May 16, 2020

Saturday, May, 16, 2020, Erik Agard & Leslie Rogers

Themeless Saturday by Erik Agard and Leslie Rogers

Here's what Erik and Leslie told me about this great puzzle:

LESLIE: Erik sent me the grid skeleton and asked for some 8-11 letter seed ideas.  I sent him a list including PROMPOSAL and I DONT FOLLOW, which he used to seed the SW.  I then wrote the NE, he wrote the NW, and then I finished with the SE.  This was my first time collaborating on a themeless and I learned a lot from Erik, both in terms of technical tips for filling tricky areas and general philosophies about what makes good fill.
I’ve been relying on the PELOTON app for no-equipment workouts a lot while sheltering in place.  Sorry to all the seniors who are missing out on the PROMPOSAL experience this year - that entry is more bittersweet now than when we originally wrote this grid.  This is being published on my mom's birthday, so happy birthday, Mom! Thanks to the LA Times for publishing this and I hope everyone found something to enjoy in the puzzle!

ERIK: I also found this collaboration very edifying in terms of fill standards and cluing approaches - Leslie has a brilliant crossword mind and I'm grateful for the opportunity to work with her. Hope you liked the puzzle!

Let's review this fine collaboration on Leslie's mother's birthday:


1. Silver, in heraldry: ARGENT - This is definitely out of my area of expertise but ARGENT is shown as silver or white

7. Works with small bricks: LEGO ART - I'd love to do this LEGO ART

14. Legal opposite of negligence: DUE CARE - This is what we are all supposed to be exercising these days

16. Leaving exposed nails: OPEN TOE - Clever 

17. Material: ON TOPIC.

18. Houston, for one: OIL TOWN - I went from SEA PORT to OIL PORT to OIL TOWN

19. Microscopic messenger: RNA.

20. Enjoys a lakeside diversion: SKIPS STONES.

22. Makes a plea: BEGS.

24. One with a Florida nest egg: EGRET - Not a retiree it turns out 

25. Reduce: PARE.

26. Word before steak or after chicken: STRIP.

28. Single: ONE.

29. '60s hallucinogen: LSD.

30. Soprano's note: HIGH B 
32. Gran's daughter, humorously: MUMSY - I never called Grandma Gran nor Mom MUMSY!

35. 1521 Magellan landing site: PHILIPPINES - One of Magellan's five ships with eighteen survivors made the first circumnavigation of the Earth but Magellan died from a poison arrow in the PHILIPPINES. 

38. Like some sports highlights: SLO-MO - A SLO-MO simulation. Ya gotta love it!

39. Checked out ahead of time: CASED.

41. "All the Stars" one-named singer with Kendrick Lamar: SZA - Pronounced "sizz UH". Her story

44. Is in the past?: WAS.

45. Crisp fruit, maybe: PEARS - This lovely PEAR Crisp with ice cream looks delicious 

47. Like crossword clues about crossword clues, say: META 
noun: meta; plural noun: metas

adjective: meta
  1. (of a creative work) referring to itself or to the conventions of its genre; self-referential.

49. Audibly stunned: AGASP.

52. Proof word: STET.

53. "You lost me": I DON'T FOLLOW 

56. Astronaut Jemison: MAE - Here's MAE being weightless on the International Space Station

57. Sign of Broadway success: LONG RUN  - The five Broadway plays with the LONGest RUNs

58. Crane producer?: ORIGAMI How is that done?

60. Wrap: ENCLOSE.

61. Equipment company named for a cycling group: PELOTON - The people in their ads seem to be in great shape already!

62. __ syndrome: allergic reaction to insect bites: SKEETER - A less technical phrase for "papular urticaria". Google if you must...

63. Craps naturals: SEVENS - A SEVEN (or eleven) on your first roll of the dice is called a natural and makes you a winner!


1. Totes presh: ADORBS - Something that is "Totes (Totally) Presh (Precious)" can also be called ADORBS (Adorable) in the Valley Girl lexicon.

2. Biblical flows?: RUNNETH - My cup RUNNETH over is most familiarly from the 23rd Psalm. Ed Ames sang this lovely song adapted from that line in the Broadway play The Fantasticks

3. Keep it together, so to speak: GET A GRIP.

4. Lead-in to "lodge" or "logy": ECO.

5. Short rests: NAPS.

6. Minor cycle: TRIKE - Here's a senior TRIKE 

7. Stretch, say: LOOSEN UP.

8. Relating to knowledge: EPISTEMIC - Of or relating to knowledge or knowing. I'd be more likely to use it than MUMSY 

9. Hannukah reward: GELT - Hebrew for money. Cash has been replaced in some celebrations with chocolate "coins"

10. Leading: ON TOP and 12. Subjects of "The Boys in the Boat": ROWERS. This picture shows that ROWERS from Washington University came out ON TOP by pulling an incredible upset in this 8-oar race from the 1936 Olympics.

