Gedda Ghiaurov of opera fame / FRI 1-3-14 / Cap'n Joseph C. Lincoln novel / Lun Tuptim's beloved in King I / Online realm since 2006 / Common British Isles shader

Friday, January 3, 2014

Constructor: Barry C. Silk and Brad Wilber

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: none

Word of the Day: A. A. FAIR (43D: Erle Stanley Gardner pseudonym) —
Cool and Lam is the fictional American private detective firm that is the center of a series of detective novels written by Erle Stanley Gardner using the pen name of A. A. Fair. // In the first book about her, The Bigger They Come (1939; British: Lam to the Slaughter), Bertha Cool is said to have opened her own detective agency in 1936 after her husband Henry died. She's described in various terms as overweight, and uncaring about her weight—in the first novel, Donald Lam estimates her weight at 220 pounds. At the beginning of Spill the Jackpot! (1941) we learn that she had flu and pneumonia, and lost a great deal of weight, down to 160 pounds, and in many later novels her weight is given as 165 pounds. She has white hair and "greedy piggish eyes". All the novels agree that she's extremely avaricious and miserly. On the other hand she has persistence, loyalty and nerve. Her favourite expletive is "Fry me for an oyster!". In the opening chapter of the first novel, she hires a small, nervy, and extremely ingenious former lawyer named Donald Lam. Donald later becomes a full partner in her business, forming the firm of Cool & Lam, which features in more than two dozen books by Gardner. (wikipedia)
• • •

Nice work. An interesting combination of easy and tough. The big fly in the ointment was FOREVER STAMP (6D: Certain rate-hike circumvention). I couldn't see it. Just couldn't. Couldn't even really get my head around the clue. Even when I had FORE-ERST--P I was lost. All the E / R / S action just wasn't clarifying anything for me. Worse, the adjacent answer, WYCHELM, was something I'd never heard of. I mean Never. I've heard of WYE OAK (they're a band I like). But WYCHELM, yikes, no. And I couldn't remember where Harpers Ferry was (24A: Home of Harpers Ferry: Abbr.). Just … blanked. My brain was like "Alaska?" but I was like "shut up, stupid brain, that's Harper's Folly." Later on, a different part of my brain realized Alaska was actually "Seward's Folly," but that's a story for another time. Anyway, no hope at WYCHELM, blanked on WVA. Then there's NICOLAI (40A: Gedda or Ghiaurov of opera fame). Now, Brad Wilber and I are friends and we have a lot in common, but on opera we could not be further apart. He knows all and I know squat. "Of opera fame" is essentially a paradoxical phrase to me. So NICOLAI I had to infer from NICO-. Then there was the YUM-for-MMM fiasco (46A: "Tastes terrific!"). MMM was weirdly the tipping point because it gave me (finally) FOREVER STAMP, and thankfully only "W" made sense at -VA, so … completion! With so much failure, I'm surprised I came in as fast as I did (somewhere in the 8s).

Puzzle began unpromisingly with very little going into the NW corner. Always painful when a puzzle cross-references two answers in the same quadrant. Here, PIDGIN/TONGUE were nowhere to be seen until I got most of their crosses (which came later). First thing in the grid was "EROICA" — such a fantastic clue (2D: Record glimpsed on Norman Bates's Victrola). I watched "Psycho" recently, and the record is indeed prominently displayed. Lila Crane sees it when she's snooping around the house toward the very end of the movie. Another answer in my wheelhouse was A.A. FAIR. I have a bijillion books by him in my vintage paperback book collection. I much prefer the Cool & Lam mysteries to the Perry Mason stuff, so A.A. FAIR is a very familiar name to me (though I wonder if people under, I don't know, 50, are very familiar with it. Luckily crosses were fair / easy). TWITTERVERSE really opened up the east for me, so that side of the puzzle wasn't that tough. But FOREVER STAMP sure balanced things out. All in all, a nice little battle.

Rough/ugly stuff: Lun THA (!?!?!), YAWPS (I had the "W" and immediately wrote in HOWLS), -CRAT, ATT, SYL—pretty minimal, all things considered. Whoa, wait, I just noticed this so-called  Cap'n ERI. What in the world?? (41A: "Cap'n ___" (Joseph C. Lincoln novel)). I like how "Joseph C. Lincoln novel" is supposed to help me; I have no idea who Joseph C. Lincoln is. He was an early 20th-century writer whose work was set in Cape Cod. "Cap'n ERI" was turned into a 2009 (or 2008, or 2007, depending on whom you listen to) film called "The Golden Boys," starring Rip Torn, David Carradine, Bruce Dern and Mariel Hemingway. Had you heard of "Cap'n ERI"? Joseph C. Lincoln? My ignorance of WYCHELM is my own, but I'm giving serious side glance to this ERI fellow. Yawp yawp.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Anonymous 12:02 AM  

Rex says "Nice work" and then he basically says everything that he felt was wrong with this puzzle.


jae 12:07 AM  

Easy-medium for me.  FOREVER STAMP was one of my first entries.  Only erasures other than aRI to ERI were when I wrote the right answer in the wrong row/column. 

WOE: Me too for WYCH ELM

The DONNA REED Show was one of the classic family oriented sitcoms that dominated the airwaves in the 50's and early 60's.  Other stand outs were Leave it to Beaver, Ozzie and Harriet, My Three Sons, and Father Knows Best.  If you grew up in small town America in the '50s you felt right at home.

Solid Fri. with some zippy long downs.  Liked it.  Nice one guys.

August West 12:12 AM  

Lun THA? Cap'n ERI? Really?

Despite some contemporary entries --TWITTERVERSE, EXPEDIA, FOREVERSTAMP -- this played like a musty ol' Maleskan.

retired_chemist 12:23 AM  

Medium. Lots of fun. Lively with a sprinkling of impossible-without-crosses.

WYCHELM? Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?????

Finished the puzzle except for the NE in good time. All I had was YES or YEa for 10D, which left YowlS, YoWPS, and maybe others as possibilities. Onomatopoeia is so ambiguous.... Finally guessed ENIAC for 16D, after E-mail was an epic fail. ANEW replaced Atop, and then the downs fell into place. But it took some minutes of serious head-scratching. Had to look up nirvana post-solve to see that PAIN FREE actually fit.

