Mar 20, 2021

Saturday, March 20, 2021, Stella Zawistowski

 Themeless Saturday by Stella Zawistowski

Our self-proclaimed "brawny brain" is back with another fun Saturday entry. Stella is a Brooklyn-based copywriter at a pharmaceutical advertising agency and a power lifter. This picture is of Stella and a fellow alto who sings with her in the Oratorio Society of New York. (Be sure to see the picture at the bottom of the write-up). Here's what Stella told me in her note on this Spring Equinox:

My seeds for this were INDIVIDUALISTIC and DIERESIS, the latter of which is definitely characteristic of my mild obsession with slightly obscure linguistic terms. (See my NYT puzzle of 10/31/20, in which ACCENT AIGU was one of the seeds.) I dearly love seasons 1 and 2 of "Stranger Things," so that's where my mind goes whenever I put EGGO in a grid these days!


1. Garbage delivery vehicle?: SPAMBOT - "A SPAMBOT is a program designed to collect, or harvest, e-mail addresses from the Internet in order to build mailing lists for sending unsolicited e-mail, also known as spam." You're welcome.

8. World Chess Champion Carlsen: MAGNUS - MAGNUS has a sponsor deal with Arctic Investments. 

14. Susan Ruttan's "L.A. Law" role: ROXANNE - Susan is at the top next to another Susan who is a frequent cwd visitor - Ms. Dey

15. Used up a lot of: ATE INTO.

17. Like some stockings: TOELESS.

18. Attorney's knowledge base: CASE LAW CASE LAW is law that is based on judicial decisions (e.g. Miranda Decision) rather than law based on constitutions, statutes, or regulations. (Fourth Amendment: Freedom from unreasonable search and seizure)

19. "Anyone can play," on game boxes: ALL AGES - We spent many pleasant hours with our daughters playing this game for ALL AGES

20. Pretend: ACT LIKE.

21. "Who __?": New Orleans Saints chant: DAT 
"Who dat say dey gonna beat dem Saints"

22. Slowed: ARRESTED - Friction with the atmosphere 
ARRESTED the speed of the Apollo Command Module for its return to Earth

23. Intelligence: SMARTS 

26. Beginning of an apology: MEA - If Pete had just issued an early MEA culpa for betting, he'd still be in baseball.

27. One Pillar Pagoda city: HANOI.

28. Riding a Segway, say: ON WHEELS - Does this look safe to you?

34. Free-spirited: INDIVIDUALISTIC - I nominate Stella!

37. Bestowed on: VESTED IN - I retired with a nice state pension. Then I taught six more years and got VESTED IN another one.

38. "Absentia" co-star __ Katic: STANA - I watched Season One which was a variation of the 1960's TV show The Fugitive. Season Two jumped the shark for me and I bailed.

39. Permit: LET.

40. Dishonestly obtained: STOLEN.

41. Runs on: BLABBERS.

46. Term of affection: HON - I am typing this right next to our HON file cabinet. What? That's not relevant?

47. Big name in portable illumination: MAGLITE - Wow! Zombie stopping!

48. Bond first bought by FDR in 1941: SERIES E - FDR bought his six months before Pearl Harbor. LIBERTY fit too but those bonds were sold during WWI.

52. New York natives: ONEIDAS.

53. Emergency sorting systems: TRIAGES - Where I first heard the word


54. Tubular pastries: CANNOLI.

55. Fruit in some Chinese New Year customs: ORANGES - Hey. I know this brilliant woman from China who lives in Minneapolis:

Hi Gary,

The words on the red envelopes are 大吉大利, meaning "big fortune and great profit".  I mentioned on the blog a few times, it's a common practice for older people to give red envelopes to kids during Spring Festival time in Xi'an. The envelopes usually contain yuan in an amount consisting of lucky 8's such as 88, 888. Different customs in other parts of China. In Guangzhou, it's a tradition to give a unmarried person a red packet. Oranges are also considered to be good luck.



56. Hardly shines: STINKS.

57. Innocently charming: WINSOME.


1. Quinceañera honoree: Abbr.: SRTA - A tradition of introducing a young girl into society on her 15th birthday. Quince is Spanish for 15. Sidebar: I had 100 kids at a Disney Resort and two buses dropped off ninety 15-yr-old Argentinean girls who were celebrating their Quinceañera next to our rooms. Wow, that livened things up!

2. Group to select from: POOL - The NFL will soon take a dip in a POOL

3. "Beverly Hills Cop" cop Foley: AXEL - Eddie Murphy was great as AXEL but, come on, this movie had one of the best movie themes ever!

4. All thumbs: MALADROIT.

5. Less than 2% have this type: B-NEGATIVE - I'm A+. You?

6. Beginnings: ONSETS.

7. Rizzoli and Isles creator Gerritsen: TESS - She created the characters in her novels

8. Popular '90s dance: MACARENA - They must have lost a bet

9. How rush-hour traffic often moves: AT A CRAWL - The times below aren't even close to what it takes to get to see a Dodger spring training game at Camelback Ranch from Phoenix during rush hour

10. Beau __: GESTE - Beautiful GESTURE in French 

11. Physics Nobelist the year after Albert: NIELS - I taught the BOHR model of the atom for years. 

12. Hard to see in, at times: UNLIT.

13. Chips on the table: STAKE 

I'm All In!

