Judith of TV's Nashville / FRI 9-29-17 / Sweet love of my lifei n 1976 bob dylan song / Brand of fruit-flavored hard candy / English socialite Middleton / Modern transports used while standing

Friday, September 29, 2017

Constructor: Damon Gulczynski

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: PHALANGE (38D: Bone of the hand or foot) —
another term for phalanx (sense 2). // i.e.
a bone of the finger or toe. (google)
• • •

This is a fine puzzle. Lots of zingy longer fill, very modern, very colloquial. Entertaining. The only parts that were truly irksome were those that were anomalously old and dumb like MOT (14A: Zinger). No one says MOT for "zinger." Maybe ironically, but not actually. I'd rather see this clued as a partial (e.g.  [Bon ___], [Le ___ juste]) or even just as Fr. word meaning ... well, "word." Only the hyper-pretentious are going to call a "zinger" a MOT. Also no one says I DARE NOT (except maybe the guy who says MOT). That answer took me a while because it's impossible to imagine a non-fictional human saying it. I also got a little confused on the GENDER BINARY clue (20A: Male-or-female). Is it GENDER hyphen BINARY, i.e. is this a compound adjective??? The clue looks adjectival ... so ... yeah, the clue and answer don't swap out that well, to my ear. "GENDER-BINARY thinking" = "Male-or-female thinking"? ... I guess. Maybe. Anyway, that threw me. (My friend Angela literally just emailed me, unsolicited, complaining about this very answer, and calling the clue "hyphen abuse")

My biggest struggles (which were few) all came in and around the long Downs in the east. I just couldn't get any of the short Acrosses to go at first, and so couldn't see the Downs very well. I actually wanted both PSY and USA, but the first seemed dumb (though I guess as an abbr. it's not inaccurate) (no one calls it that, but those are the three letters one would see in a course catalogue, say), and then the second (USA) I just wasn't sure of. And then there was MIC, with its ridiculous [insert tab A into slot B and fold into a swan to get the answer!]-type clue, which my brain always just rejects (62A: Item that names a person holding it when its middle letter is removed). I take one look and go Nope and move to crosses. See also the clue on TRES, ugh (39A: French 101 word or, with a different meaning, Spanish 101 word). Almost everything *not* on the east coast of this puzzle was super-easy. And, as I said up front, pretty fun.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:06 AM  

Easy-medium for me too, but I knew a lot of the PPPs...PIPPA, NERUDA, HADER, TRACY...so my only real hang up was @lms putting the H in the wrong place for GANDHI.

Solid Fri. with some zip, liked it.

Mike in Mountain View 12:25 AM  

@Rex likes puzzles with proper names I don't know. That's OK. But it means the puzzles he finds easy sometimes play more challenging for me. I didn't know SARA, HOAG, or TRACY and am proud that I had to get PIPPA from crosses (I vaguely remembered the name). I still enjoyed the puzzle, thanks to the names being fairly crossed, and thanks to HOVERBOARD and ITSNOGIGGIE and GIVEMEARING.

PABLONERUDA and GANDHI (two names I knew) went straight in, but OVERTHEHUMP for some reason went in as OVERTHEHill, which slowed things down in the SE alongside TRACY and PSY and USA. (When I couldn't think of a channel called IS_, I took another look at OVERTHEHill.

I wonder how many people under 40 know who GARYHART is. Too bad he's remembered for Monkey Business. It was, indeed, a different time.

Ando 1:26 AM  

GARY HART is one of the many disgraced politicians who watch Donald Trump with mouths agape, wondering how he gets away with 50x the behavior that ended their careers.

Anonymous 1:42 AM  

@Ando Because what brought down Hart and others was shame. Hart didn't do anything illegal, but he was ashamed when he got caught, so the public rejected him. If he had just owned it and said it was nobodys business he probably would have survived, and maybe even gotten a boost. His campaign is still studied and analyzed in these exact terms.

Trump, of course, has no shame whatsoever.

David Schinnerer 1:44 AM  

FFE!!! ( Fastest Friday Ever). Thought it was fun. I really liked the clues for MIC and TRES. The TRES one was kind of an “oh, yeah, cool” moment. But i’m Not as cool and angry as Mike. (Please, Rex means “king” and he is “not my king”,). Just a spiteful ultra cool critic of others hard work...

Anonymous 2:32 AM  

There's nothing at all wrong with cluing MOT as zinger. In both of the idioms that @Rex mentions, I can easily imagine the referenced MOT's being zingers. Setting the interchangeability in speech of answer and clue as a standard is ridiculous. Who says "sheller's discard" for "POD?"

OTOH, I can think of plenty of instances where people might say "in a course catalog" for "in course descriptions." She-eesh.

I'll posit that to be @Rex's friend is to be precisely thus ever solicited—eh, Angela?

Patrick Butler 2:37 AM  

Rex liked this puzzle and still spent all his post complaining about it! Anyway, one if the easiest Fridays ever for me. Only mistake on the first go (easily fixed) was PIPED IN for PIPED UP. Otherwise, every guess was right so didn't get slowed down by mistakes.

Robin 3:02 AM  

Had to agree that the use of MOT was ye olde fashioned. Was a day that a "bon MOT" was a witty statement, but does anyone say that anymore?

Wasn't happy with PSY for the course/dept abbreviation. Universities that I attended used four-letter dept abbrev, so it was listed as PSYC and pronounced as psyche.

Was much more less thrilled that people who are good at math are considered GEEKS. Puh-lease. The word is flat out insulting.

The one clue I found confusing was for RELO. Isn't RELo what you do when you move? Though that RENO was a more appropriate answer until I saw the N wasn't going to work.

In any event, somewhat easy for a Friday. Finished in about 3/4 my average Friday time.

Loren Muse Smith 3:53 AM  

Any puzzle with JOLLY RANCHER is ok by me. Those things are the little miracles of the hard candy world. Seriously. (But lose the grape ones.) I can’t even buy’em anymore because I’m powerless not to sit there and mow through the entire bag non stop.

