Blue-flowered Mediterranean herb / FRI 7-18-14 / 1994 memoir with chapter on New Robot Novels / Campus spot for Bluto Otter and Boon

Friday, July 18, 2014

Constructor: Ian Livengood

Relative difficulty: Fridayish

THEME: No theme 

Word of the Day: BORAGE (49A: Blue-flowered Mediterranean herb) —
Borage /ˈbɒr.ɪdʒ/ (Borago officinalis), also known as a starflower, is an annual herb. It is native to the Mediterranean region and has naturalized in many other locales. It grows satisfactorily in gardens in the UK climate, remaining in the garden from year to year by self-seeding. The leaves are edible and the plant is grown in gardens for that purpose in some parts of Europe. The plant is also commercially cultivated for borage seed oil extracted from its seeds. (Wikipedia)
• • •

Howdy, crossword fans. Doug here. Rex is still off on his much-deserved vacation in New Zealand. Let me check his itinerary ... Oh, today he's planning to tour the boyhood home of The Bushwhackers. It's a National Monument.

I was chatting with Ryan Hecht (owner of the Clover Theater and co-founder of Lollapuzzoola) last week, and we decided that the Friday puzzle is usually the best puzzle of the NY Times week, especially when it's constructed by one of the classic Friday constructors: Berry, Quigley, Silk, Nothnagel. Ryan remembers the first time he was able to correctly finish an entire Friday NY Times puzzle. What a thrill! And that thrill gave birth to a crossword blog & hooking up with some dude named Brian to put together a weekly podcast and an amazing crossword tournament which, by the way, is the only crossword tournament currently held in New York City. (Register now!) But what if Ryan had run into an impossible crossing? Or if he'd been interrupted and never come back to that pivotal Friday puzzle? The course of human history would have been changed forever, and I'd have nothing to do on a Saturday in August.

An Ian Livengood byline is a welcome sight on a Friday, so let's get to the puzzle. Typically smooth Livengoodian grid. A bit on the easy side for a Friday, but I'm usually on Ian's wavelength. I'm going to give him a demerit for OON at 52-Across. There's a reason it spells "Noo!" backwards. However OON is a small price to pay for YA HEARD, 'FRAID SO, RUSSIAN MOB, RODEO DRIVE, SLEAZEBALL, THE REBELS, RAP GROUPS, etc. There's plenty to like here.

  • DELTA HOUSE (12D: Campus spot for Bluto, Otter and Boon) — Double secret probation! Super entry. All the long entries are fun today, though I'm not 100% sold on ...
  • I GET IT OKAY (28D: "All right already!") — Whaddya think? I wanted it to be I GET IT, I GET IT. This works, but it feels a tad arbitrary to me.
  • COSTAS (22A: Bob of play-by-play) — I initially entered UECKER, because who doesn't love Bob Uecker? Juuust a bit outside.

  • BED HOP (35A: Sleep around) — I was looking for something cutesy here, so the straightforward answer surprised me. This one and HELL (3D: Something to catch from scolding parents) give the puzzle a mildly saucy vibe.
  • I, ASIMOV (1994 memoir with a chapter on "New Robot Novels") — Ooh, I should read this. Asimov is great, and he wrote a bajillion books. 
Signed, Doug Peterson, Drafter of CrossWorld Codicils


wreck 12:18 AM  

I thoroughly enjoyed this 45 minute puzzle although it might have had something to do withe fact that I worked it in the backyard smoking a Cuban cigar in 68 degree mid-July Dallas weather!
This went down fairly smoothly until I got down to the SW corner. I struggled to get EYEBATH, and it probably didn't help that I mis-spelled SAVALAS with an E, I didn't know BORAGE or AKIHITO. I had to Google to finish.

jae 12:32 AM  

Delightful!  But, still a tad too easy for a Fri.   Easy-medium for me mostly because of REplIeS before REJOIN (I suspect I'm not alone) and EYEBAll before BATH (I forgot about SLEAZEBALL).   This is loaded with zip and had me smiling from 1a.  Speaking of which, my first thought was "feel me" but nothing worked.  Not sure if it means "ya know what I'm sayin" but they sure said it a lot on "The Wire".



Remember what I said a while back about anything referring to flavoring being ANISE...there you go...except for the uncomfortable POC.

Excellent IAN, thanks!  You too Doug!

Mohair Sam 12:35 AM  

Favorite puzzle experience for us. Scanned the clues once and thought about throwing the thing in the garbage. Cursed the hip-hop slang thing, who were Stubb and Flask? Figure in New Yorker cartoons? Turned out we knew them all after a letter or two. What fun.

After staring at the thing for a while I finally remembered TERRELL, guessed right on FRAIDSO, remembered DELTAHOUSE and the whole puzzle filled quickly (for us). Last holdup was laptoPS for GELCAPS - bet we weren't alone on that one.

