Ciudad official / SAT 1-29-22 / Bygone Japanese coin / Kid-lit authors Margret and H.A. / Nonhuman host of a talk show on HBO Max / Gambling venues with portmanteau name / Habitat for the addax antelope

Saturday, January 29, 2022

Constructor: Andrew Ries and Caitlin Reid

Relative difficulty: Medium (mostly on the easier side, but with a few terms I didn't know that held me up)

THEME: none 

Word of the Day:  ALCALDE (12D: Ciudad official) —

Alcalde (/ælˈkældi/Spanish: [alˈkalde]) is the traditional Spanish municipal magistrate, who had both judicial and administrative functions. An alcalde was, in the absence of a corregidor, the presiding officer of the Castilian cabildo (the municipal council) and judge of first instance of a town.  Alcaldes were elected annually, without the right to reelection for two or three years, by the regidores (council members) of the municipal council. The office of the alcalde was signified by a staff of office, which they were to take with them when doing their business. A woman who holds the office is termed an Alcaldesa.

In New Spain (Mexico), alcaldes mayores were chief administrators in colonial-era administrative territories termed alcaldías mayores; in colonial-era Peru the units were called corregimientos.

Alcalde was also a title given to Indian officials inside the Spanish missions, who performed a large variety of duties for the Franciscan missionaries. (wikipedia)

• • •

This is a very nice grid, though the only challenges it presented came entirely from words / names I'd never seen—three, to be exact: ALCALDE, REYS, and HELISTOP. These things happen, of course, when you're solving a Saturday puzzle (or even a Monday puzzle, sometimes, if we're being honest), but I much prefer the kind of difficulty that comes with tricky clues to the kind that comes from words / names / term not commonly known (I won't get in an argument about how well known ALCALDE or the REYS are, but let's just say far far far far far less universally known than, well, look at almost all the other answers: GOLD MEDALS? Everyone knows that term. LOADED DICE, same. ELMO, ROLL, etc. ... you see how "hard" grids aren't really filled with "hard" answers—it's primarily the cluing that makes the puzzle hard, or it should be). It's the unevenness of the difficulty that really highlights how much this puzzle is offering up only one kind of difficulty. It took a little time to think my way through some reasonably toughish stuff in the NW—[Power forward] made me think basketball, rowing, and that clue on APB was a wacky (and tough) delight (19A: Catchy communication, for short?) (get it? ... "catchy" ... 'cause an APB is a "communication" they send out when they're trying to "catch" a criminal)—but after I got out of the NW, I went whoosh over the top, whoosh down the west side. The only struggles: every letter of ALCALDE (hard to see the RIDE part of FREE RIDE because of this), and then the STOP part of HELISTOP and the "Y" part of REYS. My blogging software is underlining HELISTOP in red, and I feel its pain. Woof. I of course wrote in HELIPORT, which is a word. HELISTOP is one of those words that makes me think "maybe there's such a thing as wordlist that's *too* big." The upshot of all this is that it was really hard for me to see NANCY PELOSI until I got the whole pre-"Y" part of her name. POOH Bear before PAPA Bear messed me up in there too, but even after I figured that problem out, I had trouble with the congresswoman. I spelled REES thusly at one point. It was all a bit of a mess. But not too much of a mess. I don't have a problem with ALCALDE or REYS as answers; I'm just hyper-aware of how "being unknown to me" is a far less satisfying form of difficulty than "being cleverly hidden from me," and there just wasn't enough of the latter for me today. But again, that's a cluing problem. The grid itself looks OK (though not nearly as snazzy as grids I've seen from both of these constructors before). [LOL I'm only realizing *just* now, after finishing the write-up and starting to put all the formatting in place, that the REYS (plural) are the authors of the "Curious George" books, so ... yeah, I know them, though clearly without the monkey, they're nothing]

It's not that there's not some trickiness in the cluing, here and there—it's just that it's fairly transparent. A "kite" is a bird (39D: Cousin of a kite = OSPREY)—maybe you're supposed to think it's a flying toy, but I never did. A "curler" is a winter athlete (38D: Curlers' equipment)—it's possible it could be a hairstylist, say, but again, even if I didn't know what use these clues were going for right away, I was well aware of the *potential* trickiness, and so neither clue slowed me down. I wanted more tricky clues, like the one on APB, or even more puzzlingly vague clues like [Growth from stagnation] for ALGAE. I just feel like people are mainly going to be stumped by unknown stuff rather than clever stuff. It's possible you knew the things I didn't, but maybe RIN was unknown to you (old crosswordese, nearly a gimme for me), or ALAN Ruck (I know him from "Ferris Bueller," not "Succession," but the point is I know him). Or maybe ROME, NY is unknown to you, or the Karate Kid kid's name (DRE). Hell, I didn't remember DRE, and I saw that movie many times in the theater and on cable as a kid. But crosses were a cinch. I wish the longer answers were more colorful. The only answers that made me really think "Nice!" were "I CAN RELATE" (48A: "We've all been there") and "SO YOU SAY" (35A: "A likely story"). This is not surprising, as I like a living human voice wherever I can find it in a crossword. 

What else?:
  • 17A: Vuvuzela, for one (HORN) — my memory is that these were common noise makers at a recentish Men's World Cup ... maybe in South Africa? (Yes). I just remember that "vuvuzela" really seemed to burst into my consciousness all at once. Now that I look, that World Cup was in 2010, which ... wow, I have no idea what's "recentish" any more. 2010 feels like it just happened and also like it happened a million years ago and also like it never happened. What was 2010, even? Aging is a trip.
  • 45D: Local borders? (ELS) — textbook "letteral" clue, where the "?" is an indication to treat one of the clue words in terms of its physical make-up rather than its meaning. Today, we are supposed to look at the "borders" (i.e. the edges, i.e. the first and last letters) of the word "local," which means we're looking at an "L" and another "L," so ... ELS. This is a cluing convention borrowed from cryptic crosswords.
  • 27D: ___ artist (film professional) (FOLEY) — these are the sound people, the people who create the non-dialogue sounds in movies (the "reproduction of everyday sound effects" added to film in post-production, according to wikipedia). I don't know how I know this. I can imagine this answer tripping up some solvers quite badly.
  • 29D: Nonhuman host of a talk show on HBO Max (ELMO)
     — my first thought was ALIG (who is, in fact, human) and my next thought was MAX HEADROOM (who wouldn't fit). I can't imagine watching even a single second of an ELMO-hosted talk show without wanting to tear my face off, but maybe it's for kids? I hope? Anyway, I remembered that the show existed, eventually, thankfully.
  • 52A: Court feat of 2003 and 2015 (SERENA SLAM) — this is where you win (she wins) all four major tournaments in a row, but not in the same calendar year.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Conrad 6:26 AM  

Luckily, I had enough of PAPA before I read the clue that I didn't get mired in the Pooh. I had the same WOEs as @Rex and overall found the puzzled about equal to Friday's.

Harryp 6:28 AM  

My part-Hawaiian heritage and knowledge of Ha,or the breath of Life gave me ALOHA easily, and just earlier I had done the New Yorker Friday puzzle by Caitlin Reid where
ALOHA was used in the Hello-Goodbye sense! I really liked a lot of the clues, especially for 34A One who makes House calls and 52A Court feat of 2003 and 2015. Personal best Saturday time, so EZPZ. Thks Andrew & Caitlin, for this gem.

amyyanni 6:53 AM  

This one played a little easy for Saturday, I think. Say that because did it last night, not my usual time. Flowed along well. Didn't know ALCALDE, but figured it out from the crosses. Learning new words from crosswords is fine with me.
Now have to decide whether to follow through with the plan to run a 5K this morning. It is really cold, 26, feels like 13 (windy). 🥶

mooretep 7:02 AM  

Decent Saturday.
Played easier than yesterday for us, until we hit the midwest.

