Terror in Arthur Canon Doyole's Lost World / FRI 3-30-18 / Ubiquitous Chinese character / Like three-pitch inning / Italian poetic form

Friday, March 30, 2018

Constructor: Sam Trabucco

Relative difficulty: Medium



THEME: none

Word of the Day: ZEROTH (33D: Preceder of first) —
adjective
  1. immediately preceding what is regarded as first in a series. (google)
• • •

All pleasure from the longer stuff was drained away by displeasure with the less-long stuff, but honestly there was really only one answer in this puzzle that I'm going to remember tomorrow, and that's ZEROTH (a word that has never appeared in a NYT crossword before, he said, surprising no one). I needed every single cross and was still not convinced it was a word. I honestly couldn't even see that it was an ordinal. I flat-out didn't know what I was looking at, and was certain I had an error. Sincerely, at one point I thought the answer was ZERO TO ... like, maybe there was a phrase like "zero to sixty" only ... it's "to first"??? I went on to complete the puzzle, and the little Happy Pencil came up, so ... hurray, but still baffled by ZEROTH. Even after figuring out it was the thing that precedes first the way first is the thing that precedes second, I still had no idea in what context one would use it. I've since looked it up, and honestly nothing I read made me care. It was all technical. Blargh. ZEROTH looks like the name of a scifi character. What's worse is that "Z" from ZIP-ON, which is not a thing. Hoods are ZIP-*OFF* if they're anything. Both "zip away" and "zip off" get more hits than "ZIP ON." Because ZEROTH was a non-thing to me, I questioned every cross, and the "Z" was the most questionable. So, you see, all the NEVER FAILS and WELCOME TO MY LIFE and I'M A FAN and WELL, DAMN! and other fine answers honestly didn't mean jack to me, because ZEROTH.


Hated clue on NO-RUN too (39A: Like a three-pitch inning). A three-pitch inning would indeed, by definition***, be NO-RUN, but a. a three-pitch inning is an amazing, very very rare thing, whereas a NO-RUN inning is Like Most Innings, and b. no one says "NO-RUN inning." Google ["no run inning"]. Look at number of hits. Now just change "no" to "one" ... and watch the number of hits go up 10-fold. Being off with your phrasing and jargon is so bad. Do you really say "*I* CHECK" ... it's not just "check"? I hate poker so I wouldn't know, but it felt overly formal and wrong. The phrase is "DON'T WAIT UP!" The "FOR ME" part takes it into the realm (again) of the improbably formal.


Even ENEMY SPY felt slightly wonky. What is the non-enemy spy? I mean, our allies spy on us, and they are "plants from other countries," so ... ?? ENEMY SPY, I admit, is a thing, but it also just doesn't google well—there's this volume in a kids' book series, some weird band ... no surprise that this, too (like ZEROTH) has never been in a grid before. I dunno. Stuff just did not land for me today. Time was pretty normal, and some of the longer and more colloquial stuff was OK, but off-ness is just like a broken REAR AXLE—you end up with a puzzle that might look nice in places, but it just doesn't ... work.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


***actually, you could, under current rules, have a three-pitch inning where a run scored.


Intentional walks no longer involve throwing a pitch. So ... pffffffft.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

143 comments:

Anonymous 12:06 AM  

My only experience with ZEROTH has been with Bruckner’s “Zeroth Symphony”, aka “Die Nullte”...but that’s a fairly esoteric reference, I’ll admit.

puzzlehoarder 12:12 AM  

I found this easy. Going over the answers afterwards it struck me how user friendly it was. There was a wealth of in the language inferable phrases and almost nothing obscure. SNYDER was about as potentially tough as it got and ironically it was my first entry. I didn't go through a lot of clues to get to it. I stumbled on it trying to support STAGEMOM for 9D.

Once SNYDER and ORD went in the answers fell like dominos. My only actual write overs were PASSE/PAGAN and RHONA/RHODA.

This was a quality puzzle but strictly for fun.

Mark 12:17 AM  

I liked zeroth, although I’ve always pronounced it as zeroith, so I wasn’t sure of the spelling. But it’s certainly a reasonable word. I’ve also said “I check” while playing poker but just “check” is certainly common. On the other hand, I agree 100% about “no run”. Overall a good Friday with a reasonable level of difficulty.

Moly Shu 12:24 AM  

I thought for sure that @Rex was gonna hammer this for skewing old. What with I Love Lucy and Tom SNYDER and SADE and RCA. But no, he goes in a completely different direction. I do agree on ZEROTH though, I had the same “ I’m sure this is wrong” feeling and somehow got the happy pencil. potato before TURNIP (hope we get another horticulture lesson today). I play poker almost every day, and I say ICHECK all the time, definitely a thing. I also think hoods are ZIPON. I think you keep the hood in your pocket until you need it and the ZIP it ON. I had NOhit before NORUN and was gonna pitch a fit because of course the first 2 pitches could be hits, then the third result in a triple play. That happens all the time doesn’t it? Maybe not.

@Fountains of Golden Fluids, thanks for making an appearance yesterday. I almost didn’t remember humor

Kafkaland 12:29 AM  

I use ZEROTH occasionally, as in "to zeroth order". A very crude approximation, as in approximating a function with a constant, which is mathematically a zeroth-order approximation. So I had no problem with that one. But overall the puzzle played a bit harder than usual for me. Not sure why, though.

Carola 12:30 AM  

Unlike @Rex, I'M A total FAN of this one: fun to solve, with plenty of grid treats, especially TURNIP, MOLASSES, and ALLOSAURUS. I liked all of the conversational phrases, and even appreciated the dusty NEAP and ARCO for giving some solid footing when I needed it. I did raise an eyebrow at ZEROTH, but it was mostly filled from crosses so didn't slow me down.
I loved the female-in-charge trio of MAMA BIRD, TIGER MOM, and LANDLADY. Less pleasant, MOLD is apt next to ALLERGIC.

puzzlehoarder 12:40 AM  

It's taking so long for the comments to show up I'll write another. That ZEROTH is an obscure word but ZIPON is a slam dunk phrase. My first guess was ZEROTH but I couldn't believe there was such a word so I left it alone and let the crosses fill it in.

ALLOSAURUS went right in. I had no T-Rex misdirect. I read that book as a kid and I was one of those kids who knew all the dinosaurs. I could have sworn this issue was dealt with directly in a previous puzzle but Xwordinfo doesn't near this out.

The only thing from this puzzle I feel I should make note of is ZEROTH and that's easy to do as it is in the dictionary.

bg 12:48 AM  

Yeah, ZEROTH is pure abomination. No excuse for it.

Canis Nebula 12:48 AM  

Zeroth is definitely a thing. See, for example, the Zeroth Law of Thermodynamics (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeroth_law_of_thermodynamics).

Thomas 1:00 AM  

0th, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th.....
ZEROTH was a gimme.

jae 1:01 AM  

Easy-medium for me. Plenty of good stuff here, but I gotta go with @Rex on ZEROTH. Other than that, liked it.

Anonymous 1:09 AM  

Didn't know 7D so I had "well darn" for 17A. Nice puzzle. Played very fast for me.

Ando 1:25 AM  

"A rutabaga is a cross between a cabbage and this": Wouldn't that be A TURNIP, not just TURNIP?

Outside The Box 1:27 AM  

Pretty easy for a Friday, but agree with Rex re Zeroth. Zeroth??? Come on.

