Wiener Frauen composer / FRI 7-11-14 / Like 1938 Andrew Jackson stamp / What Kramer often called Seinfeld / He had 1948 #1 hit with Nature Boy / Cops in slang / R.V. park hookup option / Ad masco in sunglasses

Friday, July 11, 2014

Constructor: Victor Fleming and Sam Ezersky

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: none

Word of the Day: BARÇA (49A: Spanish soccer club, for short) —
Futbol Club Barcelona (Catalan pronunciation: [fubˈbɔɫ ˈkɫub bərsəˈɫonə], also known as Barcelona and familiarly as Barça, is a professional football club, based in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. (wikipedia)
• • •

I think I liked this. It's hard to tell since I blinked and it was over. Under five minutes—super fast for me on a Friday. I was faster than every currently posted time at the NYT, including people who normally Krush me, which leads me to wonder … why? Where was the difficulty? Was it in and around POPO (28A: Cops, in slang) and DEMI-JOHN (12D: Cousin of a carafe)?  I loved POPO but thought, as I was writing it in, "Is this something the average NYT solver knows?" I'm not exactly sure how I know it. Rap, probably, but now middle-class white folks trying to sound street use it quasi-ironically, so … who knows? I wanted to spell DEMI-JEAN thusly, but I think I was just confusing it with Sean Jean. Aw … nope. That's JOHN too.

But those 15s? Gimmes. Got them both at first glance, with just a few letters in place each time, and I doubt I'd've needed a single cross in either case. Those clues are transparent. I thought the same about 1A: Displeases one's buds? (TASTES BAD) and 1D: Scary little sucker (TSE-TSE), so I was off to a propulsive start right from the get-go. Let's see … I had a little struggle there for a few seconds when I thought it might be a SEWER PIPE instead of a SEWER LINE (15A: R.V. park hookup option). I wrote in ELGAR instead of LEHAR (due entirely to having only -AR in place when I saw the clue) (30A: "Wiener Frauen" composer"). Needed all the crosses to get FEAR (34D: What chickens have). Just didn't know BARÇA, so had to solve around it (thankfully, not hard at all). There were some other clues that held me up a little, but not such that the struggle is worth relating.

This puzzle won't be terribly memorable, but I thought it was quite solid.YEASTS are not things I'd normally think of as pluralizable—but that answer isn't bad/wrong, and there's nothing here to really gripe at. In sum: Fine work from this pair.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. article out today in online version of the Atlantic about the future of the crossword puzzle. I am quoted extensively. My words are twice misrepresented (I must have been unclear somehow: mea culpa): I am not "suspicious of making crosswords more accessible." I am suspicious of the claim that apps do that. Big difference. Also, I'm not a "print loyalist," in that I almost never solve on actual newsprint. Still, worth reading.


jae 11:41 PM  

Another easy Fri. for me too although the NE leaned towards medium as LEHAR and DEMIJOHN were WOEs.   Only erasure was TOWfee before AGE.    A fair amount of zip, but when you can put in the 15s with almost no crosses it's a tad too easy.   

3/5s of a vowel progression: JER, JAY, JOE and while I liked the JER/POPO stack, JER might be pushing it.  

@Rex -- Re: POPO - Maybe from The Wire?

Easy but fun.  Liked it guys. 

Questinia 12:15 AM  

Easy puzzle, also with TOW fee as an erasure @ jae.

I know POPO as meaning BUTT... apparently it's Turkish?

wreck 12:20 AM  

Last Friday I complained that people were calling Patrick Berry's puzzle "easy" when it was just well constructed and well clued. THIS puzzle was easy. Nothing remotely obscure that could only be gotten by crosses. VERY fast Friday for me.

Evan 12:35 AM  

Easy but good. Only things that really held me up were my thinking that the power line had to be AMPERE-- (which is current, not power), and whether the tot's Spot was going to be DOGGY or GOGGY. I know the latter probably looks ridiculous, but I swear I've seen it in internet-speak before.....on a website like LOLcats, or I Can Has Cheezburger.

FOTO next to ROTO. Cool.

Billy 12:40 AM  

@Questinia, "popa" is butt in Russian.

Evan 12:45 AM  

p.s. Rex for some reason the top of the post says Thursday, July 10 rather than Friday, July 11. We have to go back to the future.

Casco Kid 12:48 AM  

Easy here, too. 20 min to finish all but the Carolinas, then another 20 minutes to suss out the odd constellation of foreign language and ? fill ARCANE/JAY/MERE/BARCA/BANC. BARCA/BANC is a "Basque" - a rare but treacherous French-Spanish Natick. Any combination of letters would look equally good there. MERE is French, I gather. Does it mean mother? MaRy didn't work. MaRE didn't either. Is BANC French for bench? Is BARCA slang for Barcelona? That's a new one.

But overall, it was so dizzyingly fast that I forgot to check crosses on TOWfeE, so scratched far from the difficult patch. C'est la vie!

Elaine2 1:26 AM  

A few small hangups (like POPO, which was new for me!) but this was a really easy Friday! Two in a row....

jae 1:43 AM POPO - or maybe from the Holder character on "The Killing" ?

