Figure skater Brasseur / FRI 3-23-12 / 1993 rap hit in which Snoop Doggy Dogg popularized term bootylicious / Ancient talisman with mathematical properties / Minnie Moocher feature / Ponyo writer/director Hayao / Vronsky's love / Beater of full boat in poker

Friday, March 23, 2012

Constructor: Steven Riley

Relative difficulty: REALLY EASY



THEME: none

Word of the Day: "DRE DAY" (56A: 1993 rap hit in which Snoop Doggy Dogg popularized the term "bootylicious") —
"Fuck wit Dre Day (And Everybody's Celebratin')" (released as "Dre Day") is a hip-hop single by Dr. Dre, with a guest appearance by Snoop Doggy Dogg, from the 1992 album The Chronic on Death Row Records. The song was released as a single in 1993. (wikipedia)


[WARNING—profane]


• • •

I nearly set a Friday record, and I was solving on paper. In fact, I'm certain this is an on-paper record for me, for Friday. It's a nice, lively, clean grid, but the cluing could've been dialed up a bit. Too many gimmes, and some long gimmes at that (e.g. "JERSEY SHORE" 47A: Hit MTV series starting in 2009; BRAIN FREEZE 19A: Ice cream gobbler's woe, etc.). There was some clue trickiness around a couple of actor names, most notably BROSNAN (36D: Pierce with lines) and ANNE (43A: Archer of film), and I can see how some people might have been utterly locked out of stuff like "DRE DAY" and MIYAZAKI (31D: "Ponyo" writer/director Hayao), but that's all right over the plate for me. The problem with a puzzle this smooth and easy and unthornily clued is that there's not much to say. A pleasant way to spend a handful of minutes on a Friday.

Bullets:
  • 36A: "The Godfather" enforcer who "sleeps with the fishes" (BRASI) — Luca BRASI. Everyone who knows that film knows this answer. 
  • 39A: "Minnie the Moocher" feature (SCAT) — is it possible that this song was in the "Blues Brothers" movie? I feel like I know it, but I don't know how ... YES. I was right. Hurray for my memory and its ability to retrieve 32-year-old trivia.

  • 53A: Vronsky's love (KARENINA) — come on. 
  • 4D: Ancient talisman with mathematical properties (MAGIC SQUARE) — No idea what this is, but MAGIC filled itself in, and then the Q showed up (28A: Beater of a full boat in poker = QUADS), and what else could it be?
  • 12D: Figure skater Brasseur (ISABELLA) — a nice attempt to toughen things up, and yet I filled this in entirely off just the "IS-".
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

121 comments:

evil doug 8:55 AM  

Mammas? Baloney way to start at 1A.

‘Aviate’ crossing ‘midair’ doesn’t sound too enjoyable. “Good way to ruin your whole day and most of your weekend”, as one of my old Air Force instructors would put it.

Love ‘brainfreeze’. You’d think we’d learn.

Ponzi Scheme is a nice one---unless you’ve been victimized.

Like ‘zeroed in’. Precise, vivid imagery.

Anybody sends me a card with ‘Xmas’ on it gets removed from the list. ‘X’ does not equal Christ.

Evil

loren muse smith 8:57 AM  

What a terrific puzzle. BRAINFREEZE was my toe hold, and I wanted some kind of food word for 1D, not knowing how to spell “meringue.” Then I realized it was a Latin dance and put in “sambas,” which held me up for a while.

Late in the game, I got the MAGICSQUARE/QUADS cross because I was looking for a “q,” certain that this was a pangram. Naticked at 26A and 26D, so I wrote in wAOS/wAEL, thinking I had finished and the “w” was the missing link for the pangram. Oh well.

BRAINFREEZE, PONZISCHEME, and JERSEYSHORE are fun and fresh. Liked the AVIATE/MIDAIR cross, and the alliterative cluing for ONMEDS.

Is UNLOOSEN/loosen another one of those pairs like “depress/press” and “debone/bone” where they retain the same meaning without the prefix?

On MORENO – when I was about 14, we were visiting my grandparents in Newton, NC. Everyone was going to watch “Brian’s Song” in the living room on the color set, but I didn’t want to watch it with them because I wasn’t in the mood for a really sad movie. Aunt LaVerne convinced me to sit in the kitchen with her and watch “West Side Story” instead. Great. What part of “I don’t want a sad movie” did she not get??

quilter1 8:57 AM  

Wow, I can't believe I'm first. Yes, very easy. I don't know the Godfather details, nor the rapper, Japanese writer and am barely conscious of JERSEY SHORE, but got it all from crosses. I'm chuffed. Good way to start my Friday. Nice weekend, folks.

quilter1 9:00 AM  

Hey, when I posted it said ZERO comments. How'd you guys do that?

evil doug 9:01 AM  

I prayed to X that I'd be first....

Evil

SethG 9:04 AM  

Never heard of ISABELLA, MIYAZAKI, or Vronsky. Entered nothing for the first 30 seconds or so, til I came across BRAIN FREEZE. My fastest (non-theme) Friday by over a minute.

Nice grid, but let's toughen up the cluing.

jackj 9:05 AM  

A solver friendly debut from Steven Riley who gives us a Friday puzzle which, without too much strain, can be solved sans Google, even with MIYAZAKI as an entry since it is easily completed through the crosses.

The puzzle even has a sort of poor man’s theme with PONZISCHEME, JERSEYSHORE and DREDAY providing clear evidence of a BRAINFREEZE, (which would have been even further enhanced if the “Pierce” guy turned out to be HAWKEYE and not boring BROSNAN).

An interesting little factoid from XWordInfo tells us that the only other time JERSEYSHORE was used in a Times puzzle was way back before digital HDTV’s were available at Best Buy and when Snooki was but a KINDERGARTENER. The featured clue for that 1993 entry was, “Vacation locale”, on a Monday, no less. How exciting!

Lots to like in this puzzle and would only offer the thought that a little more push back, through tougher cluing, would have made it even more enjoyable, at least for those of us who are hopeless themeless junkies.

Welcome, Steven and congratulations on a bodacious debut!

joho 9:09 AM  

Well, it might have been easy but it sure was fun and a big confidence booster on a Friday.

@loren muse smith, I went looking for the "W," too.

Fun Friday, thank you, Steven Riley!

dk 9:12 AM  

ISABELLE messed me up for BENZENE as I assumed ISABELa.

Also had evolves for MATURES.

Still a fun time. LOL moment was staring at AMENAMEN until the double stuff kicked in.

