‘Way to Go!’

May 06, 2022 · 234 comments
Brittany J (Baltimore, MD)
I LOVED EVERY MINUTE As a millennial puzzler I was so grateful for the pop culture moments. From Lady Gaga to The GOAT of YouTube and beauty influencer culture Nikki D, there were so many amazing clues and moments. Also, as a fellow nerd with an obsession with sports I love that I can always count on Rachel to include some sports-related clues in the puzzle. What an impressive second puzzle and the crossword community is brighter because of Rachel’s contributions! Have you donated to an abortion fund to get the These Puzzles Fund Abortions yet? What are you waiting for?
Tori (New York)
@Brittany J I have now, thank you for sharing!
SC (California)
4D “Letters” -> TENANTS? Merriam-Webster says the letters are the landlords (listed under Antonyms of “tenant”); that would make the tenants the lettees, no?
Jay (NYC)
Not sure how we’re defining self-made but I’m pretty certain Hetty Green and Victoria Woodhull would have both qualified. They were 19th century millionaires who made their money in the stock market.
Rosalita (PA)
Just finished. I had set free instead of GETFREE and I told god jokes instead of DAD. Took forever to find and fix. Liked the long answers. Now, to Sunday.
Andrew (Seattle)
Since I mostly come here to gripe about clues, I figure I should also come to say nice things. Really enjoyed this puzzle. Several pop cultures clues I had no clue on, but enough clues around them to work it all out without any word checks. “Letters” was indeed puzzling.
Mick (PNW)
I gave myself look ups on the names - just not in my wheelhouse and I’m not yet good enough to puzzle that many out with the crosses on a Saturday.
Pax Ahimsa Gethen (San Francisco, California)
Hard! For me, anyway (> 2 1/2 hours). Had to look up the name of the British singer to finish the SW corner. "Letters" was the biggest groaner (though I am one!)
andrea (bay area)
Great puzzle. As a Nikki Tutorials stan, I srsly was stumped. I only knew her by her handle! Tina Fey’s husband is from NE Ohio, very close to the constructors hometown of Pittsburgh, if those are the STEELERS mentioned in the cross with FEY.
JL (Canada)
Really enjoyed this one, Rachel! At first it looked impossible with all those wide open spaces but I got JOANNE and SUISSE first and the rest opened up beautifully one by one. Love the cluing too, in particular LASSIE. Thanks for the fun.
JS (Virginia)
Nice puzzle. But BOOYAH = sth. like "take that!!", certainly not "way to go!" Just sayin'
Gary (Bangor, Wales)
I abandoned this puzzle when I noticed it cluing a YouTuber. No matter how many followers they appear to have, social media "influencers" are never going to be sufficiently in common ground to justify including in crossword puzzles.
Pax Ahimsa Gethen (San Francisco, California)
@Gary I disagree, though I didn't know Nikki's actual name and had to get it from the crosses. I'm Gen X, FWIW, and don't follow any of the "influencers", but they are a legitimate part of modern culture so fair game for crosswords, IMHO.
Samuel Rusch (Orange County, CA)
On my first pass, one of the only answers I felt confident filling in was “Lesser-used passages”: APOCRYPHA. It was a rough Saturday for me..
Pax Ahimsa Gethen (San Francisco, California)
@Samuel Rusch I thought it was SIDENOTES, which was closer but threw me off for a long time.
Jamestown Ararat (New York City)
Challenging yet rewarding. srsly. 3 day streak after months away.
Heg (Global)
Vague (strolls, sum, meh), wrong (fifths), wtaf (dad??) and just offensive (artsier). Did the team stop editing after the equinox? Very poor. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fifth_(unit)
frozen_chosen (Alaska)
@Heg why do you think the "fifth" clue is wrong? Fifth of a gallon... about 750 ml. Off by ~7 ml maybe but the colloquial term "a fifth" refers to 750 ml bottles.
APNerd (MA)
Felt utter despair...opened it again...felt more despair...left the house for a few hours...and like magic, which NYT CW puzzles are, it just came together. Wonderfully inexplicable, both the human brain and these amazing puzzles. Just so great! One of the best parts of all my days.
Matt G (San Diego)
Same. Was thinking I probably won’t be able to finish this one, but heck if I stuck it out. The solve felt awesome. Well done, NYT
Burg (Burg)
The lady Gaga clue is 15A not 16A as noted in the article
Marti (Asheville NC)
Really fun puzzle to work on! Congratulations Rachel. Well done. Love the Lassie clue…
RampiAK (SF Bay Area)
I thought a “letter” was the landlord… not the TENANT…. Or is it one of those words that also means it’s opposite?
Pax Ahimsa Gethen (San Francisco, California)
@RampiAK I wondered about this too, as a TENANT myself; wouldn't I be a "lettee"?
Kate (Massachusetts)
No time to read everything but didn’t want to miss the opportunity to say: Yay, Rachel! Good stuff—thank you!
Tammy (FR)
Ironically, “Zero Loss” NADAL was eliminated from the Madrid Open by a 19 year old Spanish compatriot just yesterday. But at at least he won a mention in the NYT crossword…
John C (Washington, DC)
It's satisfying when the first 20 clues you read come up dry, but the tiniest chink in the armor leads to an eventual solution. Streak intact!
John A Frederick (Paris, France)
A real challenge which had me stumped and then, like magic, answers appeared, slowly and then more and more. NE and SE fell first then worked my way around and up. Loved it when I got SUISSE right away. Fun, straightforward and challenging…..
Bob Adler (Kensington MD)
one letter off! "J" crossed with Nikkie De Jager (?) and Jot. The latter was a good tricky clue; I was never going to come close with the first unless I got all the crosses.
Ed (Miami)
FWIW, re 4 down, dictionary.com lists “letter” as a Britishism for the landlord rather than the tenant. Merriam-Webster says “letter” is an antonym of tenant. At any rate, enjoyed the puzzle.
Marti (Asheville NC)
I lived in the UK. You “let a flat” as opposed to rent an apartment therefore you are a letter in the UK and a renter here.
Barry Ancona (New York NY)
Marti, Here too. Trailer for sale or rent, rooms to let fifty cents...
Rich in Atlanta (Austell, Georgia)
@Barry Ancona Yeah, but... Eight by twelve four bit room. ..
ST (Amherst, MA)
Enjoyed that! Was particularly pleased at Pays in the Alps and METAPHORS. Rachel, how do you have the time to profess, write Wordplay columns, and of course, create crosswords? As we say in hindi, maan gaye (which translates roughly, but not literally, to 'am in total admiration').
RBH (Durango)
I liked the challenge of this puzzle, but there were a few too many proper nouns for my taste.
Andrew W (Bristol VA)
Saturdays are so hard! I don't usually try them. I was emboldened by completing yesterday's so I went for it. I got it after a long time but I needed to look a couple names up (Rita Ora? Jaeger?) I do enjoy the weird clues like "letters"--but I usually only get them when I have most of them filled in. Decent puzzle overall!
Portland Doc (Portland, OR)
This was a fun and entertaining puzzle that caused me to dredge the atrophied areas of my brain. As a huge fan of Rafa Nadal (a 5-letter last name), I thought of him first, and *then* got the joke (well done!). My last fill was JOT (I don't follow any beauty vloggers, personally). The cluing was good (in addition to the "Decorated athlete," my fave was Letters). All in all, it came together in about half of my Saturday "average" time (skewed longer due to my incompetence as an early solver). Congrats, Rachel!
