Meredith's half-sister on Grey's Anatomy / SAT 11-20-21 / Song word sung twice before goodbye / One named model and philanthropist / Drink with a shot balanced on chopsticks over a beer / Gracious words when accepting an honor / Scoop often used in Indian cuisine / Org associated with the note series G-E-C / French phrase in many bistro names

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Constructor: Mary Lou Guizzo and Jeff Chen

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: EHUD Olmert (9D: ___ Olmert, former Israeli P.M.) —
Ehud Olmert (/ˈlmərt, -mɛərt/; Hebrewאֶהוּד אוֹלְמֶרְט‎, IPA: [eˈhud ˈolmeʁt]; born 30 September 1945) is an Israeli politician and lawyer. He served as the 12th Prime Minister of Israel from 2006 to 2009 and before that as a cabinet minister from 1988 to 1992 and from 2003 to 2006. Between his first and second stints as a cabinet member, he served as mayor of Jerusalem from 1993 to 2003. After serving as PM he was sentenced to serve a prison term over convictions for accepting bribes and for obstruction of justice during his terms as mayor of Jerusalem and as trade minister. (wikipedia)
• • •

This is a solid effort. SAKE BOMB, EXTRA MILE, and NIGHT OWLS were the high points for me. A couple of the longer answers wobbled, namely FLEW A KITE, which is a 8/10 on the "EAT A SANDWICH" scale of "arbitrary blank-a-blank" verb phrases (extra points for the past tense!), and YOU'VE GOT THIS!, which colloquially, in practice, seems far more likely to be said YOU GOT THIS! I see that both versions are in use, but the full, grammatically correct version of the phrase sounds stilted, like someone trying to use an expression not at all natural to them. In actual speech, in actual practice, that "VE" mostly disappears. Oh, the one other longer answer that I had a bad reaction to, the one that made me cringe and ugh the most, was "I'M HUMBLED," not because it's not a fully real, in-the-language, crossword-appropriate phrase (it is), but because the phrase is always so repulsively disingenuous (18A: Gracious words when accepting an honor). Getting a major award is not humbling. You are not humbled. Never believe someone standing in a tux or a gown holding a gold statue or any other award when they tell you "I'M HUMBLED." They're honored, but they are not humbled. In fact, if you say, about yourself, that you are humbled, it is almost certainly a lie. You are performing humility so that people will think you're not an egomaniac, but brother, in most cases, your fake, self-aggrandizing "I'M HUMBLED" makes you seem like a bigger egomaniac than you'll ever know. Real humility isn't on stage speaking into a mic with an award in its hand. You know what's humbling? Failure. The term "humblebrag" exists for a reason. You can be grateful, that might be a deeply sincere sentiment on the occasion of winning an award, a very good sentiment to express when being honored. But spare me the "I'M HUMBLED." End of Ted Talk.

Only hangups today were in predictable places, namely secondary characters in shows / books / movies I care nothing about. I know "Grey's Anatomy" was hugely popular, but I don't know a single person who watched it, or at least no one who ever talked about it, or even mentioned it, so ... let's see, I know the kid who starred in "Can't Buy Me Love" grew up to star in the show (Patrick ... somebody ... maybe on the show he's known as "dreamy"? McDreamy? ... yes! Patrick Dempsey!), and I think Katherine HEIGL was on it, at some point, and I know SHONDA how-is-she-not-in-crosswords-more RHIMES created it, and I know it's a medical drama and it takes place in Seattle. After that, I'm out. LEXIE? (14A: Meredith's half sister on "Grey's Anatomy") Yeesh. I just waited around for a name-like entity to appear in those squares. My other name issue was ARWEN, which I kinda sorta remember from watching those Incredibly Dull and Ponderous LOTR movies back in the aughts. But honestly I wrote ROWEN in there at first. One TOLKIEN answer per puzzle is quite enough, folks. 

I had BRASH before FRESH (1A: Sassy) (Still. More. Sass. 3-day streak), and MARE before SIRE (figured SIRE was too obvious, whoops) (4D: Part of an equine bloodline). Also "BELIEVE ME" before "BELIEVE IT" (second "IT" of the puzzle, which I normally wouldn't notice, but for some reason, probably because I stumbled on IT, I really noticed IT this time). COLAS before MALTS (12D: Fountain fare). ACRE before DIRT (52D: It covers a lot of ground). Very proud of the musical part of my brain today, as I got "HEY" after only a couple seconds cogitation (I actually had the "NA-NA NA-NA" part of the "Hey, Jude" refrain as an answer in a puzzle the other day, and I'm now realizing that I thought today's "HEY" was also from "Hey, Jude" but now that I sing it out to myself, it's from "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye" by a group that I'm just learning now is called "Steam." I think the "Na na hey hey" refrain is sometimes shouted at basketball games when someone on the opposing team gets ejected. I could be imagining that. But it feels right. So maybe my musical brain is slightly broken after all, but HEY (HEY), I got the answer right, and I *also* got NBC instantly from its musical clue (32A: Org. associated with the note series G-E-C), so two for two on the music memory front, I'll take it. On that note (!): 

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

P.S. in case you don't remember the NBC 3-note progression, here you go:

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Ann Howell 6:26 AM  

Any Saturday that I can do in one pass gets a thumbs up from me! (Though dipping in and out across a morning is also delightful.) Agree with Rex on most of it - FLEW A KITE was just dumb, but the rest of it had enough zing to make it fun and not too much arcane knowledge to slow it down. Being a fantasy nerd back in high school helped with the Tolkien clues :)

Lewis 6:37 AM  

Whew! What a trip!

As I look at the finished grid, there are but three answers out of my knowledge. In my first pass, however, there were only a few tentative fill-ins. And yet, all it seemed to take was one or two more answers (one was when I remembered BEAGLE) to see more, and answers began to bleed in. The South filled slow and steady, momentum picked up, and the North pretty much splatted in. It’s like I shifted into Mary Lou’s and Jeff’s wavelength. And so today I went ever increasingly from not a chance to victory dance. From I’M HUMBLED to YOU’VE GOT THIS. It was a thrill!

So many of the clues in my solve were like riddles that you don’t get, then someone gives you a hint, and suddenly comes the flash and “Hah!”. Here, that hint was in the form of one or two squares filled in. Time after time, “Hah!” after “Hah!”, vexers fell, making for a steady staccato of stellar.

