Reese's field / FRI 3-20-15 / Mayberry moppet / Songwriter Carol Bayer / When repeated Thor Heyerdahl book / Title locale in 1987 Cheech Marin film / Staple of Hindustani music / Spaghetti western persona / Who wrote to Ptolemy I There is no royal road to geometry

Friday, March 20, 2015

Constructor: Roland Huget

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none

Word of the Day: "AKU AKU" (32D: When repeated, Thor Heyerdahl book) —
Aku-Aku: the Secret of Easter Island is a 1958 book by Thor Heyerdahl.[1] The book describes the 1955-56 Norwegian Archaeological Expedition's investigations of Polynesian history and culture at Easter Island, the Austral Islands of Rapa Iti and Raivavae, and the Marquesas Islands of Nuku Hiva and Hiva Oa. Visits to Pitcairn IslandMangareva and Tahiti are described as well. By far the greatest part of the book tells of the work on Easter Island, where the expedition investigated the giant stone statues (moai), the quarries at Rano Raraku and Puna Pau, the ceremonial village of Orongo on Rano Kau, as well as many other sites throughout the island. Much of the book's interest derives from the interaction of the expedition staff, from their base at Anakena beach, with the Easter Islanders themselves, who lived mainly in the village of Hanga Roa. (wikipedia)
• • •

Thor Heyerdahl. 1958. EBBETS Field. Demolished 1960. There's a pattern, or rather a center of gravity, and it is way, way back. I'm a big fan of mid-century aesthetics of various kinds. Jazz. Art. Interior design. I have 3000+ paperbacks from 1940-69 sitting just to my left here in my home office. So retro is, in theory, peachy. But this puzzle isn't retro. It's just old. Tired. Pleasant. Inoffensive. Like an uncle you think is OK. You know, you don't hate him. He's nice. Remembers your birthday. But you don't really *get* him, and he has a corny sense of humor and won't shut up about how great Johnny Unitas was. (Actually, I think I'm literally talking about Abe Simpson now, but anyway …). This is the puzzle equivalent of nostalgia. That one rap clue isn't fooling anyone. Even Lionel Richie looks too hip for this room. And even leaving age and time period aside, none of these answer has any snap crackle or pop. They are fine (at last in the center—the corners feel like half-baked afterthoughts). They get the job done. No one is going to complain about this thing. It's inoffensive in the extreme. But your SMARTYPANTS GRAND NEPHEW called and he wants his 2015 puzzle back. Please.

Hard to explain the sagging feeling I get when I fill in SENNA and LEYDEN and ARIAS and SAGER and OPIE and NIENTE and OILSEED and EASTLA and EENSY and RICER and AREEL. I pick all those because they aren't exactly bad (well, AREEL is close)  … they're just, in the aggregate, indicative of the kind creaky, dated puzzle I can tell I'm gonna be dealing with. SEALERLINEAL … lots of common letters, and the best you can say about those answers is "Fine. Sure. OK." The puzzle's highlight is clearly meant to be the mash-up of longer fill at the center of the puzzle, and yes, it's all relatively clean in there, and that deserves some praise. But the fill is all so whitebread. So Ward Cleaver. It's wearing its mid-century frame-of-reference on its sleeve, which would be OK if the answers from that period had some zip and zing. But no. This thing is all cardigan sweater.

A pediatrician acquaintance of mine says I can quote her re: the TEATS clue (6D: Nature's pacifiers?), so I will: "It's not an incorrect statement, but it's weird." This was in response to my saying I found it disturbing, first, because I couldn't tell if the frame of reference was human or barnyard animal (if the former, no one calls them TEATS for god's sake, and if the latter, that is some creepy/odd anthropomorphism you've got going on there). I know the phrase "fruit is nature's candy," but that means it's "candy" FOR HUMANS. TEATS are not for humans. They are for piglets. Unless, again, you are referring to human female breasts as TEATS, in which case, yikes. Clue on SNAIL is just stupid (25A: Appetizer served with a two-pronged fork). It's called "escargot" when you eat it in a restaurant. Everyone knows that. Cluing SNAIL as "Appetizer" is like cluing COW as "Sandwich meat." Trust me, if the restaurant bothers to provide you with the "two-pronged fork," it—is—escargot. Not SNAIL. When did you people start calling "dinosaurs" "DINOs"? This feels like a post-"Jurassic Park" thing. I don't believe anyone actually calls them this. It's some kind of ploy to infantilize us all. I say, resist. See you tomorrow.
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


    Anonymous 12:07 AM  

    I think we should start a scale of Rex-crankiness.

    This write-up gets 3.5 crankies out of 5.

    wreck 12:09 AM  

    Okay .... shouldn't the clue for 23A be CareeN instead of CareeR? I'm guessing I will be roundly corrected! ;-)
    This was a Friday?? This was really, really quick for me. It was themeless, but Tuesday-Wednesday-ish in time for me.

    Anonymous 12:10 AM  

    Here's a better idea. Rex should add a "relative crankiness" rating below his "relative difficulty" rating.

    I'd rate this as medium-cranky.

    Whirred Whacks 12:10 AM  

    Very much liked this puzzle. Interesting answers and clues, e.g., "Event often for gate crashers" for GIANT SLALOM, and "Nature's pacifiers?" for TEATS.

    The Julius Caesar/Augustus relationship was fresh in my mind from reading about the former's murder last Sunday ("Ides of March").

    Hayley Gold has a nice riff on the MICKEY MOUSE answer in her cartoon today. Hayley's cartoon reminded of Disney's motto which is:

    "The Walt Disney Company: the place where when you wish upon a star, we charge you for it."

    wreck 12:20 AM  

    I forgot to add that I wanted APRONS before ARROWS forced it's way in and had GRANDFATHER before GRANDNEPHEW.LEYDEN was a WOE, but filled from the crosses. Those were my only stumbling blocks.

    Zeke 12:21 AM  

    Does Obama have BIGY EARS? Is that a thing, because BIG YEARS sure as hell ain't a thing. And how on earth to ARROWS take bows? Bows take arrows, not the other way around. PIRATED movies outnumber BOOTLEG movies about 100,000,000 (oh hell, there aren't enough zeros in the world to make my point here) to 1 on file servers. BOOTLEG are illegal recordings. People don't bootleg movies (excepting of course in Seinfeld episodes), they pirate them.

    With 12 cheater squares, only nine 7+ letter words, there's little excuse for a puzzle this lacking in pizazz. Sorry, I did like I, Man, Chaz Bono's autobiography. And I'm always grateful for answers such as PEWTERS, as I can call on my metallurgical expertise to tell everyone how that's correct, there are various pewters (differing alloys for differing functions) living in the wild. I kind of have to get even with the nauticalcrats from yesterday.

    Mark 12:25 AM  

    Strangely cumbersome and informative clue for EUCLID, since the word "geometry" by itself immediately makes EUCLID pop into the mind. Like one of those Jeopardy clues which misleads with hints, all the while making the response too obvious.

