Zippo output / FRI 5-11-18 / Product whose original slogan was it floats / Groundbreaking 1990s sitcom / sparta's foe in 300 / Chewy fruity candy /

Friday, May 11, 2018

Constructor: Sam Ezersky and David Steinberg

Relative difficulty: Medium to Medium-Challenging (a few little things somehow slowed me down a lot) (6:59)

THEME: none

Word of the Day: INGEMAR Johansson (17A: 1950s heavyweight Johansson) —
Jens Ingemar Johansson (Swedish: [ˈɪŋːɛmar ²juːhansˌsɔn]; 22 September 1932 – 30 January 2009) was a Swedish professional boxer who competed from 1952 to 1963. He held the world heavyweight title from 1959 to 1960, and was the fifth heavyweight champion born outside the United States. Johansson won the title by defeating Floyd Patterson via third-round stoppage, after flooring him seven times in that round. For this achievement, Johansson was awarded the Hickok Belt as top professional athlete of the year—the only non-American to do so in the belt's entire 27-year existence—and was named the Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year and Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year.
Johansson also held the European heavyweight title twice, from 1956 to 1958 and from 1962 to 1963. As an amateur he won a silver medal in the heavyweight division at the 1952 Summer Olympics. He affectionately named his right fist "toonder and lightning" for its concussive power (it was also called "Ingo's bingo" and the "Hammer of Thor"), and in 2003 he was ranked at No. 99 on The Ring magazine's list of the 100 greatest punchers of all time. (wikipedia)
• • •

This played old and not terribly exciting. The grid shape did not lend itself to flashy fill. Lots and lots and lots of 7-letter words = not a recipe for scintillation. Also the fill had a few too many flirtations with overused fill: IWO UEY (ugh) EGGO ORE (esp. as clued) UMA etc. I mean, GUMMY BEAR is cool, and PTA MEETINGS is interesting to parse, but honestly you can keep SNIPER RIFLE. PTA MEETINGS / SNIPER RIFLE is one of the more unfortunate symmetrical pairings I've seen. Like pairing HIGH SCHOOL and SHOOTINGS. I think my favorite thing about the grid is BILIOUS (insert "well that's fitting, coming from you, ya jerk!"-type comments here) (15D: Peevishly ill-natured). It's a great word. Nothing much else about the grid excited me, though.

I started with UEY, which is really bad (6D: Quick turnaround?) (it's "quick" because it's a shortened form ... of "U-turn"). I mean, it sets a bad tone. That word always looks stupid written out, and it's impossible to know if the puzzle is going to go with the UEY or the UIE spelling (yes, both exist, which is part of what makes this answer loathsome). Perhaps because of the shape of the grid, I was never really able to pick up speed, and got stymied pretty badly a few times because of seemingly small things. Misspelled INGAMAR (thusly) and needed every cross to see that 10D: "1" preceder: Abbr. (!?!?!) was RTE. As in ... RTE 1 ... which is a Route ... somewhere? Yikes. Could not at all remember (olde-tyme crosswordese) SHERE Khan at 50A: ___ Khan, antagonist in "The Jungle Book"—CHAKA kept running interference. But the two things that held me up most today were INDUCTS (37D: Initiates) and (weirdly) PRAISE (7D: Tough love rarity). The first problem is (I hope) obvious—I had INDUCES, and so seeing ON TRACK was really hard (56A: Proceeding as planned). Wasn't til I got the "K" from RECHECK that I figured out my mistake. INDUCTS? I guess the meaning of "Initiates" was lost on me. I was thinking of beginning, not installing, as into a Hall of Fame. And then with PRAISE ... I think that clue is all kinds of off. "Tough love" is not about withholding PRAISE. I just don't understand the correlation here. Requiring someone to take responsibility for their actions does not mean you don't PRAISE them. "Coddle" and PRAISE are not the same words. Enabling is not praising. Anyway, I had PRA- and absolutely no idea what the word was supposed to be. Bizarre cluing.

  • 47A: Sound from a sock (WHAM) — was thinking of the sound one *makes* when socked. Had the "W" and wanted ... well, nothing. Maybe WOOF. Missed opportunity here for a musical clue. 
  • 50D: "Oh, you got me!" (SNAP) — I think of this as much more "cool!" or "wow!" or else something you say acknowledging that someone *else* (besides the speaker) has been insulted. Also, it's commonly preceded by "Oh," as in "Oh Snap!" See here.
  • 36D: Compadre (PAISANO) — Had the "-AI-" which led to my triumphantly throwing down the best wrong answer of the day: MAIN MAN!
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Outside The Box 12:16 AM  

Here we go with “Small OJ” again. Puh-lease!

Basically found this a “medium.” Solving it went quicker than expected.

Harryp 12:36 AM  

This one didn't come easy. SMALL OJ showed up again, which made JOSEPH stand out. Very fine Friday. I knew it would be a tussle when I saw David Steinberg as a co-constructor, even though I didn't know Sam Ezersky. I am sure others are familiar with him, and I will note that name for the future.

Trombone Tom 12:41 AM  

I believe that David S. has mellowed, or maybe it's the influence of Sam Ezersky and Will Shortz. In either case I used to have a hard time with David's references and now I seem to be at least near to his ballpark.

This puzzle had some very clever cluing, e.g. 16A.

I zipped through with minimal problems. NOVAe>NOVAS. And I couldn't remember the center letter of the boxer's name, but the cross saved me.

Nice crunchy Friday. Looking forward to many more from this pair.

Harryp 12:48 AM  

As an afterthought, Bilious O'Reilly was my name for the Fox News commentator who now has a Podcast.

puzzlehoarder 12:56 AM  

OOHLALA? Was VAVAVOOM just too hard to work with? That entry added insult to injury or should I say disappointment. Even with solving on my phone I went through this in Wednesday time.

