Grant in Folklore Stories?

Oct 28, 2022 · 255 comments
Tim M (NH)
Hi all, sorry for the newbie post, but I am not a newbie at these puzzles, and wonder how I rank. When I started maybe 10 years ago I had no prayer of solving even 1/2 a Sat puzzle, but now always complete them in under 20 min, maybe 1/3 of the time without any cheating, but never missing more than a few words. Today got it all in 16:32. How am I doing? What do the tournament level folks get on a puzzle like this? TIA! -t
Denny (New York)
@Tim M I'd say you're doing very well compared to other veteran solvers. Tournament level solvers probably crack this in under 10, certainly, and the elites in 5-6, but that's a guess.
Tim M (NH)
@Denny Thank you for that, wow 5-6 min, I can do a Mon/Tues in that time but that's about as fast as I can scan and type. So the best players can do that on a Sat .. astounding. Guess there's still room for improvement :)
Maggie (North Carolina)
Fabulous puzzle. So many fun clues. Took me a few runs at it, but got it! Loved learning about Orrin C. Evans, Haitian national anthem. Thank you, Daniel!
Leapfinger (Durham NC)
I came to hear the SHMOOsing And stayed to watch if the DESSERTSPOONS. Not sure which was the best fill: the CROSTINI with LAMBSTEW (which began life as COLCANON -yes I know) or the SINTAX on the SEXSCENE in SATINS' MIST. Especially if you ADELAIDE. Won't admit how long I hung with the wrong Homer. If I had THREE WISHES, I'd use one for the HAITIAN nation. The grid reminded me of a classic Martin Ashwood-Smith, but I SHUNT dam with FEINT praise. This CRU will now have to rise at SIXAM and if that isn't a SUNRISE MOVEMENT I don't know what is. MUCHO Gracias for a well-CONDENSEd Saturday. Daniel's OK!!
Sarah (In France)
That time when Saturday was easier than Friday! But not too easy either- one where it seems impossible but put it aside and come back in a few hours and it all falls into place. I only needed to look up ORRIN and GEE was last to fall… (not sure why I didn’t deduce STENOG…I’m used to the fill being only STENO).
NYC Traveler (Now in Boulder, CO)
It’s late, but I had to make a comment about 25D. My first job was at an RC Cola distribution plant in SW Missouri where I manually loaded trucks with cases of RC and Nehi. I’m quite familiar with the orange, grape, and cherry Nehi. Occasionally there might be a cream soda. Never did a see a peach Nehi. Anyone have experience to the contrary?
Matt G. (Woodinville, WA)
Quite difficult -- for the first time in a long time, I had to jump over to Wikipedia for a couple of the answers. Kudos to Mr. Okulitch for a great puzzle!
Peabody (Chicagoland)
Not sure when the cutoff time for completion is, but i nearly lost my sh! and my streak when i realized at bedtime that id forgotten to finish todays puzzle. Luckily I finished right at 10:59 central time, and got my streak to 351. Whew!
NYC Traveler (Now in Boulder, CO)
@Peabody, I’ve never seen it in cold hard print, but the cutoff used to be at midnight local time. Now it seems to be midnight California (Pacific) time, which would give you until 2 am to finish. Of course, I am always loathe to test that theory.
Sarah (In France)
I just finished.. it’s 10:30 PST
Kate M (NY)
Wow! 2 years ago, I would've muttered "YIPES," and backed away from the intimidating Saturday of it all. So glad to have kept at it - finishing today's puzzle in record time felt like quite a feat! Now, I might even say this puzzle was - delicious! Loved that it began with some CROSTINI and STEW, and ended with dessert, along with some fruity soda and drinks. A treat for the belly, and speaking of - I was convinced that CENTRE would be VENTRE (which I was convinced means...belly!) Oh well. It was fun to LIVEINTHEMOMENT after plodding through all these years!
Raincoast Reader (Vancouver, B.C.)
If I could have three wishes I'd use all of them to wish for more, more, more from Daniel Okulitch! I loved how wide open this grid was and yet how each clue and answer fell into place one by one. Incredible construction and stellar cluing. Silence notifications/MIRANDA RIGHTS was absolutely brilliant. Thank you, Daniel!
Crevecoeur (PA US)
It took three of us today. Needed a daughter for spidey sense for sure. This one was hard! But we got a gold star.
David (Palm Springs CA)
Long time/1st time, just had to say that I especially enjoyed this one, especially the last few mins when everything falls into place. I mean, MIRANDA RIGHTS! DESSERT SPOONS! (SPIDEY SENSE I actually guessed on the first go, appropriately) And best of all, SEX SCENES! Swoon @ this wonderful clever creator!
Carlotta (NM)
Agreed!! And it was the closest I’ve come to solving a Saturday without help… 2 dictionary checks ( the check that I feel the least guilty about) and finally peeked at column for MIRANDA RIGHTS then everything else fell into place. Wonderfully fun challenge!
Bill (Minneapolis)
Beautiful Solid Elegant Bravo
Bee (Louisiana)
This grid really hit its mark, which is ironic because it reminded me of an Imperial Stormtrooper.
Leapfinger (Durham NC)
@Bee -- That's funny, bec I saw a kinda Labradoodle pup, which really predisposed me into liking.
Vaer (Brooklyn)
@Leapfinger I saw a pup's face, too.
Pax Ahimsa Gethen (San Francisco, California)
On the tough side for me (possibly due to lack of sleep) but a fun and satisfying solve. Nice-looking grid, too.
Jim (Ottawa, ON)
I always find it interesting how SEPIA is clued in reference to photography. Yes, as clued today, it does have a nostalgic look. However, as I understand it, old photos were not originally sepia toned. It's the result of incomplete rinsing of the fixer, the second stage after the developer for silver nitrate emulsion developing. Fixer is acidic, and if not completely washed out of the emulsion/paper, the paper will eventually turn yellow. I do admit though, as a photographer, I sometimes tint my monochrome images with a slight yellow-brown hue to give them the antique look.
polymath (British Columbia)
Yeah, the poor cuttlefish rarely gets a mention.
Adam (California)
This one definitely builds itself from the bottom up, making the initial read of clues nice and suspenseful until you get something to go on. SEPIA kicked it off for me and the rest fell in like Tetris blocks. Getting a Saturday in under 20 minutes is always a win my book!
dvdmgsr (State College, PA)
Fun Saturday with some great clues and long fills. I really thought it was going to be a slog and it was satisfying when things clicked and I ended up finishing well ahead of my average. Got a bit stuck in the bottom CENTRE, both the section of the puzzle and that clue, but once I got that and SPIDEYSENSE (terrific clue) it all came together.
AW Lifetime Reader (Oakland)
3 straight days of gender ideology - propaganda or laziness?
Steve L (Chestnut Ridge, NY)
@AW Lifetime Reader Or maybe just coincidence?
Steve L (Chestnut Ridge, NY)
@AW Lifetime Reader And I don’t know what you’re referring to in today’s puzzle anyway.
Pax Ahimsa Gethen (San Francisco, California)
@Steve L : 47A (CIS), I assume. Some cisgender people are offended at being called such. (I'm trans, for the record, and my gender identity is not an "ideology".)
andres (Chicago)
This one was so much fun. I’m always slightly paralyzed by fear every time I see such long entries all over the crossword, but this had a nice combination of readily intelligible clues and devilishly oblique ones, so the whole thing came together quite nicely. It was very, very satisfying to put the whole thing together. Excellent job! I’m also glad to see some payoff from letting my friends take me to fine-arts museums. I would have otherwise been at risk of clinging to the wrong answer to 20-down, while wondering what in the world “Hoitian” means :)
Leapfinger (Durham NC)
@andres -- I had the same impression for 20D We used to post random odds/ends on our lab door, way back then Where did Van Gogh? I don't know, Cezanne. If it ain't Braque, don't fix it. Try to take it like a MANET!
archaeoprof (Danville KY)
35D caught my eye today, as I recently retired from the faculty of CENTRE College.