16. Wasn't square: OWED -  Your bill 
22. Comes (to): AMOUNTS to $15. Pay me what I'm OWED and we will be square

23. Homemade knife: SHIV - More like prisonmade

24. It may be braided for competition: MANE 

25. Additions: ANDS.

29. One focused on the past: HISTORIAN.

30. Tallinn natives: ESTONIANS - There is American football in Estonia

31. Too many to name, for short: ET AL.

32. It may be a cue: LINE 

33. Medical procedure: SCAN.

35. Chatter: IDLE TALK - Conversation at the stoplight? 

36. Umlaut lookalike: DIERESIS - The two dots above the ï in na
ïve is called a DIERESIS and indicates the ï is pronounced separately. A seed entry for Stella.

40. Shepherd formerly of "The View": SHERRI Her views on, uh, The View

41. Coll. QB, stereotypically: BMOC - Big Man On Campus

42. Turner and Wachowski: LANAS - I knew about LANA Turner and was fascinated to learn about LANA Wachowski and her sister Lily

43. Office plant, perhaps: AGENT - Be careful, somebody is listening and probably shooting video

44. Pancakes served with sour cream: BLINI.

45. Try to buy: BID ON.

48. Put overhead, maybe: STOW - Considering Stella's hobby, I thought this might be LIFT

49. Eleven's favorite breakfast brand, in "Stranger Things": EGGO - EGGO paid no money for product placement like the million dollars the Hershey Company paid to have Reese's Pieces in ET. The writers simply included them in the script and sagging EGGO sales consequently increased. p.s. I was a fan too.


50. Look: SEEM.

51. Ancient being?: ESSE - Ya can't enough Latin in a puzzle!

Here is an abbreviated group of the Stella's OSNY who performed Hadel's Messiah at the conductor's farm. The orchestra was inside a barn and the singers were just outside in a grassy area with many microphones. BTW, Stella is in the back near a tree and is the eighth person from the far right.

I've posted this link before but here's another chance to enjoy it.

Notes from C.C.:

1) Happy 83nd birthday to Commander Al (Spitzboov), who is also a good friend to me and Boomer off the blog. Spitzboov has met a few people on our blog, including Argyle, Sallie and Grumpy.
 Baby Spitzboov
In Uniform

3) Happy 85th birthday to John28man! Always happy to see you on the blog, John!


OwenKL said...

DNF. Many passes, and didn't think I'd make it as far as I did. Had LIFT+LIBERTY for a long time before STOW+SERIES-E, keeping the SE locked, and making me erase HISTORIAN. ALII & (cue)BALL locked out ET AL & LINE for the longest time. But perps finally solved those. The NE defeated me. O- < B- I had wrong until red letters told me otherwise, and non-ADROIT < ILL-ADROIT ditto. but the double natick of ??EL+RO?LNN?+??SS was impossible, and 1a (for which I had wanted "media TV" or "Fox news") SP?IBO? is still stumping me as I write this.

Oops, just ran red letters again, and find it's not ilL-ADROIT! MAL perhaps?
YES! And with that in, SPAMBOT becomes obvious, and all three of those natick names even fall to easy WAGs!

MAGNUS, Robot-Fighter, four-thousand A.D.
Was an old comic book that appealed to me.
The fists that he'd wield
Were stronger than steel,
And no evil robot had more SMARTS than he!

The TALLINN natives of ESTONIA
Don't speak English, so they won't phone ya.
They don't put stock
But will BLABBER to their begonia!

{B+, A-.}

desper-otto said...

Good morning!

Spring has already sprung around here. The grass is turning green and most of the trees are in leaf (and there's ugly yellow pine pollen everywhere and on everything).

I liked the VWS* on this one. And as a bonus, if there were any sports references for me to miss, I didn't notice 'em. Nicely done to both of you, Stella and Husker. (I'm a 6% A-)

SEGWAY -- They were so popular they stopped making 'em last June.

STANA Katic -- Canadian, and probably better remembered as Kate Beckett on Castle.

SERIES E -- I recently bought some inflation-proof Series I bonds, which is more than CDs can currently promise. Hold 'em for a year, and then you're free to sell them whenever something better comes along. You can buy them online at TreasuryDirect or you can specify your tax refund to be paid in savings bonds, $5K max.

DIERESIS -- Thought that was a treatment for kidney failure. Oops, that's dialysis.

INDIVIDUALISTIC -- That's what folks say about me when they're being kind.

Happy birthday, Spitz and John28man.

* Variety of Weird Stuff

KS said...

FIR but quite a slog. Lots of unknowns.

BobB said...

36D, I thought the spelling was diaeresis, but looked the answer up as an alternative spelling.

waseeley said...


to OwenKL from 8:59PM last night. Actually we have our own time machine, a "Wayback" model we purchased circa 1960 on eBay from an Unlimited Partnership DBA "Peabody and his boy Sherman" who were subbing to a Limited partnership DBA "Rocky and Bullwinkle". Not to worry, we've already revisited the fairgrounds and corrected the faulty algorithm that was used to select our repoke date. Grandparent's Paradox? Bah, humbug.


Pawel Fludzinski said...

Nice puzzle - enjoyed it. Loved Gary's write-up - he certainly nailed it. Cannot have CANNOLI in a crossword puzzle without reference to: "leave the gun, take the cannoli"! Loved the Churchill reference as well, and then Haydn's Messiah an added treat. Well done Gary.

Bob Lee said...

