Cartoon busman Mann / FRI 9-2-11 / 1968 title role Vanessa Redgrave / Kandahar cash / Cousin of canvasback / Hook accompanier / Dust-laden winds

Friday, September 2, 2011

Constructor: Tim Croce

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: none

Word of the Day: Roh TAE-woo (5D: South Korea's Roh ___ Woo) —

Roh Tae-woo (Korean pronunciation: [no tʰɛ.u]; born December 4, 1932 in Daegu, South Korea), is a former ROK Army general and politician. He was the 13th president of South Korea (1988–1993). (wikipedia)
• • •

Felt tougher than it was, perhaps because I thought it would be pretty damned easy when I saw the grid layout. Stacked 15s are red meat for constant solvers. I don't eat actual red meat, but you get my drift—it's the stuff that makes our mouths water. You just need a few short crosses, usually, and the 15s start to fall. And when they fall, they tend to fall fast. Well, that didn't exactly happen here, at first. Had nothing for certain, then went with SILT and LSAT and EURAIL, but then couldn't get anywhere. OTTO and WAS and ILER were too far apart, it seemed to help me much with the 15s. Then I just ignored the crosses and decided to think hard about phrases that could fit 17A: Continue cordially despite differences. PART COMPANY something something? ... no ... AGREE TO DISAGREE. Yes. Bam. That got things moving. Still, tough cluing on things like SMEE and SHORE and OSSO and AFGHANIS (!) kept me from really flying.

Bottom half was a bit easier, though I did not flow smoothly down there. Kept having to reboot. Got a smattering of answers like DANTE, ARFS, ARP, ETC, and TRE, but again they were all too far apart to do me much good. Ended up lucking into AS IT WERE because I had (wrong) NEWER at 55A: Not as experienced. That ended up being RAWER, but the "W" gave me the traction I needed for AS IT WERE. Swung back up to the middle to (finally) get D'ARTAGNAN, which gave me all the traction I needed to start taking apart the bottom stack of 15s. Still (!) clues on stuff like RING and LARD provided enough resistance to keep me from blowing through the grid. Which is fine. It's Friday after all. In the end, my time was pretty normal for a Friday. Last thing into the grid was the fix from NEWER to RAWER.

  • 16A: Thing rolled in a classroom (EDUCATIONAL FILM) — cluing feels forced here. I get that one "rolls" a film in some contexts, but this didn't feel like one of them. Feels more newsroomy. I had EDUCATIONAL and could not figure out what could possibly follow.
  • 18A: Cousin of a canvasback (TEAL) — so it's a duck then. Alrighty.
  • 23A: Agricultural Hall of Fame locale: Abbr. (KAN.) — the whole damned state feels too big for the "locale" of what I imagine is a single building.

  • 36A: 1968 title role for Vanessa Redgrave (ISADORA) — Duncan, I'm guessing. I have no idea. Yes. Duncan. I had this spelled ISIDORE at first, thanks to the tenacious influence of ISIDORE of Seville.
  • 57A: Earth as organism (GAIA) — I knew this was some kind of "mother earth" name, but "organism?" News to me.
  • 9D: Piquant sandwich base (ONION ROLL) — technically accurate, I guess, but I can't imagine anyone's describing an ONION ROLL as "piquant." Also, I don't think of bread as a "base." You order X *on* [some kind of bread product], thus the "base" / foundation of any sandwich is the stuff *between* the bread. Sandwich judgment has been rendered!
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Tobias Duncan 12:21 AM  

Tough for me.Came in full of fire after yesterdays rebus victory but soon remembered that I am still a beginner at this stuff. If I had to guess I would say I have done about five to six hundred puzzles so far, how many does it take to be the "constant solver" that Rex talked about today? How many would you say you have done?Anyone?

syndy 12:24 AM  

the bottom fell fast for me but the top was a bear! especially as I had fits with SCIRROCCO'SCIROCOS but never never SIROCCO -ah no no no- I wanted BONE for OSSA-yeah ok and KINKOS for KIOSK and SOURDOUGH in stead of ONIONROLL it took a looong time to reboot.I did have newer down there but that was an aesier fix

Unknown 12:50 AM  

Ring on top of lard seemed like a backdoor tribute to Ring Lardner Jr. "'Shut up,' my father ẽplained," is one of my dad's favorite phrases.

Psst, Isadora, not Isidora.

jae 12:53 AM  

Pretty good Fri. challenge. Yes for newer and, getting AGREETO... with just a few crosses broke open the top half for me too. Easy-Medium for the North and Med.-Chall. for the South = Medium overall for me.

