FRIDAY, May 16, 2008 - Kevin G. Der (OPPOSITE OF AGITATO)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: none

When I look at the times at the NYT website, I see that I would currently be in the top ten, and this shocks me, as a. I didn't rush, and b. I thought the puzzle was a cinch. Clearly, my rating may not reflect the majority experience today. But once I got JACUZZI (1A: Steam room alternative), it was was all alpine from there. Kevin Der is the elder statesman of teen constructors (wait, you are a teen, aren't you Kevin? - he's quite young, at any rate), and I love that this puzzle shows his age. WHASSUP!? (8A: "Yo!") is the kind of expression you might see on someone's FACEBOOK (39A: Alternative to Friendster or MySpace) page, and if you don't know what FACEBOOK is, you are over 50 and/or not affiliated with a college, university, high school, or any place where people under 25 might be found. Most of my students have FACEBOOK pages. One other very modern word in the puzzle is NETIZEN (60A: Blogger, e.g.), a word I can't stand, but ... I can't knock the clue. This puzzle makes me think of unhealthy habits of many of my nerdier students - it's all computers and MARS BARs (26D: Chocolate treat) and SODA CANs (36D: Crush holder that's crushable) with them ... though the 20 OUNCE (43A: Bit) plastic bottle is almost certainly more prevalent than the can.

Only a few frowny faces today, and they aren't very frowny, frankly. Ironically, one of the frowny faces goes to SMILERS (20A: Most clowns) - it's got the twin crutches of -ER and -S resulting in a word one rarely uses. Plus clowns are satanic, and they aren't really smiling - those smiles are painted on. AMBS (10D: Many former senators and governors: Abbr.) is one of those abbrev.'s you never want but occasionally need, and this puzzle is mostly free of such stuff, so no problem. PETALED is a bit painful (14D: Like many blooms). Finally, there's AÑO (29A: Marzo to marzo, e.g.) - actually, on second thought, no comment.

Zingers today include the musical answers GAVOTTES (35D: Parts of some Bach suites) and MERL (26A: Jazzman Saunders). The latter is an old friend as Googlers lit up my site the last time this clue / answer pairing appeared in the puzzle. Here's a sample of MERL's "jazz" stylings. His body of work seems more bluesy (or funky, or jam band-y) than jazzy, but maybe that's a fine distinction. More beanballs: AA MILNE, clued from the deep dark recesses of his literary resumé: 16A: His last novel was "Chloe Marr," 1946; DOREEN Tracey - who should more than make up for the 21st-century focus of some of today's clues, as she was three years old when "Chloe Marr" was published: 44D: "The Mickey Mouse Club" regular _____ Tracey; STOWE, whose "Uncle Tom's Cabin" has about four other characters better known than Topsy: 28D: She wrote of Topsy; and finally RETE, which is only a beanball if you are outside the medical field and / or have never done crosswords: 49A: Bundle of nerves. Strangely, it only this second occurred to me that [Bundle of nerves] is playing on an idiomatic expression for a nervous person ...

There's some wonderful stuff in this puzzle - the one-two punch of ZIPS / ZOOMS is really snazzy (5D: Flies / 6D: Flies). The misdirection on SMITS (25A: "The West Wing" actor) is amazing - I wonder how many people came down out of the NW corner, got the inital "S" in this answer, and proceeded to write in SHEEN. I know I did. I used to know all the Super Bowl teams back when there had only been about ten Super Bowls, and probably the most famous Super Bowl to date, at that time, was III - Namath's Jets over Unitas's Colts. So I loved 1D: Elated person after Super Bowl III (Jets fan), if only because it was a gimme that took me back to my not-terribly-distant youth. Wife and daughter take karate, so DOJOS was less difficult to uncover than it might have been - clever clue: 47A: Places to develop one's chops? - I initially suspected some equivalent of BARBECUES or OVENS. I remember liking "The Truman Show," but I don't remember the FIJI part (39D: Island that Truman wants to go to in "The Truman Show"). No matter; I had the "J" in place. This clue reminds me that it's Laura Linney day today ... in my mind. She was in "The Truman Show" (as Truman's wife) as well as the biopic "John ADAMS" (27A: He called the U.S. vice presidency a "most insignificant office"). I'm still waiting for her to come out of hiding and declare her undying love for me ... remind me to put "The Savages" in my Netflix queue.

