said . . . .

"Also, was hoping if someone could explain the 'Stage set?' clue for LINES."

I'm guessing the idea is an actor uses a set of lines on stage.

Unknown 11:11 AM  

ROM is weird cluing. It's "storage" only in the sense that your car's engine compartment is storage--the designer of the system stored things in it, but it's not storage to the user.

Agree 100% about holy grail. That's not dark humor. Even when it's gruesome, it's zany and light. Doctor Strangelove is dark humor.

Newboy 11:17 AM  


Trampoline solve here. Loved the longs; hated many shorts. Amazing range of cluing from obscure publications to weird architectural options overlaid by stunning misdirected verb/adjective confusion (starting with 1A where hARpsiCoRD played with my head for far too long) … close like GRENADEs, but not close enough. Julian certainly gave all the Saturday we needed.

Masked and Anonymous 11:21 AM  

Well, I kinda knew about almost every entry in the puz, but yikes … many many precious nanoseconds elapsed. Give it time, indeed. M&A blames it mostly on THESHARD and THECLUES.

first M&A inroad entry: ANION.
fave fake-U-out entry: SODAS before DADAS.

staff weeject pick: HAW crossed by P.S. HAW. Woulda hadta have clued PSHAW accordinly, somehow [sorry, HEE].

fave clue: {Stage set?} = LINES.
fave Ow de Speration: SIFORKIDS.
Didn't know: LUCA. Only vaguely knew SOLTI [was sorry to hear he was born so hungry].

Thanx for the workout, Mr. Lim.

Masked & Anonym007Us


oisk17 11:26 AM  

Did not try the puzzle yet...just finished Friday's (very nice!), but annoyed that I missed Nancy's quiz yesterday! I knew all of them - could even sing them, so I wanted to throw a few "toughies" back at her (and others)

1. Summer journeys to Niagara, And to other places aggra- vate all our cares,
We'll save our fares...

2. Nothing seemed to matter any more, Didn't care what I was headed for

3. Dozens of girls would storm up, I had to lock my door...

4. When the mellow moon begins to beam, every night I dream a little dream...

5. Old man sunshine listen you, never tell me dreams come true....

6. I've wined and dined on Mulligan stew and never wished for turkey...

Also, @Nancy, it is NOT true that Frank always sang the verses!! In fact, he recorded "night and day" several times without the verse - and one GREAT time with it.

TJS 11:51 AM  

@jberg, no, you are not alone.

Wow, a real Saturday. Sorry, all you folks that never heard of Solti, trey or erogenous zone. (Really ? or joking ?)

Definitely not a puzzle for Rex, who likes to brag about the fact that he didn't even read a clue, or finished in 3 and a half minutes. Took me over an hour. First pass I had two fills, and a few maybes. Oddly enough, the maybes turned out to be right, but I needed a lot more work before putting them in. This was one of the (recently) rare occasions where I felt like I had actually accomplished something when I finished.

@Nancy, great SI story.

Joe Dipinto 11:51 AM  

@oisk – #6 is "The Lady Is A Tramp" (Ella Fitzgerald sings the verse). I'll guess #1 is "Manhattan".

egsforbreakfast 11:53 AM  

We’ll, this was a real SADDLE THRASHER. My can’t miss approach to a puzzle like this is a three step thought process:
1. NORUSH………….

Then you start looking for where ALAN ALDA might fit in.

It did get me to wondering which were the FADDIEst FADDIETS? Atkins, Paleo and South Beach immediately come to mind. I’m not including Tide Pods, nor the Veterinary meds currently popular among the anti-vaxxers, as my question is really meant to apply to survivable diets.

I liked this puzzle because it was a struggle. I feel good about myself when I achieve something difficult. Virtually none of the nits raised here seem valid. Some clues did have a seemingly forced obliquity, but I would still call this a very good puzzle. Thank you, Julian Lim.

ss 12:00 PM  

For 36A: "Spam might be kept in it" -- isn't spam always packaged in a TIN, in which case the 'might be' doesn't make sense? And wouldn't it be better to say that it comes in a tin rather than it's kept in a tin? It's not like people are making homemade spam and then packaging it in a tin container. I get that this was a spam email misdirection, but I resisted tin for awhile since it just didn't seem like it works as an answer to this clue.

albatross shell 12:03 PM  

At I thought you could burn your own CD-ROMs but I'm not a computer guy so aye I'm using erroneous erogenous terminology here plus just wanted to put those 2 e-words together for no sensible reason. Memory even permanent is storage?

I checked to see if Frank ever sang The National Anthem. The fact that there was a Pesci satire and his son, Frank jr. did at yankee stadium made it hard to tell from google. One time maybe unrecorded. He did America the Beautiful with only one verse. I did not report back to @Nancy because never should always be allowed some technical exceptions.

Frantic Sloth 12:05 PM  

I can't even be bothered. Except I was.
What Rex said.

