Persion ruler dubbed great / FRI 10-10-14 / Hail farewell / 1949 show tune with lyric Here am I your special island / City where Lehigh Delaware rivers meet / Presidential candidate who wrote No Apology

Friday, October 10, 2014

Constructor: David Steinberg

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: none, unless you call a bunch of stacked CH- words a "theme"

Word of the Day: PANTY (13A: Raid target) —
modifier noun: panty
  1. legless underpants worn by women and girls. (google, [define panty])
• • •

This is pretty strong overall. The grid type is common, and I'm not a fan of it—it's a grid not driven by great seed answers, but by whatever you can get to work well; low word counts will do that. It's also a highly segmented grid (really, three grids), which I also don't like as much as a grid that has more flow. But again, as an example of its type, it succeeds just fine. David manages to keep those big, open corners free of real junk, and gives us several fine longer phrases in the process. In the NW, TROUSSEAU, PROPMAN and "PLEASE DO" were probably my favorites, though that last one gave me fits til almost the last cross (the "D" in ADA)—I had "PLEASURE!," as in "It'd be a …" and then wast trying to figure out how "PLEASE TO" could possibly be right. Apparently the "bridges and canals" in 6D: Org. concerned with bridges and canals were about teeth, not waterways. I could tell that first word of 7D: "Unfair!" had to be "YOU…" though, so I worked that corner out eventually. Only way I got going, however, was by starting at the bottom of the corner and mentally inserting -ING at the end of 2D: Extending the life of (REUSING). That got me PANG and off we go. This is a typical hack for late-week / tough puzzles. Got nothing? See if you can't predict an -S or an -ED or an -ER or an -ING at the end of an answer. Sometimes a single accurately predicted letter from a word ending gets you a cross, and you're in.

I don't get the whole "CH-" thing in the middle of the grid. I've seen other constructors do versions of this—try to make the visually boring eternal slant-stack of 7s do something … coordinated. Here, all it did was make the puzzle easier; once I noticed a few CH- answers, I just started guessing CH- at the beginning of some of the lower answers. I like *solving* my Fridays, without the aid of such cheap help. Also, what's the point of "CH-"? Someone's initials? There's not point. And pointlessness is another thing I'm not fond of, puzzle wise. But, as I say, the grid doesn't suffer under these restrictions, so even if they are arbitrary, not much harm is done. Toughest part for me was the CHANTEY / AT SEA cross-reference. Weird to see a phrase replaced by a cross-reference (i.e. [Number 10-Down] = Number AT SEA). Usually you're just looking for a single word. Plus that whole NE corner was odd. I cannot accept PANTY. They come in pairs. Only in pairs. I don't care if the phrase is "PANTY raid"—that's fine, then clue it as a partial. But if you talking about the [Raid target], it's panties. They don't come in singular. PANTY is like jean that way.

SE was a piece of cake because of the XEROXED gimme (assuming you got CHATTERBOX already). I even got OVERALLS off just the "O." So that corner played way, way, way easier than any other part of the grid (another pitfall of these super-segmented grids—difficulty inconsistency). Overall, this was solid, enjoyable fare.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Susan McConnell 7:40 AM  

Agree about wanting to so,ve Fridays without the gimmick. This one was just ok for me.

Anonymous 7:49 AM  

For any Friday I solve completely with my first cup of coffee without husband's help - easy. This one started slow but was done before the last swallow.

joho 7:54 AM  

This was David's most accessible puzzle I've done to date. Finished it in record time before turning out the light last night. What a nice surprise!


Learned DARIUSI.

Didn't notice the CHCHCHCHCHCHCH until this morning. Kind of fun! I especially liked saying CHIANTI, CHANTEY, CHUTNEY.

Good one, David!

wreck 7:56 AM  

I didn't even notice the "CH's" until I had already filled them all in! TROUSSEAU and CHANTEY were unknown to me, but the crosses were all fair.
Enjoyable Steinberg puzzle!
This whole week has been on the easier side of easy-medium for me. I fear Saturday!

joho 7:59 AM  

Oh, @Rex, PANTY seems totally legit to me as the target of a PANTY raid.

Mohair Sam 8:03 AM  

Easiest Friday in a while here. Got the CH thing off gimmes CHARLES and CHROME and the middle filled. EASTON, UMINN gimmes in the NW. BALIHAI, BARCELONA gimmes in the SE. The puzzle was essentially done.

Like Rex we had a hold up on the D in cleverly clued ADA, our problem was RoUSING for RESUSING (both work with the clue). PLoASEtO not being a word we were able to correct and declare victory.

So what's Rex's problem with PANTY the singular? There used to be PANTY raids, not panties raids. Period.

Wedding TROUSSEAU's? The CHEMISE? BALIHAI? PANTY raids? Young Mr. Steinberg is ageing rapidly.

optionsgeek 8:09 AM  

Can someone kindly throw me friggin' bone regarding the ATSEA/CHANTEY pair? I got them both from the crosses but don't grok the connection.

Susan McConnell 8:15 AM  

Maybe the Shelly is throwing you off. I am more familiar with "sea shanty"....a number (song) about the sea.

jae 8:16 AM  

Easy Fri. for me made even easier by catching the gimmick early.  No erasures and no WOEs. The down side is now I've got ear worms from both David Bowie and The Standells. 

Initially want fast ball for 22d. 

Kinda cute, but I like my Fridays a bit crunchier and with more zip than just YOU CHEATED, PANTY, and CHOCULA.  Although  26a/10d combo was fun. 

Susan McConnell 8:16 AM  

^Shelly = spelling. Having a fat finger morning!

Leapfinger 8:23 AM  

CH- CH- CH- CHanges!

Only ones were highWAY to FREEWAY, and Ger to ENG, due to briefly confusing Baden with with BATH. Overall, much easier than expected for a Steinberg Friday, esp considering the ENISLEd corners. hich elicited a MOAN.