@Tobias. -- I'm in no way a speed solver but I've been doing a 1000 plus puzzles a year for 5 or 6 years. I've been at this for over 8 years but I stopped looking stuff up about 5 years ago (for me looking stuff up was an essential part of the learning process). It gets easier but, like any complex skill, it takes a while. I mean, I've been playing golf since I was teenager and still do not have much of a clue.

Jim 1:00 AM  


I've been solving every day for about a year, and I've done a few hundred of the archived puzzles. So I'm right about where you are in terms of experience, I'd say.

I certainly get where Rex is coming from, though I still don't get the Pavlovian response to stacked 15s that he seems to; they still tend to frighten me. Mostly because I've seen some awful four-letter crosses to make the 15s work and I worry I won't get enough to make hide or hair of the 15s.

Today, however, it was really smooth sailing, assisted by some good instincts.

Bottom half was definitely tougher, if only because I had such good guesses up top, I worried I was running out of luck and I realized I didn't really have a good foothold down below.

SASE instead of RCPT didn't help, but inferred -STREET off the seminal T and the D_RT gave me DARTAGNAN and it was all over (mostly). Really wanted CodDLE and kept coming back to it for probably three minutes before CRADLE came to me. That, and the PI of PIPED, were the last four letters to fall.

Nothing particularly memorable or mellifluous (expect maybe SIROCCOS), but a good, solid themeless that eventually surrenders is pretty girl who ends up succumbing to your will. You know it will take some time, and you need to have a good rap, but in the end, she has no choice but to relent.

Michaela 1:07 AM  

Today's was almost alarmingly easy to me -- significantly faster than yesterday's. Getting "AGREE TO DISAGREE" right off the bat certainly helped.

One thing that tripped me was once I had the first and third lines in, OlIvelOaf fit exactly where ONIONROLL ended up.

PK 1:12 AM  

@Jim: Girls don't really work like that.

I found the bottom half easier than the top, since "tree-lined street" just popped into my head.

Teal was the first thing I could actually write down, tho it didn't help much.

Agree totally with Rex about 16A - "Educational" something was fairly obvious, but the end of it was not. Hmm. I guess I've watched some educational films. Hmm. Maybe not.

asitwere cradle michaels 1:30 AM  

Loved AGREETODISAGREE spanning the grid. Sums up this blog half the time!

This is the fastest Friday I've ever done and it felt smooth smooth smooth.
Only write overs was RINd to RING,
also neWER to RAWER and NASSaR to NASSER.
So too easy, (and I'd throw in my own metaphor, but @jim's 1:00am is still giving me the creeps!)

hazel 1:46 AM  

although i havent been in a classroom in decades, i dont think films are really rolled any more - on reels that is, in a projector, with the little bulb that was always burning out to the delight of everyone.

the puzzle was a fine solve, in that i conquered the 15s with no teeth gnashing, and had a few pleasant ahas to boot.

@acme - and the other half of the time, people are just plain disagreeing until they run out of their 3 chances to speak, then its just a grudge until next time around. :-/. maybe thats just the insomnia talking.

Octavian Aligheri 2:25 AM  

Agree w/ Acme -- fantastic puzzle, very smooth, and I just rocketed through it like it was a Monday until the very last couple of clues.

Started with ILER and SMEE, and then threw down AGREE TO DISAGREE without even thinking hard. Then got NEAT and BLAST and suddenly NEED TO KNOW BASIS emerged ... and I was done with the top in about two minutes. Record time for me.

No slowing down on the right side, and after getting NASSER off RING and then DANTE off LARD, and then ERROL (easy trivia) and ALER (those dont throw me anymore), CLEAR AND PRESENT, PERSONAL EFFECTS and TREE LINED STREET just emeged in a flash.

Was ripping through this thing until getting snagged on ISADORA as for some reason I really wanted INDIRA (as in Gandhi) until I realized the timing was wrong.

All in all, a gem of a puzzle and I finally feel, after about 3 yrs of solving, that I can do Fridays without too much trouble. ... Though I still can only get about 80% of any given Saturday puzzle (the final frontier).

Thanks Tim -- great job.

Anonymous 3:54 AM  

A milestone for me: the first Friday I correctly complete. Further more, without googling, and within "bathroom time"... Coming here, I was expected a "very easy" rating; a "medium" just adds on my satisfaction. I cannot explain; the things just fell in smoothly; maybe being more relaxed about penning in tentative anawers; looking forward to next Friday.
From Bangna/Bangkok

SethG 7:16 AM  

My first answers were ILER, SMEE, and NEED TO KNOW BASIS.

