May 28, 2022

Saturday, May 28, 2022, Karen Steinberg

 Saturday Themeless by Karen Steinberg

Karen and David
Hi Gary,

I'm the mom of crossword constructor and editor David Steinberg; I'm also a writer and psychologist, even though in high school math was my favorite subject and an occupational interest test told me I should become a computer programmer (!).  As a teenager I solved crosswords in magazines and logic puzzles in books but stopped when I got to college.  I didn't start up again until more than 35 years later, when David began constructing.

Though I use a Mac, I was familiar with Crossword Compiler from helping David with the Pre-Shortzian Puzzle Project, and in 2017 I decided to build a puzzle myself by placing theme entries into Crossword Compiler and having it suggest the grid design.  That puzzle ended up in the Orange County Register crossword, which David was editing; a second one I built using the same grid-design strategy was published as part of David's "Women's March" month of puzzles at Universal.  I realized, though, that if I really wanted to try constructing, I'd have to learn how to build my own grids, and I wanted to do that on the Mac, so David showed me how to work with CrossFire.

Back to the puzzle.  This one came about because I'd never been a real fan of themelesses—to me, they just weren't as interesting and seemed like anyone could construct one by sticking in a bunch of trendy phrases or words with Z's or X's.  I also thought they'd be really easy to construct, so after collecting a few interesting words, I decided to give it a try.

I don't remember what the original seed entry for the puzzle was, though it may have been BYE FELICIA, which is in my earliest screen captures of the grid (the way I keep track ot things!) but which, because of fill issues, didn't make it to the end.  Because I'm really a theme person, I immediately began envisioning the puzzle as depicting a sort of party-like environment on reality TV in which someone might do a quick VIBE CHECK, ask a potential partner  "ARE YOU GAME?", see if he or she had some CLAIM TO FAME, note all the TATTOOED body parts, eat some LAVA CAKE (accidentally BUTT DIALING a friend when seated), move on to a new person ("SEE YA LATER"), and hope for an eventual DREAM DATE.

Patti had a few really good changes she wanted me to try to make—in particular, improving the short fill in the corners and sides of the grid and getting rid of FAKIE.  I made the changes (including replacing FAKIE with CUTIE), and the puzzle was accepted.  I don't remember any particular area being tough to fill—I go into a sort of Zen-like state when I'm filling and will just sit there for hours, from first thing in the morning till last thing at night, looking at all the good options for each word and then seeing what effect each has on the rest of the fill.  I can easily sit there doing that for two days straight—I've always been the sort of person who works in an extremely focused way over a relatively short period of time rather than steadily plodding away at something off and on for months.

Karen, Paul and son David had the first
 "Family Puzzle" in the NYT on 5/22/22
Anyway, I came away from my "themeless experiment" with a newfound respect for the genre and its constructors.  Themelesses aren't any easier to construct—in fact, in some ways, they're harder, because you have to be more willing to let some really good entries that you'd planned to include fall by the wayside.  So, lesson learned! 😳 


1. "How we all doing?," e.g.: VIBE CHECK - A standard audience greeting for a comedian

10. Waiter at a stand: CAB - Uber will come to you

13. "Wanna?": ARE YOU GAME.

15. Thurman of "Hysterical Blindness": UMA - A 20-yr-old movie

16. Forte: CLAIM TO FAME.

18. Pin in the back: TEN It's easy to miss

19. Wii forerunner: NES - Nintendo Entertainment System

20. Attacking surfers, maybe: TROLLING - Delete and move on

22. Exasperated cry: AARGH 

25. Drew on?: TATTOOED - Fun clue

26. One of the "Black-ish" parents: DRE - On the right below. The role is played by Anthony Anderson who I best remember as a detective on Law And Order

27. Digital permission: E-CONSENT - Okay

29. Domingo, e.g.: DIA - DIA is "day" and Domingo is "Sunday" in Spanish 

30. Performs like Saweetie: RAPS - Google if you must. Her RAP lyrics and costumes are unprintable here.

31. Management level: TIER.

35. Curiosities: MARVELS - Yes, they could be

37. "Black Panther" setting: WAKANDA - WAKANDA is an imaginary East African country for this super hero movie. Some of the filming like this scene was done in a rock quarry in Stonebridge, Georgia. 