Susan S. (Pennsylvania)
I’m so happy! I successfully solved a Friday and a Saturday without any help from Mr. Google or anyone or anything else. Please don’t tell me they were easy! Please don’t tell me you got a personal best. Actually, go right ahead, I’m glad for you. And besides I’m too busy being happy. Thank you to the constructors and the editors. Mwah!
Treegarden (Stamford, CT)
A milestone for sure. Congratulations!
Don (Massachusetts)
@Susan S. I'm with you Susan. Well done. The times some of the solvers post are not in my universe.
Ann Robinson (Bx)
Yes, I’m there with you, too. Happy with my 40-minute, Google-free solve time on this one!
Leapfinger (Durham NC)
A tangential note to AnnieP from VA by way of MN ... and to anyone who loses a partial solve because the Games page has flipped to the next day [copy/pasted] As noted, going into the archives doesn't give you your partial solve back. However, if you scroll down the Games page to just below the day's crossword and 'more games', you'll see a row of the past week's puzzles, with a star for each one completed, Any that weren't finished should be marked 'RESUME' and you can click on that and get your unfinished solve back. THE LAST 7 DAYS tab gives you back all your own solves. The Archives just holds the puzzles as published, ready for anyone to solve. The archives will not have *your* solves. PS: The IN PROGRESS tab will retrieve other past puzzles that you didn;t complete , if any [as noted, this happened a few days ago, but I thought it might help others with late cases of Solvus Interruptus]
AM (DC)
What a fun puzzle! Several clues made me laugh out loud.
Malcolm (Seattle)
Stenog. Just like that photog I was looking at the other day
Barry Ancona (New York NY)
Malcolm, "Photog" is a not unheard of informal for photographer, so STENOG is not quite that far out.
John (Chicago)
both are perfectly cromulent
Bob T. (NYC)
@Malcolm I'm confused; were you looking at a photo, or a photog? If the latter, did you engage the photog in convo?
Kurt Freitag (Newport, Oregon)
This was another in what is, alackaday!, an extended run of sad, boring puzzles. It is a testament to how cliches have taken over from creativity. For those who have this capacity, try going back then years or so -- I keep the digests from the beginning, so I have all puzzles, so this is based on personal experience -- and you will quickly see the difference. I think it may be the prevalence of the robots involved in making puzzles. If THIS wasn't a largely machine-generated one, then shame on us humans.
Denny (New York)
@Kurt Freitag I went back to a random 1995 Saturday. Oct 7th, to be exact. Can you tell me what in this puzzle was scintillating and creative? Looks to me like overuse of R S T A E to hold together what was mostly boring fill. The following week was similar, as was the week after that. More esoteric, at times, but also just dryer than dust. Puzzles today are trending easier, yes, which I don't always love, but the fill is more interesting and varied than ever before. What puzzles are you referring to specifically? Can you tell us the dates so we can compare?
Chris (NJ)
Can’t say I fully agree with you, just here to say that you’re going to awaken Barry Ancona.
Bob T. (NYC)
@Chris he sleeps? ;)
McRumi (Richmond VA)
That was plum fun! Only sour note for me was Stenog....never heard that before...just Steno. But, gee, live and learn in the NYT xword moment(s)!!
JBW (Winston-Salem, NC)
The ongoing discussion regarding tricky Thursday and Sunday puzzles has me remembering my parents. They inspired my love for the NYTXW. Mom was the consistent, decades-long solver, but some days Dad would grab a copy and join in. I’ve held on to puzzles they completed during their final days in the hospital in shaky but determined handwriting – the mark of their dedication. But they were a house divided. Mom enjoyed the steady difficulty progression throughout the week and skillfully adapted to whatever the NYTXW threw at her. Dad frequently grumbled about the wild card nature of Thursday and Sunday puzzles and felt there was not enough editorial direction to uncover the “trick.” Mom chalked it up to the fact that Dad was a civil engineer and sometimes thought too literally for his own good. So, I see the ongoing debate and smile. It’s a well-trodden path. Repetition and experience make the journey easier. As a footnote, I am trying to pass on the NYTXW tradition to my son. He currently draws the line at any puzzle beyond Wednesday for reasons akin to his grandfather’s. Give it time -- I’ll wear him down.
archaeoprof (Danville KY)
@JBW: The family that solves together evolves together!
Leapfinger (Durham NC)
@JBW -- My sister also stops with the Wednesday puzzle, despite all my encouragement. Just like a tree that's standing by the water, she shall not be moved. Now, the Grandboy is a different story. Whenever he's home visiting and the occasion arises, he joins in with gusto, likes making it a joint effort. I have high hopes for the future...
Miranda (Canada)
Oof! That one hurt me but also delighted me. I loved learning about shmoos!!! I’m trying to kick a gnarly YouTube addiction by taking up crosswords, chess, and audiobooks instead. My brain never feels great after mindlessly watching dramatic court moments or anti-MLM videos.
Grant (Delaware)
@Miranda Know your rights. Does MLM stand for multi-level marketing in Canada, or something else?
Humu (San Francisco)
@Miranda if you’d like something to help bridge between: PBS has a fantastic series of educational YouTube videos about language, called Otherwords. Highly recommend!
Mike (Earth)
As a new crossworder who has only ever filled out a Monday puzzle once completely unassisted, I decided to try out a Saturday for kicks and giggles. And *my God*, the difficulty of this puzzle was insane. It's mind-boggling to me that anyone is able to complete these. To say nothing of the people that have [#]### day streaks!!
Wesley (Houston)
@Mike You just gotta keep plugging away. I started about 2 years ago and only within the last few months have I reached tbe point of feeling somewhat confident on Saturday puzzles. And even at that, I still will only solve a Saturday unassisted about 50% of the time.
dutchiris (Berkeley, CA)
@Mike You learn to double-think the clues and not get stuck on the first answer that comes into your head. Tilt the kaleidoscope a bit until the words fall into a different meaning. The AHA moments are gratifying and often very funny.
Ann (Massachusetts)
@Mike At about 3:08. Thank you NYT crossword for making me feel like a genius on Monday and a total moron by Sunday. https://youtu.be/4ksXoLZUvVA
dutchiris (Berkeley, CA)
Terms that have entered the language via L'il Abner include double whammy, skunk works and Lower Slobbovia. The term shmoo has also entered the lexicon — used in defining highly technical concepts in no fewer than four separate fields of science. In socioeconomics, a "shmoo" refers to any generic kind of good that reproduces itself (as opposed to "widgets" which require resources and active production). In microbiology, "shmooing" is the biological term used for the "budding" process in yeast reproduction. The cellular bulge produced by a haploid yeast cell towards a cell of the opposite mating type during the mating of yeast is referred to as a "shmoo", due to its structural resemblance to the cartoon character. In the field of particle physics, "shmoo" refers to a high-energy survey instrument – as utilized at the Los Alamos National Laboratory for the Cygnus X-3 Sky Survey performed at the LAMPF (Los Alamos Meson Physics Facility) grounds. Over one hundred white "shmoo" detectors were at one time sprinkled around the accelerator beamstop area and adjacent mesa to capture subatomic cosmic ray particles emitted from the constellation Cygnus. The detectors housed scintillators and photomultipliers in an array that gave the detector its distinctive shmoo shape. In electrical engineering, a shmoo plot is the technical term used for the graphic pattern of test circuits. (The term is also used as a verb: to "shmoo" means to run the test.) So much (literally) for SHMOO.
dutchiris (Berkeley, CA)
@dutchiris Credit: Wikipedia.
