Albanian cash / FRI 4-24-15 / Gershwin musical whose name sounds like approval / Bank with landmark tower in Dallas / Charley who caught Warren Spahn's 1961 no-hitter / Three words that best describe Grinch in song / French Facebookers connections / Queen Revenge Blackbeard's ship / Otto's preceder / South American rodents / Rosa lilla tulipano

Friday, April 24, 2015

Constructor: Joe Krozel

Relative difficulty: Challenging

THEME: none

Word of the Day: Charley LAU (41A: Charley who caught Warren Spahn's 1961 no-hitter) —
Charles Richard Lau (April 12, 1933, in Romulus, Michigan – March 18, 1984) was an Americancatcher and highly influential hitting coach in Major League Baseball.
He was signed by the Detroit Tigers as an amateur free agent. After spending three seasons with the organization (1956, 1958–1959) he was traded (with Don Lee) to the Milwaukee Braves for Casey WiseDon Kaiser, and Mike Roarke. After the Baltimore Orioles purchased him from the Braves in 1962, he adopted a contact hitter's batting stance (feet wide apart, bat held almost parallel to the ground). That season he had a .294 batting average with six home runs and thirty-seven runs batted in.
After hitting .194 in 23 games, he was sold by the Orioles to the Kansas City Athletics on July 1, 1963, hitting .294 in Kansas City and having a batting average of .272 in 92 games. On June 15, 1964, he was traded back to the Orioles for Wes Stock. On May 31, 1967, he was purchased by the Braves, now located in Atlanta, and on November 27, 1967, he was released by the Braves.
On April 28, 1961, Lau caught the second of Warren Spahn's two career no-hitters. (wikipedia)
• • •

[opens puzzle] [sigh "stunt grid" sigh deep sigh pffffffffff … OK, shake it off, Rex. Shake It Off. You can do this. Clear eyes, full heart, solve puzzle!]

Some good things did happen. After falling flat with DOGWOOD at 1A: Tree with white flowers, I got LEKS (not proud) and PDS and remembered that CATALPA was a kind of tree (that I've seen only in crosswords, but still…). So crossword info retrieval system was in nice working order today. Also, very early on, things looked very promising when out of the blue, what did I see but a genuinely interesting, bold, entertaining 15: STINK, STANK, STUNK! (17A: "The three words that best describe" the Grinch, in song). I liked that so much, I took a picture:

This ended up being the highest of high highlights in the puzzle, but at least it happened. Ironically, the answer that STINK, STANK, STUNK the very least in this puzzle was … this one. After that, I just had to hunker down and fight my way through what I knew was coming: odd names, old names, weird plurals, foreignisms, and whatever VETOER is. Oh, and I played a little game with myself called "Where's the ONE'S"—any time you get a ton of 15s in a puzzle, there's a good chance you're gonna get yourself at least one ONE'S, and today did not disappoint. "Where are you ONE'S … I know you're out there … come on out, I won't hurt you …" And then bam! There it was:

Good ole ONE'S.

What did I learn? I learned that CONDIMENTS come in AISLEs now, and that Juli INKSTER spells her first name without an "e" (which makes me stunned that she hasn't appeared more as four-letter fill).  I learned that "OH, KAY!" … exists. I learned the Italian singular for "flower" (39D: Rosa, lilla or tulipano) (FIORE). I don't think I learned anything else. But I did get the chance to test my seldom-used run-the-alphabet skills, which was the only was I managed to finish this puzzle. You see, I came to a crashing, screeching, seemingly terminal halt at the very end when it came time to sew things up in the SW. Neither of the 15s computed and mystery names and "?" clues were conspiring to keep me baffled. Here's what I was staring down:

Now, you can see that I've got an error in the crosswordese plural name (ugh Ugh UGH) at 28D: Writing brothers Leon and Abraham (EDELS). So that's problem 1. Problem 2 is failure to parse TRINITR-T… I'm thinking "trinitron" … which was a Sony product, maybe? A television brand? But that makes no sense. Problem 3 is Charley who? and problem 4 is the inscrutable (to me) "?" clue on 2D: One doing the rounds very quickly? Eventually I figure out the EDERS/EDELS problem, but that just leads to Problem 1B: making sense of the "?" clue at 35A: Subtractions from divisions? Nothing makes sense. I finally figure out that 3D: Something to level with is TNT, and I think it's TRINITROTOLUENE, but since that doesn't result in immediate finishing of puzzle, I'm not sure. In the end, I have to run the alphabet at the second letter in 35A: A--LS. And just as I'm despairing, as I near the end of the alphabet, the "W" slips in and my brain goes "nope, nope, nope ... WAIT A MINUTE!" And then AWOLS WEAPON LAU the end. I assume anyone who struggled struggled in this same place or not at all, but maybe you got stuck around MITA and PACAS or up in "OH, KAY!"-ERMA'S-land. Who knows? Well, you do. Anyway, I struggled, I won, now I move on.
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

    PS Hey check out this nice newspaper profile of my monthly guest blogger, Annabel Thompson.

    [Follow Rex Parker on Facebook and Twitter]


    jae 12:07 AM  

    Medium for me.  The good out weighed the bad for me so liked it.  Still...RELS, VETOER, LENTS, the Italian (puzzles are a good reason to memorize 1 to 10 in a variety of languages)...tended to grate a bit. 

    CATALPA was a gimme as my grandparents had one in their back yard.

    I've actually been in a COMERICA branch in San Diego, otherwise that would have been a WOE and a possible Natick with the three proper nouns it crosses. 

    Loved the full on spelling of TNT!

    Pretty lively quadruple-double stack Joe! 

    wreck 12:12 AM  

    That write-up was spot on!! CondimentS Aisle?? PolY Sci?? (thought it was Poli Sci) The Giants rival are the Nats?? (not in the same division,and only even a team since 2005) Iodate??
    Can't say I liked this one.

    Whirred Whacks 12:17 AM  

    Very challenging for me. Slogged through it. I liked the 15s. Agree with @Wreck about questioning the NATs being the Giants' rival: huh?

    Biggest surprise: this week the New York Times TURNED THE HEAT ON.

    Steve J 12:26 AM  

    I hope Joe Krozel's OPEN TO CRITICISM, because I have plenty.

    Too many forced plurals, too many proper names I didn't know, too many plural proper names, too many clues that were a real stretch, too many things wrong with this one and not enough right.

    STINK STANK STUNK was great. That was the only fill that made me smile.

    @wreck: It *is* poli sci.

    Anonymous 12:47 AM  

    You know a puzzle has way too many problems when PENMEN doesn't merit mention.

    zac 12:55 AM  

    TURNEDTHEHEATON = put under pressure. No. Turned up the heat. Turned the heat up. Put the heat on. Not turned the heat on. That's what you do when you're cold. That clue screwed me all over the place.

    Charles Flaster 12:58 AM  

    Thought puzzle was easy but still learned a few things.
    CrosswordEASE-- LEKS and KTEL.
    KINER batting after LAU would be some tough outs.
    I would change Giant rival to either Brave or Phillie rival but so what.
    Know someone will put a Bin in front of 25 across.
    Thanks JK.

    Wood 1:18 AM  

    Struggled in the same SW area that @ rex did... Had no idea what TRINITROTOLUENE was until coming here... But there it was. Done in by CATAwbA and TURNupTHEHEATON, not knowing Albanian currency. Agree about IODATE and PENMEN... Yeesh. I guess 8 interlocked 15s'll do that to you.

