Muslim magistrate / FRI 9-4-15 / Important Peruvian crop / Green Hornet trumpeter / Major in 1973 David Bowie hit / Once-popular alcopop

Friday, September 4, 2015

Constructor: David C. Duncan Dekker

Relative difficulty: Easy


THEME: none — I don't thing those 3 Qs on a diagonal count...

Word of the Day: QUIFF (28A: Man's do with upswept hair in the front) —
noun
Chiefly British
A tuft of hair, especially a forelock.
Origin of quiff
Origin unknown.
noun
A woman regarded as promiscuous.
Origin of quiff
Origin unknown.(Amer. Heritage Dict.)
• • •

I'd say AVERAGE is about right. There are lots of X J Q-type letters, but they aren't doing much of anything interesting. That Q-run is mildly cool, and I kind of like how KAMIKAZE komes krashing down there in the NE. "WHY YES!" gives the grid a little life down below. But three out of the four corners (all except the NE) are pretty dull. They are adequate. They are reasonably clean. They exist. Don't tend to love when grids have sections, like the NW and SE, that are sooooo cut off from the rest of the grid. Those sections end up playing like mini-puzzles, which would be OK if there were some inherent interest. But those sections aren't that lively. The real danger with such isolated sections is that they can kill you in a truly difficult puzzle—nowhere to run to, nowhere to hide. But today's cut-off corners weren't that tough. Did take some effort to get at the NW, but that was offset by how easy the SE was—that corner couldn't have taken me more than 30 seconds.


I had a couple of miscues. First when I put in QUAKES at 24A: Trembles. Took one look at 8D: Muslim magistrate, realized it couldn't end in -RKF (what could?), and took out QUAKES. Guessed SHARIF and then put in QUAILS. Then moved down the grid a bit and put in QUAKES where it belonged (28D: Country rockers?) (that's a decent "?" clue for QUAKES). I also had a mistake at 35D: Slight sights. Turns out there are (at least) two answers that can fit in there *and* that start GLIM-


I went with GLIMMERS. It was actually the first thing I dropped into that section. The above-pictured grid captures the moment just after I realized my mistake. The ATP (48A: Court sport org.) is the Association of Tennis Professionals, btw. Lastly, just one quibble with the clue on ZIMA (38D: Once-popular alcopop). I think they meant "Once-available" or "once-marketed," 'cause ZIMA was never "popular." (Except, it seems, for a hot second in 1994 when Coors threw a ton of marketing money at it). Popular drinks, uh, survive. To be fair, though, ZIMA did hang in there for an awfully long time. According to Modern Drunkard Magazine: "Despite almost universal derision by the public in general and the drinking press in particular (see Real Drunks Don’t Drink Zima MDM Nov. ‘96), Zima managed to gimp along for an astonishing 15 years." Did you know Miller's answer to ZIMA was QUBE!? How did I miss that? Why is QUBE never in puzzles? I'm so disappointed in all crossword constructors right now. (Actually, I'm not–I can't even find a picture of QUBE on the whole of the Internet, which maybe says something about QUBE's crossword viability. But it turns out there are a bunch of other products out there trying to make QUBE happen, so there's always hope).



MASON JARs, on the other hand—MASON JARs are popular. Chances are you have had an (actual, non-ZIMA-related) alcoholic beverage in one in recent years. A touch of folksiness for hip urban faux-back-to-the-landers. Artisanal free-range MASON JARs for all!

Good day.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

80 comments:

quilter1 7:46 AM  

It was pretty easy for a Friday. Liked MASONJAR and GLIMPSES. I had the same writeovers as @Rex in the QUAILS area. Otherwise very nice solve for me.

Sir Hillary 7:55 AM  

No comments appearing as I write this, so forgive me if I am repeating...

This is a triple pangram -- i.e., every letter appears at least three times. Yes, that makes it a quasi-theme and certainly a stunt puzzle, but the fill is astonishingly good given the central conceit. Maybe a few too many POCs, but that's about all I can quibble with.

Like @Rex, I had QUAKES in the wrong spot, but otherwise found few roadblocks. I learned JUSTABIT about wildlife -- don't associate JAGUARS with South America and didn't know a SNIPE is a bird.

Major TOM was in two Bowie songs -- "Space Oddity" from 1969 and "Ashes to Ashes" from 1980. The reference to 1973 in the clue is a mistake, unless I am missing something.