I got the right side after not too much thinking, mainly because of an easy start -- as a chess player I knew it was MAGNUS Carlsen. It was because of his thumbs up for "The Queen's Gambit" that I watched it on Netflix (It was great!)

Also because I knew STANA from the long-running TV series Castle.

Left middle came next, then the bottom left after many tries.

SOOO unfair having 3 names cross in the upper left. Why do puzzle creators do that?!

I have no idea why there would be toeless socks. Ugh!

And I puzzled for a bit at the end on what the heck SPAMOOT could be until I tried the other blood types. LOL. Duh!

Hungry Mother said...

FIR with the usual weekend sloggy pace. We toured Estonia in our last cruise before the pandemic. We had to cancel an Alaskan cruise.

Wilbur Charles said...

I had runLESS on those stockings. 70 years ago that would be a big seller

Clearly Pete bet against the Reds and worked to lose the game. Easier to do as Manager.

I was trying to think of those indians that sold NYC. $24.00 was better than nutt'n

I tried Fermi then realized she wanted a first name that wasn't Marie. Stevenson (INTREPID) snuck Bohrs out of Denmark under the alias Underhill. STRIDER used the same alias with Frodo.

My * re. "Archaic" referred to BMOC

Weren't we just talking about sour cream on other stuff. I'll have mine plain.


Owen, nifty pair of l'icks

D-O, I had an instructor use the term "enigmatic". IMNT*'s wierd

FIR. But never thought I had a chance. Fortunately I had the xword available and started and finished Wednesday. I gave my brain time to work it out while I did other things.

I needed "purchase" which SHIV,EGGO,BNEGATIVE,GESTE allowed me.


*In Managua Nicaragua that's...

Wilbur Charles said...

FLN, PIQUE was my answer to that alphabet run ?

Big Easy said...

It was a complete WAG-fest today to FIR. Unknowns galore.
MAGNUS- Carlsen sounded Nordic and DW's BFF's father was named Magnus Olsen.
ROXANNE- never watched L.A. Law or hear of Susan Ruttan
STANA- ditto for "Absentia"
TESS-ditto for Gerritsen or the show; too many Thomas Hardy clues lately
NIELS Bohr- Marie Curie was earlier; just a WAG
SHERRI- The View is one of those women's shows I've never cared to look at
EGGO- other breakfast "brands" with four letters? Trix & Life.
HANOI- was looking for Japanese city but SHIV wouldn't allow
DIERESIS- no WAG on that- never heard of it-all perps
LANA- it wasn't TINA Turner and Wachowski was a total unknown

Who DAT- About 30 years ago Aaron Neville (with a couple of Saints' players) revived his career with a rendition of "When the Saints go Marching In" with "Who DAT say dey gonna beat dem Saints" inserted in the middle

Type A- down in NOLA for me

Anonymous said...

Took 12:35. That's about half the time I expected it to take when I first started.

Rita Writer said...

Wonderful fun today. Some toughies, but in a good way. Also took me about half the time, but I had to concentrate. Perfect way to get going on a Saturday... come back any time Stella!

jfromvt said...

This was an excellent puzzle! I started out slowly, but BNEGATIVE put me on the right track and opened up the puzzle for me. Perfect level of difficulty for a Saturday!

Now onto 12 hours of March Madness! Games have been exciting even with limited fans in the stands.

ATLGranny said...

A surprising FIR today after easing around the puzzle looking for possibilities. Tried "hung" before STOW and "awakens" before AMOUNTS. Those plus MEA were my WOs today. Got lucky in a few places with WAGs. I enjoyed the new fill, Stella. Thanks. And thanks to Husker Gary for your usual grand tour! Like DO and Big Easy, I am Type A-, but I have a positive attitude.

Happy Birthday to Spitzboov and John28man. Hope you and everyone else on the Corner have a nice day!

TTP said...

Happy Birthday to Spitzboov and John28man !

Loved the puzzle, Stella, but nuts !!! I seemed to be channeling you and was going to finish under 15, but then...

I entered VESTED oN instead of VESTED IN, and finished the SW corner a minute or so later after changing jock to BMOC and working out the last few words down there. No "Congratulations" message and I couldn't find an error. So nuts ! I am so not ready for competition solving.

"Rizzoli and Isles creator" - Reminded me of talking on the phone with my neighbor this winter. It went along these lines:
Me:"Whatcha doing ?"
She: "Nothing really. Just watching an old episode of Rizzoli and Isles"
Me: "I liked that program. Wasn't that with Angie Harmon and... I forget. Who was the other lead ?"
She: "I don't remember either. But I have Siri and Kathy just installed an Echo for me, so I can ask. Alexus, who was the other lead in Rizzoli and Isles ? (pause). Alexus, who starred in Rizzoli and Isles ? (pause) She's not answering."
Me: "I think you should ask ALEXA, not Alexus"

Then we chuckled. Her daughter got a kick out of it later. Too funny, but maybe you would have had to have been there...

Anyway, WHO DAT ? - I think I've mentioned before that "Who Dat" was my command to my boy (pictured as my avatar) to go on alert. He would stop whatever he was doing and take assessment, looking for any threats. "Okay, easy" took him out of alert.

I'm going to have to read Gary's review later, but before I go, there was some discussion yesterday regarding whether or not a regular on this blog is posting the repeated non-specific slams against the puzzles and their creators.