“Expo” before SO SO, but, hey – it afforded me the TKO, so there’s that.

I had “arrest” before AROUSE. As in her arresting green eyes. Not really an “electrify” feel, but understandable.

@jae – that H was the only letter I had in place when I got to 47A. So I lucked out this morning.

I’ll let someone else make a joke about AROUSE/IT’S NO BIGGIE.

Liked ERGO/SO. His ego was bruised so de jerk went all defensive and immature on us.

I figured people would complain about the clue for MIC. Fair enough if your goal is speed; riddles like that would slow anyone down. But if your goal is just to think about our language while you sip coffee and listen to your bone-headed dogs bark at who-know-what, then a clue like that is cool. I liked it a lot. (Hi, @David Schinnerer – I liked the clue for TRES, too.) Made me stare off briefly and play around with other possibilities: VIP>VP. Nope. That idea’s not gonna get any traction.

My GIVE ME A RING was more like Here you go – have some more eggs and grits. Oh, and don’t forget your lunch; I packed your favorite.

Can people really bend spoons with their mind? My only proven TELEKINESIS experience - and it’s no-fail – is pulling out lip gloss to put on at a traffic light. This single little movement is guaranteed to make that red light ahead turn green. Every. Single. Time.

Thanks, DJG – JOLLY RANCHER and IT’S NO BIGGIE were worth the price of admission.

William McKenzie 4:00 AM  

Read 'peel' as 'peal' and had 'ring' in there, not knowing who Hager or Hader would be.

Thomaso808 4:27 AM  

@LMS, haha I have a daughter who is at that stage with her boyfriend where GIVEMEARING doesn't mean "call me"! Context is everything, right? Your avatar is right on.

I blazed through this like a Tues except for the middle North. The acrosses, PIPPA and PABLONERUDA I did not know, and I was looking for a verb answer on the across clue between them "Yo-yo", not a noun like IDIOT. The crosses were no help because I was trying to think of an actual city-state for 7D instead of the generic POLIS, and 5D IDARENOT is just weird (but fair for a Fri).

And PIPESUP -- isn't that something only Chet Morton does?

Liked it. For some reason while solving it felt like a themer, but looking back, I appreciate all the long fills a relatively clean grid.

Theodore Stamos 4:34 AM  

Pretty easy Friday for me. I've only ever heard MOT with "Bon" in front of it. Ironic that GARYHART studied divinity. Overall a good puzzle I thought.

Robso 6:10 AM  

"I have taken the time to read an entire century's greatest poets in every language. Amazingly, the one that I consider greatest is one that wrote in my own language."
Uh, yeah--thanks, Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
PS, nice puzzle.

mmorowitz 6:15 AM  

I have no idea why, but I destroyed this puzzle like a BBGUN would destroy a JOLLY RANCHER.

Best ever Friday time, by a wide margin.

Jeffrey 6:42 AM  

I had GENDERBeNder for 20A which seemed to fit the clue well enough (never heard of gender-binary). That plus SohO for RELO made the east side tough.

Hartley70 6:43 AM  

Why am I not surprised that I was defeated by a basketball entry? SETSHOT doesn't sound nearly as likely as nETSHOT. I thought the whole point was the nET.

Otherwise I found this very lively and satisfying. I was relieved PABLONERUDA came to me quickly even though I'm completely unfamiliar with his work. Lucky guess.

JOLLYRANCHER took a while, being of the lifesaver generation myself. JOLLYRANCHERS gave me the creeps when my kids had one in their mouths. They seem the perfect size to get stuck in your windpipe if you hiccup. If I couldn't find a Lifesaver, I'd want one of Loren's extra grape JOLLYRANCHERs and I'd smash it up a bit before I started to suck.

The long colloquial downs were terrific. These are my favorite entries, difficult until suddenly they're not.

I expected HOVERBOARD to be a Segway. Segways don't spontaneously combust, so they're my preferred choice. Of course I'd probably fall off either one tout suite and crack my noggin.

This took me longer to finish than expected, so I can't call it easy. I'll have to go with excellent.

evil doug 6:49 AM  

I count 10 P's--nine in the top half alone--and for some reason I find that pleasant. Pippa's got three of 'em, and I'm AROUSEd by her, too....

Had AlERt before ACERB until I changed AtestS into ABOMBS.


Anonymous 7:02 AM  

I too fell down at nETSHOT vs. SETSHOT. I don't know a damn thing about basketball and like Thomaso808 I was looking for a specific place, not a genetic term, for the down clue.

kitshef 7:13 AM  

One of the problems with the NYT puzzle schedule is there is not a slot for an easy themeless. Occasionally, one gets in anyway. Obviously, there is a lot to love in this grid, but this needed a lot more trickery in the clues. Tomorrow better be a doozy – I feel like we’re eating baby food this week.

GENDERneuter before GENDERBINARY, REal before RELO, TROuP before TROOP, and TRACi before TRACY were the only hiccoughs, and none of those lasted more than a few nanoseconds except TROuP, which I had to Schrodinger. I had never heard of HOAG, but HuAG sure sounded wrong, so in went TROOP.

Irene 7:33 AM  

I never got MIC. Instead I tried MED, which would have worked just as well.

Two Ponies 7:36 AM  

I'm one of "those people" who would say bon mot except I have no one to say it to who would know what I meant. Well, maybe my dog.

I'm also much more likely to say I Dare Not than No Biggie.

I spent a lot of time shelling peas this summer so pod was easy.

Liked the tricky Appropriate Game, timely since it's bow season.

I'm guessing that the clue for Mic was from Will not Damon. That sounds like the kind of clue I hear frequently on his radio show.

Jolly Rancher might be a good candy but that is such an uncool name.

Hungry Mother 7:44 AM  

Easy for me with all of my unknowns fixed by perps.

