LGBT rights activist Windsor / SAT 6-4-22 / Senator after whom Honolulu's airport is named / Personal identifier in the Deaf community / Gram alternative / Popular half-hour sketch comedy of the 1970s-'80s with The / Onetime candy maker based in Revere Mass

Saturday, June 4, 2022

Constructor: Scott Earl

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: DRAG MOTHER (33A: Mentor to a queen) —

When an aspiring drag queen is just starting out in the world, she needs someone to turn to for guidance, support, and makeup tips. When a more seasoned queen takes an ingรฉnue under her wing, that usually means she becomes her “mother.” RuPaul herself is regarded as such a pioneer and trailblazer that many drag queens deferentially call her “mother,” as well.

It’s a beautiful mentor-apprentice relationship that can help a younger queen learn the tricks of the trade, including how to get bookings around her city. Most new queens find a drag mother by exploring the club scene or having friends in the community who dabble in the art. (

• • •

(33D: It gets hatched in a
fantasy novel)
Well it helps if Daniel INOUYE was a gimme for you, as he was for me. Whether you do or don't know that name probably made a Huge difference as to how easy this puzzle felt, at least initially. When I can plunk down the 1-Across answer with no help from crosses on a Saturday, that is typically a sign that not much resistance lies ahead, and while there was a lot more resistance than yesterday, overall this thing played very much on the Easy side. Probably no one wants to be reminded that INOUYE was repeatedly, credibly accused of sexual harassment, including by current NY senator Kirsten Gillibrand. Actually, that's not the worst of it. There are decades-old stories of sexual misconduct that is much worse than the groping Gillibrand described ("there were nine women I talked to who had told me stories of molestation and rape"). The guy was a WWII war hero, which probably bought him a lot of leeway and good will, but I can't see his name now without thinking about the serial sexual abuse of women by powerful men, so while I was thrilled to nail a Saturday 1-Across, I was not, actually, thrilled by 1-Across itself. In a puzzle that seems to be striving so hard for a warm and inclusive feeling, his name is particularly jarring. But back to the easiness: INOUYE opened up the whole NW, and things flowed steadily from there. Though ... you can see here that just as the puzzle was opening up, I made an error:

Since the [March word] is not really a "word" but more of a noise or grunt ... well, I always thought it was HUT, or at least thought HUT was an option. I know HUT is more, uh, football snap count, but .. I don't know, it sounds military to my ears. What about "Ten HUT!"? That's something, right? Yes! In fact, it's "used to bring a marching band or group of soldiers to attention" (wiktionary) (my emph.). Ugh. This exemplifies my experience of this puzzle as a whole, which is that the longer answers were generally a breeze, but I did get slightly bogged down in oddly clued short stuff, all of the place (not the most pleasant kind of struggle). Let's start with the absolutely absurd "PER year" (7D: ___ year). Any length of time might follow PER, as might "person," "capita," "annum," "axle," etc. Anything, really. Any unit. It's about the vaguest fill-in-the-blank I've ever seen. Really had to stop and think about that "P." Never really heard GEN Chem as an abbr. In college, it was O-Chem this and P-Chem that, but I don't remember anyone's saying GEN Chem. Isn't that just ... Chem? Anyway, I had GEO-Chem there at one point. I thought the CIA was some random CPA from, like, Topeka or something (32A: Actual employer of some "government consultants," in brief); tax pros might have to ... consult ... the government ... right? ... then I forgot that FOY was FOY and wrote in FEY as PER yoozhe, and then the puzzle did that pointedly obnoxious thing where it cross-references two intersecting clues in the vaguest way possible, effectively eliminating one of the crosses needed to get either of the two words (LOCK / KEY). So I enjoyed the longer fill a lot, but unlike on Friday, when the longer fill was really dominating my attention, today, these little 3-letter tar pits were making it harder to feel the whoosh and the zoom of the nice stuff.

But there was a lot of nice stuff, or at least no real weak stuff. Good colloquial energy in "YEAH, SAME" and "OH FORGET IT!" Bouncy slanginess with TIE THE KNOT and COOTIE SHOT. You've got the deaf community (NAME SIGN) and the drag community (DRAG MOTHER) and the pronoun trio (SHEHERHERS) and then, my personal favorite: ALONE TIME (by "favorite" I don't mean it's my favorite answer, I mean irl ALONE TIME rules! I love my family dearly but me without ALONE TIME is ... you don't wanna know. Let's just say "not peak me"). It's a solid grid overall, with lots of original fill. It's oddly free of the less common letters (Z X Q J ... even V). Couple of Ks and Ws are about the only crooked letters in this thing (I like "crooked letters," since it evokes the concept of a "crooked number" on a baseball scoreboard, where it refers to any number other than a zero or a one on a baseball scoreboard. Such numbers are literally crooked by comparison with "0" and "1", but also rarer by comparison, just as Z X Q J are rarer by comparison with other letters ... I'm gonna try using "crooked letters" instead of "Scrabbly letters" and see how that goes). Annnnyway, lots of RLSTNE action here today, but that doesn't keep the answers themselves from being fresh.  

