Limp Bizkit frontman Fred / FRI 5-31-13 / Titus director Taymor / J M W Turner's * Banished From Rome / Farrell of In Bruges / Style played on guitarron / 1972 hit that begins What'll you do when you get lonely / Ingredient in some pastitsio / Relative of bathysphere / Unsolicited manuscripts informally

Friday, May 31, 2013

Constructor: Josh Knapp

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: none

Word of the Day: AQUA-LUNG (56A: Breather?) —
Aqua-Lung was the original English name of the first open-circuit, self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (or "SCUBA") to reach worldwide popularity and commercial success. This class of equipment is now commonly referred to as a diving regulator or demand valve. The Aqua-Lung was invented in Paris during the winter of 1942–1943 by the engineer Émile Gagnan and the lieutenant de vaisseau (ship-of-the-line lieutenantJacques Cousteau, both of France. (wikipedia)
• • •

Very weird solving experience. Got nowhere in the NW, then blazed through everything else, only to end up back at the NW, stuck again. Half my solving time, at least, was spent stuck in that corner (despite my having NOUS, DURST (21A: Limp Bizkit frontman Fred), and "I'M HURT"). Even when I was able (finally) to back myself into stuff I just didn't know (ZITI) (23A: Ingredient in some pastitsio) or couldn't see at first (NETIZEN, GRAVITY), I was stuck for a bit. Once again, the culprit was wrong answers: specifically, "AM I LYING?" for 1A: "You doubt me?" ("AM I WRONG?") and INT for 25A: Football stat. (ATT). Didn't know OVID (despite loving his poetry) (6D: J. M. W. Turner's "___ Banished From Rome") and didn't know WEISS and so ... well, not GAME OVER, but it felt like it, for a bit. Somehow was able to see MAX OUT despite having a wrong "N" in that terminal space, and took the puzzle down from there. Seriously, I don't even remember what happened with the other 75-80% of the grid. I flew through it like it was Tuesday.

As of right now, I have no idea what "TWO!" is supposed to mean as an answer to 34D: Shout repeated at a basketball game. I have attended many basketball games in my life, and this "shout" has never happened. Who is shouting it? Why? Mystifying. The only halfway decent rationale I've heard for this clue (from Jeffrey K, on Twitter) is that the ref is shouting it, as the ball is in the air, to indicate that the shot was a 2-pointer and not, as it might've appeared on a long jump shot, a 3-pointer. But this is a stretch.

Nothing else in this puzzle registered much with me. I had EVENNESS (?) instead of EVEN KEEL for a few seconds. But otherwise, my only minor- to major struggles were north and west of the ACE TEN line (26A: 21 in blackjack). I like the underwaterness of DIVING BELL (19A: Relative of a bathysphere) and AQUA-LUNG (56A: Breather?) sharing space in this grid. I should probably praise the hell out of the smoothness of the grid, esp. given those big, open corners in the NE and SW. I just wish they'd made more of an impression.
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


    jackj 12:07 AM  

    Josh Knapp has given us some very crunchy puzzles but today’s doesn’t quite reach that level. Some fascinating fill but too easily sorted out.

    I can’t honestly blame it on his giving us a pangram since the one letter entries in the puzzle F, J, K, Q and Z are tied to five of the better entries in the puzzle; nothing forced in that respect.

    The Fab five I mentioned are TAKEFLIGHT, JULIE (Taymor-Massachusetts native who made her Broadway directing bones on “The Lion King” and was famously canned from her director’s role on the “Spider-Man” Broadway musical), EVENKEEL, ONTHEQT and NETIZEN. (Not an outlier in that group!)

    There were answers that should have been posers that weren’t, notably ITALIANS, MANI(-pedi), ADAPTSTO, TAPED, TEENSY and even OVID and DAVID.

    Then there were the mini-posers that were great fun, but only gave limited pushback like UNABASHED, AMIWRONG, IMHURT and the Cousteau-ian tribute entries, DIVINGBELL and AQUALUNG.

    But patience has its own reward as Josh ultimately offers up some maxi-posers with the charming THONGS entry, EARLGREY tea hiding in a corner and AGENDA, EXISTENCE and ENIGMAS that also seem to qualify to be in this coterie of cleverness. (How many people might have unhappily settled for ECZEMAS as the cause of head scratching?)

    Not a disappointing puzzle at all and many will think it a quintessential Friday, I just wish it had been more aggressively clued, (he MEOWED).

    Eprailick 12:11 AM  

    I think the shout "two" refers to what the ref says to a player taking foul shots to distinguish it from a one-and-one. Just a guess. Bad clue.

    Anonymous 12:11 AM  

    I agree that the basketball one is weird. Maybe it's fans calling for penalty shots? Otherwise seemed to me on the easy side for a Friday. Did have LYING in the WRONG at first though.

    jae 12:13 AM  

    Mostly easy for me.  The NW put up a bit of a fight, but GRAVITY gave me EXHIBIT A and it was smooth sailing.   Really liked this one. A lot of zip from THONGS, MARIACHI and LAYLA to GAME OVER, ALI G and AM I WRONG.   

    Never heard of Titus but knew JULIE from the Spiderman debacle.

    Only two "know it from crosswords only" gimmes: ARCO and DURST. 

    Erased webiZEN for NETIZEN. Apparently they are synonyms?  Me too for int before ATT.

    Great clue for MERRY MEN!