Grant (Delaware)
@dutchiris I was not aware that Skunk Works was from Lil' Abner - My dad spent time at the Lockheed Martin version when he was working on the F-22 and F-35 projects, and some other stuff.
Leapfinger (Durham NC)
@Grant -- I may be mistaken, but I associate the Skunk Works with the part of Dogpatch where Moonbeam McSwine lives with her pappy, Moonshine I still have my original copy of The Life and Times of the Shmoo (1948) with no cover and half the pages loose. It shows how the Shmooish desire to provide freely for all aspects of human survival are almost the death knell of Capitalism's means of production.
polymath (British Columbia)
Almost sure this was my fastest NYT Saturday that I've ever solved.
C (New York)
Think this puzzle might have been made for me. 12:08 on a Saturday with no pauses or look-ups!! Possibly a personal best!
LD (Back in CA)
All I see when I look at the grid is a blobfish.
Mark DelGiudice (Boston)
Hangover didn’t help but finally got through, very nice and juicy today. Particularly enjoyed “the haves” as a fill, as well realizing that little toasts are not biscotti (but thankfully another Italian cuisine that exists in my brain).
Pj (California)
I love crosswords like this because I learn so many things in the course of solving it. Like the capital of South Australia! :)
Grant (Delaware)
TIL that King George III had twelve children, but no grandchildren. Legitimate ones, anyway...William IV had ten children with an actress named Dorothea Jordan, before marrying ADELAIDE. I'm not sure when Miss Jordan had time for acting. In the end, the crown passed to Victoria.
Grant (Delaware)
Edit: Victoria (B. 1819) was the only grandchild of George III (D. 1820) who lived. Wow, the German inbreeding!
M (US)
@Grant I think she actually was the only surviving legitimate grandchild produced by one of George III's first five children; he also had a legitimate surviving grandson through a younger son, Ernest. Ernest actually became King of Hanover when Victoria became Queen of the UK, because of differing systems of succession in the two formerly-joined monarchies, and passed that crown on to his son, George V.
Matt (Minnesota)
Had it almost all the way cracked until l struggled to connect the northern stack. All told, this was a fun challenge with plenty of great clues that did not feel as dry as recent Saturdays.
Cynthia (Belfast, Maine)
Wow! Striking grid (couldn't stop admiring it), wonderful long fill-- such fun to figure out with a few crosses, great clueing. This puzzle had a perfect crunch level for me: I had a few checks (SCHMOO, spelling of SONIA); got ORRIN entirely on crosses; but finished with no lookups-- though I just barely managed not to go to the column prematurely, finally getting the music by changing STENno to STENOG, thus finding the pesky 3-letter fills, OOPS and GEE. Loved SIN TAX, SEX SCENE, and DESSERT SPOON. (In my younger days I used to say that I travelled the world looking for the perfect creme brulee-- I came the closest on the Costa Brava in Spain and in Ottawa.) Thanks, Daniel, for gutting it out to bring this puzzle to fruition. After being a daily NYT xword solver for two and a half years, I'd say this is one of my favorites.
Steve L (Chestnut Ridge, NY)
I realize that in the clue for 29A, it says "folklore STUDIES" in order to make you think of the grant as a source of funding, but how do the THREE WISHES actually connect with "folklore STUDIES", rather than just folklore. I'm trying to figure out whether this is a case of misdirecting to the point that the clue really doesn't add up.
Pj (California)
@Steve L I feel like that was a legit typo. I think it was supposed to be "stories" (as discussed in the article above). Because I was wracking my brain over that too, until I had enough letters to piece it out.
Barry Ancona (New York NY)
Steve, Have you come to a conclusion yet? My thought is that "study" has enough meanings that at least one can justify the use of "studies" in the clue. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/study
Cynthia (Belfast, Maine)
@Barry Ancona. I noticed the issue, but quickly concluded it was classic late-week misdirection.
Ann (Massachusetts)
Got Liv first, then Monet, then Dessert Spoons as a wild guess. Downhill from there, this was a toughie but excellent puzzle.
Ann (Massachusetts)
The grid art looks like me whenever I resort to lookups.
Susan E (Massachusetts)
I loved this puzzle. Like Caitlin, I had trouble breaking in; 1D and 29A were my only confident entries on the first pass. I did look up 2D very late in the game, and I verified what I was mostly certain was the answer to 24A. Once I got rolling I found it utterly delightful, and for me, it was relatively easy for a Saturday; I shaved seven minutes off my average.
Liz B (Durham, NC)
I just skimmed through the comments, which is a thing I have not done in more than a month. I am delighted to see so many commenters from outside the US! England--Australia--Germany--Singapore--Canada--and I'm sure there were more that I've already forgotten or didn't notice. I love hearing the viewpoints of people with different cultural perspectives and knowledge bases.
Andrew (Louisville)
Looking through BTL I wasn't the only one who had Victoria for far too long. When I put it down (confidently) I thought - well I didn't know it was that big but maybe I have not been paying sufficient attention to the population explosion in BC and that all passed my by - not uncommon these days - and I couldn't make a single cross from it. I ignored the growing SPIDEY SENSE but I couldn't think of another English queen that fit: Mary and Elizabeth and Charlotte. Jane Grey fitted but with only 9 days of queendom she never got a major city to her name. One day I will learn that when you cannot get a single cross it's because the word is just plain wrong and must be excised.
Suzanne (Plainsboro NJ)
@Andrew The Queen answer was a recent "question" on Jeopardy, so I gave it a shot and it worked lol.
Linda Jo (Brunswick, GA)
SHMOO. Thus, a perfect puzzle. MUCHO/KHAN took a bit of work. But then I had the pleasure of looking up ORRIN C. Evans.
RayOElGatubelo (Wisconsin)
@Linda Jo I thought MUCHO was MACRO at first.
RozzieGrandma (Roslindale MA)
Anyone else have TENAM not SIXAM? Are there really shows at 6? As Tallulah Bankhead supposedly asked, "Are there two nine o'clocks in the day?" Very enjoyable puzzle. Helps to be a bit Marxist. I got 1A right away.
Mu (Michigan)
You must be a young un...6am is midday
Barry Ancona (New York NY)
RozzieGrandma, Definitely wanted "ten" until I checked the crosses. (ACLU gave me 12A right way.)
Vaer (Brooklyn)
NY1's morning show starts at SIXAM, so I had no trouble with that.
ad absurdum (chicago)
This was great, but not easy for me. I'm surprised it felt so fresh yet only had one debut entry. Maybe it was the cluing. Got hung up on 5D like everyone else due to ADELAIDE having the same number of letters as "of hearts".
Barry Ancona (New York NY)
"Maybe it was the cluing." ad absurdum, Down the Hatch!
SteveG_VA (Virginia)
After having sussed 30D as SEX SCENE, I figured that the constructor could have gotten away with SOS (same old $#!+) for 50D, yielding LIVE IN THE PRESENT for 48A. But, alas, that had one too many letters, and I had no idea who TV's Rick or Morty were. It took a while for me to LIVE IN THE MOMENT! I also had to look up 2D before the upper tier yielded. All in all, a fun workout.
Laura Stratton (Olympia, WA)
I herein officially declare that the Thursday puzzle is the most difficult puzzle of the week. I (mistakenly) thought that the daily puzzles were supposed to increase in difficulty right up to Saturday. Why not fix this and post the super tricky puzzle on Saturday?