Learned BORAGE tonight. Loved duplicate clues for AMO/AMAT. IASIMOV cooly sussable - neat title, gotta read it now. Wasn't STUBB second-mate? And finally - didn't know we knew AKIHITO.

Nice Friday romp, if just a little on the easy side once we got rolling. Thanks Ian Livengood.

Evan 12:39 AM  

Doug, I assume you know about Bushwhacker Luke having one of the fastest Royal Rumble eliminations ever? In the 1991 match he went down the aisle with his trademark Bushwhacker Walk. Four seconds later he was out, then he went back up the aisle with the same walk.

The puzzle: Nice. Lots of fun long entries, though at the cost of some shorter stuff that Doug pointed out (I'd put OSH and AAHED in that category, though they're not the worst offenders ever).

I was a bit shaky in the southwest where I wasn't sure if it was gonna be DEBASE or DEFAME, and neither BORAGE nor SAVALAS was familiar to me, but fortunately I chose the correct one. I also don't really get the question mark on the clue for ASTRONAUT. It seems pretty literal, no?

Doug P 12:50 AM  

Evan, I remember it well! I was in college at the time, and my buddies and I organized a Royal Rumble pool. You paid five bucks to get two numbers, which corresponded to the order the wrestlers came into the ring. The order wasn’t announced ahead of time, so you had no idea who you were going to get. I ended up with Davey Boy Smith (awesome) and Shane Douglas (lame). People were literally rolling on the floor laughing when Luke got tossed out of the ring.

wreck 1:02 AM  

I really should proofread before I hit send. :0

Questinia 1:10 AM  

This puzzle reeked of a men's locker room.


Not a feminine frou-frou anywhere. Well. maybe BORAGE. But have you actually seen BORAGE? Hairy, blue and coarse. A men's locker room flower even.

I DNF because I didn't know TERRELL WHOSIEWHATSIE. I thought it was probably dERRELL. Now had the cross been FTD.

Send the girls some flowers in this man cave puzzle of yours, Ian.

wreck 1:17 AM  

@ Questinia

What about CACKLED??

Graham 1:58 AM  

What's wrong with OON? Though I wanted it to be ALO.

And borage is fun to have in the garden. Kids love to nibble on it. Worth a shot, all.

Moly Shu 3:31 AM  

The entire NE went in easily, and then REplieS (hi @Jae) and EYElAsH corrected and I was done. Hand up for BORAGE being new. Very crunchy, if a little too easy. Liked it.

@Evan and @DougP, I remember that RR also for that exact reason. The B'whackers were my 2nd fav tag team (after the Road Warriors, of course), and I was all jacked up to watch them. 4 seconds later, it was all over. I could only laugh at the absurdity of it.

@Wreck, I suspect you may catch some 3D with that one. Still laughing!!!!

Mohair Sam 6:47 AM  

@Questinia - Your post is dead on. You might have mentioned that it gets no more macho than SAVALAS; and even both Saints were guys.

@Wreck - Your post is also dead on, and made our morning here.

Gill I. P. 6:55 AM  

RAPsheet before RAPGROUP..MANagua before SAN JOSE and why do I want to always add a Z in ASIMOV's name?
ARCO stopped being Arco Arena some years ago. It became Sleep Train and who knows what it will become in the future since Sacramento is building a new down-town bajillion dollar basketball arena thanks to some very wealthy people and tax payer's money. Hey, if I have a hot dog and beer concession stand in a cushy area, I'd also be thrilled!
Liked some of the colloquialisms here - but then again I always do. YAHEARD, FRAIDSO, TERELL.
Doug P. I'd add your name to the favorite Friday classic constructors.
RODEO DRIVE makes my nose SCRUNCH.

Lewis 7:58 AM  

The NE went down so fast, like a Tuesday, then things slowed down considerably. Did not know AKIHITO or RUSSIANMOB or DELTAHOUSE or TERRELL. Things fell, but I needed a Google or two. Overall I liked the solve, but it did not feel easy. I liked FRAIDSO, and even EYEBATH! And I think it is cool that eight answers end with an o.

HELL over RODEODRIVE makes me think of hell on wheels.

POST PUZZLE PUZZLE (PPP) -- To add to Questinia's woes, this is basketball based. There is a notable feat in the sport that can be found in this puzzle. Who is the youngest player to achieve this feat (Googling is allowed)?

If you wish to post an answer, write the player's first initial, which can be a hint to those having trouble with this PPP.

Arlene 8:01 AM  

This puzzle was definitely not in my comfort zone - heavy on the sports, names I didn't know, etc. I had to Google to get this thing finished - and even then I was slogging through.
So, reality check here - not everyone thought this was an easy Friday. Still - a good feeling when those squares are all filled in!

r.alphbunker 8:20 AM  

I recently read "How About Never, Is Never Good For You" by Bob Mankoff who is cartoon editor at the New Yorker. Other cartoon genres include, castaways on a deserted island, the grim reaper, and variations on the evolution from fish to human diagram.

