Friday, July 18, 2008

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: none

This blogging- in- the- afternoon thing is very disorienting. First off, I clearly do not solve on all cylinders at this time of day (i.e. the time of day when sensible Spaniards are sleeping). This puzzle took me 15+ minutes, a good 50% longer than most Fridays take me. I couldn't get a damned thing going up top, and even after I dropped EXIT RAMP (14A: Way off) in, with no crosses, I promptly gummed up the entire works by confidently entering PET for 15D: Familiar (pal). For the record, PET is a far, FAR better answer. PAL indeed. Harumph. The real killer in this puzzle was IXIA (2D: Showy flower of the iris family) ... you know a word's wacky when you have the "X" in place and still can't place it. I first thought AXIL, which is in the ballpark (flora-related), but wrong, clearly. I finally got a (non-CIRCADIAN) RHYTHM (17A: It helps you sleep at night) going when I threw down NAPSTER (18D: Onetime foe of the recording industry), daring it to be wrong, and it wasn't. RARA (40A: Hard to find in old 13-Down) helped me get ROME which helped me settle my SHEA / ASHE dilemma (12D: New York stadium name). The rest of the puzzle was easy enough, though I had a heck of a time getting the "N" at the NYS (52D: Grover Cleveland was once its gov.) / MONISM (51A: Belief that all things are made of a single substance) intersection. And I'm a pseudo-MONIST who lives in NYS!! Ugh.

Marquee answers:

  • 10D: Inclusive, as some resorts (gay-friendly) - had the FRIENDLY, then had -AY FRIENDLY, and was still at a loss (DAY-FRIENDLY? Like a DAY spa?). Then I figured out DOGEAR (a great word - 8A: Turndown?) and couldn't believe I didn't get the GAY part much sooner. This answer makes me think of Waylon Smithers, who goes to a GAY-FRIENDLY resort in one of my favorite "Simpsons" episodes, "Homer the Smithers" (Homer fills in for Smithers as Burns's lickspittle).
  • 22D: Person with a burning resentment (fire marshal) - the symmetry of this answer and GAY-FRIENDLY pleases me no end.
  • 27D: "Diner" co-star, 1982 (Kevin Bacon) - I wanted ... oh, what's her name ...? Oh, Ellen Barkin. Doesn't fit. Paul Reiser was also in that movie. He's an alum of the place where I teach. I wonder how many degrees of separation there are between KEVIN BACON and LITA Ford (54D: Rock guitarist Ford). I'll leave it to you all to figure it out.
  • 1A: Music lovers flip for it (side two) - flipPED for it. I mean, come on. Vinyl? Cassette tapes? What year is it? (I know that vinyl has never gone away for many music enthusiasts ... and yet, I demand the past tense, nonetheless).
  • 56A: "Unfortunately..." ("Much to my chagrin...") - fabulous, in a retro kind of way. It's such a ... mom thing to say. I must have learned this expression from my mom, in fact.

Assorted otherness:

  • 20A: 17-Across disrupter (jet lag) - yes. Yes. . . . yes.
  • 22A: Rage inducers (fads) - love it. Put it in, then took it out ... then near the end discovered that I'd been right all along.
  • 23A: Antoinette after whom the Tony Awards are named (Perry) - mysterioso. The Tonys are the Awards about which I know least.
  • 31A: Some dolls can do it (nest) - I was about to ask what the hell this means ... but just as I started typing the clue, I got it. Nesting dolls. Like these:
  • 33A: Private modes of transportation? (jeeps) - nice. Getting it made me realize I'd screwed up, gender-wise, with 24D: Indian chief (Raja); I had RANI. I like that RAJA and BAJA (25D: Popular Mexican tourist destination) both made the puzzle. Ditto DECO (42A: Like some '39 New York World's Fair buildings) and DEKA (36D: Prefix meaning "10": Var.). In fact, DECO is the only thing that makes DEKA tolerable.
  • 37A: Enzyme's end (-ase) - argh, sciencey suffixes. Always throw me. -OSE, -ASE, -ENE, -ANE, etc.
  • 38A: Chorus "instrument" in Verdi's "Il Trovatore" (anvil) - cooooool. I had no idea.
  • 39A: "Pokemon" genre (anime) - "Pok√©mon" is so strongly associated with the trading card game (for me) that I sometimes forget that it's an animated series as well.
  • 45A: Presidential portrait site? (wallet) - not in my wallet, not at the moment. Who knows what these people (Kiwis) put on their bills? It's not presidents, that's for sure.
  • 47A: T-bar or Z-bar (brand) - uh ... what? What kind of brand? Like the brand you brand your cattle with?
  • 57D: "I didn't need to know that," informally (TMI) - "Too much information"
  • 53A: Redwood National Park sight (elk) - aargh, got my "site" and "sight" confused.
  • 1D: Pres. appointee (secy.) - I have never liked this abbr.
  • 3D: Benedict of "The A-Team" (Dirk) - For some reason, this clue / answer really makes me wish I could see "A.L.F." somewhere in the grid
  • 5D: Emperor before Hadrian (Trajan) - Sure, why not.
  • 6D: Began energetically (waded in) - as I've said before, wading is not energetic. Expect more WADE DIN this weekend, when Wade fills in for me again (I'll be back for the early-week puzzles next week).
  • 9D: Glaswegian "Gee!" ("Och!") - The spelling is different (from Scottish to German), but the pronunciation is roughly the same ... isn't it?
  • 32D: English jurisdiction (Earldom) - are EARLDOMs still viable, legal divisions of the country? "Jurisdiction" implies so.
  • 34D: Section of the hockey rink in front of the goal (slot) - took me a while. Could think only of CREASE.
  • 46D: Force commanded by the Duke of Medina Sidonia (Armada) - I didn't know this, but what else is [Force commanded by some Spanish guy] gonna be?
  • 48D: Biotite and lepidolite (micas) - good thing I know the word MICAS, because those clue words mean Nothing to me.
  • 53D: Offspring of Chaos, to Hesiod (Eros) - I had no idea. Nice clue for an overly common answer.

