FRIDAY, Nov. 21, 2008 - Patrick Berry (King who had an audience with Pope Leo I / Symbol of dissent against British rule)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: none

A remarkably wide-open and free-wheeling grid from Mr. Berry today. Huge white center in the middle of this one, including a 5x5 in the dead center and sizable chunks of white extending away from it in all directions. Five contiguous parallel Downs and an equal number of contiguous parallel Acrosses anchor this puzzle's astonishing center, while the corners become little alcoves for pesky answers to hide in. A tough puzzle, light on obscurity, with answers drawn from a wide variety of fields. Only two answers I'd truly never heard of - both people: THEA (40A: Singer/songwriter Gilmore) and HERNDON (24D: William _____, law partner of Abraham Lincoln). One cringe-inducing answer: DEPILATING (6D: Removing hair from, as the body) - I took "removing" adjectivally and had DEPILATORY for a good long while. And wait, one more answer I hadn't heard of - not a person (I hope) but a thing: LIBERTY POLE (16D: Symbol of dissent against British rule). Historian wife, when asked what (the !@#) a LIBERTY POLE was, answered: "I dunno ... is that the thing the LIBERTY BELL hangs from?" No, I don't think so. Side note: Google returns 2.27 million hits for "DEPILATORY" and 21.5 thousand for "DEPILATING." Also, creepily, the third hit returned on a search of "DEPILATE" is a site entitled, "Should ten-year-olds depilate?" Thankfully, the answer appears to be 'no.'

A word about PANTYGIRDLE. What the hell is it? Sculpting underwear? Wife didn't really know. "How is it different from a regular girdle?" I asked. No help. I told Will it seemed awfully dated and I therefore wasn't sure that the original clue, [Victoria's secret purchase], was entirely (or even partially) accurate. But I wouldn't know. Clearly. Anyway, I LOVE the new clue, 33A: Unmentionable, because it's insanely misdirective *and* suggests the old-fashioned status of the answer - which is to say PANTYGIRDLEs were likely far more popular when people referred to women's undergarments unironically as "unmentionables." If there is something off in my history of women's undergarments ... well, no one should be shocked. Maybe PANTYGIRDLEs are all the rage. Who knows?

More love, this time for ONE HORSE and its terribly innocuous-seeming clue, 47A: Small and insignificant. The only phrase I can think of wherein one would use "ONE HORSE" is "ONE HORSE town," but that doesn't diminish my love for this answer one bit.

And the rest...

  • 7A: Garden pests in Harry Potter books (gnomes) - man, I don't remember this well at all, and thought the answer was something way more Potteresque. Mandrakes, maybe, or squibs or squabs or shrikes or skrewts or whatever those things are that are plant-like and make a racket. GNOMES? Those are ornaments.
  • 15A: 1950 #1 hit for the Ames Brothers ("Rag Mop") - I guess we'll have to hear it. I will, anyway, since I can't get Frankie Valli's "Rag Doll" out of my damned head. Here's the Ames Brothers' version:

And here it is, Chipmunked:

And here's a version ... I don't know who's doing it or what is going on ... but this version kicks the Ames Brothers' version's ass all up and down the block. Watch the piano player's legs, esp. from about 1:45 on. Insane:

  • 26A: They affect one's constitution (amendments) - they sure do. I haven't heard a proposed amendment in recent years that I'd want anywhere near my constitution.
  • 38A: Word of dismay (oops) - "dismay" is not what I would have said. The word seems more an acknowledment of a slip up, like "my bad." I rarely hear anyone say it with "dismay."
  • 41A: Table game with paddles, slangily (pong) - well, Will would know, but this still sounds off to me. PONG is an early Atari game. PING PONG is already short enough, why would anyone abbrev. it?
  • 49A: King who had an audience with Pope Leo I (Attila) - don't normally think of him as a "king." He's mainly just a Hun in my head. This is one of a series of historical curiosities in the puzzle. See also QUEEN REGENT (14D: Title assumed by Margaret Tudor in 1513), HERNDON, LIBERTY POLE, ONASSIS (2D: Billionaire who bought the Greek island Skorpios), and, of course, TIE fighter (50D: _____ fighter ("Star Wars" ship)).
  • 3D: "Madame Butterfly" setting (Nagasaki) - had no idea NAGASAKI was known internationally for anything more than getting blown up.
  • 22D: State capital with just 42,000 people (Olympia) - drove through it many, many times during the summers of my youth. Have absolutely no memories of ever having stopped there. See also SALEM, OR.
  • 28D: Russian-born Israeli leader (Meir) - Israeli leader in four letters - you have one fairly safe bet.
  • 34D: Electromotive force symbol (epsilon) - really just a fancy "E"
  • 37D: Label on an amplifier knob (reverb) - cool answer. Requisite "Spinal Tap" video:

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Orange 12:36 AM  

Au contraire on the EPSILON. That word means "plain E." Maybe that's in contrast to eta. Is eta fancy?

I didn't know HERNDON either, but that's a street name in my hometown. The same part of town also has Sheridan, Sherman, Farragut, Lee, Grant, Jackson, Antietam, Gettysburg, Douglas, and more. Hmm, I'm sensing a theme there. I guess Springfield St. must be Lincoln's hometown rather than a preemptive homage to The Simpsons. That neighborhood's bordered on the north guessed it. Lincoln Highway.

Anonymous 2:15 AM  

How would people feel about BONT as a fill word? Clued something like "agent killed by henchmen of Hank Scorpio."

Anonymous 2:16 AM  

Great puzzle. My favorite answer was ragmop, which dates me, I know. Thanks, thanks for the great video clips.
Who would write a song about a mop?

jae 4:41 AM  

I must be getting better at this. This was easy-sort of challenging for me. I cruised through 3/4 of this very quickly (approx. as long as a medium trip the to shower -- thanks for euphemism andrea). PONIED was the first thing that came to mind as the puzzle was exiting the printer and the rest just fell into place. My only problem was SE where I had MED instead of MID and couldn't come up with OOPS which seems a bit removed from dismay. I took a break, watched The Daily Show, Colbert, and a Simpson's I had on DVR, and lo and behold OOPS was obvious, EPISLON was revealed (MED became MID) and I was done. Great puzzle, a very fun Friday (ATTILA, who knew).

Unknown 5:11 AM  

Thank goodness girdles are a thing of the past (at least in my life). But, I do remember my mother being horrified at women/girls walking around with their "rear ends" jiggling for lack of a girdle. For her, the girdle not only spoke of good fashion, but good morals---must be something about being hard to get off.

Anyway, the panty girdle is an abbreviated form of the girdle--think underpants vs. bicycle shorts maybe?

Like I said, glad those days are over. And obviously I know far too much about this.

imsdave1 6:59 AM  

That was a neat puzzle with tons of long fill getable with next to no crosses. I stumbled in the SE as well, but only because I was dead set on ROME instead of NOSE. Resolved when I finally gave in to OOPS which revealed EPSILON.

Well done Mr. Berry.

Gnarbles 7:35 AM  

In my fading youth, we would stop in Olympia to visit the Olympia beer brewery for a tour and tasting. Not much else to see there, so soon back on the road to the Bay Area.

ArtLvr 7:52 AM  

This was quicker for me than most Fridays, must be an age thing, plus a family member who changed her surname to SKYE? Last fill to figure out was PHENOM.

The original girdle was an elastic tube without crotch connector and was kept from riding up by attachments at the lower edges to stockings. Panty girdles are not as long below the hips, are elasticized except in the crotch panel, and may or may not include detachable hose suspenders!


ArtLvr 8:01 AM  

p.s. The capital epsilon looks like E and the small one is a backwards 3. The capital eta is H and the small one looks like n with the second leg a bit longer than the first....

JannieB 8:04 AM  

Beautiful puzzle, but pretty easy for me. Great fresh fill and some wonderfully original cluing. Only pauses were Attila (Hun yes, King???? not so sure). Didn't know Thea so the SW took a few extra seconds. But I was definitely on Berry's wavelength and had a really good time solving!

