Neanderthal accompanier in cartoons / FRI 8-7-15 / Like inopportune months to eat oysters / Best-selling 1970s poster subject familiarly / Its English offshoot launched in 2006 / Old/new food regimen

Friday, August 7, 2015

Constructor: Peter Wentz

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: TORIC (5D: Like bagels) —
adj. of or resembling JOE TORRE, which seems kind of mean, but hey, I didn't write the dictionary.
• • •

OK, so between having dinner guests, and the first GOP debates, plural! (yes, I watched them both), and then also the final "Daily Show" (an hour long!), I, uh, don't really have a lot of time/energy for this write-up. Also, write-ups for the next few days could get a little dicey, as I am heading tomorrow to Lollapuzzoola 8 in Ye Olde Manhattane (you should go), and am not getting back til Monday. There will be drinks and puzzles and more drinks and foods and Yankee Stadium and drinks and, randomly, a Minnesota friend who just happens to be in NYC unrelated to crossword stuff, and probably some other stuff in there. So, yeah, the write-ups might suffer. Or they might improve. This is all a matter of perspective. At any rate, this puzzle ruled even though it was way too easy. Please give Peter Wentz all the Friday puzzles. Or half. Other half to Patrick Berry. Then other people when those guys need a day off. That would be nice.

["Circus life / Under the BIG TOP world / We all need the clowns / To make us cry"]

My favorite clue of the day was [Food channel] for GULLET. My least favorite answer was AOKS because honestly when is that Ever plural. RLESS can also suck it. But otherwise, mwah, big kiss for this thing. I knew things were gonna fly when I zinged a couple of longish answers right off the bat:

Usually I use short answers to build to the long ones, which is kind of what happened here, except I needed just one short answer (CLUB) to get things going. From here I finished the NW quickly and then circled the central black squares quickly, in a counterclockwise ovalish shape like so:

... leaving just some filling in in the SE, and then the NE and SW corners, which I solved, easily, in that order. I got a tiny bit worried about getting into the SW corner, 'cause you gotta come into it from the back ends of just a few answers, which can be tricky, but then this happened:

[What are DES KLAMPS? Is that some Belgian thing?]

I think my last answer was LCDS. I don't really get the clue on RON PAUL, which is to say I don't really get the significance of the anagram, and I don't generally like clues that use anagrams (he's famous, why are you doing that?). I enjoyed seeing ZIPLINES as I was just on some in the mountains of British Columbia last week. I learned from one of the women in our party (a Minnesotan) that they have a ZIPLINE in the Mall of America (true fact!). My stepbrother (along with the rest of my family) was in the mountains with me. I mention him here only because he had that FARRAH poster on his wall when he was a teenager. 1979. I remember it well.
See you tomorrow and throughout my crossword weekend. Again, there's still time to register for Lollapuzzoola 8, the funnest and now only NYC crossword tournament. See you there, or here, or both.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

PS [Texan's rival] is COLT because of football. It's a football thing.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Da Bears 1:25 AM  

Lovely write-up, Rex. It reads like you are already at Lollapuzzoola 8. My favorite was JAZZ AGE.

Anonymous 1:27 AM  

Well OK. There were a lot of "TO's." To wit: ran TO, opts TO, Joe TOrre, big TOp, TOwel, sTOlid, TOric, snapped TO, tried TO.

I tried to ignore them, but there were TO many!


Music man 1:29 AM  

I too found this quite easy, easiest Friday I've ever solved in fact. One thing I didn't like too much was the overuse of TO at the ends of words. I count four: OPTS TO, SNAPPED TO, TRIED TO, RAN TO. Plus there's the adding of OK and GO. One particular corner crossed LETS GO, OPTS TO, and SNAPPED TO, all crossing at the TO/GO. I wouldn't take that TO GO. Other than that I liked it. It had some zippy answers. PALEO DIET, AL JAZEERA, FRAT PARTY. I liked the clues for FRAT PARTY, GULLET, and absolutely loved the clue for ESSAY.

Erasures: JAZZ era, and cIrcus for BIG TOP, which only fed the JAZZ era debacle for far too long.

Steve J 1:31 AM  

Really wonderful Friday puzzle. Lots of great, long fill (really, everything of 8+ letters ranged from good to excellent), several great (and fairly) misdirective clues, and only one or two things to possible complain about (the biggest being two OKs in the puzzle).

This finished on the quick side for me, but it didn't feel easy. My first pass, I only had scattered bits filled in. But this had that quality that so many excellent Fri/Sat puzzles have, where you give things a try, that opens up a cross or two, and you start having multiple "oh, of course" and "how didn't I see that earlier" reactions as answers fall into place. I think the quickish fill came not from easiness, but from quality construction where the pieces fit together so well, getting a key entry caused many others to come into view quickly.

Whatever the case, I had a great time with this one.

jae 1:57 AM  

Rex et. al. are right, pretty easy Fri.  I had more trouble with @lms's LAT Thurs. (a fine  puzzle BTW) than with this one. 

One erasure: PLot before PLAN

Some excellent long downs plus very light on dreck (I'm ignoring all the TOs), liked it, except for the too easy part. 

MDMA 2:03 AM  

RON PAUL? 17 candidates and he ain't one.

If you want anagrams in the news, how about "damn turd pol"?

chefwen 2:05 AM  

Got the puzzle at 4 P.M. Had to be out of the door at 4:30 and got the puppy done. A small miricle for me on a Friday, I'm never that fast. Must agree with the easy rating.

My husbands doctor put him on a PALEO DIET which was a huge pain in the backside. Special flour, no this, no that, kept up with it for a month with no change. Threw it all out.

