Richard who won Tony for playing Don Quixote / FRI 12-30-16 / Market town in Surrey / Site of Cedar Revolution / King's collaborator / Swimmer in cloudy water / Bovine product mascot

Friday, December 30, 2016

Constructor: Patrick Berry

Relative difficulty: Easy


THEME: none 

Word of the Day: Ralph ABERNATHY (9D: King's collaborator) —
Ralph David Abernathy, Sr. (March 11, 1926 – April 17, 1990) was a leader of the Civil Rights Movement, a minister, and Martin Luther King Jr.'s closest friend. In 1955, he collaborated with King to create the Montgomery Improvement Association, which would lead to the Montgomery Bus Boycott. In 1957, Abernathy co-founded, and was an executive board member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). Following the assassination of King, Abernathy became president of the SCLC. As president of the SCLC, he led the Poor People's Campaign in Washington, D.C. during 1968. Abernathy also served as an advisory committee member of the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE). He later returned to the ministry, and in 1989 — the year before his death — Abernathy wrote, And the Walls Came Tumbling Down: An Autobiography, a controversial autobiography about his and King's involvement in the civil rights movement. (wikipedia)
• • •

MAN ALIVE this was easy. I paused to sip my chamomile tea and eat one of the oatmeal raisin cookies my daughter made for me and still came in well under 5 minutes. I made virtually no wrong moves. Everything just fell into place. Everywhere I looked, I had just the letters I needed to give me the next answer. The puzzle was annoying in this way—not enough crunch or cleverness in the clues. The only resistance the puzzle offered came from LAST NAMES—not that answer, but from the actual last names KILEY (37A: Richard who won a Tony for playing Don Quixote) (??) and, to a much lesser extent, ABERNATHY (I at least knew the latter, though the clue was sufficiently vague that it took me some time to see which "King" the clue was referring to). No bite in the clues (boo), and all significant resistance from proper nouns (boo). This thing needed better calibration all the way around. Also, KILEY is a sore thumb in this puzzle—several times more obscure than the next most obscure thing in this puzzle (except perhaps CARLA, which is at least a common name) (51A: Thomas who is known as the Queen of Memphis Soul).


I experienced some very minor resistance from both of the sweet "drink" clues. I don't get how a CREAM SODA is "soft" except insofar as it is a "soft drink," in which case that clue really really needs a "?" (1A: It's soft and sweet). And I've never ever heard of a PURPLE COW (28D: Fountain drink containing grape juice and vanilla ice cream). Black cow, yes. Brown cow, I think so. PURPLE COW, never. That "C" (from CARLA) was the last letter I filled in down there. But everything else in the SW was so easy that my fountain drink ignorance was of very little consequence. Middle section of the puzzle was definitely the thorniest, but that's only because that's where the two aforementioned problematic proper nouns (KILEY, ABERNATHY) came together. I had some trouble understanding 43D: Lots of characters? (FONTS) (one of the few truly difficult clues), but I barely remember anything else about this puzzle, so poor a fight did it put up. Guessed CHITS (1D: Vouchers) and ROMEO (2D: "O, I am fortune's fool!" speaker) bam bam, and answers started falling and never stopped. I was even able to back into sections effortlessly. Into PSYCH from the -CH, into RICKMAN from the -MAN. Both those answers blew their respective corners wide open by giving a bank of first letters for me to work with. Finished in the SE, with the "N" in CON EDISON my last letter. The grid seems quite solid (not unexpected for a Patrick Berry puzzle), but the solving experience ... barely happened.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

114 comments:

George Barany 12:14 AM  

@Patrick Berry puzzles are always a treat -- I'm amazed that @Rex crushed it since it took me 3x as long. MAN_ALIVE, could it have been a tribute to @Alan RICKMAN, one of many luminaries who passed away this year? @YOGI BERRA was a gimme--we mourned his loss just about a year ago. As for the late actor who starred on Broadway as Don Quixote, I was somehow able to retrieve rILEY from a distant memory ... easily fixed once rANSANS made zero sense.

Unfinished business from yesterday: A friend wondered about a puzzle theme comprised entirely of Trump family members, albeit clued orthogonally. In response, I pointed out that TIFFANY would fail the "breakfast test."

jae 12:15 AM  

Had the same experience as @Rex. Not much resistance and not much bite.

Very smooth, very easy, not very memorable. Liked it OK, but would appreciate more from a Fri. puzzle.

Given the Christmas season "Die Hard" would have been a better clue for RICKMAN.

Nancy 12:52 AM  

I plan on posting at least 6 times today again so I need an early start. This puzzle sucks because I never heard of CREAMSODA, ASTRODOME, or YOGIBERRA. Tell the constructors to use words that I know. By the way, I live in New York City. Stay tuned for more messages about ME and not the puzzle. And if YOUR name is Nancy, please change it, even though your were a registered Blogger years before me. Oh, did I mention that I'm the only person in America who knows the difference between "lie" and "lay"? And I live in New York.

Crane Poole 12:58 AM  

And I felt so smart. Like Rex, answers flowed. That's okay, I didn't mind. Kiley, Abernathy, the late Carla Thomas (daughter of Rufus) whose woulda-been birthday was just the other day, fave singer of a good friend. CREAM SODA, PURPLE COW, YOGI BERRA. How about a Yoo Hoo?

Elsie for ELMER, catfish for MUDFISH, care for DOTE, and (I like this one) bathrooms for LASTNAMES (Families share them).

FIXED ON FOX NEWS? Not a chance.
Thanks @ Z for yesterday's handy posting tip.

Z 1:02 AM  

10:08, which is Wednesdayish, maybe even the easy end of Wednesdayish, here. The NW took me the longest since neither CREAM SODA nor HOLD UP JOB came easily. Never heard of PURPLE COW either, but a black cow like creation with grape juice wasn't hard to guess.

Interesting PPP dynamic here. 25 of 68 for 38%, so I'm hypothesizing that someones are going to struggle as a result. However, only 10 of the PPP answers are across answers but 9 of those 10 are in the south. I'll be interested to see if Berry has managed to make a high PPP puzzle widely accessible. Most likely looking natick is KILEY crossing SILENT CAL, but that seems like a pretty easily inferrable nickname even if you never heard of Coolidge.

A post from an anonymouse late yesterday led me to the tidbit that Ben Franklin wanted "Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God" on the reverse of the Great Seal of the United States. I wonder what Franklin's thoughts on loyalty might be.

Anonymous 1:11 AM  

Fake NANCY, your tone is familiar from your previous incarnations and you still suck. Love me the real NANCY!!! Post on!!!

As easy as Rex said --at least initially -- as I broke in the NE then worked smoothly clockwise. The finale in NW, however, killed any hopes of sub-20 glory. CREAM SODA, MUDFISH, ABERNATHY (for shame, I know), IMMEDIATE, OJAYS, all left me stumped till OJAY came twirling into mind from God knows where and the night was soon over.

Had always thought SORTIES applied to bomber/ fighters. Had not realized its more general military application.

Anonymous 1:44 AM  

This played like a very easy Wednesday puzzle. It all just came together.

