Rapidly cooled as metal / FRI 1-11-19 / Music style associated with George Clinton informally / Creature with 17-month gestation period / Pioneer in hydrostatics / Viking king of note

Friday, January 11, 2019

Constructor: Jim Horne and Jeff Chen

Relative difficulty: Easy (untimed—solved on paper, on my clipboard, early in the morning, in front of my Christmas tree, which, yes, it's still up, I love it)

THEME: none

Word of the Day: P-FUNK (34A: Music style associated with George Clinton, informally) —
P-Funk (also spelled P Funk or P. Funk) refers to the repertoire, musical style, and/or group of performers associated with George Clinton. The term is variously known as an abbreviation of Parliament-FunkadelicPsychedelic FunkPure Funk, or Plainfield Funk.
The P-Funk groups had their heyday in the 1970s and continue to attract new fans thanks both to the legacy of samples they bequeathed to hip hop and the live shows that the bands continue to perform. Their music was very aspirational, which is symbolized by their Mothership that has since been acquired by the Smithsonian. Notable P-Funk albums include Funkadelic's Maggot Brain and Parliament's Mothership Connection. The differing styles of these albums showcase the wide range of P-Funk's music. "Maggot Brain was an explosive record" of Jimi Hendrix inspired rock while Mothership Connection was an "album of science-fiction funk." While this rock/funk differentiation is what normally separated Funkadelic from Parliament, the bands consisted of many of the same members and performed live on tour together. Hence, the two groups are often described under the one moniker Parliament-Funkadelic.
P-Funk recordings have been 'extensively' sampled in rap and hip-hop music, especially by Dr. Dre and other West Coast acts, beginning in the late 1980s and being particularly associated with the G-funk style of rap. (wikipedia)
• • •

Hello! It's the first full week after New Year's Day and that means it's time for my annual pitch for financial contributions to the blog, during which I ask regular readers to consider what the blog is worth to them on an annual basis and give accordingly. As you know, I write this blog every. Single. Day. OK, two days a month I pay young people to write it, but every other day, all me. OK sometimes I take vacations and generous friends of mine sit in, but otherwise, I'm a non-stop blogging machine. Seriously, it's a lot of work. It's at least as much work as my day job, and unlike my day job, the hours *kinda* suck—I typically solve and write between 10pm and midnight, or in the early hours of the morning, so that the blog can be up and ready for you to read with your breakfast or on the train or in a forest or wherever it is you enjoy the internet. I have no major expenses, just my time. As I've said before, I have no interest in "monetizing" the blog in any way beyond simply asking for money once a year. I hate ads in real life, so why would I subject you all to them. I actually considered redesigning the site earlier this year, making it slicker or fancier somehow. I even got the process partly underway, but then when I let slip that I was considering it, feedback was brisk and clear: don't change. Turns out people don't really want whistles and bells. Just the plain, internet-retro style of a blogger blog. So that's what you're getting. No amount of technical tinkering is gonna change the blog, which is essentially just my voice. My ridiculous opinionated voice yelling at you, cheerfully and angrily, about how much I love / hate crosswords. I hope that this site has made you laugh or taught you things or given you a feeling of shared joy, or anger, or failure, or even given you someone to yell at. I'm fine with that. I also hope I've introduced some of you to the Wider World of Crosswords, beyond the NYT. I am passionate about puzzles and I (mostly) adore the people who solve them—so many of my friends, and the thousands of you I've never met. I can't stop, and I won't stop, and I hope you find that effort worth supporting.

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All Paypal contributions will be gratefully acknowledged by email. All snail mail contributions (I. Love. Snail mail!) will be gratefully acknowledged with hand-written postcards. This year's cards are illustrations from "Alice in Wonderland"—all kinds of illustrations from throughout the book's publication history. Who will get the coveted, crosswordesey "EATME!" card!? Someone, I'm sure. You, I hope. Please note: I don't keep a "mailing list" and don't share my contributor info with anyone. And if you give by snail mail and (for some reason) don't want a thank-you card, just say NO CARD.  As ever, I'm so grateful for your readership and support.

Now on to the puzzle!

