LBJ biographer Robert / FRI 9-6-13 / Hit from 1978 disco album Cruisin / Coppelia attire / Port where Camus set Plague / Old Hollywood low-budget studios collectively / Wine bottle contents in Hitchcock's Notorious / Map inits created in wake of Suez Crisis

Friday, September 6, 2013

Constructor: Brad Wilber and Doug Peterson

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none

Word of the Day: TREE GUARDS (28D: Barriers used in urban renewal projects) —
Tree guards are fences around the perimeter of a tree pit that provide a physical barrier between a tree and our sometimes harsh urban environment. These tree guards reduce soil compaction, shield the trunk from physical damage, and prevent pet waste from entering the tree pit. Tree guards have been proven to extend the longevity of trees, reduce mortality rates, and can also provide a small protected planting bed for gardening. (
• • •

Another lovely, virtually spotless creation from Wilber and Peterson — or, as I mistakenly called them the other day and will forever call them, in my head if not elsewhere, "Brad and Wilber." This one played pretty easy, though I kept getting oddly hung up. Oddly because ... I didn't have that many wrong answers, I just had trouble seeing the answers right in front of me. Pattern recognition problems, I guess. NW was the best example of this problem. Got PUCE straight off. Also ENYA(19A: Singer born Eithne Ní Bhraonáin). And ORAN (2D: Port where Camus set "The Plague"). And VARY. So, first three letters of *all* the long Acrosses aaaand ... none of them make sense to me. A few seconds later I got CARROT CAKE, and eventually I got URANIUM ORE and figuratively smacked myself in the head—I know "Notorious" well but was conflating it with "North by Northwest," the where there is microfilm, not URANIUM ORE, involved (15A: Wine bottle contents in Hitchcock's "Notorious"). POVERTY ROW I've never heard of (1A: Old Hollywood low-budget studios, collectively), so when I saw POV- I thought "oh, clue specifically doesn't use word "movie," so that must be in the answer: 'MOV-... something'." Oh, poor, naive, 10 minutes-ago me.

Also, I didn't know some of these terms, like TREE GUARDS and SANTA CLARA (27D: Site of the last battle in the Cuban Revolution) (wanted SANTIAGO, which is in Chile *and* doesn't fit).

After I got out of there, things sped up a bit, though I didn't know WEEDEATERs functioned as edgers, i.e. I didn't know one used them for precision work. I might have tried WEED EDGER in there at some point. Also, I thought GELATOS were colorful desserts. GELATIN to me is the horse hoof stuff that Junior Mints thankfully doesn't use any more. So unsure of spelling of STEADI-CAM (29A: Director's alternative to a dolly) that I almost let GELATYN stand. Yipes. Tore up the bottom of the puzzle thanks Entirely to the MENDOZA Line (42D: Baseball's ___ Line (.200 batting average)). I collected baseball cards at the right time for that answer to be deeply meaningful to me. I can still see poor Mario in his (also poor) Seattle Mariners uniform. At least he got to be an eponym. Most big leaguers never get anything close to that.
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


    August West 12:01 AM  

    "Sometimes you eat the bar, and sometimes....well, he eats you." I've been really lucky this week, with a run of "tough fill" right out of my life's experience. Had a really fun, quick time of this easy yet wide-ranging themeless. Love Hitchcock? Bam. So that's PUCE and ... whoa!

    Suddenly, I'm subliminally sucked back to a great afternoon with my dad, explaining the term POVERTY ROW to me, at about 8, as we listened to old radio broadcasts of The Shadow on his reel-to-reel Wollensak.

    Got as far out of the NW as WEED_ _ _ _ _, into which I temporarily placed "strip". Not because such a thing exists in common parlance, but because my of my crazy childhood neighbors, Mssrs. Held and Dings. I mowed their lawns. They had some silly feud running over the exact location of their adjoining lawns' survey demarcation. Each warned me regularly never to mow the "weed strip" -- a six inch wide No Man's Land between their contiguous half-acres that served to satisfy their respective German obstinance. For years. Until, at my father's impish urging, I just made it disappear one afternoon. Neither ever said a word to me about it. And I didn't lose either as a customer.

    11, 16 & 18A went in like butter, leading to my one out loud exclamation along the solve: "Of course, they're REGULATING!"

    APPLE CIDER was clued with a glint in the eye, and I enjoyed it. So endeth the top.

    Yesterday, we had ENDOR, today, it's inhabitants. That shouldered me up to my second close encounter with Dad in one puzzle. A 1958-64 Marine who was sardine-canned with his mates at the tip of Florida as the Cuban Missle Crisis played out (just waiting the invasion order that, thankfully, never came), he is a keen historian of Cuba, generally, and its Revolution, in particular. Knew SANTA CLARA. Thanks, Dad!

