Longhaired star of 1950s TV / SAT 5-7-22 / Nikkie beauty vlogger with more than 13 million followers on YouTube / Flowers known botanically as Leucanthemum vulgare / Actress whose nickname derives from her middle name, Stamatina / Eponym of a red-and-white heraldic rose / Decorated athlete whose name could be parsed as zero + loss

Saturday, May 7, 2022

Constructor: Rachel Fabi

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: MADAM C.J. Walker (7A: ___ C.J. Walker, first American woman to become a self-made millionaire, per Guinness) —

Madam C.J. Walker (born Sarah Breedlove; December 23, 1867 – May 25, 1919) was an African American entrepreneur, philanthropist, and political and social activist. She is recorded as the first female self-made millionaire in America in the Guinness Book of World Records. Multiple sources mention that although other women (like Mary Ellen Pleasant) might have been the first, their wealth is not as well-documented.

Walker made her fortune by developing and marketing a line of cosmetics and hair care products for black women through the business she founded, Madam C. J. Walker Manufacturing Company. She became known also for her philanthropy and activism. She made financial donations to numerous organizations and became a patron of the artsVilla Lewaro, Walker's lavish estate in Irvington, New York, served as a social gathering place for the African-American community. At the time of her death, she was considered the wealthiest African-American businesswoman and wealthiest self-made black woman in America. Her name was a version of "Mrs. Charles Joseph Walker," after her third husband.

• • •

LOL I was solving cryptic crosswords with Rachel on her Twitch stream less than twelve hours ago and she didn't mention a damn thing about having today's puzzle. Total (delightful) surprise. You have to take everything I say now with the following full disclosure, which is that Rachel is one of my most trusted and beloved crossword friends (also a real-life friend!) and she lives right over there [points toward Syracuse] and she used to fill in for me here from time to time, before the NYTXW saw her talent and (wisely) hired her to write the Monday-thru-Wednesday "Wordplay" column (she is forbidden from writing for me any more ... exclusive contract and all ... I'm not bitter!). Anyway, I support her in all her endeavors, including this one. Luckily, I genuinely enjoyed this puzzle, though I guess I'll start with the less enjoyable parts, which for me is often (as it is today) names. I'm looking over the (now marked-up) grid, and the only things I have circled as difficulty points are names. Which is to say, trivia. I'm never really thrilled when the only real difficulty in a tough puzzle comes from names. Quality of name matters, too, as is what I learn about the name from the clue. So, let's take the name stumbles one at a time (they are not all Bad Entries, it's just that en masse they all spell Name Trouble, which is, as I say, not my favorite Trouble). "JOANNE" I feel like I knew at one point, and it's definitely the name about which I'm least (fake-) mad (15A: Lady Gaga album named for her aunt). My first pass at the "JOANNE" corner yielded only INOT. FUJI was a no-hoper without that "J" (I can never remember which Olympics are where, so the "2020" in the FUJI clue didn't help like it was supposed to). The next name I'm actually not mad about at all, but it stopped me cold for a bit because it looked deceptive, i.e. I thought the omitted part of C.J. Walker's name was ... well, a name, not a title (7A: ___ C.J. Walker, first American woman to become a self-made millionaire, per Guinness). I guess "MADAM" was part of an assumed moniker, so it *is* a "name," but you see what I mean; I was looking for SARAH or TANYA or something. If I'd just thought about the name for two seconds, I would've remembered that I know very well who MADAM C.J. Walker is—I just wish the clue hadn't omitted the reason she was rich, i.e. the fact that she got rich making beauty products for Black women. If you're gonna throw a name at solvers, give them a reason to care. A Guinness entry is not a reason to care. 

More names: the clue on FEY absolutely flummoxed me because Tina FEY's name is Tine FEY. I've never heard her referred to otherwise, so calling "Tina" a "nickname" seems bonkers, and then having the actual answer be not the actual "nickname" but the last name ... it was all so awkward and confusing, somehow. Which brings me to the last and hardest (for me) name, DEJAGER. The clue itself is defensive ("13 million followers on YouTube, you can't argue with that!") because it knows that most NYTXW solvers are going to have no idea. I am on record as being against all so-called YouTubers ("vloggers"), regardless of what they are "famous" for. The "fame" is just too niche and too airy, no matter how many "followers" there are. Fame on YouTube means being huge to one audience and absolutely unheard of to most everyone else. It's the medium that's the issue. It has no bleed. It's a mostly hermetically sealed kind of fame. Again, our entire culture is heavily siloed now, so seeing what people outside your Group are doing is hard, and the YouTube silo somehow has very thick walls and lets out very little light. Anyway, DEJAGER's fame is very recent and she seems really interesting: she's a trans woman! she's Dutch! ... I feel like the clues are not telling me the most interesting facts about the people in the grid today. Citing the Guinness Book of World Records or someone's millions of YouTube followers, those are ways of trying to tell solvers "see, see, these people are important!" but sadly solvers don't end up learning anything really important about the people (unless they do after-solve research). Anyway, I accept that YouTubers will keep coming, and I'll just deal (by occasionally yelling in grief). My only Real issue with DEJAGER was that I had almost zero confidence in the "J" (from JOT, 45D: Quickly put down). If the clue had been [Quickly write down], I wouldn't have spent the rest of the solve worried that I had an error. But, again, alas. Wow, this was way too long on names. There are other names I actually knew, like RITAORA and DELLA and NADAL and LASSIE. The puzzle felt name-y is what I'm saying. Moving on.

The 15s here are so delightful that I almost wish I had more trouble getting them. I might've gone for IT TAKES ALL KINDS, but luckily I had the crosses in SORTS partially filled in before I ever even looked at the long cross. I loved HUGUENOT because I talk about them in my Medieval/Renaissance courses and because HUGUENOT is just a cool-looking word (even if I still struggle to spell it). I loved the mixed METAPHORS, even though I tried to make them mixed MESSAGES at first. I love the phrase TOPUP. Is that a debut? No, looks like Paolo Pasco and Robyn Weintraub have both used it recently. But I feel like I hardly ever see it. Maybe the two "P"s make it hard to place in a grid. SLEEP ON IT is nice, HANKERED is a great verb, and the clue on SIDE DOORS is wonderful as well (23D: Lesser-used passages). "Passages" is doing some low-key misdirection there (I was thinking parts of texts, i.e. literary passages). The puzzle just had good overall energy. Like it was trying to STRIVE FOR something. It's got pep in its STEP. Not MEH at all. HELL yeah! BOOYAH! The icing on the cake was the clue SUISSE (56A: Pays in the Alps?). "Pays" = "country" in French, and (La) SUISSE = "Switzerland" in French. Mwah! Magnifique! (Fun fact: the first thing I wrote in as the [Challenging setting for the 2020 Olympics men's road cycling course] was ALPS.) Overall, this was a good time. Oh, one last thing. Rachel is the organizing force behind "These Puzzles Fund Abortion," which I have plugged here, repeatedly. And so I'm plugging again. Support abortion access, get good puzzles. It's an easy choice to make. 