• • •

Well I have no idea how easy this was officially, since I solved on paper, nowhere near a timer, and wasn't trying to go particularly fast, but I didn't encounter any real sticking points. I had a few wrong turns, but I was able to find the correct path again without too much trouble. The grid felt very smooth and the cluing almost rudimentary—I don't mean that in a bad way, I mean this would be a Great day for someone who had never conquered a late-week puzzle before to try it out. There's nothing in the grid I hadn't heard of, nothing that seems particularly uncommon or strange, no bizarre names. I mean, when P-FUNK is the bizarrest name you've got in your grid, you are on very safe ground (note: P-FUNK is nowhere near bizarre). I took one look at the grid, instinctively went to the short Downs at the top, got the first three I looked at (CAPO, ALES, TOT), and shot out of that section from there (I say "shot," but it maybe wasn't so triumphant—I wrote in OP-ED PIECES for 16A: Slanted writing (OP-ED COLUMN), then all my progress stopped, which let me know, quickly, that PIECES was wrong; pulled it, worked the Downs, and off we went again...). I thought this was a clean, crisp, groan-free experience. I had some trouble with QUENCHED (as clued), and CLOT (as clued), and I wrote in "PURPLE RAIN" instead of "PURPLE HAZE" at 11D: #2 on Rolling Stone's "100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time," so if there was any difficult area, it was in the east. But HAZE to RAIN wasn't terrible hard—again, as with OP-ED PIECES, things ground to a halt quickly, so I knew I had something wrong quickly. Finished up down south, with my final Wrong Guess for the Tail End of and Answer: NESTEA instead of NESTLE (43D: Company that makes Coffee-mate).


Five things:
  • 34A: Music style associated with George Clinton, informally (P-FUNK) — TIL (Today I Learned) that P-FUNK is a style, not just a band. I knew it only as short for Parliament Funkadelic.
  • 36A: Put on (LADE) — I have a frowny face next to this. It's a totally acceptable word, I just ... something about it. Do you ever just have an aversion to certain words, no good reason. I only ever see LADE in crosswords (since I don't hang out at the docks much), so something about my never seeing it IRL and its being very susceptible to deceptive cluing (as here) makes it irksome to me. 
  • 55A: Character in "All's Well That Ends Well" and "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (APOSTROPHE) — it's not that I haven't seen this type of clue before, I definitely have, but I still thought this was cute. I was probably pre-inclined to like it since I could pretty much tell the answer was APOSTROPHE (from crosses) before I ever saw the clue, so the clue itself functioned as the aha moment, not the answer. Fun.
  • 57A: Viking king of note (OLAV) — note: there is no way to keep all the OLAVs and OLAFs in the world straight. But if it's four letters and seems Scandinavian and you get an O or L or A or F/V in any of the right places, just go with it.
  • 55D: Product of Fender (AMP) — me, with the "A" in place, having just gone through the Jimi Hendrix / Prince confusion in the NE: "AXE! ... wait, what's a XARSLANDER? ... sounds like someone who follows OLAV ..."
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld (Twitter @rexparker / #NYTXW)

P.S. Hey, Jeff Chen (co-constructor of today's puzzle) has a book out next week! Congrats to him. It's a middle-grade book (grades 3-7) called Ultraball, and appears to be the first in a series. It's a scifi, post-apocalyptic sports story. School Library Journal says "Fart jokes and cheesy banter makes this well suited for a middle school audience.” Read more about it (and Pre-Order It) here

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Lewis 6:15 AM  

Best part of the puzzle for me were five long answers: CAMERA SHY, TALES OF WOE, PLAYED GOD, IN NAME ONLY, and PURPLE HAZE. My favorite clue -- that lovely one for APOSTROPHE -- was written in Will's office, according to the XwordInfo notes. Then there's the cross of DAD and DNA TEST, source of many moments of stress, I'm sure.

We come to expect a dusted and polished (minimal ugly fill) grid from Jeff Chen, but once you take that for granted, you overlook the talent and effort that went into making that happen. It is worth a GUSH every single time!

Keith M 7:17 AM  

Card(inal) holding? Shouldn't that be something smaller than a bat? One of those minibats maybe.

kitshef 7:28 AM  

Fantastic puzzle.

Was humming merrily along when I put in PURPLE rAin (Hi, REX) at 11D and basically ground to a halt.

Later, having regained some steam, I realized I had PF--- at 34A and thought that could not be right, so I took out POUT and FIRE.

Really dug the clue for APOSTROPHE.

Crimson Devil 7:42 AM  

Much admired this puz: especially apostrophe, tome, and qua. Only question I have is Card holding...if that’s referring to St Louis ballplayer, seems quite obscure: they hold gloves and baseballs too.
Very nice puz

Amy Yanni 7:42 AM  

Loved it. Big fan of Jeff Chen here.

Hungry Mother 7:43 AM  

Wow, the SW corner took forever. When I saw DISTANT, it started to crumble. My biggest takewaway from my colloege Metaphysics class was the phrase, “being qua being.” Reminds me of Seinfeld, which we’re just finishing binge watching. In the high 40s this morning in Naples, FL - not what we pay the big bucks for in our trailer park.

main line dad 8:03 AM  

Record Friday time here! Love me some smooth Friday’s...

M’gilla G’rilla 8:23 AM  

Yass yass, very nice.