Larry Gilstrap 1:45 AM  

I find it very cool that Mickey Mantle hit a home run in the ASTRO DOME. How did that happen? I had heard of Richard KILEY but that that whole Magi, Magus, MAGES thing left me pondering at one troublesome square. Is there a name name for such a conundrum?

I once was on a bike tour of the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont and I remember peering from a ridge into the the target villages and seeing the white SPIRES of the churches. Very welcoming.

ROMEO and Juliet is really a pretty good play. I often taught it and it holds up in many ways.

I'm guessing FOX NEWS has an agenda. Being in the same room with the broadcasts makes me uneasy. The few times I have seen it, the editorial stance seemed biased. Where do folks get their news these days?

John Child 1:47 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ellen S 1:49 AM  

Easy for me, too. I never heard of the Rasputin movie, as far as I can remember, but knew immediately nobody could have played him except Alan RICKMAN. I saw him in something where he played a normal person; it was awful. ("Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny" sounds like an awful movie, but still a perfect Rickman role. Too bad he's among the many no longer with us.)

I'm ashamed to admit it took me three times as long to dredge up Ralph David ABERNATHY and at that I needed some crosses.

@Anon 1:11 - nice takedown of the fake Nancy. And I'm with you on SORTIES, but i know nothin' of military stuff. I just put stuff in if it fits however tenuously.

John Child 1:51 AM  

I was just about on time with @GB, so an easy Friday puzzle but no record. The thing about a PB1 puzzle is that you can trust the vocabulary and clues, even if you don't see the right answer or the intent of the clue the first time you look at it. My POW so far, though I understand why some people loved the BEQ.

From the comments at xwordinfo I infer that tomorrow is a Jeff Chen, perhaps with a collaborator. I look forward to that too. Excellent themeless puzzles take some of the sting out of weaker early-week offerings.

@RealNancy: don't worry. We can all tell the difference!

@old timer: you may not have seen my late comment yesterday, but I would like to hear from you about it.

Sushi tonight and oysters and lobster tomorrow. I'm taking advantage of being out of town with my niece for the new year. Happy Merry to all.

Ellen S 2:14 AM  

I just checked yesterday's comments -- I never checked back later in the day and missed all kinds of brilliant and funny (or sad) posts. @Z, really nice way of showing how to insert a link into one of these comments - I kept getting messed up by the fact that putting in the brackets ("<" and ">") caused the blog to reject my comment. As it may reject this, who knows. It never occurred to me to just use a curly bracket and tell people to change it. Haha. Anyway a couple of years ago I put an explanation in my blog that shows step by step how to do it -- click here to go to that explanation . I sent it to Rex, but he persists in having his FAQ point to that, yes, useless explanation page. I know how to code HTML and can't make any sense of that page Rex sends people to.

But nobody can ever figure out my explanations either.

Brian B 2:16 AM  

Missed opportunity in this writeup:

I never saw a purple cow,
I never hope to see one.
But I will tell you, anyhow,
I'd rather see than be one.
--Burgess

puzzle hoarder 2:16 AM  

My first guess for 1A was CREAMPUFF, completely fell for the soft mislead but was still very close by coincidence. FRYER and OJAYS were my first actual write ins. It was steady but rather slow progress from there out. I kept having little glitches which dragged this thing out to 26:02. My favorite glitch was misreading my own R as an E and thinking 9D must be ABE somebody with a last name starting with E. They put king at the start of the clue to make it look like a name so you'll think the answer is ABERNATHY. I literally thought that.
@Rex could you please weed out the bathroom wall crap like that fake @Nancy post. Thank you.

John Child 2:25 AM  

Second missed opportunity for a very few of us: http://ephsports.williams.edu/why_ephs-_purple-_and_purple_cows

Charles Flaster 4:13 AM  

Very easy and unlike some it was right in my wheelhouse-- YOGI BERRA , ASTRODOME, KILEY, and CON EDISON.
@Larry Gilstrap-- Mantle hit the home run in an exhibition game!!
Two write overs--TEE for TiE and ELMER for ELsie.
Liked cluing for LAST NAMES, SAMARITAN, and TIGHT.
BTW-- in 1968 I had advance tickets to see Richard Kiley in Man of La Mancha but he had left the show a week earlier. Still loved it.
For a very creative puzzle go to George Barany's comment above and click on BERRA.
Thanks PB

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Anonymous 5:22 AM  

For the next four years I intend to curl up in the fetal position and cry. It's just the way I was raised.

Moly Shu 5:33 AM  

I also found this on the easy side, my only problems were ELsie before ELMER, which gave me obi instead of TEE. I know an obi isn't a garment per se, but 3 letter item of clothing is always obi to me. Also stumbled with Lingerie fabric, I thought to myself " this is friday, so it can't be SATIN " but it was. Classic (for me) overthink.
A lot of hate for @fakenancy, maybe some good old back-n-forth will occur. Makes me wonder if @RexPorker will return at some point.

Anonymous 7:10 AM  

CREAM SODA is indeed soft in the way that soft drinks are soft. It's not word play.

Passing Shot 7:15 AM  

Like others, ELsie before ELMER, grill before FRYER, lOvE before DOTE. Other than that, 2 seconds off my record time (which is still slow compared to most folks here). A little disappointing from PB. Was hoping for an OJAYS video ftom Rex, maybe "Back Stabbers" --https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=hzTeLePbB08

NCA President 7:21 AM  

On the easy side of a Friday for me too. A few hangups:

I had c'ESTnEPAS because I got far enough in my Duolingo French lessons to know that's a phrase. But those two wrong letters made all the difference in my time. I happen to be terrible at some names, especially actors...there's just too many of them for me to care about. Oh, I recognize them from their faces and maybe even remember some of their movies, but Alan RICKMAN's name just wasn't obvious. So -ESIc looked okay for making some turpentine. So I sat and stared. For a while. Finally, my Duolingo work paid off and I remembered that N'ESTCEPAS is probably a thing too. This is an example of knowing too much for your own good.

HOLDUPJOB? No. Maybe in 1950s Car 54 Where Are You? speak...but not in anyone's modern lingo...much less on an actual rap sheet.

KILEY was another name I did not know, but I was able to get it because I know HITO.

I don't think of EWERS as relating to wine...a "fancy wine vessel" would be a decanter. Ewers are those water things that go with basins in old timey westerns.

The other ?? came at ELMER with "Bovine product mascot." I was thinking "Bovine product" instead of "product mascot." A "bovine product" mascot is Elsie. A bovine "product mascot" is ELMER. Glue is an equine product, n'est ce pas? So it took a cup of coffee or two to get my head around what the clue was actually asking for. ELMER is pretty obvious, but Elsie made sense as a "bovine product" mascot.

Ugh.

Well look...a puzzle that has no real controversial material in it! Except FOXNEWS, of course...but at least Shep Smith is gay and represents some kind of diversity to that "news" channel. Of course, there is the CIA just above FOXNEWS...so there's that. But no "normalization" today!

And to faux Nancy above: You're the reason we got this message board moderated a while back. So to all of the posters here...I recommend you click on the word "said" when trolls like this post. They will IMMEDIATEly disappear from your feed. Just ignore them.

