1966 Tony winner for "Marat/Sade" - FRIDAY, Mar. 6, 2009 - C Rubin (Sender of the Calydonian boar / 1980s-90s action/adventure series)

Friday, March 6, 2009

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: none

Word of the Day: MONISM - n. Philosophy.

  1. The view in metaphysics that reality is a unified whole and that all existing things can be ascribed to or described by a single concept or system.
  2. The doctrine that mind and matter are formed from, or reducible to, the same ultimate substance or principle of being.
This one was unusual and surprising, mostly in a good way. The most impressive parts - abutting related answers in the NE and SW - were actually very easy to uncover, but the overall puzzle had so many nooks and crannies and tricksy cluing that putting it to bed took some doing. The NW took the longest and was the last to fall. For some reason, I had a gaping hole where ACRO (26A: Prefix with -polis) was supposed to go, and getting things to coalesce around it was surprisingly hard (surprising, mainly, because looking this puzzle over now, there isn't a single answer that isn't a familiar word or phrase, even "ENEMY MINE" (33D: Barry B. Longyear novella that won Hugo and Nebula awards) which I remember, vaguely, from its 1985 film incarnation, starring Louis Gossett Jr. and Dennis Quaid).

I gotta believe that this puzzle started, in the constructors mind with the inspired CLEANLINESS (9D: It's next to 10-Down, both in an adage and literally in this puzzle) next to GODLINESS (10D: See 9-Down) bit, with "MACGYVER" (7A: 1980s-90s action/adventure series) anchoring the two words in place at the tricky "CG" letter string. I like how he repeats the dueling answers tactic in the SW with the equally easy DO AS I SAY / NOT AS I DO (57A: With 60-Across, hypocrite's mantra). It's clear that the clues were amped up considerably to offset the ease with which those two sets of answers could be solved.

I was a little taken aback by how much pop culture is in this puzzle - I don't mind, but it's the kind of thing that bugs some people. The real coup here was somehow getting a 2008 Morrissey song into the clues (47A: "All You Need _____" (2008 Morrissey song) ("Is Me")). Critics seem to like his most recent album (the one with the cover where he looks like he's in the early stages of a "How To Carry A Baby" class), and I've flirted with getting it, as I loved the Smiths a whole bunch in high school / college. No songwriter anywhere ever made morbid despair seem so incredibly beautiful. You can have all your modern EMO bands. I will take the Smiths (here's the great Neil Finn singing the Smiths, accompanied by Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr):

Other pop culture answers include ... well, we've seen "MACGYVER" and "ENEMY MINE" and "IS ME" ... then there's Patrick MAGEE (5D: 1966 Tony winner for "Marat/Sade"), and EDNA (51D: Mom in "Hairspray"), an Dr. DOLITTLE (40A: Doctor who's friends with Matthew Mugg), and some guy named David BIRNEY (63A: "St. Elsewhere" actor David), and the oddly-clued PARAMUS (45A: New Jersey setting of "Coneheads"), and the wickedly-clued HEATH (48D: Ledger with lines). More highbrow culture clues include A.A. MILNE (27A: "The Great Broxopp" playwright, 1921), ARTEMIS (22A: Sender of the Calydonian boar) and SAL (58D: Paradise in literature), all of which are clued with appropriate late-week malice.

Little heavy on the foreign words today, with ICI / ET LA (28D: With 13-Down, here and there, to Henri), ETE (51A: Annual stretch of trois mois), and EN AMI (50D: As a friend, to Frederic) on the French side, and ESO (36A: "Como es _____?" ("How come?" in Cadiz)), OLA (37D: Brazilian greeting), and ANO (!) (39A: It includes mayo) on the Iberian side. By the way, if your ANO "includes mayo," you may want to see a doctor. Like, now. I like the French words only if I imagine that they tell the story of a summer romance between Henri and Frédéric, who traveled ICI ET LA until a wicked fight over the relative quality of a performance of Bellini's "NORMA" (55A: Noted role for Maria Callas) drove them apart. Yes, that narrative makes those words almost bearable.

The NW has four different "STA" letter strings. Weird. I wasn't too thrilled with all the phrases ending in prepositions, e.g. ON LOAN TO, TILT AT, START ON, but that's just a matter of aesthetics. The answers are all valid and adequately clued.


  • 17A: The world, per the Bard (a stage) - It's "ALL the world," right? Holding back the "ALL" is an attempt to Friday up the clue, I guess.
  • 35A: Name tag? (III) - yikes. Toughie. Also tough were the hidden plurals at 1A: Tetanus symptom (spasms) and 38A: Follower of drop or shut (ins).
  • 62A: Forward and back, e.g. (athletes) - more wicked cluing. Looked like the SW was going to be a breeze until I hit this.
  • 7D: Philosophies that regard reality as one organic whole (monisms) - got this easily, though I don't know that I could name one. Seems decidedly unwestern.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Parshutr 8:50 AM  

I didn't find this all that challenging for a Friday. I guessed DO AS I SAY...DO, AND CLEANLINESS...GODLINESS quickly, and the rest just fell into place.
And I think it should be "Cleanliness is next to impossible."

