Fictional work that eschews literary conventions / FRI 5-25-18 / Sister chain of applebee's / Rocker nicknamed Motor City Madman / Time-killing plays for quarterbacks / 12x platinum compilation album by Rolling Stones / Reality show whose contestants must be good with numbers

Friday, May 25, 2018

Constructor: Jeff Chen

Relative difficulty: Medium? I slept from 8:30pm to 2:00am, then solved, so ... I feel like I'm out of space and time right now, as I type this at 2:39am. I think my time is a Medium time, maybe tilting Easy (5:52)

THEME: none, except there's a field goal shape and the long answer is NUCLEAR FOOTBALL ... do you kick ... that? Does TED NUGENT kick it? USA USA?

Word of the Day: HOT ROCKS (37D: 12x platinum compilation album by the Rolling Stones, familiarly) —
Hot Rocks 1964–1971 is the first compilation album of Rolling Stones music released by former manager Allen Klein's ABKCO Records (who gained control of the band's Decca/London material in 1970) after the band's departure from Decca and Klein. Released in late 1971, it proved to be The Rolling Stones' biggest-selling release of their career and an enduring and popular retrospective.
After reportedly having been duped by Klein to unknowingly sign over the recording copyrights to all of their material from 1963 to 1970, The Rolling Stones left Decca and formed their own label, Rolling Stones Records, with a new distributor. They recorded Sticky Fingers throughout 1970, releasing it the following spring. Although Klein—and now ABKCO—no longer had The Rolling Stones as clients, their fruitful catalogue was ripe for the picking and, thus, Hot Rocks 1964–1971 was quickly compiled as a double album greatest hits package. (wikipedia)
• • •

Ironically, or aptly, couldn't get 1A: Frustrated solver's cry ("I"M STUCK!") and so the NW ended up being a total bust at first past. I managed to get IHOP / PORN in there (which I'm fairly sure is the name of somebody's tumblr feed, somewhere ... just sexy music and slo-mo syrup etc. ...) but nothing followed, so I had to roam the grid in search of a gimme to get me started. Thank you, Bobby SEALE (20A: Co-founder of the Black Panther party). SEALE ADA ELDER ENDER'S EDU got me started, but then I stalled and had to roam some more. Picked things back up with TASE ERIE SSN EATS* EAVE, but I pulled EATS because I was least sure of it, and could think of lots of other things that could go there (most notably, FOOD) (28A: Grub). Pulling it let me see the SCENT in PINE SCENT and the NOVEL in ANTI-NOVEL, and that's all I needed. Back-filled the NE and then devoured the rest of the puzzle in methodical clockwise fashion. Seriously, just did a lap around the puzzle, finishing up a the "T" in STARBURST (3D: Fireworks effect). Had a brief scare when I couldn't make continuous progress coming down into the SE—had THE but couldn't see VOICE, had HOT and couldn't remember ROCKS—so I restarted in SE and bang, DLINE (another football answer!) (51D: Gridiron group that tries to sack the QB, collectively) got me going again. Second half of the puzzle (south and west) went much, much faster.

For novice or still-struggling-with-Friday/Saturday solvers out there, maybe it's worth saying that when I say I got IHOP / PORN right away, I did this not because I actually *know* that IHOP is the [Sister chain of Applebee's], but because I know that IHOP is a chain restaurant that's four letters long. That is how crossword brain works—clue narrows it down to a category, brain rolodexes through known items in that category that fit whatever pattern the grid is presenting. I actually wanted SMUT at first for 19A: Steamy fare, but checking the restaurant cross, I thought "hmmm, IHOP?" Which gave me the "P" and that stands for PORN and also stands for "pool" (it stands for "pool"!), 76 trombones! "Gary, INDIANA, Gary INDIANA"! (consider yourselves THANKED for indulging me in this "Music Man" digression")

Is DEEP FAT real? I mean, it's not a thing, is it? How is it "deep"? How deep is your fat!? I really need to learn. Seriously, though, I thought it was "deep" only insofar as you had to put enough of it in the fryer to submerge stuff. It's a weird thing to see stand on its own, without "fried" or "fryer" after it. AD UNITS is so phenomenally dreary as an answer, it makes me hate comprehensive crossword compiler word lists, and I have been in English departments in one way or another for three decades and have literally never come across the term ANTI-NOVEL (I'm sure they exist, they just ... don't, for practical purposes, is what I'm saying). But I mostly enjoyed solving this. Solid grid, whimsical grid shape, snazzy fill here and there (FAIR SHAKE, HOT ROCKS, LET'S ROLL, HATES ON). OK, so no one actually says AH, BLISS, and VROOMED is super-weird in the perfect tense, but those are at least colorful answers. It's fine.

PS LOL OBAMA crossing NUCLEAR FOOTBALL. You *wish* he still had the football. Congrats on your well-considered choices, USA. How'd that North Korea summit thing work out for you? Good? Well, you'll always have the coin.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 4:04 AM  

Easy-medium for me too. Smooth, interesting grid, and clever, liked it!

So, right after I finished the puzzle I watched the season finale of Madam Secretary which had the NUCLEAR FOOTBALL prominently featured in the opening sequence...are the TV fictional/puzzle worlds trying to give me a heads up?

Loren Muse Smith 4:20 AM  

Ok. So here’s what I thought when I saw the grid – Jeff likes to do left-right symmetry. Maybe there’s not a little mini theme here. So then NUCLEAR FOOTBALL fell, and I thought, hmmm. Serendipity? And we have D LINE and KNEELS.

I’m assuming that those are just fortunate entries, fortunate for the goal-post grid art and fortunate ‘cause both NUCLEAR worries and KNEELS are all over the news right now.

Rex – I totally missed that OBAMA crosses NUCLEAR FOOTBALL. Nice.

Liked VROOMED. My students use its cousin word, brap, a lot. I thought it was just a sound word like VROOM, but apparently it’s a verb that means to ride a two-stroke engine. So they go brappin’.

“TGIF” before IHOP. Who knew? Also “lays away” before RUNS A TAB. Bet I’m not alone on that.

Tried “man to man” and “hand to hand” – neither would fit.

“How bugs may be eaten” – swallowed whole with my eyes closed if I’m ever on Survivor and that’s the challenge. Why do these people chew them? I get that more people on the planet voluntarily eat bugs than not, that I should just get with the program, but the mental block is just too powerful. I ate chitterlings once and would happily pick those over grubs any day. And I’m sure they taste a ton worse. (They. Were. Nasty.) It’s just that eating any part of a critter with four legs is more palatable than eating something that has tentacles and a thorax. Actually, now that I’ve sat here thinking about it, it’s not so simple. I’ll eat a crawdad or a lobster; they look like bugs. And those wispy things are probably tentacles. I’m gonna have to think about this some more to figure out where we (I) draw the line on what creature I’m willing to eat.

