BlackBerry routers / FRI 4-25-14 / Hypothetical particle in cold dark matter / Colorful party intoxicant / FIve-time US presidential candidate in early 1900s / Elvis hit with spelled out title

Friday, April 25, 2014

Constructor: Joel Fagliano

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: none

Word of the Day: ADRIANA Lima (16A: Supermodel Lima) —
Adriana Francesca Lima (Brazilian Portuguese: [ɐ̃dɾiˈɐnɐ frɐ̃ˈsɛskɐ ˈlimɐ]; born June 12, 1981) is a Brazilian model and actress who is best known as a Victoria's Secret Angel since 2000, and as a spokesmodel for Maybelline cosmetics from 2003 to 2009. At the age of 15, Lima finished first in Ford's "Supermodel of Brazil" competition, and took second place the following year in the Ford "Supermodel of the World" competition before signing with Elite Model Management inNew York City. In 2012, she came in 4th on the Forbes top-earning models list, estimated to have earned $7.3 million in one year. (wikipedia)
• • •

Last I heard, Joel Fagliano was going to be working for W. Shortz full time starting in the near future (following Joel's impending graduation from a pretty decent little southern California college). If this is still true, this is a very good thing, assuming his intelligence, youth, sense of humor, and fairly exacting standards have at least some influence on the whole puzzle-publishing alchemy at the NYT. I liked this puzzle a lot. Any weak spots are pretty small and forgettable next to the longer, better stuff they're helping to hold in place. Clues were pretty tough/clever over all, but with enough gimmes to allow for footholds in many places, making this a thorny but (difficulty-wise) pretty normal Friday puzzle. My only real criticisms are more matters of personal taste than of puzzle fundamentals. I weirdly resent having to know the names of so-called supermodels. I will (probably) forget ADRIANA Lima's name as soon as I turn off my computer. Nothing against her personally. She's probably very nice. I just … feel like the age of the "supermodel" is over, or should be. I pretend that it is, anyway. Also, I will never accept "A New Hope" as the title of anything (27A: Princess Leia was one of "A New Hope" = HOLOGRAM). Honestly, I saw that clue and thought "Wait, which one is that? … Oh, they mean 'Star Wars'." It's "Star Wars." I know. I saw it seven times in the theater. The poster hangs in my living room. I think I'd remember its name.

XOXOXO is somehow simultaneously lovely/sweet and mildly irksome (7D: Love letters). Feels arbitrary. You could do XOXO (I've seen that). Now XOXOXO. Probably XOXOXOXO (because why not?). And yet it's a hell of a lot better than [Tic tac toe loser] answers like OOX or XOO. And you *do* get Xs out of it, and Xs are rarely bad (unless they're involved in Scrabble-f*cking, i.e. the gratuitous squeezing of high-value Scrabble-tile letters into the grid at the expense of overall fill quality … but you knew that). IDEM is never pretty, IMHO. But there's really little else to complain about. CATERWAUL, RAISE HELL, SEX SCENE and JELLO SHOT all give this puzzle the feel of a party that's gotten a little bit out of control. Just a little. In a good way.

I started badly, with PATSY / STUD (!?) instead of CHUMP / "MR. ED" (1D: Sucker / 19A: Show horse). But at least I had the good sense to yank it pretty quickly. SOPHS to PKGS to XKE to XOXOXO got me started, and while there were hold-ups here and there, I moved through the grid pretty steadily and easily. I dispute [It's nothing new] as a clue for DEJA VU. Seems inaccurate. It probably is Something New—you just have an eerie *sense* that you've seen it before. Plus, it's probably not identical In Every Respect to whatever you thought had happened before, so "nothing" seems wrong. Off. Also, the clue on HAVRE? Is that the only place French ships are allowed to dock? Presumably other ships dock there too? The clue is hardly distinctive enough for that answer. [Update: it's the French word for "port"? I had seven years of French and didn't know that. Usually foreign vocabulary in puzzles doesn't get nearly that specialized]. [Unlocked area?] for BALD SPOT and [Blackberry routers] for iPHONES? Loved those.

