1963 Pulitzer winner Leon / 8-22-14 / Brand of bait pellets / Juan's sweetheart / Dos little words / Member of great quintet / So-called Helen of West Indies / Raise crops on Plains maybe / Literally fire bowl / Killing star Mireille

Friday, August 22, 2014

Constructor: Sam Ezersky

Relative difficulty: Medium (maybe slightly tougher)

THEME: none

Word of the Day: DRY FARM (45D: Raise crops on the Plains, maybe) —
dry farming
A type of farming practiced in arid areas without irrigation by planting drought-resistant crops and maintaining afine surface tilth or mulch that protects the natural moisture of the soil from evaporation.
• • •
Decent effort here. Gave me a little more trouble than a Friday usually does, almost entirely because of the SE corner. Is it YANK ON or YANK AT, which White House nickname, which Mideast president, what is DRY FARM, etc.? Nothing in the NW corner gave me much trouble, and virtually everything in the SE did—so much so that when I was done, I had an error, and only after I'd methodically checked every answer (and I mean Every answer: all the Acrosses and all the Downs) did I finally arrive at PAS … which is the French word for "not," but NOT the Spanish word for "peace"; that would be PAZ (63D: Guerra's opposite). I never did like EZER in my grid (like EDEL, as well as EDER (not pictured), it's pernicious name-crosswordese), and while I like him slightly better in his full-name form (67A: Mideast president who wrote "The Battle for Peace," 1981), I apparently can't spell his name. Went with WEISMAN. But no. I also didn't know "RAGA rock" was a  thing, got stymied by the tough/good clue on PART I (53D: Epic start), and want to punch LA-Z in the face with all my might (61D: ___-Boy). Until an L.A. sports team called the Zippers comes along, and they are depicted "on the scoreboard" as LAZ, I never want to see that "answer" again. Thank you.

What is a BBQ SANDWICH? I'll admit I don't eat much meat, but I assumed that, with BBQ, the meat … was named … somehow. "Want a BBQ SANDWICH?" "Sure. [takes bite]." "You like it?" "Mffyeah … shsgood … [chew chew]." "It's rat." "[spit take]!" Thus concludes my mystery-meat BBQ SANDWICH skit.

SE corner aside, this puzzle was full of things I'm quite familiar with, for better or worse. I knew FRANK GEHRY—I've been to the very distinctive, lovely hall mentioned in the clue (30A: Walt Disney Concert Hall designer). I got IBN and TE AMO and MPEG and INO and DCON and LIRR and LYE and ENOS and 3/4 of EDEL (22D: 1963 Pulitzer winner Leon) so easily that I kind of wanted to high-five myself a few times, mid-solve. Except for GEHRY and possibly DEEP THROAT (47A: "All the President's Men" figure) and eventually BLISTER PACK (60A: Pill holder), there wasn't a lot that excited me. But overall, this is fairly solid work.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


George Barany 12:09 AM  

After reading Rex's comments, allow me to note that EZER_WEIZMAN was a nephew of CHAIM_WEIZMANN (one more N) after whom the world-renowned Weizmann Institute in Israel is named. But the spelling that substitutes S for Z brings to mind the spectacular FRANK_GEHRY-designed Weisman Museum on the campus of the University of Minnesota. If any of the regular readers of this blog is ever in the Twin Cities, look me up and we'll visit (I work across the street from the museum).

wreck 12:13 AM  

The West filled in so quickly - I thought I was on a record pace for a Friday - then I completely broke down in the East. I had to Google for FRANK GEHRY as well as EZER WEIZMAN (then vaguely remembered the EZER first name from previous puzzles.) I also struggled with LAZ-BOY, but got it with the assist from EZER.
Overall, it was a fun Friday.

Anonymous 12:15 AM  

The Tin Man on his first trip to the Weisman Museum: "Daddy, is that you? Daddy!?"

Anonymous 12:35 AM  

The degree of a crossword's difficulty is too often dependent on knowing names, places, foreign words, etc.(Which I find quite problematic for what a crossword really sets out to do.) This puzzle is a good example: If you know Gehry, Weizman, Edel, Ino, and others it's smooth sailing; if not, it becomes much more difficult.

okanaganer 12:38 AM  

Bah! For 34A I had ROYALIST, and I could not get past that. The supposedly "correct" answer is ROYALISM, which if you type it into dictionary.com, shows results for...wait for it...ROYALIST. ROYALISM is a term I have never heard, and I live in a British Royal Commonwealth country (Canada)! ROYALIST I hear...every day of the week (well maybe not every day; maybe 27 times a year if I read Hello Canada for the latest news on Prince George). Bah! Nonsense. Tomfoolery. Pish-tosh.

