Grasslike perennial / TUE 6-14-16 / Krupp ironworks city / Greek philosopher of paradox fame / Forage beans / Dangerous virus strain named for its original outbreak location

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Constructor: Tracy Gray

Relative difficulty: Medium


THEME: EASY DOES IT (58A: "Not too hard now" ... or a homophonic hint to 17-, 23-, 35- and 48-Across) — themers are two-word phrases, first word "E," second word "Z"

Theme answers:
  • EBOLA ZAIRE (17A: Dangerous virus strain named for its original outbreak location)
  • EMILIANO ZAPATA (23A: Mexican revolutionary)
  • ED ZWICK (35A: "Legends of the Fall" director, informally)
  • ERONGENOUS ZONES (48A: Sensual areas)
Word of the Day: ED(WARD) ZWICK 
Edward M. Zwick (born October 8, 1952) is an American filmmaker and Academy Award winning film producer. // His films include Glory (1989), Legends of the Fall (1994), The Siege (1998), The Last Samurai (2003), Blood Diamond (2006), and Defiance (2008). Along with Marshall Herskovitz, Zwick runs a film production company called The Bedford Falls Company (inspired by the name of the town featured in Frank Capra's It's A Wonderful Life). This company has produced such notable films as Traffic and Shakespeare in Love and the TV shows thirtysomething, Relativity, Once and Again, and My So-Called Life. // He was one of the recipients of the Academy Award for Best Picture for Shakespeare in Love; he was also nominated in the same category for Traffic. // Despite sharing a surname and being in the same profession, Edward is unrelated to fellow director Joel Zwick. (wikipedia)
• • •
Normally I like big, wide-open corners, but these are almost comical. Giant themeless-sized corners in an otherwise choppy, short-word-laden grid. Odd. Weirdly, they might be my favorite thing about the puzzle. The NE one holds up better than the SW one (ANA NANS ERES PSST make that corner mildly creaky). 74 words is pretty low for a Tuesday. Why not give some of those white squares to the middle of the grid and take a little pressure off the corners? I can answer my own question, actually—the themers likely presented a severe challenge, given the Z-abundance and the general theme density. I mean, how else do you explain the absurdity that is ED ZWICK. EDWARD would've sat nicely in the middle of the grid too, and the whole jury-rigged "informally" contrivance could've been ditched. *But* that would've created perhaps an untenable level of theme density. So, compromise compromise compromise. The puzzle is at the very least interesting looking, and those corners were an exciting challenge to get through in normal Tuesday time (I managed to come in just under normal, actually). I really wanted to rate this puzzle "Easy" or "Easy-Medium" (for I hope obvious reasons), but with those corners and those proper nouns, this is likely to play Medium, possibly even Medium-Tough. Again, 4 a 2s day.


If I could design a picture to go with this write-up, it would be a passel of ELSAS eating their NANS. Those plurals are painful, but I think that together they could make magic. EBOLA, I know. EBOLA ZAIRE, hoo boy, not so much. I needed Every Cross for the ZAIRE part. I did not there were strains (or, rather, I did not know there were strains with names that I was supposed to know). The more I look at the NE corner, the more I love it. I think AT-BAT is ridiculously clued. "Slugger" has zero zero zero to do with the "datum" (ugh, that word) that is the AT-BAT. A "slugger" connotes a batter who hits for power. But an AT-BAT has absolutely nothing to do with slugging. You can stand there and never move the bat off your shoulder and get an AT-BAT. This clue drains "slugger" of all meaning. It also subjects me to "datum," which I just don't like on aesthetic grounds. Also, why is "Baseball" in that clue at all? If you'd had [Slugger's stat], who's going to go "Do they mean hockey?"

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. for one brief, dizzying moment I sincerely thought 7D: Many a "Guardian of the Galaxy" character could be ALLEN. "Were there lots of guys named ALLEN in that movie?" I asked myself for approx. 8 nanoseconds.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

66 comments:

jae 12:13 AM  

On the tough side for me, but then I didn't know ED ZWICK, ZAPATAS first name, how to spell CROUTON, and got slightly mixed up on the Spanish for "you are."

