First name in '60s radicalism / FRI 3-28-14 / Screw up / English hat similar to a fedora / Superlatively bouncy

Friday, March 28, 2014



Constructor: David J. Kahn

Relative difficulty:  Easy, moderately breezy



THEME: Themeless

Word of the Day: BLUECHIPS (3D: "Relatively low-risk investments") —
"in reference to the high-value poker counter, from 1904 in the figurative sense of "valuable;" stock exchange sense, in reference to "shares considered a reliable investment," is first recorded 1929; especially of stocks that saw spectacular rises in value in the four years or so before the Wall Street crash of that year." (Online Etymology Dictionary, which looks suspiciously like the OED)
• • •
Hello! This is Ben Tausig, editor of the American Values Club xword and person who does other things as well. I'm glad to be back as a guest blogger for my friend Rex.

Big ups to David Kahn generally, but today's puzzle didn't elate me. There's a mini-theme afoot, in which CAPTAINPHILLIPS (38A) crosses SOMALIPIRATES (16D: "Hijackers who captured 38-Across"), and then Tom Hanks returns with a strained wink in the clue for SAG (48A: "Org. of which Tom Hanks is a member"). I checked to see if today was Hanks's birthday. No soap. There is in fact, delightfully, an official Tom Hanks Day, but it's April 12th. Is there some rationale I'm missing? And just like that, I'm halfway down a "Crying of Lot 49" rabbit hole.



[This 2005 film, in which I co-star, certainly won't clear anything up (Hanks is prominent, but you must be patient and maybe crazy enough to watch until the end.)]

The highlight of the puzzle (along with the aforementioned BLUECHIPS) was ALEXANDERCALDER (63A: Mobile creator), which fell quickly and brought big, colorful shapes to mind. None of the other stacked 15s (ORLANDOSENTINEL, SOURCESOFINCOME, and LOSEONESMARBLES) produced the least sensory excitation, in answer or clue -- an unacknowledged part of puzzle construction is evocation. The solver should perform mental gymnastics, sure, but it's nice to give them some imagery, if not some music and scents, in return. LOSEONESMARBLES (64A: "Go mad") has no pungency. ORLANDOSENTINEL (15A: "Central Florida daily") has all the haptic delight of smudged black ink on fingers after finishing a story about the passage of a local levy.

I won't dwell on partials COSA, AROW, ALLOR, KEA, and GEES, obscurities MEHTA, TRILBY and KLEBAN, the redundancy of ALLOR and ALLSET, or the mehness of MTNS, EDENS, MMII, ETAS, EST, ARR, and HRS. This might be a bit too much junk, but that happens in themelesses and can't be judged too harshly.

I will, however, call out ENOTE (12D: Modern message), for which I can't find support of any kind. E-whatever is a scourge and an anachronism retained almost exclusively by crosswords. Perhaps at some point in the past it seemed like "e-" could and would be affixed to anything -- e-mail, e-mag, e-rugby, e-buffet, e-chimpanzee. But now, maybe because the Internet of things, e- feels extremely dated in almost all cases. No one says "Hey guys, I'm going on an e-date! Wish me cyber luck! Winking emoji!" You can e-file or send an email, but that's about all you can e-do without getting actual-laughed at.


Signed, Ben Tausig, acting King of CrossWorld

95 comments:

Mark 12:43 AM  

Easiest Friday ever

wreck 12:55 AM  

As is most every Friday, it was challenging for me, but getable with a few googles. Is it me, or do I see ATRA about once a week?!? It's more common than the old ADIT's and ETUI's.

Anonymous 1:11 AM  

Thanks for calling bullshit on "enote." Pure crosswordese.

Steve J 1:11 AM  

Ben captured a lot of what I was thinking. ALEXANDER CALDER was great (both as an answer and as a sculptor), and the SOMALI PIRATES/CAPTAIN PHILLIPS cross (combined with the Tom Hanks clue) was nicely contemporary, but otherwise this fell flat.

Too much stuff that was obscure (to me, but I suspect many others) - MEHTA, ARA, KLEBAN, TRILBY - crammed too closely together. The other long answers were dull as dirt. 17A, as clued, is the longest green paint answer I've run across.

Tons of gunk, which Ben outlined. IRES and ENOTE were particularly awful, and neither provided a strong payoff to make them even possibly worthwhile. (And, frankly, both words are so tortured and so not in actual use that you'd have to have something amazing to make them worthwhile.)

Question: How does GEESE equate to "simple sorts"?

Carola 1:16 AM  

Agree with @Ben all the way. The ORLANDO SENTINEL, my parents' daily paper, went in first, leading to the sequence of SOMALI PIRATES, CAPTAIN PHILLIPS, and ALEXANDER CALDER, with the crosses following quickly. I did like learning about the BARDOT neckline. "Puzzle over too quickly" can't place vary high in the ranks of BUMMERS, but I would have liked a little more resistance. Looking forward to getting pounded tomorrow.

@Steve J - According to Merriam-Webster online, "goose" can mean "simpleton, dolt."

Moly Shu 1:16 AM  

Agree with @Mark, very easy for a Friday. Hard to believe, but, those 2-1/2 years I spent working the graveyard shift in the print room of the ORLANDO SENTINEL, coming home every morning covered in ink, finally paid off. It was well worth it !!!!

Rastus Bastogne 1:22 AM  

Does anyone else remember when this site was about solving the puzzles, instead of just critiquing them?

