Jun 17, 2017

Saturday, Jun 17th, 2017, Erik Agard

Theme: None

Words: 70 (missing J,Q,X,Z)

Blocks: 26

Mr Agard has yet another Saturday grid for us, his last one on May 20th.  Not as quick as the last puzzle, it took nearly all of my personal allotted time - however, I did not have cheat (much).  Just a quick red-letter check about a proper name I didn't think was correct, and the rest of the proper names filled themselves in, although we are looking at some rather vague answers today - hey, it's Saturday.  One spanner, two 10s and no corner blocks this week, thus chunky 8x6 crossings.  Some of the longer fill;

35. Modern pizza option : GLUTEN-FREE CRUST - I thought it would be something about online ordering or cel phone apps

6. Break bread? : MAKE CHANGE - I had some crossings from the first pass, but still feel pretty good for getting this one right away

31. "That wasn't exactly honorable of me, was it" : "I FEEL DIRTY" - started out as "i feel SILLY, and GUILTY did not fit

   (see 24d.)


1. Where regular payments are made : GAS PUMPS - I make payments 3-4 times a week at this debit drain; I bought my new used Grand Caravan in October with 76K miles on it, and I'm already at 97K.  What do you call a guy who works at a gas station~?

9. Arena cannon fodder? : T-SHIRT - nailed it - the "ice girls" at hockey games and such will come out and launch one with something like the home team's logo on it

15. Agent : EMISSARY

16. Weighs in : OPINES

17. Soybean product also called yuba : TOFU SKIN - ugh.  To each his own

18. "__ Butterfly" : MADAMA - got me with the "A" and not the "E"

19. Stint for Björn Borg or Björk : SET - nice pairing - one for a tennis (set), one for a musical (set)

20. Get back : RECOVER - so when do I get back my 'life', WC~?

22. Messenger substance : RNA

23. Its services include water taxis : UBER - I tried BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) - figured some municipality had to offer them

25. Give up : CEDE

26. Skinny one : SCRAG

28. Shunned ones : PARIAHS

30. Private phone connection : TIE LINE - I had tiP line

32. In vitro cells : OVA

33. Govt. bureau dealing with explosives : ATF - Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms

34. Memo abbr. : ATTN

40. Collateral takeback, for short : REPOssession - Mississippi S's in there

41. You can still blow it up after you pop it : GUM - har-har

42. Loafer letters : EEE

43. Certain radio receiver : AM TUNER

45. Debate-ending procedure : CLOTURE - I wanted cloSure, but it was not working with my downs - yet it stems from the Frawnche for closure

49. Lasso feature : NOOSE

50. __ trip : ROAD

52. Pet reindeer in "Frozen" : SVEN

53. Chapel Hill inst. : UNC

54. It stops the bleeding : STYPTIC - uh, well Band-Aid did fit...I thought this was a medical device, not a medical 'agent'

57. Post-Civil War pres. : USG - Ulysses S. Grant - I pondered Andrew - - Johnson, couldn't recall his middle initial, turns out he doesn't have one (that I could find)

58. Chinese philosophy mainstay : LAO TSE

60. Mongo Santamaria jazz standard whose title is rhymed with "cocoa hue" in Oscar Brown Jr.'s lyrics : AFRO BLUE - long way to go for a very vague clue - I had aLTo blue

62. Introduces : ADDS IN

63. Reach the limit : HIT A WALL

64. Stank up a storm : REEKED

65. They do dos : STYLISTS


1. Rises : GETS UP

2. Protozoan genus : AMOEBA

3. Baker's tool : SIFTER

4. Nittany Lions' sch. : PSU

5. Foe in a four-plus-decade "war" : USSR - that would be the "cold" war

7. Consumer Reports data : PRICES

8. Church council : SYNOD

9. "As I see it ... " : TO ME... - to me, this is just a little bit of levity each week

and that's a Viper, not a 'Vette

10. Not at all all over : SPARSE - missed the second "all" in the clue for a while

11. Secreted : HID

12. First director to win back-to-back Oscars since Mankiewicz : INARRITU - not a clue, but the perps filled it all in - his Wiki - I liked the reference to 'the three amigos of cinema'

13. Left things : REMNANTS - or things left

14. One screening fliers : TSA AGENT

21. Chevy sportster : 'VETTE

24. Unrestrained : RIOTOUS - Went golfing for the first time in 11 years at a local par 3 nine hole course, and I'm glad I did not bother with a score card - my swing count was "unrestrained", but I did do really well on the 8th; a solid drive, a good chip, and nearly holed the putt.  Now the urge to play won't go away....

