England's first poet laureate 1668 / SAT 5-28-22 / Mortimer famed ventriloquy dummy of old / Longevous / Order with four periods / Relative of mustard / Nickname in 1950s-'60s TV / 1980 black-and-white film that was nominated for Best Picture / Where zardozi embroidery is prevalent / Oafish outburst / disco European music genre

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Constructor: Joseph Greenbaum

Relative difficulty: Easy


THEME: none 

Word of the Day: JOHN DRYDEN (11D: England's first poet laureate (1668)) —

John Dryden (/ˈdrdən/; 19 August [O.S. 9 August] 1631 – 12 May  [O.S. 1 May] 1700) was an English poet, literary critic, translator, and playwright who was appointed England's first Poet Laureate in 1668.

He is seen as dominating the literary life of Restoration England to such a point that the period came to be known in literary circles as the Age of Dryden. Romanticist writer Sir Walter Scott called him "Glorious John". [...] 

With the reopening of the theatres in 1660 after the Puritan ban, Dryden began writing plays. His first play The Wild Gallant appeared in 1663, and was not successful, but was still promising, and from 1668 on he was contracted to produce three plays a year for the King's Company in which he became a shareholder. During the 1660s and 1670s, theatrical writing was his main source of income. He led the way in Restoration comedy, his best-known work being Marriage à la Mode (1673), as well as heroic tragedy and regular tragedy, in which his greatest success was All for Love (1678). Dryden was never satisfied with his theatrical writings and frequently suggested that his talents were wasted on unworthy audiences. He thus was making a bid for poetic fame off-stage. In 1667, around the same time his dramatic career began, he published Annus Mirabilis, a lengthy historical poem which described the English defeat of the Dutch naval fleet and the Great Fire of London in 1666. It was a modern epic in pentameter quatrains that established him as the preeminent poet of his generation, and was crucial in his attaining the posts of Poet Laureate (1668) and historiographer royal (1670). (wikipedia)
• • •

The Easy puzzle onslaught continues. I thought this was a lovely puzzle, but decidedly more Friday than Thursday. Now, I love Friday puzzles. Best day! But I mostly like them on Friday. If you give me one on Saturday, I'm not going to complain too much, but still, I wonder why the puzzle is being defanged across the board (certainly Tues.-Sat.).  I entered the first dozen or so answers in this puzzle without any hesitation. In fact, the first four came so fast that I thought something must be wrong ... I also worried that maybe there was some terrible theme afoot ... some kind of "AP" theme:


ASAP APP APSE in quick succession ... yes, that was briefly worrisome. But then the long answers got in on the act and I worried less. I could see the triple stack waiting for me there in the center of the grid, and my relationship to triple (and quad) stacks has, historically, been, let's say, fraught, so I approached with caution (that is, I tried to throw as much down into that stack section as I could before I even looked at the stack clues). Answers that are parts of stacks sometimes have the tendency to feel forced: awkward verb tenses or otherwise clunky phrasings. I figured the best way to deal with the potential disappointment of that center stack was to enjoy the top half of the puzzle as much as possible and see how many of those long Downs I could throw down into there. Answer: All Of The Long Downs. I got all six before ever really entering the middle of the puzzle in earnest. Better yet: those Long Downs were great! Well, for me they were. 


This puzzle felt like it was built with my particular niche tastes in mind, from David Lynch films ("ELEPHANT MAN") to old westerns (SIX-SHOOTERS) to 17th-century poet laureates (JOHN DRYDEN), though with that last one ... I have a confession. A professor-of-17th-century-literature confession. I screwed it up at first pass. See, I got JOHN, saw the date in the clue (one year after the publication of Paradise Lost), and instinctively dropped in JOHN MILTON. Now, if you did that, well, of course you did, Milton is much more famous (and, ahem, better). That's a trap *you* are supposed to fall into. It's not one that *I* am supposed to fall into. But then I guess I knew well enough to yank MILTON quickly and install DRYDEN. Like, I knew DRYDEN was an option, at least. Still, that brief mistake felt like a personal failure. I teach MILTON all the time, whereas DRYDEN ... let's just say, I want my students to actually like 17th-century literature, so ... yeah, little if any DRYDEN on the British Literature I syllabus, I'm afraid. I do teach APHRA (5) BEHN (4) a whole bunch. She's an exceedingly important playwright and early novelist and I can't believe she hasn't benefited at all from the "we should put more women in the puzzles!" phenomenon, especially since her name parts are so short. BEHN has never been (!) in the NTYXW at all, whereas APHRA has ... but only back in Maleskan Times (and not since 1983).


Anyway, by the time I looked at the stack clues, I was able to knock them all off 1-2-3, bam bam bam. They all seem fine. You do get that verb tense tinkering that I was talking about (past tense in the first one, third-person in the second), but that's just normal crossword stuff, and none of that tinkering makes these phrases feel clunky. The only real trouble spot I had in the whole puzzle was the far SW, where I couldn't come up with whatever word was supposed to follow MARVEL at 27D: Look at with awe (MARVEL OVER). I wrote in MARVEL UPON. But eventually I was able to back WORSHIPS into that space and everything became clear from there. Splashed down happily at the end of the WATER SLIDE and that was that. A fun day at the crossword water park.