Barry Ancona (New York NY)
Laura, Friday and Saturday are themeless puzzles, and their *clues* are the hardest of the week. Thursdays are tricky puzzles -- and their difficulty will vary (from trick to trick and solver to solver), but their *clues* are not as hard as Friday and Saturday clues.
Laura Stratton (Olympia, WA)
@Barry Ancona I agree the distinctions you cite, but I am thinking in terms of overall difficulty. Think of it this way: In the course of a week, which puzzle gives the most people, the most problems? The answer, based on comments, is clear - The Thursday. This strongly suggests that 'most' people are better at handling clues than they are at deciphering tricks.
Barry Ancona (New York NY)
Laura, IMO comments tend to reflect dissatisfaction with a puzzle, not difficulty per se. The volume on *some* Thursdays is mostly *anger* ("not fair," "not a crossword," etc.). There is less volume in Friday and Saturday comments because people are less likely to complain about not solving an untricky themeless.
Riley (Joiple)
Are they giving us easier puzzles because us newbies complain so much? 😅 Or maybe I’m improving. Or both!
Kate (Massachusetts)
GEE, what a delightfully cheeky puzzle! Fortunately, I’m too lacking in geographic knowledge to have entered VICTORIA incorrectly; ignorance can be helpful every once in a while 😆. I did, however, confidently enter UNITARD instead of SINGLET. Anyone else? Perhaps they’re not at all the same thing? Ultimately, I was pretty amazed to finish this without help; it was a bottom-to-top, outside-to-in situation. Sad it’s over!
Linda Jo (Brunswick, GA)
@Kate SINGLET is the clothing term used in wrestling, ie, grappling.
Michele Delfino (Boxford MA)
@Linda Jo I got singlet as a guess, thinking of me grappling with my babies trying to get them in a onesie.
BMW (Atlanta Ga)
@Linda Jo thank you!
Sam Lyons (Sammamish, WA)
A random thought apropos of SIX AM and SUNRISE, though not the MOVEMENT in this case (I’m an apolitical recycler), but the actual break of day. As the sun is making its way up over the Sangre de Cristo mountains, I’m sitting here on my deck bundled up and drinking my coffee, drinking in the beauty of nature and the wonder of the crisp air, and enjoying the bathos of trading emoji-laden texts with my best friend. We just finished our new ritual — the weekend morning, FaceTimed half hour of yoga — and are back at the sides of our dawn-averse better halves. We’re both the type to wake up at SIX AM with minds going 100mph and so we’ve decided to start doing more for the corporeal TEMP[L]ES we inhabit. Something about not wanting to stroke out before 50. Other than my husband, my buddy is the only person I use emojis with. The problem today? I can’t find one to express the feeling of zen. Not one. There’re easily 40 emojis to convey stress and anger, plus another 40 for extremes of sadness and glee, but where is just plain peace and serenity? It says a lot about our culture, doesn’t it? So here’s to SIX AM SUNRISEs and the gladness they bring to the TEMP[L]Es our bodies are, and to LIVING IN THE MOMENT. (And maybe to Apple introducing zen emojis in the next software update.)
Kate (Massachusetts)
@Sam Lyons 🧘‍♀️? I have an emoji bestie as well. Unfortunately, she’s not an early riser, so I don’t think sunrise yoga is in the cards. Enjoy yours—with or without proper zen emojis!
Bunny (New Orleans)
@Sam Lyons The Unicode Consortium accepts submissions. https://unicode.org/emoji/proposals.html
Sam Lyons (Sammamish, WA)
@Kate I ended using 💆🏼‍♀️to express the feeling. Only because after a months-long sabbatical from yoga,🧘‍♀️currently expresses screaming hip joints… I’m still lobbying for a zen face emoji, though. Feeling peace just because.
twoberry (Vero Beach, FL)
I hadn't noticed the seriousness of the top across entries, contrasted with the frivolity of the below-decks spanners, as the composer alluded to in his notes, until I read said notes. Among the many pleasures was being reminded of Al Capp's shmoos.
John Dietsch (West Palm Beach)
Top notch puzzle! Got my emu sense tingling! Easier to solve for me than trying to fit into a singlet!
Jim (Nc)
Kudos to Caitlin for mentioning Steve Ditko in the column. He was always one of my favorites of the Marvel bullpen for his unique drawing style. Clever clues in this puzzle, and surprisingly I finished it halfway between my average and PB after being apprehensive when I first saw the grid. I shall seek out other Daniel Okulitch puzzles in case there are any I have not done.
Mu (Michigan)
I got SOCIALCLASS right away but tried to raise HELL instead of CAIN, so took back the SOCIAL. Also tried CZAR and TSAR (always get confused which to use). Think I placed too much importance on folklore thinking I just wasn't well read. It was a tricky clue. Tried AUTOS and CARS in compacts but no luck.
Michele Delfino (Boxford MA)
@Mu It has been a long time since Russian class... Tsar (Cyrillic alphabet) is the Russian spelling, czar is the polish spelling (Latin alphabet). I believe Tsar to be more correct, and proper. Both ultimately derive from "Caesar."
Mu (Michigan)
Thanks :)
Dolley (Bethel, CT)
Enjoyed the puzzle. Even more so because I finished it while attending a speed cubing competition with my son in Natick. I keep chortling to myself but no one here understands. Ah well. To each his own subculture.
RozzieGrandma (Roslindale MA)
@Dolley So what percentage of folks in Natick would you estimate know how famous their town is in crossword land?
JBW (Winston-Salem, NC)
"Grant in folklore studies" and "Silence notifications" were worth the price of admission. I got bogged down in the mucho / khan cross, wanting to make macro and tsar work somehow. Great Saturday workout from Daniel Okulitch.
sc (Midwest)
I enjoyed this puzzle and appreciate the tightknit quality because of the connections between words:  ESP and spideysense, idol and actin, cru and  asti, sintax and sexscene, rights and righty, the haves and social class.
Scott (Stockholm)
First pass was brutal... Am I the only one that got hung up on the grid looking like an old-fashioned desk phone?
Kate (Massachusetts)
@Scott Caitlin!
Scott (Stockholm)
@Kate Ha! didn't read the blog before posting...
Barry Ancona (New York NY)
Scott, You have company in making the observation but not having read the column...
Mean Old Lady (Now in Mississippi)
Hand up (I'm sure I have plenty of company) for VICTORIA, which of course fit perfectly... and oddly enough, a recent Jeopardy! game featured this name... One had to give up Canada and head for another hemisphere. Alas for MOL, though, I gave up TSAR/CZAR and confidently named the SHAH (which gave me SASS for 14D...and names are often odd, so ORRIH? Eh, whatever! When will I learn? Always Read All The Clues. I wouldn't know SAKS automatically, but I might have figured it out if only.... Daniel Okulitch has another scalp on the Trophy Wall! YIKES (before YIPES, which I never say. Or hear.)
Mark (Dallas)
I thought the answer to "It means a lot" should be PLETHORA, but MUCHO works too.
Mark (Dallas)
A case of "All the clues that fit, we print", maybe? 🙂
Barry Ancona (New York NY)
Mark, This would be the "entries" that fit, no?
Mark (Dallas)
@Barry Ancona But "entries" is such a poor rhyme with "news"!
Walter Zimmerman (Rochester, NY)
Even though it seemed to take too long, today's puzzle -- typically the toughest one in the week -- almost solved itself. Thanks for an enjoyable challenge that could actually be successfully completed by a more or less normal human being.
