Wrapping weights / SAT 6-11-22 / Banned backyard game / Ruler chosen through Islamic process of Shura / Certain crossbred lapdog / Travel aid in science fiction / Queen Wheat City / Vehicles in the Phantom Menace / Ironic word before an expletive / Drink with dry vermouth paradoxically / Authority in the field informally / NBA general manager Brand

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Constructor: Sid Sivakumar

Relative difficulty: Medium


THEME: none 

Word of the Day:
Noomi RAPACE (37D: Noomi ___, lead actress of 2009's "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo") —
Noomi Rapace (Swedish: [ˈnǒːmɪ raˈpasː] née Norén; born 28 December 1979) is a Swedish actress. She achieved international fame with her portrayal of Lisbeth Salander in the Swedish film adaptations of the Millennium seriesThe Girl with the Dragon TattooThe Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest. In 2010, she was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Actress for her performance in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and for an International Emmy Award for Best Actress for the miniseries version of the trilogy. She has also starred as Anna in Daisy Diamond (2007), Leena in Beyond (2010), Anna in The Monitor (2011), Madame Simza Heron in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011), Elizabeth Shaw in Prometheus (2012), Beatrice in Dead Man Down (2013), Nadia in The Drop (2014), Raisa Demidova in Child 44 (2015), and the seven lead roles in What Happened to Monday(2017). (wikipedia)
• • •

A properly tough Saturday, somewhat more interesting than yesterday's puzzle, but I still don't really see much in the way of marquee fill or exciting seed entries. Usually you start a themeless with some cooler longer entries that you want to use, and build around them, and so when I don't see a handful of real sizzlers on a Friday or Saturday, I wonder what the point was, aside from competently filling in a 72-entries-or-less grid. The only answer that really got my attention (in a good way) was "WHO CAN SAY?!," which has that colloquial tang I'm always a sucker for. WET MARTINI would've been lovely but the clue on it was so awful that the answer was ruined for me (46A: Drink with dry vermouth, paradoxically). Hey, you know what is also a [Drink with dry vermouth]? A DRY MARTINI. The wetness of a WET MARTINI is not a result of the ingredient per se, as the clue implies, but is instead just a matter of proportion (WET MARTINIs simply have more vermouth). You could have done something with the irony of a drink's getting wetter by adding more of something dry, but the clue makes zero reference to proportion (which, again, is the CORE issue in a WET MARTINI), and so the whole thing is a hard fail. Paradox, shmaradox; a fine answer spoiled. Maybe solvers got excited by POD RACERS? (23A: Vehicles in "The Phantom Menace"). Not this solver. Ditto MEAT CASES (9D: Some supermarket displays). SHAPEWEAR actually seems like a freshish entry (13A: Some spandex garments). It's not showy, but it's part of the sartorial spectrum that I don't think has been represented much in the grid. I'm having trouble imagining a HIGH STEP that doesn't involve show horses or maybe a ... what's that person who leads a marching band called? Ah, drum major, right. Maybe those in fact are the desired referents (33A: Walk or run in a showy way). That answer has a little flash. But while all these answers fit together nicely, and there are no weak or off-putting parts of the grid, as a whole it still felt a little flat. Lacking in high points. Which I guess is what "flat" means. So there you go.


The names seem like things that could've really tripped solvers up. I know LUPE Fiasco and ELTON Brand pretty well, so those didn't get me, but Noomi RAPACE definitely got me despite the fact that I literally looked her up earlier this week. My wife was solving one of Joon Pahk's excellent Rows Garden puzzles and they involve a lot of six-letter words arranged in a circular pattern—these are the "roses" in the garden (there are also literal straight "rows" that run through said "roses," which are clued separately, but I digress...). She finished the puzzle but couldn't match one of the completed "roses" with the clues on the list. It was an actress clue. So I tried to parse RAPACE from the circular arrangement of letters, and having wondered aloud "is RAPACE someone?" my wife then looked her up. And sure enough, she's a reasonably successful actress who has been in ... I want to say absolutely nothing that I've ever seen. She somehow has managed to get through my movie radar completely (I watch 350+ movies a year since the pandemic, though admittedly most of them have been from last century). So I learned her name from a puzzle and completely and utterly forgot it three days later when I needed it. Does not bode well for my senior-year solving. Oh well. I managed. With crosses. As one does.


Notes:
  • 19A: "Weird ..." ("IT'S ODD...") — had "HOW ODD..." at first. "Weird" means "odd," so I don't love the clue / phrase correspondence here (no accounting for "IT'S"), but the phrases do mean roughly the same thing, so whatever.
  • 7D: Authority in the field, informally (REF) — anything might be a REFerence. Capital "A" Authority not actually required. Again, not sure what the clues are trying to do today. [I'm being told this clue is referring (!) to a REFeree. Ah, *that* "field." Got it. That makes much more sense.]
  • 20A: Button on a Facebook post (REACTION) — really trying to stay off Facebook, which is, in general, both cesspool and timesuck. I thought this would be an actual button, but it's just a broad category of button. The "button" on my FB is just "Like," which you hover over in order to see REACTION options. Which are also "buttons"? OK.
  • 25D: One side of a fast-food restaurant (COLESLAW) — "of" is doing a loooooooooot of work here. "In" or "at" are way, way more apt, but then you wouldn't get misdirected (as I def. was), so sure, "of."
  • 17D: Study buds? (EAR PLUGS) — I work at a University and you know what students have in their ears when they are "study"ing (and seemingly all other times). Ear Buds. That was all I could think of. To me, EAR PLUGS are for concerts. But apparently there's also a whole ear plug industry aimed at students. I did not know this.
  • 26A: Ollas, e.g. (STEW POTS) — embarrassingly confused my crosswordese here and imagined an OAST, not an Olla ... and therefore was looking for some kind of ... oven, I think. I knew Ollas were for food, but, yeah, just glitched on how they were for food.
  • 43A: Willingness to listen (OPEN EARS) — well I didn't want EARS for (glaringly) obvious reasons. I wanted OPENNESS. Because "EAR," as we've seen, is Already In The Grid. A truly bizarre and unfortunate dupe.
  • 38D: Wrapping weights (TARES) — i.e. the weight of the wrapping (or other container). When you're trying to measure the weight of something, you don't want to measure its "wrapping," so you correct for the weight of the wrapping—that's the tare weight. TARES are also injurious weeds in the Bible, but only if you're solving a puzzle circa 1978. Seriously, Shortz ditched that [Biblical weed] clue as soon as he took over (~1994) and it hasn't been heard from since (last appearance: Aug., 1993).
  • 41D: Banned backyard game (JARTS) — oh to have grown up in a time of great backyard danger! Wait a second, I did grow up in that time! It was great! I mean, if you ignore the impaled body parts! Great, I say! JARTS are a brand of lawn darts. The game has largely been superseded by Cornhole (at least in these parts).
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

90 comments:

Anonymous 6:17 AM  

Found this to be a pretty Dull puzzle, void of any interesting answers.

