Tautological words of resignation / SAT 5-14-22 / Soba alternative / Large mass of swimming fish / Luxury home installation with a vanishing edge / Children's toy that's sprayed from a can / Former Philadelphia mayor Wilson / Part of many a software demo, informally / Codeshare partner of American Airlines

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Constructor: Ada Nicolle

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: NEOpronoun (23A: Prefix with pronoun) —

Neopronouns are a category of neologistic English third-person personal pronouns beyond 'he', 'she', 'they', 'one', and 'it'. Neopronouns are preferred by some non-binary individuals who feel that neopronouns provide options to reflect their gender identity more accurately than conventional pronouns.

Neopronouns may be words created to serve as pronouns such as 'ze/hir' or 'noun-self' pronouns where existing words are turned into personal pronouns such as 'fae/faer' Some neopronouns allude to they/them, such as 'ey/em', a form of Spivak pronoun.

A survey by The Trevor Project in 2020 found that 4% of LGBT+ youth used neopronouns. The 2021 Gender Census of non-binary people reported that the most popular neopronoun was xe/xem, used by 8.5% of those who took the survey. (wikipedia)

• • •

I found it! By "it" I mean "the Friday puzzle," of course. I don't think I've ever seen the Friday / Saturday sequencing get botched so bad as it was this week. It's hard to imagine test-solvers editors *and* test-solvers thinking "Friday" of yesterday's puzzle, and it's equally hard to imagine someone solving today's puzzle and thinking "Saturday." They are nearly perfect examples of their respective (ideal) days, and yet they got switched. Oh well. Thankfully, they're both wonderful puzzles. With today's, I want to start with the things I didn't like because there are so few of them—and they were both really jarring. So, WOKEST (43A: Most alert to social justice issues) ... that's a big thumbs-down from me. The very word evokes the Cult*re W*rs which are the very worst part of being alive today, and while I am all for the inclusion of any and all social justice-related issues or terminology you want to put in the grid, this term ... it's burnt, for me. I can't but hear it in a mocking voice, the voice of The Worst White People You Know. The superlative (i.e. -EST) form only heightens the appearance of jokiness and mockery. The -EST makes it very nearly a nonsense word. So if you don't think "social justice issues" are nonsense, maybe steer clear of this word. It's been taken over by ghouls. It's a tell—the people saying it the most believe in it the least. I feel about it like I feel about its older cousin, "PC." Hard Pass. 

[this has nothing to do with the puzzle—just treat yourself]

I also balked at SPACE WESTERN, not because it's wrong, exactly, but because it feels weird and redundant. The term I know is SPACE OPERA, which has always included indebtedness to the American Western. In fact, if you look up lists of SPACE OPERAs, you will find "Cowboy Bebop" listed under anime examples. Anyway, SPACE OPERA is the more established concept, and SPACE WESTERN feels like an unnecessary subdivision. But I guess Gene Roddenberry referred to "Star Trek"—a paradigmatic SPACE OPERA—as a SPACE WESTERN at least once, so ... OK, maybe the WESTERN is just a subdivision of the OPERA. I think I am too close to the material. I've read and watched a lot of SPACE OPERA and enjoyed the genre's kinship with westerns (aka "oaters," or "horse operas," which I have also enjoyed). I have a huge collection of vintage paperbacks, many of them in the SPACE OPERA genre. I have a "Star Wars" poster hanging over my television—"Star Wars" is definitely SPACE OPERA, and "The Mandalorian" is in the Star Wars universe so ... you can see why OPERA felt like the right direction. I've watched (the original) "Cowboy Bebop"—I even have the soundtrack around here somewhere—and that too has been classified as SPACE OPERA. So the WESTERN subdivision feels like fiddly fine-slicing to my ear. But I'm quibbling with genre distinctions ... this isn't really the puzzle's problem. SPACE WESTERN exists even if I don't particularly have any use for it.

As for the rest of the puzzle, it's close to perfection. "IT IS WHAT IT IS" is one of those non-statements that I love despite (because of?) the fact that it's clichΓ© and annoys the hell out of many people (25A: Tautological words of resignation). Sometimes it just perfectly encapsulates the idea that something just unavoidably is and there's not a hell of a lot you can do about it. I like the weary resignation it implies. Same with "WE'RE DONE HERE," though that's less weary and more exasperated (44A: "Let's move on"). Both of these are wonderful, vibrant colloquialisms. See also "SORRY I ASKED!" Just a great slangy vibe to this whole puzzle. I had EL PASO in one of the cryptics I solved last night, and for some reason it made me think "isn't there a salsa brand called OLD EL PASO?" And once again, bam, the universe manifests itself! (still not sure what I mean here, but it feels right). I wasn't sure where things were going when I started this puzzle, as it was suspiciously easy to get started (ASSAY YALL AWL SCHWA TROLL all in a row, no stopping). I thought, "Wow, I hope this puzzle at least has some pop in it?" And then the puzzle definitely popped:

This is what I mean when I talk about the zoom zoom whoosh whoosh flooooow that, for me, is Peak Friday Experience. Long answers just shooting off like fireworks. INFINITY POOL! SILLY STRING! I was absolutely sold on the puzzle at this point. You had me at HALLOWS (I was gonna say "You had me at INFINITY POOL," but if you're evoking "Jerry Maguire" it's hard to lay off HALLOWS there) (8D: Makes sacred). Great (evocative, accurate) clue on HOME GYM (36A: Room where a Peloton may double as a clothing rack). The only slow parts for me were (duh) names. No idea who Wilson GOODE is (I assume it's not GOODE Wilson ... nope, Wilson GOODE). I see he was that city's first Black mayor (1984-92). Good(e) to know! I've probably seen Phillipa SOO before, but forgot her (47A: Broadway star Phillipa). Crosses took care of both these names pretty easily. I think I thought a SHOAL was like a sandbar or some other kind of shoreline ... entity. And it turns out I'm right. It just also means ... a bunch of fish. Why do we need this word when we have the perfectly good word "school?" I'm Glad You (I) Asked!:
In biology, any group of fish that stay together for social reasons are shoaling, and if the group is swimming in the same direction in a coordinated manner, they are schooling. In common usage, the terms are sometimes used rather loosely. About one quarter of fish species shoal all their lives, and about one half shoal for part of their lives. (wikipedia)
Tasty clue on TOM (56D: ___ yum (hot-and-sour Thai soup)). Wife is away for the weekend so the cats and I are sad. Might cheer myself up by ordering some TOM yum tonight (and then not sharing with the cats, who will then be ultra-sad). I have a weird urge to shout "EL AL, Y'ALL!" so I should probably stop writing and get coffee. Wonderful puzzle. Good day.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

P.S. A SCREENCAP is just a screenshot (short for "screen capture," I believe) (13A: Part of many a software demo, informally

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


bocamp 6:33 AM  

Thx, Ada; loved this one to INFINITY! :)


Smoothest Sat. solve in ages, pour moi.

Wanted ASTOund to start, but one letter short, so let the downs ASTONISH me!

Moved top to bottom, ending at SOO.

Fun adventure! :)
yd: WH: 3 / Duo: 34/37 (guessed right on the last one this time) Phrazle 49: 2/6

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

Brian in SLC 6:36 AM  

A perfectly clean, serviceable puzzle - for Wednesday. But Saturday? I mean it doesn't spoil my day or anything. But still, ya gotta ask . . .

Z 6:45 AM  

Yep. Beat from a long day setting up a beach tournament yesterday, solving online which I hate, and solved in 12 minutes when 20 +/- 3 is Saturday typical for me. Still, I really enjoyed the solve. Good puzzle, wrong day. Things could be worse.

TS Massachusetts 6:51 AM  

It isn't what it isn't

Trish 6:51 AM  

HOME GYM annoyed me, because a Peloton is likely to double as a clothing rack if you keep it in your bedroom. If it’s in your home gym, why would you bring your clothes in there to store on your Peloton? I suspect they’re instead piled in your bedroom on an armchair or bench at the foot of your bed like the rest of us.

SouthsideJohnny 7:01 AM  

Enjoyed the open spaces and many of the longer answers that Rex mentioned, but I really struggled in the little SW corner with SOO, ADIOS, MILNE, CAMO, ODIN and NILE (which didn’t register as a color with me). That’s a pretty esoteric sextet to stuff into a pretty small area - but hey it’s Saturday, so live and learn - even if the rest of it was a little easier than usual.

John Aach 7:15 AM  

"It is what it is" gets its punch by its implicit reference to essentialism. It says that whatever thing is going on is what it is by its nature, not incidentally or accidentally. Compare Bishop Butler "Everything is what it is and not another thing." It's because it is operating from its nature that its properties and development won't change -- that's why the expression conveys a sense of weariness and resignation. You don't get this punch from tautology. A tautology like 'A is A' is a logical truth -- it is true no matter what A is. Tautologies don't convey information about essential natures.

Anonymous 7:22 AM  

“You are what you are and you ain’t what you ain’t.” God, I miss John Prine.

Anonymous 7:37 AM  

Rex: you should count yourself lucky if the culture wars are the worst thing in your life. Kind of tone deaf from someone who seemingly prides himself on his sensitivity.

Mike Herlihy 7:41 AM  

Easiest Saturday in memory. I do Saturdays on paper because I often need to test out letters in tough sections and erase if I get nowhere. Today I never erased a single letter on the page. Tuesday/Wednesday-ish?

Anonymous 7:41 AM  

29D, IDES, should not be clued with an “e.g.” - the Ides of March is not an example of the Day after Pi Day

Lewis 7:46 AM  

Once again, I find myself saying what a terrific week of puzzles we’ve had. I believe that in the last couple of years, the quality – which was very high to begin with – has gone up in general, and I attribute it to several elements:

• A priority has been put on bringing in new constructors, which has sent out the message to those who have thought about constructing but thought it too great a hill to climb, that no, everyone has a chance, and what the heck, go for it!
• A priority has been put on bringing in women and minorities, to widen the scope of what the puzzles cover, making those puzzles more appealing than when the puzzles were mostly made by white men, and giving these groups that same message that they are welcome.
• This larger pool of constructors has heightened the opportunities for theme ideas and overall cleverness, and the synergy resulting has raised the bar of quality, IMO.
• The constructing community has been inviting and giving. How often we hear gratitude from new and newer constructors for mentorship by existing published puzzle-makers. There are places online to go to get feedback on puzzles made, or to link up with mentors, and these places have been founts of giving, boosting all of the above.