    I've litigated injury claims caused by City TREE GUARDS. My paternal grandparents lived for the last 20 years of their marriage in a RETIREMENT community my Dad liked to call "Arlington for the Barely Living."

    Of course, FAN crosses the MENDOZA Line! Awesome. Also like the mind's eye image of John and Yoko ONO in bed humming O(H)M!!!

    Things are looking up for the weekend. Great job!

    Questinia 12:09 AM  

    Didn't someone recently discuss gelatin and pectin re veganism and PBJ?

    Was frankly confused by the now-rare hyphen for 21A. I thought, what words connect now to rare and why should they have a method? When I mentally erased the hyphen, DIALUP appeared spontaneously.

    WEED EATERS are unknown to me, we wack'em. in these parts.

    Drew a blank with "doing a government agency's job". Ushering us to a good seat at the Apocalypse?

    Seeing URANIUM ORE above CARROT CAKE made me think of yellow cake. See above paragraph.

    EAST ORANGE is yesterday's HURON River.

    I laughed when I saw "Smallish lingerie spec"= B cup and saw the constructors were both guys. Guess that's better than "flattish".

    I rarely feel like rating puzzles but this one seemed very easy for a Friday.
    But fun. Thank you boys.

    wreck 12:18 AM  


    ... how many of us first entered "ACUP" ?????

    Apple Cider MsMagazine 12:18 AM  

    SO many mistakes, so little time:
    cuBA, GAb, uSMAGAZINE, overseeING, wed/ONE
    but it all worked out!!!
    I actually enjoyed some of my mistakes (realizing there are two MAGAZINES for ?SMAGAZINE…that alone is cool.
    How many two letter word magazines are there? US, MS, GQ, EW, TV? FX?
    EASTORANGE is a helluva bleedover, from the LOWHANGINGFRUIT puzzle that keeps on giving!

    Moment of synchronicity, YMCA was an answer on tonight’s repeat of the jeopardy! Tournament of Champions and NONE of them got it! I was yelling at the TV (Singing it, actually) but I didn’t know YEREVAN which they ALL knew as the finalquestion, so there’s that.
    Anyway, well done, Doug and Brad…not an iffy answer in the bunch and you didn’t even get me on MENDOZA!

    August West 12:20 AM  

    "EAST ORANGE is yesterday's HURON River." Heh! Line of the day. Funny, though, as it's only about a half hour from my house, it's just one of those things North Joisey folk tend to know. I feel like Caddyshack's Bishop, along the course of the "best game of my life!" (But wondering when lightning will strike.)

    I'd keep playing.

    jae 12:22 AM  

    Delightful very smooth Fri. with some zip...YMCA, ORK, MENDOZA, OTHER WOMAN... from two of the best.  Wanted Grindhouses for 1a, but it was not to be.   This was medium for me with NW tough (never heard of @Rex POVERTY ROW either),  NE easy, and the South easy-medium. 

    Erasures: GAb to GAS (@ACME) and the s in MENDOZA to a Z. And bUTtS IN didn't fit.

    No WOEs but I did get fooled into looking for a plant instead of a color for 43a. 

    Like it! 

    mathguy 1:12 AM  

    I didn't find it easy. Only three gimmes and seven unfamiliar entries. A couple of cute clues made it fun. Liked the clue for OTHERWOMAN.

    John Child 1:17 AM  

    When this prolific pair, AKA Lars G. Doubleday, team up I expect a hair-tearing experience. But I thought this was relatively easy for Friday -- I completed it without assistance and in less than 40 minutes. Some gimmes up top and a couple of good guesses below helped me, but I also spent a lot of time sorting out wrong guesses like APPLEjuice/sauce/CIDER; GmT/bST/GST; fdA/TvA/TSA; eNO/ONO; and yAk/GAb/GAS. Good fun all around. Thanks Lars!

    Steve J 2:05 AM  

    Lesson learned: Friday puzzles are not the right occasion to attempt to do a puzzle while doing the following:

    - Watching the first NFL game of the season
    - BSing with several friends over said first game of the NFL season via text message
    - Drinking one too many beers while watching said game

    Given how much of the grid I filled in while all that was going on (providing my own anecdotal evidence that people who think that the human brain can handle multitasking are completely deluding themselves), easy-medium is probably about right for a rating.

    Loved MENDOZA line. It's been a classic demarcation (and running gag) amongst baseball fans for years, to the point that it's crossed outside its native territory and been used in other contexts. Never heard of POVERTYROW, but it's a quality bit of fill.

    SAGEGREEN sounds like a Crayola color. Perhaps Avocado shows up in the big box of 64, too?

    Lastly, this puzzle reminds me of one thing that's perplexed me for many years: What possessed someone - let alone generations of followers - to ruin a perfectly good spice cake by making it a CARROTCAKE?

