Campaign catchphrase of 1988 / SAT 9-25-21 / Site of the impact of the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs 66 million years ago / Rhetorical inversion device seen in Champagne for my real friends real pain for my sham friends /Greek goddess of memory / Flower that's also the name of a Downton Abbey character / Drug known by its German initials / Palindromic number in Italy / County that's split in two by the Grand Canyon

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Constructor: Adam Simon Levine

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: CHIASM (27D: Rhetorical device seen in "Champagne for my real friends, and real pain for my sham friends") —

In rhetoricchiasmus (/kˈæzməs/ ky-AZ-məs) or, less commonly, chiasm (Latin term from Greek χίασμα, "crossing", from the Greek χιάζωchiázō, "to shape like the letter Χ"), is a "reversal of grammatical structures in successive phrases or clauses – but no repetition of words".

A similar device, antimetabole, also involves a reversal of grammatical structures in successive phrases or clauses, but unlike chiasmus, presents a repetition of words in an A-B-B-A configuration. // Chiasmus balances words or phrases with similar, though not identical, meanings:

But O, what damned minutes tells he o'er
Who dotes, yet doubts; suspects, yet strongly loves.

— ShakespeareOthello 3.3

"Dotes" and "strongly loves" share the same meaning and bracket, as do "doubts" and "suspects".

Additional examples of chiasmus:

By day the frolic, and the dance by night.

Despised, if ugly; if she's fair, betrayed.

— Mary Leapor, "Essay on Woman" (1751)

For comparison, the following are considered antimetabole, in which the reversal in structure involves the same words:

Pleasure's a sin, and sometimes sin's a pleasure.

— Lord Byron, in Don Juan, (1824) (wikipedia)

• • •

This one started out very easy (in the NW), but then got much tougher, much more Saturday. I'm really not a fan of puzzles that get all their difficulty from obscure trivia, and this one is a pretty fair example of the type. I know the Crater in question is famous. I've undoubtedly had its name in front of my eyeballs at some point. But the fact is that CHICXULUB is nine random letters to me (thankfully, I could infer CRATER). It's a valid answer, but it's no fun to solve because even when you "get" it all ... I mean, is it right? How would you know? You just have to trust the crosses and hope for the best. And all the crosses were pretty solid today, no guessing involved, so that's good. But still, this is one of those bits of trivia that essentially hands the puzzle to the minority of people who just know it, and absolutely blocks the puzzle for those who don't, and there's not a lot of middle ground. Meh. But if it were just one answer that went obscurantist on me, I wouldn't have minded. But then CHIASM? (pronounced KYE'-as-m). I teach English and have even used the term "chiastic structure" to talk about lines of poetry but I've never seen the term CHIASM in my life (or its apparently more common (?) form, "chiasmus"). It's vaguely from my field and I still thought it obscure. It's familiar to a narrow group of people. Basically professional argot. Shrug. Then throw in MNEMOSYNE and honestly it feels like I'm taking a test now, or playing some kind of trivia game. I knew the MNEM- part of the goddess of memory (thank god, because otherwise I definitely would've thought the sports agent was ARI), but the -OSYNE part I got, eventually, only because there is literally a MNEMOSYNE brand spiral-bound notebook on my desk right now (such great paper, so sleek and beautiful, accept no substitutes). If you want some lesser-known term or mythological figure in your grid, OK, but maybe limit yourself to one. This one had a ... tendency, a bent, an attitude that suggested it was more interested in testing you, and stumping you, than in entertaining you. Some people like that, maybe. Makes them feel like the puzzle's being sufficiently intellectually rigorous. Me, I'll take my Saturday challenge with a little less of this brand of "rigor" and a little more cleverness. 

There were also two very bad clues in the puzzle that kind of wrecked things for me. You never want the correct answer to leave the solver feeling like "that was cheap" and I definitely felt that a couple times today, first and most especially with the clue on "NO NEW TAXES" (5D: Campaign catchphrase of 1988). Now, part of my problem is that my brain wasn't really taking in the "campaign" part of the clue, so I was looking for a general catchphrase, like, I dunno, "WHERE'S THE BEEF?" or something like that. But even when I had it down to NO NEW TA--S, I had no idea, despite being very much alive for the 1988 presidential election (the first one I voted in). You know why I had no idea? Because the "catchphrase" isn't "NO NEW TAXES." No, no it isn't. You know what the catchphrase is. You do. You know how it starts—and it's How It Starts that makes it memorable, i.e. Makes It A Catchphrase. The "catchphrase" is (ahem), "READ MY LIPS: NO NEW TAXES." This is what got said and repeated and parodied etc. This *entire* phrase. Dude was trying to play some kind of Dirty Harry and ended up just eating his words, breaking his promise, and then getting destroyed in 1992 despite having huge approval ratings just one year earlier, after invading Iraq (the first time we did that). If you don't have the "Read my lips" part, you do not not not have the "catchphrase." You have a phrase. Also, DUNGAREE is the fabric, so DUNGAREE *is* your jeans. It's not "in" them. Boo. I know you wanted to do a little winky naughty sexually suggestive thing here with the clue (13D: It may be in your jeans), but if your clever clue doesn't ultimately work for the answer, pffft. 

The rest of the puzzle seemed fine. Perfectly smooth and solid and Saturdayesque. And I did appreciate the crossing of "NO NEW TAXES" with WUSSES, that's a sly bit of genius right there (the more common term for Bush I was "wimp," but "wuss" will do). Good workout, just wish it had been less reliant on lesser-known terms and terminology for its difficulty. Does anything else need explaining? LEANDER (16D: Tragic lover of myth) is from the story of Hero and LEANDER. My man swam the Hellespont every night just to be with Her(o). But then, you know, inevitably there's a storm, he drowns, she drowns herself, the usual Tradge. I know the story of the two lovers primarily as a poem by Christopher Marlowe. It was unfinished at the time of his death, and "completed" by at least two other poets over the years, most notably George Chapman—he of the Keats poem, "On First Looking into Chapman's Homer" (1816):
Much have I travell'd in the realms of gold,
    And many goodly states and kingdoms seen;
    Round many western islands have I been
Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold.
Oft of one wide expanse had I been told
    That deep-brow'd Homer ruled as his demesne;
    Yet did I never breathe its pure serene
Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold:
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
    When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
    He stared at the Pacific—and all his men
Look'd at each other with a wild surmise—
    Silent, upon a peak in Darien.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

P.S. Today is the 15th anniversary of this blog. I did a 15-tweet thank-you thread on Twitter already, but I'll thank you all here too, on the blog itself, for reading and supporting this blog over the years. I'll leave you with the first three tweets, since they're the ones about you :) 

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Lewis 6:54 AM  

Congratulations, @Rex, on the blog's anniversary, and keep it up for at least as long, please! I also second your endorsement of LMS, who I see as a Mahatma.

So, to the puzzle. What a lovely cornucopia of answers from such varied areas, spiced with bits of learning to make for a rich solve. Re those bits of learning, I didn’t know the meaning of “Mahatma” or “dungaree”, and there were five other answers out of my wheelhouse.

But there was much I did know, which eventually overcame the deficit, and to me, that’s one of the most satisfying type of solve. Thank you for that, Adam, and WTG on your debut. You show excellent ability and confidence in this puzzle, and I’m keeping a special eye out for you, hoping for more.

I enjoyed seeing four palindromes, plus LEADER under LEA(N)DER.

