Ultra 93 vendor / FRI 8-1-14 / Winner of inaugural Vaclav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent / First talking pet in American comics / Boorish member of Round Table / First substitute on basketball bench / Indian novelist Raja / It means sulfur island in Japanese / Deity with more than 16000 wives / Catchphrase for paranoid

Friday, August 1, 2014

Constructor: Ashton Anderson and James Mulhern

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: none

Word of the Day: AI WEIWEI  (16A: Winner of the inaugural Václav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent (2012)) —
Ai Weiwei […] born on 28 August 1957 in Beijing, China, is a Chinese contemporary artist, active in sculpture, installation, architecture, curating, photography, film, and social, political and cultural criticism. Ai collaborated with Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron as the artistic consultant on the Beijing National Stadium for the 2008 Olympics. As a political activist, he has been highly and openly critical of the Chinese Government's stance on democracy and human rights. He has investigated government corruption and cover-ups, in particular the Sichuan schools corruption scandal following the collapse of so-called "tofu-dreg schools" in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. In 2011, following his arrest at Beijing Capital International Airport on 3 April, he was held for 81 days without any official charges being filed; officials alluded to their allegations of "economic crimes". (wikipedia)
• • •

Yes. More of this. All of the Friday puzzles should by these guys, until they run out of ideas and are no longer of any use to me. This puzzle is alive and current and colloquial and wide-ranging and clean. It's got one of my favorite literary characters—the overconfident, incompetent dickhead, SIR KAY—and a phrase I use all the time—DONE AND DONE ("and I mean Done!"—Homer Simpson), and there's hardly a clunker in sight. Whatever little annoyances there are—prefixes or directions or Latin plant names—are a. small and b. holding up tremendous stuff. Use your dull short stuff wisely! I am quite stunned by the three long, adjacent colloquialisms in the NW, mirrored by two others in the SE (as well as AM RADIO, with its superb clue, 37D: Rush home?). There are even clever little touches, like the placement of JAG and TIGE over TAMER (I know lions are usually the big cats being tamed, but I liked the big cat imagery just the same), or the strong noirish feel achieved by juxtaposing TRUST NO ONE and TAKE THE FALL. Then there's the fact that "TRUST NO ONE" is actually a catchphrase from "The X-Files" (see 47A). Nice. I do have one objection to this puzzle, though.  I'm not crazy about AI WEIWEI He's not so well-known yet, and his name is crazily spelled and not inferable. . . Wait, no. That's not my opinion. That's a direct quote from Will Shortz to me and Caleb Madison re: a Sunday puzzle we published a couple years back. My mistake! (See here; mentioned on Buzzfeed here) (Congrats to WS on smartly, if belatedly, coming around on that one)

Had an easier time in the east than I did in the west with this one; or at least I finished the east first. That NW didn't fall for me til late. Didn't know about CUL, despite 7 years of French (2D: French bottom). It sounds profane. "Un film de cul" is a porn film, so … yeah. It's a rough equivalent of "ass," I think, in that "ass" (as well as "tail") can mean "sex" in colloquial American English (he said, sexily over-explaining things). Wanted only ACERBIC (no fit) at 1A: Very harsh (ACIDIC), and therefore didn't get far up there at first. The fact that all those long Downs up there are multi-word colloquialisms made them pretty tough to parse. 

I wrote in GENT at 20A: "I say" sayer (BRIT), only to have GENT come right back around with a bright "cheerio" at 27D: Hat-tipping sort. Could not fathom what the hell 47A: "The X-Files" program, for short even meant … until I could (SETISearch for Extraterrestrial Intelligence). SIXTH MAN! THE CLOUD! NEW-AGEY! (which I hear way more often than the way, way commoner (in crosswords) NEW-AGER). Supercool work all around.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Carola 12:10 AM  

Agree with @Rex - really liked the puzzle. I found it on the easy side - BRIT x CENT gave me my start, and one thing just kept leading to the next, except for a few troublesome squares in the SE. I had to do some alphabet work to get SLIM, LOADED and finally MELODY. Tricky cluing!

I liked the variety of names: KRISHNA, AI WEIWEI, CARNEGIE, and SIR KAY; CENT x CHACHING; and IN A WORD next to the repetitive DONE AND DONE. Also the CLUE for CORD.

Help from previous puzzles - OISE, SETI, ILEX, KRONE - plus old friends AROAR, CHE, AEONS made things move along faster.

Sorry about this, but the puzzle reminded me that in HBO's "Rome," Cleopatra is portrayed as having to rush her suicide so asks for the ASP ASAP.

jae 12:13 AM  

Easy-medium for me.  Terrific puzzle.  Getting AI WEIWEI with almost no crosses was my reward for reading an actual newspaper every day (that habit also gave me a certain singer in BEQ's latest Monday puz).

Unfortunately I DNF.  Put in NEWAGEr and never checked. 

The long downs were stellar.  The dreck was minimal.  Loved it!  Excellent guys!

wreck 12:23 AM  

Nice puzzle that took me awhile! It was one of those that slowly but surely unraveled as I got more and more of the long answers. My error for NEWAGE_ was a D. Another cool evening in DFW -- 70 degrees! A very enjoyable experience solving outside!

Anonymous 1:00 AM  

What's the issue with Will Shortz's comment? Ai Weiwei was not well known in mid 2011 when he suddenly entered mainstream news, and he is now much more well known.

Ravini 1:22 AM  

Good stuff -- will have to remember hack for cabbie for future reference --.stared at this one forever even after figuring out Al Weiwei. Oy. Also got hung up early thinking it was ka-ching. Like kah-ching Double oy. A nor'easter in my brain tonight.

RnRGhost57 1:35 AM  

I just proved that I am not a robot.

okanaganer 1:42 AM  

Would have been neat if ENYA were in the puzzle along with NEW AGEY...hey, actually she is embedded in that answer. But not in NEW AGER, which is what I had along with SIR KAR. I reasoned: well, maybe he was SIR SIRKAR.

