Old-fashioned shelter along highway / FRI 6-6-14 / Notable senate testifier of 1991 / Gaga contemporary / Language originally known as Mocha / Land formation known for its caves / Florida's so-called Waterfront Wonderland / Best-selling food writer Drummond / Reanimation after apparent death / Feature of Norman Rockwell self-portrait / Willy pioneering writer on rocketry

Friday, June 6, 2014

Constructor: Kameron Austin Collins

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: none

Word of the Day: NARUTO (26A: Popular Japanese manga seen on the Cartoon Network) —
Naruto (ナルト?) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Masashi Kishimoto. It tells the story of Naruto Uzumaki, an adolescent ninja who constantly searches for recognition and dreams to become theHokage, the ninja in his village who is acknowledged as the leader and the strongest of all. The series is based on a one-shot manga by Kishimoto that was published in the August 1997 issue of Akamaru Jump. […] Naruto is one of the best-selling manga series in history, having sold more than 130 million copies in Japan alone. It has also become one of North American publisher Viz Media's best-selling manga series. Their English adaptation of the series has appeared in the USA Today Booklist several times and volume 7 won the Quill Award in 2006. Reviewers of the series have praised the balance between fighting and comedy scenes, as well as the characters' personalities, but have criticized it for using standard shōnen manga plot elements. (wikipedia)
• • •

I liked this quite a bit, though its isolated center and its (over-) reliance on proper nouns meant that I had to fight pretty hard to take it down. I don't mind a fight. I kind of mind SPITAL (wtf?) (15D: Old-fashioned shelter along a highway) and RIS, but the rest of the grid is so bouncy that I don't mind that much. Cluing also seemed tougher than normal. [Pickup line?] for RAMS took me forever.  I had no, and I mean No, idea "Bonanza" had anything to do with TAHOE (29A: "Bonanza" setting). I had it somewhere in the more traditional Old West states (your Arizonas or New Mexicos or Oklahomas or Texaseses). Completely forgot the word KARST, which I've still only ever encountered in crosswords, and then only rarely (51D: Land formation known for its caves). Had [Reed section?] as SEN. because of Harry Reid (D-NV), which, now that I write his name out, makes no sense. The stickler in me wanted KESHA's name to have the "$" sign in it instead of the "S," but then I remembered that she dropped it and is now just KESHA (9D: Gaga contemporary). No-dollars KESHA. Speaking of, I wonder if people who don't know her had trouble with 5A: Athletic short? (FIVE K). FIVEK looks nuts in the grid, and that K in KESHA is utterly uninferable.

This could've proved a very challenging puzzle, but the proper nouns also helped quite a bit, when they were on my side. MARTIN AMIS (16A: British author of the so-called "London Trilogy") and ARCADE FIRE (13A: Indie rock band whose "The Suburbs" was the Grammys' 2010 Album of the Year) were gimmes, as was TYLER PERRY (57A: Writer, director and co-star of the Madea films), an answer I like a lot, mostly because I was the first person to put it in a NYT grid (last June). Most embarrassing ignorance of the day was JACOB ZUMA (30D: South African leader beginning in 2009). It rings a bell, now that I see it (seems like the kind of name a constructor would be dying to use), but honestly, I drew a total blank. Also unknown to me: CAPE CORAL, ANABIOSIS, and DAKAR RALLY (41A: Exotic annual off-road race). The DAKAR part was right in the heart of that isolated middle, so one of my crucial routes into that area was just blocked. Blank. REE Drummond? Another unknown. "NARUTO" I knew (I own vol. 1), but couldn't quite remember. I had the NA- and -TO parts, but that middle was eluding me. Once I figured out that the "language" in 30A: Language originally known as Mocha (JAVASCRIPT) was a programming language, I knocked that answer out, and the center got a Lot easier. Never heard a [Tough problem] called a STINKER.

So I got my money's worth today—genuine workout for a Friday (8+ minutes), with a surprising, fresh, diverse grid to boot. I was just talking with my wife earlier today about how, ideally, the crossword reflects the breadth of human knowledge and experience, not just the knowledge and experience of an insular cultural elite. And then, bam, "NARUTO" shows up and makes my point—not familiar territory for most inveterate solvers, but massively popular nonetheless, and therefore very much worthy of grid inclusion. In all things, balance. As I said, this grid was perhaps a little too name-heavy, but at least those names came from All Over Hell And Gone, and therefore provided solvers of all backgrounds with different access points.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


wreck 12:30 AM  

Way out of my realm. SPITAL?!?! This googlefest was absolutely brutal.

jae 12:37 AM  

Odd Fri. difficulty wise.  NW and SE easy.  NE medium. SW and Center tough.  In SW JACOB ZUMA was very close to a WOE for me as was ANABIOSIS.  Fortunately, USER, STIERS, ZONE OUT, MISS, ASS, and CAPS were easy. 


In the center I misread Tochises as Tchotchkes (dyslexia is not fun) and tried to fit geegawS in which gave me owing instead of TERSE.   Got it all sorted out but it took a while.

Also had TAE (Edison) before ATT and STumpER before STINKER. 

So, this turned out to be about right for a Fri.  A fair amount of crunch and a bit of zip...TYLER PERRY, KESHA, ARCADE FIRE*, ANITA HILL...
Liked it a lot.  Excellent debut Mr. Collins!

*I've never listened to an ARCADE FIRE song that I know of (who knows who is singing the background stuff on TV shows), but I read the entertainment section of the LATimes every day so I know exactly who they are.

Questinia 12:52 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve J 12:56 AM  

I don't mind proper names in puzzles, but holy crap, that was ridiculous. Even with most of them being known to me and thus giving me several strong footholds early on, that was too much.

I found this oddly clunky, even though I mostly liked it. There were some really good bits, like SPEAKEASY and its clue, the clues for FIVE K and RAMS, ZONE OUT, SPECIESISM. But other parts seemed a little odd - especially using a full word to clue a suffix at 35A, resulting in a DNF/Natick for me crossing ANABIOSIS - and while I "finished" fairly quickly for a Friday, I never really felt like I got into a good flow.

Struggled in the center, with NARUTO (never heard of it) and the clue "Tochises", which I read as toe-cheeses over and over again. Finally filled in HEINIES and still had no clue what the hell it was. Finally it dawned on me. I would have guessed it was spelled something like tuckus.

Looks like this was a debut puzzle. Definitely some promise here. Hopefully with less reliance on proper names next time.

Moly Shu 1:00 AM  

Big DNF here. Didn't know REE or NARUTO so the middle was a complete mess. If I could have sussed OPIATE, maybe it would have fallen, but just couldn't see it. Also ANA stopped me in the west, and MARTINAMIS' brother dARrIN held me up in the NW.

Agree with @wreck, although I bypassed google and came here for my beatdown. Liked it, just way out of my league. Probably not even the same sport.

Casco Kid 1:06 AM  

Pretty tough. 50 minute DNF. I had to google for JACOBZUMA and NARUTO. I also had to google [Tochises] to see what they are, but HEINIES was a solve, subsequently. I got lucky with the ANABIOSIS/ANA random consonant cross. And I was just sloppy with TAit/KARSi/LYMt. In all this was a solvable puzzle for someone just a bit better informed than I am.

ANA for [miscellany] is a really the suffix -ANA. Not sure how I could have gotten that as clued. CAPS for [ceilings] (or limits) is also tough as clued. Since these clues remain nonsensical to me until a careful post mortem, they were useless as crosses to get JACOBZUMA. SRO [kind of hotel] short for Single Room Occupancy is new. And depressing. Never heard of Opera SERIA, but I guess Wagner's Ring tetralogy counts. ANTNEST clued as [Colony unit] was just blah. Nasty blah. I call GREENPAINT on that one.

Much tougher: KESHA. (Should be KE$HA, no?)
Who?-wha? (But gettable from crosses) DAKARRALLY, ARCADEFIRE, CAPECORAL, ANA, CAPS, REE Drummond, Willy LEY, R IS for Rainbow.
STumpER before STINKER. Doubt I'm alone.