Appreciate. the work that Foley Artists do, especially when watching the Nature documentaries on BBC.

I would love to see an exploration of how they exercise their craft.
Imagine that they laugh a lot. How do they invent the sounds of ants chewing?
I also like how the musical interludes are supposed to elevate the scenes. Penguins waddling, birds flitting, tigers prowling, oxfords comma'ing.

puzzlehoarder 7:24 AM  

When I printed this puzzle last night I was struck by it's similarity to yesterday's grid. It's more open which would allow for more flow but I figured it's a Saturday so the resistance would finally be late week. However like yesterday it was all early week and the openess made it even easier.

I know the Spanish word for mayor and I'm familiar with the term RACINOS so the the stair stack opened from both ends. My POOH/PAPA and HELIPORT/HELISTOP write overs barely amounted to speed bumps.

My only hesitation was DRE. I had no idea what that character's name was and I'd forgotten that it's just a nickname for anDRE but the crosses confirmed it and my time was still Wednesday.

HELISTOP? I tried imagining a HELIcopter with an overhead cord so you can signal the pilot when your STOP is up. WTF.

A disappointing late week.

yd -0

Wordler 7:24 AM  

Another Wordle birdie using a starter from the xword. There weren't many choices. I ruled out those with double letters and a couple of 5 letter entries were two words.

For story bear I thought, papa, mama, baby? Got PAPA when I got a cross P. Like Baby Bear's porridge, this Saturday puzzle was Just Right!

Anonymous 7:33 AM  

How is Rome the answer for New York City?

Harry 7:36 AM  

On of my more peculiar solving experiences in some time. 10 minutes in and I had still only filled a few short answers; I couldn't seem to catch a foothold anywhere and I strongly feared a DNF.

But then some of the shorter down clues resolved themselves for me and suddenly I found that the 9- and 10-letter across fills tumbled in place with only a few cross fills. I quickly went from staring blankly at the grid to rapidly filling in the balance.

On the whole, I enjoyed the cluing. I was disappointed that the long fills weren't more challenging, but the cluing wasn't at fault. Most simply had fairly distinctive letter patterns that provided a strong hint for the letters yet to be filled.

bocamp 7:46 AM  

Thx Andrew & Caitlin; a fine Sat. challenge! :)


The top 1/3 was easy; the rest was tough sledding.

Last to fall was the DRE / ROME cross.

Very much appreciated the crunch of this puz; felt fortunate to finish correctly. Liked it a lot! :)

@puzzlehoarder 👍 for 0 yd
yd pg (13:11) / Wordle 4 (even par after 23; been on hard mode this week, so far seems slightly easier than 'easy' mode, possibly due to changing start word from 'adieu' to 'stare')

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

BDJ 7:53 AM  

"Dre" was the kids names from the 2010 Karate Kid remake, not the original movies.

And if you're of the right age, you might be able to remember "alcalde" from from the 1990 Zorro TV series as it was used frequently.

ebtobiassen 8:00 AM  

Rome is the answer for New York city, not New York City. It's upstate, not far from Utica.

Anonymous 8:05 AM  

@Anonymous at 7:33 — Because “city” isn’t capitalized in the clue, the answer will be a city in New York State. Four letters, had the E, so ROME dropped right in.

Unknown 8:05 AM  

It’s New York city, lowercase. Just a city in New York state :)

mathgent 8:06 AM  

After a triple bogie yesterday, he got a birdie today. Who said he was washed up?

I usually don't ink in a word unless I'm pretty sure of a cross, but I entered NANCYPELOSI with only the possibility that ROLL at 28D was correct. And then I considered crossing it out a number of times when I couldn't see any other crosses. (I'm in her district.)

Rex explained SERENASLAM perfectly.

Happy to learn what a choli is. An Indian top worn with a sari leaving the midriff exposed.o

I didn't like the clue for IDTAG but everything else was top notch. Excellent job by two accomplished constructors.

mmorgan 8:06 AM  

Pooh, wrong bear for a while. I somehow knew the REYS right off. This was the kind of puzzle that’s filled with things I know nothing about (like ISOMERS or URANIUM), but it somehow filled itself in fairly easily. I agree with Rex about hard-to-figure-out vs obscure/arcane clues, but I enjoyed this.

Anonymous 8:11 AM  

A "Serena Slam" is when you win all four major tennis tournaments consecutively, but not in the same year. 2003 and 2015 are when the final tournament was won, but I think the clue should read, "Court feat of 2002-2003 and 2014-2015."

Son Volt 8:12 AM  

Nice puzzle - played and looked more like a Friday. Liked MINE ALL MINE and SERENA SLAM. Never a fan of using real estate for a full name like 34a no matter who the subject is.

SE corner was solid. Like the play between IGLOO and ALOHA.

@Anon 7:33a - the beautiful Rome, NY - the Copper City.

I’ve always leaned towards Scruffy - not CLEAN CUT.

Moving towards 18” today - this was an enjoyable solve and pleasant respite from the storm.

SouthsideJohnny 8:18 AM  

A very interesting Saturday - a little bit of something for everyone. Personally, I enjoyed the clue for AIRBAG. The central grid-spanners with CAR POOL, MINE . . ., PELOSI and SO YOU SAY were all pretty pleasant and enjoyable. I believe HELISTOP is an actual word, so we will let that slide and give the made-up word of the day to RACINOS - which actually looks very comfortable wearing the winners Tiara for a day.

Today I very much agree with Rex’s critique - obviously I prefer that they use clever clues instead of esoterica to amp up the difficulty level, but that was not the case today. If you do happen to be a trivia/esoterica buff, there is plenty here to sate your appetite - QAANAAQ, Ciudad/ALCALDE, Chichen Itza/MALAYAN, Cholis/SARIS - omg, I have to argue with my auto-incorrect just to type this stuff out. You know it’s a tough foreign contingent when a Latin phrase would look like it is too easy to be associated with this cast of characters.

I didn’t know the REYS duo - sisters, sibs, married, not even related ? Probably will forever remain a mystery. Also learned about the FOLEY process, which I had never heard of - I may motivate and actually research the origin of that term (after SB and Wordle of course).

Good luck to everyone in the path of the storm - stay safe.

feinstee 8:20 AM  

It's New York city (small 'c'). Rome is a city in NY state. Where Rome apples come from, I imagine.

DrBB 8:30 AM  

POOH was just gonna be too on-the-nose for Saturday, so I held off on that one. I think of REYS as bog-standard crossword fodder, so I'm surprised if that wasn't a gimme for a lot of folks, notwithstanding the fact that the REYS donated the funds for a special kids' activity space named for them at New England Aquarium, where I worked for 20 yrs before the COVID layoffs hit. But point taken about obscurity-difficulty feeling like a big meh. I've been going through the old NYTXW archives starting back in the 90s, and that used to be a real staple of the old puzzles. Just something you accepted as part of the deal back then, so it's a measure of change that it feels so dated now.

Unknown 8:30 AM  

A fun & crunchy Saturday puz for a snowy morning! What could be better?

Wordle 224 3/6


One over par for the season. Life is good.

kitshef 8:35 AM  

Just adore the clue for AMES.

HAIRLINE recession. Boy howdy, yes. I’m not the type to do anything about it, but I do miss my glorious flowing locks.

Probably the toughest for me today (besides DRE) was HELISPOT. The HELI went right in. Then … nothing. Similar but not as bad was MAYA____.

mooretep 8:42 AM  

Foley artist video:

Foley sound got its name from Jack Foley, the sound effects artists who developed and shaped the technique.