Glimmerglass 7:28 AM  

PB is just the best. Even when I find a puzzle too easy, I feel smart. For example, I wrote in ABERNATHY off just RN, but I never thought, "Oh that's a gimme." I thought, after some of the other letters were confirmed, "Gee, I was smart to get that so quick." And so it went. I couldn't do anything else with the NW, but FRYER, NUMERIC, and the afore-mentioned ABERNATHY got me off and running clockwise around the grid. PB puzzls are always fun.

Anonymous 7:49 AM  

Only GoldieRex could complain that the puzzle was too easy for him while also whining about the parts that were too hard (for him).

I am not a robot 7:55 AM  

This will forever stand as the Friday I finished in under 15 minutes, given that my normal Friday time can be measured in hours.

And @fake nancy, envy is an ugly thing son. Get a real handle, be nice, and join the fun. You might even make some friends.

Indecent Raps 7:56 AM  

@All posters who think there is only one anti-clique iconoclast posting here: you're wrong.

Apparently there are several posters who tire of the gaseous, circle-jerk ramblings of the sacred cows here.

r.alphbunker 8:05 AM  

If I ever construct a crossword puzzle I hope to have [19A {Buttonless garment} be TIE instead of TEE unless @Teedmn or some other commenter can convince me not to do it.

Details of my solution are here

Anonymous 8:08 AM  

Any Friday puzzle that I need to go back and look at clues just to see if I would have solved them, if I had needed them, to solve the puzzle, is not a Friday puzzle.
Any clue with the word "Fossey" in it does not need a "Gorillas in the Mist" helper on a Friday. Ugh.

chefbea 8:14 AM  

Pretty easy for a Friday!! Makes me want to try a purple cow. Love cream soda!!

kitshef 8:19 AM  

I know Richard KILEY for only one reason - in Jurassic Park, John Hammond boasts about the voice on the jeep tour being that of Richard KILEY - "we spared no expense".

Solved NE to SW, then got SE, all fairly easy, only hiccup was NSA before CIA.

NW was pretty hairy, though. ELsie led to assertive for immEdiatE and obi for TEE. Like others, had lOvE before DOTE. Also had FRiER before FRYER. Finally SORTIES gave me ELMER, OJAYS fixed FRier, CREAM SODA fixed lOvE, and obi finally gave way to TEE.

Agree this played easy for a Friday, but look at how nice it is! Twelve stacked longs, most of them very good, and the weakest one (LAST NAMES) rescued by a clever clue.

Evil Doug 8:23 AM  

All nonloyal dissenters should be rounded up.

And by the way, Mussolini made the trains run on time. He wasn't Hitler either,

kitshef 8:25 AM  

@Nancy at 12:52. Funnily enough, there is a regular poster on this board also named Nancy, also from New York. I would say 'what are the odds?', but NYC is a big place, and probably has a lot of Nancys.

Anyway, I doubt she'll be inclined to change her blogging name, but she has a fairly distinctive 'voice', and posts later in the day, so I think we'll figure it out.

I wouldn't have guessed it was possible to live in New York and not know YOGI BERRA, though.

Teedmn 8:31 AM  

A three letter buttonless garment was my first entry today - "alb". ELsie FIXED ON that, but I knew that ELMER was a distinct possibility so that didn't hold up my solution in the least.

PURPLE COW in the SW, CON EDISON in the SE and SAMARITAN in the NE as three long gimmes made this puzzle seem very easy but my time did not reflect how easy it seemed, not sure why. Perhaps "alb" was more of a HOLD UP JOB than I thought.

I liked the "Ticket prices?" clue for FINES. MARLIN could have been clued as "That thing Jerry Lewis's character had sticking through his abdomen in "Hook, Line and Sinker"". I saw that movie as a kid - what a great final reveal, though I don't think I could "stomach" watching Jerry Lewis these days.

Thanks, @NCA President, for the double parsing of "Bovine product mascot". And as always, nice job, PB1.

Anonymous 8:34 AM  

This was a little easy for a Friday but no complaints here. I suppose one could pick nits about the normalization of Orrin Hatch (he's a big supporter of Jeff Sessions for Attorney General) and Fox News (well, you know), but I think the indignation should be left fir the real villains like Tiffany and Eric Trump and Betsy DeVos.

Mohair Sam 8:40 AM  

Ken Kesey's fictional Chief Bromden believed Nurse Ratched could control time, actually slow the clock down. Well many of us here in Cruciverbia believe Will Shortz can control the calendar - Happy Tuesday everbody!

Everything @Rex said, plus Richard KILEY was a gimme in this house (as I'm dead positive he was for the real @Nancy), how easy does it get? KILEY a favorite here because one of our kids must have watched the VCR tape of his "The Little Prince" about 100 times. YOGI and the ASTRODOME gimmes for this Long Island born baseball nut. I drink about a gallon of CREAM SODA a week since caffeine has been banned in my life.

Had a PURPLE COW once as a teenager in a local ice cream parlor. I repeat - once. Recently read a detailed study of the King assassination yet the ABERNATHY name nearly had to fill before I got the connection.

This one played a lot easier for the over 60 crowd, N'EST-CE PAS?

three of clubs 8:50 AM  

What no complaints about Lenin and Tito appearing in this puzzle? Oh, I guess they were allies of the American people.

Exubesq 8:53 AM  

Record Friday time, beating my normal Tuesday. I prefer to think that makes me really good instead of admitting this was a really easy one.

Anonymous 8:58 AM  

Easy for a Friday but I always love that Patrick Berry smoothness. KILEY was a gimme for me -- he was wonderful in Kismet.

GILL I. 9:05 AM  

@Brian:
Ah, yes I wrote the Purple Cow
I'm sorry now I wrote it.
But I can tell you anyhow
I'll kill you if you Quote it!
I once had a PURPLE COW...Once - and it contained vodka.
So...holy COW this had a lot of names. I got them eventually but jeez louise - how many is too many? PB usually keeps it down that's why I like his puzzles. Not so much today.
Did anyone else have CREAM puff? I don't think my lips have ever
touched a CREAM SODA. PSYCH took me forever because I had "out" SMART. MAGIS/KILIY ooops. Wrongy dongy.
ASS MAN ALIVE I say.

Steve M 9:12 AM  

Literate and easy but lovely thx PB

Sydney Joe from Kokomo 9:13 AM  

I found this very easy as well; I finished in under 2:00 total despite a bathroom break and I ran out and changed my sparkplugs (all 16 of them). RICHARDKILEY was a gimme because of "Howard The Duck" and that episode of "Gunsmoke," and I drink several PURPLECOWs a day. PRIMATES was my only rough spot; I've never heard that word and I'm still not sure what it means. Well, I'm off to the store this beautiful morning to get some fresh donuts and more vodka. Ciao!

George Barany 9:15 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Maruchka 9:25 AM  

Alan RICKMAN. Too sad. He was CREAMy and bitter and sweet. Lucky to have seen him in 'John Gabriel Borkman', a dREAMy production.

I never (had) a PURPLE COW, but there's always deliciousness in a PB puzzle. This went fairly smooth, with three do-overs for Elsie/ELMER, obi/TEE, Marla/CARLA (doh). The OJAYS and Ms. Thomas are still working, I'm happy to find out.

Plenty of skyline in Brooklyn, both dREAMing SPIRES and water towers. Although with so much new construction, not necessarily as easy to spot.

