Leisure Activity for Which You Need Glasses

Ryan McCarty asks that we look at things a bit differently.

Comments: 169

  1. Nice, but solvable, misdirection. Even money at least two clues will make Lewis from Asheville’s weekly top 5.

  2. I came within 15 seconds of my all-time Saturday best. There was nothing in this puzzle that really tripped me up. I had PANTS for SNITS (Huffs), but only briefly. I had POL for DEM (Party person, briefly), but I realized I probably needed a D in 1D. AL JARREAU, you're too late. OLIVIA WILDE, ISSA RAE and THERESA MAY went into a bar yesterday, but I doubt they're still there. But I hear they're having a WINE TASTING today.

  3. @Steve L, unless they were instead doing some LINE CASTING, which is what I briefly had them doing. Y’know, with safety glasses.

  4. Ditto on POL for DEM.

  5. @Margaret Lesson to be learned: Don't go fishing for answers.

  6. This was a four-hill roller coaster for me, each providing the anxious thrill of ascent and descent; by the time I reached the last empty section of the last hill (from what turned out be GERE up to ANTI-SPAM), I could finally exhale and realize I was going to finish. I just loved so much of the puzzle I feel like simply listing all of the great entries (POP A WHEELIE, ICE PALACES, LACE DOILY, I’VE MOVED ON, etc, etc.). And the cluing, and the lack of glue, and the grid design . . . But basically, just whee! What a fun ride!

  7. @Puzzlemucker My rule of thumb is, four-letter actor, probably will be GERE. If there's one correct letter in already, I'll put the name in, even if I've never heard of the movie. And I think that was the case today.

  8. @Steve L That’s a good rule, like four-letter tennis player is often ASHE. Helped that I had the the G and the second E. This was a relatively fast Saturday for me (which is very slow for a speed solver), but finishing seemed in doubt until I hit that last subsection, which is pretty common for me on Saturdays.

  9. @Puzzlemucker I'll have to remember that. I had ?ERE before I thought of GERE (never heard of the flick), but at least the G gave me the ING of the TASTING, wich led me (like suejean) to WINE.

  10. I think working the phrase "rocket man" into the puzzle would have been a clever complement to 41D.

  11. A perfect Saturday with great but fair misdirection. A real treat if maybe a touch easier than average.

  12. @Steve, It had to have been easier. I usually has some real struggles on Saturdays, and this one -- even though I had to stay on point -- only gave me lip in the SouthWest NB There's some great findings out there in the InterWeb that show how altered the perspectives need to be in drawing SIDEWALK ART, in order to make the look dimensional positioned in the ground. Truly fascinating. Sadly, I don't think I can get back to where I saw them.

  13. I decided that 9D must be LINEDANCING, because I had first decided that 9A must be LINK. (Have never been on match.com but it's an app, right? With links?) Welp, those decisions slowed me down in that entire region! Not that I could connect line-dancing with the "glasses" part of the clue, but still. However, the light did finally dawn. I had to look up what turned out to be GERE, but that is neither gHere nor gTHere.

  14. @Millie Don’t line dancers smash glasses? At Jewish weddings? I had RANK before WINK, but luckily could think of no activity that started RIN, so that didn’t last too long.

  15. (Weird that a dance associated with Jewish weddings showed up in the Spelling Bee this morning).

  16. Puzzlemucker, At Jewish weddings, the glass is smashed before the dancing, and it's more likely circle dancing (except at weddings of, say, Greek Jews).

  17. Nice challenge, a bit faster than average time wise. Struggled with the top left quadrant for a while.

  18. ORYXES for OKAPIS slowed me down on this one as the "O" fell first. Both antelopes are considered to appear as unicorns when their horns are viewed from the side. I just remember the San Diego Zoo guides pointing out the oryxes. I had several annual memberships when I lived there.

  19. Okapis are antelopes? I had no idea, thought they were related to giraffes. Or are giraffes just (yellow long-necked brown polka-dotted) antelopes as well?

  20. Yes, they are related to giraffes. That was a TIL for me.

  21. @Kiki Rijkstra Being further afield than you, Kiki, I led with ELAND for no discernible reason, as I've no idea how they look in side view. @polymath Antelopes are a kind of wastebasket taxon, being all the members of the Bovid family that aren't cattle, sheep, goats, buffalo, bison or yaks. Maybe some others. I once found an exhaustive list on Wiki that numbered several dozen, but it seems to have bounded away. Still, if you just graze the photos along the top, you'll find over 50, and that doesn't even show the diminutive dik-dik. https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-1-d&q=antelope+antelope+species&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwia2vO7xJDnAhXIVt8KHQclDr4Q1QIoAHoECAsQAQ&biw=1246&bih=643

  22. Lovely puzzle. Right at my average time. Didn’t notice the diagonal symmetry until reading the column. Re CROAT and dogs: when first approaching the SW corner (after skipping much of the grid above — I don’t like to fill in unless I’m pretty certain — I had BREED until I got PASTS (which came to me immediately) and then I knew KBUP was wrong, obviously. Loved clues for NOVICES, KNEES, VISTAS, SERFS. Anyone know how many times DOTARD appeared in the NYT crossword prior to the infamous utterance by KJU in Sept 2017, and how many times since?

  23. @BHanck 15 times in total; 2 after the famous dis. Anyway, DOTARD might not fit the bill for that particular individual, because it implies mental decline. You can't have decline if you've always been rock bottom.

  24. @BHanck I resisted KNEES for a long time, on the theory that they're too low to be the midpoint—apparently my skirts are shorter than Shortz's ;-).

  25. @M Shouldn't that be "my skirts are shorter than shortz ARE"?

  26. Ryan McCarty had me at LAVA LAKES - "naturally heated pools", indeed. Great chuckles with the clues for BAD DATES and WINE TASTING, once I figured them out. Eye-popping grid art to boot. This puzzle has everything I look for in a weekend themeless, so a well deserved Puzzle of the Week from me, too.

