Sister brand of Ortho / FRI 4-7-17 / Bread spread whose tagline is Love it hate it / Brush alternative / Onetime Chicago Outfi establishment / Druidic monument / American candy company since 1904 / Clown Prince of Denmark

Friday, April 7, 2017

Constructor: Patrick Berry

Relative difficulty: Challenging


THEME: none 

Word of the Day: LARRUP (2D: Beat soundly) —
verb
informal
verb: larrup; 3rd person present: larrups; past tense: larruped; past participle: larruped; gerund or present participle: larruping
  1. thrash or whip (someone). (google)
• • •

About the most unpleasant Berry experience I've had in a while, for multiple reasons. The first is not his fault—this is a Saturday puzzle. Saturday plus. My time was north of my usual Saturday by a good amount. It wasn't just the NW corner—where I was dead-stopped for minutes at the end. It was all over. Just hard / weird cluing and (often) odd answers. Terribly horribly impossibly misplaced on a Friday. Then there's the fill, which has a frame of reference so dated and a general palette so ecru that solving felt like slogging through a very old person's dusty attic. Everything's old and there's no air. No, change that—it's *possible* I'd find some joy in a dusty attic. There was no feeling of aha or breakthrough or anything today. Answers like FIRESCREENS (do those go in front of fires? Seriously these answers are So Plain I barely know what they do) and HOUSECLEANS and CRADLE SONGS (What Are Those??? I have a child, and yet ... this is not a phrase I know. Do. You. Mean. Lullabies!?!?!). Runnin' ___ was never gonna be anything but Runnin' REBS (I went to lots of Fresno State / UNLV games as a kid). So discovering UTES was ... pffft. Not fun. Just "Oh, right, they also are "Runnin'" somehow." Lots of impressively long answers flowing through the middle, but ... didn't matter. Solving this was highly unpleasant. TELNET? BADEN? BORGE!?!? What year is it?


Worst was the NW, where CRADLE songs was unknown to me, and LARRUP was unknown to me, and FOOD had its dumb clue (4D: It's picked up in a mess) that could've been / should've been ODOR or TRAY (both better ... jeez, that clue for FOOD? Not funny). FURL without the UN-, always godawful (5D: Roll up). Worst was LARRUP's ending in -UP, which makes 2D: Beat soundly really really really want to be a two-word phrase ending in UP. But jeez, CRADLE SONGS? And with a stupid jokey "?" clue at that. Honestly, the only time during the whole solve where I went "Oh, good one" was at 26D: Fortune reader, maybe (EXEC). I had SEER. Nice. Everything else—root canal. To be clear, expertly made ... but an expertly made root canal (I just had a root canal, so I know whereof).

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. I sincerely had to look up just now how "ROLLER" and "brush" are in the same universe? (35D: Brush alternative). It's painting. Right. OK. Man, I'm glad this thing is over. Bet the farm that the *actual* Saturday is easier than this thing.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

133 comments:

evil doug 6:33 AM  

STAYS AT HOME and HOUSECLEANS an UNMADE bed. Doesn't get much more boring than that--in life or in crosswords....

Anonymous 6:33 AM  

Thank goodness we now have a REAL world leader in charge. No more leading from behind.

evil doug 6:36 AM  

...and "chow" in a mess would have been more accurate, more focused, than FOOD.

John Child 7:10 AM  

@ED, I was lined up for CHOW too. It made that corner tough. Overall though my time was a bit north of Friday and a bit south of Saturday. No chuff on that front from me.

I did multiple puzzles a day throug the fill-vs-theme war. That seems largely over. But freshness versus clean fill is an eternal problem. What's the worst word in this puzzle - UNMADE maybe? Pffft. This is a 62 word puzzle, and Mr Berry has delivered cleanliness as expected. At a cost? Maybe, but let's be happy with a great puzzle and see what Saturday brings.

Hungry Mother 7:13 AM  

I didn't think I would get this, but steady slogging did it.

Forsythia 7:17 AM  

I loved it! Really challenging, and thought I couldn't do it, and then bit by bit it fell in place. Answers were dated but clues weren't. ARMORY was my first word and then had to work back to NW near the end. cOT before ROT. Learned what ORIOLES means. Remembered Victor BORGE fondly from PBS specials. BRACHS candy corn is the best. Laughed at UNMADE for "a bed you're in." HERE WE GO brought to mind raft trips and Harper's Ferry POTOMAC reminded me of hiking the Appalachian Trail there. Really wanted STONEhenge but didn't fit, and saw many CIRCLES in other places in Scotland. Hard puzzle but doable, and that's just what I like.

Forsythia 7:21 AM  

And MARMITE is a nasty spread! I won't ever forget tasting that on the same trip I saw Stonehenge. Someone told me it was like sorghum, ha!

Anonymous 7:22 AM  

I never get all of Patrick Berry's puzzles' but I did this one. PS. I'm 76 years old. Sorry Rex!

barryevans 7:24 AM  

Me too, loved it, hard but doable. Isn't "cradle song" (with nice clue) a regular phrase? Was so proud to figure out a three-letter western title!

kitshef 7:32 AM  

Ahh (or aah) - that lovely feeling when you breeze through a puzzle and come here to find @Rex call it challenging.

This is an impressive puzzle. There are so many long answers, and so many of them intersect, and most of them are very good. The only ones that got negative notes were HERE WE GO and STAYS AT HOME.

In our house, we call an UNMADE BED a bed.

POTOMAC was my entry, immediately crossed by tAgineS - an inauspicious start. But quickly fixed and my only other overwrites were TudORS before TENORS and reeseS before BRACHS.

If you get over to the UK and are interested in STONE CIRCLES, give Stonehenge a miss and take a visit to Avebury. Or better yet, head up to the Orkney Islands and visit the Ring of Brodgar.

tinbox 7:33 AM  

Just because none of the answers are text-speak neologisms doesn't mean it's a bad puzzle.

Glimmerglass 7:37 AM  

I totally agree with @Forsythia. I almost always have a smilar experience with a Patrick Berry puzzle -- first I'm sure I can't finish, then things fall into place. Challenging AND satisfying solve. For this one, I was more successful with long answers than short ones. Yes, @Rex, a CRADLE SONG is a lullabye -- from Shakespeare to modern folk music. A FIRE SCREEN is what goes in front of a fireplace. Your ignorance should not be used to measure puzzles. I thought this was fine for a Friday, but if it should have been a Saturday, so what? Both are "supposed" to be challengng. Your personal time is only slightly relevant to my solving experience -- interesting, but not at all critical.