'Will the real @Nancy please stand up, please stand up, please stand up..' (nod to Aunty Em 'n 'em KANSANS).

George Barany 9:26 AM  

Checking back ... so many interesting comments (though still waiting to hear from the real @Nancy, who I've had the pleasure of meeting on two trips back to the Big Apple, earlier this calendar year).

@John Child's link to his alma mater's mascot is fascinating, and bears repeating: http://ephsports.williams.edu/why_ephs-_purple-_and_purple_cows

Since nobody else seems to have mentioned it, how about CIA crossing COVERT?! Just two days ago, we had TITO clued for a baseball manager.

Famous SILENT CAL anecdote: Some Washington matron told him that she had made a bet that she could get him to say more than two words. His reply: "You lose." Is it apocryphal? We report, you decide: http://quoteinvestigator.com/2016/01/10/few-words/

Finally, CON EDISON brings back memories, not altogether fond, of the NYC blackout of 1977 featuring a generator called "Big Allis" -- read more about it at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_City_blackout_of_1977 The blackout was followed by looting, and about a week later, I was held up at gunpoint half a block from school.

Z 9:35 AM  

@Larry Gilstrap - Does "whac-a-vowel" work? Agreed, too, on R&J. I always like to point out that it is a play about a couple of people who would be 9th graders in our society. If you know any ninth graders you realize how apt it is (and why we don't let the boys carry swords anymore).

@Exubesq - I vote for "really good."

As for "King's collaborator," my first thought was that Stephen writes alone.

@NCA Prez - I'm not positive but I'm thinking a French speaker might take issue with "c'est ne pas ... is a phrase."

Hey, did I miss an announcement about today being Troll Friday? Damn.

Anonymous 9:49 AM  

Larry Gilstrap,

The homer Mantle hit was just in a good old fashioned exhibition game. In 1965 the Yankees really were still America's team and they frequently played exhibition games after the grapefruit league gfinished up. They always drew. And a big gate was a consideration even for the mighty Yanks in the days before big TV rights fees.
There are a couple of oddities to the homer. Mantle batted leadoff that day, something his old manger probably wouldn't have considered.But that day the Yanks had a brand new manager--johnny Keane--and he had a sense of history ( an by all accounts a pretty high onion of himself.
there's other trivia associated with the swat and that game. But I'm sure everyone's bored already. One last note on Mantle home runs in exhibition games. Check out the story about the two shots he hit at USC in `51. Some folks say one was over 600 feet. There are graphs charts and a whole mythology about that day.

(signed)
Some pathetic Phillies fan

Churlish Nabob 9:49 AM  

Nothing wrong with a bit of harmless sport, occasionally, whether in the ASTRODOME or on this blog. Just sayin', sub ROSA.

JHC 9:50 AM  

You know what's not my thing? I mean, really, majorly not my thing? Football. Can't stand it. No interest. A bunch of oversized concussions-in-progress enacting the strategic decisions of some guy on the sidelines. Any game where it takes longer to discuss what just happened than it did for it to happen, where a 32-minute clock takes 3 hours to play, is a silly game. As a result of my feelings on this matter, I can name something like 5 football players, and only then because their actions have bled over into the real news.

Nonetheless, I recognize that millions people in this country love football, and just because I couldn't care less about its major figures doesn't make them un-crossworthy. I accept that when there's a football clue, I'll just have to fill it in with crosses and get on with my life. I certainly don't start grumbling about how obscure the puzzle's proper nouns are, just because I'm ignorant of their field.

What I'm saying, Rex, is lay off the theater clues. One person's obscura is another person's gimme. I'm sorry theater isn't your thing. In my opinion, you're missing out, but that doesn't matter. It's a topic in the public eye, which millions of people care about. When the NYT uses theater clues in the crossword, it's usually a towering, iconic figure in the field -- Richard KILEY very much included -- and if you couldn't care less, your ignorance doesn't make the whole topic un-crossworthy.

Lewis 9:58 AM  

Yes, easy for Friday and Friday/Berry, and yes, the cluing was accurate and well done, but without those few jaw droppers that Patrick usually throws in (though I did like the clue for FINES and I found the clue for TIGHT tricky). But still -- look at that grid, how clean it is. I mean absolutely spotless, and this is a 68-worder. I sit in awe.

For a moment I put in "PUROLATOR" for PURPLECOW!

I do like that FOX NEWS is even lower than INANE, and I liked the answers MANALIVE, PURPLECOW, SORTIES, and SILENTCAL. The puzzle fell quickly, but still had that smooth rich Berry feel, which is a most precious gift in Crossworld.

mac 10:04 AM  

Smooth and easy Berry, very enjoyable but it went too fast. My favorite word is "camps", don't think I've seen that in a puzzle with this meaning.

I too had Elsie before Elmer, and put in Marla for Carla, in hindsight probably because of
MarlO Thomas. I don't know purple cows and cream sodas.

Appropriate that the last answer is Last Names, although just Names would have worked too.

QuasiMojo 10:11 AM  

Count me among the "Elmer" first set. I used to love that product. I think there was a post a while back about eating Elmer's Glue. I liked the "soft" and "sweet" taste of it. My first thought for the grape and ice cream drink was "Prune Soda." But the one across kind of ruined that idea. Purple Cow made sense to me.

I wish we had a Patrick Berry puzzle every day or at least every week. They are smooth and delicious without being slick. Or too obviously "au courant," n'est-ce pas?

mathgent 10:17 AM  

I saw Richard Kiley do Man of La Mancha in NYC in the sixties. Great production of a wonderful musical. I guess most of us are too young to know him.

This puzzle is like having a great chef come to your home to prepare a meal. You agree to pay for whatever ingredients he decides to use. You sit down to eat and he brings out mac and cheese. It was perfectly prepared and pleasant to eat.

Nancy 10:22 AM  

So here at last -- a little late because I slept late -- is the real me. I love you all for your early a.m. support today. Thank you all so much.

Enjoyed this puzzle a lot, and I didn't find it all that easy. I had to change ELSIE to ELMER and I was also wondering why the hyAtT saw fit to buy Sears (21A), but I changed both. Those early errors were why the NW and NE took longer. The bottom came in fast. I do have two small nits -- unusual in a PB1 puzzle. Are EWERS really "fancy wine vessels"? I would think delicate long-stemmed hand-blown glassware from Bavaria would be more like it. And while CREAM SODA is indeed sweet, is it soft???? Can a liquid be soft? Even though I had the EA, I spent a long, long time trying to think of something that was both soft and sweet. And here was all I was able to come up with:
*Ice cream at room temperature
*Mousse or pudding
*A lullaby
Pondering all this added even more time to the NW solve. But all in all, a delightful puzzle.

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 10:23 AM  

Just to point out that I didn't know Alan Ruickman but Rasputin was on my mind as I was starting the puzzle because in the actual New York Times tyhe article at the top of the puzpage was a review of Douglas Smith's new book about him. It claims that almost everything we think we know about the 'mad monk' is wrong, based on rumor, hearsay and outright fabrication. 'Fake news', and coming from Russia. Whodathunkit.

Questinia 10:36 AM  

Patrick Berry puzzles are always zeal-inducing to me although agree that HOLDUP JOB is straight out of rat-pack 60's Las Vegas and ELMER versus Elsie made this a Friday instead of a Tuesday puzzle.

