FRI 5-24-13 / Rex usually puts a bunch of clues here / Never understood why / Just read the write-up already

Friday, May 24, 2013

Constructor: Joe Krozel

Relative difficulty: Medium (I'm tired as hell, so this seems like a safe way to go with this)


THEME: THREEVE — Every answer has a length of 3, 5, or 3x5



Word of the Day: ANOLE (Tropical lizard) —
any of numerous chiefly insectivorous New World lizards of the genus Anolis,  related to the iguana, that have the ability to change the color of their skin among a wide range of green and brown shades.

Who's a cute little lizard that's in crosswords too much? You are! Yes you are!

Also, I had no idea until tonight that ANOLE has three syllables. I expect to use this new information precisely zero times.
• • •
Tyler Hinman here, stepping in for Rex for reasons that I don't think are clear to anyone. I woke up at 4:30 AM today and suffered through a two-hour flight delay that put me in NYC with no viable way to get to my destination in Connecticut until tomorrow. So I am tired and stabby and I really really want to hate this puzzle so the spleen a-bubblin' inside me can spew forth in a fashion that won't get me jail time.

Honestly, it's a mixed bag. The crosshatch of twelve 15s is pretty impressive, with the exception of HONKSONESHORNAT, which is the sort of Frankenphrase that always seems to crop up at least once in grids like these. That said, if it's the worst one of the long entries, overall the set has to get a thumbs-up. (And no, I don't mind HASANINTERESTIN as much, nor do I feel the need to explain this opinion.)

Said thumb takes a more downward angle when considering the short fill, though not as much as I expected. There's yucky stuff like ASBIG, ASHIP, OYS, and RETAP, and plenty of other shorter words that won't do much for anybody. However, RETAP is the only one I'd consider egregious; I refuse to believe anyone has ever earnestly used that word.

Bullets:
  • ALEXI — Fortunately, I knew Alexi Lalas cold, which went a long way towards preventing the RETAP/ANOLE/ALEXI/PEREC cluster from being a clusterf... well, you know. I wonder how many solvers will get stuck here.
  • PROCRASTINATING — Not the liveliest 15, but a nice clue earns a tip o' the cap from me.
  • CARELESSABANDON — I just now noticed this one. Isn't it usually RECKLESS ABANDON? Has decent Google support; I'll give it a pass.
Overall, I think this is better than, say, an average quad-stack puzzle. An A grade feels generous for it, but a D is likely harsh. Whether it's a B or C depends largely on how you feel about the large number of three-letter entries. It's not something I usually notice, but if you're ever going to notice it, this is the puzzle. Given my aforementioned stressors, not to mention the fact that I just discovered my laptop screen hinge is completely broken and I can't close it anymore, I'm going to permit myself a certain degree of hand-waving and leave the final grade to the philosophers.

My apologies to those of you who were expecting a rage- and alcohol-fueled screed. I really hope I'm not getting more measured in my old age.

In conclusion, buy my book.

Signed, Tyler Hinman, Regent of CrossWorld

99 comments:

jackj 12:03 AM  

As is his wont, Joe Krozel performs some sort of constructing “magic” to make a crossword into a logistician’s treasure of delights. (For the curious, the details are available at XWordInfo).

Starting with HYENA, OYS, HEF and a fun answer, TOPUP, the first of the twelve 15’s, PETRIFIEDFOREST, filled in easily, (helped also by it’s obvious clue), and on the other side of the grid, Edison’s involvement with GENERALELECTRIC was an easily recalled fact, opening up the entire left side as well.

Best of the 15’s were “Off-putting?”, cluing PROCRASTINATING and the tut-tut-tut-ing clue of “Bad quality for dangerous work” that produces CARELESSABANDON and, while TOLERANCELEVELS deserves an honorable mention, the other 15’s were either easy or unremarkable (or both) but served the purpose of filling Joe’s ambitious grid.

As one realizes while filling in the answers, there are only three word lengths in the puzzle, 3’s, 5’s and 15’s and in an outrageous exercise of excess there are 44, count ‘em, 44 three letter words, with more crosswordese than was thought to exist in the Times word bank.

ERA, ATE, ETA, IRA, TAR, ORO, NEA SOS, SAL, AAA are Exhibit A and that includes only the first ten of the forty-four 3 letter words used in the puzzle, in reverse order, from ERA’s 414 appearances working up to AAA’s 128 and then continuing on to the last of the 3’s, TZE that has only shown up 4 other times.

(I’ll skip the 5 letter words except to wonder how much love there is for ANOLE, ALEXI or PEREC).