Harryp 1:38 AM  

A puzzler finally showed up this week and I wasn't ready for it. TIGERMOM & TURNIP were my biggest woes, and I shoulda/woulda known both. Hope to do better tomorrow.

I skip M-W 1:42 AM  

Yes for zeroth law of thermodynamics, making this puzzle easy for me despite having "zip up" before "zip on", "tiger mum" before "tiger mom." The book is "tiger mother" isn't it?

Larry Gilstrap 1:56 AM  

Totally in agreement with OFL about the ZEROTH and the whole NO RUN rant. Help me here! Today was Opening Day, it was terrific! In the whole baseball universe, was there a three-pitch inning? I missed the box score for the Lake Elsinore Storm game.

Wow! Xmas traditions might be PAGAN? First Sunday, after the first full moon, after the Vernal Equinox. Happy Easter seems to coincide with April First. The holy day had been on my birthday once before in my life. For future reference, Ash Wednesday was on Valentine's Day. In lieu of gifts, send a donation to your local library in my name.

I'm no linguist, but A TROIS fell right in.

Just gonna put this out there: "God created WAR so that Americans would learn geography." Do people even care when most folks know almost no one in the military?

Anonymous 1:56 AM  

For computer programmers, ZEROTH is a gimme. It’s a common term. Where there are, for example, eight things in a list, they are numbered zero through seven. So the first item on the list is the zeroth one, in the vernacular. -- Billy D.

Dolgo 2:12 AM  

Stop whining and Google it. It's a perfectly good word AND you learned it!

chefwen 2:17 AM  

Messed up in the mid section with HAngON at21D and lIned at 33A, took me forever to sort out that mess. Had I known ZEROTH, which I didn’t, would have fixed my dilemma with the Z.

The old lady is getting a little risqué with ASS, WELL DAMN was also a little edgy, I’m likin’ this trend.

Ando 2:22 AM  

I'm a computer programmer and I've never in my life used the word ZEROTH. The first item in an array is number 0, not the zeroth. Otherwise you're calling the second item in the array the "first", the third the "second" etc, which would confuse the crap out of everyone around you.

Scrub 2:34 AM  

Come on Rex, I was an English major just like you but I remember ZEROTH from many a math class (and I never got past calculus; it's not like I was some kind of wizard there) and thought that was one of the easier answers this puzzle. Less sure about ZIPON though ...

Glad to see the rare soccer clue, for PKS. I liked the cluing in general, and this puzzle overall.

Graham 2:44 AM  

Funny, ZEROTH sounded fine to me (I think I’ve probably said it), but what bugged me was WELLDAMN crossing RIMA. Because, well, since Italian poetic forms might as well be 1920s Australian paperback writers, RIMA could as easily have been RIRA — giving WELLDARN. Fortunately, I assumed the cognate “rime” (I guess that’s what I was supposed to do?), but really, that could have been a DNF right there.

white sox fan 3:03 AM  

a half inning that involves three pitches is the ONLY number of pitches that ALWAYS leads to the conclusion of no runs with three outs. A four pitch inning could involve a home run on the first pitch plus three outs with only one pitch each. I also know of no other name for a three pitch half inning. I agree with OFL that a three pitch inning is very rare (only 4 of them in 2016) but I fail to see the logic behind the criticism here.

Robin 3:05 AM  

Easy Friday (i.e., < 10 min!). Enter OSOLEMIO and DONTWAITUPFORME with at most one crossing each, and worked outward from there.

Figured out ZEOTH easily enough, but realized immediately, "Wow, that's crude. That's going to lead to a few comments on OFL's blog."

salty 3:08 AM  

yeah, WELLDARN is exactly what I did, because no clue on RIMA vs RIRA and I certainly didn't expect to see "damn".

mamabird and tigermom seemed a little too similar to coexist.

Greg Charles 3:24 AM  

When the answer is a guy who played shortstop for the Indians for two seasons. 48 years ago, that's fair game, but something you've forgotten from junior high math is just totally not a thing? Hmm. This will blow your minds: any non-zero number raised to the zeroth power is one.

Loren Muse Smith 3:54 AM  

Ok. So I had a dnf ‘cause I didn’t try to guess that T of the ZEROTH/AHF cross. I never considered the T since for some ridiculous reason I was thinking it’d be an esoteric two-letter sciency deal. ZERO MH (mega hertz) ZERO IH (impulse hydrazine) or some such. I didn’t think I had a chance in hell of guessing.

But I love ZEROTH. Could we call the ground floor in European building the zeroth floor? ZEROTH just may have upstaged SKYEY as the most startling Real Word I’ve seen in crossworld. (And, hey – it runs interference today for EELY.)

Rex – good point about the reduncancy of ENEMY SPY. The enemy spy was in close proximity to the armed gunman, and the final outcome was an unexpected surprise.

“Scrubs” was my first entry for what a doctor wears. Bet I’m not alone.

“Piece” for the essayist’s writing. The piece by David Sedaris about Christmas in the Netherlands is one of my favorites. Hi, @Mac.

And with magnificent disregard for the title, I considered “alligators” before ALLOSAURUS.

@Graham – Yeah, that “WELL darn/rira” cross was another nail in my dnf coffin.

@Susie Q from yesterday– no moroser than usual. I’m actually not an upbeat person, but I play one on tv.

@Tita, @Ellen S from yesterday – thanks for noticing.

@puzzlehoarder – loved your “stagemom” goof. I know both TIGERMOMS and stagemoms. Loath to confront, I never approached TIGERMOM status:

Me (to high school son): Please come in here and put your stuff in the dishwasher.
Son (stands up and regards me for a moment): That was hard for you to say, wasn’t it?
Me: (exhaling, relieved): Yes!
Son: I’m really proud of you, Mom.

This was an actual exchange. I’m more of an ottermom.

Anonymous 3:56 AM  

A team can score in a three-pitch inning if it's the last inning of the game. In other words, a walk-off game-winning hit (error, wild pitch, etc) that comes on the third and final pitch of the last inning and ends the game. ⚾️

manitou 4:04 AM  

The home team can score in a three-pitch inning if it's the last inning — a walk-off, game-winning hit (error, wild pitch, etc) that comes on the third pitch and ends the game ⚾️

'mericans in Marsaille 4:35 AM  

Mrs. 'mericans and I worked on this puz together this morning, but got a royal DNF. Was assuming that "Chinese character" was a written character, so MAe looked as good as any other collection of letters, and spelled the 28D beastie(s) as ALLeSAURes. Also was sure that s5A was ARCi, so didn't notice the OBIES. SADE.

Friday's are themeless? I'm not so sure.

"WELL DAMN, WELCOME TO MY LIFE, MAMA BIRD! It's not that I'm UPSETS, but for the ZEROTH time -- and I don't want to HARP ON about it -- I'm ALLERGIC TO TURNIP-MOLASSES MOUSSE! PLEASE STOP serving me such SLOP. ... AW, MAN, now don't you call me a FAT-HEADED ASS. This means WAR. The kid GLOVES are off. OK, I'm outa here. DON'T WAIT UP FOR ME."

@LMS: Loved your notion of an ottermom. My team decided to assign everybody animal avatars the other day, and my colleagues chose otter for me. The others were puffin, toucan, llama, mountain goat, horse, and German shepherd.

mathgent 5:21 AM  

Quite enjoyable.

