Anime genre featuring giant robots / SAT 9-18-21 / Humans in sci-fi slang / Aid in breaching castle walls / E-commerce alternative to Square or Stripe / Metaphor for a 100-degree day / Surname on a "True Grit" poster / Genre popularized by Limp Bizkit and Korn / Upgrade for a train passenger / Org. at center of modern name image likeness legislation

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Constructor: Ryan McCarty

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: PETARD (40D: Aid in breaching castle walls) —
petard is a small bomb used for blowing up gates and walls when breaching fortifications. It is of French origin and dates back to the 16th century.[1] A typical petard was a conical or rectangular metal device containing 5–6 pounds (2–3 kg) of gunpowder, with a slow match for a fuse. (wikipedia)
• • •

So good...
This is so good. Just winner after winner. ~10 times the sparkle-fill content as yesterday's puzzle. Sufficiently tough but not grueling, and just bursting with life and personality. Even the one truly dumb entry (LIBATE) made me literally laugh out loud. That is some quaint bygone olde-tymey fill I can use! Ironically? Sure, ironically. I'm using it ironically. That's what I'll say. That's what I'll say after I shout "Let's LIBATE!" and everyone just stares. "It means 'drink'! It's not a sex thing, I swear! I was being quaintly ironic!," I'll say. And then I will drink, because I will need to. You can have one loopy Word of Yore if the rest of your grid sizzles with stuff like MEGACHURCH and GAYPORN (bless you for finally bringing these two crazy kids together, Mr. McCarty!) I made lots of little missteps, but no big ones, and I never got truly bogged down, so the struggle was pleasant. I felt like the puzzle wanted me to have a good time. Some puzzles seem like they want you to suffer and then want to sneer at you for not understanding their evil genius. Better puzzles seem to put you through an obstacle course while shouting encouragement all the way, and then rewarding you for your success with, like, beer or cake whatever it is you like. To drastically change metaphors: I really felt like I got upgraded to the PARLOR CAR today (man I miss the romantic train travel of the mid-20th century that I never got to experience and probably only existed in movies! I live in the "Parlor City" and we have no train service whatsoever—just carousels and spiedies. Put SPIEDIES in a puzzle, you cowards! #Binghamton).

Hardest answer for me was probably BRONZER PALETTE (19A: Makeup kit for a summer look). I didn't know makeup bronzer had anything to do with summer. I know "bronzer" as the stuff that can make your skin look dark, the tanning lotion, but again my not wearing makeup has locked me out of the fact that bronzer is a face makeup thing (which is somehow also for summery looks??). We are not really a makeup-wearing people, this household, alas. And I couldn't get from "kit" to PALETTE too easily. I would've gotten there sooner if I hadn't imagined that it was the *I*RA who filed for bankruptcy in 2021, or if I'd known that AMAZONPAY was a thing (I know only Apple Pay and Google Pay ... Google has a "Pay," right? Or am I confusing it with Google Play? Ugh) (5D: E-commerce alternative to Square or Stripe). With IRA in place, really looked like the "summer look" was going to have something to do with BROILING. But I got around my makeup ignorance pretty easily. The grid is so flowing and interconnected that there aren't many places to get truly stuck. I just went down to the center and then back up in the NE and worked BRONZER PALETTE out from there. After that, no serious hold-ups. Just fun.

[LOL this song, Wow, talk about reactionary rural white myth-making. 
"Leather boots are still in style / For manly footwear" is a great lyric, though!]

I know them as "mommy blogs," not MOM BLOGS, but the difference seems pretty minor (2D: Some parenting websites). Also, I thought I knew them as "meat sacks," not MEAT BAGS, but google returns some pretty definitively testicular answers for "meat sacks" so MEAT BAGS does indeed appear to be the mot préféré (34D: Humans, in sci-fi slang). Riz AHMED's name lives in my head for reasons I don't know. Why hasn't RIZ been in a puzzle? That's clearly the name part that's shouting most loudly for grid inclusion. I forgot that "name, image and likeness" had to do with college athletes getting paid for the use of ... well, those three things (abbreviated "NIL," btw), but it came back to me quickly when I saw NCAA was going to be the answer there (9A: Org. at the center of modern "name, image and likeness" legislation). I had 'TIS for the poetic contraction (29A: 'TIL) before NU METAL set me right (saw a reference to this genre just this week and could not have foreseen it would be crossword-useful). Had slight trouble with the ARMY part of TROLL ARMY, and I thought the FRAT BRO was a FRAT BOY at first (that's what we used to call them ... too infantilizing now, I guess). Super proud of myself for knowing to change BOY to BRO immediately, because of seeing through the HALO clue immediately (54A: Cause of lightheadedness?), and then running APNEAL (!) MECHA and I WISH from there, bam bam bam, 1-2-3. I literally have a huge happy face drawn next to the grid there, so pleased was I with myself. Hope you had similar self esteem-boosting moments, or at least an overall good time. See you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

P.S. if you are a crossword constructor, you might be interested in the following message from Everdeen Mason, the Editorial Director for Games at the NYT:

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Zwhatever 6:26 AM  

Wow. Just the complete opposite of Rex. So much stuff I just don't give a rat's patootie about. From FRAT BRO's arriving at their MEGA CHURCHes doused in BRONZER PALETTE to a MOM BLOG TROLL ARMY ripping on PARLOR CARs, I just had shrug after shrug after shrug. AMAZON PAY? I haven't bought anything from or through AMAZON for over a decade (or Walmart ever because they both look a hell of a lot like criminal enterprises to me). Sparkle? Nope. Nothing in this puzzle made me smile, most of it made me wince. Even NÜ METAL, just never interested in the genre (the oldest is the most likely to have an informed opinion and he has nothing good to say about those groups).

Lewis 6:42 AM  

@rex -- terrific writeup, funny as hell!

Hah! There I was with a paltry few answers and a sea of white, waiting for inspiration, and what’s the answer that started a slapdown of answers that followed? ICEBREAKER!

Not that it was a sleepwalk from there, with eight answers nowhere in my wheelhouse. But this puzzle was well made and edited, allowing me to overcome this sizeable handicap.

Yes, well made indeed. No junk, twelve NYT puzzle debuts, lovely wordplay and humor in a good number of clues, and things that struck my fancy, like AJAR crossing AGAR, the semordnilap ERGO, and BRONZER / SNOOPER / RAPPER / ORBITER. Also, post-puzzle, I looked up the meaning of “hoist by one’s own petard”, and that’s something I’ll remember; I had no idea that’s what it meant.

Thus, Ryan, your puzzle for me was enriching, an invigorating hike, and satisfying. Thumbs way up and thank you!

Joaquin 6:44 AM  

Notice: Will the MEATBAGS who stole my wheelhouse please return it.

Reward: $1.75 (No questions asked).