Aside from that, the NE corner was pretty lame, but otherwise a decent puzzle. "Member of a 'great' quintet" was a pretty nice clue for LAKE ONTARIO.

Moly Shu 12:54 AM  

Same error as @Rex, Z not s. Challenging for me. AHI, ROLLE and SPAY got me started and the west fell rather quickly. Only STLUCIA and APATOW in the south and SE for a long time before I finally got RAGA and COARSER. evita before Amore before AMIGA, pureluck before ITSMAGIC and SunLIT before SKYLIT. PARTI was good, but my favorite answer(s) was FUN RUN. QUAILAT? Not so much.

mathguy 12:57 AM  

Very crunchy for me. Feel good about getting it. I thought that there was a lot of fresh fill: TEAMO (great clue), DCON, BLISTERPACK, BARHOPS, MPEG, LAZ, PARTI, HIBACHI. We just finished Season 3 of The Killing with the wonderful Mireille Enos this afternoon.


Fugu 12:58 AM  

ugh for E-EL proper name crossing -CON proper name...

John Child 1:08 AM  

Was o. Track, like @wreck, for a fastest ever Friday until the NE, which took far longer than the rest of the puzzle. I was sure that the fire bowl was a caldera and tried to spell Gehry around that mistake. I thought the two Sound of ... clues were too vague to be helpful.

jae 2:10 AM  

Ok, three erasures kept this from being easy-medium for me: Sun before SKY @Moly Shu, Uris before EDEL (which I should have known because I've made the same error in at least one other puzzle), and HaH before HEH which caused a fair amount of staring to fix.  And, ROYALISM @okanaganer did not trip off my tongue. So, mostly easy-medium for me, but....

@mathguy - I assume you're on Netflix so you have Season 4 left to go.  It does not disappoint.   

High school Spanish saved me from PAs.

Liked this much more than luke warmly.  Solid Fri. with some zip...RAGA, IT'S MAGIC, FRANK GEHRY, DEEP THROAT, APATOW...nice one Sam.

Gill I. P. 4:58 AM  

Epic failure....:-( Could not get on EZERsky's brain wave. At least I got TE AMO, SAO, PAZ and AMIGA though the latter really means friend.
I did have BBQ but never in a million years would I have thought to add a SANDWICH. Didn't get PHYLA at all, the only proper names I knew were ROLLE and CATE, never heard of a DRY FARM and, well, the list goes on.... I'm going to QUAIL AT Sam's name when I see it again.

Danp 6:05 AM  

I haven't seen LIRR since the Maleska era.

Susierah 6:21 AM  

This felt like a Saturday for me. Didn't know Gehry, and wanted snarky to be meh. Couldn't get hibachi, so a big dnf in the ne. Add me to the list for having pas instead of Paz.

If you start off at one A with BB ending with an "h" what else could it be but sandwich. Rex has never heard of that? I'm from Georgia, where there are bbq restaurants all over the place. You just put pulled pork, a little sauce between a hamburger bun and eat it with your hands. Nothing smells better than pork smoking in a BBQ pit!

Leapfinger 8:07 AM  

@Susierah, of course, the bacon is the choice part at any pig-pickin'!

I was stubborn, wouldn't leave the NW till it was filled. Having WARWITH and TRAINTUNNEL in place at different times made that a challenge. The Southland was more gracious, the NE meanest of the lot, mainly since that central -BAC- had me seeing TOBACCO instead of HIBACHI. Thanks to the teachings of architect buddy eliasn, I finally dredged up FRANK's last name, and GEHRY put me Wright. Comes the warm weather, assorted varmints try to invade the house, so D-CON is my friend; I'm not proud, I'll take help wherever I can get it.

PHYLA, d'oh!

Low point: sitting there mumbling HAH, HEH, HOH and AAH, AHH, AAW, AWW makes a body feel really dopey. Relieved only by a final visit from MHP. Figuring out DRYFARM was E.Z.-ER
High Point (in NC): The triple stacks, both of them, but the bottom set gave a special frisson. No ego-trip to sign in with EZER [WEIZMAN and SKY [LIT]. EZER yofi, I say!

I believe in the colour spectrum and in the Valley of the Shmoon, so between ROY G. Biv and AL Capp, you might call me a ROYALIST.

