Real-estate mogul Olenicoff / FRI 3-1-13 / Whitman Cantata composer / Fangorn Forest denizens / Greg Evans comic strip / Part of iconic Eden outfit / Genre that glorifies gunplay / Regime change catalyst / Baccarat cousin

Friday, March 1, 2013

Constructor: Doug Peterson and Brad Wilber

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: none

Word of the Day: Zach BRAFF (48D: Zach ___, "Garden State" actor/director) —

Zachary I. "ZachBraff (born April 6, 1975) is an American actorscreenwriter, producer, comedian, and director. Braff first became known in 2001 for his role as Dr. John Dorian on the television series Scrubs, for which he was nominated for an Emmy Award and three Golden Globe Awards.
In 2004, Braff made his directorial debut with Garden State. Braff returned to his home state New Jersey to shoot the film, which was produced for $2.5 million. The film made over $35 million at the box office and was praised by critics, leading it to gain a cult following.[2] Braff wrote the film, starred in it, and compiled the soundtrack record. He won numerous awards for his directing work, and also won the Grammy Award for Best Soundtrack Album in 2005. (wikipedia)
• • •

This is a wonderful grid, but oof, I did not move through it easily at all. I was nodding off on the couch in the minutes leading up to puzzle-release time, then forced myself upstairs to solve the puzzle right at 10pm. I literally slapped myself two or three times to try to wake up fully before solving. Given how much I struggled to get started, and then just went into freefall at the end, I should've slapped myself a few more times. Like, thirty. Thirty more times. Even adjusting for my sleepiness, this puzzle feels slightly on the tough side. I was the victim of both ignorance (I clearly have never played CAT'S CRADLE, as that clue meant less than nothing to me — Vonnegut, I would've gotten; the game, no) (1A: Game with the figures "soldier's bed" and "fish in a dish") and stubborn wrongness (RHEO for AERO held me up forEver in the NW (2D: Prefix with -stat), and POLICE COUP (?) for PALACE COUP did something similar in the SE (61A: Regime change catalyst)). CANS for JARS (20A: Larder lineup). EWOK for ENTS (18A: Fangorn Forest denizens). No idea who the IGOR guy was (11A: Real-estate mogul Olenicoff). SENIOR (?) for RINSER (24A: Dental patient, often). I know DIURNAL only from poetic contexts, so I think of it as meaning roughly "daily" as opposed to "the opposite of nocturnal" (8D: Like the snowy owl). Needless to say, even -RNAL didn't clue me in at first. Other parts were easy. The SW, for instance: total breeze, probably because I remarkably remembered how to spell Zach BRAFF's name, despite *major* interference from the Canadian ski resort BANFF. Just glad I didn't go with my very first instinct, BRAMF.

How the hell does Superman shave himself with HEAT VISION? (15A: Superpower with which Clark Kent shaves himself). I'm gonna guess "mirror," because otherwise he'd have to invent a new superpower called "being able to see your own face without a mirror." 19A could've been clued [Quitter of note] or [He stepped down today] or [There isn't one]. But instead it's high school English, which paid off nicely. Cultural center of gravity in this puzzle is not old, exactly, but it's pretty heavy in the '60s/'70s. "The Munsters" *and* "I Dream of Jeannie" (41D: Yvonne of "The Munsters" + 25D: Part of an iconic Eden outfit). "DIRTY HARRY" *and* TWA (58A: 1971 film with the tagline "You don't assign him to murder cases. You just turn him loose." + 30A: First carrier to offer regular in-flight movies, 1961). But you've also got GANGSTA RAP (12D: Genre that glorifies gunplay) as well as a wide sampling of answers from diverse realms of knowledge. This keeps the puzzle varied and surprising. I have a puzzle in the pipeline that has 10-block corners very much like this one, and while I like mine fine, I really envy this one's cleanness. I don't think I winced once.

Good Clue awards go to 33A: They're no longer tender in a typical trattoria (LIRE) and 21A: It moves along via a series of belts (FIGHT).

And so to bed.
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


    jae 12:11 AM  

    Fine Fri. from two of the best.  LOTS of zip from HAREM PANTS (oh, that Eden) to GANSTA RAP.   Mostly on the easy side with the bottom half going quickly, the NE medium and the NW tough for me.  CATS CRADLE did not leap to mind and, like Rex,  I had cAnS for JARS for way to long.  I had a technical DNF because I asked my bride if RIOcA sounded like a Spanish wine and she said you mean RIOJA.  Me: D'oh, I knew that.  Sometimes you get tunnel VISION.   Anyway, liked it a lot!  Thanks, guys.

    Pete 12:15 AM  

    As an atheist, and one who is continually offended by the RC Church's being constantly referred to as "The Church" (as if they're hierarchical in their nonsense), I'm surprised that I feel so oddly adrift today, now that there's one fewer person who considers himself infallible. Existential angst predicated on existential nonsense.

    You missed the one wince in the puzzle. MC Hammer wore harem pants. Making me think of Barbara Eden and MC Hammer at the same time makes me wince. Sorry, two winces. LUANN, about which I can't make up a story.

    I don't know why EMS is so much less annoying than ARS, but it is.

    Evan 12:27 AM  

    Pretty tough, but fun. I went with X-RAY VISION to start -- first thing in the grid, too. It didn't make any sense, but Superman uses it so often, who was I to say that he couldn't also use it for shaving? And I bet he actually does have the superpower to look at his own face without a mirror, but either chooses not to use it, or more likely, he's forgotten he has it. Dude probably has at least 10,000 different superpowers -- couldn't blame him if he forgot one or two.

    Some other difficulties: Didn't know the words FRUG or TREF -- I'm as non-kosher as they get, but I've never heard of such foods being described as TREF. I've also never heard the term LOSS LEADER, except maybe in some bizarre sports context where the pitcher with the worst record had the most losses of any starter.

