Round pounder / FRI 9-11-15 / Props for some magic shows / Fliers for a magic show / Like cassette tapes / Onetime big name in cassette tapes / Skier's problem / Elevator used by skiers

Friday, September 11, 2015

Constructor: Peter A. Collins

Relative difficulty: Easy



Word of the Day: TORPID (5D: Lethargic) —
tor·pid
ˈtôrpəd/
adjective
adjective: torpid
  1. mentally or physically inactive; lethargic.

    "we sat around in a torpid state"

    synonyms:lethargic, sluggish, inert, inactive, slow, lifeless; More

    "torpid tourists traveled tired through the tropics"
    antonyms:energetic
    • (of an animal) dormant, especially during hibernation.
• • •

Man, I have been loving on the word TORPID since the days of "Nature" on PBS with that handsome George Page-- remember him? Ah. Dormice. They are the poster rodents of torpor. Next time someone tells you to do something just say "No! I'm too TORPID!" 
(you're welcome)

Hi, it's Lena Webb again; I did this thing that one time. When Rex asked me to fill in for him today I didn't fall back on the old TORPID excuse, but happily blogged in to bloggerspot to share some blogtime with you all. 

As you may have heard from a certain someone, Rex is constructing puzzles of his own! I feel like I'm announcing that he's pregnant, and he is-- pregnant with ideas. One such idea was conceived around the time I was clued in to the existence of the NYT mini puzzle (somehow one full year after it premiered). I was posting "shrinking puzzles" on my blog and had made it down to 5x5 by the time I tried my first NYT mini. Like a lot of people, it seems, I found it to be pretty boring and shared my own mini puzzle with Rex. He started cranking out his own, calling them "Lil High Fives," and now my blog has turned into the Puppy Bowl of Crosssports with all these 5x5s romping about. Erik Agard, Jonathan O'Rourke, and even my poor boyfriend have contributed-- and we have a Peter Broda Sunday on deck for the weekend. Come on, you know you want to submit one of your own!

Now, moving on to the main event. This was a fun Friday puzzle, wasn't it? I'm no speed demon, but STEPPED ON THE GAS I did and slid across the upper half like a SIMONIZEd... DOVE. Nah, how about like slippery little WATERMELON SEEDS. The image of sitting in the backyard munching on melon and spitting out seeds, maybe blasting yourself with the garden hose, goes perfectly with this week's scorching temperatures (at least here in Boston). For such a beautiful marquee entry, though, I wish the clue had been better. "Objects within spitting distance?" is awkward-- like, what, the seeds are somewhere near to you within the distance that you might spit one of them? *mind explodes* It's the "within" that gets me. It seems like whoever wrote the clue was hell bent on making "spitting distance" work no matter what, and slapped on a question mark instead of thinking of other witty/misleading "spitting" options.

Things got SAUCIER as I headed down South to the ASS and PEEN region. Look, I laugh *every time* I pencil PEEN into a puzzle and that's just the way it is. After I pulled it together I ran straight into the not-at-all-funny STP and ST PAT and lost some momentum. Total buzzkill fill. Enter torpor.

But then THIS IS SPINAL TAP made its appearance (after getting lost backstage, of course) and I instantly got every song from the movie stuck in my head at once. How am I supposed to pick a single YouTube item for this? Let's keep it regional with some more "Southern exposure."

"I met her on Monday/'twas my lucky bun day" is probably the best lyric in all of music.

And what about that last marquee, POLICE CONSTABLE? You can't win them all, and this kinda boring answer is right where it belongs: at the bottom. 

Here are some super duper clue dupes:
  • (1D: Props for some magic shows)/(26A: Fliers for a magic show) — <sings> Oh, oh, oh, it's magic, you know...
  • (13D: Like cassette tapes)/(18D: Onetime big name in cassette tapes) — Don't call out your own fill as being PASSE
  • (47D: Skier's problem)/(50D: Elevator used by skiers) — Yeah, I am starting to GLARE at these cutesy little pairs of clues...
Overall a very enjoyable puzzle with very little to gripe about. Oh, wait, I forgot that I totally wanted to gripe about URE (22A: Script follower). Ahem: gripe!

Signed, Lena Webb, Court Jester of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]
[Follow Lena Webb on Twitter and ... nope, that's it]

62 comments:

Steve 3:13 AM  

Easy except for 38A Retail Store opening? WAL crossed with an unknown British PM?