Recently I did some 2007 puzzles, and afterwards I looked them up in Rex's archive (as always) for post-puzzle enlightenment - and I was amazed at how different it was. Rex actually discussed the clues and the answers and the solving process, rather than simply giving a haughty "This puzzle lacked zip, except for oh, maybe these three answers I approve of" shrug-off, which seems to be de rigueur for both Rex and his sit-ins these days.

Does anyone know a site where the puzzle is just discussed, rather than snarkily analyzed like a poorly-dressed starlet at a red-carpet gala?

jae 1:25 AM  

Easy Fri. for me too. The newspaper, the mobile creator, and the PIRATES mini-theme went in with no crosses so the rest was just filling in the gaps.  Only erasures were ozawA before MEHTA and TRIcot before TRIBLY.  KLEBAN was the only WOE.

Liked BUMMER and BLIMEY and the Hanks clue part of the mini-theme, but other than that pretty much what Ben said ( nice write up BTW).

Casco Kid 1:34 AM  

I approached the puzzle with manufactured optimism, and it served me rather well. 74 google-free minutes later I submitted and fell short by REMoS/SsToP/MICs. I contemplated REMUS, but chose the Greekier form as it allowed me [Trap] SsToP, a plumbers trap, maybe, and MICs, for microns, units (not symbols)of smallness (not timidity.)

SOURCESOFINCOME was hard to see as I was thinking about actual part time jobs, work study, etc. But I got ORLANDOSENTINEL of the two Os and the E in BEFORE.

I'd managed to fit CALDER into the middle part of ALEXANDERCALDER, which put all kinds of awkward pressure on the crosses. I couldn't remember CAPTAINPHILLIPS as I haven't seen the movie, but I figured all would be clear after a fashion, and it was.

ABBIE was __BIk for a long time as I had IRkS for IRES. I contemplated "black" as the first name of Black Panthers in 60s radicalism, but finally saw the __BIE emerge. I experimented with huBIE for a while, but, hey, the 60s were all about experimentation. KLE_AN is a total NATICK here. Who dat? He could have been clued as "Convenient crossword database fill." I don't know Ptolemaic constellations, so AR_ was no help.

In general the longer solutions were right on the surface of the clues, so I had a chance at them, happily. I guess I should score this a DOABLE Friday, so I'm expecting you guys to rate it PEAZY.

@Steve J I've not nothing on simple-sorted GEESE.


Ellen S 3:17 AM  

@Steve J, you silly goose... I'd go on, but actually you're not one of the silly geese, since I agree with your two worst, IRED and ENOTE. I've never seen an e-note. But my peace group sends out eNews and eAlerts, which I think are all right.

I amazed myself by finishing this with no googles or other cheats. Rare to nonexistent for a Friday. @Casco Kid, I didn't know KLEBAN, and didn't see the CAPTAIN PHILLIPS movie, but osmosis is apparently a potent crossword puzzle answer provider.

So... I've been thinking. It's been forever since I've seen "Guidonian Note" as a clue. The answer is ELA, and even though I've looked it up (and did just now) I have no idea what the explanations are talking about. Maybe it's the musical range of people from the Jersey Shore? I keep thinking it is something the Whiffenpoofs did, thought, or vocalized at Yale 100 years ago. Whatever it is, or they are, I'll take a week of EELS if it means there are no more Guidonian notes.

John Child 3:56 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Child 4:04 AM  

Pretty much what y'all said. I disliked CODS as well as the other mentioned words. The plural of cod is cod where I'm from. Apparently the s is acceptable if one is discussing several subspecies of cod, but yech.

I did the top third of the puzzle quickly and almost bailed out. I think it got better below that; I liked BLIMEY and TRILBY, MINSK and SCALP. I would have liked to have seen GEESE clued with "silly" rather than "simple," but the clue for ARMS was nice.

I echo Rastus Bastogne's observation about the change in Rex's tone over time. I've been doing Friday and Saturday puzzles from before I started (in 2011) and am back to early 2009 now, working in reverse order. Five years ago Rex's comments were less caustic and more educational.

George Barany 5:39 AM  

Interesting guest review by @Ben Tausig. @David Kahn is one of my favorite constructors, and it was a thrill to meet him in person a few weeks ago at the ACPT. For that matter, it was a thrill to meet @Ben as well.

I would have to believe that at least some of the issues in the review are generational and/or a matter of taste. Having seen the very well acted Academy Award nominated Captain Phillips movie, sussing out the two long crossing entries was not hard on me as a solver, so that left the constructor me shaking my head in admiration. How did he do that? Bravo for sneaking in a mini-theme into a nominal themeless.

I do disagree with the description of conductor Zubin MEHTA as an obscurity. Google him directly, or on YouTube, he is one of the leading musicians of my lifetime. From the constructing point-of-view, @David Kahn even set a little trap, since Seiji OZAWA would also fit the clue and word length. Also, 27-Down is actually ELAN coming off the E of MEHTA,but could have been ZEAL or ZEST coming off the Z of OZAWA.

Sir Hillary 7:04 AM  

I did the puzzle in no time flat, and walked upstairs to the computer muttering exactly the three words @Mark posted at the top. This was a Friday grid with Tuesday clues.

I agree ALEXANDERCALDER is a great entry, but "Mobile creator"? Come on. I could cite numerous other examples like that.

