Pooh's bestie / SAT 11-11-23 / Snack brand that originated in 1919 / Fantasy sports format, informally / Like the "s" in debris (but not Du Bois) / Keeper of Keys and Grounds at Hogwarts / Cartoon superhero with an "A" on his chest / Coffee first cultivated in Yemen

Saturday, November 11, 2023

Constructor: Blake Slonecker

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: Roger PENROSE (16A: Roger___, Physics Nobelist known for tilings) —

Sir Roger Penrose OM FRS HonFInstP (born 8 August 1931) is an English mathematicianmathematical physicistphilosopher of science and Nobel Laureate in Physics. He is Emeritus Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics in the University of Oxford, an emeritus fellow of Wadham College, Oxford, and an honorary fellow of St John's College, Cambridge, and University College London.

Penrose has contributed to the mathematical physics of general relativity and cosmology. He has received several prizes and awards, including the 1988 Wolf Prize in Physics, which he shared with Stephen Hawking for the Penrose–Hawking singularity theorems, and the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics "for the discovery that black hole formation is a robust prediction of the general theory of relativity". He is regarded as one of the greatest living physicists, mathematicians and scientists, and is particularly noted for the breadth and depth of his work in both natural and formal sciences. (wikipedia)

• • •

On my puzzle print-out this morning, I've made dark green lines to section off the NW and SE corner. Those corners I've labeled "ENDURED." The remaining middle chunk, running from SW to NE, I've labeled "ENJOYED."  Hard to overstate how much "flow" matters to me in all puzzles, but especially the tough themeless ones. Really hate being stuck in an airless corner with shortish, garbage-ish fill, waiting for the experience to be over. Really love being out in the open, where words whoosh through one another, and I have lots of room to move. The NW and SE corners feel like afterthoughts—these smaller, cut-off bits that were taking up space and had to be filled but ... what are you gonna do with a bunch of crossing 7s? Four 7s crossing four 7s? Nothing good, is the answer, probably. Or, if the 7s themselves are OK (as they are in the NW), man are you gonna pay for them. Today I paid the onerous TINED ANIL EVAL tax. The 7s may be cleanish up there, but the highs just aren't high enough to warrant the TINED ANIL EVAL tax. But then, once you finally crawl out of that stuffy upper chamber ... freedom! I definitely shouted a dirty word on my way out, but it was a dirty word of joy!:

["F--- yeah!"]

That SW section feels like the entire reason this puzzle exists. I'll take DIRTY WORDS and GENE WILDER with the RED NOSE at the NAVY PIER. Throw in some GRASS and some SONGS and thank you very much. This corner deserves to be ADMIRED because it is the definition of Clean and somehow also Exciting. Mr. SANDMAN ("Yes?") bring me a GENE! There's not one entry in the entire SW corner that I would shoot into space (or, if you're 3-Down, "into space"). The NE corner doesn't fare as well, but how could it, really? Still, you've got CON ARTISTS in your DRUG TRIALS, and that's pretty cool. I choked a bit on the absurd prepositional phrase IN ARMOR, but otherwise, things look fine up there (no idea who Roger PENROSE is, but that's obviously on me—see "Word of the Day," above). But before I went up to that NE corner, I decided to deal with the SE. I suspected it would be about as enjoyable as its NW twin, and I just wanted to get it out of the way. And sure enough, there's little to love down there. Worse, there's the "Information Superhighway"-era neologism, NETIZEN, which never fails to make me cringe (35D: Web browser?). Everyone's stuck in the Web now. You can bury this self-important aspirational coinage six feet deep as far as I'm concerned. TATA, NETIZEN, and take TERABIT with you (I imagine TERABIT is the name of NETIZEN's dog ... actually, leave TERABIT, I like dogs; I'll rename him PIGLET and give him a good home).

Several wrong-answer adventures today, starting with SARA LEE, bam, right across the top, 1-
Across! (1A: Snack brand that originated in 1919). I was like "Ooh, 1919! Was SARA LEE a suffragette!? Cool!" Alas, no, SARA LEE was a HOSTESS. I also thought [Pooh's bestie] was RABBIT (this is what happens when the only letter you have to go on is "T" and also you have completely forgotten your Pooh lore because you are no longer six). 

I thought the [Site of Chicago's Centennial Wheel] was some kind of PARK, and I forgot that you actually say the damn "s" in (W.E.B.) "Du Bois"! ("dew BOYZ"), so the clue for ASONANT had me going "De-BRIE, dew-BWAH, de-BRIE, dew-BWAH ... I don't hear any 'S's! How are they different!?" (51A: Like the "s" in debris (but not Du Bois)). I think we've covered all my notable struggles today. Let's see, what clues might need explaining? Well, a "safety" is a defensive position in American football, so tackling is sometimes part of the job description (4D: Safety, often => TACKLER). ROTO is short for "Rotisserie" (45D: Fantasy sports format, informally)—Rotisserie League Baseball was apparently named after the NYC restaurant where it was first played (La Rôtisserie Française). All the other clues today seem remarkably straightforward. I mean, appropriately vague and tough for a Saturday, but mostly self-explanatory once you get the answers. Hope you enjoyed this one, or at least enjoyed the creamy middle, as I did. See you next time.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Anonymous 5:51 AM  

Fully agree with the NE corner assessment! Didn’t help that I spelled BARKLEY wrong initially and had SNYDERS for my snack of choice. Other than that, fun puzzle!