Thank you, DCDD!

evil doug 7:57 AM  

This week's Time says there's a museum in Japan that's a tribute to kamikaze pilots, who were merely innocent young men flying wooden rockets called "cherry blossoms" trying to "defend their country" as they killed Americans and damaged/sank our ships.

Sorry; not interested. I spent yesterday at Cincinnati's Lunken Airport, touring "FiFi", the last B-29 flying, and silently thanking the pilots who brought the Pacific war to its rightful end. After Pearl Harbor, and Japan's inhumane treatment of our POWs, I don't feel a great need to celebrate their suicide pilots....

Billy C 7:57 AM  

Rex says, "They are adequate. They are reasonably clean. They exist." My interpretation of his words: "This was a great puzzle!" His analysis is about the highest praise he can muster for a constructor he doesn't know personally.

Anonymous 8:06 AM  

According to Wordplay, this is a triple pangram... He pulled off that stunt pretty well, for what it's worth.

Ginger 8:08 AM  

It was a pleasant and inoffensive puzzle

Loren Muse Smith 8:15 AM  

Easy, easy until I face-planted in the northeast. I couldn't accept HAND AXE because I was going for something more primitivish and in fact already had HAND in "hand saw." And I kept thinking "shirker" for SLACKER. After finally spelling ABYSMAL right and seeing that SHARIF doesn't have to have an "Omar" clue, I was able to finish.

First thought for that "slow dance" music – Best of Bread. That whole side A. Boy, how seriously we all took that part of the middle school party drama scene. Hi, Tommy R.

SNIPE. Sheesh. How many five-letter "waders" are there?? Heron, stork, crane, pewit, Smith (we spent a year one afternoon wading around, utterly lost in the Monongahela National Forest’s Dolly Sods. Saw a beaver.)

Was holding off to see if it was Manet instead of MONET. I’ll always scramble to casually museum name-drop, and the MONET showcase I know is the Jeu de Paume. Isn’t its Salle MONET simply to die for? Indubitably. Sniff sniff.

Loved the clues for LOW, SASS (misleading plural clue and final S), FAXES, and WHY, YES.

So which AVERAGE guy would you rather be? John DOE or Joe SCHMO?

Kept thinking "unfriend" for that social networking reversal. Yep – I've been recently unfriended. It feels weird.

Wouldn't it be cool to have a cocktail called the Grudge? One you should sip slowly…

Those stair-step Qs are cool. And I dunno, despite/because of the enormous Scrabblefest, there were a lot of nice entries: MASON JAR (with JAM), ABYSMAL, WET SUITS, WHY,YES. I had fun with this one.

mennoknight 8:16 AM  

Quiff means something else where I come from. Like, a very nasty little word.

mathgent 8:37 AM  

I was pleased to see a lot of Xs, Zs, Qs, and Js but didn't realize that it was a triple pangram until I read the blogs. The average Scrabble score was over 2. Jeff Chen implies that it's a record.

In Chen's blog, the constructor rightfully complains that his clue for QUAKES was changed. He had "Ground-breaking events" not "Country rockers?"

I would have liked a little more crunch and the cluing was somewhat awkward, but I liked it. The clue for PLANA was very nice.

joho 8:42 AM  

I counted 3 each X, Y, Z, Q, V, J and 5 U's (har, M & A!) but it never occurred to me that there were 3 each of all the letters in the grid ... how cool is that?! Very! I also think that makes the 3 diagonal Q's not only cool, too, but also the reveal.

WHYYES, this was easy but the puzzle is a lot trickier that it looks. Loved it!

DCDD you get an AAA.

Jamie C 8:47 AM  

Is it a minor party foul that averAGE crosses AGE? Just asking...

Z 8:48 AM  

The Q step is mirrored by an S step. I'm pretty pangramnostic, but given the constraints this is a well done puzzle. I recall single pangrams with much worse fill.

@Evil Doug - I know nothing about that museum, but museums exist to celebrate at times, and to never forget at times. What young men can be convinced by demagogues to do is important to remember.

Bookdeb 8:49 AM  

@ Sir Hillary it seems the nytxwp cares about when Space Oddity was a phenomenon in the USA; according to Wikipedia "Upon its re-release as a single in 1973, the song reached No. 15 on the Billboard Chart and became Bowie's first hit single in the United States; in Canada, it reached No. 16.[8] "

Given how much Rex hates pangrams, that he didn't blow a blood vessel at this triple pangram implies very high praise.

