Rhoda's TV mom / FRI 10-7-16 / Last of series of nicknames / Literary hero whose name is Turkish for lion / Quadrant separator / Alchemist's concoction / Interest of mycologist

Friday, October 7, 2016

Constructor: Robyn Weintraub

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: ACETONE (28A: Manicure destroyer) —
noun: acetone
  1. a colorless volatile liquid ketone made by oxidizing isopropanol, used as an organic solvent and synthetic reagent. (google)
• • •

Harry Potter, "Princess Bride," Narnia, and "Star Wars" all in one corner ... is bound to make a certain demographic squeal with glee.  I am not that precisely that demographic, but I did mostly enjoy this puzzle. There is some short-fill unfortunateness here and there, but the strength of the longer fill makes up for it, mostly. There's nothing wonderful here, but all the major parts are quite solid. Kick the tires, rev the engine—it'll run. I am none too happy to run (again!) into the lonely singular DORITO. They are plural or they are not. OTOS kinda sounds like a snack chip brand. I like that it crosses "OH OH" because combined they make up my imagined ad campaign slogan: "OH, OH ... OTOS!" [loud crunch sound, smiling child, wacky music, the end]. I get pretty irate when there are too many "?" clues crammed into a small space, so I got pretty irate in the NE corner, where *three* abutting / intersecting answers start acting cute. It's a claustrophobic space—I have no patience for smug cleverness in tight quarters. So go to hell, SPAMACONDAROID.

["___ With Stupid Now"]

Blanked on HP's dad's name and got no help from the "Princess Bride" clue, which meant nothing to me (and I've seen that movie several times) (17A: Billy Crystal's role in "The Princess Bride"). I had "-IR..." and thus had Billy Crystal playing "SIR ... somebody." SIR O'CLIMAX? Something like that. But my 1-A Theory of Speed-Solving still pertained today, as knowing JEDI MASTER right off the bat helped me with all the other NW struggles and propelled me to a pretty good time. Had a very weird coincidence happen to me as I went to Spotify to find some classical music to blog to. I had a new recording of Stravinsky's "Petrushka" set aside to listen to, so I went to play it and noticed that the recording immediately following "Petrushka" was not Stravinsky but Debussy. Specifically, Debussy's "La boîte à joujoux," a work I hadn't even heard of until just that second. My mediocre French said to me, "Hey, doesn't that mean ...?" And yes. Yes it does. 

[29A: Hot Wheels garages?]

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


George Barany 12:19 AM  

I enjoyed @REX's writeup of @Robyn Weintraub's puzzle, and his cute story about TOY_BOXES. Despite not being in the puzzle's target demographic, I was able to get everything in about 20 minutes without any googling. The segmentation of the grid certainly made it harder.

Here's a little trick I sometimes use for solving themeless puzzles: ignore the clues and ask myself, how would I fill that section of the puzzle (even when my skills aren't as strong as those of the actual constructor).

I did so very much appreciate seeing ACETONE in the grid, even if I would have clued it differently. Given the more recent dominance of digital photography, POLAROID was a real throwback answer (better photography through chemistry?) I'm not all that expert in alchemy, but the word ELIXIR brings more to mind this wonderful Donizetti comedy (Bonus: does anyone want to guess what middle name we gave our daughter Deborah?)

MEN'S_WEAR in the northeast was balanced by STEMWARE in the southwest. And haven't we all made that quip about diving into the SHALLOW_END of the gene pool?

jae 12:31 AM  

Easy for me. Got slightly hung up in NE where I had PtaS before PACS, thinking primary schools not elections.

Nice 10 stacks, not much dreck, liked it a lot.

John Child 12:38 AM  
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John Child 12:42 AM  

I had no love for this grid design, which can be broken into three separate puzzles by adding one black square and its symmetrical twin. As Jeff Chen points out, the isolated corners make it easier to fill, and there is some great vocabulary here perhaps because of that, but I hate to worry that I'm going to get beaten because one or two squares I can't fill keeps me out of part of the puzzle. No problem today though.

I had no toehold in the north, (JEDI knight didn't help) so I filled in the south surprisingly easily and then clawed my way back up. Ditto with @OFL that there were too many ? clues up top. I thought that there weren't enough of them in the south though. ASLAN was tough because I know "sher" as lion from Farsi > Hindi > Nepali. Both are correct, but I bet my little knows-too-much moment didn't throw anyone else off.

Excellent puzzle IMO despite the grid, and spot-on Friday time.

phil phil 12:49 AM  

Didn't see the two films so got stumped on the x. Figured Ren is another oft mentioned cartoon character so it fit my idea.

