1950s Reds star Ted for short / FRI 5-22-15 / Longoria with two Gold Gloves / Message accompanied by red lips / Peak in eurozone / Saturday in Seville / He partnered with Bear in 1923 / Ancient medical researcher

Friday, May 22, 2015

Constructor: David Woolf

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: Fela KUTI (23A: Fela ___, Afrobeat music pioneer) —
Fela Kuti (born Olufela Olusegun Oludotun Ransome-Kuti;[1] 15 October 1938 – 2 August 1997), also known as Fela Anikulapo Kuti or simply Fela, was a Nigerian multi-instrumentalist, musician, composer, pioneer of the Afrobeat music genre, human rights activist, and political maverick. (wikipedia)
• • •

Sleep nearly took me out early again tonight, but I had to be up late because my daughter was getting back from a trip to NYC at close to midnight, so ha, sleep, you lose. Still awake. OK, I might've rested my eyes there for a little, but I'm awake now, which is the point. This puzzle was weird for me, perhaps because of the heretofore mentioned "resting of the eyes." I started in on this puzzle as I usually do with such stack-oriented puzzles: I went for all the Downs up top, one after the other, without even looking at the Acrosses until I'd made my way all the way across the top of the grid. This may not actually be the most efficient solving method—perhaps one ought to at least glance at the long Across clues—but it feels efficient to me, and usually yields great results once I've traversed the grid and finally look at the Acrosses. Even if several of the Downs are wrong (they usually are), I'm often able to see the correct answers through all the muck. Pattern recognition! Anyway, my first pass through the Downs up top yielded very little, so I ended up getting my first real start in the grid at a very odd place—sort of ENE, starting around KUTI (a gimme) and working down toward the middle. Like so:

 ["A CUPS in T TOPS!" Coming soon to Cinemax.]

You can see that my northern grid is a pathetic combination of empty and wrong, with a smattering of right. Don't speak Spanish, so just had the first two letters of SABADO there. I was wrong about KIA; I knew there was a KIA with a short model name (it's the RIO), so I just wrote in KIA and waited. I see now that I could also easily have gone with the equally wrong answer, HYUNDAI. Interesting. I'd be surprised if I was the only one who dropped ADESTE in there without hesitation. As six-letter carol starters go, none ranks higher, grid frequency-wise, than ADESTE (of "Adeste Fideles" fame). IT CAME ... would not have occurred to me (it's by far the most terrible answer in the grid, one of the dumbest 6+ partials I've ever encountered). But KUTI got me going, and then all that failure up top turned quickly to success when I noticed 15D: Many an Instagram had to be SELFIE. With those last three Downs in place up top, the long Acrosses went down fast. Despite the wrong answers I had in place, I saw ALL OVER THE PLACE almost instantly after SELFIE dropped. The -ISS at the end of 1A: Message accompanied by red lips suggested KISS, which then suggested the rest of the answer. And then it was just a matter of LUGGAGE or BAGGAGE CAROUSEL (the latter, it turned out). So after a terrible first trip across the top of the grid, I caught fire and ended up here in what felt like no time:

As for the bottom of the grid, it might as well not have existed. I've never finished that much of a late-week puzzle that quickly. With the first three letters of the long Acrosses in place, I got ON HANDS AND KNEES and then TRACTOR TRAILERS. With one more cross (the "S" from 51D: CSA), I got RUSSIAN ROULETTE. The Downs were helpless at that point. I picked them off methodically without even seeing the shorter Across clues toward the middle there. You're welcome for GALEN, by the way (46D: Ancient medical researcher). (I jokingly brought him up in the write-up of that ANGEL anagram puzzle earlier this week, and now, several days later, he materializes, like some kind of slow-to-respond genie).

Despite some iffiness here and there in the fill, this seemed an entirely acceptable puzzle. Too too easy down below, and with no real killer answers, but solid nonetheless.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Facebook and Twitter]


jae 1:19 AM  

Unlike Rex I read the 1a clue as the puzzle was coming out of the printer.  When you can put in 1a without any crosses it's going to be easy.  

Erasures: LOGiN before ON and Agt before AUD 


In my family a "Celia" is when you momentarily get up from your seat only to return to discover someone has taken your place. 

This had a fair amount of zip and a pretty smooth grid, but it was way to easy for a Fri.  Liked it...but if you want a challenge try either of BEQ's this week.

Octavian 1:49 AM  

Fastest time ever for a Friday for me -- got SWAK immediately, then Sabado, Evan, Deg, Wrestle, Heres, Apos, Klu, Scepter, Selfie, Baggage Carousel in about 3 minutes .... felt like a Monday ... slowed down in the middle and then sped up on the bottom when I got Russian Roulette immediately and everything else fell into place.

Not complaining as some of the recent Fridays were very tough for me. I liked the lively phrases and attractive grid.

Never heard of Fela Kuti but have been listening to him on Spotify all night. Great music.

Anoa Bob 2:04 AM  

I speak a little Spanish (muy poquito) so SABADO (1D) & EL NORTE (38D) were helpful. People from EL NORTE are called Norteños (nor TAIN yos).

What helped me the most was remembering 12D "1950's Reds star Ted, for short". Good thing the clue asked "for short", because the first three letters, KLU, were about all I could spell with confidence. After I finished the puzzle, I found this image that shows the others. He was a muscular fellow and would often wear a jersey with the sleeves cut out. When he was at bat, he would stare balefully at the pitcher while flexing his muscles. Looked like he could have squeezed the bat handle into sawdust if he wanted to. Didn't wear no stinking batting gloves either.

John Child 2:08 AM  

I was pleased to learn about Fela Kuti, but not so happy to be taught it, to misquote Winston Churchill. If, like me, you didn't know him, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4AA6EuZe-k

Many things to like - "one round" in the RUSSIAN ROULETTE clue, a "lock" in the WRESTLE clue, and more. But there was some unfortunate fill and, IMO, too many vague FITB clues.

Agree it was pretty easy, though I DNF as I had to cheat on Spanish Saturday since I was locked into luGGAGE CAROUSEL.

