May 30, 2020

Saturday, May 30, 2020, Brian E. Paquin

Themeless Saturday by Brian E. Paquin 

Our retired computer systems developer, and now crossword constructor from Kingston, Ontario returns today with a lovely little puzzle. The long fills greatly aided me although SEARCH HIGH AND LOW and ROUGH ESTIMATES soon knew the fury of my delete key.

Brian wrote to me and gave fabulous insight into his construction process that uses a program he wrote himself. It is so detailed I decided to post it at the bottom of write-up and I can't recommend it highly enough!

Let's see what Brian has for us on this penultimate day in May.


1. Cowboys, at times: ROPERS - Not the sitcom landlords

7. Can really bring it: HAS GAME - When playing golf with strangers, you can soon see who "HAS GAME"

14. Modern book case?: E-READER - My MacBook Pro fills in

16. Poirot portrayer in "Death on the Nile": USTINOV - Real Agatha Christie fans will pick him out in this lineup

17. Mondale's 1984 running mate: FERRARO - Her addition to the ticket did not keep him from a huge landslide loss 

18. Newborn: NEONATE - A baby four weeks old or younger

19. Fightin': AGIN - "If'n yer fer it, ahm AGIN it!"

20. Fenders, e.g.: GUITARS - Bryan Adams FENDER Stratocaster that is signed by 19 rock artists brought $2.7M at auction. 10 most expensive guitars

22. Mil. rank in Clue: COL - Mustard

23. Emergency: PINCH - The last word that finishes this old five-word adage

24. Flowering desert plant: YUCCA.

28. Go after: ENSUE.

30. Orator's stage: DAIS.

32. Sweetie pie: HON - Beats the heck out of BAE

33. What an inspiration may do: SPRING TO MIND - Dr. Percy Spencer felt a candy bar melt in his shirt pocket while standing next to this radar magnetron which emitted microwave radiation. He then put down popcorn kernels and watched them pop. Hmmm...

37. Makes big bucks: RAKES IN THE MONEY.

40. Standing up to criticism: HOLDING WATER - Does the defenses case HOLD WATER?

41. Compass dir.: ENE - The red runway below is designated 01/19. It is runway 01 when going ENE (10 degrees dropping the 0) and runway 19 (190 degrees dropping the 0) when going WSW

42. Campus leader: DEAN.

43. Tree houses: NESTS - People make them as well

47. Abounds: TEEMS.

50. Uber offerings: RIDES - It was a $20 UBER RIDE from our hotel to Arlington National Cemetery

52. Limit: CAP - Unlike cabs, that Uber rate has a CAP

53. Spook: STARTLE.

55. Ear part: LOBE.

56. Like the L.A. Times Building: ART DECO - July, 4, 1942

59. Early name in aviation: ORVILLE - The brothers 61. Reworked: DID OVER the flight surfaces on Dec. 17 until they got 852' which is the last marker in this picture

62. Brandished: WIELDED.

63. Enter into and control: POSSESS.

64. Is: EXISTS.


1. Spruce up, as a building front: REFACE - An HGTV "fixer upper" result

2. Home of Silicon Forest: OREGON - Analogous to California's Silicon Valley

3. Risks: PERILS.

4. Merit: EARN.

5. Old food label abbr.: RDA.

6. Two-time 1990s French Open champ __ Bruguera: SERGI - Before Nadal became unbeatable on the clay surface in Paris

7. Look everywhere: HUNT HIGH AND LOW.

8. Headed for Europe, maybe: ASEA - A voyage on the Queen Mary 2 is on my bucket list

9. Account: STORY - There's always two sides

10. Infomercial kitchen brand: GINSU - How often do you need to slice a tin can?

11. Santa __: ANA.

12. Wit bit: MOT.

13. Time of anticipation: EVE - I try to catch all my blogging errors on Friday night which is Saturday Puzzle EVE but... 

15. Inaccuracies usually considered acceptable: ROUNDING ERRORS - The basis for the movie Office Space

21. Cry of anticipatory excitement: I CAN'T WAIT - Husker FB and VB

23. Side in a decades-long war: PEPSI.

25. Gym exercise: CHIN - Brian clued it as "Dimple location"

26. Road repair sight: CONE.

27. Comedian Samberg: ANDYHis IMDB

29. Put in the lineup: USED - Rumor has it that the designated hitter will be USED in both leagues when MLB starts up again

31. Manuscript mark: STET - You know what? Leave it as it was.

34. Peeled-off item: RIND.

35. Eclipses and comets, to some: OMENS - We were right under the Moon's shadow when it passed over Eastern Nebraska in 2017

36. Added: MORE.

37. Orator's prowess: Abbr.: RHET - RHETORIC - My granddaughter's future husband was a National Champion debater for UNL

38. Top-drawer: A-ONE.

39. "Fish Magic" painter: KLEE I wonder what that looks like

44. Tells off: SCOLDS.

45. Laptop alternative: TABLET 

46. Barrels or bolts: SPEEDS.

48. Windows forerunner: MS DOS - MS-DOS was replaced by GUI (Graphic User Interface) Window interface

MS-DOS                                                Windows OS
49. Jobs in the tech industry: STEVE - A fun clue, Brian! Also an alternative to Windows!