Ron (Cincinnati)
VICTORIA fitting in 5A was cruel lol. Grudgingly removed it after I finally accepted it couldn’t be right
Marshall Walthew (Ardmore)
@Al in Pittsburgh Bravo! The Wasteland and Prufrock get all the attention, but the Quartets are the deepest of Eliot’s poems, beautiful and profound. So: Fare forward travellers! Not escaping from the past, Into indifferent lives, or into any future:
Jim (Ottawa, ON)
I posted yesterday that I thought I had avoided breaking my streak. Alas, in spite of having solved the puzzle, and getting the "star", my office internet issues must have corrupted the tracking. Instead of being at 467, I am now at 1. Oh well, in another year and a half I'll be back up there!
sc (Midwest)
@Jim. Oh no! I am so sorry. I am not quite as far along but can appreciate the dismay. It doesn't seem fair that you have to start from scratch through no fault of your own. My sympathies.
Great Lakes (US)
@Jim Contact customer service (addy at the top of the comments) and they can restore your streak. Something similar happened to me. It took a couple of weeks, but eventually all was well.
Jim (Ottawa, ON)
@Great Lakes Thank you!
Mike (MI)
Yesterday my comment saying that there seemed to be a quota for transgender related words was deleted. That pattern continued today….
Nancy (Sandown, NH)
@Mike Sometimes I feel there is a quota for sports related answers, but that's just because of my lack of knowledge in that area. Now you know what area you need to brush up on. Although I fear this bothers you for a different reason.
Chris (Utah)
@Mike I completely understand your distress. That said, this is a public forum for a passtime puzzle. We're not trying to ignore or promote any prejudice or hurtful speech. But at the essence, it is a game with a diverse community. We're going to stumble over each other on occasion, but never with intent to be hurtful or insensitive. It might seem contrary at moments, but you gotta be you and I gotta be me. I bid you peace!
Mean Old Lady (Now in Mississippi)
@Nancy I am not sure that is fair to Mike. ...if it's the Mike who oft appears. He should be allowed to make an observation without having his motives questioned. Can we assume 'Innocent until proven guilty?'
John Kreese (Indiana)
Ugh, some Saturdays make me feel like a real smarty-pants, but others, like today, knock me down a few pegs. My idiotic confidence that 1A was FEUDALCLASS really made this harder than it needed to be.
Nat K (NYC)
My SPIDEY SENSE must have been at work, because I was able to race through this one from top to bottom in a personal record Saturday time and one I’m reasonably sure was 30 percent faster than my previous PB. Not going to beat that for a while …. And yet as always when that happens I can see how if things might have broken differently I could have sat there stumped. So I won’t characterize the puzzle as “easy” but instead just say it clicked for me! Thanks Daniel for a fun start to the weekend.
R (TX)
The mini puzzle today has an error. 8 down should be PPS, not PSS.
Vaer (Brooklyn)
@R The answer is not the abbreviation for post postscript. It's for plural postscripts.
Patrick J (Sydney Aus.)
@R No, think about the meaning. PS postscript, PPS post-postscript, that is a second postscript to the same letter (followed by PPPS, PPPPS, etc.) Two letters each with their own PS have two postscripts, or in short two PSs
C (USA)
“Silence notifications?” was great
Frances (Western Mass)
This went too incredibly fast to be a really great Saturday, but still enjoyable. Loved DESSERT SPOONS, not fond of SPIDEY SENSE, which just looks weird. Yes I get the reference, but still.
Chris (Utah)
Super fun grid! LIVEINTHEMOMENT should be the watch cry for all solvers. It was a bit gluey for me in places, but the stacks were fab.
suejean (HARROGATE)
I really liked the grid with the long fills. However, as always on a Saturday I took advantage of the help on offer, and enjoyed the puzzle, so thanks to Daniel. I liked the clues for 35D and A.
Helen Wright (Dorset UK)
@Vislander That’s exactly what I do. I agree it helps to think in a non-linear way across the grid. Sometimes I feel an answer could go one of two ways; getting a few crosses in along the way can really help. Crime brûlée was a classic today. SPOONS was a given, but pudding or DESSERT? STOLID and SISI got me going again.
Helen Wright (Dorset UK)
@Paul S I wanted Colcannon to fit. Yummy.
Paul S (Ireland)
@Helen Wright At least people still eat colcannon here.
Lewis (Asheville, NC)
Oh, I had that moment where I was convinced I was permanently stuck, somewhere in the bottom half of the grid after the top was filled in. After multiple scans, nothing was coming, it seemed, and nothing was going to come. I decided to take one more sweep, and that’s when, with immense relief, an answer came, which begat a splat-fill of the rest. That moment of high drama eclipsed by a feel-good high – one of crossword’s sweet gifts. There’s also beauty. Look at this gorgeous grid design, a NYT grid design debut, by the way. It reminds me of an old desk telephone (Hi, @Caitlin!). Yes, there’s that sad face, but more than that, I see wide avenues for words to cascade down toward the SW and SE, anchored by a firm and solid base. Daniel's last grid (1/22/22) was just as gorgeous. When I was new at crosswords and for well after that, my main aim was to complete the grid. If I did that, the puzzle was over. But now, as a veteran, the main joys are the little gifts. Thinking about, actually visualizing a CROSTINI, say, for the first time in seemingly forever. Running across lovely words, like FEINT. Smiling at the moment I see OOPS for [Error message?]. Noticing that OOPS backward is SPOO and that it crosses SHMOO. Seeing the lovely PuzzPair© of GEE and RIGHTY. Feeling love when a puzzle comes across as vibrant, as I do today, for the above reasons and more. Thank you so much for making this, Danial!
NYC Traveler (West Village)
@Lewis, You are a national treasure.
Jay (Mass)
Nice, fun sad space invader of a puzzle. Perfect diversion for my sunrise movement.
Rich in Atlanta (Austell, Georgia)
Dumb guy checking in again. This was a major struggle for me - especially the bottom half. I gave my space bar a good workout today - trying something to see if I could make it work with the crosses and then ending up blanking it out. Was sure I was never going to finish but somehow... I did. Once again WAY above my Saturday average. Wonder what tomorrow's going to bring... Oh... and was surprised to see that there was only ONE debut answer in this puzzle (THEHAVES). That is rare for a late week puzzle. ..
bonnie (long branch, nj)
@Rich in Atlanta Yes, it always shocks me that so many people say that they breezed through this solve, that the puzzle was easy for a Saturday, etc. etc. And, I especially laugh at all of the personal bests ... though no times were given, so they may have in terms of hours. LOL Take care!
Jack McCullough (Montpelier, Vermont)
Wow, this one went from scary to manageable in a hurry. A minute behind yesterday and way below half my Saturday average. I initially saw [something]lights for 12A, but a lawyer will get to MIRANDARIGHTS soon enough. We love our smart phones, but that Western Electric 500 Series rotary dial phone will be working long after your iPhone has been trashed, refurbished, or recycled.
Steve L (Chestnut Ridge, NY)
@Jack McCullough But will it be able to send texts? Take pictures? Surf the net? Display your mail? Play music (other than hold music)? Play videos? Illuminate your path on a dark night? Give you directions? Hold your credit cards? Count your steps? Give you the time and date? Time your eggs? Keep track of your appointments? Fit in your pocket? Go wherever you go? More than likely, your cell phone will become obsolete before it stops working, as newer versions incorporate more uses. But of course, that Western Electric 500 Series will always be better at holding down a large stack of paper--remember that?--in a strong breeze.
Bunny (New Orleans)
@Steve L I rewired a Model 500 to use on stage last year and had to demonstrate to my twentysomething actors how to pick it up (two fingers in the indent behind the cradle). Though I haven't done so in decades, the action came as naturally as walking. Neither actor had ever used a rotary phone, even a non-working one.