  27. As I understand it, slate’s a metamorphic stone. “Bluestone” is a generic trade name that usually refers to varieties of sedimentary stones, like sandstone and limestone. A quick Google search seems to indicate that basalt, an igneous rock, is sometimes thrown in there too. I’m not sure how bluestone is meant to be a “relative of slate,” geologically anyway. I’m curious as to how others connected the dots on this clue.

  28. @CookieWookiee It seems to me the relationship is that they are two similar materials used to make decorative walkways, often in front yards and patios.

  29. @CookieWookiee I started out with BLUEShale, which I hadn't heard of specifically but made sense to me from some of the crosses and the fact that shale can become slate under the right conditions. That didn't work with later crosses, so I eventually settled on BLUESTONE by default. Still haven't heard of it, but figured, hey, slate is usually kind of bluish, and it's stone, so why not?

  30. @M It sounds pretty though. (I had sandSTONE first.)

  31. Highly enjoyable, with nothing stretched too out of shape. Not being all that familiar with Keurig products I had Kpod before KCUP, which gave me Dalmation PRinT before CROAT. But I loved that IRMA was in the puzzle and got lost watching videos for a while. https://youtu.be/UWnXR7Y-_x8

  32. Fun, solid, top-notch puzzle.

  33. I had a BADDATE last night. The apricots were better. (I don't give a fig about these puns.)

  34. Mike, Sour grapes?

  35. @Mike Orange you overreacting?

  36. @Mike , Puns are my raisin d'etre.

  37. Yesterday's puzzle was so in my wheelhouse that I got a new personal best, so of course today gave me two Naticks: GIL/OKAPIS and ALJARREAU/LINDROS. I managed to logic-out the first based on half-remembering the critters and Gil being a more likely name than the alternatives, but the other cross required outside help. An enjoyable puzzle nonetheless, and probably a healthy ego check :-).

  38. Haven’t thought about Al Jarreau for quite some time. Liked his music very much back in the day...Thanks for a good puzzle and good memory.

  39. I really liked this puzzle!! It was just tricky enough to keep me scratching my head but not anything that got me super stuck. The clues were very clever overall. I had to look up Mughal. I loved ANTTRAP and yes that actually works. You can use boric acid too.

  40. SPELLING BEE GRID Jan 18th 2020 O A H R T W Y WORDS: 54, POINTS: 240, PANGRAMS: 1, BINGO Starting Letters-Frequencies: A x 5 H x 9 O x 4 R x 7 T x 17 W x 9 Y x 3 Word Lengths -Frequencies: 4L x 19 5L x 13 6L x 14 7L x 3 8L x 1 9L x 4 Grid:y 4 5 6 7 8 9 Tot A 1 2 1 - - 1 5 H 3 1 4 - - 1 9 O 2 - 1 1 - - 4 R 3 1 1 1 1 - 7 T 7 5 3 1 - 1 17 W 3 3 2 - - 1 9 Y - 1 2 - - - 3 Tot 19 13 14 3 1 4 54 (Y-Axis: Starting Letters, X-Axis: Word Lengths, X/Y Co-ordinates: Frequency/Number of Words for that letter and length)

  41. @Mari HINTS for today: -A naval greeting - A Spanish dry creek - 2 forms of acclamation - A circular dance - Adjective, exhorting - A speech-maker and their public speech - A few spinning in a circle words - An edible root - A different type of playing cards - Adjective: temporary, disposable .. or careless, casual - An old pledge of loyalty - Gulliver's thugs - One who frets (unnecessarily) about everything - A plant/herb used in traditional medicine to stanch wounds

  42. @Mari Starting two letters: AH - 1, AO - 1, AR - 3 HA - 1, HO - 8, OA - 2, OR - 2 RO - 7 TA - 3, TH - 4, TO - 6, TR - 3, TY - 1 WA - 1, WH - 1, WO - 7 YA - 2, YO - 1

  43. @Mari A hint about Mari's hints: the answers to them are in alphabetical order. :-)

  44. Not too hard, and a very enjoyable puzzle. Nice to see those OKAPIS - popular singularly over here as OMANI is the only other choice for O?A?I. And K-CUP was the closest thing to a baffling abbrev.

  45. @Peter Biddlecombe They must have Keurig coffee makers in the UK, no?

  46. @Steve L Keurig appear in Amazon.co.uk. I’ve never seen one elsewhere. The standard Nespresso, Tassimo, Dolce Gusto and Senseo come to mind, but Keurig are (to me) a no show.

  47. LETTER BOXED THREAD Jan 18th 2020 W - P (7), P - H (7) ... something the FBI might do in the context of a Mob trial YESTERDAY: MERCIFUL LYNXES (NYT)

  48. i have S-R (7) and R-E (9).

  49. realized this AM that could easily be shortened to W-R (6) and R-E (9). lol.

  50. I always debate whether to read the existing comments before adding my own. I know this is recommended by the comment police (and I say that with affection--some of my best friends are curmudgeons) but oy, it can harsh my mellow. Like today when I came here chuffed and puffed for completing this (to me) challenging and delightful Saturday only to read that everyone else found it easy. If you are not finding it easy, do not despair! Run around the block or furminate your cat (she loves that) and then return. It's a miracle to me how words suddenly appear from the depths of my inner landscape given some time to percolate . . .

  51. @AudreyLM Nothing wrong with adding a general assessment without reading the other comments first. But when you say--just as an example--This puzzle has an error. It's JUST DESSERTS, not JUST DESERTS--when ten other people before you have incorrectly stated this and had it explained to them--makes the commenter look ridiculous. It's like the person on the periphery of a conversation who kinda hears something, but it doesn't register, but rather it goes to his or her subconscious, and then, five minutes later, that person comes up with it and states that same thing brilliantly, as if it were an original thought. It's a situation where one embarrasses oneself.