Steve Jobs
51. Macabre: EERIE - That's another Steve(n) King!

54. Breezes through: ACES.

55. Taylor of "Six Feet Under": LILI - If you know the show, you know who she is in this picture

56. Payroll service initials: ADP - Automatic Data Processing

57. Feeder of un lago: RIO El RIO Detroit desemboca en el lago Erie

58. NFL stats: TDS.

60. Bug: VEX - It sounded like a Shakespearean word and so I searched and found this line that came at the death of the title character. Act 5, Scene 3 dialogue in modern English as well

Let's hear what you have to say about Brian's puzzle after you take a look behind his construction curtain below. Thanks again for being so generous, Brian!

Hi Gary,

For this puzzle, I used a type of grid which is one of my 'lazy' grids: it does take time to fill it, and there can be stretches of tedious trial and error, but it doesn't take a lot of  creative effort or hard work.   The laziness partly springs from the fact that there are three longish Across entries passing through the center, and three such Down entries doing the same.  That can actually simplify the process.
1.  To start things off, I highlight the 3 long Across entries and tell my program to produce (maybe) 200 fills of just those entries.   Then I do something else entirely, like take a nap.   Some time later, I scroll through the results, and save the half dozen or so results that I like the most.  'Liking' a grid not only involves liking the three entries that I see, but also liking the number of potential crossing entries that exist, and what they are.  (There will be at least one possibility for each crosser, otherwise my program won't keep that fill).
2.  Starting with my first choice of fills, I repeat the process with just the three central Down entries.   The choices are of course restricted by the three existing Across entries, and the program might not come up with a long list of possibilities.  (But I still might sleep again while it's producing that list).
3.  I now have one or more grids that have the six long entries filled in.  I again scroll through the list and save the grids where I decide that the three Down entries look appealing, and the four independent corners look like they can be filled.   At this point, I might well decide that I've hit a dead end, and I will try my next choice from the grids produced in Step 1.
4.  When I get this far, I have one or more grids where only four small and independent corners need to be filled.  (And much of the work might have been done while I was sawing off zeds, which are Canadian zees). Typically, one or maybe two of those corners will look (and be) hard to fill, and the others will look (and be) easy to fill in various ways.   Note that up to now, I have been working only with my own cleanest dictionaries, which I have built up brick by brick over time.   
In order to deal with the difficult corner/s, I might try moving a black square, or adding a cheater square, or turning a seven-letter entry into 2 three letter entries.  But I will probably start including word lists that have entries that I don't care for much.  (I don't really want the name of a darts champion in my grid, or the title of a dime novel.  On the other hand, I don't think that one or two stinker entries should spoil a puzzle, especially not a Saturday puzzle).  And sometime soon, I will be done.

In defense of my laziness, I wrote my own grid-filling software, and I have put a fair bit of work and (I hope) creativity into improving it.   I wrote the first version in Oct 1998.
As well, I have put a lot of effort into creating clean word lists.   I only use entries like AREA, ARENA, EEK, ELS, ONO, etc.  when there doesn't appear to be another choice.
I have left out quite a bit of detail, but that's all for now!


desper-otto said...

Had to repost due to a broken link.

Good morning!

Easier than your typical Saturday. I zoomed through with minutes to spare. ROUNDING ERRORS started out as ROUGH ESTIMATES, but Wite-Out easily fixed that. Thanx for the diversion, Brian (sounds like you've got a database of 15-character grid spanners), and for the expo, Husker. (Your candy bar story immediately evoked this song.}

Lemonade714 said...

One of the great things about both solving puzzles and having the Corner review the puzzle is all the wonderful things I learn. I did not know the story of the invention of the microwave oven nor the amazing grammar school drop out who invented it.

I found this to be one of the easier of BP's puzzles, and like most of the world, I had forgotten about Two-time 1990s French Open champ __ Bruguera: SERGI . It is very nice of you to share your process, Brian.

Abejo said...

Good morning, folks. Thank you, Brian Paquin, for a fine puzzle. Thank you, Husker Gary, for a fine review.

Could not get to sleep last night so I got up and downloaded the puzzle from cruciverb. Got started and filled in the South quite easily. Headed North and got stymied, quite easily. So, I laid back down for the night. I sleep on the floor now, on an air mattress.

Got up at 5:30 AM, brewed a cup of Earl Grey and jumped back into the puzzle. Had it done by 76:30 AM. That has to be a record for me for a Saturday. A couple words that rally helped were FERRARO and USTINOV. Those gave me a bunch of perps.

The three long downs in the center came fairly easily with the help of a few perps. Everything else just filled in.

PEPSI was a tough one. I was looking for a real war. Had a few letters to I took it.

HOLDING WATER was new to me, but the perps were solid.

Anyhow, off to my day, until I get tired. That happens a lot. See you tomorrow.


( )

Yellowrocks said...

