Fur-lined outerwear / SAT 6-15-24 / Onetime subject of King Gyanendra / Interjection in Innsbruck / 16th-century coinage of geographer Gerardus Mercator / Classic tune used as an ice cream truck jingle, with "The" / Person who consumes a ritual meal to absorb wrongdoings of the dead / ___ Lou Wood, "Sex Education" actress / Anita nicknamed the "Jezebel of Jazz"

Saturday, June 15, 2024

Constructor: Ryan Judge

Relative difficulty: Very Easy

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: Rafael DEVERS (25D: Rafael ___, All-Star third baseman for the Red Sox) —
Rafael Devers Calcaño
 (/ˈdɛvərz/ DEV-ərz; born October 24, 1996) is a Dominican professional baseball third baseman for the Boston Red Sox of Major League Baseball(MLB). He made his MLB debut in 2017. Devers won the Silver Slugger Award in 2021 and 2023 and was an All-Star in 2021 and 2022. [...] On January 3, 2023, Devers and the Red Sox agreed to a $17.5 million salary for the 2023 season. On January 11, Devers and the Red Sox signed a ten-year contract extension worth $313.5 million, which will take effect in the 2024 season. [...] Devers was given the nickname “Carita,” which means “baby face,” because he was so happy and smiling as a child. He used the nickname for Players' Weekend in 2019. (wikipedia)
• • •

I guess the idea is that Saturday = Friday + proper nouns. Yesterday's puzzle was very easy for most people, and it was notably light on names, and devoid of any names that might be considered "niche" or "obscure." Today's puzzle was, for me, just as easy, if not EASIER, but I was aware as I was moving through it of how many more Name Bombs there were. If you know the names, then they aren't bombs—they're actually accelerators, and today, I knew most of them, so whooooosh. But it seems very likely that if solvers get hung up anywhere today, it's gonna be somewhere in the thicket of names. DEVERS O'DAY STYNE DON VITO VERA AIMEE, somewhere in there. Because the rest of it was cake. Wednesday-level cake. Cake that tastes like Wednesday (in my head, "Wednesday" is brown, so ... chocolate?). There are hardly any inky patches on my printed-out puzzle, which means trouble spots were nearly non-existent. I wish this puzzle had run yesterday and something much, Much thornier had run today. Today's puzzle definitely had the lightness, the breeziness, and the fun factor, but no bite. Well, there's the SNAKE BITE (51A: Injury that usually involves two puncture wounds), but that (ironically) was no threat at all. I guess I should just be grateful that I got back-to-back enjoyable Fridays, but it's hard not to notice how much they've eased up the late-week puzzles. Maybe their money-generating algorithms A.I. told them it would be best for sales and renewed subscriptions. Probably tons of computing power going into finding exactly how much you can dumb things down and still maintain brand value and integrity. But these days, if I want challenge, I gotta turn to cryptics, British cryptics in particular. Those things will punch me in the face and then drag me around the block a few times. Am I into that? I am not ... not into it. 

[VERA, Chuck, and Dave]

So let's pretend it's Friday, because this is a pretty wonderful Friday puzzle. Little bit of struggle for traction up front and then like fireworks I went exploding out of the NW. That corner has the front ends of two grid-spanning answers, so [Boom!] and [Boom!]

I love how symmetrical that screenshot is. Made me aware (in a way that I wasn't beforehand) that the grid has mirror symmetry along the NW-to-SE diagonal—an unusual way to bring the required / expected grid symmetry, for sure. To me, the white squares look like a bug of some kind, flying NW, and those answers that come bursting out of the NW are on its wings. It also looks a bit like a smiling tater tot wearing a fancy  hat, or a swole gingerbread man—the NW its head, the NE and SW its Popeye-like arms. I like the Popeye connection, since pumping those answers into those corners was definitely a Popeye-eating-his-spinach moment. Forearm muscles bursting, puzzle about to be pounded into submission. This metaphor doesn't quite work, as the puzzle would have to pound ... itself ... but now I've got the "Popeye the Sailor Man" tune in my head now so the metaphor stands. Ooh, just noticed that CHILDHOOD MEMORY mirrors "AM I MAKING THAT UP?" which is Perfect, as memories are so often misty, hazy, unintentionally embroidered. I have CHILDHOOD MEMORYs that can't possibly have happened (at least not exactly the way I remember them). Reading Proust (which I am) makes you hyperaware of what a weird web memory is, and how it's (inevitably) sustained and maintained over time by our own imaginations and (self-serving) storytelling tendencies. "Popeye" is definitely a CHILDHOOD MEMORY. As an adult, I discovered that "Popeye" was a comic before it was a cartoon, a comic created by occasional crossword answer E.C. SEGAR that evolved out of another comic called "Thimble Theatre." This is a little like "Nancy" evolving out of a Jazz Age flapper comic called "Fritzi Ritz"—a side character becomes extremely popular and basically steals the whole damn show. Wow, OK, I've drifted. Revisiting CHILDHOOD MEMORYs will do that. Back to the puzzle.