So…. TGIF! Nice Friday fare, Jeff.

Anonymous 4:35 AM  

You sound like you couldn’t be happier that peace talks are on hold. Leftist hypocrisy at its finest and completely unsurprising

Anonymous 5:33 AM  

For a nano-moment I contemplated whether steamed cORN was a thing. Agree that DEEP FAT misses the standalone bar, but it’s somehow makes for a charming entry.

Anonymous 5:35 AM  

I would like to express some moderator love. Y’all (assuming it’s a team effort) do a judicious job. How many of there are you? Do you take turns? Thank you.

Eric 5:53 AM  

Fastest Friday ever. Not the challenge I expect. First time EVER I went right around the grid without a hitch. Had to be rated easy ‘cos I’m just not that good.

joebloggs 5:57 AM  

Ah, bliss? Jeesh...

Lewis 6:14 AM  

Lovely Spanish second column all the way down, and sparkling wordplay clues for THE VOICE ("Reality show whose contestants must be good with numbers"), NUCLEAR FOOTBALL ("Important case for national security"), and especially ANDES ("Long range"). That last one brought a huge HAH and overall STARBURST.

After seeing this is by Jeff, I knew it would be spotless with well-thought-out clues, and, once again, it was. Burnished. May I never take for granted the effort that goes into making a puzzle with these qualities, and thank you over and over again, Jeff.

Charles Flaster 6:24 AM  

Medium only because of a DNF at EndS and not EVES.
Favorite clue was for ON A DARE.
Wanted spikeS for KNEELS but IM STUCK bailed me out. It also helped me change ole to USA.
My other writeover was DEEP FAT for DEEP pAn, although DEEP Fry was a possibility until I noticed “frying” in the clue.
Thanks JC

Anonymous 6:25 AM  

USA will not be a chant at this World Cup as they failed to qualify. Did nobody catch that?

puzzlehoarder 6:43 AM  

So much for the ramped up difficulty this week. This went down like an easy Thursday. This was a gimmick puzzle and all challenge was sacrificed to make it. The constructor noted how much work it took to fill the grid. It just required very little to solve it.

LHS 888 6:44 AM  

Another technical DNF here. I made several good inroads, but then got seriously STUCK. Mr. Google to the rescue!

3 Googles: MACON, SEALE, ENDERS gave me enough to complete the solve.

I grew up in INDIANA where I learned the State motto in the 4th or 5th grade. (Saved me 1 Google)

eats > CHOW

Hand up for struggling with DEEPFAT. Huh?!? Yes, a DEEP FAT fryer is a thing, but I thought the DEEP is a modifier of “fryer” rather than FAT.

_ _ _LISS had to be something-BLISS. For some strange reason my brain refused to make sense of BCCED. I stared at that for a couple of seconds after the puzzle was complete, and, finally... D’oh!!

Didn’t know OBAMA won 2 Grammys. I guess I’ll have to look that up.

I enjoyed the challenging puzzle. Thanks!

Harryp 6:53 AM  

There was a lot I liked here; MANO A MANO, ANTI-NOVEL, ANDES, DLINE, VROOMED. Hand up for OLE before USA. Something to hate; TED NUGENT, that Super Patriotic chicken hawk. Viet Nam draft dodger, and hypocrisy at its' most virulent.

Moly Shu 7:08 AM  

Fairly certain the world will end today, @Rex liked a @JeffChen puzzle. No, I don’t wish OBAMA still had the NUCLEARFOOTBALL. Glad him and his leftist ilk are long gone. Yes I love me some Trump. I do wish OFL would’ve linked to a Ted NUGENT clip. Yea right, like that’ll ever happen. HOT ROCKS rocks.

JJ 7:13 AM  

Rex, love watching you crow if peace talks don't work out. Obama was so superior in that department. Finally someone who doesn't just acquiesce to those with nuclear ambitions. OTOH, I enjoyed several clever clues, esp. The clue for MOON

M. Salah 7:15 AM  

Won't be chanting USA at a World Cup until at least 2022. Hows that for "long range" cluing?

And USA soccer still has a lot of work to do if it plans to make the cut for 2022.

But the impossible can and does happen. Hey, Rex liked a Jeff Chen Puzzle! Whodda thunk it?

QuasiMojo 7:21 AM  

I preferred Mr. Chen's puzzle in the WSJ yesterday. A tad trickier.

I put in I GIVE UP first which gave me IHOP (although I also wanted UNOS; I've never been to an Applebee's so I had no idea what kind of restaurant it is.) That whole "sister" thing is interesting. I just found out the other day that Campbell's Soup owns Godiva chocolates. Who'd a thunk it.

I also wonder if Jeff Chen has seen any PORN lately. It is hardly what you would call "steamy" anymore. Deadly dull. STORMY yes!

Chen is prone to clunkers such as THANKED. Hardly AH BLISS.

LONG RANGE next to NUCLEAR was pretty good though, even if in a DEEP embedded State.

Jean Paul Sartre apparently coined the term "anti-novel" (anti-roman) so I guess if it's good enough for one of the greatest minds and writers of the 20th century Rex, it should be fine for the NYT puzzle.

My main hurdle today was the guy's nickname. I put in PETEY (get it, P T). I don't say ARTIE as R T. It's more like Ardy. R T SHAW? (That brings me back to Ava Gardner... ETC.)

Robert Logan 7:21 AM  

Nice puzzle but perhaps a bit too easy for a Friday except of course for the USA World cup chant last heard 2014 and no chance until the next decade.

Kodak Jenkins 7:22 AM  

ANDES was my last answer because the SW corner was tough.

Was the USA clue a total dig? Because there will be no earnest USA! USA! cheers at a World Cup for at least 4 more years. Sad!

I enjoyed the puzzle, even with the jingoist slant. Was LETSROLL a nod to Flight 93?

Maybe it's just me but this puzzle seems a bit subversive. You've got OBAMA and TEDNUGENT in the same grid, classic Americana like DEEPFAT and INDIANA, Bobby SEALE and KNEELS (nod to Black Power/NFL anthem issue)

kitshef 7:24 AM  

Dip! Was that ever easy. Monday/Tuesday level.