I was struck by how similar Mankoff's job must be to Will Shortz's. He gets thousands of cartoons but only very few are ever published.

Mankoff started the cartoon bank partly as a place where decent rejected cartoons could be published. Searching for crossword turned up 16 cartoons.

dk 8:23 AM  

🌕🌕🌕 (3 MOONS)

IGETITOKAY and EYEBATH are the sea anchors in this grid. Knowing AHAB (from a recent reread of Moby Dick) saved the day.

Otherwise, as has been penned: A fine puzzle.

@Wreck's CACKLE post has the milk coming out of my nose - Bring me that little dog…

Off to Texas for two weeks of hot weather. Hope to find alternative (to rural WI) housing in Wimberley TX on the Rio Blanco.

AliasZ 8:24 AM  

Another excellent themeless by Livin' Iangood. I like this young man's work.

I loved that he included tons of feminine-centric entries. You can't see it? Let me explain. Here is a sample of a lady's cellphone conversation I happened to overhear recently:

"AM AT RODEO DRIVE... I oohed and AAHED when I saw this FAB pair of shoes... Yeah, even CACKLED... Sure, I GET IT OKAY. It doesn't COSTAS much as his golf bag... And I saw the coolest shower caps made of gelatin. They are called GELCAPS, get it?... Anyway, I am dying of borage... No, I said BORAGE... It's like boredom but ten times worse... HELLs Bels, wanna go BEDHOPping after I'm done shopping?... No, I'll tell you all about it at the PTA meeting... You can't? Then our RAP GROUP at the DELTA HOUSE book club Tuesday night... Guess what, I met a fireman... Cute doesn't describe him... He has such A NISE S... No, no, no, S as in ASTRONAUT... He let me play with his... Oh, you're a NUTCASE. Not fireballs, FIRE HOSES!... What's the matter, Bels?... Oh, really? Did you try to SCRUNCH into it?... Are you sure the tag says 9, not 7?... THERE BELS, don't cry... ENCASE we won't meet on Tuesday, OPEN BAR night is on Wednesday near the military base... Not the vase, DE BASE, DE BASE... Yeah, that one... YA HEARD? They say it's run by the RUSSIAN MOB... No, that's where I met the fireman. He's Russian... His name? Sergei IASIMOV. No, not Nabokov, IASIMOV... I don't care if he finds out, HE'LL survive... You'll meet someone there, just don't be yourself. BE NICE... OH NO, his menoPorsche just pulled up... FRAID SO, I recognize it with all that CHROME... HELL, gotta run..."

Honest truth, I really heard this.

EYEBATH was easy. It describes perfectly how I clean my eyepit before reinserting the glass eye.

Another thoroughly enjoyable crossweek comes to a great close. Now how about a Doug Peterson Saturday?

To round out this week, let us enjoy the Coronation Anthem: The King Shall REJOINS by G. F. Handel. Back a few decades ago I sang in this piece (among many others) as member of a chorus at Rutgers University. The best time I ever had.

Thank you, Ian. And Doug for the terrific write-up.

TGIF to all.

Glimmerglass 8:25 AM  

This was hard, even for a Friday. More than an hour (I don't Google). Lots of fun stuff. I didn't like I GET IT OKAY, though I did finally get it okay. It's really not one answer.

mathguy 8:34 AM  

A little cranky this morning because I needed help to get THEREBELS, so a DNF. The only college football I follow is West Coast.

There were two or three nice clues, but they were outweighed by some which were arbitrary/awkward/incorrect.

COSTAS: I suppose that he did play-by-play at some time in hid career, but now he is exclusively a host on sports shows.


AGO. "Days __"

NUTCASE: Not what I would use to describe a crank.

IRKS: I can't find it among the synonyms.

ONES: "Tender with Washington."

SETAT: "Switched to, as on a thermostat."

AMO, AMAT: Where's AMAS?

Carola 8:35 AM  

This puzzle has the kind of Friday or Saturday ambiguous cluing I like - noun? verb? kind of item? ("box," "squeeze," "tablets" ), so that my first pass through the Acrosses got me only ISLA and OON. I found the Downs quite a bit easier, though, and enjoyed seeing the longer Acrosses come into view. Ended up finding it on the easy side.

One do-over: Range before REACH. Had to write in the consonants for S?V?L?S and then sort out the vowels from crosses.

I learned BORAGE from German friends who grew it in their garden and used it in salads, especially with cucumbers (besides Borretsch, it's also known as Gurkenkraut, "cucumber herb").

Tip of the hat to @Questinia and @Wreck!

joho 8:37 AM  

Nice, @Alias Z!

Anybody else have REtOrTs before REJOINS?


Lovely puzzle, Ian, jam-packed with interesting words and phrases.

I have to agree with Doug, though, regarding OON, but the clue, "Buff finish? is great.

Thanks for the write-up, Doug, here's hoping we'll see a puzzle from you soon!

jberg 8:43 AM  

Yeah, easy and smooth, even though I knew few of the names.