@Moly I'm waiting for reviews of the *next* release of the Magmic app before I jump. Meanwhile, my consecutive streak in magmic jumped from top 200 to top 50. Know what? I'll take it!

I really like both [Insipidity] and VAPIDNESS. This puzzle was neither. It was just pretty hard.

Questinia 1:07 AM  

Unexpectedly fresh 'n fun. Liked the central HEINIES. Now that's putting the tochis on the tish.

@ jae, ever heard of
spritz ?

jae 1:35 AM  

@Questina - No, but it looks interesting. Not sure it would help though. I have a friend who says she can visualize words when she needs to spell them. I can't do that easily. Also, at times the word I'm reading is not the word my brain processes. Doing crosswords has helped a lot, but I'll never be a speed solver.

JTHurst 2:10 AM  

I could discuss in length why I would never ever know an 'indie rock band' who had an album called the 'Suburbs' or any Gaga contemporary, or any senate testifier unless a coke can was mentioned, or the alternative spelling of tuchus, or the 'do-all' of Madea Films or 'blank: _records, _ Sandias, _ Modern, _-cone, _for rainbow, _ Drummond or 1962 film_, David Ogden_, Old _, or Willie _. Throw in a 'seria' 'karst' and there is no way anabiosis would ever happen for me, throw me in the 'spital'.

Though maybe someone can explain to me 1d. I had ramp which seemed reasonable but pturm was nonsensical and I thought 18a could be sturm but then rams makes no sense. I thought my best answer of the day was 5a 'brief', of course that did not work because you had to have the "K" for 'Kesha'.

So I moved to runtpuz.org and tried to solve *Horror - your dog's kiss" by LMS. Worked through the puzzle fairly well. Thank God only a few formal names(no indie groups, rap artists, obscure London authors, etc.), which I mostly solved but I had to write over 'eta' to 'eda' and finally to 'oda' and it took a while to understand the * at the start of the clues. Almost 'naticked' in the NE section until I got the missing "F" theme. Did not understand 'flyin' monkeys though and of course 14d 'del'.

Great puzzle LMS finished just under 51 minutes, my personal best for a 'rntpz' ( of course it is my first try).

Benko 2:30 AM  

ANABIOSIS and SPITAL were new to me as well. ANABIOSIS was inferable from its roots, given the clue. But SPITAL, even though I got it right from the crosses, just looked wrong to me. I had to check everything twice to make sure it was right. Apparently it is related to the word "hospital".
Also had stumper for STINKER first.
Would have been a lot easier if it weren't for the NE and SW corners.

JFC 2:33 AM  

Another disappointing critique by Rex....


Anonymous 2:41 AM  

ANA in most abridged dictionaries is defined as a suffix. However, larger unabridged dictionaries also define ANA as a stand-alone word (as well as a suffix). So the NYT definition is technically correct, and doubtless annoying to 99% of the population who've never used the word that way.

-MAS (who has used the word that way)

George Barany 3:53 AM  

Congratulations to Kameron Collins on a debut puzzle! I worked on it with a friend whose knowledge base is in many ways complementary to mine, and we still struggled with it. My personal aha was from the fresh clue for REE, which is invariably clued as a FITB after "riddle-me-" ... Ordinarily this would have stumped me, but earlier in the day I had been working on a commissioned birthday puzzle and my co-conspirator had suggested that very same food writer!

Changing the topic, today marks a historic anniversary that has a rather unexpected crossword connection. My friend Kurtis Scaletta told me about it a few months ago, and we've been saving Covert Operations for Rexites (and others) ever since. We sincerely hope you enjoy wrestling this theme to the ground!

Ellen S 4:02 AM  

I don't understand RAMS. Everyone so far seems to get it and appreciate it, so I'm feeling particularly dumb, but would someone please explain?

I skip M-W 4:03 AM  

So far, ever since new app, I've gotten everything right in remarkably short times—for me. Lots of mysteries gotten through crosses, but Martin Amis and Jacob Zuma certainly helped. On the other hand, I couldn't recall Anita's last name, confusing her with Anita Gates, a Times film critic, which did' trot. As soon as that

jae 4:42 AM  

@Ellen S - Dodge has a line of RAM pickup trucks.

JTHurst 5:04 AM  

@George 3:53 AM. I went to Covert Ops to see if I could do the puzzle. It seemed ok until I got to 2d - slang for marijuana - 4 letters. I started thinking about it and pulled out my lexicon of words associated with canabis sativa or canabis indica depending upon growing location. It was so extensive I became somnambulant, in a trance so to speak. I could never come up with a four letter slang word.

Pulco Gold
Pulco Red
Mary Jo
Bamba Smoke
BC Bud
Don Juan
Dinkie Dow
El Gallo
Fallbrook redhair
Wake and Bake
Sweet Lucy, and
Spliff, my favorite as smoked by Rick Moranis and Eugene Levy in Club Paradise, one of the funniest movies ever.

So George I would have loved to solve it but the puzzle just weeded me out.

Jisvan 5:51 AM  

Brutal and yet refreshingly novel, nice change of pace Friday. Was happy to see the Turkish LIRA make an appearance, since I have been in country for three days now, fumbling with conversion rate (it's divide by 2 = dollars, can't get any easier than that) and wallowing in 10 hour jet lag. I just topple over and fall asleep at odd hours when activities slow a bit.
Casco kid, About the Magmic shake up: I suddenly find myself number 38 in the Streak feature. The number 10 position is someone with a piddly 300-something posts. What happened to everyone? I find myself wondering if I would like to be a member of a club that would include me... It's just too easy!

Gill I. P. 6:18 AM  

I'm happy for Kameron for getting this published but it was torture for me.
Could NOT get any of those names, never heard of half the words and after seeing SPITAL and HEINIES I called it quits.
Oh, and please, do tell, SRO for kind of hotel? (Standing room only?)

Danp 6:20 AM  

@jae - I couldn't wait to find out what the "exotic ANIMAL road race" was - proving that dyslexia can be kinda fun.

r.alphbunker 6:50 AM  

JAVASCRIPT in a NYT puzzle!! Computers are really catching on. I know of Mocha as a testing framework for Javascript programs, I did not know that it was the original name. Next time I give a talk on Javascript I will be sure to mention this fact and that I learned it in a NYT puzzle.

@Gill I.P.
I finished with SRi/LETSiN. LETSiN made perfect sense for {Admit} and an alphabet run on SR_ produced nothing that made any sense so I checked the puzzle answers and got the Rex Parker icon.

It turns out that SRO stands for Single Room/Resident Occupancy. The tenants are usually low income and the hotel is their main residence. I lived in one without knowing it in San Francisco in 1974 when I was trying to find a programming job in the city.

I had no luck getting a job and used my last $50 to ride the Gray Rabbit back to RI where I got a job in a couple of weeks because I had connections there.

Peter Phillips 6:50 AM  

My immediate gimmes were ARCADEFIRE, MARTINAMIS, TYLERPERRY, and STIERS, which is quite a lot of gimmes to start off with.

I agree with Rex that the middle section was far more opaque that the periphery.

NARUTO is unknown to me but fell readily through crosses.

"Tochises" appears to be a plural variant of "tuchus." I was just reading an article in The Atlantic where the author (Jeffrey Goldberg) complains about misspelling "tuchus" as "tuchis." I wonder what he would think of "tochises."

There is no word VAPIDNESS in my vocabulary. There is a word VAPIDITY that is deployable to brilliant effect in Scrabble® games.

Moly Shu 6:54 AM  

@CascoKid, I checked the update this morning and there is now a note that basically says "don't download this update if you want access to the archives", so I won't. I'll continue to wait for your go-ahead. Thx

TokyoRacer 7:21 AM  

Any puzzle with ANABIOSIS is way too tough for me.
And hell, I run 5 Ks, but that answer for "athletic short" would never have occured to me. Running short, maybe. (Also, you never see it spelled out.)

three of clubs 7:32 AM  

@rex really liked your comment about a good crossword reflecting the breadth of human experience.