    Anonymous 1:46 AM  

    Joe misspelled POLISCI (and Rex misspelled "way").

    RAD2626 1:53 AM  

    Annabel write up very nice. Congrats.

    Liked the puzzle a lot. 15's were all fair IMO. really liked clue for AWOLS. hated clue for RELS and the word itself but worth it for the rest of the puzzle. Like Rex, started with the Grinch which helped fill the top third. "L in CATALPA/LEKS a lucky guess. Both were WOEs for me.

    Agree with @Charles Flaster on clue revision for NAT. "O interleague foe" would have worked as well, or going in a different direction, I like "Stryon famous confessor".

    Anoa Bob 2:41 AM  

    My uncle had a big CATALPA tree in his yard when I was a kid, so I got that right away from the "P" in 6-Down PDS. The tree was the site of the yearly appearance of a worm that was highly regarded by anglers. The worm is found only on the CATALPA tree and they have some kind of mutually beneficial relationship. The worm's name? Yep, it's the CATALPA worm.

    Knowing the tree and getting OARLOCK (32D) & AWOLS (35A) on the first pass gave me a leg up and helped to eventually put me in the "enjoyed the solve" column.

    It's hard to imagine a more challenging grid to fill. Only 19 black squares is insanely low in my book. And then there are two pairs of stacked grid spanners across and they intersect with two pairs of stacked grid spanners down.

    This results in the 15'ers sharing four four-square blocks. That's a ton of constraint limiting the degrees of freedom available to fill the grid.

    So any carping on my part about suboptimal fill is completely squelched by my appreciation of the sheer audacity of the grid.

    And I think INKSTER (14D) would be a cool name for a social networking site. Maybe members would be called PENMEN.

    Anonymous 4:29 AM  

    For what it is worth, FIORE means flower (i.e., singular). FIORI would be plural. Now you've learned something.

    Moly Shu 4:34 AM  

    EDELS crossing IODATE and CATALPA crossing LEKS were my 2 biggest sticking points. Can't say I've heard of 3 of them, but iodine seemed like it was possible. And, yea, PENMEN is bad. Still, glad I struggled through and finished. Lukewarm here.

    Thomaso808 5:46 AM  

    Medium for me, even though CATALPA was a complete WOE, and when 1A is a WOE it can be tough.

    I thought the 15s were well paired. TURNEDTHEHEATON causes STINKSTANKSTUNK. Made good choices at the CONDIMENTSAISLE and the meal STUCKTOONESRIBS. If you're at the CONFERENCETABLE, you better be OPENTOCRITICISM. And you should always have some TRINITROTOLUENE packed beside your AUTOMATICWEAPON.

    All the other SESAMES that left their lonely friend behind from Tuesday's puzzle ended up here!

    Thanks to Rex for the Annabel link. I hope she eventually lets us all know if they went with mug shots or not!

    GILL I. 5:47 AM  

    I STINK at sports clues, I STANK at spelling TRINI whatever and so this kinda STUNK for me.
    POLY SCI? I wanted some sort of IMF thing in there. I thought I knew my trees but I didn't know CATALPA. IODATE? I just slap some mercurial on....
    Why in the world is Oxygen's protons, neutrons and electrons OCTETS. There are only FOUR of them here.
    o.k., I YAT enough.... off to bed!

    Danp 5:55 AM  

    Never heard of a Catalpa. May be that it's called Catawba around here, but even that is a term I associate only with wine.

    Thomaso808 6:18 AM  

    @Anoa Bob Even better for INKSTER would be tattoo artist. I wonder if Juli has kids and if so, do they have tats? PENMAN not so much.

    Anonymous 6:44 AM  

    Great piece on of luck next year at Wellsley!

    optionsgeek 6:54 AM  

    TRINITROTOLUENE/LAU cross is neither knowable nor inferrable by normal humans. Not sure how this one can be finished.

    wa 7:29 AM  

    I finished this quickly and without cross outs, thus it would be rude to complain. Even though I was not sure 3 down was right until I checked here.

    Loren Muse Smith 7:42 AM  

    Well heck. I had a dnf because I had no idea about TRINITROTOLUENE and hence couldn’t cross it with LAU. I’ll come stand next to you, @optionsgeek.

    Verbs you don’t often see out in the wild: IODATE and HARKED. Once in Chattanooga, I shinnied (shimmied?) all the way up our rope swing, at least 25 feet - I swear - to touch the limb it was tied to. Mom happened to come out and see me up there looking like a mONKEY. She shouted, “You get down here this instant, young lady!!!” When Mom barked, you HARKED; I slid down that rope lickety split and had the most God-awful rope burn on my shin that we had to IODATE for weeks afterwards.

    STINK STANK STUNK. Yesterday a student brought in “a mess” of ramps for me to cook last night. Told me to fry’em up in some potatoes. I just had a small bite, but boy will I give my husband a wide berth for the next couple of days. Wow.

    Funny about ONE’S. I couldn’t get “stick to the ribs” to fit and then the lightbulb went off. Oh. A fifteen. Right.

    @zac, @Wood - for a while I had “turn up the heat on” and was marveling at the role that “on” plays sometimes. Don’t quit on me now, buddy! After I fixed all that, I was reminded that I love those clues where the tense isn’t clear.

    For 7D I had filled in a final ER on an initial pass which led to “attender,” and I was thinking, “Really? What a desperate word.” Correcting it to ATTENDEE made me see what an unlikely suffix that EE is there.

    TRINITROLUENE notwithstanding, I agree with @Anoa Bob. I like me an audacious grid, man. I enjoyed the romp and just wish I could have claimed victory.

    Twangster 7:47 AM  

    Second day in a row I finished with one letter wrong but couldn't find it ... this time it was CATAWPA and WEKS.

    Aketi 7:56 AM  

    @zac, same probelm with HEAT ON/UP

    @optionsgeek, I am terrible with trivia and have to google a lot, but I kinda loved the TRINITROTOLUENE AUTOMIC WEAPONS pairing, but I had no idea about LAU.

    Loved reading about Anabel. Sounds like she would make a great Peace Corps Volunteer. I definitely enjoyed the experience.

    Casco Kid 8:04 AM  

    LADEd/PENMEd = oversight/dope slap

    Spanish for flower is FLOR. Italian FLORE? Guess not. KINER doesn't register, so with FLORE, I had KL_ER/_A_CED/_AMES. I ran the vowels and consonants and made my best guesses above.

    Same 90 minutes as yesterday's Saturday-hard puz, but much closer this time.

    Mohair Sam 8:14 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Mohair Sam 8:14 AM  

    Very Easy Friday for us. One man's meat . . I guess.

    @Rex (and others here who clearly don't do the grocery shopping) - you'll find your mayo, catsup, relish, and much more in the CONDIMENTSAISLE of your local supermarket.

    Smiled when I saw all the 15's - said to Mrs. Sam that we'll probably have a ONES and a complaint from Rex - got them both (although Rex went easy today).

    Surprised the long form of TNT is unknown to so many here. Only have one high school course in chemistry, but it seems like I've known TRINITROTOLUENE forever, we had a gimme off the TRI.

    CATALPA not a crossword only tree for us - we live two blocks from Catalpa Lane which is lined with catalpa's front and rear of most properties. Pretty trees, btw.

    LAU filled for us, so I didn't notice him until OFL complained. I remember him as a hitting coach (a .255 hitter himself) in the '70's and '80's whose Lau theory involved releasing your top hand from the bat after it cleared the strike zone. This led to many a thrown bat, lousy batting averages, and a long career for Charley. Go figure.

