Island nation with a cross on its flag / FRI 3-23-18 / Alternative music subgenre / Agricultural commune / Beauty lesson

Friday, March 23, 2018

Constructor: Erik Agard

Relative difficulty: Honeybee (see below)


THEME: nope

Word of the Day: POLICE BOX (18A: Cop's station in England)
The Police Box was introduced in the United States in 1877 and was used in the United Kingdom throughout the 20th century from the early 1920s. It is a public telephone kiosk or callbox for the use of members of the police, or for members of the public to contact the police. Unlike an ordinary callbox, its telephone was located behind a hinged door so it could be used from the outside, and the interior of the box was, in effect, a miniature police station for use by police officers to read and fill in reports, take meal breaks and even temporarily hold prisoners until the arrival of transport. (wikipedia)  
**ALSO!** 
Doctor Who has become so much a part of British popular culture that the shape of the police box has become associated with the TARDIS rather than with its real-world inspiration the original police box. (wikipedia)
• • •
Hey there. It's your long-lost friend Amy filling in for Rex tonight. Sometimes I think about the daily puzzle and how it would fall on the Schmidt Insect Pain Index, hence the difficulty rating above. The puzzle was Friday-level mean in spots, but the pain subsided quickly enough and didn't linger or itch unnecessarily.  

Erik Agard is a rising star in CrossWorld and this puzzle is a fine example of his work. He rarely falls back on formula answers and throws in some interesting phrases without being show-offy.

I dig the mixture of old and new in this puzzle. You need some old-school knowledge to enjoy an Edwin STARR (17A: Edwin of 1960s-'70s R&B) reference, but even the youngest among us should enjoy him this classic video:




It was great to see JANET MOCK (29D: Transgender rights activist and best-selling author of “Redefining Realness”) in a puzzle and I especially loved the KIBBUTZ/ZAMBONIS cross. That's some hot "Z" action, dude. 

I didn’t love the “Scene + Roman numeral” obviousness of SCENE XIV (25A: Part of Act 4 of “Antony and Cleopatra in which Antony attempts suicide) or “the abbreviation nobody ever uses” EPS (6A: Series installments, for short), but those tiny clunks don't take away from the general resonance of this puzzle. 

Nicely done, sir.
Signed, Amy Seidenwurm, Undersecretary of CrossWorld

[Amy is the Executive Producer of Oculus' VR for Good Creators Lab Program]

162 comments:

jae 1:32 AM  

A fine Friday with some crunch. MALTA was a gimme (I was actually there once in 1967) but the rest took some work. seat before LANE didn't help. Liked it! Nice one Erik.

Anonymous 1:35 AM  

SCENE XIV, not SCENE IV, right?

Anonymous 1:44 AM  

Nice puzzle.
Malta wasn’t a gimme for me. The Pacific has Samoa and Tonga with crosses and 5 letters. I assumed the fun pointed toward Samoa with the Southern Cross, although perhaps that would have required a capital C.

Lynn 1:48 AM  

i sure hope so!

Amy Seidenwurm 1:53 AM  

SCENE XIV is correct - typo fixed! Thanks.

Prof. Gary Johnson, Physicist 2:18 AM  

I saw the clue for FTLB and swore it was wrong - that FTLB is a unit of force and not energy - but I looked it up and it is indeed energy! Turns out I've misunderstood FTLB all these years, and I design and approve enormous hydroelectric dams for a living. Oh don't worry you're in no danger as I only design dams for Third World countries and just a small percentage of them have collapsed.

Larry Gilstrap 2:22 AM  

Three, count'em, three difficult crosses for me. In retrospect, crosses should help, but RAJIV/NADJA was iffy. Recently read Lolita again, so sue me. A novel by Nabokov crossing video game hardware, if you say so. Also taking the DJINN/DIES cross on faith.

For some odd reason, this Southern California native became a huge L.A Kings fan in the 70s, and listened to games on the radio. Hi, Bob Miller. More than once we trekked to the Sports Arena and saw the ZAMBONIS decreasing the ice. Yes, all kinds of sports on the radio. More than once, the Broad St. Bullies ruined the experience. CHIPPY is a hockey term, n'est pas.

From the moment I shed training wheels, I've felt at home sitting on a bicycle and love my current bike, a Salsa Fargo with 29ers. Tomorrow is scheduled for a ride, unless it's windy. Honestly, have rarely ridden a FIXIE or a BMX more than a few times, but I always feel better after a bike ride. One is scary little and the other has no brakes, if it's done right.

And feel good after a glass of SKYY on the rocks. Run it by your dentist as a nightcap after flossing. Yes, swallow.

Moly Shu 3:07 AM  

SCENEXIV is terrible. I prefer Ketel One or Tito’s to SKYY. Hoping to score some Fireball soon, amirite @Z ???

puzzlehoarder 3:46 AM  

An easy puzzle made medium by a few sticky points. Both MALTA and MASK went right in but the unknown CHIPPY (You've got a chip on your shoulder?) caused me to hesitate on AFROPUNK. I used KIBBUTZ to go counterclockwise and back fill the north from the east.

I have no idea what the 16A clue has to do with ROOM. EPS is apparently now an abbreviation for episodes?

In the SE I sweated over the J in NADJA. It's how I want to spell the name and it cost me a dnf in the past as it is of course a debut today. However the cross could only be RAJIV so J it was.

I'm completely unfamiliar with the name MOCK and I had to think a minute or two to remember the K of SKYY.

Speaking of remembering, I'm amazed we had STARR clued this way just last Saturday. I made no note of it and it was as if I'd never seen it. Maybe the crosses made it obvious last week too.

A fun puzzle with some fresh material.

Harryp 3:49 AM  

A good Friday puzzle by Mr. Agard. I liked KIBBUTZ, and it helped the center a lot. Also the two 14 letter answers plus POLICE BOX and GOLD MINER helped top and bottom fill. I knew MALTA right off, and FTLB was in my wheelhouse, along with TORSION. Didn't know JANET MOCK or NAJDA, but the crosses were fair. Best this week so far.

Moly Shu 4:53 AM  

@puzzlehoarder, 16A had me baffled also as I kept looking at 41A and wondering what AETNA had to do with ROOM. Then I figured out that not only was “across” reversed, so was the number. It referred to 14A which was MOOR which reversed is...... pretty great clue IMHO.

Carolynne 5:40 AM  

I love Friday puzzles! I had lots of write overs - SNAPPY for CHIPPY, POSH for POOH, PEEKS IN ON for LOOKS IN ON and ATE ON (???) for ATE OF. I blame my nine-months-pregnant brain. But I still finished.

The clue on Zamboni was my favourite.

BarbieBarbie 5:50 AM  

VR coder posting a lip sync video— har!

@Carolynne, me too with ATEOn. And I am not pregnant so I have nothing to blame but my regular brain. Sigh.

