First part of an ancient Greek ode / SAT 3-16-24 / Fluffy toy, familiarly / Flag carrier of Panama / Go for it, slangily / Ren Faire rides / Small bit of mint? / Accessories that sound like a snack brand

Saturday, March 16, 2024

Constructor: Carly Schuna

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: flag carrier (49A: Flag carrier of Panama = COPA) —
flag carrier is a transport company, such as an airline or shipping company, that, being locally registered in a given sovereign state, enjoys preferential rights or privileges accorded by the government for international operations. (wikipedia)  
Compañía Panameña de Aviación, S.A., (commonly referred to as Copa and branded simply as "Copa Airlines") is the flag carrier of Panama. It is headquartered in Panama City, Panama, with its main hub at Tocumen International Airport. Copa is a subsidiary of Copa Holdings and a member of the Star Alliance. The airline is also the main operator and owner of Colombian airline AeroRepública, currently known as Wingo, previously known as Copa Airlines Colombia. // Copa was founded in 1947 and it began domestic operations to three cities in Panama shortly afterwards. The airline then abandoned its domestic flight in 1980, in favor of international flights. In 1998, Copa formed a partnership with Continental Airlines, adopting a similar brand image and using the airline's OnePass frequent flyer program. (wikipedia)
• • •

A much smoother experience today, with far fewer grimaces. This one has the kind of sparkle and whooshiness that I associate with the better Friday puzzles. The longer answers really shine, all over the grid, and the grid itself is built for zooming around—lots of access points for every section. The whole experience started out pretty crummy, with a twin-cluing scheme that I didn't particularly care for: 1A: Word of elaboration (ALSO) x/w 1D: Elaborate (ADD). I guess the clues there work OK, but when my first dip into an empty Saturday grid feels like a cutesy ambiguity trap, I get put off. You ever get stuck on an inscrutable "?" clue, check that answer's first cross, only to find yourself staring at yet another "?" clue, and you're like "Why lord why!? Make it stop!?" That's how I felt. "[Word of elaboration]? That's kind of vague, let me check the cross ... aw, [Elaborate]!? Really? Come on ..." And then my first answer in the grid was the always-unloved SESH, so as I say, takeoff was pretty bumpy, but I managed to go from SESH to SHOOT (no idea what followed) PASTE POM MELODIC CAGE EGAD ... and then I wanted DEBUNK (42A: Prove false) but wasn't too sure about that "K" and so held off and went down the grid with EYE TESTS instead. That's top of the grid to bottom of the grid, SESH to EYE TESTS, with hardly a pause. From there I had traction. I worked from EGAD back to the top of the grid, and from there, the long answers started to pop, colorfully, into view: SHOOT YOUR SHOT! DEEP FAKE! BRIOCHE BUN, mmmm. Good stuff.

After that initial struggle in the NW, the NE ended up being Monday-easy. OK, maybe Tuesday-easy, but easy. Set a match to it and whoosh, up in flames and then to ashes, as fast as I could blink (give or take). So like yesterday's puzzle, this one had some difficulty unevenness, but overall, since there weren't any real "WTF?" sticking points for me, I made consistent progress and so didn't feel the unevenness so much. Couple of names I didn't know (the writer, the airline), but the surrounding fill took care of those answers, no problem. The cluing felt pretty properly Saturday today, if a little on the easy side. Vagueness and ambiguity made for a few puzzling moments. I had O--YED in place and *still* had to think about what the answer was supposed to be at 6D: Let through (OKAYED). I asked my brain for help but it was like "Look, we've got OBEYED, and that's all we got." "But that doesn't make sense." "Man, we've got what we got, don't blame me. You want OBEYED or not? Oh hey wait ... [pushes some boxes out of the way in the warehouse of my mind] ... looks like there's this OKAYED sitting here. It's dusty and the box is kinda dented, but ... you want it?" "Yeah, I guess so. Thanks, brain." Also wanted BAE before BOO (38A: Sweetie), ATLAS before US MAP (19D: Geography classroom staple), DEAD before REAL (30D: Very, informally), and ACUTE before ASKEW (22D: Word that, when searched, causes Google to display all results at an angle). Initially thought the [Metalworker's union] had something to do with WELDING, but neither WELDER or WELDED made sense. Then I remembered (vaguely) that a SOLDER was a thing. My daughter occasionally builds stage sets and knows how to weld. I don't know if she knows how to ... sold? Is that a thing? A verb? No. A SOLDER is an alloy used to join metal, or (as a verb) the act of doing said joining.

