Vocalist for Black Eyed Peas / FRI 2-17-17 / Button hit everything at once in gamer lingo / First Chinese-American cabinet member / Owner of horse Sleipnir / Occasional SNL host to SNL / Hippie-influenced fashion trend / Grace servant in Jane Eyre

Friday, February 17, 2017

Constructor: David Steinberg

Relative difficulty: Medium


THEME: none 

Word of the Day: STICKY RICE (13D: Staple of Thai cuisine) —
Glutinous rice (Oryza sativa var. glutinosa; also called sticky rice, sweet rice or waxy rice) is a type of rice grown mainly in Southeast and East Asia and parts of South Asia, which has opaque grains, very low amylose content, and is especially sticky when cooked. It is called glutinous (< Latin glūtinōsus) in the sense of being glue-like or sticky, and not in the sense of containing gluten. While often called "sticky rice", it differs from non-glutinous strains of japonica rice which also become sticky to some degree when cooked. There are numerous cultivars of glutinous rice, which include japonica, indica, and tropical japonica strains. (wikipedia)
• • •

Not sure how a grid with so many decent entries ended up being so boring, but here we are. The cluing was unimaginative and dull. Lots of vague one- or two-word clues, which added toughness but not zazz or sass. The "?" clues were all duds except 51A: Colosseum crowd? (TRE) (i.e. three is a crowd and the Colosseum is in Rome and the Italian word for "three" is TRE). The one answer that really undid all the good will that other answers had built up was ONESALL. God that is terrible. I mean, terrible. Please, constructors, delete it from your word list now. ONE'S answers are Always bad, but this one feels like King Bad. My brain keeps parsing it ONE SALL and pronouncing it to rhyme with "gunsel." Not only is it terrible, it was at the heart of the section that was most difficult to solve. I needed every cross, but WAIVE and ENABLES were not coming to me due to clue shortness/vagueness, and SGT was even worse because of the TGI trap (20A: Abbr. before Friday). I knew FERGIE so I had only the "G"; I sort of knew that LCD had to be followed by "T," and so TGI couldn't be right, but ... the "G" ... the "G" ... So ONESALL really gunked up everything.


I resent SHADES and HADES' coappearance. Too much shared real estate. [Suffix with magne-] has to be up there with the most ill-conceived clues ever. Completely inelegant and ugh-ly. PISH POOLE! Not to my liking. It's one thing to be able to put together a nice grid, and another thing completely to *write* the puzzle well. With the exception of ONESALL, this grid actually looks pretty good; but it was a drag to solve. No ear for cleverness. Some show-offy gamer and math stuff, and then [Bug] [Tuna type] [Omen] etc. Kinda CREAKY cluing.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

97 comments:

jae 12:16 AM  

Finished the NW pretty quickly and then settled down to a more Friday like pace, so easy-medium for me.

CHAIN EMAIL was a WOE and I was iffy on spelling CHAO (2 Os, a U) but the crosses were fine.

The P in PISH was a guess as POOLE was also a WOE. T or B might have made sense?

Solid Fri. liked it.

Charles Flaster 12:22 AM  

Medium but a DNF in four spots.
Never changed--mOORE to POORE, CHoO
to CHAO, NEaLL to NEILL, and CREAsY to
CREAKY.
I thought this was a beautiful grid with very few old school answers for me to rely on.
Liked the creative cluing for SGT, BUTTER DISH, TRITE, ALMANAC, and TRE was my favorite.
Liked BOHO CHIC crossing NOHO.
The four stacked areas were just masterfully done.
Thanks DS

puzzle hoarder 12:24 AM  

It must be tough being so jaded you can't enjoy a puzzle of this quality. I thought this was first rate. The NW corner was the easiest. I probably would have had clear sailing going counterclockwise but I was held up by a TGI/SGT write over. Coming down the middle that 36A clue stopped me cold. INHALE, WALES, and WAIVE made SGT obvious and from there it was slow but steady work to the NE corner. I solve on paper so I changed TISH to PISH on a hunch and avoided the Natick.

Robin 1:05 AM  

I must be the weird one. The NW was the last part I got. Falling into the TGI/SGT trap didn't help, and I have no idea what any of the Black Eyed Pea's names might be. So I finished the SW and then worked counter-clockwise.

Not a great puzzle, but frankly I was happy to get one that did have some d*mn theme. Just clues and answers.

mathgent 1:16 AM  

ONESALL was bugging me throughout the solve because I had misspelled NEILL as NEILE. What did "one sale" have to do with 110%? Even when I came up with the correct spelling the meaning didn't hit me right away. Oh, yeah! He gave it his all. He gave it 110%. I love it.

There was a lot more good stuff. The clue for RACKOFLAMB. A CUBIC function. TRE's a crowd. The clue for ELSE. It's Jeff Chen's puzzle of the week and it's mine too.

Dolgo 2:45 AM  

"Tre"got me, I have to admit, though my Latin scholar momhad me counting in Latin about the time I was counting in English. I guess "Elaine Chao" was a gimme for everybody else, too, since nobody mentioned it. "Sticky rice" was also easy. It's not just a Thai specialty but more common out here on the "other" coast. Some minor places where I chewed on my pencil a bit but, all in all, pretty easy for a Friday. Got to bed earlier than usual, but hard enough work so no insomnia.

CDilly52 2:45 AM  

Oh PISH! I was ONTO this somewhat CREAKY puzzle from the NE and SLID down to the SW smooth as SATIN. Took a celebratory TOKE (I did INHALE) and turned my STEELY GAZE to the NW which did not BODE well. Despite the creaks, I started to enjoy the words that gave rise to this narrative. Despite my hitting the wall in the NW, I thought this was a pretty HOT LICK.