The rest:

  • 17A: Cellar's opposite (top spot) - kind of a baseball clue, which is alright by me.
  • 23A: Emerson said intellect annuls it (fate) - guessed this off the "F" ... Emerson would not have lasted long in an ancient Greek play.
  • 45A: Old sticker (lance) - It's weird - I doubt anyone impaled and / or driven off one's horse by a LANCE would have been heard to exclaim "I've been stuck." A burr is a "sticker."
  • 56A: Water-skiing need (tow line) - even just now I started typing in TOW ROPE, which I believe is the expression I know better.
  • 59A: Merchant whose customers click (e-tailer) - this takes the techno-modernity of this puzzle just a skosh too far. Most e-words are god awful. I accept EMAIL and few others.
  • 2D: Tree of the laurel family (avocado) - I did not know that.
  • 24D: Typography measure (em space) - I knew EMS and ENS were print measurements. EM SPACE sounds like the Rolek watch of social networking sites.
  • 33D: Muscle mag topic (pec) - I'm pretty sure the mag would talk about PECS in the plural, but OK.
  • 41D: Pump numbers (octanes) - didn't I just see this clue, in the form of [87 and 91]? Sometimes puzzles blur together.
  • 47D: Opposite of agitato (dolce) - because [_____ & Gabbana] would have taken the modernity of this puzzle truly over the top.
  • 3D: Santiago skipper (capitán) - is this a specific skipper, or is "Santiago" an arbitrary, Spanish-speaking place name?
  • 51D: She co-starred in "Gangs of New York," 2002 (Diaz) - never saw it, and still have no desire. Something about the self-importance ... and the costumes ... turns me off.
  • 55D: Designer born in Guangzhou, China (Pei)
  • 57D: Chinese author _____ Yutang (Lin) - way to double down on the Chinese answers here at the very end!

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

PS whoops, left out the marvelous QUIXOTE (37D: Visionary) - the fictional character's name is normally associated with foolish hope, and [Visionary] does not tip the "foolish" part well at all. Still, even if you can't get AXE (50A: It can be double-sided) from the weird way that it's clued, I would think QUIXOTE would come into view eventually.


Anonymous 9:08 AM  

I agree, extremely easy for a Friday. I'm over 50 and not affiliated with a university nor particularly surrounded by any charming young people, but even I know FACEBOOK, WHASSUP, NETIZEN, and ETAILER. And there was a pretty decent geezer factor to balance all these.

Don't bother with "Gangs of New York." It's a mess.

My Google identity is on the fritz again.

@Wendy Laubach

JannieB 9:13 AM  

I really liked this puzzle - lots of energy and clever cluing. I'll admit to being over 50, but still knew a lot of the "younger" fill. I did the entire west coast, then the SE and finally, the NE. My eyes were playing tricks early on - I read "feature of some girdles" and immediately wrote it "no crotch". That slowed me down a bit. Loved the entire SW corner - "squawk" is an ugly looking word, just like the sound. Sort of a visual onomatopoeia. Nicely done.

Anonymous 9:15 AM  

In SOOTH, quite a Friday-worthy puzzle! I completed it without an error or a google, but it took a good deal of time and guesswork! Yes, I thought Sheen for the west Wing actor, SMITS...

I think the SE was the easiest, and the SW the hardest to complete -- I had SQUAWK and OUNCE, had guessed at PEI although he's not usually said to be a "designer"? Finally saw SODA CAN, and the DIKE, and the rest followed. What a workout!

Woonderful puzzle!


Wendy Laubach 9:19 AM  

It's back! The Google/Blogger site seems to require frequent reassurance.

Coop 9:23 AM  

Wonderful workout but I can't say it was particularly easy for me...about average for a Friday. Jazzman Saunders screwed me up because I immediately thought of Carl Saunders, much more of a jazzman than Merl. I'm totally lost on 37D and 50A and so was disappointed your commentary didn't address these answers.

dk 9:25 AM  

Tangled up with towrope instead of LINE and did not get JACUZZI for a long time.

And, I do remember DOREEN as she was often paired with Cubby (sisters fave) to introduce cartoons etc.

Fun puzzle for another who is over... of a certain age.

Coop 9:28 AM  

Well, I figured out why 37D and 50A were problematic. For QUIET I had APPEASE rather than ATEASE. Oh, well!

janie 9:31 AM  

>it's Laura Linney day today ... in my mind.

come down to nyc and see her live in les liaisons dangeureuses. brrrr! ;-)

ditto rex and wendy on gangs.... much more compelling fare out there.

and yeah -- the "pec" thang sorta raised a flag for me, too. but if it's an article about the pectoral muscle group... and there's discussion of working the right pec, and then the left pec... a bit of a stretch, but ok -- because word for word, this puzzle is *such* a sweet creation!