Loved the clue on FOOTREST (14D: Dog park?). You park (rest) your dogs (feet) on a FOOTREST. Nice. Didn't love the clue on COPA, partly because it felt like niche trivia, but mostly because ... I just think you shouldn't pass up any chance to Manilow your grid. Missed Manilopportunities make me sad. This puzzle RAN LOW on Manilow. You don't have to go straight at the song, if that seems to obvious for a Saturday. Why not, [Cabana entrance?], something like that. Speaking of "entrance" clues, 59D: Entrance or exit of Target? is a "letteral" clue—the clue points not to something else but to itself, specifically a letter in one of the words in the clue. In this case, the TEE at both the beginning ("entrance") and ending ("exit") of the word "Target." Just want to reiterate one last time how good this grid looks. BEDHEAD PLATELET HOTSAUCE! The friendliness of "GLAD TO DO IT!" alongside the surliness of "NO ONE CARES." That's some peanut butter and chocolate magic right there. All that and Nic CAGE to boot!? Yes. I'll take it. 

See you next time.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld 

P.S. the [First name in children’s literature] is SHEL Silverstein. He was a writer and illustrator and songwriter, a very familiar name from my childhood. Just learned that he wrote the 1969 Johnny Cash hit “A Boy Named Sue” (!)

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Conrad 5:39 AM  

I agree with OFL's Easy-Medium. Much easier than yesterday.

Wanted DISh(something) for the sink feature that turned out to be DISPOSAL at 16A
24D: GLAD TO help before GLAD TO DO IT
37A: sAg before PAY for "Settle"
38A: @Rex Bae before BOO
62A: oxeye before ASTER

COPA (49A), TOR Books (54D) and Ijeoma OLUO (55D) were WOEs

Anonymous 6:34 AM  

The Friday puzzle I was looking for yesterday. Loved this one

Adam 6:36 AM  

Same as @Rex with Atlas before US MAP. And while the grid was much better than yesterday's, APTER? Come on. Maybe it's an actual word, but it's not one that humans on planet Earth use. hOn before BOO (I had the middle O), and sAg before PAY for me as well, along with GLAD TO help before GLAD TO DO IT. Enjoyed it overall.

Wanderlust 6:43 AM  

Rex, I hope your brain said GLAD TO DO IT when you thanked it for finding the dented OKAYED box. I had GLAD TO help first, and RAN out before RAN LOW. my Google slanting search was ArroW before ASKEW. I loved the snarled NO ONE CARES! And “small bit of mint” for DIME. A bit tougher for me than for Rex, but I liked it.

kitshef 7:24 AM  

It looks like Joel's first job is to focus on what day things should run. So far we've had:
A Monday-level puzzle on Thursday
A Saturday plus-level puzzle on Friday
A Friday-level puzzle on Saturday

To be fair, Will got the Friday and Saturday puzzles reversed at least a third of the time, although rarely this blatantly.

This is what you get when you combine children's literature's SHEL Silverstein with beloved children's icons The Muppets.

Son Volt 7:27 AM  

Nice puzzle - other than a few syrupy sweet misdirects - well clued and fun. Like the big guy I wasn’t comfortable with the dual cross to start but things fell together quickly. The longs really help in a grid like this and these ones were fairly straightforward and snazzy.


ADOPT DONT SHOP is prominently displayed at the kennel my wife volunteers at - wonderful entry. GLAD TO DO IT, BRIOCHE BUN, SHOOT YOUR SHOT all top notch. A little side eye to the OLUO x PLATELET cross. SACS and STROPHE are unfortunate.

Bring me the big knife

Enjoyable Saturday morning solve. Lester Ruff’s Stumper today is a totally different affair - loaded with the dreaded 8s.

SHEL wrote a boatload of popular songs Rex - including Sylvia’s Mother and Cover of the Rolling Stone as @JoeD highlighted here some time ago. I've always liked this one

SouthsideJohnny 7:29 AM  

I’ll concede Rex his amusement with the dog park for FOOT REST combination, but for me at least, “Took the lead?” for ERASE was about as groan-inducing clue / answer combo as we have seen this year. So - some at bats you bomb away a 425 footer, and sometimes you strike out and head back to the dugout.

I had no chance on STROPHE - if you don’t recognize it from your profession (literature prof, for example) or your interests (say Greek History), and you still dropped it in as if it were routine, then I strongly suspect that you feel right at home here on a Saturday and are probably a SPONGE (as clued today) in some regard.

If you want a cool clue that’s tough, fair, and very Saturday-appropriate, I would certainly nominate the tiny violin connection to the nice NO ONE CARES answer in the SW. That was a beaut (not a BOO or a BAE though) in my book.

Anonymous 7:33 AM  

Shel also wrote the sequel, Father of a Boy Named Sue. Not a song to be taken lightly, and if the story and message of the Cash classic is something you hold dear, not a song to be taken at all.

Bob Mills 7:56 AM  

I'm not surprised that Rex Parker liked this puzzle. I hated it. How do we get NOONECARES from a clue about a small violin? Did anyone ever hear someone say SHOOTYOURSHOT? Since when did your feet become dogs?

This puzzle was easy/medium for Gen X or Gen Z solvers, not for octogenarians like yours truly.