Got the MOOR/ROOM concept immediately but couldn’t come up with MOOR for a bit so that took down two words. Luckily it also lent itself to Acrostic-style solving, so there we go.

Loved the clue for GOLDMINER.

Between easy and medium for me by time, but (and?) very enjoyable. Thanks EA.

JJ 6:00 AM  

Thank you @mollyshu. I stared at ROOM and tried to figure it's relationship to AETNA. I even googled to see if ANTEA was Latin for room.
I made several very fortunate guesses to get me to the finish line. I almost couldn't believe I got the CONGRATULATIONS when I filled in the last square.

John Child 6:28 AM  

Brutal NW - peck ON THE CHEEK wouldn’t go away, and _ _ _ _ PUNK was a mystery. But otherwise a wonderful Friday puzzle from Mr Agard.

Anon 6:40 AM  
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Jonathan Alexander 6:42 AM  

Beautiful puzzle...ZAMBONIS cluing was outstanding

Anon 6:42 AM  

For 48 down. I though of the old riddle: How do you get down off an elephant?? The answer is : “You don’t . You get down off a duck. “. So I confidently wrote in ADUCK and was disappointed that it turned out to be the boring answer EIDER, which doesn’t even deserve a ?

Aketi 6:57 AM  

Best part of an ice hockey game is the ZAMBONI. So oddly mesmerizing to watch. Liked that FREEZER was in the puzzle too.

When we were kids we actually would play at being GOLDPannERs when we’d go camping in the Sierra Nevada mountains at Little Grass Valley Reservoir. There was an abandoned gold mine that we’d visit and we’d pan for gold in the nearby creek. Mining would have been too hot and dusty.



Teedmn 7:15 AM  

Erik Agard, you got me again. That NW - it's a "peck", no, it's a KISS, no it's a "peck". 13A was "eaten" multiple times, warring with "euro" PUNK at 5D. 1D became PELT, as a "hide". But "Tap" ON THE CHEEK didn't fit. Ack, I finally hit the "Check wrong letters" button to find that TenSION at 4D was wrong. Why does that break open the dam? Oh, TORSION, EAT OF, AFRO, it all fell into place just by knowing what wasn't right.

Nice Friday, the best in a while, difficulty-wise. And it got me good.

kitshef 7:21 AM  

16A is the second metaclue this week. This needs to stop.

Puzzle full of WoEs (RANI Mukerji, NADJA, JANE TMOCK, AFROPUNK, PNIN) but all came together, which is one mark of a good puzzle.

Had ‘a duck’ before EIDER, thinking myself oh-so-clever.

Glimmerglass 7:35 AM  

This one made me sweat. I had trouble everywhere. Finally seeing KIBBUTZ broke one of the worst logjams. I guessed wrong with the NADJA/RAJIV cross, so a DNF for me. The “crease” smoothed by the ZAMBONIS is the shaded area in front of the goalie’s net, not the scratches made by skates. A very tricky clue.

ghkozen 7:51 AM  
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Glimmerglass 7:53 AM  

I like the rating “honeybee” and its definition. It seems to me that when @Rex gets stung, the pain lasts a long time, even itching into subsequent weeks or longer. Perhaps OFL shrugs off the pain, but it always seems to hurt at least until he has written his blog.

QuasiMojo 8:01 AM  

I'm amazed I finished this one without any googling. So much of it was out of my wheelhouse. If I hadn't come here I'd never have figured out what a ZAMBONI was. It sounded like an Italian dessert and "good God y'all" we've had enough of those lately. But now I remember seeing one back when I was a kid and my Dad took me to a NY Rangers game. It was a DARK DAY outside. But inside I felt like PUCK in a Midwinter's Night Dream.

EP as an abbreviation for Episode is used all the time on IMDB and other websites. No problem there. But I had no idea what a FTLB was. Still don't. And I'm embarrassed to say that half of my 20 minute time was spent trying to figure out what would "hold" ice cream other than a cone! I tried to squeeze in SQUEEZER.

I also have never heard of JANET MOCK (is that her real name?) but am glad to encounter her. DJINN is a popular Scrabble word because adding the D to JINN (or JIN) is an easy way to put a new word down from it. So many genies in Scrabble games these days.

Down where I live wearing a button-down shirt is considered "Dressing Up."

Good job Mr. Agard.

Two Ponies 8:03 AM  

Clever clues for simple answers. I guess that's what makes for a good puzzle.
As someone above noted, chippy must refer to having a chip on your shoulder. New to me.
"In a suit" went down with a thud.
Nice misdirection for leash. That's the sort of wordplay that usually uses boxer. Nice to see shepherds get some ink for once.
Don't know why it is great to see the name Janet Mock. Who?
Edwin Starr's War will always remind me of Elaine's bit with that song on Seinfeld.
Wouldn't everyone love to drive the Zamboni?

jason 8:09 AM  

With 1,000 ways to clue UCLA, I'm disappointed to see Ronnie Ray-gun in there crossing JANET MOCK. Is Will Shortz a "fair and balanced" fetishist?

Anonymous 8:09 AM  
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Stuart Showalter 8:11 AM  

Nice puzzle. Nice review.
Nice not to read whining!

Anonymous 8:11 AM  

Collapsed - the countries or the dams?

Jamie C 8:13 AM  

No comments yet on ATEOF? "I ate of the tail of ab lobster?!" Is there any context where one would say ATEOF?!

jason 8:18 AM  

@QuasiMojo, yes that is Janet Mock's real name. Not the name she was born with, but the one she selected and lives by. More than a stage name or a nom de plume, then, and certainly real. In this case, Mock has kept her family name by choice and named herself Janet after Janet Jackson.

(Many of our preconceptions are about 'origins' and original states that are defined externally. Why should they be more real and permanent than who we know ourselves to be? )

Birchbark 8:20 AM  

Anytime the SCENE count gets to XIV, you can understand why Antony did what he did.

@Amy Seidenwurm, the "Schmidt Pain Index" is a fun read and a very nice way to rate a Friday. He describes bee stings as though they were zinfandels or cabernets.

I only half cracked 16A "ssorcA-41" -- so wondered what ROOM had to do with 41A AETNA.

Hungry Mother 8:26 AM  

Slogged it out in a marathon session. Luckily, it’s cold here this morning so I’m waiting to get out for a power hike. Seemed as though it were Saturday.

Anonymous 8:28 AM  

Act 4 of "Antony and Cleopatra" has only XIII scenes and ends "[Exeunt; those above bearing off ANTONY's body]".

CHIPPY sounds very British, but my English wife never heard of a POLICEBOX.

Great clue for ZAMBONIS.

