Squinting cartoon character / FRI 5-20-16 / Restaurant breakfsat innovation of 1971 / Peterhof Palace personages / Smell-O-Vision competitor of 1950s cinema / Order-flouting protester / Music player for break dancer / Roseola symptoms

Friday, May 20, 2016

Constructor: Kristian House

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: TITIS (34D: South American monkeys) —
The titis, or titi monkeys, are the New World monkeys of the genus Callicebus. They are the only extant members of the subfamily Callicebinae, which also contains the extinct genera Xenothrix, Antillothrix, Paralouatta, Carlocebus, Lagonimico, and possibly also Tremacebus. // Titis live in South America, from Colombia to Brazil, Bolivia, Peru and north Paraguay. (wikipedia)
• • •

This one was beautiful, but man was it easy. I had slight misstep at first, entering ROO instead of EMU (4D: Prey for a dingo), and figured this was going to be a typical mildly tough Friday, so I took a screenshot of my first breakthrough:

And then ... less than 4 minutes later I was done. Done done. The whole thing took me 4:44, including screenshot time. Bonkers. Those corners are pretty segmented / isolated, so I figured I'd have at least a little trouble with one of them, but GO FOR THE JUGULAR (NICE ONE!) and ANJOUS meant the SW corner was toast, and then EMERGES and BARE meant the NE was toast, and then TITIS / TEN K meant the SE was toast. And that was that. In each corner, I got the answers that gave me a bloc of first letters easily. That is, BARE gave me all the first letters in the Acrosses in the NE. ANJOUS gave me the first letters of the long Downs in the SW. Those first-letter providers are crucial—way higher-value than other answers. Most answers are far easier to get from a first letter than from any other single letters. Not all. But most. So if you nail the first-letter provider, your time can speed up Considerably. And I got them all, everywhere, today. Hence 4:44. My friend Amy took the 4:44 as a challenge. Her time: 4:44. I had that screenshot handicap, but she claims to have had a brief conversation with her husband mid-solve, so: tie. Which is a huge win for me, as she is one of the fastest solvers in the country.

[My student Clare's graduation cap, all decorated and ready for action this weekend. If you look real close, you can see Joel Fagliano's name on one of the puzzles ... she made sure of this]

This grid is so smooth, so pretty, so polished. None of this look-at-me low word count baloney (which only a few can pull off well). It's a 72-word delight with nary a clunker in sight. One thing: I think GARBED is a clunker, and I don't know why it wasn't GARRET. "A garret is a habitable attic or small and often dismal or cramped living space at the top of a house. In the days before lifts (elevators) this was the least prestigious position in a building, and often had sloping ceilings." I lived in a garret apartment once. Being 6'3" ... it was pretty comical. Anyway, GARBED shmarbed. Other than that, though, there's just the occasional wee bit of crosswordese. Mostly what you get are glorious long answers and solid, shiny mid-range answers. Really nice work. I don't think GO FOR THE JUGULAR (3D: Attack viciously) and THE GIRL NEXT DOOR (12D: Approachable, unglamorous sort) pair well (!!) but taken individually, they are fantastic. Huge props also to REFUSENIK (17A: Order-flouting protester). I just watched a beatnik-themed Roger Corman movie called "Bucket of Blood." Well, that's it for -nik news. Good night.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:08 AM  

Easy-medium for me mostly because I went with umbRE before OCHRE. This made NE a tad tough. I also had Beat BOX before BOOM but only for a few (@M&A) nanoseconds as FONDA was a gimme.

Smooth grid with two delightful long downs and a fair amount of zip, or what @Rex said. Like it a lot, especially after yesterday's parade of WOEs.

Charles Flaster 12:22 AM  

Very straightforward for a Friday.
Could have been a Wednesday but ok here.
Agree with Rex and just like him, ANJOUS opened it all up.
Write over--NOURISH for NurtUre.
Liked cluing for GADGET, BINGO, and GUESTBOOK.
What's objectionable with GARBED?
Thanks KH.

Carola 1:50 AM  

NICE ONE! What a pleasure to solve, with one treat coming after the other. AROMARAMA? ACHOO!
The only thing I BOTCHed was Erin.

chefwen 2:22 AM  

Pretty easy for a Friday but so much nicer than Thursday's offering. I really enjoyed this and I'll not complain about EASY on a Friday where I usually struggle like nobodies business. Two silly little writeovers, guide BOOK before GUEST BOOK and MC GOO before MAGOO. I always spell that incorrectly first. Someday I'll figure it out.

I'm sensitive to scents so I loved ACHOO following AROMARAMA (that's fun to say).

Anonymous 2:38 AM  

Huh, thought it was "GARBED with spring":

Fair are the meadows, fairer still the woodlands,
Robed in the blooming garb of spring;
Jesus is fairer, Jesus is purer,
Who makes the woeful heart to sing.

Marty Van B 2:41 AM  

This was the fun puzzle I needed after yesterday. Then again, I spend all week looking forward to the Friday and Saturday puzzles. A commenter on the Time's Wordplay blog yesterday (see Laszlo's comment at http://wordplay.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/05/18/a-perps-predicament/#commentsContainer) mentioned something about how that puzzle got in before Will's decision to abandon quip themes. Anyone know anything about that?

I didn't have quite as easy a time as Rex's experience, but I did finish at a pretty normal pace. For whatever reason, the clue on ANJOUS had me thinking about reference books. When I see Bartletts, my mind goes to the book on familiar quotations and it had my wondering if there was some other work competing for shelf space on that subject.