But the distressing thing is that I've grown BORAGE a few times, but was slowed (well, a few seconds) because my visual memory of it featured brown flowers. I looked it up, and it turned out I was thinking of dock -- mental wires crossed somewhere. This seems to be happening more and more, so that if I disappear from this blog, you'll know the reason.

But not next week, when I'll be disappearing until Friday due to a trip to Montreal. See ya later!

Lewis 8:50 AM  

@aliasz -- once again terrific post. Did you have some IEWZTOAST for breakfast?

Joseph Welling 8:52 AM  

mathguy said:
"COSTAS: I suppose that he did play-by-play at some time in hid career, but now he is exclusively a host on sports shows."

Yep. I knew it was the correct answer, but I also don't ever remember seeing or hearing Bob Costas doing play-by-play. I'm sure he did one time or another, but it's certainly not what he's known for.

Leapfinger 9:32 AM  

@I. Doug Peterson, don't pass up ASIMOV's Biochemistry texts, his take on phosphorylation is AZO good!

@Alias, I didn't realize you were EVEsdropping.

Dreamed I was stuck in an old Newhart show. No matter how I squinched my EYE, I couldn't see past DERRELL, MERRELL, FERRELL and CERRELL to see TERRELL in the back of the room. And all I could hear was the ringing of them THERE BELS...Did I finally reveal square 16? FRAID SO, cuz fraud is everywhere.

Neat to amass AMO and AMAT under the same clue-banner, and SLY to homophonocryptolink 'awed' and AAHED. It took some WIDTH and GIRTH to REACH all parts of the puz

Yesterday, we had TOES as stocking-stuffers, today we got us a GILA barefoot SAN JOSE. I mean, let's just FIREHOSE and shoo away all further mention of footwear. It's getting to be AHABit, and fetish is as fetish does, y'know?

If you think that's bad, I had one about IASIMOV, a NUTCASE and STPETER walk into an OPENBAR, but I'm sparing you. The punchline was 'S OON.

G OSH, The Liven just keeps gettin better, doesn't he? And I love that IGET_TOKAY

loren muse smith 9:35 AM  

Hey, Doug – thanks for the write-up, but I'm with @Gil I.P. - you left out your name from the list of great Friday constructors. I love it when your name is at the top of a Friday.

I agree with @Mohair Sam on this – first sweep, OSH, OON, EVER, I ASIMOV and I thought I was done. Then little by little most of it magically came together. Not all, though. (Hey, @Arlene) – some hiccoughs. . .

"cash" for OPEN
"laptops" for GELCAPS (hey again, @Mohair Sam)
Considered "flak" for HELL and was thrilled to see it was indeed HELL.
Wanted "slime" for SLEAZE and then misspelled it "sleeze" and never looked back. So that was the death blow for my northeast, joining "fcc" for FTC, "inks" for IRKS, and being utterly clueless on OLD SOD.

@r.alph – that's a great link for the cartoons. Some funny stuff there.

Ironic that COSTAS shares the grid with EYEBATH. Sochi stye and all that.

@jae, @Moly Shiu, @joho – since OON and I ASIMOV were in place, I never considered "replies" or "retorts," though that _OI_ stumped me for a while. REJOINS is a cool word, one that I never really hear anyone say.
"OH NO. He caught HELL for that from his dad? What did he REJOIN?" Or maybe, "Was he able to come up with a snarky rejoinment? (rejoint?)

Anyway. . . back from Maine and happy to REJOIN my friends here. Seriously. Speaking of (flying to) Maine and ETD in the grid, if you EVER consider flying into Portland, Maine during the summer, please email me so I can tell you what a massively dumb idea that is. I won't bore anyone with details (she's coachable, folks!) – being regaled with someone's Travel Trouble Story ranks right up there with hearing about his thyroid medication. . .

David Sedaris' Standing By

As usual, nice job, Ian.

Leapfinger 9:48 AM  

@r.alph, somewhere in the cloud there's a piece on Mankoff that I came across not too long ago. It's a Sunday Morning kind of format; interview, meetings with cartoonists and editors, following him through the process. Very interesting [to me -- I go way back with the New Yorker], and perhaps you can find it.

Seems to me there are parallels in the worlds of cartooning and crossword construction.

Bob Kerfuffle 9:57 AM  


Nice puzzle, NE was last to fall. Nice write-up.

Looking forward to Lollapuzzoola 7, but right now, gotta catch a plane!

Anonymous 9:57 AM  

I agree with mathguy. Irks is not a synonym for needles. Needling is only one way to irk someone. Bob Costas is not play by play. And I don't see what crank and nutcase have in common at all. I like cranks. I avoid nutcases.