A work of minor GENEious, Sam E. I'll alwayswonder if I would have picked up on EZER-SKY, had you not mentioned it!

pauer 8:22 AM  

Nice puzzle, Sam! DEEPTHROAT reminded me of this recent piece of genius on "The Colbert Report": http://thecolbertreport.cc.com/videos/9hxmyy/a-nation-betrayed---a-fond-look-back---74 Looking forward to your forthcoming blog, too.

evil doug 8:28 AM  

Yeah, Susierah, but you call it a pulled pork sandwich, not a barbecue sandwich.

Maine kicked my ass. Volcano instead of hibachi, Uris instead of Edel, Raid instead of D-Con, royalist instead of royalism. Never heard of Ino, missed the homonym trick and "deposit" actually fit for a while because I had Gehri instead of the trailing "y"....

My definition of "yank on" would be more explicit than 'try to pull off'....

Nice clue for 'flight' and 'barhops', and enjoyed both NASA and SDI as neighbors up top.


AliasZ 8:34 AM  

Here is a challenge: create a puzzle containing only foreign words and proper names that most solvers may or may not know. If I calculate correctly, today Sam Ezersky comes in with just below 28% of all entries -- not even close. Another challenge: construct a puzzle in which all entries of 4 or fewer letters are abbr.'s, and if longer, they are all partials or 2-or-more-word phrases. Let's see: today's comes in a bit better at 44%, but still not close enough. Keep on trying!

Partials, abbr.'s, two-word phrases and initialisms make it easier for constructors. YANK ON, can be YANK it, or off, or at, or out, or up, or down, etc. Don't even let me get into SET INTO. SKYLIT can be upLIT, sideLIT, sunLIT, moonLIT, starLIT, topLIT or whatchamacalLIT. D-CON can be ECON or ICON, B-STARS can start with virtually any letter of the alphabet and IT'S MAGIC can be IT'S loGIC, IT'S musIC, etc. Some if these are more awkward than others.

Will Shortz' intention to ban SDI, yet allowing some awkward partials is akin to bending down to pick up a penny while dollar bills fly by overhead.

I didn't like this puzzle much, it didn't even inspire me to link to Pavarotti singing "Santa Lucia". It didn't feel like a strong effort by Sam Ezersky. The two 11-stacks were great, but other than that, this one fell flat for me on many levels. He can do much better than this, as he has in the past. And I'm sure he will do so again in the future.

Hartley70 8:56 AM  

The Northeast was a struggle for me. I'd like to ban all sound clues! I spent too long clinging to ROYALIST. FRANK GEHRY came to me after trying to remember the Muppet creator who I think would have designed a zany concert hall for Statler and Waldorf. I probably spent close to an hour messing around with this but I had a good time and didn't google so that's an excellent Friday puzzle for me.

Notsofast 9:06 AM  

O the first read through, I filled in TWO words with confidence, neither of which gave me a starting letter. Second and third read throughs were no help. If the purpose of a crossword is to completely demoralize the solver, then this is the best EVER. Congratulations Mr. Ezersky. Great job! You must be so proud. Moving on with my day now.

evil doug 9:14 AM  

Just noticed that the constructor got EZER and SKY into the grid, so vanity law requires that I now hate the puzzle.


DeeJay 9:16 AM  

If this comment appears twice I apologize.

What am I missing in Rex's rating? Is a puzzle 'solution' with a mistake the same as a DNF?

And wouldn't a DNF constitute a Challenging?
In any event, thanks to Sam for a brain-buster and to Anon. for Tin Man reference. LOL.

Anonymous 9:17 AM  

A shade over my personal threshold for proper nouns in a 15x15 themeless. Begining to regard it as a crutch.

Questinia 9:17 AM  

Entered at FRANK GEHRY then fell asleep while typing. Woke up two hours later to see DRY FARM transmogrify into DRY F--K, the U & C from ST. LUCIA and the K appropriately donated by YANK ON. Cruciverbial pareidolia.

Z 9:20 AM  

The West flew in. The SE was a struggle but got mostly done, the NE 3x7 area took as long as everything else. HOMONYM was a very loud head slap when the light finally dawned. I cannot believe I fell into that TRAP. ROYALISt certainly didn't help.

Other random thoughts: I follow the Curiosity Rover on Twitter, so NASA was automatic. I saw right through the conductor misdirect. I was happy to see that the crosssushi special was AHI and not eel today. As for the BBQ SANDWICH debate, at least it isn't a taco.

How do we feel about EZERWEIZMAN SKYLIT sneaking into the grid.

Z 9:26 AM  

@Evil - I type too slowly.

@DeeJay - you missed that debate. The consensus is that there is no consensus on what makes a solve a DNF. Also, there is a wide range here, so we try not to judge. Private gloating, however, is allowed.

