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Feb 6, 2021

Saturday, February 6, 2021 Ezra Brauner

 Themeless Saturday by Ezra Brauner

Today's constructor is Ezra Brauner from Teaneck  N.J. He is a third year computer science student at Rutgers. Here's what he had to say about this puzzle:

Hi Gary,

 I find it interesting seeing the final puzzle ahead of time, particularly comparing the submitted and final clues. Cluing is challenging for me: I'm not so comfortable with proper cluing syntax and I find it hard to focus on one clue at a time. Most of my clues were changed: some had words rearranged to be made shorter but are effectively my clues, while others were probably too out there. There were many clues that I see now were too wordy; some of the clues that were changed entirely were long, so I understand making them more concise. I'm a somewhat new constructor, but I think my cluing skills are improving.

On the other hand, grid filling is my favorite part of the process: it's analytical, which meshes with my computer science background. I think this themeless was one of the first I made. My focus now, when filling a themeless grid, is packing it with interesting long entries, but here I think I was going for a clean grid, filled largely with familiar words and phrases. This is an earlier work of mine so the clues I wrote then were probably a bit strange.

I'm happy to have a puzzle in the LA Times!

Best,
Ezra Brauner










Across:

1. Big name: SUPERSTAR and 10. Put together: BUILT and 23. 10-Across dude: HE MAN - A vintage photo of someone who fits all three categories and literally has a Big Name


15. Early program marketing method: SHAREWARE - Early on I had a lot of floppy disks with SHAREWARE on them. Most of it was junk but...

16. Clarinetist Shaw: ARTIE - A self-described "difficult man", he was married 8 times including to Lana Turner and Ava Gardner who is seen with him here. 


17. Passing words: NONE FOR ME - When a waitress asked my friend if he wanted more coffee, he always said, "NONE FOR I". I applied the old Ann Landers test, "Is anything going to be any better if I say something?"

18. Comes up: RISES.

19. Byron's "__ Walks in Beauty": SHE She walks in beauty, like the night 
Of cloudless climes and starry skies - My learned friends will see the iambic tetrameter. 

20. Pressed: URGED.

21. 24-Across' love, with "the": BEAST and 24. 21-Across' love: BELLE (The Beauty of whom Lord Byron might have written). Here is BELLE (Beauty) and the BEAST


22. "God in His wisdom made the fly / And then forgot to tell us why" poet Nash: OGDEN -  Iambic tetrameter again?

23. Campus building word: HALL - I was a freshman in Morey HALL in 1964,  it was old then and is still in use 58 yrs later


27. Satisfied for now, with "over": TIDED - After tomorrow, we football fans have to find something to TIDE us over until next fall

29. Trip-taking aid: LSD - Dr. Timothy Leary was one of the first travel guides

32. Biting: ACID - This adjective is a noun in the LySergic ACID Diethylamide at 29 Across 

33. Alarmist: FEAR MONGER - We all know who the famous one was in the Aesop Fable 

35. Been in the fridge for too long: GONE BAD.

37. "That I can answer!": EASY ONE - I was so happy granddaughter face-timed me to get help with this algebra problem this week and that I was able to walk her through it. I hope Bill G. reads this today!


38. Justice who clerked for Thurgood Marshall: ELENA KAGAN.


40. Bottom-line bummer: LOSS.

41. Spill preventer: LID - This MacDonald's Coffee LID tells you the contents are hot in two languages, has two "push in" indicators in case it is Decaf or Other and the opening folds down into a recess to stay out of the way. Oh yeah, it can stop spills too.


42. Shroud: BEDIM - Online dictionaries call this a rarely used word

43. Presages: BODES - The Chiefs' roster BODES well for its chance in the Super Bowl tomorrow 

44. Uses Venmo, say: PAYS - An app that is owned by PayPal


46. Held for a more opportune time: SAT ON - Hawkeye and Trapper John SAT ON Spearchucker Jones until after halftime to run up the bet and then turned him loose.


48. Not suitable: INAPT - I have the amazing facility to do something INEPT at an INAPT time.

50. Bridge action: REBID Clear as mud to me

51. Harley-Davidson's NYSE symbol: HOG - Harley Owner's Group. Yesterday:




54. Household nickname: POPPA - An alternate spelling of what grandkids (ages 23 - 15) call me.


55. Self-reflection period: ALONE TIME - I have been "hip-deep" in adolescents my entire life

57. The "O" in football's OBJ: ODELL - ODELL Beckham is mostly remembered for this catch as a Giant. When he and his ego left Cleveland, the Browns got better.


58. Ready to be turned on: PLUGGED IN.


59. Shemar's "Criminal Minds" role: DEREK  - Here ya go

60. Two-person exchange: TETE-A-TETE - and this piece of furniture takes its name from this exchange that it facilitates 


Down:

1. Figures to protect, briefly: SSNS - I have the SSN for thousands of people in my files from hiring them when they were kids

2. "Here comes trouble!": UH OH.