    Z 8:22 AM  

    Here's a perfect reason to be cautious with google results. I Googled POLY SCI and POLi SCI. The first came back with 1.9 million results, the later with less than 800,000. Then I put the old quote marks around them. The I wins 384,000 to 213,000. In both cases the top result for Y is the "Poli sci" definition from Merriam-Webster and the fourth result is a Yahoo answer explaining that the I is better because "Poly" means something totally different (polygon anyone?).

    Charlie LAU is most famous for coaching hitting differently than anyone before or since. I didn't know he was born in Romulus, which is right next to INKSTER. Anyone who has flown into Detroit Metro and then driven downtown landed in Romulus and drove past INKSTER. If you head west instead of east from the airport you will drive past CANTON. Thus ends today's Michigan geography lesson.

    No thoughts of Catawba here. I know it as an Indian nation, a river, and a brewery, not a tree. I did have to change pEKS to LEKS, so I've seen CATALPA somewhere before.

    Other random thoughts:

    I wonder if OH KAY DAMES would be a success today.

    VETOER has a certain Dubya ring to it, doesn't it?

    COMERICA is most famous around here for inflicting their brand on us by buying the naming rights to the baseball stadium for 99 years and then soon after moving their headquarters out of Detroit to Texas. I like our stadium but "COMERICA Park" is the stupidest name (or was, I think worse names have come along since).

    NCA President 8:24 AM  

    Paying attention to puzzles (through this blog and others) has taught me that the difference between a challenging puzzle and an easy one is mostly in the cluing. I've found this to be mostly true since usually challenging puzzles, once solved, include many of the same words as their easier brothers. They're just masked better.

    Today's puzzle was that. Looking at the solved grid, there are a few odd standouts (LAU, CATALPA, IODATE, KINER, and PACAS)...but the rest is just normal crossword stuff.

    If I could put a finger on one of the biggest things that contributes to my dislike of puzzles, it's deliberately vague cluing. It reminds me of my early days of composing when I would take a simple melody with a simple harmony and then begin to make is sound "more mature" by messing with the harmony until, after a while, everything simple about the melody becomes obscured...unrecognizable, even. By the third or fourth generation of meddling you have drifted very far from essence of the original intent.

    Many clues seem to have been done the same way. Where mayo is found, something to level with, executive using a check, slowly took its toll, are just some of the clues I felt were mangled beyond recognition.

    Like so many other nits I have to pick with puzzles, it isn't the nits specifically that are bothersome, it's the collection of them, the sheer number of them that add to an overall sense of ugh.

    I've certainly experienced better Friday puzzles than this one is what I'm trying to say...

    GeezerJackYale48 8:37 AM  

    Pick, pick, pick! Yes, it is Political Science, not Polytical; Rex did type "was" instead of "way"; the Giants rival is hardly the Nats; but this is a clever and challenging puzzle. Those of you who - like me - were disappointed with the Thursday offering, should have smiled a whole lot working through today's exercise. Or maybe you have to be a nitpicker to enjoy crossword puzzles. I guess I am one, come to think of it. Also I guess I am being a little too smug because I remember Charlie Lau and Juli Inkster!

    AliasZ 8:47 AM  

    I love wide-open grids like this. Everything is so interconnected, there is no chance getting stuck in an isolated corner with only a one-word entrance, and that one word sticks through the closet door only with the plural S at its end.

    Today Joe Krozel gives us a superb grid that may have appeared daunting at first sight, but it slowly started to come together with the help of TRINITROTOLUENE. This is a word I always mutter to myself when I see or hear TNT. See, I didn't ditch that chemistry class in high school. Nor the one in which oxygen atoms were discussed. Favorite clue: "Otto's preceder" for SETTE. Not Otto, the Holy Roman Emperor, but "otto," the number of neutrons, protons and electrons in an Italian oxygen atom.

    The interlocking 15-stacks were pure joy for me, I found them all fair and unforced. They STUCK TO ONE'S RIBS if one were so disposed. I was. At first I thought STINKS TANKS, TUNK, but I wouldn't have thunk TUNK would be acceptable as the past participle of "tank."

    I love the word (and tree) CATALPA. IODATE, not so much. However, IODATE would have worked better had Joe clued it as "Male-female rendezvous": visually "I" representing the male, and "O" the female. You see, a dowel and a round... oh, never mind. Also, had he used the conventional spelling of POLYSCI, he would have ended up with IAT (textese for It's About Time!). I knew LEKS, PACAS, and I think I may still have a few K-TEL records hidden someplace.

    Filippo Brunelleschi (1377-1446), a native of Florence, Italy, was one of the most important architects of the Renaissance alongside his Florentine friend, Donatello (1386-1466). Brunelleschi's most famous creation is the Duomo of the cathedral of Santa Maria del FIORE in Firenze.

    Joe Krozel, thank you for giving me my most enjoyable puzzle of the week, even with all those plurals plus EDELS, ERMAS, VETOER, INKSTER and a few others, you know who they are. At least you avoided ONO -- a personal thank you for that.

    Bob Kerfuffle 8:55 AM  

    Great puzzle! Lot of fun for me; Easy-Medium at about 35 minutes, on paper, with preparing and eating breakfast.

    Nice start with several gimmees: POLY SCI and OH KAY!, CONFERENCE TABLE with no crosses needed. Finished with the things I didn't know, like KINER and LAU, gettable from crosses.


    This was an awesome puzzle. Two years ago I would have been googling and pulling my hair out. Today I remained calm, was patient and methodical, and crushed it. This is what puzzles are all about--tough but fair, creative, plenty of aha moments, and incredibly satisfying to finish. Many thanks to the constructors!

    (PS--Casco, you are an enigma. How you finished today with only a few small errors but struggled so mightily yesterday is beyond me.)

    Billy C 9:28 AM  

    Several comments here about the attractive flowers on Catalpa trees. True, but ...

    I had one in my back yard as a child. They grow long string-bean-like appendages that drop in the fall and make for a messy yard that needs cleaning up several times before winter. Ugh!

    Horace S. Patoot 9:29 AM  

    I want to speak up for the beautiful catalpa. We had one in the yard where I grew up (Denver). It was a very large tree with plentiful white flowers in spring, thick leaves the size of saucers, very dense shade, suitable for climbing, and hundreds of giant green beans in the fall that kids could throw at each other and put out their eyes. It is definitely my favorite tree, but sadly not suitable for the Sonoran desert. Ya can't have everything.

    Nancy 9:38 AM  

    Whenever I see so much white space, I know I'm in for a real challenge and that I'm probably going to love it. And I did love this puzzle, even though I Naticked like @optionsgeek, @lms, and others on the TOLUENO/LAU cross. "Now pretend you're in a competition, what would you do?", I said to myself. So instead of simply putting my pen down, I ran the alphabet and guessed "T" instead of "U", so DNF.

    I agree with @NCA Pres that "executive with a check" was a ridiculous and unfair clue for VETOER, but other than that I thought the cluing was tough, but fair. Hey, everyone, it's Saturday. I thought the construction of this was mind-boggling in its degree of difficulty. A really nice job!

    @OISK -- got your message from last night and will be checking this space for info on where you'll be sitting.

    Lon in Austin 9:38 AM  

    I can't believe you didn't like trinitrotoluene. If you're so against typical crosswordese, this is the perfect non-crosswordese.

    Rex, you can't be pleased.