QuasiMojo 8:31 AM  

I groaned when I saw this was constructed by two people since that makes me think it will have twice as much PPP and TV stars I’ve never heard of, but this was a delightfully clean and junkfree puzzle. Not much in the way of US magazine dreck or product placement (save Nestle). Congrats on a fine Friday! My biggest mistake was tossing in Jock Straps even though I knew that J would be risky. Sports Bras always makes me think of Sports Bars, places you won’t find me. Despite my lack of knowledge of and general distaste for anything outside of classical music or opera, I have a special place in my heart for P-Funk. Loved the clue for Apostrophe. (I tried Demetrius first) and the Pynchon quote made me guffaw. I’m pretty camera shy myself these days especially if I haven’t combed my hair or ironed my shirt. But that doesn’t stop friends from posting pics of me and tagging me without asking on social media. Perhaps I need to try an UpDo. Or a man bun. My takeaway today is that I want to hold two things in my hands before I go join the Mars Lander in the vast expanse. An emu egg and a fire opal.

Z 8:33 AM  

‘Scuse me while I kiss the sky. Maggot Brain. A MARS LANDER Yeah, you could say this one is in my wheelhouse. Bonus - really low PPP, just 16 of 72.

It looks like the “Card holding” misdirection fooled people. Yep, the STL Cardinals hold baseball BATs. Remember that “Cards” can refer to birds, the baseball team, or the Arizona football team, so it is a favorite of clue writers.

I’m pretty much past finding any of the self-referential clues cute. They will still trip me up from time to time, but you can’t use a device once a week (it seems) and have it be creative anymore. So I was not as amused by the APOSTROPHE clue as others.

Anyone else get Grinchy on the month late Xmas duplicate clues? That one references Santa Claus is Coming to Town and the other doesn’t didn’t help quiet my inner Grinch, either.

Sir Hillary 8:38 AM  

This is a superb themeless puzzle. The "ten tens" are all excellent, the bookending CAMERASHY and PLAYEDGOD are even better, the entries feel modern without trying too hard to be so, and TOME there is not an iota of junk. Great clues for APOSTROPHE, OPEDCOLUMN and ODE.

I had to look really hard to find anything to side-eye. Maybe the dupe "Christmas don't" clues are a bit much, and maybe the INRE OLAV NYSE stack in the SW isn't lovely, but that's it.

My errors:
-- NESTea, just like @Rex.
-- I read the 45D clue as Cause irritation so put in chafE. That worked fine with OLAf and NYSE, so no problem, right? Oops. The "of" in the clue was important.

Fun solve, great grid. Excellent work by all involved.

'merican in Paris 8:46 AM  

Glad to see that P-FUNK is the word of the day, as I had "gFUNK" for the longest time. But I learned something: That Clinton lives in Tallahassee. Seems to have moved there just after I moved away. Dang!

Hands up for really enjoying this puzzle. Bang a GONG, (T)Rex! To the extent it had PPPs, they were for the most part in my wheelhouse. APOSTROPHE was the exception, but I was able to get it after a few downs, which made me feel like a right smart fell'r.

INPUT MBA STUDENT without any crosses. Then had ARristotle (yes, I know, misspelled) at first for 12D, but then corrected it once I got ORCA*, then on the basis of _UR_____, slotted in "sURfing USA" at 11D. Then I put in "linEN" (dirty linen works, and I thought daily linen made sense, too), but then started to doubt the song ranking, and PURPLE HAZE popped into my head (I'm much more of a Hendrix fan than a Prince fan), which really opened up that section.

*Fun fact: humans actually have relatively short gestation periods compared with some other intelligent mammals, yielding infants that must be intensively cared for for a long time birth. Elephants, for example, carry their young in the womb for nearly two years. Even asses have gestation periods of 14 months.

The southwest provided a lot of resistance. Had OLAf crossing chafE for the longest time, and mri before EMT. My last entry, in fact was changing RESPIrE to RESPITE. Yay, happy pencil!

Just remember, as William S. Burroughs once wrote, "Sometimes PARANOIA's just having all the facts. "

@Lewis, does TOME count as a cook?

Archimedes 8:56 AM  

"Scuse me while I kiss this guy." -- me in middle school and for a long time until I knew what the real words were.

Purple Rain > Purple Haze...though they're both good. Speaking of AMPs, the story behind Hendrix's signature distortion sound, was that he punctured the speaker in his cabinet with hundreds of tiny pinholes. I could look it up to verify, but I don't care. I heard it from a guitar player once and think it's a great story...so I'm just going to keep believing it. While that's a great story, that still doesn't mean it is a better song that Prince's song.

Is it me or does Jeff Chen always manage to get a sciency word in his puzzle?

Suzie Q 8:57 AM  

Very nice puzzle today with some good vocabulary. I learned a new definition of quenched. New to me as clued.
I'm not sure how to interpret the Pynchon quote. Hmm.
That Parliament clip is great and I can see why it gets sampled a lot. Those guys played real instruments and played them well. Listen to that bass and the horn section. Too bad Rex chose an audio-only song because George Clinton and that genre were very very visual as well.
Easy Friday but in a fine way.