Have a lovely day.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

P.S. last night while we were solving cryptics with Rachel, my friend Neville Fogarty told me about "Dracula Daily," which is a service that sends you bits of Bram Stoker's Dracula as they occur in real time (that is, the time as recorded in the novel itself). The novel is journal entries, and those entries start in May, so the "Dracula Daily" extravaganza has just begun—sign up (free) and get a little bit of Dracula in your Inbox from now until, well, whenever the journal entries end (I don't remember the novel as well as I should).
P.P.S. BRAM STOKER was in one of the cryptics Rachel & Neville & I solved last night ... I openly speculated about BRAM's being in tomorrow's (i.e. today's) NYTXW, and Rachel somehow managed to keep a straight face ... well, there's no BRAM, but there is RISEN, Rachel, so I was close.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Brit solves NYT 6:39 AM  

Too many unknown names in this one to be enjoyable, seeing a YouTube vlogger always brings a sigh of despair, the clue mentions 13 million to try and justify its inclusion but the overlap of those 13 million and crossword solvers is surely tiny…

Prefab 6:56 AM  

Yeah, the DEJAGER bomb was killer. I think I had most of the puzzle done in about 10 minutes, then needed an additional three to run the letters and figure out "DEJAGER" and "STRIVE FOR." When I saw "STRI_E" and the clue "Target," I was sure it was asking for "STRIKE." And I kept wondering if "STRIKED ON" could possibly be a phrase, since the only "_EY" actress I could think of was crossword perennial Susan Dey.

Lewis 6:58 AM  

The word that keeps coming to me, regarding this puzzle, is “beautiful”. Not in any vague sense either. That word describes how this puzzle looks, how it’s filled in, and what it felt like to uncover.

Look at the design, that is, the placement of the black squares. Those clusters that look like picture holders in photo albums are, IMO, pleasing to the eye, soothing. But what I especially like are the three diagonal lines in the center, a simple parallel design that is so much lovielier than the scatter we so often see in grids.

Look at the puzzle’s answers – no ugliness there to sour the experience, to flit past and try to forget. And look at the cluing – nothing here feels forced, and yet there is cleverness, such as in the terrific original clues for LASSIE, SUISSE, and SITE.

There was plenty of mental workout here, plenty of satisfying solving moments that enriched the experience, but my forehead didn’t clench, there was no unpleasant stress. Rather, there was an underlying gentleness, and that sweetened the journey.

Beautiful from start to finish. On top of that, it was made by one who feels like an old friend, who I’ve gotten to know through her visits on WordPlay, which I go to every day. Thank you so much for this, Rachel. Brava!

Roberto 6:59 AM  

Yes too many names. That seems to be a trend
The editors need to put a stop to that. Don't accept such puzzles. The names today were inferable from the crosses but that doesn't make the clues any better

Son Volt 7:02 AM  

Back to back low word counters and back to back MEHs. When first opened - a handsome grid. The two spanners are nice as Rex mentions - but after that it becomes a TV Guide on steroids - useless trivia everywhere.

A look at the center across mess - MID DID MEH FEY tells you all you need to know here. Add SRSLY and BOOYAH and any semi decent stuff is completely overwhelmed.

There’s just so little room for funk in these 64 worders. The trivia gloms up the entire experience.

For a proper Saturday word based challenge - try Matt Sewell’s Stumper.

Harryp 7:03 AM  

I kept tripping myself up while solving, 5D HuNgERED, 28D MessageS, and 43D fonzIE before LASSIE. There was a lot I liked about it, especially the AHA moment when I realized that 43D was that famous female dog who was impersonated by nine different Laddies! So Lassie was always an a star, but never a starlet.

JimK 7:11 AM  

I got Suisse, but is there some unwritten rule about foreign languages? I guess a lot of people know French, but I know only a bit of Franglish from
osmosis. I know we see common German and Spanish terms, but are we OK with Swedish or Navajo?

kitshef 7:18 AM  

I get that the NYT puzzle rotation does not allow for and easy themeless, and if you’ve got one you want to run you have to square peg it. But at least run this on a Friday, where it would be misplaced but not as ridiculously so.

Very little fun in the clues today. “Pays in the Alps" was good. “Make it, gamewise” would have been excellent without the “gamewise”. The rest ranged from completely straightforward to wordy and irritating.

Anonymous 7:28 AM  

As Rex says, a few too many names, but a very nice puzzle overall. But I do think that the clue for 38 A should have a capital I in “it”.

Anonymous 7:32 AM  

Way, way, way too much PPP. That made this one a real slog. Not all that much over my usual Saturday solve time, but it felt like ages before I finally managed to GET FREE.

Anonymous 7:34 AM  

Love Rachel, love (most of) this puzzle, for all the reasons Rex mentioned, especially SUISSE.

Please record my vote to ban the names of all social media "stars" from serious crosswords. I think this has a chance of quick passage.

Z 7:47 AM  

I hate to break it to you, but the puzzle is NYTX typical in the PPP department, 18 of 64 for 68%. I guess I should count TUDOR, too, since it’s an eponym, so 19 of 64 for 29%. But then, I also counted AYE, SIR, which is PPP in only the strictest of senses, so it doesn’t feel excessive at all to me.

But, yeah, most of the challenge is sussing out names, so I see why it feels like there is more. But this is what you get on a Saturday, so barely worth complaining about.

sf27shirley 7:49 AM  

Not just too many names but too many conversational phrases. They seem to be increasing.

Anonymous 8:00 AM  

The clue on Fey is her middle name .

Anonymous 8:04 AM  

The clue for Fey is her middle name not last.

Phillyrad1999 8:08 AM  

Overall enjoyed this puzzle. Didn’t think that Tina Fey’s clue had to be so convoluted, Stamatina ??? Phrased in a way that it made Stamatina look like it was the middle name. Whatever. Yes heavy on the names but Joanne is a great album, used to watch Della Reese on TV with my dad as a kid so a pleasant memory. Not a fan of SRSLY. Anything more than 4 letters you might as well write it out.

Conrad 8:17 AM  

Comment by one contemplating a new pet: “TO PUP or not TO PUP?”

Overwrites included FiJI before FuJI and BACK rOad before BACK DOOR

WOES included all the PPP that Rex cited.

Good Saturday outing! I hope the horse I’m betting in the Derby has the same.

Anonymous 8:19 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous 8:21 AM  

I would echo Zed - fairly straightforward+fun and hey, it’s Saturday , and a few obscure names to expand our knowledge (even social media knowledge) should not be unwelcome

Anonymous 8:21 AM  

pabloinnh 8:26 AM  

Looked around randomly for a place to start and settled on MSNBC, which happened to be right in the middle of RITAORA, a name both unknown and unlikely. Ditto for the DEJAGER person and the JOANNE album, which at least is a familiar name.


SLEEPONIT will always be "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" for me, and I will probably sing it all day and fake the parts where Ms. Loud does the girl parts.

Always enjoy RF's work. Reliable Fun, and this was no exception. Smooth as a smelt. Off to the Saturday Stumper for a little more of a challenge. Meanwhile, thanks for this one. Good stuff.

Laura 8:33 AM  

Fun puzzle. I usually struggle with names but eked these out in crosses. Clue for Madam was subtly great. She was the first self made woman millionaire. Not first black woman. Just woman. Also an activist an philanthropist bro boot, so I was glad to see the word of the day.

JT 8:41 AM  

Easiest Saturday puzzle ever, for me. Didn't know Dejager but got it from the crosses. Loved the Tina Fey trivia!

Anonymous 8:55 AM  

Very pleased with myself when I wrote in “It takes a village” for 18 across.

bocamp 9:03 AM  

Thx Rachel; BOOYAH to ya! :)


Solved from the NW, down and around.

No holdups or guesses on this one.