    Nice solid Fri. Josh, even if it was a tad easy.

    Cap'n Obvious 12:15 AM  

    You know, there's a difference between something that's said often (or even repeatedly) rather than something that's repeated. When a ref calls 'two', do the other refs repeat it? Can you hear TWO, TWO, TWO as a sequence during the course of a game?

    If you're going to put TWO in a puzzle, give up on the cutsie clues.

    okanaganer 12:18 AM  

    This was my fastest Friday ever...answers just popped in like they were greased.

    Several pairs of kinda related answers in addition to DIVING BELL and AQUALUNG:
    TAKE FLIGHT and ASCEND, EXHIBIT A and SCENE I, and THE CAN and OILER stacked on each other.

    For ages I had IRON LUNG at 56A, and right above that HENCHMEN for "Hood's support". Both are such perfect answers for the clues that I suspect some fun misdirection by Knapp/Shortz. Loved it, but it took a while to realize both were wrong!

    Small coincidence: I was doing this puzzle enjoying my cup of EARL GREY, which is Stash's "Double Bergamot" brand.

    Too old to care 1:11 AM  

    Am I the sole male that drew a blank on MANI-pedi? Even after seeing the solution, I was compelled to Google. Well there had to be one challenge or it wouldn't be Friday. MERRY MEN deserves the highest praise.

    Anonymous 1:17 AM  

    Ive got to agree with the basketball TWO referring to foul shots rather than distinguishing between a two/three pointer. When there is a question about a foot on the arc or whatever, the referee will either raise an arm indicating to the scorer that the shot will count for three or point his arm at an angle downward, indicating the two, but he won't say a word, much less shout it. Still a bad clue as despite all the hoops I've played and watched, I doubt I've ever heard a ref yell "two" without following it immediately with "shots." Word repeatedly shouted by Rex commenters at this clue/answer? BOOOOO

    JFC 1:18 AM  

    I had a similar experience as Rex with the NW (not much else, of course, in terms of how long it took me to complete). So, I liked Rex’s comment but was a trifle disappointed that he did not mention this is a pangram. I am sure that was an intentional oversight on his part. I really wasn’t expecting one of his rants because I thought this puzzle stood on its own merits but I thought he would say that. Nonetheless, I was hoping to see one of his rants. Alas, Rex is so consistently inconsistent....


    Anoa Bob 1:31 AM  

    I'm hip to bathyspheres, so DIVING BELL put a big smile on my face. Then when I dropped in UNABASHED off the "B" there and the "H" in THINE, I was hooked.

    Did Mr. Knapp let his imagination TAKE FLIGHT in this puzz. I say yes and EXHIBIT A is the many gems scattered throughout the grid, like EPONYM, MARIACHI, and ON THE QT, so much so that you wont hear a MURMUR (lovely word!) of protest out of me for that glaring double-POC "S" in the lower right corner.

    Now, can someone tell me what a SONIN law is? (I kid.)

    Greg Charles 1:41 AM  

    Guessing OVID from the D was the only way I got through the NW. Still, that's two Fridays in a row I've survived without Googling. I think I'm getting better at this.

    Ellen S 1:42 AM  

    Don't understand ATT, so the fact that I also don't understand TWO doesn't bother me -- most sports stuff is Greek to me. Or Latin. More so than OVID. (But not Gretzky. The Eddie Arcaro/Mel Ott of hockey, right?)

    Easy for me, too. I had to look up two things toward the very end -- DURST and WEISS (compounding my not being able to remember Houdini's name, he spelled it three different ways, so why try to remember?) but I count that as an improvement over having to Google stuff at the very beginning, in order to get started. And then I finished with no errors which is not always the case, even with cheating. So, for me, counts as an easy Friday. And no junk, very nice to see.

    Clark 1:56 AM  

    How about this for the basketball TWO answer. A player makes the first of two free throws. The crowd chants "two, two, two, two . . ." encouraging the player to make the second shot. Seems like a memory from long ago. But I haven't been to a basketball game in a very long time.

    Brian B 2:12 AM  

    I've been to more than one basketball game where the crowd chants "Two! Two!" when the home team has the ball, since a field goal (the offense's objecwive) counts TWO points. This seemed quite unremarkable to me.

    Benko 2:26 AM  

    Easy Friday, finished fast. WEISS was my first entry, as I had a huge Houdini obsession as a kid. Had a few minor mistakes that were corrected quickly...evenness for EVENKEEL, iron lung for AQUALUNG (should have had a Tull clue to cross LAYLA), and net user for NETIZEN.
    I go to Orlando Magic games all the time (I know...shut up) and never hear people chant TWO. It has to be when the opposing team makes a shot from near the 3 point line though, right? As in, "Only count that for TWO points!"
    Good puzzle though.

    Evan 2:32 AM  

    Smooth all around, and I thought it was pretty easy. Loved that I got FEAR as soon as I read the first four words of the clue. When the worst entries in a themeless grid are ATT, COS, and SON-IN, and everything else is solid-to-great, it's a real nice piece of work. I'm linking to ALI G's 2004 Harvard commencement speech in this puzzle's honor (but I'm ticked that the entire crowd was so subdued when he was done, even the students).

