It was boosted by Atlas / FRI 2-16-18 / Most populous city in Oceania / Sci-fi character who graduated from Starfleet Academy in 2359 / Plastic Clue weapon / Name related to Rex

Friday, February 16, 2018

Constructor: David Steinberg

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging


THEME: none

Word of the Day: James B. EADS (52D: James B. ___, diving bell inventor) —
Captain James Buchanan Eads (May 23, 1820 – March 8, 1887) was a world-renowned American civil engineer and inventor, holding more than 50 patents. [...] When he was twenty-two, Eads designed a salvage boat and showed the drawings to two shipbuilders, Calvin Case and William Nelson. Although Eads had no previous experience and no capital for the project, Case and Nelson were impressed with him and the three became partners.
At that time, salvaging wrecks from the Mississippi River was nearly impossible because of strong currents. Eads made his initial fortune in salvage by creating a diving bell, using a forty-gallon wine barrel to retrieve goods sunk in riverboatdisasters. He also devised special boats for raising the remains of sunken ships from the river bed. Eads did much of the diving himself because the work was so dangerous. His work gave Eads an intimate knowledge of the river, as he explored its depths from the Gulf of Mexico to Iowa. Because of his detailed knowledge of the Mississippi (the equal of any professional river pilot), his exceptional ability at navigating the most treacherous parts of the river system, and his personal fleet of snag-boats and salvage craft, he was afforded the much prized courtesy title of "Captain" by the rivermen of the Mississippi and was addressed as Captain Eads throughout his life. (wikipedia)
• • •

Found this one more irritating than interesting, largely because of short proper nouns I had no idea about that really slowed me down. South AMBOY (?) and James B. EADS both mean zero to me. Actually, I've vaguely heard of AMBOY, but mainly as part of the title of the book "The AMBOY Dukes" by Irving Shulman, which I must own a copy of (somewhere deep in my 3000+-strong collection of vintage paperbacks). Cluing was hard and then fussy and straining-clever all over. Lots of four-letter "Star Trek" characters, so that TROI clue was pffft (1A: Sci-fi character who graduated from Starfleet Academy in 2359). SALARY is a "sensitive subject"? OK, I guess, for some, but not like AGE or WEIGHT, so ...??? Kind of forced to say a D STUDENT *is* 60-something, even with the "?" on the clue (9D: One who's 60-something). No idea that COLADA (bad on its own) meant "strained" (43A: Strained, at the bar). Very rough clue on STRAY (57A: Part of a pound?) crossing an exceedingly rough clue on AGENA (which is a thing I barely know, and have only ever seen referenced in crosswords) (44D: It was boosted by Atlas). I don't even really know how the whole Atlas-AGENA thingamajig was supposed to work. I guess AGENA was a "satellite bus" (?) and one of the rockets used was the Atlas? In days of yore? Jeez, trying to get all cutesy with your Atlas clue on what is really the crosswordesiest answer in the grid seems like a horrible idea. ONE NO will always be bad fill to me. Nothing says "Maleskaesque" like bridge slang. GOMER? (45D: Cloddish sort, in slang). Sigh, I guess. There just weren't a lot of "cool!" moments, and bunch of DIRE ones, so this one just didn't work for me, especially considering where I expect Friday (the greatest puzzle day of the week) to be.

["Space Singular Thing"]

The whole grid has a dusty feel about it. Back from when people had BOX CAMERAs and used words like BEAU and INAMORATA. Almost nothing feels fresh or current, despite the fact that there are some very solid answers, like PENTHOUSE SUITE and YOGURT SMOOTHIE and FLAMBOYANT. Much of the rest of the grid, though, seems tossed off. Whole center feels irrelevant and dull. Very idea of the "Honey-do" list always gives me the creeps 'cause it's grossly sexist, and the whole point is you don't say "NO, DEAR" anyway, so what is this clue even doing? (32D: Rejection of a honey-do list). Again, the whole premise feels both implausible and dated, like it's out of some bygone era. PIXELATED clue is pretty good (56A: Like privates, often), though the euphemism "privates" also feels old-fashioned (and semi-childish). Again, as with that Atlas clue on AGENA, the cluer is trying haaaaard to go for the misdirect, and ... well, I just keep making this wrinkled-nose expression as I try to describe my feelings about this puzzle, and I think the expression probably says more than my words ever could. The grid is reasonably well put-together, but it feels stale and off rather than zingy and exciting. The cluing is not the only problem, but it's the main one.




Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

153 comments:

Moly Shu 12:05 AM  

That NEMEAN-AMBIT crossing was brutal. The rest was difficult but doable. Liked it.

jae 12:09 AM  

Mostly easy for me with SE a tad tougher...SPOOL, GOMER, GPS...

There's some good stuff here plus it's pretty smooth, liked it.

I too am glad that monitoring has returned. I'm actually reading the comments again as opposed to skimming them to avoid the trolls or, just skipping them altogether. It's nice to look forward to this blog again.

TomAz 12:27 AM  

My experience was totally different from Rex's. For me: hot damn this was a good Friday puzzle!

Some seriously great cluing. BROWNIE, ADDAMS, CLAY, COLADA, PIXELATED, APHID.. All deceptive but gettable. "Like privates, often" is about as close to genius as these puzzles get.

I was nearly Naticked in the last letter I filled in: the M in NEMEA. It was a guess. I guessed right. AMBIT was a word I knew was a word from somewhere and NEMEA seemed plausible.

I am not enough of a Trekkie to know what year TROI graduated Starfleet, but I am enough of a cook to know what 1/256th of a gallon is. 4 letter Star Trek characters that begin with T narrows it down a good amount.

Some of the downs were very easy -- read clue, write answer -- which made the puzzle easier than it would have been. TATE MODERN, SYDNEY, NO DEAR, and after a brief delay LATIN LOVER fell without much resistance at all.

I go hot and cold on David S.'s puzzles but this one knocked it out of the park for me.

Anonymous 12:34 AM  

I at first had PEZ instead of PEN--anyone remember PEZ candies that you "clicked" out of the special PEZ dispenser?

puzzlehoarder 12:38 AM  

A little harder than your average Friday. I started with OXEN supported by BOXCAMERA. The long entries were the easiest. After filling the NW quickly I wound up going counterclockwise as FLAMBOYANT and LATONLOVER dropped right in off of AFLAC.

COLADA and CORDUROY were problems I solved later. Even with getting 46A off of the YOG I still had a hard time filling the SW. Once I did even though I was working off their bottom ends 11D and 12D went right in. The center went in last and like the SE it put up some resistance.

One of the most interesting things for me was discovering the meaning of COLADA. I didn't get the clue for
PIXELATED until after I had finished solving. At first I misread the clue as "pirates". Even when I read it correctly I still didn't get it but by that time I had so many of the letters it couldn't be anything but PIXELATED.

A fun puzzle but I think I preferred yesterday's.

Cato Rosenbaum 12:47 AM  

Wow, I’m surprised no mention of LATINLOVER. That was the entry that made my eyebrows rise in a bit of astonishment.

Harryp 1:06 AM  

I poked and prodded at this puzzle till it finally gave in, and I really enjoyed the process. Loved the 14Across misdirect. Thank you Dave Steinberg

Trombone Tom 1:32 AM  

Here, here! To the removal of some of the really distasteful commentary.

I liked this more than @Rex did. Heck, the PIXELATED clue itself was worth the price of admission.

I used to dread David S's crosswords, probably due mainly to our age difference and my lack of familiarity with some of his areas of expertise. Lately I'm more comfortable with his creations.

I wanted to misspell INAMORATA with an "E" but TIPS seemed correct.