Two trouble spots today. The first one was AIMEE (17A: ___ Lou Wood, "Sex Education" actress). I've watched that damn show (the first two seasons, anyway) and still had no idea what that name was, or which character, or anything. I mostly remember Gillian Anderson. Thank god the name was spelled AIMEE and not AYMEE, as I briefly feared—I never have any idea if it's SHYEST or SHIEST. The first one is the one that looks right, but thank god my brain was like "No! AYMEE is not a thing!" and so we (me and my brain) went with the "I." Good choice. The other trouble spot was ... well, speaking of "spots," it was DIE, or the answer that I thought was DIE. A DIE is a [Small cube] (with spots!) so ... yeah, that was one trap I fell right into, face first. I guess ONE x ONE x ONE = ONE, so ONE is a "cube" in the mathematical sense. Beyond those two answers, I had only rudimentary and minor trouble. OCH before ACH (4D: Interjection in Innsbruck), SHOUTED before SHORTED (5D: Blew a fuse, say), that kind of (small) stuff.

Explainers and other note-type things:
  • 1A: 16th-century coinage of geographer Gerardus Mercator (ATLAS) — well I knew it was gonna be map-related, but that didn't help much. At least not until I got a few crosses. I opened today with LODE OCH SMOOCH SH(Y/I)EST.
  • 24A: A.M.A. member? (ASK) — I think "A.M.A." was a phenomenon that started on reddit. It means "Ask Me Anything." Celebrities would do "A.M.A." sessions, sometimes as part of some charitable endeavor (here's one with Will Ferrell from eleven years ago). Now people say "AMA" on social media all the time, mostly facetiously. For example.
[OK so he doesn't use the abbr. "AMA" here but he should have] 
  • 13A: It's bigger than a peck (SMOOCH) — did you write BUSHEL? I have no idea how big a bushel or a peck is, but I had enough crosses in place not to fall for BUSHEL.
  • 19A: Final track on Beyoncé's "Cowboy Carter" ("AMEN") — first of all, great album. Second of all, I could not have told you what the final track was, but the "final" part made it easy to infer.
  • 39A: Classic tune used as an ice cream truck jingle, with "The" ("ENTERTAINER") — I did not know that ice cream trucks played this. Have they always? I know this song from The Sting (1973).

  • 42A: Marching band syllable (PAH) — probably the worst thing in the grid, but you're allowed a stray 3-letter clunker here and there. I wanted OOM here. Right idea, wrong ... tuba sound part.
  • 10D: Oppenheimer's creation ... which "Oppenheimer" certainly wasn't (A-BOMB) — this clue should absolutely positively have a "?" on it, since there is a hyphen in the first (actual bomb) meaning and not not not in the second (movie) meaning. It's a cute cluing idea (the movie "Oppenheimer" was certainly not a flop, i.e. A BOMB), but come on, editors. Get it together.
  • 21D: Person who consumes a ritual meal to absorb wrongdoings of the dead (SIN-EATER) — this has made one other NYTXW appearance (in 2021), which remains the only other time I've heard this term in my life, I think. But it's real enough.
  • 35D: Untruthfully? (ON A DARE) — a properly Saturday clue, for once. It's a bit of a stretch, but it's playing on the slumber party game "Truth or Dare." If you don't choose "Truth," then you have to do something ... ON A DARE. The clue is bonkers and only barely holds together, but that's what makes it charming, I think. I like your moxie, weird "?" clue! You stay in the picture!
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Anonymous 6:12 AM  

Pretty much perfectly Friday-hard. Which I guess is fitting, after the Wednesday time it took me to finish yesterday's puzzle. I opened with ACH, and VEIN instead of LODE, so I had to get MEMORY first, and then CHILDHOOD after realizing that VEIN was wrong. I was expecting some technical term about what sort of "memory" is involved in learning how to ride a bike, some variation of LONG-TERM maybe? Doesn't help that I also had ADOS for "Rows". Classic crosswordese instinct.

And that D gave me EDGE for "Exceptional" (I was thinking edge cases). After that i didn't really have any missteps, except SIREN for SATAN, "confirmed" by DEPOSIT and NEE. Luckily I saw right through the 35D clue, getting ONADARE from just the O.

DIE was my first thought for "small cube", but it wasn't Saturday enough. So I put in ONE, and I totally expected it to be wrong.

Hal9000 6:21 AM  

Like yesterday, nothing about the puzzle to complain about, other than just TOO DAMN EASY!

Anonymous 6:31 AM  

A sin-eater featured prominently in the most recent (absolutely wonderful) season of Fargo, so that came to mind immediately.

Son Volt 6:32 AM  

Agree not Stumper level fun - but enjoyable. Liked the spanners cross and NAME DROPPED. Needed all the adjacents to get SIN EATER. Some of the shorts were early week easy.

The kewpie dolls we won

On Thursday I had a delicious Pondicherry DOSA with coconut chutney. SNL sure does get a lot of play in the NYTXW. Knew DEVERS but I could see a non baseball fan having an issue - especially crossed with DIES IRAE.

Pleasant Saturday morning solve. Kate Chin Park gives us her first? Stumper today - it doesn’t disappoint.


Anonymous 6:40 AM  

DEVERS crossing DIESERAE was an absolute Natick for me.

Andy Freude 6:47 AM  

Hand up for AyMEE, for just a moment. Still, done in exactly half my average Saturday time. Could hav3 used a little more (snake) bite.

PH 6:53 AM  

Very Easy, due to all the crosswordese: ANORAKS, DIES IRAE, ODAY, STYNE.

Nice grid and fill. Well done, Ryan!

Munch 7:10 AM  

@Anonymous 6:31

But, in the end, he sure did love them biscuits made with love and joy.