Steve J 1:52 AM  

Definitely easy. My fastest Friday ever, finishing this up in around half the time an average Friday takes me. No resistance anywhere, other than POPO/LEHAR and inexplicably not seeing PEEN for a bit.

Even though both filled in with 1-3 crosses, I liked both of the 15s. The 8s and 9s were all pretty good, too. Cluing was easy, even the misdirections, but it was still lively.

Light, breezy and fun. Again, too easy for the day. Broken-record time: I wish themelesses didn't have to always be on Friday or Saturday. This would have been a great Wednesday. There's a place for easy themelesses, and it's not necessarily on Friday.

Steve J 1:58 AM  

@Casco: Yes, MÈRE is "mother" in French, and BARÇA is common shorthand for the soccer/football team Barcelona FC.

chefwen 2:21 AM  

Started out as I can't fill this in fast enough and had to double check the day of the week. That stopped when I got bogged down in the NE. 12D was DEcanter, 28A was fuzz. I have no idea what 13 & 14D, 30A tried Lizst. I think cleaning up that area took me twice as long as the entire puzzle.

Got the puppy done, but the NE was a horrid mess.

Charles Flaster 4:35 AM  

Easy again for Friday. Seventeen minutes with last 10 of them spent on upper right as I thought Central Park(one of my favorite places anywhere) NEVER closes. After erasing, got Gauze Pad then Dodge and Doggy.
Should have been a Wednesday or even Tuesday but liked the cluing so thanks to both constructors.

Gill I. P. 5:14 AM  

POPO? as in POPO le pew? Never heard that one before but it sounds like something I could use.
Fun, fairly easy puzzle. I blinked more than Rex but it sure felt like it was over too soon.
Ah yes, the hours spent at ToysRUs picking out x-wing Fighter, Rebel Commander, Yoda and Luke, wrapping them in Merry Christmas paper at three AM, watching the ARDOR on the kids faces while ripping the wrapper up and then storing them in the attic a few months later to join all the Furby's, finally paid off. ANAKIN da man!
I wanted ARSES for moon views but I'll take BUTTS...we're getting so up-to-this century aren't we.
Is there a DEMILOO?
Thanks for the memories Victor Fleming and Sam Ezersky.

Gubdude 6:07 AM  

A small gripe but from what I recall, Elaine Benes is the one who uses JER to talk about Mr. Seinfeld, not Kramer. Kramer usually says bud or buddy. But not that big of a deal.

Agree, easy puzzle overall. The 15's fell fast, especially the down. But I enjoyed it.

Moly Shu 6:36 AM  

Agree with the easy. atten, atone, and tenpm before ONEAM. Liked RUBS. Didn't know that definition for ARCANE, or, don't understand the clue.

As Trick Daddy would say "Mother-F##k the Popo".

Liked it.

James Dean 7:00 AM  

Fast but enjoyable and almost totally devoid of junk. 29 across made me chuckle - reminded me of an incident in high school that I shouldn't go into.

Sir Hillary 7:08 AM  
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Sir Hillary 7:09 AM  

Breezy for a Friday. Great work by the constructors. Agree that the fill is pretty pristine. Probably half of my solving time was in the lower NE. Never heard of POPO, LEHAR or DEMIJOHN (heard of jeraboam, though) but all of those were ultimately inferrable.

I really liked the "?" clues for EMPERORS and AIRFORCE. Not so much the ones for JAY and BUTTS.

[begin random rant]
I absolutely hate JOECAMEL as a concept, a mascot and a crossword entry. Much as others felt about MYLAI last week, I believe that calling JOECAMEL an "ad mascot in sunglasses" is literally whistling past the graveyard. He represents the worst sort of cynical advertising -- his head subliminally resembles a scrotum, and his cartoonish visage has often been displayed at children's eye levels. My sensitivity on this topic is something of a one-off that I find hard to completely explain -- for example, I had no issue with how MYLAI was clued or the SIEG entry a while back. I have never lost a relative or close friend to lung cancer or anything else that I know to be tobacco-induced. But I find the whole notion of JOECAMEL to be disgusting.
[end random rant]

Anonymous 7:41 AM  

Easy but where's the zip? Maybe the crossword POPO can find some. I didn't.

Susierah 7:54 AM  

Another complete Friday with no errors or googles. 27 minutes. The last to fall for me was "jump start" and barca. I stared at that clue forever until I could see jay. Po po jumped to my mind because of a Dierks Bentley hit song "5-1-5-0 somebody call the po po" a real ear worm!

Rex Parker 8:03 AM  

Suarez to 49A!!

joho 8:14 AM  

Can a puzzle be too smooth? No, I don't think so ... this one just ran on the wrong day.

These two created a really fun, interesting puzzle with fantastic cluing. Easy, yes, but in no way boring.

The only hard part for me was PEEN/POPO but the cross is fair as PEEN is the only plausible answer.

I loved it! Thanks, guys!

Susan McConnell 8:26 AM  

Little snag at PEEN/POPO, but other than that pretty easy. It's fun to fill in those long answers with few or no crosses.

I thought it was interesting that the Across Lite version contained a note explaining the "silent" component of yesterday's puzzle.

NCA President 8:27 AM  

The puzzle was easy to me as well, which makes it challenging when it's on a Friday. I expect Friday's to be challenging so when the answers come easy I begin to second-guess myself and so I make more of it than is necessary.

