Female lead in Brigadoon / FRI 5-2-14 / 1901 Kipling book / Martin Chuzzlewit villain / Actor Franco of Now You See Me / US chain stores since 1985

Friday, May 2, 2014

Constructor: Brendan Emmett Quigley

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging



THEME: none

Word of the Day: DOTTIE West (32A: West of Nashville) —
Dottie West (October 11, 1932 – September 4, 1991) was an American country music singer and songwriter. Along with her friends and co-recording artists Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn, she is considered one of the genre's most influential and groundbreaking female artists. Dottie West's career started in the early 1960s, with her Top 10 hit, "Here Comes My Baby Back Again," which won her the first Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance in 1965. In the 1960s, West was one of the few female country singers working in what was then a male-dominated industry, influencing other female country singers like Lynn AndersonCrystal GayleBarbara MandrellDolly Parton, and Tammy Wynette. Throughout the 1960s, West had country hits within the Top 10 and 20.
In the early 1970s, West wrote a popular commercial for the Coca-Cola company, titled "Country Sunshine", which she nearly brought to the top of the charts in 1973. In the late-70s, she teamed up with country-pop superstar, Kenny Rogers for a series of duets, which brought her career in directions it had never gone before, earning Platinum selling albums and No. 1 records for the very first time. Her duet recordings with Rogers, like "Every Time Two Fools Collide," "All I Ever Need Is You," and "What Are We Doin' In Love," eventually became country-music standards. (wikipedia)

• • •

Despite scads of stuff that I just didn't know, I managed to get through this puzzle in something close to normal time. My frustration at the proper noun onslaught was alleviated nicely by some high-quality fill, smart cluing, and an impressive overall polish to the grid. Got distracted by my failure to instantly recall the damn Delaware Indians …. which I knew started with "L" and had a "P" and … then I just blanked and went with LAPORE and LEPANE and god knows what else. Ridiculous. LENAPE is a tribe I learned about from crosswords, and knowing it has come in very handy in the past, but today, the word just wouldn't come. Also thought [Big ___] was SUR and have never ever heard of London's HENRIETTA Barnett School (I mean never Ever ever), so the NW roughed me up a bit. In fact, I never really did get out of it. Even when I had it filled in, I just couldn't move south. Didn't know [Strabismus], so even CROSS- didn't help. Thought it might be some kind of cloud (?). So I drifted east and then spread down into the heart of the puzzle and out from there. Didn't properly finish off the NW until the very end, when I was staring down CROSSE-E-ES. I figured the singer must be DOTTIE (never heard of her), but that left the final letter—which I had as an "M" at first, "ADAM'S Pleasure" sounding like a perfectly reasonable title for a Chaplin movie. But CROSSED EMES: not a thing. Then finally CROSSED EYES became obvious. I'm sure I've heard "strabismus" before, but like LENAPE, it got away from me today.


So HENRIETTA, DOTTIE West, Strabismus, "A DAY'S Pleasure," FIONA from "Brigadoon," Physicist ANDRE-Marie Ampère, Fashion designer LEANNE Marshall, DAVE Franco (54A: Actor Franco of "Now You See Me"), JONAS (34A: "Martin Chuzzlewit" villain) … all totally unknown to me. All but proper nouns (or in the case of "strabismus," highly specialized professional vocabulary). Not usually the way I like my difficulty served up. But it's really hard to resist a puzzle with CLICK BAIT as its 1-Across (1A: Modern traffic director?). It's a pernicious phenomenon, but great fill. Also truly loved the marquee answer (Make Your Marquee Count, kids). In case you don't quite understand the answer: FIVE THIRTY-EIGHT is the name of the newish website run by former NYT / current ESPN stats maven Nate Silver (hence [Silver screen name?]). Long answers in all the corners are mostly lovely and solid. A tough but entertaining experience overall.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

97 comments:

Paul Krugman 12:06 AM  

How can one hate a puzzle with FIVETHIRTYEIGHT as the marquee answer?

Oh, let me count the ways. There are so damned many ways.

Mark 12:07 AM  

With a little help from bing.com, finished in under 28 minutes, my second-fastest Friday ever.

wreck 12:08 AM  

Although it was a Google fest (more than even MY usual Fri or Sat) - I always enjoy BEQ puzzles! I also do his own Mondays and Thursdays as well. I never fail to learn new things.

J E Hoover 12:08 AM  

CROSSDRESS[ing] ruined the puzzle for me. Much as it has ruined my reputation.

Moly Shu 12:10 AM  

Tons of stuff I didn't know, but tons of fun. HENRIETTA, LENAPE, JONAS, the middle spanner, all new to me but I got them somehow. Knew DOTTIE and ASTRO. Best entry by far, INSOMNIAC, looks fantastic in the grid. I saw BEQ, and thought "oh crap, 3 or 4 attempts spread out over a few hours". Got through it in one sitting, still not sure how. My legs and arms were CROSSED before my EYES.