And two more sorta related points. First, regarding BUSKER, my hometown of Asheville is busker city, including, for many years, Abby the Spoon Lady, who was amazing (she moved away two years ago). Here’s a sample: .

Finally, as to answers I didn’t know, I’m reminded of this magnificent quote from Mark Twain: “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”

bocamp 7:14 AM  

Thx Adam, for an outstanding Sat. challenge! :)


Got a great start in the NW and The Great Lakes, but came up short in the NE; headed down south and found only moderate resistance in the Rockies and SW. Things heated up a bit in the SE with THREATENED and MEDIA MAIL being the main antagonists. Reading 'presage' as 'pressage' didn't help matters in that area.

Moved up to the the NE, finally got that area squared away, then getting AH I SEE and ACTING helped to get THREATENED and MEDIA MAIL, leaving only _ODE. Mentally ran the alph, going past 'B' a couple of times, before the bulb went on, as I reread and grokked 'presage'. 'B' as in BODE was my uncle. Job done! :)

A most enjoyable and diverse solving experience.

Loved it!

Oh, and thx, Adam, for all the fair crosses, especially considering the grid-spanning CRATER. 👍

@albatross shell (10:33 PM late yd eve.)


yd pg -1 (and congrats to all QBers from yd 🐝)

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Lewis 7:17 AM  

To J who sends me the formula for embedding url's, I promise I wanted to do it today, but I just didn't have time to see if it worked. Next time!

Frantic Sloth 7:33 AM  

We have to know sports agents now?? [insert grawlix here] C'mon!

Did you know "read my lips" and NO NEW TAXES have the same amount of letters? You do now. And so do I.

18A mocks me. Greek goddess of memory? Didn't know her until I got the bright idea of mnemonics. Where that came from, there's no telling, but MNEMO(something) made sense.

Learned CHICXULUB CRATER for today. Well, part of today, because after that - forget it. (MNEMOSYNE napping on the job. Again.)

Ditto CHIASM(s). I just love how clever those are.

Which reminds me...there's a DUNGAREE?? Back in the Stone Age, we called them DUNGAREEs, but singular? Incredulous, I was compelled to look into it. Turns out there is a DUNGAREE fabric.
Huh. I'm just temporarily learning all kinds of stuff today!

Love Rowdydow. RUCKUS is a little fun, but "rowdydow" brings home the bacon.

Lots to like about this one - and another impressive debut. But, it seems like the PPP crutch is still overly-employed.
Congratulations, Mr. Levine. I anticipate a bright future for you in xword constructioneering. Keep at it!

🧠🧠🧠 (played hard, but it ended up being several minutes below my Saturdee average) 🤔

Son Volt 7:45 AM  

Some obscure fill here - although I was one that Rex referenced who knew CHICXULUB so that helped. More HELI stuff today. GREAT SOUL was a recent clue but I backed into MNEMOSYNE.

No idea with MEDIA MAIL - and still can’t see AH I SEE. Was never a big IRONSIDE fan - too dramatic for me.

Not a real fun Saturday solve. Anna Stiga’s stumper is a little snazzier.

OffTheGrid 7:51 AM  

I got BARON and BUSKER right away, very rare for me to hit 1A & 1D first thing on a Saturday. My second choice for '88 campaign catch phrase was correct. My first choice was too long. "Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy" was my initial thought. (Lloyd Bentsen's response to Dan Quayle in a VP debate")

Trey 7:51 AM  

@Rex - loved seeing the post from Grandpamike. I think he missed it on his conclusion. The blog was not a terrible idea (at least most days).

Completely agree with your assessment, especially of a CRATER where no part of the name is inferable.

The west half of the puzzle was regular Saturday for me - good fill, good challenge, slow steady progress. Then to the east side which was almost entirely blank. This may be the first time ever I got a compass direction correct on the first guess - I now drive between Richmond and Raleigh at least once a year, and used to live in Chapel Hill and then Richmond. That helped open up the SE corner for me (also both cities are in the SE US). Between that and DICER (my wife had gazpacho at dinner last week, so I had seen all the little cubes), I was able to work my way northward. Had some missteps along the way (gee instead of MGM, or example, keeping me from seeing MARIGOLD - had geranium first - never saw Downton Abbey and perhaps Geranium could have been a first name). When all was said and done, it was a medium-challenging puzzle for me. Good puzzle, and without the CRATER, would have been excellent

Zwhatever 7:53 AM  

“Rigor.” Rex is speaking my language. And exactly how I felt about this puzzle. ARN Tellem? Seriously? He’s even a VP on a team I’m a fan of and absolutely no clue. The MN start for a goddess of Memory made it easy enough to suss out, but what if “mnemonic device” didn’t occur to you? Blrrgh. LEANDER and HEROES. Clever but boy howdy that’s “ain’t we smart” clever. And I find making GENEVA both a font and product placement just rankling. It got the arched eyebrow of “really?! You want me to care about product fonts?” And then there’s NOLI me tangere. Only biblical scholars and art historians need apply. I don’t mind crosswords as trivia fests so much as I see them as second tier. Obscurity and niche disguised as cleverness. Between the CHIASM clue and the general tenor of the cluing and answers the puzzle brought Frank Ocean to mind.

MAF 7:55 AM  

Bumper sticker, Texas 1970's: "I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy". And now I know this is an example of a chiasm.

Trey 8:02 AM  

I just remembered (thanks to MNEMOSYNE) where I had heard CHIASM before, and with Rex's post it now makes sense why it is called such in medicine.

The Optic CHIASM is a place in the brain where nerves between the eyes and the optic portions of the brain cross in a way that resembles the CHIASM in literature. The Optic CHIASM is shaped like a big "X". If I recall correctly from med school (now over 30 years ago), the nerves from the outer sides of each eyes enters and exits the "X" on its own side, whereas the nerves from the inner sides of the eyes enters on its own side, then crosses in the middle to exit on the other side. This would essentially take the AABB pattern on the eye side of the CHIASM to an ABAB pattern on the brain side of the CHIASM. My recollection is that this helps with binocular vision or something like that.

TKL 8:02 AM  

"Media mail" is not a thing.

JD 8:03 AM  

Couldn't finish the NE block. Couldn't get Mnemo's syne, didn't know Dungaree was a fabric (g'morning @Frantic) and was trying to think of a thing inside of pants. Kept thinking Gotcha was like haha gotcha, and acting wasn't coming up for Interim.

What this means is that I got Chicxulub but not Crater.

PBS Nova had an episode about the impact event a while back so I knew the asteroid hit off the coast of Mexico, but where? The crazy string of letters made sense in the crosses but what was the rest of it? Finally seeing that Crater was wanted resulted in a concussing, epic head slap. DumBass. Duuuumb.

Great puzzle. Two days in a row of almost pure fun. The Nova episode is called Day the Dinosaurs Died. If you can find it online I highly recommend it.

Joaquin 8:07 AM  

Do not tell me that CHICXULUB CRATER was a “gimme” for you. Do not tell me that CHICXULUB CRATER is in your wheelhouse.

Zwhatever 8:12 AM  

@TKL - The USPS disagrees.

FearlessKim 8:15 AM  

Happy anniversary to Rex and the blog!