I knew PURPLE COW had to be so because grape juice and grain alcohol is a PURPLE Jesus and grape Kool Aid with Valium, chloral hydrate, cyanide and Phenergan has got to be a PURPLE Rapture.

@ Gill- Yes, vacation!
@ M&A- Code name is always *Q
@Leapsterinea- if you know where I can get whole anchovies in water.

Gregory Schmidt 10:40 AM  

I always look forward to PB's puzzles, but this one left me a bit disappointed. Not much bite at all for a Friday. Finished in well under average time. That said, it was nice to see another of his super-clean grids, after all the utter dreck this week.

Anonymous 10:46 AM  

I see that P. Berry is now trying to normalize "purple cow" and "silent Cal" by putting them in the puzzle! Oh the horror of it all! Several names were mysteries to me but still finished quicker than usual. Put in O'days by mistake but quickly fixed that after I realized rap sheet did not refer to some random bebop syllables that a rapper probably wouldn't say.

Numinous 11:01 AM  

This was a Friday best for me! I thoroughly enjoyed it even though it was EASY. I solved the "bovine product" problem by entering EL[SM] . . . When I figured out IMMEDIATE, I went with the glue guy. I'm not so good with names so I had to change ORReN to ORRIN when I remembered that the old man was trying to defend a MARLIN. I was thinking hominids before PRIMATES but thought that might be a little obscure.

@Indecent Raps, I'm not sure where it says that it is obligatory to read the comments here. I always thought this was an optional part of the day. Most of us have made friends here and enjoy a sort of café society conversation. Anyone who finds this torturous can go and read the comics instead. By the way, I think the fake @Nancy is amusing. But, then, I think spitting into the wind is funny too (when it's not me).

I would not expect tod find HOLD UP JOB as a listing in a rap sheet but I can easily imagine a rap sheet referencing one. I thought that clue was just fine when I figured it out.

I have a smile for @George for referencing TIFFANY failing the "breakfast test".

Have a good 'un, y'all.

Alison 11:07 AM  

Love Patrick Berry but lots of families, including mine, don't all have the same last name. Kind of a clueless clue.

Laura 11:07 AM  

I was happy to see local hero SILENT CAL (only US president from Vermont), who had been on my mind because of the death of Debbie Reynolds yesterday -- in "Singin' in the Rain," silent film star (and antagonist to Reynolds's character Kathy Selden) Lina Lamont utters the immortal line:

"What do they think I am? Dumb or something? Why, I make more money than - than - than Calvin Coolidge! Put together!"

jberg 11:07 AM  

I opened up the paper, saw all that white space, then saw the constructor's name, and figured I was set for the morning. It turned out easy, though, despite not knowing RICKMAN. I was saved from Elsie because I had IMMEDIATE first.

I did actually put in TiE before TEE, even though I'm much more likely to wear the latter -- but that was easily fixed. I'd chalk this up as a pleasant interlude.

For those complaining about a clique -- open up! You'll find this a welcoming community. I certainly did.

old timer 11:35 AM  

DNF because I did not know KILEY and have no idea what MAGES are. Other than that a typical PB solve -- at first you seem to know nothing, then gradually the true answers make themselves known.

I am amazed that KMart bought Sears. KMart always strikes me as a failing store, but they survived.

I also have no idea who or what ELMER is, except in a glue or Fudd context. But crosses made ELMER pretty obvious.

Leapfinger 11:35 AM  

Started the NW IMMEDIATEly with CHITS and ADE, and felt clever about catching the parsing trick in the 3D clue, but vacillated between ELMER and ELSIE. Was absolutely sure the 'buttonless garment' was a TIE, which is buttonless because you TIE it, see? The exact same way you slip on a slipon and step in your step-ins. There's a slippery slope, though, since that means a belt would be a buckle, and a shoe just lace. Anyway, too many garments are donned with buttons to maintain any semblance of useful distinction:"Sweetie, could you hand me my button?" "Certainly, Babycakes. Do you want the cotton(silk) button that goes next to your skin, the knitted button that goes over that, or the heavy button you wear outdoors?" I hate to even think about the confusion with zippers above vs below the belt (or 'buckle'). Will zip it for now.

My next disappointment was [Swimmer in cloudy water] not being MUskrat. I thought that 'cloudy/musk' thingy made it a very clever clue pair. Maybe another time. On the up-side, I later found ROSA, my shiv-in-a-shoe Bond villain, from the other day

Unsurprisingly, the fill was grand, and many clues were subtly excellent, like the 'soft (ie, not hard or alcoholic) and sweet' CREAMSODA. Other clues surprised in giving away too much: the Good SAMARITAN almost cited chapter and verse, and Cedars pretty much lead to LEBANON or Sinai. It was a bit unnerving; I don't expect any telegraphy on Fridays.


*Aha, The old EPSOM/EPSON question. Picking EPSOn would give you LAST_NANES, so obviously INANE
*At one time, was COVERT spelt COVERed? And OVERT overed?
*My eye just lit on NESTCEPAS, and it looked like a snuggly place for porcini mushrooms
*Sometimes UNIT, sometimes I NIT; if I NIT today, it would be about the FINES' ticket prices vs costs. Just a little boo keeping.
*'Man and others' are apparently some of the species where you can't PRIMATES apart.

Lovely to have a Berry follow a BEQ; does SATIN suggest a Silk is coming? Any SINES of a Gorski?
................

Above was penned w/o benefit of reading blog/comments, so more bound to come later. Did catch some glimpses, so...
@real Nancy, try for 8 today (evil grin)
@Q/T, go fish!

Masked and Anonymous 11:51 AM  

yep. Easy FriPuz, at our house, also.

fave clue: {Lots of characters?} = FONTS. For some reason, after startin the solvequest in the middle, we ended up gettin thru the bottom half of the puz first. Usually it's then a kinda chore, to re-boot into the top half; but, not for this rodeo. Slapped in RESIN/RICKMAN pair, and off we clumb.

Knew Richard KILEY off the "I". Altho had ?ANSANS going down, so that helped verify things nicely.

fave weeject: ADE. ADE has enjoyed Patrick Berry Usage Immunity since Oct '99. MUDFISH gets the PB1 U.I. plus NYTPuz debut-meat status, all in one muddy swim-thru, as of today. Congratz, M. F.

Best PB1-level desperation (which is rarely very excitin): HOLDUPJOB.

French blow-out stack-dweller of note: NESTCEPAS. Have heard of this, but spellin was (for m&e) an uphill climb. Lost valuable nanos-sachoundes. These French dudes don't say em like they spell em, much.

Thanx, PB1. Hey, no Trump refs., unless U count HOLDUPJOB. Primo.

Masked & Anonymo3Us


**gruntz**

Al Rodbell 12:04 PM  

Man Alive!

That gave me a smile, as I recalled my Uncle Irving who was this glamorous figure in my early childhood, as he was away fighting the war in Europe. When he arrived home it was a bit like the return of this mythic heroic figure, and I at five and my big sister would toast him as "Here's to Uncle Irvin, the man who won the war!" (He had spent his time in England, and I don't think he ever saw combat)

He would use this phase frequently, and with a certain intonation that allowed a precise expression of frustration that was tailored to the moment. If it was just aggravation with his kids, it was one, if with the world, another. For some reason a while ago I was thinking about this phrase, and that it hasn't been in use for about a half century, so I have to wonder if there were any millennial who got the crossword phrase with just the "man."