  • 19A: Formal name for 11-Down, in brief (ACA) — at this point, I had the "C" from NECCO (which I always think is NECCA, btw), and truthfully I knew immediately, without looking at 11-Down, that this was going to be ACA and that OBAMACARE must be lurking over at 11-Down. I didn't even bother to jump over and fill OBAMACARE in. I just knew it would be waiting for me, a ginormous freebie. Weird to just know that it was ACA with literally nothing specific in the clue.
  • 55D: What might be a strain in a theater? (ARIA) — so a "strain" means a "tune" or "song," but also, yeah, I bet singing an ARIA is strenuous work.
  • 57A: L.G.B.T. rights activist Windsor (EDIE) — literally just seeing this clue now. That's how easy this section of the puzzle was, I guess. EDIE Windsor (1929-2017) was the lead plaintiff in United States v. Windsor (2013), which was a landmark Supreme Court case concerning same-sex marriage, one that paved the way for the legalization of said marriages in this country following Obergefell v. Hodges (2015). It's Pride Month, so though she seems a worthy answer in general, it's especially nice to see her acknowledged this month.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


OffTheGrid 6:39 AM  

@Rex says, " Probably NO ONE WANTS TO BE REMINDED that INOUYE was repeatedly, credibly accused of sexual harassment." (Caps. mine)

Yet he continues with his screed. "......including by current NY senator Kirsten Gillibrand. Actually, that's not the worst of it. There are decades-old stories of sexual misconduct that is much worse than the groping Gillibrand described ("there were nine women I talked to who had told me stories of molestation and rape"). The guy was a WWII war hero, which probably bought him a lot of leeway and good will, but I can't see his name now without thinking about the serial sexual abuse of women by powerful men, so while I was thrilled to nail a Saturday 1-Across, I was not, actually, thrilled by 1-Across itself. In a puzzle that seems to be striving so hard for a warm and inclusive feeling, his name is particularly jarring."


Anonymous 6:41 AM  

Mag = pub, as in publication. Finally grasped it as I was typing to complain about it, and I stand by my sluggishness.

Anonymous 6:49 AM  

What a comedown after Friday’s great puzzle, this was dull from start to finish, a real slog and hard to find the motivation to finish…

kitshef 7:07 AM  

See, this is what I want on a Saturday (or a Friday) – a puzzle that makes me work hard but ultimately is solvable. There’s even a bunch of stuff I’ve never heard of (DRAG MOTHER, NAME SIGN, EDIE, ROLLERS, IRA, URN) but could get from crosses.

Did not like the clue for the MUPPET SHOW at all (it was a variety show, not a sketch comedy show). And you rarely see a clue and answer as bad as those for YEAH SURE. But enjoyed the puzzle overall.

Went down a bit of a rabbit hole looking into the Volstead Act, eventually ending up here:
There are a lot of states that make exceptions to the drinking age of 21 for religious purposes. But Florida, uniquely as far as I can tell, makes an exception for students “tasting the alcoholic beverages as part of the student’s required curriculum”. Where was that curriculum when I was in school?

Lewis 7:09 AM  

Hah! Learned DRAG MOTHER and will remember that. I was totally thinking queen as in Platinum Jubilee, and even after the answer filled in, I thought, “What an unusual title for a mentor to a royal.” Then I looked it up.

This one required serious ALONE TIME, buried in a “huh?” here, a “wha?” there, and forced to throw guesses in, when I normally like to keep squares white until I’m sure of them.

What lovely answers in the triple-stacks in the NE and SW, as well as in the pairs of 10s in the NW and SE! Strong, interesting answers, all ten of them, making for a wow finished grid to look at. And a cluster of terrific NYT answer debuts for freshness: COOTIE SHOT, DRAG MOTHER, MUPPET SHOW, NAME SIGN, SECRET MENU, SHE HER HERS, and YEAH, SAME.

I think I had seven letters of SHEHERHERS filled in and still couldn’t figure it out. I love when that happens, especially when, like today, when it finally fills in, it makes perfect sense.

Yesterday was a lark, today a trek, two terrific sides of multi-faced Crosslandia. A most worthy Saturday edition. Thank you greatly, Scott. You’ve got the touch.

Anonymous 7:27 AM  

@Lewis: YEAH, SAME. A fun Saturday.

SouthsideJohnny 7:29 AM  

Did not like this one at all. Every section was like pulling teeth. Either it was a conglomeration of completely uninteresting (to me at least) stuff, like ISSAC, NECCO, OCTED, the reality TV show, YEAH SAME (?), PER year, etc in the NE . . . Zzzzzzzzz, or things I simply don’t have the interest in fighting through (like DRAG MOTHER, GEN chem (?), MORSE, SHEHERHERS - there’s a real winner of a crossword entry for you . . .).

I knew going in that yesterday was going to be a tough act to follow, but I really didn’t expect today to have fallen so far from that lofty standard. This grid just doesn’t feel relevant in any way. Probably a case of “for taste their is no argument” or maybe a bit of that combined with the wheelhouse effect, but solving this thing felt like I was mired in quicksand.

Conrad 7:33 AM  

Pretty much what @Rex said, except INOUYE wasn't exactly a gimme. I remember him from Watergate (Woodward and Bernstein reported Nixon's operatives joking "INOUYE he's gonna help us") but I couldn't remember the spelling. Somehow I thought the next-to-last letter might be a "w".

Had the same experience as @Anon 6:41, puzzling over how PUB = Mag, even after I got the happy music.

Kate 7:45 AM  

COOTIE SHOT? I am glad to have never been on that playground.

Anonymous 7:52 AM  

Surprised that Will Shortz chose to celebrate Daniel Inouye.

Carola 7:54 AM  

Easy at first, then suitably Saturday-tough. I started out much like @Rex in the NW but got myself in trouble not only with HUt but also with YEAH SurE, which obscured MUPPET, NAME, and MOTHER and brought me to a halt. Off to the NE, where OBAMACARE made a welcome boulevard to the south. Eventually, I was left with an all but empty SW, with just NO-TELL and EDIE; fortunately, deciding to trust the previously rejected GEMS allowed me to see DRAGON EGG and get the rest. Last in: the P of PER x PUB.

I liked the parallel DRAG MOTHER and SHE HER HER, and the inclusion of the queen's hair ROLLERS. Nice inclusion of Claire FOY, who played a queen, and EDIE Windsor who rightly got what was HERS.