Like it a lot in spite of ELSAS, NANS, SOYAS...

Tom 12:18 AM  

Left coast Tom Here. Usually do the puzzle in the morning, but it fell too quickly ,so instead of printing it, I solved on line in record time. Clever/planned(?) that CANOODLING crosses EROGENOUSZONES. EASYDOESIT reflects the difficulty level today. Now what do I do tomorrow? The bonus Goat puzzle? Have to head over to BEQ to find something entertaining.

Barry B 12:19 AM  

Uh, Rex - I was pretty much a slugger in my later (ok, steroid if you're going to get all nit-picky about things) years, and I can sure as hell tell you that you don't necessarily get an at-bat if you stand there with the bat on your shoulder. I did that at about 25% of my plate appearances, and I got nary an at-bat from any of those intentional walks. I got a couple of RBIs, but nary an at-bat.

Charles Flaster 12:27 AM  

Everything was straightforward except the theme. I was looking for the EZ sound and only understood it after I read Rex.
Liked clues for PSST and IN ARREARS.
Thanks TG.

Z 12:50 AM  

I have no problem with the AT BAT clue. It is the denominator in lots of slugger's stats, including Slugging Percentage (Total Bases/AT BATS). Thus, AT BAT is indeed a slugger datum. I offer no defense or argument against the inherent lack of anything at all aesthetically pleasing in the word "datum."

When 60% of your themers are PPP one can hardly be surprised that the puzzle hits 35%. The Pop Culture, Product Name, and Proper noun breakdown:

KATE
OLAV
AVIA
EBOLA ZAIRE
FT. LEE
EMILIANO ZAPATA
TINA
(Santa) ANA
ED ZWICK
ERNST
(Nanki-)POO
SHEA
DRANO
PATS
ESSEN

TSA
ALIENS (clue)
EVE
OMNI
IWO (Jima)
DCON
ZENO
RANGERS
ELSAS
SEINE
ETON

George Barany 1:35 AM  

@Rex resisted the temptation to call @Tracy Gray's puzzle EZ, but I won't. Definitely on the fast side for my Tuesday times. METS, JETS, PATS, and RANGERS from sports. The New Jersey city, FT_LEE, that was the focal point of Bridgegate. Chemistry, with ZINC from the Periodic TABLE. Periodic OVULATION, CANOODLES, and EROGENOUS_ZONES. Viva (EMILIANO)_ZAPATA! What's not to like?

June 14 is an annual patriotic holiday ... celebrate with @Nancy Herther's debut, Oh Say, Can You Sing?.

Martín Abresch 1:37 AM  

Rex is an android.

Oh No Jono! 1:54 AM  

I could be wrong but I've always known Indian flat bread to be NAAN, not "nan"...

Lee Coller 3:08 AM  

This puzzle started out hard and finished hard. The "At Bat" clue is nonsense. I imagine they are trying to justify the singular with the singular Datum, but it doesn't make sense. The statistic (singular) is At Bats (plural).

Pegipeggy 5:18 AM  

Every Indian restaurant I've ever been in had NAAN on the menu. NAN is my best friend on the west coast

Loren Muse Smith 6:18 AM  

Well. I somehow knew the virus strain. The only problem was I had "Olaf" before OLAV, so I distractedly put in for the Eden dweller an "eft," thinking I needed to brush up on my Bible stories. I really did. Once I started paying attention, I sorted that out and put EBOLA ZAIRE right in.

The themer I didn't know was EMILIANO ZAPATA, but it fell easily with the crosses. I kept having Emile Zola knocking at the door.

The clue for AT BAT works for me. I just looked at some stats for A Rod, Aaron, and Bonds; the "AB" column is right at the beginning of the charts I saw.