See you Monday - Wade and SethG will have the Saturday and Sunday puzzles for you.

Signed (from Wanaka, NZ), Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

PS Coffee-wise, a "flat white" is a thing of beauty. I'm drinking them everywhere, all the time.

My daughter is also a thing of beauty. Her financial sense, however, is still in development. She has roughly $20NZ to work with for three weeks, and today, her first purchase ... was a compass (!?).


Parshutr 7:55 AM  

G'day, Rex.
Well, after a mere 3:34, I had a grand total of five fills, four correct: IVINS, AVER, , PERRY, and RAJA. However, I had GOSPEL instead of DIRGES...
And I stopped and flat gave up. Challenging? No, well night impossible for me, anyway.
But in the immortal words of Ahnolt, I'll be back.

Barry G. 8:10 AM  

Morning, folks!

Well, after yesterday's walk in the park, I stared at this puzzle in despair as I went by clue after clue with, well, absolutely no clue whatsoever. And then along came Kevin, who saved my bacon! I looked at 27D and thought, "OK, I saw this movie years ago. What was the name of that guy who was in it? You know, the semi-famous one. He's married to the star of 'The Closer.' There's a 'Six Degrees of Separation' parlor game named after him, for Pete's sake!"

Once I remembered Monsieur Bacon's name, the rest of the puzzle slowly started to come together. Maybe I just needed to get one long answer to restore my confidence, but I was able to go back and fill in many of the clues I had previously skipped over.

I made a total wild-ass guess for 48D and surprised myself by guessing right. I have a feeling I've seen that particular clue before, so maybe that's why I was able to come up with it.

Oh -- and I desperately wanted 23A to be MARIE instead of PERRY. I had know idea who the Tony Awards were named after and thought it would just be so cool if, well, you know...

Anyway, in the end I finished the puzzle unassisted, which makes me happy. ^_^

Anonymous 8:17 AM  

Perhaps she wants to settle once and for all those NNW, NNE, SSE, SSW, etc. entries.

Anonymous 8:18 AM  

tough tough tough for me. One of the few things I knew was Perry
-prob from doing puzzles.
just couldn't get a rhythm going
& have to find out what circadian means
Hope you are enjoying NZ,Rex !!

Coop 8:22 AM  

I loved this puzzle but hated two answers: PAL and SNAKILY. I mean, who uses "snakily"? It's even hard to say.

Jeffrey 8:40 AM  

Very tough going but I got through this one somehow.

Good thing I never saw IXIA or I'd rant about it. It appeared by crosses. CIRCADIAN RHYTHM came backwards. I had the -THM and only RHYTHM could fit that. CIRCADIAN appeared by magic out of my brain, wherefrom I know not. Whihc led to JETLAG. The last letter was the N in new to me MONISM.

Also new was TRAJAN, IVINS, and TMI as an abbreviation.

This puzzle may be the first one I've done perfectly with 5 completely unknown words - I CAN SO!

Anonymous 8:49 AM  

Did we not have the Emmy clue in reverse lately (award named for Antoinette Perry?)

Anonymous 8:59 AM  

Very satifying puzzle, made good progress before bed last night, then finished this morning. Had lots of great 'ah ha' moments in this one. Any time I finish a Fri/Sat without a mistake is a great way to start a day. Totally agree with Rex regarding "wading in", I stared at that and thought WTF?! Wading in is going in slowly, testing the water. 22A: "Rage inducers", I had "FITS" for "FADS" for a long time, which really slowed me down. I'm sure others must have thought like I did, "a fit of rage"

janie 9:16 AM  

like others here, didn't think i'd be able to finish and then "icanso"!!

thx for pointing out all the high-spots, rex, while you're there in your down-under spot. love the pix! so far (and i'm sure we ain't nuthin' yet), it appears that you've landed in paradise --



Bill D 9:30 AM  

When MICAS is your only gimme you know you're in for a tough one. [Biotite is THE mica; Muscovite is another. Lepidolite is somewhat less known.] Worked out the west first, starting with the BIKINI (thank goodness for my male gutter mind going straight there from "String__" - how many of you food fanatics tried "CHEESE" first?)/BAJA cross and spreading my way out slowly from there. The NW was the real trial; like Rex, I thought WADED IN was too lame for "Began energetically" - the "V" in my "DIVED IN" blocked my CIRCADIAN RHYTHM for a long time. Otherwise, it was another challenging Nothnagel, with good stuff like SUNLIT, DIRGES, WALLET and EARLDOM.

