Wood painted to look like cannon / FRI 7-3-15 / Eyeless in Gaza novelist 1936 / Sir Lancelot portrayer of 1975 / Purchases that are puffed slangily / School head in best-selling series of novels / Rock star's nickname derived from his jewelry / Charlotte cream-filled dessert / Poe gaily bedight gallant knight

Friday, July 3, 2015

Constructor: Brandon Hensley

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: QUAKER GUN (30D: Wood painted to look like a cannon) —
A Quaker Gun is a deception tactic that was commonly used in warfare during the 18th and 19th centuries. Although resembling an actual cannon, the Quaker Gun was simply a wooden log, usually painted black, used to deceive an enemy. Misleading the enemy as to the strength of an emplacement was an effective delaying tactic. The name derives from the Religious Society of Friends or "Quakers", who have traditionally held a religious opposition to war and violence in the Peace Testimony.
• • •

Why would you paint wood to look like a cannon? What kind of absurd art trend is that? There is no way Quakers did that? — this was my reaction to QUAKER GUN, by far the strangest thing in the grid, and, I'd bet my antique hosiery collection, the thing in this grid that the fewest solvers will have heard of. So, the most obscure thing in the grid, I guess. I enjoyed learning about it, though, after I finished and looked it up, so I'm not mad at it. It imparted an odd and curious and not altogether unpleasant flavor to this uneven but mostly decent themeless puzzle. 70-worder really shouldn't have this much dreck in it, but the nice parts are nice. Opened with a couple of proper noun gimmes in the NW:

HUXLEY was the true gimme; SYD was one of those "I think so, but let's see..." answers. When you get a big fat "X" in the middle of your big fat themeless corner, well, advantage you. That corner was done before it knew what hit it. Helped that EARP CIGS and ASA were all gimmes too. Clean corner, nicely done.

Things got a little rougher after THAT. Right around THAT, actually. THAT is a fine answer. But HALEN's a partial and TRAC is junk and ALECS only looks good when you compare it to VERAS (?), which is easily the worst thing in the grid, insofar as ... well, at least several things. LIB is semi-derogatory and "IME" is "IME." No time for "IME" have I (or me). I always thought it was "END SCENE!" Or, rather, I thought it was "AND SCENE," but then thought I must be hearing it wrong (14D: Director's cry with a pause in the middle). ALBUS DUMBLEDORE was too much of a gimme for a central 15 (it's a nice 15, but make me work for it, at least a little) (34A: School head in a best-selling series of novels).  And so, with my joy somewhat diminished after the nice NW opening, I arrived midway on my solving journey at ... this place:

The INCUS EVOKER lay in wait ... (cue scary music)

Very easy to get into the SE corner, since ANTES and AGAPE were hand-outs. Had trouble finishing EPIC VERSE because we usually just call those EPICs. I enjoyed remembering "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," and then I was done. Speaking of Holy Grail, or Arthurian literature, at any rate, I learned things today about Marion Zimmer Bradley (whose "Mists of Avalon" I quite admire) that I wish I could unknow. Gonna have to rewatch "Monty Python" a dozen times before I shake the ickiness off. Luckily, rewatching "Monty Python" a dozen times—not a problem.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Facebook and Twitter]


jae 12:22 AM  

Easy-medium for me too with only SW really medium. Did not know DUMBLEDORE's first name (had ALdUS) and QUAKER GUN was a WOE?

A little to easy (BEQ's medium Thurs. was harder), but.... RINGO, RAVI, CLEESE, HALEN, DUMBLEDORE...livened it up.  Liked it. 

Whirred Whacks 12:35 AM  

Two days before Sunday's "Greferendum" on whether there should be a "Grexit."

Thus, it's quite appropriate to have three Greek words: RHO, THETA, and AGAPE, and also a Greek themed clue: "Genre of the Odyssey" (for EPIC VERSE).

I'm currently watching the 1967 Peter Sellers film "The Bobo" in which Britt Eklund plays the perfect SEX KITTEN

Happy Fourth of July weekend, everyone!

John Child 12:38 AM  

For a while I thought I was going to have no write-overs, then I thought I wasn't going to finish. I had nothing at all in the NW and couldn't get in the corner the second time either, after filling the rest of the puzzle. Finally SNEAD and PITCH fell. Cleaning up text was obviously rePaginATE, confirmed by IMPEND. It took a long time to dig out of that.

EXPURGATE is lovely. THETA as {Letter accompanying sin?} made me happy. {Chips in chips} misled me for so long that I loved it when I finally got it. {It's divided at the start of war} is sweet too.

Didn't love the segmented grid, but give the puz two thumbs up even so.

What do you get when you cross a joke with a rhetorical question?

Hartley70 12:48 AM  

Happy Birthday @Ludy🎈🎊🎉🎁 We hope your birthday wish came true!

Anonymous 12:55 AM  

@John Child - Lots of foolish and unnecessary answers?

JFC 1:12 AM  

@Rex (I guess I am being creepy tonight to someone who is so creepy that they will not even use an ID), I know that providing grids that show your progress has become your thing of late but you should always keep discretion in mind. Sometimes too much of a good thing is too much. So, tonight I couldn't care less about your progression. Actually, most days I care more about your thought. I know a picture is worth a thousand words, but in the context of an English professor it is also lazy. So I don't even remember what you wrote tonight. Did you like the puzzle?


Aketi 1:37 AM  

I found a new way to cheat tonight. I let my TEENAGER look at the iPad and he gave me ROCKYROAD followed by RUMRAISIN when HUXLEY intruded on a perfectly good flavor. He also gave me ALBUS, when my brain got stuck on trying to shorten ALDOUS to ALDUS thanks again to HUXLEY. He spontaneously burst out with HALEN before I read the clue. Then reminded me there are two spellings for pipette after I thought his chem teacher misspelled PIPET. All I needed to skip the typical void that enters my brain when I first look at a Friday puzzle. He read The Odyssey this year, but neither of us could get beyond the fact that there were too many spaces for EPIC until I filled in some downs. We both thought BBALL before TBALL.