It's so hard to escape one's insularity; sometimes if we are lucky a crossword comes along that persuades one to look up something unfamiliar.


Sir Hillary 7:42 AM  

The overuse of proper nouns didn't bother me, but only because they were right in my wheelhouse (ARCADEFIRE, MARTINAMIS, ANITAHILL, KESHA, TYLERPERRY, JACOBZUMA, STIERS). My sympathies to all those less lucky.

Even with those footholds, this was a toughie. STumpER really messed me up in the midsection for a while.

I'm calling BS on the clue for ANA, especially given the cross with ANABIOSIS. To me, that cross is unfair, and MA-S feeling compelled to come here and explain it only strengthens my feeling on that point.

Interesting being a paper solver sometimes. I entered LETSIN at 45A -- amazing how the clue works perfectly for that answer as well -- and never gave a second thought to the resulting SRI until I checked it out of curiosity. No Happy Pencil to tell me I was finished. FWIW, I think SRI is a better entry than SRO.

I always thought it was the Paris-DAKARRALLY, but whatever.

Interesting puzzle with lots to like, but not without some annoying flaws.

Z 8:11 AM  

The Suburbs is a great album. I recommend it. Why ARCADE FIRE then chose to put out a disco album is one of the great mysteries of the universe. There have been several disco albums recently. Why? The first time was more than enough pain to last my lifetime. Thank God for Elvis Costello.

Total fail in the SW. I have not kept up with S.A. politics, it seems, ANABIOSIS is just a miscellany of letters to me, I had toPS where CAPS belongs, laSS where MISS belongs, and hIDING for BIDING. Nothing wrong with any of it, except maybe ANA crossing ANABIOSIS, just ignorance on my part.

ANITA HILL was slow in appearing because I can't believe the senate confirmed that twit 23 years ago already. What are the odds today that Ms. Hill would be disbelieved by a panel of old white men and a narrow-minded sexist ASS like Thomas would get confirmed today. Wait! Don't answer that. You'll ruin my day.

Casco Kid 8:16 AM  

@jisvan, all those other now-former streakers followed the misdirect to the anti-upgrade. We in Rexworld have learned not to follow misdirects so naively.

Leapfinger 8:17 AM  

The NE would've gone much easier for me had I not thought of THE MONICA. Of course, I was premature.
Then the SE had me echoing with ANTHILL and ANTFARM when what I really wanted was ANTPEST.

More coffee before proceeding.

Glimmerglass 8:24 AM  

This one beat me. I'm proud of myself for making up a word: neoBIOSIS, even though it was wrong. I got some sections and had fun, but there comes a point where I have to cry "uncle" and come here.

joho 8:25 AM  

Well, I did not dOzEOff doing this but I did ZONEOUT when I realized there was no way I'd finish no matter how long I stared. Also STuMPER blinded me to the middle solution. Plus even changing LETSin TO LETSON did not bring me SRO hotel. What, you have to sleep standing ... like a horse?

I was happy to get most of it, but there was no way for me to wrestle this one to the ground.

Congratulations on your debut, Kameron, and on your excellent puzzle that bested me!

joho 8:29 AM  

bAnalNESS, sAPpiNESS, VAPIDNESS! Small victories!

Anonymous 8:41 AM  

ABSolutely fine, down to the final HEINIE.


Anonymous 8:46 AM  

Ridiculous combination of super-easy gimmes and way too arcane posers. Lacked the balance of an experienced constructor, so I'm not surprised it was a debut. Sorry, I didn't like it.

jberg 8:54 AM  

About 20 years ago, the Beacon Chambers Hotel near my university was badly damaged by fire and closed, leading to a lot of press discussion about how it was the last Single Room Occupancy hotel in the neighborhood; nobody knew where all those men would be able to live now. I don't remember if that problem was solved, but if I hadn't read about it I would have gone for the LETS iN/SRi cross and failed to solve this one.

What @Rex said about the breadth of human experience. Willie LEY was a gimme for me, TYLER PERRY aand ARCADE FIRE not so much. Fortunately gettable.

I didn't know JAVA SCRIPT had once been called Mocha either -- but since most languages don't change their names, it had to be something about computers, I had the J from JACOB ZUMA, and that was about the only choice. (Zuma gets a lot of press, but maybe I was in SA shortly after he ousted Mbeki, so I'm not a good judge of his well-knownedness).

Tough but excellent puzzle! And let's hear a little more love for HEINIES!

Andrew Morrison 9:08 AM  

Funny how folks have different strengths.


NORUTO and ARCADEFIRE were not. Nor, for that matter, was KESHA, although I am vaguely aware of her. Not a big fan of that particular genre of 'music.'

Tough puzzle for me. Cluing was all over, some pretty good and some very obscure, maybe too obscure for Friday.

At the end of the day, though, I have no complaints because I learned a few new things today, and that's never a bad thing!

loren muse smith 9:15 AM  

One of my first guesses was "cabs" for RAMS.

Aw, man – that language. I almost penciled in "Serbo-Croat" off that C and T, but I didn't. Then I bet I checked five times to make sure "Sanskrit" or some variant spelling didn't fit.

@jae, @Sir Hillary, @joho, me, too, for "stumper." I'll lick my wounds knowing that we're, I'm sure, legion.

I'm with Rex – I had a wicked crush on Adam growing up, but I never knew that "Bonanza" was near TAHOE.

The whole ANA thing is completely unknown to me. A suffix? Now that I think about it, yeah. I could title a book David Sedarisiana: His Greatest Essays and His Place as One of the GOAT Modern Writers. I cannot imagine using it in a sentence, though. . .

"So, you gonna take that course on Dryden?"
"I mean, nah. I'm looking more for an ana of seventeenth century poets."
"Oh. Well heck. Do you find Milton interesting?"

ANT HILL first, only to have ANITA HILL fall soon afterwards.

SPITAL sounds like the place where Ricky drove Lucy to have Little Ricky.

I just don't understand CHAI TEA and its allure. I don't know if this makes me a snob or an idiot.

"Zip," "pep," – I finally settled with VIM, but it still didn't buy me anything, especially since I had "bog" and either "Any Man Answers" or "One Man Answers."

@Tita – I love your "aptonym!" I know, right? It's remarkable how we like pepper our speech with, uh, fillers. I'm sure brilliant linguists have written endlessly on the subject. It all fascinates me to no end.

@Questinia - I think I buy your take on "I mean."

@Steve J – I see the argument in calling it an acronym if the initials follow the pattern of a regular word (ASAP, UNICEF, NASA. . .) and is as such a pronounceable "word." But I would argue that just because an initialism doesn't follow the consonant/vowel pattern of standard words doesn't take away any of its worth as a word – especially if we're adding plural endings and verb endings to it all the time. If the French expression were, say, repondez a mon invitation, RAMI, would that, then, be an acronym?

@JTHurst – thanks for doing my puzzle! When I did those two, I honestly didn't think but two or three people would try them, so I was a bit cavalier in the cluing. (Funny, I thought I clued them to be ridiculously easy.) @M&A started a fun thing, and @r.alph has taken it up a notch AND he's added @Lewis' PPP to the site!

So, Kameron, this is your debut? Wow. I'm impressed. I'm horrible at grid-filling and for my STINKy little themed puzzles, I love those choppy, segmented, safe grids. Here you have two triple 9 stacks and two 10 stacks. Bravo! This one just kicked my HEINIE ASS all the way to IndiANA and back.

evil doug 9:15 AM  

If only Tyler Perry displayed his name more prominently, perhaps we'd think of him more readily....

I got JAVA pretty quickly, and started seeking some kind of Indonesian suffix....