Suzie Q 8:44 AM  

Wow, A honey bee rating? Cool. What other insects are on that scale?
ssorcA-41 sure looks like a misprint. I just glanced at it and kept moving.
Afro-punk? Like George Clinton and Parliament? Or is this something more recent? I wish that had been the video today.
I know furls is right but honestly I've never heard it used except in the opposite-unfurls.
Nice Friday.

wino 8:49 AM  

chippy is definitely a hockey term for a player who is instigating fights or trouble. chippy and zamboni in the sam puzzle is kinda brilliant to this hockey fan. the zamboni clue is genius.

Mohair Sam 8:52 AM  

Ouch! DNF'd at the RAJIV/NADJA cross. We selected "I" out of the I or J or Y choices - and immediately knew how unlikely that was when we saw the solution.

Played tough for us, much of the PPP out of our ken (JANETMOCK, NADJA, RAJIV, STARR, RANI, DJINN) - but hey, it's a Friday. Peck before KISS, and then TenSION before TORSION so we guessed "eaten" before ATEOF (downright biblical that) and therefore had a wild time figuring the northwest. GOLDMINER clued clever as all heck. POLICEBOX brought memories of my three years in England.

Skyy competes with Grey Goose the way Kia competes with Mercedes. Shout out to @Moly Shu on Tito's - great vodka (and from Texas no less).

Major Head Slap 8:57 AM  

@Stuart, try harder to leave it alone.

Chippy came up in a political debate aired on local NPR here in Sacramento. The debate was between a longtime male politico and and a scrappy up and comer, female. She attacked and I think he said, "It's getting a little chippy in here."

I was shocked, because in English slang a "chippy" is a prostitute. Looked it up and found it also meant ready for a fight.

AND YET, I didn't get it in this puzzle!

puzzlehoarder 9:00 AM  

@Moly Shu, thanks for the heavy lifting on the 16A clue. I could have spent more time on that than the re of the puzzle and still not get it. Meta clues are not my strong point.

pmdm 9:00 AM  

My reaction to this puzzle is that the entries are a wild mix of good fill and frustrating trivia, with perhaps too much reliance on proper nouns for my taste. That's a common reaction I have to Mr. Agard's puzzles. I suppose as an owner of an NES I shouldn't be that upset.

I suppose Doctor Who fans will see a photo of a TARDIS rather than a police box in the engaging write-up. Thank you, Amy, for the photo.

Anola Bob: your comment yesterday was too inclusive. If the official scorer thinks a batter bunts to get a base hit but makes out, the batter is charged with a time at bat even if runner{s} advance a base. And if a fly ball is caught, the batter is charged with a time at bat even if runners advance only when the out results in an RBI.

I thought a MAKEUP TUTORIAL was a course to help students score well on makeup exams.



John Child 9:02 AM  
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John Child 9:04 AM  
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John Child 9:09 AM  

For AFROpop let me recommend Radio Africa Musika from Contonu Benin. Find it on various world radio apps. Erik, where can we listen to AFRO PUNK?

pabloinnh 9:15 AM  

I think Edwin Starr is reappearing because a lot of us are once again thinking-"War! Good God! What is it good for? Absolutely nothing!".

Nice crunchy puzzle, and the only thing better that a zamboni on the ice is two zambonis on the ice, which I have seen in a couple of places. The zamboni pas de deux is a sight to behold.

Anonymous 9:27 AM  

Doesn't anyone care that Act 4 of "Antony and Cleopatra" does not have XIV scenes? It has only XIII.

Gretchen 9:29 AM  

I enjoyed this Friday-perfect puzzle and was able to finish it, but could someone please explain "ssorc" and "FTLB"?

Linda Vale 9:35 AM  

Thank you, Moly.

QuasiMojo 9:35 AM  

@Jason 8:18Am. Thanks for the info. I guess "real name" is a pretty stupid thing for me to have said. What I meant was, as you noted, was whether that was a "stage name."

Z 9:43 AM  
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chippy 9:44 AM  

Not sure if others have mentioned, but I was Naticked by 51D PNIN [Titular professor in a Nabokov novel] crossing with 60A NES [8-bit game console releaed in 1985]. Really?! I was throwing darts blindfolded and missed the target on that one.

Wm. C. 9:45 AM  


@Gretchen9:29

ssorc in 16a is part of the backwards character string 14-across. Which, when you get MOOR (clued "secure") for 14-a, yields ROOM for 16a.

FTLB in 9a is the standard abbreviation for Foot-Pound, a unit of energy.

Z 9:45 AM  

@MolyShu - 18 months, wasn’t it? The way this guy pisses people off I still have a glimmer of hope I might still collect.

I’m going to check the PPP and post it in a bit. I can’t tell if it is high or just more modern than we usually get.

@BarbieBarbie - Go ahead and post a non-LipSync video of Edwin STARR. We’ll wait.

@jason - Regarding JANET MOCK. Thanks.

@BirchBark - LOL.

Loved this puzzle. Given the appearance of SCENE XIV, you know how good the rest of the puzzle has to be for me to praise the puzzle. No problem here with DJINN or NADJA, although I see how those J’s could be posers for some. Only problem area for me was the NW with the WTF island nation, KISS or peck conundrum and less than spectacular ATE OF. Pick a PUNK sub genre wasn’t helping until I remembered “3 letters, emo, 4 letters AFRO.” It’s the ern/erne/tern of punk music.

I do wonder if a KISS ON THE CHEEK signifies passing one’s MAKE UP TUTORIAL.

Anonymous 9:52 AM  

I use "eps" all the time.

Nancy 9:55 AM  

It's puzzles like this one that INITIALLY drove me to the Rexblog. Because you certainly can't expect me to wait till tomorrow to find out the answers to the 5 clues and 6 squares in the NE that I've left blank. FWIW, here's what I have:

For the unit of energy: F-L-
For "Precisely": ---EEXACT
For "ssorcA-41": R-O-
For "Cop's station in England: POLICE -O-.
For "___ bike": ---

I could have stared at these until the cows came home, and I wouldn't have gotten them. The only answer I might have had any chance at at all was TO BE EXACT, but I didn't see it from the letters I had. Fuhgeddabout the bike. Fuhgeddabout the energy measurement. And ROOM, an absolutely brilliant bit of bafflement, sailed right over my head. Thanks @Moly Shu for explaining. Oh, and now I see I don't have 36D, 55A, and 49D either. Forgot to see what they are. After I post I'll go back and look. Names crossing names here cause me no end of irritation. But I am really curious about 36D. I have ZAMBO-IS and have absolutely no idea. A really tough puzzle with some clues I love: LEASH (3D); EMPTY (6D); and some stuff I hate: EPS; CHIPPY ("scrappy" would have been a much better answer at 22A);and all the proper names.

Bob Mills 9:55 AM  

Awful puzzle. Way too much crap like "EPS" (short for episodes?) and "ROOM" for ssorcA-41, whatever the hell that means. And "ATEOF" for had, as food, is really bad. "ATEUP" would be OK. It's frustrating to get crosses like "PNIN" and "NAS." Supposedly one of Will Shortz' rules is that two obscure answers should not cross.