Anonymous 8:00 AM  

Feet = dogs since before octogenarians were born; “my dogs are barking” = “my feet hurt” 😃

Anonymous 8:00 AM  

Very enjoyable. “Small bit of mint?” was another nice misdirect clue.

pabloinnh 8:01 AM  

In addition to the BAE/BOO confusion, I had the BRI in the NE and tried BRIECHEESE for my "artisanal hamburger option", which I thought was pretty dumb. Turns out I was right about the "dumb" part.

One day MERER, and the next day APTER. What next, uniquer?

Nice to get an education in some cool youngster terms like DEEPFAKE and BEDHEAD (as clued) but my best connection today was writing in KOA. For a long time we would drive by a sign in VT that read KOA, BEAR LEFT, 100 YDS and ask the kids "Where's the KOA BEAR?" and they'd say "The KOA BEAR LEFT!". Good times.

And there's someone whose last name is OLUO. Who knew?

Wicked fine Saturday, CS. Very Cool Stuff, and thanks for all the fun.

puzzlehoarder 8:11 AM  

An average Saturday which after yesterday felt easy.

yd -0. QB7

Liveprof 8:13 AM  

Having to decide between the first sections of several Greek odes: Strophe's Choice

Making the wrong decision: Catastrophe

Irene 8:19 AM  

Can someone explain "No one cares"?

Anonymous 8:56 AM  

Hey very nice Saturday, on easy side, ok by me.

Would have liked to hear more from RP about either OLUO or STROPHE in the "Word of the Day". Both were new to me, had to get via crosses.
Also learned BOO as term of affection, as if I needed another one. It's Hon/Honey 90% of the time, maybe Sweetheart or Dearest if I'm asking for something!

Sam 9:14 AM  

Easy. They switched Friday and Saturday.

Anonymous 9:16 AM  

Had cOCoAS for MOCHAS which was just right enough to stick around for a while with all the crosses I had. Fixing that made the NE finish quickly.

Anonymous 9:18 AM  

When someone is complaining about whatever difficulty they’re experiencing and you don’t feel sympathetic, you might offer to “play the world’s smallest violin,” in a mocking way. As in, you’ll accompany their sob story with sad music on the tiny, invisible violin between your fingers. It’s an old joke. So offering to play the tiny violin is another way of saying that no one cares about whatever it is they’re going through.

B$ 9:20 AM  

Had GLOBE, then ATLAS, before stumbling onto USMAP so that created some difficulty.
FOOTREST brought a chuckle.

And when I Googled ASKEW I had to laugh out loud.

All in all a pleasure.

RooMonster 9:23 AM  

Hey All !
Hey, found the FriPuz! Who knew it'd be hiding on Saturday?

Much cleaner/nicer/easier than YesterPuz. Still smarting from that one. Liked the unusual-for-a-Themeless grid design. A few extra Blockers never hurt no one. The grid design ended up with a good mixture of longs and shorts. (Shortz? Har)

How many have (or are going to) Google ASKEW now? (Me!)

Made it to Saturday. I do go into work for a few hours today, but normally it's less stress and just clean-up from the previous week hecticness.

Anyway, Have a Spectacular Day!

One F

Dr.A 9:25 AM  

I had one of those annoying experiences where I finished grid but I could NOT find my one typo. Oh well, broke my streak for a silly mistake. Fun puzzle though, also had the most issues in the NW I guess, but overall I found it definitely more medium than easy!

Anonymous 9:30 AM  

Pretty smooth sailing but DNF because I got natick'd on TAOS/STROPHE. Never heard of either and it felt like an unfair cross. Everything else here seemed both fair and fun for a Saturday.

Nancy 9:31 AM  

Didn't know K?A, didn't know ?OPA and couldn't have guessed NO ONE CARES from its strange clue -- even though I had all but two letters. Should I have seen it? Probably, even though it's DOOK-y. So a 2-letter DNF.

It took me a long time to get over my BRIe fixation for the burger -- BRIE seeming pretty artisanal to me. Changing to BRIOCHE BUN helped open up that side of the puzzle -- where, incidentally, I hate BOO for "sweetie"; think the clue for BEDHEAD is pretty darned...peculiar; and don't really think that a "booster" is a DOSE, exactly.

But love the clues for EYE TESTS and FOOTREST and love the answers ADOPT DON'T SHOP; STROPHE and SPONGE, as clued.

I found this very hard and am quite surprised by those who found it easy. But I do agree that yesterday's puzzle was harder.

gfrpeace 9:33 AM  

AAAUGGHH Luddite me with my bygone housekeeping habits. First thing I got was DIShrack for 16A Sink feature. I don't suppose y'all have those. And I don't have a DISPOSAL, I have a compost bin.

David Grenier 9:36 AM  

That due-east section killed me. I thought I was in good shape when I dropped in BRIOCHE BUN, but I then put BAE instead of BOO and REFUTE instead of DEBUNK. SHEL Silverstein didn't come into my head even though I had several of his books as a kid, and I absolutely couldn't figure out what came after LAST and related to wires.