Bill (Detroit)
I remember reading somwhere that Crème Brûlée, or Burnt Cream, as offered in the refectories of Trinity College, Cant. (where perhaps it was invented), would be served with a little silver mallet for breaking the crust. But when I tried to do a little follow up Googling on this, found nothing. Any Anglophiles?
Chris (Utah)
@Bill Here's the thing. Translating from one language to another is always tricky. For everyday words like mother, father, dog, cat, tree, there is a likely definite correlation. For a word like brûlée, the direct correspondance is dubious. It can mean "burned" in some contexts, but when talking about the dessert, it means carmelized. If I were served a crème brûlée with burned sugar on top, I'd cuss and send it back immediately.
Barry Ancona (New York NY)
Chris, Going out on a limb here to suggest you'd be quite satisfied if Bill made said dessert.
Linda Jo (Brunswick, GA)
@Bill Epicurious mentions the little silver hammer for creme brulee. I wonder if that inspired Maxwell's silver hammer? https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/classic-creme-brulee
Margaret (NY)
I went from Tsar to Shah to KHAN to finish. I kept thinking the store was SAKS but wouldn't let go of Tsar or Czar. Last corner to fall
Great Lakes (US)
@Margaret Same, only I had no idea the logo was SAKS. Nearly my last fill.
Adam (Boston)
I got hung up on that corner as well, sure that it was MACRO instead of MUCHO...
Marshall Walthew (Ardmore)
@Margaret Me too. I didn’t have anything until I got to CRU and SINGLET, then built the puzzle from the bottom up, with DESSERTSPOON and SPIDEYSENSE until I reached the tricky NW corner. Guessing SAKS gave me KHAN, and then I was home free. What started out so hard ended up being not too bad in the end.
John (Jersey Coast)
SEPIA was my toehold and worked out from there. Nice workout and thanks. Oh, yes on the old telephone but I also saw a hammerhead shark.
Paul S (Ireland)
Hello from Ireland where the autumnal air is thick with the smells of lamb stew being cooked by all the peasants. Maybe update the culinary references for the next crossword. I don't know anyone who has had a traditional lamb stew since their grandmothers passed away.
Hobby Gardener (Germany)
@Paul S Wasn’t mutton stew the more traditional dish? I imagine LAMBSTEW would be something perhaps attractive to regional cooking fans these days. Much more delicate in aroma and flavor.
Paul S (Ireland)
@Hobby Gardener it was traditionally made with mutton. And absolutely no herbs!
Sue (Palo alto)
I'm not Irish, but I do lamb stew with the bone left over from the leg of lamb we traditionally eat for Easter. It's yummy, and makes me wonder why I don't do it more often?
Vislander (Greensboro NC)
Recently I changed my way solving the tougher weekend puzzles. Instead of going through all of the across clues, I stop when I get an answer and build off that. It has helped me to improve my guesses, which in turn has improved my times as well as my ability to solve the hard ones. I’m sure this is no revelation to the experienced solvers, but it has helped me considerably. Today a typo kept me from a PB by one hundredth of a second, so close! Thanks to Daniel for a fun workout and a good start to Saturday morning.
Cynthia (Belfast, Maine)
@Vislander. Deb Amlen recommended that style of solving a while back, and I've used it a lot since then. I really like the side effect of confirming fill with crosses, and I enjoy flitting all around the grid instead of reading clues in lockstep.
robert nelson clark (south carolina)
Loved this one. Breezed right through it, top to bottom, in record time for a Saturday...until forced to pause at that very last one across: always want to put an R in it. Thanks, Daniel, for the pleasure.
bonnie (long branch, nj)
@robert nelson clark Elaborate please. What was today's record time? 3 hours? lol
Great Lakes (US)
@bonnie You're aware that speed solvers routinely do puzzles like this in about 4 minutes, right? I'm not a speed solver by any means, and today's solve wasn't a personal best, but I managed it in 16:26.
Barry Ancona (New York NY)
bonnie, The OP chose to share that his solve time today was *his* fastest Saturday. If he had wanted to share the time, I think he would have done so. No offense intended, but why do you care what his time was?
Ben (Melbourne AUS)
LEEKSTEW and COLLAPSES for LAMBSTEW and CONDENSES held me up slightly, but otherwise a smooth and enjoyable Saturday.
Hobby Gardener (Germany)
Thanks for this charming and accessible puzzle! Unlike others, I made better progress in the top part first. SOCIALCLASS and SINTAX were gimmes. The MIRANDA clue was my favorite. I was grateful for the dearth of pop culture references, but I know a lot of solvers like them. And solving without having to resort to the column made me proud!
Morn (In)
Fun puzzle… was raging mad that court figure wasn’t clued plural (for stenos) until I realized the drafter created an abbreviation I have never once heard before though I could certainly figure out (STENOG). I work with court reporters 3-4 times a week and I’ve never heard them shortened to stenogs, but, then again, no one I know calls them stenographers anymore either.
Great Lakes (US)
@Morn "Steno' was common in the archives until computers became ubiquitous, then "court reporter" became the standard clue. I don't recall ever seeing STENOG in the puzzle before, although I'm sure it has been since it wasn't a debut today. Took me a long time to accept that G.
Suzanne (Baton Rouge)
I don't know when the abbreviation fell out of use, but it was still used into the 80s, back when stenog was one of the few careers open to women. It paid more than secretary, because of the shorthand. it did not refer only to stenotypists, but to anyone who could transcribe speech using shorthand. Now, of course, everything is recorded.
Steve L (Chestnut Ridge, NY)
@Suzanne Courts still employ stenographers; hence the clue.
David Bloom (Berlin, Germany)
Great puzzle! I love it when a constructor is able to give me something to chew on (a few minutes below my Saturday average) without needing to look up any trivia (which usually means keeping names, especially obscure ones, to a minimum).
Steverw (Bothell, WA)
About one minute harder than Friday, but just as fun, especially the long entries. SUNRISEMOVEMENT was the last one I got, courtesy of several crosses.
Jon (Eugene)
This didn't all come together the first pass through, but it moved along smoothly for me. Nowhere near a personal best, but way faster than my average for a Saturday.
Justin (Lawrence, KS)
Locked in SUNRISEMOVEMENT before a minute had elapsed and didn't look back. (Still looking for my first sub-10 Saturday, though. Drat!)
Great Lakes (US)
@Justin I was thinking it was SUNRISE cOVEnaNT, until the crosses steered me straight.
Xwordsolver (Bay Area)
Had to solve from the bottom up as rulingCLASS for 1A held up progress at the top. This Friday-Saturday combo were both well made and challenging!
kkseattle (Seattle)
Looked like Ghostface from Scream to me, but our house has been buzzing with teenagers and Halloween prep all week. Fast and fresh puzzle!
Mike (Munster)
When I dance with fruit on my head, I'm given my Carmen Miranda rights. (Orange you glad I'm bananas?)
Beejay (San Francisco)
@Mike Yes!
jma (Eagle, WI)
@Mike Your peachy keen remarks make you the apple of my eye. And you frequently give us pear of them.
dutchiris (Berkeley, CA)
@Mike When your hair is on fi-yah and you fry a papaya, does that foster some thoughts of ice cream?
Mikala (Seattle)
Great puzzle! And extra thanks for the shout to the Sunrise Movement :)
Great Lakes (US)
@Mikala Cheers. Did you read the recent NYT article re. the revised environmental update?
LBG (Mount Laurel, NJ)
Doing crosswords is a great way to avoid cardiac arrest during World Series games.
Mike (Munster)
What a first game!
Carl Adler (Brentwood, NH)
@Mike There was a game?
