Kinkajou's kin / FRI 11-21-14 / Country Girl memoirist O'Brien / Source of delicacy tomalley / Late legend in countdowns / Title woman of 1977 Neil Diamond hit / Novelist Shreve / State bordering Poland

Friday, November 21, 2014

Constructor: Kevin Christian

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium


THEME: none

Word of the Day: LOCAVORE (57A: Farmers' market frequenter, maybe) —
locavore is a person interested in eating food that is locally produced, not moved long distances to market. One common - but not universal - definition of "local" food is food grown within 100 miles of its point of purchase or consumption. The locavore movement in the United States and elsewhere was spawned as a result of interest in sustainability and eco-consciousness becoming more prevalent. (wikipedia)
• • •

Trying to pinpoint why this one was slightly dissatisfying, despite the presence of gems like BUTTDIAL and LOCAVORE. I think, with a word count this high (the themeless max of 72), there should simply be more gems, and there should certainly be a greater overall level of fill quality. The puzzle is by no means poor, but it felt adequate rather than carefully crafted. Every corner in a puzzle like this should feature at least one thing that is new and great. Nothing in that NW corner sufficiently offsets the crosswordesiest golfer and the world's worst [Footnote abbr.]. The words leading out of that section, NO CLASS and GNEISS, both made me slump a little in sadness (when I eventually got them, which was Not right away). PANED is a bit icky and I'll never understand the choice of "F" in the 31 square when so many other letters would've put you in a clearly preferable non-FAYS situation. (Wait … I'm being told this puzzle is a pangram … and … whaddya know, there's our only "F" ... [audible sigh] …). ET SEQ makes so much "sense" … now.


I can't even continue writing about a mediocre puzzle when I am now aware that the mediocrity is clearly and directly tied to the stupid pangram stunt. Good night.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

94 comments:

jae 12:08 AM  

NW and SE were easy,  SW and NE easy-medium, but the center was tough because I had BASis for way too long.  Also had taste before CLASS, GeodeS before GNEISS ( which I only know from crosswords), Ass before APE, and obseSS before HARASS.

Nice looking grid with plenty of zip.  Hopefully, the previous discussion(s) of JONESING were helpful.   Liked it more than Rex did, the good stuff out weighed the bad for me.

Whirred Whacks 12:11 AM  

I liked this more than @Rex. Thought it was a good puzzle with many delicious answers: BUTT DIAL, LOCAVORE, and JONESING

Favorite clues:
"Heat loss, maybe" for NBA GAME
"Moment when the fog lifts" for EPIPHANY
"Key figure" for TYPIST

It's appropriate that the slashing "Z" of Zorro was Thursday's meta-theme. That's what the Obama is doing to the Constitution. To paraphrase what he said repeatedly in 2009-10, "If you like your Constitution, you can keep your Constitution." Shades of Ceaușescu!

mathguy 12:31 AM  

I'm guessing that "Like the out crowd?" for GAY will be controversial. Rex decided to leave it alone.

Here in San Francisco, top restaurants all feature locally-grown sustainable food and LOCAVORE is in common use.

I found the puzzle very enjoyable.

Z 12:33 AM  

@Whirred Whacks - too bad Obama didn't just go article two section 2. Bush and Obama have pushed Presidential power to the limit, but not on immigration. Now take off your shoes and submit to a full body search, please.

Being Panognostic, the F didn't bother me. Nor did the footnote abbrev. A fine Friday in my book.

Anonymous 12:37 AM  

I thought the SW quadrant was the
weak sister. ESAS, COATI, SST, etc; The NW looked good compared to that one.

mathguy 12:42 AM  

Bill Butler's blog usually has an explanation for each entry. Tonight he had no explanation for GAY.

Captain Obvious 12:55 AM  

GAYS can be either closeted or "out". So, the "Out" crowd are gays.

Benko 2:16 AM  

Awesome! Right wing propaganda right here on a crossword blog. Like there's nowhere for people to go listen to that shit anywhere else.

KFC 2:35 AM  

@Benko - Amen! Take that douche baggery elsewhere.

Eat more chicken, now boneless!

John Child 4:08 AM  

Let's keep political opinions from anywhere on the spectrum out of the comments here unless our host cares to introduce the subject. Comments like these threaten the cordial logophilic discussion that I think we all value in this blog.

Oh, the puzzle? I had a ball and enjoyed the fresh words and phrases. I didn't believe LOCOVORE, but it out-Googles the version I know (with a second L) by four to one. NACRE and NITRE made me ooh. Not many missteps: NOCouth for the boor and Ass for APE are the only ones I recall. Thanks Mr. Christian.

Typo catcher 4:27 AM  

@John Child - Did you mean LOCAVORE?

John Child 6:09 AM  

I did. Thanks @typo

GILL I. 6:26 AM  

When I finished, I tried to figure out what I might like or dislike about this puzzle.
My guess is that if you zipped through this puppy, you'd probably like it. If you don't care for a ton of sports clues, you'd Meh it..If you're not up on your JONESING, LOCAVORE and BUTT DIAL jokes you'd probably hate it. One also might head scratch wondering why someone who's not particularly fond of OPERAS makes them a philistine. I wanted to check my NAVAL when confronted with SIAM IRAQ/IRAN HELENA ARIZONA not to mention INDIANA but the CATALYST at the end of the puzzle took the SOR PAIN away and I wasn't as PANED as I would normally be. IAM a bit NACREd though.
I've only had snow crab tomally....many moons ago. It was quite good. Now I believe, they don't serve it because of the possible toxins.
I'm still on the fence with this one. Maybe after reading some of the comments I will get my PASSION back.