Repatriated Expat (NYC)
Excellent puzzle! Loved it!
Paul Galante (Philadelphia)
Solved this puzzle in record time... A new personal worst. (Loved it.)
Grant (Delaware)
This HISTORY NERD (yesterday, I know) appreciated the TUDOR rose, the incorporation of the white rose of York and the red rose of Lancaster, signifying unification following the War of the Roses. Real life Game of Thrones, if you're interested.
Frances (Western Mass)
@Grant Fun podcast if you’re interested. These guys don’t take themselves too seriously which I like.
Frances (Western Mass)
Jay (NYC)
A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!
Nandor (Madison, WI)
Rachel's puzzle brought out my, "On the one hand, on the other hand" personality. One the one hand, I thought some cluing was very clever. Letters/TENANTS, pays in the Alps/SUISSE, move around/ROTATE, etc. Also enjoyed the long A entries. And who doesn't enjoy grappling with the spelling HUGUENOT/Huegenot/Hugoenot? All worthy of a Saturday challenge. One the other hand, there are too many odd name clues for a Saturday. 44A especially irked me. Other have commented on the problems with naticks of 2 names that are unnecessarily obscure and just dead ends for solving. All this adds up to a split decision from me on Rachel's puzzle.
PuzzleDog (Flatland)
BOOYAH, BOOYAH.... Oh, wait a second, I'm thinking BOOLA, BOOLA... As someone with the granite of New Hampshire in my muscles and my brains (worst alma mater song ever), I bear an enduring dislike for the ELIS' fight song. This puzzle had some laugh-out-loud moments for me--"Long-haired star of 1950s TV" was probably my favorite. Liked seeing "HANKERED" for some reason--it is only making its third appearance in the puzzle (thanks Xwordinfo!). I found the names I didn't know to be resolvable through crosses and a bit of guesswork. A fine and enjoyable puzzle, IMNSHO. Thanks, Ms. Fabi!
PuzzleDog (Flatland)
@PuzzleDog Correction: HANKERED has appeared three times before today's puzzle. Today is its fourth appearance.
Sopona (Baltimore MD)
I've taken to composing conversations between the composer and his/her friends, based on what I assume to be qotes from their everyday conversation. I like telling dad jokes. Sometimes he laughs. - You don't have to tell me--I saw. - Meh. - 4 Real?!? Srsly?!? - Way to go! Booyah-o-rama! - There's no accounting for taste Add half-a-dozen obscure entertainment entries--people and genres I don't follow or never heard of--Lady Gaga, Star Trek, Joy Reid, Staminita, Rita Ora, Nadal (still don't et it) and certainly not Nikkie. This is the kind of puzzle I can't enjoy. I long for the days when vocabulary mattered. I did appreciate Huguenot and the tribute to Madam Walker.
Ash (Edinburgh, Scotland)
Nada L: nada (zero) L (lose) He has zero losses, so nada L results = Nadal.
Barry Ancona (New York NY)
"I long for the days when vocabulary mattered." Sopona, Vocabulary still matters, and there never was a time when The New York Times Crossword did not include "entertainment entries." (What genres do you follow?)
JL (Canada)
@Sopona Srsly? Things can't stay in decades past forever, nor should they. Everything changes -- that's life and crosswords reflect that, as they should.
Fidelio (Chapel Hill, NC)
How quickly things change! Not that long ago, there was something solvers called a Natick – in Rex Parker’s definition, “shorthand for an unguessable cross, esp. where the cross involves two proper nouns, neither of which is exceedingly well known.” For example, “Suburb of Boston” (NATICK) crossing “Treasure Island illustrator” (NCWYETH). This was understood to be something that solvers might encounter now and then; it was quite exceptional that a puzzle contained more than one such speed bump. That’s no longer so. There’s been a palpable shift of late in favor of younger constructors and solvers – a shift away from words as such to pop culture icons, themes and memes. In a puzzle where (I’m guessing) 40% of the entries on average are proper nouns, every cross is a potential Natick. Today, for instance, we have RITAORA crossing NADAL and MADAM crossing DELLA (Ms. Reese was at least somewhat familiar). Although my brain has its own ample store of trivia, they’re seldom of the kind that get me to the end of a weekend puzzle without my having to check a square or two. None of this, understand, is meant as a complaint. Most of these recent puzzles are ingeniously constructed, and I welcome the added challenge as tonic for an addled brain. When I first look over the obscure clues, I imagine Houdini chained up in a vault at the bottom of the East River. That makes breaking to the surface all the sweeter.
Crevecoeur (PA US)
@Fidelio yes but it also means that those up on popular culture have way easier puzzles to solve than those of us living under rocks, struggling to make crosses from nothing that others blithely filled in. Not complaining, just saying. I mean, not being one of the 13 million followers…
Kris T (Minneapolis)
Rita Ora, Lady Gaga, Joy Reid, Rafa Nadal, etc., have all been around and making news for at least a decade. As I age, I am trying to stay curious enough about the world I’m in to keep up with references, even if I haven’t listened to the music or seen the movies or whatever. And being retired means I have more time to do that!
Andrea (Austin, TX)
Thank you SO much for defining what a “Natick” is. I haunt the WordPlay comments after every puzzle I solve. I see this word used so often and had vaguely parsed that it meant something like “a cross that’s very difficult”, but I knew that couldn’t be the actual definition. So thank you again for your comment!
Michael (White Plains, NY)
Caitlin got it right when she wrote, "This grid nimbly skips along the very narrow line between a good challenge, for people who require such, and a fun, generous sprinkle of attainable entries for, um, the rest of us." Some stuff in my wheelhouse; lots not. Somehow guesses and crosses got me to a relatively fast solve with no lookups.
Ragland (Charlotte)
At 42 Across I took a pleasant little side trip to Boston where as a youthful Red Sox fan I greatly admired the heroics of All-Star Shortstop NOMAR Garciaparra,. But sadly, I eventually had to recognized that Rafael NADAL was probably a little more widely known in the puzzle community. Loved that puzzle. Thanks Rachel!
Kris T (Minneapolis)
Good guess, though! I started that out by thinking NIL__, but had to give that up quickly.
Jennifer (Manhattan)
SRSLY hated losing my streak over SRSLY .
Barry Ancona (New York NY)
Jennifer, SRSLY?
Zézito (Alexandria)
@Barry Ancona could you please speak in words. Seriously.
Jennifer (Manhattan)
@Barry Ancona Yes, I know... pitiful. Yet true.
Linda (NC)
This was a great puzzle. Lots and lots of fun clues. And I loved 56A. Definitely one of my favorite Saturdays . Thanks Rachel.
Desert Dweller (AZ)
Would have been a much better puzzle if there was a more worthy cross for an Internet “famous” person and a three letter word with a nebulous definition. Since there social media “star” could have been anyone, this waste of time ruined an otherwise decent puzzle.
Barry Ancona (New York NY)
Desert Dweller, You and I are hardly the only solvers not previously acquainted with Ms. DEJAGER, but most apparently had no problem getting from "Quickly put down" to JOT. Sorry missing that ruined the puzzle for you.