Larry Gilstrap 3:19 AM  

I like that BUTTER DISH, and it's not that anatomically incorrect. During yesterday's discussion of blackness, I was reminded of Melville's treatise on The Whiteness of the Whale as "the intensifying agent in things the most appalling to mankind." But enough about my obsession.

Tough little Friday puzzle, not a lot of gimmes here. I wonder if CHET Baker ever played at the RITZ. Terse cluing leads to some nasty misdirection. Exhibit A: BODE is a verb and omen is a noun, in my way of thinking. And how am I supposed to know stuff like ELAINE CHAO crossing Button-MASH or PISH crossing POOLE? I know wheelhouse vs. outhouse blah, blah, blah...

TARA Reid is famous in flight attendant lore for dropping the line, "Don't you know who I am?" Heads up semi-celebrities. You just might trigger this cabin announcement: "There's someone in 3B who doesn't know who they are."

Sure Glad 'Tis FRIDAY! "Just the facts, ma'am."

Moly Shu 3:31 AM  

@Rex, Re: "Not sure how a grid with so many decent entries ended up being so boring", easy, WS is the editor and you just can't bring yourself to say anything good about him. I'm with @puzzlehoarder, thought this was outstanding. Nice stacks, good clues and just the right amount of current stuff like MASH and TEXTALERTS. Also had to guess on the P in PISH/POOLE (hi @Jae).
14D reminded me of my favorite tweet from the Grammys courtesy of The Iron Sheik " HONKY TONK MAN BETTER SINGER THAN THIS SHIT". Yes, he tweets in all caps.

Anonymous 3:55 AM  

seriously, why do you do this blog? you hate will shortz and you're the smartest guy in the room. we get it. i stumbled upon this and was wowed by the level of animosity, which clearly renders you incapable of being objective, and also by the fact that this blog is no fun. not for you, i imagine, and certainly not for the readers. maybe get another hobby or something. or just lighten the hell up.

Loren Muse Smith 4:30 AM  

Ok, so yeah, yeah, I bit on the “tgi” deal, too. But my faux-hold, “telly” and then “telie” for that flat tube… and “sium” for TRON really mucked things up for me. And there I was feeling at once bad and pretty surprised that David would have “sium” in a grid.

I also had “_ _ stare”/“set” before STEELY GAZE/MEG. Bet I’m not alone there.

INDIAN FOOD, STICKY RICE, RACK OF LAMB, BUTTER DISH, RITZ crackers, AHI – hellloooo @chefs bea and wen. Twenty years ago I stopped putting the butter dish in the fridge, and it’s a game-changer. Nothing worse than trying to butter anything with a cold, hard chunk of butter. I tell you, though, slathering on butter all the time will take you from svelte to SHAPELY in a hot lickety split.

Loved the clue for AND. But I had “are” there first. What r u thinking? Once I changed it to AND, I confidently filled in “orange glow” for the highlighter color. Dumb. I hate any highlighter color that’s not yellow.

@Robin – I’m with you on the northwest – definitely the hardest corner for me by a mile.

I disagree about the cluing. BUTTER DISH, HIDDEN MIKE, RACK OF LAMB, TEXT ALERTS, and INHALE all had great clues.

Nice to have INHALE and TOKE sharing a grid.

Even with the dnf because I forgot to guess on the PISH/POOLE cross, I thought this was a good Friday. All four corner 10 stacks are beautiful. I especially liked the visual of the bajillion people now, anywhere anytime, training their steely gazes on a screen of chain emails or text alerts. I’m guilty, too, but man, are we a bunch of guys who just stare down at our phones now.

Thanks, David. TGIF and all that…!

Anonymous 5:08 AM  

Rex, the tone and tenor of your blog has turned decidedly negative. I get the sense that you've moved the goal posts on what you consider a quality puzzle. The Times isn't an indie puzzle and I would never want it to be.

There's something to be said about the very clever constructors and editors making a real go of it outside of mainstream newspapers, but shouldn't you be looking at the Time's puzzle within the context of itself rather trying force into something it's not nor ever should be?

In online reviews of businesses, restaurants, etc, people are 4 times more likely to leave a negative review than a positive one. Negativity has an inertia to it.

I really love the insight that I've found here over the years. You have a eye for the nuts and bolts of the puzzle and the aesthetics of cluing and its fill. That's why I continue to come here, but it's becoming less of a joy to read your write ups.

da kine 5:28 AM  

Besides using "stick" three times (twice in clues and once as an answer) I thought that was an excellent puzzle. Really, really good.

Lomez 6:44 AM  

Enjoyed it. Fell into same TGI trap for quite awhile, even though thought of LCDTV early on. Also hastily put in SPIRAL instead of SPINAL, which had me staring at CHAIR EMAIL for awhile, then looking in the wrong places for a fix -- was hacker of the computer type and his tool was EXE (.exe)? Nice Friday.

Surprised there wasn't some complaint about normalizing Elaine Chao. What a miserable tone these last few months.

Anonymous 6:45 AM  

Michael Sharp isn't exactly a "glass half full guy", is he? Must be the life of the party.

Glimmerglass 7:09 AM  

Anonymous 5:08 speaks my mind. In my long experience I've found the persons who frequently complain about being bored are themselves boring people. Really smart people are seldom bored. However, I agree with @Rex about ONE'S ALL. In the first place, ONE'S is always lame. More important "110% effort" has always been nonsense, but it means *more* than one's all. At the end, I was trying to parse ONE SALe (ON ESALe?) as 110% until I finally tumbled to the fact that I'd misspelled Sam NEILe.

evil doug 7:13 AM  

Couldn't disagree more, Michael. Most satisfying puzzle in weeks.

Your gripe with SHADES and HADES is ridiculous. Not near each other in meaning or even in physical location in the grid. C'mon. Get real.