Anonymous 6:08 AM  

I appreciate the lack of 3-letter words and the obvious skill it takes to fill a grid as open as this one, but the puzzle left me flat. With the exception of NETIZEN and maybe a few clues, this could have been issued in 1974. I never solved in the Maleska era, but today felt like what I imagine those days were.
— Sir Hillary

Conrad 6:20 AM  

Not a lot of trouble with this one. Easy-Medium sounds about right.

Wanted AntMAN for 10D but it didn't fit
Ganja before GRASS at 40D
mEgABIT before TERABIT at 44A

ROTO (45D) was a total WOE. Thanks for explaining, @Rex!

Anonymous 6:40 AM  

Can someone explain WOE?

snabby 6:50 AM  

Yeah, "NETIZEN" is one of those terms that people tried too hard to get to stick. Definitely cringe. The worst of those is "SoMe" for social media. I become almost homicidal when I see it, which happily is not often.

Son Volt 6:53 AM  

No stumper here - the big guy highlights the obscure stuff. Both west corners were pleasing for me - the SW sparkled. NETIZEN, ASONANT and RITALIN really stymied the SE - bad vibes. Second sighting of ATOM ANT recently.

WS just can’t compete with Stan.

Pleasant enough - cold Saturday morning solve. Time for some ARABICA and a few miles.


Anonymous 7:06 AM  

Had ROTa and ASSaNANT until I ran the vowels there since I didn’t know either of them and rota at least seemed believable.

SouthsideJohnny 7:07 AM  

I took today’s simple grid and made quite the mess of it. I obviously didn’t know how to pronounce Du Bois so I just stared into space down there (no clue on ROTO as well) and the rest of that section is no gimmie with RITALIN, ARABICA and NETIZEN (yuk) also parked there.

CHARLATANS fits where CON ARTISTS went and the PENROSE dude was no help on the crosses so that was another trouble spot for me.

I thought the clue for ANIL missed by a mile (I know the attempt is to toughen it up for a Saturday) and adding in OCTAVIA, BARKLEY, OCEANIA and HAGRID in that same section meant you really had to slog your way through a lot of trivia, so agree with OFL - not much fun to be had up that way.

I go with WOE for what on earth and WTF for well, answers like ROTO where I just stare at them and think WTF is that ?

Anonymous 7:09 AM  

Very much like a Wednesday for me. That is so unlike a Saturday.

Anonymous 7:09 AM  

What On Earth?

Anonymous 7:10 AM  

What On Earth?

JD 7:12 AM  

This great puzzle started out tough for me. If it weren't for the Round Mound of Bound, I'm not a role model, Sir Charles, I'd have come through the entire first pass with pretty much nothing but Rudolf's Nose.

Wanted Denim to be dyed with indigo. And, aha, I just now looked it up, "Almost all indigo dye produced is used in denim jeans." But counter aha, I just found that Anil is "a leguminous West Indian shrub, Indigofera suffruticosa: a source of indigo." But wait a sec, jeans aren't dyed with the shrub. Enough of that.

Why is the Split End at the hair salon? It could be anywhere. Is this the first singular of convenience? Wanted the Service to government or military. Loved Tea Cart. Thought Dubois's S was silent.

Love any Saturday I can do.

Jeff F 7:17 AM  

Fully agree with your write up. Didn’t love those tight corners but really enjoyed the creamy middle. One of my faster Saturdays in quite a while.

Fun_CFO 7:36 AM  

Nabisco went right in with support from something “nude” at 1D. Needless to say, NW was the last section for me, which didn’t leave a great taste at the end. R in HAGRID to finish ugh! Hogwarts yet again.

I mainly agree w/Rex on SW/NE (although, last name Nobelist clues always get a groan from me).

lol @ me for dropping AdaMANT at 10D.
Had “on horse” before INARMOR
Tigger before PiGLET, with only the “I”

Overall, just ok, saved only by SW.

Anonymous 7:37 AM  

Agree that it didn’t feel very Saturdayish. Never got stuck enough that I needed to step away for 10 minutes and then come back to see what I was missing

pabloinnh 7:42 AM  

Pretty whooshy for a Saturday. I guessed OCEANIA and then OCTAVIA off the C and most of the puzz followed suit. Even remembered that thing about the NAVYPIER form somewhere, maybe from reading The Devil in the White City, which is way creepy.

I know what a rotisserie league is but have never heard it referred to as a ROTO. That and Mr. PENROSE were the only real WOEs, or WTFs today.