I expected to see a clip of Willie the Groundskeeper saying OCH to Homer's "D'oh"! I'm not as crazy as Rex is about DECO and DEKA in the same puzzle, and I certainly do not like ASSAILS and ASSAY crossing. Mini-themes included "EAR", "_ED IN" and "music biz" - AMPS, ANVIL (Chorus), FADS, JIVED, LITA (Ford), NAPSTER, SIDE TWO, SPICE (Girls) & [CIRCADIAN] RHYTHM.

I'm settling in for the sure-to-follow heated discussion of the minutia of every conductor's version of The Anvil Chorus - bring it on, opera fans! I'll be listening to Knofler and Emmylou do Belle Starr from yesterday.

Orange 9:31 AM  

Rex, I'm glad I couldn't remember that the 10-letter Paul Reiser was in that movie. I remembered Daniel Stern and Ellen Barkin along with Mr. Bacon. (Sounds like a pork-product mascot, doesn't he?)

Orange 9:32 AM  

Bill D, there's no xword rule against the ASSAILS/ASSAY crossing—the words are completely unrelated etymologically.

Orange 9:32 AM  
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Joon 9:33 AM  

this puzzle took me forEVER, but i blame it on misreading 20A as [17-Across disputer] instead of disrupter. i could not wrap my mind around that, despite having the J in place from TRAJAN, and was trying to think of somebody's name and a theory he or she famously disputed. that was going nowhere. plus, bad crossings everywhere made it awfully tough to see CIRCADIANRHYTHM. the -THM even made me doubt both ASHE and SHEA.

IXIA is a word i've often played in scrabble. (okay, that's a lie. i've rarely played it, but often thought about playing it.) glad to learn what it means. not really sure why i thought SECG and DIRB were okay, but i had GAB instead of YAK which seemed normal. i don't think the prez appoints the secretary general. as for the A-team, i watched that show as a (very young) child but who can remember anybody in it other than mr. T?

loved: MUCHTOMYCHAGRIN, GAYFRIENDLY (i had PETFRIENDLY, which is ... also inclusive, in a way), ANVIL, MONISM (leibnitz!), ARMADA, TMI. did not love IVINS (??), DEKA/SNAKILY, SECY.

RodeoToad 9:38 AM  

What other force will some Spanish guy command, you ask? In my dyslexic world, a RAMADA. That, plus FIT for FAD and a few other screwups (CABO for BAJA, LETA for LITA, SPIFF for SPICE, et. al.) turned this puzzle into a marathon for me, made longer because I did it in the midst of my continuing Sopranos binge. IVINS and, maybe embarrassingly, DIRK were pretty much all I had to start from. I thought it was a great puzzle, though, a challenging Friday and would have been a good Saturday too.

The compass thing is still cracking me up. I'd give anything to see a glimpse of an alternate universe run by kids. I bet there'd be some really funny hats.

Unknown 9:41 AM  

CIRCADIAN comes together from circa (about) and dia (day) to mean approximately one day. Rex is experiencing a revised circadian rhythm as the sun is playing with his internal clock. This internal fight with melatonin as the prize is called JETLAG and I think Mike N wrote this for all of you summer traveling Rexites.

I found this very tough and I am not sure I can describe the experience, but nightmare comes to mind.

Anonymous 9:45 AM  

I agree DIVED IN seems better than WADED IN for 'Began energetically', but if you think of WADED IN from a militaristic frame of mind, it makes sense, and crossing it with EXIT RAMP for 'Way off' has the right Friday-challenging kind of symmetry that is usually admired in this space.

Bill D 9:46 AM  
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Bill D 9:49 AM  

@Orange - I realize there is no rule against similar words crossing or appearing in the puzzle, I just don't like it. It's like having an extra hint!

@Wade - I thought he was Italian!

JannieB 9:59 AM  

Another solid Nothnagel entry. Really enjoy Mike's puzzles. They are hard but fair and ultimately doable.

My solving pattern worked from the NW down to Baja, then across the south and finally into the Mid-Atlantic and NE. Last to fall was dogear (great clue/fill!). I kept reading "inclusive" and seeing "all-inclusive" so wanted some sort of "pay-up-front" "pay-friendly???" fill there. "Jeeps" and "Wallet" clues were great, too. Had "much to our regret" across the south for too long, tried Iris or Eris for child of Chaos - makes more sense than Eros, at least to me.