Wondered if people get that no military people say "A-ten-SHUN". Been TEN HUT fo-evah.

Excellent clue-work for SGT, MEG, SUIT and COIN. Lots of fun and uncommon fill--PISH, CHAO, BOHO, RACK, SHAPELY, HOT LICK, SATIN teddy, FOILS, NEON YELLOW (definitely not green paint), RIP, CUBIC, STICKY RICE, CREAKY, button MASH (in the airplane we called it "gang bang", and it was rarely a good idea)....

Way to go, David.

kitshef 7:28 AM  

Add me to the list of admirers of this puzzle, though I did hate ONESALL and ended with a typo. I typed STICmYRICE for STICKYRICE, and for the cross CREAMY looked odd but acceptable - in the sense of yellowed with age.

There are people who live lives almost completely different from my own. These people receive TEXT ALERTS about flight delays and get CHAIN EMAILS, neither of which have ever experienced.

Lobster11 8:09 AM  

Liked it better than Rex did. I thought all those "vague one- or two-word clues," as well as the "?" clues, were fun to suss out. I'd certainly rather have a slew of these than a bunch of arcane trivia.

Hit a wall after finishing up the West side and center; just couldn't get any traction anywhere. Finally gave in and did one Google cheat -- to get POOLE, which I would never have come up with otherwise -- and that turned out to be just enough of a foothold to get me moving again. Eventually finished without any additional cheats. I'll take it.

r.alphbunker 8:11 AM  

I was not bored by this puzzle at all and was surprised at how negative the write up was. What was wrong with the ? clues. They were all fun to get.
{Colosseum crowd?} TRE (Three's a crowd in ancient Rome)
{Draw money?} ANTE (Not removing money from a bank)
{Flat tube?} LCDTV (Pun on an inner tube with a hole in it)
{Record of the year?} (Nothing to do with music)

Other nice clues were
{Not to, say} FRO
{Part of a gig} MEG
{Word sometimes elided to its middle letter} AND
{Button-___ (hit everything at once, in gamer lingo)} MASH
{Occasional "S.N.L." host, to "S.N.L."} ALUM
{Owner of the horse Sleipnir} ODIN ("Sleipnir" looked Norse. Answer could have been THOR)
{Who wrote "Wise men learn more from fools than fools from the wise"} CATO
{Word after who, what or where} ELSE
{Like the function ax^3 + bx^2 + cx + d} CUBIC
{[!!!!]} SHOCK
{"110%" effort} ONESALL
{Improvised jazz strain} HOTLICK
And all the 8 and 10 letter answers.

Details are here.


Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 8:15 AM  

Home from quick trip to Lisbon, had to do the week as a whole. No time to savor anything here, doubt I would have. Too many mixed-up parts of speech. Omen = BODE? Take a hit = TOKE? But I needed to post here that my ORION was in the puzzle again, on Monday. He didn't notice, he was savoring the social life at Happy Valley Puppy Farm, but there he was. That is all.

Lawrie 8:16 AM  

Rex, thank you for continuing to intelligently analyze and evaluate the NYT puzzles. But, particularly, thank you for always giving your honest opinion about them. I greatly enjoyed this puzzle, despite that I thought the name Choo was correct, and, knowing nothing about the button thing, mosh sounded plausible. Thank you DS.

Anonymous 8:33 AM  

Stones fans probably enjoyed hot lick crossed with honky tonks. a private toke perhaps?

Anonymous 8:33 AM  

Cmon, Rex, I know we're all disoriented and out of whack from yesterday's so-called "press conference," but this is one fine puzzle, ONESALL notwithstanding.

AWS 8:36 AM  

Oh man did I enjoy this one... Probably as much as any themeless I can remember. Great grid with interesting long answers and tough but fair cluing. Even enjoyed pretty much all the 3 letter answers, which is astonishing. Hard to get much less crosswordesey than AMO KIT SGT NYT FRO AND DYE AXE MEG RIP TRE... Tripped up at the end with STInKYRICE (this must be a thing in some cuisine, right?) crossing HOTLInK, but can't be angry at the puzzle for that. Just fabulous.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) 8:37 AM  

surprised at this review...I liked this puzzle a lot. Challenge but finished without seeking help...perfect Friday. I liked the clue for rack of lamb. Wrote ethnic instead of Indian, but fixed quickly ...that corner (NE) is the only one with scratchovers...oh, except trouble spelling Elaine's last name and could have done without the cabinet reminder. But fun puzzle, perfect Friday.

Z 8:53 AM  

First @JC66 late yesterday - And an excellent $.02 it was. I've no clue why the more universally accurate clue was not used.

I liked this more than Rex but less than most of you. I won't bore you with my dupe rant again, but IMHO "Fiddlesticks" crossing STICKY RICE is an avoidable failure. Another demerit for self-promotion at 31A and being too cute by half with 3-Letter misdirection at tGi and sEt (extra demerit for cluing MEG as somewhat dated computerese). I also find BOHO CHIC annoying (the term, not the style).

Lots of demerits for a puzzle I generally liked. I see why people liked this puzzle, but I would not rate this as highly as many of you have.

@LMS - I had sEt and RITZ, so I was wondering how "taze" was going to resolve an "Unwavering look."

Andrew Goodridge 9:02 AM  

Rex -- did you happen to notice ONESALL? Your writeup didn't mention it.

Anonymous 9:07 AM  

Michael Sharp has jumped the shark.

evil doug 9:07 AM  

Z: If we had, say, GLUE STICKS and STICKY, you'd have a good case. But fiddlesticks (a clue) has nothing in common with STICKY RICE (an answer). You're trying too hard, like Michael on HADES/SHADES....

evil doug 9:10 AM  

And Z: you don't like misdirection? I *love* misdirection. Thus comes surprise and satisfaction.