You know what gives me the most grief, aside from US college sports team nicknames? Brand names that I guess are common in the US but don't exist up here, like SUNOCO. Actually it looks like they used to have them in Ontario, but they're now Petro-Canada. (Quote: "Ultra 94 is now available at select Petro-Canada locations in Ontario!"...what, it gains an extra octane when it crosses the border?) I should take more trips down south, just to make me a better solver.

John Child 2:09 AM  

This went down fast for me until the SE corner. AM RADIO was traffiIc for long enough to foul things up, and SLIM and SOFA stumped me for several minutes. I'm still unclear how MELODY is (Principal part) or ILEX is (Holly). Good fun Messrs Anderson and Mulhern!

Moly Shu 3:43 AM  

Mostly liked it , but DNF at SIRKAr also (hi @Jae and @Okanaganer). NEWAGEY? Come on, to me that is terrible. Am I baby boomy or not quite gen-Xy? Maybe I'm old fashionedy or green peacey. Can you just add Y to anything? Other than that really liked it. I even got AIWEIWEI and don't even know who that is. Guess I'm not too current eventy.

Christopher P. Ertelt 5:10 AM  

CUL, as in cul-de-sac.

Glimmerglass 7:51 AM  

Ilex is the Latin genus of hollies. The melody is the principal singing part (as opposed to harmony). Great write-up, Rex. Excellent comments about a very good Friday puzzle.

loren muse smith 7:58 AM  

Well a Friday and a dnf. I broke down, gave up on some sort of desperate spelling of "Walescza" (vaguely thinking, "Wow. He's still around?") and googled AI WEIWEI, so that made me lose "Okinawa" and clean that corner right up.

TAMER was just never going to jump out at me. That's a word I never think about with horses, although I guess if I were a horse, I'd rather be TAMED than "broken."

I didn’t know BEAN TOWN was "the Hub," and with that ANT in place, I kept going back and trying to make "Atlanta" fit. Dumb.

I still had two mistakes: "Sarkar" for the completely unknown-to-me SIR KAY (I'll come stand next to you, @jae, @okanaganer, and @Moly Shu). And there I was all confused that "new ager" was a noun and the clue called for an adjective.

I agree – deftly filled and clued, this toughie. Some early goofs:

"done already" for DONE AND DONE
"damp" for DANK
"I must___" for TRUST
"noun" for SLUR
"send in/on" for COWTOW
"disc ___" for THE CLOUD
considered "in church" ( I really did) or some kind of "trench" ending for ON A HUNCH.

Loved the clue for ENS, WATER SKI, and AM RADIO.

I had the same thought as Rex on BRIT and GENT. Interchangey, those two.

I also really like seeing TODDLES as a verb. I love watching toddlers toddle; squint your eyes and you can picture a guy at a frat party stumbling over to the keg for the thirty-sixth time at 2am. Seriously.

Ashton, James – I enjoyed this one a lot, but that northeast kicked my cul.

Anonymous 8:00 AM  

Fastest Friday ever for me ... just one of those times when every clue was something I recognized. My only wrong guess was putting NEWBIE instead of CABBIE ... I already had the BIE and couldn't think what other word ended that way, though I also didn't see how it fit the clue "Hack." Then AI WEIWEI came along and cleared that up for me.

Susan McConnell 8:05 AM  

Loved it. Fun phrases, felt fresh, didn't notice any dreck while solving. Loved seeing AI WEIWEI. NW was the last to fall for me, as I kept thinking Ultra 93 was a beer and not a gas. Doh!

RAD2626 8:14 AM  

Terrific puzzle. Bottom half much easier I thought because of KRISHNA, SIXTH MAN and KNOTTY as starters. Only get STUCK on /SETI crossing for a while. Top half challenging. NW gave up only SUNOCO with all their stupid number grades and I put in Alsharif for Havel winner which made that harder as well. Really good Friday puzzle. Agree with all the kudos on cluing.

Sir Hillary 8:18 AM  

Wonderful puzzle. Totally agree with OFL. New new new -- THECLOUD, AIWEIWEI, DONEANDDONE. The two triple long downs are awesome, but so are the 8-stacks in the SW and NE.

Only write-over was snAP for ASAP. Had the --------O-E for 4D and almost wrote in leaveittOmE. That would have killed me.

@okanaganer - A long way from you out there in BC, but when I got the last two letters of "Rush home?" I almost entered ontarIO, thinking Lifeson, Lee and Peart. That would have been another killer.

Will we have a discussion today of INLINE vs. on line? As a native Californian, INLINE was all I ever knew until moving to New York, where INLINE is a type of rollerblade and standing on line is queuing up.

Great start to the weekend!

James Dean 8:20 AM  

Excellent puzzle. Great cluing and loved the longer answers, except NEWAGEY. Question: isn't GINGER considered a pejorative term for "redhead"?

Regardless of the quibbles this was a breezy and satisfying puzzle.

Davidph 8:21 AM  

And the brass will crash,
And the trumpets bray,
And they'll cut a dash
On their wedding day.
She'll TODDLE away, as all aver,
With the Lord High Executioner!

-- The Mikado

AliasZ 8:23 AM  

AI WEIWEI - oy vey-vey!

- CUL: Now we know why all Romanians with names ending in -escu (Ionescu, Negulescu, Enescu)Italianized their name to -esco while living in France. They didn't want to sound lake asses. (Hi @Martin). I need not RESTATE my opinion on this.
- WSW: at least this time it was appropriately placed in the grid.
- If Texas seceded from these United States, then was later admitted back in, forever it would be called the RESTATE of Texas.
- NEWAGEY sounds hoakey. It is an anagram of ENYA GEW. Is that meaningful?
- Like the Musée d'Orsay where Van Gogh's "L'Église d'Auvers-sur-OISE" is housed, London's Tate Gallery contains many valuable works of art, collectively called RES TATE (Lat.)
- CHACH is a convenient substitute word for curse words in polite society. You can yell at your friend: "Stop CHACHING around, we are in a CHACHING restaurant, for CHACH's sake!"
- Once at a wedding I watched the kids' table and noticed a little boy who didn't like the food. He just sat there sulking while the REST ATE.
- I was often told: Don't be ASAP and TAKE THE FALL. If you feel frustrated, joyful or excited, speak up or let out AROAR, except when you are in a quiet residential ACIDIC Jewish community.
- The -ate suffix is often used to make a person sound more cultured, as in cohabit-cohabitate, converse-conversate, consider-considerate. After this tremendous mental workout, I am totally exhausted. I need to RESTATE. Although I may have to reconsiderate that, I have to go to work.

