Jun 5, 2021

Saturday, June 5, 2021, Jeff Chen

 Saturday Themeless by Jeff Chen

Today's puzzle comes from prolific constructor, Jeff Chen. Jeff lives in Seattle with his wife and two children, went to Stanford for his B.A. and thenU DUB for business school. In previous careers, he was a mechanical engineer listed on eight US patents, and then co-founded a pharmaceutical company, Acucela Inc, which went public in 2014. Does it occur to you that really smart people construct these puzzles?

Jeff says he’s an avid rock climber, inconceivably terrible bridge player, and likes ideas, people, and things with nerd cred. He’s about two-thirds of the way toward his lifetime goal of donating 20 gallons of blood (not all at once).

Here is what he had to say about today's puzzle: 

I like to experiment with different themeless styles, and I was curious if I could fill out a wide-open middle. This is roughly my 150th attempt, one that finally seemed to work. Apologies for SBE, that's a tough one to swallow!

 I posted a screen shot above of my embarrassing two cell errors on Jeff's grid. The two tell-tale red triangles show that I never gave up CANE in place of CAIN. I was willing to accept SNA as a singer I did not know and ESFWPICS as a internet abbr. I didn't know. Turns out I did know NSFWPICS even though it is a group of internet initials I knew followed by a slang word. I'm blaming part of this on my favorite fast food chicken place:


1. "Heck, yeah": SO TRUE - It means someone 15. Says "I'll say," say: AGREES with you along with

7. Area above an eave: FASCIA.

13. Orange-colored snack puff: CHEETO.

14. Game with blanks to fill: MAD LIBS - This was a _______ (adjective) puzzle that took me ____ (number) ______ (unit of time) to complete, after which I exclaimed ____ (cry of triumph) . Make your own

16. What might make some people single-minded?: BAD DATES - Fun cluing Jeff!

17. A baseball era was named for them, briefly: ROIDS - The whole baseball world followed the prolific, pharmaceutically-aided HR race between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa during that STEROID era

18. Trig. calculation: COS Cosine Problem

19. Top seen by churchgoers: SPIRE - St. Francis' in Humphrey, NE is visible for miles

20. Provocative: EDGY.

21. Punch list items: TASKS - When my science lab was renovated, many TASKS on the punch list were left undone

23. Sulk: SNIT - I usually think of Sulk as a verb and SNIT as a noun but they can be used interchangeably 

24. Strands inside a cell?: DNA.

25. Kind of shot or gift: PARTING - "Frankly, Scarlet, I don't give a damn" is a great PARTING shot. Maybe Jeff will have a lovely PARTING gift for me since I had two bad cells.

27. Lincoln's need: GAS 

28. Lifesavers, often: ORGAN DONORS.

31. Creating a disturbance: RAISING CAIN - My downfall (see my chicken place above 😙)! To raise Cain (Cain is always capitalized because it is a person) is to conjure up the murderous spirit of Cain. 

33. Be responsible for: BRING TO PASS - C.C. did BRING this wonderful site TO PASS and we are all grateful

35. Card game for two, usually: WAR.

38. Route for shipping vessels: SEA LANE - Some still use the SEA LANE around the southern tip of Africa to avoid pirates and the $450,000 fee to use the Suez Canal.

39. See 26-Down: FOX 
26. Fruit associated with a fabled 39-Across: GRAPE - Critics who pan crosswords they can't solve?

41. Incessantly: EVER.

43. Incline: SLOPE - Math peeps know it's ∆y/∆x

44. Done some freestyle, say: SWUM - I cannot swim, I have never swam and, for the rest of time, I will never have SWUM in my neighbor's pool 

45. Become less green, maybe: RIPEN.

47. Mariner's hdg.: SBE - Jeff already said he was sorry for South By East for a mariner's heading

48. Academy Award-winning director who became an army major during World War II: CAPRA - Here Frank is receiving the Distinguished Service Medal. Frank's movies were instrumental in the conduct of the war and his The Negro Soldier was a "watershed event in promoting racial tolerance."

49. Fruit brandy that translates to "water of life": EAU DE VIE - Even I can translate these French words 

51. Rages: MANIAS.

52. Place to put one's dogs?: OTTOMAN The history of this footrest for your feet/dogs

53. Software provider sharing a name with a Greek prophet: ORACLE.

54. Liam of "Batman Begins": NEESON Ra's al Ghul, leader of the League of Shadows and commander of a legion of evil ninjas.