Biggest goof was at 57A. PEST spray before PESTICIDE. Easy fix.

I suppose we will have to pay the price tomorrow for an easy Friday.

Moly Shu 3:02 AM  

RANTO, OPTSTO, TRIEDTO and SNAPPEDTO along with WELLOK and AOKS is usually what @Rex rails against. Poor, lazy, bad editor, etc. But for some reason they get a pass here. I didn't like the repetition at all. Found it detracted from the good parts. Only mistake was PLot before PLAN which made me change the correct SAMOAN to SoMali (is that even a language?) but no real harm done as the long downs were easy enough to correct this small problem. Agree on the easy but disagree on the 'this puzzle ruled' I found it distracting, kept asking myself " seriously, 4 TO's?"

Charles Flaster 4:30 AM  

Went from nothing on first run through to EZ after getting CLUB, SCAR and FRAT PARTY.
Everything just meshed.
Write over was PLAN for PLot.
Liked cluing for LOO, GULLET and of course fellow Brooklynite --Gentleman/ great hitter/manager JOE TORRE.
Thanks PW.

Danp 5:15 AM  

Has Ron Paul been in the news lately? Let me rephrase that. HAS RON PAUL BEEN IN THE NEWS LATELY?

Leapfinger 5:30 AM  

I can understand Gary Cee leaving the Bee out of TRIbUNES, but why would Peter Wentz leave the Bee out FAKE DOUbT??
RLESS and BLESS, Peter Bwentz?

James Arness
Died in harness.
Once he was RLESS,
All that was left was Aness
James S.

evil doug 6:29 AM  

Friday requirements: Clever clues, challenging answers. This one gets a 50. OK? OK.

Z 6:49 AM  

I grew up in a land where "Welkom" is plastered everywhere ("if you ain't Dutch you ain't much," Nazareth's Hair of the Dog, and FARRAH Fawcett posters all played roles in my teenage years). I blame this misspent youth for dooking on WELLOK. I stared long and hard before believing that was a correct answer.

Otherwise a mostly clean solve. YAkS to YAPS was quickly fixed by SNIkE being so obviously wrong. Missing the plural hint and putting in DESKLight took a little longer to clean up.

I think I'm going to make something that resembles JOE TORRE, now.

Steve O. 6:50 AM  

Fun puzzle. Yep, quick solving time (for me), so it also made me feel smart.

I don't mind the anagram out of the blue; it helps you back into the SW without having to know who RON PAUL is (which I do, but whatever).

I also really enjoyed many clues. (True fact!)

I'm going to New York today, too, but that's just for work, then back again tomorrow for my FIRST EVAH xword tourney.

Mohair Sam 7:05 AM  

Agree with @Rex this morning. Very easy Friday, but totally enjoyable.

Lost some time with ArOsE for AWOKE. Bet lots of us had AdmirALS for for ARSENALS for a while as I did, and spelling ALJAZEERA correctly took a little while. Have spelled STABILIZE as STABaLIZE all my life and therefore believed in the TORaC bagel for a while as a result.

Agree with @Music Man about the the delightful clues for FRATPARTY, GULLET and ESSAY. And good old RLESS was a gimme - a need to know on Long Island when I was a kid.

Today is our last day of house-sitting, hence our last day of on-line solving - actually beginning to enjoy the on-line thing. We finished Thursday and Friday puzzles faster than Tuesday and Wednesday. How 'bout that for a learning curve!

Leapfinger 7:29 AM  

More fun than a barrel of money, with great GO_FIGURE-out clues like 3D (AL who? Oh, JAZEERA... Not JAZZAGE?) and the one for SAMOAN, which tells you the capital of Peru is Five. Loved [Food channel] for GULLET, but the clue for DEEP, [Way down], would have worked also. It had me thinking every step of the way (fields, plains, TRACTS), and even so my boxer held on to a LEASH instead of a TOWEL. STOLID is just the perfect word its meaning. A solid STOLID.
Bonus point: reminding me of "Cakewalk Into Town", one of my favourite TAZ Mahal cuts.

Couldn't help noticing there were LOTSA ZIPLINES in the grid:

Headline - Theodore Roosevelt Announces Initiative: TR ACTS
Eric's Calif. cousin: CA BANA
What you saw 'go' in "Trading Places": S-CAR

Hank Williams, "You Can't Hide Your Lyin' Eyes"
Horse Groomer, "Blinders Hide Those STABILIZE"

Que voulons-nous quand quelque chose 'falls apart'? Nous voulons DES KLAMPS
A distant cheer: FAR_RAH

The one-R Farah was a Diba,
The two-R FARRAH, sometime diva.
But you can bet your bust of Siva
That neither gal went to Yeshiva.
Nor played the part of wide receiva.
(At least as far as I perceiva...)

WELL, OK, I admit I AM ORAL, but Peter Wentz out of his way to tempt me. Hentzforth, I'll be looking unto the hills.

Happy Friday, one and all.

Deke 7:31 AM  

Why is hop the answer to 54A bound slightly?

Hungry Mother 7:49 AM  

Appreciated that I could solve this and the LA Times and be able to get on with things before 8:00 AM. Not easy for me ever past Wednesday, but OK.

George Barany 7:55 AM  

@Rex, fun writeup, and impressive that you were still able to post it after all of your other activities starting late afternoon and going through most of the evening. Hope you have a blast at the tournament this weekend, as well as the Yankees game, etc.