Thought it was tough but managed besides that x.

Hartley70 1:13 AM  

Yes @Rex, "squeal with glee", that's me. I saw Yoda immediately and since I binge watched the Star Wars films last week, was off to a great start. I'm beginning to believe @Rex's theory that 1a is the key to one's difficulty with the puzzle. That corner with JAMES and ASLAN and MIRACLEMAX was right up my alley. Throw in ALAN and EWOK AND DENMARK and I gave this an easy rating. My time was half my usual Friday.

I really enjoyed the clues for ALOHASTATE and ANACONDA. They were beautifully misdirected. For the wrapper I was trying to find a word for the hard plastic containers that surrounded CDS and are often still encasing small objects. I attack them with scissors, usually to no avail. I might have better luck with an ANACONDA. I once befriended a boa constrictor called Ishkabibble and perhaps an ANACONDA might be as amiable upon acquaintance if he'd been recently fed.

I found this fresh and fun. Thanks, Robyn!

Larry Gilstrap 1:18 AM  

Three quarters of a nice Friday puzzle for me. That NW segment prompted a lot of staring at terra incognita. Imagine how much of that popular culture trivia was beyond my ken, throughout the puzzle. What phil phil said about that Xbox. Is fantasy a genre, really? My fantasies are more along the lines of "shake it like a POLAROID picture." Day two of my new passive aggressive attitude: You know what? I'm just gonna leave that last square unfilled, until you can do better than leave me hanging by crossing two movies that might still be in my queue. Not that I really have a queue.

When I was teaching, during free moments I sometimes would do the puzzle at my desk during the day. Often curious students would ask me what I won by finishing the puzzle correctly. Not really a dumb question.

puzzle hoarder 1:23 AM  

The only section that had any difficulty was the NE. Everything else went in at early week speed. The SW was so easy I didn't even have to read the clue for 36D or the bottom three across clues.
The etymology of ASLAN was the one real find. I read those books to my children and I never could stand that character.

Anoa Bob 3:18 AM  

I liked ELIXIR. Hmmm, anything else---I'm looking, I'm looking---nope, that's about it.

Today's 34 black squares is very high for a themeless. Yesterday's themed grid had only 31 and had more interesting fill (e.g., IDOLATRY, PANOPLY, KANJI & ORINOCO) than stuff like IMGAME, IHATEIT, & DOMEAFAVOR, which for me is from the SHALLOWEND of the crossword vocabulary pool.

OHOH, I did like "quotidian" as a clue for USUAL. And ANACONDA reminded me of a line from Sir Mix A Lot's Baby Got Back.

Gerry Kahle 3:19 AM  

Easy for me, faster than We'd or Thur. Started to enter JEDIKNIGHT but MAC was a given so I pivoted to MASTER. Being a retired chemist I loved ACETONE. Did you know that a glass of acetone will dissolve an entire styrofoam cooler?

Loren Muse Smith 4:13 AM  
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Loren Muse Smith 4:14 AM  
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Loren Muse Smith 4:16 AM  

Rex – I disagree with you on the lone DORITO deal. I could easily picture someone eating some out of a bag and making the offer, "Want a Dorito?"

Mom! I stepped on a Dorito – where's the broom and dustpan?

That dip's too thick; my Dorito just broke in half.

I kept going back to 36D to try to fit "hiccups" or "hiccoughs." I bet there were/are some ELIXIRS to serve as the hair of the dog.

I got a kick out of I HATE IT and REX sharing a quadrant.

Oh, and speaking of – Rex – loved your ANACONDAROID. Sounds like a summer blockbuster. Someone call Will Smith.

@George – good catch on the STEMWARE and MENS WEAR pair.

@jae – me, too, for "ptas" first.

@Hartley – I liked those clues, too. For the wrapper that's hard to remove… where do you even start? A tube of lipgloss? A &^%$ CD case? A new stapler? I'm so impatient, I always get enraged and damage the contents, too.

Perfect Friday fare, Robyn. Nice job.

Good luck, all you Floridians. Hunker down and stay safe.

TrudyJ 4:21 AM  

I am precisely that demographic and I did squeal with glee.

doorslam 6:31 AM  

My first < 10 minute Friday, so definitely on the easy side for me. I didn't squeal, but had an easy time with the NW didn't even notice the concentration on "?" clues as I was on such a roll. Thoroughly enjoyed the puzzle.

Tim Pierce 7:23 AM  

I am definitely in this puzzle's squeal demographic. I have a hunch that the original clues for this puzzle included even more pop culture clues -- for JURASSIC, CHORUS LINE, and maybe even ANACONDA and HANGOVER.