Had FILM before EDUCATIONAL. ALER right away, so I started with RAWER. My only slowdowns were RSVP instead of RCPT, remembering where the G goes in D'ARTAGNAN, and accidentally backing out of the app with 80% complete and needing to reenter everything. I think it was my fastest Friday ever as well, if you don't count my reentry time.

joho 7:48 AM  

I thought this would be rated easy.

The top was harder than the bottom for me where I had sidES before EDGES and ago before WAS. On the bottom I had neWto, neWER to RAWER and like @SethG, Rsvp before RCPT.

Very fast for a Friday and I enjoyed the 15 word phrases.

Thanks, Tim Croce!

MaryBR 7:53 AM  

Agree that this felt easy for a Friday to me. Time was significantly faster than usual. Top fell quicker than usual for me with the notable exception of NEA_/_EAL, which was my final guess (never heard of teal in the duck sense and neat felt a little forced for me for that clue).

nanpilla 8:06 AM  

One of my best Friday times. Significantly faster than yesterday. Also had CodDLE before CRADLE, and Rsvp before RCPT. Spelling SIROCCO gave me fits.
And EDUCATIONAL FILM still gives me the willies - I'll never get Wheels of Fire out of my mind from drivers ed. Guess that was the point....

Z 8:08 AM  

This probably isn't the best speed strategy, but I'm not a speed solver, but I usually try something in those 15's if it occurs to me. Today that worked great in the top. AGREETODISAGREE immediately gave me EDGES, EURAIL, and DCELLS and the north was done lickety split. Waded into the middle and I slowed down. SISENOR opened the west enough to get me purchase into the south. WT- sat there quite a long time because, well, I knew my preferred letter had to be wrong but it was throwing up a mental hurdle I just wasn't getting over. GREECE got me back into the east enough to finish that section, but the south sat there with little other than TREELINEDSTREET for the longest time. I'm a bit embarrassed that I didn't recognize the clue at 56D as baseball teams (and surprised that Tobias didn't comment).

I'm new enough at doing these daily that I suspect I'm right around Tobias' experience level. I'm just experienced enough to realize how much more there is to know. Construction (especially puzzles like yesterday's) impresses me greatly. Maybe someday when work isn't consuming so many hours of my life I'll give it a go.

aromoff 8:09 AM  

I'm usually daunted by those long 15s - never look forward to them - but this puzzle just fell into place - the answers just kept coming until it was done!
@Tobias - wondering how many puzzles before becoming a "constant solver" - I've been at these for over 40 years, and I will tell you that your brain changes - all for the good - faster thinking and processing. I have just written my second book, "Listening Closely: A Journey to Bilateral Hearing" - and while the subject is my going deaf and then regaining my hearing with cochlear implants, there's an ongoing sub-theme of crossword puzzles (with some interesting surprises) because I do a lot of them. It helps the search, retrieve and make connections mental process - all which were relevant to hearing and memory.

Mike Rees 9:09 AM  

Oh, it has got to be my lucky day. Got AGREETODISAGREE, CLEARANDPRESENT and TREELINEDSTREET with no crosses! Made the rest of it drop into place in pretty damn good Friday time. Final entries were RING and LARD (How is LARD the answer for "Enrich"? Still can't figure that one. Lucky guess because I didn't know NASSER either.

Anonymous 9:19 AM  

@Mike Rees - You can LARD a piece of meat by injecting lard, perhaps combined with spices, into it to make it moister and richer.

@Rex - Just spent 15 minutes of my life reading about Saint Isidore. Thanks a lot. I haven't decided if I meant that sarcastically or not, I'm thinking not.

PuzzleNut 9:20 AM  

I either inherited or developed what my wife calls the puzzle gene. After many years of doing crosswords, your mind definitely is wired differently. I have also noticed a vast improvement in my solving skills since discovering this site about two years ago. I still am woefully slow compared to Rex and other speed solvers, but after you've seen, and noted, a lot of tricks of the trade, it really helps.
This puzzle - I found it pretty easy for a Friday. 13 minutes without any major hangups. SASE for RCPT, NASSaR, BONE for OSSO and TONY for ILER (misread clue). I used to be terrified of the stacked 15's, but I see Rex's point that they aren't as daunting as they first appear.

David 9:25 AM  

Average Friday for me - I had periods of staring blankly, and periods of snagging 4-5 clues at a time. Started great, with the top and bottom answers with no crosses! (NEEDTOKNOWBASIS and TREELINEDSTREET). But that didn't create momentum at all, esp. up top. I wanted something with a MAP for thing rolled in the classroom, and no other crosses came to mind, tho I thought about NEAT for ingenious and discounted it.