DrBB 8:42 AM  

Meant to say FOLEY also a gimme for me--one of those "Oh I hope that's it" answers--but a refreshingly unusual one. Way way waaaaay back in history BC (Before Cable) I remember seeing a documentary on the Foley artist who did all those Italian Hercules movies back in the 50s/60s. Sent me off on a deep dive down the Internet rabbit holes trying to find the reference, but no luck.

Zed 8:48 AM  

I saw the capital H in House and thought Hugh Laurie. Also started with Pooh Bear. The north and south were easy, but the entire middle section took some serious sussing to finish.

The clue for CARPOOL LANE got my inner prescriptivist pendant screaming “may not can” but I told him to hush.

I know FOLEY artist, but I had 80% of the letters before I remembered that I knew the term.

AporT to AbAfT to AVAST. That felt like a little Wordle hidden right in the middle of my Saturday puzzle.

AGE. Ah yes, the subtle difference between “get on” and “getting it on.”

The World’s Tallest Concrete Gnome you say. I’m booking my flight today.

@mathgent - way to pick yourself up and get back in the saddle. Hand up for a birdie, too.

I thought Rex would link to this but since he didn’t I will again.

pabloinnh 8:49 AM  

ALCALDE=mayor, and that's the end of the Spanish lesson for today. I was doing acrosses and had the ALCA before I read the down clue, easier than ever.

Our resident four-year old has discovered MINE when you accidentally dispossess her of something, and I was just cackling at her and saying MINEALLMINE, so some helpful serendipity there.

ROME I know from my Upstate NY childhood. There used to be a big AFB there.

Liked SERENASLAM. but my first idea was some sort of "threepeat", which is a great word but of course didn't fit.


And I always thought DRE was a doctor and RIN was Tintin's first name, so happy to learn something there.

Nice solid Saturday, with just enough pushback to keep it interesting. Always Clever, no Contorted Reasoning, so thanks a bunch AC and CR. Good fun.

Zed 8:55 AM  

I forgot. Absolute “answer in the puzzle before I read the clue” easy on Margaret and H.A. REY, even with the POC cheat. Besides the Curious George books that hung around the house for years, we had H.A. REY’S astronomy book. I don’t get lots of new kids books anymore so this might not be true now, but in the 1990’s this was still the best book on the constellations for kids.

JC66 9:00 AM  

Complete opposite of yesterday; took me twice as long.


In case you weren't aware Pat Riley patented the term THREEPEAT.

RickA 9:08 AM  

The 2002-2003 "Serena slam" was also a "Williams sister double slam." Venus Williams was the runner-up to Serena in all four of the slams.

Trey 9:10 AM  

So, if the comment by @Rex about the REYS is to be taken literally, then everyone is nobody without the work that they have done. Isn't that correct? I would bet that AA Milne would be a nobody without Pooh, but Rex gladly entered Pooh into the grid, and would be more than happy to answer any or all of the author's name if also in the grid. While I certainly could not tell you who write Curious George de novo, as soon as letters started to fall into place, the lightbulb went off and it was "Of course!"

My only issue with the puzzle was HELISTOP. I have heard HELIport used often, but never HELISTOP. Seems like a stretch.

Loved the clues for ALGAE (easy for me with just the A in place) and NOVICES. Learned about the meaning of ALOHA, and new words for me ALCALDE, RIN (as clued), RACINOS (makes sense), ALAN (as clued). Overall, puzzle was easy-medium for me, with a few areas that gave me more challenge than others mainly due to words I did not know and less so due to the wordplay.

SB yd -2 (both words I have never heard of). Closest I have been to a QB in months

Wordle - my first word today gave me zero hits. My second word gave me two in the correct position. Then just some thinking. Looking at frequency of letter charts, I now have a second word choice so that when I have a blank on the first word, I will have guessed 10 of the most common eleven letters. If I ever draw a blank on my second word, then I know two things - there is at least one "Y" in the word, I am am probably not going to solve in 6. I hope that never happens.

pjd 9:15 AM  

In defense of HELISTOP, it is a real word, and in aviation terms it's *distinct* from a heliport, rather than some quasi-synonym.

Basically, a heliport is a full-blown airport but for helicopters, whereas a helistop is just any bare-bones landing spot, lacking major facilities, fueling stations, and other staffing.

Frantic Sloth 9:20 AM  

How I hate to admit being (partially) saved by a letteral clue. "Ah! ELS!", says I, with a sigh.
This one was another seems-impossible-until-it's-not experience for me. Took forever to get a flow of any kind - mostly for vision and/or technical reasons I won't go into - but momentum was eventually built and victory was MINE ALL MINE!
Liked it a lot.

I will never forget the vuvuzelas from that World Cup. The constant buzzing was torture for my ears - and sanity.

Not a fan of HELISTOP either, but loved all the longs and most of the mediums and shorts. Faves include SOYOUSAY, SERENASLAM, HAIRLINE & AIRBAG (as clued), and being a curling fan, BROOMS.

Any puzzle that can overcome my frustrations and leave me "fat and happy" is a miracle.
Thank you, A.R. and C.R.!

🧠🧠🧠🧠 (mostly from "other sources")

Tom T 9:20 AM  

Almost totally stumped first time through, except for ALAN Ruck, who was an undergrad in the Theatre Dept. at U. of Illinois when I was a grad student in the department.

So then I started the Friday/Saturday strategy of guesses--some educated (SAHARA, IGLOO), some wild (HORN, which I was thinking was a geographic feature, not a musical instrument).

Never heard of FOLEY, but trusted the crosses.

Like Rex, having HELIport made PELOSI difficult to see.

Final letter enter (after a delightful 40+ minute tussle) was the R in DRE/ROME--delighted to see the "Congratulations!" message appear.

Favorite Hidden Diagonal Word today might be clued as, "Natick, perhaps." The answer is CRUEL, beginning with the C in 18A (LOADED DICE) and moving to the SW.

SouthsideJohnny 9:21 AM  

Anyone from AMES in the house today - I got to wondering what would motivate someone to make a giant concrete gnome. Do you have a gnome factory or something? I did consult with Uncle Google, who claims that the tiny town of Dawson MN . . . is the Gnome Capital of the World. Is AMES suffering from gnome-envy ? There could be an intriguing back story there.

Wordle 224 3/6


Rolled in another nice birdie putt today - one over after 15.

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 9:30 AM  

I had iRidIUM instead of URANIUM, and AbAfT instead of AVAST, which blocked my way into the middle from both ends for the longest time. But since I have no newspaper to read except the Times Daily Digest, what with the blizzard outside, I stuck with it till I saw NANCYPELOSI (who sent me a text message this morning as she usually does) and then it fell. I do wonder what ye lubbers are supposed to do when they are told to AVAST.

CDilly52 9:34 AM  

Two very tricksy spots for me were the Karate Kid and HELISTOP. First one, I had no idea that there had been a remake of Karate Kid and didn’t even notice the date (2010) in the clue. Thanks to the downs, all was well. HELISTOP, on the other hand seems to be a pretty huge stretch. Add to that the TURBO boost (by far the longest head scratcher for me), and that little portion of the puzzle took the longest this morning.

I rarely go looking to challenge the “realNess” of an answer. Today I just had to look for HELISTOP. I found my answer, HELIport. Oh well, it’s a crossword and I bow to the constructors ingenuity and craft to make it work. Or maybe in some part of the world a HELISTOP is where one boards or gets off a ‘copter.

Seeing these constructors gave me an immediate smile today. Well deserved in my opinion. Sure, everybody knows GOLD MEDALS, but not everyone could invent today’s clue. I found it clever and chortle-worthy, as were many clues.