Happy weekend all!

SethG 10:27 AM  

I bought a compass in NZ, too (though I think I spent more than $20NZ while I was there). Also, I am not 8. And, yeah, different compass.

I usually, nay, always have a pretty good sense of direction, but when I first got there it took me 20 minutes to find my Auckland hostel one day. Which was just off the main drag, I was three blocks away, and I had a map. I had no such problems anywhere else.

We had a limited MONIStic belief in school, the Beige Foam Theory, but that only applied to the food in the dining halls.

Since you asked, LITA Ford has 3 degrees of separation from KEVIN BACON. The same as me, if I get to count home movies with my Uncle Freddie. For more fun, play the Julianne Moore Movie Game(TM)! See rules for details.

Someone will complain about TMI. "Does anyone really say that?" I preemptively assure you that they do.

I like how ELK was symmetric with YAK, and I like the word YAK.

I got lots more, but I'll stop RAMPing up for my turn now...
Overall: I like Mike Nothnagel puzzles, I just can't _do_ Mike Nothnagel puzzles. I had a lot of trouble across the entire top (though not much trouble anywhere else). Had ASHE early from FREE from the FRIENDLY partial, but couldn't remember the emperor, agree about the WADE DIN, didn't know IXIA or DIRK's name, and PAL seems off (or at least I don't like that sense of "familiar").

Wade, I have a plan,

foodie 10:30 AM  

This puzzle started off being in thick fog that dissipated in bits and pieces with patches of clarity emerging, and eventually coalescing into an actual picture. SUNLIT somehow inspired a stab at FIREMARSHAL, which led to the lovely MUCHTOMYCHAGRIN. NAPSTER was perfectly clued, and BIKINI imposed itself thanks to BAJA (a perfect juxtaposition). I know I'm getting better because never in a million years would I have taken these stabs in the dark a year ago.

But the top few rows remained shrouded for a long time, until I googled DIRK. I agree that WADEIN does not connote energy and I resisted it for a long time. But it's the "it helps you sleep at night" that really threw me. It's not like I haven't heard of CIRCADIAN RHYTHMS. They are among the coolest biological functions ever--a whole dance of molecules and brain circuits that changes everything from sleep to eating to alertness and mood. But something in the way this clue is phrased feels wrong. I need to figure out why.

Rex, it looks like your daughter purchased a very cool compass! Those are great fun! Before I looked at the picture, I thought she purchased a navigational compass, which would also be a fantastic purchase, especially when traveling! Better than a doll that NESTS. You might have a budding scientist on your hands. She devours Harry Potter books, she purchases compasses and she climbs to the top. My money's on her.

JC66 10:30 AM  

I seem to have made the exact same mistakes as Wade. Oy Vey!!! Is this NYC boy turning into a Texan?

BTW, compared to sticking one's toe in the water, WADING IN might be considered beginning energetically.

RodeoToad 10:37 AM  

Seth, it doesn't involve Uncle Freddie and the rented gorilla suit, does it? Because that one never works, and besides, I sold the dry ice machine.

Shamik 10:55 AM  

Since I like taking my time with this puzzle, I was happy that it took me a long time. No googles.

I blythely had OPEN for 21A which handily gave me ASHE. But either ROMA or ROME had me erase it. Got to leave ASHE where it was, however!

Like Rex, NAPSTER gave me CIRCADIANRHYTHM. Also, don't like IXIA. I'll have to go google a pic of an IXIA.

@Coop: Bah on PAL and SNAKILY.

I have never seen the ten prefix as DEKA, but only as DECA.

Alas, a sign of my aging self is that I do say MUCHTOMYCHAGRIN. Really. Sad.

Finally, GAYFRIENDLY? That's pretty arbitrary! Gay friendly can be many different things: housing, restaurants, cruises, etc. And all inclusive resorts can then be considered ANYTHINGfriendly. After all, they want ou business.


chefbea 11:02 AM  

toughest puzzle for me in a long time .Guess I was thinking too much about food

Two Ponies 11:06 AM  

Took awhile to get some traction but once I got going I enjoyed the ride. I like the way Nothnagel's mind works.
I also bought a compass after moving to London a few years ago (I'm now back stateside) because popping out of a tube station was very disorienting. Saved me a lot of time.
@ bill d I'll be your Belle Starr and you can be my Jesse James.
Can't wait for tomorrow to see what Wade has in store for us. Can you stand the suspense?

jae 11:18 AM  

This seemed the perfect Fri. to me. Several totally unknowns i.e. LITA, IXIA, TRAJAN, PERRY, MARY all very getable from the crosses. But then I really like Nothnagel puzzles. The SNAKILY/DEKA crossing was the weakest part of this one for me.

My problems were mostly spelling with several stabs at RHYTHM and IVINS (wasn't sure about the second vowel).

In the spirit of GAYFRIENDLY and the opening of Mama Mia today click here if you dare.