���� (2 Stars) Thank you Mr. Riley

I bet those of you who think Nymphs are sprites ate shellfish in months that do not end in R. ISHALL let this go.

dk 9:13 AM  

Just add another L up above please and thank you

imsdave 9:18 AM  

One write over - I had BRAZI for a bit. Other than the fact that it was a little to easy for a Friday, it's a beautiful puzzle. Great debut - thanks Steven!

The Bard 9:19 AM  

Julius Caesar > Act I, scene IICAESAR: Let me have men about me that are fat;    Sleek-headed men and such as sleep o' nights:    Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look;    He thinks too much: such men are dangerous.ANTONY: Fear him not, Caesar; he's not dangerous;    He is a noble Roman and well given.CAESAR: Would he were fatter! But I fear him not:    Yet if my name were liable to fear,    I do not know the man I should avoid    So soon as that spare Cassius. He reads much;    He is a great observer and he looks    Quite through the deeds of men: he loves no plays,    As thou dost, Antony; he hears no music;    Seldom he smiles, and smiles in such a sort    As if he mock'd himself and scorn'd his spirit    That could be moved to smile at any thing.    Such men as he be never at heart's ease    Whiles they behold a greater than themselves,    And therefore are they very dangerous.    I rather tell thee what is to be fear'd    Than what I fear; for always I am Caesar.    Come on my right hand, for this ear is deaf,    And tell me truly what thou

John V 9:20 AM  

Greetings from an alternatate universe. As befits the morning after finishing work at 9 last night, I'm prepared to say, "Holy crap, was this one HARD!!" Had BRAINFREEZE without the benefit of the ice cream.

Finally got it all and all correct, but this was a three-seater for me, particularly the SW. Also, never knew that JERSEYSHORE was on MTV, which I've not watched in well over 20 years. Favorite spot, 50A, AMENAMEN -- cool.

DREDAY? Really? PONZISCHEME and its clue was freakin' brilliant. Clue for SEMIS right up there, too.

ISHALL enjoy the flight home. What a week in CLT.

Welcome back, @Evil

David 9:20 AM  

Fun puzzle, terrific and smooth answers throughout, but yes, some easy cluing (50A for AMEN AMEN) and easy big answers (BRAIN FREEZE and JERSEY SHORE). Several minutes slower than yesterday, and my 2nd sub 10 minute Friday.

Never read Anna Karenina, sadly, but got it off just a few crosses. UNLOOSEN tripped me up a bit - wouldn't unloosen actually mean to tighten? Or prepare to NOT take off?

Love the clues and answers around IN SEASON, OPEN ON, PONZI SCHEME, XMAS CARD....

Anonymous 9:21 AM  

How are GUNS (27D) "Magazine articles"? Magazines are parts of guns, so even in the definition of article where it means an instance of, this doesn't work. You could maybe, and only maybe, get away with Bullets being Magazine Articles, but not GUNS

Sir Hillary 9:29 AM  

Nice puzzle, and congrats to Steven Riley on his debut!

I agree with Rex and others that this felt too easy for a Friday, but that's OK. The 11s are all superb. Loren mentioned the near-pangram, but I only started checking after I had finished. That's how natural the high-value scrabble letters seemed as I was solving.

My very first entry was SALSAS at 1D, but I quickly realized my errors with the no-brainer crosses. By the way, it feels like OTIC has been in the last 25 puzzles I've done. It's everywhere!

Got stuck for awhile in the NE, where 9D remained elusive for waaaaaay too long considering I had the Z from 19A. Talk about BRAINFREEZE. Never heard of Mlle. Brasseur, but what else could it be -- the only question was whether the last letter was E or A (Rex even uses both in his write-up).

Favorite clue by far: 6D.

Finally, a note on JANA Novotna. Anyone who follows tennis knows this, but Jana was an exciting serve-and-volleyer, the kind of player that has basically disappeared from the sport as racquet technology has allowed players to bang away from the baseline. In the 1993 Wimbledon final, she was up two SERVICEBRAKES in the final set against Steffi Graf. In one of the great choke jobs in modern sports (every bit as uncomfortable to watch as Greg Norman at the 1996 Masters or Jean Van de Velde at the 1999 British Open) she suddenly and completely lost her nerve and couldn't get her serves in. Steffi won the final five games and the title. Jana was so distraught that during the trophy ceremony she cried on the Duchess of Kent's shoulder. Five years later, Jana finally broke through and won Wimbledon, which would be her only Grand Slam singles title. I cannot remember being as happy for an athlete as I was for her, because she seemed like a class act.

chefbea 9:30 AM  

Couldn't believe this was sooo easy for a Friday.

@Loren I too thought 1D said meringue.

Guess no one had trouble with Medgar!!!

Anon 9:21 9:35 AM  

@Anon 9:21 - You idiot, Magazines are also weaponry stores, hence a gun is an item in a Magazine.

Norm 9:39 AM  

Anonymous@9:21: Magazine = a place where goods are stored, especially a building in a fort or a storeroom on a warship where ammunition is kept.

Tobias Duncan 9:44 AM  

It was a tough week in puzzle land for me, very happy to get a confidence builder on a Friday. I had 3/4 of this done in what felt like Tuesday time.


X has stood for Christ for two thousand years.


http://www.snopes.com/holidays/christmas/xmasabbr.asp

jesser 9:58 AM  

The SW played hard to get with me for a while, but I wrestled it to the mat.

Writeovers were ZoomED IN before ZEROED IN at 13D and MIDdle before MIDAIR at 3D. Otherwise, this one put up little resistance. I was astonished that I knew MORENO right away at 38D, because I've never seen WSS. I'm guessing I learned it from Christwords. :-)

At this moment my office is wonderfully SUNLIT, which indicates I better earn my paycheck SOON, so I'm gonna PEEL out of Rexville for now.

Happy weekend!

YOURS --

jesser

Miette 10:00 AM  

So glad that I am not the only one who had a tough time with the puzzles this week. The only difference is that I didn't find today's offering any easier. I had to Google 3/4 of the answers.

Anonymous 10:00 AM  

X in the Greek alphabet is "chi", the first letter in Christos

Miette 10:06 AM  

IDIOT??? I see absolutely no reason for name calling. You could have very easily made your point without showing us your lack of grace in the process.

Anon 9:21 10:09 AM  

@Miette - You may notice that the person calling Anon 9:21 an idiot was, in fact, Anon 9:21. Trust me, as I am Anon 9:21, Anon 9:21 was on target calling Anon 9:21 an idiot.

quilter1 10:12 AM  

@Miette: I believe @Anonymous at 9:21 was calling him/herself an idiot. I do that all the time. Especially when doing crosswords. Sometimes moron comes into play.