I once ooh-ed and aah-ed when Joe did his act but lately, the more he stretches his constructions to demonstrate his bravado, the less I appreciate the end result and today’s puzzle is no exception.

jae 12:06 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
jae 12:09 AM  

Interesting grid and again, very easy.  Except of course the SW which was a tad AARGH!  ANOLE/PEREC/ALEXI made for a tough corner.  Guessed right except for ANOLa, so DNF.  The rest was a breeze.  Only erasures were AS far for BIG and PROCRASTINATIon for NG.  

Too easy for a Fri. (except for the DNF) and not much zip.  So, half a jnd above meh.

Martin 12:11 AM  

You lost your credibility Jack when you called "ATE" crosswordese.

Evan 12:18 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Evan 12:19 AM  

I'm with Tyler on this one, although I probably have less love for some of those 15's. CARELESS ABANDON doesn't seem right -- isn't it more commonly RECKLESS? Others are better, like BOSTON STRANGLER, RAN A CLOSE SECOND, and PROCRASTINATING. It was a bit tedious having to use 3-letter answers as toeholds for pretty much everything, but fortunately, once I cracked my first 15 (GASOLINE STATION), the others came pretty quickly after that.

Oh, yes. It's been a while since I've stepped into Rexville, but I figured today would be a good day to make a reappearance. I'll leave it to you to figure out why today of all days....

(I'm still catching up on a few weeks' worth of puzzles that I missed because of my schoolwork, and I understand that some faithful commenters had some debut puzzles and/or co-written puzzles since I was last here. Good job, y'all!)

Anonymous 12:19 AM  

"My apologies to those of you who were expecting a rage- and alcohol-fueled screed."

No problem, we got Tyler instead.

-Andy






Anole Careless Mas 1:03 AM  

Wow, six 15s crossing six 15s...wow.

Easyish except lower SW, but inferrable.
BOSTONSTRANGLER was a bit freaky...
I'd like to use that 15 in a different context.

MAR/TAR was the only holdup.
I thought the grid was very pretty

retired_chemist 1:30 AM  

Hand up for mAR/TAR. Caught it b/c I am checking 15s much more carefully than I used to.

Strategy: Fly through the 3s, mostly guessing right. Use the 3s to get toeholds on the 5s. Fix wrong 3s. At this point the 15s start to become recognizable, and it all clicks. Easy.

Didn't particularly love the 3s, mostly. The 5s are better (RETAP being an exception) and the 15s are gold. Favorite clue: 31A,gettin' from E to F. HASAN? INTERESTIN.'

All told, this was a winner. Thanks, Mr. Krozel.

Ellen S 1:37 AM  

Once again almost did last week's, as that is all Gridfinger will show me. Gotta talk to R.alph about that, but at least I realized iit quickly and went over to Across Lite. Pretty easy except for the googling and DNF -- I had to look up PEREC and ALEXI, which gave me ANOLE and RETAP, the latter of which I still don't believe.

But I had put Lao-TsE and never looked across to see my scale markings were OsS instead of OZS. Ah, well. Better than the Fridays where I can't even get anything.

Thank you, Joe, for an interesting Friday except for the 3s, but at least none of them were EELs. And thank you Tyler for the nice writeup. I'm sorry for your travel woes. I'm going to be flying cross country in a couple of months and not looking forwared to it at all. Last time I decided to endure the "harmless" radiation in order to get through the line faster, and they pulled me aside after I got through the x-ray machine, and groped me anyway!

Benko 2:15 AM  

Maybe "Hey, let's RETAP that keg from last night."
But does anyone say "GASOLINE STATION"?
Awkward.

syndy 3:34 AM  

Very easy-until the very last letter. I went with ANOLa/PaREC-but E was my second choice really!I don't think Threeve counts as a theme more like a disease.As in he meazaled his puzzle in threes with CARELESS ABANDON!I would have spelled Iguana right.

Anonymous 6:26 AM  

Who's a cute little lizard that's in crosswords too much? You are! Yes you are!

Also, I had no idea until tonight that ANOLE has three syllables. I expect to use this new information precisely zero times.

Very funny!

Milford 7:05 AM  

Noticed all the threes immediately. Didn't notice how many 15s crossed them until I was further in the solve. Usually the 15s take much longer to solve, but the 3s made them pop out much faster.

Agree with @jae, a very easy Friday that I DNF because of the natick at ANOLE/PEREC (I tried an I first). Knew ALEXI without hesitation, as he is my age and from Michigan. My husband played against him in high school, I think.

Funny write-up, Tyler. I especially love your use of "stabby" and "screed".