11. Not exactly hummable: ATONAL.

13. Got edgy: TENSED.

15. Vaper's need, informally: E-CIG 

21. School dance invite portmanteau: PROMPOSAL - It appears Brooke said YES!

23. Venetian bridge composition?: SIGHS -This bridge was used to lead prisoners from the examining rooms to their cells in the Prigioni. Legend has it that prisoners who crossed the bridge on the way from the interrogation rooms in the Doge's Palace to their prison cells or the execution chamber would SIGH as they caught their last glimpses of Venice through the tiny windows.

27. TV Dr.: PHIL.

31. Fly off the handle: BLOW A FUSE 33. Fly off the handle: SNAP - After crossing the Bridge Of Sighs?

34. Committed replies: YESES.

36. Toast words?: I'M A GONER - "You're toast, Man!"

37. Flying companion, say: SEAT MATE.

40. Two-word phrase that's synonymous with its second word backwards: DREAM ON - I told Erik and Leslie that this was my favorite clue

41. Close parentheses, at times: SMILES - The close (as opposed to open) parentheses are are at the end of emoticon SMILES :-). 

42. Striped equine hybrid: ZEDONK - ZEDONK and mother. I have it on good information that the father was an ass.

43. Instantly: AT ONCE.

46. Draft holders: STEINS - I wish I had bought this when I was at KSC

48. Theta, in geometry: ANGLE - Sin 𝛳= Opposite/Hypotenuse 

50. Unappealing food: SLOP.

51. Skin features: PORES.

54. More than walk: TROT.

55. "Looney Tunes" first name: WILE - WILE Coyote really  wanted that roadrunner! Meep, meep!

59. URL ending: GOV.

Comment at will or Erik and Leslie 


desper-otto said...

Good morning!

Nope. Wasn't in the cards. Immediately inked in ARGENT and LEGO ART, but things went downhill from there. I missed the M in EPISTEMIC, the S in SZA and the T in SKEETER. If I'd thought about it, I should'a got that last one. Nice exercise. I won't need the PELOTON today. Thanx, Erik, Leslie, and Husker.

OIL TOWN: Lived there from '79-'07. We spelled it AWL.

PHILIPPINES: On that round-the-world voyage, Magellan also stopped at Guam. There's a small monument to that fact in Merizo on the southern tip of the island.

RUNNETH: I was looking for a particular river. After being punished at age 8, I went and sat in the living room with Grandpa's old cane and my dad's fishing pole. When Mom asked what was going on, "My rod and my staff, they comfort me." She desperately tried to keep a straight face.

Hungry Mother said...

FIR with two write-overs: PHILIPPINES 4 PHILliPINES, HIGHB 4 HIGHc. All of my kids have PELOTONs. We all have viewed the Tour de France PELOTON do its multiple loops by our hotel near the Louvre a couple of times. Quite a thrill. I also have ridden a bike on top of, but not up, Alpe d’Huez. ORIGAMI always makes me think of Blade Runner.

Hungry Mother said...

While in Seville in 2003 I found the small plaque commemorating the launch of Magellan’s journey, completed by Elcano.

TTP said...

Eye-catching grid. And the puzzle was TOTES ADORBS !

Way to go Erik and Leslie ! I always enjoy a puzzle that makes me dig deep for the answers, and don't mind the curve balls along the way. 35:45 to get it done with no help. Far from my best, but good for a tougher Saturday. I'll share some of the thoughts that crept in while solving.

Silver in heraldry - Thought either argent or regent. Couldn't 'member. ARGENT. I know them for the song "Hold Your Head Up"
Works with small bricks - Saw works as a verb rather than a noun, and mistakenly read it as a down clue.
Leaving exposed nails - some kind of cabinetmaker design ?
Material - A fabric ?
Houston, for one - Big city.
Enjoys a lakeside diversion ? - Lakeside was key. First thoughts were activities on or in the lake, like skiing or swimming.
Word before or after chicken - Fried ?
'60's hallucinogen - LSD. Legend of a Mind (Timothy Leary's Dead) - The Moody Blues.
Gran's daughter ? - Must be a toon. Wait for perps.
Checked out ahead of time ? - Hotel room
"All the stars ?" - No idea. Wait for peps. Just a sec. Kendrick Lamar ? Isn't he married to one of the Kardashians ? Not sure. Wait for perps.
Crisp fruit ? Easy. Apple.
Proof word - Erat, then STET. An obelism.
Jamison - MAE. Chicagoan
Sign of broadway success - LONG RUN. The Eagles.
Totes presh - I knew precious, but you won't win any points in this august crowd with youthful slang. See TOTES ADORBS history of comments in the blog archives. Most of this crowd is too hep daddy-o, to use that.
Biblical flows - great clue.
Keep it together - GET A GRIP - loved it. "Get hold of yourself man !"
Shorts rests - Naps. I could use more.
Minor cycle - I've been doing too much laundry.
Relating to knowledge - I have no knowledge about this answer
School dance portmanteau - PROMPOSAL is new to me.
Venetian bridge composition - SIGHS. Robin Trower's Bridge of Sighs.
TV Dr. - So many to choose from. Skip for now
Fly off the handle - Nailed both of them
Toast words - Great clue !
Two word phrase that's synonymous... - Wordy, but great clue.
Closed parenthesis - :>)
Draft holders - Baseball, basketball, football... Oh, German mugs. D'OH !
Unappealing food - SLOP. Throwing on a few sprigs of some greenery doesn't help.