  52. Definitely didn’t find it easy! It was a good morning’s work!

  53. Nice puzzle, lots of great clues. But, still having a hard time living with SUDSED (and the recent SUDSES).

  54. @Joe Wasn't SUDSED in a puzzle just a week or so ago? I know I've seen it recently, and it was the first time I'd ever heard the term. Should I assume it has now entered the language? Or have I just been missing something all these years?

  55. I don’t think it’s new, just relatively rare perhaps.

  56. It stands to reason that if one can get liquored up from too much hooch, one can get sudsed up from too many brews. And in any case, didn't Marilyn Monroe once take a bath in champagne?

  57. Very tough. First couple of passes yielded nothing. Then started to SLAP in some guesses, starting with PASTS. then K-CUP, DAD, SERFS, etc. I didn't even notice the grid symmetry. The clues were devious. - misdirecting and vague. The best vague one was the clue for TINT. Surprised myself putting in NADIR, LAVA LAKES, SLIPSHOD - but that's what my brain told me to put in. Put in SUDSED because we had SUDSES the other day, because I don't believe it is a coincidence. Will & co. musta had a good laugh at that one. NUDE is a shade of lipstick? I mean, what does it look like when you put it on? Like you had no lips? Haw LINK before WINK. Thought OMAN before IRAN (forgetting that they have oil across the water from the Arabian Peninsula too). BLUE STEEL before BLUE STONE because I thought it was about color. There was much to like. From the difficult beginning to the satisfying, it went from I RAN to I RULE. And there was LACE DOILY! Ok, I'VE MOVED ON.

  58. @Wen Your brain and mine wherein the same wavelength today - worked with OMAN for a long time -even after I had SHIITES. Absolutely found this one challenging-not easy !

  59. the people surprised that NUDE is a shade of lipstick, mystify me. if you don’t know about makeup, you don’t know about makeup. if you do, though, you’d know that it’s not just a shade, but an entire cateory of shades — like reds or pinks — that’s actually been quite in fashion in recent years. i hadn’t worn it at all until a couple of years ago, but have known about it since i started playing around with makeup in my teens.

  60. The key to a useful BAD DATE “emergency call” is to practice ahead. You need two friends: one to make the dry run call, and another to ascertain that whoever is with you won’t be able to hear your favorite smart...ss buddy yelling into the phone, “Come quickly! Your refrigerator is running!” I’ve actually never used this lifeline in my dating days. But, boy, you wake up one day in the middle of your adult life and realize you’ve SLID INTO a LAVA LAKE of interminable meetings and social functions, and the only thing you’re likely to POP anymore is an aneurysm. And suddenly you’re so thankful your best friend is willing to prank call you at a predetermined time to holler, “Your house has sprouted a new wing!” (You’ve just shared a NYT article about organic, self-reproducing concrete with said friend and the two of you have been indulging in juvenilia ever since: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/15/science/construction-concrete-bacteria-photosynthesis.html ) What a fantastic puzzle today: a WINK and a NUD(g)E and just a TAD of head scratching, but without making you yell, “YOWww!”

  61. I love how Caitlin sees us into a slightly different world on the weekends- all I can think of is- was it only priests running by her roommate’s house and were they wearing their dog collar at the time. It would be impractical. The volcanologists seem slightly more of this world. Not too difficult once you found a way in, but a decent Saturday canter. Cool grid.

  62. Like a lot of Saturdays for me lately. Three corners pretty fast, then nothing seems to work in the fourth. NEVERAGAIN seemed so promising that I didn’t consider anything else. ICEPALACES and LAVALAKES were great clues and great answers, but not for me today. Maybe too much karaoke last night. That’s ok. IVEMOVEDON.

  63. @James Brisbois I also had Never Again. Not sure what that says about my dating history.

  64. @James Brisbois I had the right idea but the wrong tense... maybe because Im(still)MOVingON

  65. Well, wow. Novel-looking grid peppered with a host of gorgeous answers and clever gotcha clues. Merely 64 words, and where is the junk? Nowhere! This is a product of skill and talent, a combination of answers and clues that made me slow down pleasurably, putter. Indeed, it made me use my inner putter until I tapped this thing into the hole. Lovely touches abounded, intentional and accidental (like that backward PUCK near the hockey great). Beauty and joy. That big arrow of black squares points down, Eric, but the arc of this puzzle is nothing but up. Masterwork, indeed. Thank you, sir, I loved this, and more please!

  66. @Lewis Only you would have noticed the backward PUCK! I love the way your mind works.

  67. I'm impressed... by all the other solvers on this blog. I didn't come close on this one. Usually my breaking point on a tough puzzle is to get toeholds here and there and then work from that. I had those today, but pretty much came to a complete halt after that. I always look at the expanded analysis of the puzzle on Xword Info. Lots of details there, but it includes a colorized grid which shades all of the uncommon answers in various hues - uncommon in this case meaning 4 or fewer appearances in another Shortz era puzzle. I've never seen a shadier grid than today's. Here are all the answers that don't at least cross one of those uncommon answers: GIL That's it (I did get that one, by the way). If there happen to be any other not so skillful solvers out there, I'll be over in the corner. Drinks are on me.

  68. @Rich in Atlanta Was hoping you might link to a GIL Scott-Heron song.

  69. @Rich in Atlanta - I’m with you. This one was uber tough for me as well. I finished it, but I had to get lots of help. Relieved not to have broken my streak.

  70. It's 2020. Can we never use RETARD in a grid again?

  71. Ugh. Posted too soon. Apologies all.

  72. @Natalie Glad you caught it. Would be nice if there were a retraction option; I’ve wanted one more than once.

  73. @Natalie And someone recommended it! Lesson to be learned: Never comment until you finish the puzzle.

