Group to which Don Rickles joked he never received an official membership card / SAT 9-11-21 / Acts like a nudnik to / Title sort of person in 2008's Best Picture / One-named singer with the 1968 hit "Abraham, Martin and John" / Computer programs used in 3D animation / What may be corrected on a trans person's birth certificate / House style with shingle exteriors and flat-front facades

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Constructor: Sid Sivakumar

Relative difficulty: Medium


THEME: Oktoberfest — or, more probably, none

Word of the Day: GAUTAMA (17A: Buddhism's founder) —
Gautama Buddha, popularly known as the Buddha (also known as Siddhattha Gotama or Siddhārtha Gautama or Buddha Shakyamuni), was a Śramaṇa who lived in ancient India(c. 5th to 4th century BCE). He is regarded as the founder of the world religion of Buddhism, and revered by most Buddhist schools as a savior, the Enlightened One who rediscovered an ancient path to release clinging and craving and escape the cycle of birth and rebirth. He taught for around 45 years and built a large following, both monastic and lay. His teaching is based on his insight into the arising of duḥkha (the unsatisfactoriness of clinging to impermanent states and things) and the ending of duhkha—the state called Nibbāna or Nirvana(extinguishing of the three fires). (wikipedia)
• • •

It's Saturday. This played like a Saturday. Saturday. Saturday. Saturday. Saturday. Saturday. Saturday. Saturday. Saturday. Saturday puzzle's alright. Man, "Saturday" is one of those words where if you look at it too much, it looks crazy and wrong. I mean, it's got "turd" in it, not an auspicious letter combo. Saturnday is better. Never should've dropped that "n." Huge mistake. I did not RUN A RACE through this one, but I moved pretty methodically and without any really noteworthy resistance. RUN A RACE, btw, total "eat-a-sandwich" answer. Verb-A-nouns are risky. Sometimes you get something very coherent and stand-alone-worthy like GRAB A SEAT. "GRAB A SEAT!," you might actually say to someone. "RUN A RACE," however, that one really needs a good lawyer to plead its case. Kind of a violent vibe to the NW, with its BURGLAR that gets interrupted and takes hostages and then tells those hostages to GRAB A SEAT and then when the cops show he STABBED them in their KEVLAR vests, putting the hostages at RISK—I hope they were not UNSAVED. Maybe someone threw ACID at someone ... sorry to RAMBLE ON, it's just sometimes grids contain hidden stories and I have to work them out, however gruesome they happen to be. 


I got into this particular grid this way:


This was after changing STEIN to LAGER and *before* (well before) STEIN and his whole family actually did show up (in the SE corner). Zero names in that NW corner (unless you count KEVLAR, which I don't). Pretty remarkable. But then the names come hard and fast once you get out into open waters. This can be good or bad. That's how names tend to work. Lifesavers or millstones. The crosswordese names really helped me out today; this always feels a bit like cheating—what do I *really* know about Stephen REA or ELIE Saab? Next to nothing. But I've got their names in my bag, ready to go, and they definitely helped considerably in their respective sections. TRALA, not a name, but it is short crosswordese, and it helped as well. 


I solved this in near-perfect clockwise fashion. NE was easiest, then SE, then NW, then SW, where I finished, and where I had my sole moment of "oh no, am I going to finish?" It was a brief moment, but it happened. I don't know what a "nudnik" is because it's not the 1940s or whenever anyone used that word, so PESTERS was blocked to me (43A: Acts like a nudnik to). The stupid second (ugh) [Take a ___] clue was down there, so no help. You'd think that Greta THUNBERG, a very well-known human being, would've been all I needed down there, but my brain refuses to remember the letters between "T" and "BERG" (39A: She was Time magazine's 2019 Person of the Year). It's bizarre. I had THALBERG in there at one point (Irving Thalberg was a Hollywood producer who died young and then they named an Academy Award after him, I think) (yes, he died of pneumonia 85 years ago this Tuesday; he was 37). Anyway, Greata should've guided me safely to the end, but instead I flailed for a bit. Luckily I knew ALERTS, and then "AMUSE ME!" really came to the rescue, and then I remembered the RAT PACK existed, and I was done (29D: Group to which Don Rickles joked he "never received an official membership card"). 


Five things:
  • 27A: "None for me, thanks" ("NAH, I'M GOOD") — it's an OK answer, but that clue does nothing at all to convey the answer's slanginess. Clue, formal, answer, highly informal, Boooooo! You'd say "None for me, thanks" to your gracious host who has had you over for dinner and is asking you if you want seconds. You would not say "NAH, I'M GOOD" to same host unless you were a boor or 14 years old or both.
  • 32A: Things auditors watch for (TAX DODGES) — had TAX and then just guessed. First guess: FRAUDS. Second guess: CHEATS. The answer is good, my guesses were not.
  • 46D: United Airlines hub, for short (SFO) — had the "S," guessed STL :(
  • 8A: Lake ___, where the Chari River empties (CHAD) — so ... not Lake COMO, then? Sigh.
  • 23A: Meets and eats, perhaps (DOES LUNCH) — my fav answer of the day, along with HOG HEAVEN. I like that the former answer runs right into the latter—DOES LUNCHOG HEAVEN. I am in HOG HEAVEN when I do lunch, for sure, so this seems like a natural and beautiful answer pairing.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

P.S. DEES because the term "Old-fashioned" ends in the letter "D" (20A: Old-fashioned endings?)

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

89 comments:

bocamp 6:31 AM  

Thx Sid; a perfect Sat. puz! :)

Med-hard solve.

Just what I like in a Sat. xword; lots of resistance, but fair crosses, making it very doable.

Slow and steady progress, with the NW being the toughest to suss out. LAGER was the catalyst.

Had a bonafide malapop, plopping STEIN in at 5D.

Very enjoyable trip!

@puzzlehooarder (7:17 AM yd) 👍 for QB Thurs. / TTrimble (5:41 PM yd) 👍 for 0 yd
___

yd 0

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Anonymous 6:48 AM  

Dees because Ol_d_ and Fashione_d_, presumably?

Megafrim 6:50 AM  

"Group to which Don Rickles joked he never received an official membership card". OK, I had the RA----- and immediately AHA entered "racists".

Loren Muse Smith 6:55 AM  

Rex – I do like your writing, like your metaphors and turns-of-phrase. People who eschew your write-ups are missing out on some good stuff. (PS - is there any word that, when you look at it or say it enough, Doesn’t feel weird? Like, even your own name can do that. That’s a phenomenon we need a word for.)