Funny how SPLITENDs have ceased to be a problem. I always thought they were the creation of advertisers anyway, create an issue, sell a remedy. Something you pretty much have to find with a magnifying glass never struck me as a serious defect. I bet they sold a lot of shampoo though.

I liked your Saturday just fine, BS. Some Big Smiles when first guesses turned out to be right, and thanks for all the fun.

Joe Dipinto 7:59 AM  

The cutesy trio of consecutive "pedestal" clues made me roll my eyes, but otherwise this was fine if unexciting. Could have offered up a heftier Saturday challenge.

I was grinding through my day gig
Stacking cut-outs at the Strand

burtonkd 8:04 AM  

Started last night. As a regular NBA fan, when I couldn't come up with BARKLEY, I knew it was time to let the SANDMAN do his thing.

2nd time recently for the PIGLET/EEYORE/TIGGERealoa. Plenty of crosses of course...

I know how to pronounce Du Bois, it's W.E.B. who doesn't. Is he an early NETIZEN? Just kidding on both...

Interestingly, we were just discussing the difference between Centaurs and SATYRS at lunch yesterday. Like CYCLOPEAN referring to the largeness, I was thinking of the physical characteristics of a SATYR rather than the appetite, so that took a while.

I see Rex's point about closed off sections, but 7x7 is large enough not to feel claustrophobic for me although the fire escape to get out is a rather small 3 square corner. Blocking one of those escapes, I confused HAGRID for HAG(G)AR the horrible and Merle Haggard.

I am finally firmly clarified as of today that Atom Ant and Adam Ant are two different entities.

Johnny Mic 8:09 AM  

Felt very much on my wavelength. Very quick for a Saturday but generally enjoyable. I also endured the NW but felt ok with the SE. I'm off to watch my student teacher play my Alma mater today. He's a safety so hopefully he'll be a TACKLER today!

Phillyrad1999 8:14 AM  

A lot to enjoy in this puzzle. Got a little hung up on GENTILES and PENROSE in the NE but other than that was able to move around pretty easily. Enjoyed the longer answers and especially enjoyed the nots to Sir Charles and one of my favorite and I think underrated comedic an actors GENE WILDER. Relatively easy for a Saturday. Enjoy the weekend - Eagles have a bye so will try to be productive tomorrow.

kitshef 8:27 AM  

Several wrong choices along the way today seARS/CHARS, Ganja/GRASS, cuRseWORDS/DIRTYWORDS, mEgABIT/TERABIT. But overall quite easy.

Christopher Robin is clearly Pooh's bestie, but PIGLET is certainly next on the list.

Anonymous 8:27 AM  

Misunderstood 40A and was convinced it was Peter Boyle and that the puzzle was wrong

Dr.A 8:29 AM  

Agree with Crossword assessment except for that people who conduct Drug Trials are Con Artists. They are anything but! If the FDA even senses a wrong move, the whole study gets shut down and can bankrupt a company pretty quickly. Please don’t put down a whole industry. Thanks!

Anonymous 8:31 AM  

Trouble in the NE. Confusing a superhero with a popstar, I went with AdaMANT. Then, mixing up my Hundred Acre Woods residents, I confidently input tIGgEr.

Hal9000 8:40 AM  

NW didn't bother me as much as Rex because I successfully guessed OCEANIA and OCTAVIA before I had much to go by. ARABICA got me going in the SE so I didn't have much trouble there. Like Rex, I didn't know PENROSE but he sounds sufficiently notable to be fair game.

Not a bad Saturday, at all! Definitely on the easy side but I got my whoosh fix for the morning and that's all that matters.

Anonymous 8:43 AM  

Had NABISCO for 1A at first. Also DISGUSTS for 26D. Went through every ‘Young Frankenstein player’ in my head before finally remembering the star of the whole fabulous movie!

Bob Mills 8:47 AM  

I had "retold" instead of RESOLD in the NE, which was silly because PENROSE made more sense than "Penrote." So I assumed falsely that my problem was in the SE, and I searched for an alternative to TERABIT. When trial-and-error didn't work in the SE, I realized my foolishness.

Not the hardest Saturday I've ever finished, but a frustrating puzzle with a mixture of sticky problems that required patience. That's to the credit of the constructor.

bocamp 8:54 AM  

Thx, Blake; an ADMIRable effort! 😊


Got BARKLEY, SATYR, ANIL & TINED right off the bat, but still had to return to the NW to finish off. The rest was pretty easy going.

Good fun; liked it a muchly! :)
On to Matthew Sewell's Sat. Stumper 🤞, with Ryan McCarty's NYT Vowelless in the wings for tm.
Peace 🕊 🇺🇦 ~ Compassion ~ Tolerance ~ Kindness ~ Freudenfreude & a DAP to all 👊 🙏

Berselius 9:07 AM  

I fell for the Frankenstein vs Frankenstein's Monster trap by putting in PETERBOYLE instead of GENEWILDER. Amusing coincidence that both fit :D

Mack 9:18 AM  

Yeah, I'd say easy-medium is a fair assessment. NW was the slowest, but I wasn't as bothered by TINED and EVAL as Rex. It's fair to have a few lame answers every so often and these two aren't unbearable. ANIL perhaps is...
Nabisco went in immediately, but luckily the N, B, and C are distinct enough to quickly realize it wouldn't work.

