Mezzo-soprano Troyanos / FRI 8-23-13 / Young colleen across North Channel / Grammy-winning singer from Barbados

Friday, August 23, 2013

Constructor: Ian Livengood

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none

Word of the Day: TATIANA Troyanos (58A: Mezzo-soprano Troyanos) —
Tatiana Troyanos (September 12, 1938 – August 21, 1993) was an American mezzo-soprano of Greek and German descent, remembered as "one of the defining singers of her generation" (Boston Globe). Her voice, "a paradoxical voice—larger than life yet intensely human, brilliant yet warm, lyric yet dramatic"—"was the kind you recognize after one bar, and never forget," wrote Cori Ellison in Opera News. Troyanos led a distinguished international career and made a variety of admired operatic recordings, and beginning in 1976 was additionally known for her work with the Metropolitan Opera, with over 270 performances spanning twenty-two major roles. "She was extraordinarily intense, beautiful, and stylish in roles as diverse as Eboli, Santuzza, Geschwitz, Venus, Kundry, Jocasta, Carmen, and Giulietta, in addition to her great 'trouser' roles," said the Met's longtime Music Director, James Levine. (wikipedia)
• • •

Weird puzzle. Felt like I was tanking this thing. Twice. And yet I finished with a time in the low 6s, which is not bad at all for me on a Friday. First tanking feeling was in the NW, and it wasn't a tank so much as an annoyance at not being able to get out of there. Did Not know PAPA (1D: Quebec preceder, to pilots), which kept me from seeing PANARAB at first (17A: Like some Mideast ideology) and left me uncertain about whether ARIGATO was spelled with an "A" or "O" at the beginning. So the NW corner didn't come together until I'd left it and then built it back up from the middle, later. Center went pretty quickly. Knowing JUBA was a big plus. Didn't know WELSH (36A: It's known to locals as Cymraeg) but it hardly mattered, as I built the bulk of that one quickly from crosses. OK, so now we get to where I felt like I was tanking—the SE, which, for me, was far far harder than any other section. Medium-Challenging to everything else's Easy. I had WHOLE and no idea what followed. [Wastes] was too vague a clue for me to see RUBS OUT easily (I had RUNS OUT at one point). And EPIC WIN was practically invisible because nothing about that phrase says "improbable" to me. EPIC does not equal upset. It's just a major win—maybe it's an important game, maybe it's a blow-out, I don't know, but "improbability" doesn't make something EPIC. Not on its own. Also, TATIANA who??? Tough (but good) clue on IOWA. So, yeah, struggle down there. Once I gave in to the WIN part of EPIC WIN, I started making headway.

Then I just had these very daunting-looking 7x5 corners left to do. That kind of white space is often the place I go to die, puzzle-ly speaking. In the SW, RWANDA / STRAWS helped reduce the square footage of white space and I managed to get through there w/o much trouble. Then, last stand, NE. Scary, but got RAISINS right away, and then it turns out all the proper nouns up there were gimmes (BERT, DUNST, RIHANNA). So ... done. Grid is clean and lovely and full of fresh answers, everywhere I look. My favorites are RIDE SHOT GUN and BOBBLE HEAD, which has a nice, tough clue (7D: Spring figure?).

  • 45A: Fisherman's Wharf attraction (SEALS) — been there many, many times, still couldn't get this even after having SE-LS. Or, rather, that's how much I needed before I click click click "Oh!"
  • 46A: Young colleen, across the North Channel (WEE LASS) — something about the homophonousness of "colleen" and "collie" has made me never like the lower-case "colleen" as a generic for "girl." Feels like calling an Italian guy a "guido." But it doesn't matter what I feel about it, as I am not Irish (much, probably).
  • 39D: Fried tortilla dish (CHALUPA) — I swear I thought this was a made-up Taco Bellism.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


August West 12:01 AM  

Conflicted. Some cute cluing and a few nice aha fills, offset by some poor cluing and a few WTF fills. Thankfully, the latter were either inferable or confirmed by their crosses and, in the end, this was a very, VEH-ry easy Friday. Completed in typical "hard Tuesday" time and, as I look back over the finished grid, it's a perfectly pablum product. Smiled on starting with PAPA after our recent discussion about the phonetic alphabet. This begat ARIGATO, PANARAB and ASK (me later). Figured 1A was PEDICAB, but so wanted pINK for "Soft touch?" Finally yielded to the "D", but would someone please explain how DINK fits that clue?

The NE offered no resistance, and BOBBLEHEAD dropped in view of the the three crossing Bs. JUSTASECOND was next, with only the E in place, and I then MISSTEPped when putting in UNIONSuitS for ...SHOPS, which I chalked up to a clear case of my being more clever than the constructor. OPENSECRET, however, went in next off of its opening "O" and I corrected the mistake.