And so it is... 6:29 AM  

I assumed "authority in the field" for REF meant "referee," not "reference"

Gary Jugert 6:33 AM  

Easier to do than yesterday's, but still plenty tough. No cheats today, but more research on people, places and things required. It's a good Saturday puzzle. Did it while trapped in isolation and watching an entertaining basketball final between the Warriors and Celtics. That Steph Curry can play.

Yays:

TIME WARP and POD RACERS both fake and basically a religion.

HOLY [expletive]... I am assuming our usual line-up of naughty-bit crazed junior editors went home to their moms' houses after school let out as this clue sounds like it was written by an adult.

COLESLAW was a groaner. Nice.

PARROTS, HAMSTER and PIANIST were all worth the struggle.

Boos:

EPSOM and anything to do with horse racing. Go away oppulant displays of privilege. More salt please.

ENID... I wish I knew how many times this has been in a puzzle I've done. Way too often. Seriously, if you're known for your grain elevator, good for you. But millions of crossworders are being forced onto their Wikipedia page and it feels wrong.

OPEN EARS and EAR PLUGS... actually I don't care, but several commenters in the past say you're not supposed to do this. One's open, one's closed. WHO CAN SAY when you have too many ears?

PORKIE (see oppulant displays of privilege above). I HATE IT. Get your dog from a rescue for goodness sakes.

Tee-Hee:

TANLINE with a great grown-up clue. No mention of binoculars.

Joaquin 6:39 AM  

Whenever I see Sid's name as the constructor the first thing I do is make an appointment with my proctologist, because I know I am about to get my ass kicked. Today was no exception.

Roberto 6:47 AM  

I thought puzzle was fine. A few obscure names but open ears and ear plug is a sloppy edit

Anonymous 6:48 AM  

Worse than two EARs, there’s two COLE-s in the grid, both downs and close together (25D and 32D). Just seems lazy. I finished this puzzle in record time for a Saturday.

Eustace Tilley 6:56 AM  

Tig and Meeting Cute.

Lewis 7:18 AM  

What a boon, what an asset is Sid to Crosslandia. HOLY moly, he is a virtuoso, with sterling constructing chops (here’s a 62-worder, spotlessly filled), wit, humor, eye for appealing answers, and what we see today, wordplay mastery.

Thirteen wordplay clues that rate not simply smiles, but exclamation points. Cream-of-the-crop clues for PIANIST, TAN LINE, MINORS, LIST, PARROTS, CITY PLANS, WELDS, T-SHIRTS, COLE SLAW, NCAA, HOLY, PITY, and DOING. Sheesh! Heaven.

Woo-hoos for such lovely answers as HIGHSTEP, WHO CAN SAY?, TAN LINE, HASSLE-FREE, SHAPEWEAR, and HIGHSTEP (those last two are NYT debuts).

Crossword excellence in every aspect, on display, right here, today.

Sid, first and foremost, congratulations on your wedding this coming Friday, and much joy and richness in your life ahead. And second, thank you for this beauty of a puzzle, which so amazed and elated me. I am thrilled you found crosswords in your life journey, and you make me so glad that I did!

Zed 7:52 AM  

The bird, Skywalker to cross reference with POD RACERS, or AN I with some letteral clue? Really just not an option that doesn’t wrinkle the nose at the stench of ese.
And ENID, OK. Can the long missed Edina, MN be far behind (side note, Edina has a pretty good HS boy’s ultimate team this year. No mention of ACNE in the write-up)?

Otherwise put me on team @Lewis today. Well, with one exception. What fast food restaurant has COLE SLAW as a side in 2022? I assume there must be one, but lawdy that had me befuddled because I associate COLE SLAW with BBQ and fried fish places. But otherwise, @Lewis’ LIST is spot on.

Conrad 7:58 AM  


Transport before TIMEWARP at 1A, underWARE before SHAPEWARE at 13A, toner before REAMS at 22A, ames before ENID at 15A, legoPLANS before CITYPLANS at 25A, OPENmind before OPENEARS at 43A, fullTONES before SEMITONES at 49A.

Luckily I knew MAME (the musical) and made a few fortunate guesses. Agree with Medium for a Saturday.

I used to feel like @Joaquin about Sid Sivakumar, but I must be adapting because recently I've found his puzzles tough but approachable.

Zed 7:59 AM  

FYI - ENID has 727 puzzle appearances. Edina a paltry 99. TBF, ENID also gets Arthurian and at least two authors as clues besides Wheat Central Oklahoma. Edina is almost exclusively the Minneapolis suburb. Time to bring back Edina as the poetic reference to Edinburg.

SouthsideJohnny 8:00 AM  

I loved SHAPEWEAR - which just sounds so cool. Apparently it is a really tight fitting rubber-like suit that is intended to squish (or at least rearrange) your blubber. It reminds me of those things that women used to wear like two hundred years ago with the ropes to make their stomachs 6 inches in diameter (Corsets?). Is SHAPEWEAR safe and legit, or is it a gimmicky fad that will be here today, gone tomorrow ? One can learn so much on a Saturday.

I’m a yes on ELTON and a no on EPSOM - so 50/50 on Saturday PPP is a victory for me. Unfortunately I took the oh-fer on TIG, LUPE, RAPACE, the dog food guy, the DALI’s book title, ENID and of course POD RACERS.

I miss Robyn - if you know her, please send her an empty grid and a dictionary and let her know she is welcome any time.