    Anonymous 4:12 AM  

    Wasn't gelatin just wrong? Why is there so much condoning of wrong clues here? Maleska checked things.

    Noah W. 4:46 AM  

    From the dictionary: "GELATIN - A jelly made with gelatin, used as a dessert or salad base."

    I guess Shortz checks things too

    Dean 4:50 AM  

    Once again, GST rears its ugly, non-existent head. Constructors! There is no such thing as Greenwich Standard Time. There is Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), there is Universal Time Coordinated (UTC), and the military likes to call it ZULU. Outside North America, you don't really find the word "standard" in time zones. Please quit assuming it's there before you give us "London Christmas setting" and expect BST, which stands for British Summer Time.

    Danp 5:30 AM  

    Surprisingly easy, considering how many things I never heard of (poverty row, MSMagazine, Santa Clara, Mendoza, treeguards, etc). And yet, carrot cake popped into my head from no-where, as did puce (a color I've heard of - are we talking dried blood here?). Maybe I was just lucky, but it felt like a Tuesday puzzle.

    Robso 6:13 AM  

    (Danp, you must have heard of Ms. Magazine.)

    r.alphbunker 6:26 AM  

    The sound of a dialup modem can be found here.

    It has over 2,000,000 "views", ~10,500 likes and only 155 dislikes. How could someone dislike that sound? It meant that soon you would be on the Internet.

    @John Child
    Thanks for the explanation of Lars Doubleday. I have only seen him as the constructor on Saturday Stumper puzzles and always thought it sounded like a made up name. I know that Anna Stiga (Stan Again) and Sally R Stein (Really its SN) are used by Stanley Newman. Are there any other pseudonyms I should know about?

    Loren Muse Smith 6:36 AM  

    I’ve stopped feeling all insecure when I struggle with a puzzle everyone here is saying was easy. (Now *there’s* a sentence to parse.) I absolutely couldn’t get much over in the west beyond SAGE GREEN (@jae – I was fooled, too, but I was thinking of fruits with pits. When I saw GREEN, I wanted "lime" GREEN). So I googled SANTA CLARA and then was off and running again.

    I always thought PUCE was kind of a drabby cement color, maybe because it's just an unfortunately-spelled word?

    "Sense" for TASTE mucked up the middle for way too long.

    @Acme – me, too, for "Us" before MS.

    Loved the clue for NEAT. I totally committed to "ordered" being a verb, not an adjective. But you could probably make a good case that verbs and adjectives are as similar to each other as URDU and Hindi.

    Liked NITE hovering above DIA.

    @Geezer Ed– you’re in Martinsburg! I’m in Wirt County!

    Two years ago I would have been too intimidated to admit this next goof here. But now I know all of you are forgiving people who won't make fun of mistakes. (Lurkers take note – this is a great place!)
    I don't set the world on fire with my knowledge of history or baseball. I can give you Tony Conigliaro, The Hot Corner, 1588 Defeat of the Spanish Armada, and Japan invaded Manchuria back in the 30s and pretty much call it a day. So that baseball line gave me an unfortunate tickle in the reptilian History Knowledge part of my brain and fairly early on, I misspelled "Demagio" for what I meant, both Maginot/Dimaggio. Oops.

    @Z, Steve J, Carola, r.alphbunker, thanks for your help yesterday. And here I just thought I was being stupid because from my work computer, there was no problem. I was certain it was pilot error and not $%#& word error. For anyone else with the same issue – this site is terrific:

    turn off smart quotes

    Brad, Doug – GELATIN, PECTIN, CUTS IN. . .I'M IN with everyone who's praising this beaut. Well done.

    jberg 7:51 AM  

    CARROT CAKE was my first entry, leading to quick completion of the NW< but it was slow after that -- in every section I had to guess one of the longs, and then everything followed. Also some errors got in the way -- mainly misreading the number and writing CARO in 51A, but also seeing SAGE and figuring avocados must be grown on some relative of SAGEbrush, which crossed the beautiful WORRISOME correctly. Also wanting RuBe as a country name.

    But it still took only about 15 minutes, pretty good for me -- and with my whole family there at 45A, how could I not love it?

    @Rex, there is a "Santiago de Cuba". Fortunately, it didn't fit.

    Z 8:03 AM  

    That SE was fun. Hypotenuse didn't work, OTHER WOMAN is so much better. Then my first thought was Kali would be an oddity for a Mad MAGAZINE cover since the mid fifties were not a big time for Eastern Religions in popular American culture.

    Waited for the cross on the CUP size, tipped off by the "ish" in the clue. Does the OTHER WOMAN ever wear a B CUP?

    ORK and YMCA in the same corner. Time to get out my platform shoes and bell bottoms because the seventies are coming back.