Z 5:59 AM  

Yep and yep. Well-crafted and very easy (for a Friday). Started this last night after two very good beers (Billy's Chilies was my first chiliefied beer - tasty with just a little heat on the tongue) and the east fell lickety split. Stymied and very tired in the west I went to sleep. Woke up, took out roo and neon GAS and boom, pow, ROGER THAT, finished.

I don't like to do PPP without the paper (too easy to miss the downs), but I count only ten. No wonder this seems so clean. I never would have guessed that the EGG MCMUFFIN was so old. I have to wonder if it took awhile to arrive to my local McDonalds or if I was just unaware as a teen. I also like the NE to SW name progression, RHETT, FONDA, MAGOO, SHREK. Hmmm, seems like there should be a "walked into a bar" joke there. One minor nit to pick, with so little in the puzzle having Bernie MADOFF crossing two other Pop Culture entries is a wee bit problematic.

Unlike Rex, I've met more than a few THE GIRL NEXTDOOR types who would GO FOR THE JUGULAR given the right provocation, smiling sweetly while doing so. I think it is a great pairing. More like this, please.

Loren Muse Smith 6:43 AM  

Rex – I didn't catch the Twilight Team Edwardsome GO FOR THE JUGULAR and GIRL NEXT DOOR pair. Hah.

I was focused on the FTC sharing a grid with MADOFF. I have unspeakably deep hatred for people who cheat other people out of money. I know, I know – like other people don't have this hatred. Still, so many of us struggle to do things the right way. I stand there at Walmart wondering if I Really need those gallon size baggies. I decide not. And people like MADOFF (and the predators friend-requesting me on Facebook in order to steal my identity) out there ready to cheat you out of your hard-earned money. I'm not a spitter, but I fantasize about spitting in some pig's face. These guys are prime examples of why some mammals eat their young.

I always feel silly and conspicuous signing a GUESTBOOK in some rental place. The misty mornings were so peaceful here as I enjoyed my coffee on the lovely deck. Not my thang. I’m a Capricorn.

GUM is the least of my worries at the checkout line. I decide to forgo the baggies, so instead I grab those delicious looking sugar-free caramels*, or ear buds for $4.99, or chapstick, cute little Kleenex packs, beef jerky, Jolly Ranchers, a sports bra and I'm not making that up, two TWO bags of the big "share'em" peanut M&Ms in case my husband wants even a few (I. Don't. Share.), Tide pen, lint roller, In Touch magazine… I'm such a sucker for that stuff. Then I get home and pull out my Mega Ninja Blender to start making my lunches for the week, and there's some infomercial running in the background touting a stunningly cool GADGET, so I trot back out to the car to find my purse with its nifty Incredible Ninja Purse Organizer I ordered last month. I got two for the price of one because I managed to “act now.” And they threw in free shipping.

Perfect Friday right across the plate.

*Limit yourself to only two or three of these. Otherwise you’ll be sky-writing after about an hour.

PurpleCar 6:59 AM  

Perhaps because you're a man and you don't get the joke, but to refer to THE GIRL NEXT DOOR as anything but breathtaking is to GO FOR THE JUGULAR in woman-speak. It's a death blow. So yes, they go together quite well, actually.

Jonathan Alexander 7:01 AM  

Vanilla but too easy for a Friday....GO FOR THE JUGULAR was a great one, but like Rex, the easy corner openings led to a quick solve....wish a puzzle of this level of construction had a bit more misdirection in the cluing, but still, vanilla

Lobster11 7:17 AM  

I guess it must count as "easy," because I finished it without cheats in a reasonable amount of time. I can see how it would be rated as "too" easy by those who can just drop in things like ANJOUS and TIKIS without a moment's thought. For us mere mortals, though, it was challenging enough to be good fun.

NCA President 7:36 AM  

4:44. I can BAREly tie my shoes that fast.

That said, I had my "best" time today according to the website applet that keeps track of that stuff. I breezed through, taking roughly 4:44 in the upper half and about 5:44 in the lower half. It is funny how 14 minutes on a Friday can seem like a hot knife through butter, but that same time earlier in the week seems eternal. The snags and the hangups on Friday just don't seem to stick out like they do on Wednesday or even Tuesday. There's a life lesson in there somewhere.

Given yesterday's Pun-A-RAMA, today's puzzle was welcome relief.

Sheik Yerbouti 7:38 AM  

6:50 for me. Fastest Friday in recent memory. But great puzzle.

QuasiMojo 8:02 AM  

My time would have been much faster if I hadn't thought of "Bartlett's Familiar Quotations." I put in Roget's, which of course, was wrong. I am not a pear eater. But I wised up and breezed through the rest. Fun Friday.

kitshef 8:04 AM  

Hand up for easy, but lovely. AROMARAMA, REFUSENIK, EGG MCMUFFIN (mmm), ANJOUS, CILIA, EARTHTONE, OREGANO, BOOMBOX, COTERIE. I'd like some more of that, please.

Very nice to be reminded of Midori ITO - quite the jumper she was.

Also hand up for Nurture before NOURISH, plus FcC before FTC, BOner before BOTCH, IMhomE before IMSAFE.