Thanks, Messrs. Silk and Wilber.

Ted 12:28 AM  
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Benko 1:00 AM  

Pretty difficult in places, easy in others. I had no problem with FOREVERSTAMP, but AAFAIR and Cap'n ERI were two literary entries that were out of my wheelhouse as far as fiction is concerned.
Just saw DONNAREED in "It's a Wonderful Life" a week or two ago, so that fell into place more easily than it would have at another time of year.
The puzzle did feel strangely dated at times, but the cluing for CRUZ and LIBRARIAN were fairly modern.
Anyway, I liked it, but I have a fondness for difficult themeless puzzles in general.

Benko 1:05 AM  

Oh! I don't know how I forgot TWITTERVERSE as an excellent modern answer. Definitely helped keep the puzzle from skewing old.
And I like the word "salmagundi"' which strangely enough, my text epcorrector knows how to spell.
Benko (not anonymous. Benko=Ben Coe.)

Steve J 1:19 AM  

I swear I had roughly 50 erasures in this one. Jazz instead of GIGS. Yells instead of YAWPS. Yum instead of MMM. Care-free instead of PAIN-FREE. Divorced and split up before SCATTERED. And there were others.

Needless to say, none of that made this easy on me.

Slowly pecked away, with TWITTERVERSE, GANNETT and the CAFE/CRAT crossing giving me some good footholds.

Found the NW toughest, both because I maximized my erasures there and I wasn't in synch with the clues on the middle three downs. Moving west, it took me forever to see FOREVER STAMPS, even with 75% of it filled in.

WYCH ELM looked wrong, but everything crossed correctly. Never heard of it before, either. Nor ERI. Nor AA FAIR.

Long fill was quite good overall, especially PETIT FOUR, IRON HORSE, TWITTERVERSE (even though I loathe that term). I never really noticed most of the problematic short fill, as oddly I filled mostly through the long answers.

In the end, I'd say it's a good Friday puzzle when there's so much misdirection, yet you can find your way back and eventually pull things together. It can't be easy to craft a challenging puzzle that nevertheless needs enough breadcrumbs for people to find their way once they've gotten themselves lost.

Captcha is completely unreadable. Looks like Arabic. Thank god numbers show up with one or two refreshes.

Carola 1:19 AM  

Like @jae, I'd say easy-medium for this one (for a Friday). I knew just enough answers SCATTERed throughout the grid to keep me going, with just a couple of hang-ups: YoWlS before YAWPS and a blank space in TE_S crossing TE_SE until I ran the alphabet. WYCH ELM was one of those "how the heck do I know this?" answers - must be from reading English novels.

I liked FOREVER STAMP, with its association with old-fashioned snail mail, facing off against the new communication TWITTERVERSE. Also opera's NICOLAI next to ERI, of crossword's favorite aria "Eri tu."

Anew Cafe Mainroads 1:35 AM  

I'm with you, way cool that TWITTERVERSE is up against the poor struggling Post Office's attempt to justify yearly rate increases with the FOREVERSTAMP.
I dole them out with as much forethought and indecision as Elaine determining who is spongeworthy!

Loved the struggle...
Last letter was trying to decide if there was a Junior Senator named CRUb!

Actually my only ugly area was AXES for GIGS
and NIkOLAI and AgRO.

What kind of name is Ed for a HYENA?!

Was hesitant bec YelPS, YoWls, YAuPS, Yells all are possibile-it-Ys.

Found the puzzle PAINFREE and almost IDEAL.

yesterday re: Seth...
He is MIA having gotten married, been in Japan and just given birth to a little baby named Myron, after some Pittsburgh sportscaster he loved.
He lives in Mpls but not from there, and definitely not in Edina!
I'm guessing you recognized each other thru Ultimate, but seriously, how did he find you?
(I tried updating/writing to you offline, but clicking on your blogger email set off some sort of download of 333000+ gmail messages or some such!)

Questinia 1:36 AM  

Oh, how I love a thick juicy SALMAGUNDI with a side of gallimaufries.

Questinia 1:52 AM  

Almost forgot to leave a requisite recipe and personal ailment.

Recipe: Easy and Effective No-Knead Baguette
Mix 3 1/2 C warm H2O with 1 TB yeast and 1 TB salt. Stir in about 6 C flour until no lumps. Dough will be wet. Let rise an hour or so. Form as baguettes or boules, let rise additional 15 mins or so. Bake in quick oven. Also useful as a pizza dough.
Courtesy of the NYT's account of a "lazy" MD who developed the recipe because he wanted boules on demand.

Personal ailment: Recent mild weight gain.

chefwen 2:32 AM  

Saw Barry's headline and was hoping that Brad could cool him down a might, and he did. Phew! Still had to have a minor Google fest with A.A. FAIR, TWITTER VERSE, I had TWITTERville. Have never TWITTERED or TWEETED, so what do I know? LUN THA, WYCH ELM???

Might have to change my name to "I do Sunday through Thursday".

I have NEVER said YAWPS in my life, I had yells at first. YAWPS is what Skippy says. He has become very verbal in his old age,
it's pretty amusing.

@Ellen S. - I can relate to your 50lb. drooling doggy. He must be related to Skipper who freaks out over thunder storms and creates lakes of drool. I think Skip has him beat with an extra 20 lbs.

Thank you for not beating the stuffing out of me Barry and Brad.

I sure do love the numbers.

Ellen S 2:58 AM  

I looked up Salmagundi but no other googling. I actually heard of A.A. Fair -- my hubby was a big mystery fan. I managed to get Harpers Ferry okay (whew, History Major, would have had to fall on my ... keyboard). Never heard of Cap'n ERI but recognized everything else after getting them all wrong a couple of times. (I did do a fair amount of cheating to verify that my wrong answers were wrong.) I agree with @Steve J that it's a good Friday puz when despite a lot of misdirection you can find your way back.

I think once you turn the Captcha into numbers, doesn't that mean it is Arabic?

@Questinia - that recipe looks easy enough to cause a fair amount of weight gain. What's a "quick oven"? Don't you need to feed the yeast some sugar? I thought the sugar makes it rise and the salt limits it.