Anonymous 7:51 AM  

Rex needs to force himself to compliment an occasional puzzle, thinking that he looks less than the parochial, miserable, jealous cur that he is. SAD

QuasiMojo 7:52 AM  

I DARE NOT PIPE UP (or PIPPA up, whoever that is...) to disagree with OFL but I thought this puzzle was pretty to look at but much too easy for a Friday, even with PABLO NERUDA and GANDHI in it. I threw in the first three downs and it was a cake walk from there. Now I'm waiting for the AVERSE to CONTRAIL crowd to chime in with their conpiracy theories.

BarbieBarbie 7:58 AM  

@TwoPonies, say it to me. Favorite recent New Yorker cartoon: cocktail party heckler https://goo.gl/images/ZSNszw

Jolly Ranchers, ick. Mouth puckers and fingers get sticky just thinking about them. Good in a puzzle, though.

Unlike everyone else: hard, dnf, the East defeated me. Home sick today so that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

Kim Scudera 8:31 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kim Scudera 8:32 AM  

Gotta say that I agree with Gabrielle Garcia Marcus about Pablo Neruda. His gorgeous home "Tu Risa" inspired my take on John Coltrane's "Naima":


Truly enjoyed this morning's puzzle, although I can see the ASAHI/HOAG cross creating more than one DNF. Thanks, Damon Gulczynski, for a great start to a looong Friday.

Sir Hillary 8:34 AM  

Count me among those who found this quite easy for a Friday. @LMS -- I like a leisurely solve like you do; today I only had time for two sips of java. Another "bummer" in any easy puzzle is that I miss a bunch of entries and clues during the solve -- half of @Evil Doug's A-list was lost on me until I went back and reread everything.

I'm a fan of the TRES and MIC clues, but my favorite is the one for COS. If you're gonna have junk like that in your grid, you might as well give it a fun clue. This one was math-GEEKy and dopey in just the right balance.

Nice clue for POACH as well.

I like the Fleetwood Mac song better than the Dylan song.

More Whit 8:37 AM  

I've read a fair amount of Gabriel Garcia Marquez but I've never heard of Pablo Neruda, at least that I can remember. Guess I have some more reading to do today. That one with a couple of associated crosses (Pibb and Apu) slowed me down. Gary Hart brought back some memories - the times they are a changin'.

Birchbark 8:42 AM  

You learn something new about POI every day.

I had GARfield for GARY HART for a while, even though he was more than a candidate. I should realize by now that when I silently criticize the clue for being imprecise, it means that the answer is probably wrong.

oldbizmark 9:16 AM  

I thought I grabbed the puzzle from Monday that I never got to. Nope. It was today's. Not bad fill but pitifully easy for a Friday.

Stanley Hudson 9:17 AM  

@BarbieBarbie, great New Yorker cartoon.

@Sir Hillary, though I'm a huge Dylan fan, have to agree with you on "Sara."

Several easy puzzles this week, including today's.

Anonymous 9:31 AM  

@BarbieBarbie --

Far from the first time for me with a New Yorker cartoon, but I don't get it. I'm obviously not a sophisticated Noo Yawka.

Can someone explain?

Two Ponies 9:35 AM  

@ Barbie, I'm curious but I can't connect. A direct link?

Nancy 9:38 AM  

I was bored with this mostly too easy for a Friday puzzle through three quadrants. Then, when I got to the SE and had to deal with the candy, the rapper, the sushi beverage, the 30 Rock person, and the TV star, I struggled -- but not in a good way. I finished, but it took effort, most of it joyless. I did, however, have some good moments: a big Aha when I wrote in TELEKINESIS. But it was OVER THE what at 24D? When I finally thought of HUMP, it all came together. Two proper names I did like: GARY HART and PABLO NERUDA. After last week, where there were three puzzles in a row that I adored, this week has seen too many duds, as far as I'm concerned.

Anonymous 9:48 AM  


Z 9:49 AM  

Gulczynski is consistently good. Liked this a lot. Missed “hard”in the clue and plopped in JellY bellies, so that took a bit to fix, and also took way too long to come up with PABLO NERUDA, so the NE was a challenge.

Rex and his friend are wrong on their “hyphen abuse” plaint. The hyphens indicate to the reader that this is a single concept, Remove the hyphens and the clue is a vet’s question at a calving.

Nancy 9:53 AM  

You're a Truly Good Person, Anon 9:48, having provided even before I had a chance to ask. Thank you. Cute cartoon.

I think I would have clued 56A as follows: What Elizabeth Taylor said to three successive men when they proposed.

Steve M 9:59 AM  

Top shelf Friday

Z 10:06 AM  

I was going to suggest that @BarbieBarbie and @Kim Scudera check out Rex’s FAQs for an explanation of how to do links, but the explanation he links to is horrid. I’ll give it a try, but if anyone has a better explanation somewhere online please share.

First, part of what makes this hard to explain is that if I use the actual symbols I’ll get an error message and the comment won’t actually publish, so I will write out everything just as you should type it in. Note, too, that smart quotes aren’t recognized so make sure that your computing device isn’t using them.

less than sign, letter A, space, letters HREF, equal sign, quote mark, url, quote mark, greater than sign, text yo want to appear, less than sign, slash, letter A, greater than sign.

puzzlehoarder 10:09 AM  

Yesterday's puzzle was way too easy for a Thursday. Today's puzzle only required an additional 19 seconds. Major disappointment. This is a good example of how building a puzzle around a handful of debuts does not ensure a late week level of difficulty. A common debut is still common.

HillTop09 10:12 AM  

62A would have been better if the last word was "dropped." http://bit.ly/2wnRmAg

Anonymous 10:14 AM  

@Two Ponies,

Careful. Saying it's bow season is, ironically, a trigger for a lot of the folks in this forum. You know, hunting is bad etc.
I like the BB gun clue, but it raises an important point. Is a BB gun an arm? I guess. You can be armed with a sword or knowledge or lots of things that aren't firearms. I mention only because in its infinite wisdom, the great state of NJ has codified BB guns as firearms, though of course there's no fire ( gunpowder that is) involved. Just a spring or CO2. Kind of shame in my book that one of boyhood's great joys has been criminalized. Boyhood is the endangered thing on the East Coast in my opinion. I know, I know, I'm brute, a misogynist. I'd probably fail the Bechdel test if I took it. Flame on snowflakes.