FInally I got ISADORA and SISENOR, that gave me the crosses to nail the other 2 bottom 15s, and I moved well from there, except for parts of the East, where ONEIOTA, ONIONROLL, and SIROCCOS were very difficult.

Nice, smooth Friday puzzle. I tend to like 15 letter stacks too - although daunting to look at when blank, they often come very easily with just 1-2 crosses.

jesser 9:26 AM  

I've been doing the NYT crossword on a daily basis (unless I'm medicated or in Vegas, which is kind of the same thing) for at least 20 years. Stacked 15s still give me shrinkage when I first see them, but as I read Rex's explanation of how HE sees them, I gotta admit he's pretty much on the money. I will reassess!

This fell very fast, but ultimately a DNF due to DARTAnNAN at 33D. Isn't nAIA a word? Grrr.

Only writeovers were the common neWER before RAWER and Garret before GREECE at 48D.

I plopped in 1A without any hesitation, and 17A wasn't far behind, which made the top half go faster than stacked 15s usually go.

The bottom was harder for me, but AS IT WERE, PIPED and DANTE gave me the traction I needed to prevail, and except for that damned n, I was good to go down there.

It's gonna be a terrific weekend. I've been asked to deliver the invocation for the Dona Ana County Democratic Party's Labor Day breakfast Monday. I am having deliciously evil thoughts about the havoc I can wreak if I am so inclined and courageous enough. I have been a loyal D all my adult life, but I'm pretty much sick of both parties at this point. I wonder if the person who asked me to do this knows that I got ordained on the Internets. :-)

Happy Weekend, Rexville!

John V 9:32 AM  

A very fast Friday for me, played easy. A nice respite after yesterday's train wreck.

@Tobias, I've been doing at least five Times puzzles a week since 1971, but I am way far from being a constant solver. Like others, stacked 15s make my pencil hand twitch.

Last to fall for me, GREECE. attic locale. All the things I did not know fell with pretty easy crosses.

Can someone elucidate 19A, OSSO, clued as scapola or clavicola? I always thought of Osso buco as veal knuckle, but I guessing I have this wrong.

Favorite clue, 56A, A, Jay or Ray; had me thinking of Bill Saluga's shtick from the '70s:

Anonymous 9:37 AM  

John V, I think OSSO is Italian for "bone", hence the clue giving examples of two bones in the same language.

John V 9:41 AM  

@Anonymous, thanks for the OSSO explanation. Yet another reason to "bone up" on my Italian. (Sorry 'bout that, just can't help myself.)

jackj 9:42 AM  

Rex's riff on stacked 15's totally agrees with my view; pick off the threes and the fifteens will meekly follow.

For me, the lesson was learned early on in my solving career, when trying to deal with Martin Ashwood-Smith's vexing stacked puzzle concoctions.

But, in this one, the rule doesn't seem to apply and even though AGREETODISAGREE was the first answer entered, it didn't immediately yield much else.

(AGREETODISAGREE is giving ALOTONONESPLATE a run for most over-used 15 letter entry as here it is used for the 8th time in a Times xword; the dreaded PLATE answer, has only appeared in 7.)

Highlights of the puzzle? "Attic locale" cluing GREECE tied to "Evidence of some growth" for RING. Together they negate the horrid ALER entry which seems to prove that you can't overcome a bad answer with a good clue.

Judith 9:49 AM  

Guess I'm backwards, cause I found the top easy and the bottom hard. I think thing rolled in a classroom may refer to how it was done when I was a child. The AV nerd would "roll in" the cart with the projector on it so the teacher could relax while the class tried to stay awake or shot spitballs at each other under cover of darkness.

Do not understand attic locale for Greece. Can someone enlighten me?

John V 10:13 AM  

@Judith: Attic is a dialog of Greek, spoken in Attica, or so says wikipedia:

Cheerio 10:25 AM  

@Rex - Aha! You are so right about how the crosses help out with the stacked 15s. I guess the point is that it is so hard to create a stack of 15s, that the constructor has to use a lot of crosswordese on the crosses. I didn't think of that while solving, but in hindsight, I can see it.

I've been doing the NYT crosswords religiously for two years or so. It bothers my spouse a bit because he thinks I would do better to read the actual news articles in the paper in the morning, although he is a bit concerned that maybe he should be doing crosswords too, in case it really does stave off senility, as some say. Sort of like drinking red wine or eating greens.

Judith 10:29 AM  

@johnv thanks! didn't connect attica with attic.

Matthew G. 10:31 AM  

Pretty close to my fastest Friday time -- would probably have set a personal record if not for distractions from loud goofy drunk people on the late-night subway.