Ironically Iv'e been doing late week puzzles from 1996 today so I have some real perspective on this. These old puzzles are made by a mostly bygone breed of constructor. They larded their puzzles with the obscure. I can understand why some wouldn't like that but it gave them some teeth. All too often now we're served marshmallows like this.

Unfortunately I don't have a copy of today's puzzle to look at while commenting but I can recall the xwordinfo list showing the debut entries to be largely common easily inferred phrases.

In all fairness most new puzzles aren't this easy, including those by today's constructors. However it's in keeping with how this week has been.

Oren Kriegel 12:59 AM  

I didn't feel like this one skewed old, particularly. I'm 23, and I put up a good time without feeling like I had to reach for too many obscure old references. (Luckily, I've seen INGEMAR enough to be able to fill that in with a few crosses.) Sure, there were some older clues, but there were modern ones too. FARE's clue was modern, and SNAP sounds correct as clued to my ear.

SHERE Khan counts as old since the original movie came out in 1967 but, as a kids' movie, younger solvers (or solvers with young children) might have an advantage on. I saw the movie as a kid, and I knew the sound, if not necessarily the spelling. Plus, it was remade in 2016 with the same named character.

My biggest stumbling point was writing in MachetES for MUDTIRES with just the initial M. Also, I wrote in GUMMYBEAR, then remembered GUMMYworm was possible as well and deleted the last four letters till I was more sure. I wanted something rhyming with "port" for 48A, rather than RAFT.

Overall, I really enjoyed this one, but I usually enjoy David Steinberg puzzles.

Larry Gilstrap 1:31 AM  

"Old and not terribly exciting." That's what I'm going for as a life mission. Anything but BILIOUS, but you do you.

IVORY SOAP did actually float, back when folks would take a bath. After back surgery in this shower era, I would love a bar of soap that levitates. Some of you know what I'm talking about.

Oh,SNAP! is an expression I will agree to tolerate. Never heard it spoken ever, but I'll do me.

Spent more than a few hours glued to a radio listening to boxing. INGEMAR Johansson defeated Floyd Patterson and that made his career, but disappointed me. Boxing is old, but once terribly exciting.

Every Nativity scene has its requisite manger, baby, Mary, Magi, farm animals, and that guy JOSEPH. That has to be a tough role to play for a husband with marginal credentials. Sainthood might be enough, but we will never know.

TomAz 1:31 AM  

I agree with Rex re UEY and SNAP and a few others. IWO, I guess, just for being tired.

The whole RIFLE thing didn't even cross my mind, and while I see his point, it feels a little overreaching. I vote, and donate, anti-NRA, but this one didn't bother me.

This is the second SMALL OJ we've had recently. Maybe we should've ordered a medium.

The carping about RTE 1 seems misguided. I mean, I live way out west in the $%&*ing desert, and I know US Route 1 as an iconic early East Coast highway. C'mon, man.

I liked I HEAR YA, BIG TIME, and MANGE crossing NOVAE a lot. I can't explain that last one, it just made me smile. I liked BILIOUS and SHERE and the clue on SAD EYED. GUMMY BEAR was good as well, I have to admit, even though I never liked those things.

This played really slow for me though, and I can't figure out why. I drew blanks at first where in retrospect I know I shouldn't have. Has "BIO RHYTHMS" ever appeared in a puzzle? Cuz I wanna blame those silly 70s things for my slowness this week.

jae 1:48 AM  

On the easy side for me. I had none of the problems that @Rex had. Solid Fri., liked it!

chefwen 2:39 AM  

The next time I see Kid’s IHOP order I want to see SHORT STACK, just for a change of pace.

Whipped through this one pretty quickly until I reached the end of the loop in the NE, handed it to puzzle partner who gave me MUD TIRES, INGEMAR and IWA and voila, we were done. Pretty fast for us on a Friday.

I am usually intimidated by David’s puzzles and I was pleased not to see those long stacks three or four deep. Thank you David, this was quite enjoyable.

Mr. Whipple 2:56 AM  

Weird. I came here expecting a post about how this was too easy for a Friday. I finished in 2/3 of my average Friday time (22 minutes instead of 31). So, here’s what I know about relative difficulty: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Charles Flaster 3:15 AM  

Easy but a little head scratching with SPIN A WEB and was thinking of Joey Bishop.
Only write over was INDUCTS for INDUcES.
Favorite clueing was for NOVAE and I was thinking STuFFED but STIFFED won out with the sarcastic, I HEAR YA.
When Floyd Patterson lost to INGEMAR Johansson , all of Brooklyn was horrified. Patterson was redeemed when he won their net two rematches. Always liked watching Patterson .
Thanks SE and DS

Loren Muse Smith 4:02 AM  

Not as easy for me as some are reporting. That northeast gave me a fit. I didn’t know INGEMAR, and with the B in place for the grump adjective, I thought it’d be BELI something. As in bellicose, and we had an alternative spelling for that prefix. Dumb. I never questioned “belious.”


AMILATE could be a dook. Listen. Ellen seems like a jerk, but I’m gonna take the high road and try to amilate her. Could be she just needs a friend.

I did know SHERE Khan, but I was trying to misspell it. (Hi, @Oren Kriegel) So my first entry was, brag brag, LSU. For some reason, I know the story about how Dale Brown and Shaq met; Shaq was just 13 and Brown mistook him for an adult. When Shaq set him straight, Dale said something like, Son, I need to meet your dad.