    Z 8:08 AM  

    BTW - it was my conflating PECTIN and GELATIN and thinking that Shortz had gotten the PBJ clue wrong that started that discussion. Talk about a malapop. @anon4:12 - You're not the first to wrongly think Shortz got it wrong, nor will you be the last.

    Carola 8:22 AM  

    With its CARROT CAKE and APPLE CIDER, this puzzle was comfort food after my struggles of the past couple of days - an easy, very pleasing Friday. I liked the assorted BLASTS from the PAST: POVERTY ROW, WARSAW PACT, GELATIN desserts, DIAL-UP connections, being reminded of K-TEL and their late-NITE ads for the hits of my youth, and remembering the heady early days of MS MAGAZINE.

    Also liked ONO over OTHER WOMAN, as she was one.

    In the NW, what popped out at me was WEED EATER ROAR ENRAGES. I'll say. Especially when the lawn guys across the street are using a couple of leaf blowers at the same time.

    Yeah, "smallish." Relaive to what, is all I ask.

    joho 8:26 AM  

    Everything I wrote in the margin has already been said.

    I will add that I loved URANIUMORE because it brought back that incredibly tense scene in one of my favorite black and white movies.

    @anon 4:12, how can you not visualize a great big bowl of bright red Jello all ajiggle?

    Now I'm wondering if there is a SAGEGREEN PENTEL. I'll bet there's a PUCE.

    I like the LETSOUT/CUTSIN cross.

    This puzzle was anything but WORRISOME. Definitely on the easy side as it was all done before the light went out.

    Thanks, Brad and Doug!!! Fun Friday!

    Glimmerglass 8:28 AM  

    @questina & @wrek: Hand up for A CUP -- Fond memories of junior high in 1953.

    Unknown 8:32 AM  

    Best of the week, in my opinion. A solid Friday, challenging but not frustratingly so. And, yum, CARROT CAKE!

    Evan 8:40 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Evan 8:41 AM  

    I had a bunch of errors which others above have mentioned and which I still somehow managed to correct fairly quickly, probably because most of my wrong answers were so close to the right ones:

    * UAE before UAR
    * SWAY before VARY (that took a little work to undo)
    * GAB before GAS
    * GMT before GST -- I was going to complain about this one before I remembered that the S doesn't stand for Standard but Sidereal
    * A-CUP before B-CUP
    * ON IT before I'M IN -- should have seen that "on" was in the clue

    So even after all that -- plus being sleep-deprived, hungry, and not knowing how SPLEEN meant "Ire" -- I'd still put this in the Easy-Medium category. Just goes to show what happens when all the answers are smooth and inferable.

    Rex, you might mistakenly call them Brad and Wilber. I like to call their team-ups Brug Wilberson. Gotta nice flair to it, it does.

    schmuzz 8:43 AM  

    because i completed the friday puzzle in under 40 minutes i knew it would be rated easy!
    and that's a good thing,,,,
    hands up for ACUP, CUBA, USMAGAZINE,

    Katzzz 9:01 AM  

    Rex, Santiago is the capital of Chile, but it's also the second biggest city in Cuba. But still the wrong answer/

    Anonymous 9:05 AM  

    This is about the fifth time "Ohm" has made it into the NYT crossword puzzle in the last month or so.

    dk 9:09 AM  

    @august, nice post and.... "be the ball ohmmmmm."

    We called them trees-to-go. And I am sure Cynthia Lennon liked ONO over OTHERWOMAN.

    Nice job lads. And remember according to Maurice C. anything more than a champagne glass is wasted. (obscure BCUP reference)

    🌟🌟🌟🌟 (4 Stars) A blissful Friday.

    John V 9:44 AM  

    Left in the Y at GELATIN, but other wise, flawless. I knew it was STEADY/ICAM but muffed the alternate spelling. Nice and easy for a Friday. Thanks, Brad and Doug

    Masked and Anonym007Us 9:45 AM  

    This puz musta been real easy. I just got up, and it's done. Would kinda figure -- not a whole lot other than CARO and yer decorator color names that wasn't gettable from a letter or two's worth of hint. Day-um smooth fill.

    I have finished (the grid for) my magnum opus "Body parts that smell" puz. It stinks. Beyond that, U probably do not want to know. Has Nsufficient U's, btw. Shoulda partnered with Brad and Wilbur.

    Agent 007U will return in "CARO SAGEGREEN Royale".


    Casey 9:59 AM  

    Loved the puzzle and the comments even more!