    What else? I really considered FIRECOAT, thinking that maybe it was a slang term for a fireman, but LEBARON set me straight there. Plus I'm glad I got another shot at TARTAN since it tripped me up a couple of months ago.

    I liked most of the stacked tens, especially HAREM PANTS and GANGSTA RAP. However I wasn't crazy about PALACE COUP. That one was a real head-scratcher. I understand it, sure, but I didn't think it was that common a phrase. It gets only 180,000 hits in quotation marks on Google.

    Oh well. These two constructors have paired up a few times before and they seem to work pretty well together. I'd be interested to find out how they split up the grid, who came up with which clues (before they were edited), etc.

    Anorak Catscradle Morales 12:54 AM  

    I have to say when I see Doug Peterson's name atop a grid, my heart goes aflutter...
    didn't disappoint!

    RASSLES, DIRTY HARRY!! RIOJA! DECARLO! KEENS! (From bleedover Ululates earlier in the week!)
    I AM AMPED!!!!!

    At first Ithought super easy, I mean who else could it be but MEL TIllis,
    Zip as NADA, PLEBES a gimme... RASSLES, what else?

    But then (needle screech...)
    Had to get everything else letter by letter!

    A little heavy on the cars (LEBARON, FIAT, ROYCE, COUP) kidding...
    Very masculine vibe with FIGHT, the cars, DIRTYHARRY, PALACECOUP, GANGSTARAP, 70s TV and Superman,
    but me like!!!

    TREF is so weird. Till I learned it in Scrabble, I spent the first 40 years of my life thinking it was "traif" on the rare occasions I heard the word from non-Minnesota Jews...usually of the New York cousin variety.

    Anyway,m long story long, I LOVE DOug Peterson and that Brad guy!

    Anonymous 1:02 AM  

    Didn't know DECARLO and went with mARTS / DEmARLO which doesn't seem too unreasonable under that circumstance. Otherwise enjoyed it.

    retired_chemist 1:35 AM  

    Agree with medium-challenging but my time was (for me) quite good for a Friday. A lot of the answers were right in my wheelhouse. Lucky.

    Add 60A to the good clue list - who (among us Gentiles) knew?

    HYPED before AMPED @ 46A, AJI before AHI, ELAN before NADA, and considered JAMS instead of JARS before DIURNAL was obvious.

    Favorite wrong answer: for 25D I wanted _ARE______ to be bARE breast, thinking of Eden as the Garden and not Barbara.

    Not a clunker of an answer in the lot IMO, the trite SNL coming closest.

    Thanks, Doug and Brad - well done.

    Doug P 1:53 AM  

    @Evan - Believe it or not, this is the first puzzle that Brad & I collaborated on. And the 24th Wilber/Peterson creation to be published!

    When working together on a themeless, one of us will usually come up with a "starter grid," and the other will do his best to finish it. For this one, Brad did the NW & SE corners, and I handled the NE & SW corners. Ideally, we'll both be able to place multiple seed entries. I'm sure HAREM PANTS & GANGSTA RAP were my seeds. Then we each write half the clues. Sometimes one of us will take the Acrosses and one will take the Downs. I know many of the great Across clues in this puzzle (including the ones Rex singled out: LIRE & FIGHT) were Brad's. Also HEATVISION, STONEHENGE, and DIRTY HARRY. I'll take credit for the Eden/HAREM PANTS clue. Barbara Eden rocks.

    Evan 2:30 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Evan 2:34 AM  

    @Doug P:

    Thanks for the reply and well done today. Wow, that must have been quite a wait-time for your first collaboration with Brad, if 23 others were published before it!

    I feel like I've read from some other blog recently -- yes, it was Crossword Fiend -- where you two were bestowed the collective name of Borg Duad. I kinda like Brug Wilberson.

    Michaela 2:37 AM  

    This came together surprisingly easily for me. Posting a time only 2 minutes over Rex is practically unheard of for me, especially on a Friday.

    I can do theFRUG.

    chefwen 3:47 AM  

    My little trip down easy street this week hit a major road block.

    ets/EMS (I swore that would never trip me up again. I was wrong.)

    DIURNAL Was my WOD. Had to Google ATF, I had no idea, but the crosses worked. Learned something new.

    @Evan - You are too young to know the FRUG, plopped that one in without a thought.

    Love Doug Peterson and Brad Wilbur puzzles. To see them together was a real treat. Thanks guys! And thanks for the insight Doug.

    Anoa Bob 4:09 AM  

    ON THE WHOLE, nothing IRRESOLUTE to be found in this beauty. Often with pin-wheeling triple-stacked 10's, some of the them will be on the meh to crosswordy side. Not so here. This is as fine a group of twelve 10's as I can recall.

    Especially like HAREM PANTS. For some reason, when I saw "Eden" in the clue I thought of Barbara and "I Dream of Jeannie". Thanks for the memories on that one!

    Anonymous 4:25 AM  

    Did this puzzle in a hotel room in the middle of Brazil- and WOO HOO! First time ever that I beat Rex's time! Don't know if it's the jet lag or his fatigue, but it sure feels sweet.

    Unknown 4:26 AM  

    I agree With You. nice comment

    Provident welworth city

    webwinger 5:22 AM  

    With all the great 60s references, and three letters in place for 1D (good guess for CATSCRADLE), I was sure I was right with CLIP, as in “roach”, for pot item; couldn’t come up with a superpower beginning L-AT, but figured maybe it was something unknowable by mere mortals and settled for a one (now two) letter DNF. Otherwise found this very snappy, with time about average Friday. After googling to get IGOR the NE fell into place nicely. I too thought of Barbara right away from the Eden clue. Her name came up recently in obits for Larry Hagman, but she’s probably never really left the mind of just about every American male who remembers that era despite being a pretty minor celeb. (Why LH never made the obvious wish continues to baffle me.) Like Acme, a fellow Midwestern M.O.T., I knew about TREF long before I could spell it. FRUG—suspect younger solvers couldn’t believe that was a word if it came from crosses. Felt pleasantly hip after getting BRAFF and GANGSTARAP. Agree with Rex terrific clues for FIGHT and LIRE. Overall a wonderful puzzle. And thanks for stopping by at 2 am, Doug P!