55. Kids: TEASES.


1. More than a little nervous: SCARED.

2. "Why would you even consider that?!": OH GOD NO!

3. She played Phoebe's mom on "Friends": TERI GARR.

4. Like oboe music: REEDY - An oboe has two REEDs, so...

5. Western natives: UTES.

6. Camera named for a Greek goddess: EOS - EOS is clued as either a camera or a Greek goddess. Here, both options are in the clue.

7. It doesn't last: FAD - Ah, the 70's

8. Sums: ADDS - ∑ is an Excel spreadsheet symbol to SUM a group of numbers

9. Puts (on) hastily: SLAPS - If you speed through Wahoo, NE they will SLAP a fine on you in a heartbeat

10. Using as an example: CITING.

11. Porto's peninsula: IBERIA - The second largest city in Portugal can also be spelled Oporto

12. They may be fixed: ASSETS - At our age they all are

14. Protection against bleeding: MASKING TAPE.

16. Northeast paper with 26 Pulitzers: BOSTON GLOBE.

18. Serious lapse: CARDINAL SIN.

21. Flowers known as golden buttons: TANSIES - New to me

22. Shaved-ice treat: SNO CONE.

25. Hold 'em holdings: PAIRS - You have about a 6% chance of being dealt pairs for your first two cards in Texas Hold 'em Poker

29. Natter: GAB - He resurrected the word natter

30. "Cheap Thrills" singer with Sean Paul: SIA - Many performers need a gimmick to stand out. I wonder what SIA uses? BTW, I did this puzzle before Jeffrey Wechsler had her name in his Wednesday puzzle.

32. Warning on some forwarded emails, briefly: NSFWPICS - Not Safe For Work PICtureS as previously discussed.

34. Mouth-puckering brew: SOUR ALE.

35. "It's go time!": WE'RE ON - or...

36. Move up in the world?: AVIATE.

37. Public stature: REPUTE - In the world of crosswords, C.C. is held in high REPUTE

40. Present times, briefly: XMASES - Oh,  present as a noun and not an adjective 

42. Second tries: REDOS - My oldest daughter's second marriage has been a great success!

44. Capital near the Red Sea: SANAA - Yemen's capital and a Disney restaurant. Jeffrey also had YEMEN LEMON on Wednesday.

46. Verne captain: NEMO - The owner of this "attic find" which is an 1873 version (translated from Jules Verne's French) of Captain NEMO's travels aboard The Nautilus. He will let it go for $1,800.

48. Au pair's concern: CARE - Au Pair is French for "at par" or "equal to" and is someone who is brought in to be a member of the family and usually CARE for children.

50. Wheels for a move: VAN - Moonlighters

51. Zinger: MOT - A good one is a Bon MOT!


OwenKL said...

Finished it. No ta-da. Was sure of PANSIES, but that made the across word PASKS, which didn't look right. Tried TASKS and got my ta-da. What the heck are TANSIES!‽?

I found the NW corner the hardest, but the whole puzzle was difficult. Not many write/overs, mainly because I couldn't fill in anything until I had enough perps to reveal it! OTOS < UTES, MOPE < SNIT, SIN < COS, SAANA < SANAA.

LIU "Common tansy is a problematic invasive perennial ... The plant spreads by both seed and root material ... seeds can remain viable for up to 25 years!"

TANSIES are yellow button-flowers,
But their REPUTE in places SOURS.
They're called weeds,
With tenacious seeds,
Noted for their invasive powers!

Building homes is a skilled profession
With detail TASKS one shouldn't question.
Atop the EAVES
A wooden frieze
May artistically show a FASCIA expression!

{B+, C*.}
*Somewhat higher if frieze and fascia were already in your vocabulary.

staili said...

DNF for me because of the SE. Couldn't figure out NSFWPICS (a bit Green Paint-y, I think), and I never heard of SOURALE right next to it. I also never heard of MOT nearby as a shortened form of "bon mot," and I wasn't completely sure how to spell SANAA. Too many struggles too close together for me to finish.

I didn't know FASCIA or SBE, either, but was able to get those through perps.

Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

This was a true test of the powers of P and P. I hit one road block after another, partly due to Jeff’s devious cluing and some major misdirection. My most egregious error was hanging on to Soffit so long, until it finally became obvious it was Fascia. The I in Iberia prolonged that agony. The other challenging section was the SW corner where Game On looked so right but was oh so wrong, as was Come On. Finally, We’re On showed up, as did Repute, Ripen, and Aviate. I also went astray with Uno>Gin>War, Swam/Swum, Otos/Utes, To Dos/Tasks, and Gab/Gas. Mad Libs and SBE (ugh) were unknowns but Eau de Vie was a given. It was a very tough solve, for me, but I enjoyed the challenge and the satisfaction of completing it, albeit in not so impressive 43 minutes.

Thank you, Jeff, for a Saturday Stumper and thanks, HG, for being our stalwart, Saturday Sherpa. Another excellent commentary and sparkling visuals.

There is a flashing red light on my medic alert base station but the Tech Service Dept. isn’t available until 9:00. The manual only mentions possible causes in a peripheral. Would my help button be considered a peripheral? The base itself is plugged into an outlet.


Webersky, welcome and I hope you stay with us.

Anon T, have you been able to kick the habit completely? I hope so.

Don G, thanks for stopping by. Don’t be a stranger!

Have a great day.

Lemonade714 said...

LA Times - June 5, 2021
Universal Crossword - June 4, 2021
LA Times - June 2, 2021
LA Times - May 14, 2021
LA Times - May 9, 2021
New York Times - April 18, 2021
New York Times - April 4, 2021
LA Times - Feb. 8, 2021
WSJ Daily - Jan. 19, 2021
LA Times - Dec. 4, 2020 was the introduction of SIA to the LAT, a PUZZLE which I blogged. As the resident archivist, you can see Sia (ho ho) very often. More later. Great write up HG and Jeff is always interesting

desper-otto said...

Good morning!

Yay, got 'er done in good time. Themeless puzzles are oh so much more pleasant -- there's less to miss. Toyed with PANSIES, but it had to be a T; tried OVERS for REDOS. Figured out SBE after it showed up. That U in SWUM was my final fill -- kicking that A to the sidelines. Very nice, Jeff. Enjoyed the tour, Husker. (When did LISBON get replaced as the capital of Portugal?)

desper-otto said...


Anon-T, had to look it up, but now I understand why there was only one reel for STS-25. (Are you still not smoking?)

Webersky, welcome to the pool The water's fine, and the natives are friendly (mostly).

Wilbur Charles said...

EAU DE VIE should have been hf* but brandy froze my brain.
Likewise ORACLE

The B in SBE was solid because of my old fav paper. BG had a great Sports section with a Yachting Writer.

Yes, seeing SIA recently was enormous

I finally got all the down perps with XMAS and SWUM(Not swam) which left me SOUR ALE. So NSFW was left. I had CAne/CAIN.

Didn't we have SANAA recently too? I'd just seen it

Satisfying FIR. Solved 9/10 last night but had the NSFW dilemma to work out. Almost gave up but Xmas and FOX and finally swUm did it


*Hanging Fruit

ATLGranny said...

A Saturday FIR on Jeff's excellent puzzle, intimidating appearance but ultimately doable. Those big white spaces filled in with few WOs. Hand up for SWaM/SWUM and uno/WAR/uno/WAR (perps finally decided that!) I also had RunnING amok way too long before seeing RAISING CAIN worked. No problem with Mad Libs, IM, as my kids played that game. Thanks, Husker Gary, for explaining SBE and ROIDS. Nice review today as usual, including the info from Jeff.

FLN: Welcome, Webersky to the Corner. Hope to hear more from you. And it was helpful to hear from Don G about yesterday's puzzle.

Enjoy your weekend, everyone!

KS said...

DNF. NW and SE did me in. Ironically, the long answers in the center gave me no problems and fell first.

billocohoes said...

FIW because I didn't know TANSIES or a punch list, and if you can have SBE why not pASKS?

Didn't care for the "wide-open middle" design because that requires closed-off corners, so this puzzle is basically five small puzzles with little connection to each other.

Knew NSFW but only by itself, not connected to PICS

Anonymous said...

My first answer for some reason was Boston Globe. That helped immensely with the middle. As a "Friends" fan Teri Garr was a gimme at 3 down. Had daisies then pansies before settling on tasks for 21 across giving me tansies for 21 down which I have never heard of. Definitely had swam before swum and thought of uno before settling on war because I had repute already. The only reason I got sbe was I finally got cardinal sin on 18 down. A nice blend of hard and easy
which is my favorite type of crossword.

Memforest said...

