Annihilate, arcade-style / FRI-25-JUL / Tudor who lost her head / Like God

Friday, July 25, 2014

Constructor: Peter A. Collins

Relative difficulty: not too tough for a Friday

THEME: none, freestyle grid

Word of the Day: TOLEDO, OHIO (29A: The Glass Capital of the World)
Toledo (/təˈld/) is the fourth most populous city in the U.S. state of Ohio and is the county seat of Lucas County.[5] Toledo is in northwest Ohio, on the western end of Lake Erie, and borders the State of Michigan. The city was founded in 1833 on the west bank of the Maumee River, originally incorporated as part of Monroe County, Michigan Territory, then re-founded in 1837, after conclusion of the Toledo War, when it was incorporated in Ohio.
Toledo grew quickly as a result of the Miami and Erie Canal and its position on the railway line between New York and Chicago. It has since become a city well known for its industry, particularly in glass and auto assembly, as well as for its art community, education, healthcare, and local sports teams. The population of Toledo as of the 2010 Census was 287,208, while the Toledo metropolitan area had a population of 651,429.

                                                                        -- Wikipedia

Blazed through this one with a Feyeresque, Hinmanite, Delfinian time of 8:56. Couldn't find a toehold in the NE and was starting to panic with almost nothing filled in after a minute, but then this freestyle's many long entries began to fall like dominoes in those videos you see of all those dominoes falling: first (24D: Elated) had to be ON CLOUD NINE, and then with just the ???????K?? I got ARTICHOKES from (57A: Heads with hearts), and very soon after ON A LEASH from (30D: restrained); and then right after the aforementioned TOLEDO, OHIO.

My solve was looking like a skeletal grid, those simple ones you see on the placemat at Bob's Big Boy or wherever: I had all the long entries, each connected by one letter to another long entry, without any of the surrounding short fill. It was like cheating, like how long can this continue?, like the first 30 minutes of that Germany-Brazil game. Euphoric. Rode that vibe through the whole thing. Good feeling and so many nice long entries that we've barely scratched them even with that intro.

DOWN GOES FRAZIER! How-ard Co-sell's famous call from the Foreman-Frazier fight in Jamaica. Yes, I looked that up. I thought it was Ali-Frazier in Vegas. And I didn't realize it was Cosell.

A little short on time so the quick version is: nice long entries; a little scruffy on the short fill in places but not too scruffy; tough, tricky clues: let's call it a B+, indeed giving us the letters to ABACAB. An outstanding week of puzzles thus far, which Rex will finish off tomorrow.

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: the 7th edition of the Lollapuzzoola crossword tournament will be held in Manhattan on Saturday, August 9th. I have to miss it this year but I've been the past two years and it's highly recommended. Relaxed, laugh-a-minute atmosphere and you get to meet all the fun (and very friendly) crossword people, not least of all tournament chieftains Brian Cimmet and Patrick Blindauer. Check it here. I'm jealous that you can make it but I can't.

Thanks to Rex for having me, and to his readers and commenters for keeping it interesting.

Signed, Matt Gaffney, Regent of CrossWorld until midnight tonight.


Richard Gere 12:04 AM  

Re: 17A - What a coincidence! I said the exact same thing just this evening, not long after I finished dinner with Kelsey Grammer.

retired_chemist 12:14 AM  

Solid Friday. Medium.

Same experience as our blogger. A minute or more with nothing filled in. Then came a few odd footholds: NELLIE, TOD, SERRA, OAS, EROICA, COSA, NAIL, HAITI/GOURDE, ASSN. From these relatively short answers came more answers, and then the long answers started to fall. In reasonable (for me) time I had a solve.

Overwrites: snIp => TRIM, rEst => MEDS, Apr => AUG. I think that's it.

I REALLY, REALLY wanted OLD farTS for 23A.

Thanks, Mr. Collins. And thanks for a fun week, Regent Gaffney.

jae 12:16 AM  
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jae 12:20 AM  

Finally a Fri. with a little crunch.   Medium for me too @r_c with the north on the tough side and the south mostly easy.  Had toy instead of WIZ for way too long which made CHINCHILLA difficult to see.   Also tried A aS...before A IS...

SERRA was a gimme as we live just down the street from his San Diego Mission which is near Friars Road.

Didn't want to go the Scooby route with SHAGGY?

Excellent long downs, zippy 17a plus...BIALIES, RAITA (seems like a fair amount of food in this one especially if CHINCHILLAS are edible), OLD GOATS... Just about right for a Fri.  Nice one Peter!

JFC 12:31 AM  

Matt, more than allegedly inflated scores this week, you added HIGH CLASS to this Blog. Great job!


Steve J 12:40 AM  

Easy-medium here. Had the same initial sensation of impending doom when I had hardly anything filled in on my initial sweep. But then things started filling in piece by piece. Got the NW to pull together, and then a bit of a flyer on Richard Pryor in "The WIZ" (I remembered Nipsey Russell, Diana Ross and Michael Jackson, but wasn't sure about Pryor; I saw it when I was like 9, so I'm not even sure I knew about Pryor at the time), which was enough to give me DOWN GOES FRAZIER (which, despite that happening when I was all of 3, I somehow knew).