Something I didn't know besides LITA is that LITA is short for Carmalita.

evil doug 11:25 AM  

Wade again? Big mistake, Rex. Today's quiz:

Wally Pipp:?

I'm sure Wade would decline the coup d'etat---after all, Rex does this every day (remarkable, really), and Wade won't last long staying up until 3 a.m. Still, a professor knows not to ask a stand-up comedian to substitute teach....

Troublemaker, OH

Anonymous 11:40 AM  

@chefbea1: I'm with you on this one. Can't remember when I had so much trouble. Have never heard of circadian rhythm ... finally got it with the downs but had to Google which I try never to do. I think this puzzle is definitely "challenging."

Ulrich 12:03 PM  

I was also flailing in all directions, even with Trajan and Napster in place. One problem: I gave Mike N. too much credit as a mathematician and had put in confidently stringTHEORY. Abandoned it only reluctantly when Kevin showed his puss (I also had SHEA for far too long, even with my fondness for tennis). The NW was the last to fall.

@Rex: Yes, Germans and Scots pronounce "och" the same way, I'm told. And the "ch" is the same as in Bach, one of your and my favorites.

@sethg: You yellow-bellied, lily-livered coward :-), will you finally step out from behind the backs of wade and puzzle girl and show us what you've got?

foodie 12:05 PM  

@Fergus, Mac, Miriam b, I just saw your very interesting discussion late last night about the relation between interest in food and love of puzzling. Mac, how insightful of you, about my perfectionism! It's one of those traits that can be a blessing or a curse, but I choose to believe the former.

Beyond the breadth of interests and love of perfection that you all discussed, I feel that there is something about the need for communal sharing that is at play here. In his interview in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Rex speaks about how completing a puzzle feels too ephemeral, and sharing the experience makes it all the more rewarding. I agree. And the discussion is always very rich because puzzles cover such a breadth of topics, but each day we have a common trigger for our discussion-- the puzzle itself.

Well, eating is, at least for humans, a very communal occasion as well. Eating a wonderful meal alone, while satisfying to the senses, feels rather lonely. And a great meal shared with family or friends is also a terrific stimulus for wide ranging discussion, about the food itself and beyond. I think this blog selects for those who are passionate about their interests (food, music, comics, etc), set very high standards for them and double their enjoyment by sharing. So, fergus, not so reptile a part of the brain, after all... Or may be reptile and more highly evolved playing together, the best combination!

imsdave1 12:46 PM  

TMI? Never ever ever heard that as an abbreviation. Never. Having lived 3 hours from Three Mile Island when the near disaster occurred, that's the only initialing I'll buy for that.

re: waded in/dived in - wouldn't it be dove in?

parchutr and I probably both appreciated proams. Good clue, good word (plural aside).

Very good and appropriate Friday puzzle. Finished in about 15 with one mistake. I convinced myself that degear was a word (I was thinking downshifting), and ech was just as believable as och.

Doug 1:16 PM  

TMI: Very, very common. Wikipedia says it might have a military origin, and I've heard it a lot on TV.

Got about 80% of the grid filled (surprisingly) and just had the couple of important , but wrong crosses that mess up the long ones. Old TYME instead or ROME, RARE not RARA, and so one.

Is EROS related to every ancient god in some way?

dk 1:26 PM  

MUCHTOMYCHAGRIN DIRK is the name of my lovely wife's old boyfriend.

So its down the EXITRAMP for this puzzle.

I guess I will always be SIDETWO.

That my friends is the definition of TMI.

And, while I do not know Verdi I like the ANVIL chorus... and this puzzle.

Ella, when I was your age my purchase in Germany was an eraser and I still have it.

dk 1:57 PM  

And on more thing, skip all the poop about the cover and go right to Jill Lepores "The Lion and the Mouse" in this weeks New Yorker. It is a classic.

Anonymous 1:59 PM  

@1msdave1: I had "degear," for the same reason ... I wonder if anybody else fell into that hole?

Anonymous 2:09 PM  

More usually waded right in, although a somewhat dated usage.
As opposed to dithering (or shivering) on the shore, it implies a forthrightness of purpose, no second thoughts.

Orange 2:26 PM  

Here's a fictional tableau in which "TMI" is apt:

A: Lovely evening, isn't it?
B. Sure is.
A: I've been a little gassy today. I think it was the chili I had for lunch.
B: [!] ...
A: I have been fartin' up a storm. Why, just five minutes ago, when you got up to take a call, I let a monster one rip. Hoo-boy, did that stink!
B: Omigod, stop! TMI!

imsdave1 2:35 PM  

Well described Orange. I got it in the puzzle, just never heard anyone use that abbreviation before. While I've got you on the line, I'm trying a rebus with directions. All set on 6 answers, but my north and south answers are horrible. Any suggestions for //north/ //north// //south/ or //south// (where / = missing letter)?

Kalisa 2:37 PM  


I bet that comes as a surprise to a lot of people expecting their drinks to be free.