Notes:
  • 19A: Nickname in 1950s-'60s TV (BEAV) — from BEAV to SNERD via SIX-SHOOTERS, the pop culture in this one did skew a little old, I'll admit
  • 41A: Terence ___, Fields Medal-winning mathematician (TAO) — that's two times for this guy just this year. I feel like this clue is just an attempt to hide the fact that all you've done really is put a very very common three-letter answer in the grid again. [UPDATE: well, it looks like my comment about the ridiculousness of cluing this as a name was prescient, as lots and lots of solvers, including my wife, absolutely foundered at the "T" crossing, going with WINEMASTER / MAO instead. That seems like a genuine Natick to me, as TAO is not well known outside math circles, and both WINEMASTER and MAO seem plausible for their clues. WINEMASTER actually kinda seems *better* for its clue than WINETASTER (29D: Port authority?). Let me just add that if no one has DJED under the name WINEMASTER MAO by the end of the summer, I'll be very disappointed]
  • 60A: Longevous (AGED) — that clue hurts even to look at. What in the world?
  • 30A: Tease, with "on" (RAG) — I wrote in RIP. My favorite thing about RAG is that it completes an Across row that reads like the bold declaration of a bizarrely named supervillain: "I AM RAT WAX RAG! Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!" You might say "but a RAT WAX RAG is not a real thing," to which I say, clearly you've never tried to get wax off a rat. 
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

97 comments:

Conrad 6:08 AM  


I agree with the Easy rating, although I got off to a rocky start with tic for the Twitch at 1D and opel for the GM subsidiary at 2D and couldn't think of a four-letter order that starts with to. The rhyme at 3D clued me in that tic was wrong. Misread the 14A clue as "What might follow an investigation" and confidently put in indicTment. Once that was corrected it was fairly smooth sailing.

OffTheGrid 6:09 AM  

This was outstanding. Slow start but bit by bit I finished. Getting a spanner always gives me a little burst of energy. No googling but I "checked" here and there. I liked SIdewindER for old western staple but oh well.

Dale Gribble 6:11 AM  

I could have gone without a gun reference on the heels of two mass shootings in the USA. Otherwise, solid, fun solve.

Anonymous 6:25 AM  

Naticked with winemaster / mao.

Anonymous 6:28 AM  

Naticked at WINETASTER/TAO.

WINEmASTER/mAO is a plausible cross and even for a Saturday i think that was unfair given Tao’s relative obscurity.

mruedas 6:28 AM  

I agree with the overall easy rating, but I wonder if I will be the only one to have put in wineMaster instead of wineTaster at 29D: port authority? I mean, an authority is a MASTER; a TASTER is any Joe Schmo having wine. Since the cross is completely unknown to me as a name, Tao and Mao seemed equally plausible...

Andrew B. 6:57 AM  

How does ASAP fit the clue at 1A? I tried RSVP, which is an "Order" in the imperative sense. Some orders are ASAP (rush) orders, but we don't get a "Some" in the clue.

Son Volt 7:12 AM  

Not Stumper worthy like Matt Sewell’s effort today but I wouldn’t refer to it as easy. The center triple stack helped - covers a lot of real estate with gettable longs. Liked LIVE IN THE MOMENT and WATER SLIDE - ORATORICAL fell flat for me. Some unfortunate shorts - ASAP, DJED etc. Not a Colbert fan so that cross with ITALO was tough. Maybe @John X can expound on the BEAV.

Never figured Okkervil would reference LETHE but in fact we do need a myth

Enjoyable Saturday solve.

Chub Peabody (from Athol) 7:23 AM  

Some (intentional, I think) misdirection. Early on filled in RAVER at 15D (with only having the R already) absolutely and positively certain this referred to the glow sticks used at raves - and I just had to figure what the "insider" name of those damn RAVER sticks might have. With everything but the W in 45A, I still stared forever at 15D trying to figure out the stupid esoteric name they have for those sticks: RAVER EVIE_S - what??? Huh??

Finally, after a long dark tortuous night, light dawned on Marblehead.

jammon 7:25 AM  

A.S.A.P. is just W.R.O.N.G.

Anonymous 7:28 AM  

@j.a.m.m.o.n. HAR!

SouthsideJohnny 7:32 AM  

LETHE was new for me, as was “longevous” which just sounds bizarre. AVILA is a bit of a niche answer, but I suspect that many will be familiar enough to drop it right in. I wish they would ease off on the “music genre” clues - they all seem so arbitrary (like ITALO, for example).

Some good clues, including the bow ties with PASTA SAUCE. Enjoyed seeing ORATORICAL in the grid - looks like such a perfect word for a crossword constructor.

The highlight of the puzzle for me was DYSON Supersonic hair dryer - for some reason I was curious, so I googled it - it looks like a blow dryer but it cost like $400 ! What can it possibly do that a normal blow dryer doesn’t - does it comb and braid your hair as well ? I have to find a review of it or something.


Lewis 7:35 AM  

We all come to crosswords differently. We have different wheelhouses. Some types of tricky clues hit our sweet spot and fill in immediately; others hit us opaquely, and everybody’s sweet spot profile is different. It depends on how our brains are wired.

Well, the way my brain is wired combined with this particular puzzle, made this one of the most satisfying crossword solves I can remember. My first pass yielded a couple of gimmes and a raft of I’m-not-sures. I usually don’t fill in the latter, so there it was, the White Sea.

In retrospect, I realize that most of the clues/answers in this puzzle resided in my just-beyond-reach area, where I just couldn’t crack them immediately, but with one or two crossing letters, or just leaving the spot then coming back, the answer would come in a joyous flash.

Long story short, it was like firefly season here (which has just begun). In the beginning a few fireflies sparkle at night, and as the days progress, more flickers come, until those glorious weeks of the Big Show, a nonstop extravaganza of pulsing lights better than Fourth of July fireworks. That’s what happened in my solve, starting with a few aha-pops, then some pop-pop-pops, and then a grand crescendo of kapows all over the grid.