GILL I. 9:57 AM  

Oooof. Hard in spots, easy in others.
I always love Erik's clues but they don't always love me back. Sometimes I understand, sometimes I don't.
CHIPPY? Oh, I know the word. My sister-in-law says it all the time but only when she wants to go to a fish-and-chips shop. I also have known it to have been used when referring to a prosti.....
I remember when I first saw the word ZAMBONI. I thought it was just the neatest word. Remember Snoopy? "Is it the Great Pumpkin?"...NO, it's a ZAMBONI...!
I had to Google FTLB at 9A. I was stuck too darn long in that upper section and I wanted to get a move on. It opened the door and I was off and running. My other Google was DJINN. I knew it had some weird spelling and since I didn't know JANET MOCK, I needed a little help. 2 Googles only- and on a Friday- is darn good for me.
Even though I patted my backside, I had a DNF. Andre Breton's novel (never read nor heard of it) was NADDI. RADIV sounds Gandhisish so that is how the ball bounced.
Do people still do COD?
It finally stopped raining and the sun is about to come out - so ta ta.

Gretchen 10:00 AM  

Thanks! Now I get it.

puzzlehoarder 10:02 AM  

@Gretchen, FTLB stands for foot pounds. Where I've seen it used is in describing the power of various types of ammunition. A bullets velocity and weight determines how many foot pounds of energy it has.

Z 10:11 AM  

I just peeked at xwordinfo.com and Agard thanked whoever wrote the clue for 16A. Apparently in the “You either love it or hate it, no middle ground” category of cluing.

PPP Analysis
Pop Culture, Proper Names, and other Proper Nouns as a percentage of answers. Anything over 33% means the puzzle will give some subset of solvers difficulties.

22 of 70, 31.5%

Pushing the line but still on the “safe side.” It does seem that natick-risk is pretty high at this level of PPP, and I think we will see lots of NADJA/RAJIV complaints.

MALTA
Edwin STARR
SCENE XIV
DJINN
RANI
IAN ENID
NILE
AETNA
NADJA
UCLA
SKYY
NES

AFRO-PUNK
Jackie CHAN
NOR
Mötley CRÜE
Livin’ La VIDA Loca
JANET MOCK
RAJIV Gandhi
PNIN (remember Professor PNIN, he will return to a xword puzzle near you soon)
TELEnovela

HatcreekRedneck 10:12 AM  

I have never heard someone say “We ate of some food”

Wm. C. 10:14 AM  


@pabloinnh9:15 --

Concerning your comment about the pas de deux Zambonis. It made me think of a commercial which is heavily run at nightly news time on the Ft. Myers NBC station. Two identical red Alfa-Romeo sedans doing a pas-de-deux on a hockey rink.

BobL 10:16 AM  

Check out the rock group "Gear Daddies" and their song "I want to drive the Zamboni"

Maruchka 10:17 AM  

@Moly - Spot on! And SKKY bears little relationship to Grey Goose. It's ok, will do in a pinch, but a martini worthy of the sip demands what you wrote.

Z 10:25 AM  

Regarding SCENE XIV, it took me about XIV nanoseconds to find it on the interwebs. Any Shakespeare experts out there care to explain the confusion?

Unknown 10:26 AM  

Thank you for bringing this up. What the heck is ate of? I'm trying to use it in a sentence, too, and am still confounded. Can anyone help us??

Rob 10:34 AM  

Didn't like this at all. FT-LB? PNIN? Puh-leeze. Nothing in this puzzle is good enough to justify its fill.

RAJIV/NADJA was a brutal Natick that I guessed based on plausible letters. I don't really consider Bollywood casting general knowledge, but I at least knew the name RANI to make the guess.

I got through this but I didn't like it.

Nancy 10:41 AM  

Y'all let me down today. You go on and on and on about how much you love the clue for it, you say you'd love to drive it, you wax rhapsodic about seeing one close up and personal in the hockey arena -- never have I seen so much love lavished on a thing as was lavished today on ZAMBONI. So why couldn't any of you be bothered to tell me what the bleep it is? I'm looking at you, @Carolynne, @Jonathan Alexander, @Two Ponies, @pabloinnh, and @wino. Even my pals @Aketi and @GILL let me down. Only @Glimmerglass (7:35) made any attempt to explain it. I went to Google and looked it up, and it's a product name, for heaven's sake! And it's used in one of the very few sports I don't watch. So I find myself standing alone with @Quasi (8:01): It does sound exactly like an Italian dessert and I have never, ever heard of it.

'merican in Paris 10:41 AM  

There were too many obscure PPPs for my liking. Finally completed the puzzle after more than an hour, but looked up SKYY, the "OCK" part of JANET MOCK, and PNIN. Had TELa before TELE. (How does TELE rhyme with novella?)

Some interesting write-overs, too. Had "searded ahi" before COLD MINER, for example

And still I didn't get the happy pencil. Had snIPPY, and corrected it to CHIPPY, a word I've never heard. However, it was all worth it because afterwards I looked up ATTIs, and I was absolutely astounded.

Here is what one website says:

In many mythicist writings, the ancient Phrygo-Roman god Attis is depicted as having been born of a virgin mother on December 25th, being killed and resurrecting afterwards.

Other websites concentrate on the annual solemnisation of the death and resurrection of Attis in the spring (traditionally, shortly after the equinox).

Do any of you students of Greek Mythology out there know whether this all is true? If it is ... wow!

'merican in Paris 10:42 AM  

"seared ahi" before GOLD MINER, clearly.

Sir Hillary 10:50 AM  

Very nice puzzle -- tough, super Scrabbly, and some excellent clues (most notably the one for ZAMBONIS).

Some mistakes I made, worthy of someone's Schrodinger archive: dAZES for HAZES, and EIgER for EIDER (I was in mountain-climbing mode).

TubaDon 10:58 AM  

Started with EMPTY and POLICEBOX but slowed down in the southern region. Some good clues but some nasty crosses. Guessed right on SKYY but wrong on NADIA.
@Dr. Gary: Shame on you for booting FTLB. Did your introductory text only cover the metric system?

GHarris 10:59 AM  

Some answers I got by sheer luck, most by hard work with only two gimmes. Still did not finish because had Reagan hospital as USNA, bit on ate on and messed up the Radjiv/Nadja crossing. Oh, also Pnin/nes crossing.

mbr 11:06 AM  

@Unknown 10:26 - Here's one example:

And Jehovah God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

— Genesis 2:16–17[1]

Pam Fletcher 11:15 AM  

Bravo Amy. A balanced and, for a delightful change from grumpy pants rex, upbeat review.