Nothing below was remotely problematic, despite having no idea thst there is a place known as South Sudan, let alone what it's capital might be. Got JUBA exclusively from crosses. Cymraeg had to be somewhere up there, and neither Celtic or Scottish would fit.

Liked the clues for UNUM, BURPS (best clue in the puzzle), and RUBSOUT.

Hated STRAWS for "Diner freebies." And McDonalds freebies, and bar freebies.... I don't particularly think of a straw as an exclusively diner freebie. Those would be mints.

Also HATED "Hides from Indians, maybe?" because, syntactically, it simply does not define or equate to its answer. "Indian hide?" would have been great.

Not a fan of WHOLEBIT. I'm almost 52 years old. I have never heard that phrase used. Ever. The whole shebang? Schmear? Ball of wax? Sure. BIT. Meh.

jackj 12:02 AM  

At XWordInfo, Ian Livengood tells us that JUBA was his seed entry for today’s puzzle. Jujubes I know and have eaten; JUBA not so much.

But, that creates a reason to explore and it seems that Ian’s clue, “Capital of South Sudan”, may be short-lived, as the founding fathers of S. Sudan are intent on imminently dumping JUBA and creating their African version of Brasilia in a location in central Southern Sudan called Ranciel.

It’s perfectly clear why they want to make this change when one understands that Ranciel, when translated from the native Dinka means “where rhinoceroses meet together” and that clearly signals a welcome state of harmony denied to the Southern Sudanese for far too many years.

But enough on JUBA; time to move on to some of the easier entries like ARAGATO, TATIANA and CHALUPA and, for that last one, CHALUPA, thanks must be extended to Taco Bell for their relentless television ads that made it today’s gimme.

There were a host of truly sterling answers today, especially MACNCHEESE, OPENSECRET and RIDESHOTGUN and who doesn’t like seeing BOBBLEHEAD bouncing over SYNE.

Finding a favorite writer, Martin AMIS in the puzzle evoked a memory of an interview he gave to The New Yorker in the 1990’s when his novel “The Information” was published.

When he was asked what his father, noted author Kingsley Amis thought of the book, the answer was refreshing and rather charming. Martin said he likely would never know since his father had reached that stage of his life where if a book didn’t begin with “A shot rang out”, he wouldn’t read it.

A good, lively, fun, puzzle that fills our heads with clever contemporaneousness and happy memories is always welcome and appreciated.

Thanks, Ian!

jae 12:04 AM  

Easy-medium for me too. Like Rex I needed to stare for a BIT in SE to get the RUBS OUT/WHOLE BIT cross.   I also needed to change urIS to AMIS (we've seen Leon recently so he floated to the top first off the IS, although I was pretty sure he never wrote a book titled Money).  That was it for problems....I had PEDI CAB/PAPA coming out of the printer.

Really liked this one!  Zip APLENTY.  Made me smile.  My only issue is that it was over too quickly.

retired_chemist 12:10 AM  

Been to Fisherman's Wharf many times without seeing a seal. Seal Rock, yes. But it is a few miles away. have I just been unlucky?

Loved the puzzle. Time not so good, partly because of two incorrect 7's. 1A ricksha was an EPIC LOSS, as were both chicago and wriglEy @ 55A. Only one correct letter among the three.

Mumm before MOET, urIS before AMIS, ugANDA briefly before RWANDA.

Solid Friday cluing, lively answers, all good fun. Thanks, Mr. Livengood.

Anonymous 12:16 AM  

Pretty sure those are sea lions at Fisherman's Wharf, not seals.

Questinia 12:45 AM  

Yoga for "meaningful stretches"
Bailouts for "some bank offerings"
Peru for "Quebec preceder"
fiddleHEAD (as in fern) for "Spring figure"

= Utter Clusterf@#k in the NW

Took ERAS to fix. My axons were chasing their dendrites.

PAPA finally saved me. One little neuron knew maritime and aviation alphabets were different and finally convinced the others.

So, not easy here.

OY! asumi...

Anonymous 1:06 AM  

I have one very strong issue with this puzzle. I was at Fisherman's Wharf on Sunday, and am very certain that the attraction there is the sea lions who sun on Pier 39. Not any SEALS. Other than that, I loved all of this. Great one this week, if slightly easy.

Anoa Bob 1:51 AM  

Mmmmm, CHALUPA. If you've only had the toxicbell version, get thee to a good Mexican restaurant. Know how to tell when you are in a good Mexican restaurant? It's when the salsas and the pico de gallo are made fresh on-site daily. You're welcome.

Good stuff APLENTY in this one. Somehow TSARISM and TATIANA seemed connected. RWANDA looks tough to work into a grid.

