PM who won 1957 Nobel Peace Prize / FRI 3-18-16 / Picasso masterpiece with French title / It flows for nearly 2000 miles in Asia / Hotel Impossible airer / Sir William so-called Father of Modern Medicine / Corsairs Rangers of 1950s

Friday, March 18, 2016

Constructor: Michael Wiesenberg

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: LESTER PEARSON (34A: P.M. who won the 1957 Nobel Peace Prize)
Lester Bowles "Mike" Pearson OM CC OBE PC PC (Can) (23 April 1897 – 27 December 1972) was a Canadian scholar, statesman, soldier and diplomat, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1957 for organizing the United Nations Emergency Force to resolve the Suez Canal Crisis. He was the 14th Prime Minister of Canada from 22 April 1963 to 20 April 1968, as the head of two back-to-back Liberal minority governments following elections in 1963 and 1965. (wikipedia)
• • •

This is a solid puzzle underneath it all, but it's like a fairly well-made car that has started to RUST. There are definitely some weak and flaky parts along the edges. I think the NW put a very bad taste in my mouth that the rest of the puzzle just couldn't fully get rid of. AMIR is not and will never be redeemed by being in the title of a "comedy web series" (6D: "Jake and ___" (comedy web series)). It is and always will be a terrible variant of EMIR. No fair dressing it up as talented young people. If AMIR were a one-off, crosswordese-wise, I wouldn't find it that remarkable, but that corner alone has ESTEE and NTEST (hello, old friend) and MOIRE (1D: Op art pattern), a word I admittedly irrationally hate with the fire of several suns, mostly because I've never seen it anywhere but crosswords and can't really define it and know in my heart of hearts that no one but no one "likes" it and that it only exists in a puzzle because the constructor desperately needs that sweet sweet friendly letter pattern. [Exhale] Then there's "I HATE war" (!?). F.D.R. at his most eloquent, I'm sure.

Things improve after that, considerably. The NE holds together nicely, with a TANGLE of varied and interesting answers and only ELOI to CREPE me out with its crosswordesey ghastliness. Then central stack seems fine, and I might've really enjoyed it if I'd had Any Clue who LESTER PEARSON was. Not often that the marquee, central answer is a complete unknown to me, but today is one of those days. This unfamiliarity would play a crucial role at the very end of the puzzle, which is the only time I really had to struggle with this one. I ended up here:

The killer clue here was 32D: Says one can make it, say. I envisioned someone standing on the sidelines of a race, or on the other side of a tightrope, encouraging a competitor / tightrope walker. "Come on ... you can make it!" It's the referent of "one" that's the trouble here. Anyway, I put RAVES in here without knowing why. Perhaps the sideline encourager has lost her damn mind. This gave me P-EES at 36A: Friends, in slang, which was confusing. "BFFS ... B F F-ies ......... PHEES? Please let that be wrong." It was. Also looked at -I- AHEAD (34D: Be in store) and could imagine only GIT AHEAD ([Succeed in Dogpatch?]). Total wreck. Eventually I decided LIE AHEAD had to be right, then PEEPS, then (aha) RSVPS, and there we were. Done.

After the NW, the only objections I had were ... the extended -ER family (you know, the DYERS and the CARERS and whatever the hell a so-called OSLER is) (the ANSWERS and ALDERs and STEWOVERs, on the other hand, are all fine people). The puzzle creaks, but it holds up.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. belated thumbs-up for the clever clue on VERBOSE (29D: Denoting the style in which one might consider this clue to be written).

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Anonymous 7:21 AM  

We had PENCIL PUSHER less than a week ago (Saturday, 12 March). C'mon, really?

Loren Muse Smith 7:32 AM  

Lots of little groups in this one, which was cool:

MINI CAR, EDSELS, VWS, all with that worrisome RATTLE
N TEST, HOLY war, RAZE, STRAFE, SPYWARE… Nah. I HATE war, so I'll go join the SIT IN
All the guitar stuff

I love Anthony Bourdain:
No Reservations on the TRAVEL CHANNEL
Parts Unknown on CNN

INDUS was tough for me – couldn't vamoose the too-long "Tigris" from my head. That corner was the last to fall.

Off that first E, I kept entertaining "deus ex machina" for SILVER BULLETS. I know Greek tragedies about as much as I know rivers, so I like to throw this phrase around the way Mom (non-puzzler) throws around pangram and quad stack.

"Banff wildlife" – I ate at a restaurant there once where all the tables had phones left over from some other deal. The waiter couldn't explain them. After I found a little map on the back of a wine list with table numbers, I started calling other tables to check in and see how their meal was going. My husband got all tight-lipped and upset, but these total strangers were great sports, and some even started bothering other tables, too. Good times.

I'm a shameless name-dropper, so I found the the clue for WHO interesting. If the name-drop hit its mark, if it satisfactorily impresses the dropee, then the WHO is WHO??!!

Yeah, Anthony Bourdain and I go way back. I wish he'd stop bothering me, though. Sheesh.

But if the name-drop is a fail, then the WHO is kind of a distracted, polite who?

Actually, I once had a conversation with Chuck Mangione.
(This is true.)

The other clue that sidetracked me was the one for RATTLE. If you think about it, there are places where a RATTLE could be a lot more worrisome. Picking green beans in your garden, rooting around in the leaves for the &*&% horseshoe after a rogue throw, looking for a sponge under your kitchen sink, pitching a tent on top of Springer Mountain when you're tired and wet and hungry. (This last one really happened to me. I was with Chuck Mangione.)

VERBOSE – Well, heck. Yeah. I just don't have anyone else to talk to about these puzzles. FWIW, my non-puzzler husband asks Every Single Day, "How was the puzzle?" I always answer, as I will today, "Oh, fine."

Loren Muse Smith 7:39 AM  

@Nancy – from yesterday. Hah! We sure run in different circles! Creeped is quite common where I am.