Others besides Barack Obama who have won a Nobel prize and a Grammy are Jimmy Carter, Bob Dylan, Mikhael Gorbachev, and Martin Luther King Jr. Not a bad list for a “if you could have dinner with any five men alive during your lifetime” hypothetical. [The Nobel committee, not so enlightened as the NY Times Crossword, has given only 5% of prizes to women.]

Normal Norm 7:24 AM  

Football is of no interest to me so meh.
Having Abu and Let's Roll in the same puzzle is in such poor taste that I can't say anything good about this grid. How can I see these answers without memories of 9/11? Talk about tone deaf.
Obama has two Grammy awards? I see they were for the spoken word genre. They couldn't be for musical talent. The man doesn't seem coordinated enough to snap his fingers much less keep a beat.

Space Is Deep 7:25 AM  

Pretty easy for a Friday . As was Thursday. I'm still not even close to finishing the Wednesday puzzle.

kitshef 7:29 AM  

M. Salah - I assumed the clue for USA referred to the upcoming Women's Baseball World Cup, to be held in Florida, where there will be USA chants aplenty.

Trombone Tom 7:29 AM  

Good cluing made this fairly interesting. I had a slow start in the NW with ole before USA (maybe a sense of reality this year) and spikeS before KNEELS. Otherwise my experience was similar to @Rex's.

Hand up for hesitating before accepting DEEP FAT.

Vroom Vroom!

Conrad 7:37 AM  

Easy Friday until I got to the SW. Sadly, I must have played hooky the day we covered foods in Spanish 1 class and confidently spelled it the way it sounds to Jose Jimenez, jUEVOS. Then I was wondering if “oj BLISS” was maybe an advertising slogan for the Florida Orange growers. Slept on it and it all became clear in the morning.

Penelope 7:41 AM  

When Rex writes LOL I think he means Wah Wah Wah. What a whiner.

Anonymous 7:46 AM  

kitshef - I was just assuming it was the Women's Football/Soccer World Cup.

paperandink 7:48 AM  

this puzzle brought back an 80's vibe for me.. dnk too many clues! ahbliss was amiss..

Patrick O'Connor 7:53 AM  

This is the first time I've read through the comments in a while, and I'm surprised by the amount of animus against your straight-up liberalism; Rex. I would have preferred everyone to restrict themselves to snarky comments on your grouchiness, and here I find you are home for so many political grouches.

I comment to put in a good word for anti-novels. I'm a Spanish professor who reads and teaches a lot of them: Cortázar's Hopscotch, principally, but I've heard people call Finnegans Wake, Sterne's Tristram Shandy, and Diderot's Jacques the Fatalist anti-novels too.

Anonymous 7:58 AM  


Anonymous 8:01 AM  

First-time commenter here, I've been following the blog for a few months now but this is the first time I feel compelled to comment because of how funny this post was. Between the mental image of Ted Nugent kicking one through the uprights, to the slow-mo porn syrup set to some freaky Barry White beat, I was actually LOL'ing which is rare for me this early in the morning.

Unless I'm not seeing something, Rex has an asterisk in this post with no corresponding footnote. The only reason I mention this is because there was a sniglet for that - tying it back to that entry's appearance the other day.

Ok, now I gotta go look it up - it's "exasperisk." Now you know.

Hats off to Mr. Chen for a silky smooth Friday. Even without reading his constructor notes I could have told you that it must have been a beast to pull it off. Really well done.

Sir Hillary 8:10 AM  

Fine puzzle, but I won't remember a thing about it in a week. I had a bit of an error-fest -- knew HOTROCKS but misread it as 35D not 37D and "confirmed" the mistake because TNT fit (I do know my 1970s rock). Also, Dada >> DECO and ,later, laCED >> BCCED.

Loved @Rex's 2AM bleary-eyed commentary. "How deep is your fat? I really need to learn." -- LOL.

I also find some of the anon names to be a source of underrated humor. "M. Salah" is my favorite today.

Roo Monster 8:33 AM  

Hey All !
Nook-lear, as Bush II said. Har. Was wondering why the "goal post" was in the center. Because if the NUCLEAR FOOTBALL gets taken by HOSTELS, the DLINE will say "LET'S ROLL" and UNSNARL it from them. Then KBEELS and punt it through the uprights. ... NOT TRUE.

Really wanted qUEsO for HUEVO, but couldn't get the Q to jive with the cross. Funny to see one HUEVO, usually pluralized with an S. That SW section was toughest. LLANO, EVES (as clued), BCCED.

Fun clue for MOON. A lost art, that. Although, don't people still MOON that one train? THANKED in advance for the answer.

Weird clue for HARE. As much as I liked Tiny Toons when it was showing, that's a very obscure clue. If you want your Looney Tunes, why not "Bugs, E.g." or somesuch. Side story: When Tiny Toons was showing, there was also the best cartoon ever, Darkwing Duck. I wanted to be him when I grew up. :-) "Let's Get Dangerous"

So only said IM STUCK in SW. VROOMED through the rest. CHOW (CAIO)


Jamie C 8:38 AM  

Plunked down AFTERGLOW for "fireworks effect" and never looked back. Ok I looked back a lot.
Trump deserves the Nobel prize for agreeing to the summit. No wait, he deserves the Nobel prize for cancelling the summit. No wait, he deserves the Nobel prize for losing 1500 children. No wait...

mmorgan 8:44 AM  

Of course I had OLE at 5D for a bit. Lots of great clues here (36D, 43D)!

And as for the coin, we have ELTON John here to go with "Liddle" Rocket Man... So much to read into one puzzle!

Matthew 8:45 AM  

"For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me" Matthew 25:35. When Pew asked Americans if we had a responsibility as a country to accept refugees, no group was LESS Supportive than WHITE Evangelical Protestants!

Robso 8:50 AM  

“Waiter, do you have shallow fat fries? I’m on a diet.”

Anonymous 8:53 AM  

Glad "he", not "him". not surprised you like Donny.

Wm. C. 8:59 AM  

@Anon8:20 from yesterday, in re: Spooner's occupation.

Your post in response to mine finally persuaded me to Google Spooner. You're right that he was a Cleric, but I was also right that he was a Professor. He was an Oxford Don and an ordained minister.

Nancy 9:05 AM  

I just lost a long post. I hit some key, not sure which, and my comment vanished -- VROOM -- as though it had been hit by a NUCLEAR FOOTBALL. This comment will be shorter.

Don't understand the grid art. Is that the FOOTBALL upright that the NUCLEAR FOOTBALL is supposed to go through? Or is it a giant "Y", asking about the Meaning of Life in an age of HATES ON; PORN; SMUG; and NOT TRUE?