    Like others, probably the only thing I didn't like was the clue for TWO. I wasn't sure if they meant the referee indicating the number of free throws, or a defensive player shouting TWO when someone puts up a shot but has a foot on the three-point line (I'm sure I've yelled TWO in that situation). Whatever its meaning, the word TWO is repeated at a basketball game in the same way that the word PASS is. It's a common basketball-related word that you'll hear many times during a game, but nothing else. I wanted the answer to be RAH, because repeating it as RAH RAH at least makes some sense.

    I've finally caught up with all the NYT and LAT crosswords I missed over the last month from my school-related hiatus, so I'm back to blogging now. At least until grad school cranks back up into Worst-Ever Finals Mode. Then it's GAME OVER for me.

    chefwen 2:48 AM  

    Finished this in a timely manner, considering my altered state of mind. I guess the Mango is related to poison ivy and oak. So much for my favorite fruit. Supposedly I can still eat the flesh, but I'm a little leery.

    A little slow getting out of the gate but once I got into the groove, things just kept popping out. Jon took over as I was getting dinner together and not only was he most helpful, he fixed a few of my mistakes. DAMN, the guy is getting good, might have to give up my throne soon. I will fight to the finish!

    Agenda Colin Mariachis 3:36 AM  

    ALI G!!!! Thanks @evan...and welcome back!
    I'm sure 98% of the crowd didn't know he was or his shtick and probably were stunned. i mean we had Walter Cronkhite 25 years before!


    I'd ve rather seen LIPBIZKIT in the grid than the clues. I imagine BEQ has that covered .

    TEENS crossing TEENSY... Interesting.

    Josh Knapp seems a favored son these days. Well deserved.

    Acme 3:39 AM  

    bailiff Bird just admitted to a crossword addiction on Judge Judy without even looking up. Wonder which paper it's in.

    Unknown 3:52 AM  

    One of my fastest Fridays ever but I felt like it was a wheelhouse issue and not a general easiness issue.

    I liked most of this one. Not a huge fan of EXHIBITA and SCENEI in the same puzzle, but it didn't bother me much considering how solid most of the 6+ letter fill was. If MANI-pedi had been clued as first-degree manslaughter I would probably have groaned a bit, but it wasn't.

    The short stuff was fine. Nothing offensive except the TWO clue as mentioned. Oh, and ON IT crossing ON THE QT? I'm pretty new to this but is that okay? ON A PAR made it too. I'll ignore it and consider myself lucky that ON THE CAN missed the cut.

    syndy 4:04 AM  

    I went with MyRmidon for my Hood abettor I may have overthought that one!STEWARDS as a verb is an interesting usage.But slipping a pangram so slickly past OFL is a BIG TODO!

    Rex Parker 6:37 AM  

    Why would you shout "two" when "three" is an option? Maybe this is a shout from a '50s basketball game? A game before there was a 3-pt shot? Because, again, I've literally never heard it. Attended many games, watched many Many games, and ... never.


    Annick 6:38 AM  

    "Two" may refer to the two-minute period left at the end of each quarter. When I did not understand the "Dos minutos" the announcer was yelling, my children patiently explained it to me. It's "dos minutos", mom, two minutes left in the quarter. But like you, I had never heard "two" before.

    Loren Muse Smith 6:57 AM  

    Only an obsessed crossworlder would parse 15D wrong: SO NIN, JONG, and Cather walk into this bar. .

    I think I went through three or four spelling variations before I settled on TEENSY.

    Same experience as most – easy except for the northwest. NOUS was a gimme, but everything else was really tough. It wasn’t until I read the posts here that I saw EXHIBIT A and not some weird plural EXHIBITA that I just shrugged at. And speaking of weird plurals, I *way* overthought the plural for ENIGMAS. Sheesh.

    @Anoa Bob - I agree – MURMUR is a great word. MUmble, MUtter. . .MUst be something onomatopoetic here?

    Ever notice how many SL words seem to be related? SLUSH, sludge, slick, slime, sloppy, sleezy, slide, slosh, slop, slurp. . .And sled, maybe? Down a slippery slope?

    PINT. Huh. Hint, mint, splint, print, flint, lint, tint, glint. I tell you, English is just weird.

    Josh, THINE ON-THE-QT pangram was smooth, smooth, smooth. This stalwart counter of Q’s and K’s didn’t even notice!

    Danp 7:08 AM  

    The "two" isn't that complicated. When a home team player sinks a shot, the crowd yells, "TWO!!!" much the same as they would "Goal!" at a soccer game.

    Paul Keller 7:09 AM  

    Ditto. Impressed by the clean fill. Zipped through the puzzle (by Friday standards) with the NW holding out longer than the rest.

    Lojman 7:12 AM  

    A vastly better - and harder - clue would have referred to TWO being shouted at wrestling meets. Here in wrestling country we know that a take-down is worth TWO points, and when your man on the mat is about to score one, you start yelling "TWO! TWO!" until finally the ref agrees, flashes TWO fingers and yells "TWO!" himself. And then it's like all is right in the world.

    Nice smooth Friday, but I agree with Rex that the NW was leaps and bounds more challenging than the rest, which seemed easier than Friday.


    John C 7:24 AM  

    Marv Albert, former long time basketball announcer for the Knicks would often call "Two" when a player made a shot, indicating that two points were just scored. That led to kids in the playground saying "two" when they scored.

    Glimmerglass 7:30 AM  

    Never thought I was going to finish this one, let alone get it right. I knew I was in trouble when the first answer I could write in was EPONYM. Lots of stuff I didn't know. Correctly guessed two Naticks the S in DURST and the L in SLUSH. The NW was really hard! But hey, that's what makes crosswords fun.