    Norm 9:42 AM  

    Very enjoyable puzzle. Can't tell if Rex was really confused or just being snarky, but I would think a college professor would remember Leon EDEL. I mean, he only won the National Book Award for his masterful biography of Henry James. AWOLS = subtractions [departures] from [military] divisions. Very clever. Charley LAU was a famous hitting coach for years. This was a great puzzle.

    Anonymous 9:46 AM  

    @Nancy, you seem to be disoriented. Perhaps you should hold off on the drinking until at least noon. It's Friday.

    Phaedrus 9:50 AM  

    Charley Lau was in the movie Max Dugan Returns. He was also famous for being George Brett's hitting coach.

    Anonymous 9:51 AM  

    Rex, darling,

    The Italian plural for flowers is


    greater than three

    Bird 9:54 AM  

    I too, liked the wide open grid and the cluing. I too, did not like the fill mentioned above. Aside from the bad fill, I enjoyed the challenge but DNF at CATALPA/LEK as neither was known.


    Nancy 9:58 AM  

    Oops. Thank you, Anon 9:46, for straightening me out. It IS Friday! I guess the difficulty of the puzzle confused me day-of-the-week-wise. But I wasn't drinking, I swear. And if I was, I'll never tell!

    Anonymous 10:02 AM  

    @Nancy, the first step is admitting you have a problem. You are clearly addicted. To Crosswords. Alcohol might be the safer vice.

    Mohair Sam 10:04 AM  

    Oh yeah, forgot to chime in with the gang who loved this puzzle. It was a beauty - a little different layout, lots of new words and phrases, relative little "ese" (except maybe ESE?). Thanks Joe Krozel.

    Two and out.

    Trombone Tom 10:05 AM  

    Unusually easy Friday for me. Mr. Krozel and I must have been on the same wavelength. Didn't know STINKSTANKSTUNK but all the fifteens fell swiftly with a few crosses in place. Enjoyed this puzzle very much.

    johnny stocker 10:20 AM  

    Nope, you're not the only one who fought with the AUTOMATICWEAPON AWOLS EDELS LAU area.

    In fact, I had TRINITROTOLUENE down, and I still stared at those last half dozen boxes for a good 5 minutes.

    pmdm 10:21 AM  

    NCA President, you are very correct about the clues. I remember that the Times many, many years ago published a number of the Sunday puzzles duplicated on two pages, one with easy clues and one with hard clues. [Someone told me it was back in 1999.] It was interesting trying to do the one with the difficult clues, but I always wound up turning to the easy clues (which I thought were too easy). I wonder if those puzzles are accessible someplace without a charge.

    By the way, for years I had to do just the opposite of what you did. I had to play psalm refrain melodies who accompaniment was for the most part weird and/or ugly. Had I played what was written on the organ, the congregation would have become angry. (The SATB setting might have sounded nice if sung by a choir, since voicing can lessen dissonance.) So I had to simplify what was in front of me. It actually was a lot of fun.

    I thought that this puzzle had a better mix of good and bad stuff than most late week puzzles. Nothing struck me as truly awful, and none of the long entries were forced. So thumbs up from me.

    dk 10:23 AM  

    🌕🌕🌕 (3 mOOOns)

    I had to look up 3d just to be sure.

    Some quibbles:

    After years in the rescue world IODATE was new for me.

    I thought people who fenced in pigs were PENMEN as I am given to understand that some women write… GF just chortled that some women keep pigs as well. What is that word for female dogs…. if only I was 44a

    Had tonal for ONKEY.

    Never heard of the EDERS.

    Ha! I knew FIORE thanks to a few years in Milan.

    I thought 2 and 3 down worked quite well as NYT's front page is devoted to drone kills.

    And one more thing: It seems that pumping waste water from fracking into pressure sensitive areas does indeed result in earth quakes. Imagine that? See NYT story on the 100 fold increase of earth quakes in OK.

    Both news stories are related to the x-word content so I deem them appropriate.

    Carola 10:27 AM  

    A real treat to solve, pleasurably slow. Began on the Acrosses with only AMIS and MARIA as for-sures, with lightly penciled-in CONES, ON KEY, SKIT. But that was enough to get me a nice start on the Downs and a steady back-and-forth (e.g., CT SCANS-->CATALPA-->ANNES, etc.) and progress to the finish.

    On the way, I was happy to get help from crossword FAVES like OASTS, PACA, LSATS, NAT, ESE, TEM, EDELS.

    Loved the old-fashioned ring of KNELLED and HARKED and like @Anoa Bob smiled at INKSTER and PENMEN being possible RELS.

    TOLUENE is etched into memory because it was one of the first Puns & Anagrams answers I was able to get on my own, back in the late 1960s: "Fire water for lone Ute." ONE remembers these early triumphs.

    OISK 10:29 AM  

    Gershwin is always Oh Kay with me, and chemistry clues, TNT and oxygen's 8 protons, electrons, and (usually) neutrons, are right up my professional alley. Did not get "iodate" right away, which I think of as a particular ion (IO3-) and not a verb, and thought instead of "aerate." Unknown to me were "stink, stank, stunk," Erma Franklin (??? isn't there some other gospel singer named Franklin?) and I agree with many that "Giant rival" is a pretty strained clue for "Nat." Not only are they in different divisions, but "Nat" is a shortened name, while "Giant" is the full name. "Jint rival?" Anyone else recall that the NY Giants were called "Da Jints"? I don't imagine that carried over to San Francisco. Ashamed of myself for not getting Ralph Kiner immediately! (the answer should have appeared in the corner...)

    But why quibble? (because I like to?) This was a very fine, creative, apt Friday puzzle, and I finished it.

    Tom Cruz 10:29 AM  

    @DK - You buy that liberal hogwash about man-made earthquakes? There is absolutely no, and I mean no, satellite evidence of earthquakes in OK being caused by pumping wastewater into the ground.

    Anonymous 10:31 AM  

    If you study physics, chemistry, math, and astronomy you are a polYsci major. If you study international relations, you're taking polisci.

    Hartley70 10:38 AM  

    There was a fair bit I didn't know today , but my guesses were good until I got to the SW. I know the tune, but not the words to the Grinch song. I guessed correctly at Catalpa because it's the name of a road nearby. IODATE, LEKS, the musicals? But I got Naticked at KINER/KTEL and just forget about that TNT word crossing another baseball player! Like Rex I was looking for that Sony TV that's hiding in a closet somewhere in the house because who could lift it to get it to the dump? Except for that nasty piece of business, I loved figuring out the long answers from the crosses and give it a thumbs up.

    mac 10:42 AM  

    Tough one for me, with in the end a DNF because of Mr. Lau.

    My favorite clue/answer was 16D harked!

    Benko 10:44 AM  

    @Gill- The atomic number for oxygen is 8, so a regular oxygen molecule contains 8 protons, 8 electrons, and 8 neutrons--OCTETS.

    RnRGhost57 10:55 AM  

    TRINITROTOLUENE made me reach for Tuinal. 30 minutes later I felt OHKAY and DANCED.

    old timer 10:58 AM  

    I thought this was a perfect puzzle for a Friday. Fridays are supposed to be hard, but doable in the end for most of us. Like Rex, I solved clockwise today, and was stymied by the long Downs in the W. Never heard of LAU. AWOLS broke it open, because the last part of the answer had to be TOLUENE, so "something to level with" was not some kind of surveyor's tool.

    Dollars to donuts this puzzle was written in 2012 or 2014, the last two times the Giants won the pennant (and the Series, too). Believe you me, in those years we Giants fans thought of the NATS as our rival -- they had the best record in the NL last year and the best record in baseball in 2012.