Ok. SOAP. I tried to google it but lost patience finding the answer… I seem to remember something about how quality soap is hard-milled and how cheap soap has air whipped in with it, so it doesn’t last as long. Wouldn’t that be a reason that IVORY SOAP would float? I did find this article and realized that I, too, am a soap snob. Years ago when we were at the beach, I took a shower and used the soap my sister-in-law had brought. Whole Foods Lemon Verbena Soap. I was stunned, couldn’t believe the scent, the size, the heft. I felt like a fancy rich person. Every time I go to Raleigh now (quite possibly my nearest Whole Foods), I stock up. But it’s really not necessary ‘cause one bar lasts For Ev Er.

MUD TIRES – boy howdy That’s a thing here. Muddin’ is a beloved pastime among my students, and if you have really good mud tires, Super Swampers, say, then you can achieve a wicked “rooster tail” of muddy water behind you. This is apparently very desirable, especially if your buddy is behind you and takes it in the face. I try to throw around Super Swampers and rooster tail sometimes in conversations but haven’t managed to pull it off naturally. I’m always grateful when they cheerfully tolerate my poser-ness.

“Sound from a sock” brought me up short. There are some places that you just don’t ever, ever, ever want to hear a sound from. I’m about to pull on my Walmart cheapy white socks on casual Friday and hear a sound coming from one of them? Cripes. I’d have to change my Walmart Sherman tank underwear.

Nothing but PRAISE for you two, Sam and David. (But I kept considering “prayer” there.)

@Thomaso808 from yesterday - yay! You agree, then, right? Doing a polka just makes you smile. Congrats!

JOHN X 4:41 AM  

SW killed me. I had RETHINK instead of RECHECK and never questioned it. Also, I could not put "To the point" together with LACONIC, which I've always associated with casual and disinterested.

Lewis 6:29 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lewis 6:38 AM  

@larrygilstrap -- "Husband with marginal credentials": Hah!

This went not so much smooth, but steady for me, a staccato solve is what it felt like. No lacunas (and speaking of which, "The Lacuna", by Barbara Kingsolver, I highly recommended, FWIW -- one of my more enjoyable and memorable reads of the last decade).

I thought LACONIC meant "lazy" for lo these many years, so this puzzle did the service of correcting that error. Clever clues for IGLOO and SLID. Very nice having TOP TIER next to BIG TIME, and seeing the joining of MUD and SOAP. I liked the cross of SOUPSUP and PRAISE, because sometimes PRAISE SOUPS UP someone's day. Also, there were the delightful conflicting entries: AM I LATE and UP EARLY, as well as, I guess, Pinot GRIS and GUMMY BEAR.

This was a Steinsky offering that delivered a RAFT of pleasure. Thank you, gents!

Kodak Jenkins 6:43 AM  

I didn't love the puzzle but found it about Wednesday-easy.

It's fairly original, though. I can't recall ever seeing INGEMAR, SPINAWEB, MANGE, BILIOUS, AEROBES, NOVAE or SNIPERRIFLE before. Bonus IVORYSOAP trivia!

Despite Rex's complaints there is only a small amount of bad fill. UEY is ugly but not unexpected. EMO, DOC and CEO all have decent clues.

This is one of those puzzles that grows on me while I'm reviewing it.

Agree with @Chefwen- I really want a short stack! And IHOP was a mystical place for me as a kid because they had like 5 different flavors of syrup. Valhalla!

Hungry Mother 6:56 AM  

Really fast for me today. Things just kinda filled themselves in. Off to run.

kitshef 7:16 AM  

Hated it. A ton of clues that were either far too cute or not quite right, plus garbage entries like I HEAR YA, IWO and UEY and the unpleasant ORE/KRONA thing.

Finished in a Wednesday time although with a DNF as I had WHAp and never checked the cross. By that time I just wanted the irritation to be over. Shocked that David Steinberg had a hand in this carbuncle.

To me, ELLEN will always be “These Friends of Mine”. And not sure how ground-breaking it was. Billy Crystal played a gay man on SOAP a couple of decades before ELLEN came out. Heck, even Friends had already had a lesbian wedding by that time.

Hazmatt 7:23 AM  

Friday’s are usually a challenge for me. This one, though, played easy. No one has mentioned it yet, but I liked IGLOO for “Digs in the snow.”

Glimmerglass 7:28 AM  

Well, this is a surprise! @Rex finds it challenging, and I found it too easy to be much fun. (Of course, my time was probably slower than his, but that’s always true.) It played old, and I’m old. INGEMAR, SHERE, IVORY SOAP, BILIOUS, SOUPS UP, ROADWAY, LACONIC, all went in with a cross or two. The only places I double-clutched were MUD. . . (Shoes, boots, or tires?) and expLodE for INFLATE. The currency cross-reference didn’t even make me flinch — although I didn’t know them, the crosses were more than fair. SNARE and STALK were the last to fall, revealing the K in KRONA. I hope tomorrow is more challenging.

MickMcMick 7:54 AM  

Tore through this until southwest brought me to a grounding halt. Like Rex was certain that induces was correct. Snap, for you got me doesn’t compute. Please stop with the small oj thing!!!

Z 8:06 AM  

IVORY SOAP and GUMMY BEAR are the central answers... Yeah, no. I can’t go so far as to say “hated it,” but I’m not feeling a lot love here, either. More just a matter of not my cuppa as opposed to bad, though.

I’m with Rex on PRAISE - just a blatant misunderstanding of the whole idea. Here’s the “tough love” premise simplified - if you set a limit or boundary honor it. Spend time in public education and you will soon discover how many parents can not seem to do it. Actual quote from a parent in my office to discuss her son’s behavioral issues at school, “I don’t believe in saying ‘no’ to {my son}.” Boy, did that provide some insight.

ON TRACK vis à vis uNTRACK. For years I thought sports announcers were saying ON TRACK wrong, but no, when an athlete pulls out of a slump they are untracked. No, I don’t understand why that’s the term.

@Trombone Tom - I think you meant NOVAs>NOVAE.