Crimson Devil 8:59 AM  

...and cap/hat, too, during anthem, come to think of it.

Anonymous 9:10 AM  

St Louis Cardinals?

Anonymous 9:15 AM  

Decent solve. Lost time at 18A (ouSt for TOSS) and 21A (cut for BOA) and 30A (blood for INPUT) and 54A (asto for INRE). So, basically, the short fill TOSS-ups gave me fits. But nothing that couldn't be gathered from the crosses.

Happy Friday!

Unknown 9:18 AM  

Jockstrap instead of sports bra slowed me down.

OffTheGrid 9:21 AM  

My first unaided Friday in a while. A while is also how long it took me. Great fun.

TubaDon 9:40 AM  

The NW fell fast, but had to hop around for the rest. FIREOPAL got me into the SE, QUENCHED the NE (Somehow plunked down PURPLEHAZE from only three crosses without ever hearing the song). Suffered a bit of PARANOIA and needed a RESPITE before finishing the SW. Never heard of PFUNK and my high school Latin is too distant to be sure about QUA, but overall a perfectly pleasant puzzle.

Peter 9:41 AM  

I take some issue with the idea that PFUNK is a style. As a life-long musician and a fan of Parliament Funkadelic, I have never heard another musician say "I play PFUNK". Did Parliament and Funkadelic influence scores of musicians and bands? Sure. Might some describe their music as Psychadelic Funk or Psych Funk? Sure. But simply because PFUNK is so closely associated with George Clinton and his bands, I don't think anyone uses it to describe a whole genre of music and spectrum of bands.

But the NYT Crossword has a bit of a history of using musical terms in close, but not quite accurate ways so I guess this continues the tradition, and the musically literate among us will continue to harumph.

And lord knows, we can't argue with Wikipedia. "Their music was aspirational"?!?!? What the hell does that mean? Isn't all music aspirational? Harumph!

Cassieopia 9:50 AM  

Love me a Jim Horne/Jeff Chen puzzle. Clean, fun, no-google and no-cheat, which is a rarity for my Friday solve experience. Felt SO smart getting those long answers, although it took me until now to figure out who that Archi Medes guy was. Feeling smart is obviously not the same as being smart.

Really great puzzle, guys, I enjoyed it a ton. Thanks.

GILL I. 9:53 AM  

I had QED for no reason other than it looked pretty. I should be happy, and I am, because that and the BID/BAT were my only screw-ups.
Sweet puzzle. The cluing made it so. Liked seeing HOME SPUN and thinking of hipsters spinning their own wool at home on a loom passed down from granny. Just because she could, and because she wanted to win $100 on Facebook, there's a lady who makes sweaters out of her dog's hair. It looks just like a dog hair sweater...the kind you'd wear at a Christmas party where it's not allowed to PEEK nor POUT.
I took a coffee break at ARCHIMEDES because I don't know what hydrostatics are and I don't know how to spell. The crosses to the rescue.
23andMe is a name I wasn't really familiar with but probably know it anyway. A close friend of mine had her DNA tested for genetic health risks and now she lives with PARANOIA. It's her constant frienemy - day in and day out she worries because she was told she will probably die of cancer. I keep telling her that maybe a Fedex truck will run over her first.
Cute that DORA has so many friends. PFUNK is RAD? FIRE OPAL's are beautiful. I bought one in Mexico for my sister because it's her birthstone. It was so pretty, I kept it myself.
Nice, classy Friday...thanks, guys.

SouthsideJohnny 9:58 AM  

I rarely compete even half of a Friday grid, and was able to make significant progress today. This was actually an enjoyable puzzle. They are much more fun to solve when they are not loaded with esoterica and/or outright deceitfulness (as opposed to the normal misdirection which is welcome wordplay). I wish today were an example of the norm, and not simpy and aberration.

pmdm 10:00 AM  

Delightful puzzle, and delightful write up. Sometimes it seems to me that Mike Sharp is unnecessarily harsh when it comes to Jeff Chen, but I will remember his comments today to prove my reactions unfounded.

Because of the low PPP, perhaps my favorite Friday puzzle in a long time.

Suzie Q: Many writers have suggested Pynchon is himself paranoia. (Try finding a photo of him.) So maybe the point of the quote is a sly self-reference.

Archimedes (or whoever you are): I think your observation is correct. As a former cellist, he also seems tome to frequently include entries involving music.

pabloinnh 10:05 AM  

"'Scuse me while I kiss dis guy" showed up a while ago on this board during an interesting and erudite discussion of mondegreens, it's a classic.

CAMERASHY went in bang just like that and off to the races. A really enjoyable, if over too soon Friday, clean as a whistle and smooth as a smelt. Thanks to all concerned.

'merican in Paris 10:08 AM  

Day-um automatic spellchecker! My question to @Lewis should have been, "does TOME count as a dook?