Billy C 8:52 AM  

Sir Hillary @755: "Space Oddity" was re-released as a single in 1973, when it became Bowie's first major hit in the US. Today's clue: "Major in a 1973 David Bowie hit." The song wasn't a hit in 1969. Good enough for me.

Lobster11 8:53 AM  

I'm with Jeff Chen on this one (for a change): "I usually cringe a bit when I sniff a constructor trying to break a record, but this final product was smooth enough that I really enjoyed the stunt."

I also usually cringe when I see such severe segmentation in the grid. Fortunately, the threadlike connectors at 7D and 36D were easy so I had no trouble getting into/out of those isolated corners.

Zeke 8:57 AM  

Can someone tell my why "main course" is PLANA? Finished due to the crosses but this remains a mystery.

Alicia Stetson 9:06 AM  

I'd like to join evil doug in thanking the pilots who killed 130,000 innocent people in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Anonymous 9:07 AM  

It took ballls to solve 58A. ;)

SLACKER SCHMOE 9:10 AM  

My TESTEES hurt after that puzzle. I think I might QUIFF.

Amy Miles 9:17 AM  

Rex hates pangrams so much that he completely ignored, or didn't notice, today's triple. I'm no expert, but it seems to me that this is an important aspect of the puzzle that would merit comment from a crossword blogger.

cwf 9:17 AM  

1. I'm with @mennoknight; I was very reluctant to believe that entry could be correct considering what that word meant to me and my schoolboy chums in the '70's.

2. Agree this was incredibly smooth for a triple pangram.

3. Now I know that Modern Drunkard exists, so thanks, @Rex for that. A tipsy trip back to circa 2000 web design trends.

Fred Forest 9:20 AM  

The highest praise for this puzzle comes from the fact that Rex seems not have noticed the conceit. A triple pangram goes unnoticed by the one of the world's most famous pangram critics? If he had noticed, I suspect his review would have been much different.

Anonymous 9:23 AM  

Why O why did the write-up not mention that the puzzle is a triple pangram? Two possible reasons I can think of. Pangrams have been fairly brutally panned in the write-ups previously, and the inability to pan this puzzle could be taken as a repudiation of sorts. That would be childish, and since the comments have been monitored childishness has pretty much disappeared from this site. More likely is the triple pangram feature was simply missed. Which is a great asset of the puzzle. Stunts sometimes stick out like a sore thumb, proclaiming "Look how wonderful I am." That experienced puzzlers could do this puzzle and not realize it is a triple pangram demonstrates how great the puzzle ought to be considered. Try and find another puzzle with the same grid size that is a triple pangram and is so smooth. The constructor didn't even have to resort to a plethora of obscure proper nouns.

Hard to believe this is only the second puzzle by the constructor to be published in the NYT. Hopefully he will keep 'em coming.

Charles Flaster 9:33 AM  

Medium with lots of write overs ---
ANNOTATE for iNtimATE
QUAILS for QUAkeS
BUZZ SAW for Band SAW.
WET SUITS for WETShoes.

Never corrected SHARIF so this was a DNF pour moi.
Liked SASS, SPREES and Z AXES( brought back teaching memories) .
Overall I thought puzzle was very creative and appreciated the difficulty of the tripangram.
Thanks DCDD

Maruchka 9:37 AM  

Begun blah-ish, exited excited. QQQ, XXX, ZZZ are OK by me. Thanks, Mr. DDD.

Fav of the day - QUIFF. Feels Jacobean. WHY YES, it can be naughty, too (hi @mennonknight)

@LMS - LIKE/UNLIKE. Friend/Unfriend. Won't Facebook. Good concept, bad culture.

Today's anecdote. Ursula LeGuin wrote a short story about a male-teenager-dominant culture on a far planet. The inhabitants are indigenous, but their social order is drawn from what they perceive as Earth's. Hot dogs, malteds, rumbles, loud music, nubile girls, no dissent, banishment at 25. And more.

Also, Elizabeth Kolbert's article in the 8/31 New Yorker on recent teen (10-25) brain research.

OK, 'nuff said. Love teens. Hate bullying.