    Z 7:34 AM  

    Except for the speed, Rex described my solving experience. I didn't make the AM I lyiNG mistake, but everything else was the same. Sort of eerie when that happens.

    @JFC - @Rex's complaint about pangrams has been the forced fill they create. Knapp didn't force the fill, indeed the fill is smooth. The worst fill of the scrabbly letters are AMEXES, and TWO. AMEXES is a bit ugly and a POC, but is saved by EXISTENCE and being six letters, not some ugly three letter RRN forced into a corner. TWO is more remarkable for the clue than being forced in to make a pangram. If a constructor wants to do a pangram, this puzzled should be the standard to work by.

    Earl in a clue and an answer. Oops.

    Sean Dobbin 7:43 AM  

    What @Rex said, and more.

    Flew through this, one of my fastest Friday times ever on my phone. So...too easy? Felt more like a Wednesday solve.

    AMEXES was ridiculous, but totally gettable, so no prob for the casual coffee shop solver.

    I'm a pretty big basketball fan. Someone in the know (Josh, Will, whoever) please clue us in to the clue for TWO! We have to be missing something, right?

    joho 8:10 AM  

    @A and @Mitzie, I, too wrote AMEXES in the margin as one ugly plural. There are AMEX cards and there are annexes but there are no AMEXES!

    The great thing is that was the only ugly thing in this superbly done pangram ... so smooth that perhaps @Rex didn't see it? I doubt it, and I was hoping he'd -- for the first time ever -- give praise to a pangram.

    Loved DIVINGBELL joining AQUALUNG in the deep blue sea.

    Except for the NW, this played easy for me on a Friday, but I enjoyed the lack of ENIGMAS and really appreciated the artistry in this puzzle.

    Thanks, Josh!

    Horace S. Patoot 8:21 AM  

    I don't get the clue on EXISTENCE ("It's a living thing") Inanimate objects have existence.

    dk 8:26 AM  

    What @jackj said.

    *** (3 Stars) This one made me feel smart.

    John V 8:56 AM  

    Fun, fast easy.

    Alternate clue for TWO: Number of Donald Trump ex wives.

    Anonymous 8:59 AM  

    Am I an idiot? What is THECAN for "Stir"?

    joho 9:02 AM  

    @Anonymous 8:59, you know, the
    Big House," the "Pen." Slang for prison.

    DBlock 9:15 AM  

    Stir is slang for prison, as is The Can
    Not sure if anyone noted, but it is Colin Farrell's birthday, so nice that was included as well.
    Loved the clues for thongs, merrymen and any time Wayne Gretzky can be referenced is also a plus
    Also loved Houdini clue--long time fan, particularly as he appeared in Ragtime

    Milford 9:18 AM  

    @Anon 8:59 - not an idiot, I was a bit confused by stir/THE CAN at first. But then I remembered (probably from crosswords)that it is the basis of the phrase "stir crazy".

    Sir Hillary 9:27 AM  

    Really easy Friday for me. Not much to add beyond what others have said (superb grid, lame clue for TWO). I had no idea that "stir" was slang for prison, so that answer confused me, but it's always good to learn something new. As a father of three girls, MANI-pedi was no problem. Fred DURST was a total goofball. I love the clue for THINE.

    Toughen up the cluing, and this one would be a classic Friday. The grid is that good.

    Bob Kerfuffle 9:29 AM  

    So easy in the NE; so hard in the NW.

    But a puzzle can't be too difficult when my only write-over was 41 A, MOP before MAT.

    Now to look up what ATT stands for. I assume "attempts", but no one has spelled it out.

    Milford 9:37 AM  

    This was a lovely Friday, chewy but do-able. Did not notice the pangram, which is funny because usually any time I see a Q I'm looking for it.

    I like the phrases EXHIBIT A, ACE TEN, and SCENE I (I had act oNE first). MERRY MEN had a great clue. A little bit of a hang-up parsing SON-IN-law, had rONIN law (is that even a thing?).

    Looked up the origin of ON THE QT, thinking it had some Latin basis, but no, it's just a short form of QuieT.

    Could not think of a four-letter ingredient in pastitsio, which I've made many times (my husband suggested "meat?"), and when the T in ITEM showed up I began to worry that it was going to be feTa ("hey, it's a Greek dish, it must have feta!") but was relieved to see it was the completely acceptable ZITI. I personally use macaroni.

    We can come up with ideas for the TWO clue to be acceptable all day and it's probably still not going to ring true to me personally. I'm not going to yell TWO! when a basket is made any more than I will yell "six!" at a football game. And I don't feel like announcers yell it either. Maybe "so-and-so for TWO". But @DanP is right, they do yell "goal" in soccer, so maybe I'm wrong.

    chefbea 9:43 AM  

    I didn't find it easy and DNF gave up and came here. Did notice Scene 1, exhibit A and QT.

    Carola 9:54 AM  

    Add me to the "fastest Friday" group. I started with the JULIE - JONG cross and motored around clockwise. Spun my wheels briefly in the NW but soon regained traction with AM I WRONG and finished.

    Moving from the road to the seas, I also liked the two diving apparatuses together with the also maritime KEEL and SPAR.

    Liked GRAVITY opposing TAKE FLIGHT and ASCEND.

    @loren - I want to hear the end of that joke! :)

    @chefwen - Sorry about your allergy woes. Mangoes are also on the "do not eat" list for my daughter and me.

