FRIDAY, Jan.9, 2009- P. Gamache ("Hooked on Swing" jazzman Larry / Italian beans Dean Martin standard / Dept. store founder pioneered credit unions)

Friday, January 9, 2009

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: none

Word of the day: FILENE, Edward Albert (44A: Department store founder who pioneered credit unions) - 1860–1937, American merchant, b. Salem, Mass. As president of the Boston firm of William Filene's Sons he pioneered in scientific and ingenious methods of retail distribution—the “bargain basement” was one of his innovations. (Columbia Encyclopedia)

This is a lovely puzzle, but I had serious trouble building up momentum, i.e. getting started at all. I think I read every clue in the N and NW and initially came up with nothing. Nothing. Here's how bad things were - my first answer into the grid? Guess. Can you guess? Take your time ... OK time's up. The answer: EDWARD II (10D: Loser in the Battle of Bannockburn, 1314). Second answer: QEII (28A: Ruler crowned in 1958, informally) - woo hoo, Double Monarch Score! Today is thus one of the few days where my professional training (as a medievalist) gave me considerable help in solving a puzzle. No, wait - there was that time that MIDDLE LOW GERMAN was in the puzzle. It helped then too.

My early failure to get anything up top was, in retrospect, a series of near misses, as I wanted PRIUSES where TOYOTAS ended up going (1D: Some hybrids) and I wanted ONCE OVER where THE ONCE OVER ended up going (1A: A looker might give it ... or get it). Cursed definite article! No one ever suspects ... "THE!" Wanted OBES and ELS (4D: U.K. awards + 24A: Local borders?), and those ended up being right, but given that I could do nothing with them, I left them out at first. The fire finally lit under this one when I threw up WRETCH (get it ... "threw up" ... "(w)retch") (13D: Base person) and with only the W-R- in place I got "SAY THE MAGIC WORD!" (14A: "Please?" elicitor). A magical answer, I have to say. The vast Canadian regions of this puzzle were overrun in short order thereafter.

Finished the puzzle at exactly the spot where PAIR (22D: See 25-Down) and EXES (25D: 22-Down that has split) meet - which is to say, right on top of the puzzle's AXIS (27A: Something to turn on - I wanted DIME there at first, of course). This puzzle is chock full o' pairs. Two base people - WRETCH and SARGE (14D: Base person?). ROTI (20A: _____ de boeuf) and his cousin ROTOR (18A: Wankel engine component). The aforementioned monarchs, EII and QEII. Cyborgs BORG (19A: Winner of 11 Grand Slam titles) and BORGE (40D: The Great Dane of entertainment - really wanted this to be Marmaduke). "BORG and BORGE" is a sitcom waiting to happen. Oh, and lastly, in the pairs department, there's the two characters from children's literature - TIGGER (29A: Bouncy kid-lit character) and GEORGIE PORGIE (47A: Nursery rhyme title fellow). Hmm, TIGGER on top of ANAIS (36A: First name in erotica)? "Bouncy," indeed.

Two skull-crushing names in the puzzle for me today - ELGART (7D: "Hooked on Swing" jazzman Larry), whose name sounds vaguely familiar from some bygone puzzle, but not familiar enough, apparently; and FILENE (44A: Department store founder who pioneered credit unions), which I had to Google when all was said and done just to make sure that it was a real name. It's real alright, despite appearances. I'm going to guess that this guy has regional fame (in the NE), because I have well and truly never heard of him. No matter - the crosses seemed pretty fair.


  • 12A: Partner of a certain rabid sports fan (football widow) - great phrase; I had BASEBALL WIDOW at first - my wife is in far greater danger of becoming a BASEBALL WIDOW.
  • 16A: Native home of the canary (Azores) - and I thought "The Canary Islands" was just a whimsical name. According to Wikipedia the Canary Islands "form the Macaronesia ecoregion with the Azores, Cape Verde, Madeira, and the Savage Isles." [update, re: Canary Islands (also from Wikipedia): "The name Islas Canarias is likely derived from the Latin term Insula Canaria, meaning "Island of the Dogs", a name applied originally only to Gran Canaria. The dense population of an endemic breed of large and fierce dogs, similar to the Canary Mastiff (in Spanish, la Presa Canario), may have been the characteristic that most struck the few ancient Romans who established contact with these islands by sea. The connection to dogs is retained in their depiction on the islands' coat-of-arms."]
  • 17A: Lion, tiger or shark (man-eater) - What's that? Did somebody say "Hall & Oates"? OK ...

  • 25A: 19th-century engineer with a star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame (Eads) - learned it from crosswords. A Very handy name to know.
  • 39A: Matted cotton sheet (batt) - I know BATTing ... but not BATT. I knew a dude named BATT in college, I think.
  • 40A: Dylan was once her protege (Baez) - she was playing in Monterey when we were there, around New Year's.
  • 41A: Shorts material, in Munchen (leder) - misspelled it as LADER. Actually, I think the first word I had in here was HOSEN.
  • 45A: Habitues of art galleries, theaters, etc. (culture vultures) - great phrase, and the name (minus the "s") of New York Magazine's arts and culture blog.
  • 48A: Once-common monchrome PC display (green screen) - great phrase. There's a green puzzle out there waiting to be made - screen, room, monster, party, thumb ... perhaps it's been done.
  • 12D: Italian beans, in a Dean Martin standard (fazool) - I think I've heard some horrible caricature of a New York Italian say "pasta FAZOOL" on some bad TV show somewhere, but that's my only exposure to this word. Here's the standard:

["When the stars make you drool just like pasta FAZOOL, that's amore!"]

  • 31D: Drop leaf supporter (gate leg) - a term that is odd and squirmy enough to be just out of my comfort zone. I poked at it until it behaved (not recommended for getting other things to behave).
  • 32D: They're short on T's (sleeves) - I actually refused to move on when I got to this clue. "Think, think, think" - and it worked! With only the "S" in place.
  • 44D: Thing with petalos (flor) - an answer in a puzzle earlier this year. Lots of diacritical marks in today's clues, and I've left them all out, as is my wont. I hope that isn't pet-peeving anyone.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Michael Leddy 9:03 AM  

EADS confounded me, though the words surrounding it make it look easy in retrospect.

Larry ELGART: I think it's a stretch to call him a "jazzman." I was bugged too by the answer NEOJAZZ last week. Yes, it's in dictionaries (at least online dictionaries), but I've never heard or read anyone refer to hard bop as neo-jazz.

I've been reading for a while and enjoy seeing your take on things from day to day. Thanks for adding to the pleasure of the puzzle.

dbg 9:05 AM  

Rarely comment, but figured as long as I'm done early I would give it a shot.

Found this one medium at most, probably because I got football widow immediately and am well aware of the store Filene's, although I probably knew its offshoot, Filene's Basement,

My only slip was initially spelling fazool the correct way-fajole.

Really liked this puzzle-pretty classic Friday.

Kurt 9:14 AM  

I found this to be the perfect Friday puzzle. Tough, but ultimately solvable. Scary but appealing grid. Only four three-letter words. Clever & creative clues. And some really great answers and positioning.