Great workout, thx BEQ

mathguy 12:15 AM  

Had never heard of FIVETHIRTYEIGHT or strabismus and yet was able to solve it without much sweat. Some long gimmes (ALLENDE, INSOMNIAC) helped.

Not much fun. Was it all the proper nouns?

jae 12:16 AM  

Medium for me.  NW was the tough SPOT for me for the same reasons Rex listed.  I've also seen LENAPE as clued more than once in crosswords but I still needed crosses to fill it in (LEcAne anyone?). CLICK BAIT is a new one for me as is HENRIETTA so having @Rex sur instead of BEN made it a struggle.  INSOMNIAC and CHIRAC finally cleared out the errors.  The rest was mostly easy, perhaps because I never miss doing a BEQ. 

Although, I did stare blankly at 538 after I finished until Nate bubbled to the surface.  Nice misdirect!

A fine Fri. , and,  yes Brendan, last week's contest was tough!

Casco Kid 12:17 AM  

Yesss! A google-free, error-free Friday in 1:16, and a BEQ, no less. Go ahead gang. Call it the easiest Friday ever. My party can withstand the rain.

[Strabismus] CROSSEDEYES was the last to fall, requiring a triple mutation [Chaplin film "___ Pleasure"] ADAmS -> ADAYS , [Modern traffic director?] CLIEntBAIT -> CLICKBAIT and therefore [1901 Kipling book] jIM->tIM-> KIM, none of which I knew offhand.

sARDAnOS, from deep memory, to sARDALOS to VARDALOS. It was that kind of solve throughout. Ok, I was really lucky to pull those out, and there were many. But on some level this was a qualitatively different solve. It felt like I found an inner patience and let the answers come to me rather than chasing them with reckless abandon. This after the audible "uh-oh. BEQ" groan on opening.

And hats off to FIVETHIRTYEIGHT, with its brilliant clue, fully deserving of its place front-and-center. Nate Silver was my pick for Time Magazine 2012 Man of the Year.

I will sleep well tonight.

okanaganer 12:19 AM  

Dang... another finish with a mistake! I had I WONT LIE (defensible) crossing A WAYS PLEASURE (not so smooth). Agree with Rex there were a lot of proper nouns today, especially up in Nunavut. Er, I mean New England.

Speaking of New England, did this one between periods of Montreal vs Boston. There was double overtime, so it took a while... yay Habs!!

(Hey...my captcha is APOSTOLIC. That's some coincidence!!)

Clark 12:32 AM  

Somewhere down deep in the memory banks lives VARDALOS but it remained hidden. The crosses ADAYS and OLLIE turned the whole thing into a double natick.

But the puzzle was a blast. CLICK BAIT and FIVE THIRY EIGHT were my favorites.

Way to go, @Casco Kid.

Questinia 1:03 AM  

Medium with interwoven SNAKED filaments of easy to make the toeholds. Entered at strabismus.
I follow fashion and LEANNE Marshall is unknown to me. Evidently she won Project Runway.

Despite all the names a thoroughly satisfying solve.

Excellent going @ Casco Kid... this was by no means an easy puzzle.

John Child 2:07 AM  

Congrats @Casco Kid. You outdid me today as I had I wON'T LIE for an error. Being in BEQ space is a rare experience for me, so I applaud you.

I truly thought I was going to leave half of the puzzle blank for a while until I found ASTRO and drOPPED BY to get going again.

Tough but fair with a lot of nice stuff, natch.

Jamie Monroe 3:00 AM  

BEQ always gives me pause when I see his name in the byline. He's twice as clever with half of his clues as he is too hipstery with others. It makes his puzzles unbalanced. And I feel guilty criticizing his efforts because I generally feel that most of the published fare skews older. I'm around the same age as Brendan and almost never share the same cultural acumen as he (e.g.: DAVE Franco) It's as though we're paying attention to almost completely different zeitgeists. He needs to keep doing what he's doing, I need to readjust my attitude and be thankful there are such thoughtful individuals constructing but he does frustrate me. Generally, I do wish he'd tone down the Naticky, proper noun cluing a bit and reinforce how wonderfully clever he is. The INSOMNIAC clue today was great.

chefwen 3:14 AM  

Didn't remember LENAPE and ended up with an error as I had all the letters in place at 1A except the L, and ended up entering CHICK BAIT, like a guy walking a cute puppy, Oh never mind.

Got FIVE THIRY EIGHT and had no clue what it meant. 5:38 is a time to me and nothing else. Ooh, look it's 5:38, time to start dinner. Too many proper names for me and it sounds like for others too. HENRIETTA, LEANNE, ALLENDE, etCETERA. One mistake, 3 Googles, but we got all the little boxes filled in. It's not uncommon for a BEQ. I guess I'm not the only one who let out an audible groan upon reading the header. I am getting better at his, but not noticeably.

mac 3:29 AM  

Fun medium Friday with some outstanding clues! A lot of unknowns for me, too, which made especially the SW (Fiona and Ollie) tough, but in the end I had my mistake at 1A Chick bait and so Henape....