For better or worse, my POC radar is always scanning, and it did pick up a few blips, including some two-for-one POCs, where an across and a down share a "helper square" S.

All in all, a very fine puzzle and an enjoyable solve. Domo ARIGATO, Livengood-san.

chefwen 2:31 AM  

Love Ian Livengood puzzles.

Got a little hung up in the southwest, Mr. Sports Authority aka Jon put in Wrigley at 55A. Like @ ret_chem. Me, how do you know it's not Chicago or something to do with a bear. He - Trust me. Famous last words.

Loved the Orange Entree, Hi Mac!

Paddy the cat has a little Terra Cotta plaque hanging in his dining area that says Mi casa is Mi casa. Spoken like a true cat.

Serena Williams 3:38 AM  

@August West - Think tennis at the net.

Jim Walker 5:21 AM  

Liked the puzzle, but one bit of advice: If your MACNCHEESE is orange, throw it out.

Danp 5:43 AM  

I disagree on the definition of "epic win". Globetrotters beating Nationals were hardly epic. Mets world series win was epic because of the odds they overcame. Even more, "in slang", epic means little more than memorable.

Jack Lee 6:17 AM  

I agree with @August West: "the whole bit" doesn't seem like a common expression.

Wes Davidson 6:25 AM  

@Jack Lee: also not familiar with "the whole bit," had "whole tit" for awhile and thought that well, maybe the NYT was getting racy on us.

Gill I. P. 6:40 AM  

There is only one place to eat a fabulous CHALUPA and that is in Oaxaca. Taco Hell had to go and ruin it by filling it with horse meat.
Loved the puzzle. My only problem area was the JUBA/AMIS little square. Have not heard of either.
Love BOBBLEHEAD. There is a chef on national t.v. (that I won't mention) who looks just like one of those dolls.
Agree with @Jim Walker - if my MACNCHEESE looks like it has orange food coloring in it, I won't eat it. My kids though, use to love that awful boxed stuff.
@Rex glad you had TATIANA Troyanos as you WOTD. I would embed her voice but I can't remember how. She was quite beautiful as was her voice. So sad that she died so young.
Well Senor Livengood, thanks for providing another good Friday.

Glimmerglass 7:48 AM  

@August West. A DINK is a soft tennis shot (just blipped over the net) requiring "touch." This was not at all easy for me -- at least "medium." Some great Friday cluing (all mentioned above). I especially admire BOBBLEHEAD, RIDE SHOTGUN (I had "call" at first), MACNCHEESE, BURPS, and IOWA. Loved this puzzle.

JenCT 8:03 AM  

I also believe those are Sea Lions at Fisherman's Wharf...

Speaking of SEALS, they're said to be the reason for the increase in Great White Sharks at Cape Cod: Seals & Cape Cod

r.alphbunker 8:08 AM  

In my mind's eye I saw SaiLs at Fisherman's Wharf. And I irrationally wanted WHOLEnineyards for {36. Everything, with "the"}. I had a WHOLEpie with my CHiLeno for a while but that caused indigestion. The political debate had to be moved from a nameless tOwn to IOWA.

I wonder if the clue for ENE {35 Des Moines-to-Cedar Rapids dir} was inspired by Will Shortz's upcoming lecture in Iowa City which is just south of Cedar Rapids. But he couldn't use Iowa City in the clue because IOWA was in the grid.

joho 8:31 AM  

I cannot be the only one who put in urIS. Unfortunately I never went back to see UNUr :(

Other than that I got it all and enjoyed the fill immensely except for WHOLEBIT and BRAPADS. Both sound made up to me. But BOBBLEHEAD, OPENSECRET, EPIC WIN, RUBSOUT, MACNCHEESE and the marvelous RIDESSHOTGUN more than made up for that.

I love the clue "Hides from Indians, maybe? for TEPEE. Totally original and true.

There were lots of plurals but the end result was fun and fresh, just what you'd expect from the super talented Ian Livengood!

jberg 8:33 AM  

Wikipedia says that sea lions are "eared SEALS," which are not the same as "true seals." That's good enough for me, although I have also heard it said many times that "those aren't seals, they are sea lions." It's like a tiger being a big cat, I guess.

I'm really amazed that I finished this - I knew TATIANA right off (you either listen to opera or you don't), but all the other proper names were mysteries (well, not AMIS, after Uris, and MOET, thought that took some time). NE was brutal. I guess TSARISM is a belief, but I think of it as a political system.

I had WHOLE BIT as my first choice - guess I have heard it - but changed it to 'lot' and even considered 'nut' before finally sussing out EPIC WIN, which unlocked that corner (with IRE as a verb - yech!)

WaLes before WELSH, Chicago before BEAR DEN, IslAmic before PANARAB, and fringes before BRA PADS. This one was tough.