Remembering DS' ZZZZworthy puzzle alerted me to the CH- CHain early on, and that resolved the shanty/CHANTY question. What with Count CHOCULA and PANTY raids, etc., the whole grid skewed pretty young. Me, I'd been thinking Minsky's and bug-spray. The only white-topped entry was BALI HAI (1947), I think. And BRER.

Have to thank @George Barany for help: without his recent rivalry link, I wouldn't have gotten Gophers for UMINN.

Though the consequences be DYER, thought the clue for POLEAX was hunky-dory.

Ducking and running on into my Friday. Enjoy the day.

AliasZ 8:29 AM  

Why do David Steinberg's puzzles start to annoy me so much? Something always seems to be off in his puzzles for me. Today it is the fact he made three independent puzzles but the NYT got away with paying him only once. This I liked.

I love wide open spaces in a grid almost as much as I hate secluded culs-de-sac with only a single entry connecting them. Today's grid design is a disaster in my view.

PAUCITY aside, nothing else in today's puzzle sizzles or irritates. I don't think it earns a display in Madame TROUSSEAU's Wax Museum.

Speaking of the CHARIOT of Helios, here is the Helios Overture, Op. 17, by Danish composer Carl Nielsen (1865-1931).

This CH-CH-CHattanooga CH-CH-CHoo-CHoo is leaving. All aboard!


Leapfinger 8:31 AM  

Sixteen men on a dead man's chest,
Yo, ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!

When I first came across that as a kid, in "Kidnapped", what I visualized was a thoracic chest. Thoroughly confused me.

Bluto 8:32 AM  

The target of a speed trap is not speed. The target of a drug raid is not drug. A word search for word is even worse than the other kind.

Danp 8:32 AM  

What's black and white and starts with CH? That was the question I kept asking, and I would guess David Steinberg did too. OK, I guess WARRIOR makes it symmetrical, but it gave me fits. Also never saw the word CHANTEY before. I'ver heard it, but would never have guessed the spelling.

NCA President 8:34 AM  

@optionsgeek: Number 10-down could also be clued "A song at sea." Which is a sea CHANTEY. "Number" there refers to a musical number.

So all of those CHs but one? Does the CR anomaly have any significance? If you're going to go to all the trouble to make a pattern, you should follow through to the bitter end, in my humble non-puzzle creating opinion.

My only beef is with OVERALLS. Farmers wear overalls. Mechanics wear overalls. Ranchers wear chaps. On a list of things a rancher wears, overalls would be near the bottom or on the same list as "things a rancher might wear while he's changing the oil in his truck."

I'm currently working on a production of Oklahoma. The farmers, for the most part, are all wearing overalls, the cowmen...not overalls. Just sayin'. Plus, having grown up in Nebraska, I have a vague memory of overalls being associated with farmers and the ranchers mostly wore jeans and those fancy western shirts with the snaps for buttons.


Imfromjersey 8:38 AM  

8D was the last clue to fall, I stared at Dariusi for a few seconds before parsing Darius I. Wondered if anyone was Naticked by Easton, not exactly a well known PA city.

Sir Hillary 8:39 AM  

Flew through this one, helped greatly by what I thought was a series of C words (didn't notice the H pattern until I read @Rex's write-up). I started in the SW, which went quickly. Like @Rex, CHATTERBOX led to XEROXED and OVERALLS, and the rest of the SE fell. NW took a bit longer, due in part to my temporary mistake of gRiPMAN. NE was by far the toughest, although the old crosswordese standby ENISLE did me a solid in providing a foothold.

Never heard of DARIUSI. Even after I was finished, I was parsing him as Dariusi, like Mafiosi. Only as I type this am I realizing he was probably Darius I...correct?

I've heard UMass commonly used, but never UMINN, even though the clue made it a gimme. Perhaps a Minnesotan like @George Barany can shed light on whether UMINN is common usage?

All told, this was remarkably junk-free for a 62-worder. Very nicely done, David!

Casco Kid 8:42 AM  

Clean solve. 50 minutes. Easy medium. Because I had CHATTERBug, not CHATTERBOX, the SE took 25 of those minutes. BALIHAI was a gimme. REINHOLD was a quick guess, but nothing was firm until I sussed BARCELONA. Other candidates: Brussels, Budapest, Baden Baden, Bavaria, Berlin, Brogues. If the B in CHATTERBug had been wrong, I might still be digging.

The hyrdocarbon chain in the middle certainly powered the solve, reducing the manual-mental load considerably. Signature Steinberg.

I finished the NW around midnight, then did a face plant on my keyboard. Puzzles are so much easier to solve in the morning.

Superb solving experience. Much better than yesterday's tortured clueing.

Hartley70 8:43 AM  

Gotcha for a Friday! The fill went in very cleanly off just a few letters. The only obscure name DARIUS wasn't buried too deeply. The best moment is when I figured out that Army Corps of Engineers was never going to fit where ADA belonged.

Anonymous 8:45 AM  

Yup, NCAP went OVERALL the most injeanious points.

Casco Kid 8:49 AM  

@nca prez, hah. I missed it.
CHCHCHCHC-R is chemical nomenclature for "more molecule goes here." R is the variable X of organic chemistry. Prof Barany? Retired chemist? I'm slightly outside my domain on this one.

RnRGhost57 8:58 AM  

"Panty raid" period.
Once again, if it's outside Rex's ken, then it doesn't exist.

"Rex, meet Cliff Clavin. Cliff, meet Rex Parker."

A 8:59 AM  

If CR- is an outlier than so is CA-. You guys are so across-centric!

Anonymous 9:02 AM  

You don't read very closely, do you?

Andrew Gordon 9:04 AM  

I stumbled slightly out of the gate wanting FemorAl at 1a Major Artery and rake at 5d's yard work. @imfromjersey it wasn't until I grokked EASTON which was tucked away in the recesses that I got FREEWAY. From there on out it was smooth ride (on the NJT to Penn, not the freeway). Thanks, David!

