Six-time Hugo award winner Ben / FRI 10-28-16 / Speech habits unique to individual / Queen dowager of Jordan / Limb-entangling weapon / Everyday productivity enhancer in modern lingo / First one was delivered in 1984

Friday, October 28, 2016

Constructor: Mary Lou Guizzo and Jeff Chen

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: Norman MINETA (48A: Norman ___, first Asian-American to hold a cabinet post) —
Norman Yoshio Mineta (born November 12, 1931) is an American politician. A member of the Democratic Party, Mineta most recently served in President George W. Bush's Cabinet as the United States Secretary of Transportation, the only Democratic Cabinet Secretary in the Bush administration. On June 23, 2006, Mineta announced his resignation after more than five years as Secretary of Transportation, effective July 7, 2006, making him the longest-serving Transportation Secretary in the Department's history. On July 10, 2006, Hill & Knowlton, a public relations firm, announced that Mineta would join it as a partner. On August 10, 2010, it was announced that Mineta would join L&L Energy, Inc as Vice Chairman. // Mineta also served as President Bill Clinton's Secretary of Commerce for the last six months of his term (July 2000–January 2001). Save for a span of five days between the end of Clinton's term and Bush's appointments, Mineta spent nearly six full years as a Cabinet member. (wikipedia)
• • •

Saw one of my friends tweet that this puzzle was super-easy, which of course got into my head. I don't like knowing Anything about a puzzle before I solve it (note to self: don't get on Twitter until *after* you solve).  So naturally I start in on the puzzle and Nothing Happens. Like, the NW corner doesn't budge. At all. I must've somehow missed 1D: Singer Twain (SHANIA), which is a gimme, but after my first quick run through that corner, I had ... ONT (18A: London locale: Abbr.). I couldn't even get the damn One Direction member. "Is it ZAYN? Wait, no ... ZAYN Payne, that can't be right ... Can it?!" (Ans: no). But then I found RIEN at 8D: Nothing, in Nantes and ARMPIT at 7A: Axilla, breathed a sigh of relief, and ... took off like a shot. Finished in just over 4, which is a pretty ridiculous time for me, for a Friday. Thought this was pretty solid—more interesting toward the middle than in the corners (esp. that SE corner, with all it's -ERS and also AREA ODE STE SYNE) Weird lot of cheater squares in this one. Gives it a real shot-through look. If you're gonna load up with cheaters, the fill should probably be a *little* smoother / more interesting than this, but like I said, it is a solid effort, esp. in the longer answers that run toward the middle. PIANO BAR alongside IDIOLECT, also not bad.

["Hit me with those 26-Acrosses!"]

I like that MOLTEN and MINETA are in symmetrical positions, only because "MOLTEN MINETA!" sounds like an olde-timey exclamation. "MOLTEN MINETA, Batman! The Batmobile got a ticket!" It's a nice rough equivalent of "Jumpin' Jehoshaphat," I think. LIFEHACK and TEDTALK are nice recent-isms, even though both are things I'm really tired of seeing / hearing about IRL (that's "in real life, not an abbr. for "Ireland"). Weird to see REBEL (29A: Rise up) in the grid just minutes after learning that, if you're white, it's apparently A-OK to literally take up arms against the government. What great news for our upcoming election and its aftermath! Can't wait.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Mr. Fitch 12:18 AM  

Decent puzzle, but way, way too easy for a Friday. I'm nowhere near as fast as Rex, but just 8 minutes is in "ridiculous" territory for me.

Vincent Lima 12:21 AM  

Enjoyed this puzzle. First three things that went in, gimmes all, were LASERBEAM for 007; LORDVOLDEMORT, of course; and NOOR, which is one of my favorite names in the world.

1A should have been golden, because "tala," in a language I know, means gold. Oh well. But there were other gimmes, like SYNE and MINETA, but not as much fun as the first trio. For all that ease, it was still a good Friday puzzle.

jae 12:30 AM  

Yes, definitely easy in spite of falling for the eNg ONT misdirect, having baLL before SELL, and NOr before NOT. ALL HALLOWS...and LORD VOLDEMORT were both gimmes which helped open this one up. Plus, I have the vinyl version of Cosmos Factory and fondly remember Audrey from Twin Peaks until it got too weird.

Solid with some zip, liked it.

Jared 1:03 AM  

Definitely one of the easiest Fridays I've seen in a while. But a good puzzle overall

John Child 1:16 AM  

Is BOVA BOLA a new beet-flavored soft drink or a fight song for a Yale-affiliated junior college?

If I had ever seen IDIOLECT before this might have been a record time for a Friday, so I agree with the easy rating. And I also give it an F for fun.

Larry Gilstrap 2:13 AM  

I'm not sure I've ever experienced sleet, let alone SLEETS, in my part of the world. My cow poke buddy Dusty assures me that usually one WHOA is sufficient. I think I spent four minutes alone in that MEAT/ MINETA/ ARION mess down in West Texas, and we all know not to mess with TX, just ask JFK. Glad I don't have a very busy schedule, lately.

Note to self: catch up on this whole Harry Potter thing. Next, move on to the logic gate thing, or at least try to read the Wikipedia explanation without glazing over. Finally, develop the patience to finish that whole LIFE HACK video involving why I should pour vinegar in my toilet. Yea! I finished the puzzle in a reasonable time. Why no joy?

Brian's Song was a TV movie from 1971 about the relationship between Brian Piccolo and Gale SAYERS. As I remember it touched on racial issues that existed in the NFL forty-five years ago. I'm glad those days are over, irony intended.