Anonymous 9:32 AM  

Ok, I admit it I need help... What is AMBS an abbreviation for?

Anonymous 9:32 AM  

Maybe our over-50 cohort had a slight advantage after all? I'm thinking of Don QUIXOTE the "visionary", STOWE's "Topsy", A A MILNE, and the GAVOTTE, for example.


Pete M 9:33 AM  

I made the mistake of guessing MASSAGE instead of JACUZZI, and so ended up solving from the bottom right to the top left. Even so, not particularly difficult for a Friday.

Anonymous 9:36 AM  

@ john -- Ambassadors, sent off to head Embassies. A family friend got sent off to Iceland as thanks for his political support, yeaers ago, but it was too cold for his wife! They had to come home.....

Anonymous 9:36 AM  


I think you may want to make ATPEACE your final answer ;)

@John --- Ambassador


Anonymous 9:39 AM  

Thanks for the replies!

AMBS = ambassadors....hmmmm....

ugghhh. IMO this is awkward.

Ulrich 9:40 AM  

Aside from the age of the constructor, his computer background comes through loud and clear: PARSED, FACEBOOK, RETE (name of an algorithm invented at the university where I taught for 20 years), COMPILE, E-TAILER, NETIZEN, ZIPS.

I don't mind--it helped me a lot, even if it took me longer to do this than it should have--had many hit-yourself-on-the-forehead duh! moments

PuzzleGirl 9:47 AM  

I literally cringed when I saw Kevin's name. No offense, Kevin! It's just that I haven't been able to finish any of your other puzzles. But this one was awesome. Really liked it!

I kept thinking Beatrix Potter for the Topsy clue. I guess her rabbits were Flopsy and Mopsy though.

I had quite a few wrong guesses that eventually worked themselves out. I entered SHEEN even without seeing the first S. Very tricky! I guessed FEAR instead of FATE off the F. Getting my kitchen stuff mixed up, I initially entered CAST IRON for NONSTICK. I first had CRUZ for DIAZ and thought "Cheetos aren't triangles! This is just wrong!" Oh and, no doubt with Rex in mind, I first entered NET ICON for NETIZEN.

Overall, great puzzle.

Unknown 10:07 AM  

I did not find this puzzle easy, but agree it was fun. With the top partially filled, I started looking for words with double letters(AAMILNE, TOPSPOT, JACUZZI) and that helped and hurt my time. My last fill was the X in QUXOTE, but like artlvr, it was the SE that was simply blank for a long time. I had to remove carl (MERL, whom I did not know) when MARSBAR (UK version?) fit better than carsbar and that gave me ---BOOK and then I schussed on my Alpine way.

DORITOS will be in the news next month. They have paid for the first ad to be beamed to somewhere in URSA Major to get news of their latest flavor to deep space. I knew there was something alien about their orange and green coatings.

Bill from NJ 10:09 AM  

Super Bowl 111 cured me of sports gambling forever so 1D was a gimme for me. This gave me JACUZZI and I was able to zip and zoom through the NW.

I had the entire West done in just a few minutes but, boy, I struggled in the East!
I had to Google to get a toehold GAVOTTES and I was eventually able to piece together the SE.

I was in more than an hour when SLAYERS let me break open the NE.

I had a real difficult time with this puzzle but it was worth it. I'm just sorry I had to Google.

Peter Sattler 10:20 AM  

I'm with philly. I found this puzzle pretty challenging, especially in the NE and SW sections. (Put down SMILING for SMILERS, and it made WAVE TO almost impossible to see.)

Not much to say, but...

POLY SCI? POLY?!? Google tells me that lots of people use this non-abbreviation. But I've never seen it. Looks like it would be pronounced like ROLY-POLY. This is my TEXAS U for the day.

Anonymous 10:21 AM  

couldn't get a purchase on this puzzle until I figured out JACUZZI from the "C" crossing of CAPITAN. Then I worked my way around to the NE (where I had SHAPE instead of CARVE at 30A and PRESENT instead of WASSUP for 8A), to the SE (where I had CANTATAS instead of GAVOTTES for 35D and TOWBOAT instead of TOWLINE for 56A) and finally over to the SW (where I had LEVY instead of DIKE for 46A and PIECE instead of OUNCE for 43A)... so all in all, a good puzzle, but one that had me writing over my first guesses again and again...

jae 10:36 AM  

This was easy-medium for me. NW went immediately as JETSFAN and JACUZZI were pretty much gimmies (I did have SHEEN tho). Struggled a little in SW as I had SNOCONE at first. SE was easy as FACEBOOK, RETE, and ETAILER, were also a gimmies (I'm also over 50, OK over 60). NE was the tough part but it helped that I'd seen the PETALED clue recently. Very enjoyable puzzle. Didn't Mr. Der have a killer one in the last 6 mos. or so??