Fun trip! :)

Enjoyed the mini series, 'Self Made: Inspired by the Life of MADAM C.J. Walker', with Olivia Spencer. (streaming on Netflix)
A big πŸ‘ for all those excellent SB, Wordle/Phrazle (et al) results. Always inspired by your efforts! 😊

yd: Sed: 19/21 (one unlucky guess at the end) / Duo: 35/37 (one blunder) / Phrazle #36: 2/6

Peace πŸ™ πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

TJS 9:07 AM  

Aye sir
mid did meh fey
srsly X fey, Tinas' middle name and Gagas' aunt
I saw

I guess because I solved it I'm supposed to feel good, but Jeeze.

SouthsideJohnny 9:08 AM  

Did not know the HUGUENOTs, which had a very tough cross with DEJAGER. Drawing a blank on how “more affected” gets us to ARTSIER - perhaps something to do with pretentiousness, who knows ? DID for mimicked seems weak as well.

I don’t believe the lyrics to RITA ORA’s party song pass what used to be referred to as the breakfast test - which seems to be less and less of a constraint lately.

burtonkd 9:12 AM  

The whole northeast spilling into the NW almost cratered Nancy's wall, only a few puzzle-throws from my place. MADAM over OXEYES, crossed by other names or arcana didn't come into view until I put FUJI back in. Those letters plus the consonant cluster FIFTH were tough.

I'm with Rex on DEJAGER and other Youtube "stars". Heck, my photos on google maps have views in the millions. Like counting hits on google, everything feels mega-inflated (like what happened to pinball scores in the '90s).

I liked SRSLY. The first 3 letters were gimmes even without knowing the full crosses. (plural, more, plural). BOOYAH is still just fun to say. The ONESIE is cute to think about. Had FRANCE before SUISSE. Also French and in the Alps.

Speaking of French, we had fun watching Julia, the HBO Max series, last night. She was on in my house as a child. Interesting to see what it took for her to even get on public television - and the wide influence she had. How many of us are Francophiles thanks to her? Granted, I'm sure there is some dramatic license...

The extreme resistance led to satisfaction upon finishing, putting me closer to Lewis' Eden than Nancy's wall.

Congrats to Rachel for this puzzle and it's great to see people I "know" from here go on to be more widely recognized.

Dr.A 9:19 AM  

I’d love to see you start a blog on cryptics. I can’t figure those out even when I’m looking at the answers!

sixtyni yogini 9:21 AM  

Very fast. Lotsa names. Easy and obscure parts.
Over all - MEH. (Sorry!)

amyyanni 9:25 AM  

This was a smooth Saturday. Was sailing along but yes, DEJAGER blocked my progress. Managed to work around her through some SIDE DOORS. Hope Rachel has more themeless puzzles for us.
We have an ArtsFest this weekend and gorgeous weather, so planning on a lovely day, thank you Rex.

Anonymous 9:29 AM  

Dave B #17 down: the patriots have 11 AFC championships the Steelers 8; so this am error unless I misunderstand the clue.

RooMonster 9:35 AM  

Hey All !
Rachel, Rachel, Rachel... SRSLY on that Natick G of HUGUENOT/DEJAGER? Add TUDOR clued as a rose, to boot. Holy cow, escaped from there, though got a few scratches to put mercurochrome on.

Clue on DID was weird. I can lawyer it, but HELL, a third-meaning type clue. Also, DAD.

However, saying all that, had a fast time today without even trying. 18 and a half minutes. My SatAverage is 36 minutes, so half-time! YAY ME! BOOYAH!

For the compliments to the chef clue, really wanted BURP. Har. Our old friend OXEYES makes an appearance. HOIST is a fun sounding word. Rhymes with Rex's ick word MOIST. For Rex: Tug and tug on a wer support beam? FOIST and HOIST a MOIST JOIST. 😁

*Runs out the SIDE DOOR*

yd -8, should'ves 7 (Fail!)
Duo 36, missed 1-5-9-11

Five F's (FABIlous)

Anonymous 9:43 AM  

@9:29 the clue refers to division titles, not conference championships.

TJS 9:50 AM  

Okay, if I attempted to write something coherent at :30 in the morning it would probably be a jumbled mess, but I'm not an English professor and I am not writing for subscribers (in part). Is a quick scan too much to ask before pressing "Send" ? Does "name at solvers" refer to something ? "it has not bled". "But again, wings". "she she's Dutch !"

I did enjoy the classic Rexian "She seems really interesting : she's a trans woman !"...Boooah

albatross shell 9:56 AM  

Rex confused me. First with his Tine FEY and then the rest of the rant on her name. I filled in FEY with no crosses.

I have sympathy and also groan with Rex when you-tube stars appear. I just do not think they should be banned. If they do not gave easy crosses I just look them up. I googled CW and Nikkie but already had HUGUENOT in. There is a HUGUENOT historical maker at the end of my street. JOANNE and ORA I got clean. LASSIE I was slow on but seemed to be key for me to get that area.
DID was also difficult.

SUISSE I got from the UIS, but had no idea why.

ONESIE I got too, but wasn't sure of the flaps.

Late yesterday.
Maybe add an r to your name so we know to give you proper respect. Pete sounds so common.

You're right and I realized it before I posted. I did want to tease you a bit. Also I was surprised you knew the movie. A tennis (4 letter word) would know every Major winner and who they beat et cetera and never played a game. A tennis fanatic would never want to talk about anything else.

pmdm 10:01 AM  

I think that, of the PPP, so much of them seemed like Proper Names. I guess if you load up the PPP with mostly proper names and leave out pop culture and product names, it seems more noticeable and results in more complaints. Maybe Z could elucidate. Since I just look up the names early on, a puzzle like this one just becomes more tedious than enjoyable. At least to someone with my attitude.

Dave B (9:29AM): I think you misread the clue, which specifically talks about the divisional title as opposed to the conference title. A team does not have to win the divisional title to make it to the Super Bowl (otherwise, why would there be so many playoff games). The Friday and Saturday cluing can be a bit misleading unless one reads the clues very carefully (as Z sometimes points out). So yes, I think you misunderstood the clue. I often do, but less now that I appreciate how devious some of the clues can be. (38A anyone?)

Excuse me if a comment that hasn't yet appeared resonds to the 9:29 comment.

jberg 10:01 AM  

I shared @Lewis's reaction to the beauty of the empty grid, but then forgot about it -- so thanks, Lewis, for the reminder! I enjoyed the relatively easy solve, too -- only real problems were a) DEJAGER, fixed by crosses, and b) GET away, ditto. Oh yeah, SIDE roadS too, but that was easy.

My mother's family claimed to be descended from a Huguenot who fled repression and came to America. The dates are all wrong for that, and it turns out he was actually a Hessian mercenary who came here to fight for the British but decided to stick around and ultimately settled in Alabama. Otherwise, I probably wouldn't have known the term (although there was Henri IV declaring that Paris was worth a mass as he converted and became king of France.) (Oh dear, I seem to be becoming a history nerd!)

The clue for FEST was pretty good, too.

@Roo, think War of the Roses. Henry VII, the first TUDOR king, had claims to the crown through both the house of Lancaster (red rose) and that of York (white rose). He still had to win the battle of Bosworth, of course.

Nancy 10:11 AM  

Ah, yes, I really know my "beauty vloggers". The famous DEJAGER. but suppose "quickly put down" hadn't been JOT but HOT. If you pick up something that's HOT, you'll put it down quickly enough. And then the vlogger would have been DEHAGER. And it would have been all the same to me.