Kris T (Minneapolis)
By going through the alphabet one by one, I stopped on H and filled in HOT in the middle of Nikkie’s last name. I had at least heard of her, but DEHAGER sounded close enough to how I remembered her name that the J in JOT/DEJAGER was the last letter I fixed.
kilaueabart (Oakland CA)
Too many four-hour sleep nights! I couldn't remember ever buying a __FTH of anything, and, believe it or not, I thought the 2020 Olympics men's road cycling course was part of the Tour de France! That should have been an easy corner. The rest of the puzzle was full of things that no amount of sleep would have helped with, like how does FEY come from Staminata, what's BOOYAH, etc., but I missed a bunch of easies all over the place. Took me a while to connect L with "Loss" even after I filled it in. Maybe I'm just too old to remember that a certain famous singer was known as a Divine Miss.
Connie (Connecticut)
@kilaueabart - That’s Stamatina, so with a cross or two, it’s pretty obvious where Tina Fey gets her nickname.
Barry Ancona (New York NY)
Connie, I don't think the transcription error in the post was the problem here. It helps to have heard of Tina Fey to get from Stamatina to FEY.
kilaueabart (Oakland CA)
@Barry Ancona I'm pretty sure I've heard of her, maybe from XWPs? Just had a 50-minute nap but it doesn't seemed to have helped.
Ben Bass (Chicago)
Mazels, Rachel!
brutus (berkeley)
I was having a ball today until I dropped it down there in the lower right Pooh corner. The spelling of that French sect was the main problem and what follows piled on my brain wreck. Talked myself out of TOP UP; is this perhaps a regional expression? Feeding time in the barn always required replenishing the water pails. “Remember to TOP off before you leave,” our venerated boss would say every afternoon without fail…Say Rachel, from The Burgh are ya? I feel for you, what with having to start Louie Domingue tonite. He is a journeyman and proven capable (see Tuesday’s 3-O.T. gem) but he is third on the depth chart. I like my Blueshirts; they’ll be sportin’ their whites tonight…Very snappy Saturday that was lacking my usual abundance o Rorschach like scribble overs. Thanx, R.F. and BOOYAH! 6d delivered instant recall of the late Meat Loaf who we lost in January and waaaaay too soon; sing-along with the on-screen lyric and honor Michael Lee Aday. https://youtu.be/fTwRLzIK8ZE Let’s Go Rangers, Bru
Barry Ancona (New York NY)
Bru, Hope you saw the report from Deadline I posted earlier.
brutus (berkeley)
Barry Ancona I will now, ty.
Rupert R (CH, but Erie CO pro tem)
@brutus Yup, Rangers did a fine job reaching the Europa League final. … Oh what? Not those Rangers?
John Peil (San Antonio)
FIRST TIME EVER SOLVING A FRIDAY!!! At least without AutoCheck . . . feeling brave: bring on Saturday!!! (whimper)
Barry Ancona (New York NY)
John, Nice work and congratulations, but is your post a day late, or are you a day behind?
John Peil (San Antonio)
My goodness you’re right! I DID solve the Saturday!!! Not sure what I was thinking
NYC Traveler (Now in Boulder, CO)
@John Peil, So they brought on Saturday and you did it!
polymath (British Columbia)
I found today's puzzle very hard, and laid it aside last night to finish it this morning. Exactly what I love about a Saturday puzzle! It took me a long and focused solve, thoroughly enjoyable.
Alanna (Massachusetts)
TIL that I had no idea what the middle letters in Huguenot were. LOL. Thank goodness for crosses!
Wspd (CT)
Nice one! Just about the right level of toughness for me. My main sticking point was self-inflicted: I had “I like telling GOD jokes… Sometimes he laughs.” If that’s not a actual quote, it should be! The correct answer does not really go w Mother’s Day weekend, but I guess those will come tomorrow:-)
Rob (Baltimore, MD)
@Wspd My self-inflicted error comes close to yours, maybe: "I like telling HIM jokes... Sometimes he laughs." HIM who? I don't know, but it's whomever the later "he" refers to. :-)
Kris T (Minneapolis)
It does fit in with, “Humans plan, God laughs.”
Rajeev (Reno)
Great puzzle all around, thank you! And a welcome relief after some other recent Saturdays. SRSLY.
Joy (Washington)
A really nice mix of pop-culture (DAD jokes and makeup tutorial videos) with some history (HUGUEONOT and MADAM C.J. Walker) and tricky word-play (TENANTS !!!!) So, something for everyone to love! Or, having read the comment section frequently, something for everyone to complain about. :-) I got stuck on the west side. I have almost no knowledge of sports figures or modern pop music, so having NADAL cross RITA ORA was pretty painful. I had to do a little research there. I also tried SIDEhall and SIDEbook (a passage could be a written word. It wasn't here, but it could be!) before finally getting through the DOOR. Loved SLEEP ON IT, which is how I often solve paper/pencil puzzles. It's amazing how many clues become obvious once you step away for a while and come back.
polymath (British Columbia)
Yes, I've often wondered just how that works (laying the puzzle aside and coming back to find answers sometimes immediately that had you totally stumped the last time you looked at them). Is it because your mind works on the clues while you're not thinking about them? Or because last time you had painted yourself into a corner but now you've forgotten your erroneous assumptions? Or something else?
Joy (Washington)
@polymath A little of both? I have had an answer to a difficult one pop into my head as I was in the shower, not really thinking about puzzles. But I think it's more that your brain sometimes needs a rest before it can continue processing tricky information.
Ragland (Charlotte)
@Joy I think it's detachment. Sometimes some element of a previous clue will still be rattling around in my brain and will send the next clue off on some wild goose adventure. But when you walk away - detach, and comeback things have a chance to settle down and voila! the resolve mysteriously appears.
Jasmin (Somewhere)
Did anyone else get frustrated that TUTORIALS didn’t fit at 44A? I forgot her last name is DE JAGER and tried to insert her YouTube channel name instead.
Earthling (Idaho)
Rachel is as good a constructor as she is a columnist. Thank you for the great puzzle...and the very pretty grid. My favorite clue was "pays in the Alps" and the misdirect for JOTS. It wasn't as hard as I expect for Saturday, but maybe I'm getting better...
Matt (Minnesota)
Rachel is doing incredible work in the crossword community. I was thrilled to see her name in the byline today and this puzzle did not disappoint.
Great Lakes (US)
@Matt Mr. Parker was certainly effusive in his praise!
Andrew (Ottawa)
Interestingly, at one point for 26D I had _I_A_RA. The obvious singer that occurred to me was SINATRA. But he was not British. Could "Your Song" be "My Way"? Could "How We Do" be "Doo-bee-doo-bee-doo"? Even so, he was definitely not British. So I moved on. The O of RITA ORA and BOOYAH was my very last square, (Natick?), and I was surprised to trigger the happy music. Wonderful puzzle, Rachel!
Rupert R (CH, but Erie CO pro tem)
@Andrew The crossing of RITA ORA and BOOYAH was an unknown for me, too. It didn’t help that I KNEW that the British singer of ‘your song’ is Elton John.
Kris T (Minneapolis)
I had a hard time letting go of ELTON JOHN or SIR ELTON into that space.