GlobalPittsburgh 8:51 AM  

Once again, difficulty is a relative/subjective measurement. Nice to know that once in a while, at least, I find a puzzle barely medium that Rex records on the difficult side. The count is still well in his favor, however.
- Tom in Pittsburgh

Anonymous 8:51 AM  

I liked this one too - very quirky! And as happens often, another reason for gratitude to the Simpsons: I wouldn't know MacGyver if not for Patty and Selma. (Or Matlock if not for Abe.)

Rex's definition of Monism reminded me how weird philosophy is.

PlantieBea 9:03 AM  

I solved this puzzle quickly, for a Friday, but the answers came in fits and spurts. I was able to guess a few I didn't know--PARAMIS, ARTEMIS, MONISM, CHANGS, NORmA. I too liked the side-by-side answer pairs and PISTACHIO. Spelled MACGYIVER wrong leaving me with IAH, rather than YAH.

I saw David and Meredith Baxter BIRNEY perform in "On Golden Pond" one summer at Dartmouth. Birney's former wife was the queen of made for TV chick movies for a long while and mom in Family Ties?

I don't get SOME for certain, although maybe it is used as in SOME people...

nanpilla 9:06 AM  

I liked this puzzle, especially the two related answer/clues. I found it to be easier than many Fridays. Does this mean Saturday is going to be a bear? Really wanted CHARTREUSE for PISTACHIO, but it just wouldn't fit.

Anonymous 9:08 AM  

My husband decided to help me with this one, which was sweet. He didn't get any answers but he gave me every cast member of St. Elsewhere except for David Birney.

Him: "you know the guy in the movie with Meg Ryan who was on the show we liked?"

Me: "What???"

[David Morse of "Proof of Life" and "Hack"]

I solved more than half of this one, mostly the East Coast with a smattering of other stuff. Clues like "forward and back, e.g." for ATHLETES are stumpers for me at this stage of my solving life.
Still, we had fun with this one. I didn't even know my husband was awake for that movie :-)


Anonymous 9:08 AM  

MACGYVER came immediately to mind for the adventure series, and was very quickly confirmed by CLEANLINESS/GODLINESS, so the puzzle fell quickly for a Friday for me.

Am I misunderstanding something about the way you refer to parts of the puzzle using compass directions? If the puzzle is a map, then the abutting related answers would be in the NE and SW, not NW and SE. You did the same thing on Tuesday ("ENNIS west to JOCOSE" - looks like it should be "east").

dk 9:14 AM  

@Megan P, your littlepicture (that as one word gives me a chuckle) is still among the missing.

I need to go back in time and get a TV for the 70s-90s. I only know Macgyver from parodies.

Regrettably (not really) blow:TOOT was no problem.

I got the west side of this one easy enough for a Friday but was stumped by MONISM (wanted a nihilism variant), and I did not know MACGYVER or BIRNEY. I knew (in my little grey cells) CLEANLINESS and GODLINESS were the answers for 10 &11d so I wound up with MACGYbER which I quickly changed when I got here... MACGYVER is what IMEANT to write but my ... karma ate my dogma.

A fine Friday adventure.

dk 9:18 AM  

actually to be even remotely funny that should be: My dogma ate my karma.

Kurt 9:27 AM  

I found this puzzle to be a little tougher than usual for a Friday. Maybe last night was a little tougher than usual....

Anyway, like PlantieBea, this one came in fits and spurts. But in my case they were slow fits and even slower spurts.

Enjoyed the puzzle. Thanks Mr. Rubin.

PlantieBea 9:28 AM  

I also wonder how often the phrase 'tilt at' is really used. I only think of one thing, and that, of course, is Don Quixote and his windmills.

joho 9:36 AM  

I absolutely loved this puzzle as it has completed one full week of winners!

Funny how we all have such different solving experiences. I found this easy for a Friday. Which was wonderful! The side-by-sides were unique and fun.

Thank you Corey Rubin! And all the constructors this week. I wish every week were this good!

Glitch 9:40 AM  

@Comment 2,

You're not misunderstanding, the NW SE today should really be NE SW.

Happens a lot, we just let get Rex away with it so we can get on with correcting other, more important "stuff" ;)


PS: If you email Rex about errors, sometimes they disappear next time you check his writeup.

retired_chemist 9:45 AM  

Medium-challenging is OK for this one. Knowing a few simple French phrases was some help, but I didn't know ICI ET LA (28D/13D). Can't help thinking of a fractured translation, Here and in Los Angeles."

Shouldn't "mayo" in the clue for 39A have been capitalized? I was put off from looking for a proper noun for a while.

22A - ARTEMIS. No clue. Saw her somewhere recently so I put her in, more or less as a placeholder, expecting she would change. And to my surprise she didn't.

35A "Name Tag" = III? I don't get it.

Started with SIS for 59D, which gave me SIDNEY as a guess for 63A. Fortunately I check better now and fixed it in the edit.

When 45A was PA?????, PASSAIC sprang to mind. While that was eventually resolved by more crosses, the 5 wrong letters created chaos for a while.

Re 9/10D: I have a friend who lives in Godley, TX. Every now and then someone asks me where that is, to which my usual answer is "Next to Cleanly." Responses are about equally divided between guffaws, groans, and blank stares followed by "Well, where is Cleanly?"

retired_chemist 9:46 AM  

Meant to add that I really liked this one overall.

allan 9:48 AM  

Liked this a lot, and was glad to see the rating. Thanks Rex for explaining why ano was correct for 39a. Although I had that at the end, I just never got the clue's needed inflection to get there. I so wanted the answer to be BLT.