Anonymous 8:28 AM  

Wrong - to make a dry Martini you gaze towards France while pouring the gin.

No Vermouth.

Kate 8:36 AM  

I had parents for PARROTS because my son was sure that I didn’t know what I was talking about when he was a teenager. Alo didn’t know JARTS but got there with crosses.

Son Volt 8:39 AM  

Back to back low word count grids is neat - today’s though is clued and filled elegantly and brought a nice flow to the solve. I’m a nerd so POD RACERS was cool. ROCKSTARS over DALAI LAMA is apt and love the clueing on TAN LINE and PIANIST.

A few nits - having “tone” in the clue for 34d crossing TONES in 49a produced a side eye - as did doubling up on EAR/EARS.

Agree with @Z for the most part on COLE SLAW - I guess if we expand “fast food” maybe?

Unlike my sisters - I never adopted my mother’s taste for ENID Blyton - but What’s With Terry?

Highly enjoyable Saturday solve.

kitshef 8:39 AM  

EAR rings before PLUGS and that felt soooooo right.

IT’S ODD … this felt so much harder than yesterday’s but didn’t take any longer to complete. Trouble getting a foothold and in the NW in general, but then I think the bottom must have gone very quickly, so I had a lead built up by the time I had to sweat through the tough NE quadrant.

Jar Jar took a lot of the criticism for Phantom Menace, but for me what really killed the movie was the interminable pod race.

DrBB 8:45 AM  

Once again I find it's not the quantity of obscure PPPs but the placement. RAPACE and LUPE both acted as "name blockers" (is that a term? should be) that made it hard to get out of their respective corners. I really feel the heavy hand of the constructor when they do that. And it's not that it's unfair, just that the whole issue with PPP is that they rarely result in anything but a "Meh" response when you finally crack them. These were definitely "meh" for me.

Beezer 8:57 AM  

@Joaquin pretty much wrapped it up for me…HOLY moley! Interesting at what @Gary Jugert said because I thought yesterday was a walk in the park compared to today. I’m sure this was brilliant but for whatever reason I checked out fairly early in terms of the enjoyment quotient. Maybe I woke up in an impatient mood so my bad.

I got messed up early on “The Oaks” clue because I think of that as the 3year old fillies race at Churchill Downs. The locals call it “The Oaks” but I see it is actually called the Kentucky Oaks and that I should have known the moniker came from Epsom.

I bet @Nancy was pleased to see MAME as part of the PPP today…wink.

Blue Stater 8:58 AM  

Hardest puzzle I can remember. Easily 80% of the clue-answer pairs involved phenomena I've never heard of. Ghastly.

Beezer 9:00 AM  

@Zed, The only fast food restaurant that comes to mind for me with respect to COLESLAW is KFC.

Anonymous 9:01 AM  

Actually you open the bottle of vermouth and bow toward France.

Carola 9:14 AM  

Challenging for me. All I could come up with at first pass was JARTS x JENGA and GEN Y x DOING - so there was some satisfaction in being able to finish the puzzle from quite small beginnings. But having to chew my way through EAR PLUGS, POD RACERS, MEAT CASES, STEW POTS, and Facebook's taking up 8 spaces of real estate...low reward for this solver.

Gary Jugert 9:21 AM  

Oh it was definitely Jar Jar. He killed the whole franchise.

Nancy 9:50 AM  

I'm convinced that Einstein couldn't have solved this puzzle any more than I could without cheating on TIG, LUPE and RAPACE. For me, it was a moral victory to only cheat on three unfathomable names -- but three were enough as it turned out.

Still my solve was far, far, far from HASSLE-FREE. (Which began life as tuSSLE-FREE, "confirmed' by [graphic] ARTISTS instead of TSHIRTS at 1D.) And ARTISTS was "confirmed" by ASTRO MAP instead of TIME WARP for the sci-fi "travel aid" at 1A.

What a complete mess my NW corner is! An unsightly combination of ineffectively-erased and written-over.I doubt you'd be able to read it. If I turned it in at a puzzle tournament, I'd be disqualified.

A PORKIE is a mix of a YORKIE and what? Peke? Pom? Pug?

Did you realize that marshlands can be REEDY, wEEDY and sEEDY?

It wasn't so much that there were so many names but that they were all indecipherable unless you already knew them and, as per usual, situated in the worst possible places. Making this puzzle quite a bit of a slog for me.

Sixthstone 9:52 AM  

Wow. Toughest puzzle in a while for me. Very oblique cluing that led to a lot of compound word answers that are hard to parse without crosses. Very little short stuff (only FOUR 3-letter answers) to get a foothold. But eventually, I worked it out. I felt more relief than joy in conquering this one. As Rex noted, the fill wasn't stellar, but I'd love to have more Saturdays like this one. With solid time and effort spent working this out, I now feel I've earned some R&R this weekend.

Nits:
NCAA (Clued as "What has new seeds each spring? abbr.") - The NCAA is the governing body for all college sports. It doesn't have seeds. The NCAA basketball tournament is in the spring and has seeds, but NCAA is far too broad to represent that single event.

EAR dupe - really? NYT Saturday with a blatant duplication is an embarrassment.

RooMonster 10:01 AM  

Hey All !
How did a Martini become a thing? Can't one just ask for a glass of gin? Vermouth or not, is it the olive that distinguishes it from a plain ole glass of gin? Curioser and curioser...

Found the Upper Half of today's puz much thornier than the Bottom. My solve went SE, SW, NW (via two Googs), NE (via one Goog). Started getting angsty after a bit of staring-and-getting-nowhere.

TIME WARP is iffily clued. Sure, you can lawyer that it's a "travel aid", but I couldn't get Teleporter/Transporter outta the ole brain. Wanted artIsTS for TSHIRTS (regardless that we had that same clue for the same answer a few days ago), and EPSOM was a WOE.

Ah, PITY me. The three Googs, plus a Check Puzzle use, constitutes this as a Cheat-Complete. ©tm. Har.