IMSAFE is one of my (minor) gripes about the puzzle. I'm hard-pressed to come up with a scenario when someone actually says that. I can see it as a text or IM, I guess. Also, I have not worked in an office where FAXes were a thing for, say, eight years? And the clue for AUF was way outside my range - but with such an easy puzzle you need some crunch somewhere, no?

chefbea 8:07 AM  

Yummy puzzle!!! I don't usually do Fridays but had to finish this one...what with all the food on the table!!!

Anonymous 8:36 AM  

The speed solvers on this site fill me with envy. Just mind boggling times. It took me 30 minutes to fill a quarter of the blank squares and then 4:44 to fill the rest from Rex's solved grid. I could have definitely better had I persevered before jumping to the sight. But I would also agree that it was an elegant and well-constructed puzzle. Nothing like Thursday's abomination.

Nancy 8:49 AM  

This may be the easiest Friday I've ever seen. The answers were very nice, and some were even quite colorful, but absolutely nothing presented me with any problems. I did write down RIGHT before BINGO at 24D, but GARBED (an answer I liked, Rex) straightened me out immediately. The NW was the last section in -- mostly because I didn't immediately think of ROGER THAT. I loved REFUSENIK, but saw it off 2 or 3 letters. I was initially thinking of quotations, rather than pears, at 38A, but ---OUS gave me ANJOUS. The J gave me GO FOR THE JUGULAR...Well, absolutely everything came in quite readily.

I've read GWTW about 8 times and seen the movie about 10 times and I'd completely forgotten that RHETT Butler was expelled from West Point. I didn't even remember that he attended West Point. Very interesting. Learn something in every puzzle, I guess.

Ken R 8:53 AM  

I think that the NYT is intentionally making Friday,Saturday and Sunday way too easy. Now what is the motive? Either they are hoping to soothe the egos of the "Weekender" subscribers (of which I am one) with rudimentary solvable puzzles OR more likely they are looking for true puzzle enthusiasts to sign up for the weekly paper OR the crossword subscription which USED to be FREE with a newspaper subscription. In other words, IT'S ALL ABOUT THE MONEY !!!!! That being said, PLEASE make them what they used to be; CHALLENGING and SLICK (not impossible though). EASY EASY EASY is not what we are looking for. Now watch me eat my words tomorrow...LOL

Mohair Sam 9:09 AM  

Let us be thankful that @Rex's "Bucket of Blood" was not shown in AROMARAMA.

Totally agree with the boss and the mob today, this was a wonderful Friday puzzle that played easy. We had only two write-overs today - CILLI and UAE, both quickly fixed. We got EARTHTONE before OCHRE because we hesitated in the NE only because we thought OCHRE was spelled RE in both English languages - wondered why the colour.

Pet Peeve department, off topic: I was acquainted with a young woman whose life was ruined, deservedly so, when she made an upper five figure profit from insider trading - she served time. This morning I read in detail the case of lovable/aw shucks golfer Phil Mickelson who made a cool Million on an insider deal and gets away with paying it back. Something about being a "relief defendant" - life's unfairness just gets to me sometimes.

Hartley70 9:28 AM  

Geez, enough with the Thursday bashing please. One of us loved that puzzle. Go Morton!!

Today's was a much faster solve and very enjoyable. I particularly liked the NW where I tried to make CinARAMA, CineARAMA. Cine-ARAMA, work for a while. I liked the RAMA that made your seat wiggle at the scary part. I personally never experienced AROMARAMA, but I'm having a hard time imagining a smell that wouldn't drive at least some people out of the theater.....burning rubber, a dirty diaper, chocolate chip cookies hot from the oven to the Weight Watcher crowd. Perhaps the idea was to waft popcorn aroma to the movie goers to drive them to the concession stand where all the profit lies. That's a very skeevy technique in my book.

REFUSNIK was terrific. I had to reach back for that one. I'm more used to saying, "ROGER, get THAT!" around this house whenever the telephone rings.

The COSTCO clue amazed me, but then again, can you go in there without spending more than you intended? If so, I bet you weren't seduced by AROMARAMA either. I'm assuming Wal-Mart is #1. I wonder where Amazon fits in there.

The puzzle was fun, but the pleasure was too brief. I expect to do a bit of penance on a Friday morning.

Anonymous 9:29 AM  

I really enjoyed this one. Thought of dropping in ROGERTHAT from the git to, but thought it was too military for the NYT. Actually put in ANARCHIST instead of REFUSENIK (great answer, BTW), but got back on track with the 7D HANG. Went with ROGERTHAT and was off to the races!

Nice 18A change-of-pace clue for RHETT. Perhaps Will trying to make it more Friday crunchy? Not even close. A gimme.

For some reason, answers that popped in my head didn't get into the puzzle until later. COTERIE, NICEONE, CILIA, ITO (Ahhh, Midori Ito. Sigh). I guess that's why I'm not a speed solver. But I agree with @Rex on this one, just as agreed with Thursday's write up. Thursday was a PITA. Friday was sublime.


P. S. I kind of liked the mirror answers of MADOFF and IMSAFE.

Tita A 9:34 AM  

@Lobster...exactly what you sad re: difficult.

Great Friday...plenty crunchy, but tame enough to finish it this morning.

My mother calls 35A's EGGMCMahons.
PuzPouse make a mean "Ouef a là Phil" that is made on a bialy, and either bacon, ham, or prosciutto, depending on what's in the fridge.
It must be made in the 4" sauté pan that we bought in Paris... It was the only piece of cookware that we could afford in that outrė chef's store. COSTCO it wasn't.