Anoa Bob 2:15 AM  

Google image let me down. KLU-2.

r.alphbunker 2:27 AM  

I too had to be told that luGGAGE CAROUSEL was wrong. I immediately corrected it and ANION made SABADO and ELANTRA look correct (whereas SAlADO and ELuNTRA did not look correct). Post-googled to understand the ANION answer. See http://chemistry.about.com/od/chartstables/a/Common-Anions.htm. One triumph in the are was that I got {Fourth-row Battleship option off of _ _ EN figuring that D is the fourth letter of the alphabet.

My wife and I will be the 'mericans in Paris for the next three days.

chefwen 3:06 AM  

Who didn't think of our M & E at 6D?

Very cute puzzle. Like @jae, got SWAK as it was being spit out of the printer. Many long ones fell easily also.

@roo monster - made rhe same silly mistake as you while solving Thursday's puzzle and felt like a dumkoff, glad I wasn't alone.

Carola 3:48 AM  

Rex has mentioned his "Do the Downs first" approach to stacks before, but I can't seem to rid myself of the habit of going through the Acrosses first, often with little yield. This time, though, like @jae and @Octavian, I got SWAK right off and that helped put this puzzle in the Easy for a Friday column for me.

I liked CAROUSEL + ROULETTE, HANGS with HOMIE, and the existential question across the center: AM I CUD?

Alphabet quartet: A POS, A CUP, D TEN, T TOPS.

@r.alphbunker - Hi from across the Channel.

jae 4:08 AM  
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jae 4:12 AM  

typo corrects: "way too easy" and "Cecilia"

Jim Walker 5:42 AM  

An easy Friday but very pleasant. Nice pairing of KLU and EVAN. The latter probably makes more money on one weekend than Ted did in his entire career. Like others, I was glad to be alerted to KUTI and the charming music. Thank you mister Woolf.

emspop1 6:01 AM  

"Somme pal" struck me as a clever clue for an ordinary crossword-see word. Rex's gimme - KUTI - was completely unknown to me.

imsdave 6:51 AM  

8 minutes is about as fast as I can do a Friday - except I had a problem with the SABADO/DTEN cross. I don't speak Spanish and have never played Battleship. I envisioned the board having the letters B A T T L E S H I P down one side, and thought the fourth row might be T so ended up with SABATO.

I saw Fela! on Broadway several years ago. I was caught up in the music for the first few songs, then was overcome by the sameness of the music and lost interest. I'm not sure if that is due to the song selections for the musical, or if that is just the nature of the style.

Loren Muse Smith 7:11 AM  

@ims dave – Hey, old friend!

@r.alph – happy travels!

Rex – I had "We wish" for a long time before I finally saw SWAK.

Funny how for me, “luggage” is something to drag into an airport, but BAGGAGE is something to drag into a relationship.

@Carola – I had those four letter-initial entries noted in my margin, too!

Before HOMIE, I had “homey,” resulting in a weird adjective “bingy.” When I finally sat down and watched every single episode of Breaking Bad, I definitely had a few bingy kind of days.

Misread the clue for 39D and put in my light bite "size" as a "tidbit."

And how ‘bout this beaut – I had “trick or treaters” before TRACTOR TRAILERS. Boy howdy, you better believe I tirelessly hauled my bag of goodies around street after street in Chattanooga, resplendent in the witch costume I wore every year and adored.

Anyone who is interested in semantics might find THAT interesting.

TANTRA - could it's singular be "tantrum?" (There you go, all you people who call out people for grammar mistakes and for not looking things up on google. Have at it.)

Actually, I invite anyone here to email me. Those who have an issue with my objection to people pointing out posters' “bad” grammar, you can find my address on my profile, or I can give it here: My first name spelled backwards, 2, at msn. I’m eager to discuss this further off blog as I’d rather not subject everyone else to a spat where we’re just going around in a big uninteresting circle; jerking people around in a publically puerile fashion is not something I’m comfortable with. You can hang your hat on that.

David, Will – what a treat to have triple stacks on a Friday! Good one!

Airymom 7:13 AM  

Just scheduled my daughter's driving test for September 5th. Yes, here in Maryland, you have to schedule it months in advance to get a Saturday appointment. New regulation--no more requirement to parallel park. This NYC born and raised Mom is not happy. Everyone should know how to parallel park.

She believes that the second she passes her test I will buy her a car. She has also decided that she is getting a Hyundai, either an Elantra or a Sonata. On a regular basis, she goes to the Carmax website and sends me links to Elantras and Sonatas.

It's very annoying, but today it was very helpful! After Elantra and Algiers, the top was a breeze.

I liked the puzzle and no, I don't plan on buying her a car.

Mohair Sam 7:17 AM  

RUSSIANROULETTE is my first 15 letter gimme. KLU was a feared rival of my beloved Brooklyn Dodgers and a man never to be forgotten - he put the 15's at 1A and 17A as near gimme's - and the puzz fell quickly.

Correctly guessed G in GINA/GALEN cross or would have been naticked. Lots of nouns we didn't know - KUTI, yoga position, Spanish Saturday, ARUMS, and had heard of neither Gershon nor "Rescue Me". But the stacks were so easily gotten that our lack of knowledge slowed us not.

So what's OFL's problem with ITCAME? Why is it any worse than Adeste? Because it's not commonly used in crosswords? I thought that made good fill. Seriously, someone explain his reason for declaring it a horrible partial.

Aketi 7:20 AM  

I usually love Thursdays and hate Friday. Yesterday my brain must have been on pause because I just couldn't get started on what really was a fairly easy puzzle. SEALEDWITHAKISS must have reset my brain because it got me started on my fastest Friday every em if it was "easy for a Friday".

I've never heard anyone refer to KUTI by his last name. During my years of traveling to Africa, everyone simply called him Fela. I didn't know he divorced all his wives before he died or that his mother was murdered by the Nigerian government. When I first heard his music in the early 80s his big hit was ITT, International Thief Thief.

Aketi 7:22 AM  

Darned auto correct, how does "even if it was" turn into "every em it was"?

Danield 7:24 AM  

As a mid-level solver, I'm always pleased when I am able to complete a Friday puzzle. I appreciate Rex's technique tips. On puzzles like this, I find when I give myself permission to go with the flow, to quickly insert possible downs, it does tend to reveal the long across answers.

Steven M. O'Neill 7:30 AM  

Faster than Thursday or Wednesday for me. See, Mom, I told you that degree in Spanish Literature would pay off!

Anonymous 7:36 AM  

I like how LMS pointed out the word "tantrum" then had one.