Anonymous 11:11 AM  

I gave up on this puzzle, without regrets. Horses for courses, I guess.
And I thought "Gangs of New York" was superb, although DIAZ was hardly the star; she was the leading female, though.
Never heard anyone refer to "a pec", so guessed ABS...and SHEEN...and LENTO instead of DOLCE.
I grow old … I grow old …
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.

Anonymous 11:12 AM  

DORITOS - I can't explain how much I love them. What do they put in those damn things?!? I'd go toe-to-toe with Kobiyashi(sp?) in a Dorito eating contest.

Anonymous 11:30 AM  

I had SM--- for "The West Wing" actor, and as a non-TV watcher, I was dredging up whatever faint scraps of trivia I had, out popped "Sheen", and I wrote in the EEN, not noticing the M.

I personally thought "poli sci" was the "real" abbreviation for "political science", but a google war puts "poly sci" at a 2.5 to 1 edge over "poli sci".

CAPITAN is just Spanish for "captain". In my memory, it shows up in crosswords as part of El Capitan, the famous Yosemite Valley sheer cliff face

miriam b 11:35 AM  

I don't have a JACUZZI, my cookware is mostly cast iron, not NONSTICK, I am not a JETSFAN nor indeed a football fan at all, I don't regard a MARSBAR as a chocolate treat (give me 85% cacao Lindt every time), I didn't know the term NETIZEN, but I made it through anyway with occasional gnashing of teeth.

I habitually work on the puzzle in a little cubbyhole in my butler's pantry, far from the computer and the siren song of Google. This will continue to be my MO until I win the lottery and hire a butler.

BTW, AVOCADO was a revelation. I'll be going to California next month and while there I'll take a good look at my daughter's tree. I seem to remember that the leaves have a laurel-like shape.

miriam b 11:42 AM  

And BTW I'm way over 50; in fact too old to have watched "The Mickey Mouse Club". Now that's old.

miriam b 11:42 AM  

And BTW I'm way over 50; in fact too old to have watched "The Mickey Mouse Club". Now that's old.

barrywep 11:44 AM  

You forget we over 50s have kids with FACEBOOK pages (and need to use it to spy on potential employees). A gimmee for me. We had just been discussing it at dinner.
QUIXOTE is a favorite character of mine (I remember a Sunday Times themed with phrases from that Cervantes classic) but he singlehandedly prevented me from a kickass time on this puzzle. Overall I prefer puzzles by people my own age.

dk 11:45 AM  

@miriam b, assuming you find a ripe avacado (or ripen a few in a paper bag over a day or two) remove it from the tree, squeexe lime juice on it and sprinkle with cayenne pepper and you will be singing La Bamba with @puzzlegirl.

Lived in Pasadena/Altadena for more than a few years and this treat along with the pandemoniums of parrots that flocked to the aforementioned tree(s) was a joy.

dk 11:46 AM  

I meant squeeze

Anonymous 11:51 AM  

I think LANCE as an "old sticker" makes more sense if you imagine the medical usage. Boils, beware!

Anonymous 11:59 AM  


I rather like the concept of "squeexe." That's what you have to do when the lemon or lime is kinda old and doesn't have much juice in it.

Among the other virtues of Kevin's puzzle--it's a pangram.

miriam b 12:02 PM  

@dk: That's my kind of food. I can actually taste that right now. I don't claim synesthesia, but I can read a recipe, sample it in my mind's mouth, as it were, and decide whether it's worth preparing. Also, if I have a bunch of leftovers, I can mentally combine them in the same way adding and subtracting to concoct a theoretical dish.

As it happens, I'm a retired cosmetic chemist, and I'll bet there's some connection with what I used to do in the lab and what I do for fun in the kitchen. Of course, what I was dealing with at work was texture, not taste.

The svocado tree in question is at one daughter's home in Moorpark. I'll also be spending some time with another daughter in Laguna Niguel, but she doesn't have fruit trees.

I'm always going on about food. Sorry, Rex. I think it's about time to let everyone know that I'm NOT fat.