    Steve J 1:11 AM  

    Middle-of-the-road Friday. Liked the clue for EBBETS, liked COMEUPPANCE. That was about it. Nothing much stood out otherwise.

    Aside from how easy this was. By far my fastest Friday, even with having to change piratEd to BOOTLEG, and GrAnd SLALOM (wtf?) to GIANT SLALOM. I can't imagine I've gotten that much better with late-week puzzles, so I have to suspect that this was an extremely easy Friday.

    @Zeke: BIG YEAR(S) is a thing in sports, where the phrase will be used by announcers in reference to players who are having a very good season. Beyond that, I can't recall running across it.

    jae 2:03 AM  

    Easy- medium for me too and it would have been easy if I hadn't left @wreck GRANDfatHEr in for so long (I clearly do not know Roman history, although I did watch the HBO Rome series).  Also boozE before SAUCE. 

    The BIG YEAR is a delightful movie about bird watching.  No really, it's worth seeing...Steve Martin, Owen Wilson, and Jack me, delightful!

    A fair amount of zip, interesting grid layout, liked it more than Rex did.  

    @Nancy - Glad you decided to stay around.

    jae 2:10 AM  

    Hey, I forgot to mention that part of The Big Year was shot on the crossword friendly island of Attu.

    Anonymous 2:33 AM  

    "Just deserts" or "just desserts"

    chefwen 2:39 AM  

    One of my fastest Friday's ever. Of course I cheat to get a toe hold as I did yesterday, that's semi normal for me with the late week puzzles. Looked up the rock and roll hall of famer guy, whom I've never heard of. After that it was pretty smooth sailing.

    Loved all of the long ones, especially SMARTY PANTS crossing COMEUPPANCE. Like @wreck wanted aprons for 7A.

    Love the Haley Gold drawings.

    Carola 2:48 AM  

    I enjoyed solving this one - tough enough to give me a few moments of trouble but yielding nicely to pressure. Like others, I needed to erase piraTEd, and I got my terms of magnitude confused by writing in GrAndSLALOM (hi, @Steve J) and GReatNEPHEW. I also got the model IMAN mixed up with an IMAm and Heyerdahl's AKU with Satyajit Ray's ApU.

    I liked MISS MANNERS facing off against the SMARTY PANTS, the contrast of GIANT over MICKEY MOUSE, and the Greek duo EUCLID and ATHENA - COMPUTE is apt crossing the geometrician, too. ENDS IT and SECEDE make a nice bracket for the grid.

    @wreck - Merriam-Webster's definition of "career" is "to go at top speed especially in a headlong manner." The entry for "careen" has as its fourth definition "career."

    Moly Shu 3:30 AM  

    LEYDON jar seemed familiar, but what the hell is a LED lamp? That bit of idiocy on my part ( about 5 minutes before I parsed L E D ) caused me the biggest problem. The NW was last to fall, but a guess at STY jumpstarted me in that region. Liked COMEUPPANCE and the full SRI LANKA even though they were just knocked out of the cricket World Cup. I hope everyone got ANC today (I'm looking at you @LMS)
    Liked it much more than @Rex.

    John Child 4:11 AM  

    Jeez Louise @Rex. We have a snazzy 66-word debut puzzle today with so little to complain about that you are reduced to grumbling about ... Nothing as far as I can see. But grumble you will. Is it just a matter of habit now?

    Congratulations Mr Huget. I hope to see a lot more of your puzzles.

    John Child 4:17 AM  

    AND getting Haley Gold's comic too! double congrats Mr Huget!

    Charles Flaster 4:37 AM  

    Easy as pi but one miscue--Geneal for LINEAL.
    I should commit IMAN to crosswordEASE.
    Loved the baseball theme--EBBETS and GIANT.(kidding). But EBBETS Field was a great place to watch a game and when the Giants played, it was indescribable.
    Liked cluing for COMEUPPANCE, STAMMER and DOGTAG.
    The three long answers crossing three long answers was a nice touch. Enjoyed it.
    Tracy Gold's cartoon was very apropos.
    Thanks RH.

    GILL I. 4:48 AM  

    I'd like to meet your pediatrician acquaintance, @Rex. I think she and I could talk about a SNAIL being served with a two-pronged fork all night....and DINO....good gravy ! Where did T REX go?
    @Zeke...I too saw BIGY EARS but I was more in a Dumbo mood.
    Some good stuff I will admit. TEAR for career was my biggest huh! but I really liked MICKEY MOUSE and SMARTY PANTS. Did anyone else have OATER instead of LONER? Boy, that screwed me up something fierce.
    EETSY wincey spider went up the AKU. TEATS for Tats as MISS MANNERS would say.

    George Barany 4:56 AM  

    Hearty congratulations to @Roland Huget for his New York Times debut. We learn from that Roland is a retired nuclear engineer who wrote his own software and compiled his own wordlists to create this (and numerous other, mostly unpublished) puzzle. That's rather impressive, and may also account for the unusual feel to the puzzle that was noted by @Rex. Low Scrabble count, but that's OK, may have facilitated the low word count.

    The EBBETS field answer to the "Reese's field" clue was a real "aha" moment. Later in my solving process, I was reminded of the Disney executive who had a less-than-stellar experience flying back to Orlando on Delta, so he exclaimed "What kind of MICKEY_MOUSE airline is this?!"

    Also, in the analysis by @Jeff Chen, we are encouraged to compare to topologically similar grids, and the results (all from the 20th century) are quite stunning: One @Patrick Berry, one @Martin Ashwood-Smith and two @Manny Nowosky, with the 6/20/1997 grid being an exact overlay. Pretty exalted company, I'd say.

    Finally, as @Whirred Whacks, @chefwen, @John Child, and @Charles Flaster have all noted, this puzzle inspired the creativity of @Hayley Gold to create a new webcomic. Great stuff!

    Charles Flaster 5:31 AM  


    Z 6:06 AM  

    I like my cardigan. But it is a little dated. I am not surprised to read that the constructor is retired.

    @Moly Shu - It only took me a single double take to parse L. E. D. but I had the same "huh?" moment.

    @Gill I - You got the weird highlighting, too? The quote is only about TEATS, not SNAILS, but it sure looks like the conversation was about SNAILS.

    Rug Crazy 6:43 AM  

    career - tear?

    Sir Hillary 7:00 AM  

    On balance, a good puzzle, if on the easy side for me.

    -- The grid layout. 360-degree symmetry is always cool.'
    -- The central intersecting 11s. All solid and evocative, and they look fabulous.
    -- The clue for LONER. Feels original.
    -- The pair of hospital workers.
    -- The fact that I initially thought "beverage" for 8D and dropped in slAp.
    -- ANC again. Hat trick tomorrow?

    Wasn't crazy about:
    -- BIGYEARS. Green paint.
    -- The LINEAL/LEYDEN cross. Wonder how many people will stick an R in the bottom-left square.
    -- How do ARROWS take bows? Don't bows take ARROWS?

    Congrats to Roland Huget. To have a 66-word themeless with a classic grid layout and get the Hayley Gold treatment? Quite the debut, I would say.