Steve Reed 7:48 AM  

Agree! Otherwise why have "mess"?

Anonymous 7:49 AM  

How the heck was someone under 80 supposed to get the BRACHS/HUD cross????

Anonymous 7:57 AM  

GRUB or CHOW rather than FOOD is what I associate with mess halls....

As for "obsolescent online connection provider," I use telnet every day for my work---I use it thousands of times a year. Obsolescent? Not for me!

Irene 8:00 AM  

As always from Berry, a wonderful puzzle. Rex seems not to have gotten the puns in some of the clues. I moved steadily through it, with the only serious hesitation at Stone(henge?) As someone said, "challenging and satisfying."
To me, Friday and Saturday are switchable: I sometimes finish Saturday after doing only 2/3 of Friday.

Marty S 8:04 AM  

I had no Idea what LARRUP was at the NW corner cost me a third of my time. That said the rest of the puzzle came together quickly and I finished in half my average Friday time. "Fortune Reader" was great. I love those sorts of clues. They are in my sweet spot. Not the best Patrick Berry but definitely not a Saturday level puzzle for me. Great time for a non-theme.

sf27shirley 8:05 AM  

I liked it too, hard but interesting. Nice to do a puzzle without a lot of references to tv shows from the 90s.

sf27shirley 8:07 AM  
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Anonymous 8:15 AM  

Interesting.
Well under my usual Friday time but, then again, I'm 70.
I agree that some of the the clueing was a stretch, but it all worked for me.

Oh, and by the way, can we please leave political comment--on both sides--out of the mix here?
Crossword puzzles are one place I can escape from the relentless left/right snarkiness.

evil doug 8:20 AM  

"Perhaps the oddest nickname for Gehrig was used exclusively by the media in the ’20s and ’30s. Writers often called him “Larrupin’ Lou,” a label that sometimes made its way into newspaper and periodical headlines. And what in the world, you might ask, does “larrupin’” mean? Well, it’s a shortening of the word “larruping,” an adjective used in describing the delivery of a blow, especially one executed with great force. Though hardly a common word in the lexicon, it certainly fit Gehrig’s hitting style. He apparently liked the nickname enough to apply it to his own barnstorming team, which he called the “Larrupin’ Lous.”"
~from some web site I found

blinker474 8:23 AM  

I liked this one, partly because I was able to finish it. On my first run through I got ARMORY, POTOMAC, BADEN, ITERATE -and some other answers that turned out to be wrong. So it was a long slog, but eventually it was done. Very satisfying. The three long downs, 14, 16 and 18 (penny arcade, housecleans, stays at home) were the keys to my getting the thing done, as they became apparent without needing too many crossings.

Well done, Patrick Berry.

Anonymous 8:27 AM  

This is a good puzzle. Rex is wrong, and his insistence that a puzzle's has to be somehow in his wheelhouse to be any good is simply childish and petulant.

Anonymous 8:32 AM  

Challenging? Are you kidding? I finished it so fast that I honestly thought that it was Wednesday! If you've ever been to a drugstore you've seen Brach's. I don't watch Westerns but Hud is classic. As usual, Patrick Berry provided fair clues. I loved this puzzle, even though it was too easy.

Lewis 8:33 AM  

@rex -- Different houses of wheels; this was a bit under my normal Friday time. So for me, definitely a Friday, not a Saturday.
@kitshef -- Ha! In your house the unmade beds are called "beds"... good one!

I did like the SONGS over TUNE, and had "income" for ENCORE for too long.

In a Patrick Berry puzzle I don't care so much if there are no words in my "liked this word a lot" column. Oh, if there are some, that's icing. I always expect a few devilish make-me-smile clues, and they are always there (COBS, ENCORE). Most of all, I expect a riddle fest, that is, clues that make the brain have to solve rather than bark out something it remembers. And one after another -- pop pop pop -- the riddle solutions begin to come out, and an overall feeling of satisfaction builds to the end, where I feel mentally spent, mentally exercised, and elated. Then, afterward, I look at the logistics of the puzzle and gape at the clean clean grid with its low word count and shake my head with amazement.

Not bad for a collection of letters in a grid. Very few can pull this off. And PB, you did it again.

Exubesq 8:33 AM  

Rex deems it challenging and I breezed through it, slowed only by my inability to type. That's a win! Although it may be a sign that I am approaching geezer status.

Andrew Morrison 8:33 AM  

I'm not that old, and not a speed-solver, and I did this in half (8:30) my usual Friday time. I guess it all just came together. I have no idea what the movie HUD is about, only that it is an old movie, and the only title that could possibly fit given my lucky guess of UNMADE. I agree that the fill skews old, but it is nothing frequent solvers haven't seen for years. Better, for me, than random NYT music critic names, or obscure rap artists. But, YMMV.

Trombone Tom 8:35 AM  

Whoa! Completely disagree with @Rex on this fine PB puzzle! As usual it was a little tough to break into, but once underway it went smoothly and delivered some interesting answers.

I'll admit to being LARRUPed a time or two in my younger years, probably well-deserved.

I had a few mis-steps along the way: tray-->FOOD, rebS-->UTES, and TELcom-->TELNET.

C'mon guys, you shouldn't have to be in your 70's or older to recognize CRADLESONGS and FIRESCREENS.

Thank you PB and WS for an interesting and quite doable Friday.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) 8:48 AM  

I enjoyed every minute. Thank you Patrick Berry. But I suppose that, and the fact that I finished it last night without any cheats, validates Rex's assertion that it skews old. But at 77, I don't whine when somebody's puzzle includes rap songs ...I enjoy learning new things. Maybe, Rex, you should be happy to learn about songs Grandmothers sing to a baby! thanks for the daily blog though ...grumpiness and ageism forgiven occasionally.

Dean 8:51 AM  

So STONE CIRCLES are druid monuments. Right. And Julius Caesar loved to attend Verdi's operas.

kitshef 8:52 AM  

Now that I look at it, I'm pretty sure the photo in Rex's blog is the aforementioned Ring of Brodgar.

The Orkneys are littered with neolithic sites and some of the most spectacular coastal scenery in the world. Also the famous seaweed-eating North Ronaldsay sheep.