Diana,LIW 3:28 AM  

I’m Diana, Lady in Waiting of Crosswords. Waiting for? The puzzle, of course. Here in Lake Spobegone my home town (Spokane, WA – tourist bureau motto “Near Nature, Near Perfect.” No, I did not make that particular piece of cheese up.) the NYTP arrives at the local newspaper about 5 weeks after it’s published in NYC. I believe it is delivered by bicycle messenger – a little old lady from Kansas riding her ancient Schwinn. Somewhere around the Rockies she gets tired and dumps the puzzle name, any special directions, and often the puzzle’s stars and circles to lighten her load. So on the 4th of July I’m reading your blog about Memorial Day weekend and the old, old puzzle. And I have solved the puz w/o the assistance of any extra clues. Greetings, Rex and Puzzler Friends

Used to do the NYT Sunday puz back in the Will Weng era, after I graduated from Rutgers (Livingston College, ’73, BA in Eng. Lit) and moved to the Upper West Side. (Have also lived on Long Island, in PA and NJ, Philadelphia, San Diego, La Jolla, Bend (Oregon), and now split my time between Spokane (pronounced spoh-can) and Pacific Grove, CA. Oh yes, also completed my doctorate in adult ed in Chicago, commuting a weekend a month from Spokane. An M.Ed. in Counseling from Temple U. rounds out my ed experiences.) Then, life got busy. Crosswords were abandoned due to multiple jobs, school, family – you know the drill. I semi-retired a couple of years ago. One day, while doing the daily Jumble, I glanced at the NYTP and said, “Hey, I know that answer.” Soon I was seeing how much of the puz I could finish, and another addict was born. Discovered Amy R., Bill B., and Rex this spring, and read Rex and all the comments every day.
While I attempt solving Mon. thru Sun, I am really merely repeating my Kindergarten year(s) in puzzledom. Some days I zip through (even on a TH/FR/Sat) and others I pray to get a toehold. Due to the aforementioned busyness, my pop culture knowledge for the last few decades has been sadly neglected, so today’s puz (I looked ahead online) was a big WOE. I’ve walked on the set of The West Wing and sat in the audience area in front of the Friends’ set while on a studio tour in LA, but have not seen one episode of either show. Nor have I seen dozens of other shows. NPR and the local paper are my lifeline to the world – if a rapper gets into a column in the paper or onto Terry Gross’s show, I have a fighting chance of knowing about them. Otherwise, NADA. When a Friday puz sends me cheating, I allow a Google of pop culture knowledge that would be a “gimme” for most of you. (OK, many of you.)

Diana,LIW 3:30 AM  

I’m Diana, Lady in Waiting of Crosswords. Waiting for? The puzzle, of course. Here in Lake Spobegone my home town (Spokane, WA – tourist bureau motto “Near Nature, Near Perfect.” No, I did not make that particular piece of cheese up.) the NYTP arrives at the local newspaper about 5 weeks after it’s published in NYC. I believe it is delivered by bicycle messenger – a little old lady from Kansas riding her ancient Schwinn. Somewhere around the Rockies she gets tired and dumps the puzzle name, any special directions, and often the puzzle’s stars and circles to lighten her load. So on the 4th of July I’m reading your blog about Memorial Day weekend and the old, old puzzle. And I have solved the puz w/o the assistance of any extra clues. Greetings, Rex and Puzzler Friends

Used to do the NYT Sunday puz back in the Will Weng era, after I graduated from Rutgers (Livingston College, ’73, BA in Eng. Lit) and moved to the Upper West Side. (Have also lived on Long Island, in PA and NJ, Philadelphia, San Diego, La Jolla, Bend (Oregon), and now split my time between Spokane (pronounced spoh-can) and Pacific Grove, CA. Oh yes, also completed my doctorate in adult ed in Chicago, commuting a weekend a month from Spokane. An M.Ed. in Counseling from Temple U. rounds out my ed experiences.) Then, life got busy. Crosswords were abandoned due to multiple jobs, school, family – you know the drill. I semi-retired a couple of years ago. One day, while doing the daily Jumble, I glanced at the NYTP and said, “Hey, I know that answer.” Soon I was seeing how much of the puz I could finish, and another addict was born. Discovered Amy R., Bill B., and Rex this spring, and read Rex and all the comments every day.
While I attempt solving Mon. thru Sun, I am really merely repeating my Kindergarten year(s) in puzzledom. Some days I zip through (even on a TH/FR/Sat) and others I pray to get a toehold. Due to the aforementioned busyness, my pop culture knowledge for the last few decades has been sadly neglected, so today’s puz (I looked ahead online) was a big WOE. I’ve walked on the set of The West Wing and sat in the audience area in front of the Friends’ set while on a studio tour in LA, but have not seen one episode of either show. Nor have I seen dozens of other shows. NPR and the local paper are my lifeline to the world – if a rapper gets into a column in the paper or onto Terry Gross’s show, I have a fighting chance of knowing about them. Otherwise, NADA. When a Friday puz sends me cheating, I allow a Google of pop culture knowledge that would be a “gimme” for most of you. (OK, many of you.)

