Shetland sweater style / FRI 1-23-15 / Tonic for tired blood / Phishing fodder / Onetime dwellers along Big Blue River / Starting point of train trip to Timbuktu in song / Hill historic home of Theodore Roosevelt / Filaments in wrought iron / Shepherd of old movies

Friday, January 23, 2015

Constructor: Ed Sessa

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: none

Word of the Day: FAIR ISLE (40D: Shetland sweater style) —
Fair Isle is a traditional knitting technique used to create patterns with multiple colours. It is named after Fair Isle, a tiny island in the north of Scotland, that forms part of the Shetlandislands. Fair Isle knitting gained a considerable popularity when the Prince of Wales (later to become Edward VIII) wore Fair Isle tank tops in public in 1921. Traditional Fair Isle patterns have a limited palette of five or so colours, use only two colours per row, are worked in the round, and limit the length of a run of any particular colour.
Some people use the term "Fair Isle" to refer to any colourwork knitting where stitches are knit alternately in various colours, with the unused colours stranded across the back of the work. Others use the term "stranded colourwork" for the generic technique, and reserve the term "Fair Isle" for the characteristic patterns of the Shetland Islands.
Other techniques for knitting in colour include intarsiaslip-stitch colour (also known as mosaic knitting). (wikipedia)
• • •

I didn't enjoy this much, but it's definitely not as bad as I thought it was about 1/3 of the way in. I didn't get FACE PALM, KILOHERTZ or (toughly, nicely clued) GEOCACHING (9D: Coordinated activity?) til very late, and what I got early … wasn't pretty. This isn't terribly surprising, as I tend to need to hack at the short stuff (more likely to be ugly) before I can uncover the long stuff. It's just that I went a considerable amount of time today with virtually no long stuff. ONA. NON and ICI.  EFILE OLEO MEWL ROM TERI. EMTS. And I was missing old stuff that was way out of my wheelhouse. A song about Timbuktu … a partial about Teddy Roosevelt (really mad at myself there, as I watched all that damned Ken Burns documentary and apparently it did me virtually no good) … a sweater type (which, it turns out, was popularized by a Prince of Wales from a century ago…?). I actually developed open antipathy for this puzzle just reading the clue at 12D: Joe of "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman", which only increased when I realized that could've had a "Star Wars"-related clue (LANDO). GERITOL, indeed.

["Got another lover in Timbuktu…"]

But as I say, the ship righted itself somewhat in the latter half of the solve, as more interesting fill started to show up. I had some early-morning gunk in my head, apparently, as I not only had SILL for SLAT (2D: Blind spot?) (right idea, wrong answer), but had -OBS and just stared, too lazy even to run the alphabet properly. COBS, of course. Ears of corn. Also had MI-ER at 18A: One likely to take an elevator to work and wondered why a MISER wouldn't want to take the stairs … but of course, MINERs take an elevator to and (if they're lucky) from work.

There are some things that shouldn't be plurals, and EEKS and (especially!) CIAOS are among those things. [Inuit companion] should be "qimmiq" (aka the Canadian ESKIMO DOG). Also, they aren't Inuit "companions" much any more since the breed is virtually extinct. The American ESKIMO DOG originated in Germany (go figure) and as a breed is very much alive and well, thank you.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


CFXK 6:44 AM  

"I didn't enjoy this much, but it's definitely as bad as I thought it was about 1/3 of the way in."

Did you mean "NOT as bad as you thought?"

Anonymous 6:54 AM  

If you don't know the factual stuff asked a puzzle can become quite tough.

Btw, Bill Belicheat's favorite reggae tune is Pressure Drop by Toots and Maytals.

Sir Hillary 6:59 AM  

How many people will finish on paper and come here wondering "What the hell is an ESKIMOhOG?"

Also wondering if anyone got DROIT right away, then dropped in wooDs as the back-to-back Masters winner (which he was). I avoided that (sand) trap.

I enjoyed this one. Yes, it has some iffy plurals and an overreliance on French words, but the whole thing feels fresh, and Scrabbliness abounds. Also, the cluing was pretty straightforward -- some may find that boring, but today I found it a nice break.