Michael Hanko 7:52 AM  

@Loren Muse Smith

Your seemingly nonchalant (but actually impeccably constructed, even if you do this without thinking) comedy makes my day. And keeps getting even funnier. Thank you for making me laugh. . .and think.

Please write a book.

GILL I. 7:54 AM  

This puzzle has a little bit of everything, doesn't it? RENOIR always makes me happy. I love, love his colors and he always has flowers and light blues and pinks and I want to touch his paintings. Picasso, on the other hand, always made me sad during his Blue Period although LA VIE is probably one of his best.
IDEALIZE ELATES in that same area with I HATE N TESTS. Lots of people STEW OVER ROE V WADE....SO SAD.
I love VERBOSE but I'm more of a loquacious sort if I must say so.
I didn't get LESTER PEARSON because I knew of him, I got it because all the downs were easy for me to get.
CREPE suzette with Grand Marnier flambe. It's what my PEEPS like.

Susierah 7:56 AM  

Totally disagree with Rex's little rant about "moire". Moire is a well know fabric pattern in the fashion and home dec world, a sort of swirly or wavy pattern. As in, oh that gown is a beautiful moire silk!

George Barany 8:07 AM  

Today's rather easy puzzle by @Michael Wiesenberg, along with his constructor's notes at, and @Rex's astute and entertaining analysis, cause me to reflect upon my interactions and collaborations with @Martin Ashwood-Smith.

Compare today's central staircase pattern with the one that appeared exactly a week ago, both as published in the New York Times (click here for @Rex's review) and in the parallel puzzle shared on my website.

ANGELENOS is a New York Times debut. Interestingly, @MAS and I looked at it long and hard for what, Upon Reflection (two versions), ultimately became a different word.

Two more quick notes. PENCIL_PUSHERS (singular and plural) are feeling especially put upon, and I compliment the first comment of the day for pointing this out. I also concur with @Rex that today's clue for VERBOSE is wonderful (and love @Loren Muse Smith's riff about it).

Generic Solver 8:31 AM  

If you're into guitars, between IBANEZ, a well-known Japanese manufacturer who builds cheap to expensive guitars and electric basses all over Asia, and ASH and ALDER (two of the most popular body woods for electric guitars), you probably felt in comfortable territory solving this one, as I did.

Andrew Morrison 8:54 AM  

Agree with RP regarding NW corner. I went with abomb first for the mushroom producer (since Kennett Square, PA clearly didn't fit.) I let that sit there for a while, ignoring the very obvious ESTEE, while I went after the low hanging fruit. LESTERPEARSON was a gimme, since I am a hockey fan and Canadaphile. OSLER was a slam dunk, since my kids were born at Johns Hopkins Hospital which has an, you guessed it, OSLER building. Decent puzzle, although isn't there a rule on how many guitar woods can be clued in one puzzle?

Sir Hillary 8:55 AM  

Had good fun with this one. Stacked 13s always make me smile. Agree with @LMS that the "guitar wars" were certainly in evidence.

-- PENCILPUSHERS. Thank goodness we had it last week; it was my foothold.
-- Nice shout-out to my NHL team at 11D.
-- The SW corner. Great stuff.
-- All the Vs.
-- VWS brought to mind last Thursday.

Not so much:
-- IHATE iffy partials. NOTA good idea for entries. HOLY cow, why clue HOLY that way?
-- CEL and ONECELL in the same grid.
-- The fact that I can never remember that the Italian wine isn't SuAVE.

That's about it. Happy Friday, everyone.

Lobster11 8:56 AM  

Second day in a row that OFL seemed to be reading my mind. Didn't like all the -ERs (especially CARERS -- yuk) -- but the clue on VERBOSE almost made up for that. Agree that LESTERPEARSON (who?) is a lousy choice for a featured entry. And also agree that the NW was pretty awful: MOIRE/INDUS/NTEST/IHATE/CEL/AMIR all running side-by-side starting at 1D? For that price you oughta get some pretty exciting crosses, which ONTHEMAP and IDEALIZE aren't. Only difference was that because I finished in the NW rather than starting there, that ugly corner left a bad taste in my mouth at the end rather than from the beginning.

Is ONECELL really a "feature" of an amoeba? That somehow doesn't sit right with me. Could a "feature" of a planet therefore be, say, "orb" or "sphere"?

barbara 9:01 AM  

I grew up as the daughter of a famous wedding gown designer so I know moire fabric very well as a once popular bridesmaid dress material. Google "moire fabric" images and you'll recognize it immediately.

Brett Hendrickson 9:04 AM  

I live just down the road from the Martin Guitar factory and filled that in right away, which goofed me up for a while up in the the NE with IBANEZ. Favorite part of this puzzle is ROEVWADE on top of STEWOVER.

Tita 9:10 AM  

@lms... I never order mussels on a Monday...because, "Kitchen Confidential".

Bought this was easy...kept second-guessing myself..."The clue can't be *that* straightforward on Friday."
Just my wheelhouse, I guess.

Gotta laugh at Rex!s veins popping out over MOIRE... It's as normal as the day is long, to moi. It's a beautiful style of fabric, and I worked on lots of it when I was an indentured servant in my mom's business.

Hmmmm...had we not seen PENCILPUSHERS a little while ago, this puzzle would have been much harder...I rarely get a marquee answer right off the bat (ADLER or ASH).

A fine puzzle, Mr. W, but over too soon.

AnnieD 9:11 AM  

I take it Rex doesn't sew. As a long-time sewist and a fabric lover for many years, I fondly remember the moire drapes I made for my living room in the first house we owned. They were lovely...and certainly not op art.

Kitty 9:20 AM  

I'm very familiar with MOIRE as a wavy pattern in fabric or ribbon. Always pretty.