We have a troll or two, so I wanted to provide the link that explains what a troll is and what a troll does, and why they do it. The selected excerpts from that link that one should be aware of are:

"In Internet slang, a troll is a person who starts flame wars or intentionally upsets people on the Internet. This is typically done by posting inflammatory and digressive, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog), with the intent of provoking readers into displaying emotional responses."

"Like clowns in make-up, Internet trolls hide behind "anonymous accounts and fake usernames"

"Trolls take pleasure from causing pain and emotional suffering. Their ability to upset or harm gives them a feeling of power. Psychological researches conducted in the fields of personality psychology and cyberpsychology report that trolling behaviour qualifies as an anti-social behaviour and is strongly correlated to Sadistic Personality Disorder (SPD)."

The key takeaway you should get ?

The best way to deal with trolls is to not feed them. Just ignore them and don't react to the comments, or you will be giving them what they want.

Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

I still remember my first encounter with a Stella Z puzzle and it was far from pleasant. It was a Saturday but the difficulty level was way over the top, at least for me. Then, another offering showed up and that solve was a lot more enjoyable, although I can’t remember the difficulty level. So, today being Saturday, the sight of Stella’s name was a tad disconcerting but, to my pleasant surprise, I was in synch from the get-go with only the NE quadrant slowing me down. I finished in 22.49 which is a good Saturday time for me and I enjoyed every minute of the solve. The grid was very clean and much of the fill was fun and lively. Best and most impressive feature, IMO, was using only four 3 letter words. I liked the images of Blini crossing Cannoli and Oranges crossing Eggo.

Thanks, Stella, for making me smile vs pulling my hair out and thanks, HG, for the usual and much appreciated expo, visuals, and links. Half of the images didn’t show up, so I’ll check back later.

Happy Birthday, dear Spitz, hope it’s very special. Great photo, BTW. 🎂🎁🎊🎉🎈

Happy Birthday, John28man, celebrate in style! 🎂🎁🎈🎉🎊


mwv, your warm and sincere comments were very much appreciated. I hope you will become part of our “family” on a regular basis. Welcome.

Have a great day.

CrossEyedDave said...

I was having a perpfest,
(Which is unusual for a Saturday)
Until I DNF'd at the top left corner.

I had to hit the reveal button on 3 and 7 down
As I had no idea, and was too lazy to look up the names,
But still, had to, must know , what this 1A garbage delivery vehicle was..
(Does it have 4 wheels and flies?)

Happy birthday Spitz!

And Happy birthday John28man!

CanadianEh! said...

Stupendous Saturday. Thanks for the fun, Stella and HuskerG.
This started out to be a Stumper on first pass, but with P&P I FIRed.
Then I arrived here to discover it was a "creation by Stella" and I was extra-pleased to have done so well. (Like IM, I had a less than pleasant first impression.)

I counted 8 Names (most unknown to me on first glance), 2 Sports clues (21A, 41D d'o), and several foreign languages. Intimidating at first but they all perped.

The garbage had nothing to do with the noisy truck that does its rounds in our neighbourhood at 7am. on Monday mornings. LOL CED re "4 wheels & flies".
Susan Ruttan was not an Attorney (no, that was a clue in 18A CASE LAW!); she was ROXANNE (and actually a secretary which would not fit the spot).
STANA is Canadian! I must LIU as she is unknown to me (not a Castle viewer)

The "chips on the table" were STAKES. Ante was too short.
Clumsy was too short also; MALADROIT is a Saturday word.
DIERESIS was a Saturday word too; I thought of Tilde and Diacritical at first. I am familiar with diuresis (just take some Lasix!) (you were on the right track with dialysis d'o!)

I started with I Am (Sorry) before MEA perped.
I knew the French quinze for fifteen and WAGGed SRTA.

I smiled at CANOLI crossing BLINI (IM beat me!). There's some ethnic food. What is the difference between BLINI and Blintz? Just different spellings from different nationalities?? Weren't we putting ROE on the Blintz the other day. (Sour cream today for the poorer classes?)

I'm A POSITIVE too HG. Friend at school was one of those 1% AB negatives. (She is ESTONIAN) Everyone had to observe the clumping in her sample when we did Agglutination by Antibodies tests.

I had Awry before OWED for "wasn't square", and Tina before LANA Turner.
Wow, that braided MANE must have taken some time to do.

Happy 83th Birthday Spitzboov.
Happy 85rd Birthday John28man.

Wishing you all a great day.

CrossEyedDave said...

Indian hills pun of the day...

JB2 said...

Great write-up but while it was better than last Saturday, this one had too many unknowns/proper names to be fun. Cannoli is singular and plural? Several lucky wags to FIR.

Happy Spring everyone. Stay safe and well.


JB2 said...

And I forgot:

A very Happy Birthday to Spitzbov and John28man!


john28man said...

Thanks for all the greetings.

becky said...

FLN Picard, those Mt. Wilson shots were spectacular! I was wondering, have you ever taken the narrow gauge railway from Durango to Silverton? The train is followed by a helicopter with a load of water in case a spark starts a fire.

BobLee@8:21 A.M. Those pictured are actually dance tights, used by contemporary or modern dancers. They usually dance barefoot for a better grip on the floor.


Picard said...

This was very difficult for me with so many unknown proper names: ROXANNE, AXEL, STANA, ELEVEN MAGNUS, SHERRI, TESS. AXEL, ELEVEN and STANA didn't even look like names. At least NIELS was a gimme for this physics guy.