Whirred Whacks 5:36 AM  

Nice and smooth, Peter Collins. An enjoyable solve. Especially liked the adjacent down-10s STAY AT HOME and STUNT PILOT.

I see that the POL POT answer from two weeks ago has company with today's CHE GUEVARA, the psychotic, cold-blooded killer.

Note to the constructor: if you're going to use a quote from Che, why not use one that's more reflective of his real character such as:

"I'd like to confess that I really like killing" (1957),

or his later quip:

"To establish Socialism rivers of blood must flow. The victory of Socialism is well worth millions of victims."

Loren Muse Smith 6:40 AM  

Peter Collins is one of my favorite constructors. I will totally look the other way at a Hebrew letter with a variant spelling. Totally. You want a Hebrew letter?? I'll give you a Hebrew letter, buddy. (Love how those transliterated words afford a grid tsar some wiggle room, and Peter is a true puzzle czar, no?)

I wanted desperately to look like MARLO Thomas when I was young. Countless nights of sleeping with dippity-dooed hair wrapped around foam curlers, going for that flip. Sigh.

I really enjoyed this puzzle. Funny thing, though. Not stopping to worry with how the clue could actually work, I filled in "Saint Peter" for STUNT PILOT and then a few seconds later, COLLINS. I sat up, delighted, and said, "No way. Hah!" I know it's considered not comme il faut, but I love when a constructor puts his name in a grid. I finally corrected the error, but I'm convinced that this trap was laid, tongue in cheek, to make the solver take this wrong turn. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Seconds later, GARDINER fell. That's my husband, my son, and my father-in-law. I fretted a bit that "little" Gardiner would have to field some teasing with a name like that. Happily, though, with friends like Rivers, Connor, Tanner, Walker, Wilson, Landon, and Cameron he flew under the radar. Gardiner turned 23 two days ago, but it seems like yesterday that he was 4 yrs old and I was a STAY AT HOME mom, watching his shtick at the park whenever he spotted a pretty girl. He would always put down the small branch he was carefully tapping the ground with, walk over and push me, gesture toward the pretty girl and ask, "What's she doing?" Then he would go over to her, drop his right shoulder, and snort at her. I swear. It was mystifying. He's still single.

Great, great puzzle, Peter!

George Barany 6:57 AM  

Thanks for your insights, @Lena Webb ... I'll check out your "webb site" more carefully later, after meeting my Fall 2015 freshman seminar for the first time this afternoon. Imagine, a room full of 17- and 18-year olds, who could conceivably have little or no personal recollection of 9/11.

Today's puzzle by @Peter COLLINS reminds me of the happy return of @Gail COLLINS to the New York Times op-ed page, after an extended book tour. Adding to @Lena's observation of STP/ST_PAT, how about WAL/WALPOLE (the latter sounds like a NASCAR driver in the first position at the start of a race)? And in the clue echo department, would it been too much of a stretch to link 1-across to 1-down (I'm thinking of the expression "saw logs" for snoring)? Also, something PASSE has evidently GO(ne)_STALE, nest ce pas? The clues for AMOR and TETE in the SW corner took an extra couple of minutes to unravel, but ultimately, I agree that this was an easy solve relative to Friday expectations.

Small nit, "Sex plus two, to Caesar" for OCTO. Shouldn't the English "two" have been replaced by Latin "duo"?

elitza 7:07 AM  

DOVE always makes me think of the great comedic moment From Arrested Development: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=YUKmq7UMJys

Z 7:58 AM  

Five minutes faster than yesterday, even with chasing down my Hebraic variant (as if - I threw in SHEeR where SHEAR belonged), so definitely easy. My POLICE CONSTABLE was briefly a nOvICE because I wanted a STUNT dIver doing those barrel rolls. The cluing for that corner's -ese didn't help. AMOR et Odio could be either a Beckett play or a long, boring philosophical treatise. As for TÊTE - Swiss cheese? Really? As M&A might say, I sense the sweet smell of desperation. Still, SPINAL TAP - so a fine solve.

jberg 8:06 AM  

CRow before CREE, as I think of the latter as living around James Bay -- apparently, they are much more widespread, though, so some of them are indeed in the plains. That and POLICE CONSTABLE (I guess as opposed to art CONSTABLE) were my major difficulties.

I suppose WALPOLE was responsible for more deaths than CHE GUEVARA, whatever the latter may have said (he didn't get that much opportunity); but anyway I've never bought the idea that historical figures should be unmentionable just because we don't like them. It's a puzzle, not an ode.