I was looking at some famous ODEs this weekend, thinking about trying my hand at writing one. If there's one thing that makes me want to write poetry, it's the world's most perfect food: the Rice Krispy Treat. Its combination of great tooth action and stunning flavor makes me want to weep. You have to take huge bites to understand the miracle of the eating experience.

I get a real kick out of words that sound like letter combinations. I like the XPDNC of it. The ironworks city is SN. Quentin Tarantino is a cutie. Write an essay about Sam Adams. Irene Cara has an icy stare. Nia Vardalos makes fills me with. . . jealousy. ;-)

Think anyone called OLAV His XLNC?

Hey, Tracy – I enjoyed this one. I'm with Rex – those big corners were an exciting challenge. And I liked the EZ wordplay. (And any grid with POO in it is ok by me.)

Hungry Mother 6:32 AM  

Slight pause at NAN, but quick solve for me.

Lewis 6:38 AM  

Cute theme and reveal; just right for a Tuesday. As with yesterday's puzzle, a good number of answers that appealed to me: MIXITUP, FINETUNES, LUNK, INARREARS, EASYDOESIT. I like the crossing of CANOODLES and EROGENOUS-ZONES, and that the puzzle has a PATS down. My inner child chuckled when it saw POO and INARREARS in the same puzzle. EMILE_ZOLA would have made a fine themer, but I'm guessing Tracy couldn't find another nine-letter E-Z answer to go with it, or she just preferred the ten letter theme answers to the nine.

I was alert through the whole solve, not on automatic as I sometimes am on Tuesday. That Extra Zing made this puzzle a joy to do. Brava, Tracy!

Glimmerglass 7:04 AM  

Medium is about right. Much of it was easy, including the theme (which I caught on so early I knew what thebrevealer would be long before I got there). However, I took a while to sort out what I was doing wrong in the SW -- which was to spell naan correctly. I agree about AT BAT, to which slugging is irrelevant. However baseball isn't the only sport with slugging. Boxing has its sluggers, too, as does -- come to think of it -- hockey.

NCA President 7:48 AM  

@Pegipeggy and @Oh No Jono!...A while back there was some discussion about this alternative spelling of NAAN. Bottom line, you don't have to like it...just recognize that it exists.

This felt a lot more challenging that it turned out to be for me time-wise. The proper nouns definitely played into it. I've heard of ZAPATA but didn't know his first name. I suppose I've heard of EDZWICK, but it doesn't really ring a bell. EBOLAZAIRE seems green paintish to me...or gratuitous...or just plain forced. And I still don't know how to spell EROGENOUS even though I just did it in the puzzle.

I didn't really care for this one.

chefbea 8:06 AM  

Easy peasy puzzle...had no trouble with any of it!!

@Elibativa from last night..good one =tree stump!!!!

kitshef 8:27 AM  

Medium my Aunt Fannie - that was hard - at least a Thursday, close to a Friday.

What made it so: EBOLAZAIRE and SALTPIT, which are barely things
EMILIANO (the ZAPATA part was fine)
FTLEE
EDZWICK (who?)
Nanki-POO (how have I never heard this!?)
ZINC (not inherently hard, but late-week clue level).
Much of a maze - seems like WALLS should be 'not much of a maze'; SPACE or WHITE fits the clue better.

@Rex is dead right about ATBAT. The ALLTIME leader is Pete Rose, pretty much the antithesis of a slugger. The leader in any given year is generally a speedy contact hitter, an Ichiro or Derek Jeter.

QuasiMojo 8:29 AM  

Super EZ and super meh. Loathe when answers are simple words like "in a" -- why not INA Claire? She's better known than George Arliss. :)

Always enjoy Rex's comments, however, on the grid design. Illuminating.

orangeblossomspecial 8:36 AM  

Here are a couple of alternatives to Rex's songs about EASY:

Guy Lombardo and 'Take it EASY'

Frank Sinatra and 'Nice 'n EASY'

Tita A 8:39 AM  

At Piphany word, was thinking star? myrrh? oro? Until I got my own little Epiphany.

