Fur-lined cloak / 9-9-16 / Hideous foe of Popeye / Valve with disc at end of vertically set stem / Goddess who saved Odysseus / Adolescent program slangily

Friday, September 9, 2016

Constructor: Kristian House

Relative difficulty: Challenging


Word of the Day: PELISSE (40A: Fur-lined cloak) —
A pelisse was originally a short fur lined or fur trimmed jacket that was usually worn hanging loose over the left shoulder of hussar light cavalry soldiers, ostensibly to prevent sword cuts. The name was also applied to a fashionable style of woman's coat worn in the early 19th century. (wikipedia)
• • •

Unpleasantly tough. I really hate it when Friday and Saturday aren't accurately placed. I realize this is an idiosyncratic peeve, but when Fridays are grinds and / or Saturdays are a snap, I kinda want my money back. It wasn't just the toughness today that irked me a bit. It was the cheapness of the toughness. Like ... GAZILLION. I mean, GAJILLION and BAJILLION and BAZILLION all seem like [Really huge (fake) number]s. And the J/Z thing keeps the ridiculous / no-one-says-that ZITCOM very, very hidden (3D: Adolescent program, slangily) (see also the REC / REW problem, which is also a ZITCOM cross). And then there's the archaism of PELISSE. What the hell? And it's not just a word in the puzzle—it's *the* word (well, one of two) that can get you into that NE corner. Literally no letter of PELISSE was gettable to me without crosses, despite the fact that it feels like a medieval word and I have some, uh, background in medievalism (it's actually a 19c. fashion, so I'm off the hook there, I guess). PELISSE is a Saturday word, if it's anything.

SPECS are a [Bridge pair, briefly?] how? Your nose? SPECtacleS on the bridge of your nose? Ugh. I got SPECS and thought of specifications, blueprints, architecture, who knows? None of this cluing stuff was amusing to me. Also, LENO is not "known for his garage." He's "known for" occupying a huge amount of time between Carson and Fallon (with that weird Conan hiccup in there somewhere). I get that he had some show with a garage because he collects cars blah blah blah. But he is not "known for" that. Moving on: No idea what a POPPET is. Own "Popeye" comics and didn't know SEA HAG. You spell HOMIES how? Also, we're still doing HOMIES? OK.

There were parts I enjoyed. In general, the banks of longer answers in the corners were good. Acceptable-to-good. But OUIDA is never good (61A: "A Dog of Flanders" author) and INO is never good (4D: Goddess who saved Odysseus) and ERGOT AIOLI, hoo boy, you do Not want any of that with your calamari. Nasty. Normally a couple of UPs in a puzzle don't bug me, but today, possibly because they're both short and near each other (DO UP / GAS UP), I was indeed bugged.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


blarg 12:07 AM  

I somehow dropped GAZILLION right in and was flyin, flyin I tell you. Then, yeah, hit the PELLISE/NE brick wall and ended up 1 minute over my Friday average, with my 19 c. (reading) wife pitching in.

jae 12:10 AM  

Easy-medium for me (@blarg - GAZILLION was my first thought too) with the NE the medium part. ERGOT is a word I only know from crosswords and it's been a while since I've seen it, so it took some time to rise through the deep pile of crossword merde that resides in my head. I also was looking for some plant genus for Mustard, nice misdirect.

PELISSE was a complete WOE. @Rex - me too for needing all the crosses.

If you haven't seen Winter's Bone you should take the time to watch it. It is why Jennifer Lawrence is where she is today. And, speaking of young actresses, I would also recommend "Stranger Things" on Netflix streaming. Millie Bobby Brown is (fill in adjective of high praise here). Natalie Portman and Jodie Foster come to mind when watching her.

Plenty of good stuff here, great clue for BIG WHOOP, liked it a bunch more than Rex did.

Joaquin 12:18 AM  

In some circles - mine ferinstance- Jay Leno IS known for his garage.

Jonathan R 12:20 AM  

Yep, got GOURDS and GAZILLION right away -- mostly easier than usual Friday for me. Although PELISSE was a total stumper and I never parsed DO UP as two words until I read this post. Only finished the puzzle by guessing that P.

GILL I. 12:21 AM  

Well SUPER FLY my POPPET, I thought this was pretty easy. GAZILLION and STINK EYE were worth the price of admission. Are those what you call American colloquialisms? Like Jonesing?
Never heard of UP TO GRADE...I'm more of a SNUFF person. The other little problem area I had was the WHEW because I want a P in the front.
PELISSE I knew...probably from the Weng era; one of those words that stick with you like SARDI.
I put lemon juice in just about all my sauces...in AIOLI, it's not just often, it's always. @Rex...you don't like AIOLI in calamari? Dios mio, you'll have to try mine.
Kinda fun and light Friday puzzle. Good for someone who drank a bit too much La Mal-Dita Garnacha Rioja and enjoyed the SIP ON...

Johnny Vagabond 12:30 AM  

I'm usually a 2 hour Friday solver (or longer) but finished this in 32min. An eon for someone like Rex but I don't care about speed. I just like the thrill of a solve which was pretty easy today. Feelin good

snailfacts 12:37 AM  

PELISSE was damn near impossible, but POPPET is pretty gettable, it was what opened up the SE corner for me anyway. It's a valve for releasing pressure when it gets too high. I liked ZITCOM and SPECS. SPECS is a common enough word - it's used in the movie Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and it's a chain of liquor stores in Texas (the logo is a rabbit with glasses). Surprised Rex didn't think it was reasonable.

Finished by guessing ERGOT. The hell is that?

chefwen 12:54 AM  

Gotta go with Rex on this one, pretty tough for us.

I went with GAjILLION and wondered if I had missed a new type of show called a JITCOM. Had PHEW (Hi Gill I) but again BIG PHOOP made no sense. Had 25D filled in correctly and was confused because I had never heard that word, especially connected to decorating, so I Googled it. Anyone who is faint of heart should not consult the Urban Dictionary for DOUP. After staring at DOUP for a few minutes I let out a very loud HAH! even startled the dogs. You dumkoff, DO UP!!!! Well, that made it all worth while.

da kine 1:13 AM  

Besides PELISSE/DOUP I thought it was the easiest Friday in several weeks. To me, Leno is know for his garage. Even when he was hosting The Tonight Show, he was quite well-known for his extensive automotive collection.

Anonymous 1:23 AM  

PELISSE! #@%%@#@!^&*%#@$
Seriously: PELISSE? That word has NO PLACE in ANY CROSSWORD PUZZLE ever, unless the theme is fur-lined garments never worn, seen, or heard of.

This puzzle was Saturday hard, as Rex suggests. But to Shortz and the constructor: PELISSE is ridiculous.

Anoa Bob 1:33 AM  

Is ZIT COM an adolescent program for TEEN ANGST?

Not only do we get DOUP, GASUP & UPTOGRADE, there's also SIPON, TUGSON & PITON.

The letter S is PROFUSE, taking up almost 12% of the grid, vs about a 6% rate in standard English text (Cornell.edu). I don't know whether to give the STINK EYE to all those POCs or to thank them for helping me fill in the grid.

Ellen S 1:45 AM  

It must have been an easy Friday because I finished it before midnight. I didn't know what a PELISSE is, but it's a word I've seen, somewhere, so as the letters began to appear, I filled it in. Jay LENO's garage was a gimme. And I wanted GAZILLION as soon as I saw the clue -- oh, I guess @Rex's theory that if you can get 1A right off the bat, the puzzle is easy, is true. Hard for him, not so hard for me. Although my time was probably 20 times as long as his. (Do the timers go up to a GAZiILLION minutes?).

@snailfacts, ERGOT is a grain fungus, mostly in rye, I think. When eaten it causes hallucinations, delusions, and suchlike weird psychotic behavior. Various scholars and an episode of the TV show Medium say it was responsible for the strange behavior that was responsible for the supposed demonic possession that led to the Salem witch trials. It shows up in crossword puzzles all the time.

I had the same trouble as many parsing DOUP. We have DO UP and GAS UP, and SIP ON and TUGS ON. Is that allowed? Two such pairs? I'm not normally a construction critic, but that don't seem right.

@Hartley70 from yesterday: I think Liam is what we used to call "a confirmed bachelor." He's a desirable date, though, with a stash of drugs that would be the envy of Neely O'Hara.

floregonian 2:01 AM  

@Aona_Bob, also GAZILLION, just to add to the ONs in this puzzle. Way too many UPs and ONs for my taste. The problem—especially with the ONs is that you can pick your preposition: TUGS AT works just as well. So does SIP AT. So I always fill those and then expect to swap prepositions, and in this case, I got both of them wrong at first. WHEW works just as well as PHEW. And HOOPS and BIG WHOOP share a HOOP, don't they? Actually, with the stupid length of an NBA season, BIG WHOOP is about right. Call me when the playoffs begin.