    Never Mind 10:09 AM  

    Ugly puzzle, ugly thinking. That B cup smallish lingerie spec is just plain crass. And wrong. Party tray array answer of meats is also crass. Cold cuts are meat, of course, but no one putting together a party platter puts meats out. The word "meats" evokes main dishes, like a pork chop or a roast. People hosting party put out cold cuts. The Kali clue also is crass. True, Ms. Magazine's first issue had Kali on the cover, but what a weird way to remember the contributions of Ms. But, of course, the puzzle-constructing guys aren't remembering the contributions, they're just being wiseguys. Also, the "Hindi relative" clue for the answer "Urdu" totally overlooks the intense political controversy about the two languages, the religious polarities, the hostilities. But then again, why should puzzle-constructors in America know or care about tensions in the Indian subcontinent? Answer: because they live in the world! Then again, relatives do quarrel. But I bet that Wilber and Peterson didn't know diddly about the controversy.

    r.alphbunker 10:10 AM  

    Lars G. Doubleday is an anagram of Bradley.Douglas. I feel fortunate that there is a blog where I can post something like this.

    August West 10:18 AM  

    @Steve J: Nice to learn there's another NFL fan here. I'm sure Elway is kicking himself over his "Tebow Decision."

    "Take Peyton," I said. "Nope. Gotta be Brees," he said. Not that I'm unhappy with Drew. We've won our league three out of the last four years with him. But I was LMAO as I walked over to my 'puter to see what poor bastids had to open their season against Manning last night.

    Kleenx 10:18 AM  

    Jell-O is a brand name belonging to Illinois-based Kraft Foods for varieties of gelatin desserts, including fruit gels, puddings and no-bake cream pies. The brand's popularity has led to Jello as a generic term for gelatin dessert across the U.S. and Canada

    Imfromjersey 10:25 AM  

    Really enjoyable puzzle by Wilber and Peterson. Although the MENDOZA line is generally known as .200, Mario Endoza actually had a career average of .215.

    August West 10:40 AM  

    Wilber and Peterson. Who are they, the Opie and Anthony of Crossworld, or sumthin'? Tss tssss

    Two Ponies 10:52 AM  

    Very satisfying solve. Lots of things I did not know but it all came together.
    A B-cup is not that small if the woman is petite.

    Notsofast 10:53 AM  

    Nice, unusual fill. Brilliant clueing. This was a blast! Big tip o' the hat!

    DJG 10:57 AM  

    Certainly smooth, but lacking sizzle, in my opinion. OTHERWOMAN is great, and there is some other decent fill (like MENDOZA and WARSAWPACT). But overall found it on the "blah" side.

    Not bad, just not spectacular.

    Sandy K 11:03 AM  

    Totally agree with Rex! haha

    Thought 'microfilm' before URANIUM ORE too. Got my Hitchcock films mixed up a bit...Vertigo was on last night and interview with Kim Novak- I'm a FAN!

    Never heard of POVERTY ROW, TREE GUARDS, and WEED EATER in this sense, and SAN jACinto before SANTA CLARA- but all gettable. Fave- OTHER WOMAN! Unfave- PUCE!

    @Z- Re: yesterday- LOL! I often say "I got a letter in every box and I just don't get it!" Hubby with low tolerance for gimmicky puzzles has similar "Who cares?!" reaction, yet here we are...

    joho 11:11 AM  

    @M&A ... looking forward to your "Body Parts That Smell" puzzle with bated breath. I'll be sure to give it a rousing PU!

    Steve J 11:21 AM  

    @Never Mind: I'm hosting dinner tomorrow night. You know what I'm putting out for pre-meal grazing? A tray of MEATS and cheeses. That's what I'm actually calling it ("What are you serving for appetizers?" "I'll set out a tray of meats and cheeses, along with some bread" - actual conversation), and that's what lots of people call it, at least around where I live. (To me, "cold cuts" evokes what was available to my grandparents, not the diverse range of cured meats that are readily available today.) So, yes, the answer is indeed accurate. Nor is it crass. It's, at most, a difference in dialects.

    Also not crass ("You keep using that word; I do not think it means what you think it means"): Typical Friday-level obscure cluing to reference a magazine, or acknowledgement that women's undergarments come in different sizes, some of which are indeed smaller than others. You may not like the clues, but it's a stretch to say they're stupid, insensitive and oafish.

    URDU and Hindi are indeed related to each other linguistically. One doesn't have to point out the fraught politics between the speakers of the respective languages to note that. And how would one fairly address that in the brevity of a crossword clue, anyway?

    @August West: I'm guessing you'll still do pretty well with Brees. Odds are Peyton won't be maintaining a 7TD-per-game pace.

    Ellen S 11:29 AM  

    @LMS - you embedded a link! Yay, and useful, though not as much fun as the Caddyshack clip (thanks @August West).