    Loren Muse Smith 5:43 AM  

    @Rex – to picture you there, sleepy, on the couch waiting for the puzzle - well, once again, I’m reminded of how much dedication this blog takes. I get to stumble into bed much earlier and wake up to your write up. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    I had “rheo” and “cans” first, too. Also:

    ”shoot’em ups” - GANSTA RAP
    “hyper,” “hyped” – AMPED
    “Rolls”- ROYCE (Hey, we’re among friends here, right?)
    “hee” – HEH
    “keno” – FARO
    “riff” – RIFT. I *never* remember this.

    @Andrea – I, too, am noticing how “ululate” is getting a lot of ink! Hmm. An undulating, ululating uvula. . .unusual!

    @retired_chemist – funny about Barbara’s breasts!

    Having recently watched Johnny English, I misread the clue for DIRTY HARRY. A case when a hyphen would have cleared things up.

    Thanks for stopping by, Doug! It’s always great to hear from the constructor.

    Thanks again, Rex. LOTS.

    MetaRex 7:00 AM  

    CrossWorld Buzz: Good for the generic puzzle nerd; superb if you know ED. Is there blue and red style in CWPs?!?!

    CrossOver Buzz: Excellent. Quite a bit more zing in this puzz than in a typical themeless w/ CAT's CRADLE (v. nice double-meaning here w/ the unclued Vonnegut novel), HAREM PANTS, DIRTY HARRY, and GANGSTA RAP giving v. nice Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! in all four corners. A higher rating for CrossOver than for CrossWorld b/c I believe real people are more dependent on zingy answers than we gimmick-obsessed and tech-obsessed insiders are.

    GILL I. 7:15 AM  

    Really enjoyed this puzzle. I was so proud to get CATS CRADLE off of CVS and RIOJA. I use to play that string game all the time. If I could do a Jacobs ladder, I would strut all day long with the damn string in my hand showing anyone who dared to be around me.
    Never heard of Olenicoff but he sounded Russian so it was either Ivan or IGOR. GANGSTA RAP was the last to go in because I wanted some sort of Western. BRAFF was a google and ROYCE wanted to be a Rolls.
    I unRASSLEd the mistakes and finished in about an hour.
    Thanks for stopping by DP. I certainly hope you and BW will continue to collaborate.

    MetaRex 7:18 AM  

    My day is made!

    Rob C 7:24 AM  

    Very nice puzzle. I found the left half extremely difficult and the right half extremely easy. I figured the constructors each took one of those halves and I was wondering who the difficult one was. But no, Doug P's comments indicate that one did the NW and SE, while the other did the SW and NE. In any case, great work.

    I considered PoLiCE COUP for a brief second like Rex did.

    Great clue for HAREM PANTS. And if you don't know what Ululate means by now (3x in the last week and a half), please turn in your crossword solver license on your way out.

    Imfromjersey 7:36 AM  

    Loved this puzzle! STONEHENGE always reminds me of "Spinal Tap". Thought I was done when I found an error where I was moored at an ISLET instead of INLET. Otherwise, no major errors. Great job Peterson and Wilber!

    Glimmerglass 7:58 AM  

    Tough and fun. The clues for FIGHT and HAREM PANTS were definitely Saturday-level. Never heard of IGOR or LUANN, but crosses eventually bailed me out. This puzzle drove me nut, and I loved it. A satisfying solve.

    baja 8:00 AM  

    Liked it - lots of scrabbley letters which always has me doubting myself. DNF but got gangsta rap and amped near the beginning - not bad for an oldster. Learning from you all. thank you

    Anonymous 8:01 AM  

    Great puzzle today. Ran through it pretty quickly, probably my quickest Friday since I've been doing these puzzles. Like Rex, my one hangup was in the NW where for far too long I had XRAYVISION for Superman's shaving tool. Never knew he had HEATVISION, but the crosses made it so.

    Unknown 8:48 AM  

    I can't be the only one to put 'bong' before CHIP for "Pot item."

    Knowing things like DECARLO really makes me wonder about myself sometimes.

    My CATSCRADLE skills never progressed beyond Jacob's Ladder and Witches Broom, so 1A took me a while.

    evil doug 9:03 AM  

    Michael--Just go to bed and do the damn puzzle in the morning when you're well rested. Plus, it'll really piss off those west-coasters who vie to be first to post right after midnight....

    PBS is doing a 'Hullabaloo' flashback starting Saturday night. You kids can see how we screwed up dancing/rassling cheek-to-cheek with our high school honeys when we replaced it with this frug nonsense....


    Rex Parker 9:07 AM  

    Thanks, Loren.

    Also, I'm glad to know my posted times can make people feel good, as well as bad (as well as, presumably, no different), about themselves.


    alpernm 9:31 AM  

    The ACPT is next weekend and the Cru (cruciverbalist) dinner at the Marriott is on. Since the early days in Stamford, the Cru dinner has been the unofficial kick off to the tournament weekend and a way for the participants (competitors and guests) to break bread prior to the official festivities. If you will be attending the ACPT and would like further information about the dinner, this site will provide everything you need to know.

    Careful observers will note the King of CrossWorld, Rex himself, at the 2007 Cru dinner, mere days before his debut as the 166 Greatest Crossword Puzzle Solver in the Universe!