Roo Monster 9:22 AM  

Hey All !
Totally agree with Rex on that confound NW corner. Man, what a buzzkill after a successful get of the rest of the puz. IDEALIZE, never. Could only think of idolIZE, lionIZE, or canonIZE. Also, INDUS a WOE, NTEST a Rats-a-Frats-a clue. Could only think of actual mushrooms. I HAYE War also a new one.

Rest of puz was surprisingly easyish. Started getting stuff in the S, with ROEVWADE a gimmie for some reason. And EDSELS definitely a gimmie, since I like classic cars. TELEPORT easy, as I am a SciFi-er. So managed SE-SW-middle-NE. Then RAZEd in the NW.

Still a nice FriPuz.


Mohair Sam 9:24 AM  

A handful of brilliant clues made this one a lot of fun, especially VERBOSE and RSVPS. Liked the fresh clue for CEL too - nice misdirect for a an old -piece of "ese".

Three gimmes for guitar players today, and only one sports clue - bringing a little balance I guess. Speaking of balance - PENCILPUSHERS twice in a week? Puzzle much easier for those of us old enough to remember LESTER PEARSON (although Mrs. M remembered him, not I).

Anyone who has seen a couple of "Hotel Impossible" episodes has seen the places I had to stay in when I ran my own business (pre-internet) a few years back. The old hotel guides left a few things out.

@lms - Our son and and daughter-in-law dragged us to a dive in a rough section of Camden, NJ to feast on "the best cheese steak ever". It was (and I know my cheese steaks). About a year later your man Anthony Bourdain featured said dive and cheese steak on his "Parts Unknown" - he does indeed cover the world.

jberg 9:28 AM  

LESTER PEARSON and MOIRE were fine with me; my problem was confidently putting in IDolized (parsing 'put' wrong), immediately confirmed by INDUS and MOIRE. So I thought NTEST (or a-TEST) couldn't be right. Finally CNN made me see PENCIL PUSHERS, so I had to change idolized, but it still took too long to see the right answer.

@Loren, Tigris isn't too long, it's too short! Only about 1200 miles, says Wikipedia.

John Child 9:33 AM  

I think MOIRÉ is a lovely word, and NTEST helped me get a foothold on the puzzle, so "no harm, no foul" there. Many unknown proper names for me, and the last thing to go in was the western part of the center stack. Is there really a TRAVEL CHANNEL among the hundreds of US TV offerings? Sounds like fun. I'm not sure that Canadian prime ministers few solvers could remember, however Nobelly, are cross-worthy. But it all fell cleanly in a little less than normal Friday time.

Thank you St. Ewover!

An Old Canadian 9:36 AM  

All you defenders of MOIRE - you do realize you're reminiscing about using it many decades ago, right? Well, let me join in - I was elated as a 30yo back in '57 when Lester Pearson won the NPP for resolving the Suez Canal crisis. Good times.

Hey Nurse! I've got oatmeal dripping down my chin - some service please!?

LFox 9:41 AM  

Great puzzle for Canadians - the great PM Lester Pearson, the medical pioneer William Osler, and of course Banff elk.

Horace S. Patoot 9:53 AM  

Moire is not only a fabric, but an object of fascination known to many old sciency types in the 60s. Somewhere you could buy transparent sheets with simple patterns and create beautiful effects by overlaying them and experimenting with rotations and translations.

Ludyjynn 9:55 AM  

If you haven't been to the FDR Memorial, put it on your bucket list immediately. "I HATE WAR" is literally etched in stone in one of four outdoor 'rooms' dedicated to each term of this president, highlighting the significant historical events that transpired. The first time I saw this raw emotion carved into granite, I burst into tears. Now is the IDEAL time to visit, as the memorial is located directly on the Tidal Basin, where the cherry blossoms are expected to burst into bloom next week. GO!

@Andrew Morrison, not to mention OSLER Drive in Towson, MD, which leads directly into St. Joseph's Hospital.

Thanks, MW and WS. I thought many of this puzzle's ANSWERS were a brilliant mix of words evoking life and death decisions. Well done!

Anonymous 9:55 AM  

"I hate war. My wife Eleanor hates war. I hate my wife Eleanor" Old anti FDR joke.

Dr. Mike 9:56 AM  

"One of the first duties of the physician is to educate the masses not to take medicine.". --Sir William Osler

Truer words were never spoken.

DCP 9:56 AM  

Nice mis-direct at 9D: Uber looked so good... until it didn't

Bob Kerfuffle 9:58 AM  

Yup, Easy - Medium.

One w/o, 8A, STRIKE >> STRAFE.

Nothing new to add, except Two weeks to ACPT!

Robso 10:01 AM  

I just came here to say that as a graphic designer, I have seen the word MOIRE before because it comes up in scanning magazine photos that are made using the halftone printing process.
Also, I agree on the NW, but liked INDUS, ROEVWADE, EDSELS and ERNST Lubitsch, who made some pretty funny movies.

demit 10:15 AM  

I always enjoy the critiques of words or things that people don't know. The anguished cries of Well, I never heard of that so it must be too obscure! are just too funny. One underlying premise of crossword puzzles is a test of general knowledge, no? Relax and learn something, I figure.

And, Old Canadian, what statute of limitations do you propose on using words, phrases and people from the past? How many decades is too many?

Mary Tepper 10:19 AM  

Much fun today for this old fogey. Plenty of resonance, with a minimum of head scratching and googles. Thanks, Mr. Wiesenberg.

Fav of the day - LESTER PEARSON (hi @Rex). In office when Canada became a safe haven for Vietnam war draftees. Reminded me of Jesse Winchester's "Tell me why you like Roosevelt" anthem. FDR, Pearson and Trudeau are his honorees:

I HATE WAR, too.