Ironically, although I usually don't have Rex's salivating response to stacked 15s, on a day that he found them more challenging I thought the stacks were extremely easy on both the top and the bottom. My first entry in the grid was EDGES, and then I got AGREE TO DISAGREE off just the first G. Nothing put up much resistance after that. Only real slowdown points were having NEWER before RAWER and NODS TO before NODS AT. Oh, and I struggled with MT ST -- I tried to think of what it could be other than just "Saint Mary's," and came up empty. The name of the school rang a vague bell once I had SEAM filled in.

What I like so much about this puzzle is that all six of the theme entries are fresh and colloquial without being at all "made up." TREE LINED STREET made me grin, because when I was a newspaper copy editor I had to be on constant guard against the overuse of that phrase.

@Judith: The Attic peninsula is a part of Greece, and home to the region known as Attica.

Two Ponies 10:35 AM  

Medium is about right.
The SE was a mess for awhile because of garret but it got sorted out.
I've seen the Isadora movie. Moral of the story "Never never ride in an open convertible while wearing a long scarf!"

Brian B 10:36 AM  

Ahem. The Ag Hall of Fame is several buildings, including a re-creation of a rural village. Bonner Springs Kan., just outside Kansas City.

Damn city slickers.

Sparky 10:46 AM  

Hard for me. Had RSVP, took RAWER out because it is such an ugly word, still having the EFT/ent problem. AGREETODISAGREE and TREELINEDSTREET only complete fifteens. Went to Google since to me a lot of I don't know and I don't care items. Scapola or clavicola clever cluing.

I've been doing NYT puzzles since the mid 1950s with some years long gaps. Became more consistent in 1970s. I liked Mr. Maleska. Now am in sort of a plateau--become no better or no worse. The blog has helped me to use different aproaches to solving. And it's fun to read. Long story long, I love the whole puzzle package, a pleasnt place in my day.

Sparky 10:48 AM  

Personification would have been a better word than organism.

Campesite 10:53 AM  

As Halls of Fame go, letter-wise, what a perfect match NCAR and NASCAR make. Seems like an audience fit as well, but all I know from NASCAR I learned from Ricky Bobby in Talladega Nights.

When I see stacks of 15's, I sort of squint once I have some footholds, and take a flier or two. Usually my first instincts are right and I've learned to trust them.


hedwig 11:02 AM  

Must complain about Harry Potter's owl. Osso is latin, btw

JaxInL.A. 11:05 AM  

I'm really missing @SanFranMan59 on a day like today when my arexia (being out of sync with Rex's solving time) needs an objective comparison. Finishing a Friday in 30 minutes is very fast for me, which would make this a case of positive arexia. Liked it a lot.

@JohnV, thanks for the "you can call me Ray" comedy clip. I thought of the same thing when I read the clue. I gotta say that your reference to "yesterday's train wreck" caused a moment of alarm, knowing that you solve on a rail commute.

@Tobias, I solved off and on (1-4x a week) for maybe 20 years. Guess I got into it when I moved to Connecticut for law school. More focus on reading the paper regularly, perhaps. I became a daily solver about 15 months ago when this iPad gave me easy access to NYT, LAT, CS and the misc. weekly puzzles like Chronicle of Higher Ed, Jonesin and The Onion. Now I do 1-4 puzzles every day, depending on lots of factors (I ain't retired). That puts me in your range, I'd say. Hubby thinks I'm obsessed.

Pigwidgeon 11:09 AM  

What about me?

Mel Ott 11:18 AM  

Very nice puzzle. I really liked the 15's. For some reason AGREE TO DISAGREE jumped out at me with no crosses and it was fairly clear sailing from there.

A few momentary snags. Circles lack ANGLES, right? No, EDGES. Could there be such a thing as MISS Mary's college?

I wanted the thing rolled up in a classroom to be a map or periodic chart.

I think "CLEAR AND PRESENT danger" is an important legal phrase from a Supreme Court decision. About freedom of speech? Oliver Wendell Holmes, maybe? Too lazy to Google it.

slypett 11:24 AM  

The stuff that goes in the sandwich is the filler. So, I suppose the bread could be called the base.

John V 11:34 AM  

@JaxInL.A. LOL, no, the New Haven Line is just fine -- or what passes for fine these days!

syndy 11:53 AM  

@SPARKY- No,GAIA =the theory that the whole earth can be considered a single organism with interlocking systems.

Tobias Duncan 12:09 PM  

SanFranMan59 says he will be back next week.I broke down an emailed him today, turns out he is entertaining out of town guests.I think he is the most under-appreciated guy around here. I dont think I ever gave him a word of thanks until he went missing for a few days.

