Frequent Wyeth model / FRI 11-14-14 / Pat Patriot Billy Buffalo / b'av annual Jewish fast day / Alternative to Avia / Discoverer of Amazon's mouth / Basis of Nintendo Wii's processor / Store debut of 2008

Friday, November 14, 2014

Constructor: Joe Krozel

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: That's not a theme

Word of the Day: ETONIC (37D: Alternative to Avia) —

• • •


LETTER. Twice in the same grid. That's a precedent I hope no one finds "instructive." If the justification is somehow related to the "B" business, then "B" is for baloney.

I like that the grid kind of looks like one of the Space Invaders. It's chiefly the "eyes," I think—the little 2-black-square configurations near the upper middle of the grid. I also think some of the longer answers are nice, or at least clean. FOOTBALL MASCOTS in particular is unexpected and delightful. I have no idea what the "B" clues in the middle are supposed to be doing. That is somebody's idea of cleverness, I suspect. Just not mine. B, Bb, Bb6 ... I don't know how that is anything but an arbitrary progression. I've seen some of these half-ass non-themes on Fridays before, and I continue to not understand. There's no harm done, of course, and the central Acrosses are all solid answers that cohere nicely and don't do too much damage in the crosses (TISHA, ENOL, and Too Many LOLAS being the only weak spots). But the cluing is just shrug-inducing. Hey, why not do an A, AB, ABA, ABAB, ABABA version? Consider it a challenge.

My solve started out rough, both in terms of my inability to get much and in terms of the puzzle's coughing up some of its less savor clues right from the jump. I hit five fill-in-the-blank clues within the first thirty seconds and at that point was Really worried about what kind of theme I was headed into. But that was apparently just bad luck, since there are only … eight? Eight seems like a lot. Is that a lot? I haven't made a habit of counting fill-ins. Anyway, when the first two Acrosses (1 and 12) and the first Down (1) you look at are all fill-in-the-blanks, that's what's called an unpromising start. But things picked up eventually. Cluing seemed tougher than normal, but not dramatically so. Short stuff gets gunky in parts, but there's nothing gut-wrenching, and the longer, cleaner answers are generally the ones that shine through. I have no idea what that "B" stuff is about, but at worst it's harmless.

Ooh, almost forgot. This puzzle sets a record for Longest Pope LEO, so congrats on that. LEO VIII! (19A: 10th-century pope). Not sure I've ever seen a pope where the Roman Numeral part was longer than the name part. Impressive. Wait, sorry, I'm getting word that this puzzle merely ties the record, set in 2003 by Bob Peoples in an LAT puzzle (LEOXIII). Ah well, this was a valiant effort nonetheless. Since we are unlike to see a Pope LEO XVIII in our lifetimes (there have been only 13 so far), you should consider this record unbreakable. It's been done, man. Try the Piuses.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


Danp 7:36 AM  

I loved the B progression. I had to work my way from the bottom and right. NW was toughest, and it didn't help that I had "NOT funny!" Frame of mind sort of thing, I guess.

L 7:47 AM  

I thought the B clues to be totally lame. And at this point, I think twitters is no longer a good answer for giggles.

Unknown 7:47 AM  

Easy-medium except for NW, which was unsolvable without googles. TISHA Abv is outside my ken. ERTE as clued and ATALE of Christ had to come from crosses, but they crossed each other , so...? Pentium for POWERPC kept the region scrambled. I'd considered POLO fir the equestrian sport, but as it didn't fit, I'd dropped that line of thought and waited for the crosses, which didn't come. he's funny for TOO funny. Because it was as good a guess as any. No, there was no way out of that quagmire without flat out knowing ATALE of Christ and ERTE and that quintessentially upper class British sport POLO consists NOT of the Anglo sports group "sides" but of the quintessentially American notion of TEAMS. My bad.

Mohair Sam 7:49 AM  

Kind of agree with Rex today, except enjoyed the puzzle a bit more. Did think it was easy/medium however, or maybe just easy.

NW and NE filled like a Tuesday - and the two 15's were almost gimmes for us. With that kind of a start things moved fast. Wite-out free today, and had to write over only ALaRmS to ALERTS.

Have two Wyeth prints hanging in our house, and have visited the Wyeth Gallery in Brandywine. HELGA therefore a snap.

Not bothered a bit by the B/Bb/Bb6 silliness, thought it was fun.


Moly Shu 7:50 AM  

Typical Krozel for me, didn't think I'd get anything after the first pass, but ended up getting it all after a medium struggle. Liked it better than @Rex, except for ROAMOFF, yuck. Liked the clue for SILO, didn't mind the B progression, and is it really called a POLOTEAM ??

Dorothy Biggs 8:01 AM  

Just one real nit to pick, but in the clue for 34A, the letter and the symbol need to be right next to each other. As it is, with that space in there, us musos think something is up. I like that the flat symbol was used, but unfortunately, used somewhat incorrectly. In a weird way, leaving the B out of it and just using the symbol would elicit the same answer since that symbol would represent a note of some kind.

