Multi-time pro bowl tight end Greg / FRI 8-10-18 / Main antagonist in George Orwell's 1984 / Setting for first Mickey Mouse cartoon / Ranch sobriquet / Move to right incrementally

Friday, August 10, 2018

Constructor: Damon Gulczynski

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium (4:59)


THEME: none

Word of the Day: Greg OLSEN (5D: Multi-time Pro Bowl tight end Greg) —
Gregory Walter Olsen (born March 11, 1985) is an American football tight end for the Carolina Panthers of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at the University of Miami, and was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the first round of the 2007 NFL Draft. He holds an NFL record as the first tight end in league history to record three consecutive seasons with 1,000 receiving yards. (wikipedia)
• • •

Very much my thing. Easy-Medium Fridays are such a glorious feeling. A nice 5-minute workout. And (on good days), you get to see some new / interesting answers and some quirky clues and just generally enjoy yourself. There's some less-than-great short fill in here, but the longer answers make off the short stuff pretty forgettable. If there's one mild criticism I have it's that man oh man is this puzzle reliant on names. Maybe they're just clustered, so they seemed more prevalent than they were. Or maybe it's that I flat-out didn't know two of them, and so my whole field of attention (is that ... does that make sense?) was drawn to names—that is, I noticed them *all* because I didn't know *two*. Names became an issue, so I saw them, in a way that I might not have seen them had I not gotten tripped up. Most of the names are pretty mainstream, or at least crossword-mainstream. But Ay  ay AYLA, I can never remember her. AUEL, I can remember. AYLA no. But she wasn't the problem. The problem, for me, was Greg OLSEN, who (since he is a *current* NFL player) is new to me as of fifteen minutes ago. The NFL is a garbage on so many levels that I can't watch any more ... which is really gonna hurt me now and again with crosswords, but I guess that's the price I pay for not tacitly supporting racist billionaires or accepting that other people's CTE is a small price to pay for my amusement. I'll take the occasional crossword struggle. I can deal.


Like yesterday, I stumbled badly out of the gate, figuring [Insolent talk] was SASS. I knew better than to actually write SASS in, but still, that's what I wanted. I also wanted "I SEE" for 4D: "You make a point" ("FAIR"). But I nailed APIA, so I give myself credit for that. But the rest of the NW was a bust, so I just moved over to the north and, after whiffing on OLSEN, ran EMIL RELY and ASL, and that got me going. Once I got my footing ... well, I lost it again in the NE. I don't think I've read "1984" since high school. I have almost no memory of it. Same with "Brave New World," which I conflate with "1984." Anyway, the "Main antagonist" of that novel? O'BRIEN? If you say so. That "B" was (fittingly) Brutal for me, as I have never heard anyone call a C-NOTE a "BEN"—sincerely thought it might be CEN, as in "century," as in 100 ... they're Benjamins. What's this informality stuff?


Got very lucky with the longer stuff, throwing down PUT PEN TO PAPER and EMPORIUM and RETRONYM and STEAMBOAT and HANK AARON and "ARE YOU BLIND?" with very little help from crosses. Struggled with LAMEST because I didn't know we were still using that dumb word. I wouldn't write it in at first because I didn't believe it could be right. "Lame" to mean "bad" = kind of derogatory to some disabled people, so I just avoid it. Luckily, English is a big language and there are other words available. My favorite single line in the grid is SINUS ERROR (I've had those before), though iTUNES EST ORA sounds like a really wise Latin saying. Alea iacta est, Carthago delenda est, iTunes est ora, etc., et alii, res ipsa loquitur, sic transit gloria.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]

132 comments:

Harryp 12:08 AM  

Some great misdirects, my favorite being 6Down "Big name in conditioning". 20Across BEER BELLY gave me a chuckle and 22Down SCORPIO was a surprise. I don't know baseball, but HANK AARON filled nicely. Very satisfying Friday by Damon G.

Patrick O'Connor 12:18 AM  

You forgot to mention "Semper ubi sub ubi" --"Always wear underwear."

I agree, a charming puzzle. And you didn't even mention Splitsville or the clue for Pavlov.

puzzlehoarder 12:19 AM  

I had a feeling we we're in for an easy Friday but I didn't think it would be this easy.

My first guess for 1A was SASS but then I saw APIA and UPPERLIP went right in. ARM and SINUS we're instant as well. This was typical of every section. Things just opened up giving you leverage even when it wasn't needed. Unknowns like GLEN and OLSEN did't even get a chance to be speed bumps.

I got a minute and twenty seconds more of solving out of this than I did with yesterday's non-Thursday. Today was a Friday with no Friday in it.

Calman Snoffelevich 12:43 AM  

Jeez. Not everything that could, potentially, in some remote context, be construed as offensive is to be avoided.

pddes 12:54 AM  

On the topic of retronyms, this was one of my favorite Sunday puzzles: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/10/crosswords/retronyms-crossword-puzzles-daily.html

pddes 12:55 AM  
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jae 1:05 AM  

Easy-medium works for me. I had some of the same problems as @Rex. Unliked Rex I actually put in SASS, but like Rex I stumbled on spelling AYLA, had cEN before BEN, did not remember OBRIEN, and did not know OLSEN. I also had PutIN before PAYIN.

A fine Fri., liked it a bunch!

newspaperguy 1:10 AM  

Dude, that was one lame complaint.

JOHN XXX 2:44 AM  

This was a fun puzzle but just like every other puzzle this week I just blazed through it. Either I'm really good or these are getting really easy, or maybe both of those things are true.

This puzzle sure had a lot of three-letter answers, including those old standbys ORA and REM and of course ELO. Chief Inspector Dreyfus was also here! So was Private Pyle! I'm pretty sure GOMER Pyle wasn't playing with a full deck, bless his heart. Send a guy like that to 'Nam and you can bet your bottom dollar he's gonna rack up about a thousand kills. They cancelled the show before he shipped out, though; I would've watched the hell out of that.

I like seeing which word(s) Rex will find offensive in each day's posting. The man is truly an artist.

chefwen 2:50 AM  

Yup, sass was the first one in and it took me far too long to take it out. AHA before OHO, I always fall for that one. Once I got that sorted out the rest fell like dominos. ARE YOU BLIND without any crosses, because I have actually yelled that on more than one occasion at a Brewers game. Ashamed to admit that, but it’s true. Beer might have been involved.

BEER BELLY clue was cute as was ON MEDS.

Very enjoyable Friday Puzzle.

Loren Muse Smith 2:53 AM  

Like Rex, I loved SPLITSVILLE. And ARE YOU BLIND?