In my opinion, we’ve been the benefactors by being given puzzles inspired by a more colorful palette and with more zing. I for one, and I’m positive I’m not alone, am very grateful for this. Kudos to the constructors and to the NYT team. Mwah!

And may I add:
There were great prompts to change things at the NYT puzzle a couple of years ago, and they were heard and acted on. Much credit to those who called for change (including @Rex), and to the Times for being not only willing to change course, but to actually embrace it, to meet it and ride with it, as no doubt there was a lot of work involved.

Anonymous 7:47 AM  

Also don’t like the plural NETS - you need only one net for table tennis.

flowerchildska 7:47 AM  

My husband likes to throw his clothes on my recumbent elliptical machine so when I saw that clue, I thought, "Gee, if only we had a home gym. He'd have to walk to another room to throw his clothes on there."

P.S. I crack up when I have to check, "I am not a Robot." Can't they train a robot to check that? Just a random thought.

Son Volt 7:48 AM  

Some initial start up time but it flowed pretty smooth overall. Fantastic longs - although I don’t really like seeing long space used for product names. INFINITY POOLS are cool and love WE’RE DONE HERE. Agree with @Trish that the Peloton clue is off - why hang clothes in your HOME GYM? The more apt result is bedroom or even spare bedroom.

Swing and miss on TIG, SOO and GOODE - but crosses were easy enough. UDON and TOM get the taste buds twitching.

I just assumed Rex was posting my favorite Kacey song

Enjoyable Saturday solve.

Anonymous 8:09 AM  

I suspect the e.g. refers to the fact that other months have Ides (every month, in fact). So the day after Pi Day — those of March — is one example of all Ides.

Laura 8:16 AM  

Please explain. Ides of march, 3/15 is day after pi Day, 3/14.

Lewis 8:20 AM  

What a fun puzzle! This was filled with personality and answers that made me smile.

And singing with freshness! Ada inserted nine answers that have never been in the NYT puzzle before, all of which enrich the oeuvre: CONSULTANTS, INFINITY POOL, LIFE LESSONS, OLD EL PASO, SCREEN CAP, SILLY STRING, SORRY I ASKED, SPACE WESTERN, WE’RE DONE HERE. Wow.

I haven’t thought about Silly String in forever, and it brought a flood of memories of neon-colored tangles. INFINITY POOL prompted peaceful and beautiful images of them from real life and movies. I threw STUB in with a “Hah!”, having no idea I knew it until I thought about how whenever I see “This is a stub…” at the top of a Wikipedia page, I think, “What a lovely and perfect word for an incomplete article.”

I liked the rhyming and abutting ALL and Y’ALL, not to mention the palindrome pair of POP and HAH.

Anyway, I kind of felt like a kid at the playground as I romped through this, complete with squeals of joy, and I loved the feeling. Thank you, Ada!

KC Mike 8:21 AM  

IIWII is mostly just lazy speech. Too often it is a non-response response to a serious comment. I have never heard it used to express the essentialness of anything. Avoid it- along with saying"that begs the question" followed by a question.

Laura 8:22 AM  

Quite an easy week. Too easy. But at least we got some good clues. Milne's quote is priceless. Parking spot was nice, as was icy detachment. No aha but at least some comfort for yet another brief puzzle.

Anonymous 8:30 AM  

One thing I agree on: This was an easy Saturday. I had my lowest solve time ever for a Saturday - - 40 seconds faster than my fastest Friday. So the Friday-Saturday puzzles must indeed have been switched at the hospital.

I smiled as I entered WOKEST, anticipating the lecture I'd get when I finished and checked out Rex's comments. If only the puzzle also had NRA, it could have been a record-breaking rant.

Loved 'CONSULTANTS' since I are one and I had stared at it for a while before....doh!


Anonymous 8:33 AM  

Laura: March 14 is 3/14 and the value of 'pi' (the constant used in calculating, among other things, a circle's area: 'pi' x r-squared) is 3.1412...... So nerds call March 14 pi day. Then come the ides.

pabloinnh 8:33 AM  

I thought this Saturday was in the right place, but then again I found yesterday's Friday to be pretty easy and this one marginally harder. Still waiting for that Saturday of old that took some putting down and picking up again later.

SOO who?, TIG? Notaro, haven't seen a SPACEWESTERN, and the only GOODE I know is Johnny B., but all the crosses were fair and only a few nanoseconds lost along the way.

When I have MENS___ anything I always want to finish it with RES, as the all-male dorm I lived in when I was a freshman was always referred to as the Men's Res.

Also, the black flies are starting to appear, so it's time to dig out my SCREENCAP.

Very pleasant Saturdecito, AN. Artfully Nuanced and fun to solve, for which thanks.

Anonymous 8:37 AM  

Agree this could have been switched with yesterday's. The flow Rex describes is joyfully pleasant here. Hope to see more from Ada (my mom's name πŸ˜€).
Phillipa Soo played Eliza Hamilton, opposite Lin-Manuel Miranda, in "Hamilton." She was fabulous. She's done other shows since, but that's probably her most famous role to date.

JD 8:47 AM  

"There’s an Error. We have a Shortfall. I'm Sorry I Asked. We’re Done Here. It Is What It Is. Some Aide’s gonna pay. Adios. "

"Don’t Tell me the Consultants miss it! Oh wait, there's a Profit. HAH! Phew.

Theme could've been A Bad Day At Work?