Did anyone else get hung up by putting tosca for 55a. That was the one area that slowed me down until I finally let go of that answer. Rex' method of staring finally paid off for me, as Caesarean eventually popped out.

I never saw the movie Enemy Mine, but I once saw Queen Latifah in a movie theater. She lived in Colts Neck, NJ and often came to the Freehold Metroplex. I don't know of she still lives in the area. She's very down to earth, and a truly nice person.

Ulrich 9:50 AM  

Since my French is not as good as SethG's, I translated "here and there" literally, which gave me ICI OU LA, and the OU LA blocked the NE corner until MONISM finally, after much too much time, disabused me of that notion. Had it not been for that, this would have been the easiest Friday in a long time, even with some objectionable cluing, to wit:

How often do we have to tell constructors/editors that ANO does not mean "year" in Spanish? And it comes into contact with mayo only in very special cirumstances. Furthermore, I have seen sweaters with a v-neck, but never a shirt, but that may be b/c I'm fashion-challenged.

On the upside, the paired answers and general feel of the puzzle are very pleasing in a "one organic whole" sense.

RodeoToad 9:50 AM  

More Finn!

This one fell more toward the easy end of the spectrum for me, and I was kind of lukewarm on it when I did it last night. Now that I look at it again, I can't remember what it was that put me off about it. I think my reaction to a puzzle often has something to do with the order the puzzle falls for me. If I stumble into the good part early, I like it, but if I'm just seeing a bunch of abbreviations (like STAS at 1D!), I get grumbly and become more sensitive to the grumble-inducing stuff (like YAH!). I'm still not wild about the puzzle, but I appreciate it more today than I did last night.

nanpilla 9:50 AM  

@R_C III as in "the third", added to the end of a name

Orange 9:51 AM  

There's some pretty compelling evidence that mucking up directional words is a marker of superior intelligence.

In unrelated news, in the car my husband has to watch which way I'm pointing and disregard spoken instructions to turn left or right. The words will come out wrong, but the hand always knows where to go.

Excuse me now, as I need to go tilt at a few more crosswords for my blog.

Orange 9:54 AM  

@chemist: Some languages don't capitalize months. Spanish and French, no?

@Ulrich, I'm wearing a V-neck shirt right now. Basically a long-sleeved t-shirt, definitely not a sweater.

allan 9:56 AM  

@ r_c: I don't think that months are capitalized in Spanish. Isn't that why we call it a foreign language? :0)

Alex S. 9:56 AM  

Almost made a big mistake since THE A TEAM fits in MACGYVER's spot. But fortunately I immediately remember that the last season was when I was in the 8th grade which meant it was an entirely '80s show.

I thought MACGYVER was entirely '80s as well but at least I left it blank long enough for it to be forced on me.

retired_chemist 9:56 AM  

@ Nanpilla - I should say D'OH! Don't remember hearing "tag" used like that, but it makes sense.

retired_chemist 10:01 AM  

@ Allan & Orange: Cinco de Mayo, VERY big down here, was my mnemonic trigger, and it's always capitalized as above as far as I know. But I take your point.

allan 10:12 AM  

@ r_c: I guess there is a difference between holidays and months. And just to clarify, in my last post, I used "foreign" in a Saturday way meaning "it makes no sense to me".

Jeffrey 10:12 AM  

OLA! All that french opened things up nicely for me. How come no one has explained ALTARRAIL? NEED HELP on that.

This puzzle felt a little weird to me but it seems ok in retrospect.

Ohhhh. ALTAR RAIL. Sigh. Never mind. Good thing I didn't leave that in my comment or I'll look really silly.

I think I'm a little weird today and the puzzle is just peachy. Or plummy.

ArtLvr 10:20 AM  

Who is SAL as clued Paradise in literature?

I zipped through everything without too much difficulty, except for having SIS as the last down and SIR NEY as the last across. Too bad, a downer!

However, I like all the elevated relationships, from ACROpolis/high city to HORA/high chair and GET A RAISE (higher pay), plus ESTEEM, GODLINESS and MONISMS (higher thoughts). Even MASS TRANSiT for "getting around" made me picture El trains going round Chicago's Loop... And Callas' NORMA is high art with high notes!

Then there was the Bard's All the world is/A STAGE (high drama), Trois mois/ ETE (high summer), IPO (potential quick high return on investment), and Rex's comment on ANO/mayo (high farce). Okay, I'll quit now... except to note that CLEANLINESS actually being next to GODLINESS is highly improbable!


SethG 10:21 AM  

Started with flat instead of ACID for the (wicked) breakdown clue, which gave me Lendl for the '89 French open. The tennis fan in me is ashamed--CHANG beat him in one of the best (and most famous) matches ever, right during the sweet spot of my tennis fandom. I'm so embarassed.

And the STE was tough, and the MAGEE clue might as well have been [Enter a last name].

It was all the other French that did me in, especially where it crossed opera in the SW. I had ET AMI, which gave me the nicely operatic TOxxA for the Callas role. TORLA seemed weird once I filled it in, but I didn't know ENEMY MINE either and BIRNEY wasn't helping my confidence down there.