Three-pitch inning reminded me of an inning I learned about last season, the immaculate inning. That's an inning where the pitcher retires the side throwing exactly nine pitches, all strikes. In the history of baseball, it's happened about 80 times. Koufax did it more than once.

Birchbark 5:44 AM  

Always figured O SOLE MIO meant something like "I'm all alone." So now that's squared away.

Likewise TURNIP, which nature did not intend.

Canon competes with Nikon, but do CANONS compete with Nikons?

JJ 5:50 AM  

I finished in half my usual time. Enjoyed being reminded of Tom SNYDER. We watched him most nights, in college, back in the 70's. I think he was eventually forced out for Letterman. I was more of a Tiger Dad- so filled that one in right away. I thought there were more than enough gimmes to help with some fun long answers. I also love how people thought so much about the 3 pitch inning to realize that it's not always NO RUN.

Anonymous 6:53 AM  

Here I am not getting over MOLD. It does not “make” jell-o. You use it to make jell-o. Sheesh.
The rest was meh.

John Child 6:54 AM  

WELL DArN, I DNF. RIMA would clearly have been the better guess, but damn sounded too salty for the gray lady. (Hi @salty) Otherwise a fine and fairly easy Friday.

George Barany and I have today’s CHE puzzle. Check it out. https://www.chronicle.com/section/Crosswords/43

Anonymous 6:57 AM  

This was DNF, between zeroth, and I had to HANG ON to a wrong answer for HARP ON. But I had an easy time with DON'T WAIT UP FOR ME thanks to Tom Lehrer' WWIII anthem: "So long Mom, I'm off to drop the bomb, so don't wait up for me!"

konnofromtokyo 7:04 AM  

you could have a 100-run 1-pitch inning too - 103 intentional walks, then one-pitch triple play.

Robso 7:20 AM  

ZEROTH and ICHECK can only mean this puzzle was created by someone who learned English as a second language. In that case—and only in that case—this puzzle was pretty amazing.

Robso 7:22 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
kitshef 7:24 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 7:32 AM  

I’m a little surprised no one else is an Isaac Asimov fan here. Many people are aware of his Three Laws of Robotics. His later robot books include a fourth law, which he calls the ZEROTH law because it comes before the other three. It goes something like “A robot cannot harm humanity or by inaction allow humanity to come to harm.” Just because you don’t know a word or it doesn’t google well doesn’t make the word ineligible for inclusion in (particularly a Friday) crossword.

- Jim C. in Maine

kitshef 7:39 AM  

I AM THE MIGHTY ZEROTH, EVALUATOR OF PUZZLES.

What do I hate more than anything? More than cars? It’s those ridiculous “here is a phrase; find another phrase that to some people means the same thing” clues. We have seven – SEVEN of these PoGs in this puzzle.
Ain’t that something => WELL DAMN
Jeez, that’s a shame => AW MAN
And I get dumped on again => WELCOME TO MY LIFE
Enough => PLEASE STOP
Your work inspires me => IM A FAN
I won’t be back till late => DON’T WAIT UP FOR ME
Works every time => NEVER FAILS

Throw in a bunch of short junk: AMU, ARCO, RCA, AFI, ORD, ATF, RIMA, PKS.

But the point where the puzzle completely lost me was the clue for NO-RUN. Lawrence saved me some time showing how, although it was possible before the recent change of the rules for intentional walks, too. Basically it’s the same as the scenario Lawrence goes through, but replace intentional walk with a walk issued as a result of pitcher delay.

One of the few things I did not object to was zeroth - see @Canis Nebula 12:48am.

And I loved the clue for ALLOSAURUS, responsible for a couple of terrifying scenes in The Lost World.

kitshef 7:47 AM  

@konnofromtokyo 7:04 - you could have a 100-run 0-pitch inning too - 103 intentional walks, then three pickoffs.

As an odd aside, I remember listening rapt to the game where Tippy Martinez picked off three runners in one inning. Game went extras and we ended up with outfielders playing at 2nd and 3rd, and infielder Lenn Sakata had to play catcher. The Tigers kept getting on base, then thinking they could steal easily against Sakata, would get picked off.

pabloinnh 8:02 AM  

The PK answer reminded me of Gerard Pique, who plays for Barcelona and whose name is pronounced, of course, PK. Bad name for a defender.

Always nice to see otters in a discussion. Many years ago I read a book about them which began "If an otter cannot have fun doing something, he simply will not do it." Words to live by.

Up here in the hills the expression is "Welcome to my world". Nothing like writing in "WELCOMETOMYWORL", which gives you world without end, amen.

Birchbark 8:14 AM  

@John Child (and @George Barany, if you're checking), thanks for the link to your very smooth Chronicle puzzle. The circled answers are crisp, clever, and accessible theme-ties. I like when familiar fill becomes the clue, as in 41A. DNF at 39A/35D (it was a coin toss and guessed wrong), but otherwise no writeovers and many smiles.

Aketi 8:15 AM  

I usually hate Friday puzzles because I look at those big long blank spaces and my mind goes blank. This time however my first entry was DON’T WAIT UP FOR ME. That just popped straight into my head as the MAMA of a teenaged son.

@LMS, being an otter MOM is way too much work. Amy Chua does not understand TIGER behaviors at all. They sleep 16-20 hours a day. They can move quickly and efficiently, but only when they need to. She is not a TIGER MOM she is a gerbil MOM, expending lots of unecessary energy. Her younger daughter Lulu behaved far worse in a restaurant than my son ever did at any point in his life. I’m a firm believer in being a true lazy TIGER MOM, only intervening when absolutely necessary. My son insistently took over his choice of schools when he was in second grade and decided which a middle school he was going to. About all I’ve had to do is respond positively to the ocaissional “Can you read this mom?” for his essays. Amy Chua created the illusion for herself that she needed to do all that work for her kids but I’m convinced her kids were perfectly capable of getting themselves into Ivy League schools with far less maternal wheel spinning.

John Morrison 8:19 AM  

Evidently, you have never programmed a computer. In the Python, JavaScript, C, and C++ languages, compound data structures such as arrays are indexed starting at 0. The "first" entry in the array is actually the 0th.

three of clubs 8:27 AM  

So long, mom!
I'm off to drop the Bomb
So don't wait up for me
But while you swelter
Down there in your shelter
You can see me
On your TV

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Ky0ROTsD14

Anonymous 8:36 AM  

@LMS Let's just stick with "lobby" or "ground floor" or "rez de chaussee" and forget about the zeroth floor.

Matthew G. 8:39 AM  

Aha! The baseball nerd in me was instantly challenged by the clue to think of a three-pitch inning with a run scored, and I couldn’t do it. But I wasn’t thinking of the very new rule allowing an IBB with no pitches thrown. Nicely done.

Agree with Rex today for the most part. Loved the long stuff, scratched my head at the short stuff.

QuasiMojo 8:39 AM  

I was cutting a lot more slack today than diamonds. Some of these clues were stretches.

Which came first the wannabe MAMAHEN or the MAMAHEN? I know little about chickens, but does a hen sit on unfertilized eggs? And what if the egg, even if fertilized, never hatches? She wouldn't be a MAMA HEN then.

This type of logic (or desire for logic) is what troubled OFL and his reluctance to accept ZIP ON. He's right. But that doesn't mean it isn't inferrable.

@LMS, I would argue that a "piece" by David Sedaris is not always "prose." Insufferable SLOP, yes.