    Loren Muse Smith 7:57 AM  

    This was a lot harder for me than most are reporting.

    I put the obvious “T Rex” before DINO, so that mucked things up for a bit.

    The clue for SEDAN – body type brought me up short. I was thinking the pear/apple body types that apparently describe women’s forms. In this light, I guess I’d rather be described as a pear than a mini-van.

    The other thing was that I kept imagining that a GIANT SLALOM SNAIL sounds like something that you absolutely couldn’t eat with a two-pronged fork. “I think I’ll try the GIANT SLALOM SNAIL. How is it prepared? Could you make sure my fork has at least three prongs? Also while you’re here – this smaller menu – does it have appetizers, or is it just desserts?”

    I think it would have been a nice touch to tie in 1A as “breaks off” to tie to the clue/answer to 57A.

    All in all – no complaints here! Congrats on your debut, Roland!

    Glimmerglass 8:09 AM  

    Call it what you like. Little forks and garlic butter, but it's still a snail!

    AliasZ 8:23 AM  

    What a nice NYT debut, congrats to Roland Huget. Let's hear it for retired nuclear engineers, rocket scientists and brain surgeons. May they all find peace and tranquility in the world of crossword puzzles as they stagger into the the welcoming arms of this community to the cheers of Hayley Gold and the ever-accommodating warmth and kindness of its leader, @Rex.

    I liked the wide-open design of this super-clean themeless. Both trip-11 stacks in the center are exemplary for their snap and sparkle. I loved GIANT SLALOM, MISS MANNERS and the COMEUPPANCE of SMARTYPANTS as well the SITAR playing in SRI LANKA, the Greek corner in the NW and DINO Crocetti.


    joho 8:25 AM  

    First I want to heartily congratulate Mr. Huget on his impressive debut! Loved the middle section and especially admired the crosses of SMARTYPANTS/ MISSMANNNERS/ MICKEYMOUSE and COMEUPPANCE.

    (Hayley Gold's MICKEYMOUSE comic is pure Gold!)

    Great clue for GIANTSLALOM.

    Sometimes I feel like we all need to be quietly ONTIOPTOE so as not to disturb @Rex while he's ranting. Can somebody here please invent a Snarkometer (rhymes with barometer) so we can accurately determine @Rex's real rating? Instead of stars puzzles will rate "snarks," 5 snarks being the most hated. Just a thought.

    Thanks, Roland, enjoy your special day!

    joho 8:28 AM  

    Wait a minute! Roland is a nuclear engineer ... how hard could it be for him to design the Snarkometer?

    Rhino 8:36 AM  

    I enjoyed my solving experience, except I had toast instead of a donut. It was covered with jelly, so I got some high fructose corn syrup in me, thank God.

    My problems have all been listed by others. BOOTLEG is wrong, should be pirated. TEATS is unsettling, for reasons stated by Rex's friend. And how does career = TEARS?

    I'm fine with adding a snarkometer, but can we also highlight comments that complain about Rex's snark so I can easily skip over them?

    Matthieu 8:36 AM  

    Man oh man! I check this blog every day to compare my relative difficulty to Rex's. But lately I haven't been able to stomach the commentary. Can we get some positivity please?!

    NCA President 8:53 AM  

    I am endlessly amused by two things my brain does when doing xword puzzles (I'm sure it does it other times of the day, but I see it while I'm doing puzzles most vividly):

    First, is that there must exist somewhere, in all the billions of brain cells contained in my skull, a place where words are stored. Words that mean nothing to me and so really never see the light of day...but they exist. How do I know? Well, when I'm doing xword puzzles, they appear. EBBETS is one of those words, and to a lesser extent CAREER (as a trajectory) and LINEAL (as opposed to linear). I do not know how or when I learned these words or why I am even able to remember them, but there they are. Hell, these days I'll stop midsentence, trying to remember the name of a good friend...and yet, EBBETS Field.

    Second is that the brain operates in mysterious ways. To wit: Getting from "Reese's field" to EBBETS. After deciding it was PeeWee we were talking about and not the candy people, I was no more ahead of the game knowing it was baseball related. I have no idea where PeeWee played. I know of PeeWee and I know he played baseball. So I look at the E of ENDSIT and the B of BOOTLEG and after a few minutes, **poof** EBBETS.

    This morning when I got out of bed EBBETS lived somewhere in my brain...somewhere deep and with only a ghostlike connection to sports. Then, 20 minutes later, I read "Reese's field," and EBBETS pops into my head with all the sureness and clarity of finally remembering the name of my dear friend. The synapse connection gyrations my brain must have had to go through is, well, mind boggling. (I'm sure I know the answer to this too, but it will be later in the day when it pops into my head...)

    So, yeah. A shout out to my brain for being a brain and doing stuff without my even knowing it. If I were really honest, this is why I do these puzzles. I get a feeling of satisfaction when I solve puzzles like this knowing that my brain is not only working well, but it has the raw data to work with in the first place. There are times when that satisfaction borders on smugness...but I am working on that part of my brain.

    Aketi 8:59 AM  

    @jae, I did watch the BIG YEAR.

    @ glimmer glass ! Im with you.
    Rex's pediatrician friend made me feel as cranky as Rex.
    just because you use the French word escargot to describe snail doesn't make it the equivalent of clueing cow for sandwich meat.

    @chefwen, you might know moire variations on how cook snails than I do, but any time I've eaten snails in Africa, France or the US, the snails we're cooked whole. They were not a body part hacked off the escargot and then sliced and processed so as to be eaten between two pieces of bread.

    Among the many disgusting things I learned to deal as a Peace Corps volunteer learning to cook for mysel without a refrigerator was the snail episode. I bought a basket of live snails. You were supposed to set the open weave basket out in the grass once a day and that was supposed to keep them alive. I must have lost something in the translation from Lingala (which I was still learning to French because the snails died, Rotten food was something I had learned to deal with without a fridge, but the dead snails were far worse than the maggots on smoked meat or the termites that ate through my treasure toilet paper, or having to set my dried beans out in the sun for the chickens to eat the bugs that infested them. So the concept of snails being elevated into elegance merely by calling them escargot doesn't cut it with me,

    pfb 9:03 AM  

    I liked seeing EBBETS field in the puzzle although I never saw it. I do remember the Polo Grounds where the Giants and the Mets played before Shea Stadium and Citi Field (which when it opened, some were calling Debits Field).

    A fast solve for me for a Friday. It took me a while to decide to go with TEATS although it was one of my first thoughts.

    DShawMaine 9:08 AM  

    Thought I would have a rare Friday finish, but was stymied by the NE - knew Reese's field had to refer to Dodger Stadium but foolishly forgot about Brooklyn.
    I agree with Anonymous @ 2:33 - the clue should be "just desserts" and since there is no desert-related pun in the answer, that must be an error. (Perhaps the NYT uses a program with an autocorrect (mal)function.)

    Perhaps @Rex belabored the point, but have to agree this was a bit of a yawn. Disliked SEALERS - are Maine hunters, sometimes, called MOOSERS? Uh, no.