SO satisfying. SO perfectly clued for me, and I hope for many others. You are on my list, Joseph, of not-to-miss-ever constructors after my experience with your puzzle today. Kudos, bravos, and high gratitude to you for this one!

RJ 7:42 AM  

Easy peasy for a Saturday. Does anyone call them e-cigs IRL?

@Conrad - started with tic and opel as well.

Anonymous 7:51 AM  

Another hand up for winemaster/mao. Even with the extra minute tracking that one down, this was a near-record Saturday time for me — in other words, too easy for a Saturday. But certainly appropriate for this week. Actually, this has been a week when easier-than-usual puzzles have been appreciated in this household.

FearlessKim 8:24 AM  

RAG on? Really?

GAC 8:29 AM  

Glad to see that so many of you found this to be easy. I was flummoxed and baffled repeatedly. So, an excellent puzzle, but miles away from my wheelhouse.

bocamp 8:41 AM  

Thx, Joseph, for a most enjoyable Sat. puz! :)

Easy-med.

Didn't start well at all; made major blunders in the NW, e.g., BPOE (of course that couldn't be, since. the 'O' stands for order), PizzA SAUCE (DOH), 'indictment' for PAPER TRAIL. Needless to say, couldn't get any of the downs, so moved to the NE, where things went much better, and continued to be successful down south.

Lastly, sorted out the NW, and Bob was my uncle! :)

Always love to see my old friend Mortimer SNERD. :)

Didn't know WIKI is a Hawaiian word.

Side-eye for RAG.

All-in-all, (aside from the NW fiasco) a smooth rest of the journey. Liked this one a lot! :)
___
yd 0 / dbyd 0 (finally got it / yd Duo: 34

Peace 🙏 🇺🇦 ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all 🕊

JD 8:41 AM  

I stopped at Shooter.

Anonymous 8:43 AM  

Have to agree withGAC,
Completely befuddled…too many facts I don’t have

No fun in this one…sorry.

puzzlehoarder 8:52 AM  

Other than my MAO/TAO dnf this was the easy Friday I didn't get yesterday. In my defense it was my creative spelling which set me up for that dnf. I originally had WARFMASTER at 29D. The H of wharf is easy to elide if you have the kind of cavelier phonetic approach to spelling that I have. Once I got the WINE part right TASTER never even crossed my mind. That's my WINE whine for today.

chuck w 8:54 AM  

Had "stepkids" at first. Never really heard of a wine master, so luckily put in wine taster. Liked "crash tests" as activities for dummies and "pasta sauce" for bow ties. And since I'm old, got "Beav" and "Mortimer Snerd." But I didn't really think the puzzle was all that easy. Well, after all, it's Saturday

Anonymous 9:11 AM  

Order as a verb.

Hartley70 9:19 AM  

This was a fine Saturday puzzle that I found right in the middle between easy and impossible, so I had some fun this morning. The constructor used some nice cluing misdirection throughout and I only found TAO to be an irritation, although I’m sure he is a lovely man.

Mothra 9:20 AM  

What Conrad said: TIC and OPEL to start. Once corrected, smooth sailing. Too easy for a Saturday.

Nancy 9:20 AM  

This puzzle does absolutely everything right:

It meticulously and almost completely manages to avoid any PPP at all...

Its vernacular phrases -- TRAVELED IN STYLE; ARRIVED ON THE DOT; and LIVE IN THE MOMENT -- are completely in the language; used by grown-ups, not text-speakers; and clued as fairly and specifically as you could possibly want...

It has some very nice clues for WINETASTER; SHOD; TALENT SHOWS; and PASTA SAUCE...

So if it didn't present the kind of Saturday challenge I tend to live for each week and if, indeed, it fell for me like a house of cards, how can I possibly complain?

The answer is: I can't and I won't.

Russell Davies 9:43 AM  

Here in the UK, the Saturday/Sunday edition of the NYT gives us both Saturday's and Sunday's puzzles (on different pages), for which we're grateful. Having completed the Saturday, with pleasure, I've moved on to the peculiar-looking Sunday, supposedly by Daniel Bodily and Jeff Chen. And whaddya know, they've given us last Sunday's clues. The first 4-letter answer I filled in happened to fit, though it did seem oddly familiar. So my comment is: Grrrrr, extendable to so many more rrrrs it would bore you to see them...

RooMonster 9:47 AM  

Hey All !
Got the T for the possible Natick M, with that M nor even a consideration! I landed on the correct side of a Natick for once.

PASTA SAUCE, tricky tricky Joseph. I was thinking "why just bow ties? Wouldn't any tie be prone to stains?" Finally realized it was actual PASTA(bow tie PASTA) that the SAUCE was found on.

Rex liked SIX SHOOTERS. Hmm, oxymoron, no?

Longevous, har. Another made up word? Or haven't I delved into the dictionary deep enough? (It did red underline it just now.)

Did get a chuckle out of Rex's I AM RAT WAX RAG, and his thought about getting wax off of rats. (Too bad RAG wasn't MAN, then it'd be perfect!) Another good Across-er is WORSHIPS EVES, or IKEA WATERSLIDE.

V fest in west-center. A bonus one in SW.

Impressive construction. There are 8(!) Long Downs cutting through the trip-15 Across stack. And there are actual things, not made up goobledygook. Some odd letter patterns to work with in those Downs, ARV, NTM, YDE, plus two other odd combos in the shorter ones, RRI, ETT. So bravo , JG on that.

Sometimes one letter changes the meaning of a word drastically, ala WORSHIPS-WARSHIPS (granted the latter is two words.)(But in puzs it's crammed together.)

Also a nice misdirect on Secret alternative. I had Alias first. Underarm deodorant. Good stuff.