This was a very easy Friday for me (pen-and-paper time at 11:50, which may be a personal record) but I didn't mind as I was just having too damn much fun filling it in.

r.alphbunker 7:25 AM  

Finished with {Billy Crystal's role in "The Princess Bride"} MIRACLEMAn/{"Toy Story" dino} REn. I knew REN was a cartoon character and now I know it is a dog. REX is a good name for a dinosaur. Details are here.

@alton rockthrow re your request for a FETCH, SWEEP, SHOVEL puzzle a couple of days ago. In what is probably not a coincidence M&A has produced one. See gruntz and it is a beauty. You're not going to want to SWEEP this one under the rug!

Roo Monster 7:37 AM  

Hey All !
Ahh... what a nice puz after YesterPuzs debacle. I printed out puz today, so no timer, but it sure seemed to be a quick solvetime. Found it quite easy, no slogfest/slugfest like Thursdays.

1A and especially 17A gimmies for me. The Princess Bride is an awesome movie. Seen it numerous times. Only nit to movie is would've been much better without the "storytelling" aspect, but have learned to accept it! If you've never seen it, go right now to NetFlix and watch it!

So with those two gimmies in NW, finished that section first, then went NE, SE, Center, SW. The ole brain was clicking today. Only two stumbles, spelled JURASSIC as JURraSIC, which was fixed by OLA, and had OTOe, until _eUAL didn't look right, and figured 48A had to end in U. Otherwise no other writeovers and 100% correct!

Shout out in NE to my Street. I live on ANACONDA St! Although the clue was a bit of a stretch.

Liked the light dreck. Kind of a weird grid, though. Very segmented. But hey, you get 5 puzs for the price of one!


DBlock 7:43 AM  

Talk about being in my wheel house--fastest Friday ever--under 10 minutes. I never time myself but I pulled out the puzzle while I was waiting for an appointment and thought maybe I'd get a section done--whole thing fell--and yes I knew both HP's dad and Rhoda's mom and all of the other proper nouns, so made it a breeze.

Dolgo 8:09 AM  

Adina? Nice name! I don't think I've ever heard it outside the opera. Nemorino either!

Dolgo 8:15 AM  

I don't know how I knew acetone. Just pulled it out of the air. Never had a manicure in my life. The dermatologist used it on zits when I was a teenager. TMI? Sorry!

George Barany 8:38 AM  

@Dolgo -- Bingo. Interestingly, ADINA has never been used in a @Will Shortz-edited New York Times crossword puzzle, although the Donizetti operatic heroine's name appeared four times when @Eugene Maleska was the editor. Contrast that to the Minneapolis suburb EDINA (differing by the opening vowel), which has appeared nearly a hundred times, including 43 appearances during the @Shortz era.

ACETONE (considerably diluted, I think) is used as nail polish remover. In our organic chemistry lab, it is the most common all-purpose solvent for washing and rinsing dirty glassware. While I would never recommend active deep inhalation, its odor is somewhat pleasant for those inclined to take a tangential whiff.

evil doug 8:38 AM  
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evil doug 8:40 AM  

I'm in the Jurassic Snerd Polaroid demographic.

'manscape' before 'menswear'. That's not my demographic, though. Ugh...

Jennifer Freeman 8:49 AM  

Me, too but Rex is so obvious it makes me mad that I didn't get it!

Jeff Keller 9:17 AM  

Back in the day, I had one of those "briefcase" storage boxes made for Matchbox cars. Thought maybe CARBOX for a moment. In all, a quick, enjoyable fill.

Jeff Keller 9:17 AM  

Back in the day, I had one of those "briefcase" storage boxes made for Matchbox cars. Thought maybe CARBOX for a moment. In all, a quick, enjoyable fill.

Nancy 9:26 AM  

As I was scrolling down quickly to write this comment, I noticed in passing @Hartley "squealing with glee" (as per Rex's comment) at all the Star Wars, Harry Potter, et al PPP. I knew that @Hartley would feel that way, and was actually en route here to say so. After all, she tells you right there on her blog profile that she adores "Star anything," I think is how she put it. As for me, I was squealing with something quite different -- more like what you would squeal with while being squeezed by an ANACONDA. This was so out of my wheelhouse as to be on another planet -- which, of course, is where much of it was taking place. Add to that the almost complete isolation of each section of the grid, and I was having more woes than you can possibly imagine. Nonetheless, I'M GAME. I finally found a place to enter (in the SE), and worked my way determinedly back to the impossible NW. Along the way, there were actually clues and answers I liked: HANGOVER; POLAROID; SHALLOW END; GOALEES; CASE LAW and MENSWEAR. (They do, don't they?) A mixed bag for me, but I am very, very proud of myself for finishing. And with no cheating at all!