ROOT OUT on top of ORDER IN. FLIP preceding DRIP. BORG morphing into BORGE. GEORGIE PORGIE. SAY THE MAGIC WORD. DRIP DRIES. FAZOOL. What's not to like.

First time through, bubkes. Second time through, a few answers. Then the SE fell. Then the SW. Then the NE & NW. And then unfortunate divorce (PAIR/EXES) wrapped things up. Did the "rabid sports fan" give the wrong FOOTBALL WIDOW THE ONCE OVER?

Great job, Paula.

Anonymous 9:19 AM  

Pasta fazool is a southern Italian pronunciation, and here in the New York area it's not just Italians who use it. You'd be laughed at if you ordered pasta fagioli (fa-JO-lee)! I know, cause it's happened to me! Another one to be careful with is mozzarella. Better to say "MOOTZ-a-rel".


Anonymous 9:27 AM  

Sadly, I got the south first. Faced with three rhyming pairs (GEORGIEPORGIE/GREENSCREEN/CULTUREVULTURE) I wasted an enormous amount of time and effort trying to come up with rhymes for the large answers up north.

Not happy, but not sure whether it's my fault or the puzzle's.

Anonymous 9:40 AM  

would have been quicker if wolf whistle hadn't been perfect for 1 across...

Greene 9:44 AM  

What a terrific puzzle. I love these wide-open themeless Friday puzzles. Now, I didn't say it was easy. In fact I labored mightily over this beast last night and again this morning.

My first entry was the hilarious Victor BORGE and I was able to get GEORGIE PORGIE off the G alone. Too bad I spelled it Georgey Porgey. That really created many problems in the southern hemisphere that I didn't clear up until this morning. Not certain why I was so committed to the erroneous spelling.

Have we had GATELEG before in a recent puzzle? I can't imagine how I would have known this otherwise.

I really like the phrase CULTURE VULTURES although I don't think I've ever heard it before.

Is it just me or does LIENEE just look weird? I know it's a real word and all, but LIENEE? Really? Just SAY THE MAGIC WORD everybody.

Thanks, Ms. Gamache. Great start to the weekend.

joho 9:45 AM  

I just loved this puzzle, thank you, Paula!

I gave it more than THEONCEOVER before I got going, though. I started at QEII, did the bottom and finally the top. Only big mistake was predator for MANEATER but that was cleared up with OWING.

Loved the clues for SLEEVES and QUIZ.


@Anon. 9:19: I'm going to have some MOOTZ-a-rel on my fa-JOHO-Lee!

hazel 9:47 AM  

I look to The Sopranos for all things Italian and they (particularly Carm) made pasta fazool on more than one occasion - although that didn't help me with this clue. They all said MOOTZ-a-rel too.

I thought this puzzle was fantastic - it gave me quite a workout - but there was pretty much always a payoff when i would finally EDUCE an answer and be able to move on to the next one.

Megan P 9:47 AM  

This puzzle was perfect for my demographic: old, from the NE. I killed it, and Rex's review made up for all the times that he called a puzzle easy that I limped through painfully.

@Michael Leddy: I also hated "NEO-JAZZ" for hard bop (last week). Very bad for my demographic. And I'm struggling to define Larry Elgart - "jazzman" seems wrong to me, too.

Orange 9:49 AM  

My first answer was ROTOR. I think my family's early-'70s lime-green Mazda station wagon had that rotary engine.

Paula Gamache rocks. She can make seamless themelesses. She can make good easy themed puzzles. And she has panache, which rhymes with her last name, which also rhymes with chocolate ganache. Well, at least the way I pronounce those words, to rhyme with galosh.

Orange 9:51 AM  

Didn't the Sopranos pronounce manicotti "manigot"? Ever since, I've called Kraft macaroni and cheese "magarone."

Anonymous 9:52 AM  

Same experience as Buster, got all the rhymes on the Southern tier, making me think there were going to be similar phrases on top. I think that would have been very impressive, but I did end up liking the Northern clues/answers once the non-symmetry became clear with SAYTHEMAGICWORD (off the S and the D).


Anonymous 9:53 AM  

Had the same take as Anonymous @ 9:40. Immediately entered WOLFWHISTLE for 1A and felt so smart ... and then so not since nothing else fit.

evil doug 9:55 AM  


...all stacked together? Remarkable.

And very little common fill. I'm pleased and impressed, especially after a week of easies.

not feeling so evil after that much fun

Shamik 10:02 AM  

@Sara: Ask my Brooklyn-born mother-in-law (and all her offspring)'s pronounced moot-za-REL.

@Orange: Ditto with the in-laws, the accent is on the final syllable: mah-nih-GOTT with kind of an umlaut sound over the GOTT.

Great puzzle. Loved seeing the wide open grid. FOOTBALLWIDOW fell kerplunk. The rest took a little longer for a solid easy-medium...more on the medium side. Great puzzle with lots of interesting fill.

AGONATOR for AGITATOR (i'm tired)

hazel 10:05 AM  

@Orange - love it. I'm actually making magarone tonight (not out of the blue box though), but I'll still call it magarone. Even though now that I think about - I think Paulie referred to spaghetti and meat sauce as macaronis.

Whatever I'll still call it mag & cheese.

imsdave 10:07 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 10:10 AM  

Orange, my grandmother is Italian and says "manigut" as well. It took me a while to realize that manicotti and manigut were one and the same. Then there's also capaciola and gabagool, which is my favorite Sopranos food name by far.

Jeffrey 10:10 AM  

A perfect Friday puzzle indeed. In fact, “Friday” isn’t needed. This is just great all-around. A triple-stack of THE ONCEOVER, FOOTBALL WIDOW and SAY THE MAGIC WORD would be enough to sell this one, and CULTURE VULTURE, GEORGIE PORGIE and GREEN SCREEN is even better!

Historians note – the crossing of EDWARD II and QE II is the first time in puzzle history that a roman numeral has been used in both directions. [Prove me wrong, I’ll wait…]

Started with ROTI de boeuf. Gimme the gimme French clues.

Somehow knew FILENE; it must be in border-town malls.


When the constructor’s Gamache, you know it’s a smash - that’s amore!

GlobalPittsburgh 10:17 AM  

When I lived in Boston, the lore was that Filene's Basement was the place where women tried on clothes in the aisles, surrounded by mountains of irregulars and clearance items.
It used to be the actual basement of the big Macy's-type department store in downtown Boston, now it's just another strip mall discount clothing store.
Nice puzzle.
- Tom in Pittsburgh

HudsonHawk 10:21 AM  

Quite a workout, but really enjoyable. I also started slowly, but finally broke through in the South. First entries were BORGE and BAEZ. Then FLOR and LITRE helped break things open.

Once I got to the north, I wanted MIKE FRANCESSA for 12A as the co-host of Mike and the Mad Dog, but figured it would be way too obscure for this puzzle and the clue. My instinct was right, but it took me awhile to let it go. The AZORES/FAZOOL crossing led me in the right direction.

Incidentally, I hate that song. I was driving around Italy several years back in a tiny Lancia Y with no radio. Every time I would see a highway sign for Napoli, Dean Martin would start singing in my head. Arrgghhh!!!