QuasiMojo 11:18 AM  

@Nancy you are on fire today. Lol

Anonymous 11:24 AM  

Craig: "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare", Oxford University Press, Var. 1905 - 1959. Act 4 has XIII scenes combining Scene XI and XII into Scene X (quite logically). Rowse has XV scenes.

TomAz 11:24 AM  

To eat of is an archaic construction, now seen mainly in older Bible translations. "To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God."

mathgent 11:24 AM  

I'm with @Nancy. Hockey is the only major sport I don't watch. But I have seen a few games in the past and learned the wonderful name of the ice-smoothing machine.

I agree that ATEOF is a significant flaw in an otherwise sweet puzzle.

An on-line source I found listed fifteen scenes in Act 4 of A&C. But a couple of people here say that there are only thirteen. I guess that there are competing versions of the official text.

I don't like the fact that the clue for ROOM (the backward 14-Across) was inserted by the editors. It's so unusual that I think that it goes beyond editing. Erik Agard says he likes it so I guess it's OK.

Good sparkle, a little light on crunch, only ten Terrible Threes, pretty clean. Enjoyable.

pabloinnh 11:30 AM  

@Nancy-Apologies for being among the non-explainers of the mysterious Zamboni thing; I'm thinking of you trying to imagine two Zambonis doing a pas de deux without having any idea what they are. They are about as common in this part of the country as snowplows. My son plays hockey on a private rink here in NH, and the family actually owns their own Zamboni. This is very rare but not preposterous.

Hartley70 11:41 AM  

When in college in upstate NY, my generally law-abiding son engaged in some hijinks that resulted in a stint of local community service. His "punishment" consisted of several months of driving the community ZAMBONI. He could not have been more thrilled. It might have lead to a life of crime, but thankfully didn't.

Call me @Nancy if you need to talk ZAMBONI.

This was a super Friday made tougher because I had a hard time with the proper names, usually my strong SUIT. JANET and STARR, RANI and NADJA, even the fictional PNIN were outside my ken. Thank goodness for the Jackie CHAN clue because I was starting to feel like a fuddy-duddy.

Love the Doctor Who reminder. I wasn't aware that CHIPPY had a pugnacious connotation. It makes sense since one would have a CHIP on his/her shoulder.


Masked and Anonymous 11:44 AM  

CHIPPY lil FriPuz. Lots to talk about.

staff weeject pick: EPS. Usually clued as {Runty record albums: Abbr.}, or somesuch. Cool alternative clue.
Also: really liked the FREEZER clue.

fave fillins: KIBBUTZ. MASK. GOLDMINE®. ZAMBONI(S). SKY(Y). SCENE(XIV). RAJ(IV). RAN(I). HMM. MASK.

fave desperation: PNIN. NADJA. CHIPPY. MAKEUPTUTORIAL [sounds made up]. INASUIT. har

I see U, EIDER duck. (yo, @kitshef)

Wishin tons of fun to all at the ACPT this weekend. Warm-up puz (#5-level) attached.
Thanx, Mr. Agard.
Thanx, Amy darlin. [Did @RP go to the ACPT?!! He could be a contender.]

Masked & Anonymo5Us


warmup meat:
**gruntz**

Moly Shu 11:49 AM  

“And I’ve got Smokey he’s been driving for years, about that time I broke down in tears...” good call @BobL.

Joseph Michael 11:55 AM  

I nominate "ssorcA-41?" for the Crossword Clue Hall of Fame.

TomAz 12:04 PM  

I thought this was a fine puzzle. Felt easy though I came in very close to average Friday time. No hesitation on ATE OF (see description above). RAJIV/NADJA gave me pause, but I was pretty sure it was RAJIV just off the ending V (I already had SERVE) and NADJA was plausible.

I was going to object to the clue for FT-LB, because I think of a foot-pound as a unit of work. But yes, Professor Newton, I remembered that work and energy are essentially two sides of the same coin, so it is correct.

I do object to the clue for POLICE BOX, though. A POLICE BOX is a phone for calling the police. It's not a "cop's station" where they sit around drinking bad coffee and eating (of) stale donuts.

AFRO-PUNK is definitely a real thing, there was even a festival dedicated to it I believe. The origins of punk rock are not as whitebread as some may think. X-Ray Spex. Bad Brains. the 2nd-wave ska bands. etc.

CHIPPY is a word I know only from sports broadcasts. "Things are getting a little chippy out there it seems as tempers are flaring."

AW 12:16 PM  

Ice has creases? No, never. Bad clue.

Faux Mother Pence 12:20 PM  

It surprises me not one whit that none of you here ever heard of "ate of". You have highly refined notions of of the validity of transgender naming conventions, but never heard of "ate of"

Had you actually read the Bible, hell, even the first book, you would know that. It's "The story of Adam and Eve, how they were tempted by the serpent, and ate of the knowledge of good and evil."

Quit worrying about whether it's a KISS or peck ON THE CHEEK and read your damned Bibles!

Anonymous 12:23 PM  

FTLB is a unit of torque, as in foot/pound, when you apply a pound of weight to a foot-long lever.

Z 12:26 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Prof Harold Bloom 12:27 PM  

Shakespeare didn't have "Scenes" per-se. The segmenting of an act into scenes is a latter amendment to the text, and not by the author. People whose segmentation of an act into scenes differs from mine are flat out wrong. In fact, anyone whose opinions or statements differ from mine are flat out wrong.

Z 12:30 PM  

Icey pedantry to come. You have been warned.

1.@glimmerglass7:35 is correct about the extra layer of subtlety in the clue. @AW - there’s the explanation of why it is a great clue.
2. “Smooth” is an oversimplification of what a ZAMBONI does. It sprays a jet of water to loosen dirt, scraps off and collects the top layer of ice, and then lays down a fresh layer of water to freeze, creating a smooth ice surface.
3. I have not been to as many NHL arenas as MLB stadiums, but I always thought the ZAMBONI pas de deux was SOP.
4. Totally missed that ZAMBONI is PPP at first. This takes the PPP to 32.8%, giving the too much PPP line a KISS ON THE CHEEK.

@anon11:24 - Thanks for the SCENE XIV explanation.

Anonymous 12:34 PM  

When I see "transgender activist" i just chuck away the puzzle. I'm not buying in to the politics of filling in an answer based on a clue that is nonsense. Advocate for the mentally ill would have been more accurate. The NYT is descending into the sewer.

Roo Monster 12:37 PM  

Hey All !
Too many comments already...

I found this to be rather tough. Typical FriPuz fare. Scrabbly, a W and Q from the pangram.

I have to pay myself on the back, as I got puz 100℅ correct, with no cheats! Yay me! Toughest area was NW. ATEOF is a weird answer. Plus, I had ornernY first, then snIPPY, tricky clues on ATTIC and LEASH, plus AFROPUNK (which was a WOE), and many nano- and regular seconds ticked by trying to get it all compliant. NE tricky-ish also. FTLB, clue on ROOM (wha?), plus the BIX and looking for one word before EXACT. In W center, had DIEd for way too long, giving me dETADA__, further confounding the ole brain. Last letter in was O of OARS (don't get as clued) and OBIT. I thought KIBBUTZ was like kvetching, ala complaining. No? I guess not.