Everything else came together like that. Little toehold, long answer. Little toehold, long answer. Got hung up not remembering how to correctly spell BOLEYN and sARiS instead of TARPS for a bit.

DOWN GOES FRAZIER was my favorite long fill. The other long acroses were a bit flat. Long downs were good. Liked the clues for ASH TREES and ARTICHOKES. Not really sure how BOTTLE SHOPS are particularly associated with Down Under (we had them growing up in Minnesota, which is neither rather up top). Wondered how many years before clues for 4D and 8D get some kind of qualifier like "to some" or "it's said".

Solid, albeit unflashy, Friday. Agree with the B grade.

wreck 12:46 AM  
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wreck 12:51 AM  

Medium to tough for me as well. I too had a tough time getting a foothold, with the exception of DOWNGOESFRAZIER which went right in. I had _ _ _ _ _ _ OHIO, but was surprised it turned out to be TOLEDO. (I thought Toledo was known for scales!)There were a lot of obscure answers (for me), but it IS a Friday.

Casco Kid 1:18 AM  

1:20. Two googles. One error at the BIALyES/OySE Natick. Sorry, but my command of pluralized translated Polish spelling (białawy) just was not good enough to patch my faulty provincial French geography. Maybe one day when I've done 5000 of these puzzles, my command of translated Slavic languages will have improved to the point that I'll be able to suss names of individual kleingartens in greater Bremen, but until then, sigh . . .

So. A typical Friday here. I had to google for ELIZA as my spelling of FRAsIER kept the tell-tale Z from helping suss that one. Also I googled for GOURDE, which turned NYPost's splashy Pow headlines into their proper PUN form, and without which ACORN and SENIORS were not possible.
From the crosses: ELAM, ASTI, OSLO, TOLEDOOHIO, SKA, NELLIE. So while I DNF'd again, I believe I adequately overachieved for a Friday.

wreck 1:37 AM  

Turns out, Toledo Scales was from Columbus,OH! ......who knew?!?

Roger von Oech 1:52 AM  

Mr Gaffney: I very much enjoyed your commentary this week. It gave me some new insights into the crossword construction business. I hope you come and sub again soon!

Anonymous 3:15 AM  

I am another whom Really enjoyed Matt's commentary -don

Moly Shu 6:25 AM  

DNF for me at ATBAR crossing RAITA, not sure what the former is, never heard of the latter. Also a big mess at COSA/OISE/SETI/BIALIES. If OISE isn't clued as a river, I'm probably not getting it. In retrospect, I should have got SETI as I listen to Coast to Coast AM nearly every night. A great source of entertainment and (unintentional) comic relief.

DOWNGOESFRAZIER was my first entry, followed by ONCLOUDNINE and then the God entries. Thought it was going to be a breeze, but it was not. JimmIE before NELLIE until I remembered Jimmie has 2 X's. AIS is painful. Really liked it, just wish I could have finished stronger.

Gill I. P. 7:11 AM  

Ouch...not at all easy over here. I see Peter covered all the athletic bases - none of which I knew. Husband gave me DOWN GOES FRAZIER because he knows boxing but, by gum, I got ARTICHOKES all on my own.
I guess a Chick's a dee could be construed as a TIT but I think that's stretching things a bit.
I did like some of the cluing though. MAYO was my favorite. I even remember where I ate my first Club Sandwich!
Ya got me Peter Collins...Next time leave out the poor CHINCHILLA's

Lewis 7:47 AM  

Yes, when things finally started falling, it poured. But the cluing was Friday level, making toeholds hard to get. I liked OLDGOATS, ONCLOUDNINE, DOWNGOESFRAZIER, and BOTTLESHOP. I liked the clues for SENIORS, MAYO and TARPS. Solid and enjoyable, just a little short of an OOH, but lots of AAH.

Is Junipero SERRA common knowledge????

POST PUZZLE PUZZLE (PPP): Which puzzle answer reveals this puzzle's premier premiere?

That "premiere" should have an accent over the second e (which I don't know how to do with my keyboard). If you wish to post, either post the answer's second letter or use .

Mohair Sam 7:49 AM  

Puzzle was an easy Friday . . but . . we naticked like @Moly Shu on the O in OISE. I wonder if French cruciverbalists doing the La Monde late week puzzles have to know the U.S.A. states?

Tip of the hat and the proverbial kudo to @Matt Gafney for doing a great job subbing for Rex. Thanks Matt - particularly like the way you mix it up with the the commenting riffraff.

Running off to South Carolina for a long weekend - y'all have a good one, y'hear.

Charles Flaster 8:02 AM  

DNF and I never Google but was real tempted with Eroica.After 4.5 minutes had everything save for lower left.
Had PIP for 55 down and not TIT. That prevented a completed puzzle.
Loved the puzzle and MG'review.
Yesterday I commented I have not eaten a decent BIALY since my Brooklyn days of 45 years ago. Also, on the beach this past Sunday we were talking about Nellie Fox and that the LA Dodgers won World Series over his White Sox team.I think Larry Sherry was pitching star for Dodgers.(1959).
Thanks PAC.

AliasZ 8:09 AM  

Was this the easiest Friday ever? Maybe not. I remember a Friday when I didn't do the puzzle. That went a little faster.