George Barany 9:08 AM  

Good morning. I see that several of you have asked me to weigh in. Let me say at the outset that this was a terrific puzzle by @David Steinberg, notwithstanding a few of the legitimate points raised by @Rex and @AliasZ, among others.

As an organic CHemist, I really appreciated the run of CH's. To @Casco Kid, yes CH is the hydrocarbon backbone of C with H attached (with C being tetravalent, most C's have more than one H attached). And yes, when one doesn't want to specify the exact group attached, then R is used as a variable.

Now, @Leapfinger and @Sir Hillary, we come to the question of what to call the school with athletic teams known as Golden Gophers. While UCONN and UMASS are legit, this pattern does not extend to UMINN. Nobody, but nobody, not in Minnesota, nor anywhere else, refers to our school as UMINN. Yes, the U. Yes, U of M. Sometimes (e.g., in the e-mail address) umn. May not be the most logical, e.g., what do other Universities do, and how about our Big Ten rival Michigan ... but that's the way it is.

BTW, my friend @Brent Hartzell e-mailed last night the following: "That clue slowed me down because I had problems fitting LITTLEBROWNJUGWINNINGUOFMTAKETHATMICHIGAN into five squares." Well played, Brent!

Mohair Sam 9:11 AM  

@NCA Pres - Excellent rant, had the same thought - too often do we see rural type clues muffed here in the NYT. Will Needs a flyover person on his staff.

@RnRGhost - "Rex, meet Cliff Clavin . . . . " That is coffee out the nose funny.

Charles Flaster 9:11 AM  

EZ especially for a Friday.Should have been a Wed.
CrosswordEASE -----ENISLE.
Liked clues for STADIA, CHINNED(great exercise),ADA,ENG.and OVERALLS.
Bali-hai from South Pacific (a truly perfect show way ahead of its time).Lots of old school stuff that was fun for me.
Still working on last Saturday puzzle so expecting another zinger tomorrow.
Thanks DS.

Moly Shu 9:16 AM  

Agree with @Rex and others as the CH's greatly assisted the solve. Disagree with @Rex on PANTY. If you sniff panties, you are a...... Wait for it.... PANTY sniffer. Definitely a thing

@Casco, nicely done and thanks for the magmic update. I'm still on the old one also.

TROUSSEAU is new as is the spelling for CHANTEY, always thought it was shanty. When I entered CHIANTI, what came to mind almost immediately? Liver and fava beans. Tasty. Thank you @Dr.Lecter

Lewis 9:16 AM  

Agree with Rex on the clue for PANTY. Much better to clue it as a partial, because the target of a panty raid is not a "panty", it's panties.

When I saw the clue "Number 10-down" -- it immediately made me think of Number 10 Downing Street. I never heard of Darius 1 -- did anyone get this just from the clue? I had "idloveto" instead of PLEASEDDO, which slowed me in the NW. I liked the clues to COMET, OVERALLS, CHEMISE, PANTY, and ADA.

Lewis 9:30 AM  

Factoid: In opera, the male counterpart of a PRIMA donna is the "primo uomo".

Quotoid: "How many times have you been on the FREEWAY and had someone fly by you at 100 mph then end up two cars ahead of you at the off ramp? What's the point?" -- Mark Harmon

Bird 9:32 AM  

Pretty much enjoyed this one, but DNF at 22A crossing 8D (tried L).

Plunking in a bunch of CH's made this puzzle easier, but slowed me down a bit at 17A and 36A.

I'm with the PANTY is wrong answer crowd.


chefbea 9:37 AM  

Go the central part right away with all the CH's..and thought how easy for a Friday. Didn't get the chanty/at sea part.

But BEET - two days in a row!!!! I'm so exstatic..but nothing is sticking to me

Bitchin' Guy 9:44 AM  

I too cannot accept PANTY. Rex is of course right in his rant, but my rant is simply that I cannot accept either PANTY or panties. They're infantalizing of women - it's simply underwear. You don't wear panties unless you're under 3 years of age. You don't refer to underwear as panties unless you're under 3 years of age.

I've lost my right to complain about OVERALLS as it's been adequately dissed by the time I dragged my butt out of bed. (Speaking of which, can Rex change his date night or whatever it is he does on Thursday eves to say Monday? I look forward to the Friday writeup posted promptly at 12PM much more than I do the Tuesdays. I'm sure my preferences outweight his reasons for his schedule).

I was going to complain about ENISLE as being horrendous until I noticed it was upclose and personal with ATSEA, itself a horrendous partial, but their pairing somehow obviated their indivual horrors.

I was going to complain about the pointlessness of the CHs, and publicly wonder why a constructor would impose that restriction on the puzzle with no obvoius purpose (it's got to lead to sub-standard entries, no) until I double checked and failed to find entries that were obviously sub-standard.

So, I have to go clear leaves from my lawn now. Damn, my life sucks.

Ludyjynn 9:47 AM  

Whenever I see David Steinberg's name, I MOAN and figure it will be a DNF for me, but this one was a pleasant surprise. Starting w/ the answer from one of my favorite musicals, "South Pacific", at 37A and "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" actor Judge, I was off to the races. With apologies to 32D!

Agree w/ Rex that the CH sorta-kinda theme could have been more complete and that PANTY is not properly clued here.

I'm originally from NJ, too, and had no trouble w/ EASTON, since Lafayette College is located there and several kids from my high school applied to and/or attended.

Thanks, DS and WS for a solid, medium Friday. PLEASEDO provide many more.

Casco Kid 9:47 AM  

@lewis I'm becoming a big fan of your factoids and quotoids. I can haz noledge. Moar, pleez. ;)

Maruchka 9:50 AM  

Nicely CHewy, if lacking in crunCH. Parts of the NE esp. PANTY, DYER and, most of all, AT SEA/CHANTEY - total groaners.

CRUISER - Liked the clue but flunked the chem, so kept wanting more of the CH,CH,CH,CH - hobgoblins again. Thanks @GeorgeB & @Casco for the lesson.