Anyway, gonna read the comments now, and probably get my answer to my Do Not Knows.

Neat puz, cool double-constant words, DJINN, PNIN, NADJA, SKYY. A back to swell Friday!

RooM, HMM :-)
RooMonster
DarrinV

Masked and Anonymous 12:38 PM  

p.s.
@Joseph Michael - yep. I plumb forgot to mention that there {ssorcA-41?} clue. This is yer total double-??-type clue, tryin desperately to avoid the notoriety. thUmbsUp to the Agardmeister. This young dude may be almost ready to build runtpuzs. I'm seein the signs…

M&Also

Anonymous 12:38 PM  

Someone already did, ssorcA-41 is 14-Across read backwards and FTLB is a unit of torque, as in "Foot-Pound". Pound is usually abbreviated LB.

TomAz 12:46 PM  

@AW 12:16pm:

In ice hockey, the area directly in front of the goal is called the crease. So "crease smoothers" is a little pun on that.

See, e.g., http://hfboards.mandatory.com/threads/babcock-%C3%A2%E2%82%AC%CB%9Cthe-net%C3%A2%E2%82%AC%E2%84%A2s-too-small-for-the-size-of-the-goalies-period%C3%A2%E2%82%AC%E2%84%A2.1977855/page-31

Mohair Sam 1:03 PM  

@Nancy - Loved your Zamboni rant. Like most people I just love the machines and have no idea why. I love them a bit less now that @Z has told us the dirty secrets of this miracle smoothing device - kinda takes out the romance.

But I like your idea of some Italian chef coming up with a Zamboni dessert. If someone does I absolutely will have ATE OF it. See complainers, I used ATEOF in a sentence (ignore the structure and tense errors).

@AW - (in case you weren't kidding) A marked off area in front of the goal in Ice Hockey is called "the crease" - this is the crease that is smoothed by the Zamboni.

Banana Diaquiri 1:17 PM  

the, by far, most used context for FTLB is racing engines, and is the expression of torque for same.

Trombone Tom 1:22 PM  

Lovely Friday with some crunchy spots.

And a short, but sweet, review from Amy.

Malta was evident but STARR was slow to come.

Anoa Bob 1:27 PM  

My first thought upon seeing the clue for 54A, "One for whom a flash in the pan is a good thing" was that it had to do with early photography, remembering (or maybe misremembering) that they literally set off gunpowder in a pan to provide that quick but short-lived, bright illumination, a crude, early flash "bulb".

When GOLD MINER finally emerged, I got the play on how GOLD in a pan would indeed flash or glint in the sun, but wondered what that would have to do with a MINER. MINERs don't use pans do they? More like picks and shovels maybe? And would not they be, well, in a MINE, where the sun never shines? So nice try, but wide of the mark, methinks.

ZAMBONI(S) always reminds me of the early custom billiard cue maker Gus Szamboti, whose cues are worth a pretty penny these days. here's one you can get for just $19,500. Maybe you could buy a used ZAMBONI for that.

Anonymous 1:42 PM  

Obviously it’s not his real name

Anonymous 1:44 PM  
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Anonymous 1:45 PM  

I’m sure Reagan would be even less happy than you are

Anonymous 1:47 PM  
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Anonymous 1:50 PM  

Good, tough Friday puzzle. I finished (with a little help from my friend, Google.) Thanks for explaining 16A; I was stumped (got it by cross filling) and didn't realize not only the clue, but the number was backwards! Can't wait to see what tomorrow brings. All-white, no black squares? Agree with @TomAz, "eat of" reminded me of the Catholic Mass. "Eat of this, for this is my body."

Anonymous 1:51 PM  
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John Hoffman 1:53 PM  

Fail for me. PMIN, FTLB, RAJIV, NADYA, DJINN, BMX, JANETMOCK are all very obscure to my thinking. Will keep trying!

Anonymous 1:57 PM  
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Anonymous 2:02 PM  

Agreed. I had to stop reading the newspaper and now it looks like I’ll have to stop doing its crossword puzzles.

Anonymous 2:09 PM  

Good puzzle, except that he’s trying way too hard to satisfy that weird liberal quirk to celebrate weirdness. How about just a good, non political puzzle. Reagan was a president, but I’d never heard of this Mock fellow before. Or Afro Punk. And I don’t feel enriched or enlightened by knowing they exist.

Bitter Dregs 2:21 PM  

Would someone please explain to Anoa Bob about “panning” for gold?

Mary Worthless 2:28 PM  

And he ate of her maidenhead, and she brought forth a foundling and did lay it in a reed basket, and the shepherds did rejoice and they ate of unleavened bread, and there was much slaking of thirst. And the Lord pronounced it holy and without merit.

Hominomines 42:42
Book of Mormon

Unknown 2:36 PM  

16A is ssorcA-41 or 14-Across backwards. The answer at 14A is MOOR or ROOM backwards.

Stanley Hudson 2:37 PM  

@‘merican in Paris asks, “Do any of you students of Greek Mythology out there know whether this all is true? If it is ... wow!”

It’s not true.

Glad 2:40 PM  

Can someone explain 16 Across?

Stonewall Jaxon Teller 2:42 PM  

Anonymous 12:34, don’t let the🚪hit you on the way out.

Anonymous 2:51 PM  

@Glad 2:40 pm
See @Unknown 2:36 pm

Pope Awesome XXX 3:00 PM  

I got nothing against Mormons (all of whom I've met were very nice people) but dang that Book of Mormon can get comical at times. Mark Twain especially liked how Joseph Smith "hid up" the golden plates and the South Park guys likened it to "Bible fan-fiction."

Anoa Bob 3:28 PM  

Would someone please explain to @Bitter Dregs that I know what "panning" for GOLD means, as clearly stated in my comment. But the answer was GOLD MINER, not GOLD PANNER. I was questioning (See all those question marks?) whether panning for GOLD was different from mining for GOLD. I would DEEM it so, and, if I'm right, then the clue would fit the PANNER but not the MINER.

Just saying.

sanfranman59 3:33 PM  
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sanfranman59 3:36 PM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 1/2/2018 post for an explanation of my method. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio & percentage, the higher my solve time was relative to my norm for that day of the week. Your results may vary.

(Day, Solve time, 26-wk Median, Ratio, %, Rating)

Mon 4:42 4:14 1.11 79.7% Medium-Challenging
Tue 5:27 5:22 1.01 55.4% Medium
Wed 5:14 6:00 0.87 27.7% Easy-Medium
Thu 11:11 10:01 1.12 67.3% Medium-Challenging
Fri 21:13 11:42 1.81 98.6% Very Challenging

Not at all on my wavelength. Is there a typo or some kind of electronic hiccup that screwed up the clue for 16A? "ssorcA-41?"??? ... wait ... I think I just got it by typing it out in this comment. 14-Across backwards? Ouch!