GEES and GEESE? Oy.

MMII is uber-junk, but it made me smile because I went to Games 5, 6, and 7 of that World Series and got to see my beloved Angels capture their only title. Our drought was hardly Red Soxian (at the time) but the franchise was in its 42nd season and had never even made it to the Series. Three of the best nights of my life, all spent with my dad. I have GEESEbumps just typing this.

So, while this was not my favorite puzzle, and I really wish it had put up more of a fight...all is forgiven because Mr. Kahn brought back memories of Glaus, Erstad, Eckstein, Molina, Percival, Anderson, Salmon and the rest of the MMII Anaheim Angels.

Danp 7:10 AM  

Never heard of Calder or trilby. But "Writer William"? Are there a limited number of these? Is Inge among the most well known?

Anonymous 7:16 AM  

Would anyone explain to me why "Start to color?" = UNI?

Mohair Sam 7:43 AM  

What Ben said. Easy/Breezy/Cheesy Friday for sure. Reviewing the puzzle there are a lot of tough nouns, but easy fill revealed them all. Wife had this 50% done in the few minutes in which she beat me to the breakfast table.

Did like the clue for BUMMERS, and struggled for a moment in the south until remembering CALDER's last name - and ALEXANDER filled off the the gimme AXES.

@Danp - INGE seems well-known enough for a Friday, we filled him off the E in ERST.

In the "Whipping a Dead Horse" department - Will should have run this on a Wednesday, the silly goose. (sorry Steve j)

Susan McConnell 7:54 AM  

A Wednesday-tough puzzle without enough theme punch, so let's run it as a Friday themeless. Eew.

Super speedy for me. Same as most with regard to ENOTE. What's even worse is that I know that's what it wants and everything in me tries to avoid putting it in.

joho 8:12 AM  

I was expecting this to be rated easy so was happily surprised to see "moderately breezy" added to the rating. I flew through this late last night and started to question if I had printed out the Friday puzzle.

I suspect that CAPTAINPHILLIPS/SOMALIPIRATES had to be the seed idea for this puzzle. It's a great cross.

ALEXANDERCALDER is wonderful.

I think if the clue for IRES had been more in the meaning of "Makes angry" rather that "Extreme piques" it wouldn't have grated so much. I mean who says, "That Bob was a nice guy except for those crazy IRES he used to throw."

Ben, I really liked your write up especially your e-rant!

Z 8:18 AM  

I ran across a mention of ENOTE somewhere. Who knows, maybe it will become as common as Ebay someday. Nevertheless, ewww.

I didn't remember that CALDER had a first name, so that took a few crosses to come into view. I was also trying to think of something more specifically collegiate, like the dish crew, for 17A. Tossed in AESOP BEFORE REMUS and AFTA BEFORE ATRA, so not quite as easy here as for some. Everything was easily solvable except for the SPRYEST/TRILBY crossing. I guessed Y but considered I.

E-Ciao

AliasZ 8:24 AM  

Can you name the musician with the most Grammy Awards ever?* Hint: it is not Ed KLEBAN.

26A could've been OZAWA, SOLTI or MEHTA. Of course, I went with Solti at first. MTNS, ETAS, EDENS, CODS, GEES and GEESE, ALL SET, ALL OR - all too much. The less said about E-NOTE, the better. Same for E-LAN, E-PEE and e-late. I'd say, NOMO E-stuff, please.

But I liked MINSK, MISHANDLE, BLUE CHIPS, ALEXANDER CALDER and who doesn't love Brigitte BARDOT? Here she is BEFORE and after.

All in all, a SOSO effort by David Kahn today, Captain fill-ups and the SOMALI ΠLATES notwithstanding. Should I say, MEH-ta?

TGIF.

Glimmerglass 8:34 AM  

@Rastus B. Great comment. Some commenters seem to enjoy the snarkiness and even join in the puzzle-bashing. Clever satire can be hilarious, but most of what I read here doesn't get so much as a smile from me. Now if Stephen Colbert wrote a crossword blog. . . .

Glimmerglass 8:37 AM  

Never heard of a Bardot neckline. What I remember of Bardot from my hormone-crazed adolescence was no neckline at all.

NCA President 8:41 AM  

For some reason MEHTA is, in my mind, most closely attached to the Los Angeles Philharmonic and all things California. He is known to be a bit of an actor-first kind of conductor...so I figured he'd be the most well-known LA conductor to be in the Walk of Fame.

Arlene 8:49 AM  

Mehta was on my mind because there was a NYTimes article about him last week discussing Israel. Here's the link - or just search "Mehta" on the NYTimes website -

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/20/arts/music/zubin-mehta-of-the-israel-philharmonic-on-that-nations-affairs.html?action=click&module=Search&region=searchResults%230&version=&url=http%3A%2F%2Fquery.nytimes.com%2Fsearch%2Fsitesearch%2F%3Faction%3Dclick%26region%3DMasthead%26pgtype%3DHomepage%26module%3DSearchSubmit%26contentCollection%3DHomepage%26t%3Dqry457%23%2Fmehta&_r=0

loren muse smith 9:24 AM  

Ben – thanks for the write-up!

Because I had "matter" before DAMAGE, I misspelled CAPTAIN and had "capitan" for a while. Then I tried "captian" to see if "Cairo" would work. Then I noticed the "Europe" part.

I've been here long enough to expect at least one ONES in 15 stacks. So interesting, that.