Except for some of the cluing this was on the easy side for Friday. Easy but enjoyable. I think sometimes OFL "turns off" his sense of humor.

Randall Clark 1:40 AM  

This was difficult for me. Off the YO from FLAMBOYANT and LATINLOVER, I confidently filled in YOGhurtsmOothy, which set me back for a while. Then I was stuck in the middle for a long time, and then I'd never heard of AGENA. Plus I had ONENt (nt for no trump), so CORDUROY was last to fall. But at least I avoided the DNF.

Big Jim 1:58 AM  

Oddly, one of the fastest Friday’s ever for me- so obviously I liked it. Strange how some puzzles just fit your brainwaves sometimes. More often, I struggle with a puzzle and then come here to find everyone saying how easy it was. Such is the way of puzzledom, I guess...

Anonymous 3:22 AM  

Don't get the privates/pixelated connection. Can someone explain?

cwf 3:31 AM  

Really enjoyed this puzzle, even though I naticked at AGENA/ONENO. "ONE.... tO? AGEtA?" Then I came here and, yeah, Rex has some good nits to pick. the "honey-do" clue in particular made my nose wrinkle as well. Eh, I'm going to cling to my happy fifteen minutes anyway.

BarbieBarbie 7:03 AM  

Easy/medium for me, on average, based on total time. 80% easy and 20% difficult! The perimeter was easy- so that I didn’t see some of the words Rex complains about- but the center remained blank for me for so long that I finally just went to bed. Luckily I was able to finish in the morning.

I liked the bounciness of this puzzle. Some ancient history, some current stuff, some twisty clues, some long phrases like NEATASAPIN I could plop right in with no crosses. A fun slalom. Thanks as always, Mr. Steinberg.

BarbieBarbie 7:07 AM  

Oh and PS, Michael or designate: thanks for moderating the past couple of days. A lot of work for you, and a more pleasant experience for the rest of us.

Anonymous 7:20 AM  

Gomer is an INTENSELY derogatory medical-slang term!!!! Get Out Of My Emergency Room. See "The House Of God" for one reference.

Laura Brooks 7:42 AM  

Privates as in your private parts - on tv they would be pixelated in film of a naked person.

Glimmerglass 7:55 AM  

I was in love with limIT where the answer was AMBIT. To the right of LIMIT I had a 3X3 box of white squares with 29 in the upper right. If I had thought of D STUDENT, I might have survived, but I didn’t, and I eventually surrendered. No excuses.

QuasiMojo 7:56 AM  

I loved The Amboy Dukes when I was a kid. It's been ages since I read it so I hesitate to say it is a great novel. But it had a lot of impact on me and others back then. Probably a howler now.

David Steinberg never fails to stock his puzzles with interesting words and clever clues. I enjoyed this one a lot. I love the wordd FLAMBOYANT, INAMORATA, BOX CAMERA (although I was thinking more of PIXIES at that point) and ODDITY.

I had no idea what Atlas was boosting (I always think of him shrugging... or perhaps as a "booster" for exercise, as in Charles Atlas...he was my BEAU Ideal.)

My first thought when I saw Wednesday was the girl in the Addams Family, so I guess I was on Steinberg's wavelength today.

Anonymous 8:06 AM  

I'm not a fan of Steinberg, but he's clever for sure. It's just that it's uncanny how often it happens that when I don't like a puzzle due to quality of clues, fill, or obscurity, I look here or another crossword site and find that the puzzle in question was a Steinberg creation.

Questinia 8:15 AM  

Such a chewy-gooey center with that NEMEAN-AMBIT cross that oozed into COLADA and AGENA. Otherwise puzzle was quickly dispatched.

Love AMBOY and Rex's associative pulp.

Thank-you David Steinberg.

FrankStein 8:16 AM  

I think of Corduroy as having wales, not ribs, but apparently in Europe it is known as "rib cord." I do cry foul on the repeat of ROY and CorduROY in the grid, however, since the word ROY ("king") means the same thing in both. Fun puzzle in any case!

Gretchen 8:22 AM  

I loved it. I thought you were going to lable it easy to medium. JustJhard enough for a Friday. Made me think and then feel satisfied. I learned what colada means. The pixelated privates made me chuckle.

Z 8:40 AM  

@Newer solvers - @TomAz’s fourth paragraph is a perfect description of how a crossword solver should deal with irrelevant information in a clue. The whole 2359 thing is totally useless, so just disregard and get even one of the crossing letters and now the clue is translated into “4 letter Star Trek character starting with T.” Much easier.

Speaking of translations (for whoever asked yesterday and got ignored - sorry): PPP is shorthand for Pop Culture, Product Names and other Proper nouns. I occasionally count them up when it seems an issue. The double feature nature of the movie characters yesterday led me to not bother, and then I got side-tracked and never offered my reasoning. I know people must be crushed.

@Moly Shu - I just ran into the NEMEAN lion somewhere else and AMBIT looks vaguely familiar, but I’m with Rex on that middle section. The cluing seemed too precious by half for some reason, Tudor houses, neutering horses, BEETS as food coloring, a “memorable” host so memorable that I went with Jon Stewart first (hey - 12 years ago and I got the right TV show so cut me some slack), and whatever “singular thing” is supposed to be doing (are all ODDITYs singular? I think not). I look at that section and nothing by itself is awful, but somehow the overall effect was sub-optimal for me.

D-STUDENT has the sort of clue that is likely to drive the retired school administrator in me into full rant. Why 60? Does that really demonstrate that the student has learned enough to “pass?” And does the 90% student really know more than the 89% student or was it that (like @TomAz here) they have better test taking skills and eked out that one extra answer not from knowledge or learning, but by knowing how to take tests better (you can actually teach test taking skills). Yep, be careful with that kind of cluing because it strikes a nerve, a much more sensitive nerve in my case than suggesting those of us with southern European genes might be better at Love than those of us with northern European genes.

Wm. C. 8:42 AM  

I cry " foul" on NEMEAN. Words I've never heard of are OK late-week, if fairly crossed. But with "geld" for fix, and "beets" as natural food coloring sources, I struggled ... Even though I got "ambit" early-on off the "it."

I was sure I had something wrong in the NE, with "DST" filled in, until the penny dropped.

Overall ... Excluding NEMEAN ... A fun Friday.

Anonymous 8:47 AM  

All-time slowest finish ever, for me. Over double my usual Friday...
Slower than my Saturday or Sunday averages.
Loved it. Even the strained clueing.

mmorgan 8:54 AM  

Rex actually liked yesterday's puzzle, and it was one of the very few that I actually didn't care for. I found today's to be delightfully crunchy and challenging and I just couldn't put it down. A very satisfying solving experience as I worked my way through various errors and corrections (e.g., eNAMORATA, ATE instead of EAT). Several answers (TMI, OXEN) came in and out a few times. Thanks for a super-enjoyable puzzle!

Anonymous 9:00 AM  

Very good puzzle, and I think Rex's assessment too harsh. There is some "traditional" lore, but look a little more carefully and much is very recent. Troi, speedball, Aflac, Colbert, yogurt smoothie, pixelated, urls, honey-do (among clues), maxi, Agena, gps, tmi, and others of very recent origin. Addams probably better known through TV than via the original drawings (but even the originals not very old). Plastic Clue very modern; D-student not that old; Tate Modern can't be too old; ers dependent on TV; soy as food source fairly recent, at least in current form; icetrays not that old, nor is Eads. Gomer best known through "recent" TV, i.e. Gomer Pyle; snit fairly recent. I suspect tbsp fairly recent; if Amboy learned through stories that is recent. Salary as a "sensitive question," which, pace Rex, it is, is fairly recent as such, although it likely has been sensitive in a way for centuries. I suspect colada, as in pina colada, fairly recent, although colander very old. Like *** above, I somehow never connected it with the obvious, "strained," though I have been calling my kitchen strainer a colander for years--thus I learned from this puzzle, as did ***, which is a nice added feature for me. There are no doubt other "modernisms" (e.g. cavers rather than spelunkers, pens that are clicked). There are no doubt other examples.