27. Some reds : CLARETS

29. "__ Maria" : AVE

33. Branch : ARM

35. Finely detailed : GRANULAR

36. Drink from a stand : LEMONADE - shout out~!

37. In line with safety regulations : UP TO CODE - great fill; a lot of what I have to do with my second job requires being up to code

38. Like a fox : FURRY

39. Boardroom cheese? : CEO - guess you'd say they were the BIG cheese

44. Mythical Highlander : NESSIE - and here I thought they finally caught the beast a few weeks ago....(15a.)

45. Conniption : CAT FIT

46. Palate protrusions : UVULAS - if you must see, there's an image here

47. Spring (from) : RESULT

48. Editor of two "Das Kapital" volumes : ENGELS - via perps

51. Warm-blooded fish : OPAHS - oops, not ORCAS - what 3/5ths correct, but only 20%~???

55. Take care of : TEND

56. Holiday stocking bummer : COAL - I received some coal as a gag gift last year

59. "You messed up" : TSK tsk, tsk

61. MD airport : BWI



fermatprime said...

Hi everyone!

Thanks to Erik and Splynter.

Haven't tried working one of these in a while. Was pleasantly surprised to finish with no cheats! Hooray!

Never heard of INARRITU. Also perped and WAGged were SVEN, AFRO BLUE and BWI.

For some reason, TIE LINE was quick. Had a final E instead of an A in MADAMA until I saw the light.

Hope to see you all tomorrow!

OwenKL said...


An old-fashioned tanner, or one of his kin,
Developed a leather of fried TOFU SKIN,
He found that when fusty
It made him quite lusty,
So he sewed up a shirt just TO FUSK IN!

Big Easy said...

At first I thought this would be a DNF Saturday but a WAG of LEMONADE and UP TO CODE opened it up and the 'G' gave me GLUTEN FREE 'DOUGH' before it was cooked and become CRUST. I felt LOUSY before DIRTY.

I had never heard of AFRO BLUE, TIE LINE, TOFU SKIN, or INARRITU but they fit, with the last one just looking wrong, but it wasn't.

Gimmes today- PSU, UNC, ATF, AVE, BWI, SET, T-SHIRT, MADAM--(A or E left blank). They made it easier than usual for a Saturday.

desper-otto said...

Good morning!

This one looked ominous, but the clouds parted and it didn't rain on my parade. My only write-over was ENGLES/ENGELS -- knew the name, but failed to spell it correctly. INARRITU was 100% perps; still looks weird. Nicely done, Erik. Thanks for the tour, Splynter.

Back in the day I'd take the water taxi (not an UBER) from Hong Kong to Kowloon or from Grade Island to Olongapo. Never rode one in this country.

A couple of weeks ago I asked the young clerk at Walgreens for a STYPTIC pencil. "What do you draw with one of those?" I was shocked at the price -- over $2 for a little piece of alum. They were just $0.15 in my ute when I clerked in a drug store.

BWI was a gimme. I've landed there a few times. Air fares to BWI were better than Reagan or Dulles. I could rent a car, drive into D.C., and still come out ahead.

desper-otto said...

That's s'posed to be Grande Island.

TTP said...

Gpood morning. Thank you Erik and thank you Splynter.

TADA at 2X + 7:51 of the time limit allowed for the Minnesota Crossword Tournament.

So many great clues today. Among them:
Not at all all over.
Where regular payments are made
Break bread - MAKE CHANGE
You can still blow it up after you pop it.
Stint for Bjorn or Bjork ? I was thinking CMS for compulsory military service.

Would have left TSeAGENT because I thought it was MADAME, but decided quickly to go with TSA.

Left clueless for INARRITU, but perps to the rescue.
Tried to fit in I FEEL guIlTY, and took a minute to suss DIRTY.
CAT FIT ? Not familiar with that phrase.
TIELINE ? Had my own tieline number for about twenty-five years.

TTP said...

Gpood ?

We would occasionally take the Wendella / Chicago Water Taxi from Ogilve Station (commuter rail) to Michigan Ave during the summer when we commuted to work. We still take visiting friends downtown on METRA, get on the water taxi, walk across the Michigan Ave Bridge, and then buy tickets for the riverboat architectural tour.