I actually liked this puzzle...I got hung up in trying to decipher a theme...what with the Bs and the LETTERs, and the irregular shaped grid and all. I'm still not convinced there isn't some kind of method to the madness does seem odd that there isn't some sort of larger plan at play given the fill and grid shape.

"Fly in the face of someone" (PEST) is my least favorite clue. ROAMOFF is my least favorite answer, with ENDPOST coming in a close second.


I wanted "amin" at first in place of SHAH. And I wanted VaS for VIS.

Otherwise, no googling, no cheating of any sort, no mistakes....a relatively calm solve.

Conrad 8:15 AM  

28D put me in mind of the Allan Sherman song from the 60's (to the tune of "Matilda"):
Why did she have to fall in love?
I haven't seen her since Tisha b'Av
My Zelda she took the money and ran with the tailor.

Sir Hillary 8:20 AM  

Fine puzzle overall. I don't understand the fuss over the B clues. We see repeated/cross-referenced clues all the time. These were fun.

Nice clue for GENERALHOSPITAL -- clever, but not in an overly cutesy way. Its misdirection worked on me.

Has JOHNXXIII ever been in a puzzle? Pretty influential pope, especially given his short tenure.

Glimmerglass 8:20 AM  

Rex has outdone himself today in finding ridiculous things to object to. B, Bb, and Bb6 are certainly a harmless attempt at a sequence. What are they "supposed to be doing"? Just that. The terms are unrelated, except that they all contain an uppercase B. Some might find that clever. The sequence LETTER appears twice in the grid? Horrors! That's almost as bad as wearing white after Labor Day. Mr. Krozel, this is a decent puzzle, perhaps a bit too easy for a Friday, but an excellent Wednesday.

About Me 8:32 AM  

Liked this puzzle a lot. Easiest part for me was the NW. Like B Bb Bb6 in the middle. Like the long downs and he cluing for GH.

Found it to be a Medium Friday.

Agree that Rex seems to be trying to find faults with this puzzle rather than appreciating it for what it is.

Unknown 8:33 AM  

Surprised at Rex's rating on this one. I found it to be on the easy side. I had no issues with the B, Bb, Bb6 stuff, but LETTER appearing twice does seem wrong.

Suzy 8:34 AM  

Totally agree with @Glimmerglass, except I didn't find it too easy! Rex, take a deep breath and try to enjoy your avocation!

Leapfinger 8:34 AM  

@Rex, we are SOO different! Had we but world ENOL and time, I'd explain how, but I had a giggle at LOA LOLAS SILO.

First in was, 'four' would make that a TEAM. The O made Pope LEO the prime suspect; would JoeKro dare V-ai-ai-ai? What BRASS! Great start in a puzzle, When They Begin the Big Grin!

Besides that bit of papal bull, liked the triple belt of Bs whacked across the equator and the vertical gridspanners. Am always pleased by the Curtis-y of JAMIE LEE. The ROANOFF and IFSAY, not so much.

Some pause when 20D not being Vasco da G' put me on a merry go-round. Then this eedjit SAVANT ended with a kerfuffle to pass the final tEST: id EST, not a bEST bud a PEST.

We DO GEAR up for a Friday. Who would complain about such a pretty solve? NOT I!

AliasZ 8:47 AM  

-- Begin post --

I suspect there will be a lot of discussion today about the LETTER repetition, like there was about AAHEDAT yesterday, so I will not waste my time with it. Except to say that I remember another Joe Krozel from a couple of years ago that had both LED INTO and LEAD IN in the same puzzle, memorable for having only 17 black squares and 58 words, if memory serves. Today's puzzle has no such virtuosity, just a solid puzzle with plenty of snazz: a double stack at the bottom, a 13/11/9 trip stack in the middle, and two down grid spanners crossing all of them. Quite a feat, I'd say.

I enjoyed it tremendously, as I do all of Joe Krozel's puzzles. This one seemed a little easier than most, much of the fun coming from the clever cluing rather than scrabbly words. The three consecutive "B" clues were clever, however I can't say I aahed at IFSAY, ATALE INHER THATIS ESA EST LEOVIII, ENOL or LOLAS.

The House of ROAMOFF produced a few Czars and PRINCES over the centuries.
VIAGRA on Wednesday, ERECTOR today: seek immediate medical help.

Let's listen to some BRASS by Giovanni Gabrieli and call it ARR APP.

-- END POST --

Kim Scudera 8:51 AM  

NCA President said: "I actually liked this puzzle...I got hung up in trying to decipher a theme...what with the Bs and the LETTERs, and the irregular shaped grid and all. I'm still not convinced there isn't some kind of method to the madness does seem odd that there isn't some sort of larger plan at play given the fill and grid shape."

So I went back and squinted at the puzzle: could be said to look like a bee.

Ties it together? Joe?

Elaina 8:57 AM  

I've been listening to Nanci Griffith so I wanted coup de ville for 5D (She drives a coup de ville but her heart rides still in that Ford Econoline). Clearly that didn't work.
I kept looking for some connection between the the three B clues - I only got the answers when I gave up on that.
Liked the clue for 52A alot.