Yes, surprisingly fast for a Saturday. I started with DEAN and RIDES. With just those two I wagged LOOK HIGH AND LOW, which provided so many perps for the bottom two thirds. Such an encouraging start. LOOK in the NE didn't fit, but USTINOV and NEONATE soon changed LOOK to HUNT. The last to fall was the NW, Changing RIDERS to ROPERS gave me OREGON and it was done.
Lots of fun.
Almost time to leave for my porch visit with Alan.

Hungry Mother said...

FIR, but lotsa sweat and some write-overs: FERRARO 4 FERRARa, SERGI 4 SERGe, ROUNDINGERROR 4 ROUNDoffERROR. Peter USTINOV had a good run of great performances.

TTP said...

Good morning !

This was a very quick solve for me today. The answers flowed. 16 minutes, 17 seconds. Didn't fill any of the 5 long answers upon the initial reading of the clue, but they were all evident on the second reading.

The only real mistake I had was reading "Eclipses and comets, to some" as "Ellipses and commas, to some" and pausing to think for a 5 letter word for punctuation.

A few minor errors that were easily seen. FERRARa before O, RIa before O, and then ire/irk before VEX.

Liked PERILS for "Risks" and "Bolts and barrels" for SPEEDS.

My fav today was the reveal of PEPSI for "Sides in a decades long war"

The only clunker clue, IMHO, was "Gym exercise" for CHIN. Brian's clue
should have had a STET notated after the editor's first markup.

ORVILLE fits for "Early name in aviation" not only due to his involvement in the infancy of aviation (strong case), but also if one also considers first name as earlier than last name (weak case).

No doubt about it, Brian HAS GAME. Thanks, Brian !

Great job, Husker. You could put that video clip of Marisa Tomei and Joe Pesci in every review and I would never tire of it. Enjoyed the review and interview !

inanehiker said...

Well this started slow, but quickly picked up speed - as I had NFLERS to RIDERS to ROPERS as the Cowboys corner kept evolving. So OREGON was originally FRESNO - which isn't in a forest but is near Yosemite and Sequoyah National Parks! SERGI emerged from SERGE since it was an unknown.

I'm with TTP - I think of CHIN ups as an exercise but not just CHIN.

Thanks HG- a fun blog as always and thanks to Brian not only for the puzzle but chiming in on his process!

Spitzboov said...

Good morning everyone.

Much the same solving experience as those before me. Not 'quick' but steady. Still half awake when I wrote 'teams'. The artist thing wasn't working right; we've had KLEE with some frequency, so TEEMS SPR(U)NG TO MIND, and - problem solved. Liked the clustered long downs. Saw ……ERRORS right away and then my engineering ethic kicked in and ROUNDING ERRORS became obvious.
Another EERIE today. Thought of the scene in Gary's clip with HOLDING WATER.
Add a 't' to RHET and one might not give a damn.
Masterful set of fill from Brian whose previous puzzles I've also enjoyed.

Great visuals, Gary. I visited the site you depict for ORVILLE in Kill Devil Hills, NC, n early December, 1960, the day I received a message promoting me to LT(jg). Funny how some thing are remembered.

Wilbur Charles said...

FLN, Bobbi I commend you for your good work and yeo-woman efforts. Quirky absolutely does it for this master of the esoteric*
Limerick Larry to the rescue. Make sure y'all catch his late post.

Well I got up early and tackled this online. FIR- I kept a box open and meticulously reviewed every up and down then filled and TADA!!!! Two FIR's on Fri, Sat and at least three FIW's on the earlier xw's.

Yep, Gary but striking it and scoring aren't the same. Golf over-penalizes wayward shots. Perhaps a 1.5 penalty instead of 2. I'd still always have a round number.

I laughed again at Ms Vito.

PEPSI. For when Athens nor Sparta would fit. And tg for seeing KLEE.

My 3rd semester college English was ENTITLED** RHEToric. "Old Man and the Sea". Topic allusion. Ex. I picked, Joe DiMaggio. Prof says as I start: "I don't want to hear about baseball Mr B!". How'd he know me so well?

-T or someone, what was the OS between MS-Dos and Windows? And STEVE was all perps waiting for the V8.

Abejo (for the J crowd), did you brew or perk?

TTP, I switched to reading glasses halfway through. I identify***

35 minutes. Wow. Come back every Saturday, Brian. Thx HG for the sparkling write-up


*An instructor called me that. No, nor the RHET Prof
** Didn't we have this recently?
***So, why didn't the 12 Step mtg work out at the nudist colony? Instead of identifying everyone was busy COMPARING- uhoh, there's OFFENDED back again

Lucina said...


Thank you, Brian, for this excellent Saturday grid! I also whizzed through it in record time for a Saturday.

The bottom especially flowed in quickly followed by the NE corner. I'm sorry but I prefer David Suchet to Peter USTINOV as Poirot. He is classier.

Drat! I have one FIW at TAKES IN THE MONEY instead of RAKES. Clecho with EARN at #4 down.

I'm not familiar with the phrase, ROUNDING ERRORS. But I do remember Geraldine FERRARO.

My grandmother always considered those OMENS as mentioned.

CSO to our Thursday blogger, STEVE.

Nicely done, Gary! Thank you. Fun to have Brian's comments.

Have a wonderful visit with Alan!

Enjoy your day, everyone!

Anonymous said...