Jinx in Norfolk said...

Had to have a lot of help today. Looked up TOFUSKIN, SVEN, AFRO BLUE, INARRITU and ENGELS, but after the cheats I got it all right.

A TIE LINE is used to connect private telephone exchanges (PBX, PABX) in separate locations. A common arrangement is to press "9" for an outside line, "0" for the company operator, or an extension number for another employee. If the extension is in a different building, the call is connected over a tie line. This is especially important in places like California where all local calls are charged by the minute, even locals. Calls connected via tie lines don't incur these charges.

Ferma, I wanted MADAMe too. Steve, looks like Justin and Rory didn't make the cut at the US Open. My guy Phil couldn't play because his daughter was giving her valedictorian speech on the opening day. Proud of him.

The America's Cup finals begin today. It was named for the yacht "America". When America was clearly going to win the first Cup event in 1851, Queen Victoria asked "Well who is second?". Her aide replyed, "Your Majesty, there IS NO second". GO USA!!!

Thanks to Erik for a typical Saturday puzzle and to Splynter for another fine tour. you might like "The Downhill Lie: A Hacker's Return to a Ruinous Sport" by Carl Hiaasen.

Yellowrocks said...

Faster than the usual Friday, but I spent a little too long in the NW. Using paper and pen I had carelessly misspelled SYNOD and didn't notice. When nothing fit I typed the NW corner online at Master Level, spelled SYNOD correctly and finished quickly. One bad cell. INARRITU was all perps. I used DNA instead of RNA. 50/50 shot at it. I am surprised no one else missed this.
Afro Blue and yuba were new to me, but were not that hard to wag. Soy relates to tofu.
I liked OPINES crossing TO ME.
STYPTIC is a material. The device is the styptic pencil.
I was surprised there is a warmed blooded fish, OPAH. I looked it up. 'Tis true.
I know CAT FIT and conniption fit.
I like MADAMA Butterfly. It is a sad story.Great music.
TTP. I agree with your "great clues" choices. Great puzzle, Erik. Splynter, interesting expo.

Husker Gary said...

-I had just enough time to finish before we go over to clean up at my MIL’s house where 80MPH winds last night made a shambles of her backyard and many more here in our little town.
-The weather also caused this in Omaha
-My congrats to anyone who knew INARRITU
-One other comment – Self-serve GAS PUMPS are to full service gas stations as UBER is to taxi service.
-Gotta go load my chain saws, wheel barrow, etc.

MJ said...

Good day to all!

Lots of great cluing (as others have pointed out) made for a very enjoyable solving experience. Hand up for needing 100% perps for INARRITU. Fun puzzle, wonderful expo. Thanks for the tour, Splynter.

Enjoy the day!

Anonymous said...

Fun puzzle and wonderful write-up! As others said, some names required perps but otherwise good Saturday fare. Very humid in the Windy City today but still nice enough to get out and enjoy the day. Hope everyone has a wonderful Saturday! JB2

Tiger Fan said...

To HG: Geaux LSU!

Irish Miss said...

Hi Everyone:

Am I alone in thinking the Saturday puzzles are not as difficult as they used to be? (I so miss Barry Silk!) With one exception, I have completed the last six or so Saturdays in 19-22 minutes, compared to a minimum of 30 minutes in the Silkie days. I'm not complaining, just making a personal observation. But I so enjoyed those Silkie stumpers! Anyway, this started out a little crunchy but once I got a toehold here and there, it was smooth sailing. Big CSO to Lemonade and, IMO, to CED with the Furry Catfight! Inarritu was a complete unknown but perps took care of that slight hiccup. Love Madama Butterfly; that was my first exposure to a live opera performance.

Thanks, Erik, for a challenging solve and thanks, Splynter, for the guided tour.

On the subject of phone service, as of September, we have to start using 10 digits on all calls, local ones included. That's going to take some getting used to, methinks!

Have a great day.

Lucina said...

This was a nice challenge from ERik Agard. Thank you! Though I agree with IrishMiss that Saturday puzzles are not the stumpers they once were and I also miss Barry Silk.

My only look up was SVEN since I still haven't seen Frozen in its entirety but realized that I had heard of it before.

I also agree with your list of great clues. My personal favorite is MAKE CHANGE, break bread. I also thought CEO/EEE was cleverly positioned.

Once I had IN--- I knew it was INURRITU but didn't recall the exact spelling. Spanish directors are a rarity so I tend to recall them.