Appreciative Puzzler 8:58 AM  

FABULOUS puzzle. Totally agree with everyone who appreciated the 3 B clues. Who cares if "letter" is in the puzzle twice? I'd rather have a clever puzzle than a boring one where all the "rules" are followed - rules that normal people who just love crosswords don't know or care about.
The clues for General Hospital, Football Mascots, Dog Ear, Orcas, and SciFi were wonderful.
Thank you Joe Krozel and Will! This was right up my alley- if anything it was a bit easy, but I still loved it.

John V 8:59 AM  

I liked the B thing, the change of pace mirror symmetry, only one stack. Very easy, especially for Krozel; around 10 minutes for me, which is nuts.

Elaina 8:59 AM  

That mysterious B01 is what I thought was my first capcha. (Spelling? Spell check doesn't know this.)
I'm not sure how it got in my post.

Leapfinger 9:06 AM  

Nice bit of Framing, ham AliasZ! I wondered what that -begin post- was all about.

Also thought of ROAM[on]OFF, as per yesterday, but differed in linking ERECTOR to BRrr, ASS. Dang, your'n is better.

Got an appointment at the hair salon, gotta cut it short.

Lady Marmalade 9:12 AM  

What with that Cadillac Seville in there, I sure was on the lookout for an ORANGE.

Unknown 9:13 AM  

Easy, not terribly engaging though. Why is 'score at the half' a DECADE? Why not HOTDOGANDABEER? Certainly the random Jewish holiday provided no help on the cross for me.

Whirred Whacks 9:14 AM  

Fun enough, not too hard. Agree with those who liked the "B" thing. Did my solve from the bottom up.

Clues that I AAHED AT:

--"Score at the half?" DECADE
--"They might catch some rays" ORCAS

Something to B thankful for: we got nearly an inch of much-need rain in the Santa Cruz Mtns yesterday. Now, all of our moss is glowing!

Charles Flaster 9:17 AM  

Easy medium and not sure why we need or have to look for a theme. The B clues were fun to figure.
Had nothing at all after first run . Finally realized football and Cadillac simultaneously and that set me to run with the rest.
Liked clever clues for GENERAL HOSPITAL, PRINCES and DECADE.
NO crosswordEASE for the first time in a while.
ROAM OFF seems contrived.
Only writeover was musical letter for CAPITAL LETTER. That would have given us two repeats. "Heavens to Mergetroy!!".
I'm trying to construct a puzzle with "numerous repeats". Has to be fun!
Thanks JK.

mac 9:29 AM  

Enjoyable Friday, on the easy side. Pest was the last word filled in, with end post a close runner up. I thought the Italian/Indian lady was called Sofia.

Odd solve, I did the whole East Coast first, then the bottom, then plugged away at the rest. A few crosses solved all those B clues for me, not big deal. Two letters just isn't done, though.

pmdm 9:31 AM  

Kin Scudera: In Wordplay, Mr. Krozel's comments indicate he did not construct the grid to resemble a bee. But your experience is the same as Deb Amlen's, which perhaps goes to show how strong the power of suggestion can be.

Sometimes if one has no idea about what something is about, that's because it simply is about nothing. It certainly catches the eye in an unimportant but pleasing manner, but it seems that's as far as it goes, which is fine by me.

As for LETTER and LETTERING appearing in the same grid, Mr. Shortz explains the rule in Wordplay since one of the test solvers did complain to him about the duplication.

joho 9:36 AM  

Yes, the cluing was extra fun today, my favorites were for GENERALHOSPITAL (looks like the hands down winner!), ORCAS and PRINCES. Clues like these really spice up a difficult Friday challenge. Except, like others, I found this pretty easy. I think it's because Mr. Krozel's puzzles are so smooth.

Thanks, Joe, for a fun Friday!

@Rex, loved your take on the Popes and Roman numerals: TOO funny!

Bob Kerfuffle 9:42 AM  

Excellent puzzle; played Medium-Challenging for me.

But 1 D was a gimme, my first entry. And although as I filled the grid I was planning to say there was "a lot" I didn't know, as I look back TISHA may be the only word truly new to me.

(@ Andrew Morrison - A score is twenty; a decade is ten.)

Anonymous 9:43 AM  

It's Jamie Leigh Curtis, not 'Lee."

Anonymous 9:47 AM  

Dull is what came to mind solving this one. Not good, not particularly bad, just dull. As an aside, can some one explain why it is I, as a gentile, am supposed to know every letter of the Hebrew alphabet, every month of the Jewish calendar and every holiday on said calendar in order to complete a NYT puzzle?

Bodhisattva12345 9:49 AM  

@Kim Scudera. Apophenia is the seeing of patterns in random data.

Enjoyed Mr. Krozel's puzzle. Thought it was on the easier side.

chefbea 9:50 AM  

Easier than most Friday's, though I did have to google a bit. Loved all the B's and the General hospital clue!!

Google 9:53 AM  

@Anonymous, 9:43 AM - When you challenge a puzzle answer, you really should provide a link to a reference.

Jamie Lee Curtis-Leigh-Guest, Baroness of . . .

quilter1 9:53 AM  

Solved from the bottom up and enjoyed myself. Now I am going to make soup.