I enjoyed this puzzle very much, just about perfect for a Friday. Thanks Ashton and James.


Lewis 8:24 AM  

Yes, usually it is the cluing that makes a puzzle great to me, and there were a couple of excellent clues, such as for THECLOUD and WATERSKI. But today it was the spark in the answers -- CHACHING, AIWEIWEI, JAG, TODDLES, KNOTTY, SIXTHMAN, THE CLOUD, KOWTOW, NOSWEAT, DONEANDDONE, TRUSTNOONE (and its connection with X-Files). The puzzle just jumped off the page for me.

Hardly a thing to make me wince -- I don't like TAMER, even though it is perfectly legitimate, nor AROAR.

Didn't we have WEND or WENDS yesterday or the day before?

After a slow start, it fell relatively ASAP. Not only a satisfying solve, but filled me with smiles. Bravo, GENTs!

POST PUZZLE PUZZLE (PPP): Find places in this puzzle (there are at least three) where you can replace a letter with another letter from the alphabet, and still have the puzzle be legitimate.

If you wish, you can post how many you found, so as not to give answers away. I'll share my answers mid afternoon, and feel free to share yours after that.

jberg 8:29 AM  

Yup, great puzzle. Tough and slow for me, even though I live in BEANTOWN, aka "The hub of the universe" in the opinion of Oliver Wendell Holmes, or someone. Hub is standard headlinese for our fair city.

Held up by one WORD and thinking Ultra 93 would be some kind of liquor. Also by remembering LHOOQ, which the surrealists considered to be very witty (say it out loud in French) and made me think that CUL was more risque than it actually is. And I got WEI WEI pretty quickly, but couldn't remember the AI.

Off to Madison (or really, Mount Horeb WI) tonight for my niece's wedding. You can get the Times there, but maybe not in the Best Western out on the Beltway, so I may not be back here until Monday. A good weekend to all!

NCA President 8:51 AM  

I personally judge a puzzle's difficulty level not by the amount of time it takes me to solve it, but the number of googles and/or checking my answers to see where I'm wrong. I did not google this puzzle once, but I did check my work a couple of times. I usually have to google on Friday and Saturday puzzles, so this puzzle was a solid medium for me...leaning on the "easier" side...which is all relative.

I wanted syfI for 47A. SYFI is the new name for the SCI FI channel, of course.

I will only say this about current stuff. I get used to thinking about answers being "old" so when I see something that is "new" I tend to second guess the crap out of it. THECLOUD was one of those things...I almost couldn't believe that's what it was. DONEANDDONE is another.

Could someone tell me how Flush = LOADED? Is that a drinking thing?

My biggest ?? came with the KRONE/KOWTOW krossing...for some reason I feel like I've seen both spelled with a C. As that was one of my mistakes I found by checking my work, I saw that it needed to be a K. Also, having googled I see now that KRONE is never spelled with a C unless, I suppose, you're talking about a hag...and KOWTOW is the same. I guess all these years I've gotten by the spellchecker with cow tow because I've always thought it was spelled as two words...which explains why I never understood the cow connection.

My mother used to tell me to never use words I can't spell, but she never told me about using a word I thought was spelled one way but was wrong.

r.alphbunker 8:52 AM  

That Was The Thursday That Was

Click the "Comments Order" button and use the up and down arrows to move through the answer list to see collected comments from yesterday. Answers with the most comments are first.

joho 9:13 AM  

CHACHING!!! describes this puzzle perfectly: right on the money! Loved it!

The grid is just bursting with fresh words and phrases, my favorite being THECLOUD.

Not knowing SIRKAY I join the crowd who had SIRKAr/NEWAGEr.

When the JAG and the TIGE are AROAR you better yell for a TAMER!

Thank you, Ashton and James, for this absolutely delightful Friday!

And, you, @Rex for your terrific writeup.

Mohair Sam 9:15 AM  

@NCA Pres - Flush=loaded=rich

Beauty of a puzzle. Heavy with the wite-out today. Had twoCents for CHACHING for the longest time (and still prefer it), hence held up forever in northeast. CABBIE broke the spell and BEANTOWN became a gimme and we finished - only to learn we had naticked with NEWAGEd, not knowing SIRKAY - hi @wreck).

@James Dean - have a friend named GINGER who was named that because she had red hair like her Mom - not pejorative for sure.

Wonderfully current Friday with lots of clever misdirection (ArctIC for ACIDIC, i.e.) - really enjoyed.

btw - Anyone who uses DONEANDDONE should give up the right to complain about "It is what it is". Just sayin' - I use both phrases happily.

joho 9:16 AM  

@NCA President, when you're flush you're rich or INAWORD, LOADED.

NCA President 9:18 AM  

I've never heard FLUSH used in place of "rich." Huh...learn something new everyday.

Actually, much of what I know I owe to crossword puzzles, so there's that.

RooMonster 9:23 AM  

Hey All!
I actuall agree with OFL today, except I call this challening, not medium! :-) Never heard of Ai Wei Wei, so far I seem to be the only one. (?) Of course, I hardly ever watch the news (too depressing!), I hear stuff usually through the morning radio shows, or when I jump on the internet (home page set to Yahoo, then peruse the headlines!)

Writeovers!: turn, then bEND, then WEND, had CARNE GIN (?) thinking some sort of robot (steel-eyed one), which left 7D as ___BIN, was looking for some computer hacking term. Knew ILEX, but didn't put in because the X threw me off for the cross. Had fresHMAN at first for SIXTHMAN! Had CLUE as an answer from a clue!

@NCA Pres, flush for LOADED, if there is alot of something, it is considered flush with it.

I have a question on the fast=STUCK answer. Anyone?

SOFA, so good! I will spare you my usual ditty of infusization (is that a word?) today. You're welcome.