PhiskPhan 9:13 AM  

I put TGI before Friday, rather than SGT, which screwed everything up nicely. I knew "onetall" was wrong, but LCDIV seemed possible, if IV meant 4 and was the 4th iteration of some kind of LCD television. . .Oh well.

QuasiMojo 9:20 AM  

LMAO. This "crowd" slays me. I had a big fat DNF because -- Fiddlesticks! -- I did not get "one's all." I had One Tall too which made sense to my "used too often" brain since I thought "110%" might an exaggeration, a tall one... etc. Duh. PISH!

Lots of great stuff in this puzzle. "Rack of Lamb" "Neon Yellow" "hidden Mike" "shapely" spinal" column. "Faun." I liked "honky tonks" although I think there is a subtle difference there between a "dive" and one but not worth getting into a fistfight over. A dive is somewhere you don't want to go whereas a honky tonk is a helluva good time.

Steady Gaze before Steely.

Elaina Choi before Elaine Chao. I think I've got her confused with a newscaster for CNBC back when. But I fixed it but quick.

"MEG"a apologies today for my ignorance.

Yes, Rex needs to lighten up, breathe, take yoga, drink more water, or take a vacation. Or get a puzzle published in the NYT soon. :)

TGI Sgt Friday, everyone!

TomAz 9:33 AM  

I don't get commenters' need to make this personal about Rex. He wrote a short essay on today's xword, and you disagree with him. Fine. I disagree with him too, today, but I don't really find attributing his opinion to personal shortcomings to be useful (or entertaining) in the least. I like this blog which is why I read it.

I got SGT off the G from FERGIE; TGI never even occurred to me. But instead of SPINAL column I had SPIrAL, which left me with CHAIrEMAIL, which didn't make any sense to me but what do I know? Overall this puzzle was enjoyable.

Nancy 9:33 AM  

An interesting and challenging puzzle that I enjoyed struggling with. CUB before KIT at 4D kept me from seeing much of anothing in the NW. I had to begin in the NE, getting my footholds with ONTO; ODIN; POOLE; NYT and INDIAN FOOD. Loved RACK OF LAMB, both clue and answer. Thought BUTTER DISH was maybe a little forced. A nifty new clue for the familiar ANTE. Tough clue for SUIT. I thought Grace POOLE was the mad wife, not a servant, but maybe you think she's a servant until she's revealed as the mad wife? Don't remember.

On 40D: Can't you be SHAPELY without being voluptuous? On the other hand, can't you be voluptuous without being SHAPELY? Guys, help me out here.

This constructor gets better with each outing. A nice, "crunchy" puzzle.

Nancy 9:35 AM  

Oh, yes -- I, too, had TGI before SGT.

Anonymous 9:47 AM  

How dare they clue one of Trump's Cabinet members without pejoration. More normalizing not cool.

Nancy 9:53 AM  

@Kitshef (7:28)-- I have lived pretty much the same kind of life that you have -- completely oblivious to and blessedly free from CHAIN EMAIL and TEXT ALERTS. I reacted to both those answers the same way you did, and might have commented on them, except that I did feel both answers were fairly crossed and, therefore, gettable.

pmdm 9:55 AM  

There are too many anonymous comments with vitriolic comments about that border on personal attacks, making me wonder if they aren't multiple postings by the same person. If so, please stop. You only need to say your piece once and we all get the point. It would hurt all the nice people who comment here if the comments have to be moderated again.

Usually Mr. Steinberg includes too many entries like BOHOCHIC for my taste, but looking over the completed grid of this puzzle, I consider it as an equal to a Berry puzzle, perhaps even better.

Interesting banter between Z and Evil Doug. I think it isn't the constructor (or editor) that creates misdirection. It's actually the solver that creates a misdirection by assuming the meaning of a clue rather than considering all possible meanings. Later in the week I expect that the most obvious meanings of the clues are not the intended meaning of the clues. One of the reasons why I like crosswords.

Cassieopia 10:04 AM  

@Nancy, take it from someone who's read Jane Eyre about 20 times - Grace Poole is the servant who cares for the mad wife, whose name is Bertha Mason. "The Wide Sargasso Sea" was written to tell her story.

Puzzle? Ah, the puzzle! These are the puzzles that help me realize how far I still have to go as a solver. M-Th - sure, fine, but a challenging Friday stops me in my tracks.

I got REBA and STPAT immediately but was unable to go anywhere with those, and to my chagrin did not see the POOLE clue until near the end of my solving so missed an opportunity to close out the NE first.

I finally got a toehold with NEONYELLOW and by googling the Jurassic Park actor's name. Everytime I would get stuck, I'd allow myself to google another name (ELAINECHAO, ODIN, FERGIE, CATO) to try to give myself a jump start. That got me to about 90% of the fill but I had to come here to finish.

The cluing was ***phenomenal***. Getting the TRE clue made me feel oh-so-smart and BUTTERDISH was just brilliant, because I had DI near the end and wanted to stick a stick into some kind of DIrt. That kept me tangled up in the NW until - well, until the BUTTER end. And the ? clues - oh my gosh SO good!

Despite my DNF, I thought this was a great puzzle, especially the cluing. One of these days I'll get to a google-free Friday, but not today, but I still admire the wordsmanship on this one - thank you very much David Steinberg!

Anonymous 10:07 AM  

People, ease up on Rex. Why must it get personal? It's his blog, he can write what he feels. Don't read it if you don't like it. I, for one, am a huge fan, Rex. I want to party with you!

Lewis 10:08 AM  

For the price of a TRE, an AMO, and a PISH, I get the pleasure of solving this beautiful four-ten-stack grid, rife with aha's -- what a bargain! My favorite clues were for three T answers: TRITE, TOKE, and TRE. Smooth as SATIN. David, you're adding maturity to your creativity. Thank you so much for this one!

