Hartmann of talk radio / FRI 11-29-13 / Tod's sidekick on Route 66 / One shot in cliffhanger / Ray Charles's Georgia birthplace / Home to Bar-Ilan univ / Her last film was High Society

Friday, November 29, 2013

Constructor: Ned White

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: none

Word of the Day: JEWISH RYE (33A: What corned beef is often served on) —
… so-called "Jewish rye" is further seasoned with whole caraway seeds and glazed with an egg wash, and is traditionally associated with salted meats such as corned beefpastrami, and (outside kosher circles) ham. (wikipedia)
• • •

Adequate. On themeless days, I'm interested not only in the overall quality of the fill (today, a bit below-average, esp. for a relatively easy-to-fill 72-worder), but in the quality of the seed answers (the marquee answers that, presumably, you start building your grid with). I like MINT JELLY fine, but I don't really see any of the rest as wonderful seed answers. Just answers. Maybe JEWISH RYE resonated with people. I'd never heard of it. I thought "RYE" and then couldn't figure out what that first word was for a while. So maybe that's also a seed answer. Still. The structure of this grid is kind of annoying. Highly segmented, and then the segments mostly contain short, uninteresting answers, as well as junk you just shouldn't see in a high-word-count themeless. ACTA. ALAR. REORG. EAP. DIAN. SENAT. USOC. ALTA. A pile of abbrevs. I guarantee you that the Newsday "Saturday Stumper" tomorrow just crushes this puzzle in terms of both challenge and overall interest level. This puzzle is just OK.

Thought it was going to be a breeze (PUDDY TAT = gimme, and all the NW and W went fast from there), but I had trouble in the middle and SW, due almost entirely to PENALTY (toughly clued as 35D: 10 or 15 yards, say) and EAP (ugh) (42A: "Eldorado" initials), which I had as ELO (did they not have an album called "Eldorado" … oh, damn, that was "Ole Ole" … never mind). Should've gotten JULEP easily, but not knowing JEWISH and having ELO meant JULEP stayed hidden a while. Also had a lot of trouble coming up with NEWSY (22D: Like many holiday letters). Easy again in the NE, but slightly troublesome in the SE—actually, just getting into the SE was troublesome because I had SHYEST for COYEST (41A: Least brazen). Managed to work backward from ASU (gimme) / ALTA / USOC (yes, the junk saved me—doesn't mean I have to like it), and finished up with the "B" in BEENE (43D: Designer Geoffrey).

That is all. Hope you enjoyed your Thanksgivings. See you tomorrow.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. AFIRST is always terrible please never use it ever kthxbye.


Anonymous 12:16 AM  

A pretty tough Friday, I thought. Maybe a tad too many abbreviations and proper nouns. Actually liked "Jewish rye."

Anonymous 12:30 AM  

Many answers to me felt fresh so I liked it.

"P.S. AFIRST is always terrible please never use it ever kthxbye" gave me a good chuckle.

Anonymous 12:34 AM  

A tad too much crosswordese for my taste.

Also, I'm confused about the HERCULES clue. He did perform labors, but how does that make him a "labor LEADER"?

George Barany 2:17 AM  

I had my Thanksgivukkah meal midday and have been dozing on and off ever since. Two quick comment about today's @Ned White puzzle and its enlightening analysis by @Rex: (1) If only A_FIRST was making a debut, it could have had a self-referential clue, like the debut puzzle from a few weeks ago. Alas, xwordinfo.com informs us that today marks its 8th appearance in the Shortz era. (2) JEWISH_RYE is for real. One of the most famous ad campaigns of my youth had the tagline "You don't have to be Jewish to love Levy's"--easily found by doing a Google "Image" search for "Jewish rye" (using the quotes).

jae 2:20 AM  

Thought this was going to be a piece of pumpkin pie after finishing the NW like it was a Mon.  But no.....got hung up in SE with BAn instead of BAR and misspelling BEaNE.  Got it fixed but had to stare a lot.

Also putting in HUNTER at 20a instead of 17a and then misreading the clue for 22a didn't help.

So, this was probably easy-medium but it played medium- tough for me.

And, I liked it a lot.  I gotta love a puzzle that bookends PUDDY TAT and MEL BLANC. 

Benko 2:25 AM  

I honestly don't know about this one. I started off very happy with PUDDY TAT and was pleased to see MELBLANC on the other corner. There were other bright spots as well. But between the extremely high density of Crosswordese and what I would consider questionable cluing for many answers, the puzzle didn't feel so great overall to me. I don't want to be negative when I enjoyed it in parts...but there it is.