    Anonymous 11:01 AM  

    @old timer - You've proved you're an old-timer by using the phrase "dollars to donuts". That made sense as a short-odd bet when donuts cost $.05, which was ages ago. Now it's an even odds bet, at worst.

    Andrew Heinegg 11:04 AM  


    TimJim 11:07 AM  

    I Naticked on IODATE/EDERS, but otherwise found this challenging and fun. I thought the cluing clever and not too obscure, e.g., "Some roll tops."

    Nancy 11:09 AM  

    @OISK -- Surprised you didn't get KINER. It was KINER that saved me from FlORE instead of FIORE (although I initially thought there might have been more than one Ralph in Cooperstown.) I think Da Jints was a term youse guys in Brooklyn used more than we Giants fans ever used it in Manhattan, but I do remember it. I'm sure Vin Scully used it, though I doubt Russ Hodges ever did.

    Z 11:11 AM  

    @Tom Cruz - Spoken like a true Canadian.

    @NCA President - You argue the vague clues are bugs. I think they are features.

    Maruchka 11:12 AM  

    This is a fun puzzle. Crunchy chemistry, musicals, sports, and catchword phrases, plus lack of pop goo. All good.

    DNF due to brain drain re: penned (doh)/PENMEN (gender flows from a penmanship root?); flore/FIORE (double doh); and no idea what TNT really is (hi @Gill).

    Liked the 29A clue a lot, agree with @Z that VETOER is GWish. Compare and contrast.

    And POLY SCI is OH, KAY! by me..

    OISK 11:25 AM  

    @Nancy - No, I don't think Vin EVER said "Da Jints," nor did he ever call my beloved boys of summer "Dem Bums." Although born in Dubbronks, he worked very hard on his diction. I did get Kiner, but not immediately, as of course I should have!

    Listen for the word "Fiori" ( the plural of fiore) in one of the first songs in Gondoliers. ( Per chi, queste fiori, queste fiori bellissimi)

    Andrew Heinegg 11:27 AM  

    It is instructive and amusing to see the varied reactions to a puzzle, easy, medium, hard, good, so so, terrible. I am a pretty knowledgeable sports fan so I got all the sports answers but, I must say crossing Charlie Lau with tnt and Nat, not a rival of a Giant in fanspeak was just not fair play for the NYTcw. I also did not like the conference table at 47a. While there certainly are some conference tables affixed to the floors of some offices, it is not a fixture as one normally thinks of same. And, as others have noted, 15 across is flat out wrong.
    And Google can state otherwise but, there ain't no such branch of studies called polysci. The real problem with this effort is a lack of a fun or informative solving experience to be had. Guess I will go find the condiment aisle at my local store and get some mayo.

    Andrew Heinegg 11:28 AM  

    It is instructive and amusing to see the varied reactions to a puzzle, easy, medium, hard, good, so so, terrible. I am a pretty knowledgeable sports fan so I got all the sports answers but, I must say crossing Charlie Lau with tnt and Nat, not a rival of a Giant in fanspeak was just not fair play for the NYTcw. I also did not like the conference table at 47a. While there certainly are some conference tables affixed to the floors of some offices, it is not a fixture as one normally thinks of same. And, as others have noted, 15 across is flat out wrong.
    And Google can state otherwise but, there ain't no such branch of studies called polysci. The real problem with this effort is a lack of a fun or informative solving experience to be had. Guess I will go find the condiment aisle at my local store and get some mayo.

    A Sot 11:33 AM  

    @Andrew - I was well know as a fixture at my local bar back in the day, but I sure as hell wasn't screwed to the floor.

    NCA President 11:42 AM  

    @Z: Tomayto, tomahto. I'm willing to allow for those bugly clues to be "features," but features aren't always a good thing. My cable company offers me all kinds of features, but not many of them are what I would call beneficial.

    And I didn't mean to mislead anyone that I think "vague" clues are bad. Like I said, it's the accumulation of them that makes each otherwise acceptable clue annoying.

    Mohair Sam 11:54 AM  

    @OISK and @Nancy - As I kid who spent Summer Sundays on Fire Island listening to Vin Scully on my portable Philco. I don't know if I wept more listening to Russ Hodges yell "The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!" over and over, or reading in Newsday that my beloved Bums were heading West. In any event - I am enjoying the memories stirred by the banter between you two. Thanks.

    Steve J 11:58 AM  

    @Tom Cruz & @Z: Ted Cruz is Canadian, a senator and doesn't believe in restricting the ability to extract oil from the earth. Tom Cruz (sic) is an actor, hates psychology, has mastered his thetans and jumps on Oprah's couch.

    Lewis 12:07 PM  

    I was ready for the Rex rant about ONE'S, ugly fill, and all the 15s, and how can the NYT allow this, etc. Instead there was just one sentence mentioning "...odd names, old names, weird plurals, foreignness, and whatever VETOER is". The rest of the review talked about the solve with humor and wit. What is going on? Rex, you've been in this kinder, gentler place all week -- and your reviews have been terrifically written, with insight and your remarkable cleverness. Whatever change you've made in your diet or something else, keep it!

    Much loveliness in this puzzle, in the long answers, in the cluing (SESAMES, CONTENTS, DANCED, AUTOMATICWEAPON, OPENTOCRITICISM, HARKED), the visual beauty of the grid itself, and in the puzzle's spark. That spark in a puzzle is a nebulous thing; the only way I can tell it's there is if the puzzle doesn't feel like a slog.

    @lms -- I went through the same thinking re ATTENDEr.

    It was a blast cracking this one!

    Tom [sic] Cruz 12:19 PM  

    @Steve J Yeah, I made a mistake, I conflated Tom Cruise & Ted Cruz, when I of course meant Ted Cruz. It's sometimes hard to keep your nut-jobs straight, they all fall into one mental basket.

    mathguy 12:30 PM  

    Enjoyed it. Eleven entries I didn't know or had forgotten. Pretty cool that oxygen has eight electrons, protons, and neutrons. I was reminded of Professor Fiore who taught at my university. If we knew that his name meant flower then, we may have teased him about it.

    DigitalDan 12:30 PM  

    Found it easy -- for a Friday. Tossing in the "S" for plurals throughout helped, and only misled once. Also getting "CONFERENCETABLE" without crosses. Made the top 500 for a change, hooray.

    Martel Moopsbane 12:41 PM  

    Alternate clue for 39D: Mayor LaGuardia, all grown up.

    GILL I. 12:51 PM  

    @Benko...Thanks. Did I mention that I also STANK at chemistry?
    All this baseball talk...My dad was a huge Dodger fan and when we could get it in Cuba, we'd watch on the old black and white.
    I stopped caring a while back. Pete Rose now has a million dollar gig on Fox Sports, Alex Rodriquez is back and is about to be placed on the all-time homer list and Barry Bonds is all smiles now and who hoo was invited to throw out the first pitch during the National League Championshop series...
    Dad is probaby turning over in his grave.....

    Wood 1:03 PM  

    I'd like to second the observation made by several in the last few days about @Rex's change in tone with this week's reviews.

    It is so much more enjoyable to read about an expert's solving experience, with witty observations, wordplay, and fun links, than it is to endure the ranting of an intractable curmudgeon.

    @Rex, I appreciate that an important function of a critic (of books, movies, crosswords, whatever) is to keep the creator's feet to the fire and insist on excellence. Your blog has given me a whole new appreciation over the years of just how good a good puzzle can be.