Rex Porker 7:42 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Frank N. Furter 7:52 AM  

I was sure 1a was going to be something related to "Rocky Horror" or something from the Stones' "Sticky Fingers." Oh, to be a child of the 70's...

Science Fiction double feature

Rex Porker 7:53 AM  

I did this write-up late at night, and I was still kind ***for Rex***. This disproves the theory that I am nicer after a good night's sleep.

"...this seemed an entirely acceptable puzzle." Along with "perfectly adequate," this is the highest praise I can muster for any puzzle. Congrats to David Woolf for earning this honor. Pretty soon we might have, "at least this puzzle didn't want to make me poke my eye out with a fork."

Imfromjersey 8:04 AM  

Super fast Friday solve for me. Nary a "ones..." In a triple stack puzzle= a win in my book. Not sure Russian Roulette passes the breakfast test, wonder if Will will be getting letters about that one.

NCA President 8:06 AM  

By my standard, a puzzle done with no googling or other cheats is easy. Today I was surprised to find a Friday puzzle quite so easy. DW mentioned on xword that he doesn't like triple stacks that force you to work the downs little by little enough to finally get the crosses. Well, I certainly didn't have to worry about that in this one. The crosses were really easy...I'm not sure why...maybe the cluing?

KUTI was new to me, but it didn't matter since it was filled in automatically.

ONLEASH seems wonky to me. Does anyone here say they are going to go walk the dog ONLEASH? En pointe, en guarde, en route...but it's on A leash...sheesh. That was really the only groaner.

I laughed a little at the "bro"/HOMIE connection. One is a very white frat boy term, the other is more urban...while they mean the same thing, they couldn't be further away in terms of culture.

Also...never ASSUME...it will show off your NAIVETE.

GeezerJackYale48 8:11 AM  

Although it was "kinda" fun solving, this was too easy for Friday. Mr. Pucker takes Rex to task for calling it "entirely acceptable". In this case Rex is "spank" on. Degree of difficulty for a Friday, if nothing else, keeps it from being sparkling or challenging or whatever Mr Pucker would prefer.

GeezerJackYale48 8:14 AM  

Anonymous: you are a clever devil!

demit 8:22 AM  

NCA Pres, I found the ON LEASH acceptable as the reverse of "off leash," which is what you can do with your dog in a dog park but not on a city street.

And I believe "bro" started out as, er, "urban" usage, before it became appropriated by white kids, as a lot of "urban" slang (and clothes and music) does eventually.

joho 8:33 AM  

Easy yes, but I ended up with the same mistake as @imsdave (Hi, Dave!) with SABAtO/tTEN. I was thinking there's an actor named SABAttO ... if only I remembered how to spell his name! I wonder if his name means Saturday?

The only Longoria I know is EVA so it was weird to see her hiding in EVAN.

Ok, back to the puzzle! I liked the 15s especially SEALEDWITHAKISS, ALLOVERTHEPLACE and ONHANSANDKNESS --nice not to see "ONES" here. Not a ONE in sight!

I liked it a lot, thanks, David Woolf!

Andrew Morrison 8:38 AM  

Kuti a 'gimme?' Maybe for Rex.

Ironically, I have always considered Natick a gimme. Come on, it's the birthplace of Doug Flutie. How can you not know Natick, MA?

One man's gimme is another man's struggle, I suppose.

Uni Cum 8:39 AM  

Woe is me! This one prompted me to see my therapist… as soon as I crossed IT CAME and ALL OVER THE PLACE I was reminded of that one time- I mean, it wasn’t all bad, but when you’ve only got one in the chamber, it’s sorta like RUSSIAN ROULETTE. I can’t even give myself a SELFIE! This puzzle put me ON HANDS AND KNEES, begging for the inhumanity to stop. Thanks for stirring up the memories, Mr. Woolf!

Sir Hillary 8:47 AM  

Having not done an NYT puzzle for basically a month (work has been killing me) I was pleased to re-enter the fray with a pretty easy Friday puzzle. And a pretty pretty one too -- those are some sah-weeet 15s. All very much in the language and very much fun (OK, RUSSIANROULETTE brought back memories of watching "The Deer Hunter" but you get my point).

Forget holiday carols -- instead let's peek in at the Grinch, about three-quarters through his adventure:
He hadn't stopped Christmas from coming. ITCAME.
Somehow or other, ITCAME just the same.

Z 8:47 AM  

Thank you, Rex. GALEN is usually buried deep in the -ese section of the ol' gray matter, but went in immediately today.

@NCA Prez - I started with eNLEASH for exactly the reason you stated. I see now how it is working (thanks @demit) but growled a little when I fixed it.

@Frank N Furter- Yep, right with you. Was feeling a little embarrassed that it wasn't a gimme. Always good to know that others have the same roadblocks for the same reason.

@LMS - I have to remind myself some days that I am no longer a middle school principal. I do like seeing the Syndy conversation but getting so much anonydreck in my inbox is making me consider not getting the email follow-ups.

jberg 8:58 AM  

Fun to see how the triple stacks work, but way too easy. The hardest part was pondering for a moment how drought and poetry (44A) were related, until I reread the clue.

I think there was a long-running Broadway show about Fela KUTI, but only his first name was in the title; still, that's crossworthy.

@r.alphbunker, I envy you. First year in a while we're not going to get to Paris at all. Do enjoy the BISTROts, but don't expect them to be 'light bite sites!'

Hartley70 8:58 AM  

This was a fudgsicle, not a tootsie roll pop of a Friday, and gone too soon. SWAK and TRACTORTRAILER came at first glance, so the downs were made easier right off the bat. My first guesses were wrong at Algeria and Samedi, I had a Spanish brain freeze there and traveled back to high school french and that terrifying Madame who carried a stick as a POINTER. Quelle horreur!

mathguy 9:01 AM  

The downs crossing the triple stacks were all legitimate. Usually I expect some junk there.

Learned a couple of worthwhile things (difference between dale and glen, types of anions) and some names that I will probably forget (KUTI, EVAN, GINA).

The cluing was pretty pedestrian except for "Game with one round" and "Like some floor cleaners."

It was an excellent way to spend half-time and time outs while sweating out the Warrior game. James Harden is truly unstoppable

Bob Kerfuffle 9:15 AM  

Good puzzle. Medium for me, working from South to North.