My oldest kid is 16 today, and in trying to find a relation to that in the puzzle, all I really got was that we accused her of PROCRASTINATING by being born a week overdue.

Z 7:12 AM  

ANOL-/P-REC ... Well, I narrowed it down to six letters. I picked "I." Hand up for not correcting TsE as well, so finished with two errors.

12 15s and only 29 black squares and it is not complete dreck, so good job.

Goes to voicemail didn't work out, but otherwise a straightforward solve with only the SW being a tussle. Lalas was the face of US soccer back in the day and currently does analysis on the TV, so no problem with him. PEREC and ANOLE are new entries in the ol' grey matter database.

@Evan - welcome back.

Z 7:19 AM  

Reckless is the clear winner at google fight.

Paul Keller 7:24 AM  

ANOLE, its spelling anyway, was familiar to me from collecting lizards as a teenager. With that leg up this puzzle gave me nothing to chew on. I finished in record time and wondering what happened to my Friday puzzle?

Rob C 7:37 AM  

I'm almost never on the same wavelength with Joe K. But I zipped through this like it was a Tues. Very rarely happens to me on any Fri but I'll take it.

I also thought the 15s were really good, considering how many of them there were and crossing each other.

My first impression was "interesting looking grid", but I never saw/considered the 3, 5, 3x5 "theme". Is that really a theme? Neat constructing feat anyway.

Tried ADRIAN for 55A initially - didn't fit.

samth, still working chemist 8:25 AM  

Since I had no idea who Georges -erec was, I had RETAb. Still like it better. Enjoyed the puzzle.

joho 8:28 AM  

12 15's people! Crisscrossing the puzzle so elegantly with not a clinker in the dozen! I am amazed at how jaded some are. And at how easy it is to criticize such a feat of construction.

I was happy to correctly guess the "E" in ANOLE.

Kudos to you, Joe!

Carola 8:34 AM  

Found it an unusally easy Friday, liked the polka-dot look of the grid and the SAHARA and FOREST as neighbors. Knew ANOLE from reading kid-level science books to my son when he was a TOT, so that saved me in the SW. Thought of RETAx, but ran the alphabet again for the P in PEREC.

Z 8:47 AM  

@joho - This was a decent puzzle with some nice phrases diminished by too many threes for a Friday and a corner that has a natick. The feat of construction may be of note, and Krozel did an above average job for a stunt puzzle, but it is less than perfect. Was it worth it? I enjoyed the solve, and uttered nary an "ugh" while I did. "Pretty good," "impressive construction," and "published in the NYT," ain't a bad day. I don't think this makes me jaded, but if it does I'd rather be jaded than pass out praise with CARELESS ABANDON.

Rex Parker 8:49 AM  

Easy and not terrible, fill-wise, which is what can happen when you go for a 72-worder instead of, say, a 58-worder.

Somewhere the word RECKLESS is going "WTF!?"

RP

Gareth Bain 8:49 AM  

(tangential diatribe warning)

@Jack and Martin: I like to consider crossword-ese in four categories. They're just points on a continuum but I think they might be useful. Category 1 are answers like ATE, which are better termed repeaters. In the language answers that appear a truckload because of their short, vowelly nature. Category 2 are specialist terms . I'd throw answers like Lao-TZE and TET in there. Not everyone will know them outside of crosswords, but if you take an interest in religion/philosophy/world history you will. Category 3 are obsolete words like ESNE. Historical words (current words for things that no longer exist) would fit mostly somewhere in Category 2. Category 4 are contrived answers: alphabet strings, Roman Numerals greater than XII, gratuitously spelled out numbers, multi-word partials etc. Some people might say this last category isn't as bad as 3 or even on a par with 2, but as someone who grew up on (local) puzzles laden with categories 2 and 3 but no 4, they jar the most. I'd still use them, but not lightly.

Lindsay 8:52 AM  

I've bought a new computer (after much PROCRASTINATING) which means I can check in here (or anywhere else) again, a refugee from the planet of Insufficient Memory, crashes, and Your Browser Is No Longer Supported.

Anyway, liked the puzzle and the 15s well enough although after finishing with the "p" in square #13 stared & stared at TO PUP trying to figure where the error was.

Writeovers = TsE >> TZE, mAR >> TAR, and DOtER >> DOSER (ick to both).

Pete 8:54 AM  

There has to be some limitation on how many variants of transliterated names are allowable. In my world, it's either Lao Tse or Lao Tzu. Lao TZE was a new one to me.

I forgave the ANOLE/PEREC crossing, not so much TZE.

Sir Hillary 8:59 AM  

Sorry, but when 44 of 72 entries are of the 3-letter variety, the puzzle don't work.