OffTheGrid 6:46 AM  

I have a hunch @Lewis and @Rex will be holding hands today. But I'm with @Z. So many ugly answers. So much trivia and stuff that seemed contrived. @Rex said "Some puzzles seem like they want you to suffer and then want to sneer at you for not understanding their evil genius". This was that for me, minus the genius part.

Trey 6:49 AM  

This was a tough puzzle for me. Some areas (mainly the southern half) were average and some took a lot of time to suss out through trial and error. I did not know Claire FOY at all (never seen the Crown), but had a thought it was FOY once I had the first letter, but was unable to commit. Kept thinking of the actress who played Clara in Doctor Who (Jenna Coleman) who was in Victoria, so I was stuck. I could not remember her name but I knew it was not FOY and could not remember that she was in the other historical series running around the same time. Kept me from seeing AMAZONPAY. Then I had sera instead of AGAR and Askew instead of ACUTE, so MEGACHURCH was not obvious. Once those were fixed that area started to fill in. NUMETAL was a new (no pun) term for me. Last problem was the disinformation ARMY. Took a long time to see TROLL because I had Ni HAi instead of HAO. Overall, a good challenge without being unfair. Best clues were “leading character” and “star journalist”.

Conrad 6:54 AM  

Spiedies are from Binghampton? If they ever appear in a crossword they'll become the official food of Natick.

Three Googles: NUMETAL, the Riz guy and the second part of BRONZER PALETTE, so medium-challenging. Liked it more than @Z and @OffTheGrid but less than @Rex and @Lewis.

Anonymous 6:54 AM  

40A: Needs some kind of clue hint that this is obsolete.
45A: Actually got that from a couple of crosses.
6D: Clue is useless.

bocamp 7:07 AM  

Thx Ryan, for an outstanding Sat. puz! :)

Med. solve.

More or less, top to bottom, ending at MEAT BAGS.

Leisurely pace all the way; no major holdups.

Claire FOY, one of my fave actors.

A very enjoyable adventure.

@jae (2:36 PM yd)

Thx for the tip on the great Gorski puz. Definitely more challenging than yd's! Dnfed in a couple of spots.

@Anonymous (6:32 PM yd)

Thx for the Pew research diversity link.
yd 0 / td pg -3

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

kitshef 7:08 AM  

There have been a couple of Ryan McCarty puzzles I did not enjoy, but the majority have been great, including this one. One of my favorite constructors.

Have to say, I never thought I’d look at GAY PORN in the New York Times.

One-letter DNF at TIs/NUMETAs. Proud of myself for not ending up with another error at HAi (which I felt certain was right)/TRiLLARMY. TRiLLARMY seemed so unlikely that I stared at it a long time and realized I had to give up HAi. NUMETAs, though, looked as OK as anything to me in that spot.

Frantic Sloth 7:14 AM  

Oh, please with the anime (MECHA) already. 🤏 This close to a DNF between that and NUMETAL (which I had as NUMETAs forfreakinever because I also had TIs forfreakinever). And having SpARED_OOM didn't help either. "What's a SPARE DROOM?", says I as in Idiot.

Yeah, I'm old and out of all the loops except the endless one in my brain that plays Heckle & Jeckle cartoons. But, cripes - have some mercy FFS! (that's for you, @Z 😊)

I grouse but this was just another gemme de guerre. Okay that's a made-up term. I don't care because it was all shiny and beautiful and I'm all bruised and bloody, so it makes sense to me.

This dude kills me every time. It must be the expert clueage because I know mostly everything in the grid and it still seems like ages before I can complete the solve. Hmmm. "Seems" may be understating the double-my-average time it took. 🤔

Still... I'm finally starting to realize that it's always So. Much. Fun. tackling a Ryan McCarty grid. The fact that it always begins with me flinging curses and spells in the general direction of him and all he holds dear matters not one iota.


JD 7:16 AM  

What @Z said.

Preferred Customer 7:19 AM  

The answer for 11D is not quite right, and I felt like a lot of the clues were not quite right. If you didn't get the PPE right away the other clues were vaguer than vague.

Tragic fall was appreciated...

Shontelle 7:28 AM  

Loved it!!

Son Volt 7:35 AM  

Not sure what puzzle Rex did today - this was pretty flat for me. MOM BLOGS, BRONZER PALETTE, SHARED ROOM?? - lots of real estate taken taken up with boring fill. Throw in both APNEAL and LIBATE and it’s really a mess.

Got thru it ok - didn’t know AHMED or MECHA. GAY PORN is fine but seemed a toss in as it was clued. We saw a lot of coastal action with IGOR - but missed the real damage that the Canadian coast got. Two years later the larger Sandy got us.

Unlike Rex - I’ll take yesterday’s over this. Not an overly enjoyable solve.

puzzlehoarder 7:38 AM  

At four minutes less than yesterday's solve this did not have the resistance I expect from this constructor. Much of that can be attributed to the low number of names he used. I counted only three, two actors and a hurricane.

While the resistance was low the quality of the material was as always high. He managed to cross the two biggest stacks with debut fill like NUMETAL and MECHA. What stood out the most, for me, was the symmetry and alliteration of MOMBLOGS and MEATBAGS, both debuts. That more than anything else made this puzzle shine.

The only write overs I had we're OMEGA/ALPHA and FRATBOY/FRATBRO. Both were easy fixes. The former I actually supported with GAO. How I got the vowels correct is beyond me. I was probably thinking if it's Chinese make it look like MAO. As for BOY I can't recall if HALO gave me IWISH or if it was the other way around. Either way it was no sweat.

While it didn't cause a write over, I'll have to keep in mind that given the clue JURY and JETE can be an either/or pair of entries, along the lines of KEA/LOA.

While the top row was a bland start the rest of this puzzle was very original and entertaining.

John Hoffman 7:41 AM  

As I was doing this puzzle I figured that it was going to be GAYFILM. But GAYPORN surprised me. Times they are a changin! It wasn’t that long ago that everything had to pass the “breakfast test” and now all I can think of is sausages.

Dave in Ancaster 7:52 AM  

Rolling Stone had an interesting article about that song:
Haggard told the author RJ Smith in 2000: “I don’t feel now the way I did when I wrote ‘Okie from Muskogee.’ I still sing it because it describes a period of time. I write from common knowledge, current knowledge, collective intelligence. At the time I wrote that song, I was just about as intelligent as the American public was. And they was about as dumb as a rock. About Vietnam, about marijuana, and other things. When you get older, you find that things you were absolutely, positively sure about, you didn’t know nothin’ about.”

Anonymous 8:32 AM  

What is it about upstate NY cities and their "special" foods? Was in Syracuse and prominent item on the menu was CHICKEN RIGGIES, then Rochester where it was CHICKEN FRENCH. I'm sure that CHICKEN SPIEDIES rank right up there in obscurity and local popularity.

pabloinnh 8:40 AM  

Well this was just full of stuff that's part of my daily life, like BRONZEPALETTE and MECHA and MOMBLOGS and NUMETAL and the occasional TROLLARMY. GAYPORN, not so much.