    And to match the ANC hat trick, @SirHillary, tomorrow we could also have Lionel Ritchie's song one more time....

    Mohair Sam 9:20 AM  

    Great debut Roland Huget, loved it. Getting triple stacks to cross in the middle without one strained or crosswordy clue nor the word "Ones" - nicely done.

    Hand up for GRANDfatHEr. Actually said to Mrs. Mohair: "I thought Julius came first." as I wrote it in. I was right, of course, and wrong.

    So I too will grump about grouchy Rex's opinion of the datedness of this puzzle. But I do come from the standpoint of one whose first gimme was EBBETS. Hmmm. Saw my first ball game there, Carl Erskin lost to the Milwaukee Braves that day (Hi @OISK).

    YOUARE a strange gimme here. Never heard of the song until it filled in last Sunday's (was it Sunday?) puzzle.

    Open letter to Will Shortz . . . Here is my list of super-models
    1. Christie Brinkley
    2. Cindy Crawford
    Kindly keep all others out of your puzzles.
    Thank you.

    jberg 9:24 AM  

    I really liked this one. Maybe it's my age, but all those intersecting 11s struck me as really neat. I had GReat NEPHEW before GRAND, and MicKEY something before I saw it was a MOUSE, but that was all part of the fun.

    Yes, career can mean to run around out of control; not sure about the 'deserts' thing though.

    But any puzzle with COMEUPPANCE in it is fine with me.

    Lewis 9:30 AM  

    I'm with @AliasZ -- great long answers. And, as with @lms, not so easy for me. Some areas filled in quickly; others not so much. So for me, completing it left me satisfied. I loved the clue for SEDAN. Fitting that a puzzle beginning with ENDSIT ends with SECEDE. Kind of cool that abutting the teardrop of India is EAU.

    @aliasZ -- made me laugh when I read about the "ever accommodating warmth" of our leader.

    And, for what it's worth, my bracket is completely shot.

    I'm not anonymous don't skip my comment 9:33 AM  

    Fun puzzle. Constructor missed a nice opportunity to tie the first across clue with the last: 1a could have been clued "breaks off" leaving 57a as "break off" or something like that that (someone brighter than me could come up with something better I'm sure). I liked the EBBETS clue and can't for the life of me understand why rex thinks this is "tired" but would think a jazz clue from the 50's would be cool and retro. A fairer reviewer might say something like "I don't like sports much but it's a nice clue for EBBETS field," rather than being so dismissive. Congrats new constructor!

    GPO 9:36 AM  

    This one was pretty easy for me. Started at Forest Hills, finished before Tufts. My only quibble: there is no such thing as a canola seed. Canola is an acronym for Canadian oil. Canola oil is actually made from rapeseed. Hence the acronym.

    chefbea 9:40 AM  

    Easy for a friday. Wanted something to do with sand or arid for 35 across. Dessert has two esses. Desert has one. You can remember this because you want more dessert!!! could also put some hard sauce on your dessert.

    Roo Monster 9:45 AM  

    Hey All !
    After my traditional two or three answers once through the clues, I figured his would be a typical hard FriPuz. But, as I continued slow and steady, things filled in rather easily! Except that darned SE corner. Had Spin for 48 D, then changed it to SpUn, and that was it. The P and N just threw off any hope of finishing that corner. Even with the SRI, that P wouldn't let me see LANKA. Big ole DNF. (Also had thr R at LINEAr/rEYDEN.)

    Did like the puz overall. Nice all-over symmetry. (Complete symmetry? Or 360° symmetry, as it's known) Only one writeover, parER for RICER.

    Nice long-uns, SMARTYPANTS up thete with the other days INFANCY PANTS. Always thought Augustus was Julius' son. The teaching power of puzzles!

    This LONER will now SAUNTER ONTIPTOE and STAMMER how I had NOIDEA how to COMPUTE the COMEUPPANCE that YOUARE going to tell me. MISSMANNERS says, "Bring him to the MONARCHY REGIMEN." I think I'd rather hit the GIANTSLALOM in EASTLA.

    On the SAUCE

    Maruchka 9:46 AM  

    Perhaps not the tastiest puzz, but me old brain appreciated most of the solves (SAUNTER, LINEAL, SLUE). SW was like butter with garlic - by me, only good thing about eating SNAIL - and all else went in pretty smooth, too. Had elopes for ENDSIT, so a bit snarled in the NW. Just deserts?

    Fav of the day - DOGTAG. Ah, those old WWII movies. Thought 'stripe' at first, but didn't fit (see above).

    Speaking of WWII: After she died, I found a letter from one of mom's deployed pen pals (she'd sent him a Dear John following her engagement to dad). It is polite, concise and withering. She must have felt terrible..

    And Pee Wee Reese was a good pal to Jackie Robinson, a heads-up to all the bigots.

    Agree with @AliasZ, @joho, @Carola, Thanks, M. Huget. Looking forward to your next one.

    @LMS - LOL. I'm old enough to remember 'Body by Fisher' tags on GM cars, so SEDAN made sense. More retro stuff, @Rex!

    RnRGhost57 9:46 AM  

    Fine debut for Roland Huget. A bit easy for a Friday but quite pleasant.

    Hayley Gold is a treasure.

    If you cut me do I not bleed? 9:51 AM  

    Interesting to have had PEEWEE as an answer and "reese" in a clue this week, as well as back-to-back ANC's.

    Anonymous 9:56 AM  

    Can someone please answer the 2 questions about odd spellings? Shouldn't it be jyst desSerts? And careeN?

    Anonymous 9:56 AM  

    Just deserts threw me too. I was looking for a clever answer having to do with dry regions.

    Zeke 9:57 AM  

    @GPO - Canola has come to mean the plants, cultivars of rapeseed plants specifically selected to be low in erucic acid. It's the low erucic acid which makes the oil edible. If you want to plant canola, you buy CANOLASEED to do so.

    Bob Kerfuffle 9:59 AM  

    Medium; one write-over, 19 A, DST before EDT.

    I, too, was puzzled about the clue for 35 A -- see, it's circled in my paper!

    But Bill Butler at says,

    "35A. Just deserts : COMEUPPANCE
    The phrase "just deserts" describes something which is deserved, and in today's usage that can be something good or bad. The expression has been around a long time, and back in the 14th century it only applied to something bad. I guess the idea is that someone doing something unacceptable got his "just deserts", the dry and barren expanses fitting to the deed. Over time, the pronunciation of "deserts" changed, with the emphasis on the second syllable, like our word "desserts". The correct phrase is still spelled "just deserts", but it is pronounced "just desserts". As a result, many believe that the phrase is in fact spelled "just desserts", meaning is one is getting what one deserves, sweet endings to one's meals, as it were. But no, one is getting a dry and arid expanse that sounds like something sweet to eat. The correct spelling is "just deserts" and the correct pronunciation is "just desserts"."

    Aketi 9:59 AM  

    Now as to the pediatrician's respond to TEATS, my relative crankiness index ascended to 10 out of 10.