  74. As stated last night, I only needed 15 seconds more than my Saturday all-time best for this one. I don't usually talk about absolute times, because I don't want to come off sounding too boastful, but that was about six and a half times faster than my time doing the Saturday Stumper in today's Newsday. https://www.newsday.com/entertainment/extras/crossword-puzzle-1.6375288 The Stumper took me over 45 minutes, and for the first time in decades, I had vast areas of empty with no sign of progress, and a feeling that I wasn't going to come close to finishing. But then a few things clicked, and Bob was my uncle. (You can do the math to get my approximate time on the NYT puzzle.) For those expert solvers reading, this would be a great challenge, as is any Newsday Saturday Stumper, but this one I found particularly challenging.

  75. @Steve L This is HARD. Bob is not yet my uncle. If I can finish this one there will be some serious smug.

  76. Steve, Next time, to avoid "coming off sounding too boastful," leave off the solve time for the Newsday puzzle.

  77. @Barry Ancona Well, I'm not in Rex Parker territory, and I've got about 20 years on him (I think).

  78. Today, I RULE! Though few and far between, any clean (no crutches necessary) Saturday solve lends my cruciverbal self-esteem a leg up. When I manage to finish in 35 mins. and change, it is extra rewarding...O. K. Gen Xers, if you’ll pardon the oncoming oxymoron, I’ll wrap up this rant of humble braggadocio...The late AL JARREAU emphasized his jazz skills and complemented it with a top tapping BLUES TONE 💙 on his signature song, “We’re In This Love Together.” Roger Murrah and Keith Stegall co-wrote in ‘81. https://youtu.be/QBbqyk_ZjLU All Together Now, Bru

  79. I'm so glad that I didn't open this last night - I was too tired and knew I would fall asleep with the clock running. Instead, I opened it this morning, read through every clue in both directions with only a Taj to show for it, until I slid into 1D and that became the handhold for me to climb all the way to the end of this great puzzle. As many have noted, there's plenty of just fun stuff in the puzzle, lots of little resonances from here to there among both clues and answers, no junk, names that ended up being doable despite being outside of my wheelhouse, a few great misleads, interesting grid pattern, ... Ryan knocked this one out of the park. I ended with a big smile on my face, a sense of pride in the accomplishment, and, despite the long-time blank at the beginning of the solve, my Thursday time on the clock. I now await whatever weaving one of our creative types will make of this puzzle, since there's clearly something going on ... bad dates, I've moved on, yow, checkered pasts, wink wink, enlist, tear it up on the dance floor, I dos...

  80. That was a really fun puzzle, no veggies, just deserts. (A week ago I would've spelt that wrong!) I was at a meeting a few years ago I thought would be very informative and lucrative. Boy was I wrong! Fortunately an emergency call got me out of there when they started talking about Russian adoptions of all things!

  81. Well - - - What can I say? It’s Saturday again and I had to settle for a less-than-stellar “completion” again. It was an - over all - enjoyable, tough exercise involving too much guessing to warrant any higher rating. I did NOT, however, enjoy: 30A - Clue containing a VERB while the answer can be interpreted only as an ADVERB or even ADJECTIVE. (I fault the clue - not the answer.) 28D - What makes “Old World” appropriate here? If GNU’s roamed Europe at some point, “Really Old World” might have been fair. And 9D - This is, for oenophiles, very definitely NOT a “Leisure” activity. It is, in fact, very serious - at least in official contexts. (Otherwise, it was a clever clue - “requiring glasses” that is.) I DID enjoy: “Pieces of chalk?”, “Site of many pitches” “Green people”, and The fancy place setting thing. I worked SO hard on figuring out something to accommodate “oyster fork” or even “butter knife” or ‘sauce spoon”!

  82. @PeterW - try to rethink 30A as an adjectival phrase, I think that's how it was meant. 28D means "Old World" in the traditional sense of "the Old World" (not the Americas) vs. the "New World" (the Americas). https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Old_World

  83. @PeterW Barry's going to tell me you didn't say the clues were wrong, and I know you didn't, but nevertheless: 30A: Regardless of the verb (or perhaps gerund) in the phrase, "Preventing cyberclutter" serves as an adjective phrase. "I have a filter preventing cyberclutter" = "I have an ANTI-SPAM filter." Granted, both sentences are rather awkward, as most people would say "I have a SPAM filter," because everyone understands that you're excluding the SPAM, not excluding everything else. 23D: GNUs are native to Africa. Gentle reminder that Africa is part of the Old World. So is Asia. 9D: For it to be a good clue, WINE TASTING doesn't have to be a leisure activity for everybody. Certainly there are many professional wine tasters who are not doing it for fun, or taking it casually. But go into any winery that offers WINE TASTINGs and you will see hundreds of people every day doing them as a leisure activity. And I'm sure far more people fall into the latter category. Of course, you still don't have to like them, but they're all valid clues.

  84. @PeterW Point taken about the clue for ANTISPAM, but I think you're being overly literal. Granted, the clue's wording wouldn't be used in place of the entry word, but that isn't a "rule." Also, though decidedly an amateur, I've been to WINE TASTINGS where participants learn things about the wines and what we should be looking for. (Hi suejean.) I also tried to think of the kind of dishes or utensils that we rarely see in regular place settings.

  85. I loved this puzzle but didn't find it easy as so many commenters did. The NW corner stumped me and I was just about to use the check puzzle feature when 1A came to me. Then I changed 'castle' to 'palace' at 16A and everything fell into place. 20A brought back a happy memory of watching the men on their Harleys roar past my alley; we kids would shout at them to 'pop a wheelie' and sometimes they did.

  86. @Megan I treasure memories of alley culture in Baltimore!

  87. @Ann & Megan - ditto, but from Philadelphia! Trash cans for bases and rolled-up socks for balls, a well-chosen stick for a bat, in the back alley was "baseball" when I was very young.