I'm with @bocamp - this was the perfect Saturday, imo; seemingly impossible at first and then little by little falling into place. The southeast was the last to materialize because I had “edit” MENU and “snarfers” for like forever. Somewhere along the way I put in “Slovenia,” so there was that. And “high _ _ “ for HOG HEAVEN. Now That was a moment - giving up the “high” and immediately seeing HOG HEAVEN.

It wasn’t until post-solve that I realized “happening” and GOING ON were verbs. I kept seeing them as nouns and marveling at how odd they sounded in the singular.

What with all the goings-on, I’ll just leave my dog at home. (fireworks, sack races, watermelon seed spitting)
*What with the going-on, I’ll just leave my dog at home. (parade)

TRA LA feels one syllable short of a refrain. Like you’re taking your makeup off at the end of the day and idly singing some song with this refrain. But after the TRA LA, you hear a creak on the stairs and freeze ‘cause you’re supposed to be alone.

Hirsute is right up there with avuncular and puce in terms of words with unexpected meanings. Does hirsute refer to the whole, or can you just have a hirsute upper lip and jawline? Asking for a friend.

DOE’S LUNCH – the pears that fall from my sister’s tree in her back yard. Man oh man do the deer love these. They’ve pear-eaten their way into brazenness. Last week I was going in the back door and there were six deer, four grown-ups and a coupla tweens. To access the back door, I had to walk closer and closer to one of the grown-ups. I was Vulcan mind-melding Please know that I mean you no harm seriously don’t be afraid we’re cool. She didn’t move, just stood her ground looking at me. At the point I was like four feet from her, I stood, too. We communed. But then I thought Is she gonna leap at my face and knock me down? I beat back the fear ‘cause I was at that point certain that I would mind-meld over this thought and then she’d panic, and it would all end badly. It’s exhausting living your life as a &^%$ worrywart awfulizer.

Anonymous 7:09 AM  

This was by far the most difficult Saturday for me in recent memory. 18 minutes! I usually solve between 6-7. I got absolutely soaked by the northwest corner. I really like these tough puzzles (if you have a subscription to the NYtimes you can do them going back to 1994 - the cultural references are old enough now that those puzzles also take me a long time).

I’m sure a fair number of us are thinking about 9/11/01 today. I lived in the west village at the time, as did one of my brothers. Another of my brothers worked in the World Trade Center. Her made it out ok and is doing relatively well, but it took a very long time before he seemed to accept what happened and move past his survivors guilt. Now I live in Arlington, just a few minutes from the Pentagon. The weather in DC has been amazing the past week - huge, blue skies without a cloud in sight. I keep thinking about what a beautiful day it was back in 2001 and how surreal everything felt, looking downtown and seeing smoke, looking up and seeing jet fighters scrambling across the sky. I was a joggger and used to pass the WTC on my weekend jogs. There was a homeless man who lived right near the WTC and he used to say hi to me when I was jogging. Over the years I got to know him a little, I’d always bring some cash along and stop for a chat with him. His name was Rodney and I never saw him again. I have always wondered if he was lost that day or if he moved to a different part of the city, or if maybe he found a home and is doing well. His name was never listed in any of the missing lists. But I miss him and hope he is ok 20 years on. And I hope you’re all ok 20 years on.

Lewis 7:11 AM  

Phew! This felt like my Labor Day puzzle as I ardently went through it. Look at all that white – a paltry 62 words! And yet it is smooth with hardly a whiff of junk. Also, look at that skilled Saturday cluing that slowed me to inch-by-inch with every square filled a triumph – yet SHADERS is the only word I never heard of.

In most of the sections, it was unlocking a single word that engendered a mini-flood of surrounding fill-in. But then came the sound of crickets and the hard work to finally unlock another.

This is what I want on Saturday. To be put through the paces, to acknowledge that the resistance was fair, that is, surmountable. To bask in the presence of a master constructor. And to walk away proud of what I did. Thank you greatly, SS.

Trey 7:17 AM  

A tough, but fair, Saaturday. My first run through I had about 6 answers (including STEIN in the wrong place). NE corner was definitely the hardest to get a toehold as I had harD instead of ACID, REs (for resume) instead of REC. All I had right was RAMBLEDON until I could get the last few letters of words in the NE from DOESLUNCH and NAHIMGOOD.

Lite on the dreck today. Was not a fan of TRALA (agree with @LMS that it feels incomplete. Nor of SFO - airport names don't do it for me.

Loved the cluing for COEDIT (my first correct answer in the puzzle today) and for ALIMONY

Trey 7:22 AM  

@Lewis - shaders was tough for me as well, and I have done some 3D animation in the past for fun. Also thought of rastERS (but would not fit) and thought that there may be something like biAsERS (as to cut something on a bias). The good thing is that SHADERS is something that is suss-able with enough letters even though it is not likely in most people's wheelhouse.

Son Volt 7:28 AM  

Not my favorite themeless - I think due mainly to the grid layout. It’s four corners and the NE and SW are limited to short/mid length fill. GRAB A SEAT x RUN A RACE is clunky - as are all the plurals. Didn’t have Rex’s issue with NAH IM GOOD - I liked it.

Learned GAUTAMA and SLOVAKIA. Have only heard DEAD NAMEed as a verb. Met the great DION DiMucci years ago walking up the 5th Ave steps of the library.

Enjoyable enough solve - but not a great Saturday and definitely not one of his best.

Conrad 7:28 AM  


My heart sank when I saw the byline. Sid's puzzles are always very difficult for me.

I came out of the NW with virtually nothing. I had ITSMAGIC at 14A crossing take a hIke at 12D. Then I erased the ITSMAGIC because it didn't cross with the incorrect stein at 5D. Got KEVLAR and changed 12D to looK, which was also wrong and led me further away from ITSMAGIC.

Gave up on the NW and continued with the NE, SE and SW. Had SLOV__IA at 46A, which gave me two choices for the blanks. Same problem as @Rex with the estimable Ms. Thunberg. But that all got figured out and I returned to the NW wiser for knowing that 5D couldn't be stein. So ITSMAGIC was back in and I was off to the races.

Medium for a Saturday, Easy for a Sivakumar.

amyyanni 8:07 AM  

Phew!

kitshef 8:11 AM  

Tough one. Well, 4/5 was Wednesday easy, then the NW was harder than hell.

Lots not to like here, but it’s hard to choose the absolute nadir. Is it NAH I’M GOOD? AMUSE ME? IT’S MAGIC? Maybe SNACKER? I think it’s probably AMUSE ME and the absurd convoluted clue for it.

But there are some nice things, too. HOG HEAVEN is a phrase that always tickles me. ECHELON is a good word. Greta THUNBERG is a truly remarkable woman. And I like being reminded of SLUMDOG Millionaire.