Two rock music clues today. That's two too many. I suppose I must get used to the fact that The Rocker We Will Always Have With Us. But at least TED NUGENT has a normal name. Not like yesterday's WEEKND guy.

I was scratching my head over ANDED -- or was it ONDED -- as my answer to "Long range" (43D). Belatedly, I saw ANDES (very well clued), changed my answer to "Pop" (60A) from daDA to SODA, and I was finished. Crunchy puzzle. Liked it.

Andrew Heinegg 9:06 AM  

I have never been able to get on Mr. Chen's wavelength. In this puzzle, a combination of head scratching over deep fat and yawns over tired crossword words like tsars and Erie just don't work for me. In addition, his name is appearing as puzzle author with more frequency than just about anyone else in the recent past. Variety is the spice of life and crosswords, even if you enjoy his work.

I see the Trump supporters are taking umbrage at Rex's shot at Trump on the North Korea summit. My response to those folks is simply this. We can argue until the cows come home about tactics and values. The leaders of nearly every country in the world, allies and enemies alike, except for oppressive regimes in Russia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the Phillipines and the like, think Trump is a complete failure as a diplomat and believe he is pursuing destructive courses of action in every area of international concern-ecology, war, etc.

If you believe he is doing things the right way, I assume you are comfortable with the idea that someone that admits he never reads anything and has zero knowledge or experience in matters of diplomacy or anything else relating to governing is on the right path while the rest of the world is all wrong. Okay, if you say so.

michiganman 9:12 AM  

Fun, interesting puzzle but the west, particularly the SW gave me fits. Had LETSdoit for a while. Tried stepS, shoES, before BLUES (Baby). Loved VROOMED and ONADARE. TEDNUGENT is legitimate entry but still made my stomach turn. Appropriate that it crossed HATESON. But that's who he is. I wanted the answer to be Bob Seeger at first but of course didn't fit. My new crossword goal is to remember TORIC for next time.

Deep Deep 9:15 AM  

My time was off because I drank too much before I went to bed and then got up at 2 am and decided to solve. So I think I might have a tiny bit of a problem but you can talk yourself out of anything.

Anonymous 9:16 AM  

Ugh.. cheering for a snag in peace talks with NK.

Hypocritica 9:21 AM  

"Obama’s comments in 2008 and 2009 about talking to strongmen “without preconditions,” and his efforts to work with both North Korea and Cuba’s communist governments, were greeted by conservatives with scorn. So it seemed odd to some on the right that Trump doing the same was being feted as a victory for American foreign policy."

Bob Mills 9:26 AM  

Wow, these clues had to have come from Will, not from Jeff Chen. "Long range" for ANDES? ""Secretly included..." for BCCED? I'm proud of myself for finishing it.

Is there any way to prevent these inappropriate, unnecessary political comments? Shouldn't this be about today's puzzle, only?

Anonymous 9:34 AM  

I sort of agree but the off point discussions can be entertaining.

Anonymous 9:40 AM  

Nobody has a problem for kneels as a time-killing play?
As an employee of the NFL for just shy of three decades,I cam assure the term is always, and I mean universally and eternally, kneel down. The formation its run from has different names, often victory, but the play is a kneel down.

Junief 9:41 AM  

No, it was nu-cu-lar.

Anonymous 9:44 AM  

Ted Nugent is nauseating, but your're, apparently, ok with porn?
Nice values. Wow.

Linda Vale 9:44 AM  

Two anti-semites in one Puzzle! TEDNUGENT and OBAMA.

GHarris 9:44 AM  

Had oh bliss so never saw the Andes. Thus ended with one wrong letter. Like others I had to change lays away to runs a tab and dada to soda. Overall fun and somewhat challenging.Just don’t know what to make of Trump’s Korean gyrations. We all hope for the best.

Anonymous 9:48 AM  

Rex. There has to be some time you're awake of you're really getting the ridiculous times you say you do every day. You can't complain you're solve is off every morning and then also complain that it's off at night.

Nancy 9:50 AM  

Nice one, @Robso (8:50)!

A few more thoughts:

I don't eat bugs. ON A DARE, or at any other time. I'm relieved that CHOW was on the opposite side of the puzzle.

Whenever I come face to face with an ANTI-NOVEL, I turn into an ANTI-READER.

I don't know exactly how a DIALER (8D) works, but the sooner they take it away from telemarketers, the better.

John Child 9:52 AM  

{Get cheeky with?} and {Long range} are awesome clues. Only one major mistake, mais non instead of NOT TRUE. Way below Friday average time here, but it didn’t feel easy.

Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
And saw, within the moonlight in his room,
Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
An angel writing in a book of gold:—
Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
And to the Presence in the room he said
"What writest thou?"—The vision raised its head,
And with a look made of all sweet accord,
Answered "The names of those who love the Lord."
"And is mine one?" said Abou. "Nay, not so,"
Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,
But cheerly still, and said "I pray thee, then,
Write me as one that loves his fellow men."

The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night
It came again with a great wakening light,
And showed the names whom love of God had blessed,
And lo! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest.

Grouco 9:57 AM  

This was challenging, or maybe easy, not sure. I did it in 54:36 but had just polished off a six pack of Colt .45 and my dog threw up on my shoes right in the middle of my solving experience. Threw in NUCLEAR FOOTBALL immediately as I have a PhD in physics and played quarterback at Oberlin. Was dielayed when I saw the face of that fascist McCain on CNN, stopped to hurl my bust of Marx at the TV. By the way, Will Shortz is a total dick.

Z 10:01 AM  

Lots to love. Lots of timeliness (anyone else think of Hawaii when HOT ROCKS appeared?). But also some serious ugh worthy entries. AH BLISS sounds like the tag line in your IHOP PORN AD UNIT. AD UNIT is about as nichey and blah an answer as can be. And DEEP FAT‽ Seriously? Anyone got a usage from the wild anywhere? Usually it’s short fill that causes the arched eyebrows, so three weak entries of 6 or 7 letters is a little surprising. I think the good outweighs the bad here, but only after I got out of the NE corner.

webwinger 10:13 AM  

Have to say I’ve come around to enjoying the political “footballing” that increasingly seems to be a hallmark of this blog. Rex can be counted on to hug the extreme left. Commenters aplenty now to call him on that and take the opposing stance, with provocation of his many allies to counterpunch. It’s entertaining, but also makes the valuable point that smart serious thinkers can be found across the spectrum, among people who share passion for a fairly slight intellectual exercise that should be, but in our hyper-polarized era seldom manages to be neutral. My only real beef (oops, make that gripe) is the use of “anonymous” for postings. Come on, guys and women, it’s easy enough to create a moniker that conceals your real identity but allows readers to recognize when comments originate from a particular source.