I liked GEESE and MICE. Was halfway looking for OXEN.

@M&A#10 was hard! That star cross for this non star person was tough!

Had SET UP in place and then erased it when ALL SET fell. Funny, though, that I didn't question the two ALLs. And speaking of SET, (vs SIT), about that lie/lay yesterday. . .

@JTHurst – I've thought a lot about that prayer and have reached the same conclusion as your mom.

@Malsdemare – toughie – correcting what "sounds funny" to one person. Man, I have to get up; I've lain on this couch for three hours. sounds awful to me! Well, for all intensive purposes, anyway.

@Tita – We have this intransitive (yawn) verb, lie, lay, lain. "Intransitive" means you can't use this verb to do something to someone or something. Just like today's 14D – we cannot say

*I SLEPT the baby last night. (SLEPT is intransitive)

What's happening is that we're not misusing lie, lay, lain so much as eschewing it for its easier, more user-friendly transitive counterpart, lay, lay, laid. "Transitive" means that you can use this verb to do something to someone or something. So with today's 22D, we absolutely can say

I DAMAGED the baby last night. (DAMAGE is transitive)

Tita (and @Z because I'm talking about what to teach kids)– I know you like this stuff and are interested, so I will elaborate a bit more at the end of yesterday's post. Wow. I must be losing my marbles, sparing everyone language/grammar stuff.

David – loved BUMMERS, BLUE CHIPS, and the clue for BARDOT. Who knew?? Thanks for the fun!

evil doug 9:32 AM  

Yes, Loren, you can lay someone or something. Someone is better.

If you keep teeing me up, I have no choice but to keep on whacking it. So to speak....

Evil

Lewis 9:36 AM  

Ben -- excellent writeup, I laughed at e-chimpanzee.

I'm still at the stage that if I can successfully complete a Friday with no help, I'm a happy camper, so I shut my ears to those posters who said this was a Wednesday masquerading as a later date.

Not familiar with CALDER or KLEBAN, but TRILBY fell out from some brain recess.

Lewis 9:38 AM  

Incidentally, why did this puzzle run today when everyone knows that SOMALI PIRATE Day is in July?

chefbea 9:41 AM  

easier than most Fridays. Googled a bit. Knew Alexander Calder right of the bat.

Casco Kid 9:41 AM  

@LMS "Intensive purposes" will be my rallying cry today, for all intents and purposes. ;)

John V 9:47 AM  

Morning, Ben.

So, how does one E-PEE? Curious minds need to know. And, how does it produce automated scoring????

What the heck is ELAN=Flourish?

Otherwise, agree that this was pretty easy stuff for a Friday.

Anonymous 10:05 AM  

In Philly the Calders are huge.
Head to the parkway ( a majour center city thouroghfare) and you can admire the work of three generations of the Calder family of sculptors in a one-mile span. Alexander Milne Calder (1846-1923) designed the figure of William Penn that stands atop City Hall’s clock tower. His son, Alexander Stirling Calder (1870-1945) designed the Swann Memorial Fountain on Logan Square. The third generation sculptor, Alexander Calder, created the mobile “Ghost,” which is suspended in the great stair hall of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

AliasZ 10:18 AM  

*Sir Georg Solti has won 32 Grammy Awards, more than any other recording artist.

Erratum: that would be SOMALI ПRATES, of course.

Here Zubin MEHTA conducts variations on the "Happy Birthday" song in styles ranging from Bach through Wagner, ragtime, and ending with a Hungarian csárdás. Great fun.

pmdm 10:22 AM  

Onetime LA Philharmonic music director Zubin Mehta left that institution and became the longest tenured music director of the NY Philharmonic. He succeeded the critic-persecuted Pierre Boulez who had the misfortune to succeed Leonard Bernstein. His time in NY was fairly low-key as I remember. He earned notoriety while in LA when he was quoted as saying that women didn't belong in an orchestra. If he really did make that remark, I suspect it was just to get people's attention since up to that time he was somewhat unknown (I seem to recall). In any event, I have never heard of women in any of his orchestras complaining about him or forcing them out.

He also grabbed attention for something else he pioneered. At that time, pop music embraced multi-mike recording. That is, each instrument in a rock band would be recorded in mono with its own mike and all the tracks would be mixed together to create a dual-mono track which simulated true stereo. A good example of this would be the Beatles recording of Hello Goodbye. There are instruments that sound entirely on the left, entirely on the right, and smack middle. If you turn down the volume on the string quartet track, the quartet entirely disappears. The same goes for Here Comes the Sun. Classical music still used the double microphone technique for its stereo recordings. To great comment (good and bad), Zubin Mehta publicized that he made a recording with the LA Philharmonic that used pop music's multi microphone technique. (I think it might have been Moussorgsky-Ravel's Pictures at an Exhibition. The rest is obviously history. I attend many NY Philharmonic concerts these days, and the radio broadcast of the concerts I attend have a totally different balance of the orchestra instruments that what I hear during the live performance in the hall.

Some above have commented on what they perceive as an increasingly strident nature of this blog. (As an aside I'll mention that nothing in the blog these days begins to compare with the incredibly acrimonious squabble that ACME and Evil Doug had some time ago.) Some call it nit-picking, some call it hurtful, some call it simply truthfully stating one's reaction to the puzzles. Sometimes personal reactions may morph to value judgments, something difficult to avoid. I suspect some of the strongly negative reactions posted on this cited would be criticized on other blogs, so it makes sense that this blog attracts those who desire a blog that welcomes all comments, be them positive or negative. If negativity turns some people off and convinces them to seek out other blogs, that's too bad. Comments such as those by ACME, who seems to appreciate the positive things in each and every puzzle, are a joy to read.