I often feel sheepishly uncultured around the "differently educated" people who know so much more than I bothered to learn about history, literature, music and the arts. I was surprised that Rex read and liked Mists of Avalon, which I considered one of those books I should not mention having read in social situations where I am expected to politely converse with the literati. Despite his spoiler alert about the author, I could not help but check what he wished he could unknow and now I'm in the same camp.

I surprised myself by retaining something from my only source of historical knowledge: novels. I remember BAAL from a binge reading session that started with the Red Tent and continued through Orson Scott Card's Sarah and Rebekah. I confess I also read The Clan of the Cave Bears and a bunch of semi fictional books about the Tudors and other murderous English royalty.

The thought of WHITECAPS on choppy water has a nice association thanks to my father's love of the sea and boats. Even SEAICE, brings to mind his love of Jack London novels and Robert Service poems filled with epic man versus nature struggles. He never did a crossword puzzle to my knowledge, but he always saved the NYTimes puzzle from his paper and brought it down to the Mariina for his friend Fred to solve.

@teedmn, from yesterday, good sleuthing. Glad you didn't find it to be ALARMING DRIVIL.

@nancy, ROFL means Rolling On the Floor Laughing. I read "Super Sad True Love Story" by Gary Shteyngart. I found it so full of text acronyms that I flung it across the room in a fit of irritation and only picked it up and finished it our of spite. Looks like I might have some time tomorrow. Reservoir? Boathouse? Drinks on me.

Aketi 1:48 AM  

@Ludy, just saw Hartley70's post and must have missed the mention of your birthday in the streams of prior posts.
Hope it's a happy one. 🍰🍷

@Grammarnazi, I'm sure you will find my typo, but it's after 1:00am and I'm too tired to copy, correct, delete, and repost.😴

chefwen 2:13 AM  

QUAKER GUN??? What the hell is that? Got it, never heard of it, GEEZ.

Filled in para sails at 1A and thought I was super clever, NOT!

Got the DUMBLEDORE , but needed all the crosses to find ALBUS.

We have an in house SEX KITTEN in little Ricey. There a couple of bar stools on the Lanai, she likes to play around the legs and looks like she is doing her own version of a pole dance. Cute!

Good Friday puzzle that was a little more user friendly than Thursday which chewed me up. I finished Thursday, but had no idea why or how.

paulsfo 4:24 AM  

Once again amazed at what a literature professor doesn't know (well, really, that anyone that doesn't know these things could actually *be* a literature professor). Having a problem with EPICVERSE? Really?

@John Child: I had the exact same experience with "Chips in chips".

I didn't know QUAKERGUN but it made perfect sense as an answer, even before reading the definition. But you would have to know that painted wouldn't be a real gun and that Quakers are known to be pacifists, so I can see that Rex might have been stumped (neither of these facts being part of "required knowledge for literature professors"). :P

I've been a liberal since I was about 25 (before that I was nothing) but i've never heard of "lib" as derogatory (or heard it at all, for that matter). But don't get me started on references to "the Democrat Party." :)

dk 6:49 AM  

🌕🌕🌕 (3 mOOOns)

Nice one and a week of solid puzzles.

Struggled with MEME as I am a limited user of FaceBook.

Oddly QUAKERGUN came easy and as Rex wrote I never heard of it. Cool idea and sure there is a section in the Art of War…. wait there is.

Speaking of raisins. I have a current bush and today I will beat the birds to my crop. I prepare them in my dehydrator (left over from raw food days). I may use some of the currents in ice-cream. Making your own RUM RASIN or rum current is easy and the results tasty. And, as an adult one can use real rum. I prefer Mount Gay or Havana.

Gotta go

Thomaso808 7:05 AM  

Help! I can't figure out how THETA works for "Letter accompanying sin?"

OldCarFudd 7:16 AM  

Thomas, think geometry class. Sin is short for sine, cos for cosine, tan for tangent. The letter theta is typically used to represent an angle.

Steven M. O'Neill 7:17 AM  

I worked it out from the crosses, but to understand it, I had to google [theta sin], then I remembered it from high school math.

Theta is the name of the angle traditionally used to operate on in trigonometry (and sin is short for sine).

RAD2626 7:19 AM  

Thought this was great and fun, albeit somewhat easy. Welcome respite after yesterday's brute. Loved "chips in chips", "big house connection" and "divided at the start of war" clues. Agree DUMBLEDORE a gimme, and always good to start 1A with a long gimme. Agree with Rex re IME - maybe clued as "Reg follower?" would work?

Thank you Mr. Hensley for a great start to the holiday weekend.

Rex Porker 7:21 AM  

I fooled you! You thought I was going to go off on one of my screeds regarding QUAKERGUN, but no--today, an obscure thing that nobody's ever heard of is a thing of beauty, a learning opportunity, a teachable moment. Why is this obscurity (definition: things that might be really common but which I've never heard of) different from all other obscurities? We'll leave that question to the youngest at the table, but it might have to do with wine. Today, I correctly and roundly criticize VERAS, but for most of this week I've given most of the awful POCs a pass.
So, overall, this puzzle earns my highest praise of any puzzle so far this week: "uneven but mostly decent." I am practically bubbling.

Anonymous 7:30 AM  

Did @Aketi just post two comments, one of them quite long, without mentioning breasts or black belts?! It's a 4th of July miracle!

grammar nazi 7:48 AM  

@Aketi: I am not worried about typos. However, when they make a sentence hard to decipher, like @dk's "I have a current bush..." (paraphrasing MLK?) they bear mentioning.

(It seems that "I have a current bush" might be excellent fodder for our resident evil doug.)

Haiku Nerd 7:53 AM  


Ludyjynn 8:14 AM  

Dear @Hartley and @Nancy, What a way to start my b-day! When I opened the package, I got one of the biggest laughs of my entire life! (I am still recovering). The thoughtfulness (and hilarity) of your gift is amazing. I am quite impressed how you executed this caper! The packaging was gorgeous! BTW, Neiman Marcus has been bombarding my computer w/ pop up Koi ads for the past week and my willpower was sorely tested. Now, I can control the urge, thanks to your colorful rendition.. Seriously, I am blown away!

Now I will put on my thinking cap and try to focus on the puzzle. THANK YOU BOTH!