A tad easy for a Saturday perhaps, but every time I encounter a well crafted later week puzzle, I think of my younger solving self and all those newer solvers out there who will absolutely revel in being able to solve a Saturday, and I smile.

Every day as we would prepare for the solve, Gran would scan the grid and the clues, note the constructors and especially on a day when her expert eyes picked up “easier than usual for today,” she would say “let’s get started. I am going to turn lots of this one over to you..”. Made me feel so worthy of the time she gave me every day.

Too easy? Maybe, but good is good and this one ticked all the boxes for me.

Unknown 9:48 AM  

Hands up for POOH at first.
I never saw the Lion King, so always a problem . . . .
Nice to see SERENASLAM as the women fight for the AO right now.
Amazing how once SERENA retired, so many women are now winning major titles.

Was it me, or were there a lot of foreign entries to this puz?
Finally, the REYs were easy for me, since I grew up with the Curious George books.
I think they are fair game for a Saturday puz.

RooMonster 9:51 AM  

Hey All !
First, good luck to all you Noreaster getters. Been there, done that, I CAN RELATE. Grew up in PA, which is one reason I'm now in Las Vegas. 😁 What cracks me up is when people panic buy water, bread, etc. from stores like they won't be able to leave their house for a month. You'll be able to leave probably next day. Calm down people, you've all been through this before, yes?

Anyway, good puz. Had close to nothing at first pass through, but ended up being relatively easy for a SatPuz. Relatively, not saying it was completely easy. Had a DNF anyway, in SW corner. Had NewbiES for NOVICES, then NOobiES. Didn't notice when I changed the incorrect I to a C when I got I CAN RELATE, so I still had _oAST for AVAST. Only thing I could come up with was coAST. You coast at sea, no? Even though I really wanted SARIS, it didn't jive with the Acrosses. Having _BN for the Japanese coin, I thought IBN, although now I believe that's a middle name or something. So puzzled, I put in SCaIS, cause I was getting antsy at that point. Got the Almost There! But You're a Schmuck message, went back and saw the errors of my ways. Let out an ,"awwwww, if I'd seen the C, I would've got it!" AH, ME.

Nice DOOK with GOOUT. Missed DOOK on DOOR. Could've clued it "___ die".

In ROO news, that SE corner is s gold mine! we get one in (B)ROO(MS), plus a diagonal one (Hi @TomT), a backward one in DOOR, and two Boggled ones L shaped! Nice! Other OO's, (IG)LOO, GOO(UT), (CAR)POO(L), (RE)BOO(T), DOO(R). In case anyone tracks these kinds of things. 😁 (Won't bore you with the Boggled one in the center)(Oh, wait...)

Since I've now even become sick of reading myself, I shall go.

yd -9, should'ves 6 (short list, too. Argh!)

One F

Joe Welling 9:51 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...
"How is Rome the answer for New York City?"

The clue was "New York city"--looking for a city in New York State.

Zed 9:51 AM  

@Southside Johnny - Sometimes a gnome is just a gnome.

@Trey - I had to go reread Rex to figure out what you were going on about. I see how you interpreted what he wrote, but I read the “nothing” line as self-deprecating humor.

Re: HELISTOP - The FAA has a definition (as @pjd describes), but neither Merriam-Webster nor the free version of the OED online recognize it as a word. just defines it as “heliport.” This strikes me as pretty niche technical jargon. Their is a spot on the nearby trail system specifically designated as a place for helicopters to land (in case a hiker needs a lift out), but it’s been quite awhile since I’ve hiked past it so I don’t remember what the sign calls it. Fine for a Saturday I guess and inferable, but not my favorite entry.

Unknown 9:53 AM  

Terrific Saturday! Thanks Andrew and Caitlin, really great puzzle. i'm OK with a few words I didn't know, and everything was gettable in the end. My son and I took about 35 minutes so it was a struggle, but got it without cheating, so thats always a WIN on a Saturdee! Thanks--Rick

Birchbark 9:55 AM  

@Z (8:55) -- H.A. REY'S "The Stars: A New Way to See Them" is on our coffee table. Lots of star maps, all the constellations explained with efforts to rename them in simpler terms. "The Sky Globe" illustrations and many others combine Curious-George style friendliness with the (to me) hard-to-understand perspective geometries of star gazing. He also has a progressive set of drawings showing how the shape of the Dipper has changed over the millennia, with a caveman looking at it 100,000 years ago, a man in a fedora looking at it in the present, and a man with goggles and a helicopter beanie looking at it 100,000 years from now. And much, much more.

burtonkd 9:57 AM  

I thought this was terrific - so many things on the edge of my knowledge that came into focus with some help from crossings. WOEs choli, addax, Qaanaaq actually led to correct answers with no help from google needed!

Since no one has mentioned it, King Richard is a very interesting and enlightening movie about the Williams sisters. I remember how he was portrayed by the tennis media, and is was fascinating to get a deeper look and perspective on him. So admirable and aggravating at the same time, he proved to be correct in overcoming so many hurdles from all directions.

Our apartment overlooks a small park. When our children were younger, they would play with their friends until we blew the vuvuzela out the window as their dinner bell.

Frantic Sloth 9:58 AM  

Meant to say I knew ALCALDE almost immediately. Why? Zorro movies, of course. Not from Spanish classes or, you know, reading or anything.

@mooretep 702am 🤣 "oxfords comma'ing"

Good day for hunkering down, cooking some comfort food, and gazing out the window like a moron.

Wordle 224 5/6

This was just plain weird.

jberg 9:59 AM  

This puzzle was easy for a Saturday, except for one thing: my copy of the Times was delivered (in a blizzard, so thanks for that, carrier!) with one of the inside pages torn -- right through the middle of the grid. I had to tape the two pieces together and run them through the copier, and managed to do so in such a way that the rightmost column was cut off. I actually wrote in IGA/IGLOO and ALOHO/LED ODD before I noticed it.

I had no idea what a FOLEY might be, but I tend to watch the credits after the end of a movie and relish all the odd terms (see also 'gaffer' and 'best boy.') So that was easy.

I saw right away that they were looking for something about the House of Representatives-- the capitalization gave it away -- but I was thinking 'parliamentarian' or 'speaker.' Even though I had the terminal I it took me forever to realize it was a particular Speaker.

I'll blame my troubles on fatigue. I was solving during the lunch break at a conference in England that I'm attending online; sessions start at 4:45 AM. As I told my wife, it's a way to experience jet lag without going anywhere.

thfenn 10:05 AM  

Today kind of epitomized the whole understanding that it's the clues that get harder during the week, not the answers. This will be "well, duh" for all of you, but for me it was finally understanding that, and reducing the fear that the answers were just going to be things I didn't know anyway, that helped Friday and Saturday become accessible. Enjoyable, even.

Enjoyed seeing another day of staggered steps, and the clues/answers for those. Thought the clues for the short fill, like for AMES, APB, OSPREY, AGE and others were all fun. While many here were dealing with POOH vs PAPA, my hiccup was bAbu before NALA. Wrong on so many counts, including mixing up the stories involved, but bAbu sat there too long. So did AoB before APB, smiles, because I thought AoB was just a perfect answer. And Troy before ROME lingered quite awhile as well.

@Z, hand up for the can/should problem with 30A.

Count me disappointed with Kenan's impact a little west of DC. Kind of wish I was weathering this out back up in Maine. But it can shift from exciting to dangerous in a heart beat, so I hope all of you up and down the eastern seaboard are safe and well.

burtonkd 10:07 AM  

Birdie coming from zero letters in first guess. I think the author of Wordle has been checking in on all those sites that give the most common letters, and zagging. This makes for a fun picture.