My big hang-up was at 1 D, where with my shaky knowledge of foreign languages I wanted "LUNEDI" (is that a word?) to fit, but could only see a place for the D in DTEN. Never wrote it in, so no write-overs, but tool longer than it should have to resolve.

Aketi 9:18 AM  

@imsdave, it's the nature of the style. Fela"s music has a highly repetitive beat and his songs are very lengthy. The ITT song is at least 15 minutes long and feels like 30 minutes.

Z 9:23 AM  

For future reference:

EVA Longoria
EVAN Longoria

Glad to be of help.

dk 9:25 AM  

🌕🌕🌕 (3 mOOOns)

like @Carola I cannot start with the downs. I simply pen in the across fill, then "do the downs" rinse and repeat. Big no no for me is jumping around the grid as I find I will miss some clues (as in not read them at all). So linear is the way I go.

Today's stacks felt Wednesdayish for me. I am not complaining. Had assets for 33a, spelled AIMEE incorrectly and wondered a bit about SATES.

Ripping off aluminum siding today as I return my house back to the way it once was.

Billy C 9:31 AM  

@AndrewM --

Not only is Natick the birthplace of Doug Flutie, but it's where he now resides.

quilter1 9:38 AM  

Easy and flew through but DNF as I didn't know SABADO or ANION so two blank spaces. Dang.

Billy C 9:43 AM  

On the subject of linearly going through the Acrosses or Downs--

When I was a 'Merican working in Paris in La Defense, many of us would stop at the local BISTRO on the way to the train, for a quick beer and some socializing.

One of my colleagues, Dave Gilbert, would bring the office International Herald Tribune with him, open it to the crossword, and plunk it on top of the glass top of the pinball machine. He'd then march across all the Acrosses in order. Rare was the time that he failed to fill all doing this. Today's puzzle would've skunked him, though, unless he fell back on a strategy to march down all the Downs instead.

Cheerio 9:52 AM  

I loved this puzzle! Thanks! Bring on more like this!

There weren't any gimmies form me, except for BAGGAGE and AIMEE, but that made it all the more fun because I was able to slowly puzzle the rest of it out. I had no idea about KUTI which meant that the last answers I filled in were SPF crossing SELFIE. Wow, what a great way to end! I was thinking Hawaiian Tropic must be the name of a road race. As a red head, I have acquaintance with SPF. Seems to me like it goes perfectly with SELFIE. I imagine (somewhat shallow) people on the beach, (not) applying SPF lotion and then taking SELFIES to show off their beach lounging beauty to their friends.

Nancy 9:54 AM  

I think I'm losing my everlovin' mind! Not just Rex, but nearly ALL of you: Easy, Easy, Easy, Easy; Fast, Fast, Fast, Fast. Well, for me, it was Hard, Hard, Hard, Slow, Slow, Slow. Not that I'm complaining. I loved the struggle and found my (almost) solve full of loads of AHA moments. Could it be that the difference between "Easy" and "Hard" was between those who saw SWAK right off the bat and those, such as me, who did not? When SWAK finally came in for me, it was an AHA moment. In fact, ALL the long answers were AHA moments for me. And I loved RUSSIAN ROULETTE, ALL OVER THE PLACE, and ON HANDS AND KNEES. Ah, but the woes:

HOMEY for HOMIE. luGGAGE CAROUSEL before BAGGAGE (Hi, @lms). And, I don't know how to break this to you, but I know SATURDAY and I know SAMEDI and that's all the bloody languages I know. Plus, I've never heard of Battleship, much less played it, so I Naticked, like @imsdave, at the SABADO/DTEN crossing. Nonetheless, I loved the puzzle. Had it been easier for me, I actually might not have loved it as much.

evil doug 9:59 AM  

Oh @Nancy, everyone knows you like it hard and slow.


Nancy 10:06 AM  

@Evil -- You are too much!

Billy C 10:06 AM  

Oh, @Evil --

You're in fine fettle, as always.

PS: Anyone know what "fettle" is?
PPS: Three and out!

Charles Flaster 10:09 AM  

Really liked this one. EZ with a tinge of medium in NW.
ALGERIA before ALGiers and stayed with sTEN as my only NATICK.
KLU was scary--saw him play in EBBETS FIELD and POLO GROUNDS. The original muscle man!!
Only TV show I've watched in last 20 years is Monk.
"HERE'S the thing" --reruns excluded.
Thanks DW.

Ludyjynn 10:12 AM  

GINA Gershon rescued me, enabling me to get a toehold which opened up the whole South at the start.

SWAK unlocked the North, plus the reliable AIMEE Mann, although I must admit to a technical DNF. Hand up, @imsdave and @joho, for SABAtO. Not fluent in Spanish, I figured the 't' represented the word 'sabbaTh', plus I pictured the luscious actor/model, Antonio Sabato, Jr. in my mind's eye and got distracted!

@AiryMom, as a transplanted NJ driver, I too, am very concerned to hear that MD is eliminating the parallel parking drivers' test requirement. Good luck finding a parking place downtown in Little Italy unless you know this maneuver!

This holiday weekend looks like a perfect time to enjoy your TTOPS. Make sure your SPF is high enough to protect you, as this is the unofficial start to Summer. I will SAVOR the beautiful weather that is forecast.

Thanks, DW and WS for a HUMANE Friday solve.

Mike D. 10:12 AM  

@evil--putting the fettle to the metal!

Maruchka 10:13 AM  

Lots of white no long-oria scares me, thanks to the wise folk of the blog. Had faith it would sort out, and delighted by the smoothness.

Algeria/ALGIERS; Homey/HOMIE; Luggage/BAGGAGE; By hand/ASHORE.

ARUM the calla lilies in bloom again?

Knew Fela KUTI from late night driving while listening to 'Afropop USA'. A good combo of bounce and groove..

Nicely, nicely done, Mr. Woolf.

Anonymous 10:18 AM  

Anon @ 0736: Nice LMS slam. Even she might appreciate it.

NYer 10:23 AM  

Count me in as one of those who found this quite easy, for a Friday. Plunked down SWAK right off the bat, wrote in SABADO, and the rest of the north stack fell into place.

Had a little pause in the southern half of the grid, but eventually finished in I guess my fastest time all week.

@lms, I bet the grammar nazi will take you to task today for your misuse of the apostrophe. Just saying.