Once I was out of NW, everything went swimmingly. PENROSE was a gimme but obviously I can understand the trouble many people will have had with him. His tiling is eponymous, so the moment anyone remotely tied in to mathematics sees "tiles" the pavlovian response is "PENROSE".
Everything else was lovely. I didn't like ROTO because who in sound mind gives two flying cares about a pretend football game enough that they give it an abbreviated nickname? The only good thing about ROTO showing up is the possibility that someone saw it in this puzzle and thought, "Oh my god what am I doing with my life?"

But then again, a puzzle that has GENE WILDER can be forgiven for just about any misstep. Well done.

RooMonster 9:30 AM  

Hey All !
Struggled a bit here and there. Had most everything, ended up cheating in NE. Googed for good ole PENROSE, as just could not wrap the ole brain around CO_ARTIST. Dang, should've seen that. Had REtOLD in for RESOLD.

Got the SE corner correct, much to my surprise. ASONANT miraculously was correct.

Lots of open space to fill. Tough to do. I think the fill is great, considering the lengths of all the criss-crossing answers. No threes today, which will make @mathgent happy, but no star weeject for @M&A. Only four fours, too.

Good puz that wasn't the toughest in the world. My sanity thanks you. Har.

Happy Veterans Day!

No F's (Says some DIRTY WORDS...)

Dan A 9:32 AM  

Nice Saturday morning eclair 😊

Anonymous 9:43 AM  

SFE. Felt like a Tuesday or Wednesday.

mathgent 10:11 AM  

RooMonster, you count threes, too! As you say, there are absolutely none today. I would say that that's today's theme. The black squares have to be placed very carefully to not leave any three-long slots. There are only 58 entries filling the 191 white squares, making the average 3.3.

Since there are no threes clogging the grid, I expected more long entries, eight or more letters. There are only eight, below average for a themeless.

The clue for REDNOSE seemed too easy for a Saturday. I didn't put it in until I had to.

As RooMonster predicted, I really enjoyed it. Not just because it was threeless.

Nancy 10:15 AM  

Oh that NW corner! I thought it was OCEANIA, but there were all those other states too and I was afraid to write it in. It was sports that saved me: my entry point was BARKLEY (the only NBA
Charles I know) to TACKLER, based on my sophisticated (LOL) knowledge of football. And now TINED was confirmed too.

I filled the whole corner in, feeling quite pleased with myself, and what was awaiting me? More of the same.

Rarely do I notice grid layout, except when all the sections are cut off from one another. This was like solving four separate puzzles.

I knew Rudolph's signature feature, but not Pan's. I knew PIGLET, but not HAGRID (I'm never going to remember you, sweetie, so don't hold your breath.) I didn't know that W.E. Du Bois wrote love songs (were his as good as Joni Mitchell's?)

Anyway, I cheated on nothing, though I was at times quite tempted. This was a toughie for me and I enjoyed the challenge. In spite of you, HAGRID, sweetie pie*.

*If you're the keeper of the keys, I guess you're a guy, HAGRID. They don't tend to give important jobs like that to the ladies -- not even in fantasy. But because HAGRID sounds so much like INGRID, you'll forgive me if I shall always think of you as a woman. That is for as long as I remember you -- which, trust me, won't be very long.

Newboy 10:15 AM  

Like most Saturday grids, Blake’s left me STARING with mouth agape as I read the clues and had absolutely nothing, but then SPLIT END & HAGRID (what hair had he?) plus DELIST & REBATES slotted into that middle section. From there it was as a wiser solver said, “ appropriately vague and tough for a Saturday, but mostly self-explanatory once you get the answers.” PIGLET, GENE WILDER, RED NOSE, & DIRTY WORDS were obvious gimme entries and in less than half my usual time, there was nothing left to entertain me…..gosh, I hate saying TATA before dawn breaks.

Tip of the hat for NAVY PIER on Veterans Day and all the others who sacrificed time and so much more. Such commitment should not only be ADMIRED, but more fully supported.

Carola 10:18 AM  

Medium for me, with a hesitant start followed by a much more confident finish. My way in was CHARS x CON ARTISTS, with that final S leading to SIREN (a sort of con artist herself with her sweet, deadly song) and the rest of that SE corner. Worked my way around clockwise, finding the NW much easier once I got "Nabisco" out of my head, and, finally, helping me finish the NE: "Roger...Roger...PENROSE!" Besides the mythological SIREN, I liked having the SATYR and Pan with his GOATEE sharing the grid with dear PIGLET. Fun puzzle!