Oh yes, the puzzle. Agree it was easy for a Friday, cleverly done. No particular hang ups here.

GILL I. 10:16 AM  

Inquiring minds....@jae and @Loren. Do you two get enough sleep? I worry sometimes. Every once in a while I get a brilliant thought on a puzzle answer and try to wait up for @Rex to post. Every time I do, he inevitably posts at some god-awful hour and I'm already in bed and then I wake up and my brilliant thought has already been shared by every body on this blog and I have nothing to add so I make up a story and bore the hell out of even me.
DUCK FAT. It just had to be. Even I will fry my meticulously cut potatoes in DUCK FAT. Damn! The P IN PINE SCENT (gives me a blooming headache) finally got me out of that mess.
PORN and SEALE were my first entries. Ill have to revisit my brain.
I have never made an omelet with just one HUEVO. If you're going to MAN UP, you better have at least two HUEVOs.
MOON. Loved that clue...@Roo....On the California Zephyr from Sacramento to Denver, when you go around the bend somewhere in the Rockies, you get your moonies. It's cute. The conductor comes around and tells everyone to look out the right window because they camp on the river and wait until the train comes into view so they can do their stuff. What a life! Can you imagine doing that everyday as your goal in life?
Anyway, I LOVED this puzzle. Jeff Chen is a master cluer. He makes it fun to try and figure where he's coming from. I could do a puzzle like this all day long. Thanks for the fun, Jeff.

TubaDon 10:22 AM  

First thing I wrote in was STARBURST and was astonished that it held up. Lived in INDIANA for several years so that was another gimme. Despite a complete lack of knowledge of rock music, somehow I managed to get guess those answers from the crosses. DEEP FAT is indeed the sine qua non of fast fooderies. Winced at AD UNITS and DLINE, which detracted from an otherwise enjoyable puzzle.

Hate Trump too but 10:31 AM  

I come here to read about the puzzle but since Rex brought it up I guess North Korea is fair game for the commentariat. Yesterday: Trump is a moron to hold the North Korea summit and there's no upside.

Today: Trump is a moron to cancel the North Korea summit; it gives him zero leverage.

Tomorrow: The summit is back on and it's a testament to Trump's stupidity.

#Resistance is non-falsifiable.

Kimberly 10:37 AM  

Easiest Friday in a while.

Just putting in the letters for Ted Nugent’s name with all the USA and nuclear crap made me want to shower. And having written it again I must go do so. *shudder*

Stanley Hudson 10:38 AM  

Why would anyone think it’s a good idea to put in the same room two narcissistic sociopaths who control nuclear arsenals?

Anonymous 10:38 AM  

@Gill - Your post reminded me of the old bilingual joke: the English have two eggs for breakfast, but in France one's un oeuf. Nice puzzle and pleasant enough blog from Rex.

Mel B 10:56 AM  


Matthew 11:03 AM  

Well, USA is decidedly not a World Cup cheer since they did not qualify for this one

jberg 11:15 AM  

Well, if you’re gonna fry them spuds, you gotta have some DEEP FAT, so that was ok. I thought it was a roboDIALER, but what do I know?

My biggest problem was that I thought it was Wednesday, and kept looking for the theme. See a couple days ago for what that’s called.

@Loren, that seems too easy— am I missing a meta of some kind?

jb129 11:18 AM  

Great puzzle, JC! (especially after a weird week) - Thank you!

Chris 11:20 AM  

Ok, this is weird. I did Friday's NYT puzzle, read the blog as usual, and there was the Robert Preston link. Since I've always loved that show, and the Ya Got Trouble number in particular, I clicked on the link - and it was brilliant as always.

Here's the rub. I've watched that piece dozens of times, always with a happy smile on my face. This time, not so much. I perceived it instead as one hyperbolic piece of inflammatory false news after another. Harold Hill is appealing to mob hysteria. My skin crawled. My defenses were triggered. Watch it and see. This is the strongest demonstration I've seen to the degree our society is eating its own heart. Innocence is lost. Very sad.

Anyway, nothing to do with the puzzle per se, but thought I'd share.

JOHN X 11:23 AM  

@GILL I. 10:16

I rode the California Zephyr from Denver to Oakland and saw all the "moons." I guess it's a rich tradition.

The stretch that runs from the Continental Divide west to Grand Junction is cut into the side of the gorge that carries the headwaters of the Colorado River. It is single track only so trains must alternate between east bounders and west bounders. Only two passenger trains run this route: the eastbound and the westbound California Zephyr.

I rode the westbound Zephyr out of Denver on a Saturday morning during spring thaw so the Colorado was packed with river rafters. I sat in the observation car (packed with German tourists) and as we rolled down the gorge the occupants of all the rafts, whether in the water or pulled over to shore, would stand up and moon the train. That's hundreds of asses that were deliberately pointed at me. It was really kind of amazing. I photographed and video the whole trip.

The Zephyr and the Empire Builder are the two most scenic U.S. railroad trips through the Rockies and I recommend them. Get a roomette: the prices fluctuate wildly from cheap to expensive with no pattern so just keep checking on-line at all different dates and days. The CN train through the Canadian Rockies is the most scenic ride of them all.

As for the puzzle: super duper easy.

old timer 11:26 AM  

Easy for a Friday. Why, you ask? Because I finished it with no writeovers and no lookups. Other than that, it was pretty difficult, as it should be.

Thanks, @JohnChild, for giving us ABOU. It was in the back of my mind when I finally got there. And thanks to OFL for giving praise when praise is due for Mr Chen.

@Gill I., there are I think three locations at least on Amtrak where the passengers can often see nude swimming and sunbathing. One is of course near Santa Barbara. But I think that swimming hole in Colorado is the only one where mooning the train is a tradition.

Oh, and one thing I like about Trump is he gets played by Kim and plays right back. As a man and as a President and as a role model for my grandchildren I liked OBAMA better. But it is always a mistake to think Trump can do nothing right. Though I am now expecting my FB friends will say that the pardon of Jack Johnson was some sort of racist move by Trump, because they think he does nothing right ever,

Anonymous 11:28 AM  

Great puzzle. Easiest Jeff Chen that I've ever tackled.

Lots of weird comments re. Trump/Kim debacle. Why not direct your statements about "being gleeful for failure" to Bolton and Pence?