Joseph Michael 12:12 PM  

I never met a Patrick Berry puzzle I didn't like and this was no exception. Lots of fresh fill, no junk, fun to solve.

After entering CHITS right away, I got hung up in the NW due to entering "inkfish" instead of MUDFISH, "hit and run" instead of HOLD UP JOB, and "gush" instead of DOTE. I finally worked my way back up from the bottom to discover my errors and finish the grid.

I especially liked the clues for LAST NAMES, FINES, UH OH, CAMPS, ABERNATHY, and FONTS.

Hats off to to the late great Alan RICKMAN, a wonderful actor.

Anonymous 12:13 PM  

@Indecent Raps:

Couldn't have said it better myself Sir! Clique is indeed the best adjective to describe the vast majority of posters on this site. They are a very inclusive and tolerant group until you take exception to their ideology, social views, or politics. If they chose to denigrate or disparage the next president or his family, you're expected to just roll over and accept it.

Now, a word to the aforementioned group. I know that most of you would like to delude yourself into believing that there are only one or two anonymice who poke fun at you. You'd be wrong! Thousands of people read this blog everyday. Many voted for Trump. They come here mainly because they love crosswords, but ever since the election, they also come for the pleasure of watching you agonize about seeing things like TIFFANY in the puzzle.


Anoa Bob 12:27 PM  

With __TO in place at 34 Down, I was convinced that NATO would be Stalin's Post-WWII foe. Took a while to get unFIXED ON that one.

The first puzzle that I ever submitted for publication was in '08 to the Chronicle of Higher Education. The editor quickly replied with some encouraging comments about the puzzle's merits. Then he said that there was one minor "hiccup" (his word)---I had misspelled one of the theme entries! I had PYRHIC, rather than PRYHHIC VICTORY in the grid. Can you imagine my embarrassment? I had to redo the whole thing, but with the editor's patient and kind assistance---took a couple of tries---I got my first publication. The editor? Today's constructor. So not only do I admire PB1 for his constructioneering prowess, I also owe him a debt of gratitude for the way he deftly and gracefully helped out a stumbling newbie constructor wanna be.

I did learn from those early experiences to go over every single square with a fine-toothed comb, which is why I did notice that even the great ones sometimes rely on some POC assistance to get it done, e.g., at the ends of MAGE/PRIMATE, KANSAN/WEAN & SINE/LAST NAME. Is that biting the hand that fed me?

Roo Monster 12:46 PM  

Hey All !
Well... do I feel INANE. So far, I'm the only one who found this tough! Played like a typical FriPuz, apparently the ole brain refused to fire on all cylinders. Got stuck in each quadrant on an answer or three. Slightly too young (which I haven't been able to say in a while! [47]) to get SILENTCAL immediately. However, do remember hearing of (maybe not hearing, though) of The OJAYS. Never heard of a PURPLE COW. PURPLE nerples, yes. Didn't know KILEY, but again, couldn't see the obvious K even after having _ANSANS. MAN ALIVE, my mind went PRIMATE.

After all that craziness, did like puz. All corners open nicely, with nary dreckness. But UHOH, I see as TIGHT ASS! And funny for the people who argue about the Who/Whom usage. Just use WHOME from now on. :-)

CAMPy
RooMonster
DarrinV

Ralph's Belle Amie 12:52 PM  

@NCAP 0721

Wrong. That would be CE N'EST PAS, with something quelque chose to follow. It isn't a case of knowing too much; it's a case of not knowing enough about what you do know to know what to do with it. And vive la difference.

And just for your viewing pleasure: Honey's wacky Mali puns

Charley 12:56 PM  

Mantle's home run was in an exhibition game, so really doesn't count.
There's someone from New York who never heard of Yogi Berra or cream soda?
"Holdup job" is not a thing.

dick swart 1:04 PM  

'PURPLE COW" ...

Mascot of a small NE College.

Beat Amherst!

NCA President 1:04 PM  

&Ralph Belle Amie: Curses! The Dunning Krueger effect strikes again!

Anoa Bob 1:20 PM  

Where's an editor when you need one?! It, of course, is PYRRHIC VICTORY. Another victory like that and I will be ruined!

Moly Shu 1:35 PM  

@anon12:13. Amen amen and amen. However, "thousands of people read this blog everyday" may be a bit generous. I'd like for you to set an actual number (your best guess) on how many people read this blog daily. Whatever number you come up with, I bet the under.
Now, preach on brother !!!!!
@Numinous, I also thought @fakenancy was funny. Spit my coffee I did.

Anonymous 1:43 PM  

@JHC - In the 2014-2015 season, the total attendance at Broadway Shows was about 13 million. In the 2014-2015 football season, the average distinct viewership for each and every broadcast was about 18 million, that's six broadcasts per week for 17 weeks plus 11 playoff games, so football is viewed about 156 times often as is theater. You want to throw in in regional theater, fine, I'll throw in college football. So yes, an actor who first played a role (i.e. the actual clue) 55+ years ago may not be that well known. And that was Rex's point, that the difficulty in the puzzle rested entirely on proper names, and that KILEY was specifically lesser known than the others, the (well modified) demurral of CARLA Thomas notwithstanding. It's great that you knew KILEY from the clue. It doesn't mean that that a puzzle's difficulty should properly rest on proper nouns, nor that KILEY may well have been the least know of the proper nouns in the puzzle.

Mr. Benson 1:45 PM  

I also filled in NATO for the Stalin foe. The clue had an abbreviation, so I thought the answer would also have one. I felt very confident in that answer.

That was what held me up the longest... that and a little thorniness in the NE (notwithstanding the rare 9-letter gimme in SAMARITAN at 12D). Knowing where turpentine came from probably would have helped me up there.

Still, definitely an easy Friday overall -- those were minor speedbumps.

thfenn 1:45 PM  

I haven't completed enough Fridays to even start thinking about times, but I completed this one, so, I guess that's proof it was easy. Just not for me, yet. Definitely enjoyed it though. I couldn't figure out how ELMER worked until NCA President spelled it out for me, thanks for that. Until then, ELSIE was the only mascot of bovine products I could imagine, and a product mascot that happens to be bovine never occurred to me.

Wouldn't let go of GRILL over FRYER for a long time either. SANDS for CAMPS also held me up for awhile.

Enjoyed seeing SILENTCAL in here - have a place not far from his birthplace in Plymouth, VT and enjoy going by there from time to time. If I'm not mistaken, Vermont is also the only state in the Union that George Bush never visited, and the state that gave Obama his highest 'percentage of the state vote' in 2008 (63% I think).

Thoroughly enjoyed learning Mantle hit the first HR in the Astrodome - very cool little fact to have handy. Enjoyed MARLIN, having been on several deep sea fishing adventures out of Hemingway's on the Kenyan coast (and still laugh at the speed with which we signed up with a captain that could boast of having a boat that'd outrun Somali pirates).

Didn't like HOLDUPJOB - no problem with it differently clued, but I doubt there's a rap sheet anywhere with that as an entry.