Anonymous 8:25 AM  

Don't agree with medium challenging. I thought it was more like a Tuesday. Very very easy for a Friday. Ran into zero blocks.

Anonymous 8:30 AM  

Harry Potter garden pests was a gimme for me, which I guess dates me. First thought: c'mon, on a Friday?! Too easy.

I wondered if Herndon Virginia (outside of DC) was named after Lincoln's partner, seems likely.

Anonymous 8:33 AM  

Seeing how this looked daunting with all the white squares it was surprisingly doable.

The only annoying part of the puzzle for me is that song RAGMOP. I had never heard it and wish I never had! Rex!

Orange 8:35 AM  

Anonymous asks who would write a song about a mop. On the They Might Be Giants' kid-friendly album, No!, there's a song called "Violin" that's about a violin, mop, speck of dust, and assorted fractions of George Washington's head. My family likes to sing along.

Anonymous 8:46 AM  

@rex: I do thank you for the "This is Spinal Tap" clip. He and his rag mop are hilarious.

edith b 9:00 AM  

I agree with jannieb - on his wave length and a good time solving.

Several weeks ago, one of the Pope Leos appeared in some puzzle or another and I looked up the Leos so I could keep them straight for future reference. I read all about Pope Leo I's meeting with Attila the Hun who was recognized by the Hun nation (if you will) as their leader so I guess that would make him their king.

After the election, I dipped into Carl Sandberg's Abraham Lincoln: the Prairie years and read about William Herndon so the two names that may have given some people pause were neons for me.

I remember Ragmop from my father's record collection. The Ames Brothers and other harmonizing groups were his particular favorites.

So after plugging in my neons I started in Flyover Country with Skyeterrier and moved northward and polished off the whole section in short order.

I held off on the end of the hair-removal clue for a while as I couldn't be sure what form it might take.

My work in the SW - all downs - helped me with Springopen which produced the ending for Depilating.

The rest of the South was surprisingly easy for me - Karma which I am sure I will pay for tomorrow.

I really liked Pantygirdle and its cluing which matched as Rex indicated.

PuzzleGirl 9:04 AM  

I literally flew through this puzzle. And by literally, I mean, of course, figuratively. Lots of good stuff!

After reading Rex's write-up I asked PuzzleSon what the gnomes in the Harry Potter books do. He said, "Oh, they're just pests that live in gardens."

Rex Parker 9:15 AM  

It's quite possible I misremembered the difficulty level on this one. I didn't write down my initial impression during the test-solve (which I usually do), and then all I could remember was taking way longer than I would have liked to uncover (!) PANTYGIRDLE and LIBERTY POLE. OK, those two answers, I have just decided, go great together. "Hey, what's your LIBERTY POLE doing in my PANTYGIRDLE?" Etc.


edith b 9:16 AM  


I asked my grandson the same question and got precisely the same answer.

Now does Andrea have a name for this phenomenon?

Rex Parker 9:16 AM  

Whoa, my name with capital letters looks Freaky. What hath Blogger wrought?


Rex Parker 9:18 AM  

Oh, and speaking of phenomena that need names (as edith b just did), Patrick Berry also has today's syndicated puzzle. SYNDICHRONICITY? No, something shorter, I think.


JoefromMtVernon 9:25 AM  

Hi all:

I flew through this, just over 11 minutes, which if not a record, is close to one.

The SW was slow; liberty pole for bell opened "spring open" and the rest fell. I guess I'm getting used to NYT style, as all first guesses worked, and others leapt out with a few cross letters.

Does anyone wear girdles anymore? As a school teacher, and as the father of a daughter, I ask if women wear stockings anymore?

When do we call a 3-month moratorium on the clue Meir?

A little puzzled by epsilon, as most books describe EMF (or voltage) with a capital E. I don't believe it is a printing issue, and books can print omega (the symbol for ohms).

This was enjoyable, and it sets me up for an hour & a half marathon tomorrow.