Hungry Mother 10:11 AM  

Out of character (for me), I found this one easy. I always look forward to this blog and the commentary to enrich my understanding of the puzzle. Keep up the good work, everybody.

Cassieopia 10:15 AM  

@TomAz - I ended up with CHAIrEMAIL too, and actually googled it to see what internet hoax I had missed, as I am more or less "up" on my internet hoax knowledge. Fun to know I wasn't the only one!

Not a cross word 10:17 AM  

So stop reading them.

Anonymous 10:23 AM  

It seems the purpose of this blog for Rex is not to discuss the puzzle but to bring it down. Seriously, why do you do this, Rex? It bores you, Will Shortz just pisses you off, the clues cause you to go off on riffs that seem designed to show how clever and learned you are. You just seen so frikkin' angry every single day. Do you wake up and sigh heavily and say to yourself, "well, time to do the @#*&!%! NYT crossword! Lord, deliver me from this endless suffering!"

I come here because it is the only crossword blog I know of and I like so many of the regulars, especially Loren Muse Smith. Girl, you are a joy to read.

I thought it was a very good puzzle even though it was a DNF for me. The clue for 43D (kind of a column) and 47D (used too much) were just killers for me, and I'm still not sure what "meg" has to do with a gig--and I know I'm going to feel really silly when someone explains it.

QuasiMojo 10:28 AM  

People aren't really dissing Rex personally. They are teasing him for being characteristically curmudgeonly. Some anonymous posters might be getting revenge or flaming him but the usual suspects here value his remarks because of their edge. But also like it when he laughs at his own pique as he did the other day. Keep on keeping on.

Maruchka 10:30 AM  

I'm sorry @Rex is so grumpy, today. Was looking forward to a Dan Hicks and his HOT LICKs link.. is OFL channeling Our Feckless President? Oh, I hope not.

I like this DS puzzle. Crunchy and nicely constructed (NOHO/BOHO, NEON YELLOW/DYE. CONTACTS/CHAIN MAIL; and more!) God, I love RACK OF LAMB. Haven't eaten or cooked it at home since SHOCKed little daughter wailed, "You EAT baby lambs???"

Fav of the day - CHET Baker. Nice that the young 'uns are tuned into jazz legends.

triggerfinger 10:31 AM  

Fantastic puzzle...lots of aha moments. Took awhile to see "one's all" but makes perfect sense. Congrats to David...gimme more!

GILL I. 10:34 AM  

Oooof...SHADES of SHOCK all over the place. So many names I didn't know. So it's PISH not TISH. PISH in Scotland is what you do in a pissoir. HOT LICK? and why wasn't the flat tube a telly?
So...this took forever and I LOVED loved the effort because you can now clue FRO - Not to, say.....! TRE got me good as did TGI.
This was David Steinberg all over the place. He has whimsy that I like. I mean STICKY(BUNS) next to HONKY TONKS is so not IN BAD TASTE. SATIN SUIT NOHO BOHO. More please
p.s. @Z from yesterday If you can convince me that Schlitz is the finest American beer there is, then I'll cede to AUS....;-)

Anonymous 10:36 AM  

Medium? Not for me. Ended a torrid run.

M: 10 seconds slower than record, 1+ minute below average
T: 25 seconds slower than record, almost 2 mins below average
W: 42 seconds slower than record, 2 1/2 mins below average
R: 1:20 slower than record, 6 1/2 mins below average
F: 10 minutes slower than records, 3 mins ABOVE average

Yikes!

evil doug 10:46 AM  

Schlitz *is* the finest. Check your email, Gill I....

AliasZ 10:54 AM  


@Rex's review perfectly sums up my solving experience. In my case the most troubling area was the ELAINE CHAO / MASH crossing, dovetailing into that HOTLICK-PISH-POOLE mess. I had no idea what a button-MASH was. It could have been -MOST, -MIST, -MUST, -MASP, etc., giving me TOTLICK or POTLICK. Also, POOLE is a name nobody is supposed to remember unless one gave ONE'S ALL to finish reading "Jane Eyre" last night.

I like SHAPELY ELAINE CHAO's STEELY GAZE when she's wearing her NEON-YELLOW CONTACTS. [Was this IN BAD TASTE?] And I love a nice RACK (RACK OF LAMB, that is).

"On empty? Buy Pennzoil!"
Said one who gives ONE'S ALL.
"Rapunzel, Rapunzel,
When you're influenzal,
Must remove your tonsil.
Your hair is like tinsel."

SGT Friday!

GILL I. 11:06 AM  

@evil...I did!
BLUE MOON.........!Moon River!

Churlish Nabob 11:17 AM  

Shortz just knocked the hell out of Michael the other day!!!

Smarmy Sycophant 11:18 AM  

Does anyone remember laughter?

Hartley70 11:26 AM  

This puzzle is very nicely stacked...my favorite kind. David Steinberg just gets better and better. His puzzles are wonderfully current, TEXTALERTS and CHAINEMAILS, without forgetting the clues that appeal to all ages, GRACEPOOLE. I loved the variety in the proper names, most probably because I knew them.

The NW was the easiest corner for me. AMO led to REBA. KIT led to RACK, FERGIE led to OFLAMB. Things got hotter as I headed South and the SW was the toughest. TOKE surprised me, but in a good way. I have glaucoma so it's reassuring to know there's another line of defense if the drops stop working.

I needed to come here to understand TRE. Good one!

The BUTTERDISH, yes @LMS! I come from a long line of women who fervently believed in ice cold butter. The day I took the law into my own hands and put that stick on the counter, made bread a wonderful thing, and no one in the family sickened and died.

Stanley Hudson 11:29 AM  

"When yr outa Schlitz, yr outa beer"

"Mabel, Black Label"

A hit or two of indica made this puzzle, and morning, a wonderful thing.