🧠🧠🧠🧠 (and not in a good way)

GILL I. 12:14 PM  

Holy Cannoli...Talk about leaving out the chocolate chips and creme..... Where did you go wrong? you ask. Let's start with me wanting a water witch a 1A. I wanted to divine finding some water. I tried Dowsing Ax and even forked axe. Oh for criminal's a TAROT CARD.
So where did you go next? you ask....NOWHERE. I had so many wrong answers. Did you know that I actually wanted Christ to be personified as a SWAN? No? My eye was NO WAY (as in Jose)...turns out to be NO RUSH. Doesn't SIGMA need a little CHI? Good gravy....this was a SOUP that sat on the kitchen counter for hours in the AFTER PARTY of my mind. The TUNA came in its TIN and damn if I didn't need a MOET or two after the aftermath of chaos.
My one mind wander was wondering why in the world you'd have Myrmecophobes fear. What's wrong with ants? they are cute and industrious little critters. Just watch them pick up a bolder the size of your EROGNEOUS zone.
Now I shall read all of you Mensa people who thought this was a piece of cake. No candles for you!

oisk17 12:14 PM  

finished the puzzle. About a half hour, which is a normal Saturday for me. Happy that it was called challenging; more often what is called "easy" is brutal for me. This one was pleasant, although not as pleasant as yesterday's. No problem except in SW, where "shelve," just didn't cross my mind, didn't know Luca or Frag....but once I filled in "After Party" (I LIKE that one!) it all came together. Nice Saturday puzzle. Going to Mets game tonight, joining what I suspect will be a very sad, hostile crowd...

Joe as correct about Manhattan and Lady is a Tramp. Those were the two Rogers and Hart tunes...

Mr. Benson 12:15 PM  

I have heard of Bridge of Spies (though I haven’t seen it), and that probably made it even harder for me because I confidently entered Tom Hanks and wouldn’t give that up for a long time.

Jennielsp 12:20 PM  

Boy do I feel like a maroon. Limped through this one, getting solitary answers here and there. Nothing broke it open for me. SI for Kids? Aslan? Silos? It finally ended with DH yelling at me. “He’s a beloved actor! TV and Movies! We recently saw him on a talk show!” Sigh. Ok time to do the Spelling Bee. I need a win.

jb129 12:24 PM  

I'm with Rex today.

pmdm 12:35 PM  

I suppose it can seem that the harder Sharp finds the puzzle, the angrier he becomes. I think you can probably locate counterexamples, but I don't begrudge those who hold that opinion. For me, themeless puzzle are always extremely difficult, but its the PPP that tends to get me upset when I dislike a puzzle.

jberg: Although he was the music director in Chicago for a long time, Solti never lost his Hungarian accent. Or so I read. Just as I read he holds the record for winning the most Grammy awards. I guess he was lucky enough to live after most great conductors (exciting?) of the standard 19th century masterpieces died. I own a 10" LP of him conducting Suppe's Poet and Peasant and Pique Dame Overtures and recently compared them to later stereo recordings. He certainly did not slow down with age.

snabby: You are dead wrong. The clue refers to something that can store data and does not refer to who can store the data there. A ROM chip stores data that the user cannot modify, but whoever manufactures the chip is storing data in the ROM chip. Typical example of a themeless clue that may be correct only if you interpret the clue in a certain manner. Clues do not have to be accurate 100% of the time. Sadly.

Zwhatever 12:36 PM  

The gist of the anti-DARK HUMOR answer seems to be that “zany” cannot be “DARK.” Let’s just ponder that zany DARK knight scene. Do we all agree that it is zany to the point of being absurd? And yet here is a single person convinced that their mission, however pointless, must be carried out and violence is the best way to carry it out. This person continues to battle despite being harmed, only to endure increasing harm and being less and less able to carry out the mission. Surely no DARK musings here about “super powers’” tendency to take on missions, allocate insufficient resources to carry out the mission, but after failing at a mission that really isn’t theirs to carry out still at the very end declaring that they can still accomplish the mission. No, nothing “DARK” in that scene at all. In short, HUMOR can be both “zany” and DARK, and Monty Python are frequent purveyors of this sort of comedy. “Just one more mint” certainly evokes a cocktail of “gross,” “absurd,” “zany,” and “DARK” reactions.

ASLAN is the lion in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, a thinly disguised retelling of the gospels with ASLAN serving as Jesus.

@kitshef 9:02 - I can almost forgive the PPPification of TIN for a Monty Python call back.

ROM is short for Read Only Memory, which differs from Read/Write Memory only in that the end user is denied the ability to alter it. Whoever compared it to an car’s engine compartment makes an apt analogy. Especially nowadays, car makers don’t want the users messing around much in the engine but couldn’t care less what kind of mess you make in the trunk. But, yes, an engine still needs to be “stored” somewhere.

CT2Napa 12:40 PM  

@anon 10:56 ASLAN is in C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia

Michael 12:42 PM  

I confidently wrote in "sodas" for "pops" and "other" for the survey columns. That messed up the nw for a long time until I gave up and googled the tallest building in the U.K. After that I was able to finish, though even then I had to discard "hone" for "a one."

Hartley70 12:52 PM  

Anonymous 10:56, ASLAN the lion is a character in “The Chronicles of Narnia” by Lewis

Cheater cheater 1:00 PM  

@Birchbark…lol…so glad you self-corrected cuz I stared at what you first said and thought “hoo boy, is he gonna get some interesting responses”! I am in the @Z camp with DARK HUMOR. I forget who mentioned Dr. Strangelove as apter for dark humor. I kind of thought Slim Pickens riding the bomb like a rodeo bronco was pretty zany and light. Dismemberment kind of automatically throws it into the category of DARK HUMOR if it’s not a horror film or Saving Private Ryan.

That being said, this constructor is just not on my wavelength for many clues. First and foremost to me was DADAS. This a word that infants say…has anyone said “Look at all the DADAS in the room”? Papas would be slightly better but not much. @jberg, I’d like to think I was clever enough to have thought SODAS but no, and it’s a much better answer.

Yeah. I had to cheat on this three times just to move on with my day.

Anonymous 1:09 PM  

@Unknown. The definition of CD-ROM says it is used to store programs and data. I agree that I’ve never heard ROM as a separate term, though.