Tita 9:39 AM  

Anyone else feel themselves as clever as I did when I dropping in beeS for Bumblers?

I dnf'd in NE until I revealed wrong letters.
Cool that it's a triple pay gram. A fair Friday fight, thanks DCDD.

Sir Hillary 9:44 AM  

@Bookdeb and @Billy C - You supplied what I was missing regarding "Space Oddity" -- thanks. Guessing that the '73 re-release was to capitalize on Bowie's growing popularity after the release of Ziggy Stardust the year before. Anyway, all good on the clue, now that I understand it correctly.

Lucy 9:45 AM  

Rex-

Each day you find fault with the puzzle which has been published.

If you find this job so tedious why don't you turn this job over to someone who might enjoy it.


Bob Kerfuffle 9:47 AM  

Very good puzzle.

Medium for me: started out super-easy in the NW, then got considerably harder.

With Rex, GLIMMERS before GLIMPSES, and at one point noticed I had QUAKES going both across and down!

Carola 9:56 AM  

An easy Friday for me. Loved the Q line-up - @joho, thanks for the idea that it's the reveal for the triple pangram.

Pangram x 3 that it is, I liked it that A and Z are stand-alone letters (PLAN A and Z AXES) to (maybe) point out the A-to-Z quality of the puzzle.

Help from previous crosswords: OCA, ZIMA. Biggest trouble spot: "Main course" - I couldn't get it out of my head that it was one of those sea lanes or seaways we see occasionally.

Steve O. 10:05 AM  

Wow, I thought this was fun and then, thanks to @sir hillary, I found out it's a triple pangram. Wow! Seems like amazing clean and solvable fill for TP.

Now I know that Rex doesn't like pangrams, so the fact that he didn't seem to notice makes this quite a feat, in my book.

The mini-theme helped my time a bit -- when I was stuck somewhere, I tried a high-scoring Scrabble letter :)

Steven Malik 10:10 AM  

@evil: "celebrating" history's only use of nuclear weapons in the mass killing of civilians seems a little tacky.
I'm not a religious man, but my favorite phrase in the bible is when god asks the Jews, after their escape across the Red Sea and the subsequent closing of the sea that resulted in the mass drowning of the Egyptian army, "How can you dance when my children are dying?"

Ted Geisel 10:13 AM  

Did Dr. Seuss write about the ZAXES?

Anonymous 10:16 AM  

It took me a long time to accept that the right answer for "Results of phoning it in?" was not going to be seXtS. I still think it would have been a better answer.

Roo Monster 10:19 AM  

Hey All !
Was gonna complain about the segmented grid meself, but after seeing the Triple Pangram, all complaints are off! This is very difficult to pull off, and pull it off cleanly! I mean, holy smokes, NE and SW corners have 3 7's crossing 3 8's! To fill those cleanly by themselves is a feat, never mind trying to shove in a Triple Pangram. I'm impressed, DCDD!

Some writeovers, RELAXiNg, LOsS->LOWS, FinES->FAXES, ZonES->ZAXES, (which I ended up with MiEsEST for MAEWEST!) gore->RYAN, AbrOgATE->ANNOTATE, wanted nba for ATP, but didn't officially write it in.

Thrown off by WOE OCA, and HIRT as clued. Agree with Rex about the easy-ness of puz, but disagree about that SE corner. Those two answers held me up a bit.

OK, so again, great job DCDD, only 29 blocks to boot. Wonder if he got the idea from his initials?
Oh wait, almost forgot... JJJ, QQQ, ZZZ. There, now my post is a triple pangram!

IM A SCHMO :-P
RooMonster
DarrinV

Tina Michaels 10:19 AM  

This blog used to average about 100 comments a day. Recently (since "the change," and I don't mean menopause) it's about half that. Change is good.

Anonymous 10:20 AM  

Truth in advertising slogan should have been "ZIMA, tastes like Zit" A truly awful product that proves that marketing can't get you to do anything you don't already want to do, even when it spends a ton of money and runs relentless ads.