I thought POPO was typically used disrespectfully. I don't think you'd call a policeman a POPO to his face or within earshot. It's a little like "fuzz," and not quite as bad as "pig." I've only heard it in rap music and by people who are clearly channeling rap music. I could be wrong.

SEVENCENT as a stand alone adjective. Hmmm. Reminds me of Fifty Cent.

ARNE clued as someone other than a composer was nice.

TOWAGE? Is that like a corkage fee? I was in a restaurant once that charged a cakeage fee. You could bring in your own cake, but they charged you for the plates and forks.

At first blush I had Colts instead of LIONS. I think the Jags were close to going O-fer recently too.

For Wiener Frauen (Vienna Women) I wanted Strauss (as in the Waltz King), but clearly that didn't fit. From the L I then thought maybe Liszt would have written something like that...though I couldn't imagine in what form. From the H I got LEHAR. Ah LEHAR, we hardly knew ye.

@Sir Hillary: agreed on all counts. Joe Camel was discontinued because of its blatant pandering to children.

AliasZ 8:28 AM  

I don't know which is worse, SEWERLINE or JOECAMEL. They both leave TASTESBAD in one's mouth. Attila the Hun, Pol Pot and Idi Amin were angels compared to JOECAMEL. Who passes the breakfast test with a better mark? I know: SWEATY BUTTS.

Jeez, Louise, what RUBS people the wrong way...

Anyway, I loved this puzzle with a couple of self-referential clues/entries from Judge Vic, and PFC FRIDAY (wasn't that SGT FRIDAY?), which was very apt for a Friday. ROTO, FOTO and POPO were a toto joy, except I'VE no idea what a POPO is. Loved JOECAMEL, but would have preferred JOE Stalin.

Wasn't the group of people running Obama's election campaigns called TEAM O?

DEMIJOHN is what Ms. Moore calls her private restroom.

You have to check out Franz LEHÁR conducting the overture to his operetta Wiener Frauen. Amazing sound for a 1947 recording!

But let me leave you with Dame Joan Sutherland and her KINGSIZE voice in this lovely aria called The Soldier Tir'd from the opera Artaxerxes (1762) by Thomas Augustine ARNE (1710-1778).

Molto BENE, Sam and Vic.

Thank God it's FRIDAY.

Mohair Sam 8:32 AM  

@rex 8:03 - That bites.

Second straight easy Friday. Stalled briefly in the POP'DEMIJOHN/LEHAR area. But LEHAR rang a bell and the crosses were fair - so no complaints.

Liked puzzle, but entrance through the two fifteens was just too easy - Got 8d off the gimme ROONEY, and 31a off the "K" in 8d.

Z 9:05 AM  

DEMIJOHN looks like a grisly scene that the POPO find in a SEVEN CENT hotel to me. DNF because I had no idea what P-PO or LE-AR were going to be, and equally on the dark side regarding DEMIJ--N. Otherwise easy. My guess is that little section is slowing down people.

If you ever walk into a home brewer supply store you will never ever ever question the plurality of YEASTS. Changing yeast or changing either the type of quantity of hops can radically change the result.

Wasn't TE AMO KING SIZE BUTTS a hit in the 90's?

chefbea 9:28 AM  

Busy day so no time to finish or read the comments. Wanted Decanter for 12 D. Never heard of a demijohn

This afternoon we are going to the swearing in ceremony of a friend of ours. She and all the other popo.!!!What a coincidence that that word appears today

TokyoRacer 9:34 AM  

A bit strange that no one else was bothered by "Apprehended by a small group." I assumed this was the first meaning of apprehend and that if it was supposed to mean "understand" it would be "comprehended." So that corner didn't work out for me.
Who says, "I cannot apprehend what you are saying"?

Z 9:41 AM  

@TokyoRacer - that's why we call it a "puzzle."

Z 9:42 AM  
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Carola 9:52 AM  

Easy and fun. Slow only in the NE - I wanted DEcanter, like @chefwen; never heard of POPO except as a synonym for BUTT in German; EMPEROR was very hard for me to see.

With SEWER LINE, BUTTS and POPO, PEEN started looking to me like an archaic past participle of "to pee."

@Gill I.P. - "'Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring,..." except for me, putting together the zillion pieces of an AT-AT. Thankfully, I'm getting two generation's worth out of it, as my granddaughter now loves to play with all of that Star Wars gear.

Anonymous 9:57 AM  

@TokyoRacer--yes, they used the 2nd definition of "apprehend." Or, at least a quick glance at 3 or 4 dictionaries all had the relevant definition in the second position. Tricky setter!
By the way, maybe it's a Southern thing, or that I belong to a group that has traditionally had more than its share of police harassment and as such has tended to have a proliferation of nicknames for the police, but POPO is pretty common in my world. I had no crosses there yet so first thought it might be something old-timey like FUZZ.

Maruchka 9:58 AM  

Mostly smooth, with odd bumps along the way. NW, SW were easy-peasy. NE - had decanter for DEMIJOHN, but was really liking JER for Seinfeld.

POPO? Are you mad?? Are you insane??? See @Gill's take on this..