Anon. i.e. Poggius

RavTom 9:00 AM  

Actually, nice mix of oldster and youngster language. BOX CAMERA (old) over SPEEDBALL (young in this usage). YOGURT SMOOTHIE (young) over INAMORATA (old) over PIXELATED (young).

Stanley Hudson 9:00 AM  

Wonder if he knows that Ted Nugent, once upon a time, was in a band called the AMBOY Dukes?

Mother Pence 9:03 AM  

The AMBOY Dukes looks like a trashy pulp novel. I’m sure I will not be reading it!

Two Ponies 9:04 AM  

Left side easy, right side much harder.
Like Glimmerglass 7:55 I wanted limit which seemed like a good guess for a tricky clue that implied a plural.
Puzzlemate is from Ohio and says Barney not Gomer as in "If I wear that I'll look like a real Barney" or some such thing. Poor Mayberry.

Lots of Ys in this grid and some clever clues like the one for aphid.

The clue for rope says Plastic Clue weapon. Why? Aren't all the pieces made of plastic? I've never played it.

Re: the moderators. I mentioned late last night when no one reads that while I appreciate the lack of name-calling I was amused at times. Now I feel like I'm being viewed through a two-way mirror and it feels a bit creepy.

Stuart Showalter 9:13 AM  

Anything older than Rex, OFL, is “stale” I guess. Sad.

OISK 9:25 AM  

Wonderful puzzle. After another pop culture DNF yesterday (Minaj) I read Steinberg's name with some trepidation. But - surprise! Although I would much prefer thinking of Claudette Colbert than Stephen, this was cleverly clued, literate, and (since I knew Nemean) Natick free. Fab Fri.

Anonymous 9:25 AM  

@Two Ponies. Hmm, let's see, the revolver, the lead pipe, the knife, the candlestick...I wonder what they might be made of...

Mark Laser 9:28 AM  

True, but in non medical circles it is meant to evoke images of a clueless oaf, like Gomer Pyle.

Matthew G. 9:42 AM  

Yeah, I’ve never heard the medical meaning of GOMER. I doubt many people will make that connection. The clue refers to Pyle.

Matthew G. 9:45 AM  

Strange to get schooled on old stuff by a constructor half my age. I have never heard the term BOX CAMERA (though an images search reveals that I’ve seen them before, just not the name), and I certainly didn’t know that a Brownie was a brand of one. So I was sure that entry was either GIRL SCOUT or something involving baked goods, with an outside chance that elves were involved. So when I got BOX CAMERA from the crosses, I just sat and stared.

But the puzzle, outside AGENA, was great!

Nancy 9:46 AM  

Loved it! A real SMOOTHIE of a puzzle. (Though I hope not YOGURT. I hate YOGURT. I think YOGURT tastes like spoiled food.)

Emerson HATEd quotation? Really? You coulda fooled me.

My biggest writeover was changing mEnDS to GELDS at 27D. Which made me happy, because I had wanted COLBERT at 35A just off the C.

The clue for PIXILATED (56A) is inspired. Also liked the clue for BEAU (6D).

I had -ATIN----- at 26D, and my first thought was SATIN SHEET. Shortly thereafter, I thought of LATIN LOVER. I realized I would much rather have a LATIN LOVER than a SATIN SHEET.

Terrific puzzle!

Two Ponies 9:46 AM  

Okay Mr. Smartypants 9:25 aka Anon, The game tokens are made of metal and wax? So the rope is made of plastic? Really? If you are saying that I am obviously too stupid then just get to the point. Geez, I was just asking a question.

Chris 9:56 AM  

Played pretty easy for me--not record, but faster than average by quite a bit. Like most, finished in the middle.
I am old enough to remember AGENA and figured that was the reference, but it took a bit to dredge it up. Loved the clue for STRAY.
And yes, @TwoPonies, all the other weapons were made of metal (candleSTICK, not candle) but the rope was plastic. Wouldn't surprise me if they were all plastic now.

Anoa Bob 10:08 AM  

Tried ORBIT before AMBIT at 28D "Bounds". Since AMBIT is < L ambitus "a going around", and ORBIT is < L orbita "circuit", it wasn't too far off.

Not too much AD HOC stuff in the grid. Well, maybe NO DEAR.

Like @FrankStein, hesitated on CORDUROY (35D) since its cognate ROY was already at 21A.

ENAMORADO went in first at 54A. Seemed to be a good grid mate with the FLAMBOYANT LATIN LOVER.

Speaking of which, sometimes a single entry can put a puzzle over the top for this old word nerd. Today it was the lovely FLAMBOYANT. If THAT'S in your grid, not even a NEMEAN COS EADS will put me in a nit SNIT!

Anonymous 10:08 AM  

For some reason this cluing suited me well and finished in half the time.

Inamorata and Nemean were the only two I wasn't sure about.

Anonymous 10:12 AM  

@Stuart, How did you like the puzzle?

Carola 10:13 AM  

The grid stars aligned for me on this one - it went lickety-split. It definitely helped to get the top row in right away, along with its drop-downs. One thing led right to another, except for a temporary glitch at entITY for ODDITY.
Valentine's Day continues with the FLAMBOYANT LATIN LOVER and his INAMORATA. Or perhaps she's paired with the old-fashioned BEAU. I've never looked at PENTHOUSE, but imagine the privates aren't PIXELATED.

@Chris, I'm also old enough to remember the AGENA - and, I realized, even the feel of that plastic rope...and the original bendy lead pipe.

Nancy 10:16 AM  

@Z (8:40) -- "Singular" doesn't always mean one-of-a-kind. Just as often it means "unusual". So in that context ODDITY is a spot-on answer.

I don't know what a BOX CAMERA is from a technical standpoint. But I remember the Brownie from back in the day, and it looked like a box.

@Wm C -- DST at the start of 9D gave me fits, too. Like you, I was sure something I'd filled in was wrong.

Question of the day: Would you rather eat off the floor of someone who's NEAT AS A PIN or someone who's CLEAN AS A WHISTLE. Personally, I'd prefer the latter. I've always thought that being neat and being clean are two entirely different things. Maybe, though, I'm just being defensive, since, while I'm extremely clean, I'm not all that neat if the truth be told.

Z 10:19 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sir Hillary 10:21 AM  

This was a very choppy and not so enjoyable experience for me. OK, I had to take the dog for a long walk mid-solve, but even the solving itself was choppy.

There's plenty to appreciate here, especially the long answers, but it was one of those mornings where all I seemed to notice was what I didn't like. Such as:
-- CAVER. I'm not into spelunking, but is that really a term for someone who is? And it's crossing COS, the ultimate in short junk. Seems to me that sAVER and sOS would have been better, at least by a little. Even (Rod) lAVER and lOS (Angeles).
-- AGENA crossing ONENO. I knew the latter, so it all came together. Still, yuck.
-- NODEAR feels too green-paintish for me.
-- Too much grid segmentation. It felt like five mini-puzzles to me.
-- Most importantly, the lack of "Steinberg edginess". Some people hate it, but I love it. This was far more staid than most of his work, and that is not a compliment. Please David, don't grow old on us!