So … a thumb halfway up … maybe 5/8.

mmorgan 8:13 AM  

On the easy side for a Saturday but still with plenty of crunch. I filled in RUN A RACE and immediately heard Rex say “Eat a sandwich.” Guess I’ve been reading this blog for too long. Love the word nudnik. Struggled for a while between SLOVAKIA and SLOVenIA, but the crosses took care of that. Briefly had banD instead of ACID for 6D, which kinda fits, since it goes with both rock and rain. Lots to like in this one — solid and fun.

Rube 8:36 AM  

As good as it gets. Shortz needs to put this one on his wall to remind him of what we shud get every week.

PaulyD 8:41 AM  

Any puzzle containing RAMBLE ON that does not clue it with some reference to Led Zeppelin deserves nothing but scorn.

Ω 8:44 AM  

Solved it as five smaller puzzles, NE to SE to NW to Middle to SW. In each case it was a matter of finding an anchor and building from that. NINE and DATA SET made the NE fall quickly but CAPE COD and GOING ON didn’t help with the middle. FILE MENU and STEINS helped me knock out the SE, but I didn’t have the kind of HEAVEN or the start of -AD NAME. I had prongED and harD in the NW, but tried IT’S MAGIC and saw that it had to be ACID rock, and that led to quick work finishing the NW. Having the beginnings was far more useful than a few letters near the end, and that was enough to work through the middle.
The SW still looked impossible. I don’t know about you, but 2019 seems like it was a century ago, so that Person of the Year clue was doing nothing for me. I went with fry instead of REA, but RAT PACK cured that. I had BidS before BETS which made me doubt ENTREE, but then I remembered how much Greta scares RWNJs and the corner fell.

A typical Saturday struggle, very doable but methodically, not quickly. Finished at the top end of my typical Saturday time (around 25 minutes) so challenging here. I think the grid played into this, because the interconnections tended to provide the ends of next sections for me, so I was always restarting. If I had started with STABBED and ACID rather than prongED and harD this might have played far easier for me.

frankbirthdaycake 8:53 AM  

Nudnik is Yiddish, Rex. It is defined as “a pest” or “a bore.” It has nothing to do with the 1940s. In the spirit of the multicultural tolerance, inclusion, and diversity you preach, stop being a putz, and do your homework.

RickA 9:14 AM  

@LOREN MUSE SMITH: "Semantic satiation." Learned it on Ted Lasso...

Anonymous 9:22 AM  

Felt like a New Yorker puzzle. That’s not a compliment. To those of you who liked the puzzle and don’t do the New Yorker you should try them. They are free.

Anonymous 9:35 AM  

This was a slog for me. Not fun, not interesting. Oh, the Hapi river feeds Lake Chad? Did the constructor really know that? If not, why is it in the puzzle? Oh. Cos it fit? And references to ballots are too dated? I thought a few of the clues were good, but they were just as liable to be dull. I've never heard of a DEADNAME. Not sure why most people would. Can we have a puzzle without wokeness or deliberate efforts to be politically correct, please? Such clues in my view are just trendy and ephemera.

GILL I. 9:44 AM  

Well....I didn't have any UGHS....I had the "what in the name of enchilada sauce is this?" So many twists and turns; I got dizzy. Sometimes a dizzy ride can be fun, though....like on a tilt-a-wheel in Coney Island.
I managed to enter BURGLAR in 1A and BUTTED for 1D and wanted to do a fandango tango, but my partner go up and left me. Why couldn't I remember GAUTAMA? Who on Gods Green Earth is HADA NIN? The only ELIE I know is that Clampett one from the Beverly Hillbillies.
So I got to something I know: DOES LUNCH. I do that all the time. I also do the laundry and walk the dogs. I also got NAHIM GOOD and thought his name belongs in SLOVAKIA. I forgot about the meaning of nudnik and mind wanders to the Three Stooges and Nyuck Nyuck... why soitanly. Boy did I need a rest and a recuperation. I did.
I came back, determined to finish. But did you cheat? you ask....Hell yes. By the way....United has a boatload of hubs. Try ORD, DEN and LAX for starters. I wouldn't know a FILE MENU if you offered it to me with rock eating, pebble shitting snails.



Frantic Sloth 9:55 AM  

Yowza. WTFuzzle alert! And I loved it!

Though bruised, bloody, and barely awake, I emerge victorious. Shout my name from the mountaintop, for I am Sloth, hear me snore!

Okay, enough of that.

Seriously, Sid Sivakumar is rapidly becoming one of my favorite constructors, since I think I'm finally learning (just a smidge, mind you) how to tune into his weirdlength...er...wavelength - and it's fun!

A brief (?) history:

1. Did crosswords for decades and rarely noticed constructor names. Except Merl Reagle.
2. 2 years ago, started reading Rex (and comments) daily, and learned the value of knowing "the names".
3. Finally started to get a handle on constructors', well, handles and their various styles.
4. First became hyper-aware of Sid S. at a 2020 online tournament when a puzzle he created gave me fits.
5. Couple days ago, decided to try solving without reading the byline as a nobody-but-me-could-possibly-give-a-rat's-patoot-about-it mini-experiment.
6. Swung and missed repeatedly trying to solve this puzzle with Olympics-level flailing and my-level brainpower. Not pretty.
7. "SCREW IT", looked at the name, and as if by MAGIC, voilà - I'm done!
8. Left wondering WTH is that??

No cheatsies! Big smiles!

Too many excellent entries in this grid to mention, but rumor has it that NAHIM GOOD(e) and his cousin Johnny B. have an upcoming gig at @Z's Placebo & Tentacle Pub.
I know. I'll shut up now.


🧠🧠🧠🧠
🎉🎉🎉🎉

Tina 10:01 AM  

Totally skunked by the northeast. I guess it happpens.

Amelia 10:20 AM  

@frankbirthdaycake

I couldn't have said it better myself. As for the 1940's and nudniks, here's a story. I was once at a wedding of the children of Holocaust survivors. 90% of the grownups were survivors. The bandleader said at one point, now we're going to play a medley from those fabulous 40's. I probably don't have to tell you that the 40's weren't so fabulous for these people. My husband and I were cringing. I can tell you that to the best of my knowledge, no one else noticed this faux pas. They were happy to dance to Glenn Miller.

Great puzzle today.

Teedmn 10:25 AM  

I SNACKERed on this puzzle, grazing from quadrant to quadrant until it was time to get serious. STEINS in the SE, REA went in after AMUSE ME in the SW, ALIMONY to NYT to NINE in the NE, and LAGER confirming IT'S MAGIC. Okay, we have something in every corner, now what?