Anonymous 10:24 AM  

I always grew up being asked, "What's the magic word," so I leaned that way at first. Got Filene from FLOR (thank you Senora Zikos), ORDERIN (thank you, expanding waistline!), and APRES (I can't remember my elementary French teacher's name).

I also thought this puzzle was Medium at best, because I finished it in around 30 minutes, with distractions. Sometimes, I can work a Friday for an hour or more. I wanted FARVA for FAZOOL (Italian beans...Hannibal Lecter). It was my last word.

Greene 10:25 AM  

@imsdave: Perhaps we could refer to this as Puzzle Envy? But don't worry, as Betty and Adolph would say: "There's always one step further down you can go." :)

dbg 10:26 AM  

Whoops-really blew the correct spelling of "fazool" earlier. Probably remembering the way I pronounced it many moons ago. 20 years ago worked with many Italians and still remember being ridiculed for many of my pronunciations. Since then always say-fazool, manigut, and mutzarel.

BTW- am I the only person left who refuses to say "ratatooie"?

SethG 10:31 AM  

I knew of quilt batting, but I still got BATT from the crosses. Bunting is a fabric term, too. And my first answer was actually UMPIRE; QEII was my last. Between then I was utterly terrified for a while, then enjoyed myself greatly as I found it eminently doable.

In general I built from the SE, where SLEEVES, UPC and LITRE were enough to build the bottom. Finally got into the top with BORG and PORT for CLAMORS.

I wanted Marmaduke, too, and I did have MOWGLI for a while. It didn't occur to me until I came here that the AZORES would be near the Canary Islands.

Crosscan, I bring you MVI.

Jeffrey 10:34 AM  

You're number I, Seth!

Coop 10:36 AM  

Great puzzle! I'll give Larry Elgart a break regarding calling him a jazzman. At least he started out that way when he played with Tommy Dorsey, Woody Herman and Charlie Spivak. And as Michael Leddy said, neojazz maybe in the dictionary but it's not used to refer to hard bop. Now back to my dish of pasta fazool!

nanpilla 10:49 AM  

Despite being a challenging for me, I managed to finish it in less than an hour. I love it when you are able to just keep trying things and it eventually works out. Lots of erasure marks on my paper today!
Once I got my mind off of bad checks and got SMITH,the rest of the puzzle fell. This is particulary embarrassing since I use a smith every 6 weeks for my horse, but, of course, we call him the farrier.

Anonymous 10:52 AM  

I had PREDATOR for way too long. And have never heard of FAZOOL. Lima beans, green beans, red beans, black beans, but no FAZOOL. :)

Two Ponies 10:52 AM  

Very impressive and fun puzzle. All of those phrases were a treat. My first entry was Anais and the last letter was the Q in quiz. I loved the clever clues. I wish we would see more from this constructor. I had never heard the phrase culture vulture but loved it.
After I finished this one I was thinking how six months ago I probably would have been stumped. I feel like I've come a long way. Thanks Rex.

Anonymous 10:54 AM  

Didn't anybody else think "FOOTBALLWIDOW" was a total gimme? What else could the answer be? Getting that traction up north (I dunno, Mt. Rainier to New Hampshire?) helped me out a lot.

Strangely, for the GEORGIEPORGIE answer, I intuitively knew what it should be but was drawing a blank on the name. I knew it should rhyme and was saying "aaah, what's the pudding and pie guy?!?" Had to go get some coffee before I filled it in.

jae 10:55 AM  

My first thought was "what an interesting grid." The puzzle more than lived up to that. I must be getting better at this cause this was easy-medium for me. Worked steadily clockwise from NW and never really hit any bumps. Tried a couple of spellings for FAZOOL (FAZOLE, ULE?), had MAY leading off 14a for a bit, and tried DSOS for OBES. I also finished in the EXES/PAIRS area. Probably helped that I've actually been in FILENE's.

Fantastic puzzle, thanks Paula!

dk 11:02 AM  

THEONCEOVER was second looks
MANEATERS was predatory
CULTUREVULTRE was blanks+culture

This stalemate existed until I got SLEEVES (same reason as Rex) then words magicly appeared.

Full disclosure EADS and FAZOOL came in crosses and I did verify them via google.

@TCBuell, the first time I saw an attractive woman (who was not related to me) clad only in underware was in FILENE's basement. I regret to say she got more than THEONCEOVER from a certain 13 year old.

I am surrounded by BATTs these days as we remodel. Some are even from recylced bluejeans.

GREENSCREEN was my first fill followed by DRIP DRIES and BAEZ (Dylan is in the news alot these days so this was top of mind as we say in orgspeak).

I agree with the once and future @evil doug nice end to the week.

Thank you Paula

OMG this post is reaching Andrea proportions (of course hers are more thoughtful and name drop-full).

Daryl 11:06 AM  

Great great puzzle and like the other commentators pleasantly surprised to find that I seem to have found it much easier than Rex. Started with ANAIS and TIGGER then got LEDER and LITRE, and got GEORGIE PORGIE from the R in LITRE. I knew FILENE's was Foley's in Texas, but I always thought Filene's Basement was a national chain. Nothing beats the real Basement at Doentoen Crossing though. Only tough one was EADS, mainly because I kept wanting a split PAIR to be ACES or ONES instead of the much cleverer EXES.

Easiest way to avoid turning your partner into a baseball widow? Watch the games live at 7.30am local like I do!

Anonymous 11:12 AM  

Anonymous@10:54, I also thought FOOTBALLWIDOW as a gimme; it was my first entry and opened up the entire N. Of course I'm married to one.

Even though I live in the NE FIELDS was enterred instead of FILENE when I saw department store founder.

And like Rex EADS/EXES was my last fill.

I thought the rest of the puzzle was a good Friday, more medium than challenging.

Thanks, Paula

GlennCY 11:28 AM  

Loved the puzzle, but I was slow to put in Azores because(and I hate to burst you bubble on this) the Canaries are not named for the birds, but for the dogs that were native to the islands (as in canus, canine)

Ulrich 11:31 AM  

I'm with buster et al. who got the bottom first (starting with UPC, the first answer I filled in) and was looking for the same rhymes at the top--football widow just wouldn't fit the pattern. Also had PREDATOR for too long. Also loved the look of the grid. In other words, I'm one of the crowd with this one.

As to the regional pronunciation of Italian words: I know that I'm supposed to say "fazool" etc., but when I say it, it's with so little conviction that I'm getting THE ONCE OVER anyway: They know I'm an imposter.

Rex Parker 11:37 AM  

I assure you I have no "bubble" to burst re: Canary Islands. That part of the write-up has now been updated.


GlennCY 11:45 AM  

Didn't mean anything by it :)

HudsonHawk 11:47 AM  

Just a quick comment on Filene's/Filene's Basement. Filene's was a department store founded in Boston that eventually became a regional department store. Filene's Basement was initially an offshoot of that original Boston store as described by several posters as a clearance mechanism for the retailer. Over the years of retail consolidation, they eventually became two separate entities with separate ownership.

Filene's eventually came under the May Dept. Stores umbrella, which eventually merged with Federated a few years ago. Federated turned all of their regional nameplates and subsequently those acquired through May into their ubiquitous Macy's nameplate (and even changed the company name to Macy's). Thus the death of regional names like Burdines, Foley's, Filene's, Marshall Field and so many more. However, Filene's Basement still lives on (for the moment, at least).