3. Glazier's job: PANE.

4. "Blood hath been shed __ now": Macbeth: ERE -Act 3, Scene 3 - (Banquo's ghost appears) Blood hath been shed ere now, i' th' olden time, ERE humane statute purged the gentle weal. (Translation: In ancient times, before there were laws to make the land safe and peaceful, a lot of blood was spilled.)

5. Harbor: REFUGE.

6. Symbol of military power: SWORD.

7. Marketing tailored to personal tastes: TARGETED AD - As soon as I searched for bird feeders, ADS for them started appearing on other pages I viewed

8. Georgia neighbor: ARMENIA - Nogorno-Karabakah (shown in red below) is claimed by both ARMENIA and Azerbaijan


9. Oboist's need: REED.

10. Rihanna's birthplace: BARBADOS - This is her childhood home in Bridgetown, BARBADOS. The street has been renamed Rhianna Drive.


11. One of the archangels: URIEL - There are seven of them and each is associated with a day of the week. URIEL's is Tuesday

12. "We're cool": IT'S ALL GOOD.

13. Rests: LIES - If for some reason this golfer LAYS his ball in the sand trap, he can then say the ball LIES there.

14. Final, e.g.: TEST.

22. Long-ago: OLDEN.

24. Everything __: BAGEL - They could be topped with most anything. Common toppings include poppy seeds, sesame seeds, onion flakes, garlic flakes, pretzel salt, and pepper. 


25. Food recall trigger: E-COLI - Uh, this would not be an appropriate topping

26. Binder filler, perhaps: LINED PAPER - I'm sure your binder if fine but if you want to talk LINED PAPER to us baby boomers:

28. Fervently hope for: DREAM ABOUT.

30. Make __: SENSE.

31. Get ready, as for a fancy dinner: DRESS - What? You don't change clothes for dinner? How gauche!

33. Forges: FAKES - There is only one forgery in this note. The forger changed (sloppily) the April 14 date from 1864 to 1865, the day Lincoln was assassinated, because he thought that he could sell it as perhaps the last document Abe signed.


34. Common toothbrush material: NYLON.

36. Speech that's hard to follow: BABY TALK - I could swear she said "Daddy"

39. Ballet whose title heroine dies in Act I: GISELLE - GISELLE features these "back from the dead brides" known as the Wilis. This may have been the origin of getting the "willies".


43. Barrio market: BODEGA - Jerry bounced a check at his BODEGA 


45. With 48-Down, only its Touch is still in production: APPLE and 48. See 45-Down: IPOD - Costs much less than an iPhone, but, oh yeah, it is NOT a phone.

47. Trace amount: TINGE - Last Saturday this was mistaken for TINCT in Joe Deeney's puzzle

49. Joint: NODE.


50. Mesmerized: RAPT - This little finch has Lily's RAPT attention.


51. Surprise party cry: HIDE - "No giggling!"


52. Leave unsaid: OMIT.

53. Trait carrier: GENE - How 'bout a round of "Name That GENE" (answers below)


56. Saigon New Year: TET.


NAME THAT GENE: Hackman, Rayburn, Kelly, Autry, Wilder, Pitney




57 comments:

OwenKL said...

In life's profusion of concern,
Some ALONE TIME each must burn.
Don't be PLUGGED IN,
It's not a sin
To meditate on what we learn!

OGDEN NASH was a SUPERSTAR.
I'd like to be like him, by far!
If my little poem
Could transform
Into a shiny, new Nash car!

OwenKL said...

{A-, A.}
Sorry I haven't been around for a few days. One of the plagues of being a sensitive, eccentric, bipolar poet is that I'm given to fits of depression. And if any of you follow me on Facebook, you know I fell in the bathroom yesterday, and had to call EMTs to help. You'd think that would make me even more depressed. Maybe it will, but here I am writing poems again. Altho the first one here and the one over at Jumble Hints are particularly somber.

Pawel Fludzinski said...

Nice puzzle, but as always, enjoyed Gary's comments. With apologies to Robert Duvall, "love the smell of algebra in the morning".

desper-otto said...

Good morning!

I love not being under pressure to find the theme. Zipped right through this one. Nice to see those stacked nines in the NW and SE. "Everything BAGEL" was slow in coming. Where I grew up, only doughnuts came in that shape. Nobody would've known what a BAGEL was. Nice LAT debut, Ezra. Thanx for the sterling expo, Husker. (BODE: Now I know the name of one of the teams in the Super Bowl.)

GENE: Recognized the first 5 GENEs right away. My guess for #6 was Pitney, and I was going to ask you to verify that. Oh, it wasn't a real test -- "(Answers below)." Dang, missed the reveal again.

Wilbur Charles said...

Thoughts before reading the review. Let's start with gloom/ for shroud. I had TARGETED but is it to?as?. And what kind of SELLE is in this ballet? Sticking to BAD over olD and finally remembering ELENA KAGAN I started to unravel the East. But I was unfamiliar with Venmo.

And of course I had no idea re. ODELL and DEREK. And finally NODE. I said to Phil "How is NODE a Joint?". He gave a computerese answer maybe Gary will elucidate. Btw, after reading everything posted about (FLN) Monk vs DOM I can't accept the clue.