Anonymous 10:22 AM  

Moire is a well known phenomenon to photographers. Also being a physician Dr Osler is a legend to me. Indus and Ganges rivers are sacred rivers in India. Why everyone does not know these things is jaw dropping!

Nancy 10:24 AM  

St Patrick's Day's Resolutions:

I am NOT going to set my alarm to wake up earlier to get to the puzzle before the morning cut-off. I am NOT.

I am NOT going to forgo breakfast to get to the puzzle earlier, before the morning cut-off. I am NOT.

I am NOT going to try to scramble the eggs with one hand, while doing the puzzle with the other, to get to the puzzle earlier, before the morning cut-off. I am NOT.

There! I've gotten THAT off my chest! I missed three puzzle cut-offs this week by less than 10 minutes each. Yesterday, my comment -- the first one to appear after the cut-off -- appeared some 10-11 hours later.

On today's puzzle: I, too, was gobsmacked to see PENCIL PUSHERS for the second time in a week. A nice, fresh answer then becomes stale the second time around. This, of course, is not the constructor's fault. On an earlier day in the week, this would have been a very enjoyable puzzle. But, coming on a day that's supposed to be hard, this easiest of Fridays was, for me, a disappointment.

Stuart Showalter 10:36 AM  

"Whatever the hell a so-called OSLER is"? Really @rex? Get over yourself. HE (not it) was just the Father of Modern Medicine," as the clue notes.

oldbizmark 10:37 AM  

fastest time ever for a friday. a bit disappointed by how fast this solved for me. equal to a hard tuesday, or medium wednesday, maybe. smooth cluing and fill but not challenging at all.

Anonymous 10:38 AM  

Of course this puzzle had a theme!


I loved it!

(Plus, MOIRE is awesome and I have never heard it used with fabric. I know it from awesome optical illusions, cel-animation photography, crazy cool artwork, scientific optical analysis, all sorts of cool things)

Anonymous 10:47 AM  

I surprised that Rex didn't point out the rival to the Lester Pearson horror. Who the hell is Ernst Lubitsch and what's an eloi anyway. I got hung up on that same RSVP/Rave problem and since I never got lie ahead an I didn't know who Lester Pearson was, that's where it stayed. and by the way, I don't have an encyclopedic knowledge of guitar wood, so pardon me for thinking there was some sort of theme here that was driving me crazy, since the guitar references seemed to have purpose.

Hartley70 10:52 AM  

Hand up for MOIRE. @AnOldCanadian, it is not a 30 year old memory for me. It's a perfectly lovely fabric and word. Beautiful silk will never go out of fashion.

I thought this was an excellent puzzle. The most difficult entry for me was IBANEZ and I tried to make Fender and Gibson work first. I'm the rock n roll generation!

I got LESTERPEARSON off the LE and the ON. I never could have remember him without those clues, because I was probably skipping rope at recess the day he got the award.

VERBOSE was perfection. I won't say more.

Kimberly 10:58 AM  

For some reason, my solve time was super fast on this. Even all of my original "wild stab" answers for the generic stuff ended up being correct, which can only be an accident. Must have been the luck o' the Irish last night. It felt like a tues/wed puzzle to me.

Rex, careful! Your rant on Amir sounds a lot like "you kids! Get off my lawn!" Lol.

The only vaguely NYT Crossword-is-psychic moment is that my husband and I were discussing getting his old 1969 mini out of storage so he can fix it. Mostly, though, it felt more like mocking than being psychic. Maybe that's it. The Xword has never been psychic... it just mocks me.

old timer 11:08 AM  

Very easy for a Friday, which means tough but doable. Although I wanted MINICAR from the start, I saw no other opening in the NW and moved to the NE where I knew or could guess all the Downs. I had "Ernie" before ERNST, but that was enough to give me CHANNEL, and I am *just* old enough to remember old LESTER PEARSON. I was 12 when he won that prize, and had heard his name on the TV and radio news, and of course had read it in the L.A. Times of old. (I mention the Times because their policy was to use "ANGELENOS as often as possible -- essentially they made that word up).

The thing about stairstep crosswords is, with any luck you will have everything done easily except for the two odd corners. I was in luck today, and in the SE corner said to myself, "SO SAD"? Oh, no! Not again! But I wrote it in in confident ink, followed by SOAVE and HOLY and ALDER and the brilliant ROE V WADE. Done!

Finished in the NW, where I had somehow wanted the river "Tagus". Then I remembered that's in Iberia, not Asia. Ganges? No. "Brahmaputra"? Don't be silly! Ah. INDUS! AMIR could have been a Natick point, but wasn't.

Good puzzle, Mr. Weisenheimer. uh, Mr. Wiesenberg! Well done!

Lewis 11:19 AM  

@loren -- Terrific post, one of your best. @michael is right, you need to write a book. You are so funny and relatable.
@rex -- you made me laugh too; I love the STEWOVERs.

I saw the AERIAL warfare mini theme (STRAFE, RAZE, NTEST) and loved the clue for CEL, and I learned MOIRE, but what made this puzzle for me was the large number of answers that were fun, interesting, or just cool sounding -- GALL, SILVERBULLETS, PEEPS, ROEVWADE, VERBOSE, SPYWARE, TELEPORTS, PENCILPUSHERS, SITIN, OHWOW, FELLOPEN, ANGELENOS, and IBANEZ. This huge bounty easily outbalances a CARER here and ELOI there.

Inside I was smiling through the whole puzzle. Nothing to STEWOVER; this puzzle made me the opposite of SOSAD.

OISK 11:38 AM  

First thought "Pretentious, moire? " But that is included just for the pun. I loved this puzzle, and if I didn't know what moire was, it was interesting to learn about it. Right in my wheelhouse it was, cleverly clued, and so much good that I didn't mind the brand name clues I usually hate, ( Ibanez, Estee, Edsel) as I knew two of them, and the third, Ibanez was easy from the crosses, and I must have seen it somewhere before. Nothing to stew over, everything on the map, (never heard of peeps as meaning friends though), lovely Friday.