-OLD GOATS was OLD cooTS at first because I knew Will will not permit farTS while in office.
- BIALIES were pierogis at first because I thought, rolls, dumplings, what's the diff, dough is dough. But than I realized you have to go to pierogial school to make pierogis, so I changed it to BIALIES.
- ELAM was Iran at first, but Iran was Persia in ancient times, then I finally remembered the adorable face of the ancient lad ELAM which set me straight. Wait, is that Jamie Farr from TOLEDO, OHIO?
- OMNIPRESENT was omnimpotent at first, but it just didn't sound godlike or infallible.
- Is the tufted TITmouse a rodent or a bird related to the chickadee? I forgot the words: "My little chickadee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing..." or something.
- Is NELLIE Fox a gal or a guy? I know NELLIE Bly was a lady of remarkable talent and guts. She made a round trip faster than Phileas Fogg, and she was a fox too.
- If ARTICHOKES, apply the Heimlich maneuver.
- Loved the cross reference of DOWN GOES FRAZIER and the CHINCHILLA in Manila.

Let's close the week with the String Quartet No. 14 in D minor by Franz Schubert, Der TOD und das Mädchen.


Anonymous 8:18 AM  

Since somewhat surprisingly I didn't see a comment to this effect so far, here goes: I was a little surprised to see clues about God and godliness. I couldn't help but feel they had religious connotations to them, even though in theory those are non-sectarian concepts. Still it felt a little inappropriate to me for a Times puzzle.

James Dean 8:46 AM  

TULSA then NELLIE then ASHTREES and I was in business, but it took a while. Have to rate the puzzle an A for DOWNGOESFRAZIER alone.

This has been a good week for NYT puzzles.

Joseph Welling 8:50 AM  

Minor quibble: INFALLIBLE is usually a word associated with the pope and not with a deity.

Susan McConnell 8:58 AM  

Easy enough. Wondering if Rex visited any 28 Downs on his trip.

Thanks to Matt for filling in. I give you an A+ :-)

Anonymous 8:59 AM  

Anne Boleyn wasn't a Tudor. Her husband was.

r.alphbunker 9:06 AM  

The puzzle went down like arrecent move of a friend. We started with the small stuff and worked up to the big stuff.

Not too many long staretimes. Waited 2 minutes before the first STARR came. Other long staretimes were the 2m20s that passed waiting for PASA to materialize and the 2m19s waiting for ACORN to drop.

I enjoyed your write-ups. It was nice to know that you were nearby as I worked through "Murder by Meta". It definitely had a surprise ending. I was sure that Evil Doug had done it. :-)

Maruchka 9:13 AM  

The second cup o' joe kicked in at last. There I was, sadly stuck on which of Henry's queens had a six-letter first name - NONE! Shoulda sussed the Tudor ref..

Liked SLOE, ARTICHOKES, MAYO (am I still hungry?) SERRA was a gimme for a California kid. Isn't Junipero a lovely name?

@Gill - Had my first club in a club house! Kept thinking golf for 1A (grip? pole? argh).

Had to google sports STARrs, but 17A had to be Ali. Float lik'a butterfly, Sting lik'a bee!

Thanks, Mr. Collins.

Nancy 9:18 AM  

I naticked at OYSE/BIALEYS, too, on one letter. But guess what? I simply define that as a "solve". Just as when I Google (which is almost never) and finish, I define that as a DNF. (We all have our own sense of puzzle morality and puzzle justice, don't we?)

ArtO 9:22 AM  

Chiming in just because it's one of those rare Friday finishes. Glad to see most didn't even consider it easy. Made me feel even better.

loren muse smith 9:25 AM  

Same experience as many – hardly anything at first, and then slowly it all came together. Naticked at "bialas/sati" (and I just watched that movie; I love Jodie Foster). Also - I had to guess the A in SERRA/RAITA, but I guessed right.

My favorite clue was the one for TEA. A British friend once told me that the difference between tea made from a teabag and tea made from loose leaves is as big as the difference between instant coffee and brewed coffee. Could that really be true? I find that hard to believe.

You know you're working too many crosswords when your very first entry is TIT for "cousin of a chickadee." Now if I could just make myself remember all those &^%$ rivers and tributaries.

The clue for TIS was terrific. I had "too," "it's," and "not" in my back pocket until CHINCHILLA fell.

@jae, @AliasZ – I had OLD "coots" and then the desperate "fleecy" for SHAGGY. Thank the OMNIPRESENT and INFALLIBLE God that no month abbreviation ends in "e," so I cleaned that right up. Other missteps:

"___ fuel" for CRUDE OIL. Silly
"saris" for TARPS (hey, @Steve J)
"snip" for TRIM (hey @retired_chemist)
"Iran" for ELAM (hey, @AliasZ)

I don't know what all goes on in the final cluing of a puzzle, but the "club" in the clue for MAYO (brilliant) and 12D's "fold" had me fixated on ASSNs for both, and it took me forever to extricate myself from that line of thinking.

ALOE as a palliation. Well since you mentioned it, I was out of commission yesterday afternoon because I decided to go up in the woods and pick wild blackberries in shorts and a t shirt. Anyone – if you're considering such a stunt, just stay home and have a big, strong person repeatedly whip your legs and arms with a riding crop.