Had IMBIBE before LIBATE, but it was fun to say LIBATE, because it made me think of a phrase I used with dinner guests when I wanted to sound all snooty, viz., "Would you like a preprandial libation?". Only other real grin was writing in MEGACHURCH after reading the clue. Not my favorite puzzle ever, as it left me with the feeling--well, I finished the damn thing.

Tough sledding, RMC. Really Mighty Challenging, but at least I learned some stuff, for which thanks.

TTrimble 8:43 AM  

I'm surprised Rex wasn't triggered by MEGACHURCH. Or that he didn't complain about the repetition OK, OK. I'm guessing he wasn't triggered by NRA this time because of the way it was clued. (Somewhere in the distance I hear Rex laughing like Nelson Muntz.)

Also, GAYPORN -- is that written as one word now? Are we sure?

LIBATE may be quaintly old-fashioned, but my main association is the way my mom will sometimes proffer a drink by asking, rhetorically, "Libation?" Now imagine that said with a Southern accent that hails from the Appalachians bordering between Virginia and West Virginia. (I guess you could say my mom sometimes deploys an old-timey register in her speech. "Your father is performing his ablutions." That's not her being ironic, either.)

PETARD seems even more old-fashioned. I google and at the top of the page it reads "petard.. noun Historical". (It's a type of bomb, in case you were wondering.) "Hoisted by one's petard" (or variations thereof) traces back to Hamlet; you can look it up. But I prefer the etymological meaning: Middle French, from peter to break wind, from pet expulsion of intestinal gas, from ... Latin pedere to break wind... well, you get the idea. "Break wind" -- now there's your quaint old-fashioned expression that you can use ironically to get a laugh.

Wrinkling my nose at GOT SORE (which sounds stilted) and FRAT BRO. I am completely comfortable saying "frat boy". All the more so because I hear "girls" all the time applied to women who are in their 20's and 30's, whereas it's just about always "men" for members of the same age group. Who will, quite unconsciously, refer to a woman older than them as a "girl". So that any gesture toward balance is only fair.

I didn't find it as easy as Rex. This finishes out a week in which every day's puzzle took me longer than usual. There was plenty in this puzzle I liked, though, and what doesn't kill me makes me stronger. I hope.

dbyd pg -2 (finally gave up)
yd pg -2

amyyanni 8:52 AM  

Very rugged slog. Think I'll do the Spelling Bee now and try to redeem myself.

Anonymous 8:58 AM  

I’ve used a CPAP machine every night for the past 15 years and never seen the word APNEAL until today.

Unknown 9:09 AM  

I think FRATBOY is much more common than FRATBRO, but I might be dating myself.

We have a local restaurant that was a little bit on the pretentious side, and the waitress would greet you with, "Would you care for a LIBATION?" I always cringed when I heard that. Of course, we haven't been there in over 18 months . . . .


mmorgan 9:11 AM  

Also had TIS for TIL and FRATBOY for FRATBRO. I fixed the BRO but left TIS since NUMETAs made as much sense to me as anything else. No rant on NRA? Wanted to put RIGHTWING for 29D hee hee hee.

Great puzzle, perfect combination of struggle and reward. Yay!

Diane Joan 9:45 AM  

Does anyone know if "MEATBAGS" originated in a specific sci-fi movie? I got the word from the crosses but neither I nor my sci-fi savvy husband heard of it.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Birchbark 9:48 AM  

I traveled from Copenhagen to Oslo in a PARLOR CAR on while on foreign study in 1984, en route to visit a family friend in Trondheim. The PARLOR CAR was basically a spacious, well-furnished living room. I sat in an overstuffed wing-back chair, smoking the occasional Dunhill and reading "Zazie dans le Metro," by Raymond Queneau. But for a few details, it could have been a century earlier.

The only fellow travelers were a well-dressed old man and his grandson, sitting on a sofa at the far side of the room. The man had a gray beard but no mustache, bright eyes and a weather-worn face. Probably a retired sea captain. Or maybe an actor hired by the railroad to double-down on the Scandinavian vibe that was everywhere you looked, inside and outside the train.

Frantic Sloth 9:48 AM  

Another funny Rex today. I'll have what he's having, please!
Although, to me, FRATBoy will always be the terminology because of its infantilizing nature. Never considered it anything other than pejorative.

@TTrimble 843am What's weird about "performing [one's] ablutions"? I say that. Oh. I see your point.
Also use "visiting the necessaries", but picked that up from Mrs. a disease.

What? 9:49 AM  

Pretty easy with some clever misdirections.
Rex got annoyed with OGLED yesterday as being “leering” but is ok with GAY PORN. Do I need another reason to stop reading him?

MichGirl 9:51 AM  

Loved,loved, loved this puzzle! Fresh and new.
And what does the announcement mean for Wil and his white boy cohort?

Keith D 9:57 AM  

Had TRUMP ARMY briefly. Ugh.

Anonymous 10:00 AM  

What a fun puzzle!! The best kind! I started out with literally three words plugged in the very middle and nothing but a letter here or there through the rest of the grid. I thought, uh oh I was in for a rough Saturday and wasn’t likely to enjoy this.

But everything filled in bit by bit and I had tons of aha moments that made me smile. I’m a woman in my 40s, and honestly not a single clue was in my wheelhouse as it were (not a coen bros fan, no college sports for me, not a make up person, no mommy blogs for me, etc) but literally every clue was *close enough* to mainstream without being a giveaway, that it made it all reasonably accessible. So much fun!

Rochester 10:06 AM  


RooMonster 10:08 AM  

Hey All !
Toughie here. Had to Goog twice, and outright hit Reveal Word for NCAA. Ah well, that's the way the puz crumbles.

Grand ___ J___, surely it's nothing else but JURY, right? Evil clue, Mr. McCarty. 😁 Held me up for quite a while up there. GAY PORN smack dab in the center was kind of shocking to me. I guess it's as acceptable as straight porn now, but something I wouldn't expect to see in a NYTCW. My delicate sensibilities, and what not.

Want somethingKEg for ICEBREAKER. Silly blue, that one. NU METAL you say? NU to me. Read it as one word, NUMETAL (noo-mit-all). Har. DOOK METAL?

Nice puz overall. Funny what Rex praises or dislikes. You never know.

This MEAT BAG is out.

One F

Alex 10:21 AM  

Yeah, I'll come out (if you will) against the GAY PORN entry. This isn't my local alt-weekly, this is the NYT. It felt out of place and inappropriate.

I would even say that a lot of the -porn neologisms we see these days (foodporn, natureporn, etc.) are kind of pushing it, but at least those have some wit, and would probably have fun clues.

GAY PORN, however, is just simply putting an adult subject matter where it doesn't at all belong.

Anonymous 10:28 AM  

Testicles, love for Gaylord, and of course his long-standing romance with the absurd Bechdel test just about confirms what I’ve long suspected of OFL.