Tell it to the Veep, Z. It's on him. Besides, it was just a little pube-on-a-Coke joke, not shtupping her or anything.... lighten up, Anita!


oldbizmark 9:15 AM  

found this easy-medium. only complaint is that arcade fire's "suburbs" is not indie. it was their first major label effort. otherwise, small hiccup in SW corner but the rest came rather quick and easy. appreciated this puzzle and yesterday's puzzles SO much more than Wednesday's stinker.

oldbizmark you dope 9:17 AM  

oops. my bad. "suburbs" was released in the US on merge - definitely still indie here. in the UK is was on Mercury...

evil doug 9:18 AM  

Ooh, just thought of it, Muse: making a mountain out of an Anita Hill.

pmdm 9:21 AM  

Z: Today we have what I call the Lance Armstrong Factor. The man demonstrated how convincing a good liar can be, and how difficult it is to discern the truth even if you are 99% sure you know what the truth is. Without a smoking gun, the testimony given then would have the same effect (or lack of effect depending on your point of view) now and in the future.

Hartley70 9:29 AM  

Good to know I'm not alone! This was tough! I started out with Sasha Fierce as an alter ego like Gaga which led me to size s for a short athlete which led to zip which worked just fine with Reed as a Senator and since I have never heard the words Arcade Fire put together I was well on my way to perdition. Mocha brought me to some South American language and cartoon manga WHAT? I didn't quit but the grid was soo WRONG!

Z 9:30 AM  

@Evil Doug - Yep on Joe. Not so much on the "just a little" since it was pretty much perpetual. My personal favorite is his use of, "high-tech lynching for uppity blacks."

@oldbizmark - "indie" is almost irrelevant these days. It seems to be an appellation bands apply to themselves when they want to be viewed as "not sell-outs." I find the Black Keys candor (hey - we like the money - we started out dirt poor and this is great) very refreshing.

The picture captchas are really annoying. I find using my brain without my permission irksome, and I have had to hit refresh multiple times to get a word captcha. However, when I enter 42 it tells me I failed and gives me a word captcha immediately. Sadly, I suspect Google doesn't even begin to understand why it shouldn't crowd source this way.

mathguy 9:31 AM  

DNF but came close. Remarkable because there were thirteen entries I didn't know including three tens and three nines. Guessed right on the SW even though I didn't know JACOBZUMA and ANABIOSIS. But whiffed on the SE. Didn't know SPECIESISM, SERIA, and TATE and had forgotten KARST (it was in the puzzle a while back).

I did the puzzle before I went to sleep last night and I had an angry dream about it. So apparently I didn't enjoy it. I did learn some words but the only one I'm happy about is the president of South Africa.

Questinia 9:33 AM  

♥︎ HEINIES ♥︎!

Anonymous 9:38 AM  

Truly enjoyed this puzzle - hands up for stumper before stinker and agree wholeheartedly with complaints about ANA. Also agree that LETSIN is better than LETSON. But my biggest gripe is with heinie. It's an awful word that has always seemed vulgar to me.

Anonymous 9:43 AM  

It has been months since I hated a puzzle this much. Just a pile of horsehockey.

Leapfinger 9:56 AM  

Loved the way this solved, with all the back-and-forthing, things coming at you from around the corner or slipping in the back door!

Some bits were kind, like YO"Y"OS letting you know it was Willie Le"Y", but Oh Lord, I wound up at long last putting in FIVEO...Was thinking OESHA, which was, of course, really Moesha. Never had the sense of KE$HA.

Got the SERIA from Opera Buffo, and the KARST from assorted readings in mountaineering geology. Worked out some possibly made-up words, and am willing to bet that there's a 'form' of SPECIESISM going on in every ANTNEST.

Liked the DIM-VIM duo, the [Dead reckoning] OBIT, and the [Printed slip] TYPO. That 'printed slip' reminded me of a favourite embroidered slip, silk with a froth of lace atop. Kind of sad to think of silk as only larva spit...

@THurst: Thanks for taking the time to elucidate, had me in stitches. And for that impressive list, we'd no idea.

@Z: I'm right with you. The 'best choice for the position' has certainly distinguished himself, right? IM[biased]O, has taken The Nine down to approx 8.2

@PPhillips: Sooo, The Atlantic is discussing the tuchis? Mazel tov!! Can't wait till they go from transliteration to cisliteration. OTOH, over *here* tuchus-eynu are holding out for 'tuchusim'.
(*here* being the rear range)

Hey, Kameron, great debut! As an occasional Duke Basketball spectator, I do like this take on the Kameron Krazies! Any kin to Peter A.?

Andrew Gordon 9:57 AM  

Guessed correctly at the ANA, ANABIOSIS crossing, but then Naticked in SW by JACOBZUlA, lISt, STIERt. They all sounded good enough to me. Stinker.

Hartley70 9:58 AM  

I love heinies too, so cute. And I could have looked at that gobbledygook clue forever without seeing tuchis! Also cute. But horsehockey....now THAT's something to consider

Anonymous 10:10 AM  

Why is FIVEK the answer to Athletic short? I hated this puzzle and don't believe that anyone, Rex included, solved it without Google or some other outside help.

Sara 10:17 AM  

Five K, as in 5-kilometer run (short, compared to 10k and marathons). A lot of britishisms in this one - fun to see the word "film" instead of "movie". And yes, wtf Spital?

Bob Kerfuffle 10:20 AM  

Medium for me, though relied on crosses a bit more than usual.

Did stumble momentarily on that second of three "S"es in SPECIESISM.

And thanks, @jae, for the explanation of 1 D!

Leapfinger 10:23 AM  

@Hartley: that's "Road to Perdition", yes/no?
@mathG: kid TV - 'C'mon and ZUM, ZUM, ZUMA, ZUM!'
@Questia: i think it was Lenny Bruce who did a shtick about Mommas who scream "Oooh, what a yummy little HEINIE! Ooooh, I could just eat it up!!" You aren't one of those, artst?

johnny stocker 10:23 AM  

A tough bugger, but I didn't find it unfair. Just a liiiitle too much for me today. On the bright side a couple years ago I'd just stare at a Friday for about half an hour before throwing it away 25% finished, so that's progress...

Gill I. P. 10:26 AM  

@r.alph...Thanks for the explanation. I too stayed in one of those in San Francisco in the early 70's. It was called the Ansonia residence on Post. I think it's a hostel now.
I didn't know a soul when I arrived and I only had $50.00 to my name. That paid for one weeks worth of a dingy room/shared bath and breakfast.
I will say that I had a ton of fun while living there. I made lots of friends and of course I lived in a place I had dreamed of. Thanks to good ole Kelly Girls and my ability to type, I got a job lickety split. Finally ended up in a beautiful one bedroom apt. with my own garage in the lower Pacific Heights area. It cost me $150.00 a month! I can't even have lunch for that amount now. [sigh]
Yay SRO. I shant forget you now and HEINIES is great word for "mean narrow-minded sexist" (hi @Z)

Susan McConnell 10:26 AM  

Medium and fun Friday puzzle. Like @lms I wonder about the connection of SPITAL to hoSPITAL. Didn't care for the spelling of "tochises" though now that I try to come up with a better spelling none look right. I did like the HEINIE in the middle and the extra ASS in the corner. REE Drummond is a very well-known food blogger and was one long before her Food Network show came to be. Overall this was a great puzzle with very little dreck. Congrats on an impressive debut!

Maruchka 10:30 AM  

Stumper made a STINKER this a.m. NW and NE went well.. then the dreaded middle mess. I really, really liked OBITS (great clue). JAVASCRIPT (MOCHA could've meant an extinct Arabian language? - hah!) and DAKAR RALLY evaded me. Wouldn't both be sweeter if they were connected?

Childhood TV Western addiction paid off for TAHOE. SERIO instead of SERIA produced TOTE Modern - didn't make sense, then Opera BUFFA sprang to mind. Oh, those Latinate gender endings.

Which brings to mind ANITA HILL. Couldn't agree more about Clarence, although wish he'd been called out on competence instead.

4 googles, nice intro, Mr. Collins - or is it Mr./Ms. Austin Collins?