The best thing in today's puzzle was the (possible) Mark Twain quote. Can't you just hear him singing, "WAR, huh, yeah. What is it good for?"

Vincent Lima 8:43 AM  

Had never seen ZEROTH before that I can remember, but it was totally inferable and marginally amusing, so I smiled and moved on.

I had thought O SOLE MIO means, oh, my soul, so that was educational....

Teedmn 8:55 AM  

WELL DArN, DNF in the NW. I had that rara avis, the Italian poetic form of RIrA and never saw RIMA until I read @Rex. RIMA makes so much more sense.

I thought Sam's puzzle was quite easy (except for that error) until I hit the East. TIGER MOM, SNYDER and PEEN formed a blockade past which I couldn't move. I had a couple of sorties into the territory (DALES, ENEMY SPY, EELY, FAT HEADED) but otherwise I was stymied. I can't remember exactly how I chipped my way into it ("whew", I can hear you all sigh) but I got 'er done. It didn't help that I wrote in ICED sun tea and made a mess of 13D. Since WELCOME TO MY world didn't fit, I figured it must end in LIFE which had me take the "tEa" out but COFFEE didn't automatically fill in with that decision.

I liked seeing the ZEROTH hour and had no trouble accepting it. What I didn't like was ZIP ON. In my LIFE it is "ZIP up". I have dozens of hoodies and I have never ZIPped them ON. I would have accepted TIGER MuM first (okay, not really).

Anyone else have D_S__E at 43D and briefly consider DeSirE as "Just what the doctor ordered"? I didn't think so. PiecE as the essayist's writing at 45D, before PROSE was another wrong answer I had to fix. And I shook my head at the idea that __GAN Christmas traditions were going to be veGAN. Pass the tofurkey, somebody, with that TURNIP stuffing.

Sir Hillary 8:59 AM  

Puzzle was OK. The central 15s are really cool.

My German accountant always extols the virtues of "ze Roth IRA", so all good there.

But by far the best thing about this puzzle is the spawning of hilarious baseball scenarios involving hundreds of runs and little or and no pitched balls. Tears are streaming down my cheeks as I type this, I am laughing so hard. Thanks to all involved, especially @Rex's Tweeter Lawrence who got the (unpitched) ball rolling and to @konnofromtokyo and @kitshef for taking it straight into absurdism. Great stuff!

Mr. Benson 9:00 AM  

No one would ever intentionally walk a batter with nobody on and one out, though... well, at least since Barry Bonds retired.

Hartley70 9:12 AM  

I always knew I disliked baseball clues that weren't answered by Ott. Now I know I like baseball blog discussions even less.

Thank you @pabloinnh for giving me a good laugh. I love that otters hold hands when they sleep. Your benediction was pretty nifty too.

ZEROTH was my final entry and I too was unaware of it's existence. I must have been absent that day in junior high, or more likely since I had a 1950s TIGERMOM, it hadn't been discovered yet. Unlike Rex, it didn't irritate me at all. I'm happy to add it to the group of "st, nd, and rd" numbers.

Bob Mills 9:13 AM  

Finished it, but I didn't like it much. I got "ZEROTH" from the crosses, but the clue should have included a question mark, because it's a made-up word. Also, why is "MOUSSE" a style setter? A lot of extraneous stuff in this one.

oldbizmark 9:13 AM  

Hated ZEROTH but it didn't cause me the same consternation that it seems to have caused Rex. For me, the NW corner was the only part of the puzzle that slowed me down. Flew through the rest and would have called it VERY EASY but for the NW, which led me to more of a Tuesday or Wednesday time. Definitely not the difficulty of a puzzle I expect to see on a Friday. In fact, this whole week, with the exception of Monday, each puzzle was too easy for its day. Maybe tomorrow will be a real harbinger but based on what we have seen recently, I would think it would be super easy.

The whole 3 pitch thing got me thinking. You could technically have a ZERO pitch inning. The pitcher would simply intentionally walk the side and proceed to pick off each one (or have the catcher throw each runner out).

Have a great Friday. Happy Passover and Happy Easter to those observing.

Anonymous 9:14 AM  

How on earth is 'for me', as in 'don't wait up for me', formal'? A prepositional phrase adds a level of formality?
Two little words? '

Wm. C. 9:18 AM  


I thought ZEROTH a bit odd, but with ZERO__ already it, it hadda work.

Sorry @Rex, but ZIPON is the most logical name for such a jacket.

@'mericans --- oops one letter off. That would be Marseille, wouldn't it? Sorry for the pedantics. ;-)

Actually,, we visited Marseille as part of a Med Coast vacation when we lived in Paris (Le Vesinet, actually. Worked in the eigtth near the Etoile first, then out in La Defense.)

michiganman 9:22 AM  

All is well. ZEROTH is real. The major topic appears to be NORUN. Nobody is offended (so far). Must be a good puzzle. I liked it. Happy Friday.

Mohair Sam 9:23 AM  

Very nice Friday puzzle - played easy/medium here. Terrific long downs, and the eight letter stacks in the NW and SE were very clean (except for EELY). WELCOME TO MY LIFE was awesome as clued.

Disagree with almost everything OFL wrote today. Words like ZEROTH are one of the reasons I love late week puzzles - Is it a word? Prove it from the fill. Hey! - I've learned something. I'm guessing Rex, who has earned a Doctorate in English, knows a lot more words than I and gets angry at those he hasn't stumbled across.

And Rex, some things just don't Google well (by your standards) on a Friday - leave that silly trick to the commentariat. Do agree on NORUN however, I thought of the new intentional walk rule immediately - and then thought that Will and Sam Trabucco might not be big baseball fans. ENEMYSPY just fine. And finally, I always say FOR ME at the end of DONT WAIT UP.

@Loren - Great interchange with your son. We brought three boys through their teen years - I guarantee you that Lady Mohair never heard the phrase "That was tough for you to say wasn't it?"

Don't let the food police know the TURNIP is a GMO - they'll ban it. On second thought, I once bit into a TURNIP - ban away.

Lewis 9:24 AM  

Lotsa conversation in this puzzle: WELL DAM@, WELCOME TO MY LIFE, AW MAN, PLEASE STOP, I'M A FAN, DON'T WAIT UP FOR ME, NEVER FAILS. That all felt cozy to me (Hi @kitshef!), like we were welcomed into Sam's life.

There were enough gimmes to make this go smoothly for a Friday, despite several answers I never heard of. One of them being ZEROTH and I absolutely love it. I need to try to use it, as in, for the zeroth time, I'm disliking one of Sam's puzzles. Thanks for a fun journey, Mr. Trabucco!

Anonymous 9:26 AM  

An intentional walk requires 4 pitches. Hit batsmen and catcher's interference also require at least one pitch.

Linda Vale 9:26 AM  

How about a ONE pitch inning. Two intentional walks - then a triple play on the the first pitch.

Stanley Hudson 9:27 AM  

This DNF played very tough for me. Kudos to those of you who found it easy.

@Aketi, could not agree with you more re: the insufferable Amy Chua, a helicopter parent on steroids.

everette 9:28 AM  

In softball and in international baseball,extra innings can start with 1 or more runners on base. Multiple runs can score on 3 pitches in those innings.

Linda Vale 9:32 AM  

Or a no pitch inning: three batters refuse to enter the batters box. Each one refuses three times resulting in the umpire calling a strike for each infraction.