Thanks for all responses to my question,very very helpful.I think I will try to up my daily crossword consumption when I get some free time.

Beadola 12:29 PM  

John Varley's "The Gaean Trilogy" (Titan, Wizard, and Demon)is a wonderful example of Gaea (Gaia)as an organism. She exists in sci-fi.

Banana Man 12:45 PM  

Very smooth, well-constructed grid. Presented no major solving problems. Slowest going was in NE, as was not sure how to spell SIROCCOS, wobbled between TIC and TAC, plus was pretty shaky on Kandahar currency and Soprano actors. Last entry filled was EDUCATIONALFILM. "Roll" threw me, too. Was starting to wonder if schools now offered an "educational balm" roll-on cream, to smooth the learning process.

Eye-catching black square layout. I always get intimidated by stacks of 15's, and head for the "safe" harbors in mid-grid to start. Good old TRS-80 got me in the door.

DrewMcW 1:06 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
DrewMcW 1:09 PM  

Easiest Friday for me in a long time.
Really enjoyed this puzzle.
Excellent fill.

Eurail gave me pause early on — thinking EuroRail

Yesterday's took me twice as long.

dk 1:11 PM  

ok Friday. I like the 15s, wanted RSVP for 55d and thought ONIONROLL was odd.

@Hazel , great umbrage, I carry grudges for eons. I think I will now mount the one I have against you on the wall next to.... ;)

** (2 Stars) Just could not get excited about this one. Maybe it is me...


@Tobias...started doing the NY Post afternoon puzzles with my father-in-law on the Erie Lackawanna train from Hoboken to Madison, NJ (cement floor/ wicker seats)-- we were hopeless. Moved to CT and worked in NYC about 15 years later and adopted the NYT puzzles on the morning trip on the New Haven Line. Now in Hawaii and could not start the day without a puzzle. After 1,000 of puzzles, though, still struggle most Fridays and Saturdays! (Problem with an Engineering education (?))

Anonymous 1:25 PM  

i rarely can get a foothold on fri but today finished with sorta one error; had nod TO instead of at so dnf. otherwise had no real difficulty. after a challenging week of puzzles i call this an easy for me. been solving for several years but rarely attempt fri or sat. coming here has really helped as i used to struggle with tues. so you do learn to think in crosswordese.

Anonymous 2:46 PM  

I'm new to this. What does 24A TAC mean?

Anonymous 3:00 PM  

@hazel at 1:46 am I roared with laughter at your "little bulb that was always burning out" comment. (And I was alone at the time.) Didn't it seem to happen almost every time? Then I got to thinking of other stuff from circa 1950 and became pleasantly lost in the past. Thanks. : )

@Diana Think tic tac toe

Stan 3:40 PM  

We had "Duck and Cover" and one where Communism was a spider casting a giant red web over the world map. I assume these came from the Department of Education.

The puzzle had nice, clean 15-stacks and some tricky clues in the 'fun" (rather than 'maddening') category. Good job!

hazel 4:39 PM  

@dk - your remark, sir, on january 16, 2008 has left me in high dudgeon since that very day. i will never get over it. >:@

@anon 3:00 - thanks! i crack myself up all the time!

Schenck v. United States, (1919) 4:46 PM  

The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic. It does not even protect a man from an injunction against uttering words that may have all the effect of force. Gompers v. Bucks Stove & Range Co., 221 U.S. 418, 439. The question in every case is whether the words used are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent.

william e emba 4:49 PM  

This was one of the easiest Friday puzzles I've ever seen. First entry was AGREE TO DISAGREE, then half the downs came immediately, and most everything was obvious from then on. In fact, I solved this while taking a two-mile walk!

The GAIA hypothesis was proposed by James Lovelock, to much derision. It's generally viewed as either overstated or too metaphorical, but parts of it have become mainstream.

Isaac Asimov had a planet Gaia in his Foundation's EDGE. It was, for reasons that are obvious in the book, named after Lovelock's proposal.

I liked how ILER/ALER appear in matching positions. The NEAT/ATE/TAE and RAE fill is cute, and there's an OOOO diagonal at the top of the puzzle.

MountainManZach 5:05 PM  

So I've always wondered how 15 stacks are done. Any constructors want to shed light? It seems like the general method sketched out in Wordplay (movie and book) wouldn't really work. Do you just have banks of 15 letter phrases you randomly stack until you hit on a combo that makes some sense?

Dave Flaherty 5:23 PM  

Both today's puzzle and yesterday's puzzle were surprisingly easy for me. Perhaps I'm finally improving! CLEARANDPRESENT, AGREETODISAGREE, and DARTAGNAN paved the way.