Re 7A: MADAM is her first name? (I really know my self-made millionaires too). And I should know Lady Gaga's aunt?

I didn't like SRSLY and I hated BOOYAH crossing the RITA lady even more. Can we please lose the textspeak and the weird expressions?

Yet with all that, this wasn't a hard Saturday for me. I found it much easier than yesterday.

Nice clues for SUISSE (56A), SITE (52D), SIDE DOORS (23D) and NADAL (42A) -- though you may have hated that last one. Everything else in this puzzle -- a puzzle with virtuually no playfulness, not even DAD jokes -- felt flat.

Anonymous 10:12 AM  

Can someone enlighten me on 4D, please. I do t get that clue-answer pair.

kitshef 10:17 AM  

@Dave B(?) 9:29. Division championships, not conference championships:
Steelers 24
Patriots 22 (one as the Boston Patriots)

While looking over the division championships, I was astonished at just how bad the Jets have been. They have four. The only current AFC franchise with fewer division titles are the Jaguars, with 3. But they've had half as many opportunities.

Carola 10:18 AM  

Medium for me. The names - in three of the corners they gave me a welcome foothold (MADAM, TUDOR, SUISSE), but in the NW, Lady Gaga's aunt x an Olympic site barred the door for a long time, and in the middle the beauty vlogger almost drove a stake through my heart (thanks to @Rex, I just signed up for the Dracula Diaries). Meanwhile, keeping me in good cheer: HANKERED, SLEEP ON IT, SIDE DOORS, MENORAH, and especially the cross of TUDOR and HUGUENOT (@M&A, I thought this was worthy of a Use of U's award).

Help from previous puzzles: RITA ORA and BOOYAH, which I see nowhere else. Do-overs: the inexcusable DELiA, RAntED.

DrBB 10:20 AM  

Yah, name fatigue, otherwise fun 'n' fair puzzle. RITAORA crossed with NADAL pretty much a Natick for me, though I lucked into it. Likewise with Rex, that J in DEJAGER/JOT. JOT seemed like the kind of clever answer the clue was looking for but zero confidence putting a "J" in the middle of some absolutely obscure Y-Tuber "celeb." Obscure bc however many millions of followers they might have I'm not one of 'em, and like Rex says, that leaves that kind of "famous" absolutely blank to anyone not a follower. Worst is when a PPP celeb is someone you absolutely feel "meh" about and will never remember after finishing the puzzle they appeared in. Couple lucky guesses made this an enjoyable rather than frustrating solve, but those still kinda count as clunkers.

Liveprof 10:27 AM  

To "let," as in to rent.

Anonymous 10:28 AM  

Let us another word for rent. Renters=Letters. Boo to that.

Anonymous 10:29 AM  

Last time *I* checked, a passage is a 'tube' of some sort: corridor, cloister, and the like. Not any kind of door. Mammy Yokum has spoken.

Whatsername 10:32 AM  

BOOYAH! Feel like I earned that after finishing this one. Tough tough tough. I SEE there weren’t that many of them but most of the challenge came from the proper names. I’d be delighted if I never heard of another vlogger, I don’t care how many followers they have. And please, oh please, spare me the ones who call themselves “influencers.”

I first had patriot at 17D but glad it wasn’t because I’ve always kinda liked those other guys. I once visited Pittsburgh on game day and the team spirit on display in that city was EYE opening. Those STEELER fans are the REAL deal. Nothing ARTSIER about them.

Wishing a very happy Mother’s Day tomorrow to all who celebrate.

Anonymous 10:40 AM  

@Anon 10:12 - Think of verb "let" in the chiefly British sense of "rent" or "lease", as in the phrase "Flat to let."

Anonymous 10:40 AM  

Congratulations on a top flight Saturday

Teedmn 10:44 AM  

Except for trying Huegonot first at 34D, this was a STROLL in the park, Saturday-puzzle-wise. No time records were broken, but I never got held up either.

Like Rex, I loved the "Pays" misdirection for SUISSE and I also got thrown by Stamatina = FEY. I had the SRSLY in place and decided to ignore the clue for 35A because I couldn't find a way to associate that Y with Stamatina. I suppose Tina is a tad more interesting than her first name of Elizabeth?

Rachel, loved the grid design, thanks!

Nancy 10:49 AM  

@albatross (9:56)-- (about yesterday). No, no, no -- you misunderstand me. A tennis fanatic doesn't want to talk about tennis endlessly. A tennis fanatic wants to play tennis endlessly!

I watch less tennis on TV than almost any of my tennis friends -- though I used to watch a lot more -- and I haven't been out to the Open in decades. The last time I went out there (in the 1980s, I think) my friend Dick wanted to get out there by 11:30 a.m. to see an early field court match (benches with no backs, no shade) between Dennis Ralston and some Aussie no one had ever heard of (other than Dick) called "Nails" Carmichael. The match hadn't yet started, but we couldn't go anywhere else. "We'll never get back in if we leave and come back," he said. "No one in this entire facility wants to see this match other than you, Dick," I said.

We sat there for 30-40 minutes (no backs, no shade) before the match even began...

I don't remember what matches we saw after that one until...

Around 5 p.m. we went into the main stadium -- then Armstrong; Ashe hadn't been built yet -- to see a Boris Becker match. I don't remember who he was playing. It was a five-setter, The night ticket-holders were kept outside as this "day" match continued...and continued...and continued. I began to root for whoever was ahead. My neck and upper back were in spasm. (I'm short and have to lean forward to really see over people's heads.)
The match ended at 11:30 p.m.. We had been there for 12 freakin' hours! I almost didn't make it home on the [very crowded!] subway and then a second very crowded subway. "This is my swan song, Dick," I said. "From now on I will watch the Open in my air conditioned living room in my padded armchair with a gin-and-tonic in my hand."

I had my own tennis game arranged for the next day and I had to cancel it -- I was that exhausted and in that much pain. I could have played two hours of singles against a tough opponent the previous day and not been nearly as wiped out. Going out to the Open takes more energy and certainly more stamina than playing yourself. And it can't compare in pleasure.

But I've never met a tennis match I didn't want to play. That's what makes me a fanatic. I had to quit the game over ten years ago (after a more than half-century tennis-playing "career", though) and I've missed it every single day since.

So don't come to me, @albatross, for tennis names and tennis stats and other tennis trivia. I won't necessarily know them and I certainly won't want to talk about them. Tennis "nerd"? Hardly. I would even argue that there's no such animal. Only tennis "nuts".

Boston Blackie 10:50 AM  

I too, for obvious reasons, put in Patriot, but was forced to STEELER. But for the same reason as the Jets/Jaguars cavil:

Steelers - 88 years
Patriots - 62 years

So, Pittsburgh's percentage is not so good. But, there's always a but... the notion of 'Division' is relatively new. When did they come into existence? It appears, 1970 with the merger with the AFL. So, I guess they had 'equal opportunity' in some manner, but the Boston Patriots were a mess until way later than 1970. The Steelers got a bunch before the Pats got their first in 1978, when they stopped being a mess (not counting one lonely AFL 'division' title). These AFL 'divisions' were the same as NFL conferences structurally, but with only 8 teams in the league, 4 per 'division'. Go Pats.

Anonymous 10:53 AM  

The clue was AFC team with the most Divisional titles, not more AFC championships.