The comment about LAME surprised me. I use the word freely and have never thought I might be offending someone. I guess it’s one of the many words in transition from describing an unfortunate state? And it’s not evolved enough to be safe? I mean, I use the word idiot, usually referring to myself, but I don’t use retarded. For me, idiot has a meaning that has fully distanced itself from its original denotation. There must be some kind of NYM word for this phenomenon: LAME is a mainstreamheadednym.

Just curious, since I probably don’t think about this stuff as much as I should: if LAME offensive, is handicap used in golf scoring offensive, too? It’s hard to keep up.

@JOHN XXX - GOMER crossing LUMMOX was fitting.

I’ve never heard of a NUT PINE tree. Every time I google it, it switches to PINE NUT. Do pine nuts come from NUT PINES? So you could have a situation where a nut pine pine nut ended up up ended?

SPACE RACE – the rush to cram your suitcase in the overhead bin before everyone else.

One last thing – I’ve never understood STIFF UPPER LIP. When I’m about to cry, which will be almost daily now that school has started, it’s my lower lip that betrays me. Even if I try, I can’t make my upper lip tremble. At all.

DJG - Nice! I bet a BEER BELLY has been the cause of a few SPLITSVILLEs. Funny how it’s just beer. I mean, no one says twinkiebelly or BigMacbelly. Or RiceKrispietreatbelly.

Anoa Bob 3:50 AM  

Lots to like in this quality Friday offering. Maybe not clued as obliquely as some would like, but there's a wide range of interesting fill.

Couple of things slowed me down. SASS out of the gate at 1 Across for impertinent talk (nope, GUFF) and PATROL instead of POLICE CAR at 42 Across, plus a trip to the frig for another brewski, and then another to cut off a hunk of Gouda and grab some tortilla chips, all these conspired to add precious megaseconds to get the happy music.

I did a doubletake when the answer for the "super store" clue at 37 Down was EMPORIUM. My first EMPORIUM experience was at the Dudley Do-Right Emporium, a small, tiny actually, shop on Sunset Strip in West Hollywood, CA., selling Rocky and Bullwinkle show related items. I still have a Dudley Do-Right lapel pin I bought there. According to wiki, it opened in 1971 and closed its doors in April 2005.

The site is currently occupied by an upscale taco stand.

Mica Hilson 4:09 AM  

Speaking of "LAMEST," of all the clues you could use for BEN... (I might have gone for something like "Uncle who sticks to pot?").

'merican in Paris 4:53 AM  

DNF because I had to Google O'TOOLE and LOM in the SW (home of TEX) to gain some purchase.

Also lost a lot of time because CARsoN looked OK, even though in my heart of hearts I knew the answer would turn out to be CARLIN. It's just that I have a mental block regarding George's family name. (Carlson? Catlin?) So that gave me lENOoR at 45D for the longest time. Yes, living in France, RENOIR should have popped out at me instantly.

Like @Rex, what saved me was entering PUT PEN TO PAPER and STEAMBOAT without any crosses, and needing only a few letters for ARE YOU BLIND, BEER BELLY and HANK AARON. I don't think I would have had a hope in hell otherwise.

BEN was a gimme, as my younger brother made it big when his security strip was accepted by the U.S. Bureau of Engraving to be incorporated into a totally redesigned C-Note. It's that blue strip running from top to bottom, just to the right of Benjamin Franklin's face. It's not a hologram, which is supper easy to copy, apparently. The technology is now used in something like 80 currencies of 67 countries. To date, there have been zero successful counterfeits of bills with these strips incorporated into them.

Loved seeing GUFF in place of the over-used "sass", plus all the other new or rare fill, like UPPER LIP, GAS BAGS, VAGABONDS and EMPORIUM.

In short, a RELY, RELY good Friday puzzle. Thanks Mr. Gulczynski!

Z 5:31 AM  

I found myself smiling frequently as I did this puzzle. Lots of nifty phrases and words and clues. I came in at sub 15, but I have no idea where this falls as I rarely solve electronicly at 4:30 a.m. because I’m running a tournament tomorrow and even though it is all set and ready to go I still woke up super early with organizational details running through my mind so what the hell I’m going to solve the puzzle. So, let’s say easy medium.*

I must say the write-up also brought smiles. That first paragraph is an almost perfect description of the Wheelhouse/outhouse phenomenon. Know the names and you barely even notice them. Stumble on one or two or three and you’re ready to toss the whole paper into the outhouse as a PPP infested crime against humanity.

Likewise with Rex’s LAMEST comment. A perfect description that I’m always slightly amazed anyone can seriously take issue with. Look, everyone, nobody is banning any words. Not Rex. Not me. Not Donny or Obama. And, no, I am not offended by LAMEST or chink. But now you know that if you go around using “lame” to mean “bad” there are people who will be offended. So you do you. Me, I think I will find some other way to metaphorically express badness . I mean, I have options. But if you insist on doing you, insisting on your right to call things “lame” even though you now know some are offended, some people will think you are a twit, or an ass, or an ableist. That’s your choice.












@‘mericans - See what I did there? I’m still thinking commas were more apt than colons, even though colons were technically correcter.

Brother Josephus 5:58 AM  

I guess the names tripped me up as I had Jessica BIEL instead of ALBA and for some reason Peter OROARK instead of Peter OTOOLE. Throw in a confident BLANK for shutout (is SKUNK a shutout? I guess it is. Never heard that term) and I actually went 3 minutes over my normal time.

Top half was pretty easy, south side was trouble with all those misdirects. So medium-challenging for yours truly,

Lewis 5:58 AM  
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Lewis 6:00 AM  
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Lewis 6:01 AM  

This was entertaining and the work of a pro. The fill is clean and every area of the grid is well connected. There's fun in the clues (BEERBELLY, PAVLOV, TAB, SCORPIO) and answers (I noted 10). The puzzle had dash, sparkle, and was made with a twinkle in the eye.

How I love George CARLIN's deliciously twisted view on life. He could be goofy ("Death is caused by swallowing small amounts of saliva over a long period of time."), he could be a little over-the-top but close to reality ("The other night I ate at a real nice family restaurant. Every table had an argument going."), and, even though he's been gone for a decade, he could be prescient ("When you're born, you get a ticket to the freak show. When you're born in America, you get a front row seat.").

Hungry Mother 6:24 AM  

Played hard here, but my time didn’t indicate it. Nice, crunchy cluing.

Reasonablewoman 6:47 AM  

GASBAGS is wonderful and so apt for this forum. (self included)

Birchbark 6:48 AM  

A Friday below 15:00 feels pretty good at my pace. Today was 8:09.

I would clue EMPORIUM as "Words seen on hand-made signs for antique stores in small towns."

Anonymous 7:27 AM  

Find me a single actual handicapped person who is offended by LAMEST.

'merican in Paris 7:29 AM  

@Z 5:31 AM -

See what I did there? I’m still thinking commas were more apt than colons, even though colons were technically correcter.