Greta, that's what. Soon I had the SW filled (no problem with THUN for me, luckily). But that didn't really lead the way out into the center and I had to go back to the NE.

A brief hiccup in the NW when I decided "old-fashioned endings?" was ethS. And do the DEES refer to olD-fashioneD or just a plural of the fashioneD? Inquiring minds...

Sid, thanks for the toothy Saturnday puzzle!

Hartley70 10:33 AM  

I just looked at the empty grid and knew I was going to enjoy this puzzle! Stacks, even if they are in the four corners, make me happy, and this beauty did not disappoint. There was the right amount of challenge for a Saturday. Somehow I got CHAD but GAUTAMA was new to me. Weirdly I had been meaning to look up the genesis of Buddhism recently so the puzzle did it for me with a few crosses. DEAD felt really uncomfortable in front of NAME. I expected “first” to fit.
NAHIMGOOD was pretty rude compared to the “thanks” in the clue. I would have dropped the NAH in polite company. I couldn’t decide on the No 1 TV show but I’m okay with the SOPRANOS. “Seinfeld” would be a close second for me.


I had to start at the bottom of the puzzle to get started, (Thank you THUNBERG) and I found the NW at the end to be the toughest. There was nothing particularly difficult but I committed to “walK” early on because I wanted KEVLAR and then refused to change it for what seemed forever. Doh!

RooMonster 10:33 AM  

Hey All !
PHEW (or would it be WHEW in this case?), tough puz today. Did use Check Puzzle feature, and had to Goog for two answers. Fail! But enough to enable me to finish.

Cool pinwheely grid. Stare at the grid long enough, and not only does it start to look weird, you start to get dizzy. Wondering if you can spin it and hypnotize someone? Report back if you have successfully done so!

For RUNARACE, had RAN first, then setApACE, finally back to correct answer. Never heard of GAUTAMA (shocking to some, I'm sure. How the heck hasn't Roo heard of GAUTAMA, I can hear somebody say). COED IT: What you do when you open up your campus to everyone. NSA first for NYT. Worked for DATASEa. 😁

FILE MENU. Ugh. Went through drop, help, edit. Dang.

Speaking of Dang, maybe that could be @LMS's word for the "staring at words until they look weird" phenomenon. Or Danged. "Saturday looks crazy and weird when you look at it too long." "Yes, it's Danged."
OK, maybe not!

This puz did AMUSE ME, though Sid beat me. How'd he do it? ITS MAGIC. Har.

One F
RooMonster
DarrinV

Frantic Sloth 10:38 AM  

@Loren 655am Thank you for giving my life meaning, or at least a definition. Absconding with "worrywart awfulizer". 😁

@GILL 944am 🤣🤣🤣 Your last line makes me want to ask "shall we DO LIMPET LUNCH?"

jae 10:40 AM  

Medium-tough. The west half was mostly easy, the east no so much. Solid with splashes of sparkle, liked it.

WOEs = ELIE (as clued), GUATAMA, CRETAN (as clued), DEAD NAME

SErenE before SEDATE and aLeveRS before ELIXIRS

On a purely personal note our semi-plastic corkscrew broke and I’m looking for recommendations for a more durable brand. Any suggestions?

Anonymous 10:45 AM  

I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who thought the Chari River *might* be in Italy.

Rex, Google “Halle Berry Elie Saab Oscar.” That is about all I know about Mr. Saab, but it was enough.

Hartley70 10:45 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nancy 10:51 AM  

It's too beautiful out to wrestle with this any longer. And I woke up very late and am getting a late start. Worked my way out of a zillion mistakes in the SE -- changing SLOVENIA to SLOVAKIA; NAH I'M OKAY to NAH I'M GOOD; and SERENE to SEDATE. Finally prevailed without cheats. But what misery in the interm.

Now I'm trying to finish off the SW. I have GRUNBERG before THUNBERG. (Don't ask.) I cheat. Giving me that "T" for what I think is RATRACE. (A play on the word RACE like "human race", right?) But now I have to "take a" EPEE(!). And what is R?STERS for the nudnik clue? I give up and prepare to go into the beautiful sunshine. Did I want to save the puzzle and come back to it later? NAH, I'M GOOD.

Too much suffering today for me to find it enjoyable.

Carola 10:51 AM  

A very enjoyable Saturday, for me 3/4 medium and 1/4 Can-I-finish? I got off to a promising start in the NE with CHAD x DATA SETS leading me down to ????LUNCH and ???I'M GOOD but with no idea of how to replace those ??? with letters that might have given me a toehold to move back up north. I finished the bottom half, then pondered having to tell you all this morning that I had a DNF with an entirely blank NW corner. My Down guesses there had been RAttLE ON, take A SEAT, and wurst, which made for a train wreck of Across vowel and consonant sequences and obviously had to be erased. The modest "Aha" of REC saved me (-->ITS MAGIC x LAGER, etc). Last in BURGLAR x UNSAVED. So much to like in this puzzle! HOG HEAVEN for the Saturday solver, an ELIXER for the crossword-loving brain.

Whatsername 11:00 AM  

If I had RUN this puzzle as a RACE I would’ve lost and probably COME in DEAD last. A regular TOUR of diabolical clues - I started a list but there are too many of them to repeat - and yet as tough as they were, the simplicity and clarity of the answers then brought me to my KNEE and left me in humble awe. I almost feel unworthy to critique it. It seems inadequate but . . . my compliments Mr. Sivakumar.

I had many trips and stumbles and notes in the margins but won’t bore anyone with the details. Let it suffice to say that if I’d only HAD AN IN, I wouldn’t have needed the sledgehammer to find an OPENER.

My only other comment is to say that Rolling Stone got it wrong. For my ALIMONY money, Mad Men is the greatest TV show of all time.

TJS 11:00 AM  

How can you write a review of this puzzle and not comment on "dead name"? Is it that common that it does not even rate a reference? It doesn't even make sense in reference to a birth certificate.

Oh well, other than that I loved this puzzle. A true Saturday that had me scratching my brain in every section, but was ultimately doable. Hardest part for me was the NW, with burglars and kevlar taking forever to appear. And after all these years of puzzling, I still draw a blank on those letter clues, like "dees". I hate'em.

Barbara S. 11:17 AM  

Once again, like yesterday, I loved the puzzle and solved it clean. I'm in HOG HEAVEN when I'm able to do that on a Friday and Saturday of the same week! Yay, me! (and the legions of others who also achieved this happy feat.)

I have a silly KEVLAR canoe story. And lest you think I tell these stories and they have no connection with the crossword puzzle, I think you can connect today's offering with KEVLAR, DOES LUNCH, GRAB A SEAT, BUTT(ED), AMUSE ME and, of course, RAMBLE ON.