Passing Shot 8:52 AM  

Normally I agree with OFL, but I enjoyed this. Difficult, yes, but oddly satisfying. And something about the grid layout just looks elegant to me. Learned LARRUP and BADEN-someone. Surprised myself by pulling FEDAYEEN from a mental corner. Have never heard of CRADLE SONGS and suspect I never will again.

Tita A 8:55 AM  

Ha....@kitshef re beds...thank you for that!

Rex...you had to look up the context for ROLLER and brush???
Come on...ranting over fusty obscurities is one thing, but there you go again mixing in complaints about stuff you don't know. We all know that one is a legitimate criticism, the other is just whining.

And to any sailor, FURL is legit. When I got my 14.5' of boat out on the water, the roller FURLing job was the utmost luxury. I mean, really...if that boat were any simpler, it would be a windsurfer. But that little feature is a big deal to me!!

I've got relatives from Belgium staying with us starting tomorrow. Need to get me some HOUSECLEANS asap!

Michelle Mancini 9:02 AM  
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Anonymous 9:07 AM  

Cradle Song is the name of Brahms' Lullaby. I would tag the term as historic, not geezer.

Lee Coller 9:10 AM  

I really don't understand the "telnet" clue as "Obsolescent online connection provider." Telnet is an internet protocol, it is old, is highly insecure, and generally not used, but it is not a provider, netcom would be an Obsolescent provider, so would aol. There was a company called Telenet that would fit this clue, I suspect Berry (or Shortz) got those confused.

Ken Aaron 9:12 AM  

At about the moment I was contemplating a DNF I somehow came up with BADREP with just the D and managed to turn in my fastest Friday in several weeks. I like FURL without UN. Somebody oughta do a puzzle with FURL and GRUNTLED and other words rarely seen without prefixes or suffixes.

QuasiMojo 9:12 AM  

I sailed through this puzzle even though I do not understand the clue for "Bluffs." Can someone explain how that makes sense? If you are already bluffing then I imagine you have already been called on. Berry could have easily put in something related to topography at the beach or some such. But no complaints here.

Cradle Song is a well-known term, Rex.

Patrick Berry always delivers a literate, sensible, groan-free solving experience. Sometimes they are a bit more amusing than today's offering, but I'm grateful for a solid grid and semi-challenging headscratcher.

I liked seeing Victor Borge, emeralds, Baden-Powell (who is well-known to anyone who has any remote connection to the Boy Scouts), Fedayeen, Stone Circle, Teamsters, etc. Much better than the usual dreck we find in the NYT lately. No Star Wars/Trek claptrap, no Harry Potter "asides," no one-hit Rap wonders, no Gaga or Adele, no geeky internet gobbledygook. Instead we get a clever misdirect on Wagner, a classic Paul Newman flick that is not obscure, and a hat tip to the King of Pop.

Jennifer Freeman 9:12 AM  

ROCK-a-bye baby in the tree tops When the wind blows the CRADLE will ROCK
Like Rex I had trouble in the NW but this was relatively easy for me since I'm 72. I rarely finish a puzzle on Friday without cheating but I wasn't even tempted. Surprised it was Patrick Berry as it was a wee bit boring.

Nancy 9:23 AM  

I found this smooth as silk and extremely enjoyable and I didn't realize till almost the end of my solve that it was Patrick Berry. (I can live to be 100 and never get into the habit of looking at a constructor's name before I begin the puzzle.) I found this less difficult than many other PBs, but it was certainly "crunchy" enough to hold my attention throughout. The SE gave me the most trouble, and I spent most of my time there. I wanted STONEhenge, but it didn't fit; I would never have thought of SWEEPS for using "people meters"; ENCORE is wonderfully and deceptively clued; and then there was ROLLER. Since I would never use a ROLLER on either my hair or my teeth, I never thought of it as an "alternative to a brush". Only after it came in, did I say to myself: On a tennis court! That's where!

Loved the clues for BLUFFS; CRADLE SONGS; HOUSECLEANS and TUNE. But what on earth is MARMITE? I've heard of marmalade. Is it similar? What kind of food product advertises "Love it or hate it"? One that's really asking for trouble, I'd say. And @kitshef -- Your unmade bed comment is hilarious.

Sir Hillary 9:26 AM  

No issue with difficultly level -- that's a wheelhouse thing. It was average for me.

The puzzle definitely disappointed though, given the constructor. There were a few tortured entries -- I know housecleaning is of course a thing, but does anyone say "He HOUSECLEANS once a week"? No, they say, "He cleans house once a week." Also, it felt to me like there were way more POCs than PB1 usually gives us. The eastern section of the puzzle is basically knit together by them.

All told, a bit of a bummer, albeit due largely to what we usually get from PB1.

Anonymous 9:35 AM  

Do you mean to say that Trump is an improvement? (A) How crazy are you? (B) What on earth does this have to do with Friday's puzzle?

Maruchka 9:35 AM  

I loved it! True, not as smooth as many PB's. But speed isn't always the best measure. The many aha! moments more than compensated for time taken, and that was very well spent.

Chafes/BLUFFS kept the NW open longest. Clue is absolutely on point - I just didn't see the game.

Three of my favorite things:

BORGE - I can hear my Danish grandmother chortling with glee
FURL - Ah, raising and lowering the flag at Camp Seabow
LARRUP - LARRUPin' Cafe, sweet restaurant in Trinidad CA with the best halibut ever.

Thanks for the memories, Mr. Berry.

Mr. Benson 9:36 AM  

One thing that helped me out: I wasn't fooled by the "it's picked up in a mess" clue and put down FOrk. That was wrong, but it did give me two letters that gave me the traction I needed to finish this puzzle (like Rex, I finished the NW last). Is there a phrase for when that happens -- when a wrong answer gives you a couple of right letters that help you along?

Otherwise, I agree with just about everything Rex says today -- really challenging puzzle, disappointing by Berry standards, what's a CRADLE SONG, what's a LARRUP, what's a FIRESCREEN, that NW was a killer, wanted REBS, wanted SEER, who are BADEN and BORGE, all of that.

gruffed 9:39 AM  

@quasimojo - if you're bluffing in poker, you don't want to be called because you will lose the hand.

Anonymous 9:40 AM  

As a 72-year-old I thought this was incredibly easy for a Friday. Age has its compensations.