HudsonHawk, aka Depressed Retail Analyst

Anonymous 11:51 AM  

I loved the puzzle. I am new so I rarely get any of Friday's clues but being a big Dino fan I got that right away along with Filene's since I shop there every time I am in Boston.

edith b 11:52 AM  

First off, thanks to Ulrich via Jahanna F. for the lesson on diacritical marks. Look: Köln - huh, whattaya think?

I agree with Megan P completely about this puzzle. I was able to finish in just under 30 minutes with hardly any missteps.

I started and ended in exactly the same places as Rex. Now I see how ACME feels.

FAZOOL got the ball rolling on this puzzle. I like pasta fagioli, pronounced as above. I remember from the song how Dean Martin said it. Also being from New York, I recognize how Italian she is spoke on a regional level.

(It took me forever to realize that gab-a-gool meant capicolla.)

The short downs NAM OBES VICE produced FOOTBALLWIDOW and, shortly thereafter, the entire North to the ELS SMITHS line, missing ***S.

BAEZ was a neon and helped me in Fly-over Country and I bled South through the TIGGER/TABAC crossing. INARUG got me GEORGIEPORGIE and I knew Filene's from the suburban malls. The puzzle fell shortly after this.

I enjoyed this one completely as it seemed original and sparkling, devoid of all the usual suspects.

I know Orange has a problem with Jim Horne's Freshness Factor but this puzzle was a good example of how it works well.

foodie 12:07 PM  

This puzzle would be my perfect example of how I can love a puzzle even if I did not cruise through it. Like others I finished the bottom first and admired the stack of rhyming long answers, then, although I had bits and pieces, could not get closure until I googled EDWARD II and ELGART.

I had FOMENTOR instead of AGITATOR (as in foment trouble), which was not only wrong, but incorrectly spelled (should end with ER), BALE instead of BATT, etc.. A little mess that took a while to sort through.

Still, what a thing of beauty this is! Though themeless it has structural motifs that tie it together. Beyond the pairs noted by Rex are the answers tied together in other ways, DRIP DRIES, PAIR and EXES and two "ooze"ing actions side by side. And of course the rhyming trios. These echoes give the whole an imperceptible unity that seems to resonate with some neural circuit we all share. It even makes Evil Doug more benevolent : ) Genius!

PS. @ TC Buell, are you related to the motorcycle maker? Or do you own one?

mac 12:10 PM  

Agree with many of you, beautiful puzzle and stunning grid! I would like to see it in a woodcut. And Seth picked up a few more words in his continuing education!

I also started at the bottom, thought there would be some sort of rhyme, had predator too long and my last words to fill in were axis and pair, after having axel for a while. Funny name, this wankel engine, wankel means "totter" in Dutch.

Laughed when I saw the "leder".

@Rex: the queen is old, but not medieval!

Great start to the end of the week puzzle experience! Thank you Paula.

Anonymous 12:11 PM  

The magic words are that this puzzle is redolent of sexiness. Baez and Dylan, Nin, Georgie P. kissing those girls and making them cry, intimate apparel air drying, Gauloises apres the once over and having ordered in a romantic meal after time on the batt, snug as bugs in rugs. It is to be hoped that the imaginary pair will honeymoon in the Azores amongst the flores and not finish up as exes.
Fade out.

elitza 12:17 PM  

@hudson hawk (great name, btw!)--in my brain, the store that is now Macy's will always be Hudson's. I actually am incapable of calling it anything else.

@everyone--CAPICOLA = gabagool? Wow...

@Rex--I really really really wanted "Base person" to be baseball-related. Really a lot. My SO is literally counting the days until a) pitchers and catchers report and b) Cubs tickets go on sale. He doesn't crossword. Baseball clues make him feel included. =)

Anonymous 12:18 PM  

While we're doing EYE-Tee (as they say in Indiana) pronunciations, I'm one of the few who insists on pronouncing bruschetta as broosKETTA, even going so far as correcting waitpersons in the Macaroni Grille, which is as close to Italian as one can get in Michigan, and that isn't close at all.
And our Italiano New Yawkers refer to African-Americans as "Moolies" or Moulignon (Eggplant) because of the coloration of the face-shaped fruit, a deep purple verging on black.

jeff in chicago 12:38 PM  

Im hoping today was my breakthrough moment in figuring out Friday (and maybe Saturday) puzzles. Easily a record time for me. Then Rex calls is medium-challenging! Woo-hoo!

Perhaps the secret is thinking LESS! I went with my gut more than ever today, throwing in FOOTBALLWIDOW and FAZOOL (admittedly, FAJOOL at first!) Roamed around. Got BORG, TIGGER, BAEZ, BORGE, LITRE, FLOR, INARUG. Those last four gave me all three of the bottom long answers. A little more grazing. OBES and NAM dropped in, and THEONCEOVER and SAYTHE... popped out. Had a little trouble in the Nebraska area. I will admit my single Google to get EADS and the rest of the puzzle fell. Right around 30 minutes. The puzzle part of me is very happy.

The clue for ROTOR brought back a memory. When Mazda first came on the scene, didn't they have a commercial that went something like: "A piston engine goes clang clang clang but a Mazda goes hmmmmmmm." "Wankel" equaled ROTOR instantly for me!

There's a Filene's Basement literally in the heart of Chicago, at the corner of Madison and State streets. It's address is 1 N. State. I want my address to be 1. And that store may be of the few I can afford downtown!

Man, am I hungry for Italian food. I cannot imagine why...

Ulrich 12:40 PM  

@anonymous: I'm with you re. "bruschetta"--it has nothing to do with dialect, it's sheer ignorance. What gets me is when the waitperson tries to correct my correct pronunciation incorrectly by insisting that it is "brushetta" (which would be spelled "bruscietta" in Italian).

As to the other stuff: My wife is third-generation Italo-American and to the present day, we have to practice how to pronounce "escarole" correctly in the incorrect way (it's something like "shkrole")--I just can't do it.

evil doug 12:41 PM  

Suet is fun stuff.

For those of you in Chicagoland: Hackney's is a small chain of roadhouse-feeling places with outstanding burgers that were once, and perhaps still are, cooked in suet. Also worth the trip are their bricks of onion rings that you peel from the block.

Saw a show the other night on Dyer's Burgers in Memphis. They actually deep fry their burgers in the original, 100-year old fat. Apparently they save, strain and store the same stuff every day. Kind of like the sourdough starter dating back to the old days in San Francisco, only not....


elitza 12:45 PM  

@anon: I dare you to find Trattoria Stella, as well as Funistrada, in Traverse City, Michigan. Phenomenal Italian food in a Midwestern town of 10,000! Whee! (And they, indeed, taught me to pronounce bruSKETta.)

fikink 1:01 PM  

THEONCEOVER was my first entry. Then I thought this was going to be a breeze. Not so. Like Ulrich and Buster, I was sure it was wrong, after having done the bottom rhymin' Simons.

I didn't expect the crossing of the same Roman numerals - thought that was to be avoided.