Great review, Husker Gary ! That little boy was sure taking his time getting to the plate. And I laughed out loud at your, "I have it on good information that the father was an ass" comment for ZEDONK.

FLN - Abejo, we got 5" of rain. After you mentioned water in your basement, I went down and looked around the bases of the outer walls. Yep, a couple of damp spots that I now have fans on, but nothing too serious. Hope yours wasn't too bad either.

Wilbur Charles said...

Solved this last night and took another look at NE. Aha, that's TOE and ROWERS. I should have rechecked the SE. I can never remember how to spell STieN. Nor ORIGAMe and MAE is a lot more common than MAi.

Two bad boxes. Aaarrgggh! Yes, Mr S. suggested SeWERS, UGH!

Jesuit matriculators of the 60s may have had Epistimology. Kant, Hume among others .

Phil spells his name with two L's but I'MA straightened that out.


Ps, that was enlightening about Eric and Leslie. I warned J'ers that Eric is come.*

From LOTR where Legolas cries "A Balrog 'is come!'"(Aiee)

inanehiker said...

I knew this would be a challenge when Erik's name came up and the puzzle didn't disappoint!
Once I had a few footholds, ARGENT wasn't too much of a stretch since the chemical symbol for Silver is Ag for ARGENTum - the Latin word for silver.

But knowing we had young constructors and the first clue was "Totes Presh", I knew we would have more modern slang populating the grid like ADORBS and PROMPOSAL.

Like TTP I had FRIED before STRIP. Then I had POP DIVA before OIL TOWN for Houston. For the singer I had SIA before SZA. I thought the clues for DREAM ON and EGRET were very clever.

I have never heard the term SKEETER syndrome - but I have seen plenty of reactions to mosquitoes, bees, hornets, wasps, and ticks!

Thanks for an entertaining morning HG and Erik & Leslie!

PK said...

Hi Y'all! Thank you for the enlightenment, Gary! You never fail us.

I couldn't GET A GRIP on this puzzle. I DON"T FOLLOW Erik Agards train of thought -- ever! I TENSED when I saw his name. And Leslie helped to make this a chore. ADORBS wasn't. Didn't know ARGENT. Off to a bad start. To think I could FIR is to "DREAM ON." Red-lettered my way to a fill, but felt bad.

At Xmas time, I wrote a letter to Santa: Have a heart. Do not bring me a PELOTON. I don't need further instruments of torture.

EPISTEMIC? New one on me.

NAPS: good old cure for a lot of things, even CW defeats.

inanehiker said...

Oh I forgot to mention I loved the book "The Boys in the Boat" by Daniel James Brown. The team was so inspiring - most of the crew were from humble backgrounds in the Pacific NW and first had to overcome the East coast snobbery in that sport in our country. Then in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, they had to overcome a rigged race that Hitler had set up for his German team to win. George Clooney is set to direct the movie - hope it's well done! Of course one of my life mottos is : "The book is always better" !!

Spitzboov said...

Good morning everyone.

FLN - Belated Happy Birthday to Ray Sunshine.
ENCHANT - The voice tactical call sign of our ship. (Funny, the things you remember after 60 years.)


Started out todays solve with a very daunting challenge. Did get ARGENT @1a AT ONCE, though. The solve became more steadfast after trying PHILIPPINES at the middle. Then got the SE with DREAM ON, SEAT MATE, ORIGAMI, and STEINS. Wonderful cluing. The SW came last. Had 'I can't' before I DON'T ……FOLLOW. Guessed at ZEDONK and, voilà, it was done.
GELT - Dutch & German geld & Yiddish gelt; all akin to Old English geld . Occasionally, when I would ask one of my parents for something 'special', I might be greeted with "Ik hebt geen Geld." (I have no money.)

OMaxiN said...

Looks like I need to "get out" more. SIGHS really? MUMSY meh. ADORBS nope ZEDONK nope. HIGHc was B. and so on.

Another META? red letter Saturday, but I'll keep on trying

Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

Totes Presh and Adorbs set the tone for me right off the bat and it only went downhill from there. High B and Mumsy were the last straw of any tolerance I had left. Throw in Skeeter Syndrome, Epistemic, Promposal, and Zedonk and I was ready to throw in the towel. However, sheer stubbornness kept me going and I did finish w/o help in 47:52, much longer than it took TTP. I thought some of the cluing was too cute by half and while I enjoy misdirection in clues, some were way off base, IMO. CSO to DO and Anon T at Houston. (I’m sure my experience with the puzzle reflects a generational divide. Oh how I miss Barry Silk!

