1957 Patrick White novel 1986 opera / FRI 9-5-14 / Deterioration of standards by competitive forces / Title heroine of Wagner opera / Silents actress Negri / Ray of old pictures /

Friday, September 5, 2014

Constructor: Joe Krozel

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium


THEME: WAITING (20D: On hold … or what the seven rows of black squares in this puzzle's grid spell in Morse code)

Word of the Day: REEDUCATION CAMP (16A: Propagandists' detention site) —
Reeducation camp (Vietnamesetrại học tập cải tạo) is the official title given to the prison camps operated by the government of Vietnam following the end of the Vietnam War. In such "reeducation camps", the government imprisoned several hundred thousand former military officers and government workers from the former government of South VietnamReeducation as it was implemented in Vietnam was seen as both a means of revenge and as a sophisticated technique of repression and indoctrination, which developed for several years in the North and was extended to the South following the 1975 Fall of Saigon. An estimated 1-2.5 million people were imprisoned with no formal charges or trials. According to published academic studies in the United States and Europe, 165,000 people died in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam's re-education camps. Thousands were tortured or abused. Prisoners were incarcerated for as long as 17 years, with most terms ranging from three to 10 years. (wikipedia)
• • •

The good thing here is that most of the fill is real, not strained, and not wince-inducing—at least not wince-inducing for the normal, purely technical reasons. There was, however, I have to admit, some wincing. Namely at 16A: Propagandists' detention site. REEDUCATION CAMPs were fresh on my mind after having seen Rory Kennedy, the director of the new documentary "Last Days in Vietnam," on "The Daily Show" the other night. Having heard so recently about how horrific the "camps" were, the clue here today struck me as oddly … anodyne. Creepily so. First, I couldn't tell if the clue was saying that the people who *ran* the camp were "propagandists," or if "propagandists" were the ones "detained" there. I'm still not entirely sure, but I think the clue is saying propagandists run the thing. But "propagandist" is way too mild a term, as is "detention," and somehow leaving the victims of said propaganda / detention completely out of the equation … there's just something in that clue that feels casually violent and inhumane, given the scale of suffering and death at the those "camps." Cross that answer with LEAVES TO DIE (dear lord, really?) and you've got one massively tin-eared and tone deaf puzzle on your hands.


But leaving aside the significance of the words themselves, this is a nicely filled 15-stack-based puzzle. The theme … I don't even know. I guess the black squares say what the puzzle says they say. Why anyone should care or how it adds any value to the solving experience, I have No idea. I'm just grateful that as far as terrible short stuff goes, I don't have much to grumble at beyond the occasional HOTL and ANGE. Long answers (besides the aforementioned) are nice, though PATRONAGE HIRING (52A: Political machine practice) googles pretty poorly as a phrase, and STEMLESS GLASSES is only about a half step up (down?) from PEER ASSESSMENTS in terms of outright crutchiness. The  HILLBILLIES / MODERN DANCE juxtaposition offers an amusing visual, for which I am grateful.


If you want to solve a truly exquisite code-based puzzle, you owe it to yourself to drop $1 on Patrick Blindauer's latest American Values Crossword puzzle, entitled "Bi-Curious." Hard as hell, but once you put it all together, wow. It's got at least two genuine "aha" moments. Give it time—it might grind you down—but the payoff is worth it, I swear.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. RIP Joan Rivers, who was a badass, pioneer, and role model.

90 comments:

JC66 9:28 AM  

@rex

Glad you're OK. I was getting worried.

Z 9:29 AM  

I didn't think the payoff was worth the effort. Plus, I really don't like the notion of needing a chart at the end to decode the puzzle. But, maybe that's just me. Maybe if I had stuck it out I'd have appreciated it more. Rated as a 5/5 in difficulty I think it is more like a 10/5, and I grokked what was going on almost immediately.

As for today, what Rex said. POLA Negri got me again. I swear that wasn't her name the last time she appeared in the puzzle.