CDilly52 10:56 AM  

Yikes, Rachel; the names!!!!!!!! I fortunately could suss them out, but not without a struggle. Thankfully, I am a JOTter. Could that any more blatantly put me in the “old” column or what! Actually, all of the downs gave me DEJAGER, but I was well and truly thankful for that early J.

I did fall into the TAKES ALL kinds but but only for a hot second. Actually, my brain didn’t wake up until IT TAKES ALL and then I looped down the left side, dropped down to the sweet little SE corner them back up to figure out MADAM and OXEYES (thanks to the AX)EL).

Any time I see a Rachel Fabi byline, I can’t help but smile. Since she is neither a crossword nor a real friend, I can say without personal friend bias that I adore her puzzles. Clever, (the clue for TENANTS!!!!!) elegant (what a pretty grid), fun (ONESIE) interesting (HUGUENOTS and mixed METAPHORS - both of which helped with the DEJAGER conundrum and the SE corner) and instructive (had no idea about Lady Gaga’s Aunt JOANNE or that C. J. WALKER was MADAM C. J.)

As for mistakes, there were only two biggies: kinds instead of SORTS, and my real ugly one lades for “carries on” which gave me _A_ES and accordingly just sat there. Nice one, Rachel!! Ugh.

This was just so much fun. Started off my Saturday with a bang. Now I am off to the park to help vendors set up for the first live Pride Weekend in two years. ☮️ ❤️ 🟰 🌈 . I am all the way back to my roots - MAKE LOVE NOT WAR! Being old is good.

Joe Dipinto 10:57 AM  

I hate clues like "Pays in the Alps", which wants you to read "pays" in English but since the phrase means *absolutely nothing* in English you know right away that it's just another clunker of a gimmick clue. Six letters? Yep, SUISSE. Moving right along, stop wasting my time with your failed cutesiness, thank you...

Phrazle 37: 2/6
πŸŸͺπŸŸͺ⬜🟨 🟩🟩 ⬜⬜⬜🟨 ⬜πŸŸͺπŸŸͺ⬜ 🟨🟨⬜πŸŸͺ

🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩

Joseph Michael 10:57 AM  

Wanted SIDE ROADS for 23D and MESSAGES for 28D and spent a long time figuring out how to spell HUGUENOT, but I did enjoy this SaturdayFEST in spite of all the names. (Now we’re supposed to know who Lady Gaga’s relatives are?)

Really liked SLEEP ON IT and IT TAKES ALL SORTS. Also liked the clue for LETTERS which had my mind in twists as I stumbled from the alphabet to the apartment building.

My dog Ophelia’s question: TO PUP or not TO PUP?

Anonymous 10:57 AM  

Haha. Good call

Photomatte 10:57 AM  

Aside from the complete lack of knowledge on some of the names (Madam CJ Walker is too old and Somebody Dejager is too new), which I was able to eke out with the crosses, my only nit is 51 Down. "You don't have to tell me!" is the clue but the answer ("I saw") doesn't agree verb-tense wise. I had "I SEE" in there and couldn't figure out why 57 and 59 Across were so odd looking. Then I realized they must be ROTATE and STEWED, respectively, and the mistake was the verb tensing on 51 down. Fairly easy for a Saturday, actually, even with all those esoteric names (and, by the way, many YouTube "stars" utilize bots to inflate the number of followers they have, then - once the bots make someone seem popular - it become a self-fulfilling process as the algorithms of Google ensure that more followers equals more site promotion, etc).

Tom T 10:58 AM  

I didn't feel great about lItreS for 1A, but it fit with IN OT and with tRee house (which turned out to be FRAT house), so the NW was a nightmare.

HUGUENOT went through about 4 edits before I got all the vowels in the correct order.

Living now on the west coast, I'm doing (or at least starting) the puzzles at night. I still get amazed at how a partially filled in Friday or Saturday grid that seems unsolvable when I turn out the light for bed can fall in line so nicely when I return after sleeping. So, a big BOOYAH for the human brain!

Wanted SIDEexitS befor DOORS and STRIdeFOR before STRIVE.

Enjoyable solve.

Whatsername 11:02 AM  

@pablo (8:26) Re SORTS/KINDS. I raised an eyebrow at that one too. Also for GET FREE/GET AWAY.

It’s just a BOOYAH kind of day!!
Phrazle 37: 2/6
⬜πŸŸͺ⬜πŸŸͺ 🟩πŸŸͺ ⬜🟩⬜πŸŸͺ 🟩πŸŸͺ🟩πŸŸͺ ⬜⬜⬜πŸŸͺ

🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩

Nancy 11:05 AM  

Phrazle 37: 2/6
⬜πŸŸͺ🟨⬜ 🟩⬜ ⬜🟩🟩🟩 🟨🟨⬜πŸŸͺ ⬜⬜⬜πŸŸͺ

🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩

Beezer 11:05 AM  

I enjoyed the puzzle but for whatever reason didn’t immensely enjoy it. Someone mentioned their dislike of the colloquial phrase clues and I have to say, I’m not a fan of those either but I figure it is hard to come up with good “long spanners” that aren’t names or phrases.

Not familiar with YouTuber DEJAGER but the crosses were fair. MADAM CJ Walker was a gimme since her company headquarters was in my neck of the woods for awhile.

Am I the only person that says “top off” rather than TOPUP for replenishing a drink?

Masked and Anonymous 11:10 AM  

Primo groupin of Jaws of Themelessness, once again. Like.

This SatPuz had some incredibly friendly spots, especially the weeject-ladened passages thru the center: DID/DAD/TAG. SUM/YUM/MEH.

Also had a few no-knows, at our house: MADAM (but inferable, eventually). JOANNE. DEJAGER. RITADORA. SAL (y pimienta). SUISSE (clue of mystery). Tartarus from HELL.


staff weeject pick: FEY. Cute clue and cute actress.

Thanx, Ms. Fabi darlin. BOOYAH, LASSIE.

Masked & Anonymo5Us


Mike in Bed-Stuy 11:11 AM  

@pabloinnh 8:26 AM - Agreed on KINDS not SORTS and that really messed me up. My instincts were right for most of the NE, but I held off on most of it because my cross was KINDS not SORTS. Including MENORAH, which really irks me, because I light one every Hanukkah.

Anonymous 11:13 AM  

Relatively new? The NFL is 102 years old. Divisions have been around for 52 years. Anything but new.
The Pats had one v good AFL year. In 63 they lost the title game to the Chargers who hung half a hundred on them.
They didn’t whiff success again until that hard-running 78 tram ( which until v recently held the single-season rushing record).
Then another bit of success in the mid 90’s. ( fun fact: NBA legend Bob Petit sat behind me at Super Bowl 31. A big fat Pats loss)
It wasn’t until they lucked into a commodity whose worth they didn’t even fully understand that they became successful. As Brady went, more or less, so went the Pats. And frankly the guy running FB ops is a crank. Their first round draft pick is ano5er bit of proof.

Then just cut a check to Brooke County Catholic Charities to combat the evils of abortion.

jae 11:14 AM  

Easy-medium. The most challenging section was the SE where DEJAGER was a WOE and @Rex spelling HUGUENOT was not easy. Solid and smooth, liked it but I thought yesterday’s was more interesting.