Wordle 224 3/6


Larry 10:08 AM  

@Roo - I always wonder why, when the snowstorm of the century rolls by 2-3 times every winter here in the NE, people have this sudden desire for French Toast. "Ma, therer's a storm a brewin and we're gonna be snowed in for weeks! I'll lay in feed for the critters, you go buy enough French Toast fixins to last us! Hurry before the store runs out!"

thfenn 10:10 AM  

Wordle 224 3/6

Was pleased with this after 3 bogies in a row. @Southside, one over after 15 here as well.

pabloinnh 10:15 AM  

@JC66-I did know that about Pat Riley. I always wonder if it made him rich(er).

burtonkd 10:16 AM  

The Rey clue just reminded me of a scene from The 40 Year Old Virgin: Main character gets ready to go out to a club wearing a yellow jacket and asks his friends how he looks. One of them says "Great, just tell me: what is Curious George like in real life?"

sixtyni yogini 10:20 AM  

Yes 👏🏽. Good one.
And yes 🎯also to 🦖’s observation about obscure answers and tricky clues with well-known answers. The latter is fun! Though, must confess the clue vuvuzela was new to me and I got too curious to wait for the crosses to get it. Such a lovely word!
Learning! Fun also.

Anonymous 10:24 AM  

I had NA-C-P-L--- filled in for 34A (One known for making House calls)and somehow got hung up on the answer being NARCO POLICE. Obviously not a thing but I was imagining a specialized narcotics team who were trained in raiding a "house" of drug dealers :)

TJS 10:27 AM  

Hey,@Frantic, had the same exact solving experience as you ! Right down to re-living that elephant-fart sound of the vuvuzelas blasting away for two hours. Jeezuz.

Wasn't The Kid Daniel-san or something ? Maybe I'll look it up.

Whoa...I somehow mis-typed my way into something called Google assistant, offerring 6"things I can try to get started". Here's 4 of them :
"5K in miles"
"Population in Nigeria"
"Hello in Chinese"
"Tell me a joke"

I am not lying about this. And I'm supposed to tell it a joke ? WTF .

Wanderlust 10:28 AM  

Serena hasn’t retired. Not playing the AO but we should see her again.

David Pinkus 10:31 AM  

I just spent about 20 minutes looking up Qaanaaq because I love palindromes, and it does not appear that there are any igloos there. The clue was obvious because of the geography, however the history of Qaanaaq aka New Thule does not support the idea that igloos are dwellings there, except perhaps as a tourist amusement but nobody lives in them. It does look like a fascinating place though.

RAD2626 10:32 AM  

Fun puzzle. Average time for Saturday. Exact same sticking points as Rex but since I am not speed solving did not cause the same level of consternation.

Rex’ lament about the passage of time from the 2010 vuvuzela World Cup is particularly apt given the DRE clue. As @BDJ pointed out, DRE was from the 2010 remake. The Karate Kid Rex watched as a kid and through the years was Daniel from the original 1984 film.

Wanderlust 10:41 AM  

Fairly easy for me, though it didn’t feel that way on the first pass. It helped to know ALCALDE and to guess NANCY PELOSI without any crosses, and SERENA SLAM off SARIS and NEE. (Helps to have tennis on the mind with the AO going on. Yay, Ashley, and Vamos, Rafa!)

Loved the dialog going on with “MINE, ALL MINE!” followed by “SO YOU SAY.” I CAN RELATE - SUE ME.

HELISTOP was definitely a new one for me. it sounds like a public transportation route by copter. “I’m getting off at the RACINO HELISTOP, how about you?”

Nice puzzle and enjoyed clever clues for PROPEL, APB, CARPOOL LANE and NOVICES, just to name a few.

Spatenau 10:48 AM  

Rex seems to have missed the fact that the clue for DRE specifies the 2010 remake of "Karate Kid," the one starring Will Smith's son, whose character's name was "Dre." The fact that he saw the original movie so many times when he was young, wouldn't help.

GILL I. 10:51 AM  

I wanted to dance my favorite fandango tango on top of a well oiled table in my favorite bar, upon completion
Happy feet, happy me.
I had the same problems as Rex and some of you with REYS/PAPA(Pooh), ROLL(Rock) ELMO, and HELISTOP. This was a definite time to come back to the puzzle and start over to re-think my think tank. I did. It worked.
The top portions were sliding in like a well oiled steam boat. When is the AXE going to fall? I asked.
My Achilles heel ached trying to get NANCY PELOSI. The downs were killing me. My other foibles were URANIUM and ISOMER. I flunked anything sciency. Both could be a bartender at my bar but I would probably call them URA and ISO for short. (sigh)...
The NANCY PELOSI lightbulb in my attic came on with 34D thanks to the N for NOVICES. N something? Brain clicks and clacks. You should've heard my whoopdeedoo when she came for a visit.
Got down to the SE and had to take another break. My second incarnation wanted to be Vishnus. Why? you ask. I don't know. REBOOT needed to be reinstalled again in my parietal lobe in order for me to finish. Mission accomplished. I can now resume thinking. Can you pluralize VISHNU? Nah...Hey Brahma also fit.
Just to gloat...ALCALDE flew in faster than an SST landing at ROME. It helps when you're a wannabe native.....(Hi @pablito).....
LOVED your puzzle Senores Andrew and Caitlin. Even though I have to walk the pups, I wanted your puzzle to go on for another hour.

Whatsername 10:52 AM  

Kind of a fun Saturday but tough … as it should be. Had DECK before DICE and POOH before PAPA. Learned choli and RACINO which I had never heard of but knew instantly what it meant. That center stack is a thing of beauty, not to mention the fabulous clues. It really should be preserved as a sample of how to do a Saturday in Advanced Crossword Constructing Class.

Thinking about you folks in the Northeast and hoping you stay safe this weekend. How ODD that I’m sitting here in the snow belt where it’s going to be in the upper 50s for the next few days.

JD 10:55 AM  

Patience won the game here, and it was finally Uranium and Isotope that helped in the East where I was mired for a looong time.

Never heard of Helistop but it's a thing. Looked it up. There are also heliports, helidromes, rotor stations, helipads, and helidecks. My puzzle partner, helicopter pilot husband would've come in handy here.

A Vuvuzela sounds like something the Grinch took from the Who's down in Whoville. A beautiful, happy, Saturday clue for the simple Horn. Learned about another horn this week, I think in the New Yorker, or was it here? The Sackbut, a name that connotes no joy at all. Store that in your puzzle brain, it's out there and coming to a puzzle near you. Forerunner of the trombone.

When I was working Friday's puzzle with the niece (who found it to be very difficult), I told her that Friday seemed to lean toward Boomers and that Saturday might be for her. She texted last night to say it was true. Before Friday, she's stuck with M-T-W. She thought this was much easier than yesterday.

We don't have Rear Lots in the suburbs. We say, "There's more parking back there."

Agree with @Z on House and @kitchef on Ames.

Fun, challenging puzz. Liked it.

JC66 10:58 AM  


I doubt it made Riley any richer, but the link (I don't usually click on them, either) says he made about $300,000 off the patent.

jae 11:05 AM  

Mostly easyish except for the NE where my solve was similar to @Rex’s. ALCALDE was a WOE and it took a while to see Shucks > HULLS.

Anyone else consider H instead of P in 1a?

Some of the clueing made this a treat. Liked it a bunch and Jeff at Xwordinfo gave it POW, although IMHO Lewis and Jeffs’ Thursday puzzle was better.