    Nancy in PA 9:32 AM  

    Hand up for thinking shoot'emups before GANGSTARAP, though I didn't put it in because I already had LEBARON. DECARLO umped in right away, but HAREMPANTS really really wanted to be fig-leaf-related. And when I finally got it, I thought, "They wore harem pants in the Garden of Eden?" Loved the puzzle.

    Anonymous 9:32 AM  

    Also very happy to have a basic puzzle for a change, no gimmicks like backwards words, missing letters, emoticons, etc.

    chefbea 9:45 AM  

    Easier than most Fridays for me but still DNF.

    @chefwen hand up for cans and ets...great chefs think alike.

    I use my enamel ware a lot...especially for soups and stews in the winter.

    Now must make my famous minty brownies for new neighbors who just moved in.

    Paul Rean 9:52 AM  

    @retired_chemist - BAREBREASTS works equally well if you were thinking of Barbara, not Garden Of, Eden. At least in my teen-aged fantasies.

    jackj 10:18 AM  

    Doug Peterson and Brad Wilber have crafted another of their intelligent head bangers though they immediately provided a boost with STEELERS and RASSLES.

    But then they crowed about “fish in a dish” and further rubbed it in by forcing one to think about whether Superman had a deal with Gillette and/or had Wonder Woman tend to his shaving needs.

    Along came my pharmacy, CVS, to save my bacon and keep me in the game, as CATSCRADLE and HEATVISION then made their presence known thanks to that little three-letter bit and it was off to traipse down the grid to locate STONEHENGE.

    There was LOTS of very clever cluing to contend with, starting with the rather highbrow reference to O. Henry that was not looking for the writer but for the O. Henry AWARD that is given annually to recognize short stories of note and is named in honor of the writer, William Sydney Porter, (nom de plume, O. Henry).

    “Like shellfish” didn’t mean much until HAREMPANTS and LOSSLEADER gave up the T_E_ and then TREF was the only thing that made sense.

    GANGSTARAP was another gem, as was DIURNAL and the “F” words, FRUG, FARO, FIAT and FIGHT but not FIREBOAT (that seemed a rather pedestrian necessity, maybe not something the constructors really wanted in their grid).

    Two favorite clues were the one that asked about what was no longer tender in a trattoria and we happily learned that the pasta is still al dente, it’s the LIRE that went south and the other clue that was especially tricky was the B-school type marketing question that was not looking for complicated theories, only for CARTS.

    LOTS of Friday fun and games from the crafty collaborators!

    Bob Kerfuffle 10:47 AM  

    Greta puzzle! And for once at least I can honestly say I found it easy!

    Finished with no write-overs, but did have some serious contemplation at 25 D, "Part of an iconic Eden outfit." When FIG LEAF obviously wouldn't fit, I wondered if it might be something like MUSTACHIO, as on this Eden.

    Bob Kerfuffle 10:48 AM  

    Sorry, Greta. Meant "Great puzzle!"

    quilter1 10:55 AM  

    Just the right amount of toughness. Even though I was a Scrubs fan I don't pay a lot of attention to the actors' names so BRAFF was the last to fall once I remembered TREF. This week's episode of American Pickers featured The Munsters memoribilia so Yvonne was in mind.

    One nit to pick, TARTANs are plaid, not striped. I suppose plaid would have been too much of a giveaway in the clue, but the clue could have been changed.

    Two Ponies 10:57 AM  

    Wow, great Frdiay. The NE nearly made me throw in the towel but I toughed it out and I'm glad I did.
    I don't know if the national news has been covering this story but we here in Vegas have had it with gangsta rap.

    Carola 10:58 AM  

    Hard for me to be RESTRAINED in praising this one. Just loved it. Started out with POPE crossing the incorrect grEEn bay, but the resulting TGC string in 1A steered me back in the right direction to Pittsburgh. Fun to discover the treats in every corner. Gets my Perfect Friday AWARD.


    Like @retired chemist and @Nancy in PA, I thought of the Old Testament Eden and counted spaces to see if "fig leaves" fit.

    @webwinger - Me, too, on "clip" - but I was doubtful enough about "leatvision" that I ran the alphabet and got the H.

    C. Ross Word 11:02 AM  

    Fun puzzle. Had a tremendous amount of trouble in the east due to an answer I was so proud of and therefore was convinced was right. Perhaps a candidate for @Tita's Hall Of Fame? For 21D - "Emergency oil rig visitor" I immediately plunked down Red Adair, the fellow known for extinguishing the oil well fires set by the retreating Iraqi troops during the Gulf War.

    When nothing was working, finally recalling the Chrysler LeBaron saved me and finally forced me to give up on Red.

    A nice Friday challenge and nice that Doug stopped by to comment.

    John V 11:08 AM  

    NW skunked me, CATSCRADLE not in my world. Otherwise, a good tough Friday.

    Oldactor 11:08 AM  

    Really wanted RED ADAIR for 21 down.

    Notsofast 11:20 AM  

    Never heard of the game CATSCRADLE and not being Jewish, never heard of TREF. Naticked with BRAFF, whom I've also never heard of. Geeze, man! Everything else was fresh and clever. And I loved it. Especially FRUG. In college we watched "Hullabaloo" every week just to see the "Hullabaloo Dancers", notably Anita Mann. Good God Almighty! B

    Milford 11:23 AM  

    Medium-challenging sounds about right, but very doable. My biggest snarl was the NW, where I kept hema (2D)for a very long time. Plus I had unRESOLUTE until the bitter end.

    New words for me: TREF, ENTS and ANORAK. The FIGHT clue was by far the winning clue today! My mom's LE BARON station wagon, complete with faux wood siding, was the first car I got to drive when I got my licence.

    @Evan - I know LOSS LEADERS b/c my husband works with grocery store unions, and basically they are the things a store will price below cost (like milk)to get you in the store, and then presumably you will spend more money on other stuff.

    Like @Susan C., my CAT'S CRADLE skills are limited to Broom and Jacob's Ladder.