Odd Sock 10:13 AM  

Lots of musical comments today as expected but why does no one ever question the ranking of Hendrix as a guitarist? I think being dead is definitely part of it.
It was a relief to see camera shy because I was afraid we were going for some anti-vax nonsense.
Rex was right to think axe before amp. Fender=bass guitar. Marshall=amp.
I suppose "I'm with her" is a possible answer but the clue made me think of those silly t-shirts with the arrow pointing to the side that says "I'm with stupid".
Archimedes is the water-displacement-bathtub guy right? Didn't know that was hydrostatics.
Wow, a puzzle with no Star Wars!?!

TJS 10:14 AM  

Per OFL "note:P-Funk is nowhere near bizarre". If you ever saw them live in the seventies you would have a different opinion.

Rainbow 10:23 AM  

Surprised you bothered to read the Wiki info., given your vast wealth of musical knowledge.

KarynLD 10:27 AM  

So I had some of the letters in APOSTROPHE filled in and I kept wanting some fancy Shakespearean name like Cassiopeia or Penelope, which of course wouldn’t fit even with the letters I had. When I filled in APOSTROPHE from crosses, I though “Well huh, I didn’t know that could be a person’s name, too, but that’s Shakespeare for you.” And then of course I come here and have to have it explained to me that it’s the punctuation character. Honestly, if I hadn’t been doing the NYT crossword for 10plus years and didn’t regularly finish them, I would send myself straight back to the crossword kiddie pool (People magazine, maybe?) for that gaffe!

Tangled Web 10:30 AM  

@Gill, I'm pretty sure looms weave, not spin.

Nancy 10:35 AM  

Lively, entertaining, and very well clued. When the cleverly clued CAMERA SHY came to me in a nanosecond (I've been doing crosswords for too long), and the entire NE corner was filled in in a flash, I thought this was going to be too easy for a Friday. But it got more challenging, at least for me, as it went along. Some thoughts:

APOSTROPHE (55A) should be in the running as Clue of the Year.

When I saw "Bit of percussion" at 50D, and had ---G, I wanted baNG. (Don't like loud noises).

Re 37A: Thomas Pynchon really said that? Guess I won't be writing or painting anything artistically worthy anytime soon.

What an odd and unfamiliar way to clue QUENCHED (31A). I just learned something. Chances are I won't remember it, though.

I learned what a "DAD joke" is right here on the blog. Along with "DAD bod". Oh, DAD, poor DAD...

Nice clue for NYSE (59A). And I also liked the two Christmas clues. A fun puzzle.

Keith M 10:40 AM  

Yes but clued as if answer would be abbreviated no?

Bob Mills 10:47 AM  

Is an apostrophe really a "character"? The left side of this puzzle was easy, the right side was almost impossible.

Anoa Bob 10:47 AM  

Seems to be a discrepancy here, with some folks solving a puzzle by Jeff Chen while others, myself included, did one by Jim Horne and Jeff Chen. I think both were both involved in the early phases of xwordinfo.com, but that Jeff is flying solo these days.

There's an incredible wealth of information at that site about puzzles and constructors and well-worth the subscription fee to anyone with enough interest in xwords to visit this comment board. If you are a constructor or an aspiring one, it would be foolish not to subscribe.

Although legit, SWUM (7D)looks weird, doesn't it? Being next to AFLOAT is a nice touch.

Roo Monster, is ROOTON (5D) what they call you in down in N'Awlins?

Hey, TGIF! I get a RESPITE from being SOBER for the previous week. Maybe some ALES and my thirst will be QUENCHED.

Dan P 10:48 AM  

Just learned that PURPLE HAZE -- 11D -- was first recorded on today's date --Jan 11 -- 52 yrs ago.

David 10:54 AM  

Nice Friday puzzle. Had tempered for the steel but that didn't work, also had blood for what gets typed and wondered if a "bid" from some kind of card game was the answer but no other downs worked with blood, so input it is. Had to come here to find out why "bat" was correct. Also had Olaf before Olav, you never know with those guys. Loved all the long answers and, being my age, plopped down Purple Haze with no confusion (besides, the number 2 GUITAR song! Purple Rain is a good song, but it doesn't come close to Jimi's or even Prince's best guitar playing; it's not even the best in that movie).

Question for Rex re "Lade" in real life. What do you use to put gravy on your mashed potatoes?

Brookboy 11:00 AM  

I enjoyed this one even though I fell asleep halfway through and had to finish it this morning. I thought the clues were good and I liked the overall feel of the puzzle. Like others, I initially had jockstrap instead of SPORTSBRA, and I initially went with PURPLErAin instead of PURPLEHAZE, but in both instances the crosses saved me.

To me, this was the epitome of a first rate crossword puzzle. It had depth and complexity, and it was remarkably free of dreck. It’s the kind of puzzle that puts me in awe of the better crossword constructors. (Truth be told, I’m pretty much in awe of anyone who can construct a valid crossword, complex or not.)