@Z, going to head back to yesterday and read up on posting a link, thanks, I'd asked about that just a few days back.

Wishing everyone here a happy new year, laughing, particularly those that share my ideology, social views, and politics, since we seem less likely to be in store for one, but everybody nonetheless. I have to say I don't understand the anonymice part tho - I mean, you (some unspecified number of thousands) all want to lurk here and take pleasure in the angst of those unhappy with the incoming administration, and then post little jabs from the safety of your anonymity? Wow. Sign up and defend your own fearless leader if you want, but don't be mice.

Leapfinger 1:46 PM  

Hi there, @Chaos! Did you drop in for lunch?

@Z said: 'As for "King's collaborator," my first thought was that Stephen writes alone.'
Ah yes, but Tabitha writes in the same house. Does that make her a collaborator? You decide.

Combining collaborators with @Evil's mention of Mussolini reminded me: I was just gifted Martin Cruz Smith's latest "The Girl from Venice", set in the last days of WWII. I recommend it as can't put down engrossing; I finished it in 2 days and would've done it in one had Life not kept interrupting.

Where did all this PURPLE COW variability come from? I discovered the drink at age 8 or 9 at Valerie Cerini's house, where I'd go to watch Howdy Doody because we didn't have a TV. It was either H Doody or Buffalo Bob who told us kids to make ourselves a PURPLE COW by pouring Welch's Grape Juice into a glass of milk. Fascinating to watch the purple sinuize scrolls down through the white, and after you mixed and (presumably) drank it, there were those lovely buttermilky fractals left on the glass.

@Anoa Bob, old Pa Pyrrhus still giving you trouble, eh? Nice story.

Mr. Benson 1:48 PM  

Also: I'm pretty sure Rex would have dinged any other constructor for including the word "cream" in both a clue (28D) and an answer (1A). I'm surprised he didn't take a shot at the editor for that.

Mohair Sam 2:24 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 2:41 PM  

It seems that some people think that the puzzle should be an extension of The Times's editorial page and to clue the children and cabinet members of the incoming POTUS in an anodyne manner is somehow "normalizing" them. I'm no Trump fan but that is an extreme viewpoint which seems to be working. I've been doing the Times crossword for thirty years. It is one of life's pleasures. Keep your politics out of. my puzzle.

Marie 2:54 PM  

Purple cow is a funny one. I didn't recognize it at first, but then remembered my parents used to have them to cool off after a game of golf. That would have been in the 1940's I guess, when you'all weren't even born. Marie

Alex 2:55 PM  

@Exubesq, I'm with you about faster speeds today! I fell into the Elsie/ELMER, obi/TEE hole, which resulted in the Northwest being the last part of the puzzle to fall for me. I liked the intersection of CIA and COVERT, but the totalitarianism slant of FOX NEWS, TITO, Stalin and ORRIN Hatch made me a little cranky about families sharing LAST NAMES. I would prefer "often share LAST NAMES."

Nancy 3:02 PM  

Re: SILENT CAL: I'm sure you've all heard this one, but in case you haven't:
When Dorothy Parker was informed that Calvin Coolidge had died, she responded, How can they tell?"

Hartley70 3:09 PM  

I do enjoy a nice clean Patrick Berry solve, but my time was nothing like that of the speed MAGES here. I love his puzzles because they are challenging but rarely require a cheat if one just "works" the grid.

I am not a robot 3:09 PM  

@Al, That's a good story. Thanks

Mohair Sam 3:09 PM  

@Moly Shu - I think thousands may hit Rex's blog every day, however I should think very few get back here to the comments section. But Anon12:13 hits a nail on the head about the recent political comments. And no, I did not vote for Trump.

@Anon1:43 - Your math is great. But JHC's point was that KILEY is a Joe Montana. I must see 500 NFL games for every Broadway play, but I can't name one offensive lineman on the Cowboys. Besides, it's the New York times, and Broadway is always bigger in New York.

@Z - Watching "Premier League Live" right now, I may have to become a Crystal Palace supporter.

Anonymous 3:12 PM  

@anonymous 12:13, and you know about the thousands of people how? Just curious.

Ralph's Belle Amie 4:45 PM  

Yo @NCAPrez, from high above Cayuga's waters, ye olde Dunning-Kruger effect rises like Nessie from the Loch! Have a feeling Dunning-Kruger was endemic/epidemic among Trump fans recently, and its corollary among the Dems. Let's see if all that persists.

Don't think we need to be piling on Tiffany, however. Poor thing didn't have any say in the union of sperm and ovum that begat her, and probably no more say about appearing on stage. She ought to get a pass at least till she does something terminally smarmy (like Don Jr), terminally creepazoid (Eric), or terminally little rich girl-oblivious (Ivanka). As a matter of fact, probably the worst thing Ivanka did was bring husband Jared onto the scene. He's a Grey Eminence if ever I saw one, and obviously has an AIX to grind.

Might as well fasten your seatbelts; it's going to be a bumpy ride.

Malsdemare 5:26 PM  

I'll add my two cents about the puzzle in a moment, but I just want to say again how terrific this blog is. The puzzle section from the NYT arrived today, courtesy of the generosity of two of our commentariat, @Nancy and @Hartley (not sure about Hartley; my mind is a sieve). As I told Nancy off-blog, it will make the pain of the suddenly empty house on Monday a little easier. Thanks one and all who figured out how to get a dead tree version to a deprived soul in a flyover state.

G.Harris 5:41 PM  

Always enjoy a PB solve but hold up job is simply wrong. Rap sheets list real crimes not euphemisms.

Malsdemare 5:43 PM  

I usually struggle with PB puzzles but this one put up only a mild fight. I wanted Yastrzemski (but he wouldn't fit) for Yogi; don't ask me why. Some random neuron fired and would NOT SHUT UP!!. It seems that of late the SE is my first real inroad and today was no exception. But nothing was really a head-scratcher, I just seemed to plod along, smiling sadly at RICKMAN, having a flashback to my youth with PURPLECOW, scowling at HOLDUPJOB, and shaking my head at EWERS. No, no, and no; Fancy wine containers are gorgeous cut crystal decanters that glow in the candlelight on your table while you hold your breath as the guy who's single-handedly finished off two excellent wines waves it around as he tells a loopy story that not even he can make sense of. Not that that's ever happened, of course.

I did fall into the ELsie trap, which made TEE impossible so I bumbled around in the NW for while. I KNEW it was SORTIES but just couldn't make the rest fit until I gave up on ELsie, Aha'd at ROMEO, saw CREAMSODA and rocked the rest of the way home.

And now I'm going to enjoy the rest of my oh-so-temporary solitude reading the earlier posts. Thanks Will, Rex and PB.

Z 5:45 PM  

@Mohair Sam - I missed it. Would Rebecca Lowe be having an influence on you?

@Mr. Benson - Maybe because "ice cream" is a pretty distinct thing from CREAM SODA?" I missed it the first time through, but you're correct, sub-optimal.

@thefenn - Re:anonymice - You're wasting your breath. Many invitations have been issued over the years.