But I did manage to close the week with the two FIR's. Now for the write-up. I'll post now and read it and post some more later.

WC

Disciple of Nan'l said...

All four one!

nONEforme
gONEbad
easyONE
alONEtime

Anonymous said...

"POPPA" is not an "alternate spelling"; it's a misspelling of "PAPA."

inanehiker said...

This was a sea of white for the longest times - though Ezra threw me a few bones with OGDEN Nash and ARTIE Shaw. Some recess of my brain remembered that ELENA KAGAN had clerked for Thurgood Marshall and Rihanna's home was BARBADOS. So small victories slowly filled for a FIR. The ODELL and DEREK stack was a slow corner. VENMO was in the front of my mind as that is how my kids like to exchange money rather than a check- and yesterday I had to update my info for the app. I thought it was funny to have TET cross TETE A TETE!

Thanks HG for another fun blog and congrats to Ezra! Thanks Ezra for stopping by - I figured you were a young man - all the Ezras are either 20 and under or 110 years old!

Hungry Mother said...

FIR, but a long slog. Very well constructed puzzle which required me to gradually fill things in. My favorite clue was for FAKES. Worthy challenge. More like this, but only once per week.

jfromvt said...

Very good puzzle! Well constructed, with the right level of difficulty for a Saturday.

ATLGranny said...

Slept in and got a late start on this challenging Saturday puzzle. Lots of white to begin with, but s l o w l y the answers came. For Georgia neighbor first thought of Alabama, then Florida before realizing, oh, that Georgia! The SW corner was my last trouble spot with APPLE IPOD my last fills. Then reading Husker Gary's review I found my UH OH spot: I left BEtIM and TARGETED At. FIW today. I feel fine with that since a Saturday puzzle is not an EASY ONE. Thanks Gary. You are our Saturday SUPERSTAR. And thanks Ezra. Keep them coming when you have time.

Happy and safe weekend to you all.

Ray - O - Sunshine said...

Attention!! This puzzle is closed down immediately by order of the CW Department of Heatlth. ECOLI has been discovered next to an "everything" BAGEL GONE BAD.So my FIW doesn't count. 😠

Sits/LIES held up the NE. But the SW corner was fatal. Filled with Pappa/POPPA and Orell/ODELL (was thinkig OJ's first name, but that's Orenthal) so FIW with a final incorrect guess at NODE (nare wha? I shoulda NODE better!). I'm ired because I recalled and filled the clumsy word INAPT from previous puzzles which didn't help.

GPS quickly changed to MAP (the clue had no abbrev.) Started to write John without first counting enough spaces for Roberts, perpwalked ELENA. Estonia too far from GEORGIA; chose ARMENIA correctly over Albania. SWORD may have equalled military might in the era before gunpowder. Try ICBMS now

Was taught there are 3 archangels, Michael, Gabriel, and me, 😇 Raphael (RAY'-feël) But many writings add more, mix and match, including URIEL. Glad it was TINGE and not tinct this time. Can't have GONEBAD if ITSALLGOOD

An addition to the Bowery Boys Building: Huntz HALL

Man cave once .....OLDEN
Archangel nemesis ....SATON
Cash lending period....ALONETIME
To Simon's dismay the Pieman did not...SHAREWARE

Owen KL..poetry (reading and writing) sounds like good therapy and brings smiles to the blog 😊

Memforest said...

Excellent puzzle Ezra - and an early effort at that! FIR with credit to my history-teachier-wife for ELENA KAGAN.

As an aside, isn't it remarkable how our brains work? (or sometimes don't) I labored for 30 minutes and was stuck on the NW and SE. Then I hit pause and chatted with my daughter awhile and came back with fresh eyes. RAPT quickly unlocked the bottom corner. Then of course it had to be ARMENIA which made SUPERSTAR obvious. I polished it off in no time. Walking away is especially helpful on Sundays!

OwenKL, I hope you make a speedy recovery and keep looking on the bright side. And keep those poems coming!

Pedantic Teacher said...


Gary, great blog ! for an otherwise pretty difficult crossword.

But the math problem, and solution, you posted. Not very good.
The problem should have been solved in 3 steps. Thats it.

Reduce, Normalize, Simplify. Immediately.
I would have graded that solution a B+, even if it had the correct answer.

The need for y*-8 is completely unnecessary.

It takes one step to ( 1 / x*-1. y*-1 ) *-2

The handwriting also needs to be much improved.
A neat handwriting prevents many errors.

Sorry, but had to comment.

Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

This was a Saturday treat, filled with lots of fresh lively entries: Baby Talk, Tête-à-tête, Dream About, Targeted Ad, etc. I got my Beasts’ and Ogres’ love interests mixed up and confidently filled in Fiona until perps changed it to Belle. I also misread the Nash clue and thought it was looking for a poem, not the poet. I also had Spoiled before Gone Bad. Liked the duos of LSD/Acid and iPod/Apple. I especially appreciated a well-constructed puzzle containing only 6 three letter words.