Was feeling great for a Saturday. Filled in most of it but was also stumped by the SE. Only had SWUM, XMASES, and a wag on CARE, but it wasn't enough.

Wilbur Charles, were you referring to Tony Chamberlain as the Globe writer? He wrote on a few other topics too, like skiing and adventure travel - - also taught English in my high school. Amazing guy.

Spitzboov said...

Good morning everyone.

Webersky, welcome aboard.

Tough one today. DNF. Sigh. But stuck with it and got some help to improve my learning; one of the reasons I do these. The NE failed because I had 'soffit' instead of FASCIA. Counted 12 cheater squares. Pour quoi? To make the grid layout look nicer?
I thought Lisbon was the capital of Portugal. (The things they do during the night when nobody is looking.)
EAU DE VIE - Wanted Aquavit for the longest time.
GAS - Yummers for my Lincoln. Actually its MPG is pretty good.
SBE - Stank.

Big Easy said...

I started slowly in the NW with only CHEETO, _NA & REEDY in place and moved on. Never watched 'Friends' but TERI GARR was an easy guess after a few perps. After changing SLANT to SLOPE to accommodate the WAG of BOSTON GLOBE the center fell with the exception of PANSIES that I had to change to let TASKS work. Never heard of TANSIES.

SIA was a guess as I've never heard of the song "Cheap Thrills" or Sean Paul either.

EAU DE VIE-perps for that one.
SOUR ALE- never tasted one and don't intend to either.

NSFWPICS- guessed my way on that one. I'd always heard that NSFW was 'not safe for WIFE', not WORK. Anybody using their work email for those purposes is just asking for trouble. Stupid.

I see that the Chicken Finger franchise that two local guys started slightly changed their name. It was originally "Raisin' Cane". Cane was Todd Graves' dog's name.

When was the 'hemorrhoid' ERA in baseball?

SBE- I've owned four boats and have never heard the term "South By East". I would figure the headings from charts using parallel rulers to mark the next buoy to put in the LORAN and use the compass to steer that direction. Before GPS was widely (and expensive) available.

Lucina said...


Seeing Jeff Chen's name at the bottom told me I was in for a challenging solve. Yet most of it was doable. SO TRUE! That corner filled quickly. Love TERI GARR. Next the SW corner. I looked at the OTTOMAN where my feet were resting!

Thanks to the movie, Spotlight, I knew BOSTON GLOBE. That helped to connect all the middle words and phrases. BRING TO PASS did not make it. PASS just would not emerge so that entire SE corner was a mess. No XMASES and no FOX. The fable never occurred to me.

CAPRA quickly came up but not MANIAS. DNF

MADLIBS recalled our many trips to Charlotte when the children played that all the way. One of those "children", my daughter called to tell me she is jumping from an airplane today. Just for the thrill of it! She is so like her dad.

Thank you, Gary and Jeff! What a morning! And I haven't even had coffee.

Have a great Saturday, everyone!

Malodorous Manatee said...

A somewhat typical Saturday outing in that it was unsolvable until it wasn't. The NW with SO TRUE and OH GOD NO crossing each other led to a bit of head scratching as did TANSIES but the perps, as always, must be obeyed. Fortunately, I knew EAU DE VIE from stumbling into the (Oregon-based) Clear Creek Distillery/McCarthy's Single Malt whiskey rabbit hole a few years ago. The preemptive apology for SBE was appreciated. . . and warranted.

JJM said...

DNF for me as I had 2 blank squares in the SE Corner.
Very clever puzzle and definitely a brain teaser. Just wasn't a fan of XMASES or SOUR ALE. Never heard of Sour Ale, but then again I don't drink. And, the only way that I got EAU Di VIE was thru perps.

oc4beach said...

A true toughy today. Definitely a DNF, but I did learn a lot from HG's treatise on the puzzle.

I did get a few things right away. CHEETOs (I like the crunchy kind), COS (although it could have been TAN or COT), WAR, BOSTON GLOBE, FOX and GRAPE (I guess I remembered some fables), CAPRA, ORACLE and NEESON. The rest was a sea of white.

I wanted AQUAVIT also, but it didn't fit.

SWIM, SWAM, but SWUM it was.

SBE and NSFWPICS were real stumpers.

FLN -T: Thanks. I've always been fascinated by space, so, I got to live my dream. The joke we used to tell while enrolled in the Aerospace curriculum is that "we were taking up Time and Space."

A/C is still working today, so I guess the repairman got it right the second time.