Easy for a Saturday. I don't think macabre works as a clue for eerie. Only hangup was Adam instead of Andy for Sandberg.

Stay safe everyone.


Steve said...

Thanks for the write-up, Gary.

I think my mileage was the same as most - I don't think I've solved a Saturday puzzle in less time. I haven't finished my first up of coffee and I'm done.

Thanks for the insights, Brian.

Lemonade714 said...


Thank you Limerick Larry. Also, the comments are the highest number so far for this week. Every day is different

Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

I finished in sub-Saturday time but not quite as quickly as TTP. I needed perps for Klee, Oregon, Sergi, and ADP. ADT was all I could think of, but that’s the wrong business. Anyway, though, the perps were fair and the easily discernible long fill made it an enjoyable solve. I thought some of the cluing was a tad odd, but that could be just me. I had Ria before Rio and was stumped for a bit before Pepsi appeared. I’m a big Pepsi fan but was thinking I needed an actual war. I liked Steve next to MS DOS but I didn’t care for Rhet. It reminded me of of the recent Tasm.

Thanks, Brian, for a satisfying solve and for sharing your puzzle making process and thanks, HG, for the razzle-dazzle write-up and the vivid visuals and links. Every time I see Joe Pesci in the Vinny role, my mind’s eye pictures him as the deranged sociopath in “Good Fellas.” What a contrast in character portrayal.

Stay safe, all.

Anonymous said...

FIR.I liked the puzzle -- found it challenging but gettable. On the easy side for a Saturday. One nit today. Just annoying after a fine solve to be almost naticked at the cross of ENE and rhet.

PK said...

Hi Y'all! Really enjoyed this, Brian, despite a slow start. Just kept plugging them in and seeing the "light".

Great as always, Gary. Especially liked the Dr. Spenser inspiration story. Paying attention to what is going on around you, pays off sometimes.

Couldn't remember FERRARO for a while. Thought it had "N's" in it. Didn't know USTINOV ever played Poirot.

Still don't get HOLDING WATER.

Last to fill were the "D" in ADP (never heard of it) and "V" in STEVE. Oh, that Jobs. Duh! Liked STEVE next to MSDOS. That should have been a clue in itself.

Never heard of Silicon Forest. Perps & WAG.

Decades long war was not "feuds" but PEPSI. Okay.

Visiting Kill Devil Hill in NC was a goose-bump inducing thrill for me. Didn't expect it to be. Didn't even want to go. Glad I did.

Abejo, I'm worried about you.

Ray - O - Sunshine said...

Relatively quick straightforward Saturday solve aided by some old familiars. Inkovers atit/AGIN. As HG states Fenders GUITARS can be extremely valuable, something I learned from "The Antiques Road Show." Finally no longer hesitate in anticipation of EVE. cacti was plural so Y from STORY LED me to YUCCA.

Longitudinal fill HUNTING HIGH AND LOW helped (comics "Hi and Lois" tot Trixie should be in her 60s by now.) Plus the rest of the "long clues" were fairly easy to parse. Have never seen the abbreviation RHET but I'm sure somebody else has (rhetorically speaking.)

When a teacher SCOLDS an errant student they are not telling them off. (TTP & Hiker): A CHIN up is gym exercise, a CHIN has yesterday's dimple trait or Joan Rivers describing her heavy friend: "She has more CHINS than a Chinese phonebook!) πŸ˜†πŸ˜†πŸ˜†

The puzzle was eerily POSSESSed by spooks and OMENS ....the PERILS leading to.....

Those muscles ache after exercise because they're not ______....USTINOV
If the Mexicans had won the Texas war they would have told Sam ______...USTINOV

Elvis was a guaranteed arena ______ ..TOP DRAWER

One of the French "Trois StoogΓ©s"...... MOT

After reading the lengthy 4 step program in the narrative I've been a complete Rube never realizing that much CW construction is left to computer programing. Do somenbloggers use programs to solve puzzles too? SHEESH!!! πŸ€”

HG ..Your granddaughter to marry a guy who always wins arguments? He must be related to my wife's family. πŸ˜‰

Big Easy said...

Well Brian, since you WROTE YOUR OWN SOFTWARE, you're not lazy but smart. The four corners were my easiest fill today, with only the correct spelling of FERRARO giving me trouble. After the V in EVE I guessed Peter USTINOV and was right. The long fills were obvious after only a few perps. An easy Saturday.

64A-"Is"- to Bill Clinton it can mean many things as in "what the meaning of IS IS"

ANDY Samberg was a total unknown filled by perps. Ditto for LILI Taylor.

RHEToric- I tend to ignore great speakers because they can talk but I learned a long time ago that 'Smilin' Faces Tell Lies'. Don't tell me what you will do; 'Just Do It',

HAS GAME? When playing with strangers and somebody is shooting birdies while you struggle to make bogeys, you feel embarrassed making them wait on you.

SERGI Bruguera was a great clay court player but couldn't get past the first round on hard court and grass surfaces. Somebody mentioned earlier that ASHE was the autofill for 4-letter tennis player. Bjorn BORG won a lot more but never shows up in puzzles. Ditto for Steffi GRAF.

desper-otto said...