Fav of the day - PAUCITY. Runner up - WACOcity.

@NCA Pres - Agree OVERALLS. No rancher would wear 'em - not enough skin protection, for one. Plus, chaps, gloves, Levis and fancy western shirts are way cooler.

JohnV 10:07 AM  

I approached this one with apprehension, seeing the low word count and the constructor -- as I've had limited success with David's puzzles. To my happy surprise, this one fell easily and flawlessly.

Will asked over at Xwordinfo about the appeal of the CH pattern. I too never noticed it until OFL pointed it out. I do not expect nor look for any sort of pattern/theme in a Friday or Saturday puzzle.

The long downs connecting the segmented grid were easy for me, but, yeah, surprisingly segmented.

No real reaction to any particular entry, save for DARIUSI, which did not warm my heart.

Off to Saturday.

Steve J 10:17 AM  

Mixed reactions to this one. On the plus side, fill was pretty clean (ENISLE aside), the two long downs (YOU CHEATED and CHATTERBOX) were nice, and Steinberg continues to mature as a puzzlemaker by pulling away from the arcana and needlessly obscure cluing (even for late-week standards) that plagued his early puzzles.

On the minus side: As @Alias Z and Rex pointed out, this is three mini-puzzles, with only single points of entry into each corner. There wasn't much that stood out as particularly clever or witty. And the CH gimmick is a repeat of the Z gimmick that appeared in one of Steinberg's most recent themeless puzzles. It's time for a new schtick.

Regarding U MINN: @George Barany has it exactly right. I grew up in Minnesota and head back at least once a year to visit family. Not once have I seen or heard U MINN. It's just "The U" there, whether spoken or in print.

Meanwhile, since when is WACO a major city?

Arlene 10:18 AM  

The power of positive thinking - I was so happy to see the CH stacks - love having a fresh strategy for solving a puzzle. As for TROUSSEAU, CHEMISE, PANTY -someone raided the boudoir, perhaps?

For all the males grumbling about PANTY et al - go to the feminine products aisle in a drugstore, and you'll see PANTY liners. That word can be used in the singular.

Now I'm blushing.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:23 AM  

Very nice puzzle, which I would have rated Easy-Medium.

No write-overs, but early on, hoping for mis-directs, I gave considerable thought to the possibility that 12 D, "Stage assistant," would turn out to be SHOTGUN (hey, it would fit!)

Z 10:23 AM  

FemErAl really, really slowed me down in the NW. And, of course, with three of the crosses working, how could it be wrong?

@MolyShu - thanks for a good argument for PANTY not based on misunderstanding Rex. I was 100% with Rex until your post. Now, just 75% with Rex.

@George Barany - LOL. I went to a Michigan school where the acceptance rate into med school was more important than the football team's record. I'm sure some of my neighbors would stomp off in a huff, but not me. As for what we call the Golden Gophers in the mitten, "Minnesota." I cannot recall any other name, U of M being already taken 'round here.

@Lewis - At least the speeders allow us a moment of schadenfreude. I hate getting behind someone doing 30 in a 45 who just makes the light, leaving me sitting at a red.

I did not notice the CH- string. I was too busy being pleased that the -ed string was actually two -EDs and two -EYs. Now that I see it I like it. Time for a little David Bowie, Heroes maybe.

AZPETE 10:26 AM  

Seems like ole Rex missed 17A. I agree this answer should have begun with yet another "CH".

Anonymous 10:29 AM  

Panty talk. I used to work with clothing designers and they'd often say "pant" when referring to what normal people would call a "pair of pants". So I assume they'd also say "a panty" instead of panties. So maybe acceptable in fashion argot...

wreck 10:33 AM  

Don't you also say "pant Suit?"

I too had a big??? calling Waco a "major" city -- but it is over 100,000 in population, so maybe.

RooMonster 10:36 AM  

Hey All !
The first run-through netted me exactly 3 answers! I thought, "Well, another tough FriPuz I won't finish. " But after figuring out CHROME and CHARRED, said "Hey, I might be on to something! " Sure enough, the CH's really helped me get a toehold. That led to CHATTERBOX, which got me. XEROXED, and the whole S fell quickly! No writeovers down there! The NW held me up, as I had highWAY and 1D, HINTEDAT. Took a while to realize it was FREEWAY/FLOATING. After that, sussed out the rest. Had CHIANTe, but knew DARIUSe couldn't be right, so I figured out had to be 1(the first).

Thought I had puz completely correct, but alas, hzd an E for CHANTEe. Argh! But non-too-shabby for a Fri!

Liked the puz, thought the middle CH string was cool, don't need a reason for it, just showing off constructor skills! OVERALLS, a goodun!

CRUISERing away

quilter1 10:41 AM  

Yep, one cup of coffee and done. I solved from the inside out, NW last. Left me cold.

Anonymous 10:44 AM  

I may be dating myself, but does anyone remember the lyrics " No chemise please, not for me, please" from the late 50s or early 60s?

Anonymous 10:46 AM  

I'll take the Coen brother's word over Rex's any day. So i'll cite Raising Arizona as a usage with the singular panty. As all well educated people will recall, good old Hi had a panty on his head while committing a robbery.
QED, Rex is wrong about the word never being used in the singular. But what's new about that?

Anonymous 10:49 AM  

CHarming puzzle, David. Nothing to MOAN about at all.

@Lewis- Persian rulers are usually Xerxes or Darius. Since neither fit, DARIUS + I seemed to be a good guess.

Questinia 10:49 AM  

Easy except for the SE where I was going through REINHarT, REINHOLd spasms.

@ NCA Prez. I imagined Carhartt's for the overalls so all was OK in my "make it fit" world.

I'm over three (generally speaking) and panties still apply to the more satiny, lacy pieces of underwear.

Liked the hexane-ish center. Liked the cross of ROMNEY and CHOCULA. PANG is *such* a great word for what it signifies.