Benko 2:30 AM  

Forgot to add...the pair of JEWISH and YIDDISH in the grid was interesting for Hannukah, and the KELLOGG'S/KELLY/JELLY/JULEP area was neat as well, phonetically...although I know a lot of constructors are against using the same four letter combination ("KELL") twice in the same grid, many people seem to give these types of things a pass if they cross.

John Child 5:20 AM  

Mostly what @jae said. I struggled in the NE though rather that SE, even with HUNTER filled in early.

LINColn Case was the sidekick only at the end of the Rt. 66 series. Gee, that was a long time ago... I had to look him up, so a DNF.

Generally enjoyed. Thx Mr. white.

Danp 5:31 AM  

And somehow it seemed appropriate to cross cliche and plurals.

Glimmerglass 7:31 AM  

Man, Rex is tough. This puzzle had some inferior fill, but there was a lot of good stuff and clever clues: MINT JELLY, JR EWING, HERCULES, TENN., BARN, MEL BLANC, CORN COB, PLURALS, KELLOGGS. And there were more. Very Friday.

jburgs 7:41 AM  

I found this a fairly easy Friday. Got tougher as I worked counterclockwise and the NE was the last to fall.
When YIDDISH and ISR appeared, I thought maybe there may be a Hannukah theme emerging and JEWISH RYE seemed to confirm it. I am generally not good at catching themes until I see them discussed here. When the food items kept piling up I thought of the other day's puzzle with traditional Thanksgiving food items. So my guess is that the theme is Non traditional Hannukah breakfast foods.
I suppose that in this world there could be some Jewish guy sitting down to a Hannukah breakfast of MINT JELLY on a slice of JEWISH RYE and a bowl of KELLOGGS accompanied by a cup of cocoa. Since the divorce, he generally downs a pitcher of JULEP after it. The CORN COB? It's probably been in the fridge too long so he gives it to the PUDDY TAT. Yep, I think I got this theme. Tricky!

Rob C 8:03 AM  

Easy Fri for me. Only real slow spot was in the NE like @John Child. Took me a long time to see ARCADE.

I thought it was a fine puzzle. The pairings of PUTTY TAT and MEL BLANC, and YIDDISH and JEWISH RYE were plenty to keep me happy. Didn't even notice a lot of the crosswordese others have mentioned. Also didn't think A FIRST was THAT bad. Maybe I'm just easy to please after I overeat.

Didn't think NEWSY was a real word, but Mer-Web has it.

Like @anon 12:34, I didn't understand the LEADER part of the HERCULES clue. Is there more to this than a clue stretched too far?

chefbea 8:27 AM  

Had to google a bit but it seemed easier than a usual Friday. Love mint jelly with my lamb.
Don't get 41 down…carrel?? Guess I should google it

r.alphbunker 8:47 AM  

Hands up for "fine puzzle."

Got caught on the BAn/BAR schrödinger but not on the POpe/POLE one. There is no way that John Paul II is a pope in a Friday puzzle.

BTW, the "O" of POPE could be crossed with SLOT/SPOT clued as {Location}.

It appears that using schrödinger to describe these types of answers was coined by Joon Pahk here. (Does the period belong inside or outside of the link?

August West 9:01 AM  

Fastest Friday in a while. Hated the crummy abbreviations and other short crap, particularly LINC, an apparently some-time sidekick from a marginal, 50-year dead TV show. Liked (Grossinger's) JEWISHRYE with my KELLOGG'S and COCOA, watching the PUDDYTAT on Staurday mornings, but will never understand why people override the natural deliciousness of lamb by slathering on MINTJELLY. JREWING was good but, again, pretty damn dated at this point. Liked the clues for ONEORTWO and HERCULES.

Very pedestrian puzzle, not nearly challenging enough for a Friday.

FearlessKim 9:12 AM  

Liked this one better than Rex. Breezy feel with some nice punchy answers: OHBOY, FORIT, NODUH, ROBO, COOLIT, ONEORTWO. Like @r.alph and @jae, BAn before BAR. Like @robc and @benko, loved PUDDYTAT and MELBLANC. And enjoyed @Rex's PS.

joho 9:16 AM  

I loved all the food in this one especially as I solved after enjoying our Thanksgiving feast.

