Titular Menotti opera character / SAT 10-30-21 / Princess Martell on Game of Thrones / Suffix with carboxyl / Together punny name for hardware store

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Constructor: Michael Hawkins

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (or just Easy, not sure)


THEME: none 

Word of the Day: LA LIGA (32A: What Real Madrid and F.C. Barcelona play in) —
The 
Campeonato Nacional de Liga de Primera División, commonly known simply as Primera División (Spanish Premier League) in Spain, and as La Liga in English-speaking countries and officially as LaLiga Santander for sponsorship reasons, stylized as LaLiga, is the men's top professional football division of the Spanish football league system. Administered by the Liga Nacional de Fútbol Profesional, is contested by 20 teams, with the three lowest-placed teams at the end of each season relegated to the Segunda División and replaced by the top two teams and a play-off winner in that division. [...] According to UEFA's league coefficient rankings, La Liga has been the top league in Europe in each of the seven years from 2013 to 2019 (calculated using accumulated figures from five preceding seasons) and has led Europe for 22 of the 60 ranked years up to 2019, more than any other country. It has also produced the continent's top-rated club more times (22) than any other league in that period, more than double that of second-placed Serie A (Italy), including the top club in 10 of the 11 seasons between 2009 and 2019; each of these pinnacles was achieved by either Barcelona or Real Madrid. La Liga clubs have won the most UEFA Champions League (18), UEFA Europa League (13), UEFA Super Cup (15), and FIFA Club World Cup (7) titles, and its players have accumulated the highest number of Ballon d'Or awards (23), The Best FIFA Men's Player awards including FIFA World Player of the Year (19), and UEFA Men's Player of the Year awards including UEFA Club Footballer of the Year (11). (wikipedia)
• • •

I wish I hadn't finished up in the worst section (the greater SW), because the majority of this puzzle was a treat (not a trick; happy Halloween Eve, aka Devil's Night, everyone). Wrote in VOCAB straight away, and once again, nailing the 1-Across answer at first look was a harbinger of the puzzle's overall easiness. Then the longer fill started to come in up there and I could tell the puzzle was going to be not only easy, but entertaining. The longer fill really works up there: sometimes I feel like a sizable number of my students are just IVORY TOWER SEAT FILLERs (jk, kids, love ya), so I really liked that stack, and then the longer answers just flow out of there into the heart of the puzzle, which I HEARTED as well (nice bit of contemporary fill there, for sure). "DON'T WAIT UP" alongside DATE NIGHTS is genuinely exquisite. As good a pair of adjacent 10s as you're ever likely to see. Also, I've never been so happy to see a SOLECISM in all my life (6D: Grammatical mistake). I don't use that word in my teaching life, but I certainly encounter that phenomenon, and it was very nice to get a "hey, I know that word!" free pass in the middle of a Saturday puzzle. Speaking of my teaching life, not sure about the clue on "'TIS A PITY" (15D: "Alas!"). "Alas" is only semi-archaic, whereas "'TIS A PITY" is ultra-archaic, in the sense that no one would say that unironically now, whereas I can at least imagine an unironic "Alas!"). I think "Alas!" could just as easily clue "PITY..." as just a kind of stand-alone sighing expression. The 'TIS part of the answer needs something more strongly and specifically archaic to clue it. "Forsooth, how lamentable" or [Quaint expression of regret] or something like that. I think I'm just mad that the clue wasn't ["She's a Whore" preceder], but that ... probably wouldn't have played well, as most people have very likely never heard of that Caroline-era play (also, the title of that play is actually "'Tis Pity (not ''TIS *A* PITY') She's a Whore" so my dream clue wouldn't have worked at all, alas): 


Where I ended up was not so pleasant. Sadly, I did not know LUMPFISH. Also, it's not exactly the most ... mellifluous name for a foodstuff, so LUMP really landed in my lap like a LUMP of oatmeal (or ... fish, I guess), so bah (30A: Source of cheap caviar). ALB was a ghost of crosswordese past, for sure (33A: Clerical garment), joining -ASE and, eventually, ELIA in a mercifully small group of bygone blecch. Speaking of ELIA, what did I say (literally, just yesterday) about lazily trawling the waters of "G.O.T." fandom for absurd names to stick in your grid? (52A: Princess ___ Martell on "Game of Thrones"). It's "prestige TV," and now bygone prestige TV at that. More people watched a random 6th-season episode of "The Big Bang Theory" than watched any full season of "G.O.T." There's something ickily exclusionary about imagining that that show's character slate can be mined as deeply as it's currently being mined. You can (probably) do better than this, constructors. Also, SANSA (from yesterday) at least has the virtue of being original. ELIA is just the oldest of old-school crosswordese dressed up in a bad and probably highly flammable pseudo-medieval get-up from Spirit Halloween. ELIA is the pen name of Charles Lamb, or it's a Kazan, and that's all that it is. Just embrace the crosswordese you need to make the grid work, give it an unimposing familiar clue, so as Not To Call Attention To It, and move on. Sometimes, you need crosswordese; we all know and accept that. Like, AMAHL. I know AMAHL exclusively, solely, in no other way but from crosswords. I'd never have heard of "AMAHL and the Night Visitors" if not for crosswords. So the puzzle and I have an unspoken agreement that it will just hand me AMAHL with a gimme clue and I, in return, won't complain about it. It's nice that way. If AMAHL ever tries to come at me dressed up as [Dothraki hairstylist beheaded by Daenerys for getting her bangs wrong in Season 3 of "Game of Thrones"] or whatever, we're gonna have words.


Six more things:
  • 26D: Walking (AMBULATION) — pfffffft. Another reason I wasn't too fond of the SW. I had AMBULATORY, a word that means you are up and [Walking], and (bonus!) a word that a person might actually use.
  • 44A: You can't leave home with it (BASEBALL BAT) — oh, can't you? Bartolo Colón has some thoughts:

Also, more successfully, two years ago: Bregman / Soto:
 
  • 3D: Outer layer (COAT) — simple enough, but initially I wanted IVORY TOWER to be IVY-something, so I had a "Y" where an "O" should be, so I wrote in CYST here (?!).
  • 8D: Snickers piece? (TEE-HEE) — OH LOOK, THEY *DO* KNOW HOW TO SPELL IT!. All TEHEEs are hereby banned from Crossworld in perpetuity, the once and future laugh syllables having taken their rightful place in the grid.
  • 32D: Loser to "The Shape of Water" for Best Picture ("LADY BIRD") — had the "LA-," wrote in "LA LA LAND" (which a. won, not lost***, and b. won in an earlier year from "The Shape of Water"; the clue phrasing here is awkward, and, as a "LADY BIRD" fan, I would argue, disrespectful—better to mention Laurie Metcalf's Oscar nomination than to clue the film as a "Loser," come on)
  • 7D: ___ Together (punny name for a hardware store) (AWL) — OK, you got me. I legit laughed out loud at this one. Now, I was laughing while thinking "I cannot believe how ****ing stupid that is," but a laugh is a laugh, This clue is super dumb, which is precisely what all crossword clue puns should be: *super* dumb. Mere groaners can get lost. I require pure idiocy.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

***this is wrong. "LA LA LAND" la la lost (to "Moonlight"), though it was *announced* as the winner at the awards ceremony

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

109 comments:

Coniuratos 6:25 AM  

Played very easy for a Saturday for me, but really liked it. ELIA Martell is a little bit of a deep cut, but I truly do not get the constant railing against GOT characters while being okay with fill like AMAHL, which is apparently...a made-for-TV libretto from 1951. Crosswordese is allowed to update its clues, Rex. Don't get stuck being the old man shouting at the clouds.