Amazing Saturday experience for me, you two. Thumbs way up and I am so very grateful!

Son Volt 7:06 AM  

Really nice puzzle. With Rex on the solid longs - EXTRA MILE, NIGHT OWLS and YOUVE GOT THIS splashed for me. We’ve seen KAMALA enough lately - the full name is a waste of real estate. Like the SENATORS clue but don’t care for SAKE much so that fell flat.

I’m a LOTR geek so the slant was welcome - especially seeing ARWEN.

Enjoyable Saturday solve. I also recommend Anna Sliga’s stumper for those into massive corner stacks. Off to run a 10 mile turkey trot which may do the old knees in.

Conrad 7:13 AM  

Am I the only one who hears *three* "Hey"s before "Goodbye?"

Easy-Medium. WOEs included LEXIE, OMBRES and ARWEN, but all were gettable.

Seems like a long time since we've seen our old friends ELAND and TEC. Or maybe I just haven't been paying attention.

OffTheGrid 7:14 AM  

Nothing I read today will be better than @Rex's comments on "I'M HUMBLED". Nailed it!
I'm almost tired from hopping around the grid but it was great fun and bit by bit it came together. Anthony Fauci fit 26A but alas! I should've known that one. There are always clues that I pass over but never get back to because crosses do the job without my knowledge. Then I peruse the grid, see an answer and QUERY "Huh? what's that?" Today it was OMBRE (Try not to think of hOMBRE). Google tells me it's pronounced ämbər. Good Saturday!

Unknown 7:30 AM  

The clue is "Song word sung twice before "goodbye." It is always THREE Hey's. Always. Never, EVER just TWO. And it's also always FOUR Na's.


Lousy clue.

SouthsideJohnny 7:36 AM  

Props to those of you who knew that BEAGLE was the name of a ship - I didn’t even think it was the name of a dog back in what - the middle-ages ? LEXIE and ARWEN are good examples of PPP that well, just aren’t all that popular - hopefully they will be confined to Fridays and Saturdays when dark matter and black holes are allowed to flourish. I definitely don’t get the wordplay (if that’s the case) in the clue for PLATEAU (The highest form of flattery?) - I see the question mark, but haven’t got the pun or whatever yet. On the cool side, I learned that MILORD is actually a word and not a typo.

GILL I. 7:37 AM  

Well, I'll start by saying that two of my favorites appear as constructors here...Then I will give you my little tale of woe.....
To start....This was one of those "get off my comfy chair about 10 times," day. I needed to re-group; re-remember, and chill before getting answers here and there.
Of course I watched "Grey's Anatomy"....who didn't? But LEXIE, AVA, IMAN, ARWEN, and NAS made my GLANDS turn a NEO NOIR in the YOLKS of that SAKE BOMB I didn't order. of this were hard. I actually got up last night, poured another little drinky poo when I remembered BEAGLE, did a little fandango tango penning in KAMALA HARRIS and said YOUVE GOT THIS. Well, actually, I needed help. I didn't know names. I never know the damn names. Can someone explain how ESPY at 25A is a Make out? And oh, Lordy....ALPHA MALE is a pack man?
I managed to finish at around 3 in the AM; went back to bed, woke up and put in my last ALA MAISON. You know...I've been to France a million times....eaten in a million bistro's and NEVER ONCE have I ever seen ALA MAISON on any sign. I think I'll go home and eat some escargot.

ncmathsadist 7:39 AM  

Grey's Anatomy. It's a show about people hopping in bed with each other. One episode and I was done.

Eric NC 7:43 AM  

@unknown 7:14
Maybe in lyrics but song names was na na hey hey goodbye

snabby 7:45 AM  

Thank you, Rex, for your "I'm humbled" diatribe. 100%. If only the clue had indicated its wrongness, it would have been fine. Still, a fine puzzle.

Bill Weeden 7:47 AM  

How is "SENATORS" the answer to "Century of note"? Can't figure this out to save my neck. Help!

Georgia 7:49 AM  

TRUE!!! Sang it with the crowd it at many a high school basketball game when someone fouled out ... 50 years ago. Kept that corner blank til the end thinking it couldn't be and finally gave in.

amyyanni 7:59 AM  

Disagree with Rex & @OffTheGrid. Really? You can't know how all people feel. Many people may feel humbled when accepting an honor, especially if accepting it on behalf of a group. That's my belief, and I like my world with that spot of humility in it. My solve was aptly described by Lewis, down to BEAGLE being a toehold.

Joaquin 8:03 AM  

I've been quiet the past few days as nothing has motivated me to comment on the recent puzzles. And today @Rex stole my HUMBLED thunder. So instead I will regale you with what's going on in my neck of the woods:

Yesterday, in my neighborhood, an armored truck lost two bags of money off the truck and cash was blown all over both sides of the freeway. People stopped (illegally) to pick up (read: "steal") fistfuls of cash, causing chaos on I-5. The best part: Two schmucks locked their keys in their cars while stealing money and were subsequently arrested when they were unable to escape with the stolen dough.

Birchbark 8:05 AM  


4D "Above and beyond, with the" = Bee's knees --> EXTRA MILE.

Instead of "I'M HUMBLED," one might say "This award signals a PLATEAU in my career" (great 20D clue, "The highest form of flattery"). Or, taking a cue from @Rex's over-the-top humblerant -- the chastened honoree: "I was going to say "I'M HUMBLED, but now I just feel bad about myself."

I liked FLEW A KITE for "playing in the wind." I was looking for a musical term that might describe performing in the open air -- the right answer crept up like so many other good ones today.

Z 8:11 AM  

HEY HEY the clue is inaccurate. Methinks the issue is that when somebody in the NBA fouls out of the game the fans chant “HEY HEY Goodbye,” eliding past the swallowed third HEY. Still, NYT Fact-Check fail (although they get by on a technicality).

Speaking of swallowed syllables, YOU’VE GOT THIS is what I hear even when the ‘VE gets elided past. YOU’VE in the phrase is a one syllable word with the terminal consonant always barely there.

Are we going to get the Km/H complaint today? I must admit that going Km for “kilometer” instead of simply K seems fussy to me. I assume it is because scientists need to distinguish between Kelvin and Kilometers. If you’re not a scientist you are never going to use Kelvin and, trust me, when you’re reading you pretty much have to be a dolt to mistake speed for temperature. Does anyone really think that John Q. Public is going to look at their car dash and think the dial is a temperature gauge? Just fussy.