Anonymous 12:18 PM  

@miriam b...I'm not fat either, and when my wife asks me what's in the dish I'm eating in a restaurant, I just grunt "Good stuff, tastes good"
She's not fat either, and outeats (and out-exercises me).
Take a look at Gina Kolata's book, "Rethinking Thin." Whether your a fatty or a skinny or an inbetweeny, there's not a whole lot you can do to change categories temporarily, and NOTHING you can do to change categories permanently.

eliselzer 12:21 PM  

My time was a little higher than I thought it would be when I was done, but still by far my fastest Friday.

As an under-30, this puzzle seemed tailored to fit me (though I have proudly eschewed Facebook and will continue to do so). However, being a Disney nerd, Doreen was still something of a gimmee for me.

Gangs of New York has a lot to like about it (Daniel Day Lewis is fantastic, as usual), but it would be a MUCH better movie without Ms. 51- Down.

I knew the Adams clue instantly because that quote was still fresh in my mind from the mini-series (though I would have gotten it before I saw that, as well). And the younger crowd loves Laura Linney, as well (at least I do). She's just fantastic in so many ways.

p.s.- Thanks parshutr for the Prufrock. Always makes me smile to think of it.

Anonymous 12:22 PM  

résumé was missing an accent aigu

Anonymous 12:52 PM  

As an old Deadhead (is there any other kind these days?), I know Merl Saunders well from his collaboration with Jerry Garcia
(, which Rex alluded to with his "jam band" reference. Still, the "jazzman" reference threw me for a while because I never thought of him that way.

Gene 12:56 PM  

Rex - Santiago is the capital of Chile, and therefore is an appropriate alliterative partner for a Spanish "skipper"

Joon 1:33 PM  

boy, did i love this puzzle. hats off to kevin for a brilliant construction. just about everything nice i thought of to say about it has been said, though.

i did not find 1D a gimme because i couldn't figure out why NAMATH wouldn't fit. once i thought of JETSFAN, JACUZZI became obvious and then the whole puzzle basically opened up for me.

TOPSPOT is, much to my surprise, a palindrome.

@peter sattler: one thing that will help your solving on these late week puzzles is using the fact that the clue and answer have to agree in part of speech (and number). so [Most clowns] cannot be the clue for SMILING; the answer must be a plural noun. [Like most clowns] would be an acceptable clue for SMILING.

similarly, i avoided the SHEEN trap by noticing that 9D was also a plural noun and therefore likely to end with S. SMITS/LINK/SMILERS was still my last fill in the entire puzzle though.

RodeoToad 1:43 PM  

I wasn't quite on this puzzle's wavelength: 28:52 on the timer and one punted square (the "V" in GAVOTTE, a word I did not know. If I'd gone through the alphabet on DI__ I probably would have come up with DIV, but seeing "military" in the clue made me think it could be anything, so I didn't bother.) Medium to medium-challenging for me then.

SW was the last to go, and MARSBAR gave me fits. I had the consonants but kept thinking it should be CARAMEL or maybe MIRABEL (did I make that word up? Can you eat a mirabel?) Never heard RETE. Rex says it's standard-issue crossword stuff and he oughta know, but it's new to me. Guess I haven't been doing x-words as fluently as I'd assumed.

John Nance Garner (one of FDR's vice-presidents, from Uvalde, Texas) had a much pithier (he lisped) quote about the vice-presidency. He said it wasn't worth a bucket of warm piss.

Ulrich 1:54 PM  

"dojo" is my word of the day--never heard of it before, and the j was the last letter I filled in when it became obvious that Fiji had to be the island in question. Now I'm looking for an opportunity to use "dojo", but my chances are slim, what with me being surrounded by a decidedly non-martial wife, 6 cats, and one rather goofy dog.

As an aside: A student once applied for a graduate program I was heading by claiming on his résumé that he was proficient in the "marital" arts.

Bill D 2:04 PM  

Another great puzzle for this above-average week at the Times. A little heavy on the foreign and internet words/phrases/names, I thought, but not fatally so. (What DID constructors do before the Internet?) I'm with the over-50 crowd, but I'm getting to the point where I don't know today's pop stuff, and I can't remember my own past! Anyway, if I am incomprehensible just read Wendy and Miriam - they always seem on my wavelength (sorry, ladies, your cross to bear.)

I'm not as quick as you speedsters. It especially took me a while to work out the lower middle "pyramid" as I refused to remove my "Canapes" for 51A:DORITOS. Had "Cuba" for the island, and "Calme" for Agitato's opposite at 47D. FACEBOOK finally set me straight. Never watched "The West Wing", so I never fell into that trap.

SMILERS clued as Most Clowns was kind of off, especially as Emmitt Kelly, the clown of greatest reknown, wore a frown. I will SQUAWK about POLY, too. It should be Poli Sci; Google be damned. PEC was okay - I'll accept almost any new/unusual 3-letter fill. The rest, except LIN, were very trite (ANO, AXE, ILK, YEA) or merely common (DIV, MAP, PEI, SCI, SIR, USS). This is just a seat-of-the-pants analysis, not the result of a Cruciverb search or anything an OUNCE SCIentific!

Kudos to Kevin for making this a fab Friday.

Anonymous 3:02 PM  

Nautical Fact(?): With the exception of the rope attached to the clapper of a bell on a boat, all "ropes" are not ropes, but are lines. Apparently this includes tow lines.

Anonymous 3:08 PM  

Most clowns means "most clowns", not "all clowns" or "most famous clowns".

See if you can find a copy of today's Family Circus: "Daddy! Our car has an OWIE!" says Billy, pointing to a small dent. (The website has a two week delay.)

Jerry 3:13 PM  

No way Jose! POLY means many. I don't care what pops up in Google, the only acceptable abbr. for political is POLI. Take a look in any college course catalog. Will should have changed the clue.

Doc John 3:15 PM  

Not bad for a Friday- finished it in one sitting in a pretty decent time. Good thing, too, because I don't have all afternoon to spend on it!

Facebook (and its ilk)- known to readers of weekly newsmagazines because they're always mentioned in their business columns.

I didn't fall into the Sheen trap because I worked the puzzle from east to west. Man, are there any shows that Jimmy Smits HASN'T been on?

I was also trying to fit Namath into 1D. and started wondering if maybe there was a Joe rebus going on.

Initially had root for rete but keepers cleared that up.

Add me to the list of Laura Linney fans. From the first time I saw her in "You Can Count on Me" to "Tales of the City" and on and on. She can do no wrong in my book. Wish I could see her on stage.

"Gangs of NY"- not Marty's best.

My British house guests are reminding me that what we in the US know as a Milky Way is a Mars Bar in the UK.

mac 3:17 PM  

To me this puzzle was a Medium, took me a little longer than normally. Got slowed down by lento, erasing doritos, fear instead of fate, emer. instead of ambs. Amazing how carve popped up again. I liked sway and sooth next to each other, and of course I like dike.

@parshutr: your little Prufrock made me sade, but I still enjoyed it.

@wade: you're in luck, a mirabel is edible, it is a small, yellow plum.

mrbreen 3:23 PM  

Gangs of New York, though deeply flawed, is in many ways superior to The Savages.

Anonymous 3:50 PM  

I, too, love Laura Linney. Sadly for all of us, she is engaged.

PuzzleGirl 4:09 PM  

@wade: I went through the alphabet to get that V in DIV. It was the last letter I entered. I'm not sure how I feel about you now, knowing you gave up so easily.

SethG 4:27 PM  

@PuzzleGirl: I went through the alphabet to get that V in DIV. It was the last letter I entered. I did not give up.

The national championship tournament started today in college ultimate. SYZYGY, the #11 seed, is 1-1 after destroying the higher seeded University of Oregon. (The TEXAS U women pulled off a big first-round upset as well, while the TEXAS U men lost to last seed Harvard.)

Anonymous 4:38 PM  

Didn't we just have JETSFAN earlier this week?

Anonymous 4:46 PM  

Okay, not to resurrect Dorothy Parker again, but the A.A. Milne answer made me laugh out loud. Dorothy did book reviews for Vanity Fair way back when, titled "Constant Reader." This is what she said about an A.A. Milne book:

"Tonstant Weader fwowed up"

Think it was a Winnie-the-Pooh book. I would have loved to have a few drinks with her at the Algonquin!


RodeoToad 4:53 PM  

@kathy (hey, what's the deal with the "@" in addressing posters, by the way?), funny you bring that up. I've railed against Pooh on this board before, and had written another diatribe for today but it didn't get posted because blogger or something screwed up (I didn't resurrect it for the post that did make it onto the board, above.) That Pooh crap is insipid. When I'm forced to read it to my kids I skip about 3/4 of the twee dialogue.

puzzlegirl, if something plays hard to get, I take my ball and go home. To mix my metaphors and single entendres.

sethg, my dad can beat up your dad.

Anonymous 5:14 PM  

Kevin rocks! (Are folks over 40 allowed to say that?!)
I'll dig up a cute pic I have of him from the ACPT that perhaps Rex will include in his round-up. He is not a teen, but, yes, could play one on TV.