40. Queen of Arendelle: ELSA.

41. Louboutin item: SHOE - Hey, the shipping is free! C.C. told me that 
a) she was familiar with this brand
b) They are famous for the bottom of the shoe being red
c) she would never spend that much on a shoe.

42. Cacophony: DIN.

43. Dessert that can be microwaved in a mug: LAVA CAKE 

47. __ factor: ICK.

48. Something that can't miss: A SURE BET Fugue For Tinhorns

50. Natl. Merit Scholarship hurdles: PSATS and 59. Coll. test: GRE - We get tested a lot here with GRE, SAT, PSAT, ACT, LSAT and MCAT

52. Go out briefly: TAKE A NAP - Oh, "out" as in asleep! 

53. LG rival: RCA - RCA TV's are now made by the Curtis International in Canada

54. Poke bowl option: AHI - Poke means to cut or slice in Hawaiian. Here is some AHI tuna on top of a poke bowl

55. Making a booty call?: BUTT DIALING - Fun clue

60. Sofa bed site: DEN.

61. "Peace": SEE YA LATER - The first Today host in the 50's, David Garroway, singed off at the end of the show by saying "Peace" with this gesture.

62. Spots: ADS.

63. Romantic ideal: DREAM DATE - Before he was famous, Steve Martin was picked as a DREAM DATE on The Dating Game


1. Short sucker?: VAC - Oh, VAC is short for vacuum! 

2. Not over Zoom, say: Abbr.: IRL - In Real Life. 

3. Arthur who appeared on "All in the Family": BEA - Before she was famous, BEA was a marine during WWII

4. Considering: EYING.

5. Attractive words?: COME HERE - Depending on inflection these words can be attractive or demanding

6. Humble abodes: HUTS - Alan Turing worked on deciphering Enigma in HUT 8 at Bletchley Park during WWII

7. Nwodim of "SNL": EGO 

8. Loose garments: CAFTANS - Morrocan 
9. Disappearing discount stores: K-MARTS

10. Pie type?: CUTIE.

11. Modify: AMEND 

12. [Just like that!]: BANG - I do the puzzle, blog it and BANG, I'm done!

14. Fake feelings: EMOTE - A range...

17. University with a law school at Greensboro: ELON - North Carolina's favorite University cwd fill

21. Host of, casually: LOTTA - Emcee seemed right for a while

22. Online request: ADD ME - I've asked several constructors to ADD ME as a FaceBook friend and they all have

23. Basic font: ARIAL - ARIAL

24. Parents: REARS - Verb

25. Tanks, e.g.: TOPS - Most golf courses do not allow tank TOPS to be worn

28. Berkeley, to sports fans: CAL - The ending of the 1982 Cal Berkley/Stanford game was perhaps the most unusual finish in the history of college football.

32. Birthplace of novelist Rohinton Mistry: INDIA - A Canadian man born in India

33. Order: EDICT.

34. Orders: RANKS - Theme parks in RANK Order

36. "Antiques Roadshow" determination: VALUE.

37. Unfriendly way to answer the phone: WHAT - I was doing the puzzle on the swing next to my DW. I said out loud said, "Unfriendly way to answer the phone" and she said, "WHAT?" I repeated the clue and she said, "What" again. I laughed out loud when I realized we had a "Who's on first?" routine going. 

38. "No problemo!": A-OK.

39. "Just relax": KEEP CALM.

41. Regal rod: SCEPTER - QEII with hers and her orb 69 years ago 

44. Part of UAE: ARAB.

45. "__ of the Louvre": Emma Lazarus poem: VENUS Here ya go

46. Let up: ABATED.

48. Followed a doctor's order?: AAHED 

49. Frontier trader's goods: SKINS Museum Of The Fur Trade in Chadron, NE

51. Leaves for lunch: SALAD - Oh, these leaves

52. "Did it!": TADA.

53. Anti-piracy org.: RIAA.
56. Go dark?: DYE.

57. "Make __ double": IT A - Some days after 8 hours with 7th graders...

58. Barclays Center player: NET - Home of the Brooklyn NETS

BONUS: Karen added this for great insight!!

As for clues that were changed, I've highlighted them in your list below and added the original clue in brackets:

1. "How we all doing?," e.g.: VIBE CHECK [Room read, say]

10. Waiter at a stand: CAB. [Waving might or might not make it stop]

13. "Wanna?": ARE YOU GAME.