Dan A 9:39 AM  

Too easy for a Saturday

Anonymous 9:40 AM  

Try this:

Nancy 10:05 AM  

@kitshef -- You may want to check your email. I sent you a blog-related query yesterday.

Gary Jugert 10:14 AM  

Really nice puzzle. Much more challenging than yesterday and an outstanding grid.

❤️: [Dog park?] and NO ONE CARES


1 AI that doesn't judge you back.
2 Stop celebrating the Kum-and-Go on northern New Mexican town's main drag.
3 Kidnapped Manilow.
4 River in Chernobyl.
5 Flower garlands given to grampa when he says how things were back in his days.
6 Modern counterpart of "making whoopee."
7 Battled Bob.
8 Overture, 450 BCE style.
9 What one does when developing cataracts.
10 Sunday morning Starbuckian hairstyle.
11 What fellahs create by adjusting their posture when a pretty girl comes into view.


My Fascinating Crossword Uniclue Keepsake from Last Year: Result of being an adult. "I DUNNO" TANGLED WEB.


Anonymous 10:16 AM  

“Dogs” for “feet” is definitely old-timey language. The only time I’ve heard younger people say it was when they were making fun of the way older people spoke.

“Tiniest violin” is a widespread trope that’s been around at least since this 40-ish-year-old episode of M*A*S*H, so maybe it’s just you.

Teleiotes 10:20 AM  

@Bob Mills "Did anyone ever hear someone say SHOOTYOURSHOT?"

Yes it's a pretty common phrase, you can Google it. In my experience it's usually used in the context of one guy talking to another to give him the courage to go up and talk to that girl in the bar, or ask out the girl he's got a crush on, etc. That when you think you might have a shot you need to take it -- "gotta shoot your shot, man". Obviously deriving from sports (I've always assumed basketball, but really could be a lot of sports).

Anonymous 10:24 AM  

thank you for sharing that link. what a weird little treat!

EasyEd 10:32 AM  

Fridays and Saturdays are both so tough for me it’s hard to tell them apart, but directionally I agree with the apparent consensus that this puzzle was easier than yesterday’s. Got hung up tho on what appears to be a generational thing: SHOOTYOURSHOT vs takeYOURSHOT. The “take” version of course would not fit but the “SHOOT” version was not comfortable for me and it took a while for my brain to accept it. Also had REI instead of KOA at one point, but of course that didn’t fly.

Whatsername 10:36 AM  

Not as tough as yesterday but while not easy, was far more enjoyable. I got myself in trouble with 14D when I read the “dog” in the clue and absentmindedly filled in TREAT, then never went back to check the cross. Would not have been a big deal except DEEP FAKE did not make any sense at 13A and I didn’t know PASTE as clued, so that turned into a bit of snaggly area for a while. APTER seems only slightly less misguided but not nearly as jarring as merer.

johnk 10:46 AM  

Googled ASKEW before coming here. Ha! Try it now!
Reuben ASKEW, the great former governor of Florida, would have enjoyed a different clue.

R Duke 11:01 AM  

My “big initials in camping” were REI, so that hung me up a bit. Otherwise, pretty breezy for a Saturday.

Teedmn 11:01 AM  

Globe. That's the staple in a geography classroom. And my pirate speak is ARg, though I knew enough to leave that third square unfilled because it might be ARR, and I'm glad I did.

Speaking of ARR, I began to wonder how pirate speak came about. What was it about being aboard a pirate ship that led one to say ARR? According to the NatGeo article I found, you can date the pirate argot back to a 1950s Disney movie version of “Treasure Island”. After that, most film depictions of pirates used the ARR and “avast” and “shiver me timbers”. Hmmph.

KOA or REI, that is the question for 34A, answered by GLAD TO DO IT (or was it GLAD TO help?, that one answered by ASTER.)

I've seen many a piece of oaken furniture, can’t say the same about ELM, but RACISM made 12D ELM.

Thanks, Carly Schuna, nice Saturday puzzle.

egsforbreakfast 11:06 AM  

I know a couple of alveoli who really loved this puzzle. I guess it had SACS appeal.

Be very careful if someone should ASKEW into DEBUNK before you're properly WOOED.

I get what @Rex and others mean about the ALSO/ADD cross starting the puzzle, but somehow I saw them both immediately and went straight to the whooshing well. Amazing trivia about googling ASKEW. That, and this puzzle made my day(thus far). Thanks, Carly Schuna.

Epicurus 11:15 AM  

A lot to like, but tough, tough, TOUGH for me. I did finish but had to start, take a break, and come back. I loved some of the answers, though I haven't tried the Google trick yet. As OFL noted, much better than yesterday. Shel Silverstein wrote (i)The Giving Tree(/i) if I recall correctly. That was a children's book.

mmorgan 11:16 AM  

I first had Atlas for USMAP, EYE exams for TESTS, BED hair for HEAD, HOT spice for SAUCE, welder for SOLDER and a few others, but crosses eventually straightened me out.