As for how many people read Rex, Rex could answer if he chose to because I know he has (or at least once had) google analytics turned on. I remember once being able to get something from Alexa, but couldn't find it tonight. The number is pretty big. Some smaller percentage read the comments, and a still smaller percentage actually bother to comment. I think it is fair to say that Rex Readers and Comment readers encompass most of the political spectrum. I think we skew left compared to the general population, but know of no good way to hazard a guess as to how skewed we might be.

Chronic dnfer 5:45 PM  

Dnf. Tito is a vodka. Ojay is something you drink with breakfast. Never heard of kiley or Rick man. But in the end it's a two letter dnf. I consider that a victory on a Friday.

OISK 6:33 PM  

Clean week so far, after 3 DNF last week! This was very easy for me as well, but Berry and I are usually on the same wave length. I saw Richard Kiley in Man of La Mancha, and have listened to him often on the original cast Kismet recording.

Lovely puzzle.

Mohair Sam 7:31 PM  

@Chronic dnfer - I had to swear off booze two years ago - but TITO's is one hell of a vodka. Friday or Saturday clue for sure.

Nancy 7:45 PM  

I may have joked about fear of the F3 key last week (after being warned about something called an "infinitive loop"), but I've found it to be a terrific help in locating comments that people here refer to, without annotating. So whichever one of you clued me into it last week (is there also a computer key to give me a memory like everyone else?), I thank you. This is the sort of thing that's so, so easy -- but only once someone has told you about it. Otherwise, who would know?

I see that both @mathgent and @Mohair Sam saw the original Broadway production of Man of La Mancha with Richard KILEY. So did I. It was a wonderful show and an amazing performance. You might want to find the cast album online, if you've never heard it.

Nancy 7:46 PM  

Oh, and @OISK too!

kitshef 9:48 PM  

Seems to me that a lot of the disagreements in the commentary are normal. Pretty much any group, be it NYT crossword fans, cricket fans, natural birth advocates, or neo-nazis, is going to appear to those inside as a supportive community, and to those outside as a clique.

And regarding sensitivity, depending on your personal feelings it is either ridiculous, or common decency. Which group is right: the people who hear a sincere 'Merry Christmas' and get upset because it ignores non-Christians? or the ones who hear a sincere 'Happy Holidays' and get upset because it minimizes Christianity? [hint: this is a trick question].

Surely there is plenty we can all agree on: that we enjoy the the challenge of a good puzzle. That we appreciate the ingenuity of the constructors of these puzzles, even when we take issue with some aspects of a given puzzle. That we get enjoyment out of this blog, or the commentary, or both. That we are all damn lucky to have the free time and opportunity to enjoy these things. That the world is a better place when we are nice to one another.

Z 9:49 PM  

OK. I was wrong. Man Bun sighted at the bar after seeing John Oliver perform.

GILL I. 10:38 PM  

@kitshef.
NICE.....!
I'd say more..but dang, I'd ruin it!

Unknown 10:40 PM  

You live in NY and you never heard of Yogi Berra!?!?!?!?

Robin 10:08 AM  

Kiley was one of the few "gimmes" in this puzzle. Just because you are unfamiliar with actors in musicals doesn't mean the rest of us are. Personally, I never heard of Carla Thomas, but I don't say the constructor is wrong for putting her in. You need to stop blaming constructors for your areas of "inexpertise."

Anonymous 11:08 PM  

Amen! Thank you.

spacecraft 12:01 PM  

Well, yeah, easy--a tad too easy for Friday, even--but not so breezy that I didn't enter tacTIcS for military movement. I am surprised that OFL calls long-time TV actor (Marcus Welby, M.D.) Richard Kiley "obscure." He also starred in a very tense drama about a man "Trapped" inside a department store with vicious guard dogs. Tip: don't heed nature's call right at closing time. Ah, but then the Fearless One was born too late. As, I'm beginning to think, was I.

ADE gets a pass not only via PB immunity but because it was clued as a suffix. When I see the LASTNAME King, my thoughts run IMMEDIATEly to my main man Stephen. So the (shopulda-been) obvious ABERNATHY did not occur for a while. Despite my mistake being there, I found it and finished the NW in turn for a change, solving west to east. Smooth as SATIN, as usual for PB1. DOD goes to Sigourney Weaver as DIAN Fossey. Squeaky-clean; why can't other puzzles be like this? C'est magnifique, NESTCEPAS? Eagle.

Burma Shave 1:27 PM  

DATA ROMEO

IDA done what PRIMATES do right, with COVERT ADE and INPRIVATE,
FINES someone in SATIN so TIGHT, get FIXEDON what no MANALIVE quit.

--- “SILENT”CAL ABERNATHY

Anonymous 2:02 PM  

A very mixed bag... SW as easy as pie, but 5 pissers elsewhere. NW nebulous and off-putting. Ida? Ojays? Some cable news guy? Man alive.

Luke 2:06 PM  

Working this on the syndicated schedule. I agree that this was pretty easy for a Friday until I bogged down in the Northwest corner. Since when is a rap sheet entry in slang? Holdupjob? Maybe armed robbery. Or bank robbery. But not a "job". The fact that I could not get the Abernathy/King connection did not help (I was off in feudal never-never-land).

Diana,LIW 2:32 PM  

The same wrong first guesses and misdirects and especially OVERTHINKING as others. I did get CREAMSODA right away, but didn't believe it could be right for the longest time.

But, as is typical for PB puzzles, I stuck with it and it all ironed out. So it felt like a good Friday for me - of course too easy for Rex.

I've read a bit more than half of the comments, so I return to there.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

leftcoastTAM 2:38 PM  

Always glad to see Patrick Berry's name on a NYT puzzle. Soft and sweet, like CREAMSODA, maybe. Also fun, fair, TIGHTly constructed and, most important, enjoyable.

Though not knowing MAGES, KILEY cross revealed it. Remember and liked Richard K.

Wrote over sAmeNAMES to get LASTNAMES.

Last to go was HOLDUPJOB/OJAIS cross in the NW, except I erred with HOLDUP rOB (as in rob for robbery) and OrAIS. Give me a (small letters) dnf.

Diana,LIW 2:58 PM  

Oops - forgot to mention the 2 squares that gave me a dnf:

Didn't know MAGES (tho now I remember seeing it before) so put in MAGiS - knew Richard but thought KILiY could be the spelling.

And HOLDUPdOB - whatever was I thinking about a date of birth? (Forgot the O'JAYS)

Diana,LIW

rondo 3:14 PM  

CREAMpuff kept that northern area from filling for quite some time. All the rest went in fairly quickly.

FOXNEWS. Huh. What’s their latest DATA on CIA COVERT operations?

@spacey hit the yeah baby nail on the head with the film portrayer of PRIMATES studier DIAN Fossey. I guess if I’m gonna beat him to it I’ll have to post earlier.

Always like a PB puz. Even the “easy” ones offer some resistance. He’s one of the MAGES.

centralscrewtinizer 3:55 PM  

PSYCH was my entry, then things got hard, then started to click. Typical P.B. hard until it's easy. Though I could DOTE on this puzzle, I still had a date with with a dnf. Off to jab myself in the eye.

G.Barany, I see your covert/cia and raise you a fixated/fox news.

Was sure it was going to be bathrooms that families shared, heh.

Nancy, you have heard of soft versus hard water, no? If not, go west.

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