Loved seeing SUPERFLY in a puzzle. Thought ART HOUSE was a nice touch.

Larry Gilstrap 2:24 AM  

I pity the speed solvers on this Friday. Gnarly stuff at every turn for this whimsical plodder, but when I was done, it all looked fairly benign. Bails clued for JUMPS SHIP seemed a stretch. I heard kids use "Bail" in just that way for many years, but never thought it was anything but a regional expression of TEEN ANGST. I'm a California guy, so I never needed a PELISSE. A few years back, I went to NYC to see that Harry Potter kid in Equus, and tumbled out of the theater across the street from Sardi's. I walked up the stairs and had a memorable experience at the cozy bar. I sort of assumed that omen was the root of OMINOUSLY, so much for logic.

Lee Coller 2:44 AM  

Zitcom? If I google it the 5th and 6th hits meet this definition, none of the others on the first page do. Just because you find it in the Urban Dictionary doesn't mean its real.

Martín Abresch 3:39 AM  

I'm with @Lee Coller: ZITCOM ain't no word. It gets 102,000 Google hits, which is paltry. The top hits are for a Danish Internet cloud hosting enterprise solutions yada yada yada providers.

GAZILLION might seem cool at first, but it's a wannabe. There are a jillion -ILLION(S) variations. JILLION & BAJILLION, ZILLION & GAZILLION—all these made up numbers have appeared in the NYTimes Crossword before. BIG WHOOP.

Most of the other cruddy fill has been pointed out. So much cruddy fill.

It was a DNF for me. Almost got stumped at the ARP/POPPET cross. Did get stumped at the two letters at either end of DO UP. Didn't know SARDI (though I should), and didn't know PELISSE. I stared at -OU- for 15 minutes. I ran the alphabet at both spots. I failed to see the possibility of a two word answer.

I give this puzzle the STINK EYE.

r.alphbunker 4:17 AM  

After determining that GOOGLEPLEX was too big a number, I timidly put in ION and was rewarded with OLDPROS and ISAIAH which gave me the confidence to write in GAZILLION. The rest of the solve went smoothly bearing out Rex's observation that if 1A goes in easily then the rest of the puzzle is easy too. PELISSE had rock solid crosses. ZITCOM made sense and if you enter define zitcom in google you get the definition. The whole solve is here

Charles Flaster 4:34 AM  

Medium and easier than yesterday.
Some of Rex' rant is well deserved but I liked clues for TIPPED, PEERS, BIG WHOOP, and SPECS.
CrosswordEASE--PITON and TROMPE ( sometimes oeil is the answer).
Thanks KH

Susierah 5:56 AM  

Leno IS known for his garage and his massive car collection! That garage is a huge warehouse, and no telling how much money he has spent on all types of new and vintage cars. A good Friday time, 26 minutes, with no cheats. Got perlisse from the crosses, never heard of the word, but I always like adding to my vocabulary.

Anonymous 6:00 AM  

Yawn. You're predictable grumpy rants have become tiresome.

Anonymous 6:01 AM  


Anonymous 6:52 AM  

I liked this puzzle. Solved it in about an average time for a Friday. I like challenging puzzles. Wish every day's puzzle were this way. Had fun guessing gazillion. Very pleased with myself for guessing zitcom immediately just from the z even though I had never seen or heard it used. I often feel sorry for Rex--making oneself into a literary critic often comes at the expense of enjoyment. I always look forward to my NYT crossword in the mornings, and his complaints never dampen my enthusiasm (because I'm not a critic). ;)

Ouida 7:04 AM  

Perhaps the clue for 61a should have been "Under Two Flags" author.

SailorSteveHolt 7:30 AM  

Winter's Bone is haunting. Her performance was moving and subtle—not easy to pull off. Rex posted a picture of the Demigorgan the other day. It pleased me to no end. I assume that means he watched it? It should be noted to other commenters that Stranger Things is a love letter to 80s kid-buddies–monster movies in the vein of so many recent movies and series homages to the decade. (Kinda scary thinking that media like that is period piece.) It's not campy, and the tone is pretty far from light-hearted even in the kids' scenes. But if Gooinies isn't your cup of tea, you might not like it. (Although I've yet to meet anyone or find any critics who didn't.) I loved it; I watched it in one sitting—till 3 in the morning. I hope hope hope Season 2 continues the high quality. But if it's simply a retread of the same themes as the premier season, I'll be disappointed.

Anonymous 7:35 AM  

Just now reading Middlemarch, in which Rosamund often wears a pelisse, so that jumped right in. Stinkeye a gimme also thanks to my brother in law who uses it a lot in both word and deed. North filled in quickly, south was a struggle

Glimmerglass 7:37 AM  

I thought this was very accessible. Probably my fastest Friday time (if I kept track of time). I actually knew PELISSE, though it took a couple of crosses to get the spelling right. I had one error (which is okay with me for a Friday or Saturday) -- I misspelled FOIE (I had it FOIs, which is pronounced the same). I never heard of ZITCOM and only dimly remember SUPERFLY (never saw it), but both were gettable from crossses and common sense.

SailorSteveHolt 7:43 AM  

This is a perfect example of the phenomenon I mentioned yesterday! I figured out STINK EYE right away. It is (or was until recently?) fairly common in my cohort. But I maybe I'm wrong and just Milennial-centric. I also wanted UP TO "snuff" and have likewise never heard of UP TO GRADE. (UP TO "par" would've made sense but obviously it didn't fit.) GAJILLION is a joke-y stand-in for any beyond-billion number. "Gazillion" too. (I'm pretty sure they're not actual numbers.) AIOLI was my first though but come on: AIOLI is in no way defined by the presence of lemon juice; it's the mayo and garlic. I think "sauce" is stretching it, too. I've only ever encountered it as a dip.

SailorSteveHolt 7:49 AM  

My first thought was "googleplex", too! Given how rarefied and clever the rest of the puzzle was, GAJILLION only occurred to me after I had finished about half of it.

Norm 7:52 AM  

If you ever read War and Peace [or any other historical fiction of that era], PELISSE would not be a mystery. It's a perfectly good word. Now, ZITCOM was just dumb, but I found this a very satisfying Friday puzzle nonetheless.

Hungry Mother 7:55 AM  

I expect to take over an hour on Fridays and Saturdays, so today was much faster. For some reason I had SUPERBAD for a while until I got STINKEYE. I usually ask my wife about unknown authors, but today she was out of earshot, so I got it myself.

George Barany 7:58 AM  

Interesting @Rex critique, and quite a few insightful comments already posted, about @Kristian House's puzzle--so hard to see what I could contribute that hasn't already been said. I solved the puzzle in what for me is a fairly normal Friday time, without having to resort to "check" or "reveal" or Google, even though several of the answer words (all already discussed by others) were complete mysteries to me.

Nice touch for the constructor to work his last name into the 37-Down answer. Timely to mention both Chris EVERT and her RIVAL Martina Navratilova, even as the US Open approaches the SEMIS (note: Serena Williams won't be eclipsing Evert's record number of US Open championships, at least not for at least another year). I would also like to offer an A to the AMPERE clue, but a mild objection to the use of ammonia (NH3) to clue ODORS--take it from one whose graduate student recruiting spiel is entitled "Chemistry That Stinks" (referring to our research interest in organosulfur compounds).

Anonymous 7:58 AM  

There is actually a television show called "Jay Leno's Garage." So Jay Leno really is known for his garage.

Anonymous 8:17 AM  

If LENO had the garage but hadn't had the show, would he be known?

AIOLI *is* often made with lemon juice.

ZITCOM is clever enough, IMO.

Do people really imagine @Rex isn't enjoying himself?

Anonymous 8:18 AM  

You literati obviously never read bodice-busters! The heroines always wear a pelisse. For a while, anyway.

Z 8:37 AM  

The NE was Saturday tough, the rest was done in about the same time as yesterday, so not really misplaced in my opinion. PELISSE was a definite WTF, but those two S's were signaled by the crossing clues, so the big hold up there was parsing DOU- as DO U-, making the P obvious. That it took me six minutes to do so is something I'd rather not mention, so I won't.

If ZITCOM ain't a word, it should be.

All in all I thought this was a fun solve with lots of fun colloquialisms, generating a "BIG WHOOP" from me regarding any flaw.