I agree with OFL's frustration with the verdict from Oregon. What happened? Was intimidation an element? Cattle ranchers are being oppressed by the Federal government? Honestly, I'm glad I wasn't on that jury.

puzzle hoarder 2:33 AM  

I thought my comments from yesterday were rejected as too rambling but after seeing @Maria Alexander's I'm thinking they just showed up randomly on some totally unrelated blog for no reason whatsoever.
As for this puzzle, about 75% of it was instant first guess easy. The remainder was effortlessly worked around and back filled. I don't do the variety puzzles so IDIOLECT is a debut entry to me. The last four letters are difficult to infer so it has potential to be challenging, however it's wasted in it's location surrounded by easy material. This is not how a late week puzzle should be made.

ZenMonkey 2:37 AM  

I had good things to say but after that Bundy news I now hate everything in the world.

Always check your grid 2:47 AM  

@Larry - If you had ARION you had a DNF.

Larry Gilstrap 3:20 AM  

No wonder it was a mess. I kinda knew VOLDEMORT was correct from the fact that it is in the puzzle every other week, and of course ORION, the Hunter is beginning to appear in the southern sky these evenings. I'll be more careful from now on. No happy pencil when you solve in pencil.

Loren Muse Smith 3:49 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Loren Muse Smith 3:53 AM  

First entry – WHO'LL, and the ear worm was firmly in place. Next were LORD VOLDEMORT and IDIOLECT. @puzzle hoarder - I hadn't realized this latter was a NYT debut entry.

In my idiolect, the word poem pretty much rhymes with coin. In Dad's idiolect, that piano bar is crowdy, not crowded.

It's bigly tempting to insert "idiotlect" joke here.

Rex – I laughed at your "MOLTEN MINETA, Batman!"

@jae – I wonder if, after going all Monday and falling for "eng," you did what I did and were thinking "fast ball" for that 16A powerful pitch.

@Larry - WHOA is the command for sled dogs to stop. One never, ever suffices. In fact whoa whOA WHOA WHOA! never does, either. The dogs just cheerfully soldier on, long after you face-planted a 100 yards back, grabbed the Oh Sh%$ rope, and are being dragged through the woods on your stomach.

And @Larry - when I was in my TEENS visiting Bigmama and Bigdaddy, they were all going to watch Brian's Song in the living room. I didn't want to watch a sad movie, so I agreed to watch this other movie, one I'd never heard of, in the kitchen with Aunt LaVerne. It was West Side Story. Gee. Thanks, LaVerne.

Here's a LIFE HACK I can't live without.

What was my favorite part? Hmm. Either that Mary Lou and Jeff deliver a little Halloween mini-theme trick. Or treat us with entries like I WON'T DO IT and LIFE HACK.. . Hard to choose. Including VERBOTEN – what mentioning 33A's name is – was cool. Nice job, you two.

Charles Flaster 4:26 AM  

Medium and one DNF at BOrA not BOVA.
Writeovers included DIVIDE for raVInE and LIFE HACK for LIFE Hint.
Goldfinger is Bond's best.
Liked clue for LENGTHS.
Thanks MLG & JC

Hartley70 4:51 AM  

Nope. This wasn't a 4 minute cakewalk for me, but it was faster than my usual Friday time. At my first cursory pass I had SHANIA. Unfortunately I also had Lisa (Halaby) for NOOR, and "Icant Stop The Rain". That's it. I'm adding points for remembering that Lisa went to Princeton and her father ran PanAm. I should have had RIEN, but that took a few minutes. As did the rest of the puzzle. I had to go to work for this solve.

ADREP was easy. I was one in my early 20's. The job gave me lots of freedom to move around Manhattan in taxi cabs and an expense account...pretty much Paradise at the time.

OYSTERBAY wasn't difficult. I expect it to be Sagamore Hill by the end of the week. I wanted a first name for VOLDEMORT in his evil incarnation other than LORD. If there is one, I couldn't remember it.

LIFEHACK was the best answer. I wonder what percentage of over 65 year olds will know it. I like to be one of the cool kids.

IDIOLECT should have been the word of the day. It's new to me, along with LIAM and BOVA and MINETA. IDIOLECT is the only one I'll try to remember. The boys seem too obscure to bother. Of course I thought that the first time I saw OTT here. Boy, was I wrong!

My blessing of the day is "May you never find a snake in your kitchen".

mathgent 6:48 AM  

Not easy for me. Nine mysteries, seven of them proper nouns. Liked IDIOLECT and LEFIGARO. Never heard LIFEHACK before (I'm part of the over-65 group). I would appreciate someone giving an example.

Some junk (WHOAWHOA, OWS, and a couple of others).

I don't consider a bar with a piano to be a PIANOBAR.

Now that I've learned what cheater squares are, I noticed a lot of them here. Rex seems to be saying that they mar the appearance of the grid. They don't bother me.

Good crunch, some fresh words, smart cluing. A solid B. Maybe a B plus.

George Barany 7:07 AM  

WHOA, WHOA ... you're all such proficient solvers! Put me in the DNF camp on this Friday puzzle with a mini-Halloween theme by @Mary Lou Guizzo and @Jeff Chen.

Harry Potter came out with ideal timing to induce a love of reading in my beloved daughter ... yet I have gone through life without having once opened any of the books nor watched any of the movies. While the French hint about death and all that was actually very helpful, LORD, how should I have been expected to know VOLDEMORT's first name.