Whirred Whacks 10:25 AM  

One of my fastest Fridays as well, and I believe my fastest ever with six stacked-15s!

I'll take minor issue with the punctuation used in the clue for 33D: "Event in which 3:43:13 is the world record." I knew immediately it was the MILE RUN, but the colon between the "43" and "13" suggests that this event is 3 hours, 43 minutes, and 13 seconds long -- and thus could be something else.

I'm a life-long follower of both track and swimming. Almost always, the time's "seconds" and "hundredths of a second" are separated by a decimal point not a colon.

Here's a video of Hicham el Gouraj's WR race. Exciting viewing if you're into running/racing.

@Teedmn I've read almost everything by Neal Stephenson. My faves are Cryptonomicon, Snow Crash, and vol. 2 of Baroque Cycle. Less fond of Anathem. Reamde was OK. Seveneves has gotten off to a very promising start (less esoteric than Anathem).

Steve M 10:27 AM  

Nice doable solid Friday

evil doug 10:29 AM  

Friday was like @Steve M's mom: solid, doable.


Blog Police 10:32 AM  

@All - You all know that the "evil doug" posting in the last month or so is not the real evil doug, rather some putz who's assumed that nom de blog, right? And that by lauding him you're encouraging that behavior?

Jamie C. 10:37 AM  

@Blog Police: Wait there's a guy whose mom named him (lowercase) "evil doug?" Because that would be the only way there'd be a "real" evil doug. Otherwise he, like you and 90% of everyone here, is a putz with a nom de blog.

Riff Raff 10:41 AM  

Count me among those whose brain immediately went to Rocky Horror for 1a. Now I've got a Time Warp earworm. Thank you Mr. Woolf.

Evil Doug-ologist 10:41 AM  

@Blog police: You know what they say. If it walks like an evil doug and it quacks like an evil doug, it's an evil doug.

Arlene 10:46 AM  

You had to see the expression on my face when I opened the paper and saw 15er stacks. OY!

But with not much trouble, I got SEALED WITH A KISS. I still feel smug when I can put in a current generation word like SELFIE. But that's also why I thought it was THATS ME first, instead of THAT ONE. And TRUCKERS before TRAILERS.

I confess to Googling for KUTI and GINA. Since they seem to be gimmes for everyone else, I feel justified - just to level the playing field.

DTEN tripped me up - but it was still a fun puzzle. Especially for a Friday!

oldbizmark 11:04 AM  

fastest friday ever. another holiday weekend special. enjoyed it but felt like a child whose father was just letting him win.

Pisarro 11:04 AM  

@Evil D'Ologist

The original Evil D last posted on Mar 20 of this year, shortly after this spate of faux-blogging began, and immediately after he was first faux-blogged.

If you truly believe that 'walks like a duck' line, I have a Botticelli you might like to buy ... a Mondrian...a Monet

Billy C 11:07 AM  

The original @Evil Doug had a low-flying airplane picture. I haven't seen any @ED postings like that lately.

To the recent @Ed: show us you're the genuine article by posting that pic. Tnx.

PS: Four and back in. ;-)

evil doug 11:16 AM  

It is I. Still evil.


Blog Police 11:23 AM  

@faux evil - You may be able to fool Billy C by copying the real Evil Doug's icons and using them, but not all of us.

Why not take this massive skillset of yours and be, I don't know, original?

Wood 11:26 AM  

Also finished in near-record Friday time. Immediately threw down WISHYOUWEREHERE for 1A (incredulous), but of course it was wrong, which became apparent almost immediately. That and TRAILERTRACTORS instead of the other way around slowed me down a bit, but not much.

lawprof 11:32 AM  

@mathguy: gotta agree with you that "James Harden is truly unstoppable," until he was, er, stopped.

Ellen S 11:33 AM  

I also filled in 1a right off the bat, no crosses. Found the rest of it almost equally easy, except for the proper name references. 23A, Fela KUTI, I filled in completely from crosses,never heard of him. But thanks to @Rex's Wikipedia clip I learned that he is the son of Funmalayo Ransome-Kuti, a woman I learned about in the early 70s when I was on the board of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. She was renowned as a human rights activist. Her son is more famous (Funmalayo wasn't a pop star), but too contemporary for me. I had trouble with AIMEE Mann, also, which made that little section of the puzzle much harder than the rest.

My daughter gave me a puzzle book, Brain Games for Dummies, written by Timothy Parker, the Crossword Puzzle editor for USA Today. One of the crossword puzzles in the book is election-themed, with clues like "It Counts Votes" -- answer is PUNCH CARD READER. And "Cause of Some Confusion in 2000" -- BUTTERFLY BALLOT. Timothy knows we geezers remember the 2000 election clearly (maybe the 1948 election even more vividly), but are not so confident about, oh, our grandchildrens' names, let alone the performers they listen to. Another puzzle wanted the name of Prince Valiant's wife. Wow, that's a blast from the past. I didn't know he even had a wife. All the NYT puzzles ever asked was the name of his son. (Which even though it used to be as common as an EEL, I never could memorize.)

evil doug 11:33 AM  

Oh Shit! It's the real Blog Police! I could be arrested!

evil doug 11:34 AM  

Oh wait, it's just a nom de blog like mine? I guess I'm safe.

old timer 11:41 AM  

I must still have jet lag, because the puzzle was very slow for me. After putting in SABADO, lots of blank space. I finally made my way to the bottom, where the SE corner was easy (thank you, GALEN!). Thus gave me all the long Acrosses, and then the middle. I had to Google to get KUTI and then the rest would have filled itself in.

But: Did not guess WRESTLE right away. And had wrongly written in "Oh Come". Once I guessed SWAK, ITCAME was obvious and the other long Acrosses were solved. I liked BAGGAGECAROUSEL -- a brilliant clue.

I don't know why ALGIERS didn't occur to me. The Top would have been much easier if it did.

The Angel City Kid 11:48 AM  

Easy Fri for me. Wanted swak right away. k and e checked out thanks to some good old baseball knowledge. Was off and running.

Master Melvin 12:02 PM  

A KLU story. Late in his career the large, muscular KLU roomed with a diminutive outfielder named Albie Pearson. One night Pearson returned to the room after a night of partying and found a bed made up for him in a dresser drawer.