@ED – I question myself constantly here, so your words yesterday were a palliation for my self-doubt. This site means so much to me – often the brightest spot of my day. 'Tis true! @r.alph, Roo, Mohair, Gill, Leap – it takes a village here, right? All of you always bring insight and humor to this place! @Joho – yeah, you're infallibly upbeat and positive here, (and your "margin notes" are spot-on!). So let's be co-presidents of the Lake Wobegon Posters club.

Speaking of which, I enjoy reading what other, more experienced puzzlers have to say about a grid; their pointing out problems is educational and interesting. Matt – thank you for filling in and devoting so much of your time while Rex was gone. I enjoyed your take on the puzzles. Rex – you're a peach for lining up subs while you're on vacation. I know I speak for many when I say I would be utterly bereft if the blog took a vacation while you did. I can't imagine. . . I sure hope someone recognized you down there and shouted you a drink!

Peter – great puzzle, great pic! (But I miss the headband one.)

Granny Smith 9:27 AM  

Very bad clue for YAWN, 3 Down.
Am I the only one who cringes when Disinterest is used incorrectly? I learned the difference between uninterested and disinterested in 7th grade, and it was retaught almost every year throughout high school. Disinterest should be used to convey impartiality. A fair judge should always be disinterested in a case but should not be uninterested - not caring.

Anonymous 9:45 AM  

Played medium here. Honestly felt more like a round of Trivial Pursuit than a Friday NYT Xword.

Carole Shmurak 9:52 AM  

I'm with you, Granny! I too cringe when distinctions like disinterested/uninterested get lost.

David L. 9:57 AM  

Can someone please explain 35A - DISSENT for Minority report?

mathguy 9:59 AM  

Nice puzzle. RAITA was the only entry I hadn't heard so it was readily solveable. Didn't like BIALIES (the online dictionary has the plural as bialys) and the clue for MAYO should have "club" capitalized.

Z 10:06 AM  

Fun Friday. Not easy here, but mostly of my own doing. Several learned from xword items, BIALIES being the primary one. I recall a lively and lengthy discussion on BIALIES not too long ago. OISE, ELAM, EROICA are all xword learned knowledge here. @Casco Kid - OISE - river, department, French. I wouldn't worry to much about learning Pyrénées-Orientales but OISE and ORNE might be worth filing away for future reference. One other piece of crosstrivia caused me issues as I entered stLO for "four letter city in Europe" before fixing it to OSLO.

As for French crossword solvers, I'm guessing Ohio-yes, Mississippi probably not.

@Granny Smith - There is a book title Lies My Teacher Told Me. Unfortunately it is mostly about history, so the notion that some words can only mean one thing is probably not covered. At any rate, while "uninterested" does not mean "impartial," "disinterested" can mean either "impartial" OR "uninterested." Words are funny that way. Sort of like how "club" is tricky at 1A because you don't know if it is a weapon or a place to go dancing.

Anyone else bemused at the notion that "god" is inappropriate for a crossword? Or that "INFALLIBLE" only refers to the Pope? I had a different catechism class, apparently.

Maruchka 10:09 AM  

@David L. - Minority opinions (guess could also be reports - anyway, it scans) DISSENT from majority decisions, in law.

Not a Lawyer Z 10:13 AM  

@Moly Shu and @David L - Think "law." AT BAR seems like a Britishism to me, but we still have the "BAR" exam. And in the Hobby Lobby decision Ruth Bader-Ginsberg wrote the DISSENT for the minority on the court.

AliasZ 10:16 AM  

@Anonymouse 8:18
It's curious that you find God and godliness in the NYT inappropriate. Do you find it offensive? How so? Should these words or any synonyms or references to them be censored out of existence as they were in other totalitarian regimes? I would love to hear your explanation.

@David L
Think Supreme Court.

Steve J 10:17 AM  

Various replies:

@Loren: It's true regarding tea. The stuff in the bags is primarily finings, which is the little bits of whole leaves that get broken off during handling. Basically, you're getting tea sawdust in the bags. Plus, if you steep them in the right vessel (tea balls are usually too constrictive, unless you, um, have really big ones) they leaves fully open, providing more surface area for extraction in the hot water. There are some good quality bagged teas out there, but loose-leaf is much, much better.

@Granny Smith: The "correct" use of disinterested sailed on the same boat with the correct uses of hopefully and momentarily.

@David L: Think of a Supreme Court case: The majority issues its ruling (or report on its findings): the minority issues its DISSENT.

@mathguy: The clue for MAYO was fine in my book; "club sandwich" isn't generally capitalized.

jberg 10:24 AM  

Nice to be back, after a puzzle-less but otherwise enjoyable 6 days in Montreal.

Tough for me -- couldn't remember that fight, so I was looking for something about butterflies and or bees. Finally changed 'serious' (as in high-class music or literature) to SENIORS, saw ACORNS instead of some kind of leaf, and it fell into place.

I've made RAITA -- once made cucumber raita for 150 as part of a fund-raising dinner. And as a birder, TITs are easy. Chickadees aren't just relatives, they're tits under another name, just as robins are thrushes. Here's a great tit; you can see the resemblance.