Z 10:04 AM  

75% easy - 25% DNF. BORAGE? Isn't that what happens when listening to others' travel woes? (Welcome back @LMS). EYEBATH sure, but do you ever wash your EYEPITS? I figured Stubbs and Flask were doing vice in Florida. A Colorado feeder - well heck, there are hundreds, right? GILA is a crossriver, but my frustration was such that it never appeared. Having DEepen where DEBASE belongs did not help.

Love the opening conversation, YA HEARD? FRAID SO. Sort of summed up the news of the day yesterday. Hand up for tablets before GELCAPS and for having cheap friends as the reception had a cash BAR before an OPEN BAR.

ONES? OH NO! serves as the entire Rexian blog post for a Quad Stack puzzle.

CACKLES is a great word. I imagine @Wreck doing just that as he hit for the third time.

Casco Kid 10:33 AM  

Medium challenging. 1:40. 2 googles: DRSEUSS, NYS. 4 errors: SETAs/EYEwAsH/ BORsGE/sHAw. Oooof.

seC for FTC blocked the NE for the longest time.

In addition to the googles and errors, there was a lot of new: YAHEARD, AHAB as clued, BORAGE, ARCO, OLDSOD, GILA, THEREBELS, ANISES as clued.

I'm with @AliasZ and @Z: You wash your eyes with an EYEwASH, but clearly you wash your EYEPITs with an EYEBATH.

All of the longer clues were gettable after a fashion, but not one fell easily.

But NYS is a negatory. I submit it needs an M&A runt-esque-?? But Livengood is an editor, and he lives in NYC, like Will, so . . . .??

wreck 10:43 AM  

@ Lewis

I think you are looking for "L"

jdv 11:08 AM  

Med-Challenging w/1 error. BoDHOP, which I like better than BEDHOP. It took me 9 minutes to track down the error. Really liked it. Never heard of BORAGE, but everything else was over the plate.

Leapfinger 11:16 AM  

@jberg, I'm jealous! Visit some of my old stomping grounds, will you? Eat and drink to satiety...Wish I could do more than just REJOINder you; perhaps I can get back there in October for Class Reunion.

@lms, good to have U back. Forget coachability; Coach is overrated, or at least overpriced. And thanks for the Sedaris -- 8 ways to wonderful!

There's so much going on in the world today, no way to say we're living in a BOR AGE. You've heard that traditional curse from the OLD SOD? "May you live in interesting times"...

Three and out.

RooMonster 11:32 AM  

Hey All! Liked the puzzle for a Friday, seemed easyish-medium for this particular day, however, I was not into it enough (not because it was a bad puzzle [which is wasn't, it was good!] I just spaced today) to really suss out a bunch of answers. I always find a puzzle more interesting if I'm more into it! (Well, DUH!)

I din't really care for IGETITOKAY, was a good entry, but seems like it could have been something else (not sure what , though).

@Leapfinger LOL at THERE BELS

@LMS Welcome back! Your comments are one of the best on here! You can bore me (and probably us, as I'm sure no would object)with your travel nightmares anytime!

@aliasZ, @Z, @r.alph, @Questina, @wreck, @mohair sam, @chefwen, and any of the regulars I missed, don't take my comment to @LMS as a negative toward you, you're all awesome, and most of the time, more fun to read than doing the actual puzzle!

Keep 'em coming!!


Richard 11:39 AM  

It's not "ya heard" it's "ya hear d" as in "dawg"

r.alphbunker 11:40 AM  


The video you are referring to is Morley Safer's inteview with Bob Mankoff. There is a commercial early on but then the remaining 13 minutes or so are not interrupted. And Will Shortz makes a cameo appearance at the end!

Thanks for telling me about this.

retired_chemist 11:45 AM  

Medium-challenging. Lots of good stuff, a few clunkers as pointed out by others.

Had trasH bagS winding up on trucks at first. DR SEUSS axed that one. Days inn before Days AGO, which is a bit irksome as it is just a phrase - nothing to associate days particularly with AGO. MUCH prefer 27D FIB/32A I GO, clued as political slogan of 1952, when Pogo first ran for President. Walt Kelly is IMO the premier cartoonist of my lifetime and deserves to be remembered more than he is.

Chagrined that AZO did not immediately come to mind. But SAN JOSE did - first seven letter Central American Capital I thought of quetzal (Guatemalan currency) but the Q made it unlikely. lupinE before BORAGE, which was a WTF and also my last fill. Don't think lupine is a herb anyway....

57A was emperor (correct) before the more specific AKIHITO became clear.

Good job as usual, Mr. Livengood. Thanks.

John V 11:55 AM  

Had three mistakes/blanks, YAHEARD, TERRELL (the T) and BORAGE. That said, not too hard. I usually connect with Ian's puzzle, so it went okay. Not a bit fan of SW, but, whatever.

AnonyMatrix 12:15 PM  

@ret_chem: What makes an herb an herb? Anyhow? They all have flowers. Put some slivered nasturtium leaves in a salad, when you have a chance.

The house of cards started to fall when I realized it wasn't MR or MRS but DR SEUSS.