Nice write-up, Lena! And @Diana, I suppose you know you can read @Rex about the puzzle you actually did by clicking on "Syndicated Puzzle" up on the top of the page, right? Nice to hear from you, all the same!

Teedmn 8:10 AM  

Wow, super easy today. Even eating breakfast while solving didn't slow me down. Lots of clever cluing but I didn't get fooled by any of them. Maybe I just SLEPT well last night.

I liked the clue for ALTO since my first instincts called for a stove or a home on the range. And the Yoda-speak for the SYNTAX clue was fun. My one writeover was putting in leMONIZE at 21A. Can't get PASSEd my Lemon Pledge TV ad early learning brainwashing past, I guess.

Here's to a harder one tomorrow. I did the WSJ Patrick Berry puzzle mentioned by others here and I cheated shamelessly but successfully. There was a challenge!

Thanks, Peter Collins, always a pleasure to do your puzzles.

Sir Hillary 8:13 AM  

"Hello, friends..."

Nice puzzle. Loved the self-reference at 32D.

Took me a while to get started, and when I did, it was MISCUEs galore. ussr at 10A, as if the Sovs would have printed non-Cyrillic characters on their own money. Followed by siouxFALLS, as if that city had migrated down from South Dakota. BTW, is CEDARFALLS the love child of Sioux Falls and Cedar Rapids?

Later, I thought there has been a huge missed opportunity not to pair the clues for ERLE (Stanley) GARDINER, before realizing how his surname was really spelled. Sheesh, maybe I shoulda SLEPT in!

joho 8:13 AM  

There is always a lot to love in Peter's puzzles and today's delivers with interesting answers and clever clues.

I learned how to spell GUEVARA and then wondered how he'd have fared in CEDARFALLS.

THISISSPINALTAP was worth the price of admission.

Smooth and really fun, thank you, Mr. COLLINS!

Anonymous 8:26 AM  

Walmart is not hyphenated anymore. You may see Wal-Mart spelled that way occasionally, but it is incorrect...like the WAL clue.

Rex Parker 8:57 AM  

Just "approved" two comments, by which I mean "accidentally deleted" two comments. Mah bad.

Carry on.

rp

Tita 9:21 AM  

WAL? How about a puzzle full of same...MAC? LOR? COS? TAR?

I try to not look at constructor's name till post-solve, so my only thought when reading the clue for the publisher was @Nancy will know this!!!!!!!!!

I got a personal tour of MARLO and Phil Donahue's soundfront estate a few decades back, while working at wild and wooly WANG Labs (remember those stories?). The terrycloth robe-clad, pot-smoking butler saw me in.
What a gorgeous house - built in the 30s. They got into hot water for buying, then tearing down, the architecturally significant house next door because it spoiled the view... 25 years ago, they bought that house on 7 acres for $7million - and just tore it down.

Wait - where was I? Oh yeah - TETE de Moine - so called because the traditional way to serve it is by shaving it off the top - like a monk's tonsure.

I found this to be a very easy Friday. I few struggles here and there. I like any Friday I can solve. THis had plenty in my wheelhouse, I guess.
Thanks Mr. Collins.

mathgent 9:27 AM  

Very enjoyable.

I thought "odio" was Latin for "I hate" so I was looking to enter AMO at 54A. It wasn't that far off.

Only six Terrible Threes today. The fewest in a long time. Bravo, Mr. Collins!

Leapfinger 9:43 AM  

...Objects with a spitting image...

Having the MidWest SALTIER than it OTTO have been made that entire SW knottier than necessary. Idio odio, a whole 'nother rodeo.

Balance that vs getting THIS_IS_SPINAL_TAP off the _AP. Now lie on your side and pull your knees up to your chest.
Of course, the WALPOLE and the London Bobby were child's play to anyone with a Commonwealth education. (pat,pat)

Has that Russian CCCP STEPPED ON THE GAS?
How has American Idol been doing since they deSIMONIZEd it?
No SYNTAX on that SYNdrome, isere?
Did Keats really write verBIC odes in araBIC? I AM thinking I put my foot in it there, yes?
How did I almost end up in CEDAR_rapid?
How did COLONEL turn into 'kernel'? That's in English only, I think.
So many questions, so little time.

Nice catch on the signatory, @lms. Slipped right past me. But GARDINER caught my eye also, on account of Chauncey in "Being There". You remember, he liked to watch...the young plants grow. Even if the were snap beans, walbush or walpole. I love that thing of finding wisdom in low places; guess I'm just a SEER sucker.

Enjoyed your Friday CREEation immensely, Peter COLLINS. Over ALTO soon.