As for me, I solved @Peter Wentz's puzzle with the debate in the background, and then was quite moved by Jon Stewart's final show. You mentioned AOKS, to which I would add WELL_OK. TO his credit, @Peter is aware of this, as per his comments on Your joke about DES_KLAMPS was hilarious. I enjoyed the anagram of RON_PAUL almost as much as his son's entanglements with Donald Trump and Chris Christie at the debate, and JOE_TORRE is not the only Hall-of-Famer to have managed both the Mets and the Yankees (who is the other?).

My kids are both grown now, so we rarely go to Mall of America any more ... can't comment knowledgeably about their ZIPLINES. Seeing that poster of FARRAH reminds me that her final illness and death was very much in the headlines for about half a news cycle ... and then Michael Jackson died later the same day. Shocking!

Aketi 7:58 AM  

@anonymous 1:27 and music man, I kinda liked that there were LOTSA TOs, a few GOs and a sitUP, twistsOFF and fakedOUT. I think it's OK that we disagree.

If you needed to reach a place in a hurry, is it faster if you HOPped to it or if you RAN TO it?

I am ambivalent about ZIPLINES and chair lifts and sky trams. I was always terrified that I'd get stuck dangliing over the lions on the Skyfari tram at the Bronx zoo that my son insisted on riding every time we went. Turns out my fears were not unfounded because it did get stuck particularly since my biggest fear of getting stuck actually came true. The pregnant woman who was stuck sued for the psychological damage from being "stuck for five hours above the fang-bearing, flesh-eating babboons" according to the NY Daily News. Nevertheless, I did brave a ZIPLINE and obstacle course on vacation a few weeks ago. I was relieved that there was an age limit of 18 for the Extreme ZIPLINE. I think our 16 year old could have done it, but i was happy for the excuse not to have to walk over tight ropes and swaying swinging logs and boards 100S of feet from the ground.

AliasZ 8:26 AM  

I don't know, but when there is any duplication in other puzzles, it seems to stick out like an aching tooth, but today I barely noticed the four TO phrases. And the two OK phrases. It was only after completing the grid to look back and take in all the goodness, did I even notice: hey, look at all those TOs. So you know what? I decided that all the great stuff outweighs them. Am I making MOLEHILLS out of mountains?

The one duplication I did mind was JAZZ AGE and AL JAZE ERA. Who the heck was AL JAZE anyway?

But I learned how to count to six in SAMOAN. I am now patiently waiting until the clue for LIMA and ONO will be five and six in SAMOAN, respectively.

The biggest misstep: OUR PLAN in the clue for RON PAUL, because the word PLAN was already in the grid at 29D. Unnecessary and inelegant, to say the least.

• I needed and IRONCLAD GULLET to swallow AOKS.
• Is it TORIC or toroid? In my field it is toroid.
• BIGTOP reminded me of an old school mate we lovingly called BIGTOP Bertha.
• WELLOK (rhymes with wedlock) is today's dook.

Today there RLESS four-letter words than any other lengths, except the four sevens. A rare feat indeed. This alone made me SITUP and take notice.

Here is the St. Michael the Archangel who SLEW the dragon in Revelations, not to be confused with St. George, who was a real-life person and SLEW a living, breathing dragon.

Now let me put on my Dolce & CABANA shoes and get out of here.

Not-quite-quotidian Dad 8:27 AM  

thank you Zippy/Anonymous/MusicMan/MolyShu/Aketi, I was sure Rex would rip that blemish TO shreds.

Hartley70 8:29 AM  

I started with SLEW and all good things followed from there. I had trouble finding that toehold. I thought I was pretty cute with throat, but I had to change to GULLET. I kept switching TOWEL and leash. I was looking for a location instead JAZZAGE, but nothing was a stymie, so I finished in a fast time for Friday. Work's done; weekend's begun!

joho 8:32 AM  

It's not often I think a Friday puzzle is delightful, but this one most certainly was! And so, too, was your write-up, @Rex!

The wonderful clue for GULLET took all the ugliness out of that word.

Clever cluing all around plus interesting, scrabbly answers like ALJAZEERA and JAZZAGE gave the grid LOTSA ZIP!

Loved it, thank you, Peter Wentz. I can't remember a puzzle of yours that I didn't like (love!).

Dr. Mike 8:34 AM  

@Chefwen your husband needs a new doctor. There is no medical reason anyone should be on a PALEO DIET.

Loren Muse Smith 8:34 AM  

With no fill-in-the-blanks to dispatch, I started in the northwest with "malady" for that runner's knee. First entry. You know you're doing too many puzzles when you see the clue "like bagels" and erase the "malady" cross so TORIC can go right in lickety split.

I bet like thousands I had "lemon" before ONION. Sheesh. What. Do you slice the onion and then rub it all over your arms and legs? That would be not only an insect repellant but your general all-purpose repellant, right? Talk about flying solo. You'll be sitting alone on the bleachers for the group shot.

And while I'm on insects, wouldn't you think "arthroscopy reminder" would be something like the six remaining legs that poor Grandaddy Longlegs was running around with because you and Joanne pulled two off to see if they did in fact move on their own? "Arthroscopy" looks like some procedure you'd to on a bug. If you have your shoulder scoped, it should be called "orthoscopy." Who* do I speak to to get this changed?

Loved seeing SALON clued this way. Rexworld is our salon. And now that it's been exterminated, it's such a lovely place to hang out.

FARRAH crossing WART was jarring. Man, that poster – I was and still am Stunned at how pretty she was. She's was so pretty it hurt.