Son Volt 8:05 AM  

With Rex on this one - some decent longs but the short stuff totally drags this one down. Liked ROLE MODEL and ALONE TIME - DRAGON EGG is too stereotypical with fantasy. I have no issues with pronouns in real life but they’re dead real estate in a grid.

Lots of trivia here - the try at wordplay - see ARIA falls flat.

GEN chem said no one ever. Doubling up on wellness oils was awkward. ISH is becoming my least favorite short - get rid of it.

The great Tom Brumley on steel

Not my type of Saturday. For the adventuresome - try the huge corners in the Stumper.

Joaquin 8:07 AM  

You might not be able to teach this old dog any new tricks, but you can teach me some new (to me) expressions: NAME SIGN, DRAG MOTHER, and COOTIE SHOT for starters.

Solving a fun crossword while learning new stuff. What could be better?

Nick D 8:13 AM  

Remember that NECCO stands for the New England Confectionary COmpany, and the final vowel will confuse you no longer.

United States v. Windsor held the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional and permitted same-sex marriage at the federal level.
Obergefell v. Hodges applied the same principle to the states.

pabloinnh 8:20 AM  

And Saturday finally fights back. This one took a while, as it should, so I liked it fine.

Not being around high schoolers any more means I miss things like YEAHSAME, hand up for wanting HUT, both hands up for taking forever to parse SHEHERHERS, learned DRAGMOTHER, and was surprised when my guess at the NOTELL motel was correct, as I thought it might be a little naughty for the gray lady.

WOK and Roll is not bad but our local iteration is Men at WOK.

All in all a very nice Saturday, SE. Some Edginess which gave just the right amount of challenge, so thanks for all the fun.

bocamp 8:36 AM  

Thx, Scott; what an excellent Sat. effort! :)


Definitely on the tough side pour moi.

Wanted Daniel INOUYE, but just couldn't come up with the sp. Departed the NW w/ bubkes.

Managed to get the NE with a fruitful struggle.

The remainder came together slowly, but surely, with the NW being the stickler. Finally got it, save the PUB / PER cross. Thot maybe hUB / hER, but wasn't satisfied, so ran the alpha, and the 'P' lit 'up' like a light BULB. ๐Ÿ’ก

A very worthy challenge; just right for a Sat. puz! :)

@kitshef (7:20 AM yd)

Thx for the Kilordle heads-up. Fun! :)
yd pg -1 (missing a 6er) / W: 3* / WH: 5 / Sed: 18 / Duo: 34 / Kilordle: 115

Peace ๐Ÿ™ ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ฆ ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all ๐Ÿ•Š

Laura 8:43 AM  

I found this tougher than Rex did, but I love the struggle with interesting clues for short words. Lots of ahas once I start getting crosses. Great puzzle, two in a row. A week ago was easy and dull, now this week is raising my expectations. Wonder what next week will bring?

Anonymous 8:43 AM  

Like others, fairly easy at first but tough finish. I agree some fun longs, also agree on disliking related crosses. Biggest peeve: ALOE is not a source of oil - the gel is almost entirely water.

Anonymous 8:52 AM  

Amy: wouldn't say I breezed through this, but it somehow felt breezy. Lots of fun inclusions and clues that stretched the mind a bit. Fingers crossed for a solid Sunday, and it will be a trifecta.

Gary Jugert 8:54 AM  

The southwest ruined everything. Looking at it now I see why. DRAG MOTHER? ROLLERS? GEN? EDIE? And the completely vague Beauties and ___ club. All of them added up to an empty grid.

Oh, and un-clued LOCK/KEY! For the love of Moses, why?

The rest of the puzzle went swimmingly and the delightful phrase COOTIE SHOT reminded me of the kind of bullying schools tolerated in the 70s.

The long downs are impressive (if not exciting), and I particularly like DRAGON EGG, YEAH SAME, and MUPPET SHOW.

Anonymous 9:06 AM  

I’m with Rex. Easy but . . . Never heard of 60D so that little box in center bottom eluded me. I’m ok with that because of the proper name and the cheap cluing on 53D-65A.

Zed 9:10 AM  

Gah! Justified hUB with “I guess that works for mag wheels” and hER year could be a thing and then didn’t think about that section again until I read Rex. What a stupid way to DNF. Gah!

@OffTheGrid - Deal with it. There’s lots of stuff I’d rather not be reminded of, but, you know, reality.

@Anon - Shortz? Hah. My read on him is that he probably is either totally unaware or doesn’t care. I mean, has he ever apologized for “beaner..” I do wonder when they will change the name of the airport.

Oh yeah, the rest of the puzzle. Pretty much what Rex said. Although I actually went over and plopped in OBAMACARE off the C in ACA. That such an anodyne law caused so much right-wing screaming is still amazing. And, of course, they still induce deep fremdschรคmen whenever I hear them taking credit for some element of OBAMACARE that their constituents love. Anyway, thanks all you RWNJs for making two answers easy today.

Hand up for mildly snarling for the concept “used in wellness.” WTF? Canola? Olives? Hell, lard kept me well through my youth (when I was running cross country and so skinny my French teacher gave me the nickname “L’Asperge.”). “Wellness” has been coรถpted as just another fad. Bah. And you kids better get offa my lawn.

SamT 9:50 AM  

I’m pretty sure the clue for WOK (“___ & Roll (punny name for a sushi bar)”) is just incorrect.

I was under the impression that woks are Chinese, not Japanese, and a quick Wikipedia search seems to confirm this. “In Japan, the wok is called a chลซkanabe (ไธญ่ฏ้‹, literally "Chinese pot").”