Nice pangram, dude...and not just one Z but 3, two J's, 4 K's!

Odd, I had the exact same time as you, but I was watching a "Farmer takes a Wife" tape (my latest guilty pleasure) at the same time, does that count?

I originally had GAROTTES for GAVOTTES, you know, that part when you are doing the minuet and you suddenly strangle your partner with a thin piece of wire...

Anonymous 5:27 PM  

Can someone explain Technicolor <> Vibrant? Seems to violate the word form rule - as the only use I know for the former is "in glorious technicolor". My dictionary entry just says "trademark - used for color motion pictures".
And "Visionary" for Quixote??? Doesn't that clue need SOME qualifier even on a Friday to indicate that the answer is a very specific example of the very categorical clue? Would "President" be an acceptable clue for "degaulle" for example?
This one was depressingly hard for me - gave up on the SW finally and just went to my favorite NETIXEN (a term I have NEVER heard in my life) Rex.

Ladel 5:30 PM  

Just didn't feel like a Friday puzzle, difficult but not in a satisfying way, too many references to time on Earth cultural experiences, but that's just my POV. One thing I am certain about, having sampled the taste provided by Rex, whatever you want to call Merl Saunders music, you may not call it Jazz, this is Jazz!

Kimbopolo 5:51 PM  

Felt certain that this one would get a Relative Rex Rating (RRR) of "medium".

I was wrong about that just as I was wrong about pump numbers = OCTAVES (as in the instrument pump organ). I didn't make much sense even then but I clung to it still.

Doc John 5:56 PM  

@david- think of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat"

Anonymous 6:22 PM  

Well, I'm neither under 50 nor over, but made a right dog's dinner out of this one. What an UNKEMPT grid I have -- nearly the entire western half is written over, sometimes two or three times. This, by the way, is often the mark of a really good puzzle, though.

Some mistakes: Agnew for ADAMS, Collect for COMPILE, Silence for AT PEACE, Net User for NETIZEN, TOW Boat for LINE, Cast Iron or Iron-clad for NON-STICK, ... the list goes on.

I was doing the puzzle in the teachers' lounge and someone was looking for ideas about philosophical literature and I suggested Emerson. A minute later I saw the clue and we had a go at the four bank spaces. Half a dozen attempts, including her guess at LOVE, and we were nowhere near our FATE.

When I was a teenager I was quite entertained by my English uncle and his friends, who would pull out the A. A. MILNE after a few gin and tonics and regale each other with some of their favorite passages. This is just so British. To relive the torture of one's youth with such genuine fondness, albeit somewhat mawkishly under the spell of the juniper berry.

Ulrich 6:29 PM  

@miriam b: Funny that you feel the need to mention that you are not "fat" (your word)--I would have never assumed that b/c when I look at the people I know, the people who love to eat (and only eat) good food are never "fat"--they are just too picky for that. As opposed to the people who simply love to eat--whatever is put in front of them (and then think they are doing themselves a great favor by ordering a diet pepsi to go with their 2000+ cal dinner!)

Bill from NJ 7:49 PM  

As the father if a 17-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy, I try to stay conversant with the argot of the day so I felt a little twinge when I read Rex's review of todays' puzzle.

Like parshutr, Prufrock flitted across my mind.

I think the lines

I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each

I do not think they will sing to me

are the most heartbreaking in all poetry

Anonymous 7:49 PM  

Badly wanted 'stalkers" for the clowns, even though it doesn't fit. There's a site out there whose only purpose is to provide a satisfying outlet for those of us with the desire to slap a clown. Its sister site is Slap a Mime.

Fiji was a super gimme because I once wrote a rather elaborate paper arguing that the Truman Show was a garden of Eden allegory, what with the omnipotent guy in the control booth, etc. Anyway, I believe I found a farfetched way to link Truman's longing for Fiji to a desire to live an unfettered (by a controlling God) life with Eve via a super-stretchy Fiji-Fuji apple flight of reason. Mmm, apples.

Fergus, are you roasting too? My brain cells are set to saute.

dk 8:08 PM  

@kathy: Favorite Dorothy Parker "My vision of my past is clouded by the smoke of my burning bridges."

Michael Chibnik 8:28 PM  

Nice puzzle, but like others -- I don't like "poly" sci -- it's poli sci. I know lots of people do this, but it really makes me cringe.

Like Frisco for San Francisco or TexasU for UT.