Trey 8:17 AM  

Did you know that CHICXULUB is a semordnilap? Buluxcihc is the reverse crater on the other side of the planet from the impact of the same asteroid. ;-)

TTrimble 8:28 AM  

Strangely, this puzzle played pretty easy for me: about half the time of some other recent Saturdays. I guess the "rigor" suited me.

In actual fact, there were only a few isolated instances of said rigor. MNEMOSYNE I remember, probably because the word looks interesting to me and that's the sort of thing that sticks. But it's only that and CHIASM and CHICXULUB CRATER that are at all semi-exotic, as far as the answers go. Capybara in a clue also looks interesting, which is why the trivia "world's largest RODENT" was for me close to hand.

In order to know CHALUPA, all you have to be is a couch potato and take in a Taco Bell commercial. Gotta hand it to Taco Bell: they sure can make their food look delectable, even if I never go there (knowing full well the reality would disappoint).

Love RUCKUS and WUSSES and PAINTBALL. Love the cluing for GENEVA (Kind of typeface or Pepperidge Farm cookie). Which reminds me of the silly game Cheese or font? (yes, I've mentioned this here before).

Thanks, Adam Levine. You are a man of many talents, even if Maroon 5 has gone downhill in recent years.

yd 0
td ? (haven't hit g yet, and I'm not looking)

puzzlehoarder 8:35 AM  

An easy Saturday to follow a tough Friday. Yesterday's comment got lost in the ether. It seems I bucked the general trend by finding that one to be hard. I'm curious to see how people find today's puzzle.

One advantage I had today is that I've read just about every article the NYT has ever published concerning the CHICXULUBCRATER. If I recall correctly it was the semicircular pattern of the cenotes in the Yucatan peninsula that first pointed scientists to its location. Seeing how we owe our existence to this CRATER it's not an insignificant bit of trivia.

My familiarity with the grid spanner aside this was just an easy puzzle. My only write over was MOJAVE/MOHAVE. It's still a very respectable puzzle of high quality material despite it's lack of resistance.

I was not surprised to see that CHIASM is a debut. I've never seen the word before and had there been no context I would have thought it was something a CHIA pet could achieve with the sufficient amount of stimulation. Maybe that would be a case of the CHI really marking the spot.

I have no idea how many years I've been commenting here. I'm by no means OG but after all the nice things I've said about our host over the years some little shout out would have been nice. I guess I'll just have to keep worshipping from afar.

dby pg-5 yd-0

bocamp 8:39 AM  

@Rex, many thanks for your blog and for all the effort you've put into it over the years! :)

td pg -6 (timed out)

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Anonymous 8:50 AM  

Came to the puzzle directly from seeing the obit in today’s NYT for the guy who wrote the “where’s the beef?” ad. I really wanted that to be the answer for 5D. And did anyone else stare at the top of NE and wonder what could go there besides Daisy?

Anonymous 8:51 AM  

I agree completely with Rex. Stuff like CHICXULUB and MNEMOSYNE aren't derivable for the solver who's never heard of them.

As a whole, this week was pretty meh. I think five of the seven days had debut constructors and many of their puzzles were... not great. But that's more on the editors than on the constructors themselves.

Wanderlust 8:56 AM  

Who would have thought that between CHICXULUB and CRATER, the section with the former would be easy and the one with the latter would be difficult? Like Rex, I knew it but certainly didn’t know how to spell it. I wanted Yucatan Peninsula but that was a letter too long. My mind then said, “He’s not going to make us try to get that name, is he?” He was. Challenge accepted, and the crosses were fair.

The SE, on the other hand, was a species-destroying meteor crash all its own. Confidently had COOPS instead of COTES, SLIDE instead of ELIDE, CORER instead of DICER (my dicer is a knife) and NOLO instead of NOLI. I knew those weren’t all right (what ends in NSC except THE NSC) but I didn’t think all were wring. CHIASM and MEDIAMAIL were both mysteries. But came through eventually, leading to a medium solve time after what seemed like it would be easy for a Saturday.

On gazpacho: I have a garden, and I get so many tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers that I am constantly making gazpacho, among many such dishes. I didn’t live through the Depression, but I can’t stand throwing food away, and even after giving much of the bounty away, I can be found dicing at all hours in the summer. Last year, the dental hygienist asked if I had been eating a lot of acidic foods. I said that I eat no meal in the summer that does not have tomatoes.

So, chunky or smooth? I don’t mean peanut butter.

George Dies (HP Labs) 8:59 AM  

Media mail is a US Postal Service category

Amelia 9:01 AM  

Happy anniversary, you old curmudgeon. How perfect that on the day, you write

"I'm really not a fan of puzzles..."

Your mantra.


Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 9:03 AM  

Ha! First things in the grid for me were MNEMOSYNE crossing IAMBS. Figured it was going to be a good day for me. And I didn't write in CHICXULUBCRATER off a blank, but once I had the CXU it was so obvious. Which was easy to get to because I'm from Mass[Tax]achusetts, home of Mike Dukakis. (we're having our state democratic convention this morning, lots of platform battles, no speeches by candidates for governor alas). Today's Rock star tuned out to be ORES, I knew that one too. No Rap whatsoever. Good puzzle.

Mikey from El Prado 9:08 AM  

Happy anniversary Rex and thanks for the blog! We are all appreciative of this venue to share our love (and frustrations :)) of the NYT crossword.

Regarding today’s puzzle…

West went well, and then everything Rex said plus MEDIAMAIL!? Yeah, I see it’s a thing. A USPS thing. Frankly, I used FedEx, UPS and electronic methods much more than USPS, which I use only for letters.

Zacathy 9:09 AM  

I use media mail twelve times a day. And when you print the label. It says media mail. So.

Mikey from El Prado 9:10 AM  

Oh, DUNGAREE made me think it was a @Frantic Sloth take on DUNGARAY

Zacathy 9:10 AM  

Dungaree is a fabric. Jeans are clothes. Dungaree is not jeans. Dungarees are slang for jeans.

It’s the same as

Cotton is a fabric. My shirt is made of cotton. Cotton is not my shirt.

GILL I. 9:11 AM  

Great post today, @Rex.....Please don't go away....Now I'm wondering if you've ever read me? I wouldn't know how to spell ANEMOSYNE nor CHICXULUB CRATER even if the teacher wrote it on the chalk board. Hell, I have trouble spelling my name.
But did you like this? you ask. Why yes....I did. Did you have to cheat? you ask. Well, yes because I can't spell, I have no idea who this ARN Tellem is, I've never see NOLI in the wild and, and, and why did't you have Cokie Roberts instead of the little bird ROBIN?
So I learned some trivia that I will never remember. I give a rats patootie that the telephone prefix for Russia is SEVEN and that a birth announcement has the word LBS. Minor little NIT because you give me WUSSES and CHALUPA. I WILL remember that a small little boat in Mexico is called a CHALUPA. I always thought it meant something like a serape or maybe even a piñata.
Nice Saturday that I enjoyed on this day that will be Fallish in temperatures.

DJG 9:14 AM  

I read the clue for DUNGAREE -- "It may be in your jeans" -- as a play on "in your genes" -- a biology reference.

I don't think it was meant to be a "a little winky naughty sexually suggestive thing" at all. That angle literally did not cross my mind. (The suggestive saying is "get into somebodies *pants*" not jeans.)

Mr. Cheese 9:24 AM  

Congrats! 15 years!
An astounding accomplishment. A labor of love … why else would someone grind away?