    And like @Nancy in PA, I was looking for fig leaves or similar before HAREM PANTS - great clue!

    Thank you, Doug and Brad! And thank you Rex for fighting sleep for us all. Sorry your blogging sometimes necessitates slapping.

    @retired chemist - congrats on the puppies! Hope they, and the mama, are doing well.

    Mohair Sam 11:24 AM  

    What a clever and challengiing Friday. Thank you Peterson and Wilber, fun clues for sure.

    After we filled 21a we stared at it for a while before we actually understood. And how the heck did they devise the clue for 1a? "Fish in a dish", "soldier's bed"? Only Vonnegut readers ever heard of the silly string game - great clue indeed.

    Being goyim and ingnorant of any pop culture after about 1988 we never got the last letter on 60a (TREF). But who cares - a great Friday puzzle it was.

    btw - somehow shaving with heat vision seems risky.

    Airymom 11:49 AM  

    I loved the puzzle. It's Friday and I finished the off to eat some tref for lunch. (only kidding, Mom) Girls played cat's cradle at recess and at summer camp endlessly. Kudos to our co-constructors!

    NHart 11:59 AM  

    This WAS in my wheelhouse, entering YVONNE DE CARLO and CLIP (wrongly) right away. Hand up for TV WESTERNS before GANGSTA RAP. TINS and CANS before JARS, which was a nice surprise.

    Agree with Rex about puzzle quality and best clues. Wanted to slap my own self when I saw LIRE.

    dk 12:13 PM  

    Barbara Eden… sigh now there was a genie who could make your GANGSTARAP if ya know what I am sayin.

    Pondered how to spell RASSLES as I knew Ululates for far too long and cursed HEATVISION as I over analyzed that clue. Well… err. and I also had IGiR for some whiles.

    Wanted RINSER to be whiner or flosser but that is just me.

    Great fill: You lads had me at IRRESOLUTE.

    Donning my ANORAK for a day on the slopes. Demoing carbon fiber skis by Goode. Should be a treat. Sometimes it is just better to go faster -- my sage advice if any asks me for a ski tip…actually that is the advice I give for anything.

    🍣🍣🍣 (3 AHI) Thanks D&B

    Sandy K 12:16 PM  

    Challenging for me, but all the more satisfying when I finally finished.

    Had PoLiCE before PALACE COUP, LE sABRE before LE BARON, and agree with @quilter1- thought TARTAN was plaid not striped, but eventually those got IRONed out. Looked ASLANT at undulate again.

    ON THE WHOLE, glad Mr. Peterson and Mr. Wilber were ALLIED again. Enjoyed it LOTS!

    syndy 12:18 PM  

    CATSCRADLE was a gimmee.but I went from cAnS to JAmS.I held out for a Fig leaf and for just a second stared at HAREMPANTS with Question Marks in my eyes before slapping myself on the forehead!talk about DOH!Ivan before IGOR was my only other writeover and my time was only twice rex so EASY! thats DP and BW

    Ulrich 12:20 PM  

    @quilter1: I taught for 20+ years at a university founded by a Scotsman, with all varsity teams called "Tartans" and some plaid pattern in its Coat of Arms, and with guys in tartan kilts and bagpipes playing the official school song at official occasions. And so I have to agree: Tartans are not striped, unless you consider them striped in one and then in the other direction, but that's a bit like saying a car is two-wheeled because it has two wheels in front and two wheels in back.

    Great puzzle otherwise, even though the crossing of TREF and BRAFF renained unresovable for me, and I guessed wrong...

    Masked and Anonymo3Us 12:44 PM  

    Wanted (roach)CLIP for [Pot item]. Wanted XRAYVISION, before that. Didn't know Superman had other visions, besides Xray and Regular. Quite a visionary dude.

    Hard puz. Nice stacks of ten, tho. Whenever two constructors fill a grid -- each doing two corners -- sounds like trouble brewing, to me. Sorta like laying a brick patio from two different sides, and hoping to meet cleanly in the middle. But these guys must know their stuff, because they cranked out a great puz, here. themelessthUmbsUp.

    lawprof 12:56 PM  

    This one was about a Medium Friday for me (although nowhere near Rex's 10+ minute time). I eventually got HAREMPANTS, but for some odd reason never associated it with Barbara Eden; rather I simply assumed that, as a historical matter, Eden (the garden, that is) hung around intact somewhere in the Middle East for a few centuries, and eventually that particular sartorial innovation emerged.

    Another slow area was at 37A, where I initially thought the classic Chrysler might be the Cordoba (recall Ricardo Montalban's droolings over "rich Corinthian leather") until the LEBARON passed it on the low side.

    Lots of totally unknowns (CATSCRADLE, IGOR, HEATVISION, BIR), but all gettable from crosses. Near natick at TREF/BRAFF crossing, but lucky guess.

    Delightful Friday. Thanks.

    MetaRex 1:01 PM  

    Changing my CrossWorld buzz rating from good to excellent...just looked again at the grid and it's v. pretty...hadn't quite appreciated that in the early am...

    mac 1:08 PM  

    Great, tough Friday puzzle! Thank you Doug and Brad, and Rex, as ever.
    PALACE coup was a struggle, and cat's cradle as well. I got the harem pants with hardly a cross, how funny! Lists for carts at 49A really slowed that area down.

    Good puzzle day!

    Lewis 1:26 PM  

    Favorite clue was the one for FIGHT, very clever. Now, looking at the grid, I'm wondering who Luanne Rinser and Helen Tabor are, as well as Chip Harempants.

    Fun to solve, felt easier than a typical Friday, but the creative clues and fresh answers more than made up for it. Great puzzle, guys -- thank you!