There's a story somewhere in here. I'll leave it up to @Gill to come up with a better one than I could!

yd -8 (on a short list, ouch!), should'ves 6
Duo - skipped

One F
RooMonster
DarrinV

Sasha 10:04 AM  

@Zed

Fast food restaurants specializing in fried chicken usually have COLESLAW as a side:

KFC, as @Beezer mentioned
Popeyes
Church’s
Bojangles

all offer COLESLAW


Hartley70 10:26 AM  

The cluing misdirection in this puzzle definitely slowed the solve, but that’s what I like on a Saturday. Everywhere it was possible to read a clue incorrectly, I did for quite a long few minutes. But that aha moment is the best! TIG, LUPE, and ANI were too obscure for me, but they were fairly crossed so I have no complaints. RAPACE was too too tricky because I knew Rooney Mara had played Lisbeth Salander in the Dragon Tattoo film I had seen. While I’m sure it was made first, I don’t even remember the Swedish language version with Noomi, so it may not have had wide release here. I thought a poodle/yorkie cross was a POokie, much nicer than a PORKIE in my opinion.
I found this a really interesting Saturday solve!

Anonymous 10:37 AM  

@Nancy, they can also be soggy or boggy.

egsforbreakfast 10:41 AM  

I put my EARPLUGS into my OPENEARS and said to my friend COLE, MAN, COLES LAW about COLESLAW should be the law of the land.

Is LUPE Fiasco a RAPACE?

If you’re going to nit about EAR and COLE (I think I just evolved the language by lazily employing “nit” as a verb), you might as well throw in MA (MASSAGE, MAME, MMA, DALAILAMA, WETMARTINI and, of course, our camping pal COLEMAN).

Enjoyed the puzzle a lot. Thanks, Sid Sivakumar.

Nancy 10:46 AM  

@Beezer (8:57) -- Not being a Jerry Herman fan and never having seen MAME nor listened to the album, I actually had to run the alphabet to get MAME when I had ?A?E. Can you believe that??? (I did have the good grace to slap myself harshly on the wrist while intoning: "Bad Nancy! Bad Nancy!") Also, @Beezer, I also thought at first of the fillies' race at Churchill Downs for the OAKS clue.

My favorite witticism so far from the commentariat comes from Southside Johnny at 8:00 about SHAPEWEAR: Apparently it is a really tight fitting rubber-like suit that is intended to squish (or at least rearrange) your blubber.

Wonderful. I indeed felt this puzzle was trying to tell me something, what with SHAPEWEAR and the CORE clue (32A). I plopped in CORE without hesitation, based on what a friend -- also of my [now] Very Great Age said to me last year when I told her that I absolutely cannot stand on one leg for even as much as 4 seconds and that I never could, not even when I was 15. "You know I've always had questionable balance, Joanne," I said. "Probably something about my inner ear."

"Nonsense!" pronounced Joanne, who has 1) danced her entire life and 2)hasn't gained an ounce since she was 18. "It's because you have no CORE!!!"

(Only a *friend* of more than 60 years can say that to you, right?

So today's big question: If I put on SHAPEWEAR, will I then be able to stand on one leg?

Anonymous 10:48 AM  

Since when is Oklahoma part of the midwest?

Whatsername 10:53 AM  

Excellent Saturday as I have come to expect from this constructor. Lots of fun misdirects as in WELDS, NCAA, COLESLAW and TAN LINE - every one of which tripped me up but in a very good way. Instead of frowning in frustration they made me want to go do a little HIGH STEP dance. Wonder if that’s anything like @GILL’s fandango tango.

Loved the kickoff of TIME WARP/T-SHIRTS, even though I kept trying to make it SPACE MAP and some sort of ARTS. JANGA crossing JARTS was a nice touch too. Discovered I own an OLLA but WHO knew that’s what it’s called? And I have a friend with a 50 year old PARROT who would seriously challenge the clue for 8D.

Only saw the film version of the musical but Auntie MAME is HIGH on my list of all time favorite books. Call me crazy but I just yesterday commented to a friend (Hi @Crimson Devil) that even though I detest what her political party has become, IMHO Liz Cheney is a total ROCK STAR for being one of the few hold on to her principles amidst the cesspool of her peers.

Teedmn 11:02 AM  

Another fairly easy themeless this week. This took me a bit longer than yesterday's, as it should, but never really held me up except for that NW again. Although I got my first entry at my WELDS aha, the 1D, 2D, 3D threesome just wouldn't fill in. I was pretty sure about SHAPE WEAR and TIME WARP but refused to put in SHAPE because I knew TSunami weren't graphic or plural.

I did cross out the F in REF when HASSLE FREE didn't occur to me right away because it was a kealoa with REp, per the clue.

I spent some time wondering if Lego art was a thing re: 25A's clue.

Off the H in place at 30A, I pondered why Hell would be ironic in front of an expletive. After running the expletive alphabet, I realized Hell didn't belong in front of any of theme. HOLY moly!

Sid, nice Saturday grid, thanks, and congrats on your upcoming nuptials.

jberg 11:08 AM  

I put in fAME first, while muttering under my breath that it was not really a "classsic." Then I realized that most supermarkets do not sell or display jEAT.

Two big problems for me. First, I read the clue number wrong and put 'in awe' for 4D rather than AWED for 6D; plus I couldn't remember LUPE, which I finally had to look up. TIG Notaro has become a crossword regular, and while I needed every cross for RAPACE, I did get all those crosses.

My first entry was ACNE, nice pun on 'topical.' OTOH, as a native Wisconsinite I don't really think of Oklahoma as being in the Midwest; I'm not sure how they think of themselves, though.

Re @Rex, both forms of TARES are the same thing. When a farmer brings a truckload of some crop to the processing plant, the truck is weighed full and empty, and then the net weight of the crop is reduced by the percentage of weeds, twigs, gravel, etc. found in it. Both things are TARES. I first heard the term six decades ago when I spent my summers in a cherry-packing plant.

COLEMAN near COLESLAW is a feature, not a bug. The no-duplicates rule is for words, not syllables.

Birchbark 11:11 AM  

COLE SLAW -- I liked the "One side" clue, which had me musing over the floor plan for a while. As for the fast-food version of COLE SLAW -- well, it's a little early in the morning to be thinking about shredded cabbage in a bath of marshmallow-flavored sauce.

I chuckle sometimes when a good clue surprises me,. Today I outright laughed when it dawned that "Joins a heavy metal band" = WELDS.