Anonymous 9:30 AM  

I neither knew nor cared, but I checked it out anyway, and the answer is yes, that's what it spells: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morse_code

Anonymous 9:35 AM  

Fabulous puzzle. Great answers. I had a lot of fun today- long answers were snappy.

optionsgeek 9:41 AM  

double Natick for me - VOSS/ADESTE & CHAW/HOTL. Had VONS/ADENTE & CRAW/ROTL

Masked and Anonymo2Us 9:44 AM  

Amazin construction.
Fun solve.
They didn't pay him enough, to do this.

th . . _ mbs . . _ p

M&A

jberg 9:45 AM  

Surprisingly easy for me -- Seeing all those 15s, I did what I thought would be a perfunctory review of the top three before I worked my way down to the gettable short stuff -- but RACE TO THE BOTTOM just leaped to the mind, and I think I got OLD AGE PENSIONER from the O. The other 15s were not that easy, but still pretty much so -- paused at PATRONAGE what? And tried to fit in ASSET balancing.

@Rex, you may not like the Morse, but you have to admit it's a further constraint on the constructor, I think. I don't remember my Morse too well, but I got the central T and was pretty sure of the Is, which was enough.

Liked CHAW. Didn't much like DADA ART.

Anonymous 9:46 AM  

Saw Rory and loved that answer. It's a puzzle and not a religious experience.

Elephant's Child 9:54 AM  

@M&A

Not only but also: CAP_LET

John Child 9:55 AM  

I thought RE-EDUCATION CAPM, RACE TO THE BOTTOM, AND NICKEL AND DIMING were wonderful..the other spanners were as boring as asset allocation.

I raced through this until the bottom stack. Had ___ HIRING, ___ NIECE, and ___GLASSES, but stared at the SW for minutes and tried all sorts of things. Three green paint answers, IMO.

wreck 9:56 AM  

This was probably my fastest Friday ever - no googles. That said, I never bothered to contemplate the Morse Code aspect. To me, the whole extra layer, was a feat only other constructors would appreciate. What percentage of the population knows Morse Code by heart??

Anonymous 9:57 AM  

Must confess that as a Social Security recipient for 8 years now, I blanched at "Old Age Pensioner" more than I did re-education camp.

AnnieD 9:59 AM  

Wow, super simple for me...finished in half the time of yesterday's puzz. Even my early missteps, like GELCAP instead of CAPLET seemed easy to fix. Disappointing only in that I expect to have more to gnaw on on a Friday...

Fred Smith 10:05 AM  


@Wreck --

I used to know Morse Code as a kid. I think that one of my Boy Scout merit badges required it. One of my friends lived across the street and down a bit, and we used to converse at night with flashlights. Ah-h-h, thoughts of childhood, long ago ...

--Fred

Chris 10:06 AM  

Very easy for a Friday for me. And although I hardly ever complain about cluing, I really don't like the one for ASSET ALLOCATON. One's allocation might or might not be diversified.

FWIW, I associate REEDUCATION CAMPS with Maoist China. Don't know if they were better or worse than the Vietnamese ones

Steve J 10:13 AM  

Quick solve for me, too. Only hangups were having pablum instead of CAPLETS, and a Natick with CrAW crossing rOTL (I guess it's technically not a Natick, since CHAW isn't unknown, but I couldn't see it from the clue).

Liked most of the long answers, especially NICKEL AND DIMING. Also thought the clue for REEDUCATION CAMPS was oddly ambiguous, but I'm not looking to puzzles to provide moral sensibility.

Agreed with @jberg that DADA ART was ungainly (and didn't need to be cross-referenced at all), and with @John Child that there's a few noticeable splotches of green paint. And with Rex that the theme didn't add anything for me (but it was probably a fun touch for those who do know Morse code). But this was a good, solid and well-constructed puzzle overall, and one of the rare cases I can recall where I actually enjoyed triple (or more) stacks.

oldbizmark 10:14 AM  

fun easy friday for me. had a couple of errors that slowed me a bit (AMA for HMO, WIN for TOP, among others) but they were quickly resolved.

Whirred Whacks 10:15 AM  

I wonder what % of today's kids (10-16) know any Morse code. Pretty small, I reckon. Of course, their knowledge of HTML far surpasses mine of fifty-plus years ago. ;-)

After I had solved WAITING, I kept waiting for the bigger payoff. But as mentioned above, it's a puzzle and "not a religious experience," and that was quite sufficient for me.