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 9:39 AM  

I left two blanks in 17A, having no idea about El Capitan in this context, Toy story or Princess Bride. Otherwise enjoyed it. OH, except for 'Matches at a table' being SEES. Got it on crosses, no clue what it means.

Mostly I'm posting because I've gotten ORION, Wonder Dog,'s picture to show up. I had to change the picture for the Greater Fall River Committee for Peace and Justice from a dove to a dog, but since I stick to facebook these days for my perorations it doesn't matter. No idea how to 'change the avatar' for this.

DJG 9:40 AM  

Yes, Rex is being overly pedantic when it comes to a single Dorito. It's very much a real thing.

"Weird" Al in "It's All About The Pentiums":

You think your Commodore 64 is really neato. What kinda chip you got in there, a Dorito?

Nancy 9:43 AM  

Oops. I didn't finish! I just looked at the answers, and at 17A, what I have is sIR ACLEMAX. (I was so sure it was a SIR!) Leaving me with JAsES at 1D. (Well, how should I know the name of Harry Potter's father? Why wouldn't it be a Jesus allusion? There are so many allusions in these sorts of books. Aren't there?) So the PPP done done me in, after all.

Charles Flaster 9:44 AM  

Liked this one a lot as the isolated corners made it more difficult.
Medium as I could not drop "potato" for DORITO or "nada" for NONE.
Then it became a DNF as I never changed
uH OH to OH OH.
George B might disagree but ALAN Turing and Enigma are new entries for CROSSWORDEASE.
Liked creative cluing for SHALLOW END, ANACONDA, GOALIES, and BARK.
Write over --MAKE DO for MAnage.
@LMS-- last night two different Florida friends told me they were "hunkered " down for the storm. I had not seen that word in years and now three times. My daughter said she never heard of it.
Thanks RW

:( 9:46 AM  

Send this puzzle back for a re-do! How could we not faint at the duplication in 24D, Drinks with DOMEd lids, and 60A, DOMEafavor?

johnny stocker 9:54 AM  

Guess I'm the demographic Rex is talking about, because my normal Friday time is about 25 minutes, and I blew through this in less than 9. If it's not a Friday record for me, it's awfully close.

Arden 10:19 AM  

Enjoyable. Easy for a Friday.

Lewis 10:25 AM  

Can someone explain the clue for ALOHA_STATE? Thanks!

I chipped away at this, fairly quickly for a Friday, but was Naticked at Harry's father and Billy's role, and was sure it was "Sir" something and ended up with SIR ACLOMAX (with that O because "stops" made more sense to me than "steps" regarding flight parts), and JASES sounded just as good as JAMES, coming from Harry Potter. Nonetheless, I love the name Sir Aclomax, and I think I'll remember it a lot longer than MIRACLE MAX.

That's a powerful cross of JEDI_MASTER and ASLAN.

Got enough resistance to work the brain but not so much as to knock me backward. Liked it a lot. It's a beautiful day in the Robyn hood.

Carola 10:27 AM  

Ne'er was a Friday puzzle completed so quickly. Lots of lovely entries, but they sped by so fast...

Nancy 10:28 AM  

@Lewis -- Hawaii was the last of a series of states admitted to the union, and its nickname is ALOHA STATE.

George Barany 10:30 AM  

HI @Lewis, ALOHA_STATE took some mental gymnastics to one of our demographic, who wouldn't know @Harrpy Potter's father or some of the other pop culture in the constrained northwest corner ... but actually, this was a very clever clue and I got a lot of satisfaction from unravelling it.

Think of the fifty states of the union, and the order in which they were admitted. Obama's birthplace was the last one, and you know it's nickname, right?

Nancy 10:31 AM  

Oh, and Lewis, read my 9:43 comment. We made the same SIR ACLEMAX/JASES mistake!!!

Roo Monster 10:31 AM  

@Greater Fall 9:39, not a poker player? At a poker TABLE, when you call someones bet, you "see" it.

@Lewis 10:25, ALOHA STATE nickname for Hawaii, last state admitted to USA (last of [in] a series). Get it?

Oh, and go watch Princess Bride! Go now!


Z 10:35 AM  

A couple of complaints. First, a highly segmented grid with those cul de sac threes. Yes, I sped through this, but if YOU'RE not in the target demographic the grid design doesn't give you much hope of breaking into the corners. Second, YOU'RE. Ugh. Finally, the PPP. Ugh squared.