The Nate Silver clue/answer was my favorite, followed by insomniac.

loren muse smith 5:11 AM  

Both kids, when we were in northern New Jersey, had to do projects on the LENAPE, so no trouble there. Sigh. My yesterday's COW is today's LENAPE. Because of "lash" and "Adams," I never saw CROSSEYES.

CLICKBAIT is totally new to me. I just briefly sniffed around google about it. Any tv show I watch is taped, and sometimes the commercials during breaks are over six minutes long. Those spots about drugs with the oh-so-long disclaimers at the end about the side effects – in magazines they're treatises read by speed-talkers. Pop-up ads online. Ads you're forced to endure on youtube before you watch that must-see cat video (I turn my head or close my eyes because I will not let "them" win. Hah!). Sirius radio that you paid for because you hate commercials but, well, they're heeeere. Junk mail. Radio spots and sickeningly unfunny, uncute hosts who should be chased out of the station and down the street with a trellis strip. "Cable" tv that we all scrambled to pay good money for back in the day when it was new because, yeah!, no commercials. All this makes my blood boil. Even you, NPR – you're getting mighty close to full-blown commercials. What. Just saying xyz is a sponsor of All Things Considered makes it not really a commercial? Really?

Ok all you ad execs and marketing majors – let me have it. There has to be another side to this madness.

Oh – BEQ's puzzle. The proper names, aside from DOTTIE, didn't faze me. I'm with @jae – I do two BEQs a week, and I'm slowly getting his vibe. Those of you who don't, I urge you to work his Monday and Thursday puzzles. They're always good for some smiles; the guy can be wickedly and hysterically irreverent.
I loved the clues for OUTSPOKEN (that initial O made me think "open…"), INSOMNIAC, and, especially, ADVERB.

As always, a pleasure, Brendan.

Danp 5:17 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Danp 5:54 AM  

CLICKBAIT?!?!?! I was sure it was Chickbait. OK, I never heard of the Henapes, but I was pretty sure they were blue.

I thought "grok" was a Rex Parker word like goat, ese, woe, Natick and scrabblef**k.

Elle54 6:24 AM  

I had CLOCKTAIT which means ??? Never heard of CLICKBAIT or 538. Was able to GROK the rest of the proper nouns.
It's Friday, so I'm happy!

Jim Finder 6:28 AM  

Thanks for the funny media satire, Loren. It's all true. Now off to Google for a definition of "clickbait." BEQ's universe is way too inclusive.

Susierah 7:20 AM  

Had no idea about click bait. I spelled Chirac with an s, so I had slick bait. Also, went with Adams way. Word of the day for me was strabismus. Thanks for explaining 538, had it right but no idea what it meant! Knew Dottie, but really had to work at all the others. Took 64 minutes, but a dnf. Didn't google but checked my dictionary to make sure anointed was spelled with just one n. Challenging but a good puzzle!

jberg 7:24 AM  

@Casko Kid, congratulations! You beat me -- I finished with an error, FEteS instead of FESTS. I had no idea about VARDALOS, but I should have gone with the Greek ending. I had no idea what kind of stat an INE was, either, but that didn't stop me from putting it in.

For those still puzzled, FIVE THIRTY-EIGHT is the number of votes in the Electoral College, the outcome of which Nate Silver managed to predict early and accuratlely through rigorous statistical analysis. I think he started in baseball stats, but I've never confirmed that.

@Danp, GROK is not a Rexism, but is a mental power of the Martians in Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein.

While I didn't know a lot of stuff in this puzzle, I did know LENAPE somehow -- which gave me the courage to go with APOSTLE at 23A, the entry that got me going.

imsdave 7:48 AM  

I finished in a medium Friday time despite having EXPECTEDONE for a long time. I didn't know many of the answers (including CLICKBAIT and 538) but, as with almost all BEQ's, the crosses made the puzzle totally fair.

retired_chemist 8:04 AM  

A BEQ and FIVE THIRTY EIGHT too- those alone guarantee a good puzzle. CLICK BAIT was totally new to me but good.

I knew jus though of the proper names to get footholds in lots of places in the grid (CHIRAC, LENAPE, SAVANNAH, DOTTIE, ALLENDE, FIONA) and I finished in a normal Friday time with a smile on my face. Glad not to have a Shrek clue for FIONA.

Wanted 36D to be "Would I lie?" But it didn't fit. Zingier than the real answer though.

Thanks, Mr. Quigley.

Susan McConnell 8:07 AM  

A fun challenge. I had just done BEQ's Two-for-One Special yesterday, so I was in the Brendan vibe. I liked this one better.

Hartley70 8:13 AM  

I had one error, fro, as in to and fro, for ago, even tho I've never heard of Nate Silver, 538 or clickbait.

joho 8:41 AM  

Even not having a clue what some of the answers meant, I still got them all right so I'm happy.