"La mere baise le POPO d'enfant. Plume de ma tante... merde." - Henri le Chat Noir-ish.

Liked FLAPJACK, DOGGY, TOWAGE. An OK if too swift Friday.

Anonymous 10:01 AM  

Seven-cent, yes, because it's an adjective. Seven-cent stamps. I don't think I've ever heard anyone say fifty-cents piece, either. It's "fifty-cent piece." (Not that one sees them very often these days.)

Anonymous 10:14 AM  

Exactly! Just like you say "million-dollar home', not million-dollars home. Ok. Guess we can put that one out of its misery now!

Nancy 10:36 AM  

Good grief! I am the very first and only person to say this puzzle was hard. So hard, that I almost couldn't get a toehold, almost gave up before I had a single answer. Can't remember what the toehold was -- but I did finish after a mighty struggle. Never heard of:
Anyway, now I'm feeling dumb instead of smart. Anyone else -- anyone at all -- have trouble????

PawPaw 10:44 AM  


A Police officer. especially the ones that rides on bikes.

Orgin: California late 80's

police officers that patrols certain beaches on bikes wore a vest that said PO in huge blockletters on each of their chest. which means Police Officer. they usually ride around in group of two's.

when you see them coming by. you see the word "PO" "PO" when they stand next to each other.

Man.. here comes the PoPo to tell us what to do again

John V 10:46 AM  

Easy here, too, which is nice, 'cause I'm not as good with themelesses, in general.

Got POPO without having any idea that is was correct. Slowed up a bit in NW, misreading 4D, wanting TIMES. But, a fine puzzle on a TGIF, is what I'm sayin'

Ellen S 10:51 AM  

DNF due to having TOWfeE at 39a. Never noticed that chickens would have FEfR as a result. Still, I'm happy with the outcome. Got all the rest with no googles or cheats. Last Friday I couldn't event get started. Never heard of POPO but got it from crosses.

Master Melvin 11:01 AM  

Who the hell is ANAKINSKY WALKER? :-)

Bob Kerfuffle 11:04 AM  

Easy but very well constructed puzzle.

I never heard of POPO, but it sounded vaguely British to me, perhaps because I was reminded of one of my first visits to England, about thirty years ago. The family with whom I was staying told me that the local constables had had new patrol vehicles with the word POLICE stenciled on the sides in such a way that when one or the other door was opened it broke into PO and LICE, which they considered hilarious. The cars had been re-painted to subdue the laughter; I didn't think it was funny in the first place.

Fred Romagnolo 11:06 AM  

If I remember correctly (I was only 6 at the time) the SEVENCENT stamp was used for air-mail; you had to pay extra for the service; ordinary mail was three cents. I'm with @Tokyoracer, really obscure secondary definitions are playing dirty; the word ARCANE is arcane enough. I stand in awe of those people who have memorized the seats of all of Texas's counties. Don't all skiers wear SKIPARKAS? What's with "moguls?" Doesn't it mean rich people? Why is JOECAMEL a mascot? He's a cartoon character used in ads, he doesn't represent a sports team. I have to assume (apprehend) that MARCO is used in water polo; who knew? My gramma was a Russian married to a a Pole, as a child I learned two names for butt, zhawpa, and dupa, can anybody out there help on that? Never heard POPO.

mathguy 11:08 AM  

I didn't find it that easy. I got stuck twice and had to pass it over to my sweetie for help. She got YEARN and a couple of short ones the first time but whiffed on the NE the second time. I finally came off NEVER for Central Park closing time and saw DEMIJOHN to finish it off.

I thought that demijohn was a size of champagne bottle. Instead, it's a wicker covered container of liquid, like a chianti bottle. The sizes of champagne bottle have exotic names. The reference I found had them defined in terms of .75 liter bottles. Magnum (2 bottles), jeroboam (4), Rehoboam (6), Methuselah (8), Salmanazar (12), Balthazar (16), Nebuchadnezzar (20).

Fred Romagnolo 11:11 AM  

@Mastermelvin: Luke Skywalker's father who became Darth Vader.

Ludyjynn 11:15 AM  

This one went down medium for me w/ some nice clueing. I had decanter for DEMIJOHN for a while, but JER fixed the problem.

@SirHillary, JOECAMEL was a despicable concept. I will never forget the day I was driving into Manhattan from NJ and rounding the curve immediately preceding the entry to the Lincoln Tunnel, There was a huge billboard sporting the giant visage of the "mascot', which I noted looked like male genitalia, thinking that those bastards were not just marketing to kids, but subliminally to adults, as well! Could have easily caused drivers to become distracted and have an accident.

Later, I used this ad campaign as an object lesson for my Johns Hopkins students in my Business Ethics class to illustrate immoral business tactics. Most of the class of 19 year olds immediately saw the scrotum when a photo was shown. Disgusting, but sadly effective marketing.

Thanks, SE, VF and WS.

Fred Romagnolo 11:16 AM  

@mathguy: Took a bible course at USF and pointed out to the professor that a jeroboam was 2 magnums; she laughed and said that was appropriate beause he was a great drinker.

r.alphbunker 11:16 AM  


I had the same experience you did. And let me throw in LEHAR which sounds French to me, not German.