    Anonymous 1:54 PM  

    For Pete ( he of the 12:15Am comment),

    I think you meant one less, not one fewer when you were denigrading the Holy Father and the billion plus Roman Catholics around the world. You might want to know the accepted usage for less and fewer if you're trying to write snark. While you're at, look up papal infallibility and see what means and what it doesn't.

    Beadola 2:02 PM  

    @ACME, I think "traif" should be acceptable since it is more how the word sounds when spoken. How does Scrabble determine an acceptable spelling of a word that is in a different alphabet? Think about other words from Hebrew or Yiddish - Chanukah, Hanukkah, etc. Google likes both of those!

    Pete 2:12 PM  

    @Anon 1:54 - If you're going to correct someone, please be correct while you do so, not arrantly wrong. Fewer is appropriate where things are countable, as in people. 10 people are fewer than 11 people, not less than 11 people.
    A half gallon of milk is less than a gallon of milk, not fewer.

    The RC Church is but one of scores, or not hundreds of denominations, and represents only a small portion of Christians. Christianity is but one of several monotheistic religions, and represents only a small portion of those. So yeah, I don't see how the RC Church becomes The Church.

    Sparky 2:21 PM  

    PRO: finished yesterday just fine. CON: DNF today. And yet, enjoyed the about 2/3 I did solve.

    Played CATSCRADLE as a child. Knew about three moves. Never knew they had names.

    It had to be ENTS or orks. Mostly NW was blank. Hand up for fig leaf, Red Adair, snare drum, tons not LOTS. Got HAREMPANTS but not the others.

    Sparky 2:36 PM  

    If anyone has information about DEB please Email me. Thanks.

    Anonymous 2:49 PM  


    You're a dullard.

    Which I don't mind as much as your anti-Catholic bigotry. Your lack of understanding of both the Church, its traditions (and teaching)and its place in history and the world is plain to see. Persist in your folly and ignorance, but The Church will be going strong long after you're dust.

    Anonymous 3:19 PM  

    Pete, you and your mom need to stop this public snarking. It's unseemly.

    Tom Cruise 3:28 PM  

    "The Church" is the Church of Scientology. We have spacemen. Top that!

    acme 3:38 PM  

    arguing about the church on this blog is TREF! Is there another forum where you might duke it out?
    (Esp on such a wonderful puzzle day!)

    Totally agree! I totally think TRAIF should be acceptable, esp as there are 7 spellings of GONIF. But to answer your question, there is a dictionary committee that updates the official Scrabble Dictionary every ten years...

    Amelia 3:39 PM  

    I think more of you know Catscradle then you think. It's that string game you played with elderly relatives where you pass it from hand to hand. I never much progressed from the first couple. But it was fun!

    Loved, loved, loved this puzzle. Thanks, guys!

    Tita 4:24 PM  

    DNFwoG, but a fair fight.
    Loved CATSCRADLE as a kid, though I don't recall the names - I know one we called just "fish". Thanks @SusanMc - I forgot about Witch's Broom.

    In high school, by brother used a fork to eat some ham at his friend's house - the wrong fork, apparently. His definitely non-devout Jewish friend gasped - "you trefed the fork - now we have to bury it for a year!", and stuck it into a potted plant.

    When they moved out 5 years later, the mom wondered why a fork was sticking out of an overgrown philodendron...

    How weird is it that ululate appears again?

    @retired_chemist - your moment in the sun - I mean on my Epic Wrong Answer Hall of Fame - is upon you!

    @C.Ross Word & Oldactor - you too.

    DECARLO was also the hot-blooded mistress in "Captain's Paradise" - an awesome movie with Alec Guiness.

    Thanks, Messrs. Peterson @ Wilbur.

    Anonymous 4:49 PM  

    13D made Austin Powers come to mind...

    Dr. Evil: Our early attempts at a tractor beam went through several preparations. Preparations A through G were a complete failure. But now, ladies and gentlemen, we finally have a working tractor beam, which we shall call... Preparation H.
    [Scott snickers]

    Frau Farbissina: Yah. It's a really good plan.
    Dr. Evil: Yes Frau, ON THE WHOLE Preparation H feels good.
    [Scott resumes snickering]
    Dr. Evil: What is it now?
    Scott Evil: No, I totally agree with you. Preparation H does feel good... on the hole.

    LaneB 5:12 PM  

    Finished, good for a Friday, but had to google a few items: Olenicoff's first name; Zach's last name and the automaker ROYCE. Otherwise I was able to grind it out, the ever time-consumer.

    M and A also 5:20 PM  

    @Tita: Thanx for the reminder about UlUlate. Puttin' extra U's in the clues is laudible, but, regrettably, not what gets counted by the I Fink U Freaky Award judges. Other than as a tiebreaker, of course.

    Top Ten Superman Visions:
    * Regular.
    * Xray.
    * Heat.
    * E.M. Wave.
    * Telescopic.
    * Microscopic.
    * Hypnotic.
    * Tax Code Re.
    * HD Tele.
    * Tunnel.
    He also has been known to see faces in toast, but I digress...

    JFC 5:28 PM  

    I’m looking at these rants about the Universal Church wondering why. I see POPE but that was not a Catholic Pope. Why does anyone get off and go into a rant that reveals such embarrassing ignorance? You really should take Acme’s advice. On the other hand being someone who enjoys schadenfreude please don’t stop.

    @Acme, I really do not like RASSLES. It reminds me of hillbilly....


    PS. I consider myself a pagan and my church os the golf course.

    C. Ross Word 5:28 PM  

    Tita, thanks for the Epic listing! Fun!

    JFC 5:29 PM  

    I’m looking at these rants about the Universal Church wondering why. I see POPE but that was not a Catholic Pope. Why does anyone get off and go into a rant that reveals such embarrassing ignorance? You really should take Acme’s advice. On the other hand being someone who enjoys schadenfreude please don’t stop.

    @Acme, I really do not like RASSLES. It reminds me of hillbilly....