    Pete 9:58 AM  

    The TV & radio announcers will say TWO when a basket is scored, unless it's a three pointer, then they'll say something stupid like 'trifecta'.

    As noted above, they say it often, they rarely repeat it.

    Anonymous 10:01 AM  

    @ Milford:

    Ronin law:

    Robert De Niro + awesome car chases + iffy plot = decent action movie

    Anonymous 10:11 AM  


    WA 10:22 AM  

    I was stumped by two too. Announcers often say two and a foul, but not tutu.

    Extremely easy with no erasures, although I was late to NETIZEN but if you repeat that twice, you could be watching a gamne in Brooklyn.

    JFC 10:55 AM  

    @Z, thanks but I think I said that (perhaps in a cryptic manner). I just like to see Rex rant. One of the few enjoyments of my otherwise pathetic life....


    Evan 10:55 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Evan 10:58 AM  


    You might even say it was chewable but doable.


    That's what I thought -- his show started on HBO in 2003, so it's possible that most of the students still hadn't learned of him by then. But then why invite such a big media star if even the students didn't know him (besides the fact that Harvard had the money to get him to speak)? Maybe only a small handful of Harvard students pick its commencement speakers, rather than a majority of the student body voting on them.


    Sarcasm? Because I've been a diehard basketball fan my entire life and I've never heard a crowd chant TWO for any reason. At best a few people might shout TWO if an away team's player shoots a jumper with a foot on the three-point line, as a way of telling the ref that it was a two-pointer rather than a three. But that's hardly a common occurrence.

    Two Ponies 11:00 AM  

    Not so easy for me but a very enjoyable solve. Lots of great words. Finished with one wrong square since I went with Weisz and just didn't question Durzt 'cause I don't know him.
    Nice one Josh.

    PuzzleGirl 11:05 AM  

    @lojman: I love you.

    You know how a lot of teams have that big foam #1 finger? At the University of Maryland the wrestling fans have those with two fingers raised.

    Cheerio 11:07 AM  

    @Loren muse smith. Good point about the sl words. There's also the schl- yiddish words that fit in with that theme.

    I loved this puzzle. I saw the name Josh Knapp and had a feeling of dread. Then after solving, I thought - wow that was really great, why did I feel dread? Then I checked out my ultra-nerd favorites list of NYT crossword puzzle constructors and saw that I had alreay put him on the list with the comment "very smooth."

    I had a similar solving experience as Rex which is a bit unusual for me.

    Here is a shout out for a memoir I am reading "Blood, Bones, and Butter" by Gabrielle Hamilton. She is an awesome writer, and there is a recurring reference to solving a daily crossword puzzle. Although she doesn't say, it seems like you should just know it to be the NYT, given that she is a New Yorker and that other puzzles don't play the same role in the US culture as she confers on her puzzles (OK, fine, disabuse me of that notion.)

    Notsofast 11:18 AM  

    Great clueing, great fill. What more could you want? If you looked up "Crossword Puzzle" in the OED this would be the example shown. Smoothe and brilliant!

    jberg 11:19 AM  

    @JFC and others, I think @Rex's whole point about pangrams is that they are not worthy of comment, so in this case he has nothing to say aout it.

    Unlike everyone else, I breezed through the NW but got stuck in the SW, partly because I guessed Gretzky was a Bruin. If you had asked me cold, I would have said the OILERs were a baseball team -- the image of skating around covered with oil (or on oil) is just too weird.

    As for Turner, I didn't know the painting either, but once you have the D there's no other choice -- it has to be someone a) from Rome, b) older than Turner, and )4 letters (at least in English).

    SW wasn't really that hard, just that I was trying to think of a building in Florence, trying to fit in TAKE wings or TAKE to the air, and didn't think of ARES until I had the ARE. Mostly, though, having encountered two Xes and a Z already, but not ON THE QT, I wanted Equi something for 33D.

    Along with all the diving, oil, etc. pairs there are also OVID and TITUS Andronicus.

    Sandy K 11:19 AM  

    Very enjoyable- without TWO many ENIGMAS.

    Only write-over was AM I lyiNG which easily ADAPTS TO AM I WRONG when Houdini turned into WEISS. (He's Hungarian)

    Great puzzle with some stand-out clues for MERRY MEN, THONGS, LAYLA, MARIACHI, ON THE QT and more...

    Thanks to my nieces for liking Fred DURST!

    sbmanion 11:24 AM  


    I have never heard TWO shouted at a basketball game. The only thing that makes sense to me in professional basketball would occur if there was a flagrant foul. A flagrant foul is either Flagrant-1 or Flagrant-2. Flagrant-2 results in immediate ejection. I can imagine the home crowd yelling TWO, TWO, TWO if an opponent commits a flagrant foul.

    Mel Ott 11:47 AM  

    Listened to Marv Albert call Knick games for years. Don't remember him calling "TWO" when a shot was made. His signature call on a good shot has always been "YESSSS!"

    The clue for TWO is a puzzler to me.

    Anonymous 11:54 AM  

    My TWO cents - when a basketball player is fouled, if he is in the act of shooting, he gets 2 foul shots. If not, there can be either 1 shot plus a bonus if he makes the first, or just an inbounding of the ball with no free throws at all.