15. Thurman of "Hysterical Blindness": UMA
16. Forte: CLAIM TO FAME -  [Reason for noteworthiness]

18. Pin in the back: TEN - [Percenter preceder]

19. Wii forerunner: NES - [Classic console inits.]

20. Attacking surfers, maybe: TROLLING [Deliberately provocative online activity]

22. Exasperated cry: AARGH [Anguished cry]

25. Drew on?: TATTOOED. [Like the bodies of many "Bachelor" contestants]

26. One of the "Black-ish" parents: DRE. [Dr. whose last "name" is one more letter than his first]

27. Digital permission: ECONSENT.

29. Domingo, e.g.: DIA.

30. Performs like Saweetie: RAPS. [26-Across's songs]

31. Management level: TIER. [College selectivity descriptor]

35. Curiosities: MARVELS. [2022 superhero film based on comics (with "The")]

37. "Black Panther" setting: WAKANDA. [Black Panther's fictional home]

40. Queen of Arendelle: ELSA. [Kenyan lioness]

41. Louboutin item: SHOE. [One might be worn with its rearranged letters]

42. Cacophony: DIN. [Brouhaha]

43. Dessert that can be microwaved in a mug: LAVACAKE. [Dessert that's molten in the middle]

47. __ factor: ICK. [":o=!!!"]

48. Something that can't miss: ASUREBET. [It might be too good to be true]

50. Natl. Merit Scholarship hurdles: PSATS.

52. Go out briefly: TAKEANAP. [Conk out in the afternoon]

53. LG rival: RCA. [Classic brand with a dog and phonograph logo]

54. Poke bowl option: AHI. [In Hawaii, tuna that refers to two species]

55. Making a booty call?: BUTTDIALING.

60. Sofa bed site: DEN. [Sofabed site]

61. "Peace": SEEYALATER. ["I'm out!']

62. Spots: ADS. [Many pop-ups]

63. Romantic ideal: DREAMDATE. [Perfect romantic encounter]

1. Short sucker?: VAC.

2. Not over Zoom, say: Abbr.: IRL. [How a texter might want to meet a Tinder match]

3. Arthur who appeared on "All in the Family": BEA. ["All in the Family" guest star Arthur]

4. Considering: EYING.

5. Attractive words?: COMEHERE. [Possible meaning of a wave]

6. Humble abodes: HUTS.

7. Nwodim of "SNL": EGO. [A humble person has a small one]

8. Loose garments: CAFTANS. [Middle Eastern robes]

9. Disappearing discount stores: KMARTS. [Big box stores that have declined from 2,486 to less than 20]

10. Pie type?: CUTIE.

11. Modify: AMEND. [Change by formal procedure]

12. [Just like that!]: BANG. [Big one?]

14. Fake feelings: EMOTE. [Many soap stars do it]

17. University with a law school at Greensboro: ELON. [Floki "Frunkpuppy" owner Musk]

21. Host of, casually: LOTTA. ["Whole ___ Love" (1969 Led Zeppelin hit)]

22. Online request: ADDME. [LinkedIn request]

23. Basic font: ARIAL. [Disney princess's favorite font]

24. Parents: REARS.

25. Tanks, e.g.: TOPS. [Tanks and tubes]

28. Berkeley, to sports fans: CAL. [Stanford nemesis, for short]

32. Birthplace of novelist Rohinton Mistry: INDIA. [Largest democracy in the world]

33. Order: EDICT. [Directive]

34. Orders: RANKS.

36. "Antiques Roadshow" determination: VALUE. [A comic book's might increase with age]

37. Unfriendly way to answer the phone: WHAT. [Information-gatherer's question]

38. "No problemo!": AOK.

39. "Just relax": KEEPCALM. [Emergency advice]

41. Regal rod: SCEPTER. [Queen's rod]

44. Part of UAE: ARAB. [Spring preceder]

45. "__ of the Louvre": Emma Lazarus poem: VENUS. [Out-of-this-world first name in tennis]

46. Let up: ABATED. [Decreased in intensity]

48. Followed a doctor's order?: AAHED. [Reacted to fireworks, maybe]

49. Frontier trader's goods: SKINS. [Cheesy potato parts]

51. Leaves for lunch: SALAD. [Caesar, for one]

52. "Did it!": TADA.