I too would think bialys the more common spelling, but hey, it's a transliteration. @Casco, I be you can find them in Portland, you certainly can in Boston. Here are some pix, so you can recognize them.

I have to question the question mark after 35A, since a minority report is, literally, a DISSENT. The question mark had me looking for something about people under 18.

r.alphbunker 10:30 AM  


It seems that there are three ways to use this blog.

Consider a urinal (with apologies to @Duchamp and @Questinia)

There are three things you can do with a urinal

1. You can analyze how well the urinal does its job.

2. You can think up graffiti while using the urinal

3. You can practice aiming.

I hope this hasn't pissed anybody off.

By the way URINAL has never appeared in a NYT puzzle.

Carola 10:40 AM  

A very nice Friday, I thought. Medium for me, too, with a slow start (ZAP x ELIZA) and then a slow acceleration. Loved ARTICHOKES, CHINCHILLA, ASH TREES, TEA over BRITISH, and the SENIORS-OLD GOATS step-down.

Happy mistake: from the IE, I guessed roLLIE Fox, before remembering that was Fingers, but the double L helped me with BOTTLE SHOP and ON A LEASH.

Agree with Anonymous 8:59 - From what I've read of the BOLEYNs, they wouldn't have wanted to be considered Tudors.

joho 10:41 AM  

I must have woken up on the dumb side of the bed. While most here found this medium, this one ate my lunch. Which is odd because I usually am on the same wave length as the super-talented Mr. Collins. Looking at the grid all filled in I still don't get why this was so tough for me but it started at rEst for MEDS and went downhill from there. I did get OMNIPRESENT right off the bat, though!

Great puzzle, Peter!

Matt, hope you come back soon, you did a fabulous job this week. I am looking forward to Rex's return tomorrow!

Z 10:57 AM  

If Henry VIII is a Tudor, don't his various spouses become Tudors after being sentenced to marry him? Isn't that how the whole thing works? Or is it a different catechism class, again?

jdv 11:07 AM  

Med-Challenging w/1 error. ATBAy. It was a 50/50 guess and I went with what I've heard before. Whatever. I got started with SLOE/ALSO and slowly worked my way around the grid. Had SHALEOIL before CRUDEOIL because I had just watched Gasland and Fracknation. WOW before OOH and ABC before AIS. Never heard of Nellie Cox. There are 306 people in the Baseball hall of fame and I assume all of them are crossword worthy.

allan 11:31 AM  

I found this much harder than most, but finally got DOWN GOES FRAZIER (I can still hear Cosell's voice), and then the rest fell into place.

@lms from yesterday (and I guess today), unlike your thought process, I love your posts, and scan the blog to read them first.

@Matt, another great week of critiques. I can't wait til next time.

Lewis 11:35 AM  


In the PPP, replace "premier premiere" (which was me trying to be clever but ending up, I think, being too vague) with "biggest beginner".

So now the PPP reads: Which puzzle answer reveals this puzzle's biggest beginner?

Again, if you wish to post an answer, just write the second letter or use .

r.alphbunker 11:36 AM  
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Leapfinger 11:52 AM  

Well, there's certainly nothing pierogial about today's comments. Just remember, urinal of this together, u know. (@r.alph, you're a whiz at this)

@loren, thanks for adding the new kid to your list.
@jberg, I'd love to hear all about Mtl. That's rhetorical, no response req'd.
@GrannyS,@CaroleS -- You're perfectly right about 'disinterested, but 'disinterest', no -ed, has a 2nd def: Lack of interest. See that Miriam Webster herself agrees.

Leftovers for JTHartley: You're 100% right on the movie THTC and THTF; I was thinking of the song.

The harder they come, the harder they fall, One and all, one and all.

If you're keen on the movie, I hope you've had a chance to see JCliff live in concert. Years ago, he appeared locally, and all unsuspecting, I took a minor child in my care to see him. Due to atmospheric conditions, said minor child was noted to be all bright-eyed and smiley well before the concert started. I was of two minds about whether we should leave, but an accompanying pediatrician said, "Oh well, harm's done". I hope the statute of limitations on child endangerment has run out, and no subsequent effects were ever noted. The concert was, in a word, fabulous.

Today: the PACman, as always, a pleasure. Just the right amount of stop&thinks and groovy clues. Had EDOM before ELAM, entered TOLEDO but wanted MURANO.

The CHINCHILLA is just a mouse in its Sunday coat.

RAITA makes me happy, goes well with almost anything, and fresh BIALIE[Y]S were always the go-to breakfast treat when visiting NYC (hi @CPilaster!)

Am guessing the atheists in the room left a couple of blank entries.

As a kid, I was a voracious reader about the 6 wives of Henry8, Philip2 of Spain, the Armada and all that jazz. BOLEYN (the first Anne) was my favourite, and is well-remembered in song [excuse the not-insert):

I CHOKEd in the South with ERnani before EROICA. It's always a tossup Verdi heck Hugo after a stammering ER- start. But that [Ducky web sites] turning out to be TOES made me very happy.