I also like a good, pedestrian clue/answer combo, as with today's PIANIST who sits at a bench. No flash, just straight-on good. Which, as it happens, is also how I prefer my COLE SLAW.

jae 11:11 AM  

Easy-medium. No WOEs and PIne before PITY was it for erasures. Smooth and solid but I agree with @Rex again about flat. I mean COLEMAN and MEATCASES are not exactly eye popping. According to Jeff at Xwordinfo, unexciting entries are typical for 62 worders like today’s and yesterday’s. Liked it.

BunnyR 11:18 AM  

I thought that, too, about OK. But when you have E--D, what else fits?

KFC has some pretty decent coleslaw, if there is such a thing. Seems to be a staple with fried chicken.

Newboy 11:21 AM  

Well, well, well! Apparently repeating oneself on a Saturday is fine. WHO CAN SAY? I HATE IT that just when I’m beginning to understand the rules….sigh. As usual, I’m more in @Lewis’ campground enjoying S’mores with Mr.Sivakumar than slogging in the fields of REEDY blahs that Rex decried today. Except for the PPP excess noted by many above, I felt Sid’s grid an outstanding way to end my week.

JoshyJosh 11:24 AM  

"Hey, you know what is also a [Drink with dry vermouth]? A DRY MARTINI."

No, it isn't. Dry martinis don't have vermouth. That's why it's paradoxical.

MkB 11:24 AM  

When football players have an easy unobstructed path to the end zone, they often HIGH STEP as a way of showing off on their way in, so that's another context in which the clue makes sense.

Whatsername 11:29 AM  

@Anonymous (10:48) ENID OK in the Midwest? That bugged me too.

bocamp 11:33 AM  

Thx, Sid, for the terrific Sat. morn workout! :)

Very hard, i.e., not HASSLE-FREE!

Utilized @Lewis's 'faith solve' on this one! :)

Perfect puz to get the early morning juices flowing.

Was nowhere near Sid's wavelength, but steady as she goes got the job done (also, fair crosses). :)

I was so all-over-the-place I can't remember where I finally got a foothold; definitely wasn't in the NW. lol

Learning LUPE, WET MARTINI, POD RACER, EPSOM, MAME, ENID, IAMS, RAPACE, PORKIE, ELTON.

Great adventure; loved every minute of the struggle. :)
___
yd 0 / W: 3* / WH: 3 / Sed: 21 / Duo: 35

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

beverly c 11:38 AM  

Other than the insult to PARROTS the puzzle was fine. I wasn't familiar with the proper names, or PORKIEs
so it was a faith solve for me, but I managed.

@Joaquin 6:39 Funny! Reminds me of your comment when HOMONYM appeared in the puzzle. I laughed so much it's probably why I keep coming back here.

Anonymous 11:44 AM  

@Nancy my NW corner was a mess as well when I tossed down WORMHOLE thinking I was off to a great start but no. Fortunately I was able to warp my way through the rest of the grid once I figured that word out.

Adam S 11:58 AM  

I felt very grateful this morning to that New Yorker crossword with the surgeon running into the waiting room and saying "Great news - a four letter word for an earthenware pot is olla".

nyc_lo 12:08 PM  

I can’t be the only one to balk at REAMS, am I? A ream is a quantity, not a “supply.” Been a while since I’ve worked in an office setting, but don’t recall people saying, “Hey bring me back some reams from the supply room.”

TAB2TAB 12:11 PM  

Knew TIMEWARP was right but SHAPEWARE kept getting ruled out because of the TSxxxxx problem. Wanted Tirades and Tvshows at several stages, so TSHIRTS was a big aha. Also, did not help *at* *all* to be certain that fAME was the classic musical rather than MAME, but still struggling to rationalize a fEATCASE is a featured case in some supermarket displays.
Properly tough!

Anonymous 12:12 PM  

How did you have transport??? Doesn’t fit.

Larry 12:25 PM  

Not to be close-minded, but OPENEARS is nonsense above and beyond the EARS dupe. There's OPENNESS & OPENMIND, but OPEN EARS just isn't a phrase. Unless maybe you're infantilizing your 5yo child.

@Anon 10:28 I don't think QED means what you think in means. @Zed disagreed with @Lewis about COLESLAW being a great clue/answer pair because, while presumably accurate, just didn't mesh to him. It's not something with which you can disagree, it's his take that he didn't think that was a great part of the puzzle. There's no logic involved, and putting QED at the end of an incorrect statement only amplifies the mistake. But, other than that, your comment was great. Too bad there was nothing but that. Oh, wait, maybe the Classic Latin part. Yes, there is something called Classic Latin, a vocabulary & syntax of a specific time, spoken by a specific small minority of Latin speakers, but there is no "Classic Latin", the one true and inviolate Latin, which was all @Zed ever said. So yeah, good on you.

Whatsername 12:29 PM  

@Gary J (6:33) “Get your dog from a rescue for goodness sakes.” Amen to that and thank you for saying so. And as a matter of cruel irony, my last two rescues have been purebreds - a Yorkie and toy poodle. I even had AKC pedigree papers on the Yorkie. And yes, agree ENID feels wrong because the clue is.

@Southside Johnny (8:00) Love your definition of SHAPE WEAR and I’d say it’s spot on. I’ve never worn it myself but I’m of a generation who wore girdles which were kind of the original version of the stuff. The horror!

@Nancy (9:50) A designer dog, PORKIE would be a cross between a poodle and a Yorkshire Terrier although I agree with @Hartley and much prefer POOKIE.

Long John Silver’s is another fast food chain which offers COLESLAW. Chick-fil-A apparently no longer does which I really don’t understand. As someone else commented, it’s kind of a natural with fried chicken.