Hartley70 1:10 PM  

I refused to consider ALANALDA until I was forced into it at the end. ASLAN was my first gimme so my choices were limited. Weren’t monks hitting their heads with books as they marched in single file in “The Holy Grail”. I wanted to make that image fit. It’s all I remember of the film but I laughed so much it couldn’t have been DARK.
The SE was a terrific slog for me, not to mention the SW and NE., oh and the middle, except for Crystal GAYLE. All but the NW, I started there and nailed it! I suppose this is exactly what a Saturday should be, a smidgen of congratulations and a lot of torture!

Arden 1:14 PM  

What a grouch! Challenging and I liked it!

old timer 1:15 PM  

Felt a bit tougher than yesterday but not a lot. Solved from the SW as I knew GAYLE and ACTIV was a gimme. Of course I knew two answers would be KGB and CIA, but which went where?

Grew up in Westwood and Brentwood, so WEST LA was easy. That was where our library was. The far superior Santa Monica Library would not let us check out books, since we lived outside their city limits. I immediately thought of another country song, "You're the Reason God Made Oklahoma", a duet where the female character has "A calico cat and a two room flat on a street in West L.A." It really is a dreary neighborhood.

I've heard of The Shard but never seen it I don't think. Probably less impressive than the London Eye, which I have seen. I wanted TAROT CARD to be the rod you use for water witching, but no such luck. Certainly heard of EROGENOUS zones, as has every teenager in the last century who ever went to a drive-in movie.

ASLAN was pretty easy for me. When I was in college, the Narnia books were passed around like a holy grail of literature. This was a long time before Monty Python. Whom I expect to feature in a future "before and after" segment of Jeopardy, combining two favorite Brit films, including "The Full Monty" and the Python flick.

Nancy 1:18 PM  

Hi, @Oisk --

Just like Joe, I knew "Manhattan". Yesterday on the Wordplay blog someone stumped me with "The Lady Is a Tramp" -- so it doesn't count that I knew it today:) I know that I know the "Old man sunshine" song because I can sing the first line -- but then I can't continue. Just can't place it; I'll probably kick myself when you tell me.

The others are a great big "Huh", and I think I may know why. I'm a lot stronger on songs from Broadway musicals (at least the ones prior to 1975 or so) than I am on The American Songbook. I owned all the cast albums from back in the day, but as far as the non-theater Songbook goes, if Sinatra didn't sing it on one of the albums of his I owned, ditto Ella, I probably won't be that familiar with all the lyrics. Ditto Barbara Cook -- though I don't own and never did own any of her albums.

Re: "Night and Day". How else would I know "Like the beat, beat, beat of a tom tom" if not for Frank? I must have the one album where he sing the verse!

This is tough, Oisk -- I think a lot tougher than my quiz yesterday. But I suppose it's a wheelhouse thing. Please let us know the answers...eventually.

Gio 1:31 PM  

That took me 2 hours 50 minutes which is good because my rule is no googling until 3 hours. PSHAW close one! After an hour, I only had 4 answers I felt certain of: HEE HAW REEF USMAIL. Had QUILT for the down nap clue.
I thought the Monty Python was something CHURCH. Im glad Rex and most thought it was hard as this was my slowest in a few months.

baja 1:31 PM  

True Inuk is the plural. A Canuck here

ADHD 1:34 PM  

Clue on DARKHUMOR was absolutely atrocious and left me wondering if the constructor has ever seen Monty Python, but otherwise I found this puzzle pretty breezy, if a bit boring.

baja 1:39 PM  
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TJS 1:40 PM  

BTW, traded stock options for 20 plus years on the floor of the CBOE and never heard of sigma. Delta, gamma, theta, yes. No sigma, but maybe they came up with it to differentiate options from other products.

baja 1:45 PM  

Sorry wrote that backwards. Inuk means the person and Inuit means the people so Inuit is already plural

baja 1:46 PM  
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baja 1:46 PM  
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Anonymous 1:48 PM  

"Didn't know S.I.ForKids". . . "Had no idea what Bridge of Spies was" (A great Tom Hanks Cold War drama, btw). . . "Never heard of The Shard". . . Only logical explanation - BAD CLUEING!!!!! . . . Note to constructors - Check with Rex before submitting, to make sure he's familiar with all your clues.

baja 1:51 PM  
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Joe Dipinto 1:52 PM  

Suggestion for the Verse Quizzes: Since the verse is rarely sung, why not include the whole thing? It can be hard to get anything off just the first line if you don't automatically know it. E.g. oisk's #2:

Nothing seemed to matter any more / Didn't care what I was headed for

That could belong to practically anything. But with more of it, especially the last part transitioning into the main song, it might be more conducive to formulating a guess.

baja 1:57 PM  

Inuk is the person and Inuit is the people so it is already plural. Sorry I wrote that backwards

Anonymous 1:59 PM  

"Get Carter", the Michael Caine original, is DARK HUMOR.

Diane Joan 2:00 PM  

I also had Tom Hanks in place of Alan Alda for the longest time because I saw the movie and enjoyed the Mr Hanks performance. Unfortunately that error held me up for quite a while!

Fellow Bloggers and Crossword Constructor: You have officially blown my mind! I knew ASLAN from the books by CS Lewis but I never made the connection with Jesus. It's not that unusual to have talking animal philosophers in novels so I took that at face value. I guess if you knew Lewis's background that connection would be obvious but it wasn't or me. Always learning something from these posts!

Have a restful weekend all!

bocamp 2:03 PM  

@Gio (1:31 PM)

Well done! Way to persevere! 👍
pg -2

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Anonymous 2:03 PM  

At the risk of sounding too nerdy, chloride is not an anion when it is part of the NaCl molecule. It was an anion when it was in solution and before it decided to combine with the Na+ cation.