Alex S 7:38 AM  

I did not get early traction in the NW but rather in the ME so when I had DMEMORY in went CHERISHED MEMORY which was quickly confirmed by the CH crosses and took me forever to pull it out even though I knew ACH had to be ACH.

pabloinnh 7:39 AM  

Agree with the "too easy but still fun" chorus. Started with ANORAKS, with some hesitation because "outerwear" can be singular or plural, but knew STYNE so plural, and so it went throughout. AIMEE a WOE but easy crosses.

The R from NAMEDROPPED led to AVEMARIA, which fits nicely but DEVERS meant that was wrong, so DIESIRAE, usually clued as the partial DIES.... . Nice to see the whole thing.

Wondering how many youngsters will know VERA, never mind Chuck and Dave.

And pleases stop using OARS for "rows". Just stop it.

Very breezy Saturdecito, RJ. Not Realistically Justified as a Saturday puzzle, but that's not on you. Thanks for a fair amount of fun.

JJK 7:41 AM  

I agree on the mostly easy assessment, but this was nonetheless a DNF for me because of the proper names, which I simply didn’t know. DEVERS crossing DIESIRAE, a Natick, AIMEE and ODAY, not familiar enough to remember when I needed them. Also, I do like AMIMAKINGTHATUP, but I couldn’t come up with it to save my life. The clue, “is it not?” to me has a ring of slight formality to it, so I was looking for something like AMIMisinformed. And the crosses weren’t helping me out since I found the whole SW corner difficult.

PAH? Awful. I thought it should be some part of oom-pa-pa, but didn’t think there should be an H.

Oh, and A.M.A. - the American Medical Association to me, no idea about Ask Me Anything (I guess I’ve heard of it but…) so I didn’t see how the answer could be anything but ASs. That was another fatal error.

Lewis 7:41 AM  

Random thoughts:
• One of the great pleasures of solving is suddenly seeing a longer answer when you place in its first or second cross. That happened again and again today, producing a surfeit of pleasure.
• Lovely cross of two possible names AL FREDO and DON VITO.
• Those nine black squares in the middle, moving diagonally SE to NW, reminded me of one of my favorite grid art creations of fish swimming upstream -- https://www.xwordinfo.com/Crossword?date=8/8/2014 -- by Bruce Haight. Worth a peek!
• I like how NAMEDROPPED goes downward.
• I also like the sing-song trio of ROMA / VERA / FAVA. Try saying that five times fast.
• ONE has appeared in crosswords well more than a thousand times, but never clued anything like the marvelous misdirecting [Small cube]. One of Ryan’s areas of study (at Carnegie Mellon) is math, so the clue doesn’t surprise me.

Ryan, your puzzle took me all over the place in a very enjoyable way, on top of a sweet uncovering of the squares. A most entertaining outing toda -- thank you so much for making this!

Bob Mills 7:47 AM  

Finished it in short order without cheating, so it must have been easy. I had no trouble wit the DEVERS/DIESIRAE cross, because I'm a long-time member of the BLOHARDS (Benevolent Loyal Order of Honorable and Ancient Red Sox Diehard Sufferers).

I got ONADARE from the crosses, because I never heard of the slumber party game.

Eater of Sole 7:57 AM  

Hand up for "bushel" and for the names being a minefield, other than DON VITO. I guess if I'd had a better handle on the names I'd have rated it easy too.

Not quite convinced "Sought" == ASPIRED. Seems to me the latter is more about hope, whereas seeking implies the taking of some minimum amount of action.

Learned of DIES IRAE, as far as I recall, when I read Philip Dick's DEUS IRAE long ago. But it's confused in my mind with another bit of old music that also inspired a Dick title, "Flow, my Tears" aka "Lachrimae pavane" that I used to play with some friends.

EasyEd 7:59 AM  

I don’t think I’ll ever complain that a puzzle was too easy—my memory is terrible and this one had a lot of specific names and descriptions that took forever to get. Really enjoyed@Rex’s rambling review today. Lots of NAMEDROPping, including as @Lewis mentions the Godfather cross of AL FREDO and DON VITO. Wonder if that was an intended connection. If so, kudos.

SouthsideJohnny 7:59 AM  

When I finished it, my first thought that came to mind was “fair” which probably correlates well with OFL’s characterization as easy. The geography clues for KOREA and NEPAL were, well, fair (and how many four letter Italian cities do we get that aren’t ROMA or ROMe?). Similarly, DESIRAE is a WoE for me, but others may at least be familiar with it the way I’m familiar with the ENTERTAINER (which at least was entrenched in popular culture for a period of time).

I think my favorite part of the solve was the aha moment when I discerned AHI TUNA for the steak - I was definitely searching every corner of my mental cattle ranch for a cut that is sesame-friendly. Definitely a tough spot for me was PAH over ODAY, which was further complicated because I thought a snake might be the temptation culprit one row down - but I’ll fight my way through that stuff enthusiastically because at least I have a fighting chance.

So I may well be part of the target demographic that Rex is referring to when he contemplates an algorithm to target the degree of difficulty that will attract the most eyeballs on a weekend. I don’t enjoy coming to the NYT to get bludgeoned or leave black and blue - especially when they use arcane trivia and other dark matter (or gimmicks) to amp up the difficulty. Yes, there are people like me who didn’t pay attention in Latin class but still grew up to enjoy solving word puzzles . . .

Anonymous 8:13 AM  

Fun to see Don Vito crossed with Al Fredo as a Godfather nerd.