I had a particularly lovely time traveling on an overnight ferry from Trondheim down to Bergen. Norway is an easy country to fall in love with.
Gratuitous brag: one night at dinner the host/owner of the restaurant spoke to me in Norwegian. When I said I was an American, he didn’t believe me at first. It was awkward, then wonderful when my wife started to laugh followed soon thereafter by the owner. He had no reason to believe I’m Norse save in his estimation my appearance. But I’m mostly Irish, so…
Anyway, we had a great meal. Oh did I mention it was Mexican food? True story.

Carola 10:28 AM  

Very tough for me. I usually enjoy a good brain-racking, but I found that this one drifted over the line from invigorating into exhausting. Looking over the completed grid, a few personal Words of the Day popped out: OLD HAND: what I'd considered myself to be, Saturday-puzzle-wise - don't I WISH! Where was my stock of cerebral PETARDs to break through all those IMPASSEs I faced? I also noticed the parallel AMAZON PAY and TROLL ARMY, Internet forces rolling over us defenseless MEATBAGS. Favorite fake-out: TEARDROP.

I ended up with the same DNF as @kitshef: TIs x NUMETAs, after correcting FRATBoy, imBibE, Amiss before ACUTE, afghANWAR, Ivan before IGOR. No idea: NUMETAL, MECHA, AHMED.

Anonymous 10:43 AM  

Meh. Is your average NY Times puzzle solver someone who listens to Korn or Limp Bizkit? No thanks. How is BRONZER PALETTE a 'kit'? A compact? Yes. Kit? Dodgy. The clueing is just too cutesy.

TTrimble 10:44 AM  

@Frantic Sloth
Charming turn of phrase from your missus. My wife and I say "have a sit-down". Not a time or place for an earnest discussion, however.

Oh, I forgot to thank you yesterday for the link to the Mark Rober contraption. Man, that dude thought of everything! Except that I wanted the GLITTER to be much more adhesive than it seemed to be. The handle glue was a nice touch, as were the non-retracting dowels.

td 0

(Good luck to @bocamp on his new approach. The most I do in that direction is go for genius without going offsite. Truth be told, I don't have a whole lot of time for SB, and spend more than I should.)

Joe Dipinto 10:45 AM  

For today's activity, it has been recommended that we all spend

Saturday Afternoon On The Island Of Les Grands Jetés Viewing Gay Porn With Bronzed Fratbro Meatbags.

I'm so there.

Hartley70 10:46 AM  

So tough for me but just exactly what I want on a Saturday. I had nothing until WENTOUTONALIMB, followed by GAYPORN. The SW had me try DOUBLEROOM, followed by SINGLE. I didn’t know RIZ or the book on the KOREANWAR, or the NU before METAL.
But….there was so much to really like once I was finished, MEATBAGS being my favorite. MEGACHURCH misdirection and ICEBREAKER were especially nice. It was weird that @Rex chose to single out PETARD. Is “hoist by his own petard” out of fashion? LMAO.

GILL I. 10:52 AM  

Holy ripe, virgin tomatoes. I didn't even know if I could take a bite out of this....I seriously needed to LIBATE last night to even get started. So I took my PETARD to bed with me and tried again in the morning.
I was able to pick a few things out but I honestly got tired of picking. Pick pick here and a pick pick there. Here pick, there pick, everywhere pick pick.
I can honestly say that the one smile was seeing PARLOR CAR. Yes indeedy. That was it. But why? you ask....My dad loved to travel in style. He would always say it was worth paying for something you'd remember the rest of your life. We travelled by train from Santiago Chile to Pucon. My sister and I had our private sleeper with our own bathroom, comfy chairs, beds that were actually comfortable and breakfast was brought to us in the morning. We would meet up in the PARLOR CAR for many a LIBATE in the evening while listening to someone play lovely music on the piano. It was magical - especially when you're 18 years old.
I just now looked at that Anime MECHA thing. MECHA in Spanish means fuse. Should I blow my MECHA?

Anonymous 10:53 AM  

when I was in amateur theatre way back when, my fish belly white face was loaded with Light Egyptian. so, yeah, BRONZER PALETTE is a real thing. whether it makes sense for the common folk, no idea.

rjkennedy98 10:58 AM  

This puzzle was just the right difficulty for a Saturday. Not overwhelming but challenging and rewarding. When solving I didn't find the fill that noticeable but it is mostly very good. GAY PORN is probably the most surprising fill I've seen in the NY Times puzzle in years of solving. It definitely felt like a statement.

Nancy 11:00 AM  

So I stared at my ?UMETAs/?CAA cross like forever, and I hadn't the faintest idea. Would it have helped if I'd had TIL instead of TIS for the "poetic contraction"? Nah, don't think so.

1) While the only [blank]CAA organization I knew was admittedly NCAA, I was looking for a government agency not an amateur sports agency. And the government agencies whose initials I don't know are legion.

2) -UMETAL means about as much to me as -UMETAs. I don't know pop music genres, okay? Didn't any of your puzzle "checkers" warn you, Will S., that this would be an impossible cross for some demographics?

Moving on to the big problem that didn't end up stumping me today: I had IMBIBE before LIBATE for "have a drink, old-style." I guess IMBIBE is too new-style. And what do you do with a TV CiMERA? I corrected. Which helped me for the OIL change, too. That middle letter "M" had been a real woe.

MEATBAGS????!!!! You refer to me that way, you bleepin' aliens, and you shouldn't be surprised when I refuse to read or watch any science fiction at all. (And I never do and I never have, btw. Other then the enchanting "ET" because ET was so cute. And the original "Planet of the Apes", because it was actually more social satire than science fiction.)

Some easy fill for me in places, mostly the West, but the East was very hard. Other than that one cross I mentioned earlier, I thought this was an excellent puzzle with interesting fill and good cluing.

Gio 11:02 AM  

Libate = Libiamo = Let's drink!

La Traviata

Now this is stuck in my head the rest of the day

Anonymoose 11:03 AM  

I'm with Alex. PORN in the NYTX should really be beneath everyone. It's just unseemly.

FYI, The Spelling Bee allows it despite its otherwise high standards.

Danny and Rachel 11:03 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous 11:04 AM  

"The Night of" was the creepiest 'mystery' show I can recall.

johnk 11:04 AM  

My only ink-over was 29D. I had TRUMP ARMY. Then PAR upgraded me with the L and the train arrived at the station with the 2nd L, but it's too early to LIBATE.

mathgent 11:04 AM  

What a diverse group we are. So many far left politically and also quite a few who are agitated at seeing GAYPORN.

Just as crunchy as yesterday's but a lot sparklier. Enjoyed it.

20D is deceptive. NRA filed for bankruptcy in Texas but their bid was rejected by the courts.

dadnoa 11:09 AM  

I’m with you, Z…..Rex was in a drug-of-choice induced haze while solving and blogging. No joy in this one… all…..Nu Metal included….