Twelve interlocking 15s is an impressive feat no matter their quality, but it's best done in a cryptic-style grid and left alone.

Mohair Sam 9:00 AM  

Clever, but too easy for a Friday. CARELESS? C'mon. Otherwise the 15's were pretty darn good.

If someone sticks a day between Wednesday and Thursday that will be the appropriate day for this puzzle.

Pete 9:03 AM  

I have earnestly used the word RETAP, though not in the context of the clue. I've RETAPped bolt holes.

John V 9:16 AM  

Hey! I solved a Joe Krozel puzzle! And it was EASY! That's all I need, is what I'm saying.

Liked the very non-Krozel grid, all the, 3s scattered about, the interlaced 15s.

Good one!

Nancy in PA 9:23 AM  

Loved the top of the write-up (Rex usually puts a bunch of clues here/Never understood why) and laughed out loud at the Funny or Die clip about Threeve. Great way to start a Friday. Knew ANOLE because my nephew had one, instead of the ubiquitous chameleon I guess. Fun puzzle.

Susan McConnell 9:34 AM  

Threeve!!! Made it all worthwhile.

quilter1 9:35 AM  

Again the SW almost defeated me as I didn't know Lala or Georges, but the crosses saved me today. I enjoyed doing this as at first I thought "no way" and then got a foothold and went right through. Good puzzle, Joe.

chefbea 9:38 AM  

Fairly easy for a Friday but still DNF. Got most of the 15's.

Love tater tots...have them when the grand children are visiting. Have you tried the sweet tater tots...yummm

Robso 9:41 AM  

I was naticked by "perec" and "anole." Other than that, I agree with others--this seemed easy for a Friday. I raced through with, uh . . . careless abandon?
I expected Rex to say: nice grid, but too much bad fill.

John V 9:50 AM  

What @joho said, 12 15s!

Inquiring minds... 9:57 AM  

Who get's Tyler's refund?

loren muse smith 9:57 AM  

Any Friday I can “finish” (southwest was my undoing, too) must be easy. When I saw Joe’s name at XWord Info, I knew I was in for some grid shenanigans! I agree with @joho, @Acme, and @John V – remarkable. Thanks, Joe!

I enjoyed the write-up, Tyler. How cool to notice they’re all 3, 5, or 15!

This was one of those where I had nothing for a long time and then, boom, my first 15 – GENERAL ELECTRIC – and I was off and running. “Dna” for SOS held me back forever, making me think “the dissertation . . .” something for THESIS STATEMENT.

M&A – a field day today with your weejects?

I know I’ve said this before. . .growing up in Chattanooga, Mom *never* served us enough TATER TOTs, so now I have this horrible compulsion to stuff myself with them whenever I cook them. And they have to be Oreida TATER TOTs; generic ONES just don’t cut it.

Thanks for the link to a tutorial, Ellen S. I still can’t figure it out! So here’s a link to cut and paste for HONK ONES HORN AT:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UBwaxejP76g

jackj 10:00 AM  

Gareth Bain@8:49AM-

I have generally relied on an adaption of Justice Potter Stewart's ubiquitous comment on porn in identifying "crossword-ese", "I know it when I see it."

Your thoughtful analysis brings a precision to the process that is quite helpful.

Oddly, perhaps, I am more accepting of the esoterica covered by your category 3; mainly because one is often being presented something new to add to their gray matter.

Thanks, Gareth.

oldbizmark 10:06 AM  

easy-medium for me for a friday but enjoyable - the first enjoyable of the week. joe has got it going on!

Rex Parker 10:16 AM  

His database sure does.

Anonymous 10:20 AM  

I've just done a thorough search of my house, and Justice Potter's statement was no where to be found. Is my house defective, or does ubiquitous not mean what I think it means?

Bob Kerfuffle 10:24 AM  

I was defeated: finished with 59 D as EDU rather than EXE. I'll blame that on having it cross two proper and foreign-looking names not in my database. (But I did know ANOLE!)

Quite a fight even to get to that incorrect finish:
14 A, SHARE before STORE
22A, (R/D)NA before SOS
18 D, ILO before ILA
26 D, TSE before TZE

One over the limit already 10:34 AM  

@lms and anyone else who can't post a link:
Copy the address from the address bar in your browser.
Return to the point in the comment box where you want your link to appear.
Type the less than sign {<}, the letter a, space, the letters h,r,e, and f, the equal sign, open quote.
Paste the address you copied, say http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UBwaxejP76g
Type close quote, the greater than sign, the text that you want to appear, the less than sign, forward slash {/}, the letter a, the greater than sign.