Master Melvin 12:08 PM  

The clue for MILE RUN should be 3:43.13 not 3:43:13. The latter would be over three hours, way above a record for the marathon.

RUSSIAN ROULETTE is a game? Man, you guys play rough!

OISK 12:14 PM  

Raced through this one, hesitating only at "Gina"? and
Galen, but I have heard of Galen, just needed a moment to recall it. And then, I painfully discovered that my lack of Spanish got me a DNF. I spelled it Sabato, with T Ten. I actually wondered why it would be "TTEN", but never went back and changed it.


Nice, breezy puzzle though. I liked it.

AliasZ 12:15 PM  

What a great puzz! I enjoyed it tremendously. Thank goodness for the easier than usual southern hemisphere, without which I would've lost hope early on.

The one clue with which I had an issue was "How some things are washed." That should be "Where some things are washed." ASHORE is not a method, it is a location. I get the misdirection, however this misdirection is a mis-misdirection, directing us right out of the realm of correct English usage.

Other than that, I loved just about everything else in the puzzle. I especially liked the clue: "Game with one round" - one round in the chamber, that is. Good one!

I had no idea about AIMEE (as clued) and KUTI. I know Anouk AIMEE, and I know Nándor HidegKUTI (1922-2002), a core member of the Hungarian Golden Team of the early-mid 1950's. Also, I would have preferred Lollobrigida to Gershon, but that's just me.

@Bob Kerfuffle, lunedi is Monday in Italian, wrong end of the week.

Here are two musical links: GINA Lollobrigida, for one, in ALGIERS by Gioacchino Rossini on one hand, and the rousing Orb and SCEPTER Coronation March by Sir William Walton on the other. (The Brits misspell SCEPTER as sceptre -- like theatre. How pretentious.)


Joseph Michael 12:23 PM  

Who's Afraid of David Woolf?

Thought I was in for a thrashing when I first saw the empty grid and was surprised to find it easier than the usual Friday.

Liked all of the long acrosses, but resisted SWAK at first because it's not a "message" but a description of a message. Also, ASSUME doesn't seem equivalent to "guess" so I resisted that at first, too.

Given the triple stacks, however, I was impressed with the general quality of the fill and overall construction of the puzzle which is certainly much more than "acceptable."

Good one, David.

GILL I. 1:02 PM  

Fake @evil doug. You're kind of creepy....Why don't you find a genuine name for yourself...something like pornologist.
Everyone talking about SWAK and I kept thinking where was this word in the grid? Oh...I got it. Have I ever mentioned how much I love stacks?
Loved my Spanish SABADO and EL NORTE as well. A CUPS are just little band aids. All CUPS are in-HUMANE. HELEN, AIMEE, KUTI..knew them all. Yay!
All this talk about heading off to Paris is making me green-eyed. Although we are in beautiful Auburn pet sitting for my best friends Standard Poodles, lucky lady is on her way to Cinque Terre for a month. Daughter and boyfriend are renewing passports for a trip to Paris, Madrid and London. British in-laws are on their way here and niece and boyfriend are travelling from Madrid for a visit. Next year I MUST get a tapas fix.
If you're in the Sacramento vicinity, We're having the annual Musical festival. Music galore; lots of good jazz.
Don't forget to smile and someone today!

RAD2626 1:16 PM  

Agree with the positive comments. Puzzle was fun throughout. Like Rex, stuck Kia in 2D for a while. Real block was in middle where despite having AS, I could not figure out ASHORE and needed the crosses which were hard to come by. Think I do not agree with @ AliasZ. Liked ASHORE clue a lot and think it works. RUSSIAN ROULETTE clue very clever albeit dark. Only objection was IT IN

Have a great holiday weekend everyone. Off to a good start.

John V 1:48 PM  

Well, late to the party, but, whatever.

I'd say medium for me. None of what @Rex called gimmees were that for me, including whats-his-name at 23 acrosss.

I have addopted the short-downs-first approach to stack puzzles and it is very effective for me. My stack solving style can be charactized by clue and answer to 16 across. Just sayin'

LaneB 2:05 PM  

Good Friday (not in the religious sense) for me, but can someone explain ANION and its connection with the clue for 18a? Thanks.

Seth Cohen 2:21 PM  

I actually think IT CAME is a great answer, because it's an exciting stand-alone phrase. It could have been clued referring to what you say when you receive a long-awaited package, or something like that. Why they decided to clue it as a too-long boring partial, I don't know.

Alan 2:26 PM  

@LaneB F, H, and I are Fluorine, Hydrogen, and Iodine, which can take an extra electron to form F(minus), H(minus), and I(minus), negatively charged ions. G is not the chemical symbol for any element.

Fastest Friday ever for me! oPOS before APOS, themile before MILERUN, Dsix before DTEN, so even my writeovers were clues that I understood. Squeaky clean puzzle. Good stuff.

mac 2:45 PM  

Another nice one! I also started with KIA and ADESTE, but I'm very proud of EVAN! So close to Eva Longoria, that's why.

Easy-medium for a Friday here too. Mile run and on leash sounded a little incomplete. Odd that the plural of money is monies.

weingolb 2:58 PM  

The clue for BISTRO is doing a disservice. Quick? Maybe. Simple? Often. But light? Strikes me as random or ill-informed.

And I love it when sports car clues cross yoga clues. Not. DNF.

Billy C 3:27 PM  

@Gill I --

Interesting that you mention that your Lucky Lady is on her way to Cinque Terra for a month. My lucky lady just got tack from a two-week group painting trip to Tuscany organized by two ladies who teach at the local art museum here in MA.

She stayed at a beautiful guest villa, restored in what was a medieval structure in a hill town between Siena and Florence. They did day trips to paint scenic spots throughout the Tuscan countryside, which is known for its beauty and unique light effects.

Anyway, our family (five of us, including our 3 teenagers) did a 10-day Italian vacation in the area, including staying at Inns in two of the walled hill-towns my wife just visited, Monteriggioni and San Gimignano.

We also stayed a night in La Spezia, and from there took the early morning boat from Portovenere all the way over to Montorosso. We then hiked all "five towns," all the way back to Riomaggiore, having dinner there before taking the train back to La Spezia.

Lots of ups-and-downs that day, hiking between the towns, but what gorgeous views. Thanks for the memories!