More synchronicity...

51D was easy because I have a postcard from the Dalí Museum of CESTA de Pan.

There was a special exhibit there about Dalí and Disney, with a huge photo of Disney running a PATHÉ machine.

(By the way, @Florida...do you not get enough revenue in your state from Disney Inc. without shoving it in our faces even in far-flung St. Pete? At an art museum!? I mean, Orlando has the highest concentration of WaffleHouseTacoBellApplebeesDennys per square foot. It exists only to support the Disney Inc. ecosystem. The streets have names like Seven Dwarfs Lane. And that's in the wild...not inside the park.

Oh...the exhibit was about the man. About Walt Disney. He and Dalí collaborated on animated films, and became lifelong friends. Ok...both of them were surrealists...cool! I learned a lot from that exhibit.

Sigh of relief that it was about the man, not the corp. For the most part.)

Thanks for a really good Friday, Mr. House!

Alicia Stetson 9:40 AM  

This one took me 4:43. It would have been faster but, being THEGIRLNEXTDOOR, I had to bake a souffle in the middle of solving. I called my friend Jack who took my 4:43 as a challenge, and he also took 4:43, but he said he would have been faster had he not had to run a TENK as he solved.

Chaos344 9:47 AM  

The last two days should have been reversed. As others have noted, this puzzle solved more like an easy Thursday. Aside from that,I'm with Rex on bestowing Kudos to the constructor.

I strongly disagree with Rex about the pairing of the long downs. For the last decade or so, Hollywood and the television industry have been obsessed with shows about vampires,werewolves,zombies,etc. The targeted audience is definitely the 18-35 demographic. That fact is borne out by the relatively young age of the casts, coupled with copious amounts of sex and nudity. Mind you,I have absolutely no problem with the later! Blood sucking seems to lead the hit parade, with shows like Twilight, True Blood and The Vampire Diaries leading the way.

The latest trend seems to attempt to incorporate multiple monsters in one show. We recently had the excellent Hemlock Grove from Netflix, which paired vampires with werewolves and other nasty creatures.

Having said that,the creme de la creme of this new genre has to be Showtime's Penny Dreadful. Here we mix Dr.Frankenstein and his creations with Dr.Hyde, and Dracula and his bride with Dorian Grey. The main protagonist (Josh Hartnett) is a werewolf, and his role is balanced nicely by the beautiful (an often naked) Eva Green. Her role vis-a-vis monsters is somewhat ambiguous, but she has super powers and is a force for good against evil. Throw in a few zombies and devil worshippers, add lots of blood and gore, mix in a soupcon of kinky sex and nudity, and Voila! a hit show watched by millions!

As to THE GIRL NEXT DOOR, and GOING FOR HER JUGULAR, my oral proclivities would assign a higher priority to other parts of her anatomy. Just Sayin!

Roo Monster 9:51 AM  

Hey All !
Very nice, non-brain cell killing FriPuz! Took me longer than 4 &1/2 minutes, though... :-)

Don't recognize constructors name, is she new-ish? Wanted enGlishMUFFIN at first! Thinking it was a rebus of some sort.


Donkos 10:14 AM  

Although it was easy, this was a fun solve for me. I agree with @rex for the most part but had no issue with garbed.

imnotbobby 10:15 AM  

Yeah, had this been a Wednesday, it would have been one of the best overall puzzles in a good long while.

jberg 10:23 AM  

Easy enough, but tougher for me than for most because:

-The aforementioned ROO, as I mistakenly thought that 'dingo' was a nickname for that species;
-Wanting 'ditto THAT'
-TAckle before TAKE ON on the theory that English words don't end in -IK (true enough!)
-Wanting the West Point expellee to be a real person. I saw RHETT right away, but wouldn't put it in. However, the only other Butlers I could think of were Octavia, Samuel, and some Civil War general, none of which seemed possible, so I gave in once I had BARE.
-And finally, falling for the reference-book misdirect at 38A.

As a certified old man (now retired, even), I have an honest question about 40A, BFF. I thought a BFF was an actual friend, rather than a mate. Am I wrong? Or is maybe the Australian kind of mate, to go along with those dingos and EMUs?

@Tita, thanks for your comments on the Disney/Dali exhibition. I'd seen a notice about it, and been puzzled ever since. Now it makes sense!

Aketi 10:39 AM  

I warn anyone who walks in Central Park on any nice weekend to stay on the dirt paths and off the road that loops around the park. You don't want to come anywhere near my husband when he roller blades. He is blissfully unaware of the chaos that EMERGES behind him after his poor peripheral vision causes many near misses. Despite this flaw, he brings me coffee in bed, so I kind of liked seeing BFF on top of my sweet MAGOO.

@chefwen, I'm with you on ACHOO and AROMARAMA. AROMA therapy is not for me.

@lms, I've never written in a GUEST BOOK, but I actually once started to read some of the entires in a GUEST BOOK in a time share expecting something along the lines of what you wrote. Instead, the presence of hot tubs appeared that have inspired writing that went well beyond the Twilight Series into Vampire Lestat territory,

GILL I. 10:41 AM  

Loved it.
This is like a sweet simple black dress, bought perhaps at a COSTCO OUTLET, casually draped with a sequined BOA scarf that covers your BARE TITIS...just like THE GIRL NEXT DOOR.
MADOFF crossing FONDA...Hmmm. Two lovely people.
One day, I would like to go to Dubai and go to the observation deck of the Burj Khalifa. Or maybe the One World Observatory.