DJG 10:16 AM  

@Two Ponies, your guess as to the MIC clue is incorrect -- it was pure Gulczynski (I'm tapping my head).

I don't understand Rex's (and Rex's friend's) gripe about GENDER BINARY or hyphens. Everything seems grammatically correct and consistent to me.

For a little more apple sauce on this puzzle, feel free to visit my puzzle blog.

mathgent 10:22 AM  

One of the rare times that @Nancy and I disagree on a puzzle. I absolutely loved it. Twenty-eight red plusses in the margin, the most in nearly a year of keeping track.

I think that I also loved Damon G's last puzzle. On Jeff Chen, he talks about how he came up with his two seed entries, PABLONERUDA and GENDERBINARY, He said that he went to a bar with some friends to see a game and the conversation "naturally" turned to poetry and sexual politics. He seems to be a brilliant guy with a sense of humor. You can almost tell that from looking his photo.

My beet noire is the Terrible Three and there are too many (seventeen) of them here, but Mr. G finessed them well.

The set shot has disappeared from basketball. When I was a teen in the fifties, I was slow, short, and couldn't dribble with my left hand. But I could hit a set shot from the top of the key and that was enough to make the team.

I needed The Closer to get PIPPA. She says that I should have known it because she got a lot of attention when he wore a white dress that accentuated her butt to her sister's wedding.

Kodak Jenkins 10:31 AM  

Super easy Friday! That being said I really wanted "spores" instead of ABOMBS and "in a rage" for INANGER and I've never heard of a home ICE advantage. Is that only a hockey thing or could it also be figure skating?! Speed skating?

Never, ever heard of MOT.

Since Friday usually takes me most of the day whatever shall I do with all this extra time?

GHarris 10:42 AM  

Finished without a cheat even though there were lots of names I didn't know so I suppose it wasn't that difficult. Fortunately, Neruda, Hart and Gandhi were in my wheelhouse. @LMS I too love jolly ranchers but how do you keep them from getting stuck together and to their wrappers?

Two Ponies 10:54 AM  

@ DJG, Thanks, glad it was you.

@ Barbie, yes, one in every crowd.

@ Anon 10:14, You're right of course but it's to be expected. Besides that I make some venison dishes that would make you say Wow. I also have a friend who whines to me about things like that while wearing leather shoes. I just bite my tongue.

37th Parallel 11:01 AM  

@ QuasiMojo, My crazy neighbor tells his children that vapor trails are the evil doings of the government spraying chemicals on us. I'm afraid to ask what else he tells them.

r.alphbunker 11:05 AM  

I do puzzles to be puzzled. The epitome of a puzzling clue is 62A {Item that names a person holding it when its middle letter is removed} MIC. The opposite of a puzzling clue is 48D {Rap's Run-___} DMC.

10D. {Onetime presidential candidate with a divinity degree from Yale} GARFIELD-->GARYHART
After all GARFIELD was a presidential candidate before he was president. If GARFIELD were the intended answer would this be an unfair clue?

You can use < for less than and > for greater than, to get:
<a href='url'>text yo want to appear</a>

BTW, to get &lt; to appear you need to type &amp;lt;

Details of my solution are here.

RooMonster 11:08 AM  

Hey All !
NE killed me today. Actually N central area. PABLO NERUDA? GENDER BINARY? POLIS? SET SHOT? Holy Pibb! Got rest of puz fairly easily. Think the ole brain just shut off once I got to the North.

Had some fun answers in here. Liked the long Downs. ERGO, a SOSO puz.


Anonymous 11:08 AM  

The growing problem is the existence of made up names in these puzzles. I didn't realize until I saw the answer that I had something totally wrong. I had no idea what 30 rock is, so I put in for 53 down "Tracy." That means that 62 across comes out as MED, which is held by an MD. And 59 across was a cable channel Natick with Tracy, so i ended up USU, and no way of knowing that was wrong. This was sucky editing on the part of the NYT

Anonymous 11:12 AM  


You know that @Z is the expert right? He has all the answers, just ask him.

@Two Ponies,

Venison is tricky. Glad you've got it sussed. There's a venerable old roadhouse near me that does a venison night every February. All the hunters, friends and family come and dig in. Most of it is the usual, but every once in a while there's a real treat...

Anonymous 11:20 AM  


Garfield was a candidate. But just barely. Google the 1880 Republican convention.

Nancy 11:27 AM  

Well-prepared venison is one of life's great treats. I wish there was a @Two Ponies in my nabe to make some for me!

Tita A 11:43 AM  

@mathgent...thanks for that spittake...
I assume that your beet noir was an autocorrect? But I think it would be a great recipe for @chefbea to try out.

ALholds an AWL.


Easy except for the southeast, where the above mistakes and then some kept me struggling.

I never knew a grouper was a SEABASS. They can get huge. My cousin worked at the aquarium at the Lisbon expo. They had a tank with a grouper the size of a Volkswagen in a tank. They put baby sharks in that tank, as they figue

Carola 11:45 AM  

@kitshef - I'd never thought about that "no slot for an easy themeless" problem. Too bad there isn't one; then a nice effort like this one wouldn't seem like a disappointment.

@loren - Your bag of Jolly Ranchers is my bag of dried sour cherries. Repeatedly I'll buy a bag, telling myself they will only be sprinkled judiciously onto salads or granola, but then...

@math gent - I was delighted by your "beet noire" typo, which encapsulates perfectly how my husband feels about that vegetable.