CROSSEDEYES was the most difficult section for me but ADAYS pleasure made sense.

I was happy to learn CLICKBAIT.

Nice Friday puzzle, Brendan, thank you!



Andrew Morrison 8:42 AM  

Copy RP's first sentence, insert here. I was shocked to finish under average time. No problem with Lenape though. When I was a kid we often went to Lenape Park, a small-scale old fashioned amusement park. It 's a shame places like that have all withered away.

John V 8:43 AM  

Not/never my wavelength. So it goes.

Dawn 8:59 AM  

AS an INSOMNIAC, still didnt get the answer! Was confused by BIG rEd, not BIG BEN.

Kept thinking of cartoon dog names and missed that famous crossword dog, ASTRA.

Peter 9:37 AM  

Enjoyed this BEQ puzzle. Good quality fill, nice marquee that I did not know but immediately friended on FaceBook, some new words (strabismus and clickbait to name a couple), and very few gimmes. You really have to know your pop culture to do this puz. Probably more people's names than I've seen in a grid in a while. Pushed me out of my comfort zone the way a Friday should.

chefbea 9:45 AM  

never heard of click bait. Never heard of five thirty eight. Never heard of a lot of the stuff in this puzzle. Too tough for me

Mark 9:47 AM  

Actually, to be technical, there are 435 members of the House of Representatives (not 438). To get to the number 538 in the electoral college (after adding in 100, which is the number of senators), you need to add in 3 electoral votes from Washington, D.C., which does not have any members of congress. (To be even more technical, senators are members of congress and hence congressmen, contrary to popular usage, which implies that senators are not congressmen. Congress = Senate + House of Representatives)

AliasZ 9:59 AM  


I must have been hiding under a rock, or wasting too much of my time reading books, visiting museums, going to Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, because 538 was a total unknown to me, as was CLICK BAIT. The latter was easy enough to infer, but Silver Nate was not. Hi-Yo, Silver! Apparently I am missing out on a lot of good stuff.

INSOMNIAC was my first entry that helped me open the NW rather easily, except that "Big ___" was APE, SUR, FAN, GUN, TEN, and a few other choice 3-letter words that are not worth repeating, before I settled on BEN. It was then a choice between HENRIETTE and HENRIETTA, whoever she is/was. In the SW, VARDALOS was a gimme even though she is normally seen as a 3-letter NIA, alternating with Ms. Peeples. There was just a touch of a religious sub-theme with the ANOINTED ONE and two APOSTLEs.

I liked this one despite the 16-some proper names that I counted, half of which I never heard of. It gave me a real good workout for stuff I had no idea about, and I feel richer for it. I don't mean I feel richer for the good workout. I mean, I feel richer for not knowing that useless stuff.

The only thing worse than a 5-letter partial like ADAYS is a 6-letter one. LETSAT? Gimme a break, BEQ. You are better than that. Much better. As in the clues for ADVERB, PUTT and APOSTLE. These were absolute winners.

I don't want to rush time, but LET SAT come!

Gill I. P. 10:02 AM  

Like others, I've been doing some BEQ puzzles when ever I can so that helps me get into his mind-set.
Hand up for not knowing CLICKBAIT and for the strangest reason I wanted to fit LONG DONG in the 538 slot.
I really felt smart and smug finishing this fine puzzle despite not knowing half the names. They really were doable with some patience.
I really enjoy reading Isabel ALLENDE...Daughter of Fortune anybody? - so that was easy. FIONA is a JEWEL of a name.
No ANGST - just plain Friday fun.

Anonymous 10:08 AM  

The difference between this puzzle and a pop-culture trivia fest? There isn't any. BEQ at his worst.

Gill I. P. 10:11 AM  

p.s. I just finished Gareth Bain's LAT puzzle. That's a good one too.
Check out 1A..

Stuart Showalter 10:17 AM  

Wow! A puzzle Rex doesn't whine about. Congratulations BEQ!

Arlene 10:28 AM  

As soon as I started this, I knew it was going to be a Google fest. Finished, which is satisfying in its own right. As many others, I didn't know a lot of this stuff. I had heard of 538 - but still didn't realize what it was until reading it here. Interesting half hour - another "puzzling experience," I guess.

Doctor John 10:29 AM  

@Rex
Am I the only person who found the "damn Delaware Indians" comment offensive when describing a Native American Nation that has lived in North America for 10,000 years? Frustration over solving a clue does not warrant this language. As an academic, I would expect better from you.

www.lenapenation.org to learn more

Carola 10:51 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Two Ponies 10:56 AM  

Too many names to be much fun. A few of the non-name answers were fun though. I did much better than I usually do with BEQ.
@ Doctor John, No need to get all PC.

Andrew Heinegg 10:56 AM  

Re Doctor John: oh pulleeze! The reference to the damned tribe was venting frustration at the solver's own inability to recall a name. It was not written in reference to the tribe. So, yes, you are hopefully the only person who took offense.

