Iowa politico Ernst / FRI 12-12-14 / NHL players representative Donald / Relative of harrier / Number of weeks in il Giro d'Italia / Land east of Babylonia / Tuber grown south of border / Car modified for flying in Absent-minded professor

Friday, December 12, 2014

Constructor: Evan Birnholz

Relative difficulty: Challenging


THEME: none

Word of the Day: JONI Ernst (34D: Iowa politico Ernst) —
Joni Kay Ernst (née Culver; born July 1, 1970) is an American politician who is the United States Senator-elect from Iowa, elected in the November 2014 election, defeating Bruce Braley, her Democratic opponent. She previously served as a Republican member of the Iowa Senatefrom 2011 to 2014 and is also a lieutenant colonel in the Iowa Army National Guard. Ernst is the first woman to represent Iowa in the United States Congress and the first female veteran in the U.S. Senate. (wikipedia)
• • •

Grid is just fine, but the clues were a. Saturday-level, and b. too cute and/or forced for me, much of the time. This was a Saturday puzzle. No question. A Medium to Medium-Challenging Saturday puzzle for me. A nearly 2x Friday puzzle. Could've been Friday. But the clues. JONI Ernst is not anyone, yet. She might be, in 2020, but she's not now. Now she is that Senator-elect best known for introducing hog castration to the lexicon of modern political advertising:

[Double threat: JONI and ERNST]

And FEHR? I'm supposed to know the N.H.L.'s *players' rep*!?!?! Baffling. I can't name the players' rep for any of the major sports. I wasn't aware it was a thing I was supposed to commit to memory—especially the players' rep of the least popular of the four major US sports leagues. Attempts to get cute with the [Talk show V.I.P.] double-up meant that I was asked to believe that a BOOKER is a "V.I.P." A BOOKER is important, I'm sure, but name one. . . I know. Me either. That clue was probably (or should've been) [N.J. Senator Cory] or something like that, originally. Between the two talk show clues and the Saturday-hard clue on ABBESS (1A: Person at the top of the order), and FEHR (again, ?!), I couldn't finish the NW until the very end. Eastern grid (the southeast in particular) was somewhat more tractable, though BASEMEN has a terrible clue (35A: Ones trying to prevent stealing). It's trying to get all misdirective and cute, but it's awkward and inapt from a baseball perspective. Without "first" "second" or "third" in front of it, BASEMEN is odd. Not used. And catchers are the real steal preventers. It's defensible, this clue, but yuck. Get cutesy, you better *land* it. Otherwise, wince.


I had no idea how to spell ELISHA. I wanted ELIJAH. This made things awkward in the west. Also, I thought 32D: Run through the gantlet, say was TYPO. Sincerely. "Gantlet" is one of those words that is "right" but shifting hard to "gauntlet," which is what most people *say*, and what dictionaries list as the primary spelling ("gantlet" being the variant). British dictionaries list "gantlet" as "American." Anyway, doesn't really matter. Point is, I was sure the answer was TYPO. Well, not sure, because I figured out quickly that that wasn't going to work. HAZE… I got all from crosses. This patch in the west would've been Very hard had I not Hail Mary-guessed ADONIS and crossed it successfully with IDOL. The place was pretty blank before that moment. Finished with FIGHT, also poorly / cutsily clued (28A: All hits all the time?). That's a radio slogan, I think, but it is a poor "?" clue for the generic word FIGHT. [All hits all the time] sounds like a very violent FIGHT, i.e a subset of FIGHT. I "FIGHT" all the time without hitting anyone. Point is, boo. Again, grid is pretty nice, but the cluing just missed the mark too often for me. And, again, this should've run tomorrow.

I will say, though, that the clue on "THE WIRE" (48A: Series of drug-related offenses?) is excellent.
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

    P.S. congratulations to a certain young woman who guest blogs for me on the first Monday of every month—she found out just yesterday that she got into Wellesley, early decision.

    109 comments:

    Whirred Whacks 12:04 AM  

    Very nice puzzle -- with some terrific clues:

    -- "Series of drug-related offenses" for THE WIRE
    (second best TV series in past 15 years after "Breaking Bad."
    I'm currently enjoying Jimmy McNulty/Dominic West on Showtime's "The Affair.")

    -- "Influential figure in upward mobility" for ELISHA OTIS
    (Glad it wasn't TONY ROBBINS)

    -- "Fan's output" for COOL AIR
    (initially thought RAH RAHS)

    Also, seeing "Robert Goulet" as a clue for CROONER put a smile on my face! After his overnight success in "Camelot," he was BOOKEd on many talk shows in the 1960s.

    Rex: you know your rap singers, and I know Donald FEHR. :-)

    Congrats to Anabelle!

    Questinia 12:11 AM  

    A medium-challenging Saturday puzzle indeed.

    Steve J 12:18 AM  

    Thought this was exactly a Friday puzzle (and I finished it in about my average Friday time, sans any googles). NW definitely took the longest to fall, and I probably spent a quarter of my solve time staring at it, but it eventually fell.

    Agreed with Rex that the cluing often tried too hard. Neither talk show VIP is, in fact, a talk show VIP (being a SIDEKICK pretty much by definition rules out VIPness). "Start of play?" for 1A just doesn't work as a grammatical match for the answer: that kind of play has to have an article (no one says "I'm going to see play tonight").

    Speaking of things no one says: BASEMEN, without a first, second or third in front.

    Those big bits of clunkiness aside, this was solid. The grid filled steadily from a couple footholds (i definitely benefited from being able to drop in OKTOBERFEST as my first entry), which is exactly what I like in a good themeless. Some nice fill in HIJINKS, KEEP IT REAL, JICAMA and LED ZEPPELIN, and some very nice clues for THE WIRE and the well-worn ELISHA OTIS.

    And FEHR was an easy get for me, coming off just the F. His name is forever seared in my memory for leading the players into the 1994 baseball strike and the resulting cancellation of the World Series. It took me a decade to begin watching baseball again after that.

    Jim Walker 12:24 AM  

    Go figure. Fastest time ever for a Friday. One mistake: thought his name was Calkin.

    For those who haven't seen The Wire, I recommend you stream it. Some of the most unforgettable characters you will ever encounter anywhere. Beautiful ensemble cast and the best villains since Milton's Satan.

    Charles Flaster 12:41 AM  

    Medium with some excellent misdirections.
    Liked ABBESS, VICAR especially with order and clerical misdirects.
    PLOT TWISTS were just perfect.
    BASEMEN is extremely weak and thought it might be battery as they are frontliners in preventing stealing.
    Knew Donald Fehr from baseball not hockey.
    He gets around.
    No crosswordEASE to speak about.
    Just did puzzle titled O Sole Mio and really enjoyed it especially as a partner to last Tuesday's NYT puzzle.
    Thanks EB.

    Anonymous 12:44 AM  

    Great puzzle. Ok, some questionable clues like the one for "basemen" but otherwise a good example of a tough Friday challenge.

    Looking forward to a tough Saturday, too.

    Zippy.

    jae 12:45 AM  

    Easy Fri. for me.  Knew FEHR (@WW & Steve J) and JONI and, ABBESS was my first thought for 1a and the crosses confirmed it

    Erasures: Had sEE ya later before KEEP IT REAL (didn't check the 6d clue) and RazES before RICES and those were it. 

    @WW - Check out "The Hour" for more of Mr. West.

    Some zippy fill, some snappy clues, one of my all time favorite shows...THE WIRE...what's not to like.  Fine work Evan!

    Casco Kid 12:48 AM  

    1:08 Great workout. I followed all of the misdirects but found my way back home again. Last stumbling block was JOdI ERNST, which kept the west from crystallizing until ZOdES made the correction obvious.

    JONI should get some credit for out-Palining Palin. In a year without Palin and with Bachmann retiring, Ernst filled an open place on the far right of the GOP bench. Yes, she is somebody already, especially if she keeps the crazy-talk flowing.

    I'll second everything @Steve J said, except that my feeling was uniformly positive. That is, the deficiencies Steve points out don't irk me at all. Infielders is better than BASEMEN in comon usage, but BASEMEN is OK here. SIDEKICKS too. And like Steve, I took 10 years off from MLB after 94. I am primarily a minor league ticket buyer still because of FEHR.

    This one took as long as this week's AVC, but was so much more fun to solve. The fill had meaning! Did all the AVC solvers notice that [Brand of toothpaste preferred by the constructor] was NOT a cue. Refreshing, isn't it?

    One of the best solving experiences of the year here! Rex's first grade class has a new constructor-hero. OK. Time for fingerpainting.

    Anonymous 1:15 AM  

    One of the easiest Fridays I've done! I guess the clues must just have been on my wavelength. Usually Fridays take twenty minutes and I have a couple squares of guesses. This one fell perfectly in 11. Northwest corner was definitely the hardest, but the rest fell easily.

    Anonymous 1:15 AM  

    Don Fehr was a pretty prominent figure in the baseball strike of '94. I think he's Friday crossword famous.

    chefwen 2:02 AM  

    Started off on a bad note right away when I put in AnTe up at 1D and I thought I was being sooo clever, NOT! Things pretty much went down hill from there. We got it done, but unlike @Steve J. it was not Google free. Pretty tough Friday for us.

    AARGH, what will Saturday bring?

    25D ACME - We still miss you.

    John Child 2:17 AM  

    I fell into two woodchuck holes (deeper than rabbit holes) today and had to cheat to get out. I was firmly wedded to teeOff for 1D (confirmed by exhaust for fan output) and pop IcOn. I enjoy a good FIGHT even when I lose!

    Evan 4:41 AM  

    You shoulda seen my "never gonna happen but screw it I'm going for it anyway" clue for SIDEKICKS [1992 film about a boy’s dream to battle bad guys with Chuck Norris]. That one might have prompted at least two letters to the editor.

    In all seriousness, I'm pretty happy with how this turned out despite Rex's problems with some of the clues -- I have my own issues with some of them as well. As a general rule, I don't take many chances when it comes to the fill in themeless puzzles. I value lively yet still clean, junk-free grids above all, and I think this one came out pretty smoothly. But where cluing is concerned, I'm often willing to take chances on tough and original clues if the answers are fairly crossed. That's partly why clue-writing is so much fun on my own site -- not having the same space or politeness constraints there that I would at the Times opens up a lot of additional possibilities for cluing.

    Evan 4:41 AM  

    Here's the info on the original submission (that is, my final revised submission from last month, since this puzzle is very different from when they first accepted it in March):

    * Will left 30 of my clues (44.1% of all clues) basically intact.
    * He made minor revisions to 6 clues (8.8%), meaning he kept the intended meaning of the clue as well as most of the same

    words but changed their order or added/deleted others.
    * He made major revisions to the remaining 32 clues (47.1%), meaning he changed most or all of the words and basically went for a completely different angle on the clue.

    My favorite original clues which the NYT changed:

    * EGO = "Nations have their ___, just like individuals": Joyce
    (Not a flashy answer, but I think it's a cool quote.)
    * JACK SPRAT = Name associated with lean cuisine
    * HAZE = Paddle or brand, maybe
    (Funny you should mention it, Rex. I thought gantlet was a typo when I first saw it, too.)
    * BOOKER = New Jersey Senator Cory
    (Funny you should mention it, Rex. I wouldn't call this one a "favorite" clue of mine since it's pretty straightforward, but I'm listing it here because I wasn't crazy about the NYT's "add -ER to a verb" angle. My guess is that Will wanted one fewer proper noun, or he felt the cross with 19-Across would stump people if they believed it should be spelled OCTOBERFEST. Dunno what his thought process was there.)
    * ACT ONE = Show piece?
    (I had a similar reaction as @Steve J when I saw their clue -- seemed grammatically off.)

    Evan 4:42 AM  

    Continued from the last comment....

    On BASEMEN: I submitted two clues, one similar to what you see here [Group concerned with stealing], and one not [They can get some people out]. Cutesy? Maybe. I'll cop to the answer itself being a little strange without First, Second, or Third in front of it, but I think the clues are alright. They're original, if nothing else.

    On FIGHT: Again, submitted two clues, though this time they're a bit different from the NYT's. Mine were [Event with smash hits] and [Where to get socks?]. I was going for a boxing angle and I'm guessing the Times intended the same. I sorta get Rex's objection, and granted, if many solvers see the answer and then don't think boxing, then it probably wasn't as successful a clue as it could have been. But I believe Rex is overthinking this one. The fact that a violent fight is a subset of all types of fights doesn't necessarily make this one a poor clue -- getting hit with fists can be a big part of a real fight. Doug Peterson and Brad Wilber had a good misdirection-style boxing clue for the same word last year [It moves along via a series of belts]. No issue with a boxing match being a subset of all fights there, I don't think.

    My favorite original clues which the NYT did not change (or didn't change much) are for the following answers:

    * THE WIRE
    (Very happy they kept that clue, though I did have an alternate as well: [Drama featuring characters nicknamed Bubbles, Cheese, and Snoop])
    * FINISH LINE
    * PLOT TWISTS
    (This was one of two clues that I submitted. The other was [Devices that deliver a shock].)
    * MODEL T
    * ACME

    My favorite revised clues from the NYT are for the following:

    * BOSTON
    (My clue was [Common area?] – a subtle change on their part, but it's a better play on words.)
    * EYE TEST
    * WIT
    * LOAN
    * ADONIS

    My least favorite answers:

    * AEROS
    * ELAM
    * ERN – Hard not to rely on this and ERNE in themeless puzzles sometimes.

    Anyway, good debate. Thanks for your feedback, all.

    Anonymous 5:55 AM  

    As someone who has been learning how to spar for the last six years in Mixed Martial Arts, I can't help but comment that "all hits all the time" is not a great fighting strategy. Anything you do "all the time" is likely to be noticed by your opponent. You have to change up your strategies to keep your opponent guessing. So when I got that clue I didn't envision boxing, I envisioned the ineffective slap fests that are common at the white and yellow belt levels. Sometimes iit is a great strategy to wear your opponent out by blocking a flurry of their futile "hits" as they glance off your gloves only to sneak in that one solid punch once they are exhausted and drop their gaurrd. I can't think of anything more satisfying.

    Danp 6:34 AM  

    Never heard of DAN in judo. Oddly, Donald FEHR is a name I associate with hockey, though I couldn't have told you if he was a goalie, commissioner or mascot.

    I'm glad they didn't use the same clue for THEWIRE and FINISHLINE. I hate those clues, even when they are clever. And it must have been tempting with the answers crossing.

    I thought this puzzle had Evan's signature all over it, from the cluing to the KEEPITREAL. You need a lot of esoteric knowledge in many fields, and a tolerance for groan inducing wordplay. I don't think anyone will accuse him of having a PALE WIT. I enjoyed it, but couldn't finish.

    Horace S. Patoot 6:41 AM  

    My wife and I wrestle with this point: a fan does not produce COOLAIR -- it produces moving air. A fan directed at moist skin cools the skin by evaporation. A fan sitting in the middle of a closed garage with no one present heats the garage, since the motor produces heat.

    Anonymous 6:44 AM  

    @Damp, ditto on DAN even though I also have started to train in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu where many of them know quite a bit about judo.

    Susierah 7:43 AM  

    Well, you never know! Challenging!? This was my fastest Friday ever. Things just fell into place for me. Good one, Evan!

    Anonymous 7:48 AM  

    @Casco I can't help but notice the three right-wingers you mention have something else in common... regardless of political differences, women shouldn't be grouped together to make it easier to dismiss them

    L 8:01 AM  

    Congratulations Anabelle!

    Danield 8:33 AM  

    Agree with @Charles Flaster comments. Thought this was a harder-than-average Friday, but I think Rex was too critical. I don't like the use of rap music artists and titles in many puzzles, but I have to deal with it. Politics and sports are stronger areas for me, so Joni and Fehr were just fine.

    Tita 8:46 AM  

    @Horace - you beat me to it!! After 25 years of marriage, the first thing that came to mind at 14D was puzzle spouse's admonition: "Fans cool people and heat rooms." But I suppose that a fan in front of an ac unit, or a bag of ice, will output cool air, just as the fan in my computer or car outputs warm air.
    Anyway, he rarely does Fridays - I can't wait to show him!

    OKTOBERFEST was my 2nd answer after ACME - though it didn't help in that corner, which was the last to fall.

    This did seem Saturdayish at first, but I finished with what felt like 'normal' Friday struggles.

    I also liked clue for MILKS.
    So - I agree with some of Rex, lots of @Steve J, and most of @Casco.

    Overall, I really liked this, Evan! Who woulda thunk when we met at ACPT that you would soon be a multi-published constructor and a guest Rexer... (much more VIPish than a BOOKER.)
    Really well done.
    And, really love when the constructor provides "The Rest of the Story", as you did here.

    Airymom 8:54 AM  

    Paul Simon sang, "One man's ceiling is another man's floor". There are Fridays I struggle with the puzzle and need to "Google" clues and Rex rates the puzzle as easy. Today, I completed the entire puzzle in one sitting, without looking up a clue and he rates it challenging. Who knows. If you're a sports fan, you know Donald Fehr. Although filmed in town, I've never seen "The Wire". Loved the clue.

    Big congratulations to Annabel! Early decision at Wellesley--WOW!

    Casco Kid 8:55 AM  

    @Horace A fan speeds up convective heat transfer, of which evaporative cooling is an example. At equilibrium when heat transfer has stopped, fans are minor sources of energy and cause negligible heating. You're right in principle.

    COOLAIR is allowable by the common misconception rule of clues-answer pairs. But good get!

    better than Rex (today). 8:56 AM  

    Thanks for the insights, Evan. Many of your original clues are better than Will's changes. Guess he likes control...
    This was a great puzzle--lots of AHAMOMENTS and fun clues. I gotta say, I'm surprised Rex had such a hard time. Maybe his general crankiness blocks his thought process?

    John V 8:57 AM  

    Well. I got SITZ and FEHR. That was it. Seriously. Is it me? Possibly. But, having finished the Liz Gorski /Jeff Chen Saturday pair two weeks ago, flawlessly, I don't think so. Per @rex, Saturday, too clever by half.

    joho 8:59 AM  

    Nice puzzle, Evan!

    My favorite clue was "Thickening agents?" for PLOTTWISTS: brilliant!

    I liKed all the J's and K's.

    I struggled at Pop quiz, tart, IcOn ... IDOL!

    When I started this I never thought I'd make it to the FINISHLINE but slowly and surely I did. Very satisfying solve.

    joho 9:00 AM  

    Oh, congrats, Annabel!!! Early decision Wellesley is most impressive! Hope you'll still have time to blog here on the first Monday of every month!

    AliasZ 9:03 AM  


    Great puzzle, Evan! I didn't mind the tough and sometimes off-kilter cluing [Start to play, gantlet]. Going by the principle that they are "Clues," not "Definitions," anything that helps me get the answer is fine by me, as long as it is logically unimpeachable and it does not lie.

    Start to any generic play or opera is ACTONE, start to novel is chapter one, start to sonnet is stanza one, start to baseball game is inning one, etc. Replace "to" with "of" and you'll see. "To" was used here to misdirect you into thinking "play" as a verb. Clever! But I was also as sure of "gantlet" being a typo as I was sure "whom" was a typo in "Whom unto us is given." But the latter was either truly a typo, a real error due to the editor's inability to recognize the subject of a sentence in the passive voice (I doubt it), or a deliberate trick preying on the inability of many to use objective vs. nominative pronouns correctly in everyday speech. As I am typing this, I hear Edward G. Robinson say to Alice White: "Him and me, we are in the same business" in the movie "The Widow from Chicago" (1930) on TCM. That's gangster talk for you.

    Either way, since they are "clues" that did not lie, we all got the correct answers.

    For "Influential figure in upward mobility?" I tried to figure out how to squeeze Wernher von Braun into the space provided. For "Reply on the radio" I entered ROGER. For "Ones trying to prevent stealing" I tried pitcher, catcher, and with BA___ already in place, I entered BALKERS. What a fool!

    This one was full of lovely, colorful entries: KEEP IT REAL, PLOT TWISTS, JACK SPRAT, LED ZEPPELIN, SIDEKICKS, HIJINKS and OKTOBERFEST my favorites. Did not remember MORSI, did not know JICAMA, but I knew FEHR, the most hated person by baseball and hockey fans in America.

    First entries: SAAB, VICAR/VINES. From there it was slow going, but a tremendous exercise and a very pleasant solve.

    Thank you Evan. Your detailed comments are also much appreciated.

    Let me close with the closing portion of the suite from the opera "The Tale of Tsar SALTINE" by these two Russian chaps, Rimsky and Korsakov.

    Elaina 9:06 AM  

    Congratulations, Annabel! Great school.

    When ABBESS, REVEDUP (7A) and COOLIN (14A) went right in I thought "Wow, I've got this!" Of course 2 of the 3 were incorrect.

    As a retired psychology prof I get very tired of seeing EGO what seems like every other day. While Freud is of great historical importance to the field, he has little current relevance.

    Elaina 9:08 AM  

    I actually put in COOLING not COOLIN.

    Sir Hillary 9:12 AM  

    Maybe I was just on @Evan's wavelength today, but I flew through this one. More importantly, while the "flight" was short, it was super fun.

    This is a tremendous Friday puzzle. Massive open grid portions in basically every section, tons of high Scrabble value (but not in a forced way) and superb long and short fill (when ERN is the worst entry, life is good).

    Fantastic mix of old (ELISHAOTIS, JACKSPRAT), sorta old (LEDZEPPELIN, CULKIN), sorta new (THEWIRE, FEHR) and very new (MORSI, JONI). Two US Senators -- actually, three in @Evan's original cluing. Cool.

    Obscure cluing? Please -- it's Friday.

    My learning for today: a credo is a set of BELIEFS, not a singular belief. In a word, I had no idea that was the case!

    Thanks @Evan -- this was a blast.

    Bird 9:31 AM  

    A good workout, but DNF in the SE with unknown YULE crossing unknowns YENTE and ALLINS. Now that I see it, YULE is so obvious I should have guessed it. Oh well, TGIF!

    Congrats Annabel!

    wreck 9:33 AM  

    One of those Fridays that after a couple of complete pass-throughs it was pretty bleak. I did a couple of Googles, and then it started to fall pretty fast from there. I knew Donald Fehr had switched over to hockey, he was pretty prominent in the last labor dispute. I struggled the most with the ABBESS/SAAB cross.

    Mr. Grumpypants 9:43 AM  

    Ugh. Just ugh. This was no fun at all. ELISHA OTIS? Puh-leeze. That's just plain mean.

    Ludyjynn 10:02 AM  

    This one looked hopeless at first glance, but slooowly but surely cracked itself wide open! JACKSPRAT and BASEMEN went in first (sorry, Rex), and EGO and CROONER (sorry,@Elaina) opened up the NE corner. it was weird, every ZONE had a TEENSY toe-hold or two that I grabbed, getting AMPEDUP as I rode it to the FINISH.

    I didn't notice the 'gantlet' (mis)spelling, but was annoyed by the apostrophe in 6D's 'VIP'S', as SIDEKICKS is not possessive, but plural.

    Thanks, EB, for your construction annotations; very interesting process. I admire your skill and tenacity.

    Congrats to Annabel on your achievement!

    mathguy 10:17 AM  

    I had a very tough time with it last night. I printed it up at 7:30 and played with it all through the football game. Didn't have much besides OKTOBERFEST and MODELT. I couldn't get The Closer interested in helping -- she was engrossed in The Mentalist and Elementary. Finally got the NE and was able to finish WOG (without Googling) by 10:30.

    This morning I was lying in bed and preparing myself to read Rex say that it was easy. Before going to Rex, I prepared a case for its being hard. Six question mark clues and two others that could have been (35A, 1A). Five entries I didn't know. Some devilish cluing. But Rex surprised me.

    I agree with the criticisms of the clues by Rex and Steve J. Reading Evan's comment, I'm putting the blame on Will.

    Evan, thanks for the insight.

    I don't take "crooner" to be a synonym for "singer." I think that it is a kind of singer like Perry Como or Bing Crosby. Goulet had more of an operatic delivery.

    DJG 10:20 AM  

    I agree with those defending the crossworthiness of Donald Fehr. He's not just any players' rep. He's been a relevant name in sports since the '94 baseball strike.

    Perfectly cromulent Friday fill.

    Andrew Morrison 10:20 AM  

    @Evan - thanks for providing insight into the puzzle's development. Your posts are very enlightening.

    Easy - Med for me based on a faster than average solve. It felt harder than my time indicated! The NW was kinda weird. I struggled a bit with the whole section. Other than that, it was a decent Friday morning package. FEHR was a gimme, and JOdI only slowed me briefly. My only real complaint would be over the clue for FIGHT. It was a little too clunky.

    Nancy 10:23 AM  

    Loved this puzzle and all its misdirections. A wonderful challenge, which I was able to finish. I do agree with @Horace about a fan not producing COOL AIR, just moving air. And I take issue with CROONER for Robert Goulet. If you've ever heard him belt out "C'est Moi" or "If Ever I Would Leave You", you'd know he's no crooner. Sinatra was a crooner. Bing was a crooner. Goulet is a big Broadway belter. I'm sure he can -- and probably has -- crooned at some point or other in his career, but it's not his go-to style. But anyway, thanks Evan for a wonderful puzzle, as well as an interesting explanation of the submission/editing process.

    quilter1 10:34 AM  

    Got most of it, but being unfamiliar with drug related TV shows could not finish the SW. Agree the cluing was forced.

    Joseph Welling 10:39 AM  

    Casco Kid said:

    "And like Steve, I took 10 years off from MLB after 94. I am primarily a minor league ticket buyer still because of FEHR."

    Did you know that there's a class action lawsuit by minor league players to get minimum wage?

    Carola 10:43 AM  

    A very enjoyable brain racking. First in: OKTOBERFEST, CROONER, MORSI but then could do nothing more with the crosses, so skipped and chipped around the grid until all was revealed (BASEMEN and HAZE happen to be two of the rare entries that came to me immediately). Many moments of delight: PLOT TWISTS, ADONIS x IDOL, HIJINKS, SALTINE, KEEP IT REAL.

    Dunce-cap moment: what word begins PLOT_ _ _ ? (checks crosses again).

    Non-feminist moment: first thought for 1A was ABBot; nope, didn't fit; moved on to another section. PER @loren: Sheesh.

    Thanks, Evan - a Friday treat.

    Congratulations to Annabel!

    Andrew Gordon 10:46 AM  

    In the forced cluing camp with Rex, and agree that neither of the talk show answers are VIPs which irked me. On the other side of the Rex coin, Fehr provided an early toehold - surprised it was not in OFL's ken. Nice grid EB, thanks!

    Bob Kerfuffle 10:49 AM  

    Easy-Medium for me, with most of the Mediumness being due to the time it took to get the first few answers; went very smoothly after that.

    Don't know why, but I never looked at the constructor's name, even after I had finished and said to myself, "That was a really good puzzle. And all those rare letters, but no Q, which will get credit in certain quarters."

    So I was quite pleased when I turned to Rex and saw that the puzzle was by Evan. I can't say we are BFFs, but like @Tita, I can say, "I knew him when . . .," or at least that we shared a table at a couple of ACPTs.

    Good one, Evan!

    And congrats, Annabel!

    Z 11:02 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Z 11:04 AM  

    Interesting Note - I hit "preview" since I had so many tags. I was not required to enter a captcha afterwards. This has happened before.

    Robso 11:04 AM  

    This is one of those rare times that Rex rated this harder than I thought it was. I'm going with Medium-Challenging.
    My beef was with "hijinks." If you're talking about true tomfoolery, it can only be spelled with an "x": "hijinx." This was a thoughtless error, Will Shortz. For shame.

    Z 11:07 AM  

    I live a four minute walk from The Hockeytown Café and six minutes from my seats at Comerica Park, so FEHR was one of the first words in. I give this my highest rating, Bell's Two-Hearted Ale (an India PALE ale). FEHR SITZ! LED ZEPPELIN. OKTOBERFEST (what month is it?). Al FRANKEN and Bush/Cheney (BASE MEN). JACK SPRAT passing RARE GAS. Our Roman numeral is not random (TRE). WILCO.

    I have no idea on my time, but I was slow at first. Plopping down sEEyalater and burrito didn't help in the north. Thinking CauLKIN had me pondering the possibility of a silver rebus, and I wondered why anNiE would be singing a song called "The Rumor." I worked through it all and had fun doing it.

    *and then I fixed two typos

    Casco Kid 11:19 AM  

    @JospehWeller So the MiLB players arent't thriving off the pocket-lint I pay for my AA tix? Come to think of it, neither am I!

    Thanks for the reality check. After the gazillion dollar settlement (richly deserved, of course) I think college baseball might become the new affordable spectator sport. OK. High school. It is all still just baseball.

    Notsofast 11:29 AM  

    Great (HARDG) Puzzle!!! Love seeing LEDZEPPELIN and ACME. Kudos to E.B.

    Anonymous 11:47 AM  

    To pile on: a fan does not produce cool air. It does not produce warm air. It simply moves air. Where the air goes or what it does after it passes through the fan does not change this fact. That's in the same category as "pen" as a requirement for a contract recently. It's wrong.

    Dansah 11:52 AM  

    Great puz Evan. Played easy-medium. Congrats Annabel.

    wreck 11:52 AM  

    For that matter, refrigeration does not "cool the air," it merely removes heat.

    Lewis 11:57 AM  

    Well, if it's a Saturday level puzzle, Rex, that is not Evan's fault. That would be Will's. I was also thinking this was Saturday level, but a number of commenters rated this as easy to easy-medium, so I'm not so sure.

    Look how clean and interesting the answers to this grid are! I'm guessing, Rex, that in Evan's formative constructing years, you were a big influence on him on this point.

    I loved the cluing, especially for THEWIRE, THICKENINGAGENTS, BOSTON, and BASEMEN (which answer didn't bother me). Evan, I liked your clues for HAZE, ACTONE, and PLOTTWIST better than what ended up here.

    Plus we have a high double-letter count (11) and lively answers, my favorite being AMPEDUP, HIJINKS, and PLOTTWISTS. Excellent one, Evan!

    jberg 12:01 PM  

    I think the hog castrating ad made JONI Ernst crossworthy in and of itself. Nice to see her in the same puzzle as Al FRANKEN and Mohammed MORSI. But then I teach politics, so probably I remember these folks while others are remembering rappers.

    I do want to join the chorus of protest over BASEMEN -- I don't think anyone's ever called them that. Infielders, infield, etc. And if you think the shortstop has nothing to do with preventing steals, you're wrong.

    But mostly I'm chagrined that everyone else seems to have known ELISHA OTIS's first name. Not me. That was a problem because, oddly, the midwest was unlocked for me by the horrible partial Pop "In On." Tha gave me ZONES, HI JINKS, and HAZE, but kept me from seeing ADONIS for the longest time, and made me think either that Mr. Otis's middle initial was A, or that he had a wife or daughter who helped him a lot.

    Roger before WILCO, soap before NEON (as in the TV tube--saved by those noble gases at 15d), and CULKeN before CULKIN.

    I have to admire that clue for ERN, though. Not that closely related; I ran through all the hawks I could think of, remembered that (I think) the RAF had a plane called the Harrier, and wrote in MIG. Not helpful.

    KEEP IT REAL, folks!

    Anonymous 12:02 PM  

    Got everything except for JICAMA/ ELAM.
    Had JICoMA/ ELom- that's pretty naticky to me!

    Z 12:09 PM  

    Connotation

    Wrong

    Pedantry always amazes me when associated with a too narrow understanding of how the language actually operates.

    Lewis 12:12 PM  

    Factoid: In the United States, Nabisco lost trademark protection of the term SALTINE after it began to be used generically to refer to similar crackers, but in Australia, Arnott's Biscuits Holdings still holds a trademark on the name.

    Quotoid: "I've always wanted to smash a guitar over someone's head. You just can't do that with a piano." -- ELTON John

    Since we're posting random links to dictionaries 12:16 PM  

    context

    prior
    comment?

    Jyqm 12:23 PM  

    Add me to the list of folks who are surprised that Rex rated this one challenging, as I also flew through it fairly quickly. Just enough difficulty and misdirection to keep things interesting, but I'd call this an easy-medium Friday rather than a tough Saturday. I'd never heard of FEHR, either, but I didn't really have to with four easily gettable crosses.

    I wonder if Rex's impression is partly due to the fact that he solves online. The NW is definitely the toughest corner, and if you solve on a computer that's also your natural starting point. I solve on paper and let my eyes wander over the clues until I spot a nice gimme, which today meant leaving the NE until the very end.

    My first entry was MORSI, which allowed the NE to fall almost immediately, and from there I worked my way down. The whole east side came together pretty rapidly. OKTOBERFEST didn't help me get into the NW at first, and I was blocked down below by not knowing OTIS' first name, but JONI Ernst came to the rescue, making HIJINKS obvious, and the rest came together from there.

    Andrew Heinegg 12:23 PM  

    I immediately figured the cool air as the answer being clued but, I had the same thought of 'no, it does not', but I still think that is what they are looking for as an answer.

    Martel Moopsbane 12:39 PM  

    I have often wondered if Donald Fehr would be better cast as the business partner of Mr. Lothing.

    Hartley70 12:43 PM  

    Tough but rewarding for me. But...no way is Goulet a CROONER. That's Bing's job. Goulet has arguably a more sophisticated talent.

    Also, Somebody's a bike racing fan down in the SW, but unfortunately it wasn't me. Ditto for baseball. I was taught at a young age to say "Go Red Sox" and that's the extent of my knowledge. I was more interested in the teensy shot glass of beer my dad would let me have while he listened to the game. We lived dangerously in the fifties.

    The rest of the clues were unexpected and clever for the most part. It may have taken me 3 stabs to get it done but it was fun all the way!

    Z 12:54 PM  

    @random - fair enough. "Fan output" resulted in COOL AIR. I understand the nit, but calling the answer "wrong" is wrong, it is not "erroneous." COOL AIR as used in the language is a perfectly ACCEPTable connotation for a fan's output, even while being wrong in response to a question on a physics test. Let me be very specific - what amazes me is how easily some leap to the adjective, "wrong," especially when it isn't wrong for a crossword puzzle. Maybe someday all the boxes of fans in Target and Wal-Mart will remove "cool." Probably right after we stop hedging Citigroup's bad bets (says the guy who lost $100K in equity in the last banking crisis). Until then, the clue is cool.

    Can't read the captcha? Click on "Preview" then "Publish" and you won't have to. ALL HAIL GOOGLE

    pfb 12:58 PM  

    I find myself in agreement with Rex today. That does not happen often. BASEMEN is just awful. Worse than BOOKER which was weak. Nice challenge for a Friday.

    Leapfinger 1:08 PM  

    @Martel M - Oh, is it pronounced 'Fear'? I was thinking of FEHR & Warmer, or FEHR & Square.

    Masked and AnonymoUUs 1:13 PM  

    Feisty but fun. Enjoyed the clues. Nice weeject alleyways, in the NW and SW. Anemic U-count. Pretty smooth fill, for a 68-worder -- desperation was at a premium. Learned FEHR and JICAMA. Did get a kick outta AEROS in the plu and PENNEY in the sing.

    M&A help desk fractoid: The J.C. in J.C. Penney's orginally stood for Ji Cama. U learn so little, here.

    Yo, 'Bel! Congrats to Wellesley. Are we talkin Enigmatology degree, here? Anyhoo, go Blue. They have a pretty, oldie-style campus.

    YULEball? Is that how wizards say "y'all"? Or is it an appetizer made of cheese and crushed peppermint? ...Well, at least I learnt FEHR and JICAMA.

    fave weeject in the alleys: UTE.
    fave weeject out among em: ERN. "Harrier than what?" M&A mused, still slightly dazed by them day-um yuleballs.

    Got a whole lotta luv for LEDZEPPELIN, btw.

    M&A
    "Keep It Fehr!"

    Anonymous 1:15 PM  

    The cluing was exquisite. If I had my druthers, I'd do the Saturday puzzle every day!

    Outlaw Z 1:15 PM  

    @Leapfinger - I've heard it both ways, but since trusting the pronunciation of sportscasters is not wise, I've no idea.

    The "preview" only works when you have a Google Account.

    Martel Moopsbane 1:23 PM  

    @Leapfinger - I found this interview with DF from 2011 on line:

    Is it pronounced “Fair” or “Fear?”

    DF My dad pronounced it “fear,” and so that’s what I do. My mother had a tendency to pronounce it “fair,” but I figure my dad had the name longer.

    Slow Motion 1:52 PM  

    Nice, tough Friday for me, not Saturday tough, though. FEHR was a gimme for me, and I got Oktoberfest off that, and BOOKER off that, so I didn't have Rex's issues with those answers. Nice cluing throughout. Learned JICAMA and ELISHA Otis; never knew his first name.

    FEHR is pronounced "fear".

    Jica M + A 2:12 PM  

    p.s. @63, re: name an important BOOKER...
    * Booker T. (Jones) & the M. G.'s. (Green Onions, I think)
    * That Booker T. Washington educator dude.
    * That Booker Moore NFL dude.
    * That Man Booker novel prize.
    * "Book 'er, Dano!": famous TV phrase (var.)

    New nickname for that nice Monday Blog gal: Blue'Bel.

    @63, agin: Top sporty players' rep names:
    * N.F. Lehr
    * N.H. Lehr (cousin of the above)
    * M.L. Behr
    * N.B. Aehr
    * A. C. P. Tehr
    * (I forget the soccer dude)

    M&A
    "Keep It Cool, Aehr!"

    Tita 2:15 PM  

    Oh, I just love a good pile-on...A fan placed in front of something colder than the ambient air does in fact, output COOLAIR. So the clue/answer is right. So there.

    Though, I must say...@wreck..."refrigeration does not cool the air," it merely removes heat"...
    deep, man... you just blew my mind - with heat-lacking air.
    But wait - does not my furnace "just remove cold"?

    I'm not short, I just have an absence of tall...

    What fun we have here.

    Actuallly, I came back to say congrats to Anabelle!

    AliasZ 2:17 PM  

    @Leapy,

    You can call him Fair, you can call him Fear, you can call him Fur, or you can combine them all into Führer, but you doesn't hasta call him Johnson.

    Mohair Sam 2:23 PM  

    @Annabel - You'll be a five minute bus ride from Natick! Wonderful school, wonderful part of the world. Heartiest congrats.

    @Evan. Thanks for a terrific Friday and your posting here to clarify and expand. I may have liked this one even more than you given that I agreed with Will on most (not all) changes. Great moment here when I read clue for 25d and said "Only Wiley would use that." Looked up, saw EB and said, "Yup, it's ACME."

    THEWIRE clue a beauty, Robert Goulet the ultimate CROONER, knew ELAM because of the old character actor Jack Elam - a personal favorite.

    @Rex - Donald Fehr very, very (in)famous for his hideous baseball strike - Wednesday famous at least. And JONI Ernst is fresh fill as far as I'm concerned - her "castration" ad was all over national TV a couple of month's back, and all the media discussed the "first female . . ." for days after her win.

    Finally, have to rate this easy/medium - Home Alone (proof - last letter was "Y" in YENTE), and I was able to complete in average Friday time.

    Great puzzle.

    OISK 2:39 PM  

    Got lucky on ELAM/Jicama. Have actually heard of Led Zeppelin. Had a 50th birthday party (long ago) where guests were told to bring only gifts I couldn't possible ever use. Someone got me a Led Zeppelin CD. Don't like Hogwarts clues, but "Yente" going down gave it to me. Just saw a harrier here in Brooklyn last week - have never seen an ern (or an erne) anywhere. Quaintly or not, has anyone ever seen planes called "Aeros"? Difficult for me, but that is appropriate on a Friday. Nice puzzle, and thanks for posting here Evan. By the way, in every case, I preferred your clue to the one that eventually turned up.

    beatrice 2:43 PM  

    While drafting a comment in my head on the musical issue of the day -- &questioning the wisdom of doing so -- I looked up from the laptop only to see the (muted) visage of Mister Goulet (on a PBS fund-raiser, 'Pop Music of the 50s') -- so here it is: According to Wiki, Goulet studied at some 'famous voice schools' in Edmonton, then won a scholarship to the Royal Conservatory in Toronto, where he studied with two 'famed' operatic and oratorio baritones.

    Appreciate @mathguy pointing out that Goulet had 'more of an operatic delivery' -- there was apparently good reason for this. Seems to me he might have been a decent performer of operetta and lighter operatic roles, had he been so inclined. I can't hear him mentioned without thinking of Andy Williams -- in the '60s my older sister listened to their respective LPs A LOT. I think Williams could have been termed a crooner.

    Add my congrats to those for Annabel.

    And appreciation to Mr. Birnholtz -- this was definitely a challenge but never a slog.

    old timer 2:56 PM  

    It is really delightful when the constructor chimes in on Rex's blog, especially with inside info on the cluing.

    I too thought it was tough for a Friday. And I only now realize why a UTE is a Trojan competitor. As far as I'm concerned there should still be a Pac Ten or the original 8-team conference.

    But "basemen" was entirely accurate, because almost always the person who puts out a runner is a baseman and not the shortstop. His job is typically to back up the second baseman in case of an errant throw from the catcher.

    The booker is the most important person on any talk show even though he or she is anonymous. The sidekick is less so. Has there been an important sidekick announcer since the Carson show? Of course the bandleader on some shows could be called a sidekick.

    NW was last to fall for me, because I wanted ABBOTT (wrong!) instead of ABBESS.

    Nebraska Doug 3:11 PM  

    Easy - Medium for me...shocked to see Rex's rating. There are plenty of Friday puzzles I never finish. This one felt very easy for a Friday. The things I didn't know were getable from the crosses.

    comeback kid 3:17 PM  

    Opened with BISHOP and ODDS for 1a and 5d. Not good. Made a huge comeback after that. Thought"fan output" would be APPLAUSE or some such. Loved this puzzle, despite "cool air" (wrong. Just wrong.).

    dk 3:35 PM  

    🌕🌕🌕🌕 (4 mOOOOns)

    FEHR who knew? The rest of this one was a pleasure. The breakthrough came from listening to the Profilers Daughter when the book referenced LedZ. That little boost gave me the puzzle.

    Reading my brother in law's book "The Last great Walk" and it included a reference to OTIS so the name was in my little gray cells. By the way this book would be a great gift.

    Evan, best puzzle in a long time.

    Perhaps I should watch The Wire. When in ABQ went on a self guided mini Breaking Bad tour. Fun.

    okanaganer 3:52 PM  

    Fascinating how a particular clue/answer will generate a lot of comments. @Casco, I have to pick a tiny nit: evaporative cooling is not convective heat transfer. When water changes phase from liquid to vapor, heat is actually absorbed and basically vanishes from the whole heat/temperature calculation. Convection, conduction, and radiation just transfer heat from one place or object to another.

    In fact, humans' ability to sweat and get rid of heat was one of our greatest evolutionary advantages. Antelopes can run fast, but can't sweat much so they cannot run too long without overheating.

    Last Silver Jicama 4:27 PM  

    p.p.s.s.
    For completeness...
    * Soccer: Concaca Fehr. Far Fifa-in out.
    * Tennis: "U.S." T. Pehr.
    * Golf: L.P.G. Aehr. Known for her many fans. (Related to filmdom's Coolin Brothers.)
    * Cinnamon Roll Fest Feasters: M&A.
    * Bowlin, Boxin, Wrestlin, Racin and Badmintin (the 5 "In" sports): C. U. Lehter.

    M&A

    **gruntz prep work**

    Anonymous 4:37 PM  

    The whole grid(til the end) fell quickly for me, thought Rex would gripe saying too easy for Fri.
    Name any annual event in any German city: I cannot, but Octoberfest sure comes to mind. For some reason i entered Frank Oz instead of FRANK-EN and was unable to infer the Harry Potter clue so was left with anions and Penzey going down. Finished but incorrect (on paper). Ted inDenver

    Chip Hilton 4:41 PM  

    FEHR was my first fill. I lost time with BAttery in place of BASEMEN. Not at all fond of that clue. While I'll agree that some other clues were a bit over the top, I enjoyed most of them and felt they were Friday fair/fare. Thanks, Evan.

    Benko 4:44 PM  

    @oldtimer: Andy Richter, definitely, on Conan. And Geoff Peterson, the gay robot skeleton.

    Isn't removing heat energy from an object or system the very definition of "cooling" it?

    I may be the only person in the world who thinks The Wire was incredibly overrated.

    Www.HedgeFundGrannies.com 5:04 PM  

    Rather than lament my failures at today's puzzle, I'd rather congratulate your team member for her acceptance at Wellesley, a fantastic school.

    Ludyjynn 5:47 PM  

    @Benko, hand up for Geoff Peterson, best sidekick ever!
    I may be the only person in the world who never watched "The Wire". Ugly reality for those who live in that part of Charm City (Balto.); not entertainment, IMHO.

    Benko 6:01 PM  

    @ludyjynn: Yeah, I think I'll miss Geoff more than I'll miss Craig, now that the show's almost done.

    Outlaw Z again 6:12 PM  

    @Tita - I have an absence of short, we could trade.

    @Benko & @Ludyjynn - Most under-rated late night talk show in my opinion. What is it with not loving The Wire and loving Geoff and Craig?

    Anonymous 6:12 PM  

    way to go Annabel!!!

    jae 6:17 PM  

    Add me to the "Geoff Peterson - best sidekick ever" contingent.

    @dk - if you have access to HBO Go you can binge watch THE WIRE.

    Teedmn 6:59 PM  

    Finished a minute faster than yesterday (37 if you have to know :-) ) so I was also surprised at Rex's rating. I don't know FEHR from fair but I think it was in a recent puzzle so the answer didn't slow me. Started with a foothold in the NE with PER and backed my way across the NW. But I was having a musical sounding Tex-Mex for a while with TOSTAtA so SITEK was making me think of the Internet or SajaK but no talk show tie ins.

    I wasn't keen on the cluing for 1D either, it reminded me of SOCK for Darn It from a recent puzzle. @AliasZ's take on it blunted the edges of it for me but I would have preferred @Evan's original clue.

    Great clues on THE WIRE and PLOT TWISTS! A near pangram, low dreck count, liked VICAR, the Dr. Who reference, LED ZEPPELIN, just a fun solve. Thanks, Mr. Birnholz.

    Teedmn 7:01 PM  

    Oh, and congrats, Annabel!

    Benko 7:08 PM  

    @outlawz: I don't know. I watched the first season of The Wire way back when, and thought it was good but not great. I stopped watching and never had the urge to go back to it. I don't think it's a bad show; I just don't understand why so many people consider the best show of all time.

    Leapfinger 10:16 PM  

    btw, the phrase is "running the gantlet". "Through" was just a left-over from yesterday's puzzle.

    Anonymous 4:17 AM  

    I guess it took my about 8 hours to solve...except I didn't.

    Whether tiredness or dyslexia, I put in "jimaca" and didn't think too much about it.

    So, two wrong squares, but still proud. I've never completed a Saturday puzzle, but I can tell you the northwest was very, very difficult for me.

    Mayaleo 4:12 PM  

    I don't understand Wilco as a radio reply.

    spacecraft 11:43 AM  

    @Mayaleo: WILCO is short for "will comply," often following "roger." It's pretty old-timey. Few radioers say that any more.

    I agree with the rating of "challenging." Found a good start in the SE, where after testing the Z of LEDZEPPELIN and coming up with SITZ (as a medical corpsman I knew all about those), I had a nice chunk to work from.

    [Actually, if you want to get picky, the album WAS titled. It was (ready?) LED ZEPPELIN. Sequels were simply titled LED ZEPPELIN II, etc.]

    Anyway, the P gave me JACKSPRAT, and I was off. But hold on; I said challenging, didn't I? Here's some of what took a loooong time coming:

    --> JICAMA. Are you serious? How did you even FIND such a word?

    --> KEEPITREAL. This has got to be regional. The phrase is only vaguely familiar, but I never associated it with a goodbye.

    --> MORSI. Never heard of him.

    --> THEWIRE. I had no idea what that clue was even talking about, but it went in on crosses. I was surprised that I'd reached the FINISHLINE correctly after that.

    Not, though without some W/O mess. My ADONIS was a HOTTIE, and my VINES were rINgS (as in, the rings of a crosscut section of tree trunk). HAZE/ZONES was the aha! that pulled it all together.

    It helped to remember Donald FEHR, who was in the news almost daily during the hockey strike a few years back.

    As with all tough tasks completed, today's was a satisfying solve. Good (read: PRE-rap!) music was well represented with LED Z and BOSTON, with a little ELTON thrown in. A onetime attendee at OKTOBERFEST, I'll give this one an A-. The minus is for JICAMA. Yikes.

    157. Maybe next time.

    rain forest 2:20 PM  

    I have a Physics/Chemistry background and so I understand what a fan does, but the pedantic outcry today is too much. I'll still use a fan to get COOL AIR.

    Found this almost easy: FEHR came first, then OKTOBERFEST, then BOOKER, and I was off. I liked the cluing, the construction, the absence of dreck, and the pure enjoyment of solving.

    My only WOE is BOSTON. I know the city, the band, and the beans, but even though I knew it was correct, I don't know why. Is there a thing called a BOSTON common?

    DMG 2:23 PM  

    Almost put this one down, but glad I didn't because I eventually got there! agree with the comments above about weird clues and the fact that Goulet was not a crooner. Last for me was changing dICES to RICES which turned MOOSa into MOOSI and made 22A make sense!

    Now for the Captcha thing: 265 So far it's a tie!

    Anonymous 2:23 PM  

    I think the Led Zep album referenced was the band's 4th album, known as ZOSO, but officially untitled.

    rondo 2:34 PM  

    Since we had ELTON and LEDZEPPELIN we might have had JONI Mitchell, BOOKER T., DAN Fogelberg or Wilson,and BOSTON, and WILCO clued musically. And Purple HAZE and HEY Joe. And Robert Goulet doesn't fit CROONER to me - too loud.
    Jack ELAM better IMHO.
    Agree with those above re: fan not "outputting" COOLAIR, just moving it.
    Saw about 10 seconds of THEWIRE, maybe missed something worthwhile?
    Thought BASEMEN clued oddly.
    Still liked it overall. A definite challenge today.

    Number?:
    check

    sdcheezhd 3:12 PM  

    Pop icon for IDOL, Roger for WILCO, Dices for RICES, Accede for ACCEPT, amde it very slow going. I agree with Rex for the most part except for FEHR - he is the most famous players rep ever except for Marvin Miller and it is an easy leap to take him from baseball to hockey. I remember Pete Arbogast saying on KNX at the time that the strike was 100 percent due to the owners and that was even before the multiple findings of illegal conduct like the collusion under Ueberroth.

    tom gillespie 9:11 PM  

    Quit bitching Rex..I'm no hockey fan but I knew fehr from just popular media... You're so goddamn picky sometimes... Lighten up!

    Anonymous 11:33 PM  

    Hated that skeleton: couldn't watch Craig because of it! Lame, I say!
    Today's puzzle was a slog : p

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