Have a great day everyone.

NaomiZ said...

Jeff, I struggled with each corner -- and the middle, for that matter -- finally having to admit defeat in the SE, but not the SBE!! I had SOUR ALE and XMASES all right, along with FOX, SWUM and NSFW, but the rest of that corner eluded me. Others here FIR, so it was a good Saturday toughie.

I'm pretty sure that when DH and I visited my brother in Michigan, our SIL pointed out TANSIES growing wild on Mackinac Island.

FLN: Welcome, Webersky, to the best place on the internet! I can't think of a better way to enter this conversation, and hope you'll continue to contribute.

Thanks, Husker Gary! You shed light in the darkness!

Anonymous T said...

Hi All!

When I saw the grid, I said, "Oh, boy..." Then I saw Jeff Chen's name... "Uh, Oh."

But, with only one lookup (I didn't know how to spell FASCIA (knew it; couldn't spell it) and had nothing in that corner yet), I got it done! Thanks Jeff for giving me a fighting chance.

Fun expo, HG; LOL the '70s style FADs. Thanks for reaching out to Jeff for inside-baseball.
I didn't realize RAISING CAne's made it that far north. The first time I heard of it, I was on a trip with a buddy to Baton Rouge - he went to LSU and had to have the chicken when we arrived. It was only available there at the time. Now we have 'em in Houston too.

Favs: LOL BAD DATES' clue. XMASES clue was just plain evil :-)

NSFW filled just fine. But, what does P_CS stand for? (Please, (don't?) Copy Security?)
"Oh, PICs", I exclaimed during an alphabet-run.

{A, A+}

IM & D-O: Still not smoking but, boy, did I want a cigar with Pop when he was here.
//I quit smoking so many times, I'm an expert :-)

billocohoes - That's a good analysis of the puzzle - five little ones.
NW & SW fell fairly easily, the rest? Not so much.

oc4 "taking up Time & Space" - LOL.

MAD LIBS (a story):
In 8th grade, a buddy & I wrote a Mad Libs program for the Apple ][e. Nothing fancy, just brute-forced for each fill-in-the-blank (we were just learning, on our own, how to program).
//The only fancy thing we did was the opening graphics that spelled Mad Libs with animated horizontal lines.

Anyway, we sent a copy of the program to the publisher and asked if they wanted to buy it.
We received a cease-and-desist nasty-gram claiming trademark infringement and all that. They told us to destroy all copies of the code.
So, of course, I still have the floppy in a box under my bed :-)

Y'all have a great afternoon!

Cheers, -T

Misty said...

A real Saturday toughie, but still fun, Jeff--many thanks. And thanks to you too, Husker Gary.

My goodness, TERI GARR a mom! I would've thought she'd be one of the girl-friends. I can't believe anyone would ever drink a SOUR ALE? Really? Owen, I too have never heard of TANSIES. Guess I must have learned about CARDINAL SIN at some time in parochial school. But when you're pretty much housebound in your seventies that sure seems like a remote possibility. So did anything make me laugh this morning? Yep: OTTOMAN for a place to put one's dogs--the plural gave that one away.

Have a good weekend, everybody.

Pawel Fludzinski said...

Terrific write up, as always. Very enjoyable puzzle; marvelled at the construction with the crossing 11s in the middle. Well done!

Anonymous T said...

Misty - Yep, "dogs" gave it away.

I always think of this guy when I think of OTTOMAN.

Cheers, -T

Chairman Moe said...

Puzzling thoughts:

FIR but I swear I don’t know how! The first PASS left such a sea of white blanks to fill I thought I was playing MADLIBS! I think the only words I knew for sure were REEDY, VAN, SPIRE, IBERIA, and BOSTON GLOBE. But I persevered and despite several W/O’s finished without cheating.


When I first started trying my hand as a constructor of crossword puzzles, Jeff Chen was listed as someone who might offer advice and mentor a newbie such as myself. Without going back and re-reading our e-mail exchange I would venture to say that had I come up with a puzzle of this design he’d have had some issues. But perhaps once you’ve become established as a noted puzzle designer/constructor you can get away with more.