Anonymous 6:30 AM  

Quite a mix of cluing strategies, Easy, Hard, Clever, Dumb.

Conrad 6:31 AM  


Easy-Medium. My big hang-up was confidently entering hEftY instead of BEEFY at 45D. This made it very difficult to see EDGAR AWARD and FIELD HOUSE. The four-letter names CARY, CECE and ELIA led me to utter more than a few four-letter words. Luckily the sports app I use lists LA LIGA as one of its display options.

Lewis 6:49 AM  

Helllloooo, Saturday! Your vague and devilish cluing making fill-ins a triumph. Your cleverness abounding. Yes! This is a proper Saturday puzzle, CARDIO for the mind. At least for me (not a solver in Rex's league).

My favorite part? This was wordplay heaven. Wordplay traps set all over the grid, answers that, when finally figured out, bring a “Hah!” and nod of respect. Best of the bunch for me were [Mystery prize] for EDGAR, [Low-lying areas] for HIDEOUTS, [You can’t leave home with it] for BASEBALL BAT, and [Checked item for some travelers] for VISA. Simply sensational.

Funniest moment for me? When I put ARM in (instead of ATM) for [Many take notes using one], thinking how clever both I and the constructor were.

Oh yes. This was crossword EDEN for me, Saturday as it should be. A most gratifying journey, by a skilled artisan, for which I’m so very grateful, Michael. Bravo!

Smitty 7:01 AM  

Had LUTEFISK for LUMPFISH. Ez to correct

David Patent 7:08 AM  

La La Land did NOT win, RexZ Moonlight did, despite what Faye Dunaway may have said.

Son Volt 7:27 AM  

Those puzzle was mostly solid - lots of sparkly longs but it did have its share of duds especially SOLECISM… Agree with Rex that the NE corner stack is exceptional. Also like HULLABALOO and the clueing for FARMER and YOLK. GAL crossing GIRL TALK was pretty nifty.

Not a fan of the fill-in-the-blank clues - ODDS, HAS, THY. Didn’t know the term SEAT FILLER. Ex-Islander Nick Leddy is from EDEN Prairie.

Enjoyable Saturday solve. Try the Stumper today - Stan constructed and it provides a little more CARDIO than this one.

Space Is Deep 7:29 AM  

Easy Saturday. Loved the word play in the clueing.

Bill Weeden 7:32 AM  

1) "La La Land" did NOT win Best Picture. That was the year Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway announced the win but had to walk it back in favor of "Moonlight." 2) Don't dismiss "Amahl and the Night Visitors." It's an absolutely great short opera and you should look it up, Rex.

pabloinnh 7:38 AM  

So IVORYTOWER was a gimme, leading to EVER ready, which put things on hold there. Skipping around, I ran into Real Madrid and F. C. Barcelona, another gimme there, went due south, then NE then W and finished up with VOCAB and (finally) OVEN ready. Of course.

I was preparing to write a scathing takedown of the BASEBALLBAT answer because I read the clue as "don't leave home without it" and thought that was ridiculous until reading a couple of comments had me reading the clue again. Never mind.

AMULATORY before AMBULATION, one of those adjective vs. noun choices I frequently botch, and the CECE/ELIA cross was sheer guesswork. but everything else was way cool. Like OFL, I got a kick out of writing in SOLECISM, a word you don't get to use every day. Unlike OFL, I knew LUMPFISH instanter.

Really fun Saturday, MH, for which thanks. Made me Mighty Happy.

SouthsideJohnny 8:01 AM  

I made much more unassisted progress than usual both yesterday and today, so no surprise that Rex and the general consensus thus far has been that this weekend has skewed on the easy side, which is really cool for me. A couple of stellar clues today - “Low-lying areas?” For HIDEOUTS and “Many take notes using one” for ATM. Also a couple that really miss the mark (in typical NYT fashion, by trying too hard) - TEEHEE and ASE, for example - both just look as though they don’t belong.

And of course, similar to the way they troll Rex by coming up with ways to insert an NRA here and there - I’m beginning to think that they continue to cross Trivia with PPP just to a annoy me, lol. In this instance you have AMAHL (which obviously is off-the-charts Saturday-level quality trivia) crossing a politician from Ohio who constitutes 1/435th of 1/2 of 1/3 of the federal government - snooooze.

Similarly, we have GoT crossing a singer (apparently) who may or may not be reasonably popular, more zzzzzzz’s.

drew 8:03 AM  

Didn’t La La Land lose to Moonlight? After it “won”?

Anonymous 8:05 AM  

Had SEATWARMER instead of SEATFILLER, REACTED not HEARTED, and UPS not PPS, so it took me a while to unravel those. I sang parts of “AMAHL and the Night Visitors” in high school in the 90s, and the high school I teach at performed it in full 5 years ago, so it’s not totally antique yet!

Loved HULLABALOO next to AMBULATION, too. Nice puzzle 👍

thfenn 8:08 AM  

Great start to the day. In addition to the two long fill pairings Rex noted I thought TISAPITY/SOLICISM (I mean, fine, TISAPITY isn't one, but sorta, in my head anyway), LADYBIRD/GIRLTALK and HULLABALOO/AMBUL were all enjoying their own sort of DATENIGHTS together, LOL, and I didn't wait up to see them either. Perfect Sat morning, seeing them this AM. And by God I DID get a lot better at these recently, or at least am ONAROLL - fun all week long.

Oddly enough, I repeatedly read 44A as "without it", and after thinking through various AMEX related options even moved on to baseball related options before I saw it was "with it" and the bat clicked. Had also forgotten the whole Bregman/Soto thing, so enjoyed that clip.

kitshef 8:28 AM  

Sort of reluctant to say this after yesterday’s GoT hullabaloo, but crossing the singer of a number five hit – just one of them – with a very minor character – the equivalent of “bank teller number 3” in movie credits – from GoT is absurd.

GAL crossing GIRL was cute, and I liked DATE NIGHTS next to DON’T WAIT UP.

Cluing today seemed to be trying a bit to hard to be clever.

Anonymous 8:40 AM  

Since it’s come up, “Amahl and the Night Visitors” was produced for TV in 1951 and is about an hour long. It’s worth a listen if you have Spotify—I recommend the 2008 Naxos Nashville Symphony version—especially as we enter the holiday season. I know you’ll recognize the shepherds’ chorus toward the middle. Menotti had a very long and productive musical career and was Samuel Barber’s life partner.

Jake

jberg 8:42 AM  

I got LA la lanD off the three correct letters. I never know what year movies came out, and that one is mostly famous for losing, so I just put it in, feeling proud of myself. So when I thought of EDGAR AWARD, I rejected it; but then I saw TIM Ryan (famous for his quixotic attempt to defeat Nancy Pelosi for Speaker), and had to look for another loser. I did kind of like the Oscar/EDGAR crossing, though.

I've never actually seen "AMAHL and the Night Visitors," but it was all over the Christmas radio when I was growing up in the 1950s. I think we may have had an LP of at home, too. I actually have seen Menotti's "Help! Help! The Globolinks!" a comic, kid-oriented opera. But like all things with monsters in them, some kids found it scary, including one of my sons. His mother and I assured him that it was all make-believe; maybe three weeks later he looked at me as he was going to bed and said, "Dad, you don't KNOW that there's no such thing as globolinks." I couldn't refute his logic.

I didn't know you could actually be paid to be a SEATFILLER. I have a friend who used to do arts PR; she had a BEEFY email list of culture lovers, so when she needed to paper the house she would ask the list who wanted a comp. We saw a lot of great theater; sadly, she went into politics, so that dried up.