NCA President 8:20 AM  

Over at xword, both Mssrs. Chen and Hensley lament the inclusion of SEXKITTEN in today's grid, yet Rex nor the nearly 20 commenters here say one thing about it being "crass," or not-NYT-worthy. That says something...either about JC and BH or about the posters here. I personally had no problem with it...so I'm not sure what that says about me.

SEAICE is a thing that I didn't even knew existed. I've spent exactly 100% of my life inland having only visited beaches during summer or spring. I guess I figured the sea must freeze...but well...we just don't get much sea ice education in Nebraska. Obviously I know about the frozen waters near the poles...but isn't that frozen most of the time?

BA'AL crossing TBALL is interesting to me. Just missing bawl for the trifecta.

Got THETA on crosses, otherwise didn't know that the "sin" was the trig function...which I thought was usually abbreviated in all caps.

And yes, "LIB" is a bit of a pejorative since it's short for "liberal" (or "libruhl" as they're known here in the south)...which has become a dirty word in conservative circles. It's why folks who are left-leaning have begun to rename themselves "progressives."

Elle 54 8:43 AM  

I was confused by the clue about man's love for man to the Greeks...always thought that was PHILEO. I thought AGAPE referred to God's unconditional love. Any Greek scholars?

Casco Kid 8:46 AM  

1:25. 3 googles . 2 errors. IMPEeD/TEeD. Medium. I ran aground with the guess AngUSDUMBLEDORE which made BROMANCE invisible. I couldn't discern between Charlote RUSSE and RUSSO as either could work with a cross, so that was a google. INCUS was also a google. AVEMARIA was a guess that I pulled out when it only supported VERAS and ALARMING. I had good luck with guesses for TBALL and ELDORADO.


Van alLEN befor Van HALEN.
idoL before BAAL. That blocked entry into S and SE for 45 minutes.

I was able to get many entries from crosses today
becaus of minimal wrongness, which I credit to the quality of the cluing. This puzzle was well clued and so was a thousand times better than yesterday's.

On reflection, yesterday's puzzle was such a good idea that it was tragic to have hidden it behind a pile of largely ungettable clues.

demit 8:53 AM  

Not bothered at all being called a lefty or a lib. What some people think when they call me one has no affect on the denotation of the word. It just lets me know that those people think they are insulting me, and that they want to.

Nancy 8:55 AM  

aketi -- When you said you could meet tomorrow, you were posting before you went to bed, even though you posted early Friday morning. So did you mean today (Friday) or tomorrow (Saturday)? I can do either. If it's today, not the weekend, the boathouse won't be quite as crowded and I'll opt for that. I know what you look like now. I'm your height, short hair that used to be jet black and now has more than a little gray. I'll be wearing a white blouse, gray pants and a white cap with the huge letters "TIMEX" in bright red (I'll explain when we meet)printed on the front. I would meet you on the chairs in front of the boathouse and then we could go in together, assuming there's room overlooking the lake. If it's today, can you get back to me by 10 a.m. It's so beautiful out and I was up early.

Incidentally, someone on this blog gave me your actual identity off-blog this a.m. (It wasn't Teedmn.) But this person is an absolute psychic and she's never wrong. How she does it, I have no idea!

@Ludy -- Happy birthday!

Casco Kid 9:03 AM  

@Elle AGAPE is translated as "charity" in many English language bibles. That's how I rationalized it as a guess off the G in ALARMING.
@NCA prez SIXKITTEN got a chuckle here. Also, maps of the arctic show the maximal, winter-time extent of SEAICE. It has been receding in recent years and is one of the biggest proofs of global warming. Melting SEAICE had changed the salinity of the Gulf of Maine, which had been observed with shifts in sea life. SEAICE is not as salty as sea water, for perhaps obvious reasons.

QUAKERoak before QUAKERGUN. That was a guess -- like most of my daily solve.

NCA President 9:04 AM  

@Elle 54: I am no Greek scholar, but I stayed in a Holiday Inn Express last night. Okay, I didn't, but I went to a Bible College and we talked about the "four loves" found in Greek and outlined by C. S. Lewis:

Storge = affection
Phileo = friendship
Eros = sensuality
Agape = charity

I could be completely wrong here, but I believe that term "Agape" has been somewhat co-opted by Christendom to mean "unconditional Godly love." It does mean unconditional in some respects, but the God attachment is not necessarily true to the ancient Greek thought of it. After all, they had no singular God to apply it to. "Charity" is unconditional and calls one to love another despite their state in life and so can be also seen as a deep love/empathy toward another person.

"Phileo," on the other hand, is just run of the mill friendship. You might exhibit some agape in friend relationships, but agape happens with people not in your circle of friends too. If I empathize with someone who is homeless and give them some food, that's agape and not phileo.

The beauty of these four shades of love is that they are closely shaded in many ways...and our English doesn't have the same nuance that these words have.

But no, "agape" is not necessarily connected with a god...capital G or not.

GPO 9:14 AM  

Easy Friday for me, which felt well deserved after yesterday's (apostrophe added) long march through the land of the theme-impaired.

I don't usually quibble with the clues, but today I have two nits:

First, shouldn't PHD have been clued to indicate that it is an abbreviation? Or is a Ph.D. just a regular thing?

Second and more important, Ringo may be many nice things, but he is not a rock star. He's just not.

Mohair Sam 9:16 AM  

Anybody else spend 10 minutes running every five letter rapper's name before realizing the king of bling would have hit the scene over 50 years back?

DUMBLEDORE a gimme, sure, but who the heck remembers ALBUS? And didn't we all love the somewhat different take the gimme John CLEESE had on Lancelot.

idoL before BAAL cost us a lot of time. Can't understand the fuss over the tame SEXKITTEN. Never heard of RUMRAISIN the flavor, but it filled easily enough.

Tired of RAVI, and VERAS has us scratching our heads - but on the whole we liked this Friday - thanks Brandon Hensley.

Aketi 9:16 AM  
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Aketi 9:20 AM  
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Nancy 9:22 AM  

Sorry, everyone. I wanted to get that message to @aketi out soonest. And now for the puzzle. I found it quite challenging and lots of fun. Was at a disadvantage, since the all-important ALBUS DUMBLEDORE was unknown to me -- not just the first name, but the last, too. Although, once it started to come in, I remembered DUMBLEDORE -- I've never read or seen Harry Potter (wizards not being my thing), but DUMBLEDORE is sort of part of the Universal Consciousness.