Learning moment about DIERESIS and UMLAUT. And ORANGES in Chinese New Year.

Not long ago GUADALUPE came up. I mentioned I had another set of photos from our GUADALUPE in California that was one of the most exotic experiences for me, yet so close to home. At the time I was going out with another UC Santa Barbara student who was from Mexico. Her cousin in GUADALUPE was having her QUINCEANERA party there and we attended.

Here are my photos at this memorable QUINCEANERA party.

CanadianEh Glad someone else noticed how BLINTZ has appeared twice in a row. BLINI seems to be the word in some East European languages. That is where they originated.

From Yesterday:
Lucina, WA Seeley, OwenKL, Wilbur Charles Thank you for the very kind comments about my AWE inspiring images. I am very grateful to have had so many AWEsome experiences. After the COVID crisis abates I look forward to more. Learning moment about Harry Dexter White.

From Earlier:
CrossEyedDave I see what you mean about the price of the little electric scooter. Still, it is cheaper than a car! I have seen people driving these things on the streets here.

Picard said...

Becky Thank you for asking if had ever taken the narrow gauge railway from Durango to Silverton. The answer is yes. I did not remember about the helicopter.

Lucina said...


A spectacular puzzle from Stella! All the fill was guessable though I did know a few things. STANA Katic also from Castle. She is a beauty!
I love the word MALADROIT. It sounds Shakespearean.
I'm O+ and a universal donor though I can no longer donate I'm sorry to say.
It's not unusual to see tourists ON WHEELS with their Segways around here.
WINSOME makes me think of Audrey Hepburn.
INDIVIDUALISTIC all the way across! What's not to like about that?
Well, I really messed up on BLUBBERS/AGENT and BMOC/MAGLITE and SLINKS/STINKS but otherwise it was a clean fill with no wite-out! That's a record for Saturday.

Thank you, Gary; I'm surprised you didn't stay at the hotel right next to the Cubs' training field where you could have walked over there. I often shop at the stores across the street.

A very happy birthday to you, Spitzboov!!!
And happy birthday to you as well, John28man!
What a lovely way for you both to welcome spring!

Well wishes to all on this beautiful first day of spring!

Lucina said...

Those are very nice photos but it just reminds me that I am opposed to quincenearas as a rule. I have known families who have spent up to $30,000 or more for those events. They mortgage their property or take out loans for it and for what? It's all about impressing their family and friends and indulging their children. I can understand how it all started centuries ago to present the daughters of nobles but then just continues and bankrupts people. The money would be better spent for a college education.

End of rant.

inanehiker said...

I stopped for a lunch break as we are trying to get the boxes moved from our temporary abode into our new house.

I was braced for a toughie when I saw Stella as the constructor - but it was doable!

Thanks HG for the interesting blog!

HBD to John and Spitboov!

inanehiker said...

Oh and the oranges reminded me of Christmas when our kids would always get an ORANGE at the bottom of their stocking like the kids in one our favorite Christmas kids' books "A Certain Small Shepherd". When I was a kid we always got a brown paper sack as we left church on Christmas eve service which had peanuts in the shell, an orange, and a little bit of candy - I think that was a German tradition carried on in our Lutheran church with German roots.

waseeley said...

Thank you to Stella for a doable Saturday challenge which I FIR for a change, taking a WEIGHT off my mind. And thanks to Gary for illuminating all the blank spots in the grid. Oh, and if you really want to increase the RELEVANCE of your filing cabinet, I'd start by replacing your 3 year old calendar!

At the ONSET I got 1D, as years ago Dw and I encountered a beautiful QUINCEANERA honoree being feted on the streets of the Mercado in San Antonio.

1A And thus SPAMBOT was a gimmee because it began with an S and SCOW was too short and because the constant, regular SPAMming we all see on a regular basis has to be automated with BOTS.

As progress in the NW then ARRESTED I headed east and promptly filled 10D with GESTE, but then things there immediately became "hard to see". I had a long slog of intently staring at white space and repeatedly reSCANning until an occasional MAGLITE when off in my brain revealing a new answer. That and a few obvious perps and I finally made it to the finish line.

In summary a difficult, but not insurmountable puzzle.

And HBD to Spitz and to John, whom I don't believe I've had the pleasure of meeting.


p.s. I echo TTP's sentiments on trolls. I'm with Anon -T who deals with each one with a THUMPER, a meme he lifted from Disney's Bambi. The rabbit Thumper's mother (as did my Mom and YR I believe) told him "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all". And Behavioral Psychologists teach us that "unreinforced behaviors eventually extinguish"!

NaomiZ said...

Thank goodness for the Downs! My first run through the Acrosses didn't yield much. Like others, I found many unknown proper names in today's puzzle, but perps helped me FIR. Last area to fill was the SW. Nothing is more fun than finishing the seemingly impossible task!

Becky explained how toeless stockings help dancers grip the floor. A few years ago, young ladies also wore toeless stockings with open toed shoes, both for comfort in the heel, and to enjoy the appearance of perfect legs without nylons over exposed toes, which is a fashion felony. Today, most young ladies just wear their legs bare in open toed shoe weather.

Thanks, Stella, Gary, and Rich, for the fun!

Spitzboov said...

Hello everyone.

A very Happy Birthday to John28man.