We were once planning a visit to Paris and got in touch with my friend Doug, who lives there. He offered us his studio to stay in, and had only one request in return -- that we bring as many packets as we could carry of the orange cheese mix that comes with Kraft MAC N CHEESE. No need for the macaroni, just the packets - he was craving them intensely. We made him very happy.

Z 8:56 AM  

What does it say about me that my first four letters into the puzzle were OLEG?

Four letter author ending in -IS, must be urIS even though the year seemed a little late to me. Is this Kingsley or Martin or some other AMIS?

ShopS to SaiLS to SEALS.

EPIC WIN is clued exactly right. The Detroit Tigers beating the Houston Astros is not EPIC, and if Agamemnon had just gone home it wouldn't have been EPIC. An EPIC WIN is a hard fought upset against incredible odds, which is exactly how I hear it used all the time.

Hand up for not knowing South Sudan had become a country. Will Africa ever fully recover from Colonialism?

ARuGATu seemed just as likely to me. Fixed Dunk to DINK, but BuBBLEHEAD seemed plausible for a spring figure.

loren muse smith 9:00 AM  

I was surprised to see Ian’s name today; I always associate his name with exceptionally clever themes. What I nice puzzle today, though. Really hard for me – as most Fridays and Saturdays are.

I keep seeing BEAR DEN as BEARDEN – something I did to Barbara W’s picture in my eighth grade yearbook.

When I was a WEE LASS, I didn’t like MACNCCHEESE for some reason. Or doughnuts. But I had a talent (still do) whose verb is in the grid. I can “say” the entire alphabet. Hi, Mom.

Speaking of Mom – remember when you used to make WELSH RareBIT? I was always fascinated with the dish/name. Good stuff. Never had a CHALUPA and I can honestly announce here that I’ve never eaten anything from Taco Bell. But that is only because the orders look so alarmingly tiny; because we have moved in the past couple of days, I am regularly getting my fuel from McDonald’s. My regular order is four McDoubles and I’m not making that UP.

Loved EPIC WIN, RIDE SHOTGUN, BOBBLEHEAD, JUST A SECOND. . . Any Tar Heel fan has this one on his/her radar screen:


どうもありがとう, Livengood-san. よくできました!

Z 9:10 AM  

Regarding CHALUPAs - most of what passes for "Mexican" dishes in the US are really Tex-Mex food from migrant workers. Good stuff, especially for those of us who grew up with a tub of lard on the stove that was used to make tortillas. However, if I want something a little better, I look for a place that has mole on the menu (they will also make their pico de gallo fresh every day).

@Milford - "mom de blog" was an undetected auto correct. But we can go with it.

chefbea 9:59 AM  

Too tough for me. DNF Busy day today so no time to read all the posts.

Love mac-n-cheese...especially with 4 cheeses

Carola 10:11 AM  

I joined up PAPA and TATIANA via a fast diagonal swath through BOBBLEHEAD and OPEN SECRET. Got held up on the sides A BIT by not knowing JUBA and, like others, having urIS before AMIS and WaLes before WELSH. But still a fast Friday for me. I echo @jae here - wished the fun had lasted a little longer.

@joho - I really tried to make UNUr work - "Let's see, United Nations....something?" I also resisted BRA PADS, but Google says Walmart is selling them.

@Jackj - Love the Amis quote!

Ray J 10:14 AM  

Instead of the WHOLE enchilada we get a CHALUPA on the side.

I wonder if Ian and Will clued this easy-medium because of the isolation of the NE & SW corners. Those areas are almost stand-alone puzzles.

Despite being over so quickly I loved this puzzle.

Not LMS 10:28 AM  


Mohair Sam 10:34 AM  

A fairly quick Friday for us. Never heard of WHOLEBIT either, and was hoping that some strange rebus would let us have the WHOLEenchilada next to CHALUPA. But it wasn't to be.

We're fine with the cluing for EPCIWIN, but is it slang?

btw, Coleen is OK Rex - I'm 1/2 Irish and can assure you that the term is affectionate. An Irish girl is a girl, but a fine Irish lass is a Coleen.

Ellen S 10:46 AM  

@Joho, as you can see, everyone started with urIS. You and I seem to be the only ones who didn't fix it. I looked at UNUr, and thought "that ain't right". Wondered if an M would help. But uMIS/JUBu didn't make any more sense than urIS/UNUr so I left it. AMIS never even occurred to me.

Otherwise, great fun puzzle, except those things at fishermans wharf are seal lions. One is not a subset of the other.

Sandy K 10:48 AM  

There was PLENTY to like in this puzzle- faves were JUST A SECOND, MAC 'N CHEESE, RIDE SHOTGUN, and BOBBLEHEAD.