Anonymous 2:06 PM  

@1:09, et al

ROM is a chip that's been on the motherboard of every PC since the first IBM machine. It holds very low level firmware than makes DOS and Windows and linux etc. possible. There is also such as EEPROM and a few others. When you get an update to your firmware, it's re-writing your EEPROM. So, yes, ROM can be updated, i.e. 'stored' but not by normal civilians.

baja 2:07 PM  
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baja 2:08 PM  

Inuk is the person and Inuit is the people. Sorry I wrote that backwards above.

baja 2:08 PM  
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baja 2:12 PM  
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oisk17 2:24 PM  

@Nancy - the 4 remaining are all Gershwin. The "Old man sunshine" verse concludes with (classic!) "I never want to hear from any cheerful pollyannas,
Who tell you fate, supplies a mate, it's all bananas...

The second one is very tough, so I'll give it away, "Love walked in."

3. If it helps, the verse ends "Won't you listen to the rhythm of my heartbeat, and you'll get just what I mean...."

4. Verse ends " Although I realize as well as you, it is seldom that a dream comes true, to me it's clear, that he'll appear.."

And a new one I bet you DO know. "I was a stranger in the city. Out of town were the people I knew...."

mathgent 2:30 PM  

My favorite posts today.

Gio (1:31)
Gill I (12:14)
Nancy (9:43)
rjkennedy98 (7:37)

Anonymous 2:41 PM  

"LETS DO THIS THING" is one of the most trite cliches in use. Hate it. At least as bad are "You've got this" and "Let's roll".

cb 2:46 PM  

I really appreciated SI For Kids. I devoured that magazine in the 90s and 00s and definitely remember it being referred to as such.

Liz1508 2:47 PM  

Totally agree with @Tad 10:24 I don’t mind tough clues, but only if I end up with an “AHA!”, not a “WTF?”
Missed 2 letters: S for dadas and S for aslan/siforkids.
I got hung up at dadas because we always called my father “Pops” so I think of it as singular. I should have gotten both eventually, but was not enjoying the process enough to stick with it.

Joe Dipinto 3:00 PM  

@oisk - I was just thinking of your new one!
...But as I walked through the _____ streets alone
It turned out to be the luckiest day I've known

Now that you've told us that the rest are Gershwin, my guess for #4 is "Someone To Watch Over Me".

LenFuego 3:10 PM  

I found this one… easy. Fun and breezy. I mean, like, almost Wednesday easy. Finished in less than half my average Saturday time. Felt sure I would come here and Rex and everyone would be bitching about it not being a challenge, because I have *never* come here and found a challenging designation on a puzzle I found easy … the opposite, lots of times.

And that is even after putting in more than my ordinary share of initial wrong answers/rewrites … CAN for TIN, WAYNE for GAYLE, COOP for SOUP, MAD for HOT, PRONE for ADHOC, LULL for RUTS, SODAS for DADAS, both ALPHA and GAMMA for SIGMA. I just kept at it and it kept yielding.

I can relate to complaints of tortured clueing because I have felt that way plenty of times … but not on this one.

So, thanks Julian Lim. Not just for a nice and entertaining puzzle, but for kicking everyone else’s butts!

I am almost literally in shock.

Robert Grady 3:43 PM  

CD-ROMs stored lots of data.

pabloinnh 3:50 PM  

Printed this one off and took it to the flea market where we are still selling off our downsizing, hoping it would last a good long time. Well, it didn't, is the short of it. I skimmed clues looking for things I knew, found a few, ran into several things that required my fallback position of "I don't know that one. Yet.", and after some scrambling around and erasures I was done and felt like I had had a good tussle with a worthy foe.

No more AFTERPARTIES for our choral group at our place, as our new condo gets crowded after four or five folks.

In high school my brother and I were co-owners of a rather hideous '53 Chevy which was roughly the color of milk chocolate which we called, of course, The Brown Thrasher. Memory lane there.

So nice job JL. Just Lovely. Your obscure cluing is aces with me, and you can be on my Saturday team any time.

boomer54 3:54 PM  



Chip Hilton 4:03 PM  

Tough. Really tough. But, I enjoyed the battle, even though I got a DNF because of FLAMEWAR crossing FRAG and LUCA. SIFORKIDS was one of my first fill-ins, even though I thought it had to be wrong. SOLDI beat out Szell after some back and forth. Finally, I’m with @Z on the dark humor question. Thanks, Julian!

Joe Dipinto 4:32 PM  

Uh-oh. I was wrong about "Someone To Watch Over Me." And it can't be "Dancing on The Ceiling" because that's Rodgers & Hart. I feel like I should know this one...

Photomatte 4:36 PM  

Pretty hard today. Didn't get why TREY worked until I saw these comments. Also didn't know Inuk was singular (much the same way Panino is, even though we always use the plural version - Panini - as singular in context and incorrectly use Paninis as the plural. Same with Tatami; there is no plural of that word).

As for the clue on 26D (Animal personification of Christ, in fiction), does this presuppose the Bible isn't fiction, when it clearly is? I read all those Narnia books as a kid, and never read the Bible, so I never realized CS Lewis was writing an allegory.

Nancy 5:21 PM  

@Oisk, @Joe D -- I also tried "Someone to Watch Over Me" for #4 -- once Oisk provided the very revealing lead-in line, the optimistic "it's clear that he'll appear". When that song wasn't it, I tried the "someday he'll come along" song, "The Man I Love" -- and that IS it! (I don't remember hearing the verse at all, but I must have. I imagine Judy was scrupulous in including it.