Enjoy the weekend.


Anonymous 9:31 AM  

Blogger has also returned the trash can as part of the Age of Change.

I have read so many times people posting things like, "How could you not know that!" when in fact, I had no clue, so forgive this one.

The Liberty Pole was a pandemic expression during the Revolutionary War and appeared for about one hundred years on Americas coins. American historians are very familiar with the secret placing of the poles. One of the battlegrounds on this open display of rebellion occurred for ten years running up to independence in New York City.

Here is a sample coin

and here


Anonymous 9:41 AM  


...that is all.

mac 9:50 AM  

This is just the kind of puzzle I needed to think of the tournament without a feeling of panic, which I certainly developed late last week, made even worse by Orange's comment about the little bit of time we will get per puzzle. I breezed right through this one, only slightly slowed down in the SE. What a fun piece of work, Mr. Berry!

I also had "depilatory" for a bit, but the panty girdle set me straight. I suspect you can still get these at lingerie stores, but only in black, and they come with a little whip.

The only answer I thought was weak is "pong", but as in several other places, the crosses took care of it. I loved "I'm listening", wealth, nose, learns and live on.

The Rag Mop clip made me think of the Swiffer commercial with the sad mop, and the tune I have to live with for a couple of hours every time I hear it: "Baby come back".....

Anonymous 10:03 AM  

It's funny that some got stumped by the ending of DEPILATORY (instead of DEPILATING). I didn't know the word, but because I usually do Down clues before I do Across clues, the ING was one of the first things I entered.

I also thought this was an easy Friday. Quick solution time for me, (not at the tournament-competitive level, but not bad).

And as soon as I saw the reference to an amplifier knob (REVERB clue) I immediately thought of Spinal Tap's amps that go up to 11. Classic film. Thanks, Rex, for not disappointing me :-)


Anonymous 10:07 AM  

A panty girdle is NOT a shorter girdle -it's one with legs (just as it looks in the ad in your blog). A non-panty girdle (trust me, I saw my grandmother in hers) was a tube open at both the waist and the crotch - maybe that's the part no one wants to mention.

HudsonHawk 10:27 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
edith b 10:29 AM  


I went into Edit Profile at Blogger and changed my name back to all lower case.

3 and out.

HudsonHawk 10:30 AM  

Also a pretty quick Friday for me, but most ennjoyable. I ran through all the small state capitals in my head, unfortunately from East to West before I got to OLYMPIA, mainly because I can never seem to remember whether it's OSSO or OSSA Buco (food or mountain?). Then the long acrosses in the middle fell into place and I cruised. Loved the clue for EMBOSS. Nice puzzle, Mr. Berry.

Margaret 10:34 AM  

Put me in the "easier than the usual Friday" category. This puzzle took me much less time than yesterday, despite the many longer entries. I do enjoy Patrick Berry's puzzles. Maybe it's just a wavelength thing.

The SE corner took the longest. SEDANS for Civics, e.g. completely eluded me, even though I'm sure I've seen it before. Finally had to google to get ATTILA. Also, anyone else think the clue for PHENOM should have indicated slang or abbrev.?

Still in all, a very fun puzzle.

Anonymous 10:39 AM  

Not only easy, but my fastest Friday this year. I started with ONASSIS (a guess) and things just fell out properly today. I did put LIBERTY TREE instead of pole, I think I remember that from Johnny Tremain? And I wanted to put in ELEVEN for the amplifier, but it didn't fit (thanks for the clip, Rex).

One answer that hasn't bothered anyone else is PERNOD. Is this a commonly known beverage? New to me. Ick, anise-flavored.

Margaret 10:39 AM  


Anonymous 10:39 AM  

I'm with jae here--it was a much easier Friday than usual, I thought. And I'm also with susan--good riddance to panty girdles! Many thanks to Rex for the Rag Mop clips (why is it not Ragg Mopp, as in the lyrics???)especially the last one--gotta dance!