Ken R 9:32 AM  

Very nice Friday puzzle. I just love it when Rex totally becomes obsessed with ONE word he nor the NYT has ever heard of and it ruins the puzzle for him. A little anal Rex! C'mon dude ! Lighten up ! Life is too short to be so negative

QuasiMojo 9:33 AM  

Of course I meant MAMA BIRD, not HEN above.

And anyone else here a fan of Tom SNYDER? I miss guys like him on TV. He was never shrill or pedantic. He was simply curious. A true virtue unless you're a cat.

Two Ponies 9:36 AM  

Three things made this lots of fun for me.

Zeroth - learned zeroth

First - Found out I actually didn't know the meaning of O Sloe Mio

Second - It brought to mind that a better, more timely clue for pagan would have been the relationship between Easter and the pagan traditions of spring. All of those chicks, bunnies, eggs, etc. are for celebrating Estrus thus Easter.

I got a good chuckle last evening when @ Fountain showed up just for @ Moly Shu.

@ Larry G 1:56, I don't think you really meant to offend military families but you might have done it anyway.

Welcome to my WORLD is much more familiar to me.

Who doesn't love otters!? I'm going to remember the Otter Motto "If it's not fun, don't do it". Easy for me to say since I've retired.

Junief 9:38 AM  

All the “fine answers” Rex liked in this puzzle don’t mean “jack” because of one he didn’t (zeroth). Doesn’t that say it all? I mean, what right does a word have to appear in a puzzle if Rex doesn’t like it?

Teedmn 9:38 AM  

Um, reread the clue for 33A, ZIP ON is just fine, oops. Though some of my hoods fold up into the collar of the jacket, so they are actually ZIP OUT.

pmdm 9:43 AM  

Normally, at the end of a three pitch inning the announced would say something like "no runs, no hits, no errors." (Of course, a three pitching inning could include a double or triple play, so it needn't be a hitless or errorless inning.) But consider this scenario. The lead-off batter hits a triple. There follows two pitchless intentional walks so that there is a force at any base. The next batter hits into a triple play. That would be a two pitch inning. If the pitcher balked between the two pitches, that would be a one run two pitch inning. In theory if an inning opened with three intentional walks (which would be absurd), you could have a one pitch scoreless inning.

I took a lot of math classes in high school and college. I did hear the phrase "raised to the zeoreth power" more than once. Sure, it is quite uncommon, But isn't that what Friday and Saturday puzzles are about.

I thought the puzzle in general was quite good. Not a lot of obscure proper names. Well done. According to Jeff Chen, there's a better puzzle coming up this week. Something to look forward to.

Anonymous 9:46 AM  

Happy like @birchbark (CANOE) to be set straight on the meaning of O SOLE MIO. Remembering that the Divine Comedy was writ in Teresa RIMA let me fix the spelling and settle on DAMN versus DArN. I thought @Rex's objection to the inclusion of ...FOR ME was an uncharacteristic stretch.

GHarris 9:51 AM  

Every time I think I’ve reached a new level of crossword solving expertise I run into one of these. Even with sussing most of the long answers and remembering newly learned words like arco and most others find it relatively easy, I am totally befuddled by expressions like aw man and well damn and wind up with a grand dnf. Even my area of greatest knowledge, baseball, was of no avail today. No run inning,
, indeed.

Scott C. Lucas 9:53 AM  

^ this. I’m a web dev and zeroth is very much in the language

Z 9:54 AM  

None of the answers that troubled Rex troubled me, so all the fresh phrases made the puzzle sing. ZEROTH works for anyone familiar with R. Daneel Olivaw (Hi @anonymous), so no problem here even though I don’t know ZEROTH from thermodynamics or math. ZIP-ON hoods are an incredibly bad idea that I think stopped being much of a thing somewhere around 1975, but definitely a thing. DON’T WAIT UP FOR ME works with or without the FOR ME. About the only plaint I agree with Rex on is the repetitive redundancy of ENEMY SPY.

WELL, DAMN hardly even counts as cursing (as opposed to “god damn” or “damn you”) so I didn’t pause to consider whether RIMA might be wrong.

I agree 100% with @Aketi about TIGERMOMs. I dealt with several and the only thing they ever succeeded in doing was making their offspring miserable. Want to help maximize your children’s life prospects? Read to them from birth, make sure they know you love them daily, be there to console when they fail, learn to ask questions rather than order, never set a limit unless it really is a limit. Your kids might still struggle, but it won’t be because mom and dad screwed them up (Yes, I have stories - 95% of parents do fine but that other 5% - AW MAN).

Nampa Bob 9:57 AM  

Incredibly tortured clueing and fills.
Not enjoyable at all.
Just my opinion...

Nancy 9:59 AM  

72 comments already? And it's only 9:42 a.m.? WELL DAMN! No one will read this. Sob. WELCOME TO MY LIFE.

Very hard for me, and I solved it painstakingly, working my way up from the far Mideast. My last letter in was the H of ZEROTH, and I stared at it as though it was an ENEMY SPY. I guess I'm just DENSE, a total ASS, and FATHEADED (I had poTHEADED, first.)

I loved the challenge of this puzzle. But I always have problems with phrases standing in for one another. They're so arbitrary. To wit:

I'd reverse the respective tones of 27D and 17A. If I've had "enough!", I don't say PLEASE. Conversely, there's no reason to cuss for "ain't that something!" So for me, 27D would be STOP, DAMN IT! and 17A might be WELL LOOK AT THAT! Still, I really have no AXES to grind. An engrossing puzzle.

TubaDon 10:00 AM  

Started with TURNIP and ended with WELLDAMN thanks to guessing right on RIMA. Really chuckled at the grousing on ZEROTH from math/science haters. For once we techies have a Friday puzzle with no obscure rock groups or Celtic authors.

Nampa Bob 10:04 AM  

Game tied, bottom ninth.
Hit by pitch, man on.
Hit by pitch, two men on.
Home run, three runs runs, game over.

Z 10:06 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Z 10:08 AM  

@Two Ponies - I get your meaning so let me rephrase what I think @ birchbark meant. With an all-volunteer military increasingly representing just a small portion of the citizenry of the country there is less widespread concern or interest in holding our political leaders accountable for their ill-advised foreign adventures. From what I see, most public “respect for the military and veterans” is political lip-service. All talk, no walk. At least, this is what I would have meant if I had written what @birchbark wrote.

David Patent 10:08 AM  

Sorry that you do not like, poker, Rex — and thanks for the usual gratuitous negativity. For many of us it is a great mental exercise balancing math, strategy, intuition, and human interaction, but not for everyone. In poker “Check” is more common, but people say “I check” often enough, certainly more than “zeroth”.

Maruchka 10:08 AM  

@'mericans - Ha! I'd love a story about RIMA the BIRD Girl, her trusty companions TIGER MOM and MAMA BIRD, and their A TROIS LIFE in the mythical DALES of ZEROTH.

Wanted ZIP up. ZIP ON conjures dance rehearsal outfits, pour moi.

Thanks for sparking another lively conversation, Mr. Trabucco.

Hungry Mother 10:09 AM  

Right in my ballpark today. No problems, much faster than usual. More joy, less sweat.

Anonymous 10:13 AM  

That was susposed to have been terza, not Teresa!