GILL I 11:55 AM  

GARY HART: "follow me around....it will be boring." I love me a good scandal and boy, his was a doozy.
Put me in the loved it category. Here in California, Governor Moon Beam has before him the Gender Recognition Act. If he passes the bill the GENDER{NON}BINARY people would be treated more fairly. It gets complicated.
I have never heard of JOLLY RANCHER - even though I was able to get the answer. I don't eat candy and my children never did either. Maybe because like @Hartley I was scared to death they'd choke. I looked it up afterwards and they look plain awful. So I'm glad I don't like candy.
TELEKINESIS is neat. I don't believe it for a second but it's fun to watch. The best one I saw was a YouTube video where this small cafe set up these hidden wall traps that could raise you to the ceiling. This woman comes in and yells at the waitress for bringing her the wrong order; pushes her up against the wall; wall gizmo latches on to her and pushes her up to the ceiling. The look on the unsuspecting patrons is priceless. People are so gullible - especially those screaming and running out the door.
AHI ASAHI and POI is a good Japanese Law Firm. Wanted to fit in GARCIA LORCA In PABLO's slot but IDIOT GARY solved that problem.
PIPPA is truly a PIP.
Thanks for the fun Damon

old timer 11:56 AM  

My technical DNF here was PIPPA. For some reason I thought there was a "Piper" Middleton. I had to look that one up, after which the crosses all worked up top.

Life experience really helps we older solvers. If I had not been a swim meet dad for many years, I never would have heard of JOLLY RANCHERS. We never bought them at a store, but they were staples at swim practices and meets. And it turned out my language-ace daughter who like me years before aced the Spanish SAT, admired PABLO NERUDA. Personally, I wish Garcia Marquez had said Garcia Lorca was the best poet that ever was. His Lament for Ignacio the bullfighter is reason enough to learn the language.

I think even when OFL likes a puzzle, it is his duty to criticize the weak stuff. Under the name Joe Pancake the constructor acknowledged that @Rex made a good point in his criticisms.

jberg 11:58 AM  

I love venison, but @anon 10:14, you'll shoot your eye out with that BB GUN.

No idea about PIBB, and while I know some PIPPAs, I didn't know that one -- so I just went on the plausibility of the name.

In once toured PABLO NERUDA's house in Santiago. Fun fact: he was obsessed with boats, and this house was designed to feel like you were on one. But he never went out on an actual boat because he was afraid of the water. (At least, that's what the info at the house said -- I have no independent confirmation).

I can't decide if the clue for 8D is too clever by half, or if I really like it.

I love GROUPER even more than venison; but Wikipedia says that groupers and sea bass are different subfamilies of the same family. Beats me.

Joseph Michael 12:01 PM  

Rex, if the puzzle is fine, modern, colloquial, and entertaining, why does 95% of your review focus on what's wrong with it? Criticism is just as much about why something works as it is about why something doesn't.

As with most DG puzzles, I liked this a lot, with IT'S NO BIGGIE my favorite entry. Add that to OVER THE HUMP and GIVE ME A RING for a puzzle with an optimistic outlook on life.

If I remember correctly from a tank plaque at the Shedd Aquarium, grouper is a fish that can change its GENDER half way through life. So I guess that makes it almost as modern and entertaining as this puzzle.

Liked the MIC riddle, but like some others started with an MD holding a med.

Saw "presidential candidate" and "divinity degree," while ignoring the "Yale" part, and wanted "Huckabee" for 10D. Had the most trouble with PIPPA crossing PIBB and POLIS, but a lucky guess brought it home.

GILL I 12:08 PM  

Ah...@old timer....We have a lot in common, verdad?
Add me to the table of @Two Ponies and @Nancy. Bring a platter of well seasoned venison - I'm paying
Hey @Tita...A little SEA BASS told me it's your birthday today.
My little avatar bowl of spilt spaghetti on my head is not appearing. I'm being black-balled.

Mohair Sam 12:35 PM  
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Paul in Sunnyvale 12:46 PM  

Very enjoyable puzzle, but there was one clue I don't like, and it caused me trouble: 34A: Type of property. RELO is not a type of property - it's a type of property transaction, perhaps a type of property buyer or seller, but not a property itself.

And this gave me the only trouble in the puzzle, because it blocked me from seeing the answer to 25D: Brain power like you can't believe? I had 25D starting TE_E and then I finished 34A as REPO (for repossession or repossessed property), giving me TEPE... at 25D. Then changed 34A to REDO (redo the house), and was stuck with TEDE... Finally figured out RELO and TELEKINESIS fell (great word!).

That was the only hiccup in the puzzle. BTW, tricky clue at 35A: streaming hiccups. When I read it my thought was "What on earth could that mean?"

Mohair Sam 12:53 PM  

Wow! Are we ever outliers today. Played awfully tough for us, and we dnf'd in the north on PIPPA. Embarrassed to admit that we didn't know PABLO NERUDA, proud to brag that we didn't know PIPPA Middleton - looked her up now to discover she's connected to the British royals. She's cute, so am I, so what.

Don't watch much TV outside of sports and news so today's PPP was tough for us, all we got easily was TRACY, DMC, and GARYHART. Never liked JOLLYRANCHERS, but they saved us in the south today. No problem with MOT clue, jeez Rex. POLIS so easy I missed it, and I eschew caffeine - how am I supposed to know Coke products? PIPPA - what kinda name is that? Damn.

Clean Friday Damon G., fun too. Others are complaining that it was too easy I see, you won't hear that from this quarter.

kitshef 1:01 PM  

Just figured out why I knew Pablo Neruda.

Lisa Simpson: Pablo Neruda said laughter is the language of the soul.

Bart Simpson: I am familiar with the works of Pablo Neruda.

Tita A 1:21 PM  

Oops...technical difficulty with my post.

@Gill...that little SEABASS is right...going to the local pub later for one free chicken wing for each year. One of the many benefits of survival.

Now to finish my story, since you're all on the edge of your seats...