Lewis 10:13 AM  

It is an elegant looking grid. I ended with a triple mistake -- I had ROAMS for 20 down, which made QUAMS (I don't play poker, so Rex, it could be anything to me) and ODDA (which sounded old Norsey to me!).

I was proud to finish with no Googles, and not suprised to find the Really Easy rating. I found the puzzle smooth and fresh, and look forward to more from you, Steven Riley.

Matthew G. 10:15 AM  

Tobias is correct. X for Christ has been around for many centuries, and it's merely an urban legend that "Xmas" is a recent attempt to take Christ out of Christmas. According to the OED, the earliest documented use of "X" for the prefix "Christ-" was in 1485, hardly an era of aggressive secularism. I'm amused that Doug took me to task for calling the use of "illegal" an offensive insult when used as a stand-alone noun, but is himself offended if a friend sends him a Christmas card using an abbreviation that lacks any pejorative connotation (or intent) at all.

On the other hand, I agree with Doug about 1A. You can write MOMMAS or MAMAS, but not MAMMAS. Mamma mia!

Anyway, the puzzle was indeed supremely easy. I fell slightly short of a personal Friday record, though, because of two squares that slowed me down long enough to add a minute. First, I put in OTIO (the prefix form) instead of OTIC, so I had to puzzle over MAGIOSQUARE for a few before slapping my forehead. Ditto ENLOOSEN instead of UNLOOSEN, and somehow not immediately seeing the obvious TUXEDOS.

I've seen UNLOOSE before, (usually in poetic writing referring to dogs or other released beasts), but UNLOOSEN still threw me. UNLOOSEN your seatbelts, it's going to be a not-unbumpy ride!

evil doug 10:20 AM  

Matthew,

We each have our own cross to bear....

Evil

John V 10:23 AM  

Better to bear a cross than cross a bear is what I'm sayin'

Cheerio 10:32 AM  

Great puzzle! Let's have some more from Sean Riley soon. For me, it was hard though. I couldn't even remember KAOS.

Anonymous 10:34 AM  

Easy puzzle for a Friday
Right in the names just fell-
MEDGAR, GOLDA, KAEL and KARENINA,
Luca BRASI and skater ISABELLE!

evil doug 10:44 AM  

Some of you boys were a little selective in reporting the Xmas case. Let's look at some other points of view...

"The abbreviation of Christmas as 'Xmas' is the source of disagreement among Christians who observe the holiday. Dennis Bratcher, writing for a website for Christians, states "there are always those who loudly decry the use of the abbreviation 'Xmas' as some kind of blasphemy against Christ and Christianity". Among them are evangelist Franklin Graham and CNN journalist Roland S. Martin. Graham stated in an interview:

'...for us as Christians, this is one of the most holy of the holidays, the birth of our savior Jesus Christ. And for people to take Christ out of Christmas---they're happy to say merry Xmas. Let's just take Jesus out. And really, I think, a war against the name of Jesus Christ...'

"Martin likewise relates the use of 'Xmas' to his growing concerns of increasing commercialization and secularization of one of Christianity's highest holy days."

So I guess I'm not the only one, in spite of your assertion that the debate is simply "urban legend". Sounds like a matter of some disagreement and personal choice---and I've stated mine.

Oh---And particularly interesting, given the source of our favorite crossword, is this:

"'Xmas' is deprecated by some modern style guides, including those at the New York Times...."

Evil

Glimmerglass 10:48 AM  

This was my first completed Friday puzzle after getting off oxycodone (I've had a TKR), and I was feeling pretty good about my return to mental health, until I came here and found it was "really easy." Well, easy or not, I can tell you that Friday and Saturday puzzles have been impossible until today.

Bassetwrangler 10:54 AM  

"Minnie the Moocher" was not only in the The Blues Brother but actually performed by a then 78-year old Cab Calloway in full white formal wear. He hadn't lost a step since his days at The Cotton Club.

Lindsay 11:00 AM  

Yeah sure it was easy, except the parts I didn't know. Left square #26 blank because I just couldn't convince myself that a country would be clued as an agency. What's "Get Smart"? Isn't it a brand of diet tv dinners? Never mind. I don't need to know.

Then I apparently confused Pierce BROSNAN with BROnsoN Alcott which led to problems in the SW. Nice to meet you, KAREN INo. You'd fit right into a Brian Eno/Yoko Ono name ladder.

So two errors. On the plus side, I read the NYT sitting outside in the sun :~)

Two Ponies 11:13 AM  

I was solving a puzzle yesterday that asked for the enemy in the Man from U.N.C.L.E. and today we have KAOS. (THRUSH is the answer).
Easy? Top half yes. Too many proper names that were way out of my sphere like the rap song (yuck) and a Japanese director.
Mammas is BS.

Matthew G. 11:18 AM  

Doug,

I didn't say the existence of the debate was urban legend. I'm aware that the debate exists. I'm saying that the debate came into existence because of an urban legend.

Aurora Cloned Miyazakis 11:20 AM  

Less easy if the first word you enter is RIVERA!
AND you have to build MIYAZAKI one letter at a time from the bottom up...AND you think BRAINFREEZE is something ?????EyE!

But of course loved the Scrabblyness and will look for somewhere to put the W...

And of course I love that he had NAMERS.
Speaking of which, I'm only now getting my second job ten+ years later with the folks for whom I renamed People's Express "Vanguard Air", by biggest naming gig professionally...and I'm sure it has Nothing to do with having submitted MIDAIR as an option!

@jesser
Christwords!!!!!!!
Love it. Maybe it could be a section (a verrrry early one) in the book of Jewish puzzles I've been working on for five years!

Anyway, this was not easy for me, between RivEra, MIDAct and PLAyA...and thinking it was Luca BRAzzi.

For the record, 4Z, 2K, 3Y, J,Q,X,V...nice.
Maybe a W possible in the SCAT/TEENSY area, like SCow/wEiNer? But loved it how it was.

I've decided to treat the insane capchas as a new type of puzzle to solve.

Evan 11:28 AM  

You know the cluing on Friday is really easy when the clue for PEEL is "Orange exterior." There just wasn't anything else I thought it could be, and it came to me immediately. I guess there's SKIN, RIND, and maybe ZEST, but all of those went out the door when ZEROED IN fell.

Fortunately, the grid looks great with very few crosswordese and questionable terms. I'm not crazy about AS ONE MAN -- it sounds a little bit arbitrary to mean "in unison" (in the sense that AS TWO GUYS AT ONCE might also mean "in unison"). But, The Free Dictionary does list it as a legitimate entry, so I guess it's fine.