GILL I. 12:34 PM  

I didn't know ONE SINGLE proper name: TIG? Short for Tiger?...Fiasco LUPE? Can't even imagine what that is. Paul IAMS? Wasn't your real name Alpo? Noomi RAPACE? Don't get me started. Last but not least... Brand ELTON? Couldn't you have had some PITY and clued a John?
And so, my friends I sorta hit ROCK bottom. And when I do, I like to shift to my bar story...Here goes:

Everyone is invited to my JENGA JARTS club. As usual, Tuesday WELDS is seated with two EARS. PLUGS and OPEN have funny names, but I always let them in for a free drink....Besides, WELDS has a crush on PLUGS
My two bartenders are COLEMAN and COLESLAW. They make the best dry WET MARTINI this side of ENID. MAME is in the back kitchen fretting over the MEAT CASES and wondering if she should make some PORKIE pies. She needs a HIGH STEP in order to reach her STEW POTS...What to do. She hollers at DALAI LAMA to help her. As usual his SHAPE WEAR looks like a RATS NEST. MAME doesn't care... although she will let out a little HOLY friend beans whisper because she takes PITY on him.
We also have a PIANIST with a TAN LINE to die for. He sings in SEMI TONES and once drank with ROCK STARS. For further entertainment, we have a little PARROT who swings on the HAMSTER WHEEL. You should see him. His name is CALIPH and although ITS ODD, and his voice is REEDY, he sounds like some fine tuned ENGINES in an ANCIENT TIME WARP. It really is fun to hear.
The CITY PLANS to close us down because POD RACERS bought the property. IAMS so sad...but I think I'll open up another bar somewhere. Would you come and keep me company?

Gruff 12:57 PM  

I struggled to solve this puzzle until I got to the JARTS/JENGA cross, two game names I was unfamiliar with. I mean I knew of "lawn darts" but never heard it referred to as JARTS (which is apparently a portmanteau for javelin darts). JENGA is apparently derived from the Swahili word KUJENGA, meaning to build. I'm working on a new backyard game, JENGA JARTS, where one throws Jarts at newly-constructed Jenga block towers to knock them down. Or I may just continue to struggle with demoniacal weekend crossword puzzles...

Beezer 1:06 PM  

@Birchbark I laughed when I saw “ it's a little early in the morning to be thinking about shredded cabbage in a bath of marshmallow-flavored sauce” because that conveyed my sentiments about cole slaw exactly! If someone serves it at a cook out I only eat as little as I can get away with out of politeness.

Yeah, the “Oklahoma in the Midwest” thing kind of got to me too. Seems like everyone thinks of the Midwest as stretching from Ohio to the Rocky Mountains except yank out some Southern states and states that aren’t really THAT southern like Kentucky. As @Zed knows I’m all for assigning some new designations on the whole shebang.

Barbara S. 1:22 PM  

I’m happy for @Carola (9:14) that she got JARTS and JENGA in her first pass, but that combo caused me a DNF. Particularly galling, in that xwordinfo tells me that both words have been in the NYTXW a few times in the past several years. Yeah, @Rex, old buddy, old pal, welcome to your senior solving years. I also messed up TANLINE by popping in TAgLINE. Yes, Barbara, old dear, remember to read the clues.

But I seem to be celebrating Goofy Mistake Weekend all by myself. My classic musical was fAME (well, the students attended “classes”), which made the supermarket display a real headscratcher. I thought it must be fEATured-something, but there was no room to develop that thought. I went through the whole OPENness, OPENmind, OPENEARS progression – at least I had company there. I confidently renamed the pet food guy Paul Alpo, on the grounds that the crossword’s answer to pet food questions overwhelmingly favors Alpo. I checked that in xwordinfo, too, and I’m right: in the Shortz era Alpo’s running at 116 appearances to IAMS’s 34. I confused my Ys and Zs, and at first called Millennials “z-ers”, couldn’t think of any undertakings ending with Z, changed it to GENz, couldn’t think of any equivalents to “It’s anyone’s guess” ending in Z, then finally, after several more millennia had passed, changed it to GENY. Yikes, somebody thought it was a good idea to name a dog breed PORKIE? My Jumble/RATSNEST started out as something-NESS and I briefly considered “messNESS” but I can honestly say that I didn’t fill it in.

Tough weekend. Little did I know that yesterday’s puzzle was an ominous warm-up for today. But I must say I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of both. Give me crunch or give me death! (HOLY HAMSTER! Is she serious?)

**TOTALLY IRRELEVANT COVID VACCINE QUESTION**
If anyone has knowledge or experience of tongue-swelling as a side effect, please email me at the address on my profile. Thanks. Oh – and don’t worry, everybody’s fine.

JC66 1:26 PM  

@Anonymous (10:48), @whatshername, @et al

FWIW, ENID is less than 100 miles south of Kansas.

oldactor 1:26 PM  

@Z: Here in TX both Church's Chicken and KFC have Cole slaw as sides.

As for High Stepping, I sure did as the Drum Major in HS in TX. Much later I danced the Time Warp at the Roxy in LA in The Rocky Horror Show. At 90 my steps are no longer very High.

This puzzle ROCKed!

GILL I. 1:42 PM  

Hey @Roo...Were you at the JENGA JARTS club with me last night?

okanaganer 1:46 PM  

Two tough puzzles in a row... once again, just over 30 minutes. I blame tricky cluing and too many unknown names: PORKIE, RAPACE, ELTON, LUPE (COLEMAN and the DALAI LAMA tried to help but not much.) And seriously, how could it not be YORKIE?

Like @Barbara S, had FAME for the musical, and like @Larry had OPEN MIND and OPENNESS. And I just loved the clue for PARROTS.

[Spelling Bee: yd 7:30 to pg, then QB about 10 min later. Last word is a SB staple.]

CDilly52 2:03 PM  

Reminiscing about JARTS was fun. We played that game and created “baseball JARTS” and other mutant games for at least a decade. The tips rusted and the plastic “feathers” were bent and grungy. I remember my mom being the only person who ever had serious concerns about safety. Truth be told though our “distance challenges” could easily have gotten out of hand and knowing myself and my “Posse,” one (or more) of us could easily have been the reason for the ban. Thankfully we weren’t. JARTS is one of those things that come to mind when one becomes a parent or has lots of contact with and responsibility for children. You think back on the downright crazy-dangerous stuff you did as a kid hope that it isn’t the time the Universe reminds you that what goes around does in fact come around!

The puzzle was very Saturday. I got nothing in the NW - stark white. No toehold. Thought I was in for a day long incremental solve.