RUSSIANKGB? Guess not.

RedCAPS, GELCAPS, carHOP, barHOP, bellHOP, BEDHOP early tonight

TEAMS' PORTS, individuals' sherries

Live by the ODE, DI by the ODE (Mill Stream)

Lose-a-Lad, SAV-A-LAS

I, Robot
I swOON as I move from NUTCASE to NAPE

ST PETER don't you call me
As I can't GO,
I owe my soul
To the company store.

All that good liven sure dredges up a lot of eyewash.

Anonymous 12:19 PM  

Fire engines have hoses, fire trucks have ladders. Clueless clue.

Anonymous 12:24 PM  

messy SW, otherwise quite reasonable to easy.

Anonymous 12:32 PM  

menoPorsche was hilarious. Right off the bat, I can think of three guys I know who bought little red mid-life sports cars, two of them right after a divorce.

Sir Hillary 12:35 PM  

Nice Friday fare.

The following may only appeal to people who have seen GoldenEye at least ten times (i.e., on this blog, maybe only me):
Here's how big of a James Bond movie dork I am...I initially wrote in JANUSGROUP at 33A, and thought "wow, I can't believe Will let in such an obscure bit of trivia." Yikes.

Anonymous 12:52 PM  

Are we having an Anonymous Convention? Not all the same person, by the sound of it.

@r.alph, it would be interesting to see that list of entries that earn a mention in comments. Seems that there's a fairly good percentage of hits today. Interesting fill, stellar cluing will do that.

loren muse smith 12:52 PM  

@Lewis – as usual, I gamely scoured the grid for the answer to your PPP but came up with nothing.

I was actually looking for a word like "bookkeeper." ;-)

Stuart Showalter 12:55 PM  

What a pleasure to read a whine-free review. Thank you Doug! Maybe Rex could stay on vacay a couple more weeks?

wreck 1:15 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
wreck 1:21 PM  

@ lewis

I think I have better answer than I gave earlier - maybe "W"

LaneB 1:47 PM  

Failed at SETAT, EYEBATH Ann OSHA, ending up with BORAGa,SaTAl , OSl and EYEBAll--which made sort of weird sense-- after all it was a Friday. Otherwise lots of googling to confirm answers but not an unsatisfying effort.

mathguy 1:58 PM  

Do any of you do the KenKen? I try to do the 8x8 every morning. I used to be successful about 2 out of three. But, including today, I've whiffed four straight days. Either they're getting harder or I'm losing it. By the way, inspired by comments here, I bought a package of Double Stuf Oreos a few days ago. Wonderful. I haven't worked up the nerve to construct a Quad Stuf.

Fred Romagnolo 2:03 PM  

@_Retired Chemist: is lupine woody? My vote for premiere cartoonist is Chas Addams, but he didn't do panels. What's wrong with OON? FIREHOSES "wind up" ladders don't. This is surely the third or fourth NAPE in the last few weeks. I agree that "cranks" aren't even close to NUTCASEs. IRKS and "needles" are pretty far apart. YAHEARD crossing with RAPGROUPS is natickey to old guys like me. So where's our TOSCA sop?

Fred Romagnolo 2:09 PM  

Raised eyebrows at BEDHOP & HELL; must I hide copies of the NYT from my grandchildren?

Two Ponies 2:37 PM  

Great puzzle and great write up.
Puzz looked impossible at first but turned out smooth and fun as I have come to expect from Ian G.

RooMonster 2:45 PM  

I do KenKen when I can! However, the largest ones I've done are 6x6, an 8x8 even sounds hard!
Oh, and have you've seen Mega Stuf Oreos yet? Awesome...


r.alphbunker 3:06 PM  


I agree that a puzzle where most of the words receive comments is probably an interesting puzzle.

Check back this evening and I will produce the list of words that did not receive any comment.

sanfranman59 3:10 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 19:31, 20:33, 0.95, 41%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Fri 13:48, 13:48, 1.00, 50%, Medium

Z 4:21 PM  

@Fred Romagnolo - If the grandkids are old enough to solve the Friday puzzle or are reading the Arts section of the NYT it is probably a moot point.

OISK 4:26 PM  

Puzzles that begin with two hip-hop rap clues in the same quadrant begin badly for me. Finished it with no errors, but big delay in SW, where I started out with eyewash, and never heard of borage. In fact, was sure when I came here to check that I would get a big DNF , but no, there really is borage. Nice puzzle, even if a bit too "up to date" to be in my wheelhouse.

Lewis 4:48 PM  

POST PUZZLE PUZZLE (PPP) solution (and discussion!):

There are eight double letters in the puzzle's answers, and three of them are l's (TERRELL, HELL, SLEAZEBALL), making for a TRIPLE DOUBLE. (S is doubled twice, and O, A, and R once.) The youngest NBA'er to achieve a triple double is LeBron James, whose name starts with the very letter we're talking about.