Sir Hillary 11:42 AM  

Totally disagree with Cranky Boy's write-up today. If you're looking for negativity in something, you can always find (or manufacture) it. But, it's his house, so whatever...

To me, this played like a fabulous Saturday puzzle -- very difficult, but most satisfying. Here's why:

-- Awesome stacks, each with a "mini-theme" pair: American cuisine in the NW, Asian cuisine in the NE, e-communications in the SE, and...um...Oregon's some-time athletic uniforms (NEONYELLOW, INBADTASTE) in the SW.

-- Thinking UK, I almost dropped telly into 5D. Fortunately, Ms. Chao saved me from that.

-- Took me forever to properly contextualize the clues for INHALE (INdecline? INfreefall?), HIDDENMIKE, TRITE, FRO and especially WAIVE (even with _AIV_ staring at me for most of the solve).

-- Almost went with thor crossing ethnicFOOD in the NE. If I had, I would still be struggling.

-- Dumb error that took a while to fix: ConIC. I'm a dolt.

Can you tell I loved this one?

Carola 11:44 AM  

Proper names got me off ot a good start: REBA-->RACK OF LAMB and Grace POOLE-->PISH, and the crossword curtain unfurled from there. Favorite entry was HONKYTONKS (and the clash - I think - with BOHOCHIC), One do-over: weHO before NOHO.

I always like a nod to mythology, so appreciated the FAUN and the Underworld-related HADES and SHADES, along with the appropriately more northerly situated ODIN.

Z 11:46 AM  

@Evil Doug - I love word play and misdirection, but there is a certain point where it gets "too cute by half." That point may differ for all of us, but SGT and MEG (as clued) cross that line for me. First, going with Dragnet is dated (the movie is 30 years old), so the clue ages the puzzle considerably. When I fixed tGi my response was not, "good one," it was "really‽" Likewise with "Gig" to get to MEG. Byte and Bit are still very common out in the wild, "MEG" for "megabyte" not so much, anymore (it's a computer term I associate with the 1990's). So, again, aging the puzzle. And, worse in my opinion, there is no particular need for these particular misdirects. Both are infinitely cluable either directly or misdirectly.
As for the STICK issue, I see the hint of using an old term like "fiddlesticks" to clue an old term like PISH. But why? There are no other clues available? Phooey to that. Bah to anyone who can't come up with a non-duplicative clue.

@pmdm - Rex on Twitter yesterday (paraphrasing here), "Shortz commented?" Anonymous whining about Rex may make the poster feel better, but if they think Rex is listening they are wasting their recycled electrons. As for me, I'm getting much better at just skipping their posts.

@Gill I. - Schlitz? As alcoholic pish water goes it ain't the worst.

Bob C 12:06 PM  

SGT was no problem here but rest of NW was tough and the last part to go in for me. Wanted something car-related like 'parking lot' for the place in which to lodge that stick. Only when the LCDTV came on did I notice the DISH and the rest fell in. Enjoyed it.

Masked and Anonymous 12:14 PM  

@RP: Well, PISH on it. I'm kinda with U, in the sense that if an (overly-ginormous) 15x15 puz don't have a theme, it can get a smidge boring now and then for m&e. Howsumever, for what this non-TGI-FriPuz is, I'd tend to give it a themelessthUmbsUp. Pretty much what @evil and @r.alph said, on the cluin. Pretty much what @muse said, on INHALE and TOKE. Primo butterdish selection, tho.

ONESALL is debut meat, for the Shortzmeister Era. I didn't get that excited about it, one way or tother, during the solvequest. Solvequest was pretty smooth, but darn near handed in my paper with an error at CHAIREMAIL/SPIRAL (yo, @Lomez). Close call.

staff weeject pick: SGT. As many have mentioned, becuz of its TGI-baited boobytrap setup. Cruel and unusual. Don't make me come down there, @Shortzmeister.

HADES is one of them wrap-around SHADEs; learnt that alt-fact from an aged (but non-CREAKY) NYTPuz (11APR2013). Still looking for that old 4-missing-squares puz from yesterday, tho …

Seed entries? Hard for me to jump on anything in particular. Sure enjoyed the CUBIC f(x), tho. Those things are tougher than snot to solve, in equation form. I'd rather solve me a themeless.

Thanx, Mr. Steinberg. You're sorta partial to themeless constructioneerin, huh? [32 outta 59, or so] Well, all right, then -- U do a good job at it. And @RP is real good at pickin out butterdishes.

Masked & Anonymo3Us
"Creaky But Not Cranky"


**gruntz**

old timer 12:27 PM  

I liked some things, like MEG for "gig". Had to look up FERGIE, after which the brilliant BUTTERDISH made its appearance. But I'm with OFL today. ONESALL was. simply. inexcusable. DNF because of that. I was willing to believe in a LCDiV rather than give up "TGI" Friday. I say that even though I watched Dragnet for many years. To anyone under 60, or under 50 at least, SGT Friday is less well known than Grace POOLE. (anyway, it was always a little improbable that Friday would be assigned to so many different bureaus. Oh, a sergeant might be on the homicide squad but always in a minor role; and once on that squad would stay on it until promoted to lieutenant, and transferred, with the hope of returning someday to lead Homicide.

Jesse Gray 12:32 PM  

"Hidden Mike"? Was there a guy named mike hiding in the room somewhere? I hate this. "Mike" is a person's name, "mic" is short for a microphone.

tilla23 12:36 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
tilla23 12:38 PM  

Wasn't the biggest fan of the puzzle in general, but I have one really big nit to pick: a CHAIN EMAIL is not, in and of itself, a hoax. It might contain a hoax or a number of hoaxes, but it's equally as likely (if not moreso) to contain dumb jokes that one of your distant Aunts somehow found funny.