Wm. C. 9:42 AM  

Harder than the typical Friday for me. MARMITE only after crosses recalled. LARRUPS was last, but then out of the depths of memory came the times my father used it while punishing me. Also dragged HUD out as a 3-letter Western, but only after-the-fact vaguely recognized BRACHS.

CRADLEsongs, ORIOLES, BORGE, stoneCIRCLE, BADREP, RAGOUTS, SCOTTS (OrthoSister implies same manufacturer??), TIEbeams, blah blah blah.

Hmmpphh!



Mohair Sam 9:44 AM  

A wonderful Berry that we loved here. This one pointed out OFL's tragic flaw - if a puzzle misses his wheelhouse he just hates it.

Never heard of the term CRADLESONG but it was fun to "riddle out" as @Lewis suggested. Most college hoops fans know well that there are UTES as well as Rebs runnin' around out there, it is a Friday Rex. Never noticed LARRUP until we got here, we didn't know the word either - it just filled. HeAtHS before BRACHS. I cleared the first grade hurdle when I was still five, but then I'm a lot smarter than most of you.

@Forsythia - Yup, friggin' MARMITE. One look at the clue for 31D (a slogan which I've never heard, btw) and I had the answer. On a sunny Sunday morning 50 long years ago I was encouraged by an English hotelier I remember as Sybil Fawlty to spread some of that sh*t on a piece of toast. A mouthful I have never forgotten. The horror, the horror.

Nancy 9:48 AM  

So I went back and read the comments and found out that the ROLLER/brush thing is a reference to painting. Not to tennis courts. But for me, who's spent thousands of hours more on a tennis court than I've ever spent in front of an easel or painting my kitchen (!), the tennis reference is the one that resonates with me. You can roll a tennis court or you can brush a tennis court.

@Quasi (9:12) -- I think you BLUFF in Poker to avoid being "called" -- i.e. to have your opponent drop out of the hand because he thinks he has a worse hand, even though he has a better one. I know this, not because I gamble -- no one who hates losing money as much as I do or has a face that gives away...everything -- should ever gamble. It's because I watch too many movies like THE STING and A BIG HAND FOR THE LITTLE LADY.

evil doug 9:49 AM  

Fawlty Towers! Or 'Flowery Twats' when those young hooligans messed with the sign....

Z 9:51 AM  
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GeezerJackYale48 9:52 AM  

Well said. My sentiments precisely.

John Deuel 9:54 AM  

22D clue doesn't work for me. Telnet is NOT a "provider," it's a protocol. And I could further quibble with "obsolescent," but I won't. Telenet was a provider and is gone, so that would be a better answer for the clue as written.

Z 9:59 AM  

@Tita - regarding ROLLER, I think Rex was observing, not whining. It certainly has happened to many of us that we do the D'Oh slap when the obvious finally dawns on us.

@Evil - "some website I found" is the best citation ever.

@Lee Coller- The other definition of "provider." And don't you dare call AOL "obsolescent."

Right with Rex on the challenging, but I'm under 60. Hand up for picking up a tray in the mess, having no clue what kind of BEAMS were going to be in the rafters, and wondering about the term CRADLE SONGS. It makes sense post solve, but I'm with Rex, they are "lullabies." Still, I think Rex is a little harsh. This was a fun tussle. I do wonder if anyone else noticed the secretly gay mini-theme.

@Mohair Sam - Just saw an article about kids, especially boys, starting kindergarten a year later and having fewer behavioral problems.

*reposting because "don't you dare" somehow became "daughter not dare." Fat fingers and auto-correct - first world problems.

Charles Flaster 9:59 AM  

Very easy until SW. DNF at FEDAYEEN and MARMITE. Heard of the former but never the latter.
Creative cluing-- EXEC, BAD REP, and TEAMSTERS.
One writeover at BLUFFS for foUrFS.
I vaguely remember a Victor BORGE malaprop of a diva's "die aria" being nothing but " diarrhea ". That was only 60 years ago!
Thanks PB.

Jordan Silverstein 10:00 AM  

Agreed on TELNET. Had dialup first. A much more appropriate answer.

Bella 10:01 AM  

It took me a good long while to remember that Brach's was a brand, but I got there and finished the puzzle.

Richard Gross 10:05 AM  

Such whining!! Geez....
I'm 83. I miss Victor.

Bobby G 10:05 AM  

Took me forever because I had FEDAYkEN instead of FEDAYEEN, thinking of the fighting dudes from Frank Herbert's Dune novels (which I looked up afterwards, and it's actually spelled Fedaykin... oh well). Did that happen to anyone else? I've never heard of a TIE BEAM, so that was annoying.

Rita Flynn 10:14 AM  

I had no problem with brush and roller, for some reason, and larrup just fell in there by accident because of the crosses. I too had seer for exec until sixyearolds wouldn't fit.

(There appears to be a bot or a troll making pro-administration comments that have nothing to do with the crossword on this blog, by the way.)

Anonymous 10:15 AM  

Wow, I thought this was fairly easy! Went right from top to bottom with the SW being the only challenge. The BADEN/FADAYEEN was a bit tough in that I didn't know either, but once I dropped the B in, it came together. Funny how people can find a solving experience so differently!

Tim Aurthur 10:43 AM  

CRADLE SONG didn't sound that weird to me. It's a literal translation of "Berceuse," French for lullaby and a classical musical form. Chopin wrote a famous one.

Mohair Sam 10:44 AM  
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Mohair Sam 10:48 AM  

@Z - Those theories abounded even way back then - kids were being held back a year to advantage for lots of reasons. But I like to think I was youngest because I was smartest, not because my parents wanted me out of the house.
Don't spoil my fun.

Punctuated equilibrium 10:56 AM  

Another elegant puzzle from Patrick Berry. Learned some new things (Oriole=golden) chuckled at the clues to some, and enjoyed it all to finish in my usual Friday time.

Craig Percy 11:00 AM  

Yup. Well said, and I agree with everything said here. I enjoyed this puzzle: sometimes challenging, often witty, but very doable. Seems just right for a Fri NYT puzzle. Namaste.

mathgent 11:01 AM  

Wonderful job by The Genius!

Jeff Chen noted that there are only 62 words in the grid, amazingly low. So, longer words and not many Terrible Twos. Only four of the little pests

Some of PB's recent Fridays have been too easy. Not this one. Good crunch. I was stuck in the SE until I tried RIDE.