On a different note, I hope your fund raising is successful. Good luck and good wishes.

Hartley70 11:03 AM  

I have a black hole where FUNK should be, not to mention the P. I read George Clinton and thought country music so the combo was like musical indigestion to my ear. The rest of my errors were common. I went with “rain”. I tried “bid” before BAT, because I hate BATs as some of you know. I guessed OLAf first. I liked QED just because. Hi, @Gill!

I have taken a 23andme DNA test and gotten the surprise of my life, a brother. I would advise anyone considering it to be ready to spit endlessly into the tube and to be sure you are ready to have your world shaken. Luckily, I am delighted with my news, but after reading @Gill, I’m grateful I didn’t order the Health Test!

Lewis 11:15 AM  

@merican -- In one sense TOME is a DOOK, that being two words smushed together to form another word that sounds completely different. But in another sense -- and this is just my opinion, because there has not been enough DOOK discussions to establish this -- it's not a DOOK because the new word formed sounds ordinary. I think that to be a DOOK the new word needs to look and sound funny. But others may disagree.

Why! 11:27 AM  

Little thing and I'm only mentioning it because it seems to be happening more often, what is the logical reason for an exclamation point after "It's a wrap!" I understand that it's a misdirect to suggest Cut!, but there's nothing surprising about a boa being a wrap. This kind of gratuitous punctuation thing pops up with question marks too?! See what I did there kids!?

This was a superb solving experience though so I do feel guilty pointing that out today. Always love Chen.

Banana Diaquiri 11:36 AM  

well, D'oh!! so far as I can tell, APOSTROPHE could very easily be a name in a Shakespeare play. just think of all the weird names in his plays.

Anonymous 11:41 AM  

@Lewis - GO AT, the original dook for Numinous.

Anoa Bob 11:44 AM  

Side note: More and more people seem to be doing this DNA analysis thing and finding out all kinds of fascinating, detailed info. Is there any way to verify that this is legitimate and accurate? I'm skeptical, bordering on cynical. Does this strike anyone as a modern, more expensive update of palm reading (or tea leaf reading, crystal ball gazing, etc.) or is it the real deal?

Nancy 11:46 AM  

@Gill and @Hartley -- Re QED instead of QUA for "acting as" (31D). If it makes you guys feel any better, I originally had ALA there.

And @GILL (9:53) -- There are two things I definitely don't want in my life: 1) a dog hair sweater and 2) a 23andMe genetic health risks DNA test. Loved your colorful comment. Do feel sorry for your now-PARANOId friend, though. Not all rocks should be looked under -- that's what I say.

@Odd Sock (10:13) -- "...the water-displacement-bathtub guy." What an inspired description of ARCHIMEDES. Soon to be the de rigeur textbook identifier. And, FWIW, I didn't know the meaning of "hydrostatics" either.

@Hartley -- Such a wonderful 23andMe story (which, everyone, I have heard about in detail from Hartley). I wish you continued joy in your get-togethers with your newly-found brother.

Masked and Anonymous 12:07 PM  

themelessthUmbsUp. Only rough spot at our house was QUA/PFUNK. Gonna give the mysterious-acting(as) QUA staff weeject pick. Had me a true QUA AH moment [a fairly unmomentous moment]. Luved the BAT-clue, also.

@RP: yep. Workin the puz on paper allows one to savor things -- stop and smell the fillins, etc. Highly recommended. [I print puzs on both sides, to save a bit on paper.]
I think maybe folks do too much on the web anymore; they sorta start to become computer plug-in units. Probably over-radiate their innards. Some day, all humans will likely glow in the dark -- and will wanna build weird lil home mini-walls to keep out the porch pirates. [This trend will ensue, after wily porch pirates begin squirtin orange suntan goop over all the nerdy doorbell-webcam devices.] But, I digress.

some fave fillins: PURPLEHAZE. INNAMEONLY. AFLOAT. CAMERASHY. ARCHIMEDES [the screwy inventor]. QUENCHED. PARANOIA. And enjoyed the APOSTROPHE clue, of course.

Thanx, Mr.'s Horne & Chen. Y'all are one of my fave constructioneer tag teams, even tho U've just done the deed together twice. [First one was on 13 July 2012]

Masked & Anonym8Us

Gregory Schmidt 12:33 PM  

Picking nits, I don't think that "crime boss" is a great clue for CAPO. The term "boss" is generally reserved for the single individual at the top of a mafia organization. Although the latin root of CAPO implies "head", in practice, the position of Capo is generally translated as "Captain". The Boss would have several Captains under him, and they, in turn, would be in charge of soldiers. (a capodecina would have 10 soldiers under him).

Many people have seen the phrase "capo dei tutti capi" translated as "boss of all bosses", but that Italian phrase was a media creation. It is/was not in common use within the actual mafia.