Masked and Anonymous 11:56 AM  

East-West symmetry themelessthUmbsUp! Nice giant "U" grid art. Nice themeless theme, also.

This looks like a kinda hard grid for a constructioneer to fill. Like @RP's solve, everything that goes around comes around. I figured some tasty desperation would naturally ensue. But -- actually, the fillins are pretty darn clean. No need to hang the PINESCENT, to cover up the bouquet of a rare ADUNITS ow de speration. Or to hide the oh-so mild TORIC DLINE aromae.

Had pre-xactly the same initial solvequest breakthrough as the @RPmeister, up in the SEALE/ADA/ENDERS U-zone. Was inexplicably immediately drawn to that spot. But, I then somehow managed to backup into the NW and get most of that corner. Lost valuable nanoseconds, continually pausin to re-admire the giant U [on a stick], tho. I'd rate this puz a Medium-Feisty pUp.

Thanx U on a Stick, Mr. Chen. Different. Good.

Masked & Anonym8Us

What's with this "coin" dealie? Is Trump mintin his own U.S. coins? What is its denomination? Or is this puppy one of them fast-buck TV ad Franklin Mint jobbers? Confuses the M&A.

Not an Apologetic American 11:57 AM  

Yea, because we’ve done such a great job with North Korea these past 50-60 years. I mean, things are great there, aren’t they?

Dennis McCooe 12:04 PM  

Hence, a poor clue. Ole

Banana Diaquiri 12:07 PM  

@Patrick O'Connor:
I'm surprised by the amount of animus against your straight-up liberalism; Rex.

Pat, Pat, Pat... you have to know that Right Wingnuts moronically rabid. intellectual consideration never applies. :)

remember, "You also had some very fine people on both sides"

JOHN X 12:07 PM  

There's also a "Moon Amtrak Festival" held annually at a bar by the tracks in Laguna Niguel CA, where everyone says hello to the several Pacific Surliners that roll through there daily. I think they do it in July.

As for the Zephyr, it isn't just one spot, it's the entire length where it runs along the Colorado River. There's only two passenger trains daily (the East Zephyr and the West Zephyr) so everybody saves it up, I guess.

I don't know how I became an authority on train mooning but there you are. I have never mooned a train.

Teedmn 12:10 PM  

I found this easier than I usually find Chen puzzles. This took less time (12:08) than either Wed. or Thurs. this week and on-line besides, where I'm usually slower. I had to start in the NE where ENDER'S Game was a gimme and PINE SCENT went right in - I've seen so many of those doofy, fir-tree shaped deodorizers hanging from people's rear-view mirrors. What are they doing in their cars, that they need them?

DEEP FAT is a really funny answer to the 8A clue - I think the fryer itself is deep, no? Not the fat. I suppose it's a rather DEEP subject.

I had a couple of write-overs - I'M blanK at 1A, OLE to USA at 5D, and FAIR SHArE at 12D but otherwise this was a BLISSful solve, thanks, Jeff Chen.

Liz T. 12:18 PM  

Yeah, no way is DEEP FAT a thing you need to fry. You need to deep fry fat. I would go as far as to call this on objective error on the Times' part.

JC66 12:29 PM  


re: the coin

Anonymous 12:33 PM  

Ah that Natick SEALE/ADA (or in my case SEiLE/iDA cross). Neither of these names is well known unless you do crosswords constantly

TomAz 12:39 PM  

I also had DUCK FAT, which makes a lot more sense than DEEP FAT, because as Rex notes "DEEP FAT" is not a thing. Also, DUCK FAT is how the French cook their frites. And it's delicious.

This puzzle is weird. Football in May? NUCLEAR FOOTBALL? what? USA in the World Cup? huh?

Joe Bleaux 12:40 PM  

Watching Obama on a basketball court or a dance floor, one would conclude that he's not as coordinated as Trump, right?

Anonymous 12:45 PM  

And I certainly wpould’t want Hillary stumbling around with the nuclear football.

Joe Bleaux 12:46 PM  

Because of his consistent excellence, Jeff Chen is one of very few constructors I wouldn't boo for AD UNITS or AH BLISS. Today's was a little easy for a Friday, but no complaints here. Happy weekend, all.

Anonymous 12:46 PM  

Russian bots

Barry Frain 12:50 PM  

@Stanley, here’s a quarter, call someone who cares.

Barry Frain
East Biggs, CA

DigitalDan 12:52 PM  

Things that should appear in no crossword:
(sports) UTE

Silly Rabbi 12:55 PM  

Actually, Obama can sing quite well.

You may not like his policies (I certainly didn't care for a lot of them) but a big part of his unpopularity has to be the way the "Party of Nope" has spent the last ten years on ad hominem attacks on his citizenship, lack of intelligence, lack of musical ability and other falsehoods.

Anonymous 12:58 PM  

Americans play football and measure in feet and yards. The rest of the world plays soccer amd measures in meters. That we have a soccer team at all is what’s remarkable, not that our team is bad.

Anonymous 1:02 PM  

But the guy who got the Nobel for mo reason gets a pass....

John Hoffman 1:12 PM  

Easy Friday for me! And DEEPFAT isn’t a thing. DEEPPAN would work.

Anonymous 1:16 PM  

I looked up Bobby Seale on Wkipedia and was amused to see he used to pitch for Ben and Jerr’s ice cream.

Bobby Seale
Ted Nugent
Mick Jagger and crew
Mario Vargas Llosa
Elton John

That’s a motley crue

Anonymous 1:20 PM  

Because grammatical mistakes are solely the province of the right?

Matt 1:23 PM  

I don’t get Rice left on a shelf. ANNE Rice is an author, and books are left on shelves? Is that it?

Anonymous 1:48 PM  

Ted Nugent is a non talent. A draft dodger who should have been locked up for his threats against President Obama. I refused to fill in his name.

CashPo' 1:52 PM  

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary online version:

"Definition of deep fat: hot fat or oil deep enough in a cooking utensil to cover the food to be fried."

Anonymous 2:03 PM  

Read the 8A clue "Frying need for French fries" French fries are prepared in a deep fat fryer so answer makes perfect sense.

Modern Texas Dilettante 2:10 PM  

The Motor City Madman is a vile racist. Remember!

Anonymous 2:28 PM  

Every person who posted today in opposition to deep fat - starting with RP who sets the tone - is an ignoramus (by definition of the word) who doesn't know the difference between sauteeing and deep frying.
Sheesh, get a life, peeps, y'all embarrass yourselves daily.