NILLA – advice: if you're craving banana pudding, get the NILLA box with the recipe on the back. Get out your double boiler, go to the trouble, and make that real custard. Don't just buy a box of instant banana pudding and wing it. The recipe on the back of the NILLA box produces a banana pudding that is so good you just want to slap someone.

Agree with Rex, @Steve et al - right over the plate.

*Yeah, that's right, pedants. Have at it.

Z 8:43 AM  

@Deke - bound. Guessing that you were thinking "tied up."

Maruchka 8:50 AM  

TO too many, OK? Didn't bother me once the absolute smoothness kicked in. Old fashioned, yet lots of zip. Not one techy clue (when did we morph into byte-sters). Agree with @Rex. Clever Mr. Wentz.

@Deke - HOP had me, too, until I rethought 'bound'. A little leap..

Please send good thoughts my brother and sister-in-law's way. Their house in the Trinity Alps wilderness is extremely close to the River Complex fire line. The fire crew had to back burn across their water line, so now it's even more at risk. When will it end?

Anonymous 8:51 AM  


Read your own question, but slowly...

Bound, as in leaps and...

Knew RP would rate it easy, as I breezed through this guy too. Got some long ones off of just one cross, like ALJAZEERA off TAZ.

JOETORRE pretty much a gimme, but I put it in faintly until I got a couple of crosses to work.

Really liked ZIPLINES, just did that on vacation with my fearless 12-year old gymnast daughter.

Rex went clockwise from the NW, and I went the other way, but the SE was last to fall.

Thought for a bit that 52A might be SNarky, but crosses worked it out.

Now what to do until lima(pm)?


Tita 8:52 AM  

Fastest Friday ever! Only Friday ever with no write overs! Huzzah...the crossword goddesses granted me crossword wisdom the day befor lollapuzzoola!!!!
I am gonna so ace it!
(Uh oh...what if the power bestowed was just temporary...and in my prayers to said gods I got the date wrong...?!)

I didn't mind the TOs and OKs. What y'all said about the fun clever clues. I liked this Friday mucho.
And will there be a NOSE-based answer in every nyt puzz from now on?

In one of those Loren-style confessions, let me confess that I am going to a meeting of the UN tonight...a foundation established when my older siblings and the neighbor kids were little...the United Nostrils. Some of them have never outgrown it. We are having dinner with them tonight followed by a spirited Taboo tourney. This lifelong affliction might explain how tuned in I am to all the nasal fill of late.

Thank you mr. Wendt!

Aketi 8:53 AM  

Forgot to wish good luck to everyone who is attending the Lollapuzoola tomorrow, especially Nancy. You GO girl!

I know its not about a ZIPLINE, but I might have actually had a bungie jumping experience had I slipped off the obstacles on the ZIPLINE/obstacle course. I found this hilarious clip of Jeanne Robertson talking about why you shouldn't bungie jump naked (particularly if you are of a certain age).

quilter1 8:56 AM  

Sweet and smooth except in the SW where I committed to ArOsE rather than AWOKE and struggled for a bit. Good puzzle.

Mohair Sam 9:12 AM  

@George Barany - Let me join the throng yelling "Yogi!!!"

@Deke 7:31 - I'll bet you regretted hitting the "Enter" key at 7:31:05.

Ludyjynn 9:13 AM  

Solved this one from South to North, starting w/ the lovely FARRAH. Every one of the red-blooded teenaged high school boys I was teaching in the late '70s had her iconic poster taped up in their lockers or on their bedroom walls.

SNIPE brings back memories of an early "Cheers" episode in which the bar regulars sent Frasier on a fruitless, hilarious 'snipe hunt'. Ironically, there is indeed a hard to catch shorebird called a snipe.

LOTSA nice clues and a SLEW of clever answers here so that WELLOK gets a pass in my book.

I tried to thank those of you yesterday who corrected my GEENA "nit", but Rex OPTed not TO post that comment. So, thanks, everyone for educating me. And thanks to @Nancy and @Hartley.

Finally, thanks to PW and WS for a smooth Friday, totally in my wheelhouse.

mathgent 9:14 AM  

@Steve J expressed my feelings exactly.

I'm intrigued by the phrase "true fact." Rex may have used it sarcastically because the constructor used it in his clue for ONION. I looked it up. It doesn't get defined in the mainstream dictionaries. @Louis uses the word "factoid" for statements which I suppose are true. To me, all facts are true, as in "That's a fact!" Is "true fact" creeping into our vocabulary as we become a more skeptical society?

I'm guessing that Will made the clue for RONPAUL an anagram to avoid being criticized for having a clue with political overtones.

@Leapfinger: Loved your Farrah poem.

NCA President 9:14 AM  

I was on pace for record time until I hit the New England coast wall. I oscillated on the "Salon offering" between iSSue and Ezine...the former corroborated the crossing plurals and the latter, JOETORRE. It didn't help that the name of Torre's co-author ends in an I. So back and forth and back and forth until I cheated with a spell check and found that the E was right and the "zine" was all wrong. So that opened up ESS-- and from there I got it and the rest fell into place.

I noticed the plethora of TOs too...and to Rex's point recently, that's what I remembered most about the puzzle at the end. I liked the puzzle, but those TOs were a black eye to the overall pleasure of the puzzle. Don't get me wrong, the puzzle didn't suck and I liked it, but the aftertaste...too many TOs.

Can someone tell me how 10D TELL is a Texas hold 'em giveaway? Do people just tell others what they have? Or is it that a 5 year old is asking you out loud why you have three aces and in so doing "tells" everyone what you have? I had Talk for a in the old rule in Euchre..."no table talk."