The puzzle was a medium Saturday, with the NE and SW using up the most precious nanoseconds. I went with taRp before DIRT, “confirmed” by NOT AFRAID. In the opposite corner I had no idea what came after SAKE and had next to zero chance of coming up with OMBRES without at least 5 of the crosses. Can an Hombre with OMBRES be an ALPHA MALE? I was also wondering if ARWEN can be considered an ALfeMALE.

I really liked “The highest form of flattery?” Good stuff.

Rex is irked by sass. Me? It’s the four-letter flatbread.

Tom T 8:18 AM  

PESKIER? More like BLEEPing PESKIEst! I was ELATEd when the app finally said "YOU'VE GOT THIS on my last ENTRY. I'M HUMBLED (not!), and NOT AFRAID to face future challenges.

Two Hidden Diagonal Word clues today:

1. Lavish celebration (4 letters)

2. Portmanteau beverage mixing milk and a cola (4 letters)

This puzzle took me overnight to solve! Biggest mis-directions were FLuttered for FLEW A KITE (I prefer my answer) and YOU did better for YOU'VE GOT THIS (encouraging words)

Also, hand up with Rex for sodaS before MALTS and acRe before DIRT

Answers to HDW:

1. FETE (Extreme NW corner. It could be extended to FETEE, describing the person being FETEd???)

2. PILK (A combination, according to social media, of Pepsi and milk. Cringe worthy Saturday level clue and disgusting idea for a beverage.)

Speaking of soft drinks, after yesterday's lengthy commentary on RC COLA, my wife and I went to lunch at a BBQ place that had bottles of Bubble Up on their drink shelf! "A kiss of lemon, A kiss of lime!" I absolutely had not seen a Bubble up in at least 55 years. I couldn't believe it still existed. Of course, I had to have one with my pulled pork sandwich and it was tasty, Are Bubble Ups still around in your part of the world?

mmorgan 8:34 AM  

I saw a few episodes of Grey’s Anatomy but don’t remember any of the characters’ names. Never saw any of the LOTR movies or read the book (I know, I know), but somehow I got all the names for both. I had YOU CAN DO THIS before YOUVE GOT THIS and I agree about the VE. I was very confused about the G-E-C sequence because in my head I was going down to the E from the G instead of up. Oops. I also have BELIEVE me and unLIT for a while. Cute clues on INSETS and ART. Enjoyed the puzzle and Rex’s write up.

Teedmn 8:35 AM  

Foothold at EHUD? That is definitely not my usual ENTRY into a Saturday puzzle, but I DARTED off from there and this was easier than most Saturdays, for me.

I had the same leeriness at filling in the HEY because I felt the count was off - the E was my last letter in. But hey, I got the answer so...

Har, @Z, I had the same thought at 8D regarding comments, though I wouldn’t have leapt to Kelvin; Kilograms, maybe but not much more likely to have kilograms per hour than Kelvins unless you're in a hotdog/pie-eating contest.

I wanted bBC at 32A because I started at G above E and went down the scale, which doesn’t produce the NBC tones, but NIGHTOWLS came to my rescue.

Thanks, Mary Lou and Jeff, this was fun!

Z 8:40 AM  

@amyyanni - I don’t think people receiving an award and saying the phrase are guilty of anything more than being flustered and using the first cliché that came to mind. Most of them aren’t thinking about what “being HUMBLED” actually means, they’re just up there trying hard to not look ungrateful or rubbing it in. Still, humbleness is an outside judgement. Almost by definition, saying you are humble is bragging, negating the claim. There’s also just the literal wrongness of the phrase. Those guys in Seattle that Joaquin mentions, they’ve been HUMBLED. Receiving an award is the literal opposite of being HUMBLED. So I am with Rex that award winners should say “thank you,” and “I’m so grateful,” instead of “I’M HUMBLED.”

Anonymous 8:43 AM  

Your comment on “I’m humbled” made me laugh out loud. It is perfect!

jberg 8:54 AM  

All that sass during the week was preparing us for this FRESH approach. I kinda liked that.

And all you HEY counters, go back and play the clip Rex embedded. If you listen closely, you will not hear an H sound before what you are counting as the third hey -- the singer is actually carrying the second hey over two syllables, as in "HEY hey-ey" goodbye. I'm trying to remember the name of the Democratic Representative from Maryland who had pledged not to vote for a tax increase during the 1992 campaign, but then voted for Clinton's budget because it would have failed without her. Anyway, the Republican reps sang that chorus as she cast her vote. Their prophesy was correct.

I was really happy to finally meet a puzzle that understands what SILOS are for, viz., storing silage that ferments and occasionally explodes when the outgassed methane is ignited. So many puzzles confuse them with elevators, where one stores grain.

On the other hand, A LA MAISON in a bistro name seems unlikely; every self-respecting bistro I've met would call itself CHEZ x. Just to be sure, I did an internet search, and mostly found a brand of soaps. There is a site named, but it's a dummy hosted by Go Daddy; if you try to open the menu, it takes you to Ocean Prime.

@Southside, the pun is to 'flattery' as the adjectival form of 'flat,' i.e., 'flatness.' Plateaus are flat and they are high.

Rex, the movies are garbage, read the books. They were once voted the best novel of the 20th Century. Tolkien was dead by then, so we'll never know if he was humbled.

Sioux Falls 9:01 AM  

Funny how I looked at a clue... misread it and still got the correct answer. G E C ... for some reason thought of General Electric Company which bought NBC in the mid '80s.

I kinda miss the days when color tv was a big deal (now anything in black & white is called out) .... sing "BATMAN" while slide shows "BATMAN... IN COLOR" ... and the peacock opening while announcer said THE FOLLOWING PROGRAM IS BROUGHT TO YOU IN LIVING COLOR ON NBC" ...

Cristi 9:07 AM  

ESPY as in “I spy” or to see something…I snagged on that clever clueing…likewise ALPHA MALE was a late-fill—applying the animal behavior term to the leader of a group of men.

pabloinnh 9:09 AM  

Congratulations to all you folks who zipped through this one. I've been finding lots of the latest challenges to be, well, not that challenging, but to day I got my comeuppance, which is to say, it was humbling. Ahem.