@Chefwen, I'm so glad Cyrus the Great, my 65-pounder, gets angry at explosions (for New Year's, it was GUNFIRE!!!) rather than terrified. He's all legs and elbows. Liam's trembling and panting was relatively easy to deal with - kind of like having one of those vibrating beds, but with the mattress on top of me. And drooling of course. Did I mention that when he had saturated the blanket he moved to a dry spot? Well, no, I do him a disservice: he probably would have stayed but the shooting had ended. We may be lucky: my daughter has two that pee when they are frightened. I'll take drooling any time.

schmuzz 4:46 AM  

couldn't sleep

finished, i believe, my first friday puzzle without asking across light if i had any incorrect letters....


i'm going to become a monday thru sunday solver yet!!

happy new year to all

Unknown 5:17 AM  
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Unknown 5:20 AM  


Congratulations! I remember how I felt when I solved my first Friday and then my first Saturday. I also remember when I tried my first Saturday, ending up with (I believe) a total of six letters across two clues filled in. It's odd now to think of how daunting (in my former mind, impossible) something was that I now get annoyed if I ever fail to achieve.

If it's any encouragement, the time it took me to get from solving a Monday to solving a Saturday was far longer than the time it took me to get from solving a Saturday in an hour to solving a Saturday in fifteen minutes. As with many pursuits that involve pattern recognition, something "just clicks". Or at least, it did for me.

Loren Muse Smith 6:06 AM  

Hey – resident Sycophantic Reminiscer checking in. I have nothing interesting to add to this terrific puzzle discussion because I always absolutely adore anything by Brad Wilbur and Barry Silk (read in a voice all gushy and breathy) , but I would like to report that my back is now PAINFREE since I've been working out at Planet Fitness, and that my doctor and I are still tweaking my thyroid medication. . .Oh, and I have figured out that the secret to It's-So-Good-You-Have-To-Slap-Someone Texmex Chili is to use only breakfast sausage, blow off any kind of tomato addition, and quintuple the cumin. @Questinia – I make crusty French baguettes all the time (my avatar is a picture of the pan I use. And I have a batard pan with just two ditches. What kind of pan do you use? I'm waiting on the answer to @Ellen S' sugar question.

Seriously – I missed the flap yesterday afternoon as I was out and about. If it hadn't been for all the stories I enjoyed last night . . .

@Acme – how sweet about your mom! And too funny about your Dad. He sounds like David Sedaris' dad. I sat with non-puzzle Mom on the phone yesterday morning walking her through the theme until she got it! (But she always just looks at a finished grid.)

@Numinous – what a memory! You painted such a vivid picture. I smacked my lips trying to taste that ozone, too.

@Anoa Bob Loved it! A pack mule named Juanita? Think she knows Ed the HYENA? (Hi,again, Andrea!) My niece's name is Anna Cash (after Johnny), and we had a male cat named Sue in, yep, Chattanooga.

Anyway, I would have missed the shot across my bow. Guilty as charged. But again, cheerfully undeterred. . . TWITTERVERSE, SEPIA. . . my daughter laughs at me because I somehow figured out how to have a TWITTER account but have no idea how to use it. Rex – I actually follow you, but nothing ever shows up on my phone. And no one follows me. She thinks this is very funny. Instagram SEPIA. Seriously? I still talk about going to Record Bar to get a 45 of EROICA. (On my last visits to Record Bar, everything I liked was in a big bin in the front for $1.99)

I came so close to finishing, but in the end, it was a farrago of WOEs – WYCHELM, YAWPS, GANNET, AA FAIR, CRUB, ERI, and, believe it or not, BEAN BAG. I had this ridiculous image of sailors lobbing BEAN BAGS at each other and never, until now, went the fair route.

Rex – I had it even worse – I figured 1A ended in "sour," so I had a huge mess there. Also - "Of opera fame" is essentially a paradoxical phrase to me." I'm going to steal that line. Really, really good one.

Oddly enough, channeling Gareth's puzzle from a while back, MMM went in with no hesitation, then I hit my head and changed it to "yum" as soon as the gimme WYCHELM fell. I should tell you about the time I pegged a huge MOTH with a BEAN BAG in our WYCHELM tree in Chattanooga.

I had "mawps" for YAWPS and never questioned it.

What did the 0 say to the 8?*

@Steve J – me, too, for "split up" first.

I got PIDGIN and TONGUE, but was over thinking it and couldn't let go of some tricky thing like "mixtbag."

@Schmuzz – congrats!

As Andrea said –"I tried updating/writing to you offline. . ." Know how many times I've tried to email someone privately so as not to bore the blogosphere with stuff? Ahem. Dayum. If some people who insist on remainin anonymoUs woUld just get an eqUally-anonymoUs email accoUnt, then my life sUre woUld be easier, and some discUssions not too interesting to other people coUld disappear. Aw, MUse, qUitcher mAWPING.

Barry, Brad – excellent work.

*"Nice belt!"

Danp 6:24 AM  

You had to know Salmagundi for this puzzle. I googled it early. Relieved he wasn't the guy who wrote Satanic Verses. Fun puzzle. Far more Aha's than groans. But could someone explain BEANBAG?

Uncle Walt 7:00 AM  

The spotted hawk swoops by and accuses me, he complains of my gab
and my loitering.

I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable,
I sound my barbaric YAWP over the roofs of the world.

The last scud of day holds back for me,
It flings my likeness after the rest and true as any on the shadow'd wilds,
It coaxes me to the vapor and the dusk.

I depart as air, I shake my white locks at the runaway sun,
I effuse my flesh in eddies, and drift it in lacy jags.

I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love,
If you want me again look for me under your boot-soles.

You will hardly know who I am or what I mean,
But I shall be good health to you nevertheless,
And filter and fibre your blood.

Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged,
Missing me one place search another,
I stop somewhere waiting for you.

Carnival Barker 7:32 AM  


Loren Muse Smith 7:42 AM  
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Glimmerglass 7:51 AM  

Very tough Friday for me. Very clever cluing. Somehow I was able to puzzle it all out -- with one exception. I had bETA instead of ZETA. I guess I blocked out the hated (by me) Ted CRUZ. Great puzzle!