Crosswords are one of the few places where I don't feel like I need to have a forest for the trees perspective. Generally, I just like rolling around in the flowers of the words and so don't notice blind alleys. Until I'm mugged by a irregular verb or something.

Loved it Mr. Steinberg. Love too the @ Lewis pearls.

Maruchka 10:51 AM  

WACO PANTY - Ah, just remembered the WACO kid. One favorite Blazing Saddles bit was Mel Brooks' Le Petomane homage - PANTY farts? I know, it's a stretch. Anyway, here's a link to the artist's wiki bio:étomane

jberg 11:00 AM  

How come all the complaints about CRUISER, but none about WARRIOR at the other end of the string? Or you could just decide that the rule didn't apply to words reaching the side of the grid.

Anyway, I mostly liked it; agree the CH pattern made it too easy, but there it is. Liked PAUCITY, liked the TROUPE with their PROP MAN. Wrote in WAY quickly, unable to decide between high- and thru- for the start.

On the other hand, ENISLE next to the RRNed Persian emperor was a bit too much, and I think the clue for AVE is just as wrong as the crossing one for OVERALLS. Hail and farewell is "AVE atque vale!"

I was six when 37A was a hit -- but still old enough that I wondered "Could he mean virginity?" at 14A. Hey, it fits!

But who is this REINHOLD guy? Someone from EASTON?

Z 11:10 AM  

@Maruchja - Thank you, I think. Of all the realms of human excellence, that was a new one to me. And now I have a new nickname for our dog.

Maruchka 11:23 AM  

@Z - Heehee! Le PETomane? T''was @Moly Shu's liver and fava beans, peut-etre... barumph.

Andrew Heinegg 11:41 AM  

Nice quote; the never to be solved issue/problem is two-fold: the delusional perception of the 100 mph driver that he/she is gaining time despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary and the inability
of so many people to just wait their turn.

OISK 11:53 AM  

@anonymous 10:44 - you can take back your sack, leave it hanging on the rack and put your sweater back! Yep, I remember!

Very pleasant, and for me, very easy, under 10 minutes. (I am not usually fast) Even the usual unfamiliar brand name (Chocula) has been in the crossword before - no problem. No hip-hop, Apple references, rock lyrics, sneaker brands, none of the things that usually annoy me in Steinberg puzzles. (and which may entertain others…) This one was right over the heart of my trivia plate! Thank you, David

Fred Romagnolo 11:59 AM  

@Arlene: for "Judge of movies" I first thought of the one who bore your name; you gotta be a real old-timer to remember her: lotsa "B" movies in the 30's and 40's. @Molyshu: try liver with onions and bacon - heaven! Also, your allusion PANTY sniffer brought a blush; in my more sedate day it was bicycle seats! Talk about arcana - EASTON! I know it's the NY Times but there are an awful lot of us who aint from the Northeast. It's like all those Jewish (Yiddish) terms that you guys take for granted, but the rest of us just scratch our heads over. @Leapfinger: you mean it isn't thoracic? !!! Threw me for a while that it wasn't Cyrus the Great who was much greater than his son-in-law DARIUS I. I learned CHARRO today.

Carola 12:10 PM  

Puzzle heaven for me: CHATTERBOX, CHOCULA, TROUSSEAU (including a PANTY), FLOATING AT SEA, pre-ENISLE-ment, a CHARIOT for DARIUS I or races in STADIA, a ROASTED CAPON...

Enjoyed seeing the CH-CH-CH stairstep materializing.

My trouble spot was "which WAY?" Tried highWAY, then parkWAY, which nicely crossed reSTON. Finally it all snapped into focus with ESSEN and PLEASE.

I guess we Badger neighbors of the Golden Gophers don't know what we're talking about, as I wrote in U MINN immediately, feeling very in-the-know about Big Ten argot.

@Anonymous 10:44 - "I couldn't tell her front from her back!"

@David Steinberg - PLEASE, DO more puzzles like this one! You only tripped me up on one proper name (REINHOLD a complete mystery) this time.

Casco Kid 12:27 PM  

@carola I dropped beltWAY in off the bat. As I was born and raised inside of same, I had a birthright to live down to.

@Lewis, My solving buddy/theologian/priest/classical scholar, wanted DARIUS straight from the clue and was content to go with DARIUS I. I was content with the crosses.

@Hartley70 nice to be in the win column on a Friday, huh? Congrats!

ZORRO was here. I can tell.

evil doug 12:28 PM  

I'm pretty sure that if a woman has only one leg--say, the other one got chomped off at the waist by a shark--she wears a uni-panty.


Anonymous 12:35 PM  

Getting 44-A as a gimme (XEROXED) caused me much grief in the NE sector because I quickly wrote in XERXESI for 8-D s and tried to find crosses that worked. None did. When I came up with CHOCULA as a certainty for 20-A, I finally realized 8-D had to be someone else and then DARIUSI popped into my mind. That breakthrough allowed me to finish a Steinberg. He must be easing up on the difficulty of his puzzles.

Leapfinger 12:43 PM  

@OISK, Anon 10:44, good on you! The closest I came was "I want a CHEMISE like my sister Kate".

More historical errors, besides the thoracic chest I might be sharing with @FredRom:
Until Very recently, used to think "The Peaceable Kingdom" was painted by Henri TROUSSEAU; turns out it's by Edward Hicks. Isn't it a bit odd that the French haven't changed the spelling to TROUSSEAO??

I also had the opacity to pronounce PAUCITY with a hard C (mentally, only), which made PAUCITY-PAUCITY-PAUCITY sound satisfyingly Walter Mitty-esque. With a soft C, about all that's available is "PAUCITY, PAUCITY, PAUCITY Onward, Into the valley rode the few WARRIORS and MACRO Pollo".

I agree with @Questina about @Lewis' newish sideline in ephemeralds.

Sorry for the YOUCHEs, but not very.