Yes, the new one is easy, @Oisk. "A Foggy Day In London Town."

I'm pretty sure I've never heard the #2 and #3 verses. The added lines don't help. As for #5 -- all the lines are familiar: in fact I can hear the melody in my head. It's driving me crazy. "Bananas", in fact :)

JD 5:23 PM  

Beautiful grid with interesting answers dragged down by clues meant only to difficult. For instance, Google Hungarian conductor Duvet in any possible combination of queries and you get a site that sells duvet covers with conductors on them or crossword answer sites. Here's a little info from a crossword answer site: Hungarian-born conductor who led the Chicago Symphony Orchestra from 1969 to 1991.

So instead of something like It's got you covered, you get someone last known to conduct a symphony 30 years ago.

Anonymous 5:27 PM  

It doesn't look like anyone has explained TAROTCARD yet. Could someone maybe do so? I'm mystified.



Anonymous 5:34 PM  

As for the clue on 26D (Animal personification of Christ, in fiction), does this presuppose the Bible isn't fiction, when it clearly is?

On my. Are you gonna get email!!

A 6:18 PM  

I’ve been Saturdayed. Just glad I didn’t enter pipe organ for “divine instrument.” Like @Gill, I thought it might be to do with finding water but gave up and moved on before getting myself all wet. Eventually got everything except the Millet/troll battle/video-game cross. Finished with mURAL and bLAMEWAR crossing bmAG. What the b-mAG is FRAG? Ugh, fragmenter? Gof, people are cruel.

Along with a crash course on RURAL art, I guess I need a chemistry refresher - my XKR (Xword Knee-jerk Reaction) for the “chloride” clue was ANION, but it didn’t feel right, so I resisted until late in the game.

Like Rex, I had US post - wonder if his MAILbox has a posthorn on it? (I don’t, but I do have an actual miniature horn on mine.) Unlike Rex, I had a lot of chuckles today. Lots of mysterious clueing that obscured the starry night until the skies cleared. DUVET. SOLO HOMER. WADER. Never got steaming HOT and ANGRY.

@jberg, @Mohair Sam, right with you on soDAS before DADAS, even though my first instinct was the parents and not the drinks. Thank heavens for OGRE (Hi, @Nancy!). That G was my ticket to ROUGH IDEA so soDAS had to go.

@albatross, me too on STILE being a kind of ladder over a fence. (Not sure where I know that from but it was childhood reading - maybe “The Railway Children.”) I was puzzled as I wrote that in - only remembered the turnSTILE kind while reading your post.

DARK HUMOR objectors, I think the “feature” part of the holy grail clue was the trickster. Not sure I’d say DARK HUMOR is a feature of the entire film, but that plague death cart scene is certainly a memorable feature. At least, I have it memorized thanks to my zany high school pals!

@Z from yd, I understand your POV re AILEY and SOLTI. My take is that the inclusion of outstanding artists more than makes up for their contribution to the cumulative ESE effect.

I posted a very late response to @Nancy about the quiz, and offered a single addition:

“When you’re awake the things you things you think come from the dreams you dream….” …..

……@Joe D and anyone who wants it, the rest of the intro is “Thought has wings, and lots of things are seldom what they seem. Sometimes you think you’ve lived before all that you live today. Things you do come back to you as though they knew the way. Oh, the tricks your mind can play!”

The answer is here.

Mr. Alarm 6:38 PM  

As an artist, I’m always delighted to see REMBRANDT in a puzzle. I would say he’s a bit under-appreciated these days. But if you look at his paintings long enough, especially his portraits, they will cast a spell on you, one you will not want to be disenchanted from.

TTrimble 6:47 PM  

Oh man -- now you've done it. ;-)

Historical scholarship seems largely agreed on the fact that a Jewish man named Jesus lived and was crucified. For example, from Wikipedia: "Roman historian Tacitus referred to Christus and his execution by Pontius Pilate in his Annals (written c. AD 116), book 15, chapter 44. Robert E. Van Voorst states that the very negative tone of Tacitus' comments on Christians makes the passage extremely unlikely to have been forged by a Christian scribe and the Tacitus reference is now widely accepted as an independent confirmation of Jesus's crucifixion."

So at least not all of the Bible is fiction.

yd 0 (what weirds me out is that I could swear I tried entering my final word 3 or 4 times over the past two days, just in case I mistyped)
td 0

RooMonster 6:51 PM  

Hey All !
Last post got erased by an errant touch of a wrong button, resulting in being signed out of Google. Took till this long for me to cool down. (Not really, just this long to get off work!)

Proud of myself for finishing puz with No Cheats! WooHoo! And I got puz 100% correct! Man, I'm on fire! And completed in 48 minutes! Which when started, thought I'd never finish! Too many exclamation points!

The Monty Python clue was rather strange. I was looking for The Black Knight, The Knights who say Ni!, The Bridge of Death, The Holy Hand Grenade, something. But DARK HUMOR? Only DARK if you think it is. I thought the movie was hilarious.
"I blow my nose at you, son of a silly person!" (Paraphrased)
"And the Lord spake, saying, "First, shalt thou take out the Holy Pin. Then, shalt thou count to three. No more, no less. Three shalt be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shalt be three. Four shalt thou not count, nor either count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out! Once the number three, being the third number be reached, then lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch towards thy foe, who, being naughty in My sight, shalt snuff it.""
"One, two, five!"
"Three, Sir!"
Now come on, that's some funny stuff!

Nice puz, tough but grokable. Time for the AFTER PARTY.