BW (Atlanta)
I looked at 43D, and with no crosses, immediately put in Lassie. Sometimes I scare myself.
kel (portland)
@BW your post made my morning :)
Rupert R (CH, but Erie CO pro tem)
I can’t NOT like a puzzle which has SUISSE as an entry. (Technical crossword etiquette question: Is it considered OK that only the first word is ‘concealed French’, with the rest in English? I hope so, because I really liked the clue). As to the overall solve, I thought that it was going to be impossible with all the unknown people / proper nouns, but somehow I got there without look-ups. Surprised myself. Also, TIL that a standard size wine bottle is a FIFTH in the US. (Or technically, a METRIC FIFTH, it would seem, as it’s almost, but not quite, 20% of a US gallon). Distinctly non-intuitive to the likes of me!
Mary (san Juan)
@Rupert R Back in the day, whiskey bottles contained a fifth of a gallon. Distillers happily switched to the metric system, as 750 ml is slightly smaller, and I don't recall that they reduced prices. The "fifth" reference continued on.
Barry Ancona (New York NY)
Rupert, The "foreign language signal" in a clue may be, and quite often is, just one word. The most common form is "[English word noun] in [non-U.S. city]" cluing the noun in the non-U.S. city's country's language.
NYC Traveler (Now in Boulder, CO)
@Rupert R, So surprised to see that you’re just down the road from me now! We may even be in the same county, depending on which side of the line you’re on. Welcome!
Roger (San Diego)
No need to sleep on it. In SUM,YUM! Almost a personal best. BOOYAH!
Jim (Ottawa, ON)
I got my 2nd booster (4th shot) yesterday afternoon, and my arm feels like it was dinged by a 100 MPH fastball! After a miserable toss-and-turn sleep, and multiple advils, I opened the Saturday puzzle, only to stare blankly at it. A few passes through acrosses and downs, and the white space remaining was intimidating! Was this the one to break the streak? (A common thought for Fridays/Saturdays...) However, somehow it came together and the letter (lettee?) count slowly increased. Tada! No look-ups and a decent Saturday time. Loved the middle stretch of MID DID MEH FEY!
suejean (HARROGATE)
@Jim , My 2nd booster was 2 days ago, and it was really bad pain the next day but fine today.
Chuck Herrold (PIttsburgh PA)
Somehow I didn’t get STEELERS right away. I am neither a football fan nor a native of Pittsburgh, but this should have been obvious. I misread the clue and entered Seattle. Duh 🙄 Some of the proper names were unknown to me but the crosses did the trick, and I completed the grid much faster than usual. I will never complain about a Saturday that solves like a Wednesday.
Pete H. (Manhattan)
Very satisfying Saturday. Not too hard, not too soft, just right.
Paladin (New Jersey)
Not a record time for me today - a bit too much pop culture for a speedy finish. 4D and 56A are brilliant. Nice work, Rachel.
ad absurdum (Chicago)
I know I'm not the only person sitting at their computer right now with a half-glam face! I look srsly unreal! "Rachel Fabi makes a most welcome visit to the Saturday puzzle." I wonder if Rachel wrote that. Anyway, I agree. I won't bore you with the calculations I did since they're probably too advanced for most people, but I decided to assess the accuracy of a certain hypothesis in this grid, and it turns out, surprisingly, that it only takes 27 sorts.
Bill (Detroit)
Sharing the puzzle with my partner, and commenting on the breadth of knowlege required to solve it--albums by Lady Gaga, internet vloggers, and BOOYAH! (which prompted my comment), he replied, "These puzzles must be hard for people in their sixties or seventies." "Well, here's at least one which resonates with our demographic: ["The Divine Miss M."]" On the other hand, he was completely at sea with [longhaired star of 1950's TV], even after my hint "It was an early example of cross-gender casting." *** *** *** Sometimes, when I want to scare myself with the widening rift in the USA between Conservatives and Liberals, and its possible consequences, I read up on the French Wars of Religion between the Catholics and the Huguenots. It's sunny here in Detroit this morning. Great puzzle, Thank You, Rachel.
Esmerelda (Montreal)
@Bill I also was very impressed with the diversity in the entries. I had a little trouble with the lower west side, and BOOYAH was my last fill. If I could manage to remember network initials it would help.
Steve L (Chestnut Ridge, NY)
@Bill I can't claim that the "long-haired star" clue led me the the answer immediately, but I figured that that specific wording was significant in some unusual way. And so it was.
A'Lelia Bundles (Washington, DC)
Loved seeing your comment about clue 7A (Madam C. J. Walker). Can't help but wonder if Will Shortz, a native of Indiana (where the Madam Walker Mfg. Company was headquartered for many years and where the Madam Walker Legacy Center still stands), was giving a nod to his home state. As Walker's biographer and great-great-granddaughter, I'm happy to share more information with you from our websites that go beyond the History website link that you posted www.madamcjwalker.com and www.aleliabundles.com
Frances (Western Mass)
@A'Lelia Bundles Wow, this is a great post. I first learned about her from Chris Rock’s doc. I’ve heard lots of mixed comments on that but I think it’s interesting. Anyway, an amazing woman. Go learn about her.
A'Lelia Bundles (Washington, DC)
@A'Lelia Bundles And huge thanks to Rachel Fabi for knowing about Madam Walker and creating a clue to help educate others!
A'Lelia Bundles (Washington, DC)
@Frances Thanks!
Jack McCullough (Montpelier, Vermont)
Wait, people actually watch videos of someone putting on makeup? I suppose if they'll watch videos of arborists taking down trees https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IxbEZON8yCE why not? (Yes, this is me shamelessly shilling for my son.) I did notice the preemptive "13 million followers" in the clue to address all the solvers, myself included, who are inclined to think of her as obscure. I had to check and double check all the acrosses and downs multiple times, with more than one alphabet run, before settling on DEhAGER as the most likely error. I had been thinking that something that was hOT is quickly put down. This Boston fan should have realized that the Times was unlikely to clue Nomar, but I spent some time trying to convince myself that MAR would work as a substitute for "loss" before I came around to NADAL. Loved the clue for SUISSSE and I saw HUGUENOT immediately. I also got FIFTHS and FUJI right away, and then started second-guessing: "Wait a minute, weren't the last Olympics in China?" Finally, I know it's Saturday, and I wasn't expecting any rebuses, but I did spend a little bit of time speculating on whether I could fit Dick into 32D. Am I the only one? Fun puzzle, good challenge for a Saturday morning. Now to go back and try to get unstuck in the Wordle.
Daryl Tyacke (Vancouver, BC)
@Jack McCullough - Thanks for the arborist link- I'm a landscape architect and now I have a place to send clients when they ask why it costs so much to have a tree removed. one never knows what one will learn around here.
Steve L (Chestnut Ridge, NY)
@Jack McCullough I'm amazed your fourth paragraph made it past the emus.
Your first sentence says it all! Who are all these people?
Celso Martins (CA)
I propose a new rule: initial puzzle submission to editors must be made without the answer key included.
polymath (British Columbia)
I admire the suggestion. But I suspect that the editors receive far too many submissions to have the time to solve each one from scratch.