@Larry Gilstrap - Regarding JOSEPH - I always imagine him nodding politely and saying “sure, sure.” Still, a better story than “it was a swan.”

@Tom AZ - RTE 1 is also a California highway. But I take Rex’s point - too cute by half. RTE 66 was more famous, but that’s a pretty dated reference, so maybe this is an improvement.

@LMS - If you ever bathe in the nearest lake, having a bar with enough air whipped in that it floats is a feature, not a bug. I’m already too snobby about beer and coffee, so cannot be snobby about soap as well.

@John X - REtHinK held me up, too. CEO/OMEGAS were my last words in.

Two Ponies 8:09 AM  

Today it was all about the clues. Good fun for our Friday.

It's been a bad week for dogs in crossworld. First they had lice and now it's mange.

Too bad the movie version of Jungle Book will be more well-known with a lot of solvers. Hey, all you youngsters, pick up the book.

A fine offering with very few proper names. Thanks guys!

Moly Shu 8:29 AM  

I’ll jump on the easy bandwagon. And now I’m 100% going to IHOP tomorrow, thanks y’all. Only writeover was xERxes for PERSIA. I figured two words starting with X had to be correct, it is friday after all.
@TomAz, I also vote and donate, and am pro-NRA (I even donate to the NRA, shudder), and as soon as I got SNIPERRIFLE I immediately knew we’d get at least a mini @Rex blowup. Although I was secretly hoping that it would be of the large scale nuclear variety. Strange.

G. Mennan Williams 8:45 AM  

IVORY SOAP was a cake you could probably eat. It was said to be 99 and 44/100 % pure.

jberg 8:47 AM  

I’m on my phone, so I can’t a) insert a link to the novelty hit (at least in Scandinavian Wisconsin) “INGEMAR the Walloping Swede” —search for it, you won’t be sorry! Or b) open Loren’s avatar. I did enjoy the puzzle.

My birth was induced because the doctor planned to go deer hunting on my due date; but when the time came for me to be inducted they turned me down because I was under indictment for an anti war demonstration. So I got that one right first thing.

I’ll come back later when my computer is on.

jberg 8:49 AM  

Hey, I just checked and my suspicions are confirmed: they’re GUMMi BEARs. So I guess it’s IVORi SOAP.

That's So Raven 8:58 AM  

The 90s called, they want their oh, SNAP back.

G. Mennen Williams 8:59 AM  

Sorry, I misspelled my own name in my previous post. I’ve been dead a long time, my memory seems to be going down the drain.

Mohair Sam 8:59 AM  

Two of our favorite constructors conspire for a fun Friday solve. We filled the West half in Tuesday time, and the East was a Saturday for us. So it played medium. BILIOUS in the puzzle, how cool is that? Unlike Rex I thought the clue for ORE was refreshingly different (it is a Friday), although I will chime in with him about the horrible UEY. For those who don't know, the movie "Jarhead" concerned a GULFWAR Marine SNIPER - that cross was probably no accident.

@Larry Gilstrap - I promise to cite you every time I use "a husband with marginal credentials" when referring to JOSEPH. Best laugh in a while. And I too praise IVORYSOAP for its critical skill.

Isn't INGEMAR the guy who would show his fist to the camera and roar "Thunder!" (pronounced "Toon-dah") to great effect?

@Lewis - I'm off to the library this morning. Having read and loved "The Poisonwood Bible" I'm going to take your advice on "Lacuna" - book review to follow.

Mark 9:13 AM  

This is certainly the easiest I’ve ever seeen with Steinberg’s name on it

phil phil 9:17 AM  

TOPTIER etc etc

Was surprised to see the difficulties here. 29 min 5 off by best, i thought it was easy. The acrosses fell in like a spring downpour,

My problem came with NOVAs hiding the mange with only G in place. I even thought to myself, wonder why they didn't sneak in a latin plural.

Rube 9:26 AM  

Well said on all counts. And as unfortunate as oohlala is, if you got ihearya and flame, the h l in sequence reveals that answer pretty easily.

Z 10:04 AM  

@G. Mennen Williams - Since you’ve been dead for thirty years I guess a little memory lapse is to be expected.

@Moly Shu - You and Putin. That’s got to make you feel good.

Wm. C. 10:06 AM  

Sorry for the politics, but ...

@Moly Shu: "I even donate to the NRA (shudder)

I assume from the appended "(shudder)" that you have some concerns about this. If so, good on you.

I'm a Florida resident, and am proud that the bi-partisan legislature just passed a far-reaching set of gun laws and the republican NRA- member Governor Scott signed it into law. No doubt the slaughter by a teen at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas HS in Parkland Florida last month had a lot to do with this.

Among the provisions are:

- It is illegal for persons under 21 from buying (but now owning) guns. (as for me, restricting handguns and automatic weapons would have been sufficient.)
- it requires a 3-day waiting period for purchases.
- it allows some school personnel to be armed.
- it bans bump stocks.
- it allows police confiscation of weapons from people deemed a threat.

Yes, I'm aware that with the millions of handguns floating around in thus country, thus law will be unlikely to prevent a determined teen to get his (yes, it's virtually certain that the pro LEM cases are male) hands on a handgun. However, it's a (admittedly small) step in the right direction, but vitally important goals are always begun with that first hard step; successive ones become easier.

Coupled with other measures like rich offers by governments for gun buy backs, we can contemplate the possibility of dramatically lower gun violence a century from now. You and I won't be around to see it, but our grandkids and their descendants will.

The U.K., for instance, strongly restricts the ownership of certain types of guns, and has virtually NO deaths therefrom.

Again, sorry for the politics...

Bob Mills 10:06 AM  

Finished it, but only after changing SCOPEDRIFLE to SNIPERRIFLE. I don't think SNIPERRIFLE is legitimate; SNIPERSRIFLE (as a possessive) would be.