Telvo 11:14 AM  

I laughed out loud when I saw Rex said this was 'Easy-Medium'. It was Challenging to me, especially the upper RH corner. As a 72-YO male, classic rock is usually a gimme, but Numetal was nu to me and when it crossed what I finally figured out was Bronzer Palette after I guessed Ahmed, I was very proud of myself -- and still am, despite Rex's rating -- for finally putting it all together.

jae 11:20 AM  

Mostly easy except I had mpAA before NCAA for way too long. Sports not movies finally dawned on me and the downs began to make sense. @Rex TIs before TIL didn’t help.

Sparkly, liked it.

Teedmn 11:25 AM  

I'm going out on a limb to say this was probably the easiest Ryan McCarty Saturday I've done - by no means easy but easier than usual. I had to skip down to OKIE From Muskogee to get my start but then I had two answers that would start with O and K, easier to suss out, and the ESP answer and things began to DROP in.

Yup, the hardest area for me was CRAM/EMPTIED/NUMETAL/AHMEN. CR__ crossing E_P__E_, I wanted to put an X between that E and P but could I squeeze CRux into a meaning for "squeeze"? Uh-uh, BRONZER PuLLETTE, I don't think so.

Last letter in, after I saw the METAL in 9D, was N of NCAA. I had that TIL or TIs thing going but figured it out just in time.

The bottom half of this just fell in place. 33A, if it's TMI then, yes, INRE fits and it's hotter than an OVEN when it's 100 degrees and no, that "file type" of 56A is not a computer file. DKNY and PETARD, HALO and IWISH. Sometimes you ride the wavelength, woohoo.

Thanks, Ryan McCarty, very nice!

sixtyni yogini 11:25 AM  

Good one.

Since I didn’t know MEAT 🥩 BAGS I assumed it was MEAN BAGS.
(Hoping there aren’t as many 👺💼s in the future as there are now.) 🙏🏽🤗🙏🏽

Yay 🧩! Yay 🦖!

Whatsername 11:27 AM  

I had a surprisingly easy time with this for a Saturday, possibly because of the reasonable AMTS of PPP. Lots of sparkling entries like BRONZER PALLETTE which I loved. Thanks Ryan, much appreciated.

Like others did I suspect, I wanted the T word at 29D to be a different five letters. Wait. TROLLs have an ARMY?? They probably wave big blue flags a lot too.

Great clue for MEGACHURCH. I live in the middle of the Bible Belt where there’s one on every corner. In fact I went to one of them for years until they finally got to rock and roll for me.

31A was rather daring, not that there’s anything wrong with that. Sounds like it might have raised an eyebrow or two. Didn’t bother me any but MEATBAGS was a major cringe moment.

NUMETAL was nu to me. Sounds more like something the NRA would be concerned with. But what do I know? I’m just an old 34D.

Anonymous 12:01 PM  

I was very shocked by Gay Porn in the middle too. Was thinking what if my 9-year-old gets into the grownup crosswords in a year — what am I going to tell her about that answer? She knows what "gay" is of course (we are a queer household) but porn hasn't come up ... so to speak. But then I realized I wouldn't start her on a Saturday. No Saturdays until you're 15, kid!

Trey 12:11 PM  

My 20-something daughter uses the term FRAT BROS, so it was easy for me. My guess is it is a generational term more than anything

bigsteve46 12:22 PM  

This one just beat the crap out of me and, looking back on it I don't see exactly why. But sometimes it just seems that and the solver and I are speaking different languages. Plus, I'm getting old ... far side of 75.

Just curious, if anybody cares to answer, how many of you daily solvers/commenters are on the far side of 75 (none of my business, of course - but just curious.)

Wright-Young 12:22 PM  

QUESTION for solvers: Curious - when solving online, do you count finishing with error(s) (with message) then correcting all errors (with congrats message) as a solve or a DNF? On paper you don’t have the same luxury.

Enjoyed today’s puzzle!

crayonbeam 12:28 PM  

I always wonder how a place like Binghampton gets their own weird food thingy.
Like, if it's good, shouldn't it be wide-spread by now?

Newboy 12:33 PM  

Loves me a Saturday that starts with Ryan’s tough but doable grid, a Rex review that adds to the puzzle rather than detracting from it and a string of comments which give me pause to consider those overlooked items from @amyyanni to @Z (and most in between). Thanks all for bringing a ray of sunshine to a (finally) rainy northwest day.

mathgent 12:43 PM  

My favorite posts this morning.

Birchbark (9:48)

Jaime 12:45 PM  

Definitely did not enjoy this one!

JC66 12:51 PM  


I thought you'd just assume that all the regulars commenters are over 75 since they've got nothing better to do than hang out here. ;-)

old timer 12:58 PM  

I had few gimmes and lots of blank space today, but by God I finished it with no lookups. My main writeover: "Ivan" before IGOR for a memorable hurricane. I loved today's writeup, which I seldom do, but OFL had me LMAO today. I think the only real clunker was SHARED ROOM. These days, your fancier dorms feature little two-bedroom apartments with a PARLOR, called quad rooms.

If Rex lived in California, a city the size of Binghamton would have Amtrak service, subsidized by the state. Of course the old trains had PARLOR CARs too. The Daylight had one at the back, called an Observation Car. My mother always rode in a PARLOR CAR if there was one, so if I was with her, I got to ride there too. Probably the very best job on the train was being a PARLOR CAR waiter. Far less strenuous than being a sleeping car porter or a dining car waiter, but with excellent tips. You had to be a good raconteur to get that job.

Keggers were not just for FRAT BROS (boys in my day). I lived in the dorms with the techies (Geologists and the like then) and we had keggers every week or two in good weather. Someone would get a big old keg of Coors or Michelob, we would go off to some convenient hillside, and be super grateful that our most regular attendee was working his way through school by working on a fishing crew in Alaska every summer. Carrying a big beer keg was child's play for him after hauling big loads of salmon.

Helped that I was reminded of DKNY by an earlier puzzle this week. And read enough sci-fi back in the day to know MEAT BAGS.

Masked and Anonymous 1:00 PM  

My flatbro-in-law and I watch schlock flicks almost every FriNite, and have no doubt piled up a snootload of sci-fi viewins in the past twenty or so years. Yet MEATBAGS seems like a whole new term, to m&e. Perhaps I need a specific film quote, to jar my not-so-youthful memory?

I was amazed by the ultra-positive @RP review. Good goin, Mr. McCarty dude. Some of the fillins indeed were sparkly wordbags: WENTOUTONALIMB. TVCAMERA. ICEBREAKER. ATAPREMIUM.
OTOH, there were a few "green painter" meats that I thought @RP might stick his snarkfork into: SHAREDROOM. SNOOPER. GOTSORE. Maybe even APNEAL? But … Not HAOppenin, M&A breath.