Leapfinger 9:49 AM  

TETE de Moine bookends nicely with Cabeza de VACA, doesn't it?
(@Hartley? @Ludy? @Teed?)

It also is singularly indigenous to Iowa.

Teedmn 10:33 AM  

@Leapfinger, I believe the term you are looking for is 'head cheese'. Also possibly indigenous to Des Moines.

Loved your Keats line on so many levels. Quite a feet!

pat 10:37 AM  

I've never understood the interest in speeding through the puzzle. I brew my Green Mountain coffee, from fresh ground beans, listen to NPR, and allow a mild TORPOR to envelop me as I settle in for the best minutes of the entire day.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:38 AM  

Very nice puzzle with a few extra-crunchy spots.

Three of my write-overs involved length: (17 A) WATERMELON PITS was too short; (12 D) CEDAR RAPIDS was too long; and (34 A) RACCIER had that extra C! 23 A, "Potential mag. articles, maybe," had BBS before MSS. Everything corrected at the end.

Tangential, inspired by 7D: What's up with the KFC ads? I don't pay much attention, but it seemed a few months ago that KFC revived Col. Sanders as a repulsive, clownish figure designed to inspire hatred. Just recently, I thought I saw another Col. Sanders (or is it the same actor?) commenting with disdain on that clownish figure. Have I been sucked into some clever conspiracy to gain my attention? Hmmm, haven't had fried chicken in a long time . . .

Lewis 10:42 AM  

Solid Friday, on the easy side of this day, and mostly clean. Excellent clues (CODA, DOVES, WAL, ALTO, STUNTPILOT, STPAT, and REL). I had no problem with the clue for WATERMELONSEEDS, in fact, I enjoyed it. I liked the answers STAYATHOME and TORPID. No current references -- this could have been published 20 years ago -- but never felt stale. I got my brain wakeup, a couple of smiles, and now I'm on my way, grateful to you, Peter!

Carola 10:55 AM  

A Friday romp but at slow-dance tempo, as I enjoyed lingering over the nice entries.
Trip down memory lane with MEMOREX - I have a cabinet full of tapes of Metropolitan Opera Saturday broadcasts from the 1980s and 1990s. Moments of nail-biting tension each week: when to hit "stop" and turn over the tape??
Answer known only from previous crosswords: THIS IS SPINAL TAP.
@Lena Webb - Loved your write-up!
@George Barany - Ditto on Gail COLLINS - I was going into serious withdrawal.

dbud 11:02 AM  

I agree with George Barany above. The clue for 30D should be Sex plus duo. Bad editing job on that one. Caesar would not know what "two" is.

jae 11:08 AM  

Easy for me.  My only erasure was otoE before CREE and GARDINER Mt. was the only WOE as clued.  Now if they had clued it as my sister's middle name...

Liked it, but it was a tad too easy for a Fri.   

Malsdemare 11:14 AM  

I love it when I breeze through a Friday; makes me feel brilliant. And this one was lots of fun. I seemed to be channeling Mr. Collins since I got some pretty odd stuff off almost no letters. I've never seen "this is spinal tap," but heard of it enough to get it from two letters. I thought WATERMELONSEEDS was pretty cute. I didn't mind CHE's appearance; we have so many awful historical characters that if we ban them, we'll lose half our puzzles. Bit I do agree that choosing a quote in keeping with someone's awfulness would be tactful.

I had never heard of Merl Reagle until I read all the paens to his brilliance, but I loved the tribute puzzle, so I ordered two of his books. One came Wednesday and I was up until midnight, chuckling, scratching my head, aha-ing like crazy. What a loss he is. How he produced puzzles like that on a regular basis is a puzzle to me!

cwf 11:14 AM  

Now I feel dumb because I found that one to be very difficult. Lovely but difficult. Lovely, that is, except for the combination of "Hebrew letter" and "Var." Though having studied Cantor, I guess I should have gotten that one.

Mohair Sam 11:15 AM  

So I made some money betting on a fast pacer named TORPID at Yonkers Raceway about a hundred years ago, hence 5D a gimme - and a favorite word just as it is for Lena, for different reasons obviously.

Easy for a Friday. All the 15s were gotten on one or two crosses except THISISSPINALTAP which was a gimme. What other 15 letter movie could feature an album with that title? And yes Lena, the WATERMELONSEEDS clue was tortured as all hell.