    This often leads to players just having been fouled while not seemingly in the act of shooting towards the basket at all, going through elaborate gyrations to convice a referee that they were shooting, and therefore deserve 2 foul shots.


    Anonymous 11:58 AM  

    Should have added that the gyrations are usually accompanied by repeated pleas 'TWO, TWO, TWO'.


    ArtO 12:12 PM  

    Friday is never "easy" for me so when I complete most it's a victory. So, I'll accept the rating as the explanation for my better than average performance today.

    Hand up with all the others on TWO. Many plausible explanations but agree it's a lousy clue.

    mac 12:37 PM  

    Nice puzzle, nice solve! Somehow I did not have much trouble in the NW, finished in the SE.

    I did think "evil" was banished from Rome for a bit, but it was not too hard to fix. Mop before mat as well, @Bob K. Thank you, crosswords, for teaching me arco!

    90 degrees in CT, and very humid. Too hot to BBQ.

    Unknown 12:52 PM  

    What Rex said...especially about the NW corner and TWO. The rest of it was quick fun.

    Numinous 1:26 PM  

    I'd call this one easy. My best time Friday ever. Only four googles, good for me on a Friday. Started in the NE and ran clockWEISZ. Annoyed me to have to change the "real" spelling to an obviously american double S.

    Had henchMEN until I figured out ONTHEQT.

    Hated TWO COS I've never heard it.

    I rather liked the DIVING BELLe, LAYLA(?), in the RAW THONG.

    Kicked myself over OVID and having to look him up. I recently read a book about his exile. I guess I know less about paintings than I do about Rome.

    I liked this one, only needing:
    to sail me to the GAME OVER screen.

    Masked and Anonymou6Us 1:39 PM  

    We often holler "TWO!" at those ball games, when the beer vendor comes around. Sometimes it sounds a little more like "THUU", when the game's closer to over. Thanx to Josh for the six-pack of U-skies.
    Had mucho more trouble with the clue for SLUSH. (???)

    themelessthUmbsUp, btw. NW was easy, at my house. Maybe cuz WEISS, ROB and OVID slid right in, followed immediately by GAMEOVER and EXHIBITA. Knew also what they were up to with that French "we" word, just wasn't sure on the word. Had VOUS for a spell.

    Fave puz music, today: LAYLA. Someone needs to do the puz where all the clues are song lyric-related. That entry was fun to sing into submission.

    Speakin of TWO...My magnum opus 15x15 puz with no black squares and 30 different 15-er entries is now filled to my satisfaction. I made the clue for 1-Across a gimme:
    "Two to the fifteenth, minus one"
    Rest of the clues are gonna be trickier, if they all have to not repeat the general idea of the first one...

    okanaganer 1:55 PM  

    '...a gimme: "Two to the fifteenth, minus one"'

    Huh? 32767?

    okanaganer 2:01 PM  

    Oh, now I get it.

    My favorite binary joke:
    There are 10 kinds of people in the world: those who understand binary, and those who don't.

    (Joke doesn't work if read aloud.)

    M and A and 110 U's 2:07 PM  

    @okanaganer: har. I need to use that, for my 000000000000010 clue. Thanx.
    Thinkin of turnin my grid upside down, before I write out more clues. Then a lot of the clues can be about smaller numbers of things ("Innings in a ball game", etc.)
    Thanx, again.

    Lewis 2:14 PM  

    M&A -- I'm loving this puzzle of yours more and more. And I'm waiting for your Sunday version. And I'm waiting for your U-ser friendly puzzle.

    Ellen S 2:18 PM  

    @Jberg, haha I knew Gretzky was an OILER because I already learned it in crossword puzzles. Now I'm going down to the coal mine to see if there's any ALOE growing around the ADIT; if so I'll bring some back to feed my EELS. Nice to see a puzzle free of that stuff.

    Anoa Bob 2:20 PM  

    Dropped back by to see if anyone had solved the TWO conundrum.

    I remember hearing the P.A. announcer at L.A. Lakers' home games saying "Twoooooooo Minutes, two minutes" at, as one might expect, two minutes to go in the first half. Kinda his signature move.

    But I like M&A's suggestion that it's a repeated shout to the beer vendor. I'll drink to that.

    Benko 2:22 PM  

    M and A--
    Usually, at an editor's office, all of the unsolicited manuscripts are put into what's called the "slush pile". my dad worked for a major publisher and said that although senior editors never look at them, it is a good way for a junior editor to make their name--search through the slush for something the seniors passed on, a writer worth working with. Sometimes they pay off.

    M and A's Last Silver Bullet 2:58 PM  

    @benko. Thanx. Informative story. Crossword solvers are the nicest people.
    Maybe my new puz can make it to the Shortzmeister's Slush Pile, someday. Then later be discovered by a summer intern, in stardate 2318.

    And maybe in some distant day, long after M&A bites the dust, they'll publish a special book of Slush Pile puzs. Could call it "Dead Mouse Crosswords". You know, like how the cat drags in the disgusting remains of some varmint, to show its master "Look what I did!"

    Just the dream of an unworthy constructor-without-workin-too-hard-wannabe.

    ANON B 3:32 PM  

    Please ask Josh Knapp what he meant by "TWO"? We may not agree
    but at least we'll know that.

    Tita 4:19 PM  

    Puzzle reminded me of Diver Dan..I liked the barracuda on that show.