I was shocked ... yes, shocked ... to see JEWISHRYE as the word of the day! In fact I though @Rex was just pulling our legs as he often does.

Loved MINTJELLY crossing JULEP as it lets MINT do double duty.


Look at all that food again: KELLOGGS, JEWISHRYE, MINTJELLY, COCOA, GYROS and a CORNCOB. I should've said GRACE before solving.

I liked it!

Sir Hillary 9:22 AM  

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.

Before discussing today's puzzle, a belated shout-out to Loren Muse Smith for yesterday's. Loren, I "know" you only from this blog, and I had no idea you were a constructor as well. Congrats on your debut! I solved with my college sophomore daughter (home for the holiday) and we really enjoyed it.

As for today...I liked it, even if it was tad on the easy side. The short fill didn't bother me like it did @Rex, and the long entries were fun and unforced. I got the NW and SE pretty quickly, but then had to struggle a bit to connect them. Last in was ARCADE, because I don't know what ACTA means.

Happy Friday to all.

Carola 9:30 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carola 9:33 AM  

I'm definitely with the "I liked it" crowd. It struck me as relatively low on crossword CLICHEs and with much to delight, as others have noted above.

Found it easy on the diagonal swath from PUDDYTAT to MEL BLANC and across the waistline, but getting into the NE and SW corners was tough. Felt very good to finish.

Besides the neat connections mentioned above, we also have the ATTORNEY going before the BAR and contributing to a PILE of ACTA.

I thought LIES DOWN was appropriate after a Thanksgiving feast. Anybody else having leftover pie instead of KELLOGG'S for breakfast?

Thanks, Ned White - this was a treat.

jberg 9:34 AM  

DNF, but I liked it anyway. I remembered the same ads as @George Barany - plastered all over the NYC subways, with the words "Real Jewish Rye" down on the bottom. What I didn't like was JULEP without its mint - I've never heard anyone ask for or offer just a julep.

My problem was in the NE, not thinking of PLURALS - further confused by the mutual misdirection of 'stars and stripes' and 'hammer and sickle.' At one point I had Comedy instead of CLICHE, and, thinking of the famous march, toyed with the idea that there might be such a thing as 'Sousals' - knew it was wrong, but the idea somehow impeded any further thought, so I came here.

@chefbea - I spent many hours in a carrel, a little desk inside the stacks of a research library where you can read and take notes on books that you can't check out. Now that so much is digitized, they may be a thing of the past.

Nice misdirection at 45D, too, I bet I'm not the only one to have POpE before POLE.

Time to dry my tears (at not finishing) and drive to Cape Cod for our post-holiday dinner at the Lobster Pot. Happy post-Thanksgiving, everybody!

Bob Kerfuffle 9:41 AM  

The good points of this puzzle far outweighed the bad for me. Loved the clever cluing -- when I finally got the answers!

Just one write-over, not even a good one as it defied the grammar of the clue, but for 16 A, Rests, had LIES UPON before LIES DOWN.

Working pretty strictly north to south, had a hard time believing 38 D started JR . . . until I had my NO, DUH! moment.

Z 9:44 AM  

Aside from theme and fill, there is grid structure. This played liked seven mini-puzzles. Each section filled in and I barely had a toe in the adjoining sections. Due to this structure, my focus tended to be on the short fill so my initial reaction on finishing was a hearty meh.

MEL BLANC and JR EWING give this a very dated feel. The first was probably most famous for his Loony Tunes work in the fifties and sixties, while Who Shot JR is eighties pop culture. Today, it is as if we were all just dreaming.

I, too, had a hard time coming up with what type of RYE. Neither marble nor dark would work. I also had a hard time with 9A, since my first thought was PLASMa, but it had one letter too many. That is where I finished, entering it M, S, P, L, A, Yuck.

The same time as yesterday. I enjoyed yesterday's offering a lot more.

chefbea 9:47 AM  

@jberg - thanks for clarifying carrel. Enjoy your lobster

Michael Hanko 9:50 AM  

JEWISH_RYE as 'seed' answer.

Good one, @Rex!

Nancy 9:53 AM  

PENALTY killed me, especially since I had no idea what "Eldorado" inits. are. (Still don't.) Then I had "serum" for PLASM, which killed me in that section, too. Obviously DNF. A toughie.

Loren Muse Smith 10:08 AM  


And the pairs:
HERCULES, TAOIST (little-known fact, that)
MINT, JULEP (morning, @joho!)