@Sailor Steve - A couple of things: 1. You should see a checkbox below your nom de blog. Check it and all later comments will end up in your email. 2. The "reply" function only appears in the mobile/phone version of Blogger. For anyone else we just see your comments in time order. 3. Meaning that if you don't reference to whom you are replying your comments look random. 4. This is the reason you will see the @ symbol in so many replies. The nice thing is that this also helps replies to you stand out. 5. There is also a very loose convention to limit comments to three a day. This helps prevent long off-topic fights while also having the side benefit of reducing the spam effect for those of us who get email follow-ups. 6. Welcome. The commentariat skews oldish, so it's good to have some fresh viewpoints.

QuasiMojo 8:45 AM  

Pelisse! Or should it be "puh-leeze"? Oh, Rex, I thought this puzzle was medium difficult at best. Bordering on easy. Perhaps I was on the constructor's wavelength. It filled in faster than a normal Friday. I must be doing well with my anti-dyspepsia pills too as I really enjoyed this one. As far as I am concerned the only thing Jay Leno is known for, besides extreme dullness, is his chin. Having no TV nor cable any longer, I've never heard of "Winter's Bone," but "Wee" for Dolly made sense. Wasn't there a famous "ewe" named Dolly? A clone, I think. Have I lost my gourd? And let's not diss poor old Ouida. She was popular in her day and not exactly obscure. And I think the nod to Flanders so soon again was a hoot. I'm sure @chaos will know the Big Duck in Flanders, NY.

Robso 8:48 AM  

This didn't get up my nose like it did to Rex, maybe because I never stopped using the term HOMIES. Do people think that baseball players stopped using steroids?

Teedmn 8:50 AM  

I was very PELISSEd to successfully pull that word out of my brain (having the beginning PELI certainly helped!) Only the original bAjILLION and SIP at entries held me back at all today. I figured an adolescent program would start with "J" for junior so "j v TeaM" came to mind there even though the "a" didn't work with my already filled in DROP. And with the DS in place at 1D, the Thanksgiving decorations were becoming "breaDS". I think mentally re-entering OMIN in front of my solid OUSLY (had taken it out because INO is a WOE) is what triggered GOURDS and the rest of the NW filled in.

I liked the challenge of this Friday and the cluing was fun and interesting. Thanks, KH.

SailorSteveHolt 8:52 AM  

Was tough for me. I'm not familiar with OUIDA, OSTER, and SARDI, and I know nothing of sportball so SELIG and SEAU weren't easy for me, either. Never heard of PELISSE or POPPET. PITON? Nope. I went with "blite" well before I realized it was ERGOT.

Was so happy to see TEEN ANGST and SUPER FLY, the latter of which I found a little ironic given the social awareness usually associated with blacksploitation knowledge and the tone-deaf inclusion of "dawgs" and HOMIES. Speaking of HOMIES, I got that right away, too. It's one of the most popular examples of the co-option of Black culture. At the same time, it still conjures up images of 'urban' gangs, making it, as the youths say, "problematic." What issue could there possibly be with the spelling though?

GAJILLION was my instinct. I don't think of "lemon juice" or even "sauce" when I hear AIOLI but the frittes at Rudy's and the garlic and mayonnaise base of most of their condiments. Still, it's the only response that I could think of. LENO was easy peasy as were most of the 'less sophisticated' simple verb–preposition pairings, but that could just say something about me.

UNRIGS and EGOSURFS: real words? UP TO GRADE: real idiom? SEA HAG and REE: common knowledge? I could only thing of BLUTO which didn't fit and, though I saw Winter's Bone when it was released, I could not for the life of me remember the protagonist's name and will not accept anyone not Hennifer Lawrence could, either.

Still, I found most of the clues to be very clever and made me smile. Just realized why ZITCOM works—I couldn't figure out why they'd use a pun of "sitcom" but it's the only answer that made sense. I also though SPECS was a bridge (as in, the card game) term. Now I love that clue.

Remarkably, managed to finish in under an hour. I liked it despite what were for me a half-dozen or so esoteric words and proper nouns.

Generic Solver 8:53 AM  

I absolutely loved this puzzle. The clues requiring specific knowledge had a little bit of something for everyone, answers older solvers would probably know: SUPERFLY, answers for computer aware people: EGO SURFS, YOSEMITE, something for the hip crowd: ZITCOM. I think ZITCOM was perfectly fine despite the complaints I've read - it came up fourth in my Google search in Urban Dictionary, sounds fair enough to me.

In general, the cluing was crisp and the answers very fresh, unlike yesterday's disaster requiring lots of obscure knowledge and some inconsistency in the execution of the theme.

Carola 8:57 AM  

I found it fill-it-right-in easy except for the SE. After confirming GAZILLION with GOURDS, I stepped diagonally down to SUPERFLY and up to SPECS (though I didn't understand the "eyeglasses" clue; my bridge was over water). PITON and SINGE gave me the crucial letters for BAYONET and the rest of the SW. Then I went astray in the SE, entering PROtean, SIPat, and EllA and it took me a good while to work myself out of that snarl.

I liked the headline: SEA HAG UNRIGS, JUMPS SHIP.
Not new to me as a word but didn't know what it meant: PELISSE. I think I thought it was some sort of negligee

Matt Mullins 8:59 AM  

Man, I hated this one, and only 'completed' due to guessing on the D and P of DOUP. I didn't get DO UP as 2 words. Never heard of Mr/Mrs SARDI and was just randomly plugging in letters in both spots. Luckily, the P in PELISSE 'felt right,' but I was trying to make SOUP for Decorate, which felt like a stretch.

I went with POPOFF for a long time. OUIDA is terrible. ZITCOM is terrible (more google hits for a Danish telecom or somesuch). UPTOGRADE is bad...no one uses this, right? I dredged up SEAHAG from somewhere deep to help in the SE. REE I got quick but only b/c I love Winter's Bone as it's about my people. And ammonia is an ODOR??? Ammonia *has* an odor, but I think it *is* a liquid.

EGOSURFS??? That's a new one.

Ugh. Need a shower after claiming a solve for that one.

SailorSteveHolt 9:06 AM  

@Z I'm well past the three-lists-per-day unspoken rule, but I'd be remiss if I weren't to acknowledge your post and thank you for the primer. Will comment accordingly after this one.

Anonymous 9:35 AM  

@jae, easy medium you say?

Norm 9:41 AM  

@Anonymous 8:18 am: I think you probably meant a CHEMISE rather than a PELISSE, but, then again, I don't know your taste in bodice rippers. :)

Mike D 9:42 AM  

Rex's review: "This was hard, so I didn't like it."
Has anyone looked up DOUP in the urban dictionary?

Have fun: DOUP

Maruchka 9:59 AM  

Do-overs aplenty. Stone/STINK, phew/WHEW (BIG PHOOP?), rew/REC, tinge/SINGE, job/JUT, ad.naus..

Appreciated the challenge, especially the amount of white arcana that eventually darkened. Who doesn't like a PELISSE?

Fav of the day - SPECS. A great North Beach watering hole. I was a shy girl with a low threshold. Specs was a no-nonsense 86er when jovial 'flirting' turned mean and stupid. He respected women a lot! A true gentleman barkeep. Thanks for the eagle eye and nautical tales, Mr. Simmons.

@Carola - Ahoy! Good one.

NCA President 10:13 AM  

Tough for me. Way over my average even if I did the puzzle in two different sittings. PiPPET/LENi (I thought there might have been a "Laverne and Shirley" type of "Leni" who had a garage, and Pippet seemed like a word), GAjILLION/jITCOM (again, gajillion seemed normal, jitcom obvs seemed wrong...but ZITCOM, while definitely more adolescentish, was by no means no more obvs), and SPECS/EGOSURFING (I was think the card game form of "bridge" so SPECS was hidden and I've never ever heard of ego surfing, though it makes sense...kinda).

I got OUIDA entirely by crosses...and it still looked wrong.

There was a lot of stuff in the grid that was "new" to me: SARDI (as clued), SUPERFLY, PELISSE, the aforementioned POPPET, and USPOSTAGE (didn't know it went down).

I thought the official way of abbreviating "station" was STa...now we have to look out for STN?

I didn't like the puzzle because I didn't like the cluing. Like I've said a [g/b]a[z/]jillion times before, to me the personality of a puzzle lives in its cluing. And just like there are some people I like and some people I don't like, so too there are puzzles I like and puzzles I don't based on the cluing. Too many to point out, and most of the dislike comes from the clues en masse rather than just individually.