@Whirred - Yup, he said that too. But folks like handsome revolutionaries whose politics agree with theirs so you're gonna get "tremble with indignation." Not here to argue, just sayin'. I've read so much pro and con on Che that I have no idea what to think about him.

old timer 11:26 AM  

P.C. thirty-one says I've got a dirty one
COLLINS stands alone
Writing SAUCIER pictures on the WAL (oh-oh-oh)

A very easy puzzle for me, but I took British History my senior year in high school, and have been to GARDINER, the year of the great Yellowstone fire (we actually stayed in the lovely Tetons) and have almost every Christie book ever written, and therefore know what a POLICE CONSTABLE is (a P.C.) and also what a Detective CONSTABLE is (D.C.). In one non-Christie series set in Kent, the local C.I.D. (Criminal Investigations Department) includes a young copper whom his superiors refer to as the "defective constable".

I am disappointed in the review, because I expected @Rex to come out in one of his rare good moods and praise Mr. Collins's effort today. Nicely put together and *very* cleverly clued.

AliasZ 11:29 AM  


@Lena Webb, thanks for your lovely write-up.

CHE GUEVARA with CCCP crowning his head, made me TORPID at the very beginning, and there wasn't enough sparkle in the rest of the puzzle to perk me up and counteract the bad taste in my mouth. But at least one person in the world thought CHE GUEVARA was the "era's most perfect man": Jean-Paul Sartre -- seen here before and after some Photoshop surgery.

Sorry @Peter-32D for your otherwise respectable puzzle having gone to waste in my small corner of the world.

IRATE this one a B-minus.

English composer and conductor Anthony COLLINS (1893–1963) composed the score for the original "Swiss Family Robinson" (1940) among many others. As a conductor he was most noted for his interpretation of the music of Edward Elgar and Jean Sibelius. His recordings of the seven symphonies and other orchestral works of Sibelius at the helm of the London Symphony Orchestra are still considered among the best interpretations of the Finnish composer's works. Here is one example.

TGIF!

mac 11:37 AM  

Very enjoyable Friday puzzle! Thanks Peter.

Funny how close syntax is to sin tax. That corner needed some staring.

@George Barany: you're right, of course, but it would not be as funny.

Thanks you, Lena, good write-up.

Anonymous 11:40 AM  

Lots of foreign language words in Times crosswords, which I sort of like because I usually get the romance ones, but I wonder about 27 across, "Hebrew letter: Var." A got the crosses, but am I supposed to know Hebrew letters? Why not a Sanscrit letter now and then, or Swahili? Sheesh!

OISK 11:41 AM  

I always confuse Walpole with Wimpole. There is a shop on Barrett street, in London called "Wimpole's." Wimpole's of Barrett Street. I got a kick out of that, first time I saw it.

Really nice, smooth puzzle. Easy for a Friday, but that is not a criticism. I'll give this one an aleph.

Joseph Michael 11:58 AM  

Excellent puzzle, as usual from Mr. COLLINS.

Liked the stacked grid spanners and the overall high caliber of fill. Also liked the pairing of CHE GUEVARA and Eva PERON.

This seems to be the year of THIS IS SPINAL TAP which has now made it into the puzzle at least twice in 2015.

Remembered MARLO, however, as MARGO and didn't know Nancy Drew's publisher, so DNF. Ironic that my incorrect answer was the constructor's last name.





Roo Monster 12:06 PM  

Hey All !
Enjoyable FriPuz. The ole brain isn't hurting, which is always nice. Liked the 15's, crossing the down 10's. Nifty. Got THIS IS SPINAL TAP as like my second answer. What other fictional band would have an album named that?

Put mt RaINER in for GARDINER first, even though I believe it's Rainier. Or something. giaNT____ for STUNT PILOT. Thinking sportscaster NANce for NANTZ.

Only 27 blocks, nice fill With little dreck (I'm looking at you, MSS), couple of repeats as noted before, but willing to let em slide. So, nice job PAC-Man.

SAUCIER ADONIS (yeah, I wish :-P )
RooMonster
DarrinV

John V 12:11 PM  

Pretty easy Friday. Peter Collins puzzles are fun.

Masked and Anonymous 12:47 PM  

@Lena: Primo write-up. Feisty FriPuz. Weren't it a dormouse who suggested that U "Feed your head?"

Crossword constructioneer books always recommend usin lots of builder-friendly common letters in the 15th row and 15th column of a grid. This puppy had 10 E's, 4 S's, 3 T's, 3 P's (?), 2 R's, 1 A, 1 O, and 1 N. Enough to make two PETER's and a PETE.

Was en garde for bean drops, but nope. Did get lots of looong name drops, tho. A check of the author comment at xwordinfo shows that the COLLINS name drop was not a seed entry. Also, M&A votes thUmbsUp on the Collins dude's original clue for WATERMELONSEEDS of {Farmers might cover them in patches}.