Do-over: me, too, for Ganja. Help from previous puzzles: NETIZEN. Help from TV ads during sports events: BARKLEY. Moment of chagrin: needing way too many crosses for NAVY PIER (Chicago being "my" big city). No idea: ROTO.

Gary Jugert 10:33 AM  

Meh ... Saturday with proper nouns I don't know. Like life, I guess it was fun except for the people. Off to do something else.


Tee-Hee: DIRTY WORDS in muddy slimy rusty buckets of bloody filth and fungus luring children with their lurid little definitions.


1 Charles charging.
2 Stop loving a lovable oaf (probably due to a certain mouthy opinionated female).
3 Mother's little helper.
4 One unlikely to help you doze off.
5 Don Giovanni.
6 What happened when the wine ran out.
7 Gypsies made a deal to move teenager with Instagram on to Chinese sweatshop.


My Fascinating Crossword Uniclue Keepsake from Last Year: The side glance many a man has mistaken for romantic interest leading to all manner of embarrassing thoughts we should know better than entertain. SMOKEY EYE PEEP. 


egsforbreakfast 10:39 AM  

Are snack brands required to have 7 letters? I was going to note that Nabisco fit in just fine instead of HOSTESS, but didn't fare well with the crosses. Then @Rex points out that Sara Lee also applied for the position.

After doing a DNATEST on this STRAND, I've got to say that I've never seen a GENEWILDER than this one. I mean, there are all these orange Xs and blue Ys and even some REDOS. I know we took this sample from ATOMANT, so I guess this will be passed down some day to ASONANT.

I've seen some shameful courtroom behavior before, but I've never seen anyone who has DRUGTRIALS through the dirt like the Orange Walking Dumpster Fire.

I thought this was easy and I didn't find the NW and SE corners irksome at all. Thanks for a nice, semi-whooshy Saturday, Blake Slonecker.

Anonymous 10:40 AM  

Hesitated on “red nose” because it seemed too much like a Monday answer.

Anonymous 10:41 AM  

Almost put in NABISCO but knew it was older than that, known as the National Biscuit Company before its truncation. It was created by a series of mergers, with one of the original companies going back to 1792. The merger that formed the baking giant was in 1898.

Also had TIGGER before PIGLET, due to having G and E already filled in.

Another hand up for CHARLATANS before CONARTISTS.

And in a moment of serendipity, I was listening to Sirius XM Channel 69 (On Broadway) while solving, and when I got to 40A, the title song from the 2007 musical "Young Frankenstein" was playing.

GILL I. 10:44 AM  

A bit of a love/hate fandango tango.
BARKLEY, GENE WILDER and REDNOSE. You were my first. Skip all around and go back to the top. Sara Lee you became the first that got in my way. Ah, look. STARING into space gave me the S and voila, HOSTESS was born.
I jump to the basement area. Hmmm. Narcolepsy. What do you take for that! Could Mr. SANDMAN slip in some RITALIN and we could all dance the night away?
Move to the upper middle. My knight was on Horse while jousting. But what little bestie of Pooh has an O? None to my knowledge. DRUG TRIAL gave me the G and PIGLET was born. Clap clap. He was IN ARMOR after all.....
I'm liking this...so far. Why, pray tell, does the cluing for Sics on become something called SETSAT? What is that? But that's the only word that made sense, especially if I wanted to keep SANDMAN and DIRTY WORD as my partner. I just left it and went on to the end.... the end being the SE basement. TERA BIT and ROTO just floated around empty and dangling with NETIZES. I hate when I'm in love mode with a puzzle because I'm actually doing it and along comes a dance partner stepping all over my feet. I had to call up for help; it made me mad...I was doing so well....the dance ended.
The end.

Anonymous 10:48 AM  

NW was ugly.

Anonymous 10:51 AM  

Emphatic + 1

gfrpeace 10:56 AM  

PENROSE was my first entry. He was an important influence on MC Escher, and he figured in Douglas Hofstadter's 'Godel, Escher Bach' which is quite a book.

Smith 10:57 AM  

Have to post so you can see my avatar (my A.A. Milne collection from childhood, some of the very few books I kept when we downsized).

I got almost nowhere until I plunked in GENE WILDER to start things off. So I solved SW to NE, then over to the NW where, weirdly as I know zero about sports, the name BARKLEY popped into my head. EVAL made it certain that Antony's jilted was OCTAVIA so that section then went pretty fast. Leaving the SE, whew. NETIZEN, ugh, ridiculous, but actually doable.

Time under average for Sat and under this week's Thurs.



Anonymous 11:03 AM  


Alex 11:28 AM  

For 8-Down I confidently wrote in CHARLATAN, but felt uneasy about it right away when 8-Across had to be CHARS. Took a lot of crosses to finally see CON ARTIST. Also had trouble from guessing TIGGER instead of PIGLET; both had the E for the cross with DELIST, which I was sure of. And MORNING star before I saw that it had to be EVENING. Anyway, a very nice Saturday workout.