    But if puzzles were books, only a small percentage of them would make it into the NYT Book Review. You don't see many abject pans there; most books don't even rate. So if you're going to review every dang puzzle, go easy on the pans. Shout out the glory when something spectacular comes along; when you see dreck, express your disappointment concisely and focus on what good you can find. When you focus on criticism, make it more than a diatribe.

    That'll free up space for the entertaining and edifying writer we all know you really are.


    Anonymous 1:10 PM  

    That was good
    Rex really should
    Be better understood

    Anonymous 1:14 PM  

    I read the Dr. Seuss books to my children, but I did not remember the three words about the Grinch. I might have been able to get them anyway, except that I had OHBOY for 9-D. (That didn't ring quite right, but I never would have thought of OHKAY if I had thought all day.)

    I fail to see how the definition ATTENDEE can be correct for 7-D, although I knew it had to be that word because of the crosses. Would someone enlighten me, please?

    Jyqm 1:18 PM  

    Can't say I terribly enjoyed this one in the end, despite the presence of some great answers, including most of the 15s. Unlike Rex, AUTOMATICWEAPON was my first answer in the grid, but I ended up with a DNF because of two crosses -- one an unfair Natick, the other simply wrong.

    It took me forever to parse out TNT as 3D, but even then, there was no way I was going to get that U crossing LAU. My sports history knowledge is often not great, so maybe LAU was a gimme for some. Still, a baseball player from the 60s (at least one not named Mays, Aaron, Mantle, etc.) seems obscure enough to warrant a fair cross, and TRINITROTOLUENE doesn't cut it for me. If you don't have that chemical name memorized, there's simply no way to land on that U (not when solving on paper anyway).

    And add me to the list of those who finds POLYSCI ridiculous. Google does return plenty of results, but this clue warrants a "Var." in my book, especially since that ridiculous Y crosses another relatively obscure proper name. If you google "poly sci major," Google asks if you meant "poli sci major," and that's certainly the only way I've ever seen it spelled.

    @Casco, if you're reading today, I do hope you continue to regale us with tales of your struggles! Many of us have been doing crosswords for a long time, and I (and others too, I'm sure) find your accounts of your solving experience really interesting and informative. It's fun to try and put myself in your place and suss out the kinds of strategies that have become almost unconscious for me as a veteran solver.

    Casco Kid 1:19 PM  

    @STRESSED VETOER The clues today were pointing at their answers. Ambiguity today felt minimal, but probably was the same as usual.

    I'll confess that I held off on DOGWOOD in 1A based on yesterday's debacle. I also consciously refused to commit to TURNEDTHEHEATup. LETME was gotit in my mind, but not on the screen.

    I had NFL early, but waited for a cross rather than leap at the answer there. Same with TEM. Good thing Aretha Franklin didn't fit. I doubt I would have held back there.

    I got as close as I did because I really didn't build solves around wrongness, which is possible but very, very hard to do.

    But yesterday's puzzle was particularly difficult because of the 45 essentially uncrossed theme squares and several clues pointing *away* from the right answer (MAAM and PICA for two). That, and I did not manufacture patience yesterday the way I did today.

    Anonymous 1:23 PM  

    Steve J said...

    I hope Joe Krozel's OPEN TO CRITICISM, because I have plenty.
    Because you're one of world's preeminent crossword critics and all authors wait with 'bated breath for your post to tell them whether they've succeeded or failed.

    Tom O'Neill 1:29 PM  

    Poly Sci!!?? It is PoliSci, as in "Politics."

    selfrighteousindignation 1:32 PM  

    PolYsci was my only downfall. Puzzles are definitely harder when they contain made up words.

    Tom O'Neill 1:33 PM  

    Poly Sci!!?? It is PoliSci, as in "Politics."

    Anonymous 1:33 PM  

    One of the few times I found the puzzle less challenging than Rex did. It helped that I'm a big baseball and golf fan so got Lau, Inkster and Kiner in the first pass. For some reason I learned the long version of TNT when I was a kid, so that helped also. A good, solid Friday puzzle.

    Anonymous 1:38 PM  

    Hey anon@1:14: An ATTENDEE, one who "attends," is someone who shows (up) to class, a meeting, conference, whatever...

    Given today's posts, it's almost as if we anonymice exist!

    David Cole 1:41 PM  

    If it wasn't for Trip Payne's difficult clue/answer in his recent annual Fireball crazy answers crossword (which plays off of the full name for TNT), this might have been a DNF. I stared at TRINIT- for what seemed like a long while, wondering if a TRINITY-based answer could fit the clue.

    KINER, LAU and INKSTER were all gimmes - fortunately, so was Sung YAT Sen, or I would have been very reluctant to place POLYSCI. That gave me the token ONE'S answer, which I really liked this time around. Overall, fun and Medium-Challenging.

    Roo Monster 1:54 PM  

    Hey All !
    Finally finished! Hooray! Thought Rex would rate this easy! This was a bear. Little by little I kept chopping at it, and ended up in the hard SW, where the WEAPON stayed hidden for some reason. AWOLS took forever ti see also. And the TNT also took forever to parse. Didn't help I never heard of 1A tree, so the first T was not obvious. Did finish with 4 wrong letters/8wrong answers. But I srill take this as a win, even if it's a DNF! No wrong 15's! Only two or three writeovers, so there's that!

    So, hard work-the-brain puz today. But stuck with it, and managed 95%ish rightness! WooHoo!

    ON KEY

    nick 2:01 PM  

    An avalanche of junky trivia with inadequate payoff. Congrats to all saying they breezed through this one. Here, it was dnf and no fun either.

    pfb 2:03 PM  

    Pretty typical solve time for a Friday with LEKS/CATALPA requiring some guesswork.

    Thanks for the Annabel link.

    beatrice 2:12 PM  

    Perhaps few folks today know of the musical "OH, KAY!", but one of its songs, 'Someone to Watch over Me', has endured, and is probably familiar to many here. Gertrude Lawrence starred as Kay; the book was written by Guy Bolton and P. G. Wodehouse, and was apparently based on a French farce. -- YouTube has a selection of performances, but here is the original:

    Z 2:32 PM  

    @Steve J - I was thinking that @Tom Sea Voyage was playing off that joke.

    @NCA Prez - I'm thinking my reference wasn't clear. Software coders will improve programs in ways that irk users. Their replies to such complaints is,"That's not a bug, it's a feature."

    Benko 2:32 PM  

    Correction: I accidentally wrote "molecule" instead of "atom". A regular oxygen molecule has two oxygen atoms, so a molecule would have double the number.

    Anonymous 2:52 PM  

    Sensing a theme here:

    Those who finished the puzzle: "Great puzzle, challenging, clever, interesting, varied cluing, very satisfying, etc."

    Those who DNF: "Too obscure, too much trivia, repetitive cluing, impossible, clues are too obscure, etc."

    People here are learning well from Rex.

    Nancy 2:55 PM  

    @GILL: I stopped caring about baseball REALLY long ago. I was just a child in 1957, when my beloved NY Giants and our belovedly hated Brooklyn Dodgers abandoned NY for California -- but not so much of a child not to realize that I cared MUCH more about my team than my team cared about me. I realized too early on that baseball was a business more than it was a sport. I tried 12 years later to transfer my love and loyalty to the Miracle Mets of 1969, but that lasted just one year. The Mets were often hapless and hopeless and in any event they were NOT the Giants. It seems you got disillusioned much later than I did.