53. Anti-piracy org.: RIAA. [Music piracy org. whose initials anagrams to an opera highlight]

56. Go dark?: DYE. [Turn purple, perhaps]

57. "Make __ double": ITA. [Make ___ rule]

58. Barclays Center player: NET. [Ball blocker]

59. Coll. test: GRE. [Test that's some work another way]


desper-otto said...

AARGH! Er...Good Morning!

This one looked impossible. Then, little by little, things started to fall into place. Don't think so. Maybe. I think I can. Nope, I was right the first time. It all came down to A_DME and _RE, and d-o couldn't come up with anything, so that square remained blank. Bzzzzzt. Asystole at 25:16. Still, it was a good exercise. Thanx, David's mom and Husker.

Subgenius said...

Okay, I admit I lu'd RIAA, but I didn't do it until AFTER I put in the "r", so I really don't consider that "cheating." Other than that, it was the usual Saturday slog, and

Subgenius said...

Through P and P, I managed to FIR, so I'm happy.

Anonymous said...

Almost gave up after the first pass through the clues. Kept chipping away, and eventually FIR. Definitely Saturday-level cluing!

KS said...

FIW. Baffled by 22 down. Filled in " ask me". Never heard of Dre, and assumed Domingo was a car, I'm not a car guy.

Lemonade714 said...

Anthony Anderson is one of many actors riding the wave of change. They have brought back the original Law and Order and kept Anthony and his mother working with a new To Tell The Truth

Puzzle was not hard for a Saturday and David’s mother and HG have given another peek behind the curtain. This provides a real sense of the new editorial team

Thank u Mrs S and HG

Anonymous said...

I agree this was not a Saturday-level difficulty, as I finished in 9:48. Still, I do enjoy the themeless (and, of course, the lack of circles).

The phrase "vibe check" was new to me.

I'm not a fan of any clue that asks for any novelist's birthplace, especially a novelists I've never heard of. Luckily, I knew "Wakanda," otherwise that could could've been a nasty intersection.

Enjoy the holiday weekend, everyone. And, thank for the "behind the scenes" look at the constructor.

ATLGranny said...

A surprising FIR because it seemed so daunting at first. But like DO said, little by little I managed to finish it. My last fill was VIBE CHECK but more time was spent getting TATTOOED and LOTTA. Early mistakes were putting ado/DIN and Duke/ELON. Fixing those helped a lot. Thanks for all the background information, Karen, and for the Saturday challenge.

Husker Gary, your review cleared up my remaining questions and I appreciate your contact with the constructors! Looking over the many changes Patti made, it seems she tightened up the clues mostly, although in a few she changed to harder proper names. Very interesting!

FLN, what a tragedy for your family, YR! So sorry about your nephew.
Anon-T, about the italics conundrum, I use Google Chrome on my Motorola phone (moto g fast). It's strange that it made a difference.

I'm happy, like Subgenius, and I hope you all have a happy day!

Jinx in Norfolk said...

DNF, and didn't even cheat right! Looked up "Queen of Arendelle" and wrote ANNA, which made me erase ARIEL and REARS (hey - I found it on the internet; it must be right!).

I actually read all the clues first, and since it didn't appear to be filled with tomfoolery I printed it out. Although I didn't like the "Frozen" and "Blackish" clues, it's Saturday and I don't expect to like (or get) them all. There were plenty of clever clues like "leaves for lunch" and "followed a doctor's order" to offset those.

For extra credit - who knows where Elon U's main campus is located?

Thanks to Karen for the fun challenge. I must admit that I liked Patti's clue substitutions mostly, but some of yours would have been better had it been a midweek themer. And thanks to Gary for another fine tour.

Irish Miss said...

Good Morning:

This wasn’t a super difficult Saturday but the Dio/Add Me crossing caused a FIW. I had no idea Domingo was a day of the week nor do I watch Black-ish, and what I know (or care) about Facebook would fit in a thimble. I did enjoy the solve, though, despite these errors. Fun duos were Game/Fame, Add/Ads, GRE/PSATS, Take/Cake, Net/Bet, and Aahed/Aargh. Karen also brought her A Team with Uma, Dia, Wakanda, Elsa, RCA, Bea, Lotta, Tada, RIAA, and It A. CSOs to Misty (RCA), Keith (Emote), Vidwan (India) Boomer (Ten (Pin)).