Mohair Sam 10:25 AM  

Wonderful puzzle. Best Friday in quite a while. OFL is full of it. Disregard his comments, Kristian House, you didn't hit his wheelhouse and he is pissed off - that happens. If he had a dog named POPPET he would have loved your puzzle. I know we did. Particularly liked that it called on a broad knowledge base - POPPET valves and AIOLI sauce and ZITCOM and SUPERFLY. OSTER blenders and ERGOT and COLONEL Mustard and ISAIAH. A thorough mix, more I thought than most puzzles.

Played medium here - challenging for me, easy for puzzle partner. Seemed like I'd get a word or two in each quadrant and she'd have to fill the rest. Lost a time because of pHEW before WHEW. Great misdirect on SPECS, loved the clue for USPOSTAGE (still mumbling 'cause I bought 100 stamps just 2 days before they dropped the rate). ZITCOM neat new word (@Rex - ZITwOM? really?). PELISSE a toughie but crossed fairly. We struggled for a while with the French/Italian crosses in the SE.

SARDI's - My first New York restaurant. I was about 8 years old. Never forget the day. Lady M and I get there about once a decade now for old times sake. Have a 1963 Vincent Price "Treasury of Great Recipes" with a Sardi's menu in it.
Grilled Brochette of Spring Lamb . . . . 3.85
Shrimp Cocktail . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.50
Banana Cream Pie . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75 cents

REE Dolly - If you've seen the indy flick "Winter's Bone" with the marvelous performance by Jennifer Lawrence that launched her career - you will love the Daniel Woodrell novel. REE's hardass character on screen was given a heart of gold. The girl in the book was just flat out vengeful and nasty.

Nancy 10:27 AM  

Forty-nine comments already! Wow! Will post first and read you all afterwards. I glanced at Rex to see that he also found it Challenging and felt vindicated. But I wrestled it to the ground and won -- even though I didn't know (in no particular order) OUIDA; OSTER; PELISSE; SERVOS; POPPET; SEAHAG; ZITCOM; SEAU; and EGOSURFS. (The latter summing up our narcissistic, Selfie-lovin' culture perfectly, methinks). Plus the fact EGOSURFS wasn't hard to guess at, once I had a few crosses. I was helped by some PPP that I did know: EVERT; SARDI; and out of some dim web of memory SUPERFLY. Some very nice cluing here: SPECS; BAYONET; FOIE; EARS. I had SIP AT before SIP ON and ELLA before ESSA (I always make that mistake!) And for the longest time I wanted SUNDANCE at 37D, then said "Aha" when I realized it was ART HOUSE. A tough puzzle that I enjoyed a lot.

AliasZ 10:30 AM  

Nice enough puzzle, with some earthy entries like BIG WHOOP, STINK EYE, ZITCOM, JUMPS SHIP, GAZILLION (my first entry with no crosses), GOURDS, etc. I especially liked PELISSE, PROFUSE, POPPET, PITON and PRIGS. Also TROMPE l'oeil -- a gimme forme.

I Did Not liken the DO UP, GAS UP and UP TO GRADE triple pay -- what's UP with that? -- and the TUGS ON and SIP ON duplication, to pour oeil ON the fire. SIP ON that. Besides, "up to code" is a more common phrase. Also, EGOSURFS and TEEN ANGST have outlived their usefulness.

I am not easily DOUPed, but I tried DERIGS before UNRIGS (both of them equally clumsy) because I didn't believe Will would allow a third UP in GAS UP.

-- How hard did Kristian try to use OUIJA instead of OUIDA?
-- For protecting my home's electric circuits, I am definitely PRO-FUSE.
-- TUGSON: junior tower.

Let's listen to a brief excerpt from Cantata BWV 57 by J.S. Bach titled SELIG ist der Mann which, oddly, does NOT mean "Bud Selig is Da Man!", but rather "blessed is the man."

How about some FOIE gras for lunch? Enjoy!

Numinous 10:34 AM  

I went through a phase of painting miniature soldiers along with my mother so PELISSE was very familiar once I remembered it. We actually used oil paints in order to shade and blend for more natural looking men and uniforms.

I felt robbed by not getting gogolplex in place of GAZILLION; thing is, I can never remember if it is Google~ or Gogol~. I think it might be the latter. Like others here I finally got ZITCCOM and felt that it worked. I've said this before (probably to boos and hisses) that I don't think every answer has to be in the language directly as long as it makes sense given the clue. I didn't know OUIDA from the clue but we've seen her not so long ago with another book so I had to look her up and do some reading of her in Project Gutenberg. UP TO GRADE, PROFUSE and US POSTAGE stalled me for a while. Liked BAYONET and IRON GRIP. Growing up in Berkeley, I had an ART HOUSE or two within a block or so of our apartment and, as a teen, I went often. Fond memories there.

This took me a half hour longer than it should have but I'll attribute that to the stream of nurses and aides trooping through during my solving time. I noticed lots of new and pre-Shortzian words in this effort and thought that was pretty cool.

Happy Pencil 10:39 AM  

Is there anything better than a Friday where you fly through a puzzle and then come here to find that Rex has rated it "Challenging"? It's going to be a red-letter day!

I do agree with some of his criticisms, though -- I know Jay Leno has lots of cars, but I wouldn't have said he was "known for" his garage. And ZITCOM, though sussable, seems a pretty big stretch, as many others have already said.

On the other hand, I thought "Bridge pair" for SPECS was brilliant, and I laughed out loud when I realized the clue wasn't talking about the card game or the Brooklyn Bridge. SUPERFLY was also great, as was STINKEYE. HOMIES I can do without. POPPET was a WOE, but it was gettable from crosses. Never hesitated over GAZILLION.

These kinds of puzzles always make me wonder if speed is really an accurate gauge of how easy or difficult a crossword is. To some extent, it seems to me that speed really only measures a solver's own personal body of knowledge. This puzzle and Rex were on different wavelengths, and so he declares it challenging. Many (most?) other people here found it easy or medium. I guess he has to base the relative difficulty on something quantifiable, but still ...

I have this thought every time I do a Patrick Berry puzzle. They go by so quickly because they are so smoothly done and carefully filled, but I certainly wouldn't call them easy.

Anyway, happy Friday, everyone!

Laurence Katz 10:48 AM  

"Zitcom" is funny. New to me, but me like.

Lewis 10:54 AM  

DOUP is a dook.

Well, I must have woke up on the right side of bed. I loved this puzzle. It had zippy clues (SPECS, COLONEL, EARS) and some lively answers (BIGWHOOP, STINKY, ZITCOM). I learned things: That POSTAGE has gone down, SEAHAG (for Popeye), POPPET, PELISSE. And the words I didn't know must have been fairly crossed, because I got them without guessing on letters. There was fight in the clues, but enough cracks of light to keep letters filling in, and this puzzle put me into that solving zone that is one of the great rewards of crosswords.

Bravo, Sir Kristian, and eager for more!

Robert Grady 10:55 AM  

I always thought Rex and I would make s good team. If he thinks it's hard, it's super easy for me. And vice versa. This was my fastest Friday in s long time.

Ken R 10:55 AM  

Having a bad day? "Pelisse" say it ain't so. Thought the puzzle easy to medium also but closer to easy. I do agree with your assessment of the grid though. I feel "up to snuff" is better than "up to grade". Besides the Tonight Show when he was woefully inept, tedious and boring, Leno has had his garage show for a while so "Pelisse" lighten up (oops..the "up" word again). Didn't like "tugs on" and "sip on" or the "Big Whoop". Don't be givin' me the "stinkeye" now Rex!! "Pelisse" relax. Whew...that's all I have to say, my Superfly Homies.

Anonymous 11:05 AM  

ESSA means IT not She according to the dictionaries I've checked.

Aketi 11:09 AM  

Well I guess that DOUP will be the new DOOK (with a perverse twist after reading Mike D's link that seems to br along the lines of the British interpretation of the anatomical location of fanny).

I thought STINKEYE aptly described my facial expression tears the puzzle in some of the righ spots.

I did like ZITCOM I got at the ZIT first after my leap from GOOGLEPLEX (which I learned from my son) to GAZILLION.

@Carola, great headline.
@z, liked your link from days ago.

Patricia Taylor 11:16 AM  

I was amazed when I saw this deemed challenging. I got my best Friday time ever.

Sir Hillary 11:17 AM  

Yeah, this was one nasty OUIDA board of a puzzle. Saturday toughness on a Friday is fine by me.