Voila! @loren muse smith's link

loren muse smith 10:40 AM  

@one over the limit - thanks!

HONK

jberg 10:42 AM  

Easy, but a little annoying. What annoyed me was THE SAHARA DESERT but BOSTON STRANGLER. Both are commonly said with "the," so either leave them both out or put them both in -- impossible for DeSalvo unless it's a Sunday, of course. I share the dislike for GASOLINE STATION, also. Filling STATION would fit, and be a lot more idiomatic.

I knew to leave it at LAO TZ_ until the cross, but had hIp before SIS, ILo before ILA, also TAKES before the clearly superior HAS AN.

Came here thinking "9 fifteens, that's pretty good!" - it went so fast I hadn't noticed the other three.

Nice to see @jackj stepping in and being all negative in Rex's absence (though he just disappeared).

I didn't know ALEXI or ANOLE, but PEREC was a gimme. That book was big, but he may be even better known as the author of A VOID, a novel written entirely without the letter E. (Even more astonishingly, he wrote it that way in French, and the translator managed to replicate the phenomenon in English). Now there's a stunt to outdo even today's!

Two Ponies 11:06 AM  

Visiting here daily has helped me in so many ways and my admiration of this feat of construction is a good example. Well done Joe.
Poor Tyler. Hope your day gets better.
@ jberg, A novel with no Es in two languages? That's crazy. Is the story any good?

Tita 11:17 AM  


TOPUP was one of my last entries. Mine nearly never is. Neither snow nor rain nor cold will keep my TOPUP. Well, I guess rain will. But that's all.
That's why heated seats and earmuffs were invented.

Loved the clue for GASOLINESTATION and PETRIFIEDFOREST. And learned something new about Edison.
Naticked at ANOLE_P_REC, so DNF by that one square

I liked it -thanks Mr. Krozel.

@LMS - My Mom has your Dad's puzzle board finished... I emailed you...mail me...

Bob Kerfuffle 11:27 AM  

[Pssst! - Guest crossword by Joon Pahk, with interview, at BEQ's site this morning.]

Sandy K 11:33 AM  

INTERESTing puzz for a Friday. Was going along with CARELESS ABANDON til I got naticked by ANOLi and PiREC! dARN!

@Ellen S- Perhaps your experience with airport security could be called a RETAP??

@Rob C- LOL- Rocky mount!

Masked and ANOLEmoUs 11:53 AM  

Super symmetry. Sweet. Impressive opus, Joe.

Corner of Hope: NE. Has yer token U.

Corner of Nope: SW. Has the subtle smell of weeject/nat-tick overload. ENG and EXE. With supportin cast of RETAP, ALEXI, P?REC and ANO-goiter lizard. Get that cute boy some iodine, stat.

@4-Oh, re: RECKLESS... har
Hi, Tyler. Sorry U got a hinge loose.
M&A

Tita 11:57 AM  

@Folks -
"Blessed are the lazy, for they shall find the easiest way."

I have just documented my lazy way to embed links.
It is in the
Tips & Tricks
page on my blog.

I humbly think that it is the simplest way to do it.

I can't believe that Blogger makes us have to do this - everyone else - even AOL, automatically makes links links.

jerry k 12:01 PM  

Very enjoyable. Finished. Guessed at anole because Perec just looked right. Is IRT the go to NYC line? There's a couple of others to get lost in.

Benko 1:02 PM  

@Loren--I had almost he same problem, RNA for SOS, because the clue was "stranded message". I immediately associated message with messenger RNA and stranded with its molecular construction. Took a while to see it was wrong.

M and A Crossword Constrictor 1:17 PM  

p.s. Recently constructed my second wacko puz. Like it better than my previous all-E puz, which Patrick Muse Berry inspired.

Latest puz has a world record zero black squares. All it has for clues is...
ACROSS
1. "Look out, she's gonna blow!"
DOWN
1. [Take one more step, and I'll venom you up]

Sorry. Not a contest puz. But have fun with it. And enjoy the long weekend, all U good people.

ANON B 1:28 PM  

The theme is threeve. Is that
supposed to be a combining of
three and five? If so, I would
never have guessed it in a million
years. I never even thought there was a theme.
I guess I'm in over my head.

LaneB 1:33 PM  

Difficult SW corner without Google help for ANOLE, ALEXI and PEREC all unfamiliar to me. And is there a LAO-TZE? I thought it was Lao-tzU. Anyway, once you got the six 15-letter answers, the rest came along steadily albeit in my case as usual slowly. Relatively fast for Friday, however. I had fun today.