Three! (Sir!) F's

albatross shell 6:52 PM  

One song you do not often hear all the verses to and quite famous. Frank sang the normal one with Gene Kelly.

Nelly Kelly love baseball games,
Knew the players, knew all their names,
You could see her there ev'ry day,
Shout "Hurray," when they'd play.
Her boy friend by the name of Joe
Said, "To Coney Isle, dear, let's go,"
Then Nelly started to fret and pout,
And to him I heard her shout.

"Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd.
Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack,
I don't care if I never get back,
Let me root, root, root for the home team,
If they don't win it's a shame.
For it's one, two, three strikes, you're out,
At the old ball game."

Nelly Kelly was sure some fan,
She would root just like any man,
Told the umpire he was wrong,
All along, good and strong.
When the score was just two to two,
Nelly Kelly knew what to do,
Just to cheer up the boys she knew,
She made the gang sing this song.

"Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd.
Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack,
I don't care if I never get back,
Let me root, root, root for the home team,
If they don't win it's a shame.
For it's one, two, three strikes, you're out,
At the old ball game.

That was the 1927 version.
The 1908 version:

Katie Casey was baseball mad,
Had the fever and had it bad.
Just to root for the home town crew,
Ev'ry sou
Katie blew.
On a Saturday her young beau
Called to see if she'd like to go
To see a show, but Miss Kate said "No,
I'll tell you what you can do:


Katie Casey saw all the games,
Knew the players by their first names.
Told the umpire he was wrong,
All along,
Good and strong.
When the score was just two to two,
Katie Casey knew what to do,
Just to cheer up the boys she knew,
She made the gang sing this song:


Other info:
The 1908 song is in the public domain.

First sung at a ballgame 1934. L.A. high school game.

Sung in one game of the World Series in 1934.

First baseball song: Base Ball Polka 1858. I might hunt for those lyrics some day.

albatross shell 7:02 PM  

Oops. Retract that remark. Frank and Gene did sing all the lyrics. First video I looked at was just an incomplete clip.

joebloggs 7:12 PM  

If people hate Rex then follow a different NYT crossword blogger. Or start your own. I appreciate his take and think it’s most often right on. Some of the clueing (like today) is mental masturbation specifically designed to mislead. There’s a difference between clever and self-aggrandizing, although I’d say it’s a fine line. I don’t care for today. Like MOËT. Does anyone ever refer to it as “Moët et Chandon”? If so I don’t ever wanna spend NYE with them.

joebloggs 7:14 PM  

Literally NEVER heard FLAME WAR but then I avoid twatter (spelled that way purposely) like the plague. Waste of time.

Katzzz 7:28 PM  

What really slowed me down was having Szell, another Hungarian conductor, instead of Solti.

Zwhatever 8:05 PM  

@Anon/Villager - “Divine” as in to seek to predict future events or discover hidden knowledge usually by the interpretation of omens or by the aid of supernatural powers : to practice divination : PROPHESY {Merriam-Webster} and “instrument” as in a tool to carry out something. TAROT CARDS are tools to predict future events.

@Photomatte - Care to offer an opinion on whether or not Man is the pinnacle of creation? FYI - Tolkien also has lots of Christian allegories and motifs throughout, just more subtly done. Here’s a decent discussion focusing on the Christ figure in LOTR.

Del Taco 8:21 PM  

Not fun at all.
A chore to solve.
I agree about the cluing, just horrid.

Nancy 8:37 PM  

@Katzzz (7:28) -- Well, of course you thought of SZELL, not SOLTI! It makes perfect sense.

@A (6:18)-- I've heard "Where or When" sung often -- and I'm 100% sure I've never once heard the verse. I'm not surprised it's so often dropped: Rodgers' verses are usually absolutely fabulous, but IMHO, this one is meandering, hard to sing or remember, never really "lands", and adds nothing to the song. In fact it went on so long, that I was ready to tune out before the chorus even began.

Joe Dipinto 8:56 PM  

@Nancy – oisk already told us that #2 is "Love Walked In". I didn't think of "The Man I Love" at all for #4 but I should have. So from oisk's list we are left with:

3. Dozens of girls would storm up, I had to lock my door...
Won't you listen to the rhythm of my heartbeat, and you'll get just what I mean

5. Old man sunshine listen you, never tell me dreams come true...
I never want to hear from any cheerful pollyannas,
Who tell you fate supplies a mate, it's all bananas

#3 has me stumped. For #5 I am thinking "But Not For Me".

I didn't look at the answer to the one @A contributed, but I'd guess it's "Where Or When" (Rodgers/Hart).

DigitalDan 9:12 PM  

I have seen THE SHARD, and had once heard the name, but to me it looks like something even more mundane, so took a long time.

I guess if ASHE is always the tennis player, ALANALDA must always be the 8 letter actor, for want of anyone better.

TIN was the last thing I suspected for Spam, since it was the most obvious and original.

Anonymous 9:13 PM  

Wikipedia's list of Hungarian composers does not include SOLTI. Didnt know FRAG, FLAMEWAR, ELKO, or ASLAN. Cluing was tough, but when I revisited after solving I could get it - not like it, but get it.

TTrimble 9:19 PM  

I'll be interested to see the commentariat's reaction to this week's Acrostic. I solved it in 1 minute 51 seconds. No I didn't. That's how long it took me to close down the puzzle that would not accept a keystroke in a certain spot and then re-enter my solutions in a new tab. I don't know why this glitch keeps occurring.

(Yes, I know, I type slowly.)

It was fun, but I can almost guarantee you'll find it harder than usual.