Nancy 10:23 AM  

Loved it! I found it challenging in the best possible way, as it required imagination rather than arcane knowledge to solve. Just about no proper names at all and the long fill was all fresh. My first love is always the trick puzzle, but, for me, this as good as a non-trick puzzle gets.

Mohair Sam 10:26 AM  

Two triple stacked 15's plus two more, then 4 eleven's going down. Love at first sight. And the puzzle didn't let us down. It did fall kind of easily for a Friday, however.

OK. It's Nita Naldi and PINA Negri, I'll get them straight one day. Throw in Clara Bow and you have all the crossword "silent film" ladies you'll ever need.

Got a couple of letters going down (HOTL and MAORIS being gimmes) so I confidently inserted bAllOttampeRing at 52A. Probably just as accurate an answer as PATRONAGEHIRING.

Great Friday Joe Krozel. Thank you.

Maruchka 10:29 AM  

Hello, @ Rex!

16A: With closed quotes, would ["Propagandists'" detention site] look less creepy? Not really. And the LEAVESTODIE neighbor made it even more ghoulish.

Fav of the Day - FAZOOL.

Long white rows up AND down in the North were FEARful to see. So, started in the South, and then went up pretty fast.

One google for VOSS. Looks interesting, but could not find a clip. @ Alias Z?

One scratch-out for 30D (had SOAMI).

@ Anon 9:57 - Oy. Something Dickensian about that solve. Where my rockin' chair at?

Z 10:30 AM  

Hmmmmm - I don't look to pop culture for my moral compass, either. Nevertheless, I'm confused by the reaction to Rex's reaction. He calls the clue "anodyne," "too mild," "casually violent and inhumane," and "tin-eared and tone deaf." Seems pretty accurate to me, if maybe not needing quite so much repetition ("anodyne" says it all). So, do we think Rex is wrong, or that the clue was okay, or just that Rex was over-reacting?

Leapfinger 10:32 AM  

@Rex, it isn't so bad if you think about the coming Autumn being the time for LEAVES TO DIE.

Was terminally stumped by the PATRON Saint of Jajdefinom, ST. EMLES, with his 'G LASSES', who I'm told are some variety of low-rated Vestals.
Also had to quash the image of micROwAvE wIRING.
otoh, NICKEL AND DIMING came with a single cross.

Elsewhere, noted the standard amount of Krozeloid Ms-directs:
FAGIOL for FAZOOL; fixed by OZMA
GERALD Ford for TORINO
OIL/GAS for INK-wells [last seen in Grade 3, dry even then]
GETS for KENS, forGET the duplication
PEP/VIM < GAS, ABO < HDL and some DNA-RNA binding round it out. Aren't really admitting to an OTT-ORR errorr.

Did notice the symmetry in the three center rows early on, but didn't grok the full anagrammatic beauty of DE CONSTRUCTion till after reading the notes. A very fine Friday Morsel, Joe!

Z 10:34 AM  

@Mohair Sam - POLA Negri and PINA Colada. I got the alcoholic drink right, but if I put in PINA the next time Negri shows up I'm blaming you.

mac 10:47 AM  

Easy for a Friday, but I had a couple of write-overs/rethinks:

- ism for art
- so do for as am
- highball for stemless

I hear "old age pensioner" much more often in England. Does not sound good either place.

Pasta Fazool makes me think of Dean Martin.

One answer I don't understand: "tee" at 54D. Please?

jae 10:49 AM  

Well we started the week tough and seem to be finishing on the easy side.  This was very easy for me.   Only problems were seES and @Leap gEts before KENS, misspelling FAZOOL  (oLe?), and @Leap abo before HDL.  

VOSS was a WOE for both the book and the opera.

O.K. Fri. except for being too easy and a tad ho-hum.   Although, the Morse Code thing was kinda cute...

And exactly what @Z said about the AV puzzle.

Sir Hillary 10:50 AM  

This was fascinating -- and a lot of fun. I would be interested in hearing from JK as to when the Morse code angle entered the picture. Did he start with that in mind, or was he making a themeless stack puzzle when the idea dawned on him?

It would have been even more amazing to have quad stacks on top and bottom, with the "WAITING" Morse code all in the same rows as the corresponding letters (he has this already for the middle ITI). I'll bet he tried.