With the exception of @Lindsay, I'm surprised I haven't seen more complaints of a possible natick at the KAOS/KAEL crossing. I know next to nothing about "Get Smart," and can name very few film critics by name. The only reason that didn't trip me up is because I built a puzzle with KAEL in it, which is how I learned the name of that critic.

Also, I'm debuting my new avatar today! That's me with Will Shortz at the ACPT as he's giving America an unintentional "Uncle Sam" moment. He wants YOU....to solve his puzzles. I think it'd be funny to return to the ACPT every year and have him strike the same pose each time, and then create a photo montage of Will gradually becoming more intense (and me becoming gradually more creeped out) with each picture.

foodie 11:30 AM  

Great Friday puzzle! Yes, Easy, but after a demanding week at work and not such a brilliant performance in puzzle solving esp. yesterday, I needed that!

I love the crossing of ON MEDS (as clued with Prozac) and BRAIN FREEZE. I sometimes make the analogy between a severely depressed brain and a winter landscape. Antidepressants work to kick start brain spring. If you have an hour, I could explain all of this, but it's not science fiction, I promise. I'm sure the constructor meant nothing of the sort. It was just a very cool association for me.

Gill I. P. 11:31 AM  

I really enjoyed this crossword. It was sort of easy but I too had trouble with a few of the proper names. Didn't know the tennis star, figure skater or Hayao and how I got DREDAY is one big mystery to me. I kept plugging away and although I had to Google KAOS/KAEL, I finished with a smile.
Not to take away from the fascinating discussion of XMAS but.... @Loren and @chebea It's quite probable the merengue got its name from "meringue" because of the so-called light and frothy character of the dance,
The merengue is more Dominican in popularity while the MAMBO which means "conversation with the gods" is Cuban in origin as we know it today.
Both dances can be traced back to the French Minuet and the English country dance back in the 1700's.
It's believed that black slaves would see these dances at balls and when they had their own festivities they started mimicking the steps. By the way, there was no blatant sexual shaking of the hips - a Hollywood movie invention - since native African dances consisted of complicated arm and step movement.
The MAMBO mania became famous in New York by the mid 50's. There were many well know bands playing to the delight of lovers of this music. Tito Puente charmed Bob Hope, Lena Horne and Duke Ellington to name a few.
Thank you Steven Riley for a good, fun crossword and for evoking "la danza" memories

lawprof 11:32 AM  

What's for dinner?

I'm unthawing some porkchops.

Anonymous 11:44 AM  

@Evil - So what you're saying is that words or phrases can legitimately be offensive to some when there was no offense intended on the part of the speaker? That in some cases you are offended by words when the speaker clearly meant no offense?

Who'd of thunk!

Two Ponies 11:54 AM  

Morbid curiosity drove me to listen to the Dr. Dre video.
That's entertainment?
Putting a "gat in yo mouth" only gives affirmation to murderers.
Death Row Records, how appropriate.

evil doug 12:10 PM  

N E Muss 1144,

Precisely, and I've never disputed that. I have no doubt that most people who employ 'Xmas' mean no offense---just as I mean no offense with 'illegal'. And really: I don't seriously take any 'offense' with most users of 'Xmas', although I stand by my preference as being based on more than 'urban legend'.

My point then was, and remains now: I have no doubt that people may choose to take offense at 'illegal', that's their opinion, have at it. But I'm not changing my behavior---just as I presume others will continue to innocently use 'Xmas'---because I know my intentions are legitimate and without malice. It's impossible to try to adjust one's words to every possible interpretation.

Now: Back to the much more compelling dance instruction chat....

Evil

Rudy 12:11 PM  

I was breezing along and the puzz was being filled in a good clip and mused whether there will be those who would complain this was an easy, especially for a Friday. But how could you fault the beauty as the words tumbled out UNLOOSEN, BRAINFREEZE BENZENE (the most extraordinary organic compound)and DREDAY.

Great puzzle!

JenCT 12:16 PM  

@Rex's "Really easy" is my "Kind of hard."

Hand up for reading the clue as "meringue."

Seeing J____ _____E (I can't even type it) in the puzzle ruined my solving experience - I despise that show: It's such a poor example for young people.

Okay, end of rant.

treedweller 12:18 PM  

Easy here, too. I used to think I would never finish a weekend puzzle, but this was a Friday record for me, I think. SW was hardest because I did not know KARENINA or the Japanese director.

@Bassetwrangler definitely a highlight of the movie. Did you see the recent PBS special about Calloway? It said he had just released a disco version of "Minnie" when the movie was being filmed and he did not want to use the original arrangement, but the director (producer? probably John Landis?) insisted. Understandable on both counts, but I'm really glad it turned out the way it did. Especially because they played a snippet of the remake (ick!).

Wood 12:24 PM  

Isn't a magazine also an armory, I.e. gun repository? A gun would be stored in a magazine, thus a "magazine article.". Liked this clue.

Wood 12:27 PM  

I think that was @anon 9:21 replying to himself, tongue in cheek.

No BS 12:37 PM  

Xmas isn't really ex-mas it's chi-mas. Chi (X) is a traditional symbol for Christ, being the word's first character in Greek. I always wondered why there was an ad for the PX in church, until someone explained it meant Chi Rho, the first two letters of the word. I know some find the usage unpleasant, but that's where it comes from, anyway.

Masked and Anonymo6Us 12:39 PM  

Near-perfect FriPuz. I only say "near", 'cuz I want Steven Riley to give us More (Please), in his quest for utter perfection.

Fave clue: The BROSNAN one.

Fave M&A mistake: ISABELLa. Notice that @31 made the same clerical error, in his otherwise perfect blog write-up. Makes me feel like #593 for a day.

Printer still printed in dirty pink, even with grayscale turned on. But it is an oooold HP printer (steam-driven).

@Evilmeister: XXX. Turn around. Good to see yer back.

Z 12:43 PM  

@Evil - Really?

This puzzle followed my recent pattern of having one corner, the SW, that just slows me down. Great puzzle otherwise.

Just my bias, but the "war on Christmas" and "War on Christianity" people have always struck me as far more similar to pharisees than disciples.

WESISLAND 12:44 PM  

Any way to refresh this blog to see new comments without going back to Rex's page and refreshing that, then clicking on the blog link?

treedweller 12:49 PM  

@WESISLAND when you are on the blog page, right-click the link to comments and open in new tab (or new window). You will get a screen with the comments separated from the blog entry.