@Lewis, I had a clue but no idea about Junipero SERRA; coulda been a bit of taxonomy for all of me.
@AliasZ, I thought "Der TOD und das Madchen" was about a young lass who was into expensive shoes.

All told, DIS SENT me away happy, got my SEAL of approval. MattGaffney, you NAIL it with your blog, and I like the way you step in with comments. It's been swell having you.

Leapfinger 12:23 PM  

Who would suspect I could have anything more to say?

@loren, keep an eye out for 'pearl TEA', sometimes scented with jasmine. Narrow strips of leaf are rolled into balls about 5-6mm diameter; I've no idea how TIS done if not by hand. IT ALL COSTS quite a bit, can run between $12-115 per pound, but really pretty when the pearls unfurl while steeping.

No, @EvilD, I'm not trying to be FRAZIER than @loren.

Anonymous 12:42 PM  

@r.alph, I'm musing on the gender implications of allowing BIDET but blocking the more ubiquitous URINAL. I'm just curious about what would have neen M. Farrar's position on this, compared with W. Shortz'.

In a similar vein, it's odd that there's reaction to having accepted attributes of a widely accepted deity. I seem to remember a handful of Egyptian deities, an occasional ASTARTE, recurring BAALs, even a YAHWEH appearing essentially without reaction. It may all be perspective and POV, and I should be phoenician this.


Moly Shu 12:43 PM  

@Jberg, I clicked on your linked picture of a TIT. Imagine my disappointment....

Renee Downing 1:11 PM  

@Granny Smith @Carol Schmurak - Totally agree about "disinterest." It is the second definition; what I dislike (or should I say unlike?) about it is that because people use "disinterested" to mean "uninterested," we're losing the sense of an adjective that has no close synonym.

joho 1:20 PM  

@loren muse smith, I forgot to mention: yes! Let's be co-presidents!

Laurence Katz 1:36 PM  

I was sure the Richard Pryor movie was "The Toy." Which left me unable to finish the NE.
I also agree. Disinterest might be a shrug or "who cares?," but not a yawn.

Bomaka 2:07 PM  

From an old goat who has been lurking here for a while, toiling with the puzzles, I wanted to get involved. This seemed a puzzle right up my aloe.

Chinchilla: died of a heart attack (apparently it happens easily - this is why kids should not have them for pets) when my 6 yo was chasing it around her room to show it off to a friend.
Ash trees: here in the northeast the emerald ash borer has swept in and we have had to trim/ destroy a number of trees. The bats fortunately don't live in them, but in our barn...
Bialyes: Reading Steinhauer's book Liberation Movement about Eastern Europe- the names and places there really cue one in to the SOOO unfamiliar combinations of letters.
God: lapsed catholic/atheist so omni- and inf- easy to figure out.
Artichokes and riata: usual fare chez nous.
Tod: smoking daughter lives in Germany and all the cigarette packs have that "tod" word on them.
Oise: went to the Sorbonne so know many of the rivers, etc. However, I often fail to recall American rivers.

This blog is both entertaining and educational, and (because I have been lurking so long) I feel you frequent posters are almost friends, and look forward daily to your comments, particularly in response to OFL's comments.

Questinia 2:14 PM  

So, this puzzle was not a wet blanket in the urinal of my life and for that I am grateful. Apologies to ralphie-boy.
More like a paean of browned butter on a potato pierogi, touch of sour cream, TRIM of chives. Salutations to salta-digit.

Z 2:17 PM  

The usage note in the Oxford Dictionaries might save a few of you from continuing in your certainty, but somehow I doubt it. I do find great irony in the "wrong" usage being first. I would add that to my ear there is another subtle difference in the "not interested" meanings of "uninterested" and "disinterested." "Un-" suggests having never been interested, like my interest in memorizing all French Departments. "Dis-" suggests having once been interested and having learned that I was wasting my time, like my interest in catechism.

@leapfinger - "Am guessing the atheists in the room left a couple of blank entries." Funny! Looking forward to a nihilist crossword puzzle, now.

RooMonster 2:33 PM  

Hey All!
I can't seem to access the NYT site today. It won't load up. Everything else is loading on my computer, I wonder what's up...

So, (Hi@LMS!) I didn't get to do the puz today, (of course, after yesterdays, I'm not sure if I wanted to tackle a Friday!), ergo, I cannot comment, maybe I'll just peruse the answers (which I haven't yet.)

Oh, be amazed at this (and a pat on my own back!)


mac 2:48 PM  

It took me a long time too to get a toe hold, but then it started rolling along nicely.

Two little words that caused me some trouble: WOW at 23D and FEET instead of toes.

Thank you, Matt, what a good week it was!

Gill I. P. 2:59 PM  

Finally getting to read all the comments....
@AliasZ: Your first post had me holding my sides from laughter. You and @Leapy remind me of Hepburn and Grant in "Bringing up Baby."
@Bomaka: Where have you been hiding?

JFC 3:09 PM  

@ r.alphbunker, Have you ever seen an OLD GOAT use a urinal? Not a pretty sight....


AliasZ 3:24 PM  


It was a pleasure reading your blog this week. You gave a different feel to the entire room. Instead of discussing the attitudes and moods of OFL, we actually discussed the puzzle, and all the tangential silliness that it elicited in our minds. What a novel idea for a blog!