Bodhisattva12345 9:53 AM  

@anonymous 943am

The mother is Janet Leigh. She is Jamie Lee.

Elephant's Child 9:55 AM  

Jamie Leigh? I Haden-Guest that.

Maybe you're thinking of Janet Leigh.

Jamie's paternal grandparents would have known TISHA, if only as 'kilenc'.

Zeke 9:58 AM  

If that's a bee, it has to be in flight, and it has to be the Kim Kardashian Bee, as it has the fattest ass in the history of bee-dom. This brings us to the contradiction, as the Kim Kardashian Bee is incapable of flight due to said fat ass.

RooMonster 10:00 AM  

Hey All !
Liked today's offering. Left/right symmetry, with that chunk of black squares in the middle. Also liked the B progression clues, neat thing to build your grid around. Ended up with lots of nice clean long fill. On the fence about the two LETTERs. I'm partial to take it, as it made the fill clean.

Took me a few to get LEOVIII. Had the III part, was looking for a (somebody) the Third, was thinking rESPUCCI, so once I eventually sussed out the TOO, AWL. POLOTEAM trifecta, remembered it was VESPUCCI, and got LEO. (My sign, if anyone give a good hoot.) :-)

Also had dEVILLE at first. Only writeover. Thought I had a correct grid, however, had DECiDE for 36A. Actually, DividE first, then decided with DECiDE instead of DECADE. Still not getting the clue...

Nice clue for SCIFI, was searching the brain for an author named Space! Was thinking of something naughty for ___ itself!!


Nancy 10:08 AM  

Agree with just about everyone not named Rex. Liked the B theme a lot, especially the unexpected CHESS MOVE. Loved the clues for GENERAL HOSPITAL, PRINCES and EGOS. Also had DE VILLE before SEVILLE. A nice Friday--just challenging enough, but not a bear.

Arlene 10:12 AM  

Well, this is the closest I'll ever get to having my last name in a puzzle - was a little surprised to see ROAMOFF there. That's never happened before.

I liked all those B's, by the way - a nice little diversion.

And, as others have mentioned, was a little hard getting started, but then it all seemed to fill in quite nicely.

R. McGeddon 10:16 AM  

This is a rare day where Amy Reynaldo is harder on the puzzle than Rex. She sounds almost furious at the fill and how this week has been abysmal in that respect.

Z 10:28 AM  

Thumbs up on the B clues. Lots of clues requiring me to rethink what word I was reading; Space, Soap, Score, Short, Leaf, Fly. I like that, too. Two -LETTERs, VIII, and ROAM OFF not so much. Also, NOT I above EGO - cute.

HELGA posed for the famous Andrew, not the crossword infamous N.C. Weren't there some TWITTERS about Andrew painting nudes of HELGA without his wife's knowledge.

@Conrad - My high school bud had a '62 Chrysler Newport which we affectionately dubbed Zelda. Our theme song - "My Zelda" by Allan Sherman.

As to why one has to know all manner of things Hebraic to solve a NYTX, it is the same reason one has to know the Spanish for "basket," or the Spanish for "black," or the Latin for "THAT IS."

Anonymous 10:32 AM  

@Anonymous 9:43, can you explain why Jewish solvers are supposed to know the name of every Catholic Pope, or Christian New Testament Book or character, and every holiday on the Christian calendar in order to complete a NYT puzzle?

Steve M 10:33 AM  


Anonymous 10:35 AM  

DECADE--kindly explain. Thx.

Lewis 10:38 AM  

It is nice to be back, and a big thanks to those who sent tips on what to do in New Orleans.

I am always happy to finish a Friday with no help, and in addition, I enjoyed the cluing which gave me some smiles -- especially those for GENERALHOSPITAL, SCIFI, DOGEAR, and DECADE. So this was an enjoyable solve for me.

The puzzle has 16 double letters, tied for the highest since I've been tracking, I believe. This means nothing, of course, and yet I persist with it.

At first I thought "_____ funny" was going to be SOO, and I'm glad it wasn't. ROAMOFF seems arbitrary, not so much in the language.

@stevej -- I saw your post yesterday about having a puzzle employ more word pictures than ON, that it might be more interesting. I agree completely, in fact, I made one earlier this year, sent it to Will, and he (through Joel Fagliano) came back saying that he prefers for the "trick" to be just one thing rather than several. So I'm guessing you won't see such a puzzle in the NYT as long as Mr. Will is there.

Anonymous 10:40 AM  

Ditto on DECADE...

Z 10:42 AM  


Rex slams the fill.
Crossword Fiend makes Rex's slam look mild.
Will Shortz and Joe Krozel (at Wordplay) comment on the cleanliness of the fill.


@Gill I. - What happened to your "P"? As for our Muse - teaching is hard. HS is really hard (though not as hard as teaching MS). Doing it well full-time is a 60hr./week adventure for someone new to it. I totally understand. She did mention that she still reads the blog most every day.

Anonymous 10:42 AM  

Score = 20. Decade = 10.

Lewis 10:50 AM  

Factoid: JEB Bush's first name comes from the initials to his given name, John Ellis Bush.