I had the same thought as @Chris on the clue for ASSETALLOCATION.

IDUNNO how to feel about the two sets of cross-referenced clues. SOBE it, I guess.

Great clue for CICADA.

There are some yucky POCs (OCTS, GES, PGS) but that is a pretty standard price to pay for stacks like this. Well worth it.

Great entry into the weekend. Thanks, Joe!

Sir Hillary 10:56 AM  

Actually, I just realized my idea above -- about quad stacks and having the Morse code rows entirely correspond to the respective letters -- is impossible. It would require black squares in rows 4 and 12, defeating the whole purpose. Spatial cluelessness...Reason #497 that I only solve crosswords and do not construct them.

Mohair Sam 10:58 AM  

@Z - Ooops. I was looking at the downs and screwed it up. Apologies - I take full responsibility for your future naticks since POLA may now be lost to you forever (she's been Nita in my life for years).

Gill I. P. 11:04 AM  

Well, I'm a bit rusty with my Morse code and all - always getting my Dit's and Dah's mixed, up but dagnabbit I really liked this puzzle. I guess it helps if you're a stackaholic.
Plopped in NICKEL AND DIMED, smiled...then ran upstairs and got OLD PENSIONERS off the only ORR Bruins I've ever known Sweet!
@Leapy: Put me in the FAGIOL/GERALD CAMP. But only for a DADA second.
I looked up the origin of HILL BILLIES and I got: "It is a compound contraction of the two names Hillary and Bill as in the Clinton's from Arkansas."
And then I got:
"When the rednecks moved to California some of them moved in Beverly Hills, hence hill billy.
Now I'm really confused!
PINA/POLA....This VOSS fun.

Leapfinger 11:05 AM  

@Maruchka, VOSS ist los? An opera out of Australia instead of Austria? A collaboration of 'Me ale' with 'Ma louf'? Talk about fodder!!

@Sir Hillary, CICADA is one of my favourite words, for reasonsI won't bore you with, but this clue, though cute, made me shrug. For the Insecta, I'll take carapace, chiin exoskeleton and such, but for shell's sake am wanting something more calciferously Molluscan.

No more pickin' you'n.

Carola 11:09 AM  

Challenging for me. OLD-AGE PENSIONER that I am, I needed the support of OZMA, ISOLDE, ALDO and POLA to give me some confidence that I could actually do the puzzle. When I see stacks of 15s, my instant reaction is FEAR + "I DUNNO!"

But then the lower half unfolded surprisingly quickly, and LEAVES TO DIE led me back up to the top, where the lead-off ORR gave me what I needed to get the top rows.

@Leapfinger - For "Comprehends," I wrote in the E and S, waiting to see if it would be gEtS or sEeS. Fun to be surprised at the third one.

Sir Hillary 11:14 AM  

@Leapy - If I read you right, you feel the CICADA clue has insufficient entomology etymology, or is that a mythology?

Norm C. 11:20 AM  

@mac silkscreen graphics are put on TEE shirts.

Susan McConnell 11:29 AM  

Sorry, but the reveal gets a big ol' SO WHAT? from me. I understand you have limited characters to deal with but...sheesh. I was WAITING for more.

OISK 11:30 AM  

What Nancy said. A really fine Friday, with a total of exactly two answers that I didn't know once I wrote them in - "EMO" Is that short for emotional? Some new slang?? Meant nothing to me.

But otherwise, this was just what I look forward to on Friday and Saturday. Staring blankly and looking for a starting point for several minutes - Maori and Aldo to begin, and so it went. Right in my wheelhouse, for a fast, fun, Friday. (Two opera clues and no rap! Hurrah! Although I did not know Voss, neither the novel nor the opera. Voss ist doss? )

Didn't get the Thurs. Times until this morning, so I did the Thurs and Fri one after another. The Thursday took much longer for me, as I was slow to get the trick, which is surprising since I am often accused of backward thinking.

Anonymous 11:36 AM  

I don't think Rex has a legitimate reason to grumble about HOTL. It's a proper noun from the name of a play/television show that are both reasonably well known. HOTL should be as good as any other proper noun.

Horace S. Patoot 11:38 AM  

@Z I wonder if there are others like me who are saving the AV puzzle for the weekend when we have more time. Would you please not discuss the solutions to puzzles (other than today's NYT) here? Even a tiny hint is a spoiler. Thanks!