Thanks, Ezra, for a very enjoyable and satisfying solve, hurry back soon and thanks, HG, for the usual dazzling and delightful commentary, links, and visuals. Always fun to see the Queen Feline, Miss Lily,

Nice offerings, Owen, hope you feel better.

I received a very legitimate-looking email yesterday from an acquaintance in Florida explaining that he needed a favor, could I reply ASAP. I replied with pleasantries and asked how I could help. He answered with a nonsensical story of how it was his niece’s birthday and because he was traveling, he couldn’t get her an iTunes gift card, so could I order it for him. Well, that raised several red flags: Why couldn’t he order it, why couldn’t his wife order it, etc. At that point, I knew there was a scam going on, so I wrote back and suggested he send an e-gift card to his niece. His dumb response to that was he tried but Amazon kept rejecting his credit card, so could I please help him out. I never replied and called my friend in Florida to alert him that his email account had been hacked. I was the 7th bearer of this bad news. A dollar amount was never mentioned, but had I not already had doubts, that definitely would have been the tip-off. Another thief thwarted!

Have a great day.

Shankers said...

Inexplicably, this started out like a Monday. The top one-third went quickly, the middle third a little less so, and the bottom third the slowest, but nothing to prevent a FIR in half the normal Saturday time. Odell and Derek in the SW were perped and the SE was gotten one square at a time. Oh, and bedim at 42A? Really?? Excellent debut Ezra. I look forward to your next challenge.

Big Easy said...

After filling the NW in less than a minute I came to a dead stop and it was UH OH. I had a sea of white until I hit the SE with the easy fills of TET, HOG, OMIT, BODEGA, & TETE-A-TETE. But I did FIR. So many multiple choices to try.

EXAM, LAST, or TEST for "Final", NO BID or REBID for "Bridge action", PRIMP, PREEN, or DRESS, MAP or GPS, and changing MAKES to FAKES for "Forges". Then there were the double fills that needed one to be able to fill the other: BELLE & BEAST, APPLE & IPOD, and BUILT & HEMAN.

DERED, GISELLE, BAGEL & BARBADOS were unknowns. Never heard the term 'everything bagel'.
OBJ- an easy one for LSU fans.

Gary-SAT ON - Hawkeye and Trapper John SAT ON Spearchucker Jones- I'm sure the PC Word Police will try to ban that word. I knew all the GENEs except Gene Pitney, who I've never heard of.

oc4beach said...


Can't say I FIRed the puzzle because I had to turn Red Letters on with less than half of the puzzle filled in. There were some interesting clues, though. Gary's tour through the grid explained a lot.

Stumbles and unknowns along the way:

BEAST and BELLE. Never saw the movie.
BEDIM. Who knew.
INAPT, could have been INEPT.
For Venmo I wanted PAID vs PAYS. I don't use it or PayPal.
For 35A I tried SPOILED before GONEBAD.
And for FORGES I tried MAKES before FAKES.

So, an official FIW.

Yesterday, DW and I got our first Moderna Vaccine shot. We were scheduled to get it on the 13th. But on Thursday after taking a 42 mile drive to the hospital to make sure I knew the way I stopped into the big tent they had set up in the parking lot to see if there was any possibility for getting an earlier shot. There weren't that day but they did have two openings on Friday afternoon. So, it was worth the extra trip. Plus it got us out of the house for a nice drive and a hot fudge sundae on the way home. Four weeks from now we will go back for the second shot. My only issue is a little soreness in my arm.

Unlike some states, Pennsylvania has not done a very good job in handling the distribution of the vaccines. So, I think I'm pretty lucky to have gotten the shot.

BTW: today is National Ice Cream for Breakfast day. Celebrate!

I hope all of you get your shots soon.

Have a great day and please wear your masks.

Spitzboov said...

Good morning everyone.

Part of the puzzle, especially the SW was short on things I knew ABOUT. Finally accepted help with ODELL, But got everything else so, an OK solve. The NW came easily, but then had to pick my way thru the rest of it. Luckily, fill like FEARMONGER and ELENA KAGAN were strong and branched out well. Liked TÊTE -À-TÊTE. Had sits before LIES and bib before LID. Brain fart caused entry of Uriah before URIEL. I think Uriah was the Hittite.
POPPA is a variant of Papa according to Merriam. Nickname in clue permits latitude in spelling anyway, IMO.
Harbor (harbour in Canada) - - German Hafen, L. German Haven, Dutch haven. Closely related to English haven.
SSNS - An SSN is a nuclear-powered general-purpose attack submarine. SSN is the US Navy hull classification symbol for such vessels; the SS denotes a submarine[1] and the N denotes nuclear power. . An SSBN would be a ballistic missile submarine. Crewmen on SSBN's are affectionately known as "Boomers"

Great job, Ezra. I like your work with the long downs.
Husker, good job as always. Thanks.

Ray - O - Sunshine said...

Still can't completely wrap my head around this editing stuff.