CS 9:34 AM  

A rare occasion where I agree with Rex .... even for a Saturday, ChicxulubCrater is absurd. I also never heard of Chiasm but the crosses for that were fair.

And @TKL yes Media Mail is a "thing" that I have occasionally used myself!

Aside from the crater I enjoyed this for a Saturday !

Happy weekend

-- CS

Peter P 9:35 AM  

@TKL - I literally just sent some books via "media mail" on Thursday so I can confirm, yes, yes it does exist. It's a slower service for books, tapes, CDs/DVDs, etc., and cheaper. It pops up as an option on the little screen at the post office when you choose your method of delivery, so it's not something you have to know about and ask for.

amyyanni 9:40 AM  

Whoa, @Trey, that is seriously astounding; thanks for enlightening us.
Really wanted to like this more than I did. P'haps I am disgruntled a bit as I am one of those souls who calls her Jean's dungarees, so while I got the clue in time, I was frowning. And nothing sparked much joy, alas. Ala @Frantic, the Rowdydow clue is smilingly clever.
Eager to get outside. Gloriously perfect weather here: sunny, high in the 70s. Can't be nonplussed for long when you've had a great night's sleep!

Unknown 9:46 AM  

George Bush was a decorated navy aviator who volunteered and fought for the freedoms you enjoy today so I would be careful who you call a wuss or a wimp especially if you have not served yourself!

RooMonster 9:51 AM  

Hey All !
Well, dang, Rex. Your skin has obviously gotten thicker over these past 15 years. Not sure when you decided to stop reading the comments, but for a while there (pre-MODs) it was getting rough. Rex bashings, spell casters, negativity at its highest. Let me add a nod to the MODs. (Har, poet, don't even know it!)

Tough, but ultimately doable puz. Had to Goog to look up definition of 12D Stalwart. Could only think of Longlife, or something similar. Longlast? Thought that's what it meant, but then saw it meant LOYAL. Ah, let me finish up. However, DNF! At the CHICXULUwhatchamacallit. Had rODE for BODE, oHISEE, CHiISM, ouTING for ACTING, and rICER on the bottom for DICER. So, THREATENEr. Which ended up the asteroid as CHICXULUruRiTER. These crazy names of these places! Did a head slap when I hit Check Puzzle and then erased the wrongness and saw CRATER. D'oh! Still don't get BODE.

Apparently MNEMOSYNE doesn't know I exist, or else I was too far down the line to get any semblance of a memory!

Had seenagain at first for REWATCHED. Not many writeovers today. But that asteroid killed me. Ba dum tss.


Anonymous 9:52 AM  

Didn't anyone else start with "Aha...YUCATAN PENISULA!".....and then painfully, letter-by-letter cross it out?

Birchbark 9:57 AM  

If I read the "Word of the Day" entry correctly, the champagne quote is an example of antimetabole, not chiasm. This is the sort of sand-in-the-mouth that, given time, becomes a pearl.

I wanted a Lovecraft/Sacral rebus for the crossing of 20D and 33A (CHICthULU CRATER / NO NEW TIthES), but the puzzle would have none of it.

And for the 1988 campaign catchphrase, I wanted Dan Quayle's prim "Senator, that was uncalled for" rejoinder to Lloyd Bentsen's "You're no Jack Kennedy" tee-up (cf. OffTheGrid 7:51). Say what you will, he never let an epic contest of political wills get in the way of good table manners.

albatross shell 9:58 AM  

This was fun to me if not to Rex. The clues were the best part. The red black and blue trio. Delightful. I only knew one actually was a real animal. Thought of endangered immediately and was pleasantly surprised when THREATENED came into view. It reminded me of one of a series of jokes I made up in 4th grade based on the old newspaper one.
What's black and blue and red all over? Non PC answer these days. Then too but who knew.

A font and a cookie? It would be boring as just a cookie clue and totally obscure (to me) as a font clue. But a nice pair. Uhoh. I'm doing it again. But mismatched.

HEROES. Unexpected "literalness". Always a winner. I was on my third martini before I saw it.

LINT ACTING WUSSES more of the same. CHIASM DUNGAREE fine teaching clues.

First in: UTERO. Last in the N in SEVEN and the X in TAX. A nice development indeed.

I got the direction right too. No commuting help, but MEDEAMAIL was a gimmie here and that helped.
Noticed UPS across the canyon too.

KAISER AGA BARON another decent trio.

Geoff H 10:03 AM  

Having been a kid into dinosaurs in the ‘90s, I *immediately* knew CHICXULUBCRATER except I had no memory whatsoever of how CHICXULUB was actually spelled.

tb 10:14 AM  

Nice shout out to LMS.

T.C. Boyle wrote a great short story entitled "Chicxulub."

albatross shell 10:17 AM  

To me: make that MEDIA.

Whatsername 10:28 AM  

First and foremost, congratulations Rex Parker on your 15th anniversary!! Even though you said you sincerely don’t read the comments most days, I sincerely hope you will make an exception today. And it is we the commenters who should be thanking you, the host, for providing this forum for our daily dabbling in the crossword world. The review is always a pleasure, whether good, bad or indifferent, and the members of the commentariat have started to feel like old friends. Coming here enhances my solving experience and nearly always brings me pleasure, humor and some degree of intellectual enrichment. So thank you Rex and keep up the good work.

Nancy 10:39 AM  

Oh, sure, pick as your seed entry CHICXULUB CRATER. You know that 95% of all solvers won't know it and the other 5% won't be able to spell it. And I'd take every dollar I have in the bank and bet that this was indeed the seed entry. I am right, aren't I?

I watched "Downton Abbey" religiously. I loved "Downton Abbey passionately. So why the heck can't I remember who the hell MARIGOLD is/was? This is what having a memory emphatically not blessed by MNEMOSYNE is all about, folks.

(BTW, now we know where the word "mnemonic" comes from. Oh, you already did? Congrats.)

When I was in publishing, that cheaper "shipping option" was called "Book Rate" or "Fourth Class Mail" (40A).

You have your Spoonerisms and you have your malapropisms and you have your puns. So why on earth have I never heard of a CHIASM? Beats me.

I remember NO NEW TAXES. I was paying attention during that campaign. So why does it seem so "last century"? Oh, wait -- it was.

An interesting, grown-up puzzle devoid of junk. I liked it a lot.

What? 10:46 AM  

Too much obscure trivia. A cheap way of making a puzzle Saturday difficult rather than being clever.
And IN UTERO is not “Developing”. It means In the uterus.

Anonymous 10:47 AM  

OOH! AH I had the BADABINGCRATER. . . Silly Me!

jae 10:49 AM  

West very easy, east very tough, so mediumish. The CRATER, NOLI, GENEVA (as clued), and CHIASM were WOEs, plus I had COopS before COTES and oHISEE before AHISEE which made ACTING a nanosecond suck.

Lotsa of good stuff here, liked it a bunch.

Hal 10:53 AM  

Naticked trivia 😒 Trivia get table from crosses 😊This was very much the latter.

Carola 10:56 AM  

A two-layer Saturday treat for me: a fluffy top half that was a luck-of-the-draw bonanza of "Whee, I know that!" and a dense lower layer protected by a @#$%^^CRATER. Fun to figure it all out! Thanks to @Rex and commenters who've pointed out the bonus grid correspondences. Cute that LEANDER and his lover HERO are separated by that crater rather than the strait; perhaps SEDUCED running right down between them could fit with them as well.