Seemed daunting at first. Shimmied down to take a chance on HANOI to get started. Filled in the bottom and then segued to the top. Magically, most of it filled correctly. Only error was I couldn't parse SPAM_OT. Sigh. But I really did like Stella's offering. Nice touch with INDIVIDUALISTIC.
CSO to Ray-O with SCAN (I think). By the way my Dermo Doc is a Dr. Raphael in Syracuse.
CANNOLI are big here in the Utica area.
ONEIDAS are an integral part of our Oneida County culture. They have a top level restaurant (Wildflower's) on their Casino campus. We had our last anniversary dinner there last June. They were one of the first post-covid (ONSET) restaurants to reopen after the 2020 March shut-downs.

Thanks to CC for the SO and to all who have so warmly wished me well. This is a great group to be a part of.

Chairman Moe said...

Puzzling thoughts:

Just birthday greetings today to Spitz and John28Man. The puzzle stumped me, so instead of BLABBERing about my errors I’ll just wish everyone a pleasant weekend

Ray - O - Sunshine said...

Saturday puzzles are theoretically the most challenging and clever. Think-outside-box clues are expected, even welcomed. At least you have a fighting chance and may end up with a head slap and a smile. But making a puzzle difficult by including too many esoteric proper names that you either know or not rather than creative, imaginative clues is one sided. It was not as common when I started doing crosswords millenia ago. There's no way you can suss those answers.* .....End of rant.

DNF ☹....Tina Turner didn't belong in the SW. Of course was looking for flora for the office, tried AGENT for a bit, never heard of DIERESIS. When my socks are TOELESS, DW makes me throw them out. ESSE, ancient being? cuz latin is an old? language? Had SPAMaol where my AOL spam ends up. ROsANNa crossed with laSS (a "natick", correct?)

* Skipped over "LA Law", "Absentia", Rizzoli etc" have never watched any of those. Did know EGGO, saw all seasons of " Stranger Things" but you wouldn't if you didn't. This could have been fun with different but still brain-busting clueing.

After yesterday not sure it's permitted but I was less than enthusiastic about this puzzle. Not a troll, I swear I have never ever lived under a bridge.

I have 2 cousins named Victor, neither wrote anything historical.

At prayer.....NIELS
Makes your "pot runneth over"....DIERESIS

What Spitz said....The ONEIDAS "Turning Stone" casino resort a few miles from Utica ranks 9th in the country outside Las Vegas. I don't gamble but world class restaurants and entertainment are topnotch.

FLN: Inanehiker thanks for your vaccine admin efforts. I have retired colleagues who had come back to our hospital at the height of the pandemic to help out on the floors.

Spitz.... Alles Gute zum Geburtstag!
HBD John 28! Birthday 🎂 🎁

Emile O'Touri said...

Srta crossing Roxanne crossing Axel in the NW.. so now we have foreign word Naticks? I like most puzzles, but I did not care for this one.A Saturday SLOG from start to finish. You're not increasing anyone's solving enjoyment by using obscure names. That really detracts from the enjoyment of the solve. Aren't crosswords suppose to be a type of riddle or puzzle? If I think hard enough I can solve it. With names and foreign words this is not possible. It becomes a matter of known/unknown random trivia with no way to solve.I'm not real big on using marginal names to achieve difficulty.

OwenKL said...

waseeley -- 😁 😁 😁! Oh, and I think Gary's calendar is to remind him of his jab date!

I wanted Coleman b4 MAGLITE. And aren't those toeless and heelless socks just spats?

Lucina, sorry, but you hit a pet peeve of mine: "...up to $30,000 or more..." Aagghh!

Durango to Silverton -- We took a drive up to Durango (only a 4 hour drive from Santa Fe) a few years ago, before her operation while Brenda still used a long white cane. She still had enough vision for sightseeing. My Dad was a railroad man, so I grew up with trains, but it would be an adventure for Brenda, so we planned that she would take the train, and I'd drive to Silverton, and we'd return to Santa Fe from there. Except it didn't work out that way. I tried to drive, but the route was steeper than my old clunker could handle! I finally had to give up and retreat to Durango, stopping at the first place I could get to a phone and frantically call the train station for help! Well, they were so solicitous to her! I'm sure they would have been even if she didn't have her cane, but even more so with that. They gave her a free ride back to Durango and her much relived hubby, and all was well!

Lucina said...

Yes, $30,000 or more. How? You might ask? First, start with the gown which can cost a few hundred or even a few thousand dollars, then the jewelry (tiara, etc.) flowers, limo, share in paying for the hall, musicians and on and on. Sometimes the girl's parents pay for the escort's tuxedo.

CrossEyedDave said...

To be honest,
In the past, I have been a vocal opponent of
French words in an English puzzle. Or worse yet,
French names crossing each other.
But now that I have given up the dead tree version
Of the puzzle (too expensive) for the online ease of modern puzzling,
I look at a french name as a "gimme."

(Hey, if the constructor had to google it to make it fit,
Then I have no qualms about hitting that reveal button...)

I still get a chance at an "aha" moment with those tough perps
& that's enough for me.
( I do declare a DNF though...)

I said it before, & I will say it again,
I just do not understand people that do a puzzle to be puzzled,
And then complain that they were puzzled...

Life is too short....

Which brings me back to Indian hills for no reason at all...

AnonymousPVX said...

Well this was certainly a Saturday puzzle.

Got the solve with a lot of work.

I have no objection to tough clues, but LA LAW was last first run in what, 1993? I don’t believe anyone watched because of Roxanne. I think that’s asking a lot to know that, and it’s not like there are (much) better clues for that name.