So the constructionist must submit his work to the CW politburo who make changes, in some cases including most of the clues and or answers, in order to permit publication. Then the constructionist may publicly acknowledge in the blog how appropriate the changes were and signs his name. To anyone not blogging and simply doing the puzzle the entire crossword looks to be the constructionist original idea. Today's newspaper adds no editor's name.

How long does it take for the edited puzzles to get mailed back from the Pyongyang or Beijing re-education camps? 🙊

Master Ezra Brauner (he looks too young to call Mr.) Likely did an excellent original job.

It would be interesting to view his and other unedited puzzles to see what so badly needed to be changed. Reading various blog comments it's obvious edited puzzles arent so perfect either.

End of rant....🙄

BYW: great job HG.

Irish M: easy to be fooled but better not to open an email that seems even slightly suspicious to avoid viruses. Email the sender directly.

Lucina said...

Hola!

Thank you, Ezra, for the challenge! It was a slow slog for me not an EASY ONE. I started with ARTIE Shaw whose records (vinyl) I have one or two but no player.

Then I recalled having heard that Rihanna was from BARBADOS thanks to watching Entertainment Tonight. HOG was in a newspaper article some time ago and I thought it odd.

OGDEN Nash is unforgettable and Owen reminds me of him. It's that impish mind. But I'm sorry you have been depressed, Owen. I hope the muses can help.

Back in the days when I watched Criminal Minds, DEREK was eye candy! However, I had no idea about ODELL which just emerged.

URIEL is not a common name but I did have one student in fourth grade by that name.

Yes, I noticed E-COLI crossing GONE BAD.

Have a great day, everyone!


Lucina said...

Gary, you are in rare form today. Thank you for the sparkle!

Irish Miss:
Good for you that you realized the scam.

Malodorous Manatee said...

So much good stuff this morning. Ezra, congratulations. Gary, great recap. OwenKL started us off with a well-deserved SO to Ogden Nash. But the topper is Ray's well targeted rant. Kudos to all!

The puzzle was solved by Valerie and I by getting our first toehold in the NE and then things went almost exclusively clockwise. I often find myself finishing up in the NW which is weird because that is where I usually start. There must be a reason for this but I sure don't know what it is.

Husker Gary said...

Musings
-Irish, I got a similar “email” from a high school acquaintance who claimed he was now living in Nigeria (Hmm…Nigerian prince?). Anyway I replied that if you really are [insert name], you would clearly remember the name of the Rexall Druggist where we grew up. Game over!
-Pedantic – The solution I posted was done by her teacher and Elise just needed me to explain his thought processes which I did. One thing about algebra, if you don’t violate any rules you can still can to the correct answer. BTW, my handwriting would have been worse.
-Granddaughter 2 – Here is where we are going with and her family on Tuesday!
-As for the PC police
-My favorite Gene Pitney song is impossible to name (he and Brenda Lee were the EMO singers of my yute) – Mecca, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence, Town Without Pity, It Hurts To Be In Love, etc. YouTube each at will!
-The snowblower is calling my name but the snow is the powdery stuff they put in snowblower commercials.

Anonymous said...

Too many unknowns for me and the clues didn't help. I think I'll skip Saturday's and wait for Monday's puzzle.

Irish Miss said...

Ray O @ 11:15 ~ There was nothing even slightly suspicious about receiving an email from a friend, so I had no reason not to read it. I’m very vigilant with all online functions, as I am with telephone scammers and telemarketers, thanks to Caller ID. I’m well aware of spoofed names and numbers, so I let the answering machine determine the legitimacy of the caller.

desper-otto said...

Ray-O, once you sell your puzzle to a newspaper or syndicator, you've given up all rights to it. They're free to change it as they see fit. They're not even obligated to put your name on it when they publish it, though they usually do. The editors make changes for consistency's sake. The editor may make the clues more Monday-easy or Saturday-difficult. Clues are reworded for clarity and often completely replaced. At the "end of the day" the puzzle becomes a collaborative effort between the original creator and the editor, with the editor having final say on all changes.

NaomiZ said...

My thanks to Ezra for an excellent, very challenging puzzle; to Rich for making the clues accessible; and to Husker Gary for patiently explaining it all. I had a hard time getting started in the NW, and did better after that, but FIW because I had PaPPA, and couldn't make sense of NaDE. I did an alphabet run on the N in INAPT, but didn't question my PaPPA, so FIW.

OwenKL, another A+ for Poem #1. I hope you feel better soon.

Ray-O, I LOL'd at the closing of the CW by the Dept of Health. Nice one!

All y'all, I enjoy playing along with you and reading your comments. Ciao for now.

Becky said...

Well, couldn't finish yesterdays or todays. So sad. But I still enjoy!! Owen, I'm so sorry for your problems, thank you for your poetry. Bathrooms and kitchens are dangerous places. But we can't really stay out of them. I, for one, would love to stay out of the kitchen. And my husband spends an inordinate time in the bathroom. He takes a book.

Becky

Picard said...

I only know Beauty and the BEAST. Never heard the name BELLE before. My father was a jazz CLARINETIST so I knew ARTIE Shaw. No idea about ODELL or DEREK. That corner was last to fill to FIR.