ASE is Peer Gynt's mother, if you want a really obscure clue.

My mind was in synch with @Rex this morning; not only LAlalanD and AMBULATory, but wanting "'Tis Pity She's a Whore" in the clue.

I'll end on a couple of seasonal notes. First, those of you outside New England may not realize that SALEM is a Halloween reference. It's gruesome, but people feel it's great fun to dress up as a witch and visit the city famous for executing suspected witches 400 years ago. The transit authority has to put on extra trains. And second, @Rex, the "een" in Hallowe'en is a contraction for evening, so I don't think you can say "Halloween Eve" (unless you are being ironic, and you would never do that!)

amyyanni 8:50 AM  

Agree with @BillWeeden on AMAHL. (And am also a fan of "Moonlight.)
And also with @kitshef in that CECE crossing ELIA is an unnecessary Natick.
Lots to like today, although it was on the breezy side for Saturday.
Going for a "tree walk" in a cemetery this afternoon. Seems like a timely activity. Glad to be able to engage in some holiday observances with the community.

MaxxPuzz 8:56 AM  

Rex, Amahl and the Night Visitors is definitely not the obscurity you find it to be. It crops up quite often in the holiday season, so much so that fans and orchestra musicians alike refer to it simply as Amahl. The former do so with a happy smile, the latter with a resigned sigh. What, that again?
Some sign of successful ambulation must be demonstrated post surgery if a patient hopes to be discharged from the hospital.
Why must you rage about perfectly fine items just because you are unfamiliar with them? As you have stated yourself many times, crosswords are a great learning experience. Just sayin.

bocamp 8:56 AM  

Thx Michael; just what a Sat. puz should be: crunchy and challenging! :)

Med++.

Dropped in VISA & OVEN right off, and departed for greener pastures.

Filled in TSP & GAL, and branched out from there.

Slow and steady the rest of the way, with ELIA / CECE & SOLECISM / ASE being my only concerns. Went with the 'E's in both cases for the win. :)

Oh, forgot: wasn't 100% on HULLABALOO / LUMPFISH, either. Thot maybe an 'A' instead of the 'U', but fortunately, went with the 'U'.

My kind of Sat. puz; loved it! :)

@okanaganer 👍 for 0 yd
___

yd 0

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

Anonymous 9:02 AM  

Gratifying to see how many folks here know and appreciate AMAHL and the Night Visitors. Good stuff!
As someone who loved LADY BIRD but didn’t care for The Shape of Water, that clue just reminded me of how irrelevant the Oscars are.

Anonymous 9:04 AM  

Elia Martel is a character in the novels. She doesn’t appear in the tv show though she is mentioned. Might wanna revise that review.

Z 9:21 AM  

This is why we read Rex:
Dothraki hairstylist beheaded by Daenerys for getting her bangs wrong in Season 3 of "Game of Thrones"
😂🤣😂🤣😂
Just the perfect encapsulation of everything GoT.

Easy here. Did the eVEr before OVEN thing, which made the NW harder than it needed to be. Only other real pause was PIPE as clued. I immediately thought, "ceci n'est pas une PIPE clue" (yeah yeah, I get it now, it's "PIPE (down)"). Otherwise easy peasy.

TIS A PITY screams for a David Bowie clue (FYI - there's some debate over whether this is an anti-war song or an anti-domestic abuse song, but nobody seems to think it is about sex)(which reminds me of seeing Springsteen giving a long explication of one of his songs then finishing with "did I think all of this when I wrote the lyrics? No.")

@Frantic Sloth yesterday - I didn't answer your question because I didn't see it until late last night. I'm not responding now to avoid hijacking the comments.

GILL I. 9:29 AM  

I'll try and be polite...but....may I please have my money back?
I ordered Beluga caviar and you gave me LUMP FISH. Then you threw me some ANT Larva in escamoles; it gave me a case of AMBULATION followed by a bit of HEARTED SOLECISM. My TOE hurts.
A lot of this became BLURRY but I'll jump to that 35D clue. This is my slumber party story and if you don't read me that's OK.....:
When I was fairly new to this USofA country, I was invited to my first slumber party. Yeah, I guess there was girl talk because, well, you know, we were a bunch of girls. It was all about boys and how stupid they are. I wanted to tell them about Toby (yeah, that was his name) because he was the only one taller than me. No one wanted to hear me. So, I did what I was supposed to. I went to bed on the floor. When I awakened in the morn, I couldn't find my bra. Yeah, I actually wore one. The giggles were loud and obnoxious. Someone told me to go to the freezer and get the ice cream (yeah, we ate ice cream for breakfast). I did what I was told. Because all of you here are Mensa's, you can guess what I found......A frozen bra drizzled with chocolate. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH. I hated my friends.
I would say my favorite fill here was DONT WAIT UP. I use to say that to my parents all the time. They always waited up. My other was LADY BIRD. Most of it was filmed in Sacramento. My favorite scene was the one of Club Raven on J Street. Jerry Brown used to go there as did I. Sleazy bar with lots of character and warm beer.
I really don't understand why SLAIN is the answer to Defeated, in a way.

mathgent 9:29 AM  

It was a Christmas tradition at our house. Year after year, without exception, we would not watch AMAHL and the Night Visitors.

Very enjoyable. I finished it faster than usual because my wife was solving at the same time and she called out some answers from across the room. HULLABALOO (early, just off the H), SALEM, LADYBIRD.

Learned SOLECISM, LUMPFISH, that Discovery One was the name of the spaceship in 2001, The Space Odyssey.

I knew SEATFILLERS from the Oscar telecasts. When someone leaves a seat within camera range during a commercial, a SEATFILLER immediately occupies it until they come back.

When parents hire a sitter to watch the kids for an evening, that's called a DATENIGHT?





RooMonster 9:49 AM  

Hey All !
Haven't read y'all yet...
Does the clue for BASEBALL BAT make sense? Oh, never mind. Just reread clue, thought it said "... without it." Har. Clue Does make sense. (Out loud thought, was going to erase the question once I realized, but thought I'd let you see my inner workings!)

That mistake aside, a bit of a toughie for me, with NW corner being my downfall. Not sophisticated enough to know Linocuts are a form of ART, so had to Goog that, as was thoroughly stuck up there. Really wanted both VISA and OVEN, but just couldn't see IVORYTOWER. Or SEATFILLER for that matter. COAT was surprisingly tough, as the ole brain refused to think of anything but skin. And BYFAR was by far the furthest thing from the mind. Oh well, can't win 'em all.

SOLECISM is a word that if I have seen before, is nowhere in the Brain Rolodex. Wondering who threw away that card. ATM fiendishly clued with "notes".

And Mexicans eating ANT larva? Yikes. Why do people eat disgusting things? TIS A PITY. Eat pizza! It's much better.

Kind of a themed puz looking grid, but still a good puz.

Three F's
RooMonster
DarrinV

Cankee Yanuck 9:52 AM  

Definitely in my wheelhouse (except for SOLECISM and LA LIGA, which came easily with crosses) so was nicely surprised with a new Saturday record.

I guess Rex is never going to accept that Game of Thrones is also a bestselling book series. However, I do agree that cluing ELIA to it does require impeccable crosses and CECE wasn't one of them. (I only got it *because* I knew ELIA.)