TrudyJ65 11:40 AM  

LESTER PEARSON would have to be a real Canada/US divider. I was born when he was in office and filled in that clue with no crosses at all. It was a giveaway.

kitshef 11:50 AM  

Unlike @Kimberly, my wild stabs tended to be incorrect: economy before MINICAR, IDolized before IDEALIZE, fendEr before IBANEZ, deusExmachina before SILVERBULLETS, noWay before OHWOW. Still a fast solve so hand up for an easy Friday.

I, too, hated the NW, but my gripes were MINICAR and NTEST, the former seems to me to be green paint and the latter is just made up garbage.

Hand up also for never wanting to see ELOI in a themeless again. I get how with a dense theme you often need to use some -ese along the way. Inexcusable in a themeless.

Lot of Frenchiness in the puzzle. In addition to the artistic trio as pointed out by @LMS, we also get CREPE, ESTEE, MOIRE, and RSVPS.

Bark 11:55 AM  

Rather than cluing “alder” as “guitar-making wood”, it would be just as challenging to lose the “making” (keep the hyphen) and clue it as “solid-body guitar wood”; the clue would then carry an interestingly specific factoid. Cedar wood guitars smell the best. The most surprising material in some guitars these days is “fossil mammoth ivory” — which has a habit of causing problems at airports, though it’s not supposed to. Then there’s the dried up rattle snake rattle that western strummers like to have rattling around inside the body of their guitars. I guess it lends a kind of authenticity, though it doesn’t smell the best. For fans of chess, New York City is going to get exciting in November, when the world championship comes to the USA. Just sayin’.

Mohair Sam 12:07 PM  

@Annnie D and @Kitty and many others: MOIRE drapes, the material! I knew I knew the word, just not from whence. Thank you.

puzzle hoarder 12:16 PM  

I find it ironic that this puzzle seems to have been built around 15D and 34A. They're both 13rs which split each other perfectly smack in the middle of the puzzle. What are the odds one of them would show up in a puzzle less than a week earlier. This was the editor's fault. It just made an already easy puzzle fly by faster. That's too bad because this puzzle had some grit to it. I had to work around 34A like everyone else. Who but a trivia freak or an old Canadian would know that? Sure enough someone chimes in claiming to be the latter.
I did have a few misdirects and write overs none worth mentioning. What I would like to point out is for a good portion of my adult life I was convinced that Banff had an I in it. Another thing, until today I thought Ibanez was a Spanish company. Think about it. It does look Spanish.

SandySolver 12:26 PM  

What Susierah said!

Hartley70 12:27 PM  

Hi @LudyJynn! Good to read you! I didn't realize there was an FDR memorial, but of course there should be. Are we talking DC or Hyde Park? My teary reaction was at the Vietnam wall. I didn't expect it in the late 1980's, but there it was, a visceral experience.

Leapfinger 12:48 PM  

Say, Does the TRAVEL CHANNEL ever take you rafting down the FELLOPEN Tubes?

Excuse the prolapse in judgment; I was exposed to "Through the Alimentary Canal with Gun and Camera" during my impressionable youth, and never made a full recovery.

Good Friday!!!

Andrew Heinegg 1:14 PM  

Unlike most others, I struggled with the middle of this puzzle. The NW went down after a fairly short fight because 17,19 and 23a were easy. When it was all over, I was pleased to have completed it but, in retrospect, I have to agree with OFL. There were far too many crosswordese answers of a trivial and repetitive nature. I can vaguely remember Lester Pearson but, considering the basis for his Nobel, anyone who receives a peace prize for attempting to bring some stability to that war tattered part of the world had best take satisfaction as quick as they can because it won't be long for the next outbreak of hostilities to begin. The ironic part to me is that the peoples of the Middle East are in appearance, relgious beliefs, eating habits (thus U.S.Muslims often seek out Kosher food), etc. so similar to each other that even members of the same ethnicity and religion might not catch on to a strangers in their midst, which would explain how Mossad has been so successful over the many years. Let's hope that there can somehow be some resolution to this continuing nightmare with, of course, the common people getting the worst of it.

Anonymous 1:21 PM  

I work in film, and MOIRE comes up a lot - mostly because you want to avoid clothing and wall patterns that will do it when filmed digitally - it's distracting to the eye.

But anyway, nice to hear that it does have a life outside of crosswordese for a number of people.

Chip Hilton 1:29 PM  

One of those puzzles where, at first glance, I hadn't a clue. Broke through at the bottom and it turned into a very enjoyable solve, highlighted by the P.M. springing to mind.

Nothing else to say, except to let the commenters know how much I enjoyed today's contributions. Fun, insightful, mind-expanding. It's a pleasure to come here once again now that the snark has gone away.

Teedmn 1:32 PM  

Like @LMS, I wanted Deus Ex machina at 35A off the E. I spent some energy trying to make it fit. I decided that 32D was textS so I could get the EX, erm, that gives me XE, sigh. So RSVPS it was and I had to get a bunch more crosses to see SILVER BULLETS.

At 16A, I confidently put in Fender, but was fully prepared to change it to Gibson or Taylor if necessary, IBANEZ not on my radar. I just bought a new Taylor acoustic made of Sitka spruce and rosewood. No ALDER (which was ceDaR for a moment) or ASH.

YAkS again today so the Star Trekkers were TELEkORTing for a while. My RUST came from "gold". And my jaw FELL OvEr first and I mentally sighed at the comments regarding the OVER dupe, which were made unnecessary by the discovery of OPEN.

So thanks, MW, for a chewy Friday.

Lori Haner 1:36 PM  

As a printer, I find your anger at the use of the word "moire" amusing as it is a common word used in the printing business to describe the "op art" effect created when one or more screens in a four color printing process do not line up. Thou doth protest too much!