Seems like Monday and Tuesday swapped places this week.
Not the sparkles the of themes, but how. Can you stay mad at a puzzle with. CANOODLES in it? SUGGEST INARREARS EROGENOUSZONES...where are those racy lacy intimate teddies from last week?

Thanks, Ms. Gray.

Anonymous 8:48 AM  

Ditto.

Amie Devero 8:53 AM  

Agree. It stumped me for a bit as I had Naan there...

Proud Mamma 9:01 AM  

Yup.

Proud Mamma 9:02 AM  

Was momentarily flabbergasted when I mistakenly read hint as "homophobic".

Doug 9:05 AM  

A lot of neurons expended at the plate there, Mr. Parker. I wish you had suggested a better clue, as ATBAT is not really that bad. I thought of plate appearance, but a plate appearance is not technically the same as an at bat to the official scorer. A base on balls is a plate appearance but not an at bat, which is one reason why the batting title requirement is a (weirdly numbered) 502 plate appearances. So....where to go with this? Baseball hitter's datum? Not much better, but at least accurate, since everyone at the plate, even a National League pitcher, is a potential hitter. How about "box score stat"?

Anonymous 9:06 AM  

I'm another one who doesn't understand the rant about the clue for ATBAT. A baseball slugger is a player who gets a lot of extra-base hits (especially homers), and you can only do that during an at-bat. If you want to find out what a player did in his last at-bat, you ask for the datum of that last at-bat (granted, in different words). Awkward clue? Maybe, but deserving of the rant?

What really surprises me is that there was no rant concerning the clue to 22D (Obsolescent means of sending a document). By definition, sending a fax is simply sending a picture of something over a telephone line. In the old days, you needed a fax machine on both ends of the transmission. These days, one uses an all-in-one printer or a computer that has a built in modem. Perhaps the fax machine itself has fallen into obsolescence but certainly not the fax itself.

In fact, I am looking right now at my new NYS Car Insurance ID Cards and underneath the cards there is a bar code over which is written "FAX: Scannable Bar Code." Bad, bad clue.

AskGina 9:17 AM  

Just brain straining enough to make a Tuesday interesting but not needlessly taxing, nans aside.

Mohair Sam 9:25 AM  

Played challenging-for-Tuesday for us. Learned today that there was a specifically named ZAIRE EBOLA virus, ZAPATA's first name wasn't Viva!, that there exists a director named ZWICK, and that xENO is ZENO. Had I not remembered "Your EROGENOUSZONES" from the '70s we might have not understood the revealer and flunked this one.

Gonna fall on @Rex's side in the ATBAT debate. As a Phillies fan I watch slugger-free baseball nightly, and yet our team gets 24 to 27 ATBATS per game. I defy you to Google Tyler Goeddel or Cesar Hernandez, both of whom have plenty of ATBATs this year, and then come back here and tell me ATBAT is a "slugger's" datum!

@Pegipeggy and @Oh No Jono - Agree totally with you both, but cruciverbalists have played fast and loose with naan forever. And since there's no such word as nUGGEST we had to go with NANS. Of course I didn't know CANOODLES was a real word either (speaking of fast and loose).

NANS and ATBATs aside, it was a fun Tuesday - but sadly not EZ.

Nancy 9:30 AM  

A lot of Zs proved not to equal a lot of zzzz. (As in boring.) Challenging, for a Tuesday, and quite enjoyable. Nicely chosen theme answers too, I thought.

TheoCratic 9:43 AM  

Same here! I couldn't figure out what caaoo- could be!

John V 9:49 AM  

I guesss I thought it to be a touch uneven in difficulty, such at ATBAT. Overall, thought, thought it a perfect Tuesday puzzle. I give it an EZPass.

Roo Monster 9:52 AM  

Hey All!
Liked the long Down corners. A nice plus to a 5 themer. Wondering where they came from, though. Most constructors would've put at least rwo blocks at the end of 28A, break up the long Downs to make it easier to fill. Bravo to Tracy that she didn't!