How would I rate today's puzzle? True, is seems easier than the typical Friday puzzle. But none of the long entries seem forced, and all were for me fairly easy to deduce from crosses ( was not familiar with Orlando Sentinel, Captain Phillips, or Calder's first name). A solid puzzle, one that should encourage beginners to persevere solving end-of week puzzles. Thanks should be given to Kahn bnd Shortz.

r.alphbunker 10:23 AM  

@Ellen
The iRed iPhone is more of a pink.

Nancy 10:30 AM  

Much too easy for a Friday; therefore completely disappointing. Please keep the end of the week hard! Please!

Casco Kid 10:45 AM  

Does TRILBY complete the STETSON-FEDORA hat trick?

Bob Kerfuffle 10:49 AM  

@Rastus Bastogne - For a completely dispassionate review of clues/answers in the puzzle, I have often recommended this site:

http://www.nytcrossword.com/

It does not even get into grid design, etc, so it may even be a bit too dry for your taste.

@Steve J - Evidently you never had the pleasure of being in Summer Camp on your knees, hoping to gain entry into the inner circle, searching for the hidden message as you repeatedly chanted "OWAH TAGU SIAM"!

tensace 11:02 AM  

I've seen ETAs posted but rarely if ever "announced". And "announcing" them on screen is a stretch. ETDs on the other hand are on occasion announced over the PA, in rare moments of airport courtesy. Beyond that you're on your own.

tensace 11:11 AM  

JohnV: Epee fencing is too fast for the human eye to score (without bias). So the fencer's epee is wired as are the suits worn to register a hit.

Masked and Anonymo3Us 11:16 AM  

Fun FriPuz tweener -- half themeless, half Somali.

Yep, there is some sticky bits in it, but U almost have to give some notable ones a pass...

* MEHTA. OK, since someone wrote his name on the sidewalk. Also, like the M eht A form.
* KLEBAN. OK, since it is an anagram of BANKLE.
* MMII. OK, since the random Romans look so organized, in groups of II.
* ENOTE. OK, since it evocates (!) a har. Also, looks like "E, not E", which looks like a loopy philosophical discussion brewin. Plus, it also evocated a whole other cool web-based rant from the Tausigmeister.
* TRILBY BLIMEY. OK, since it ain't French. Or part of a lay conjugational visit. Yser.

M eht A.

schmuzz 11:21 AM  

definitely harder for me than a wednesday and finished in under 45 minutes - i don't consider that easy...LOL (except...hmmm...i can't usually finish fridays)

off to MI for tigers the opening day
and

go green!

Two Ponies 11:23 AM  

It sounds like I enjoyed this one more than most. I didn't give the junk much notice, I just had some fun. I didn't fall for the plural traps of mice and geese but had to run the alphabet for the "oh, of course" of kin.

I agree that this blog used to be more educational. I am such a better solver because of what I have learned here. It also transformed my solving from a solitary sport to a daily get-together that I truly look forward to. Perhaps @Rex changed his style when he started constructing his own puzzles. No matter, I come here for everyone, not just Rex.

Thanks for sitting in Ben.

hawkins 11:24 AM  

Surely EBOOK is on the eOkay list?

Steve J 11:26 AM  

Thanks to many for elucidating GEESE for me. I certainly know the expression "silly goose", but I thought that was just idiomatic; I don't recall hearing goose/GEESE on their own to call someone simple. (And @Bob K: I definitely don't recall that particular summer camp ritual.)

Gill I. P. 11:34 AM  

Hey I like all the E-words. At least you get one freebie - just like Mauna_...
Yep, I'd like a little more meat and less stewed carrots on my Friday plate. I didn't say AHA like I like to on Fri. but I did say YAY because I finished sans Google.
Now I wonder if a constructor asked us to name the Egyptian Minister of defense and how many of us might get Abdel Fattah al SISI. I bet most of us would say NONO.
One day I will go to MINSK where I'll be known as a Minx...
Thanks Ben for the write-up and some cheer.

Gill I. P. 11:36 AM  

Oops that should be NOMO...

Mohair Sam 11:42 AM  

@anon 10:05 - Thanks for the Philly art lesson. We knew the CALDER in the Museum of Art (we're members), but had no idea that Billy Penn and the Swann Memorial were in the family. Always fun to learn.

Speaking of learning - Thanks to @Tensace for the EPEE lesson. Neat stuff, like having instant replay without the re.

@Casco Kid - For all intensive purposes our rallying cry today is spitting image. And thanks for the "Hat Trick" chuckle.

M and Also 11:52 AM  

p.s. Next runpuz will be easier for @muse and harder for @Bob K. Promise. Arr. (Laugh like a Somali Pirate)

M&A

Ludyjynn 12:36 PM  

I found it a medium, enjoyable Fri. outing. Preferred this mini-theme to the Th. rebus, by far. Don't get how people who admit to a Google or two can call a puzzle easy; I call it a DNF on their part.

Thanks for the Calder tutorial, above, and thanks DK and WS for a good workout.