There are 744 HORAs in mayo.

Parshutr 10:22 AM  

@plantiebea...it's ParamUs, NJ, which gives the UAE. And I originally guessed MEDEA for the Callas role, but the C-section and Enemy Mine cleared that one up in notime.

Anonymous 10:23 AM  

Glitch -- good catch on the directionals. That's why I favor "bottom right" and "top left" (and even "middle left") ... a few more letters but much less chance of a goof, plus you don't have to think about it as a reader.

I got this one without looking anything up, a rarity for a Friday.

RodeoToad 10:28 AM  

ArtLvr, "On the Road." Dig?

Anonymous 10:31 AM  

I'll probably slap my forehead once this is explained, but "Julie, e.g.; abbr." for STE is stumping me. Is this something in French? The only thing I can think of abbreviated (in English) that way is "suite", as in hotel suite or office suite in an address.


PlantieBea 10:32 AM  

@Parshutr: Right you are about ParamUs and UAE. I had an error that I hadn't caught!

nuzzle put 10:34 AM  

Help appreciated on the HEATH/LEDGER connection - will someone give me an epiphanic moment?

jeff in chicago 10:42 AM  

This one was fun! Two big thumbs up. ASTAGE was first in, then DOLITTLE. PASSAIC was next, but that got fixed by UAE. The SW filled in quickly when I intuited the 57/60-A combo. Totally guessed ENEMYMINE off the EMY and the second N. I am completely unaware of the book, but it seemed like a good sci/fi title.

The NE was the last area to fall as I confidently put in MCGUYVER. VNECK and ROPY still worked. I tried the "just stare at it" technique and ANET (which had been CARE) came into view. Woo hoo! Fixed McGruber's name and the 9/10-D combo became clear. I had OFF for INS, mucking up the ends of those.

A little over an hour. And that's perfectly fine for a Friday for me. This appears to be Corey Rubin's NYT debut. And a Friday! Well done Corey!!

Two quick things:
(a)BLOW and TOOT are both cocaine-related terms. Wonder if Will knew that.
(b)I remember thinking CHANG was the next big thing in tennis. Sadly, it was a short ride at the top.

Rex Parker 10:54 AM  

Heath Ledger won the Best Supporting Actor this year (awarded posthumously). STE is obscenely common answer for a female saint.


Anonymous 10:56 AM  

Some foreign language help: STE is a French abbreviation for SAINTE, or saint. It's a feminine form, so you'll only see it with female names. The masculine equivalent, ST, will not appear, since it is only two letters. Also, MAYO and all the other months are normally not capitalized in Spanish, French, Italian and who knows what other languages (nor are the days of the week and the language names themselves.) In Cinco de Mayo, you are using both capitalized words as the name of a holiday, much like you capitalize the F in Fourth of July.

And I'm sorry to say, Ulrich, they're not going to put a tilde on the N in ANO, no matter how you protest, and no matter that we know what ANO really means in Spanish. Let's just enjoy the inside joke.

allan 10:57 AM  

@ anom 10:31: Ste is the abbreviation for the french word sainte.

Shamik 10:57 AM  

@anonymous 10:31--Saint Julie I think for STE

Definitely an easy-medium puzzle for me today, although it didn't look like it was going to end up that way. Had a lot of holes as I went along. But the clueing was great and tricky and plenty of unusual fill.

UAR for UAE (always get those confused)

And what's with 11D: YAH. Who derisively cries that?

fikink 10:58 AM  

My thinking was so skewed on the Ledger with lines clue, I was connecting HEATH Ledger and cocaine. TOOT!
Can't believe it took me so long to get PISTACHIO and haven't I seen PARAMUS clued in the context of some shopping Mecca?

Shamik 11:00 AM  

Ahhh...the perils of taking too long to write your post and finding out you're the fourth person to answer someone's saintly question. Apologies for redundancy.

flagger 11:00 AM  

@ fikink: Isn't Pyramis next to Paramus?

Anonymous 11:03 AM  

Need help?

Yes, indeedy, so I googled 5/6 times and checked my spelling on several words. When I started I really didn't think I had a chance of finishing, even with help, but I managed. I began with "a stage" and am familiar with Paramus, so with that toe hold I was off and - well not running - maybe crawling.

I thought the two adages together -cleanliness is next to godliness followed by do as I say, not as I do - was funny, and probably not intentionally so. Other housework-challenged people will relate.

Now to get through Saturday.

Greene 11:03 AM  

I'm with JoHo, this has been one fun week of puzzling. Today was no disappointment either. I loved this one.

@Rex: I'll wager Henri and Frederic would probably end up in a wicked fight over the merits of Maria Callas and not Norma. Nobody seems to have a neutral opinion of Callas; you either love her or hate her.

I had trouble remembering who actually won a Tony for Marat/Sade. I initially thought it was author Peter Weiss, but once Patrick MAGEE came into view, memories of his performance came flooding back. I was taken to see Marat/Sade when I was a teen. At the time I couldn't make head or tails of it. I wasn't very theatrically sophisticated in those days, so I just thought it was a bunch of very crazy actors running around shrieking and singing songs that made no sense. Oh yeah, and this guy in a bathtub got murdered (Jean-Paul Marat) -- didn't know who he was in those days. And, of course, there was this extremely graphic whipping scene involving Mr. MAGEE who played a very, well...sadistic Marquis de Sade.