Speaking of you're welcome, check out the latest small-un! (Specially m&a)


Casco Kid 9:33 AM  

Challenging Friday. It started out looking unsolvable and ultimately it was. 1:30 until I gave up. 3 googles: Raja RAO, L'Eglise d'Auvers-sure-OISE, SUNOCO Ultra 93. Then I had to cheat for AROAR. Then I guessed at ACT/TODDLES, submitted and discovered errors at SaRKAr/aLEX/NEWAGEr

What I don't get:
[Be part of the picture] ACT !?
[Moves uncertainly]? TODDLES !?

Particularly vexatious clues:
[Holly] ILEX, was an error at end
[Fast] STUCK had to come from every cross.

Here's what I trusted:
[Ancient symbol of royalty] sun
[Dirtbag, e.g.] ScUm

Here's what I doubted
[Queued up] INLINE. Should be oNLINE in New York.
SETI, could be SifI, as a variant of SciFi.
CHE, could be mao
WEND, could be wind
DANK, could be dark

And here's what's new
Raja RAO
TIGE to talking 'toon
SIRKAY the boorish knight
IWOJIMA the sulfurous island
NERDS the Wonka candy
ILEX the Holly

And the gimmes
SIXTHMAN in basketball
Susan DEY
[Rush home?] AMRADIO

It looked bad at the start. It finished just badly. But one redeeming observation: this would have been a 2:30, 12-google, 8-cheat puzzle six months ago. A comfort, however cold.

Fred Romagnolo 9:38 AM  

I was devastated! Never heard of CHACHING, Ultra 93, d'Auvers-sur-OISE, Raja-RAO, or DONEANDDONE. 50__ could have gone anywhere; didn't know TIGE talked. I'm ashamed of missing BEANTOWN after I got the BEA, and not guessing IWOJIMA. All in all, a colossal reliance on Google, which I hate.

Brian B 9:42 AM  

I'm betting that Will Shortz went to the AI WEIWEI exhibit now showing at the Brooklyn Museum, and that's why the name is now puzzle-worthy.

Fred Romagnolo 9:42 AM  

@Casco: actors are part of the (motion) picture, and toddlers toddle.

Casco Kid 9:46 AM  

GENT that I am, I'd like to tip my hat to @Rex for using "commoner" in his write up. Two-syllable words take the -er relative, not the more- relative, which is used oftener, if incorrectly, in the colloquial.(*) My grandfather-journalist gives an approving glance upward from his warm spot in the Great Beyond.

(*) I am graciously overlooking his use of the substandard "more often" in the same clause.

#Prescriptive #NotDescriptive

Lindsay 9:49 AM  

Liked the puzzle fine, but got bogged down in the NW where I originally had lineAR instead of PLANAR (not being much of a geometry student) and TiptoES instead of TODDLES.

Never heard of AI WEIWEI or SIR KAY, and SETI would have screwed me up royally except that it screwed me up last Friday (the BIALIES cross) and I actually remembered.

SIXTH MAN my first answer; CARNEGIE my last (I was looking for a robot).

Have a good weekend everyone.

mathguy 9:50 AM  

I knew that SIRKAR was wrong because I Googled it and came up empty, but I was too lazy to search for a replacement. Rex knows about Sir Kay's disagreeable personality. Where does one read about him?

I was stuck on the west side until I guessed OISE. That gave me the SW which gave me enough to finish the NW.

I seem to hear ka-ching rather than cha-ching.

Nice to find Rex in a cheery mood.

Liked the crunch but didn't find much joy.

Arlene 9:54 AM  

Well, I must be living in another universe! I barely was able to get into this puzzle, and would have gotten nowhere without some strategic Googling.

And this is the first time in a very long time where I just didn't have the desire to slog through and finish.

Maybe it's just me, but I can't be alone.

quilter1 10:01 AM  

Persistence paid off though I did not know many things like CHACHING. I did enjoy the solve.

Z 10:06 AM  

CHA-CHING crossing 50 CENT. Ha.
Rush of AM RADIO crossing LOADED. Ha again.
Yesterday we had Deepak, today NEW AGEY. Ha Ha.
KNOTTY KRISHNA - well, that's what happens when you have to keep 16,000 wives satisfied.
RISKY Business starring Andrew CARNEGIE - no longer an El scene to remember.

I have reached the point where "Van Gogh's 'L'Eglise d'Auvers-sur-____'" was immediately translated into "four letter European River probably in France," making OISE NO SWEAT. I'm not at all certain that this is a good thing.

DNF - the NW was too ACIDIC for me.

Casco Kid 10:30 AM  

@FredSmith, Chicagoans also TODDLE, I'm led by a certain Hobokan (-ener?, -enian?) to believe, which is to say, Chicagoans move uncertainly. My old girlfriend Merriam Webster backs you up. (She never did take my side!)

Horace S. Patoot 10:30 AM  

A couple of comments on CUL. A CUL de sac is literally the bottom of a sack, so it's a metaphor. O Calcutta! was a play on the French expression "O quel CUL t'as! translated "Oh what a CUL you have!"

Sir Hillary 10:32 AM  

@Lewis - I can find six letters that can be changed. Interestingly, three of them are independent and three are contiguous. Certain of the contiguous three can be changed only if others are changed.

Sir Hillary 10:34 AM  

@Horace - Wow, that is great info about O Calcutta! Thanks!

Anonymous 10:39 AM  

A Jag is a Ferrari rival? No way!

Anonymous 10:40 AM  

Cul-de-sac made it clunk into place for me.

Bob Kerfuffle 10:47 AM  

On the challenging side for me, but a really fun puzzle.

One write-over: At 40 D, Submit, with ___TOW, put in BESTOW, thinking that was a far stretch of a clue, but a foreign coin and a foreign river left the first two letters open, and the third letter, a compass direction, could be either SSW or WSW. Finally worked it out with the crosses.

Didn't put it in, but at first look at 30 A, the boorish knight, thought there might be a joke afoot and it would be SIR LEE (sound it out!)

Finally, a side note to those like me who enjoy quad stacks and the like: Check out today's quint-stack offering at Neville Fogarty's site. [Caveat: I haven't done it yet myself, so I don't know how it plays out.]