RAD2626 10:31 AM  

Very clever construction trick with very little loss in good fill. NW and SE both pretty easy. Rest to me medium. "Ground-breaking events" and "country rockers?" both great clues for QUAKES. Would never have changed clue if I were the editor. Would have saved latter for another time.

r.alphbunker 10:37 AM  

Puzzle report

Finished with PLANe/RELAXeNT because I failed to parse PLANA as PLAN A. Knew that PLANe was probably wrong but it looked better than PLANA at the time.

jae 10:44 AM  

I'm with @Rex on this one. I had the same problems with QUAKE and GLIMPSE. This was too easy for a Fri. with not much that stands out. That seems to be the price paid for a triple pangram. Nice stunt puzzle, but I would have preferred a bit more crunch.

Natticus 10:47 AM  

All in all, easier than the typical Friday for me... or maybe I'm just getting better at this. I really wasn't expecting that Q run, kinda cool.

I feel like I should have solved it a little faster though, sitting in my kitchen like the stereotypical Brooklynite with my QUIFF and 10 MASON JARS holding my various ferment, pickle, and cold brew projects.

Biggest sticking points were wanting COIFF for QUIFF (apparently it's COIF anyway); Rex's same QUAKES/QUAILS issue; and the Stock Exchange/Main Course cross. I wanted MOOS but MAE WEST wouldn't give it to me, and PLAN A was my Plan C, having started as a PLATE.

Ludyjynn 10:56 AM  

DNFed at the QUIFF/SHARIF intersection. Had 'sharia' as in Islamic law and had no idea what quiff was. Looked it up after reading @mennoknight's comment. How does the same word mean a hairdo and a slut?! The mysteries of language.

For me, this was an overall medium solve, despite my ultimate failure. The unforgettable MAEWEST quote opened the puzz. Would have liked to also see a clue for 'lifevest/jacket' somewhere in the grid to complement the reference to this ground-breaking actress.

Some lovely cluing, esp. for FAXES, SPREES, LOWS, CRAZE Not much to UNLIKE, IMO.

SLACKER instantly brought to mind the Sean Penn character, surfer dude Spicolli, who tormented Ray Walston, as his history teacher in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High". Classic film.

Thanks, DCDD and WS. WHYYES, I really liked it.



Hartley70 11:15 AM  

Well it makes sense that DDD would go for a triple pangram. He doesn't need that middle C name in his everyday life. I thought this puzzle was delightful with or without the super duper pangram. I didn't notice any drecky fill and the cluing felt up to date. I liked SLACKER, never heard of OCA or QUIFF but I'll be looking out for that do from now on. It reminds me of "Something About Mary" and not in a good way.

I finished this in a good time, but I didn't whiz through it like Rex. Duh! I wouldn't describe it as easy, but rather as a fair medium solve. I really enjoyed it this morning!

mac 11:46 AM  

Pretty amazing, a triple pangram.

Droop at 4D slowed me down a lot, and not knowing Zima Z axes was tough.
A medium Friday, I would say.

AliasZ 11:47 AM  


The only QUIFF I know has nothing to do with coiffe.
The only QUAIL I know is the pretty game bird.

But it's always fun to learn new words and meanings.

I was impressed by the triple-pangramness, but didn't consider it an added bonus or something special to remember. I noticed something was up after the Q cluster in the center, the K & X cluster in the NE and the J cluster on the SE.

I did not like the completely isolated NW and SE corners. Perhaps not shooting for the triple pangram would have allowed DCDD to open up those corners for a better flow to the solve.

Did I like MAE WEST, MASON JAR, MONET and ABYSMAL? WELL, YES! I'd say, today's puzzle was above AVERAGE, but it could've been made better by not forcing the trip-pangram issue.

Let me close with JUST A BIT of West Side Story conducted by Simon RATTLED, and a delightful Concerto Grosso by George Frederick HANDAXE.

TGIF.

Roo Monster 11:54 AM  

Ha! Already had the three Z's! And one J...

OAFish
RooMonster

OISK 11:56 AM  

My public school students would say "You give too many testees." "No, I have only two."

Had a lot of trouble with this. Had quakes before Quails, and never heard of quiff. Aveeno occurred fairly recently, but I have never seen it outside the puzzle, and I dislike product clues. (Kix , Zima, ) Not much else to snipe at. ( I could not remember how to spell "relaxant" and had "plane" and "relaxent" instead of plan A until the last moment.)