Ban before BAR like @jae, @r.alphbunker, @FearlessKim and thousands of others. I *did* fall for the "pope" "role" misdirect. Clever, clever.

Pretty much everything @Rob C said.

@jberg, @chefbea – me, too for spending hours and hours in my CARREL at Carolina. Good times.

I like it when it's spelled DUH and not "doh." "doh". Heck. I don't know anymor'e.

A FIRST feels like a real thing for me. I liked the puzzle – hey there's A FIRST for you.

Anonymous 10:13 AM  

Never heard of Jewish rye? Shameful! I sentence you to one Reuben sandwich, stat.

Cascokid 10:39 AM  

My MD wife suggested bLood or seruM for lymph liquid. When bLood crossed with LINC I was dead in the NE. I would have been just as dead with seruM/MERE. I will ask her later if PLASM is a legit soln.

Like Rex I seized upon shYEST. Unlike Rex, I failed to let go and was dead in the SE.

This was a 2-hour, largely ungoogle-able (I still managed 6) DNF. Except for the overriding sense of failure and the desire to have those 2 hours back, I was proud that I could dig out ONEORTWO, JULEP, KELLOGGS, HUNTER/NRA.

And I doff my cap to the wizards for whom this was a walk in the park and the constructor who showed a wry wit and deft hand with the bookends PUDDYTAT/MELBLANC.

Norm 10:49 AM  

HERCULES was the first (and only, for that matter) to perform the various labors, so I guess he could be deemed a leader in that sense. Maybe. That's all I've got.

OldActor 11:08 AM  

Am I right in thinking Jewish rye is without the caraway seeds?

I first had seeded rye.

AliasZ 11:31 AM  

A way to INITIATE a conversation in YIDDISH could be as follows: JEWISH RYE? OHBOY, COOLIT! IDONT RUNTO ISR FORIT. NO,DUH!

I was unimpressed by ALTA, ACTA, ALAR, ASU, USOC and a few other sub-par entries. I didn't fall for the John Paul II clue, POLE was a gimme. But the NE killed me, because I had symboLS for stars and stripes, and "flag" for hammer and sickle. And PLASM? Someone must have run off with that "A" because it wasn't clued as a suffix. "Lymph has a composition comparable to that of blood plasma, but it may differ slightly." - Wikipedia.

LINC was also one of the "Mod Squad" regulars played by Clarence Williams III, but I did not remember him in Route 66. I liked the cold-war era foes' flag double reference. I also liked the crossing of MINT JELLY/JULEP and the ISR ethnic triple play.

On balance, I was taken aback by the unusually high count of crosswordese entries for a Friday, some of the oblique cluing, and ONE OR TWO less than eye-popping passé pop-culture references, but the legalese mini-theme: ATTORNEY poring over ACTA as PENALTY at a CARREL inside the SENAT, then CORNCOB, MEL BLANC the PUDDYTAT, CHARLIE as "delta lead-in" and HERCULES more than made up for it. This puzzle had a TAOIST PULSE to it. Did you feel it too?

Speaking of Ray Charles, how about One MINT JULEP?

Happy black Friday.

Joel 11:32 AM  

Of course Jewish rye is a seed clue -- caraway seed

Sandy K 11:33 AM  

More than ONE OT TWO things to like- as has been mentioned, I also enjoyed the PUDDY TAT start and the MEL BLANC finish.

Then there's the mini-Hannukah theme- ISR. YIDDISH, JEWISH RYE- altho I prefer mine seedless- so you don't walk around with those little black caraway seeds in your teeth til someone tells you...wasn't MEL BLANC JEWISH?

Then there are all the foods- @Joho- also like MINT JELLY/JULEP. COCOA came a little late for BOSCO, NESTLES and OVALTINE...

Cute answers- COOL IT, NO DUH, OH BOY!

Only trouble spots: BAn before BAR kept CORNCOB invisible for a while. Got EAP but don't know what it is...

John Child 11:34 AM  

@augest west Rt 66 is worth a bit of attention. Apparently it's on Netflix. Try it out. 1960s TV at its best.

Anonymous 11:44 AM  

anon here trying to come up with a pen name! had Buzz instead of Linc, Crutch instead of cliche..adored puddytat/melblanc. kept scratching head as I think they are Hurculean Labors.smiled at Delta lead in "HeyDelta Dawn" and @vburgs LOL Claire soon to have a name.