    This was just the right crunchiness for me. Go nowhere in the NW, got the NE & SW surprisingly quickly, stared for a long time at my now TWO diagonally opposed, empty corners.
    But then something happened, and I finished! No googling or asking - just lil' ol' me.
    Really liked it. Finished it!!!
    Great clues, fabulous fill, as others have said.
    Not live / It's a living thing...

    If any one else muses re: TWO I promise I shall TAKEFLIGHT!!

    sanfranman59 4:21 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 17:04, 21:35, 0.79, 15%, Easy

    Top 100 solvers

    Fri 9:44, 12:19, 0.79, 16%, Easy

    Thanks, Rex, for the trip down memory lane with the Jethro Tull album cover. I wore out the grooves in that album back in the day. "In the shuffling madness of the locomotive breath ... no way to slow down" I'll have to put that on my play list this weekend.

    Joe The Juggler 4:22 PM  

    I'd rate it as an "easy" for a Friday for the simple fact that I finished it in under 30 minutes.

    I'm mystified by the TWO thing as well. The "repeated" part especially. That means someone is shouting "TWO TWO"--right?

    The call for a two pointer (a normal field goal) isn't repeated. (And is normally a hand signal and not shouted.) A shooting foul in bonus gives the shooter two (or three) free throws, but again, it's not a repeated shout, if it's a shout at all.

    Greg 5:11 PM  

    I referee HS basketball. We always state "Two" when a player launches a field goal attempt from a spot on the floor very close to the three point line. The cry "Two" is almost always repeated.

    Mr. Benson 5:47 PM  

    I also got stuck on the NW but did a little bit of problem-solving there. The word "me" in the clues for both 1A and 3D led me to surmise that there would be an intersecting "I" in space 3. Needing two letters before that, I put in "AM" (since 1A is a question), and from there "AGENDA" came into view; and then I was off to the races.

    LaneB 5:57 PM  

    Googled to get DURST, ALIG, to find out what bergamot is and LAYLA and OVID, never realizing how prolific Turner was.. The rest came steadily but slowly (as usual) . I particularly liked EXHIBITA, and ONTHEQT. Always satisfying to finish on Friday.

    Rex Parker 8:49 PM  

    I don't know if the clue is Josh's. I am inclined to doubt it. My inside source tells me that the editor believed (firmly) that a crowd shouts TWO to encourage their team to score a basket.


    Z 9:01 PM  

    @RP 8:49 - That's just illin

    Lewis 9:04 PM  

    Thanks Rex. And no, that just doesn't happen.

    Unknown 9:22 PM  

    SIX - shout repeated at a football game?

    krepitch 10:10 PM  

    I don't know about "two" either, but I thought maybe it was referring to a team's set plays.

    For example, sometimes you'll see a point guard bring the ball down the court and raise two fingers (probably repeating the word "two" verbally) so his teammates know that they are going to run set play #2.

    Dunno, though. I would guess it's most likely a reference to a shot taken right near the three point line, so the ref has to shout "two" or "three" - as others have suggested.

    Greg 10:20 PM  

    To Rob C ..the call out loud of "two" is a communication to all interested parties involved in the basketball game. The coaches want to know as does the other referees and the players.Particularly the scorekeeper always must be sure how many points to tally. There is much verbal communication on the floor.

    Will Shortz 10:50 PM  

    Wow! That's a lot of comments about TWO!

    When I was growing up in basketball-crazy Indiana, I remember it was common in high school and college basketball for the crowd to encourage its team to shoot and score by chanting "Two! Two! Two!"

    The fact that hardly anyone knows this (based on the comments here) suggests that it's either regional or dated usage.

    Sorry about that.

    Will Shortz

    Wilt 12:04 AM  

    @Will - What, they couldn't just shout Shoot the damned ball?

    sanfranman59 1:06 AM  

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

    Mon 6:00, 6:12, 0.97, 33%, Easy-Medium
    Tue 8:36, 8:09, 1.05, 67%, Medium-Challenging
    Wed 12:00, 10:00, 1.20, 88%, Challenging
    Thu 19:52, 17:12, 1.15, 79%, Medium-Challenging
    Fri 17:03, 21:35, 0.79, 15%, Easy

    Top 100 solvers

    Mon 3:50, 3:49, 1.01, 50%, Medium
    Tue 5:10, 4:52, 1.06, 66%, Medium-Challenging
    Wed 7:11, 5:49, 1.23, 93%, Challenging
    Thu 10:54, 10:00, 1.09, 66%, Medium-Challenging
    Fri 9:06, 12:19, 0.74, 9%, Easy

    Elle54 7:23 AM  

    Here in Illinois we shouted Two at our high school Bball games. I believe there was a cheer led by cheerleaders, " Put it in for two." so maybe it is regional.

    Douglas Adams 7:36 AM  

    @Will Shortz - Is 42 a lot?

    Anonymous 7:50 AM  

    there really shouldnt be such a controversy about two, especially going all the way to the editor. most who played the game know this exclamation after a basket. probably dated since the inception of the three pointer,but who cares? still valid.cant believe will apologized for it.

    Anonymous 4:19 PM  

    I cant believe Mr. Shortz monitors this blog. So, Mr. Shortz, your apology is gracious but unnecessary. Two is still used commonly both by fans, and as Rob noted, refs.

    spacecraft 12:08 PM  

    About TWO, all I can say to @Brian B and @Danp is: you fellas have been to some W-E-I-R-D b-ball games! Of the myriad ways to clue TWO, that one would simply NEVER occur. I started with the gimme MANI, and really wanted MEOWED--but couldn't write it in because what three-letter word is shouted repeatedly at basketball games, that has W in the middle?Eventually the surrounding grid made TWO mandatory, but I can tell you I frowned mightily as I put it in. In fact, I was second-guessing that whole area, because who would cross TEENSY with TEENS?