Or, click on the title of the day's blog entry (the date and list of clues from the puzzle at the very top). This opens the individual post separate from the earlier ones. The comments appear at the bottom of the post. If you leave the window open when you finish, then refresh later, it will usually reload with the previous last comment on top (i.e., it skips down to where you left off and adds new comments below).

Anonymous 12:57 PM  

@David, 'Unloosen' can be a synonym for 'loosen' just like 'unravel' can be a synonym for 'ravel'--except 'unravel' can also be an antonym of 'ravel,' making it a janus word. I don't have an OED, but I wonder if unloosen also at one time was a janus word. I would guess it was.

WESISLAND 1:02 PM  

@treedweller, many thanks or 'mahalo' . We will be moving to the Charlotte area in six weeks so I have to get my Hawaiian phrases in while I can.

Mr. Benson 1:26 PM  

Another hand up to complain about the KAOS/KAEL crossing. I thought the rest of the puzzle was easy (or at least doable... the California region was a little slow for me), but I had no idea what to pencil in for that last letter. I put in G because I thought "Gael" could be a last name reflecting someone's heritage, and an acronym could be anything. I suppose KAOS is supposed to sound like chaos?

chefbea 1:30 PM  

@wesisland a pre-welcome to North Carolina. Where will you be. I am in Wilmington.

Evan 1:31 PM  

@Two Ponies:

I generally avoid political topics when discussing crossword puzzles on this board, but I wanted to respond to your comment above. While I'm not going to quibble with your taste in music, I don't think it's right to give a blanket description of a piece rap music as a symbol of glorifying violence, because of how they perceive the lyrics (or because the record label is Death Row Records).

There may, in fact, be more to DRE DAY than "giving affirmation to murderers." From my loose understanding, it appears to be part of a larger rivalry between Dr. Dre and the late rapper Eazy-E. It seems like Dr. Dre was just posturing to make himself look tough when he and Eazy-E had a falling out. Just watching the video, I thought it was more about mocking Eazy-E as being an uncool, out-of-touch rapper whom people don't respect as much as Dre. Death Row Records, in fact, might be a way of critiquing the fact that lots of African-Americans get locked up in prison and executed at staggering proportions compared to whites.

But more importantly, I think the rap-violence association feeds into a pretty nasty stereotype that African-Americans are somehow more prone to being a violent or dangerous group of people compared to others. While it is true that there is violent imagery in the lyrics to DRE DAY (though "gat in yo mouth" isn't one of them -- on the other hand, "Got my chrome to the side of his White Sox hat" is), I don't see how the song glorifies violence any more than, say, Eric Clapton's "I Shot the Sheriff," or David Bowie's "Running Gun Blues," or just about every John Wayne movie you could name. Yet we don't hear many criticisms about how those pieces of art glorify violence and murderers. The stereotype, however, exists in its own realm for rap music in particular.

All of this is to say that I think context matters, and that a rap song shouldn't be simplified as "giving affirmation to murderers" without at least being aware of the negative stereotypes about African-Americans and violence.

Anyway, this comment is meant in the spirit of providing good, productive discussion rather than malice, so I hope you'll take my response with the same spirit.

Masked and Anonymous Quilting Services 1:36 PM  

P.S, @quilter1 - Name of best quilt store in the Universe = Bear's Paw. That's the one in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. PuzSpouse suddenly recalled the store name. (Her "aha!" jarred me out of a perfectly god nap.)

John O'Malley 1:39 PM  

IBM PCs haven't been CLONED since the mid 90s at the latest. Modern PCs resemble the original IBM product like automobiles resemble chariots. Will Shortz - Is that the best clue you can manage for CLONED? How about "Like Dolly" or "Created by a mad scientist, maybe"?

orangeblossomspecial 1:41 PM  

Here's a video of Cab Calloway singing MINNIE THE MOOCHER (39A). He recorded several versions of it through the years.

Quiéreme Mucho was recorded in the 30s as YOURS (37A). I think it was a hit for Dinah Shore when she was with Xavier Cugat's orchestra.

I also ran into this version of AMEN AMEN (50).

mac 1:49 PM  

Very good puzzle, pleasant to do at the hairdresser's.
Hand up for trying to fit in macarons at 1D, and zoomed in at 13D.

Mighty Nisden 2:28 PM  

Totally agree with the MAMMAS disagreeing persons. Unfortunately that a little stilted.

Hand up for ZoomEDIN, held me up for a while and the fact that my spelling is still terrible with PONsISCHEME.

Loved seeing KAOS, big fan of watching Get Smart reruns after school everyday!

WESISLAND 2:36 PM  

@chefbea, thank you for the early welcome to NC. We will be moving to Lincolnton, near Charlotte. My wife is quite interested in cooking too – you might check out her postings at sassyspoon.wordpress.com.

Stephen 2:41 PM  

Fun.
And faster than yesterday's disaster.

Someone complained about JERSEYSHORE because he hadn't watched MTV in 20 years. I haven't owned a TV in 60 years, and I somehow do know about it. Go figure. And note my cultural handicap in this crosswording hobby, due to said ownership quirk!

I had SkAT and kLONED… ugle, for sure. But given the ugly crossword builders' propensity to employ "alt" spellings, I went with the alt for CLONED instead of the alt for SKAT.

If there were a god, surely she would have prevented religions.
Long live CHI-RHO-oss words!

DigitalDan 2:42 PM  

As an Evolutionary Big-Bangist, I strongly object when they put DARWIN inside that fish!

Howard B 2:43 PM  

If any of you had ISABELLE down before ISABELLA, you're a huge figure skating fan and a much better solver than I ;). That vowel fell into line late for me too.

Oh, the cross-eyed bear.

jae 2:47 PM  

Yes, very easy for a Fri. except for SW which took some effort.  Didn't know MIYAZAKI , was iffy on spelling KARENINA, and was looking for something more fitting "cheers" than YOURS....so tough corner for me  Very solid fun debut puzzle with some zip...PONZI...,ONMEDS,  AMENAMEN, BRAINFREEZE, JERSEYSHORE...

@Evil -- Nice chum job!

@M & A -- My HP will actually work if the color cartridge is removed. Your milage may very.

quilter1 2:56 PM  

This has got to be one of the funniest days on the blog. You guys slay me. And finally a captcha I can define.
ionewsqu: a physicist's periodical

Bird 3:03 PM  

Started out great with AVIATE, MEDGAR and BRAINFREEZE thinking this was going to flow nice. Then I hit a roadblock at 28A. Who uses the term QUADS when playing poker?? Not I. Not my poker buddies either. Kept trying to fit FOURS, FIVES, SIXES, NINES, JACKS and KINGS. Then there was 31D crossing 53A crossing 47D. Nothing helped. DNF.