Charles Flaster 10:14 AM  

Wednesday easy .
Liked ENEMY SPY — no question mark was the way to go , making it a better misdirect.
However, 12 clues with quotation marks is way too many for this puzzle.
Thanks ST.

gruffed 10:15 AM  

Had a KNEEJERK reaction to 4 down, which I was sure of, so the northwest was a DNF (Disaster, Not Fun).

Anonymous 10:17 AM  

Christian traditions are by definition not PAGAN. Christianity appropriated (and adapted) many PAGAN customs, holidays, etc.

Hungry Mother 10:18 AM  

@John Morrison: I was thinking the same thing. Ever since I encountered C in 1977, ZEROETH has been a thing for me. At first I thought it might have been from my Calculus teaching days, but then I remembered that most of my teaching was in Computer Science.

Don From Accounting 10:20 AM  

What a great Friday puzzle!

Hey it's Tom SNYDER! Man I loved his show. There was just an irresistible goofiness to the guy that made him awesome. You youngsters should look him up on YouTube, he usually had great guests. Plus he would smoke up a storm on the air. Remember when people smoked on TV? Johnny Carson would smoke and his guests would smoke and everybody would talk and smoke. Jackie Gleason could smoke a whole pack of cigarettes in one interview. Mike Wallace had a show in New York that he would open with his own testimonial about how his sponsor's cigarettes were the only ones you should ever smoke and he'd show you how to smoke them. All of the original Mercury astronauts were smokers except for Gordo Cooper, and Joe DiMaggio would sit alone in the Yankees dugout during games and drink coffee and smoke cigarettes. Man that was a different world.

ZEROTH is one of my favorite words and I use it all the time. I used it twice today at work down at the cigarette factory. I just made that up.

REAR AXLE cars are going the way of the television smoker, it seems. Another relic of another age. I own a Ford Explorer with over three hundred thousand miles on it and it still purrs like a kitten and passes all emission tests perfectly. I love that truck, it's the last descendent of the Modell-TT and its painted black. It has a V-6 Cologne engine made by Ford of Germany so I always picture the guys who built it wearing white lab coats. After work they would go to the company beer haus and wear lederhosen and smoke German cigarettes and yodel.

If I smoked I would light one up right now so I could "look cool" just like Mike Wallace, said nobody ever. Instead I'll go to my yoga class and look at girl's asses and do breathing exercises. WELL DAMN!

Have a great day!

GILL I. 10:20 AM  

I'm with @Carola and @Hartley. First, I love colloquial type puzzles. ANYTHING colloquial is a great way to learn English. Things like "I didn't just fall of the TURNIP wagon" makes you want to learn all about how three-pitch innings can drive me out into the baseball big black void. Thanks @Hatley for sharing my sentiments....
My sister was a MAMA bear. Man did she protect her kids. Heaven forbid if you tried to bully her young ones. She is the shortest in the family and fiercer than a TIGER. @Aketi - you two would get along fine!. I, on the other hand, was the pussy cat. Just ask me for anything and I'd probably do it for you. I do love otters and their hand holding though . I'm a hand holder. Thank you @pablo for the image.
I'm not getting into the ZEROTH discussion. Just go visit my only "DAMN, it's off to Google."
First entry was DONT WAIT UP FOR ME. Favorite was FAT HEADED. Speaking of PIZZA FACE, there's a FAT HEAD low carb pizza crust by that name. Not that I care because I hate pizza. But, I like the word because my dad - who never cussed - would call all politicians that colorful name . Republican, Democrats, Communists were all FAT HEADED. Some were also full of Malarky.
Thanks for a fun Friday, Sam. I enjoyed the puzzle. Took me a while to finish but I got her done with only one Google. ZEROTH can kiss my grits.

Two Ponies 10:21 AM  

P.S. Non-birders please skip.

Capistrano has their swallows and I have mine. They faithfully return every year with amazing precision. My visitors are Violet-green Swallows and the first one arrived yesterday.

Now, back to the baseball discussion. Zzzzzz. (To each his own)

@ Loren, Wonderful redundant example.

Mr. Hendricks 10:21 AM  

Zeroth was on Jeopardy! January 8, 2018

Thermodynamics for $1600: "There's a law that comes before the first law of thermodynamics; physicist Ralph Fowler gave it this 6-letter name."

Triple stumper. Nobody got "what is zeroth?" (but I did).

DrBB 10:24 AM  

One thing I'll say in favor of ZEROTH is that it's in the official Scrabble dictionary. So it could come in handy. In that game.

Nancy 10:36 AM  

Don't miss @Aketi's enormously perceptive comment about both TIGER MOMS and human MOMS (8:15 a.m.) @Aketi -- You sound like a really great MOM with a really great son!

@Loren (3:54) -- I enjoyed your amusing MOM anecdote, but I don't get "ottermom". Shouldn't it be "ostrichmom", as in: "bury your head in the sand and hope for the best"?

@David Patent (10:08) -- I'm sure poker is all the wonderful things you say it is. But if your hands shook every time you even thought about losing money and if your visage was less a "poker face" than a wide open window, you wouldn't want to play it either.

Anonymous 10:46 AM  

Mini theme reads like a Tom Clancy novel with arms, ATF, war, and enemy spy.

@ Nancy, No need to fish for attention. We absolutely hang on your every word.

Maruchka 11:01 AM  

Alas, abalone fishers didn't. Thousands and thousands were killed for fur and profit back in the day. Now more protected, though let's see what follows this administration. Thanks for reminding me of a lovely pier walk, when I quietly watched an otter eat a fish. Delicate and thorough.

mmorgan 11:04 AM  

I was racing through this thing so fast I didn't know what was happening. DONTWAITUPFORME went in without a single letter, and answers I didn't know I knew were filling themselves in faster than I could type. I don't go for speed but I was enjoying this immensely. And then I had one square left. _EROTH. I stared and stared and went through the alphabet 2 or 3 times (having no clue about a hood). I reluctantly figured it had to be Z and gingerly put it in. Ta-Dah! ZEROTH is so bad, it's good!!

Masked and Anonymous 11:06 AM  

@RP: Sooo … intentional walk, balk, steal third + wild overthrow lettin the runner trot home. One run, no pitches?

Thanx to Mr. Trabucco for some harlariously funny FriPuz fillins.
Hi-lites:
MAMABIRD. WELLDAMN. RIMA. PKS [staff weeject pick]. ZEROTH. SURFSHOPS. ATROIS. MEGADEAL. AWMAN. ALLOSAURUS. AMU. IMAFAN. ENEMYSPY. FATHEADED.
Spanky good!

Cool grid look for a themeless, with the two grid spanners down the centers. Plus, the double long-balls Down in the NE and SW. Different. Spanky.