    Once this solver ADAPTSTO these ENIGMAS, he is confronted with a batch of never-heard-ofs:
    "Titus," or director Taymor
    "In Bruges"

    Luckily, crosses forced all these, and I finished this Friday entry in relatively short order. Strange that the NW gave OFL such trouble; it went in pretty easily for me--and I even had to infer the term NETIZEN having never actually seen it. The NE gave me a harder time of it. SONATA crossing SONIN? That's TWO lazy crossings that repeat letter patterns both ways. I'm not a fan of that, or of SCENEI (ugh!).

    However, there is much I do like here as well. Lots of clever cluing, as befits Friday (STEWARDS as a verb, e.g.), and 8-stacks galore that all work surprisingly well. And finally, GRAVITY on the vertical. Had to be! GAMEOVER.

    DMGrandma 3:01 PM  

    Latched on to EPONYM, and worked my way through this one. All but the NW, that is! Finally deduced OVID, and the rest slowly fell. Like @Glimmerglass, I questioned the S in DURST and the L in SLUSH, but we both guessed them correctly! That DURST/WEISS intersection was pretty unfair. Loved the clue for MERRYMEN once I gave up trying to remember the name of that thingie that used to be raised to support car hoods. Lots of talk about TWO, but what does ATT represent? Only football things I could,think of we're yds and pts.

    I seem to be rambling on, and my Captcha tells me it's "utterdff", so I'm outta here.

    NM Robin 4:11 PM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    NM Robin 4:15 PM  

    This is the first time I completed a Friday puzzle, so I would rate this as easy. I started like @Numinous in the NE knowing JULIE and JONG and followed around counter-clockwise to the SE. I didn't have any trouble in the NW. It surprised me that OFL did. Of course, his "trouble" is probably shorter that my completion of one word in that section.

    I didn't see TWO when solving and had to go back to find it and what all the hubbub was about. Interesting discussion. Also. did not see SLUSH. Got that completely from crosses.

    Enjoyed this puzzle very much.

    Thank you Mr. Knapp

    Dirigonzo 4:20 PM  

    I had a few write-overs - iNline/ONAPAR and flamenco/MARIACHI being the most notable - but eventually got it all sorted out with a good guess at the DURST/WEISS cross. Why, I wonder, does every politician have to wear a US flag lapel pin these days?

    @DMG, somebody mentioned that ATT is "attempts" as in field goal tries, I guess.

    @Spacecraft wrote "I started with the gimme MANI..." - I find that mildly disturbing.

    sdcheezhd 4:55 PM  

    I will hop on on the fastest Friday ever and boooo two trains. I watch a lot of basketball and my daughter has played club or high school BB for 10 years and I've never heard it. In my experience the refs put the arms up for a 3 attempt and leave them up if it goes in and if it's a 2 they point two fingers to the floor. As for the crowd that has to be dated - once the 3 pointer came in why would a crowd cheer for 2? I ran the alphabet with T_O and discarded TWO until I saw that got me the cross. I'm from Wisconsin so we all know Appleton's Ehrich Weiss. I thought REALITY grounds you and not GRAVITY but fortunately that got me EXHIBITA and NETIZEN meant I had to change it especially with the W.

    Waxy in Montreal 5:31 PM  

    Fun Friday. AMIWRONG? Had PAT (Points After Touchdowns) & INT (Interceptions) before ATT, MUTE ON before MURMUR, DATE (odd reasoning) before GAME OVER and IRON before AQUA LUNG but crosses quickly alleviated matters. Gimmes included OILER (I'm Canadian, eh?), DIVING BELL from the G in JONG and EARLGREY, my fav nightcap of late.

    Loved ONTHEQT & MERRYMEN, not so much ARCO & DURST.

    Very obscure mini-theme: EHRICH WEISS, ERICA JONG and ERIC CLAPTON (LAYLA).

    spacecraft 7:42 PM  

    @Diri: Please do not be disturbed. I don't know where I picked up that "MANI-pedi" bit of knowledge jetsam; I've never had--or given!--one and remain unlikely to ever do so. It just...flew into the spiderweb of my head and stuck there.

    @DMG et al: ATT refers to quarterback passing. Every time he lets it fly, it's an ATTempt. So: ATT 39, COMP (letions) 26 would yield a completion rate of 67%. Pretty good, BTW.

    @ Waxy: nice dig-out of the first-name mini-theme.

    You know, come to think of it, my former podiatrist used to...ah, never mind. TMI.

    AquilaAquilegia 8:23 PM  

    Personally, I could HEAR the "two, two, two" chant in my head as I put the answer in. Of course, I, like WS, grew up in basketball-crazy Indiana, loooong before three-pointers.

    It's pretty bad when it takes me four attempts to finally push my way through the Thursday puzzle, and Friday zips right out from under the pencil. Though the fact that I was trying to solve Thursday's at a triple-A baseball game probably had something to do with that. I put VEGA in and thought, "Vega is not eggy. Arcturus, now, that's different."
    (Vega is blue-white, Arcturus golden-yellow.) Oh, well.

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