Odd Sock 2:34 PM  

@ Kimberly I believe you may have OCD what with all of that showering.
North Korea and the rest of the world need to see an American leader who has "grown a pair." It's all they understand. Bravo.
Favorite Ted Nugent the Michigan hunter quote: "Whack 'em and stack 'em." (He means deer.)
Gotta love it.
Don't like my opinion? Put it in deep fat and fry it!
I stayed up too late and drank too much.

Masked and Anonymous 2:39 PM  


staff weeject pick: ABU. Better clue: {How 3-year-old M&A started to recite his alphabet??}.

Hey, thanx for the coin info, @JC66. Real nice of U.
Sooo … maybe -- if the W.H. Coin Factory takes a bath on this mint-run -- they should consider re-coopin their losses, with some even spankier coin theme ideas:

* SPY-GATE. They could have a picture with Nunes peekin through the wrought-iron Mar-A-Lago gate, or somesuch. Obverse could have Cohen peekin thru some bars, also.
* STORMY BARES ALL. U won't see many coins like this. Minty fresh.
* PROFILES IN NON-DISCLOSURE. Both sides are sorta just full of them there "redaction" bars, and that's it. Hard to tell heads from tails.
* PRESIDENTIAL NEWS CONFERENCE MEMORIAL. Featurin pics [front & back] of the replacement Official Alternate Fax Machine. Obverse view shows it as unplugged.

But, I digress. Really wishin our prez the best of luck, in comin to a peaceful agreement … with somebody.

Toughest puzcorner, at my house: SW's HUEVO+BCCED+LLOSA. Weird that it was so weird, since it was an isolated corner.


Teedmn 3:07 PM  

The Day TED NUGENT Killed All The Animals Whang-bang that orangutan.

Anonymous 4:30 PM  

I guess what amazes me is that Trump and Nugent fans can read and do crosswords.

Anonymous 5:26 PM  

Anon 4:02 and pals,
Your lack of imagination is no suprise. The only thing modern liberals like better than unexamined posistiions,is attacking their oppoents with ad hominems.
Nugent is less a nut than an exhibitionist. And probably a coward; he certainly didnt acquit himself with honor in front of his draft board.
But he's notbing. Not worth the time its taken to type his name.
Taking glee in the (possibly) scuttled summit in Singapore? Thats petty and frankly, unamerican.

Nancy 5:28 PM  

Do we New Yorkers lead a sheltered life? I was shocked, shocked at the huge numbers of Rexites with close up and personal experiences of large numbers of people who MOON other people. From the comments, it seems to happen a lot on trains. Maybe I don't ride trains often enough. Maybe I don't ride them often enough in MOONing-prone parts of the country. But FWIW, I can tell you this: Never, ever have I seen anyone MOON. I was starting to believe that it was a popular myth -- sort of like Bigfoot.

Masked and Anonymous 5:31 PM  

OK. After hours of careful fumblin analysis, I now see what Jeff Chen's problem was, in fillin that day-um SW corner. It was that @#%$!! ????ISS entry. M&A finally had a critical break-thru, that led to this incredibly highly improved SW corner content …

43. What Tarzan calls any soft drink that he doesn't like
54. Tex. toucher
57. VIP at the grand opening of the new East of Eden College building?
60. Right turn from norte
43. Batmobile battery part
44. Loses lunch
45. Razzle-dazzle
46. Pilot's place

M&A LandFill Desk

David 5:40 PM  

Worked in kitchens for a bit over 20 years. I put down "Deepfry" because that's something doable. DeepFat is not a thing. Somehow knew little Teddy Nuggets was from Detroit (sort of). With Bobby Seale at the top of the goalposts and people to respect right below him, I plopped down "kneels" wondering if it had something to do with current events (apparently not); being a fan of what the rest of the world calls "football" (not 2022, the women may make it next year you bunch o' chauvinists) I have no clue what American Football calls anything.

All in all, far easier and lightyears better than that dreck Wednesday puzzle this week.

brandsinger 5:49 PM  

Ah yes, Rex. The gratuitous, obligatory smirk toward Trump. Gets a chuckle every time in the ol' English Department, eh?

Monty Boy 5:58 PM  

I like this one a lot. Tough for me, but rewarding. I didn’t even have to Google. I got the arcane stuff (for me) with crosses which were fair IMHO. LLOSA, NUCLEARFOOTBALL. Most everything else I’d heard of, but had to decipher my way through the clues.

I work cryptograms and that helps me with crosswords like this one. I get a few of the letters and then can see what words are possible, then match up with the clue. A lot of satisfying Aha moments.

I appreciate OFL's hints for us Fri/Sat strugglers. Funny how the brain works for different people.

Hungry Mother 6:00 PM  

I did all but “long range” early this morning. At that time I had daDA instead of SODA. I just looked at it again and saw it. Unstuck!

Rob 6:09 PM  

Didn't care for this one. MANO A MANO is not a "style" of fighting or anything else. DEEP FAT is not a real phrase. Nobody says AH, BLISS.

I guess USA is an acceptable misdirection for OLE, although it seems a bit odd to clue it that way in a rare year where the US didn't qualify.

I had no idea what AD UNITS are although apparently they're a real thing?

Tom 6:41 PM  

So you think Trump is a positive in this world? History will laugh at his twittering ineptitude. He is a narcissistic, mendacious, delusional cheat. Look at his history. The rest of the world views him as a joke. Other than that, I enjoyed the puzzle except for having to write in TEDNUGENT. Another draft dodger, just like Trump and his bone spurs.

Anonymous 7:08 PM  

Check your history. Plenty of years the stars and stripes sat it out.
And hand to hand is t a commo form of fighting?
Hmmm. Note to self. Dont invite Rob to go out bar hopping with us.

Anonymous 9:13 PM  

Am I the only one who set a personal Friday record on this thing? I knocked this one out faster than Tuesday's puzzle...

Unknown 9:30 PM  

Hi Rex. So how did that North Korea thing work out for Obama?

Banana Diaquiri 9:49 PM  

The gratuitous, obligatory smirk toward Trump.

well earned. remember, Dear Leader only got the throne because less than 80,000 knuckledraggers in three benighted states gave it to him. not exactly a mandate. and, Crooked Hillary was right: her votes came from counties producing 65% of USofA GDP. Dear Leader's came from places without schools.

Yargh 10:13 PM  

ALL politicians lie. ALL politicians are crooked. Rep., Dem, Ind. It doesn't matter.
So when you people go back and forth over "My politico is better than your politico" you're just silly.
There ARE no good politicians.