Anonymous 8:29 PM  

Ms Mantis, As is typical after a bit of heat in Santa Cruz, the wind rips in off the ocean and wipes all the stagnant air away. Right now it's gone down to 23 degrees, or about 72 Faerenheit. It got hot here. How hot in your part of San Francisco? A woman from Florida said to me at a party last weekend that it was quaint when Californians complain about the heat.

(rp - the coastal, not Fresnan)

mac 9:35 PM  

Where's Orange?

@ulrich: I think it was Gertrude Stein who said, probably about Alice Toklas, that good cooks are usually overweight and overtired. I think that doesn't mean really fat.

@green mantis: I think clowns are scary, and all the characters at Disney World with masks on as well. I was very happy to leave DW, having done my duty of taking our son there - he never asked for a repeat. Lots of masks, lots of lines, cold, had to buy sweat shirts we would never wear again, and don't get me started on the food.

@bill from nj: I said before, I felt the same way.....

@fergus: how do you know green mantis is a female?

Orange 9:39 PM  

Mantis, "slap a clown" sounds way better than clown porn.

mac 9:42 PM  

Good to see your slice here, O. It was sort of a tedious day. We didn't sparkle the way we normally do....

Anonymous 9:56 PM  

I don't know, but maybe she said so.

Barbara Bolsen 11:24 PM  

Problem with finishing so late in the day is that it's all been said. Enjoyed this one -- especially seeing Doreen from my childhood. The east came easy to me, then I picked away til the NW fell, and finally, last the SW.

Agree with all who found POLY to be their TEXAS U for the day.

@ Wade: yeah what's up with the @ sign? I just do it because I see everyone else doing it. Guess that makes me a victim of peer pressure.

Anonymous 11:40 PM  

Somebody said it was 97 fahrenheit yesterday, but that seems overblown. And it IS whiny of me to complain, as I am from D.C. and this is really nothing. But somehow I am truly uncomfortable. Damn you and your ocean breezes Fergus.

Orange, I don't know if I can click on your link. The thought is enough to give my theoretical grandchildren nightmares via a sort of legacy DNA of horror. Two more beers and I'll have the courage.

Mac--I do a short skit where I reenact a day at Disney World. I just stand there and move three inches every five minutes. And yeah, I must have mentioned the girlness at some point. Although the eagerness to marry Orange or the willingness to enter a POLY relationship with puzzlegirl and orange may have thrown you off. I AM in California, though.

xwd_fiend 1:13 AM  

Enjoyed this one - solved in full in 37 mins, probably my best effort for a Friday NYT. Surprised to see no mention of what gets called a 'pangram' in the UK - all letters of the alphabet appearing in the grid. This helped me at the end as I'd not seen Jacuzzi (considered 'massage' for a while), and thought 1D would be some ancient football star. Liked the absence (mostly) of 'unfathomable US stuff - poli. and milit. abbrevs, small towns, actors/actresses.

Anonymous 7:42 AM  

My day starts with coffee and crossword on the patio! Then if I get stuck, I contact the web for assistance, then go to Rex to read his comments. Love it! You're the best, Rex! KPC

PS Have you all discovered

Anonymous 3:04 PM  

England always had Mars bars and Milky Ways when I was there, and they are the same as in Canada. Are they different in America? Also, has anyone tried the English delicacy of deep-fried Mars bars? The idea turns my stomach, but then I have never met anyone who has eaten this popular (so I am told) delicacy!
Glad someone already answered my question about AMBS - it's been driving me nuts.

Anonymous 5:30 PM  

Six weeks later. I didn't think of this puzzle as easy, but OTH I did complete it with no outside assistance. Since that is a rare Friday for me, it must have been easy. I cracked the SE first and went CCW from there. The SE was causing all kinds of grief for a while, getting Stowe (when I was thinking Peter Cottontail's author for Topsy and couldn't pull that name) cracked squawk. From there the SE fell into place. Enjoyable puzzle for me.

Anonymous 6:12 PM  

As usual for late in the week, it took me a long time to get started, with various guesses around the grid.

The most interesting thing is that I looked at the Emmerson line, and decided that the most logical answer was HATE. I still think it is a better answer, as even a Mensa member can get run over by a bus.

As for visionaries being Quixotic, I am an authority in that.

Over the last 20 years I have developed a comprehensive community Land-use and Transportation plan that would solve most, if not all the problems, and be self funding. Our dysfunctional local government continues to ignore me while spending literally millions (three, at last count) on navel gazing with the help of "experts" from outside the community.

Peter Legere DEwDS
Consulting Visionary/Guerrilla Planner

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