M and erratA 12:42 PM  

p.p.s.s. That's runTpuz.

Dick Swart 12:56 PM  

The Orlando Sentinel was evocative to me as a media cub in the 50's at BBDO when one was expected tp know the names of most of the newspapers in US cities. At that time, New York had at least five, and most cities of any size had two,

Reps for big cities would pitch the relative values, reps for smaller cities would argue the importance of covering their market.

And, unbelievable today, morning newspapers had a larger coverage because they could travel by train to distributors at night for the AM sales.

Tausig is right … evocative!

dk 1:20 PM  

���� (2 Moons)

Not e-uck as some have scribed but more like one of those 8A or simply 7D.

Although a rousing cheerio to LOSEONESMARBLES and TRILBY.

dk - bottom dweller of xwordlandia

Fred Romagnolo 1:20 PM  

Mea culpa (indeed maxima). I nearly destroyed myself by getting the "er" first and thinking Buckminster Fuller; spent a lotta time trying to get that in. Didn't see the Hanks movie, but remembered the name, so that was inferable. I thought of "screw up as a noun and tried getting "mishuganah(sp?) in. I agree that the "sources of income" clue was rotten. I see no way out of the "one's" dilemma. I also think "cod" is a plural. I also wonder about "uni-color."

Fred Romagnolo 1:23 PM  

Just a comment:that Calder statue of Wm. Penn is on top of the ugliest bldg. in the U S.

LaneB 1:51 PM  

Pretty good for a Friday, although DNF because used BUrdEnS instead of BUMMERS. BUMMER! That left me with rTNS and dICE and nEMUS--strange but WTF at
That point. Also took "letter opener" the wrong way, so using TIp instead of Tiny TIM left me with "pESSRS" --an old fashioned letter opener? Why not? The rest was made doable because of ORLANDOSENTINEL, SOMALIPIRATES, CAPTAIN PHILLIPS and ALEXANDER CALDER, all of which I knew right away.
Enjoyed the later week puzzle (for a change.)

Tita 1:54 PM  

ALEXANDERCALDER went in with only the initial A. Good thing, since the hijaaking was far from top of mind. Would have played much harder without that one blessed gimme.

I liked LOSESONESMARBLES and What's the DAMAGE. Both of those pass yuor test, @Ben, for me anyway - evoking images and/or memories.

@M&A - 18 seconds for #9!!! (But I had an advantage, doing them backwards...)

@lms - thx for the lesson, and yesterday's post today. A faint spark glimmered in a dormant synapse somehwere, last fired in about the 4th grade.

@Lewis - lol!

@Gill - with Mauna ___, I can only drop in the final A - is it LOA or KEA?

Thanks Mr. Kahn & Mr. Tausig.

mac 2:05 PM  

Easy but enjoyable Friday puzzle. Eloquent write-up, but I think I enjoyed it more.

Standard/ensign was a revelation, but not a problem.

Funny how we all got used to eNote. I guess it could be an amount in Bitcoin.

Didn't know about the Bardot collar, but a pink and white plaid was called Brigitte Bardot plaid.

Masked and Amazedment 2:10 PM  

@Tita--WOW... 18 seconds for the whole #9 runtpuz? Even with an edge, that's an amazin time. Dan F. hears footsteps.

Anonymous 2:12 PM  

Thoroughly enjoyable puzzle. Find myself relying more and more on instinct these days. Think I'm developing previously atrophied crossword muscles. Agree wholeheartedly with comments of @Rastus B, et al. The snark gets tedious.

LaneB 2:19 PM  

@LMS
"Lay" when used in the present tense is often misused (as in I intend to lay down.) In the present tense it's a transitive verb requiring an object (as in "one lays bets or tiles, etc.") "Lie" is intransitive. One "lies" down.

I have no. Idea why I'm telling you this of all people. You're the super grammarian and linguist and I very much enjoy your daily comments ( and often learn from them, too.). But I couldn't help myself since misuse is one of my pet pedagogic peeves. ( I taught legal writing a long time ago at the Stanford Law School.). A VERY long time ago!

Wendy 2:25 PM  

E-vites come in over the virtual transom occasionally.
After I listened to the charming Zubin MEHTA Happy Birthday medley, it occurred to me that I just like the similar joyfulness of a puzzle, and I consider MEH fill the price of admissison to the event.
Speaking of music and E, where's Eno been this week?

OISK 2:33 PM  

Really enjoyed this one. Yes, it was easier than most Fridays, but BLIMEY, I don't see that as a cause for griping! I have one sore point; "Part time jobs for college students, say," - sources of income. Am I missing something? Aren't ALL jobs for ALL people sources of income? How are part-time college jobs different? Anyone else bothered by this? I am old enough to remember Abbie, but remain among the spryest, with marbles pretty much intact…

chefwen 2:33 PM  

@M & E - Check out The Bent Pinky over at Go Comics, it's like it was drawn just for U.

Scott Metzger 2:44 PM  

The Bent Pinky

Milford 3:13 PM  

Also thought this was easy for a Friday, although I was also trying out a new app for doing the crossword, and I think that distracted me from the puzzle.

Yes, I had heard of MEHTA, but no, I did not know KLEBAN, nor TRILBY.

Hand up for IRkS before IRES.

22D reminded me of the movie "Heathers" - "What's your DAMAGE, Heather??"

Go State!