Some very clever cluing here, especially Jolly "Roger" and "It's found between the shoulders." I suspect Will is responsible, and not the constructors.

Steve M 10:08 AM  

I knew Ingemar so that’s a leg up so glad it skewed mature ahem.....

TubaDon 10:25 AM  

Zipped through with only a little help from Irish Breakfast Tea today. Lots of stuff I didn't know but could infer from crosses, so I thouight this puzzle was fair to the solvers. I wrote in STuFFED at 1D, SEEDS at 28D and ENLARGE at 40D early but good old PTA, IVORYSOAP and RAFT cleared that up and all was downhill from there.

Wm, c. 10:25 AM  

@Moly --

I think I forgot to mention that every one of these provisions were strongly opposed by the NRA. Their main argument was that it unjustifiably impeded the second amendment rights of millions of law-abiding 18-20-year-olds to own certain guns. Yes, that's mainly right, except for the "unjustifiably" qualification. If this law prevents the death by gun violence of only INE innocent person, then to me it's well-justified. And in Florida alone, it will probably save hundreds of lives and many more disabilities over time; the Parkland shooting alone killed 17 students and teachers.

This defeat of the NRA is rare, and hopefully a sign of more such public defeats of the NRA in the future. Rare, because the gun manufacturers and others keep the NRA awash in money, which they used to intimidate candidates who oppose them with tons of money contributed to their opponents. Their ability to carry through on these threats usually intimidate politicians into compliance without any actual cash outlay.

I almost hate to say this, but I'm personally convinced that certain of the NRA's actions are directly responsible for many deaths of innocents. No doubt the NRA has many valuable and right-minded programs to advance gun sports. But I wish that members like you and Governor Scott here in Florida would act to eliminate its very objectionable policies and activities.

Again, sorry ...

JC66 10:32 AM  

I stand in support of SMALL OJ.

As pointed out the last time it appeared, every Greek coffee shop in NYC offers 3 sizes of orange juice in their 24 page menus; SMALL, medium, and large.

@LMS That last comma's for you.

Carola 10:39 AM  

I'm in the sweet spot: old but still with most of my memory, so I, too, found this an easy one. I remember seeing INGEMAR Johanssen matches on b&w TV and telling a campfire ghost story that centered around a spooky voice eerily repeating, "It floats, it floats."

For me, the puzzle's redeeming feature was the double nod to Sparta, in the clue for 8A and the answer to 52A (Sparta is located in Laconia, and the ancients Spartans were were known for their particularly, well, laconic remarks. Some nice examples here.

Amelia 10:43 AM  

Medium to challenging? In what world? This was an easy Friday. Way too easy. But not unpleasant. It reminded me of those wonderful Patrick Barry puzzles that are kinda easy, but satisfying, too.

Only the SW was tricky, as mentioned by many. But not for long.

Snap is absolutely correct there. It's always used in that gotcha way. Yeah, maybe it usually has an "oh" before it. But the one time I got someone good, they just said snap. :-)

I don't really understand why 7 letter answers are a problem, but believe it or not, I'll take his word for it. It does seem a little hypercritical.

As for the symmetrical pairing of PTA meeting and sniper rifle, all I can say is if you look for trouble, chances are you will find it. I bet the constructors weren't thinking along those lines.

Wednesday's WSJ puzzle, which I strongly urge that you find, was harder than this.

Amelia 10:46 AM  

Yeah, yeah, I know I misspelled Patrick Berry.

Roo Monster 10:57 AM  

Hey All !
Had ArtS for AIDS dooming me into a DNF. #SAD EYED. :-)

This puz put up a decent FriFight. Wanted ProM(something) at first for PTA MEETING. WHAp-WHAM, Fees-FARE, S in last box-D.

@jberg 8:49
Gummi Bears are the Brand name of said snack. GUMMY BEAR is a generic for that snack, so it works for me.
@Moly Shu
I know people who are way pro-gun owning, but who still despise all the insane gun violence.
Following statement is IMHO, please don't throw stones at me. If there were never any guns, as in, somehow they were never invented, people would still find ways of killing others. Just sayin'.


Two Ponies 11:00 AM  

@ Wm. C., If you must apologize twice for going all politics on us maybe that is two times too many.
I'm guessing @ Moly Shu's (shudder) was a bit of a poke at the reaction his comment would cause with this crowd.
Someone questioned sniper vs sniper's but there is no need because sniper as clued is an adjective for a specific rifle.
Banning automatic weapons in Florida is redundant. Private citizens may not own automatic weapons without a special government permit. By the time you make it through the process you could probably get security clearance to get into the Pentagon and possibly a part in a Cirque de Soleil show considering the hoops you must jump through.

old timer 11:07 AM  

If I finish a Friday without looking anything up I guess it is Easy. Wednesdayish at least. My hangup was I knew the boxer from my childhood, but thought it was "Ingomar" with an o. I was not in love with the puzzle, but I found it satisfying enough.

I also of course knew the IVORY SOAP ads from back then, so that was a gimme.

I see no problem with SMALLOJ as clued. Kids at IHOP generally order it. Also likely order blueberry pancakes, but the serving size is usually less than a short stack. Or, they order waffles and can count on Daddy to help them eat it. Kids always love waffles.

Moly Shu 11:10 AM  

@Wm,c. No need to apologize. You have strong beliefs. Good on you. I’m also a FL resident, so hi neighbor. The shudder comment was satirical (sp?). I have no concerns about donating to the NRA. None. We just disagree. That’s fine with me. Not everyone thinks the same way. Keep standing up for your beliefs.

Now as for you @z, I feel ........ fine. But I’m going to feel a whole lot better and hopefully drunker in just over 2 months. Amirite????