Newboy 11:17 AM  

TOR, BOO & OLUO are mysterious entities that luckily had reasonable cross entries. And reí doesn’t make the cut today, so KOA came in to pinch hit. Tempted to take my tiny violin from its case for the many among the commentariat who cried “WAh, ARR EWE DEEP FAKEing moi,” and I’M GLAD TO DO IT, but NO ONE CARES, so having SHOT MY SHOT…….

Mrs. New slammed her iBook closed in frustration today for the first time in years, but I enjoyed for us both, so I really do understand the angst of STROPHEless solvers. Besides any grid OPPOSED to RACISM (with an implicit assumption) is welcome in our home any day of the week.

jae 11:46 AM  

Yep, easy or about a medium Friday for me.

Did not know OLUO, COPA, and STROPHE.

Me too for Bae before BOO and atlas beforehand USMAP plus rei before KOA.

Smooth grid with more than a bit of sparkle, liked it.

re: “put on blast” from yesterday, my gen Z granddaughter, who just had her one month “moving to NYC” anniversary, knew the phrase.

Carola 12:00 PM  

Nice to be back after being out for 2 weeks with a concussion. I wondered how foolhardy I was in trying my re-entry on a Saturday, but I was able to finish in 3 sessions - and then wasn't surprised to see that @Rex gave it an "easy-medium." From reading the comments, I'm glad I didn't attempt yesterday's.

Do-overs: ARg, globe (hi, @Teedmn), EYEexams. No idea: OLUO. Brain not functioning: BRIOCHE BUNs are on the kitchen counter, awaiting tonight's turkey burgers; still, I couldn't come up with the answer for ages. Some sign of brain function: understanding the dog reference.

Anoa Bob 12:03 PM  

Not sure how 43D "#iwokeuplikethis" equates with BEDHEAD. Or is it BED HEAD? When I asked cousin google, I got a brand of pajamas, a line of hair and nail care products, a 90s Texas indie rock band and an After Party Super Smoothing Cream packaged in a container that looks like a sex toy.

Anybody think "No bueno" when 57A "Stat" turned out to be PRONTO?

I thought it was SHOOT YOUR BEST SHOT but maybe I'm conflating that with Pat Benatar's "Hit me with your best shot". Saw her and her husband Neil Giraldo recently on a PBS "Austin City Limits" episode. She was fantastic and I didn't realize what an incredible guitarist Neil was.

Anonymous 12:14 PM  

Loved the cluing of this puzzle!

Anonymous 12:22 PM  

Very easy ( whoosh, whoosh) east. But tougher on the west side especially the northwest when I was pretty sure 16 across would begin with dish. Was hoping for dish rack… That hung me up

Masked and Anonymous 12:24 PM  

Pretty good stuff. Great longball fillins, and frisky but sane clues. Fagliano dude seems to be gettin the hang of this editin gig.

staff weeject pick: TOR. TOR Books? no-know; rates an ARR. [And U really shouldn'ta tor up yer books.]

some fave stuff: FOOTREST clue. LASTSECOND. DEBUNK. GLADTODOIT. HOTSAUCE & its clue. OLUO [debut entry name that's shorter than CHIWETELEJIOFOR, sooo … ok].

Had way too much trouble gettin PASTE. It and crossin DEEPFAKE were my nanosecond DISPOSAL units, today.

Thanx for the nice themeless puz sesh, Ms. Schuna darlin. Good job. Seed entries? … BRIOCHEBUN sounds kinda seedy.

Masked & Anonymo3Us


GILL I. 12:25 PM  

So I'll just jump in and ask why LEIS sound like a snack brand. " BOO, can you hand me a few LEIS to munch on? Sure honey, rest your dog on that FOOTREST and just SHOOT YOUR SHOT and take a little munch!"

I enjoyed this puzzle. I enjoyed it because I smiled at a SESH here, a DEEP FAKE there, and especially BED HEAD (altho at first I had BED Hair).....Sprinkle with a GLAD TO DO IT and a yummy BRIOCHE BUN, add a little HOT SAUCE and voila.....a fun romp.

This wasn't name heavy and I like that. I didn't know OLUO and he was my one cheat. Damn! Now what I do on a Saturday, I'll tentatively pen in my answer to some things that maybe are iffy like KOA/REI...EYE TEST/ EYE exams....and OKEYED/Opened, just to see if my answers are correct. I got the answers correctly but I wanted to make sure. Is that cheating? I ASK EW Google.

Had no problem with COPA. I flew them once. It was a long time ago and I believe it was from Panama City to Lima. I got a few LEIS and the cocktails were free. People are friendly and the plane was clean....So there's that.