THEN we had clever BURPS and SIRI, surprising SEX TAPE and BRA PADS.

Didn't feel like I was hit with SPAM fill today. I pretty much liked the WHOLE CHALUPA. ARIGATO, Ian!

quilter1 10:50 AM  

Crunchy yet enjoyable. My first entry was ARIGATO and had some of the same troubles as @Rex. Did not know this meaning of DINK, nor any other meaning as well--oh, well, I guess I have said DINK around for fool around. WHOLENIT was unfamiliar, too, yet gettable.

loren muse smith 10:55 AM  

Thanks, my EPIC WIN wizard!

Carola 10:57 AM  

Another TATIANA Troyanos fan here, @Gill I.P.'s comment gave me a nudge to listen to some clips. Here's a ravishing one: Ma coeur s'ouvre a ta voix from Samson and Delilah.

Steve J 11:00 AM  

Easyish Friday (which still means there were periods I felt like I was getting nowhere; I'm just getting to the point where I can solve Fridays unaided on a fairly consistent basis).

Nearly started off in a very wrong direction, as I dropped in BICYCLE at 1A. Thankfully 1D was clued as it was, so that was a quick erasure, and I was able to drop PEDICAB in and get going.

Even so, the NW was the first corner to come together for me, although BRA_ADS sat staring at me for a while. Couldn't figure it out until I got PEARL to cross.

SE was the hardest for me. Originally dropped in WRIGLEY for 55A ("Cubs' home" got me thinking of baseball), but the center crosses from SEXTAPE (particularly RELAX) forced me to retract that. Could not see BEARDEN to save my life, and it took every cross to get it. Even though, I sat there staring at it going "what the hell is Bearden?" before finally grokking that it was bear den.

Fun puzzle, even with the couple bits that were virtually impenetrable. Lots of good, challenging cluing, and pretty solid fill overall.

As others have mentioned, the Fisherman's Wharf creatures are sea lions, not seals (at least in the common species name sense; as someone pointed out, sea lions are part of a family called "eared seals", so the clue falls into the "technically true but poorly used" category. Anyway, if anyone's curious about the difference - it took a few years of my living in San Francisco to actually be able to distinguish the two - here's a good quick guide. Easiest way to tell? If they walk rather than shimmy on land, and if they bark, they're sea lions (which means your typical circus seal is actually a sea lion).

wordie 11:22 AM  

I really loved this puzzle! Perfect level of difficulty and struggle that finally paid off, leaving a feeling of satisfaction. I DNF because I stuck with oRIGATO, which is the way I pronounce it at our favorite Japanese restaurant, but it still feels good.

Having grown up in Iowa, I loved the Iowa clues and answers, but being geographically challenged, I was sure thar Cedar Rapids was south and not North. Sigh. Fixed it when I finally saw sconces, and thought Really?

How is small arms inlets (24A)?

Anonymous 11:28 AM  

An inlet is a small arm of a sea.

quilter1 12:14 PM  


Gill I. P. 12:40 PM  

@Carol - Another EPIC WIN wizard!

mac 12:44 PM  

Fun puzzle! My last areas were the SE, where I had accidentally spelled Iowa Ioha and thought the improbable victory might be something up a chin, and I also had to stare at the Juba and burbs section.

Have to confess that I had some help at 48A, which revealed the "secret" and the rest of the corner. An here I thought I was so clever thinking of American League East or National League East….

Good one, Ian!

Masked and Anonym007Us 12:52 PM  

Gotta admit it. Not quite as excited, when it comes to the weekend puzs. Fri/SatPuz usually just ain't ever sprinkled with enough RAISINS d'etre, U dig? Themeless = purposeless, as it were. Never enough juba in the tuba, so to speak.

But then agent Ian Mc007 cruises into town. With a license to kill. Smoothly serves up a BURPS here and a BOBBLEHEAD there. This puz has got "it". Heck if I know what "it" is -- but I want it. Maybe it can best be described simply as JUBA. Nah. That don't quite get "it".

Poor dude was goin for the SatPuz slot, so he could hit for the cycle. That's why he strategically placed an arcane JUBA here and ESSU there. Good outing, agent Ian McDude. thanx for the thrills. Please play our game again. 007 will return in "Live and Let DINK"...

Stuff it's a good thing M&A wasn't cluin dept.:
* TSARISM - Woulda went with ["Let them eat borscht", e.g.]
* BEARDEN - Shoulda gone with [Put on whiskers, as for a Santa gig]
* WEELASS - Could been clued as [What Elmer Fudd thinks Bugs Bunny is]


Anonymous 12:59 PM  

Since when is IRE a verb??