@DanP - I learned LIRR here, so it has appeared since Maleska. I thinking I may have ranted about it the first time I ran into it.

retired_chemist 9:29 AM  

Medium here. I knew most of the proper names (including DEEP THROAT), and got them with no or just few crosses, which was a big help. VERY challenging, I would think, if you didn't.

BBQ SANDWICH can involve pretty much any barbecued meat - mostly beef or pork though.

My biggest challenge was the NW, where go to WAR gave way to mAkE WAR, and only late in the game did I get it right. Last fill however was in the NE, where the 14D clue had its intended effect and totally threw me. Actually, I found the cluing overall provided just the right sort of misdirections, making for a fun solve.

EZER and SKY in the puzzle - love it. Noted the EZER but missed the SKY.

Thanks, Mr. Ezersky. More please (as long as you stick to proper names I mostly know).

RooMonster 9:29 AM  

Hey All!
Quite a challenging puz here. Misdirectional clues almost seems like the puz could be a Saturday. Example: Cache for cash. Had me thinking about a safe place for your money!

Don't keep up with news, avoid watching it because it only depresses! I glean stuff from the radio morning shows, and when I log on! Hence, haven't heard of EZER WEIZMAN. Lots of names again.

Writeovers: Had bRAkeSIGNAL for TRAINSIGNAL, IPoDS first, rAGEWAR, spelled CATE with a K but should have known, as I just watched her in a movie yesterday! eel for AHI, ooH for AAH.

Not thrilled about QUAIL AT. Unsure of TE AMO clue, Dos? Someone? Tryed to shove Eliot in the TS clue. Agree with Rex on the LA-Z-BOY thing, wanted PO in there! Maybe flashing back to yesterday!

@Danp, LIRR has been in a few more recent puzzles. Can't name specifics, but I've seen it before. Used to live in CT, so more familiar with it than some.


Leapfinger 9:32 AM  

If I have this right, pareidolia is to images what synchronicity is to events.

Am currently trying to see where along that conjoint spectrum we put the Tin Man-Daddy interface.

Thankee, @Q

George Barany 9:39 AM  

According to xwordinfo.com, LIRR (the abbreviation for Long Island Railroad) has been used 26 times during the Shortz era, including by heavy hitters like Ian Livengood, Victor Fleming, Paula Gamache, Patrick Blindauer, ACME, BEQ, Charles Deber, Trip Payne, and Rich Norris.

Sir Hillary 9:42 AM  

I found this one pretty easy. Not that exciting though.

No issue at all with Sam hiding EZER and SKY in the grid. When I get published someday, my puzzle will include SIRHANSIRHAN, ILLBEHAVED and ARYAN.

Benko 9:43 AM  

In Greensboro, NC, where I grew up, it was very common to call a pulled pork sandwich a "BBQ Sandwich." Still beats a BEQ Sandwich.

Questinia 9:47 AM  

@ Leapy, maybe at Tin Man-Mommy?

oldbizmark 9:51 AM  

thought this was easy until I looked and looked and looked at the NE and couldn't for the life of me come up with HIBACHI, didn't know EDEL or INO and ended with a fat DNF. Good puzzle but frustrating that there was so much I didn't know squeezed into such a small space. I really do hate 3 by X grid fill-in. Not a lot of room for error.

Anonymous 9:53 AM  

Te amo came first. Pretty sure it was Frank Gehry. Unlike most of you, NW was the last to fall.

Kris in ABCA 10:01 AM  

@roomonster - the "three little words" in English are "I love you". In Spanish it's two words (dos): TE AMO.

jberg 10:04 AM  

The best part of this puzzle was the 11-stacks, which I just loved. The second best was TEAM USA vs. TEAM O. The hardest parts were remembering if it was CATE or CAit, and getting IPoDS/ooH vs. IPADS/AAH.

The stupidest part was putting in GiVE instead of GAVE, and not being able to figure out what NASi had to do with curiosity. Never remembered the rover.

One weakness of the puzzle: TRAIN SIGNAL. Isn't that green paint?

RnRGhost57 10:04 AM  
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RnRGhost57 10:05 AM  

@AliasZ: well stated.

Maruchka 10:07 AM  

@ Questina - LOL. Better all around as FARM, but - I admit to a WTF moment for 'pareidolia'. New to me, and I'm liking it.

@ Z - Very happy to see AHI as well. Also like eating it far more than UNAGI (eel) or UNI (sea urchin).