Thanks, Eric and Leslie, and thanks, HG, for your expert guidance and summation.


oc4beach, our “storm” didn’t arrive until 6:00 pm and ended up being a tempest in a teapot. The wind kicked up and the rain poured down and it lasted about 20 minutes or so. We were spared, thank goodness, but other local areas were hit hard. There was a tornado watch for some nearby counties which was lifted, but I’m not sure how much damage actually occurred. I hope you were as lucky as we were.

Stay safe, all.

Wilbur Charles said...

The US had a monopoly on Olympic 8's from 1920 thru 1964. One hiccup (I LIU) Rome in 1960. And, the US teams were College ROWERS. Fe, Harvard won one of them, perhaps 1964.

The Boston Globe covered water sports extensively in my youth. I believe they had a reporter covering rowing, sailing(America's Cup was big) exclusively. Said reporter as I recall with time on his hands invented a column on Sports coverage (eg META Reporting)


billocohoes said...

Thought S_A/_EDONK was a Natick.

The full name of one of TV Guide's nastiest villains is WILE E. Coyote (E for Ethelbert.)

Spent a long time thinking carpentry for exposed nails.

Imagine Magellan's surprise when he found a strait named for him.

Anonymous said...

FIR but still haven't decided if it was worth the effort. The SW was the biggest hangup but the NW wasn't much different - totes presh/argent. The clue for "sighs" was certainly a stretch imo, as were others.

Nice day here before the rains return. Stay safe all.


Ray - O - Sunshine said...

Thought I was off to the races with ARGENT (romance lang. root for silver) crossed with the nonsense word ADORBS) but the the horse came in last and the rest of the puzzle was a disaster. Considered a "stone" theme with SKIPSSTONES, Venetian bridge composition. (Tried "stone" there for a while too.) SIGHS is the sound from not the composition of the bridge.

Knew a Lego answer to cross with GELT for "little bricks" was needed but just couldn't parse one. If anyone has ever done a Lego construction. (I help my 10 y o grandson) it's a kit with a myriad of pieces large and tiny that must be put together in order to be completed properly). almost like a crossword.

Thought exposed nails might be "roughed in". It's a lazy soprano who only aims for high B (considered a Soprano family note on a brick). SZA?. Who says MUMSY? Actually knew the Philippines from HS World History. SLO-MO arguably is singular for a plural clue (had "plays"). META, still dont get it.

EPISTEMIC? Wha? that caused by COVID 19 too??

The "portmanteau" I tried was PROMISSES. (Prom misses). Is it a "looney tunes" Bugs or Pepe? Dr. PHIL (abbrev in the clue but not the answer) gives out advice with no license to practice. Nice.

Refused to put SKEETER syndrome. I didn't "google" but sure the constructor had to.

Had some ideas for Craps Naturals that the CW police would have banned, figured an unknown casino term.

A longer list of unanswered clues would be boring to you brainiac Cornerites

Ended with a completed NW and pretty much WHITE square polka dots throughout the rest of the puzzle

Appreciated everyone's Bday greetings.

C U Monday

Lucina said...


Not much time to read comments until later. I'm going OUT for a haircut!!!! Yea! Yea, for the going out and double yea for the much needed haircut.

This was ultimately a doable challenge from Erik and Leslie, thank you both. I'll read your remarks later.

ARGENT slithered out of my brain cells and I was on my way albeit very, very slowly.

I remembered ADORBS from a previous puzzle by Erik. Ah, these youngsters! What will they think of next? Then I was ON TOPIC most of the way.

CSO to Anon-T at HOUSTON. And CSO to my grandson who loves LEGOART.

I had very few changes in this grid, HIGH B from HIGH C and I usually transpose the double Ps and Ls in PHILIPPINES. Also, ONTOP replaced AHEAD. I must GETAGRIP!

Where I ultimately failed was at ZEDONK/SZA. Neither of which I've ever heard.

My time RUNNETH over and I must away!

Have a great, wonderful Saturday, everyone!

Shankers said...

How can two young constructors make life so difficult for a bunch of old folks who know it all? Too many clues ending with a question mark or the word "say" I thought. Nonetheless, after 50 minutes of brain-numbing effort it was officially a FIW due to coming up blank on 41 and 42D. Yesterday one of our regulars described his family as "devout atheists". Hmmm. Would that not be an oxymoron? My trusty crossword dictionary tells me that synonyms for devout are "holy, godly, pious" and synonyms for pious are "sacred, saintly and religious". How can someone be a "religious atheist"? Just saying.

desper-otto said...

Shankers, "devout" can mean "devoted." It doesn't have to have a religious context.

Bill G said...

Hi everybody. I usually struggle with Saturday themeless puzzles but I had no success at all with this one, even with red-letter help. I'm impressed with those of you who finished successfully.

Thanks Eric and Leslie, and thanks Gary. Very enjoyable recap as usual.

I continue to be bummed by this damn virus. And the anticipation of the Thunderbirds flyover ended up a disappointment. Rats!

~ Mind how you go...

Picard said...

So many clever clues and misdirections! A challenge, indeed, but it eventually pieced together with crosses I could WAG. Hand up I was able to WAG ARGENT because that is the name for silver in the Periodic Table.