OISK 1:07 PM  

Tough one for me. Was sure when I went to the site that I would find errors - how is "epic win" slang? Did not think whole bit could be right either. Anyone else start off with Wrigley for Cubs home? Finally, who or what is "Siri" ?
Glad to see Tatiana mentioned, though. One of my favorite Violettas on recordings.

LaneB 1:15 PM  

When you start with Islamic for PANARAB, confuse RhIANNA for RIHANNA, THINK of the CUb's home as WRIGLEY not BEARDEN, the chances of finishing are zero--which is exactly what occurred. "Easy/medium" indeed! I gave it an hour before giving it a big WTF. A sad day for us rookies.

Anonymous 1:15 PM  

@Carola thanks for the luscious slice of Tatiana's voice. She is still sorely missed

John V 1:18 PM  

Count me as happy with a flawless solve which felt medium to me. I typically struggle with Ian's puzzles, but today was okay. Of course, JUBA was last to fall. West was tough, with SIRI, UNUM and JUBA in a stack. The proper name were pretty well balanced with easier crosses, so that was okay.

Google 1:18 PM  

Merriam-Webster online says IRE is a transitive verb.

SIRI is the voice app on iPhone.

gifcan 1:18 PM  

Thought it was PumA, not PAPA, and this threw me off for a long while, even unto the end. DNF. Still loved it.

I put Chicago in knowing that it couldn't possibly be right, too easy. RWANDA put an end to that and gave me DEN, BEAR then came quickly.

Really enjoyed this puzzle, tough in places but not impossible.

MandA also 1:24 PM  

p.s. Weely weely bonded with this here puz.
And I meant to have CouldA in that there third bullette.

ahimsa 1:31 PM  

I knew this one was going to be marked easy since I did it with little trouble.

The MAC N CHEESE clue made me laugh. At first I thought it was going to be some exotic answer, probably some dish I'd never heard of. But I must have eaten enough of the crappy, orange, made-from-a-box stuff in my youth because after just a second I wrote in the answer. BTW, I agree with others that this dish should not be orange.

I had trouble with WHOLE BIT. I believe that it's a real phrase, and after seeing it I think I've heard it (or read it?) a few times. But It's funny because it almost sounds like a oxymoron - BIT is small, WHOLE is large.

I went through a long list in my head trying to come up with words to follow WHOLE - shebang, ball of wax, shootin' match, enchilada, works, picture, nine yards, etc. I finally tried Bag (maybe shorthand for bag of tricks?) and that got me RUBS OUT and then the rest fell into place.

Fun puzzle, kudos to Ian Livengood!

ahimsa 1:41 PM  

I forgot to mention that the ARIGATO entry caused a major earworm. So I thought I'd inflict it on everyone else:

You're welcome. :-)

August West 1:48 PM  

For the love of GOD, do NOT click that link!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks, all, for the education re: DINK.

M and A's Last Whole Bit 1:58 PM  

p.p.s.s. har. I am bein told (by a Juban national, no less) that leavin the endin A's off yer words is considered a sign of extreme virility, in some cultures.


chefbea 2:45 PM  

@M& LOL!!!

Carrie Bradshaw 2:48 PM  


Sex and the City episode "Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda" deals with virility and lack thereof- Miranda becomes pregnant. Charlotte gets a fertility test with poor results.

Of course, they are not Juban...

Anonymous 3:14 PM  

any idiot knows there are both harbor seals and also sea lions in San Francisco Bay

Z 3:23 PM  

@anonymous3:14 - Anonymous name calling is often referred to as an eye dee ten tee problem.

jackj 4:27 PM  

As I wrote in DINK, i couldn't help but wonder why Ian didn't move beyond the standard "Soft touch" clue by seeking the other DINK, D(ual) I(ncome) N(o) K(ids).

Clue possibility, maybe; "Couple free to be you and me?"

NYer 4:42 PM  

Anyone know where Acme is?

joho 4:46 PM  


joho 4:51 PM  

Actually I received an email from Stockholm and she's even speaking in Swedish! She did mention that it might be impossible for her to post from where she's staying.

sanfranman59 5:28 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 17:50, 17:51, 1.00, 53%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Fri 10:30, 10:30, 1.00, 52%, Medium

Melodious Funk 5:30 PM  

Am I only the only one who think it unusual that @OISK never heard about Siri?

He's been around teens for 40 years teaching chemistry, someone somewhere had an iPhone, no? He can teach inorganic/organic formalisms but hasn't hear of Siri.

There are a number of chemists on this board, even some who know of Wagner-Meerwein rearrangements, I'd bet that all of them know Siri.

Personally I hate/love Siri. It's especially wondrous when I'm driving, like from NYC to DC and I want to text our daughter. There's no way to do this when driving - unless one has Siri and the phone is blue toothed to the car. In that event, one just presses and holds the home button, says (into the air) "text My Daughter." (35-40yo people only text, never call on the phone if they can possibly avoid it, too intrusive) Siri says "what would you like to say?" I say and Siri sends. Done.