Nancy 11:19 AM  

Impossible for me. The kind of puzzle that sent me to Rex in the first place because I didn't want to wait until Monday to find out all the things I had wrong -- or hadn't written in at all. I never had the slightest chance of finishing this because, among other things, I didn't know...
BOP (I had RAP)
What a vuvuzela is
RIN (I had ?IN)
FOLEY artist
NANCY PELOSI as clued. (I had NARCO POLICE; don't ask.)
CAR POOL LANE (I had 5 correct letters, but couldn't parse it)

APB and NANCY PELOSI got me on the cluing. Everything else got me on a lack of info. Except for the most unfair clue of all -- the one for MINE ALL MINE. I had 6 correct letters, but I wouldn't have known it in a million zillion years based on the "maniacal laugh" clue. For "maniacal laugh", I might have wanted "YOU'LL NEVER ESCAPE, MY PRETTY!!" or "COME UPSTAIRS AND I'LL SHOW YOU MY ETCHINGS AND MY BULLWHIPS!!" "MINE ALL MINE" could be said by a sweet-faced grandma who's put dibs on the last piece of cake.

For me, this was a pretty awful experience. I'm amazed that so many of you sailed through it with no ill effects. Congrats to you all.

Teedmn 11:25 AM  

Hah, I just found a DNF in my grid. It occurred to me to check if anyone else here asked if they had heard of bEND UP as a parody. My underground line was a bEAM and I never looked at that crossing again. SEND UP and SEAM, forehead now reeling from the BOP I gave it.

Andrew Reis makes the best hard themeless puzzles. He always has one or two amazing, new-to-me, wordplay clues. If you love hard themeless puzzles and have the means to do so, I urge you to subscribe to his weekly puzzles. You get a bonus Rows Garden puzzle too, which I find I enjoy also. (No, I'm not getting a kickback on pushing his puzzles :-).)

My solve was the reverse of Rex's. I flew through the NW on the entry of TAN and then experienced a slowdown after ALGAE went in. I starred the clue for 22A as "awful pun" when I thought the answer was REAR end (you know, you park yourself on it) so REAR LOT was a relief when I got it. SMH at myself.

The bottom fell fast but the central section remained patchy until I changed 36A from caRBO boost to TURBO. When I hit that [b]eam of URANIUM and saw HELISTOP, it gave me the momentum for 30A, 33A and 34A.

Thanks Andrew and Caitlin, that was fun.

Nancy 11:26 AM  

Well, at least I had a better day on Wordle:

Wordle 224 3/6


albatross shell 11:26 AM  

Did Rex really think DRE was the Karate kid in the movie from his childhood? As pointed out above it's the 2010 reboot. I think that comment was directed to Rex but so many do not read Rex thought I'd mention it.
The only other place I one-upped Rex was knowing both REYS although it took a while to land. The same with Local borders. In that case after it was in.

FOLEY rings a bell now but not while solving. I did have sOund in and also a wrong answer next to it that also had an O in the right place that made me think of CARPOOLLANE. Weird. Two short wrongs is a long right. I learned recently that the HOV lanes around DC do let singles in if they are driving electric cars so the clue is not universally accurate but is still universally clever.

I probably stared at a few dribbles of answers for 20 minutes before I started cheating. Six cheats to finish. Cheat, get a section plus. Repeat. And presto. Still work, still have fun. Occasionally solve a Friday Saturday with no cheats. Mostly 3 or fewer. This was a beatdown. As in I was whupped before I got anywhere. Ussually get 40 to 60% done until I get stuck on Saturday. I am not quite ready for Saturday prime time solving. Some months are better than others.

I did enjoy today's mini. The clue about minis was definitely inaccurate. Not what I hope for at all but knew it was probably the answer. There is a very nice diagonal answer for @Tom T starting at 6D or 6A. Even better if they waited another month to publish it.

Pete 11:27 AM  

As the go-to source for all things PETE, I have to correct one and all. Pay Riley got a trademark, not a patent, on THREEPEAT printed on various sports and sports related merchandise. I almost typed in MERCH there, but I resisted.

@Z Re REY and constellations - what ages is that appropriate for? I got 4 * 6yo grannies.

@Z Re @Trey - It's called hate reading i.e. reading with the goal of getting pissed off. But you knew that.

I was able to put together RACINOS having lived through that glorious but brief period in the NE where the state's desire to rake in money from gambling was at least somewhat tempered, limiting itself to Lottery, betting on the ponies, and slots at race tracks. Now you just need a smart phone and a couch, and the state gets a 3% rake.

I echo all the good things said about the puzzle, except I had no idea about REY[S] whatever the context.

Anonymous 11:27 AM  

Just read the article Z linked to. Wow. Just wow.
Rex makes some pretty hard-to-defend claims, among them that Shortz transformed the Times puzzle into something fun, and that the editor is making an assertion about what’s common knowledge. He also says that’s inherently political. Using the word assertion smacks of insistence , as if Shortz were issuing an edict about common knowledge. I don’t think Shortz is doing any such thing.Rather he’s making a reasonable assumption about what his solving audience will know. I say that’s a critical difference. Worse, it’s spurious and Rex makes the charge simply to get a dig in at his nemesis. It’s petty,petulant and peak Sharp.
Setting that aside, Rex claims that act is inherently political. Bah. That’s nonsense.
What isn’t nonsense is the overwhelmingly liberal bias of the puzzle. I’ve long claimed the fix was in for lefties. And this article acknowledges it.
Mores the pity. The article even cites a loss because Shortz caved to the recent fat shaming nonsense. More idiocy from the aggrieved woke. Nothing wrong with fat, beaner, or chink per se. Sure those words can be used as insults or slurs, but they also have legitimate uses.Banning them outright is the work of the small.

Newboy 11:30 AM  

Having Caitlin two days in a row (yesterday’s New Yorker) was a pleasant surprise as was the triple stack staircase for a consecutive NYT grid. I’m always a bit intimidated by that large white expanse, but on a Saturday that seems fair. Teaming with Andrew, Ms. Reid seemed to bring LOADED DICE to the table, so I certainly didn’t think it would be a FREE RIDE! Both constructors are among the cadre who deserve GOLD MEDALS for the consistency of their grids; I hope they continue their join efforts. Good clueing trickery from APB to ROME via ??ing what the ELS going on. We had to bounce from Hawaii to Iceland, but finally hit the TURBO, gathered STEAM and arrived at the winners’ ⭕️.

mathgent 11:32 AM  

@RickA (9:08): I follow tennis closely but didn't know that in the Serena Slam of 2003-4 that Serena beat Venus in all four of the final matches. That should be publicized more widely.

Anonymous 11:37 AM  

@Southside, @Unknown. You both showed birdies(3) today and say that you are averaging one over par which is 5. Do I have that right?

Anonymous 11:38 AM  

In honor of our culture-cancelling host --- Hard to take INSIDE-INFO, STOCK "INVESTOR" (LOL) Pelosi here. . . Hopefully an APB for Nancy is in our near future. Good day.

Beezer 11:45 AM  

This morning I had to put the puzzle away for a bit but finished it fairly quickly (without cheating!) when I returned. I experienced much of what @Rex said, also thought of Hugh Laurie as House (hi @Z)…and plopped in HELIPORT. Btw…what seems to be now called a HELISTOP, I always thought was called a HELIPAD.

All in all a very nice puzzle…and I learned a few things! I just hope I remember what I learned…

What? 11:46 AM  

I can’t believe I’m agreeing with Rex, or even that I broke my resolve not to read him (eyeing a train wreck?) but I also prefer tricky (clever) clues rather than obscure names/words. It’s intellectual laziness. Boo on this puzzle.😝

egsforbreakfast 11:49 AM  

Little known fact: Margaret and H.A. REY keep a boat at the RYE Marina (which they access through the nearby HELISTOP).

To me, RACINOS conjure up the image of segregated casinos. Bad vibes from that one.