Quotoid: ""Wisdom doesn't necessarily come with age. Sometimes age just shows up ALL BY itself." -- Tom Wilson

OISK 10:51 AM  

Thank you, Anonymous 10:32 - I was about to say something similar. Also, the appearance of Jewish months like Elul, Adar, (but never Cheshvan) is rather like the frequent use of Opie. (a name I know only from the puzzles.) The combination of letters is useful in puzzle construction, and frequent solvers grow accustomed to them. Tisha B'Av (ninth day of the month of Av) is even unfamiliar to many non-observant Jews. Falling as it does during July or August, it does not affect school attendance, and so passes by without notice. For me it was a gimmee, although I first spelled it "Tishe". I most enjoy a puzzle (Moly Shu said something similar earlier) when at first it looks impenetrable, I finally find an answer, (Tisha) and it opens up. This was a really fine Friday puzzle. Great cluing, loved the "B" series across the middle. I don't like product clues, and nearly Naticked where APP store crossed PowerPC, and there was also etonic and Seville, but really enjoyed this puzzle anyway. Great job Joe.

Anonymous 10:52 AM  

Thank you, Anonymous @ 10:42!

Lewis 10:57 AM  

Bonus: "Watching a baby being born is a little like watching a WET St. Bernard coming in through the cat door." -- Jeff Foxworthy

(And my wife says that about how it feels as well...)

Maruchka 11:09 AM  

There is joy in my Mudville when the opaque morphs into translucent. Most of the long solves revealed quickly and intuitively - saw CADILLAC, MUSICAL NOTE and _MASCOTS right away. Fiat lux(ury)!

Small cavil - not a lot of resonance. But, in any case, a CAPITAL puzz! THANKS, Joe.

Do-overs: al(arm)s for ALERTS, erect(e)r for ERECTOR.

Fav of the day - TISHA b'Av. Coulda been Nixon..

@Nancy - Didn't Cruella DeVille drive a SEVILLE?

@Elephant's Child - Heehee! But what is a kilenc?

jae 11:15 AM  

Easy-medium for me too. Tried Rajiv before SONIA only to discover later that he was assassinated  in 1991.  I'm pretty sure I wasn't paying attention in '91.  Also tried maLt before SILO.   The 15s were mostly easy which opened up a lot of the puzzle.

Clever clueing and a bit of zip...kinda liked it.  Plus a couple of actresses, a random Pope LEO (I have crosswords to thank  for knowing there are 13 of them), zero rappers (not that I mind but some seem to),  a WOE Jewish fast day, and my favorite 4 LETTER compound ENOL...much to be proud of.

Whirred Whacks 11:18 AM  

@Zeke 9:58

Yes, Kim Kardashian's derrière is in the news again.

This is the funniest photoshop construction made from it


mathguy 11:19 AM  

Hadn't come across TISHA b'Av before but I should have gotten it from the crosses. I was pretty sure that 36A was DEC_DE but, incredibly, DECADE eluded me.

I didn't like it that much. Could the reason be that I had to Google the Jewish fast day?

Steve J 11:22 AM  

Found this to be a very mixed bag for me. The good: CADILLAC DE VILLE, clue and answer combo for FOOTBALL MASCOTS, clues for GENERAL HOSPITAL, ORCAS, PRINCES, DECADE. And I liked the B clue progression, although not all of the resulting fill.

The not-so-good: Too many partials. ROAM OFF. ENDPOST. Plural LOLAS. ERECTOR as an answer for someone playing with Legos (especially since there's a similar toy called an Erector Set). Some cluing that tried to hard, like for FTC.

CAPITAL LETTER seems to be inching toward green paint territory, but it does work within the context of that cluing sequence.

On balance, I found more to like than dislike, but just barely. Were I to do numerical ratings, this probably only gets 5.5 from 10.

Andrew Heinegg 11:34 AM  

The hair, the reply or both! ?

Andrew Heinegg 11:36 AM  

Because score is 20 years as in Lincoln's Gettysburg speech:'four score......'

Anonymous 11:37 AM  

Another overwhelmingly negative review? It's been done, man. Try the Pluses.

old timer 11:41 AM  

Asking why we Gentiles are supposed to know all the Jewish months and holidays is kind of like asking why we English speakers are supposed to be fluent in French and Spanish.

It just *is* a feature of the NYT puzzles, so you might as well get used to it. And it gives me an edge since French and Spanish are the two languages I studied in school.

I liked the puzzle. It was tricky in some ways (Seville vs deVille) and misleading in others (I figured MUSICALNOTE was right, and confidently put down "chord" as the final word in the answer to Bb6 (is there a 6 chord in jazz? I assumed so). The right answer came at the very end, along with DECADE.

Masked and AnonymoUs 11:45 AM  






Mel Payback 11:56 AM  

@Anon 10:32
You really only need to learn a few Hebrew months, the same as in Spanish, there's only Enero and Mayo.