-- Yesterday, orange was THENEW[BLACK]. Today, DOUP is the new DOOK.
-- Still, the DOUP/PELISSE cross is brutal.
-- That said, while PELISSE was really hard, anything that gets us a classic Police video is ultimately worth it!
-- Completely agree with @George Barany on the timeliness of EVERT, her RIVAL Martina and SEMIS. US Open tennis is some of my favorite viewing every year, and this year it's been great. I think we're going to have a first-time Grand Slam winner in women's singles by tomorrow night. Pliskova is on fire.
-- The BIGWHOOP clue made me think of Chris Farley's classic "Matt Foley, motivational coach" routine.
-- I don't get @Rex's criticism of GAZILLION. Who cares if bAZILLION, GAjILLION and bAjILLION are also answers? That's like complaining that "Fair" could be EXPO, JUST, PALE or SOSO.
-- In a similar vein, the clue for SPECS is not only not objectionable, it's great.
-- Never heard of ZITCOM, but it was totally inferable -- and funny.
-- Did USPOSTAGE fall, or did the rate for USPOSTAGE fall?
-- I wish he were a Trump l'oeil.

Nancy 11:31 AM  

A belated "Aha", as I Google ZITCOM to find it's a play on the term SITCOM. What's not to like about that? I love wordplay and so, even though I don't plan to watch any ZITCOMS anytime soon, I applaud the coinage.

Amen to those who have enough trouble with STA not to want to wonder whether, in this puzzle or that puzzle, it's going to be STN instead.

To all you GAjILLION people -- I've never heard that said, though I've seen it written. In my neck of the woods, it would seem to be GAZILLION. I got that right off the bat, too.

And finally, to all of you who didn't "get" DOUP, neither did I. DO UP was so hard to see. I wonder why that is, in certain cases.

@Mohair (10:25)-- I ate at SARDI's a couple of times back in the day -- but not as far back as you. I imagine I was there in the 1970s, when I was running Fireside Theater Book Club and getting free tickets to a lot of theater. But the prices when I went were nothing like the giveaway prices you cite from the 1963 menu. Which is probably why I only went a couple of times. Sigh.

jberg 11:32 AM  

I got PELISSE from the PELI_SE, so I was feeling pretty proud of myself. Bu it turns out I went with the wrong meaning of bails, and ended up with the awkward pUMPS SHIP crossing pUT (as in the shot put, where you project a ball of iron as far as you can). So boo hoo.

A former girlfriend of my son, who was kind of into drugs, was fascinated when she learned about the hallucinatory powers of ERGOT, which she began to make a focus of various research papers -- so that one was easy. I believe it is also the basis of the Mexican seasoing epazote, but I'm not sure about that.

@Sailor, mayonnaise IS a sauce -- and you make it with lemon juice or vinegar.

Weirdest part of my solving experience: I actually got OUIDA, and would have recognized it -- except for my sloppy lettering, which made that I in YOSEMITE look like a T. I decided to accept it, but I'm not sure that really counts.

puzzle hoarder 11:39 AM  

I'm very surprised by the challenging rating. I guessed BAZILLION but I still can't spell AMPERE or ISAIAH by themselves so where I really started writing was DROP and PITON. After that it became early week easy going counterclockwise until I set up a roadblock with FOIX and SIPAT. Returning to the NW I filled it in clockwise just as quickly. Figuring out that 25D was a phrase is the only thing that prevented a personal best. I actually had DOUB for awhile as in a variant spelling of DAUB. Desperate times call for desperate measures.
Lately I've been doing the Friday and Saturday puzzles from '95 and I've been running into pre Shortz shibboleths like PELISSE so maybe they're worth learning after all.
It was nice to come away with a clean grid after some of my sloppy mistakes this week.

Roo Monster 11:42 AM  

Hey All !
All the faults have been mentioned, the DOOK DOUP, the other two UPs (good for the U lovers, but too many UPs), EGO SURFS an Ugh, ZITCOM?? PELISSE...

ARP was a WOE, had UNjIGS/AJ_.

Semi-Mediumish, if that's even fathomable. :-)

PRIGS (sounds like an insult)

Paul Rippey 11:43 AM  

I laughed out loud when I got ZITCOM and didn't care if it was a "real" word. Crosswords are supposed to be fun. Some of the criteria reflected by the comments of Rex and others seem to be "conformity to an arbitrary set of academic rules", rather than "entertainment". C'mon dudes. "ZITCOM"! That's clever and entertaining.

Chaos344 11:47 AM  

What @jae said. Pretty straightforward for a Friday, and just a few minutes easier that my average.

Had the same problems most have mentioned, but they didn't hold me up very long. Did any one else have GAGON before GASUP? That took a couple of minutes to work out. Wanted the valve to be NEEDLE but LENO wouldn't allow it. Funny, when I was a kid, I thought that the "gag reflex" was an uncontrollable function akin to sneezing or blinking. Later in life, I found it extremely gratifying to discover that such is not the case. Finished up in the SW because it took me too long to accept WHEW instead of PHEW, and didn't know the O in OUIDA.

@QuasiMojo: Yup! That duck has done some traveling. It is on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places and has a nice write-up on Wiki.


It flew several miles south to roost in front of a Suffolk County park for awhile, then flew back to Flanders. One of my earliest childhood memories on occasional trips to Riverhead.

Joseph Michael 11:59 AM  

Liked this puzzle, though I had a hell of a time with the NE.

Didn't understand DOUP until I looked it up in the Urban Dictionary and then really didn't understand what it had to do with decorating. It wasn't until I came here that I finally saw DO UP and breathed a sigh of relief.

This is the second time I've come across the word POPPET in the last two days. The first was in Arthur Miller's The Crucible where it refers to a doll used in witchcraft. A far cry from a valve with a disc.

Some great fill throughout, especially ZITCOM, EGO SURFS, STINK EYE, and BIG WHOOP.

Sometimes I wish Rex would just lighten UP and get over ihimself. There is a lot to like in this puzzle.

Daryl 12:01 PM  

Looks like this is the one Friday a year that commenters get to find easier than Rex - finished 2 minutes faster than average for me. Got GAZILLION and SUPERFLY without crosses and flew from there, with a pause to break open the SE.

Didn't think GAZILLION was bad at all, and LENO is well-known for having a crazy car collection. Is SPECS that unusual? I noticed my American friends don't say it much, but even after 10 years of living in America I still say "specs" or "spectacles", and I have to think before I say "glasses". Though I agree on OUIDA and PELISSE.

old timer 12:11 PM  

I have never enjoyed an @Rex column more than today's. Because I disagreed with every single thing he wrote! For starters, the puzzle was *exactly* Fridayish in difficulty, unlike the last two that were way harder than Saturdays. Oh, it looked undoable at first. But I got a foothold with FOIE, ESSA, SIPON (had SIP at first). The amazing USPOSTAGE which went down this year, and the clever JUMPS SHIP>

ERGOT went right in. Used to appear regularly in the NYT crossword. I vaguely think ERGOT has some connection to LSD. The SW was very gettable, and, sorry @rex, HOMIES is used both by Latino and Black kids, and the gang or juvenile cops that keep an eye on them. In the NW, DROP REC SEMIS made GOURDS obvious and therefore I knew GAZILLION was right.

If I had a complaint, it would be EGO SURFS because is that really a thing? Never seen it in print. PELISSE was my final answer. I've seen the word often enough, but I have never seen a doup. DO UP is of course right, and pretty clever I thought.

Z 12:13 PM  

@Anon11:05 - Did you check Collins? That was my top hit.

@Anon8:17 - A non-zero number of people spend more time pop-psychoanalyzing than commenting on the puzzle. One learns to tune it out, mostly.

@Aketi - I'll have to assume it was all my links. ; )

@Sailor Steve - I'm a chronic ignorer of the three rule, myself, unless a knock-down drag-out breaks out. Rex only drops the hammer if it gets ugly, which doesn't happen very often here, and never like some other comment sections.

@Anon7:35 - Why? Voluntarily? The one thing I learned from my 19th Century Brit Lit class is I don't like 19th Century Brit Lit.

mathgent 12:16 PM  

If there are more than ten entries I don't know in a puzzle, I'm in danger of a DNF. But under ten and I can usually get enough letters from the crosses to guess what sounds like a word or makes sense. This one only had seven unknowns for me but it still made me work hard.

I agree with @NCAPresident that the cluing is pretty bland. And BIGWHOOP was the only joy in the fill. But very clean and only ten Terrible Threes. So A minus.