An anxious free Saturday is a good thing. Good job.

mathgent 12:33 PM  

I was going to complain about the clue for NOONECARES before reading @ANON (9:19). He's saying the the tiny violin comment is used as a barb to someone who makes an inane comment. If so, the clue makes sense. But I've never heard that jibe. Anyone?

jb129 12:46 PM  

Started out so promising for me but it didn't continue. Didn't know STROPHE, I thought pirate talk was ARG, not Arr (no big deal), TRES for REAL - what else? That's enough. So I'm gonna blame this on getting a late start today because this was a really nice puzzle & one I should have solved.

BTW regarding my post on Rex for interim editor, I do wish Will the best & a speedy recovery. And @Nancy was right "Be careful what you wish for" & certainly meant no disrespect. And, of course, appreciate Joel's stepping in for Will..

JC66 1:01 PM  


Lays Chips

Nancy 1:06 PM  

@GILL-- LEIS sounds like Lay's Potato Chips. That's one of the few things I actually got right off the bat...

...Speaking of which, @Carola: it sounds as though you had an easier time with this puzzle -- even after having had a concussion! -- than I did, even though I hadn't had a concussion. Which either speaks volumes about how smart you are or about how dumb I am. Maybe both. Glad you're so much better!

Liveprof 1:07 PM  

BED HEAD, it seems to me, is a variation of hat head: when wearing a hat causes you hair/head to be in less than optimal shape once the hat is removed. BED HEAD is your hair when you just get out of bed, i.e., pretty wild. Though some folks go for that look.

Charles 1:17 PM  

@Irene People will disparagingly say they're playing the world's smallest violin while rubbing their fingers together.

I think it originated from Spongebob.

MetroGnome 1:24 PM  

No idea what BED HEAD means in the context of that hashtag-gobbledygook clue; no idea what an "artisanal hamburger" is or what LOTR stands for; never heard of Mr./Ms. OLUO (guess that makes me "Mediocre").

jazzmanchgo 1:38 PM  

When Silverstein wasn't writing kids' books or country & western songs, he was pennning R-rated ditties for Playboy Magazine. Truly a man of many parts.

okanaganer 1:55 PM  

Oof just not on my wavelength. I had nothing for ALSO ADD POM and OKAYED. For the scam video, looking at --E-F--E all I could think of was MPEG FILE.

I miss Will and bocamp.

[SB yd 0; last word this classic 7er.]

Anonymous 2:36 PM  

Fastest Saturday ever after a DNF yesterday. Didn’t know KOA, STROPHE, OLUO but they went in with crosses. Only issue was RANout for RANLOW but fixed quickly with EWE.

matt 2:37 PM  

I got too clever with "occasions to read letters" and had DNA tests as the answer at first.

bigsteve46 2:40 PM  

I am always amused by these rigid assertions that "this is a Saturday puzzle" and "that was a Friday puzzle" and so on. I personally found this puzzle much more difficult than yesterday's ... but that's me. Generally Saturday and Sunday are the toughest puzzles for the week but that' about it. If reading this blog almost every day tells me anything, it's that we all have vastly different backgrounds and strengths and weaknesses, etc.

I look forward to the same folks telling us next week that Monday's puzzle was really a Tuesday and Tuesday's was a Thursday ...

Sailor 3:05 PM  

"I think it originated from Spongebob."

It may have been used by Spongebob, but I remember the "tiny violin" from my childhood, which was well before Spongebob, so it's been around a good while now.

Carola 3:11 PM  

@Nancy 1:06 - Thank you for your kind words. ~ Carola

GILL I. 3:19 PM  

@JC and @Nancy....Oh, those Lays. I'm more of an air fried Kettle sea salt and vinegar gal. ......;-

Anonymous 3:38 PM  

I still don't get "No one cares."

dgd 3:43 PM  

Anonymous 9:16 AM
You weren’t the only one with cocoa. Eventually I figured it out also.

Confused 3:48 PM  

Someone explain PASTE to me, please? I know "wallop" as a word for physically beating someone. Is that the meaning of PASTE here? Is it used a specific sports context, or old slang, or just something that's somehow escaped my notice?

Anonymous 3:54 PM  

Anonymous 9:30
Really Taos is not an obscure place. It is a very popular tourist destination in New Mexico.
Nothing like the original Natick, MA which is definitely not a tourist attraction. Also Southwest towns in the puzzle clues four letters almost always either Taos or Mesa.
Not saying everyone should know Taos, but a natick has to be obscure to most people.
Per Rex’s definition of natick.

dgd 4:12 PM  

Visiting NYC and just saw brioche bun on a brunch menu.
Liked the puzzle though not easy for me.
Never heard the tiny violin put down but the older one, pretending to play a violin, has been around a long time.
Agreed that dogs for feet has been around a long time ( I am old and heard it as a child.)