I did like a lot of the other fill: BRAINFREEZE, PONZISCHEME, AMENAMEN, JERSEYSHORE (I don’t watch that crap, but it is nice fill).

@Evil, @Anon11:44, et al. – Did you read Bill Maher’s Op-ed yesterday about not intending offense and then the offended demands an apology (or worse)?

@Wesisland – On a PC, when the blog window is highlighted, you can hit the F5 key to refresh. You can also right-click then hit Refresh. On Macs, I only know to right-click then hit Reload.

TGIF

Double captcha “sonall forieten” morphs into “Insolent Loafer”

Tita 3:04 PM  

@Lindsay - sitting with the nyt out-of-doors, in your part of the country, in March, is quite a feat!

@Evan - love your avatar - the perspective gives me a BRAINFREEZE. Great pic.

Re: X - I never new about an urban myth or any flack about 'Xmas' - I just never liked using it. How lazy can you get, for Pete's - er - Christ's - er X's sake??
Having said that, I regularly use thx and pix, so go figure. Maybe it is just a kernal of leftover guilt that comes from a few formative years spent at the hands of well-intentioned nuns.

The puzzle??? SLAYED me!! "Really easy"?? Really??
All those pop names?
Not complaining about the puzzle - I liked most of it, but I am horrified by how many found it easy.

Tita 3:06 PM  

Oh - and BRAINFREEZE made me think of an ACPT lunch where someone's brain kept freezing with every forkfull of that frozen margarita - was it the ice or the extra shot that was doing the freezing... ;)

Miette 3:09 PM  

@anon9:21: Gotcha. Now I feel like an idiot.

evil doug 3:12 PM  

Tita---You're exactly right....
************************
[Jerry enters confessional, sits down on kneeler. Father Curtis opens sliding door.]

Father: That's a kneeler.

Jerry: Oh. (Adjusts accordingly)

Father: Tell me your sins, my son.

Jerry: Well I should tell you that I'm Jewish.

Father: That's no sin.

Jerry: Oh good. Anyway, I wanted to talk to you about Dr. Whatley. I have a suspicion that he's converted to Judaism just for the jokes.

Father: And this offends you as a Jewish person.

Jerry: No, it offends me as a comedian.
******************************
"So, Evil, Xmas offends you because you're a Christian?"

"No, it offends me because it's lazy."

Well done, Tita!

Evil

Anonymous 3:17 PM  

Is "yond" a word? Just wondering. I'm familiar with "yon" (as in "hither and ...") and "yonder," but "yond"? That sounds like a stretch to me. I also took a while to get "Brasi." I read the book (in the early '70s, as a high schooler, before the movie came out, slavering over Sonny's sex scenes with Lucy Mancini) and saw the movie at some point, but I thought it was spelled "Brazzi" as in Rossano the actor- it's been a long time since I read the book or saw the movie. Otherwise, an excellent puzzle.

Anon 9:21 3:20 PM  

@Miette - I should also have thanked you for having (one of my) back(s).

Crosscan 3:35 PM  

@Howard: Or a Canadian.

How may years ago did we have that Christina/XTina Rex/ReChrist discussion?

sanfranman59 3:58 PM  

Midday report of relative difficulty (see my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation of my method):

All solvers (median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Fri 16:50, 25:04, 0.67, 4%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Fri 8:27, 12:24, 0.68, 7%, Easy

Sue McC 4:11 PM  

I hate when life interrupts my morning puzzle routine, as it did today. But, I got to it eventually, and it was a fun Friday, but a bit of a gimme. Anyhoo...as my real game is Scrabble, this puzzle would have scored lots of points with all those Z, J, K, X, etc....for a while there I thought it was going to be a Z kind of theme.

I'm with JenCT on the JERSEY SHORE sentiment. Blech.

chefbea 4:12 PM  

@Bird and on a mac hit command R. I forget which of the Rexites taught me that weeks ago.

@Wesisland now to check out sassy spoon. Thanx

Bird 4:22 PM  

@chefbea - thanX!

Atlantasolver 4:44 PM  

Pauline Kael is arguably the most famous movie critic of all time -- not a terribly difficult clue in my book soon to be a major motion picture.

Sheesh 4:46 PM  

I can't believe all the "nice" comments about this puzzle. UNLOOSEN, XMASCARD, ISHALL???

KARENINA crossing JANA and MIYAZAKI??? The only who know who these people are, are either crossword nerds or have intimate knowledge in those particular areas.

Sheesh

Anonymous 5:03 PM  

Anna Karenina is obscure?

Sheesh indeed.

jberg 5:12 PM  

Got up at 4 to catch a plane, solved the puzzle by 5:15, but Rex didn't post until after takeoff, so I'm just getting here now.

Speaking of @Rex, the only thing I didn't like about this puzzle (well, maybe besides QUADS) was that Mr. Riley was obviously pandering to RP's pangram phobia by leaving out the W. If he could get in all those Zs, a W should have been doable.

I'm ALWAYS amazed what some people think is obvious, and others think is obscure. To really enjoy puzzles, it seems to me, you need to accept the reality that terms that are significant in any large subculture are legitimate. I mean, KARENINA is the title character not only in Tolstoy's second-most-famous novel, but in a hit movie - and probably more than one hit movie, which I'd know if I were Pauline KAEL.

But no chiding - just go see one of MIYAZAKA's full-length animated features. You'll be glad you did.

p.s. Finally, consistency demands that if we can't refer to Christ by his Greek initial, we should also object to using the English one, as in WWJD.

p.p.s. No one who wants to take Christ out of Christmas will send you a Xmas card. They'll send you a holiday card instead.

Anonymous 6:26 PM  

I do not ever recall a Christmas card that has the word Xmas in it. Like, I've never seen "Merry Xmas" or anything like that in a card. Of course, I have seen "Xmas" elsewhere, like the sign at church for the Xmas services times. I did name my PC folder for my Xmas list "Xmas" but my list keeps shrinking (who can afford sending cards anymore) so soon I might rename it X....

JFC

chris 6:58 PM  

The clue for Dre Day is not accurate. Snoop did indeed use Bootylicious in the song, but the word hardly became popular until circa 2001, when Destiny's Child released the song "Bootylicious." Moreover, the term as we now know it refers to a woman with a nice booty, whereas Snoop's usage was totally different. To wit: "Your bark was loud but your bite wasn't vicious / And those rhymes you were kicking were quite bootylicious." Bootylicious here is an extension of the adjective "booty," which in the rap vernacular means bad or wack (although not illin') (for a similar usage, see also E-40's "'Cause I Can," wherein E-40 says, "Beotch! New booty rappers get penalized, and expedited / Cause they don't think about they shit, before they write it"; there are other examples that I'm too lazy to find at the moment). Bootylicious was only created to fill a rhyme scheme, and didn't actually create a new word to describe a previously unnamed phenomenon or concept, and thus had no use beyond Snoop's rhyme. Contrast this to Destiny's Child's use of bootylicious, which created an apt descriptor for a woman with a fat booty, and I think you'll agree with my assessment.