If you think it’s tough with the foreign words and such here, I just did the JUMBLE which featured a British spelling of a word, c’mon.

Stay safe.

staili said...

Sorry for chiming in so late about my thoughts about criticisms of puzzles. I am not a regular poster (does that make me irregular?), but I read the blog and the comments almost every day. I am pretty sure that day's constructor is also reading the blog and the comments, too. They are generally told a commentary is being written, and I don't think there's another commentary in such detail online anywhere else. So the constructors are reading everything we write.

Constructive comments like today's, which are trying to point out some aspect that could have been different, are probably appreciated by the constructor for future improvement. "I didn't like that very much" and "not for me" are reasonable comments, too. But the "that was the worst ever/who let that get published/that puzzle stunk" stuff is not something you'd (hopefully) say to someone's face, but you kind of are, because that person is reading this blog.

I personally try to say at least one aspect of the puzzle I like along with any constructive feedback, which I think takes some of the sting off (and helps remind me that I usually liked most of it).

I agree with mwv that I am so appreciative it's such a positive environment here. Except for the one person who anonymously posts a time twice as fast as everyone else's (in all seriousness, what is that person's goal in giving us that number every day when no one else's is anywhere close? Although I'm also very glad that none of the other fast solvers have taken the bait), I really, really appreciate that there is no competition, no ones-up-manship, no "I'm a better solver than you are." I have never felt stupid for asking a question or for saying that I didn't know an answer or made a mistake. EVERY SINGLE TIME I have asked a question about the puzzle, someone has taken the time to answer it. Because the people on this board are nice, helpful, community-driven people. And I really appreciate CC's leadership in creating such a welcoming place for us all.

Husker Gary said...

-What a great and thoughtful comment from Staili! I hope we hear from her again and often!
-I looked over the puzzle and want to say that every proper name unknown to me could be sussed quite easily even with my limited ability. I definitely did not know STANA but hiStorical, esTonians, etAl, liNe and scAn seemed like ample help.
-BTW, thanks to Stella, I did enjoy the first season of Absentia
-I do run into an occasional Natick even on Monday but chalk it up to learning and reinforcement for my motto: “I’m smart enough to know how little I know!”
-HBD to the Commander and John28!

Jayce said...

Happy Birthday to Spitzboov and John28man.

When I saw the blank grid I said "Holy mackeral, so much white space!" to myself. Then I started across. Jeez I have no idea, jeez I have no idea, jeez I have no idea. And so on. So I looked at the downs. Ah finally! I knew GESTE, DAT, and ESTONIANS, and correctly guessed SHIV, HANOI, and ESSE. That gave me some toeholds. But, dagnabbit, the proper names stumped me. I guessed STANA only because of the last name but none of the others. I finally looked up ROXANNE and MAGNUS. A pretty hard puzzle, but I gotta admire Stella's creativity and skill.

I, and others, have said it before and will say it again. Many names are simply not sussable; you either know the name or you don't. Brainpower and logic are of no use. Therefore getting a name is not a "solve." Might as well play trivial pursuit.

Good wishes to you all.

waseeley said...

CED @5:12pm Dave, I'm hooked. Does Indian Springs run a daily email service? Back in the I could have written a BOT to deliver them automatically, but those days are Old Days now.


waseeley said...

staili @4:30pm s'ok about the irregularity as long as you don't have DIERESIS. :-) Quality is more important than quantity and your quality post definitely qualifies. The most important things here are people's feelings and everything should leave with good ones.


Yellowrocks said...

I was congratulating myself on FIR, when I see that many thought this was easier than usual. Solving from the bottom up gave me momentum and confidence.
The NW slowed me down with so many unknowns crossing each other. I know what Quiceanera is but missed the abbr part. Duh. I thought teen and nina before SRTA. Getting SRTA helped me perp all the names. I have heard of SPAMBOT but it didn't come to mind easily.
I had the same long list of unfamiliar fill as many others, except that I knew HANOI and EGGO. The names were sussable, although unknown
I braided the TAIL before the MANE.
Nude looking legs are popular now. If you wear stockings with peep toe (open toe) shoes you do not have the current nude look, so open toe stockings were invented.
Happy birthday, Spitz and John.
So much fun, Stella. For the most part unknown names were filled by perps and judicious wags.
HG, I always look forward to your great Saturday expos.
How happy I am that Alan is home for the weekend for the first time in a year.
He now has a major swallowing problem. All his liquids must be thickened, his food semi-pureed and his pills crushed. It has been months and he has not improved.
He is enjoying his own TV and daybed in my den.

inanehiker said...

So happy for you, YR, that Alan is home for the weekend!

TX Ms said...

This one took longer than usual. Perps came to the rescue - never watched/saw LA Law, Beverly Hills Cop, Absentia, Stranger Things, or The View; not familiar with chess champs or physicists. Thought of Tony when I instantly filled in DAT. I like the goofy CBS show Be Positive - sometimes we need a bit of goofiness in our lives. The actress playing the kidney donor won a Tony a few years back. Thankful for perps: DIERESIS (new one for me, unfortunately). Despite my whinging, I really did enjoy this doable brain stretcher. Thank you, Stella, and H-G for your as always informative and fun recap (p.s. - is the 2018 calendar a significant year? /s/ inquiring minds).