Unknown 2:39 PM  

A five-star Friday - my first look at this was a little discouraging. Antoinette PERRY and the ANVIL chorus and (amazed at the stuff from college that sticks in my head) MONISM were my only fill-ins on the first pass. But I worked away at it, sometimes letter by letter, guessing, Googling, frequently quitting in favor of other less challenging tasks; and I've just filled in the last letter, changing E to O in DOGEAR.

A puzzle that delights, once it's done!

mac 2:46 PM  

I think Wade got it right: this would be a very good Saturday...

Some long answers came with hardly any crosses, others came easily but slightly wrong: off-track 14A, much to our regret 56A, spiff / spice, fits/fads. Had kidfriendly, then petfriendly before gayfriendly, and talking about pets, thought "cat" would be a nice witch's familiar...

I love dogear, dirge, monism and exit ramp, but never heard of circadian rhythm. Always like Mike and his puzzles!

No mention of food today, let's go out for dinner.

Anonymous 3:03 PM  

Can't believe no one was supremely confident while entering pet friendly, as I was. I really enjoy MN puzzles, but, like sethg, I just can't do them. Start out relishing the challenge, then tuck my tail between my legs and go to Google.

Wade, I did the same thing with the Sopranos--once I started watching, I couldn't stop. Great show.


miriam b 3:22 PM  

Like foodie, I found the mist overlaying the puzzle pretty daunting until litle clearings began to appear. I can't believe I finished it, though it did take a while. I now know that the showy iris is an IXIA. I have a cat named Iris who is also showy. She's a tabby with orange and gray stripes, and an orange hind leg. This kind of marking pattern is sometimes called "torbie" (good puzzle word). I named her Iris becuae she does look like a rainbow. I'm not going to change her name to IXIA. She'd hate that.

@ulrich, you may be surprised to know that Russians say "och" or "ach" as well. The Cyrillic is "ax". Pronunciation: Long a, followed by the same kh sound you're fammiliar with. It's also sort of like "Gee!"

Ulrich 3:40 PM  

@miriam b: Interesting. But there is a real difference between och and ach in German, and neither means "gee", really. Och is a sentence opener like English "well", i.e. it indicates a moment of hesitation before you get to the point. Ach, when it stands by itself, is an expression of regret--you can say it with real feeling, which makes it a popular filler in romantic poetry.

Doc John 3:52 PM  

Did this puzzle in typical Friday fashion.

"Inclusive resort" made me think of Club Med so I confidently put in "pay one price".

WADED IN- A previous poster mentioned a military usage. Consider this: a scene from, say, "300" or "Braveheart" where there's huge battle of slashing swords going on right in front of you. So you WADE IN and get right into the fight.

I also had Cabo for BAJA but had the feeling that it wasn't right. Otherwise it would have been clued differently, maybe with "familiarly" added to it.

Wasn't anyone else a little bothered by the "Avouch"/AVER pairing?

Speaking of being bothered, NYS didn't sit well with me, either. And can anyone find an instance of DEKA anywhere?

IXIA- In the Miami neighborhood where I grew up, many streets were named for flowers or trees. A whole group of them were Ixora.

Molly IVINS- a huge thorn in Bush's side. Gotta love her!

Steve Guttenberg was also in "Diner".

@jae- thanks for the ABBA clip. Got me even more fired up to see Mamma Mia. We're going to the 3PM showing at Hazard Center. Can't wait!

miriam b 3:54 PM  

@ulrich: Now that I think of it, one wouldn't say "ax" when the context is upbeat! Thanks for your elucidation. I was totally unfamiliar with the use of "och". The clue in fact was "Glaswegian 'Gee!'". I loved this puzzle too dearly to quarrel with the redoubtable Mr. Nothnagel

Bill from NJ 4:28 PM  

My first two answers were DIRK and
KEVINBACON so I went down the West Coast giving myself a big advantage in the West. From there I got all of Northern California and spread out from there. I never heard of SNAKILY and had SNAKEUP for a while but BRAND(a total guess)and MONISM got me out of that hole as I was able to get EARLDOM and INMOST and corrected my error.

I moved into the NE and got ENTRYLEVEL and ASHE which gave me *********RHYTHM. The PERRY/NAPSTER cross clued me into CIRCADIAN which was crucial to me in the NW. I never saw AXIA, ironically, because a)I never heard of it and b)I wasn't able to join in the discussion about it. I trickled down the East Coast, cherry-picking ELK MARY DECO ANVIL JEEPS which helped me fill in the entire middle of the puzzle and move into the south.

I was able to get MUCHTOMYCHAGRIN from the crosses and the puzzle fell from there.

I had to go back and pick up ROME and OMITS and I finished in just under half an hour with no help.

I really enjoy Nothnagel's work.