PK, surely you've heard, "That argument won't hold water."

Kerry_in_Carefree said...

Many years ago, before I went in the army (ca late 50's), I worked in the basement of The LA Times' pressroom. It was there I first did LATimes crosswords, long before Rich N. My job was to roll the big rolls of newsprint up to the press.

Java Mama said...

Good morning everyone! Thanks for the terrific Saturday diversion, Brian, and for sharing your process on puzzle construction. Great expo, Gary. Hand up for enjoying the clip from My Cousin Vinny.

As others mentioned, I found the long answers pretty accessible and helpful in completing most of the rest of the puzzle. However, a careless misspelling of TEaMS for TEEMS coupled with the unknown KLEE ultimately resulted in a FIW. First thought of David Suchet (hi, Lucina!) for Poirot Portrayer, but came up one letter short; perps led me to USTINOV. IMHO, Suchet is the definitive Poirot. That series also featured some lovely ART DECO architecture. My candidate for the all-time worst Poirot Portrayer is John Malkovich in the misbegotten TV serialization of the ABC Murders – just dreadful!

The animal shelter has begun allowing volunteers to visit again, of course with safety protocols. So happy to see my four-legged friends! And our Diocese has resumed public Masses, again with safety protocols. The dispensation for Sunday attendance remains in place, and they will continue to live-stream services for those who need/want to limit exposure to others.

Take care, all, and have a wonderful weekend!

Shankers said...

I have to say that Brian's explanation of puzzle construction made my brain hurt. Even to be able to program the computer to do all the work makes me feel supremely dumb. Nonetheless, for the toughest two days of the week, yesterday and today, I was able to FIR in 20 both days. Liked the Pepsi clue the best as it happens to be my favorite. Coke is a bit too syrupy. Lastly, our country is badly in need of healing in more ways than one. Whatever your personal preferences I believe in prayer. Selah.

AnonymousPVX said...

I was all kinds of proud that I went through this Saturday grid so quickly...

And so did everyone else, lol.

Anyway, write-overs....ADAM/ANDY (and I knew Adam wasn’t right), TAD/MOT.

Okay, if 25 down is an actual exercise, so is a PUSH and a SIT. But they aren’t, and neither is 25D without the required “UP”.

A better clue, and tougher, would be “Leno feature”.

Odd that today is the anniversary of WILBUR WRIGHT’S death, in 1912, of typhoid fever. He was 45.

See you Monday. Stay safe.

Ron in LA said...

From Friday, still wondering why 'partial' is a CW faux pas ? Thanks for explaining.

Anonymous said...

I agree with everyone above who feels that CHIN without UP isn't right for the name of an exercise. Brian's original clue was better.

Crockett1947 said...

I was so certain that RONCO was the infomercial kitchen brand (but wait.. there's more!) But YOCCA was a no-go. Ahh.. the knife! Liked the Jobs clue.

Thanks for the puzzle and the write up.

Stay safe, all.

Brian Paquin said...

I'm a bit surprised that HOLDINGWATER is not universally familiar. (It really is amazing how many idioms/references are regional. I had CURTOLA in a submission last year, but Rich pointed out that Bobby was only famous in Canada. Never knew that).
My clue for it was "Doing a dam good job?", but maybe that bit of word play is too much.

Can someone tell me about the reference to "My Cousin Vinny"? I've seen the movie a few times, and I'm feeling kind of dense right now.

NaomiZ said...

Happy to FIR, but with more effort than the rest of you, it seems! Like Yellowrocks, the NW was last to fall for me, and like Inanehiker, I went from NFLERS to RIDERS to ROPERS. I agree with y'all that the editor should have left well enough alone with the clue for CHIN. Thanks, Brian, Husker Gary and all!

Bill G said...

Hi everybody.

Thanks Brian and Gary. Very excellent!

I found this puzzle to be more accessible than most Saturdays.

Lucina, I agree with you (as I usually do). I think the original "Murder on the Orient Express" to be a more enjoyable movie all the way around. Excellent acting, story and beautiful visuals says I.

I can't wait until the launch. I hope it really happens today. :>)

~ Mind how you go...

Yellowrocks said...

No nit with CHIN. Wiki says, "The chin-up (also known as a CHIN or chinup) is a strength training exercise." UP is often included, but not needed. Chin (without UP) used as a verb in this sense is much more common. I hear that a lot.

FLN, Bobbie, unfortunately for you, the puzzle features you don't care for are quite popular with many solvers who rate puzzles like that highly. The constructors and editors produce what sells. Glad your virtual doings went well.
JM, so nice you are back with your four legged friends.
Lucina, thank you. Alan's visit was a delight. Our first visit three weeks ago felt flat to both of us because it was not like a normal visit. After that we realized that being together in this way had a lot of pluses and we look forward to it.
Since my sister can't explain herself, it took doctors several ER visits to realize she has serious heart problems. The situation was clouded by her presenting with serious mental health problems, as well. The doctors are recommending a pacemaker. Since my sister is not very responsive to discussions about her health and often does not even answer, the hospital arranged for her daughter to have medical power of attorney. So my sister is in a safe place for now and is getting appropriate care. Her being in the hospital will make it easier to find a future placement as opposed to finding a placement from home.
For those who have not heard of HOLD WATER, have you heard it said, "Your argument is full of holes," or "The teacher poked holes in all my alibis"?