They expected that the huge grouper could hold its own against sharks.
But The sharks kept disappearing. It's when they lost the second set of sharks that they realized that the VW-sized grouper was eating them! They never thought that it was the sharks that needed protection.

Joe Bleaux 1:23 PM  

You could put an eye out with that thing!

Anonymous 1:25 PM  

@Joseph Michael
Ignoring Yale's divinity school is just good policy. It was formed as part of the congregational movement. they're the big brains whose profound thought led to things like Methodism! It's essentially a decentralized Calvinism. That's the, sure, we'll call it a faith that brought you winners like Betsy DeVos and @Z. After you're through shuddering, consider yourself blessed that your not in league with those Lollards.

Teedmn 1:27 PM  

My only writeover in the grid was my attempt to make "GENDER neutral" fit, similar to @kitshef's attempt there. Oh wait, there was also turning PHiLANGE to PHALANGE (thanks GANDHI).

Off of _OAC_ I considered "appropriate game" to be cOACH, nice misdirection on the adjective vs. verb. And I think I finally have added ASAHI to my collection of bon MOTs. I know "Nice" has been used too often as a French misdirection but I suppose 14A could have been clued "Nice word".

An easy Friday, though no new time records were set. Thanks, DG.

Teedmn 1:28 PM  

And @Tita, happy birthday!

Joe Bleaux 1:37 PM  

Grouper a sea bass? News to me too. Down here in Jawjuh, Lake Lanier is full of yuge sea basses (as I understand it, hybrids that gradually adapted from ocean to freshwater). They're called Stripers, and 30-pounders are not uncommon. A puzzle as good but still as easy as DG's, on the other hand, is. TGIF, all you working stiffs. For those approaching retirement, get ready to hear how bored you're gonna be. That's a crock.

Unknown 2:06 PM  

wow... I'm from Italy, started with NYT crosswords just one year ago. first time I solve a Friday, first time I solve one under 20 minutes. this one was easy!

BarbieBarbie 2:21 PM  

Anon@1:25, thanks for you're post. Whats a Lollard? I picture people tanning.

Liz T. 2:24 PM  

No the hyphens are necessary and good! Without the hyphens, the answer would just be "gender." GENDER BINARY is the belief that you're either male OR you're female, with no other options.

GILL I 2:25 PM  

Apy verde @Tita.....Wow 82 free chicken wings? That's some party!

ArtO 2:43 PM  

When is the last time you saw a SETSHOT in the NBA? The women use it all the time and that's why, as an old timer, I love to watch them. Great accuracy.

We old timers should defend "dated" clues like MOT since there's never a complaint about current trivia (about which we know little or nothing) from OFL.

A nice, gentle Friday for a most often challenged Fri/Sat solver.

sf27shirley 3:34 PM  

This puzzle had an interesting blend of clues that were easy to oldies like me (GARYHART, Dylan's SARA) and the current tv stuff and celebrities I never know (Simpson characters, USA network, PIPPA -- why not the other Pippa?)
Your jolly rancher comment reminded me that I nearly choked to death at age four on a Lifesaver...

sf27shirley 3:35 PM  

Start watching the Golden State Warriors, you may become a fan of basketball.

Anonymous 3:37 PM  

Paul in Sunnyvale12:46 PM
Very enjoyable puzzle, but there was one clue I don't like, and it caused me trouble: 34A: Type of property. RELO is not a type of property

When a company wants to move an employee, they will sometimes buy the employee's house. They'll use a company to handle that, and when the company puts that house on the market, it's a relo house. Buying a relo house is different than buying from the owners.

JC66 4:19 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
JC66 4:21 PM  

Let me know when the venison party is, because I want in.

When SCUBA diving in Cozumel 30 years ago, the schools of HUGE groupers were ubiquitous. The fish were easily caught and made great eating. Today, you're lucky if you can spot one on a dive.


Happy Birthday!

(don't overeat).🤠


I googled lollard and got this:


GILL I. 4:57 PM  

@JC66...Red and White wine and I'll have a little scotch...;-)

BarbieBarbie 5:17 PM  

@JC66, one of the Lollard references had this, which was my underlying question: "The Lollards who followed Wyclif derived their name from the medieval Dutch words meaning 'to mutter' (probably reflecting their style of worship, which was based on reading the scriptures)"
No tanning- they were in England. Thanks. Not clear why it would be delivered like a stinging insult, but I've learned something!

Sluggo 5:41 PM  

"Only the hyper-pretentious are going to call a "zinger" a MOT."

"I'd rather see this clued as..." an even more pretentious French phrase such as [Bon ___], [Le ___ juste].

This guy cracks me up...

Aketi 5:53 PM  

@JC66, the decline of groupers is sad. Less and less to see while scuba diving over the years.

@Tita, ditto on the Happy Birthday. Not sure if I could gobble down that many chicken wings. Have fun!

@GILL me too. My dad and brother would hunt for venison so I grew up eating it every now and again. I now have a good recipe for venison burgers and use the lefrover venison in chili. Don't expect me to use a BB GUN to get the venison. I. I don't do well with sports involving hand eye coordination with balls of any kind and BBs are pretty much little round balls. I do better, but not great, with a bow and arrow. If I really had to survive on what I caught, fishing would be the better option. I order our venison (and most of our food) online from Fresh Direct.

Nancy 6:15 PM  

@Aketi (5:53) -- So I just went to Fresh Direct to look at their venison. I was wondering if it would be worth the risk of putting a credit card online, something I've never been willing to do, in order to get something wonderful that it's harder and harder to find. But the venison meat they're shipping out is -- horrors of horrors -- raw! I would have to -- horrors of horrors -- cook it! So @GILL and @JC66, we have to plan a party that includes either @Aketi or @Two Ponies or both. They're the chefs, and, I suspect, very good ones.

Tita A 6:34 PM  

@Aketi - what do you mean, you don't know if you could eat *that* many? Since when is 39 wing too many?????