Bill D 4:34 PM  

Saw Momma Mia in London as couple of years ago, the same weekend as We Will Rock You, the Queen sci-fi comedy musical. Good thing we had tickets for the latter on jet lag day - the Queen music kept us awake. I still found myself snoozing during Momma Mia the next night, as the repetitive ABBA soft rock was a little more sleep-inducing. Amazing how many ABBA songs one knows even if their life was spent studiously avoiding the band! It was a fun musical, though. Both had "plots" that were incredibly contrived to fit as much music in as possible, the Queen one appropriately never taking itself seriously.

As for the Momma Mia movie, I don't hold out much hope for it. I really can't picture Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan singing like birds - saw a clip on The Daily Show and Brosnan seems to be really fighting it, spitting out the words in almost clipped anger. Why does Hollywood insist on casting "movie" stars rather than singers in these roles?

Joon 4:38 PM  

doc john, DEKA- for 10 is a metric prefix (that nobody uses). so for example, a dekagram is 10 grams, and a dekameter is 10 meters. it's not to be confused with deci-, which means one-tenth (1 decimeter = 0.1 meters).

DJG 4:47 PM  

I had CATNAP in place of JETLEG, and never thought for a moment that it was wrong. (Just before doing this puzzle I was reading about things that can cause sleeping problems and one of them was napping.) Then, instead of WADEDIN I put in HADATIT, which is actually a more fitting answer for this clue, in my opinion. I realized everything was fouled up when SIDETWO revealed itself as the definite answer for 1-A. If only the clue for 5-D was "Former Duke basketball star Langdon."

abnorma 6:14 PM  

@imsdave1: I also convinced myself that "degear" was a word. And yes, I think the word is "dove", not "dived". However, this puzzle took me 2 hours, not 15 minutes!

Anonymous 6:34 PM  

I'm a server at a breakfast/lunch establishment (everyone gets breakfast mostly though...) and my favorite question to ask them is "Do you prefer Kevin or Francis bacon with your pancakes?" No one ever gets the joke, but me, I laugh everytime.

Sidebar: Our pancakes were voted the best in Louisville over IHOP. FACE!

Anonymous 6:37 PM  

@1msdave1 and @joho;
COunt me in, I didn't realize my DEGEAR was even wrong till I came here and had even complained to Will about it before I realized I had Rex for that!

I'm torn.
(esp paired with JETLAG) and the freshness of GAYFRIENDLY and TMI. Nice long ones KEVINBACON, ENTRYLEVEL.

(I plan to steal LITA for mine, tho he probably won't fly for a Monday)

Easily got IXIA from Scrabble
(great "dump" as they say and comes up more than you'd think)

BUT there was SO much I didn't like about this puzzle (tho I'm n the "I like Mike" camp in general):

SIDETWO vs BSIDE; SNAKILY/DEKA, ASE over RARA (Old Rome? awkward),

On a final note, naming a
co-star for "Diner" (they were all unknown "stars" at that time) had me think of at least 5 folks (degrees of separation?) in the film before i got to Kevin Bason...PAULREISER fits, and I thought about Steve Guttenberg, Ellen Barkin, Daniel Stern, Mickey Rourke, whatever happened to him?
One of my favorite movies of all time.

Anonymous 6:54 PM  

I thought it was 4 degrees. I had Lita Ford in a band (Runaways) with Joan Jett in a movie (Light of Day) with Michael J Fox in a show (Family Ties) with Michael Gross in a movie (Tremors) with Kevin Bacon. I see now that someone else found a three-hop answer, but then I didn't use any fancy-schmancy web utility. Any extra points for doing it the Lt. Columbo way?


fergus 7:07 PM  

Even watching just one episode of the Sopranos gets me into the vernacular, so I'm surprised Wade's posts are so profanity-free. Or maybe he has a special editor at work?

Anyway, my grid was pretty messy. I think it was Leibnitz who was so keen on monads. And the stretch on GURU Whiz was kind of amusing ... .

green mantis 7:21 PM  

Andrea, Mickey Rourke is now living as a mummified alligator trying to keep the scaly dream alive with really aggressive plastic surgery and waxy make-up. Better to remember him in better days, like Michael Jackson. They grow up and turn into pleather so fast.

Michael Chibnik 8:07 PM  

A really nice Friday puzzle, fair (well, except maybe for ixia) with some great answers. I especially liked circadian rhythm and muchtomychagrin.

With respect to yesterday's thread, I doubt that crossword puzzlers as a group are any more or less interested in food than any other set of reasonably intelligent people (or for that matter reasonably unintelligent people).

I could claim that crossword puzzlers are more interested in baseball than most people because (1) I'm interested in baseball; (2) tons of baseball clues show up in crosswords; and (3) other commenters here have shown interest in baseball. But I really doubt that this is so...

Michael Chibnik 8:09 PM  

Also, I think that a compass is a really terrific use of discretonary funds...