If I’m not mistaken about this particular design, it has “rotational symmetry”. Only 36 blank squares and 66 words. That’s pretty amazing. And certainly not very easy to fill without a few “boners”. SBE has appeared in puzzles before but is somewhat archaic in its use. Hence Jeff’s apology for it. He has a word data base that is supposed to be the new standard for crossword puzzle software. I might have to invest in it as his words and phrases are obviously the new “standard” for crosswords. The “new rules” for crossword fill is to ask yourself if these are words you’d use in everyday conversation. So say goodbye to STOA, TSETSE, ETUI, EYER, and scores of other words that still manage to make it into puzzles. The younger generations aren’t familiar nor into those.


No complaints today;
Puzzle was tough but I just
Took it on the “Chen”


Lucina said...

In Turkey, inside the Topkapi Palace there is a large seat, at least 8 ft. long, built especially for the OTTOMAN Sultan who was said to be enormous.

Malodorous Manatee said...

When we were children, my sister and I used to fill in Mad Libs pads on long family car trips. Thinking back, that was my first exposure to fun-with-words.

From a rival Saturday puzzle: PALIMPSEST - A manuscript on which the original writing has been effaced to make room for later writing. Who knew?

Edward Duarte said...

Eve with an apple, another fable.

Kelly Clark said...

At first I thought there was a mistake in the in Boston, *knew* it had to be the BOSTON GLOBE but the SBS answer clue didn't make any sense. Finally, I put it in anyway and FIR. Yes, South by East is a direction I discovered, but this mariner had never heard of it. Anyway, thanks, Jeff, for the puzzle and Gary for the write-up.

Yellowrocks said...

I liked this very difficult puzzle.
I, too, had to change SOFFIT to FASCIA.
I knew RAISE CAIN referred to Abel's brother.
When I got TANSY from perps I left it because I remembered it as a herbal medicine in colonial days. It seems dangerous by today's standards.
The SE did me in. NSFWP--A ??? Not suitable for work plus ----, but I missed the IC. An arcane abbreviation IMO.
I got XMASES and SWUM right away. DONE, a participle tells us it couldn't be SWAM, which is not a participle. I know of SOUR ALE, but never tasted it. We had SANAA before.
I was looking for a name, not ORACLE, but the clue is legit. I also missed MANIAS.
Wow, is CAPRA that old?
AU PAIR's CONCERN=CARE seemed weak and vague to me. Nurses, teachers, doctors, nurses, aides, all are concerned with CARE.
SBE, all perps, but they were quite solid.
Happy with the solve with a few bad cells.
I knew PALIMPSEST from historical novels when paper was a scarce commodity. Sometimes they even wrote with the paper in portrait orientation and then over top of the writing in landscape orientation without erasing it.
TSE TSE is still in the news, a very current danger.
I think using only current conversational words is a mistake. Many words panned here are still used in current journalism, a great boost to our present day vocabulary.

unclefred said...

Nope. Big DNF for me. After a struggle I decided it would likely take all day to TRY to fill, and was not willing to give up an entire day TRYING to complete a CW which I might not finish even then. Coming here and looking at it, it doesn’t look that difficult. But that’s true of anything: once completed, it LOOKS like it wasn’t too hard. Anyway, thanx for the nice write-up, HG!

AnonymousPVX said...

A good example of different construction…the JW gem vs the diabolical JC.

As is usual for a JC, clueing is….a challenge.

SBE? South By East? How about Simply Bad Entry? This way, next time, JC can go meta and have a clue “Jeff Chen Clue”, answer SBE. HAHAHA.

ANYWAY….a few


And that’s with me leaving stuff blank until I was “sure”.

On a personal note, a big week. I decided to trust my Vax, got a haircut…more on the floor than on my head; went to the gym, not that sore. And I was going to appear in person today for my guitar lesson but the sky opened up so still on FaceTime there. Next time for sure.

See you Monday.

Jayce said...

I echo many of you in describing this puzzle as difficult and challenging yet fair and doable. As anonymous said, it was a nice blend of hard and easy. Well done!

Terms I did not know or had never heard of:
NSFWPICS (heard of NSFW by itself, though)
Punch list
SOUR ALE (agreed: would not want to try it).

The term "South by East" reminds me of the movie called "North by Northwest." (NBNW?)

SOUR ALE reminds me of yesterday's SAUER.

SIA reminds me of, well, SIA from the other day.

I gotta admit the term ROIDS makes me think of hemorrhoids (hello Big Easy) rather than steroids.

I wonder why the clue "Strands inside a cell?" has a question mark. I mean, that is what DNA is.