Carola 11:44 AM  

@Sandy K, @Nancy - "Eldorado" is a poem by Edgar Allan Poe. I got the initials thanks to the recent appearance of "Ulalume."

John V 11:56 AM  

NE tough, rest pretty easy for a Friday. Gotta love PUDDYTAT!

Masked and Anonymo6Us 12:01 PM  

Liked it. themelessthUmbsUp.

If PUDDYTAT and MELBLANC weren't the seed entries, I'll eat my hat on JEWISHRYE. with MINTJELLY. washed down with COCOA. and a bowl full of KELLOGGS. followed by a toot on my CORNCOB pipe.

Ain't most crosswords gonna have a "segmented grid"? Maybe 4-Oh is thinkin "overly segmented grid"? One of them subjective calls, I reckon. Like crosswordese and nat-tick and "interestin fill" and holdin PENALTYs.

Why pick on the short stuff? (Sweet lil weejects). Pick on someone yer own size. Which long ones (6+) are bad? Besides AFIRST, kthxbyehar.


Sandy K 12:05 PM  

Thanks @Carola!
Have to remember Edgar Allan Poe!
Was not thinking in terms of lit. My mind went to explorers in search of EL DORADO- spelling and quotes should've SHED light on it...big DUH!

Lewis 12:38 PM  

@augustwest -- Route 66 may be "trivial" to you, but when it ran, I can assure you it was a big deal.

@carola -- pie for breakfast the day after Thanksgiving is a tradition for my wife. Sometimes I think she's more excited about this breakfast than for the feast the day before.

I found the West easier than the East, and thought the puzzle was easy for a Friday. It did skew toward the older solver. I liked the clever cluing and did think the good outweighed the bad here. So for me it's a like but not a love.

Greatly appreciative for the puzzle, as I enjoyed the solve. Thanks Ned!

Steve J 12:51 PM  

@Benko and @Z captured my impressions of this one pretty well. There was good stuff - I really liked the PUDDY TAT/MEL BLANC bookends - and there was a lot of not-so-good stuff. Combined with the grid creating the very disjointed, barely-connected feel @Z noted, the puzzle felt bipolar to me.

Also liked how J.R. EWING was clued, MINT JELLY and NO DUH.

Like many others, I could not see JEWISH RYE for a very long time. Like some others, I fell for the POPE trap (@r.alphbunker, I love the term "schrödinger" to describe these; I'm going to have to work that into my vocabulary).

Also like many others, I really wish A FIRST would be a last.

Steve J 12:53 PM  

Forgot to note: The best I can figure for HERCULES as a "Labor leader" is that it's a reference to the phrase "Herculean effort".

Also forgot to note/ask: Was anyone else bothered by 4D? I know that DTs stands for delirium tremens, but there's also a connection with "detox"; this came very close to having clue and answer be the same, to my ear/eye.

r.alphbunker 1:07 PM  

@Steve J
For a nice discussion of Schrödinger puzzles see Executive Decision by Tom Pepper

mmM and Another thing 1:15 PM  

My campaign continues, for turnin the FriPuz slot into "remorselessly challenging" themed crossword day. This one came within a PuddyTat's whisker of fillin the bill. A BUGS here and a PETUNIA there, and Elmer's yer uncle...

I'm serious. I know any concept that marries the elements of M&A and serious is a mite rare, but I am. Most puzs should be about somethin, dontcha think? But righton, save SatPuz for the Patrick Berry construction exhibitions; he's pretty dayum cool, as he is.

Ways to goose up an otherwise ThursPuz:
* Use SatPuz clues.
* Use even harder clues, followed by a -??. These clues could be like yer cryptic crossword clues. Hybrid-driven puzs! Energy efficient.
* Do really really wild themes. Like what U tend to see, in the ultra-rare FriPuz themed jobbers of the past.
* Really leadin edge weejects. UUU know what I mean.
* Wraparound fill. Whoa, I'm startin to think about drawin a line, here...

Leftover food for thought...


AliasZ 1:47 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
AliasZ 1:49 PM  

Two more musical references beg to be noted today.

Carlo Gesualdo, also known as Gesualdo di Venosa (1566–1613), Prince of Venosa and Count of Conza, was an Italian nobleman, lutenist, composer and murderer. As a composer of the late Renaissance, he is remembered for writing intensely expressive madrigals and sacred music that use a chromatic language not heard again until the late 19th century.