PPP Analysis
Pop Culture, Product Names, and other Proper Nouns as a percentage of answers. 33% and up is problematic to some subset of solvers.

30 of 70 for a robust 43%. i thought I was going to hit 50% for awhile, but the lower downs are relatively PPP free.
My List

ALAN Turing
APPS (Facebook clue)
SITE (Facebook clue again)
TOY BOXES (Hot Wheels® clue)
Emerald ASH Borer
UTA Pippig

AUDIENCE (Nielsens clue)

John V 10:36 AM  

As others may have noted, (just popping in) NE and SW are highly segmented. This hurt me in NW in particular. If you couldn't get IHATEIT, there was was no hook into the crosses for the the ten stack. Have to give the grid a major ding for that. Oddly, seemed easy-medium, per @Rex.

GILL I. 10:38 AM  

@Nancy...count me in on the PPP count. Yikes! I had MIRArLEMAX because El Capitan sails his little ship on the MAR damn it! At 14D I had MAN SPLAY because that is tailored to guys in subways. Cripes, I could go on and on. Anyway, I took a big breath and went downstairs where I started filling in the blanks. TOY BOXES was my favorite and I liked the USUAL answer for Quotidian.
I don't mind the ? clues because they make me think outside of my SHALLOW box. I also think Robyn has a knack for some whimsy which I like. I remember doing one of her other puzzles and thinking how clever. This time the PPP's got the better of me. Hey, at least I finished without a cheat
TAMPA OLA STOMA is my alma mater.

Anonymous 10:39 AM  

Thanks @ DJG!!! Love me some Weird Al. But I have to agree with L. M.S., Rex is flat out wrong, not pedantic, about Dorito

QuasiMojo 11:03 AM  

LOL. The last answer I filled in was "I Hate It"! That about "wraps" it up. Too much pop-pourri and product placement.

RAD2626 11:17 AM  

For most of the reasons stated, thought this was a terrific puzzle all the way around except for the segmentation. Like @John Child had JEDI knight but TAMPA bounced that pretty quickly. Cluing clever and long fill great.

I prefer "Uh, oh, Utz" to "oh, oh, Otos". Bet you can't eat just one Utz even if you can get filled with one Dorito.

old timer 11:37 AM  

Very easy except in the NE. There, I Googled for JAMES and got JEDIMASTER and the rest (for some reason I knew ASLAN). However MAX and REX were a perfect Natick for me. Had to look up the cast of The Princess Bride to complete the grid.

Did anyone else confidently write in "Omaha" before TAMPA?

The only really clever clue was for HANGOVER.

jberg 11:39 AM  

DNF because of the REn/ MIRACLE MAn error. I started to run the alphabet for that square, and immediately saw 'red,' a perfectly decent dino name, but MIRACLE MEd seemed not to fit the clue. Had I continued to run it, I would have seen REX, and recognized it as obviously right. Sigh.

I'll console myself with alternative clues:

62A - Goes in debt to a Catholic university

Well, that's all I've got, actually. Not my day.

On the bright side, though, the ad algorithm that usually invites me to buy the shirt I bought yesterday is instead encouraging me to study visual art at the University of Iowa. I'd sure like to know how I got picked for that one.

Lewis 11:47 AM  

@nancy -- I did see your ACLEMAX and should have acknowledged it in my comment. I thought about it, but couldn't find an elegant place to slip it in. We weren't exactly the same, as I had SIR ACLOMAX, which I think has far more class! (Just kidding...)

Lewis 11:47 AM  

And thank you @nancy and @george for the ALOHASTATE explanation. D'oh!

AliasZ 11:48 AM  

If MIRACLE MAX was a seed entry to spice things up and make this puzzle "fresh", I am afraid it seriously backfired. The Princess Bride is almost 30 years old now, thus not a NOW phenomenon, and it isn't old enough, or good enough in my view, to be a classic yet. Not knowing the answer, I entered MIRACLE MAN, with REN as the Toy Story dino. What d'I know? No wonder the happy tune refused to play. Besides, I didn't want to believe Robyn Weintraub would purposely mention OFL.

Overall, I found the puzzle a mixed bag, with some decent 10s and 8s, but too much DAR OLA SFO SMU, and EERO OHOH ETAS OTOS to convince me otherwise. I have seen better from Ms. Weintraub.

@REX, your SPAMACONDAROID: abfab! Thanks for the belly laugh. And thanks for the Debussy TOYBOX[ES].

Lined up neatly all IN AROW,
They became my antihero,
Made me somewhat paranoid:
Bigfoot with a hemorrhoid,
Photographed on POLAROID.