Switched to the clue list view and scanned for a minute. Got POD RACERS and from there had a continuous diagonal flow all the way down to the SW corner. No idea about Noomi RALANA, but got all the letters through crosses. Some clever clues and some clunkers. Clue for CITY PLANS i initially had as PlatS only because of my work with municipal clients all these years, but ANCIENT made that mistake “long gone.” Double EAR/EARS is yet another error I will charge to the editorial staff. Full disclosure though, n this one didn’t really rankle very much. Noticed it but whatever. Fine Saturday although 🎶 “Let’s do the Time Warp again!” is an EARworm.

Joe Dipinto 2:08 PM  

@Whatsername – I think Porkie is a Yorkie/Pomeranian cross (two toy dogs).

Joaquin 2:16 PM  

@beverly c (11:38) - Thanks for the props! But I gotta admit I have no recollection of the comment you referenced. One of the hazards of getting old, I guess.

Anonymous 2:30 PM  

Maybe teleport

Anonymous 2:45 PM  

KFC for one

Nancy 2:45 PM  

My other favorite line today is from @GILL:

"My two bartenders are COLEMAN and COLESLAW. They make the best dry WET MARTINI this side of ENID."

Mohair Sam 2:49 PM  

Fun battle with this true Saturday level Saturday, just the way we like 'em. Fun clues for PARROT, TANLINE, WELDS. Thank you Sid.

Noomi RAPACE a gimme here - that helped a lot. Thought she captured the spirit of Lizbeth Salander better than Rooney or Foy.

Fell hopelessly and forever in love with Eydie Gorme when I saw her belt out "If he Walked into my Life" at the Grammys in 1967 (she won Best Female Pop Vocal that year). So I naturally bought tickets to MAME - only Broadway purchase I've ever regretted. (Hi @Nancy).

Beating the dead horse: Most fast food places that sell a lot of fish or chicken have a side of COLESLAW (.i.e. Popeyes, KFC, Long John Silver). The clue was a Saturday misdirect, nicely done. btw, if you're forced to eat at KFC - the coleslaw is actually pretty good.

HIGHSTEP a semi gimme (off the S) - whenever my Pop saw some guy showing off in just the slightest he referred to him as a "HIGHSTEPpin' son of bitch."

puzzlehoarder 2:51 PM  

As good as yesterday's puzzle was today's did it it one better. No time to comment yesterday but it was good.

My first guess for 1A was stargAte. It works with AWED but WELDS gave me WARP and the NW was underway. TSHIRTS broke the dam up there.

Even with PARROTS and REEDY in place moving out of the NW was tough. I had PINE before PITY and had the olla/ oast confusion.

In the SW my first stab at 40A was DALILLAMA. This gives you an idea of the misspelling fog I have to hack through every time I do a puzzle. RAPACE had to come from the crosses but it did.

In the SE I had DARTS before JARTS and ELTON also came from the crosses.

My only guess for 9A was GIGI. Poor ACNE sat up there all by itself for a long time. ENID finally came back to me and the NE fell too.

Some people complain about the pedestrian nature of today's entries. Not me, I'll take a thorny low word count over a more accessible one with flashy entries any day.

Mon-Fri -0, last Sun pg -4

Whatsername 3:05 PM  

@GILL (12:34) I’d love to keep company at your new bar as I’m sure many others would too. I’ll pass on the WET MARTINIS but I’m sure you make a mean margarita too. You’ll be able to recognize me by my hair. Just look for a big RATS NEST.

@JC (1:26) Yes ENID is within a stone’s throw of the Kansas line but still no way would I consider Oklahoma part of the Midwest. And for what it’s worth, neither does the US Census Bureau which designates it as part of the great Southwest. I’m sure it makes absolutely no difference to most people but being a native born Midwesterner, little things like that sometimes just rankle me.

Anonymous 3:13 PM  

Way too many stupid damn obscure names. I know Lupe Fiasco, but I neither know nor care about Elton Brand or Noomi Rapace.

SlowSolver2 3:17 PM  

Very tough. Got a little bit done last night, was sure I would never finish but was finally victorious this morning. Good feeling. Very clever misdirected clueing. Thumbs up.

Whatsername 3:22 PM  

@GILL (12:34) I would love to keep company at your new bar as I’m sure many others would too. I’ll have to pass on the WET MARTINI but I’m sure you make a mean margarita. You’ll be able to recognize me by my hair. Just look for something that resembles a RATS NEST.

@JC (1:26) Yes ENID is just a stone’s throw from the Kansas line but I would never consider Oklahoma to be part of the Midwest. And for what it’s worth, neither does the Census Bureau which designates it as part of the great Southwest. I’m certain that makes absolutely no difference to most people, but as a native born Midwesterner, little things like that sometimes just rankle.

@Joe (2:08) Yorkie and Pom = PORKIE - right you are! And the one I mentioned is called a Yorkipoo. All three adorable and good-natured breeds.

JC66 3:24 PM  

@Whatsername

Being from. NYC , it's close enough for me.😀

pabloinnh 3:25 PM  

Back late after a dance recital, looked at the blank NW, the misdirect clue for WELDS was instantly apparent, and I filled in the rest posthaste.

And now I've read through all the comments and can find no love for ANI, a former crossword staple I haven't seen in, forever, at least clued as a "black bird". Hello ANI! How have you been? Where have you been? I, for one, have missed you and seeing you again is like hearing that the ivory billed woodpecker is not actually extinct. Welcome back, and remember that a prolonged absence makes you more mysterious, so don't show up too often. Please.

I know JARTS. JARTS was a friend of my family, and cornhole, you're no JARTS.

Seems that I have seem this constructor doing Saturday Stumpers, which is what this one reminded me of. Some tough clues, but worth the brain strain.

Nice workout, SS. Super Saturday, and thaks for all the fun.

Georgia 3:57 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Masked and Anonymous 4:04 PM  

Tough SatPuz, the way @Mohair Sam [yo!] and M&A like em. And with primo Jaws of Themelessness puzgrid layout, once more.

The M&A no-knows were: TIG. LUPE. PORKIE. ELTON. Knew RAPACE.