Learning moment: OPAHS are warm blooded. Who knew?

Thank you, Splynter, for your fine dedicated Saturday guidance.

Have a spectacular Saturday, everyone! And happy Fathers Day tomorrow!

desper-otto said...

IM, I agree that the Saturday puzzles do seem easier. My solving times are about the same as you cited. Too bad that Barry Silk's thrown in the towel.

Can't remember exactly when we went to 10-digit dialing here in SE Texas, but it's been at least 10 years, maybe 15. You do get used to it. In my ute we got by just fine with 4 digits.

TX Ms said...

Good crunchy puzzle to start the day. Loved the quirky cluing. Wrong - tsEagent. I guess my brain wandered to the oft-clued tsetse fly, and I've only seen MadamE Butterfly in print.

I'm not making this up - when I googled uvula to check my spelling, there was a link to uvula piercing with photos no less. Unbelievable!

Splynter - always love your recaps, but today you outdid yourself with the pizza-bargaining pooch. Brought a smile when remembering my pups. Dogs' faces are so expressive.

Have a great weekend, and a Happy Father's Day to our well-deserving dads.

WikWak said...

@Irish Miss: We (Chicago metro 6-county region) have been required to dial 11 digits (we have to add the "1" at the beginning) for a number of years now. I think the start of this coincided with the introduction of "overlay" codes (2 or more codes for the same area). Interestingly enough, we don't have to start with the 1 when using a cell phone, but we do still have to use the area code.

I didn't find this as easy as some of you did; I still got it done in my usual Saturday time (a bit less than 25 minutes). Lots of PERPing!

Tofu skin? Really? Gak.

Misty said...

Well, unlike most of you, I still found this a Saturday toughie, although mercifully I did get about a quarter of it, the top west area, before I had to start cheating. I ended up looking up only three items, and in the end still goofed on a few small things, including VETTE, which I should have figured out. Never heard of INARRUTU, of course, but I did get ENGELS and LAO TSE. Still, Saturday morning fun in spite of the difficulties--so, many thanks, Erik. And you too, Splynter, for the always helpful write-up.

Is anyone else burdened with having to fill out a U.S. Census Bureau form this year? I already spent a couple hours this morning filling things out--partly because I don't remember exact dates and have to find old documents to check things out. It's taking for ever, and I need to start planning and packing for my Toronto trip next week (like remembering to take a Passport).

Have a great Father's Day Eve, everybody!

CanadianEh! said...

Great Saturday CW with just a little bit of crunch. Thanks for the fun Erik and Splynter.

Like others I smiled at the clues for GUM and MAKE CHANGE, and I had Silly before DIRTY.
I wanted my fox to be sly or wily or lupine, and FURRY was a meh!

We have had to dial 10 digits for years Irish Miss. Then we had to change our area code and give only Toronto the 416 code because they were running out of numbers.

Shall we keep this warm weather for you Misty?

Wishing you all a great day. Off to a garden party.

Misty said...

Oh, warm weather in Toronto next week would be lovely, CanadianEh!

Jayce said...

Pleasureable puzzles yesterday and today. I agree with CanadianEh in wanting the fox to be SMART (or CUNNING or CLEVER or WILY). Break bread is an excellent clue.
My first exposure to opera was Carmen, which TO ME is the perfect one for introducing someone to that art form.
My wife, who is from Hong Kong, rode the ferry almost every day between Hong Kong and Kowloon.
If you think tofu skin is ack! then you would be totally revolted by Taiwanese "stinky tofu." I tried it once, on a dare, and will never eat it again.
It's getting hot here, but it's nothing compared to 120 degrees in Phoenix.
Cool wishes to you all.

Jinx in Norfolk said...


I only give the census folks the information they need to do the important job for which they were created - allocation of House districts. They need to know the number of adults in the household, but not the number of bathrooms, bedrooms, etc I have. I don't lie, but I also never give them information the feds already have, particularly the IRS. They send me follow-up letters and used to call me occasionally and have even sent out a human to get the extra data. I tell them that I'll cooperate when a judge tells me that I have to. I may get in big trouble one day because of this, but for now I'll take my chances.

I'm curious - what data do they think they need 3/4 of the way through the census cycle?

PK said...

Hi Y'all! Wave after wave of noisy storms last night kept me from doing the puzzle at midnight as I usually do. I unplug the computer set-up for fear of a lightning strike. (Our CB equipment got fried several times back in that era.) No sleep here until after 3 a.m. as Husker's storm marched down unspent there. Only a few small limbs down in my yard.