Masked and Anonymo14CHs 1:07 PM  

First entry I got was ADA. Second one was UMINN. Then ENG and PANG, usin the @63 thrown-bone technique. Then tried WEED. Which gave me the WAY part of what I first thought was highWAY (high went better with WEED.). Ventured YOUCHEATED , off the openin Y, and off we went, down the Yellow CHick Road, as CHOCULA became a choice gimme.

Fun puz. Steinberg dude is itchin to do themes, but likes to torture people with tough weekendish clues. So he had to settle for a little CH(aeiou)-CH(aeiou).

ENISLE! Desperate! Like. Paired with DARIUSI -- extra desperate. thUmbsUp. Judge Reinhold! "Ruthless People". Primo flick. Really like.

PANTY raid target seems like a perfectly solid noun/adjective dealy, to m&e. Panty hose. Panty waist. Panty lines. Panty drawer. I could go on, but things get a little more edgy, after that. Think I'da slapped at least one ? on that there clue, tho. To satisfy the panties purists among us (yo, @63). And yet... Kinda enjoyed the ahar moment, as is.

Thanx, young master Steinberg. U do good work.


LaneB 1:08 PM  

Had a lovely time thinking I'd solve a Friday/Steinberg grid, but no: Screwed up by filling Cheney for ROMNEY and blew the NE corner, never getting ENISLE, CRUISER and CHOCULA (clues all too cute for me.). SO another Friday DNF but not depressed by reason of it. Go Giants!!

Horace S. Patoot 1:13 PM  

@Lewis et al., you will find Darius featured in Gore Vidal's entertaining historical (more or less) novel "Creation". I'm one who entered Darius from the clue, although I don't normally think of him as number 1.

Elephant's Child 1:14 PM  

I'd like to step in with a word on the panty line of thinking. It really seems the naming thereof is an irrational number; how else account for those bits of things having once been called step-ins or bloomers? Thongs, on the other hand, make sense, in nomenclature, at least. With my own eyes, have seen one with all the narrow bits made of strings of pearls... I'd be hard-pressed to think of something less comfortable!

Dang thing looked like a head-band for PANG and ENG.

Gill I. P. 1:33 PM  

@Elephant's child. If you wear tight jeans then you'd most likely wear a thong. I can't see sticking a bunch of pearls up my arse though. Maybe gives a new meaning for "pearls of wisdom?"
Yay me. My wish came true and I finished a David Steinberg sans Google. So CHarming and CHlever this young man...
Only eye squinter was trying to fit or misspell the very wrong "he of the huge turban Suleiman" who was "Magnificent" but not GREAT...
Fun Friday with lots of PRIMA words.

Alan 1:54 PM  

First CH I got was CHUTNEY, which I caught myself filling into 32A instead of 30A. Amazingly, I noticed this after just the CH, and didn't have to write over! Smooth puzzle for me.

RooMonster 2:19 PM  

Hooray@ Gillster! I also finished without googlizing, major feat for a FriPuz. However, I did have one wrong letter. Rats-a-fratsa!!


Z 2:50 PM  

@Gill I.P. - I always love your pearls of wisdom. I've never worn a thong but imagine one never has to worry about them bunching up. I had Sul in before I decided that I a) had no idea how to spell it and b) didn't have enough squares. So many dead kings to remember, so little time.

@Venerated Masked One - I'd say yoo have me fully convinced on the PANTY issue except I might lose my credibility as a Rexian brown-noser if I disagree with him.

Zeke 2:58 PM  

All who challenged Rex on his PANTY rant. Did you bother to actually, you know, read the WOD definition? The thing he put right there up top so you couldn't miss it? It's panties as a noun. PANTY is a modifier noun, i.e. something that doesn't exist on its own, but exists to modify another noun. Hence panty hose, panty raid, etc. Panties (noun) are the object of a panty (modifier noun) raid. By definition. PANTY is not the singular of panties.

M and A Rheasearch Lab and Panty Store 3:43 PM  

@Zeke... yep. I bothered. I realize it's hard to refute a google [define panty] two-lined vague gibberish answer, but I always like to rise to a challenge. I think maybe my rebutal gibberish struck a (venerated!) chord with @Z; shoot, that's better than I usually do.

Further research on my part over at Meriam Webster's has revealed the source of everyone's confusion. The correct singular of panties is pantie.
Pantie Definition:
"a woman's or child's undergarment covering the lower trunk and made with closed crotch -- usually used in plural.
Variants of PANTIE:
pantie or panty".

So, the puz clue shoulda said...
{Raid target: Var.}

"Scourin the Web for a Pantie Since 2014"

okanaganer 3:51 PM  

The word CHANTY always causes this song to play in my mind. The harmony of those guys sends chills up my spine.

Zeke 4:17 PM  

@M and A ... - I didn't go to look it up in M&W, because they, quite rudely, expect me to pay for using their product. I used to just do a google search [define panties] and click on the M&W entry, but (for reasons I'm sure you all remember, but wish you didn't) I really didn't want to do that. That being said, the "two-lined vague gibberish answer" Rex provided seems far more accurate that M&W's, at least as it has been used in the 60+ years I've been alive.

All that being said, as Bitchin' Guy mentioned, the word is simply icky in all of its incarnations and should be abolished.

Martin 4:21 PM  

There is an amazing array of Panty-of-the-Month clubs to choose from. Some mysteries are best just accepted.

Anonymous 4:33 PM  

October 10th 2014:

Always remember the Old Grey Lady's panties conundrum.

Masked and Anonymo6Us 4:39 PM  

Pay?! M&e?!? Aw contray-er, mon amigo...

1. Go to
2. Type in panty.
3. Press enter.
4. Pick the Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary list item. (4th one, on the list I got)
5. Voila, free definitions.