Masked and Anonymous 1:06 PM  


1. @RP: yep. Definitely keep that Christmas tree the heck up -- like we did at our house. Only a few more shoppin days til Christmas '19, afterall.

2. Almost forgot to digress totally PARANOIA-ishly: The porch pirates will deliver the orange suntan goop, to defeat them porch webcams, via internet-controlled drones. No sense them porch pirates riskin bein ID-ed, y'know.


Teedmn 1:11 PM  

So Jim and Jeff decided to EMUlate Robyn Weintraub with an easy Friday - I whipped through this under 12 minutes. I might have set a personal record for Friday if I hadn't typed "blood" in at 30A (wrote, actually), joining a few others. This gave me a "Card holding" of Bid. Also "also" at 54A instead of IN RE. But All's Well That Ends Well.

Somehow, 1A's CAMERA SHY came to me immediately and with YEN, CAPO and ALES confirming, I rushed through the NW. I was briefly CURBed by Q__ but came back up from the bottom and everything fell into place.

I did shake my head momentarily in the SE. My brain turned the 60A clue into "impotent" rather than "Omnipotent" so I was shocked when PLAYED GOD appeared as the answer. Some chuckles did occur.

Thanks, JH and JC, nice job and a good review from Rex also.

jae 1:40 PM  

On the easy side of medium. blood before INPUT was my only erasure.(Actually, that’s not true. I also had PURPLE rain before HAZE but I’m not counting that because I should have known better.)

Solid and smooth, liked it a lot.

Carola 1:41 PM  

A "just-right" Friday for me, not too easy, not too hard. A fast start in the NW (CAMERA SHY x CAPO) ground to a halt at DISTANT and HOMElike. Then I had to get to work. I agree with others about the delight of unveiling APOSTROPHE as the Shakespearean character, but for me the real treat was the unmasking of ARCHIMEDES- I had just enough crosses to have me guessing a two-word name....somebody MosES? - so the eventual "reveal" made me laugh.

Of all things, I went wrong on the tried and true OLAV: "Viking" made me think of Eric.
Nice parallel placememnt of PEEK and POUT.

@Hartley70 - I thought of you at the BAT NOIR stack, that creature being your bète noire, I believe.

Z 1:54 PM  

@'merican and @Lewis - I think a GOAT should be considered different than a DOOK. The first can be clued either as GO AT or GOAT. This is a different parsing error than DO OK, which could not be clued as a DOOK in the same way. I sometimes also us TOAT. Four letters, three words, it also seems subtly different than either a DOOK or a GOAT. Still, I think DOOK is the most common term.

@Anoa Bob - Wasn't Horne the creator of xwordinfo.com and Chen the protégé who took over? Maybe I'm not remembering that correctly. At any rate, funny how people are totally ignoring Horne's appearance on the byline.

@Peter - Wrong on two counts. P. FUNK is definitely it's own style and Clinton-free bands can write and perform in it. Uncle Google will mostly focus on Parliament and Funkadelic, but it stands alone as its own style and if you go past the first page of hits you can find all kinds of info on the style and its descendants. As for "aspirational," let's see, Emo, Punk, Ambient, Death Metal, Krautrock, ... the list of morbid, dark, anti-establishment, pouty, mood setting, or other non-aspirational styles is endless, even ever-expanding.

Joe Bleaux 1:55 PM  

Testing. Ignore.

puzzlehoarder 1:55 PM  

Another disappointingly easy themeless puzzle from the NYT. I went through this in Wednesday time last night. The Friday puzzle in our local paper gave me twice the puzzling effort. The thing even had a punned theme and I still enjoyed far more than this NYT softball.

Part of the problem is the 29 years I've been doing these puzzles. Most of that time is of course the Shortz era and he supplies a large portion of the clues. Today they felt particularly familiar. Coming out of THE PEEK/PEW crossing and going into the NE section was the only slow down. The stacks in remaining three corners we're Monday to Tuesday time, just short of the flat out, read the clues and write in the answers speed.

One surprise in today's puzzle was discovering that FIREOPAL is a debut. I wouldn't recognize one if you threw it at me but it went right in off the F. A quick look at the xwordinfo list for the entry OPAL shows that it's been clued with the word "fire" 13x and with the word "fiery" 4x. It's no wonder a debut like that feels telegraphed.

Anonymous 2:13 PM  

If you are in a business which sends or receives shipments of goods, then you know that a Bill of Lading is often enclosed. Lade by itself - I agree with Rex

Anonymous 2:20 PM  

Figured it was photos on baseball cards?

Joe Dipinto 2:57 PM  

This puzzle had me at P FUNK and PURPLE HAZE. And that Dylan number that he sang to a female stevedore, LADE LADY LADE. It even threw in a little Sondheim from "Follies":

Lucy was juicy but terribly drab /
Jessie was DRESSY but cold as a slab

(Is Jim Horne related to Lena or Marilyn by any chance?)