This was really my first exposure to metatheatre and it was all a bit too much for a 13-year-old. I've seen the play many times since then and, now that I understand the techniques such as Brechtian alienation, it comes across as a very compelling piece of theatre. I wish I could go back in a time machine and see that original Broadway production as an adult. It was a real humdinger and MAGEE richly deserved his Tony award.

flagger 11:04 AM  

Sorry, that last should have been directed to Shamik.

edith b 11:13 AM  

I started in upper Flyover country at AA MILNE and made a beeline into the NW and cashed in all the names there and down the West Coast ARTEMIS CHANGS DOLITTLE MAGEE and, for once. completed the NW first, PISTACHIO breaking it open.

I continued down the West Coast and moved across the South, again with names EDNA ANDRE SAL BIRNEY NORMA but it was all the cliches that broke the back ot this section.

I was able to get into the NE by moving up the East Coast, SCIENCES helping me there. It was the two NESSES crossing MCGYVER that broke this ones back.
The abundance of names out of pop culture and the two and three word simple phrases were the key. I think folks who don't care for names are not going to like this one

I found this to be a hard Thursday, all things being equal and I didn't much care for it either. It lacked flair and it had a fill-in-the blanks feel to it. Not what I like in my late week puzzles.

Anonymous 11:14 AM  

My middle-school Spanish teacher told us of an American tourist in Mexico who, when asked her age, read excitedly from a phrasebook, "Yo tengo trece anos!" -- sans the crucial diacritic. Hilarity ensued.


fikink 11:15 AM  

@flagger, thanks for the clarification. I was scratching my head and thinking,
"You say to-MAY-to and I say to-MAH-to..."

(We almost had a hit on our hands :)

@Jeff, BLOW, TOOT, lines ... GMTA

Corey 11:19 AM  

Thanks for all the kinds words, everybody. I'm so glad you liked my debut puzzle!

jae 11:19 AM  

I too liked this one a lot. Medium for me except for the ACRO area where I had pretty much the same problems that Rex did. Being a krappy speller made PISTACHIO difficult to enter correctly.

BIRNEY is more familiar to me from Bridget Loves Bernie. The David that I remember from St. Elsewhere is Morse.

Like Megan P, knew MACGYVER from Patty and Selma.

Anonymous 11:32 AM  

The Paramus Mall used to be THE shopping destination in northern NJ, before they built The Willowbrook Mall in the 70's.

fikink 11:34 AM  

Thanks, John!

HudsonHawk 11:44 AM  

This was a really enjoyable Friday. Nice work, Corey.

I wanted OYSTER for 17A, but that terminal R didn't look right since 6D was likely going to be STE. Plus I wasn't sure it was from Shakespeare. Turns out, it actually is the Bard, from Merry Wives of Windsor. Fortunately, some Rush lyrics from Limelight (shout out to CrossCan!) came streaming into my brain and A STAGE helped polish off the NW and the puzzle.

And yes, PARAMUS is still a bit of a shopping mecca with Paramus Park and the Garden State Plaza malls. Strangely, the town still has blue laws, which means stores are closed on Sundays.

evil doug 11:46 AM  

Yah is better than feh.

I'm in with JoHo and Greene. If every week was as good as this one has been, I'd be so un-evil that I'd have no reason to keep posting here.

Just kidding. Cheer up.

Hope Will doesn't blow the streak tomorrow.


Anonymous 11:54 AM  

The E came quickly after getting CLEANLINESS and GODLINESS but the W took longer.

DOASISAY/NOTASIDO opened the clever cluing of ATHLETES for me.

But the NW was the last to fall. I thought 2D was some kind of _OCHRE for too long which screwed everything up.

Once PISTACHIO came (from staring) the rest of the crosses dropped in.

And I also mis-spelled MACGYVER allowing IAH to stand until a "once-over" at the very end.

In all I agree with Rex's rating.

Anonymous 11:59 AM  

@John--Don't know which mall you mean, but there's no "Paramus Mall." There's Paramus Park, which was a big deal when it first opened in 1974, replacing the Garden State Plaza, an open-air mall at the time, as the premier mall in the area. As a response to this, Garden State Plaza underwent a major expansion, which included enclosing the whole mall and turning an underutilized lower level into a full mall level. At present, Paramus Park, which also has expanded, is definitely the lesser destination. The Fashion Center and what started out as the Bergen Mall and is now being remodeled into the Bergen Town Center, are also in Paramus, but are not as popular as either of the other two. The Shops at Riverside, originally Riverside Square, is an upscale mall just outside Paramus in Hackensack. Willowbrook Mall, about 20 minutes away from Paramus, is only an alternative to Paramus (on an everyday basis, that is) to those who live between the two. If you live fifteen minutes from Paramus in the other direction, you're not likely to need to go as far as Willowbrook, unless it's Sunday, and Willowbrook is open and the Paramus malls aren't. (Or you could go to the Palisades Center in West Nyack, NY.)

davidb 12:00 PM  

I was excitedly breezing through this one and possibly on my way to my fastest Friday ever until I ran into snags in the NW. I have never heard TILT AT to mean "square off against" and at the outset had entered TAKE ON, which hid otherwise gettable answers. Didn't help that it crossed ALTAR RAIL, which also took me quite a while to tease out (although I did get HORA and yesterday's MENORAH immediately, which reveal my semitic proclivity). Eventually it all fell into place and ended up being a pretty quick, error-free and confidence building experience.