I also misread 44 Across as "You can't leave home *without* it" but BASEBALL BAT still made sense to me since you have to be doing something with one in order to move to a base, even if it's just holding one. (I think? I'm sure there's some weird example that defies my thought process, but it worked out for me so...)

ghkozen 9:58 AM  

Again, I’ve never heard of Charles Lamb, but he appears to have written essays 200 years ago that are now mostly forgotten. Never seen an ELIA Kazan movie, and see he made his most recent movie 20 years before I was born. Rex’s crusade notwithstanding, ELIA Martel from GOT is 1000%, unequivocally better fill than the archaic nobodies he throws out as alternatives.

Frantic Sloth 10:03 AM  

Sometimes it's nice to get an easy Saturdee, especially when solving while half asleep in the middle of the night. Plus, a grid chock-full of gems that leapt from the grid into my brain. Sort of like lemmings in reverse. Gemmings?

LUMPFISH was new to me. Is there a LikeFISH? Seems apt to have that piscatorial choice. A very "Leave It to Beaver"-ish fish wish.

Had SEATwarmER before SEATFILLER for some ungoffly* reason. And ew. Something skeevy about returning to a warm seat.


*needs the second "f" to avoid un-go-fly, the infamous wingless dung heap denizen

Anyway, there was enough chew to keep it interesting and the overall fill was just boss.
A real beauty!

🧠🧠.5
🎉🎉🎉.75

Nancy 10:05 AM  

Do you think I could have possibly waited all the way until Monday to find out why I couldn't make the NW corner work? To find out which one (or more) of my "can't be wrong" answers was indeed wrong?

I couldn't have waited. No way. And this is why you have had the pleasure of my company on this blog 'lo these many years.

So here's what I did wrong and couldn't correct. My checked item for travelers (1D) was a lISt. My "___ready" (2D) was eVEr-ready. And this left me with...wait for it:

The words on some flashcards (1A) turn out to be LE CAB.
And the larva that's eaten in the Mexican dish turns out to be TRT.

What in the name of...? I stared at this mess for like forever and then rushed over here as fast as my little fingers would carry me.

TIS A PITY I couldn't have solved this entire crunchy and engrossing puzzle on my own, but having TRACKED DOWN the reason why the NW was giving me such fits, I'm feeling better about life.

And was that a great clue for BASEBALL BAT or what? I couldn't get it until I changed mEatY to BEEFY for "substantial" (45D) -- at which point the elusive EDGAR AWARD (I was looking for the kind of "mystery prize" you find at the bottom of a crackerjack box) also came in. This was everything I hope for in a Saturday puzzle.

PaulyD 10:10 AM  

Really enjoyed this while solving and appreciated it even more after sitting back and viewing it in its entirety. For me, a near-perfect Saturday, especially welcome one week after last Saturday's self-indulgent slog.

Laughed out loud when, shortly after excoriating GoT, "Rex" makes an aside that is only possible for someone who was an avid viewer of the series. The combination of sanctimony and hypocrisy would be revelatory if it were at all surprising. Such is life in the IVORY TOWER.

DavidinDC 10:13 AM  

Now I know why I read Rex. Loved (❤️ed) the focus on baseball bat and the Soto verrrrrry delayed bat drop on the homer in the WS. Yes I am DavidinDC. And we love Soto in DC.

JC66 10:15 AM  

@Anon 9:04

Elia Martel is a character in the novels. She doesn’t appear in the tv show though she is mentioned. Might wanna revise that review.


If you're correct, it's the clue that's wrong, not @Rex (no one says a character appears ON a novel).

Trey 10:19 AM  

Loved the puzzle for all of the long words. @Rex - AMBULATION is real. Use it all the time in the hospital to describe what my patients should be doing. Only issue for me was CECE crossing ELIA. Almost a Natick

Anonymous 10:27 AM  

There was no player more fun to watch than Colon !!!

Nancy 10:36 AM  

From yesterday's blog:

What a memorable tribute to Dippy the cat, @Barbara S! I'm sure there are plenty of beings -- beings that don't purr or meow or even have fur -- who would be happy indeed with such an eloquent and evocative eulogy.

@egs -- Thanks for citing the hilarious Andy Borowitz skewering of Mark Zuckerberg. Andy's one of the funniest and most original writers working today, I'd say.

@kitshef, from late last night -- My feeling is that if you show kindness, thoughtfulness and tact, and that if you follow the Golden Rule, you don't need to be "woke". It's the sanctimony, the holier-than-thou-ness, the show-offiness and the patting yourself on the back-ness of "wokeness" that so sets my teeth on edge. And while I don't think it's the only reason we ended up with Donald Trump, I do think that it's definitely a reason.

From today's blog: Laughed HEARTEDly over your frozen bra story, @GILL! But I don't think I would have much liked your girlfriends from back in the day. They could have done with a lot more GIRL TALK at the slumber party and many fewer pranks. Your present-day girlfriends sound a lot more...evolved.

jae 10:44 AM  

Easy-medium. SOLECISM??? Other than that and mEaty before BEEFY, pretty smooth with a hint of sparkle. Like it.

Teedmn 10:53 AM  

Like @Roo, I thought the 44A clue read “without” and made perfect sense. You won't leave home plate unless you first have a bat in hand, right?

This was relatively easy for a Saturday but it may seem so because I was binge-solving hard themeless puzzles last night in hopes that it would lead to making week 4 of the Boswords solving LaLiga puzzle flow easier. ‘T’is a pity it didn’t work completely. And 5 minutes after I hit Submit, I had a few head-slapping ahas. Gah. (Today I left the beginning of 15D open to see if it would be TIS or itS).

Rex's complaint about GoT clues doesn’t take into account the millions of people who probably read the books yet didn’t see the series. Granted, the clue pointed to the HBO series but still...

Thanks, Michael Hawkins, this was fun.

Carola 10:53 AM  

Medium for me....well, okay, verging on challenging: lots of skipping around and probing for vulnerable entry spots before I got some traction, actually crossing some words instead of just having the individual AMAHL or CARY surrounded by white. Like others, I thought the misdirecting cluing was outstanding - and doubly rewarding, both for the ones I saw through immediately (e.g., VISA) and for the many more that flummoxed me for a long time (e.g., ATM and the great HIDEOUTS).

Having taught at a Big Ten university, my eye was caught by the parallel placement of IVORY TOWER and FIELD HOUSE, academics and athletics. And, as @Rex mentioned, the eye can't really avoid seeing SEAT FILLERS, either, in my case I thought of the students recruited from abroad to BEEF up the tennis team without the preparation or interest to do well in a course.

Do-overs: hEh HEh; and me, too, for AMBULATory. No idea: CECE, ELIA, LUMPFISH.

liveprof 11:04 AM  

I'm not a CATERER, but I'd recommend the filet of SOLEcism ON A ROLL over that LUMPFISH roe, BY FAR. (TEE HEE)

TJS 11:05 AM  

As soon as I typed in "Ivory Tower" I was rooting for this puzzle, and it did not disappoint. Loved the fact that Rex had to think about it. Also loved his "easy and entertaining" comment. For a Saturday ? Who wants easy ? Oh, I know. Someone who wants to beat his current best time...

@Zippy, "I'm not responding now to avoid hijacking the comments". You and Frantic ? HAh... hah... and hah.

I assume this was a POW. Can anyone confirm ?

Anonymous 11:14 AM  

7D??? c'mon guys, it's in the same territory as The Dew Drop Inn beer dive. there actually was one in Potsdam when I was at Clarkson (when it was just a College that didn't like gurls).

Frantic Sloth 11:17 AM  

@GILL 929am Freezing your bra is bad enough, but the chocolate was just plain mean. I hate your then-friends, too.

@Roo & @GILL So, which is worse: ANT larva or pizza? 😉

@Z 921am Wise decision. I was over it practically before it began. Ever do that? Get into an argument/discussion you wish you hadn't? Ever?