Photomatte 11:14 AM  

Also, was very glad to see the STEELERS answer, since they've earned all their titles. The Cheatriots, on the other hand, have not. Before 9/11, the team from New England was a joke. Then, after that horrible day, what did the NFL do? It capitalized on the country's growing nationalism and made sure a team called THE PATRIOTS weren't allowed to lose, especially to a team called The RAIDERS (whose logo was a pirate, ie, synonymous with terrorist), so the 'tuck rule' was invented to make sure the 6th round draft pick from Michigan didn't lose. After that first Super Bowl "victory," the NFL realized it had a golden goose on its hands and either looked the other way when Belicheat and other members of the Cheatriots cheated, and/or they actively helped in the cheating process and the covering up of that process (like when Commissioner Goodell destroyed evidence). When the Cheatriots "beat" the Eagles in the 2005 Super Bowl, a senator from Pennsylvania called for an investigation into yet more cheating by the Cheatriots. Guess who personally called Arlen Specter and suggested he drop his case? That's right, you guessed it: Donald Trump, the biggest cheater we've seen in some time. Go Steelers!

Mike in Bed-Stuy 11:17 AM  

@SouthsideJohnny 9:08 AM - We've seen a lot of "arty" and "artsy" lately being clued in ways that are really out of sync with those words. One recently—cannot remember date or clue—where the clue suggested something that was, in fact, actual art, not "arty" or "artsy." Agreed that "artsy" and "affected" are not on-the-nose synonyms. As you say, apparently the constructor was thinking about pretentiousness. But "affected" and "pretentious" are also imperfect synonyms. So the whole thing is just one big ugh (or perhaps MEH).

egsforbreakfast 11:18 AM  

Barkeep: what can I get for you and your collie?
Patron: I’ll try DE JAGER and, let’s see, maybe a LASSI for LASSIE.

Why did the building collapse? ROTATE it.

Commenter 1: Do you think those Anonymous comments are legit?
Commenter 2. No, itSTROLLS.

I scratched my head for a nanosecond over why the Tokyo games would have a bike race in FiJI, but most of the rest was smooth and fun. Like @Lewis, I admired the grid layout greatly, both before and after my solve. Beautiful job, Rachel Fabi

Hartley70 11:19 AM  

At my 1am first pass, this puzzle seemed an impossible struggle, but in the light of day the answers became much clearer and I really enjoyed it. The long crosses were as chatty as I like. AXEL and DELLA gave me MADAM. UNREAL opened up the NW so I could get JOANNE. Nikkie was already familiar and JOT confirmed it. I’m deep into the flaps and snaps of ONSIES with two one year old grandchildren. My only snag was SRSLY and now I get it. I need to work on my text speak.
I’m noticing that the puzzles and clues lately are skewing younger. Of course that’s inevitable and I applaud it. I want all the help I can get to stay enjoyably relevant.

Anonymous 11:20 AM  

*Broome County Catholic Charities not, of course, Brooke.

Anonymous 11:22 AM  

Your theories are…something.
Surely that mind of yours has a newsletter. How can I subscribe?

Mike in Bed-Stuy 11:24 AM  

@Nancy 10:11 AM - With you on "MADAM is her first name?" MADAM went through my head over and over again, but I refused to enter it, because it's not a name. Oh well. That's on me, I guess. I feel you on JOANNA, but in that case, the fact that the album was named for her aunt, and the album overall was a kind of love letter to an aunt who greatly influenced her, are things that are widely known to people who consumer her music. Agreed re SRSLY and BOOYAH, and the general issue of "textspeak and weird expressions."

Mike in Bed-Stuy 11:27 AM  

@Anonymous 10:29 AM - Agreed. I could see "passage ways," but that would have made the entry relatively easy. So the constructor goes with "passages," which would be clever if it wasn't funky usage.

Anonymous 11:28 AM  

@8:19 - I would guess that Rex shares your abhorrence of infanticide. He, however, knows that an infant is a baby 1 month to a year old.

Gary Jugert 11:28 AM  

Another ho-hum puzzle. A peaceful start to the weekend. Normally on Saturday I spend more time on Google than the puzzle, but today I only needed to check up on the women: MADAM, JOANNE, DE JAGER, BETTE, JOY REID, RITA ORA, LASSIE (girl?), and DELLA. I could parse out TINA FEY on my own. Nice to have them all in one place. Nadal the only fella.

FIFTHS (old-school measurements)
OX EYES (love those flowers)
NEPAL (still wanna visit some day)
YUM (as long as there's no egg plant)
SUISSE (love this spelling)
O-RAMA (gonna start adding this to everything)
SRSLY (such a bad contraction, but if you pronounce it like you have marbles in your mouth it works)

LETTERS=TENANTS (who does this?)
Pile of bad clues for the DID TAG DAD clump.

Lonely NYTXW Editors Tee-Hees (LNETHS):
Not a single naughty today. I can overlook HELL as clued in a Saturday-o-rama kinda way. Did our beloved angsty staffers find girlfriends?

Thank you all for the limericks yesterday. Very fun.

Nancy 11:32 AM  

Two Phreagles in a row, #Whatsername, and you only began yesterday! Congrats -- you're obviously going to be a Phrazle star and I'm so glad if I turned you on to it.

Phrazle is a better game than Wordle, everyone. It takes and rewards skill -- with luck playing a much smaller role. You feel smart when you solve Phrazle in 2 and you often merely feel lucky when you solve Wordle 1 or 2 in 2.

Take today. I just had a Wordle 2 eagle, which for me is rare. But I don't feel anything like the genuine pride I felt in getting a Phreagle today. Just look at my first WordHurdle guess. Was that lucky or what?

WordHurdle 217 2/6 #wordhurdle

Boston Blackie 11:35 AM  

Guess who personally called Arlen Specter and suggested he drop his case? That's right, you guessed it: Donald Trump, the biggest cheater we've seen in some time. Go Steelers!

I was recently reminded, apropos of the 'inaugural' season of the USFL. that it was the Onion Roll who killed the first USFL. He, 'owner' of the NJ Generals, forced (don't know what dirt he had on the other owners to pull this off; a method he currently uses to run the Grande Olde Neville Chamberlain Party) the league to switch from a 'successful' Spring season to Fall, and thus force the NFL to merge with a second 'league'. The NFL owners weren't going to be stupid twice.

While of Boston, doesn't mean I have any use for Kraft or Belichick.

As to @11:13 - fat chance.

Joe Dipinto 11:36 AM  

@Beezer – no you are not the only one. It's "top off" where I come from. "Top up" is an option when you're riding in a convertible.

Maybe when you pay for your drink in the Alps they will top it up for you.

Pete 11:42 AM  

@MiBS, @Southside Google define artsy and you get


making a strong, affected, or pretentious display of being artistic or interested in the arts.

This for the OED.

So, what's the issue "more affected" clueing ARTSIER? True, you can be affected about pretty much anything, but ART (hence ARTSIER) certainly is one of them. It's Saturday not Monday and clues are oblique not definitions.

Birchbark 11:44 AM  

SIDE DOORS -- Far from lesser-used, ours growing up was the passage of choice for family, friends and neighbors. If the front doorbell rang, odds are it was party guests, peddlers, or the paperboy asking to be paid.

I've kept the key to that SIDE DOOR on my key ring for well over fifty years, now worn so smooth as to be unusable the last time I visited home.

bocamp 11:49 AM  

Had Alps before FUJI; like @Rex, can't keep track of all the Olympic hosts and dates.

Wanted lIterS before FIFTHS; tho, the 'S' did give me SLEEP ON IT (which is usually good advice).

Unknowns (in the context): JOANNE, NEPAL, FEY, TUDOR, dE JAGER, SUISSE (forgot what fr. pays means), MSNBC, FUJI, MENORAH, STEELER.

Always a good feeling being able to CROSS OFF items from THE daily to-do LIST. :)
td pg in 30+ / W: 4*

Peace πŸ™ πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all πŸ•Š

Whatsername 11:58 AM  

@Beezer (11:05) Yes, agree on “top off.“ TOP UP sounds so British.

@Photomatte (11:14) You tell em!! Your theories are spot on and by the way, so are your photos. Simply stunning. You are a REAL artist with your camera.

Anonymous 12:00 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Z 12:09 PM  

@pmdm - I’d say that the type of PPP is less important to solvability than the density of PPP. Today is a fine example. Lots of new to this group names but I don’t see anyone saying DNF because of it. Once the PPP hits 33% we almost always see the wheelhouse/outhouse comments and the resulting DNFs go up.

@MiBS - I’m with @Pete 11:42 on this. Artsy is one form of pretentiousness and I feel like the NYTX cluing consistently reflects this.

@Gary Jugert - who does this? - Crossword clue writers. Let and flat in a clue almost certainly mean some rental or apartment related answer.

@Beezer and others - I think TOP off might be a midwestern thing and TOP UP an east coast thing. But don’t quote me.

A Moderator 12:19 PM  

I just checked the comment spam queue and found a half dozen plus legitimate comments from the past week, including several from @Mike in Bed-Stuy. I approved them before deleting the actual Spam. We have no idea why some comments occasionally appear there. This is the first time in a few weeks I have seen legitimate comments there. If you had a comment this week not appear, it may be there now.

Newboy 12:20 PM  

Rachel is a jewel as a constructor, so today’s grid as a delightful experience as a solve—SRSLYπŸ˜‰

Nice Rex write up as well. I’m impressed by @Lewis and @CDilly whose responses seem pretty close to what I experienced. Only being sure that OXalis was the Latin obsurata of the day hanging there forever in the NE corner caused chagrin.

Also enjoyed @Nancy on tennis … always more fun to be in the event IRL than filtered through ESPN2.

Anonymous 12:42 PM  

Top up? Horrible

SouthsideJohnny 12:44 PM  

I definitely added the Let, Rent, Flat trio to the note card for future reference. That ARTSY clue is tough, but fair enough (especially for a Saturday) - nice job by Rachel if she came up with that one.

It was unfortunate that we had to clue poor Tina Fey that way, hopefully she will grace us with a return visit soon (maybe the lovely Ms. NORA Ephron will drop by this week as well?).

Joe Dipinto 12:51 PM  

Midday Phrazle is up.

Phrazle 38: 2/6
⬜🟩⬜⬜🟨 🟩 πŸŸͺ⬜⬜

🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩 🟩🟩🟩

Anonymous 12:56 PM  

Abortion is a complex matter and deserves more than the breezy comment here — but that comment should probably not be here at all.

Anoa Bob 12:58 PM  

Yikes! Yesterday we got a high-for-a-Friday 38 black squares and today that count jumps to 41. The average number of black squares for a Saturday, per xwordinfo.com, is 30.8. The average number of open squares for a Saturday is 94.3 while today's grid has only 84. If you HANKERED for more action after you finished this one, those numbers may be the reason.

There were a few entries that got a YUM rating from me but those were outnumbered by those with a MEH or worse reaction. My favorite entry was 28D METAPHOR but its shine was dulled by not having enough letters to fill its slot. And I wonder if those SIDE DOORS could use some coats of GREEN PAINT.

I confidently dropped in INDIA at 21A "Birthplace of Buddha", so learned something there when crosses showed it was NEPAL. I wonder if 42A NADAL ever played in NEPAL.

burtonkd 1:23 PM  

@Nancy - it looks like it went from bad to worse for Boris Becker: last headline I saw mentioned 2 1/2 years jail time for bankruptcy offenses:(

beverly c 1:24 PM  

Phrazle 37: 1/6
🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩

Whoa! Just trying to come up with anything that fit the pattern and lucked out.

I also managed to get today’s crossword, but not because I knew Lady Gaga's relatives, or speak French, or am acquainted with Youtube personalities, but because of fair crosses. This puzzle didn't tickle me.

Now if I could figure out how to get the Saturday Stumper folks talk about to open in AcrossLite on my ipad…

Anonymous 1:47 PM  

Tenants let from landlords

Hollie 2:05 PM  

I'd like to acknowledge the crossing of DEPLETE with TOP UP -- very nice! Knowing someone in real life named DeJager helped me plug in the J in that name. Otherwise I would have struggled as well. Enjoyable puzzle overall, and a faster than usual Saturday solve for me!

MetroGnome 2:18 PM  

Absolutely no idea what "Pays in the Alps" -> SUISSE means.

okanaganer 2:22 PM  

I take French for 5 years in high school. It "Pays" off only a few times in my life:
1. Traveling in France / SUISSE in 1987.
2. Montreal in 1992, where the only person I encounter who doesn't speak English is a perfectly lovely book store owner. We get by just fine, and I buy a book about Montreal architecture.
3. The NYT Crossword, almost every day.

I agree with an Anonymous that SIDE HALLS makes more sense for passages than SIDE DOORS.

I got tired of fighting the OXEYE daisies in my front yard, so I just let them grow. This was the result.

[Spelling Bee: yd pg in 1:15... that's 75 seconds! (new record). QB shortly after.]

Z 2:47 PM  

@MetroGnome - “pays” is the French word for “country” and SUISSE is the French name for Switzerland, a country in the Alps.

Anonymous 2:54 PM  

As a ~younger~ crossword solver I kinda resent the idea that Youtubers shouldn't be featured when grids are usually filled with older names that I've never heard of. The problem with cluing Nikkie like this is that she is known by "NikkieTutorials" everywhere, so I had no idea what her last name was even though I've seen several of her videos!

Anonymous 3:16 PM  

This was clearly the dumbest Saturday puzzle in a long time. Witness, boring and really easy. I guess given she Rex’s friend, I did not expect much more.

CDilly52 3:19 PM  

@Tom T. I always remember that there is a “UE” in HUGUENOT but never certain which “U” also gets the “E.” My first guess today was πŸ˜‘ wrong.

CDilly52 3:22 PM  

@Beezer. You are not alone. I “top off” drinks which, linguistically isn’t as precise as “top up,” but so be it. Regionalism?

The Easy One 3:37 PM  

The anon-a-troll is in fine form today. He must have a very lonely life, which is unfortunate because he seems intelligent and does string together a coherent sentence from time to time. He seems like someone who didn’t get enough attention (and approval) as a child and is now starving for it. At least he is for the most part harmless, albeit annoying.

Anonymous 3:41 PM  


Anonymous 3:43 PM  

I would like to try Phrazle. Which one do you do?

Unknown 3:52 PM  

It's clear that when the constructor is a friend of rex, his tone changes 180 degrees.
I appreciated the toughness, but the obscurity of the names flummoxed me.
If I were younger I wouldn't mind the YouTube stars, but as someone in his 60s, I could not care less. And I do watch YouTube tutorials. Just not about beauty products.

Happy to see that there is no back and forth on the abortion issue (re Rachel's puzzles funding access to safe abortions).

Anonymous 4:02 PM  

What is the best Phrazle site? Thanks!

Anonymous 4:48 PM  

Everyone SHOULD know who Madam C J walker was. Get with it.

Masked and Anonymous 4:53 PM  

psst … hot K-Derby tips:



puzzlehoarder 4:55 PM  

Nice looking grid. DEJAGER had to come from the crosses. I'm familiar with the term HUEGUNOT but I needed the crosses to spell it correctly. KINDS before SORTS. I figured that "Pays" was a foreign word but had no clue in which language or what it meant. SUISSE fit the category so no problem. PAYSTUB is a bit of a "Pays" dupe but that's a very minor nit.

yd pg -1

Anonymous 5:28 PM  

Phrazle looks way too easy, not worth my time

okanaganer 5:32 PM  

@beverly c 1:24pm... are you able to download the puz file? Crossword Scraper works for me on the newsday.com site crossword page.

Joe Dipinto 5:42 PM  

@ All who are asking

Phrazle is here:


Beezer 5:50 PM  

Late in the day but I hope some folks that I mention see this.

@Nancy…OMG, you nailed it on the tennis nut scene. I’m getting close to the end of my tennis playing “career” (pickleball anyone?) but I am on the same page as you! You just want to PLAY tennis, not necessarily watch it. Not saying I don’t watch it but I have a friend who does not play tennis but watches the Tennis Channel and knows more about the up-and-comers than I do! This is how I kind of feel about baseball. When I was a kid I played baseball (well, neighborhood style) and soft ball. I loved playing it but to me, watching it (to me) is like watching paint dry. (I do not think watching tennis is like that)

Thanks to many of you…@Whatsername, @Joe Dipinto, @CDilly52, and @Zed…I don’t feel alone saying “May I top off your drink”?
I know @Zed grew up Midwest like me (although I’m still in the Midwest) so I don’t know whether the term is regional as @Zed suggested. That’s ok, cuz I now know I’m not crazy!

Anonymous 6:00 PM  

Anonymous 5:28 -- Try it, show us your result. It may not be as *easy* as you seem to think it will be. But it's silly to boast about a non-solve.

jcal 6:31 PM  

I am intrigued by Rex's comment about the "siloing" of names and cultural references. I often confront this in doing puzzles but don't feel it's a problem. if a puzzle only included names I know, what fun would that be? I'm a classical music guy - so the many hip hop and rap artists that Rex, for example, seems to know without a comment and/or without difficulty are to me complete unknowns. Happily there are crosses! But on the other hand the occasional opera or composer clues which seem to present so many difficulties to my fellow bloggers are all "gimme's' to me. And and so today i learned a new person - Ms. Dajager, - probably the first "influencer" whose name I have ever read. New information, and I'm not a speed solver, so if figuring her name out slowed me up it doesn't matter at all. Thanks Rex as always.

Anonymous 6:46 PM  

I know @Zed grew up Midwest like me (although I’m still in the Midwest) so I don’t know whether the term is regional as @Zed suggested.

years ago when I still went to bars, in DC, it was dirt common.

because only absolutists refuse to acknowledge that there are many competing aspects to abortion. not even 'abortion on demand' folks back in the days of Roe supported unlimited late-term abortion.

Paul 7:18 PM  

"top up" is not a phrase. the phrase is "top off."

Anonymous 7:22 PM  

Anon 6:46
They do now.
But that’s a side issue. It’s wrong early. It’s wrong late.

willzimjohn 8:23 PM  

The French call Switzerland "La Suisse". It's not normal to refer to it without the definite article. There are just a few countries in French that include the definite article, another being "Le Mexique". It affects the preposition you should use.

Anonymous 8:37 PM  

Right on Shirl

beverly c 8:46 PM  

@okanaganer 5:32 Thanks- I can get the pdf and can print it out. Looks like I'll have to run the chrome app to use crossword scraper -I may just need to switch to my desktop. It's so easy but I resist the desk. Hey, I'm retired…

albatross shell 9:05 PM  

There is no such thing as safe childbirth. The abirtion is safer.

JMS 11:17 PM  

So, I got Dejager, but.... I sometimes will check the answers mid-solve. (I consider this borderline, but still give myself credit for a legit solve if I am correct lol). I refused to check “dejager” ‘cause I’m just not interested in “beauty vlogs” showing in my YouTube feed (though good for her success as trans).

That’s all, I had to put this aside for a complete solve, but solve it I did eventually.

Anonymous 11:59 PM  

Totally agree. In fact, the sole reason I ever try to get pregnant is to practice my abortion skills in case I need them one day.

Robert Lockwood Mills 9:03 AM  

"LETTERS" for "TENANTS" might be the nastiest misdirection of all time.

Anonymous 7:48 PM  

Yes. Her name is Elizabeth Stamatina Fey.

Anonymous 7:49 PM  

Her first name is Elizabeth and her middle name is Stamatina

Anonymous 5:04 AM  

Too many names and the annoying name cross - Ritaora/Nadal (a Rex ‘Natick’). You should be able to extrapolate any obscure name.

Unknown 9:33 AM  

Syndicated puzzle solver. It's rare to see this in a NYT puzzle: 750 ml is not a "fifth." It's very close but a "fifth" is a fifth of a gallon; the two amounts are not equivalent.

thefogman 10:38 AM  

DNF because I went with an N at DEnAGER - nOT. I figured someone who yells “Not!” is somebody who is doing a quick put down or refusal. I had no idea who this vlogger was. Too bad. The puzzle could have been okay but this spot SRSLY TEED me off.

Uke Xensen 11:07 AM  

Buddha is an honorific not a name (there are many Buddhas). The clue should be "birthplace of the historical Buddha" not "birthplace of Buddha."

spacecraft 11:47 AM  

I knew OFF would gush all over his friend's puzzle. As for me, I don't care if I was MARRIED to her; I didn't like it. And not only because I DNF.

Of all the possible letters to fill out DE_AGER, I wouldn't have considered J in a hundred years. Further, it is NOT "TOPUP," no way in HELL. It's top off. You can "round up," as businesses are now encouraging you to do, donating the extra change to charity. But TOPUP? No. Rejected. And then there's the lethal cross: "Quickly put down." What is THAT supposed to be? Couldn't you at least have said "write" instead of "put?" Grossly unfair.

Also, ...SORTS? Another totally not-in-the-language phrase. Kinds, that's what people say. I have never once heard anybody say "ITTAKESALLSORTS." Bullshit. Add to this the very awkward partial STRIVEFOR, and what's to praise? OK, DOD FEY. Happy to praise her.

If I seem grumpy, blame my double bogey. I won't list the tortuous path.

Anonymous 1:37 PM  

Artsier than thou. Rejected.

Burma Shave 2:19 PM  


ISAW what JOANNE DID today,
UNREAL THE FRAT boys kissed,
she'd ROTATE SLEEP with guys FOR PAY,
I'll CROSS that one OFFTHELST.


rondo 2:31 PM  

Should have started with the down clues, woulda been much easier. Kinda DID it from middle then down then a bunch of gimme downs going across the top.
Wordle par due to multiple choices for the first letter.

Diana, LIW 6:47 PM  

When I DNF because I had to look up a name, I don't like it but, I figure "I'd never, ever have gotten that answer."

But when I DNF because I looked up something that I should have guessed, something that I did know, then I'm truly grumpy.

Guess which one I am today? (I'll just sit here in the corner, growling.)

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords
Still playing horseshoes - "almost" - on Saturdays, at times

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