CDilly52 4:25 PM  

Today I agree with @Rex regarding the NW’s disappointing start. In fact, I possibly overreacted to my aversion to the “double?” Entry point at 1A/1D. So I said to self “Don’t play that silly game, go somewhere else!” And so I did.

Lo and behold, when I moved over to the NE, the whooshing (I actually say “zoomies” in honor of my cat, Pip, shelter sister to my sweet departed avatar and librarian cat, OC). I haven’t had a really fun session of the zoomies for a while, and it reminded me of the story of my cats.

I was legal counsel for the shelter that took such good care of my cats until they came to us on Valentine’s Day 2014. They were a pair. Poor OC had kitty PTSD from having her family and home blown away in the 2013 tornado that rilled through Moore, Oklahoma. She spent her brief shelter time in the hideouts available in the “Quiet Room” the wonderful shelter provides for cats in her predicament. She didn’t interact with anyone - cat or human and the staff was concerned about her adoption possibilities, so they went to work.

My cat Pip came to the shelter about the same time, from a rural setting where she was not much, if any older than one year, full of parasites but with 4 kittens attached, and she protected them with what little strength she had. Alas, the shelter always has a waiting list for kittens, and at the earliest safe (according to the vet) moment, her 4 kittens were adopted out and Pip (not her shelter name) went into a clinical depression. Neither OC nor Pip was doing well.

Both beautiful girls had so much potential and the shelter wanted them to find happy, calm forever home so they decided to try to introduce them. They took OC’s favorite cat tree with its small hideout at the top and a soft bed for the “groundling,” Pip and put them in a well lit store room with a tiny window and set them up with all the comforts a cat could want. It didn’t take long before they both felt safe enough to come out simultaneously. They got to know and like each other and after a while, were reintroduced to the main cat room where they stayed to themselves. Until OC found my wonderful husband.

We had been caring for our kids’ cats, Cassidy and Midnight for over six months while they were busy in a regional theatre production. After they took them back, we were unexpectedly despondent. We’re not big Valentine’s Day people, but in 2014, it seemed like the thing to do to end our months of cat deprivation by adopting a cat. A cat being the operative. Well, as many of you know, cats do what they do.

We had been at the shelter sitting quietly for a while watching the cats wander around their domain. My husband noticed OC sticking her head out of her eerie watching him. The shelter worker was amazed and asked him please not to move toward the beautiful orange tabby because she had never come out of hiding for anyone other than the shelter folks. But she did.

She came quietly down the carpeted post, tail down, stalking. She stared at Larry and jumped up on the bench next to him.

Within a few minutes, Larry had his hand next to her on the bench. She sniffed, tasted and then miracle of miracles, head butted him. We told the shelter worker “this one obviously wants at least one of us.”

Before we could seal the deal, Pip came out of hiding (She always let OC call the plays) . She sat just out of touching range and started saying “meep meep meep” in the softest voice. The shelter worker said please just sit still, these two are friends and they both have traumatic

Of course we adopted them both. And they made our home much happier. OC stayed by Larry’s side to the end.

Animals enrich our lives as we hopefully enrich theirs. I truly believe that the best pets are shelter pets, so please ADOPT DON’T SHOP. And if you cannot adopt, please consider donating to or volunteering at a local no-kill shelter.

A 4:40 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gary Jugert 4:41 PM  

@CDilly52 4:25 PM
+1 Lovely.

A 4:43 PM  

Enjoyed the workouts both yesterday and today, both true “faith solves” (if slightly less so today) as @Lewis has coined them. No complaints about the construction or the editing. Nice way to spend the last couple of days of spring break.

Hand up for rei before KOA, even though I’ve stayed at them, and Bae before BOO. Wanted a different word before DEBUNK, but I couldn’t think of it. Oh, finally - Disabuse! Wouldn’t have fit anyway.

Even though probably NO ONE CARES, here’s a dissertation on the tiny violin:

@Southside, @Bob Mills, @Irene, @Nancy, @mathgent, @Charles, @Sailor, @dgd, several anons et al - the “world’s smallest” part may have originated in 1978 with M*A*S*H, when Margaret rubs her thumb and finger together and tells Charles it’s the smallest violin in the world playing just for him. Apparently it was a SpongeBob thing later. But pretending to play a violin in FAKE sympathy has been around much longer.

The song Hearts and Flowers was an adaptation made in 1893 by Theodore Moses Tobani (lyrics Mary D. Brine) of an excerpt from "Wintermärchen" by Alphons Czibulka.

An orchestral version with violin solo was played during sad scenes in silent films. Through overuse the song became an object of derision and appeared in parodies, comic books and cartoons, and people would pretend to play a violin to mock someone who was overdramatizing their complaints.

NotSoNew 5:09 PM  

Lots of good long answers and fun clueing. I'm just getting decent at Saturdays and was wooshing through all the corners until I came to a grinding halt in the NE.
Nit: a lei is not really an accessory. You're welcome to try and convince me🤗.
I too don't get paste for wallop. Had someone explained it yet?