Anonymous 3:46 PM  

@weingolb--disservice at dis BISTRO sucks.

Anonymous 3:48 PM  

@Billy C--didn't you say "3 and out" @10:06 am today? You have oral diarrhea.

Anonymous 3:52 PM  

Has anyone seen @John Child? I hear he's locked in a luGGAGE CAROUSEL.

dick swart 4:28 PM  

A pleasant, fun Friday instead of a dragged-out struggle.

A great way to start the long week-end!

GILL I. 4:34 PM  

@Billy C...She and her brother and sister-in-law have rented a villa for a month. She is half Italian and her excuse for renting in Cinque is to lose weight climbing up and down the streets. She also loves pasta.

Anonymous 5:27 PM  

Hey a glen is a valley (Scotland) and a dale is a valley (Yorkshire mostly). Anyone who doesn't think a glen can be broad hasn't seen the Great Glen. It cuts Scotland in half and Loch Ness is in it! A glen (Glencoe) is admittedly narrower than a strath (Strathclyde), but a dale (Wensleydale, home of the cheese) ain't that big!
So... He should have clued it... A strath compared to a glen. Or found something other than obscure Scottish river geography to write about.

Anonymous 5:57 PM  

I once ran a mile in 3:43:13. I beat my friend who was running a marathon.

willowwanderer 5:58 PM  

NYT noob, here. Yes, I'm I'm a middle-aged woman who never completed a NYT crossword. There, I said it. ;-) Now... I'd like to thank "Rex," as well as everyone else who posted here! Wow! Y'all know yer stuff!

I caught SWAK right away—and some others—but I must say, as a first timer I struggled. I am relieved to hear that Friday's are more challenging, generally. I will (definitely) eavesdrop on this blog for future puzzles. This one blog post—and subsequent comments—have taught me quite a few *tricks* of the *puzzling trade* ;-)

Thx all!

Ellen S 6:06 PM  

Um, Doug Flutie the quarterback? Natick may want him as their native son (anything to make the town memorable), but Mr. Google says he was born in Manchester, MD. He went to Boston college and maintained his old school ties, according to Wikipedia, and currently lives in Natick.

willowwanderer 6:11 PM  

Oh... And this NYT article is a fun & timely read!

Ludyjynn 6:19 PM  

@Willow, Welcome! Give yourself an ego boost and do a Monday puzzle next. (Unless you are a masochist, in which case I suggest you do tomorrow's or any Saturday next)!

dav 6:55 PM  

It all fell into place eventually...got stuck on Sabado as I mis-read the clue and had Samedi in there instead, which made Baggagecarousel and Anion screwy but once I changed that it started to work for me, though it took a while to get out of that pickle. On the subject of times: there are lots of sub-2minute times on the applet. As an experiment I printed the completed grid then cleared it from the computer and typed it right back in as fast as I could. Still took me about 2:20 just to get the letters into the grid. How can anyone actually solve in sub 2 when it takes a reasonable typist such as myself over 2 just to enter known answers? A quandary...thoughts anyone?

mike253 6:57 PM  

Naticked on mANTRA/TmOPS

Started in the SE, and my first 15 was RUSSIANROULETTE with three Ts from ELNORTE, NAIVETE and the incorrect SITE (for SILK, which clue I thought was great)

Z 7:31 PM  

@Willowwanderer - welcome.

The continued presence of F.E.D brings to mind epistemology. I don't know why.

grammar nazi 7:39 PM  

@Willowwanderer--The plural of Friday is Fridays. No apostrophe. Welcome to the board.

Teedmn 7:48 PM  

My solve mirrored @Rex's as SPF and KUTI went in first, then SELFIE and the rest is history. Though apparently I was the only one silly enough to put in "airport CAROUSEL" which made the NW the most (if not very) challenging portion. Battleship was a favorite game at our house.

Lots of nice cluing, learned ATMOS in Greek. Liked seeing NAÏVETÉ and SCEPTER.

@jberg, funny mis-read of 44A but if the puzz from a week or so ago is any indication, some here might consider poetry an ILL!

Thanks, David Woolf, for the fast Friday. A safe and fun Memorial Day weekend to all of you.

alt.grammar 8:12 PM  

@grammar nazi ==

Consider the sentence, "I am relieved to hear that Friday's are more challenging, generally."

One might take the word "Friday's" as intended to be a plural, a shortened form of "Friday puzzles," in which case the apostrophe would be inappropriate.

However, "Friday's" could just as well be interpreted as meaning "those puzzles belonging to Friday" (as one might say, "David Steinberg's are more challenging) in which case the apostrophe would be correct.

@Willowwanderer -- Welcome to the blog. Not everyone here is a troll.

Melodious Funk 8:12 PM  

The real evil doug might have said:

On hands and knees at the baggage carousel, it came all over the place. Sealed with a kiss.

But that's a guess.

kitshef 8:17 PM  

Ridiculously, comically easy for a Friday. Got 1A with no crosses, which gave me ten or so of the downs, and off to the races.

Still, did have a high rate of over-writes. ALGeria before ALGiers, Ovi before ORR, HOMey before HOMIE, TRuckERS before TRAILERS (before I had anything in the SW), anNA before GINA, aL NORTE before EL NORTE, SCEPTRE before SCEPTer (Midlanticism has its drawbacks). But none lasted more than half a minute or so.

Apart from the lack of bite on a Friday, loved it. All the long words are super, yet the crosses did not suffer at all. Only word I really objected to was MONIES, and if that's your worst nitpick, you are looking at a work of art.

kitshef 8:21 PM  

I was also struck by @dk's comment about solving in such a way that (s)he sees all the clues. Sometimes I come here and see comments and think "that wasn't in the puzzle", only to find it was a word I never saw as I got all the crosses. I don't think I'll change my system to @dk's - old dog and all that - but it does make me miss the English style, where to solve a puzzle one must solve every ... single ... clue.

jae 8:46 PM  

Anyone looking for a tough Fri. should try Jeffrey Wechsler's in the LAT.

chefwen 9:19 PM  

@Grammar Nazi, nothing like scaring a newcomer away before she barely gets started. Quit being such a jerk!

Welcome Willowwander, most of us are nice.