Two Ponies 10:41 AM  

Loved this puzzle! Another day with a Simpsons appearance - Doh!
I learned some things today and that made it even better.
I initially guessed Pommel for the Maiden horse before I quickly saw it wasn't right but thought it would have been a good answer.
I haven't seen a panty girdle for years but I have seen body shapers lately (to prevent that immodest jiggling).
Liked emboss and lunatics.
Thanks Mr. Berry for a fun Friday.

Anonymous 10:43 AM  

Loved this puzzle...a quick and easy Friday. Had LIBERTY BELL for a while...also HONDAS...but figured out the errors and sailed on through.

Ulrich 11:00 AM  

For me, too, the easiest Friday in a long time.

I started with gnomes, a gimmie for me b/c I have read the Potter books (to the degree that they have come out in paperback) and always thought that turning harmless garden gnomes into pests with very unpleasant behavior patterns was one of the more inspired ideas Rawlings has had. Wondered what a panty girdle was--wife tells me that they should be forbidden b/c her mother forced her to wear one as child--the things one learns doing xword puzzles...

Doug 11:17 AM  

I developed a taste for PERNOD after I read Peter Mayle's 'A Year in Provence' which is about as pleasant and fund a read as could be. Highly recommended! He's also the same chap who wrote 'Where Do Babies Come From?' back in the 1970s -- What a switch.


RP, appreciated the Spinal Tap video! The film rates an 11 of 10 on my scale. Christopher Guest is married to....

Jamie Lee Curtis---mmmmmm.

Really liked the puzzle, took me 2 goes, but I got it!

Doug 11:18 AM  

Sorry -- "as FUN a read..."

Guess the economy is on my mind.

Tony from Charm City 11:18 AM  

Fairly easy puzzle for a Friday as far as I'm concerned. I quickly filled in the NW, especially PONIED and ONASSIS (can't think of another Billionaire who'd buy a Greek island) and went form there.

I had LIBERTY TREE as well, since many tar and featherings were done there prior to the actual Revolutionary War.

As for Greek letters, Epsilon is written as an E, but is pronounced "eh". Eta is written as capital H and lower case n sans serif and is pronounced "ee". Upsilon (Capital Y, lowercase u) is also pronounced "ee". Greek is very confusing at times, even for me, a second-generation Greek-American.

Shamik 11:26 AM  

Today is as delightful as Thursday was blyecch. Loved all the long answers. Many were gimmes.

Now...on that panty girdle thing. They pretty much phased out as EVERY DAY WEAR for women in the 60's. And I mean every day. Older women continued to wear them well into the 70's. But I remember that even thin women wore a girdle for exactly as mentioned prevent jiggle. That was also the area of no bra straps showing and no slip hems below the skirt. Women who committed those fashion faux pas were little better than trailer trash types. Bras advertised on television were on mannequins, never on people. They lifted and separated.

A panty girdle could be either one that was the same configuration as what is called granny panties today or one with a mid-thigh length. If you really wanted "control," you wore it with your long line bra to prevent "mid drift bulge." Can we say a higher placement of muffin top?

Mis-starts for today:
KAWASAKI for NAGASAKI (don't ask)

Unknown 11:29 AM  

Patrick Berry is such a class act. I love how his puzzles are always so fun and accessible, and you never get the feeling he's being devious or cruel - even when he pulled out that surprise Saturday rebus a while back (I think that was him at least).

Anyway, today was no exception. Made my day!

dk 11:32 AM  


Ok the real fun is I was thinking of making one of my usual lame posts of a time long ago and far away when "a couple of friends" struggled with a PANTYGIRDLE in the back seat of some random car. I did not even put that together with a LIBERTYPOLE.

That is why Rex has a blog and I am just a ONEHORSE poster.

Mr. Berry unique fill and construction. I REVERBerate the praise.


dk 11:33 AM  

My trash can is back o happy day!

SethG 11:42 AM  

When I went to school in Olympia, everyone was the same.

Herndon, VA wasn't named for that Herndon, but I bet Liberty Pole, WI was named for that liberty pole.