DISCUSSION. But @Ralph pointed out to me that another type of triple double is demonstrated in TERRELL, with two each of R, E, and L. It is not as pure as @LMS's BOOKKEEPER (which is not in the puzzle), where there are truly three unseparated double letters, but who can argue against that TERRELL is a triple double? Bravo, Ralph! Furthermore, Ralph pointed out that RODEODRIVE is actually a quadruple double. A quadruple double is a feat only done four times in the NBA.

@questinia -- There is such a thing as a quintuple double, which has only been done twice, in high school women's basketball. I mention this just to bring in something that is outside the man cave!

@wreck -- Your first answer agrees with mine, but I'd love to hear what your second one is!

fvigeland 4:56 PM  

@Questinia: What exactly about TEAMSPORTS, THE REBELS, ASTRONAUT, OPENBAR, or BEDHOP (among a few others) strike you as being particularly masculine?

fvigeland 4:58 PM  

(Didn't mean that to be accusatory at all, just challenging our notions of masculinity. In other news, belated thanks to you and many others for your warm comments about my blogging earlier this week. Hope to be back soon—it was a lot of fun!)

Anonymous 4:58 PM  


Curious about the 5th category in a quintuple-double. Points, Assists & Rebounds are the usual statistics for the triple, and i can suppose Steals would be most-likely to happen number 4. Is it 3-pointers?


Lewis 5:04 PM  

@RT -- Blocked shots. This is from Wikipedia:

A quintuple-double is defined as a performance in which a player accumulates a double-digit number total in all five statistical categories—points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocked shots—in a single game.[120] There are only two known quintuple-doubles, both at the girls' high-school level. The first was recorded by Tamika Catchings of Duncanville High School (Duncanville, Texas) with 25 points, 18 rebounds, 11 assists, 10 steals and 10 blocks in 1997.[121] The second was by Aimee Oertner of Northern Lehigh High School (Slatington, Pennsylvania), who had 26 points, 20 rebounds, 10 assists, 10 steals, and 11 blocks on January 7, 2012.

wreck 5:06 PM  

@ Lewis

I was so off the board in a complete different direction!
I was looking for an answer in the puzzle that was a basketball feat. The answer for 40 down was PTA. I went in the direction of "40 PT (point) A (average). Wilt Chamberlain had a 40 point average season -- thus "W"

My first answer was indeed for LeBron, but I was still using PTA and thought he was the youngest to lead the league in PT's Average per game in a season.

...okay, okay, it was a stretch, but the visual of the "40 PTA" was pretty neat! ; )

Lewis 6:32 PM  

@wreck -- it was pretty neat! I thought some people might find some other basketball feat -- and combining the 40 with "point average" makes perfect sense to me; it's quite brilliant, actually. Thank you for sharing!

Anonymous 7:31 PM  

@Lewis, do you have any idea how long it took till ZWEIbackTOAST hit me?

Nemmind, just know that it was several hours after I first read it.

r.alphbunker 8:20 PM  

Not many stones left unturned today. Probably a sign of a good puzzle. These were that words that appear not to have been commented on.

The last thing I saw Ted Danson in was "Bored to Death" which ran on HBO from 2009-2011.

ABA 5D {Org. the Utah Stars belonged to}
CSI 25D {Ted Danson hit series}
DIODE 44A {Electronics component}
GEO 20A {Political leader?}
OHNO 41D {'Whoops!'}
POSE 55D {Work for an artist, maybe}
SANJOSE 48A {Central American capital}
SIOUAN 37A {Like many Plains Indians}
STP 60D {Letters on a track}
YOGI 1D {Meditative sort}

Anonymous 8:59 PM  

@r.alph, that's a pretty healthy rate of return.

Thought I'd seen some of your MIAs, so took a look back.

SAN JOSE: @ret_chem,11:45 am; @Leapfinger, 9:32 a.m.
DI_ODE: @AnonyMatrix, 12:15 p.m.
even OHNO: @Z, 10:04 a.m.; @AliasZ, 8:24 a.m.

I'm waiting for the one where each entry comes up for discussion.

Anon, 12:52 p.m.

retired_chemist 9:21 PM  

Ya know, the discussion on this blog has improved. I think the tone is set by the original blogger, and today's blog by Doug has led us to BE NICE. Even Rex has been less acerbic recently, and the general tone reflects that too. Even teh anonymice have (mostly) stopped being snarky and make positive contributions.

Thanks all. It is more pleasant and no less educational.

michael 9:39 PM  

I had the same problems others have mentioned with "Costas." I thought of him immediately and then thought "but he doesn't do play by play" and it took me quite a while to grudgingly put in the letters.

Borage was a completely new word for me (again along with others here).

I hadn't noticed it was a male-oriented puzzle until it was pointed out, but have to agree.