Usually I just scan the clues for something I'm sure of and start there. Today I got all the way to ARWEN before that happened, and it didn't help much, until it did, and the SE got filled in. Then HEY showed up and SIRE gave me FRESH and eventually the NW fell, and even later the rest of it. Wow and whew.

Anyway, learned some new stuff that seems like it may be useful. like LEXIE and SAKEBOMB and OMBRES, although if I see any of them any time soon I will be more than surprised.

Thanks for all the fun, JC and MLG. Jeezum Crow, My Last Guess was good enough to finish. Worth the effort.

bocamp 9:10 AM  

Thx Mary Lou & Jeff; terrific Sat. puz! :)


Initially blanked in the NW, but had much better luck in the NE. Moved over to Nor-Cal and dropped in MALALA before I SAID AH, better go with KAMALA.

Finished off the NW, then sailed thru the bottom half, ending with the 100 SENATORS.

Liked this construction very much; a most enjoyable solve! :)

@Barbara S. (2:47 PM yd) 👍 recent 0's


Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

puzzlehoarder 9:16 AM  

I wound up with a RHEBOKS crossing COHN dnf. Until I saw our hosts' grid this morning I was unaware of it. I did the puzzle on paper last night and missed my error when I looked over the xwordinfo review. Here I was so proud of myself for thinking I'd spelled the animals name correctly on first try. Maybe the word rhesus is what confuses me. I know the running shoes are quite famous but when my spelling compass is off it tends to stay that way.

I try to spell words I'm not sure of by how they sound. This is a piss poor approach with English so I'm very reliant on the crosses to fix my mistakes. I always enjoy the COEN brothers' movies but today's title rang no bells for me. I can't offhand think of any actual directors named COHN but it looked like a plausible name to me.

Due to my poor spelling I had a PLAGARY/PLATEAU write over. Good old NAAN helped with that.

Speaking of spelling and sounds that third HEY of the refrain really sounds like it's just an extension of the second HEY. The H sound disappears and it sounds more like YAY or just AY anyway that's to my hearing which may be no better than my spelling.

yd pg-3 dbyd -0

JD 9:17 AM  

Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye. The second Hey is stretched out and sounds like three. Hey Heh eh go odbye. People now sing it three times now but the original was two. Debaters gonna debate. Go to YouTube. And read the Wiki. Fascinating story. Steam was a fictitious band. Didn't know that.

Rough start but then wow. Great great cluing with a tiny aha so many answers. Night Owls, Senator, Inset. Genius. Flew A Kite and Eat A Sandwich aren't the same. Flew A what else? Go fly a ___? Sure there might be something but Kite comes to mind first.

Peskier was difficult.

I say You've Got This. Otherwise it sounds like Yeh gut this.

But Rex is right about Humbled. When the humbled and honored thing started I longed for the opportunity to stand up and say, "I'm not humbled. I knew it was good. Heh he eh it was good." I just now made the second part up but the part where I danced would've been epic.

This deserved a POW!

TJS 9:22 AM  

I can't remember the last time I spent 59+ minutes on a puzzle and actually, eventually, nailed it. I had so many guesses I didn't really like that I was amazed at the happy music. Must have spent about 45 of those minute staring at a half-filled grid and suddenly got on a roll. Not crazy about much of the cluing but somehow it worked out. I'm humbled, can ya tell?

"Flattery"? Gimme a break.

But I'm not agreeing with Rex comparing "Flew a kite" with his "eat a sandwich" complaint. Just doesn't have that same "eau de desperation" or whatever I think @Roo" calls those entries.

Anyway, enjoy the weekend.

lmdm 9:22 AM  

I don' think a comment that already appears answered the question about 60A. So: there are 100 politicians (a century) who hold office in the US Senate.

Very nice write-up (except the diatribe about the word "humble"), Just goes to show (once again) that Sharp does not hate all puzzles associated with Chen.

I will humbly say I enjoyed the puzzle. Now on to tomorrow's.

Joe Dipinto 9:24 AM  

Twice. Two heys. No aspirated third h.

Hey, hey-ey, goodbye.

Nancy 9:26 AM  

(If this is a duplicaton, sorry.)

While I found this on the easy side for a Saturday, there were three clues that stumped me until I had more crosses, and each one was driving me crazy. Couldn't see ENTRY (17); couldn't see GLANDS (44D) as I'm staring blankly at the "GL"; and I couldn't see SAID AH (6D) as I'm staring blankly at a D and then a blank and then an H. Wuzzat?

My only change, though, was changing MY LORD to MILORD -- which is the "Downton Abbey"-approved way of addressing the minor aristocracy.

I, too, hate it when anyone says I'M HUMBLED. It's phony as hell and I never BELIEVE IT for a moment. (Which is worse: braggadocio or fake humility? It may be a tie.) I managed to ESPY Rex's rant on my way down here and, for once, I don't think he went on too long about it at all.

This is a nice puzzle that's smooth and well-clued --and with no junk at all. I liked it.

mathgent 9:34 AM  

Two pros did what they always do, giving us an excellent crossword. Good sparkle, good crunch, good variety. Very clean. Few threes.

I hope someone can explain how "Pack man" is ALPHAMALE. It doesn't have a question mark.

@OffTheGrid (7:14) gave the pronunciation of OMBRE. Trying to figure out the pronunciation symbols, I get something close to "ember."

"The highest form of flattery" for PLATEAU. Nice try. But "Secretive things?" for GLANDS was outstanding.

We saw King Richard when it came out yesterday. It's the story of Richard Williams, the father of Venus and Serena. With no money and no connections, he got the two gifted Black girls into the white country club sport of tennis by knocking on a thousand doors and refusing to give up. I follow tennis closely and the movie seems to be basically true. Absolutely terrific. Acting, direction, script, all near perfect.

Fellow Earthling 9:36 AM  

I laughed when I saw the first clue was sassy! I had SODAS before MALTS and kept wanting Morwyn for ARWEN, but obviously that doesn’t fit. What’s the SENATORS clue all about? I can’t figure it out. Is it a sports thing? I’m always in the woods on sports clues.

RooMonster 9:38 AM  

Hey All !
Put me in the three HEYs group.