GILL I. 6:59 AM  

I've Got a Gal in KALAMAZOO....
I'm so glad the Inuit companion wasn't a hOG.
I don't knit - well, I once tried the knit one, purl two that my grandmother insisted I do. Even so, I had CARDIGAN. But....GERITOL had to be right, no? What else could take care of tired blood? Oh, My Runaway bride was an ELOPER not a NO SHOW (which is pretty rude if you ask me).
Never heard of GEOCACHING - didn't matter because I got it anyway.
The cluing was EXTRA good in my opine....
MIAMI is definitely the Capital of Latin America. Try getting around and not being able to speak espanol...
Good Friday Ed Sessa even though I don't understand LIGAMENTS.

Moly Shu 7:05 AM  

Right at 1A I tried to get malamute or Samoyed or Siberian husky, but none would fit. As the solve continued and I had enough for ESKIMO, I had hAZE instead of DAZE. This gave me the most trusted companion of the Inuit, the ESKIMO hOG. I just left it there, that's right, an ESKIMO hOG.
MIMERS, CIAOS, and BODED, not so good. The rest of it was excellent. Now I'm off to get me some Anchorage bacon. Yummy.

Anonymous 8:01 AM  

I thought a "mimer" was just known as a "mime."

joho 8:02 AM  

This was so much easier than yesterday for me. I zipped through it last night with only GEOCACHING incomplete at lights out. My first thought was that "Ear pieces" were bOBS. This morning l realized it had to be EEC (EEKS!) and COBS became clear.

Nice fresh cross at FACEPALM/SELFIE.

Loved that the actor Shepherd was a DOG, RINTINTIN.

I loved this one, thanks, Ed!

Unknown 8:05 AM  

Does anyone have a problem with NOSING (out) being clued by "uncovering"? Seems like a stretch. Nosing out means narrowly defeating.

wordie 8:25 AM  

Liked it fine. Very nice cluing, which to inexperienced solvers must have proved difficult.

Mimes are mimes, not mimers.

Dorothy Biggs 8:25 AM  

So yesterday I was called out for not saying anything positive about puzzles.



Back in the day of doing jingles the one question you never ask anyone is, "What do you think?" It only elicits criticism because usually that's the more interesting part of what you think. These comments many times answer the question of what we think...and while many posters here do indeed offer "positive" comments, the majority of the comments reflect Rex's lead and offer thoughts about the perceived, weaknesses of the puzzles. We all still do them so there must be some positive in there somewhere, right?

I actually was okay with this puzzle, (which can be counted as a positive comment for those keeping track at home...and evidently there is at least one of you doing that).

I had hAZE for 7D to start with, which made ESKIMOhOn a viable alternative. I wondered if Inuits dated Eskimos and if they called them "hon." I got GEOCACHING and really became suspicious of the "H"...running the alphabet I got the D eventually.

I knew DROIT from playing the piano. m.g. and m.d. are standard indications in music for the left hand (main gauche) and right hand (main droit). I don't know why those indication are in French when most other classical musical terms are in Italian.

Hey look! I've got no more to say and there are no negative comments about the puzzle! Yay!

I'm currently doing a production of "Twelfth Night." I have lots of favorite lines from the show, but one that seems to be appropriate to some anon poster from yesterday regarding my negativity: Sneck up.

evil doug 8:28 AM  

'Bands' of sinew connecting muscles to bones (like the 'hip')?

Anonymous 8:38 AM  

Easy, easy Friday for me. Sped through everything except the NW. The dearth of proper nouns helped.

joho 8:39 AM  

@Russell Long, another meaning for NOSING out is uncovering or discovering ... like ferreting out. The clue is correct.

Anonymous 8:39 AM  

@Russell Long ...

NOSING out, as in SNIFFING out?

Ludyjynn 8:45 AM  

@Russell, an ESKIMODOG can nose out or uncover drugs by scent.

I thought this was easy, for a Friday; sorry, Rex. Totally sussable or nosable, IMO. What a refreshing change from yesterday's trial! I was a NOSHOW here because I was so busy MEWLing over my DNF.

Starting w/ the gimme, GERITOL, (thanks, first summer factory job), the puzzle fell, piece by piece, a bit here, a bit there. All of the longer answers were gettable as the crosses filed-in blanks, if you didn't already ELIMINATE other responses.