Mistakes (besides the initial one) include FRENEMY for EX-ENEMY (37A: Germany, to Britain) (I like mine) and … I think that's it, actually.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Mark 12:03 AM  

Worked hard on this one for 75 minutes. Would have abandoned it unfinished if I had come across it three months ago. Needed many, many changes. Had IMP before LAD, ATTEMPT before HAVEAGO, GIVEAHAND before LENDAHAND, RAISECAIN before RAISEHELL, DUPLICATE before EXAMPAPER. Confess I binged a few, including ROY, but did not need to bing GAGARIN, which was a gimme, especially after our recent visit from MERCURYSEVEN.

jae 12:11 AM  

I had a DÉJÀ VU moment harkening back to last Fri. as this one was coming out of the printer.  If FO SHIZZLE works why not in it went with no crosses and low and behold...  The result was an easy-medium solve for me.  Liked it a lot.  I mean HAVE A GO at some JELLO SHOTS and RAISE HELL.  It even had a shout out to the Wed. astronauts. 

Only erasure was BALDhead for SPOT.

Fantastic Fri. Joel.  Wish they were all this good!

George Barany 12:17 AM  

I am reminded of a comment attributed to Yogi Berra, "It's deja vu all over again." After all the fuss from Wednesday about the Mercury Seven, it was fun to see Yuri GAGARIN in the first row of Joel's puzzle.

wreck 12:19 AM  

Sometimes puzzles click for me! This was my fastest Friday and NO googles. Thorougly enjoyed this one!

Anonymous 12:26 AM  

I couldn't help but wonder if the puzzle couldn't have been better without X's 4-6. Or at least some of them.

Amagerikaner 12:30 AM  

Havre means haven or port in French.
It alao means oat in Danish

wreck 12:31 AM  

I forgot to ask what 46A meant - POET for "One who deals with stress well?" I got it with crosses, but never figured it out!

Z 12:45 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Z 12:47 AM  

@wreck - think meter, stressed and unstressed syllables. Imagine if Newman had pulled of the same stressed syllable in each of his clues...

Easy east challenging west here. Resisted CHILLAX for a very long time. Knew "Unlocked" meant lack of hair but it still took me forever to suss out. I put in and took out PEDAL about X times before CHUMP finally appeared. Hand up for frENEMY.

A fine Friday workout. I was hoping to see Alma Gluck, tho'.

Benko 1:08 AM  

I liked this puzzle a lot!
I also think @Rex is confusing the city of Le Havre with the French word "HAVRE" meaning "harbor" in general.

Anonymous 1:19 AM  

"lo and behold"

"lo" means to draw attention to

Doctor John 1:24 AM  

I had no idea that my prediction on Thursday that Gagarin would be in future crossword puzzles would materialize so quickly.
BTW for space buffs, his Vostok 1 capsule was named Swallow.

Questinia 1:25 AM  

CHILLAX went in straight like FOSHIZZLE did last week (hi @ jae!) and the rest was easy-medium (hi @jae!) the medium deriving primarily in the CATERWAUL district. Loved AXION and INFOMANIA.

ADRIANA is not just any supermodel, Rex, (as the era of the supermodel is indeed over), but as Mr. Fagliano can tell you, she is a *Victoria's Secret* supermodel. Hence she is part of another kind of MERCURY SEVEN:
Gisele, Doutzen, Alessandra, Miranda, Candace. Heidi, and ADRIANNA.

Easy-ish but fun. Thanks Joel.

chefwen 1:50 AM  

Great Friday puzzle! GAGARIN went in right away - Good call @Doctor John. Got CHILLAX after my XOXOXO entry and felt pretty darn hip. The FAST track at 53A brought back many fond memories of the time spent at Del Mar, still miss those great corn beef sandwiches with KRAUT. Funniest moment was when my husband, who could be Larry David's double, gave me a withering look when I guffawed over 40A BALD SPOT. It was one of those regal moments of "We are not amused". Guess you had to be here.

jae 2:31 AM  

@anon - That was either autocorrect or dyslexia. If it was the latter you may be a racist (but then I'm currently watching Ferguson).

Jisvan 2:44 AM  

Great puzz. Liked IM STUCK crossing RITALIN. (Is that how you fast guys do it? Maybe I should HAVE AGO at it!)
I confess to googling Adrianna. The age of the supermodel may be over, but stunning beauty will always be in fashion. It's a short career, I wish her well.

TGIF Rexworld!