    My profession is all about TEATS, TITS and AREOLAS, breasts, boobs, melons, fun bags, the girls, bosoms, puppies, nanas, milkies, etc. A TEAT is merely one of many names and euphemisms used for nipples regardless of what they are made of or attached to (humans, cows, camels, goats, bottles, pacifiers). Even scientific journals and the World Heath Organization have used the term teat to apply to human nipples. I just googled bottles to reconfirm that manufactures also use the term teats for bottle nipples for human infants.

    I almost posted a clip on how TITS can ruin your day a while back when yet another puzzle included TITS. While it provides me with comic relief from a profession that involves daily interaction with distraught postpartum parents, I thought it might offend some. But in honor of the pediatrician who seems to be weirded out by the use of the term TEATS for humans I can't resist.

    WARNING: If you don't have a sense of humor about breasts and breastfeeding DO NOT watch this. If you were not breastfed yourself, neither was I. If you had difficulty breastfeeding, so did I. If you chose not to breastfeed, I resoect your right to choose. 100% of parents are criticized for how they feed their babies at some point in time, regardless of how they feed their babies.. This is just a spoof on one of many varied ways in which parents are criticized.

    Tita 10:01 AM're right to describe Disney Corp that way...less so about Walt Disney...
    Maybe it's the afterglow, or nostalgia. I remember when he died...a friend,s mom told her kid that he was dead. My friend replied... "Oh, I didn't believe in him anyway."é just about anything in enough garlic and butter, serve with froo-froo fork, and you can charge lots of clams for it!

    what AliasZ said.

    @joho...the snarkometer would have to detect when Rex does it just to get a rise... @Gill is pretty good at that...

    @NCAPres... Add to the process the "If its Tuesday..." Effect... If it's a sword puzzle, the four letter river MUST be AARE. When faced with a plethora of suitable answers, choose the most grid-friendly.
    It was a factor in how I knew EBBETS right off the bat...
    And as for the resulting smugness, I prefer to call it superiority... ;)

    Tangent: it was a photographer named EBBETS who supposedly took that iconic photo of construction workers having lunch on an ibeam while erecting the Empire State Building.

    Weird about repeat of ANC, YOUARE, and STAMMER/stutter.

    Merci, M. Huget ! I liked your debut puzzle.

    this hurts my CAREER 10:05 AM  

    Hey people. I used "the google" and found this:


    move swiftly and in an uncontrolled way in a specified direction.
    "the car careered across the road and went through a hedge"

    quilter1 10:08 AM  

    Nice debut, Mr. Huget.
    I am pre-midcentury so a puzzle that skews old is just fine with me. I liked all the long answers which impressed me as being not what we see every day. I don't do the research, but I can't remember seeing MISS MANNERS or GRANDNEPHEW in a puzzle. COMEUPPANCE maybe, but not often enough. Very enjoyable.

    Z 10:15 AM  

    Is this puzzle "dated?"

    RONNIE Lane (1966 on)
    Born in EAST LA (1987)
    Licensed to ILL (1986)
    OPIE Taylor (1960-68)
    Carole Bayer SAGER (won awards in the 1980's)
    Mickey Mouse (First appearance 1928)
    HAN Dynasty (2,000 years old, give or take 200 years)
    IMAN (modeled from 1976-1990 - married Bowie 23 years ago)
    DINO (Flintstones 1960-1966)
    NPR (First aired in 1971)
    EUCLID (Born before the HAN Dynasty)
    ATHENA (Older than EUCLID)
    EBBETS Field (demolished February 23, 1960)
    WILLIAM of Orange (MLXVI)
    Augustus (HAN Dynasty contemporary)
    MISS MANNERS (1978-today)
    AKU AKU (1958)
    LON Chaney (died 1930 or 1973 for Jr.)
    YOU ARE (1983)
    Eugene Onegin (premiered 1879)

    When MISS MANNERS and Rod Stewart's bassist are your most current answers...

    Quod Erat Demonstrandum

    The issue isn't any one answer. The issue is that there is no balance. This puzzle could have been published as is in 1993. Change the IMAN clue and you could have published this puzzle in 1988.

    Maruchka 10:17 AM  

    @Aketi - FUN-ny. Wish there was UTube when I was breastfeeding my daughter. Wake up, America! TEATS are neither nasty nor naughty. Working breasts, I call 'em.

    Nancy 10:18 AM  

    This is so lively and entertaining that I can't believe it's a debut puzzle. What's not to like about MICKEY MOUSE (the way it's used here); COMEUPPANCE; COMPUTE (the way it's used here); SMARTY PANTS and MISS MANNERS? The TEATS thing didn't bother me, either: baby calves and pigs can be pacified, too, can't they? I mean they tend to moo and squeal and cause an awful lot of noise when they're hungry, right?

    I liked this one. It wasn't as hard as most Fridays, true, but it wasn't a gimme either and the lively fill made up for any lack of challenge.

    Z 10:20 AM  

    Just deserts

    Blue Stater 10:32 AM  

    Right on the money, as usual, Rex. We deserve better puzzles than this. So does the NYT.

    DShawMaine 10:40 AM  

    Thanks for the explanation about "just deserts" @BobKerfuffle! I should have known that as between me and Mr. Shortz, the one likely wrong is yours truly. (Isn't that a Rex rule?). I am humbled and will double and triple check the next time I suspect an error. Guess I got my just deserts.

    Bird 11:02 AM  

    Tough yet, mostly, enjoyable puzzle. Congrats to Roland.

    I like the crossing long answers and grid layout (kinda looks like it's spinning). Didn't care for SEALER though. Shouldn't 10D be plural? IMO V-8 engines growl.

    I have to remember to look more closely at the clues for daylight savings. When a locale is given, the answer includes the time zone. I had DST for the longest time giving me SO I SEE for 2D. I would not have gotten 27A if I didn't correct myself.

    @Bob K - I pronounce desert with the emphasis on the first syllable so the clue, to me sounds wrong.

    @Nancy - Glad to see you give this blog a second chance. Got to stay positive and, if I may - ignore the lousy, no-good, stinking trolls

    Steve J 11:05 AM  

    @Aketi: Glad I hadn't started drinking my morning tea yet when I read your post. Excellent.

    Further skewering (on a two-pronged fork) Rex's friend's take on things:

    The literal translation of escargot is - wait for it - SNAIL. While uncommon, I have seen snails served without resorting to obfuscating French. Saying SNAIL isn't an acceptable answer akin to saying squid can't be clued as an appetizer, because some places call it calamari.

    Also, people do colloquially say cow when they're talking about beef. This TripAdvisor review referring to a steak of a "slab of cow", for example.

    And people started calling dinosaurs DINOs at least since The Flintstones.

    As I've said for a long time: Do a little googling before declaring something just isn't used or isn't correct.

    Hartley70 11:07 AM  

    I agree with what everyone said, including Rex. I'm easily convinced and entertained this morning. This conversation is cray cray (sic cause I'm old but hip).