My best TGIF wishes to all, with this lovely King of DENMARK's Galliard by John Dowland (1563–1626).

mathgent 12:00 PM  

I knew that 1A began JEDI but I didn't know he was a MASTER. All I had to work with in that top-middle patch was REX at 10 D. I had to lookup Yoda to learn that he was a master. That gave me TAMPA and I was able to finish.

Except for that little patch, I was able to move through the puzzle rather briskly, even though there were 11 clue-entry mysteries, right at my limit.

I count five clever clues headlined by ALOHASTATE. Only 11 Terrible Threes. OHOH was the only junk I noticed. So a lot of positives here but the entries were unexciting, especially for one who didn't know the name of the Billy Crystal role. So I can't do better than a B plus.

Masked and Anonymous 12:03 PM  

@RP: Cute write-up, with a cliffhanger endin. [What does "La boîte a joujoux" mean?…] Obvious next-episode answer: "the last Dorito bite".

Just like 1/2 of the 1-Across-stabbin public today, M&A wanted JEDIKNIGHT first. Did howsomeever know REX/MIRACLEMAX off almost nothin, so KNIGHT sorta auto-corrected, in a hasty, eraser-bit-flyin flurry of nanoseconds. Then wanted SPIT for 11-A's {Communication problem?}, which chased m&e out of the NE and back to the friendlier NW. Filled all of the NW puz, without undo pain, so tried out the dependably symmetric SE puz. That took a little longer, but got it. Moved on to the final remainin puz #3 diagonal-like zone, which M&A likes to call "Slash".

"Slash" put up a fight. Valiantly tossed in INROWS, which, together with my lingerin SPIT, made the NE corner awful hard to decode. Long story short: Had to do a re-boot at OLA+YOURE+JURASSIC+LOGJAM, and then wham-bam-thanx-U-Robyn, and Bob's yer joujoux.

Definite themelessthUmbsUp. Fun solve, with lots of great long answers. "SPAMACONDAROID". har+.

UTA and IDA were my fave women-of-mystery pick-ups, today.

Masked & Anonymo4Us

Peace on Earth, good will to Florida.

Numinous 12:25 PM  

I am so glad y'all had an easy time with this opus. I, on the other hand, did miserably.

I got SPAM straight off. Then I wanted Photo lab where POLAROID, ultimately went. What do you get from sitting around in igloos? POLAROIDs. I had no idea who Billy Crystal played in Princess Bride. I read the book before I saw the movie. The only character I remember is Inigo Montoya. OH OH, I vaguely remember the Dread Pirate person too.

After the second Star Wars movie, I lost interest. I had to go with my kids to one of them and slept almost all the way through it. For some reason I wind up having to say I HATE IT when it comes to these various things people become fanatical over. Star Wars, Princess Bride, Narnia (read all those books in the late 50s-early 60s, got them used from an off-campus book store). I am heartily sick of Harry Potter now too and I read all of those books at the same time my kids did so we'd have something to talk about.

I had to google five times for this one. As I said, MIRACLE MAX was a complete mystery to me. I've never watched Rhoda so IDA was also a mystery. I assumed DAR (my grandmother was one) but had to look it up to check. I'm ashamed to admit unfamiliarity with mycology and quotidian.

I should have known this was going to be hard for me since I believe there is an inverse relationship between the Mini and the main puzzle and I did the Mini in near record time.

For whoever asked (I haven't seen an answer): 51A, "I'll SEE your ten and raise you fifteen." The table in question would be for poker.
Who knew Turks hunted ASLANs in their spear, oops, spare time?
I don't know anyone who would stick their manicured fingers into a bowl of ACETONE. Do you??
I have a stupid (smart) phone and an iPad and I still think of Facebook as a SITE and not as an APP.
My favorite HANGOVER remedy is huevos rancheros and one or two large frozen margaritas.

What are you liable to get if you moon in space? AsteROIDs.

Alysia 12:49 PM  

I feel like I couldn't ask for much more of a puzzle. I was able to enlist the help of my son on REX (he adores feeling like he's contributed to my daily solve), threw in answers around two of my favorite subjects (The Princess Bride and ALAN Turing...side by side, no less!) and learned a new word I feel could be used in regular conversation (quotidian).

I know EERO as a result of two years' "religious" crosswording, though I've not once had the opportunity to make real-life use of that trivia. Same with OTO. When I do, though, walk away with a smile, feeling like I flexed the brain muscle a bit but didn't once feel so utterly lost I had to resort to the all-knowing google, I can forgive those little bits of ... well ... necessity, I suppose.

This was a good one.

Alysia 12:52 PM  

Almost forgot! Props to the constructor for including TWO Princess Bride-related clues. I'm assuming Robyn's use of "Impasse" wasn't purely coincidental.