César Franck (César-Auguste-Jean-Guillaume-Hubert Franck, 1822–1890) was a composer, pianist, organist, and music teacher. Born in Liege, in 1858 he became organist at the Basilica of Sainte-Clotilde, Paris, a position he retained for the rest of his life. He became professor at the Paris Conservatoire in 1872. Franck wrote several pieces that have entered the standard classical repertoire, including symphonic, chamber, and keyboard works.

[Both courtesy Wikipedia]

Here is the sacred motet, Tristis est ANIMA mea (Sorrowful is my soul) by Carlo Gesualdo. How could a murderer write such heavenly music?

César Franck composed this symphonic poem in 1882, inspired by the ballad Der wilde Jäger (The Wild Hunter) by the German poet Gottfried August Bürger (1747-1794). It is called Le Chasseur maudit (The Accursed HUNTER).

Enjoy your long weekend.

Anima Coolit Mintjellys 1:53 PM  

Perfect puzzle for day after Thanksgivukkah.
Jewish subtheme right off the bat (YIDDISH, ISR, JEWISHRYE) with so many leftover foods.

Had to sleep on it to get NE corner, as MERE did seem to confirm serUM, but I loved how it could sort itself out by morning. I'd rather have a running clock that said the puzzle took me eight hours + than a DNF.

Thanks for posting Tom Pepper's beyond brilliant puzzle!

Hand up for initially having shYEST, POpE, BAn and HUNTERS in the wrong space.

I'm in the camp that AFIRST gives one pause AT FIRST, but since it's such a different concept than just the plain FIRST, it feels definitely like a real thing.

The bookends of PUDDYTAT and MELBLANC definitely feel like the seed answers to me, fun ones at dat...
And I would echo all those above who enjoyed by enjoying all the spiffy answers without zeroing in on the shorter ones.

Bizarre that people who have been doing puzzles for umpteen years can't accept that there are short words and occasional abbrev to make an otherwise interesting puzzle!
This was not one where the preponderance of the shorter fill overwhelmed or negated the myriad good stuff.
Eg EAP to get JULEP JREWING and a tough clue for PENALTY, that leads to ALBANY that fixes the POpe POLE confusion? Right on!

And I love the Shrödinger coinage, hard to remember and spell (just realized I could make an ümlaut on my ipad...AFIRST for me!) but it sounds so science-y and erudite and the right amount of mysterious...love it! Thanks, Joon...
(and @r.alphbunker for the embedding...as well as @carola and @aliasZ for your embedded treats as well!)

Ellen S 1:55 PM  

@Sir Hilary, I don't think there's such a thing as ACTA as judicial records, outside of crosswords, unless you go back way further than MEL BLANC. If you google (soon to be "former trademark", by popular demand? Like the way the Brits clean their houses by hoovering?) you see pages of references to the AntiCounterfeiting Trade Agreement followed by professional journals with Latin names like Acta Chiropterologica. I gave up before ever coming to references using ACTA in a sentence.

I don't understand @Rex's p.s. TEXTese for Okay thanks good-bye? (Btw, I don't think kids use abbrevs like LOL, TTFN etc any more, if they ever did. They say "haha" not ROFLMAO.)

Carola 3:24 PM  

@Lewis - It sounds like your wife and I are kindred spirits, pie-wise :)

LaneB 3:55 PM  

Any time I come close to finishing on Friday I'm slightly surprised. This time, with a little Google help I completed the grid but ended up with some mistakes which put me in the DNF group. Particularly hated NODUH which aren't words I've ever seen, ACTA which refers to some court I've never heard of, ALTA which just as easily could have been ALbA and EAP which I still don't understand.

The clues for JREWING and JULEP were great and took me forever to figure out, but then I'm not the swiftest greyhound on the track. Nice puzzle with a clever Jewish overlay.

chefwen 4:22 PM  

@LaneB - El Dorado (as @Carola explained above) is a poem written by Edgar Allen Poe. EAP

Too exhausted to do this one last night, saved it for today and loved it esp. all the food items. Hand up for shYEST before COYEST. Also had sitSDOWN before LIE. Other than those two little hiccups, one of the easiest Fridays (for me). They are usually pretty tough.