Carola 10:58 AM  

Very satisfying. There were plenty of names I didn't know, but CHIRAC crossing HENRIETTA (a friend's daughter attends the school), OLLIE crossing VARDALOS (thank you, previous crosswords), and ALLENDE got me started, and the other answers gradually accreted from there.

Re: Silver - I wish I could have gotten the Lone Ranger's horse and Sgt. Bilko out of my head. I'm not sure how long I stared at _ _VETHIR... before the penny dropped. Before the last election, I think my husband and I were reading Nate Silver about 20 times a day.

STRABISMUS is well known in our family as my brother and my daughter both went through the fruitless eye-patching routine and than had surgery.

Sooner or later I'll remember to think "part of speech" instead of trying to figure out, say, a Latin phrase AD _ER_.

Thank you, @BEQ - a very fun workout.

K9doc 10:58 AM  

Easiest Friday in a long time.I don't ever seem to agree with Rex's assessment of difficulty. Lenape? Nailed it --live in NJ. Strabismus? No problem-- I have it!
Heard of 538, didn't "know" it but crosses worked.

Casimir 11:12 AM  

This was a very enjoyable puzzle. I completed all peripheral quadrants in record Friday time despite not having heard of many of the proper nouns.

The center did not go down for a while. I want to hate 538, but even a cranky old person like me must admit that Nate Silver is/ought to be known well by NYT readers. Fair and interesting to me, despite not knowing it.

Two problems eventually fell. I wanted the "trellis" answer to be "lace," and, disgracefully, I couldn't remember Dottie West despite recognizing the answer called for a country singer. I sang along to many of her songs years ago. I don't know where I've heard of the Lenape before, which I instantly filled in with two crosses, but poor Dottie just wouldn't fall to the end.

Very enjoyable puzzle finished in well under my normal 45 minutes for a Friday.

Malsdemare 11:13 AM  

I think I checked FIVETHIRTYEIGHT ten times a day during the last presidential election. Silver is a wonk's dream.

Had to google VARDALOS; I got VARD??O and could not summon the rest for love or money. But everything else finally fell, though with a fight. I, too, loved INSOMNIAC and ADVERB. I didn't know CHICKBAIT even after I inserted the guesses.


Cold and grey here today in the heartland. No chainsaw work for me. Indoors with genealogical searching.

Ludyjynn 11:18 AM  

I thought it was hilarious to watch NORAH O'Donnell reading the news today as I wrote down her name at 16A.

I'm a Jersey girl and we spent fourth grade learning all about the Lenni Lenape. To this day, I try to visualize what their world was like when NJ was truly in a garden state.

LENNE Marshall was a very laid back contestant/winner on "Project Runway" whose beautiful wave-like designs blew away the judges.

Thanks, BEQ and WS for a challenging but fair Friday.

Ludyjynn 11:20 AM  

LEANNE, Duh!

Malsdemare 11:22 AM  

Oops! CLICKBAIT.

Z 11:22 AM  

@ okanaganer - I was flipping a coin between ADAY'S and AwAY'S when it occurred to me to insert a space.

@Danp - Stranger in a Strange Land is a must read. Written by an ex-navy guy with a history of writing militaristic and capitalistic sci-fi, this novel made him a counter-culture hero. GETS isn't quite a synonym for "Grok." Grokking is more internal, getting at the soul level.

@Everyone - Nate Silver is one of the most influential statisticians of all time. Besides influencing how baseball players are evaluated, used, and even how the game is played, his recent observation that there is a 60% that the Republicans will win the Senate in the fall sent tremors through both parties. If you care about our democracy and how it operates, a little time following FIVE THIRTY EIGHT is time well spent.

@Casco Kid - Congrats. This was not easy. I had the west done, but was stalled in the east. Left to run two errands, came back and finished in about three minutes. Changing ANGer to ANGST got me going. Lots I didn't know, but just trusted that the answers would come and they did. Changing W to D was my last entry. I'm still wondering about the APOSTLE Jarries - I guess I will have to go use Yahoo.

Jisvan 11:23 AM  

Casco Kid: Good for you! You are now an ANOINTED ONE! I tried until I had CROSSED EYES, but I DONT LIE so I'll confess to my EIGHT Googles, which according to my count, is less than half of the 18 proper nouns. Knew a lot of things, just not enough to reach critical aha mass. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Learned stuff. TGIF!

Z 11:28 AM  

The NYTX needs to change its font - jaMes, not jaRRies. There is a little smudge or something in the paper that makes it look like a dotted i. D'OH.

BTW, when I googled "apostle jarries" it asked me if I meant "apostle james" and then the first hit was my comment. Yikes.

voiceofsocietyman 11:32 AM  

VARDALOS -- I don't think you included that in your list of proper names, Rex, but it's one I wish I could have remembered; my memory seems to extend only as far as 1990; anything learned after then is quickly forgotten!