Um, no, I didn't particularly notice. In any case, normally I comment on the puzzle itself, or on @Rex's write-up, not on the grammar or punctuation of other posters. But, since you asked, if you mean the sentence "And, no, I am not offended ... ", I agree that, in that case, your punctuation is appropriate. However, in my dictionary "correcter" as an adjective is a non-standard comparative form of correct; I'd use "more correct".

Lobster11 7:29 AM  

If LAME (for "bad" or "weak") is unacceptable because it is potentially offensive to disabled persons, why are BEER BELLY (potentially offensive to overweight persons) and ARE YOU BLIND (no explanation necessary) okay?

Diywriter 7:29 AM  

Conservatives certainly have valid concerns, and tho mostly liberal I do resonate term "snowflake," meaning a person who is overly sensitive and easily offended. Rex often qualifies, imho. Cringing at this use of "lamest" Is just one of many examples of his Snowflakery. But I must agree with him on the subject of football. After a big hit I used to think "ooh, that's gonna hurt tomorrow"; now I can't help but think about early dementia and other horrors.

FLAC 7:30 AM  

So glad to see the great George Carlin's name in the puzzle. Too bad Rex didn't (or felt he couldn't) link to the "Seven Dirty Words" monologue. It's one of the most trenchant commentaries on free speech ever recorded -- and, ironically, it led to one of the most wrongheaded First Amendment decisions the Supreme Court ever handed down.

Kodak Jenkins 7:37 AM  

Really great Friday. Some original answers and clues and just hard enough to where I thought I might not finish...but then I did. A common occurrence.

SETPENTOPAPER got me off to a great start (thought later I corrected it) and that's an example of a great clue. Also loved clues and answers for BEERBELLY, POLICECAR, GOMER, PAVLOV, RETRONYM, EMPORIUM and SPACERACE.

I don't really have any complaints so I'll make one up. A SKUNK and a shutout *might mean the same thing but a SKUNK suggests a lopsided win over a team that failed to score a single point and often is synonymous with the "mercy rule" in sports where the game is officially ended because the lead is insurmountable rather than to let the game run its course.

QuasiMojo 7:42 AM  

Rex always gives this constructor a pass. He claims he just got lucky, filling it in quickly. But maybe it is because it was ridiculously easy? Friday's should offer a challenge, not be over before my coffee even gets cold. I took the advice of John X the other day and am doing the Friday puzzles from 1998. They are engaging, wickedly thorny at times, but immensely enjoyable. August 7th had me using my brain overtime.

Joe 8:02 AM  

Cheers to you for calling out the monstrosity that is pro football. How is that still a thing??!?

ghthree 8:13 AM  

@Anoa Bob A megasecond is more than eleven days. Go easy on the brewski.

Teedmn 8:25 AM  

DNF in the SW today. My excuse: I started this at 4:20 AM CDT, then drove 140 miles and am now waiting in a parking lot for my ride to Iowa. So having put PulLET in early at 42D, I never revisited that corner to find out why lOsER wouldn’t work with LUMMOX. PIGLET, OHO, that's fair. Otherwise this was pretty easy for a Damon Gulczynski Friday.

Thanks, DG.

Suzie Q 8:25 AM  

Too easy for a Friday but it sure was fun.
Great words like vagabond, skunk, guff, gomer, and lummox make me grin.
Mickey was Willy in that cartoon.
Peter O'Toole had a wonderful line in that movie.
"I'm not an actor, I'm a movie star!"

three of clubs 8:40 AM  

Kind of amazing that the NFL has managed to offend both the tabbers and the backtabbers.

Unsure if Sputnik launched the SPACERACE. Seems more like the clubhouse turn. Has that race ended yet?

Anonymous 8:50 AM  

An excuse can be lame.
A dolt may be lame-brained.
A limping horse could be lame.
I can't think of an insult aimed at a handicapped person using the word lame. Gimp maybe but even that doesn't have much bite to it. I've used it to refer to myself and my trick knee.
How many perfectly fine puzzles is Rex going to ruin?
Every Single Day it's something. It's getting boring.

Anonymous 8:54 AM  

Hee hee hee
Lamest is such a dumb word
See that?
Hee hee hee
or are you blind to it?
hee hee hee
Rex used dumb to compain about lame
so gay

benjaminthomas 9:02 AM  

Luckily, English is a big language, but not as big as you think because there are a lot of words I don't want you to use. So if you'll just check with me first, everything will be alright.

Slight quibble with the AARON clue. He was the "All-time record setter on 4/8/1974" but no longer is the "all-time" record holder. Perhaps it should have just said "record setter". Would you clue Bannister as the "all-time" record setter in the mile?

Dunno - just didn't seem right to me.

TomAz 9:08 AM  

I don't share Rex's objection to the NFL. I have Cardinals season tickets, I watch a lot of football on TV, I play fantasy football, I am a football nerd. And it took forever for OLSEN to come to me. I knew it was that guy, I even had him in Carolina, but, man, I needed a couple crosses. So yeah that's pretty obscure.

I do get Rex's complaint on LAMEST -- never occurred to me, but I see his point -- but I wonder why ARE YOU BLIND doesn't elicit a similar reaction? Seems some inconsistent thinking/logic there. And BEER BELLY -- body shaming still OK in your book, Rex?

The clue for PAVLOV was great, though. I hope dogs weren't offended by it.

Carola 9:09 AM  

What a pleasure. All the more so, as I had to work at it, so the treats came slowly enough for me to really savor (PAVLOV, SCORPIO, BEER BELLY, ARE YOU BLIND, EMPORIUM). I was grateful for the help I got from good old APIA, SNO, GRO, ELO as well as crossword familiars EMIL, NIC, and ALBA.

Besides @Rex's favorite grid lines, I also liked the first one: GUFF OPERAS OHO, nicely reflecting the often improbable plots, including shocking discoveries of betrayals and other treachery.

Re: AYLA - I've actually read Clan of the Cave Bear, which is looooong enough to firmly imprint the heroine's name in one's memory, and which I remember mainly as Stone-Age-meets-The Hite Report.

kitshef 9:29 AM  

DNF at uTUNES/lOMER/PulLET. Had no idea ITUNES rents movies. Thought maybe this was some brand trying to leverage ITUNES and youtube. PULLET of course fits perfectly. So that left me with LOMER, which sounded reasonable.

EMIL and AYLA stink, but otherwise a really well done themeless.

Bob Mills 9:30 AM  

On the easy side for a Friday. Almost didn't finish it, because I had "PULLET" instead of "PIGLET" as the farm young 'un.

Bruce R 9:31 AM  

Oh please. The comments about LAME being offensive are lame. Does anyone refer to handicapped people as lame? If so, that might be offensive. But using "lame" to mean "feeble" is perfectly fine.

If I refer to a particularly limp performance as being flaccid is that offensive to guys with erectile dysfunction?

benjaminthomas 9:34 AM  

@Z

"Look, everyone, nobody is banning any words. Not Rex. Not me."

See, we're not banning any words. We're just going to call you a twit or an ass if you use words we don't like.

Glad you made that clear.

mmorgan 9:35 AM  

I found this to be a relatively easy but very enjoyable and rewarding Friday puzzle. I did have a somewhat long stretch of staring blankly in the middle-south east by having TELE for 46A ("Prefix with -metry"). I (finally) took that out and everything fell into place.

'merican in Paris 9:40 AM  

@Carola -- I read Clan of the Cave Bear about 30 years ago, and then moved on to Valley of the Horses, which is when Jondalar meets AYLA. Whereas I remember the first book as a very interesting, albeit fictionalized, exploration of Cro-Magnon and Neanderthal anthropology, all I can remember from the second book are the steamy scenes. ("Jondalar, ... oh, Jondalar!"

By the way, according to 23andMe, I rank among the top 2% of the population in the share of my genes that are considered of Neanderthal origin. "GrrrrrUFF!"

Anonymous 9:43 AM  

I think when Rex complains about LAME, he hasn't a leg to stand on.

Anonymous 9:44 AM  

I absolutely love @Z claiming he's not policing thought on a day when 1984 is a clue. Fantastic. And the largesse of allowing me to do me. Wow. And he thinks Trump is an autocrat. Har!

Uncle Ben 9:44 AM  

I had a bad acid trip in 1982 and since then I’ve always stuck to pot.

Isandxan 9:55 AM  

@Diywriter - the thing about the term "snowflake " is that usually the person using it is the most overly sensitive one. See our current snowflake-in-chief and his followers. What they really mean is "all you people to whom this offensive term is directed should toughen up, because it doesn't apply to me."

In general, as @LMS revels in and reminds us always, language evolves. It has nuance and depth. And it is good to be conscious of meaning and unintended meaning in whatever you do. IMHO thinking about these things and discussing how language can elevate, elucidate or hurt is interesting and can be important. Since we have a couple of teenagers, it's something we talk about all the time.

BTW: it is also, of course, cultural. Growing up in the south, I wouldn't think of calling a fat person fat. But my wife is Mexican, and in her culture Gordo/Gordito and Gorda/ Gordita are common nicknames and terms of endearment. I spent the first seven years I knew her calling my wife's sister-in-law the Mexican slang for "white girl" without having any idea what it meant and that it wasn't her real name!

Language is why I enjoy crosswords and this blog.

Nancy 9:55 AM  

Full of wonderful misdirection. Clue after clue in this delicious themeless was like its own mini-puzzle. I had such fun. I was so sorry when it was over.

My favorite clues were for GASBAGS; UPPER LIP; BEER BELLY; SPACE RACE; PAVLOV; and SCORPIO. And the first four were my favorite answers too, along with SPLITSVILLE and PUT PEN TO PAPER.

Other than the most baffling "trick" puzzles, which are always quite cherished in this corner, today's puzzle shows why a good themeless is best. No ugly fill begotten by a dumb theme that's of more interest to the constructor than to the solver. Full attention can be given to making the fill sparkling. That's what has been done here, and it's great. Loved it.

Stanley Hudson 9:56 AM  

@Carola, I slogged through that crappy book some 35 years ago because a librarian I was hitting on recommended it. Genuine LOL @ “Stone-Age-meets-The Hite Report.”

Roo Monster 9:56 AM  

Hey All !
This was a 'neat fill' puz. Lots of cool words. Agree a little bit too easy for a Friday, but that never bothers me. Non-wrenching of the ole brain is always good.

The SCORPIO clue got me but good. Kept wanting to change the O to an A for SCaRe(something), but I was 99℅ on VAGABaNDS not being right, unless clued as 'Roaming quartets?" or some such. Hand up for 1A as SASS, wonderful to change to a two-F word! Appropriate cross there, GUFF/GASBAGS.

Speaking OF CARLINs Seven Words, I think now it's less. Comedy Central aired (originally and now in reruns) the South Park Shit Episode, complete with a counter as to how many times 'Shit' was said. Also the first South Park movie uncensored. Plus, I was watching FX the other day, like 4pm-ish, and not only Shit, but F**K was being said. Surprising. On a similar note, you can curse on Canadian Radio. Brave new world?

Nice PAVLOV clue. Kept wanting PAntene or PAntone. Har.

As a male, I know my sexy Jessicas, BIEL, ALVA, SIMPSON, CHASTAIN, RABBIT :-)

SNO GRO
RooMonster
DarrinV

DJG 10:17 AM  

Regarding LAMEST, like @Loren Muse Smith, it is a word I've used freely without knowing anything was offensive about it until very recently (after I submitted this puzzle). Had I known it was problematic, I would not have clued it in the way I did.

I talk about this in further detail in a blog post if anybody is interested.

Anonymous 10:17 AM  

Greg Olsen is not only an NFL player, but he's white, male and straight. When is the NYT going to stop being so tone deaf?

- Sarah Jeong.

Whatsername 10:26 AM  

So LAME is offensive but AREYOUBLIND is not? My first response to 57A was are you CRAZY because I thought surely BLIND would not be considered PC. But then I suppose if you think about it, “crazy” could also be offensive to someone. [sigh] It’s the world we live in.

Ellen S 10:33 AM  

I fell behind in my solving and when I catch up, only a week later, I find a bunch of new blog participants. What a nice surprise!

Hand up here for SASS and PULLET. What’s wrong with us?

@Roo Monster — Canadians curse?

TubaDon 10:36 AM  

     Plunked down OPERAS, SPLITSVILLE OTOOLE and LUMMOX and thought I was off to the races, but then frustrated myself with COLORLESS at 42A, and promptly fell asleep. Woke up, RENOIR helped erase my goof and the rest was a matter of filling in the crosses.
     Don't be too hard on Rex, guys, if he doesn't gripe about something on every puzzle, no one woould read his blog!

Anonymous 10:36 AM  

Sarah,
It's ok. He's woke. He wears a knit hat in training camp even though its 90 degrees with 150% humidity. His millennial/lib bona fides are impeccable.

GHarris 10:57 AM  

@LMS got a chuckle out of your definition of space race and enjoyed your discussion of stiff lips. My take on this puzzle mirrors that of @nancy sufficiently challenging to be fun and very satisfying to finish.

Amelia 11:04 AM  

Lovely puzzle. A bit too easy. Enjoyed the exercise.

Comment about lame being offensive is retarded.

michiganman 11:08 AM  

Sweet puzzle.

One should always be sensitive to others' feelings in interpersonal relationships and publicly avoid terms that are well known epithets. When words are used in another sense or in a non-derogatory manner (as in xword puzzles) it should not be a problem. When Rex or anyone makes it a problem, that's exactly what they do; create a problem where there isn't one.

jb129 11:32 AM  

I guess I wasn't in the constructor's head so although I started out promising, I had to cheat. Totally forgot Ayla. But a fine Friday puzzle.

mmorgan 11:43 AM  

@DJG:

Thanks for your comment here, and for the link to your very thoughtful post... and for your Very Fine Friday Fare!

Hartley70 11:46 AM  

I was with Rex on sass and cen right off the block. OLSEN and OBRIEN were dependent on crosses, so there was a delay getting started, but after that things moved along nicely. I liked seeing LUMMOX and SKUNK. RETRONYM is a cool invention. Nice Friday, overall.

Puzzling Philosopher 11:50 AM  

LAME and BLIND are bad *as insults*. That's not difficult to understand. It's like responding to a social gaffe by saying, "you're so autistic." It marginalizes and degrades real people. Sorry if it's a bother to realize that some mainstream turns of phrase are harmful.

relicofthe60s 12:00 PM  

So AYLA is mildly annoying, but Arya draws a rant earlier this week? Got much of a double standard?

roscoe88 12:03 PM  

Loved this puzzle, especially beerbelly which clue didn't need the "ironically". The entire blog raises the issue of whether a word that offends someone is proper for a puzzle. The idea should be to allow the language to expand and not contract. Offensive should not be a standard for exclusion unless the intent is to hurt. There are words that some are allowed to use in a non-offensive way and are strictly forbidden to others because they are used in a hurtful way. It is too difficult a subject because it is so subject.

Enough said.

Joseph Michael 12:04 PM  

The Offensometer must be set to High if the word LAME elicits a protest. So I don’t know how DUMB in Rex’s review or LUMMOX and GOMER in the grid escaped detection and righteous outrage. Are mentally challenged people now less important than physically challenged people? Please check your Offensometer as soon as possible to make sure it is working correctly. You may need a new battery.

Great Friday puzzle. Loved everything about it.

Anonymous 12:04 PM  

Sarah Jeong, are you ON MEDS? Get over yourself.

Banana Diaquiri 12:07 PM  

Sputnik did start the SPACERACE in one specific sense: it was the first thing put into orbit, i.e. in space, i.i.e. outside of Earth's atmosphere by humans. but it wasn't the beginning of rocketry, that started in Woosta, MA back in the 30s. after WWII, the USSR stole some Nazi rocket scientists, and so did we. they went with big rockets because they hadn't figured out how to miniaturize (in a relative sense) nucular bombs so needed heavy lift. we did figure out small, high yield (for the times) bombs which didn't need as much lift. so they got ahead.

old timer 12:07 PM  

Not super Easy for me, but fortunately I guessed UPPERLIP and therefore PUTPENTOPAPER early. Wanted "sass" at 1A but I already had that U in there. Finished with GLEN (Rock), a place unknown to me.

The reason people do not complain about "blind" or "deaf" is that people with those conditions use those words. There is no particular condition that makes one LAME. So a super-sensitive person can call the word an insult. I suppose "dumb" would be insulting to some, but the word is so common, it isn't. The only time I heard "dumb" used literally was Tommy, by The Who.

Jenny Smythe 12:08 PM  

Excellent. Crane and Co right? I think it was the Norwegian or maybe Swedish krone first before Benjamin. Great patent to have.

S. Green 12:16 PM  

I am amazed that the use of the word lame has merited a debate over its use. The puzzle's constructor has even been moved to apologize. This is craziness. Rex and the rest of the ones offended are like the ridiculously woke Sasha Baron-Cohen character in the NPT t-shirt. Can we be liberals or progressives without being PC idiots?

That guy in Nampa idaho 12:19 PM  

Heck, it takes me 5 minutes just to correctly type a word with an "I" or "u" on my iPhone Time App...

Crimson Devil 12:19 PM  

Carlin was the best. Produced many full length albums of his own material, and is revered by most stand ups to this day. I once heard him do 45 min skit on uses of one of the seven that rhymes with skit. Brilliant.

Miri.PDX 12:25 PM  

I read 6D as “Big name in air conditioning” until “Pavlov” appeared. Fun! Also, people who have walking challenges say that they don’t like the word “lame” because it’s come to be a negative, an insult. Easy-peasy to understand that. :-)

benjaminthomas 12:28 PM  

@ S. Green

Can we be liberals or progressives without being PC idiots?

I'm tempted to say "apparently not". But I noticed that you used the noxious slur of the mentally challenged ("idiot") which means you are the next one in the stockade.

TJS 12:31 PM  

I am starting to suspect that Rex is slyly inserting these PC objections as red meat to spark our discussions. Maybe if we stop rising to the bait, he will get off the soapbox. (Talk about mixed metaphors !)
@Mica Hilson. Had to figure that one out, then had to laugh out loud.

@Anoa Bob. Just a quibble, but "a trip to the frig" or the fridge ? I occasionally come out with "ice box", much to the amusement of kids, so what do I know.

@Z You just can't help yourself, can you?

Anonymous 12:32 PM  

...and what about the (avoidable) use of Wagner in a clue? Ever hear of the Holocaust? BEN Franklin owned slaves? Why are we still talking about him? Vagabonds!? We need to build more affordable housing! The “black and white” clue for POLICE CAR” was dripping with tacit racism. AMMO—goodness, we’re still militarizing words? Caesar—another slave owner in a clue?! So much to be offended by, and that’s just the acrosses.

jb129 12:36 PM  

Why are all of you so angry? It's just a crossword puzzle - for you to enjoy or not!

Joe Bleaux 12:41 PM  

Solid and enjoyable Friday puz, and thanks also for dropping in DJG! It always adds to the fun when a constructor joins us. @Kodak Jenkins, your first paragraph neatly summarizes my solving experience today. Re SKUNK, however, I've never inferred any "lopsided" factor to it. To get skunked was to fail to get on the board, period, regardless of the other team's score. One could lose 1-0 and still be skunked. @TAB2TAB, the newcomer: Welcome, and howdy from Gwinnett😉.

Nancy 12:47 PM  

Yes, we can (to coin a phrase), @S. Green (12:16). Definitely.

@Sarah -- your satiric comment fell on at least one pair of completely humorless ears, unfortunately.

DJG -- I was pilloried mercilessly on the blog a while back for calling a puzzle -- or maybe it was the puzzle's theme -- "lame." I was lectured up the wazoo about being insensitive, indifferent to human suffering, an clueless ableist, deserving of a horrible fate -- whatever. The upshot? I now slap myself gently on the wrist whenever I start to write the word "lame" in a blog comment and find another word -- even when I truly believe the replacement word to be a lamer word. (Joke, everyone). The rest of the time? I use terms like "lame excuse" all the time, knowing that my friends and family, virtually all of them political liberals, don't indulge in any of this PC nonsense. It's not so much that they won't mind as much as that they won't even notice. So while I find your apology charming and humble, DJG, I didn't really think it was necessary. I agree with @Loren and love her suggestion that we find a "NYM" coinage to describe all these previously perfectly ordinary and unremarkable words that are no longer acceptable to use. I'm working on it, @Loren.

DJG 12:48 PM  

To be clear, @S. Green, nobody "moved" me to do anything. I wrote most of my blog post, totally of my own volition, two days before I even saw any feedback. (Also, I don' think I actually ever apologized, either.)

After hearing that lame-meaning-bad was problematic, I went online and found that, indeed, a significant number of people with disabilities think that it is. Therefore, as a common courtesy, if nothing else, I won't use it that way anymore. It's a simple request, easy to fulfill, and it has virtually *no* bearing on my life whatsoever. In essence, it's just being a good neighbor, and if you think that's the "ridiculously woke" behavior of "PC idiots," oh well.

CashPo' 1:01 PM  

Next we'll be told that we can't use expressions such as "he hasn't got a leg to stand on" or "she's all thumbs." Who knows maybe even saying so and so has "a crooked smile" might offend someone out there.

Masked and Anonymous 1:18 PM  

Lotsa good, so-called "crunchy" fill, in them there grid parts. themelessthUmbsUp.

Like @RP's solvequest, NW beat me away with a stick. Got started on ASL, nextdoor. Then the -EST part of LAMEST. Then STEAMBOAT. As M&A proceeded, some areas became easy-ish and others put up a fight. NUTPINE put up a heckuva fight.

Today, even the clues were tryin desperately to teach m&e new stuff. "oeuvre". "sobriquet". "brachialis muscle". "Chervil". "$100 bill".

Any puz that has the VAGABONDS-BEERBELLY-SKUNK trifecta in it is thenforth playin with the House's money, IM&AO. Primo vocab all over the place. Not even NUTPINE could pull it down.

staff weeject picks: TAB & TBS. These seem kinda related, somehow. Luvly weeject stacks in the NE & SW corners, btw. U don't get them sorta stacks in just any old themeless grid. NOPE; TS, AL LOWED.

{Big name in conditioners} woulda scored a full ten on the sneak-E-meter, if it had been used to clue up PAVLOV. Even as worded, with "conditioning", it's pretty darn great.

File my menus and gas my bags, this day-um puz was really fun. Hey -- thanx, Mr. G. Got one of them plus-side write-ups from @RP, too boot. Good job.

Masked & Anonymo6Us


**gruntz**

Anonymous 1:22 PM  

@banana,
Rocketry started in Wooster, Ma. in the 1930's? Why do you insist on spouting off? Clearly you don't have even the slightest bit of knowledge about rocketry. If by the `30s you mean Robert Goddard, then yeah, he was doing rocketry at that time and place. Except he had been doing very serious work since 1915. And that's hardly the beginning.
Look no further than the Star Spangled Banner for evidence. That bit about the rockets' red glare and all. Those were Congreve rockets. Really terrific weapons. And that's a century earlier than Goddard.
Modern rocketry? That's Herr Oberth. I could go on, but why bother?
You'll just respond with some lame prevarication or misdirect.

Nancy 1:26 PM  

@Loren. So now I've made my "NYM" list:

SYMPANYM
EMPANYM
SENSINYM
WOKENYM
REXNYM

Let's choose one (1) and see if we can make it go viral. :)

TJS 1:38 PM  

@Lewis, forgot to thank you for the great Carlin quotes. Some of his best.

Anonymous 1:42 PM  

Two last thing Banana,
In space. outside the earth's atmosphere? You do know that's redundant, right? The sine qua non of space is no atmosphere.
As for Russians building big rockets. Well... no. A big rocket is the Saturn V. Please stop posting. Or enroll at Embry-Riddle and get back to us in, I dunno, 6 years.

Banana Diaquiri 1:43 PM  

@anon/1:22

hardly a 'rocket' in modern terminology, aka the SPACERACE as clued. the argument was whether or not Sputnik was the 'start' of the SPACERACE. it was. we no that the Indy 500 is next Memorial Day (metaphorically) at noon CDT (or thereabouts). having declared 'the race' already, would you say that the Indy 500 is running now?? not likely. the race starts when the first participant leaves the starting line. Sputnik I was the first off the line, no matter when 'the race' was declared. it started the race. one might even say that the USSR won 'the race', since it was the first to put a satellite, dog, and human into orbit. clear enough? we won the race to the moon, and all we got out of it was a box of rocks and dust. now some want to go to Mars to get a box of red docks and dust. swell.

Banana Diaquiri is here to help.

JC66 1:45 PM  

@Nancy

Good ones! Some other suggestions:

LAMENYM

FLAKENYM

UNPCNYM

NO,NYM

NATICKNYM

Malsdemare 1:50 PM  

Oh my, I had a lot of false starts so it took me a while to get a toehold. Eventually, I got the whole thing though I had to Google O’BRIEN. It’s been waaaay too long since I read “1984.” I’d reread it but it seems we’re living it. I need escapist literature these days. I had REo (Speedwagon) before REM, put in BEN, took him out, and then finally put him back. But PUTPENTOPAPER was immediate, with just two letters available. I loved SPLITSVILLE, VAGABONDS, BEERBELLY. Lots of fun.

Some wonderful Rexite recommended the game Ticket to Ride ages ago. I bought it and it sat on our shelf until last night when partner, grandkids, and I cracked open the box. What fun! Whoever the kind soul was, thank you!!

Anonymous 1:51 PM  

@Anon 12:04
Ever hear of satire?

Whatsername 1:54 PM  

@Nancy, I vote for REXNYM. ;-)

Anonymous 1:59 PM  

Banana,
I have never said anything about Sputnik. You made a bizarre and demonstrably incorrect assertion about the start of rocketry. I know a good deal about rocketry. I don't believe you do, hence your strange ideas about "Woosta in the 1930's" being the beginning of things. It's not even the beginning of modern rocketry. Any sane -person puts that decades before. If you want to credit Goddard, Ok by me. But surely it wasn't only Goddard--as your post implied-- and it wasn't in the 30s.
Here are some of the men who began modern rocketry starting in the late 19th century: Tsiolkovsky, Zander, Korolev, Sanger, Oberth, Van Braun. Thats' an extemporaneous list. I'm sure I've missed a guy here or there. But the point is, none of those gents were in woosta in the 1930s. And all of them are in the Pantheon of rocket scientists.

sketto 2:05 PM  

I was kinda fat as a kid and neighborhood bullies called me piglet. All the time. I was so offended when I saw that word again in the NYT Crossword! It still hurts.

Add “piglet” to the list of words that shouldn’t be in the crossword because someone, somewhere doesn’t like it.

sketto 2:06 PM  

Excellent. I like sensinym.

sketto 2:14 PM  

Me too!

After hearing that [insert any word or phrase in the language] was problematic, I went online and found that, indeed, a bunch of people think so.

Accordingly, I began to self-censor and ignore the nuance, power, and diversity of the English language. You know, for courtesy.

Anonymous 2:15 PM  

Isn't referring to the word lame as "dumb" offensive to mute people?

Shelby Glidden 2:47 PM  

@ Rex
You could have told my story on today’s puzzle, save brachialis, which i somehow had connected with lung, and a four-minute Bannister-like Friday time. Obviously,
i missed Latin class as well. I do like Dryden’s translation, however. In furias, ignemque ruunt: amor idem. Sed fugit interea, fugit inreparabile tempus, singula dum capti circumvectamur amore. (Rush into the flame: for love is lord of all; and is in all the same. But time is lost, which never will renew, while we too far the pleasing path pursue.) Loosely interpreted, seize the day but enjoy it.
Sort of like patting your head and rubbing your belly. 😀
Thanks for being you. 🙏

Anonymous 3:20 PM  

I've never heard of a $100 bill being called a Ben (16 Across). They're called Benjamins, or Bennies, or even Hundys, but they're never callled Bens. Also, as I've just realized in my little rant, nobody ever uses any of those slang terms in singular form. How LAME.

Harryp 3:45 PM  

In cribbage I have been Double-Skunked, and there was a certain score to that.

Banana Diaquiri 3:46 PM  

@anon/1:42
Well... no. A big rocket is the Saturn V

well, sure. but irrelevant to the 50s and and most of the 60s. fact is, and you can look it up, if you care about facts, that USSR nucular bomb rockets were bigger than US for the reason I toll you. they used such rockets in the 50s for their space program. we had to use puny ones, which is why we lagged until Apollo. Mercury sat on top of Atlas rockets and Gemini on Titan, both of which were designed as bomb delivery vehicles. most lifting to the ISS used rockets of Russian design and build. and so on.

as far as 'space' is concerned, LEO isn't in 'space'. orbits degrade just because of atmospheric drag. comm satellites are in 'space'. yeah, Iridium.

just found some history you might like (not surprisingly, it says what I said earlier):
"Because Soviet nuclear warheads were based on a heavy design, the R-7 had significantly greater weight-lifting capability than did initial U.S. ICBMs."
here: https://www.britannica.com/technology/R-7

you should go read the article. it's not very long.

Banana Diaquiri is just here to help.

Banana Diaquiri 3:51 PM  

@anon/1:59

well, I suppose one could assert that a bottle rocket is the predecessor of the R-7 or Saturn V. but you would be wrong. liquid fueled, controllable rockets began with Goddard. there's a reason solids weren't used until the space shuttle. then one blew up, confirming why solids weren't used.


Banana Diaquiri is just here to help.

JC66 4:00 PM  

@banana d

Just for you.

R.E.M. 4:14 PM  

(Don’t Go Back to) SPLITSVILLE
And waste another year

That would be LAME

A Real Engine Man 4:15 PM  

Banana, you must have an titanic-sized inferiority complex to keep lecturing about subjects you know so little about. You don't even understand the Wikipedia pages you're parroting (incorrectly). I've been in the aerospace industry for 32 years working with satellites and their delivery systems and you don't know your ass from your elbow about rocketry or any other type of engine.

Real Engine Man is just here to help.

ghthree 4:42 PM  

When I was in high school, "gay" meant "happy and carefree, and a fairy was a woodland sprite. Neither was pejorative. I guess it matters when (and where) you went to high school.

Later, when the entire chorus of Gilbert and Sullivan's Iolanthe sang "Everyone is now a fairy" there were some snickers. Likewise, in Bernstein's Candide, when Cunegonde sang "Glitter and be Gay."

If I were looking for insults to object to, I would mention DTG's blog post (which isn't in Rex's blog, but he does post a link to it) in which he uses the word "dick" to refer to males. As a CIS male I could object. But I know that the English language evolves (as do all others), so I don't take it personally.

BTW, speaking of Latin,the version I learned was "numquam ubi sub ubi." Again it depends on when and where you went to high school.



Banana Diaquiri 4:47 PM  

@A Real Engine Man:

well, I lived through it, and my memory is still pretty good. and you haven't shown that anything I posted is factually incorrect. have at it, if it matters that much. wiki, BTW, is used only because it's convenient. remember, this thread started because someone asserted that Sputnik didn't start the SPACERACE. it did. but others decided to turn the question into a Supreme Court case. blame them, not Banana Diaquiri.


Banana Diaquiri is just here to help.

Stacy 4:59 PM  

Hi all. I seldom comment here, but the discussion about offensiveness often gets to me. I think the whole idea of offense misses the point. The question is not about hurt feelings or sensitivity. The question is, do the physically lame enjoy equal access to all the resources we consider everyone to be entitled to, from voting booths, to schools and college campuses, to medical care, to employment opportunities, to bars, restaurants, and sporting venues, and to dignity and respect without patronization, pity, or contempt? (Please ask someone who is physically lame for their answer.) My impression is no, because it is not considered "truly" important; it is not considered important because deep at heart we still have some subconscious idea (expressed in our language) of lameness as...lame. So using the word pejoratively is not a problem because it offends--it is a problem because it continues the stereotype of a subset of humans, the lame, as lesser, and makes it incrementally harder for them to get basic rights and needs met.

The same is true of blindness--the subtext of "Are you blind?!" is not just "you must find it difficult to see," but "you are incapable." The problem is not that the subtext is hurtful, but that it represents another hurdle faced by actual blind people when dealing with a largely sighted society that speaks to them loudly and slowly, because they're too "stupid" to hear: we don't tend to believe the blind are capable.

So offensiveness, as in hurtfulness or bad manners, is irrelevant. What matters is the attitude of dismissal, which leads to the delay or dismissal of basic rights for those we use such words for. This is true whether we are discussing disability, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or any other area where human beings are denied access to the rights and privileges enjoyed by those in the "favored" power groups.

If you are one of those on the upper end of power imbalances--white OR male OR straight OR able-bodied (or all of the above)--then offensive language used toward you IS about manners. But if you are in any of the less-favored groups, that language is about power. It is denigration, whether mild or severe, intentional or naive, used to justify perpetuating the often good-natured, complacent, no-big-deal, lazy denial of full humanity to fellow human beings. It matters not just emotionally but materially.

Stanley Hudson 5:42 PM  

@Stacy 4:59 PM, thanks for your comment. Though I’m pretty far left politically—to me SJW is a compliment—I tend to be dismissive when it comes to terms such as “lame.” You’ve given this white, able-bodied, cisgender male much to think about.

Enjoy the weekend.

Anonymous 5:51 PM  

I live in Santa Fe. There is no tree named nutpine. There are White Pines, Ponderosa Pines, Pinyons (which, yes, do bear little pine nuts), Sugar Pines. No nutpine. It sounds dumb, anyway.

Anonymous 6:11 PM  

There is no nut pine.

AlexP 6:18 PM  

Why is POLICECAR clued as “Black and White”? Is it simply because police cars are often black and white? Never heard that before.

Birchbark 6:28 PM  

@Banana, @Anonymous, @Engineman, (and yes, @JC66) -- This is the sort of debate where the reader learns something and the polemics are entertaining. What I know about rocket science mainly comes from Estes kits in the old days and "Gravity's Rainbow," a WWII novel by Thomas Pynchon. From the novel I learned that if you can hear the whine of a V-2 rocket in supersonic free fall, it means you're safe. This doesn't solve who started the space race, but it's interesting.

Whatsername 6:51 PM  

@AlexP yes, apparently that is a term for police car. From the original Die Hard movie, when the police dispatcher hears gun shots over the radio: “See if a black-and-white can drive by.”

AlexP 7:12 PM  

Thanks for the explanation!

Anonymous 7:55 PM  

Birchbark,
Anon here. Rockets are incredible. Depending on how you define them, theyre as simple as Roman candles, and as mystifyingly intricate as what Space X did when they landed a rocket. The latter is the stuff of sci fi. More than worth a google serach.

Real engine man,
I dont know what to say. Maybe Banana is doing some weird joke. Like Andy Kaufman, or Joaquin Phoenix. Truly bizarre, whatever it is.

Some Dude 10:39 PM  

The entire SW corner was absolutely brutal for me. Got PIGLET (even though I'm not sure how that's an abbreviation like its clue...) but then GOMER LOM ELO and TEX crossing OTOOLE and LUMMOX absolutely defeated me. I didn't get a single one of those clues by myself, had to call in the roommates for the first time in long while

steve landis 12:41 AM  

Edmond O’Brien starred in early version of 1984. Clue should have said actor and not protagonist

Burma Shave 8:54 AM  

VAGABONDS RELY ONMEDS

BEN and GLEN give me GUFF when they're drunk,
they're the LAMEST GASBAGS I know.
O'TOOLE is a LUMMOX and a SKUNK,
and OBRIEN's a real SOANDSO.

--- EMIL OLSEN

rondo 9:47 AM  

@steve landis - OBRIEN is a character in the book.
@Rex and @Z - a whitewashed puz would be the LAMEST thing, ever.*

This puz was FAIRly easy. PPP seemed quite high, like 40%. Could do without the SPACERACE thread. And the BLIND, LAME, etc.

I remember seeing HANKAARON break the record on TV. I was 9 rows behind the Giants' dugout in San Diego when Barry Bonds tied HANKAARON's mark.

Don't give me any GUFF for choosing multi-TIMES yeah baby Jessica ALBA. AREYOUBLIND?*

Fun EZ puz with no ERRORs to get Friday rolling.

*See what I did there?

spacecraft 11:43 AM  

About medium for a Friday. Like OFL, wanted but did not trust SASS, exited the NW (again!) and "wandered" south a la VAGABONDS. There I met the late great George CARLIN, whose "A Place For Your Stuff" remains one of the funniest shticks I ever heard. Last letter was the A in FAIR: what a clue! "You make a point?" I can see replying "Well, that's FAIR," or some such, but the single word? Wow, that's a stretch. Almost a clue ERROR.

FAIR, of course, is curiously another word for "light-skinned." We build connotations all over the place. BLACK is pejorative because it is linked to night, under cover of which many people do bad things. Point: you can't get away from it. Were we to scrub every potentially offensive word from speech, we couldn't talk at all.

Having (as usual) PUTPENTOPAPER, I solved this in about the usual Friday time, 12 Rexes. My nominee for the "eau de speration" of the day is OPTO. Man, that is OPTO no good. But everything else is AOK, and at least OPTO is fresh. DOD is a flat-out gimme: Jessica ALBA. (That means "white;" whaddyagonna do?) Birdie.

thefogman 12:28 PM  

I solve the old-timey way. And shortly after I PUTPENTOPAPER I realized Rex would love this one. It was right after it became apparent there was no gimmicky theme to impede his precious finishing time. No extra layer to ponder and/or savour which regrettably which might add a couple of seconds to the clock. Such needless frills and adornments must be avoided at all cost. I love a good themer, but I'll admit this was a decent puzzle. Crunchy enough without being unfair. The SW corner was the last to fall. I had caLICoCAt and cIGnET before POLICECAR and PIGLET. I'm being a bit picky here, but not all cop cars are black and white like they used to be. The clue for 42A should have read: Traditionally black-and-white, or added the word slang. Anyways, nice work Mr. Gulczynski!

thefogman 2:33 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
thefogman 2:34 PM  

PS - I just realized my first answer cIGnET for 42D (Farm young 'un) was wrong for another reason. Cygnet (young swan) is spelled with a Y - not an I. Also, swan farms are kind of rare. Pig farms, not so much. That's what I get for sticking my neck out! Have a good weekend everybody!

Diana,LIW 4:23 PM  

Just couldn't suss out SPLITSVILLE, and that did me in in the NW. Another game of horseshoes for me.

Lady Di

Diana,LIW 4:28 PM  

PS - Swan farms are often sighted in APIA - wherever that is...

dliw

Diana,LIW 4:31 PM  

PPS - not all Oreos are the traditional black (dark brown) and white (crème) either, any more. It's a crazy world!

Diana

Diana,LIW 4:41 PM  

@Rondo - your comment to R&Z - is that anything like a black hole? Your accounts being in the black? (Instead of the red, which could also be whitewashed?)

D

rainforest 5:17 PM  

I think @Rex and @Z (pronounced "Zed") are on the same Frisbee team, har. But hey, "you do you". I speak descriptively, not prescriptively. Double har.

LAMEST excuse I've heard for un-submitted homework, "my ferret made a nest out of it".

This was a delightful, easy-medium puzzle with great clues and answers throughout. Professionalism, wordplay, care and attention and a sense of humour abounded.

I remember when I was learning to drive my Dad said, "watch out for black cars with white doors." I had no idea what he was talking about.

I think AYLA has to be the DOD yeah baby, just 'cause.




Anonymous 8:04 PM  

This seemed a bit easier. Though I did put PANIN instead of PAYIN. The rest was correct.


Mark

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