Erik, this was a real challenge but fun when it came together. Thanks again, Splynter.

I knew the Nittany Lions only because my brother taught at PSU Med School back in the 1980's. Didn't know the Baltimore airport or what's-his-name the director.

For some time, I have realized that Agnes is much more crossword-minded than I. This puzzle took me 38 minutes with red-letters on and blazing all the way. And in the immortal words of Roger Ebert, "I HATED, HATED, HATED" Silky puzzles. Too east coast for my experience. Why I even tried them, I don't know. Glutton for punishment, I guess.

The only time I ever saw a water taxi was in Victoria, BC, Canada. We were on a bus tour and some woman discovered she had left her credit card at the big market place we had visited. They took her back across the water by taxi. She was from the dry parts of Texas and came back traumatized from the experience.

As a senior in high school, I worked nights as one of the last two telephone operators in our little town before it went dial. The other lady worked days. We shut down the switchboard at 11 p.m. Emergency calls after that were routed through the exchange owner's house. Had an antique switchboard and the only numbers over four digits were eight-party farm area lines. Few enough calls that I could do my school homework. The phones were wooden hand-cranked antiques. I tried to explain that set-up to my grandson, who was clutching his cellphone, and his eyes accused me of making that up.

Misty said...

Oh dear, Jinx, that certainly sounds depressing. Hope I don't have any hassles like that coming up.

CrossEyedDave said...

I was going to just Lurk today, but Jayce got me intrigued.

I also found this to be easier (for a Saturday) than most.
I just attributed it to being on the same wavelength as the
constructor, but when you know more than 50% of a puzzle before the get go
it does make you committed to finish. The remaining 50% however
was definitely Saturday level...

Anywho, I digress...

Jayce mentioned "stinky tofu," which I thought needed to be aired out...

It turns out that this concoction is the one food that Andrew Zimmerman
(Bizarre foods)could not eat!

The whole video is 10 minutes. At 3 minutes he enjoys the "street version."
At 6 minutes, he does not enjoy the legendary Mz Wu's version...

Erik Agard said...

thanks to splynter for the write-up and to all y'all for the wonderful comments! loved learning the term "perps."

& PK, my mom was just (like, a couple hours ago!) telling me about the fun she had working as a switchboard operator at a summer camp

Wilbur Charles said...

&PK, Did you mean GLUTEN for punishment?

Just when I think I might be getting good at xwords, I find that they're easy. I still don't get MADAM A Butterfly? But it's definitely TSA.

I should have triple checked but when reading Splynter, I saw that car and realized that Chevy never made a VELTE. I just simply didn't know TIE LINE.

Jack SPRAT was the lean one, no? And the T gave me a TENT to keep out the nasty "Fliers". My net time might have been 35 minutes but I never get CLO(T)URE. I run around Tampa Bay in my van

BTW. The security keeps me from posting from my random WiFi spots like McDonald's. And I must have their ice(d) tea.
Thanks Eric. Owen, I finally got your last words. That gave it an A if the censors approve.

Splynter, I love your write-ups. Recover? "Life"? Golf? What took you so long. In year three I went golf wild. If I had to have a replacement addiction that was a good one.

My email address is in my profile

Let's see how tomorrow goes xword wise.

WC in the gloaming

PS. I'm watching my taped US Open. Poor Jordan Speith

Picard said...

BWI was called Baltimore Friendship Airport when I was growing up in MD. They renamed it Baltimore-Washington to lure DC people to use it.

Did anyone else think SCANNER before AM TUNER for certain radio receiver?

As usual the sports references were unknowns to me and took ESP. Never heard of Nittany Lions nor PSU. Google Shows PSU as a school in Portland, OR.

Hand up for TIP LINE which makes more sense given the clue. Never heard of TIE LINE. GOES UP before GETS UP. Anyone else?

Some clever misdirection. GAS PUMPS was my favorite. I don't visit them often. My first transportation choice is bicycle. Second is bus. But we do need to drive a couple of times a week and then there are the fun and exciting road trips a few times a year!

Other unknowns: INARRITU (seems we should know him with those Oscars), SCRAG, AFRO BLUE, SVEN.

Liz Madden said...

I bought my grand caravan in 2002 with 13k on it. Now it has 207k and still going strong!