Know why this was relatively easy? The only French was Pernod, and liquor, I know. And I might have some to dull the pain--I think I dislocated my hip just watching the Treniers' piano guy. Ye-ow.


fikink 11:51 AM  

Fast Friday with sunshine = a good day!
Love that you wanted ROME for "holder of spectacles" Dave!

Anonymous 12:13 PM  

GREAT videos today, Rex! Thanks! I just spent the last half hour watching videos of the Treniers.
That piano player sometimes lies atop his instrument, chin in hand, other hand playing a repetitive chord. What a hoot!
I accept that the name of the song is "Rag Mop", but but but but IN the song, they spell it with two G's and two P's.

Anonymous 12:14 PM  

GREAT videos today, Rex! Thanks! I just spent the last half hour watching videos of the Treniers.
That piano player sometimes lies atop his instrument, chin in hand, other hand playing a repetitive chord. What a hoot!
I accept that the name of the song is "Rag Mop", but but but but IN the song, they spell it with two G's and two P's.

HudsonHawk 12:21 PM  

@shamik, I get the lifting part, but why separating? (And I remember those advertising claims also.) I have to say the current fashion trend is much more appealing...

evil doug 12:29 PM  

My favorite line was when Susan, referring to panty girdles, said "hard to get off." I was thinking, "I'm not having any trouble getting off...."

Then mac said, "...the panty girdle set me straight." Me too, need for little blue pills here.

And even ol' Rex got into the spirit with his "liberty pole in the panty girdle" line. It's a pretty good day when the breakfast test is ignored.

Remember seamed stockings? And admit it, boys; what was the first page we 8th graders turned to when the new Sears catalog came out....

Pardon me while I go do some googling in the nether regions of my computer....

"I dreamed I was the 54th Greatest Crossword Solver in the Universe in my Maidenform bra."

foodie 12:33 PM  

I felt great when I saw Rex's rating, and now you guys make me feel dumb. No 11 minutes for me, but it was way better than usual. I got stuck in the NE and Southwest corners, because I could think of neither GNOMES (I don't think of them as pests and I've not read Harry Potter books) nor EMBOSS (although I like the clue). But I laughed at PANTY GIRDLE on top of SPRING OPEN (Didn't have quite Rex's imagination with LIBERTY POLE).

@fergus, hazel and doc john, thanks for your responses last night. Hazel, I love that quote! It takes a bit of time to fully absorb. Doc John, I had not seen the article on belief, and will read it. There are a number of books also, but in my view they tend to be too polarizing. Fergus, I'm now curious and will see if I can learn more about some of these parallels between economics and biology. I'd love to get together with all of you guys at some dinner party...

Greene 12:37 PM  

Nagsaki is indeed known for many things other than "getting blown up" (ouch Rex, that was cold). Back in the 19th century, before Japan was fully opened to the west, Nagasaki was the only port open to foreigners and was the site where Commodore Perry demanded permission to present a letter from President Millard Fillmore, essentially threatening military force if he was denied.

This became the subject of an astonishingly offbeat Sondheim musical (yes, you knew there would be a theatre tie-in) called "Pacific Overtures" back in 1976 which documented this rather strange saga of American gunboat diplomacy as visited upon insular, feudal Japan. The result was a truly daring exercise in cultural crossbreeding in which Kabuki formality met Broadway razzmatazz. I think it's one of the top 3 Sondheim scores, although it's probably too pentatonic and Asian for most American listeners. Here's a bit of a lyric which ties into today's puzzle:

There -- can you read?
Good! We will need
Two ports,
One of them not too rocky
How about NAGASAKI?
Two ports....

wendy 1:03 PM  

PANTY GIRDLE - just one of many memories from my adolescence that I had hoped never to reflect upon again

dk 1:11 PM  

@evil doug, I am laughing so hard garden GNOMES are coming out of my NOSE.

3 and out

Orange 1:20 PM  

I wonder if there's a gay bar in New England called The Liberty Pole.