RooMonster 11:02 AM  

I checked out the answers, because I don't think my brain can handle a puz like that! A bit disapppointing, I won't be the spoiler, but a stretch, literally and figuratively.


Twangster 11:03 AM  

I agree this was an excellent puzzle. I thought the Rush clue would have been better if the answer was FMRADIO. I suspect that in 30+ years they've only had a few songs that received much play on AM radio, but they're a staple of FM.

JTHurst 11:06 AM  

Arlene, fair Arlene, I heartedly agree with you. I could not find an entry into this puzzle. After a few answers like 'sixth man', 'in line', 'Brit' and a couple of others I decided I did not want to slog through this. Especially when Wilt Chamberlain did not fit in 34d.

I knew Krishna had many incarnations but to accumulate 16,000 wives of which he married them all in one day. I guess you could do that since he was around for the majority of the Dvapara Yuga which lasted for 800,000 years.

I love Rex's comment about Al Weiwei not because of his timeliness issues but that he proves we do not need clairvoyants like Leadbetter anymore to access the Akashic Records. Because of our dependence upon the electronic media there is nothing we have said, commented upon, derided, liked, taken a picture of, or even thought that can not be deduced from the exabytes of information floating through the ether.

Upon arriving at the pearly gates St. Peter will just pull out his iPad or android substitute and google your name.

Billfishco 11:10 AM  

Sorry, I just don't get some of the clues... Like Rush home and AM RADIO? Are they referring to my fave Canadian band typically found on FM?

Rush Limbaugh 11:12 AM  

@Twangster - Thanks for the shout-out! Not many people know about my great singing voice!

jdv 11:13 AM  

Medium. The four long downs in this puzzle were great. I don't like CHACHING. It looks like it was popularized by Wayne's World back in 1992. Then by Seth Green in an obnoxious Rally's commercial. THECLOUD was only a matter of time. Also had TIPTOES before TODDLES. ILEX was a blast from the past; thought it's jersey was retired long ago. For once, I took my time on the sketchy NEWAGEY/SIRKAY cross; almost bit on the 'D', but SIRKAD did not look right. I liked it, but it wasn't as good as Mulhern's previous two puzzles.

JTHurst 11:16 AM  

Oops I forgot.

Ferrari = Jag is like
Cashmere = nylon

Ferrari = Lamborghini

Of course I do not want to start the alternative or comparison discussion again.

SenorLynn 11:43 AM  

Wonderful Fri-30 min, fast for me. Had to Google SUNOCO, no stations in N TX (hi @Wreck).
@Twangster & @Billfishco-Rush had exactly *one* top40 hit: New World Man, which peaked @ #21, so I wouldn't call AMRADIO their "home."
But so many other great clues-CARNEGIE, WATERSKI. AIWEIWEI was there for me from a long article in the New Yorker.
Rex-agree with "yes please more". A great range of subjects, from medieval to the Space Age.

Anonymous 11:44 AM  


Z 11:51 AM  

@JTHurst - Motor Trend shows new Ferrari's are listed at $200K +/- $20K. Jags are list at $75K +/- $25K. Motor Trend also shows two Lamborghini models, one priced like a Ferrari and one listed between $400K and $550K. So, in the realm of over-priced cars/toys the only difference seems to be how much the buyer can be taken for.

Gene 12:25 PM  

@NCA President; it's SYFY, not SYFI.

Strongly object to the cluing of SETI. The X Files was into paranormal a lot, not just aliens.

Also messed up with BESTOW and SIRKAR, despite being a big King Arhur fan as a kid, and knowing Sir Kay.

mathguy 12:31 PM  

@Horace S. Patoot: I've heard many times that the title "Oh, Calcutta" referred to a naughty French expression. But I didn't know what it was until now. Thanks.

Anonymous 12:36 PM  

Best puzzle since PAINT IT BLACK due to clever CLUEs and memorable NEW-AGEY answers.


beatrice 12:39 PM  

Hate to be the one to do this, but not sure @Rush Limbaugh got the point across -- he is the 'Rush' meant in the clue for AMRADIO. Doesn't pass the Breakfast Test AKA Ugh Factor for me, but what can I do. If I knew how to embed I would provide a link to a performance of Debussy's 'CLOUDs' (Nuages'), to remove the taste left by that answer, but anyone of a mind to, please check it out.

Good Week-End wishes to everyone.

Mohair Sam 12:41 PM  

@JT Hurst. Had the same thought on Jag vs. Ferrari.

@Z. Will probably likes 21A as a future clue for MIATA.

Claude Debussy 12:50 PM  

@beatrice - Your wish is my command - Clouds.

Leapfinger 12:52 PM  

I am on THE CLOUD #9 with this one, all I hoped for!

@JTHurst, it seams nylons might be good enough for me. It aggravates to see one on the road driven by someone who obviously doesn't know how. I like the old CORD but the best for me is probably the old Datsun 240Z.
@Z, Har on yer write-up!
@AliasZ, Yup, CUL and @Rex put paid to ENESCUL in France, didn't they? Not to mention "Oh, Calcutta!" and LHOOQ, as per @varous. I think that's a a QED.
lol, on those ACIDIC people, not that quiet once they start dancing on the table in a HIEROfrenzy!
Am thinking a good musical selection today would be "Procession of the SIRKAR" by Ippolitov-Ivanov.

Had to work some of this out ON A HUNCH, esp like @jberg et al who took WEI WEI too long before getting to AI. Didn't help that KA-CHING was tampered with [again], nor that I had DOBBIN before CABBIE, and kept second-guessing myself on HIERO.

Had to WEND my WEI [again] from TEETERS and TOTTERS to TODDLES, which is less 'uncerain' than awkward. SO FA, I knew the SIXTH MAN more figuratively as the rabid crowd, but liked it as the literal, also. Knew ONE AND DONE more than DONE AND DONE, but I'm nothing if not flexible.

Am in full agreement with all who thought of Oy, WEI WEI; there have been Jews in China for CENTuries. Altogether nice to have a good representation of Asiatica, from AI WEI WEI to KOWTOW, RAO, KRISHNA, IWO JIMA and even Hermann Hesses' SAIDHIrtha.