A filling puzzle that sated my appetite for thought this morning.

foodie 1:17 PM  

Wow, a lot of Michiganders on the blog today!

Speaking of italian food, it's interesting how much it must have influenced the whole mediterranean region. The Fazool clue reminded me that in Lebanon and Syria, beans are called "fassoolieh". Tomatoes are called 'banadora" from "pomma dora". The traffic of food (and food names) seems bidirectional though. The word "Artichoke" comes from Arabic-- Ardi-Chowky, which means "earthy with thistles". It was cultivated by Arabs in Spain and Sicily and the name must have spread from there.

jeff in chicago 1:19 PM  

About those old Mazda commercials, all I could find was this.

Anonymous 1:21 PM  

Well, today showed me quite clearly where I stand in the scheme of puzzles. I googled, consulted the dictionary, paced the floor and thought and finally finished. But still, I liked the puzzle. The grid was interesting at first glance, and the clues were clever and fun. So onward to tomorrow with hopes for Sunday.

Orange 1:27 PM  

"Gabagool" makes me laugh because I e-know a guy named Gabagul. (He's from the old NYT crossword forum. I believe he's Indian.)

@edith b, I'm now thinking that the Freshness Factor is like penicillin. Sometimes it works beautifully and sometimes it's completely the wrong thing. Penicillin won't do a thing for asthma, and the Freshness Factor can be equally inappropriate when it's applied to a puzzle filled with answers so obscure there's a reason they seldom/never appear in good crosswords.

jubjub 1:37 PM  

Fazoolirific puzzle. There was many a completely/partly wrong answer that helped me get a crossing answer to give me a foothold for the puzzle, e.g. "phone in" instead of ORDERIN, "fume" instead of CURE, "????leg" for GATELEG all helped me get GREENSCREEN, which was the starting point for me for the puzzle.

FILENE's is a major department store in Boston. Both Filene's and Filene's Basement are scary, scary places:

I have to say, tho, that I object to EDUCE as a word, and GATELEG as a term :).

PS I didn't know FAZOOL was a bean, I just like to call everything pasta fazool (as well as a spicy meataballa). What can't the puzzle teach me?

George NYC 1:46 PM  

Hard to grow up in or near Boston without knowing Filene's. Almost as famous a landmark as Fenway Park. Most people pronounce it with a long "i". I remember as a kid, though, being shocked when I heard someone from the north shore pronounce it with a short "i" as in "Fehlene's". My mother quickly covered my ears...
I wonder which way the family pronounces it....

Margaret 1:54 PM  

I love this blog. I love getting lessons in linguistics from Foodie and others. And I loved the way Hobbyist rolled the whole puzzle up into a cozy story for a one-reel-wonder. And I loved the puzzle. And the grid.

Great Friday.

@Evil Doug -- I'm in Memphis and I've never been brave enough to try "Dirty Dyer's." For burgers here, the only place to go is Huey's.

Anonymous 1:56 PM  

I had to laugh the first time I entered a Filene's basement--by taking one of those absurdly long, steep escalators GOING UP.

I had to cry, though, the first time I went under the lovely green wrought-iron clock on the store at the corner of State and Washington Streets in Chicago....and saw that I was entering Macy's, not Marshall Field's!

Bob Kerfuffle 2:00 PM  

Very nice, challenging but doable puzzle. Not much to add to others' experiences.

Deep sympathy to ACM on the death of her friend Mitzi Wilner. (Seems a bit late to tack that on the end of yesterday's comment string.)

For some insight into pronunciation, here's the New York Times on New Yorkers speaking Italian.

chefbea 2:05 PM  

Very busy today. Looked at the puzzle and knew I couldnt do it without a lot of googling but no time. Couldn't read all of the comments either.

As for Italian food: How bout Pro-chute - Rigatones - and calamad???


Anonymous 2:34 PM  

Can't add much to the accolades already mentioned - but for the record did enjoy it from top to bottom.
Had LINE DRY for too long but worked thru it. How do you not love a puzzle that has all those cool words and no staid fill? No gimmes, lots of head scratchers and a couple of foreigny answers that require rounded knowledge and persistent teasing.
Oh and Orange - Paula's last name I think also rhymes with Grenache - you know the grape and hopefully the bright and peppery wine!

Doug 3:00 PM  

I'm in the Calgary airport, laughing out loud after reading "What's that? Did somebody say "Hall & Oates?" OK ..."

Talk about inside jokes! What's that? Did somebody say "beets?"

I enjoyed this puzzle immensely. The evolution of Tigers, etc.:
PREDATOR (good answer though)
MACEATOR (a word?)

GRAF not BORG, PIAF not BAEZ, GROUCH not WRETCH, PENNEY not FILENE, but clawed and fought my way from Portland, Maine to Portland, Oregon. The hardest part linked to the bean FAxxxx, because who the heck knows what a FAZOOL is?

Awesome puzzle, zowee!

Doug 3:03 PM  

Also, the number of observers who have come out of hyperspace and onto the written page is really impressive, and thanks for your comments.

Anonymous 3:09 PM  

Today, like Buster, I got the 3 long clues in the south, then decided that Say The Magic Word must be wrong, as it didn't repeat. Add to that I had "asexual" for "some hybrids" (it's the gardener in me), and the ease with which I started the puzzle began to disappear. Until I can finish at least 3/4 of a Friday puzzle without google, I'll continue to feel like a "newbie" no matter how long I'm doing these puzzles.

Anyone else have trouble with emit being a synonym for ooze? Ooze connotes "slowly" and emit does not, as far as I'm concerned.

Re: ArtLvr and Evil Doug: check out Weird Al's palindrome lyrics ala Bob Dylan at - it's amazing.

Unknown 3:13 PM  

First time blogger, anywhere. I can complete M-Th NY Times puzzles but only get a handful of answers on Friday. I don't attempt Saturday. Would welcome any suggestions on how to do better on Fridays.



Unknown 3:17 PM  

Oooooh Tom
You asked for it!!!
Amy can you help?

JannieB 3:31 PM  

I looked at the grid and gasped. Then promptly wrote in Toyotas and never looked back. I was definitely on Paula's wavelength. I gobbled up this puzzle - enjoying every tender morsel - in about 11 minutes. I was sorry it was over. What a joy ride!!!!!!!

And welcome to the many wonderful new voices on the blog! It's so nice to hear from you all!

PlantieBea 3:39 PM  

I thought this puzzle was great! And I solved it without help. It took a while, but patience was the key. Like others here, I had PREDATOR in before MANEATER, FUME before CURE, and DIME in before AXIS. I also stressed over AREACODE before it filled in.

@NEWBIE: Nope, I didn't like EMIT for ooze either.

This was just a satisfying solve.

Anonymous 3:43 PM  

@ Tom: You get better at Xwords the same way you get to Carnegie Hall - practice practice practice!
Actually Rex's blog and the contributors to this forum do help tons IMHO. Keep trying and good luck.

Anonymous 3:55 PM  

For Tom - Like you, I can do Sunday through Thursday without much help. I just force myself to finish both Friday and Saturday however I can - googling, looking up words, etc. and I am getting better. As I think about it, that's exactly how I got to the point I am now. This blog helps a lot, too, because it creates stories around words that I don't forget. Good luck!

edith b 4:01 PM  

I solved this one from North to South thus sidestepping the rhyming trap.