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 12:23 PM  

If I did this as a competition I'd be mad. I figured ZITdOM might be a thing and never had a Tivo, I thought it might have RED buttons. And I knew no baseball commissioners, on Crosses SELIe looked fine and eATUP was good for Get one's Fill -- which meant Popeye had an evil TEA HAG for a foe. Why not? I like that thought.

Masked and Anonymous 12:25 PM  

@RP: CHALLENGIN?!? What?!? For some reason, I zipped clean thru this puppy, like … like … like pelican piss thru a pelisse. Dude, we were just flat out wired different, for these last two NYTPuzs.

I mean, just look at the day-um Across answers. Nothin much stands in yer way. Yeah ok, PELISSE can go tinkle up a rope … OUIDA looks like the Russki version of one of them fortune-tellin boards … but the rest is high cotton! And the two weirdoacrosses I mentioned all have silky-smooth trans-crossers. Piece of cake, Sara Lee! It's Miller Time. Hardly any cinnamon rolls were harmed, before this car was in Leno's garage, amigo.

UP, UP, UP that U-count. (P-count, too! There's more P's than A's, in this here puz!) This grid is one letter-rip rodeo! I'm not a big themeless fan, but this might be one of the year's best. thUmbsUP.

Really great stuffins, here-in: GAZILLION. ZITCOM. EGOSURFS. STINKEYE. Mustards de la COLONELS. SUPERFLY. BAYONET. WHEW. JUMPSSHIP. BIGWHOOP. That whole OLDPROS+PROFUSE column. YOSEMITE. POPPET (Learned a new one, there; educational). SEAHAG (Knew that gal, off nothin). day-um.

fave stink-eye word: UNRIGS. fave weeject: JUT. fave desperate weeject symmetric pairin: INO. STN.


Masked & Anonymo9Us

Larry Gilstrap 12:40 PM  

Those with ties to San Diego are familiar with and generally have deep respect for Junior SEAU. His efforts in the community were commendable. On the other hand, his story is just a small part of football's ugly element, traumatic brain injury. I wonder how history will view this unfortunate by-product of our culture's passion for the game.

Masked and Anonymous 12:46 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
crabsofsteel 12:46 PM  

EGOSURFS? That gets my STINKEYE. Pew (not WHEW).

redrube 12:50 PM  

Does Rex Parker ever NOT whine about a puzzle?

OISK 12:54 PM  

Really enjoyed this. Never heard of OUIDA, but the down clues were clear enough, and didn't remember pelisse, although I have read some of the books that others tell me used the term. But that's fine with me; I like to learn new words, places, authors. So much clever cluing here, so much to like; even "Homies," a word I have never used nor written, was obvious enough, not that I have ever used "Dawgs" either. In fact, I thought "Dawgs" might be a slang term for sore feet. Really!

I crossed out at least 8 times, job instead of jut for "project." "even" for one to one, instead of "tied." Tugs at instead of tugs on, for "rewarded for waiting" I originally had "seated," instead of tips. It is nice, after so many errors, to get it all correct. Nicer still, when Rex calls it "Challenging, My favorite puzzle of the past couple of weeks!!

Masked and Anonymous 12:59 PM  

Kinda like the desperate weeject pairin of REE/GTS, also. But I knew Gran TurismoS + Winter's Bone REE off nothin, so … ok.

CHALLENGIN?!? I am the 8th Greatest Crossword Solver in the Universe (for a Day).

Ahar … I know what it musta been … @RP got hung up on whether to go with STA or STN; can potentially lose mucho valuable nanoseconds on that kinda tough decision, every time.



Dan v. 1:05 PM  

Didn't know SARDI so SARTI seemed OK...this led me to TOUT for 25D[Decorate] which seemed shaky, but still OK. So my PELISSE was TELISSE... Lots of other WOEs for me, but chugged through them.

To another day...

Anonymous 1:09 PM  

So we're letting "frickin'" slide.

Masked and Anonymous 1:57 PM  

@maskless Anonymous, 1:09pm: nope. Now that U mention it, "frickin" made that clue extra mighty good. Lotsa neat clues like that, today. Thanx U, Mr. House.

yep. That's gotta be it, tho ... The old "station breaker" dilemma. STA vs. STN. Nerve shatterin. That's definitely what broke him. Happens EVERT yime, with yer second-tier 9th-place solvers. har

M&Also again.

ode to someone known to m&e as @bodgit1, who just got their first NYTPuz accepted:

phil phil 1:58 PM  

Fast puzzle for me.

Gazillion is not a number but it is a word that says 'really huge number' so I thought it was right on.
Had REw but easily fixed and ZITCOM was easy to see though I never heard of it either, but BIG_f_deal.... Oh that was my BIGWHOOP place holder for awhile. (la di frickn da)

Anyway DOUP's 'P' was a guess to get a surprisingly quick happy pencil.

Penna Resident 2:08 PM  

i actually expected frickin to be a big topic today. im far from a PRIG, but it seemed gratuitous and colloquially trashy.

calling a friday puzzle saturday because of a single persons solving experience strikes me as a bit amateurish. GAZILLION demonstrates the 1A rule today since gourd made it so obvious. needed every cross for PELISSE but all of them came so easily i let it slide.

my problem was nERVeS, which do operate robot arms if you lose your natural ones. that's what I get for watching miles obriens science reports too much on pbs newshour. an eDOR sounds like it could be some kind of chemical thing.

Penna Resident 2:11 PM  

was also slightly bothered by the 5D clue so close to 19A which is essentially the same word. thsts been happening a lot lately.

OISK 2:12 PM  

Since "Sardi" was mentioned, the Steve Allen lyric keeps swimmin' round in my brain. "You're up in an aeroplane, or dining at Sardi's,...." ( This could be the start of something big.)

Old White Guy. 2:19 PM  

If I had some who told me, while I was still at home, to DOUP my fly while still at home I'd draw far fewer stares at the senior center.

Alison 2:34 PM  

Mayo is made with lemon juice so if you make aioli from scratch you need it

Alison 2:34 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mohair Sam 2:47 PM  

@OISK - Thanks for the earworm, at least it's one I like.

David Fink 3:39 PM  

Had STOLI instead of AIOLI. Still laughing.

dm3000 3:43 PM  

More like these, please, on any day you like. Saturday should be even harder.

Fred Romagnolo 3:46 PM  

ERGOT is presumed by many historians to be the source of the "plague" that afflicted Athens, the most prominent victim of which was Pericles. Back in the 1970s it was the base of a medicine prescribed to relieve cluster headaches, a kind of migraine. Somebody correct me if I'm wrong, but I think SARDI's is the restaurant in New York where much of the amusing dialogue in "All About Eve" takes place. Like a Victorian PRIG (and were they all?) I, too, feel that "fricken" is definitely out of place. Like the good professor, I don't think ammonia IS an odor, but it certainly has one.

Hartley70 3:49 PM  

@EllenS, oh we are of an age! Patty Duke..gone too soon and missed. I'd be much better for Liam than Neely. I'd leave his "stash" alone, at least until something really hurt!

@Numi, was your mom wearing a PELISSE when you painted your toy soldiers? It seems a very 19th century hobby for a young lad, but charming to me in view of this age of electronic entertainment for children. What a nice activity for the two of you.

@Nancy, we might have met at SARDI's at lunch time. I worked a block away with an expense account and would have treated you if we could have conjured up a reason why you were a potential client. It would have been a cinch knowing your verbal ingenuity.

Oh yes, the puzzle was Friday perfection, definitely challenging but that's how I like 'em to roll. I got my toehold with PITON and worked the NW from there. GAZILLION was my first thought because I'm no math wiz. Isn't it directly after trillion? ZITCOM made sense but I mentally put a dot before com because everything's online now. PEL gave me PELISSE because I love 19th C lit.

I always put my rye bread in the fridge because I got freaked out when I heard about ERGOT poisoning. Hypochondriacs beware.

LENO and cars go together for me because that's the only thing I found entertaining about him. Sorry, Jay.

I really didn't know OUIDA, but saw DOUP right away. I think ladies in the 50's and 60's used to DOUP their rooms. It's less drastic than today's total redecoration requiring pots of dough, like a GAZILLION.

Hartley70 4:02 PM  

@jae and @SailorSteve, I agree with both of you regarding "Winter's Bone". I knew she would be a superstar in record time. It's a must see. "Stranger Things" is eons lighter but good fun. It took me a while to get over Wynonna Ryder in her role, but I thought the kids were terrific. I'm ready for a Season Two.

BTW welcome @SailorSteve. Your posts are lively!