Is your old CAR NEGIEtive in its handling? Put a TIGEr in your DANK!! [That wasn't SUNOCO, was it?]

My chances may be SLIM to nun, but SETIng aside the VIRAGO, I now aspire to be a KNOTTY old KRONE.

DANK you, Mulson Anderhern, for a knotty good Friday.

Best wishes to all!

Nick 12:57 PM  

"Done and done... and I mean done!" is actually a Seymour Skinner quote.

Skinner: "Er, one question remains...how do I get out of the army?"

Bart: "No problemo! Just make a pass at your commanding officer."

Skinner: "Done and done. And I mean done!"

Evan 1:08 PM  

For those who haven't heard of SIR KAY, he was also a major character in Disney's "The Sword in the Stone," though I think the other characters mostly just called him Kay without the "Sir" in front.

Fun puzzle -- the biggest trouble I had was thinking TWO-BIT was a reasonable synonym for "Hack" before CABBIE came to mind. I haven't heard of AI WEIWEI, but he was gettable from the crosses.

okanaganer 1:17 PM  

When solving, I could only think of two possibilities for 'Rush home': the band, or the college thing in which case the answer would have been something like FRAT HOUSE (which doesn't fit). Re the band-- from Wikipedia: "Rush has released 24 gold records and 14 platinum records (including 3 multi-platinum), placing them third behind The Beatles and The Rolling Stones for the most consecutive gold or platinum studio albums by a rock band." Top 40?...I guess not really. But huge in their genre. Plus the guys on Wayne's World loved them.

Re Rush, the radio "personality"...I had totally forgot about him! It was nice while it lasted.

AnonAnon 1:19 PM  

Wow. Beatrice asks, and within 12 minutes Debussy answers.


Masked and Anonymo4Us 1:34 PM  

Good and tough, for me.

Spent Wei, Wei too long, floundering in the NE.
Also, had DONEALREADY and TAKETHEBAIT (?), before discovering that they would not play well with others.

fave entry: THECLOUD. That whole cornerfull was superb, actually.

Great clues.
Agree with @63. Where can we get some more of this stuff?


AnonAnon 1:39 PM  

Wow. Miata? I don't think so.

That belongs in the Kitchen puzzle, with the other egg-beaters

AliasZ 1:42 PM  

@ Leapy,

As per your request, here is the Procession of the SIRKAR by Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov (1859-1935), from his Caucasian Sketches, Suite No. 1, the fourth (last) movement.

And for perhaps the finest, most atmospheric performance of Clouds (Nuages), try this one.

Bomaka 1:50 PM  

I SAY, this was a wonderfully KNOTTY fun puzzle!

SIR KAr TOOK THE FALL for my DNF, and I was totally perplexed by SETI, but all else was DONE, AND DONE with great respect for the constructors.

Got hung up by Boston ma (which at least gave me the toehold for CABBIE off the B), and when corrected to BEANTOWN,, opened the NE.

Other goofs:
tersely for IN A WORD
miMER for TAMER (I don't know - thinking of Mr. Ed??)

Thanks Messrs Anderson and Mulhern!

Anonymous 2:07 PM  


Isn't Tige Buster Brown's dog? How's that work for big cat imagery?


Ferraris are actually pretty modestly priced for what you get. They're hand built, mechanically as advanced and sophisticated as any road car on earth, and thanks to Italy's super design houses, utterly exquisite. There are more expensive cars, but no marque (as a whole) can hold a cabdle to what comes out of Maranello. superb. No need to denigrate something simply because you don't value it. Lots of people adore Ferrrias. And have for almost 70 years. In fact, there are a couple on the block right now that will fetch in the neighborhood of $60 million.

Which brings me to JTHurst. I'll grant that Jaguar's glory days are behind them, but they were once bitter (and worthy) rivals with Ferrari. In fact, in the golden age of sports car racing--the 1950's-- the Jaguar D type was king of the hill. Until a ceratin redhead whipped em at LeMans. And yeah Z, that redhead-- testarosa in Italian--is cutrrently the world's most expensive car. One of them sold in February for $40 million. Way out of my league of course, but not out of line. That something is sui generis and hideoulsy expensive arent incompatibale positions.

Leapfinger 2:07 PM  

@Roomie, has anyone answered u? If you held fast to something, you stuck with it?
@FredRoma, @quilter1, remember "Joanie Loves CHACHING"? With Scott Baio. You may be more acculturated than you think...

@Lewis, I found 3 that I think you'd agree are legitimate, 2 more that require some elasticity.
I could NOT figure out @SIR Hillary's provisos, am looking forward to enlightenment.

@r.alph, that's an amaZING thing you put together, LOADED with goodies to explore. First thing I figured out was that the Morse code represents the grid. Not sure how the data gets fed in, I saw that M&A's HULU,LULU,DULU were not there, nor my Dr SABIN to @Rex. Noting that it needs a full-size window to appreciate what-all it can do, am looking forward to exploring further. Do you have any more tips on which buttons to push?
Muito elegante.

Gill I. P. 2:11 PM  

Just because of the way this puzzle was flowing [Karmatic?] I knew CHACHING was right. That gave me all the downs and the never heard of AIWEIWEI. Had to look that one up to make sure!
My step-mom would say (very loudly - thinking nary a soul in this country speaks French) Un trou du cul! to rude people, especially waiters...
Biggest hang-up quiCK/SliCK before getting STUCK for the fast clue. Not sure I understand that answer.
Wanted GAWAIN or GARETH for SIRKAR because I'm not up on my boor's at King Author's table. Add TAKE THE bait before a FALL.
Great puzzle - Really felt fresh and fun. Lots of aha's and ooh's Ashton James. Agree with @Rex - can we have these every Friday?

retired_chemist 2:28 PM  

Easy-ish. Probably in the fastest 10-15% of Fridays here.