Searching Google for “Wok and Roll” brings up a ton of restaurants, almost all of which seem to be Chinese or Chinese/Japanese combo restaurants. I am yet to find one that is specifically a sushi restaurant.

RooMonster 9:51 AM  

Hey All !
Fairly easy SatPuz here. Started off typically difficult at first pass through with maybe four answers or so in. Thought, "hoo boy, this will take a while", but started gaining momentum, and ended up at 31 minutes, pretty darn good for me!

Had hiddenMENU for SECRET MENU, awFORGETIT-OHFORGETIT, ETHeL-ETHYL, bio-GEN, think that might be it.

Not too much on the SECRET MENU at In-N-Out, basically Animal Style, or Protein S Animal gets some kind of sauce with grilled onions (I think, been a while since I've eaten there, Animal Style or regular Style ๐Ÿ™‚). Protein Style gets your burger wrapped in lettuce instead of a bun. (Again, going off my (unreliable) memory here.) Anyway, got to get back and have some In-N-Out!

Good puz, Scott. Waiting for the next pandemic, will it be COOTIES? Will it have started at a NO TELL motel?

yd -too embarrassing to tell (I was rushed, yeah that's it!)
Duo 37, rough start, missed 1-2-3-4-7

One F

Anonymous 9:51 AM  

Didn’t like WOK. Woks are Chinese and sushi is Japanese.

Nancy 9:53 AM  

Does a queen really need a mentor? I thought of "The Crown" series with Clair what-was-her-last-name-again?-oh-yes-FOY and remembered that the Queen MOTHER had been very strict and no-nonense with her. Mean, even. But QUEEN MOTHER repeats the clue and anyway it didn't fit. I had a ---GMOTHER. WTF? A RING MOTHER -- someone who guards the royal ring? I gave up and moved EAST. That was considerably better.

Does a DRAGON EGG get hatched in all fantasy novels or is there a particular fantasy novel I should know about?

Why does In-N-Out have a SECRET MENU? How can you order anything?

What a ridiculous clue for SHE/HER/HERS (41A). Don't much like the answer either. Can't tell you how tired I am of pronouns. All of them. (Am I allowed to say that?)

When I ACT NATURAL, am I "playing it cool"? I guess that depends on how cool you think the natural me is.

"Me too" is in the language. YEAH SAME isn't. Or at least it's not in my language.

Plenty crunchy, especially in the West, this puzzle offers a nice Saturday challenge. But I do think it's trying much too hard to be hip, current and "with it".

mathgent 9:55 AM  

In-N-Out is only in five states, all west of the Mississippi. And yet no one is complaining about SECRETMENU. I guess that it is truly "famous."

We have two of their restaurants near where I live in San Francisco. Whenever I pass one, there is a line of cars completely surrounding the building. They are in line for the take out window. I get the double-double, two thin but good-quality patties and two slices of melted cheese, tomato and lettuce. Four dollars.

I don't like the LOCK-KEY interlock. But it could have been worse. The two words could have been separated.

KarenRackle 10:00 AM  

I like any Saturday puzzle that I can finish without googling, such as today. Happy weekend, folks!

Anonymous 10:03 AM  

Rex, you have got to be kidding. Easy Medium? In N Out is only in California and Texas. I have never been to one. Why would I ever be thinking about NECCO products let alone that they had a facility in Revere? Never heard of EDIE Windsor. The 111th Congress is that well known? By number? Aloe does NOT produce oil and Tea tree is so harsh, to say it's used in wellness spas is laughable. GEN CHEM? Are you kidding me? WOK and Roll? Why would a sushi place have a wok? Woks are Chinese. The cluing and expectations for trivia in this puzzle were ridiculous. Horrible puzzle I hated just about every minute of. When you start your write-up with a sentence like 'well it helps if Daniel INOUYE was a gimme', you lose all credibility. Interesting about Inouye, though, and how no one seems to be up in arms to change the airport name.

Zed 10:05 AM  

@Sam T - Methinks thou art being too literal. Still, here you go. And, of course, karaoke...

Teedmn 10:08 AM  

With only one write-over (UNo to UNA), and a below-average Saturday solve time, I have to rate this one easy. My hardest area was the INO__E of the NW. Even after YEAH SURE fell into place, the U of URN had me looking more than once. Obviously U is the obvious answer but my brain had twisted "holder" as the person who calls for the vote or is eligible to vote, not a literal vote holder. Having never seen "Survivor" doesn't help.

I was briefly stymied at the cross-referenced 53D and 65A with _OC_ and _EY but once I thought about what could go in front of _EY, there it was. Why was that hard?

I love that 33D didn't have to reference GoT. Really, there are a surprising number of fantasy novels that involve hatching dragon eggs. Fun clue/answer pair.

The clue for GEOMETRY, 44A, was great.

Like Rex, I don't use ALONE TIME to avoid distractions but to preserve my sanity (some would tell you I have failed at that, but I manage to get a lot of alone time anyway.)

Scott Earl, nice puzzle, thanks!

SamT 10:14 AM  

But… this is a Chinese/Japanese combo restaurant. Hence, they have woks (Chinese) and rolls (Japanese). This was my whole point.

Anonymous 10:16 AM  

Why not? I’m glad I learned of this fact. Why would you be bothered, other than you’re uncomfortable with powerful men being called out for gross behavior. Why would YOU be offended by THAT?

Anonymous 10:27 AM  

Oh man, I had a heck of a time resolving the SW. Missteps and mass erasures several times. That actually made today fun. It hasn't been until the last few years I have felt comfortable just slugging words in and then have to give a whole section a rethink.

Anonymous 10:27 AM  

Why, what?????