Rug Crazy 8:17 AM  

I enjoyed it, but didn't find it "very easy"...

Dr.A 8:20 AM  

So many things I did not know! AIMEE, DEVERS, DIES IRAE, etc.
I got them but it was not as easy for me as it was for Rex. I liked everything except the PAH clue. I played in a marching band for four years and never said or heard “PAH” so I have no idea what that is coming from or supposed to be.

JHC 8:21 AM  

All the ice cream trucks in my neighborhood play The ENTERTAINER. I have mixed feelings about the legacy of Mike Bloomberg, but one of the best things he did was to ban ice cream trucks playing their jingles while idling.

Lewis 8:24 AM  

In our neighborhood, the Pavlovian effect of the ice cream truck music never fails to bring out a salivation army of customers.

Nancy 8:59 AM  

Challenge aplenty for me and I ended up feeling smart in solving with no cheats -- though I was sorely tempted on DEVERS, VERA and DON who?

Several long answers produced "Eureka!"s in me when they came in because they meant I was going to solve the puzzle. They were also my favorite answers: NAME DROPPED (reminds me of Lewis's and Jeff's wonderful Sunday puzzle last year) and CHILDHOOD MEMORY.*

I knew that the answer to "bigger than a peck" would be some sort of KISS, but KISS didn't fit and neither did SMack. I was thrilled when SMOOCH came in. I would have had the NW done much more quickly if I hadn't had fEed instead of SEAT at 20A for "do a host's job." Memo to host: Please, please FEED me and I'll find my own SEAT. Thanks so much.

*I don't have a CHILDHOOD MEMORY of learning to ride a bike. I have two indelible CHILDHOOD MEMORies of NOT learning to ride a bike. One is with my (five years younger) brother and one is with a teenage boyfriend of the moment. I behaved the same way in both instances, climbing on the ridiculously wobbly contraption and then screaming "DON'T LET GO! DON'T LET GO!! DON'T LET GO!!!" Both brother and erstwhile boyfriend had the same reaction. "Just get off, Nancy. I really can't deal with this."

Riding on wobbly things, skating on slippery things, climbing on high, steep, precarious things -- these have never been among my predilections or talents. Terra firma -- that's the place for me!!!

I loved this puzzle. I thought it was a perfect Saturday: challenging, colorful and engrossing.

David Grenier 9:02 AM  

Its always frustrating when I find a puzzle VERY CHALLENGING and then Rex is like "this is the easiest puzzle I've ever done, because its all proper names and obscure crosswordese!"

Things I didn't know and had no way of guessing today:
ANORAKS, AIMEE, AMEN (as clued), DIESIRAE, DOSAS, ODAY, STYNE, DEVERS, SIN EATER, VITO (I know him only as Don Corleone), VERA.

Add to that having never head THE ENTERTAINER played by an ice cream truck (ours just rang a bell, in other places I've heard Pop Goes the Weasel), falling for the BUSHEL and DIE misdirects on my first pass, and this puzzle was extremely hard for me.

mmorgan 9:03 AM  

I actually knew all the names except AIMEE, which filled itself in nicely from crosses. Wanted ice for small cube. Next time, maybe. Put bushel right in and took it right out. Had SireN for SATAN but decided that would have more like been temptress, no further gender comments. Not “very easy” for me but gettable and fun.

Anonymous 9:20 AM  

Blanked on ATLAS, so NW didn't come easily. Once I got past 17 Across, things started flying and wound up with below average time.

Fun puzzle and great RP writeup

Ride the Reading 9:26 AM  

Found this one more difficult than most here - more like slightly to the easy side of medium. SHyEST/AYMEE for a while. Had Ford cars instead of ANDROIDS at 6D for a while. Misspelled STYNE as STein. Took much too long to figure out DON VITO.

Oh, that ice-cream trucks would play "The Entertainer" around here - a couple weeks ago, 20 minutes of "La Cucaracha" while the truck was stopped nearby. I hope it was false advertising.

Druid 9:36 AM  


RooMonster 9:39 AM  

Hey All !
Noticed @M&A's Jaws on the East part of grid, with no corresponding Jaws on the right, and quickly saw it was diagonal symmetry. Quite rare and unusual for a Themeless.

Struggled some with this puz. Didn't find it easy, or Very Easy, ala OFL.Had one look-up. AIMEE. Which didn't immediately help me in the NW corner. After looking that up, still was stuck up there, so my attention went to SE corner, where I had goyA in for FAVA, nicely messing things up down there. Is GOYA bean even anything? I tell ya, my silly brain sometimes...

Writeovers that eventually were found, but had me struggling for a bit, DIESaRAE, miNiBOT. Was finally able to see ANDROIDS after many crossers, so cleaned up and got the NE.

I like this trend of "EASIER" Themelesses. I don't need to SETS ASIDE a big chunk of the morning to solve it. I like to STRODE through the puz, finish, let out an I RULE! and continue with my ODAY. AM I MAKING THAT UP, you ASK? No, I CARE to be truthful.

Well, Happy Saturday!

Two F's

Nancy 9:40 AM  

@David Grenier -- Like you, I don't know what THE ENTERTAINER sounds like and it's not what the ice cream trucks in my neighborhood play. But nothing can be any worse than "Pop Goes the Weasel" played over and over and over and over and over and over again. Nothing. It has driven me regretfully away from beautiful parks and from beautiful gardens much too often. What I am tempted to do to those trucks when no one is looking can not be spoken aloud in polite society.