Anonymous 12:53 PM  

Maruchka - Say what you will about our President Trump. One thing he is not is feckless.

Trombone Tom 1:01 PM  

Oh dear! Someone got up on the wrong side of his bed this morning.

I thought the puzzle was great and the clever cluing made it ever so challenging in spots.

You all can understand why HOTLICK and CHET (Baker) resonate with me.

Hand up for TGI.

Except for those tough clues I was on David's wavelength today. Didn't know TARA Reid but the crosses were revealing.

The transition from omen to BODE was uncomfortable.

Three cheers for David S.

Joe Bleaux 1:07 PM  

I found this one plenty challenging, even for a Friday, but a dang fine puzzle. Winced at BODE for OMEN (amounts to verb=noun for me), and WAIVE for surrender (not that nearly synonymous). Oddly, SGT Friday was my toe-hold; TGI never crossed my mind. Only thing I hate, hate, hated was PISH. Seriously, have you ever heard anyone say that word? The everyday puzzle here: Why anyone gets so damned exercised over Rex's reviews. As I see it, it's his blog, he knows his business, and he can be as cranky as he wants to be. If the tone of his remarks don't suit you, why not skip 'em and go straight to the comments?

Girlish Nabob 1:13 PM  

Bigawd, bet Elaine Chao has munchied on some STICKYRICE in her day, esp after a few TOKES on a hookah.

Teedmn 1:22 PM  

PISH-tosh! This was a great puzzle, the hardest Friday in a while, so I enjoyed the brain exercise. I came so close to DNFing at @Rex's SGT spot, for the same reason, that when I was about "surrender", I decided to give it one more shot. What if 7D was LCDTV, as would make sense, not LCDi_? I then saw SGT, ONE'S ALL (which is a partial, true, but it's in the language, not forced, so I think it's fine) and WAIVE. I had run the alphabet on 23D because I just couldn't remember that _ALE word, came up blank, and then had the W suddenly appear. Whew.

STony GAZE, sEt for MEG at 57D (nice misdirection there) were a few setbacks I experienced but 36D was a mess. Coming up from the bottom, I had _____ACTS. 44A could end in "up" as a base order could be a "line up", right? ANTE made me try "fuN fACTS" (hey, I just finally got a psuedo smartphone so I'm not used to seeing any "headings") but CONTACTS finally made sense and gave me TEN HUT.

Lots of good stuff here, not CREAKY at all, so thanks David! And per your remarks over at xwordinfo.com, I find it hard to believe you would want to go back to being 13 years old - no matter how much it sucks to "get old" :-).

Mohair Sam 1:35 PM  

Loved it, just loved it, played tough for us - Steinberg's got his grove back. Joined the small group that dnf'd with "R" for the "N" in CHAINMAIL. Since CHAINMAIL need not be a hoax (nod to @tilla23), we assumed there might be an evil chairmail out there we hadn't heard about.

Lost a ton of time with BOHemian for BOHOCHIC (a term unknown to this boor), but the puzzle opened up once it filled for us. Hand up with the TGI before SGT crowd. How many ways can you spell NEILL (Neale, Neal, Neil, Neale, . . .)? And then there's O'Neil. Nice misdirect on MEG (you're so wrong on that argument @Z). PISH/POOLE cross was a toughie, and I love the book.

@Nancy - Total agreement on "Voluptuous" not necessarily SHAPELY - Kiera Knightly anyone?

Hartley70 1:44 PM  

Oh CHET! Poppin in a cd. "There Will Never Be Another You"!

LeafOnTheWind 1:45 PM  

Hi all! I've been enjoying this blog and its commenters for a few months now, and I think it's time to say hello.

I found this one a little harder than usual for a Friday, but I liked the long entries, particularly HONKYTONKS, and tricky clues. I'm a fan of David Steinberg's puzzles, and seeing his name on the byline reminded me that I still needed to do his puzzle in the current issue of Stanford Magazine (which you can find by googling); it was pretty tame by his usual standards but a pleasant enough diversion.

My only gripe with the puzzle is that Elaine Chao is TAIWANESE-American, not Chinese-American! That totally threw me off -- I was thinking it might be STEVENCHU, but his name didn't quite fit and it turns out that he was born in America to parents from Jiangsu, China. Boo to the NYT for letting that one slide.

jberg 1:47 PM  

DNF in a big way, but I thought it was a good puzzle. I see @Rex's point about misdirection, viz., the misdirected answer should be good in itself. At least, I guess that's his point; but I'm with @Evil, they're part of the enjoyment for me.

Drat! I just erased a lot of stuff inadvertently. So I'll just say that I refused to give up my SPIrAL column, and so decided there must be some hoax email about a CHAIr -- maybe the one that debated Clint Eastwood.

TRE never occurred to me, even though I got it from crosses. I tried sro,then hre, but neither worked. The Coliseum is ancient Roman, whereas TRE is modern Italian -- but the Coliseum is still there, so I guess that's OK, I just never thought of it.

Well, tomorrow is another day.

Eric Weber 2:27 PM  

Rex, pretty whiny of you. Thought it was a fun puzzle. Don't understand your problem with onesall. Sgt Friday was a nice throwback. Lighten up.

Charley 2:48 PM  

There is no Tenhut. It's A-Ten-Shun.

JC66 2:57 PM  

@ Charley

See @Evil's 7:13 post.

kitshef 3:07 PM  

@LeafOnTheWind.

first of all, welcome, and I hope now that you have taken the plunge you'll become a regular.

Taiwan's full name is Republic of China, so the clue is technically correct (the best kind of correct).

grumble 3:29 PM  

I didn't like the POOLE/PISH intersection. Instead of POOLE, I would've went with Norman Vincent PEALE who is more well known. You end up with the ugly prefix ENTO on the cross, but at least you give people a better chance at a correct solve.