L 10:51 AM  

I really struggle on fridays so I'm super psyched when I can finish, let alone in 1 sitting. I won't let this go to my head though, now that I see it was "easy". Still very satisfied.

Anonymous 11:01 AM  

I sailed--albeit slowly--through it but couldn't get Xenk. Ran the alphabet; checked the crosses; thought there must have been mistake. Until I looked at this blog and realized it was 10K
Sound of me slapping my forehead.

Anonymous 11:25 AM  

Another Friday that I was able to finish Google free! Since this a rarity for me I won't mind that it is considered easy. It was just right. No natticks. No rappers. I guess ofl might say it skewed old. But not too old.fine friday. Maybe I'm getting better.

Anonymous 11:31 AM  

GARBED is clunky? Were you just so desperate to find something to complain about that you decided to pick a word at random and criticize it?

Idunno, maybe you were kidding.

Aketi 11:33 AM  

@purple car, when I read GO FOR THE JUGULAR and THE GIRL NEXT DOOR, my immediate thought was it was what she might do to MEN who insinuated she was anything less than glamorous. Many of the young girls who do Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in my dojo also take ballet and are completely comfortable going from practicing pliées to practicing choke holds. Although, I actually can't imagine that they'd be particularly intimidated such a feeble wrist slap comment from an insecure male to be bothered with retaliation. It's sort of like a certain politician with an incredibly bad hairdo who thinks he can intimidate women by telling them their fat and/or ugly. Do you even need the bother to tell him he needs to take a good look in the mirror? Not worth the effort.

Hungry Mother 11:35 AM  

I needed an easy one after all of my write overs on the LA Times puzzle this morning., so no complaints from Delaware.

KandRFenton 11:47 AM  

Wasn't very easy for me, but perseverance handed me my first Friday finish with no cheats, not even a Google peek, in about 30 minutes.

Joseph Michael 11:54 AM  

Great way to end the work week.

Had BEAT BOX before BOOM BOX. And wanted the "order-flouting protestor" to be some kind of NUN, but was happy to see REFUSENIK eventually EMERGE.

Thought the long downs were first rate. And liked the misdirection of the Bartetts clue. Took me a while to move from quotes to pears.

Never heard of AROMARAMA but it's a fun word that quickly fell into place with the crosses. I believe Michael Todd was the producer who first brought us Smell-O-Vision. He's buried in a cemetery near here, a fact I remember because his then wife Elizabeth Taylor came to the neighborhood for the funeral.

old timer 11:57 AM  

Yes, Easy for a Friday, which for me means no Googling, no writeovers, But certainly a good 20 minutes or more to solve, Got the MUFFIN, but it wasn't until I had worked my way around the puzzle and back up to the NW corner that I got the EGGMC. Unlike OFL, I did not immediately see ROGERTHAT.

The reason the puzzle was Easy is that the two long downs were pretty obvious once you had just a few crosses.

Lewis 12:05 PM  


As has been mentioned, much loveliness in this puzzle: COTERIE, ROGERTHAT, REFUSENIK, BOTCH, and the two long downs, plus nice cluing on ACHOO and EGO (though I would have liked more cleverness in the cluing overall). I liked the cross of MAGOO and GADGET, because the latter reminds me of Inspector Gadget, a cartoon character who reminds me a bit of Mr. Magoo. The teen in me likes the cross of RAREGAS and AROMARAMA. And there is a KNOCKED down. I think "ROGER_THAT?" would be a good clue for RABBIT.

Easy for a Friday but not without some pleasurable victories. Left me feeling buoyant, and those are the best puzzles.

mac 12:28 PM  

Very nice Friday puzzle! I agree with Rex and most of the posts.
Funny to have ochre (clue for which I never saw) and ogre in the same one.
A gorgeous day in CT, better take advantage before the rain sets in again

Z 12:42 PM  

@anon8:36 - No need to be envious. There's a wide range of solvers here. My personal best for a Monday is sub 6:00 and 45:00 on a Saturday is rarer now than it used to be, but it can still happen. I'm no more jealous of speed solvers than S. Currey shooting 3 pointers or Miggy making hitting major league pitching look easy.

Speaking of which, @Casco Kid shared on Twitter that he solved 7 in a row for the first time. Way to go.

@Nancy - I've never read the book or seen the film and still got RHETT off of the H. It just seemed fitting for the character I imagine him to be.

@Mohair Sam - I'd have preferred your acquaintance to have by treated more like Phil. Don't get me wrong, I want justice served and white collar criminals are treated too gently too often, but I mostly want to know that they can't harm people again. Doing hard time should be saved for the MADOFFs of the world. Of course, I was raised to believe we are all sinners and we should treat other sinners as we'd want to be treated.

Unknown 12:55 PM  

Thanks for the top about first letters. Very helpful.

Masked and Anonymous 12:59 PM  

fave entry: AROMARAMA. Crossin RAREGAS. The runtpuzs want to go to there.

Primo+ FriPuz, for all the reasons everybody said, + a House-full of U's. (It's the Kristian thing to do, for the R. Dangerfield of vowels.)

Always lose precious nanoseconds (yo, @jae) decidin if it's ROGER vs. RODGER. So … @indie009 and @AmyFiend both just nosed me out, even tho M&A dived for the finish line. (Busted a cinnamon roll, too.)