Tom T 9:41 AM  

This one played anything but “Very Easy” for me. It was one of those that, 10 minutes in to my 58 minute solve, felt like I would eventually have to surrender in dnf defeat. But I persisted and, when I didn’t get the Happy Music, I simply had to run the vowels to come up with the O in ANORAKS. That’s a word I need to commit to memory. I should have figured out the clever misdirection on 8D (Small cube), but after diE and icE, I was out of guesses. Anyway, I kept a modest streak alive with no look-ups or cheats.

Pitiful day for HDWs (Hidden Diagonal Words). The horizontal BAE (23A) shares its B with a Hidden Diagonal BAE (moving to the NW). Also, those sensory perceptive EARS (26D) shared their E with what it felt like I might need to ever complete this puzzle: ESP (moving to the SW).

That’s my slant for today. Enjoy your day.

Masked and Anonymous 9:52 AM  

Leaner puzgrid symmetry. A few no-knows, but got em all from their crossers. Overall, a fairly reasonable SatPuz. And it's got The Jaws of Themelessness.

staff weeject pick: PAH. rates an Ow de Speration har.

Thanx, Mr. Judge dude. Nice job.

Masked & Anonymo2Us

p.s. Runtpuzs on hold, for a bit. Waitin for a blog refresh by the mighty @r.alph.

Anonymous 9:54 AM  

I think it’s referring to oom pah pah… like the tuba

Anonymous 9:56 AM  

Me too. It was impossible.

puzzlehoarder 9:57 AM  

This puzzle was by no means easy for me. I got my start in the NE and had trouble coming out of there due to my inability to see the connection between "Galaxies" and ANDROIDS The light bulb didn't go off until after the crosses had forced me to put it in. Worse than the ANDROID blindness was my entering STRODE as SRTODE. You wouldn't think it possible to miss a mistake like that but I solve on my phone and one finger tap in my letters. That mistake really created a roadblock to backfilling the NW. I didn't spot the SRTODE mistake until I'd filled the rest of the puzzle clockwise and got into the NW from the south.

Every diagonal symmetry puzzle I can recall has been a quality solve and this was no exception.

Since I solved the puzzle on my phone last night. I was able to fill it in by memory only this morning in the paper.

Steve Washburne 10:00 AM  

Not easy for this first time poster! Slowed in NE by having BUSHEL and PRESERVED.. instead of SMOOCH and CHILDHOOD..

Anonymous 10:02 AM  


Anonymous 10:06 AM  

Not to be a NAMEDROPPER, but I'm going to see the pictured David Kwong in Chicago tomorrow with my kids.

Oh, and our ice cream trucks play Turkey I. The Straw, but that did not fit.

Flybal 10:09 AM  

Apple user says safe the slots for old ford galaxies

Mothra 10:10 AM  

In my neck o’ the woods, the ice cream truck played “Turkey in the Straw”. Wonder who determines the tune. Is there an ice cream truck playlist?

puzzlehoarder 10:10 AM  

This was a slightly challenging solve for me. I started in the NE and had trouble coming out of there because I was very slow on ANDROID. The even bigger problem in that north central section was my SRTODE typo. You wouldn't think it possible to not spot a mistake like that but solving on my phone makes it more likely to happen. I had to fill the entire puzzle clockwise and come into the NW corner from the south before I finally saw the SRTODE mistake. By then the damage had been done.

As far as I can recall every diagonal symmetry puzzle the NYT has ever had has been a quality solve. Today's offering was no exception.

yd-0. QB62

Gary Jugert 10:19 AM  

On the challenging side with this completely unknown cast of characters. Seems so silly to make a puzzle weekend worthy by leading with Gerardus Mercator. Names aside, the rest of the puzzle was a serviceable, if not thrilling, start to the day.

First thought with SMOOCH went in, then SMOOCH backed out, then SMOOCH back in. So much SMOOCHing. Same with NANOBOT. Trust yer gut.

OLD FORDS before ANDROIDS. Don't trust yer gut.

The entire German language according to crossword constructors: ACH.

Propers: 9
Places: 2
Products: 4
Partials: 3
Foreignisms: 4
Gary's Grid Gunk Gauge: 22 (33%)
Funnyisms: 2 😕

Tee-Hee: Dunno if our lonely editors at the NYTXW have heard, but many people these days aren't burdened by religious upbringings and moralistic misgivings about their own bodies and thoughts, so the little "dirty" tee hee at 43A over SEXTED lands with a thud. Maybe they should hire me to let them know what's really dirty. Heh heh. Like watching someone eat KFC.

Uniclues (dedicated to the rapacious minds that brought you the clue for 43A):

1 Get a little dirty with a machine.
2 Homophonic reference to a dirty one's plan.
3 Dirty one's unfortunate hiking souvenir.
4 One's dirty feeling around pasta.
5 Psychologist office among the nomadic (where some may unburden their dirt).
6 Least dirty (and probably most clothed) adventurer.
7 Dirty result of an overly long drum solo.
8 How lamas text dirty.
9 How he convinced me to be a dirty, greasy, yet tasty, chicken murderer.


My Fascinating Crossword Uniclue Keepsake from Last Year: The way of the wriggler wrangler. EELER TAO.


ChrisR 10:40 AM  

I know DIES IRAE from old puzzles with the clue "Dies ____", and I like clues that turn crosswordese around like that: "You've written this down dozens of times. Do you really know what it means?"