Paul Johnson 1:40 PM  

For different reasons I liked "I Hate Everything". Thanks for sharing Rex.

Jim Finder 2:03 PM  

Nancy, what is "the morning cut-off"?

Leapfinger 2:12 PM  

Have to say this puzzle was all the way down my historical allée:
*LESTER PEARSON made this a good day to be solving Canadian; Banff back-up didn't hurt either, though the wildlife I most remember gave its name to Mosquito Creek. No ELK were seen, and fortunately only the clawmarks of grizzlies fresh from hibernating. YIPES!
*Good for French-speaking Canadians with ARLES, RENOIR, MOIRE, LA VIE, CREPE, RSVPS
*And for les Canadiens Quebequois, with tout les ESTEEs -- ESTEE Agathe, ESTEE Anne de Beaupre, ESTEE Adele, ESTEE Marguerite. Don't think les Laurentides have a ST. RAFE, and (fur as I know) STE WOVER usually ANSWERS to STE WOVERine...
*And for old McGillians there's OSLER, who stayed there just long enough to have several buildings named for him.
*Returning to the here&now, in a few weeks I'll be sorry I didn't put TANGLEfoot on my trees, when the inchworm invasion comes to town.

Umm. It was only ARLES saved me from considering a chEEse-based salad. Biggest mess was getting a lift from UBER before TBAR

Yeah, PENCILPUSHER again, and also ARIAL->ARIEL->AERIAL, but WHO lost its HOW, HOLY Cow!! Seeing VWS again was a nice remembrance of bugs past, otoh

Ponderables: is it IDOLIZE or IDEALIZE you do to what's on a pedestal?
Is ONE_CELL a 'feature' or a characteristic of an amoeba? I say a pseudopod is a 'feature', even if transient. Anyone care to split a hair with me?

VERBOSE: the sugar that makes sweet talk sweet talk
We got the ASH and the ALDER, but no GIT-tar's made from the INDUS tree.

Speaking of guitars, there was the time in college I went to a pawn shop in old Montreal with Ninette R (Egyptian, not French), one of my best-ever PEEPS. I thought she was sooo cool for buying a braided bullwhip ($45) for her boyfriend Tom; what I coveted was that inlaid IBANEZ guitar, but $200 = half a semester's tuition. OH WOW, now I HATE that I didn't.

I'm always taken aback if someone should LIE AHEAD of when they come clean. It's probably better to know what's afoot and stand aside than to take affront.

Speaking of Front (and Center), the HEELS and DOOK and the ELIS (!!!) have all advanced. Add a good Wiesenberg puzzle that puts Canada ON THE MAP... Can life be any sweeter?

Larry R 2:23 PM  

Moire is a name worth learning. Looking through screens, especially if there's another screen behind the first, or looking through gauzy fabrics, we often see flowing, wavy shapes. These are Moire patterns. Nearly everyone has seen them and marveled at their beauty.

Carola 2:40 PM  

Easy. Felt bad that PENCIL PUSHERS had had its thunder stolen. Stepping into line with the MOIRE defenders. CREPE can be added to the fabric thread.

Hungry Mother 2:43 PM  

I knew Moire from Physics class. Here's a nice link:

A question I asked in a LA Times blog yesterday and didn't get an answer is why the clue "extol" can lead to the answer LAD as in yesterday's Commuter Crossword in the Naples Dailey News?

Martín Abresch 3:44 PM  

This felt like a review quiz. Others have mentioned PENCIL PUSHER (which had its first ever appearance on Saturday March 10). The clue for IDEALIZE (Put on a pedestal) was used twin Thursday March 10 (for IDOLIZED and ADULATE). That same puzzle had VWS as the revealer. STEW OVER definitely came to my mind quicker because of Wednesday's STEWED TOMATOES.

The NW was the last to fall for me. It took me as long to get that corner as it did to get rest of the puzzle.

Technically, AERIAL isn't used in the clue for STRAFE (Subject to an air attack)

Martín Abresch 3:50 PM  

Argh! I hit publish early. Was saying that AERIAL (Like some warfare) seems too similar to the clue for STRAFE (Subject to an air attack). Why not clue AERIAL as antenna?

Apple Chill 4:10 PM  


Speaking of automotive wordplay, the mechanics I swear by work in a Carrboro shop called AutoLogic. You know the place? I own one of their T-shirts with their logo of a T.rex redrawn on a wrench. Yup, Tyrannosaurus wrench.

The T-shirts come free if your bill for services is $1000+, earned with my intro to master and slave cylinders. Who knew engine parts had such history?

Nancy 4:41 PM  

@Jim Finder (2:03 p.m.) -- If your typical posting time is 2:03 p.m., you needn't worry your pretty little head about the morning cut-off time. You have surely become inured to your comment appearing whenever it manages to appear. Maybe 6 p.m. Maybe 9 p.m. Maybe midnight. Whatever. If you're a morning poster, however, eager to see your name in lights before you and all your fellow bloggers leave the house for the day, you cannot help but notice that there are two clumps of early posts. The first clump contains comments from night owls who must be doing the puzzle online, since they're posting before they could possibly have received the physical New York Times. The second clump is people, probably in the Eastern time zone, who are solving first thing in the morning -- but that depends of course on when they arise. If you are one of these people, and you miss the second morning cut-off, your comment may not appear any earlier than someone who doesn't post until mid-afternoon or even later. This second cut-off time fluctuates: It may be at 8:30 am. Or at 9:15 am. Or at 9:45 am. Or at 10:20 am. (It's usually later on weekends.) The cut-off time is completely unpredictable. All I know is that, whenEVER it is, it will be less than 10 minutes before I have typed my comment and clicked on "Send." It's diabolical -- that's what it is! Anyway, that's what I was alluding to in my earlier comment.