I just shrugged my shoulders on the Karate Kid answer with a “well who know that Dr. DRE was in that movie? Seems weird.”

As someone noted earlier, the younger Ms. Williams did not compete in the current Australian Open due to injury. In other words, SERENASLAMe.

I’ll see myself out now. Hey, wait up @Roo!

I liked this puzzle a lot. I was slightly slower than yesterday, but felt like there were no killer sections. Thank you, Andrew Ries and Caitlin Reid.

Beezer 11:52 AM  

Omg. I had promised I would not talk of this or my experiment, but my top secret starter word landed another eagle today! Yesterday, random word…a bogey. Weird. This is the third time I’ve gotten it in two with the word…I’m telling you, it’s a placebo for me because I only had one letter right.

Wordle 224 2/6


Carola 11:57 AM  

Saturday joy. Out of many smile-inducing clues and entries, my favorite was MINE, ALL MINE!, which I got from the first N -- it's so much fun when a clue triggers exactly what you need and you know it's exactly right. Go synapses!

Do-overs: APp, AbAfT, ReN. Help from previous puzzles: SERENA SLAM, NALA. No idea: RACINOS, ALCALDE, ALAN, DRE.

@Andrew Ries and Caitlin Reid - Thank you for this treat, with its "just right" amount of brain-twisting.

Anonymous 12:01 PM  

From the boundless generosity of Michael Sharp “it’s possible you knew thing I didn’t…”
That is so awful, so smug, so condescending SO…Rex.

Zed 12:09 PM  

@Pete - I think it’s aimed at slightly older folk, middle school and older for the text. My kids were reading it younger, but not at 6.

@burtonkd - I think I read that Wardle has enough words loaded to last several years. I’m guessing it is a set it and forget it situation for him.
I haven’t seen King Richard but I’ve seen criticism that since the Williams Sisters were executive producers it’s hard to know how true to history it actually is.

mathgent 12:18 PM  

My favorite comments this morning.

Harryp (6:28)
BDJ (7:53)
mooretep (8:42)
RickA (9:08)

Zed 12:18 PM  

**Wordle Alert**

@Anon11:37 - The consensus seems to be that solving the Wordle in 4 is “par.” If someone says they are “one over” after 15 I believe they mean that summing all their solves gets them to one over. Here’s what it looks like for me.
1 Guess Solves - 0
2 Guess Solves - 1 - for -2
3 Guess Solves - 9 - for -9
4 Guess Solves - 7
5 Guess Solves - 5 - for +5
6 Guess Solves - 2 - for +4
DNFs - 0
Total after 24 is 2 Under Par.

Teresa 12:40 PM  

The great well-meaning feminist could have referred to PELOSI as the Speaker of the House rather than "the congresswoman." That said, I was slow to get this answer because I was so sure that House referred to some American TV show I'd never heard of that I didn't really bother.

JD 12:49 PM  

@Nancy, I cheated with a check. Usually, I'll mention that. I should've today. It took 46 minutes to finish with that and if I hadn't done the check it would've taken much longer. I would've worn a hole through the paper with changes. Car Pool Lane and Rap were two of them.

CT2Napa 1:16 PM  

helistop as used in books

Joe Dipinto 1:18 PM  

And the rider to the consensus is that if you want to bore people to death, keep using golf terminology to describe your Wordle attempts. It's enough that it's used in golf; don't ruin another perfectly fun activity with it.

FOLEY artist was the best thing in the puzzle. I thought Foley artist was the term for a person whose vocal is on the recording but whose role is lip-synced by someone else in the video. → 🟩

(RIP Meat, even if you were kind of a jerk toward the end.)

Oldactor 1:24 PM  

During a recent hospital stay I had to endure a catheter for about a week. The nurses and other personnel referred to it as a "foley". I can't figure out the connection. I entered foley with no crosses.

Lizzy Pie 1:30 PM  

You're in luck! There was an episode of 99 pi on that some years ago. My mind was blown to learn they foley that stuff, and I was embarrassed that I never put together the fact that bats are actually silent fliers in real life- but not on TV: They're leather gloves. Enjoy!:

Masked and Anonymous 1:33 PM  

HELISTOP? Oh, heli no! [Sorry, couldn't resist]

staff weeject pick: RIN. Hard to beat a bygone Japanese coin for zero-solvequest-help.

Somehow, most of the clues seemed kinda sneaky, at our House. Them 5 longball Acrossers in the puzgrid middle torso clues, f'rinstance. And no help, that M&A had POOH-ed up the crossin letter info.

Even better spot to land: RACINO'S REARLOT HELISTOP. Yer pilot today: AL CALDE.
But all that weird-ass stuff is forgiven, since this SatPuz had The Jaws of Themelessness.

Thanx for gangin up on us, Reid darlin & Ries dude. HELI-shly nice themeless constructioneerin.

Masked & Anonymo5Us

jaws, no; theme, yes:

burtonkd 1:56 PM  

@Z - that sounds plausible for Wordle. For King Richard, I did watch it with the producers in mind, but it wasn't just a glowing picture throughout.

okanaganer 2:39 PM  

For a while I had NOOBIES for people just getting started. Also looking at -----UM for the heavy metal element, I really wanted some kind of DRUM. (you know, music.)

It's a good thing they used the word "pad" in the clue for 24d, otherwise I would have had a heck of a time getting past LANDING PAD for the answer. They just finished a massive new building at our local hospital, which is about 5 blocks from my house. Occasionally I get to see the Air Ambulance land on the roof!

[Spelling Bee: yd 0. td 9:40 to get to pg; will come back to it.]

Zed 3:30 PM  

@M&A - I just looked it up. Yowser. RIN were only minted for circulation for 11 years in the late 1800’s, equaled 1/1,000 of a yen, and stopped being money 70 years ago. A RIN would equal roughly $0.0000087, or .00087¢, today.

@CT2Napa - The last time I looked the State if Michigan had stopped offering it’s Complied Laws in book form and it looks like your search turned up old editions. Almost everything on the first page is laws or regulations. Same on the second page. I still think it is essentially technical jargon and not “in the language.”

Whatsername 4:05 PM  

@Nancy (11:19) I didn’t sail, I cheated. As Clint Eastwood said, “A woman’s gotta know her limitations,” but of course I paraphrased. Wouldn’t want you to think I outdid you today … or ever.

RyAnna 4:07 PM  

Can someone explain why send up works for parody?

JD 4:29 PM  

Saturday, January 9, 2010 is a puzzle with an answer you may have been thinking about today.

Anonymous 4:59 PM  

I spent what was then said to be the worst winter in greater Philly history (late 90s). The mayor went on the TV to tell folks to stop complaining about snow packed in the streets: "Philadelphia is not a snow city". Apparently few snow plows. I guess Pittsburgh is, though.

Clrd2Land 4:59 PM  

I haven't posted here in a while but, as a former air traffic controller I can tell you that "helistop" is not a word I ever used, or heard used in 30 years of working civilian and military aircraft. It just doesn't exist in the real world. Look up the glossary of the 7110.65, the air traffic control "bible," it never mentions the word helispot. This is not a word.

JC66 5:02 PM  


It's an idiom. See definition #2.

Today's acrostic seemed very easy. Anyone else do it yet?

bocamp 5:23 PM  

@JC66 (5:02 PM) re: acrostic


@Trey 👍 for pg -2 yd

@okanaganer 👍 for 0 yd
td npg (35:31) / Wordle 3

Peace ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

pabloinnh 5:32 PM  

@JC6-I'm saving the Acrostic for tomorrow. Now I'll be forced to either agree with you or find myself lacking.

JC66 5:46 PM  




Haha...let me know.