Anonymous 10:36 AM  

@Evil Doug

Ri-i-ight! After all, that 'pube-on-a-coke' was on the OUTside, so what's the big deal?


Steve J 10:39 AM  

@Loren: If you're pronouncing each of the letters individually - as one does with RSVP - then pretty much by definition it's an initialism and not an acronym. What marks an acronym is pronouncing the abbreviation like a word. Radar, laser and sonar are classic examples. If you say A S A P it's not an acronym, but it is if you say eh-sap.

Unless you're pronouncing it riz-vip (and I hope you're not), RSVP is not an acronym no matter what suffixes you append.

That said, I recognize that I'm on the losing side of linguistic history with this one, like insisting on the correct use of literally and ironic. Most people use abbreviation and acronym interchangeably.

jdv 10:43 AM  

Challenging w/one error. SRi instead of SRo. Done in by an acronym. If SRO needs to be in the grid, please clue it normally e.g. "no seats left". I agree with anon 8:46; this was Monday-easy with pockets of Saturday-stumper. I had STUMPER before STINKER; TUNEOUT before ZONEOUT and HIDING before BIDING.

Steve J 10:45 AM  

@Susan McConnell: SPITAL and hospital are absolutely connected. SPITAL was the word for hospital in Middle English, and it shows up in some German dialects (primarily Swiss and Austrian German) as well. The hos- prefix probably came through the French influence on the language that was occurring and that pushed English from Old English (all Germanic) to Middle English (the beginning of the heavily French-influenced mutt language we have now).

In the Middle Ages, hospitals served wider functions than they do now, serving as refuges for travelers as well as caring for the ill and infirm.

Two Ponies 10:55 AM  

Close but no cigar. Zip instead vim. No idea who the singer or author were and so the Minnesota area beat me.
Several WOTDs for me such as karst, stital,and anabiosis. I'm surprised I got as far as I did.
Nice debut.

Fred Smith 10:57 AM  

Me too on knowing it only as the Paris-to-Dakar Rally.

Tahoe easy for me. Indelible recollection of the intro piece starting with a fire burning outward from the middle of a sepia map of Western Nevada into the Lake. Then Hoss, Little Joe, Adam and Pa riding up to the camera. Strange that something about 55 years ago sticks in one's mind...

tensace 11:00 AM  

I've heard of tookus and tuckus but NEVER TOCHISES. Plus a Google search comes up empty. If you're going to do Yiddish, DO Yiddish.

WS 11:04 AM  

I work in a middle school, so I know there are now more than 60 volumes of the Naruto manga series in addition to the Cartoon Network tv series. As we say in Massachusetts, wicked popular.
Loved this puzzle. Very fresh and lively.
Who was the comedian who said that the Bonanza series was about a 55 year old man and his three 45 year old sons (or something like that)?

Maruchka 11:09 AM  

@Gill IP - ah, SF when affordable. I left a sweet North Beach $150 p/m apt for NYC in the late 70s and found an East Village apt. for the same rent(!) Are there any SROs left? St. George Hotel in Bklyn used to be, but now it's student transients for $800+ p/m (with share).

Fred Smith 11:10 AM  

More on Tahoe--

They coulda clued it as "competitor of 1-downs," and really thrown Rex over the edge,

Also @Rex, the Tahoe of Bonanza *is* in one of the "more traditional Old-West States." It's on the Nevada side (as I mentioned above), not the California side, which you're probably -- and reasonably-- thinking about, since you're not an old-timer like me who remembers the map. Also, I seem to recall that when they occasionally "went to town," it was Carson City.

Ludyjynn 11:10 AM  

Rex, I was in Reno, Nevada several years ago for a work seminar and extended my stay to do some sightseeing. I signed up w/ a local tour operator, who drove a group of 6 of us in his re-fitted school bus on an eclectic trip from Reno to Virginia City (old mining town), where we stopped to explore and have lunch, then onward to Lake TAHOE. Along the way, I recall we passed a legal brothel a block from the Carson City capital dome (!), a museum memorializing the Donner Pass incident, where there was a magnificent display of Native American baskets, and the property which held the buildings once comprising the set for "Bonanza's" Cartwright ranch. It had just been sold and our guide feared it would be lost to development forever.

We also saw a house owned by Leonard Nimoy of "Star Trek" fame and took a wonderful drive around the lake and ski resort, w/ stops for photo ops. The whole time we were about an hour ahead of a major snow event which we could see coming in across the lake, but he got us back safe and sound.

Oh yeah, the puzzle. I DNF for reasons others have discussed. Felt like a Sat. to me, overall. Got HEINIES, but also question the clue spelling. Not my greatest hour, sorry to admit.

AliasZ 11:19 AM  

Kudos, Kameron. The kaleidoscope of knotty knneeslappers and Kafkaesque kernels of knowledge kept my kibitzing kith & kin, kuvasz, komondor & kittens in knots, and kicked my keister.

On the other hand, a Friday-level themeless puzzle that contains 20 threes is bound to run into less than stellar fill, like IFA, ANA, REE, RIS, SRO. TSK. I am sure your next one will be cleaner.

Also, I do not usually see Friday puzzles with five, five puzzles in one. It is unfortunate that if anyone gets stuck in one of these culs de sac, they have no hope of getting out of it. It happened to me in the N. What's a MESHA? Or is it RESHA? Or KESHA? I know KASHA but not KESHA.

I loved JAVASCRIPT, ANABIOSIS, CAPE CORAL, DAKAR RALLY, but did not know JACOB TUMA, BUMA (or is it ZUMA?) and MARTINA MIS. Or is it MARTIN AMIS? Maybe I should.

SPITAL is the archaic spelling of spittle.

Here is a beautiful example of Opera SERIA: ten minutes of Ariodante by G. F. Handel.


Kameron 11:49 AM  

Leave it to me to ruin everyone's breakfast with a 6-letter word for an old leper hangout.

Picture Daffy Duck saying it, and you'll all fall in love it it, as I did.

This conversation is fantastic, by the way. Thanks everyone.

Carola 11:49 AM  

Most enjoyable. Solve meter started out at "Impossible" (manga? indie rock band? Gaga contemporary? Madea films? M*A*S*H actor? etc.), slowly moved to "Maybe" (DAKAR RALLY, MARTIN AMIS, JACOB ZUMA materializing after a little nudging) to "Close but no cigar" (one remaining square at FIVE? x ?ESHA) to "Finished!" after two alphabet runs for that K.

Add me to the minuscule group of ANA defenders - old-timey crosswordese, plus my mom owned a book called "A Crossword Solver's ANA," so there.

Was glad to see that my untold hours wasted on reading the Pioneer Woman blog brought some return.

Remembered SRO from reports of New York City's struggle to find housing for homeless families some years ago.

Thanks, Kameron - I look forward to your next one.

Kameron 11:50 AM  

With* it, that is.

Donald Barclay 11:52 AM  

Lots of the names were out of my wheelhouse. And I had "STUMPER" for "STINKER." Stumper makes more sense to me.

Colby 11:53 AM  

SPITAL is way too obscure-- even with Google I wasn't sure it was correctl

David 12:04 PM  

Crossing ANA with ANABIOSIS?? C'mon Rex, that normally would have incurred some major wrath. Booooooo.

RnRGhost57 12:06 PM  

Some uneveness in difficulty of cluing but overall a fine first NYT puzzle. Thanks Kameron.

Can someone give an example of ANABIOSIS? An unfamiliar term, at least to me. I assume it's not the same as "resuscitation"?

r.alphbunker 12:07 PM  


What an amazing NYT debut puzzle. Have you published elsewhere?

@George Barany
I think you have invented a new genre of xword puzzles with your Covert Operation puzzle. IMO, it ranks right up there with your Alan Turing tribute puzzle. I wonder if Turing ever met Eisenhower.

Ben Cartwright 12:14 PM  

@Ludyjynn came the closest, but no one has quite tied together today's two most popular topics, entwined with a third favorite, rap, to point out that here in Nevada we have lots of legal ho-spitals.