In short, Shortz should probably stay away from rap terminology without consulting the experts first.

Stephen 7:31 PM  

@DigitalDan: why can't Darwin be in a fish?

Larry I in L.A. 8:00 PM  

Like "Anonymous" JFC, I use XMAS frequently as personal shorthand, but I wouldn't dream of doing that in something for public view. What may offend many is the apparent connection between XMAS and the materialistic side of the holiday--this sort of space-saving abbreviation is almost synonymous with advertising banners in store windows, etc.

@Bird: I play a lot of poker, and QUADS refers to the rare, better-than-a-full-house, four of a kind. It is not analagous to, e.g., deuces.

@Loren: Even West Side Story is far less of a tearjerker than Brian's Song!

jazzmanchgo 9:29 PM  

I don;t think Cab "scats" in "Minnie the Moocher." He sings some nonsense syllables, but he doesn't really create a new, improvised melodic or rhythmic line with them, which is what's usually defined as "scatting" (a la Louis, Ella, et al.).

As for "Unloosen" . . . I remember when I was a kid, working with my dad in his workshop. He told me to "unloosen" some screws, so I obediently tightened them. It took him a minute to figure out why I'd done it, but the admiring look he finally gave me remains one of my most treasured small childhood memories.

jazzmanchgo 9:42 PM  

p.s. Evan --

That's actually Bob Marley's "I Shot the Sheriff" that Clapton covered -- but I agree with you about the stereotypes.

I'm still waiting for someone to rail agaist "The Sopranos," "The Godfather," or that movie about Jesse James a few years back (to say nothing about Chicago's "Al Capone Gangster Bus Tours" or the Jesse James tourist industry in some Western states) for their glorification of "thug" culture.

Somehow, it seems, there's a world of difference between "gangsters" and "ganstas." Hmmmm . . . wonder what it is?

pk 10:04 PM  

Wrote Hayao Mayazaki = Ponyo in the margin. Twice. Have never seen any of those words before today, but feel that they could come back to haunt me at any point.

@Evan - interesting comment about rap lyrics - timely, too, with all of the controversy about the Trayvon Martin tragedy.

I'm usually really good at proving I'm not a robot, but this time it changed on me mid-proof!! Outiestl sleva to you too!

loren muse smith 10:10 PM  

@Larry I in L.A. - I have been able to avoid "Brian's Song" all these years. I can't believe it's worse than "West Side Story." I sobbed and sobbed. I guess LaVerne did me a favor.

Mike Perry 10:24 PM  

I'm actually a little embarrassed to tell what my first thought for 7-down was.

The way I solved today's grid it fit, but I couldn't believe the NYT would be getting *that* risque.

Ball wear: SPEEDOS

Larry I in L.A. 11:05 PM  

@Loren: I haven't seen Brian's Song in years, so I don't know if it still holds up, but it was once considered the gold standard for "made-for-television" movies. Despite its masculine milieu, it literally makes grown men cry.

sanfranman59 11:36 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio, the higher this week's median solve time is relative to the average for the corresponding day of the week.

All solvers (this week's median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Mon 6:15, 6:49, 0.92, 17%, Easy
Tue 10:29, 8:51, 1.18, 90%, Challenging
Wed 14:31, 11:51, 1.23, 91%, Challenging
Thu 17:04, 18:55, 0.90, 34%, Easy-Medium
Fri 17:07, 25:04, 0.68, 5%, Easy (7th lowest median solve time of 144 Fridays)

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:30, 3:40, 0.96, 31%, Easy-Medium
Tue 5:12, 4:35, 1.14, 88%, Challenging
Wed 7:14, 5:53, 1.23, 92%, Challenging
Thu 7:57, 9:16, 0.86, 27%, Easy-Medium
Fri 8:22, 12:24, 0.67, 6%, Easy (8th lowest median solve time of 143 Fridays)

Bird 11:46 PM  

@Larry - Please. I know that QUADS refers to 4 of a kind, all I was saying was that nobody I play with says, "Sorry, but my QUAD beats your boat." We say 4 lovely ladies, 4 gentlemen, 4 deuces, 4 whatever. But, we don't watch poker on TV or play online so maybe we are a little rusty on new nicknames.

constanza 12:26 AM  

the guy who played Jesus made some odd choices

Tita 8:35 AM  

@Mike Perry - will have to add your speedo to the Hall of Fame...

@loren - Wuthering Heights was on last night...

ShortShrift 8:46 AM  

LOL, Mike Perry!

Anonymous 12:43 PM  

An excellent and clever puzzle today. Thanks Mr. Riley. There are clues for all ages and likes and dislikes. I doubt I'll ever come to this site and see complete agreement. After all the NYT does not publish for one age group. I personally abhor, hate, detest and loathe rap music of any kind. But then I can tolerate its use in a puzzle. It's out there and very real to some. God help the Earth if the sound waves reach a faraway existence and we are judged accordingly. As far as religions are concerned, which one is infallible, correct and true?? The answer is the one you're familiar with. The Dalai Lama summed it up when he said, "All religions that teach goodness, harmony, right and wrong and love and respect for each other. so sayeth an old man.

rain forest 12:44 PM  

"Unloosen" may be a synomym for "loosen", but it just feels wrong. I wouldn't use it. Reminds me of when people say "unthaw". Also, "irregardless". I guess yond is a shortening of beyond. Other than the d of yond, like everyone else, I found this puzzle to be a breeze, yet enjoyable.

Solving in Seattle 2:03 PM  

I was going to skip reading the comments today because it's warm and sunny and the golf course is beckoning... until I read the first comment from @Evil about the use of xmas. What an interesting day of comments!

I dropped TUXEDO into 7D and then looked at what the "X" word could be... naw, it couldn't be...XMAS! My Grandmother (may she rest in peace), matriarch of our family, daughter and wife of Methodist ministers, would throw cataclysmic fits every time she saw the term. Thus, it was with a guilty look over my shoulder that I finally filled in 18A with... XMASCARD.

Absolutely loved the interchange, and I learned something, too.

I personally think of Rap as poetry to music, and some of it is good to do the merengue to.