    Ludyjynn 3:00 PM  

    KINER went in first. Never knew him as a player, but listened to him work as a broadcast announcer for the NY Mets on WOR tv. My Dad and I would also watch him host a show called "Kiner's Korner". He seemed like such a down to earth guy despite all of his accomplishments.

    Although this was a DNF due to TNT, I chipped away at this one and was able to get all the other 15s. Mayo is my FAVE CONDIMENT, so that was a gimme.

    LETME say I enjoyed the challenge and most of this puzzle's CONTENTS, Thanks, JK and WS.

    Lewis 3:46 PM  

    Factoid: In 1942, the U.S. issued a five-cent stamp that pictured both Abraham Lincoln and Sun YAT Sen.

    Quotoid: "The answer to old age is to keep one's mind busy and to go on with one's life as if it were interminable. I always admired Chekhov for building a new house when he was dying of tuberculosis." -- Leon EDEL

    Jackie 4:39 PM  

    Dude! It is *not* POLY SCI. Never has been, never will be. (Not that it made any difference whether the down was YAT or IAT.) Lame.

    GILL I. 4:55 PM  

    @Nancy...Unfortunately, the forgiveness of our athletes horrible behavior is everywhere.
    While watching my beloved soccer during the World Cup, I was treated to Luis Suarez aka Hannibal the Cannibal bite a chunk of flesh from an Italian team member. (Wasn't his first time either) I use to watch him all the time because he played with my favorite team in Liverpool. They kicked him out but now he plays for one of the best soccer teams in the world. Barcelona!
    SPORTS! Does golf have this crap?

    Anonymous 5:01 PM  

    There was even a domestic violence incident in the WNBA yesterday; I bet we won't hear an outcry from anyone.

    Anonymous 5:24 PM  

    Uneven difficulty for me. Filled in OPENTOCRITICISM and CONFERENCETABLE without any crosses. Got stymied in that RELS/AWOLS/EDERS/LAU area like Rex. Don't love POLYSCI with a Y. Don't love crossing KINER with KTEL or LEKS crossing CATALPA. Don't love HARKED or VETOER.

    Fred Romagnolo 5:29 PM  

    @Old Timer: Never, at any time, no matter how well the Nats may be doing, is our ancient and traditional rival anybody else than the Dodgers. And that goes back to New York! @Whirred Whacks: nobody picked up on your astute observation about the article on the Clintons! @Loren: same as you, wanted "the," then realized ONES. We older solvers had no problem with KINER, or OH KAY! I enjoyed today's x-word more than yesterday's. I did have to check my Webster's 3rd, for TNT, knew what is was but hazy on the spelling. Krozel's one of my favorite challenges.

    Fred Romagnolo 5:31 PM  

    HARKED was my favorite, lovely clue.

    Z 5:40 PM  

    @Gill I - "In 1921, several reporters watched openmouthed as Ruth sprinted on board a train and raced down the passageway, chased closely by a woman wielding a butcher knife. The writers learned she was the wife of a Louisiana politician who thought she was the only one. That didn't wind up in the papers the next day, or ever. Neither did a Detroit incident in which an irate husband waving a revolver chased a near-naked Babe out of a hotel." (more here) As for golf, who can forget the Thanksgiving headlines when Tiger's marriage ended. The difference between the Babe and Tiger? How much we know about sports figures. They have always been better at sports, not better at life, than the rest of us.

    Thomaso808 6:00 PM  

    Yesterday a 54 year old Juli INKSTER shot 4 under par at the Swinging Skirts golf tournament in SF to tie for second, one stroke behind Lydia Ko, who also celebrated her 18th birthday yesterday. A 36 year age difference - pretty amazing!

    jae 6:03 PM  

    @Gill - Speaking of golf, 54 yr. old Juli INKSTER was one shot off the lead as of yesterday in an LPGA event in CA.

    GILL I. 6:38 PM  

    @Z....Can you image, if in this day and age, the Babe was being chased down a train station by a butcher knife wielding female? Good lordy, YouTube would be having a!
    @jae...I haven't been watching t.v. in a while but I love golf. If Wie or Sorenstam were on, I'd know about it. The same with Els and Watson. I truly loved Tiger but he made me so furious with his stupidity that every time he plays, I get out my voodoo doll and stick pins in it. It's worked because he hasn't done much since his indiscretions...;>)

    Teedmn 6:49 PM  

    I liked this puzzle as soon as I saw the unique grid. Some gimmes, others that needed staring at. I had trouble with the AWOLS crossed by EDELS but it would have fallen much faster if I hadn't stuck with a mom and pop REst(aurant) for much too long, making TOLUENE hard to see. But I finally got that, only to DNF in @Casco Kid's spot. That I missed on such an easy one as DANCED, aargh! I don't know why but the clues ending in e.g. are often very hard for me, some sort of blind spot.

    But I very much enjoyed the challenge, so LET ME thank Mr. Krozel for another great solving experience.

    AZPETE 6:52 PM  

    The clue says or not and.

    AZPETE 7:02 PM  

    When big oil is paying your bills you'll say anything.

    AZPETE 7:06 PM  

    Good one! Also polysci is how we referred to it when I was in uni. And at football u either!

    okanaganer 7:28 PM  

    I'd like to thank Colm FEORE for making me finish with an error.

    Anonymous 7:35 PM  

    Annabel Thompson, like others, demonstrates the deck is genetically stacked and Marx was right.

    When you have to run the alphabet is it a good puzzle? Me thinks not.

    I'm a Robot

    Aketi 8:54 PM  

    @GILL I, perhaps of you had my high school chem teacher who made chem lab fun, looked a little like Einstein, and made it easy to understand you might not have STANK at Chemistry. I still remember when one lab experiment actually turned out to be a recipe for peanut brittle, but the instructions were in chem lingo. Cooking and chemistry are not that different,

    Feeling a little better about the fact that I STINK at trivia when every once in a while I manage to get a few clues on odd topics thst I do knowl

    Anonymous 9:34 PM  

    This was challenging but satisfying. Thursday's was challenging but unsatisfying.

    Sorry, but TRINITROTOLUENE was definitely the word of the day.

    And Abraham Edel was a professor of mine, my honors thesis advisor back in the dark ages.

    GILL I. 9:40 PM  

    @Aketi....If he had looked like Einstein, I would have dropped out of school. There was something about his hair that bothered me... A
    George Clooney look alike, on the other hand, would have made me experiment in the lab after school!

    Rox Parker 12:14 AM  

    I was going to put a whole post here trying to satirize the whole "emperor has no clothes" notion Porker seems to be putting out, as well as the notion that the puzzle is clearly great because it's in the Times (IMO, they are generally of good quality, but you can't ignore the adventurous themes and fill found on independent blogs), and the whole "personal attack" thing the dude(?) was doing a couple of times last week (he's doing this because he was bullied as a child? Dang,). I had a whole "GLORY TO SHORTZ" thing going on, and I was even going to call you all sheep for good measure.

    But then I decided not to, because it was a shitpost, and we all lose when someone shitposts. It's better to just let it go, and enjoy the crosswords. I'll go back to not reading the comments now. Have a nice weekend everyone!

    Hoffelt 2:05 AM  

    The Washington Nationals have never been, and will never be "rivals" of the San Franciso Giants. Worst clue ever. Terrible puzzle.

    Billy C 7:07 AM  

    GillI --

    Re: Tiger's indiscretions:

    OK, they're not to his credit. But, as I heard the story, his life was a continuous story of indiscretions stalking him.