Wm. C. 10:29 AM  

Before moving to Revere, Necco's building was on Mass Ave in Cambridge, across the street from the front entrance of MIT. It had a chimney with multi-colored wafer-like layers painted around it, looking like a stack of Necco wafers. I think they moved to low-rent Revere because the Cambridge property could be sold for a lot.

egsforbreakfast 10:32 AM  

I take it, Rex, that your list of SECRETMENU admire does not include Daniel INOUYE.

Alternate clue:

58A. Well, just wear falsies. OHFORGETIT

What did the TEATREE say after it passed the sapling stage? GEOMETRY,

I liked this puzzle and the contrast with yesterday’s. Robyn Weintraub’s was like skiing powder on a gorgeous day. Just exhilarating. Scott Earl’s was like splitting and stacking a cord of wood. If you just keep at it and finish, you feel a joyous pride.

Anonymous 10:39 AM  

Me too. This was my missing letter...

Birchbark 10:45 AM  

ARIA -- Over the last couple of nights, I've been watching the Berlin Opera's 2022 "Siegfried," the second of Wagner's Ring Trilogy. It's the first Wagner opera I've seen. I have the sound cranked -- it really is epic music. @Rex mentions the strenuous work of singing an ARIA. In "Siegfried" in particular, the singers' strength and endurance is remarkable -- each act in this four-hour opera is largely one long scene, with very little by way of entrances and exits to relieve the performers. I have about 40 minutes to go tonight to finish it, right at the part where Siegfried kisses the sleeping Brunhilde.

I decided to watch "Siegfried" because my current reading is an English translation of "The Nibelungenlied," a set of medieval tales that follows the life and death of Siegfried. The opera is more of an alternative-universe prequel to the Nibelungenlied (in which Siegfried's true love is Kreimhild, and Brunhild is an antagonist) than a retelling. We hear briefly about Siegfried's sword and how he slew the dragon that guarded the Nibelung's treasure (key elements of the opera), all of which happen before the Nibelungenlied tales begin.

@Nancy (9:53), my 18-year-old daughter says "YEAH SAME" -- but usually not when I'm talking in Siegfried/Nibelungenlied mode.

BIOMES -- It's a good day to walk through through the meadow (native savannah), woods (maple/basswood), swamp (skunk cabbage), more woods (yellow birch/white pine) and bluff (lichens and Columbine), down to the river (all sorts of things).

Anonymous 10:46 AM  

@Wm. C. "PROPERTY could be sold for a LOT" Har!

Tom in Nashville 10:50 AM  

Medium. Solved everything except the NW corner. Had to look up INOUYE (had no idea). Once I had that I was able to wrap it up quickly.
Had CLIMES instead of BIOMES which slowed me down a bit too.

Tom T 11:13 AM  

I'm with @egsforbreakfast on the "like splitting and stacking a cord of wood" analogy. (Also had a delightful groan at the "TEA TREE/GEe,O'M E TRY" pun.) When I dropped in my final letter--the D in EDIE/ROLEMODEL and the big "Congratulations!" appeared, I did feel that joyous pride.

Like @Lewis, I was forced to throw in total guesses in order to see my way through to some footholds. A very enjoyable 55 minute grind!

I knew I was looking for INOUYE from the clue, but somehow visualized it with an H (with no idea of where that H might fall in the sequence of letters).

I did run across a fun 5 letter Hidden Diagonal Word (HDW) post-solve, which I would clue, perhaps: Uncomfortable neckwear

Answer: NOOSE (begins at 54A, moves to the NW)

Speaking of WOK and Roll, there is an excellent Asian eatery in Wilton Manors (FL) with the catchy name "What the Foh"

Anonymous 11:16 AM  

In-N-Out is actually in seven states (CA, OR, NV, AZ, UT, CO, TX). From their distribution center in Texas, they could reach as far as Illinois, Tennessee and Alabama some day, if they choose to do so. But they have repeatedly stated they have no intentions of expanding further east.

There's one about 2 miles from me that opened a little more than 10 years ago, when they expanded to Texas. It continues to be very popular, with both drive-through lanes packed at lunch. They're fine for a fast-food burger, but I don't care for burgers with "special" or "secret" sauces on them. They have trouble keeping their trademark crossed palm trees viable with the freezes we get here.

15D had me stymied for quite a while. I could not think of any half-hour sketch comedy shows from that era. Had a big frown on my face when I finally realized what the answer was. Agree with @kitshef; it's a variety show, not a sketch comedy show.

Anonymous 11:17 AM  

Hut hut hut hut

Anonymous 11:19 AM  

one of the benefits of being an East Coaster is I've never read any of that about INOUYE. have heard of In-N-Out burger (teeVee and film refs, I suppose), but not that SECRET MENU. I guess that fits with INOUYE?

jae 11:24 AM  

Easy-medium. No real problems with this one. NAME SIGN, DRAG MOTHER, and EDIE (as clued) were WOEs, but the crosses were accessible. Solid Sat. with a nice pride aura, liked it.

Me too for HUt before HUP.

...and speaking of MORSE, the Endeavour series on PBS is excellent! Season 6 premiers this month.

Anonymous 11:35 AM  

For those annoyed by it: GEN chem is short for “General Chemistry” and is similar to Orgo or PChem as shorthand for the class name.

A 11:36 AM  

Didn’t think I could like today’s puzzle as much as yesterday’s, but it turned out they’re both GEMS - today was equal in quality but with more quantity, at least in the TIME it took to solve - even with INOUYE in place. Lots of variety in those 225 squares - ART, music, science, math, herbal remedies, history, MUPPETs, COOTIEs, DRAGONs and DRAG queens. Who can ACT NATURAL with all of that going on?