Di N.G. Dong 11:34 AM  

In 1964, The Continental Baking Company showcased the grand opening of "The Bakery of the Future," one that would churn out Wonder Bread and Hostess Cakes (including Twinkees) at a volume and with an efficiency as yet unseen, on Speen Street in Natick, Massachusetts.

Anonymous 11:37 AM  

I used to work in clinical trials and agree with you wholeheartedly. However, ever since COVID and the lack of honest trials (and reporting), my trust in any trial, and the FDA, has now been compromised.

Epicurus 12:02 PM  

Just a pure slog for me. I never heard of Penrose, though his work on "tiling" is interesting. I had a miserable time through so many clues; it seems as though Shortz is trying his darnedest to turn this into a cryptic puzzle. I miss Will Weng and Eugene Maleska, showing my age, I suppose. I got TINED and EVAL quickly, but was stuck forever on ANIL. I've seen Young Frankenstein so many times, how could I completely miss the good doctor himself?? Not my favorite puzzle of the week.

johnk 12:10 PM  

The NE and the very center STRANDed me and required REDOs. I entered SEARS for 8A, and REFUNDS in the center, as I had already FAILED. So what could have been a pretty easy Saturday required a google cheat to discover PENROSE. That, of course set me UPDATED.

Adam S 12:16 PM  

If you wanted more challenge in today's puzzle, take my advice and do the NW (stopping only to correct passING into space - in my defense I've been coaching soccer this Fall and trying with mixed success throughout to get 8th graders to play passes their team mates can run on to).

Then write in DIssidentS at 23 down. Confidently add SONGS along the bottom and then write in morNING at 31 down.

Presto - your difficulty level has increased by an order of magnitude!

ccredux 12:20 PM  

Enjoyable enough although I agree with @nancy that this was like solving 4 puzzles. Thrown off a bit by the ? with clue for

jb129 12:32 PM  

Rex's comment on the SE - "I just wanted to get it out of the way".

That's how I felt about this puzzle.

Masked and Anonymous 12:34 PM  

staff weeject pick: har. [cuz there weren't none. mighty unusual.]

The M&A brain was still fightin well today, but had hiccups. Got OCTAVIA/OCEANIA almost instantly, to get toeholds in the NW territory. But then … I could. not. recall. GENEWILDER, until I got several of his crossin letters. Call me IVAN & KA.

Only 58 words in this puzgid, adhorned with 4 horned Jaws of Themelessness. Wild stuff. Produced several fave longball entries, includin: DRUGTRIALS [featurin the sole U of the puz]. DIRTYWORDS. moo-cow easy-E REDNOSE clue.
Also produced some nanosecond expenditures, but not as bad as I thought it'd be, when I first beheld the puzgrid.

Since all the 3-letter words were DELISTed, will go ahead and fully analyze the 4-letter ones:

* ANIL. Always a tough one to recall, as don't know anyone who's a regular ANIL dye user. Need some clever way to remember this word. Well, it is the middle of ZANILY … maybe I'll give that a try …
* EVAL. Now, see … here is a perfect Down-answer opportunity for the Shortzmeister to go with real, solid words by usin a double ?-marker clue: {Wash up??} = EVAL.
* ROTO. Not familiar with this sports format. Does it have ROTO-rooters?
* TATA. Ain't TATAs a wonky way of describin BRA contents? Sooo ... them book-banner folks might wanna put the kibosh on this clearly DIRTYWORDSpuz. [har & cringe]

Thanx for the great 58, Mr. Slonecker dude. Real curious how long it takes to build such a grid. M&A once made a 15x15 puzgrid with only seven words … but hadta use a snootload of black squares.

Masked & Anonymo1U


okanaganer 12:50 PM  

A good Saturday, not too fast. Nice to be reminded of Young Frankenstein... so many great scenes in it.

Several typeovers: EURASIA for OCEANIA, HAGGAR then HAGARD for HAGRID (damn Harry Potter characters), MORPHUS for SANDMAN because Morpheus wouldn't fit, and hands up for CHARLATANS before CON ARTISTS. But my funniest one was DERRIERRES before DIRTY WORDS.

The clue for ASONANT was just plain mean. I've seen the name W.E.B. DuBois in print, but every time I've ever heard that surname -- in referring to other people I guess -- the S is silent.

[Spelling Bee: Fri 0; last word this 4er.]

jae 12:55 PM  

Slightly easier than medium with the top half tougher than the bottom. I finished in the NE where PENROSE was a WOE and neither Charlatans nor Antman would work and I had apostLES before GENTILES. Solid but a tad light on sparkle, liked it.

JD 12:57 PM  

@Dr. A, Yesterday we were on a nickname basis with William Barr. Today Drug Trials are worked by Con Artists. Perhaps the editor's politics are creeping all over the puzzles.

jberg 1:07 PM  

Me too for CharlatanS crossing CHARS. I was admiring it, and tried to think of a good cryptic clue, such as "8 swallowing California bronzes," but then got to PENROSE which left no doubt that I was wrong. (HAGRID, OTOH, was a complete mystery to me, requiring every single cross.) But CON ARTIST did work with HOOVES for the feature of Pan. I think I sorted that all out eventually, but to be honest that part of the grid is so dark from writeovers that I cannot really tell.