My husband and I once had a Kevlar (very lightweight) canoe, which we co-owned with a family in the area. We never went very far, just paddled down river to look at the dam and pick sour apples from a tree whose branches grew over the water. There’s a park with good picnic spots on the way. Or we’d venture up river past the giant pylons with their immense load of power lines to commune with a herd of cows we were rather fond of. Their pasture bordered the river and they often strayed off the grass to wade illegally in the water. They didn’t know they were being illegal, of course, but the farmer did. When in the mood, I used to serenade those cows with folk songs of a pastoral nature: “Greenfields”, which I learned from a recording by the Brothers Four, was a perennial favorite. They used to listen so solemnly and so intently with their gentle bovine faces that you’d swear they were captivated by the music and taking in every word. Ah, those were the good days. And then there was the day of the shipwreck.

It started well. We’d gone a bit farther than usual and had wined and dined in style on superior picnic fare. We’d embarked on the return journey and were relatively close to our home port when disaster struck. The fault was entirely our own. We temporarily forgot the physics of canoe balance, and were both sitting on the seats with very little ballast to provide stability. We capsized. It’s a strange experience to go from one state of being to another so quickly and with no warning. One nanosecond I was sitting in the sunshine with the breeze in my hair, expounding on something of, no doubt, great import, and the next I was underwater in the semi-dark, realizing to my amazement that somehow the canoe, upside-down, was above me. It took me a moment to grasp that I had to get out of there in order to rediscover air. I did so. My husband was already up, snorting and spluttering. He placed my hands firmly on our poor overturned craft and I slowly got my breath back. But once I did, I couldn’t stop laughing. What are we going to do? Ha, ha, ha. We managed to turn her over – hilarious! – rock some of the water out – hysterical! – grab the oars, which were floating – what a hoot! – fling them into the boat – side-splitting! – and slowly swim her back to shore. I was roaring anyway, and then it became apparent that my husband’s trousers (elastic-waisted) had come off and were ballooning around his ankles, snagged by his boots. He wasn’t wearing underwear. At the first opportunity, he took the damn things off to regain freedom of movement, and that completely finished me – I laughed like I’ve never laughed before or since. I must have been no help at all for the rest of operation salvage. But the water got tipped out, the canoe became riverworthy again and we paddled the rest of the way home. My husband’s venerable Nikon Nikormat was lost to the deep, and we’ve liked to imagine the fishes having a lark taking each other’s pictures. I did eventually stop laughing. But that was the beginning of the end of our canoeing days and we transferred full ownership to our friends. We have a rowboat now, wide and stable. But in permanent commemoration of the fateful event, we have named the bend in the river where we finally came ashore “Lost Trousers Lagoon”.

mathgent 11:27 AM  

Lots of crunch, very little sparkle. The juice wasn't worth the squeeze.

Nancy hasn't posted yet. I have a feeling that it oozed down her wall.

Junk? Yes -- TRALA, NAHIMGOOD, REC. Ughs? Yes -- STOLE for "That's a wrap!" and DEES.

I live a half an hour from SFO. I've never heard it referred to as a hub. I just looked up UAL hubs -- there are eight.



Whatsername 11:39 AM  

@Anonymous (7:09) Enjoyed your reminiscent RAMBLE (in a GOOD way). Very nice. Hoping you are okay too.

@GILL (9:44) “rock eating, pebble shitting snails.”
@Frantic (9:55) “for I am Sloth, hear me snore!”
I’ve been in a real funk lately but you ladies made me laugh out loud this morning. Thanks for making my day! 🤣🤣🤣

egsforbreakfast 11:45 AM  

I think my former brother-in-law once won the HOG HEAVEN’ event at the Missouri State Fair. He could throw a big ol’ sow a country mile, but he couldn’t RUNARACE worth beans. A real CRETAN the guy was, having grown up with El Greco. He was a SNACKER who also DOESLUNCH, and never was heard to say “NAHIMGOOD”.

BTW, where is JohnX?

Mary McCarty 11:47 AM  

@LMS, and RickA (9:14), RooMonster (10:33) I like your suggestions; maybe “wordweirding” or even “wordweirdingen” to make it seem German, a language which seems to have great words for the things we recognize but have no name for.

@TJS: The Constructor Notes in the Times blog Wordplay explains DEADNAME very well. (And yeah, I was eye rolling at DEES,too!—always forget that little trick!)

Tried to decide between “helixes/helices” and “spirals” before the totally obvious yet blah OPENERS.

Wondered if the Chari River could possibly flow into Lake Erie, but realized that was way too exotic a river name for the Midwest; then I found these greats that really do: Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Cattaraugus, Maumee. Wonder if any of those have appeared in a NYTXW.

Tale Told By An Idiot 11:52 AM  

@Loren Muse Smith word that becomes weirder and weirder as you look at it (or hear or say it:

Logoddity

Anonymous 11:53 AM  

Greta scares right wing nutjibs🤣🤣🤣🤣
Oh wait, that comment was supposed to be taken both seriously and literally. Let me laugh even louder.
How dare you! 🙄

Hack mechanic 11:57 AM  

Two major stumbles, had Ginsberg not Thunberg & Slovenia not Slovakia. Tough sledding SE & SW corners

Mary McCarty 11:59 AM  

@Bocamp at the top o’ the morning: did you make up “malapop” (or is it “malaplop”?) both are good solutions for the previously discussed “things we don’t have a good name for”, like my “wordweirding”. Anyway, I was guilty of the same STEIN/LAGER fault; and the whole mini theme reminded me of the Oktoberfest I attended years ago, at which, upon departing, I tripped and hit my head and shin so badly they called an ambulance (for the ER that was just around the corner.) Imagine the looks of the staff when my hospital wrist band was attached right above my Oktoberfest bar bracelet! I swear I only had half a liter! But my husband has banned me from subsequent Oktoberfests.🍺

Piano Phil 12:02 PM  

I like to think that KEVLAR was invented by two guys mpnamed Kevin and Larry.

jberg 12:03 PM  

This one knocked me down and tore me inside out. I had to look up HANS and, to my shame, DION (I never think of him as one-name because it was always "Dion and the Belmonts"). I was so shaken that I even looked up REA, though everyone knows he's the only cross-worthy English 3-letter actor. But of course I was delighted to be able to change Apex to ACME.