Three-letter DNF:
SAKiBOMB-Spell it with the I Every Dang Time / iHUD-Because either one is a rather silly name.
MyLORD-Ugh. MILORD. Dang Britians / SyLOS-Looked wrong, but went with it because of MY.
NBa-Har. Figured it was Basketbally-something-or-other/aRESCENTS sounds like a thing. Like an air essence.

SB is kicking my butt today, so I thought the ole brain didn't want to function properly. But was able to wrestle this to the floor in 30 minutes. YAY ME. Although couldn't pin in down for a three count so just called it a draw, and took my DNF. In hindsight, I should've gotten NBC and SILOS, but still would've had SAKi.

Hate when your brain is stuck on one word, and can't think of anything else. Today was __ATEAU, and only chATEAU bubbled up. Got a genuine chuckle when finally seeing PLATEAU.

Knew eggs were needed at 48A. Took until YO__ to realize it was YOLKS. Embarrassing.

For "Incorrect!" wanted that buzzer sound. Not sure how one would spell that.

Funniest puz moment: wanted NIGHTshift for NIGHTOWLS, so when I typed it in, it went SHIF, and then the cursor stays at the last letter, and fills in whatever you enter next, which in this case was the T. So... ended up with NIGHTSHIT.
Which is a different kind of thing. 😁

Two F's

PhotoAde 9:40 AM  

Enjoyed today's puzzle, good resistance but it kept moving. What is going on with today's SB??

Liveprof 9:40 AM  

Loved the puzzle, but isn't DIRT synonymous with GROUND (52D)? So I don't think of dirt as "covering" the ground but as the ground itself. So, e.g., pachysandra is ground cover because it covers the dirt.

Georgia 9:41 AM  

(This was in response to Unknown 7:30).

Anonymous 9:53 AM  

I hate to say it, but at this point, if I see that it's a Jeff Chen puzzle, I'm probably going to skip. Arwen is a ridiculous clue - not gettable if you haven't read Tolkien, which I haven't. GEC is a really obscure clue. And I play the piano. One or the other, fine; crossing them is self-indulgent.

oceanjeremy 9:59 AM  

Immediately on finishing the puzzle, I said “There were a lot of groan-worthy answers in the grid today.” My fiancée replied, “I think Will Shortz is losing it.”

Some notes: I hummed “G E C” and immediately knew it was NBC. Interestingly enough, when I was learning to sight sing in the seventh grade our choral instructor taught us to identify the minor sixth interval by the first two notes of the NBC theme. Thanks Mrs Rand! Now I can look at the notes G E C and hum them without prompting, which I never thought would help me with crosswords — but here we are.

Groan-worthy answers:
- IT ISN’T? IT ISN’T a good thing to put in a grid.
- NAAN isn’t a scoop. You can scoop *with* it, but it isn’t a scoop. A scoop is something shaped in a rigid way specifically for scooping. A scoop-shaped tortilla chip could be called a “scoop” I guess, but even that’s a stretch that should elicit a raised eyebrow. You do not even use NAAN to *scoop.* You use it to dip things. This is bad, inaccurate cluing and I groaned in protest.
- Your clue is “Fearless,” a two-syllable term with some teeth to it. Some music to it. Your answer is NOT AFRAID. Green paint. Limp language. Boo.
- DIRT does not cover a lot of ground. It *is* the ground. SOD I would’ve been okay with, because it comes in squares for laying on the ground. There are so many other clever ways to clue DIRT. Why did you have to do this?
- ALPHA MALE is *not a thing.* The researcher who introduced the term has even renounced it. It doesn’t exist in social organization in wolf packs or anywhere else in nature. It’s bunk science, and now it is almost exclusively used by frail-ego’d delicate men to protect their scared little child hearts and tell themselves they’re better than women. I detest seeing this in the grid.
- YOU’VE GOT THIS: Shouldn’t have GOT the VE. Hard agree with OFL on this one.
- “Highest form of flattery”: PLATEAU is my new favorite joke. My fiancée sent it to me earlier this week because she knows that, in many respects, I have a Bad Sense of Humor and would love it. I did love it! She shrieked when she saw it in the grid and said, “That’s the worst joke ever and now it’s FOLLOWNG ME!” So our opinions diverged on this one. I loved it!
- GLANDS, “Secretive things.” Bravo. Slow clap. We both loved this one.
- FLEW A KITE: Hard disagree with OFL, mainly because I love flying kites. Not the big fancy ones or the two-handed ones you can steer in the sky. Just regular “Hold the string and look up at it” kites. Love kites, loved seeing this in the grid.

That’s about it for today! Now I gotta go to the bridal shop down the street and try on the tux I ordered for our upcoming nuptials. Six days to go!

RooMonster 10:01 AM  

@TJS 9:22
As HUMBLED as I am to be confused with @M&A (I want to be like him when I grow up!), it's him that has the eau-desperation, or whatever it's called.

RooMonster Unmasked Guy

Joe Dipinto 10:01 AM  

This guy is such a repulsively disingenuous liar.

Richard in NM 10:15 AM  

I solve on paper, and don't really time myself. But...I do have the impression that this was my fastest Saturday ever. I'm humbled.

Re 26A, Time's Person of the Year: I had _ _ _ AL_ _ _R_ _ _ from the crosses and thought, "Oh, God, no!" Luckily, FLEWAKITE gave me the K. Whew!

Newboy 10:18 AM  

Back in @Lewis’s camp today. Rex says easy, but today’s solve was another morning on the trampoline bouncing from one mystifying clue to another; first correct entry didn’t come until BEAGLE. Just what I enjoy on a weekend workout from a duo with over 150 publications: cluing that brings belated ahas and widespread interests to keep solvers unbalanced. From BAMA to SENATORS is a stretch that bridges KAMALA HARRIS, YOLKS & MI LORD— hard to ask for more variety than that.

burtonkd 10:28 AM  

Today takes me back to my early days here on Rexworld: I had enormous trouble and was stuck just about everywhere - finally turned on autocheck and hacked my way through a bunch of stuff where the clues just weren't on my wavelength even after seeing the answer. A couple of fun aha's, I grant you but after the huge slog, I see Rex found it easy. A lot of things on the outskirts of my knowledge that needed crosses that didn't come easily either, looking at you BEAGLE, ELAND and ARWEN. Suffice it to say that I was HUMBLED today.

I agree that it is more of a stumbling into cliches that leads to saying this. Maybe the first person to say it deserves Rex's ire:)

I always heard it as one HEY (Hey-ey-ey) on three notes. People should really enunciate more at basketball games, lol. Learned something today.