Thank you, and please come back to visit us soon.

JTHurst 4:01 PM  

So many places to start but the more fascinating idea broached was the Philosophical crossword puzzles.

1. The atheist would leave blank any clue with religious connotations.
2. The anarchist would have no crossing clues, each one would stand alone.
3. The nihilist would have no clues just one black square.
4. Empiricists would only answer clues of which they had direct experience.
5. Nietzschists would have the same clue repeated over and over again until they got it perfectly right, and
6. A follower of Jerry Fodor is your normal crosswordaholic who comments in this blog.

Infallible is not associated with the pope but with our own SteveJ.

Leap, my kids are avid Bob Marley fans and I concur he was great but to hear great reggae singing you have to hear Jimmy Cliff in person. The Sam Cooke of reggae. I agree with you 100%.

foxaroni 4:10 PM  

I resent the implication that a GEEZER (which I am) is an OLDGOAT (which I am not--at least, I don't think I am....).

And by all means, let's banish all references to Judeo-Christian dieties, questionable corporations like Wal-Mart, dictators' names like Amin and Assad, all references to the current political structure and potential candidates, product names of any kind, and especially POCs.

Boy, do I feel better now!

r.alphbunker 4:26 PM  


Brilliant! Can I post that over at

I am really curious about Jerry Fodor. What do you recommend that I read to understand your comment about bloggers here?

BTW, an agnostic does the puzzles in pencil.

Lewis 4:31 PM  


Premiere in French means "first", so the premier premiere is the finest first. It can also mean the biggest beginning.

The biggest beginner in this puzzle is the letter A, which starts more words than any other letter. The clue that tells which is the biggest beginner is 40D, AIS.

Anoa Bob 4:34 PM  

As a card-carrying agnostic dyslexic insomniac, I'm conflicted by 4D & 8D. Most nights I lie awake wondering if there really is a doG.

Glad to hear from other Jimmy Cliff fans out there. Still have a couple of his vinyl LP's and, in spite of being played many times, they're still in good shape. Definitely crank-it-up music. Crank this one up:

Jimmy Cliff Vietnam

Anoa Bob 4:47 PM  

Or this one:

Who Feels It, Knows It

The Flying Spaghetti Monster 4:48 PM  

@JT HURST - Pastafarians would write a puzzle like a Pirate, but not in Kansas.

Anonymous 5:44 PM  

No way am I accepting "bialies" as an alternative form of the plural "bialys." You don't take a foreign word and apply English-language rules to the spelling of its plurals. It's "bialys" as plural of bialy or nothing.

salta digit 8:50 PM  

I know I've gone over the Cliff already, but today's comments have been a *most* entertaining and edifying read, thanks to the @Zs (original and Alias), @r.alph's urinal, @JTHurst's Philosophy, as ever @lms and much more from many more.

@Bomaka, glad you lost your lurk; I'm sure aloe us welcome you.
@JFC, re OLD GOATS: Honoré Balzac
@Gilly, YOU are prescient!!
@foxaroni, Maine coon cats and BRITISH bikes, eh? I've seen a Triumph dismembered and strewn all over a kitchen floor. You have my sympathy!
@Lewis, I'm afraid you misoverestimated your public today. Come back to our level tomorrow.
@Questingirl, I wouldn't say this to anyone else: Pepper a pinkie

Nytol, from
Aloe Etta

JTHurst 8:54 PM  


That is why you have 'free will', you have the freedom to post it as you will.

Fodor's Language of Thought Hypothesis seems to mirror our cognitive process of discerning crossword puzzles.

This to me is Jimmy's greatest song and describes our sojourn here in Middle Earth.

Sorry, someone needs to explain again how we post links on our comments again

michael 9:16 PM  

Very easy Friday for me. But it wouldn't be so easy if I didn't know sports. Nellie Fox was a gimme for me, but I am sure it wasn't for most people. And "down goes Frazier" is a big part of the puzzle. Also Starr.

If these were all unfathomable blanks inferable only by crosses, the puzzle would have been much more difficult.

michael 9:17 PM  

Very easy Friday for me. But it wouldn't be so easy if I didn't know sports. Nellie Fox was a gimme for me, but I am sure it wasn't for most people. And "down goes Frazier" is a big part of the puzzle. Also Starr.

If these were all unfathomable blanks inferable only by crosses, the puzzle would have been much more difficult.

Embedder 9:28 PM  

@JT Hurst - less than sign, the letter a, space, the four letters href, equal sign, open quote, URL, close quote, greater than sign, the text you want to appear, less than sign, slash, the letter a, greater than sign.

Anonymous 10:00 PM  

Had "tickled pink" for elated instead of "on cloud nine", which really slowed me down.

600 12:11 AM  

@Z--You'll never know, unless I tell you here, how much your comment helped today. I could not parse OISE for department at all, at all, at all--even mentions previous to your comment were mysteries to me here. So thanks for the link--a link which will make it possible for me to sleep tonight.

And I gotta say it though someone else already did--Anne Boleyn was not a Tudor, though her husband and daughter were. Anne Boleyn was a Boleyn! I hated that clue.

Joseph Welling 12:35 AM  

"Can someone please explain 35A - DISSENT for Minority report?"