David Connell (Weston CT)
As I understand it after years of reading constructor notes, the staff does exactly the opposite…they look at the filled-in grid for layout and content without consideration of the clues. If it doesn’t pass muster on its own, they don’t go into the clueing.
Rachel’s Mom (Pennsylvania)
Congrats Rachel! I cheated so much (as I tend to do as the week wears on) (I stuck with strike longer than I should have). I'm not hip or young enough to know some of the women mentioned but old enough to laugh at Lassie and Dad jokes. Booyah! <3
Jasmin (Somewhere)
It’s not cheating, it’s learning!
Snowfly (Maine)
Mission accomplished, Rachel, with your friendly Proper Name Crossing Department – at least for me. It definitely helped that most of them looked familiar enough during my 10 minutes of fly-specking for errors, so I could pinpoint the most likely suspects – especially “got” to JOT -- which amicably revealed a yet another familiar (German) word > surname, JAGER. My favorite clue was 42A. I also loved yours for SUISSE, and chuckled (appropriately) with 32D. I also liked your more traditional, balanced grid. Plus, it was hard enough that I got that extra-satisfied feeling when the happy music arrived (especially after my last 2 Saturday fails.) Oh, and I’ve been going a bit retro lately with late-week puzzles, mostly so I can stop obsessing about the clock when fly-specking: When I get really stuck, I print it out and start all over again, without looking at my work. It’s amazing how often this has cracked some trouble spots!
Jim (Ontario)
Nice grid, enjoyable puzzle! No mention of this in the comments I read but I would think the TENANTS clue should be lettees not letters. Landlords would be letters. My Googling seemed to confirm. Letters was listed as an antonym of tenants.
Rob (Baltimore, MD)
@Jim I agree with you, but some words are their own antonyms, oddly enough. I searched a few dictionaries online and eventually found Collins: renter in American English NOUN 1. a person who pays rent for the use of property 2. an owner who rents out property https://www.collinsdictionary.com/us/dictionary/english/renter
Barry Ancona (New York NY)
Jim, M-W's definition of letter (Entry 3 of 3) is "one that rents or leases," which applies to both sides of the deal. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/letter
Bill (Detroit)
@Barry Ancona I readily accept M-W's authority for language usage in the US, nor do I have any problem with the clue. But as you know, I'm always quick to type in my library card number (I have it memorized) to access the OED online, for historical citations. Curiously, for "letter," the OED's entry includes only the "owner" sense, not the TENANT one. It is often contrasted with "hirer," as the term for the paying party. The phrase "Letter of Horses"--i. e. livery stable--was common in the 18th c.
Andrew (Ottawa)
I once rented my house to an anesthetist. The letter was a number.
Jim (Ottawa, ON)
@Andrew: Nice! As a dad, I laughed...
Justin (Minnesota)
@Andrew As the timelord's landlord, my tenant was a Tennant. (The maintenance costs for the TARDIS were astronomical)
Daniel Lemke (Houston, TX)
@Andrew oh… that’s going up on the board at work
John (Jersey Coast)
A fun and accessible Saturday. Well done.
Frances (Western Mass)
Fun and very high-spirited, but a little too easy for my taste. But mostly nice fill. Got FIFTHS straight away as I’m planning to go get the ingredients for something called a June Bug, and I’m hoping to find small bottles. Also thinking I might make my own banana liqueur as the available ones sound like they’re too sweet. The roads around Mt. FUJI are both cycled and run by lots of people, from high school students and up, some of the downhill runs must be extremely dangerous. Great views.
Grant (Delaware)
@Frances June Bug? I'll have to look that one up...Mint Juleps is more on my mind today.
dk (Now in Mississippi)
As I have a keen grasp of the obvious I recognized Ms Fabi's name at some point in time. ko points out that if I read the first paragraph.... Boys are dumb, girls are smart. LASSIE did Timmy fall into the well.... again. And, what kind of parent puts their child in the care of a dog. We finished this puzzle without the ghost of Happy Pencil taunting us. Thank you Rachel.
Caroline (Brooklyn NY)
@dk My parents put their large number of children in the care of a collie. She wouldn't let us out of the yard, always herding us back in when we strayed too near the curb. This was, of course, in a small town, and in the 1950's.
Rachel (Wordplay)
Thank you for the kind comments, everyone! I'm so glad to see that although there *are* a lot of names in this puzzle, people have been able to get them through crosses, which was my goal! <3
John (Jersey Coast)
@Rachel Goal achieved! (at least with me). Terrific puzzle.
Tom (Maine)
@Rachel Well done! Even I, having recently been plopped into in the 60+ demographic, got them all through the crosses. All without lookups, Googling, casually glancing through discographies, etc.
Barry Ancona (New York NY)
Report from Deadline -- Brutus expressed concern about Deadline yesterday, so I checked in with her (again) to be sure she was OK and to see if she was able to post in the comments. She replied: I'll try a workaround tomorrow. Temporarily. I'm going to get a new computer when I get my tax refund, whenever that is. Meanwhile, I'm okay, and you may reassure Bru and others. Got my second booster just fine, and all like that. And pass on my thanks for thinking of me.
suejean (HARROGATE)
@Barry Ancona , Thanks so much, Barry. That is really good news.
Lewis (Asheville, NC)
The word that keeps coming to me, regarding this puzzle, is “beautiful”. Not in any vague sense either. That word describes how this puzzle looks, how it’s filled in, and what it felt like to uncover. Look at the design, that is, the placement of the black squares. Those clusters that look like picture holders in photo albums are, IMO, pleasing to the eye, soothing. But what I especially like are the three diagonal lines in the center, a simple parallel design that is so much lovielier than the scatter we so often see in grids. Look at the puzzle’s answers – no ugliness there to sour the experience, to flit past and try to forget. And look at the cluing – nothing here feels forced, and yet there is cleverness, such as in the terrific original clues for LASSIE, SUISSE, and SITE. There was plenty of mental workout here, plenty of satisfying solving moments that enriched the experience, but my forehead didn’t clench, there was no unpleasant stress. Rather, there was an underlying gentleness, and that sweetened the journey. Beautiful from start to finish. On top of that, it was made by one who feels like an old friend, who I’ve gotten to know through her visits on WordPlay. Thank you so much for this, Rachel. Brava!
Ann (Massachusetts)
For me this puzzle had plenty of “Aha” moments and also, “l didn’t know that” moments where I go look up something new (I don’t time myself). Very interesting about Madam C.J. Walker and Tina Fey. Felt extremely proud to have known Huguenot. Great Saturday! rachel, Thanks!
suejean (HARROGATE)
I immediately noticed the nice grid pattern. It was fun to see who our instructor was. I enjoyed the puzzle, with my usual fair amount of help for a weekend puzzle. Lots of great clues, my favourite, was Pays in the Alps. Caitlin beat me to saying, definitely not a MEH puzzle, Rachel.
LBG (Mount Laurel, NJ)
Don't know which clue was BETTEr: 4D or 43D. Ah, let's go with the dog. Not the puzzle of the week (Fibonacci) or the toughest (Friday), but a big Saturday BOOYAH to MADAM Fabi.
Rich in Atlanta (Austell, Georgia)
Some interesting answer history searches today, but I'll burn that bridge when I come to it. Anyway - nice to see Ms. Fabi's name on a puzzle. Like others, found this unusually smooth for a Saturday. Some look-ups, of course, but mostly worked it out from the crosses. More than 7 minutes under my previous Saturday record. I'll carry out my history search threat in a reply. ..