Googled "Quiff." It was interesting. Always happy to increase my vocabulary, knowledge of geography, history or literature. A difficult (for me) clue is of value if I WANT to know it. That's why I gripe about hip-hop, pop culture, and product clues. There's no value and little joy in solving them. ( No offense to those with values different from mine. )

jerseygirlangie@yahoo.com 11:58 AM  

There's a QUBE label at :

http://www.samsmancave.com/miller-brewing-beer-label-set/

Best I could find out there !

Joseph Michael 12:08 PM  

WHY YES. Impressive feat of construction. A triple pangram and yet a reasonably clean grid.

DNF thanks to having PLANE instead of PLAN A, but enjoyed it overall. Still trying to get used to seeing ZAXES and TESTEES which had me JUST A BIT RATTLED at first.

Malsdemare 12:09 PM  

@Ludijynn, same experience you had, absolutely nada useful until the redoubtable MAEWEST showed up. Then I just marched, albeit slowly, through the SE, hopped to the NW, dropped into the SW only to Dnf at PLANe.

I did not catch the triple pangram and am absolutely impressed. I don't really dislike any of the various "tricks" of puzzles, reserving my wrath for ones filled with reality show quasi-stars and hockey players. Not that there's anything wrong with quasi-stars and hockey players.

I, too, have heard QUIFF as having a pretty foul meaning; I think "slut" is a clean version of something I won't type (key?) here.

Good fun; thanks triple D.

Rex Parker 12:15 PM  

Non-puzzle-related stuff is now being squashed. Also, comments about its being squashed are being squashed. Please stop. Thanks.

RP

GILL I. 12:18 PM  

Oooh...I thought this was fun...maybe because I ZZZipped through it although I had several little hiccups.
My Ophthalmological (what a word!) treatment was a DROop ( I'd go see an eye doctor if that happened) and had the same QUAkes/ILs problem as @Rex. The Muslim magistrate was a temporary SHARke and that horrendous hair-do became a QUIFe. Left that mess for JUST A BIT and flew on to pen in SCHMOS and WHY YES. ZAXES I wasn't so sure of but I did remember ZIMA (ugh).
TESTEES really doesn't look right, does it?
Went back upstairs and finished my little foibles.
@Zeke: If no one has answered you yet....it's PLAN A. Nice little misdirect.
Knew we were on to a pangramathon so I counted and counted. Wow - three - my bestest favorite number.
Good job DCDD.

Lewis 12:19 PM  

The constructor's comments were all about the cluing, and I love to see the cluing as PLAN A. I thought the clue for LOWS was classic, and, apparently that one came from Will or Joel. There were also good clues for QUAKES (also from Will/Joel), SPREES, GLIMPSES, and EMT. And there were a ton of answers that I enjoyed: SLACKER, ABYSMAL, QUAILS, JUSTABIT, GLIMPSES, QUIP, WHYYES, and RATTLED. Then to find out this is a triple pangram was icing on the cake, because it doesn't seem forced. Furthermore, while I didn't like WEST east, I did like how DROPS drops. I didn't understand MOVE for "Play in a game" -- can someone explain this? Is it talking about chess?

Overall, a fine puzzle, in that it was fun and made me work.

old timer 12:22 PM  

I now think this is a brilliant puzzle. I knew there were 3 Q's of course, DId not know why KAMIKAZE was so prominent (2 K's). Certainly did not notice the three J's. Where is Brian Boitano to praise the triple axels with the triple toe leaps?

It's not that the puzzle was inherently easy for me, it seemed easy because I was on the constructor's wavelength. I immediately wanted BANDSAW, which gave me all the Downs in a trice. Immediately wanted JUSTABIT, which gave me JAGUARS and the entire SW. Had Z-axis (later changed to AXES). Had "Hart" before HIRT. My biggest hangup was not remembering FROZEN. Second-biggest was having "relaxers" before RELAXANT .

I invite OFL to join in and tell us whether he got the triple pangram before reading Wordplay or the comments here.

Harry TESTEES 12:42 PM  

Didn't we have ZIMA with the "alcopop" clue in the past few weeks?

QUIFF Coif 12:54 PM  

We do these puzzles everyday. Most are AVERAGE (or, if you ask Rex, below AVERAGE). They have boring clues, or a boring theme, or a lot of junk fill. A few stand out as real gems, and many of us could count on one hand those that would qualify as such in the past year. How someone can't be impressed with this puzzle, a triple pangram (!!!), cleverly clued, and with almost no crappy fill, is beyond me. I, for one, will remember this one for a good time to come. Many thanks to D to the 3rd.