ROYALIST/ISM was a toss up, resolved by HOMONYM at the last. Took forever to get HIBACHI, though BACHI sat there for longest. And I cooked on one a lot, back in the day. Big doh.

Had to google, as is usual, unknown-to-me proper names, except FRANKGEHRY, ROLLE, DEEPTHROAT, CATE. 8D: Had GOTOWAR and MAKEWAR, prior to the much smoother solve.

Liked a lot. I'm just annoyed that it's taking longer for NYT delivery. Problems at the depot, so they say..

Bob Kerfuffle 10:08 AM  

Today's theme: TEAM O vs. TEAM USA.

On the challenging side for me.

Three written-over letters: 30 A, . . . GEARY before . . . GEHRY; 54 A, AMO__ before AMIGA; but by far the best, briefly had 56 A, George Harrison playing RAGE rock!

Zeke 10:10 AM  

I agree with most complaints about the puzzle, though I have a few of my own. First, there are no such things as TRAIN SIGNALS, they are railroad signals. Trains don't have brake lights or turn blinkers, they just go or not. Signals, they don't need no damned signals. Well, maybe their horn. Second, the conductor has nothing to do with driving the train, that's the engineer.

I'm sure that there are regions where BBQ is so meat specific it doesn't need a modifier. I'm guessing in Texas if you barbequed a hog there would be ramifications, you'd be deported to S. Carolina or something. Nonetheless, BBQSANDWITCH needs a modifier. Further, if you put BBQ sauce on a pulled pork or pit beef sandwitch, you are a heathen not even god could forgive.

I well knew that HIBACHI translated as Fire Bowl, that is up until about 10PM last night, when that knowledge vanish as, it is to be told, is when my sense of humor also escapes me.

The museum does look like a scrape pile of tinmen. Tin Man, I'm so sorry for your loss.

Carola 10:11 AM  

Enjoyed grappling with this one. Got ahold of it with FRANK GEHRY and followed the SKYLIT IPADS into the southern tier. Getting into the north was harder for me but I finally made it to SAUDI ARABIA, which opened that expanse up.

Missteps along the way: like others, mEH, which kept me from seeing HIBACHI for a long time, PAs and YANK AT, which kept WEIZMAN hidden for ages. Stared at a DNF at the ROLL?/ AING? cross, where it seemed any vowel would work. Lucky guess at an E.

Latin (AMAT) lover mini-theme with "AMIGA, TE AMO," crossing ENAMORS, no less.

Favorite clue: First course selection - at a meal? in school? Tried every way I could think of to parse DRI?ER. DR somebody? Alphabet run to the rescue.

Arlene 10:12 AM  

I'm so glad to read these comments, confirming once again that I am normal!
I got FRANK GEHRY (my son lives in an apartment building of his design down in the Wall Street area of NYC) - a favorite architect of mine.

After that - OY! My experience is what most others report - names I didn't know, etc. etc.

I finished with two errors - even with multiple Googling. That said, it was an interesting experience in perseverance!

Bob Kerfuffle 10:13 AM  

@Jberg - I always update Comments before I start typing my own, but I do type slowly. To once more cite a favorite quote from Hagar the Horrible: "Great minds think alike . . . and so do ours!"

Leapfinger 10:22 AM  

(splutterroar in NC)

Hellzbellz, @Q-T, you just opened up a whole nother sarcophagus!

Susierah 10:23 AM  

@evildoug and retired chemist, in my home town if you go to the take out counter at Fresh Air bbq or old Clinton BBQ, you order a BBQ sandwich. My husband says nobody says pulled pork sandwich. They don't do beef, and the only chicken is a smoked quarter or half, bones and all. Maybe it's a local thing.

Gill I. P. 10:24 AM  

@Questinia: Is that like seeing Jesus in a BBQ SANDWICH?

Notsofast 10:27 AM  

"BBQ SANDWICH" might be a strictly North Carolina term. Here it means pork shoulder (Lex style) or whole hog (eastern) slow-cooked over hickory coals, chopped (not pulled), heaped on a steamed hamburger bun, garnished with slaw (Lex style red or East style) and Texas Pete to taste. In NC, "barbecue" is a noun. Never a verb. And it's always pork.

Kris in ABCA 10:38 AM  

Weighing in on the BBQ sandwich thread: at a Texas BBQ place, you ask for either a chopped beef sandwich or a sliced beef sandwich (brisket, of course). I don't think it's ever called a BBQ sandwich.

jdv 10:40 AM  

Med-Challenging. I went through this puzzle pretty quickly until I hit the NE corner. The only thing I had was ROYALISt and a tentative DCON. After what felt like an eternity, I finally saw HOMONYM, and that was all it took. Looking at the online dictionaries, a HOMONYM is two words with the same spelling while a HOMOPHONE is two words that sound alike. Never heard of Frank Gehry. IMACS before IPADS. Mireille Enos is alson in World War Z. PAX before PAZ. CRASSER before COARSER.