What's great about Nagasaki is that if you switch a couple letters around, you get saganaki, that Greek flaming cheese. Greek and Japanese usually don't feel so similar.

Rex Parker 1:24 PM  

I think they serve Greek flaming cheese at The Liberty Pole.


Anonymous 1:28 PM  

@dk @evil doug @orange ... let the LIBERTY POLE in a PANTY GIRDLE jokes roll. I was wondering (well, not really) who would comment first and dk you didn't let me down.

Anonymous 1:49 PM  

What a randy group today! I don’t think I’ve seen the word crotch used so frequently outside the nether regions of evil doug's computer.
I share Aunthattie’s two g two p position – and for selfish purposes because I ruled out RAGMOP for too long. For 14A I read the clue as Greeting from Canada and wanted a French phrase or something McKenzie brotherish. Addressed the dyslexia and figured it out.
Fresh and getable clues combined with intimidating open grid produced a puzzle requiring input from all recesses of the thinking place. Me likey!

Anonymous 1:50 PM  

NAGASAKI was almost a gimme, except I kept thinking of NANKING. I've never heard or seen Madame Butterfly. But I learned of it through my parent's involvement with little theater and a production of Peter Shaffer's The Private Ear, whose main lead is an opera buff.

I also was reading about Lincoln and HERNDON last week, so while it wasn't a gimme, it filled in rather easily.

I was trying to expand LIBER---O-E to LIBERAL ?O?E for awhile, which along with DEPILATORY, slowed me down terribly on the long crosses.

EPSILON for electromotive force symbol is flat out wrong. It's a script E. I would recommend Shortz disallowing all science-term symbol references as a clue for Greek letters. Half the time they are correct, but half the time they are just plain silly.

To remember OSSO vs OSSA, OSSO BUCO go together, as do OSSA and ETNA.

ONE-HORSE is listed in M-W and OED as meaning second-rate or small and insignificant, in addition to its literal sense. Both cite several examples in addition to ONE-HORSE town. The OED gives special mention to ONE-HORSE town, along with ONE-HORSE race.

Bookfinder lists about 5 or 6 books with "ATTILA" and "King" in the title. I'd have never guessed.

jeff in chicago 2:17 PM  

39:36 for me today. Just finishing a Friday generally makes me happy. Then Rex said Medium-Challenging. Sweet! But the pessimist in me was sure all other posts would say it was easy, and so you all did. Thanks for harshing my buzz! HA!

My parents recently gave me a pile of old LPs. If I look just to the right of my computer screen, I can see "The Ames Brothers: All Their Greatest Hits." (Eddie Arnold, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Wayne Newton, Andy Williams follow ... Flashback time.) "Rag Mop" is the first song on Side A of Record One. (Of course it's a 2-album collection!)

I can remember, probably as the above albums were playing in mono, we kids would be in the basement, where we had a pool table that we would sometimes cover with two boards to play ping-pong. This was when Atari was just a town in Pakistan (I had to look that up, but it's a great alternate clue, eh?) not a video game company. We would often say: "Wanna play some pong?" So that fill seems fine by me.

chefbea 2:20 PM  

I agree with everyone - an easier than usual Friday puzzle

@shamick - loved your dissertation on girdles!! My grandmother wore a girdle and my mother wore panty girdles.

An older lady that I work for still wears stockings and they are very hard to find. In case anyone wants to know - you can find Hanes stockings at Kohls.

Yummy osso buco with a glass of pernod

Anonymous 2:26 PM  

Loved that "Ragmop" video -- that piano player certainly seems to be afflicted with RLS (or restless leg syndrome). Now THAT would make a great clue. But why oh why do the singers spell "Ragmop" as "R-A-G-G-M-O-P-P"? Poetic license?

SW corner stumped me, kind of got backed into it. Reverb did the trick for Emboss.

Loved the puzzle today -- more, please, more like this one.

chefbea 2:55 PM  

tried capitalizing the C in chefbea and it didnt look right. I left off the 1 after my name so will now see if
it's gone

Anonymous 3:05 PM  

Regarding "epsilon":
'"Epsilon" (ἒ ψιλόν, "simple e") was coined in the Middle Ages to distinguish the letter from the diphthong αι [alpha iota], which started being pronounced the same way during the period of New Testament Greek.'