Because I'm not a constructor, and because I'm sure it's hard, I'll overlook the LOTSA TOs and say the puzzle, overall, was a great Friday puzzle.

Nancy 9:34 AM  

So today, in anticipation of Lollapuzzoola tomorrow, I approached the puzzle pretending I was solving it at the tournament. I guess I have a highly active imagination, because I looked at the NW corner and froze. "Where the hell is my toehold?" I muttered to myself. "Oh, okay, there it is! OCEAN to NAPA. Whew!"

Thought this was a terrific puzzle that provided plenty of resistance and occasions for mistakes, but nothing at all that was arcane. I had CIRCUS before BIG TOP, but the B in what was sure to be either seaLAB or SKYLAB straightened me out. Also had SOMALI before SAMOAN. The only WOE for me was ZIPLINES and when I finish typing this, I'll go back and find out what on earth they are. Most misleading clue for me? "Salon offering." I was thinking rinse or haircut or blow dry or manicure. ESSAY sure seemed to be coming in, but for a long moment, I couldn't figure out why.

I practiced with my new, erasable Papermate pen today, and since I had many erasures, it was helpful. But after only one puzzle (!), my hand hurts. It requires so much pressure compared with my non-erasable but beloved Bic. I'm going to the tournament with 3 of each, and if I get to the point where my hand hurts too much, I'll switch to the Bic and neatness be damned. Wish me luck, everyone!

Carola 9:36 AM  

Medium for me, a very pleasurable meander through the grid interrupted by a few stumbles (PLot, imp before TAZ, a couple of misread clues, the failure to remember - tor the nth time - that a "setting" is not necessarily a place). Loved the Neanderthal's CLUB along with the PALEO DIET (PESTICIDE-free back then).

Roo Monster 9:38 AM  

Hey All !
Let's see if this works: Huge Tracts of Land

Agree with @Moly Shu. Too many TOs and double OKs. More than likely this would've been rejected had someone else (me? :-) ) sent it in.

Did find it easy-medium. Got the NW real quick, then slogged a bit through the center, and sniffed out the SE. Had some troubles in the SW, but got SCAR finally and that was all I needed to complete down there. Hate to admit, but the NE corner gave me fits! Had ___ZAGE for the longest time, figuring it had to be an AGE of some sort. Also ESP clue, kept thinking "The Walking Dead", so that took a while. Finally ran the alphabet for the AGE, hit in J for JAZZ, and it all fell. Man. RLESS still a bit odd/off. And after all that, had my Patent Pending one-letter DNF! Have I told you how much I hate that? Had an E at CeLT/STeLID. Sh..... ucks.

Writeovers, TRyhard->TRIEDTO, TORus->TORIC, AyeS->AOKS.


Casco Kid 9:42 AM  

Hmmm. A famous Yankee who was famously not at Yankee for part of his career? In 8 letters? That just screams (SCREAMS) one name. OK, so there was another one. Huh. Who knew?

45 min for NW SW SE. And another 45 minutes for NE. Think: cities in Spain ending ___ZAGE. Think. Think. OK. Go by state: Galicia? Nope. Asturias? Nope.( I'll spare you the rest of the geography of Spain.)

Does sweat repel insects? Naw. bloOd? Hey, that would be noteworthy. But LOTSA is a highly unlikely guess for [Mucho] so the O in the 4th place is probably wrong.

Like months without Rs in 5 letters: normo ? !

Crazy NE.

Finished error free in 90 minutes. After I gave up on Spanish geography, I went to 20th century Latin-named public intellectuals who might have given their 4 letter name to AGES. Ortega y Gasset? No. Unamuno? No. Uh. HerZ? C'mon! Not Joan baeZ?!?! Finally. Finally. In a vacant lull of exhaustion. JAZZ. I think JoAnbaeZ got me there.

Bob Kerfuffle 9:52 AM  

Fine puzzle; more a Medium for me.

Next-to-last to fall was SW; last was NE. With ___ZAGE at7D, was hung up on thinking this "setting" was some part of Iberian geography. Perfectly valid clue, but it took me a long time to get to JAZZ AGE.

If all goes well, see you at Lollapuzzocho tomorrow. Just look for an old coot in a Scarlet Macaw t-shirt.

JC66 10:02 AM  

Casey Stengel

Nancy 10:19 AM  

@Aketi -- Many thanks for your good wishes.

@NCA Pres -- While I don't gamble myself (and no one who hates losing money as much as I do ever would), I did see "The Sting". A "tell" is slang for an involuntary physical giveaway that lets people know what cards you are holding and when you are bluffing. It can be anything: a furrowing of the forehead, a twitch of the eyelid, a scratching of the chin. All neophytes are said to be subject to them and all professional gamblers are said to be adept at reading them.

@Bob K -- I'll try to look for you, but what on earth is a "Scarlet Macaw t-shirt"?

Ludyjynn 10:32 AM  

@NCAPres, a TELL is an unconscious physical tic or giveaway that each player tries to control, w/ varying degrees of success. Trying to maintain a 'poker face' means trying to eliminate any sign or tell of what your hand holds. Some wear sunglasses to achieve this, but finger tapping, toe tapping, reddening of the neck, etc. can be clues to whether the player has a winning or losing hand. It is as fascinating to observe as the game itself, IMO.

Ellen S 10:40 AM  

I like true facts as opposed to the other kind.

Fun puzzle, esp. Clues for GULLET and ZIPLINES.