Husker Gary Thank you for the reminder about the Jerry Seinfeld episode at the BODEGA.

Here is the Jerry Seinfeld clip about the bounced check at the BODEGA.

Star Trek featured that Byron line when Spock mind melds with a very alien creature.

Spock as alien gazes at the beautiful Uhura and recites the line SHE WALKS IN BEAUTY, LIKE THE NIGHT.

The HALL I lived on at MIT was very... unusual. I can probably find some photos if anyone is interested.

From Yesterday:
WA Seeley, AnonT, Wilbur Charles Thank you for the kind words about my WRIGHT PLACE photos. Hope you got to see them, too LEO III

AnonT Actually, the photos were from the 1970s, not the 1950s! Perhaps my mother's sun glasses were retro or perhaps they were left over from the 1950s!

WA Seeley Thank you for recalling Sligo Creek where I photographed the TOADs laying EGGS. I never heard of Cherry Hill except in New Jersey! But I see the Washington Hospital Center indeed is near the far end of Sligo Creek. A long bike ride for me on my father's 1950s Royce Union.

Big Easy said...

Gary & Agnes- referring to "-Irish, I got a similar “email” from a high school acquaintance who claimed he was now living in Nigeria (Hmm…Nigerian prince?"

Emails, phone calls, and snail-mail- that's nothing.

I had a "Nigerian Prince" dressed like a real one come to my office wanting to buy pharmaceuticals to ship back to his father's principality in Nigeria. After not so politely telling him that I didn't have an export license. He didn't get the hint Then I said he had 5 seconds to leave before I called the Sheriff. He left.

As a wholesaler I would only sell to hospitals and drug stores. No doctors or other medical professionals. They may have had a DEA number but I didn't ever want to get involved with any bad apples.

Ray - O - Sunshine said...

DO: Thanks for the information/explanation. I would be reluctant to have my name penned to a puzzle or any published material with changes I had no control over. What if something extremely offensive or controversial was inadvertently included? Plus,to whom is our blog praise or complaint really directed, author or editor?

A quote from an March 2020 Atlantic article "The Hidden Bigotry of Crosswords"

"When editors review a puzzle submission, they mark it up—minus signs next to obscurities or variant spellings, check marks next to lively vocabulary. But one editor’s demerit is another solver’s lexicon. Constructors constantly argue with editors that their culture is puzzle-worthy, only to hear feedback greased by bias, and occasionally outright sexism or racism."

Don't agree with everything in the article but the some compelling issues are discussed.

Ray - O - Sunshine said...

Irish M: Didn't mean to imply that you weren't careful about opening suspicious email. I've been less than vigilant and inadvertently opened legitimate appearing spam emails.

Kelly Clark said...

What a clean, fun, and beautifully constructed puzzle...wonderful job, Ezra! Not a partial in it, only two abbreviations -- super. Add the lively entries like SUPERSTAR, BABY TALK, ALONE TIME, TARGETED AD and more it was an absolute joy to solve. Thank you!

Northwest Runner said...

Rich should have changed Saigon. That name hasn't existed for over 40 years. Lots of other ways to present that clue, many of them politically neutral.

In other news was that really a Saturday puzzle from CC in USA Today? I didn't see any baseball content. Is Erik somehow opposed?

Ol' Man Keith said...

Surprised myself with a fairly EZ Ta ~ DA!.
I often let Saturday pzls slide 'cuz I'm in a hurry to get on to other things. But Mr. Brauner's opus started falling my way fairly early on. A few WAGs turned out to be right, and that's aways encouraging.
My only write-overs were ESTONIA before ARMENIA (I was looking in the wrong direction) and RAISE before REBID ( I don't play Bridge, but figured RAISE applied to both the game and the physical structure).

Interesting message today from the constructor, Ezra Brauner. His comments re cluing confirm my suspicions as a solver--that clever cluing is at least half the game.

Sorry to see there were no diagonals today.
~ OMK

AnonymousPVX said...


Monday grids are easy, Saturday is the hardest, for sure. And when first solving, Saturday can be (very) discouraging. But you cannot get better by not doing them. When I first began I had a “Crossword Puzzle Dictionary” (by Andrew Swanfeldt).
I’m not saying I used it a lot but it is being held together by duct tape. I haven’t picked it up in some time, but it did help me get better.

A nice Saturday go that had some crunch but no issues.

Enjoy the Big Game, Stay safe.

Bill G said...

Hi Gary and everybody,

Yes I read it all including the algebra. I enjoy following the rules and simplifying expressions like the one where you helped your granddaughter, even though who knows when she's ever going to need that knowledge (except to get a good grade on an algebra test).

~ Mind how you go...

unclefred said...