Wanted APPALLING for ALARMING, but wasn't quite willing to spell it with one L. I do think that clue was there to fool us. Also had IDOL before BAAL but ANTES (it had to be ANTES!) straightened me out. I think that clue was there to fool us, too. Knew WARNINGS instead of CAUTIONS wouldn't work, so never wrote it in. Wanted GOULET before CLEESE as Lancelot player, but that didn't fit either. Hardest for me was the NW, but I was greatly helped by SNEAD, a great golfer who had to begin with an S. (You'll be helped, too, @OISK. You won't be, @Hartley 70!) I was furious with myself for not knowing the Poe poem. Never heard of it, in fact. "Poets and Poetry" is one of those Jeopardy categories where I would "make it a true daily double, Alex!" But here I would have lost all my money.

In short -- actually in long -- this was a really good Friday exercise that I very much enjoyed.

Carola 9:23 AM  

Medium for me, as in, solved from top to bottom at one go, but more at the pace of accreting SEA ICE than a waterfall. Rough start in the NW, where I thought there would be some sort of warning flAgS as CAUTIONS for heavy surf. A guess at EARP showed me that Rocky road had to yield to RUM RAISIN. Once that corner was cleaned up (I loved EXPURGATED), the rest went a little faster.

Speaking of non-EXPURGATED, I loved SEX KITTEN crossing SILKEN - picturing some satin little-nothing. TAKE A PEEK!

Moving to the SW, I was pretty sure that QUAKER GUN would be Rex's word of the day, but I couldn't wait to find out what it was. Interesting! However the cross of BROMANCE and MEME just made me think that both of these erstwhile fresh entries are getting pretty tired. That spot was the only EVOKER of anything less than pleasure though - I really enjoyed solving this one, with its ALARMING DRIVEL, ELDORADO, AND SCENE and more.

quilter1 9:41 AM  

Back from vacation bringing the grands to Iowa for a month. Fun times. I liked the puzzle, but was unsure of the spelling of DUMBLEDORE and blank on the first name, but got with crosses. I thought QUAKERGUN was very good and remembered it from a couple of Civil War novels. Happy to be doing puzzles once again.

Hartley70 9:43 AM  

@Ludy, So..Much..Fun..In..The..Planning! Thank goodness your birthday wasn't in November. As much as we enjoyed swanning around the city with it/him, the anticipation of your joy would have killed us.
BTW Neiman's is torturing me with temptations too, now that they've discovered a new customer!

@NCAPrez very interesting explanation of AGAPE though I'm not sure a stay in a Holiday Inn Express would have improved upon it.

@dk, oh yum to rum in your cold confection! I have a Mt. Gay hat I could wear to a tasting.

I totally enjoyed this puzzle. I did all but the NW corner last night and went to sleep annoyed that I couldn't see that last bit. This morning I could find a way to make WHITECAPS work because that had to be correct answer for 1a. Unlike Rex, HUXLEY was no gimme for me. If that 70 year old book is a classic, somehow I missed it. EARP came easier. SNEAD was fine off the S. Proper names were what I needed this morning.

Dansah 9:50 AM  

I,too, find clues in my field more not less difficult. Knowing more, I have more choices. SLIT for use a scalpel the other day was torture. (Surgeon)

Aketi 10:01 AM  
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Norm 10:06 AM  

Rex, If today was the first time you learned about Marion Zimmer Bradley, I think you need to start reading the paper more carefully.

mathguy 10:10 AM  

Jeff Chen found SEXKITTEN objectionable and not up to NYT standards. I'm glad that we are OK with it. I learned an expression in the current New Yorker that will not make it into the puzzle for quite a while. Cockblocker.

I liked Rex's comments today, but his reference to the author Bradley seemed to come out of nowhere. I hadn't heard of her and Sir Lancelot has dozens of other connections.

The opening line of ELDORADO struck a chord immediately. We memorized it in the ninth or tenth grade. After this, I'll look it up. As I recall, it is a lot of fun to recite.

Even though I've read and written "sin (theta)" thousands of times, I still didn't get how THETA accompanied sin until I'd finished. I had THE?? and I wad thinking that it had something to do with the scarlet letter.

In my experience, AVEMARIA is heard more often at funerals than weddings.

Okay crunch for a Friday but not much sparkle.

Teedmn 10:22 AM  

A rather SILKEN puzzle today. Only the NW really presented any hitches but SLEEPS and EARP anchored me there and WHITECAPS made everything else fall into place. After solving, I looked it over and saw almost no dreck (yeah, I'll give you VERAS) so I was surprised when @Rex criticized the fill. So Brandon Hensley, thanks for an easy Friday (or maybe it just seemed easy compared to yesterday's puzzle).

Happy birthday @Ludyjynn! Don't be koi, tell us what @Hartley70 and @Nancy got you. My best guess would be a rubber orange koi tote, much more budget-friendly than the Judith Lieber version.

@dk, dried currants are not my thing. Unless the home dried version is better than store-bought... A co-worker bought the Costco super-sized bag of dried currants and lobbied me to help him eat them. One serving in my daily yogurt was enough. He has enough currants to last through Armageddon. I guess at that point I'd eat them to ward off scurvy but that's what it would take!

EL DORADO was a gimme for me. My younger brother had to memorize it for grade school and having no memory skills, was struggling with it. As the kind, thoughtful big sister that I was, I memorized it in about ten minutes (can't do that anymore!) and ran around showing off my new poem. I feel bad now about being a brat but I still can rattle off the poem. (The word "shadow" appears in each EPIC VERSE. Seems like less than classic poetry construction, but then Poe didn't have a blog devoted to criticizing his style :-) ).

Ludyjynn 10:30 AM  

What a difference a day makes. I went from Rex's kindergarten class to becoming a PHD candidate! It took me a while to settle down from all the excitement generated by @Hartley and @Nancy's EPIC b-day gift. It also took willpower for me not to TAKEAPEEK in the box which was delivered well in advance. I am still AGAPE and trying to figure out how they managed this COVERT operation.