On top of that (well technically, right, er make that left below), we get more of a French vibe with LE_FIGARO, which Google reminds me started out with a name directly inspired by the title character of the Beaumarchais trilogy that gave the world two of the great comic operas of all time (one by Mozart, the other by Rossini).

I enjoyed being reminded of Gale SAYERS, Secretary MINETA, and Queen NOOR, and learning the proper names of BOVA and FENN. The Flying Dutchman was a tricky clue for SHIP, since I inevitably think of either the Richard Wagner opera or the baseball player Honus Wagner. Nice of @Mary Lou and @Jedd to work in OYSTER BAY, and neat bit of trivia about TED_TALK.

Muscato 7:33 AM  

Definitely a fast Friday, but my nemesis was the NE, as AXILLA reminded my feeble, under-caffeinated brain of something to do with the jaw, and LIFE HACK is too cool for my school. Not quite a 4, but well under my end-of-week average. Good fun, but let's hope Saturday is more of a challenge.

Glimmerglass 7:45 AM  

Re: REBEL. I understand that @Rex's commnt is meant to be sarcastic/ironic. Nevertheless, the recent comments about taking up arms against the government if Clinton wins the election are more than irresponsible and not a cause for humorous satire. People may lose their lives to misguided patriotism and public officials may be shot at or even killed. Not funny. Not funny at all.

kitshef 8:25 AM  

One of the problems with the NYT day-by-day system is there really isn't a place for an easy themeless.

In this case, the marquee across and the marquee down were both gimmes, which opened things up all over the grid.

First in was WHOLL (Hi, @Loren), while attempting to confirm fAstbaLL.

Ben BOVA was a great early supporter and editor of several of my father's books, so he went in with a big smile on my face.

Is there a more iconic Bond scene than the LASER BEAM in Goldfinger?

kitshef 8:26 AM  

@Muscato - you weren't far off. mAXILLA is the upper jaw.

Nancy 9:03 AM  

One of the rare times I find myself disagreeing with @mathgent. (Though I bet that OISK and I will be on the same page today.) Between all the pop names and all the pop slang -- IDIOLECT???? LIFE HACK????? -- I did not finish and I did not care. Mind you, I thought I'd finished, despite all the names, but I ended up having IDIOLEse (as in Chinese or Japanese, you see) crossed by LIFE HAsK (well, if it doesn't make sense, then it doesn't make sense, whether there's a C or an S.) And all this happened because LORD VOLDEMORe seemed perfectly swell to me. In many places I guessed right: BOVA, because the V of VOLDEMORT sounded right. Or am I wrong here, too? Is 32D FENN or is it FINN or FANN or FONN. I forgot to look. I pulled MINETA out of my memory fog, thus enabling me to change GIST to MEAT at 48D. But basically I HISS AT the awful plethora of PPP, say WHOA, WHOA to constructors who insist on piling it on, and wish puzzles like this were VERBOTEN. But I guess not every day can be puzzle-wonderful like yesterday.

Warren Howie Hughes 9:06 AM  

"What is it you have up your sleeve, besides a very hairy axilla?"

NCA President 9:25 AM  

This fell in the "easy" category for me because I didn't have to Google anything or cheat. That said, it wasn't exactly a race to the end. And even with that said, as easy as it was, I felt like I finished this puzzle by accident. I filled in the last square in the NE, but had lingering doubts that MINETA/MEAT was correct. That M just didn't feel right. And because it was Friday, I was sure I had other mistakes in there too. But no. Once I filled in the last square, I was done.

My hangup was the NE for the most part. I couldn't place "Rick's" so far out of context...I thought it might have been a bar on some TV sitcom from the 80s. Yeah, I know. So dIscOBAR seemed fine. Really fine. I also had BOLo and that didn't help. I wanted "the first one to be delivered in 1984" to be a Mac computer (who's with me?), so everything about that corner was a mess.

Once TEDTALK appeared, things sorted themselves out. Ah, THAT Rick's PIANOBAR. Ah, so.

Otherwise, I'm not going to argue with an easy Friday puzzle. I will say that doing a puzzle like this in 4 minutes is like scarfing up that wedge of cheesecake in two bites. Did you even taste it??

evil doug 9:26 AM  

That's what happens when the government gets out of control and regular folks feel helpless. People rebel. The British learned it in 1776....

My first date with my wife was watching Brian's Song in my college apartment. I kept the lights down so she wouldn't see the tears - - and other reasons. Sayers was the best I ever saw....

Not a big fan of repeated words like whoa whoa. One whoa is fun. Woe to whoa whoa.

Steve M 9:33 AM  

Idiolect was the holdup

jberg 9:36 AM  

Yeah, pretty easy. I thought AXILLA was plural, so I had to check it with a few crosses, but AD REP was enough to convince me. My only other problem was VERy rude before VERBOTEN; plus wondering what to put before VOLDEMORT, and how to fit HALLOWEEN into the longer space at 14D. After the ghost puzzle, I was thinking of something like that, but it turned out to be simpler.

Fun fact: Norman MINETA was interned in a camp in Wyoming during his youth (well, this part isn't fun). They organized a Boy Scout troop and invited other troops in the area to come to the camp for joint activities. Only one was willing to do so. One member of that troop was Alan Simpson, with whom Mineta became friends. Years later they were both in Congress, from different states and in different parties. The two worked together to win passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1988, which officially apologized for the internment, and offered some redress. These days, I like to remember that there was once bipartisanship.

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 9:50 AM  

There he is again! See my avatar. Orion has a new clue ay 35d!