So, a disappointment. It just didn't hit me right. It happens.

GILL I. 10:23 AM  

Can I add GOMER to my list of millennial speak? The down- pats are adorbs, ridic, totes and fabu. I want David to figure out how to add tweethearts to the mix......
Now we get all sexy with LATIN LOVER, FLAMBOYANT INAMORATA BEAU who I am sure PIXELATED the private parts after drinking a SPEED BALL. Way to go David Steinberg.
I love roasted BEETS. I also love turmeric. After you handle those items do you check your fingernails? Try getting that stuff off. It stays under those nails for days.
I also loved BOXED CAMERA. My dad gave me a Brownie and I still have it. It works fine but I don't think you can find film for it any more. I remember taking all the pictures, winding up the film and putting it in the Kodak envelope. You had to wait about a week to get your pictures. Being all excited as the store clerk would thumb his way through all the envelopes until he finds your name. Memories like sucking on an all-day lollipop.
DS always gives me smiles. He didn't at first, but he does now. I'm getting to the point where I rarely Google his puzzles now. Today I did but only to verify some answers. I had VEGAN instead of APHID for 10D and that was giving me angst. Took care of that puppy and off to the dance I went.
Like @puzzlehoarder, I found the long entries easy. The COS IBN AMBIT were the "wait, sit back and see what other letters pop up."
Lots of GEMS here and a fun solve. Except maybe COLADA. That was mean......!

Z 10:25 AM  

@Two Ponies - You and me both. I’ve played Clue at most 2 times in my life and the last time had to be about 40 years ago? I had no idea what the clue was getting at but was then too busy ranting about grades to ask the question.

@Nancy - Seriously? Example please. The closest I get is a modifier of a plural noun. But even in a phrase like “singular achievements” I take that as meaning “achievements without peer, done by no one else, single.” Not that I’m disagreeing, I just can’t come up with an example.

Stephen Minehart 10:25 AM  

This was much easier and faster than yesterday's puzzle for me, despite the NEMEAN/AMBIT crossing which compelled me to throw in random letters in that last blank square until the computer declared me successful. Fortunately that was the only square left, otherwise would have been a DNF for sure.

James Eads did not invent the diving bell, and the clue implies that he did, but I'm not sure anyone cares. Look up diving bell on Wikipedia - you won't even see his name.

Whirred Whacks 10:27 AM  

Liked this very much. David Steinberg’s puzzles have grown on me over the past several years.

Especially liked his clueing: part of a pound, one who’s frequently in the dark

Today is a “0” birthday for me, and after my swimming workout, I’ll be heading over to the beach (north of Mavericks) and then a late lunch with family. Sunny day in the mid 60s — should be nice!

Wow 10:32 AM  

Yuck. SW corner ... ONE NO? Cone on, really? Who plays Bridge and bets that? It's ONE NO Trump. CAVER? They are Spelunkers. AGENA? WTF?

Middle ... AMBIT? NENEAN? Crossed with ODD clues on the other answers? Ick.

Other iffy clues I don't care to go back and find. Steinberg often gives us a good puzzle, this one wasn't one.

Mr. Smoker in the Boys Room 10:32 AM  

plastic Clue weapon? A lead pipe cinch that it was ROPE.

Barry Frain 10:37 AM  

@ Stanley Hudson, gun fanatic and animal slaughterer Ted Nugent doesn't pass the breakfast test, especially given what happened in Florida this week. I'll thank you not to bring him up again.

Barry Frain
East Biggs, CA

Col. Mustard 10:48 AM  

There are six weapons in the game Clue (knife, candlestick, revolver, rope, lead pipe and wrench. Only the rope has four letters so it would seem that “plastic” is extraneous. Not really though. The inclusion of “plastic” meant that the capitalization of the word “Rope” had to have been referring to the game. Had it been the first word in the clue people solving could have thought there was something else going on and it wasn’t a proper noun. Anyway, it’s a great family game to play with the kids on a rainy day.

MaryClem 10:58 AM  

Sorry to hear that you were unfamiliar with James Eads. In St. Louis Eads is known for building the first steel-truss bridge, completed in 1874, that spans the Mississippi River from Missouri to Illinois. At the time of completion it was the longest arch bridge in the world. The bridge is a National Historic Landmark. Also Eads constructed iron clads used in the civil war. Great photo: https://greyrowan.deviantart.com/art/St-Louis-Eads-Bridge-4-148070563

Tita A 11:00 AM  

Amazon unit?! We need apicture of that clue in the crossword dictionary next to the green paint entry.

That and the two kings, as @FrankStein pointed out, raised my hackles.

Otherwise, a fine Friday.

Great clue for pixel red. When I hear that word, I can only think of the spinster sisters in Arsenic and Old Lace. That's how th at described their nephew Cary Grant. That was before pixels were invented, I guess.

@Gill...I read so @any references to you yesterday, that I had to go back and a)do Wednesday's puzzle, and b)read the comments.
Worth it for the puzzle, but more so for your story. What else can I say but awwwwww!

I am also left wondering what specific mayhem and idiocy I missed that caused moderation. Glad I missed it.




Alex Wright 11:02 AM  

My only beef with the puzzle is AGENA. I just hate that damn word and think that it should be stricken from the corpus. And everyone should get off the back of "one no." I'm in my early 30s and that's frequently how I would open a bit of one no-trump.

Nancy 11:05 AM  

@Z (10:25) -- According to my Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary (published 1979, so not so very new!), the 3rd meaning of "singular" is "out of the ordinary/unusual". I'm wracking my brains trying to come up with an example you'll think is apt. Let's try this:

A surprising number of "Hail Mary" passes have ended in touchdowns. But when it happens in a Superbowl, it's quite a singular accomplishment.

Hartley70 11:21 AM  

Have I ever not liked a DS puzzle? Nope, I don't think so. He always has a great mix of old and new answers that please me.

FLAMBOYANT was my word of the day. It flows. PIXELATED was my laugh of the day. It took much longer to see the relation to privates than to enter the correct answer.

The long crosses and downs came easily except for NEATASAPIN. I had to put the puzzle down and look again this morning to see it and that tricky center. I wanted a V somewhere in that lion's name. I think distinctive leaded windows and exterior wood framing when I think of Tudor houses. My husband grew up in a classic example. GABLE didn't come easily because other styles use GABLES too.

GOMER and Wednesday are examples of why I can't bear tv sitcoms. There are only one or two exceptions. Don't you love Jerry's driving around podcasts?

Great Friday! I came to Thursday late but loved that too.

AW 11:23 AM  

Having never heard of a "honey-do" list (32D), I'm trying to understand the answer. Is the list called "honey-do" because its origin is something like "Honey, do please mow the lawn/take out the trash/pick up the dry cleaning today, OK?" If so, then how is the answer, "No, dear." Wouldn't that be the answer to "Honey, will/did you [do some chore] today?" I just don't get how you can say "no, dear" to a list. Help?

Z 11:24 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hartley70 11:27 AM  

@Nancy, how about a lyric? "One singular sensation...every little step she takes".

Hartley70 11:28 AM  

@AW, have you met my husband?

TubaDon 11:30 AM  

Enjoyed the puzzle even though Iwent aSTRAY early by inserting DATA and DRAM for the 1 clues. Luckily AMBOY, AGENEA, ONENO, NEMEAN were gimmies and I eventually worked my way around to fix the NW corner. I liked the lovely FLAMBOYANT and INAMORATA even I'm not sure if I ran across the latter before.