    I guess I'd agree this was easy for a Friday, as I was able to finish it in about an hour and a half (with a night's sleep in between). And, more significant, only needed to cheat down at the bottom. I was convinced that "skip" was baRGe (in my defense, there is such a thing as a Skip Barge, though I don't know what it is).

    I don't think GST can be excused as Sidereal Time. Oh maybe it can since Std was in the clue so that S doesn't stand for standard. Well, okay.

    I also had trouble with BCUP since relative to me it is largish... and I already had URDU but still that corner gave me the most trouble.

    Z 11:39 AM  

    @Steve J - I took the Nom de Blog as a big hint that we should be hearing that rant in the voice of Roseanne Roseannadanna. I could be wrong, but in that voice it is mildly amusing rather than off-putting.

    @DK - Champagne glass? My inner 17 year-old immediately went to the "more than a mouthful" crudité.

    @August West - Several fans of football around here. Careful what you say about the Packers and the Niners, and the Seahawks have fans in Syndiland to boot. As for me, committee meetings interrupted by brief episodes of violence does not a sport make. This is evidenced by the need for a fantasy variety of the sport to make it interesting.

    Steve J 11:46 AM  

    @Z: Ah, hadn't thought of the comic rant angle. That does indeed change things if that's the case.

    Plain text: Where sarcasm goes to die.

    Mohair Sam 11:53 AM  

    @dean. Thank you - there is no GST, it is GMT not GST for very good reason. If a constructor needs GST it should be clued: Time at the Greenwich Meridian as defined in American crossword puzzles and nowhere else(abbr).

    @Never Mind - was enjoying your grumpy comments until you launched into the political. For the 150 million of us in the U.S. who skew male and would never read MSMAGAZINE the Kali clue was brilliant, and totally apolitical.

    OK, my complaining done - thanks to Wilber and Peterson for another enjoyable puzzle (GST or not). Was a little easier for us than most of theirs, probably because of MENDOZA, URANIUMORE, ENYA and EASTORANGE. All gimmes here which gave us a nice head start. Loved the LPGA and SAGEGREEN clues.

    syndy 11:55 AM  

    TREE GUARDS of course! what was I thinking?I got a little held up in that south west corner 'til the BLAST from the PAST moved me along again.Is there an EAST ORANGE in the crayon box?

    Rob C 12:21 PM  

    Fine puzzle. Although I agree with @DJG completely, smooth, but lacking sizzle. I usually try to figure out what the "seed" answers are with a themeless. They're the long answers that usually provide the sizzle. I couldn't really determine which they were today.

    In the 40s this morning in NE Penn and I saw an APPLE CIDER truck on the way to work. Fall is here whether the calendar says so or not!

    Google Fights 12:23 PM  

    @Mohair Sam et alia - Nowhere else? Hmmm. Standard href="">beat Sidereal quite handily. Shortz wins again. Damn.

    Rob C 12:23 PM  

    @Never Mind - please try cutting the little yellow pills in half, then post a comment. It may be a question of dosage.

    Google Fights 12:25 PM  

    @Mohair Sam et alia - Nowhere else? Hmmm. Standard beatSidereal quite handily. Shortz wins again. Damn.

    FearlessKim 12:41 PM  

    Hi, all, from FearlessKim. Long time no see! Quick note: hand up for "us" before MS (hi, Acme and LMS!). Big problem with DISK as clued, since anatomical structures use the "c", thus DISC, even here in the US where we otherwise tend to use the "k". Only problem for me in an otherwise terrific puzzle. Thanks, guys!

    mac 12:47 PM  

    Delightful easy-medium Friday! I liked the other woman and sage green clues and I'm happy to learn Poverty Row.

    Once my husband took me to look at a painting he was interested in, and my comment was: "but it is puce". When the gallery owner turned on the wall washers it got a little more interesting.

    @Evan: Bug Wilberson sounds even better!

    retired_chemist 12:50 PM  

    Medium-challenging here.

    Hand up for A CUP, HYPOTENUSE, and for remembering that GST is a sidereal time.

    Really, really wanted YWCA for 18A. Gender equity.....

    last letter was the W of POVERTY ROW/WEED EATER. Had an S there since 1A seemed to want a plural, and when sEED.... appeared I rationalized that you had to SEED some kind of flower bed border. At the end, I saw sEED EATER and figured it out.

    Thanks, Messrs. Wilber and Peterson.

    Lewis 12:52 PM  

    I guess the MENDOZA LINE is a POVERTY ROW of sorts.
    I learned Copelia, though I don't think I'm going to remember it. For me it was easy for a Friday, but still a workout and fun to solve. I enjoyed reading the constructors' comments on Xword Info. We get to see how they divided it up.