Marshall Walthew (Ardmore)
@LBG OTOH, staying up until the end of the game made me a little sluggish this morning, while doing the puzzle. I know many people find baseball boring, but the Phillies post season has been one wild ride.
Aaron (Iowa)
I really liked this puzzle.
Vaer (Brooklyn)
Any puzzle with Victoria in it is okay by me. OOPS, it's not Victoria? How did my SPIDEY SENSE not realize? Oh well, still a terrific puzzle. And here's Ray Davies of the Kinks with Victoria anyways. https://youtu.be/brlLHo8fqJM
Tim (Albuquerque, NM)
NW killed me, and spoiled a great streak! I can see BASS in script, but I guess that’s implanted. TSAR, CZAR, and SHAH, but not KHAN. MACHO could mean a lot, right? Who on Earth is ORRIN C Evans? Obscure, No? Didn’t know SUNRISE MOVEMENT. Oof! Super pleasurable bottom part, though. Thanks!
Jean F (Singapore)
@Tim I had the same image of Bass in my brain too! But somehow bUNRISE MOVEMENT didn’t seem right (plus there was already another moon in sight elsewhere in the puzzle).
Bill (Detroit)
@Tim you're not alone--I, too, had tsAr, shAh, in that order, stopping to fill in bAsS, which led to bUNRISE MOVEMENT--who knew we bakers were so committed to ecological causes?
ST (Adelaide)
Hello from ADELAIDE! Very excited to see our city make the Xword. Filled it in first - without any nagging SPIDEYSENSE!
Beary (England)
@ST hello from Shropshire! I saw Adelaide straight away but doubted myself because I didn't know she was a queen consort.
Eric Hougland (Austin TX)
The clue for 12D MUCHO reminds me of something my sister-in-law posted on Facebook a few years ago: “Thanks to the person who gave me the definition of ‘plethora.’ It means a lot.”
Jim (Nc)
@Eric Hougland Love it! Today you win the internet, or at least the NYT crossword comments.
Bob T. (NYC)
@Eric Hougland stealing!
JPT (Brooklyn, NY)
A few more grids like this and I can get my average Saturday time, according to the app, under an hour. Although I never read “L’il Abner” as a kid, I vaguely remembered SHMOO. I think it was also a Saturday Morning Cartoon as a kid. Which along with LIV Tyler and SIN TAX were my first gimmes, which led me to SOCIAL CLASS. From there I was able to go in productive spurts, mixed in with fairly long periods of staring. It took me a bit of going back and forth between “Tsar” and “Czar” at 19A as it always does when I see a similar clue before I realized neither was right with the crosses finally giving me KHAN.
Great Lakes (US)
@JPT LIV Tyler wasn't a gimme, but I was hoping. I always repeat Leev in my head whenever I see her name. I'm kinda partial to her dad... I'll just walk (off) this way now with a dozen or so (competing) earworms...
Rob (Chicago)
@JPT - GenXers will recognize Shmoo more from “The New Shmoo”. It was a low-budget Scooby Doo knockoff that Hanna Barbara ran on Saturday mornings in the late 70s. If I recall correctly, they would run it right after Scooby Doo on NBC. Today, I found out that it was based on a Lil Abner creature. Who knew? Shmoo knew!
Cynthia (Belfast, Maine)
@JPT Because I am so wary of the CZAR/ TSAR trap, I just held off. I think KHAN filled itself in.
Great Lakes (US)
Didn't the mini used to give out gold stars? I've been doing it every day for a week and all I see is blue.
Eric Hougland (Austin TX)
@Great Lakes I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything but blue stars on the Mini, and I’ve been doing it for almost four years.
Steve L (Chestnut Ridge, NY)
@Great Lakes I think you’re misremembering.
Great Lakes (US)
@Steve L You're here late tonight... Did you have a hard time with this one?
Sue Koehler (Pittsburgh)
You have to go waaay back (as I do) to know about a shmoo. Li’l Abner was once a very popular comic strip, and the shmoo got a second life as a toy. As a child, I was quite enamored of the cute critters.
Schroedman (Ontario)
Got off to a slow start but sped up in the bottom third of the grid. Sadly I hung myself up with "BELGIAN" until I finally realized my mistake. After that, it was smooth sailing. Fun puzzle, well conceived!
Mick (PNW)
Fun fact, though Toussaint L’Ouverrure gets all the glory, he died before Haiti’s independence war was over. Dessalines was the general that won the final battles and started leading the new nation through prompt trade embargoes and crippling reparation payments to France for the cost of liberating the enslaved. I think the Times did a good article about that a while back - Eiffel Tower built at the cost of keeping Haiti down.
Great Lakes (US)
I love this constructor! I had a SPIDEY SENSE (❤️) this puzzle was going to be a tale of two halves, and I was right. I sped through the lighthearted bottom half like there was no tomorrow — the clues, "When you might see a star's moon?" and "Error message," did not fool me for a minute — but the top half was another story. Even so, as soon as I pieced together enough of the down clues to get (remember) SUNRISE MOVEMENT, that paved the way for the gold star. Loved SIN TAX, plus so many others. This was just a stellar Saturday puzzle, Daniel Okulitch. Good fun, tough enough, and a good mix of subjects sure to give everyone a smile. Well done!
Steve L (Chestnut Ridge, NY)
@Great Lakes I knew that the star’s moon clue had nothing to do with astronomy because stars don’t have moons. Planets do.
Great Lakes (US)
@Steve L I didn't even get that far. I had SIX AM (thanks to NEHIS and SEPIA) and dropped in the rest with noooo hesitation.
john ezra (pittsburgh, pa)
@Great Lakes Likewise re bottom half, it was the kind of puzzle that built up from the bottom as far as me figuring it out and I'm usually militant about starting in the NW and ending in the SE (for no reason other than habit or OCD).
Eric Hougland (Austin TX)
Fast but fun. Anyone else notice that Victoria is the same number of letters as ADELAIDE? But for that, I might’ve had a new personal best for Saturday, instead of being two seconds over my old one. The clues for MIRANDA RIGHTSand SEX SCENE were clever. Thanks, Mr. Okulitch!
Great Lakes (US)
@Eric Hougland Lol, guilty.
Eric Hougland (Austin TX)
@Eric Hougland Caitlin, I agree that the grid looks like an old phone.
dutchiris (Berkeley, CA)
@Eric Hougland Even while I was typing in Victoria I had a sense that it was wrong, so, thankfully, kept an open mind as I went on. Agree about MIRANDA and SEX.
Sam Lyons (Sammamish, WA)
The lower two thirds filled in with a whooshing sound for me, but the top third fought me. Plonking in Victoria instead of ADELAIDE caused me all sorts of trouble. Had never heard of the SUNRISE MOVEMENT, and MIRANDA RIGHTS just wouldn’t dawn on me. Add in no familiarity with SHMOO or ORRIN Evans, and the minutes dragged on for awhile. A very finely constructed puzzle, both visually and semantically. Have a good weekend, all.
Great Lakes (US)
@Sam Lyons I got SHMOO entirely through the crosses and didn't even notice it 'til I saw your post. Agonized a bit over ORRIN.
Eric Hougland (Austin TX)
@Sam Lyons Victoria, B. C. turns out to be considerably smaller than 1.3 million — less than 400,000 for the metro area. But it sounded like a reasonable answer! SUNRISE MOVEMENT took me a bit, too. It sounds vaguely familiar, but I needed half the first word to get it even when I had MOVEMENT filled in. SHMOO is one of those things I picked up from these puzzles. “L’il Abner” was still around when I was a comics-reading kid, but I don’t remember actually reading it.
dutchiris (Berkeley, CA)
@Sam Lyons Same here. The lower half just kept on clickin' and I thought I must be going to blitz the whole thing for a best-in-show prize. No.