CHARLATAN would have been a much better answer, as would have been plinth for STANDS.

STRAND and SIREN did get me into the SE before the SW, so I read the second DuBois clue before the first, and thought it was unfair since there was not way to tell if it meant W.E.B. or Blanche.

When I did get to the SW I gleefully wrote in EVENING, only to groan as I realized that it could just as well be morNING. I lucked out, though.

I got OCTAVIA mostly from the crosses, but then I started wondering whether she was related to OCTAVIAN, the guy Anthony was rebelling against. Yes! Not only were Octavian and OCTAVIA sisters, but they had an older half-sister also named OCTAVIA. I guess their mother really liked the name.

Rex alluded to this song by the Chordettes, but I thought you might like to hear it for yourself.

Anoa Bob 1:27 PM  

I read George Orwell's "1984" long ago and with a little crossing help remembered that 2D "Big Brother's superstate" was OCEANIA. It was a chilling, scary novel. Here are a couple of quotes from wiki:

"Thematically, it centres on the consequences of totalitarianism, mass surveillance and repressive regimentation of people and behaviours....The novel examines the role of truth and facts within societies and the ways in which they can be manipulated.

(The) totalitarian superstate OCEANIA...is led by Big Brother, a dictatorial leader supported by an intense cult of personality manufactured by the Party's Thought Police."

Could "2024" become a sequel?

I was curious to see if we would see a salute to Veterans Day and there it is, NAVY PIER. All you veterans from other branches will have to wait until next year for your turn.

My inner nine year old wondered if Roger PENROSE ever had a RED NOSE.

thfenn 1:27 PM  

@gfrpeace, Goodell, Esther, Bach is one of my favorite books.
I can see we all are either ignorant or disparaging of ROTO. First off, Rotisserie League refers to Fantasy Baseball, tho more accurately the other way around. Secondly I've been playing it with the same group of friends for 35 years and still love it.
Thought this was a fun Saturday. Wouldn't have said Pan's feature that comes to mind was his goatee, but certainly goat related. Also kept trying to make elevate work for one or the other pedestals, 'put' not being enough to suggest the past tense to me. Time for more Arabica.

Anonymous 1:40 PM  

Actually, if pronounced correctly, BOTH words were ASONANT, not just one of them. But Ok. Still did this in a Wednesdayish time.

oldactor 1:44 PM  

@Nancy: If you ever see a picture of Hagrid, you'll never forget him.

Anonymous 2:25 PM  

To my knowledge, folks in the server industry refer to capacity in terabytes, not TERABITs. (1 byte = 8 bits.)

CDilly52 2:28 PM  

A hearty AMEN re SoMe. I appreciate the technology and information availability of the internet, but loathe the efforts to “cute it up.”

CDilly52 2:31 PM  

Han md up for CHARLATANS instead of CON ARTISTS. For quite a while it made quite a mess down the middle!

Beezer 2:34 PM  

Worked puzzle in morning but no time to comment until now. Very, very nice puzzle with very little dreck.

It was nice to see Chicago referenced with NAVYPIER. Before I retired I had to travel to Chicago a lot for work due to a certain federal agency headquartered downtown. (Or uptown, midtown…whatever!) I had devised the perfect route which eliminated a LOT of the frenzied highway traffic. I would go from Southshore to Lakeshore Dr. and I can say that Chicago is absolutely breathtaking (on a nice sunny day) when you arrive. Also…for anyone who has never been near one of the larger Great Lakes…the view of Lake Michigan is likewise breathtaking…ocean vibes.

Okay. I KNEW DuBois sounded with a Z due to reading The Souls of Black Folk for a class in college BUT that did NOT help me with ASONANT. Crosses DID help.

Interesting that RITALIN can both cause certain people to be less “hyper” and more focused, yet help others NOT to fall asleep (against their will).

Great Saturday fun!

Carola 2:34 PM  

@Stumper fans - A "first" for me today - finishing a Stumper in one sitting, rather then needing a nap break or an overnight reset.

Gary Jugert 3:08 PM  

@Nancy 10:15 AM

"If you're the keeper of the keys, I guess you're a guy, HAGRID. They don't tend to give important jobs like that to the ladies -- not even in fantasy."

Here's the entry from Gary's Book of Truths (based on an admittedly small sample size of double-checking):

One must give all key keeping to men because:

1 Women will lose said keys.

2 Women will use dirty words to describe you if you don't help them find said keys.

3 Women will put keys into their purses, and apparently that's the same as putting them down a well in the darkest part of the forest for how difficult it is to retrieve them.

4 Women will rekey everything "just to be safe."

5 Women will somehow make the batteries in their car keys wear out 500 times faster than any other batteries and you end up on a first name basis with the guy at the Nissan parts counter.