Attractice (DNF) puzzle -- about as close to an 'easy' Friday as I've seen in few months, but the overabundance of proper names, clued somewhat trickily, was unfortunate; why include some school in London when there are plenty of other good Henriettas out there? And having ANDRE crossing both NORAH (who is Norah O'Donnell?) _and_ some fashion designer (LEANNE Marshall?) was sad. JONAS in the same quadrant didn't help things.

Finally, I did manage to solve enough to get 538 but had no idea what it meant. So does this mean I've entered middle age? I guess so.

Jisvan 11:33 AM  

@Z: Yikes! You are now the founder of the Apostle Jarries movement. I'm strangely attracted to you. When do we get the Kool Aid?

Steve J 11:41 AM  

A little bit of a mixed bag for me. Agreed that there were way too many proper names, and pluralized IKEAS and partialized CETERA were noticeable blotches. But that was balanced by some very nice fill (CLICKBAIT, FIVE THIRTY EIGHT, INSOMNIAC) and a few really nice clues (INSOMNIAC, again).

Most things came together pretty easily, but it took me forever to get going in the SE. I didn't help myself with a con instead of a SAP and not being able to get OUTgoing out of my head at 57A, even though that didn't fit.

@Casco: Congrats on the google/error-free solve. That's better than I managed.


Benko 11:54 AM  

Liked the puzzle, thought the proper names were balanced well by the crossings and so inferable.
@Dawn: It is a cartoon dog--"ASTRO" from "The Jetsons".

Dawn 12:03 PM  

Sorry, not rereading clues carefully.

Asta was dog in THE THIN MAN movies with William Powell and Myrna Loy. I see Asta a lot in crosswords.

Anonymous 12:21 PM  

A translation of the Lenape word "Manhattan" = "place of general inebriation".

Masked and Anonymo dayum just one U??? 12:33 PM  

Always fascinated by BEQ puzs. Now here's a mainstream dude that might someday trot out the first double-?? clue in a major puz. The day's gonna come. Cuz the Times are a-changin. themelessthUmbsUp, for today's slugfest.

Had pretty much the same hitches in the old giddyup that everybody else did. Lotsa names that I knew not at all or just poorly enough to mangle into such lovely creations as VALDANOS and LORAN and LEANNA and MLKII. Wanted SUR for "Big ___". Gorgeous area; wife admired view while I white-knuckle-drove the winding "scenic" road. But I digress.

How M&A's brain stem lurched into action, after 538 came into view: "Oh, of course. Dude. How could U forget that super western flick, with Russell Crowe?!? '5:38 to Yuma'!"

BEQ ain't afraid to yack up a classic weeject, from time to time. INT, RTE, STA are today's yelpin litter of pups. OK, but didn't have that desperate exhilaration necessary, to rate extended coverage.

fave clue: "Punk theme". From a personal standpoint, made me think of about twenty or so past runtpuzs. Also gave me fits, from a solvin perspective. First answer out the chute: KNISH. Then ANISE. I know what yer thinkin, Dan F.: if there's ever an ACPT pairs competition, U have identified yer dream partner.

Speakin of runtpuzs, my sincere sympathies to folks like Connie out in Seattle or them chef gals, who can't get the runtpuzs to fire up on their systems. Hurts, to think of some nice people actually wantin to do one of em (a novel concept), and then have it crap out on em, somehow. Tell U what. I've about got a 15xer grid put together, that cannot miss, as a NYTPuz. Ain't no punk theme. Gonna send er off to the Shortzmeister, and get it published. Then ALL U nice folks can see some M&A at work. Will chronicle the journey, every step of the way. But please be patient, as it could take -- what?-- two or three weeks, say, until U actually get to see the edited puz printed out in the NYTimes...

M&A
"Look out, New York, New York"

Anonymous 1:38 PM  

Something seems fishy to me. Rex complains daily, nit-picking over every ridiculous detail, tearing many of the most delightful puzzles to shreds. But today it's ok to have arcana galore. Today it is acceptable to have an obscure girl's grammar school directly below a word that hasn't even made it to a dictionary that doesn't include the word "urban" in it…

Anonymous 2:02 PM  

A Good Friday with plenty of opportunities to verify with Google. One error: never heard of CLICKBAIT and misspelled CHIRAC with an " s" . Much better than yesterday' disaster

Fred Romagnolo 2:06 PM  

I'm so old (fashioned?) that I still think that crossword puzzles ought not to be vehicles where you still don't know what the answer means after you've solved it. Started doing them before googling and blogs were necessary to "get" it. I guess it's part of the generation gap that is discussed so widely in this blog. My frustration is that you can't properly appreciate your answer if it makes no sense, so you don't put it in. Then, at the end, you do put it Then go nut's wondering what in h(eck) it means. I totally agree with @anon. 10:08. And yes the Dr. was too PC by far.