Rich in Atlanta (Austell, Georgia)
@Rich in Atlanta As threatened - answer history search was inspired by 1a. Occurred to me that there are a number of common phrases that embed FIFTH in one way or another: Beethovens fifth take(or plead) the fifth (Saks) fifth avenue fifth column fifth amendment fifth estate fifth wheel bottom of the fifth Seems like there's an opportunity for a theme there (maybe with a rebus), but couldn't find any evidence that that's ever been done. More specifically, occurred to me that BEETHOVENSFIFTH and SAKSFIFTHAVENUE are both 15 letters. BEETHOVENSFIFTH has been in 7 puzzles. SAKSFIFTHAVENUE has only appeared twice, and much to my surprise... both times in Sunday puzzles. I'm done. ..
suejean (HARROGATE)
@Rich in Atlanta , Belated thanks for the nice compliment , yesterday.
Rich in Atlanta (Austell, Georgia)
@suejean :) Of course. Unrelated - meant to add a little musical bonus. A long time favorite: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZlLaBPSlG8 ..
Matt G. (Woodinville, WA)
Cannot *believe* I solved that without looking anything up; I managed to avoid having to know who the vlogger was or what the Lady Gaga album was by using all of the cross-clues instead. That was a nice, tough puzzle!
S.R. (Pittsburgh, PA)
Crossword Twitter echo chamber stuff here. And before anyone bites my head off, I actually enjoyed the puzzle other than that. It's just not fun to feel like you're getting a lecture when you're solving. And the lecture aspect is not about how many women / minority / lgbt names do or do not appear in the puzzle. It's about a vibe of self-righteousness and sanctimony, which so often the crossword universe is simply dripping with. Fire away. Call me closed minded. But, truly, in the world of crosswords, *I'm* not the one living in a bubble of self-perpetuated ideas and attitudes.
pablo (ny)
What were you being lectured on? Your post is rather cryptic.
S.R. (Pittsburgh, PA)
@pablo I meant that this puzzle felt like an exercise in "representation."
Vaer (Brooklyn)
@S.R. You got that vibe from this puzzle, SRSLY?
McRumi (Richmond VA)
My mind and the crossword was SRSLY blank til i looked up just one clue i had no clue about..Nikkie the beauty vlogger...once i had DEJAGGER, everything fell into place almost within ininutes...well, except for the NE corner...but since I knew HANKERED hsd to be right, I finally saw FIFTHS and BOOYAH...done! Relatively easy for a Sat. Enjoyed the DAD joke...and TENANTS....but thought ARTSIER's clue was off the mark...more worthy of a FRATboy's frame of mind. OXEYES for Rachel's creation!
Joy (Washington)
@McRumi I agree about the comparatively weak cluing for ARTSIER. I get it, but that was my last fill, as one of those clues that only make sense after the fact.
Charles Anderson (Brooklyn)
Always happy to see my - well, adopted, for a post-collegiate decade before continuing the eastward migration - "hometown" team show up here, amidst the arias and impressionists. Surely some day we'll be treated to a reference to that glorious intersection of pro sports and highbrow culture, the NFLer of decades past who practiced ballet, including in an appearance on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. Enjoyed it, Rachel. Unfamiliarity with half of the names notwithstanding, must've had my fewest Saturday missteps to date; definitely lowered my daily best time. One of those missteps was particularly embarrassing for an avid STEELERS fan: I mistook the "down" clue for "across" while sitting at the intersection of 17D and 29A. Let's see: four letters, ending in LL... could it possibly be? Naw, makes no sense. They were excellent in the era of those four straight Super Bowl appearances, and pretty dang good again today; but surely their divisional rival's two decades of domination put Buffalo squarely out of the running for this honor?!
Mike (Munster)
"Are you going to buy a new mattress?" "Well, let me sleep on it." (These puns are getting bedder.)
Great Lakes (US)
@Mike Eider way, you are Serta-ly getting Sealy-er.
Jack McCullough (Montpelier, Vermont)
@Mike SLEEPONIT? No, following today's Mini I might SPRING into action.
Cynthia Brooman (Delaware, Ohio)
When I see someone wearing makeup like Ms. De Jager, the vlogger, I want to wet a washcloth and scrub all that stuff off. I've never been into the Tammy Faye Bakker look, personally. I had never heard of Ms. De Jager, and I think my brain is probably healthier for it. But overall, this was a challenging puzzle. Most of the clues I really liked were mentioned by Caitlin. But I also liked 34D French Calvinist HUGUENOT. One of my 3rd great grandmothers, who emigrated to the U.S. from England, was said to have had a French Calvinist ancestry. Her parents were unknown, but an earlier generation had fled to Amsterdam. My mother never found anything in a lifetime of searching, but I recently made headway on Ancestry. Turns out that her uncle was a well known organist in 18th century Bath, England, and his wife, an opera singer born in Amsterdam, was a sibling of the missing parent. Exciting!
Meredith (Brooklyn)
@Cynthia Brooman Your opening paragraph seems unnecessarily judgmental. Don't forget, IT TAKES ALL SORTS ;)
Cynthia Brooman (Delaware, Ohio)
@Meredith - I never said that I didn't like Ms. De Jager. THAT would have been judgmental. I said that I don't like that kind of makeup, or the Tammy Faye Bakker "look" (i.e. she was known for her style of makeup). I have the right to say that I don't like a particular style of something, don't I? It's an opinion. I'm not getting how that is judgmental. And no, I haven't forgotten that IT TAKES ALL SORTS, but apparently you have.
Ann (Massachusetts)
@Cynthia Brooman I agree. Some people wear so much makeup they are unrecognizable without it. It’s also unhealthy. Their skin is often full of blemishes because it doesn’t get enough air and their eyelashes are practically gone. So then they wear more makeup.
Patrick J (Sydney Aus.)
Anyone for “Pays dans l’Alpes”?
Grant (Delaware)
@Patrick J "Vin de pays" was my helper.
Rob (Baltimore, MD)
@Grant Thanks! I was wondering about where I might have seen "pays"; it seemed more familiar than it should have, decades after my high school French classes.
David Connell (Weston CT)
@Patrick J - dans les Alpes
JCJ (Bellevue, WA)
Nice puzzle Ms Fabi, it was a pleasant surprise to see your name on the byline. Looking at the finished puzzle I thought it had sort of anti-theme: IT TAKES ALL SORTS, but some are CROSSed OFF THE LIST. Thanks!
Joy (Washington)
@JCJ HA! IT TAKES ALL SORTS, but (CROSSing things OFF THE LIST) not this sort, or this sort, and certainly not that sort.......
Doug (Tokyo)
Midway through I thought the proper names would be my downfall (“Actress who’s nickname derives from her middle name”??) but it turned out there was ample room to puzzle this out. I finished in about 3/4 my a average time.
Joe F (Las Vegas)
Lady Gaga CJ Walker Tina Fey Joy Reid Nikkie de Jager Della Reese Bette Midler Rita Ora This puzzle has a theme of sorts.
Sophia Leahy (Cambria, CA)
My stumble was Fiji for Fuji.