TTP I also immediately thought of this ARGENT song "Hold Your Head Up"

Clever clues for DREAM ON, ON TOPIC, SMILES. Learning moments about MAE, SIGHS, SZA, SKEETER Syndrome.

So many photo opportunities today. I have been seeing lots of EGRETs in the state reserve by our apartment lately. Since I haven't been able to ride my bicycle since the surgery I am getting a more detailed view of the neighborhood and its avian inhabitants. And of course I have thousands of photos in the PHILIPPINES. Instead I will share...

My photos of the PELOTON at the finish line here in Santa Barbara of the Amgen Bicycle Race.

Even though I use a bicycle as my primary transportation, I knew nothing about bicycle racing. I stood at the finish line expecting to see a trickle of cyclists come in over a period of minutes. Was I ever wrong. Everyone is packed together in that PELOTON and it is all over in a flash!

I also can't resist this link to our own META Laboratory at the University of California.

Our Principle Investigator Jonathan Schooler (my sponsor) loves these creative acronyms!

Picard said...

From Yesterday:
Lucina thank you for taking the time to look at my MARIN hike photos. Even though I used to live in the Bay Area and have hiked in that area before, I never would have found those hidden treasures without my friend Virginia. As for the mysteries on the trees, indeed, several kinds of mushrooms!

desper-otto sorry if I was not clear. I had already looked with Google and YouTube for hits of MAHALIA. But I did not recognize anything. I was hoping someone here at Crossword Corner could point out one or more of her hits that might be widely familiar?

This was a perfect example where many of us had never heard of her and others were huge fans. Diversity at its best.

CrossEyedDave said...

I no longer get the dead tree delivered,
saves about $700- a year.
But todays difficult puzzle was made impossible
by the LATimes site frozen keyboard...
(Yes, I got stopped at 1A...)

I suppose I could have reloaded the site,
but I refuse to watch that same stupid Ad again!
(besides, DW is after me to do Housework...)

I read Dream On Synonym three times, & did not understand.
I was typing here for some one to elaborate when the V8 can
hit me. Apparently, I had to type it out to see it...

Believe it or not,
I have never seen The Fantastiks.
Love the music, but never knew where it came from.
I am thinking of watching it, (if I can get away from DW's housework)
but there seem to be many versions.

do you think this would be a good version to watch?

Yellowrocks said...

When I immediately got 1-A Argent and 1-D ADORBS, I was hopeful. DREAM ON, Yellowrocks. It was not to be. I did fairly well in the NW and SE, but there was so much white remaining. I sometimes spend a long time on a Saturday puzzle when I feel I have a chance, but when I spend 20 minutes with no further answers, it is no longer fun and I drop out. (I lasted maybe 35 minutes today, no P&P.) In spite of the many answers I did not have, I did have answers to what some complained about. Each has their own wheelhouse.

There is a real Bridge of Sighs in Venice, the one in Gary's picture. "The bridge's English name was bequeathed by Lord Byron in the 19th century as a translation from the Italian "Ponte dei sospiri." The reason Gary gave was valid. I see no stretch.
Prime Reading from Amazon features many books by British authors. From reading them Mum and Mumsy seem British to me. Also, Gran.
I knew craps natural was seven or eleven, again from novels.
I loved crane producer, ORIGAMI.
I know epistemology and should have adapted that into EPISTEMIC, but neither word occurred to me.
A big, fat DNF today.

DO, I agree. I have heard "devout atheist" before. Devout can mean unwavering, staunch, committed. DEVOUT is often used in reference to religion, but one can be staunchly devoted to atheism, too.

Ray - O - Sunshine said...

I heard this one a few years ago...What is the definition of an Agnostic?...ans: an Atheist over 70...

Big Easy said...

When I saw Erik's name I knew it was going to be tough. But not this tough. Did I finish? No way, now how, in any form or fashion. Unknowns galore. But I see he has a sadistic collaborator in Leslie.

ARGENT, SZA, MUMSY, LEGO ART, ADORBS, ZEDONK, PROMPOSAL, Hannukah GELT, EPISTEMIC, SKEETER Syndrome-not familiar with any of those words but I should have guessed the ARGENT-symbol Ag.

SW-totally blank
SE- Yea, I got that area but misspelled ORIGAMI as orAgami.
I threw in the towel after 15 minutes, tried again a few hours later without adding a single fill. I never spend more that 30 minutes on a puzzle.

SIGHS- no idea about that clue, along with about half of the others.

PELOTON- of course the people in their ads are in great shape; not gonna show a fat person, unless it was a before and after comparison. I'll stick with my Trek bike, closing in on 9,000 miles on the odometer.

Abejo said...

Good afternoon, folks. Thank you, Erik Agard & Leslie Rogers, for a fine puzzle. Thank you, Husker Gary, for a fine review.

TTP: Yes I got about a half inch of water. As soon as the AC kicked back on it pumped right out. Of course everything on the floor got wet. Nothing that hasn't happened before. The AC went out at 12:40 and I woke up at 1:24 AM. Too late for the basement. I got my portable pump out and was in the process of getting my generator out and the electric came back on. Did not get much sleep that night.