I only know one "Noli mi tangere," this one by Fra Angelico. I love it for its feel of delicate restraint.

@Trey - Thank you for the CHIASM lore.

Frantic Sloth 11:00 AM  

Congratulations on 15 solid years of controversy-proof blogging, Rex. If only you provoked some sort of discussion among the commenters...
👍 to your shoutout to @LMS!

Liked this more than Rex did, but I also agree with everything he said. Guess I was proud of passing the test. 🤷‍♀️

@Birchbark 957am Thank you! I thought I was alone in that interpretation. (Sorry for the brainless company.)
Dear Gof. Does this mean the plural form is antimetabolopodes? (an tee mƏ tab o 'lah po deez)*

*had to copy/paste the schwa. Why doesn't my iPad keyboard have that option on the "e" key???

@TKL 892am (Just to pile on 😉) MEDIA MAIL is an actual thing. I've used it - it's cheaper!

@Trey 817am I did know that, but thought Buluxcihc was a hill.

@TTrimble 828am While we're at it, we can hand it to all those "restaurant-y" ads. It's misrepresentation, plain and simple and gross.

@puzzlehoarder's 835am CHIA pet comment now has me obsessing on the possible meaning of CHIA SM. Ick.

@Mikey from El Prado 910am 🤣 That's unfortunate. 😉

@Whatsername 1028am Well said, my friend!

@Nancy 1039am I think MARIGOLD was Edith's kid, but I could be wrong. It's happened once before.

Whatsername 11:06 AM  

GREAT example of a Saturday Stumper. I give this one the GOLD medal for difficulty but a big fat splat from the PAINTBALL gun for solving enjoyment. Didn’t know BUSKER, had a RIO Grand and my birds in CAGES. Have to agree with Rex on DUNGAREE, accurate I suppose but those jeans didn’t sit well. Also about 5D. NO NEW TAXES was a campaign mantra but the catch phrase was READ MY LIPS.

Didn’t realize I was going to need an international guide book today to reference the Italian number, the Russian prefix, the Indian translation, the Turkish title, the Mexican boat, the German initials, the Latin warning and then of course the unpronounceable CRATER in the Yucatán. Whew! I feel downright ANEMIC from all that globe trotting.

Zwhatever 11:10 AM  

@Trey 8:17 - 🤣😂🤣 But wouldn’t that be Buluxcihc Retac?

@Zacathy9:10 - You lost me at “Dungarees is slang for jeans.” As a singular jean, denim, and DUNGAREE usually refers to the fabrics while as a plural all three usually refer to the pants made from the fabric. Today’s clue references the fabric so the answer is singular, but calling the pants DUNGAREEs is not the same as calling my cotton shirts “cottons” since DUNGAREEs is common enough to to be in the dictionary.

@Unknown9:46 - Whatever his bravery as a young man in WWII, GHWB was not successful as a president and Rex is accurate that he is viewed as having been a bit of a WUSS in the role. There’s a theory out there that his son’s desire to invade Iraq despite not having a good reason to do so was a result of wanting to make up for his father’s failure to remove Saddam Hussein a decade earlier and the resulting perception that dad was a WUSS. Perhaps much of that perception is due to GHWB being less charismatic than Reagan or Clinton. He had an image that was more grandfatherly than manly. The irony, of course, is that he was an actual war hero whereas Reagan only played one in the movies but the public image was the opposite.

@Anon9:52 - I was saved the ignominy by having some letters in place, although the U of SEDUCED made me verify that “peninsula Yucatán” wouldn’t work.

@Birchbark - I was trying to figure out if the clue was actually a CHIASM as well, but then stopped because that definition was less than helpful.

@Anon10:47 - Badabing Crater should definitely be a thing.

Anybody know if MEDIA MAIL is actually a thing? 🤣😂🤣 Seems like we’ve sufficiently corrected the post, now.

Hack mechanic 11:12 AM  

Guessed chickulub, messed me up big time in the NW 'cause I couldn't see no new taxes as a result

mathgent 11:12 AM  

Feel good about finishing clean. It took some lucky guessing, though. Too much work to be enjoyable.

Doctor Levine, the constructor, must be a brilliant guy. He's a mathematics professor at Duke, usually ranked in the top ten of US universities. He got his doctorate from Columbia in 2010.

How is LSD known by its German initials? It's short for lysergic acid diethylamide.

The CHIASMs I've seen don't do much for me.

Hartley70 11:18 AM  

Yikes! This was the toughest Saturday I can remember, and it wasn’t just my failing memory. There wasn’t a chance in hell that I would ever have known the CRATER and even now I’ve forgotten it again. CHIASM sounds geological. Is ARN a nickname for dARN, because that’s how unlikely I found that answer? I’ve always used DUNGAREEs as a synonym for jeans and thought they were both made of denim. I have to take your word that MEDIAMAIL is a thing. I live in a past of parcel post and bulk mailings, but more often now it’s etail arriving at my door.
That was a sweet thank you, @Rex. Your posts and this blog add immeasurably to my love of crossword puzzles. A shout out to LMS is well deserved. She is a delight to us all.

Nancy 11:19 AM  

I have to reproduce for you all a priceless response on the Wordplay Blog to my query asking who the hell MARIGOLD was. This is from Eric H.:

As important as Marigold is to the story line, it’s hard to remember a character who basically has no dialogue.

Nancy from Chicago 11:20 AM  

Congratulations on your 15th anniversary! I don't comment very often but reading this blog and the comments have become a part of my daily puzzle routine. Thanks!

TJS 11:28 AM  

Unkown 9:46. With ya on the George Bush disparagement. Didn't vote for him, disagreed with his choice of advisors, but I would certainly not question his character.

15 years. Wow. Thanks for providing the forum for all of us, Rex. Since the day I first stumbled upon this blog, the only one I have ever visited, I have made it part of every morning. Definitely has added a new level of enjoyment to my 60-plus years of puzzling.

Chris 11:36 AM  

MNEMOSYNE is also a lovely poem by Trumbull Stickney (both of whose names would be interesting to see in xwords.) I had it memorized (ha!) at one point.

"It’s autumn in the country I remember.

How warm a wind blew here about the ways!
And shadows on the hillside lay to slumber
During the long sun-sweetened summer-days.

It’s cold abroad the country I remember.

The swallows veering skimmed the golden grain
At midday with a wing aslant and limber;
And yellow cattle browsed upon the plain.

It’s empty down the country I remember.

I had a sister lovely in my sight:
Her hair was dark, her eyes were very sombre;
We sang together in the woods at night.

It’s lonely in the country I remember.

The babble of our children fills my ears,
And on our hearth I stare the perished ember
To flames that show all starry thro’ my tears.

It’s dark about the country I remember.

There are the mountains where I lived. The path
Is slushed with cattle-tracks and fallen timber,
The stumps are twisted by the tempests’ wrath.

But that I knew these places are my own,
I’d ask how came such wretchedness to cumber
The earth, and I to people it alone.

It rains across the country I remember."

Joe Dipinto 11:36 AM  

CHICXULUB CRATER anagrams to cherubic curl tax. Must have been one of the new taxes not imposed in 1988.

Unknown 11:37 AM  

SPOILER....(just in case...)

She was Edith's daughter! More a plot point than an actual character.

Newboy 11:39 AM  

First day cheating in many moons, but for reasons Rex noted……sigh. Unlike OFL that NW corner took forever as I struggled to arrive at the obvious SEVEN—egads as Grannie would whine.