Friedrich Nietzsche 1:56 PM  

Damn, I can't believe I've been roused from my slumber to rate a crossword puzzle. I thought that was Kierkegard's mileau. Anyway, here goes.

First, let me apologize for my previous work. It was just wrong. My adulation of the Superman was misplaced, based in my misunderstanding of evolution, of the nature of humanity, and my, and humanity's adulation of the lone wolf. Turns out not only are lone wolves unnecessary and evolutionarily unimportant, but 99% of lone-wolves are jackasses thinking they're unique.

What I had failed to realize that humankind is both a tribal animal and solitary hunter, and in constructing the Superman archetype I focussed only on the solitary hunter, not the tribal, or herd, animal. I thought improving the hunter would improve humanity. As it turns out, this is wrong. Hunters, while necessary, are also disposable. Super-hunters are most disposable as they are most likely to be lost to their prey. Humanity didn't assume ascendency by improving their hunting skills, it assumed ascendency by improving their agricultural skills, including animal husbandry, which made hunters unnecessary.

So, how does this relate to puzzles? Is the puzzle a dazzling tour de force of construction skills, or does it deliver maximum benefit to the greater community? Is it a hunter killing a stag, or a cowherd tending his cattle, cattle which provide better, more reliable sustenance for the community.

So, think of the 44 three letter words as the week the tribe has to suffer hunger in order to have fresh stag on the 8th day. Or go with prime rib every day.

Your choice.

Bird 2:00 PM  

I liked this puzzle, despite guessing wrong at 65A/49D (didn’t know either, but figured it had to be a vowel so I wrote “I”). I liked the grid and the long fill. Interesting tidbit that all answers are 3, 5 or 3 x 5 – must have been fun constructing this one.

Lots of write-overs as there were too many answers to choose from:
GEE then WOW before OOH
LBS before OZS
MAR before TAR
EON before ERA
RAD and ICY shared space until I saw that is was DEF
OPRAH before ROSIE
HIP before SIS

Ugly:
DOSER (I really don’t like seemingly made-up terms like these. VOLLEYERS was the worst by far to date.)

TGIF

Acme 2:05 PM  

@pete
Shoot, I didn't realize I'd left in TsE, So one wrong square :(

I knew i recognized PEREC's name in association with the e-less novel...but thought I was wrong when the title in the clue had an E.
How ironic that PEREC has two Es. What did he put on the cover? Gorgs Prc?

Evan 2:07 PM  

@Bob Kerfuffle:

Blast! I was hoping someone would do a similar plug for today's Wall Street Journal puzzle.....hence why I was being coy earlier.

pannonica has the write-up here, and I have a reply here.

Roger Brown 2:47 PM  

Georges Perec's "A Void" is a 283 page novel with no "E"s, either in the English translation by Gilbert Adair or the original "La Disparition". Amazingly, it is quite readable.

mac 2:57 PM  

Welcome back, Evan, and congratuations. Your puzzle is being printed by subscription owning husband.

Easy-medium for me too, with mar/tar and Parec at 65A. Alexi I knew, I love soccer.

Would someone explain "sis" as the chart of a cheer, please?

You're a good writer, Tyler! Your book is in the shopping cart.

Roger Brown 2:59 PM  

Sorry, I didn't catch jberg's post prior to that which I added to the blog; won't do that again!

Bob Kerfuffle 3:01 PM  

@Evan - Sorry, I hope you don't feel too slighted. I typically note a Friday guest crossword at BEQ's because it is a rare thing, and people who visit only on Mondays and Thursdays might miss it. And as a paper-only solver with a terrible backlog of puzzles, I usually print out the Friday and Saturday WSJ puzzles on Saturday morning, so I hadn't seen yours yet!

John V 3:02 PM  

@mac Cheer, at (American football), is SIS BOOM BAH. Used to excite the fans.

Lewis 3:02 PM  

I did not like the SW, but otherwise I had a great time solving this. It came in dribs and drabs, and it just kept coming.

No, I don't think people say GASOLINESTATiON, but that answer was gettable.

Yes, lots of dreck in the 3s, but gettable, and I liked the cluing overall.

As Will said recently, keep waiting and the puzzle that appeals to you will come along. This one sure did. Bravo, Joe.

Bob Kerfuffle 3:10 PM  

@mac and @John V - SIS is the start of the cheer rather than the chart of the cheer.