I never think of Ole Miss as the Rebels -- when I think of them (which isn't all that often), I think of them as either "Ole Miss" or something like the "Rebs"

wreck 9:50 PM  

I beg to differ about Bob Costas. Costas cut his teeth on play-by-play, and although he is now better known as a studio host, he still does the play-by-play for the MLB Network Thursday Night game of the week.

mac 9:54 PM  

Shoot, I though I had commented, but now there are too many comments to go through. A little discombobulated today, I guess.

I enjoyed it. After all the other feedback, just want to say that borage is really a weed. I grew up with it, sucked the flowers for a little sweet nectar.

Z 10:05 PM  

Since we're still writing about it: What Ohio State felt from 1969 until 1989.

Questinia 10:49 PM  

Stereotypically masculine.

r.alphbunker 11:39 PM  

Anonymous 12:52PM

Thanks for catching SAN JOSE and OH NO. My program requires that I separate words with a . (e.g. SAN.JOSE and OH.NO) and I forgot to do that. DI_ODE is a bit of an outlier. I guess I could remove any non-alphabetic characters.

Maruchka 8:47 AM  

Another day late. Can't read 76 posts, so if this ground has been covered, please excuse.

@Glimmerglass - @Bob K's rhythmic retort re: ALL RIGHT ALREADY is spot on. Could not figure out the last four letters until AKIHITO popped up, then got the sassiness. (Kept wanting Idi Amin, why I don't know.)

Except for the SW and, like @Gill, SAN JOSE, all went well. Very happy with the REJOINS outcome.

@retiredchem - A sweet thought, and thank you for it. So many blogs are clogged with needless slog...

Dirigonzo 5:42 PM  

I'm writing from syndiland on 8/21/2014, wondering why this puzzle is being referred to as a Friday puzzle since it appears in my Thursday paper (I hope it's Thursday anyway - if today is Friday there's a whole bunch of things I was supposed to do that didn't get done) but now I see it's No. 0718, which definitely is a Friday puzzle. Apparently my local rag has once again published the wrong puzzle, which I wouldn't mind so much if they would only print today's puzzle tomorrow but I know they won't. FRAIDSO.

While I'm here I might as well mention that I liked the puzzle a lot even though the SW corner seemed a tad Naticky - I put in GILA on a guess without knowing the herb or the emperor, and it was right. Personally, I think ooHED sounds more wowed than AAHED but I guess they both work as in, "They "oohed" and "aahed" at the fireworks display". SIOUAN looks unlikely but I knew it was right.

Hi, @spacy - BENICE!

4056 doesn't hold out much hope - maybe I'll go find an OPENBAR ands drown my sorrows.

strayling 8:36 PM  

I had 32 down as HALF RIGHT and thought it was totally correct :\

Anonymous 11:09 AM  

Good puzz. Medium for me but finished with no help. Yay.
Strange things have been happening this week. Yesterday, I couldn't call up the syndicated puzzle solution. I guessed there was a vacation involved. This is Fri 8/22 doing #0718 in the San Diego Tribune. @Di must have a local problem.

I agree the write up was good, as I'm also tired of Mr. Man's whining all the time.

Ron Diego 8:10 AM PDT

spacecraft 11:25 AM  

DNS. That's right, did not start. In all fairness, I have to note I didn't have a lot of time today, so when I saw hip-hop slang in the very first across clue I just thought, oh, brother. That will have to go in one letter at a time. But further reading didn't produce much else, so I ditched the whole thing. {Looking at the solution, I really don't think I could've gotten it all anyway.) Hey, even OFL takes a day or two off. See you all tomorrow.

167, bummer all the way around.

DMG 1:01 PM  

Ground my way through a lot of this one, painful unknown name by unknown whatever. Finally gave up in the SW. Just too many ungettable(?) crosses. Now that I look at the answers, I think an EYEcup (wouldn't fit) would be a holder for an EYEBATH, which sounds like a liquid to me. Wonder what tomorrow holds?

Everyone beats me: 118

eastsacgirl 4:33 PM  

Loved this puzzle! Had AKIMOTO instead of AKIHITO so officially a DNF but still lots of fun and pretty easy for a Friday. Can't believe I couldn't come up with GILA. Bad girl.

sdcheezhd 5:33 PM  

UECKER would have made my day. The Bobs usually get together at least once a year to call a game: this year the MLB telecast the Friday before the AllStar game and then the Brewers radiocast the next two days. It's a lot of fun.

Replies instead of REJOINS messed up the SE and eyelash/setas instead of EYEBATH messed up the the SW. Who's Ahal?

Waxy in Montreal 7:32 PM  

Agree with @Diri that the SW was definitely naticky especially the stacked BORAGE and AKIHITO. My 57A was GEORGEV whilst 61A was (Olympia) DUKAKIS.

Otherwise somewhat easy for a Friday but enjoyable. Loved I,ASIMOV. Not sure why the clue for ASTRONAUT warranted a ? as that was my first answer but then assumed additional trickiness was involved.

73 OSH _ _

eastsacgirl 12:45 AM  


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