Charles Anderson (Brooklyn)
@Sophia Leahy That'd certainly qualify as "challenging" in a bike ride starting near Tokyo!
Ann (Massachusetts)
@Sophia Leahy LOL I also entered Fiji and thought, well it is mountainous and maybe they had part of the Olympics there.
Great Lakes (US)
It took me a long time to do the top half of this puzzle. IN OT, TENANT, and SLEEP ON IT helped me get JOANNE and wind up the NW corner. I had the hardest time in the NE corner, where I made a lot of wrong turns: LARGER instead of AIRIER, YELLS instead of RAVES, SINGLE OUT instead of STRIVE FOR,"and I was sure it took all KINDS, not all SORTs. AYE KPN looked feasible to me. DELLA Reese came to me in a brain flash, which set me straight, and AXEL, OXEYES, and MORALLY put the NE to rest. [Rant] I dislike xword clues about vloggers, influencers, dancers, pod casters, and what have you. There are too many of them. I get that 13 million people clicked "like" on this vlogger's YouTube channel, but consider the fact that Game of Thrones had an average viewer count of 44.2 million people. None of whom happened to be me, but I can't really complain when I see it in the puzzle. So this was churning around in my mind when looked at the lower half of the puzzle. I took a break, stepped outside, and grabbed my phone. I ignored the vlogger clue and started in the SW. I tried NADAO instead of NADAL, but the crosses cleared that up plus gave me the rest. I was able to close out the SW corner, then zip through the SE corner in about 10 minutes, after spending 40+ minutes on the top half. DEJAGER turned out to be a non-issue, but I still feel better having voiced my opinion (whined) about it. All told, I really liked this Saturday puzzle Rachel Fabi, thanks so much!
M (US)
There are some misunderstandings here of a new(ish) medium that is, frankly, here to stay. DE JAGER has 13.9 million *subscribers*—people who have chosen to be notified of every video she makes. That's 3.9 million more subscribers than the New York Times has, across all platforms. Her videos have been viewed over 1.5 BILLION times. Even allowing, obviously, for repeat viewers, that's at least as influential as Game of Thrones. Most of the Gen Zers I know would rather watch YouTube or TikTok than television, even counting Netflix as TV. So get used to seeing content creators (which is what DE JAGER is, not an influencer) referenced here and elsewhere, as their significance is only going to grow for the foreseeable future.
M (US)
@M I should say, their *relative* significance is going to continue to grow—which is as much about the fracturing of our leisure time into ever-more-specific niches as it is about the raw popularity of any individual celebrity or pastime. Game of Thrones seemed like a phenom with close to 50 million viewers per episode, across all platforms, worldwide and over time; but back in the day a popular TV show could pull in over half of all Americans (with a television set). I Love Lucy had 2/3 of the country tuning in! That just doesn't happen today, so it's easy for any of us to think that our own niche is more significant, and other niches less, than they really are.
Barry Ancona (New York NY)
M, Good points all. One [obvious?] note about the subscriber counts: "subscribing" to DE JAGER and "subscribing" to The New York Times require different levels of commitment, and may be presumed to suggest different levels of engagement and influence.
Curtis (Durham, NC)
Beautiful puzzle, Rachel. Five complete unknowns for me, but I slowly figured them out and ended up with just under my average Saturday time. Loved the clue for SUISSE and filled it in immediately with no crosses. I also love your columns.
Jannicut (Connecticut)
I filled it in immediately with no crosses, too - with FRANCE. Equally correct, but my first glance at the crosses took it right out again!
dutchiris (Berkeley, CA)
Please don't anyone say how easy this one was (at least not out loud). I struggled, but in the end so many of the fills were so much fun that I really didn't mind. Pays in the Alps was right in front of me but I didn't see it until the UISS emerged. That kind of thing kept happening!! Thanks, Rachel.
Steve L (Chestnut Ridge, NY)
@dutchiris Here’s how I realized that “Pays in the Alps” had nothing to with financial compensation: there’s no word that the literal clue can clue. In other words, we don’t have a word for making a payment specifically in the mountains of Central Europe. So you have to look further. I agree with the poster who said that PAYS is not a commonly known French word unless you’ve taken French, but hey, it’s Saturday.
Grant (Delaware)
@Steve L Vin de pays is, "country wine," a step above vin de table. I never took French, and I'm mostly a beer drinker, but I knew that. Also, SUISSE is on the red bobsleds.
Ed (Halifax, Nova Scotia)
Some good clues here -- I really liked pays in the Alps -- but letter was untenable, or at the very least, untenantable.
Steverw (Bothell, WA)
A fine way to end Friday or begin Saturday, depending on one's time zone.
Darcey (Sandy Hook, CT)
This one at my first glance seemed as if it would be a toughie, but once I got a toehold in the SE, I ended up finishing with a PB time. It did not, however, give me much joy; unlike Caitlin, MEH is exactly the word I would use for it. Nothing especially to criticize— but nothing that really sparkled or amused. Seemed to be very little wordplay, and what there was seemed rather stale, or else a bit forced. Guess sometimes one is simply not on the constructor’s wavelength! 🤷🏻‍♀️
Dana Scully (Canada)
Excellent, clever and intelligent Saturday puzzle. I got 40 across right away but was a bit hesitant that would be a clue. But then I couldn’t believe someone would incorporate 34 down into a crossword. Family lore is our Huguenot ancestor fled religious persecution in France and landed in Quebec City in the early 1700s. My history teacher father though always maintained the ancestor was actually the servant to the Huguenot and tagged along for a ride to the new world. Whatever the story, I was got the clue in a smart puzzle.
Edward Rice (Vienna, VA)
@Dana Scully "Family lore is our Huguenot ancestor fled religious persecution in France" Caitlin wrote: "HUGUENOT, and apparently refers to the practice of worshiping in one’s home" The Huguenots were a horribly-persecuted religious minority in France, and a great many suffered and died at the hands (and torches, and swords) of the Catholic majority. So, Huguenot doesn't come from the practice of worshipping on one's home -- the sect worshipped in their homes because they were afraid to go out to services. A small but critical distinction. Many Huguenots fled overseas. Wiki sez: "During the siege, the population of La Rochelle decreased from 27,000 to 5,000 due to casualties, famine, and disease." And some of those, including the family of my Latin teacher (Mme. Lamont), ended up in New Rochelle where a former-Huguenot enclave persisted long after.
Dana Scully (Canada)
I agree that the definition given was incorrect. I’m aware of the history and the barbarity of the persecution.
Bill (Los Altos, CA)
Our family lore also includes ancestors fleeing the Huguenot persecution, in our case to the Netherlands. So I was reasonably familiar with the word, though not super confident about spelling it at first.
Biff Salmon (Los Angeles)
Sometimes, a puzzle doesn’t have to absurdly difficult to be a great one. Like this one and most of Robyn Weintraub’s. Nice looking puzzle and fair cluing.
American Expat (In Asia)
I filled them in, but was baffled by TENANTS (obvious, in retrospect) and "Pays in the Alps." While I know bits and pieces of French and Spanish, like most people who read English, I wonder what the standard is, in crossword construction, for using foreign words. "Pays" requires at least some French language instruction, at some point, for someone who doesn't speak the language, I think. I had no idea who Nikki De Jager was, but the crossing squares were easy, so the name got filled out automatically.