Thanks, Karen, for a challenging solve and for sharing your constructing evolvement and, also, for the before and after cluing comparison. I agreed with some changes, especially those based on brevity, but I thought several of yours were just fine as written. Thanks, HG, for another delightfully informative and entertaining recap and for cultivating such a responsive participation with the constructors.

ATLGranny @ 8:26 ~ The second sentence of your second paragraph states exactly what I have been critical of since Patti took over. Of course, as Editor, that’s her prerogative.


CED, hope the wedding went off as planned. Congratulations to the newlyweds and, of course the Father and Mother
of the bride.

YR, my sincere sympathy on the sad fate of your nephew.

Have a great day.

Subgenius said...

Oh, and I didn't say how much I appreciated Karen's behind-the-scenes look into the editorial process. Thanks for that, Karen!

Subgenius said...

For some reason, my "koala" avatar isn't showing up. I don't know what's going on with that.

Brian said...

Subgenius: Your Koala avatar is showing up for all of your posts on my screen.

Subgenius said...

My avatar is doing fine, now. I don't know why I couldn't see it before. It's a mystery, but a very minor one.

Malodorous Manatee said...

In 2016 and 2017 I exchanged a few emails with David Steinberg. I had contacted him to ask if he was the David Steinberg (brother of sports agent Leigh) that I had sat next to in High School health class. That David was a year behind me grade-wise. IIRc, the David I was emailing turned out to be in High School at the time of our correspondence. Clearly, not one and the same!

Thanks, Karen and Gary, for the puzzle and the recap.

Tante Nique said...

I appreciate Karen taking the time to reveal her puzzle experiences. It’s fascinating. Thanks to Husker Gary for reaching out to the constructors.

I’m afraid I don’t understand # 21 down Host of, casually LOTTA.

Wilbur Charles said...

Good ol' UMA. Had it last week too and Bilbo's TROLLS earlier this week

I'll take a CSO for AARGH and pass along one to Boomer for TEN Pin

Oops. Cali went south with AskME with the two obscure pop-culs. ADD makes sense but I didn't think of it. Aha, Domingo isn't a person. I need some Spanish lessons

I originally had the TADA where BANG filled.

As I noted last night this was P&P perfect. Slightly imperfect FIW


Husker Gary said...

-Tante - Explanation of HOST
-Sidebar – When I blog, I sometimes debate whether the use of a word requires more explanation. For a HOST of reasons, I thought many had encountered the use of this word. I try to only use images, links and explanations that are helpful, interesting or can add some insight.

desper-otto said...

Tante Nique, one meaning of "host" is "a great number."

unclefred said...

This comment has been made several times, but is worth repeating: It is very interesting that the same CW can seem easy to some people, and near impossible to others. As everyone who posts here knows, I am probably the LEAST capable CW solver who posts, at least judging from the time others spend, and the amount of cheating by using Google that other posters say they do. Well, that said, this CW was filled correctly by me writing in the responses I found largely on Google, I simply did not know so many answers, that using perps was not feasible. For instance, I've never watched "Black-ish" or "Black Panther". I watched SNL long ago, but do not find it as fun to watch as I once did, so very seldom watch it anymore. "Online request" = ADDME? I've never done that. "Short sucker" is a great clue, that had me scratching my head for quite a while. When VAC finally popped into my brain, I finally had enough perps to fill VIBECHECK. Looking at the completed CW, there are many clever clues. I especially like BUTTDIALING and TATTOOED. Very nice CW, KS, just over my abilities w/o cheating. Thanx for the workout, though. And thanx too to Husker Gary for his nice write-up.

unclefred said...

Oh, I meant to say: yesterday took me 40 minutes; today was 47 minutes. Takes time to Google things!! LOL

Misty said...

Saturday toughie, but that's what they're supposed to be--thanks, Karen. And thanks, as always, Husker Gary.

I often have trouble with names, but getting BEA and UMA in this puzzle was a pleasure.

Seeing CUTIE as the answer to "Pie type" cracked me up.

How anyone would know that a Louboutin item is a SHOE is just beyond me.

I don't shop much, and so didn't know KMARTS were disappearing.

Irish Miss, how sweet of you to remember that my Dad worked at RCA. We lost him just two weeks ago, on May 14, at age 93. Luckily we had a Zoom call with him and my brother that day, and were able to see him, quietly sleeping and breathing, just a few hours before the end.