Questinia 6:52 AM  

Exact mirror image of @jae. Easy center, easy-medium NE and SW, medium NW and SE.

Like the mini central ziggurat of LIP-BASAL-PASSION or to be more modern: LIP/BASAL/PASSION.

OMEARA may be crosswordese but it is entirely new to me. I love being stunned by not knowing basic things. It's a toehold to immaturity.

Glimmerglass 7:50 AM  

Medium for me. I didn't immediately see BUTT DIAL, CDT, JONESING, EMOTICON, MAXES, but each eventually had its AHA moment. I disagree with Rex (as I often do -- I read this blog for the readers' comments). This was a good Friday puzzle with lots of fun stuff in every corner, a nice mixture of old and new facts.

NCA President 7:52 AM  

I finished this faster than most Fridays. I always have mixed feelings about that. On the one hand, yay me for getting it done quickly. On the other hand I'm disappointed that the puzzle wasn't more difficult. It's the thin line we puzzle solvers tread.

I enjoyed the puzzle, pangram aside. I didn't experience the kind of groaning I usually experience when the fill is not very good. Generally a pleasant experience.

I lived in Indiana for a time. Can confirm that INDIANAN is a thing...clumsy...but still a thing.

One last thing: trolling is a common internet practice by people who enjoy the attention. Even my post here pointing out the importance of ignoring trolls feeds the troll...but seriously folks, don't feed the troll. Rex, you might consider warning ALL trolling here. It's a shame the underbelly of the internet has found its way into a simple comments section about the NYT xword puzzle. But alas, not surprising.

AliasZ 8:24 AM  


Shouldn't that be INDIANIAN?

I don't know if I agree that pangrams should be avoided at all cost. If F is the last letter missing, FAYS / FEN is a fun way of doing it. But wait, there is also only one J, K, V, W, X and Z. Why pick on the poor old forte sign?

I liked THROE, GNEISS, CATALYST, LET'ER RIP, HOW'S THAT and EPIPHANY more than JONESING, LOCAVORE, EMOTICON and BUTTDIAL, but that's just moi.

For the musical portion of our program, let me offer two F clips: Dance of the FAYS by David Popper, and In the FEN Country by Ralph Vaughan Williams.

Now stop JERKIN around and be GNEISS to each other this Friday.

RAD2626 8:31 AM  

I liked the puzzle and the words already mentioned. I would submit that while shorter, AOKI is crosswordier than OMEARA. And not to jinx us but EEL and SNL have been conspicuously absent for a while.

John V 8:35 AM  

JONESING is awful. Awful. Don't care if it is a seed. Awful.

Connie A 8:36 AM  

@ Benko @ KFC Thanks for your posts-When people OUT their prejudices and political naiveté, it makes reading the blog less time-consuming. We skip over those posters who declare themselves tools of the Fox News racist-propaganda-idiocy-money-making Ailes-machine.
@ John Child- what is so sacrosanct about politics, or the blog, that something that affects all our lives, or should, can’t be mentioned in a post? Everything else is. Must the blanket of misinformation (Time, Newsweek, Politico, Washington Post, New York Times, CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN) slander, libel, and prejudice is so unquestioned that not a hint of surrogacy on behalf of the president be uttered? We have a letter to the editor here in town from a guy who, not satisfied with the Democrats having sidelined the president during the midterms, would deny him even a telephone call to voters on the morning of the election – a pretty radical and thorough hatred agenda.
@ Whirred Whacks @ Z Re Immigration reform: not so radical. You do know that the Senate passed an Immigration bill with 14 Republicans, right? And when the bill went to the House, Speaker said he needed to pass it in five separate pieces? The president said, “Fine. Pass it in five separate pieces.” Boehner lacked the moral stature to even bring any part up for a vote.
Just how long should a legally-elected-by-a-majority, twice, president (not a plurality as in the case of Clinton, twice) be thwarted, against the interests of the citizenry, and merely for the political satisfaction of denying President Obama a win? (That Barack Hussein Obama won reelection against nearly a billion dollars of gas, oil and chemical money, Koch and Rove dollars, thrown up against him, galls the Republicans to no end.)
Speaking of the Constitution, the representatives also take an oath of office to uphold and defend the Constitution. Nowhere is it written in the document that the purpose of holding office is to bring the federal government down. Something about protecting and serving… The radical right’s conduct and its whole political philosophy is treasonous; they’ve been committing offenses against the people every day for six years, from the well of the Senate, and the House.
And then there’s Mitt: on air, saying the president needs to understand that he lost the election. This, to the closer, from the loser.


Moly Shu 8:42 AM  

My main disagreement with @Rex is, I believe els is the most crosswordiest of golfers, not OMEARA. Not knowing JERKIN or ETSEQ kept me from seeing JONESING until the very end. Toss a FAYS into the mix and it played difficult here. I do like how CATALYST looks.

I also like how someone expressing their political views elicits name calling from those who don't share in that belief. I end up like someone at a tennis match watching the ball go back and forth. So, preach on @WhirredWhacks and @Z. And you too, @Benko and @KFC. I'm sure eventually, one side will get the other side to convert.

@NCAPres, you preach on too!!! Although I enjoy the underbelly of the Internet making appearances here. Which is also not surprising. It doesn't take much to entertain me, simple things for simple minds and such.

Sir Hillary 8:43 AM  

I enjoyed solving this one. The twelve 8s are all high-quality, which is most important today.

I will say, however, that a pangram leaves a bad taste in my mouth if it results in a clunker like FEN / FAYS when so many better alternatives are easily available. If the constructor wants a pangram, at least make it so no singleton letter can be replaced without some significant rework involved.

But this is all after-the-fact criticism. My solve was fun, which is what really counts.

Z 8:43 AM  

Just because someone expresses a political opinion with which I disagree doesn't make them a "Troll."

@Gill I. - If one were a philistine it would be unusual for one to go to the OPERA. The clue doesn't suggest that not going to the OPERA makes one a philistine.

@Questina -Toehold to Immaturity sounds like it would be a great self-help book.

Anonymous 8:45 AM  

Wow, Michael. The number of times you're dissatisfied with a pretty good puzzle seems to be increasing exponentially. Lately, some of your buddies haven't even gotten a pass. I know blogs usually mean hyper criticism, but you seem to have pole- vaulted over that line. Cheer up a bit! You'll feel better.

And I think most of us have had enough of the ax-grinding over the NYT and WS.

Sir Hillary 8:52 AM  

@Connie A - Thanks for your passionate post, which I am guessing took some time and effort to compose. Just one question: any thoughts on today's NYT crossword puzzle?

Z 8:57 AM  

Okay, so maybe my reference went over peoples' head since it looks like many of you didn't understand my first post.

Article 2 Section 2

The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment. {emphasis added}

A perfect example of why it is so hard to discuss politics- it is so tempting to react before understanding. I do find it a little amusing that anyone would think I was right of center. I will own up to being right of the extreme left.

Well, that's three so I'm out. Probably just as well.

NCA President 8:59 AM  

BTW, didn't "fay" used to be the word of choice until "gay" came along?

And FWIW, I seem to recall "fay" meaning "fairy" and not "elf," which is why "fay" used to be used as a label/nickname for homosexuals...because "light-in-the-loafers" somehow equivocates to fairies.

Source: I'm gay/fay/dandy/queer/etc.

PS: I'm actually what has come to be known as a GayBro...that is, a guy who doesn't fit the usual stereotypes of the gays. Like Michael Sam, I enjoy football and beer, I don't collect shoes, and I don't like Project Runway.

So, enough about me...

Carry on with the political ranting.



joho 9:25 AM  

I made a stupid mistake at GAIA/gAXES. gAXES!?? I should have gone back to check that cross!

I guessed at the "C" in LOCAVORE and was happily right plus I learned something.

This is the only time I might agree with @Rex regarding the pangram. FAYS was my least favorite answer in this grid and it had to have the "F" to make the pangram so ...

Other than that, though, I loved this one which was packed with interesting answers from top to bottom. Favorite: EPIPHANY. Something I wish I had more of more often!

Great Friday puzzle, thank you, Kevin Christian!

Oh, and yes @RAD2626 & @Moly Shu, I think ELS shows up on the links most often.

Anonymous 9:27 AM  

@NCA President - it was fey, not FAY. Point of reference - never rely on homophobic bigots for spelling or grammatical accuracy.

And, god, now we're subclassing gays? To what point?

joho 9:28 AM  

I forgot to mention, yesterday we had BUTTOUT and today BUTTDIAL ... is this the beginning of the end?

Mohair Sam 9:31 AM  

Man, old @Rex in a mood today. This was solid Friday puzzle. Fine with FEN and FAYS, it is a freakin' Friday friends. On Tuesday it can be dEN and dAYS. And Els and Aoki must be more common than OMEARA.

Two days in a row now solving wife-free - takes a ton longer. LOCAVORE a great new word for me, kinda cool. DESIREE a horrid song, btw.

With @Moly Shu, don't care if a few posters talk politics - and like Moly I'm dead sure "eventually, one side will get the other to convert." Good one Shu.

@Whirred a troll? Nah, he's a regular (and a good one) He just got a little too much PASSION over last night's speech. Heck whenever we even get a Republican mentioned in the puzz there are several rants herein. Think I'll take up puzzled construction so I can clue four letters: American Industry's heroic _____ Brothers (answer - KOCH). What fun to watch this blog then.

jberg 9:33 AM  

I am getting old! I forgot to look for the pangram. I usually like them, and I liked this one -- and unlike @Rex, I thought the fill was pretty good.

I also liked Mr. Christian's little signature symbol in the middle of the grid.

It was hard for me to get going -- without PROUST and KASEM I might have been stuck. Kept having to restart in the next section, too. For this Wisconsin boy (though not for the last 50 years), the hardest thing to get was HELENA, because before Milwaukee had a major league team called the Brewers they had a minor league team called the Brewers, which kind of blocked my thinking.

I guess tomalley is a 'delicacy' (25D). I'll eat it, but a lot of people won't because it accumulates bad stuff.

Oh yeah -- the other thing I liked was the two states (ARIZONA and SAXONY) where the clue made you expect a country.

Ludyjynn 9:33 AM  

I thought of @Marushka's World Series Champions, the Giants, and, EPIPHANY, immediately got BAYAREA instead of contemplating where extra large beings reside.

My solving experience pretty much mirrors @Glimmerglass (no PANE); I liked this puzz. quite a bit despite Rex's misgivings.

Memo to all PASSIONate political commentators: give this ATRY--stop vying to cause ASTIR by HARASSing the reader. IAM not the least bit interested or influenced, USERNAMEs, by your JONESING to be provocative. (EMOTICON deleted).

Liked seeing THROE and PASSION in the same puzz.

Thanks, KC (KASEM) and WS.


Arlene 9:36 AM  

Now I'm realizing that doing crossword puzzles will educate me, specifically to "newer" terminology.
Yes - JONESING and BUTTDIAL fall into that category.
So rather than say this puzzle had an "ick" factor, I'll take the high road and realize there are people out there with different life experiences who actually know and say these words.
As for discussing politics on the internet - no minds were ever changed, as far as I know - but not for lack of trying! (That said, I still can't believe what some folks are believing these days!)

Leapfinger 9:41 AM  

Hooroar! The battle is joined! But I'm going to stick to the puzzle.

Speaking of toeholds to immaturity, by the time I finished, I had regressed to about the terrible two's, and was in desperate need of a passy. Took me a good long time for my dry and sparkling EYE to run from OPENER-A to OPENER-Z. That EPIPHANY was almost an ELEPHANT.

My partial list of wrong uns, some entered, some merely considered:
crazy for - JONESING
bolero - JERKIN
NO Couth - NO CLASS
loris - COATI
cad, oaf - APE
rhea, gaia - MAIA
Algeria - ARIZONA
whorl - NACRE
footed(?) - SCALED

ET SEQ, I desperately wanted, an still like better for the given clues:
Eye for WIT
Spasm for THROE
Biased for ITALIC

Furthermore, my Cards were still in ST. L, and would have loved to make it INDIANIAN (hi, @Alias!). When it came to 56D, I was wondering which team Boomer Esiason played on, and for how many years.

I SPEC to get SOR if a constructor's been JERKIN me around, but I wasn't PANED today because so many cool entries an clever clues appealed to my NACREd PASSION for dry and sparkling WIT. I can live with a misspelled EreBUS and not knowing where the dang sedge wren nests.

I thought this was very GNEISS.

Leapfinger 9:51 AM  

I forgot to put on my CATALiST the wrong entry I mourned the most: DEUT[eronomy] for 'Second, abbrev'. I was really proud of that one.

Benko 9:52 AM  

I did not intend to be preaching "for" anything with my previous post. Just against something. A condemnation of political propaganda, unprovoked, on a crossword blog. Didn't intend to implicitly endorse the "other" side, as if there are really only two sides in the debate. I don't agree with anyone.

Cheerio 9:55 AM  

I enjoyed this puzzle a lot. Thanks! It actually has a bunch of interesting crosswordese in it. Since I am still investing in learning crosswordese, I appreciate that. Just the other day I reminded myself about COATI for example.

Josh 10:06 AM  

Rex's inevitable summoning of the waambulance overlooks what a nice puzzle this is. The four stacks of eights are all excellent. Even STREAMED, which is not the most exciting entry, gets an up-to-date clue. The NW and SW stacks are lovely---the best puzzles are always the ones whose long-entry stacks don't contain a single clunker.

If a constructor needs some ETSEQ and NITRE and ANITAS to hold them together, so be it.

Great Friday puzzle.

Maruchka 10:09 AM  

Well, the Blogger just shot me down. Here's kinda-sorta what should have posted:

I tend to mishear lyrics. In 1960-sumpin', what I heard "Watch out, here comes that FAY, FAY, FAY, FAY boy!" FAY was also shorthand for oFAY, then. Still alive, or is it all Memorex? ET SEQ...

Cleanest solve in awhile. Only smudge was, NAPE or neck? for 50A. I tried a ducktail, once. It required too much product, and went flat anyway. A woe of the fine-haired.

Favs of the day - JERKIN and THROE.

@Gill - Tomalley was runner-up for Fav. Sorry to hear it's banned-ish. Uni, anyone?

@Alias Z - As alway, thanks so much for your musical/puzzical resonances.

@Questina - LOL and too true! My toehold gets stronger every day.

@Ludyjynn - I know our orange and blacks will rise again, together. Go Orioles!

Laurence Katz 10:14 AM  

Liked it. Started out easy, but turned hard in spots, mostly my own doing. Had (Dick) Clark for the late countdowner, when that didn't work, (Count) Basie seemed like a possible fit, which of course it wasn't. Siam led me to Kasem and I was done.

Junief 10:22 AM  

Sor pain? Enjoyed all the rest--didn't understand "sor pain"

Benko 10:24 AM  

On a lighter note, and in reference to the NYT crossword: This puzzle contains the second reference to the adorable kinkajou in a week or so, the other being its nickname HONEY BEAR as an entry a few days ago. When I was a kid the Greensboro Zoo had a kinkajou in its petting zoo, and it was my favorite animal in the world. When it wasn't asleep (which was most of the time) it was friendly and cuddly. Kinkajou!

Bob Kerfuffle 10:25 AM  

Good puzzle; made me work a bit. Forty-five minutes makes it a Medium Friday for me.

One write-over at NO COUTH/NO CLASS.

JenCT 10:57 AM  

My Mom always said, "Never argue religion, music, or politics; you won't change anyone's beliefs."

Some great comments today.

Personally, I prefer a lighthearted crossword blog; I come here to take a break from working.

Now go ahead and BUTTDIAL someone & have a GNEISS day.

Mr. Benson 10:59 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mr. Benson 11:00 AM  

This one was slightly challenging for me, largely because I refused to believe AIRBUS. That's not a giant jet, it's a company that makes giant jets. Would one say "I'm flying in an Airbus" the way one says "I'm riding in a Toyota"? I don't think anybody ever says it that way.

Also wondered why F, of all letters, at that FEN/FAYS crossing (after going through the alphabet more than once). Boo.

Anonymous 11:02 AM  

FAYS is the kind of answer a constructor should fight to keep out of his/her grid. And less than 1% of solvers will recognize the pangram. Epic Fayl.

Carola 11:04 AM  

Very nice Friday, I thought. Nowhere near the Easy end of the spectrum for me - I needed to draw on my "learned from crosswords" stock to finish: KASEM, BUTTDIAL, COATI, OPEN ERA. Threw up an obstacle for myself by putting in the German spelling of FAY (Fee), which I held onto until mirrors had to be PANED. In addition to the grid joys others have mentioned, I liked HOW'S THAT? next to EPIPHANY.

mac 11:18 AM  

I enjoyed this solve, but for me the SE was the last bit. I think it was Saxony that opened it up.

Write-over at CDT/STL, and jersey for jerkin. Cute word, that. I learned Locavore and O'Meara.

Nothing wrong with "fay" for elf, it's "fee" in Dutch, a female elf.

AZPETE 11:19 AM  

It's not bout rich or poor or liberal vs conservative. It's bout informed vs uninformed. Whirred wacks you sir r uninformed. Keep watching Fox.

Anonymous 11:19 AM  

Only one possible image for 12D today BUTT DIAL

Bomaka 11:30 AM  

perfect Friday puzzle. All 4 corners went in smoothly, though I did a double-take at buttdial. Much preferred NOCouth to NOCLASS, which held up the mid-west solve. Had to get CDT from crosses, as stl fell in there quickly and stumped me for a while. I really don't think many mirrors are paned.

Learned: the Brewers are not in Milwaukee; Arizona is a major copper producer; tomalley is toxic (really???); and GNEISS is a nice word.

Also have learned: there are lots of angry, sad, attention-seeking trolls on every blog I seem to open.

Thanks KC and WS!

Lewis 11:38 AM  

@Q -- As Dave Barry said, "You can only be young once. But you can always be immature."

@joho -- good one!

I loved the clue for and the word EPIPHANY. I live in a LOCAVORE town (Asheville, NC), so that was a gimmee. I also liked HOWSTHAT, CATALYST, THROE, LETERRIP, and I just love the way GNEISS looks. It's also a cool looking grid.

I like the double-S section: SST, NOCLASS, ASST, GNEISS, and PASSION. Good one!

DJG 11:42 AM  

To determine the crosswordiest golfer of all time, I took the number of times a golfer appears in the Cruciverb database divided by the number of millions of Google hits a golfer gets. It's similar to Matt Gaffney's "Shortz Factor". Since it's sports, I call it an "Alou Score".

Here they are:
Isao Aoki 1283
Seve Ballesteros 203
Sam Snead 194
Mark O'Meara 174
Ernie Els 101

As you can see, it's Aoki in a landslide; ISAO, AOKI, and ISAOAOKI have appeared 88 times in puzzles, but "Isao Aoki golf" returns fewer than 70,000 Google hits.

Ernie Els appeared in the most puzzles (roughly 162) but he gets over 1.6 million Google hits lowering his Alou Score. If it weren't for those "Chicago trains" or "Local pair?", Els might be no. 1.

Wendy 11:46 AM  

Even googling didn't help me find HELENA! I have no complaints about this cute puzzle. But the continuing cluing for itty words "in poetry" is becoming a real irritant. Since the clues seem always to refer to poetry conventions from the 19th century or earlier, couldn't a different form of cluing be used? No one in poetry writes that way in the 21st century, for god's sake. Or maybe nobody reads poetry anymore? I've heard rumors....

Lewis 11:49 AM  

Factoid: The word ITALIC comes from the fact that calligraphy-inspired typefaces were first designed in Italy, between the 15th and 16th centuries, to replace documents traditionally written in a handwriting style called chancery hand. (Wikipedia)

Quotoid: "Language... has created the word 'loneliness' to express the PAIN of being alone. And it has created the word 'solitude' to express the glory of being alone." -- Paul Tillich

old timer 11:54 AM  

Buttdial is a word we use a lot, to describe calling someone by accident on your cell phone. "Jonesing" is just excellent IMO. I like to see slang that is rarely in a crossword.

And I *like* fay. I suppose the constructor had "Polly Wolly Doodle" running through his head ("fare thee well my fairy fay") and looked "fay" up in the dictionary. In fact, I thought the puzzle was just about perfect and thought maybe Rex would agree. Hah!

Brett Chappell 11:58 AM  

I initially had AMAZONA instead of ARIZONA and wrote FAE instead of FAY. JONESING was a great word, but I have never heard of BUTTDIAL before. Enjoyed the puzzle for the most part. Didn't enjoy political rambling in this forum. There are other outlets than this blog for those topics.

Leapfinger 12:16 PM  

I just realized I don't need a'Toehold to Immaturity'; seems to me I have ample space to plant both feet quite firmly.

I'm with you @ Moly Shue; I find the rants entertaining and occasionally instructive. I assume the ranter feels better, if not always the rantee.

@NCAPrez - interesting. I had not heard the term GayBro, but do know about the DoBro. Have also read on the subject that sexuality is not a categorical variable as we usually make it, but is in fact a physiological and behavioural continuum.

KOCH would make some people SOROS Hell.

THROE PASSION to the winds, @ludyjynn! I saw PASSION mirroring DESIREE.

@AZPETE, it isn't quite as simple as informed vs un/misinformed. Background and POV can lead to a difference in interpreting the same set of facts, in distinguishing correlation from causality, or even the direction of causality. If you don't think background experience and POV make a difference, just look at the variation in answers people come up with in solving crosswords.

I believe that's three. LET 'ER RIP.

crabsofsteel 12:23 PM  

If a Capital Player is a NAT meaning on the Washington Nationals, shouldn't the clue have been Capitol Player?

RooMonster 1:02 PM  

Hey All !
Well, for me, this puz was quite challenging. Especially the SE corner. Man, last section to go, and I finally gave in and Googed Hermes' mother, as that would not have came to mind. Since LOCAVORE was a new word also, I would've (and almost did) left that corner empty. 58D was flummoxing alo, as I kept wanting to put stl there! But INDIANAN just had to be right. So, after the Goog, managed to suss out the rest, but still a Not Correct Finish, as in the NW corner 1D I didn't know, so had a B fr the J (headslap after seeing answer) . Also had BAnAL and dAYS/dEN. But, call it 95% correct (with a Goog).

Loved the clue (and answer) for BUTTDIAL. Good stuff! Sideways look? was also a good 'un. And as Rex mentioned, a Pangram. Normally I like pangrams, but I have to agree with him on the F.

No JERKIN
RooMonster
DarrinV

Old School 1:14 PM  

@crabsofsteel - Way I learned it, "capital" is the city, "capitol" is a building, so Capital is right.

Anonymous 1:21 PM  

@crabofsteel - capitol is for the building, capital is for the city

OISK 1:22 PM  

Never heard of FAYS, but Fen had to be right, I thought. Don't know what a jerkin is, but will Google it in a moment - the kind of knowledge I enjoy picking up from the puzzle - I got it by trying every letter until I got "Jonesing", which I really dislike, but it had to be… I know the name "Kasem" only from the Times puzzle. The NW was thus a problem for me, after whizzing though most of the rest. Good, crunchy puzzle. Hands up if you were looking for some three letter reference to the NY Giants, and not the Bay area emigres. Thanks, Kevin ! Noticed that "Easter" appeared, but not "Tisha",or "Mohel," - It is a "Christian" puzzle, after all.

Fred Romagnolo 1:36 PM  

@crabsofsteel:"capitOl is the building (usually with a dome), capitAl is the place it's at. @NCApres: you gotta renounce Garland, Streisand, and Callas before we believe you! @SirHillary: I'm guessing your comments to @ConnieA were just a little too subtle. I obsessed with "obsess" before HARASS, also I wanted "no charm" for NO CLASS. Had to google BUTT DIAL, JONESING, & HELENA so a DNF for me. Shouldn't NBA GAME have had a clue about abbreviations? Go BAY AREA!

Fred Romagnolo 1:41 PM  

I always spelled it FeY, and yes it was used to refer to "gay" before "gay" came along.

Robso 3:13 PM  

I am giving myself a pass for "Sideways look?," where I threw in "Izod icon." Because "Jirkin," "Ozeare," and "ED SEQ" seem just as right as the real answers.
Hurray! I did it!

pb 3:44 PM  

Getting epiphany was an epiphany for me, so I loved it. Other favorites: NBA GAME and BUTT DIAL. Overall, I enjoyed this one although I had to work on it longer than usual for Friday, and thus felt a sense of accomplishment.

Hartley70 3:52 PM  

Liked the puzzle. Interesting, timely clues. There was a time with teenagers when I was plagued with BUTTDIALS where I could almost make out the words of whatever mischief they were orchestrating on a Saturday night. JONESING, JERKIN, PROUST and KASEM came first and then I had to wrestle with the SW. After being entertained by the comments today, however, I can hardly remember the puzzle anymore. In this group apparently politics is way worse than religion. My lips are sealed.

Doc John 4:01 PM  

I agree. It's not worth a pangram when you get stuff like GNEISS, ETSEQ and FAYS.

nemo paradise 4:43 PM  

I wish all you crossword looneys would stop cluttering up this blog with inane comments about silly puzzles. Let's keep the discussion to Fox News and the Koch brothers and other very important issues of the day. This is no time for frivolity. Our future is at stake! Didn't you hear Gwyneth Paltrow?

GILL I. 5:24 PM  

@nemo paradise. I just came back from the store with all the ingredients I need to make a chocolate pumpkin pie. I found everything I wanted and did the toe hold to immaturity dance. YES!!! someone besides me listens to Gwyneth Paltrow....;-)

Teedmn 6:33 PM  

I filled in the last square but got the error message - no problem, I marched over to that gAIA/gAXES cross and ripped that g out. After rereading the clue, the M went in and the BUTTDIAL dance began.

Seriously, I have a friend whose butt dialed 911. He said it was quite disconcerting to hear a voice coming from his back pocket, and when he dug his phone out to figure out what was going on, the person on the other end was asking if everything was okay, and then, why did he call 911? Apparently it's not such a rarity as one would think.

@Mohair Sam, please give plenty of warning as to when your "Koch brothers as heroes" themed puzzle is published so I can leave my iPad closed - wouldn't want it to burn up in the resulting fiery blog posts!!

Thanks for a nice, clean Friday puzzle, Mr. Christian.

Anonymous 7:02 PM  

Now I'm waiting for a nice clean Christian puzzle from Sergeant Friday.
Or a nice clean Friday puzzle from Sargent Shriver.
Or a nice clean Shrove Tuesday puzzle from Tuesday Weld.
Or a... nemmind.

nemo paradise 7:37 PM  

@anonymous: Or a brilliant Sunday puzzle from Ra.

Anonymous 8:10 PM  

This puzzle lost me at "GAY". Please tell me again that "they don't mean THAT, silly, they mean lame/weak/bad, and why should it offend you that we think the word GAY is a perfect and reasonable stand in for that?" Of course! GAY as lame or weak or bad was a perfectly random choice, and not a result of prejudice. Uh-huh. I'm surprised they didn't squeeze in WIGGER or OREO or LARDA&S in there too.

Anonymous 8:45 PM  

Anon 8:10 here again. I get that the reference in the clue is probably meant to be referring to being out of the closet, but it's still skating on thin ice for me. For one thing, far from all gay people are "out". Being in the closet doesn't change one's orientation. The clue skates on thin ice primarily because it's too easy to take the more obvious and more offensive interpretation from it. Darn it. I really liked the puzzle otherwise.

Anon and On 1:50 AM  

@Anon 8:10 et seq
Either I'm dense or living a very protected existence, but I didn't see a very obvious offensive interpretation in the clue. Perhaps it's because I was one of your basic nerdy kids in school, and just accepted as one of the facts of life that I wasn't one of the "in" group. I do realize that in real life it isn't that simple, but that needn't contaminate the clue -- as written. Sorry it spoiled the puzzle for you, I agree it was excellent.

Lord Orangan Tutu 6:42 PM  

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lee woo 1:15 AM  

Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness. See the link below for more info.


#despite
www.ufgop.org

Lord Orangan Tutu 5:25 PM  


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Allen Sherry 9:29 PM  

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Allen Sherry 9:29 PM  

Sometimes in life giving up is not the best option, some of us couldn't even take NO for an answer, I am one of such, I have visited so many forums and some of the people I met on such sites told me to forget about my wife or maybe I should just let go , I always believe in following my dreams and I believe that I can get whatever I want or be who I wanna be at any point in my life. Why am saying this? My Husband left me 4 years ago he told me it is over between us i was sad when i had that for the first time but like I said I can always get whatever I want in life which was what I did, i ensure that I got him back home with me with the help of a great man call Dr ZABA known as ZABASPELLHELP@GMAIL.COM he cast a return spell for me now Husband is back home with me and we are having a good life together again.it just too real to be real It highly unbelievable i never know this braking relationship gonna come to an end am so happy for what Dr ZABA have just don for me for any one that is having same problem with me or any kinds of problem contact Dr ZABA his the solution to all problem and he can be of help to you any time. his the best spell caster so far in the instant So Be the next to share your testimony to people on how Dr ZABA help you just like the way i did AGAIN YOU CAN CONTACT THE GREAT MAN ON ZABASPELLHELP@YAHOO.COM OR ZABASPELLHELP@GMAIL.COM YOU CAN CALL HIS CELL PHONE +2348056391583 web sit (http://zabaspellhelp.webs.com/)

Kara Joles 10:07 PM  

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Jennifer martins 12:36 AM  

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ross cooker 6:08 PM  

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rondo 10:58 AM  

Wow, whole lotta spellcastin' goin' on. I think they're JERKIN my chain.
I thought all 4 corners had good things goin' on, unlike OFL.
And certainly not easy-medium for me, it took plenty.
Writeover riVAL for NAVAL. May the forces be with you.
One clue/answer PANED me, windows can be, but are mirrors?

let's give the captcha ATRY - check, I'm good

spacecraft 12:17 PM  

LOCAVORE is not a word--at least don't lay it down on my Scrabble board! You'll have to pick it up and lose your turn. That section gave me fits; was it LOCAL ONE? But then what kind of forces were -ALAL? The philistine thing was also turning me into a TAZ. Why I gotta be a philistine? I highly RESENT that! OPERA is unlikely fare for a whole lot of folks--including yours truly. This is a baaaad clue--and crossing a non-word? Flag! I did come up with all this, solved without even a writeover, but still. Ten yards for bad clue crossing bad word. (We will not mention INDIANAN, an absurdity since everybody uses the clue!)

Scanning blogs from the top, I saw that ELS was being touted as the most xwordy golfer and immediately thought: what about our old pal ISAO AOKI--both names! Was gratified to see that @DJG straightened it all out. That guy's claim to fame occurred at Pebble Beach, where he holed out from 100 yards on the 72nd hole to win. Talk about one shot putting you on the map.

DESIREE? Hit???? Nah, Sweet Caroline I'll buy. That other chick I don't even remember.

The down-8s are great; you can't get much more lively than LETERRIP! I mean, that's PASSION. Especially when paired with its symmetrical partner: BUTTDIAL. "Hello?" BLATTTT! "Um, I think you got the wrong number."

I don't mind the pangram so much; only the F seems forced. Not sure if FAY and GAY belong in the same grid. B-. While there are defects, this was a fun solve with some chuckles.

1614. NOCLASS.

DMG 1:20 PM  

To many modern terms for me! Did get the wince making JONESING, but still don't really know what it means. And not sure I want to. In my world, a "call from the rear" is to tell an interloper to BUTTout, but that wouldn't fit. Niether would BUTTinsky. Next to that i had the half-right USERrAtE. And so it went. Somehow managed all but the Ncenter, where my choices of NOChArm and PASSION were irreconcileable. guess I need a lesson in current slang/usage!

952 Happy Boxing Day

rain forest 1:50 PM  

I'm in the "really like it" camp. No crap. Knew LOCAVORE; am a Philistine and would be unlikely to attend an OPERA; learned that GNEISS is a type of rock in Grade 10 Science; almost agree that the "F" felt forced, but what the hey, if you're going for a pangram, LETERRIP.

It is very tempting to respond to some of the political points of view being expressed. However, I am a Canadian and should probably BUTT out, and I am a Syndilander and would hardly be noticed.

But, I am not a robot, which my check mark affirms.

Waxy in Montreal 7:24 PM  

Thanks @DMG for remembering Boxing Day which, sad to relate, has mutated into a Black Friday-type orgy of shopping for many up here rather than the quiet post-Christmas repose it was in my Remembrance of Things Past.

Yeah, I get the neologisms LOCAVORE, JONESING and BUTTDIAL but not sure why all three needed to be included in one puzzle. OTOH, really liked THROE, HOWSTHAT (good cricket term that), JERKIN and GNEISS just because they're a little bit off the beaten path as words go.

No more numbers - just "I'm not a robot". Butt my avatar is!

Anonymous 9:54 PM  

Fact: No one on this blog has ever consulted a spell caster! If I did the ones touting them would be up in smoke! Poof!

Melisa Banks 11:54 PM  

I am melisa from USA,i am very happy today
because of what the great Dr guru has done in
my life. I got married to my loving husband 2
years ago and we were living a happy life
together as young couples and everything was
moving on smoothly without any problem, 6
months later I went to the hospital for
checkup and the doctor confirmed that I am
three weeks pregnant with my heart filled
with joy and my face full of smile and
laughter I went home hurriedly to brake the
good news to my dearly husband and he was
very happy about the news and that night is a
night I will always live to remember, to cut
the story short after I have put to birth he was
very happy, you have to see our bouncing baby
boy, but along the line and all of a sudden he
started keeping late night and going to club
and doing things he don't use to do before,
and one mourning I confronted him about his
new attitude but he ignore my advice, but to
my greatest surprise I discover my husband
have a mistress in his working place and they
were seeing each other after work hour. on
one faithful night my husband came back
home and started packing all his belongings
and told me that he is tired of me that he is
filing for a annulment not knowing that his
mistress has cast love spell on him that was
why he was acting strange so I told my friend
happiness in my working place so she gave me
this
contact drgurulovespelltemple@gmail.com an
d ask me to contact him that he will help me
to bring back my husband in noon less than
three days so when I got home I contacted
him and he told me that my husband is under
a great love spell but he promise to help bring
back my husband which he actually did within
the period of three days. I was surprise to see
my husband on one blessed mourning
kneeling at my doorstep asking for my
forgiveness saying it is the work of the devil
that he did not know when he did what he has
done and I forgive him and today we are living
happily together. all thanks to great Dr. guru
for his great help in my family for helping me
to restore my lost joy to my family, in-case
you have similar case or even worst than my
own you can contact him with his EMAIL
ADDRESS: drgurulovespelltemple@gmail.com

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