Teedmn 1:21 PM  

This was a very nice puzzle, albeit disappointingly easy for a Friday. I had the common JEDI knight error for a short while and my veggies were planted IN rows. My mycologist was studying "fungi" because "shroom" didn't fit. All of this got fixed.

I like seeing SNAP next to POLAROID. @George B, some people might enjoy a whiff of ACETONE, but I did not enjoy it when I was over-enthusiastically mouth pipetting in Chem Lab and ended up using it as mouth wash. Yuck. Note to self - do not do with hydrochloric acid!

@Rex's cuteness claustrophobia gave me a chuckle when I pictured him freaking out at kitten videos or while watching a kindergarten play.

Thanks, RW - DO us A FAVOR and keep constructing!

kitshef 1:25 PM  

Lovely and fun, and pretty easy. JEDIMASTER, ALOHASTATE, POLAROID, ANACONDA, STEMWARE, SHALLOWEND, ELIXIR, JURASSIC. That is some high-quality stuff.

Not fond of INAROW or the clue for YOURE. I doubt I have ever heard anyone say "You're serious?", and even saying it out loud it just sounds off. 'Are you serious' and 'you were serious' I'd buy.

Never heard of El Capitan in this context. Then again, I avoid everything Apple.

I prefer the given clue for JURASSIC to a PPP clue only because I had to wonder triASSIC or JURASSIC.

AXeS before AXIS - after all, you need two AXeS to get a quadrant MENSsuit before MENSWEAR. MAnage before MAKEDO.

foxaroni 1:49 PM  

Unlike most of you, I found the south-southeast to be the most difficult. Among other errors, started with TCU for SMU, "come on over" for "do me a favor," and PCs for CDs. (You save things on a PC, which is an asset--at least in this instance. Also thought the PC was meant to balance the Mac answer.) I couldn't remember what a mycologist did, and quotidian was a total unknown. Thought Quotidian might have been a Roman emperor. When Julius Caesar was assassinated on March III, XLIV B.C., Quotidian became ruler. As M&E says, HAR!

Dick 2:03 PM  

Adina! Too late and far down for you to see, George Barany.

Eliser is the funniest opera in the rep. And it can be staged in so many settings. I saw an hilarious version set in a DDR vacation camp several years ago in Berlin with the Drs wagon being an ice cream truck.

Roo Monster 2:13 PM  

@Alysia, Glad to see another appreciator of that movie!

Westley: "Well, if there can be no arrangement, then we're at an impasse."
Vizzini: "I'm afraid so, I'm no match for you physically, and you're no match for my brains."
Westly: "You're that smart, huh?"
Vizzini: "Let me put it to you this way. Aristotle, Socrates, Plato? Morons."
Westly: "Realllly."


Hungry Mother 2:17 PM  

Just my QUOTIDIAN end of the week slog. Like my running, I can usually make the distance, but it takes me a while.

JC66 2:26 PM  

To all you DINOsaur fans, think tREX.

@jae from late last night. Thanks for the recommendation. I read "Underworld" a while ago and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Chronic dnfer 2:29 PM  

JFK for sfo didn't help. Dnf

Chronic dnfer 2:33 PM  

Could someone explain cred?

Alysia 2:42 PM  

@Chronic - "Street cred" is a colloquial term for one's reputatation (rep) amongst urban residents.

JC66 2:43 PM  

@Chronic dnfer

Street slang.


Gregory Schmidt 2:46 PM  

For whatever reason this one just played ridiculously easy for me. Like Tuesday easy. A good chance to feel "smart", but a bit disappointing since I usually look forward to Friday putting up a bit of a fight.

Masked and Anonymous 2:57 PM  

@RP: Don't rightly recall "You're With Stupid Now" or "She's Actual Size" as yer quot-idian big Sam Cooke hits. Confuses the M&A. Just sayin. [Was that "Sam Cooke all month" comment of yers sorta like a Trump-idian promise?] … :(

Research by the M&A Foundation (tax-exempt org.) shows that joujouxes are evidently French toys, and boîtes are French boxes. And so far, it appears that la + a = French Do + rito.

@Roo: Missin any answer about "The Princess Bride" would be "inconceivable!"

@foxaroni: yo. Well guffawed.

M&A Help Desk

Leapfinger 3:02 PM  

@Lewis, I'm surprised your SIR ACLOMAX didn't come out as SIR ACLIMAX. I mean, Billy Crystal is drop-dead funny, but you have to admit he isn't all that sexy.