Anonymous 12:56 PM  

How many letters appear 3 and only 3 times?

B, C, F, G, H, J, K, P, Q, V, W, X, Y, Z--14!

Arthur Fonzarelli 1:05 PM  

I agree with those who are impressed with this effort. To create a puzzle that is so smooth that its triple pangramitude can be missed is an amazing feat. Rex has jumped the shark.

Bird 1:12 PM  

Enjoyed the puzzle today and impressed with the triple pangram as well. Did you notice the SSS opposite the QQQ

Is ZAXES the God of pangrams?

TGIF!

Trombone Tom 1:32 PM  

Pretty smooth for a Friday, at least until I tried to conquer the NE. It took a long while before that clicked for me. I was impressed by all the q's and z's but didn't see the triple pangram. I liked this more than OFL did and would not have damned it so by faint praise.
Thanks for a great puzzle D.C.D.D.

Teedmn 2:13 PM  

Maybe the easiest Friday ever for me. SAW went in at 1A and looking at the downs, is it going to be a chop SAW? Nope, BALLAD makes it a BANDSAW. I solved down from the NW so I put QUAKES in the right place. I had a GLIMmer of an idea at 35D also but BAEE at the start of 51A wasn't going cut it.

My 29A started as PLAzA first, thinking the main level of a concourse could be a PLAzA. When EXAMINES made it PLANA, it took me a few to get the twist. Nice.

I was at a country wedding where everybody got a MASON JAR with a handle and the couple's names etched on it, to drink the dark German keg beer. And I had friends who were heavy into the ZIMA CRAZE so I was stocking up on it but it didn't take long before it was hard to find in the store. Grapefruit flavor though, always a good thing in my book.

Thanks DCDD for the clean PPPangram!

Carolyn Stenger 3:54 PM  

You guys are thinking QUEEF, not quiff!

Evan Jordan 4:20 PM  

I was wondering if someone was going to mention the Bowie thing. You're both right, actually! Space Oddity was was a hit in 1969 in The UK and Europe (even winning that year's Ivor Novello award for songwriting!) but didn't make nearly as much of an impact in the states. After he won American audiences with Ziggy in '72 and toured Aladdin Sane in '73, tons of back catalog gems were reissued including Space Oddity, which as a U.S. top 10 hit (#5, I think. I'm literally pulling all this out of my memory of my teenage years) was his biggest success here until Fame reached #1 in '75.
Not that I'm a fan or anything...

Z 4:26 PM  

Since Rex is busy quashing, let me take a stab at his position on pangrams. "Yawn." What Rex derides is scrabblef#%^cking, an activity often required to achieve a pangram. When does Rex comment on pangrams? When a J or an X is forced into a puzzle to achieve it and the result is crap fill.

Speaking of crap fill, some asked why certain fill yesterday didn't get called out. It seems obvious to me, but still there were questions and accusations of bias. Just a little example, the NE has an infamous Hawai'in Crossbird and a poet's initials. Why isn't this corner a wasteland? Because both crosswardese answers are there in service of two great theme answers. Put those two answers off in a corner on Monday with no reason and they'll get slammed. In service of great wordplay, though, they are fine.

Jeff Spicoli 5:04 PM  

@ Evan: Wiki says Space Oddity reached #15 in the US in '73. Never trust a teenage brain. It's often high on the funny weed

J.D. KaPow 5:25 PM  

Nobody was bothered by AVENGE (42D)? It does not mean "get back at". You avenge a person who was wronged ("get back at on behalf of...", or you avenge a wrongful act ("get back at for..."). But you don't avenge the person who did the wrong.

joho 5:40 PM  

I was gone all day since I first commented and just got the chance to really count all the tripled letters of the alphabet. Last night when I finished this I wrote, "pangram on steroids" in the margin. Now after realizing what Mr. Dekker has really achieved I am gobsmacked!

Z 6:03 PM  

Rex on pangrams.

Greg Falcon 10:08 PM  

Shucks, this was oh-so-close to being my first clean Friday solve. I inexplicably had RusTLED for RATTLED and just couldn't see my mistake. (OCA and HIRT are firmly in crosswordese-I-don't-know territory, so no help there.) Clicked "check entire grid" and cleaned that up right away.