Thanks to you POPO will never trip me up again. This must of been what it was like before S was invented, e.g. paws was pawpaw. :-)

Maruchka 11:22 AM  

@PawPaw - Ah, California, of course. Thanks for the annotation.

@r.alph - you clearly have the goodgood.

Leapfinger 11:27 AM  

Easy, easy, easy, so say all. I s'pose, esp if you're wearing you FRIDAY hat. But I'm with @joho etal on the smoooth factor. Not transparent, more like meeting someone at a party that it's so easy to talk to. More "Right this way, your table is ready", than "I'm sorry, it's going to be at least a 2 hour wait". Some great flow going on there.

I can tell you from sad experience that GARAGE fees run higher than TOWAGE, and like many, tried DECANTER first. 'Little Women' rescued me: remember after Meg married John, their son was nicknamed DEMIJOHN?

The *other* Vaughn --- Monroe, remember?
Feet up, pat 'im on the POPO,
Let's hear him laugh (ho, ho, ho, ho)

Had the requisite looming Natick at 28: I am so un-hip, I considered COPO, from "Chickee, da cops". Also, 'whacks' seemed more 'axe' than hammer AMOI, but finally tried PEEN, and tada!

All the good JOECAMEL/BADTASTE/BUTT puns and SEVENCENT/Fiftycent short-changed jokes have been covered, no need to repeat. Will just add that no-one did a JOECAMEL reBUTTal better than Garry Trudeau. Old Doonesbury's wear well.

Like @EvanB, was very taken with the parallel FOTO-ROTO, esp in light of @mathguy's "Double play" suggestion yesterday. Another bit of synchronicity was my having said I'd be listening to music in my BARCA-Lounger...Not that I have one.

Fave clue: Jet pack for AIRFORCE
MARCO today, soon after POLO [con ARROZ, even]
ODE SSA: Beloved by seniors, under-50s not so much.
C-CELLS C-schells down by the C-schorr
Aren't all baths SITS-baths?
Yesterday, it was so SILENT, you could hear a PEEN drop
And I learned again there is no I in TEAMO.

@Maruchka, thanks for mentioning Henri le chat, a true feline Sartre.
@Alias, you're wanting JOE?

Born [tumty tumty] down Georgia way
Purging the Party boys was his play,
Lived underground so he knew every score
Killed him a Kulak when he was only four.
JOEy, JOEy Stalin, King of the Party Line!

Some good things end too soon, but was happy to be along for DERIDE.

Fred Romagnolo 11:35 AM  

@Leapfinger: brilliant!

Leapfinger 11:37 AM  

Forgot to add that Gospodin Jughashvili was born, appropriately, in the town of Gori.

Maruchka 11:38 AM  

A new subcategory: Califannotation?

Old Walt's turnin' in his freezer..

Andrew Heinegg 11:45 AM  

A well-clued if somewhat vanilla puzzle; I too had never heard or heard of the term popo but, as it was getable from the crosses, I can't complain too much. The arcane answer was well, arcane.

Anonymous 11:50 AM  


The guy who walks Natasha Kinsky's sister's dog.

Z 11:53 AM  

@Nancy - It is with amazement and just a tinge of envy that I point out how difficult it is to not know ANAKIN SKYWALKER, central character of the second Star Wars movie trilogy. The marketing for these movies so saturated world culture that I'm pretty sure undiscovered Amazonian tribes have heard of him. "Dark side" in the clue was the flashing neon Empire State Building sized hint to the answer. I'm right with you, though, on POPO and DEMIJOHN.

@FredR - a "mogul" is a slang term for a bump on a ski hill. Many resorts groom a hill with lots of moguls, as just going down at a dangerously fast speed isn't enough of a thrill for some people. If one is skiing moguls one is likely wearing a SKI PARKA. As for MARCO polo... I had no idea but having been called Marco Polo more than once by ma mère, it seemed appropriate.

Chris Kern 11:55 AM  

I knew people would think this was easy since I finished with no googling. I made the same TOWFEE error as other people. My first though was PIGS for cops but I didn't think they'd put that on a NYT puzzle, and I had the same quandry as Rex because POPO was the second thing that came to mind but I wasn't sure that would appear on NYT either.

I see now I have an error -- I misread "large charge" as "large change" and had ONES in there; GEMUP sounded suspicious but not enough to reread the clue.

Anonymous 12:02 PM  

Good one, @r.alph. Since most pawed creatures are quadrupeds, that would make it pawpawpawpaw.

Rather sounds like Beethoven's Fifth.

SenorLynn 12:08 PM  

24 1/2 min, & a DNF because of 42D. Had JoY (jump for joy), & no idea about the soccer club. Very knotty clue for ARCANE, but I get it, just not with an O.
Got POPO with crosses, but tried to fit Pigs, & thought that's awfully offensive. @NCA President isn't POPO equally so?
@Steve J and others--I agree this would be a better Wed.
45D: sAlLY for CARLY.
Didn't know the AENEID was 12books.
I like the immersion of the Star Wars story into popular culture, like Davy Crockett and Tarzan.

chefbea 12:08 PM  

Just got home from doing lots of errands..guess what was playing on the car radio...Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen. Oh ..and forgot to mention earlier..our friend who is being sworn in as a Popo today - her name is Carly!!!

jae 12:11 PM  

Marco Polo Pool Game

Lewis 12:11 PM  

@aliasz -- was Pol Pot known as POPO?