Moly Shu 3:15 AM  

Really liked this one ! Medium for me, just over 21 min. GAGARIN and ADRIANA got me started and of course, being a degenerate gambler, FAST had to be correct. Tried treys before SOPHS, easily fixed. Only complaint is SML, I will always dislike this answer, can't explain why, just don't like it. Loved CATERWAUL, SEXSCENE crossing RAISEHELL seemed risqué. My favorite entry by far is CHUMP. Such a great word, it denigrates without being overly offensive.

@Questinia, very disappointed you didn't link to pix of the "other" Mercury 7. Guess I'll just have to search them out myself.

Loren Muse Smith 5:02 AM  

Beautiful puzzle. This is a themeless I'll remember for a long time because of all the entries everyone is citing. A few small problems held me up –

"licks" for LUMPS
"Avia" for FILA – I know I'm in good company here.
"xls" for SML
"caterwail" for CATERWAUL
"it stunk" for I'M STUCK. No, I didn't actually write it, but I was vaguely certain, thinking, "Really?"
"have a goat" for HAVE A GO. Not really. But I still laugh at that day and how I, too, never saw go at.
"outlie" before OUTLAY

Off only the S in ESOS, I guessed RAISE HELL, guessed RITALIN off that L, and was delighted when it all indeed worked.

I liked the TERRIFY/GRR cross. Been there. And the TART/TROUBLE cross.

@jae – I never in a million years would have known it was supposed to be "lo," and I'm so grateful that for the most part nice people here overlook our (my) numerous typos and spelling/grammar missteps. When your hurrying to post and typing fast, its so easy to leave off/add in apostrophes, mispell words, use the wrong homophone, and, certainly for me, use quotation marks and final punctuation wrong – I'm *still* confused on that hole issue. I'm glad Mom never posts because she catches mistakes I make all the time, emails me, and I just whence.

Joel – spot-on perfect Friday. I just want to sit down and restart all over again.

Size 7:12 AM  

Glad to see the shortened version of several weeks ago's HAVE A GOAT

Unknown 7:21 AM  

i like your posting!!!

belkin router setup

Elle54 7:28 AM  

Decided to google ...didn't know how to spell Yuri's name even though it was in the comments the other day and didn't know Lima, so didn't think I could Suss out that area.
I tried frenemy too. Because of that weird Sprint commercial where the dad is a hamster??

Glimmerglass 8:03 AM  

Great puzzle. Nice job, Joel. We may have a young Patrick Berry coming along, and that's the highest praise there is. I didn't know CHILLAX or ADRIANA Lima (I'm old), but I did know GAGARIN (I'm old). Some clever and amusing clues. I had LAD, changed,it to imp, and back to LAD.

Anonymous 8:09 AM  

Medium because east was easy and west was difficult. Didn't feel like the same puzzle.

Bob Kerfuffle 8:25 AM  

Easy-medium for me, with one written-over letter at 22 A, ELOS before ESOS, because I was working on the theory that 12 D would be something like RAIL ABOUT, which obviously didn't pan out.

Only complaint: At 43 A, don't see my necessary T-shirt size, XXXL.

Loved the cluing overall.

JayWalker 8:26 AM  

This is the way I remember Friday puzzles to be back in the Dark Ages when I began solving NYTimes puzzles. Fagliano is one of those names that gets my blood going whenever I see it. Bravo Mr. Joel, Bravo. Welcome to the staff of the NYTimes!!!!

joho 8:33 AM  

It's nothing new when I say that this is a real beauty from top to bottom. Really, a perfect Friday level puzzle with more fresh phrases and fun words packed into the grid than usual.

@Rex, if it's true Joel will be working with Will then that cannot be anything but great! We'll all "Watch ANDBE amazed"

Mohair Sam 8:40 AM  

Agree with all y'all - This puzzle is about as good as it gets. Would call it challenging for us, but we did finish so medium-challenging gets out vote.

Cluing was exceptional, plenty of aha moments and a couple of "OMG that's good" moments too.

Staggered home in the NE because thought Yuri was Gregoran and never heard of ADRIANA (nor most super-models, agree with Rex on that issue).

Tip of the cap to Mr. Fagliano for creating a puzzle that seems to have been enjoyable across all age groups and skill levels - not an easy task.