BTW, how much snow did you get?

SouthsideJohnny 6:12 PM  

@anon 11:37 am - not averaging, it’s cumulative (say 3 bogies, 10 pars and 2 birdies = 1 over after 15).

pabloinnh 7:30 PM  

@JC66-We're on the VT border and got absolutely nothing. We were hoping for at least a few inches to improve the skiing, no luck. Coastal NH got hammered.

Well below zero tonight, which is to be expected, since it's winter, but winter should have a little more snow.

Son Volt 7:53 PM  

@pablo - lol 20” here on eastern LI and just got a similar jealous text from my brother in Stowe wishing for the same

JC66 7:59 PM  


Too bad. I just heard that parts of Massachusetts got 30 inches. Sorry I can't send some/all of the 8 inches we got here in NYC up to you.

Anonymous 9:06 PM  

No traction at all today. Maybe it was all of the names/characters that always get me, the foreign words, or the fact that its late and I'm on my second glass of wine! I can usually get at least around 80% of Saturday, and often finish, but nowhere close today.

As an antithesis to Rex's usual rant over Republican politicians in the NYTCW - How dare they put a divisive communist in the puzzle NANCYPWELOSI! The constructor and answer should be banished forever!! (note to moderator - apt sarcasm here)

Anonymous 9:25 PM  

Wasn't Elmo cancelled years ago? My older son loved him, my younger son never heard of him. SERENASLAM -not following tennis never heard of this. As an aerospace engineer, never heard of HELISTOP. Helipad, yes. Aren't FOLEY artists more associated with golden era radio, and not film.

TTrimble 9:27 PM  

A nifty little puzzle that didn't take me too long, relative to other Saturdays.

Plenty I was unfamiliar with, though: RACINOS, FOLEY, ALCALDE, HELISTOP. I was very interested to learn about Foley artists, which I've never seen credited in movies. Why not? Delighted too to learn about the meaning of ALOHA, which seems positively yogic. Namaste!

"Vuvuzela" (from the Zulu) is a cool-looking word, even if the thing itself grates.

I don't think I CAN RELATE to Rex's intense reaction to ELMO -- such a sweet and positive kid after all. On the other hand, I'll approve his invocation of Max Headroom.

Enough of Disney though (NALA). That and Harry Potter. I suppose we are counted on to know all about such things. COUNT me out, please.

SB: 0 for td. Annoyed with still being -2 for yd, but I'll keep the tab open a while longer.

Anonymous 9:56 PM  

@TTrimble I agree that there's more and more clues that rely on us owning one or more subscriptions to various media sites. While we all have one or two subscriptions, if I have Netflix, I may not have Hulu. And if I don't have small kids, I wouldn't be expected to know anything on Disney+, or any Disney film trivia (Frozen, Lions King). It's funny the things that constructors presume are common knowledge based on their lifestyles that aren't necessarily common to all.

TTrimble 10:06 PM  

Hm, I thought I had linked to this.

kitshef 10:47 PM  

@JC66 5:02 - quite the reverse -- one of the hardest ever. Only three answers on the first pass, and overall took about twice normal time.

JC66 11:47 PM  


Wow! Obviously a wheelhouse thing.

Advertgirl 9:41 AM  

How about the end clue re: implying thirst trap without saying trap? That was one extra little theme nod, although the topic, well...

Unknown 10:07 AM  

Am I the only one who got scruud with the "contraption"/"DOrag" cross? there's "Du-Rag" but there are no "Cuntrations"!!!
Furthermore, I can't wait for Will and his friends to realize how insensitive answers like "gay icon" are.
"I'm gay, so I love Lady Gaga! Yaaaaay!"
"What about Elton John"
"What in Icon, YAAAAAY!!" Irritating.
PS du-rag doesn't sit very well either. It always comes off as something the constructor heard of from Some Black Guy; Ick

Anonymous 10:58 AM  

Husband and wife team who wrote the Curious George books.

Anonymous 6:56 PM  

Troy Aikman, on the broadcast which will be the highest of the week —in the neighborhood of 30 million Americans— just said “wreak some havoc. “
This isn’t even a close call. It’s wreak.
No the pronunciation is long E. That’s not in question either Z.

Anonymous 11:19 PM  

Correct...even if you hadn't seen the original Karate Kid a bunch ( I hadn't), the name Daniel San may come back to you ( Ralph Maccio's character is named Daniel Larusso). I happen to know this from watching Cobra Kai on Netflix btw, Dre is totally unrelated.

Joel R. 12:07 AM  

I appreciated these comments for being a fuller explanation of the Rex Parker theory of difficulty in a crossword--or rather for providing a theory in the first place. (Rex may have gone into this in earlier commentaries over the 15 years of his blog, and I only tune in on Wednesday through Saturday.) Anyhow, I appreciate Rex's distinction between the difficulty of the word and that of the clue. But by that yardstick, I find "APB" not as ingenious as he suggests. The question mark at the end of a clue so often suggests that a particular word in the clue is a theme of the answer. So, "catchy" must have something to do with catching (people, animals, baseballs, colds...and, oh yeah, perps). I found more devilishly clever the clue to 49-down: "Name-dropping word." I struggled mightily trying to figure out what word can describe the effort to impress people by mentioning a celebrity you know--until I eventually remembered (!) that traditionally a woman took the surname of her husband and dropped what is called (with a term now drenched in a patina of archaism:) her "maiden name." We of course still use that term--often without wanting to, because our society hasn't yet made current a less male-dominant equivalent. Somehow, "pre-married" seems too blandly functional--and of course now, quite often, marrying couples among progressive folk take each other's surnames on in hyphenation. Do we have a word for that? And will their great-grandchildren have 16 surnames?

spacecraft 11:06 AM  

Shout-out to @Roo for having emigrated from Keystone to Silver. Just look at the weather: our parents didn't raise dumb kids! We ditched the IGLOO (but if anybody tries putting "Qaanaaq" into a grid I'll thump 'em).

Still, that's a key feature of today's offering: teaching via the clue. Among other things, I learned what ALOHA means, and when DOD SERENA completed her SLAMs. ALCALDE was a total unknown, and had to go in one cross at a time.

My only ? in the whole thing was REARLOT; it smacks of desperation. The 34a clue led me to NANCYPELOSI having only the C and L filled in. Yours truly COUNTS that as a solving coup. Helped a LOT--and not in the REAR, either.

Despite some advanced cluing, I'd say this was easy-medium, and pretty well-done. Birdie.

Diana, LIW 11:08 AM  

As you SyndieCats know, "almost" only counts in horseshoes. Once again, I thought I was playing horseshoes. But almost...oh, almost. That's worth a FREERIDE in the CARPOOLLANE.

I certainly thought the House clue was referring to the TV show - which I have heard of but not watched.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

thefogman 11:19 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
thefogman 11:39 AM  

Medium for a Saturday. Very enjoyable and (mostly) free of junk. Nice team effort by Ries and Reid. Caitlin Ried is is a regular contributor at the New Yorker Magazine’s crossword puzzle page. The New Yorker is (almost) always a much better puzzle than the NY Times. Why? It’s because they have a regular group of dedicated (and terrific) constructors like Caitlin Reid, Patrick Berry, Anna Sheschtman, Erik Agard, Robyn Weintraub etc. No NOVICES. All worthy of xword GOLDMEDALS.

Burma Shave 12:04 PM  


SEAMs so CLEANCUT and nice.


thefogman 12:21 PM  

Edit: Make that Shechtman, not Sheschtman

leftcoaster 8:23 PM  

I’m focusing on the down words today, and to heck with the acrosses.

Easiest downs:


Okay, show me the DOOR

Scarlet 4:42 AM  
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