@ghkozen 958am Interesting that you consider ELIA Kazan and Charles Lamb "archaic nobodies" while even G.o.T. fans seem to accept ELIA Martel as a minor character. 1000% better might be pushing it just a touch. Still, it's your opinion and you can have it.
And by that, whether I mean you're entitled to it or can keep it is open to interpretation. 😉

nunya 11:32 AM  

Off topic I suppose, but does anyone know how to get around the AdBlock on the Newsday Saturday Stumper site?

oceanjeremy 11:38 AM  

After solving with my fiancée, I read to her aloud Rex’s review. I got to this part: “ELIA is just the oldest of old-school crosswordese dressed up in a bad and probably highly flammable pseudo-medieval get-up from Spirit Halloween.“

She, in a forceful expulsion of laughter, almost spit out her bagel, then demanded that I read the sentence to her again.

Then she said:

“If you comment, please tell everyone how much I enjoyed that multi-level insult. That was like… that was like a pastry.”

Another comment from her: “I’m really annoyed at FIELD HOUSE. That is just ‘Prep school’ for ‘gymnasium.’”

I feel like, from the tone of her voice, there was some childhood bitterness showing itself. I’d never encountered the term, so I’m guessing it’s specific to her New England childhood experience. Either way, it’s an expression of class warfare and I’m here for it (no war but class war! All power to the workers!).

I digress, I think? We found the puzzle easy but enjoyable. I concur with OFL that “TEHEE” is Not A Thing, so seeing “TEEHEE” is Good And Proper. What else? I, too, lol’d at “AWL Together.” My only real criticism is the cluing on CATERER: “One who likes to dish?”

Do caterers really *like* to dish? It’s their job. This clue taking it as a fact that they *like* their job is making a pretty big assumption. Does one assume that everyone who does a job *likes* their job? I doubt this.

“One who’s paid to dish?” There! Fixed it for ya.



P.S.: I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this in comments yet, but I just want to make sure the record is straight. It may appear that I’m the main Rex Parker fan and NYTXW solver of our household, since I’m the one always commenting. Please know this is NOT the case. It is my fiancée who introduced *me* both to the world of NYTXW *and* to the Rex Parker blog. She solves daily, often more quickly than I do, and reads Rex as often as I do. She just doesn’t comment.
¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Anonymous 11:40 AM  

CECE crossing ELIA is kind of a classless move. Otherwise a fair and fun puzzle.

puzzlehoarder 11:41 AM  

This is one of those days where I am out of sync with the general difficulty rating. I found this on the challenging side. SOLECISM and LALIGA had to come from the crosses but the big slow downs were at the choke points for getting around the middle divider.

In the south my MEATY/BEEFY write over threw me off of the obvious BASEBALL connection for 44A. I couldn't figure out where it was going but somehow convinced myself that the sports reference was just too obvious. Luckily that extreme SE corner was easy and I backfilled the southern tier correctly.

In the north I was very slow on making the emoji connection for HEARTED. That came along with the rest of that NE corner as I filled in from the south. A PSS/PPS write over didn't help.

There were a couple of names that I had gender issues with. ELIA is usually a man's name and clue was an obscure debut for that entry. As sure as I was of CECE. I just couldn't feel 100% about that crossing and it led to hesitation.

With CARY I thought I was looking for a woman's name even after I'd filled it in correctly.

This was a very nice looking puzzle and a good Saturday solve.


yd -0

egsforbreakfast 11:49 AM  

I like LUMPFISH Caviar and it’s only about ten bucks for a decent size jar. For those who think only Beluga and Ossetia are COOL, I say well LA LI GA to you.

What do you call someone who pulls around a trailer full of elephant tusks. An IVORY TOWER.

Do you suppose that any Ohioans have DATENIGHTS at the Dayton Knights of Columbus meetings? Sorry, my daughter-in-law will be furious if I don’t amend that to Knights of Indigenous Peoples.

I’m getting scary good at this crossword stuff judging by my results this week. Just in time for Halloween. Enjoyed this a lot, Michael Hawkins. Thank you.

Tim 11:53 AM  

"By far" =/= "Without a doubt". Nope, "By far" < "Without a doubt".

Anonymous 12:11 PM  

I spent time as a yute in the Springfield College fieldhouse. I seem to recall that an NBA team (too lazy to look it up) recently played in an arena called a 'fieldhouse'. also too lazy to look it up, but the college fieldhouse got the name because the 'floor' was just dirt, aka a field that's covered.

Anonymous 12:15 PM  

Didn't know FIELDHOUSE had prep school or classist connotations. I went to public schools in Oklahoma, and it's what we called our gym that had seats and bleachers for spectators, in contrast to the other gyms on campus used for P.E. classes.

Anonymous 12:26 PM  

Lady Bird-Good

Birdman-Bad

CDilly52 12:27 PM  

Elegance, just pure elegance. And elegance that flowed from VOCAB all the way through SOLECISM to the ATM and down to the SE where I am happy to LET ON that this one didn’t take me EONS to solve, and not because the fill was the usual, but because Michael Hawkins took such care to be current, clever but not too deliberately esoteric just to make a difficult Saturday well, difficult.

I almost wish the puzzle were more difficult because I flew through this from 1A on. But,, and I think this is COOL: our constructor was able to create a Saturday-worthy puzzle with clever clues and some outstanding VOCAB word play while also making the solve accessible. What a feat!

My favorite clue was for 34A where we used the ATM to “take notes.” And we ran through sports answers without boredom: LA LIGA (some of my favorite sports viewing opportunity-LA LIGA. The availability of the highest quality and über competitive European football has turned me into a fan! I will never abandon baseball any more than I would carry my BASEBALL BAT to first base. But I have found myself yelling at the refs (on my television) while watching “football” nearly as often as on Saturday or Sunday watching 🏈!

I have not enjoyed a solve as much as I did today for quite a while. Congratulations and thank you, Mr. Hawkins!

Euclid 12:31 PM  

@Tim:

here's another HTML trick: & ne ; without the spaces looks like - ≠

JC66 12:35 PM  

@nunya

Have you tried using a different server?

foxaroni 12:37 PM  

The clue for 25D was "walking," so I first entered "ambulating." Same tense, no?

Also, I didn't catch the play on words for the "notes" on 34A. So a DNF for me. (Autocorrect kept trying to change DMF to DMV. Ah, technology.)

Even though I've read the G.o.T. books and watched the G.o.T. series, I still didn't have faintest idea what the Martell character's name was or is. At yhe.moment, I can't even tell you how the Martells did into the story line. As I get older, I find I know less and less about more and more. Soon I will know nothing about everything.

Very much enjoyed the puzzle, Mr. Hawkins.

GILL I. 12:38 PM  

@egs 11:49. I'll take your LA LI GA and throw my ham sandwich at you.... :-)
I've had Beluga caviar exactly one time in my life. I LOVE Roe but have only tried LUMP FISH, Salmon, Bowfin, American and some others I can find. Before Beluga Caviar was outlawed here, my (nice and rich) friend invited us over to try it. He was given a tin in lieu of payment for a dubbing he did. Did I die and go to heaven? you ask. I did in my dreams. It's the most exquisite, delightful taste that I still remember to this day. My Dad always said it's better to save your pennies and order the best Porterhouse steak than buy 16 McDonald cheeseburgers.
Lordy, my mouth is watering just talking about it.......

foxaroni 12:45 PM  

How does a person type in the shrugging emoticon at the bottom of @oceanjeremy's 11:30 post? Particularly, the eyes and mouth, because they seem to be directly over each other. I don't get how that's done. Just curious. Thanks.

albatross shell 12:50 PM  

Rex has been knockin' it outta the park quite a bit of late. The humor, the rants, the rifts, the odd unions of diverse references. AHMAHL as a character in GoT. Same reaction as @DavidinDC to his GoT joke. Has he seen it? Did he he catch a few early shows before he got repulsed by the rapefest?