  88. At one point I looked up and realized I only had one corner left to solve, and I became sad. This was such a treat, from the unusual grid arrangement to the bright cluing to the interesting fill. A great way to pass the time!

  89. Can someone please explain 38A "Husbands one's resources"? I can't even parse what these words mean together, and the answer STINTS doesn't help my understanding. As usual, I'm sure it's obvious once it's explained but I don't get it and it's driving me crazy. Otherwise, great puzzle. Only thing that threw me was having ICECASTLES instead of ICEPALACES. That held me up for a long time.

  90. @Rob , Husband *as a verb* means to save or budget. It generally has a positive connotation, though, while STINTS generally has a negative one, so slight quibble there.

  91. @Rob HUSBAND can be a verb meaning to use judiciously or economically; the same as to STINT.

  92. @Rob The (rather old-fashioned) verb, "to husband" means to conserve, as I understand it. To stint on something means to inadequately supply. I thought it was a tenuous connection, too, but, hey, crossword puzzle.

  93. This may be a repeat, tittered Tom tirelessly. Husbanding resources is hoarding or protecting assets. A STINT is the allocation to another of an inadequate amount because you are husbanding resources.

  94. I think I would have used a much more current and newsworthy (and, now that I think about it, accurate) clue for DOTARD.

  95. Have tried three times (refreshing as I go) to submit my C-i-C, but get an error message. If this goes through, I'll try again as a reply to this.

  96. Still won't go. Nothing offensive. I've copied, and maybe I'll try again later.

  97. @Deadline Comment was long but not over the limit, but I'll try it in two pieces anyway. Park I: This was a challenge for me, partly because of a couple of major missteps and partly because the cleverness of the clues made me think my way through two or three areas of reference before hitting on the right one. That makes for a terrific puzzle by my standards. First misstep was RHINOS at 7D. Besides ?OL for Scott-Heron, I wasn't sure what I was supposed to do with my WHEELIE. I tired to RUN it, but that didn't work any more than my SANDSTONE did. I don't think I've ever seen a lipstick color called NUDE. Just foundation and stockings. And I tend to use neutral shades. FIEF before SERF. Inexcusable, I know.

  98. @Deadline Hah! Success! Here's Part (not Park) II: Thought of, but didn't enter, bugTRAP. Don't generally think of PONIED UP as having to do specifically with debts. Kept thinking of cats landing on their feet before I had enough letters in SLID INTO to think of baseball. Finally had the puzzle all filled in, but no Mr. Happy Pencil. Ms. Check finally told me where the problem was, but it still took me a while to figure out that the "emergency calls" were supposed to prevent BAD DATES rather than my BAD FATES. (Never heard of the hockey guy.) There were several other places that required more thought than a lot of puzzles, which made for a very satisfying solve. (All right, almost-solve, except for my BAD FATE.) Thanks Ryan and everyone. This is what a Saturday morning should be. (Now I get to reward myself and honor the arrival of winter [finally!] by making myself some cocoa.)

  99. "51A: I had this wrong three ways to Sunday. I’m sure that plenty of people went with Dalmatian Coast..." Hi Caitlin, I went straight to CROAT (since, as our resident native Dalmatian noted here a few weeks ago, my father's family is from the opposite coast).

  100. Dalmatian was my favourite clue!

  101. Not easy last night before bed (and I haven't TASTed WINE for three weeks but who's counting?) but got a good toehold with POPS WHEELIES this morning. Last to fall in was UMBRA. I liked the hockey man (gotta start remembering these names!) + ICE PALACE showing up today, when we are due for a snowfall/ice storm soon here (1-2 inches? It be like that now). I love seeing some chalk SIDEWALK ART a la the Madonnari Festival. People can do amazing things. All I can say about DOTARD is hahaha. But I am not really laughing.

  102. @Ann "I haven't TASTed WINE for three weeks but who's counting?" Apparently you are. As would I be if I had your discipline!

  103. Great looking grid with really clean fill. I collected hockey cards for a while back in the early 90s, and I've got a whole bunch of Eric Lindros rookie cards that I was planning on selling for thousands of dollars once he reached Wayne Gretzky greatness. Alas, it never happened, as he was a bit of an enforcer, and after one too many concussions had to leave the game.

  104. BADDATES reminds me of that Indiana Jones scene

  105. No time to read the comments this morning, but after much effort and one ashamed lookup I somehow got through this. (Shaham would have been a gimme, but Scott-Heron was a complete unknown). I couldn't understand the grid symmetry, so I will go back and look at it from a diagonal perspective. Clueing was brilliant. I think that Lewis could take his weekly top 5 all from this puzzle. The NW was a total mess. While I guessed I'VE MOVED ON with almost no crosses, it led me to ENVIERS for green people. I was looking for some sort of winter RACES before PALACES, and ELANDS instead of OKAPIS actually had me considering LOVE HOLES for naturally heated pools. Not my proudest moment.

  106. @Andrew Grid geometry: looks like 3 B2 stealth bombers leaving vapor trails after a coordinated sortie. . . ?

  107. Fearlessly tossed down Pooch instead of CROAT, then figured KPop for KCUP until I read the clue. Oops! And today I learned UMBRA, so the SW was roughest for me. Love AL JARREAU, so that was a gimme. SLID INTO: pitchers and catchers report to spring training in 24 days. We have the welcome mats out.

  108. Not easy for me, not at all. A right stout workout. Only two writeovers, but I had to think through every step. Smiled when I saw LAVALAKES sitting atop ICEPALACES.

  109. I enjoyed time travel of more than eight decades with this puzzle. My mom let me play with her lace DOILIES. My dad did not tolerate anything SLIPSHOD. I had emergency calls during my BADDATES years. A few years after the IDOS, our three kids loved to POPAWHEELIE . After 36 years of marriage IVMOVEDON. And now I am going to use KICKSTARTER to help sell my artwork. This puzzle in places was Hard, but mostly was both erudite and intuitive and really fun!