"Paying the Minimum Since 1993 -- But Might Reconsider For Panty-of-the-Month Club"

Anonymous 4:50 PM  

I thought the theme was "7 seas". I keyed in on the middle (28A) CHANTEY --which was clued by 10D-- "AT SEA

sanfranman59 4:52 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 15:43, 19:31, 0.81, 18%, Easy

Top 100 solvers

Fri 10:33, 12:34, 0.84, 24%, Easy-Medium

Anonymous 4:58 PM  

Maybe old David (or is that young David) was being facetious with 7D, YOUCHEATED, as he cheated with the WARRIOR and CRUISER answers if he was going for the middle CH thing.

Not Darrin Bell 5:00 PM  

Why the PANTY v panties discussion matters

Elephant's Child 5:01 PM  

@McGillicuddy, yep, just so long as there's no unemployed pearl divers lounging around.

Also, hoping that string never breaks. Can you just see all those pearls hitting the floor, and everyone wondering where they're coming from?

Much more about panty/panties, and I'll be ready to return to stadium/arena/glam/garage rock.

Nice Danish sunrise today.

Moly Shu 5:11 PM  

Zeke sees Moly at Victoria's Secret. A conversation ensues.
Zeke- "Moly, what are you doing?"
Moly-(slightly embarrased) "Panty sniffing"
Moly-(even more embarassed and stammering) "Wh-wh-what do you mean?"
Zeke-"PANTY is a modifier noun, i.e. something that doesn't exist on its own, but exists to modify another noun. So, being that 'sniffing' is a verb and there is no other noun in your statement for 'panty' to modify, you can't possibly be doing that."
Moly-(now completely red and ashamed of what he's doing but also his general lack of comprehension of the English language) "Oh, Then I guess the answer to your question is, 'sniffing panties'. Can I get back to it?"

Martin 5:24 PM provides free access for any word in the abridged, "desk" dictionary, currently the Collegiate, 11th Edition. It doesn't matter whether you access the site directly or via a referencing link.

You need a subscription to see "unabridged" content.

Nancy 5:38 PM  

Has anyone else never heard of CHOCULA? That, plus moot instead of DEAD, screwed up the NE for me. Finished everything else this a.m., but had to come back to this section. CHANTEY (sp???) unlocked PAUCITY and I finished, or so I thought. But I didn't. I had DARIeS I and CHOCeLA. Oh, well. There were no gimmes for me except BALI HAI, but the crossings made most of the puzzle pretty easy and very fair. I found it lively and fun.

Jeff Spicoli 5:39 PM  

Really? No one knows who Judge Reinhold is? Fast Times at Ridgemont High? Beverly Hills Cop? Arrested Development?

"Mock Trial with Judge Reinhold!"

Joe Dipinto 5:52 PM  

This seems to be the week for plural vs. singular issues. I don't like the "panty" clue either. But it's nowhere near as egregious as the "panini" debacle of several days ago.

Anonymous 6:29 PM  

Count Chocula cereal, Nancy.

Anonymous 6:38 PM  

Moly Shu gets the Gold Star today, for scentimental reasons.

Los paninos are on their own.

Zeke 6:38 PM  

@Moly Shu - I blame all of this on the 'abridged, "desk" dictionary' subset of M&W Martin mentioned. Apparantly you need the full, unabridged, version to get the adult content.

My bad.

AnnieD 7:45 PM  

From the very good 1959 movie, "Anatomy of a Murder" with Jimmy Stewart directed by Otto Preminger:

Judge Weaver: Mr. Biegler, you finally got your rape into the case, and I think all the details should now be made clear to the jury. What exactly was the undergarment just referred to?
Paul Biegler: Panties, Your Honor.
Judge Weaver: Do you expect this subject to come up again?
Paul Biegler: Yes, Sir.
Judge Weaver: There's a certain light connotation attached to the word "panties." Can we find another name for them?
Mitch Lodwick: I never heard my wife call 'em anything else.
Judge Weaver: Mr. Biegler?
Paul Biegler: I'm a bachelor, Your Honor.
Judge Weaver: That's a great help. Mr. Dancer?
Claude Dancer: When I was overseas during the war, Your Honor, I learned a French word. I'm afraid that might be slightly suggestive.
Judge Weaver: Most French words are.

RooMonster 7:53 PM  

Don't you remember the old monster trio of cereals? Oh boy, they were heaven when I was growing up! Count Chocula, Frankenberry, and (my favorite!) Boo Berry. Also was a sucker (and would forgo said cereals) for Kaboom! Now that was an awesome (read: jam packed with sugar!) cereal.

Ah, youth...


Pete 8:49 PM  

@Moly Shu - PANTY in panty sniffing is still a modifying noun.

When my daughter was leaving for a date tonight my wife asked her if she was wearing a pair of panties, to which she (thankfully) answered yes. Much as we would prefer that that meant two sets of underwear, I fear not. Panties is singular

Steve J 9:32 PM  

@Moly Shu: To continue various forms of pedantry, the "sniffing" in "PANTY sniffing" is a gerund; i.e., a verb functioning as a noun. If it were a verb, you'd say you were sniffing panties. As it was, you were engaging in panty sniffing. @Zeke was right.

@Spicoli: It was "Mock Trial with J Reinhold".

Teedmn 9:39 PM  

Had UOFMN for 21A - my alma mater is never UMINN as per @George Barany.

Put in motormouth for CHATTERBOX when the grid was still open but got over that pretty fast, thank goodness.

Loved the clue for WACO and the cross with COMET cemented it. TROUSSEAU and PAUCITY were fun to see.

Thanks @Moly Shu for the lol from Victoria's Secret.

Martin 10:03 PM  

If a woman asks "do you like my panties?" you can tell from context whether it's singular or plural. If she's modeling them, and perhaps nothing else, it's singular. If she's opened her lingerie drawer, it's plural.

I suspect "Panty of the Month club" stresses that you're only on the hook for one pair. I presume it's assumed that you won't be wearing the pair exclusively until the next delivery. At least I hope so, but only a few hours ago I didn't know that there's more competition in the Panty of the Month club sector than in car rental, so what do I know?

Speaking of lingerie, what's with our pronunciation? None of the vowel sounds are English or French. Panties make us crazy.