Selective Walrus (Canada)
Who the heck is Queen ADELAIDE? It just HAD to have the same number of letters as VICTORIA didn’t it?
Eric Hougland (Austin TX)
@Selective Walrus Yeah, I made the same mistake. Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen was the Queen Consort of King William IV (ruled 1830–1837). William IV was Victoria’s predecessor.
Selective Walrus (Canada)
Today’s puzzle shape brought to you by rotary telephones.
MDNY (Huntington, NY)
THREE WISHES: 1. Have LAMB STEW and CROSTINI in ADELAIDE with MANET and SONIA. 2. LIVE IN THE MOMENT at SIX AM with SASSY CHUMS (I think they call that SUNRISE MOVEMENT?) 3. Develop SPIDEY SENSE to avoid any SEX SCENE involving HORNS or DESSERT SPOONS. Some fun in under ten. No SIN TAX required!
Humu (San Francisco)
OH WOW, this one was hard for me. Over and over I felt utterly stuck, beyond any hope. I kept having to make those uncomfortably long leaps that Saturdays sometimes ask of you, only longer and leapier than the norm. I was only breaking through in tough little hard-won bits. And then… I got it, the puzzle was complete! And, though I wouldn’t have guessed it, two and a half minutes under my average. Spooky! I suppose it felt harder than it was, which feels like a win for me and a win for the constructor. Hooray! Thank you for a challenging puzzle, Daniel Okulich!
Mr Mark (California)
This was somewhat easy for a Saturday, but it was definitely not for AGES six and up!
Great Lakes (US)
@Mr Mark GEE, another fill I got entirely through the crosses and didn't even notice.
lee (bridgeport, ct)
Loved this puzzle. It was tough, but not impossible. Looking forward to his next puzzle! Not a personal best for a Saturday, but still faster than average for me.
dutchiris (Berkeley, CA)
Once I stopped trying to make it so hard, it got a lot easier and a lot more fun. LIVEINTHEMOMENT, USEYOURSPIDEYSENSE, ignore your OOPS and your DOHS and you'll be good to go. I loved it, Mr. Okulitch, and looking forward to No.5.
George Kenney (Washington DC)
Pretty easy for a Saturday but good puzzle. Fun, fair, thoughtful. 😁
Cat Lady Margaret (Maine)
When you LIVE IN THE MOMENT, does that really mean you actually *ignore* what’s happened and what’s to come? You know, like when you’re in bliss cracking the crème brûlée with your spoon, are you ignoring the delicious lobster Mac-n-cheese that came before it or the cup of decaf to come after? Maybe I just need more practice living in the moment; bring on more crème brûlée!
Humu (San Francisco)
@Cat Lady Margaret I suppose this is a very YMMV thing, but I’m with you. My enjoyment of the moment is possible by weaving in my full appreciation of all that led to that moment, and the groundwork this moment lays for the moments yet to come.
Al in Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, PA)
@Cat Lady Margaret & Humu As Eliot puts it in Burnt Norton: Time present and time past Are both perhaps present in time future And time future contained in time past. (He follows with a few downers) If all time is eternally present All time is unredeemable. What might have been is an abstraction Remaining a perpetual possibility Only in a world of speculation. . . . Ridiculous the waste sad time Stretching before and after. https://www.thefreshreads.com/burnt-norton/
Puzzlemucker (NY)
@Al in Pittsburgh Or as the Talking Heads and our friend Brian ENO wrote: Same as it ever was, same as it ever was Same as it ever was, look where my hand was Time isn't holding up, time isn't after us Same as it ever was, same as it ever was Same as it ever was, same as it ever was
RSA (MD)
What great long entries! Thanks, Daniel Okulitch. The entries all seemed fair to me, though I was challenged in the NW corner, not knowing 14a. I did enjoy the whimsical bottom entries.
J-J Cote (Lunenburg, MA)
@RSA Likewise, especially because I had MACRO in place of MUCHO for a while.
Steve (Princeton)
@J-J Cote Me too, being an ex- programmer..
Fact Boy (Emerald City)
Crostini means, literally, “little crusts;” the singular crostino is the diminutive of crosta. which means “crust,” “scab,” “rind (as of cheese)”. Examples: crosta terrestre (“the earth’s crust”), crosta di ghiaccio (“crust of ice,” as on a lake). It has a French cognate: crouton (“little crust”), diminutive form of croûte (“crust”). The Italian word for “toast” is “toast.” The Internet is bursting at the seams with Italian toast recipes; what “toast” means in Italian is a slice of pane tostato serving as a substrate for any number of imaginative toppings. Some Italian toast recipes claim to be good for everything from relieving the effects of jet lag to enhancing orgasms. “Toast” also means “toast” in French and German, which suggests that toast as an institution found its way to Europe from somewhere offshore.
Edward Rice (Vienna, VA)
@Fact Boy wrote "“Toast” also means “toast” in French and German, which suggests that toast as an institution found its way to Europe from somewhere offshore." If you look at... https://www.etymonline.com/word/toast ...it seems just as likely that a common European source (vulgar Latin) came into the Romance languages and then was borrowed into German.
Cindy (Seattle)
@Fact Boy In my experience, if you are in Italy and you want toast, ask for pane tostato. If you want a toasted sandwich with ham and cheese between two slices of bread, ask for toast. This is almost what you said, but I wouldn’t say that the Italian word for toast is toast or that the thing that Italians call toast is an open-faced sandwich. But things in Italy change in the distance of a short walk so I hold just about anything about Italy lightly. I worked in an Italian town where they pronounced the word for egg slightly differently than they did in the adjacent town. The two versions of the cookie called “brutti ma buoni” (ugly but good) that I know (no doubt there are more) are different but both delicious. Italy reminds me not to underestimate the value of a shrug.
Andrea (Como, Italy)
@Fact Boy I agree. I’m Italian and I usually take any clue making references to Italy as a bonus (far less frequent than clues referring to things that you can know only if you live in the USA, but that’s another story). Not this time. This clue is clearly wrong. My first idea was BRINDISI, which is a kind of toast but not “little”. Tut-tut.
Puzzlemucker (NY)
A blast of a Saturday. Not going to easy anyone’s hard or SHMOO anyone’s STENOG, but this was a blast of a Saturday. Almost pure joy, which lets face it, means I’m a genius with superior puzzle solving skills . . . OOPS, I should have exercised my MIRANDA RIGHTS (excellent clue there). The Five SATINS with their still thrilling “In the Still of the Night”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ak6tttHk_R8
Liz B (Durham, NC)
This one felt difficult until it wasn't. I don't really think of MANET as a contemporary of Cezanne, but I've just looked into it a little bit and Manet was only 7 years older than Cezanne, so that's pretty contemporary. Although Cezanne lived more than 20 years after Manet died, so perhaps that's why I think of him as more modern. I liked seeing SPIDEY SENSE at the bottom.
Amanda (League City, TX)
This took me a while longer than it should've, in part because I had put DIMMING LIGHTS in for silence notifications 😂
Richard (Pacific Northwest)
Loved it... but too easy for a Saturday. Loved the shape of the grid, and MIRANDA RIGHTS cleverly clued. Nice puzzle.
Richard (Pacific Northwest)
@Richard I also wanted to add - somewhat poignant seeing the HAITIAN anthem referenced, given the awful news coming out of that country. I have no ties but I see news reports on French TV and they're heartbreaking - the country in total disarray, even by its standards. Pour le Pays, pour les Ancêtres, Marchons unis, marchons unis.
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