However, I'm an old guy and I hate it! Well, not so much hate as saddened by it. The connected world has left me in the dust in a way. 25 years ago I was into it, putting a phone set in a cradle, sending 3K texts to a friend, now I feel a bit lost. I have to call someone to clean up the computer - which I avoid whenever I can. I can't get the printer to work wirelessly. I just give up nowadays.

But @OISK should certainly look into this Siri thing, it's humbling. And enlivening in a way.

John in Philly 5:33 PM  

Seals is the candy store at Fishermans Wharf!! (right?!)

Anonymous 7:39 PM  

Still don't get UNUM. Oh wait, now I do.

Rob C 8:20 PM  

Medium Fri for me. Lots of clever clues. However, I never changed urIS, so dnf.

On 56A, an improbable victory is only one type of EPIC WIN, so perhaps it would have been more accurate to add "for one" to the clue.

Also, how are BURPS oral reports? Not seeing it.

chefwen 8:28 PM  

BURP!! Loved your food. Considered a complement in some cultures.

Michael Chibnik 8:53 PM  

Well, I solved this one fairly easily but it was geographically humbling for a longtime resident of Iowa City. I wasn't entirely sure that Cedar Rapids was north of Des Moines, It is, but not by all that much. Des Moines - Dubuque would have been better.

And despite having attended many caucuses, I didn't get the Iowa answer until the very end. Tricky clue,,,

gifcan 9:12 PM  

And what about Indian? What's the accepted protocol around this word in the states?

In Canada we dance around the name with PC terms like native, aboriginal, and first nations. Even the tribes/nations refer to themselves by various monikers.

It's confusing. (sorry to bring this up late in the game).

jackj 9:13 PM  

Rob C-

To add to chefwen's comment, one definition of "report" is "an explosive noise".

Rob C 9:31 PM  

@chefwen & jackj


Anonymous 9:53 PM  

Took me about an hour to complete, no errors. That's definitely easy, according to my own scale.

Wasn't crazy about anything, southeast corner was by far the hardest. Ultimately, I decided I liked this corner, with "rubs out" for wasted. At first, I had "runs out."

But no real sense of accomplishment or appreciation for anything especially clever.

sanfranman59 10:03 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 6:23, 6:12, 1.03, 68%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 8:01, 8:16, 0.97, 40%, Easy-Medium
Wed 10:43, 9:43, 1.10, 75%, Medium-Challenging
Thu 16:44, 16:30, 1.01, 58%, Medium
Fri 17:53, 17:52, 1.00, 54%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:02, 3:49, 1.06, 79%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 5:09, 5:03, 1.02, 56%, Medium
Wed 6:11, 5:35, 1.11, 77%, Medium-Challenging
Thu 9:26, 9:27, 1.00, 48%, Medium
Fri 10:03, 10:27, 0.96, 43%, Medium

Anonymous 10:09 PM  

BTW, it was the San Francisco Seals, not the Sea Lions.

OISK 11:28 PM  

Oh, THAT Siri! I don't have an iphone, nor does my wife. But I think there was an episode of Big Bang Theory that involved Siri.

Also, I don't text, nor receive text messages. My students probably have iphones, but they can't use them in class...

Z 1:04 AM  

@OISK - Wanna bet?

Tita 4:04 AM  

Not doing all the puzzles, but did this one - glad I did...
WEELASS crossing SYNE and WELSH was fun...
We are currently in England and Scotland, sang Auld Lang SYNE in unison at the Edinburgh Tattoo (EPICWIN there), and Phil is marrying off his WEELASS to a Scotsman next week!
Much MOET will be flowing...

(Oh, and we even saw some SEALS in Loch Foyle...)

So ARIGATO, Mr. Livengood, for the tribute puzzle!

Anonymous 12:38 PM  

Very satisfying but not "easy."

Livengood should be tied up and force fed "mac 'n cheese"
until he swears it will be "mac and cheese" from here on.
Did he grow up in some junior high school cafeteria, or what???

Otherwise I stalled at union suits 29A for awhile, but that's no one's problem but my own.
Also who the h--- is Carlo ans at 5D.

ZenMonkey 2:38 PM  

It is absolutely sea lions at Fisherman's Wharf. This is an unquestionable error. SEALS would have worked if just "San Francisco," due to the sports team someone mentioned, but at the Wharf? No way.

brendal 9:35 PM  

I don't get "dink" for "soft touch?"