Anonymous 2:20 PM  

SE corner was the killer. Wanted desperately to get SIEVES somewhere in 61-A but couldn't (my instinct was OK, but STRAINERS never entered my mind). Played with both SSN and IDS for 58-D without success. Finally gave up with that corner unfinished.

Mohair Sam 2:38 PM  

Ran the puzzle this morning, saw Brendan Emmett Quigley's name and nearly wept. His puzzles are always murder for us. Played challenging here, but we got it Google-free.

No prior knowledge of CLICKBAIT, HENRIETTA, LEANNE, FIVETHIRTYEIGHT (figured it was Nate Silver, but didn't know site), ANDRE, FIONA, or Strabismus (like Rex I wanted clouded eyes for a while). Vague awareness of LENAPE, VARDALOS, and DOTTIE West. We had a ton of sussin' to do.

But the fiend BEQ teases you with just enough gettable fill to let you battle through at the cost of a large part of your morning. And you really have to work hard to find crosswordese or bad fill in any of his work. Another gem Brendan, thank you.

@Doctor John - Rumor has it that the same Rex who damned the Lenapes is a Redskins fan. (although I really would like to see that name changed - 'Skins, not Lenape)

Anonymous 2:38 PM  

Oliver North, whom the OLLIE was named after, did not invent the OLLIE. i doubt he can even skate.

Dave 2:41 PM  

Perfect mesh of things I knew or could infer from crosses. Finished in under 30 min with no references, very good for me.

Alan Gelfand 2:52 PM  

@anonymous2:38 - You know, you could look it up on the internet before saying something wrong.

Lewis 3:21 PM  

What I grokked most in Rex's review was his description of this puzzle as having "an impressive overall polish". That's what I get from BEQ -- confidence, wit, and polish.

He's often out of my wheelhouse, but fair in the crosses. Usually patience pays off.

And today's puzzle was no exception. Thank you, Brendan!

DigitalDan 3:23 PM  

@LMS: Have you also noticed the "doorbell music" backing up a significant percentage of commercials these days? Either simple throbbing alternations of two notes or aggressive new age arpeggios, sometimes with moaning string accompaniment. Either that or a guitar background accompanying nothing (cf. Cialis horrors.) They must save $$ by not hiring actual composers.

Renee Downing 3:37 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
sanfranman59 4:25 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 20:24, 21:06, 0.97, 43%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Fri 12:41, 12:18, 1.03, 55%, Medium

Danp 4:30 PM  

@jberg and Z - Thanks. I'll be sure to get Stranger. Sounds like a good book.

OISK 4:52 PM  

Had a DNF yesterday, but was "uncowed" by this one. Very tough for me, since I never heard of click bait, nor five thirty eight, nor skateboard slang (Ollie), nor Dave Franco, nor Leanne Marshall, but I finished without errors. Thinking about Fiona singing "Waiting for my Dearie…"

Chip Hilton 5:32 PM  

Timelier clue for 55A. would've been 'NCAA winning coach'. Go, Huskies.

ChICKBAIT ruined a perfect, Google-free Friday for me. Never heard of it and blanked on the Delaware Valley-ites.

Karl 6:05 PM  

At least this one didn't COW me like yesterday's did...

Anonymous 6:29 PM  

Henrietta Barnett is extraordinarily abstruse, virtually unknown to all but north Londoners.

jae 6:30 PM  

@M &A - "Gorgeous area; wife admired view while I white-knuckle-drove the winding "scenic" road."

Yup, been there.

Mohair Sam 6:52 PM  

@anonymous 6:29. Abstruse is abstruse. Always remember to eschew obfuscation.

jazzmanchgo 7:05 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bob Kerfuffle 7:08 PM  

Was in the hospital* all day, having my heart re-wired a bit. (Still ticking.)

When I got home, I ripped into the Times crossword, but never looked at the constructor's name; only learned it was a BEQ from Rex! But agree with general view, so many proper names yet somehow everything fell into place, actually Medium for a Friday, no write-overs.

And though already noted, I have to say that anyone who went to public school in New Jersey knows the Lenni Lenape.

*Not going to name the hospital - As I read through the comments here, I noticed some bumps under my clothes and pulled off nine of those little sticky patches they used to attach electrodes to my body! Guess it's quicker for them to let the patient remove them!

jazzmanchgo 7:14 PM  

What the hell is a "CLICK BAIT"? And how is a person supposed to recognize the name of what amounts to a random website, one of millions on the internet?

Steve J 8:16 PM  

For those wondering about CLICKBAIT: It's the practice of sites like Huffington Post, Upworthy, and many others of writing provocative headlines to mundane stories in an effort to get people to click through links posted in Facebook, etc., thereby increasing page views and therefore ad revenue.

A better way to grasp the concept is this great comic showing well-known 20th century events and their possible CLICKBAIT headlines.