    @NCAPresident, I know what you mean. LEYDEN, where does that come from?Is it a town or a thing and where does this stuff fit in my head? Is it okay to add more or is there a volume capacity limit? I worry about this so I'm refusing to remember the names of rappers and baseball players, except Peewee cause it's cuteness let it sneak in there.

    SNAILs in a basket, @AKeti, yum! Oh wait, @Aketi was TEATS too, the go to girl for all boob issues. You're my favorite poster of the day. No one will beat you.

    I thought the puzzle was bloody hard, probably harder than SAUCE or @LMS. GRANDfather was my first choice even though my extensive knowledge of Roman emperors gleaned from "I Claudius" told me otherwise. Thanks all for the just deserts explanation. That drove me nuts, along with TEAR. The EENSY/eenie/teeny/weeny dilemma held me up. Geez could it get more trivial?

    A snarkometer!!! I want one. Yesterday. When I had high schoolers in the house. There is a HUGE market for this item. PTA's can forget magazines and wrapping paper and sell the snarkometer as a fundraiser. He'll, I'd buy one now and use it on my recent retiree.

    @Nancy I came so late to the party yesterday that you need to read late Thursday to see my paean to you, Darling.

    Benko 11:08 AM  

    I liked it fine. With spaghetti westerns, Ancient Greece and Rome, the Faces, 80s hip hop, and Holland, there was plenty in my wheelhouse.

    Benko 11:15 AM  

    @ stevej: It was my impression that only "It's not incorrect, but it's weird," was the only part of that section that was Rex's friend. The rest of it, small text not withstanding, was all rex.
    @hartley: LEYDEN is a very pleasant little town in holland. It has one of the oldest and most distinguished Dutch universities.

    Anonymous 11:19 AM  

    Wow. For the life of me I can't figure out how "tear" = "career"

    Anonymous 11:22 AM  

    You people must have missed it in his review, but rex LOVED this puzzle, to wit: "It's inoffensive in the extreme." That is the equivalent of a 5-star review from our crabby parker.

    old timer 11:27 AM  

    The WILLIAM is of course "The Conqueror", William I, who won the battle of Hastings in 1066. Not William III, who invaded in 1688 and sent that SMARTYPANTS James II running off to France.

    I never knew anyone called a human TEAT anything but a nipple, but there you are.

    I thought Rex was right to be a little cranky, for this was a good puzzle that could have been better, maybe. It was Easy (for a Friday). Which meant it took some time to solve, but with no writeovers. I *immediately* wanted EBBETS for 1D, STAMMER for 20A, and long before I got there, COMEUPPANCE for 35A. Why? because it was a word I loved to read when I was 8 or so, and Granny Fox would tell Reddy Fox that was what he (or someone) would get.

    Which does demonstrate how old the puzzle skewed. There was no way Augustus could be Julius's grandparent, but it took a while to realize that young Octavian was uncle Caesar's GRANDNEPHEW. I wonder of that word has been used before?

    ArtO 11:32 AM  

    Many thanks for the "just deserts' explanation @BobKerfuffle. Certainly makes sense when you think about it. Why would you get a good thing (dessert) when you deserve something bad!

    3 days late limerick 11:35 AM  

    "A monotreme hasn't a TEAT,
    So how do the little ones eat?"
    You'll get your CUMUPPANCE
    They slurp without missing EBBET.

    Nancy 11:43 AM  

    @Hartley70 -- I did see your post yesterday and I heartily thank you for it! I also love your kind offer of a ride to the tournament in Westport next year. I think I'll try my hand at a smaller one in NYC this summer first, if I can register for it. All the links I tried are via either Facebook or Twitter and I have no intention of joining either of them. I did email the venue where the event is being held to see if I could register via them, but so far haven't heard back. Might I see you there if I get in?

    The second letter was wrong, though I think I know the deduction that led to it. (I like playing detective too.) Remember what your guess was. I'll give you a clue later on when no one is paying attention. Watch this space, as they say.

    Thanks again for your lovely comments. All best.

    Ludyjynn 11:59 AM  

    Hey, Rex, Johnny Unitas really was THAT great. Just yesterday, I dined at a local establishment where a large photograph of him during his BIGYEARS still adorns the wall.

    Like @RooMonster, I could not COMPUTE the 'L' or 'K' in SRILANKA, so this was a DNF. My COMEUPPANCE after an otherwise easy week, I guess.

    Enjoyed @NCAPres's process. One of the reasons I do crosswords is to keep ye olde brain from further atrophy, so whether a puzzle skews old, Rex's frequent complaint, or is full of pop culture references, @Oisk's and @FredR's nit, doesn't faze me. As long as it makes me think, I'm happy as a SNAIL, er, pig in a STY.

    Speaking of nits, my neighbor's youngest got pulled out of elementary school this week because one of his classmates brought lice to school and spread it around. What nasty little critters! Wonder what Rex's pediatrician friend has to say on that subject! Definitely not a MICKEYMOUSE problem; she spent the whole day combing EENSY nits out of his hair and decontaminating the house. Poor Jack shed TEARs as she did the job.

    Thanks, RH and WS. Happy Spring, all!

    r.alphbunker 12:03 PM  

    @NCR nailed why the balance of a puzzle is not important to me. What is important is how it exercises my brain.

    My journey to EBBETS is documented here. It progressed TEATS->ENDSIT->ILES->BOOTLEG(very modern clue)->EBBETS.

    @Roland Huget
    If you read this please email me. I am very interested in the crossword construction software you wrote.

    Joseph Michael 12:13 PM  

    Rex, maybe YOU ARE in need of a little SAUCE to help you get through the REGIMEN of finding something positive to say and being less of a SMARTY PANTS.

    From MICKEY MOUSE to MISS MANNERS, this puzzle rocked.

    r.alphbunker 12:18 PM  

    Re: Hayley Gold cartoon

    The artist Gillian Brown has not been sued yet. And vis-a-vis this puzzle, she also included an artifact from SRI LANKA.

    Lewis 12:18 PM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    mathguy 12:18 PM  

    When I was sure of TEAR for "Career" and COMEUPPANCE for "Just deserts," I thought that the theme might be typos and I started looking for more.

    @NCA President: Nice essay on why you do crosswords. Close to what I feel.

    @Z: Good evidence that today's is dated. Even though I'm old, I like fresher stuff. The crossword helps me keep up with the current culture.

    I've been doing the LATimes puzzle every morning while on vacation (it runs in the The Maui News). Yesterday's by Ed Sessa was very good.

    Easy for a Friday. MGI of 4 vs. an average in the 30s. Not many gimmes but also few entries I didn't know.

    Master Melvin 12:18 PM  

    Nice puzzle, altho a tad easy for a Friday. Wondered what Rex would find to crab about. And he crabbed about.....pretty much nothing.

    Lewis 12:21 PM  

    Factoid: In the 1990s, the U.S. Army stopped using the term DOG TAGs, replacing it with the designation ID tags.

    Quotoid: "You have NO IDEA how expensive it is to look this cheap." -- Steven Tyler

    Masked and Anonymo5Us 12:22 PM  





    Geiger counter:


    Nuclear debut, @Roland Huge T. themelessthUmbsUp.