@Lena again: I would submit a runtpuz to yer site, but am kinda afraid of losin my masked & anonymoUs status. U can use this guy, if U like: www.xwordinfo.com/Solve?id=18662&id2=824
It is one of the rare runtz that don't break any of yer site's (slightly fastidious) rules, I think.
Anyhoo, am delighted to see the lil jewels get more exposure and respect, over at yer magnifico site.

Masked and Anonymo4Us

**gruntz**

mac 12:54 PM  

@loren: so odd to hear about dippety-do twice in one day! The first time was about George Wallace.
I think this is called the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon.

AZPETE 1:10 PM  

Must have been easy. Solved with no googling.

GILL I. 1:15 PM  

I found this tedious. Maybe because I've been downing tramadol and can't seem to get the vision of 20 small children sitting on footsteps spitting WATERMELON SEEDS into my azaleas out of my cabeza.
@Whirred W....Che's idolization in any way, shape or form has always made me truly rub my head in desperation.That man never trembled with indignation of injustice. Good gravy, a foreign implant who murdered thousands, executed anyone who dared display hatred for the man and who did a good job of coming up with a slave labor camp the Russians called "Gulag." Cubans don't forget.
I really don't see anything here that cheers me up. Didn't know NANTZ ASTRO OTTO WALPOLE nor TETE de Moine. (I thought I knew my cheese heads)...
COLLINS? Really? how sweet.

Molson 1:27 PM  

I found this one challenging, perhaps because of mistakes. I had Jim NANCE (I've actually heard of the guy, never read his name, only heard them say it) and NOVICE constable (since it said low rank). Combined with the awful MSS on top of an OTTO nobody's heard of... that made the SW very hard for me. Plus I had BAWDIER instead of SAUCIER at first...

Charles Flaster 1:37 PM  

Enjoyed this one.
WATERMELON SEEDS!!
Thanks PAC

Trombone Tom 1:42 PM  

This puzzle felt easy for a Friday and/or Peter Collins and I were on the same wavelength. Hand up for CRow before CREE. STEPPED ON THE GAS and THIS IS SPINAL TAP magically appeared on the basis of just one or two letters. It helped to have had family friends who once lived in Gardiner.

Out here on the Left Coast this is the third day of 100+ temperatures. Whew! No more fires, please.

Chip Hilton 2:46 PM  

Fun Friday! Right on the money, concerning difficulty level. Not fond of WAL or URE, but, as has been mentioned, crummy threes were few and far between here.

Amazing how often the big 15ers are the gateway to the rest of the puzzle. ....SPINALTAP and ....CONSTABLE totally opened up the bottom. It took me a bit longer to decode the top pair, but I thought they were reasonable.

Fun write-up, and thanks, Mr. Collins!

Anonymous 3:55 PM  

@Whirred Whacks I'm in total agreement. The NYTimes routinely uses MAO & CHE and as you mentioned POL POT and NEVER clues them for the murdering psychopaths they were and should forever be enshrined in hell.

On a much lighter note, I groan every time I see TBAR. I've skied since I was 4, am now 62 and very very rarely see them. They fell out of style for one reason. They SUCK. One more ski comment, I can't tell you the last time GLARE was an issue. Much of skiing is in the shadows on the north side of a hill or mountain. Why? Because snow melts on the south side. So what I routinely run into is a comparative lack of light forcing me to wear yellow lenses to brighten up the terrain.

Anonymous 3:59 PM  

@jberg Clearly you didn't read what Whirred Whacks wrote. He didn't suggest excluding them. Just properly and historically clueing them. Plus you "suppose" Walpole killed more. On what historical basis?

Nathan 6:31 PM  

Easy Friday for me - enjoyable puzzle. A question though - as a newbie solver - I believe 23a "potential mag. articles, maybe" the answer of "MSS" refers to manuscripts. Is that common usage in the crossword world? Does it stand for something else? Just trying to see if that answer bothers anyone else and not be caught off guard by that usage next time.

Chanin 6:56 PM  

As the worst skier in my family of four, I really wanted GLARE to be GLADE, because everyone but me loves them. Also had Sioux Falls instead of Cedar Falls for a while, which made for some very confusing thoughts in the northeast. Also had NANCE as Molson mentioned. Sigh.

David G 8:55 PM  

The NYT puzzle always defines PEEN wrongly: as being "round", as in today's, or something equivalent. They seem to think "ball peen" is a redundancy, but the purpose of the modifier is to distinguish such hammers from the usual ones with flat PEENs.

Better if they just went with what Lena is thinking: juvenile, but not incorrect.

Diana,LIW 9:16 PM  

Thanks, jberg

I do follow the blog on the day I receive it, but you showed me a shortcut!

My problem with the 5-week lag is that I wanna join the party. Wah! Shall keep reading, and probably should buy a hard copy of the NYT or just subscribe on line.

Diana, Lady in Waiting

Leapfinger 9:36 PM  

@Nathan, MSS is the common abbrev for manuscripts in CrossWorld and elsewhere. If you search on 'acronym MSS', acronymfinder will give you a list of 170 with manuscripts the most common (municipal Sewage Sludge is #169, and there are250 more if you want to be really thorough).
[Obviously, the list gives abbrevs as well as true acronyms.]

I'm with the skiers who were surprised by GLARE. I've been on a couple of mountain-trips that involved crossing glaciers; on those parts of the trek, we had to wear
fitted goggles with special filters, as the sun reflecting off those sheets of ice could cause retinal damage. Now that's GLARE, but it's ICEDOVER, not snowedover.

@teedmn, head cheese, like haggis, is high on my list of things I'd rather not know what they're made of. But thanks for raising my curiosity.


jae 9:43 PM  

@Nathan - Yes, it refers to manuscripts and yes you will see it again.

Mark 10:39 PM  

"Objects within spitting distance" is a perfectly good, even great clue for WATERMELONSEEDS, much better than the original "Farmers might cover them in patches". After you have spat out your watermelon seeds, where are they? Every single one is within spitting distance. They can not be anywhere else but there.

AAA 5:54 AM  

...SIMONIZE URE OTTO

(and don't be TORPID about it...)

Nathan 10:19 AM  

Thanks Leapfinger and jae - I will think of you next time I see "MS"

Lena Webb 11:00 AM  

@Mark YESSS you have no idea how long I spent trying to see some way that the clue didn't bother me/something I was missing about it before hitting publish on this. I never saw it. I was considering only where the seeds *start* and not where they end up.

spacecraft 12:59 PM  

I don't know that I'd call this "easy," but maybe for a Friday it's on the easy-ish side of medium. I knew the cop was *something* CONSTABLE, but POLICE? Man, that is awash in MOSS paint.

Entry was smooth enough: MARLO (a rarity, truly beautiful yet somehow NOT sexy)-->ONATIP-->PERON-->PEEN and the SE corner, so -ALTAP was enough to get THISISSPINALTAP even though I never saw it or couldn't place that album--or any other music--within it. The title is something that sticks with you regardless.

That inroad stalled, but I reentered at NANTZ/SIMONIZ, surely a prize-winner for the most original Z-crossing! Other crosses, however, were less scintillating: OTTO/OCTO, WAL/WALPOLE, STP/STPAT (extra ugh! on that last one).

Some very interesting fill; How would you picture a STAYATHOME STUNTPILOT? Overall I enjoyed it. B.

Burma Shave 1:39 PM  

STAYATHOME STUNTPILOT

Too late, the POLICECONSTABLE STEPPEDONTHEGAS in the middle of TORPID CEDARFALLS,
The Patrol COLONEL GLAREd and called him an ASS, and said, ‘ You’ve got WATERMELONSEEDS for balls.”

--- ADONIS NANTZ

rondo 2:00 PM  

Couldn’t have been too tough, only write-over was at COLLIer, but a SPINALTAP fixed that.

I know what those Russian letters look like, but they are pronounced “ess ess ess air”. Make of that what you will, but IRATE that as weak as a RRN.

Always helpful to think of Cpl. LeBeau when spelling COLONEL, oui?

MARLO is That Girl yeah baby, but what @spacey said is spot on. ‘Ceptin maybe her now smoky sounding voice.

Animated ball-point states, “IAMBIC.”

Nothing here to get IRATE about and only the one MISCUE, so a decent Fri-puz.

Anonymous 4:51 PM  

Liked this one very much. I did have to look up Jim Otto but that was it. Mr. Collins always does a good job. I'm sure everyone remembers Memorex and Marlo Thomas. I didn't know the Brits called some of their cops Police Constables. I thought constable was enough. I say, old chap, we simply live and learn. I agree with the dissenter who bashed Guevara. He was a sociopathic killer, the same as the Islam extremists who enjoy their atrocities and egomaniacal fame.

Ron Diego, La Mesa, CA (The only small village where all our cats are taught to sit up and beg, roll over, and fetch a Frisbee). Excuse me while I put out the fire on my levis.

Anonymous 5:03 PM  

Dear West Coast Moderniste,
About your last comment, yesterday. Oh what a twisted, rude, crude, perverted, politically incorrect assumption. BUT......IT MADE SENSE AND I LAUGHED MYSELF SILLY. Keep up the good work. We need more humor on this blog.

Saint Ron dela Diego, of the La Mesa Monastery.

rondo 8:43 PM  

@moderniste - Ditto what @Ron Diego said. Much appreciated. Wouldn't mind another frequent commenter with some wit.

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