Lewis 10:47 AM  

What I liked best were the clues for IDCARDS (as the clue was a pun on "bare necessities), DRIVER, YANKON, COARSER, HOMONYM, and PARTI. I'm reading Patrick Berry's "Dummy" book on constructing, and he said what should make a puzzle difficult is not obscure or little known words, but the cluing. This puzzle had some of each, I believe, and from the former came complaints in this blog, and from the latter, praise (except for @ED on the clue for YANKON).

BBQSANDWICH sounds like green paint to me, but the clue is so good, that maybe Will thought it was worth keeping as is.

I count 11 words that make crossworthy words when read backwards, my favorites being ABLE and RAGA.

Lewis 10:48 AM  

@zeke -- I've tried to email you, as I have a question, but clicking on your name doesn't work. Would you be so kind as to send me your email? Thanks!

mac 10:54 AM  

Good puzzle, but I also got mired in the South. Called the Mideast president Ehud, confirmed by Tru at 6 2D.

I had to do a lot of crosses for several words and terms, but I enjoyed it. BBQ sandwich is a thing to me as well, although not in CT. My son frequents several places in NY that serve it. Myself, I make pulled pork sometimes.

mathguy 11:01 AM  

@Questinia: Pareidolia, indeed! Nice catch, nice word.

When I was a kid in forties we used to say "cop" all the time as a synonym for "steal," but I haven't heard it used that way for along time. I hear "cop a plea," but it means something different in that expression (I think).

I read Bill Butler's blog today. He gave up on the NE and DNF. He has an ice explanation of why STLUCIA is called "Helen of the West Indies" and a list of the seven different stars, OBAFGKM.

Maruchka 11:03 AM  

@ Gill - Another LOL! Tanks.

He could have His eye on the marrow...

Nancy 11:03 AM  

Northeast was my undoing -- much of it my own fault due to misspellings. HaBACHI for HIBACHI; GEHRi for GEHRY. Which made HOMONYM (didn't have the Y) ungettable, though I love the brilliant clueing. Who in the world would know "a brand of bait pellets"? which gummed up that section for me even more. And I had ROYALISt for ROYALISM and strongly believe that mine is the better answer to the clue. But other than that and ECON, thought the puzzle quite wonderful-- lovable, even -- in its lack of arcane proper names.

Mohair Sam 11:11 AM  

Battled through all these nouns and abbreviations only to natick with i for E in TEAMO/EDEL. The puzzle played challenging for us because of long hang-ups in the NE. Wanted Leon Uris to win that Pulitzer and struggled forever until finally convinced ROYALISM had to be right.

Agree with @Alias Z's analysis, yet we still enjoyed the challenge. Two triple stack elevens made my day, love the things. Hope we get an MAS tomorrow - We'll be driving through Binghamton on our way to 'Cuse and might be able to hear Rex scream.

Remembering EZERWEIZMAN's name from other puzzles helped immensely - the two Z's stuck in my mind or I would have made the PAs/PAZ mistake.

Great clues for MIL and DRIVER.

On the great BBQSANDWICH debate: Saying there is no such thing as a BBQ SANDWICH is like saying there is no such thing as an open face sandwich. There, no need to argue further.

Questinia 11:14 AM  

@ Gil I.P., yes,
or the Virgin Mary on a ✝BLISTER PACK✝.

@Leapy, like The Mummy influenced by the
♨︎ burning Tana leaves ♨︎

Maruchka 11:15 AM  

@ Carola - Mine, too. Caddying memory shed the light, eventually.

Maruchka 11:44 AM  

Omnivores - One true, and last, thing. If you are ever in Greenville SC go to Henry's Smoke House, and go hungry.

SenorLynn 12:04 PM  

30 min, which is quick for Fri.
A couple of answers I got from my humble beginnings, I think. DCON from crummy apts. with bug & rodent problems. & BBQSANDWICH from fast food places (McDonald's, maybe?).
Much easier to do with some xw experience. I can see how newbies would be turned off.

Karl 12:20 PM  

When I took chemistry classes many years ago, Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH) was also called lye. I looked it up and Potassium Hydroxide (KOH)is also synonymous with lye, which I do not remember. Certainly sodium and potassium are both highly reactive elements of the same family that would have similar properties when combined with a hydroxide ion. I guess either I am becoming senile or the definition has changed over time. Great puzzle regardless.