Swim swam swum. Reminds me of a time in 5th grade when we were having a grammar "bee". The kid just before me had given the (correct) answer "sink sank sunk" and when I had to "conjugate" the verb "think" I immediately and grossly over-confidently parroted "think thank thunk." I thereupon had to slink back to my seat, totally deflated. In many ways I was both a smart kid and a dumb kid, all rolled up into one mixed ball of self-confidence and self-doubt.

Good wishes to you all.

Webersky said...

So many blank squares! Daunting but got enough early to keep at it. Finally the SW corner stumped me - Capra was all I had. But fun until I hit the wall.

Big Easy said...

Sesquipedalian is the term that I would use to describe the journalists who really have nothing to say. Every OpEd writer seems to throw them in.

The Curmudgeon said...

What's all this about the capital of Portugal? Neither the country nor its capital is mentioned in the clues.

>> Roy

Yellowrocks said...

That missed the point. I am not speaking of scientific journals which use arcane sequipedalian (containing long words) prose. The journalists I am speaks of write the news articles. The NYT is
written on a tenth grade reading level using words educated readers should know or learn.
Our reading vocabulary is much larger than our conversational vocabulary. Let's not dumb down crosswords. Some words we say we never heard of and suggest that they are never used really are used quite frequently.

waseeley said...

Thanks Jeff for a great puzzle. I SLAPPED myself on the back for a rare Saturday FIR, but too HASTILY. Last rule, always check that all answers make sense before declaring victory. And thanx Gary for an excellent review and for confessing your FIW. Mine was for the want of one letter. As we'll see later this week, I had a DNF.

Selected goodies ...

7A Dredged FASCIA from the depths of my memory after nailing them above the EAVES of my kiln/garden shed 20 years ago.

19A Beautiful Church SPIRE. St. Francis has come a long way since he rebuilt the SAN DAMIANO chapel in Assisi. And the rest of the Church along with it.

28A Loved this answer. Went from MINTS to LIFE PRESERVERS to ORGAN DONORS, the break thru being DW's suggesting TANSIES for 21D.

39A "fabled" gave away 26D and the answer to 39A was obvious. Nice comment.

45A RIPEN. We've got another two months before most of our Maryland tomatoes ripen. Our SUN SWEET cherry tomatoes are always the first to ripen, yield most prolifically, and are the last to provide fruit.

40D "briefly" gave away "Present times" XMASES. Then the only director I could think of whose name ended in "A" was Frank CAPRA. Didn't know that he got the DSM and thanks for the informing us about The Negro Soldier.

49A Made the mistake of thinking that the translation was from LATIN. It took a long time before the perps translated it from "AQUA VITE" (sic) to "EAU DE VIE".

9D Had SLIPS for SLAPS, but gave up on it when I couldn't think of what BADDITES meant.

14D Nice misdirection.

29D And we have a lot of nattering CROOKS today too. I once shook AGNEW'S hand after he gave a talk at a student council meeting.

53A The OWNER of ORACLE, Larry Ellison, is the only person I know who OWNS his only HAWAIIAN Island. His DBMS is the product of choice for systems integrators.

Oh, yeah and the FIW. Had I SWUM instead of SWAM, I'd have gotten SOUR ALE. If I'da checked SOARALE (a sour herb?) I might have figured that out. Shoulda', coulda', woulda'!


CanadianEh! said...

Saturday Stumper. Thanks for the fun, Jeff and HuskerG.
I persisted and nearly finished, but like others here, the SE corner defeated me.
There are many inkblots in the NW corner also, but it finally fell.

I thought Jeff would have used Blood DONOR, not ORGAN (to go with the SPIRE). But we did have bleeding - oh, it is referring to paint and we need MASKING TAPE not Platelets(which was too short).
Even this Canadian dredged up BOSTON GLOBE.
I learned SANAA several years ago doing CWs.
Big question marks as I entered TANSIES, SNE, and NSFW.. . I didn’t get the rest.

I said to myself Soffit is under the eaves and FASCIA is above.
Just like YR, I saw Done in the clue and knew we needed the past participle SWUM. I never would have remembered, but I commented the other day about Stank and Stunk.

Wishing you all a good evening.

Lemonade714 said...

I see much of early comment did not survive transfer. As I recall I commented it was very fair for a Saturday and I was amazed when I watched weather last showing Minnesota all in the 90s while we bask in the mid 80s.I also appreciated Don stopping by for insight into the creation and hoping C.C. Will comment on Sunday

Cool comments

Michael said...

"ultimately doable" ... another, politer, way of saying FIW