Michael Chibnik 8:10 PM  

ummm.. "discretionary"

fergus 8:29 PM  

I am going to have to shell out for a new compass, since someone broke into my truck (well, I left the door unlocked) and stole mine. They didn't take my traveling dictionary, though. And another (odd) NZ compass story features its use by my Kiwi doctor cousin for treating someone having a grand mal at a hostel on our Welsh hiking trip. Kept the patient from biting off his tongue, apparently.

fergus 10:03 PM  


I enjoyed your stylish synopsis of what we were talking about.

"Or may be reptile and more highly evolved playing together, the best combination!"

Sounds almost like the Jim Morrison.

mac 10:55 PM  

@michael, I don't think baseball is a typical cwp interest, but being broadminded and very, very smart, we pick up and remember little titbits and they just jump out and fill our puzzles. We just have to be open to anything under the sun, retain as much as we can, count on the crosses and hope we don't run into this problem that is named for a Mass town starting with N.

mac 11:12 PM  

@fergus, I know I had better not watch the Sopranos; I can't help myself, I adjust my speaking voice to anyone I'm having a conversation with. I actually found myself lisping when talking to this wonderful person who speaks with this charming impediment.....

sparkle 11:20 PM  

After Wading In to this superb puzzle, I GOT CIRCADIAN RHYTHM IMMEDIATELY!!! I can't believe how clever my brain is! I wish I could be this quick all the time. The one that got me was Dogear *8 across*, so 'much to my chagrin', I am no genius after all.

fergus 12:00 AM  

Mac, that was well said.

Anonymous 1:02 AM  

put me in the camp of people who love mike's puzzles. Part of it may have to do with the fact that I solve his puzzles in about half the time I solve most other friday-saturday puzzles. Him and P Berry are my favorites.

Pythia 1:15 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pythia 1:17 AM  

A lovely puzzle.

This also seems like a very friendly grid, for constructors who collect such things.

alanrichard 6:22 AM  

Although I buy the Times on the way to work, after swimming at Eisenhower Park, today the pool was closed and I never even got to open the paper at work. Sometimes were very busy! I took it with me to dinner at Paddy's in Island park. Usually my wife is annoyed with me if I do any puzzles while we're out but now that she discovered Sudoku, brain bashers easy, she's occupied and she doesn't complain to me. I finished the SE quickly. I had Bikini and Jives which gave me Kevin Bacon. What other names begin with K-V and this looked like an eaasy one from there. The my illiteracy popped in and I misread unoccupied for unaccompanied and wrote stag and Shea in the NE. Eventually I corrected my errors but this took the better part of dinner to finish. The only saving grace was that I fnished before she finished the sudoku - so she wasn't annoyed that I wasn't conversing with her.

Tom Allen 10:29 AM  

I got started in the middle-west, so I had KEVIN early. But since I've never seen Diner I entered KLINE, which took some undoing. I had FIRE and wanted to put in MARSHAL, but hesitated as I didn't get why the marshal would resent the fire. Too much work?

It took me much too long to see that PROAMS were in fact PRO-AMS. MUCH TO MY DISMAY is one letter short; CHAGRIN is a great word. I was glad to see GAY-FRIENDLY makes its presumed debut. That gave me RHYTHM, but as I was thinking music that helps one sleep, I needed a few crossings for CIRCADIAN.

I had no idea about IXIA, but it's crossed by such great words that I forgive it. I thought 6-Down would be FADED IN from the crosses; only got WADED IN from SIDE TWO. (I, at least, am old enough to remember when music had a side two.)

Lots of wonderful long entries and clever clues. Somebody snatched my paper this morning, so I'm glad I sprang for another -- but who am I kidding? I'm not going to miss a Friday Times puzzle. Count me as another Nothnagel fan!

Anonymous 2:40 PM  

I was sure so gayfriendly was not the right option, had pet and spa for a bit. Can't wait to see the word spring up when using Hotwire to find lodging.
Wanted to give up on that corner, but each time I returned to the puzzle a new revelation, thus making it fun.
Much to think about with nest and brand and fads.

Anonymous 3:20 PM  

Five weeks later - This was a rare Friday for me. I didn't Google, etc., but had one error. I didn't know Lita from Fred so I went with "said no no" for 60A. That gave me Lina Ford and as far as I knew it could have been.

Anonymous 3:26 PM  

Was I the only one who filled in enTrylevel and shEa in the NE and then got stuck on some kind of TEa for "Helps you sleep at night" for 17 Across?

I also had kiDfriendly for 10 Down instead of gaYfriendly, which led me to look for something along the lines of 'DECAFFEINATEDTEA' for 17 Across (even though the correct spelling has one extra letter).

I got the bottom two-thirds of the puzzle, but was totally stumped by the NW and NE.

fritz 2:58 AM  

I had petfriendly,

AND I hated, waded.

thefogman 5:23 PM  

Voice of the Future, aka The Fogman here on July 23, 2020. I had kid, dad, dog and then finally GAYFRIENDLY for 10D. Really challenging and a little bit on the mean side. The puzzles of years ago are quite a bit tougher to solve. NYT has dumbed them down to be more inclusive IMHO...

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