I was not familiar with AIMEE, SIN EATER, DEVERS, or DOSAS, but the last two fell into place with crosses. This was my second fastest recorded Saturday puzzle, with a time 47% of my average.

thfenn 10:49 AM  

Not easy, but very enjoyable. Read up on sin eaters and now think biscuits with initials of a loved but flawed one might be a good idea. Wanted to hear the hymn so googled Pie Jesu and got some Andrew Lloyd Webber clip on You Tube followed by a distracting link to an SNL WU clip on some golf hottie (a long random collection with no Grace Charis in sight - where did Paige go?).
How do you not write in AMIMAKINGTHisUP first? That feels like a gulf between me and those better at this. Thought 'THis' was perfect, given it went in so early and was the reaction I had to it fitting. Also let CHILDHOODritual sit there a while. DEVERS was a gimme for any Red Sox fan (now there's a name I'd like to be able to drop, but can only admire from afar). Agree OARS as a verb has to stop (hi @pabloinnh, i'm @tominme). Also struggled with outerwear being plural, so the NE went in last.
But what a fun start to the day. Easy or not. Hope those of you dealing with the heat stay safe, hasn't made it's way up here yet.

Anonymous 10:58 AM  

Sigh, nothing quite like finishing my first Saturday with absolutely no help only to come here and see it rated as Very Easy. I was proud, and now I’m deflated. Oh well

Carola 10:59 AM  

More a medium for me, and fun to solve. I had some trouble up top: I couldn't see CHILDHOOD MEMORY (I'd guessed at "buILDing..."), and I wanted Galaxies to refer to Ford vehicles. After I unsnarled that upper tier, things moved more quickly. I enjoyed the clueing, especially for ON A DARE.

Thank you to @Rex for pointing out the diagonal symmetry and the pairing of MEMORY with MAKING things up! NAMEDROPPED paired with ENTERTAINER is nice, too.

Do-overs: build before CHILD, MAKING THis UP. Help from previous puzzles: BAE. Help from being old: STYNE, DON VITO, VERA, O'DAY. No idea: AIMEE, DEVERS, SIN EATER. Low point: "Please don't let it be DOG LEASH."

egsforbreakfast 11:17 AM  

Sen. Cruz: If we really want to stop abortion, we should just outlaw that stuff where boys put their thingies in girls. What's that called?
Sen. Schumer: SEXTED. And I think your idea is ABOMB.
Sen. Cruz: We'll that would be RARE.
Sen. Schumer: SHORTED.

What do you call a fish that smokes dope? AHITUNA

These are found inside amigas. DOSAS

If William Tell was the aimer, his son was the AIMEE. He reportedly called his Dad PAH. I actually know a woman whose name is pronounced "Amy" but is spelled "Amiee". I always all her Am-ee-yay. She usually calls me "asshole".

Thanks for a fun puzzle, Ryan Judge.

jae 11:29 AM  

Yep, easy. NW was the toughest section for me. I got fooled me AMA, did not know ATLAS was coined, and SMOOCH and TO LET took some staring. The rest was (@Rex) cake.

I too watched the series but did not know/remember AIMEE.

Solid and smooth, liked it.

GILL I. 11:49 AM  

Ye gads....When I started this late last night I stared. I suddenly felt like Sisyphus. That damn boulder on my shoulder as I labored up a steep mountain...gettting a toe hold....stepping on itty bitty pebbles...can I reach the top? I finally got some traction and wasn't sliding back down - well, maybe a little!

My only entry for a long time was CASAS. Yep, Spanish to my rescue. 1A, who is Geradus Mercator and what did he coin...A cheat for an ATLAS. Boulder on my shoulder doesn't seem to weigh as much. Oh, look! AM I MAKING THAT UP? The sky suddenly opens up and a ray of sunshine. Move on over a bit to the east and see what delights me. ANORAKS has to be correct. But then another heave weakened me. I needed help for an ANDROID and a NANOBOT. I'm betting if I wasn't as tired as I was, I would've gotten them on my own. Two glasses of a Lodi Zin will do that to you.

Half way up my mountain. CHILDHOOD MEMORY. Is that really you? Mine involve fishing on the Malecon in Havana. I had a long stick and I'd tie some string to it. My hook was a bobby pin with some stale bread attached. Can fish laugh? I do, though, remember my first bike experience. I got on my brothers big bike because he made me do it and then he gave me stern instructions like "don't fall off" and then pushed me down a hill. I'm still here so I guess it was a success.

I'm almost up the top. It got easier. I had trouble spelling DIESIRAE. I didn't know DEVERS (but I got you!)...I wasn't sure about DOG LEASH and I wanted my tempter to be a siren. All these little annoyances that finally disappeared. SNAKE BITE VERA....I CARE.....You were my last. I reached the top but I will admit this was NOT very easy at all, for me..I worked pretty hard but in the end, the gods forgave me. I'm going to become a SIN EATER.

Adam S 11:55 AM  

Liked this puzzle, which I found about average for a Saturday

I have two nits to pick with OFL today:

1) If Tuesday's crossword gets characterized as "Medium-Challenging (**for a Tuesday**)", why isn't today's "Very Easy (**for a Saturday**)"?