    ** gruntz **

    M and Als-o-meter 12:30 PM  





    Ludyjynn 12:44 PM  

    @Lewis, I believe Dolly Parton said it before Steven Tyler!

    nick 12:45 PM  

    I'm with Rex on this one. The gulf between the NYT's claims of crossword supremacy and its ossified daily offerings is laughably vast.

    Instead of a vanguard, the NYT is complacent, and the only hope of getting elevated offerings is for someone with a platform to speak up.

    Steve J 1:00 PM  

    @benko: Yeah, looking closer, I think you're right. I interpreted that whole highlighted section as coming from his friend. The larger point stands: do some cursory googling before declaring things never used.

    Not @benko: Because my personal snark-o-meter is running high today: I hope we get still more questions about TEAR and career. Apparently having it answered at least three times so far isn't enough. (Handy tip: When you come to the blog wondering if something's been answered, use your browser's "find" function - ctrl-F or cmd-F - to look for the word in question. Once there are more than a few responses on the blog, most of the time, you'll find it's already been addressed.)

    Ross 1:05 PM  

    From Wiktionary on just deserts:

    Deserts here is the plural of desert, meaning "that which one deserves". "Desert" is now archaic and rarely used outside this phrase.
    The spelling just desserts is non-standard. It is sometimes used as a pun in, for example, restaurant names.

    dk 1:13 PM  

    🌕🌕 (2 mOOns)

    Greetings from the Laughing Goat in Boulder. For a sense of deja vue I asked the clerk to sell me the weed in the alley rather than his well lit jewerly store like set up.

    So the puzzle. Much like Boulder in the 15s interesting but a little off. Like the cup cake store by the "dispensary."

    Is SNAKED wounded? I should also like to say something about 6d as a stimulant but i shant.

    Time to fire up the VW micro.

    Fred Romagnolo 1:19 PM  

    @Z: your Q.E.D. was right on and so apropos. @Old Timer was too much of a gentleman to note that before 1066 William was known as "The Bastard." It was a not uncommon reference in those days, check the lead figure in Shakespeare's King John, or Shaw's Saint Joan. I have 2 grand nephews and a great grand and a great great grand one, and know my Graves (I, Claudius), but I still had to have a write-over 'cause I entered "great" instead of GRAND! EENSY might be EENie, or even EENey, so that gave me a bit of trouble. Spellcheck is happy with EENSY. I know LEYDEN's a place, (re John of Leyden) but I thought the jar was named after a person. I find the disagreement over BOOTLEG and pirate to be an interesting example of how language continues to evolve, someone referred to that in yesterday's blog. Of course AREEL is crosswordese, so is SEALER, but we learn to deal with that - it's OUR LANGUAGE.

    Z 1:30 PM  

    @DK - I'm surprised to discover that "winded" still isn't correct. Ineluctable desire to change and all that (BTW - @whoever thanked me -that was a quote from the link the other day, I can't take credit for it).

    Anoa Bob 1:57 PM  

    Here's a screen grab from my dream last night about a DINO.

    And an SPCA friendly way to clue SEALER.

    TonySaratoga 1:57 PM  

    Exactly. Isn't it "desserts"? The paper had "deserts".

    Thomaso808 1:58 PM  

    For me the remarkable thing about this puzzle was that on my first pass I only got two answers, OPIE and EASTLA, which is entirely normal for a Friday, but after that the answers started coming, and I finished in about half my average Fri time. I think that means the clues themselves were not too easy, but the interconnection of the grid somehow really helped. I really liked it.

    EBBETS came pretty easily because of its recent reference in the movie "42" which told the story of Jackie Robinson and in which Peewee Reese was a significant character. That should count for something in making the puzzle more contemporary.

    @jae a belated hands up for The BIG YEAR. A gem of a movie.

    TonySaratoga 2:04 PM  

    Yes. I was trying to jam Gobi or Sahara in there somewhere.

    Benko 2:18 PM  

    @fred: Just looked it up to check. The LEYDEN jar is named after the city, because scientist Pieter Van Musschenbroek developed the Leyden jar and was from the city.

    Bomaka 2:32 PM  

    GIANT SLALOM SNAIL trails is what I got all over my kitchen in ACCRA (yesterday's gimme) when I tried to cook land snail stew (Ghanaian national dish) using the escargot recipe from The Joy of Cooking. Forgot to cover the pot I was soaking them in when I went to teach a class and they all escaped... No two-pronged fork for those guys.

    Nice brain-stimulating cluing in this debut puzzle. I don't care if it's "dated" as long as it's fun.

    Thanks M. Huget!

    Z 2:35 PM  

    @Steve J - the problem with suggesting in a comment that you read the comments before asking a question because it's probably already been answered multiple times is that the questioners HAVEN'T READ THE FRIGGIN' COMMENTS!!!!!!!!.!

    Is it cocktail hour yet?

    wreck 2:57 PM  

    @Z and @Steve J

    That's why I post early on - my questions are usually answered in short order! (At least I suspected I was probably wrong!)

    okanaganer 3:46 PM  

    At the risk of jinxing it, I would like to mention how refreshingly civil and entertaining today's comments are by recent standards!

    JFC 4:01 PM  

    This is perhaps one of Rex’s worst reviews. First, I cannot remember the last time he gave a NYT debut a good review. He has never ever congratulated someone on their debut. Putting aside his lack of grace, the substance of his comments is so parochial. His criticism essentially boils down to the puzzle isn’t hip enough, not enough modern lingo, just words out of the past. I feel sorry for him. When he finally arrives at old age (if he’s that fortunate) he risks melting in a cesspool of his own rhetoric, like the Wicked Witch of the West.

    PS. His whole discussion of TEATS was so pointless and misplaced, it’s not worth reading. It was clued with a “?”. It was intended to be cute, a wordplay, not an entry for discussion of mammary glands. It obviously pertains to animals other than humans. Rex would have been better served quoting a veterinarian instead of a pediatrician.


    Mohair Sam 4:17 PM  

    @JFC - well said on both counts. Rex's quoting of a Pediatrician there was ridiculous and off point - a search for an excuse to criticize.

    RAD2626 5:17 PM  

    Liked the puzzle.. Liked the layout. Congrats on great debut. Thought clue for ARROWS was really cool, albeit bass ackward. Got EBBETS when Peanut Butter Cup did not fit, and I needed to find a different Reese.

    Totally stupid DNF on my part, probably because my brain does not work like @NCAPres. Had ATHENe so blithely assumed SEDeN referred to a pear-shaped human body and was pronounced like "sedentary". Even when I filled "a" in to correct it, I still thought it was a human slug, and never saw the car. Duh.

    Anonymous 5:22 PM  

    @JFC--+1. rex has a problem with sports, and with anything that might be remotely construed as having to do with sex or drugs. I also strongly agree that he likes to trash new constructors regardless of the quality of the puzzle. (It's like hazing, and we know how much that's helped colleges and students across the country.) In the same vein, he has his few favorite constructors who can do no wrong. It's not as if he's been showing us masterful work anytime in the last decade or so, is it? He is full of spite and venom.