AZPETE 12:32 PM  

Best Colbert ever.

AZPETE 12:35 PM  

Love it

OISK 12:40 PM  
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OISK 12:42 PM  

Brutal for me. I didn't know how to spell "Gehry" so I thought that "fire bowl" was going to be a volcano or Hawaian island - Molokai, but I had Te amo. Molakai? I was pretty sure it was DCON not DKON, (I dislike product clues in general, don't care for LAZ boy either) Thought "Snarky sound" should be Meh or Feh, never thought of "Heh". So I missed "Hibachi", a DNF. Never heard of Rolle, don't think that a train signal signals the conductor - doesn't the engineer slow the train down? I was looking for a musical (ritardando?) slow-down. Hibachi was my only error though. I agree with Rex this time "overall,..fairly solid work." I got beaten, fair (mostly) and square.

AZPETE 12:43 PM  

Had a Brit friend who thinks barbecue is the same thing as a charbroiled steak. After a golf outing he said he wanted to have barbecue for dinner. Boy was he disappointed when we ended up at Famous Daves. Hey it's NJ!

OISK 12:47 PM  

Forgive me for adding a personal note - Te Amo is also a brand of cigar. There was a tobacco store in Brooklyn (there are few of those left, and I now get most of my pipe tobacco by mail) that had a large "Te Amo" sign, near where my future wife lived. So when we were dating I would tell her to meet me on the "Te Amo" corner. (Bay Parkway and 86th St.) She would say "Where?" "Te amo!"

Anonymous 12:58 PM  

Just finished the puzzle and came here for the comments. Now I'm craving a BBQ sandwich! But the best BBQ here is way down the street. Guess I'll go anyhow and stop at the library and vote early in the primary election.


Anonymous 1:05 PM  

Enjoyed it and loved most of the clever cluing that has already been mentions. But thought two clues a little off - wouldn't a sweetheart be more than an amiga? And I don't think Frank Gehry would appreciate being called a mere designer. He was the architect. Despite his name being a gimme, I wondered if that was too easy for a Friday and the acoustician's name was being asked for - designer of the sound? - but Toyota didn't fit.

Anonymous 1:07 PM  

Oh, yeah, and I had Rallentando as the indication for the conductor to slow down for WAY too long...

Katy 1:27 PM  

I had BLACKS instead of BSTARS for 1-down, because of Regulus A Black and Bellatrix Lestrange née Black from the Harry Potter series. Took me a long time to recover from that, because I just couldn't fathom that there could be a different answer to something so specific.

Hopthumb 2:15 PM  

@Q-T, I had to think on that, beCAUSE to me, TANA is still a shoe polish first, several rivers and a lake, as well as how I remember Tama Janowitz...when I need to.

Aren't Tana leaves burned in the film where Mummy's ghost is played by Dick Chaney?

@OISK, that's a nice anecdote.

Wolf Blitzen 2:34 PM  

(NY, 22 Aug 2014) -- The New York Times announced the immediate availability of its initial product offering (SDI) in the now near-viral Runt Puzzle crossword field to subscribers and to other runty people yesterday. A somewhat reliable recap (better than we could manage) is now available at runtpuz.blogspot.com by a reporter mysteriously known as "M and A". No immediate information on the significance of Mergers and Acquisitions was included in the article.

We now return you to your regular Missing Malaysian Airliner coverage.

-- MSNBC/Fox News Joint Offering.

quilter1 2:45 PM  

Finally got time to sit down and finish. Lots of tough stuff for me. But I surprised myself by knowing RAGA quickly.

Lewis 2:53 PM  

Yes, I'm surprised that there hasn't been more commenting on NYT's addition of what are basically Runtpuzzes to it's crossword app. M&A, you should be honored by the emulation, and you should be sought after as a constructor!

Anonymous 3:00 PM  

Not usually one to complain, but really didn't like that both AMAT and TE AMO were answers in this puzzle. Pretty close to an exact duplication. In fact, since I had AMAT first, I struggled in the portion of the puzzle where TE AMO is since I figured that couldn't be correct.

This seems about as "against the rules" to me as having both BEER and BIER be answers in the same puzzle.

Swill Shorts 3:00 PM  

For more info on the Times Runtpuzzes, click here.

foxaroni 3:04 PM  

Famous Dave's is to BBQ as McDonald's is to hamburgers.

Fell for the cache/cash trap--kept trying to make "handbag" fit, instead. Never heard of INO or EDEL.