The Center stack sounds like a good time getting to and at a party. TRAVELED IN STYLE, ARRIVES ON THE DOT, LIVE IN THE MOMENT. Wake up with a hangover. 😁

yd -8, should'ves 6 (dang, getting worse instead of better...)
Duo 34 (that's better!), missed 1-2

No F's (not better!)
RooMonster
DarrinV

Raphael 9:54 AM  

Terry Tao deserves to be as well known as John Dryden -- he has solved some of the toughest problems in multiple areas of mathematics and created new techniques that mathematicians will be using for the next century.

mathgent 10:15 AM  

Terence TAO won the Fields Medal in 2006 for his research in a number of areas in mathematics including number theory. It is one of the two highest honors in mathematics (there is no Nobel Prize in mathematics). He was 31 at the time. He scored a 760 on the SAT when he was eight. He is a professor at UCLA.



Wundrin' 10:19 AM  

I don't understand the angst over RAG and SIXSHOOTER.

Liveprof 10:25 AM  

If you like Steve Martin. Here he is as "The Elephant Guy:"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NlDsk1hPZvA

KnittyContessa 10:27 AM  

It took me awhile to get going with this one. Filled in ASAP and confidently put in moneyTRAIL for 14a. Having never heard of Twitch I was stumped. Moved on to 29D and thought maybe I didn't know how to spell sommelier and it had two Ls? 57A I had cannonball. The entire grid was a mess. Finally I just erased everything and started over. Finished just over my regular Saturday time so I guess I made up for it on the second try.

Laura 10:34 AM  

The slide to easy puzzles keeps going. Rex is right. Dryden and Tao I had to get on crosses, but the rest with minimal struggle. Much easier than normal.

I did enjoy the clue for wine taster. And was fascinated by the info on Ikea. So enjoyed the puzzle a lot. Just hope the downward slide in difficulty reverses. At least for the rest of the week.

Hoboken Mike 10:34 AM  

I never like to call people out on things they do in the spur of the moment. It's easy to have a slip of the tongue or the keyboard.

But if you're looking for things to be embarrassed about this morning I wouldn't focus on initially putting Milton in for Dryden.

I'd be embarrassed about saying that being better or more famouswas a qualification for becoming the poet laureate of England.

Google the list. A couple of them are reasonably famous but not too many are very good. Who were you thinking about exactly?
Cibber?

Anonymous 10:43 AM  

Rex,
Rag on comes from sanitary napkin or tampon. I love that your feminism doesn’t know the term is mocking the distaff tendency to get wonky at regularly scheduled intervals.

Newboy 10:46 AM  

As an AGED solver, I thought that Joseph lobbed slow-pitch hangers instead of the 90+ fast balls I expected on a Saturday morning. Maybe Rex is onto something with his suspicion that the NYTXW is easing up its standards to get more whippersnapers off the bench and into the game. Nothing to SAAB about I believe; it’s their puzzle, so they’re free to maximize and monetize away until we old farts unsubscribe away. From BEAV to SNERD things dropped into the grid ASAP. And even relatively new fill like IKEA, ECIG, & LED (tvs?) seemed obvious on a first visit and still made sense after reading the crossing clues to take out “vape” that seemed obvious—but wrong. Easy, yes, but in a very nice way. I MARVEL OVER the PAPER TRAIL you LED us down today Mr. Greenbaum👏🏼

Bluto (class of '63) 10:58 AM  

Professor Emeritus Jenkins of Faber University has a somewhat differing opinion of Milton than Rex has. He opines that he finds him "boring". He further indicates that "Mrs Milton found him boring also". He goes on to say that Milton is "long-winded, does not translate very well into today's generation and that his jokes are terrible".

Oh by the way...the professor is not kidding.....after all, it's his job.

Whatsername 11:04 AM  

Unlike Rex, I did not enter much of anything in real quick succession and no banging out the stacks. I had to put forth a little more effort than that and my eraser got even more of a work out than I did. TIC for APP, CHILI SAUCE for PASTA, FAN for TEM, ESPYS for AREAS. and finally, the creatively spelled OENEOPHILE for WINE TASTER. But all of that is on me and not the puzzle which was very fine.

When I finally got the NW corner cleared up I practically sprained my eyebrow raising it at the clue for ASAP. Periods? Really? Okay then in that case . . . yesterday I had never heard the word “longevous,” but thanks to the N.Y.T. crossword, I now know it’s something I AM.

Wishing all a pleasant Memorial Day weekend. TRAVEL safe and ARRIVE aLIVE.
.

Unknown 11:05 AM  

Rex write “60A: Longevous (AGED) — that clue hurts even to look at. What in the world?”

I don’t disagree, but I don’t think Rex would have a problem with a clue that used “longevity.” (I know I wouldn’t.)

Bonus bit of stupid English language trivia: “Longevous” has a long E.

Joseph Michael 11:07 AM  

Top construction. Clever clues. Fun solve.

Wanted CANNONBALL for that big splash at 57A but the crosses wouldn’t cooperate, and wanted MARVEL AT for 27D but there were too many boxes. Loved the clues for TALENT SHOWS and RAVE REVIEWS which both had me stumped for a LONGEVOUS time.

Also liked Rex’s take on I AM RAT WAX RAG. I saw it not as a supervillain, but as a dance.

jae 11:07 AM  

Easy-medium. NW took some effort, merV before BEAV didn’t help. Very solid, very smooth, with some fine long downs and an excellent triple stack that nicely describes how I approach vacations. Liked it a bunch!