Mel Blanc 3:14 PM  

Bricka-bracka, firecracker
Sis, boom, bah
Bugs Bunny, Bugs Bunny
Rah, rah, rah

Evan 3:23 PM  

@Bob K:

No problem at all. I was torn last night between straight-up announcing that I had today's WSJ, and being sneaky about it. I went for the latter, thinking people would spot it anyway. Then I remembered that most people probably don't know my last name, so.....it all worked out!

quilter1 3:29 PM  

@Tita, I am giggling at the thought of you driving around in a top-down convertible in earmuffs. Ha ha ha!

Hef 3:39 PM  

@Tita - Is your top down or is the car's? Both? Are the earmuffs the only thing you are wearing?

David 4:04 PM  

A very easy puzzle for a Friday, except that I too was Naticked at ANOLx/PxREC. I employed my new Natick resolution principle: when in doubt, try E. It worked, which is ironic considering Perec's e-less novel.

I loved the SNL clip. So that's what the threeve thing meant. I recognized Norm MacDonald as Burt Reynolds; who played Sean Connery?

David from CA 4:10 PM  

No one else went with RETAG down there in SW Natick-central? Seemed like a much better answer for "Draw on again" than the "correct" one, having never heard of this PEREC dude.
And doesn't E _ _ file type have to be EXE? Haven't heard of EDU or ENG files myself - any others?

Anonymous 4:16 PM  

I'll loved this puzzle! It's one of the most beautiful I've ever seen, ever. The wonderful symmetry, the cool three-letter word crosses, the mathematical rightness of it ... all these things brought joy to me.

I'm truly amazed by the variety of ideas that the NYT puzzles keep on providing. Congratulations to Mr. Krozel and Mr. Shortz, and thanks.

Charles in Austin

mac 4:35 PM  

Thanks @John V and @Bob K. I mistyped the "chart" part, but I have never heard the Sis boom bah. Only know ole and rah from puzzles....

sanfranman59 4:39 PM  

Midday report of relative difficulty (see my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation of my method and my 10/15/2012 post for an explanation of a tweak to my method):

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

Fri 16:20, 21:35, 0.76, 13%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Fri 10:40, 12:19, 0.87, 25%, Easy-Medium

Chris Kearin 4:54 PM  

In addition to being a novelist, Georges PEREC was also famous for creating crossword puzzles.

jae 5:45 PM  

@Bob K -- Thanks for the BEQ tip, I would have missed it.

And me too for mAR to TAR, I forgot about that one when I tallied my erasures.

Tyler Hinman 6:04 PM  

Just wanted to pop in again and thank everyone who bought my book today, presumably because of this entry. The Amazon rankings are the best that I've seen for it.

Notsofast 8:53 PM  

Last one in. A rotten egg. Liked the puzzle; but loved the SNL clip. Happy weekend everybody!

michael 8:59 PM  

I stared at anol_/p_rec and then remembered that someone named perec had written a book without any "e"s. Figured it might be the same person and (ironically) put in an "e".

Typical sour grapes commenter 9:11 PM  

I can't believe Will chose this puzzle over mine.

Kim 9:28 PM  

So I come home from a grueling 12-hour shift of nursing only to discover I'm merely a DOSER? Wow.

Anonymous 9:43 PM  

So I come home from a grueling 12-hour shift of nursing only to discover I'm merely a DOSER? Wow.

The clue reads "at times". Just in case you missed it.

Kim 9:51 PM  

@ Anonymous: No, I didn't miss it, but DOSER has such a crack dealer ring to it. :)

mac 10:30 PM  

I felt the same, Kim. First I thought doter, but that was clearly too much!

Tita 10:31 PM  

@quilter and @Hef...
I'm looking for some pics - may have to wait till the morrow.

sanfranman59 10:57 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation and my 10/15/2012 post for an explanation of a tweak I've made to my method. 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 7:18, 6:14, 1.17, 96%, Challenging (8th highest ratio of 179 Mondays)
Tue 9:09, 8:09, 1.12, 77%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 8:47, 10:00, 0.88, 24%, Easy-Medium
Thu 13:26, 16:53, 0.80, 15%, Easy
Fri 16:05, 21:35, 0.75, 12%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:21, 3:46, 1.16, 94%, Challenging
Tue 5:23, 4:49, 1.12, 77%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 5:10, 5:45, 0.90, 25%, Easy-Medium
Thu 7:58, 9:49, 0.81, 15%, Easy
Fri 9:50, 12:19, 0.80, 18%, Easy

Erin Milligan-Milburn 10:35 AM  

This is what your last line immediately brought to mind: http://youtu.be/aDTwO0TlwOU Good old Jay Sherman.

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Torb 10:27 AM  

Fun Friday! Banged it right out.

spacecraft 10:47 AM  

GASOLINE STATION? Is that the one on Gasoline Alley? Well, those two are from the same ERA; nobody has said the word "gasOLINE" since.