Found it mediumish for Tuesday. ZOIC was iffy. One of those you think is right, but doesn't seem right. Nanki-POO who?? Weird clue on SOYAS. The forced POC ELSAS is not good. "Frozen" characters, so youse know, ELSA, ANNA, SVEN, OLAF, HANS, KRISTOFF (so if you get an 8 letter clue...)

Overall, enjoyable. A couple writeovers that I forgot already! Like the SOFT LUNK in NE corner!

CANOODLES
RooMonster
DarrinV

Gregory Schmidt 10:07 AM  

ZWICK crossing ZENO would have been a Natick for me were it not for the theme. "I guess a Z has to go here?"

GILL I. 10:15 AM  

OK puzzle for a fast Tuesday, I guess. The first time I saw the word LUNK was in reference to the LUNK alarm in some gym. When you grunt or groan too loud, like someone discovering his EROGENOUS ZONES for the first time, someone hits the music over the intercom.
Part of the menstrual cycle = OVULATION. Gee, what a way to clue that answer. I wanted a cramp or two, maybe a mood swing, hell, throw in menopause.
I knew @Z would have a field day today....I think he should add a POO clause as well.

Hartley70 10:24 AM  

I nodded off in the middle of solving last night. I just finished the puzzle and checked my time to see that it took me 1hr 42min to finish. Either I forgot to close the app while I napped or this was the slowest Tuesday solve in history!

My hang up for today was NAaN, like most everyone else. Just So Wrong! I've never heard of EDZWICK or EMILIANO, but it all made sense in the light of day. Nice Tuesday.

Joseph Michael 10:53 AM  

This was tough at first. In fact, one of the toughest Tuesdays I can remember. Then halway through, post ED ZWICK, it suddenly became EASY.

The E-Z theme felt overly familiar and I could have done without all the gratuitous plurals, but
it was an ok puzzle with some good answers.

From CANOODLES to EROGENOUS ZONES to OVULATION, felt a little like a sex ed class.

jberg 10:56 AM  

I solved the first half of the puzzle. Then I solved half of the second half, then half of what was left -- felt like i was never going to finish!

Am I the only person who saw AIRE at the end of 17A and confidently wrote in LegionAIRE? The name came from a particular Legion convention, which I was willing to accept as an original outbreak location. Only ZOIC saved me.

I thought AT BAT was OK -- it's a datum, it pertains to sluggers, and if it also pertains to non-sluggers, so what? Conversely, we had OLAV, all by itself, clued as a very specific king with his own nickname. Turns out he was #V -- but a search for "the people's king" gave me a book about the abdication of Edward VIII, "the people's king norway" gave me another (weird) crossword site, and I only got the right answer with a search for "the people's king olav." All of which is irrelevant, because any 4-letter Norwegian king is either OLAV or Olaf. (Someday some impish Norwegian ruler is going to name his or her first born "Jens," throwing crossworld into a tizzy.)

I started out hating this puzzle because of the ridiculous EBOLA ZAIRE, but it grew on me as I went along.

And finally, it was nice to see the tribute to Chris Christie's most famous act at 27A. Apparently the man is now fetching Big Macs for Trump, at least if you can believe the Twitterverse.

Anonymous 11:05 AM  

I am from India...and it is naan

Anonymous 11:27 AM  

I work at an in vitro diagnostics company that has an ebola assay, so EBOLA ZAIRE was easy FOR ME. Wondering if anyone outside of industry could reasonably be expected to know that.

old timer 11:30 AM  

Mr. Bonds beat me to it. Nothing wrong with ATBAT. ZAIRE strikes me as wrong. But no, it is a strain of the Ebola virus. Even though ZAIRE no longer exists (they went back to Congo). And the worst outbreaks have been in Guinea. And the virus has actually been wiped out in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Still, that was the hardest long answer to get, though I knew ZENO, he of the famous paradox,

I thought yesterday's AMOROUS puzzle with its hidden DORK was funner. EROGENOUSZONES seem too dry and scientific. And while I have fond memories of "making out", I don't think I've ever CANOODLED. I don't think my *parents* ever CANOODLED though maybe my grandparents did at the turn of the 20th Century.