As usual for a PB, smart cluing and a pleasing variety of words. I learned FEDAYEEN.

GILL I. 11:03 AM  

Aw jeez....I could do puzzles like this every day of my life. The first thing I say to myself when it's PB..."Damn, I wish constructors would clue like he does." He's the black dress at a cocktail party. Simple, elegant and you'll see one little EMERALD bracelet that makes the over-all look stunning. I don't care how old you are, there is always room for a je ne sais quois, elegance. HE DA MAN.
Having TRAY instead of FOOD was my foul up of the day. Everything else went in like a well oiled slipper. Wanted SWEEPS where ROLLERS was sitting but that got cleared up with the beautiful ORIOLE.
HUD and MARMITE were my first easy peasy lemony squeezy entries. @Nancy...If you like a mouthful of yeast, you'll love MARMITE. I hate it but my British husband adores it. Our in-laws send us tons of it that I hide. He keeps telling me that it's an acquired taste (evidently only the Brits have it) like eating barnacles for the first time.
LARRUP may be an oldie but It came to me from the attic cobwebs and that helped me finish this delight puzzle.
I'll have two Cerignolas in my Tanqueray gin martini, please...Thank you.

John Child 11:27 AM  

@Nancy, to paraphrase Jerry Garcia, Marmite is like licorice. Not everyone likes licorice, but people who like licorice like it a lot.

puzzle hoarder 11:34 AM  

What's the connection between ROLLER and brush? When our host does clueless he doesn't hold back. I don't understand the "this should have been a Saturday" criticism at all. Like all PB puzzles this was nice looking but offered little challenge. MARMITE was as exotic as it got. That is a Shortz era debut. Vegemite I know because of that Men at Work song from the 80's, MARMITE was a bit of a road block. I've been to Harpers Ferry so POTOMAC was where I started the puzzle. EMERALD went in just as fast. YOW and ROT were gimmies so at that point I put in PENNYARCADE without even checking the crosses first. A quick scan of the consonants got me TUNES and SHAD. That's how the solve went. There were times when I had to stop and think or correct write overs but mostly it was smooth sailing.

relicofthe60s 11:47 AM  

I thought this was pretty easy for a Friday. Maybe because I'm old and dusty. Did it in about half my usual time. Clues provided just enough resistance to offer a challenge. No obscure rappers or pop culture references, thankfully. I have no sympathy for anyone who doesn't know that rollers ad brushes are painting tools.

Stuartwm 11:49 AM  

I thought the puzzle was charming and relatively easy. Doesn't everyone know that 18th century aristocrats used fire screens to keep the heat from the fireplace from melting their wax makeup (to hide smallpox scars)?? And I thought "Cradle Songs" quite clever. Maybe it is an age thing...

Joseph Michael 12:04 PM  

BRACHS next to LARRUP and MARMITE next to FEDAYEEN made me go YOW, but I enjoyed the puzzle overall.

Broke the ice with SIX YEAR OLDS and fought my way to a solution from there. Didn't mind that the puzzle skews "old."

Who (besides Rex) says that every puzzle has to be hip and "current"? The puzzle should reflect the diversity of the NYT readership which includes a wide range of ages, interests, etc. And just because you don't know an answer doesn't automatically make it a bad one.

PB puzzles are always entertaining and thiis was no exception. Well constructed, cleverly clued, a pleasurable way to start the day.

howard a. brenner 12:09 PM  

The ageism wears on me. Thank god by the time Rex gets old and spends all of his energy complaining about kids these day I will be beyond his reach. Could be worse I suppose, the puzzle could contain references pertinent to women or Afro-Americans. Nah.

John V 12:14 PM  

Apart from ROLLER/NOW cross, not that hard here, although not as nice as typical PB offering.

Anoa Bob 12:16 PM  

First thing I noticed was those four six-block black square globs that look like video game bomber silhouettes. Add in the others and there's a total to 36 black squares, a number typically seen in early-week themed puzzle grids.

Even the great ones do it. With the plural of convenience (POC) making early appearances at BLUFFS & BUYERS, I thought HERE WE GO again. Soon after the two-for-one, share-a-final-S POC made its first appearance at the end of CRADLE SONG & UTE, and that was just the tip of the iceberg. I count seven (!) more of those. Each S at the converging down-across end of those could be changed to a black square, the clues tweaked---but not substantially changed---and the grid would show its true black square color, so to speak, of 43. For a themeless, 43 is an off-the-chart high number of black squares. But that is essentially what we get in this grid.

Before going to Navy Sonar school, I was sent straight out of boot camp into the fleet. As an brand new E-2, I was the lowest ranking sailor on the whole ship. As was gleefully pointed out to me on numerous occasions, I was lower than whale shit on the bottom of the ocean, and as such always got the shittiest jobs. (As was also gleefully pointed out to me, "Shit flows downhill".) One was a three month tour being a mess cook, which was basically a 12-hour-a-day bus boy/janitor on the mess decks. So naturally I threw in TRAY at 4D "It's picked up in a mess", then tried CHOW, and, like some others above, was mightily disappointed when that opportunity was wasted with FOOD.

Drank a KIRIN or two in Japan, but I thought Sapporo was by far the best. That and San Miguel in the Philippines were my two favorite beers in that part of the globe. Neither seems to import well---too long out of the brewery methinks---so they are distant memories.

jae 12:19 PM  

Easy-medium for this 70+ year old. Hand up for rebS before UTES and cOT before ROT. Typical smooth PB but a tad bland. Liked it.

old timer 12:24 PM  

If I can finish a Friday without once pulling out my iPhone to look something up, I rate it as Easy (for a Friday). So this was Easy. I started at the NE corner with POTOMAC and before you know it I had solved diagonally, NE to SW, aided by TIEBEAMS, AMY, MARMITE and STONE -- STONE something anyhow. I was saying to myself this was only Wednesday-hard.

But then there were those NW and SE corners. I had ROLLER at once -- who hasn't painted walls, back in the day? And NOW. And IRAN. But it took pure inspiration to come up with SWEEPS (Week) and the brilliant ENCORE. I think it was about then that I saw it was a PB puzzle and know there was hope. The NW corner was hardest, as it so often is for me. Until ARMORY broke it open, and a vague memory that LARRUP was a word.