I don't get the complaints about Morse code. It's just one clue, and a clever one. Surely we're used to solving crosswords where we have to rely on crosses for some words. Which crosses we need reflect our different experiences (you' guessed right - I remember most of the code).

Bob Kerfuffle 11:38 AM  

@OISK - Are you still in Brooklyn? I didn't get my Times yesterday, either, and had to do both Thursday and Friday this morning. I am in Bergen County, NJ, and when I called the Times yesterday they just said there was some kind of problem. Odd if it should have affected both NY and NJ!

The puzzle: Fairly easy for me, less than 25 minutes on a Friday. Just one write-over, 24 A, AMA before HMO.

Never heard of VOSS, but since I don't see many objections, I must be in the minority.

But, where are the PC Police? I had gotten the idea that HILLBILLIES were coming to be considered in the same category as COEDS.

I used to know Morse Code, but now I am just another OLD AGE PENSIONER.

Leapfinger 11:49 AM  

@Sir Hillbillary, I DUNNO. I did find out that there are strains with different cycles for living below ground. Nice to find out, for I surely get those boomers more often than every 17 years. Big old 3" carapaces, littering up the landscape. [ps, that was s'posed to be 'chitin']. Seventeen years does seem a long prep for a few weeks of joy.

PINA POLA
Emile ZOLA
ZOLA-esque
And Esker Polar.

AmaPOLA
Pretty Poppy,
LOLA makes the troops
So Hoppy.

Climb Arete
And drink a COLA.
POLA weds Emile,
That's droller.
POLA ZOLA,
Twice the Dolor.

Hoppy Friday, all

quilter1 11:53 AM  

Came late due to a morning full of appointments for this OLD AGE PENSIONER and spouse. While the SS goes up a couple of bucks a year, the pension never will and I live in fear of a pension fund raid. Maybe I can move into my daughter's basement.
In any case, I liked the puzzle despite having no knowledge of Morse code but that didn't seem necessary to the solve. Enjoyed many of the clues/answers.
As to REEDUCATION CAMPS, eight of my son's MIL's children died of starvation during the Pol Pot regime in such camps trying to grow crops with stone age tools and methods. She is one of the saddest people I've ever met. So that answer was distasteful.

Z 11:56 AM  

@Horace S. Patoot - Of course. And if you get even the mildest of hint from what I wrote I apologize. However, I doubt that there is even the mildest of hint there beyond what is included with the puzzle already. Good Luck and set aside a chunk of time.

jdv 12:05 PM  

Easy-Med. I have been burned by HOTL and FAZOOL in previous puzzles, so it was nice to throw those down with minimal crosses. Same goes for POLA and ALDO. Didn't know VOSS. Had ABO before HDL.

M and Also 12:35 PM  

p.s.
For those too mor(o)se to appreciate the palindromic nature of WAITING, consider the secret anagrammed message left in the middle five down columns!*

M&A
"No Secret Is Too Safe"




* I WINS.

Martin 12:36 PM  

I don't think anyone has mentioned the real beauty of this grid: it conforms to crossword symmetry. It's OK to consider it a "Stupid Constructor's Trick," that is, adding little to the solving experience but at least it should be recognized for the coup that it is.

"Waiting" is a Morse code palindrome. W is G backwards, etc. And the central letter, T, is symmetrical. Without these characteristics, the grid would have to violate symmetry.

This struck me as very cool.

Horace S. Patoot 12:48 PM  

Thanks, @Z.

Anonymous 12:52 PM  

@Martin,

I saw that lines 7 and 9 were symmetric about line 8, but went no further. Not knowing Morse code had me WAITING for the reveal. Solved 20D fairly early, and went 'Oooh!' at that point.

You're right, it's icy cool.

r.alphbunker 12:54 PM  

@Martin
Your comment greatly increased my appreciation of this puzzle. Thanks.

M and A Yelp Desk 12:55 PM  

p.p.s.s.
Or SINAI, to those that didn't imagine that extra dash that M&A thought he saw...

rat fudge.

M&A
"Some Secrets Are Safer Than Others"

mac 1:24 PM  


Thank you, @Norm C. Somehow I always see that as a T(-shirt).