Husker Gary said...

-Brian, if you play the My Cousin Vinny clip, you’ll hear Joe Pesci ask the Marissa Tomei character on the stand, “Does the defense’s case HOLD WATER?” She looks at the picture and says, “No!”
-I’ve never heard of your Canadian Rock and Roller.
-I hope you can see how much the crew here loved your explanation of the constructing process!
-This NASA guy hopes Space-X lifts off today!

desper-otto said...

Ron, a partial is not a "faux pas," but partials must be used in moderation. C.C. can explain it much better than I can. Check tomorrow's blog.

Brian Paquin said...

Thanks Gary,
The Vinny connection hit me about a minute after I sent my message. Hate it when that happens.
Also looking forward to the launch...50/50 or so, I think.
This catchy tune was popular, at least here:

Brian Paquin said...

Hi again Gary,
The clip I see with HOLDING WATER is from Office Space, not My Cousin Vinny. Still feeling dense about this....

Anonymous T said...

Hot Diggity!!!

100% on a Sat! In ink, on paper, no lookups. Take that Brian!

Awww crap. Wrong TEaMS. So close...
//look, Spitz is trying to make me feel better while TTP, IM, JB2 & Steve come along to say it was too easy - wanks! :-)

Thanks for the puzzle Brian. I loved the inside baseball and the fact that you've written a grid starter. Cool.

Got started at 17a --- quick check showed 15d [gotta be ROUNDING..., right?], 14a & 20a agreed and I was off to the races - albeit like a turtle.

Great expo HG! Here's where I learnt of the ROUNDING ERROR [1st 2:30 and worst computer-hack illustration in a movie*] "trick."
//your Granddaughter's future husband will still never win an argument if he knows what's good for him.

WOs: Guava** until (near) the very end; Put ANDY in 37d's squares, started "A - wait, how do you spell Earhart...?" so there's extra ink in ORVILLE
ESPs: USTINOV, LILI, getting to YUCCA, KLEa, PEPSI? which brings me to
Fav: PEPSI. The fill did not SPRING TO MIND at the clue [I was off in the Mideast somewhere] but I love it! //TTP's w/ me...
//Sorry Brian, STEVE Jobs was too easy-- It's Bill Gates' password when I explode phish


WC - There wasn't much between MSDOS 6.22(?) and Windows1.0 except an XWin layover "borrowed" from PARC. [Wiki]

The other night I made popcorn for DW (she's still sick in bed) and thought "Popcorn button? - this is the height of laziness..."
Today I found out the button is the absolute perfection of an original idea! The tings you learn at The Corner.

XFinity! Go to NASA TV
Please goto and add nasa tv to your subscription

I haven't been this happy since Young & Crippen launched in '81
Best part - their names are Bob & Doug, Eh?

Cheers, -T
*This category needs to be added to the DefCon awards ceremony
**Ray-O: It's Sat, Bro. Cacti would be too easy. :-)

Bill G said...


~ Mind how you go...

Jayce said...

I liked this puzzle and solved it quite quickly.

Thanks for the interesting description of your construction techniques and your computer program. I think the most important part of your process are your words "I have been working only with my own cleanest dictionaries, which I have built up brick by brick over time." and "I have put a lot of effort into creating clean word lists." That is the all-important data, without which the program itself has nothing to work with.

Here's wishing you all a good day.

CrossEyedDave said...

Sadly, I did not get a chance to do the puzzle today...

Saw a 1-1/2 hour video on how to fly the plane I have been trying to learn.
(Of course I had to post a review...)

Now, while DW is fighting to get Lobsters on sale at our local (AGRa?)
(Someth8ng about difficulties ordering online)

This after DW discovering that our local recycling car is taking electronics,
(20 years of hoarding old CRT TVs aaargh!)

I have decided to chuck it all...

I am In the backyard, in a hammock, looking at blue skies thru green leaves,
And my only problem is that you constant reference to holding water
Is reminding me I have to go...

PK said...

D-O & YR: after re-reading your explanations & Gary's several times, I finally accept the HOLDING WATER term that I couldn't get from the puzzle clue. But I don't have to like it. No siree!

Picard said...

Those long answers looked tantalizingly like they fit a theme, but I know there is no theme on Saturday. Definitely a Saturday challenge. But I seemed to be on Brian Paquin's wavelength as I had no trouble getting that Fenders are GUITARS. FIR.

Thanks Husker Gary and Brian Paquin for the back story of the puzzle.

Here I was at a rally with FERRARO at East Beach in Santa Barbara

I was still a poor student then with no telephoto lens. FERRARO is the tiny figure at the DAIS just right of the Mondale FERRARO banner in the third photo.

The first photos in this set show where ORVILLE and Wilbur made their historic flight.

I have a bunch of other photos of their home and workshop. Also flowering YUCCAs. Another time.

Hand up: Never heard of CHIN without "up". None of those for me for another month until I heal more from my latest two surgeries.

Picard said...