AI WEI WEI was a WTF, but the crosses were fair, so OK. Tried to make Boston for for The Hub but after a couple of crosses the nickname became obvious. Guessed KRONE @ 40A (there are probably others) and it stayed, to my surprise. Didn't know about TIGE or NERDS - fun facts. HagiO fits 8D but - no. HIERO.

STUCK for fast - Leapfinger and I thought alike but it still seems a bit off. waDDLES for TODDLES didn't last long.

IN a row for 55A got me TAKE THE heat for 25D. Fixed with minimal effort: Susan DEY was a gimme, so 55A had to go, and the SW fell straightforwardlly.

Thanks, Messrs. Anderson and Mulhern. Nice to see one that Rex raves (and not rants) about. Very enjoyable.

Gill I. P. 2:37 PM  

@Leapy: Thanks for the STUCK 'splaining. I don't know why but I'm always thinking "STUCK it to you."
@r.alph: WOW! I guess I better clean up my comment act! Fun trying to remember who said what. @M&M is a dead give-away Har! Thanks for this added entertainment.

Anonymous 2:53 PM  

Why would Rush, in particular, be on AM radio?

RooMonster 3:21 PM  

Yes, thanks @Leapy, that actually seems to make sense! Wondering if that's what was meant?

@beatrice, thank you for the Rush explanation, all this time I too was thinking of the band, wondering why not FM as I was listening to the classics station and they were playing!!

Oh, and NERDS to me were a gimmie! When I was a youngun', they were one of the candies to have! They were in a little box, anyone else remeber them?


RooMonster 3:22 PM  

Yes, thanks @Leapy, that actually seems to make sense! Wondering if that's what was meant?

@beatrice, thank you for the Rush explanation, all this time I too was thinking of the band, wondering why not FM as I was listening to the classics station and they were playing!!

Oh, and NERDS to me were a gimmie! When I was a youngun', they were one of the candies to have! They were in a little box, anyone else remeber them?


Merriam-Webster 3:47 PM  

FAST adjective
a : firmly fixed "roots fast in the ground"
b : tightly shut "the drawers were fast"
c : adhering firmly
d : not easily freed: STUCK "a ball fast in the mouth of the cannon"
e : stable "movable items were made fast to the deck"

loren muse smith 3:57 PM  

@Beatrice – I enjoyed CLOUDS by Debussy. Thanks so much for sharing that!

Z 4:04 PM  

@anon2:07 - Actually, my C-Max Energi is a more advanced vehicle, and I didn't waste $170K trying to prove whatever it is someone willing to spend $200K on a vehicle is trying to prove to themselves. And, to be clear, it is not the vehicle I denigrate. They are beautiful toys. Just remember, He who dies with the most toys is still dead. I think Deepak Chopin said that.

Lewis 4:29 PM  


What I found --

@sirhillary and @leapy -- If you can, please chime in with what you found!

Leapfinger 4:44 PM  

@Z, that would be Tupac Chopin.

Thanks, @Alias. The SIRKAR took me right back to Grade 10 music class, but the Nuages definitely had more Nuances.

Without consulting Miriam Webster, I came up with: "With SIR KAY fast by my side, we fought off the frumious Bandersnatch." That seems to work.

Everyone needs a HIERO
See if you can make heads nor tails out of this.

mathguy 5:05 PM  

@Z: loved your comment.

Steve in Madison 5:07 PM  

Rex, you may not hsve known the French word "cul," but you surely know "cul-de-sac," which literally means "bottom of a bag."

Leapfinger 5:17 PM  

@Lewis, I found


BRIO/CENO[taph]; prefixes accepted?

DARK/GERT, as in Frobe or Gertrude, abbrev

Special for Organic Chem Majors and proponents of Gasohol

SEMI/SMUCK, the latter being an accepted surname, not only a back-formation of Smucker

r.alphbunker 5:39 PM  

@Leapfinger, @Gill I P

It took about 3 hours to edit the Thursday blog to put it into the annotation. Sorry if I missed some of your stuff whose exuberance resists being put into a single box. I did this just to see what it would feel like if a program existed that could grab and assemble these comments automatically off the Internet.

As to how the program gets the data, I have written a program with an interface very much like Across Lite that keeps track of every keystroke entered. At the end it analyzes this information and automatically creates the web page. This means that I can solve the puzzle without thinking about the animation, it all happens automatically.

sanfranman59 5:57 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 20:29, 20:29, 1.0, 50%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Fri 13:24, 13:24, 1.00, 50%, Medium

... can't get much more Medium than this

Anonymous 6:17 PM  

Any other old coots toddling around this place?

Back in the day, spectacles were on a different order of magnitude, but the Great Ziegfeld could still infuse a touch of Mesmer into a MELODY

Sir Hillary 6:31 PM  

@Lewis & @Leapfinger -

My "independents" were:
--- WEND/CORD >>> WENT/CORT (Actor Bud)
--- TAD/NERDS >>> TAT/NERTS (Frank Burns epithet)

My "contiguous" were:
--- KNOTTY/RISKY >>> KNOTTS/RISKS, which allows...
--- DANK/RISKS >>> DANE/RISES, which allows...

Lewis 6:31 PM  

@leapfinger -- Your first three are legitimate. No one else has reported finding DANK to DARK, good one! Your last two are fun, but they'd never pass Will's muster. But the thing is, you are so good at pushing the envelope, please don't stop! I love TRUSTNOENE.

Anonymous 7:06 PM  

chi-town is 'toddlin' - moving fast, not uncertainly

sanfranman59 10:10 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 8:01, 6:01, 1.33, 100%, Challenging (highest ratio of 238 Mondays)
Tue 10:15, 8:14, 1.24, 92%, Challenging
Wed 8:23, 9:15, 0.91, 29%, Easy-Medium
Thu 20:01, 17:37, 1.14, 75%, Medium-Challenging
Fri 20:26, 20:26, 1.00, 51%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 5:11, 3:55, 1.32, 100%, Challenging (highest ratio of 238 Mondays ... by far)
Tue 6:59, 5:21, 1.31, 98%, Challenging (6th highest ratio of 241 Tuesdays)
Wed 6:08, 5:58, 1.03, 59%, Medium
Thu 14:38, 10:49, 1.35, 87%, Challenging
Fri 13:00, 13:03, 1.00, 49%, Medium

(wonder how much Google gets each time I type in "Photo Sphere"?)