I had a college roommate that loved to do something I was never aware existed until I met him. Muddin’. You get in your SOUPedUP pickup truck equipped with MUDTIRES and tear up dirt tracts. Preferably after a rain, but any time was good as long as the ground was at least a little soggy. It was fun, but I never seemed to enjoy it as much as he did. Probably cuz he never let me drive.

Nancy 11:11 AM  

Loved it. Very well clued, with just about nothing obvious at first glance. SMALL OJ: you can get me once, but not twice; I'm now onto you.

My way in was UP EARLY (3D). Especially since I wasn't UP EARLY today; I was up quite late, having been awakened by street noise at 5:50 and unable to get back to sleep until 8-ish. Hateful things that are UP EARLY like garbage trucks and roosters were very much on my mind. I confirmed UP EARLY with the A from FLAME and the Y from DAYTON and wrote it in.

Loved the clues for STIFFED (1D); NOVAE (26D); RAFT (48A); ROADWAY (39D); and SAD EYED (59A). Spent most of my time in the NE, where PERSIA was giving me trouble. Why was I thinking PEorIA??? A foe of Sparta? Even in some game I never heard of? Really, Nancy!!! Anyway, I finished and I enjoyed it to the max.

jb129 11:14 AM  

I did better than I thought initially thanks to Ivory Soap & I Hear Ya but never would've known Mud Tires but I hadn't cheated :(

GHarris 11:25 AM  

Only difficulty was in the SW. Once I changed fleas to mange and induces to inducts I was home free. Lots of fun and satisfaction for me.

Nancy 11:39 AM  

My mother's soap of choice was Lux when I was growing up. Searching for it at the bottom of the bathtub was a real pain. And Lux seemed to spend quite a bit of time at the bottom of my bathtub. So that when I moved to my own apartment, IVORY SOAP was a no-brainer for me. It does float and you can always locate it. Which, to me, is a really important thing. Yes, "99 and 44/100% pure" is a great line, but if I'd been the copywriter, my tag line would have been: "IVORY: The Official Soap of the Very, Very Lazy."

@Loren: I, too, was taken aback by the 47A clue. Like you, I like my socks to remain absolutely silent.

Maruchka 11:40 AM  

Well done, Messrs! Me likey. LOL for @Lewis's 'Steinsky'. Skyberg?

All has been written. Had hoped @Rex might reference 'SAD-EYED Lady of the Lowlands', but guess it just plays too old for him, today.

A beauty of a day, here. Wishing you all the same.

Masked and Anonymous 12:08 PM  

Eazy-E parts and hard parts. Fun solve, for a themeless … mostly due to its oleaginous clues.

I get that IHEARYA is like "Roger", but not how it comes off as "Jolly". IHEARYA does not sound like a go-to phrase for Santa, or anything.

Luved the {Pop stars} = NOVAE clue. IGLOO clue also sneaky-good. WHAM clue was almost desperate, in its evasiveness; like.

staff weeject pick: UEY. It's Uleaginous. Desperate alternative clue = {Duck bro of Ewey and Ouie??}.

Admired the UP garden that sprang up in the NW's soUPsUP/UPearly pairin. Whatever gets U there, dudes.

Thanx for gangin up on us, U young smart squirts. FFR, better SHERE clue = {Jolly "Done arrived, bro"??}.

Masked & Anonymo6Us


QuasiMojo 12:23 PM  

I was an Ivory Soap baby, too. Although later it felt like I was washing my face with lye so I switched to Irish Spring. Now I buy charcoal soap. Love it. I was gonna make a joke about Marilyn Chambers being the Ivory Soap girl but turns out she was on the Ivory Snow box.

Proudly typing in TORVALD JOHANSSON for the heavyweight slowed me down BIG TIME. He was the large bald guy in PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE, and a famous wrestler. So my bad.

I agree with everything everyone has said today. Except "sound of a sock" to me meant that awful PHLUMPH sound you hear when your vacuum cleaner accidentally sucks in one of your socks. I also first had UNEATEN for roosters, since I only know from eating capons. But UP EARLY got a smile out of me since I awoke at 4AM today.

Anonymous 12:36 PM  

Anybody else go "IMAWAKE" and "SNAKE". I think it works.

TJS 1:07 PM  

So its "novae" but "omegas". Hmm...

JOSEPH Michael 1:07 PM  

One of the only things I was allergic to as a child was IVORY SOAP. In spite of the cute little baby in the ads, it made my ear swell up like a balloon and itch like hell. Someone once described it as "cauliflower ear," which made me feel a bit like INGEMAR Johansson.

Aside from that memory, I enjoyed this puzzle a lot. Felt in tune with the constructors as I solved and appreciated the clever clues and the word BILIOUS. Also appreciated having my namesake included. Thanks, Sam and David. You guys should pair up more often.

Teedmn 1:15 PM  

I found this to be a fun romp of a Friday - some stickiness but no real holdups. I did put a bunch of ROADblocks in my RTE, at times. My husband adores "300" so I plopped in xERxes in at 8A before thinking, duh, there won't be two words starting with X in the puzzle. At 38A, I put in CLERgy but that Y didn't give me anything related to fancy parties so it got tossed fairly quickly.

On the dumber end, I put in 4-letter WAR = Iraq. After all, George W Bush gave his "Mission Accomplished" speech on May 1, 2003, so a book might have come out by the end of 2003...right, I didn't think so, and neither did UMA.

And with _______PH in at 58A, I put in seraPH, reasoning there were some angels floating around that night, maybe one found its way into a Nativity scene or two. Poor JOSEPH gets rather short shrift in the NT.

Last but not least, floating my way back up to the NW by way of IVORY, I had 26D as __VAE and briefly put in diVAE for "Pop stars?" before saying, nah, can't be.

So thanks, SE and DS, nice collaboration.