Several writeovers: 'Goulet' before CLEESE (hi, @Nancy); 'quasi' before QUAKERGUN; 'idol' before BAAL; 'crusader' before TEENAGER; 'alers' before ALECS; 'end' before ANDSCENE.

Learned something new about RINGO, who is indeed a legit rock STARr, IMO.

Some friends are taking me to lunch on this sunny day. No Charlotte RUSSE for me; I'm making a key lime pie to inhale later on.

Thanks, BH and WS, for a fine Friday. Happy B-Day, America!

Ludyjynn 10:35 AM  

@Teedmn, YES, that is exactly what they got me; packaged in the most beautiful NM box w/ SILKEN bow. I will use the little knock-off as a prized change purse.

jberg 10:35 AM  

I didn't mind SEX KITTEN; but the inappropriateness and pro-Christian bias of declaring BA'AL a "false" god seems unworthy of the NYT. That was the reason I stuck with idoL so long, even after I had AGAPE. (To add to the theological discussion, the Greek gods didn't exhibit much 'universal love for humankind.')

I wanted EPIC poetry for the Odyssey, settled for EPIC poems, and needed RAVI Shankar to see that it was VERSE.

As with many, my big obstacle was DUMBLEDORE's first name, combined with an incorrect idea that VERA was something you extracted from aloes, rather than the species name. And was I the only person who wanted Way MARIe (misspelled and mistitled, I know) for 34D?

But I teach POLI SCI, so I'm happy.

Nancy 10:39 AM  

@Aketi -- Sorry for the delay. Was on the phone with Hartley 70. How about 12:15, in front of the boathouse?

Anonymous 10:41 AM  

I have not read and refuse to read ANY Harry Potter novel. Nor do I plan to read Nancy Drew, Tom Swift or any other kid's lit. So ENOUGH with the $#@$ing clues.

Aketi 10:42 AM  
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Roo Monster 10:44 AM  

Hey All !
Whew! Way easier puz today than that ridiculous ThursPuz! Funny how a FriPuz can give you relief...

Looking for the pangram again today after the Q, V, K, but short an F J Z.

Got the NE corner first, SW corner second, then filled the middle. NW and SE were little challenges. Took a bit to suss CCS, thinking ivS. Had POLy also, but thought SILKEN was correct, had TAKEAPEEK lighty written in, so once CCS came to be, got DRIVEL and it all worked out. Only two other writeovers, wArnIngS->CAUTIONS, idoL->BAAL. Got puz 100%, no cheats! What about yesterday? I'm sure I don't know what you mean! I've stricken that puz from my memory! Gotta take the wins when you can!

No prob with SEXKITTEN, actually a tame word in today's world. (GN, or is it todays?)
VERAS a stretch as clued. How about Wang dresses? No? Also, 29D alt. clue, Smart ___? Just sayin. :-)


Aketi 10:50 AM  

@NCA President, it is such a 1950s term that reminds me of the campy performances of William Shatner with all the scantily clad SEX KITTENS. The best line in Star Trek IV for those of us who found James T Kirk to be laughably unsexy, was when Kirks asks, "As they say in your century... I don't even have your telephone number. ...How will I find you?" And Dr Gillian Taylor responds "Don't worry, I'll find you." Christopher Pine is far better eye candy and more credible in the role. I may watch my own words in my work and have reactions to certain words myself, but I'm not in favor of censorship.

@ Evil Doug, waiting for your take on the term which will more than likely make me laugh.

Maruchka 10:54 AM  

Pds/LBS (doh) led to Red/LIB and kept DUMBLEDORE out of sight way too long. Otherwise, it went pretty smooth. Did not remember EL DORADO, one google.

No LOLs, but nicely varied, and no hair-pulling. Thanks, Mr. Hensley.

Is it a given that VAN followed by 5 boxes is always HALEN? It seems to be embedded in me brain.

@Ludyjynn - Tillykke med fødselsdagen! A happy bunch of Danish consonants for your b'day.

@mathguy - Agree on AVE MARIA. I also wondered how to join Hester to sin. Now I know a new THETA-as-answer, thanks. No trig for I/ME!

Tita 10:57 AM  

If it weren't for this blog, I would have finished his Friday, that gave me a worthy struggle, and feel like I was getting soooo smart. Seeing Rex's rating then reminds me that maybe I'm not getting smarter, the puzzles are getting easier. Thankfully, it doesn't diminish my joy or my feeling of accomplishment.

Hi @old car fudd, and @quilter...nice to have you both back!

Happy birthday @ludy...have a great day with your Rexvillian friends.

Thanks for a crunchy friday, Mr. Hensley.

Z 11:05 AM  

RUM and RAISINs in ice cream‽ What next, Peas in our guacamole‽

The NW was killer for me, the rest simple. Maybe if HUXLEY had been a gimmee it would have been easier. 1A had me looking beachward, which also didn't help.

Don't know why SEX KITTEN is unworthy, it seems slightly presumptive and condescending to consider it so to me. Absolutely understand that EPIC VERSE is basically redundant (sure, we call lots of prose fiction "epic" - but no one ever calls an EPIC poem "EPIC VERSE" anymore), so was busy trying to come up for a genre synonym for the genre "odyssey." Had RAVI and SILKEN in place before I groaned at the right answer.

I see LIB used derogatorily on Twitter, usually by the "confederate flag is part of our proud heritage" crowd. I usually make one snide comment before I block them.

As for Bradley (and Allen and even Crosby) experience helps me be schroedingeresque. It was not infrequent that a teacher would come to me with some perceived after talking to a parent about the other parent, only to learn a day or week later that the situation was more complex or even more opposite to what we first were led to believe. It is hard for anyone to stay in that state of mind between "I believe you" and "I don't believe you," but really, usually we just don't know (although with Crosby, I'm pretty damn sure). Hardest is that people making allegations often absolutely believe what they are saying, even if there is a gap between reality and what they say.

AliasZ 11:08 AM  

Would you stop it already with BROMANCE? Just QUIT IT.
And SEX KITTEN. What woman would like to be called that? Maybe Caitlyn Jenner.

Favorites: EXPURGATE, INCUS, SILKEN, SEA ICE, AVE MARIA, QUAKER GUNS, and good guys wear WHITE CAPS. The other longish (6+) entries were mostly neutral.