Z 11:31 AM  

@Nancy - Ummm... the second time a hail mary worked in a Super Bowl wouldn’t be a singular accomplishment. I ran into that “out of the ordinary” definition, too, but not any usages that I would take as “more than once.” Given that “literally” has a variant definition meaning “figuratively” I don’t doubt that a plural usage for singular exists, I just can’t come up with one. @Everyone else, this is not a challenge, I like singular meaning singular.

@AW - You pretty much got it. Honey-Do lists are a cutesy variation of To-Do Lists, stereotypically written by wives for their husbands. NO, DEAR might be the response by someone who is called “honey.”

old timer 11:32 AM  

If OFL has problems completing a puzzle, he pans it.

I recently reread a Hercule Poirot book in which he repeats the Labors of Hercules (which is in fact the title). So I had no problem with the NEMEAN lion, though Dame Agatha's twist on that lion is unique and indeed an ODDITY.

I thought the puzzle was a fine example of what a Friday should be. Tough but not too tough. Had Tahiti before SYDNEY and was briefly stumped by ONENO. Other than that my solving experience hummed right along.

AW 11:33 AM  

@Hartley70, no, I haven't.

JOHN X 11:35 AM  

The best word today is AGENA, as in the versatile second stage rocket built by Lockheed. Over 300 were launched over its 30 year career, most famously as a docking target for the manned Project Gemini program, where NASA learned how to rendezvous in space prior to Project Apollo. A thruster malfunction on Gemini VIII while docking with an AGENA came close to killing astronauts Neil Armstrong and David Scott.

If you still have a Kodak Brownie BOXCAMERA you most certainly can get film for it, and take better pictures than a digital camera. The Brownie uses 120 film, the standard film for medium format photography. It's just not in drugstores anymore. You may have to send away for processing, just like the old days.

Blackbird 11:41 AM  

Rex sure does get grumpy about "old" and "new" frames of reference. Dude, it's all a broad panoramic sweep of culture. Inamorata, beau, box camera, are just words for part of our common cultural heritage. If you see a production of "The Glass Menagerie" (in revival, yes, yes, it's old -- not as old as "Hamlet", though!) you probably would recognize that a "gentleman caller" (too old for Rex?) is also called a beau. What about recognizing the names Beau Brummell and Beau Bridges? Or, American folk song lyric, "Hi, said the little bird as she flew, if I had my way I'd I've two, if one got saucy and wanted to go, I'd have two strings for my beau". Clever pun.

Of course, if someone doesn't recognize theItalian word "inamorata", meaning sweetheart, okay, why should Rex expect anyone to know a smattering of Italian. But if someone remembers the 1955 song "Inamorata", that helps. Oops, 1955 is so very very long ago. Too long ago. Too old a reference. If a clue calls for an answer like "Un bel di", from Puccini's "Madame Butterfly", OMG, that goes all the way back to 1904! Oh the horror, the horror!

Rex, how could you possibly tolerate "Purgatorio" poet as clue for the answer Dante. Way old. Too old. Well, at least the 2006 dinner hosted by Colbert (way funny guy!) is 21st century, so it won't offend your contemporary sensibilities. Speaking about sensibility, let's move on to sensitivity. Yes, some folks are very sensitive about divulging their salaries. Why? Status. Lack of status. Fear of being hit up for a donation to some cause or other. Some people are sensitive about their age, or their weight -- that's also about status, about acceptability. It's all focused on what other people think.

Carp carp carp. I don't mean the fish....

AW 11:41 AM  

@Z: So a spouse might say "No, dear" to a list? You hand your spouse a list of to-dos and s/he answers "No, dear"? No to what? All of the items on the list? Some? Who talks that way? "No, dear" is a response to a question (did you?) or a request (will you?) but a list? Not buying it, sorry.

I just get grumpy over cluing that is so stretched and strained that it breaks. Like calling the wales on corduroy "ribs" that stick out. Phooey.

AW 11:45 AM  

Of course, the real reason that I'm grumpy is that I have yet to complete a Friday puzzle. Just hate feeling stupid. Like the person who doesn't get the joke when everyone else is laughing hysterically. Sigh.

mathgent 11:51 AM  

Like @BarbieBarbie (7:03), I spent a lot of time working on it last night but went to bed with the middle mostly blank. This morning, AMBIT/NEMEAN opened it up.

A wonderful piece of work by the young genius. My only quarrel with it is that this slow solver spent too much of his precious time on it. (Comment from my wife: "Precious. Right.")

Hard to believe that this is David Steinberg's 75th NYT puzzle. It doesn't seem so long ago that he had his debut.

The Amboy Dukes got rave reviews at the playground in the fifties. That and I,The Jury, the Mickey Spillane classic.

My mother loved her Brownie camera. She claimed that she took better pictures than her brother did, he with his expensive instrument with light meters and lens settings.

Rex tied himself up in knots manufacturing negatives today. Is David on his list? If so, he's in good company.





Jersey Girl 12:05 PM  

I loved this puzzle. South Amboy, coloda, D student , gomer, all fell in quickly for me. Some days you’re the pigeon some days you’re the statue. Yesterday’s for instance, crushed me and was much more difficult (for me) than today’s. It’s best not to blame the puzzle when something’s not in your wheelhouse. Thanks David.

Nancy 12:06 PM  

@Z (11:31) -- I guess I shouldn't call you a stickler on language usage when I'm a stickler too. But here's the difference. I'm a stickler on not confusing "lie" with "lay", "figuratively" with "literally" or "less" with "fewer" -- all distinctions that dictionaries and grammar books continue to observe. (And I hope they never stop observing them while I'm alive.) But once a dictionary does accept something -- in this case "singular" to mean out of the ordinary/highly unusual -- I'm fine with it.

Just remember, "presently" once meant "soon" or "in a while". Now, it means "at this moment".

GILL I. 12:12 PM  

@Whirred Whacks....Happy 0 Birthday...! 40?, 50? 60?.....I just celebrated an 0 as well. I'm just glad I'm no longer a teenager...
@Tita. AWWW gee. Hah! I'm glad you're back to posting. Yeah, you missed some juicy comments. We had impersonators, haters, basterds and old flappy's, to name a few. All civility now...Hmmmm.
@JOHN X. Hey, thanks for the info. I Googled my Brownie and guess what? I can sell it on eBay for $9.99! Now I have to see if they still make the tiny little flash bulbs.
Off to rummage through old stuff.

Anoa Bob 12:16 PM  

I would urge commenters to keep in mind that unless you have direct knowledge, it's unsure whether the clue for any given grid entry is from the constructor or from the editor/staff.

It's probably safer to attribute the entry itself to the constructor, but even there, it's not 100% guaranteed.

Suzie Q 12:18 PM  

D.S. sure gave us a lot of misdirections today.
Nobody has mentioned the Aflac duck and his bill. Cube holder was good too.
Sydney took too long because I didn't think of Australia as part of Oceania.
That lion was a mystery. All I could think of was some sports team like Nittany Lions.

I thought the comments were supposed to stay on topic now. A certain commenter has never ever had anything positive to say since he started coming here and today we get a rank about Ted Nugent? That's a stretch to find your trigger point off of the name of a city in New Jersey?

Missy 12:31 PM  

Emerson hated when anyone would quote a scholar or scholarly text. He wanted to know what YOU thought and not a regurgitation of someone else. Check out Self Reliance.

Joseph Michael 12:35 PM  

This puzzle appealed to my inner teenage boy, especially with the clues for PIXELATED, WEDNESDAY, and GOMER.

Wanted those ribs at 35D to be part of an "unbrella" and the plant eater at 10D to be a "vegan." Didn't know that CAVER had become a word in the unending saga of nouns evolving into verbs.