    Mohair Sam 12:59 PM  

    @google fights. Wiseguy . . . Since we're using Google for our argument I thought I'd try googling Greenwich Standard Time and (on page one at least) I was given Greenwich Mean Time. GST gave me all kinds of garbage. So I thought I'd try Wikipedia which also returned Greenwich Mean Time. But Wiki responded to GST with five different definitions, none of which involve time.

    In deference to Sidereal I'll throw the word "almost" into my required clue, but grudgingly. Shortz is simply wrong in allowing GST.

    btw - I'm staying out of the BCUP controversy, but enjoying the conversation.

    r.alphbunker 1:19 PM  

    PUCE means flea in French. The French call the RFID chip on credit cards a puce.

    BTW, PUCE is an anagram of ECUP

    retired_chemist 1:35 PM  

    @ Mohair Sam - Greenwich Sidereal Time is mentioned in the link I gave at 12:50.

    Lewis 2:14 PM  

    @mohair -- BCUP is a natural point of discussion regarding fill.

    Mohair Sam 2:22 PM  

    @retired_Chemist and @Google Fights. I've always seen Sidereal as MST, or AST. But upon your forcing me to research I stand somewhat humbled, but still argue that the correct answer would be GMST or GAST.

    ANON B 3:02 PM  

    What kind of a mind does a
    constructor have when the common
    xword "epee" fits into the puzzle
    and he comes up with the clue
    "only event in which Venezuela
    How many Venezuelans would know that?

    Ray J 3:26 PM  

    Mace is not a color. Mace is not a color. Mace is not a color. I was going to make 1A MOVIE-something if I had to invent new words. Finally walked away for a while and when I came back the lights went on. I love how that (sometimes) happens.

    Plain CAKE doughnuts with my APPLE CIDER, please.

    @ August West – My fave lawn customer was the elderly man next door who called at 10:00 sharp every Saturday morning and said “send over the boy.” He painted his car every few years with a can of white paint and a brush. I don’t recall him ever driving it though -- his daughter always chauffeured him around.

    I don’t see kids out cutting the neighbors’ lawns or shoveling their driveways anymore. Nowadays it’s all professional lawn services. What happened?

    Anonymous 4:44 PM  

    Maybe. There is no such thing as GST. It is GMT, and in the summer, BST. In print ads they might use 'nite', but on TV they speak it, and we have to assume they speak 'night'.

    August West 4:51 PM  

    @Ray best Kurt Waldheim, Jr...::

    The demonization of...discipline.

    retired_chemist 5:37 PM  

    @ Mohair Sam -

    "btw - I'm staying out of the BCUP controversy, but enjoying the conversation."

    You mean you are staying abreast of it?

    August West 5:41 PM  

    @Steve J: Before your address of me: Best post ever.

    Re: your address of me: Exactly. Brees will out-point Peyton for the season, and we have his top two targets, Colston and Lance Moore, to double up on all those TD passes. But last night was vintage MV1 and an insta-classic. Someday, when I'm trying to explain Peyton Manning to my as yet unborn granddaughter, I'll play her large chunks of that game.

    jackj 6:47 PM  

    Too late in the day to add much to the excellent comments that have gone before but will heartily agree with those who thought it a primo Friday.

    Seeing CARROTCAKE in the answers gave me the shivers. I hate CARROTCAKE and my dislike was enhanced when on the day my home was finally finished about 12 years ago, after the movers had been and left and the decorator had flown off to spend his fees in warmer climes, came the unpleasantries.

    Seen prowling around near my house was a neighbor I had learned was of questionable character, more yenta than Walmart greeter and she clearly wanted to be the first one to have a tour of this new home in “her” neighborhood.

    Hoping to deflect her planned assault maneuvers, when she showed up at the front door, ringing the doorbell until it could no longer be ignored, I explained that I was tied up and couldn’t come to see her.

    Come then the plaintive wail, “But I’ve brought you a CARROTCAKE”.

    Being more or less a polite type I relented and said, ”I’ll be right there.”

    When I opened the door, it became clear that she had the determination of Rona Barrett and the wiles of 007. Alongside her was an ugly, scraggly mutt who she used as her advance man.

    With a quick kick of his backside, my visitor sent her mutt racing into the house and with me hollering, “Get back here!”, he was off prancing around rooms, leaping on furniture, with his mistress running behind him cackling gleefully and taking in the sights, while doing nothing to halt the raid.

    When they had made their way through every nook and cranny, she quietly nodded to her dog and they retreated to the front door, pleased with their adventure, where she smirked a victor’s grin, said, “We enjoyed our visit”, handed me an unfrosted CARROTCAKE and headed for her next conquest.

    I hate CARROTCAKE!

    LaneB 7:27 PM  

    Always a treat to finish a Friday puzz even with one error: Isn't REtA a swell country name? And I enjoy seeing those beautiful tERGS at the Ross Sea. Fun and ( relatively) easy.