Hartley70 4:04 PM  

@Loren, love the "Wrap Rage" entry! I'm a victim. But don't you think Jennifer Aniston would just hand that sucker to a minion and say, "Do it"?

"Clamshell" was the word I was trying to remember, but it's much too benign. "Death Grip" is more descriptive.

Hungry Mother 4:22 PM  

When I worked in the chem labs at Villanova, Aqua Regia was the goto glassware cleaner for though problems.

Alysia 4:27 PM  

Yes, yes, yes!

I had pretty much the entire movie memorized by age 9 and completely wore out the VHS.

As an adult, I watched it again and realized there were so many layers to it that I was never able to grasp as a wee lass.

So many great one-liners that never seem to get old. Just a timeless, wonderful, classic film.

Z 6:47 PM  

@kitshef - From experience I've learned to leave AXES/AXIS blank at the second vowel unless the clue is clear about number.

@M&A - Since OFL has forgotten his promise, Cupid.

Numinous 8:08 PM  

Actually, @foxaroni, while the notion of emperorship hadn't been determined, it was Caesar's heir Octavian who took Caesar's place. He modestly gave himself the cognomen Augustus and invented the eighth month. I don't believe it was until after Marcus Antonius took his own life that Augie decided he was the yardstick (imperator) of the Roman world. I guess nobody argued with him. Seems odd that the fear that Caesar would do that inspired Casca et al to stab him to death but then they let his nephew do the very thing they feared.

Michael 8:22 PM  

I am in the wrong demographic and the NW made me groan rather than squeal. I got the other three quarters of the puzzle in typical Friday time but knew I would get nowhere in the NW. I googled Harry's father and then almost got the rest, writing in miracle man/ren (as did another commenter) instead of miracle max/rex. I can't really complain, however, given that most puzzles seem aimed squarely at my demographic and knowledge base.

Burma Shave 9:43 AM  


do a MIRACLE,MAN, be a hero,
MENSWEAR you can REVIVE me with your ELIXIR.


spacecraft 11:07 AM  

Of course Yoda is not merely a JEDI knight; he's a JEDIMASTER. I knew that. Didn't stop me from plunking down the former before looking. Then I had to change my flight SToPS to STEPS--don't get me started on flight changes. So the NW looks like it was slept in. Not really that hard, just...messy.

Not satisfied with just one pigsty, I manage to ROIL the SW by writing MAnage for "Get by." But once I had EW__ as a second (!) Star Wars thing, EWOK had to be; so long MANAGE, hello MAKEDO. Hey, didn't Gilbert and Sullivan write an operetta about that?

So, Alpo aside, I more or less agree with the easy-medium rating--for a Friday. Severe compartmentalization didn't help. Did not fall into the REn trap; it's a "dino," so REX was instinctive. Hey there, OFL!

I must trot out a private DOD: IDA. It's the name of a girl I long ago met at a freshman mixer, hit it off with--and then somehow lost her in the crowd. Many times since I wondered how my life would have turned out if I hadn't. IDA, wherever you are, I hope you're happy.

Nostalgia over. I liked most of this; nothing really serious to SNAPAT. Score it a birdie.

Turning to current events for just a moment: these post-election riots perplex me. What do they hope to accomplish? You can't un-elect him! If you want to get mad, do so at the losing candidate, who obviously ran an inferior campaign.

BS2 11:14 AM  

Oh MAn! Rare DNF. Did not re-check the REn/REX square, so you see what I did with it. My bad.

centralscrewtinizer 12:51 PM  

Spent all night with KNIGHT and never MASTERed it, despite ALOHA STATE hinting I should say goodbye to it.
Wonderful Aimee Mann song used as political commentary. So apt.

Diana,LIW 1:28 PM  

I worked my way up, bit by bit. But then the NW bit me back. Total outhouse for me. Had ELIXER and DORITO and EXIT. There I sat, and sat. So DNF. 43% PPP? Right. You either know it or you don't. But if you were paying attention yesterday, I know Brian Eno's middle name. Yes I do. And one day, one fine day, that middle name will be the marquis, or earl answer in a puzzle. Who's smiling then?

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords that contain known entities

rondo 5:43 PM  

Inkfest in the NE - Nada/NONE, INrows/INAROW, ipoS/PACS – which took forever to sort out. Finally got that write-over mess.

For the second day INAROW I don’t see any clue numbers circled, therefore no yeah baby to claim. Maybe the Queen of Denmark? NO? Wait . . . UTA Pippig! I’m not as sharp as USUAL. Must be slipping. IHATEIT when that happens.

Don’t know how I got through the PPP, esp. Star Wars related. Lots of unfamiliar territory there. With that I EXIT.

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