@ Young-eatin, spittin, sky-writin, Twilight Team Edwardsome sucker, muse: day-um, girl. Want U on my side, in a war of words.

fave clue: {Noble at the end of a table?}. PEER ONE? Wrong again, M&Aromarama.

fave word to stare at in bewilderment, if U didn't catch the clue: TENK.

Thanx, Kristian House.

Masked & Anonymo9Us


Chaos344 1:44 PM  

@KenR: The whole issue of puzzle difficulty in regard to cluing, trivia, arcana, PPP count, acceptable fill, Ad nauseam, is the most prevalent topic on this blog. It usually comes up at least once a week. As such, I am loath to address your query. The issue is truly akin to flogging a deceased equine, but here goes:

First of all,the whole concept of what constitutes an expert solver,(a recent poster coined the term "cruciverbistocracy") is open to debate. A large part of the equation is generational, and especially as it pertains to the NYT. The Times has always enjoyed the reputation of being the gold standard in crosswords. That is changing, and I'm sure revenue plays a big part in the decision making process. Younger puzzlers buy apps, and older puzzlers are mainstays for dead tree and digital subscriptions.

The driving factor in the generational gap has always been the puzzle editors, and there have only been a handful of them since the first NYT puzzle appeared. If you were weaned on Maleska era puzzles, you're going to have less sympathy for younger solvers who whine about outdated or obscure clues and fill. Maleska era puzzles were filled with vocabulary, science, world geography, foreign phrases and language, art, classical music, monarchs and their ancestors, etc. Today's puzzles are filled with rappers, hip-hop artists, obscure music albums, the names of every character that ever appeared in any adult animated TV show like The Simpsons or South Park, etc, the characters in every animated movie, everyone and everything vaguely associated with Harry Potter, Ad infinitum. Older solvers grouse about this, but they are more inclined to accept learning what is necessary to continue solving puzzles with as few DNF's as possible. That's why they are expert solvers. Older solvers believe that Maleska era crosswords were truly much more educational than today's fare, even if that knowledge was seldom if ever used. They understand that Beethoven and Shakespeare have been around for five or six hundred years and might endure for twice that long. They question weather IceT, EazyE, Lil Kim, Eminem, NWA, NAS, Homer Simpson, or Hogwarts will enjoy that same kind of longevity? They also understand that no one currently breathing will be around to answer that question!

Conversely, today's instant gratification generation does not acquire knowledge in the same way that their parents and grandparents did. Some start doing crossword puzzles and expect to become masters in a couple of years. It seems that they are not willing to put in the same amount of time to learn the past, as the real experts expend to stay Au courant? There are no shortcuts in this game my friend. Unless you have the time and/or are willing to do a minimum of five or six crossword puzzles everyday, it will still take you decades to acquire the knowledge base of the top five finishers in the ACPT. I've been doing crosswords for 50 years. Would anyone under 40 years of age who is reading this post care to trade their chronological age for my knowledge base? I don't think so! Everything comes at a price.

In regard to the above, and with all due respect, OFL is a prime example of my treatise. Most of us have noted that Rex is especially critical of factoids outside his knowledge base. He hates fill that he considers "outdated", and it seems he holds a special animosity towards Maleskans. That fact may be exacerbated by his seemingly apparent obsession with political correctness? Especially, when it comes to a puzzle's balance regarding gender equality, diversity, microaggressions, and the like? Fair enough, its his blog and he's entitled to express any opinion that he chooses. My respect comes from the fact that he extends the same courtesy to most everyone who posts here.


Joe Bleaux 2:00 PM  

@lobster -- I hear ya. @rex's super-easy is my not-that-tough. I didn't finish in under 5 (or 10), but I don't worry about time as long as I'm having a good one. Only write-over was ONLINE for OUTLET, which I entered early and fixed quickly as the NE filled out. Thanks for a fun Friday, KH.

Pete 2:44 PM  

After 30 seconds, I hated this puzzle: 1D clearly had something to do with Noble Gases but no noble gas fit, dingos ate roos (actually, dingos ate some 3 letter version of babies, but that's just me), and nothing fit. Eventually my stubborn stupidity gave way, and an excellent puzzle emerged. I still question rare gases as a thing even though ngrams shows rare gases as common a term as noble gases (up until the 1980s, which is the last time I learned anything). Did I mention stubborn stupidity yet?

Chronic dnfer 2:55 PM  

Unreal. I can't believe no one howled about Costco. The second largest retailer is Walmart behind Amazon. Foul!!!

lg 3:02 PM  

Not exactly sure why, but I struggled with this puzzle. I enjoyed it and battles it out, but the words most definitely did not flow out easily for me.

While half of the grid was easy for me, unfortunately it wasn't the half that would halo me solve everything. Being colorblind, I had no idea what color ochre was, so I put in flesHTONE, which made me erase GADGET, and caused quite a struggle with the remainder of the SE corner until I eventually erased fles and figured it out.

I also had neonGAS for the noble, because i figured they were asking for an actual noble gas there. Once I finally guessed out GOFORTHEJUGULAR and OREGANO, I finally realized my mistake and Was able to right my wrongs.

The NE came easily to me, as did the middle. A few mistakes cost me a lot of time. I still had fun, as it never felt tedious and I always felt like I could fight it out.