  110. Good achievable puzzle for a Saturday, a welcome relief from last week’s Fri-Sat killer combo. It was nice to see GIL catty cornered with GILA. Glad you didn’t think of the F alternative until later; it would have been much less satisfying to look at.

  111. Such a gorgeous grid to be so cruel! Not knowing LINDROS, slapping in NAtal-, not remembering JARREAU even with AL in place, sure it was arBor, well you get the picture. I liked seeing the OKAPIS cavorting with the GNU. Anyway, a pretty puzzle that pretty much ate my lunch.

  112. Another hand up for putting in COAST instead of CROAT for Dalmatian. But am I the only one who left it in? This gave me SIDEWALK SET instead of SIDEWALK ART for "pieces of chalk" -- well, why not? -- and IOLA instead of IRMA. It also gave me CANS instead of COBS for the cookout discards and all of this produced ULNEA for the shaded area. ULNEA was the first hint that Something Was Wrong, though I had no idea what. I had thought my downfall would be the ALJA?REAU/LIND?OS cross, but I guessed right. Some idle thoughts: Lipstick shade = NUDE? I say: Why bother? I thought that "I RULE" was pretty rude and crass and gloating...until I saw the hitherto unknown "Winner, winner, chicken dinner". Anyone who would say that is someone I really, really don't want to know.

  113. @Nancy Imagine spending quite a bit of time convinced that BREED was what Dalmatian called for. Doh!

  114. @Nancy "Lipstick shade = NUDE? I say: Why bother?" Moisterizer and adds a shine/sheen?

  115. a NUDE lipstick adds a bit of color but not too much. and for those who have an uneven lip tone, it evens it out; and for those who naturally have a deeper / darker lip tone, it lightens it and makes their lips not stand out as much.

  116. SNUB before SLAP and ORIBI before OKAPI slowed me down. Of course I raised one eyebrow for 14D...Basting is not SEWing; it's just a way of stabilizing layers or tricky bits before the real stitches are put in. It would not be out of the ordinary for a quilter to say, (for instance,) "I have it basted, but I'm waiting to SEW it until my thread order arrives." ICE sculptures or carvings, but PALACES? Canadian hockey great? Srsly? Roach traps with borax, I've heard of; for ANTs, not so much. For those I just use Terro from Lowe's. The NW was the hardest part. Am now busy being Stumped over at Newsday.

  117. I, um, slipped up with ICE CAPADES

  118. MOL, When I was helping the twentysomethings through the solve last night, when we came to the baste clue for SEW, I mentioned that the seamsters union was going to show up to picket the puzzle.

  119. @Mean Old Lady Terro is currently deployed under my kitchen sink to battle a massive invasion, which I don't need 'field glasses' to monitor. The latter being how my dad referred to binoculars. So my first shot at the leisure activity was BIRDWATCHING. Thankfully, it didnt fit. Back to the ants: bolstering the Terro is a great wall of diatomaceous earth. They hate the stuff*. The combo has so far contained the hordes. *They also hate ground coffee!

  120. Great puzzle, *especially* because it finally got finished. Could not for the life of me figure out why visors get "overlooked" but barely knowing the name Al Jarreau and not knowing Lindros at all, was badly stuck in the SE and part of the deep south. Having tossed glade I was not about to give up arbor gladly. Yet it had to be done. Finally vistas clicked, allowing the word art and Croat and umbra. Umbra! If this were in ink I would have had to penumbra. Loved the clue for bad dates when the meaning of "emergency calls" finally dawned. Every part of the puzzle was something of a struggle. All the more pleasure to finally finish it. Hope to learn more about the curious and innovative diagram, having only NE-SW symmetry. It suggests an arrow being shot with a bow — Cupid's arrow, perhaps?

  121. @polymath Second Law of Thermodynamics => Arrow of Time, maybe?

  122. But I don't think that's really a law of physics, just an artifact of the initial conditions.

  123. @polymath Entropy of a closed system (such as the universe) cannot decrease over time. Fairly well accepted law of physics I would say.

  124. Loved it! Great misdirects. My favorite ... green people. Enviers? Caddies? Nope. A definite “sleep on it” puzzle. Very satisfying solve.

  125. @Christine Yes! I had the N and was wondering if Naive possibly was part of the answer.

  126. @Christine Yes, green people was one of my favorite clues as well. Environmentalists? Martians? They were my thoughts before NOVICES. Envy and golf did not occur to me.

  127. @Sophia Leahy newbies fit, that's what I had.

  128. Has anybody read Mr. Penumbra's 24 hour bookshop? Glad I did because it was my lifeline when it was apparent that arbor was wrong.

  129. love that book!

  130. @Sophia Leahy Never heard of the book. The title caught my eye because I associate the word 'penumbra' with ischemic strokes. It's the area of tissue around the blood clot that can be salvaged with prompt treatment with tPA, a clot-busting drug.

  131. I’m pretty impressed with myself: one lookup, one lifeline from the husband (Canadian hockey player—clue, not husband), and (bam!) POP A WHEELIE on first read of clue (two brothers obsessed with Evel Knievel in the 70s pretty helpful there)! Fun puzzle! And now that I’ve been enlightened on 38A, I guess I can say that I “husbanded” my resources well...

  132. When a puzzle has a fair number of clues that can be interpreted in numerous ways it's a "winner, winner, chicken dinner" in my book. "Site of many pitches" was such a clue --- baseball, tar, roofs, tents --- they were all in the mix that I considered as well as the sales angle which led to KICKSTARTER. Thanks, Ryan, for helping to make Saturday morning satisfying.

  133. @Tony S Carnival midways, ships' decks.