Masked and Anonymo4Us 12:27 PM  

Cray-pola, dude. This one reeeeally put up a fight, at our house. Talkin overturned furniture and endless cinnamon roll crumb traces and coffee stains. Came to in the SE corner, wonderin what or who almost everything there was. Aren't varmint nests supposed to pluralize yer varmint? Example: RATSNEST. BIRDSNEST. RUNTSNEST. etc? ANTNEST? One ant? SRO?

Killer debut, tho. All the puzs this week, most of which I worked last night, were just plain fun. Maybe none of em were hall-of-famers, but what a cool mix of ideas and verbage. Spunky. Bravo, mon amigos. Can tell U all did it, for the love of the game(s).

Let's move on to the more crucial stuff, now...

@63: Wow... who's yer cute little friend, in the blog pic? Is this Ke$ha? Hot. Looks like she just ran a FIVEK, or somesuch.

@r.alph: Good news (I think?). Got a strange msg in my inbox this mornin. Had addresses for a bunch of old themeless runtpuzs. Ended with some curious oldie song lyrics...
"Hey. Hey. You. You. Get offa my cloud..." etc.
I will past them on to you, shortly, so you can menace folks with em, at yer blog.


Anonymous 12:42 PM  

@r.alph - Eisenhower was gay? Who knew?

SEC 12:46 PM  

Easy medium for me....a few gimmes and other stuff just seemed to fall in place with just one or two crosses, but still learned a few new thing. Really like this one!

Lewis 12:52 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
M and A Runt Help Desk 12:59 PM  

@r.alph: This oughta keep U hoppin...

Kiddie Pool Themeless:
#1 =www.xwordinfo.com/Solve?id=3915&id2=723
#2 =www.xwordinfo.com/Solve?id=3916&id2=329
#3 =www.xwordinfo.com/Solve?id=3917&id2=53
#4 =www.xwordinfo.com/Solve?id=3918&id2=659
#5 =www.xwordinfo.com/Solve?id=3919&id2=383
#6 =www.xwordinfo.com/Solve?id=3920&id2=990
#7 =www.xwordinfo.com/Solve?id=3921&id2=714
#8 =www.xwordinfo.com/Solve?id=3922&id2=320 (Solved by Dan F. in 55 secs.)
#9 =www.xwordinfo.com/Solve?id=3923&id2=44
#10 =www.xwordinfo.com/Solve?id=3924&id2=650

Warning to Civilians: Binge-solvin runtpuzs can really hurt somethin.


Gill I. P. 1:11 PM  

Well I'll be...I left a (West) Village sublet that I paid $100.00 in rent to head West. Ended in Glenside Pa. for a year while working in a college, got bored and headed to SFO..It seems that the magic number for rentals was always around $100.00 now it's more like $10,000.
I love your avatar name by the way. I took mine from a word every Spaniard uses in every other sentence - "gilipollas"
@Kameron...See what you did? You've awakened a bunch of memories and made a ton of us head for the dictionary. Thanks for the fun....

mac 1:25 PM  

Tough, especially the NE for me, but excellent puzzle.

Tochises? Always thought it was tuchus.

@loren: I too tried to put in Serbo-Croat. Plus I had DakarParis, ParisDakar and ParisDakar again. I finally thought of rally....

Wonder what the Spital Fields in London held originally.

Lewis 1:33 PM  

Tough for me, needed help, too many proper names I didn't know. That said, because of the fresh feel of this puzzle, I'm looking forward to more from this constructor!

Post Puzzle Puzzle (PPP™): What is the first letter of the next member of this series of answers?: IRATE, SCRUM, FEN, VIM, _________ .

ANON B 1:33 PM  

What kind of person is familiar
with Naruto Kanga,Dakar Rally and
Speciesism to name a few.
If they came up again next week, I probably still wouldn't
get them.
This isn't a puzzle for a
Friday or a Saturday but one
for an as-yet unnamed day.

M and A Runt Avalanche 1:35 PM  

@r.alph: The Cloud has admired your promptness, and has rained down most of the rest of runtpuz pre-history...

Kiddie Pool Krossword:
#101 =www.xwordinfo.com/Solve?id=3925&id2=374
#102 =www.xwordinfo.com/Solve?id=3926&id2=981
#103 =www.xwordinfo.com/Solve?id=3927&id2=705
#104 =www.xwordinfo.com/Solve?id=3928&id2=311
#105 =www.xwordinfo.com/Solve?id=3929&id2=35
#106 =www.xwordinfo.com/Solve?id=3930&id2=641
#108 =www.xwordinfo.com/Solve?id=3932&id2=972
#111 =www.xwordinfo.com/Solve?id=3933&id2=696
#112 =www.xwordinfo.com/Solve?id=3934&id2=302
#113 =www.xwordinfo.com/Solve?id=3935&id2=26
#114 =www.xwordinfo.com/Solve?id=3936&id2=632
#115 =www.xwordinfo.com/Solve?id=3937&id2=356
#118 =www.xwordinfo.com/Solve?id=3938&id2=80

Hopefully this will keep the IRS gmen off yer back.
Definitely gettin a charge outa U doin this service, for all mankind. I mean, like, way speciesismic, dude.


ANON B 1:36 PM  

On the other hand, the CAPCHA
was ridiculously easy- four
clearly written numbers.

Andrew Heinegg 1:40 PM  

Ok, so this was a DNF for me so, here are some gripes from a sore loser. 5a- as noted before me, this is a miserable clue. If you wanted to do this, try runners shorts or something along that line because you have that crossed with the reed section business. It is just too much.

62A is horrid crosswordese and etymologically incorrect even though I got it from the crosses. 15d- spital,yeech! In fact, it was so yeech that, in writing this up, I had to keep 'telling' the phone that yes, I mean spital not spiral.

28d- if you are going to make street/slang references, make them 'correct'. An opiate is not a downer. A downer is a barbituate of some kind.

If it was not before noon Pacific time, I would pour myself a glass of Burgundy so that I could have a good glass of wine to go with my whine. It was after all a well constructed if difficult puzzle.

r.alphbunker 1:45 PM  

@M and A
They're up. Let me know of any problems.

That's a toughie. Please see runtpuz.org for assumptions I am making.

Lewis 1:47 PM  

@ralph -- you will see I've changed the PPP to better reflect my intent, and it's easier to grok. I'm still getting my feet wet on this PPP stuff. But I like it better now, and maybe you'll come up with a different answer. If possible, can you change it on runtpuz.org??? Sorry!

Anonymous 1:50 PM  

Cmon Rex if that 58 minutes of hell iisn't Challenging I don't know how any puzzle is. All I could do and two mistakes to boot. That puzzle was hard

John Child 1:51 PM  

Obscurities and nonsense badly clued. Nothing fun about this one. Sorry kameron. I wish i had enjoyed your debut.

Kameron 1:52 PM  

@r.alphbunker Not yet!

John V 1:55 PM  

A miserable experience. Yes, poor judgement to include so many names. Not even close, for me. The constructor comment to have aimed for weird and exciting. I'm not buying that as a standard for success.

Outlaw M and A but just to reply 1:58 PM  

@r.alph: Re, runtpuz.org:
I see the list for the 12:59pm ones.
Not so much yet, for the 1:35pm list.

okanaganer 2:27 PM  

Most embarrassing wrong answer in a long time: JACOB TUTU.

I guess it's a mash-up of Desmond Tutu, Jacob Two-Two, and the right answer.

Leapfinger 2:39 PM  

How do you get from Paris to DAKAR? And don't anyone tell me 'Head East', okay?

Laurence Katz 2:41 PM  

"Mocha" clue with "java" partial left me scratching my head in Indonesia. And "tochises" knocked me on my tuchas.

Anonymous 2:45 PM  


I imagine the Strait of Gibraltar is the toughest leg (go down, drive ten feet - come up for air - repeat)

Hartley70 2:54 PM  

@Leapfinger, I was just going for general damnation, but I'm a big Sam Mendes fan too so it could be a YES and a NO.