Anonymous 8:56 AM  

Great puzzle with nice write-up. I grew up in the South; haven’t lived there for eons, but I still find amusing statements like WE’RE DONE HERE. Southerners would never say that. Maybe FINISHED or THROUGH, but never DONE. Something you’re cooking can be done but not people. I don’t use it but if I did, I would consider it idiomatic.

Unknown 8:57 AM  

Re: John Aach 7:15, Wow. My brain hurts now. (Thanks for the note.)

Re: Anonymous 7:47 -- you're netpicking. (tee hee)

Eric 9:05 AM  

I wish people who invoked the term "woke/wokest" when attempting to make incisiveness social commentary knew how brain-dead they sounded.

If all your comments discussing politics contain some derivation of the word "woke," the term "virtue signaling," or "SJW," you're probably an idiot. I'm sorry you had to find out this way.

Gary Jugert 9:11 AM  

Easier puzzle for me than Friday's. And thankfully I was too busy yesterday to get on my soapbox over its juvenile humor.

Got stuck today in the southwest over NILE as a "shade of green." Still can't grok it.

The word WOKEST will doubtlessly be the cause of collective verklemptism. Bring on the Anonym-oti. Coulda clued it as "Unasleep Blvd." and saved another avalanche of us-vs.-them-ism.

SILLY STRING (obviously)
IT IS WHAT IT IS (I say this constantly)
WE'RE DONE HERE (love it)
INFINITY POOL (ahh opulence)
SPACE WESTERNS (all space shows are cowboy shows)
SORRY I ASKED (one of the meaner things you can say aloud)

Carola 9:24 AM  

A fast Saturday for me, too, with a few of the long entries going right in and providing for a cascade of crossing answers.
Moment of triumph x quite a few moments of befuddlement: SCHWA from no crosses x ?STON??? (thinking of a long O).
Help from previous puzzles: ODIN. Do-overs: "they" before Y'ALL; Was ist LOS? before DAS? No idea: GOODE.

@Lewis 7:46, thank you for those comments.

Anonymous 9:26 AM  

Can someone explain SCHWA?

EricStratton 9:36 AM  

So, we learned one thing we already knew today. Rex is down with being a racist. That's all good, though, as he is the right kind of racist. White people are bad, as they were born with skin that is offensive. So, good for him! Let's move on to celebrating Mao, Lenin, Stalin, Castro and other mass murderers. They are the right kind of murderers, so they are good, too. See, there are things about which we all can agree.

Anonymous 9:39 AM  

Not just needs. And it is 3.14159...

Mike in Bed-Stuy 9:40 AM  

@Trish 6:51 AM - ikr?!

Mike in Bed-Stuy 9:44 AM  

@SouthsideJohnny 7:01 AM - Eerily total agreement, right down to not aware of NILE as a recognized shade of green. What I really needed was ODIN. Despite the fact that I am no stranger to the Marvel Universe, I was not aware (or was once, but forgot?) that Anthony Hopkins played ODIN. Once I cheated on that one, the rest of the SW fell into place.

Anonymous 9:44 AM  

Sci-fi western is a well-known subcategory (cf. the TV series "Firefly"), so SPACE WESTERN made perfect sense.

Barbara S. 9:47 AM  

Gene Roddenberry, creator of Star Trek, called it "Wagon Train to the stars," referring to the long-running TV western, Wagon Train, which was popular in the '50s and '60s and just ending its long run when Star Trek was in development.

RooMonster 9:53 AM  

Hey All !
Pi Day = 3/14
Ides of March = 3/15
Sorry if you've never heard of Pi Day. The Ultimate Pi Day was in 2015. That Day was 3/14/15, and I raised a glass of beer at 9:27 that day! (I'm not a math person, but it was neat to do!) I just found a webpage that has Pi out to one million digits! Check it out!

Nice puz, also found it easier than YesterPuz. Got hung up on PLY. Really wanted TRY there, going so far as to have SCREEN CUT. But couldn't get anything to work with SHORTFA_R. PLY for practice took the ole brain a minute to grok.

NILE was lime forever. Not sure if I've heard of NILE Green (paint). (HAH!)

Know MENSREA from "See No Evil, Hear No Evil", a comedy film from 1989 starring Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor. Hilarious movie.


yd -2, should'ves 2 (Argh! Easy words.)
Duo -1 Missed 1-2-4(dumb miss)-5-9-12. Yikes.

Two F's

Joe Dipinto 9:56 AM  

@Trish 6:51 has a good point about the HOME GYM clue.

Very easy, but at least I didn't feel like at every turn the cluing was trying to prevent me from getting the answers. Only two ?-clues!! Thank you thank you thank you! In view of that happy development, I'll submit an additional one, as an alternate clue for 43a:

"The Day Of The ______" (1975 film as pronounced by Baba Wawa)?

I also liked the fill much better than yesterday's.

Phrazle 51: 2/6
⬜πŸŸͺ🟩🟩 πŸŸͺ⬜ 🟩🟩🟩 🟨⬜⬜

🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩

(I will make this my last Phrazle result post, to the delight of many, I'm sure.
My record:
40 games played;
5 threebies;
32 twosies;
3 onesies.)