Leapfinger 4:06 PM  

OMINOUSLY (for some) there were a GAZILLION SUPERFLYous entries and clues in this ARTful HOUSE. I liked it ginormously, and had several BIG WHOOPS while solving. Just as @MohairS says, a regular olio, with something for every tasteBud Selig.
As yet unmentioned (I think) bits I liked: the pairing of SKIP a GRADE, and the idea of keeping an IRON GRIP on one's BAYONET. I've had co-workers who routinely said BIG_WHOOP more often than required, but that was the closest to precipitating the kind of EYE-roll that CHILLAX regularly does.

Not to pretend some of this wasn't above my pay GRADE:
"Dog of Flanders": had trouble forsaking Albert Payson Terhune for OUIDA. Si, ja.
'One to one': thought that a clever misdirect for 12:59 --- ergo TIME before TIED was TIED UP
MGS --> GTS. I have my reasons.
Also, WALDOS before SERVOS (Was that from Asimov or Heinlein? Had to look that UP: it's Heinlein)

My favourite wrong 'un: 47A "Get one's fill" -- I thought that a splendiferous clue for SOLVE. As always, I do like self-referentials...

POPPET Toomey, @GILL!! Am seriously considering a cross-country if your AOLI is as good as implied! Good on SARDInes, also, n'est-ce pas?
@Glimmerglass, it's FOIE FOIs, is it? Time to liver it UP!!
YO, SEMITE! The new DOOK = Cup o' DOUP?
WHEW, PROFUSE ODORS!! But SEAU what? Cey it ain't SEAU, Jeau. Wadda ya gonna DOUP, Garou? if I were 'Wolf!' to cry?

You know how you can't ever find the PELISSE in a crisis? Well, not today...
PELISSE has made some a significant fashion transition from the original Hussars' jacket to ladies' outerwear. Not sure how my mind's EYE came to the idee fixe of a hooded cloak (There's a chance those might have been the original HOMIE hoodie.) For some reason, I visualize a BLACK VELVET PELISSE on Lady Marguerite Blakeney (fur-lining optional) and have no idee atall how this transitioned to Purple PELISSE Potates.
OTOH, I do see a reasonable lead-in For A Melléas and Pélisseande interlude, where debut's seance met 'er link.

Kristian, my POPPET, my time was well-served in this Big House.

Andrew Heinegg 4:09 PM  

I agree with Rex that the garage clue for Leno is kind of crappy. Yes, he is well known for his car collection but, the garage that houses the vehicles not so much, his minor tv show not withstanding. I didn't mind pelisse but I hated egosurf. The problem with poppet was not so much the word but rather the crossing with the Leno o.I am also with OFL on sea hag. If you are going to make reference to a cartoon that hasn't been on tv for a 'gazillion' years, don't make it a character that didn't even have a name in the series.

All in all, I liked it better than Rex but less than many others.

Leapfinger 4:29 PM  

Seems I'm about the twenty-twelveth to DOOK DOUP: the price of late-itude, I guess.

Speaking of the parsimonious, has the NYT xwp ever parsed CONED (as for firs) as CON_ED? Dig We Must.

PROFUSE? Circuit breakers are handier. Thought we were about to see PROFUMO. Not that I'm old, just have a memory like a steel sieve.

@Numi, streams of nurses and aides? Back in the VA Spa, are you? Cey it ain't SEAU, Bro.

QuasiMojo 4:35 PM  

Sardi's is the place with the caricatures on the wall. I used to go there when I lived in NYC, but preferred Joe Allen's. @Nancy, how many book clubs did you toil at? I used to belong to a bunch.

Bar Talk 4:36 PM  


TUGSON. TUCSON with a tail.

mark shuper 4:43 PM  

Just watched the original 'Prisoner of Zenda'which features lots of Hussars (Douglas Fairbanks Jr, Ronald Colman) wearing pelisses. And Ken Kesey, Timothy Leary and Owsley all thank Dr Hoffman in the Great Beyond for synthesizing Lysergic acid diethylamide 25 from rye ergot.

GILL I. 4:45 PM  

@ISAIAH Leapster...Just in case you're hankering for a delicious AIOLI before you make your JUMPS to California....Here is a sinmple, full proof recipe, that I use about once a month:
You need a blender.
Drop one whole egg (very fresh, please) into blender. Add a small chopped garlic (fresh, please), squeeze half of a very juicy lemon into the mix, a pinch of salt and whirr away. Slowly add about a cup of very good olive oil...a bit more if needed. It will start to get thick after about a minute. Just don't over do the oil or it will separate.
I'd skip the SARDInes but I'd put it on just about anything else. Stuffed piquillos with tuna and a dollop of AIOLI. Bon Apetito....!

Another Look 4:50 PM  

sPIT ON PITON; I want my ICEAX back.

@Chaos, the 'gag reflex' is an uncontrollable reflex; I just had a Very Expensive visit to the periodontist, and can attest to that in spades. I think we had to call an intermission about four times. If your gag reflex is decreased, you're probably needing to cut back on your seizure medications.

Nancy 5:01 PM  

@Quasi (4:35 p.m.) -- I was an Assoc Editor of the Literary Guild (1967-1978) and ran three of their subsidiary book clubs: Fireside Theater Book Club (1970-78); Mystery Guild (1974-1978); and the short lived Entertainment Arts Book Club (in the '70s, I forget when it was born and when it died). Fireside Theater, a book club of published plays, provided its Editor with two free tickets to every on- and off- Broadway show in NY. Leading me to...

...@Hartley70 (3:49 p.m.) -- Oh, if only I had known you back then. You would have taken me to Sardi's on your expense account, and I would have taken you to theater on my expense account. Now how many of your other clients could have promised you that?

Penna Resident 5:35 PM  

i don't get the complaints about the LENO clue. it did not say "best known for his garage". it is friday so it cant be "tonight show host before fallon". the clue would also have been accurate it if it had said "comic known for star trek jokes as a frequent guest on lettermen in the early 80s. i saw him 30 years ago when he was a stand up comic and pretty much anything he was known for then would not be well known now - except that he loved cars (he just owned cheaper ones then). he is known for his car collection and he is known for his garage that houses it. the fact that he is also known for many other things doesn't change this fact. ENO is clued with some esoteric stuff that he did. how many people here listen to third uncle in the car on a regular basis.
if i am expected to watch enough commercial tv to see ads for HBOGO (which i don't - so that dnf was on me) then i will have seen ads for jay lenos garage.

Chaos344 6:17 PM  

@Another Look said:

Thank you so much for your helpful suggestions! You must be a very empathetic person?

There is a distinct difference between an involuntary reflex and an uncontrollable reflex. Did you ever try and sneeze with your eyes open?

I can tell you from personal experience that the gag reflex is definitely controllable, but it takes a lot of practice.

Being as tactful as possible, there are a few things you should know:

#1. My gag reflex works perfectly.

#2. I am not taking any medications to control seizures.

#3. I too have had appointments with very expensive professionals where it became necessary to take brief respites due to the gag reflex. Having said that, I can assure you that some of these professions are very adept at controlling the gag reflex for very long periods of time. Several minutes in some cases!

There are some very interesting explanations on the web if you Google Gag Reflex, Uncontrollable Reflex or Involuntary Reflex. Has your dentist ever suggested the "squeeze your thumb" trick?

Once again, thanks for your concern!

Mohair Sam 6:28 PM  

@Hartley70 and @jae and @Sailor Steve and all other "Winter's Bone" enthusiasts. Let us not forget John Hawkes as "Uncle Teardrop" - nominated for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for the role. I still get chills when I picture that deputy approaching his pickup truck from the rear and "Teardrop" coldly asking him via the sideview mirror, "Is this our time?"

Tom 6:44 PM  

Whew, late to the party because it took me all day. Tempted to Google a couple of times, but resisted. Read Rex's review, and LENO is very well known for his garage program, both on TV and the internet especially. Gather Rex is not a car guy.

Started out this morning looking easy, filled in the SW quickly up to DROP, and hit a wall. Went back off and on until a few minutes ago finally put in the last entry, PUMPSHIP. SIPS ON should be SIPS AT.

Probably took an aggregate 30-40. Tough one.

Bill L. 7:17 PM  

It’s weird that this puzzle played challenging for a bunch of seasoned solvers and easy for others. Put me in the easy camp. I have 20 minutes built into my morning routine for coffee, cereal and solving the puzzle, then it’s time to hit the shower before leaving for work. I knocked this out easily within that time, whereas I usually have to finish Thursdays and Fridays after returning home in the evening.