Z 10:25 PM  

@jazzmanchgo - Hardly "random." FIVETHIRTYEIGHT was prominently featured on the New York Times Politics page throughout the last presidential election, most major news organizations run stories about Silver (except Fox, which only would complain on occasion that he was biased during the last election), and was just featured prominently in news reports again when 538 ran a piece about the odds of the Republicans gaining control of the Senate. Paul Krugman (NYT columnist) commented first because there is an ongoing "feud" between him and Silver. It's pretty hard to not know about Nate Silver and 538 unless you ignore politics (and sports - he started at Baseball Prospectus and still does lots of sports stories).

Z 10:28 PM  

@jazzmanchgo - Which doesn't mean everyone will know him - not everyone follows politics and sports - only that "random" doesn't apply.

Anonymous 7:37 AM  

Hahaha, strabismus was the first. A giveaway since I worked for Helen Keller International with lots of ophthalmologists. Ditto on Lenape since my son had to do a huge project on them in fourth grade. Sigh, little victories for a neophyte who still has to google most of the celebrity names. Don't pay attention and don't really care enough to fill my head with all their names. The hard drive of my brain is running out of space already.

Tita 11:25 AM  

A prescient Friday...did Bostonian BEQ get a sneak preview of Janet Napolitano's commencement speech at Northeastern this same day?

“Beware the tyranny of the straight line.”
To illus­trate her point, she described sail­boats skim­ming the white­caps on Boston Harbor, noting they all share one impor­tant char­ac­ter­istic: they don’t glide in a straight line. Rather, they zigzag, and in doing so they go forward.

“In 2064, when you’re wearing a golden robe and you return to North­eastern for your 50th reunion, my hope for you is that you will look back on the decades that have passed and see the twists and turns—the TACKing—that are the hall­mark of a well lived life.”

Kudos to my niece who I had the honor of watching graduate yesterday...well done, and watch out world!

jazzmanchgo 1:31 PM  

I do follow politics and sports, folks -- I simply try not to spend my life staring into screens. I read books, magazines, and newspapers.

Cheryl Long 9:14 AM  

When I’m looking for the latest country music, I always end up in one spot – 103.1 WIRK. I was even lucky enough to catch up with Keith Van Allen in the streets and got free ‘Rib Round Up’ tickets. Just one of the many events that keep me tuned into www.wirk.com

Torb 10:34 AM  

finished. no googles. tough and a few leaps of faith to finally solve. good friday poser.

spacecraft 11:48 AM  

What @Torb said--despite never having heard of Nate Silver, let alone 538. Went in 100% on crosses, as did CLICKBAIT, NORAH and LEANNE. Gimmes SAVANNAH and VARDALOS helped in the NE/SW, respectively. I question TIRE pump; they're called air pumps, typically. How many KELP (S?) can there be? And, "Steer" = DRIVE? Well, partially. One has to do other stuff as well as steer to DRIVE.

Still, those nits aside, I agree this is a tight grid, fully up to what we expect from BEQ. One w/o: LETSgo before LETSAT. However, the only dog in the grid, ASTRO, seems way too good-natured to be LET AT anyone.

Glad you STOPPEDBY, Brendan!

Just an address, but three aces anyway.

Anonymous 1:19 PM  

Real fine puzzle, only googled once for "crossed eyes" but the rest just fell into place, mainly because of guessing. And, learned all about clickbait and 538 from the commenters. Thank you all.

Nice breezy write-up by Mr. Man. I hope he continues. Been thinking of sending him a wad of special leaves to smoke.

Ron Diego 10:20 PST

rain forest 1:55 PM  

Similar experience to OFL's, but I knew strabismus, ANDRE, and DOTTIE, and the cluing and fill were so up to snuff that, like others, I got CLICKBAIT, HENRIETTA,and 538 without ever having heard of them.

It is clearly a very well-constructed puzzle, but I don't appreciate so many names (unless I know them right off, ha ha).

The best I can say is that BEQ seems to know where people will have difficulty, and so has entries that will ease you through those trouble spots. The southeast was brilliant.

DMG 2:30 PM  

So much I didn't know, and still I finished. Guess that's due to a good constructor and a lot of good guesses? A fair amount of my fill came from deciding that the only letter that seems to fit is .... Thanks to @Steve J for explaining CLICKBAIT and all those who commented on Mr. Silver, whom (who?) I know only from his interview on Cobert, or was it Stewart? At any rate, I'll settle for having the most written over puzzle since puzzling began!

My address leaves me out of the game!

Anonymous 6:36 PM  

Color me cross; I'd googled aday's pleasure away and put myself through a strainer. Feeling great angst, I know I'll be an insomniac tonite so I'll try to take a petit lenap

Anonymous 7:51 PM  

Ugh. I got everything evetually except for the "b" and "t" in "clickbait" because i had guessed "Big ten". Otherwise, a fun puzzle.

Dirigonzo 8:52 PM  

It took me two days to reduce this to one blank square and one wrong square - if I had known CLICKBAIT I would have been home free.

  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP