Golf handicap of zero / FRI 9-30-16 / Like some garages / Forrest Gump college football / Funky Cold Medina rapper / Test pattern? / Chalk Garden playwright / Vigoda Godfather / Shire Godfather / River of forgetfulness / Figures in ribald Greek plays / Stochastic / Collaborative computer coding event / Everyone's private driver sloganeer

Friday, September 30, 2016

Constructor: James Mulhern

Relative difficulty: Relatively easy for a Friday


Word of the Day: LEBRON JAMES (35A: N.B.A. M.V.P. who has hosted "Saturday Night Live") —
LeBron Raymone James (/ləˈbrɒn/; born December 30, 1984) is an American professional basketball player for the Cleveland Cavaliers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). James has won three NBA championships (2012, 2013, 2016), four NBA Most Valuable Player Awards (2009, 2010, 2012, 2013), three NBA Finals MVP Awards (2012, 2013, 2016), two Olympic gold medals (2008, 2012), an NBA scoring title (2008), and the NBA Rookie of the Year Award (2004). He has also been selected to 12 NBA All-Star teams (named the game's MVP twice), 12 All-NBA teams, and six All-Defensive teams, and is the Cavaliers' all-time leading scorer. (Wikipedia)
• • •
HERE GOES Laura, your STAND IN for Rex, about to TAP INTO today's ESOTERY.

ANTEATER (12D: Creature that Dalí walked on a leash in public)
This was a pretty snappy themeless that felt like it was made for my first FORAY into crossword blogging. Grid name-checked pop culture phenomena from every decade of my life. Some may know ABE (4D: Vigoda of "The Godfather") as Salvatore Tessio but, CMON, as a kid in the 1970s, I remember him from Barney Miller and its spinoff, Fish. Speaking of 22A: 1970s TV spinoffs, I originally had MAUDE, which was was spun off from All in the Family, instead of RHODA, which was spun off from The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Moving on to my teen years, we have TONE LOC (16A: "Funky Cold Medina" rapper), a recent name-that-tune answer for my pub trivia team, and Randy Newman's I LOVE LA (50A: 1983 hit song that mentions Santa Monica Boulevard). Then a writer I first read in my late 20s: 56A: Playwright Eve ENSLER (author of The Vagina Monologues). Something I wore constantly while lugging kids around in my 30s was a BABY BJORN (20D: Swedish-based maker of infant carriers). Many geeky librarians like me have attended a HACKATHON (7D: Collaborative computer coding event). Then, of course, there's 23D: Seedy place to drink (DIVE BAR), where I TRY to go as often as possible. The only NATICK for me was Enid BAGNOLD (35D: "The Chalk Garden" playwright, 1955) -- I knew her only as the author of National Velvet.

  • GHETTO BLASTER (33A: Source of break-dancing beats) — Look, we've had this discussion before. I won't rehash the points that Rex and others have made, but even Wikipedia calls it "a pejorative nickname which was soon used as part of a backlash against the boombox and hip hop culture." My heart sank a little when I realized it was the marquee answer (is that the term in crossword-ese? That's what I'm calling it). People still breakdance. Their source for beats now is likely IPHONE SPEAKERS.
  • LETHE (45A: River of forgetfulness) — This is one where having a graduate degree in nineteenth-century British literature helped. It's in the first line of Keats's "Ode on Melancholy": "Oh do not go to Lethe, neither twist Wolf's bane, tight-rooted, for its poisonous vine."
  • VICHYSSOISE (29A: Creamy chilled soup) — Here's my favorite recipe.
Signed, Laura Braunstein, Sorceress of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


JayWalker 7:46 AM  

For me it was relatively difficult - but I got them all (w/o help) except for one error. Where 15D and 24A meet. I had Bolt for 15D - didn't think of Bola at all - dumb me. I must be a secret fan of Thor's. BUT - what the heck is AAAS? The clue is "Some mouse cells" and that means nothing to me at all. Nada. Niende. Can anyone explain that to me - please?

Mr. Grumpypants 7:48 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mr. Grumpypants 7:49 AM  

A wireless mouse needs a battery and most would use tiny AAA cells.

kitshef 7:56 AM  

This was entirely joyless.

Fairly easy overall, despite some significant longer WoEs (ESOTERY, BABYBJORN, KENYON, ENSLER). Potential Natick at the ESOTERY/KENYON cross, but Y was by far the most likely letter.

In particular, the cluing was completely literal. For just about every clue, the first instinct on the meaning was correct. HEREwego before HEREGOES and peel before MASK the only overwrites.

I feel like we were shorted a Friday puzzle this week.

Carola 8:12 AM  

I loved this witty puzzle. At first I thought it would be difficult: on my initial pass through the Acrosses, I made some guesses but was sure only of the delightful VICHYSSOISE and the apt ("Where is my short-term memory going") LETHE, along with Eve ENSLER. But the Downs helped me quickly fill up the squares, starting with those ribald SATYRS (cute next to CLOTHE, as I think they were bent on unclothing any passing naead).

Loved BAR NONE, INK BLOT, BABY BJORN, SLAM POETS, and the image of Dali with an ANTEATER. KENYON College: site of my one-and-only, I-got-roped-into-it blind date. Never again.

JayWalker 8:13 AM  

Thank you Mr. Grumpypants. Now I feel like a lunkhead!!

Tim Pierce 8:14 AM  

Definitely easier than a usual Friday (18:18 in pen and paper, which for me is very fast). Great vocabulary and fill, but I'm giving ESOTERY and LIEABED the side-eye.

Agreed 100% with Laura about GHETTO BLASTER. C'mon, folks. This is embarrassing.

Write-overs included stEreO for GHETTO, gERonimo for HEREGOES, and BAGNOse for BAGNOLD.

Loved seeing HACKATHON make its way into the crossword.

Sir Hillary 8:16 AM  

Nice grid with some excellent entries, but unfortunately the cluing put up absolutely zero resistance. Both Wednesday's and yesterday's took me far longer to solve. Feels like a missed opportunity.

-- If GHETTOBLASTER is indeed pejorative, that's a learning for me. But Wikipedia declaring it so is not enough to convince. Anyway, it looks great in the grid.
-- Clue for SCRATCH reminds me to watch the Ryder Cup.
-- Not a fan of BARNONE and DIVEBAR in the same puzzle.
-- I wish I could get BOLA and BOLo straight -- that held me up a bit.
-- LETHE was unknown to me, but gettable via crosses.
-- Favorite clue is "Practice exam?".
-- Tenuous basketball theme: LEBRONJAMES, SLAM[POETS], CONVERSE, HACKATHON (where's Shaq when we need him?), KENYON (Martin).
-- Tenuous golf theme: SCRATCH, TAPIN[TO], TIN (Cup).

L 8:21 AM  

Off topic, but I always wonder why there are no Maude or Barney Miller reruns on cable?!? I was desperately hoping 22A woukd be MAUDE...
I often get nowhere on a friday puzzle and today I got halfway through before hitting the Google, so I feel good about today's puzzle.

QuasiMojo 8:22 AM  

Swift Friday romp. Got iced at Vichyssoise at first since I spelled it wrong but cleared it up. My gimme today was Enid Bagnold, as I know "The Chalk Garden" well. Too many (other?) pop names today for me to give this a high-rating. But it was painless... even with "hurts" for "joneses."

Irene 8:23 AM  

Lots of fun and just enough challenge. Didn't much like esotery, but otherwise the only problem was remembering where all the Ss go in vichysoisse? vichyssoise? Otherwise a piece of cake: or bowl of soup.

kitshef 8:36 AM  

@L - don't know if you have it in your area, but Famnet has Barney Miller reruns. Also Antenna TV has Maude.

Anonymous 8:42 AM  

Uber in a clue yesterday ... UBER in the grid today ...

Anonymous 8:48 AM  

UBER UBER alles.

evil doug 8:56 AM  

"... even Wikipedia calls it "a pejorative nickname which was soon used as part of a backlash against the boombox and hip hop culture."

You have a graduate degree, and you're citing Wikipedia? Haha!

mm 8:57 AM  

33 across nice nod to Radio Raheem

Anonymous 9:03 AM  

Well played. See it now.

Hartley70 9:04 AM  

Easy peasy Friday, a third the time of my tough ones. My only write over was BOLo to BOLA because AAAS seemed more likely than AAoS. I just never think of battery as a synonym of cell, despite having a cell phone in my hand as I write this.

Whoa, you mean this is called a "cell phone" because it has a battery? The flickering light bulb that hovers above my head has just gone on! (I should be ashamed to admit this.) Now I have a third reason to like this puzzle in addition to learning something interesting about Dali and President Hayes. Thank you Mr. Mulhearn.

Anonymous 9:10 AM  

Regarding GHETTO BLASTER, Shortz quotes the Economist's Manual of Style regarding Political Correctness: "do not labor to avoid imaginary insults." The manual cites GHETTO BLASTER as an example in this context. African-Americans don't be needin' yo patronizin', nice white lady. They can manage fo themselves.

Art Hochner 9:16 AM  

What the heck is "a learning"? You mean "a lesson".

Anonymous 9:19 AM  

i think they are called cell phones since they receive a transmission from a cell tower. others call them mobile phones. i go to a shop to have the battery replaced in my watch. i've never seen "watch cell replacement $5." as for the mouse, have not seen one in a long time. iirc, they are usually wired. oh yeah, some are wireless, as are some keyboards, but the wired ones are prevalent.

an appearance from mr grumpy pants tells us will had misgivings about the clue. he stopped by early to set it straight.

in all a weak friday puzzle. sorry, but they seem to be trending down at the moment.

Nancy 9:21 AM  

I, too, thought this was unusually easy for a Friday -- especially at the top. While I didn't know the pop music references, TONELOC and GHETTO BLASTER, they came in with no difficulty and I bet OISK won't have any trouble either.

Nice write-up, Laura. Any friend of VICHYSSOISE is a friend of mine. So thoughtful of you to provide the recipe. I have no intention of making it, heaven forfend, but by providing the recipe, you show that you truly understand the Importance of VICHYSSOISE -- something I haven't seen on a menu in more than 30 years. I've seen leek and potato soup and, on occasion, I've even ordered leek and potato soup, but leek and potato soup is not VICHYSSOISE. There's an underlying sweetness that's lacking. And so, I paraphrase Paul Simon:

Where have you gone, lovely VICHYSSOISE?
A nation turns its hungry mouth to you...

Does anyone ever say ESOTERY? We all say Esoteric a lot -- or at least I do -- but who says ESOTERY? Just wondering.

What did I learn from this puzzle? That Dali walked his pet ANTEATER on a leash. I think he must have been a very strange man. Very, very strange.

Having suffered through yesterday's puzzle, I didn't mind so much that this one was really too easy for a Friday. I enjoyed it.

Charles Flaster 9:23 AM  

Easy/ medium but a DNF as I had GLOBULIi
and EiSLER.
Each time I thought puzzle would play hard, a proper name would appear and I was
Write overs-- HURTS for HUnTS, VICHYSSOISE for VICHYSoisSe, and RHODA for mauDe.
Liked cluing for CLOTHE, ORIENTS, LSAT,
Thanks JM

Z 9:25 AM  

I don't recall it ever being a pejorative beyond the "damn kids and their damn 'music'" type bitching, but there was most certainly a backlash against Hip Hop and everything associated with it, so I don't doubt that some used it that way. For me, though, GHETTO BLASTER is just a tasty locally brewed English Style Mild Ale. Motor City Brewing Works opened in 1994, and I imagine GHETTO BLASTER is one of their earliest brews. While you can buy it throughout Michigan, I recommend visiting the taproom on West Canfield (in the Midtown/University/Cass Corridor* neighborhood) the next time you're in Detroit.

How does ONE spell VICHYSSOISE? I really wanted the second S to be another vowel. As for "easy," I toted up 23 PPP** out of 76 answers. That's high. BAGNOLD I know from cluing Enid in other puzzles, so I could finish the name from having BAG. I knew Hayes was going to be some Ohio college and Oberlin didn't fit. KENYON is a DIII swimming powerhouse, so I've heard it (my college was pretty good when I attended - but KENYON was much better even then)? I also stalled at BABY BJORk, even though I knew that would be Icelandic. As for ESOTERY, that looks like a word you'd see on a reproductive system diagram. In short, more medium challenging here.

*Words - there is an interesting little tussle over what to call the area that used to be Detroit's Chinatown/Cass Corridor neighborhood. What you call it can be taken as a signifier of how authentic a "Detroiter" you are. As a relative middle class white guy newcomer I think of it as "Midtown."

***Pop Culture, Product Names, and other Proper nouns. Anything above 33% is certain to cause someone problems.

Roo Monster 9:26 AM  

Hey All !
Agree with fairly easy FriPuz. Did have some writeovers, though. My favorite one is I put gERonimo in for HEREGOES, and thought "What a great answer!", only not to be. Others were arc-VEE, wanTS-HURTS, mauDe-RHODA. Knew 29A was VICHYSSOISE, but had to wait on crosses for the spelling! Had a bear of a time in SE corner. Didn't know BAGNOLD, had BAGNOLi, making my LETHE mETHE, and LDOPA miOPA! KENYON College also a WOE. So a DNF for me.

So, decent puz. Like, it is was it is. You know? Just sayin. :-P


Laird of Easton 9:30 AM  

Easy but fun Freya's Day.

Anonymous 9:31 AM  

@anon at 9:10, whoa! We sure as hell don't need you, or should I say show? Wow. Wow.

John Child 9:33 AM  

I winced at GHETTO BLASTER. In theory I like the idea that any word is fair game. In practice, no. I've added a new entry to the list of things I don't want to see, which includes despots, fatal illnesses, and racial slurs.

@kitshef I raced out of the blocks but then stalled badly. I ultimately finished in typical Friday time.

There's some lovely vocabulary here, but ESOTERY isn't. The tradeoff for all but the very best constructors seems to be zing vs. clean. I guess I come out in favor of zing, but it's a tough call.

Hands up for spelling one of my favorite soups wrong the first few times.

BAGNOLD and BEBE Naticked me

Anonymous 9:38 AM  

Johnny Carson personally ended all sales of canned VICHYSSOISE in the US. Of course, he had help from Legionaire's Disease, brought to us by a brand called Bon Vivant.

Johnny and Ed and Doc.

Time it was
And what a time it was, it was
A time of innocence
A time of confidences

Long ago it must be
I have a photograph
Preserve your memories
They're all that's left you.

Mohair Sam 9:49 AM  

Played medium/challenging here and we really liked it. It speaks tons for a constructor's skills when two solvers with such totally disparate backgrounds and interests as Laura Braunstein and I can finish and enjoy his puzzle.

Started with the gimmes-for-us SCRATCH and ALABAMA and thought we'd fly through this one. Next gimme was VICHYSSOISE - but how the hell to spell it? I've tried to make it (disaster), but now to spell (disaster again). ANTEATER one of those things you know and don't know from where - know what I mean?

GHETTOBLASTER pejorative? Who knew? Heard it, used it. But never in that sense. I'll make a note. Never heard of a HACKATHON, but the name makes sense and it filled easily (for a Friday). Didn't @Z use SLAMPOETS in a discussion just a few days ago? The thing I enjoyed about Eve ENSLER's most famous work was Camille Paglia's thoughts on it. In fact I just love Camille's thoughts about anything.

For those who don't follow sports, you can find LEBRON JAMES listed in all resource materials under Class Act. If he's not there your source is inaccurate.

Pete 9:51 AM  

Straight up ridiculously easy Friday for me.

I grew up in the boom-box era, and can attest to the GHETTOBLASTER/boom-box usage dichotomy being highly predictive of deplorable/not obviously deplorable.

@Evil - Has there ever been a single repository of human knowledge and experience of broader and deeper scope that Wikipedia? Or is it simply that in Wikipedia "outsiders" manage to slip in their knowledge and experience without curating by the insiders?

Anonymous 9:53 AM  

@Anon at 9:31 - nobody said you did.

NCA President 9:56 AM  

With all due respect to the Sorceress, her review read like a giant humble brag...or like she was Forrest Gump. Seriously? ENSLER, BABYBJORN, and HACKATHON? If true, and I suppose it probably is, then this puzzle was indeed in your wheelhouse.

For me, and maybe a tad bit bitter, but the entire southern swath was full of names I did not know: ENSLER, VAL, BEBE, BABYBJORN, and BAGNOLD. Even LETHE was a stretch. ESOTERY is ridiculous. I have no idea how PERP is a kind of walk. SLAMPOETS, any other time and in any other puzzle would be fine, but stick it down there amongst the proper noun cluster f*ck and you have a well...cluster fu*k.

Did not line up with the review nor did I like the puzzle.

Z 9:59 AM  

@Evil Doug - Wikipedia is better than any encyclopedia you can buy. As with any reference work, it's important to not take it as gospel, but to look at sources. I found this history among the citations. An interesting 11 minutes worth a watch.

@Anon9:10 - "Imaginary insult." What an interesting construct. Does the term "gaslighting" mean anything to you?

Lewis 10:07 AM  

@laura -- Welcome, and fun to read debut. Thank you!

Not so easy for me, who didn't know five proper nouns, know LIEABED only from crosswords, and (hello @nancy!) never say ESOTERY. I did like a nice smattering of answers (BAR_NONE, SLAM_POETS, HACKATHON, HERE_GOES, SCRATCH as clued, and VICHYSSOISE. Clever clues for INKBLOT and CLOTHE. Potential Naticks that I see are VAL/ENSLER and BABYBJORN/BAGNOLD.

In some areas, the answers splashed in easily, and in others it was like running in soft sand. Very enjoyable mix for me with a finish of satisfaction. Nice one James, and oh, I saw how you snuck your name into the puzzle.

Lewis 10:15 AM  

Here is Will Shortz (on Wordplay) re GHETTOBLASTER:

"Before scheduling today’s puzzle, Joel and I gave a lot of thought to the answer GHETTO BLASTER (33A), worrying that some solvers might object. Certain sources, such as Wikipedia, say it’s pejorative, and it’s not my goal to disparage or hurt anyone.

But after a lot of discussion, soul-searching and research, we decided it’s fair game.

First, an online search shows thousands of recent uses in BBC News, Slate, GQ and other respected media. An article last March in Rolling Stone magazine used the term in its very first sentence. And the entry on “political correctness” in the style manual for The Economist — after declaring “Do not labor to avoid imaginary insults” — specifically mentions “ghetto blaster” as an example.

We also asked a prominent African-American crossword constructor about the term, who personally had no problem with it.

The Times itself has used the phrase 15 times, including in 2004, 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2012.

On the plus side, GHETTO BLASTER is a lively answer that has never appeared in a New York Times crossword before. It did appear last year in a diagramless puzzle in The Times. It also appeared in a 2010 crossword in The Los Angeles Times, indicating that another quality venue has also approved it.

All things considered, I think it passes muster."

Tim Pierce 10:20 AM  

@Hartley70, @Anon: "cell phone" is short for "cellular phone," so called because they communicate via a "cellular network" -- a radio network that divides the coverage area into "cells" that are linked via radio towers. Entirely different from the battery "cells" at play in this puzzle. At the risk of further demeaning myself by citing Wikipedia, see for more detail.

Warren Howie Hughes 10:33 AM  

Vive la Howie! For having spelled VICHYSSOISE correctly sans looking it up! Pardon moi as I go to zee tete of zee (French) class! Oui, Oui, Oui...

mathgent 10:33 AM  

A lot to like. Most of it filled in easily until I got to NW. BARNONE is a little off-clue.

Only ten Terrible Twos. A few neat clues offset by about the same number if clunkers. I say B plus.

mathgent 10:35 AM  

I meant Terrible Threes

John V 10:43 AM  

Okay and pretty easy but ESOTERY ruined it, IMHO; flash back to Big Gene.

evil doug 10:45 AM  


Yeah, I'm not spending 11 minutes doing that.

I wouldn't buy "any encyclopedia you can buy."

I'll take Will's research over Wikipedia, even though I think it's unnecessarily excessive. As with so many of these tiresome debates over words, you can always find resources that take every conceivable position.

So it comes down to individual choice. I won't ever say the N-word, but I won't condemn someone singing along to a rap song that employs it. That's me.

But with almost every other term, if I'm truly in my heart of hearts using them without malice intended, then I understand and accept that some folks will choose to be offended. That's on them, not me.

Leapfinger 10:47 AM  

Hail to thee, America,
Home of grid ESOTERica!
That promises FORAY's Clair de lune, eh?
While AAAS is obviously missing 'une A';
That offers us only LE THE
When what we need is Café au lait;
That hides a JAME within LE BRON'S
When LE Gold is clearly what we shoulda wonz;
Yet kindly spares us the sort of Bushwa
That betimes OISE the dreaded VICHYSSwa.

PS: What with CONVERSE and BJORN, "Get outta here" should've given us at least one SHOO to STAND IN. In any event, I wanted BABY Snugli, as well as LOWLIFE for LIEABED. Though I had some Loss Of Consciousness with the TONE of the NW, I could BAG NO LD50 any higher in the other quadrants.

Liked this a lot, and fun to see Prince HACKATHON, who was BJORN in Oslo.

Je te remerci millefeuilles, James Mulhern, and Blast the Francophobes.

Warren Howie Hughes 10:50 AM  

Anonymous said "UBER UBER Alles" I'm sorry, but Alles doesn't leben hier, anymore! hee hee hee

Anonymous 10:54 AM  

@ Z - not particularly interesting.

Anonymous 10:59 AM  

Actually Laura, lots of folks who don't have graduate degrees in nineteenth century literature filled in Lethe without giving it a second thought.

(Signed) Some ghetto dweller

jae 11:00 AM  

West easy, east tougher.

Knew it was VICHYSSOISE, but like many of you was very iffy on the spelling.

The HOSE/HURTS clues are a tad odd.

Nice to see my alma mater in the puzzle, but when I was there Paul Newman was the oft mentioned grad. These days it's probably Allison Janney or Bill Watterson.

If you really want to know where the beats came from I recommend "The Get Down" on Netflix streaming.

Liked it.

evil doug 11:07 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nancy 11:08 AM  

Oh, and I forgot to say that, while I got DIVE BAR (22D), I really wanted JUICE BAR -- even though it didn't fit. Most of those fruits have seeds, you see. Do you like my pun?

Hungry Mother 11:14 AM  

I remember studying wet and dry cell batteries (a long time ago). Not too bad for a Friday, just my usual slog.I always thought that GHETTOBLASTER was a pejorative term. I preferred "boom box."

r.alphbunker 11:19 AM  

Gimme a V, gimme a C What's it spell? VICHYSOISSE!

Some cascos:
7D. {Collaborative computer coding event} HACKATHON from H_ _ _ATHON

19A. {Test pattern?} INKBLOT from INK_ _ _ _

8A. {Like some garages} TWOCAR from _W_ _ _ _

10D. {Not you specifically} ONE from O_ _

25A. {Broadway score?} SEAT from _EAT

27D. {Quattuor doubled} OCTO from OC_O

46A. {Jerk} TUG from _ _G

Full game film is here. (Viewing time 34 seconds)

No comment 11:22 AM  

Mistakenly hoped ESOTERA might be a thing (even though I knew "esoteric"). That mistake plus not knowing LETHE (whether as a literature major or some ghetto dweller) cost me the SE corner.

Jamie C 11:25 AM  

I can just imagine a constructor wondering, "What can I put in y puzzle to piss off Rex?" While the correct answer is "pretty much anything (unless my name is Patrick Berry)," GHETTOBLASTER is a sure winner.

puzzle hoarder 11:29 AM  

This puzzle required little work for a clean grid. Every section had some easy way in. Most of the names were familiar or easy to recognize from a few letters. My best write over was ANTELOPE/ANTEATER. Based on the SE at the end I wasted some time trying to make 29A into BOUILLIBAISSE. Obviously I don't know how to spell that word anymore than I do VICHYSSOISE much less describe what they actually are.
ESOTERY is not to be found in my Webster's. Bestiary is. That's something you find imaginary animals in. Maybe you need a "wordiary" to find ESOTERY.

John Keats 11:38 AM  

Aww C'MON! Don't youse guys all remember my Night in gale?

My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains:
One minute past, and LETHE-wards had sunk


(Way to go, Howie!)

old timer 11:42 AM  

When I had a GHETTOBLASTER that's what everybody called it. This goes back to the very creation of break dancing.

I found the puzzle impossible to do without help. I had confidently put down "Maude" and DIVEBAR and VICHYSSOISE and certainly wanted LETHE but had to look up Sinemet to get LDOPA. Had "can" before TIN and ended up taking ESOTERY on faith. Not a word I've ever heard of. I also Googled for TALIA which gave me RHODA and the rest of the NW.

SAMS I got only on crosses, because I haven't the slightest idea what BJs means, at least not in that commercial context.

If I knew the ESOTERY represented by all those proper names I guess the puzzle would have been Easy but for me it wasn't. But then I always find Fridays the toughest to complete.

Jim Finder 11:59 AM  

No, Hartley, these are two different kinds of "cell."

Amelia 12:08 PM  

Much too easy for a Friday. And while I don't have a problem with the word or even the definition of ghetto blaster, why is the NY Times so bleeping tone deaf on the subject of black culture. Is that all there is? Will Shortz is turning out to be one of the strangest editors at the place. Let your interns take over for a while and use some PTO time.

Mohair Sam 12:12 PM  

Tip of the cap to Will Shortz for taking the time to do thorough research on the term GHETTO BLASTER, I was doubting my gut on that one. Guess I'm not a bad guy after all.

@Z - Add a large grain of salt when using Wikipedia for anything even remotely subjective because of the way Wikipedia is put together. I winced when I saw Laura's reference.

jberg 12:12 PM  

I'll come back and read the comments later -- for now, I just want to talk about VICHYSOISSE -- oops, I mean VICHYSSOISE. Boy did that mistake hold me up. I was feeling so proud of myself for putting that right in. I used to belong to a CSA that dumped leeks on you in great numbers for about a month, so I learned to know and love the stuff. (I also tried the quick weight-loss tip from "French Women Don't Get Fat," but it didn't work for me.) Finally, SUITS ME forced me to get it right, and the puzzle went from challenging to medium.

Oh yeah, ExOTica before ESOTERY -- I looked up the latter, but only after I had it already from the crosses.

More later -- thanks, Laura!

Numinous 12:19 PM  

I had to google a bit to get this one and still DNF at BOLt for BOLA. I totally spaced out on computer mouses. LETHE was a gimmie but I don't know why and all the PPPs just killed me. This was definitely not in my "wheelhouse". That doesn't mean I think it was bad though. I just didn't have a terribly good experience solving it.

GHETTO BLASTER: I have to go along with Will Shortz here. Our previous roommate, who was black, came home with one one day and blasted it throughout the house. He didn't break dance but I never want to hear another rap or hip hop (can't really call them tunes) again. He even called it a GHETTO BLASTER. So there!

I had thought this was going to be easy since most of the top was. I must have been drinking from the LETHE as I descended into PPP hell. The lower half was serious ESOTARY to me. Oddly enough, I got RHODA right away, Maude never occurred to me, I guess I don't watch all that much TV. Looking it over, though, it seems like a well constructed puzzle so good on anyone who finished without real problems.

Maruchka 12:21 PM  

Finished while waiting - and waiting - and waiting - for jury duty case to come up. Not yesterday, maybe not today.. BUT this cute little pc from a former decade works! So far.

I like it well enough. Especially the ESOTERY: Enid BAGNOLD, VICHYSSOISE, LETHE, and (the other PC) inciter - GHETTO BLASTER! If you cite Wikipedia on this, try reading some of their awful syntax and dubious write-ups.

Oops, more calls. Happy weekend!

GILL I. 12:25 PM me a simpleton but that really made me laugh.
I've read all the comments and I'm more in agreement with @NCA Pres. I have no idea why OTB (off the boat?) is a place you go to when you're not going to the races. Could someone please explain why PERP is a kind of walker. Why SAMS is BJ's competitor.....and on and on. Yuck.
I got GHETTOBLASTER off of GLOBULIN which is probably the only blood protein I know, so yay me. That picture of Dali and his anteater is actually pretty famous. He was missing a few ESOTERY brain cells, me thinks.

Meg Greer 12:30 PM  

Thanks. Got it by cross, but DUH. Bola worked for me.

Anonymous 12:31 PM  

Re 33 across. My rule of thumb is that if I would not use such old slang terms in modern conversation because of the clear possibility of offending, it doesn't belong in the crossword.

Esotery and Eisler combined for a DNF.

Chaos344 12:49 PM  

U.S.A sweeps Europe 4-0 in first round of the Ryder Cup!

Masked and Anonymous 12:50 PM  

Congratz on yer blogmeister sorcery debut, @Laura, darlin. Bewitchin good job. And primo bullets.

Fun, smooth solve, with only a few eaters of the extra precious nanoseconds.

* VICHYSSOISE. Knew, early on, that this was what I was bein asked to spell. Knew that it would be trouble brewin. Kinda let it fill itself in, as I solved the crosses. may-urd. The French really know how to use lots of letters to spell out SOUP. Sounds real neat when they say it, tho.

* BABYBJORN/BAGNOLD/BEBE/ENSLER namechainblaster. Definitely slowed me down, but came out of em in survivor mode, with a triumphant snort. Was pretty sure I knew the ENSLER name, but wasn't quite sure on the spellin, again.

* {Joneses (for)} = HURTS. What part of speech are we talkin about, here? Woulda understood an answer of HOTS. Shoot, after seein VICHYSSOISE spelt out, would evena bought off on HOTSE.

* OMS. Weeject staff pick of the day. Wasn't sure at first what the {New Agey sounds} clue was gettin at. Was thinkin of New Age jazz, which I hear/wince at on my neighbor's hi-end cable fancy music channel tv screen a lot. First answer attempt: ZZZ.

* MASK. Clue made no earthly sense to m&e. More better: {Facial option anywhere}.
* DIVEBAR. The BAR part seems sorta repetitive. Staff pick for lookin desperate.
* SAMS. This is a B.J. alternative? day-um. Some folks really must enjoy their club discount. [Store Pa-system announcement: "Multiple orgasm in aisle six!"]

* ANTEATER. We went to Dali Museum in St. Pete, recently. Don't recall seein the cool pic that @Laura darlin posted.. They had a Lobster Phone of his on display there, tho. So M&A was shootin for some kinda crustacean-related answer. [Wrong again, inside-info breath.]

Thanx, Mr. Mulhern. themelessthUmbsUp. No surprise, after seein yer byline.

Masked & Anonymo3Us

Gregory Schmidt 12:57 PM  

Nice puzzle overall except BAGNOLD. Here you have an uncommon proper name, and what are some of its crosses? BABYBJORN, LSAT and LDOPA. C'mon. I had BJORK (never heard of BABYBJORN) PSAT (cuz I didn't "get" the cleverness of the cluing.), and I had no idea what the 2nd letter of LDOPA might be, so I ended up with something like BAGKOPI for the author, and no way of knowing which letters might be incorrect. Seems a bit unsporting to throw in a name like BAGNOLD and then cross it with an abbreviation, a hyphenated drug name, and a non-English proper name.

Mike Rees 12:59 PM  

Slower than my average time for a Friday, played medium/hard for me. I Could. Not. TAPINTO the SE corner for a long, long time. Childless me has never even seen a BABYBJORN, crossing a playwright I don't know. Multiple incorrect entries and overwrites in that wicked little corner, starting with peel for MASK. That gave me endure for ATTEND and then I stared at it like an idiot for a solid five minutes. Finally figured out SUITSME, which got me MASK and ATTEND and almost smooth sailing from there.

It's perfectly believable that ESOTERY could end with an I, and KENiON sounds as good to me as anything else. DNF on that letter alone. Dammit.

Leapfinger 1:05 PM  

@Carola, thanks for reminding me -- I also noticed the nonrandom juxta of SATYR and CLOTHE. That themelet seems to extend to ONE STANDIN' in (fishnet?) HOSE and a SHORTI gown, maybe up to her trix whippin' a BOLO? Maybe this is just me readin' my INKBLOT with my presBYotic eyes...

When I was in college (first round at McGill, not KENYON), there was a dude who'd walk his pet coati mundi on a leash. The sight impressed me: with its long pointy snout and broad-based tail, the beast in side-view was almost symmetric, like TWO shallow sine-waves. Today I find that Dali (hello!) walked an ANTEATER on a leash, despite @puzzle hoarder's conception of a leashed ANTElope. Seemss that there's no epidemic of unleashed pangolins and armadillos, or, more to the point, porcupines.

If any of y'all have ODed on the Wiki GHETTOBLASTER news, you might have fun researching the VICHYSSOISE sections, esp those on the Wiki Leeks.


Mike Rees 1:06 PM  

PS: Very much enjoyed M&A's comments. Great fun.

PPS: People who are offended at the term GHETTOBLASTER really confuse me. A word is only pejorative if it's used to hurt someone. And if you're easily hurt by words, well, I don't know what to tell you. Google George Carlin's "They're only words."

Alex 1:19 PM  

Pretty easy for me UNTIL the impossible southeast. I'm not familiar with Sinemet, so LDOPA was just five random letters. Cross that with BAGNOLD and I'm stuck. KENYON was a lucky guess for me, as I'm from Ohio and so is Rutherford B Hayes. Overall fun, but I'm holding a grudge about the southeast.

Teedmn 1:24 PM  

My method of remembering where the esses go in the soup is to think of it as Vichy's sauce, ergo VICHYS SOISE as one word. Not that I've ever tasted the stuff. I'm not much for cold soup, seems like an oxymoron.

Knowing nothing about golf handicapping, I figured 1A would have "par" in it somewhere but I had to SCRATCH that off.

I don't know I LOVE LA so the only song I could come up with that mentions Santa Monica Boulevard was Sheryl Crow's "All I Wanna Do", which luckily didn't even come close to fitting.

And seeing KENYON took a couple of looks because, never having been to a spa, I was thinking maybe a MASh was a facial option. However, LETHE finally flowed backwards from forgetfulness to remembrance and a MASK and ESOTERY fell in to the finish.

I like seeing the BARN ONE DOOK :-), could be any number of barn denizens.

Easy but smooth, thanks James Mulhern.

Joseph Michael 1:28 PM  

Surprised there aren't objections to the inclusion of BAR NONE and DIVE BAR in the same grid. Aside from that -- and the agony of trying to spell VICHYSSOISE -- I thought this was a great puzzle with a little something for everyone.

I especially enjoyed Mr. Dali's ANTEATER and the shout out to not one but two playwrights.

Nancy 1:28 PM  

@GILL (12:25) -- OTB are the well-known (to habitual gamblers, at least) initials for Off-Track Betting. There used to be parlors all over NYC, although I think they've been recently closed down. You could bet on the horses every day of the week, without once having to go to the racetrack. I know this, not because I gamble myself (no one who hates losing money as much as I do would ever gamble), but because I have a friend cursed with that unfortunate vice.

(And thanks, GILL, for laughing -- at whatever I said today that made you laugh.)

Wikipedia Editorial Board 1:40 PM  

@Sir Hillary, @evil doug, @Mohair Sam, @Maruchka - We here at Wikipedia take all comments about our content very seriously and continuously look for ways to improve. Part of this commitment is continually scanning the web, looking for comments such as yours about our product. While we make no claim of perfection, we maintain standards as high or higher than any other reference source.

I encourage all of you to compare our discussion of Boombox to Encyclopedia Britannica's or Encyclopedia Britannica's GHETTO BLASTER.

I trust you will find ours much more complete and authoritative. If you were legitimately unaware that many find the term GHETTOBLASTER offensive, or chose not care about that, fine. That doesn't mean it isn't so, nor that it shouldn't be included the entry.

OISK 1:51 PM  

Not easy for me! Two missed squares, which makes two DNF in a row. There was so much to dislike here. Hackathon? Slam poets? These are actual things? Toneloc? Ensler and Bagnold are legitimate answers, I guess, but completely unfamiliar to me. These attempts by constructors to be "hip" (as I obviously am not) are pleasing to many, but not to me. I knew there would be some discussion of "Ghetto Blaster." My British friend used to call it a "Brixton Briefcase." Never heard of "I love La" except in the Times puzzle. Just far too much pop culture esotery for me.

What defeated me were Bagnold with L Dopa. Had I tried every letter slowly I might have gotten it. But using a brand name "Sinomet" (???) where a clue like "Parkinson's drug" is called for is bad construction when it crosses the fairly obscure Bagnold. I had Bagnolo and Loopa.

And then there was Kenyon(??) college. I had Kenion. Originally Kenaon, with Estera. I didn't know that esotery was a word ( the spell check here doesn't know it is a word either!)

This is an "easy" Friday??? Phooey. A big Bronx cheer, from Brooklyn.

Joe Bleaux 1:52 PM  

This was another "Let Joe pretend he's in the same league with this blog's commenters for another day" puzzle for me. When it's this challenging, and sprinkled with its share of WOEs and PPPs, and I still solve it in less than half an hour without cheating, I don't feel like such a pretender. Thank you, JM. My only nit: Isn't DIVE BAR redundant?

Teedmn 1:54 PM  

My favorite Spam Haiku because I can picture it happening in my kitchen:

In the cabinet,
It lurks, unseen, forgotten...
Then you move the soup.

--Francis Heaney,

Charles Flaster 2:14 PM  

JUICE BAR is a great answer for a
"seedy" type clue.

Nancy 2:20 PM  

Although some of my favorite people on the blog were engaged today in the conversation about Wikipedia, its definition of GHETTO BLASTER, and the trustworthiness of its definitions in general, I wasn't paying all that much attention, to tell the truth. What I love about this blog is that it's a smorgasbord: while one subset of people on the blog are CONVERSing about one thing, a different subset of people are focusing on something entirely different. But when good parody suddenly makes an appearance, I pay attention, whatever the subject. So kudos to the "Wikipedia Editorial Board" for its delightfully droll 1:40 p.m. post. The only problem? I wish I knew which of the very funny people on this blog you actually are.

TomAz 2:46 PM  

This was fine. Pretty easy for a Friday. I didn't find any remarkably clever clues.

I needed all the crosses for both BAGNOLD and LETHE.

I filled in GHETTOBLASTER right away. At the time in the 80s it did not seem pejorative to me, and the Wiki definition feels like a bit of latter-day judgmentalism. But given the current state of our nation maybe it's a good thing to re-examine past assumptions.

Couldn't remember where the double S's were in VICHYSSOISE.

kitshef 2:48 PM  

Anon @9:38. I have not idea why you posted that, but thank you for the (in this case welcome) earworm.

Anonymous 3:09 PM  

A number of writeovers (HACKerdeN, caN for TIN, bywAY for FORAY), but was able to work those out. Some that stuck others were gimmes for me (Bebe, Lethe, Baby Bjorn), just out of the luck of being in my wheelhouse. Remembered TONELOC from what seems like only a couple days ago, but didn't know it from the clue, and didn't trust myself to spell it right. I finally DNF'd in the SW section. Had HEREwego for HEREGOES, and alp for VAL. That killed me trying to figure out what ILeaELA was. ENSLER was new to me, so ENopER, while bizarre, was quasi-acceptable.

Chronic dnfer 3:27 PM  

Dnf. Hand up for cheryl Crowe.

Mohair Sam 3:35 PM  

@Gill I - I'm not sure if your questions were serious, but just in case:
1. Nancy gave you OTB.
2. PERP walk. What the Feds used to make Wall Street crooks do when they were arrested in their offices. PERP being short for perpetrator. They'd handcuff the guys and walk them through the building and out the door in front of news cameras like the common crooks they were. Wall Street has learned to pay huge speaking fees to Democrat Party candidates, hence PERP walks are no more.
3. BJ's is a wholesale shopping club where folks pay an annual membership fee to shop. SAMS Club (part of Walmart) is their chief competitor.

@Nancy - I'm not if sure OTB is offering a line on who might be playing Wikipedia, but I'd like to place a bet on good old Z.

pnf408 3:43 PM  

pretty smooth puzzle, only trouble spot was the SE. I knew LETHE, but don't go to spas and never heard of that drug. But the real trouble was ESOTERY !!! First tried EXOTICA, then ESOTERA, before finally stumbling into the correct word. ESOTERY? really?

Favorite answer was ANTEATER. I guessed a type of large cat or large lizard first, before the crosses gave me ANTEATER. Reminded me how great Dali was. Why don't any celebrities today do fun things like walk around with pet anteaters?

The two Godfather clues were gimmes that led to quickly solving the NE. Especially because both of the actors are well known for other work.

VICYYSSOISE was a spelling test. The double-S in the center is especially weird.

foxaroni 4:20 PM  

I had to Google TONE LOC and BAGNOLD. Crosses let me get ENSLER. After finishing the puzzle, I Googled BJ's and the song lyrics posted earlier. Thanks, @Mohair Sam, for clarifying BJ's, something we don't have here in flyover country. The lyrics were by Paul Simon, the title song to Simon & Garfunkle's album, Bookends . Anyway, that's what Google says. I don't know about Wikipedia.

Grumbling about BAR none and dive BAR being in the puzzle--wow, tough crowd.

Liked the "letter of the law" clue (WRIT) and the clue "make a decent person out of" (CLOTHE).

Enjoyed it, Mr. Mulhern.

Martín Abresch 4:47 PM  

I really didn't like this one at all. I'm not entirely sure why, and I fully admit that my dislike might be all in my head. I wish that I could explain why it caused this reaction, but I don't think that I can.

This puzzle just seems fundamentally unsound somehow. I get the same feeling looking at it as I get looking at a McMansion.

Everything is incredibly interconnected, and the south really suffers for it. All those proper names in the SW make for some nasty crossings (ENSLER crossing BEBE crossing BAGNOLD) and the SE is just generally ugly (L-DOPA, LSAT, SHORT I, KENYON, ESOTERY). But with all that interconnection, what else would you expect?

Part of it might be that 95% of the puzzle was absurdly easy, but that last 5% was hard in a screw you kinda way (like the Y in ESOTERY/KENYON or the proper names in the SW). I can't cite a single clue that I liked.

None of this quite summarizes my impression of this puzzle. It's splashy but lacks sense or discernment. This impression comes not from the puzzle's use of GHETTO BLASTER, but GHETTO BLASTER's all-splash no-sense is kind of the puzzle in a nutshell.

Feel free to chalk all this up to me overthinking things.

ORIENTa 5:03 PM  

@Nancy, I thought @Wikipedia Editorial Board was the real deal, until the part where the W.E.B. didn't know to use 'continually' for 'continuously'. Sorry to be applying prescriptivist/descriptivist shibboleths in this august company.

BOLA BOLA to all the Elis out there.

Anonymous 5:07 PM  

@Martin, Of course it's all in your head. Where else would it be?

Masked and Anonymous 5:18 PM  

@Martin Abresch: Well-written, thought-pokin critique. Enjoyed its element of mystery. Tellingly, of all the answers U mentioned, only BEBE and LSAT have Patrick Berry Usage Immunity.

I think I lucked out in the SE, becuz I happen to know someone who works at KENYON College. So … SE was pretty much a gimme, at my house. De busta gut.

Fave clue-wise, liked {Broadway score?} misdirect, for SEAT. Also the {Make a decent person out of?} = CLOTHE, which was a little less sneaky. {Stochastic} = RANDOM was great for me, becuz I took an utterly weirdball-nerdy Stochastic Processes math course in college, which had exactly 3 students in it. Subject: the route of a drunken sailor! What a trip. But, I digress.



Penna Resident 5:20 PM  

a discussion of what is a legit definition is very much on topic here. i agree with shortz re wikipedia and was disappointed to see its elevation of importance in todays writeup. there is a lot of good information in it, but there is also a lot of gratuitous opinion.
a while back the entry for my neighbor jeff lurie stated "ever since his purchase of the team, lurie has been ripping the hearts out of eagles fans". i hope no schoolkid based a biographical report on that.
for years googling my town would provide the wrong zip code. i recently found out that the wiki page for our town had it wrong and i changed it. a couple days later google started giving the right one. google was relying solely on wikipedia, which means you cant trust google either.

GILL I. 5:44 PM  

@Nancy....ya know - seedy fruits? Kumquat martinis?
@Mohair. Thanks...Wow, never in a million would I have thought of the PERP in that way. I guess I always think of Law and Order for those delicious words.
Never heard of BJ's - hate Sams Club and Costco always has E coli lurking in their shelves.. Don't buy chicken nuggets...or spinach!

Jared 5:47 PM  

Pretty fun fill except for two dreadful clues - LDOPA and KENYON. Got the second one purely from filling out the crosses into it, but even so...who on Earth would know that other than somebody who specifically studied the life of Rutherford B. Hayes?

And don't get me started on L-DOPA...a chemical compound from a specific drug. I feel like the constructor had the rest of the Southeast filled in and then did a Google Search for "LDOPA" to see if that was actually a thing.

Mohair Sam 5:52 PM  

@Penna Resident - You're Jeff Lurie's neighbor!?! Tell him he can rip up the stack of hate mail this Eagle's fan has sent him over the past three years. All is forgiven (for the next 9 days at least).

And thank him for producing the Academy Award winning documentary "Inside Job" - best explanation by far on how Wall Street and Washington screwed the little guy in 2008, and why they got away with it.

old timer 5:54 PM  

Coming back to say that for the most part all of us are, or can be, Wikipedia editors. I've edited entries on the few topics I know more about than almost anyone.

Also, I still have never heard of BJs, but thanks for the info. We got Wal-Mart where I live and Target and all the normal chain stores. Kohl's too. But no BJ's. Finally, VICHYSSOISE is one of those totally unlikely French geographical terms. It literally means a (female) resident of VIchy, the famous spa town. I know it because I have bought and read every one of Simenon's Maigret books, in French, and "Maigret en vacances" (Maigret's vacation) is one of my very favorite. Any French teacher will tell you that reading Simenon books is the very best way to become fluent in reading French. I actually began with Voltaire's "Candide" but moved on to Simenon afterwards. Clear diction, no slang, no funny stuff -- pure Ease for the prospective Francophone. (Of course to speak like a native you have to go live with a French family, or at the least diligently practice in a language lab or the online equivalent).

Wikipedia Editorial Board 6:18 PM  

@OrientA - If you think having bots running non-stop 24/7 scouring the web for comments referencing Wikipedia isn't continuously, perhaps you can enlighten us what continuously means.

Grant Edwards 6:32 PM  

For once I miss Rex. That was a serious quadruple Nativity at the bottom, all because of BAGNOLD but also what was crossing it. I can't remember the last time I DNF, and it's even rarer that I DNC (did not care!) either. That's Rex's schtick. For once I was looking forward to his wrath. And then I get this cheery acquiescence. Bah! And meh.

Grant Edwards 6:33 PM  

And screw auto-correct. Natick. Not Nativity, not nation. Serious quadruple NATICK!

Annette 6:45 PM  

Thank you @Martin for trying to put into words exactly my unease with this puzzle! I should have liked it, it was easier than average for me, some of the entries were wonderful, but I didn't enjoy actually solving it, but can't say why. I tried to write up up this morning but deleted it; it took 98 comments for someone to address it!

GHETTOBLASTER did make me wince, but Kenyon was only a near-Natick, since my neighbor graduated from there-the first and last I've I've ever heard of it until today.


ORIENTa 10:31 PM  

@Wiki Ed Board,

In your first missive, 'continuously' was modifying the phrase 'looking to improve'. The bots may scour 'continuously', and will, if they're never turned off or work in overlapping shifts. This scouring, however, is merely one of the tools with which you hope to improve, and no more synonymous than wielding a knife and fork are synonymous with eating. Although the Board may do some things (such as metabolizing) continuously, and might bring me to accept (with some effort) that the Board looks to improve continuously while awake, you can neither know, prove, or bring me to believe that this is the case while the Board sleeps.

'Spectfully y'rs
etc, etc

phil phil 11:59 PM  

Hated it hated it HATED IT
Namenik city for me. I hate rap so i have to hope for crosses unfortunately my first 'huh came with a godfather rapper cross. Yikes.

But the piec d'resistance the 3 name cross. Sorry i'm so illiterate as to be wtf with the double playright crossed by unknown actress namenik.
best i could guess was Reba ragnold enslar. DNF AND HATED IT.

So many Proper names.. no fun at all.

Donald Trump 12:20 AM  

This was the lamest puzzle ever created. A true loser of a puzzle. My 10yo son, he's a genius a puzzles, he's incredible. A genius. This puzzle, this loser of a.. - just look at those names in the south-west - I hate it. I don't hate the south-west, they love me there, I'm huge there, it's the south-west of this puzzle. Lame. Three names no one knows - three losers. Did I mention they're the names of three woman? They're probably not even hot. Three loser women, and I'm supposed to know them?

Kathy D. 2:14 AM  

Gosh, I didn't even get "ghettoblaster." I had all the letters except the first one and otherwise, completed the entire puzzle fairly easily.

It didn't even dawn on me what the answer was.

But since the discussion arose, I think any term that we wouldn't use in conversation -- or where there's even a chance of being offensive to people of color, immigrants, women, the gay community, the disabled, it just shouldn't be used. Why push the envelope and risk offending people?

We're doing the puzzle for fun and for diversion. So, why engender anything hurtful into the process -- clues or answers?

And, thanks for posting the link to the article with quotes by Rex/Michael about the NY Times' insensitivity on terminology. Glad to see it. It always takes work to make change happen.

American Pharoah 3:52 AM  

Oh, horse-puckey!!

With 'pologies to the equine community.

Selwyn-Lloyd McPherson 7:23 AM  

I can honestly say that I was pleasantly surprised to see GHETTOBLASTER, especially since I was trying to be demure and originally wrote down some kind of STEREO. . . The correct term is, in fact, GHETTOBLASTER, and it's not pejorative. Though white folks have a problem with it, who knows why.

Practice Exam? LSAT? PSAT? MCAT? Hmm. I can't say BANGOLD helped there.

I liked this one, though, despite AAAS (24A: Some mouse cells). Hah hah. Funny. Ugh.

Oddly enough, I just spent 30 minutes searching for said cells. There's a Tesla-Electron station a block away but I can't find any AAA batteries. Life.

Z 9:59 AM  

Just catching up a little:

@Evil Doug - Did you see my 9:25 post? I might add that I find GHETTO BLASTER in the puzzle (a dated term that may have been used pejoratively 20 years ago) less troubling than the Economist's Style Guide's use of "imaginary insult." Shortz citing it just calls attention to this gaping blind spot he seems to have. To be fair, his defense means he knows he has it. But your defense shouldn't be worse than the original "offense."

@Mohair Sam - "grain of salt." Of course. Just like you should with any encyclopedia or respected news media style guide. Librarian spouse taught classes on research and using library resources. A big part of her lesson involved exercises in determining "good" internet sites versus "bad" internet sites. The number of college students who fell for the "Whales of the Great Lakes" site (in Michigan no less) was always a source of amusement (for me) and consternation (for her).

wordymermaid 10:43 AM  

Gosh, I loved GHETTOBLASTER, especially crossed with BABYBJÖRN, because my first encounter with the word was in BJÖRk's 1993 debut album, in the song "There's More to Life than This," an odd little gem of 90s danciness. In the live version included on the album, BJÖRk adorably (mis)pronounces it "jettoblaster," and for years I wasn't quite sure what it was, but I will forever associate the word with her.

Anonymous 12:12 PM  

The size of batteries in a computer mouse.

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