I do feel rather pleased that I bested sethg in getting CHANGS very quickly off just the 'G' given that I am acutely aware of his wealth of tennis knowledge.

@allan: does your statement "Caesarean eventually popped out" pass the breakfast test?

Margaret 12:01 PM  

@jae -- you and I must be on the same wavelength -- or about the same age. I had a huge crush on David Birney in high school when he and future wife Meredith Baxter were in Bridget loves Bernie. But I don't think I even knew he was in St. Elsewhere. I kept wanting the answer to be the fantastic and much underrated David Morse. If you have not seen the John Adams miniseries, Morse was superb as Geo. Washington. (David McCullough said that he got chills when he met Morse on set as Washington, he was so convincing. Speaking of John Adams, William Daniels who also starred in St. Elsewhere -- and as the voice of Kitt on Knight Rider -- played the musical John Adams in 1776.)

Anyway, back to the puzzle. I had so few gimmes on the first pass that I though this one was going to beat me up badly. But turned out to be just right. Had MAGNUM PI at first. ARTEMIS is my favorite greek goddess and so I put her in as a placeholder (esp. since she was the huntress) and like others, was pleased to find she stayed there. The twin paired clues were nice boosts when they fell.

Fun surprisingly fast Friday. Thanks, Mr. Rubin and congrats on your debut.

Anonymous 12:02 PM  

And now we need a mall blog.


Jeffrey 12:04 PM  

Isn't there a mall blog we can direct people to?

Anonymous 12:05 PM  

I found this only a medium. I had SIS instead of SIB for the family member, so that gave me the actor David SIRNEY. Rats. There is an off-chance I might have thought BIRNEY sounded better had it occurred to me.

On the other hand, I am familiar with Patrick MAGEE because I am familiar with all things Beckett. I believe he is frequently clued via Marat/Sade.

Barry Longyear had a magnificent early career in science fiction, and I would recommend ENEMY MINE, although perhaps it's too predictably cliche.

I think Ampere is becoming the standard late week clue for ANDRE. I'm usually stumped by the early week ANDREs.

MONISMS refer, classically, to various pre-Aristotelian philosophies, like that of Thales who held everything was made of water.

Two Ponies 12:10 PM  

Way to debut Corey! And thanks for stopping by. Great Friday.
I could not let go of Tosca. Norma just doesn't sound like an opera name to me. In fact, I felt very dumb on both ends of the cultural scale. Norma on one end and Macgyver (because I couldn't spell it) on the other. I did enjoy the wicked clues and look forward to more puzzles from Mr. Rubin. Pro in briefs? I was thinking Michael Jordan in his underwear ads.
What a great week this has been so far.

xyz 12:18 PM  

Still can't get past Thursday.

Doesn't help when you can't spell MACGYVER - an answer you know.

Nice to see Morrissey - he's been on Ferguson (the best late night guy) a few times this year. Knew that one, first entry in this too advanced for me still puzzle.

Doug 12:20 PM  

I watched Jeopardy last night and the section on Physics had all 3 contestants staring blankly at Alex through every single clue. Then of course they nailed all the Liberal Arts stuff. It reminded me of the puzzle, because I couldn't get traction with any of the clues on popular (?) culture.

Glad you all enjoyed it, but I got clobbered!

jae 12:33 PM  

@margaret -- probably both.

allan 12:35 PM  

@ Crosscan: Couldn't have said it better. See mallblogs.blogspot.com.

joho 12:39 PM  

@edith b: is a "hard Thursday" an easy Friday?

miriam b 12:43 PM  

I stared at this until gimmes started to emerge; e. g., ARTEMIS, SAL, NORMA, PISTACHIO, AAMILNE, DOLITTLE. My very last fill was III, which had me perplexed until it dawned on me that my only son is a III. D'oh.

I just loved the puzzle.

@ulrich: I'm still laughing.

edith b 12:57 PM  



evil doug 1:38 PM  

I saw John Glenn at the mall one time, and he said Sbarro reminded him of his astronaut food, only not as toothpasty.


Anonymous 1:43 PM  

Could someone explain the connection between ATHLETES and "forward and back"? I don't get it.

Anonymous 1:49 PM  

@Anon 1:43--They refer to positions in basketball and football, among other sports.

George NYC 1:49 PM  

@anonymous I think refers to football player positions.

Anonymous 1:59 PM  

Let me second Anon@1.43's query. I have no idea on God's green earth what the connection could be between ATHLETES and "forward and back." Likewise SAL and "Paradise in literature" [could it be Kerouac's On the Road?], YAH and "derisive cry" (already pointed out, I think), and several others I'll pass on for now. This puzzle was very long on popcult, trickery, and inexactitude, and as a consequence I did not care for it (and did not finish it either, it must be said).

archaeoprof 2:01 PM  

This has got to be one of the best Fridays in some time. Great job, Corey Rubin.

But NORMA got me, probably because of those bad things I said about Aida yesterday.