Loren Muse Smith 8:02 AM  

@Glimmerglass – me, too, for "beta, and I never changed it. Early on, off an earlier DERR, DOERR vibe, I had "Jebb" for CRUZ. Never questioned "Crub." Hey, that could be a new word - crud, but taken a step further - crud that rubs the wrong way.

Hey – I meant to add a meaningless youtube clip to force on everyone here:

Me after Christmas. I'm on the left.

Tita 8:04 AM  

Finished with some very loud YAWlS!!
No time to read - will come back later for that.
Right now must be HASTY and fly like an EGRET on PENNE'd wings.

Danp 8:07 AM  

Thanks @carnival barker. I guess that's better than imagining MacArthur's defense against kamakazis, or the newest way for Chicagoans to protest flight delays. I just never associated Midway with carnivals. Live and learn.

AliasZ 8:21 AM  

Excellent workout, entirely Friday-worthy by Messrs. Wilber and Silk, Shortz.

The NE was a bear. The problem started with TENS. I did not want to accept the fact that the Brad/Barry/Will triumvirate would allow TENSE crossing TENS. And then the ANEW/WENT pair felt pretty lame for Friday, so I held back for a long time before I finally succumbed to the obvious.

Why is it that every time I see STPETER, I think of saltpeter?

For those who asked "WYCHELM?", it's that nice big one there hanging over the park bench near the end of the path.

But WVA and AVA, THA and BAH, ONO and SYL, YEN and YES, ICU all too, and ANEW, EWE too. YAWP!

It is a shame for anyone to feel that "of opera fame" is an oxymoronic phrase. NICOLAI (Ghiaurov or Gedda) was my fourth entry after EGRET, ACRO and MOTHS because I start from the top. Give opera a chance, it's never too late. "The Magic Flute" would be a good start. This message brought to you by a non-opera buff.

There were so many food items today starting with PETIT FOUR and a TONGUE sandwich, GNOCCHI and PENNE with a touch of OREGANO, then the BRAISEd Swiss steak being the MAIN COURSE with BEAN BAGS, at the little corner CAFÉ, that by the time I finished, I was real hungry.

But now I have to go and brave the elements on the streets of Manhattan to earn my next meal. I will have to FOREVER STAMP my feet to get all the snow off my shoes, I'm sure.

Stay safe, Noo YAWkuz.

Unknown 8:42 AM  

1:20 complete grid DNF. Dead on WYgHELM, YoWlS. And everything else in NE.

I was pleased to get EROICA from the .RO..A and to uncover TENSE after committing to TEmpo. I'm getting better, THO you could hardly tell.

cacjac 8:44 AM  

Good stuff tho I gave up on NE because I don't know Instagram or Jackass, and couldn't see anew or yawp.
Not crazy about TIMELAG for delay. Nonetheless plenty of things I didn't know but were able to get from nice cross clues.

chefbea 8:48 AM  

another tough Fri puzzle. DNF. Did get all the foodie things…and speaking of food @Questina..I make a very easy bread (in under 2 hours). There is no sugar in it. The recipe is in Cooks illustrated. I was one of the testers before it was in the magazine. It is yummy..mmm

Milford 8:53 AM  

@Questina - perfect.
@lms - you, too.

Kind of average Friday time, which means it took awhile. Two answers I'm proud to say I got from one letter: ENIAC and EROICA. Loved the clue for the latter. As @Rex said, it is shown in Norman's boyhood bedroom. I know now it means "heroic", but the first dozen times I watched "Psycho" it stuck me as looking like "erotica".

@Dan - loved your midway misdirects. We all went at least one of those routes first. Perfect Friday clue.

Also, if you have to have AT. NO. in your grid, clue it as it was today, "It's 8 for O". Loved it.

Took me FOREVER to get the STAMP answer. Kept thinking it was something more sinister with circumvention.

Tons of write-overs, like @Steve J., but my most notable was raptuREd before finally getting PAIN FREE. Didn't know this quality of nirvana, and ironically I think Nirvana was feeling a whole lotta pain.

Oh, and I had MAIN line before ROAD.

More recipes and dog stories, please! I would love it if someone recognized me by this blog. @Carola - sorry about your Badgers, the bowl losses continue. They put up a good fight (unlike poor Michigan).

Z 8:53 AM  

Fairly easy Friday 'tho I struggled in the NE. I was typing in t-e-n-s in my search bar (post-solve) when the cfl lightbulb in my brain finely warmed up. Missing that S and E and having YAWlS caused me some self-inflicted TIME LAGS up there.

Otherwise, no YAWPS from me.

@ACME- our teams were playing each other. Since I captain my team (it's a seniority thing) and my Nom de Guerre is also Z and I'm pretty sure I mentioned here where I was going it wasn't too difficult to deduce. As to the reason I started going by Z, there are lots of Marc's and Marks in my generation, I've had as many as four on a team at one time. "Z" used to be unique and there are people I've played with for a couple years before knowing I had any other name. The past couple of years there has been at least one other, and sometimes two other Z's playing. Off to check my blogger account, but marcgiz @ AOL, me, outlook and gmail all get to me.

joho 8:55 AM  

Absolutely lovely Friday puzzle. There was so much I didn't know but because the puzzle is so expertly and fairly made, it all came together beautifully.

Just a couple of rough spots: I was living in a TWInuniVERSE before I saw the really cool TWITTERVERSE. I misspelled it kRUZ. Once I corrected the K to a C that corner was the last to fall.

Question for Barry and Brad: are you two GOGETTERS?

Unknown 9:08 AM  

Enjoyed this puzzle, although I felt like I got whacked with a stupid stick. Got PETITFOURS and FOREVERSTAMP right off the bat, but was addled by WYCHELM.
And while I.m not pastologist and can muddle my way through some Italian, I thought that a penna meant a pen. All in all, a good puzzle.

(P.S. "Captcha" is a truly irritating and outdated mode of verification.)

Unknown 9:21 AM  

A fun struggle. Same experience as Rex with regard to FOREVERSTAMP and yuM before MMM. Can't help but notice the difference between Rex's reaction to not knowing WYCH ELM vs, BHT earlier in the week :-)

Unknown 9:22 AM  
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GILL I. 9:23 AM  

@Questinia: Do you BRAISE or poach your Salmagundi? If you poach it may I suggest you try using a cup of Domaine Stirn Cavel Prestige Sigoeshein...It really adds some wonderful flavor.
I had lots of fun with this puzzle especially with the tons of write-overs. Don't cats play with GItS? Isn't that short for guitar?
WYCHELM and AA FAIR were my two Googles and for a Friday, that's pretty good for me.
@Loren..Hee hee. Aren't they just so cuddly?
Thanks Barry and Brad. Hope you collaborate more often.