Anonymous 1:28 PM  

For one who usually finds Friday puzzles almost impossible, this one hehaved rather nicely and came in from the bottom up once I got over the fact that tumblers are not just COCKTAIL GLASSES. Also got tripped up by Ford TORINO not being a Ford CAMINO. Thanks for the puzzle, Joe.

Kris in ABCA 1:29 PM  

I'm flying today, so having paid extra for the privilege of not sitting by the toilet, NICKELANDDIME came easy. So did the WAITING. I appreciated the simple pleasure of writing in OLDAGEPENSIONER and having it stick - always nice to sues out a long answer early on.

Kris in ABCA 1:31 PM  

Oops - should have read "suss" not "sues"

pmdm 1:36 PM  

It's not a palindrome but an ambigram. You can read the morse code as is or in a different (180 degree) orientation.

Anonymous 1:54 PM  

First Friday puzzle I've solved in ... ever? So, by definition, it must have been easy (by Friday standards). I loved HILLBILLIES next to MODERN DANCE and crossing NICKEL AND DIMING. Not a huge fan of POLA, and of course in a grid of this sort, the 12 (!) long clues are going to cost you some crosswordese such as NAT and, the worst, OCTS, but that was kept to a minimum, so I was quite impressed.

fergus 2:36 PM  

Yeah, Martin! I scribbled down the dots and dashes below the puzzle and had the same reaction.

LaneB 2:42 PM  

Agree that "propagandist" does not really belong in the REEDUCATIONCAMP clue and with EMO(?) andSOBE really slowed me down. That and having "tablet" instead of CAPLET and LDL rather than HDL. Otherwise it was nice not to receipt for a DNF on a Friday and I admire the use of 8 15-letter answers. Thanks Mr. Krozel!

Anonymous 2:58 PM  

.--,---,.--!!!
-,....,..,...
.--,.-,...
-,.,.-.,.-.,..,..-.,..,-.-.!!

Gene 3:02 PM  

Strongly agree about the enjoyment of the crossword symmetry/morse code/palindrmetry(?). No NYT paper yesterday, both came today.

Anonymous 3:10 PM  

A pretty irresistible combination of Ms POLA Negri and some ROAMa Dark Eyes

Anonymous 3:14 PM  

@Anonymous 2:58

I think you meant

.-- --- .--
- .... .. ...
.-- .- ...
- . .-. .-. .. ..-. .. -.-.

You don't use commas in Morse Code!

Anonymous 3:30 PM  

Thanks, BRO-3:14, I'm a newbie with Morse.

How do you do Capitals?

Anon-2:58

RooMonster 3:52 PM  

Hey All!
Just finished, 3 wrong letters = 6wrong answers. Rex said easy-medium? Wow, tough here. I thought some dreck fill, Rex said it didn't feel forced, I think it is. Haven't read comments, but...
Hands up for mPH for RPM
Had ditto, then soAMI, finally ASAMI
oil for INK
abo for HDL
Esl for ENG
ROve for ROAM
ohlord for ADESTE (still have wrong, as ADEnTE

Hard, but finished! No googles today! Hoorah!

RooMonster
DarrinV

Anonymous 3:57 PM  

@Anonymous, 3:30 - It would appear that in Morse Code as in crosswords, there are no capitals.

OISK 4:04 PM  

@Bob Kerfuffle - Yes, still in Brooklyn.

I knew Morse code from my brief Ham Radio days, but had forgotten "W" , "N" and "G" for some reason.

AliasZ 4:07 PM  


Whether you like Joe Krozel's puzzles or not, you can be sure of one thing: every time you see his byline, you will see a puzzle the kind of which you have not seen before. I always look forward to see what he will come up with next. He is never found NICKEL-AND-DIMING us to boredom.

This was a marvel of ingenious grid design with a palindromic Morse code, and the two trip-stacks plus the two additional grid spanning entries were all fresh, clean and interesting. How fortuitous that WAITING is 7 letters long, allowing the two trip-stacks to fit above and below, and its Morse code |.--|.-|..|---|..|-.|--.| a perfect ambigram to maintain grid symmetry. Some serious thought went into this.