Anonymous 10:44 PM  

treE Shape —> treE SCENT —> PINE SCENT

brandsinger 11:06 PM  

Yes. "Knuckledraggers" -- nice. I think the proper term was "deplorables." Such dismissive name calling cost your team the presidency. Perhaps time to consider your fellow citizens more respectfully? Or just stick to puzzles and leave political analysis to those with more insight and a richer vocabulary.

thefogman 10:54 AM  

Never mind the AHBLISS moment where he shook hands and THANKED little Rocketman. It's just NOTTRUE. IHOPe I'm wrong but I have an ERIE feeling the SMUG USA TSAR might go MANOAMANO ONADARE (and ALACK of judgment) putting us all in DEEPFAT as he fumbles the NUCLEARFOOTBALL - in a blast much huger than TNT. Too late now to sing the BLUES. It reads just like a bad ANTINOVEL. Where's THEVOICE of OBAMA when you need it?

Burma Shave 12:37 PM  


THEVOICE in my head asked, “LET’SROLL in the hay?”
ONADARE that ANNE wouldn’t take.
Now I’MSTUCK with HOTROCKS and it’s NOTTRUE to say


spacecraft 12:52 PM  

@thefogman: excellent commentary featuring so many of today's entries. I'm glad I'm not young; the future doesn't look so hot. Or maybe, 15,000 degrees TOO hot (temp of a NUCLEAR blast).

This puzzle was easy--until the SW corner. THAT pushed it all the way to challenging, all by itself. Had ____ISS and was groaning "IMSTUCK!" I've never heard the term NUCLEARFOOTBALL; had all but the first three letters and was scratching my head. Finally decided that the omelet ingredient wasn't something sensible like ONION. See, "Spanish omelet" is a REAL THING, but the clue didn't mean that (I at last decided). It simply meant the Spanish WORD for any omelet ingredient; hence HUEVO. That kinda forced me into the NUCLEAR thing, and the long range ANDES (duh!) but it left me with AHBLISS--who says that?--and the sockdolager, LLOSA. There may be three people on the planet who know who this jamoke is. I mean, really, this is a gigantic obscurity that could ONLY have been found by being left with those letters and Googling to see if they spelled ANYTHING AT ALL. I was admiring the smoothness and vivacity of Chen's work till I hit the SW. It was like a boulder lying on the train tracks.

No idea what BCCED is either, yet I left those two (45 & 46d) in because nothing else came even that close. No one was more surprised than me to see I had guessed right. In fact, emotionally it felt more like a DNF than a completion.

The last across entry gives us the perennial DOD winner ANNE Hathaway. Honorable mention to all three OBAMA ladies. How to score? Birdie turned bogey, say like reaching the par-5 green in two--and four-putting!

rondo 2:02 PM  

I saw the goalpost and thought there might be something interesting going on, but it’s only there to kick the NUCLEARFOOTBAL through? Unless it’s blocked by the DLINE. TEDNUGENT and Bobby SEALE were gimmes as were the TSARS.

I had the Stones’ HOTROCKS on 8 track. My girlfriend at the time couldn’t get enough of Wild Horses. I was partial to Sympathy for the Devil, so that last track got played over and over, until we weren’t paying that much attention to the music.

Pick an ANNE, any ANNE.

Going to Chicago for more than a week of BLUES, Cubs, and whatever. So if I don’t post, don’t send a search party. This puz wasn’t very tough, and I’m not trying to be SMUG.

rainforest 2:55 PM  

At no time did I say "I'M STUCK", but there were several places where I slowed down. EDU was my first entry, followed by DEEPpoT, PINE SCENT and the bottom four answers in the SE. Figured the beginning of the answer at 12D was FAIR, so DEEP FAT, ETC. So is it a fryer that holds DEEP FAT, or is it a DEEP fryer that holds FAT? Question to ask: "How deep is the fat in that fryer?" Don't answer.

HeRe=>HAir=>HARE. Har.

The SW caused me no problems. We've seen BCC'ED before, plus it is plainly clued. Knew LLOSA, and AH BLISS, which may be weak (according to some) made sense to me.

Finished in the NW where only STARBURST caused a slow-down. Overall, a medium+ puzzle with some great clues and competence abounding.
@Burma Shave - love the title of the poem.

Diana,LIW 3:19 PM  

I was blind to the BCC (blind carbon copy @Spacey!), and I rarely do regular football, much less NUCLEAR, so the SW was my undoing. Even as I was saying "oH BLISS" (sic) to the rest of the puzzle. As the rest did all fall into place. Dern...

@Rondo - have fun in my old stomping grounds, and take a moment or two to visit the Art Institute!

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

thefogman 5:56 PM  

@Spacecraft: Like the image in the middle of the puzzle - will we all be left wondering Y ???

leftcoastTAM 7:51 PM  

Was this supposed to have a FOOTBALL theme or not? (It's Friday for gosh sakes.) Hard to tell, despite the obvious goalpost looming in the middle. Whatever the case, it's a clever feint.

SE corner was the Dnf LINE. Not all of the defensive linemen would try to sack the quarterback at the same time. That would leave runners and short receivers wide open. Could happen, but not a smart defensive tactic, except in rare situations.

Continuing in the SE: Didn't know OBAMA won two Grammys and couldn't pick up on ANNE Rice "left on the shelf." I'd be reading her.

Jeff Chen does good work.

Anonymous 8:56 PM  

Had to look up two answers. Would have been five days without hints for the New York Times week. ALACK of skill? Perhaps. Do not eat Spanish or Mexican food and never heard HUEVO or knew EVES. The lower left did me in.


Anonymous 9:56 PM  

Hope Trump takes a knee before the nuclear clock runs out. Will the national anthem be playing?

wcutler 1:04 AM  

Matt 1:23 PM, "Rice left on a shelf, maybe" refers to the author Anne Rice. I didn't get it either, until you asked, and then I got it right away. I filled it in, though.

This was the kind of football-themed puzzle I like - the picture was almost the whole theme, and no sports stars' names were required. Or many other names either, probably why I was able to complete it.

Anonymous 5:24 PM  

Mr Chen. Very clever. It as if you knew there would be a lot of hating on politicos after the solving of your puzzle. It was inevitable, and you nailed it.

Obama won 2 Grammys because he is a politico and the Grammys are political. He won a Nobel because Nobels are political. Isn't it amazing that Kissinger and Obama, 2 people responsible for mass suffering and death, can win such awards ? Like the old saying goes, you kill one person and you hang; you kill thousands and you are honored. Or something like that.

Blind idolatry.

Anonymous 6:33 PM  

Spikes kill the clock. Kneels keep it running. Messed me up for a loooong time!

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