DigitalDan 9:22 PM  

What's a WOE? Needs to be added to the FAQ?

OISK 9:32 PM  

Mary Martin sings the verse in a recording of Babes in Arms

JC66 9:32 PM  


Different strokes...I found this week's Acrostic ray relatively easy.


What On Earth. Coined by @jae (I think), so @Rex might not even be aware of it.

TTrimble 9:43 PM  

Interesting! I just assumed that many solvers, even after understanding what was different (I think) with this puzzle, might have trouble with K, M, S, W, and perhaps Q and X (the former of which I only grasped after the fact). Anyway, congrats!

Unknown 9:45 PM  

If you're into solving a puzzle as quickly as possible, then yes, you were going to hate this one. If you're in it for the enjoyment of teasing out one answer at a time, then yes, the payoff was a sense of wonderful satisfaction.
ERST was especially clever.

Joe Dipinto 9:47 PM  

@Anon 9:13 – Solti was a conductor, not a composer.

@Nancy & @A – WOW is one of my favorite songs, I've used it for auditions sometimes. Never heard the verse before either.

I finally broke down and looked up oisk's #3, and it's a song I know but never in a million years would I have guessed it for that verse. I can't imagine who would include it when performing the song.

Nancy 9:48 PM  

@Joe D (8:56) -- Yesssssss!!!! As soon as you said "But Not for Me" for #5, the verse melody that's been rattling around in my head segued right into the chorus. I knew you were right immediately.

I clicked on @A's link and got "Where or When". Great guess! I have never heard that verse as I wrote earlier -- see my 8:37 comment.

JC66 10:09 PM  


Except for S, which was sneaky, but I got, the others came from figuring out the quote. Still don't understand Q.

kitshef 10:17 PM  

@TTrimble, @JC66 - only three words on my first pass through the Acrostic, which is pitifully low. But once I got going, it fell pretty easily. D is the only one I still don't understand.

TTrimble 10:28 PM  

Here is a rot-13 encoded explanation of Q, if you want (just insert the text that follows into the box at the link to decode): Na bpgbchf unf rvtug nezf

JC66 10:51 PM  


Thanks, @Kitshef emailed me the explanation.

Anonymous 11:04 PM  

Absolutely brutal. I completed it, but hated every minute. I highly recommend Bridge of Spies. Well written, acted and directed. Knew that it was CIA vs. KGB, but couldn’t figure out which went where. I also initially wrote in Tom Hanks. Then put in Amy Adams after got the A from Aslan. Finally remembered Alan Alda, which broke it for me.

Anonymous 11:16 PM  

Just an additional comment about Bridge of Spies and going from Tom Hanks to Amy Adams to Alan Alda. I forget to mention that Amy Adams is not in the movie. To my embarrassment I often get her confused with Amy Ryan who is in the movie.

Unknown 11:41 PM  

Grr...and there were so many opportunities for better words and clues. I mean "pops" shoulda been "sodas" or "dadas" coulda been Duchamp output and so on! Rex is right. It was joyless.

A 11:48 PM  

@Nancy, @Joe D - you got it, Joe! WOW is one of my favorites, too. I love the intro, especially the way Barbara Cook sings it. “the things you think come from the dreams you dream” “thought has wings” “sometimes you think you’ve lived before all that you live today” combined with the harmonies - practically spine-tingling.

@Diane Joan, “always learning” is what I find so compelling (and divine) about this community!

P.S. I’m glad I read the Narnia Chronicles when I was young, maybe nine or ten, because I could appreciate the atmosphere and the stories and the fascinating characters. Didn’t catch on to the Christian aspect until after I loaned them to my best friend, who is Jewish.

oisk17 12:16 AM  

OK...I think we got them all. 2 was Love walked in
3 was Embraceable You - as many pointed out, the verse is seldom sung...
4. The Man I love. That verse is often included, because it leads into the song so perfectly
5. But not for Me. Another verse that I think should always be included.

There is a recording of Joan Morris singing Gershwin's greatest songs. She sings ALL the verses, and sings each song exactly "come scritto." (not for jazz fans.) This was fun for me; thanks Nancy for thinking of it.

stephanie 1:36 AM  

ROUGH. hoo boy. just over three and half hours but i also was zoned out watching twitch for parts because i just felt stymied. i didn't hate it like i hated thursday, but it was very hot and cold for me - equal parts "yeah i don't know what that is" and "oh my god, of course!" i did get (& enjoy) the long fills by myself eventually though so that's something.

ultimately made gratuitous use of google to get it done, because after the NW and SE, nothing would go. even after i said LETS DO THIS THING...nothing happened. i half expected to come here to read rex's writeup and find it rated "easy" so i felt a bit relieved when i saw even he found it challenging.

had AGREE (strongly agree, agree, disagree, etc) and then NEVER (sometimes, always, never, etc) before YESES. according to the dictionary, both YESES and YESSES are acceptable, but i just feel like YESES looks weird af and like it should be pronounced "YEE-SEES." TREY and ENTREATED are both words i have never heard of. GIVE IT TIME took time indeed, as all i could think of was IN DUE TIME even though it didn't fit. i agree COURTESY was just...too hard and i've read the quote over and over since and it still doesn't really make any sense to me. word salad. definitely looking for an actual animal, not ASLAN. accidentally revealed ELKO when i googled "humbolt river" to give myself a hint, and google displayed a map featuring elko. oops. never would have came up with that on my own though - had OSLO and if i had discovered it was something to do with nevada would have certainly picked RENO.