Without a clue 5:01 PM  

Piece of Thanksgiving pie except for NE which stopped me cold well, like a nor'easter.
Route 66 too old for me. The cluing for arcade not good IMHO. A shed does not 'hold' tools. 'acta' musta beena bita crosswordese I have not seen before. Plurals...OK, coulda shoulda on that one but can never get used to self-referential clues including all those ones that end up with the first letter of the word as the answer. Execrable.
Also nearly at the limit for question mark clues.

Rex - Never heard of Jewish rye and you live in gotham? Well, maybe having lived in Boston I know nobody calls them Boston Baked Beans. Maybe it's assumed if you're in situ.

OISK 5:03 PM  

Thanks for the EAP explanation; I had it right, but had no idea what it meant. This one was a struggle for me, but I eventually got it, which is about right for a Friday. A few days ago, a few of us listed categories of clues we dislike most:
1. Hip-hop slang. (Illin??)
2. Rock songs and artists, especially rap
3. Harry Potter trivia
4. Apple computer slang. (force quit, one of the answers on Black Saturday, Nov 16th, worst puzzle of recent memory. "sync" yesterday.)
5. Text slang. BFF, etc.
6. Characters from TV shows I never watched. (Opie. One clue for Opie was "Bee's charge." In my list of worst clues ever.)

Never heard of Dian Parkinson, but this puzzle managed to avoid my personal annoyances. I enjoyed it.

Questinia 5:44 PM  

I plopped in POpE before POLE because I thought it still might be Thursday. Just testing.

A New Yorker is honorary Jewish by at least 50% and consequently would know about the rye.

Favorite clue and answer: CHARLIE as lead-in to delta.

Mohair Sam 6:13 PM  

I must have watched and read at least a zillion ads for Levy's real JEWISHRYE as a kid. I was so surprised that @Rex had never heard of the stuff - would have been no less surprised if he said "Scotch tape? I've heard of tape - but "scotch" tape?

Medium Friday here, fun solve and nifty cluing. How can you not love PUDDYTAT? EAP had to fill for us, and I think I like @Steve J's comment on HERCULES . . makes sense. . I think.

Norm 7:06 PM  

Forgot to add that mint JELLY is an abomination with lamb. Now ... fresh mint SAUCE is a different story -- one I won't tell here although I was the unwitting butt (as it were).

ahimsa 7:19 PM  

Lots of fun for me and I even managed to finish.

I loved the PUDDY TAT/MEL BLANC pair. And no trouble with JEWISH RYE, not because of any advertisments, it's just something I learned somewhere along the way.

My shakiest cross was the N at TENN/ DIAN. I could not remember how many states neighbored Tennessee and DIAN just looked wrong. I thought maybe there was some other trickiness to the clue that I was missing but that N turned out to be correct.

A recent episode of The Simpsons mentioned the word CARREL. There was a brief shot of the "Lisa Simpson study CARREL" (or something like that) in the library. (Lisa loves school and studying)

I learned ELDORADO in school, along with The Raven and others. Perhaps they don't teach that one any more?

Gaily bedight
A gallant knight
In sunshine and in shadow
Journeyed long
Singing a song
In search of Eldorado

(from memory, please forgive any errors)

David 9:12 PM  

Sometimes it seems the Times puzzle makers are extraterrestrials who have observed the earth, and can kind of fake it when they want to walk among us … but just get those little things wrong.

GYROS are ubiquitous "fare" or "food" at street fairs, and other "festivals", but are not particularly to be found at a "food festival" … unless it's a Greek street-food festival, I guess.

Keep trying, ETs.

I don't think they know what MERE means, either.

sanfranman59 10:37 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 6:29, 6:07, 1.06, 79%, Medium-Challenging
Tue 9:06, 8:12, 1.11, 76%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 8:59, 9:44, 0.92, 31%, Easy-Medium
Thu 17:52, 17:14, 1.04, 60%, Medium
Fri 24:01, 19:47, 1.21, 86%, Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:08, 3:46, 1.10, 85%, Challenging
Tue 5:36, 5:01, 1.12, 79%, Medium-Challenging
Wed 5:28, 5:37, 0.97, 42%, Medium
Thu 9:52, 9:56, 0.99, 47%, Medium
Fri 12:15, 11:32, 1.06, 61%, Medium-Challenging

Unknown 4:13 PM  

Rex, ELO did indeed have an album called Eldorado. My favorite ELO album, with the classic hit "Can't Get It Out of my Head."

Anonymous 6:06 PM  

Tried to post this earlier, hope it doesn't post twice. Am I the only one bothered by CLICHE as an adjective? I've always understood it to be a noun. Adj form: CLICHED.