Lewis 9:53 AM  

It felt like a Monday... EXCEPT ... like I was wearing weights on my ankles. That is, I was steadily filling in letters, but slow and steady. There was a WHOAWHOA going on, countered by steady successes. What slowed me were proper names and information deficits in my brain. SLEETS -- how do you use that in a sentence besides "There were three sleets written down on page one of my report on weather."?

I enjoyed this a lot, even after yesterday's tough act to follow. It felt good to finish this, with some learning and buoyant ahas. Are our constructors making a statement by laying VERBOTEN right over EREADERS?

Michael Collins 9:55 AM  

B*O*VA RI*O* = Natick to me.

Anonymous 10:00 AM  

Roosevelt's home, Sagamore Hill, is not in Oyster Bay, but in Cove Neck, and never referred to as Oyster Bay.

Lobster11 10:02 AM  

Perfect Friday for me: right at the edge of my own comfort zone.

On this Bundy thing: Even if these folks aren't convicted of a crime, shouldn't they at least be responsible for paying what must have been an enormous cost to law enforcement -- i.e., the very law enforcement that prevented them from "posing a threat to the public"?

GILL I. 10:10 AM  

Ah, yes. Oregonians want local - not federal control. What a scary thought.
This was OK nice in a "I don't know how to spell VOLDEMORT nor have I heard of IDIOLECT nor do I know FENN" sort of way. Like seeing PIANO BAR/OYSTER. I used to say VERBOTEN all the time because it sounded foreigny. So, it was a DNF for me because I had LIVEHACK/VENN. Even so, it was enjoyable getting most of the puzzle in a pretty lickety split way.
Non, RIEN de RIEN, non, je ne regrette RIEN. Any takers?

Kim Colley 10:14 AM  

@Hartley - Lord Voldemort doesn't have a first name (other than "I am") because it's an anagram of his real name, Tom Marvolo Riddle. I imagine growing up in the wizarding community with a name destined to get one tagged as "Marvolo the Magnificent" on the playground would turn anyone evil.

Almost as bad as having a last name that's a homonym for a dog breed...

r.alphbunker 10:16 AM  

So now I now I have been speaking prose with an IDIOLECT my whole life. Wow.

8D {Nothing, in Nantes} RIEN was my first answer and its neighbor 9D {Chant often heard toward the end of an N.B.A. season} MVP was my last.
Details are here.

Maruchka 10:31 AM  

Pretty smooth here. LORD V (he who shall not be named) and HALLOWS - nice long cross. Didn't know LIFE HACK. Eh. It's all if/then/else or NOT. I choose the latter.

Fav of the day - Gayle SAYERS. Heaven to watch.

Breaking news! No need to elect anyone! Trump will accept the scepter and crown! Oh, sorry, that's clown. WHOA. Double WHOA.

Thanks for the memory of real cross-partyline politics, @jberg. Those were the days. May they come again, and soon.

Roo Monster 10:31 AM  

Hey All !
Not 4 minute easy here, but easy by FriPuz standards. Kinda lost it in the NE. The REIN and IDIOLECT entries were WOES for me, so that messed me up but good. Had neiN in for a bit, then ADREP, then changed to prREP, also had raVIne, so ended up with ArREP, RaEN, InIrLECT. Oof.

Rest of puz flowed nicely. Went NW, SE, middle, SW, NE. VERBOTEN always a cool day. To whoever asked about LIFEHACK it's basically a shortcut of something using an item not intended for that particular item to do, to make life easier. Or was that too complicated an explanation? :-)

WHOLL looks funny without the apostrophe. I can never seem to say REBEL as it's meant in this puz from the clue. I always pronounce it REB-L.

Overall, the ole brain didn't strain too much. Thanks for that. :-)


QuasiMojo 10:42 AM  

Rick's Place was a Café Américain but it was hardly a "piano bar" just because someone, even a legend like Sam, was playing a piano in it. Otherwise, I found this to be a polished and capable Friday puzzle, if a tad on the too-easy side. That doesn't mean I didn't struggle with some of it. I had El Diario instead of Le Figaro at first, which I admit was stupido. But that's the fun of doing crosswords. You work them out as you go along. "Whoa Whoa" was a "hard sell" to me. Can't think of anything less "enhancing" than a "Life Hack" whatever that is. Still have never heard a "Ted Talk" and don't want to. Nor do I know who "Lord Voldemort" is but I recalled enough of my high school French to figure it out. I once saw Sherilyn Fenn play Salomé on Broadway (opposite Al Pacino as a gritty raspy Herod with a Bronx accent.) She was so awful, I was tempted to "hiss at" her.

Anonymous 10:49 AM  

If I never see another Harry Potter clue or answer it will be too soon. I have zero interest in the books and thought the little bit of one of the movies I saw was dreadful, actually childish. Sure they're a part of our culture, sadly. But so is a lot of other mind numbing sh*t.

Anonymous 10:58 AM  

That was my very first thought when I saw this verdict. Just because these people managed to find enough sympathizers with their 'just' cause, that doesn't mean they can't have their pants sued off for this stunt. But, you have to wonder if the Feds have the stomach to keep meeting in court with these locos because getting money out of them is a hopeless proposition. It just depends on how important one thinks the symbolism of a gigantic judgment in the Federal government's favor is.

Carola 11:14 AM  

I loved this scary almost-ALLHALLOWSEVE puzzle, with its ghostly SHIP (The Flying Dutchman), a LIFE-threatening LASER BEAM, a potentially strangling BOLA, and the archvillain LORD VOLDEMORT. Even LIFE HACK takes on a sinister cast.