    Each week, the precursor to the Tournament was a Pro-Am event in which he was paired with the local Movers-and-Shakers.

    After golf, they'd insist that he dine and go out on the town with them. In public, there were also no lack of attractive women intent on star-f&$@king, and who were very effective about enticing him into indiscretion.

    Again, I'm not entirely excusing his behavior. But before making judgements, it's wise to consider the circumstances. I'd say that it's a saintly man who'd be able to stay discreet in these continuous circumstances.

    JMO ... I realize that many may strongly disagree, Anyway ...

    Anonymous 8:33 AM  

    Stunt Puzzle?? No Sir, this is puzzle. A stunt would be doing the puzzle wilst flying a rocket over the Snake River.
    Im not very good at math, but i never call the stuff i didnt comprehend "Stunt Math."

    Maruchka 8:51 AM  

    ..and yesterday was - Arbor Day! CATALPA led the pack. Very clever, Mr. Krozel.

    @Gill, - A young cousin is a fledgling sports commentator. Her recent post on crime and athletes:

    Leapfinger 2:08 PM  

    fwiw, Anon4:29, I'm sure some of us knew that, because FIOREllo LaGuardia.

    Like @AnoaBob, very impressed with the interlocking double gridspanners. The shared four-squares even have messages! Up top, it's RN IN TOUN [under these circumstances, I think we can accept a U in lieu of a douvle-U]; on the bottom, it's PEON IS B-L, and I'm sure there's a code to crack in there.

    Anyhoo, I had more trouble above than below the diagonal. Took a while to recognize 1A, although NC has both CATALPAs and Catawbas. Got hung up on TRINI... Lopez? Dad? [I'm among those who know what TNT stands for, but don't hate me, DDT is still a mystery] Thought LEKS Walesa a ridiculous POC. YAT was a gimme and a groaner, for how it ruined POLI SCI; I will not be mollified. Lastly, I also think 15A needed to TURN UP THE HEAT ON. I only list all these complaints because I know JoeKrozel's OPEN TOCRITICISM.

    None the LESS, I enjoyed the solve, SKITtish though it made me, with its AUTOMATIC WEAPONS. Bet the OARLOCKS missed having any itches around. Liked the nod to Mamma MARIA, and to Cousin FERENC hiding in plain view.
    Also nice to be reminded of IO DATE; that was Zeus, wasn't it? And then Hera started the first cattle drive across Europe, winding up at the Bosporus... But that's now KINER straining at NATS...

    Liked how you turned the TABLE in the CONDIMENTS AISLE, Joe. Though it left a lot of solvers ravin', the Krozel has the last laugh.

    spacecraft 10:40 AM  

    Apparently it does me good to take a day off once in a while. Had a thing to do yestermorn, saw it was a Steinberg and that I probably wouldn't finish it even if I had all day, so I just chucked it. Today I swoop in with renewed vigor and lay a Krozel grid to waste--then find out Our Fearless Leader actually found it challenging! Go figure.

    OH KAY (???), so I know INKSTER from being a golf fan. She was my way in--and off just the K I recalled the STINK conjugation of the good doctor, and I was out of the blocks like a shot.

    I'd never heard of THAT Gershwin musical, but the clue made the answer sort of obvious. IODATE is a compound of Iodine, but as a verb??? My clue would have been something like "Flame, to a certain moth." Also never heard of MITA; didn't even read the word till just now. Forgot LAU, but hey OFL, how could you look at that many letters of TNT without getting it? Nor did I have a problem with AUTOMATICWEAPON. As usual, 15s come to the rescue again. The rest of the fill? Pretty innocuous, I'd say.

    This puzzle has been brought to you by the letter K (for Krozel?) and by the number SETTE. Or should I say fifteen? Kudos for the prodigious feat of making double-interlocking fifteens work, with only the above outliers to mar it--along with the FL pet peeve ONES, which thankfully occurred but once. B+.

    Burma Shave 12:55 PM  


    OHKAY, LETME say DAMES are my FAVES when I want to mate,
    and if I put on a CONDIMENTAISLE impress who IODATE.

    --- NAT FIORE

    BS2 12:58 PM  

    @leftcoastTAM - Yes, BS2 is for the "bonus" verse/post of the day

    ecanarensis 2:29 PM  

    @Billy C 9:28 AM, I hear ya! our driveway was lined with CATALPA trees during my chore years, and those blasted things had crud dumps for every season! flowers, the long beans, leaves, twigs...every time I got home from school or playing during summer vacation it seemed like the (long!) drive was covered with crap. It never stopped. Even now, every time I see a big, heart-shaped leaf I cringe & my hands make clutching motions, feeling phantom rakes.

    I found this one actually easier in spots --I immediately got AWOLS, CONFERENCE TABLE, and some other non-proper nouns that made me feel quite smart for a Friday. Of course, the golf & other sports Hall of Fame plus musical stuff immediately killed that. But it seemed slightly less tortured than usual for a grid with so few black squares.

    rondo 2:51 PM  

    Not one write-over today, but that doesn’t mean it was a walk in the park. And I agree with someone above that it is not POLYSCI – there’s just no Y in either of the shortened words, should be POLISCI in my book.

    Juli INKSTER may not be a yeah baby, but she’s one damn fine golfer, and that’s a gimme.

    ANNES Bancroft and Hathaway, definite yeah babies.

    I remember taking LSATS, first time sub-par, second time 65th percentile. I dare any mere mortal to take that test.

    All those plurals were a little irksome, but I guess with so little black space you’ll get that sort of thing.

    771 meh

    leftcoastTAM 3:58 PM  

    Relatively easy for me (god, I love saying that on a Friday) except (god, I hate having to say that today) for three Naticks, and I guessed wrong on all three: CATApPA/pEKS, LAm/TRINITROTOLmENE, and rSAS/rACAS. So it goes.

    DMG 4:21 PM  

    Didn't master this one! The thing spinning around in my grid was an AUTOMATIC bEAcON, which, combined with no idea how to,spell the chemical,ending made a fair mess of the SW. Also tripped up in the center which seemed full of names I just don't know. But, I'm actually surprised to get as far as I did- big, mostly white grids tend to make me feel,lost before I even start.

    Anyne know what happened to M&A? I miss his happy, skewed outlook on these things!

    141 I lose.

    leftcoastTAM 4:49 PM  

    Okay, the PSAS/PACAS cross really doesn't count as a Natick because PSAS is not obscure. I was hung up on the "educ." clue word and couldn't get out of the school and university rut, and rSAS (something or another to do with "research" or "resident" halls)seemed to follow.

    KG 5:15 PM  

    Typo not misspelling

    Anonymous 5:43 PM  

    This was a Puzzler's most perplexing puzzle, to be perused, picked apart, pondered and finally praised and prized.

    I enjoyed every hour of it but hope NEVER to see the word trinitrotoluene again in my life time or the lifetime of my descendants. Thank goodness for dictionaries.

    Well done Mr. Krozel and thanks for a long workout with several cups of coffee. TGIF. Got all caught up on Thursday with the chores and have-tos. Didn't know the Edels but I do now.

    Ron Diego, the one and only Sage of La Mesa, CA.

    Anonymous 6:02 PM  

    Frack off!

    Anonymous 6:18 PM  

    To Anonymous @6:02. If that comment was towards me, the letters SAGE stand for Single, Aged, Gruesome, Elder and not like the Sage of Omaha. Lighten up.

    Ron Diego

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