Iwsh he was right on the TEEHEE rant. He just one CHUCKLE yesterday. But no AMBULATION is not even close to Saturday unworthiness.

The clues were wonderfully diverse in this one. And watching the series while getting BASEBALL BAT was nifty. And the clue was an echo of the clue for 1A. And for some reason I cannot remember what card that was. VISA Discover or other. Which the HAL clue echoes and sort of the ATM answer does to. Once I yelled F*** You Puzzle, both my highest compliment or worse insult and sometimes both at once. Going back I cannot remember which one it actually was.

IVORYTOWER TRACKEDDOWN HULLABALOO DONTWAITUP lATENIGHT EDGARAWARD went in fairy quickly.

FIELDHOUSE SEATFILLER and many embarrassing things like VOCAB (math only at least after 3rd grade) and SHED (total stupidity).

Hey I remember: it was HIDEOUTS.

I saw CATERERS as a double pun: They like to serve dishes (or at least the owners do and and the employees like to earn money if you want to nit) and they do a lot of private parties for the elite so they have a lot to dish about (as in diss).

@GILL I.
When your fears or foes are SLAIN they are defeated. Or there was a joke you were making I did not get.

mathgent 12:52 PM  

My favorite posts this morning.

Jake (8:40)
Gill I. (9:29)
Nancy (10:36)
Carola (10:53)
CDilly52 (12:27)
Gill I. (12:38)

Anonymous 12:58 PM  

@GILL I.:
Beluga Caviar was outlawed

never knew that. the wiki says it's because the sturgeon is endangered, but doesn't say why harvesting roe matters in that. is the fish killed in order to get the roe? it seems logical that the roe can be 'massaged' out, no? since most fish (sturgeon, too?) expel the roe for fertilization. you're the expert, that's why I ask.

BanannieNYC 12:59 PM  

I don’t usually finish Saturdays, so I appreciated the “ease” of this one, nice little start to the weekend. Agree - really loved some of the fill, and made a stank face at some of the fill. AND ALSO at 45A thought immediately of Bartolo Colon never letting go of his bat!!

Z 12:59 PM  

@JC66 10:15 - My thought exactly.

@PaulyD - 🤣😂🤣 - There was a period of time, I’d say seasons 6-8, where the GoT think pieces were everywhere on the web. My working hypothesis is all those think pieces were guilt driven. It was as if on some level those critics/writers realized that GoT was utter crap and sought to figure out/justify getting sucked in. I suspect Rex, like me, read a bunch of those think pieces. As I mentioned yesterday, I found the whole “GoT is really feminist” sub genre of think pieces especially fascinating. Anyway, it is entirely possible to think GoT is complete dreck and still know a great deal about it.

@ghkozen - What @Frantic Sloth said. I fully understand not having heard of ELIA Kazan, but I suspect A Streetcar Named Desire, On the Waterfront, or East of Eden might ring a bell, as well as that HUAC testimony was controversial for some people even if you don’t know the specific people beyond Joseph McCarthy. So, Kazan is just a wee bit more important than a minor GoT character.

@Teedmn - Wikipedia has a hard time verifying exact numbers so take this with a grain of salt, but the series has apparently sold 90 million books worldwide. That’s fewer copies than the first Harry Potter book by itself. Rex calling it “prestige TV” rings true, it’s nowhere near as big as it feels. Still, to me, major GoT characters are absolutely fair game, and even minor characters are fair game on a Saturday. But I also agree with Rex that cluing ELIA via a minor GoT character draws unnecessary attention to esey fill.

I knew CECE from the clue. I have no idea why I knew CECE from the clue. Maybe I do too many crosswords?

@oceanjeremy - My west Michigan public high school had a FIELDHOUSE. It was an entirely separate building with a basketball court, indoor track, weight lifting area, locker rooms, et cetera. But it was unusual. Every other high school in the area had a gymnasium, as did the building my high school replaced. It was most definitely something more associated with colleges and prep schools.

@nunya - look for your AdBlock settings. There is usually a way to allow for site-specific pop-up windows.

@foxaroni - Personally, I’d select the whole emoticon, then copy and paste.
¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Tim Carey 12:59 PM  

Yep. DNF at CaCE/aLIA.

foxaroni 1:01 PM  

So my post just a few minutes ago had several errors. Some due to autocorrect and some just bad proofreading on my part. It should have said autocorrect tried to change DNF to DMV. (My own fault.)

Another error on my part: should read "At the moment,".

And "How the Martells fit into the story line."

Sorry.... If I could type in @oceanjeremy's "shrugging" emoticon, I would put it here.

A 1:06 PM  

Great puzzle - definitely the best of the week. Not easy for me - I did not get VOCAB right off the BAT. “Some words”? Aren’t all words on flash cards VOCAB? Agree that the ELIA/CECE cross is iffy. But the rest was awesome. Ditto everything @Lewis said. Also amusing writeup by OFL - loved the GOT bangs bit.

Favorite entry: HULLABALOO, because my first thought was HoopdeedOO. My mom used to say that as a kind of cross between “wow” and “big deal.” Her way of saying it’s ok to take a fleeting pride in some achievement as long as you don’t take yourself too seriously.

I do seriously beg to differ with @Rex about AMAHL being xwordese. It’s a hugely popular Christmas opera put on annually by many opera companies and churches. Music and libretto by Gian Carlo Menotti, inspired by his childhood memories of stories of the Magi, rekindled when he saw Hieronymus Bosch’s “The Adoration of the Magi.” From Wiki: "The NBC Opera Theatre commissioned several composers to write operas specifically for television. The most famous and most successful of these works was the very first new opera staged by the company, Gian Carlo Menotti's Amahl and the Night Visitors, which premiered live on December 24, 1951 as the first installment of the Hallmark Hall of Fame program. It was the first opera specifically composed for television in America." Menotti composed it with the stage in mind, however, and it is still performed 70 years later. Watch it without laughing and crying, I double dare you.

Here is a clip from an intriguing new production by On Site Opera, at the Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen.

pabloinnh 1:08 PM  

@nynya-I was having the same problem and was able to get a printable version at brainsonly.com.

jb129 1:16 PM  

i remembered this constructer & his puzzles were difficult.

This one definitely kept me going. Not being a opera fan, I didn't know Amahl but having been stuck on it (until I cheated) I won't forget it again. (I hope).

I was also stuck on COB for corns place (shame on me) but all in all a very enjoyable puzzle which really kept me going. Thank you!

Frantic Sloth 1:18 PM  

@oceanjeremy 1138am Agree with you and Rex on TEEHEE. It's a peeve, if not pet-ty. Get your fiancé on here tout de suite - she's fun! I also agree with her take on FIELDHOUSEs, but I'm from CT, where class wars are the #1 hobby.

Anonymous 1:27 PM  

what's "exclusionary" about including something besides Kazan or George Lamb on a clue for once? I think he just doesn't like GoT and it's one of the many hobby horses.

Tim Carey 1:41 PM  

Mmmm... Konrad Lorenz? Or Nicholas Butler?