Unknown 9:25 AM  

@Brett Chappell Same for me but eventually the stream came together: PENNE ->pen -> quill -> feather.

Anonymous 9:28 AM  

Too easy for a Friday. Feels dated. 16A, 17A, 41A, 47A and on and on. Feel free to balance it out with something contemporary. And please, have we not seen every permutation on the Lion King over the years?

Robso 9:56 AM  

DNF. WYCHELM is obviously a made up word. Shame on you, Will Shortz.

chefbea 10:00 AM  

@Robso it's not a made up word. It's another name for the Ulmus glabra…now that sounds like a made up word

Hobbyist 10:07 AM  

Is it ok to Erle and Ava Gardner clued in one puzzle?

GILL I. 10:14 AM  

@chefbea...Ulmus glabra? Do you have the recipe?

MetaRex 10:24 AM  

Ah the joys of one's stupidities...took forever aka 10 extra minutes to come up w/ SCATTER and finish the NE...was fixated on breaking apart for "not stay together" and changed ENIAC for a while to accommodate SHATTER. Reminds me of the problem I and some other folks had yesterday w/ B-reaking instead of B-ending the rules.

gilgamesh 10:43 AM  

Was stuck on Wychelm
Otherwise pretty easy.

Anonymous 10:46 AM  

I love to hear the anonymous ones complaining this was too easy. Yeah, sure. I bet you finished it in 3 minutes. I somehow doubt the numbers on average solving time will back up your claim.

Steve J 10:54 AM  

Directional dyslexia strikes again. I meant I struggled in the NE in my post last night, not the NW.

Regarding bread: No, bread yeast does not need sugar. At least not good bread yeast. I never add sugar to my bread dough (I use a sourdough starter that I nurtured from scratch - and has been pushed toward not being overtly sour). Some weak store-bought yeast may need a little oomph from sugar to get going, but even those should primarily be able to feed off of the carbohydrates in the flour.

The primary effects of adding sugar are on flavor, texture, and crust browning/caramelization. Add enough, and it can speed up fermentation, giving a quicker, more-vigorous rise. That's not necessarily a good thing.

That's not a recipe, really. Sorry to disappoint yesterday's Anonymouse. I'd share an anecdote, but I need to get busy with my sycophanting.

Sandy K 11:19 AM  

This was a MIXTURE of some TIMELAGS and the NEW, USER-friendly and near WIPE-OUTS, MMMs and BAHs...

Ah yes, I remember so fondly when my roll of FOREVER STAMPS came in the mail...on Tuesday.

Tho I had some slow-going at WYCH ELM, it was gettable and the solve was MAINly PAIN-FREE and WENT down w/o a YAWP...

But the most fun was LOL @Loren, @Questinia, and @ACME- loooved Spongeworthy!!! Yep, my FOREVER STAMPS get the spongeworthy test too.

Anonymous 11:24 AM  

Nae painfree
Much yawping
Ideal Friday.

Bob Kerfuffle 11:25 AM  

Not reading the blog or any comments yet, 'cuz my Times hasn't been delivered yet and I'm that thickheaded, but I did the LA Times puzz (I think) in my local paper, by Mister Ed Sessa, and I enjoyed it greatly.

See ya later if my carrier gets through.

chefbea 11:30 AM  

@Bob Kerfuffle Neither rain nor sleet…. Oh wait..wrong delivery person

Anonymous 11:35 AM  

@anon 9:28

Instagram filter, CRUZ, FOREVER STAMPS, TWITTERVERSE, "Jackass" stunts, USER, EXPEDIA, etc.

Lewis 11:51 AM  

Very enjoyable Friday. Many ahas. Starting with pettyfour didn't help. With these constructors I figured anything I hadn't heard of would be crossed fairly, and they didn't let me down. Let this set the tone for 2014's Fridays.

Anonymous 11:55 AM  

Somebody please explain how "8 for O" ends up with "ATNO." Many thx.

PapaLeroux 11:58 AM  

An interesting puzzle. Thanks Barry and Brad. Thanks Rex for your comments. And thank all the bloggers for a pleasant after-puzzle read.

Anonymous 11:59 AM  

8 is the atomic number for Oxygen.

AliasZ 12:05 PM  

Did you know that Erle Stanley Gardner had six other pseudonyms besides AAFAIR? They were: Kyle Corning, Charles M. Green, Carleton Kendrake, Charles J. Kenny, Les Tillray and Robert Parr.

@Glimmerglass, do you know Ted CRUZ personally? If we all allow our disagreements of opinion to turn into hatred, we will be in a bad place indeed. In some circles we already are.

@Robso, WYCHELM does seem like a made-up word. But don't forget, the idea of spoken and written language is all made up. So are crossword puzzles.

@Uncle Walt, thank you for the beautiful poem. YAWP!

@Loren and @Anastasia Core Mixtures, I love your posts. And the recipes.

I couldn't pass up the chance to present NICOLAI Gedda in an excerpt from this most famous and popular of all oratorios of the burroak era, which I am sure everyone heard at least once.

I wish everyone more love and less hate in this new year.

Reminiscing sycophant anecdote- and travalogue-writing recipe sharer signing off.

Anonymous 12:06 PM  

"8 is the atomic number for Oxygen."

LOL. Just had a major "DUH" moment. Thx for the response.

Nancy 12:24 PM  

Had cArPS for YAWPS and was never able to correct, so I DQF (Didn't quite finish). Ripeouts? Rideouts? Riseouts? Rileouts? And what is "Ces on Prop..."? When one has blinders on, one has blinders on. Also failed to solve WYCHELM because I couldn't see YEN which was staring me in the face. (I had -EN, for heaven's sake!) An entertaining puzzle which I found hard in both North sections.

Anonymous 12:40 PM  

TIME was part of a clue and part of an answer.