Z 10:46 AM  

@NCA Prez - TELL is poker slang for anything that gives away when a player is bluffing. Texas Hold 'em is a popular version of poker. If you have any sports channels in your TV package you can find hours and hours of various poker tournaments being aired and become an expert commentator is a week or so. Personally, I don't get it, but I infer there must be a lot of interest in watching people sitting around playing cards. Might as well be tiddly-winks as far as I'm concerned.

Karma is TORIC. Here's an off-topic but snarkily amusing story. Generally I avoid stories about public figures' love lives UNLESS the whole "hypocrite" thing is part of the story. I am having a hard time understanding how starting a "male prostitute" rumor was supposed to help....

GILL I. 10:54 AM  

A most enjoyable puzzle. Yes, we should have Peter on Friday and Patrick on Saturday and @Leapy commenting on both....!
Like @Bob K, my biggest problem was seeing JOE TORRE and JAZZAGE. I was thinking Spain and bulls and only CORRIDA fit. Did they misspell Pamplona?
Before it burns up, I want to ZIP LINE in Yosemite before I die. Maybe the San Diego Zoo as well. That comes as close to my dream of flying like Superman as anything else.
@Maruchka. California is burning up. It's awful here right now. For the last few days the air has been muggy and eerily overcast with fire smell in the air. I do pray for your family and everyone else stuck in the path of this hell hole.
I wanted to thank those of you yesterday who set me straight on the ZONE clue but I thought it might not post until sometime today.
Have fun at the Lolla and please, take some pictures so that we can ooh and aah.....

mac 11:04 AM  

Zippy puzzle, lots of fun! Gives me courage for tomorrow's Lolla.

The last area to fall was the NE for me. Too bad I can't walk away away for a few minutes
at a tournament....

A healthy food guru in the NYT last weekend said about the paleo diet: good plan if you want the life span of a Neanderthal.

I'm already in NY, what a gorgeous day! See you all tomorrow.

Loren Muse Smith 11:17 AM  

@Nancy – I was sure he meant this shirt – his lucky solving shirt, but I guess I'm wrong. Bob – a t-shirt? Be sure you find him, Nancy. You'll just have more fun.

Mr. Kerfuffle's shirt

jberg 11:17 AM  

I agree that this was basically fairly easy, but I got slowed down by lots of little things. First, I wanted the cartoon Neanderthal to have a pet dino or t-rex; didn't put that in, but it kept me from seeing CLUB.

Then, apparently I am the only one here who thought 'six-letter language I don't know, starting with S -- obviously SoMali!' Especially since the o was confirmed by having PLot (a better answer) before PLAN.

More substantively, I get my Hemingway titles mixed up, so I was trying to think what part of Spain had JA_Z in it. I even had __PLINES, but was so fixated on channel surfing that I couldn't see the answer until I got ORIENTS.

I also went SOLO before I FLEW.

Favorite clue: 60D. Worst: 34D. To me (and its original use as Astronaut jargon) A-OK is not an assent, it's a status report, roughly equivalent to 'tip-top.' It was obviously not that, so it didn't hold me up, but it felt wrong.

Bob Kerfuffle 11:27 AM  

@Nancy - A t-shirt with an image somewhat like this one, though not exactly.

Bob Kerfuffle 11:32 AM  

Sorry, @Loren, shirts with buttons are for winter ACPTs. For Lollapuzzoola in August, just a t-shirt is appropriate! (And I could hardly wear the same shirt to two events in the same year!)

Maruchka 11:33 AM  

Thanks, @Gill. I seem to recall a '70s or '80s book titled something like "Land of Fire and Mist and Mud". This month is bad- hoping your air clears soon.

Steve J 11:41 AM  

@Mohair Sam: I actually yelled Casey Stengel. While Berra did manage both, he's in the Hall as a player. Both Torre and Stengel are in the Hall as managers. Both answers are correct, but I'd argue Stengel's the more apt answer.

@mathgent: "True fact" is, in my experience, almost always said either sarcastically or as an emphatic accent of agreement or "you won't believe it, but ..." sentiment. It's an embellishment rather than a replacement. Kind of like "cash money".

@Roo: I'm assuming you meant to do this: Huge tracts of land. I also immediately thought of Monty Python when I filled in 1A.

For those going to Lollalolalooallalloollolalallallpuzoolalalalala, good luck and have fun. I'll have to haul myself to a tournament one of these days.

nick 12:02 PM  

Ahhh, fun. Knew it would come in as 'easy' since I managed w/o a google assist.

Some puzzles are about how clever the constructor can be, others are made for the pleasure of the solver. With Peter Wentz it's always the latter and so I'm a big fan.

weingolb 12:05 PM  

Definitely easier than yesterday's, which I thought was the easiest Thursday in some time. That means, for the first and last time, Wednesday was for me the hardest puzzle this week (a Patrick Berry that was a bit tougher than usual).

The Y at the intersection of ESSAY and NOSY came with delight. It highlighted this great construction because those two clues were especially brilliantly clever. Loved it.

Charles Flaster 12:07 PM  

Who hit first WORLD SERIES home run in Yankee Stadium? (No google)

old timer 12:39 PM  

Easy for OFL. Not easy for me. I had JOETORRE at once, and FRATPARTY and TORIC, but had no idea about the rest of the NW. The NE was easy enough, but like many, I wrote in "plot" for PLAN. Changed it because the language just had to be SAMOAN. RONPAUL and TRIEDTO made the SW easy, so there I was back where I started, My big problem was, I wrote in "scad" where the much more apt SLEW belonged. SLEW gave me WART (my first thought had been "acne") and that gave me FARRAH and the rest of the puzzle.