MARMITE is the British (and original) version of the product known to the Aussies as Vegemite. An Aussie young man stayed with us for a few months and we bought him a bottle. Suffice it to say it is an acquired taste. MARMITE and Vegemite are both made from brewing byproducts. I dunno, maybe if I liked Fosters beer I would like Vegemite.

CRADLE SONGS was brilliantly clued as "rock music" I thought. If you have a cradle, you use it to rock the baby and pray she will go to sleep at last. So CRADLESONGS is far better in that context than "Lullaby". The classic CRADLESONG is "Rock-a-bye baby." Being a Francophile the song I liked to sing was "Sur le Pont d'Avignon" (on y danse, on y danse).

howardk 12:40 PM  

a fire screen is not used to shield one from heat but from flying embers an ash

Masked and Anonymous 12:41 PM  

@RP: Well, day-um. Good mornin, sunshine. Sooo … U had to look up why a roller can be a brush alternative, huh? Let doc M&A just ask U some standard early warnin questions, as a precaution …
1. Are yer teeth goin to pot?
2. Do you find yerself askin, "What year is it?"
3. Do you often say "no change that --", when you mean "no chance that --".
4. Are easy PB1 FriPuzs getting too hot for you to handle?
5. Do you fantasize that U are the 9th-best anything in the entire Universe?
5. Do you frequently dress up like a "Galaxy Commander" dude?
5. Do you sit and stare at the NW corner for prolonged periods?
6. Have you started to use a roller, to brush yer teeth?
7. Did you fail to count the number of U's in today's NYTPuz grid?
8. Did you not notice that there are three #5's in this list?

[As long as U can confidently answer "no" to most of the above questions, U are good to go, without usin special underwear protection.]

Good, sturdy, remedial-level Patrick Berry FriPuz. Fun solvequest, altho M&A went with PANTRY, before the slightly more warlike ARMORY. And CURL ahead of FURL. And REBS over UTES (yo, @RP). And thought we had weirdo foreign opera word ENCORA, until I got SNEER spelt out correct. Each misfire was only for a precious nano-sec and change/chance [choose one], tho.

UN-MADE. har. Better clue: {Like Security Council name tags??}. staff weeject pick was HUD. Western starrin Ben Carson as a cattledrive brain surgeon.

Thanx, and nice root canal work, PB1. @Shortzmeister: Will be a real hoot, if the SatPuz can be harder than snot, just sayin.

Masked & Anonymo6Us


**gruntz**

Teedmn 12:46 PM  

The first entry I was pretty sure of was "Asahi" at 25D. But ASIDES had to be right and SIX YEAR OLDS so "asahi" was out on its ...

And was it going to be SIX YEARs OLD or YEAR OLDS? I checked the crosses for where the plural was likely to be.

My scary, Natick possiblity fell my way today when it turned out to be MARMITE crossing BADEN - I considered "i" at that cross but MARMITE looked better. (Is it the same as vegemite? (Google says yes.) I've tasted vegeMITE - it was so salty, I couldn't choke it down.

I wanted HOUSE sits at 16D but one doesn't usually HOUSE sit one's own house plus it didn't fit, but it helped to fill that one in.

The clues for ENCORE and UNMADE were my favorites today in this 22 minute solve for me (thanks, @Rex, for calling it Challenging), so thanks, PB1.

seanm 1:07 PM  

saturdayish. some. some bizarre cluing. i spent about 15 minutes trying to figure out the NW after finishing the rest. BRACHS crossing HUD is just terrible, as is the clue for Food, and FURL. not to mention the worst of all, LARRUP. not enough good stuff to balance out the horrible NW.

Hartley70 1:12 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hartley70 1:14 PM  

It's all been said, but I will say that I had my typical PB experience. I looked at the puzzles and clues, decided it was beyond me and went to sleep. I got up this morning and found my toehold in the SW with AMY and BADEN and then flew upward to a very satisfying finish.

@Gill I, I love your cocktail dress/PB metaphor with the EMERALD on top. I wish I'd thought of it first.

@Brachs makes the best and most popular candy corn in the US of A. What's more American than three different colors of sugar made into a little triangle?

For all the kids here, HUD starred Newman and Patricia O'Neal. She was married to Roald Dahl whose children's books your Mom was reading to you not that long ago. Does that help?

@Nancy, MARMITE is a big seller in Bermuda. That's where I first spit it out.

Anonymous 1:16 PM  

Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig barnstormed around the U.S. giving exhibition games. The Busting Babes vs the LARRUPING LOU's--that's how I arrived at 2D

QuasiMojo 1:31 PM  

Hey guys, thanks for the explanation for "Bluffs." I'm embarrassed to admit that I used to play poker almost every night for several years with a bunch of different groups and yet that clue went right over my head. I was thinking of school and of being "called on" rather than "called." Dumb.

For those curious about marmite, it is made from Brewer's Yeast. It was a staple during the Second World War, like Spam and Bovril. I've yet to taste any, but it's definitely not on my bucket list.

Carola 1:37 PM  

Easy-medium here, perhaps because my age group is the SIX (x 12) YEAR OLDS. For me, this one was one pleasure after another - I enjoyed the survey of various ERAS: CRADLE SONGS, PENNY ARCADE, STONE CIRCLE, SPEAKEASY, BADEN-Powell, and FIRESCREENS (which I know from 18th-19th c. novels, where they're always being adjusted). The only entry that would have given me problems is LARRUP, but I never saw it until coming here....it filled itself in from crosses.

r.alphbunker 1:37 PM  

21A. {Prep before playing} ANTE-->TUNE
18D. {Doesn't go out} STAYSINSIDE-->STAYSATHOME
38D. {Trading card figures} STARS-->STATS
4D. {It's picked up in a mess} ROOM-->FOOD

Details are here.

Wileyfex 1:39 PM  

I thought it easy for a Friday. Does being 72 have something to do with this? I thought clothes brush/roller: the sticky lint remover roller is an alternative to the brush.

Octavian 1:42 PM  

Easiest Friday for me in several weeks -- almost broke my record but got hung up on Bluffs/Brachs.

Entry answer for me was POTOMAC, then got YOW, EMERALDS, SCOTTS, PENNYARCADE and was off to the races.

Another great PB puzzle with clever cluing and lots of interconnectivity.

JC66 2:17 PM  

@Hartley70

loved your MARMITE comment.

(I think you mean Patricia Neal.)