And Rex should be congratulated for luring all these new voices from out of the darkness and increasing this database of potential solvers.

Congratulations, Rex.

Anonymous 4:01 PM  

I also had PRIUSES where TOYOTAS ended up going. The P combined with the N from NAM to make me write PAT ON THE ASS for 1a. I knew it had to be wrong but I couldn't help myself.

I couldn't quite finish on my own, which is typical for a Friday for me, but I felt very proud with about 10 empty squares.

PuzzleGirl 4:19 PM  

LOVE this puzzle. I was also looking for rhymes up top after finishing the bottom. I'm also in the Priuses and predator camps.

@SethG: I thought about you and literally LOL'd when I got to 35D.

@Tom: Others have said it already, but I'll just pile on. Just do a lot of puzzles and you will get better! It's only recently that I've been able to finish Friday and Saturday puzzles. And then only occasionally. Keep at it!

@Rex: What I want to know is when you refused to move on and were "thinking, thinking, thinking," were you staring at the letters? I remember seeing solving tips from Tyler Hinman at some point, and one of them was "stare at it." Last night, PuzzleHusband was working on a different puzzle (an easier one) and he was stuck on one answer. He had two of the five letters already. I was encouraging him not to move on. He was looking all over the place, thinking hard. When I told him to stare at it instead, he got it in about five seconds.

Anonymous 4:30 PM  

@Tom, Anne and the rest--On Fridays and Saturdays, look past the obvious answers, but look for things you know for sure. For example, if you know Spanish, you should know where to find a pétalo (44D--FLOR) and if you know French, you would know what they smoke (29D--TABAC)or the opposites (35D) avant/APRÈS. Unfortunately, not knowing any foreign languages is a handicap, but you might memorize key words through repetition (Practice, Practice, Practice!!) Some things you might know right away if you are young, old, a member of a certain profession, whatever. For example, the Great Dane (40D) was a gimme, since I can remember seeing Victor BORGE perform--he was a comedian/pianist! He was on the Ed Sullivan show a lot. For others, you probably said, BORGE who? Similarly, if you are my age (52), you'll remember Dean Martin singing "when the stars make you drool just like pasta FAZOOL, that's amore." (I have more trouble with hip-hop questions, but you learn by practice. Yesterday's SISQO clue was no problem because it has been used before.) On Fri. and Sat., look for wordplay (? clues) such as 46D--these are literal lines (that is, straight ink marks on a package), not the queue of people there. These clues are more common at the end of the week; as Andrea can attest, writing nothing but straightforward clues at the beginning of the week can be tedious and boring. Some clues you know the information, but can't put it in the grid (28D--you know it's Elizabeth, but you have to think like a cruise passenger before you come up with QEII.) You have to be aware of sneaky parallelism--41D is LITRE, not liter because it's a "petrol" purchase (British usage.) Some answers you reach to the farthese recesses of your knowledge base--I got Larry GELBART (also EDWARDII) with only a few letters because they seemed right, and they were. Try not to guess too early, though, because you will freeze the entire section. If you are not sure of an answer, don't be afraid to give up on it. Don't start the puzzle when you're tired. Don't be afraid to put the puzzle down and go back to it an hour or six hours later. And always go into a puzzle thinking you will succeed eventually. Eventually, you will succeed every time.

Rex Parker 4:32 PM  

PG - you are freaking me out. I saw your comment come up while I was in the middle of solving today's WSJ. I was stuck on a word ... and so I stared at it ... three seconds, bam. Staring is the new thinking!


Anonymous 4:35 PM  

Do we have an official term for the crossing of two Roman Numerials, as in the last I EDWARDII & QEII? Granted I should probably know QEII, but still QEIV and EDWARDIV, or IXs seem equally plausable.

How about IDGAF?

Jeffrey 4:44 PM  

I just tested the staring - it works! This is too cool. Staring is the new black and white.

Two roman numerals crossing is

SethG 5:14 PM  

The Man With One Red Shoe? (A remake of a French film, natch!) I immediately thought of it while solving when I got to 29D [35D] 35D. Specifically, of Jim Belushi's scene at the end when he's in the apartment with the spooks, especially the line @0:18 of this.

APRES and AVANT I've heard of, but no matter how much I stare at Vic TABAC I'm gonna need 4 crosses. In the meantime, I'm enjoying my Mongolian studies,

Anonymous 5:24 PM  

I was shocked that I finished a Friday without looking up anything for only, maybe, the 2nd time ever. (And even without a clue that made me think of the Beastie Boys.)

For some reason, it wasn't too hard today. Maybe that was because it started out as a treat at work between doing engineering stuff (hex numbers, data plots and powerpoint - what fun) at work. When I got home I was able to polish it right off.

I'm glad that my Mom hooked me up with this blog because I've learned a ton. And I'm glad that Rex hooked me up with the BEQ puzzles because they are so much fun.


evil doug 5:26 PM  


That is remarkable. Thanks for finding it.

A man, a plan, a canal: Panama

Orange 5:34 PM  

Yeah, I like to stare fast.

@Newbie, one thing to keep in mind is that the clue and answer will have substitutability—[Some hybrids] is a plural noun, so the answer will also be a plural noun. Now, if the clue were [Like some hybrids], ASEXUAL would be perfect (and in a Friday or Saturday puzzle, we might briefly consider whether "like" is playing the part of a verb—which it isn't in this instance). If you always keep this equivalency rule in mind, it'll help out a lot.

@Tom, please allow me to be gauche and plug my own book. (Sheesh, I thought PhillySolver would do that for me!) How to Conquer the New York Times Crossword Puzzle (available from fine booksellers everywhere!) has a section devoted to building on the Thursday skill set to tackle Friday and Saturday puzzles. Maybe you don't need the Monday through Thursday chapters, but the book's got over 60 great NYT crosswords to do even if you skip my scintillating prose.

joho 5:40 PM  

@Tom: this blog is the first where I ever commented, too. Welcome! You'll love the banter and you'll learn a lot.

@rex: Staring is the new thinking ... I love it!

@Paula Gamache: see what you've done? You've made a lot of people happy today!

Chip Hilton 5:56 PM  

A great Friday puzzle!

Here in Connecticut, Filene's took the place of G. Fox and, in turn, became Macy's. Wonder who's next (Macy's just announced eleven closings nationwide. None here.....yet.)?

My last solves were the PAIR EXES tandem. Mr. EADS is new to me.

foodie 5:59 PM  

We need a word for fast staring! Is there a namer in the crowd?

Re solving skills, beyond the great advice you've heard and the availability of Orange's book, here are two other thoughts.

Notice that great solvers, like Rex, will tell you that there are lots they didn't know in terms of specific answers, yet they tear through the puzzle. So, beyond specific knowledge, there must be a certain mindset. Most answers, in most puzzles, are gettable. Only occasionally do you hit a spot where specific knowledge is needed and it cannot be circumvented through crosses-- hence the terms Natick and Kenosha to denote such rare instances. One way to test how true this is: take a look at solved puzzles-- in the Shortz era, there are few times where you say to yourself: Not in a million years! So, first lesson I had to learn is to believe that it could be done (i.e. I could do it).