No, not a Tuesday or Wednesday, but it must have been easy for a Friday because I finished it with no help, which is still not a frequent occurence for me. I loved the clues for ARCANE and FEAR. POPO sounds like something a Valley Girl would say. And it was a fun solve.

I got ANAKIN but needed crosses for his last name. Never heard of BANC or DEMIJOHN. I would not put JOECAMEL in a puzzle i made; I would actually ditch the puzzle if I could't find an alternate solution. But that's just me.

POST PUZZLE PUZZLE (PPP): Nine In A Line -- there are nine related letters in a line in this puzzle, with the first and last letters the same. What is that letter?

jdv 1:04 PM  

Easy-Med. The grid is great. The cluing a little too straightforward. I expect to work a little for the 15s. When the clue says 'dark side', that's a Monday-level giveaway for Star Wars. It would have been better as an interesting/arcane Star Wars trivia clue (I don't see any trivia clues in this puzzle; usually there's one or two).

Not that it'll make a difference, but I agree with @SteveJ about replacing themed Wednesdays with themeless, dreckless Wednesdays. This Friday and last Friday are excellent examples of what that would look like.

Chip Hilton 1:09 PM  

@Rex-No way was The Biter returning to Liverpool. Multiple reasons.

Ray J 1:14 PM  

@Z 11:53 – A slight clarification to your MOGUL explanation: mogul fields are NON-groomed runs. They are formed as skiers repeatedly make s-turns going down slope on loose snow. Every turn compacts more and more snow onto the bumps and eventually a mogul field is created. Skiing the bumps is great fun for those with youthful knees. Alas, those days are over for me.

Anonymous 1:15 PM  

popo as a hang up, otherwise easy if I can finish it on Friday. maybe I'm gettin :) better?

Sir Hillary 1:21 PM  

@Lewis - E

Anonymous 1:45 PM  

Knew popo, knew demijohn, knew Lehar, knew Joe Camel, easily figured out seven cent and tsetse and ccell.... Seems to me anyone with a reasonably good education, and an awareness of contemporary culture, could solve this puzzle. Nothing baffling. Since I have zip interest in sports, I didn't know Barca, or Lions, or Rooney, but that wasn't really a handicap, since the rest of the puzzle had answers that were familiar, or easily figured out. The comment about the average NY Times solver and middle class white people is condescending at best. What do you know about the backgrounds and life experiences of NY Times puzzle solvers? All middle class white folk? Really? Have you done a poll? I knew the word demijohn from 19th century literature I read as a child, and a knew popo the same way I knew other terms for police, some derogatory, like pigs, some in other languages, like flics, because, dude, that is what you sometimes need to learn. Do you think that saying "dude" is quasi-ironical? Who says "dude"? People in the Old West, talking about Easterners in fancy dress? People in the 1870's, talking about dandies? Surfers? People who go to "dude ranches" for the"cowboy" experience? Williamsburg hipsters? Listen up, dude, yo!

OISK 1:48 PM  

Same as @Nancy. Managed to avoid all of the Star Wars films except the first, so I knew Skywalker but not Anakin, which I got from crosses. Went very fast until we got to the NE. I knew Lehar, (one of my favorite composers; I even attended a "Lehar festival" in Bad Ischl many years ago. But never heard of POPO. Only Peen made sense, so I eventually wrote it. I also had trouble getting "onus" from "Large change." Could it be "Ones," Gel up, and "Delijohn?"
Nah, "large change" would be a poor clue for "ones," so I went with the correct fill. But until I hit the NE, I had spent only 10 minutes on the puzzle, so I agree that except for Popo-demijohn, this was pretty easy...

Z 2:01 PM  

@Ray J - You are, of course, correct in terms of Ski argot. Still, when I see resort employees out there on one hill with shovels shaping the moguls while the SnoCat is flattening the adjacent hill I tend to think of both activities as "grooming."

ALERT Rex has added a link to an article in the Atlantic on the future of crosswords. It was added after I first posted, so I'm sure others have missed it.

Mohair Sam 2:02 PM  

@PawPaw - Thanks for the explanation of POPO. You learn the darnedest things in these puzzles.

ErasuresInevitable 2:17 PM  

Last week I think I set a personal record for Friday puzzle solve-time, coming in at a MERE 10 minutes. Today I obliterated that record at just under 7 minutes. Friday puzzles usually take up the better part of my 1-hour lunch break, so I felt pretty good about myself until I came here and saw that pretty much everyone else solved this thing in a flash too.

This one felt nothing like a Friday. Speaking of which, it just occurred to me that FRIDAY is actually in the grid. Kind of ironic considering that this puzzle felt more like a Monday.

Like Rex, I dropped in the two 15's with no difficulty. ANAKINSKYWALKER was the first answer I entered and FACEBOOKFRIENDS came immediately after that with the K in place.

Wanted TOWing for 39-A, then I was convinced it was TOWfeE. Finally I CONCEDEd the -AGE suffix.

The clues for EMPERORS, TSETSE and AIRFORCE, were a little tricky, but the rest of the cluing was pretty straightforward.