Adding 👏🏼👏🏼🥂🎉👏🏼 For Mr Parker’s milestone to many above. Especially during the past 18 months the puzzles and blog have been real friends. Now it’s time for the daily moment of thanksgiving at the altar of MNEMOSYNE before launching headfirst into the CHICXULUB CRATER of mundane life.

The Joker 11:42 AM  

Re: CHICXULUB CRATER. I was surprised to learn that the impact site had a name that long ago.

Joaquin 11:47 AM  

Nice going, @Rex, on blogging every single day for 15 years. Quite an accomplishment! I have great respect for this feat, despite rarely agreeing with you.

Similarly - Although I never once supported George Bush and rarely agreed with him, I have great respect for the man. He served (both in and out of uniform) with integrity. Implying that he is a wuss, is like calling Chuck Norris a wuss because you don't think he's much of an actor.

Steve M 11:57 AM  

Great puzzle since I finished it 😉

jb129 11:58 AM  

That's why we have you & your write-ups & the blog, Rex.

Happy Birthday.

Ilana 11:59 AM  

Plus Leander and (multiple) HEROES.

Jane 12:14 PM  

Congratulations Rex! Thank you so much for this blog.

egsforbreakfast 12:20 PM  

Many commenters seem to have forgotten the context of the fateful GHWB utterance:

Question: Should members of the salamander family be equipped with sharp-bladed devices for felling trees?
GHWB: Read ny lips.. NO NEWT AXES.

And he never wavered from that position.

Congratulations to Rex on 15 years kicking off an always enjoyable conversation, even when the conversation is largely aiming to ridicule him. And thanks for a great debut, Adam Simon Levine.

Gio 12:30 PM  

Zoomed through until Northeast corner. Gave this puzzle my 3 hour limit before googling. I guessed MNEMONYCA as the Goddess. That made me not get DUNGAREE. I was stuck there for over 2 hours. I guessed CHIASM. GOTCHA clue GOT ME. I don't know LEANDER had NAANDOR. Too much What We Do In The Shadows.
The only saving grace is that once I give up I get really mad at myself if it is something I could have got if I gave it a bit more time, but I never would have come up with MNEMOSYNE if I had 2 weeks.

JC66 12:46 PM  



chance2travel 12:51 PM  

@mathgent The abbreviation "LSD" is from the German "Lysergsäurediethylamid" according to a citation on wikipedia. (Wouldn't lysergic acid diethylamide be LAD?)

This puzzle felt medium-hard, but then I was done in easy-medium time. Had ARi because I was thinking of Entourage. But went with ARN because the memory thing just *had* to start with MNEM... because that must be where we get mnemonics from.

Not sure I love REVIEW crossing REWATCHED - feels nearly repetitive.

Anyone else put in NOLo for 50D? I was only saved when roCER and DoCER didn't look like gazpacho devices.

mathgent 12:52 PM  

My favorite posts this morning.

puzzlehoarder (8:35)
Wanderlust (8:56)

Anonymous 12:52 PM  

Hated yesterday. This much better, but still had to cheat on a square or too at the end, which is not my usual style.

Like others, the west side was a perfect Saturday - some fun fill, and a bunch of words I had to piece together and have some "aha" moments. East side not so much fun. Way too many proper names and places and things that were impossible to guess. I watched the first couple seasons of Downton Abbey and good god, why so many flower names?? Rose, Daisy were two I remember. Don't remember Marigold at all, so grrr struggled with that for ages. Just felt like the whole east side was a not-fun slog.

As to the impact site.... lucky me I live with a 9 year old geek and have watched a LOT of documentaries on the subject in recent years. Knew immediately it was "chix-something-something-lub". But who the hell could remember spelling? Thank goodness most of the western crosses were easy, but the end of the answer was not coming. I was trying to fill "chix-something-something-lub" across the whole clue. I flagged my 9 year old, he read the clue and looked at my blank squares, paused for a second and said "CRATER?" Good feeling.

Masked and Anonymous 12:59 PM  

Man, I really cratered on this SatPuz solvequest.

Congratz to the @RPmeister, on his blog's 15-year b-day. M&A can only recall bein around the Comment Gallery since 2010 or so, so I will offer up 11.5 reasons why I luv the blog…

1. All the cool poster-atzi-folks I've met right here, along the way. Speakin of which …
2. @Muse darlin, who even made runtpuzs, way back when. She has also defended M&A from troll commenters, right here on the blog. Plus @RP luvs her, too boot.
3. @Evil Doug, who once comforted m&e, over the loss of a very good friend. Miss him; that dude could out-snark @RP. har
4. @Andrea Carla Michaels (ACME), who once offered to do collaborationeerin on a puz with m&e. Woulda, if it weren't for bein stubbornly anonymous. She also reviewed @RP's first NYTPuz, right here on 17 Aug 2010.
5. @r.alphbunker, who befriended M&A to the point of constructin a whole neat website, where M&A posts runtpuzs, to this very day. A truly good and generous guy.
6. @Bob Kerfuffle, who doesn't hang out here much since the NYT told him Hillary was gonna win. He is a loyal runtpuz test solver and subtly mucho-witty dude.
7. @Teedmn, a sweetie who is also a loyal runtpuz test solver.
8. @Z, the only guy I know who @RP [back in his commentin to the commenters days] once called a magnificent beast, or somesuch. And that was way before @Z owned the Placebo Tentacle megabusiness.
9. @sanfranman, who used to post primo daily stats on the difficulty of the puz, based on a database of solvers' times. Evidently the database pooped out at some point, makin his task much harder to do.
10. @Two Ponies. That gal had tude. Always got a kick out of her posts.
11. @Rex Parker. Who provides this unusual forum, and who almost always pulls no punches in his puz reviews, includin for my one. Really dread to think what he'll say, if he someday gets to review my most recent submission, tho ...
11.5 @The Shortzmeister. For takin all this blog's heat, and providin many great solvequests for many many years now.

staff weeject pick: ARN. [IDK.]

Thanx for the challenge, Mr, Levine dude. And for the Xulu Chics. And congratz on yer debut.

Masked & Anonymo6Us


A 1:19 PM  

@Rex, happy 15 year blogiversary! Thank you, thank you, thank you! For your blog and for the community it encourages. I don’t tweet (unless I’m messing with the redbirds) so I hope Queen Loren or one of her court will convey all of our words of appreciation today.

Did not watch Downton, so I figured the flower might end in -ia, like petunia or dahlia except longer. The “a” led me “a”stray, so I thought my jeans had “acid wash” in them. Obviously that’s why you should always wash your new jeans before wearing them. Trying to get a confirmation from crosses, I moved over to the panda/whale/rhino clue and splatzed in “endangErED” which I confirmed with rOver, ELIDE and DICED. That mess took a while to sort out, but I finished without further rowdydowdery. Well, cOkIe Roberts before ROBIN.

Learned many new factoids today. DUNGAREE is apparently named for a place in India, Dungri or Dongri. There’s a county divided by the Grand Canyon. 70 IAMBS in a WS sonnet. Relearned that MAHATMA means “great soul.” Seems we saw that in a puzzle not too long ago?