Act Tzaddik like you, I'd like to introduce to Shemini Atzeret

Andrew Heinegg 11:57 AM  

I thought this was a decidedly mixed bag. There is no defense to roamoff but, there were plenty of interestingly clued answers e.g., silo and GH. The 3 b clues were mehish to moa. The comments about thinking that religious cluing/answers are not fair are head scratchers to me. The popes are a part of the political world as they are a separate state from Italy. So, no history questions are appropriate? As this is the NYT and NYC has the largest population of Jews outside of Tel Aviv, expect some clues and answers regarding the Jewish faith.

Mark 12:07 PM  

More trivia quiz than puzzle. No fun.

DanielD 12:14 PM  

With a less sophisticated palate than many posters and with more free time to grind through the puzzle, I give it two thumbs up. Lewis highlighted the clues that I thought were excellent.

Martel Moopsbane 12:29 PM  

Coming soon to a puzzle near you: Tu b'Shevat!

Mel Payback 12:32 PM  


A Tzaddik like U...

RooMonster 12:38 PM  

Oh, can someone who's obviously smrter than myself explain VIS for Caesar's force? Either everyone except me got it, or just no one has asked about it. Hmm.


jdv 12:44 PM  

Medium. I wasn't crazy about this. ROAM and ROAMOFF seem synonymous. Needed all the crosses for TISHA and ETONIC. 3 of the 4 15's were new. ORCAS was the last to go in.

Carola 12:47 PM  

For a while all I could see in the grid shape was a person with their hands up saying "I surrender." Had lotsa trouble getting and maintaining traction. Last in was CHESS MOVE - dEVILLE had me contemplating COED'S ???? Anyway, not a CAPITAL solving experience for me, but I was glad to finish. (I know, "their".... that's how I [ab]use it.)

Martel Moopsbane 12:50 PM  

@Roo, apparently VIS (which I've never seen) is the singular of vires (which I have seen in the legal term "ultra vires"). When a corporate action is determined to be ultra vires, it is "beyond the powers" of the corporation and thus is void.

LHS 888 12:55 PM  

Started out hard, got easier, and then flame out in the NW corner. I didn't remember VESPUCCI and couldn't get into the corner any higher than CAPITALLETTER.

I started in the NE, then I saw GENERALHOSPITAL and RAISEDLETTERING immdiately. Ultimately, I ended up filling from the bottom up and right to left as some others have mentioned until I stalled in the afore mentioned NW for the official DNF.


Epillar (whatever that might be) > ENDPOST

Hand up for liking clude to SILO
Hand up for being suspicious of LETTER in 2 answers without an obvious link to a theme.
I wanted bulb for STOVE

Good, challenging Friday. Thanks, JK / WS.

@Conrad - My siblings & I loved our Allan Sherman records and still sing them a Cappella whenever we get together much to the annoyance of spouses. However, I only knew that verse from "My Zelda" phonetically, having never heard of a TISHA b'Av until now. Thank's for 'splainin' that one. I'll pass the word along to the others. ^_^

Hartley70 1:06 PM  

I liked it just fine. The long clues were much easier than the shorties. GENERAL HOSPITAL fell first and DECADE was last. Interesting that so many of us couldn't get it even with score staring us right in the face. I also fell for dEVILLE. I'm sorta a Jeep/Volvo kinda driver myself. Plus I'm a big fan of Cruella so I was destined to use the d until I got the cross. I wish I could see the flying bee but I suspect it's only visible to the chosen few.

RAD2626 1:15 PM  

Really fun puzzle. Great cluing in SW: GENERAL HOSPITAL, DECADE, PRINCES. Thought "b" sequence was clever and well placed. Maybe the word LETTER should have appeared three times - one for each "b". Is the clue "Short coming?" for ARR meant to signify a truncated version of ARRive? If so, I thnk it is weak effort to squeeze in a non-word.

OISK 1:31 PM  

Yeah, forgot about "VIS" which was completely unfamiliar, and just a guess that "In her" shoes was a more likely title than "On her" shoes. So, no, "Roo", you are not alone!

Fred Romagnolo 1:40 PM  

Thanks @Oisk for the explanation for us gentiles and non-observant Jews. I initially screwed up with "gOAMiss for ROAMOFF. Since I figured the Pope had either an X or a V, VESPUCCI was a gimme. I got started in the NW and SE; everything else followed - sometimes torturedly. (Spellcheck doesn't like that, I guess they want "tortuously") Good puzzle, not easy to me, but not a DNF or Googleized. (Spellcheck doesn't like that either!)

Fred Romagnolo 1:42 PM  


Fred Romagnolo 1:47 PM  

@Roo: virile - powerful

Teedmn 2:06 PM  

I was sure that CADILLACS dEVILLE was what those poor Dalmatian puppies had been carried off in- oh SEVILLE? Never mind. Certainly S in SEVILLE made Bb6 gettable.

I thought the grid vaguely resembled a snowman, probably my bias due to staring at the 10+ inches of white stuff here plus the specter of possible sub-zero temps this weekend. Not TOO funny.

All of the great clues have been mentioned, and I thought the puzzle was great. Soap plus the initial G in place had me looking for GermRasH something, or a horrible brand name Natick with ETONIC, but the Aha came. Thanks for a very enjoyable Friday, Mr. Kroger.