Masked and Anonymo4Us 1:12 PM  

yawp. Pretty tough sleddin. Skidded off course into an alternate elm-o-verse a few times. Actually thought I saw St. Peter once, as I plunged toward an S-endin WIPEOUT. Primo salmagundi of words today, tho. Learned a lot. Often snows on my Florida like that, when a coupla crafty constructioneers gang up on my FriPuz solve. Fortunately, the central bank of black squares were there to adminster first-aid.

Thanx, Wilbersilkworms.

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Mohair Sam 1:27 PM  

Tough Friday for us, answers came slow - but they came. Cannot believe there were so many clues we had no feel for and yet we never got naticked.

ENIAC, WVA, and CRUZ our only gimmes. Loved FOREVERSTAMP and TWITTERVERSE. And yes yuM for MMM.

Really challenging and well-crafted Friday. Between the puzzle, Rex's comments, and the postings here this miserably cold and snowy day has been made cheery.

mac 1:43 PM  

Excellent puzzle, but I had more or less the same problems Rex had. In addition to that, I had Arista instead of Eroica.

Nothing new to add, just had a good time with. Going to the opera/Lincoln Center tonight, to hear Falstaff.

Things I learned: bean bag/Midway and Anastasia.

Brookboy 1:46 PM  

Challenging for me, took me a long time to get going, but then finally I did. It's like my brain finally kicked in and then I went along pretty rapidly (for me).

Never noticed the Lun THA (5D) entry as I got all the crosses first. Lucky me.

Took me quite a while to get to YAWPS (10A), a word new to me. I had YoWlS first and just couldn't get by it for some time.

Thanks to the folks here for finally making me see what ATNO (32D) has to do with the clue. Way too obscure for me, but I see some liked it.

Thoroughly enjoyed the puzzle on this snowy and COLD Friday (here in Brooklyn).

JDipinto 2:00 PM  

Ooh @mac, enjoy Falstaff, it's supposed to be great. And Stephanie Blythe is in it! (And in case anyone is wondering: yes, Nicolai was the first answer I entered.)

LOLing at your Arista answer - I pictured Norman Bates listening to Barry Manilow or Whitney Houston (both of whom were on that label).

Mette 2:08 PM  

Decided Harper's Ferry was a uVA campus, which gave me usCHELM, until Google politely corrected me and provided me with ENIAC in the NE. That's when my iPAD screen blacked out and returned with a blank grid, and then it filled in PETITFOUR, PIDGIN and ENIAC. So I gave up because amaro as an Instagram filter was no help.

Great pairing of constructors. More, please.

okanaganer 2:21 PM  

"Hombre, once": I immediately typed in DINO and was so proud.
Turns out it was Paul Newman, not Dean Martin.

Tita 2:27 PM  

In spite of monitoring the TWITTERVERSE for EXPEDIA on a regular basis, I had never heard that term - I had TWITTERVEnue for a while.

Ha ha - @Q - most interseting!
@EllenS - fabulous analogy!
@lms - great clip! That's just how I exercise too - eating a treat after avery rep...

@Numinous from yesterday - awesome story.

So - a definite travel theme here: EXPEDIA, INNS, BEDS. WENT, STPETER, MAINROAD, ONCOURSE, YEN...CAFE!

Was so happy that I finished, and all before dozing off last night, only to cone here and have to complain loudly that my YAWlS shoulda been YAWPS. No wonder I've never been that good a sailor...

Shoutout to @JenCT with 34A - former silkworms. She raises all sorts of native butterflies (not sure about the moths.)
She brought one to a puzzle-gathering I had last summer - we watched, stunned, as it went from chrysalis to Monarch before our eyse, tehn set off on its miraculous trip to Mexico.
Here is the clip of that magical day.
the clip of that magical day

Thought it was Lun Tai. The King and I still remains one of my favorite movies - I can sing every word! (Lack of accuracy or preservation of fact aside. It is Hollywood, after all.)

Anyhow, delighted with the puzzle, delighted with my near finish, and will make a consius effort to YAWP whenever justified.

Thanks Mssr. Silk & Wilber.

Tita 2:49 PM  


M and Also 2:58 PM  

@4-Oh... "Give Em the Ax" looks like a must-read. Bertha Cool cleans the mens john. Too bad about striped duds dude fallin into that there Japanese-style urinal.
Just took the missus to that Savin Mr. Banks flick yesterday. Now am really cravin some schlock with an edge to it; fortunately the FriNite filmfest is a mere clawful of hours away.

@Q: really liked how yer snowflakes comment yesterday made all the other comments shrink down to microscopic size. Are U a spellcaster?

@mUse: har. Nice belt.

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LaneB 3:02 PM  

I'm still YAWPing over the NE corner and the clues for ANEW and PAINFREE. The rest was struggle enough but at least I finished those parts. However, yet another DNF on Friday.
I still don't know what ATNO has to do with 8 for 0, but I'm sure all the finishers out there will enlighten me. Oh yes, what is WYCHELM? Never did understand tha clue either, but what else is new?
I should really stick to Sunday through Thursday.

Anonymous 3:06 PM  

Trying to fill out the NE corner when I was informed by an Instagram-user in my family that SEPIA is not, in fact, an Instagram filter. I switched to "SUTRO" at her suggestion, only to be forced back into SEPIA eventually. That's pretty shaky cluing, if even allowable at all. Seems like the puzzle creators just went off an assumption about Instagram functions, which would be okay if the clue were something more general, but I just can't give it to them when the answer straight-up does not fit the clue.

Anonymous 3:15 PM  

@LaneB: Took me a while as well. It's not a zero, it's an O, as in oxygen. ATNO is atomic number, which is 8 for the element oxygen.

M and A Help Desk and Chem Lab 3:26 PM  

8 is the ATomic NOomber for Oxygen. Any retired chemist could jump all over that. And no no, awcontare... keep pluggin away at those tough themeless jobbers like m&a does. Only way to move up to LaneA, someday!


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Anonymous 3:29 PM  

Had to Google to get traction and found I couldn't parse 26-D to make any sense out of the clue. I first misread it as "Where your book matters," thinking it had something to do with publishing. Then when I read it correctly I thought "matters" was a noun and wondered if anybody really booked matters. Events, yes, but matters? Finally saw that "matters" was a verb.