Have a lovely weekend, everybody.

Picard said...

Karen Steinberg Thank you for the puzzle details. Especially the history of the clues before editing. Some got worse. A few got better. FAKIE? I would not think of RCA as an LG rival. Does RCA make anything important anymore? As a kid, our TV and radio were RCA.

LOUBOUTIN? SAWEETIE? But unknown EGO NWODIM I will try to remember. Never heard of putting a LAVA CAKE in a mug to heat it. My favorite dessert eating out.

Am I the only one who had TAN before DYE? Last to fill was that mess with ADD ME, AARGH, DRE. FIR. Overall, I found this quite challenging but fair.

Here I was with VENUS at the LOUVRE.

Learning moment about the POEM. Who else has admired the VENUS at the LOUVRE? I am guessing many here have done so.

From Yesterday:
CanadianEh Thank you for the kind words about me posing with my LIONEL TRAIN set! I still have it, in boxes. I missed the chance to give it to my niece and nephew. I hope one of them has kids so I can pass it on. They are in their 30s and no marriage and no kids yet! Glad yours has been passed down for generations!

Wilbur Charles Glad you also appreciated the SOCKETS/EYES clue!

Michael Thank you for the humorous note about COM PUTA DORAS in Spanish. I am far from fluent with just a year of study in college, but I totally got that!

Ray - O - Sunshine said...

Again sorry about the fuss with all the Italians, wait I meant italics yesterday 🤭

At camp in the rain (so far) this weekend in the doing the puzzle on my phone when it suddenly just disappeared. Was progressing but it's Saturday, when my wins hover around 50٪ so I'll take a qualified DNF.. Inkovers, KEEPcool/CALM, lotsa/LOTTA, ariel/ARIAL, tada/BANG.

_AFTANS? "C" or "K"?, (perpwaited), for "disappearing store" started to write in "Sears" (perpcorrected). Liked "leaves for lunch" SALAD 😁. "Anti-piracy group?"..."AARGH matey!!" ECONSENT!! another manufactured E-noun!! ..Double AARGH!! 😬. Would a LAVACAKE burn the roof of your mouth 🔥🙊

That's a LOTTA clue changes 😳, "grin and bear it" I guess...🥴

Invite any of the ladies _____..... SCEPTER
Precedes "you're welcome"....TANKS
".......Fool AM I?".....WAKANDA
What the hunter asked the rhino.....AREYOUGAME?

Was informed at our Okara Lake Association meeting this AM that schools of
fresh water JELLY FISH. have been found in the Adirondack lakes. Including our Lake Easka.. Invasive species from China. Apparently far


Ray - O - Sunshine said...

Misty...Sorry about your Dad. Sounds like he left peacefully.

Big Easy said...

ADD ME to the list of people who didn't finish. Two days in a row I had a DNF due to unknowns in the NW. Couldn't get a toehold. Never heard of VIBE CHECK, IRL, or EGO Nwodim. I thought KAFTANS was correct but already had K-MARTS. Thinking of some type of A-GAME, wanted KAFTANS but knew of no word that ended in KK. CAFTANS didn't have a chance.

WAKANDA- all perps for that unknown.
SHOE- I haven't spent $2,595.00 on shoes in the last 25 years.
ELON- a WAG for that one

Picard- as for RCA, it's so irrelevant these days it's just a crossword fill. Can't be considered a rival to Lucky Goldstar which decided to call themselves Life's Good.

Jayce said...

I had to look up the Emma Lazarus poem, the Black Panther setting, Nwodim, and Louboutin. Loved the clues for CUTIE and VAC. MOOMOOS had to be changed to CAFTANS. Didn't understand TEN until viewing Gary's video. BANG went in, came out, and went in again. I could suss INDIA from Rohinton Mistry's name, which made EXEC wrong as the answer for management level. I didn't realize RCA was still in the business and I really wanted SONY or SAMSUNG or even SHARP as the LG rival.

Very interesting comments from you all.

Jayce said...

Yes, Picard, I also had TAN before DYE.

Jinx in Norfolk said...

Jayce - Didn't know the etymology of LG. I remember Goldstar having poor products, but I was a fan of LG smartphones until they abandoned the market, and LG has replaced Samsung as my TV vendor of choice. I would not buy another fridge from LG, though.