Anonymous 2:19 AM  


Anonymous 2:49 PM  

woke up at 10m with a wicked hangover and finished this sucker in 7 minutes. In ink. Take that.

mellisa lopez 7:12 AM  

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Burma Shave 9:56 AM  


THATONE keeps up when you kiss them ALLOVERTHEPLACE.
You’ll EARNER respect when it’s SEALEDWITHAKISS,
ONHANDSANDKNEES you’ll provide HUMANE bliss.
So don’t BINGE with your SCEPTER even if it’s a HOTIRON,
no need to WRESTLE ITIN when it’s love you’re desirin’.


spacecraft 11:33 AM  

I was all set to begin with some "Mr. Obscurity" comment, like maybe

"So, of all the Times readership, how many have heard of KUTI? Really? Both of you?"

and what happens? OFL declares this a gimme. All I can say is that the Venn diagram of his and my worlds touch at only one place: HERE. I do hate when he does that. IASSUME he knows how obscure this is to the average solver, and wants to show off his worldliness. But to call it a "gimme" is beyond the pale. That's on purpose, and I throw the flag for it. It's no better than strutting ridiculous solving times. Enough!

Luckily for this hopelessly ignorant yokel, the name went in on crosses. But that came late. I had trouble in ELNORTE, even with ALLOVERTHEPLACE in, um, place. Some things are washed byHand, true enough, and that mistake cost some time. Restarting down south, I had a better time of it. Soon I had the whole bottom half done, and wondered what size CUPS awaited me. A, huh? Oh well, as the saying goes, anything bigger'n a handful is wasted.

Among my WOEs at the top was figuring out the clue for 18a. I saw right away that F(luorine), H(ydrogen) and I(odine) are all elements while G is not, but it still took a while to come up with ANION. That and a few other inroads eventually helped me with the "non-Stones" message SEALEDWITHAKISS (cue Brian Hyland), and the "terminal" clue for LOGON nudged me toward BAGGAGECAROUSEL, thank you and good night.

@BS, we gotta get you a girl.

Oh, the grade. I'd say medium for a Friday, and B. Oh, let's be generous: it's my birthday. B+.

rondo 12:11 PM  

Happy Birthday @Spacey. I had the same elemental problems that you had until I was able to keep ANION that. And the exact feelings about “gimme” KUTI, OFL is a real cutie sometimes.
Up top I got BAGGAGECAROUSEL right off, and down under TRACTORTRAILERS. With enough favorable crosses I KINDA worked it all around to a successful completion.

The Science Museum of Minnesota in downtown St. Paul once (maybe 35 years ago?) showed a film called ATMOS on their Omnitheater’s giant screen that pretty much surrounds you. Cool effects and sound, especially in an enhanced mood. I still recall that Paula kept me up on the hour-long drive home. So ATMOS was a special answer for me today. And HERES to Paula.

HELEN – a mythic yeah baby. GINA Gershon - a pouty and pretty yeah baby. AIMEE Mann – a great voice and yeah baby to boot; “Charmer” is quite good.

I liked this Fri-puz, but back to work since I’m currently the only EARNER in my household.

eastsacgirl 12:12 PM  

Had to double check date to make sure it was Friday. Easiest solve by far. Unlike Rex, I started at 1A and it pretty much flowed downward from there. Sometimes the 15's just click and I do much better without a lot of proper names. The ones I didn't know luckily had familiar crosses. Won't bask long though as I'm sure I'll be greatly humbled tomorrow.

Off to watcb the US Senior Open in 100 degree heat!

rain forest 3:36 PM  

Yep, pretty easy for a Friday puzzle with 6 15s, especially the South where the grid-spanners went in almost without crosses. My only holdups were in the KUTI/ARUMS region, and the MONIES entry.

IT CAME, does actually start that carol, so, to me, it is a fine partial. As I've said many times, I don't understand, first of all, why partials are sneered at, and secondly, what makes one partial better than another. No one has 'splained it to me.

Nice clean puzzle.

rain forest 3:38 PM  

Oh yeah. Happy Birthday, @Spacey.

Anonymous 4:45 PM  

Happy, Happy, Spacecraft and wishing you many more.
I'll have to say this was a Medium for me. Had to look up Fela Kuti and the spelling of carousel. Other than that, IHHO this is a great puzz and thank you David Woolf. Oh, wait a minute, I have TTEN for 21 across. Dang it, I was almost sure I was a genius like Sheldon Cooper. Got to this one late, over lunch.
Hey, this Evil Doug thing has turned into a full blown soap opera.
And, tsk, tsk, Burma. Sometimes a little too much, even though very clever word usage. I don't even bother with the Blogmeister's comments anymore. Love the blog, don't like his comments.

Have a nice weekend, y'all and start sending that extra water from East to West where it's needed. I've been on a soapbox for years about establishing vast pipelines and reservoirs, using the existing Interstate System, for water control and de-flooding. Costly, yes but so were the Interstates. The entire project could be done in 10 years or less if the same manpower was used during WWII. And, like the TVA & WPA it would provide an honest living instead of the handouts.

Simply, Ron Diego (A simple soul with a simple mind) La Mesa, CA

Anonymous 4:52 PM  

P.S. to Spacecraft. Had you been here on Earth, you would have received hundreds of expensive gifts from fellow Syndies. Your loss.

Ron Diego

DMG 5:26 PM  

Late to the (birthday) party, but the Robotmaster was being very cruel this morning. Instead of offering me a chance to post, he twice wiped out my erudite comments on this puzzle, which, like l@NancyI found hard. This comment s really a test to,see if it survives scrutiny!

Anonymous 6:13 PM  

To DMG. I see myself more and more as late to the party. We've been having terrific weather here in San Diego lately and instead of staying in with my coffee, I go outside earlier to garden, do chores, shop, etc. Always enjoy your comments. It's nice to know that sometimes people have read my silly stuff. I usually feel I'm the last one up,locking the doors, after the partygoers have long gone.

Ron Diego

Teedmn 12:06 AM  

@BS, kinda liked the level you got to today, blatant but with a nice vibe (no pun intended).

@Spacecraft, probably next day for you now, but happy (belated?) birthday.

KUTI was a gimme for me too, but I listen to Radio K, the U of MN college station, almost exclusively (and sometimes the Current @rondo) and such esoteric stuff is common there. I usually recognize @Rex's musical links and often own the piece so he and I share musical tastes, it would seem. But I have no idea how far out of the mainstream Fela KUTI actually is

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