The other one is: learn to be fickle. Don't trust easily and don't give your loyalty too soon. It's so easy to interpret the clue a certain way, and/or fall in love with an answer that seems perfect, and not want to let it go. But the goal is to not get too attached, to fall out of love as quickly as you fell into it. A better, more exciting fit is around the corner!

(I'm still working on developing my fickleness).

fikink 6:26 PM  

@foodie, I am forever marrying the most clever play on a word that I can think of and long after it should be obvious that he's not a good fit, I am still singing a torch song. Fickleness is very hard for some people to learn, indeed...

Alec 6:34 PM  

Rex, as for "some bad TV show somewhere," I think you might be thinking of a joke that Krusty the Clown once told on The Simpsons: "Knock, knock, who's there? Juliet. Juliet who? Juliet so much pasta fazool, Romeo doesn't want her anymore!"

chefwen 7:01 PM  

Well, color me RED, I threw in the towel waaaay too early. Wish I would have a steveisaid lesson before the towel throwing. Got halfway through before I had to go in search for some asperin. But after reading how almost everyone enjoyed this puzzle I wish I would have persevered. Too busy making muffins for the local smoothy stand. Dang!

santafefran 7:11 PM  

Growing up in the St.Louis area, EADS was a gimme for me (Eads Bridge over the Mississippi River).

So wanted PASSE for opposite of avant and PERT for FLIP but finally came around.

@Xavier lol at PAT ON THE ASS!

@newbie and all the others who struggle none too successfully with Fri and Sat puzzles, count me in. Having trouble with those fickleness and staring endlessly thingies. My technique which doesn't seem to be working as well, is just to abandon an area for a while and then come back hoping that my brain will now provide the correct solution.

Since I wasn't posting to this blog when you first gave the link to Pandora, I never thanked you.
I love being able to create my own radio stations. So, a very belated shout out of thanks to you.

Unknown 7:16 PM  

Thanks one and all for your thoughts on helping me with Friday's and Saturday's puzzles. Rarely...very I Google to find an answer for the Sunday through Thursday puzzles. But I like the idea of Googling for Friday and Saturday. A good thought. Thank you.

@Orange: thanks for the pointer to your book. I think I'll go get it.

I do the WSJ's Friday puzzle every week. Struggling with today's though. Can't seem to get the theme.

Thanks again, one and all.


poc 7:23 PM  

OK, a nice puzzle that kept me going for while, especially the top half. However I dislike QEII since this is only ever used to refer to the ship, not the person. The standard abbreviation for the present monarch is ER (Elizabeth Regina).

mac 7:38 PM  

I've got to start doing this speed-staring. I could have used it today on the Sun puzzle..... It would have been marathon staring.
I will try the WSJ, but in my current frame of mind, that might be a tough one too.

We are trying to figure out what largeish animal is screeching in the woods around our house. It doesn't sound like a coyote or a fox, they mostly yelp, it seems to be the size of a small deer (we shone a strong flashlight on it, and saw its eyes on about big-dog level) and it is literally screeching.

Anonymous 7:47 PM  

hated the puzzle, wish these newbies would go away.


AM loving this love fest...

But dang, how does one do the puzzle, formulate thoughts, make a list to tease Sethg about, read Rex, play all the videos, finish laughing, read him again, read all the comments, reminisce about Filene's basment, wake up from the coma-induced shock of Evil Doug being nice, think up a good name-dropping story for the time Joan Baez and I talked for over an hour without her once asking my name or where I was from or anything for that matter (the anti-Paul Newman), try to name fast staring, thank bobK for the condolences,
plug Orange's book, integrate the more I know about DK...and try to tie this all together with some Jewish reference for Ulrich to ponder?

That said,
I think Swedish BORG and Danish BORGE might be the same word/name.

Some mistarts: Had ACID for something you "turn on" and thought my my...
till I changed it to ACES (for pairs you split...)

Didn't notice the rhymes till WAY after I finished and was blown away. Not sure from Rex's write-up if he noticed it at first or at all.

That Paula!!!!! Mondays! Fridays! Sundays! Diagramlesses!She can do anything AND well AND look good doing it (Have you ever seen her? She's prettier and classier and taller than Jackie O!)

Soul Solver 7:55 PM  

Two "Family Guy" references that are puzzle related for all of you CULTURE VULTURES.

Watched an episode last night in which Peter marries Nathan Lane on Martha's Vineyard and they register at Filene's.

Over the holidays, we had a family viewing of the December 1999 episode where the Y2K problem causes an apocalypse. Peter and the family flee to NATICK. From its ashes, they set up a utopian commune of sorts.

I am an extreme late comer to this show. Had I known that it would be so much help doing puzzles, I would have watched all along.

I agree with the majority opinion that this was a seriously cool Friday puzzle. Extra points for timeliness as this weekend will produce ever more FOOTBALL WIDOWS.

Anonymous 7:57 PM  

terrific puzzle -- original fill, good clues at just the right degree of difficulty for a Friday.

I thought I might have trouble at first (getting only Baez and Borge right off the bat), but after I got culture vultures with only a few letters, the rest followed at a reasonable, speed. I did (like Rex) write in "baseball widow" perhaps because (1) I like baseball much more than football; and (2) there is even more baseball on tv than football (and over a longer period of time -- not counting the odd football that sometimes shows up on ESPN in the spring)

jae 8:12 PM  

@Tom -- I second foodie on the notion that believing it can be done and that you can do helps a lot. Attitude makes a difference. That said, I got double NATICKed and ultimately Kenoshaed (have no idea what the rule is for making a verb here) on todays BEQ which, oddly, was relatively easy for a BEQ, except for where it got me.

chefbea 8:26 PM  

@santafefran. of course i too knew Eads. We go over the Eads bridge when ever we drive to St. louis.

fergus 8:26 PM  

Chiming in with praise for the puzzle, which I did on the bus today -- both to and from. Couldn't believe how long it took to find the pudding and pie.

joho 8:48 PM  

@Foodie: from now on, no more thinking! We'll just SpeedGaze our way through the puzzle.

dr nic 9:27 PM  

fazool really bothered me. Pasta Fagioli rules.

mac 9:35 PM  

@rex: are we going for a record tonight? You have created a monster!

Unknown 9:40 PM  

Based on today's discussion I put together a new crossword puzzle and posted it on Amy's Crossword Fiend site...
It is called New Puzzle. Buon Appetito!

Anonymous 9:51 PM  

I do the Times puzzle when I can, (most days) but I gotta say, this blog is intense. How wany comments are typical? This has got to hold some sort of record...expecially since it isn't a political blog. Any numbers anyone??

Anonymous 10:05 PM  

It's Joan Baez' birthday today (Jan 9, 1941)

Anonymous 11:09 PM  

Orange, thanks for the advice, and I'm definitely getting the book.

And of course, thanks Rex for the great blog, the great comments, putting this all together for us!

Anonymous 11:10 PM  

K. Did this on a plane coming back from Frisco to Chi-Town. Been reading Rex since old friend told me about him a few months ago (Props to Rex; he rocketh).