I was all set to berate Mr. Krozel for a second THE, having already frowned at 9d, when it turned out to be part of THESIS STATEMENT. So, OK. Not so OK are the two partials at 17a and 6d. I am left to wonder why Mr. Hinman differentiates between the two, as he has already said he's not going to tell me. They're both partials.

And really, REALLY not OK is PANDG; those who have read this blog for any length of time know what I'm talking about.

All that said, the rest of the 15s are pretty good, though I agree about ...ABANDON: I think the carelesness factor is built into the word already. Green paint.

Hand up for TsE, easily fixed by OZS over OsS, and the natick at ANOLE/PEREC, though I thought the E was sort of inferrable and went with it. And that means a finished Friday with no errors or help--and in not all that long of a time. (As I've often said, I do NOT time myself, but I do notice how much of my morning, roughly, I've spent on the NYT crossword.) Does that mean it was easy? Or have my TOLERANCELEVELS increased?

Final note: Here in Vegas we are in the throes of a monstrous heat wave; we're talkin' 115+ for the next week, straight. If you ever find yourself in one of those, PLEASE take this advice to heart:

Drink water BEFORE you are thirsty! Just get in the habit. Have a spare moment...waiting for something to load? Grab a water. NOLIE: this might save your life sometime.

Syndi Solver 12:35 PM  

I was so sure it was Lao TZu (having read some of his works, in translation of course) but the GASOLINE STATION cross changed it to TZE for me. Wikipedia shows that it has been Romanized in a lot of different ways (Laozi, Lao Tse, Lao Tu, Lao-Tsu, Laotze, Lao Tzu, Laosi, Laocius).

I only read a few of the comments but several folks said it was too easy for Friday. But I like that since it means I have a chance to finish it. :-)

I do agree with @spacecraft that PANDG is always a little clunky. I actually don't mind the AND in some fill but this is not a phrase that I hear very much, unlike "B and B" or something like that.

But I really have no complaints. Fun puzzle!

rain forest 12:45 PM  

When I saw the grid, and the name Joe Krozel, I thought "DNF", but I got a few gimmes, and then the rest just fell together. Luckily I knew Georges PEREC, guessed TZE because of OZS, and I finished in pretty snappy time. I forgive certain entries when I see 12 intersecting 15's which were all gettable and not cringe-inducing (GASOLINE STATION is OK. Maybe someone said it once). Always nice to complete one of the weekend entries. Tomorrow may well be another story.

@spacecraft: I know (I think) that PANDG is supposed to be P and G, but what is it? My apologies if was explained by another poster.

Waxy in Montreal 1:07 PM  

@rain forest, Proctor and Gamble, methinks.

Enjoy a puzzle like this that appears extremely imposing to begin with but quickly morphs into a grid that can be completed with almost CARELESSABANDON.

Though it is 15-letters long, glad to see 3D wasn't the name of JFK's assassin. The less his name is used, the better I like it.



DMGrandma 2:15 PM  

Didn't get the SW corner. Recognized from past experience thath there is a lizard that starts ANO, but then memory gave out, so with two unknown names, DNF there. My other ??? came from having mAR. So I ended up with THESISSmATEMENT, and just couldn't do anything with it. THE what??? But then, I don't have a PHD.

Captcha seems grim: was CreMelt

Dirigonzo 2:54 PM  

"12 15's people! Crisscrossing the puzzle so elegantly with not a clinker in the dozen! I am amazed at how jaded some are. And at how easy it is to criticize such a feat of construction.

I was happy to correctly guess the "E" in ANOLE.

Kudos to you, Joe!" @JOHO (who, I believe, recently co-constructed a puzzle with ACME)wrote that 5 weeks and several hours ago, and it expresses perfectly my thoughts about the puzzle.

Solving in Seattle 6:44 PM  

I join those that think this Krozel opus is worthy of the "A" that Tyler Hinman withheld. Obviously saw the 12x15s, but didn't notice that the other entries were either 3 or 5 letters until Tyler pointed it out. My awe level went up even further.

On the other hand, I've not been to a GASOLINESTATION in approximately a century. I'm ok with CARELESS in place of reckless and PANDG, NOLIE. Got 5D and 11 down right away and pretty much flew through the puzzle from there.

@DMG, your capcha is what's happening to @spacecraft in Vegas. Stay cool down there. We're in the 80s here in Seattle, and no AC! The gal that cuts my hair is heading down to Vegas for her bachelerette party next week. Crazy.

capcha: gentleman stucla. Huh! There are no gentlemen saints at UCLA.

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