It's been explained already, but I'll add to it.

The opinion (or judgment or "report") of the court is usually a majority opinion. Opinions disagreeing on the outcome are dissenting opinions which must be minority opinions. However, there are concurring opinions (which must be minority opinions but are not dissenting opinions). And in some cases the court's opinion is not a majority opinion but just the opinion of the largest minority.

Joseph Welling 12:43 AM  

"You don't take a foreign word and apply English-language rules to the spelling of its plurals."

I bet I could make a list of acceptable contrary examples.


dryen 10:42 AM  

No one in Norway refers to Oslo as the Tiger City.

Anonymous 10:45 AM  

Did anyone not put Brown for STARR? Aptly named both i'd say...

Maruchka 8:49 AM  

@Joseph W - Thanks for the fine parsing on DISSENT and English-fied plurals. I didn't know that concurring opinions are also 'minority report's.

I love Philip Dick and like cacti and crania.

Anonymous 10:04 AM  

I got stumped on Fox. JIMMIE Fox was a Hall of Famer
as well.

Anonymous 1:54 PM  

No, "Jimmie Fox" isn't in the HOF, "Jimmie Foxx" is; in fact, that was his official nickname -- "Double X". Easy to remember. As for the puzzle in general, shouldn't have been a Friday -- way too easy! I'm very grateful that no Googling was required nor any knowledge of pop culture, but way too many obvious answers and gimmes. Not that it wasn't enjoyable, it was -- just enjoyable as a Tuesday or Wednesday, not a Friday.

Bob Kerfuffle 5:09 AM  

Good one.

I am reminded of the line about the Briton visiting America who requested his tea "without the surgical dressing."

qtbluemoon 9:56 AM  

Syndicated puzzler here, so no one will probably see this - first time commenting.

Don't remember Richard Pryor in the Wiz, so I put in toy (awful movie, but I remember it) - that was all she wrote for me. Big fat DNF.

Anonymous 12:06 PM  

@bluemoon. Not to worry. There are many syndicators in the same boat. I personally believe many of us don't comment because just about everything has already been said.
Today's puzz was a medium challenge for me but I slugged it out with one DNF.

Ron Diego 9:05 PDT 8/29/14

spacecraft 1:02 PM  

Welcome to @qtbluemoon! There aren't enough of us syndi-posters, so hang in there; it will get better.

One look at the clue for 17a was enough to evoke good ol' Howard, in one of his sober moments (I think) yelling "DOWNGOESFRAZIER!" twice. Thus the top was a piece of bialy for me.

Not so the west, where I couldn't let go of OMNIPotENT for way too long...not even noticing that I had doubled the E and the word wasn't long enough! (duh, or doh!)

Finally remembered STARR (double d_h) and got that mess straightened out. This OLDGOAT managed to know just enough other stuff to fill it all in, often by leaps of logic. B__LESHO_ became BOTTLESHOP, etc.

No way would I call this easy, but as a themeless I have to marvel at the junkless fill. The GOURDE/HAITI thing is admittedly pretty obscure, but they went in on crosses, so no harm, no foul, "no PASA nada." I give it an A.

My captcha 254 gets an F.

longbeachlee 1:07 PM  

@ Lewis, we Californians are expected to know New York subways, etc. Don't complain about one occurrence of Californiana. Padre Serra is probably the most influential person in California history, not to.mention controversial.

DMG 1:31 PM  

Almost most no toehold the first time through. So many things I dont know. I had ZAP, ASHTREES, and a couple of maybes. My breakthrough came from considering both of Henry's ill fated wives, BOLEYN and Howard, and remembering the later was the survivor. (Divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived. ) At any rate the B gave me BOTTLESHOP, and from there I squeaked out a finish, just accepting that some of the results were right. They were! Enjoyed the workout.

@Waxy. Thanks for the opals, my birthstone! I'll treasure them as I contemplate today's loser: 1777.

10:30 PDT

Dirigonzo 4:17 PM  

With DOWNGOESFxxxxxx in place the first name that came to mind was Foreman; it took a long time to clear that faux pas up but I managed. Guessing right on the SERRA/RIATA cross was a bit of luck.

387 - 'TIS a natural!

Waxy in Montreal 6:20 PM  

Won't call it quite an INFALLIBLE Friday but just for once guessed correctly at both my natticks (SERRA/RAITA and BIALIES/OISE/COSA).

Certainly we sports fans of a certain vintage (OLDGOATS perhaps) had an advantage today with Bart STARR, NELLIE Fox and the Howard Cossell 1973 quotation.

Won't be many ASHTREES in the northeast left to become baseball bats if the Emerald Ash Borers plaguing us now continue to have their way.

Any mention of Ann Boleyn always reminds me of the great respect (not) BRITISHSOLDIERS and their kith still have for her as evidenced by the Stanley Holloway song "With Her Head Tucked Underneath Her Arm". Think the Kingston Trio recorded a cover version in more recent times.

121. @DMG and her opals still hold sway.

leftcoastTAM 7:02 PM  

Once again, I miss @sanfranman59's ratings. They'd probably confirm our good blogger's "not too tough for a Friday", but it's always nice to have them as a relatively objective check.

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