As for the "Thing rolled in a classroom" clue, I'm pretty sure that this is a reference to those wheeled television carts that facilitate the transportation of A/V equipment between classrooms. I sat through several films in school that were "rolled in" in this manner, and this clue did not strike me as being odd in any way. Of course, it's not literally the film that's being rolled in, but rather the equipment on which the film is to be played. I think that this is a metonymy, or perhaps a synecdoche. I always get those confused.

It could, of course, be a reference to an actual film being rolled through a projector, but that would be a rather outdated reference.

As always, thanks for your insightful comments, Rex!

CoffeeLvr 6:27 PM  

Great Friday. I attribute my success to solving on paper, and patience.

I confused the Redgrave sisters and had a misspelling of Lynn's title role, Georgy Girl in place for a long time. Otherwise, most of the entries I was sure of held up.

I have not been to the Ag Hall of Fame for 45 or 50 years, and it is nearby. But my father truly enjoyed it. KAN was my first certain entry.

On the crime procedural TV shows, PERSONAL EFFECTS are watches, jewelry and wallets.

Sparky 8:48 PM  

Thanks @ syndy and Beadola. I'll read up more on Gaia. See you tomorrow.

Two Ponies 8:54 PM  

@ CoffeeLvr, I had the same Redgrave moment and toyed with trying to make Georgie work since it fit. Didn't last long.

foodie 9:02 PM  

As the Faux SanFranMan:

My quick & dirty index which correlates highly with SanFranMan's data, rated it as EASY early this morning.

Now that most players have posted, you can see the median score is 17.34 which would be Easy by SanFranMan's guidelines (which he shared at one point in the past).

@Tobias Duncan, I agree, I miss SanFranMan when he's gone, and I am as impressed with his consistency as I am with Rex's. I have never done anything that reliably in my life (beyond breathing, that is).

michael 9:15 PM  

Much easier for me than yesterday's (which was a dnf). Agree with Rex about stacked 15s. Bottom easier than top, but neither hard.

mac 9:44 PM  

Amazing Friday solve for me, putting 1A and 17A without crosses, as well as Siroccos and d'Artagnan, then filling in the rest.

A little tougher at the bottom, where I also had sase at 55D.

Had no idea about Afghanis, but it filled itself in.

I saw the Isadora Duncan film as well, and I agree with Two Ponies. Good film, though.

The bread is definitely the base in a sandwich, any bread. In this case I also started out by thinking some olives were involved in it, but not for long. Like those onion rolls.

Am I imagining things or did you talk about the Ferryman yesterday? Just got the power back, and just returned from NY, so I'm all over the place.

cody.riggs 10:57 PM  

Boy, this was the easiest Friday in living memory for me. Didn't time myself, but I had it solved on the bus downtown, and I was disappointed to see there was nothing left to solve on the return trip. Lately the Fridays have been much harder than the following day, so I hope tomorrow breaks that trend.

Thanks, Rex, for the Chris deBurgh video. I remember that song being much cooler 25 years ago, however. Now it's cheesy. So it goes.

Wasn't there something about a ferryman yesterday as well?

Couldn't believe how fast this puzzle fell...put in "AGREE TO DISAGREE" right away, and the momentum never stopped. Easy, easy. It felt good, no crap. More, please!

Portland, Ore.,
The Year of the Chewable Ambien Tab

Sharon NYC 12:39 AM  

I'd say this was a medium for me. It took a while to get started, and at first, I just stared at the puzzle. Once I got going, though, it was just hard enough not to be boring.

A couple of roadblocks: had guessed "retrench" instead of "decrease" for 39D's "cut." That mucked me up for a few minutes. Another was that the first word I got in the NE corner was 13D, but I misspelled it SCIROCOS, so had to untangle that little mess.

Like so many others here, the last clue to fall was replacing "newer" with "rawer." Felt like a dummy when I saw in the comments here that "ALER" referred to baseball. I knew I had it right, but didn't realize what it meant. Duh.

BTW, @hedwig, osso is bone in Latin AND Italian.

Have been doing puzzles for 30 years or so, sometimes religiously, sometimes with big gaps. These days, to challenge myself, I usually just stick to the NYT Thur-Sun. I've certainly improved on my Saturday completion rate over the years, though I'm nowhere in the speed league. Also enjoy the Monday puzzles on Brendan Emmett Quigley's site, which I learned of through Rex--they're fun and some are HARD.

Sharon NYC 12:47 AM  

Forgot to say, Rex, got a good laugh from "Don't Pay the Ferryman." Nice one.