I also liked θ, ρ, αγάπη and the Ὀδύσσεια clue that gave this one a Greek undertone. All this on the eve of Greece defaulting on its fiscal obligations, caused by decades-long LIB government spending and unsustainable social programs under the Papandreou dynasty. In 1981 the Greek political party called PASOK (Panhellenic Socialist Movement), founded in 1974 by Andreas Papandreou (1919-1996), won in a landslide victory and Papandreou became Greece's first socialist Prime Minister. The party's main slogan was "Allagi" (change). His son George Papandreou was leader of PASOK (2004-12) and Prime Minister of Greece from 2009 until 2011, when he was forced to resign due to the debt crisis. He has been the president of Socialist International since 2006. And now, default.

Worst entries: VERAS (Farmiga and Wang), ALECS (Baldwin and smart), HALEN, POLI, IME, TRAC and RAVI for which there are no reasonable alternative clues possible, not to mention the plural abbrs. I, ME and ME ME grew out of the "me me" generation. A "meh" puzzle for me with a higher than average cringe factor, proving that hipness ≠ good.

In other words, if Will started running themeless Tuesdays or Wednesdays, this would've been a good fit. Not a Friday-worthy puzzle, I'm afraid.

But Poe saves the day:

"Over the Mountains
Of the Moon,
Down the Valley of the Shadow,
Ride, boldly ride,"
The shade replied—
"If you seek for ELDORADO!"

And then there is Scherzo à la RUSSE.

Enjoy your (I assume) long weekend.

Nancy 11:09 AM  

@Ludy-- Am rushing out to meet @Aketi in Central Park, but, first, I must give credit where credit is due. While Hartley 70 and I may have hatched this EPIC, COVERT plot together, it was she who was sleuth enough to track you down; she who was resourceful enough to land a NM box, without paying an arm and a leg for it (I was offering a Saks Fifth Avenue box that had been sitting in a drawer of mine since way, way back in the day); and she who got her hands on that adorable rubber koi purse that I know you'll be so very proud to carry and show off to your friends. So I sort of feel that I'm basking in her reflected glory, as it were. But, as she says, the planning was really, really fun!

Tupak 11:24 AM  

I try to be generous when reading complaints about rapper names in crossword puzzles, to take a step back from crying racism and see what legitimate issues may exist. I frequently rely on thinking that yes, quite frequently, the names are just made up, there's no relying on "yeah, even though I don't know it, CHARLES is recognizable as a name. Yes, the solvers may be of an age where youth culture is alien to them. This forced charity keeps me from becoming enraged.

I'm not going to do this anymore, as I see but one complaint about ALDOS.

Master Melvin 11:31 AM  

I don't think I had heard the phrase QUAKER GUN, but it certainly makes sense. The kind of aha that makes crosswords a pleasure.

The same idea was used as late as WWII, when fake units composed of wooden tanks and the like were poised across the Channel from the Pas de Calais, helping to keep the Germans from focusing on the real target, Normandy.

Carola 11:31 AM  

@Ludyjynn - Happy Birthday, hon! (Ex-Baltimorean, one of the things I miss.)

Joseph Michael 11:50 AM  

Congrats, Brandon, on your themeless debut.

Excellent puzzle. I particularly liked QUAKER GUN which I got from the crosses but had to look up.

My biggest stumbling block was THETA which I also got from the crosses but didn't understand until I came here. Associating a letter with sin, I couldn't get past Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter.

r.alphbunker 11:57 AM  

Nice Friday puzzle. I had 6 stalls of a minute or more but the max was only 2 minutes. There were seven sputters between 30 seconds and 59 seconds. I had WARNINGS instead of CAUTIONS for a while so that slowed me down in the NE.

M&A has used the term Patrick Berry immunity several times on this blog to refer to answers that are above reproach because they have previously appeared in a Patrick Berry puzzle.

There are currently only 11,897 answers that have been granted this immunity.

In today's puzzle the words that have Patrick Berry immunity are:

The following answers have never appeared in a Patrick Berry puzzle and hence should be viewed with suspicion:

old timer 12:22 PM  

I have no trouble with SEXKITTEN. It's a Thing, it is (or was) in the language, and it seems to me the NYT puzzle is not a place for PC tsk-tsking.

I thought this was a fine puzzle, though I would not rate it *easy* on the whole. RAVI and KIX made the SE easy. HALEN and ADDED and DUMBLEDORE opened up the NE. "Solo at many a wedding" had me stymied for a while, and when I wrote in AVEMARIA, it was a Hail Mary pass, for sure. All I had before that was the awful VERAS. I did write "Aldus" for Mr. D's first name, and the last thing I did was change it to ALBUS. Because BROMANCE.

In the NW, Orwell or HUXLEY? Fortunately, the book was on my mother's bookshelf -- and is now on mine, somewhere, That's how I got RUMRAISIN, which was my favorite flavor at Bott's in Berkeley, back when there was a Bott's.

Lewis 12:31 PM  

@nancy -- I remember when you almost bailed on this blog. Glad you stayed!
@carola -- agree on BROMANCE and MEME. I'm guessing that when this puzzle was submitted, they were quite a bit fresher.

I wanted HOBIECATS to start, and that held me up. There were a couple of sections where just one word, when I figured it out, caused an immediate flood of answers. In the middle of that flood -- that is when I feel like this is what a solve is like for Rex. I liked the two puffed purchases, and the beautiful EXPURGATE, EVOKER, DRIVEL, COVERT, and IMPEND. We have one palindrome, a backward cart, and a backward phonetic spelling for necklace. A lovely journey and workout!

Anonymous 12:51 PM  

@dk, you have a current bush? I have an erstwhile bush. (Hush up, evil D)

@Anon 0730, Amen brother!

Lewis 12:56 PM  

Factoid: In the first writing session of the Monty Python team (including CLEESE), in 1969, among the names suggest for the show were ‘The Atomic Zoo’, ‘Arthur Megapode’s Flying Circus’, and ‘Cynthia Fellatio’s Flying Circus’.