My sister who lives in Oz told me about this movie. Think I’ll watch it anyway. High DRAG ARIA from Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

TJS 11:44 AM  

Hated every minute of this crap. If I started itemizing I would just be listing about half of the clues and/or answers. I do have to nominate "sheherhers" as one of the most desperate attempts to solve a puzzle problem that I have ever seen. A "debut" answer ? Yeah, no kiddin' .

Mike in Bed-Stuy 12:13 PM  

I believe any total ban on any word is unwise and unconscionable. We can, however, indicate pariah status via cluing. So, for INOUYE, one might clue, "Allegedly sex-offending senator after whom the Honolulu airport is named."

Anonymous 12:14 PM  

Thank you for this. I never did make the mag/magazine connection—even after I’d “solved” the puzzle. Once you fail to see something…

D’Qwellner 12:20 PM  

I don’t think WS is “celebrating” Daniel I. A statue isn’t being built and the theme isn’t related to him. Further, his name has a lot of vowels after all: good crossword fodder even if they become first letters for all the down crossers. Let it go.

Mike in Bed-Stuy 12:20 PM  

@jae 11:24 AM - Interesting how all your WOEs had to do with the culture of marginalized communities—the deaf community and the queer community, in particular. The Edie Windsor case established the unconstitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, which paved the way for the Obergefell case to establish a constitutional right to same-sex marriage under both the due process clause and the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. Again—Trivia, or fundamental historical knowledge, aka cultural capital?

MetroGnome 12:28 PM  

Funny -- I remembered Daniel Inouye as a hero of Watergate, the man whom Haldeman castigated as "that little Jap" after he testified against Nixon and his cronies, and also the man who faced down Oliver North at the 1987 Iran-Contra hearings, which (by right) should have brought down the Reagan presidency. He was the first Japanese-American to serve in the US Senate, and he is still the second longest-serving member (after Robert Byrd). I have this terrible habit of praising public figures for their public accomplishments.

Jill 12:42 PM  

Gen Chem is literally how every chemistry professor I know abbreviates general chemistry. And I know a lot of chemistry professors, as I happen to be one.

Zed 12:55 PM  

@Anon11:35 - I don't think anyone annoyed by GEN chem is annoyed out of ignorance. It is that GEN chem is not much of a thing as a stand alone phrase. Unless otherwise modified we assume the intro chemistry course is called "chem." Yes, GEN chem is defensible as a phrase, but only just.

@MetroGnome - Both can be true. Ypu can think Bill Clinton was a great president and still think he was a bit of a creep when it came to young women. Bill Cosby was hilarious and a criminal. And some behavior can be explained (but not excused) by the behavior being the cultural norm, the "boys will be boys and you just have to learn to deal with it" attitude which many of us grew up in. So now we know (reasonably well) that the senator abused his position of power. Does it undo his accomplishments? No. But the tarnish is thick.

@It's not celebrating someone to put them in the puzzle - how out of the cultural mainstream are you? Check out Twitter the day a rising celebrity of any sort first makes the puzzle and tell me they don't think they are being celebrated. It is often a trending topic.

puzzlehoarder 1:04 PM  

Nice Saturday resistance. If I'm going to limit myself to one puzzle a week it should be one like this. HUT before HUP. Parsing 41A took a while. Ironically I thought it was going toward a motHER or fatHER answer since it is pared with DRAGMOTHER. That last phrase is a new one to me. The SW corner was last and the quickest to fill in. A bit of a victory lap.

yd -0

sixtyni yogini 1:08 PM  

Agree w ๐Ÿฆ– - on strong and weak points.
And will add SHEHERHERS to the latter. Come on!! - Yes, those pronouns ARE used in some bios (and supposed to be in 3rd person) but IMHO it’s a lame clue! ๐Ÿ˜œ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜œ

YEAHSAME here for those who didn’t like this ๐Ÿงฉ but enjoyed a few of the interesting long answers.
Still, ‘twas boring not much fun forYT. ๐Ÿ˜œ๐Ÿคท‍♀️๐Ÿ˜œ

Every day learn something here. I thought great! when I saw INOUYE - credit and CW time to a Japanese American (think he was Nisei). Sorry to hear he was not just a war hero and senator. ๐Ÿ˜” However, glad to be educated, ๐Ÿฆ–. And always good to know truth - even if i take it with grain of salt…and do not rush to b&w judgement.

And apparently the name and word choices debate continues. And that’s ok too (if it stays impersonal)
Aaaaah, opinions!

MetroGnome 1:31 PM  

@Zed -- Okay, I'm still waiting for the clue "Famous French novelist and serial adulterer whose sexual conquests included her 16-year-old-stepson." Answer? COLETTE

Masked and Anonymous 1:52 PM  

Medium-hard, at our house. Lotsa long no-knows: SECRETMENU. NAMESIGN. DRAGMOTHER. SHEHERHERS. Also kinda GEN (Chem). EDIE. COOTIESHOT. Survivor vote holder. Fortunately, all these except URN were Across answers … so the Downs helped clarify a lotta stuff. But, still -- lost precious nanoseconds.

Clues were of the usual less-than-neighborly SatPuz variety. Shoot, poor & dense M&A just figured out that dang NAN clue, one hour post-solvequest. Gramma vs. NANna -- doh.

staff weeject pick: NAN. honrable mention to GEN.


Best Ow de Speration: YEAHSAME. Very loosey-goosey conversational. Opens things up for a future HUHWHATOHOKAY, or somesuch. har. I want to go to there.

Best spellin challenge: INOUYE. Knew who they was talkin about, but sheesh.

Thanx for the MORSE CODAS and other fun, Mr. Earl dude. Good, feisty job. M&A suffered appropriately.