Anyway, a solid, snappy, enjoyable effort. Too bad it was constructed by two non-women.

Banana Diaquiri 3:08 PM  

here are some odd Shakespeare names:

Hugh Oatcake
Mistress Overdone

so, yeah, APOSTROPHE

Anonymous 5:27 PM  

Fairly easy Friday, but a really nice puzzle. I enjoyed MARS LANDER and all the long downs in the east. Threw down 1A without looking at any of the downs and was off to the races. The only thing that tripped me up was I had filled in TiME for TOME by accident, and that took a little while to untangle. Other than that, fairly smooth throughout.

Anonymous 6:05 PM  

Well done. Extremely enjoyable puzzle. Thanks very much Mr Horne and Mr. Chen.

Sara Dacus 6:48 PM  

Arkansas girl who has been solving for a year and a half's time on puzzle: 44:35, less than a minute away from my best Friday time. Ugh!

Escalator 7:42 PM  

The clue/answer for 55A is one of the best I have ever seen! Bravo !!

Crimson Devil 10:07 PM  

C’mon Razorback gal. You’ll enjoy!!

Sara Dacus 8:15 AM  

Thank you thank you. Great puzzle. Just wanted that PR!

What? 10:40 AM  

Perfect themeless. Not a single obscure fill and clearly difficult to construct.

thefogman 11:10 AM  

Medium for a Friday. The middle area around QUENCHED QUA and PFUNK was the last to fall, but fall it did. No TALESOFWOE today. With DOZENS of long entries, this one was RAD and I'm GUSHING with pride for finishing it.

Burma Shave 12:13 PM  


SHE’D say they’re DRESSY because


spacecraft 12:45 PM  

Groan-worthy? Try 5-across. Rackin' my poor brain trying to come up with--you know, a "character"--and it's just...a character. Now tell me how "Card holding" morphs into BAT????? No, wait. A St. Louis CARDinal?? You're gonna go THERE? Wow. Talk about your obscure clue. Beyond the pale, guys.

This one had some beginning resistance, largely caused by writing in FORMAL for black-tie. Also hand up for thinking Prince before Jimi. (How COULD I?) Those inkblots aside, once I got up a head of steam the puzzle sort of took off (SHED?) and the solve didn't seem more than Friday-medium.

Today's DOD must be CAMERASHY, because I can't find HER. Oh well. As is customary with Chen et al, this is well-crafted and triumph-point-worthy. Birdie.

Diana, LIW 1:07 PM  

After 'splainin' to Mr. W the answer to the NPR puzzle I wrote about this week, he gave kudos to all puzzlers. So I showed him today's APOSTROPHE. - laughter ensued. Keeps one's mind from atroPHEing.

I was on the wavelength of this puzzle. Some would say that makes it easy. I say it made it fun.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

rondo 1:14 PM  

A coupla TALESOFWOE: Hand up for the blood/Bid write-over inkfest in the west and SCram before SCOOT in the NE. And you never know about OLAV (the correct spelling) because it is so often Anglicized to OLAf for those of us in North America.

You’ll hear the occasional George Clinton and P(arliament) FUNK(adelic) song on 89.3 The Current. Gimme there.

Never thought once about PURPLErain as an answer where PURPLEHAZE was obvious. A generational difference ‘twixt Jimi and Prince fans. And nothing against Prince.

I’ll go back to DISTANT history, at least 40 years, to an episode of The GONG Show when Jaye P. Morgan SHED HER DRESSY blouse on TV. No BRAS involved. Yeah baby.

Fun Friday.

Wooody2004 4:11 PM  

First Friday no Googles! Ole TO ME!


Learned from Crossword: More DORA the Explorer trivia (her monkey Boots) to add to my SWIPER NO SWIPING collection.

Learned from blog: That "Smoke From A Distant Fire" is about an ALOOF lover.

And now, time for my daily DOZEN of ALEs.

thefogman 4:43 PM  

Memories of sassy Jaye P. Morgan... She made me want to bang a GONG.

Anonymous 4:45 PM  

Solved it without hints and one wrong letter.

Smoke from a Distant Fire. A very underrated song. I like your taste in music Rex.

Wooody2004 6:45 PM  

First Friday with no googles! Ole TOME!


Learned from blog: More DORA the Explorer trivia (her monkey boots) to add to my Swiper no Swiping collection.

Learned from blog: That "Smoke From A Distant Fire" is about an ALOOF lover.

Now it's time for my daily DOZEN ALES.

leftcoastTAM 7:41 PM  

This was SO good, on a rainy Friday afternoon solve, that I don't want to bore by praising it in detail. Expected that Jeff and Jim would be up to this level of the clever, tough, and the fair.

Among the favorites: BAT and BOA, PFUNK and PARANOIA, APOSTROPHE(!) and DORA.

Just for fun: swim, swam, SWUM.

Thanks, guys, for his delightful Friday.

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