Teedmn 2:09 PM  


Crummy autofill. Tried to give me Roselyn when I was correcting my last post.

LaneB 2:31 PM  

Clues in several cases were just a bit too clever or subtle or whatever for me and I completed the thing after googling and erring my way to the end. Still don't know what TIED has to do with 20-20,e.g.. Finally figured out what DECADE had to do with "score at the half'". Plenty of stuff to make it all far from medium-challenging for old rookies like me. But a finish is a finish notwithstanding all the mistakes and cursing.

okanaganer 2:48 PM  

Had the bottom filled first, looked at ________EVILLE, and put in DODGE BONNEVILLE because it fit. When that didn't work, I tried FORD COUP DE VILLE which also fits.

Obviously I'm not a car guy.

Dave 2:48 PM  

Don't play chess and am uniformed of religious rituals, so the Chess move / Tisha cross was a no go for me. Otherwise, played as very easy for a Friday.

Answerman 2:49 PM  

@LaneB: A score of 20-20 in a basketball game is TIED.

Jennifer Jason Leigh is Janet Leigh's daughter, not Jamie Lee Curtis.

Anonymous 2:53 PM  

What does the answer to 14D, FTC, stand for?

Zeke 2:57 PM  

The bee's fat ass aside, I found no joy in this puzzle.

First, you can't draw anything on a 15x15 monochrome palate other than stick figures. Should you try something more sophisticated, all you will come up with is something that is vaguely like a first generation Space Invaders creature. It's literally impossible to achieve anything more sophisticated. So, why try? All that can possibly happen is people such as myself wonder what the hell the picture is supposed to be, and all they'll come up with is a space alien. If your puzzle is about space aliens, you've succeeded, otherwise you've failed.

ROAMOFF atop ENDPOST? Two non-phrases nestled together to produce, some generations later, the partial ALLBY followed by LOA? POLO TEAMS have any number of players, the squad on the field at any one time numbers 4. How are ORCAS "Titanic"? They're certainly large, but are dwarfed by their whale cousins. Blue whales are Titanic.

I've never seen Bb used to denote B ♭. I'm not Swedish.

I don't mind tortuous clueing, I rather like it. What I don't like is tortured clueing.

Martel Moopsbane 2:57 PM  

@Anon 2:53: Federal Trade Commission, which enforces various federal anti-trust laws (in theory).

Anonymous 3:09 PM  

Jennifer Jason Leigh is the daughter of Barbara Turner, a screenwriter, and Victoria Morrow, an actor. Jamie Lee Curtis is the daughter of Tony Curtis, the actor, and Janet Leigh, the actress.

Anonymous 3:11 PM  

Oops! Vic Morrow.

GILL I. 3:26 PM  

Late to this END POST and all the good stuff has been said. I'll just add that I'm in the "liked" camp. I'm thinking though, that TWITTERS aren't really giggles. I giggle quite a bit but I jiggle more that TWITTER. Just sayin.
Like @mac, the east was a breeze and VESPUCCI was a PEST. Still, I smiled when I finally finished sans Google....
@Z....Yes, the "P" is gone [sigh]. During my halcyon days in Spain I was given a variety of nicknames. Pollo and Puerco come to mind.
Thanks for the LMS info. I miss her...
I say bring on ALL the foreign words that sound WONDERFUL. If it hadn't been for SCHTUPP, I would have missed out on a word I try to use daily!

Anonymous 4:29 PM  

11:37 - I agree!

Anonymous 4:32 PM  

Surprised that no one commented on the difference between the on-line and print versions vis-a-vis the B's. Did it on line and eventually figured it out, but when I looked at the paper afterwards, it was a no-brainer.

Elephant's Child 5:59 PM  

@Maruchka, a kilenc is a 'nine', as they say it in PEST. In Buda, also. Signifies the ninth day in the month of Av.

@Alias, 48 hours' duration does seem to indicate an Erector Set in stone. However, I don't think the commercials recommend medical help, but rather medical attention. I imagine it would be super-easy to get not only medical, but all kinds of other attention as well.

Maruchka 6:30 PM  

@Elephant's Child - Ah, köszönöm! Thus ENDeth the lesson.

Katie 9:52 PM  

Rex needs to take his Pamprin. The B clues were fun. DECADE and ORCA had me. Very clever cluing.

GPO 11:54 PM  

Here we go again with "arbitrary" as a ding. Is there anything more arbitrary than siting down to spend the better part of your Friday with a crossword puzzle in the first place? Right: no, there is not.

If you want something to complain about in this puzzle, I nominate "ROAMOFF" and "TWITTERING." Twittering never meant giggling and it sure as hell doesn't now.

Anonymous 4:33 AM  

I had never completed a Friday that Rex considered somewhat "challenging," so good for me!

Anonymous 12:38 PM  

Still seems oddly/unfairly clued crossing the un-guessable Jewish fast day.... thx

Anonymous 12:46 PM  

GPO said:

""TWITTERING." Twittering never meant giggling and it sure as hell doesn't now."