Hartley70 3:03 PM  

@Leapfinger, Ironically (used incorrectly) the answer is head WEST since the Paris to Dakar rally is held in South America! ...hence the still hysterical name change to just the Dakar Rally.

Anonymous 3:06 PM  

so, a five-K is an athletic long, relative to a mile??

B.S. Rex

Rex, you basically love a hard puzzle you can solve, and you hate an easy puzzle anyone else can solve, do I have that right??

I remain unconvinced by the explanation why someone deletes a comment that was the second one written. Fishy!

Anonymous 3:08 PM  

nice change of pace . . . is this a wine blog?? it's a puzzle, people. It's not supposed to be an exercise in using google. /

Hartley70 3:09 PM  

Who could make this stuff up? The next time this comes up and we're asked the location of the Dakar Rally, I've got it in the bag!
Also a word of thanks to the Captcha gods for the numbers rather than the #%^*+ ing letters.

retired_chemist 3:10 PM  

DNF but I liked it regardless.

Problem square I had to check was LETS iN instead of LETS ON. I was struggling elsewhere and wondered what a SRi hotel was but I didn't know what a SRO was either. Possibly a hotel for Indian gentlemen. maybe even a HO SPITAL in Mumbai. All I could think of re the alternative was "Standing room Only hotel? WTF?"

Elsewhere was the Minnesota region, where I could. not. see. FIVE K. Thought FEN but It seemed reeds were more like a section of a FEN than vice versa. KESHA was an unknown. So even when I had _IVE_ it took forever for the light to dawn. Never went back to resolve SRi hotel....

The fill was quite good IMO. Plenty I didn't know but crosses were fair. Have to read up on ANABIOSIS. ARCADE FIRE - I won't hurry on that one.

Thanks, Mr. Collins.

Fred Smith 3:11 PM  

Leap --

Actually, the route changes pretty much every year, and often includes neither Paris nor Dakat. It's administered by some private organization that manages the thing. Recently it's been in South America, due to terrorism threats on the African Routes. On the original route, ferry crossings over different parts of the Med often involved, depending on that year's specific route.

Now aren't you a better person for that knowledge -- I know I am. ;-)

Anonymous 3:13 PM  

@Hartley 70

It WAS originally Paris to Senegal!

The Dakar Rally (or simply "The Dakar"; formerly known as the "Paris–Dakar Rally") is an annual rally raid organised by the Amaury Sport Organisation. Most events since the inception in 1978 were from Paris, France, to Dakar, Senegal, but due to security threats in Mauritania, which led to the cancellation of the 2008 rally, the 2009 Dakar Rally was run in South America (Argentina and Chile).[1] It has been held in South America each year since 2009.[2][3]

Fred Romagnolo 3:43 PM  

@Avon B & @John Child are right. A terrible puzzle. Yiddishisms aren't too easy for non-New Yorkers, but at least some are commonly recognizable; TOCHISES was really out in left field, and HEINIES was considered off-color when I was a little boy. Also left fieldish: SPITAL. @Casco: opera SERIA is as far from Wagner as you can get, mostly died out before Wagner was born (1813, same year as Verdi!).

LaneB 3:48 PM  

Comforting to see so many DNFs today and I'll bet there was plenty of googling by many who did manage to finish. Way too tough for me even tho I began reasonably well. J
Ust another humbling Friday to cap off a difficult week.

r.alphbunker 3:50 PM  

Done. Am still working on it.

I think you are onto something. It will be interesting to see how it evolves.

r.alphbunker 4:07 PM  

@M and W

1:35PM puzzles are up.

It is too early to tell but my times and accuracy doing NYT puzzles have noticeably improved since I have started doing runtpuzzes in earnest. Maybe doing a runtpuz puts the solver in a zenlike state that is useful for any puzzle.

Lewis 4:08 PM  

@ralph -- thanks! I think it's easier now, don't overthink it.

sanfranman59 4:15 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 19:38, 21:06, 0.93, 38%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Fri 14:49, 13:00, 1.14, 72%, Medium-Challenging

Given how few solvers have submitted correct solutions online today, the Top 100 rating is surely a better gauge of the difficulty of this puzzle. At least that's what I'm going with since I was only able to solve it with some assistance from my Uncle Google (my first Friday DNF in 7 weeks). I watched a lot of Bonanza as a lad, but had no memory of it being set in TAHOE. My other stumbling blocks have been mentioned by others: SPITAL, NARUTO, SPECIESISM, ANABIOSIS, LEY, SERIA. I look at it as a learning opportunity, although I won't be disappointed if I never see SPITAL in a crossword again.

Z 4:15 PM  

The things you learn here. The DAKAR, although I like @wreck's answer better.

@anon3:06 - if you weren't an anonymouse you could check the email follow up box and then see that some people will revise 173 times if they have a typo. Some of us figure if you can't handle a TYPO or two that's your problem. No Grassy Knolls were harmed in creating this explanation.

@pmdm - Being a decent human being isn't a requirement to be a judge, but it does seem like there should be some recourse when a supreme court judge turns out to be an incompetent cretin. As for the "good liar" bit - Both Lance and Clarence were in my "really, do you think I was born yesterday" column. With Lance, if people you are beating each and every year are being busted for cheating either they are really bad at cheating or (far more likely) you are really good at it. As for Clarence, you have to be completely out of touch with the consequences to women when they report to think she would be making that stuff up.

@Kameron - Thanks for stopping by. Keep them coming.

Leapfinger 4:35 PM  

@wreck, you about totaled me there!! I yusta drive a Volvo 144 that you had to take off the distributor cap and wipe it dry inside if ever it rained, but that's peanuts by comparison.

Then had visions of the cars driving laps on the ferry a-crossing the Strait.

Then had to move the whole shooting match from Somewhere in Africa to South America.

I think I finally have my informational overload in bite-sized pieces, and I'm SO glad I asked.

Leapfinger 4:45 PM  

Am now thinking that if the [Belief in human supremacy] proceeds to the extent of cutting out contact with non-humans, that would constitute SPECIESSCHISM.

Arlene 4:54 PM  

I'm late to the table here. This was an exercise in Googling for me. I did manage to finish, albeit with two wrong squares. I didn't realize Bonanza's ranch was so close to Tahoe - just looked at a map. I was in Virginia City and Carson City - really fun places to visit. Mark Twain took on his pen name as a reporter for a newspaper in Virginia City, sparking his writing career - the building is still standing. Fun stuff.

loren muse smith 5:23 PM  

My third runt of the yeah! This really is fun.


Bob Kerfuffle 6:01 PM  

@lms - Nice runtpuz! Wish I had been able to solve it. Can't even tell you how long it took me to not solve, as I was interrupted by An Important Phone Call.

Carola 6:25 PM  

@loren - Fun! Except I don't get 21A. And speaking of "runt," the puzzles don't work on an iPad, so I drew my grid in the bottom margin of the newspaper. Also, I know you don't want your clues to get too long, but 9A could continue, "or, if on the rod, invariably bunched up." Anyway that gimme was nice.

Lewis 6:28 PM  

Spoiler alert -- PPP answer alert.

The correct answer is C, for CAPECORAL.
IRATE, SCRUM, FEN, and VIM fall on the first four prime numbers (2, 3, 5, 7) and CAPECORAL falls on the next one (11).

Anonymous 6:31 PM  

Hey, CinnaMon, where ya gonna runtoo?

longsufferingmetsfan 6:51 PM  

Big fat dnf. Really kicked my TOCHIS. Some cluing very Saturday Stumperesque. Thoroughly enjoyed the mental workout, though....
Keep em comin, Kameron - congrats on your debut

Mohair Sam 8:21 PM  

Bravely battled through a bunch of new-to-us nouns only to double natick on OPIATE. Never think of opiates when I think downers, of course we know terribly little about the drug culture.

Loved JAVASCRIPT, liked the puzzle a lot on the whole, even though it played very challenging here. Only complaint - I think Yiddish nouns should all come with (var) because there seem to be enough spellings to warrant that (Tokuses would have been a gimme here, i.e.).