Nearly wore put both eraser and newsprint but finally got the puzzle mastered. I assume that when Rex says his times are in the 8s, he means minutes. For me, it's more likely to be hours.

Anonymous 3:39 PM  

Excellent misleading clue for 39-D. I started out thinking the answer could be NAVY GUN but the crosses shot that theory down in a hurry (pun fully intended, no apology offered). Couldn't believe BEANBAG when it emerged and had to ponder a long time before I accepted it.

Z 3:48 PM  

Hardly an expert, but I believe that a bean bag isn't just a missile, but is a ballistic missile

@okanaganer - Great mistake.

sanfranman59 4:00 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 21:31, 19:47, 1.09, 73%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Fri 13:43, 11:32, 1.19, 78%, Medium-Challenging

Questinia 4:16 PM  

@ Ellen S~ No sugar tried. *Quick* is quaint for a hot oven.

~~~~ Associational Anecdote ~~~~

I was a teenage docent at Sunnyside the home of Washington Irving author of, amongst other things, SALMAGUNDI. As part of the didactic tableaux, I'd often swap hoop skirts and the pianoforte for simple skirts and a wood burning stove in order to make scones and the like while conducting tours (recipes from Mrs. Crowen's American Lady's System of Cookery). Quick was the term for very hot.

@lms, I just inherited a double ditch from mom. I had a triple ditch with perforations that made the bread impossible to extricate without the use of parchment.

@ chefbea, is it a similar recipe? This also takes less than 2 hrs. It is too accessible a bread. It is easier than pasta.

@ Gill I.P. Great sounding wine!

chefbea 4:24 PM  

@questina e-mail me and I'll send you the recipe

heathcliff 5:14 PM  

JFTR, Instagram has many filters, including SUTRO. But not a one called SEPIA.

Madame Butterfly 5:52 PM  

Later on, a different part of my brain realized Alaska was actually "Seward's Folly," but that's a story for another time. Rex Parker January 3, 2014

Hint, hint…*

@ Glimmerglass – re the Canadian with the absolutely crazy and I mean out-there father: so, he really, really doesn’t like people to get Medicaid, to wit, all the states following that Party line, opting out of Medicaid expansion despite their actions costing billions of dollars in revenue to the states. (Thank you, Justice Stare Decisis John Roberts.) There’s the small detail of Teddy’s own health care, of which I am sure, Glimmerglass, as a principled hater you are well aware - but let’s enjoy, shall we? It’s quite the recipe…
A family of four with Medicaid as their insurance costs taxpayers $15,000. Ted Cruz, who really doesn’t like to charge taxpayers anything at all, has a Cadillac plan through his wife’s employer, Goldman etc., for which he gets a $20, 000 tax deduction: only five thousand dollars more than the Medicaid family! We won’t go in detail into all the perks and the salary, and the few hours actually on the job, not to mention the destructive activity to the Republic while on that job, working against the well being of the people who are paying him.


Hi Evil Doug, good to see your post the other day.

*The hint won’t take. I’ve tried before, it merely incites.

Gene 5:54 PM  

I "knew" Harpers Ferry was in Virginia. Northern VA? Southern VA? No idea about WYCH, but should have figured WVA.
FOREVERSTAMP did not take forever, and TWITTER- came, but VERSE took forever.

Hans 7:24 PM  

DNF because of incorrect cluing on SEPIA. I got stuck trying to make SUTRO fit. Constructor/editor fail.

sanfranman59 10:06 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 7:38, 6:18, 1.21, 97%, Challenging (7th highest ratio of 210 Mondays)
Tue 7:37, 8:12, 0.93, 26%, Easy-Medium
Wed 14:15, 10:26, 1.37, 97%, Challenging (8th highest ratio of 209 Wednesdays)
Thu 21:04, 18:24, 1.14, 74%, Medium-Challenging
Fri 21:26, 19:47, 1.08, 72%, Medium-Challenging

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:42, 3:56, 1.19, 96%, Challenging (9th highest ratio of 210 Mondays)
Tue 4:45, 5:09, 0.92, 20%, Easy-Medium
Wed 9:00, 6:11, 1.46, 100%, Challenging (2nd highest ratio of 209 Wednesdays)
Thu 12:58, 10:36, 1.22, 80%, Medium-Challenging
Fri 12:14, 11:32, 1.06, 60%, Medium-Challenging

sanfranman59 10:06 PM  

Oh ... I almost forgot ... LET'S GO BUCKS!

Unknown 11:45 PM  

+1 on the comments complaining about SEPIA; as we all know, wikipedia knows all

+wordphan 2:18 AM  

I know I'm the caboose here but could someone explain ATNO to me. Weird, got everything else except for the BRIT tree and mmm. Happy New Year, y'all!

Carlisle 8:37 AM  

“It was English, and the wych-elm that she saw from the window was an English tree. No report had prepared her for its peculiar glory. It was neither warrior, nor lover, nor god; in none of these roles do the English excel. It was a comrade, bending over the house, strength and adventure in its roots, but in its utmost fingers tenderness, and the girth, that a dozen men could not have spanned, became in the end evanescent, till pale bud clusters seemed to float in the air.”

― E.M. Forster, Howards End 9:42 AM  

This is a typical example of Rex giving one of his pals a pass. Anyone else provided this fill and some of these clues and answers? Rexageddon. Rexpocolypse.

Z 9:57 AM  

@+wordphan - At least twice in the comments above.

Garth 6:42 PM  

Checking to see if my Google mail account works.

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Pakistani Dramas 4:18 AM  

This is a specific show that I watch and listen to. The host, Andrew Warner, interviews successful entrepreneurs, mostly from Pakistani Dramas the online startup world. If that's a topic that interests you, the interviews are excellent and there are transcripts available with each show.

Zest Studio 6:24 AM  

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spacecraft 12:08 PM  

Tough, but in the end, gettable. THA, ERI and WYCHELM all needed every cross. Had a couple of near-WIPEOUTs, but stayed ONCOURSE and achieved the PAINFREE, IDEAL result.

One of those happened to be about PAINFREE, for which I had wanted cAreFREE--but the C didn't seem right in 10a. Then I recalled my college lit class, whose prof was a Whitman nut, and the barbaric YAWP was sounded.