Maruchka 9:38 AM  

@AnnieD - Thanks for the fine film quote. Great Duke Ellington score, too. BTW: the judge was played by Joseph Welch, who famously asked Sen. Joe McCarthy "Have you no decency, sir?" at theSenate committee hearings into Reds in the U.S. Army. McCarthy's downfall followed.

LHS 888 3:27 PM  

Easy here, based on the fact that I finished sans Google. In under 25 min. Unheard of on a Friday!

Started with carotid, changed immediately to FemErAl to get FLOATING, ESSEN, and rake. FREEWAY and WEED were the last words in the NW.

Hand up for needing crosses for UMINN. I'm an alumna of Purdue, and I only know the Golden Gophers of "Minnesota".

Hand up for wanting either Xerxes or DARIUS off the clue. Didn't think of adding a RRN "I" until crosses made it obvi.

Only other write-over was PickAX before POLEAX.

Hand up for OVERALLS worn by farmers and jeans or jeans+chaps worn by ranchers.

Thanks @Casco & @George Barany for the organic chemistry lesson. Very interesting.

I really enjoyed this puzzle with it's fun, interesting words. Love the PAUCITY of short fill. Thanks DS / WS!!

Jeffrey Dowling 8:31 PM  

I want to testify that my wife is back after a Divorce !!!

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paulsfo 5:34 AM  

@Fred Romagnolo
Did you mean CHURRO? There's no 'charro' in the answers.

rondo 10:43 AM  

NO NO NO NO NO!!! I've lived in MN all of my life and nobody has ever ever ever said UMINN!!! Unacceptable! Closest would be U of M.
YES YES YES!!! Panty is correct by me. If you go to Victoria's Secret they will sell you a PANTY not a single "pair" of panties.
NO NO NO! Last area to fall for me was the NE. ENISLE is a terrible terrible word.
Otherwise today's puz seemed really, reallly easy to me.

911 - yikes, emergency or disaster, either way I MOANED

spacecraft 10:57 AM  

The most troubling feature of today's offering was the byline: wait, this can't be a Steinberg--it's EASY! And no rappers, and only one tech reference (MACRO). Who stole David's identity?

Ah yes, the David Bowie earworm. This lining-up of CH's is a CHeap trick; very solver-friendly but tending to stack very similar words in close proximity: viz. CHARRED/CHARTED. The really clever part was the entrance from the top: YOUCHEATED. It's almost what I feel like saying to D.S.

His usual very bumpy road has been well-graded; only a couple of pebbles (UMINN, ENISLE) to rough things up. Been taking lessons from Patrick?

No prob for me on the FREEWAY; I've driven it through EASTON several times. Hey, I have relatives in Catasauqua. Frown: clues that reference each other. PLEASE DO NOT do that.

Captchas have gone back to illegible words. Number of captchas gone through till I could make one out: 9. I know, I know. Never mind. I won't claim it.

Anonymous 1:03 PM  

I skipped most comments after reading about Panty/Panties. I agree with Rondo. In this case it was a panty raid not a panties raid. I did notice this: After the ch's we have AEIOU, not that it makes any sense.

Likewise, almost didn't do the puzz because of the constructor, but This fell fairly fast with only a few peeks on Wikipedia. So all in all I rate it B+.

Ron Diego (no numbers)

Anonymous 2:27 PM  

As one who works at the University of Minnesota I third that around here we NEVER, NEVER call it "UMinn" like you guys out east refer to "UMass" or "UConn". It's "U of M", period (although I concede that that could also mean "University of Michigan" or "University of Montana" or our new mates in the Big 10 the "University of Maryland"

rain forest 2:54 PM  

PANTY as the target of a raid was just funny whether absolutely correct or not. Though I never participated in such an endeavour, I can imagine the guys getting all PANTY while in the process.

UMINN seems to me to be a good way to differentiate it from the universities of Maine, Montana, and Michigan.

Even with the single entry/exit into and out of the three areas, the puzzle wasn't challenging, but I found it entertaining.

@okanaganer, I don't know how to embed, and don't want to learn, but Stan Rogers' "The Last of Barrett's Privateers" is the best sea CHANTEY I've ever heard.

2228 No good, but I accept @Spacey's 9. He's had a bad run of luck of late.

DMG 2:55 PM  

Saw the shape, looked at the constructor and almost didn't try this one. Did a quick peek, saw CHOCULA, got a couple of crosses and was off and running. All those CH's helped. Bogged down for a bit in the NW. However, the incorrect Ace gave me the A for....WAY. Embarassd at how long it took to,get the FREE part. Often check the I-5 traffic from the kitchen window before venturing out. At any rate, slowly, with write-overs, I did finish. One Steinberg down!!

P.S. Am I the only Rexite to have experienced an "unmentionable" raid?

Got numbers, 240. Maybe the winner by default?

Waxy in Montreal 3:22 PM  

CHastened by the CHallenge of a Steinberg byline, which usually CHanges me quickly into a CHump, I was CHeered to discover instead a Friday CHarmer.

Only problem was with the NE where my PANTY raid was an ENEMY raid and where CHOCULA and DARIUSI (yes, I learnt above how to parse it) didn't help.

Would have CHosen CHARO (oe even Zdeno CHARA) over CHURRO but that's just me.

CHilling out with a glass of CHIANTI - to celebrate my 594!

Dirigonzo 3:59 PM  

I'm sure the CH series would have been very helpful if only I had noticed them before I was almost done. I still finished it though, and I agree that young Mr. Steinberg is becoming quite an accomplished cruciverbalist.

@waxy - CHeers!

Anonymous 5:51 PM  

Smarter than me!

Anonymous 5:54 PM  

I think Darius is Hootie of the Blowfish variety!

Anonymous 6:02 PM  

A pox upon thee, Jeff!

leftcoastTAM 6:57 PM  

Yes, quite a pleasant relief from my usual DNF (or even come close) Steinberg.

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