Anonymous 6:16 PM  

15. Many a predictable plot : CLICHE
“Cliché” is a word that comes from the world of printing. In the days when type was added as individual letters into a printing plate, for efficiency some oft-used phrases and words were created as one single slug of metal. The word “cliché” was used for such a grouping of letters. It’s easy to see how the same word would become a term to describe any overused phrase. Supposedly, “cliché” comes from French, from the verb “clicher” meaning “to click”. The idea is that when a matrix of letters was dropped in molten metal to make a cliché, it made a clicking sound.

So many a predictable plot is a CLICHE. A noun is another noun.

Anonymous 9:12 PM  

"A noun is another noun."
Thank you for that explanation, and the interesting history of the term. It all makes more sense now. I just had to make the mental shift away from an adjectival answer.

Anonymous 2:16 PM  

So, what Do Bostonians call their beans?

andyn840@gmail.com 7:42 PM  

You just seem to dislike and criticize any clue that gives you trouble, and love any puzzle that you can sail through

spacecraft 12:00 PM  

Even OFL gives it a medium, yet lots of you found this EASY??? Know what was easy for me? the SW corner. My big hangup in the NW (NO, DUH!) was getting stuck on Sylvester, which I must've tried seventeen different ways as a rebus, wondering where the double-letter went. Finally, after about an hour of this I worked again on the downs and hit on the DTS (trust me, I worked in a hospital and you don't want to deal with a patient so afflicted) and there stood that D. Oh, wait! Not the stupid cat's NAME! It's what Tweety CALLED him! D! U! H!

But other areas put down as easy, like the NE, were a big struggle for me. Took forever to suss out the groaner PLURALS (I really wish they wouldn't DO that!) and had no idea who LINC was.

Started with the GRACE KELLY/KELLOGGS gimme, and after changing OHjOY to OHBOY and finally figuring out that JEWISHRYE is a thing, did the east and center. I was ATWAR with the rest of it, except for the SW breather. And even there, where 47d filled in on crosses, what in the WORLD is this?:

"Creator of bad apples?" = ALAR


Finished, with no help, but OHBOY!

And as if to make the experience complete, we return to totally illegible captchas. You know, you guys keep on making this too much of a hassle, and I may just pack it in. I don't need this!

rain forest 2:26 PM  

@Spacey - I think ALAR is a chemical, now banned, that was sprayed on fruit trees. I don't know what it was supposed to do, but the substance was possibly toxic to people and animals.

When I saw that *Sylvester* wouldn't fit, PUDDYTAT went right in, as did MELBLANC. Enjoyed the puzzle, only slowed down in the NE. I thought the lymph fluid was just lymph. I'll have to Google PLASM.

I hate to see the NRA get any space in the puzzle. Good Friday.

Waxy in Montreal 3:08 PM  

Uneven Friday effort, IMHO. Loved PUDDYTAT & MELBLANC, KELLOGGS, MINTJELLY and ONEORTWO. But the NE corner is really a mess with ACTA, PLASM and LINC. Also, the Eldorado clue seems pretty obscure; in my world, EAP is more closely associated with an Employee Assistance Plan.

Up here JEWISH RYE is usually referred to as KIMMEL RYE - great for our famous smoked meat sandwiches.

When did my old phone number morph into a captcha?

DMG 3:09 PM  

Almost finished- always misspell BEaNE and couldn't see HERCULES, because I was looking for one of those "HARDL" kind of answer and, obviously, couldn't find one that fit!! Also labored too long over PLURALS, but that said, I enjoyed the challenges of this one. Also enjoyed the explanation of CLICHE.

@spacecraft: Try looking for a new Captcha. Lately the alphabetic impossibles seem to be followed by number "words"- long, and require attention, but readable!

Dirigonzo 5:32 PM  

Well, I finished the grid with no wrong squares for a change, so there's that, but I had one answer right for the wrong reason: I was sure "El Dorado" was a musical western movie from the '60s, starring none other than Elvis Aron Presley. I'm still claiming victory.

Ginger 12:11 AM  

For once, a Friday was right in my wave length. Tore through the west coast then crashed in Boston. Have never heard of JEWISHRYE, but it sounds so good I've got to get some. PLASM held me up, it needs an 'A'.

Needed a Google, so a DNF, but I enjoyed it. Thanks Mr. White.

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