I started with 1A, immediately thought, 'BURGLAR? Nah, it's too obvious.' Sigh. Then I looked at 27A, wrote in GOOD from the G in GOING ON, but held off between NAH and NAw; but then had the NC in DOES LUNCH and figured the last letter must be E, so I put in ASSONANCE (although eats and meets are actually a rhyme.) That was enough to foul everything up for me. I should have known HANS, he seems to be pretty famous, but when it comes to movie composers I know Korngold, Morricone, and Williams (oh, and Elmer Bernstein), and that's it. My bad.

For 28D I put in gender id, which seemed so right. Eventually saw it had to end with NAME, but had never heard DEAD NAME -- I was glad to learn it, unlike some. (@TJS, it's not the name of a dead person, but a name that is now dead by someone who has chosen a new name, like our own August.)

And now for all you TRALA skeptics, here's a little tune from The Mikado.

WendyWriter 12:28 PM  

����

KnittyContessa 12:30 PM  

I watched some of the coverage this morning. I couldn't bear to watch the reading of the names again. I dread hearing the name of someone I knew. I was lucky, I didn't lose anyone close but I think everyone who lived in NYC at the time knows at least one person who perished in the attack. So, I turned to the puzzle for a relief. 1A did not help. I decided to save it to the end. I can't say that KEVLAR did much for my anxiety level either. Other than that, it was a fine Saturday.



This 'n' That 12:34 PM  

There is no such thing as the #1 Greatest TV show (or anything else). It's a matter of opinion and taste and nobody is wrong.

RAMBLE ON, GOING ON, DI ON, ECHEL ON.

We saw DATASET and ITSMAGIC and CRETAN recently.

I had to look up GRETA to see who she is, AGAIN! Maybe next time.

Should we have men and women on the same team? Yes, let's COED IT.

Anonymous 12:40 PM  

@mathgent. SEE @Nancy at 10:51.

ReadingRN 12:56 PM  

Wanted very badly to have ginsBERG instead of thunberg. Also kept Simpsons for way too long instead of sopranos

redwood 1:04 PM  

google said 2008 best picture was no country for old men - slumdogs was 2009

Masked and Anonymous 1:05 PM  

Holy tough clues, Batman. But, hey -- good for us, to suffer.
Overall, about an average SatPuz sufferfest, at our house. The two things that M&A enjoys the most: 1) the ahar moment, when U catch on to what a pesky clue's answer is. 2) the ahar moment when U catch on to what a theme, or punny themer answer, is. Today's had a lotta #1 in it. No #2, of course.

Some really great, smooth fillins for a 62-worder puzgrid. Ow de Speration was minimized masterfully. But ouch, them darn clues. This Sivakumar dude is kinda sneaky, for such a nice guy.
fave shortie ahar moment: {Old-fashioned endings?} = DEES.
fave longball ahar moment: {One who puts down the chips?} = SNACKER.

fave fill-in-the-blankity-blankers: {Take a ___} = RISK & KNEE. Day-um, there's a ton of stuff that can go into Take a ___. [HIKE. BATH. LOOK. #1:LEAK et al. #2:DUMP et al. JOKE. SEAT. PILL. RIDE. SHOT. SPIN. TURN. STEP. TRIP. WALK. BITE. HINT. CALL. VOTE.]

staff weeject pick (of only 4 choices): REC. Tough clue. Not even entirely sure what REC is supposed to stand for, hereabouts. Gonna vote for RECeipt, but it ain't exactly a "letter". RECommendation? RECord?

Thanx for the challenge and the superb themeless Jaws-o-Rama black squares, Mr. Sivakumar dude. Primo job.

Masked & Anonymo6Us


**gruntz**

Anonymous 1:08 PM  

Re 46A, Slovakia. Do you "border" another country if you enclose it? The capital of Italy, Rome, encloses Vatican City and the Order of the Knights of Malta, both independent countries, although the latter perhaps only technically so. There's a church in Rome, S. Alessio, which has a hole in its external door, while the church houses the Order of the Knights of Malta. Through that hole one sees the dome of St. Peter's. Thus you stand in Italy, one country, peep through another country, the Order of the Knights of Malta, which you cannot see, and then stare at a third country, Vatican City (and see nothing else).

This is the source of a popular Italian trivia question.

Anon. i.e. Poggius

Ω 1:08 PM  

@WendyWriter - If you preview your comments Blogger turns emojis into those weird question mark symbols.

For @Mary McCarty
For @jberg (with apologies to everyone else)

@TJS - Common enough to have made the dictionary already. Granted, things make the dictionary a lot faster when it’s digital rather than print. M-W documents it from 2012.

Ω 1:11 PM  

@redwood - see See FAQ 16a

mathgent 1:12 PM  

My favorite posts this morning.

Loren. (6:55)
kitshef (8:11)
anonymous (9:35)

jb129 1:15 PM  

I liked it a lot altho I was crying watching the NY1 coverage.

Pete 1:20 PM  

I wouldn't dare guess what the significance of Google Ngrams is vis-a-vis actual usage, other than it's 1000+ times better than some rando saying "I new it ergon everyone knows it", but @Rex was almost right about nudnick. It was the 60s, not the 40s. It was virtually absent from English language books until 1940, with peak usage in the 1960s, falling off by over 65% since then, with 2019 usage at 10% of the peak.

So yes, it's Yiddish in origin, and you can probably trace its usage to the wartime influx to America of Jews fleeing Europe, and its adoption into the American vernacular. That's one aspect of the history of NUDNICK. Another is that usage peaked in the 60s, and has largely disappeared since then.

Oscar 1:23 PM  

@redwood. This comes up from time to time, Year of the movie vs. Year of the award. In this case SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE was a 2008 movie that won Best Picture in the 2009 award ceremonies.

Whatsername 1:26 PM  

@Barbara S (11:17) OMG! For the third time today I am laughing out loud while reading the comments. What a great story. Sometime when there is an appropriate grid entry I will relate a similar story of when my husband and I accidentally tried to float upriver one day.

bocamp 1:33 PM  

@Barbara S. (11:17 AM)

Wonderful anecdote, which I can relate to in a number of ways. :)

@Mary McCarty (11:59 AM)

I wish I could take credit for 'malapop', but alas, ACME (Andrea Carla MichaEls) beat me to it when subbing in for @Rex back in 2008. She sometime later defined the term in one of her blog posts.

"MIA (25A: Actress Farrow). (Okay, second obligatory Woody Allen reference, so shoot me.) Total coincidence, synchronicity, malapop, whatever you want to call it, I swear I wrote this puzzle a year ago!"

Amy Reynaldo attributes it to ACME on Diary of a Crossword Fiend in 2010:

"I kept filling things in wrong. I put OMAN next to Kuwait instead of IRAQ. And them OMAN showed up later! (Andrea would call that a malapop.)"