Yes it did, and it still does now. The "giggling" ldefinition is in several major dictionaries including Random House and American Heritage (also my iPhone app dictionary, if that means anything).

You don't have to like the clue, and you may be unfamiliar with that meaning. Fair enough. But, to outright declare that that meaning/definition of TWITTERS used in the puzzle is factually wrong, is another issue entirely.


B says 2:00 PM  

Vespucci did not discover the mouth of the Amazon, except from a Eurocentric colonialist perspective.
B says

Vincent L 11:37 AM  

This one played especially easy for me, which is very unusual on a Friday. The misdirecting clues were transparent (for me). If anything, the JEB clue slowed me down because it couldn't possibly be that easy on a Friday! In my syndicated puzzle, Bb appeared as B, so it seemed less like a progression and more like the standard "two identical clues" gambit, so it didn't register as a theme.

spacecraft 1:24 PM  

"Letters, we get letters, we get lots and lots of letters..." Okay, so I'm old enough to remember Perry Como. Well. Rules were made to be broken, eh? Not sure I know the reason for that no-repeat rule in the first place. If you come down to it, it's not a deal-breaker for me. Give Mr. Krozel credit for having the chutzpah to break it with a 6-LETTER (!) word.

Funny thing, I thought there might be a different repeater here. For 3d's four mounted players, I thought of the knights in a CHESSSET; almost wrote it in. Had nothing else in the NW, though, so I held off. Hence to the gimme: what else could Bb6 be but a CHESSMOVE? And the M was enough for FOOTBALLMASCOT. For a very tough puzzle in the nooks and crannies, it was a huge help to have those big central entries to work from.

RRNs are bad enough; RRNPs (random Roman numeraled Popes) are worse. C'mon. man.

Ah, but all is forgiven: here's JAMIELEE! Yes, my dear, I will PLEASE to help you with your rucksack. Any time.

NW and north were the last to fall. Took forever to see SCIFI (headslap!). B+. Is that the next B progression?

157. Oh well.

rondo 1:42 PM  

All those brainiacs out there and apparently not one of them knows anything about tools, probably never get their precious hands dirty, too busy on the
POLOTEAM. An AWL is not a boring thing, it is a punch, often hit with a hammer to punch a hole; a drill is a boring thing to make a hole. Sorry about the CAPITALLETTERs but THE 16D CLUE IS WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!!! There, I said it 3 times, so you know it's true.
Other than that I liked the puz, cool clues, the Bs were just fine IMHO, and almost all the rest. And JAMIELEE as a one-time yeah baby. Had a JAMIELEE film festival with some of the boys at my house back in the post-divorce single days. Rewound the VHS tape numerous times on that scene in Trading Places. Yeah baby indeed.

No no.s to play today

rondo 1:45 PM  


DMG 1:55 PM  

Off to an early appointment, so no time to read all the comments, Maybe later? At any rate this was one of those puzzles where something like half the clues referred to something way out of my ken, yet by sticking with "that letter seems right", I solved it.! good day for me!

677. Well, maybe not!

rondo again 2:02 PM  

Unless one considers everyone's complete and utter lack of interest in a tool such as an AWL as making it "boring", THE 16A CLUE IS WRONG!

rain forest 2:13 PM  

For a Friday, for a Krozel, this was relatively easy, and very entertaining--I liked it. I don't think the B thing is meant to be a theme--merely playful, as probably was LETTER and LETTERING. Is that naughty?

This puzzle had an interesting mixture of easy and difficult clues; short and long ones; fun and "ouch" ones.

@Rondo - I think that anything that makes a hole is boring. I don't think that a turning motion is required. No biggie for me.

My head-slapping moment was getting the A of DECADE. Good one!

Now, I really want numbers...Nope. Just a check. I guess it's obvious that I'm not a robot.

you know who 2:57 PM  

NYT supposedly employs fact-checkers.
Big, big difference in hole making, an AWL does none of this:

[bawr, bohr]

verb (used with object), bored, boring.
to pierce (a solid substance) with some rotary cutting instrument.

to make (a hole) by drilling with such an instrument.

to form, make, or construct (a tunnel, mine, well, passage, etc.) by hollowing out, cutting through, or removing a core of material:
"to bore a tunnel through the Alps; to bore an oil well 3000 feet deep."

Machinery. to enlarge (a hole) to a precise diameter with a cutting tool within the hole, by rotating either the tool or the work.

a pointed instrument for piercing small holes in leather, wood, etc.

140 = 5 THATIS all

bored 2:59 PM  


Dirigonzo 3:36 PM  

FOOTBALLMASCOTS was my first entry in the grid and RAISEDLETTERING went in on the strength of only a few crosswords - when you start out with grid-spanning fill in both directions it greatly simplifies matters. Anybody who thinks an AWL is not a boring tool has never watched me try to make a new hole in a leather belt with the one on my Leatherman multi-tool.

509 - can I use just the last digit?

leftcoastTAM 7:30 PM  

I enjoyed this puzzle, mainly because I made it through in an hour and avoided a DNF. For me, that made it an easy-medium outing. Worked up from the bottom, and DECADE was my last entry; clever clue there.

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