I use the NBC 3 note theme to teach a rising major 6th interval, also the 2nd inversion of a triad. Stupidly, that didn't help me today, as I just went down 5-3-1 and was looking for a government agency since that's the opening of the national anthem (when done in C). Hi, mmorgan

@Southside Johnny - I didn't see the pun in PLATEAU until you asked, so thanks for calling me back to it! flattery as in something flat, i.e. a high flat land mass

I guess a century can be any group of a hundred. I was sure the "note" in the clue was a pun on currency, so was positive about FRANKLIN for too long. Much better answer to that clue.

@jberg - agreed about ALAMAISON. Only justification I can come up with is that they mean the names for dishes on the menu, not the restaurants themselves. Clue misleading, not in a fun way.

"Vexing" suggests something puzzling or beguiling to me, and isn't the equivalent of "PESKIER". Had snaKIER. Now I'll go check the dictionary to find out why I can expand my sense of vexing.

RJ 10:33 AM  

I finished quickly even without knowing most of the PPP - other than Arwen, because as opposed to OFL, I love the LOTR books and movies. Didn't know sake bomb but smiled when I got it from the downs. I still don't get the "senators" answer.

Liked this puzzle a lot!

Tim Carey 10:52 AM  

Yes. The difference between Saturday and Wednesday is that Saturday has bad cluing. Not challenging cluing. Bad cluing.

jae 10:59 AM  

Easyish with the NW slightly tougher than the rest. AWREN was a WOE but the rest was lurking in the wheelhouse. Solid with a bit of sparkle, liked it.

Crabby Dave 11:22 AM  

Boy, you sure tell us a lot about yourself today. First you think all honors come on TV stages with lights and gold statues, and people can't be humbled by receiving an honor. Further, if they are humbled, they're liars. I guess you've lived a pretty circumscribed life so far. If one doesn't think first responders, for instance, can be humbled by receiving an honor for their work, they are indeed very cynical.

Then there's your rejection of people using proper English for common utterances; a longstanding bugaboo for you. Sorry; I think that may be an age thing. All the "olds" I know, myself included, would say "you've got this," not "you got this." Unless, of course, we were talking about something a person had bought or received somehow (e.g. Oh, you got this yesterday?).

Pretty nice puzzle for me, though I could have done without Lexie and Arwen.

Mike B 11:23 AM  

For sure

Na na na na
Na na na na
Hey hey hey

I guess technically it does appear twice before goodbye. But also a third time 🤷

GILL I. 11:23 AM  

Hey @Nancy....If you're not off galavanting in Central Park today, I left you a "DAD JOKE" yesterday.....
@Z liked it!

Anonymous 11:35 AM  

Pretty easy at 12+ minutes. But I really like these clues: SAID AH, PLATEAU, INSETS, GLANDS. Gimmes included BEAGLE, TOLKIEN, IMAN, ARWEN, MILORD, YEOMAN. Bad clues include: SENATORS, LEXIE, NBC. Hilarious clue/answer: KAMALA. Since her popularity just hit the same number as her across clue here, that could have been the basis for a really clever clue.....

Anonymous 11:37 AM  

100 senators in office.

Carola 11:37 AM  

Fun to solve, with the NEONOIR NIGHTOWLS and the other lively entries + the various clues involving secretive flattery and the like.
First in: a guess at SAKEBOMB, whose Downs brought me to KAMALA HARRIS and opened up the rest of the grid. I liked the LORD crossing the YEOMAN and got a laugh out of 1 Down crossing IT ISN"T - I'm with @Rex on not believing FLEW A KITE is a thing, in crossword terms.

Do-overs: My LORD, BELIEVE me. No idea: LEXIE.

Brian 11:50 AM  

Wednesday easy

Z 12:09 PM  

@Teedmn - I assumed that “K” was already used for something in SI units so googled for it. For those not up on their temperature scales, Kelvin is basically Celsius with 0° representing absolute zero rather than the freezing point of water. It’s more complicated than that but close enough for general usage.

@Liveprof & @oceanjeremy - DIRT is not always synonymous with ground and it’s this lack of exact one-to-one correspondence that the clue uses to misdirect the solver. For example, we just built a house and had many options on how to cover the yard. Some areas were covered with sod, while other areas were covered with dirt in which we can plant flowers.

@oceanjeremy - as with many things, the original thing is no longer the thing the term represents. I think your description of a current common usage of ALPHA MALE is spot on and shows that however much its origin as a concept is flawed it is a very useful concept as currently used.
Also - I think anything that can be used as a scoop is a scoop. Frito-Lay agrees and is there any higher authority?

@JD and @other two HEY people - Poppycock! For HEY HEY-EY to be plausible everyone in the universe has to deny the evidence of the video.*

*Seriously, I relistened to the whole song again (thanks for that) and there are times when there are clearly three HEYs and other times where it’s distinctly HEY HEY-EY. And I most definitely can believe that drunken fans turn it into an indistinguishable single HEY-EY-EY. I feel so much more enlightened now that I’ve done this deep dive study. Off to study the lyrical content of Louie Louie.

Z 12:12 PM  

@Gill I - Dad Joke 😂🤣 - or maybe it’s an “undad” joke.

JD 12:20 PM  

No @Zÿ, goog the lyrics. And if you don't believe it, look to our resident musician @JoeD, who humbled me with his more accurate description. I might also add that this song was regularly blasted through my school for days by the PA crew before they read the lunch menu. In 1969. When I was 13. And could still hear and was listening intently to find out if they were serving the grilled cheese.

mathgent 12:25 PM  

My favorite posts this morning.

OffTheGrid (7:14)
Joaquin (8:03)

jb129 12:30 PM  

A Saturday puzzle I knew I could get if I stuck with it - & I did. Thanks Mary Lou & Jeff.

JD 12:30 PM  

And the remake doesn't count! 😀

egsforbreakfast 12:32 PM  

Shouldn’t 10D “Foe of the Fighting Tigers” be tide rather than BAMA? BAMA would be “Foe of LSU”.

The question of whether 37A “More vexing” is a good clue for PESKIER could be dispatched by cluing it “participant in a gym class taught on snowy slopes.”


I liked the puzzle. Fast for a Saturday. Thanks Mary Lou Guizzo and Jeff Chen.