Everything I need to know about opera I will learn from crosswords.

Anonymous 2:05 PM  

@Blue Stater--I'll go along with you on YAH. Better it be clued as Semitic root meaning God (as in Halleluyah!) I didn't know the character SAL Paradise because I never read "On the Road," but it's a fair clue/answer, and I got it via the crosses. On Monday, it might be clued Actor Mineo of "Rebel Without a Cause." Pop culture, trickery and inexactitude are the stuff of Friday and Saturday puzzles, and if you get good at the early-week puzzles, you'll actually start liking the late-week puzzles a lot.

retired_chemist 2:12 PM  

I didn't much like the ATHLETES clue either. That forwards and backs are not in the same sport, as far as I know, is kind of lame as an objection, but it's all I have.

I agree that YAH is a lame answer.

I promise nevermore to wish a Hispanic friend Feliz Ano Nuevo. With or without mayo. I am still laughing too. Ulrich, this may become RP's blog's shibboleth.

Anonymous 2:13 PM  

I was pleased with finishing this puzzle in my (self-imposed) 45 minutes/lunch break for a Friday and so am not too surprised that others are saying it felt easier. However, I have to think that NYT (and Rex) should impose a rule on the intersecting of foreign languages. While I got ESO/OLA correct, I don't really think it's fair when one square comes down to knowledge of either Spanish or Portguese.

ArtLvr 2:22 PM  

@ wade -- Many thanks for your help! I dig now...

@ wm e emba -- thank you for the plural monisms! Next puzzle may use answers like Thales with "All the world is..." clues (water, wrote ___", etc.)?

@ greene -- more please! Who else would write so eloquently of a sadistic Sade?

Anonymous 2:24 PM  

I think that Blue Stater has been doing puzzles for a long time (I've seen the name around here a lot) and he (or she?) probably doesn't need condescending solving advice from someone who, it seems, can't even count - The phrase "three and out" should be familiar to everyone by now. Some people need to heed it more than others.

I don't know what Rex was smoking. I found this puzzle quite easy. I did have the SIS + SIRNEY error, though.


George NYC 2:28 PM  

Dept. of Dumb Questions Dept.

For AcrossLite solution check, where do you get the 4 digit code?

George NYC 2:30 PM  

Bushism of the day:

George H. W. Bush, when playing tennis, would sometimes implore his partner to "unleash Chang," by which he meant serve an ace (or something like that). I don't think he was referring to today's Chang, however.

HudsonHawk 2:36 PM  

@retired_chemist, I believe you will find forwards and backs on the pitch in the sport of football (not the American version, but the one with the round ball).

George NYC 2:38 PM  

American football also has both forwards and backs.

George NYC 2:38 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 2:39 PM  

Well, thanks a lot, Doug Beach. This is my fifth post of the day (and maybe the eighth or ninth of the whole week), so you went back and counted--I can't believe you did that--how many times I posted. And you found four posts, one of which was one line long. And you only posted twice. But both times it was to say something nasty about me. Sorry, guy. I don't feel that I committed such a crime. I wasn't being condescending; I was being encouraging. And since I work all day while I check this blog occasionally, I don't keep close count on myself or others. So how about if you don't want to see what I have to say, you just skip my posts?

I'm going to take a hiatus from posting for a while. Maybe call myself something else when I resume. I've felt a lot of hostility on this board lately, and I'm not sure why. Today, a lot of discussion of actors named David, only one of whom was actually in the puzzle, and no snarky comments. (BTW, I don't care if people get a little off-topic.) I talk about Paramus, which WAS in the puzzle, and you jump down my throat. Five and out.

George NYC 2:44 PM  

@ Steve L
I for one enjoy your posts. G

Anonymous 2:58 PM  

I still don't get the forward and back, e.g. clued as ATHLETES. Any help here?

retired_chemist 3:03 PM  

@ GeorgeNYC:


still do not see forwards in American football.

George NYC 3:17 PM  


Then there is the entire FORWARD LINE. You don't a position that's called "right forward," per se, but you do refer to some players as A FORWARD. Hope this helps.

Rex Parker 3:20 PM  

No need to go to football. Soccer has forwards. Basketball has forwards. Football has backs. These are all ATHLETES.


Anonymous 3:25 PM  

@Steve L - you should start your own crossword blog. It's easy and it's free.

Anonymous 3:26 PM  

@Steve I -- I sympathize, man. There's so much ego involvement in crossword puzzles that the level of nastiness can be unbearable for a time (I'm no less guilty of it than anyone else). I had to leave the NYT's "official" blog when it just became a WS fan club.

FWIW, I didn't find your post condescending. I've been doing these for so long that if I were going to get used to the Friday and Saturday puzzles I would have by now. You're descriptively right that popcult, trickery, and inexactitude have become the stuff of the puzzles on these days; normatively speaking, I deeply lament that change in the puzzles -- a turn away from the real rigor and intellectual challenge of Eugene Maleska's puzzles. Occasionally we still see one like that at week's end, but for my money, not frequently enough.

dk 4:12 PM  

Todays sermonette

Well this is a good of a reason for a break.

Every few MAYOS one or more of us get upset because (add your issue about here) and if the issue is on puzzle content another thread appears stating that the puzzles are infused with pop culture, etc.

To all of this I say YAH.