Anonymous 6:10 PM  

obligatory diary of a wimpy kid post about shel silverstein

When Greg Heffley was younger, his father used to read him a Shel Silverstein book called "The Giving Tree" every night. The book had a picture of Shel Silverstein on the back, which disturbed Greg because he thought Shel looked more like a pirate or a burglar than someone who was publishing books for kids.

After catching Greg getting out of bed one night, Frank used his fear of Shel Silverstein against him by saying that if he did so again, he might run into Shel in the hallway. As a result, Greg stopped getting out of bed at night and still doesn't, even if he needs to use the bathroom.

Son Volt 7:03 PM  

@CDilly 4:25p - fantastic post

pabloinnh 7:14 PM  

@CDilly52-What a wonderful cat story. Our Theo, named for Theo Epstein and his connection to the 2004 Red Sox, which is the year we got him as a kitten, is still going strong and hasn't changed appreciably in years. We lost his bother Fenway a year or so ago, but The Theo abides.

And we are often reminded of the maxim, "dogs have owners, cats have staff".

Anonymous 7:16 PM  

Your site is my go-to when I’m stuck, and I usually just peek and run because I want to check one word without seeing the rest of the grid. But just had to comment today to applaud “Weekend in New England.” 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 And James McAvoy! I never knew!

dgd 7:26 PM  

Not so new
Wouldn’t try to convince you about LEI being an accessory, .
but clues are hints, not definitions.
Both Joaquin and Z, former regulars on this blog, more or less said the same thing, close enough for crosswords!

Gene 8:19 PM  

One (a soldered, perhaps) uses SOLDER to join metal. Not "a SOLDER".

Sandy McCroskey 11:00 PM  

@Confused See definition 3 for PASTE in Merriam-Webster.

Teedmn 11:27 PM  

I finally found, using Google, the version of the clue from NO ONE CARES that I grew up with. When someone was complaining in a self-pitying tone, we would rub our forefinger over our thumb and say, “This is the world's smallest record player playing “My Heart Bleeds For You”. It's the updated version of the “world's smallest violin”.

Dale Gribble 7:42 AM  

I usually go to this website for Rex's takedowns of puzzles. Today, in a rare moment of weakness, I visited to figure out what the heck to do with the revealer. This puzzle was a slog and I hated it.

Anonymous 11:41 AM  

I disagree about the clue for sponge, which was poor: a sponge refers to the quantity of information absorbed, not the speed.

Annabel 11:59 AM  

I've actually followed Ijeoma Oluo on social media since around 2020, so it was a delight to see her name in the grid. She does really fantastic anti-racism advocacy - would highly recommend checking out her work for anyone whose first introduction to her was today's crossword!

Bea 4:54 PM  

Some of the fill was fun, but I have to say that 'teener' is a mean(er) clue answer.

thefogman 12:47 PM  

Easy-medium? Is Rex showing off? Medium-challenging or at least medium for me. A good, solid Saturday-level xword.

thefogman 12:56 PM  

PS. Plenty of misdirects. I had daTED before doTED and then finally WOOED.

Diana, LIW 1:27 PM  

Never heard the "DON'TSHOP" statement from the shelter, so that really threw me.

After a bit of help, it all came miraculously together.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Burma Shave 1:55 PM  




rondo 2:21 PM  

I wouldn't call it easy by any means. Scattered small inkfests including the popular Bae before BOO. BOO??? Today's APTER was better than yesterday's MERER, but not by much; I'd be more APT to not use either in speech.

As noted above, SHEL Silverstein also wrote stuff for Playboy, including an epic poem about a pot smoking contest, google it, it's hilarious. Beside Johnny CASH's 'Boy Named Sue', SHEL also wrote the songs for Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show, including 'Cover of the Rolling Stone'. SHEL was a master and an inspiration. (Johnny Cash performed 'Boy Named Sue' the night I played in a band that opened for him. That song was on the charts at the time.)

Wordle birdie.

Diana, LIW 4:50 PM  



too good!

Lady Di

Anonymous 4:57 PM  

No joy at all in this offering. Slogged through this somehow.

spacecraft 7:08 PM  

Good, tough puzzle. "Gonna buy five copies for my mother." Ink messes everywhere. My first ren faire rides were horses, then ponies (kids go to those things, don't they?), and finally those stalwart STEEDS. ALSO, would you believe BRIECHEESE fits nicely into 10d? It do.

Hand up for wanting ADOPTDOgs... To me "adoption" is a human-on-human activity. You go to the pound, you BUY a dog, that's essentially what you're doing. You do not become the animal's legal parent.

Got a FOOThold in the NE, then worked around to finish in the SE. I can see OULO becoming a darling of the constructors' union. Oh boy. Birdie.

Wordle par.

  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by 2008

Back to TOP