From recent days:
Jayce thank you for highlighting the work of Lise Meitner that led to OTTO HAHN getting the Nobel Prize. So unfair that she was left out.

Steve thank you for sharing WAYWARD Son by Kansas. I loved that era of music that was so transcendent, poetic and imaginative. Loved the beard, too.

AnonT thank you for sharing the "morons" scene. One of the greatest scenes from the greatest film of all time: Blazing Saddles.

Even though I FIR and got THIN, EARTH, EDGE and WIDE I still don't really see a satisfying way those theme answers worked.

oc4beach said...

Brian, a great Saturday puzzle that I was able to get done even though it took over 30 minutes to do it. HG's explanations and visuals made it even better.

The "My Cousin Vinny" clip is a pure classic. I remembered the basic clip but didn't remember the HOLD(ING) WATER comment.

I got the long fills today. HUNTING HIGH AND LOW is what we do here when I misplace something. DW gets a little perturbed when I start looking for something and ask her where it is. Not her job to know.

Just watched the SpaceX launch on TV. Years ago I was part of the team that put the Apollo program into space and later worked on the development of the Space Station, so it's great to see the US back in the manned launch business. Now we won't be held hostage by the Russians in getting to the ISS.

Have a great day everyone.

Ol' Man Keith said...

A fine, tough but do-able Saturday-chewy pzl from Mr. Paquin!
Always nice to have a visit from the constructor...

PINCH was the trickiest pour moi.

Peter USTINOV was good in everything he did, including stand-up routines on talk shows. Didn't he do a gag about being mistaken for both Charles Laughton and Francis L. Sullivan in other roles?
One bit had something about a bubbly lady coming up to him and thanking him for "your work in Witness for the Prostitution!"
When he explained that was Charles Laughton, she said,
"What a silly mistake. How could I confuse you, except that you're both so FA-AT!?"
Just the one diagonal, verso.
It offers a few anagram possibilities. Numbers 1 & 2 -
Either the burning ends of cigars or advice on how to choose them, i.e....
- or, number 3 -
What happens when you weight your canine puppies too heavily on the bottom. You get...

Wilbur Charles said...

-T, I guess (Windows)3.11 that preceded Win-95 is what I'm talking about. The new gui just made a simple interaction for an ex-programmer require a new learning curve without new features. Of course it was just the opposite for non IT types who loved that same user interface. The article mentioned that Microsoft just like DEC* (fatally) never 'got' the social revolution while it's (DEC's)32000 or more employees were revelling in it.

Brian, that clip was definitely 'My Cousin Vinnie'. Mislabelled?mis-linked??? Also, how about taking a stab at "partials"(Friday issue). Actually, Lemon's "YoHo(ho) illustration worked for me(Piratical rum preceder?)ie you need the last 'ho'.

The problem with the old popcorn method (oil on bottom of closed pot) was the cleanup.

"I coulda been a contender" if only Brian had chosen the other brother.

I thought today was easy-medium with some (STEVE, PEPSI ) trickily quirky clueing. Last week I said medium-hard and everyone else said very hard. Btw, I tried to introduce XW'ing into a breakfast conversation and (re) understood why we're HERE.


The big problem? DEC reorganized into a top down structure best illustrated by the ALTA VISTA debacle.
Also, the concept of the PC as a spying device not a tool for users.

jfromvt said...

Like others, I thought it was a fairly easy Saturday. But enjoyable, with lots of interesting clues and answers.

Vermontah said...

Nice doable Saturday puzzle. Fun play-by-play, too. Funny picture of the motel that will do in a PINCH. Was reminded of a No-Tell motel that used to be near the Holland Tunnel going into NY from Jersey. The sign said "Love Thy Neighbor - HERE!"

Did have to look up a couple of things. (Is this a mortal sin in solving? Can I still say I FIR'ed the thing if Mr. Google helped with a couple of answers? Probably not; I accept your censure.) USTINOV came from Google. I was pretty sure about NEONATE but looked it up to confirm it was indeed a word, which it is.

I prefer the orginial clue for CHIN. A "chin" isn't really an exercise. A "chin-up" is an exercise, one that in my old (okay, okay, not-so-old) age I am completely incapable of performing.

Glad I wasn't the only one who was almost stumped by PINCH. SITCH? PATCH? LURCH? Droll clue for PEPSI, which was solved by perps anyway and somewhow PINCH just solved itself.

Oh, I had to look up Silicon Forest, too. Had never heard of that. That and PERILS finally gave me ROPERS, which was a clever one. I kept thinking of the football cowboys, but TACKLERS didn't fit, nor did MONSTER OVERSIZED BULLIES WHO FALL DOWN A LOT. (I swear, football, what a weird game. All they do is fall down. Every play.) Give me a diamond, and knuckleballs, and flies, and suicide squeezes any day. For more on this, please enjoy George Carlin's comparison and contrast of football and baseball: (How do y'all manage to turn a link into a clickable link? Is this some kind of HTML wizardry that I once know but have now forgotten? Something to do with a href and some greater-than/lesser-than symbols? 21st-century-ing is so hard.

Wilbur Charles said...

Here it is Carlin clickable

Spitzboov said...