Jesse 12:38 PM  

"...Incredibly Dull and Ponderous LOTR movies back in the aughts."

How dare you. This blog is officially boycotted.

Anonymous 12:45 PM  

Nope. Listen to the song. Rex posted a link. The second "hey" is two beats long. They only sing "hey" twice.

lmdm 12:45 PM  

Why did I post before as lmdm instead of lmdm? Cold fingers and a sticky keyboard, I guess.

old timer 12:51 PM  

Very hard in some spots, easy in others. I only GOT THIS by Googling for IMAN, a person totally unknown to me. AVA is a popular girl's name? Never would have guessed, but these things go in cycles. My oldest is a Sarah -- named after two of my ancestors, and surely, I thought, going to be almost unique these days. Wrong! her schools had many Sarahs and Saras. Everyone had the same idea at the same time. (My next was an Elizabeth, a name that has been popular for centuries, and I am grateful that she likes to use her full name and not the many nicknames our ancestors had with that name).

I think OFL is simply wrong about "I'm humbled". My favorite author, Macaulay, was not a humble man at all. He was a great speaker during the debates about the Reform Bill, and knew very well he had given some of the best speeches on the Reform side (he also knew, in later years, he was incapable of ever being a crowd-pleaser again, and his excellent speeches in later years were masterpieces of logic and common sense, that actually secured passage of bills that might have been defeated, but were by no means oratorical). In his last years, they made Macaulay a LORD, and he was quite sincere when he said he was humbled by the honor. For elevation to the House of Lords was reserved for those who had made a long and successful career in politics, which he hadn't, or those who had donated vast sums of money either to political parties or charities (still true today, BTW), and he did neither. He was the first person ever made a Lord solely because he was a great writer. When he got the honor, Macaulay was constantly "my lorded" by his longtime servant, which was quite amusing to him. The thing that the new Lord had trouble getting used to was signing his letters "Macaulay" without the use of a first name or initials.

I immediately thought of FLYAKITE and liked it. Used to be fascinated by them in the 1960s and 1970s. The others took a while, but were worth it. ALPHA MALE is perfect, but of course I first thought of pack animals like mules and burros, and only at the end thought of predators like wolves and wild dogs that run in packs.

Got a few nits to pick though. A YEOMAN is rarely a servant. That is its origin, and the YEOMeN of the Guard are royal servants. But a YEOMAN is more often a freeman who tills his own land, but is not quite one of the gentry. "IT ISN'T is never used by itself. The usual lead-in to a rebuttal is "not so." And though I now get the PLATEAU joke, really a flat is not the highest anything, and a PLATEAU is invariably a piece of flatland that is surrounded by higher hills or mountains. We have many a "flat" in the California Gold Rush district that is not particularly high.

Smith 12:56 PM  

@Rex it wouldn't be mare if you're talking equine bloodlines, it would be dam, SIRE and dam.

LorrieJJ 1:09 PM  

plateau ... a FLAT piece of HIGH land

Anonymous 1:18 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
okanaganer 1:35 PM  

I first encounterd the Hey Hey,ey, Goodbye song in 1980 attending a Vancouver Canucks playoff game in 1980 where they eliminated the LA Kings. We all sang: "L, A, ey, Goodbye", and it was so perfect.

KPH just sucks. Please stop using it. It's like hearing George W Bush say "nuke-u-lar".

[Spelling Bee: yd -1; missed this word which is one of those hated variants of another word that I got.]

chuck w 1:44 PM  

Clever puzzle. But Rex trashed my beloved LOTR series (both books and movies)! To "make out" as "I could barely make out the figure in the dark" i.e. espy

Wanderlust 2:11 PM  

I hope they are humbled to receive this honor.

Anoa Bob 2:20 PM  

I've read Darwin's "The Voyage of the BEAGLE" twice and was thoroughly mesmerized both times. There's nothing technical or science- or evolution-related in it. It is the journal of a 22 year old Englishman who signed on as the HMS BEAGLE's naturalist on a five-year circumnavigation doing coastal survey work, mostly in South America in Argentina, Tierra del Fuego and Chile.

Darwin would often disembark at one port of call, travel and explore inland and then re-board the BEAGLE in the next port. The result is a fascinating travel log about the people, places and wildlife Darwin encountered during his five-year journey. His accounts of horseback riding with the Gauchos of Argentina or interactions with the Tierra del Fuegians (who he described as the most primitive people that he encountered during the entire trip) alone is worth the price of admission.

YEOMAN (43D) is a rating (job title) in the U.S. NAVY (36D) so those could have been cross-reference clued accordingly.

The puzzle relied on some help from the grid-fill friendly plural of convenience (POC) including the two-for-one variety, where a Down and an Across share a final letter count boosting S. I'm seeing three of those at the ends of INSET/YOLK, GLAND/SENATOR and in the place where a two-for-one is most likely to be found, in the lower, right-most square at the end of CRESCENT/TEST. A couple of longer Downs, REEBOK and NIGHT OWL, also got a POC boost, so I think this earns the puzzle a POC-assisted rating.

Wanderlust 2:20 PM  

I have nothing to contribute to the knives-out “Hey Hey” vs. “Hey Hey Hey” debate, but regarding the other great bone of contention today, I can tell you that the year I completed my EGOT and also won the Cy Young Award, the MacArthur Genius Grant and Nobel Prizes in both physics and peace, I was truly humbled.

As a longtime LOTR geek, I was glad to see ARWEN. Tolkien was terrible about writing female characters- there are none in The Hobbit and only two of note in all three LOTR books. Arwen wasn’t one of them. She barely appears in the books, but the filmmakers expanded her role quite a bit, giving her a heroic rescue scene and a lot of exposition about her choice to give up immortality for the man she loves. (Viggo Mortensen in his prime - who wouldn’t?)

The clues on PLATEAU and GLANDS were Hall of Fame.

Unknown 2:27 PM  

@bill weeden, a "century" would be 100 of something, in this case, senators.

Anonymous 3:23 PM  

@Rex is correct regarding "I'M HUMBLED". It just doesn't make sense. Sometimes these phonies try to out-humble each other with, "I am truly HUMBLED".