HISS AT - a very nice Hogwarts Slytherin reference!

Agree on the easy rating: I started with ARMPIT (unlikely departure point for such a pleaurable solving jaunt) and worked around to SAMOAN. One do-over: SHAinA.

@GILL I, yes, I'm definitely a taker. I came across the song title in an East German novel I was teaching: it was the anthem of a REBELlous young woman. Not knowing the song, I looked for it on Youtube. WHOA WHOA!

AliasZ 11:21 AM  

I enjoyed this Guizo/Chen collaboration, even though I found it a bit on the easy side for Friday. I was solving it while watching the knightly GNUs. I loved the seed entries ALL HALLOWS' EVE and LORD VOLDEMORT.

My sole objection was the high number of proper names, which very few people had a chance of knowing. My bugaboo was the RIO / BOVA crossing. RIA / BAVA was equally plausible, because I know nothing of Duran Duran and have no idea who Ben BOVA is or was. Add to that NOOR, MINETA, FENN, SAYERS (Dorothy?), etc. The last one could have been clued "Nay ____". There were a few clumsy plurals as well (SLEETS, OWS).

Otherwise quite a pleasant puzzle. Thanks Mary Lou and Jeff.

It is funny how lack of historical context can lead many to have an entirely negative connotation of REBEL (taking up arms against government). For me they represent the best moments of humanity: the Revolutionary War, the 1848 Hungarian Revolution against Habsburg tyranny, and the 1956 Revolution against Russian occupation and Communist dictatorship, whose 60th anniversary was commemorated this past Sunday, October 23rd. These are the images forever emblazoned into my mind.

Here is the signature aria from LE FIGARO (The Barber of Seville) by Rossini, with Sesto Bruscantini (1919–2003) and the RAI orchestra conducted by Alberto EREADER.

Masked and Anonymous 11:24 AM  

Frightenin puz. The U-count, alone, was hair-raisin. Then, U got all these crossins that were pretty scary, for an older than snot masked fart…

* RIO/BOVA. Have heard of RIO, but not clued as an album.
* LIFEHACK/FENN/IDIOLECT. All news to m&e.
* LORDVOLDEMORT. Here's the thing with yer Harry Potter flicks: M&A (in a civilian form) has attended a handful of these things. Always reliably fall asleep, about halfway thru. So … all references to said series are very dreamlike, to the M&A. I knew the "LORD" part for sorta sure, but my first shot at the rest was VALDIMORE. French derivation is of no help, unless the dude's name contains OUI or MERDE. Also, this HP-name was crossed by old faves BOVA, FENN, and IDIOLECT.

The good GNUs …

* GNU (ergo fave weeject) broke the U-nohitter wide open, down there in 12th row. Go cUbs.
* Experienced only minor (precious) nanosecond drainage in the ever-spooky NW corner. Got WHOLL first (yo, @muse). Then tried WAITASEC where WHOAWHOA belonged, but that didn't last for long, mainly thanx to SHANIA and OWS.
* ARMPIT was a solid gimme. (yo, @RP)
* LIAM was unknown, but had many friendly crosses.
* Bottom half of the puz (beneath the Voldemort Line) was much easier.
* Had fun, thru-out … but especially comin up with var.'s for LIFEHACK, with LI?EH??K in place. [fave: LIME HUNK]

Masked & Anonymo1Us

Mike Rees 11:38 AM  

Curses!! Foiled again!

Not knowing what a logic gate is cost me the puzzle. NaT seems just as likely as NOT when crossing a word I've never heard (of).

Anoa Bob 11:43 AM  

"In other news, a farmer from one of the outer provinces became totally unhinged and used his machete to hack three of his neighbor's chickens to death." That's the kind of image, or something more gruesome, that comes to mind when I see LIFE HACK, some scene where AORTAS are being severed. I imagine someday people will look back on that phrase and say "What the hell were they thinking?!" IDIOLECT indeed.

@Lewis, down here in deep south coastal Texas, it rarely snows or SLEETS. Yeah, I know it was clued as a noun and not as a verb, but my point is that you can almost always come up with some justification for a POC (A chorus of OWS went up when the can of fire ants was thrown into the crowd.), however thinly it may be stretched, but the ultimate reason for it being there in the first place is the letter-count boosting, grid-filling convenience of that final "S".

Speaking of which, in addition to several cheater/helper squares, there are some two-for-one POCs also. Anybody see em? Anybody care? [knock, knock] Hello, is this mic on?

Leapfinger 11:50 AM  

@JC, I also went the BOVA BOLA route, enhanced by BOLO BOOLA BOOLA, but you beet me to the COLA.

Joseph Michael 12:11 PM  

Good puzzle but WHOA WHOA with the Harry Potter answers already. I still ain't gonna read them books NOOR see them movies.

Liked the fresh fill like IDIOLECT, LIFE HACKS, and I WON'T DO IT. Had "movie bar" before PIANO BAR and "I Can't" STOP THE RAIN before WHO'LL. Still don't know what a logic gate is and didn't realize that SLEETS could come in bundles. But had a decent Friday morning workout with this. Was not easy for me, especially in the NE.

Leapfinger 12:18 PM  

@GeorgeB, the Flying Dutchman as a SHIP was a top-of-minder for me, thanks to a book of stories I read as a kid. Besides the legend of TFD, there was also The Man Without A Country, so Philip Nolan, another haunted/ing character.

Perhaps a hint of a moral somewhere in there?