Lol - no one could eat as many as I'm entitled to. That's what friends are for!
While I'm still a ways away form @Gill's guess, all I'll say is even 5 or 6 of us have trouble finishing all my wings.

@Nancy - don't do it!
A predecessor to Whole Paycheck was called Hay Day. It started in Ridgefield, CT.
You could easily spend a small fortune and not fill a small grocery bag.
At the meat counter, I overheard the butcher telling a customer "Our venison is farmed raised - it's only grass-fed.
Well, I ran away screaming. If you don't want it to taste like venison, then buy beef. Sheesh.
Rather, let's do that gathering that some annonnie mentioned a while back.

Tita A 6:43 PM  

And since it's my birthday, I am going to indulge myself with a third verbose comment, since I've been so nicely set up to tell my venison story (again)...

At the bar of our local hangout, talking to the guy sitting next to us. He was a contractor, and a bow hunter, who occasionally hunts on the property of one of his customers. (In suburban, hoity-toity Ridgefield, you can bow hunt on 4 acres or more!!!)

He was dismayed, because he had just gotten a deer, but couldn't pay to butcher it. We struck a deal where he would bring it to his guy, we would pay, then he'd give us half the deer.

Wouldn't you know, the might he called, Phil was away on business. "Hey - I got the stuff you were waiting for - you need to take it tonight!"

I met him in the Park & Ride. I was praying there were no surveillance cameras or nosy neighbors watching me in my VW GTi and he in his pickup, exchanging small white packages for cash.

Between my awesome cook French neighbor and my awesome cook husband, we had delicious meals over the next couple of months! (It didn't taste anything like chicken...)

old timer 7:01 PM  

@Gill.I, I forget what we have in common. Were you blown away in high school by Lorca's "verde que te quiero verde? One result was I ended up buying the rest of Garcia Lorca's poems and I still love them to death. Or were you a fellow swim dad? I got bored with timing and became a stroke and turn judge and learned how to make little girls cry. My wife, equally bored with timing, became a Clerk of Course at many meets.

Now that eldest daughter of mine, a Middlebury student, actually saved me money by doing the first half of her junior year on an expedition to Patagonia, and the last half in New Zealand. The entire cost including air fares and tuitions was less than a year's tuition and housing at Middlebury. So when she finished her Patagonia expedition I went with a beloved cousin to Chile and met my (by then very smelly) daughter in Puerto Montt. We went to all three Neruda houses! The one in Valparaiso was then and probably is now in a somewhat creepy neighborhood but worth climbing to all the same. The one in Santiago is in my favorite neighborhood there. We took my daughter back to a fish restaurant called I think the Playa Azul that had the best fish I will ever taste in my life.

And if you ever have occasion to travel to Puerto Montt, I strongly recommend you spend a couple of days in the Isla Grande de Chiloe. If someone ordered me to exile myself to Chile, I would buy a house there in a heartbeat. Something about it speaks to me, because it is old -- even older than Santiago I think -- certainly more charming, and the fish there is just as fresh.

Nancy 7:08 PM  

@Tita -- You have an "awesome cook husband"? Who cooks venison? There are no words for how envious I am! I'm beyond green.

And wishing you a very happy birthday and a great party. Enjoy your 87 chicken wings. :)

Anonymous 7:27 PM  

@Barbie and JC66

The reason to mumble is a stinging rebuke is that it lays bare the bankruptcy of the heretic's position. John Wyclife was a theologian in the Middle Ages. Eventually, some of his his heresy caught on. When orthodoxy, in whatever form, challenged Wycliffe's adherents, they inevitably mumbled their responses. Why? They never stood up to rigorous examination. They still don't. We're almost 500 years to the day since Marty took a hammer and nail to the Cathedral in Wittenberg.
Today, mainline Protestant is is almost dead. The Roman Church is either the fastest, or second fastest (tricky to know what #she to believe) in the world.
The one holy and apostolic Church 1. Dissembling, mumbling heretics 0.

Barry Williams 7:35 PM  

I found the whole thing to be relatively easy-peasey and took a particular delight in PUNY ARMS? (26A) with BBGUNS (brilliant) and any kind of valentine to PABLONERUDA with a Gabriel Garcia Marquez clue certainly gets my vote!! MUSHROOM PRODUCERS (45D) was eerie (and possibly timely) and FLOAT FIXER (36D) with SODA JERK was my absolute FAVE of the day! Not sure I have ever heard HOME ICE ADVANTAGE before (57D) and APPROPRIATE GAME (31D) makes absolutely no sense to me whatsoever (Poaching game of any kind I would think would be deemed "inappropriate" at best).

Other than that, any puzzle that manages JOLLY RANCHERS and PHALANGES is ALL RIGHT by me. LOL

Ian Newbould 8:19 PM  

Where is @georgebarany. I always wait for his elegant posts.

JC66 8:28 PM  

@Barry Williams

Worked as a SODA JERK in high school. so I liked that one too.

Not being a hockey fan isn't a sin, although I am one.

Check out appropriate as a verb at your local dictionary.

Joy2u 9:24 PM  

@ Loren Muse Smith . . I was wondering if anyone else thought that a 13 word clue is a 'bit much' for a three letter word that might easily have been accomplished with no more than two . .

Puzzle was a fun challenge, but sifting through overly 'wordy' clues is a bit . . tiresome.

@ Hartley70 . . Yes, not 'easy' for me either, but very nice indeed.


@ Tita A . . Happy Birthday.

clk 12:03 AM  

Yep, my FFE but I had to guess at the A in HOAG and fortunately guessed right.

gharris 9:02 AM  

Still looking for advice on how to store jolly ranchers so as to avoid sticky problem.

Tim Carey 9:42 AM  
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Diana, LIW 7:34 PM  

@Spacey from yesterday - your coment was saved, but was over the 200 post limit, so if you click on "post a comment" and "newer" you'll find all of us Synders.