  134. Flight deck, choir loft...

  135. @Tony S soccer fields

  136. I just got back from Iceland where I soaked in a relaxing place called GeoSea spa and the Blue Lagoon which are heated by Geothermal water and I learned about Geothermal springs. Geo, thermal, spas, and springs led me way off track. Sometimes a little knowledge can really wreck you. (I have a hilarious anecdote about a mistake I made in an archived puzzle which I will save for another time concerning knowing too much.) I had Croat immediately but somehow decided it was wrong. I finished the right half with no help. Upon arising it dawned on me that the emergency call was not a call out, but a call in! I did some fancy tablesettings at Xmas but I was stumped. I solved the second half with autocheck. I don't like to use it but when I'm stuck for a long time at least I can get rid of the wild goose chases. I am enjoying the blog and comments section. I'm improving every day.

  137. @Ethel Mae Potter I also got hung up for a while on the same hook you did. THERMALS was too short, GEOTHERMALS too long, and I kept trying to think of other words along those lines. And boy! do I envy you getting to visit Iceland, a place I've always wanted to see. (Couldn't live in Reykuavik, though, because of the interdiction on dogs.) The LACE DOILY entry reminded me of my Scottish grandmother, an inveterate crocheter. Her house and the houses of all her relatives and pretty much everyone she knew were filled with her handiwork. There were LACE DOILies on the backs of every chair and every sofa, atop every table, under every lamp or vase or piece of bric-a-brac. This is in addition to the lace trim on all sheets and pillowcases. Never as part of place settings though. Gramma didn't do fancy.

  138. @Deadline I have some hand made doilies from my grandmother and grandmother in-law, and you are right, they don't go on the table. The best things about Iceland are the wild horses, the adorable sheep, the fresh air, and the uncluttered picturesque landscape as far as the eye can see. As a photo lover I took some lovely ones.

  139. I, sadly, am among the ranks of those obstinate contrarians who have stubbornly resisted the siren calls of wonderful enterprises like Facebook, match.com and crowdfunding only to see such persistence bashed by the devious constructors of puzzles such as this!!! Saved only by awareness of icons like Al Jarreau (after being faked out for a moment by thinking it might be Taj Mahal!) A sneaky but worthy NYT Saturday challenge as always. Here's winking at you, kid!

  140. Thank goodness for Deb and “Wordplay”! My first pass through the clues garnered me only two fills, but Deb gave me the push I needed to get going. SIDEWALK ART made me giggle, and offset the eyebrow arch that IDOS spurred. A nice solve that didn’t (and didn’t have to) stand up and yell “Look at me! I’m clever!” I always appreciate the puzzles that don’t yell.

  141. I tripped myself up with hAJ/hINT and read the comments here to find my error. Thank you to the one commenter who mentioned TAJ! Looks like I was alone in making that mistake. Loved the look of the grid design and all the fresh answers!

  142. @Tom Kara Oh no, you weren't. Making that change just got me the happy music

  143. @Tom Kara And I'm another. Fortunately Reveal Puzzle didn't spoil my streak of zero, having had to do the same thing yesterday.

  144. @Tom Kara you were not alone!!! I am so darn excited that I *almost* finished a Saturday puzzle myself before checking wordplay. I did google a few names & looked at a dictionary....(I know Deb won’t give me any ‘shade’ about that) but usually on Saturdays I give up pretty quickly and start reading the column, clue by clue to see if it helps me fill in more. But this clever unique puzzle with its gorgeous diagonal symmetry kept me trying & learning so much, listening to music GIL & IRMA that I was not familiar with, and thrilled when I finally “got it” for the fun clues.... my fave was for WINETASTING. I had the entire southern half filled out w nothing much but incorrect guesses in the north... but finally worked it out. Fixed 2 errors & still no music! Gave up & read the column, thought maybe STINT was wrong.... gave up & finally checked the answers. TAJ! 🤦‍♀️ I really loved the twists and the freshness, what a sweet ride!

  145. 30 D: Had AL -- tried to get AL GREEN SR to work => Google time!!!

  146. I was able to solve with only a few lookups after a bit longer than average Saturday gameplay. A fun time. But I still don't understand "Husbands one's resources" and the corresponding STINTS.

  147. Nathan, Don't stint on scrolling down for the answer.

  148. @Nathan If you STINT on something, you use as little of it as possible--that is to say, you husband it...

  149. @Nathan Husbands is being used as a verb. It means being frugal with something as does stint.

  150. Only had half hour last night, but looked doomed. The only thing I was sure of was HALOGEN and maybe IDOS, DAD joke, GILA, WINETASTING. This morning wild guesses plus research filling in the three unknown names, GIL, ALJARREAU, and LINDROS, I was able to finish with something that looked reasonable, the unknowns (TEARITUP, KCUP, BLUESTONE which research told me was wrong) fairly well supported by crosses. But it didn't work, and I've spent enough time on this and had enough fun already, so here goes Reveal Puzzle! OK, it was one of several things I had doubts about: hAJ crossing hINT. I had considered TINT early on but TAJ (Mahal?) is beyond me.

  151. Last for me was SHIITES. I was looking for something around SHEIKS and nothing fit. Then voila! I like this puzzle. Enough clues so you had to think, but not have to go to Google to get some really obscure reference.

  152. in the mini puzzle, the clue bye bye in Barcelona leads to an answer in Spanish. Locals in Barcelona may prefer an answer in Catalan.

  153. On my first pass this morning I had only a handful of good guesses (OLDEN, DAD, EARFLAP, KNEES, ENLISTS), and worried it might take hours or necessitate using “Check word” and ending my streak. I freely admit to looking up “African unicorn”, and “Chlorine”, so the K in OKAPI, and the L in HALOGEN, helped me see that 13A might have something to do with lakes. That eventually gave me a solid foothold in the NW and after a few more lookups (didn’t know any of the proper names today) and just plugging away with crossings and guesses. It was so satisfying to finish this well constructed and challenging puzzle, so thanks Ryan McCarty! On the other hand I found Caitlin’s lava lake video absolutely terrifying! I really considered stopping it before the end, but since she had promised us that the scientist was NOT swallowed by lava, I made myself watch the whole thing. So I think I’ll remember LAVA LAKES, in case they ever pop up in another crossword.