Nice debut Kameron Collins. Go easy on us oldsters next time!

Mohair Sam 8:21 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kathryn 8:50 PM  

For some reason, it was very easy for me, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. I finished in 16 minutes and change, which is blazingly fast for me on a Friday. If you consider the fact that I was solving while brushing my teeth and being climbed upon by small children, my time was probably more like 10 minutes. Whee!

Mette 9:46 PM  

Thanks Kameron. Great debut. Did not look, but guessing it is also the debut for SPITAL and ANABIOSIS. Lucky guess for me when DAKAR seemed to fit with RALLY, which kept me away from the stumper error. And thank you @jae for explaining RAMS. Kept seeing male goats with horns impaling people and raising them into the air.

Grant Edwards 9:55 PM  

Medium-challenging? Devious is more like it! Not a Friday. I'm a Thurs-Sat. Solver and I thought this was the hardest puzzle since the infernal Hapax Logomenon puzzle many years ago. Harder for me than that last off-difficulty Friday. I googled 6 times and I NEVER Google. Hard, hard, hard.

Anonymous 9:59 PM  

What @Kathryn ain't tellin' is she's an anabioticized person with a long family history of leprosy.

From Java.

Nancy 10:21 PM  

Am mad at myself for not getting ANITA HILL, when I had more than a few of its letters. Would that have enabled me to solve? Not when I never heard of KESHA, KARST, ANABIOSIS, DAKAR RALLY (I had DAKAR RA, and still couldn't guess it) JACOB ZUMA, etc. I agree with everyone who thought there were too many arcane names. Two words for this puzzle: IM POSSIBLE.

Eileen 11:09 PM  

Today's nit to pick resides at 22A:

ABS are NOT washboard parts! Beautifully carved abs resemble a washboard.

Problems arose with: Stumper/stinker, Ree, Ley and Martin Amis, but all manageable with crosses.


Anonymous 12:35 AM  

I was overjoyed to see NARUTO in the grid, as it provides some more variety in subject matter.

I really do wish most crosswords would branch out into more subjects more often. Many fields are much underrepresented.

Anonymous 1:24 PM  

This is NOT a crossword puzzle -- it's a pop culture trivia contest, and the author assumes everybody else shares his interests. (Actually, I do share the interest in Naruto -- that was an instant gimme.) How many times must I complain about this? I could write a puzzle that Mr. Collins couldn't even half finish if I limited the answers to my own cultural and historical interests. I'm alarmed that some of you think it's valid to do this -- as long as the interests just happen to be in your personal "wheelhouse". It's really sad to see the NYT crossword degenerating so badly. (And I'm not even getting into the clues that were inaccurate or stretches.)

Anonymous 6:38 PM  

Yep never heard of Kesha and didn't see 5K as answer to "athletic short." Intuited everything else and enjoyed the challenge.

Anonymous 8:24 AM  

Hey Karst was one of the few I knew. If you're not familiar with it, I recommend a visit to China. A Karst landscape is those funny looking, pointy headed limestone mountains. Actually quite thrilling to see.

Charles Flaster 9:14 AM  

Was going to comment on my own but you said EXACTLY what I feel.

Carole Brown 11:26 AM  

Glad to oblige....
Somehow or other -- I can't remember how, probably through National Geographic -- I came across a freebie photo of the Karst Landscape in Guilin. It is my screen saver. Study it every day. Love it.

saintpeg 12:33 AM  

CHAI TEA is redundant. "Chai" means tea. My Indian father-in-law gruffly corrected me on this years ago: "Chai means tea. When you say chai tea, you are saying tea tea."

spacecraft 12:18 PM  

DNF. This was WAY out of my wheelhouse. So far out that even one of the CLUES was a WOE. "Tochises????" I can't even find that in the dictionary. Too much unknowable stuff. The only thing missing was a rapper. I did manage tp complete the SE, but very little else. Even the fill that purports to be from farther back than last year was impossible: SPITAL??? Never heard of it.

If this is the direction crosswords are heading, I fear for my future as a solver. The two in the NW that OFL calls "gimmes" were "huh???s" to me.

What in the WORLD is "Tochises?"

eastsacgirl 12:40 PM  

DNF but came close! Wanted ZOMBIOSIS so bad :)

Ms. Wolfe 12:59 PM  

@spacecraft - Scroll down to Entry #5.

Solving in Seattle 2:12 PM  

First of all, congrats to Kameron on his debut NYTCWpuz. Lots to like here.

Having said that, waaaaaaay to many proper nouns, names, pop culture stuff for me. My google machine was smokin'.

Viva, Long John Silver, away...

3373 = 7

Have a great weekend, Syndies.

Anonymous 3:50 PM  

Yup, I finished it but with way too many lookups on Wiki. Not fun when it takes too much time. I agree with Seattle Sally.

Ron Diego Grrr.

rain forest 4:03 PM  

Tochises, tuchus, what are these things? Where do they come from? I managed to actually get HEINIES without knowing what the clue was asking.

Like many others I had enough gimmes to allow me to complete the puzzle only to find that "admits" was LETS ON, not LETSiN. SRO is a kind of hotel? If I see a SRO sign outside a hotel or motel, I'm thinking...FULL.

Anyway, a DNF in a puzzle I liked, especially for ARCADE FIRE.

sdcheezhd 4:16 PM  

@AliasZ thanks much for the Ariodante link - I spent the night of Handel's 300th birthday hearing Tatiana Troyanos as Ariodante in a concert performance. Probably one of the top 10 concerts I've ever been to. Stumper, sticker (willing to overlook the l) STINKER, HEINIES and the center in general were the hardest and agree that ANA is bad even if it didn't cross with ANA and that RAMS is very sneaky. Wanted antfarm for ANTNEST and arose for ARCED.

ironlace 4:30 PM  

Loved it . Challenges are great after too many so so puzzles. Even if I don't finish, if I learn something, I consider it a victory

Dirigonzo 5:23 PM  

DNF in the center section, where I had taken out TERSE in favor of cross and had StumpER in place of STINKER so there was too much hidden for me to see what should have been obtainable answers. I am humbled.

@rainy - I, too, had SRi (thinking it might stand for Sheraton Residence Inn) - SRO is a real thing according to WIKI, meaning "single room occupancy" - who knew?

3022 > 7

Waxy in Montreal 5:26 PM  

Fun Friday puz even though a real stumper/stinker in places. Count me on the DAKARPARIS team, at least for FIVEK.

Stuck on a RANCH for 29A which made the NE corner a DNF as was the California coast due to the ANABIOSIS (huh?) / ANA cross.


Congrats to KAC for an excellent first effort or as we code it in JAVASCRIPT, NARUTO!

DMG 5:49 PM  

Way too much stuff here not for me. Don't know if I'm too old, too non-modern music, too dumb, or what, but I gladly threw it in after after a couple of run-throughs. I suppose one could google every other answer, but that takes the fun out of things.

The Ponderosa site still existed last time I went around TAHOE. Its on the Nevada side, pay here and tour. Never having watched the show, we skipped it. I also "skipped" the clue, writing in "ranch. Ah me!

Hey a little sunshine, my number is 1080. Doesn't get much better than that!

longbeachlee 6:16 PM  

What's the problem? I'm sure everyone in Cape Coral knows it's called Water Wonderland. I'm sure most South Africans know good old Jake Zuma, and considering the exodus from Florida to S Africa I can see why so many find this in their wherlhouse.

Anonymous 6:17 PM  

Uffdah! Said the Norwegian! Vas a stinker, no?

Modifikasi Toyota Celica 3:33 AM  

Loved it . Challenges are great after too many so so puzzles. Even if I don't finish, if I learn something, I consider it a victory

Wiko Highway 6:43 PM  

(15D: Old-fashioned shelter along a highway) and RIS, but the rest of the grid is so bouncy that I don't mind that much. Cluing also seemed ... wikohighway.blogspot.de

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