So I guess 'malapop' might be considered a first cousin of 'malaplop' and second cousin of 'malaprop'. 😉

Btw, I coined the term 'semi-pop' for a case of thinking (but not entering) a word, only to find it belongs somewhere else in the fill. I'm pretty sure it was @Frantic who suggested 'half-a-pop' instead (she says she doesn't recall this, so I may be mistaken). In any event, I now use 'half-a-pop' when appropriate.

Another btw, I went to the Munich Oktoberfest in '69 and subsequently banned myself from any future fests. lol

@jberg (12:03 PM)

Thx for the Mikado vid; delightful TRA LA's!
___

0

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

JC66 2:05 PM  

@ bocamp

I think it's Andrea Carla Michaels Eisenberg. I'm not sure whether Eisenberg is her maiden name or married name.

Hartley70 2:18 PM  

@BarbaraS 11:17AM, a delightful adventure to experience, I’m sure, and even better when it happens to someone else who tells the tale so well.

bocamp 2:19 PM  

@JC66 (2:05 PM)

Thx for the clarification re: ACME. :)
___

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Unknown 2:19 PM  

Barbara, what a fantastic story!

DigitalDan 2:42 PM  

SHADERS? Are these really separate programs, or simply facilities available in 3D animation programs? Doesn't pay to know too much, and too little, all at once.

Frantic Sloth 3:15 PM  

@Whatsername 1139am Happy to cheer you in any way. 😍

But...@Barbara S. 1117am Hi.lar.i.ous. I bet the even the cows would prefer a reenactment to the song, lovely as I'm sure it was. 🤣🤣🤣

@bocamp 133pm I really don't trust my memory, so you may be right; however, I'm thinking it would have been "malapop" (© ACME) that I suggested.

Not a word, but 2 that have bounced around the ol' noggin repeatedly lately: edited it. (said aloud)
Yes, I said edited it aloud. Now say "said edited it aloud" aloud.

I think there may be something wrong with me.

TTrimble 3:20 PM  

Well, this puzzle picked me up and threw me down and then kicked me in the ribs. Particularly in the NW, where there a lot of potential answers to choose from (e.g., "look" or RISK? "barged" or BUTTED? "rattle" or RAMBLE? "take" or GRAB? "band" or ACID? "pierced" or STABBED?). I tried thinking of things to do with luck, like "just luck", before coming upon IT'S MAGIC. Tough Saturday. (BTW -- love all the concomitant humblebragging in the comments.)

The SW was maybe slightly easier, although I had never made an association between Rickles and the RAT PACK, and by the way, is AMUSE ME really a thing, i.e., a common phrase*? (Oh looky there now, speaking of ACME and malapops.)

DEAD NAME is a head scratcher for me. Why the adjective "dead"?

Slight blrf at SNACKER. One who snacks is a SNACKER. "Jeez, just look at that SNACKER wolfing down chips!" Okay, I guess it's a word, kinda sorta, but it smacks of being a NOC (noun of convenience). Does the fact it smacks make it a smacker?

"I'm a whacker
I'm a slacker
I'm a midnight snacker
I sure don't want to leave no crumbs..."

I can't really fault the puzzle much, though. It seemed very fair, and a very worthy challenge, and the layout is visually attractive. Good job, Sid.

td 0



*That's not to say that people don't ever think that -- just that I don't think I've ever heard anyone say AMUSE ME! out loud. It sounds incredibly rude, for one thing. Almost regal and peremptory. However, I think back to my earlier days of teaching, when my classes seemed larger and I looked much younger then than now -- they could have been thinking it. In the beginning of the semester, many of the students would have these bored expectant looks. Like imagine a herd of cattle -- an impression that is oddly strengthened when half the students are chewing gum, like cud -- all thinking the same thing: AMUSE ME.

Chris 3:51 PM  

Had DEED NAME (which seemed much more plausible) instead of DEAD NAME (bleah), and the reasonable STACKERS instead of SNACKERS, therefore HETS, which seemed vaguely possible for a German- or Dutch-sounding composer I've never heard of, instead of HANS. Other than that part, a decent puzzle.

Joe R. 4:07 PM  

Oof. I got killed by two short answers today. I had the F of the United hub, and was sure it was DFW, and that led me to guess the corkscrew was wine-something, and that whole corner suffered. And then in the SW, I had none of the crosses when I saw BBC and Stephen, and immediately put Fry. This was my worst Saturday time in months, I couldn’t get a toehold anywhere, and little mistakes compounded into big problems.

pabloinnh 4:15 PM  

Saturday so far:

Up at 5:30, make coffee, feed the cats, drink coffee, load up the truck and car, drive to the flea market, unload and set up, pull out the Saturday puzzles, and sit down to work on them and await the rush of shoppers, har.

First stop, NYT. Initially daunting but finished up in the NW. Average time. Bronze medal.

Next stop: Saturday Stumper. Initially impossible. First answer filled in was "Sid". Coincidence? Decided many clues were thoroughly devious in nature, but managed a successful completion. Silver medal.

Final stop: The Acrostic from last Sunday, which appeared yesterday under some papers. First impression, when I started last night: I don't know any of these. Maybe got two before I picked it up again this AN. Cluing was cryptogram cluing, or at least my idea of cryptogram cluing. Epic struggle, but I finished that one too. Gold medal. Most diabolical Acrostic for a good long time.

You meet some real characters at a flea market, and it gives you a chance to solve outdoors.
We have a little less stuff and a little more money so all in all, a very satisfying day.

Ghostface Puzzlah 4:41 PM  

How about malanomia?

Ω 4:48 PM  

For @TTrimble

We’re such a musical bunch today.

bocamp 5:04 PM  

@Mary McCarty (11:59 AM)

More on the history of 'malapop':

As @Kitshef pointed out earlier this year (Jan. 2), @ACME suggested the term on the Mon., Aug. 18, 2008 Rex Blog in response to a ongoing discussion of the phenomenon of incorrectly entering an answer, only to discover it works for another clue. She posted:

"@mac

uh oh, this "andrea" thing is beginning to take on a life of it's own!
Before it goes too much further,
I guess apres vu didn't catch on, and as Rex has wisely pointed out, it's NOT the opposite of a deja vu bec we HAVE seen it, albeit in the wrong place.
sort of a mal deja vu...

so as a nod to that, how about a
MALAPOP?
MALAPOP: A word that you've popped into the puzzle or that has popped up, albeit it in the wrong place?

(Plus it's a nod to that baseball thingie of pop-ups...not to mention annoying pop-up ads)

MALAPOP, anyone?

(In Minnesota tho a MALAPOP would be a soda that's gone flat!)"