I think I've mentioned all my writeovers. But since I solve on paper and in ink, there are many times when I *want* an answer but do not write it down until confirmed with crosses. Should have done that with PLAN and "plot".

@AliasZ, I think this came up a year or two ago. It is a no-no to use the same word twice, which is why SNAPPEDTO and TRIEDTP amd OPTSTO are sub-optimal fill. But there is no rule at all against providing an answer that has been used as a clue to a different answer.

Y'all have fun at Lollapuzzoola. I should have booked tix to NYC months ago, plus a room at the San Carlos, my favorite hotel. Maybe next year!

Masked and Anonymous 1:11 PM  

Peter Wentz really likes to build Scrabbly grids. This one is somewhat Wentzy, but a little less so than his average. A fun solve, WART and all.

Man, @009. U want this poor dude to crank out a FriPuz like this, every other week? Granted, he would score a cool $300 x 26 = $7800/year -- but he sure wouldn't get out of the house much.

fave clue: 39-A Samoan countin tutorial. Nice how they have now paved the way for all-new NYTPuz appearances or uses of the lovely TASI, LUA, TOLU, FA. LIMA, and ONO …

Started out the puz right around 39-A, btw. Had PLOT instead of PLAN, then BIGTOP, then IBID, then DESKLAMPS, then AMID, then SOMALI instead of SAMOAN. So, was really building some bridges to nowhere. Lost valuable nanoseconds. I owe my survival today to clean livin and cinnamon rolls. And SKYLAB.

3 U's. Tepid.
4 weejects. Arid.
8 U's and some mighty pleasing weejects in @muse's LA Times masterpiece, tho. Atta girl, darlin. U 2, Mary Lou. URE the best.

@BobK.: My spouse has a cool bird T-shirt. It has these sample splats of various bird leavings, each labeled by type of bird. Hummer bird one is extra=eazy-e to spot, on account of relative splat size.
Have a great time and break a leg (success-wise, only) at the Lollagodzilla tourney. Wish I were there, to compare shirtz. And masks.

Thanx, Peter Wentz, for a very fun but not so eazy-e for M&A wordfest. Only themers I could definitely spot today was: HAMS by RONPAUL, and FRATPARTY by FARRAH.


Was neat that Mr. Trump won that one "show of hands" game, up front!

Anonymous 1:24 PM  


A tell is a bit broader then that. It's anything--action, demeanor, posture etc. that betrays information unbeknowst to the sucker doing it. Lots of tells, in fact rear their ugly heads when a guy isn't bluffing.


E. Hoyle

Aketi 2:57 PM  

@chefwen, there isn't "a" PALEODIET, there were many PALEODIETs that simply cannot be replicated today as is explained in this Scientific American article.

Z 3:13 PM  

@Anonymous E. Hoyle - I think you meant to respond to others since my "anything that gives away when a player is bluffing" would have to include anything that gives away when a player is not bluffing. And then there is Bridge and intentional TELLs, a.k.a. cheating.

Mohair Sam 4:04 PM  

@Steve J - I'll bow to your Casey Stengel, by a nose (Yogi played for both teams as well as managing - although his Mets appearance was token). As we learned at 11D today, there are "true" facts as opposed to the other kind of fact. Hence your fact (Hall of Fame manager, average player Casey) is somewhat truer than mine (HoF player,/ average manager Yogi).

LOTSA love here for Casey's quote while managing the '62 Mets: "Can't anybody here play this game?"

Anoa Bob 5:09 PM  

Mr. Wentz brought his A-game right out of the gate with INJURY, SKYLAB, TORIC, ALJAZEERA, et al. Good stuff.

There's a festive feel to this one with a FRATPARTY near the OCEAN under a BIGTOP CABANA with a jumbo-tron size poster of FARRAH. Noyhing AMORAL about that. LETSGO!

This has quite a low black square count, 27, that both opens the grid up for some nice fill but, at the same time, requires some less-than-stellar help to get it done. I think someone may have already mentioned the TO-TO nexus in the lower right corner. I also noticed a fairly high number of POCs, especially in some longer entries. ARSENAL, ZIPLINE, DESKLAMP, MOLEHILL, & ORIENT, for example, needed POC assists to fill their slots.

I agree with others that the PALEODIET has no support from what is currently known about nutrition and health. The diet that receives empirically support for its long-termed health benefits in study after study going back to the 1970's is the Mediterranean Diet.

Slow Motion 5:23 PM  

LMS, your comment about Nilla-inspired banana pudding made me wonder: What's the past tense of "Wing it"? Wung it? Wang it? Winged it? Nothing sounds right. "My lesson plans weren't ready, so I just winged it." Right?

Nancy 5:27 PM  

@Bob K: Thanks to @lms, I now know what you look like. Thanks so much, Loren! And I can't wait to see your shirt, Bob. Your photo of the birds leads me to believe it will be very beautiful.

I'll be wearing a shocking salmon-hued tee shirt with black pants. The shirt is bright enough that absolutely no one should miss me. Also look for the person who's busy padding her hard plastic chair(or wood or whatever other horror they're providing) with 2 flat cushions (they're kneeling pads, actually.)

Look forward to meeting you all.

old timer 7:08 PM  

Back before Hold 'Em, I used to play Lowball at various Northern California cardrooms. So often, in that game, you just draw a single card and hope for a low hand, which wins. I knew damn well I had some TELLs, so every so often I would add the drawn card to my hand, pretend to look at it, and *Not* look at it. Then bet big. Thing is, there was a good chance that if your draw did not work out, you would bluff the one or two remaining opponents. And of course a fair chance you actually did draw best low hand, in which case, if there was a raise, I could reraise.