Masked & Anonymo5Us


**gruntz**

Banana Diaquiri 11:16 AM  

there are two kinds of programming languages: those that index vectors/arrays on 0, Algol/C and descendants which say 'zeroth' all the time and dinosaur languages like COBOL (meant for 'business oriented' problems and non-math trained coders) which index on 1 don't say that. lots of domain specific languages, intended for specific professions, e.g. stats, also index on 1. FWIW, computer hardware and their assembly languages all index from 0. 0 is a perfectly good number, so why waste it?

maths, of course, use 0 as a perfectly good number too.

jb129 11:31 AM  

Loved it - didn't know ZEROTH but you learn something new everyday. Thank you Sam!

jberg 11:40 AM  

WELL, DAMN-- I came here with 99 comments up already, and two of the three things of substance that I's meant to say have been said already (terza RIMA by anonymous, and Tom Lehrer by anonymous and @three of clubs). So i'll just stick to griping about CANONS (23D). I mean, there's you POC, and then there's your POC clued specifically as singular. I got it all right, what else could it be, but it grated. (on further thought, it was clued as plural, but on a higher level than individual cameras -- Nikon competes with CANON, not Canons)

ZEROTH on the other hand -- you have to understand it as a nerd joke. (Nerd jokes are still jokes, just like dwarf planets are still planets). You're either being self-deprecating or making fun of someone else, by pointing out that the original list left out what obviously should have come first, and using a ridiculous made-up word to highlight your point.

Hey, @Nancy, I read you-- always do. That's what F3 is for!

wordstorn 11:47 AM  

intro to logic courses start with the zeroth-order system, aka propositional calculus

newspaperguy 12:04 PM  

Great puzzle and only damn fools don't get that you zip up an open zipper, and you zip on a hood that is unattached. Loved the baseball comments!

Joseph Michael 12:25 PM  

Never heard of ZEROTH either, but it didn't stop me from enjoying this great Friday puzzle.

Loved the colloquial nature of the grid, from AW MAN and WELL DAMN to WELCOME TO MY LIFE.

As a child having lunch with my parents at The Brown Derby in L.A. I spotted William Frawley (Fred Mertz on "Lucy") in a nearby booth and he was having lunch with Tom SNYDER whom I didn't know but whom my father thought of as a JERK for some reason. I finally convinced my father to go over and ask for Frawley's autograph which he did, but he refused to ask for Snyder's. That night at our motel we turned on the TV. It was "The Tom Snyder Show" and Frawley was the special guest. The whole thing made me feel like a Hollywood insider.

Bob Rosen 12:28 PM  

Kvetch, kvetch, kvetch. Zeroth rocked, even if you didn’t know it. If hoods zip off they zip on. Etc. C’mon, Rex, excellent puzzle!

Anoa Bob 12:29 PM  

My first thought for 1A "Egg warmer" was HENSBUTT. Was that being anal?

I wondered if MOLASS would be the singular for MOLASSES? Was that being anal?

Anonymous 1:01 PM  

I had no problem with ZEROTH, I loved REARAXLE and ENEMYSPY (good misdirection on both), but I hated IMAFAN. One who is a fan is not necessarily "inspired," they simply like or enjoy the work. Bad answer, man. A good tough Friday.

Whatsername 1:04 PM  

I also thought “three pitch inning” was a terrible clue. Although the downs revealed it easily, I didn’t like it. It stunk up the whole puzzle for me. Happy Easter.

Mark 1:25 PM  

Boy the science vs liberal arts bias is really showing here. For those of us with a background or inclination towards anything mathematical ZEROTH is an entirely, not just recognizable, but commonplace word.

Masked and Anonymous 1:33 PM  

@Anoal Bob, 12:29pm: har

M&A

Anonymous 2:51 PM  

This puzzle just proves that the difficulty of a puzzle lies more in the solver than in the puzzle itself. I found this very easy, especially for a Friday and I rarely finish a Friday unscathed. All depends on your local knowledge.

Crane Poole 5:01 PM  

Zeroth (needed the crosses) or not... Personal best time for a Friday. Maybe it was just good brainage or good luck. I immediately wrote in MAMA BIRD and DON'T WAIT UP FOR ME.

Birchbark 5:02 PM  

@Z (10:08) -- I think you were referring to @Larry Gilstrap rather than me about the military? But if you were restating my thoughts on CANONS vs. Nikons, quite a deep and articulate dive.

Joe Dipinto 5:31 PM  

Great puzzle, way better than yesterday's. ZEROTH was no problem -- I'd have cited Bruckner's Symphony 00 had Anon not led off the commentary with a shout-out to it.

I had a minor slowdown in the central area -- I kept wanting 35a to be THE STORY OF MY LIFE even though it was one box too short. But eventually it all jell-oed into place. Fun to be reminded of Tom Snyder again, and the Amu Darya (as opposed to Syr Darya) river. I miss my atlas-obsessed youth.

sanfranman59 5:31 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 4:41 4:15 1.10 77.2% Medium-Challenging
Tue 6:22 5:31 1.15 77.9% Medium-Challenging
Wed 8:47 6:00 1.46 95.3% Very Challenging
Thu 9:32 10:01 0.95 42.6% Medium
Fri 13:23 12:22 1.08 62.2% Medium-Challenging

A nice challenge with some nice stuff and some not-so-nice stuff.

Nice:
- O SOLE MIO ... I always love thinking of that piece
- TURNIP ... I didn't know the cabbage part about rutabaga
- MOWS ... baseball clue!
- ALLOSAURUS ... who doesn't like dinosaurs?
- MOLASSES ... fun word ... I sometimes use the term "slow as molasses" and occasionally get confused looks when I do

Not-so-nice:
- NO RUN ... horrible baseball clue/answer combo
- MAO ... only because I don't want to read the standard bitching about tyrants in the comments on the Rex blog
- A TROIS ... I guess non-English words/phrases are probably fair game for Fri and Sat, but I still don't like them ... especially when crossed by AMU
- RIMA ... see A TROIS
- ZIP ON ... is this a real thing?
- ZEROTH ... seriously? ... please

OK, so it turns out that there's more naughty than nice. Maybe there were a few other clues I liked, but couldn't pick them out upon review of the grid.

Mohair Sam 5:51 PM  

@Z 10:08 (and everyone who commented on that post). Representative Charlie Rangel (D-NY) used to call for the reinstatement of the draft as a deterrent to war. He wanted all families to "feel the burden" if we were going fight. I couldn't agree more.

Alpha-Data 6:22 PM  

I thought this was a fine, workman-like puzzle. I liked it a lot!

everette 6:42 PM  

Walks (intentional or otherwise) use 4 pitches.

Anonymous 6:46 PM  

WELLDArN , a DNF here as I did not know RIME.

No problem with ZEROTH here, but I teach physics. I’ve noticed OFL often struggles with math/science clues. I tend to struggle with music and author clues.

Z 6:49 PM  

@Birchbark - D’Oh.

@Mohair Sam - A draft is one solution. Expecting political leaders to avoid misguided foreign wars because, you know, they’re bad ideas is apparently naive.

@John Child - Nice puzzle. WELL DAMN, I thought there was an Interesting synchronicity with today’s NYTX.

Speaking of baseball, I think video review is a stupid idea, but at least if you’re going to have it live by the rules you create for it.

Tita A 6:51 PM  

@lms - those redundancies were superfluous. But thanks anyway.

Ottermom!!!!!! LoD (Laugh of the Day!)

@Carola...all those in-charge ladies were my favorite part of this puzzle.

Did raise my eyebrow at PAGAN, long enough to wonder why poor Christmas was singled out. It made me wonder about how many rituals get absorbed over the millenia into whatever is the belief-du-jour.
Seems like a fairly widespread practice.

Speaking of, how many other Catholic elementary school alums bought PAGAN babies? I remember those little purple and white cardboard boxes, collecting pennies in them, then sending them somewhere to "buy pagan babies"? We would get to name them. It puzzled me a bit as a little kid. It puzzles me more now.