    Martin 8:51 PM  

    For those still unsure about GELATIN, the stuff we call "Jello" is officially "gelatin dessert." I'm surprised Jell-O lawyers haven't been here defending that entry.

    Gene 9:05 PM  

    Stuck with 6D util I changed GAB to GAS and finished this fun puzzle.

    Anonymous 9:16 PM  


    Nice to see you back and chipper!

    spacecraft 12:05 PM  

    This was a day of "despite"s for me. Despite three instant gimmes I nearly failed to get even halfway done. These would be the very funny (and very lovely) Terri GARR, EWOKS, and poor ol' MENDOZA.

    Shortly the SE fell, all but the M of MSMAGAZINE, which I thought was U. US I know well, also MS. but forgot about that one for a while.

    Despite a set of some of the most sideways clues ever (oh, THAT kind of press!; "Ire" for SPLEEN, etc.), I eventually made my way through to the NW, where, despite being an avid Hitchcock fan, I completely forgot about the "Notorious" plot. That's me, mind like a steel sieve. Also unknown was the expression POVERTYROW; those first two long acrosses took forever to parse.

    So despite a tough challenge (take your "easy-medium" and shove it, FL!) I came out victorious.

    My $.02 on the GST controversy: that clue ought to get a flag. Wouldn't the S of GST mean standard ("std.")? Clue repeated in answer? 5 yards.

    rain forest 2:09 PM  

    I guess five weeks ago, folks didn't know there wouldn't be much REGULATING going on in the US. Just a bunch of almost childish posturing with those on POVERTYROW losing out.

    Oh, the puzzle. Definitely more difficult than "easy-medium" for me. I was held up by STEADICAM, of which I've never heard, and SAGEGREEN, thinking of a fruit or vegetable. But several of the friendly clues in the SW provided enough crosses to get this baby.

    A few gimmes at the beginning--VARY, ENYA, YMCA, ROAR, UAR, TUTUS, GARR (Canadian!), helped a lot in getting started.

    Overall a competent, professional job.

    Waxy in Montreal 2:31 PM  

    Have to watch Notorious again as I don't recall the URANIUM in a wine bottle scene at all. (Of course, I'm probably confusing it with the Kim Novak film The Notorious Landlady.)

    NW corner of this puzzle probably took me longer to solve than the entire rest of it which I found on the easy side for a Friday. Gimmes included MENDOZA, UAR, ARAB, GARR (of course), ENYA, WARSAWPACT and the APPLECIDER/REGULATING border area. ACUP, BUTSIN and GAB slowed progress for a while.

    By definition (mine), any Friday puzzle I complete without Googling is a wonderful creation. So merci beaucoup, Brad & Doug.

    DMG 2:50 PM  

    Not all that easy for me, but I made it. When I wrote GmT, I fully expected the puzzle world would want an alternative. But, that was easy enough to change. Almost said "correct", but their are definitely those that would argue with that! My hard part was the NW. Definitely would have been easier if I had read Camus or seen Nortorious. What kind of beverage starts with a U? Finally made a guess ar RIO, and the rest just fell. Strange how the brain operates! Or maybe just mine??

    Dirigonzo 4:10 PM  

    Puzzle was as sweet and smooth as the cream cheese icing on the CARROTCAKE. My first run-through produced enough strategically located short answers to let me see most of the long fill. Only reap/EARN and wed/ONE needed re-work. However there is an immutable law in my household which I share with 3 dogs and 2 cats, that every dish will produce at least one pet hair, and the one in this gourmet offering was GAb, which I might have discovered had I bothered to look and see the ballerina twirling by in her TUTUb. I won't let it ruin my enjoyment though - like gthe pet hair, I'll just pick it out and pretend it was never there.

    Ginger 7:16 PM  

    Good day on the blog, great comments and lots of laughs. I'm talkin to you @jackj. And, is she still there? With more uniced carrot cake?

    I got SANTACLARA fairly early on, and wrote it in the wrong spaces, at 28-D. What a mess to clean up. Inlaws used to live in a RETIREMENT village called 'Menno Haven', lovely place that we called Menopause Haven.

    Thanks Wily Wilber and Deft Doug, enjoyed it.

    Solving in Seattle 7:26 PM  

    Lot's of good clueing in this puzzle, e.g., Ironwomen org. for LPGA.

    Had Buildup before BOLSTER. Like @DMG, had GmT before GST. The trip to Greenwich is a must when in London. My Plague was first in OmAN before moving to ORAN. Read the book in college - deeeeeepressing.

    Personally, I liked ONO crossing with FORGO. Good advice.

    My bra started out as an aCUP.

    Good weekend, Syndies, and go Tigers and Hawks.

    Ginger 1:35 AM  

    and Dawgs and Cougs

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