On the puzzles - I found a 35 year old puzzle in my attic and guess what: It was a mix of pop and high IQ orts.

On the fence - Our posts are our posts. Sometimes they are well written and other times they are not. Sometimes we post about beets and sometimes we do not. So if someone throws up on your post or (fill in your deity about here) forbid you spend more than 3 posts defending what you and only you may think is fascinating and someone comments on that: Again, I say YAH.

What we have here today is not a failure to communicate. We have a series of posts (including this one) that begin with taking sides, giving comfort and the occasional go start your own blog which is the equivalent of yesterdays 59a (ARETOO for those who forget these things). None of which will help us solve tomorrows little treat.

My fellow solvers all of this is a part of the puzzle process. For my money this is the best place to waste time on the web. I have learned so much from the life stories and occasional emails that come from this blog that my advice is just hang on for the ride you might like it, or not.

In the words of Reverend Ike I would now like all of you to put your hand on the monitor and send 1 dollar to Rex and you will be saved.

miguel 4:42 PM  

Amen Brother!

allan 4:52 PM  

@ dk: Very well stated, except for the dig at chefbea. LOL

And sorry that I, too, have gone over the 3 & out thing today.

Anonymous 4:53 PM  

Liked the two combination clues a lot.

My sources show the first name of Ampere to be Andre-Marie. Can you really just lop off half a hyphenated name??

I think this constuctor must either hate his job or is among the recently unemployed. We have "Get a Raise" along with "Base Pay" and also "Need Help" I sense a mini-theme. Oh - just noticed "Save It" as well.

Lastly - I don't think that Heath Ledger has too many lines these days.

foodie 5:41 PM  

Something I heard on the Daily Show from Justice Sandra Day O'Connor (!): "On the Supreme Court we have to learn to disagree agreeably". I think we do it more often than not on this blog, but it's work in progress.

Best name for a mall IMO: The Mecca Mall in Amman -- Seriously. And I don't know if it's tongue in cheek... I'm on my way there now (not Mecca or the mall, but Amman). Be good to yourselves and each other while I'm gone... and eat your beets.

fikink 5:59 PM  

Foodie, Be safe and return to us with your noblesse. Its presence on this blog helps us remember how we wish to be. (You, too, dk.)

(ever notice that "how" and "who" are anagrams?)

Glitch 7:09 PM  

@Steve I said ... said:

"I'm going to take a hiatus from posting for a while. Maybe call myself something else when I resume."

First, take a look at Blue Stater and dk around 3:30pm.

Second, Chill a bit, and reread your earlier "mall" post responding to John (I believe). Had you responed in one or two lines, say, maybe, "There is no Paramus Mall, did you mean the Paramus Park?" you might not have drawn what you feel is hositlity.
And it will save you time.

Third, take your break. But come back under the same name --- have the courage of your convictions.


dk 7:22 PM  

@allan, no dig at all, chefbea and I swap beet recipes, drink recipes and all else food. Plus she pardoned me for running all the toll booths on the Conn Turnpike.

Oh.. by the way I have discovered raw unsweetened coconut is great on my steel cut oatmeal with dried figs and currents.

Two Ponies 8:00 PM  

Spot on as usual dk.
Foodie have fun.
Glitch, I second the motion.

fergus 8:05 PM  

A Malapop isn't quite so good the following day, but still ARTEMIS worked nicely for me. As did MONISM, since for some reason my brother and I were disagreeing over the categories of Metaphysics last night. And to think that I nearly gave away my Oxford Companion to Philosophy recently ... .

Annoyed with my afternoon students, coming home to unwelcome, unjust and incompetent tax revisions in the mail, I was ready for the full mental escape of a good Friday puzzle. Got almost exactly what I was looking for -- gratification nearly everywhere, including the Glassy STARE corner.

Three cheers for SAL Paradise, though wasn't so keen on Dean.

joho 8:42 PM  

dk: I say YAH!

Daryl 9:32 PM  

Yes, definitely an easy one for a Friday puzzle - got CLEANLINESS / GODLINESS and DO AS I SAY / NOT AS I DO straight off the bat (although impressive construction to stack 'em next to each other), like many others. Knew MONISMS for some reason, and somehow figured CHANGS, SCIENCES, ESTEEM, BASE PAY and DOLITTLE. Sometimes I guess you're just simpatico with the cluing...

The SE basically took up almost all of my entire solving time. I think it was because I was fixated on TOPPLED for "Upset" and ENEMY LINE seemed like a plausible title. Even so, all in all I found it a nifty clever Friday puzzle.

Anonymous 9:41 PM  

sorry to cause all the hubbub With STEVE I, I just remember going to Paramus to shop in a mall in the early sixties. I was 12 at the time.

Anonymous 9:45 PM  

BTY, Is there a People who grew up in Wayne NJ, blog you can direct me to??

Anonymous 2:26 PM  

POI: There is no "forward line" in American football.

Anonymous 6:26 PM  

Well, YAH is better than IAH which is what I had till I came here...
I misspelled MACGYVER, having never seen it...
Even considered BAH/MACGBVER before I considered Y! (which come to think of it, I never considered...just decided IAH might be like EEEE-YAH some cowboy yell for disgust or something.

Loved the puzzle tho, so congrats on the debut.

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