I play poker once a month with a group of guys and have never heard anyone yell "my QUADS top your boat, bitch!"

Capcha: rchipme. What I often say playing poker as I get my wallet out again.

Solving in Seattle 2:12 PM  

BTW, @Red V, my long-time friends, Ozzie and Harriet Osprey returned to their nest overlooking Lake Washington last week and took up their routine of sprucing it up before raising another brood. Anyone who has not seen an Osprey nest probably wouldn't believe how big they are. Their call is possibly even more piercing than that of the bald eagle. Enjoy the season.

Waxy in Montreal 2:23 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Waxy in Montreal 2:26 PM  

@rain forest - totally agree. Guess yond could also be a var. of yonder.

Remember my organic chem prof relating that August Kekulé zeroed in on the ring structure of the benzene molecule only after dreaming about a snake swallowing its own tail. Don't recall much else about the course other than that tale...

Captcha = othser, what definitely not to call the cop administering a roadside sobriety test.

DMGrandma 2:53 PM  

Was so pleased that I had preserved long enough to solve this puzzle, and then...it turns out to be rated one of easiest Fridays ever! I just didn't know a lot of the names well enough and had to work them out from the crosses. Maybe it's generational? Combine that with a few wrong first fill-ins (e.g. top award for top prize, leading to addressed for zeroed in) meant I had to do a lot of rethinking. But, I made it once I got sunlit for 30A, everything just seemed to fall, even the words I didn't know seemed reasonable. Though I still think mammas is a stretch.
Just failed another robot test. are they getting harder oor is it just me?

Lola505 5:36 PM  

I guess I'd have to agree that this was easy for a Friday, despite my not knowing JANA, BRASI, & DREDAY, they came from the crosses. My only wite-out [sic] was at 24a, RIND for PEEL, but a pretty clean puzzle, in the end. Lotsa nice long answers, which makes me feel impressive, having filled them.

Spacecraft 7:31 PM  

Well, "Really" easy for OFL today. Thanks, I suppose, to that universally (NOT!) known MIYAZAKI fellow. (It is a guy, right? If not, uh, sorry, ma'am). Even now, typing this blog, I had to scan this entry letter by letter to get it spelled right. Why my goodness, I must have been living under a rock not to know THAT one! Give me a break.

Then there's that DREDAY entry--another one that had to depend entirely on crosses. Rap and I are not tangent at any point whatsoever.

Most bloggers thought it was (too) easy, but liked it anyway; not me. Toughen up the cluing? "Cheers" alternative in a letter? Who writes "cheers?" Some bloke from across the pond? I don't even get that one.

I had a lot of trouble with this one. Got it done, but man, that SW is a MESS! AMENAMEN. Um, just one for me, thanks; I think that'll get the job done. Oh, while on religion, the X symbol is thought to be a reference to the cross, and so is properly used for Christ.

I don't know what everybody else is saying to you, Steve, but don't give up your day job.

I think I will UNLOOSEN (are you kidding me?) myself from Friday and look forward to the Saturday fun.

Dirigonzo 8:18 PM  

I wrestled the puzzle down to 2 blank squares in under an hour, so maybe "easy" fits until, as someone said earlier, you get to the stuff you don't know. I didn't know Vronsky's love, or the writer/director and the tennis star who crossed her so that's where I threw in the towel.

Where I live, softshell clams are always INSEASON - except when "Red Tide" affects the flats. Clam digging is a hard way to make a living (but I'm really glad there are some who do it).

@SiS and @RV - Ospreys are pretty numerous along the coast near where I live, too. They share the territory with Bald Eagles, which have made a remarkable comeback (thank you, Rachel Carson). Both are "Legendry raptors" but neither one would fit at 11d.

The Blues Brothers are back! And Rex even gave us "Minnie the Moocher" while we read the comments - fantastic!

Anonymous 8:23 PM  

My father has two sisters. Neither of them has children. My mother has no sisters. So I have two "aunties", but neither of them is a "mamma"...or momma or mama or mother.

Red Valerian 8:29 PM  

@SIS: Ozzie and Harriet--cute names! Osprey are such beautiful birds. They are re-building a nest they (or another pair) had a couple of years ago. Not sure why it wasn't used the last while. It's atop a piling very close to the local pier, so viewing is quite good. I'm actually a little surprised that they haven't chosen one at a greater distance from the pier.

Could wax on about that, and the local eagles, the (seems to be sole, but how could I be sure?) kingfisher, the pair of pileated woodpeckers, and various herons, but that's probably not really NYT Crossword blog material. (Though I love that "Xmas" is ;-)

Enjoyed the puzzle a lot, though am not surprised at its easy rating. There were several things I didn't know, but they were all gettable from crosses.

I, like others, looked for a pangram after completing. I was hoping it was one but that it was so good that @Rex didn't gripe because he couldn't!

Red Valerian 8:36 PM  

@Dirigonzo: sorry to be a slow composer. Phone calls, feeding the animals, that's my story.

There is a bald eagle nest in a large tree not far at all from the pier. I can see both nests from the pier, and they're both busy.

I hear bald eagles will harass the smaller osprey to get their catch, though I haven't seen that. I bet the seals would love the possible fall-out of the tussle.

@Anonymous 8:23pm: If your aunties had sisters, those sisters would be mammas.

Dirigonzo 9:13 PM  

@RV - no worries, we're on "syndicate time" (similar to "island time" but without the sunshine and rum). Sometimes during the time it takes to read all the earlier posts and compose a thoughtful comment of your own, stuff happens. The discovery of a bald eagle nest in the proposed path of a new highway project here resulted in the cancellation of the whole project. On the other hand, the local power company routinely relocates Osprey nests located on top of their transmission poles (a popular nesting location) - go figure. Discrimination between raptors, I wonder?

Anonymous 9:37 PM  

Easy? REALLY EASY? I must be dumber than I thought. DNF.

Red Valerian 9:41 PM  

@Anonymous 8:23: Sorry--very unclear of me.
Of course you could have aunts who had sisters who were not mothers. There could be childless sisters of your own aunt or mother.
But if somebody is a sister of an aunt, they are a mother.

ack--no, wait. That's wrong!!!! WAY wrong.

What WAS I thinking? (rhetorical question)
-

Anonymous 9:59 PM  

Naticked at 47d/53a. There seemed to be a lot of Z's so I guessed Z. So I missed by 90°.

Spacecraft 11:48 PM  

"Aunties, don't let your sisters grow up to be MAMMAS..."

Ack! I'm reduced to quoting C&W lyrics! Heyulp!!

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