Ulysses 10:04 AM  

WOKEST: it is what it is

TJS 10:05 AM  

Finished it, hated it.
bug = error
neo pronoun and gender neutral pronoun
code share partner
you pay
slot= ?
extent of a commuter rail system

Good God !

johnk 10:16 AM  

Nice Friday puzzle, but SCREEN CAP? I did many s/w demos during my career. Never heard or uttered that SILLY STRING.
But a future actual Saturday puzzle theme might make use of SILLY STRING THEORY, clued something like "Mathematical idea from a spray can."

Bill MacGillivray 10:21 AM  

Wilson Goode should be remembered as the person who authorized the first ever fire bombing of an American city, when he called for burning out the Move family/cult resulting in numerous deaths and the destruction of a full city block.

Willy B not so good 10:22 AM  

Ah yes, Hizzhonor Goode. He authorized police action designed to remove a militant from a Philly row home. This consisted of dropping an incendiary device from a helicopter which resulted in an inferno that destroyed the entire block.

Diane M 10:23 AM  

I wonder if Ada Nicolle has her home gym in the same basement room as the washer and dryer, like I do. It made perfect sense to me. πŸ˜„

puzzlehoarder 10:24 AM  

This was the fast fun Friday which we didn't get yesterday.

What's eating HIM? It's his MENSaREA.


yd -0

Georgia 10:25 AM  

From Google: The unstressed central vowel (as in a mom e nt a go), represented by the symbol /Ι™/ in the International Phonetic Alphabet.

Mary McCarty 10:29 AM  

55D: I had “jadE” for a long time, but the crosses didn’t work (glad to get rid of that “j”). For NILE GREEN, check the big Crayola box you used as a kid...kinda blue-ish, like a dark teal.

Anonymous 10:43 AM  

could be worse: could have clued with something like, "pre-eminent Beethoven musician Richard"

the only SPACE WESTERN I know the name of: "Cowboys & Aliens", both Craig and Ford, and not a big hit. too weird I guess.

there's a tex-mex commercial(s) that dis on a competitor by having the cowboys eating around the camp fire exclaiming, "NEW YORK CITY!!!!" when the narrator outs the competitor's place of manufacturer. can't find a link to whether Old El Paso is either the accuser or accusee or neither.

it's burnt, for me. I can't but hear it in a mocking voice, the voice of The Worst White People You Know.

the Right Wingnuts do have a talent for co-opting words and re-defining them. Gov. DeMented in particular. Newspeak in spades. well... not so many of them.

Bad Mouse 10:44 AM  

Why would anyone want any room inside the house (garage is barely OK) to always smell like the bottom of a gym locker?

The Cleaver 10:50 AM  

@Eric Stratton:

No. We are bad because we do bad things to Black (and Brown and Asian and Jewish and Catholic and ...) for many hundreds of years. Time to admit our error and seek redemption, rather than amping up the discrimination. If you bothered to read the rest of the paper, there are reports of Black people being abused TODAY. It ain't some unfortunate mistake made by our ancestors.

Nancy 10:59 AM  

Gee, I'm glad some of Y'ALL found this "Easy". I found it, in two words, im/possible and had to cheat on one [long] answer. I simply ouldn't do the entire NW and had to give up. After giving up, I cheated to give myself the pleasure of being able to continue.

Normally when I cheat, it's on a proper name, but I'd contended successfully with the few that were in th puzzle. So I came here and scrolled down slowly enough to only see one answer: ASTONISH. I then went back to the puzzle and saw that ANOINTS (for "makes sacred") should have been HALLOWS -- at which point the whole NW fell in about 30 seconds. It was in fact a very SHORTFALL.

But a DNF for me. I have no idea what a SCREEN CAP is. I had STRING, but hadn't heard of SILLY STRING. I've never heard BERG used that way, didn't know the Wiki STUB, so my BERG/STUB cross was a complete and inspired guess.

IT IS tHAT IT IS should have alerted me to my ANOINTS/HALLOWS mistake, but it didn't.

It's hard to believe that SHORTFALL is in this puzzle. There's no SHORTFALL here: these people have an INFINITY POOL and a HOME GYM. They're sitting in the SEAT of luxury and living a life of EASEl, it seems to me.

Oh, do I love that MILNE quote!!! I'd never heard it before. What a great clue.

A terrific puzzle that defeated me fair and square.

Beezer 11:17 AM  

I thought that this puzzle was tons of fun and I agree about the Friday/Saturday switcheroo. My only real problem was in the SW where I initially had AMMO instead of CAMO and OURS instead of ONES but CONSULTANTS solved the dilemma. My favorite answer was SILLYSTRING…something I think I bought for my kids ONE time due the mess made by it.

@Trish…I thought the SAME thing about the Peleton being in a bedroom for most folks…extra hanger space!

@anonymous 9:26…the SCHWA sound is at the beginning and end…uh-lask-uh.

As I thought about it many of the outer space films are like an American Western…exploration and conquest of a new frontier or life as it is in the “frontier” so SPACEWESTERN seems apt.

Anonymous 11:25 AM  


Anonymous 11:26 AM  


relicofthe60s 11:43 AM  

Scored my fastest time ever for a Saturday. In fact, 30 seconds faster than my fastest Friday and MUCH faster than yesterday.

I’ve heard SPACE WESTERN more than space opera, most notably in reference to “Firefly.” Gene Roddenberry did pitch “Star Trek” to the networks as “Wagon Train to the stars,” but I don’t think of it as a space western.

Whatsername 11:48 AM  

PHEW! What a fun workout, and did this ever POP! Why yes it did from one end to the other. Plus extremely low in the PPP and most of them gettable with the crosses. But shhh, DONT TELL anyone. Let’s keep the really GOODE ONES like this for ourselves.

I do however have to take issue with the “informal” clue for 21A. In these HERE parts, that word is considered quite formal especially when extending an invitation such as YALL want another beer with that catfish?

My favorite MILNE quote: “Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That’s the problem.”

ADIOS YALL. See you next Wednesday. Heading north tomorrow to spend a few days with the fam. We’re having catfish.

egsforbreakfast 12:00 PM  

AS TONISH as it may seem, I’m not convinced YALL DO USE your HOMEGYM much. Oh, are you saying you’re PRO FIT? Well UDON look it. You got that MENS REAR OLE guys get. Nice ASS, AY? Sorry, I think I’ve got a terminal case of realism, aka ITISWHAT-ITIS.

Beautiful fun puzzle, but easy-peasy for a Saturday. Thanks, Ada Nicolle.

Wanderlust 12:06 PM  

I am stuck in quarantine in Panama after testing positive on my first overseas work trip in 2+ years (the definition of IT IS WHAT IT IS), and I just watched my two nephews’ college graduations at two different colleges online, one on the laptop and one on the IPad. So I got to absorb many LIFE LESSONS while solving the puzzle on my phone. Thank goodness I have three devices with me. One of the commencement speakers also tested positive and could not attend, so that was one less life lesson to hear.

This was a breeze in the top half, and only a bit harder in the bottom half. The SW probably kept me from a record Saturday as I had THE_ (either M or Y) for the gender-neutral pronoun, and I’ve never heard of NILE green. I’ve seen the NILE many times and don’t recall anything green about it.

Liked the clue for EASEL. The WOKEST truly stand for something. (I’m OK with WOKEST. It’s a good term, and I’m not willing to just give it up to the racists.)

TIG Notaro is wonderful. I first heard her when she did a comedy routine about a horrible year in which she got cancer, lost her father, broke up with her partner, and suffered other calamities I can’t remember. Not usually comedy material. She described people telling her, “God only gives you as much as you can take.” She imagined god saying, “Let’s see, death, cancer, a break-up … I think she can take a little more.”

A routine that skewers the faux comfort of religious aphorisms - my kind of comic.

jae 12:10 PM  

Yep, easy. No problems with this one, it solved like a midweek puzzle. That said, there was plenty of sparkle, liked it.

Looks like we are in for a treat on Sunday.

Masked and Anonymous 12:26 PM  

yep. Kinda friendly for a SatPuz, at our house.

no-knows were a modest: TIG. SOO. GOODE. TOM.

staff weeject pick: SOO. Better clue: {"Here comes my extra-academic explanation …"} = SOO.
p.s. If U use SOOO, it means a conclusion with possible self-doubt is about to be introduced.

Sooo … "The Mandalorian" is a SPACEWESTERN? Don't recall the Mandalorian dude ever wavin his helmet in the air and hollerin "yee-haw" … evidently the term must mean somethin else, in this puz?

Thanx for the random themeless fun, Ms. Nicolle darlin. Good job. WOKEST was neat, but needed even a little more sparkly desperation. [See below, for a primo shameless sample.]

Masked & AnonymoUUs


Nancy 12:28 PM  

I think this is today's 2nd Phrazle. I missed the first one, having gotten up late. Like Joe, I've been shamed (by yesterday's funny Anon comment) into saying I won't post any more after today. I did have a 2nd Phreagle yesterday that I was cowed into not posting at the time. Here's today's:

Phrazle 52: 2/6
🟩⬜ ⬜πŸŸͺ⬜ 🟩 πŸŸͺ⬜πŸŸͺπŸŸͺπŸŸͺ πŸŸͺπŸŸͺ ⬜🟩⬜ ⬜ ⬜⬜⬜🟩⬜

🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩 🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩 🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩

My distribution record to date is one 1; 19 2s; 8 3s and 3 4s.

Whatsername 1:24 PM  

I’ve given up on purchasing exercise equipment. It’s just something else that needs dusting. Some do make excellent drying racks though.

@Gary (9:11) “Anonym-oti” Good one! πŸ˜‚

@Joe and @Nancy: Very impressive!

Anonymous 1:26 PM  

Space Western is absolutely a valid sub-genre! I was equal measures excited to see it in the puzzle and disappointed by your balking at it

Anonymous 1:31 PM  

I’m 85 and constantly search for signs of a stroke. Couldn’t get anywhere with today’s puzzle. Hmm.
BTW, my name has been replaced with “Anonymous”. Another sign?

Anonymous 1:53 PM  

Super easy, more like a Wednesday maybe Thursday to me. Only gripe, how is “adios” used “across the Mediterranean?”

LorrieJJ 1:57 PM  

Totally agree w/ Rex about wokest ... or woke or woken and all variations thereof. I'm so totally tired of this pseudo synonym for bad manners. All it does is annoy.

Tom T 2:02 PM  

I'm definitely in the minority with @Nancy on this one! After finding yesterday's puzzle extremely easy (unlike Rex), I almost gave up on this one (unlike Rex).

My trouble was not with Nancy in the NW, but in the NE, where GOODE crossed TORI and BERG was clued in a way I couldn't get, and even ERROR wouldn't fall. Plus I'm not up on Wikipedia terminology (STUB) and somehow confused Soba (with its capital S at the start of the clue) as a brand of yogurt--not a type of noodle. Sometimes we just have to openly admit our shortcomings, confession being good for the soul.

But finally I took a guess on ERROR, which gave me the guess on BERG and that pesky corner gave in. Unfortunately, I had RObE as an "Ensemble part" (along with jammies and slippers), which left me with EbAy as a Codeshare partner of American Airlines (hah--see above comment about confession and the soul!).

So, no, this was anything but an easy Saturday for me. But I did eventually get the "Congratulations!" without a "check word" or "check puzzle" or "Google" cheat.

okanaganer 2:05 PM  

Like @Zed 6:45am, solved in 12 min. which is pretty quick for me. I don't recall any typeovers at all??... surely there were a couple.

Again the long answers were great; however the two bottlenecks at squares 20 and 22 were a bit annoying and I'm surprised they didn't annoy Rex.

I was pleased that I parsed the "Tautological" clue correctly. (I'm still chuckling inside at the "Icy detachment" clue from yesterday.)

[Spelling Bee: yd 8 min to pg, then another 10 min to QB. 5 day QB streak!]

LorrieJJ 2:08 PM  

You sound like a knight of old, charging up on yr noble steed, sword in hand, to defend the huddled downtrodden masses. Good for you.

Anonymous 2:11 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
LorrieJJ 2:13 PM  

Mae Alsalama as spoken in Northern Africa, across the Mediterranean from Spain, is Arabic for goodbye.

LorrieJJ 2:13 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
JD 2:22 PM  

@Wanderlust, Don't let the quarantine dull your Wanderlustiness.

@John Aach You're in the running for my Comment of the Year Award.

@Anon 1:31, You haven't had a stroke. Your comment was brief and well written. That you've become Anonymous just means you're probably over 55.

Anonymous 2:27 PM  

There could hardly be a more pertinent word today than "woke" in any of its form. That it's taken on a pejorative tone for many is standard-issue language adjustment for any overused term pertaining to the body politic, and a new term will arrive soon enough. That the word could appear in a crossword puzzle is neither surprising nor disqualifying. Again, Mr. Parker, love this site, but please try harder to be polite. The NYT puzzle is attempted by solvers across the political spectrum.

Smith 3:07 PM  

Hallo A.A. MILNE! Every time I think I should change my avatar..

..to maybe a MΓ€dchen in a Dirndl? I really didn't know that was still a thing,
but evidently they are popular (?) even am Norden, where I find myself. Nevermind. ITISWHATITIS.

Itiswhat-itis - when you don't know the Artikel so you can't form the Dativ correctly.

Very quick puzzle. Liked it.

Cheech21 3:13 PM  

For me this week's Friday felt like a Friday and today's Saturday was significantly harder. Absolutely loved wokest precisely for the reason why you don't. You have to be able to poke fun at this stuff.

Anonymous 3:14 PM  

"It is what it is" usually signals to me that the speaker can be safely ignored.

Anonymous 4:10 PM  

‘Pizza is done. You are finished’ (my daughter’s 5th grade teacher.)

jberg 4:13 PM  

I finished this about 11 this morning, but then had to rush off to today's "Bans off our Bodies" rally downtown, so couldn't post until now. I remembered that Wilson GOODE was the first, maybe the only mayor to bomb his own city, but couldn't dredge up his surname for the longest time.

And speaking of surnames, mine tends to turn up in a puzzle a couple times a year, and I'm always thrilled -- but today I have mixed feelings, given the clue, "Icy detachment." I get the pun, I even think it's a good pun and a great clue, but taken literally it strikes a little too close to home. I mean, I really am a warm-hearted person, but it doesn't always show.

(For those who didn't pick up on it, a BERG is a big lump of ice that has detached from a glacier.)

Anonymous 4:45 PM  
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OffTheGrid 4:45 PM  

I would not have been surprised to see Jeff's POW on any one of the last three days.

Anonymous 5:18 PM  

Not if you’re the editor of the Times crosswords and own a table tennis club.

Anonymous 5:43 PM  


well... the process of 'birthing' is called, as you might expect, calving and the newly born entity is a calf. so we can also have a clue like, oh... 'brief encounter with a bovine child' aka, MET CALF. or METCALF, who amount to hundreds on the wiki page.

A 6:25 PM  

Fun Friday, didn’t AWL Y’ALL think? SILLY STRING - what is it? Nobody knows. IT IS WHAT IT IS. Just don’t get it in the INFINITY POOL - that thing cost more than the house.

Had to deal with unexpected company this morning, two sweet but wet Golden retrievers who had escaped their yard during the night. They’ve gone back home and probably will sleep all day.

Never heard of that kind of SHOAL and I was thinking - not another OO rebus! And just one? Crosses went in and I went to my favorite etymology site:
shoal (n.2)
"large number" (especially of fish), 1570s, apparently identical with Old English scolu "band, troop, crowd of fish" (see school (n.2)); but perhaps rather a 16c. adoption of cognate Middle Dutch schole.
shoal (v.)
"assemble in a multitude," c. 1600, from shoal (n.2).
school (n.2)
[large number of fish] late 14c., scole, from Middle Dutch schole (Dutch school)……… Compare shoal (n.2)), the assibilated form of the same word.

Great, now I have to look up assibilated.

Welcome back, @Gill I and @Barbara S!

@Roo from yesterday - such an honor! That comment flew ‘under’ the radar of the Greater Commentariat. :-)

@Joe from yesterday - yes, Rigoletto! I found a recording on YouTube I though I would try to listen to, but I had to stop it. Just painful. Now, the quartet from Fidelio, which I did listen to, was actually really well done. Probably because Beethoven wrote music instead of showpieces.

***Phrazle Spoiler Alert (yesterday’s): I like sharing my wrong answers because they’re part of the fun - the SILLY STRING of Phrazle.
49: save YOUR breath —> HOLD YOUR HORSES
50: THE bards ghoul —> THE LIONS SHARE.

Joe Dipinto 6:39 PM  

Oh, the hell with it.

Phrazle 52: 2/6
⬜πŸŸͺ 🟩🟩🟩 🟩 πŸŸͺπŸŸͺπŸŸͺ⬜🟨 🟩πŸŸͺ ⬜⬜⬜ 🟩 ⬜🟨πŸŸͺ🟩πŸŸͺ

🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩 🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩 🟩🟩 🟩🟩🟩 🟩 🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩

If you've never seen Tig Notaro's routine about Taylor Dayne, it's really funny.

Hartley70 7:44 PM  

I loved this puzzle and I don’t often say that on a Saturday. I was barreling through until I went splat on the SW little corner’s wall. The Arabic was a mystery and I’m studiously avoiding the Marvel Universe. I coulda been a contender.

A 8:56 PM  

Taking a moment to enjoy some really fun comments today - thanks, everyone for the witty posts! @egs 12:00 post made my sides hurt!

Forgot to mention, @OFL finally got his PHEW-not-wHEW today.

Did anyone ever explain SCREENCAP?


Speaking of yesterday’s Phrazles - I forgot to congratulate you on that impressive ace, @Whatsername!!! I was really hoping mine would go in but alas, wrong metaphor.

@Whats, @bocamp, @Joe, @Nancy - I missed out on Phr1 today because of the lost/found dogs emergency, but I’ll work on Phr2 after horn practice. Honestly, I wouldn’t mind if they SCALEd back.

And, though I understand that some readers may not be interested, I do NOT intend to stop sharing. I’ll just try to be discreet and won’t use the colored blocks unless they’re particularly informative. (Unless they’re TOO informative, which would be bad form. @Nancy is the soul of Phrazle discretion!) I think my preference is to share my actual guesses, a day later, a la my post earlier today. I’ll also indicate via PhrazAlert so everyone can merrily skip over.

Whatsername 9:58 PM  

@A: Thank you! It was a lucky guess but still a thrill and one that I don’t expect to repeat often. Glad to hear you got the wandering pups back home. Sounds familiar. If there’s a animal loose in my neighborhood it will eventually end up at my house.

Anonymous 10:36 PM  

@LorrieJJ 1:57
There's a difference between woke and bad manners. You can have good manners and not be offended by every little thing.

Kirk Chritton 10:55 PM  

This comment has nothing to do with the puzzle. I love Lake Street Dive.

Anonymous 4:52 AM  

Spent far too long asking myself who ASTON is, why is he feeling ISH, and what this had to do with staggering.

Robert Lockwood Mills 8:54 AM  

Could someone explain why 'SCHWA" is the answer for "EITHER SIDE OF ALASKA"???

Rex Parker 8:58 AM  

SCHWA is the sound of the first and last "A" in "Alaska"


This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
kitshef 11:57 AM  

Like Yogi Berra, AA Milne is credited with a lot of quotes that he never said. I don't know about this quote specifically, and I'm not going to go back and re-read the complete works, but if his quote is from Milne I'd like to see a citation. To my ear, it does not sound like Milne but does sound like the kind of fake quotes you see purporting to be his.

As is so often the case, I hated the things Rex loves most (the long colloquial phrases).

On Woke, I am 100% with Wanderlust.

spacecraft 11:00 AM  

Easy? EASY???? You can not be SERIOUS! Over half of this stuff I never heard of! INFINITYPOOL? In what universe? I am not among the 1%, the ONLY people who might ever have even seen one. I had INFINITe; just a wild stab. Made the Peloton room impossible to get. SCREENCAP? TIG? SOO? TOM as food?? And here's a techie one: Codeshare partner of American Airlines. WTF is "codeshare," and who in blazes would know they're partners of ELAL? And you call this EASY?????

The Wordle wasn't easy either, with two sets of double letters. Took me a bogey. Maybe the ol' brain is beginning to go...

thefogman 11:32 AM  

A pretty GOODE puzzle. Although I was hoping it was a themer about clichΓ©d phrases i.e WEREDONEHERE, ITISWHATITIS and SORRYIASKED forming the backbone. Alas, it was not to be. I found it was too easy - not challenging enough for the Saturday SLOT. But AWL in AWL it was clean and ERROR-free. Of course, there are a few nits to pick: NILE (55D) could have been clued so many other ways than “shade of green” - Cairo’s river e.g.. Maybe Benjamin Moore has NILE green paint but it isn’t a word in common use. Also, ONES (64A) could have been clued Bynary code digits instead of Gender-neutral pronoun. Anyhoo, ITISWHATITIS and it’s not Ada Nicolle’s fault that her puzzle appeared today instead of a couple of days ago. Bye YALL!

Burma Shave 1:37 PM  




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