Jennifer Freeman 4:48 PM  

Perhaps I overlooked your posts but I hadn't seen any lately and was concerned, so am happy to find you here again. We lived in DC for many years and never tired of visiting the FDR Memorial and I cried there, too.

Anonymous 5:04 PM  

@Hungry Mother,

I would think the clue "extol" would take the answer "LAUD". Is there anything about the puzzle you're asking about that would make U disappear?

Not a rebus puzzle, I take it?

Questinia 5:17 PM  

My wedding dress was silk moire and black.

Leapfinger 5:32 PM  

@Annie D,

I also was a long-time sewist (lol!) and still am a material lovist, so I agree with you and envy you those MOIRE curtains. Never had enough to make those, but I did cover an architectural area of wall with it once, stretched between the moldings top and bottom, so it could be taken down for cleaning as necessary, and come away with me when I left those digs.
(Had some extra commas lying around, begging to be used.)

Beauty like that should be out where it's enjoyed on a daily basis.

Arlene 5:47 PM  

This was an easy Friday for me - doesn't happen very often.
I'll add to the MOIRE comments - beautiful fabrics, particularly taffetas.
And you can replicate the moire effect by holding two screen together, as a few people have pointed out.

jae 6:33 PM  

Easy-medium for me with the SW as the toughest part. If I'd just remembered my EDSELS a tad more quickly...and hadn't had the same problem that @Rex did with RSVP...

Erasure: iSLEy before OSLER, are we sure he didn't have a singing group on the side?

Solid Fri., liked it a lot.

Chuck McGregor 6:50 PM  

Har! Just catching up on comments since this morning and to see if my mine made it. It didn’t. Now I’m wondering if it might have something to do with the fact I never posted one.

Anonymous 10:38 AM – In addition to the fabric, my other contacts with MOIRE are much like yours. An optical one --- Some fabric patterns will create distracting MOIRE patterns on a viewer’s TV. Certain striped ties are a common problem. The stripes will appear to wave around in a sorta of blurry fashion. TV costumers* have to be aware of this.

*cf. sp. customers, those whom costumers service, so to speak. Wondering if it would it be legit to have both those words in the same puzzle?

This was a good challenge with much great stuff, i.e. clues/answers and, as always the raft* of great comments to read.

* Kon-Tiki might make a good TRAVEL CHANNEL movie.

I did it pen to paper and ended up flat out stuck with almost all of the center and SW very white-looking. I finally had to go on-line and reveal square 35. Nope. Then square 36. That did it. Then did the full puzzle reveal on-line to check and, OH WOW HOLY cow, the jingle was deserved.

On that note (yup, pun twas intended)


Hungry Mother 9:12 PM  

@Anonymous (sic): the published solution today was LAD, no rebus involved, no abbr., no language reference. I've found that LAD is the number one answer for the clue "extol" on a few crossword solutions sites, but no justification. Anybody? Bueller?

Tita 9:17 PM  

@Kimberly...get that MINICAR out of storage and on the road STAT!

I gave in to practicality and bought myself brand new MINICARs...a 2003 and my current 2006 ragtop.

Speaking of Minis, anyone near from @Joho lately?

Lorraine 10:57 PM  

My prom dress was a red moire, soooo fancy.

Z 11:35 PM  

Seriously, has no one ever heard that a picture is worth a thousand words? (@hungry mother - we have to teach you how to embed a link)

Quick, what do OSLER, PEARSON, and ERNST have in common? This puzzle made me feel young again.

The century in which they were born (hint, it weren't the 20th).

B.B. Netanyahoo 9:49 AM  

'.... The ironic part to me is that the peoples of the Middle East are in appearance, relgious beliefs, eating habits (thus U.S.Muslims often seek out Kosher food), etc. so similar to each other that even members of the same ethnicity and religion might not catch on to a strangers in their midst, which would explain how Mossad has been so successful over the many years....'

@Andrew Heinegg, I am astounded at the depth and accuracy of your observations, and at the overwhelming intelligence of your analysis. If only your level of understanding were available to the PTB!

Anonymous 1:40 PM  

I know, pretty big" gimme" that wouldnt have been elsewise

Proud Mamma 6:41 PM  

For tje record, if you are choosing uoholstery to redecorate, you would be familiar with the word moire. Not crosswordese. I'll give u ntest and estee. Fridays are a stretch for me...I'm just catching on. Floundered in the southwest and ended on fact checks. Oh well.

Anonymous 9:43 AM  

BTW, Rex, the word moire may be more known to women and home-sewers. It is a fabric or a pattern on a fabric.

spacecraft 12:20 PM  

This puzzle gave me the weird sensation of being TELEPORTed between now (ANGELENOS as Kings' fans, PEEPS, SPYWARE) and my youth (SITIN, ROEVWADE and, heaven help us, EDSELS). While daunting enough at first sight, it turned out to be a too-familiar rehash of recent fare (the unfortunate central marquee PENCILPUSHERS) and the hackneyed (ESTEE, NTEST, ELOI. From initial reaction this one should have acquired a triumph factor, but it didn't. I just...oh yeah, that...filled it in. It wound up not even seeming like a Friday.

In addition to my well-known (ONTHEMAP?) peeves NTEST and TBAR, I had to deal with [NOTA] problem, instead of the more familiar "No problem." And WHO is this OSLER guy? I have medical training; my wife was a career (registered) nurse--yet neither of us ever heard of this person. "Father of modern medicine?" Really? When I'm done here, you can bet I'll Google him and learn something, if only not to credit some obscure fellow with such a title.

This VERBOSE report now ends. C.

spacecraft 12:27 PM  

Back from Google. Okay, Osler co-founded Johns Hopkins, and introduced the concept of bedside residency. No small contribution, but "Father?" C'mon, man.

Longbeachlee 12:35 PM  

Alder, ash, tbar, one cell; all seen recently, or frequently. Still, I liked it. I, too, thought Rex's rant on Amir way off. I have know Amirs, who, if their names were "variants" didn't think of themselves as second-class Emirs. Come back soon Michael.

rain forest 1:01 PM  

The Canadians' revenge. This was a really fine puzzle where LESTER PEARSON, OSLER, and Banff ELK, were gimmes, and they gimmied me a big inroad to the solve. I know Americans are largely ignorant of their great Northern neighbour, so try to understand our problems with the NYTxword's references to American culture. @Rex, you completely ticked me off with your dismissive comments about Pearson and Osler.

I was surprised by how easy this puzzle was, but the collection of excellent clues/answers, like ANSWERS (and VERBOSE, ANGELENOS, TELEPORT, LIE AHEAD,etc), increased the enjoyment quotient considerably.

Waxy in Montreal 2:02 PM  

Easy for even younger Canadians as Mike PEARSON was recently voted our best PM ever, not just in honour of his efforts as External Affairs minister in helping resolve the Suez Crisis, but also for his role as PM in the adoption of our Maple Leaf flag and the Canada Pension Plan (our equivalent of US Social Security). OSLER was a gimme too as arguably our most famous doctor.

Had to get IBANEZ from the crosses but otherwise one of the least-challenging Fridays ever. But beaucoup de fun.

Burma Shave 2:18 PM  


I’ll SITIN with NOTA player less than one WHO ANSWERS to ‘Slash’.


D. Bruce Brown 3:12 PM  

Rex slips from xenophobic to jingoistic for not knowing Lester Pearson. Has he never flown into Toronto?!

Diana,LIW 3:18 PM  

Another puzzle that started with the "oh, I am doomed" feeling. Then, letter by letter, the bottom half was filled in. Yes, a few changes along the way.

My fascination with Philadelphia's Mutter Museum must have been the source for knowing OSLER. The Mutter was the all-time best field trip to ogle the medical oddities of the 190th century. Wonder how folks will smile at our lack of understanding 100 years from now. "Oh they thot they were so clever with their genetic code!"

The NW was where I finished. Had gold for the leaf color, so I stared for about an hour. Then - oh where do mushrooms come from? Ah, the large one in the sky. Some kinda TEST changed gold to RUST (very bad alchemy that). Boom boom boom the corner filled in, and with a final blast, it was RAZEd.

So - 5 days in a row. A personal best, I believe. Man I'm GOO.

RIP Prince. What a shock.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

rondo 3:35 PM  

A moment of purple silence please . . . Thanks. Rumor has it that when Eric Clapton was asked how it felt to be the best guitar player in the world he replied, “I don’t know, ask Prince.” Prince is gone, SOSAD.

Speaking of guitars, the guitar clues had me more stumped than much of the rest of this puz. A 6 letter big name guitar. Hmm. Gotta be Fender, wait, maybe Gibson, or Martin. OK try crosses. Nothing right off so continue down. 3 letter wood. Certainly not elm, too stringy . Oak? Probably too hard. Fir? Maybe. ASH? Isn’t that for baseball bats? OK try crosses. Nothing right off so continue. 5 letter wood. Maple? Bowling pins. Cedar? Don’t think so. Birch? Don’t know. Aspen? Maybe bendy enough for an acoustic. OK try crosses. Nothing right off so continue. So, soon enough I had crossed ANSWERS all over and the guitar questions were there to be plucked. And puzzle done with no write-overs in about a half-hour’s time. I can’t say that IHATE the NW, but it fell last.

SILVERBULLETS must make you think of Bob Seger. Or maybe Coors Light. Or both together.

The omnipresent TBAR appears again, and repeats of recent PENCILPUSHER(S) and VWS and another way to be put on a pedestal for someone WHO YAPS or yaks or AVERs or whatever. HOLY cow!

NOTA yeah baby to be SEEN. What GALL! Maybe Barbara HALE as Della Street?

Which is the best way to cross the stream? ROE Versus WADE?

A fairly quick and easy puz for Friday. If I didn’t STEWOVER my guitar ponderings, well, c’est LAVIE.

leftcoastTAM 5:10 PM  

Friendly Friday from Messrs. Wiesenberg and Shortz.

Took a bit of time to see that "Subject" was used as verb to get STRAFE, and that the "Kings" were L.A.'s NHL team supported by ANGELENOS. So the NE was fun area to TANGLE with.

Haven't heard of LESTERPEARSON since he was in the news long ago, but somehow his name just popped up. In fact, the middle longs all seemed to do just that.

PEEPS is a new piece of slang to me. A bit cutesy.

Can you tell I liked this puzzle?

Diana,LIW 2:17 AM  

Just got back from a day in downtown Spokane and evening at the International Challenge Cup skating event. Spokane is also called "Skate Town USA." Going to another event tomorrow.

Speaking of names

@SPACEY - Google "father of modern medicine" When I did just now, Osler was the prominent name, along with that title. There were others, yes, in other continents and other times. But Osler is definitely the one name that acquired that title in the US in the 19th/20th century. I now remember that the doc I worked for at UCSD was trained in Canada, and often quoted Osler. So that, and the fact that Osler taught in Philadelphia (and willed his brain to a museum there) were my memory triggers.

@Rondo - Peeps! Discovered that bit of slang about 10-12 years ago. Even Mr. Waiting uses it all the time.

Diana, Lady "Waitin' for ma peeps"

Moe 1:33 AM  

Mo Rocca
Mo Yan - Nobel Prize Literature 2012 "Red Sorghum"
Mo Better Blues
Mo money mo problems mo ire...

Paul 12:50 PM  

There may be a theme after all ... "War and Peace" ... with war clues in the four corners and a peace prize in the middle.

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