I don't know how much time that little 4-letter answer cost me. But since I first had 'keepS up ON', then 'peeKs IN ON' for 'LOOKS IN ON' for 11D, I couldn't see FTLB (9A) and simply didn't know that a POLICE BOX (18A) is what they call a police station in England, that section was pretty opaque. Finally thinking of BMX is what allowed me to get through the NE.

The NW was also a complete mess. STARR was a gimme, but then I entered peSt for MASK at 1D and 'eaten' for ATE OF at 13A. Then there was CrabbY(?) instead of CHIPPY at 22A and 'pbs' for NPR at 21D (KQED is both NPR and PBS here in SF).

In retrospect, I think I'd go with Medium or Medium-Challenging for the southern two-thirds and Very Challenging for the northern third. There were only a couple of WTFs for me today (fewer than a lot of Fridays): JANET MOCK, NADJA and tiny, little EPS(???). On the plus side: I remembered PNIN today for a change and KIBBUTZ/ZAMBONIS may be one of the best crosses ever.

burtonkd 3:46 PM  
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burtonkd 3:56 PM  

@Z, Zamboni a PPP? Technically yes, like Frisbee or Xerox, I suppose. For purposes of a puzzle, it suffices as a general term of knowledge. While these are all proper names, it is hard to put them in the same category as Janet Mock.

Just looked back at PPP list: wouldn’t SCENE + Roman numeral just be a generic term rather than a PPP? You don’t really need to know the play (other than to know that an act in Shakespeare has so many scenes)

Also, isn’t TELEnovella a generic term for a TV genre, like soap opera?

Sorry to pick nits, just had a moment of curious reflection.


Loved that Zamboni clue, an all-time great, maybe even GOAT, not to be confused with EGOT

kitshef 4:04 PM  

@Sanfranman59 reminds me - that clue for NPR is complete gibbberish to me - as it must be to 97% of the country?

Two Ponies 4:25 PM  

@ Anon 12:34,
Agree about the sewer descent.
Transgender activists can publish all the books they want but why is the topic always so self-centered? It appears from the outside looking in that being transgender must occupy your total existence leaving no time to write about anything else.

Pete 4:46 PM  

@Two Ponies - Activists write about what they are agitating for, ergo an activist for transgender rights would likely write about that, no? It's not as if every transgender person has written a book you know. My niece hasn't. My nephew hasn't.

The wonderful thing about being a white, cis-gendered person is that you never, every have to worry about so very many things. Are you going to be refused that job because the boss just can't envision having a tranny working with his customers? Didn't get the job you applied for because the resume having a name Rasheed Wallace somehow fell onto the floor? Never a problem for white cis-gendered people. I mean, it's not as if half the state governments are worrying themselves about controlling where you specifically, can and can't go to the bathroom.

Z 4:53 PM  

@burtonkd - You raise valid points. The reason I missed ZAMBONI INITIALLY is because it is like saying “coke” or “kleenex” to me. But it is a proper name and part of the rather vague notion of “popular culture.” It is just as much a known thing from our entertainments as AFRO-PUNK or Maria Callas.
As for SCENE XIV, I do award PPP status to answers based on the clue (I didn’t today, but I often identify those answers when I include the list). Other times a clue makes an answer obviously a PPP answer, say if “falcon” was clued in such a way as to require knowledge of Bogie’s oeuvre. Today the particular play didn’t matter so much other than we needed an Act with at least 14 scenes. So, yeah, iffy to include it as PPP.
TELEnovella is a generic term for something very like “soap opera.” If “soap opera” appeared I would count it as PPP as well. I think these both fall under the “Pop Culture” umbrella.

This is not to say that my reasoning is “correct.” Lots of stuff is obvious, but there is a fair amount that is marginal (is some random key clued by some relatively unknown 19th century opera “really” PPP since most solvers just put down “in” and wait for the letter between A and G?). I tend to go with inclusion rather than omission since it is the quantity rather than any single answer.

Anonymous 4:56 PM  

There is no such thing as "transgender." It is a form of mental illness. Would you call someone a psychopath advocate? Are their psychopath rights?

Anonymous 5:04 PM  

Anonymous 4:56
And I suppose being gay is a choice.
Is this DJT?

Anonymous 5:17 PM  

I never watch hockey either—love the skating, hate the roughness—but I know what a Zamboni is. Seemed fair for a Friday puzzle.

semioticus (shelbyl) 5:31 PM  

Most definitely an improvement over what we had this past week. I've seen better Fridays, but this one is sufficiently good. If anything, it was too fresh at times. (SCENEXIV, TORSION, STARR, RAJIV, EIDER, DJINN, PNIN all in the same puzzle!)

But to Agard's credit, there weren't any super bumpy spots. FTLB/BMX, PNIN/TILL, and the NW corner made me pause at times but the crosses were fair throughout. That's an important quality. The Scrabble-y quality also helped this one become pleasant to solve.

And the clues: There were so many brilliant ones I can't list all. But one really bothered me: Rhyming prefix with novela WHERE IS THE RHYME? *to the tune of Black Eyed Peas song*

But yeah, a very pleasant offering after the boring slew of puzzles that we had to go through lately. Let's get this going.

GRADE: A-, 4.05 stars.

jberg 5:32 PM  

I'm very late today, due to a dental appointment -- I solved the puzzle on the subway, but I hate commenting on my phone, so I waited. Just a few things to add.

*A FT-LB is indeed a unit of energy, not of torque. It's the work done by exerting a pound of force for a distance of one foot.

*The word is TELEnovela, not telenovella. The latter wouldn't rhyme because ll is not the same as l -- but TELEnovela does because the final vowels of TELE and novela are not accented.

*RAJIV Gandhi was prime minister for 5 years of a country three times the size of the US and was assassinated, like his mother --surely that makes him crossworthy.

*I totally missed the ROOM thing, filled it in from crosses without noticing.

ATTIS? That's in the puzzle? I can't find it.

jberg 5:33 PM  

Strike that last, I figured it out -- what ATTIC becomes when it's being snippy.

jberg 5:39 PM  

@Nancy -- just saw your response from yesterday. Now I understand! I was just thinking about "Your Hit Parade" the other day -- at that time, the song was the thing, or rather the song and the performer were different things. These days we regard a 'cover band' as second-rate by definition. Kind of weird, really. I guess it's part of the winner-take-all thing --- since we can listen to anybody on Spotify (and before that could get it on the record) we feel we don't need to hear someone else singing the same song.