Quotoid: "I thank you God for this MOST amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes." -- e. e. cummings

Richard @ BitPerfect 1:00 PM  

My wife and I try to do the NYT crossword every day, and when we're done we always come here to see what Rex Parker and his community has to say about it.

Actually, we do our NYT crosswords the old-fashioned way, with pencil (and eraser) in our daily newspaper. Problem is, our daily read is the Montreal Gazette, and we get our NYT crossword some 5 weeks after it appears in the NYT. As a result, much as I would like to join in with your discussions, it is all ancient history by the time I get the chance! For example, I have just finished the one with the EYE RHYMES (and found myself with the exact same fill, and errors, and blank spaces, as Rex did).

So, in 5 weeks' time, we will doubtless be doing this one that you guys are posting about today, and I'll be back here to read what y'all have been saying. And I look forward to that. I might even spot this very comment!

Charles Flaster 1:15 PM  

Enjoyed this EZ puzzle.
Liked THETA, AS A, and TBALL.
Write over-beST for MOST.
CrosswordEASE---BAAL Andy RHO.
Thanks BH.

Leapfinger 1:27 PM  

@jberg, I made the fit with EPIC poesy, and was set right by Norah Jones' dad (who also is not a Rok star). Thought of you at POLI Sci, humbly grateful at not being subjected to POLy this time.

@AlasZ, Going for the Greek and scherzo a la RUSSE?? I was all set for Teutonic and Mendelssohn's Die Erste Walexpurgateisnacht!

Default is not in the stars, but that may have been true only for the Romans.

Happy B'day to @Ludy. Is it true that sexkittens are koi?


Elephant's Child 1:35 PM  

@r.alph, can you link us to the other 11,880 entries?

ANON B 1:44 PM  

I'll be damned before I have
to read Harry Potter to know
who Albus Dumbledore is. Do
adults actually read that stuff?

It's a crossword blog 1:50 PM  

There is a reason God invented email, smart phones, texting, PDAs you should get each other's digits.

Fred Romagnolo 2:01 PM  

@Mathguy: absolutely, AVE MARIA is inappropriate in a Catholic (and I would presume a more conservative Protestant) wedding, it's about asking for forgiveness before death - a far cry from the joy to be expressed at a wedding. As for BAAL representing a pro-Christian bias - it's from the Old Testament! I'm not sure most LIBS would care to be identified with the decidedly leftist Progressive wing. Just as most Conservatives would hesitate to be identified with Tea-partiers (or Confederate Battle Flag defenders). I haven't read the Potter books, and got bored after the 1st movie, but let's face it - DUMBLEDORE like Emma is a name from literature that we're all going to hear (although not ALBUS - what's Emma's last name?). Didn't we have a big thing about POLI vs POLy Sci recently? It's like sine vs SIN, better be able to handle both (potatoes vs potatos?).

Mohair Sam 2:19 PM  

@Fred Romagnolo - Thank you. I'm not a particularly religious person, but I've attended many, many Catholic weddings and funerals and have only heard the beautiful Ave Maria at the latter. My ignorance of the faith and its traditions made me fear posting what seemed obvious.

paulsfo 2:22 PM  

@fred romagnolo: Agreed. i cant remember Emma's last name even though i've read the book several times and I believe it's the second word in the book. :)

yep, it is: "Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition, seemed to unite some of the best blessings of existence; and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her."

Masked and Anonymous 3:00 PM  

Nice little diversion. Team-solved it, (my part upside-down), at the local pancake plaza. Got some stuff in the middle first, like IME, ALECS, and TBALL, QUITIT, POTUS, and swelled out-word from there. Only slight hitch was that I clearly disremembered the Hogwart dude as ARGUS DUMBLEDORF. Cleaned most of that wee mess up, but ended up with REVELING as an important phase in demolition (35-D). This alternate answer is probably defendable, if the world championship had been on the line.

Speakin of demolition… Dynamite, thicker-than-snot stacks, in all four corners. Probably why M&A started in the middle, lookin for crumbs. (Even tho I sorta suspected WHITECAPS in 1-A. Haven't really ever thought of WRESTS as bein a legal tender synonym of {Extracts}, tho, so got cold feet.

U really really get some EPICVERSE, in the NYTPUzs. Most constructors really try to rise to the occasion. Good example of that phenom, right here. I mean, shoot -- it's eazye for punks like M&A to separate a couple little runt dogie-pewits out of the herd, and spend all their time brandin the ass off of just those. But just the day-um cleverness of the theme ideas, and the themeless-day stacks like today's litter of puppies, that keep old M&A comin back, year after year, sub-par U-count after sub-par U-count, for another generous helping. HADITMADE. TAKEAPEEK. QUAKERGUN. RUMRAISIN. REVELING. Sweet. Thanx for yer continuin good work, Shortzmeister. More, please. Keep yer balls outta the net, and have a good day.

"Working Undercover with AGENT (007-U) SEXKITTEN"

Z 3:04 PM  

@Tupac - I think I counted three plaints about all things Potter being foisted on us, including one before you posted.

BTW - Cosby.

@Fred R - Having started life as a moderate Republican, I find most of the policies that have been shown to work best are espoused by the progressive wing. Of course, moderate Republicanism used to be the home of all things progressive, so that is hardly surprising. I look at the current crop of Republican presidential candidates and don't see a single one the would have been warmly received in conservative west Michigan in 1975. I'd summarize progressivism as the notion that being your brother's keeper is not only good for your brother, it's good for you. Did you hear that the left wing of the Democratic Party is the one drawing the biggest crowds at the moment. It could be an interesting election season.

Mike D. 3:09 PM  

Hey has this forum turned into the "ladies who want to meet for tea" message board?

r.alphbunker 3:28 PM  

@Elephant's Child

Here it is

All of Patrick Berry

Let me know if there is any other information that you would like to have.