Gio 11:07 AM  

It was hard for me but I finished with no look ups in 1 hour 23 minutes. My big problem is I keep getting JUUL and JOULE mixed up so instead of ECIG I was looking at a word like KCAL or something similar a unit of energy. In
that bottom east corner I was stuck for all morning. I didnt know longevous is and for cusp i had Ends. I also had MERV instead of BEAV. That was the last thing I fixed after finally getting ECIG and that corner done.
I am more of a newbie than most of you (2 years) and as I've mentioned the only way I was able to finally conquer Friday and Saturday puzzles was to not allow myself to google until 3 hours have passed. This led to my success with them. A massive brain squeeze. I do like staring at words and letter combinations and just trying everything plausible until I get the music. A good brain workout.

SlowSolver2 11:08 AM  

I would not call this easy, but a typical Saturday. I don't like the cluing for ASAP, which I usually see written without punctuation, just all caps. Agree with others on the mao/tao thing. Never heard of Tao, and winemaster isn't an inconceivable answer.

Gio 11:11 AM  

@southside Johnny 7:32 a $400 hair blow dryer? That reminds me of a Seinfeld bit when he said you can't "overdry" something. Once it's dry, it's dry!

Joe Dipinto 11:18 AM  

That bow tie clue didn't fool me for one second.

It never occurred to me to put an M in square 41 because I've never heard the term "wine master". It doesn't seem to be in use in oenologic parlance.

• An oenophile is someone who is passionate about wine – someone who can confidently pair a dinner entrée with just the right bottle.
• A connoisseur possesses a deep knowledge of wine and winemaking, sometimes due to formal training.
• A professional wine taster is a sommelier (pronounced somma-yay). In circles where the word is unfamiliar, people use “expert” in its place, meaning that a sommelier is a wine expert.
• A wine steward is often referred to as a sommelier, too, though at some restaurants, the steward simply pours wine.


However:

Master of Wine (MW) is a qualification (not an academic degree) issued by The Institute of Masters of Wine in the United Kingdom. And as a casual description of someone who can select a bottle for the table, "wine master" seems a reasonable answer to the clue.

So, in the matter of Square 41, the High Court of Claret Clarity rules:
NATICK

Taste of the grape, anyone?

My second guess was *so* much better than the actual solution:
Phrazle 79: 3/6
⬜⬜⬜ ⬜⬜🟪 ⬜🟩⬜⬜

⬜🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩 ⬜🟩🟨🟨

🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩

egsforbreakfast 11:33 AM  

22A. No brainer for a translator?
15D Browsing history of a dance party denizen
53A Where you can always find a RAT, but no WAX RAG


LE/THE
RAVER EVIEWS
ORATORICAL


What did you do for yesterdays 15k dress like vegetables road race?

IRAN ASAP

This was relatively easy for a Saturday, but I second @Lewis in my praise of how cleanly and delightfully it played. Thanks, Joseph Greenbaum

Anonymous 11:40 AM  

@Anon 10:43–

According to this etymology dictionary, “rag” has had its menstrual connotations since the 1930s, but the verb form indicating tormenting or teasing goes back at least as far as 1808.

Nancy 12:04 PM  

I got Phrazle #1 in 3, too, Joe, and, like you, I thought my 2nd guess was better than their answer. I'll email you with my 2nd guess. I have the strongest feeling, based on your "colors", that you and I might have had the same 2nd guess!

Carola 12:06 PM  

OMG, @Rex - LOL!

Agree on easy, but I found it a pleasure to fill in. Also went wrong on Milton. Hardest for me to see: RAVE REVIEWS: I have vague ideas of RAVEs being lit up by glow sticks, so I was looking for something a RAVER might have in hand.

Whatsername 12:06 PM  

Yesterday we had ALOHAS and today WIKI, but where is our resident Hawaiian @chefwen? She has been MIA of late. Hoping all is well and there is no trouble in paradise.

@Bluto (10:58) Also Professor Jenkins was a dirty old man who slept with his students and his book was a piece of you-know-what. 🤣 Still, he was way smarter than the actor who played him and missed out on millions of dollars by walking away from that film with 50 grand in his pocket.

Mike in Bed-Stuy 12:15 PM  

@FearlessKim 8:24 AM - Yes. It's a common expression...guess it just has to do with one's "wheelhouse," as noted by @Lewis 7:35am

Mike in Bed-Stuy 12:22 PM  

@Unknown 11:05 AM - Without checking a dictionary, I assume -evous derives from the Latin "aevus," age, as in a period of time. It's a bit weird to put an English prefix and a Latin suffix together that way, but, c'est la vie, et le langage.

Gary Jugert 12:25 PM  

@OFL Maybe the puzzles are as challenging as ever, but you're getting smarter at solving them?

This was a fantastic puzzle with two notable exceptions.

BEAV hasn't been in reruns in my lifetime (well, maybe it's on channel 9213, I don't know) and I am older,. It is an unwatchably stupid show, is a straight up ugly looking fill, should be stricken from all word lists, and is only in our consciousness because we can tee hee over the word beaver. Commenters here frequently bemoan modern slang, modern music, modern usage, because they refuse to use Google's help, and they'd rather DNF than learn ALL THE FEELS, but will let BEAV slide. Let's toss SNERD into this same rant. Just swing by YouTube and watch a few clips of BEAV and SNERD in action and you'll be thinking, "yeah, I'd rather watch K-Pop."

SIX SHOOTERS sure sounds cute, eh? Until one shows up in your grandchild's elementary school because 50 people in America think they're protecting your freedoms. Constructors, please try harder.

The rest of this puzzle was such a joy. Those three long answers form a theme and PASTA SAUCE and WATER SLIDES made me (make me) genuinely happy.

Anonymous 12:29 PM  

Get a better dictionary anon 11:40.
Mine has 1734 as the beginning of the menstruation connection.
Standby for link….