Didn't know, at our house: MECHA [Coulda gone with MECCA/SCAREDROOM, tho]. TROLLARMY. MOMBLOGS. AMAZONPAY. [The last three were kinda gettable, with a little extra precious nanosecond expenditure]. NUMETAL [was NEWMEATAL, for m&e]. AHMED.

staff weeject pick: HAO. Another one where I had no Mandarineal idea. Possible cousin of LMAO?

Thanx for the themeless mega-meat-mecha, Mr. McCarty dude.

Masked & Anonymo3Us


Anonymous 1:15 PM  

The clue for 17-across is NG... LMAO.... laughing MY ass off cannot be clued as ... “...OUR sides...”.
Using OUR here is beyond misdirection, because it violates the rule of grammatical consistency.

bocamp 1:16 PM  

PETARD has appeared in a number of xwords (NYT and others) lately, so it's a friend now.

Had FRAT BOY before FRAT BRO. Got to keep up with neologisms.


@bigsteve46 (12:22 PM)

Far side here, but working to keep it only chronological, of course. lol

@TTrimble (10:44 AM) 👍 for 0

Thx, much more time freed up now. Did the NYT 'Takeaway Crossword' (first time for me, so challenging, but fun). Also working on a 'Out of Left Field' cryptic (finding it nigh impossible; lots to learn about non NYT cryptics).
td pg -3 (one-hr. time limit; prob of 0 = 95%)

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Anonymous 1:27 PM  

I guess I've been watching too much "Mighty Trains", hosted by a Canadian, and mostly on European and Asian trains, who keeps to a shed-u-all, so it was a lounge CAR. anyone can prove that any USofA train has a PARLOR CAR in the last 50 years?

Nick 1:29 PM  

Excellent cluing and fill but this one played on the outer edge of Challenging for me - the hardest NYT I can remember since they started softening the Fri/Sat puzzles. But bring ‘em on!

albatross shell 1:32 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 1:32 PM  

while Binghampton has the short end of the stick, there's hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers riding state subsidized trains (also CT) called Metro North. not to mention PATH to NJ and LIRR and likely a host of others.

albatross shell 1:33 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
TTrimble 1:40 PM  

I don't understand prob of 0 = 95%. Is this just a personal estimate?

May be obvious, but you've probably entered the very top elite ranks. I don't mean among commenters here; I mean among all SB-ers. There's a woman somewhere out there who virtually every day gets 0 in under an hour.

yd 0

Euclid 2:01 PM  

Not quite right is the correct clue. 90 degrees is Right. We all know that. Between 0 and 90 is Acute. Most know that. 90+ to 180 is Obtuse (nice double meaning there). So cluing as just 'Not Right' doesn't quite cut it. To make matters worse, angles greater than 180 have names too. The 'quite' accurately states less-than-ness of the Acute angle. One could argue that it's all moot, since ACUTE is the only angle name that fits the box-count so any clue referencing anything angle-ness is 'accurate', but that's no fun.

Anonymous 2:01 PM  

Forgive me for not understanding if you were just being sarcastic. 11D answer is correct when one is talking about angles. Right, acute and obtuse, potentially like me. A not quite right angle could have been an obtuse one.

Georgia 2:08 PM  

He's an amazing actor in that and The Sound of Metal.

jbh 2:12 PM  

Thank you, Ryan McCarty, for a fun/challenging puzzle!

At first, had WENTTOTHEMATFOR on 46A -

A 2:14 PM  

NYTXWs, and now I get to catch up with @Rex &Co. Win-win-win!

I agree with @Rex that there was some good stuff. Loved “Tragic downfall”/TEARDROP. Interesting grid partners ART CRITIC, IMPASSE aRBITER, and the OIL/LIBATE pair.

Oh, you lucky ones (Hi! @kitshef, @Frantic, @mmorgan, @Carola, @Nancy, @jae) who only had one misstep before TIL. I started with e’er, then e’en, and only then clawed my way to TIs. How ironic that NUMETAL showed me the light.

On the other hand, I never considered FRAT Boy. Pretty sure it’s PASSE. And luckily plopped in JETE without thinking of Jury. That T and the P of RAPPER (again, the irony) gave me AT A PREMIUM, my first long answer and probably what saved me from the Googlean WAY.

Am I the only one who resisted LMAO because of the plural “our sides"? I wrote LoAO and MOodLOGS. I can see the need for parenting sites that are Mood Logs. When you think you want to kill your kid, just go back to last week’s Mood Log and realize this, too, shall pass. Anyway, BRONZER PALETTE to “our” royal rescue.

I was thinking PAYPAL before AMAZON PAY, and PAL shoots right out of that P. Then what popped up in that ‘hood? GAY PORN! TMI! In the NYT??? Oh, no WAY! Yes, WAY. OKIE dokie, then. Think IM PASSEing on that. Where will it end? FRAT BRO GOT SORE? Must not be an OLD PRO. Sorry.

Allow me to make up for that RASPing ‘humor’ with some enchanting monophony from Hildegard von Bingen (b.1098), possibly the first composer whose biography is known. She was a Benedictine abbess, composer, author and mystic during the High Middle Ages.

jae 2:29 PM  

@Wright-Young - I switched from paper solving to iPad solving a few years ago to save both printer ink and trees. When I finished a paper solve I would always go back over the grid to make sure I hadn’t misread a clue or misspelled anything and to check that all my answers made sense. On the iPad when I don’t get the “solved correctly” indicator this triggers the same process. If a find a typo or a misread clue or a nonsensical answer and I correct it and get the “you solved it” screen I count it as a successful finish. If I nothing seems wrong to me I click on “check puzzle” and count it as a DNF.

David in CA 2:42 PM  

Am I missing some meaning, or is 11D "not quite right" for ACUTE a genuinely wrong clue? I'm assuming angles, and an acute angle is no more likely to be "not quite" a right angle than is an obtuse angle. It's like clueing ACIDIC as "not quite neutral".

@Nancy: My goodness! Get out and open your horizons and try some good Sci-Fi before it is is too late in stead of revealing in your ignorance! Get recommendations - there is a hell of a lot of chaff to sort through. Also, I've been reading it for over 50 years and never seen reference to "MEATBAGS"! Fave for a hard-science type is David Brin's Startide Rising. Great aliens and they never say meatbags. But try Elizabeth Moon's "Remnant Populate" for a fun read where the protagonist is a stubborn old lady who just wants to be left alone to grow her tomatoes. Even my wife who is definitively not into SciFi liked that one.

BurnThis 2:47 PM  

Agree with you. Really didn’t enjoy the fills. NuMetal? Troll Army? Did the constructor get something for AmazonPay, a service no one had heard of before today? Blech.

kitshef 2:53 PM  

@Diane Joan 9:45 - Futurama certainly uses MEATBAGS.

okanaganer 2:54 PM  

My favorite alien label for humans is "carbon units", from the first Star Trek movie. (If you're unfamiliar with the movie's plot, the alien using the term is a Voyager spacecraft which has been reprogrammed by aliens!).