    Tita 6:24 PM  

    @Anoa - now THAT is a super model - and a super DINO. I'm drooling.

    A far cry from my dream car
    But at least I stand a fighting chance of owning one someday...

    @okanaganer - its because MISSMANNERS stopped by today!

    Teedmn 8:33 PM  

    I knew a guy who worked as an air traffic controller. His nickname was Cargo because he flew a cargo plane in the Air Force. As he neared retirement, he was slowing down a bit and his nickname evolved into Escargot. It's what always comes to mind when I see the French snail.

    @LMS, I laughed long and hard at your mini-van silhouette idea. I had a write-over at that point because I blithely threw in hENNA so I had to get EUCLID before that was fixed.

    DNF today because of EBBETS and because of ignoring the NYC in the 19A clue gave me DST like a few others here. Knowing I had no chance of getting it on my own, I threw in pIG YEARS for kicks, hoping it related to Prime in some ratio similar to dog YEARS. But judicious use of the "check" tool led to EST and the rest was guessable.

    Great long answers and a fun pinwheeled grid. Congrats, Mr. Huget!

    And @Nancy, glad you're still here. I was becoming quite dismayed with the way yesterday's comments were going (I was reading them today) so all was well when it ended well. 😍

    Zeke 8:51 PM  

    @JFC - Whether or not this puzzle was the constructor's first has absolutely no bearing on whether the puzzle is good or not. This was the puzzle published in the NYTimes today, and it gets judged as such as any other Friday would. I didn't enjoy it in the least, and my enjoyment hasn't changed upon learning that it was a debut.

    Andrew Heinegg 9:25 PM  

    So is everyone's.

    Andrew Heinegg 9:25 PM  

    So is everyone's.

    Anonymous 9:52 PM  

    Great puzzle. Too much Rex snark. Loved the TEATS.

    "N.G." 10:18 PM  

    @Hartley70 --
    It was so much fun hanging out with you last week (on one of the few days without snow!) and I thank you for entertaining me so royally. I'm sorry to email you on Rex's site (apologies to you, too, Rex) but I've lost your phone and email address (Confucius says: never write important information down on the backs of EENSY little sale slips!)
    If you're ever in my neck of the woods, I'm in Manhattan, in the East 90s and you can find me in the Manhattan White Pages, phone and all, in the event you also lost your EENSY piece of paper:)

    About the real estate info I promised to supply for your friend. It's in an old address book of mine and I haven't time to look for it now. Please forgive the delay. Once I get it to you -- probably late Wednesday or Thursday night -- your friend should have everything she needs
    to pursue her rental search. Tell her I'm sorry for the delay, too. Meanwhile, hang on to the White Pages info.

    I have to tell you how much I enjoyed the incredible insights you gave me into the ins and outs of puzzle-solving. And your own formidable skills? IT WAS LIKE WATCHING HERCULE POIROT OR NERO WOLFE AT WORK. You're a born detective, that's what you are!

    Hope you get this. Let me know when you do. And the rest of what I promised will come soon.

    All best wishes--

    Anonymous 12:36 AM  

    That threw me, too.
    I always thought "just desserts" was the correct
    usage , else I would look for "Gobi ", Sahara. Etc.

    Grant Edwards 1:57 AM  

    "Deserts" are things one 'deserves'. The puzzle is correct. Look it up. This was a horrible, horrible puzzle and I hate to defend it, but 'deserts' was not a problem.

    spacecraft 11:30 AM  

    Commandment from our "king" Rex (may his MONARCHY last least next week): Thou shalt not put old stuff in thy grids.

    Hand up for GRANDfather--and hey, wouldn't it be GReatNEPHEW? Or do great and grand freely interchange? I don't know from relative nomenclature. Here's another old novelty song: "I'm My Own Grandpa."

    Actually, for a Friday, this was on the easyish side. I have no problem with the fill, except maybe an EENSY one at 38a. Even the LEYDEN jar was ok, I remember it from chem class. Or was it physics? Brain wiring is freaky sometimes. I'll shoot no ARROWS at this one; for a debut, I dub it a HUGET success. A.

    rondo 1:41 PM  

    Can't say anything bad that's got a RONNIE and a pair of 6d in it. Two write-overs in LINEAr and hENNA, but easily fixed.

    Yeah, OFL gets real crabby about old stuff. Well, Rex, get off my lawn!

    I liked this puz just fine. Probably the favorite of the week, so far. But most Fris and Sats are for me.

    Burma Shave 2:01 PM  


    that she waSNAKED and AREEL,
    she STAMMERed, ”Hey, SMARTYPANTS, you’ll have no loss,
    but with your COMEUPPANCE I will deal,
    so SAUNTER over here ‘cause I’m the boss,
    YOUARE my TEATS to feel.”
    I had NOIDEA that was the EENSY cost
    of such a MICKEYMOUSE deal.


    rain forest 3:39 PM  

    My Grade 12 English teacher shamed me into pronouncing TEATS, "tits", in a Shakespeare play reading. Completely off-the-mark comment by @Rex today.

    You know, I skew a little old and musty myself, so maybe I should find another blog where I can comment without feeling self-conscious.

    Liked the puzzle with its fresh/old stuff. Learned that the saying is "just deserts", too.

    leftcoastTAM 4:43 PM  

    As @NCA President implies (way above, a month ago), crosswords are for testing, not upgrading, the brain cells. They don't make you smarter, but they may tell you whether the neurons are still sparking adequately.

    Anonymous 5:01 PM  

    Please Rain Forest, don't leave. You're one of the regular Syndies I look forward to.

    As said before, I don't bother with the Blogmaster's write-ups. I go straight to the commentators, who, in the main, are far better balanced. kind and fair.

    I found this puzz Medium because of all the write overs and the only name I looked up was Sager. I believe Mr. Huget did a great job, and thank him if he's tuning in to today's diatribe.

    My mood is much better when there is less snarling and more smiling so I stay away from certain pedants. ALL the Syndies are just great and even Evil Doug is funny sometimes. Rondo has become a hoot, the dirty filthy old pervert.

    Saint Ron Diego, La Mesa, CA

    rondo 5:28 PM  

    I resemble that remark.

    leftcoastTAM 8:57 PM  

    I can't help but call attention to @Burma Shave again. He's hilariously clever. And he does this so consistently.

    Anonymous 5:43 PM  

    "Just deserts" should be "Just desserts."

    Anonymous 6:05 PM  

    This is an example of the sort of crossword review that makes me not a fan of Rex Parker, where he just seems to criticize crosswords for the sake of criticizing crosswords. This sort of vague complaint that the clues contain too many mid-century references is Rex Parker's nitpicking snootiness at its worst. Seriously, this is just silly. I sometimes wonder if he is this snarky and intolerant in person, or if his snooty attacks on other people's labors of love (people don't get rich constructing crosswords, do they?) represent something else. I solve crosswords because I find them challenging and fun. I wonder what Rex Parker's reason is.

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