Long stacks intimidate me, as I’m only a “fair” CW solver. This CW did so w/ NW and SE 3 stacks of nine, SW and NE 4 stacks of 5. I looked and decided it was over my ability, and put off trying for a long time but eventually gave it a shot. Slowly, well, VERY slowly it fell into place. TIDED was all perps. NW was last to fall. REED was easy, then with ARMENIA I WAGed SUPERSTAR. SWORD fell into place, then REFUGE. To my surprise only 5 w/o letters when I finally FIR in 41 minutes. Yep, long slog. But at the end-of-the-day, a fun CW, thanx, EB!! Great write-up,too, HG!! Thanx.

Unknown said...

A definite DNF for me. I realize Saturdays are reserved for the pro solvers, but I usually can get 3/4 filled in before I peek. This I tossed with little more than 1/4 filled. Way too esoteric for me. Well, there's always tomorrow!

Hungry Mother said...

@Northwest Runner: I’ve been in Saigon twice. The first time was on Christmas Eve 1963 when I was flying back to the states after a year in Thailand and had a layover there. The second time was on an excursion on an Asian cruise in 2018. The name Saigon was the one that the natives used.

Lucina said...

I don't know how dedicated newer solvers are to learning the techniques of solving but for further practice I recommend buying a puzzle book. Barnes and Noble has some good ones at all levels, easy to extremely difficult. Like everything else in life puzzle solving takes practice to acquire ease and especially knowledge. I have completed several books, the longest ones contain 300 puzzles. Needless to say I love solving puzzles and I work many of them during commercials while watching TV.

PK said...

Hi Y'all! Thanks, Ezra, for a satisfying challenge. I think part of my enjoyment was a carryover from just eating a pint of Haagen Dazs vanilla bean ice cream--Happiness in a carton on a gloomy snowy day. My daughter picked up my internet grocery order with the goodies. Hadn't had a delivery for a month and was down to making do with what few cans I had left as emergency rations.

Gary, you always make a good thing better.

Knew Barbados & Elena Kagan, but needed a few perps to jar the memory. DNK: odell, NODE, VENMO, URIEL, BAGEL, SHAREWARE, BEDIM. NoBID before REBID.

SSNS was last to fill. Don't know if I mentioned that I got a letter from my state dept. of labor while my computer was crashed. They informed me that my claim for unemployment compensation was denied because I was not qualified. I had never applied, knowing I hadn't had a job for 20 years. Big time scams in this state being investigated right now.

Hugs to you, Owen. If that doesn't lift your black mood, maybe some ice cream...

Anonymous T said...

Arggg!!! Off by ONE letter at BEDaM [my grid].
So close to a real Saturday win...

Hi All!

I got most of my traction in the south and worked slowly north. Finally, the center fell and, Pen-down, Exam (er, TEST) Over. Whew. Glad I had nothing better todo on this wet grey day :-)

Thanks Ezra for the puzzle; nearly got it which is a rare Saturday for me. Congrats on the debut and good luck in your studies (MS CS, me, so I feel you - what language are they focusing on these days?).

Great expo HG. Thanks for confirming aint no one never heard of BEDiM :-)
Oh, and I loved your algebra snap & the gif from The IT Crowd.
//I only got 3 of 6 GENEs

WOs: GOesBAD -> GONE, mAKES ->FAKES (Hi Oc4!) which finally gave me FEAR MONGER (was going to be bAKES | bEllriNGER for a bit so there's extra ink there).
I misspelt KAGeN's name.

ESPs: OH now -- everything was bit-by-bit. Only SHE, TET, OGDEN, and HOG were gimmes. Though I knew ELENA, I'm always hesitant on her vowels [see above :-)].
Fav: Ticker-symbol HOG is always Fun (we had Ford yesterday).

{A+, A} //sorry to hear you fell again -- your prose is not suffering.

Memforest - have we met? Welcome to The Corner.

IM! Great Job spotting the scammer. I get folks at my company reporting the gift-card scam to me about 2x a month. I know there's more but only a handful know how to spot (and report) them. //and yes, we have a CyberSec Awareness program but folks pay attention to it like I do to the other mandatory training :-)
//Ray-O: NO! do NOT email the sender; the hacker has control of that account. Contact sender out-of-band (phone, telex, whatever).

oc4 - to this day my Girls want ice cream after a Dr. apt involving a shot. That was their treat when they were 18mo/old and their treat now at 22yrs :-)

PVX nailed it. When I 1st came to The Corner, I was lucky to get a Wednesday filled 100% w/o Google. Now, Saturdays are my Everest.
Oh, I'll never compete in XWord competitions, but playing against myself - and improving - is all the fun I need.

Well, Ezra, sorry to say I can't resist; There is something better than... and they're Good [3:10].

Cheers! -T

Alice said...

I worked on Ezra’s puzzle for about 30 minutes this morning and thought it was hard. But, like Memforest, I had to leave it for a few hours. When I came back I flew through it with fresh eyes and more understanding of each clue. I loved your puzzle, Ezra and look forward to the next one!

Terry said...

I shared your pain.

Ray - O - Sunshine said...

Anon T..

FLN...Mario Bros...means Mario's last name is Mario. My aunt, Dad's oldest sister was married to Uncle Mario Mario and his youngest sister to Uncle Mario R.

To distinguish them he called Uncle Mario Mario..."Mario ditto"..😅

Anonymous T said...