Teedmn 1:21 PM  

Also, INGEMAR Johansson's fight with Floyd Patterson played a big part in the movie, "My Life As A Dog" (think LASSE Hallstrom, director of "Chocolat" (and "My Life As A Dog") clue from a few weeks back.) The fight is playing on the radio, with the entire population of the small Swedish village listening in and going wild when INGEMAR wins.

Anonymous 1:33 PM  

Or we could actually deal with the real problem and ban social media and restrict the internet to those with a license. You know, as long as we’re doing away with the Constitution.

Anonymous 1:38 PM  

The NRA is powerful because it has millions of members, probably none of whom ever did a spree shooting. The only ones responsible for shooting people are the shooters themselves.

Anonymous 1:42 PM  

You can easily own automatic weapons in many states, yet none seem to be used in crimes.

Charley 1:50 PM  

I know snow tires. I know all-weather tires. Mud tires? Not so much.

Unknown 2:00 PM  

I am not a speed solver by any means but my 30:30 was able to set a new best Friday time and be less than half my Friday average. The relative lack of proper nouns helped me.

OISK 2:05 PM  

Nice Friday puzzle, which played easier than average for me. EMO is one of those words that means absolutely nothing to me, but has been in the puzzle so often that it no longer annoys me. (like NAS, NWA, ESAI...) Ingemar was no problem, but brought back an unpleasant memory. When he won the first fight (with Patterson), administering "TOONDER", I was so delighted that I taped a picture of Johansson to my wall. He then lost the next two fights. My father asked me why I didn't take the picture down, and then added..."Why were you rooting for the Swedish fighter against the American, anyway? Because he was white?" I was really ashamed. ( was 13 at the time).

JC66 2:19 PM  


Great Ingemar story!

semioticus (shelbyl) 3:35 PM  

My pet peeve: BIGTIME and [Timely question?]. Not a dupe, but something that could have been avoided imho.

jberg 3:39 PM  

@Loren, @Nancy, I was thinkin gmore of the soft slithering sound the sock makes as it slides onto your foot. But I don't think there's a word for that.

OK, nobody else has posted this song, so here it is. I think it's a POLKA, too!

GILL I. 3:48 PM  

STIFFED: I'm embarrassed to confess and only in New York City.
I had been living in Madrid for about 7 years before deciding I should try something new. My brother lived in NYC and he wanted me to continue my art classes at either NYU or maybe even take a semester at Yale. It sounded about right for a change and so I packed up a few things and flew to New York for my trial visit.
Paul arranged for me to stay with one of his old girlfriends who had a small room for me in the dingiest part of Greenwich Village. It was a walk up (5 stories) and I had to share the room with a momma cat and her kittens. Great first impression. I spent the first part of my week walking the streets of the East Village and trying out all the pastrami I could find and every deli with its delicious hanging meats from the ceiling. One night I decided to splurge and go out by myself to this Italian restaurant not far from the apartment. It looked quaint and authentic and I thought I would spend my hard earned money on some good pasta and a good Chianti. The meal was delicious and the wait staff could not have been more accommodating. I asked for my bill, paid it and left a small tip. I was happy as a clam. As I walked out the door, the head waiter came screaming at me in Italian. He was waiving the check at my face and kept yelling TIP TIP. I hadn't a clue what he meant since I left a few dollars. He actually threw my meager money at me and told me to get out and never return.......... OMG I STIFFED the waiter!
You see, In Spain, no one really tips. You left a few pesetas if the service was good, but you never left a 15% or 20% tip for ANYTHING. I wasn't that naive....I knew you tipped in the US but I had no idea how much. My brother was amused by my story. I was mortified. I went back to Spain. I eventually came back to live in New York City. I tip anywhere fro 20 to 25%

QuasiMojo 5:19 PM  

@GILL, loved your reminiscence. If you ever watch the movie The Petrified Forest starring Bette Davis and Leslie Howard, and Bogart I think, check out the sign on the diner mirror: “Tipping is Un-American.” The times have definitely changed! Now even pizza parlors expect tips on take out slices.

Nancy 6:38 PM  

Didn't have enough time earlier to point out @Carola's wonderful LACONIC link (10:39). You gotta admire those Spartans -- they seem to have been as witty, acerbic and politically trenchant as Mencken, Will Rogers, Dorothy Parker and Jon Stewart rolled into one. Thanks, Carola -- that was really, really interesting!

@GILL (3:48)-- Funny anecdote. But the way you're tipping now, you've made up for that early gaffe a thousand-fold. The day I tip 25% will be the day that...

The waiter takes the lobster meat out of the shell for me.
The waiter flambes something for me at the table. I sort of don't care what it is.
The waiter splits two dishes for us in the kitchen, and brings me the larger portion.
The waiter comes bearing a passionate note from a handsome stranger at a nearby table that he absolutely must meet me, he can't wait another minute, and by the way, he insists on picking up the check.

Otherwise, I leave 15% and "round up". Or I leave 20% and "round down."

Roo Monster 7:38 PM  

@Anony 1:42 - In response to @Two Ponies 11:00
Automatic weapons are the favorite of mass shootings, like 1 October here in Las Vegas. Handguns are more for convenience stores.


Space Is Deep 7:58 PM  

Shocked by the rating! Really easy Friday. Seems like Rex doesn't like puzzles that slow him down or out of his wheelhouse.