Anonymous 12:41 PM  

Anyone put Merv instead of Beav?

DF 12:54 PM  

Why are SIXSHOOTERS a staple of "old" Westerns? They're in pretty much all westerns, old or not. That qualifier is completely unnecessary to the point of being misleading.

sixtyni yogini 12:58 PM  

Am just getting used to phrase answers. It takes a different kind of mind flexibility. So did not find it easy but really liked it it!

TRAVELLEDINSTYLE
ARRIVEDONTHEDOT
LIVEINTHEMOMENT

How could one not love that?
(also my experience with this🧩j

👍🏽 YOGA crossing EGO. [haha 🧘‍♀️ yoga should ❌ cross OUT ego.)
Milton, of course! But saw the D and AHA! 💡 put in Donne 😂 which did not fit.

LIVE IN THE MOMENT!
Do YOGA!
❤️🦖🦖🦖🦖❤️

oldactor 12:59 PM  

Fastest Saturday ever. Merv before Beav, Stetson hats before the guns off the S. I remember a pastry in NY called a Bowtie, so I wanted something sweet to top it off. Great puzzle.

Anonymous 1:08 PM  

I don’t get the confusion on the taster/tao cross. Wine master is not something people ever say (never heard anyone say it) as opposed to wine taster which is very common indeed. Tao is kind of niche, but there are no prize winning or otherwise famous mathematicians named Mao that I know of.

sixtyni yogini 1:08 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gene 1:32 PM  

A.S.A.P.

Anoa Bob 1:36 PM  

I was wondering what an incredibly messy eater you would have to be to get PASTA SAUCE on your "bow tie". It's tucked away underneath the chin and would seem to be out of harm's way, right? Had my DOH moment when Roo @9:47 set me straight. I need to brush up on the different kinds of PASTA.

I once made a puzzle with "Sommelier" as the clue for one of the themers. The answer was PORT AUTHORITY, so nice to get a reminder of that one at 29 Down where it was used as the clue for WINE TASTER. Never heard of WINE mASTER so didn't fall into the mAO vs TAO dilemma. (I know about as much about wines as I do about kinds of PASTA.)

Yep, when JOHN filled in for the 11D "England's first poet laureate" I immediately finished that with MILTON. Even the N of 42A NEO seemed to confirm that. I remember thinking while reading Milton's "Paradise Lost" that it sounded just like Biblical writing which kind of challenged my belief that only the Supreme Deity could write in the Biblical style. I recognized his name but if I ever read anything by JOHN DRYDEN, I sure don't remember it.

There was a lot to MARVEL OVER in this puzzle but the only thing that stops me from giving it a RAVE REVIEW (15D) is that several marquee entries, including RAVE REVIEW, weren't up to the task of filling their respective slots. I'm looking at STEPSON, ARRIVE ON THE DOT, CRASH TEST, TALENT SHOW and SIX SHOOER, along with a few shorter examples. Still an enjoyable solve.

pabloinnh 1:44 PM  

@bocamp-Funny, I wanted BPOE precisely because it is an "order", forgetting the "can't be right if it's in the clue rule". No help that I didn't know "Twitch" as an APP. Still not up on my APPs. Is "Jerk" an APP? SPASM? I feel old.

RAG on was common usage when I was a kid, but that may either be regional or just indicative of the kind of childhood I had.

AVILA was a gimme. The tops of its city walls are wide enough to drive a car on, assuming you could get the car there.

Very smooth Saturday, unlike yesterday's "Friday", so they were clearly switched. Not sure why no one checks with me before they make mistakes like this.

Very nice stuff indeed, JG. Just Grand. Enough thinking required to make it rewarding, and thanks for all the fun.

okanaganer 1:49 PM  

Nice to see a stack again! I've missed them.

SOMMELIER and WINE STEWARD didn't fit but WINE EXPERT did, so WINE TASTER was a bit of a letdown. Almost put TRAVELED IN A LEAR but glad I didn't. Also tried LIVE IN THE MINUTE which is evidently not a real saying. Really wanted WAVE something at 57 across. But finished clean with no errors so yay!

[Spelling Bee: yd 2:30 to pg then another 20 min or so to QB. That 10er was just absurd but I remembered it from before.]

Brian A in SLC 2:09 PM  

@ Anonymous 1:19 I own maybe 10 revolvers. I ultimately believe the basic rights to bear arms must be protected; I don't want to live in a country where only the police and government have guns, and I don't want a perpetual existence where I have no effective defense against someone who is merely bigger and stronger than myself.

That said, I think rhetorical smarm about "gun grabbers" - couched in a mocking point about a meaningless technicality - typifies the worst, most ineffective and alienating spokespersons (think Dana Loesch, Wayne LaPierre) for gun rights.

You do better. (And at least have the guts to use a blog handle)

Masked and Anonymous 2:10 PM  

About the same hardness as yesterday's puz, at our house. Very nice SatPuz, btw. Ooodles of longball entries to duel with. Only 68 of them words to conquer, at least.

no-knows were nicely limited to: JOHNDRYDEN. ITALO disco. Terence TAO. Longevous [which just sounds wrongevous].

staff weeject picks: ETS & OTS. These two ITS cousins really show up a lot, and M&A really appreciates fresh clues for em, like we got today.

Three primo grid-spanners, down the middle of the road. With more pretty long stuff zippin across em. Impressive. fave: ELEPHANTMAN. honrable mention to the lone U-holdin PASTASAUCE.

Thanx for the themeless fun, Mr. Greenbaum dude. Good stuff.