Liked the FLAMBOYANT LATIN LOVER in the west and the NEAT-AS-A-PIN TATE MODERN in the east.

Coming off of 21A, perhaps we should begin referring to OFL as ROY Parker.

Good one, David. This puzzle was a GEM.

Masked and Anonymous 12:41 PM  

day-um. 3000+ paperback books? Nice hoardin effort, @RP. Congratz. Does that pretty much take up a whole small room, yet?
I believe I prefer the 3rd example of (the bottom 3) the Amboy Dukes collection the best. The couple look the most 'teen-age" in that one. However, the first cover has them lookin the most "crime"-ready [also: dude must have a problem with misplacin the car keys?]. Middle cover art looks like a couple of yuppies, one sorta with a fear of blatant overuse of fire escapes.
But, I digress.

I did 1/256th of the NW corner, and then got stuck.
Moved over to the NE corner, got a few there, then got stuck.
Desperately limped on to central area and got half+ of it, before I got stuck.
Bottom part? Knew AGENA and ONENO ok, so splatzed those right in almost immediately. Things got tense in the EADS-my-Shortz SE area, but survived and handed off the remainder to PuzEatinSpouse for cleanup.

Between the 2 of us, finished it up just fine. Pretty good themeless, but not sure what the seed entries coulda been. Maybe it was the staff weeject pick [IBN]?

Thanx, Steinbergmeister.

Masked & Anonymo5Us


tougher than snot:
**gruntz**

Missy 12:41 PM  

Emerson hated when anyone would quote a scholar or scholarly text. He wanted to know what YOU thought and not a regurgitation of someone else. Check out Self Reliance.

phil phil 12:42 PM  

Much easier cluing than yesterdays. Just ran through it until got stuck in the SE with sArI for MAXI. SNIT HATE all the other downs there were straightforward enough.

Thought SPieL for SPOOL. Getting a squint eye on the “wind” meaning, but straightforward again.

Henry David Thoreau 12:46 PM  

He’d kill me for repeating this but, as my friend Ralph Waldo said:

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

Bob Mills 12:48 PM  

Hardest puzzle I've ever completed successfully. Had to guess on "NEMEAN" and "CAVER." Wish they made sense. I wonder where Rex Parker has lived all his life. South Amboy (and Perth Amboy) are familiar New Jersey locations. 5-Down was the easiest answer in the entire grid.

Anonymous 12:48 PM  

Mr. Steinberg,

Thanks for the first class puzzle. A treat for sure, and that it, again, unmasks Sharp's bias is a nice lagniappe.

It's a shame that Nemean isn't a gimme this week. NBC should be ashamed.
The Olympics was only one of four Pan Hellenic games contested in antiquity. THE Nemean games were in Corinth, The Isthmian games in Sicyon and of course the Pythian games at Delphi. They ran in a four year cycle.

I think Ted Nugent won a bronze in lyre chucking. Maybe it was silver.

Anonymous 12:49 PM  

@Nancy is spot on with SINGULAR. If you have ever read Conan Doyle, Sherlock always uses SINGULAR in that way.
I thought this puzzle was great and I love clues that I guess some decide are "too cute by half"
I find it refreshing when a young constructor can mix old with new.

Kimberly 12:50 PM  

Those book covers are fabulous. Love that the bad boys of the 40s were clean shaven and wore carefully trimmed hair and tucked their tidy shirts into neatly pressed trousers.

Wasn’t my favorite Saturday, but if MY name had been in the clueing I would have been all girly-giggle proud (even though it really wasn’t about me). And yeah, I know Rex isn’t really your name, but for the purposes of crosswordland, it is. Bask a little!

Anonymous 12:52 PM  

Well, now I want to dig out my BOX CAMERA and see if it still works! With all the cooking references in this puzzle, I could not make the answer for brownie come to me as anything other than a food item. I also didn’t like the clue for Amboy, all I can think of is Perth Amboy in New Jersey, so it totally threw me off. (Originally from the Northeast.) And I, too, had an issue with the NO DEAR answer to a honey do list. But I understood the SALARY clue (once I got it) — big sensitive issue, gender equality-wise. Had a real tough time with this puzzle; finished 10 minutes slower than my usual, and I’m pretty bad at Friday’s grids.

Anonymous 12:59 PM  

On *gomer* as a term for someone cloddish or stupid. I think the term actually *precedes* the Mayberry and military character, and the name was given to him as an indication of stupidity. The term *gomeral* is an old Scottish term for a bumpkin (it appears in Sir Walter Scott), and I think it somehow turned into the English *gomer* perhaps through it resemblance to *goober*, or "peanut," also used for someone stupid. Or perhaps the biblical *Gomer* (Hosea, right at the beginning) helped in the transformation, although the biblical name doesn't fit (unlike the biblical name Nimrod, also used for a stupid man)--Gomer there is an idolatrous woman, and I don't think anyone would ever refer to a woman as a *gomer* (it's offensive enough as is!). In the Judeo-Christian world, and especially among Christian Church Fathers, idolatry was associated with being *too* inquisitive--something never associated with a *gomer*.

Anon. i.e. Poggius

Kimberly 1:01 PM  

Forgot to mention, the inclusion of AMBIT, AMBOY, and FLAMBOYANT was kind of interesting.

phil phil 1:03 PM  

AMBOY
FL AMBOY ANT

NJ Pest migrated to FL

ghthree 1:07 PM  

I guess I'm the only one who got Naticked by 45Down. I had HOMER for GOMER. Yes, I'm old enough to remember Gomer Pyle, but Homer Simpson is much more recent. So I had HPS for GPS. I figured Hewlett-Packard had some sort of Dashboard device. Sure enough, I Googled it (post-solve) and got almost 1.5 million hits.

Teedmn 1:15 PM  

I disagree with @Rex regarding SALARY not being as sensitive a topic as age and weight. Not talking about one's SALARY is how women were paid less than their coworkers with less experience or seniority. How would one know unless you worked somewhere that salaries are public information? I've read that people are more likely to give TMI on their sex lives or share PIXELATED photos of their "privates" before they'd expose their SALARY figures. Perhaps new websites like Glassdoor will improve that situation.

I don't see a single blob of extra black ink on my paper solve today - not something I can say often, even on a Monday. I join the "M as in AMBIT" last letter crowd. I did not associate AMBIT with "bounds" or scope. I was thinking AMBITion. Are they related? My brief survey of two online dictionaries, post-solve, did not clarify it for me.

I like this puzzle. Its ribs were sticking out in a few places, exposing it for the near 4 year old opus it is (per DS at xwordinfo) but it had its charms. (AGENA, WOE!)

GeezerJackYale48 1:16 PM  

Nicely said!

Charley 1:30 PM  

A Pox on all Steinberg puzzles.

ArtO 1:34 PM  

Pretty damn ironic that Rex should condemn this puzzle as having "dated' content when it's created by a person who I think is still a teen ager! Give some of that unnecessary negativity a break, will you! Please!

Harlot of Babylon 1:37 PM  

Hosea 1:2 When the Lord first spoke through Hosea, he said to him, “Go marry a prostitute who will bear illegitimate children conceived through prostitution, because the nation continually commits spiritual prostitution by turning away from the Lord.”
1:3 So he married GOMER daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son.

In bed with the flu 1:38 PM  

I agree with Geezer at 1:16 pm who was referring to blackbird’s excellent post at 11:41 am. Hey Geezer and some others I think it bears repeating that depending upon the device one is using, the comments appear differently. I believe comments posted on a smartphone and viewed on a smartphone show the comments directly below the post to which it refers while from tablets and computers will appear in order in which typed. If that makes sense anyway. I first read your comment. On my iPad then checked my phone to see which you were commenting on. Yeah I’m bored.

The Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale 1:44 PM  

Hominomines 3:16 and the harlot did go a-whoring
and this puzzle left me snoring

Jamie C 1:51 PM  

"Plastic" as in "malleable" or "bendable." The ROPE is the only one.

Anonymous 2:00 PM  

Teedmn (1:15pm). Both ambit and ambition from same root, the Latin for walking (as in ambulatory). One ambitious in antiquity would be one who would walk around drumming up votes. The ambit meaning "circumference" or bounds, refers I think not to the area within walking distance, but probably derives from very old law (pre-Roman, certainly Greek, but perhaps elsewhere), that one's property was defined by what one walking, or one's oxen walking, could encircle in a day (?). This latter needs to be more precise, but I think I have it correct roughly.

What you say about *salary* is correct! It was also "sensitive" before the current gender controversies.

Anon. i.e. Poggius

Teedmn 2:05 PM  

Thank you Poggius, @Anon 2:00 PM, I appreciate the explication of AMBIT.

MetroGnome 2:08 PM  

Kimberly (12:50 PM) -- I went to high school c. late 1960s/early '70s, and even then the bad boys (or the "hoods," as we called them) still dressed that way. They hung around pool halls, worked as auto mechanics, got into fights . . . and most of the "good" girls thought they were sexy as hell (even though they rarely dared to date them). They also had impeccably combed hair, usually cut quite short.

The hipsters (i.e., "freaks") had the long hair, raggedy jeans, plaid work shirts/T-shirts, and either beaten-up sneakers or hiking boots.

Anonymous 2:24 PM  

Ambit is simply from tne Latin Ambitus meaning circuit. Ambire is Latin for go around. Its not complicated, and its certainly not Greek.
I dont know about its legal usage but I have very grave dpubts abojt poggius's claim.

Flasm Flosm 2:32 PM  
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Lewis 2:33 PM  

Puzzle was all over the place in just the right way. It tugged on so many zones in my memory map. And the cluing kept my brain in high alert, which it loves. Grid is super clean, and the clues for CORDUROY and PIXELATED brought big ahas. What comes to mind in describing this puzzle is "big experience", and that doesn't happen come my way all that often in solving. Thank you David!

DigitalDan 2:35 PM  

Atlas: first stage
Agena: second stage
Sheesh, how quickly we lose our history

Snert Is Nertz 2:37 PM  

This puz was totes fab, if a bit presh.

Anonymous 2:39 PM  
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Anonymous 2:59 PM  

As I was reading the comments, "Journey to the Center of Your Mind" kept trying to journey into the center of my mind. So I googled it, and, sure enough, it's by the Amboy Dukes.

I was trying to fit in pixillated (even though I know the little dots are pixels), but I guess that's just another word for drunk.

So was 21A a deliberate shout-out to OFL?

ChE Dave 3:10 PM  

Could be showing my age, my engineering background, or both, but “inamorata” was out of my range. As a result, I was looking at 45D as hoser, loser, gofer, homer, boner, until “GPS” popped into my head and my Latin background filled in the rest. Otherwise, an easy if arcane puzzle fill.

Jim 3:11 PM  

Most time I’ve spent on a Friday puzzle in a long time. Couldn’t get a real toehold anywhere. Very challenging cluing. Didn’t like it a lot, but was happy to finish without a break. I just ground it out a clue at s time, not in order like I usually do.

Anonymous 3:27 PM  

Don't feel bad. You are not the only one who doesn't always finish a Friday puzzle. English isn't my native language,but with 28 years of practice I finally do finish about 2 out of 3. You aren't stupid, you just need more experience. Today I had a problem with 45A, for example, thinking it had to do with a short run...

DigitalDan 3:38 PM  

Atlas - First stage
Agena - Second stage
Sheesh -- how quickly we lose our history.

jberg 3:44 PM  

I somehow remembered the Atlas-AGENA right away, but this one was still tough, because:

1) I pput in gill (actually 1/16 of a gallon) instead of TBSP, even though that violated my rule that 4-letter Star Trek character = TROI (sorry, Sulu). Then I compounded the error with piPE before ROPE.

Then down on the bottom, I put in ONE Nt, which you'd probably never say but often see written -- and that blocked CORDUROY, so now I had most of the West Side filled in, but no way out to the rest of the grid. Finally I took the plunge with YOGURT SMOOTHIE, and things sort of worked themselves out -- though I still tried 'winge' before the Herculean NEMEAN, and wanted there to be another L in PIXELATED.

@Nancy, @Z - I thought maybe altoid mints were singular, but turns out they're just curious.

I really enjoyed teh solving experience. I thought the vegan ==> APHID misdirect was particularly nice. It actually had me doubting DANTE (though not enough to take him out). Fortunately, INtended for INAMORATA was too short, or I would have put it in and multiplied my troubles.

jberg 3:45 PM  

I somehow remembered the Atlas-AGENA right away, but this one was still tough, because:

1) I pput in gill (actually 1/16 of a gallon) instead of TBSP, even though that violated my rule that 4-letter Star Trek character = TROI (sorry, Sulu). Then I compounded the error with piPE before ROPE.

Then down on the bottom, I put in ONE Nt, which you'd probably never say but often see written -- and that blocked CORDUROY, so now I had most of the West Side filled in, but no way out to the rest of the grid. Finally I took the plunge with YOGURT SMOOTHIE, and things sort of worked themselves out -- though I still tried 'winge' before the Herculean NEMEAN, and wanted there to be another L in PIXELATED.

@Nancy, @Z - I thought maybe altoid mints were singular, but turns out they're just curious.

I really enjoyed teh solving experience. I thought the vegan ==> APHID misdirect was particularly nice. It actually had me doubting DANTE (though not enough to take him out). Fortunately, INtended for INAMORATA was too short, or I would have put it in and multiplied my troubles.

Chapps 4:03 PM  

Everything about this puzzle, with few exceptions, feels as if some 90 year old guy in a wood paneled library spent a bit of time riffing on his memories. Or a whiz kid who rifled through the old-times dictionary. Nothing modern - even TROI is over 20 years old. How is anyone younger than 30 ever going to know these things? How will xword puzzles ever catch the younger generation with stuff like this, which has nothing to do with their lives and experience? I mean ... GOMER???

Ugh.

Wow 4:20 PM  

@Chaps 4:03
And Steinberg is only 19! Maybe 20? So his skewing old answers is kind of oxymoronic. He's also an aide to Shortz.

Monkey Ward 4:37 PM  

"How will xword puzzles ever catch the younger generation with stuff like this, which has nothing to do with their lives and experience?"

First-world problem or legit beef? Comments?

Fred Romagnolo 4:57 PM  

In "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town" (1936, D.Capra), two charming old ladies describe Deeds (played by Gary Cooper) as PIXiLlATED; that was the only meaning that occurred to me. I just couldn't conceive how it related to (military) privates: when I thought about privates other meaning, it was even more of a puzzle. The first 3 or 4 blogs pointed out how clever it was used in this puzzle: I was more mystified. Then someone finally made the connection to images on a computer and I realized the connection. I had to laugh out loud! I'm still wary of Steinberg, but as he enters his 3rd decade, and I begin the latter half of my 9th, perhaps there is a convergence in our thinking. Not a DNF, but I wasn't sure why.

Fred Romagnolo 4:59 PM  

cleverly; sorry about that.