Joe Bleaux 2:29 PM  

As @Hartley70 said, it's all been said (as it usually is before I'm ready to post). As always, PB was a treat, making me think I was sunk at first scan, then rewarding me with a great sense of accomplishment after his extraordinarily good clues enable me to finish. His initials always put a song in my heart (an oldie, with the lyric "I love peanut butter, creamy peanut butter, crunchy peanut butter too"). And as always, I didn't get exercised about OLF's critique and don't understand why some others get so ginned up about it. @Z -- Don'


Since no one else has asked, I will: What inspired you to ask the crowd if anyone else noticed the secretly gay mini-theme? Please point it out for me; stuff like that goes over my head all the time. Thanks.

Joe Bleaux 2:31 PM  

@Z -- ignore the "Don' " at the start.

Mohair Sam 2:33 PM  

@Masked and Anonymous - You outdid yourself today. Read your list out loud to Lady M and she made me read it again, tears in her eyes. Great stuff.

@Anonymous (1:16) - No need to justify LARRUP or any other word in the puzzle. Except maybe MARMITE (for the reminder of that hideous taste).

Roo Monster 3:42 PM  

Hey All !
Read about half the comments so far. No one has mentioned/complained about the PPP fest in the SW. And MARMITE, What the hey is that? I have to agree a bit with Rex on this one. Doesn't seem to be up to PB1's standards.

chOw for FOOD, because ... chow. Started 41A with STatue_____. Only those two writeovers. DNF with MeRMaTE, because again, WTH.

Oh, and what's the use of making the bed when you're just going to get back in it in 15 hours or so? :-)

So, Friday-ish to me. Hopefully filling this in makes me smarter than a SIX YEAR OLD.

FURLs out some SNEERS
RooMonster
DarrinV

Jilmac 4:02 PM  

This was by far the fastest and easiest Friday I've done. As an old Brit brought up and loving Marmite that was my first word in and the rest just went.

OISK 4:09 PM  

Great puzzle, bringing back the unpleasant memory of a British friend getting me to try Marmite. As he laughed at my reaction, he revealed that he loves to spring that on his American guests...

It is also really pleasant, having DNF (twice!) on a puzzle OFL called "easy," to complete one he considers "challenging." Mutombo or Mutombe vs. Bassos or Basses is challenging. Nothing like that here for me.

I recall that my sheet music for Brahms lullaby was called "Cradle song." (favorite rendition - Victoria de los Angeles) Notice how seldom Berry uses acronyms. I always enjoy his puzzles.

Marie 4:25 PM  

I never get all of Patrick Berry's puzzles' but I did this one. PS. I'm 76 years old. Sorry Rex!

And I'm 86, and I liked it too, so there. The only one I really didn't get (eventually) was larrup--although even that is dragging in a long-gone memory. And I don't play enough poker so "called" went through phones and the draft first. Marie

Mr. Fitch 4:59 PM  

This is probably a bot that posts pro-Trump stuff across Wordpress.

Mr. Fitch 5:01 PM  

Exactly, "food" is too general an answer for the specific term "mess." Not saying it's wrong, just off.

Mr. Fitch 5:08 PM  

Telnet isn't really a connection provider. It's not an ISP, like Comcast. It's not an alternative to dialup. It's a protocol for connections, which I suppose in some sense "provides" the connection. Is a http also a "connection provider"? The clue there was misleading, I thought.

Nancy 5:16 PM  

Never have I seen a subject discussed on this blog that has brought out such universal loathing and contempt as MARMITE. I still don't know exactly what it is, but from the grossed-out reactions of Mohair, Hartley, Forsythia, GILL, old timer, Teedmn and OISK, I am quite sure that not knowing what it is is a very good thing indeed. I was going to say that this might be the first thing in Rexworld that everyone seems to agree on until I read Jilmac's comment. But then Jilmac is an "old Brit," so I guess that doesn't really count.

Crane Poole 5:44 PM  

I'm pleased to have completed it and pleased that others also found it challenging. FEDAYEEN and BADEN crossing TIEBEAMS and MARMITE. Yargfgh. Agree with the questioning of TELNET. Would argue that Tristan and Parsifan themselves are not TENORS but I get it, I get it. Multiple ahas as frustration turned to satisfaction a little at a time.

Z 5:56 PM  

@Joe Bleaux - Partly because I always mix up HUD and Giant, partly because this, and then noticing a plethora of gay stereotype type terms. Yet, It was mixing up HUD for the Rock Hudson starring Giant that got me wondering, so not really there like I thought this morning.

Rob 6:00 PM  

I thought this was pretty bad. Some bad clues for good answers: TELNET, ITERATE. Some plain bad answers: SIX YEAR OLDS, CRADLE SONGS. (The first is an utterly insignificant phrase, the second is one no one says.

I never really understand the love Patrick Berry puzzles get. I usually think he damages his puzzles by getting too cutesy with the clues. But this seems worse than usual for him.

Jon 6:13 PM  

Loved the puzzle in that it seemed impossible at first, but with a few answers opened up as
most Berry puzzles do. I think this may be a response to last Berry puzzle that Rex said was
too easy..

crabsofsteel 6:14 PM  

Lee Coller is spot on. Telenet is the obsolete connection provider, telnet is simply a peer-to-peer protocol. Bad cluing, Mr. Berry.

Mohair Sam 6:21 PM  

There are those among you who are moving north because of Trump. I'm heading to Canada because they banned MARMITE three years ago (citation BBC America). A sensible nation for sure.

phil phil 6:47 PM  

Unusually tough for a PB. I think his are so smooth and beautifully constructed he has a hard time making the clues hard enough. Many here felt forced.

Also I believe PB thought TELNET was tied to the 'telephone network' connection which is what went in there for me right quick...the old timer, DIALUP. Knew it was right but still didn't feel it was going to be my 'final answer'. As posted you don't want internet and TELNET in the same room together.

Boy it's nice not having an abbr included.

Only ever heard UNLV as the full name Running Rebels and I knew there was another runner in the NCAA.


phil phil 6:49 PM  

Other entries I tried before TELNET. AOLISP, DSLISP. All wrong but not near so much as the ans.

Anonymous 7:02 PM  

Z,
Have you know shame? Baden-Powell was not a homosexual. Linking to that bit of libel was lousy. Just your style.