Vermontah - Go here

How to create a LINK

Ray - O - Sunshine said...

The CHIN issue is apparently a gitch in the computerized construction of the puzzle. The CWCDC (crossword center of disease control) has determined a virus has infected the program and are requiring 2 week quarantine or social distancing while doing the puzzle. Masks optional. 😷

Wilbur Charles said...

I see Spitz found CC's succinct how-to. This may help or not

Here is how I produce a link(I use Android Smartphone) 1. I went to "View web version" at bottom after comments. 2. In the long list at right after interviewees, under olio go to Create comment links. 3. Cut and paste this somewhere usable; i put it in messages to myself. 4. When linking :a. Cut and paste #3 into a document*; b. Find the link and save it in the clipboard; c. erase the letters url on #3;d. Paste the link there: e erase "link text" and type in your description
5. Select the new link text, copy it and paste it to the comment section.

I would advise doing a naked link text without a bunch of other stuff much like I did with Carlin

Hope this helps. Cutting and pasting is a little tricky in a handheld cp; press down until you see two blue circles and manipulate them around text to be copied.


* I use Documents to create comments and select, copy and paste into comments. Then preview, edit, publish.

Brian Paquin said...

Wilbur Charles:
My problem with the Vinny link might have originated with cross-border copyright issues. Very hard to be sure. We can view most Youtube clips, but not all.
But it is OK now, through the magic of computers. Somehow.

Bobbi said...

This puzzle has been parsed an trashed pretty well today. I finished passing out food to families effected by the Corona virus or are out of work. Felt really good ...until attempting this stinkeroo! PEPSIvPEPSI COKE "WAR"?? Where are the casualties? Too much of a stretch 4 me! My Jr. High PE Coach would have you doing 50 "knuckles" (push ups) if you called chin ups "CHINS"! I thought RHET was a Butler!WIT BIT = MOT??? OH, my head hurts!! Thank goodness I had an hour to waste on this ??puzzle??. Better luck next time, Brian!! Now, back to the important stuff: awarding scholarships.

Brian Paquin said...

None of my clues for the entries that you mentioned survived the editing process. Well, RHET was very close, but I avoided RHET Butler because I tend to use too many proper names. I thought that the comments were very positive. Felt really good.

CanadianEh! said...

Late to the party again. But I had to drop by to thank fellow- Canadian Brian (DH went to Queens so we know Kingston),and HuskerG.
I actually finished a Saturday CW, but hand up for Reams not REEMS, and not getting HAS GAME (I had Jade!)

But this Canadian remembers Bobby Curtola!

Lucina said...

Did anyone else watch the documentary "GRANT"? It was recorded so I'm not sure when exactly it started and is very good, well done. It shattered some negative perceptions I had about our 18th President. Apparently those negative ideas were not accidental as the South resented his attempts at Reconstruction and worked to ruin his legacy.

Anonymous T said...

Brian - I hope you avoided RHET Butler 'cuz he has two Ts in both names. :-)
I had no issue w/ RHET b/c Dr. DW is a very skilled rhetorician [studied language and all that] and wins every argument (I know what's good for me).

Bobbi - is there a link to help? Email me - don't post it

WC - Compaq bought DEC and 86'd the flagship Alpha. Then HP bought Compaq and destroyed both themselves. Bean-counters - whatcha gonna do?

Vermontah - I consider xwords like golf; you play against yourself [unless you're in Tournament then it's a different set of marbles].
Personally, I won't brag FIR unless it was in ink w/ no external references. WO's I think are OK. Others play by more strict rules.
//Carlin is A ONE! Thanks.

Lucina - I'm sure the New Dixiecrats tried to besmirch and undo everything previous administrations did to... Nope. No politics here. //Oy! did some post SpaceX speeches get my Irish up today...

OMK - EASY TIP DOGS? Do I need to call for help? :-)

Cheers, -T

Anonymous T said...

oops - sorry Brian. Rhett only has two Ts in 1st name. -T

Lucina said...

I believe it's more history than politics but I guess there are those that would argue the point.

Brian Paquin said...

Ah, another reason to avoid RHET Butler. I never got as far as checking the spelling.

TTP said...

Husker, when you wrote, "I’ve never heard of your Canadian Rock and Roller" were you talking about Bobby Curtola or Bryan Adams (inre your Fenders image) at 20A ?

I listened to the Bobby Curtola song in the link that Brian provided. I don't recall it.

Bryan Adams was also from Kingston, Ontario. He had some really good songs in the 80's and 90's. Run To You, Cuts Like a Knife, Heaven, Summer of 69 and more.

Who was the # 1 Canadian Rock and Roll act ? I'd say the answer might be personal, largely dependent on your rock music tastes and generation. Some might say The Guess Who or Bachman Turner Overdrive, some might say Neil Young, some might say Bryan Adams, but we all know one thing for sure. For Dash T, the each of the top 10 slots would be filled with the name of one group. Here's a hint: Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart. Rush to the google search bar if you aren't sure.

CanadianEh! said...

LOL TTP. Thanks for the Canadian rock and roll info. Nice to update our American audience re Canadian culture eh! And AnonT will applaud your Rush choice.