I found 32D clue/answer interesting; "It may be a cue" could also be clued as "It may be a queue."

Anonymous T said...


Hi All!

Like every Stella puzzle I try, she pummels me again. Needed to Google twice and just flat-out cheat to fix indipendent [sic].

Thanks Stella for the grid; it was the best of fun and the worst of dumb-me. Also, thanks for responding to HG re: inside-baseball.

Thank you HG for the extra-play and the mighty fine expo.

I gotta stop for a moment to say HBD to Spitz who posts interesting bits every day.
Also, HBD to John28. You haven't been hangin' about as much lately but it was nice you dropped in.

Who DAT - the ONSET of my solve(ish).

WOs: notADRIOIt, Babble(uh,oh) ->BLABBERS
ESPs: [See Googles]
Googles: MAGNUS (did his parents expect him to be a superhero or what?), SHERRI (one fewer R and Lamb Chop would show up).

Fav: NIELS Bohr. Surprised to learn he came after Al 'cuz I though his molecular model was b/f relativity (I need to LIU).

Speaking of relativity - LOL Waseeley.
And I did notice HG's calendar on the HON cabinet too.

Runner-up: CANNOLI. Mike's Pastry's in Boston is pretty good but there's a spot across the street that I think is even better (less oily shell).

{A, B+}

SPAMBOT - I haven't looked recently but our small company (~3k folks) gets over 3 million SPAMs a week. We have automated systems that filter out most but,...
It does seem silly, no? I mean, I have got computers fighting their computers fighting my computers...

CED - You got two groans from DW when I shared your LOL links/puns.

D-O: LOL re @7:06 Segway comment; reminds me of the Yogism - "Nobody eats there anymore, it's too crowded."

WC - FLN. Water under the bridge: (H....(to/2)...O)

Y'all have a wonderful eve.

Cheers, -T

Lucina said...

I believe ROXANNE was Alexander the Great's wife but I'll have to LIU to make sure. It's been a long time since I read about him.

Yes. I just look for it and I had remembered! ROXANNE was his wife! So my memory isn't completely shot.

Yellowrocks said...

Lucina, I agree some people pay very extravagant sums that they can't afford for weddings, quiceaneros, and bar (bat) mitzvahs. While we are on this track, destination weddings sometimes are quite burdensome for close family members.

Anonymous T said...

Lucina - when I see ROXANNE I think of The Police. Stewart Copeland is in the Top10 of drummers; watch his method...

Oh, and the Steve Martin movie [Trailer].

TxMs - Nice to see you! I missed you when drafting my earlier post. LOL DAT.

CED - You will be happy to know that you've infected 18yro girls with your links. Youngest put the puns on Discord and her nerdy friends liked it.
//how does she know Discord? I use it w/ my hacking buddies when we are [redacted]

YR - That is so wonderful that you and Alan can spend time together again.

Cheers, -T

Lemonade714 said...

This has become a remarkably thoughtful place to meet and talk. While we have our whiners and our perfect solvers, we are predominantly stalli and mmw. It is a diversion, not a competition. I have been solving for more than 65 years. I have been blogging for more than ten. I still make mistakes and learn things. There is part of my joy; part comes from sharing all the wonder in my life like granddaughters and mini-mes; part comes from sharing all the other regulars up moments; part comes from being supportive when things are bad in lives; part comes from being supported. Anyone who has read this blog for a long time knows my life has not been simple, professionally, physically, and otherwise. But I have made friends with great people like C.C. and Boomer; Spitzboov, JazzB, marti, Steve, Vidwan27, PK, YR, Kazie, Moe, Bill G, Waseeley, MalMan, melissa, Montana, John Lampkin, Jeffrey Wechsler, Jeff Chen...the list goes on and if your name is not there it is only because my eyes are very bad now and I am winging this comment. I will stop now, just groove with

Lemonade714 said...

And we are such a diverse group with so many tech people, so many teachers, a nun, an agnostic or two, a successful actress, newspaper reporters, photojournalists, and so many more. We also are blessed with the attention and visits from so many creators who come and share their views. C.C. should be immensely proud

OwenKL said...

Lucina, I'm afraid you totally misconstrued my problem. It had nothing to do with the specific amount. It's the phrasing "up to ... and more" that gets me. "Up to 20% off and more!" "Up to age 60 and older!" "Down to -10° and colder!" AAArrrggghhh!

Lucina said...

I'm so sorry. Are you looking for a completely specific number? Is it the generality aspect that annoys you?

NaomiZ said...

OwenKL, thanks for clarifying your pet peeve! "Up to ..." suggests you are going to specify the top of the range. "Up to age 60 and older!" makes no sense. Is it up to age 65? Age 70? Lucina ran afoul of this nicety. She might have said that folks spend $30,000 or more, and avoided the trap! I hope you don't mind my butting in. I'm a fan of both of you!

Wilbur Charles said...

Forgot to wish Spitz HBD, and John as well who I haven't seen lately. Until today.
-T, I clicked both your links and stayed with Police for awhile. Aren't they a Boston outfit?

Lucina, nice catch on Alexander's being wedded to the wild Roxanne(Roxana). The son, Alex IV, was doomed much like Caesar's child by Cleopatra.

Re. VESTED ?. "On" was in the clue which precluded it's use in the answer.

CED, I too resent your puns link(MAYO. Neighs etc)

Mixed returns on difficulty and of course the p&p.


Wilbur Charles said...