Margaret 4:17 PM  

Am I the only one who confidently entered "crown roast" immediately for 1 across?

Anonymous 4:37 PM  

Man, if Rex is being too hard on this puzzle, I think some of us are being too hard on Rex. Is Rex frequently way over the top in his reviews? Sure, but if you come here often, you expect to take his blog with a grain of salt.

Rex could probably appreciate Will Shortz's work more without losing his critical eye. But the same could be said of many above commenters vis a vis Rex.

OISK 4:44 PM  

Disliked this one very much, which places me in a tiny minority. Bad enough I have had to deal with hip-hop slang. But now "gamer lingo"? Button mash??? How could I possibly know that, and why would I remember it, or ever use it? So I had Choo instead of Chao, mosh looking better than mash, because you could clue "mash" so many better ways . Phooey. Poole with pish was a guess, but I guess some people remember characters from Jane Eyre. (one of the few "classics" that I started and didn't finish.) Fergie? Oh, and I missed spinal column - I had "spiral" with Chairemail. My fault, but I never heard of a "chain email" hoax either. Nor have I ever "toked." I guess those who toke are more familiar with Boho chic(???)

Just awful, from my point of view. I guess I am REALLY creaky....

Mohair Sam 5:42 PM  

@LeafOnTheWind - Welcome. Will Shortz has a two China policy. Go blue and stick around.

Z 6:15 PM  

@Anonymous12:53 - I can't think of a single person with less feck than DJT. cf Brooks OpEd in today's NYT.

@Mohair Sam - MEGabyte hard drives are ancient history , and even when it was current you almost never saw it spelled out. I'd say, "My Performa 600 has a 120 MEG hard drive," but I'd have written, "my Performance 600 has a 120Mb hard drive."

@LeafOnTheWind - Welcome.

RAD2626 6:54 PM  

Late in the day so little to add. Agree with the likers. Fell for tGi like many, STEadY for STEELY and ink for DYE and went with BOHemian even though I knew HOTLICK had to be right. All worth it to finally get it right.

My real reason for posting is to say today's WSJ puzzle and Meta by Matt Gaffney and Peter Gordon was truly terrific and worth doing if you are not a regular solver of the Journal.

Andrew Heinegg 7:09 PM  

Well, I dnf'd it and don't care. Got most of it like Bohochic-ugh but missed chainemail and insisted on steady for steely gaze. In the end, I agree with Rex that it is just meh. I notice that ye olde spell checker insists that neither word exists.

I am beginning to seriously wonder if the current division in this country is not something that is here to say. As a Trump detester myself, I cannot imagine a time in any foreseeable future when I will not think he is insane. And I know that his supporters believe he can do no wrong. I don't see any room for dialogue. We could be in for a rough ride ahead.

Mohair Sam 7:39 PM  

@Z - I'm not nearly as ignorant as I seem. As clued MEG was fine - without a meg you'll never have a gig - a little word play with your misdirection. I liked it. It's a matter of taste I guess.

Z 7:58 PM  

@Mohair Sam - The puppy demanded attention so my last post was half-formed when I hit post. I was mostly piling on reasons why I didn't like the clue. I left off the "matter of taste" part. I should also probably repeat - I liked this puzzle for the most part, just not as much as many others. Having focused on what bothered me might make it seem I hated this puzzle.

Andrew Heinegg 8:08 PM  

Duh! stay not say.

Almanac Cato Mash 9:11 PM  

Loved the around-the-grid stacks. WIsh I could do that.
Tickled by the INDIANFOOD on top of the STICKYRICE.

Favorite moment was having Grace POOLE bubble up from reading Jane Eyre over 40 years ago! All the synapses it had to connect with, all the fears of memory-loss I suffer, all the crap to wend thru.

The other thing, is there is this amazingly beautiful, smart, charming, delightful couple that used to come to the LA fundraiser Elissa Grossman used to run. They competed as a team (First as a dating couple, then as fiance(e)s, then a married couple, then pregnant, now parents!) His name is Vic Chao. His wife is Elaine. I think she has kept her last name, Low...but un-technically, she is in the puzzle!

Been wonderful to also see David grow and mature as a person and as a constructor...
Altho I will give him shit for rejecting a 6-themed vowel poem puzzle with GYNECOLOGY in it till the day he dies!
(Well, till the day I die, as he'll probably outlive me by 40 years)
Hope to see him in person tomorrow when we gather to honor Manny Nosowsky locally (as he won't be able to be at the ACPT in person this year). Manny is the second recipient of the MEmoRiaL.

Merriam-Webster 9:46 PM  

Definition of MIKE:

1. Microphone: an instrument whereby sound waves are caused to generate or modulate an electric current usually for the purpose of transmitting or recording sound (as speech or music).

Definition of feckless:

1. Weak, ineffective.
2. Worthless, irresponsible.

You know y'all can access me free of charge, right?

Sherm Reinhardt 9:51 PM  

dnf tgi sgt onesall... nuff said

razerx 10:58 PM  

Taiwan is the island whereas ROC is the country.

Wm. C. 9:11 AM  

Taiwan natives are ethnically Chinese. Also, many, many mainlanders fled to Taiwan when Mao marched in.

Rob Wilson 1:03 PM  

Did the puzzle a day late but wasn't disappointed. The young Mr. Steinberg produced his usual challenging but doable puzzle. He also did not fail to deliver his usual set of tittilating clues. Teddy, Voluptuous, and Turn ons were the ones this time. Check out his past efforts 90% of the time there is a reference to a woman's undergarment. I know he's a teenage boy. So the mysteries of the female closet must be a puzzle for him. No complaints as it's harmless and brings a smile to my face every time. Keep it up Master Steinberg and best of luck solving all those many mysteries!

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