Masked & Anonymo1U


this runt shares a longball entry with today's NYTPuz … a mighty rare event:
**gruntz**

Dave S 2:26 PM  

Well, boo. I very rarely comment and only sporadically read the blog (though I enjoy it when I do) but made sure to check in after encountering the cross of the unknown (to me) TAO with the equally plausible WINEMASTER/TASTER. I see it's noted now, but expected more of a classic rant than an afterthought.

This was a tricky one for me but everything else was self-inflicted: blanking on LETHE (that's right the Styx and the uh....) insisting that 57 across was some kind of watery RIDE for too long and confidently writing MCED for DJED, which even stuck this English major for far too long in getting JOHN DRYDEN. Who, incidentally, can be a very enjoyable read, as can Aphra Behn.

And now I feel bad in seeking pleasure in a rant at one trouble spot, when I enjoyed a challenging puzzle, and especially the "almost themed" stack in the middle:

“Errors, like straws, upon the surface flow;
He who would search for pearls, must dive below.”
― John Dryden, All for Love

Anonymous 2:30 PM  

Please don’t criticize Leave it to Beaver. I grew up watching it, it is about what I perceive to be simpler times and it is as much comfort food in some ways as a farfalle pasta in a homemade pomodoro.

Rug Crazy 2:32 PM  

I am so disappointed that this was called "easy". I thought for a moment that I must be brilliant

Birchbark 3:09 PM  

Agree on easy -- I've been slowing way down on my solves since finishing the backward trek, and this solved quickly in spite of itself.

With @Rex, @Carola (12:06), Anoa Bob (1:36) and others on JOHN miltoN before DRYDEN. But immediately pulled out the last name on asking how a Puritan could possibly be Poet Laureate of an Anglican state back in the day.

I disagree with @Bluto (Class of '63) (10:58)'s take on Milton as boring. So many passages of "Paradise Lost" could be straight out of the Marvel Universe. I imagine surround-sound effects when I read it.

Anonymous 3:29 PM  

since the topic has been advanced, unfortunately, some perspective:
"The latest data show that people use guns for self-defense only rarely. According to a Harvard University analysis of figures from the National Crime Victimization Survey, people defended themselves with a gun in nearly 0.9 percent of crimes from 2007 to 2011. "
https://www.npr.org/2018/04/13/602143823/how-often-do-people-use-guns-in-self-defense

and, as Uvalde demonstrates yet again, those rootin, tootin, gun slingin cops would rather wait outside.

as Tom Selleck, in character, said to Alan Rickman, in character:

Matthew Quigley : This ain't Dodge City and you ain't Bill Hickok.

Matthew Quigley : [Quigley shoots Dobkin, O'Flynn and Marston before they can even aim their guns, then walks up to the dying Marston] I said I never had much use for one. Never said I didn't know how to use it.

your average Joe Sixpack ain't Bill Hickok, either.

Wanderlust 3:40 PM  

The center stack was a nice succinct journal entry for a successful trip (if you ignore the tenses). I traveled in style, arrived on the dot, lived in the moment. Hard to believe that was not intentional?

I was surprised to see Rex rate it easy and most commenters agree with him. I found it medium challenging. But I finished it and I loved it. Lots of misdirection clues that took me a while to suss out. Mustard makes you think condiment not color, bow tie makes you think neckwear not farfalle, saucer makes you think dishes not UFOs - and those are just a few. I had merV before BEAV, LAbS before LAWS, poKe before WIKI and many other bad guesses that slowed me down.

Loved the clues for CRASH TESTS, TALENT SHOWS and WINE TASTER. Never even considered mASTER and mAO, though I do not know the mathematician.

I cringed the other day at the “shoots up” clue but no objection to SIX SHOOTER. If that were the only kind of gun we allowed, we’d be in a much better state. The gun nuts are loving all the attention going to the bungled response be police in Uvalde because it’s distracting us from the real issue of gun reform that would prevent these attention-seeking misfits from even attempting to massacre children. (OK, Anonymous, time for you to dart out of your hidey hole, hiss out some dumb line about liberals and scurry back into the dark again.)

Joe Dipinto 4:00 PM  

"Bow tie" pasta is called farfalle in Italian. Farfalle literally means "butterflies", which the pasta also sort of resembles.

Blog Handle 4:04 PM  

@Brian A. 10 revolvers? You may have a gun problem. It's people who own a gun for "protection" or fear of the government and police who enable the manufacture and ownership of weapons of wars, which at one time were banned. Oh, and let us know how your revolvers fare against a tank or a SWAT team.

Pete 4:27 PM  

As a mathematician, I feel I have to jump into the TAO/MAO TASTER / MASATER controversy. Certainly I don't expect the general population to remember the name of every Fields Medal winner (frankly, I don't expect anyone to know even one Fields Medal winner, or even what the Fields Medal is). What you should know about the Fields Medal is that the judges are a bunch of doofus jokesters. They know only about 200 people in the whole world know, or care, anything about the Fields Medal, so they treat it, well, less than seriously. Terence TAO, while probably a fine human being, is a hack mathematician. They only gave him the Fields Medal so that the judges can make jokes about the TAO of Mathematics. Yes, Terence TAO won the Fields Medal so a bunch of old white guys can make dad jokes.

This is a true fact. I swear.

Aelurus 4:49 PM  

When I thought I’d finished the APP disagreed. Where oh where? Everything looked so right. Took me 10 minutes more of staring at the grid to see that I could change WINEmASTER to make the unknown Fields Medal winner TAO instead of mAO, and so eked out a finish without Googling.

Was surprised I started out easily in the NW with ASAP at 1A, remembered Twitch was in the puzzle not too long ago as a streaming service and figured it had an APP, plunked in PASTASAUCE immediately because pasta varnishkes is a bowtie dish I’ve made many times, smiled at the word play APSE at 3D, then flitted around the grid filling in squares.