Stephen Minehart 3:13 PM  

Yes, this one is a winner with NUMETAL, BRONZERPALETTE, GAYPORN - I had to double check this was the NYT.

With that said, I am crying foul at APNEAL. I'm surprised Rex let it slide. It's not a word. No one, medical types included, speaks or writes this word. The correct word is apneic, or apnoeic across the pond. When I google APNEAL, I get "Did you mean appeal?"

DigitalDan 3:20 PM  

Super hard/challenging. Had to enter so many random guesses to get any kind of start. Agree with Anonymous 1:15 about LMAO as opposed to LOAO. Had LOLZ or ROFL in various attempts. If not for some inspired guessing about the long phrases I would have probably FTF for the first time in two or three years. Some of the crosses were like the intersection of NATICK and LOOGOOTEE. Also finished on TIS -> TIL. Not much fun. I wonder who actually reads comments by left coasters anyway, though, as late as we have to post.

egsforbreakfast 3:24 PM  

What do you call a summer makeup kit brought to a kegger by a stereotypical attendee?


What do you get if you put two MEATBAGS and some OIL in a SHAREDROOM?


I’ll LIBATE to this salacious puzzle. Nicely done, as always, Ryan McCarty.

TTrimble 3:24 PM  

@David in CA
Someone else already commented that the "not quite" is a sly way of saying "less than". For example, if someone says that fellow is not quite 15 years old, it's commonly understood that less than 15 years old is meant.

You are right in supposing it's about angles.

DigitalDan 3:25 PM  

BTW, for "Star Journalist" I wanted Neal DeGrasse Tyson.

Euclid 3:36 PM  

An ACUTE angle is Not quite right, just as 10:55 is Not quite 11:00
An obtuse angle is (Just) past right, just as 11:05 is just past 11:00
Just as in "Mommy, are we there yet?" "Not quite you little snot."

But, as mentioned, the answer is limited to boxes assigned, and the only 'named' angle that's 5 boxes long is ACUTE, so most any clue referencing angles (geometric, not criminal) will do. dah. do. dah.

DR 3:41 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
RooMonster 3:50 PM  

@Wright Young 12:22
For me, if I get the dreaded Almost There message, then have to go back to see my wrongness, and it's a blatant miss, then it's a DNF, even if you fill in the correct letters at that point, then get the Happy Music.
However, if I go back and see it was just a typo, that I would've gotten had I not hit the wrong letter, I don't consider that a DNF because I knew the correct answer, just hit the R instead of the T, e.g.

Solving online, if you do get the Almost There message, you go back, and then can either search for your mistake line by line, or hit Reveal Puzzle, which will cross out your wrongness. The computer scores it as either a Gold Solve or a Blue Solve. The Blue is when you hit Reveal. During the solve, at any time you can hit Reveal Square, or Reveal Word. If I do that, I also consider it a DNF, cause I wouldn't have been able to solve it on my own. And that's also a Blue Solve if you Reveal anything.

Aren't you glad you do it on paper? Har.

RooMonster Used To Do On Paper, But Now Start Work At 9am, So Do It Online Guy

TTrimble 3:51 PM  

@Stephen Minehart
APNEAL is a Scrabble word, and appears in the Collins English Dictionary. It also appears in my 1975 Random House Unabridged. And in Wiktionary.

It appears in this abstract of an article published by the IEEE.

Editor57 3:52 PM  

Appeal is in the Scrabble dictionary and is worth 11 points. The definition says “see apnea,” LOL. And I’ve ridden trains all over Norway (my mom was born there) and I’ve never seen a parlor car.

albatross shell 4:05 PM  

I tried this and somehow mistakenly made it a reply. Trying again.

H. L. Mencken called the parlor car "the best investment open to an American":

He not only has a certain seat of his own, free from intrusion and reasonably roomy; he also rides in a car in which all of the people are clean and do not smell badly. The stinks in a day-coach, even under the best of circumstances, are revolting. The imbecile conversation that goes on in parlor-car smoke-rooms is sometimes hard to bear, but there is escape from it in one's seat; the gabble in day-coaches is worse, and it is often accompanied by all sorts of other noises.

Also Amtrak discontinued its Pacific Parlour Car in 2018. So fairly recent if you do not count the U.

Also note to those who label OFL a communist. His nostalgic praise for the class system of train travel has resulted in the revocation of his membership by all true communists.

I think Joaquin's law can be pushed too far. The clue for ACUTE, Not quite right, pushes a bit too far with the word quite. Some are not quite right or Not right would keep the joke and be accurate. Is almost dawn NIGHT? Nearly white and Nearly black both GRAY? Now I've almost convinced myself I'm wrong. Who said nobody changes their minds here.

Glad we finally found Roo's sensitive side.

Maybe JOHNX is sensitive about being censored and flew the coop? Any inside info Nancy?

Only 4 plurals and one ER.

Anonymous 4:06 PM  

@bigsteve46: I'm 44. Have been doing NYT crosswords since I was 25.

albatross shell 4:36 PM  

I had 3 crosses for 49A and put in onE BeEr KEg. Crossing FRATBRO. And gave me OKOK. It had to be right. It was perfect. I WoSH.

Douglas 4:41 PM  

Why does gay porn get a pass? Not because it’s gay, but because it’s porn. A repulsive industry that manipulates and abuses young women (and I suppose men), destroys families and marriages, and is heavily involved in sex trafficking. Truly disgusting.

Nancy 5:19 PM  

I can understand your deep disappointment in me, @David in CA (2:42). Since you're someone who obviously loves science fiction, it must pain you to know that I don't read or watch any of it -- neither the good nor the bad. I know exactly how you feel, though. As a mystery buff and one-time Editor of The Mystery Guild, it pained me to learn that no less a literary eminence than Edmund Wilson had written a famous essay called WHO CARES WHO KILLED ROGER ACKROYD? How could he not care, I wondered? How could anyone not care? :)

But what you learn as a book club editor is that literary genre preferences are pretty much baked into people. You can hit your head against the wall trying to change them but most likely you can't. Do give me credit, though, David, for trying to Google an excerpt from your "Remnant..." recommendation. There's always a possibility that something about it is non-sci-fi-ish enough that I might actually like it. An excerpt would give me a big indication. But I couldn't access an excerpt and therefore I've given up.

Unknown 5:21 PM  

My first guess about Limp Bizkit and Korn was Poppunk. I adjusted it to numetal easily enough, and that's a term I have heard so I have no objections to it, but I do wonder if I am just wrong about thinking those two bands could be called pop-punk. Any opinions on that?

Breakfast Tester 5:28 PM  

49A: Staring at I_EBR_A_ER and wondering if the person supplying drinks at a party could really be considered an INEBRIATER.

A 5:46 PM  

Oops, I cut off part of my earlier post. First sentence should be: "Went to the beach for a few days, just caught up with the NYTXWs, and now I get to catch up with @Rex &Co. Win-win-win!" I know everyone was waiting with bated breath for the unabridged version.