GILL I. 8:54 PM  

@Quasi...No, I don't think I've seen "Petrified Forest" but I can tell you that's probably how I've felt when undertipping a cab driver or my hairdresser.....The cab driver can always accidentally run me over and my hairdresser can accidentally cut off 6 inches of my hair.
@Nancy: I won't forget your lobster story nor the promise of a handsome man paying for your meal. Kinda like when hell freezes over for me. I tend to tip high - especially in California where all waiters are paid minimum wages. Try living in San Francisco on $14.00 an hour. They rely on tippers. The owners of the restaurants seem to do just fine especially if they cater to the Google crowd.
My daughter waitresses while putting herself through university graduate courses. It's tough. A 15% tip is OK, but barely. 20 to 25% nightly will help pay for her schooling and her rent. I'm a sucker, I guess, but until the people who do our catering are paid a decent wage, I'll help them with our "American Way."

Anne Meilof 10:31 PM  

INGEMAR Johanssen was a common question/answer in Trivial Pursuit in the 1980s. It was good to see him again!

Burma Shave 9:57 AM  


I’MAWARE you’re DAYTON’, ORE some SIMILAR rumor,


spacecraft 10:18 AM  

Record-breakingly easy for a Friday. And OFL had trouble? Well, I had a little bit, also at 36-down, but instead of having -AI- in place, I had PA-, and so down went PARTNER. The fix was quick, but nanosecs were dropped.

It helped that I remembered INGEMAR; I'm sure crosses were needed for the younger solvers. But really, all the way through, things just kept falling in. Killed it BIGTIME. (How fast? C'mon, guys, you know I don't time this. But fast.)

I enjoyed it, though I'm right with OFL on the UEY question. That is a crutch entry, and to see it used by some of our finer constructors is discouraging. It just seemed more like, I dunno, a themeless Tuesday. You expect UMA to put on yet another DOD sash? Ha! Fooled ya! Jorja Fox, aptly named (!), who plays Sarah SIDLE on CSI, is the winner today.

Looks like the Open is in sore need of a birdie, so I'll contribute one.

rondo 10:22 AM  

Not one precious drop of ink wasted today and not a very BIGTIME, certainly less than 20 minutes, all told. Probably the most Swedish puz in memory with INGEMAR and KRONA, and ORE, as clued.

A colleague has plenty of fun with his Jeep 4 X 4 and can extoll the virtues of MUDTIRES. So MUDTIRES *are* a thing, or things.

In MN, DAYTON was the family who ran a large department store; in the opening credits for Mary Tyler Moore’s show, when she tosses her hat up, the downtown Minneapolis DAYTON’s is in the background. Current MN governor Mark DAYTON is a descendant.

WHICH kind of xword AIDS did constructors have in the days before yeah baby UMA Thurman?

Nice, quick, clean Fri-puz. TOPTIER.

rondo 11:27 AM  

Forgot to say I Thank You, you've got Soul, Man, to constructors Sam and Dave

centralscrewtinizer 3:27 PM  

Trump needs to know this.
When asked whether it would be prudent to build a defensive wall enclosing the city, Lycurgus answered, "A city is well-fortified which has a wall of men instead of brick."[25] (When another Spartan was later shown an Asian city with impressive fortifications, he remarked, "Fine quarters for women!"[26])

rainforest 4:24 PM  

AM I LATE? Afraid so, but I'M AWARE enough to say that I didn't find this easy. I found the NW the toughest section, and the rest not much easier. Well, maybe the NE.

However, perseverance paid off and I finished with 1 w/o (ORa). Stupid Swedish coins.

If you go over something again, aren't you just CHECKing it? That bothered me more than it should.

Spartans have always been described as LACONIC. I betcha their conversations were riveting. "So, many we got?" "300". "Them?" "A million". "No sweat".

Just a bit of sweat with this puzzle, but it was a good one as I RECHECK it. Har.

Anonymous 6:01 PM  

Made two major mistakes. SITNEAR instead of SIMILAR and AERATES instead of AEROBES. Plus STALE instead of STALK. Still did it without any hints. Good but could be better.

Diana,LIW 7:51 PM  

Thought of @Rondo when I sussed a Scandinavian or Swedish bent for the answers, which doomed me, but I knew he'd know.

I was so proud of getting the NW first (hi @Rainy) and then surprised when some vague clues brought "I wonder if..." answers from me for the South - and they were right. That happens with DS puzzles in my experience.

But PERSIA and INGRMAR doomed my NE corner. Still, liked what I got.

But hey. I had a flattish tire today (complete with "idiot light") and the tire store found the errant screw, pulled it, and fixed the tire for less than "1". So another stellar (take that, NOVA) day in my book. And whilst it's not lox (another nova ref), I still have a day's worth of Copper River, which I think I'll hold 'till tomorrow. (Kroger's Pork Carnitas will save the day - a Mr. W favorite.)

And finally, @Rondo, thanks for the soulful groan.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Anonymous 8:19 PM  

to Wm C. - And Washington DC has very strict gun control and has one of the highest murder rates in the nation. Weimar and then Nazi Germany, and then Vichy France confiscated all guns upon penalty of death by government - as did the Soviet Union. If this country's government is successful in future years at confiscating all guns then tyranny will reign. And the more basic question is : without a gun how will you protect your domicile from a home invasion. Call 911 while your place and loved ones are shot up ? Cars driven by people often kill. Are cars banned wholesale because of a few reckless drivers ?

This puzzle was again a grind for me. The SW took an inordinate amount of time to solve. Finally getting laconic made it all fall into place.

And yes thanks to Sam and Dave - that sorta soulful 50's duo.

leftcoastTAM 8:25 PM  

Sam and David (and Will) supplied it all in both clues and answers: gimmees, obliques, misdirections, and a few obscurities. Just to be expected from them.

l loved it all, but it took as much time to finish off in the SW as it took in all the rest of the puzzle.

My excuses for the late post: Started late, took a long break, and had a couple of glasses of good wine, a very smooth Viognier, in the process (which didn't add horse power to my frontal cortex).

thefogman 11:22 PM  

DNF. Done in by the NE corner. Had PEorIA not PERSIA. Tough one Mr. Steinberg!

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