  154. As a Philadelphia Flyers fan, I initially hesitated in filling in Eric LINDROS as a hockey great. Yes, he was very good, especially when paired up with Renberg and LeClair in the Legion of Doom line, but great? Could have been, but sadly, he had to leave the game early due to concussions. Oh, and BLUESTONES was a gimme for me, as I recently read a book about Stonehenge.

  155. @Grant When I had _LUESTONE I looked up "bluestone" and it didn't seem to have anything to do with slate, but you remind me there was mention of Stonehenge. I guess I'm not enough of a geologist; I don't connect Stonehenge with slate either.

  156. @Grant DC's Capitals have a hockey great, Alex Ovechkin. He's scored 8 goals in the last 3 games, with hat tricks in the last 2. He's now #10 on the all-time goals list, just passing Mario Lemieux. I'm waiting for "Ovie" to become crossword fill like "Orr" has been forever.

  157. There is a Dalmatian *COAST and cookouts produce unneeded *CANS. Took a lot effort to let go of the former. COBS was too good a fit though, and I finally solved this by rethinking the SW corner. Good workout.

  158. Last to fall for me as well. Really had a hard time accepting that “CoasT” was wrong!

  159. Cool beans. You shoot gim an arrow into the air, GIL fall to earth, GILA know not where. Neat little grid to dart around. Bet someone's pleased they worked in the BLUES TONE of GIL Scott-Herron *and* AL JARREAU. With TAJ Mahal, they can all LAVAcakewalk Into Town. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBGbrFlWwsE I would so have loved 13A to be LAVACAKES. Dropping one black box could have made 5D into SCAPULAR, and I'll bet there's a clue just waiting for I DOS U GIL. Somewhere... Curious about SLIPSHOD -- probably came from wearing inadequate footwear like SLIPpers, rather than from wrapping SLIPs on your feet They say an OKAPI is bad GNUs, because when they leap you never know where 'ELAND. Couldst tell mayhap where our recent Olivia Wilde beest? Also felt putting POP A WHEELIE right under NUDE was just a weebit breezy And some more KNEES, huh? Who knows? Maybe the revolution *will* be televised. The revolting certainly has been. NO VICES, Ryan McC, just a nice, rewarding time spent together, and I emerged with dentition apparently intact.

  160. I believe slipshod refers to doing a bad job shoeing(?) a horse.

  161. @Seigs Aaha!! A possibility that certainly has legs!

  162. I'm glad I'm not the only one to have stumbled on hAJ/hINT, my last correction to get the happy music. GIL Scott-Heron and AL JARREAU brought back memories (pleasant) of my first year or so in graduate school. POP A WHEELIE took me back to elementary school. Same here, Caitlin: CoasT to CResT to CROAT. Grinned when I grokked DOTARD. IRAN's the wrong country, though. 🙂 So what's the big deal about diagonal or rotational (or left/right, etc.) symmetry? 🥱

  163. I'd gotten DECAL, IDOS, SLAP and ICEPALACES, but other than that the northwest corner was going extremely poorly. Now, I try to be a purist when it comes to solving, but a family member who will remain anonymous accidentally said the word SLIPSHOD when I was in range. Very SLIPSHOD of them, IMHO, and it turns out that it's very hard to "unhear" a word, and with that one the rest of the corner gave up its secrets. I'm still a little curious about SLIDINTO -- can't you slide into something *head* first? Far be it from me to accuse Mr. McCarty, who has provided me with *many* hours of enjoyment (did I mention that the northwest corner was tough? ;-), of being feet-ist, but if the shoe fits ... oh, never mind :-)

  164. My first pass yielded IRMA and DAD. BADDATE led to so much more. My last fill was the A in the SW corner. Learning what UMBRA means was nice. It was an enjoyable puzzle solve. Thanks, Ryan McCarty.

  165. My opinion is that it's POP_A_WHEELIE that just lights up the whole puzzle. It's a word that has you take a running leap to throw yourself on a cushy sofa, right before LACE_DOILY makes you sit up straight, cross your ankles and fold your hands meekly in your lap. Anybody who uses LACE_DOILY so blatantly has to make penance by constructing a grid with ANTIMACASSAR within the year. Other forbidding parlor furniture like a HORSEHAIR SETTEE or a RUBBER PLANT brooding in the corner are entirely optional. It's a SHONDA rhymes with 'ANTIMACASSAR' are so rare.

  166. This is one of the few puzzles that I've been able to do without research, from my crossword start about a month ago. So I was very happy! I do use word check, though to help me out. I usually don't know m/any of the proper names, but thank you to Mom for always playing AL JARREAU in the car! Woot! Finally, I got one. And thank you Grandma for always having LACE DOILIES on the kitchen table.

  167. Only got STINTS through crosses. Still not certain it fit the clue, but the happy music played, so ... I see that Sunday is now posted. Maybe I’ll get started on that! :-)

  168. Found this a great puzzle, nicely balanced. Challenging but revealed itself steadily as I progressed around the grid. Thanks Ryan McCarty!

  169. Is it just me, or does the grid today seem like an allusion to 2D? Whenever it's not radially symmetric I try to see if it has some significance. Perhaps a stretch here. Anyway, lovely puzzle, took me several STINTs before it fell for me. Like another reader here, I had a Natick in ALJARREAU, but it was a double Natick: TA?/LIND?OS/AL?A?REAU. But then the Blues singer emerged from distant memory.