Only hiccup for me was at the crossing of ARNE and BENE. I know very little Italian (imagine me saying that in the voice of Lt. Aldo Raine), but I know that a lot of Italian words end in "I," ERGO I chose poorly there.

Solid fill all around, but this one lacked any kind of "Aha!" moment, so it left a little to be desired.

AliasZ 2:29 PM  

ANA KINSKY-WALKER is the lesser-known daughter of Klaus Kinski (1926-1991) born Klaus Günther Nakszynski. She had been involved in the manufacture of a line of ANA KIN-SKI PARKAS. ANA later changed her name to end in Y instead of I to become more Americansky, then married a guy named Walker, hence ANA KINSKY-WALKER. (Wacky-pedia)

Note to self: never attempt TOWAGE a war of wits against the unarmed.

I wanted add "DERIDE of the Valkyries" to today's musical program, but I was afraid it may ruffle some feathers. Therefore I decided to present this beautiful motet by Giovanni Gabrieli (1554/57-1612), who was principal organist and composer of the Basilica San MARCO. The interior of the basilica is shown in the video, but the sound is very low. I encourage you to turn up the volume and enjoy.

petronius28 2:52 PM  

Hey, Sexy Rexy,
Why do you always brag so much in your reports? Do all so-called genius people feel they must show-off? Seems to me that's a sign of total insecurity and doubt of one's ability. So it goes.

Charley 3:02 PM  

Guess i don't know Star Wars. I thought it was Anakinsy Walker, lol.
And POPO? In my day a four letter word for cops beginning in P was pigs. Sorry.

Leapfinger 3:16 PM  

@A-Z, am listening in my BARCA-Lounger. Very nice, much better than a hundering third of Valkyrie. Did you notice who uploaded the Gabrieli?...JOEy...[wait for it]...Palestrina!

I checked out Nastassja KIN-SKI. As she matures, she's starting to resemble Ingrid Bergman.

@FredRom, You're being WAY too generous, but thanks.

Anonymous 3:39 PM  

@Sir Hillary said.
Read your rant out loud to my spouse. Loved it. Except using the word "literally." I do believe you mean you actually saw Joe Camel whistling past the graveyard.
Easiest Friday I can recall. Either we're getting better at this or it was more of a Wed.
Enjoyable though.

Lewis 4:13 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lewis 4:15 PM  


From the E in JOECAMEL, angling up to E in KINGSIZE, is a 9-vowel letter line.

WTG, @Sir Hillary!

AliasZ 4:19 PM  

Let me bring this sobering article to your attention. Many here and in parallel blogs often express the idea that certain words or phrases are "unacceptable" because they may be "offensive" to some. Well, Vladimir Putin thinks so too, clearly a man in whose footsteps we should follow. PC forever!

Suzy 4:54 PM  

Easy but fun! I AM a print loyalist-- hardbacks, too! Maybe because my husband has just published a book "When Men Betray."
I think you puzzle solvers will enjoy it!!

retired_chemist 5:27 PM  

Easy. Not my best Friday time but better than most of my recent. Helped by getting both 15s with just a few crosses.

Hand up for DEcanter first. Also for brief flirtations with Liszt @ 30A and Pvt @ 44A. Also I didn't really believe DODGE for the longest time since I don't see DODGE (v) as synonymous with dart (v).


Thanks, Messrs. Fleming and Ezersky.

Arlene 5:58 PM  

I'm late to the conversation - had much the same experience as others - didn't know POPO, did know Star Wars characters, and moguls.

But I did want to comment about MARCO POLO. It seems that game evolved in the 1960's and became popular after that. It's played in the water like tag and relies on hearing to find people to tag. HOWEVER, my hearing started to decline about then - as a teenager and young adult, so I never heard of the game - compounded by the fact that hearing aids couldn't be worn in the water. And evidently, those people playing it (including my own children) never mentioned it to me because they knew I wouldn't be able to play.
It wasn't until a few years ago that the topic came up - and it was then that I learned about the water game, MARCO POLO.
And if you ask anyone who grew up with hearing loss and hearing aids, it's pretty likely that they've never heard of the game either. '
Now my cochlear implant processors come with waterproof options, so that's a game changer, for sure!

Anonymous 6:52 PM  

This puzzle seemed quite familiar. I felt as if I'd done it before.

Unknown 7:37 PM  

"[T]here's nothing here to really gripe at"--My cup runneth over. Sam's too, I'm sure. (Even though the infinitive is split.)
To joho, Gill, AliasZ, Fred, retired chem: you're welcome.
To all: Thanks for the kind words and the entertainment of reading your comments.
Not terribly memorable? Just think of an ENERGY BAR in a SEWER LINE--that TASTES BAD. Now, try to forget that image.
Sam did a lot of the heavy work on this puzzle, which was submitted over two years ago. He was 17 at the time it was made. If I'm counting correctly, the fill contains 19 phrases and compound words. Sam's other two themeless NYT crosswords, I believe, have 20 or more each. He is really a talented guy! As Will pointed out, there's only 43 years' difference in our ages.
Judge Vic

retired_chemist 8:14 PM  

@ Unknown Vic - thanks for stopping by. Always welcome to see a constructor's takes on the puzzle and on OUR take.