I guess this is more of a nit about Tuesday than today, since the rating is already defined as "Relative Difficulty". I wonder if this shows a little (surprising, at least to me) subconscious worry on the part of OFL that someone might have thought he genuinely struggled on Tuesday. If so, I am happy to reassure Rex's subconscious that readers of this blog all know he excels at solving crosswords and isn't going to meaningfully struggle to complete a Monday or Tuesday crossword.

2) No idea why the lack of a question mark on the Oppenheimer clue should be seen as an editorial failing. Both "A-bomb" and "a bomb" appear in grids as ABOMB, so the answer in the grid could clearly be either. If there is an ancient crossword convention Rex is referring to here, it's one that IMO that is in the wonderful words of Judge Rakoff "Hallowed by history, but not by reason."

Nancy from Chicago 12:00 PM  

I am still giggling about the "smiling tater tot wearing a fancy hat" - the grid does look like that! And I had the same dilemma with shyest vs. shiest but also guessed right. @Nancy, I never learned to ride a bike either; must be a Nancy thing.

jb129 12:09 PM  

Much easier than the usual Saturday, but not VERY EASY. I found myself solving much faster than usual but got hung up SINEATER , didn't know NEPALI (so I struggled with REUP), DEVERS . But I really liked KFC (chain letters) & of course my favorite Mafioso of all time, DON VITO (in the same puzzle as the Beatles VERA).
Thanks, Ryan. This was an enjoyable Saturday :)

Anonymous 12:18 PM  

Entertaining but ach, so much namedropping I got almost got snake bit. At least I didn't have to set this one aside. I don't aspire to or ask for faster easier times tho because what would I doing during my second cup of coffee?

Anonymous 12:34 PM  

Hand up for DEVERS/DIESIRAE Natick.

Could not put the SW corner together. My main problem was that I had AM I MAKING THis UP? I knew that T___UP was right and something was off about my answer but I couldn’t make the jump from this to that. Knowing the name of a singer who died 18 years ago would have saved me from the DNF.

Burtonkd 12:40 PM  

So today we had an OOMPAHLOA - cousin of the oompaloompa of Willy Wonka fame. OOM is a specialty of the tuba or double bass. PAH is a regular feature of viola parts and maybe trombones in the brass?

I remember AMA as “ask me anything” here confounding people, then appearing a couple of weeks later, causing the same consternation for the same posters. Fool me once…twice… what happens on the third time? I confess to trying to abbreviate American or Association;)

Catchy song from Oklahoma made me pick the “bushel and a peck”

AIMEE was certainly wonderful in Sex Education, but needed several letters to remember her name.

The ENTERTAINER sent me down a rabbit hole of ice cream truck jingles. The one around my parts is the Mr Softee jingle, based on a 1913 song the Whistler and his Dog, the notes of which don’t really match - but the rhythmic pattern and spirit is there. Apparently, Turkey and the Straw was used frequently until the racist undertones were pointed out and protested by members of the hip hop/rap community.

@Nancy, David said he hadn’t heard the ENTERTAINER on an ice cream truck, not that he didn’t know it. I would be shocked if you didn’t know the piece, it has stayed in the culture since it was written. Go pull it up on YouTube and you’ll most likely realize you just didn’t know the name. It was featured in the movie The Sting and got a lot of play then.

The DIES IRAE used to be on the life test:) Well known tune, famously quoted by Berlioz in his Symphonie Fantastique.

I listened to Cowboy Carter on a road trip recently, but didn’t make it to the end, AMEN. I liked her take on Jolene. Well produced album. She shows a lot of singing range, sometimes adding a little gospel to the country style, taking it back to its roots.

jberg 12:59 PM  

I got ATLAS right off the bat. I had no idea that Mercator coined the word, but since his eponymous projection is used for making maps flat, it seemed likely, and I couldn't think of any other possibilities. Anyway, I felt then that I was just going to breeze through this puppy. Not so.

I have an ANORAK, and I could see that it would fit (if I had another one); but it's certainly not lined with fur. Actually, I've always thought that a fur-lined hooded garment was a parka, and the ANORAKS were furless shells. AM I MAKING THAT UP? Even so, any fur-lining is definitely the traditional conception of the garment. A TEPEE, OTOH, is traditionally made of animal hides; canvas is a modern innovation. So I had a hard time with both of those.

I learned about DIES IRAE as a freshman in college -- but what I learned was the title, that it was a medieval hymn, and that it meant "day of anger." I certainly didn't know what the final couplet was. But it's a crossword regular, and I had a cross or two, so that was OK.

The SW corner was almost my downfall. I had LE over EE, and was stumped. I even considered the possiblity that they'd got the clues switched, as whEE seemed like a good answer to "Look at me go!" But finally I realized that it was not the American Medical ASSociation but ASK me anything, and that K opened the whole thing up. On the whole, a nice puzzle, more challenging for me than for Rex (duh!)

I was 64 16 years ago, and didn't have any grandchildren until a couple months later. Now they're too big to hang out on my knee.

LewS 1:00 PM  

SW beat me up. SIREN instead of SATAN. Took forever to figure out SEXTED which finally solved SAXES. Far from “very easy.”

Luke 1:29 PM  

"Natick" is a bit harsh, considering how crosswordish both DIES and IRAE are.

Ben 2:02 PM  

AIMEE Mann is the only stupidly-spelled Amy I have room for in my head, please don't make me remember another one.