Did you know that in the good-old Stalin days the prison system in Siberia was called REEDUCATION CAMPs?

The short fill wasn't too shabby either, even most of the threes were cleverly clued and not too trite, well, except ORR, EMO and ECO. ISOLDE and POLA Negri is always a pleasure to see, as is ALDO Ray and Phil NIEKRO.

Thank you Joe, I had great fun with this one.

Let us listen to ALDO Ciccolini play this lovely Chopin Nocturne on a FAZOOL piano manufactured in Italy (where else?).

Happy Friday, all.

ANON B 5:08 PM  

Am I the only one who never
heard Of Pepsicola SoBe?
What always impresses me is how
a constructor can need SOBE in a
puzzle and say " Oh yes, that's
a Pepsicola brand."
That's one of the reasons I
do xwords.

Elephant's Child 5:08 PM  

Wish I could remember in which movie Sofia Scicolone (not Ciccolini) says "ALDO! AL-DO!"...Not exactly a memorable line, but ever since I heard it, I can't come across that name without hearing it in her throaty sing-song voice.

[pianissimo] That's 60,000 euro apop. Basta FAZOOL!

Anonymous 5:11 PM  

I suspect that the clue to REEDUCATION CAMP is intended to as a play on the term being the kind of sanitized Orwellian double-talk a propagandist might use in lieu of the real word like work camp, prison, death camp, gulag etc.

The real problem with the clue, and the reason I share Rex's queasiness with it, is that "Detention Center" is itself a sanitized term for the kind of operation a Re-education camp was.

Had the answer been GULAG the weakness and flip quality of the clue would have been more apparent.

dk 5:24 PM  

🌕🌕🌕🌕 (4 mOOOOns)

First and foremost: Great puzzle and use of the grid.

Brought together some wonderful things pour moi.

1. Gran TORINO - Great movie.
2. DADAism - Interactive art
3. ASSETALLOCATION - working as Peter Drucker's TA (aka aide de camp)
4. Morse Code - HAM operator's license at age 15 at the hight of my dorkdom
5. Kens- the upcoming Barbie shot on Thanksgiving --- who needs Burning Man.

Oh Joe, you have done it again

dk 5:24 PM  

height

David IN CA 5:44 PM  

Wonder what the ratio is of:
1) people who know enough Morse to get some help from 20D
to
2) People to whom Phil Niekro is familiar enough to get some help on 9D. (or Ray Aldo, or Torino Ford)

Personally lucked out - Schott's Miscellany is our current bathroom reading, and I just happen to have been studying up on my Morse lately from it - I've got 12 letters down and they include W-A-I-T-N-R.

What has become of our Muse? Was she driven away like Acme? Sure miss their lightening up of the comments section :(.

... Torino Ford - one of Harrison's relatives perhaps? Can't remember anything he starred in.

R 5:44 PM  

@Anon B, the Sobe in question is a Brand Name of a juice drink owned by Pepsi. Haven't you ever heard about the little sayings under the caps of
Sobe drinks?

RooMonster

RooMonster 5:46 PM  

Oops, that was Snapple!!
But Sobe is still a juice drink! Had lizards on the bottles.

RooMonster

Anonymous 6:12 PM  

ALDO Ray, not Ray ALDO.

Joseph Welling 6:53 PM  

My only quibble: Is an OLD AGE PENSIONER different than a PENSIONER?

Bomaka 7:26 PM  

Lovely puzzle! A few glitches and a DNF due to CrAw rather than CHAW, though I realize the craw is somewhat south of the mouth.

HMO is an INSURANCE GROUP, not a physicians' group. I thus had trouble committing to that little bit of fill.

Couldn't get HOTL. Kept recalling watching the creepy, horrible movie "Hostel" as my 20 something daughter left for a tour of Europe. She kept sending me maps to Bratislava from wherever she happened to be. Total freak out!

In a different vein, blood test letters are ABO unless clued more clearly. Blood tests can include lots of three letter stuff: RBC, CBC, HGB, TSH, etcetcetc.

All in all, fun stuff! Thanks Mr. Krozel!

Bomaka 7:33 PM  

AND pasta FAgiOLe is a great dish, and good for your HDL. Pasta FAZOOL - well is just part of a song...