@TTrimble, seems like we had the PETARD discussion not too long ago, but I really appreciated the in-depth etymology today!

Re: APNEAL, I actually wrote in APNEA- and held off to see if it would be APNEAs or APNEAe.

@Nancy, lots of good science fiction (or future fiction) is, in fact, social satire or social commentary - think H. G. Wells, or C. S. Lewis’ “A Space Trilogy.” The quality stuff has no place for MEATBAGS.

Anonymous 5:54 PM  

Well, that one raised the temperature in the room. Concur that LMAO is singular. I saw Janis Joplin live and I have no idea what Numetal is. When I went to college a shared room was simply a room. And the hair raiser, standing boldly mid-puzzle, is Gayporn. Rexy Baby’s effusively generous review only confirms my suspicion about his sexual preferences. What no NRA outrage today? And since when do we equate butting in with snooping? For me, this was a steaming pile of…Meat bag. As my 14-year-old would say, “a try hard“ puzzle.

thefogman 6:05 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
TTrimble 6:07 PM  

@Breakfast Tester
Are you looking for confirmation that that's the answer?

GB 6:12 PM  

I thought this was weak. The “our” in the clue for LMAO was misdirecting, and “at a premium” suggest expensively not in great demand.

bocamp 6:40 PM  

@Nancy (5:19 PM)

The book @David in CA (2:42 PM) refers to is: 'Remnant Population'. In case you might want to read the preface and a chapter or two, a digital version of the book can be downloaded here.

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

siehomme 7:09 PM  

Oh my. The answers GAYPORN and GOTSORE and FRATBRO and the clue "Stroke, in a way" —I never thought the NYT crossword would have me reaching for my smelling salts. What fun!

Zwhatever 8:00 PM  

There's a whole sub-genre of science fiction that imagines minds being uploadable and transferable to different bodies, making bodies mere MEAT BAGS. Altered Carbon on Netflix is one example (not that I remember if they ever used this term). There's many others out there.

I'm glad the Great Not Quite misunderstanding has been cleared up. Again, I am not quite 6'5", nobody imagines that means I'm 6'6".

Phil 8:37 PM  

What’s with the royal pronoun in 17a?

Anonymous 8:54 PM  

What does the frequency of light (nu) have to do with metal or Korn?

TTrimble 8:55 PM  

And thanks for the Hildegard link. The story goes, according to the late Oliver Sacks anyway, that her religious visions tended to precede attacks of migraine headache. There is an interesting meditation (labeled as an "opinion") that touches on connections between unusual psychic states and migraine, with prominent mention of Hildegard and her experiences, here in the NYT.

Somewhere above I wanted to include the word "lancinating", but couldn't decide where. It'd be a great word for describing a migraine. But I first learned this word (and was duly impressed) while reading a description of, well, not a religious vision exactly, but some kind of mystical experience. The author, James H. Austin, a neuroscientist, was describing an experience of kensho after years of studying Zen. His descriptions, forming a chapter of his remarkable (and dense, difficult to read) book Zen and the Brain, are far too long to quote or even to meaningfully compress here. But, you can find a somewhat brutally compressed rendering here, which includes that piquant use of the word "lancinating".

Anonymous 9:09 PM  

I thought many of the answers were obsolete and many of the clues too vague (grand _) or inaccurate (in great demand for ATAPREMIUM, could just be in short supply econ 101).

I knew Rex would like GAYPORN. As with others, I though this was too inappropriate (not offensive, not that there's anything wrong with that) but over the top. What's next B*&WJ%B?? There's other places for R or X rated content than the NYTCW.

Surprised, too, that Rex didn't gloat about the NRA bankruptcy!

albatross shell 9:52 PM  

PORN has been an answer many times since 1975. Why is GAYPORN over the top? Is it the puzzle or you?

albatross shell 10:04 PM  

Unfortunately declared bankruptcy does not mean has a stake through the heart. Not that there is anything wrong with gun ownership.

Wright-Young 10:22 PM  

@jae, @RooMonster, thanks for sharing your philosophies on DNF. I actually do solve online; I just needed to know how guilty to feel if I didn’t have everything right the first time! :)P Sounds like I’m in the right ballpark. Thanks!!

A 11:48 PM  

@TTrimble, thanks for those links! I read the Austin account and then kept clicking "previous" until I got to #47 - "if you are out of your body, are you out of your mind?" I realized some experiences I've had weren't so terribly different from some of those described. Except mine aren't so paranormal; just reassuringly illuminating. What an interesting and painful tale from Jenny Giering, though. Brings to mind the theory of "inspiration coming from suffering," or some other debilitation. Can't wait to see what the ever-accelerating progress of brain research tells us about this and everything else.

A 11:58 PM  

@albatross, loved your post whether it was a reply or not. The Mencken, the "nostalgic praise for the class system of train travel" resulting in Rex's loss of communist status, changing your mind mid-argument, and affirming @Roo's sensitive side are first class RPblog commentary.

Unknown 12:53 PM  

"gayporn" is a tad disquieting.
I would have preferred, UZI or NRA....

Anonymous 6:09 PM  

@albatross shell, I find PORN and GAYPORN equally objectionable for the puzzle. I'm not personally offended by either term, I just dont think they are appropriate in the puzzle

Liz1508 7:57 AM  

I agree. “Our” was not appropriate.

Anonymous 10:20 AM  

Had Trump Army instead of Troll Army for a while . . .

thefogman 10:46 AM  

I too had TRumpARMY at first. BRONZERPALETTE (which can give you the complexion of an orange monkey) lead me astray. I thought there was a theme going there for a while.

spacecraft 11:20 AM  

Tough as nails, with apologies to a current TV show. I solved it through many guesses, some of them pretty wild. Thrown off the track by "grand"... why, Jury, of course. Yeah right--not quite.

I have a bone to pick with the clue for 17a: "Oh, OUR (emphasis mine) sides are hurting." Our. Plural. Answer: LMAO: laughing MY (singular) ass off. Come on, guys, you can misdirect, but you can at least make the two agree. Apparently, the one laughing is a king or queen. Not funny.

Full of things I didn't know, and a struggle from one end to the other. Yeah, triumph points, but not that much joy. Par.

Anonymous 1:22 PM  

Binghampton, Gary, Bridgeport, Waterloo, Mitchell. Places to avoid like the petard.

Burma Shave 1:41 PM  

ART, OAR . . . ?

"ASNOOPER in the PARLOR ROOM said your


rondo 1:49 PM  

Agree with @spacey INRE: 17a clue. A 'royal' misdirect, or error in plurality. The only write-over was there. Otherwise clean but not easy. ACUTE Claire FOY, yeah baby. For a Sat-puz, this CRITIC says, "WAY to go".

Diana, LIW 3:18 PM  

It was all going so well, and then...a 2-letter dnf. You can guess what the culprit was. Yes, you could Name the problem.

Diana, LIW

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