Masked and Anonymous 11:36 AM  

@indieWHA009: yep. Primo corners. It's open corners week, at the NYTPuz.
ATBAT didn't slow me down at all; thought of it in a split NANS-o-second.

Eazy-E-ish theme. Howsomeever…

* Agree with OFL, knew EBOLA; ZAIRE not so much -- altho, EZ to infer.
* ZAPATA, yep. EMIL IANO part was revelationary, to me.
* EDZWICK was all shiny new to me. Did he maybe also do the "Witches of Edzwick" flick?
* EROGENOUS ZONES. Better. (Speakin of which: 4 of the lil darlins, today, btw.)

fave weeject: Hard to beat a good, solid POO. (yo, @muse)

Thanx, Ms. Tracy.

Masked & Anonymo4Us



**gruntz**

Kim Scudera 11:42 AM  

I'm hung up on the clue for EBOLAZAIRE: " Dangerous virus strain named for its original outbreak location." Shouldn't the clue be the other way around, i.e., "Original outbreak location of dangerous virus strain"?

cwf 11:53 AM  

So NAN (which should never be pluralized) is an alternate spelling of "naan". For once I would like to see that clued with something like "(Math.sqrt(-1))"

Warren Howie Hughes 12:05 PM  

I loved this Tuesday offering from the mind of Tracy Gray, simply because "Zzzz's" are a few of my favorite things!

Z 12:41 PM  

@Gill I. - I'm working on a POO Clause, but would be happy to hear suggestions on exactly what the PPP POO Clause might be.

I'm a little surprised that there is an AT BAT debate. Sure, HR, Doubles, Slugging Percentage, or OPS would all fit the clue and are much more associated with a "slugger." But that isn't how crosswords work. Is an AT BAT a piece of data kept on "sluggers?" Yes. Quod Erat Demonstrandum. As for the singular "datum," "How many AT BATs did Miggy have last night? He walked twice, hit a sac fly, and had a triple, so one AT BAT." Yep, works fine.

Anonymous 1:00 PM  

I would have preferred something like "Rarity for American League pitcher" for 1A.
RSL

CH 1:02 PM  

Slugging percentage is a common baseball statistic used to measure hitters' efficiency. It is calculated: total bases/at bats.

The clue is appropriate, for me.

socdem 1:09 PM  

Fairly easy Tuesday for me, but can someone help me understand the clueing for TALE (Fish story). I got the solve but this clue doesn't make sense to me. What does the fish have to do with anything? "Story" is a synonym for "tale" so couldn't the clue just have been "Story"? Does "Fish" add something cute that I'm not getting? I mean "Fish tale" is a homonym with "Fish tail" I guess, but again that has nothing to do with the clue and solution.

Teedmn 1:27 PM  

Hard for a Tuesday here. 23A, I had PATA and the first name just kept getting longer and longer: EMIL, no. Female Mexican revolutionary EMILIA, no... Wow, EMILIANO lAPATA, crossing LINC, I don't think so...Aaah, ZAPATA.

Seeing ZENO and KENO was KEeNO but no EASY DOES IT for me.

Aketi 1:33 PM  

For obvious reasons, EBOLA ZAIRE was a gimme to me and not the least bit green paintish. Had I known more about the outbreak and joined Peace Corps at an age when I actually comprehended my own mortality, I might not have been so cavalier about where I was posted. Along with many volunteer stories such as the volunteer who spontaneously combusted because of a hex placed on him when he slept with the wife of the chief in his village, we heard the story about the volunteer who was evacuated by WHO staff in full biohazard gear and not even allowed to gather his belongings. We heard it was in 1979, the year before we arrived, but it looks like it was three years before.