Puzzle was tough. I got most of it but had to throw in the towel.

ZEDONK was too much for me, since I did not know SZA and META. SKEETER was unknown too.



EPISTEMIC. I guess I did not have enough knowledge for that word.

SIGHS for Venice. Never heard the term.


Anyhow, I will leave for now. Be back tomorrow morning. Sunday is always a favorite.


( )

AnonymousPVX said...

Wow, this was a tough one.

The clueing did not help much.

I laughed when “Totes presh” was described as current...I’m not sure about that...”Valley Girl” film was made in....1983.


I agree SZA and ZEDONK kind of a super Natick, unfair in a puzzle already this difficult.

Hope to see you all Monday. Stay safe. Stay away from idiots and idiocy.

Also...I have a suggestion for those who just cannot stay home and must shop at all costs...consider also shopping for a casket...that way you can really shop til you drop.

Anonymous said...

Really tough puzzle for me. I threw in the towel when the SW refused to unlock its mysteries. But I loved some of the clues
and think it’s good to be forced to learn some of the current vocabulary. Had to change AHEAD to ON TOP, DIET TO PARE and SOLD OUT to LONG RUN.

Thank you (I think) Erik and Leslie :-) and thank you Gary, for the tour. I still don’t get META.

So how about the dyslexic, agnostic insomniac who lies awake all night wondering if there is a dog. (An oldie but goodie).

Have a great weekend everyone, and stay safe.

Wendybird said...

Weird, my “handle” doesn’t appear when I submit a comment on my iPad- so the above comment from “anonymous” is from me. Any idea why?

Yuman said...

Could someone explain 40 down, dream on? TIA
Tomorrow we are doing a drive by celebration for my grandson’s high school graduation and birthday. Sad to say, his plans for college are on hold due to the virus.
I ventured out early this morning to the grocery store, wearing my “Namast’ay 6 feet away” shirt my daughters gave me for Mother’s Day.

Jayce said...

Maybe I was psyched up to suffer defeat when I saw Eric Agard's name, but whatever the reason, there was no way whatsoever I would be able to solve this puzzle without looking stuff up. And look stuff up I did, lots of stuff, so many things I flat out didn't know. I thought some of the clues were extremely clever and some, I thought (my personal opinion only) were, as Irish Miss said, too cute by half. So many clues ended with "say" and "at times" and "for one" and "maybe."

Good wishes to you all.

CrossEyedDave said...

I finished watching The Fantasticks that I linked earlier,
(after cleaning house, & mowing lawns,...)

& I must say, I enjoyed it immensely.
(Shakespeare is not dead...)

But more than that, watching Bert Lahr,
forever typecast as the Cowardly Lion,
was wonderful.
I cannot believe he was the Lion in 1939,
& did this teleplay in 1964...
(He looks exactly the same...)

The other Actor, Stanley Holloway,
is so familiar,
I researched his IMDB,
but I do not recognize any titles...
(Why does he seem so familiar?)

Eat, Drink, & be Merry...

NaomiZ said...

Got a late start today after taking my dog to the vet, and then sat down to enjoy Erik and Leslie's puzzle. Challenging, but FIR at a good pace. I assumed we'd hear groans from elder solvers over ADORBS and PROMPOSAL, and was not disappointed. I have been fortunate enough to cross the bridge of SIGHS -- as a tourist, not a convict -- and so that was easy enough.

NaomiZ said...

DREAM ON is often used as a way to say NO, which is the same as the second word (on) spelled backward.

CrossEyedDave said...

Aw, nuts!

I meant to type a response to Yuman@3:26
but got totally sidetracked...

Dream on, means No!
I.E,: synonym for last word backwards...


I once felt an attraction for a lovely Lass,
while I was courting another,,,
I kissed her on the forehead, & said, maybe in your dreams...

She slapped me in the face,
Yes, it still hurts...

Shankers said...

Back to the difference between devout as opposed to devoted. May I suggest Googling "devout vs devoted" for a good, simple explanation. Devout is something you "are". Devote is something you "do". Big difference in my book.

Vermontah said...

So back in the day when I played ball in the Babe Ruth League (I wasn't even good enough to get into Little League but BRL has to take anyone, even me) I would sometimes get to bat with two out and the bases loaded, and I would be so intimidated that sure enough, strikethreeyerout.

I felt a little like that when facing today's puzzle. Hopeless.

Some of my funnier attempts:

MOSIACS for works with small bricks. Very, very small bricks. Not even bricks, I know, but hey, it fit. And worked with ATONAL, which I got right away, sort of a CSO since I'm a musician and have played, but not liked, plenty of atonal music. Once I put on a record of some ATONAL music whilst on LSD and I freaked out.

My favorite complete fail of the day, Magellan's landing spot. I did a quick lookup of Mr Magellan and learnt that he died in 1521, so I put DEATHTHROES. Which I thought was pretty clever though I knew it was wrong. But clever nonetheless, right? Death rows! Get it?