I realized very early on the puzzle was a pangram, and soon after that it had to be a double or even triple. I'm fortunate I noticed this, as it led to me trying top force Ws all over the grid, which is how I got MAE WEST and WETSUITS.

I think all the odd letters made things easier in general. FROZEN was a gimmie, but that Z sure loosened up KAMIKAZE, whose K KIX-started my breakfast cereal memory. Z AXES would not have been nearly so easy without ZIMA.

I didn't notice the S diagonal opposite the Q diagonal, until I read the comments. Very nice. I also think this is my second puzzle with TESTEES in it, and was amused the other time too. Apparently I'll always be a twelve year old.

evil doug 10:16 AM  

I take no pleasure in the fact that Japan made it necessary to kill so many of its people in order to prevent a like number of American soldiers from dying in an invasion. I'm guessing you didn't have family serving in the Pacific....

nick 1:47 PM  

Knew "Fit or Fat because my mom read it. Knew Ry Cooder because my dad liked him. Knew Bobby Riggs because my grandmother hated him. Which is to say, Merl Reagle's 19-year-old puzzle on Thursday was more up-to-date than today's. (Which was hard and satisfying even though, despite google --almond syrup?? - I had a dnf.)

Anonymous 3:44 PM  

VERY ENJOYABLE PERFECT PUZZLE FOR A LAZY LABOR DAY WEEKEND.
DCDD should be invited to submit more terrific puzzles.


One thing, KIX are for kids and, for smart 1950's parents, sugary CORN POPS were NOT tops.
Love,
D and A

Anonymous 3:52 PM  

HEYYY REXXX---YYYOU MISSSED THE POINT. It's not easy. It WWWAS FFFUN.

Anonymous 4:25 PM  

WWWOWWW, JJJEFF CHEN THAT IS A GREAT OBSERVATION . THANKKKS,

Anonymous 1:43 PM  

This was an Easy puzzle for a Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015 for, I assume, the Syndies. My paper (San Diego Union Trib) did not have the listed Merle Reagle puzzle. I went to the Raegle puzz and then scrolled down to Newer Post, which was listed as a Fri. ???? I suppose this is an example of "instances of faulty logic."

Can't wait to see what Friday brings.

Ron Diego, La Mesa, CA (Where mistakes like this cause town hangings)

Jaime Gunderson 10:33 AM  

Think of it as "the main course of action", which would be Plan A. My apologies if this has already been answered, but the NYT puzzle appears in The Miami Herald a month later. :)

spacecraft 10:37 AM  

Rushed for time today so didn't read other blogs. Must've been easy, since I only had half an hour to work in and I did it. Of course, probably like many others, I had QUAKES going across at 24--only to find it again at 28 down! Now wait a minute. What else could "Trembles" be? Left the NE for last; that was the toughest part, till I saw that "Countless amount" was ANY, which gave me ABYSMAL--my favorite word in this puzzle--and out. Nice, but a tad too easy for a Friday. A-.

Burma Shave 11:41 AM  

RATTLED UNLIKE ANY RELAXANT

The band’s ABYSMAL BASEPAY goes to pay MAEWEST fees,
and she GLIMPSES and EXAMINES those musicians’ TESTEES
by JOINING those AVERAGE SCHMOS in the raw,
and that’s JUSTABIT of what that JAM BANDSAW.

--- RYAN LEGOSET

rondo 12:17 PM  

Yeah, mostly easy, but unlike OFL I got the NW immediately and figured it would practicall sel-fill. Almost, except the HAtchet for a HANDAXE and the crossing nth for ANY made an ABYSMAL mess of the NE, until it got fixed.

Knew QUIFF since it appeared recently in a Word Jumble and I looked it up. Alternate definition might fit original yeah baby MAEWEST? That gets my 58a 59a.

So there’s a new clue for SHARIF in town?

UNLIKE my previous softball team which had no nickname, my current team is called JAGUARS, so it’s nice to see that answer.

I did notice all those unusual letters populating the puz, but didn’t bother to count. Triple panny you say? I’ll take your xword for it. Liked this puz regardless of that.

leftcoastTAM 7:33 PM  

I'm late because I guess I'm not up to prime time yet. Had to look up SHARIF to finish in the NE. So Omar was a SHARIF? I didn't want to believe IMA "mess." So people say that?

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