Unknown 9:00 AM  

Med hard for me. A bit over average for afriday. A good, decent challenge. Nothing too arcane. Struggled in the SW - FILA? Are they still around? First tried AVIA, then PUMA. Finally got it when I had the AHa! moment on IPHONE.

I totally agree with RP regarding Star Wars. Had the same reaction while solving.

mac 9:05 AM  

Outstanding Friday puzzle, easy-medium for me, too. Write-overs at 63A art show and 15A give a go.

Before I read the word of the day I thought Adriana might be a Russian model, there are so many these days.

Beautiful words: caterwaul, leonine, stylets, paradox, nice clues for Grr and Poet.

Hartley70 9:06 AM  

Had this puzzle in my pocket from the first clue. It's a GREAT feeling! Loved the clues, so clever and just enough zip to make me go AHA! This was a puzzle that I would have loved to see last longer!

Unknown 9:08 AM  

Average for me in terms of difficulty. Fun puzzle with lots of clever clues. And a write up that balances criticism and praise without resorting to nastiness. Can't ask for more than that!

Sir Hillary 9:09 AM  

When I think of all the great "young guns" out there (David Steinberg, Erik Agard, etc.) it is Joel Fagliano that impresses me most. Wonderful mix of maturity and modernity in his puzzle. Remember his "a work in progress" Monday NYT from a few years ago?

Anyhoo...obviously, we have a winner here. I agree with most prior comments, including our host's. Other thoughts:
-- I found the East much easier than the West, so basically solved from right to left.
-- "Blackberry routers" is my new favorite clue of 2014.
--@Questinia - LOL on the Victoria Seven, who certainly raise my mercury.
-- My wife (a nutritionist) once had ADRIANA Lima as a client. Once.
-- We dig Spielberg in our house. My youngest especially LOVESET. (Sorry).
-- Is 51D the nameplate on a Jamaican sprinter's mailbox?

Late-night convo at a sleazy college party:

Hartley70 9:14 AM  

BTW what is M et A ? I can't make the middle symbol. It appeared a lot in yesterday's comments. Thanks :-)

Anonymous 9:56 AM  

What am o missing on the cream for example clue? I ended up with trio only because I had the crosses.

Unknown 10:07 AM  

Gave up after 2 hours. I quit with an incomplete grid deeply mired in well-crossed wrongness. SW was ungettable. I'd committed to frENEMY (sensible after CHILLAX) and was unable to see DEBS. aria/arid was a secure crossing in the corner and I was working on v_rings as the BlackBerry router when I quit. Research In Motion uses some kind of "ring" for packet routing, doesn't it? Cell network was not going to fit. I had ARTSALE but was getting ready to pitch it as it seemed to be the root of all evil. I don't know any Milwaukee bigwigs. Indeed. I don't know anyone in the Brewers lineup. Haaaaa, ya got me there!

For my expert in stress, I was working on everything from masseurs to whores to emts to cpas to ER nurses and doctors, viz., errn to ermd. Never saw poet. Never was gonna. Unlocked area was some kind of SPOT. I had LOVESET but doubted it over and over. Awful clue for an awful solution.

Also unfair SML clued to be plural. SML is not a tee shirt size. S is. XSS works as a tee shirt plural.

NW, NE and SE were gettable after a fashion. Fair cluing, there.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:11 AM  

@Anonymous, 9:56 AM - Cream were a 1960s British rock supergroup power trio consisting of bassist/singer Jack Bruce, drummer Ginger Baker, and guitarist/singer Eric Clapton. Wikipedia

mathguy 10:14 AM  

A nice mix of ten almost opaque clues ("It's nothing new" for DEJAVU, e.g.), five entries I didn't know (CHILLAX), but 27 clues which were almost straight definitions. The result was a solveable challenge -- what I like.

Besides echoing Rex with regard to DEJAVU, I also don't like " 'This statement is false, for example' " for PARADOX. It's probably close enough for a crossword puzzle, but that sentence itself is not a paradox -- it's the basis of a paradox. If it's true, it's false. If it's false, it's true. That's the paradox.

Mr. Benson 10:17 AM  

If frENEMY were the actual answer there, that plus CHILLAX would have caused this puzzle to exceed my tolerance for slangy middle school portmanteaus. One is plenty, especially since neither term is new to the puzzle.