6 While men will use the keys to go snooping for beer, women will use the keys to gather evidence to be used against you later.

7 Women will use keys as a weapon.

8 Women will use keys as a weapon even more if you think you're being funny.

9 Women will not have their copy of the key when you lose your key.

10 Women will use a key as their primary means to access Amazon boxes. (I guess that's true for everyone still pretending Jeff Bezos is trying to make our lives better.)

11 Women will buy only pocket-less super cute things to wear, meaning the men in their lives will end up being the keeper of keys anyway.

12 And, in Harry Potter, Hermione (a woman) does most of the door opening without using any damn keys "Alohomora" because serously, who needs to be bothered with such loser stuff.

Unknown 4:11 PM  

Wish Hogwarts Harry Potter and other made up words from that universe were nowhere near these puzzles. I'll take 1000 Idomeneos or TV shows or transpositive clues and answers than be stuck trying to realize that "HAGDID and TACKLED" wasn't right. But other parts of the puzzle were fun.

Carola 5:48 PM  

@Nancy, @Gary Jugert - I need to thank you for a new vocabulary word. Your comments made me think of the medieval chatelaine, mistress of a castle and thus keeper of the keys - but now I learn that since the 19th century a chatelaine is a fancy sort of keychain (or, as the OED more finely puts it, "an ornamental appendage for ladies") worn at the waist. Mrs. Hughes of Downton Abbey fame offers a nice example. Maybe those of us frustrated with the lack of decent pockets in women's clothes should follow her example; there are many chatelaines available on etsy.

old timer 5:53 PM  

Needed help with this one, as I never thought of HOSTESS, and TEA CART strikes me as so very British it didn't come to me. REDNOSE was easy of course, and DIRTY WORDS, but I really wanted one of those groups Paul sent epistles to. Yes, he was the apostle to the GENTILES, but that strikes me as a word more recently used for non-Jews than in Biblical times.

I had more than a few nits to pick, but I won't bother. Anyone else pick Eeyore before PIGLET?

dgd 7:21 PM  

I did remember how DuBois was pronounced but had to figure out what was asked for since the usual “silent” didn’t fit.

He was a fascinating man. He died at age 95 in 1963. He was born in Great Barrington MA. He was highly educated. First Black American to receive a doctorate from Harvard Wrote the Souls of Black Folk at the turn of the 20th century which is very much still relevant today. Was a co- founder of the NAACP and editor of its publication The Crisis.
Sadly, after World War II after more than 60 years of fighting for real freedom and democracy for Black Americans and seeing little progress he went to Africa and turned to the dead end of communism. He died in Ghana.

Anonymous 7:34 PM  

Since the modern system was set up after the Thalidomide disaster the government setup has not been perfect. It has on occasion been influenced by corruption etc. But on the whole it is has worked.
We just went through an emergency of monumental proportions and the drug regulation system was indeed highly stressed. I am not saying the drug regulation people or the government health care officials were perfect but very clearly the biggest stress on the system was caused by Trump, the MAGA verse in general and Antivaxxers. To say otherwise is to go down the rabbit hole of conspiracy theorists.

Anonymous 7:53 PM  


Nancy 9:50 PM  

@Gary J -- That's pretty funny. And not all that much of an exaggeration either.

@Old actor -- So I did go and take a look at HAGRID. (There seem to be so many different versions of HAGRID, though they all have one thing in common.) So now I know where the keeper of the keys keeps the keys. In his beard, of course. And he has room for a LOT of keys!

Anonymous 1:28 PM  

As a former ESL pronunciation teacher, I note the misuse of the word ASONANT. It means a sound made without vibrating the vocal cords. The S in “bossy” is asonant, whereas the S in “busy” is sonant. The S in debris is neither; it is just silent. Am I missing something?

Anonymous 3:05 PM  

Had charlatans too and quite liked it!

Diana, LIW 1:50 PM  

Quite the ASONANT puzzle, eh? Yup, even tho I'd already "cheated" by checking some answers, I totally DNF'd in that SE corner.

But hey - what would puzzles be if you got them all too easily? (or too correctly, I guess)? And of course, I no not of Hogwarts - Mr. W has read some of the books.

And I can never, ever, remember ANIL...must...write...down

Diana, LIW

Anonymous 2:01 PM  

Good puzzle. The tricky part for me was the TERABIT-ROTO crossing since I knew nothing about both. Guessed correctly anyways.

Burma Shave 2:27 PM  


The SATYRS all took NOTICE
of a SIREN they ADMIRED,
but DESPISE what they had SIRED.


spacecraft 7:22 PM  

Despite twin gimmes BARKLEY and OCEANIA, I stalled in the NW but rebooted in SW and once I progressed from morNING to EVENING, put away that section.

Next to derail me temporarily was aDuLatE instead of IDOLIZE. That left the NE, last to finish, made hard by ATOMANT. I always thought his name was Adam.

Otherwise a smooth Saturday. Birdie.

Wordle bogey.

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