You really can't do that in Hold 'Em, because you have to know what your hole cards are to decide to stay in the game at all.

Teedmn 8:02 PM  

@Anon1:24, agreed, my big tell is that when I fill my straight or full house, I can't keep myself from checking my down cards two or three times to confirm that I 'got it'. Luckily there is usually a lot of beer flowing at our games and I don't think anyone notices!

@SteveJ, that's what I thought of when I saw TRACTS.

@Aketi, fun ZIPLINES clip, and thanks for introducing me to Jeanne Robertson, hilarious.

This puzzle went right down the GULLET like a PALEO DIET, easy Friday for me except for that BIG duh DNF. I caught my CeLT in time (@Roo) but I thought RAMS were as unsubtle as it gets and couldn't figure out why my childhood neighbors, the FARRArs, were on anyone's poster. My AcrossLite solve red-lighted my error and I laughed out loud when I saw it. Thanks, Mr, Wentz.

RE: @LMS's co-authored LATimes Tursday puzzle (no spoiler alert needed here) I agree that it was much more difficult than this puzzle. The NE kicked my time up more than a few nanoseconds til I finally used the theme revealer to help out. Very nice!

Robert Landman 9:03 PM  

texan rival, colt, uh NO

chefwen 2:04 AM  

@Aketi - He called it a PALEO DIET, but was just a gluten free diet which seems to be the fad de jour. Anyway, it was ridiculous and didn't help him at all. I had more fun throwing all the expensive gluten free products that tasted like cardboard and got back to "life as we know it should be". Live and learn.

Leapfinger 8:41 AM  

@Teedmn, the few times any PALEODIET went down my GULLET, it tasted asif those ancient grains had come straight from some archeological dig. As @Anoa Bob observes, go Mediterranaean!

The best of British luck to all the Lollipoppoozlers, well-padded or not.

Torb 11:30 AM  

Fastest Friday forever! Banged it out right away! Let the weekend begin!

spacecraft 11:55 AM  

@LMS says, "Loved seeing SALON [caps hers] clued this way." WELLOK, I'm still trying to figure it out. I can tell you ESSAY went in 100% on crosses. Salon offering = ESSAY?? Somebody help me to SNAP TO.

Waited on PLot/PLAN till either got confirmed; took a while to see SAMOAN. I went SOLO, then realized I had to get in a plane and FLEWSOLO. Other writeover: What goes from shore to shore? Why, ALCAN! See, I was working up from FRATPARTY and...oh well. Darmok and Gilead, on the OCEAN. Shaka, when the walls fell.

This one looked tough at first, but soon after entering (at FRATPARTY; LETSGO, RONPAUL! Someone should use a PESTICIDE on you!) I found that it flowed easily. Except for PALEODIET; never heard of it. Diet is a four-letter word to me, anyway--and no, I am NOT in my ninth month, thankyouverymuch. No bad fill: I don't even mind RLESS, because it was such a gimme. I remember seeing a restaurant sign when I was, like, six: "Oysters 'R' in season!" Asked my mom what it meant, and after she explained, I thought it was the NEATO-est thing ever! Bonus for the cool memory: A+.

Burma Shave 12:39 PM  


and TRIEDTO make me SITUP to apply LOTSA lotion,
she TWISTSOFF the cap,
LETSGO her TOWEL in my lap,
I SNAPPEDTO, all STIFF with an AMORAL notion.


rondo 1:33 PM  

WELLOK, that’s a good puz. Long on long answers and short on the short ones. And not much in the way of clinkers. And some clever cluing. Did wonder a bit about seeing both WELLOK and AOKS.

The wife and I check out ZIPLINES every vacation, the longest so far was +/- 1800 feet and about 300 feet to the ground in the middle. Video to prove it. Try one if you haven’t; what a blast!

FARRAH, late angel of a yeah baby. BIGTOP is the discount liquor store down the avenue. LETSGO, a great Cars tune from the past. So there we have it: sex and drugs and rock-and-roll.

Not IRONCLAD, but a very nice Fri-puz. IBID you farewell.

eastsacgirl 2:19 PM  

Zipped through this one easily. Right in my wheelhouse. Could I possibly do a grand slam this week? There's always hope.

packerbacker 3:48 PM  

There was never a WART on FARRAH, as far as I could tell, until today.

spacecraft 6:44 PM  

@old timer: Actually, Arnold Snyder recommends playing a few hands/rounds without looking at your cards (pretend to, of course), for those too skittish to raise in a raising position unless they've got something. See his "Tournament Poker Formula." He maintains you have to get used to positional aggression. As to @Z's comment, those guys "sitting around playing cards" are doing it for six or seven figures--and you can bet that every one you see who made it to the TV table has LOTSA aggression, positional and otherwise.

leftcoastTAM 8:58 PM  

Maybe better late than never (for me).

A big hold up was the pair of muddlers: AL JAZE ERA and JAZZ ERA. Finally sorted them out.

Also resisted the pair of OK's.

Anonymous 10:30 PM  

Really late to the party but have to throw in my 2 cents. Easiest Friday that I can remember but a fun puzzle with lotsa misdirects. I finally got everything correct but the grid looks like one big ink blot. It took a while to get Samoan and Nilla and I still don't know what Ziplines are but I don't care. I know where my zipper is and that's more important. Thank you Peter Wentz and I wish you hadn't gone.

Ron Diego, La Mesa, CA
(Where the neighborhood is like a ghost town with everyone gathered inside nestled next to their air conditioners). Goodbye cruel Sept.

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