From Kansas City, the true home of BBQ.

sanfranman59 3:26 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 25:37, 20:16, 1.26, 91%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Fri 17:57, 13:48, 1.30, 88%, Challenging

Charley 4:21 PM  

Juan's sweetheart is his novia, not his amiga. Amiga is a friend, no romance implied.

Doc John 4:40 PM  

In San Diego, LAZ would work because it's the well-known nickname of a local sportscaster, Jim Laslavic.

Anonymous 4:54 PM  

Bad clues, bad puzzle. Yuck.

Anonymous 5:21 PM  

Could you be more vague, Mr. Yuck?

I'm the *real* Anonymous.

Anonymous 9:37 PM  

NW might have been easier for me if I didn't have BLACKS in there with a passion instead of lame BSTARS. Also upset about AMIGA vs NOVIA- why not "Juan's pal" or something?

Anonymous 10:18 PM  

Too much vagueness combined with esoteric facts.

irfan a.r 3:54 AM  

Online Easy Jobs from home with data entry, copy pasting, facebook jobs

Jim Finder 12:38 PM  

The Pentax Spotmatic (37A) was manufactured between 1964 and 1976. Really, is that a good clue for SLR?

Bill McA 12:40 PM  

This was one of the worst NY Times crosswords ever! WAY too many obscure proper names intersecting each other, and answers that when you finally got them didn't make much sense at all, as has been said many times above. This was a Saturday puzzle with no charm or wit at all.

spacecraft 11:34 AM  

DNF: the NE. I just never copped to the cash/cache thing, though now I think I should have, but had no help with it. I'm supposed to know FRANKGEHRY? Or EDEL? Bait pellets, I'm thinking fish. DCON never occurred. ROYAL what? BRA?? Is ROYALISM a thing? Never heard of the word. Queen of Thebes? Dunno. That whole section was just one big HUH?

The rest of it was tough but kinda fun to fill, what with the "siganture" entries and TEAMUSA defeating TEAMO. We hope. It took forever to recall GARP, which finally stopped me from trying to shoehorn ELIOT into four squares.

So I guess I have to grade this one an "incomplete."

415. *sigh* When it ain't yer day, it ain't yer day.

Anonymous 12:05 PM  

Hey Spacecraft. You had a lot of company including me. I had everything but the NW corner. A. When one thinks of a real BBQ pit, they don't associate sandwiches. And a conductor does not pay attention to train signals. The engineer does. Stinko cluing and I now have S. Ezerky on my hit list. Tell me where he is.

Ron Diego 9/26

1315= 1

rondo 2:07 PM  

Same as Spacecraft for me. NE left as a big blank, VOLCANO no match for HIBACHI. Realized from early posts today that Mr. Barany works at the other end of the new Green Line light rail here in St.Paul/mpls.

117 = winner winner chicken dinner

DMG 3:23 PM  

Just not on the same planet as this one. Got a few words here and there, then with things like BBQ...?, the incorrect AMIGA, and a plethora of names staring at me, I just decided to fold 'em. Came here to jump down to Syndiville to see how the others out here fared, and am a bit consoled to find I'm not completely alone. Though it does sound like you all made a better go of it. Tomorrow is another day.

1304 is pretty good, but @Rondo wins!

rain forest 4:22 PM  

Challenging here, but I managed to finish because of two guesses and a sudden insightful flash. Guessed both the D and E in EDEL, thinking that GEHRY looked better than GuHRY. The longer downs in the NE sort of announced themselves, happily.

The flash came with the two Z's (pronounced Zeds in Canada) which made me finally "see" LAZ-Boy, and WEIZMAN is a name I know from somewhere.

A food truck here in Vancouver has a menu board on which appears the heading "BBQ Sandwiches", so I say it IS a 'thing'.

1965 This, on the other hand, is not a thing.

Dirigonzo 4:23 PM  

I'm doubly ashamed to admit that I went down too many rabbit holes in the NE, which is of coure my stomping grounds, to have any hope of recovering and finding my way home. I did get the HOMONYM trick though, so apparently that's one constructor's trick that I've mastered.

710 - just like the puzzle, close but no cee-gar.

Anonymous 7:14 PM  

Wow! Such language!

Anonymous 7:22 PM  

Paredolia, is that a thing?

Rob Foote 12:44 PM  

I too jumped out of the gate with the west side of this grid being fairly simple. Aside from "deepthroat" which I put "deepthreat" before I got to the south center. The SE took a bit of work, but found the NE the most difficult. Particularly not being an architecture buff. Fairly good Friday Puzzle.

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