Anonymous 3:48 PM  


33A: Queen Victoria's Secret

second fastest friday ever.

Anonymous 4:51 PM  

Anent 28D: Abba EBAN appears in the grid every once in a while too. WIkipedia says he was born in Cape Town, which I (as Rex might write) did Not know. For that matter, Nor did I know that Golda Meir was Russian-born -- and Wikipedia places her birth in Kiev, which is not quite Russian though it was part of the Russian Empire.


Doc John 4:53 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Doc John 4:54 PM  

I'm also in the "pretty easy for a Friday" camp and also rate [Print up?] as my fave clue.
Oh, and don't even get me started about AMENDMENTS!
Happy weekend everyone!

Chip Hilton 5:21 PM  

One error here. I assumed that the Ames Bros. were paying tribute to convertibles , so went with RAGTOP. Just assumed some big corporation would be acronymed IBT. Silly me.

Apologies to Wolverine fans. The other day, I mentioned that Wednesday's scrambled college nicknames puzzle looked like a Final Four prediction except for the inclusion of Michigan. Well, last night, they beat consensus top five team, UCLA. It appears the Ann Arbor boys are back. Thinking back to Chris Webber and the Fab Five, they might want to avoid NCAA violations.

foodie 5:59 PM  

@ chip hilton, Chris Webber's mention does not bring back good memories. Where sports are concerned, I have a major brain desert punctuated by occasional vivid scenes. One of them relates to Webber and the Fab Five.

Picture this: April 5, 1993, Chapel Hill North Carolina. Yours truly, from Ann Arbor, is visiting UNC as part of a committee reviewing their neuroscience program. That evening is the NCAA championship game, and they have put us up in their Student Union building. Trying to concentrate during the game was impossible. So, I decided I might as well watch the last few minutes of the match. Chris Webber called that extra time out and the building just exploded. And that entire night, the students climbed trees, burned a couch under my window, swung from poles, screamed and hollered, you name it. Next morning, I go to my meeting bleary eyed and exhausted, and they all think it's from severe disappointment and embarrassment. But they felt no pity.. And forget trying to give them any input about their graduate program... They couldn't stop talking about the darn game. I was the perfect stimulus for their glee... It was not the high point of my career.

Chip Hilton 8:49 PM  

Sorry to dredge up those unpleasant memories.

Of all the campuses in all the world, you had to be stuck on that one, that night. Yikes!

Anonymous 10:51 PM  

I'm not fast - a Wednesday usually takes me 20-25 minutes, and a Friday about 50 minutes.

I finished this one in 26.

What gives?

Are "___ buco" and "Hush-hush org." really Friday clues?

Were "constitution" and "spectacles" really supposed to elicit the LESS common meanings of the words?

Shoot. Now I have time to kill.

Shanti11 1:15 AM  

Today's puzzle was like comfort food. Usually Friday puzzles leave me all growly and frustrated, especially when I come to this site, and Rex has rated it as Easy-Medium. Today, the puzzle was all satisfying and yummy, and I was able to finish every letter... and Rex rated it as Medium-Challenging. Ahh...

"Greek flaming cheese at The Liberty Pole" - Rex, you kill me!

@raphaelthatmf - Canada greeting = GOODDAYEH

Shanti11 1:19 AM  

@raphaelthatmf: Just parsed your name. Dude!

Anonymous 9:27 AM  

perhaps this has already been stated above, but that's The Treniers doing "rag mop." and yes, they kick plenty of ass.

Anonymous 1:09 PM  

Actually, I believe, it is pantie girdle, as per any dictionary?

Crockett1947 8:09 PM  

@gnarbles The brewery was actually in Tumwater, not Olympia. They used artesian water and had little "Artesians" in their advertising. Evel Kneviel was going to use the water in his ill-fated Snake Canyon motorcycle jump.

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