Anonymous 12:58 PM  

Weirdly ripped through this puzzle in record time. I must be mind-melding with some cosmic answer bank, because I immediately got 1 across (NEED TO KNOW BASIS) and the last 15 letter across (# 65) with only a few down clues. So I am sitting here with pretty much the two most important clues filled in with less than 30 seconds gone by and tore through the rest. Only hiccups were the silly RAWER/NEWER line and the attic locale = GREECE (very obscure and I am Greek American) crossed with RING and LARD. Sometimes it just works I guess.

Anonymous 3:33 PM  

@ Z 8:08 AM - Me too, had no idea until you pointed it out here (five weeks ago), even though I think I've seen that clue before. I ended up getting the crosses and never even looking at that answer.

I'm going to take the inclusion of TEAL at the start of this NHL season as a sign that this is finally the year for the San Jose Sharks.

Dirigonzo 6:16 PM  

From syndiland, DNF because I ended up with CodDLE insteat of CRADLE at 45d so ARP and GAIA eluded me, and I needed them to complete the unknown-to-me D'ARTAGNAN. None of this is the fault of the puzzle, which I otherwise thought was terrific and relatively easy for a Friday.

I may be brave and buy tomorrow's NYT to try the Saturday puzzle again - I still have yet to finish one.

Anonymous 5:21 AM  

The Spacecraft it, but needed help. Went for RSVP in the SW, so was quite a while getting that worked out. Totally kerfuffled by 56d: A, Jay or Ray comes out to ALER?? Is ALER a word? Its mirror counterpart is ILER, OK, must be some TV actor. Is there an actor named ALER? I'd just as soon throw the pair of 'em out.
Was looking at 3d, and I wondered: I once had a EURAILpass and hit, like, eight countries with it. (If it's Tuesday, etc.) Could this be that simple? Still had trouble, though, because I wrongly guessed SIDES for 2d. Had to Google the Korean dude and OTTO (what cartoon he's on I haven't the foggiest); finally aha'd KIOSK and put in 1a, which switched the sides to EDGES, and that just about laid down the whole North.
There was a THROE in the east when I tried ONIONRING (a fave of mine, but not so kind to the ol' waistline), but after some thinking...(LETSSEE) I got that one going.
An amusing memory with 33d:

SULU (shirtless, running down corridor brandishing a sword): En garde, Richlieu!
SPOCK catches SULU in the Vulcan sleep pinch and hands him to a security officer.
SPOCK: Take D'Artagnan here to sick bay.
Though the clue for PHD, "A good defense may result in it, briefly," is extremely confusing, I get that one must defend orally his/her doctoral thesis from vigorous professorial attack. The confusion comes if one doesn't realize that the "briefly" modifies the "it," and not the verb "result." We have an adverb modifying a...noun. If I'm Tim's 7th grade English teacher, he gets a red line through that one.

Dirigonzo 7:34 AM  

@Spacecraft - in case you were being serious about ALER, here's the explanation: it's a baseball reference. The As (Athletics), Jays (Blue Jays) and (Tampa Bay)Rays are all teams in the AL (American League), so so each one is an ALer. It's a really ugly abbreviation that shows up quite a bit (though I've never seen the corresponding 'NLer").

And I didn't understand why PHD was right for the clue, so thanks for that explanation (I never got beyond by BA).

Anonymous 6:38 PM  

Thanks to Dirigonzo--and a big groan for the constructor. A(merican)L(eague)ER?? You would actually do that? For shame!

Anonymous 2:21 PM  

I also made the "NEWER" mistake at 55A (instead of "RAWER"), as well as "NODS TO" instead of "NODS AT" at 8A. Oh, and DANTE (54D) was not my first choice; I thought the clue was referring to a figure from Greek mytholody, so I originally penned in HADES.

I noticed a lot of Italian clues in this puzzle. DANTE at 54D, TRE at 49A, and OSSO at 19A.

Finally, as an ardent Simpsons fan, I had no idea Otto the Bus Driver's name was Mann. Now I do!

Anonymous 3:06 AM  


@ anon 5:21 Thanks for the Star Trek reference.

As for adverbs/nouns, I think this is purposeful confusion on the part of the constructor, and I bring as evidence yesterday's clue (55D) "Brief look inside". The "brief" turned out to mean that the answer was an abbreviation. The answer was MRI, unabbreviated=magnetic resonance imaging, definitely not a brief process. Seems even longer if you have claustrophobia.

Enjoyed the puzzle and finished, rarely even attempt Friday! This after about 4 years, maybe 1200 puzzles? Was thinking I'm nearing 10,000 clues, per Malcolm Gladwell's book I'm going to be an expert soon! Not!

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