DigitalDan 1:48 PM  

Super hard for me. Or at least, required a lot of down and across alternations, erasures, and start-overs. Ironically, AMAHL was the only gimme for me. My family watched the debut performance of this opera in 1951 on a friend's new color TV. Thereafter, my sibs and I memorized every word and every note. I have subsequently participated in at least three productions of this piece. Oh thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

nunya 1:55 PM  

It worked! Thanks so much!

Carola 2:08 PM  

@A 1:06 - Thank you for today's wonderful link. I also wanted to thank you for yesterday's link to the Dance of the Seven Veils. I went for the music, but I stayed at least as much for the chiffon - what a creation by Jean Louis!

JonB3 2:14 PM  

Nowadays, receiving an intentional walk in Baseball doesn't require holding a bat at home base in order to advance to first.

Nick 2:17 PM  

Game of Thrones fan here and I agree that "ELIA" was an unfairly deep cut -- she's a character who never even appears (alive) in the series; she's only alluded to through dialogue. There are at least 8-10 main characters who I think would be fair game based on how ubiquitous the show has been in pop-culture conversation. Elia Martell is not close to being on that list.

GILL I. 2:21 PM  

@Nancy and @Frantic....Speaking of friends.....I learned a long time ago (kinda the hard way) to pick them carefully. So many of the ones I have now I've had for many years and they'd never pour chocolate in my bra...Mabe some good scotch, but never ice cream.....
@mathgent 12:52. Thanks for the kudos. I had to go back and read what I wrote because sometimes... BUT...I never tell a lie.
@Albatross 12:50...Joke? I don't do jokes. I ask nothing but the truth.
@Anony 12:58....I think Beluga was outlawed because it was over- fished and became endangered. I'm pretty sure PETA had a hand in it. Guess what else is outlawed? Sassafras's oil, Haggis, Surprise Eggs and Ackee Fruit to name a few. Someone didn't like their names and decided to pass a law through Congress.
Isn't this country great?

Anonymous 2:23 PM  

I would argue, disrespectful—better to mention Laurie Metcalf's Oscar nomination than to clue the film as a "Loser," come on

Reminds me of the old saying... second place is just the #1 loser.

And while I have your attention. Caviar is made from sturgeon roe. If it's not sturgeon, it's just roe.

Tom Q. 2:38 PM  

I'm glad to see plenty of people jumped in to correct Rex on La La Land -- saying "it didn't lose", when, because of how it went down, it's possibly the most famous loser ever. (One producer, speaking after several gave acceptance speeches, actually said "We lost, by the way", as word of the screw-up spread across the stage.)

And, yeah, without ever seeing it, I know Amahl and the Night Visitors, because it was on TV every damn Christmas. Rex seems to be really narrowing his "Allowable clues" in random ways -- AMAHL too old, anything Game of Thrones (a very contemporary show everyone I know but me has watched) too arcane. He's getting a bit Miss Jean Brodie here (I guess that's unallowably old, too): she said Giotto was the greatest Renaissance painter because "He is MY favorite".

Because I didn't start with VOCAB, I found the NW the hardest part, not least because I went ITSAPITY before TISAPITY. And didn't think BYFAR was quite a match for "Without a doubt".

Trey 2:46 PM  

@frantic sloth 1:18 - Cole Field House at University of Maryland (only one example of a non-prep school use of this term). I am fairly sure at UNC we had a building called a FIELD HOUSE. It may be big in some prep schools but also exists in public universities.

Wanderlust 2:52 PM  

I feel like I’ve seen you both post on the same day ABOUT each other. I kind of like that and encourage you both to do it more often.

Tom T 3:11 PM  

Tried to post this message earlier but it appears not to have gone through.

Thanks, JD for the positive comment yesterday on my hidden diagonal words thing. Nice to know someone has been entertained by my new bad habit!

Three 4 letter diagonals appear in close proximity to each other in the N portion of the grid. Here are clues for those three diagonals, with the answers--spoiler alert--revealed below:
1. Cannabis handle
2. Layer beneath the husk in whole grains
3. L x W

I liked the puzzle, with my only difficult moments coming around the THY in the Shakespeare quote, which led to great confusion with LALIGA and NAYS.

Answers:
1. WEED
2. BRAN
3. AREA

okanaganer 4:02 PM  

Nice tough puzzle, but one answer that really spoils it for me: KPH. Which afaik, is not actually used anywhere in the world (except maybe the US, which doesn't actually use km!). The unit is "km/h", in lowercase only. You could use KMH but it's still pretty bad.
[SB yd 0, as reported yd. td to come later; beautiful sunny day so get out there!]

Masked and Anonymous 4:13 PM  

Just to look at the puzgrid all filled in, U wouldn't think this SatPuz would be very hard. Except maybe for a scattered LUMPFISH SOLECISM, of course. So, the clues musta really rose to the occasion, and scared the hair plum off my nanoseconds.

staff weeject pick: ASE. Caroxyl??? stuff, huh? Better clue for non-chemists: {High card in the slub suit??}.

LALIGA. har. And ole.

Thanx for the challenge, Mr. Hawkins dude. Good job.

Masked & Anonymo4Us


**gruntz**

thfenn 5:37 PM  

@okanaganer 4:02, had exactly the same reaction and forgot to mention it. Always seen it as "km/h", certainly, for example, on European car dashboards.

A 6:14 PM  

@Carola, you’re welcome. I was very impressed by the soup kitchen AMAHL - they found some amazing voices, and it was a great reminder of how true art transcends its own time. And, yes, I did intentionally link the video version of the Seven Veils for it’s extra-musical interests. ;-)

If anyone needs music/video for their Christmas “to watch” list, here is a movie version of AMAHL and The Night Visitors, filmed with Menotti's input.

1996 film, posted on YouTube by Gian Carlo Menotti Archive

All that gold! All that gold!
I wonder if rich people know
what to do with their gold?
Do they know how a child could be fed?
Do rich people know?
Do they know that a house can be kept warm
all day with burning logs?
……….
Oh what I could do
for my child with that gold!
...for my child, for my child...
for my child... for my child...

Menotti was not all about AMAHL. Here’s something very different. The Black Swan, with Nina Simone.

oisk17 7:21 PM  

I don't know the names of any of the characters from Game Of Thrones, and I actually watched some of it. But not only are there many, many solvers who have never watched it, and don't even have access to it if they wanted to watch it, the names (like Sansa) are not at all discernable. from most of the letters. I would prefer puzzles that are sans a Game of Thrones clue...Had no idea that there was an Elia....

Z 7:39 PM  

It’s just a few of the AMAHL comments, but that few are responding to what they think Rex wrote, not what he actually wrote. He didn’t say anything about AMAHL being bad fill. Rex was asserting that going to GoT for an ELIA clue was bad and contrasted that with the clue for AMAHL, a word he only knows from crosswords. In fact, his exact words leading into the AMAHL bit are: Just embrace the crosswordese you need to make the grid work, give it an unimposing familiar clue, so as Not To Call Attention To It, and move on. Sometimes, you need crosswordese; we all know and accept that. Now, if your eyebrows arched at that last little bit we all understand, but Rex wasn’t complaining about AMAHL today.

@okanaganer & @thefenn - I’ve never seen km/h (more accurately, I don’t recall seeing it) so popped it into Uncle Google who spit back a Wikipedia page on the SI unit that helpfully includes this parenthetical in the first sentence, (SI symbol: km/h; abbreviations: kph, kmph, km/hr). Later on that same page there’s a section on abbbreviations, the attendant confusion resulting from having 18 ways to abbreviate it, and then, For example, news organisations such as Reuters and The Economist require "kph". Both of those news agencies are based in London, England, where they do use kilometres per hour.