    PS. I consider myself a pagan and my church os the golf course.

    joho 5:39 PM  

    I hate it when work gets in the way of my enjoying this blog. Started early and just got here now because, even though everything has been said, I had to say how much I LOVED this puzzle!

    Thank you, Doug and Brad!!!!

    Great write-up today, @Rex ... I was chuckling at the visual of you slapping yourself awake then admitting you should have slapped yourself some more.

    sanfranman59 5:41 PM  

    Midday report of relative difficulty (see my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation of my method and my 10/15/2012 post for an explanation of a tweak to my method):

    All solvers (median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

    Fri 22:15, 22:15, 1.00, 50%, Medium

    Top 100 solvers

    Fri 12:09, 12:33, 0.97, 43%, Medium

    Bird 6:12 PM  

    Is Today Saturday? I got about 2/3 way done and came to a complete stop. 25D (didn't Adam & Eve wear fig leaves?), 26D (that's a thing?), 27D (I had a few letters, but couldn't let myself put that answer in), 39A (had ETS 'cause you know they're from Ork), 57A (had ELAN) 60A (wha?), 61A (had REVOLUTION).

    Total failure.


    Stephen 7:13 PM  

    No dreck anywhere here. Very nice.

    My experience was the opposite of Rex's and others here. It went easily in the NW and the east and died a horrible death in the SW. Did not know TREF. Could not recall ANORAK. Got EMS but never knew PLEBES was a West Point term. Do not know what HAREM PANTS are, nor had I any idea what they had to do with Eden. Now that I read the connection here, o.m.g.... can you people remember the names and costumes and clothing terms of 1960 sitcoms? Gadzooks. I must be UNALLIED.

    My one complaint about the cluing is on 32D. Ululating is not necessarily keening, and keening is not necessarily ululating. In my African days I knew ululating mostly as celebrating, not as keening. Often it happened at births. And the most memorable occasion was at a birth of twins.
    There is no synonymy, and neither word can be taken as a good example of the other. At the very least the clue should have read "ululates, perhaps".

    Rob C 7:21 PM  

    @Bird - for 25D, it's Barbara Eden, not the Garden

    Z 7:33 PM  

    @joho - I hate it when work gets in the way of even getting to the puzzle until early evening. I am enjoying the lesser pope fewer pope argument, though.

    @acme - OFL brought it up, so I'm thinking it's fair game.

    Hand up for Red Adair (I wonder if he ever wore HAREM PANTS). Also, hyPED before AMPED, cadets before PLEBES and rheo before AERO, and ignorance of CAT'S CRADLE (likewise on wishing the clue had been Vonnegut). I also wanted TurF before TREF. That would have made the SW a SERF and TurF special. Not to be.

    Anonymous 7:54 PM  

    I'll stop the unseemly comments when the gratuitous insults on The Church stop.
    And regardless of what you think about roman Catholicism, will someone please acknowledge that the singular one takes less (not fewer)?

    OISK 8:23 PM  

    I would like to see fewer arguments on this board, but will settle for one less. ( that sounds correct to me, and I think it is the more common usage. I am not an expert) Loved the puzzle! I found it tough, but rewarding, even though I never saw "Help", and like Rex, started with Rheo instead of aero.

    I smiled at the comment from someone who got "Mel" Tillis immediately; never heard of him, but Mel Torme, the Velvet Fog, was a gimmee!

    Perfect Friday puzzle, IMHO. Thanks, guys.

    Anonymous 8:37 PM  

    Clever construction, but at the risk of being ungracious, you're willing to settle for the correct usage? I give up. Mangle the language; bash The Church. I'll comment no more.

    sanfranman59 10:22 PM  

    This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation and my 10/15/2012 post for an explanation of a tweak I've made to my method. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio, the higher this week's median solve time is relative to the average for the corresponding day of the week.

    All solvers (this week's median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

    Mon 6:16, 6:10, 1.02, 60%, Medium
    Tue 7:55, 8:23, 0.94, 32%, Easy-Medium
    Wed 8:21, 11:28, 0.72, 2%, Easy (5th lowest ratio of 166 Wednesdays)
    Thu 15:43, 17:02, 0.92, 34%, Easy-Medium
    Fri 22:11, 22:14, 1.00, 50%, Medium

    Top 100 solvers

    Mon 3:44, 3:41, 1.02, 55%, Medium
    Tue 4:28, 4:52, 0.92, 15%, Easy
    Wed 5:03, 6:28, 0.78, 5%, Easy (8th lowest ratio of 166 Wednesdays)
    Thu 10:05, 9:57, 1.01, 52%, Medium
    Fri 11:38, 12:33, 0.93, 33%, Easy-Medium

    @Stephen ... I don't think I'm going out on a limb when I say that any male who watched TV in the 1960s (or reruns since then) can easily conjure up a mental image of Barbara Eden in her harem pants. That type of thing doesn't fade from memory.

    jberg 10:40 PM  

    It took me until maybe 2 PM to finish this baby, and then I had to run off to an appointment, so everything has been said, and maybe it would have been better to let the comments remain one fewer. I'm less religious about commenting every day than some, but I don't want to pass this off. So just a few points:

    IGOR Olenicoff???? I mean, come on.

    ULULATE belongs in the grid, sorry to see it slink off into the clues.

    And @Rex, I'm impressed you studied POPE in high school- I think I was a junior in college before I got to him.

    Anonymous 10:49 PM  

    @Jberg - I don't think you're supposed to know Mr. Olenicoff's name, just that he has to be Russian. Then you try IGOR, IVAN, ok, I ran out of 4 letter Russian names. Then you pick one. Fewer than three at the worst.

    OISK 11:06 PM  

    Anonymous (at 8:37) - don't know whether your comment was addressed to me, but I was agreeing with you!