Masked & Anonymo5Us


jae 2:09 PM  

@MiBS - Just to be clear I do not equate WOEs with trivia. WOEs are just that, stuff, for what ever reason, I am not familiar with. The good thing about crosswords is that I’m always learning new stuff. I do know that the SCOTUS ruling on the Defense of Marriage act paved the way for gay marriages, I did not know it was the EDIE Windsor case specifically. Now I do. I also don’t watch reality TV which is someplace where I could have come across the DRAG MOTHER term.

In the same vein, I thought my knowledge of American History was fairly robust until my grandson sent me this video on Neoslavery. Just a heads, up it’s a long one.

Robert Lockwood Mills 2:20 PM  

Rex is obsessed with the private character of people whose names appear in crossword puzzles. By his standard, we should never see IVAN THE TERRIBLE, or KAISER WILHELM, or BENITO MUSSOLINI, JOSEF STALIN, or (now) VLADIMIR PUTIN in a puzzle.

Crossword puzzles are not tests of character. History is full of bad guys, and many historical figures are bad and good in equal measure.. When I sit down to do a puzzle, I'm not seeking a history lesson. Daniel Inouye was a U.S. Senator from Hawaii. He was at once a war hero and a sexual predator; why do we have to hear a lament about his name appearing at 1-Across?

jberg 2:31 PM  

My wife, a biochemist and toxicologist, taught in a chemistry department for 40 years. Believe me, the introductory course is called GEN CHEM. All the courses are "chem," so that's not precise enough.

I think it was in 1969 or 1970 that I was ordered to report for induction. I was hoping to get a medical deferment for my allergies, so on the way to my physical I drove past the NECCO plant in Cambridge (thanks, @Wm C, for explaining that they'd moved, I was puzzled), hoping the strong chocolate aroma would cause a reaction. But they must have been making their eponymous wafers that day, no chocolate was evident.

I met Daniel INOUYE a couple times in 1964, when I was an intern for another Senator. He once called me personally to explain why he couldn't support a bill I had helped write; a classy move, IMO. I hadn't heard about his sexual offenses, and am saddened by the news.

I had a malapop at ION-- I put in Ish, just a little way from where it belonged. NAME SIGN took care of that one. Also sled before TBAR; otherwise everything was fine, though kind of slow for me.

ISAAC WATTS in diagonal corners wrote "Joy to the World," among other hymns. Sort of a SECRET theme.

DigitalDan 2:39 PM  

My introductory Chemistry class was called Phys-Chem, a delightful historical romp through the alternating advances made over the centuries in developing the theories and practices of both fields. I wish I still had the book.

okanaganer 2:55 PM  

Probably my least fave Saturday in quite a while. Just too much stuff I had no clue on: NECCO, SAME SAME, GEN CHEM, In n Out, EDIE. But my worst problem was I just couldn't let go of GOLDEN EGG... getting a fairy tale mixed up with a fantasy book (a genre I hate, BTW).

I was also very disappointed in PUB... when I saw "Mag" in the clue, with no period, I decided it couldn't be an abbrev. So I finished with HUB, thinking "Mag wheel" or something.

[Spelling Bee: yd 6:40 to pg but stalled at -1, missing this 7er which was a definite should've.]

Anonymous 3:53 PM  

Well, for the short time I was a Chem major, it was just Chem 101. At two different schools, no less. Organic went OK, but I was done in by PChem; too much Gawd awful glass washing.

Zed 4:06 PM  

I have no doubt that GEN Chem is in the course catalog. But is it "in the language?" Do first year students answer "GEN chem" or "chem" when asked what class they are taking? I never heard anyone say "GEN Chem" but I went to a small liberal arts college where the current lowest chemistry class is CHEM 110 Chemical Composition and Structure with Lab. I don't know what that class was called back in the day, but my guess is it was something very close to that.

bocamp 4:15 PM  

@jae (11:24 AM )

Now that I have my PBS Passport, I'm looking forward to watching the Endeavor MORSE series. Thx for the heads-up! :)

@okanaganer (2:55 PM)

I had hUB originally (thinking of the MAG wheel connection). I did notice the comma, but still felt hUB / hER was off. Finally twigged on the 'P' (which immediately made sense. I'd guess that both MAG & PUB are so common as to not be considered abbrevs.

Still missing 6ers from last Sun. & yd. :(

Another excellent NYT Acrostic today!
td pg -4 / W: 3* / WH: 4

Peace ๐Ÿ™ ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ฆ ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness to all ๐Ÿ•Š

CDilly52 4:58 PM  

Mercy!!! I feel like I have been whip-sawed these last two days. Yesterday’s puzzle was pure unabashed joy; as so many Robyn W’s are, followed by today’s painful and excruciatingly “Saturday-ishly” slow solve. Honestly, I felt as though I had contracted complete brain death over night! Not a hint of a connection to Scott Earl’s offering, and no real momentum.

Got a little bit of a start down with SHE HER HERS, TEA TREE, GEOMETRY, WOK and the remainder of the SE. I really did not want the answer to be COOTIE SHOT, because unless they have made a sudden comeback, I thought playgrounds and elementary schools had been fully inoculated agains this cruel, cruel word. It was never in my 43 year old daughter’s lexicon.

It still hurts me to remember especially my friend, Greg B being victimized every single day for years because of his facial reconstruction from a seriously cleft palate and his remaining severe speech impediment. Each day someone gave him“permanent” COOTIES through an elaborate manner of “attack” and saying the phrase “COOTIES, no gives, no takes,” which meant that until the next day’s recess, the victim had permanent COOTIES. And to this good day, I have no idea what that actually meant. I only know that the victim(s) were shunned completely. I often had the “bugs” myself because of my unwillingness to participate in such ridiculous cruelty.