Maruchka 8:02 PM  

@ Leap - VOSS ist lost, apparently. Can find no visuals nor music online. Should be video from 1986, right? May try to find the book..

@ Alias Z - Ah, ALDO Ciccolini on the sounds-like FAZOOL! Heaven. Extra points and soup for you.

ALDO Ray in "Pat and Mike" is a treat, too.

Charles Flaster 10:36 PM  

Finished in 13 minutes but could not get on this blog until just now.
Agree with majority of comments----_easy,symmetric, fun clueing.
CrosswordEASE---pola, Isolde.
Thanks JK.

ZenMonkey 12:05 AM  

@Joseph Welling: in England at least, OLD AGE PENSIONER is used as well as simply "pensioner." There's no difference that I know of; perhaps OAP is an official designation or something.

I thought this was the best NYT I've solved in weeks if not months. Which is sort of damning with faint praise as I haven't been enjoying the puzzle as much. Even before the hideous grotesque that is the new app.

i. Denisovitch 4:53 AM  

I appreciated that some of the puzzle was in code.

Todd Trimble 11:54 AM  

Not a difficult Friday for me. I didn't know that "ken" could be used as a verb that way (I vaguely knew the archaic meaning "to know" [a person], but not as a synonym of "comprehend" -- apparently that's British dialect).

I wasn't nearly as put out by REEDUCATION CAMP as Rex -- I took it in a more general sense than that of Vietnamese prison camps. (I also thought it was pretty clear that propagandists were the overlords here, since it takes a propagandist to coin such a euphemism.) Overall, very few groaners, and the Morse code was pretty cute from a constructor's standpoint.

spacecraft 11:17 AM  

I recall the TV series "HOTL Baltimore," and the memorable debut of the fabulous Conchata Ferrell. Cutting edge, at the time. But how do you get ADWARS from "televised fights?" That's wafer-thin, even for a Friday clue.

I was not familiar with the phrase REEDUCATIONCAMP; the first word became inferrable after a few letters, but the CAMP part--that whole NE corner--was the product of some "head-scratching" guesswork. I've gotten used to EMO, but not as it refers to brooding teens. And "Dash letters" for RPM??? That one needs some flat-out 'splainin.' Oh wait--I just now got it: dash BOARD! How many OCTS in a year? That's pretty poor as fill. Whew, glad I got out of that corner!

You know, of course, there's really no such thing as "FAZOOL." The word is "fagiol." Pastafagiol is plain, un-sauced, pasta. The way it's pronounced, with a soft-j sound as in Zsa Zsa, led to the made-up word in today's grid.

Yeh, LEAVESTODIE, that's heartless, in the extreme. Roger that. And now that I read about 16a, I agree that is a most grisly cross.

I admired not only WAITING in code, but the companion entry in symmetry, ONETOGO. At least, we will presumably have not long to wait.

As Krozel 15-stacks go, this one's fairly good. Say, B.

535, still WAITING for a winner.

Anonymous 12:37 PM  

Agree with easy/medium. Everything seemed sussable and it was a faster Fri than usual. But the best part for me was doing research on Patrick White (Wiki) with whom I was not familiar.
Great puzz, Mr. Krozel.

Ron Diego La Mesa, CA

107

rondo 1:48 PM  

Seemed really easy today. Liked the 15 stacks, but dislike the number of 3 letter answers that one gets because of the stacks. But who am I to DECONSTRUCT?

124 - ho-hum

DMG 2:42 PM  

I always feel half defeated before even starting a long-stacks puzzle, but this time I actually managed to complete it. Slowed up by the fact I can never remember which game ORR/Ott played. If there is a mnenomic that would help, I've never been able to find it. Also, could hear Dino singing FAZOOL, but, since he didn't spell it out, it took sometime to correct FAZOle. Ended with a circle around my K at Kens, because NIEKRO seemed improbable. But, as I said DF. Pretty unusual for me on Friday!

Not so unusual: 1299. Can't have everything.

Z 2:45 PM  

OtT swung a baT

rain forest 6:32 PM  

Great puzzle. Love Joe Krozel.

1908 Yes!

DMG 8:50 PM  

@Z: Thanks, OtT swung a baT is perfect. I had been trying to,so something with "ball", obviously to no avail?

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