Leapfinger 10:14 PM  

#Sir Hillary, now I understand what you were referring to. You've invented the second-order PPP!

mac 10:49 PM  

I did read Rex, and I will read the comments, but I totally forgot to come to the blog today! Got sidetracked.

Very good puzzle, with seti/stuck a personal Natick, although now I get the stuck.

AiWeiWei looks so good in the grid! And "chaching".
Rex is right, this one feels so lively!

OK, I have a big job, there are 94 comments, I think....

mac 10:51 PM  

P.S., for rush home I thought of some sort of nest.

Charles Flaster 9:21 AM  

DNF. Two major gripes.SOFA is not always s soft spot. I like non -plush sofas and have two of them.
CHACHING does not necessarily relate to money. I have seen and heard it used many times as one upmanship.
Loved I can relate and Krone.
Overall very enjoyable.
Thanks AA and JM.

Anonymous 11:42 PM  

("and I mean Done!"—Homer Simpson)

NO. This was said by Principal Seymour Skinner, not Homer Simpson.

Get your shit straight, Rex.

Paul Kurtz 11:07 AM  

Stuck and Fast????

Anonymous 2:24 PM  

Most of Rex's comments are on the mark, except that I found it a lot easier than he did. Lots of gimmees for me, too many. Disagree that Aiweiwei was not inferable, I filled in the entire upper right without ever having heard of such a person. "Ilex" easily filled itself in too. "Cul" -- hmm, haven't you ever heard of a cul-de-sac??? Still there were some nice twists to the clues and nothing objectionable. 37D and 57A totally perplexed me, even though I had almost all the letters. For me, I'd call it a successful and fun puzzle, but a little too easy for Friday.

spacecraft 1:04 PM  

My experience was the exact opposite of @anon. 2:24's. That NE corner refused to yield, and cost me a DNF. Never in a million years could I have parsed "CHACHING." And AIWEIWEI? Ridiculous. I bet you even money that even Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter never heard of this dude. HIERO- as a sacred prefix? If you say so. So then I guess that hieroglyphics--which is the ONLY word I know with that prefix--must be holy writings. NEWAGEY?? You have got to be kidding me. That's a real saying??? Totally absurd that anyone could possibly get that. And finally, "I say" sayer: it's kinda tough to fit FOGHORNLEGHORN into four squares. Beyond that, I didn't have the, if you'll pardon me, foggiest.

I will admit, however, that I should have gotten IWOJIMA and JAG, though GINGER probably still wasn't going to occur to me. As far as CHACHING goes, I pictured it as "CH-CHING," with no A. Never saw it in print.

Even the rest of it was all-the-way challenging. How anybody could let the word "easy" get anywhere near this baby is beyond me. Took me two hours.

7817; when the dust clears, it's a mediocre 5.

Anonymous 2:26 PM  

All in all, this was a great puzz but I had to look up WeiWei. C'mon folks this is obscurity at the max so I don't apologize. And, the rating should have been "challenging." in my not so humble opinion. Also didn't know Sir Kay so wound up with Sir Kar.

Thank you A & J for a good Friday poser.

Ron Diego 11:30 AM PDT 9/5

DMG 3:19 PM  

Wow! This one took a lot of doing, tentative answers, and write overs, but eventually I ended up with only two bad squares! The first was, having never heard NEWAGEY, I ended with. ..AGEd, deciding SIRKAd must have been a character in some spoof of Mallory's work. My second error came from having no idea what Ultra 93 is, a car, vacuum cleaner, laundry soap? I eventually deduced S?ONCO. With no help from the French, they can be like that, I chose "o" over "u" for no brownie points. My lucky total guess to start today's solution was IWOJIMA which gave me JAG and the NE. Fortunately knew ILEX, from Maleska days, which gave me the X or I would never have gotten SIXTHMAN. The SW came from the directional clue. Tried variations of S and W until I got one that gave me some downs. Like I said, a lof of challenges, but a fun puzzle to eventually, mostly finish.

143. Is 8 enough?

Red Valerian 3:46 PM  

Loved this! Thought it was going to be impossible, but just plugged on through. Even though I should know more French than I do, "cul-de-sac" (as others have noted) made things clear for 2D.
Back from soggy camping/hiking. Into the new school year. sigh.
211--a measly 4? I'm not sure what we're playing here…

Okay, try again 1878--is that 6?

Dirigonzo 4:04 PM  

I found the entire left side of the grid fairly easy, struggled but prevailed in the SE only to come up one square short in the NE where 12d seemed to want an adjective so I went with NEWAGEd (Hi @DMG) over the noun NEWAGEr. I never considered the Y even though it's obvious when pointed out. Classic Friday fare done with a flourish - I liked it!

1726 would seem to put me in the runner-up position.

Anonymous 7:06 PM  

Flush: with cash, loaded, rolling in it, rich as Rockefeller! I wish! Lol

Waxy in Montreal 7:23 PM  

Other than the NE where CHACHING & AIWEIWEI ensured a DNF, found this a fair puz and appropriately ranked as MEDIUM.

Especially enjoyed the very clever SW quadrant, in particular KRONE/KOWTOW/KNOTTY.

BOSTONMA before BEANTOWN and never heard of DONEANDDONE; much more familiar with the anglicism DONEANDDUSTED.

929 which leaves me somewhere up a CUL-de-sac.

sdcheezhd 1:25 AM  

Harder than medium for me. REDDEN for LOADED, TIPTOES for TODDLES (sure I had that one) and OKINAWA for IWOJIMA really threw me off. Even after going through all the comments I still can't figure out how Remote is SLIM. Any help on that one?

DMG 1:40 AM  

@sdcheezhd: A remote chance is a SLIM chance.

1016. Still 8, sigh.

rain forest 1:52 AM  

Way late, and having to deal with two specialist appointments (something we aged have to deal with), I finally got to the puzzle and was eventually successful. For once I agree with OFL. Great puzzle for cluing, entries and grid layout.
Good stuff. No cringing.

2809 Damn.

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