Alexander Calder Messrs 3:16 PM  

It's fun when a constructor notices that SOMALIPIRATES and CAPTAIN PHILLIPS are 13 and 15 AND can cross at the P!

The Somali actor incongruously discovered in Minneapolis!!!
My fave wordplay joke from the Oscars:

. "We have other first-time nominees. Lupita Nyong'o is here. Amazing performance in 12 Years a Slave. She is from Kenya. She is a Kenyian. And Barkhad Abdi is here. He is nominated for Captain Phillips. He's from Somalia. He is a Sommelier, so he knows a lot about wine and that is impressive. Who's the wine captain now?!"

I've been trying to come up with an untortured version of a trivia question that involves Tom Hanks being involved in two movies (philms?) with PHIL in the title
(CAPTAIN PHILLIPS and PHILADELPHIA)
(plus PHILomena was nominated this year)

And that Hanks change one letter to get BANKS where he starred in "Saving Mr. Banks" (even tho that was not his character name)...AND he was in "Saving Private Ryan"
If he would star in a film called "Saving Phil" the circle will be complete!!!

I just now got the layered pun in the title "Saving (Mr) Banks" and "Savings Bank". Now that's good naming!

David J. kahn, I tip my TRILBY to you!

Tita 3:21 PM  

@M&A - my theory is that the clock only goes so long, then starts again at :00 - kind of like the odometer rolling over back in the analog days.
Or, it was really 18 minutes?

Is it possible to search xwordinfo for your tiny gems?

chefwen 3:23 PM  

@Scott Metzger - Thanks! Fancy finding you here. Bent Pinkies Unite.

Anonymous 3:23 PM  

1. Why any concern about unicolor? It can simply mean monochromatic, as it is found in a dictionary. multicolor might be a more common word, but it is not any more valid.

2. As cod is a plural, so is haddock. The clue was Haddock relatives. If the clue had been Haddock relative, then the plural cod could be correct. But the clue's use of relative(s) requires the answer of cods, since it calls for multiple relatives. As someone above admitted, there is more than one species of cod. This is not "yech", merely a biological fact.

3. Yes, Rex's writeups have deteriorated into rants mostly about Will Shorts' failings or about Rex's particular take on puzzle style rather than on anything useful in solving crossword puzzles. His substitutes follow the same tired pattern, as do many of his acolytes on the blog.

I don't care to join this pointless club, so I will either not comment, or when sufficiently aggravated will remain anonymous.

Benko 3:48 PM  

@anonymous 3:23: Isn't it comforting to be able to feel superior to others from a position of anonymity?

Mark 3:49 PM  

Today (last night) I was the first one to comment; I expressed my joy at completion (sans google) with a simple fact: "Easiest Friday ever." I am by no means a power solver: on an easy Monday with no pauses the fastest I can do is 6 minutes. I often abandon Fridays and Saturdays even after extensive googling; I used to abandon Thursdays until I caught on to rebuses. So, finishing a Friday in less than 16 minutes with no googling was an unexpected enjoyment, increased by my lucky timing to be first in after the blog was posted. With a vaguely incipient picture of Tom Hanks being told "this is my ship now" (an ad that seems to have been played 1000 times), I started out with "SENEGALESE PIRATES," or at least tried to. Turned out they were far too tall. As the picture in my mind became less vague, it turned out that "SOMALI" PIRATES are comfortably shorter.

M and A Help Desk 3:50 PM  

@Tita: Alas. As far as I know, there is no "search for M and A runtpuz gems" feature. But think of all the agony U thereby avoid.

M&A

Anonymous 3:58 PM  

I agree that Rex carps a little too much.

Gill I. P. 4:09 PM  

@Loren - re your lay/lie - one of the few words that make me want to say BLIMEY is the WENT issue. When I watch Judge Judy (which is all the time)... (Hi ACME) there inevitably is someone who says: "Him and me had went to the house." Judge Judy doesn't even flinch while I'm feeling the effects of fingernails scratching on the blackboard. Do they still have blackboards? I can thank my grandmother and mother for this malady since they both would correct my English LOUDLY and enough times to scare the pants off me.
@chefwen...Cute
@M&A: I must have been passed up on the memo that tells us where we can download your little (big) gems...please share.
To the wieners who pop in here from time to time to complain about ANYTHING....Go CLEAT some GEESE.

sanfranman59 4:18 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 15:44, 21:24, 0.73, 9%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Fri 9:40, 12:39, 0.76, 12%, Easy

Anonymous 4:28 PM  

To Rastus Bastogne ...'

Well put and thank you.

This blog now consist mostly now of contemptuous put downs of every puzzle for their tedium or poor fill. This is neither interesting nor informative and makes me wonder why Rex is even still solving puzzles, much less commenting on them when he seems to find so many of them beneath him.

At least most of the commenters are still upholding the play-by-play aspect of reviewing each day's puzzle, rather than simply providing a smug smack-down of the construction value.

chefbea 4:28 PM  

@Alexander Calder Messrs - good to hear from you!!!!!!!!

ArtO 7:06 PM  

Didn't get to the puzzle until 6pm and after finishing (on paper, of course) in about 40-45 minutes was sure it would rate EASY. I love @casco kid for his unabashed honesty amidst all the super solvers who come here. Keep It up. You give us less than stellar solvers hope and comfort.

I'll add my negative on Bardot neckline. No way is this legit. Her only neckline was showing marvelous cleavage It was never so named.