Masked and Anonymous 3:37 PM  

@r.alph: yep. Woulda bet serious small change, that IME wasn't gonna have the Patrick Berry Usage Immunity. Was kinda cute, havin both IME and MEME in there, tho.
Technically, PB1 had some pretty fierce "words" in a pretty weirdball 21 Oct 2011 FriPuz, includin, but not limited to:
* LLED and its symmetric entry, SUCC.
* AS, IR, CE and CL. [This was a clear call for help to Runtpuz Central.]
* RATRA and his faithful companion EARUP.

fave clue: 10-A = {Letter accompanying sin}. Wowzer, if U flunked trig, would U ever be in a passel of trouble, solvin that...



jberg 3:43 PM  

This AVE MARIA thing has caught my interest. I know very little about the theology of the Catholic service -- but surely it's all right to ask for forgiveness before you are dead! First of all, the basic text of the mass is full of 'have mercy on us' and 'pray for us;' and reciting the words of the AVE MARIA itself was reputedly one of the penances one of the penances assigned at confession. Ave Maria asks the version to pray for us 'now and in the hour of our death,' though, so it might seem just a little too morbid for a wedding.

But I speak from ignorance, and would welcome enlightenment.

AliasZ 3:46 PM  


Ask and ye shall receive.

Here is part 1 of "Die erste Wexpurgatesnacht" by Mendelssohn. Beautiful French horn playing at 3:35.

Elephant's Child, aging fast 3:54 PM  

Thankee kindly, @r.alph. FUEGO as far as the FUSTY GAELS, but it's at about there that I could see the beginnings of a theory of Berry's Immune System. Glad you aren't aVERSE to a pest's pestering. In this DAM AGE, it's hard to know. Had to throw CAUTIONS to the Aeolians just to ask.

Will keep you pested...er, posted on further progress.

Leapfinger 4:17 PM  

RexBlog commentary: the gift that keeps on giving. Some people just never let you down.

(Speaking of French horns, HS classmate Nancy -- a different one -- played one in band. I remember when I first saw her drain spit from it: a special e-eew moment I'll try to not have interfere with Felicitous enjoyment.)

@tupac, an addendum: I've been known to indulge in some things that are puffed (not the KIX) and would get them at the gas station when I filled up. For quite a while, they were on sale if you bought two, so when the young lad in the glassed-in kiosk would ask "One pack?", I'd hold up two fingers "Two pack". After this happened a couple of times, I made a comment citing you, and the kid was surprised that little Grandma lady had made the connection. So there's that.
Sorry for your untimely end, and kudos for still keeping your voice in.

Ted Cruz 5:28 PM  

There is no longer such a thing as a "moderate republican." Those who think they are "moderate republicans" are fooling themselves, but not the rest of us. They are useful idiots to very small-minded and dangerous (mostly) men.

Nancy 6:12 PM  

@Lewis -- Glad I stayed, too. Really nice people like you are a big reason why.

Anonymous 6:19 PM  

I see the circle jerk that is this blog is in full force today.

Anonymous 8:57 PM  

Feeling left out, Anonymous 619? Poor baby.

Fred Romagnolo 3:34 AM  

@Ted Cruz Said: North Korea and Cuba, like you, have no use whatsoever for any other party but theirs. HOW ARE YOU ON HUMAN RIGHTS?

Fred Romagnolo 3:38 AM  


old timer 1:38 PM  

Oh for the days when Earl Warren governed California in a Progressive tradition that dated back to the Theodore Roosevelt era. I remember when San Francisco was a Republican town. The Goldwater nomination changed everything -- including the need for the moderate Republicans to change their registration to DEM.

The strongest opponent of the Vietnam War was a Republican senator from Vermont -- a state that espouses pretty much the same views now as it did then, but which is now the most solidly Democratic states in the nation. I think the last two moderate Republicans were the lady senators from Maine.

Thanks for the music, @AliasZ

Anonymous 10:58 AM  

Only one look-up today so I'm happy. Have to agree this was an Easy/Medium puzz. I know nothing about Harry Potter and his ilk but I had the word Albus and that was all I needed for search.
Great grid by Mr. Hensley and many thanks.

Came across a quote yesterday and thought it hilarious. Jack Nicholson said: My mother never understood the irony of calling me a sonofabitch. Think about it.

Ron Diego, La Mesa, CA (Where all my gophers are lovingly dispatched by my two cats and promptly delivered to my side door for the taxidermist).

Quote from Jack Nicholson: "My mother never understood the irony of calling me a son-of-a-bitch."

spacecraft 11:15 AM  

Two things I know: today's puzzle was way easier than yesterday's--and @BS will make full use of SEXKITTEN. Got on track with TRAC and ELDORADO, and soon HADITMADE in the NE. -DORE as a school head? Please. On a Friday at least, be a little more COVERT on those gridspanners. Yes, I needed almost every cross for QUAKERGUN, but "of course" was my reaction. Quakers and guns don't mix--unless the guns are fake.

Despite some stuff I didn't know--never saw AGAPE clued as a Greek word!-- this had nearly a SILKEN feel to it, and I never had to TAKEAPEEK. Wow, is SEAICE a thing? Brrr! Call it a B.

Burma Shave 12:21 PM  

In the event THAT this may be EXPURGATED, the following DRIVEL is no EPICVERSE, so apologies to RINGO Starr, Sam SNEAD, Aldous HUXLEY, and ALBUSDUMBLEDORE, in no particular order


I HADITMADE you’ll TEND to wager.


In the end, it was time to QUITIT, before any DAMAGE was LADEN on either party.

rondo 12:48 PM  

The WSW was a little troublesome for me. I’ve seen a couple of the Potter flicks, but didn’t know there was a first name and had AngUS in there for the longest time, which created down problems, for a while. But happily fixed.

When can we get over this BROMANCE nonsense? QUITIT already. Save that kinda word for the tabloids.

Isn’t it really TeeBALL? Because they put the BALL on a Tee? At their age I faced live PITCHing; didn’t DAMAGE me. No wonder these smart ALECS are growing up needy.

Propped up false god = TBAAL??

Van HALEN – fun enough to listen to, but never purchased their stuff..

I recently posted about the SEXKITTEN who tried to (at first) COVERTly TAKEAPEEK through my cottage window. Well, we both HADITMADE that summer.

The Captain Jack is on me – there’ll be some RUMRAISIN’ today!
One week of vacation down and 2 ½ to go. Might be missin’ a few posts in the next couple weeks.

leftcoastTAMl 8:37 PM  

I couldn't accept AVEMARIA as a wedding song, so I DNF.
Otherwise, it was a solvable puzzle though I had to run the alphabet too many times for too many answers.

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