Got lucky today because all the PPPs where in my wheelhouse. Liked seeing ZINC in the puzzle, a very important mineral in nutrional science,

ArtO 1:49 PM  

Just wanted to hurl another brickbat at ATBAT. "Slugger" is the late week style of misdirection that is key to my dislike of the clue. Slugger gets you thinking of RBIS, HOMERS, DOUBLES or TRIPLES, not at bats. Sorry. Not good in my book.

jae 5:27 PM  

My favorite clue for AT BAT is Up.

Canis Nebula 5:42 PM  

Looking forward to your report on the Indie 500.

Roo Monster 8:25 PM  

@socdwm, probably the tenth or so answerer, but a Fish story= telling a lie= telling a TALE.

*You shoulda seen the size of the one that got away* :-)

RooMonster

kitshef 8:31 PM  

Here is my analogy on AT BAT. If the clue was "physical metric for Iowans", a poor answer would be HAT SIZE. Yes, Iowans all have hat sizes, but there is absolutely nothing about Iowans that makes 'hat size' more meaningful for them than for anyone else in the world. So it is with AT BAT and sluggers.

Unknown 8:47 PM  

Yup. This was the hardest part of the puzzle for me. I was like... How is this being spelled!?

Larry 10:28 PM  

I took a look at today's puzzle and once I saw the gimmick I decided not to even bother with it, but I came back an hour later and figured I might as well. Frankly, I am just about to give up on doing the NYT xword puzzles. They just aren't any fun anymore. There's no flashes of brilliance to them. I might as well be doing the JUMBLE -- the gags are that obvious and that labored.

Notformetosay 8:07 AM  

What about "where's Casey?"

Notformetosay 8:10 AM  

What about where's Casey?

spacecraft 8:29 AM  

It's early for me because we have been up all night trying to deal with the biggest foul-up ever with an airline. To make an impossibly long story short, we wound up with two people stranded at the airport, the airline saw their chance to gouge us, and they did. Let's just say the skies are NOT friendly. No, not friendly at all.

To the puZZZZ. Pretty exacting theme, so one might expect rough fill. Not so much, really. At least nothing to UPSET me. I do agree that clue 1-across was INARREARS, skill-wise. For the DOD we wade through all the NANS, ELSAS and PATS to arrive at: EVE, the one who started all the trouble, the ALLTIME DOD.

Watch out for @BS; he's sure to TAKEAPART those EROGENOUSZONES, along with some OVULATION. Birdie.

leftcoastTAM 12:57 PM  

E-Z except for the SW, where the alternative NANS spelling of Naans caused a slow-down in getting CANOODLES and the crossing CROUTON and ERES spellings right as well.

I liked the theme answers, especially EMILIANOZAPATA and those EROGENOUS things.

Not a ZZZZZZ-er but just OK.

leftcoastTAM 1:19 PM  

P.S. I was thinking "forgive me, but" when I started my post with the so obvious "E-Z", honest, I was.

rain forest 3:45 PM  

Good puzzle.

The term AT BAT can apply to any baseball player, whether he/she be a singles hitter or a "slugger". It is a datum of hitters' stats. And what is wrong with "datum", btw? Would you rather say "piece of data"? Ugh.

I see awkward plurals, as well as some so-called crosswordese, as the collateral damage in an otherwise fine puzzle. Rarely do they grate. They're there, as is their right, or maybe, wont.

I think that DRANO is the best drain cleaner ever, but up here in Vancouver, I can no longer find it. Is it still available in the USA?

I liked the theme and the the revealer. It gave the puzzle extra zip.

Teedmn 6:41 PM  

Where is @Burma Shave? No post yesterday either. Don't leave us, @BS!

Jentaps 2:07 PM  

I work in a large medical center hospital, and we still use a fax machine for some docs from time to time

Anonymous 6:23 PM  

From the first entry on google for "slugging percentage": "In baseball statistics, slugging percentage(abbreviated SLG) is a popular measure of the power of a hitter. It is calculated as total bases divided by at bats."

Try a little less indignance...it will make you seem more likeable when you're wrong.

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