HELIPADS supplied today for yesterday’s GIROS. (Speaking of yesterday, couldn’t make it here but really enjoyed the puzzle and all the comments, especially @Lewis’ LE MONDE/TURTLE placement. A few treats went unnoticed, PLEA crossing LEAP(DAY), double EEs in every entry down the east side, and best of all, ECON and ONCE in symmetry!)

It’s SHEL Silverstein’s birthday. Also Rameau and Shostakovich. All great souls who loved to have a good time.

Whatsername 1:19 PM  

@Chris (11:36) What lovely words! Thanks so much for sharing.

KnittyContessa 1:23 PM  

Happy Anniversary Rex! I couldn't agree with you more today. Tough, fair, but not any fun. No AHA moment, just, oh that's it.

I don't like sports clues to begin with now I need to know the name of an agent! Blah blah crater? MARIGOLD? I have seen every episode of Dowmton Abbey plus the movie and I can't remember who MARIGOLD is. Guess I need to start worshipping MNEMOSYNE. I had ----rose there for the longest time.

Hope tomorrow's puzzle is more fun.

Joe Dipinto 1:24 PM  

Re DUNGAREE/jeans, it's not supposed to be a naughty clue so much as a stupid pun on "It may be in your genes" – nudge nudge get it? elbow elbow Do you? Get it? Jeans/genes?? DO YOU GET IT????

sixtyni yogini 1:29 PM  

Congrations 🦖 !
And ditto on your comments on this puzz.
🧩🦖🧩 blog 👍🏽thanks👍🏽

JC66 1:42 PM  


Thanks for the memories.

mathgent 1:44 PM  

chance2travel (12:51). Thanks for explaining LSD.

Gio 1:47 PM  

@Nancy I also am a Downton fan. I kept trying to think of Matthew Crawley's mothers first name, which may have been a flower. Then I kept trying to think of the Dowager Countess first name, all I could think of was Maggie Smith. Then I started thinking about the scene where there were a bunch of children living in a farmhouse that had a lot of children. Turns out they were raising Edith's daughter, Marigold, which I completely forgot. I also could not remember Edith's name until I saw it today on the blog. I was sure it wasn't a flower, but something plain sounding like Agnes. I did pull Sybil and Cora out of the cobwebs.

Anonymous 1:51 PM  

the CRATER isn't 'the site' of the impact: IT IS THE FUCKING IMPACT. the site is Yucatan, Mexico, more specifically off the cost thereof.

Tom T 2:06 PM  

Yesterday and today both well below average times for me. Wheelhouse, I guess? And full disclosure, well below average on Friday band Saturday for me means "under 45 minutes!" :-)

Years ago, I teamed with a dear friend in a recurring production of Greater Tuna, a hilarious play in which two male actors portray over 20 characters, male and female, old and young, complete with dozens of fast costume changes. Anyhoo, one of the characters claims to have seen an unidentified flying object shaped like a giant CHALUPA; later his wife mockingly refers to that "flyin' Mexican food."

Also, I recently wrote about my family owning a pet toucan when that bird came up in a NYTXWORD. The bird was brought back to the states in 1967 by my brother, who had completed his Peace Corps tour of duty in Colombia. Actually he brought back a pair of toucans, 4 other birds, a dog and ... wait for it ... two CAPYBARAs! So I was very familiar with the world's largest rodent!

okanaganer 2:16 PM  

Man, what a tricky solve. I finished with an error at ARI crossing MIEMOSYNE. Naticky, but it is Saturday after all.

For the there-are-70-in-a-sonnet clue, looking at ---BS, I had to use my left hand to physically stop my right hand from typing VERBS.

At the end, trying to fill in the gaps in the crater, I put SHEB Silverstein, which made the crater CHICXUBUL, which looked just fine. (Thinking of Sheb Wooley, I guess.) It made 36 down LODE which I glanced at and thought "oh yeah, that's that 'Rock group' clue". Luckily I fixed it later.

[SB this week, Sunday to Friday: 0, 0, -2, 0, -5, 0 (all PG; midnight time limit). Haven't started today's yet.]

rjkennedy98 2:28 PM  

@Rex congrats on 15 years! You help make crosswords more fun and interesting, and I really appreciate the community you have built here.

Yesterday was a cinch compared to this one, but after putting it down a few times I somehow made it through this very crunchy Saturday. Somehow I found the trivia aspect of it less annoying than Rex did. Mostly because I could at least infer part of the two worst ones (MNEMOSYNE and CHICXULAB CRATER). Additionally, GREAT SOUL was a clue just a few weeks for MAHATMA. I really appreciate when Shortz echos like this!

Despite being born in 1989, I did know NO NEW TAXES. My dad would always do his best HW Bush impression with that phrase. Ugh, the Bushes are just the worst. The absolute worst. Endless wars, ubiquitous corruption, bloating debt, materialism, greed, and stupidity. Ugh.

jberg 2:42 PM  

I'm amazed I finished this one. The crossing Mexican words almost evaded me -- but the crossing letter had to precede an H both ways, which cut down the possibilities, and I eventually dragged the word CHALUPA out of deep memory. I had ACCuSe before ACCOST and RaCKet before RUCKUS, which didn't help much. Also Oho before OOH, NOLo before NOLI, ity before ESE, and earnED then hauLED before REELED.

Bush pulled back from Iraq because he had built a huge international alliance by promising that he would do just that; nothing wussy or wimpy about that. It was just his image; he looked as silly in his cigarette boat as Dukakis did in his tank.

I learned a lot from this puzzle: that MNEMOSYNE is a goddess, not a Muse; that the S in LSD stands for acid, rather than -sergic; that PAINTBSLL is a sport; and the name of that crater.

But Daisy and Cokie came before MARIGOLD and ROBIN, and I knew ARN mostly as the son of Prince Valiant.

Anyway, here's a little song about DUNGAREE.

Congratulations, Rex! Please keep 'em coming!

GILL I. 2:45 PM  

@M and A....You forgot one of your biggest fans.....@Roo! HAR!
@egs 12:20...Thanks for the NO NEWT TAXES giggle.

Anonymous 3:03 PM  

So am I the only one who gleefully, confidently, without crosses, wrote in MILANO instead of GENEVA for the font/cookie? Can't tell you how that slowed me down. Man. Great puzzle, though. Thanks, ASL!

TAB2TAB 3:25 PM  

Have to agree with Rex's write up. Most of the puzzle fell pretty easily for a Saturday but some of the trivia just felt a bit unfair. SHEL crossing CHICXULUB? I had SHEp and SHEa and found that my other guesses appeared equally (in)correct. If OSS (which has been out of existence since 1945) isn't in your wheelhouse, then OSn and MNEMOn--- seems reasonable, and possibly MNEMOnina with Denim--- "in your jeans". DUNGAREE seems a bit of a stretch with its clue and AGA and AHISEE aren't exactly breathtaking crosses.

bocamp 3:33 PM  

@Nancy (10:39 AM) / @Gio (1:47 PM)

Count me in the Downton Abbey fan club. :)

I couldn't place MARIGOLD, either.

@Carola (10:56 AM)

Thx for the 'NOLI me tangere' link; beautiful! :)

@okanaganer (2:16 PM)

👍 for SB prowess! Thx for sharing. :)

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Teedmn 3:35 PM  

I was busy thinking this puzzle was far easier than Stella's yesterday until I finished the west and ground to a halt. No Downton Abbey for me, MEDIA post, MEDIA rate, MAIL came in late, assorted other hitches.