Eniale 3:25 PM  

What a rare Saturday for me - every square filled in correctly, albeit with guesses some of the time. For ages I was thinking "fAKEBOMB?' till suddenly SAKE popped into my mind; I googled it and got the picture. My ethic permits googling something that has nothing to do with the clue. I refused to be HUMBLED by anyone who knows the right answer straight off. And then I had to gaze at SAIDAH for a moment before I thought "oh, that kind of examination."

And also rare -- Rex, I love you, for your comments about that HUMBLED; I've thought the same frequently the last few years.

OK, now I really am humbled. SB I have g but not p; husband will have to be called in to help.

The Joker 3:28 PM  

In cycling, a 100 mile ride is called a century. A 200 mile ride is called masochism.

What? 3:37 PM  

Flattery can mean something flat? So there’s Hillary, bumperly - really stupid, and worse, not funny.

sasses 4:14 PM  

Surprised to see the movie concentrates on Venus.

sasses 4:23 PM  

I am wondering why my comment disappeared today. It simply stated that the King Richard movie focused on Venus and her dad. Not Serena as expected.

MarthaCatherine 4:36 PM  

didn't read every comment, but am amazed that people really think it's hey hey hey good bye. It's Hey Hee-eeey goodbye, your voice eliding or sliding or elongating the second "hey"

That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Everyone else is just wrong.

Love you guys.

Anonymous 5:55 PM  

At Chicago White Sox games you sing it when the Sox hit a home run (saying goodbye to the ball as it leaves the diamond, I guess). Two heys.

Hartley70 6:50 PM  

This solve did not come easily and I played with the puzzle several times during the day. BEAGLE was my one automatic entry on my first pass and only added LEXIE on my second. It was a bit of a slog but I had a hallelujah when I finished and I enjoyed the struggle. This is what I want from a Saturday.

Anonymous 7:53 PM  

Haven’t the woke folk cancelled Darwin yet ? Darwin believed that men were on average more intelligent than women, and that some races were “civilised” whereas others were “savage.” C’mon people.

Anonymous 8:00 PM  

Did not find it as easy as others - names, my nemesis!

Only Rex could call this a solid effort and then go on for paragraphs complaining about it!!

I, too, wanted HEY for 5D but hesitated to write it because as I sung it in my head there were three 'HEYs'

Anonymous 8:05 PM  

@Anoa Bog:
YEOMAN (43D) is a rating (job title) in the U.S. NAVY (36D) so those could have been cross-reference clued accordingly.

"Medieval servant"

Which is even more bizarre, given that Jefferson had this as the ideal American is widely credited (while not using the word explicitly, as I've tried some minutes to find after all these years): yeoman farmer as the heart and/or soul of America.

Barbara S. 8:15 PM  

Just popping in on a quiet Saturday night to say --

td 0 (that pangram is a doozie)
Am I HUMBLED? No way, man, I'm Queen of the World!

Anonymous 8:39 PM  


only proves that bigoted white men existed in the 19th century. who wooda thunk it? let's party like it's 1829!!

Bob C 9:02 PM  

I too went with the descending triad and thought pBs by way of the first three notes of Sesame Street theme, which seemed like a stretch until the crosses made it untenable. Having looked it up on youtube, Sesame Street theme is actually in F major.

George 9:32 PM  

Just one more voice in the chorus here. You know what's not humbling? Winning an Oscar. You know what's humbling? Losing at chess to a 6 year old prodigy in Dupont Circle. THAT'S humbling.

albatross shell 12:46 AM  

Just a few issues of the day.

HEY HEY in the title and "official" lyrics. What is sung on the record is HEY HEY-EY. In any case the clue is technically correct and nipickingly wrong. It would also be nitpickingly wrong if it was clued as 3 HEYs. Thus any such clue is good and will get you to the right answer.

If a young writer, singer, author, or athlete wins an award that his role models whom he at one time idolized also had won he might feel humbled to be thrust into the galaxy if the greats. Of course some might be brash enough to wonder what took you so long. Others might feel unworthy of the honor. But both groups may use the I am humbled line. Self-doubt can infect the greatly talented. And sometimes they are right: the wrong person got the award.

YOU(VE) GOT THIS. Either way here to. No 'VE is a bit more modern and snazzier. No reason to snub the old and gentile. Quaint has its own appeal.

Yeoman definition:
An attendant, servant, or lesser official in a royal or noble household.

Is there a problem here?

IDK why or if your comment disappeared but was surprised you think it would be more about Serena. Venus was first and thus the bigger story even if she isn't the better player or better career. I am only superficially aware of the family story so if I knew more maybe I would expect something different.

That is such a perceptive comment. So wonderful of you to notice of you to notice. Maybe you should join the Christians who want to teach creationism. When did they start teaching it in catholic schools? It was a bit of a slog.

Old Robert 1:45 AM  

There is no excuse for not knowing ARWEN. You do know they were books first, right? Good books. Considered by many to be the best books. For shame. BELIEVE IT.

Hushpuppy212 9:48 AM  

You’re not alone, it took me forever to get started (my first answer was KAT, which led me to PESKIER, and I was off, if not running, at least limping).

For me it was much harder than the ‘easy-medium’ Rex rated it, I managed to finish with no errors (but a lot of corrections).

The clue for PLATEAU (‘The highest form of flattery?) may have been my favorite clue all year. I nearly spit out my coffee when I got the answer.

Joey 3:53 PM  

Rex, the LotR books have been established classics for a while now, and the movies by now certainly are, ARWEN is hardly an obscure clue at this point. (Long and ponderous? Check your pulse, man.)

Anonymous 6:38 PM  

I kinda hate to sound like I have a dirty mind, but the 1-across and 3-down answers for the November 19th puzzle made me laugh. I wondered if anyone else
caught this little "error".

albatross shell 7:59 PM  

It was mentioned. I suggested it was done knowingly. Who knows?

american glasser 8:36 PM  

In agreement with Martha Catherine on this one. "Hey" is said twice, the second time longer: "Hey-ey". This elongation serves to give the word emphasis. A third "hey" would be merely a percussive repetition and lose the meaning.

kitshef 9:17 AM  

Took a looooong time to find an opening - all the way down at 39A with ERE. Then put in FLEW A KITE and immediately thought of 'eat a sandwich'.

Gave me a good fight all the way through, and finished with an error at SAKiBOMB/iHUD (hi, @Roo!). I can say without hyperbole that Japanese food and drink has tripped me up on a puzzle ten billion times.

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