Masked and Anonymous 12:26 PM  

@Anoa Bob: har. I always think about yer POC's, when I see an S parked in the far SE grid square. Today, the wily constructioneer team put a black square down there, as POC-preventer. But it was harlarious, how the POCs then swarmed around that POC-preventer square, like bees to honey.


GILL I. 12:27 PM  

@Carola...The Little Sparrow. RIEN became the French Foreign Legions parade song. Funny, since she was called a Nazi sympathizer. If you can, listen to "No Regrets" by Shirley Bassey. Only Edith could sing the original French version.

old timer 12:32 PM  

Super Easy and super clean for a Friday. All I knew in the NW was SHANIA but knowing nothing else I crossed to the NE: ADREP, RIEN, AXILLA -- done! Since Sagamore Hill did not fit it had to be OYSTER BAY in the SE and before you know it the whole R side was filled in including the timely ALL HALLOWS EVE SThe SW was Easy too, and at the end I had a single Natick, not knowing Duran Duran or the Hugo Award winner. I plopped an O in there and it turned out to be right. Puzzle done and nary a glance at Google or Wikipedia.

The Bundy acquittal is best explained by the decision of the Feds to charge the case as a felony, and the felony was preventing Federal employees from doing their duties. The jurors thought this was a stretch. Certainly the intent was to make a statement, not to stop employees from doing their jobs, and in any case it was not clear what jobs needed to be done at the wildlife refuge. The case was tried in Portland, the bluest part of a blue state. The defendants would have been fortunate to find even two jurors who shared the Bundys' political views. But the defendants were presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. They may not be so lucky next trial, in Nevada.

Numinous 12:34 PM  

LIFE HACKs are very popular on YouTube. So are TED TALKS. I can spend an afternoon watching random videos on YouTube easily. While I think YT can be a waste of time, I have some to waste so I don't care and there really is some interesting stuff there.

I first met Queen NOOR Jahan in a crossword puzzle, looked her up and discovered that she was a babe!

Another afternoon passtime I have is watching the yellow jackets eat the half dead flying cockroaches on my deck. The vultures of the insect world, I have to say I root for them as Yellow Jackets were my high school mascot. @Norm likes Oskie, I'll take the Jackets.

VOLDEMORT was almost a gimme. I was trying to find the French. Ben BOVA gave me the real hint. I read all the books to keep the step-kids company. It was fun having something in common to talk about. All our wild speculation about how the last book would turn out was fun. I liked the crossing with ALL HALLOWS EVE as it recalled Harry Potter and the Deathly HALLOWS". While Jeff was responsible for the LORD VOLDEMORT entry, he never mentioned the connection in the xwordinfo write-ups.

IDEOLECT is a new word for me but it came together from the crosses. There were some PPPs I didn't know but they were all fairly crossed so I didn't mind them at all. This fell way under my Friday average. I'd give this the POW if yesterday's puzzle hadn't been so good.

Leapfinger 12:34 PM  

@Gill, I'm one WHOLL see your 'je nme regrette RIEN' and, what with MEAT in the puzzle, raise you 'la viand rose'

Numinous 12:58 PM  

Oh Yeah
I had gIn jOint before PIANO BAR. That made much more sense to me. "Of all the gin joints in all the towns . . . "

Numinous 1:09 PM  


@Leapfinger, Kurt Elling just came on the radio singing La Vie en Rose.

Anonymous 1:19 PM  

I know of AND gates, OR gates, NAND gates (not-and) and NOR gates (not-or). But there is no such thing as a NOT gate.

Joe Bleaux 1:25 PM  

Of all the piano bars in all the towns in all the world ...

QuasiMojo 1:25 PM  

To the anonymous fellow who pointed out that Sagamore Hill is actually in the village of Cove Neck, I just want to say thanks. I am from Long Island and have visited the house many times. I thought something was off about that answer. The "address" of the house, however, at least online, is Oyster Bay.

And dear Master Rex, I totally overlooked the video link you posted and I apologize. I was just watching "Body Double" the other night, after viewing an enlightening documentary about Brian DePalma. The movie does not hold up but that music video, which is embedded into the film rather than extracted from it as most music videos were at the time, does. Thanks for the humor and the savoir-faire, comme toujours.

Teedmn 1:32 PM  

"Wait a sec" went in at 13A, right after ARMPIT, but SHANIA sang my OWS away with that section. And I was glad I didn't need to dredge up a first name for VOLDEMORT (hi @Hartley70) although, like @r.alphbunker, I had VaLDEMORT until ORION lit my way out.

50A was briefly rTE so with _YrT_ _ at 41D, I had Teddy's family in mYrTle BAY but this was easily repaired by EREADERS and SAYERS. (I also remember the 70s movie, "Brian's Song" or else Gayle SAYERS would have been a WOE for me).

I am not accustomed to considering the word HACK in a positive light so LIFE HACK as something enhancing my productivity seemed an alien concept but the C was the only logical choice for IDIOLECT (let's hear it for IDIOtLECT!! Thanks, @LMS).

Nice, timely, easy 12:15 Friday, thanks MLG and JC.

Lewis 2:25 PM  

@anoa -- Thank you for that! My mind, as you suggested, was fixated on noun. Sleets as a verb never entered my head! That's kind of wild, actually...

QuasiMojo 2:52 PM  

Again, not sure why you felt you had to delete my post, Rex. It was pretty innocuous. Unless you felt that my pointing out that the clip of "Relax" you linked comes from a movie, Body Double, that denigrates women. I won't be posting on or reading your blog in the future. That may be a relief to some, including yourself, but I'll miss my friends. To quote Piaf: "Je ne regrette rien."