Louboutin is a rival for similar sounding overpriced shoe vendor Louis Vuitton. Before he got political, I used to listen to Howard Stern. His model wife and his female co-star used to have discussions about the merits and prices of both, while the males on the show and in the audience just shook their heads.

Tante Nique said...

Thank you all for the explanation of host. I was being too narrow in my understanding of the word, a no-no in solving crossword puzzles.

Ol' Man Keith said...

BEA Arthur had a lucrative TV career.
Not everyone realizes she had a major theatrical career as well. She started on stage in the '40s and won several awards, included a Best Actress Tony.
Her early claim to fame was in the off-Broadway production of Brecht's The Threepenny Opera, in the great Marc Blitzstein adaptation.
She played Lucy and got to sing the ”Pirate Jenny Song”--after Lotte Lenya premiered it.
(She made this fine recording later, in a concert on Broadway. It is the song of an oppressed servant, a maid, and her imagining what she'd like to do with her hotel's "guests." Hoo, boy....)

Today's PZL by the careful explainer, Ms. Steinberg, was fun in places (BUTT DIALING) and exasperating in others (VIBE CHECK & of course the double "AA" and triple "AAA" FILLS). Well & thoroughly analyzed by HuskerG.

And, sadly, no diagonals...

Vidwan827 said...

Quite an achievement for a mother of a famous constructor ! .. if thats the word.
( The fruit does not fall far from the mother tree .....) ;-)
Thanks to HG for the inside story thats always fascinating and absorbing. I needed the review and the explanatory blog as never before.

I had a tough time with the puzzle and gave up too early - beyond my reasoning and well above my pay grade. Or, maybe, I haven't moved enough with the times.
Lots of learning moments.

Have a nice, long weekend, you all, ... or those who are entitled to it.

Anonymous T said...

ARRGH! Two bad squares -- 22d ≠ AskME [Anything -- aka Reddit's AMA]
//there's not a KIA Domingo? :-) [Hi KS & WC!]

Hi All!

Close but no cigar today with a FIW (which is way better than my normal Sat. DNF). Thanks for the puzzle and for sharing so much inside-baseball, Karen.

Great expo, HG. LOL "What?" routine.

WOs: CAFgAN, EtON, COME to me, TeeS->TOPS, stay CALM, SCEPToR.
ESPs: DRE & KIA should have been two. LOTTA (Oh, I get it now), EGO as clued.
Fav: Clue for BUTT DIALING
Runner-up: MARVEL[']S WAKANDA on the same line is cute too.

Anyone else want VICtim as a sucker, sap, target @1d?

Misty - I don't recall you mentioning you lost your father. My condolences to you and your family.

BigE - IRL appeared in the LAT: 5/19/13, 9/21/20, 9/24/20, 9/15/21, 10/26/21

Fun puns, Ray-O!

We had a fun day here. We actually found tile that is close enough to the 15 year-old Italian ceramic that we don't have to redo the entire downstairs (saving >$6k!) and then celebrated MIL's 79th with a late lunch / early dinner. Good times.

Cheers, -T

Anonymous said...

An exercise in Googling. Not for me.

Acesaroundagain said...

Really liked the insight into the cluing. I can't believe so many were changed. Some better, some worse. Go figure.

PK said...

Hi Y'all! ARRGH! is the most descriptive word for my experience with this puzzle as stated by some of our Corner's most intelligent minds. Couldn't come up with enough perps in some areas to make any headway. Did better at the bottom and worked back up to a finish. Red-letter help all the way. Karen is much more enthusiastic about her work than I am. Patti is in a class of her own. (I think I'm flunking it.)

Thanks so much, Gary!

I did know Louboutin from somewhere -- maybe watching "Price Is Right". I wouldn't wear that shoe if they paid ME that ridiculous price. I have enough problems walking in sneakers.

I wonder how constructors know all those obscure actors' etc. names. Can they be watching that much TV & cooking up these hard puzzles at the same time?

I had to turn on the A/C for a week, then earlier this week relit the furnace. Today outside temperature called for A/C again. Had a month's worth of rain in two days.

Misty, I'm thinking a big hug and condolences to you on the death of your father.

waseeley said...

TITT. Thumper!

Anonymous said...

DNF and DOD ( Detested Oblique Definitions). Adding another constructor to my "AVOID" list!