at this point i had 3/4 of the puzzle filled in but that SW corner was driving me mad. STORED before SHELVE and several other wrong guesses in between. had to look up a list of pixar movies to get LUCA since those aren't my thing and i don't really keep up with movies in general. even after that gimme, i still was just staring blankly. looked up crystal GAYLE too. nothing. my partner was in the kitchen when he heard a loud sigh followed by "oh god dammit" and came in and asked "was that the sound of you finally figuring it out and it was something stupid?" why yes, yes it was. and the something stupid was me. FLAMEWAR, AFTER PARTY, and FRAG should have come to me at the very beginning, not the end, as they're three things i'm incredibly familiar with. but i don't mind finishing on a facepalm as long as the answers were satisfying.

i have one big issue though and that's with PSHAW. what the heck does that have to do with "my eye!"?? what even? (rhetorical question as i'm sure someone has discussed this and i'm about to read the thank you all in advance as always!)

stephanie 1:43 AM  

@rjkennedy98 & @joebloggs i thought "decades" was a bit much but flame wars have been around since message boards, so. but yes still very much in use today. and definitely not restricted to twitter. anywhere there are comments, there are flame wars. even one commenter or just the original poster can get flamed, which is more one-sided. [e.g. "i'll get flamed for saying this, but..."]

stephanie 2:11 AM  

okay i take it back - not one person discussed the pshaw/my eye connection which means it must be something everyone knows but me. any late night readers or solvers please clue me in! i'll be reading sunday's comments late tomorrow as well if you prefer to answer there. appreciate it. <3

stephanie 2:13 AM  

@Villager / Anon 5:27 - in addition to being tools of divination, tarot cards are instruments for communicating with or through the divine. (the cards carry messages from the universe, either directly to the person pulling the cards, or via that person and to the person receiving the reading in the event you have cards pulled for you.)

jae 2:56 AM  

@stephanie - PSHAW is used to express disapproval, irritation, disbelief, or contempt. “My eye” covers the disbelief part of the definition.

mprogers 8:46 AM  

A set of lines is what an actor has to learn.

GARM_77 12:59 PM  

This was a fine puzzle. Rex needs to get over himself. Just because he's never heard of something does not mean it's "bad fill." ASLAN was a gimme, as was ELKO, so SIFORKIDS fell into place. I've heard of it, and called exactly that. So, pretty enjoyable solve for me.

Cristi 2:23 PM  

Rough day—tough clueing with stuff well outside my wheelhouse.

I do have a quibble with ALAN ALDA clue, which is rubbish on two counts: 1) Mark Rylance won the Oscar for best supporting actor for Bridge of Spies—if anyone’s the “co-star,” it’s him, and 2) Alda’s role was minor/supporting—a good performance, but not a “star” turn. To call him a co-star is simply incorrect (if you disagree, look it up…or ask, IDK, anyone?).

Anonymous 4:20 PM  

at the time jordan was on the cover, the magazine’s title was Sports Illustrated For Kids. they dropped “For” several years back.

Unknown 9:29 PM  

So glad you knew “Bridge of Spies” and who the co-stars were! It’s a GREAT movie and Mark Ryland got a Best Supporting Actor award for it. Hard to remember Alda was even in it although it comes back to me that he did his usual very capable job in a very small role. The lacunae in Rex’s knowledge continues to amaze me.

Unknown 9:58 PM  

Conductor: George Solti

I am Spartacus 2:48 AM  

Love this puzzle, partly for the challenge and mostly for showing that the world's greatest is vulnerable...even thin-skinned.
Had no clue about "Bridge of Spies," with an Oscar winner for best supporting actor and several other nominations. No need to note the petty lashing out at lesser clues.
Ha, ha and thank you to the author.

Anonymous 5:21 PM  

OMG I laughed about 26D as I filled it in for the reason you mentioned!

sdcheezhd 2:45 AM  

Struggled a lot with the NW, Sodas for DADAS didn't help, but finally got ROUGHIDEA coming back from -IDEA after I gave up on sodas and that was enough. We saw Bridge of Spies a few days before its release when we were visiting our son at Twentynine Palms for my birthday so that helped a lot.

Diana, LIW 1:06 PM  

I sat down with Lambo to DOTHISTHING, when what should happen? ant!!! I'm still hiding under the DUVET, which I had confidently filled in as EIDER in my first go-round. Does ALANALDA ever tire of being trapped in these puzzles?

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Burma Shave 1:21 PM  




rondo 1:30 PM  

I had tomhAnks before ALANALDA, Tom Hanks was of course not a co-star but THE star. Other than that area I didn't find it as tough as OFL, but surely Saturday difficult. It's not supposed to be a walk in the park, is it?

AFTER a couple years' work we intend to move the waterbed into the 'new' house today. Been a long time coming. At some point we'll have a PARTY.

I thought this puz and the cluing were excellent.

spacecraft 2:15 PM  

Never mind DNF: I DN even S! No kidding, I have nothing. Was thinking the piano joke was probably TUNA, but could find nothing to corroborate. So, I guess I "solved" one answer: TUNA. I don't even like tuna. Impossible. See you next time.

leftcoaster 4:35 PM  

Yesterday it was SEXTAPES, today it’s EROGENOUS zones, tonight it’s LETSDOTHISTHING.

Didn’t finish cleanly.

leftcoaster 6:14 PM  

Better coda: NORUSH to finish.

Jokr22 1:17 AM  

Cracks me up “ Maybe if I had any idea what "Bridge of Spies" was, or who was in it, the experience would've been slightly more tolerable”. I slog through the arcana that seems to be in Rex’s wheelhouse every day, but when he doesn’t recognize something (that I’ve actually seen, read, etc) the puzzle becomes intolerable…

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