Startlingly, got the three long answers with around five crosses each and smiled at what looks like past, present, and future verbing.

Clever cluing:
5A: mustard as the color, not the recently seen colonel
6D: Oh, those dummies!

That Stephen Colbert book is in the house somewhere. I blanked on the blank, but knew the title was ungrammatical in some way and got it from the crosses. What does it mean? Googling says it’s a play on self-help books, as in “I lost 20 pounds...and so can you!,” but it seems I still don’t get the joke.

Knew right off:
10A: I’ve had my eye on the DYSON hair dryer since the woman who cuts my hair – well, used to cut my hair as I discovered during the pandemic that...I can do it too! – let me try the one a client had gifted her. It’s lovely but outrageously expensive and will never be in my house unless it also is a gift. Though now that I’m cutting my own hair....

Had rheTORICAL before ORATORICAL.

Guessed AGED from longevous – great word to remember, and aspire to!

Thanks, Joseph, for a fun and thoughtful puzzle.

Anonymous 4:50 PM  

I must admit I have only ever heard of one well-known person, either Chinese or of Chinese ancestry, named Mao. And he wasn't a mathematician.


Villager

Anonymous 5:16 PM  

@Blog Handle:

I've always wondered about fending off an F-35 on a bombing run with your assault rifle. May be Putin will send the insurrectionists some anti-tank bazookas? I've also wondered why it is that gun nuts always seem to live in states with sky-high gun ownership and sky-high gun deaths. IOW, if your neighbors are gun crazy, likely you will be to. All the data show that the more guns in a place the more gun deaths in a place. "Guns don't kill people, people kill people." Move to a state with low gun population if you want to be safe from gun violence.

Oh, and about Chicago: while the *number* of gun deaths is high, on a *per capita* basis, it's 28th. Worse:
almost entirely Red state cities

#1? St. Louis ya know where those white trash brought out their AR-15s to shoo away protesters who were walking in the street

https://www.cbsnews.com/pictures/murder-map-deadliest-u-s-cities/66/

Anonymous 5:17 PM  

Jeff Mao is a well-known artist who DJED ITALO disco at some pretty big venues when I lived in NYC. https://www.instagram.com/chairmanmaonyc/?hl=en

Would take Rex’s suggestion for the DJ name except the above has dibs on the MAO thing.

Anonymous 5:18 PM  

I love this, thank you.

Anonymous 6:11 PM  
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Anonymous 6:22 PM  
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Anonymous 7:10 PM  

I think cravatta a far alla means bowtie also.

The Cleaver 7:35 PM  

@Aelurus:
but it seems I still don’t get the joke.

It is, from my reading, a multi-vector joke:
- the 20 pound loss
- I got rich here in the USofA, so can you
- I'm so very special, and you can be too
- only Right Wing America is the Real America (99.44% of the Colbert schtick, not the real one, his character)

Anonymous 7:37 PM  

Started Opel/Lucy/Pesto. Otherwise smooth solve

Anonymous 8:24 PM  

Thanks. I had to listen to husband, the former English prof, who agrees that Milton is better, but will defend to the death Dryden. 😉

Anonymous 8:44 PM  
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LateSolver 8:45 PM  

I hate it when I make my first run through the puzzle and don't even have enough guesses to get some traction, and Rex rates it easy. Then I come here and see more of the same.

TJS 11:50 PM  

Have we ever had a nickname of a nickname before ?

Unknown 4:22 AM  

While I won't disagree that Terry TAO forms half a Natick, I am a little disappointed that people are dismissing him as some "unknown" when he's probably the preeminent mathematician of our time.

kitshef 11:00 PM  

Very tough overall for me, and Naticked at ODE/ITALO (I went with IDE/ITALI, but all the vowels seemed at least possible to me).

The idea that 'to rag on' has anything to do with 'to be on the rag' has been debunked over and over. But it just won't go away.

spacecraft 11:52 AM  

A Tale of Two Puzzles. Having managed very little in the first hour (!), I was staring at EGOS/DAD/YOGA, LETHE, VIE, ETS and SNERD--and white squares. Trying desperately to think what 1980 movie would've been made in B&W. Miracle Worker? Didn't fit. Etc., etc. Finally it dawned (and should've won, IMHO): ELEPHANTMAN. Bancroft was magnificent. In fact, her M.W. tour de force is what made me think of E.M. Ergo DOD.

End of Puzzle #1. All of a sudden I saw things, and was writing so fast I almost got ahead of myself. Why was I so blocked before? Couldn't remember. Weird. Anyway, good puzzle; birdie.

Diana, LIW 12:37 PM  

That's funny, @Spacey. I worked, bit by bit, to get all of the puzzle filled in EXCEPT for the NE corner. JOHN and the DJ did me in!

Oh well. I'll blame it on my (STILL!!!) ailing eye. It weeps.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Burma Shave 12:47 PM  

MARVELOVER EGOS

I LIVEINTHEMOMENT, A.S.A.P.,
and GET RAVEREVIEWS a lot,
my TALENTSHOWS, SADE WORSHIPS me,
and with STYLE ARRIVESONTHEDOT.

--- SIR JOHN SNERD

thefogman 3:20 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
thefogman 3:25 PM  

Not easy. Medium-challenging and then some. Took a long time to get some traction and then the proverbial avalanche (or SPATE) of answers flowed into place. I am a solver who WORSHIPS this type of puzzle. Clever cluing. Tough but fair. Quite a few chuckles and aha! moments. Like an early gift from SANTA…

PS - To Burma. I posted a comment for you in yesterday’s page….

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