Chaos344 3:06 PM  

@Alicia Stetson: ROTFLMFAO! I know you probably have no aspirations to displace LMS or Leapfinger as the resident wit, but you are fast becoming one of my favorite distaff posters on this blog!

You go RIGHT FOR THE JUGULAR! The terse quality of your posts, couched in subtle sarcasm is outstanding! As Laura San Giacomo said to Julia Roberts in the movie Pretty Woman, "You've Got Potential!"

By and large, speed solvers are a pretentious bunch. Do they solve on paper? Do they use pencil? Do they erase? Do they count over-writes? What does their completed grid look like? Try typing (copying) in a completed grid in AcrossLite. Even if you can type without looking at the keyboard, how long does it take you?

I am a quasi speed solver myself, but I never post my actual solve time. Speed solving is a different discipline that has nothing to do with your ability to successfully finish a crossword puzzle. I might say something akin to "I finished 6 minutes off my average Friday time", but I never say MHP showed up at 6:38 after I started the puzzle.

Purists understand one thing. Your biggest challenge will always be from yourself, your knowledge base, and maybe the clock? Anything less than a pure solve with absolutely no external references, a pristine grid, no spell check, no alphabet run to get MHP in AcrossLite, is a total fail. A DNF! It is what it is. You can justify finishing a puzzle anyway you choose, but if you don't set the above standards, who are you fooling? Do you cheat at Solitaire too? Do you want to be one of the best, or one of the rest? We all have our personal standards when it comes to evaluating our ability, but your biggest adversary will always be your own conscience!

Martín Abresch 3:49 PM  

@LMS - I greatly enjoyed your write-up today! :)

Solved this one in tandem with my partner. She did most of the solving, often calling out an answer just as was beginning to think about the clue.

I'm really impressed by the cleanliness of this grid. Good stuff everywhere, and the bare minimum of junk.

It's a bit of a shame that not more was done with the cluing. The clues are mostly straightforward, which is why, I think, the puzzle plays so easy. The only clues that had me thinking sideways were those for RARE_GAS (Noble at the end of a table?) and ACHOO (Sound of an everyday explosion).

For "Renoir vis-à-vis Monet" wanted SUCKIER.

Leapfinger 4:22 PM  

@Alicia Stetson, I think I'm in love.

beatrice 5:05 PM  

Nice puzzle.

My mother's preference was to be GARBED in EARTHTONES, for some reason I never understood. Many of them are nice, of course, but she claimed brown was her favorite color. That, and beige.

I thought I had heard of a Baroque opera based on the legend of Ariadne, so Ilooked it up. Indeed - an obscure one, written by the equally (now) obscure composer Johann Georg Conradi (1645-1699). Apparently none of his operas - though successful in their day - had survived, until one turned up in the Library of Congress in the 1970s. It had its present-day premiere in Boston in 2003. What is perhaps of most interest to opera buffs (aside from the music, which has received raves all round) was Conradi's and the opera's associatioan with the Hamburg opera, which was the first public opera house in Germany, and was third in importance only to Paris and Venice - where opera 'began'. It would seem that Conradi incorporated elements of both the French and Italian models into his Germanic sensibility.

Here is the wonderful Karina Gauvin as Ariana, from the CD featuring that Boston Early Music Festival cast:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ccpYf8Pudqo 'AUF, AUF, erbostes Glucke' (no idea)


And to end on a bit of fun - the word SPIRE always puts me in mind of the town of Speyer, Germany, and it's great Romanesque cathedral - and this inspired bit of nonsense by Ludwig Senfl, 'The Bells of Speyer'. Here it's performed to emphasize the musical bell-ringing. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZshuUWcqfE

puzzle hoarder 5:37 PM  

Once again I lost my comment and don't know how. This puzzle was nice but much too easy. I miss yesterday's comments. Reading them I kept thinking there must something people spray on their brains like those wonder products they advertise on TV. Knowledge just beads up and never gets absorbed. That's how I felt with ATRI. Putting it in on the crosses I kept thinking I had to have seen a word like this many times. Sure enough it was making it's 27th appearance in the Shortz era. My personal excuse is I used to skip the early week puzzles and missed a lot.
The closest thing to a challenge today was AUF. I'm familiar with it as a name due to a member of the band Hole.
This puzzle was very well crafted but not very puzzling.

MI Nana 6:21 PM  

LOL Alicia Stetson @9:40 AM

Mohair Sam 8:49 PM  

@Z - We're in total agreement. If I stole $1 million dollars I'd sure as hell expect to be tried, convicted, and sent to prison. So yes, I'd like to see that particular sinner treated exactly as I'd expect to be treated.

Anonymous 9:58 PM  

@Purple - oh, honey, use your powers for good!

Leapfinger 11:01 PM  

@Chaos, Isao Aoki notwithstanding, I don't think that anything remembered just as something previously seen in crosswords is really 'learning'. My trick for remembering that name at one time was:
a) 2 4-letter words, with 'I' in first and last place
b) first 'I' is followed by SAO, as in Sao Paulo
c) the 'AO' of the first name repeats to start the 2nd name, and morphs into A-OK

And that's all I know about that golfer. Which amounts to nothing more than a mnemonic exercise. It's learning only if there's more delving for detail to understand relevance and evaluate meaning. Context is all. Or a lot, at least.

@Marvin Abresch, cleanliness may well be next to godliness, but I think the word in this case is cleanness. Apologies if that was your Spellcheck running interference.