Eater of Sole 2:17 PM  

@Nancy, our neighborhood is also tainted by "pop goes the weasel" pollution. For decades I have thought that one of the worst jobs in the world, even if you enjoy serving ice cream to excited kiddies, has to be the one that requires you to hear that over and over for your ENTIRE F***ING SHIFT. I wanted to write a novel in which the main character is driven nuts by that. But I don't have the first clue how to write a novel so that didn't happen.

siehomme 2:53 PM  

Record time for a Saturday. I whooshed through everything like a knife cutting through soft butter, until the SW corner, which brought me up short and made a final stand but was eventually dispatched with. AM I MAKING *THIS* UP was the main culprit for my temporary stoppage; once I changed THIS to THAT it ended smoothly.

MetroGnome 3:00 PM  

"Easy"? Never heard of AIMEE (who?); apparently I'm too drearily haute-cuisine-impaired to know what DOSAS are (wrong social class, no doubt -- the constructor has probably never heard of CHITLINS, either); no idea how ONE is a "cube," galaxies are ANDROIDS, or what a NANOBOT is.

Newboy 3:18 PM  

No whoosh here though a good deal faster than average. DIES IRAE and ave Maria have the same number of letters I finally realized belatedly……arrrrgh….or ACH perhaps.

Generally in agreement with Rex on NYT popularization trend and a head smack every time I attempt a British crypto. I have already given up on early week NYT and have bitten the bullet for the New Yorker’s Monday & Tuesday which often stretch our morning coffee hours. Whining here hasn’t seemed to register. Maybe Rex or commentariat might offer alternatives?? I’m in the same time zone as the LA option, but usually only do those when @Nancy or @Lewis have the honors.

Smith 3:45 PM  

@Rex Wednesday is brown? For me it's kind of magenta, but with a kind of ripply texture. Tuesday is like the not shiny side of aluminum foil. Monday is a very dark blue. But I've never mentioned it before because I didn't think any one else experienced it (and then that no one would be interested). Pretty much every sense I have involves color. Once when I was half asleep my husband dropped a glass onto the wire rack in our sink and I saw an elaborately beautiful perfect multicolored sphere expanding in my brain .
Synesthesia for the win!

Anonymous 4:34 PM  

About PAH
It has been in the Times puzzle before always spell with the H
Also to be honest I never seen it spelled without an h.( not saying pa is wrong)I didn’t look it it up but my guess pah is much more common. So spelling is not a fair reason to call the answer awful., The clue does imply the answer is a partial. Once I got deposit I immediately put in PAH.

Les S. More 4:35 PM  

Do I have the wrong idea what an anorak is? I’ve owned a few and they have not been as described at 6A. Mine have been Gore-Tex pullovers with a half zipper and a hood. No fur. But @jberg notes above that the original concept might have included fur. Yeah, well, the original concept of the automobile specified a steam engine. What does that make your e-vehicle? Harrumph!

A rather complicated clue for DIESIRAE. Happy for all you long-time church goers who snapped that one up. Did you also get SINEATER? I’m assuming that’s a Christian thing, too. What a weird concept.

Loved 1D and 7D was pretty good, too. And who doesn’t love seared AHITUNA (32D).

Thanks, @Rex, for the Anita O’Day video. Loved all the weird hats.

Anonymous 4:41 PM  

So curious what this means

Anonymous 4:57 PM  

I am sure you know that the cube of one is one.

dgd 5:39 PM  

I didn’t find this particularly easy, more like medium.
But on the other hand there were comments about naticks in this that I found surprising.
I. am agnostic and haven’t gone to church (other than weddings, funerals & memorial services) since high school over 50 years ago. Other than the title I knew nothing about the hymn. But the title does show up in crosswords and I have seen it referred to over the years.
I am not saying everyone should know it. I am just saying it is not some obscure hymn known only to Church goers. It is one of the most well known titles anyway, known by atheists everywhere. Everyone has blind spots but it’s not fair to dump on the puzzle because of one.
(BTW even though I live only 40 miles from Boston Rafael meant nothing to me. After I got the crosses, I vaguely remembered the name I am not interested in sports. As I said we all have blind spots! ).

Anonymous 6:18 PM  

Yes, but oom pah would be more appropriate for a polka band, not a marching band. A marching band stays in step to the snare drum/drum line’s rhythm, not a poor tuba player puffing away.

Anonymous 6:45 PM  

Regular churchgoers would know that Pie Jesu is not part of the Dies Irae, but a separate component of the Catholic Requiem service. They would also know that sin-eating has nothing to do with Christianity.

KennyMitts 7:00 PM  

If two of your three big WOEs in a puzzle are from The Godfather and a Beatles song, perhaps you need to engage with the world around you just slightly more.

Nancy 7:08 PM  

Aha, @Burtonkd -- It's the theme from "The Sting"! I DO know it. And I love it! It's infectious and completely irresistible. I sure wish they played that instead of "Pop Goes the Weasel" on the trucks in my nabe.

@Eater of Sole (2:17)-- What an off-the-wall and original idea for a novel! If you ever write it, I promise you right now that I will read it.

@Nancy from Chicago (12:00) -- That's very funny! Who knows -- maybe it is "a Nancy thing" after all. (BTW, how are you on skates, skis, and steep mountain trails with lousy footing?)

RooMonster 9:32 PM  

I often get a chuckle at your reparsing of answers, but I gotta highlight one of them today.
LOL! 🤣

RooMonster Tripping On The Tuna Salad Guy

kitshef 9:52 PM  

Of the names, I know only DON VITO and VERA, but still found this easier than yesterday’s.

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