Great puzzle. Got a few answers before oxygen-deprivation-sleep-on-takeoff kicked in, then busted it somewhere over Utah or Colorado after I woke up (watched "Ghostown" too; decent flick).

But here's what I don't get. What's with all the googling of answers? Is there an etiquette to that? Like, you can only google after you give up? Or can you, such as, cheat? Google a toughie and then tackle the rest? Just wonderin' . . .

Anonymous 11:11 PM  

Did Edward II really lose a battle to an overcooked oatcake? What a wuss!

My third fastest friday ever.

green mantis 11:13 PM  

Whoa, I'm getting a contact high off of the comments section. Also Rex's write-up, which struck me as particularly hilarious. Maybe I'm just happy and unfamiliar with the symptoms.

Are all crossword people like this? So...nice? I'm serious; I spend way too much time on the internet and there is no other neighborhood like this. It's such a pleasure I almost feel embarrassed. Too much...friendliness...cannot...process.

BDD: You make up your own rule for googling. That's the rule.

Bill from NJ 11:22 PM  

Jim Horne at Wordplay was told by Paula Gamache that the grid had corner holders like a page in an old photo album with the puzzle as the picture in the center.

I like that image almost as much as I liked the puzzle. I manged to knock this one out of the park in one sitting of about an hours duration.

I like Ms. Gamache's puzzles, particularly the themeless ones, as I always seem to resonate with her and find her puzzles to be free of most old crossewordese and other obscurities. I always see her puzzles as fair fights and like the freshness and vitality in find in them.

To Andrea - sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. My family lost our oldest survivor last year and I feel a certain disconnect as a result.

Orange 11:58 PM  

@meotch: Kudos on the Bannockburn/overcooked oatcake thing. Well played, sir or madam. Well played.

@Andrea: I thought I remembered that "Victor Borge" was his stage name. Right from his Wikipedia bio comes this: "Born Børge Rosenbaum in Copenhagen, Denmark, into a Jewish family." Here's what I have to say about that: !!

liquid el lay 12:32 AM  

I liked

It didn't interfer with HOTROD..


but WOLFWHISTLE I knew was wrong..

liked SHOERS for SMITHS..

and I objected to SMITHS because surely EMIT couldn't be right.. it's not an oozing thing.. it's released, like light..

also ROOTOUT would not be considered because its sense is remove, not destroy.. and where does "find" come into it?

I got the southern hemishere, but wisely, as it turns out, gave up on the north.

ETHER for "clear sky"? It's too far off.

This puzzling is a new romance for me, but am I wrong for wanting less wooley clues? -or is it supposed to be like that.

Anonymous 2:10 AM  

The "Dean Martin standard", That's Amore, was composed by Harry Warren, whose parents changed their name from "Guaragna" when they came here from Calabria. But the words, including FAZOOL, were the work of one Johnny Burke, who was so Irish that Bing Crosby called him his favorite leprechaun.

FILENE is no longer regional, not since a Filene's Basement appeared in the Mall of America.

I came here just to get the T in GATELEG, and read all the comments. Hope someone is reading mine...

Anonymous 2:33 AM  

I'm here RCaesar!
And I won't even go into a rant about the Mall of America despoiling Minnesota's good name...
certainly not in the week of a sweet Franken victory!

Here's a word for FAST STARE
how about FASTARE?
(I get paid for this, you know!)

(Ok, usually I don't)

Anonymous 2:35 AM  

PS Just noticed a bleed over from Thurs... "Porgy" novelist Heyward and today GEORGIEPORGIE

ordinaryperson 2:40 AM  

Piling on the LoveFest, I suppose.

Felt good about this one. Only recently have I been able to crack the Friday, and still, not always.

PREDATOR was the only somewhat crippling error.

Great puzzle, but I'm quite tired of clues that use "Seeing red?" (8D) or some derivative. It just seems very common. Had DYING there, thought it was a pun on DYEING, I guess. I don't know. Sometimes things make sense in the heat of the solving. Upon figuring it out, I did really like the side-by-side pair at 8D & 9D. Your VICE (gambling too much) could keep you OWING (possibly until you take out a mortgage and become a LIENEE).

One of these days I will remember words like SUET and EADS.

When that moment happens, here's hoping it's on a Friday or Saturday.

Having cursory knowledge of French (thank you, four years of school in Quebec) has been coming in handy lately. In Quebec, they smoke their TABAC both APRES and Avant the meal. Trust me.

Anonymous 4:50 AM  

Loved this puzzle. Had to put it down and pick it back up a number of times but that's fine.

As I solved it, I was enjoying it.

Only had to google once, to find musician Larry.

The comments here are hilarious today.

Andrea's are quite fun--gave me a headache to follow all of the points, but enjoyed the last one as the coup de grace about the Jewish point for Ulrich.

For the newer puzzle solver, you can google whatever you want. There are no puzzle-solver big brothers or sisters over your shoulder. The more you do the puzzles, the less you'll have to google, but it's your call and your enjoyment, so do whatever.

This definitely was a lovely puzzle.

Great way to end a week.

Anonymous 12:20 PM  

I figure if I complete a Friday puzzle without hints/clues/google, it must be rated easy. So I am surprised to find that Rex rated it medium-challenging. Is it possible I'm that good?

Nah, I don't think so. At least not yet. ;) As a west-coaster, I guessed Filene, known to me only by their Annual Bridezilla Stampede.

I initially had "felt" in place of "batt," but corrected that with the crosses. And like Rex, I spelled "leder" with an "a."

Anonymous 6:09 PM  

Thanks to everyone for all the good tips. I appreciate you taking the time, especially steveisaid, to do this.

joaniejaya 12:13 PM  

On Googling: The idea of puzzles is to have fun, and Googling should be an option for those who find getting stuck so frustrating that it kills the fun. I was introduced to crosswords by a favorite uncle who admonished me never to look things up (he died before there was a Google). I follow his advice and work on puzzles without help. It may take me a long time to finish, and sometimes I'm just not able to finish. But at least I've given it my best shot--that is what is rewarding for me.

Unknown 11:09 PM  

I was able to self-correct "predator" into "maneater", and also get "seep" into the right "ooze" clue on the second try; I agree that "emit" just doesn't work.

Finishing out "areacode" required a mild epiphany, but it was worth it; I too had "dime" for "axis".

The frustraing what-the-foo for me was that, in trying to figure out "EdwardII", I had crossed it at "maneater", "educe" (great word!), "smiths" and "QEII" - and I just could not figure it was an Edward (spent much too much time bemoaning that "Richard" didn't go).

Richard Leahy Heaton 3:29 AM  

This was a great puzzle. The only thing I would have liked different was the last "pair" of answers that I got: "pair" and "exes." When I first started doing crosswords I learned that one of the "rules" for constructors is to be uplifting. Interesting that the most frustrating part of the puzzle for me (apparently for others, too) was that part. Even though I could see it intellectually, my mind did not want to go there. By the way, the reason I am a regular (reader, not commentator) at this site is that it is so much fun. Thanks, Rex, and all others.

Anonymous 10:55 PM  

Is not 'bore' (make a hole) a homophone for 'boor' (put to sleep)

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