Joe Bleaux 5:03 PM  

Daivid Steinberg, on a Friday ... knew it was gonna be good, once I got a toe-hold, which I did in the NE with DANTE. Having seen the ADDAMS Family only in passing, I didn't know about Wednesday, so I did way too much head-scratching before the crosses left me no choice but to say, "OK, then, Google it at intermission." From there, my solve was kinda the flip side of @Two Ponies': I finished the whole right side, down to DUSTRAG, pretty quickly, and then ran into one dead end after another on the west. So I went back up top, guessed correctly on TROI (saw that neither Sulu nor Kirk would fly), and hacked through the middle, saving what for me were tough central and southern left sections. (FWIW, in my neck of the woods outside Mayberry, the cloddish goofball was GOOBER, not GOMER.) Have a good weekend, all!

Joe Bleaux 5:08 PM  

Oh, wow! My post went up immediately! This must mean the moderators are on break. Here's my chance to post what I've not been allowed to say about that miserabe goddam sleazeba

Tita A 5:16 PM  

@Fred R...
Methinks youthinks of Arsenic and Old Lace with Cary Grant.
And I just learned, thanks to pointless googling (such internet rabbitholes that I throw myself down are one reason I'm not stopping by here as much!!), the words those charming aunts used was "pixilated".

@Joe Bleaux - hilarious...

mark shuper 5:21 PM  

Dangerous cocktail--speedball. Priceless.

Joe Dipinto 6:02 PM  

@Z -- A singular thing can be something that is one-of-a-kind in its surroundings; an anachronism; an aberration; an ODDITY. No problem with that clue.

I agree with Rex that this was a little on the meh side, particularly for a Steinberg puzzle. When I see his byline I prepare for an enjoyable challenge, and this did not feel like it was that. But, it works fine in general. SPEEDBALL is a tune by Lee Morgan, one of my favorite jazz trumpeters, so there was that bright spot.

Joe Dipinto 6:09 PM  

@Joe Bleaux -- yeah I noticed my post appeared immediately too. Not sure whether to be glad or nervous...

Anonymous 6:14 PM  

Digital Dan,

Im with you. Its unbelieveable that folks dont know even the basics of man's greatest engineering achievement.
For the naysayers, checkout Roland Miller photographs.

jb129 6:27 PM  
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Anonymous 6:40 PM  
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Z 7:02 PM  

@Joe Dipinto - The clue isn’t wrong, but it’s not right either. To use the Hail Mary in the Super Bowl example, a successful Hail Mary is always an ODDITY. The first time it happens in a Super Bowl it will be a “Singular thing.” At the same time, many other “singular thing(s)” are not truly ODDITYs because there is a patina of “weird” to ODDITYt. So Ruth’s 60 home runs in a 154 game season is a singular thing while Barry Bond’s 73 taters are an ODDITY. In short, I get it but with some serious side-eye going on. One good thing about the whole discussion was @jberg’s bon mot.

Re: Moderation. I’m see lots of “This comment has been removed by a blog administrator” so some sort of moderation is still happening.

Devon 7:16 PM  

I have no idea why but this felt like a Monday to me - I FLEW through it and shaved 1:03 off my Friday PR! AMBIT was the last thing I got. Also I’m from NJ so AMBOY came easily.

Joe Dipinto 7:36 PM  

@Z -- Okay, but in crosswords the clue doesn't have to relate to every sense of the answer, nor does the answer have to relate to every sense of the clue. As long as there is a correlation between them in one sense, the clue/answer pairing is legit, it seems to me. And we do have that here.

Einstein 7:55 PM  

Meh

addisondewitt 8:21 PM  

Privates aren’t “often” pixelated. I look at mine all the time and they never are. They are sometimes pixelated on TV.

Joe 8:48 PM  
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semioticus (shelbyl) 8:59 PM  

Meh. Everything was above average, yes, but it just didn't have it. The fill is mostly delightful, but at points really dreadful. The clues mostly make you go "hah!", but also "pfffff". The long answers are cool, but also not cool. (YOGURTSMOOTHIE without any flavor? What's that, just yogurt and... yogurt?)

So yeah, a good effort and I appreciate it, but it just didn't make me happy.

GRADE: B, 3.5 stars.

Molly C. Kottemann 9:52 PM  

Every time I struggle a bit & feel vexed with a puzzle I check your write up & mostly end up feeling vindicated, thank you.

Anonymous 10:55 PM  
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Anonymous 10:56 PM  
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Candy Darling 10:58 PM  
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Anonymous 11:03 PM  
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Anonymous 8:00 AM  
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kitshef 11:03 PM  

DNF at hOMER hPS ... which I think works. Got no enjoyment out of this one anyway.

Burma Shave 12:33 PM  

ADHOC SPEEDBALL PEN

AGENA was FLAMBOYANT with her DUSTRAG –
THAT’S before her LATINLOVER BEAU was let in.
For her INAMORATA she was DIRE to brag
THAT her PENTHOUSESUITE was NEATASAPIN.

--- SYDNEY ADDAMS-COLBERT

Anonymous 2:53 PM  

The Amboy Dukes was also a 60s era rock band fronted by Ted Nugent.

spacecraft 4:12 PM  

Yikes! THAT kind of "privates," really? What is the NYT coming to? Okay, PIXELATED seemed to want to be in there, so I caved and put it in. Raised my eyebrows, for sure.

Go ahead, David, say NODEAR to your (someday) wife. Then look for a place to stay, 'cause you've just been kicked out. Not one husband in a thousand is stupid enough to pull that one.

Lots of bendy clues make this Friday-tough. Things began to unlock after I sussed CORDUROY. Had to pretty much fight my way around. Huge triumph factor, but a typically clean Steinberg grid.

Sure, there are several 4-letter choices for Starfleet Academy grads: KIRK, WORF, DATA...but my several-time DOD Marina Sirtis starts this puzzle out with a bang. Birdie.

leftcoastTAM 7:10 PM  

DS is a master of the misdirection and the ODDITY, but here maybe too much so, at least for me.

Thought that "privates" might have something to do with one's "private parts", but looked for something with seX instead of PIX. NEMEAN out of my range. Homophone problem with AsCETIC and ACETIC. Wednesday as one of the ADDAMS family? Plastic ROPE? Okay, I guess. And a few more like that.

I'm no master. DNF.


Steve Hartmann 7:52 PM  

Major fail...never got a foothold.

rondo 8:01 PM  

Late to this party. Let me join the club for the NEMEAN/AMBIT M being the last letter in. That guess saved me from a DNF. But no write-overs, so there is that. Unlike OFL AGENA a gimme for me; grew up knowing all about the space program.

Like others, AMBOY a relative gimme relating it to Nugent and the AMBOY Dukes. It's not a word you forget if you ever see it, even on a map.

Someone thought GOMER was millenialspeak? C'mon now.

Agree with @spacey re: the NODEAR answer to the honey-do list, and with yeah baby Counselor TROI.

THATS about it, not much to HATE.

rondo 8:32 PM  

Forgot to mention that Mark Knopfler had a little band whose Straits were DIRE. Ten times the musician and human being than the Motor City Madman and his AMBOY Dukes. And I've seen them both live.

Lee Morgan 2:47 AM  

SPEEDBALL Composer: Lee Morgan
Trumpet: Lee Morgan
Tenor Saxophone: Wayne Shorter
Piano: Harold Mabern Jr.
Drums: Billy Higgins
Bass: Bob Cranshaw

------NEMEAN ----Labors of Hercules --- great!
....now I know what COLADA means, yay! "If you like Pina COLADAs, .....you should know that they're strained
If you´re not into yoga, it could be a STRAIN.

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