I lived in SF, and I agree with the seal people

DatingOnline 6:21 AM  

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BedfordBob 11:38 AM  

Easy easy Friday until I got to the SE corner. There I knew NOTHING ! NOTHING !


spacecraft 12:36 PM  

Here I am, thinking: "Improbable victory?" Like, if I somehow manage to get through this? and then reading "Easy-medium" and "the low 6's." 6 what--MINUTES? Impossible. Flat-out impossible. I could WATCH you DO it and I'd STILL say impossible: you already did it and are now just filling it in. It took me 6-TEEN minutes of furious thinking before I ever ventured a first letter. And yet I very nearly did have an EPICWIN, but for misspelling oRIGATO and having no earthly idea what comes before Quebec to a pilot.

It was a fun attempt, anyway. I love oxymorons, so OPENSECRET gave me a chuckle. Got off to a bad start, wanting RICKSHAW for 1a so bad that I almost tried it without the W. Also had mINK; if that's not a soft touch nothing is. Left it and went NE; strangely, that turned out to be the easiest (and THAT not very!) quad of all for me.

Two extremes meet in this grid: obscure unknowables and "that-could-be-anything"s. Take "Close." Reading it, you don't even know if it's supposed to be the verb or the adjective--or even the noun! Talk about could-be-anything! However, it IS Friday, so we must accept this. I just wish people would refrain from publishing absolutely INSANE solving times!


Pretty easy Friday for me, i.e., I didn't have to put it down for a while and take an aspirin to get rid of my headache. Main writeovers were inoneSECOND and the ubiquitous Wrigley. I knew DINK from volleyball instead of tennis. Otherwise it's mostly all been said.

Got JUBA from crosses, but have seen the word. In the '60s jazz saxophonist Yusef Lateef had a great tune called "Juba Juba." Also, Denver's
Juba Juba! is a 7 piece dance band that rearranges and interprets the music of the Grateful Dead. @August West should come check 'em out.

Don't know much about opera divas, except that they all wear BRA PADS. Irma Thomas, Etta James, Dinah Washington is my kinda vocalizing woman.

FYI, the Welsh word for Wales is Cymru (pron. COOM-ree), which I know because I have the t-shirt.

With all due respect to Tar Heel fans, this is the all-time EPIC WIN:

aka Cary in Boulder

Cary in Boulder 1:18 PM  

Let me try that link again.


Anonymous 2:08 PM  

Good one today. Only one I didn't like was Fisherman's Wharf attraction. Should be sea lions, not seals, an entirely different animal.

Solving in Seattle 2:53 PM  

@Cary, I went to your "USA" link expecting it to be the Miracle on Melted Ice, aka, the USA/Oracle victory over Emirates/New Zealand where our down under guys beat their down under guys. Now that was an EPICWIN!

Welsh language spelling versus pronunciation has got to be ten times harder than French, which is ridiculous.

Had ugANDA until STRAgS/uIDESHOTGUN didn't work. WHOLEnuT/RUnSOUT, but figured that out, too.

10D started out as ArouND. Close, but no cigar. RIHANNA and the TSAR helped me suss it out.

JUBA is such a cool word. Sounds even better when you say it twice: JUBA JUBA, man.

Sea lions don't have enough natural enemies. Sorry.

Capcha: nturemba. An instrument played in JUBA?

DMG 2:57 PM  

Not a fun puzzle for me. First time through I ended up with nothing but a bunch of S's, including one for "silk", which was my "soft touch" for awhile. Stuck itout for a bit, and while some of it fell, I made just about every error noted above, and only corrected about 3/4 of them. Lots of geography and proper names always spell no-finish for me. Did know ARIGATO and SEALS right off. But as someone who grew up in the City before the Wharf became tourist central, I knew that answer was in error.

Now to "solve" the horrendous looking Captcha. I'd change it, but they just seem to get stranger and stranger!

sdcheezhd 4:36 PM  

Should have known the Wrigley was too easy for Cubs' home on Friday. Also for some reason was convinced it is Polo Quebec etc. Other than that pretty smooth. Really liked RIDESHOTGUN. And saw TATIANA Troyanos and June Anderson do a concert performance of Ariodante on Handel's 300th birthday, still one of my favorite concerts, so loved the Word of the Day.

Dirigonzo 5:36 PM  

Well first off any puzzle that has "falsies" up top is probably going to be OK with me, and this one was. As it happens all of the totally unknowns (or learning opportunities, as I now call them) were surrounded by in-the-language terms that I could figure out. I love puzzles like that. Now off to google my "learning opportunities".

Ginger 7:10 PM  

Thought I'd finished, only to discover the JUBu/urIS trap. darn.

Same write overs as has been documented, Chicago, rOBdLEHEAD, ALarm and RhiANNA. As a pilot, knew PAPA, guessed right on UNIONSHOP and JUSTASECOND.

Women wh0 use 8-A often wear pink ribbons.

ARIGATO Ian, loved it.

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