@Frantic Sloth (3:15 PM)

I don't trust my memory either, lol; so I did some digging and discovered that I had the right idea, tho, not 100% correct. Rather than a 'semi-pop', I used half-a-malapop, and you replied with: "@bocamp 519pm I guess what you have there would be a halfapop? 😉" (from Jan. 2).

Looks like @ACME's 'malapop' covers both "A word that you've popped into the puzzle or that has popped up …" (meaning: come to mind, but not popped in??); however, I think I'll go ahead and use 'halfapop' to distinguish between popping it in and just thinking it. So, thank you again for the suggestion, and of course, I'll think of you and Andrea on such occasions. 😊

@TTrimble (3:20 PM) 👍 for 0
___

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

John Windle 5:06 PM  

Unless I missed it no one commented on DEADNAME which was unknown to me and I guess that officially makes me an unwoke old fart...
<> Well excuuuuse me! Otherwise I enjoyed the puzzle far more than my brilliant friend Victoria who hated it.

TTrimble 6:00 PM  

@Barbara S.
Oh Christ that is good. I swear to god that I hadn't read your 11:17 comment until now (I had also written a bovine reference). Let me just add my appreciation that you're a terrific writer, and that is a howl of a story, but maybe you in your wisdom can shed some light on the question: why is male nakedness so inherently funny? Like, The Full Monty in its concluding moments is in part about the adorable humor of awkward naked men and the women who lovingly appreciate the humor of it, and them. (You can't really convincingly switch that around, i.e., swap male and female here.)

Obviously a culturally and time dependent thing. But anyway. You know a lot about art and art history and pretty clearly the nude male has been rendered in art in many different ways. I had read or heard somewhere that in ancient Hellenic civilization, large penises even had a kind of comedic value, and this article seems consonant with that.

Obviously you don't have to answer. (This is a family blog.) But I can imagine you'd have interesting things to say.

Liz1508 6:16 PM  

Went through it once, got four correct answers: lager, hadanin, ratpack, nyt. Read the clues again and said to myself “screw it”. (Well, close enough.). Maybe I could do this but as someone put it, it wouldn’t be worth the squeeze.
Looked up the answers and was glad I passed on hurting my brain today.
Kudos to everyone who did well!

burtonkd 7:08 PM  

@RickA - my favorite part of that scene in Ted Lasso is him asking what the term for that is, and the whole room responding "semantic satiation" in unison as if it is something everyone knows and how could he have missed that or forgotten.

I'm with Lewis on the Saturday experience.

Anonymous 8:54 PM  

Same comment as yesterday ... GD Names!!! couldn't get enough traction to get a start. At one point (36,37,39A) three names in a row! Plus Buddhas founder, designer Saab, BBC Stephen (only know Frye), Ariadne.

Not woke enough to know deadname, didn't understand the cluing/answer for 7D REC.

Saturdays are hit or miss for me. Today was a miss.

Unknown 9:19 PM  

This played like a Saturday from ten years ago. A toughie.

What is a DEADNAME? Like is that really a thing?

Anonymous 9:36 PM  

People saying they aren't "woke" enough to know DEADNAME is... not a great look. You don't have to have any special political position or cultural affiliation to know that phrase. You'd just need to know some trans people or have listened to trans people talking about their experiences. (It's commonly used but not universal, so maybe one friend would do, maybe more than one.)

And if you don't have any trans friends nor do you pay any attention to trans writers or anything like that, why do you expect to know the answer to a clue about trans people? If I missed a baseball clue, I could defensively pout "Oh, I guess I'm just not physically fit enough" and feel sorry for myself as if Will Shortz is making unreasonable demands on me. Or I could say "I guess I don't care enough about baseball".

So anyway. If you resent being asked about trans people because you don't really care, but you also don't want to tell the internet how little you do care, I can see why you might deflect it with "I guess I'm not woke enough". But that is no more sensible than my deflection about fitness would be.

CDilly52 9:37 PM  

I wasn’t anywhere near Mr. Sivakumar’s wavelength, and don’t think that it is even on my “crossword receiver!” This took me longer by far than a Sunday, and honestly, I thought this was going to be the dreaded DNF. First of all, the grid concerned me because if it’s shale. Any time I see one of those 4 cornered designs with very few routes to travel from corner to corner, my angst increases. For good reason on this one! It has taken me all day, but I finally finished the SE.

Favorites were the three long middle ones. Yet, even getting those quickly didn’t help with the tough corners. However, I have no quibbles with the clues because the whole puzzle was, to me, polished and a great Saturday challenge! I have earned my G & T. Tomorrow is another day.

Loren Muse Smith 1:59 AM  

@Rick A, @Mary McCarty, @Ghostface Puzzlah, @Roo Monster - thanks for all the suggestions for words to describe that phenomenon! I’d like to start watching Ted Lasso but can’t find it free anywhere. Semantic saturation comes close to capturing it, but I feel like there’s something missing, the part that addresses how the letter combination itself becomes unrecognizable. @Tale Told By An Idiot – I like your logoddity. How ‘bout logogramnesia? Nah. You’re looking at something you once knew well but now don’t recognize. Maybe just marriage?

Kathy D. 5:11 AM  

Nudnik is Yiddish and it means a pest. It's in the general vernacular, in New York City, anyway. And it's in Merriam-Webster, the proofreader's bible.

"You are such a nudnik," or "He is such a nudnik," are common lines.

Maybe that's because I grew up with a Jewish mother, aunt, grandmother, and Yiddishisms are as natural to my ear as English.

Kelly Sargent 2:42 PM  

"Rex", or whoever you are who writes this blog: if you aren't familiar with a word — let's say for example, pareidolia — you believe no one else could possibly know it because YOU don't, and you resort to making condescending remarks such as, "Then there's what I assume is the raison d'etre of this puzzle, the word PAREIDOLIA, which is a word I've never heard of before, which makes me think the entire damned puzzle is just to teach us the word PAREIDOLIA."

Really! Just because you are unfamiliar with a word, doesn't mean that others don't know what it means. How about simply appreciating the opportunity to learn a new word? How arrogant of you. How overanxious you are to 'prove' how smart you are. Insecure much? I can't imagine what it must be like to have to live with you! Ugh!

My husband and I enjoyed the puzzle, and as others have said, it was a pleasant respite from the dreary, intentionally obtuse cluing we've been suffering from lately.

Unknown 3:42 PM  

I think there was a misunderstanding on Sunday's 25A. The clue reads, "...tendency to see human forms in INanimate objects," which does make more sense, given the theme.

offbrand 4:06 PM  

i even KNEW it as being no country for old men. pretty bad clue

Paul Bridson 10:27 PM  

@Kelly Sargent 100% agree!

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