@JonB3 - Check out the clue again. Note that it says “with” not “without.”

@anon1:27 - All three are exclusionary, just to different people. That’s the problem with all PPP, if you know it, easy, if you don’t you better hope the crosses are fair and the spelling is not too outré.

Anonymous 7:42 PM  

Please to explain: how are labs screening stes?

Z 7:42 PM  

Okay, tomorrow’s puzzle is by Alex Eaton-Salners. Anybody who has solved it care to email me on whether it’ll be worth the 20 minute investment of my time?

Z 7:50 PM  

@Anon7:42 - LABS as in LABoratorieS where they might “screen” tests, that is to test or examine for the presence of something (such as a disease) (Merriam-Webster online)

JC66 7:57 PM  

@Anon 7:42

LABoratories.

@Z

I liked it (30 minutes).

JC66 7:58 PM  

@Z

Solved while drinking a martini. 😂

okanaganer 8:06 PM  

@Z actually Britain still uses mph! I think in all countries that actually use km, it's "km/h".

Jesse 8:30 PM  

I wasn't a fan of the cluing on ELIA either, but I think Game of Thrones is much more in the popular consciousness than you think it is, Rex. It was one of the most watched shows in the US during its height. SANSA seemed completely fine to me.

Anonymous 8:39 PM  

For me SOLECISM and LALIGA were did not knows.

just after I said yesterday that GOT was more relevant than 1960s clues, I did not know ELIA without the crosses, but would admit that I only know of ELIA Kazan through crosswords (much like ALB, AMAGH, etc.)

I did know lumpfish without crosses because I enjoy fish roe, but cannot afford true (sturgeon) caviar

stephanie 10:25 PM  

as predicted, today was hard for me. DNF because i guessed HUBS for screening sites (like airports) and thought ULB was just as plausible as ALB. that also left me with HUMPFISH but see...early on i had STURGEON, then when i started getting crosses i had to let that go but thought i saw...HUMPBACK? i know that's a whale but, maybe? and i googled it and HUMPBACK salmon caviar is indeed a thing! i thought i learned something. then i had to give up BACK for FISH, and didn't think to go back and reconsider the HUMP half. oh well!

got all the long fills which is as much as i can hope for on a saturday. also, my dad taught SAT prep (among many other things) so VOCAB was a gimme and a good start. i loved those cards in the back of the SAT prep books even as a kid. also knew about the ANTs from an early episode of chef's table - there was some sauce or dip made of ants and it actually looked delicious. they were pulverized so there weren't any bits to bother you visually or texturally. anyway, that whole NW went in smoothly. not sure how i pulled AMBULATION out of the depths of my brain but that one went in rather early to my surprise. learned SOLECISM, FIELDHOUSE, EDGAR AWARD(S), LA LIGA. googled AMAHL. didn't love RESEALS for caulks since you can simply seal something for the first time by caulking, but wrote it in easily enough. had COB before TOE and really, really resisted writing in TOE until the bitter end because...ew.

could do without hearing another GOT rant for the rest of my life, but thanks to the writeup i realized "can't leave home without it" was actually "can't leave home WITH it" which i totally hadn't noticed. the former would have been better, since i parsed it as needing a bat to get up to the plate, which then allows you to leave it, whether you get a hit or a walk. i.e., you need a bat to leave home plate one way or another. small nit for an otherwise good puzzle, even if it ended up being just slightly too hard for me.

stephanie 10:54 PM  

@JC66 the clue is still correct. she was a major plot point in season 4 (resulting in one of the more iconic scenes), the basis for another revenge plot a couple seasons later, and mentioned by name a ton, so she was a character ON the show. (i'm not saying any of this should be common knowledge, of course, just clarifying. i wager there are many other examples of unseen characters throughout tv & movies - keyser söze was practically a main character in the usual suspects, and he technically didn't exist at all.)

stephanie 10:57 PM  

oh and ps, i LOVED cece peniston! i was in elementary school when "finally" came out and we sang that song all the time. thinking about an [*does quick maff*] eight year old belting out that song really brings a smile to my face. also, a sixth grader i knew told me it was really about "finally" getting your period. lol!

stephanie 11:14 PM  

@foxaroni copy and paste. i keep a set of all my favorite ascii emoticons in the notepad of my phone and my laptop. here are some of my faves:

ಠ_ಠ (what i call "the eyes" - i look at my partner like this over chat when he tells a particularly bad joke)

(❍ᴥ❍ʋ) (jake the dog from adventure time)

(ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ*:・゚✧ (throw glitter or confetti at someone/about something, sarcastic or genuinely)

(づ  ̄ ³ ̄)づ (gimme a kiss)

(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ (flip a table)

┬──┬ ¯\_(ツ) (gently put the table back right side up after witnessing table flipping rage)

ᕕ( ᐛ )ᕗ (strut off happily like leonardo dicaprio)

(☞゚ヮ゚)☞ (ayyyy, look at this guy!)

Anonymous 11:24 PM  

@Ocean Jeremy:
Gwen : I have lost my fiance, the poor baby!
Elaine Benes : [Australian accent] Maybe the dingo ate your baby.

Srsly Folks 11:38 PM  

In the 2019 season, the last for GOT, the top rating for any single episode of GOT was 5.8. In 2019, there were 60 TV shows which got higher average ratings for the entire season than did the best GOT episode, the series finale. Several of those shows with ratings higher than GOT were not renewed for the next season due to poor ratings. Is GOT niche? How on earth can one say no? It doesn't matter how much you love it, how big a deal it was to you and your friends, it wasn't that big a deal.

Unknown 12:40 PM  

Yes, let’s hear it for “Amahl…,” a beautiful work and one of Menotti’s best, along with “The Consul.”

Anonymous 1:00 AM  

Did Monday Thru Saturday today without hints. All in one day.


Mark

Diana, LIW 1:32 PM  

Finished in two sittings, but easy for a Saturday IMO. Really resisted LUMPFISH - couldn't be that easy, right?

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Burma Shave 2:57 PM  

CARDIO HEART ON

DON'TWAITUP OR TRACK me DOWN,
I have my HIDEOUTS ON late NIGHTS,
GIRLs in every HOUSE in town,
I'm ONAROLL ON AWL DATENIGHTS.

--- HAL FARMER

thefogman 3:07 PM  

I don’t know what Rex said but I thought this one was pretty good. A bit easy for a Saturday, but not hugely. Had carPFISH before LUMPFISH, LAlaland before LADYBIRD, TISktisk before TISAPITY and hEftY before BEEFY. That’s a lot of misdirects. Clever cluing. Not much junk fill. Lots of unique entries AWL in AWL a well-crafted puzzle that was a pleasure to solve.

rondo 3:09 PM  

Fairly easy for a Sat-puz. I'd give a shout out to EDEN Prairie, MN, but it's waaaay on the wrong side of the Mississippi.
Got SVEN in the corners.
Find me a GAL GIRL LADY in that tangle of crosses.
New 3 letter place for corn is TOE, along with ear and cob.
This was OK.

spacecraft 6:32 PM  

I've seen more than one slugger, after sending one "outta here," carry his BASEBALLBAT at least halfway to first before tossing it, so the faux Amex reference doesn't hold up. Beware when trying to fashion "cute" clues.

I do agree that DONTWAITUP next to DATENIGHT is a master stroke. LADYBIRD and GIRLTALK is another appealing duo. A brand new clue for ELIA kicks Charles Lamb's ass right off the page. I could not find an actual actress who played her, but the images are quite something. Can an animation be DOD?

This was doable, which for a Saturday means no worse than medium. Birdie.

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