MNEMO crossed IAMBS nicely leading to MGM so the NE filled in, albeit slowly. I finally decided the obvious THIRD son, Seth, was worth trying at 30A leading to my opening into the SW, THREATENED. But oH I SEE and CHICXULUB_R_TE? (was it LEANDER or LEANDEs?; S would end a Mexican name more likely than R) kept me guessing. I finally put in ouTING for 32D, shook my head on why that was an interim answer, shrugged and checked the answers. I can only wish that I had had the epic head slap @JD had. CRATER, duh.

Cenotes are pretty cool. I have gone swimming in a couple of them, the Yucatan's underground freshwater river flowing through them. A neat geological structure. But I hadn't heard of the CHICXULUB (not an exclusive ladies' club?)

Adam Levine, thanks for the Saturday workout and congrats on the debut.

Rex, thank you for the blog. I've only been here for seven of those years but you provide a site for my daily enjoyment and it is appreciated.

Thanks, @M&A, for the shout-out. "Test-solving" Runts is another of those near-daily pleasures I am much appreciative of.

Wanderlust 3:50 PM  

Aw, thanks. Often don’t post here because by the time I usually solve, it’s all been said.

Masked and Anonymous 3:59 PM  

@GILL I. - yep. @Roo is great. He once made a fabulous runtpuz, where all the vowels were U's. Groundbreakin work.

And I might add, @GILL I. is also a great presence in the Comment Gallery community. Plus there are tons more clever/interestin folks here, that I sorta had to group into item #1 in my first message's list, becuz -- well, kinda hard to list everyone over all them years. Luv em all, tho, and sure don't mean to slight anyone.

Even enjoyed the dude [have forgot his handle] that called M&A a hippy dippy country bumpkin, a few years back -- he had some funny hootz-bah.


Colette 4:27 PM  

Thanks so much, Rex, for your 15 years of commitment to this blog and the high standard you bring to it (most days). Happy Anniversary. Love reading your column and the comments.

Randy Miller 4:31 PM  

MEDIA MAIL might be obscure to any non-US-based NYT crossword solvers, but certainly not more obscure than many of the NY-specific answers are to the rest of us. It was an instant fill for me, and I imagine anyone living here who frequently sends or receives books or records through the mail.

I got the C for "some avian homes" and went straight for COOPS, which made that whole region of that crossword a bit of a mess. Fittingly, "AH I SEE" was the final clue I filled in.

puzzlehoarder 4:36 PM  

@mathgent, thanks for the shout out and a special thanks for spelling my name correctly. How it got two O's in it is beyond me and I'm much too lazy to fix it.

Wellmet 5:02 PM  

Trifecta today. 15th anniversary of Rex’s blog. An unexpected solve of a big time Saturday puzzle. Big birthday for me.

puzzlehoarder 5:18 PM  

@Frantic Sloth, r.e. "ick", hard to unsee isn't it? Thanks for spelling my name correctly. My wife went through the trouble of getting me a blue name here a while back. Since then it's switched back to black and is now misspelled. No idea why.

bertoray 5:31 PM  

Congratulations Rex! It feels like I've enjoyed and consulted your blog since forever. Here's to the next 15 years. Cheers.

Birchbark 5:57 PM  

@Frantic (11:00) -- What beautiful Middle English you speak.

@puzzlehooarder (4:36, 5:18) -- I've read your posts a thousand times and never realized you were Norwegian.

Barbara S. 6:19 PM  

Here's a cool thing -- my husband knows two of the guys who first figured out the location of the CHICXULUB CRATER, Alan Hildebrand and Bill Boynton. He first encountered them (separately) many years after that discovery. In fact, he worked with Boynton on a Mars lander (the Phoenix) back in the 2000-aughts. None of this helped me get that answer, though, which emerged slowly through crosses. The name CHICXULUB comes from the closest Mexican town and apparently means "the devil's flea" in the Mayan language of the Yucatan. Why a town was named "the devil's flea" I don't know and certainly it seems like a huge understatement for the CRATER, so physically large and massively significant in the history of the planet. I was rather hoping that CHICXULUB might have something to do with chickens, as they're among the dinosaurs' modern-day descendants.

Whatsername 6:30 PM  

@Wellmet (5:02) However “big” this birthday is, I hope it has been a real happy one. 🎂

DGD 6:50 PM  

I always wondered why it's L.S.D.

Anonymous 7:59 PM  

Yes, MARIGOLD was Edith's child.


RooMonster 8:06 PM  

@M&A and @Gill
Thanks, @Gill, for the shout-out! I started commenting here at first being a Syndie, but then learned of the puz-only subscription from (IIRC) @r.alphbunker. So got that, then became a regular. (Can't remember the exact year, the ole brain won't go back that far!) I really liked @M&A's off the wall posts, he always made me chuckle. As a tribute, I borrowed (stole?) a couple of his quirky things,
ala Har amongst them.
No prob with omittin me, I consider your list awesome! I miss some of them, too. Liked @Bob Kerfuffle. Maybe once you get to 15 years on here, then I can have a place! 😁

RooMonster Usurping Stuff Guy

tea73 9:10 PM  

Belatedly posting to thank Rex for 15 years of posts.


Loved Downton Abbey, considered many other flowers, luckily none of them fit.

DNF because put in ARi and despite telling my husband shouldn't it be something to do with mnemonics never actually changed it. I would have been fine with ARN from Prince Valiant. One of the most boring comic strips of all time.

Unknown 9:55 PM  

I agree with Rex in that there's no reason I should have ever known many if the answers today. Yes, i could infer crater, but the first word ... and mnemo too, but the suffix? And chiasm, noli etc., leander?? Also agree that dungaree is not IN my jeans

Easy ones for me - helipad, mediamail, seemed to stump others. As I have sold some books on eBay mediamail is definitely a thing, and much cheaper than first class for mailing textbooks.

albatross shell 11:14 PM  

Hey is there denim in those pants? Yes and some spandex too. Is that twill in that i your cotton shirt? Is that dungaree in those jeans? Wouldn't a no answer be incorrect? Awkward phrasing in service of the gene pun. Nothing to get your jeans in a twist about.

Eldreth 1:21 PM  

Are you sure about this or are you just being humorous? I searched and searched for this on the internet and found no information about any crater or reverse crater (oblique crater?) whatsoever. If its real and not humor, please send me your source.

RAD2626 9:38 PM  

I thought this puzzle was fun, moderately challenging largely because of the fill and better than most Sundays.

Couple of comments on today’s comments.

I think Jeff Chen is fabulous. Incredibly supportive, committed to the betterment of what for most of us is a hobby or diversion, collaborative to a fault, a terrific constructor, positive commenter, and a YA author to boot. I learn something almost every day from his comments. What he selects as his POW each week is of course his opinion, and he always offers a cogent rationale. The crossworld is much better because of him.

Rex’ fifteen tweets celebrating his anniversary are all worth reading. They are gracious, charming and fun. His appreciative nod to LMS , and others including Clare and August, demonstrate how much he truly cares. And while he won’t read this - Happy Anniversary and thank you.

kitshef 10:41 PM  

Absolutely no idea why this ran on a Saturday. You could have put this on a Tuesday and other than being themeless it would have felt fine. A bit on the hard side for a Tuesday, but not out of line.

Other than MARIGOLD, which needed a lot of crosses, this thing practically solved itself.

Charles Young 10:25 PM  

Same NUMBER of letters.

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