Unheard of 8:18 PM  

@Unknown, whoever lifted how much of what, y'all came up with some good teamwork today. Looking forward to more, in any combination.

The pleasure was all ours.

Robert Vanderbei 10:03 AM  

I'm pretty sure the clue for ARCANE was supposed to be "Comprehended by a small group" not "Apprehended by a small group". The latter definition has nothing to do with "arcane".

Anonymous 10:37 AM  

If the word apprehended was replaced by comprehended, I would have aced this puzzle. Didn't know marco, barca, Jay. Darn!
Thanks anyway Sam & Vic.

Ron Diego 7:35 AM PDT

spacecraft 11:26 AM  

"For a FRIDAY" pretty easy. 'Course, my NE looks like a DOGGY's breakfast after I inked in the obvious carafe's cousin DEcanter. Never dreamed there could be a different answer--till ol' Darth gave me KINGSIZE. Wow, DEMIJOHN: IVE heard of it, but the other is much more in the language.

The ENERGYBAR TASTESBAD; I always say, if the Lord wanted me to eat dirt he'd have made me an earthworm. OTOH, in bad taste is JOECAMEL--really? a scrotum? By gosh, you're right, @Sir Hillary! Not an improvement are the SWEATY BUTTS near the SEWERLINE.

FOTO ROTO POPO: nono? Too bad there's no GAUZElAD; then we could clue 28a as "Follower of 46d."

I once made FLAPJACK across two triple word squares, scoring 338 points. Okay, I was playing solitaire Scrabble, and I saved up for it.

Some tricky clues, just not tricky enough for this day. Agree that the clue for ARCANE was...arcane. Overall, though, as OFL said, there were too many gimmes. I liked it; perhaps there is no greater tragic hero in all literature than ANAKINSKYWALKER. B.

An uninspiring 5701; unwinning, too.

rain forest 1:24 PM  

Easy? Yes. Fun? That too.

Not much to add here, except for a couple comments. I went to Google images for JOE CAMEL and, sure enough, male genitalia. Never noticed that before, but I don't find it as horrible as some here. Maybe there's some aspect of his character of which I'm unaware.

As a home wine and beer maker, I have DEMIJOHNs which have a capacity of 12 gallons (Imperial). If they are 'cousins' of a carafe,
they are BIG cousins. Also there are many YEASTS available for beer and wine making, so that plural is just fine.

152 Close, but no cigar.

DMG 1:30 PM  

I finally work through a Friday, odd clues and all, and then everybody says this is the easiest Friday ever! Aside from having to work out a lot of the names, and accepting POPO, I got hung up for a time by defining a shot as a HYPO. Finally, FRIDAY appeared out of the blue, and I could move on. Had to make a guess where an unknown singer met an unknown author, but I chose CARLY over CARLa, and it worked.

For those unfamiliar with the game, Marco Polo is a test of a parent's sanity. Basically it is a senseless game that consists of a group of screaming children alternately yelling Marco and Polo as the one outside the pool tries to locate the swimmers with his eyes closed. It delights the screamers, raises loud confrontations over accusations that "you peeked" and seemingly goes on forever, shattering neighborhood serenity. So glad when the girls outgrew it. Now waiting for the grandson to discover it!!

Hey @Spacecraft, you beat me! 262

rondo 1:52 PM  

I've been to Odessa. Twice, but not the TX one. The one on the Black Sea. Beautiful women, nice beaches, cheap, did I say beautiful women? And friendly, sooo friendly and accomodating.The clue may have changed due to the unrest in Ukraine?

300 is a sure loser.

Anonymous 2:14 PM  

Pretty easy. 42D should be clued as Comprehended..., not apprehended.

Dirigonzo 3:28 PM  

Most of the long answers went in on my first run through the clues so all that was left was to clean up the short fill, most notably POPO which finally appeared when I figured out what kind of "whack job" needed a PEEN.

@anony 2:14pm - from

ap·pre·hend (pr-hnd)
v. ap·pre·hend·ed, ap·pre·hend·ing, ap·pre·hends
1. To take into custody; arrest: apprehended the murderer.
2. To grasp mentally; understand: a candidate who apprehends the significance of geopolitical issues.
3. To become conscious of, as through the emotions or senses; perceive.
To understand something.

271 - and so ends my streak of naturals.

Waxy in Montreal 5:11 PM  

Trouble with the MARCO/BARCA and DEMIJOHN/POPO/LEHAR areas as not familiar with these terms. Otherwise agree with the easy for a Friday rating.

1922 - good year but NAY to a baccarat win.

Anonymous 11:21 PM  

New to this blog. Typically a Monday-Tuesday solver, W/O help. As long as I've been following these comments, I've never heard anyone mention Crosswordheaven. Maybe this is a no-no to the crossword community, but I've found it to be a most valuable resource. Google yes, but never Crosswordheaven. Is it just too easy, or am I simply naive. Just curious..

Mary in Oregon 11:46 PM  

Probably nobody mentions CrosswordHeaven because they consider it cheating. I use it when I'm hopelessly lost and/or simply don't understand the clue!

KariSeattle 12:49 AM  

It was an arcane clue to an arcane word usage! It stymied me! I agree about comprehend!

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