@beatrice, lol about your mother's EARTHTONES. When I was in my Taupe&Black Period, my daughter said to me (more than once) 'Why do you always wear those Dead colours?', and tried to improve me by gifting me clothing in fuchsia and peacock blue. Which naturally did not get worn, but I learned that the child that's father to the man has nothing to the child that's mother to the woman.

Nice puzzle with no grist for REFUSENIKS, TENK U ver' moch.

Martín Abresch 2:57 AM  

@Leapfinger - Cleanness, yes. You're right. Unfortunately, I cannot blame spellcheck. The fault was my own.

Chaos344 9:08 AM  

@Leapy: Agreed, we all have different ways of remembering things. If it wasn't for the fact that I know Isao Aoki from years of watching golf and seeing his name of the position board, I'd probably use a mnemonic exercise such as yours. Or, I might use something like I SAyO is
A OK i.

I totally agree with your second paragraph. I could never began to assess how many hundreds of hours I have spent on Google after the solve. It's only a taboo for me until MHP arrives! Have a great weekend !!!!

Burma Shave 9:58 AM  


One of the ASPECTS MEN are FONDA their cities


spacecraft 10:29 AM  

Maybe not easy-easy, but Friday-easy for sure.Feature this: after starting in the center with timeless DOD Jane FONDA, my next conquest was...wait for it...the NW! ROGERTHAT.

Be careful with the "unglamorous" characterization of THEGIRLNEXTDOOR: take it from first-hand experience: it depends where you live! Unfortunately, the other adjective was also way off base. You just needed to move that "un-" from one to the other.

Anyway, it was a fine puzzle, pretty clean (I'm looking at you, TENK) and a solid birdie. Why not eagle? small triumph factor; just a tad too easy.

P.S. Didn't even do yesterday's because I can't stand quote/quip puzzles. Having a blast with the company.

rondo 10:36 AM  

NICEONE indeed! Was torn between roo and EMU and naturally was wrong before right. Other than that, this was fun, fast, and fantastic.

First saw SHREK on a DC-10 from Vienna to New York. All the free beer (the good European stuff) a person could want and what else to do? Turned out to have been only a week before 9/11.

I think IMSAFE to say that most MEN would agree that Jane FONDA was and still is a fabulous yeah baby. Most often not playing THEGIRLNEXTDOOR and often enough with BARE South American monkeys. I don’t think it’s CILIA me to say so.

My TAKEON this puz is, well . . . a BINGO.

centralscrewtinizer 12:40 PM  

If attacked by a mob of clowns, go for the juggler?

Thursday googler 3:08 PM  

Glad to hear others spend more time than those who can speed read clues and fill in answers in under 6 minutes!

Thursday googler 3:21 PM  

This new grandma sees a market for the old-fashioned Mickey Mouse whose simpler style coincides with the little guy who has been camping, playing outside with sand and shovel, and enjoys cardboard books and boxes. Loves animated toys as well, we'll see where he is in 15 years!

Sailor 3:32 PM  

I concur with all those who thought this was a NICEONE. I did not find it quite as easy as most of you, but my troubles were all of my own making. I unaccountably tried to squeeze an unneeded "a" into that EGGMaCMUFFIN, and that led to all sorts of problems until the light bulb finally came on.

My home town had one of the very early Ray Kroc franchise stores with the "McDonald's Speedee Service System" logo and two arches protruding through the roof of the building. My kid brother somehow became convinced that those things were archers' bows turned on their side, and insisted on calling the place the "Golden Archers," a name that has stuck in my mind all these years, and now provides a handy excuse for my inability to remember how the actual name is spelled.

I really appreciated that the British spelling of OCHRE was indicated by the word "colour" in the clue (and regret overlooking that detail on my first pass through the grid).

I saw Roger Corman's A Bucket of Blood as a first-run Saturday afternoon matinee when I was a middle-schooler, before the days of the MPAA ratings. My pals and I would get one of our parents to drop us off at a theater showing the latest John Wayne or Jerry Lewis movie, then head around the corner and down the block to the theater that featured horror movies: The Tingler, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Mummy. I figured some of our dads knew what we were up to, but they don't seem to have tipped off our moms. Seems a pretty innocent stunt in this day and age.

rain forest 4:48 PM  

I might as well add my "ole" in here for a great puzzle. I never care when a difficult puzzle is published on a Monday, or an easy one later in the week. It's still a puzzle, and in this case, an excellent one.

Yes, easy, but I managed to make it more difficult by starting with FONDA, MADOFF, AND EGGowaffles off the F. So that took just a tad of undoing. Once I decided that RARE GAS worked and Krypton didn't, it was smooth, straightforward and delightful.

I think we all know that @Rex and his ilk complete puzzles in otherworldly times, but I really don't want to read about how proud he is of the feat, even stopping for a screen shot. Unnecessary.

Longbeachlee 6:41 PM  

@Ken R. I think there is a slow cycle of easy to hard and back, probably driven by accumulation of too hard, then too easy kvetches. Speaking of which I gave my sister-in-law a lesson in pronouncing kvetch the other day. Ke-vetch she said, and expected me to knew what she was trying to say. Oy vey, such a shikseh, but I love her.

Anonymous 1:28 PM  

No one will see this (too late posting) but the clue for REFUSENIK is wrong. Refuseniks were Soviet-era Russian Jews who were refused permission to emigrate to Israel.

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