Only 4 weejects today. Kinda victims of the 62-worded puzgrid, I reckon.
staff weeject pick: ANI. Wow … a vintage clue/answer that goes back to the 5 Jul 1942 NYTPuz. Classic crosswordese. Timewarpish.

fave hunks of letters: TIMEWARP. HASSLEFREE. DALAILAMA. JENGA/JARTS game combo. WHOCANSAY. HIGHSTEP. PARROTS & HAMSTER column. Neat other longball stuff, but a lot of em was pluralized, so points off, on those … honrable mention to EARPLUGS, tho [had the 1 U in the puz].

fave clue: {AA and AAA} = MINORS.

Thanx, Mr. Sivakumar dude. Challengin enough to have us hootin and highsteppin.

Masked & Anonymo1U

p.s. M&A won't campaign for themed puzs on a Saturday. But just keep considerin that one-in-three themed FriPuz proposal. And enjoy herein a humbly-presented themed runtpuz, as a subtle bribe ...


**gruntz**

Anonymous 4:14 PM  

Can someone please explain 39 across? Black bird = ANI

GILL I. 4:24 PM  

@Whatsername: A margarita it is. I make them with real stuff. None of that fake lime stuff. COLEMAN and COLESLAW (whom I taught to be bartenders) make a mean one as well.
Bring your RATS NEST as well because we don't give a rats ass. @Nancy, and even maybe @JC, can whip up some martinis if you change your mind.

JC66 4:44 PM  

@GILL

I'll practice (though I really don't have to) making one in a couple of hours.

Masked and Anonymous 5:06 PM  

@Anonymous 4:14PM: yep. Sure can.
From the Official M&A Help Desk Dictionary:
ani
noun (pl. anis)
a glossy black long-tailed bird of the cuckoo family, with a large deep bill, found in Central and South America.

M&A Help Desk

jae 5:51 PM  

Correction: After reading the comments I realized that PORKIE and ELTON were WOEs for me. I did know RAPACE as I watched the Swedish version of the trilogy before the Rooney Mara film came out. I also knew TIG who is a guest every now and then on Colbert.

Anonymous 7:42 PM  

Whoever said a martini is just a glass of gin would think a glass of fine wine is just a glass of grape juice. It is an art and I am master. I’ve had them from the American Bar in the Savoy Hotel in London to fancy bars in Tokyo. If made correctly, it is the most perfect cocktail ever invented (some say it was in Martinez bar in CA in the 1800s). I could tell you how to make one but you don’t care.

LenFuego 8:16 PM  

This would have probably been in the Easy column for me if I had not stubbornly hung on to PINE for "Ache for, in a way" (PITY) for so long.

RooMonster 8:40 PM  

@Anonymous 7:42
Hey there! It was me that asked that question. I'm genuinely intrigued on how you make your Martini.

RooMonster I Care Guy

JC66 9:01 PM  

@Rooi

I keep two martini glasses in the freezer.

1. Fill a "cold" Martini glass with gin (my choice is Bombay Sapphire).

2. Fill a steel shaker with ice and pour a "dash" of vermouth (Martini & Rossi)) in.

3. Pour the gin from the glass into the shaker and stir.

5. I waste some time by putting out some snacks.

6. Stir again.

7. Put out more snacks.

8. Take the second martini glass out of the freezer. Stir what's in the shaker and pour its into the glass.

9. Enjoy

JC66 9:06 PM  

@Roo

BTW, I love seeing ANAL in the puzzle. 😂

egsforbreakfast 10:03 PM  

I need to mention that this weekend we went to our daughter-in-law’s graduation from Evergreen College in Olympia, WA. Go Geoducks!!! A friend who had recently purchased an old house hosted an after-party for the grad + friends and family. In searching for entertainment possibilities, she found, beneath cobwebs in the basement, an unused set of Lawn Darts (JARTS). We left 4 hours ago, issuing warnings. Who knows what has happened by now.

oldactor 10:43 PM  

@RooMonster: I posted that on my phone so my identity didn't show up. I'm not anonymous, I'm Old Actor.
So I went to my computer and reposted, I haven't seen it. In that post I told in detail how I make a martini. I hope you see this. I enjoy your posts every day and no hard feelings.

RooMonster 11:05 PM  

@oldactor
👍 I didn't take it as mean spirited. I actually thought it was funny!
I don't see that post either! Dang! At least we got a @JC66 recipe. I like the funny recipes, ala you wave the glass over an unopened bottle of vermouth, et. al.

Roo

A 11:08 PM  

Late to the puz party again.

Well, yes, I did find this rather prickly. Finished without cheats, but came here to find I really don’t know my games. JARTS? JENGA? (Hi, @Barabara, S, @Gruff) I’ve really been missing out on all the fun. Although my dexterity game, Dagga, sounds more interesting than JENGA, and more prickly too, in a William Tell sort of way. And @Barbara, I think we were misdirected by yesterday’s TAG LINE. I mean, a TAg LINE could be a change in tone, if you think about it long enough and weirdly enough, as I did. aLTON Brown was no help, either.

I thought willingness to listen was an OPEN mind, but the DALAI LAMA would have none of it. I'm so confused.

@Anon at 11:44, hand up for wormhole! I didn’t write it in but I sure wanted to. Though I’m now enamored of @Nancy’s astromap. If there were such a thing it would be the perfect “Travel aid in science fiction.” Bravo, @Nancy!

OMG, @GILL, my sides hurt from laughing at your story! I’ll be glad to keep you and @Whatsername, et al, company anytime! My extra dry ‘martini’ tonight is Viennese vodka on the rocks, but when I do the real thing it’s very dry but pretty basic: pour a few drops of chilled vermouth into the chilled glass, then pour it out, leaving only what clings to the glass, and add the shaken Beefeaters and an olive or three. @Roo, your question is actually kind of profound. I mean, of course the ingredients matter, but part of the magic of a martini is in the careful process of construction. If you liked smily faces in your olives and took the time to carve them, I bet your martini would taste better.

@oldactor, lucky you to be a drum major (or in band at all) in Texas, home of the world’s best high school bands. Here in MS these days, we got us some high steppin’ drum majors. This Battle of the Bands takes place about a half mile from my house.

Thanks to Sid for the workout!

oldactor 1:12 AM  

@A: I've never seen anything like that. It was awesome. Never anything like that in TX. Thanks for the video. Talk about High Stepping!

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