I see someone else was smart like me and wrote in SOLD OUT instead of LONG RUN. In the LONG RUN both work, really.

Anyway, after my ninth swing and a miss I gave up and DNF. Sigh.

Now to the Sunday Puzzle which here in Vermont comes out in the SAturday/Sunday paper. Hope I'll get a hit. Even a dribbler down the first base line would be better than my results for today.

Yuman, not that I'm in any position to explain anything, but the second word of DREAM ON, backwards, is NO. When you go up to someone and say "can you give me $100?" they will say DREAM ON!

Vermontah, slinking into corner, out.

Irish Miss said...

CED @ 4:03 ~ If you saw the movie, “My Fair Lady”, Stanley Holloway played Eliza’s ne’er do well father.

kerek said...

I really like doing the Saturday puzzle. I enjoy a challenge and I like to think. However, some of the clues do not relate to the answers. TOTES PRESH, MATERIAL, VENETIAN BRIDGE COMPOSITION are stretches at best and really should be left out of puzzles. Make us think and make it fair.

Irish Miss said...

Vermontah, @ 4:25 ~ I confidently threw in Mosaics without a moment’s hesitation. When the perps weren’t working, it finally dawned on me that bricks don’t comprise Mosaics. I guess the Totes Presh/Adorbs, like, addled my, like, brain, like, fer sure! May you hit it out of the Sunday puzzle park! ⚾️🥎

Bill G said...

Helen Thomas used to quote from the fictional 19th century bartender Mr. Dooley, who was created by the Chicago Evening Post columnist Finley Peter Dunne: “The job of the newspaper is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.”

~ Mind how you go...

Ol' Man Keith said...

Easy enuf today. Until I hit the SW corner.
I can't tell whether the pzl got tougher, or I just got lazier.
Anyway, that's where I decided to cheat my way to the end.
Probably a smart move, as I don't know if I could've survived the Natick of SZA (obviously too young to know the correct spelling is ZSA--just ask the Gabors!)
and ZEDONK. (I was thinking OKAPIS.)

Ah,yes, CrossEyedDave!--The Fantasticks! A favorite old show. Based on The Romancers by Edmond Rostand, he of Cyrano fame!
My first wife played the lead in a Yale college production.
These low-budget shows were staged on portable risers set up in a dining hall.
For one of her songs she was directed to walk backwards slowly upstage. I was in the audience the night she fell 4' off the rear of the platform.
She just continued singing. What a trouper!
(Circum debemus pergere..)

inanehiker said...

CED - The Fantasticks is a favorite of mine - longest running musical in the world - 42 years all off Broadway. I don't know if a recording of the whole thing still exists but I always think of Jerry Orbach who originated the part of the narrator "El Gallo"

It opened in 1962 early in his career before he starred in "Chicago" on Broadway and the movie "Beauty and the Beast"(the candlestick Lumiere) and as Lennie Briscoe on "Law & Order" (where people didn't even know he could sing!)

Bobbi said...

Bad back has me laid up, and this "puzzle"(???) gave me a pain in the neck! C'mon, folks, let's be serious! Where can a person who doesn't use "cheat sites" find "adorb? Likewise,"Peloton"??? How many levels of whimsy must we ply to arrive at "dream on"?? People: I've said it before: slowly, as those who create these puzzles go further afield with their defs, the solver group continues to shrink and all-too-soon we'll be left with no new puzzles other than the trash printed in airline journals. On my scale of 1 - 10 (10 being HORRIBLE) this mess deserves a 9).

Lucina said...

Ooh. No love for Erik's and Leslie's torture chamber! I can't say I loved it but didn't have as much trouble as some others.

I, too, have walked over the "bridge of sighs" and agree that if SIGHS is part of the its name, then it's part of the composition. No problem there.

My ONE nit would be AGASP and though I normally don't object to A words if they are commonly used, that one is not IMHO.

I returned unscathed but exhausted from my marathon drive to get a haircut; however, I was treated to lunch which has never happened before. If anyone has lived here in the past you know that Florence is a very long way from Scottsdale but that is where my hair stylist lives and likely will not return to his shop in Phoenix in the future so I will probably make that trip again. He set up shop in a spare room. I should mention that he has pancreatic cancer and is 75.

Jayce said...

Lucina, I trust you got an excellent haircut.

Roy said...

Reading all the comments and complaints, I know this is a good puzzle. This one proves that Saturday is the hardest of the week. I've been doing better on Saturdays lately, but gave up on this one and DNF. Stuff not in my wheelhouse and/or not encountered before.

I don't complain about my own shortfalls.

jfromvt said...

A big DNF for me. Don’t think it was unfair, but just very tough with clues not on my wavelength and answers I’d never get even with perps. But I’d recommend constructors deep six SLOMO, it’s an old expression never used anymore.

Wilbur Charles said...

Wow, I have found xwords difficult only to find others found it easy. Yes, this was for me, average Saturday difficulty and I FIW on misspelling STEIN and ORIGAMI.