Chaos344 2:55 PM  


What just happened? And we all though the October Surprise was going to come from Julien Assange! Holy Comey Batman!

Mohair Sam 3:09 PM  

I did like the puzzle, I did. BUT! Rick's was a (Pick one) 1. Casino, 2. Night Club, 3. Cafe Americain, 4. Gin joint (slangily). Rick's was never a PIANO BAR. And - You normally need two or more WHOAs for your horse, one normally suffices for your human.

IDEOLECT a fun word, kinda built itself as we filled from the top. Why on earth did they add "in a way" to "Show disdain for" in the HISSAT clue? Hissing is subtle? Always wondered why the newspaper had the same name as the show - now I know. I'm with @Quasimojo on Sherilyn FENN - I've seen her a couple of times outside of "Twin Peaks" - a true one hit wonder imo.

@Rex - These fools count 1 shot to death, 11 pleading guilty, 7 tried by a jury, with some remaining in jail and all to be tried again in another venue according to the article you linked. Somehow you view this as "A-OK to take up arms against the government." But you're right - this accursed right to a jury trial. Where's Janet Reno when we need her?

GILL I. 3:10 PM  

@Caola et @Leapster.
Piaf-non jene regrett RIEN

Carola 3:14 PM  

@Gill, thank you for the Shirley Bassey tip...and after that I had to go back to Piaf, of course.

GILL I. 3:21 PM  

I dont know why blogger won't let me embed http:// Que am I doing wrong?

Cassieopia 4:56 PM  

@mathgent: LIFEHACK is just a fancy way of saying "helpful tip"; they often have to do with personal productivity, such as managing time, managing to-dos, how to prioritize tasks according to your values, etc. Check out which is a central clearing house for hacks, it is a "thing" in the tech world. Have fun getting ideas and hacking your life!

Hartley70 5:04 PM  

@Kim Colley, yes, of course. How could I forget that! Thanks for the reminder. As a dog lover I think you have a delightful name for a Lassie, but I sympathize with the burden it must have been in middle school.

Hartley70 5:23 PM  

What? Has no one else found a snake in the kitchen? HISS!

@r.alphbunker, all Rhode Island speak is IDIOLECTic, i.e. "Have your cabinet and strip over by the bubbla so you can wash the dishes when you're done."

@Teedmn, maybe it's Iam. It sounds as good as Ian to me.

@QuasiMojo. Go ahead and vent, but don't twist your knickers and bolt. It happens to everyone once in a while and is probably a computer glitch. Besides, we'd miss you.

Wm. C. 5:29 PM  

@Anon1:19 --

Re: no such thing as a "NOT gate"


As a former logic designer, it's embarrassing that this one slipped right by me! That logic function is performed by an "Inverter" component.

Mohair Sam 5:32 PM  

@Gill I - Yeah, the link failed. But we've got Edith Piaf on vinyl, 8-track, tape, CD, IPod, and Pandora station. We're good.

I've heard an awful lot things about Edith, including killer (it's OK, she murdered for love), but Nazi sympathizer is not one of them. Quite the opposite in fact.

mathgent 5:32 PM  

@Cassieopia: Thanks. I get the idea now.

GILL I. 5:48 PM  

Oh, I don't know @Mohair. She did what she needed to do to survive. A lot has been said of her less than stellar reputation. I came to know her through my step-mom who is French. I, too, have a lot of her recordings. Such a sad, but fascinating woman who died too young.

Anonymous 6:13 PM  

Great explanation; Thank you.

QuasiMojo 6:29 PM  

@Hartley -- thank you. No doubt you are correct but it's happened a few times. And today's second comment was posted then disappeared. I can just invent a new persona anyway if I get bored. :)

OISK 6:43 PM  

@Nancy knows. This was easy? This was impossible. And frustrating, since I solved all but the NE. Never heard of idiolect, but I could piece it together. But "ted talks" I never heard of it (them) and couldn't guess, since I never heard of life hack either. Were either ted talk or life hack even slightly familiar to me, I would have avoided the DNF. That makes 3 failures in a row on the weekend toughies. (last Saturday was my worst performance in years, and missed one square on last Friday).

Yet the KEY to my failure was misspelling bola. I had bolo. Absent that one slip, I'm pretty sure I would have finished. Nothing wrong with the puzzle then, but my solving talents are definitely slipping.

kitshef 7:11 PM  

@Hartely70 - My reaction to finding a snake it the basement (not kitchen, but I imagine the same applies) was to feel grateful for the mice and/or rats it must be getting rid of, and to know that once it had cleared out the rodents it would be moving on. OTOH, I don't expect everyone to share that reaction. I am also blessed with a partner who LOVES snakes.

Mohair Sam 7:37 PM  

Aaaah, I hear you @Gill. Such a tragic life, and it's all in her voice. I want too much love her I guess. France does too.

Leapfinger 9:52 PM  

@Numi, that is too cool. I'd been waiting overlong to get my car back from being serviced (they accidentally overbooked today's schedule), and discovered it's hellonwheels to make my smartphone accept French w/o interfering.

@AliasZ, thanks for the photos of Budapest in the 1956 Revolution. I didn't see the one I most keenly remember, of the young man hurling a Molotov cocktail at the advancing tank, but many others were all too familiar (from LIFE the magazine, unHACKed). I also remember the heartrending tones of the broadcasts during the brief period the freedom fighters held the radio station:Help us! Please, somebody help us!! And OF COURSE, no-one did. Nobody wanted to tangle with the Russian Bear. Sixty years, and I can still hear that voice.