Hartley70 7:04 PM  

@JC66, yes, thank you! I was so busy going back to correct the autocorrect of Roald to Ronald, that I missed that error. Duh!

Larry Gilstrap 7:10 PM  

I like them tough and fair and this one qualifies. Sure, I floundered and didn't use much pencil lead the first time around the horn, but I have faith in the guy and we both came through.

I remember seeing Hud at the old theater in downtown Covina. It was one of the first adult themed movies I had ever seen and it got into my head. Paul Newman, in the title role, played a hard drinking profane womanizer, so different from the men in my experience. I identified most with the teenage nephew, beautifully portrayed by Brandon de Wilde. Hey, I was naive. I wasn't quite sure why the men were so attracted to Patricia Neal's character. I was what, fifteen? I had a lot to learn. She received the Academy Award for Best Actress.

beatrice 7:20 PM  

My mother would occasionally say that some dish of FOOD I prepared was "LARRUPin' good" if it was especially yummy. Her early years were spent in Waco, Texas. I found this page about this particular usage - I esp. like "Exceeding pleasant to taste". http://dare.wisc.edu/words/100-entries/larruping

I don't know what I'm missing - single ENCORE sounds quite wrong to my ears, as clued. Perhaps someone could help?

PB's puzzles have always suggested that he is an aficionado of classical music. Here, in addition to the obvious, he cleverly sneaks in the name of the prodigiously talented and prolific Baroque specialist Philippe HERrEWEG(o)he. This recording of the last works of Schutz - 'lost' for 300 years - while not seasonal - seems an apt choice for this reflective season of the year.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gLjzrrwb4kw

And lastly, CRADLE_SONG had me hearing (in my head) this gorgeous "Wiegenlied" by Richard Strauss.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bgoCTVnTnA

Anonymous 7:28 PM  

Cf. marlite: "an earthy deposit consisting of lime, clay, and sand, used as fertilizer."

Q: What's the difference between marlite and marmite?
A: You can eat marlite.

Aketi 7:38 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aketi 7:47 PM  

Blogger Aketi said...
@Nancy, I have eaten Vegamite which I think is the Australian equivalent of MARMITE. It was some sort of spread of unknown substances that you put on bread like Americans do with peanut butter or Belgians do with Nutella. I put it in the category of Spam, a food I can eat if I have to on comping trips (I know you do NOT do those) or road trips that can be more or less edible depending on what it is paired with. Of course, I actually love termites and tolerate caterpillars if smothered in peanut sauce. I draw the line at palm grubs. I have eaten Durian anf survived without vomiting. I won't mention the endangered game animals that were served to me in Africa that I ate to be polite and sadly were quite tasty.

@Mohair Sam, Canadians may have banned MARMITE, but they still (at least in the areas of Canadathat I visit most often) eat poutine. I ate that too and survived. Don't feel any need to eat it again unlike chicken and waffles.

BarbieBarbie 8:01 PM  

I liked this puzzle, and I'm starting to learn what "crunchiness" is. Sadly, I dnf, and it was the NW that was the problem, but what I guess is unique... cURL for FURL and no clue on LARRUPS meant that BLUFFS was unfathomable. And, as long as I'm confessing: at one point I had rOOm as what is picked up in a mess. That is, when it's in a mess, it gets picked up. I know my mother's spirit is laughing somewhere.

Brian 8:37 PM  

FORK is picked up in a mess too

Anonymous 8:38 PM  

First Friday I've completed, ever! I loved the retro feel of it, penny arcades, teamsters etc all.

Chip Hilton 8:40 PM  

I know I'm late but really wanted to add my agreement with those who found this fair and enjoyable. I'm 68 and, while I didn't breeze through it, I felt there were avenues available in all the sections. I always enjoy Berry's constructions and this was no exception.

It really cracks me up to read Rex's pitiful whining when something offers resistance. One man's poison . . .

Brian 8:45 PM  

Lullaby "Rock-a-bye baby on the tree top
when the wind blows the cradle will rock"
Hence rock music cradle song?

Anonymous 10:00 PM  

good puzzle for a change - an actual puzzle!

ChE Dave 10:18 PM  

Finished, but took a long time; NW almost got me.

At least others found it challenging!

Anonymous 11:08 PM  

roller -brush - lint ! no? don't think anyone mentioned this. surprised.







razerx 11:25 PM  

Otherwise challenging puzzle made easy with well placed gimmes such as Potomac, Kirin, Marmite, etc. What held me up ultimately were the plain answers such as Food and Cradle Song when I expected something more clever.

joebloggs 11:34 PM  

What is a people meter and what context is a sweep associated with said meter? Only people meter I could conceive of is at a turnstile. That's not a sweep! Bad clue!

Anonymous 12:20 AM  

@JoeBloggs People meter. They measure how many people watch a given TV show during sweep-month(s).

Space Is Deep 9:25 AM  

Happy to finish this one with only one error. Strarted it last night while enjoying my after work martinis, nearly finished it, but got stuck in the SW. I guessed TINBEAMS/FEDAYNEN. LARRUP looked wrong, but the crosses all made sense. I always seem to go through Berry puzzles fairly quickly, his cluing seems to be on my wave length. There have been plenty of Friday and Saturday puzzles that Rex rates easy that are DNF for me, but Berry puzzles are usually finishes for me and relatively quickly.

Anonymous 9:58 AM  

I thought this was easy, fun and fair (52). I live in LA and have hiked Mt. BADEN-Powell a couple times - lucky.

Alex 11:55 AM  

Wow - super-cranky Rex. Not just usual-cranky Rex. I'm a big Larry McMurtry fan, so HUD was my first answer. And a former Girl Scout, so BADEN was easy. I am not a crossword-puzzle-timing-person, so I can't compare with other times I have clocked. Any time I finish a Friday successfully without even a "clear wrong answers" cheat, I feel victorious. And I did. Victory is mine!

Warren Howie Hughes 5:52 PM  

Patrick has been Beery Berry good to the followers of the NYT's Xword puzzles, and he has been justly rewarded for being just about everyone's favorite constructor!

Anonymous 8:21 AM  

I'm a little surprised at the distinction between a Friday and Saturday difficulty puzzle. In my experience sometimes one's harder sometimes the other, mostly based on what trivia you happen to know or how much you're on the constructor's wavelength. In this case, I'd never heard of LARRUP, and ARMORY didn't "click" for "Storehouse". Isn't an armory solely for arms?

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