Wendy 10:17 AM  

Cream was a rock group in the late 60's consisting of Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce: a TRIO

Sir Hillary 10:18 AM  

@Casco Kid - Initially, I had the same thought as you on could that be a plural? But I finally figured out it means the TRIO of sizes Small/Medium/Large.

Unknown 10:21 AM  

@Sir Hilary. Ah. Good one. Thanks.

John Child 10:25 AM  

I'm with @Casco Kid that the SW was hardest. Was on my way to a quick Friday until there. I had a personal ode to joy when I finally saw Cream = TRIO. Whoa... Flashback man.

Z 10:25 AM  

@CascoKid- Hand up for a long, quizzical look when SML stuck. Had tried xls and lgs first. It dawned on me post-solve.

@jae - definitely a racist, probably from Finland.

evil doug 10:27 AM  

"Art sale"? Green paint.


Carola 10:30 AM  

XOXOXO to this puzzle. I so enjoyed my leisurely meander through the grid where treat after treat was revealed. Super clues, witty entries. Thought CATERWAUL and RAISE HELL were especially great.
Also liked
IVIED halls (perhaps at ETON) with EXAM PAPERS
KRAUT as Britain's EXENEMY

Thanks, Joel!

Ludyjynn 10:45 AM  

WOW! I XO you, Joel Fagliano. Every inch of this puzzle was pure joy, even though it was definitely medium-challenging for me. The entire puzzle opened up w/ a single answer, XKE. Years ago, when I took a semester abroad in London, I walked from my flat to the S. Kensington tube stop to get to University classes, and situated right there at the corner was a Jaguar car dealership. I would drool at the glorious floor models. By chance, I soon met a man at my local pub who picked me up for our dates driving, wait for XKE! Relationshp was short-lived, but I'll never forget that beautiful car!

So much to admire about the puzzle cluing, starting w/ MRED, SEXSCENE, LUMPS and JELLOSHOT.

Finally learned how to spell CATERWAUL, thank you very much. I think I'll go and CHILLAX for a while after this got me all hot and bothered!

Pete 10:48 AM  

CHILLAX is indeed the FOSHIZZLE of today's puzzle, dated slang. I know because,

a) I knew it,
b) I'm old, and
c) I learned it from an episode of NCIS, The Official TV Show of Old People (tm), a half a dozen years ago.

Constant Reader 10:53 AM  

You may run a 150 year old newspaper and be trying to attract younger readers, but "Chillax" requires a clue which has both "young" and "slang" in it to be cricket. Thank God for Yuri Gargarin and the space race! You can not be 80 years old and twenty at the same time--reminds me of the Sunday puzzle where Wei power source crossed radio sponsor of Little Orphan Annie. Duh?

Two Ponies 11:03 AM  

Loved it. Thanks Joel.
Funny to see Gagarin today.
I would never say chillax but I have heard it.

Steve J 11:15 AM  

Agreed with most everyone that this was an excellent Friday puzzle. Some nice words, some fantastic cluing (Blackberry router was my favorite, as it set me off into technical considerations for a while, unitl a few crosses caused the light bulb to come on).

For "Puzzle solver's complaint", I initially just had the CK at the end. I tried to enter NATICK at first. Didn't fit.

Most if this came together piece by piece (starting from ADRIANA; I couldn't pick her out of a lineup, but her name entered my brain by osmosis somewhere along the way). But I got stuck in the NW. Wanted UV level, as never going to see CHILLAX unitl it was crossed in several spots, and HAVE A GO(at) just wouldn't make itself visible. That corner turned this from easy-medium to medium-challenging for me.

Mark 11:34 AM  

Last night on "Bad Teacher," after I had solved the puzzle, Ari Graynor's character told a student to take a "Chillaxative." Would have been helpful, maybe, if I had heard it before solving.

tensace 11:51 AM  

Ugh to MRED for Show horse. Double ugh to LOVESET. I've played tennis my entire life and won a bunch of love sets. Never did I compare it to a SMASH either on or off Broadway.

Plus DEVAJU is the feeling of having been there before, NOT "nothing new". In fact it is something new. Because in deja vu, you haven't actually been there before.

Lastly, I've taken EXAMS, written PAPERs but never had a teacher hand me an EXAMPAPER.