...All a long way down the road from Axilla the Hun...

@AnoaBob, I'm assuming that was an open can of fire ants tossed into the crowd, if it elicited a chorus of OWS; by rights, a closed can of fire ants would have elicited only a single OW at best.

Je te remerci milles fois for the link, @Gillster. Milord, but she was perfect for that late scene in Saving Private Ryan also. Now perhaps a little Aznavour for an aperitif?

Apparently there are differing POVs about what exactly constitutes a PIANO BAR; perhaps we can all agree on this if everybody loves chocolate.

I'm not surprised that I really liked this Friday; I always said I'd go any LENGTHS for a WHOLL-a skirt. TY, MLG & JC

Anonymous 3:20 AM  

LIFEHACK is pop slang but IDIOLECT is not, it's a common-ish term that's been around since the 50s at least, easily understood from the Greek roots it uses.

phil phil 10:16 AM  

Late comment. Did this over the pacific so no internet.

But I just had to say my answer would have been more fun for Rick's ... GINJOINT. Sorry to see it vaporize as I proceeded.

Anonymous 12:06 PM  

@WM. C
Your right. I just never thought of an inverter as a NOT gate.

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Burma Shave 10:17 AM  


she said, “ I’m MAD now, and I’ll REBEL.”
But it’s NOT VERBOTEN to use some force,
and TIMID nay-SAYERS can NOT resist my HARDSELL.


spacecraft 12:01 PM  

I dunno...the wind is howling out here right now, as it must be in Will's office: twice now his weekly lineup of puzzles must have been blown all over--and picked up in WAY the wrong order. This one is about a Wednesday, and I say that despite never having heard of "LIFE HACK." IDIOLECT was also new (spellcheck-redlined) but perfectly inferable from the parts. Even the NW didn't slow me down too much, once I accepted that WHOA was simply repeated.

In the SW the clue for SLEETS caused me pause. TSE is unknown to me and I almost mistakenly made my cabinet guy "PINETA," confusing MINETA with Leon Pinetta. That was the only NOT-easy part.

Good puzz; I took note of the double-Z black square formation to match Ms. Guizzo's name. OFCOURSE, DOD will be SHANIA Twain. Out of place for a Friday; it still gets a birdie.

rondo 12:26 PM  

So OFL is tired of hearing about LIFEHACKs? This is the first time I have ever seen it IRL. I must not be hip enough for such a “fresh” answer. Sounds like it could be like Heloise’s Helpful Hints. LIFEHACK my @$$. Puz was easy enough with only one w/o in IDeOLECT.

Thirty years ago or so I made a custom racing bed and put together a bed racing team. We all wore Hawaiian-type shirts and were called The Rollin’ SAMOANs. Somewhere I still have the trophies and photos to prove it.

In my box of water damaged and nearly damaged LPS is “Cosmos Factory” with “WHO”LL Stop the Rain”. I think I bought two or three copies of that album; it got heavy play back in the day.

A big thank you to yeah baby SHANIA Twain for introducing high class hooker-wear to country-pop music. Another big thank you to Sherilyn FENN for introducing us to her Twin Peaks. One of very few queens that can claim yeah baby status is Her Majesty Queen NOOR, American-born of Swedish heritage (mom’s side) who played college hockey!

My grid looks so nice and neat, save for that one square. Ask me to use LIFEHACK in a sentence? IWONTDOIT.

Anonymous 1:46 PM  

Fun, fair, challenging except for some real stinkers in the northeast. Giant HUHS??

centralscrewtinizer 2:54 PM  

Solving a month out is fun due to the time warp. I can't wait to read the comments here once Trump gets elected.
Thought I nailed this one until I found out Sherilyn was not a Finn. Good though, as a rhyming last name would be a terrible lifehack.

leftcoastTAM 3:43 PM  

Here's the LIST (no bullets):

Never-heard-of, but got: LIFEHACK (what?), IDIOLECT (good word), BOVA (six-time winner?, news to me).

Spelling problem, but got: MINETA.

Spelling problem, not got: VOLDiMORT, which meant misnaming the crossing FENN (never-heard-of) as FiNN.

AHEM, that last one resulted in a one-square dnf.

Otherwise, I enjoyed the play.

rain forest 3:59 PM  

Easy Friday, true, but lots of good stuff in here, headed by the gorgeous SHANIA, who, btw, is from Timmins, ONT, as is my girlfriend, who is also gorgeous. I liked figuring out IDIOLECT for which I had to reject _DIaLECT, and also gave me NOT, which also made "logical" sense.

I haven't read any of Harry Potter, or seen any of the films, but 33A has appeared in previous puzzles (clues and answers), so it was almost a gimme. Speaking of which, once I got ALL_, HALLOWS EVE was right behind. Had to guess at the RIO/BOVA and the LIFE/FENN crosses, but they turned out to be correct.

I think any bar with a piano in it is a PIANO BAR, no? I loved Gayle SAYERS, but I don't recall him referred to as the Kansas Comet. Best broken field runner ever, although Hugh McIlhenny was close behind, back in the day.

Anyway, an easy puzzle, but entertaining, educational, and well-crafted.

Diana,LIW 4:11 PM  

E Z Z? E Z Z? not for me!

I got the crossWORDS but not the crossNAMES, per usual.

When I saw a name I recognized, LORDVODaMORT, I thought to myself, I really have to watch Star Wars one of these days. Ha, ha, ha on me.

Must use IDIOLECT in a sentence today. LIFEHACK is just - odd. Really?

Perhaps there's a TEDTALK on later...

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

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