The other was backLoG for TIMELAG. I was quite ready to belive that one of the "sisty uglers" might be called ONASTASIA. But what "That's tasty" expression ends in C? Well, none. I finally decided it had to be yuM; that part not fixed till the aha! of FOREVERSTAMP (I just bought a couple sheets). Off the new T of TIMELAG, I somehow grokked GANNETT--don't ask me how--and the recalcitrant SW began to open up.

I see Mr. Silk gave himself a shoutout in the clue for 34a, but that's OK; he deserves it. Nice puzzle. And YES, EROICA and AAFAIR were gimmes for me too, O fearless one. I remember thinking "How fitting" when I saw that record on Norman's turntable.

Four deuces; read 'em and weep.

Unknown 12:39 PM  

Not so sure I'd call Ono a "singer." Misleading.

Solving in Seattle 2:02 PM  

What's with the Indian invasion? Capcha, you need to do a better job.

@Troy, I concur with you about calling Yoko Ono a singer. I'd rather listen to an air conditioner bearing go out.

My three letter abr. for attorney is ATy, not ATT. That's my cell phone co.
My former silkworms were larva before they metamophized into MOTHS. Duh.

ORaGANO held up DONNAREED for awhile.

Can you hear me YAWPing over YAWPS? Really? Thought I'd see a @Spacy flag on that one.

Weirdest Syndy synchronicity - I had GNOCCHI for dinner last Friday. Hard to believe.

Re: Rex's Riteup - I personally thought that the clue for 6D was terrific. And the answer crossing IRONHORSE and a 1950's - '60s sitcom headliner and MOTHS as juxtaposed with TWITTERVERSE and EXPEDIA was... well... kind of an old vs. theme.

I'm out of the poker game today.
Capcha: resueen essent. With "The" a lost Robert Ludlum manuscript?

BedfordBob 2:10 PM  

Great puzzle Barry! I thought my brain was failing after Wed, and Thurs. I never finished either but I worked this one out with no errors and thought Rex would spoil my day by calling it easy.

Will will propably kill me tomorrow

l 2:25 PM  

C'mon gang. Accepting yawps is just plain being beaten down by Brad and Barry. Rise up. We don't have to take this. Well I guess we do. I can blame my self for wychelu and umm, but yawps and wipeouts. Indeed, what's a wipeout?

Surfer Dude 2:37 PM  

@ I - "What's a wipeout?"

Man, it's a classic!

Connie in seattle 2:47 PM  

Hey, I know Stephanie Blythe! She used to rent my house when she was performing with the Seattle Opera. Lovely lady.

Solving in Seattle 2:59 PM  

@I, Dude! Seriously, what's a wipeout? have you never strolled the Southern California beaches with your eyes cast seaward and marveled at the surfers hanging ten on a great wave, then seeing the surf crash down sending both surfer and board flying? That's a wipeout - a word in the surfing lexicon since BB (before the Beachboys).

BTW, welcome to Syndyland.

DMG 3:03 PM  

Good puzzle, DNF. Down in the SW I thought the singer was eNO (did/does he sing?), and my publisher remained _ANNETT, so no Italian dish for me. The NE was worse. I had YoWls, which fouled up everything. 18A was S_P_A which looked like SEPIA, but I thought INSTAGRAM would have something to do with words, so didn't fill it. (Thanks to @albert candy for educating me). For nirvana, I wanted careFREE, but that ruined YoWlS. So I gave up. For what it's worth, I've never heard of YAWPS, and don't understand why RAY is an Oriole, or is it oriole, rival.

@spacecraft beats my house full of 4's and 8's.

Solving in Seattle 3:08 PM  

@DMG, a Tampa Bay Ray is a baseball rival of a Baltimore Oriole.

Ginger 3:11 PM  

FOREVERSTAMP was my first entry, though I doubted it would hold up. With that in place it had to be MMM. My YAWP went through many renditions, as did SCATTER, so the NE was the last to fall.

Did not know AAFAhR, so a DNF. Which for me is a terrific result for a Friday. ANASTAShA sounds like it could be a name. Once had a remarkable Samoyed named Natasha.

four 9s and a pair of 3s 'bout time I get a pot!

Thanks to B&B, Fun one.

Dirigonzo 4:32 PM  

Have I ever told you about Pat's, the iconic pizza parlor in Orono that's been delivering pies to the dormitories and frat houses at UMO since before the guy who owns Dominos was born? Well here's the thing, Pat had a signature feature for his pizzas - no matter what kind you ordered there was always a single green pepper slice in the center of the pie. Pat Farnsworth, the founder, is gone but his restaurant still delivers anywhere on campus and it's still the best pizza around. I'm telling you this because I've developed a trademark feature for my completed grids - One Wrong Square (OWS). It seems I always manage to leave in one letter that I should have caught and changed, so I've decided to embrace my carelessness instead of beating myself over the head with it. For all I know, that first slice of green pepper in the center of a pizza could have been a mistake, too.

Just for the record, today I started with WEsT for Left, as in the "Left Coast" being the west coast (where many syndis reside) which of course left me with the exotic-looking but wrong PAIsFREE - what do I know about nirvana?

Two crummy pair.

Waxy in Montreal 5:40 PM  

We had FOREVERSTAMPS up here as well until a few months ago when Canada Post announced a huge price increase for postage as of April whereupon they were immediately removed from sale. Go figure.

We're not proud of it but Ted CRUZ was born in Calgary to a Cuban father and American mother which will probably make for a another monster "birther" controversy in 2016 if he makes a run for the presidency.

Enough TIMELAG. What did I know here? Precious little - AAFAIR, HYENAS, ENIAC, RAY, CRUZ, GANNETT, LIBRARIAN, INNS & GNOCCHI. On the other hand YAWPS(!), WYCHELM, the NICOLAIs, ERI and EROICA, ANASTASIA (should have phoned my grand-daughter) and BEAN BAGS (in this context) weren't in my wheelhouse.

Still, given the two esteemed constructors who collaborated on this puzzle, I'll put today's experience down to an enjoyable learning experience rather than saying BAH.

Except for YOKO who is definitely not a singer but an artist!

Shax 6:35 PM  

Salmagundi once won me a Games t-shirt. Olio!

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