I was sent home one day, though for giving Ralphie M a bloody nose because I just wanted him to stop the taunting and he wanted to see how far he could push me. In high school, we became friends. Ralphie told me he wanted a friend he knew would always stand up for him. I (sanctimoniously, I’m sure) told him I stand up for my friends who are in the right or something line that and told him he could be a friend “on probation.”

Thanks to my sweet but stern and always fair and humane Gran, name calling and “games” of humiliation were something just absolutely “not done.” Just seeing the word COOTIE today made me think of all the little life lessons that made me forever the champion of the underdog, the little guy, the un- or underserved, and of how hurtful words can be. I’d like to add COOTIE to that list of words that should never be seen in a crossword.

Anonymous 5:36 PM  

Everyone calls it Gen Chem...students and profs alike. I'm a retired latter.

Hartley70 6:22 PM  

This Puzzle came in a few minutes under my usual Saturday time so I give it a medium difficulty rating. DRAGONEGG says Game of Thrones to me, @Nancy. DRAGMOTHER gave me some trouble because I couldn’t see two DRAGs meeting at the D. The MOTHER ending made sense, although it was new to me, as was SECRETMENU. This was a puzzle that looked so difficult early this morning, but when I returned hours later, in a glance I could see the answers that had eluded me.
My first entry was NOTELL and I laughed as I typed because I couldn’t believe it was correct. I do love a laugh as I solve.
I mixed up the U and Y in INOUYE and I continued unperturbed since I was unaware of the scandal.
COOTIES were the ultimate horror of my 1950s childhood. I had no idea at the time what type of creepy crawly they were, but now I can put some names to them with even more revulsion. Scabies or lice, anyone?
I had a good time overall with this puzzle.

Charlie 6:22 PM  

Aloe does not have or make an oil. It is a gel.

A 6:33 PM  

Went out of town for music work and then helping-brother-with-new-house work, then had to play catch up after getting home. I kept up with the nytxw but I’ve really missed reading you guys.

I’m trying not to look up everything I found interesting, so thanks to @kitshef for unearthing and sharing the Florida exception!

@Lewis, you created an improved clue for DRAG MOTHER - mentor to a royal?

@Birchbark, thanks for the ARIA/Nibelungenlied info, and the BIOMES imagery.


Too many funny and touching and interesting comments to list. Well, I can’t resist pointing out the irony of the very first commenter complaining about OFL’s INOUYE elaboration by reposting the entire “screed.”

Finally, re ISH and ‘WOK and roll’ -, a site about the east Atlanta area, reported news of a restaurant closing: “There’s no more Pho King around in Decatur.”

Anoa Bob 6:45 PM  

I thought the triple stacked nines were worth the price of admission. That southwest threesome is especially nice.

I too cringe when I see "wellness" used with marketing gimmicks like "oils", "cleanses", "detoxs" and the like. These are designed to extract $ from gullible people hoping to find an easy and quick shortcut to "wellness". I gave the clue used for both 38A and 40A "Source of oils used in wellness" a vigorous double middle finger salute.

I remembered INOUYE but hardly any details of his biography. The comments here today remind me of Shakespeare's "The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones".

Anonymous 7:13 PM  

I imagine one reason the clue for YEAHSURE was so horrible is that the answer is “YEAHSAME”

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Anonymous 3:18 PM  

And I, for one, thank you!

Anonymous 3:26 PM  

And I thank you ou g F or that!

LBintheBK 7:28 AM  

I think he meant that he didn't like how this name was included in the puzzle, because yeah it brings up this horrible person who repeatedly committed assault. why would a constructor want to include that name? since they did, it makes sense to me to educate us readers what crimes they committed and why they don't deserve inclusion in a puzzle. it's particularly confusing given the progressiveness of other entries in the puzzle. sucks to see this guy have a prominent feature like 1-Across in NYT puzzle. but since they have *already* been brought up and reminded many of us of his existence, why would you want to protect the facts about them?

LBintheBK 7:29 AM  

ditto. got this square wrong and didn't really get it, thank you

LBintheBK 7:30 AM  

I think that was just a typo. No need to be rude.

LBintheBK 7:31 AM  

What's the issue with SHEHERHERS? I thought it was a fabulous entry

LBintheBK 7:32 AM  

took me a while to get it but then it clicked. Gen Chem, yup that's a thing, sorry to tell you @son volt

LBintheBK 7:34 AM  

i was thinking the same. substitute "pan-asian" for "sushi" maybe

LBintheBK 7:34 AM  

you're allowed to say what you wish of course. what is ridiculous about the clue for SHEHERHERS? those words are certainly commonly included in bios these days

LBintheBK 7:35 AM  

the east coast knows about and laments the lack of access to in-n-out and their not-so-secret secret menu!

LBintheBK 7:36 AM  

yah @samt they actually just gave more credence to your original point

LBintheBK 7:38 AM  

I'm with you @mike in bedstuy

LBintheBK 7:39 AM  


LBintheBK 7:39 AM  

do their accomplishments excuse molesting and raping people?

LBintheBK 7:41 AM  

that's a sweet story and sentiment. I'm glad to hear of this vignette and I'm sorry to hear that this entry was triggering for you

LBintheBK 7:42 AM  


Anonymous 2:09 PM  

Shame on Rex for smearing Inouye’s name using the flimsiest of facts. Gillibrand entered theUS Senate in 2009 — when Inouye was 85 years old. So what if he called her chubby? Boorish , yes — but Rex has no justification for linking his comment with “rape and molestation.” Inouye was a five foot tall, one-armed octogenarian! He was a hero in peace and war. Fact- based charges are always acceptable. Insane fact-free accusations, however, undermine common decency. Please delete Rex’ unsubstantiated attack.

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