GILL I. 12:03 PM  

I'm pretty sure it was BEQ who introduced me to CHILLAX....still, I was too shy to enter him in that first slot. XO et al took care of that.
Knew GAGARIN but kept wanting something like Yaikletmei Outaherr ( Hi M&A):-)
@Ludyjynn. The very first right-hand-drive car I drove was a green XKE. I CATERWAULed all around town.!
Great fun Joel... Only one Google (ADRIANA). I'm not up on Victoria Secret - those bras TERRIFY me.
I do hope you work with Will. The NYTX can always use some STYLE...

jdv 12:06 PM  

Easy-Med. No real problems. This was one of the most scrabbly grids I've seen. I don't understand the Blackberry Router clue. I had GIVEAHAND before LENDAHAND. Really liked the clue Unlocked Area. Absolutely despised GENL; no one in the military abbreviates General that way.

Arlene 12:10 PM  

Just the kind of Friday I like. I had to Google a few - had the feeling that I'd never finish - and then, suddenly, it's done!
I couldn't believe GAGARIN was in this puzzle, after all the fuss about astronauts just a few days ago. And this puzzle really did have a SEXSCENE - unlike the false start in that 4-syllable puzzle the other day.

AliasZ 12:17 PM  

CHILLAX demanded 37A to be FRENEMY. Like @Rex, that is what I entered first. I think deep down that is how England still feels about Germany to this day.

Francesco Cilea (1866-1950) was an Italian opera composer (what else?) who is best known for his operas L'arlesiana and ADRIANA Lecouvreur. Here is heavenly Maria Callas singing the aria "Io son l'umile ancella" from ADRIANA Lecouvreur.

Lovely puzzle by Joel Fagliano today, except that it reminded me that my BALD SPOT reaches from my forehead all the way to the middle of my back.

On a personal note, the building right next door to mine in Jackson Heights, NY, went up in flames this past Monday. Only a 20' alleyway separates the two buildings. Luckily, no one was seriously injured and my building suffered no damage except for heavy smoke conditions. Some serious cleaning is in order this weekend. Anyone want to LEND A HAND?

Sir Hillary 12:41 PM  

@jdv - iPhones have routed Blackberrys in the smartphone wars.

lawprof 12:54 PM  

My first impression on seeing the grid was, "Wow, that's a lot of white space!" I'm not a constructor, but I'd assume that presented an extra challenge to Mr. Fagliano (maybe I'm wrong). In any case, he aquitted himself wonderfully with this effort.

I agree with the consensus that this was a lovely puzzle with lots of lively fill (HOLOGRAM, SEXSCENE, RITALIN, BALDSPOT, PARADOX, JELLOSHOT, CATERWAUL and more) and clever cluing ("hot shot" and "unlocked area" being my faves).

Just a couple of writeovers: aviA/pumA/FILA; lancETS/STYLETS. Never heard of CHILLAX, ADRIANA or NIA (Long), but all gettable from crosses. Not quite sure what "IDEM" has to do particularly with legal briefs...but, ok. Nice to see the much-maligned Eugene Debs get another day in the sun.

Thanks, Joel, and best wishes for your new adventure.

Lewis 1:04 PM  

Just what I want a Friday to be -- tricky cluing, a few dazzling words or phrases, new things to learn (STYLETS). I plodded all the way to the finish, savoring the entire experience.

This has to make your Sunday list, Rex.

retired_chemist 1:09 PM  

Excellent puzzle. CHILLAX and IMFOMANIA were my favorites but there are plenty of other answers just as good.

Hand up for believing in frENEMY so strongly that I briefly gave up on DEBS which I was also sure was correct. DfBS eventually reared its ugly head and I had to give up on the f. At that point I immediately saw EX-ENEMY.

26D was "a natiCK" for a long time, even though I knew that was too much of an in thing to be in such a widely distributed puzzle.

Lots of young, fresh, neologistic stuff, and yet this geezer had minimal trouble with it. I think those were well chosen to give the older solvers a shot.

So, kudos and thanks to Mr. Fagliano.

Atlantasolver 1:14 PM  

I wanted "Puzzle solver's complaint" to be Tooeasy...