Lady Di

Dand 9:42 AM  

Don't know of Bill Hader or if I did, the myriad ways his name could be spelled. And while I've heard of philangi; I didn't take Greek, and I'm not in the medical profession. I didn't know the singular form of the word. I choose to not look up words when I solve a puzzle. I think this was a Natick! If an obscure proper noun, ( Sorry Bill, you're not on most peoples' radar.), must be used; it should intersect only easier fare. A foreign word or technical term is not, in my estimation, easy. I see this all the time in the NYT crosswords. I think puzzlers in a certain area become jaded. They lose sight of the fact that these puzzles are syndicated and viewed by people around the world. I think the editors need to hand a puzzle like this back to the author and have him/her rework it.

Burma Shave 10:31 AM  


ERGO he didn’t LAMENT a thing,
until PIPPA PIPESUP, ”IDARENOT be a chump,


spacecraft 10:32 AM  

Thanks, @Lady Di. I forgot about that. As I say, I have a good memory; it's just short. On to today.

I wouldn't call it easy. Not as hard as some other Fridays, but not easy either. Fell into the GARfield trap before realizing: wait a sec--he won. Why would you call him a "candidate?" That would definitely be below the belt and elicit a penalty flag. Then as I labored around the growing inkfest, the real answer came to light.

Why the ? in the TELEKINESIS clue? That's what it is. Points off for AHI and ASAHI in the same grid. PIPPA will do for a DOD in the absence of more serious "candidates." ITSNOBIGGIE; par.

thefogman 11:19 AM  

Unlike OFL, I liked the cluing for MIC. But I do agree with him that this puzzle was fine and fun. Tons of misdirects. Had oVa before IVS, eel before AHI, biG before DUG, AlERt before ACERB, cLASs before SLASH and REnO before RELO. TGIF! Thank god it's finished.

thefogman 11:24 AM  

@spacey - Not a royal by any stretch, but TRACY Lords for DOD?

Anonymous 11:48 AM  

The first thing I entered at 56A was "invest a dime". I think that's from an old song. Oh well, would have been a great answer.

BS2 11:54 AM  


“IT’SNOBIGGIE to make that IDIOT GAG”, said TRACY with a scoff,
“I’m not AVERSE to AROUSE that scrag, and make that SODAJERK cough.”


Anonymous 12:44 PM  

A pretentious pisser infestation. Rejected.

Diana, LIW 12:50 PM  

Gee, even when OFL like a puzzle it's hard to tell from his comments. I didn't think it easy, but it did fall. Hand up for MIC. The only other answers I could think of would end up with me or he - nothing played out. Also liked the clue for BBGUNS.

I love SEABASS - wonder if I ever had grouper

I think the ? is in TELEKINESIS because you really can't believe it. Or I guess some do. Spellcaster anyone?

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

rainforest 2:17 PM  

Once again, a pretty easy puzzle (except for PIPPA and PIBB), but very entertaining.

I knew NERUDA but had to work for the PABLO. MIC and TRES were cute, and I liked the long downs.

I'm good at math, but no one has ever called me a GEEK, and they better not.

rondo 3:19 PM  

Inkfest all over the place. Hand up for most of those common write-overs plus a couple more in the SE because of not reading the clue at all first and had OVERTHEHill, and not reading the clue close enough to get TELEKINEtIc. Not having seen any notes about this puz, I’d be willing to bet that the clues for MIC and TRES are Will’s; same type of thing as his word games on MPR.

The whole concept of SEABASS is ridiculous. From Wikipedia (and well-known):
The Patagonian toothfish, Dissostichus eleginoides, is a species of cod icefish. The name "Chilean Seabass" was invented by a fish wholesaler named Lee Lantz in 1977. He was looking for a name that would make it attractive to the American market. . . In 1994, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) accepted "Chilean Seabass" as an "alternative market name" for Patagonian toothfish, and in 2013 for Antarctic toothfish.
I guess “SEABASS” sells better than “South American cod” or “toothfish”.

I’ve been to ThermoPOLIS, WY, home of many hot mineral springs. Unfortunately in MN we have MinneaPOLIS, home to crime and poverty, among other, perhaps nicer things, if you can find them. Cops in many European countries are the POLIS, if you can find them.

Always like to say “Eats, shoots, and LEAVES”. @Diana knows.

At any event in England, yeah baby PIPPA and the rest of the Middleton clan have the best seats in the house. They spend more time in the Royal Box than Prince Willy.
BTW – I was prepared to put in Ma Middleton Carol before going with PIPPA.

Nice Friday workout, and I’m still amazed at how many of the regular solvers openly admit to not knowing anything about some really common stuff. Like basketball and SETSHOT; didn’t everyone have to take phys-ed? First thing taught, after dribbling, is the SETSHOT. Talk about driving narrow streets. IDARENOT go on longer. Liked it lots.

leftcoastTAM 3:44 PM  

Am away for the next couple of weeks. Be good and don't cheat.

Diana, LIW 4:28 PM  

@Rondo - couldn't miss the chance to "panda" to your errant commas. ;-)

Lady Di

thefogman 5:40 PM  

Does the NYT and/or the constructor get revenue when they mention a product in the puzzle? Can someone buy their way into a puzzle to be among the greats like Eno, ERTÉ and Alda?

thefogman 5:42 PM  

I ask the above question because of PIBB. Coca Cola is a company that knows how to sell beverages and I for one never heard of PIBB Xtra (or regular for that matter) until today.

rondo 6:48 PM  

@foggy - Mr. PIBB (name now changed to PIBB Xtra) has been on the shelves for years competing with Dr. Pepper. I imagine constructors would be in a tough spot re: advertising royalties. On one hand they need to use the word, on the other hand it promotes a product. Zero sum game. Even for the tired old Oreo.
I have been advocating for years that Ed Asner should get royalties for the use of his name as it is very commonly found. And I like him.

Anonymous 10:45 AM  


thefogman 11:49 AM  

Cheers Rondo!

DC Anonymous 7:20 PM  

I just finished saying that to my husband! Great minds... 😂

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