Steve L (Chestnut Ridge, NY)
@American Expat It depends on what day it is, and today is Saturday.
Vaer (Brooklyn)
My refusal to give up RAntS for RAVES even though it was obvious that the AFC answer was STEELER, held me back at the end. Liked the clues for NADAL and LASSIE. An enjoyable puzzle. Thanks, Rachel.
Richard (Pacific Northwest)
Always satisfying when a puzzle synchs with just the right difficult level - drives me nuts for a bit, then slowly RELENTS juuuuust when I start getting annoyed and want to give up. I have zero knowledge of pop music today so I had RIHANNA in place of RITAORA - that cost me a good 10 minutes.
Eric Hougland (Austin TX)
@Richard I made the Rihanna/Rita Ora mistake a few weeks ago. I didn’t recognize either song title in the 26D clue, so I was briefly wondering if there were a Somebody RITArRA I’d never heard of.
Eric Hougland (Austin TX)
SRSLY fun, Rachel! And 30 seconds faster than Friday, so I’m happy. And maybe now I’ll remember how to spell HUGUENOT. Or not.
Great Lakes (US)
Great job Rachel! I know your mom and aunt are just as proud as can be, so I'll congratulate them too, lol.
Whoa Nellie (Out West)
Thank you, Rachel Fabi, for keeping the streak of five great puzzles (IMO) going this week! Caitlin Lovinger wrote my life story - got a little antsy over too many unknown factors - but kept with it and all was revealed. How that happened was a mixture of 'circumstances and what I don't know!" Chuckled at the lower right corner - If you rotate a stewed nipper gone commando in a onesie, you'd be teed off at the 'site.' Best nip off to the shop... "I'll be taking these Huggies and whatever cash ya got."
Great Lakes (US)
@Whoa Nellie How did you end up all that with a Nicolas Cage quote from (the Coen Bros classic) "Raising Arizona"?
Whoa Nellie (Out West)
@Great Lakes Well, H.i. caint rightly leave little outlaw Nathan Jr. to stew in his own juices!
Phrogge (Succasunna, NJ)
Happily there were enough familiar standbys (LASSIE, BETTE, ONESIE) to counteract my lacunae (DEJAGER and a beloved aunt); also helped I knew 28D and 34D right off the bat... certainly it takes all sorts to create a pleasant puzzle. BOOYAH!
Brian Boughton (Boston)
This one was a personal best for me. Just over 23 minutes. Tricky but got lucky with my initial guesses.
Zézito (Alexandria)
SRSLY? I don't think so. Strange fill for a crossword. Especially crossing a proper noun. And AIRIER doesn't mean more spacious. A Miata wit the top down is airier than a van, but certainly not more spacious. Other than those two nits, great puzzle. At first pass, it seems impossible. But with more and more passes, it comes together.
Andrew (Louisville)
@Zézito I thought 4Real!?! was a great clue for SRSLY.
Eric Hougland (Austin TX)
@Andrew OMG. It is the perfect clue.
Margaret (Brooklyn)
FWIW, I agree.
Henry Su (Washington DC)
Awesome themeless, Rachel. I was on the same wavelength until I got to your YouTube icon. I didn't know her and had trouble parsing the clue for 45D, and so I did an alphabet run for that J. BOOYAH!
Henry Su (Washington DC)
And Rachel, I did this on my phone sitting in a Waffle House in Indy, after driving all day. I devoured the patty melt only a tad faster than your puzzle.
Andrew (Seattle)
@Henry Su same for me on the J! Just started at Q and went across the keyboard, hoping it was the only wrong letter :-)
Alan Young (Thailand)
Clever clues, but shouldn’t 28D be clued as “they shouldn’t be mixed”? :-) —Slow for me, one too many pop culture references.
Richard (St. Joe Michigan)
BOOYAH! Does Cramer still say that?
Zézito (Alexandria)
@Richard Who's Cramer?
Al in Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, PA)
@Zézito Jim Cramer can be seen on CNBC and has written several books on the stock market and personal investing.
Francine (Chicago)
Sam Lyons (Sammamish, WA)
Fabi-ulous! A fair Saturday workout, too. I really had to piece the long entries together. And the clues that were gimmes for me betrayed such. An advanced. Level of nerdiness on my part that I can’t even bring myself to fess up what they were. I just don’t know y’all well enough. Thank you for an awesome Saturday, Rachel.
Al in Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, PA)
@Sam Lyons I'm guessing they were for OXEYES, HELL, HUGUENOT, and TUDOR. Btw, I'm reading a nerdy piece on Hildegard of Bingen and the author defines the word VIRIDITAS as "greenness", while admitting that it is difficult to translate. Seems to me it's more like "green energy" or generative power the way he says Hildegard used it. Any thoughts?
Edward Rice (Vienna, VA)
@Al in Pittsburgh M-W says "VIRIDITY is the quality or state of being green," so that seems cromulent.
David Connell (Weston CT)
We have had this year the slowest unfolding of spring - achingly slow. Many trees still just sitting there like lumps. Yet there was a day this week (Wednesday) when the grass simply was green in a way that hadn’t been seen the day before. Viriditas. Spring starts under the ground, but eventually escapes into the open air.
Liz B (Durham, NC)
I loved the grid pattern! Also, I thought these clues were going to make me feel old, but I got them all (sometimes with the help of lots of crossings, I'm looking at you, DE JAGER. But for every contemporary RITA ORA there seemed to be a classic LASSIE, so it felt balanced. Nice work, Rachel!
Whoa Nellie (Out West)
@Liz B Exactly! Enough solid clueing to keep me from slipping off my stairlift!
David Connell (Weston CT)
@Liz B - since there was a followup on Deadline’s whereabouts I was prompted to ask if you know how our friend Leapfinger is doing. I see most of the NC crew here from time to time, but it seems quite a while since Leapy popped in.
Steve L (Chestnut Ridge, NY)
This puzzle struck me as rather straightforward for a Saturday puzzle, with relatively few tricky clues. My time was closer to my personal best than my average.
Barry Ancona (New York NY)
The constructor's name rings a bell...
Barry Ancona (New York NY)
Brief cross checks to avert [it takes all] kinds before SORTS and [side] roads before DOORS. Gentle crosses to learn the name of the beauty vlogger. Otherwise, a walk in the park. SRSLY.
Whoa Nellie (Out West)
@Barry Ancona Do you think the world is spinning too fast to catch every trend? I do. SRSLY, I'm drawing the line at influencers.
Eric Hougland (Austin TX)
@Whoa Nellie I’m not crazy about seeing influencers in the puzzle, but if someone has millions of people following them on YouTube or TikTok, then at the very least, they’ve proved Andy Warhol right.
Mr Mark (California)
New Saturday PB! First time under 10 mins. Some great clues in this one, very clever!
Brian Boughton (Boston)
I can’t imagine a Saturday in 10 minutes. They usually take me closer to 50. This week was 22.
Edward Rice (Vienna, VA)
@Mr Mark "New Saturday PB!" Yeah, it was a stroll in the park, really.
latx (Texas)
@Brian Boughton They happen. Sometimes it’s just your grid and the stars align and the clues make perfect sense. My best is a hair under 12 and it felt like I was flying!
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