Andrew Heinegg 1:16 PM  

One could only wish that other constructors (and editors! ) would examine Mr. Fagliano' s work. This puzzle is a combination of some easy (but interesting) clues, some clues that require some thought and others I would never know but for the doable crosses. Amen to never hearing again about any more supermodels, unless you think being anorexic and having to constantly obsess over your appearance in order to keep your job is super and a model example!

jdv 1:23 PM  

@ Sir Hillary. Thanks.

Masked and Anonymo6Us 1:58 PM  

@63: Primo writeup.

@Joel: Lovely work. Have U ever considered wantin to take over the runtpuz franchise, instead of that new NYT gig? Anyhoo, me and the PuzEatinSpouse were really on yer wavelength, on this themelessthUmbsUp puz. Finished it between orderin and gettin the chow served, at the local pancake house. Wrote tons of stuff in with little or no crossin help. Only erase-outs:
* ANION...scratch,scratch...AXION.
* TIA...scratch...NIA.
* RAISECAIN...scratch,scratch,scratch...RAISEHELL.

Really admired the dejavuosity of GAGARIN and SEXSCENE ("Subset of a sex act?").

M et A.

John V 2:11 PM  

Great puzzle. Got all except the model stuff in NE and, yes, this silver solver got Yuri GAGARIN. Nicely balanced puzzle across the ages. I usually have more trouble with Joel's puzzles, but thought this one pretty easy, save for the NE.

M and Also 2:23 PM  

p.s. @Gill I.P... har back.

Dountah Seeyudzs & Shteemz Skaginn flew many CCCP joint missions, btw.


Two Ponies 2:45 PM  

@ John V, love "silver solver"!

Fred Romagnolo 3:22 PM  

Bravo, Fagliano! I'm new to chillax, jelloshot, and Cream (I'm 82), and thinking of tees in the plural held me up; but I succeeded. When I taught Jr. High, way back when, I distributed exam papers on DITTO SHEETS (probably a lot of you don't know about them). I prefer Tebaldi's rendition of the Cilea aria (chacun a son gout).

wreck 3:26 PM  

Ditto sheets smelled wonderfully!!!

sanfranman59 3:42 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 19:33, 21:15, 0.92, 36%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Fri 11:46, 12:18, 0.96, 39%, Easy-Medium

jberg 3:48 PM  

Solved this much earlier (or thought I had), but I'm at a conference and couldn't come here. Actually, i'd messed up the SW -- hd Avia, then Puma, saw LEONINE, but didn't think of IPHONES until much later -- so I forgot that I had to change the PU.. from PUMA. I have no idea about FILA, but others seem to know it -- and FAST just never occurred to me.

That said,

a) Are STYLETS for real? Bigger stilettos?

b) The nice thing about 43A is that I groaned -- bet I'm not the only one -- 'horrible POC,' then was delighted to see that it wasn't.

c) Why aren't there any jokes about 51D, "It takes two nuts." Is Usain BOLT like Tiger Woods?

schmuzz 5:25 PM  

some youngstars at work helped me with this one-especially ADRIANA lima (never heard of her)

finally finished at home with the SW the last to fall as well...loved the cluing, too

going to keep plugging along with these fridays and saturdays

Malsdemare 6:05 PM  

Agony, sheer agony. I loved it but it was a real slog for me. AviA before FILA, frENEMY before EXENEMY, and finally naticked at JELLySHOTS, just didn't see it, though after teacher college kids for twenty years, I know what they are. One cheat, for DEBS, but a really good workout. Knew CHILLAX, and GAGORIN, so I feel pretty good.

Anonymous 7:02 PM  

Loved this puzzle.

Only things to say today are: a havre is any old port in a storm. so that made sense to me.

I so wanted the relationship between Germany and England to be frENEMY, but alas.


OISK 9:06 PM  

Finished it, and enjoyed it despite never having heard of Adriana, chillax not being a word, never heard of a jelloshot, and really disliking the clue for "trouble." There was so much wonderful stuff here, and such clever cluing, that the few "WTF"s didn't matter. Only the "trouble" gave me trouble. Never heard of the song, although I grew up during the Elvis era, and hesitated because I thought "Why would they pick some obscure old song to clue a word like "trouble"? Great puzzle.

michael 9:24 PM  

Perhaps from reading this blog for so long, I had "puzzler's complaint" as "it stunk" for a short while.