Newbie 9:33 PM  

I know this can't have been a Friday puzzle, as I finished it, and with no mistakes. First time ever. So - I'm happy. But I get why others may not be.

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 5:18, 6:13, 0.85, 2%, Easy (4th lowest ratio of 221 Mondays)
Tue 9:07, 8:32, 1.07, 67%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 9:40, 10:13, 0.95, 38%, Easy-Medium
Thu 18:31, 18:41, 0.99, 46%, Medium
Fri 15:44, 21:24, 0.73, 9%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:31, 3:58, 0.89, 4%, Easy (8th lowest ratio of 221 Mondays)
Tue 5:35, 5:11, 1.08, 67%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 5:46, 6:14, 0.93, 30%, Easy-Medium
Thu 14:23, 11:12, 1.28, 83%, Challenging
Fri 9:29, 12:39, 0.75, 11%,

Enquiring minds want to know 10:45 AM  

Is OFL IN A PET?

Casco Kid 10:51 AM  

Rex tweets on Sat morning @rexparker: miscommunication of epic proportion -- no one write today's blog post. My bad!! Haha. I'm away & sans computer. Let's see what happens!

Casco Kid 10:56 AM  

My Saturday: 98 minutes. 3 solve-time googles: ISAO OKEECHOBBEE ONACAROUSEL. No errors.

Favorite clue: [Submit a moving address?]

Had CAp for [86] so got RANANERRAND last.

Anonymous 4:54 AM  

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Anonymous 7:50 AM  



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Anonymous 6:30 PM  

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spacecraft 10:47 AM  

Can't we filter out these tiresome spellcaster testimonials? What in the world are they doing here on this site? Do they think that "Cross( )words" refers to a chant with crucifix in hand to ward off vampires? What??? Or, if they just automatically invade any blogsite, how are they "proving they're not robots?" I truly do not understand.

The foregoing must have been some leftover rantage from yesterday--the date, not the Beatles song on "SIDE2." So, Friday should be even tougher that Thursday. Hello? Easy-peasy! Had to be my fastest Friday ever. Drop in the two central-crossing themers, and you have 27 letters (remembering to count that middle P only once!)reaching into all four quadrants. And those were gimmes.

And now for the critique, which brings the remark of @Rastus Bastogne into focus. I'd guess that when OFL started this blog, he felt his primary function was to share his solving process. Everything seemed new. Then as the years slipped by, he got tired of seeing crap fill and trite entries. Eventually, even some of the themes started to repeat themselves. Surely it's a natural evolution of this type of endeavor to pass from sharing the experience to bitching about all the s**t you've seen a hundred times. No doubt Mr. Bastogne, as well, will arrive at this devolution if he stays with it. For good or ill, I know I did.

Two pair again. Oh well, I'm all ranted out. Just fold.

Torb 12:54 PM  

fastest no theme friday ever. too easy.

Solving in Seattle 1:49 PM  

I fall into the "easyfripuz" group. ORLANDOSENTINEL went down as my first entry, followed by 16D, 38A and 61A (CALDER was in a NYT puz a few days ago). The rest fell into place pretty quickly.
Had ageE before INGE. Only other writeover was incorrectly spelling SENTINaL.
@AliasZ, thanks for the BARDOT post. Now I can't unsee it.
Hi to Andrea.
Loved seeing that the Mariners SwEPT the Yankees.

No poker today. Enjoy your weekend, Syndies.

DMG 2:07 PM  

Got off to a slow start, first letter in was the A in KEA, then saw CALDER, got AXE and things started filling in. But still a DNF at the "k" in KLEBAN. Never heard of, and doubtless won't remember him. Didnt get KIN because I was thinking of the kind of connections that get you into places we mere mortals can't aspire to, and couldn't parse anything to fit that. (Should that be ..to which we can't aspire?)

Maybe I missed it, but did anyone ever offer a reason UNI was a "start to color"?

Three 6's, two 2's.

rain forest 2:26 PM  

When you get COSA,EDENS, TRILBY, BEFORE,CLEAT,MEHTA,SCALP, REMUS, and maybe a few others without crosses, the big spanners come into view and the puzzle goes by fast. Pretty well every first guess was correct--rare. Fast Friday, indeed.

I hope I don't evolve into a nitpicker, and I'm striving to not be snarky with fellow posters, because, well, my goal is to be a true-blue syndi-ite. However, I hope we move onto copular verbs, or using the possessive with a gerund thing, soon. Har. Cool it, rainy.

Dirigonzo 3:48 PM  

I noted the constructor's name and felt a pang of trepidation, unwarranted it turns out. I'm not sure why NNE is a *Nautical* heading since it's a valid heading no matter what the mode of transportation (I just read a quote somewhere about not using two words when one will do). MICE are timid, silly GEESE are simple sorts and the puzzle was better than SOSO - what's not to like?

I'm overjoyed to note the return of ACM to the comment string.

If M&A starts a blog of his (her?) own, I will follow it.

@DMG - UNIcolor is an alternative to multicolor, apparently.

@rainy - I was disappointed to discover that "copular verbs" have nothing whatsoever to do with copulating. Now possessive gerunds, that I could get into!

@Torb - new around these parts? Cool avatar!

Six high straight - and since no one can prove otherwise, I'm calling it a straight-flush!

Anonymous 5:53 PM  

I agree. Wish I knew of a site like that.

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