The mundane ONTOP finally broke the NE. Oh well, as PVX says, on to Sunday.


Vermontah said...

Sunday puzzle FIR!!! Woo hooooo!!!!!!

CanadianEh! said...

Another late arrival. Thanks for the fun, Eric and Leslie, and HuskerG.
I don't always do the Saturday CW, and after the sea of white today on my first pass, I nearly gave up. But with some P&P, 3 Google helps, and many inkblots, I finished. But 7A was wrong. I ended it with S for the plural (which gave me the "spidey- sensed for "get edgy"; plus I did not know EPISTEMIC, and started it with an O, giving me LegOars instead of LEGO ART.

I'll admit my generation gap was showing, but we had ADORBS here before.
Canadians with a Florida nest egg are called Snowbirds not EGRETs.
Is Hannukah the proper spelling for 9D clue? Isn't there only one N and two Ks?

Good night all.

Chairman Moe said...

Puzzling thoughts:

No apologies, but I think this was the worst example of a crossword puzzle I’ve ever seen. ADORBS? WTF does that even mean? Oh, totes presh. Right. PROMPOSAL? GMAFB. Material = ON TOPIC? What a LOOSEN UP, say ... I DONT FOLLOW these constructors, with their random clues ... this was the least “fun” I’ve ever had doing crosswords. And I’ve been doing them for a lonnnngggg time. Not even worth a haiku or limerick IMHO. Husker Gary, and others who did solve this, my hat tips to you.

Anonymous T said...

Hi All!

Oy! All the kvetching about a Saturday puzzle. I mean, like, whatevs...
You think the LAT's hard, try the NYT (on Thursday!).

I found Erik & Leslie's offering a fun diversion that I stood no chance on but, you know, what else you gonna do while waiting on H.E.B. to put groceries in the trunk. I got everything south of PHILIPPINES (save the Zed in block 42 [father was an ass! LOL HG]) but only smatterings North.

Like C, Eh! said, we've had ADORBS just this quarantine.

Thanks HG for a little glimpse at your grid for extra play in the north. ARGENT (yes TTP, I know the band!) wanted to be AdorNs (or the olde spelling AdorNe) like you gild things with GELT(?). 2d == dowNETH was right out.

D-O: Your area is to Houston as Sugar Land (home of Baseball's SKEETERs) is. We just haven't been annexed yet :-)

OMaxiN - I useta never try Saturday 'cuz Wednesdays were too hard. I'm up to >1/2 a Sat. It is frustrating being at a plateau for so long.

Fav: ORIGAMI's clue was fun.
Runner-up: Clue for DREAM ON (really, no Aerosmith so far?) [5m - I link'd the classy version w/ orchestra & all that just for this crowd (META, eh?)]

META is talking about the talking that your talking about. It's a holistic inventory of the absurdity of now's now...
The best example I can think of is Seinfeld & George pitching a show about nothing to NBC during their show about nothing that we're watching on NBC.

TOTES ADORBS: I was listening to a show on NPR where they explored embarrassing moments that turned to gold. One story was from reporter. During her interview of the 'expert' on Valley Talk, she blew coffee out her nose (and started choking) having not expected a joke.
The interviewee's mom was so empathetic that they suddenly all became close. The interviewee? Frank Zappa's kid Moon Unit.

Fun reading everyone today! Thanks y'all for intermittent diversions.

Cheers, -T

Lucina said...

Yes! Excellent haircut. He has been cutting my hair for almost 50 years. I am desperately trying to pray away his cancer, for selfish reasons, of course.

Anonymous T said...

Lucina - I don't know what it is about Women & hairdressers - DW feels guilty doing her own hair during all this (an then sends him a check?!?). Glad you got your cut and god speed to him for both reasons.

Pop's kinda like that too. His barber's daughter now does his cuts. Funny thing, my Army Bro is in a relationship with her. Pop, knowing Bro's history w/ girlfriends, says "Don't piss her off. She has sharp objects near my ears."

Getting back to meta... For the programmers in the house: meta is recursion - the most beautiful expression to a problem's solution.
F(n)=F(n-1)+F(n-2) for all positive numbers where F(0)=1 and F(1)=1.
[That's the Fibonacci sequence - see how the formula references itself?]

Cheers, -T

CrossEyedDave said...

3 A.M. EDT, Can't sleep,
So I read the late nite comments. (Thank you...)

Anon-T, Did I see a whole piano drift onto the stage in that song???
(I must be dreaming...)

I am tempted to suffer that Ad again
& do todays puzzle anyway, even though I know
what it is all about. (I have a short memory...)
& would even accept a DNF for some puzzlement.

I don't understand why some people complain about hard puzzles,
what good is a puzzle, if you are not puzzled?

& I still get a good AHA moment, even if it is given to me
from the Blog... (It's not like I didn't try to figure it out...)

Ah, I live for that V8 can to the head!

Tomorrow (today) Sunday is going to be a long puzzle.
& the weather is fine.
I think I will set up a Hammock in the backyard for doing the puzzle,
& dream on...