Got most of the puzzle quickly, but was stalled for a while in the northwest. Eventually decided that "chillax" made sense even if I had never heard of it.

Anonymous 9:38 PM  

I finished in less than two hours, so I'd say that ranks as "easy," as it's been awhile since I've finished with zero squares wrong.

Adrians and Gagarin were gimmes (though not quite the spelling of Gagarin) and that helped immensely.

I really struggled with "exam paper," of all things, and to me it was just kind of bland cluing. Like others, I suspect, I had art show and then art talk before art sale.

Just a meh from me for most of the clues, though I do love caterwaul as a word.

sanfranman59 10:02 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 6:07, 6:04, 1.01, 59%, Medium
Tue 6:42, 8:16, 0.81, 4%, Easy (8th lowest ratio of 228 Tuesdays)
Wed 12:08, 10:13, 1.19, 88%, Challenging
Thu 16:25, 18:08, 0.90, 31%, Easy-Medium
Fri 19:45, 21:15, 0.93, 37%, Easy-Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 3:45, 3:58, 0.95, 19%, Easy
Tue 4:19, 5:07, 0.85, 4%, Easy (10th lowest ratio of 228 Tuesdays)
Wed 7:19, 6:14, 1.17, 88%, Challenging
Thu 9:28, 10:44, 0.88, 25%, Easy-Medium
Fri 11:06, 12:18, 0.90, 28%, Easy-Medium

Anonymous 12:18 PM  

First impression: What a nice write-up.......for a change. The puzzle just all fell together even though I never heard of the words "chillax" and "infomania." It reminded me of a Patrick Berry puzzle in that if you jump around and fill in what you're pretty sure of, you can infer the rest.

Ron Diego 9:15 PST 5/30

spacecraft 12:48 PM  

Every once in a while I try one of these before my brain is in gear; this was one of those times. After a struggle in the SE which included having to write over G.I.BLUES because I forgot about the *hit???* T-R-O-U-B-L-E, I gave up. Again, I don't know whose definition of the term "hit" we're using--but it aon't mine.

Even with CATERWAUL, LID and FAST as starts, I just couldn't think of anything more. Even wanted YOULLSEE, but couldn't confirm. I console myself with the knowledge that no way could I have arrived at INFOMANIA. Just too much I didn't know.

And two crappy pair. Today, as the T-shirt says, is "not your day, and tomorrow isn't looking good either."

Solving in Seattle 1:33 PM  

Enjoyable, tough fripuz, Joel, and if you're graduating, congrats on that step, too!

Had aRab before MRED crossing with gEtbeHiND before LENDAHAND. misspelling RIdALIN held me up with my "Puzzle solver's complaint" until I did an alphabet run.
Liked the clue for BALDSPOT and love the word LEONINE.
INFOMANIA a new word for me, albeit inferrable.

Condolences to @Waxy.

Can't see three sixes winning. Fold.

DMG 2:05 PM  

First time through this one looked impossible, an "s" here, a tentative guess there, so I put it down for a bit. Maybe the coffee helped, but when I tried again it slowly started to fall. Ended up with one awful error, Had hIRED for "put on", and never noticed that left GAGhRIN for the spaceman. Probably unpronounceable even in Russian!

Correct answers, but No idea why: IPHONE, STILETS, WNBA. What is "the New York Liberty"?

Also two pair, 9's and 3's.

Dirigonzo 4:17 PM  

Fine Friday fare fraught with freshness and fun - Fabulous!

Four nines - I'm all in.

Waxy in Montreal 5:35 PM  

Thanks @SiS. I'm over it as the better team (last night) won. Will transfer support to your Seahawks once the NFL gets underway.

Fo' shizzle loved parts of this puzzle such as UVINDEX, DEJAVU, EXENEMY, SEXSCENE, CATERWAUL, GAGARIN and the entire SW which I thought was a brilliant construct. Not so fond of CHILLAX, JELLOSHOT, and ESURANCE but guess that's the price paid for being an oldie.

A real hot shot would have been the crossing of SEXSCENE with NYMPHOMANIA rather than its more, ah, flaccid cousin INFOMANIA.

A TRIO of 8's.

Dave A 9:27 PM  

Britain is my EXENEMY...said no one ever!

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