@Wm C - My parents lived in Le Vesinet!
I worked on r. Galilee, a generation later.

semioticus (shelbyl) 6:52 PM  

Huh. Zeroth is a very legitimate word in my book. See, for example, zeroth law of thermodynamics And I am not a baseball fan, so NORUN was an answer that I have deductively figured out and had no problems with. I though this was a good Friday puzzle, with the right amount of tricks and stuff.

I had S_ _ _ for School cafeteria food, stereotypically and for a while I legit thought "SHIT?" I was relieved to find out that wasn't the answer.

One thing that worked against the puzzle was the abundance of exclamatory etc. answers. They were crossed fairly, but it felt overwhelming in the beginning.

Good one. Happy with it.

GRADE: A-, 4.05 stars.

Abner Doubleday 7:23 PM  

Will someone please explain to several clueless folks on here that beginning with the 2017 season, Major League Baseball removed the requirement to throw four intentional balls. The manager of the team in the field now simply asks the plate umpire to let the batter go to first base.

Aketi 7:44 PM  

@Anoa Bob, good one.
@Gill I, your sister and my sister would do well together. My sister is the shortest in my family (by 1/4 inch) and she qualifies as a MAMA bear too.
@Nancy, my son is great, I have my maternal flaws. Apparently not so many that I impeded his development.

Alex Wright 8:58 PM  

IBBs don't require any pitches, so you could give up a dinger, walk a guy, get a double play, and have a one run three pitch inning.

Randall Clark 2:26 AM  

I loved this one, Seemed difficult at first, but then I worked my way through it. Initially had DArN like some others, but then I got the Almost There message and checked the downs. Didn't expect the PG13 DAMN in the NYT!

By the way, not to brag (okay, totally to brag), but I met LMS at the ACPT. She is the best person in the world, and she was so incredibly nice to this ACPT rookie! Thank you LMS!

Todd Castilow 6:57 AM  

"Thoroughfares?" If you're going to put a puzzle in the *New York* Times, and the theme is about the streets of *New York* City, then you better get the fact that thoroughfares in *New York* are always two-way and not one-way.

Anonymous 7:00 PM  

Hey Mr. Der,

Thank you for the superb puzzle. What an achievement.
And what a boon that Sharp was stymied. His egotistical rant and nonssnsensical claim about how many directions were in play are pure gold.
Thanks again.

Michael McCormick 9:33 PM  

Easy one, got it quick!!!!!!

Burma Shave 10:15 AM  

DENSE PAGAN ALLIN LACE

My DAMN FATHEADED LANDLADY will hem and haw
in BED, and NEVERFAILS to HARPON my wife,
“AW,MAN, PLEASESTOP. PLEASE go. Menage ATROIS,
and DON’TWAITUPFORME.” WELCOMETOMYLIFE.

--- DALE_S. SNYDER

thefogman 11:03 AM  

Stupid appears twice as a clue for no particular reason:
20A (FATHEADED) and 43A (DENSE)
But enough about Trump.

spacecraft 11:04 AM  

So OFL hates poker; I'm not surprised. IMAFAN. And there's lots of poker today!

"ICHECK."
"ALLIN."
[Calls, learns his top set has just lost to a runner-runner straight] "WELL, DAMN! AWMAN, I'm a DENSE FATHEAD. WELCOMETOMYLIFE."

Oh. Maybe THAT's why he hates it.

As to ZEROTH, I learned in today's blogs more than I ever wanted to about that word. For me it went in on crosses, having inferred the Z. But the real outlier is that uber-obscure part-name of an even more obscure river, AMU. I don't know how to fix that corner, but PLEASESTOP with the AMU's. Again, forced by crosses, so no real DNF threats; call it easy-medium. First thing I dropped in was the vertical gridspanner, off just the clue plus some finger-counting. OSOLEMIO followed, and it was off to the races.

Must be a thicket of baseball fans here; they all HARPON ways to skewer the NORUN inning. Well, not ALL...speaking of which, we have a plethora of ALLs in this one with ALLIN. ALLERGIC and ALLOSAURUS ALL occurring in one area. (I like MOLD next to ALLERGIC.)

SADE reprises as DOD. She could be my LANDLADY any time. Lots of cool conversational entries in this one; that NEVERFAILS to impress. Shorter fill, though, brings it down to a par.

rondo 12:27 PM  

My “refuse to drop” was HAngON at first, so that didn’t help to figure out that whole ZIPON/ZEROTH thing, until the light bulb went on and allowed me to HARPON that. Otherwise blot-free.

ENEMYSPY makes me think of SPY vs. SPY from MAD Magazine.

For surveyors, PKS are special heavy duty nails with a spiral-fluted shank (made by Parker-Kaelon) that you can drive into bituminous (not *tar*) surfaces to mark your reference points. Called PKS since the company’s initials P-K are stamped on the nail head. You learn more here by accident than elsewhere by design.

You might have the CLAP if it hurts PEEN.

Yup. Yeah baby SADE again. IMAFAN. NEVERFAILS in the romance dept.

Mostly easy and I could fill it ALLIN.

Anonymous 12:53 PM  

BTW, all the discussion about the NORUN inning is actually about a NORUN half-inning. As in the old riddler - how many outs in an inning? Answer is 6.

rainforest 2:26 PM  

Relatively easy puzzle for a Friday, and I enthusiastically endorse it.


ZEROTH, ZIP ON, SNYDER, O SOLE MIO, LANDLADY and NO RUN were gimmes. The central down grid-spanner came off the W of WAR and the U of NO RUN.

The rest was a lot of fun, filled with in-the-language colloquialisms. Too many? Hard to say, but I think I wouldn't want to see this many in all puzzles. Nonetheless, they add a certain sparkle to the fill.

treeeetop 2:30 PM  

According to the google ngram viewer (https://books.google.com/ngrams), zeroth is more common than allosaurus and much, much more common than megadeal.

https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=allosaurus%2Czeroth%2Cmegadeal&case_insensitive=on&year_start=1800&year_end=2000&corpus=15&smoothing=3&share=&direct_url=t4%3B%2Callosaurus%3B%2Cc0%3B%2Cs0%3B%3BAllosaurus%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Ballosaurus%3B%2Cc0%3B%3BALLOSAURUS%3B%2Cc0%3B.t4%3B%2Czeroth%3B%2Cc0%3B%2Cs0%3B%3Bzeroth%3B%2Cc0%3B%3BZeroth%3B%2Cc0%3B.t4%3B%2Cmegadeal%3B%2Cc0%3B%2Cs0%3B%3Bmegadeal%3B%2Cc0%3B%3BMegadeal%3B%2Cc0

leftcoastTAM 7:41 PM  

A Natick in the NW, WELLDArN/RIrA, and a mess in the SW three-stack, as a consequence of AMa/angErS.

Yet it was (triple) ALL worth the price of admission with the clues/answers: "And I get dumped on again"/WELLCOMETOMYLIFE and "Jeez that's a shame"/AWMAN.

Got some extra Kicks out of this one.

Anonymous 1:57 AM  

Rex Parker,

Asimov used the word in one of his later books for a law of robotics. Zeroth Law. Not sure if that is the origin of the term or it exists prior that. This would have been in the mid 1980s with Robots of Dawn or Robots and Empire.

Solved this without hints but got one wrong. LENALADY not LANDLADY. Put a E in for DALES instead of a A. Did not think it was right but forgot about it until looking the answers here.


Mark

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