    OISK 11:06 PM  

    Anonymous (at 8:37) - don't know whether your comment was addressed to me, but I was agreeing with you!

    Rex Parker 11:17 PM  

    Why is *anyone* talking to an Anonymous? I mean really. Commenting 101.

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    Anonymous 6:46 PM  

    @Pete What do your annoying comments on the Catholic Church have to do with the NY Times crossword? Must people such as you inject politics/religious bigotry into every arena? I do the crossword to escape moronic comments such as yours.

    Stephen 11:43 PM  

    Bigotry is "intolerance toward those who hold different opinions from oneself". I find that attitude in a couple of signal places in this blog.

    It would be helpful if Anonymous used a name so that we could tell him(?) apart from other his(?) many eponymous fellows.

    private beach club ponte vedra 2:08 AM  

    Even I use to play that string game all the time. If I could do a Jacobs ladder, I would strut all day long with the damn string in my hand showing anyone who dared to be around me.Nice video..DECARLO umped in right away, but HAREMPANTS really really wanted to be fig-leaf-related.

    NotAnonymous 2:34 PM  

    your snark at the use of Anonymous is pretty rich from a person identifying oneself as "Stephen." I fail to see how that identifies you more specifically than "Anonymous" does.

    And yes, the OP made bigoted comments under the definition you posted, I assume in the supercilious way all haters of the Catholic Church do. Save it for some other forum.

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    MetaRex 8:16 PM  

    A couple of earlier MetaRexian posts--including one on this thread--have been based on the assumption--not sure how I made it--that the irascible, highly articulate, and politically scarlet poster Evil Doug and the very fine constructor Doug Peterson are one and the same person. I have been informed by a reliable source that they are in fact two completely different people.

    My regrets!

    I will continue to enjoy ED's posts and Doug Peterson's puzzles, but without conflating them.

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    Spacecraft 11:53 AM  

    First: I would have liked to comment on yesterday (in Syndiland)'s PRO AND CON offering, but it was not possible. The only page I could find was one of Rex's blogs only, one after the other. I just wanted to say I liked it; the scope was certainly ambitious and the fill suffered accordingly, but still an awesome effort.

    Now today. Typically Friday tough, but gettable--despite my never having seen this "LUANN" comic anywhere. I think Supe has pinpoint control of the distance that his HEATVISION travels, so he bounces it off the mirror with precision. (See, I read comics; still never heard of LUANN).

    PALACECOUP gets a big question mark; more green paint. The COUP is the point; where it takes place is almost irrelevant.

    Great misdirects in the SW made it the hardest section for me; no idea who BRAFF is, and I had EtS for the Mork & Mindy "characters" for a long while. EMS. Geez. More words-as-letters. [Barf] I did get LOSSLEADER early on, though. This is a common marketing ploy to "get 'em in the door," when hopefully they will buy LOTS more than the L.L. item. It doesn't work with me, but it seems to have a pretty good success record. Me? I buy the "giveaway" and leave. HEH HEH.

    Still, ONTHEWHOLE, a good grid, featuring unusual ten-stacks.

    ozmosis 12:56 PM  

    When I wrote in "x-ray vision" the "y" made me think NY Giants. ugh. Tref is a word?

    Solving in Seattle 3:52 PM  

    When I was an adolescent boy, well before the internet and DVR, I would make sure I was sitting in front of the TV to get my daily vision of Barbara Eden in her HAREMPANTS. She was leading edge for her day and fueled my imagination. Thanks for the memory, Doug.

    With the exception of EMS and ENTS (never saw the M&M show or LOTR), this was a very clean puzzle. TREF is new to me, but with the comments today I'll never forget it.

    capcha: shiplst - something I'm on alot.

    DMGrandma 4:42 PM  

    The NW was my Waterloo. I played CATSCRADLE in the long ago, but never heard of the listed figures. These made me think the clue referred to some computer game like Dirty Birds, and there, except for solitaire, I am in alien territory. I did get DIURNAL, but that was it for that corner.

    I was surprised at how many were unfamiliar with TREF, a word I learned from cross wording-but maybe that was in the Maleska days? Enjoyed the aha moments of HAREMPANTS and LIRE.

    Waxy in Montreal 5:17 PM  

    Knew STEELERS was right so was mightily puzzled by XRAYVISION not working at 15A. Even when it eventually emerged from its crosses, HEATVISION rang no bells. Since Wiki says that it only came into its own as a specific superpower in 1961, slightly after I stopped reading DC Comics, I'm pleading an age copout.

    And loved it when when the penny finally dropped re Barbara Eden's HAREMPANTS as in "Oh, THAT Eden!".

    Learnt TREF from Jewish friends in high school who would comment occasionally on the lunches my Mom had packed for me as we played bridge and noshed.

    Dirigonzo 6:21 PM  

    I was well and truly stuck in the NW with a few scattered squares filled in but no way to connect them, when PP walked in, looked at the grid and said, "With what you have there, the Pool protector looks like it should be TARP". And within two minutes the corner was filled in and the puzzle was complete. I hate it when that happens. To add a touch of irony, for the whole time I was stuck I was staring at the pool in my back yard, still covered with a TARP to protect it from the snow.

    Ginger 7:56 PM  

    I'm AMPED UP, finished a Friday, with only a Google for IGOR. As a kid I remember watching kids playing CATSCRADLE, but never did myself, however with the crosses and a couple of lucky guesses, it showed itself.

    ICEup before IN, gogo before FLUG, snare, before TABOR, and a real aha when eden was Barbara not the land of the serpent. How times have changed, she was not permitted to show her navel, hence the fancy top on those HAREMPANTS.

    Great puzzle, I'll add my voice to all the praises this one has earned.

    Dirigonzo 9:07 PM  

    @ginger - I think I like FlUG/DIRTYHARlEY even better than the answers Rex posted!

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