Two Ponies 5:57 PM  

@ Pete, Stick to one topic and don't throw any guilt my way. You can hire anyone you want. I will shop where I want. No explanations needed from either of us.

Three and out.

John Child 6:00 PM  
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John Child 6:01 PM  

@jberg, India is about 3.2 million square kilometers. The US is about 9.8 million, so about 3x India’s size.

Aketi 6:08 PM  

@Nancy, my avatar today is a picture of the Cornell University ZAMBONI.

Joe 6:10 PM  

FTLB/BMX? If you say so. And “classic Andre Breton novel” seems to me to push the meaning of the term, esp. crossed with some lesser Gandhi. Still, I thought KIBBUTZ/ZAMBONIS was pretty amazing, and generally enjoyed solving this, even if I had to resort to a bit of googling.

john towle 6:28 PM  

I first filled in LOCAL NICK vice POLICE BOX. BMX got me. back on the straight & narrow.

Best,

john

Melanie Appelbaum 6:39 PM  

Ah, I see now. Thanks!

puzzlehoarder 6:49 PM  

I have a nit to pick with the term "rhyming" in the 52D clue. There seems to be confusion between the English word "novella" and the Spanish word "novela." The pairing of the entry TELE and the Spanish word novela is no coincidence as a telenovela in Mexico is a soap opera. E and A in Spanish do not rhyme. In English the second E of TELE (as in words like telescope) and the A of novella do rhyme. I don't think there is an English term "telenovella". At least not in my Webster's.

@Anoa Bob, Google the terms "placer mining" and "hard rock mining." While different they are both forms of mining. Panning for gold is simply a very basic form of placer mining but it's still mining.

Joe Dipinto 7:49 PM  

@Puzzlehoarder -- I am in complete accordance. "Tele-" and "Novela" do not rhyme. Just another example of the slipshod or unnecessarily padded cluing I've come to expect.

Z 8:18 PM  

You know, insist on saying something is wrong without verifying and showing your evidence is a sure way to get me to look it up. Shocker Alert: TELEnovela has more than one pronunciation and one of them is tɛlənəˈvɛlə. It is almost as if vowel pronunciations vary over time and space or something.

Joe Dipinto 8:33 PM  

If pronounced without anglicization, they *don't* rhyme. (sigh)

Michael 9:43 PM  

Joe Dipinto is right. They don't rhyme in Spanish. Perhaps Z is implicitly asserting that the word "telenovela" has been incorporated into English.

OISK 10:08 PM  

First DNF for me in a long time, and as usual, a product name. BMX?? OK, it has appeared before, but no reason I should have remembered it. 16 across was very clever, but I didn't have any idea, so it was a hopeless DNF. Otherwise some really clever stuff here "ate of" is obsolete, but I have seen and heard it. Jane T Mock, Edwin Starr, EPS for episodes, Nadja-Rajiv, not up my alley, but I got all but the motorcycle...

kitshef 10:57 PM  

The Joe Dipinto - Z debate is EXACTLY why rhyming shouldn't be part of clues (or worse - themes). The fact that 'towel' rhymes with 'mail' to you, or 'tired' with 'hard', doesn't mean it does for me, or for most people.

Mark N 11:42 PM  

Loved this one. Clue for DIES made me laugh when I got it.

koobdoogA 12:10 AM  

Recently discovered this, a comment: mystified at repeated use of "crunchy" as a puzzle adjective. If anyone cares to explain, I'd love to see the discourse. Thanks!

Mo 8:39 AM  

Agreed!

kitshef 11:26 AM  

@koobdoogA - crunchy is used to mean challenging in a good way. A crunchy puzzle makes you work hard through clever clues and words at the fringes of your memory.

Mark 2:03 PM  

Indeed. Units of energy are force x distance. I think what's tricky here is that ft lb is most commonly used as a measure of torque and that "feels" closer to a force than energy.

Anonymous 3:31 PM  
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Anonymous 2:55 PM  

“Ate of” is a little obscure but I do have the quote. Adam and Eve, King James Bible, “Wherefore hast thou eaten of the tree whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?”

Burma Shave 10:31 AM  

EMPTY EMBRACE

The RICHEST GOLDMINER, TOBEEXACT, was a freak.
He SETADATE with a Shriner for a KISSONTHECHEEK.

--- NADJA STARR

spacecraft 11:13 AM  

This looked daunting INITIALLY; I knew nothing in the NW (wanted MALTA but MASK didn't occur). Was almost but not quite sure Edwin was STARR. But then KIBBUTZ/ZAMBONI cracked it like an egg, and after that things went fairly quickly, for a Friday. I make it easy-medium.

Whaddya mean, no theme? A successful response to a MAKEUPTUTORIAL might lead to a KISSONTHECHEEK--and more: by SCENEXIV, they may have SETADATE! Anyway, some interesting stuff here. I got the sdrawckab clue right off, which helped in the NE. No, I do not love RRNPDs (random Roman-numeraled play divisions), and had to get JANETMOCK on crosses, and guess at the J in the SE, but overall I enjoyed the solve. HMM, where to find a DOD? Ah, there she is: one who could maybe make ME "Unfaithful," Diane LANE. Birdie. (Just kidding, honey.)

rondo 12:42 PM  

Write-over having LOOKINto before LOOKINON, shoulda checked crosses. Haven’t memorized my random SCENEs, and there must be dozens of better ways to clue POOH and especially UCLA. EPS shoulda been clued as the records and COD as Swedish lobster. Otherwise the rest was pretty dang good.

I explained gimme Edwin STARR and “War” just last week.

Do you get an EMBRACE before the KISSONTHECHEEK? Do we SERVE ICEIN OUR SKYY? Or do you prefer DJINN?

OK, I had to google: For her roles in the films Hum Tum (2004) and Black (2005) yeah baby RANI Mukerji received the Filmfare Award for Best Actress .

Nice puz. Lunch time. If I hadn’t just AETNA granola bar I wouldn’t need to find MOOR ROOM for lunch.

kitshef 1:48 PM  

@spacecraft - yes a thousand times to Diane LANE.

Diana,LIW 3:06 PM  

A nest of bees, or wasps, for me. Had so many WOES I lost count. All I can say is after looking about a dozen up, I finished up. Kind of like putting the knickknacks back on the shelves after someone else vacuums and dusts.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords and the cleaning staff

leftcoastTAM 6:28 PM  

Relatively easy Friday--with some trouble spots:

BMX, feisty before CHIPPY, and JANETMOCK. Count those as errors.

Impressed with any production with XIV scenes or more in an act.

Some odd cluing and a bit heavy on proper nouns, but over all not a DARKDAY.

Anonymous 9:35 PM  

A few obscure clues/answers and a few silly clues/answers but it's a Friday puzzle so it's ok. Took me a good amount of solving-time and break-time to figure this one out so I guess it was a nice challenge - at least for this plodder,

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