This is for D-O and anyone else that KNOWs music...

So, I thought of The JudyBats at Byron's SHE (Lives in a Time of Her Own). You can ask "why?", but that's not an EASY ONE.

I went to find JudyBats playing it live ('cuz no one likes looking at nothin') and stumbled on 13th Floor Elevators from '67. Same song and way before JudyBats ('90s) apparently covered it. So, music lovers, did you know of this and left me in the dark? :-)

Both variations are fun w/ JudyBats' more 'studio'd' and 13th's 'raw.'

Thoughts?

Cheers, -T

Anonymous said...

I think this is one of those days where the puzzle is probably actually good, but just not for me.A total slog and no joy in the end. DNF, actually, for me.

Malodorous Manatee said...

Following up on what Lucina said @ 3:39 p.m., one book to look for is "The Simon and Schuster Mega Book of Crosswords". I think that they have now published Volumes One through Twenty - with the highest number being the most recent. 300 puzzles, from easy to difficult, with varying sized grids, in each volume. Many different constructors contribute to each volume. Some may be familiar. Some will be welcome new sources. Some you might not enjoy. The pages year off for easy portability. There are, of course, many other great ways to go.

Jayce said...

Friday's puzzle totally defeated me and today's partially defeated me. Time well spent, nevertheless.

LW and I got our first COVID shots yesterday. It was the Pfizer vaccine, so we've got appointments to get the second one on February 26th. No ill effects at all for either of us, with only very slightly sore arms. The whole operation was run like a well-oiled machine; Kaiser Permanente clearly has their act together on this.

Good wishes to you all.

The Pedantic teacher, again said...


HGary, thanks for your reply to my pedantic opinion. So polite and courteous.

I'm sorry I posted it, but I could not delete it, later, because of the blogger rules for pseudonym posts.
Rule No. 1. If you write a not-so-nice post, dont post it until you've walked a mile, in your own moccasins. After the walk, ask yourself, do I really want to post this ? Definitely helps.

Each person has their own way of solving, especially in Algebra. There are many ways to skin a cat. ( Not Lily.)

Thanks for your understanding.

Owen, your poems are beautiful. I hope you are getting some help, and prayers that your problems will resolve soon, for the better. I talk from some experience in such matters, many of us have been there. Keep Hope and Faith.

Michael said...

Geesh, you guys got Nigerian princes ... all I ever got was a Nigerian senator.

What has gotten worse with the spammers, is that now the cyber warfare troopers are also playing in the game.

BTW, "Tet" is only a Vietnamese word for the lunar New Year, not an 'Asian' one. (And interesting trivia: Saigon was founded in 1776!)

Lemonade714 said...

What a Saturday! Pawel, thank you for the visit and the comment. Bill G. I am so happy you posted. Becks, bathroom time is a very strange male ritual that no wife will ever understand. If you take a book or your iPad your intentions are split. PT, we encourage all comments as long as they do not violate c.C.'s rules. BEDIM is one of those real words that were very popular with the 50s and 60s NYT editors. They just have gone out of favor in our modern world. I learned how to solve with my mother and her thesaurus and CW Puzzle dictionary. If I do not solve I do not complain, nobody knows everything. If I did them all in 3 minutes or less- well there other things I do not want to be over that quickly. I need time to enjoy.

Thank you Gary amd Ezra

Lucina said...

MalMan:
That is exactly what I use, Simon and Schuster's puzzle books with 300 in them. I am currently on #256 and I really like the variety of constructors many of whom are familiar from our own LAT list.

Wilbur Charles said...

The J in O(dell) B(eckham)is J(unior)- OBJ

Big E it's a Pity
you never heard of Pitney.

Part of the USMC Camp LeJeune complex is Cherry Hill.

FB Messenger* is also prone to scams. I think I told you about the FB-Powerball special lottery. My son ROTFL when he saw that msg.

I second PVX. This xword would have been undoable five years ago. Also, I have a rule, no lookups, no giving up. The mind has to be disciplined.

Congrats to Anon-T. Bed am was virtually a typo. Your solving skills have greatly improved since I've known you on the CC. I rate this a medium hard Sat. As noted there was hanging fruit, always a big help. One Sports question and I needed five perps. Constructor Sports* and my idea of Sports greatly differ. Btw…

I saw the robot-bomb clip. Hilarious. I didn't know about that show. Music. Here's what I like from my depressive period circa 62-63. Orbison Legend in my Time**

WC

*It was a high school classmate. I should have asked him "Who was our basketball coach?

**If they gave gold statuettes for years and regrets (Byron eat your heart out)

*** I hate the acronym trend in Sports. The new generation drives us boomers crazy with analytics,acronyms(GOAT) etc.

Anonymous T said...

LEM: Re: men in bathrooms.
When the Girls were young, DW was so jealous that I could get 20+ minutes of ALONE TIME whereas, when she went to the can, it became Grand Central Station with the girls suddenly needing attention and privacy be damned.

For years it was my quite space just like my garage has become.

Cheers, -T