I liked “frickin” in the clue. To my ear it expresses the sentiment of BIG WHOOP much better than “Well, la-di-da” does, which I think sounds more along the lines of BIG deal.

Another Look 7:17 PM  

Consarn it, @Chaos, I wasn't being 'concerned', I was being a peed-ant. As for my being 'empathetic', I prefer to consider it 'empathic', if only in the interests of clarity.

Must admit that I've never actually tried to sneeze, either with eyes wide open or shut tight, so I can't speak to that. As for those professionals' abilities, I'd suggest that if they insist on pressing large amounts of viscous glop (of a kind better reserved for a Ghostbusters movie prop) into the mouth of someone who is actually paying them for the privilege, my feeling is that they deserve to have some legitimate fear of being up-chucked on. That's how I'd place a gag order.

Moving on to the issue of uncontrollable vs involuntary, perhaps you'll have the time to look into biofeedback, useful as a way to increase arterial diameter (for improved local circulation) and -- should it be of interest -- even as a way to control horripilation. Apparently there can be control of involuntary actions, and I guess the difference between controllable and uncontrollable is a threshold that can be reset.

Moving right along, I'm sure you have some entertaining thoughts on the cremasteric reflex. Don't be shy.

Grant Edwards 7:18 PM  

Not ok for a teacher to have not known MCCRAE yesterday. (Come on! This is in the poetry canon!) Not ok for anyone who has read Popeye comics not to know SEA HAG today. (Is Rex kidding?) LENO is very well known as a car aficionado. ZITCOM was totally easy, and GAZILLION was a 1-across gimme. I thought this puzzle was too easy for a Friday. Give me a break!

Chaos344 7:38 PM  

@Another Look:

LMAO! Touche my friend! You got me! As for entertaining thoughts on other reflexes, I'll save them for another time. ;-)

Shamik 8:04 PM  

90 times out of a hundred, Rex thinks the puzzle was easier than I think it is. Wow! One of my fastest Fridays ever. So yes, happy about it. Was thinking it was a misplaced Wednesday. So I humbly do the happy dance.

Anonymous 9:09 PM  

I'm sick of the "if Rex doesn't know it...blah, blah, blah". Leno is known for his garage. I give up. It's not that obscure.

tea73 9:26 PM  

I knew PELISSE from reading too many Georgette Heyers to ward of TEEN ANGST. But man the northeast killed us. Finally got rid of SUPERBAD (oops!) and it slowly fell into place.

Jocasta Guyon 8:56 AM  

PRIGS clued as "Victorians" was reductive and insulting. Boo. This puzzle was crap.

Unknown 10:13 PM  

A crossword rules foul that tripped me up: 'ship' was used in the clue for 49D and was in the answer for 62A. Didn't fill that in until the bitter end because of thinking it wasn't allowed.
The rest of the puzzle I quite liked.

Unknown 10:14 PM  

A crossword rules foul that tripped me up: 'ship' was used in the clue for 49D and was in the answer for 62A. Didn't fill that in until the bitter end because of thinking it wasn't allowed.
The rest of the puzzle I quite liked.

Gregory Schmidt 1:58 AM  

PELiSSE was a "gimmee" for me, due to my experience with period opera costuming. So for once, a piece of arcana was easy for me and hard for Mr P, since it didn't involve some literary cousin thrice-removed. Far too many prepositions today. Lazy.

Z 6:47 AM  

I saw a sign for PELISSippi State yesterday. I wonder what their football team outfits look like.

kitshef 11:37 PM  

Played about average here, despite a host of WoEs (basically @Nancy's list). EGOSURFS so sounds made up, and if it is a thing, I hate it. UPTOGRADE is not a thing. Lots of other marginal stuff: STN, SIPON, POPPET, OUIDA, INO, DIV. Themeless oughta be way better than that.

Burma Shave 9:35 AM  


PROFUSE are his perks to DOUP those OLDPROS.


rondo 10:19 AM  

Call the PELISSE, there’s an outbreak of write-overs – Job for JUT, mgS for GTS, whIGS for PRIGS. And the popular TUGSat. Yeah baby JLaw as REE deserved an Oscar for that performance; no film for PRIGS.

Didn’t we recently have Klink and Hogan as COLONELS? Mustard’s a bit tougher.

UPTOGRADE is a common phrase in my line of work. When placing the aggregate base during road construction we drive in stakes or use satellite machine control to make sure it is placed at the correct elevation, or UPTOGRADE.

It seemed like a GAZILLION w/os and the NE was OMINOUSLY tough, but WHEW, done. UPward and Onward.

spacecraft 11:26 AM  

My thoughts are fairly congruent with OFL's today (now THERE's a scary thought!). I tugged and sipped "at" instead of ON, which lengthened an already drawn-out solve. Square 40 caused another alphabet run; P seemed the most reasonable choice (WHEW!). POPPET was also a total WOE, but luckily went in on crosses. Previously unknown to me but inferable were ZITCOM and EGOSURFS. Ah, Newspeak; Orwell would be proud.

SUPERFLY to me will always be that flyin' Hawaiian Jimmy Snuka, who launched from the third rope, whereupon his RIVAL was SUNK.*

Triumph factor was large in this one; as OFL said, it's gonna take a monster Saturday puz to beat this baby. Finishing was a BIGWHOOP. Did not know about REE, so my DOD has to be Chrissy EVERT; there is nobody else today. Long gainer, first down in the red zone.

*Disclaimer: I followed pro wrestling for a time because it was so funny. Guys like Captain (?) Lou Albano and Rowdy Roddy Piper ("Just when you thought you had all the answers...I changed the questions!") were a hoot.

Diana,LIW 1:38 PM  

Ha, ha, ha.

I counted 14 complete WOES as I perused the clues. Got a little toehold on about half the puz, but then did a spectacular dnf. Enjoyed the play anyway. Haven't yet read REX or other comments. Very tough Friday for me. But then, I have a lot on my mind right now, so my distraction level is high.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

rain forest 3:22 PM  

Tremendously enjoyable puzzle at a medium-ish level for me. Funny about regionalisms: to me, GAZILLION is way more common than the "J" version. Wanted "googolplex" at first, but it didn't fit. Btw, did anyone know that Google was supposed to have been Googol, but the guy in charge of making the logo misspelled it, and so today we have The Google.

Like @Spacey, and others, I had TUGSat, and SIP at, and had to change them both. Amazing the difference that made in revealing the S and the NE. Of course PELISSE was unknown, but the crosses filled that in.

Good puzzle in all respects.

Dale Wyttenbach 4:06 PM  

This puzzle is number 0909 is there some reason Rex doesn't identify them this way? It would be soooo much easier to locate with Google. (Note that I do the puzzles in syndication and not the day they originally appear)

leftcoastTAM 5:57 PM  

Smooth and easy-medium except for the NE. Cheated [sigh] to get STINKEYE, Remembered it after seeing it. BIGWHOOP ensued.

rondo 8:08 PM  

@Dale W - 0909 = September ninth or 9/9 or 09/09/16, the date published in the NYT, syndiland is 5 weeks behind.

rondo 8:14 PM  

@Dale W - except Sundays which are one week behind. Looks like you are from MN. You could be neighbors to me, or teedMN, or Kathy from the Tower, or George Barany, or others.

Z 8:53 PM  

@Dale Wyttenbach - As @rondo noted, 0909 is the original publishing date. Two ways to find the right blog:
If you are using a computer or iPad you should see two columns to the right of the page next to Rex's post. Scroll down and you will see the Blog Archive. Click on "October" to close this month, then click on "September" to open last month, then scroll down to the appropriate date. Rex is good about updating the syndicated link every day, but any time there is a sub you may need to go hunting a little bit.


Put 9-9-16 Rex Parker in your search bar and I bet the first hit will be... Yep, Rex Parker's post for the 9/9/16 NYTX.

Dale Wyttenbach 8:11 PM  

Thanks much... I'm in 55112

Dale Wyttenbach 8:11 PM  


Branwell 4:23 AM  

I got no quarrel with PELISSE.
Puh-leez…it’s a perfectly cromulent word.
If it doesn’t please the crossword police perhaps they should read
Jane Eyre:
Bessie, having pressed me in vain to take a few spoonfuls of the boiled milk and bread she had prepared for me, wrapped up some biscuits in a paper and put them into my bag; then she helped me on with my PELISSE and bonnet, and wrapping herself in a shawl, she and I left the nursery. As we passed Mrs Reed’s bedroom, she said, ‘will you go in and bid Missis good-bye?’


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