Having spent a lot of time in MIAMI, I can attest that English is frequently a second language to Espanol. Better take a map or have GPS in your rental car in case you get lost and need directions ICI.

Isn't DINGE a funny word? Makes me laugh out loud for some reason.

RINTINTIN, totally in my doghouse!

CIAO, all. Thanks, ES and WS.

AliasZ 8:51 AM  

When you saw the clue at 9D 'Coordinated activity?', didn't you say to yourself: "Oh, that's so obvious. It's GEOCACHING"? Yeah, me too.

I normally like Ed Sessa's puzzles, but this one left me cold. One major issue: not one, but two E-words, an alphabet run, plus CIAOS, EEKS, OTOES, MIMERS, BODED, ICI, EIS, ONA, LANDO and FALDO. In other words, the DINGE and the NOISE LEVEL in this one was too high for my taste for a Friday themeless.

SELFIE is a word that I truly dislike. To me it represents the worst of human nature, and the sound of the word itself, to my ears, is a perfect match for it. Sounds like a portmanteau of "sell Ralphie." Today's picture on the NYT Wordplay page illustrating this very word is a vivid example of how awkward, embarrassing and degrading a SELFIE can be.

That is not to say there weren't some lovely words as well: the FAIR ISLE of Carpi, ZIMBABWE once known as Rhodesia, capital: Harare once known as Salisbury; SAGAMORE, KILOHERTZ, ROXY the ESKIMO DOG, and a few others. I liked NO SHOW and NO SING right below, and IDAHO crossing the "hot potatoes and cold fish" IDIOMS.

My favorite: ANAPESTS, one of the metric feet in classic poetry alongside iamb, dactyl, trochee, and spondee, etc. The anapaest (also spelled anapæst or ANAPEST) consists of two short (unstressed) syllables followed by one long (stressed) one (di-di-DAH), the reverse of the dactyl: one long, two short (DAH-di-di), which is why it is also called 'antidactylus'. But that's more poetry than you ever wanted to know.

Speaking of alphabet runs, let's switch to music: "A-B-C-D-E-F-G-H-I got a gal...". Extra credit if you can identify the bass player at 0:15-0:20 of the clip. [No cheating by reading the comments under the video!]

And how can I not offer at least a small snippet of a Mozart HORN Concerto?

Now I have to go ELIMINATE and PRESS ON. Happy Friday!

Anonymous 9:09 AM  

Why is the answer to 20 Across EEC?

Bird 9:12 AM  

Ahem. I NO SING praises for this puzzle. As Rex and others pointed out the fill is lacking. MIMERS and CIAOS are really bad. 37D and 9D were total unknowns and tough trying to figure out what letters made any sense. FACEPALM? Whatever. KALAMAZOO on the other hand is real good.


jberg 9:13 AM  

I had to cheat to get the bass player, but man, those guys can dance! I saw them once when they were pretty old -- at a tap-dance show they played one of their routines (maybe this one) on a big screen, then when it finished they were standing under it -- the crowd went wild. They did a few steps, but not that thing where they go down in a split and bounce back up. Thanks for posting that, @Aliasz.

OH, the puzzle. If you look at bulky sweaters much, you know FAIR ISLE, which gave me most of that section (once I changed the more plausible RED oak to ELM). NE took a little longer, until I remembered that South Africa has only 11 official languages. No idea about SAGAMORE, and I wanted Omaha before OTOES (which I didn't really want at all).

And ESKIMO DOG! Seems like green paint to me.

But you gotta love EFILE sitting on top of ANEW.

Gabe Tuerk 9:14 AM  

Sir Hillary, moly Shu and my trusted ESKIMOhOG. I was all over kHz but strangely didn't nose out Geocaching until the bitter end, ~45 min in

Charles Flaster 9:20 AM  

Easy with a little medium thrown in as middle left had two writeovers that meshed nicely. Imax for PLEX and Ample for EXTRA.
Lots of old proper names to offend the younger set!
Amazingly no crosswordEASE!
Liked lots of cluing--LORE, EFILE, NOISE LEVEL, NO SHOW( very harsh) , COBS, SLAT, and RIN TIN TIN. I recall making sure to be home every Friday night at 7 pm
to catch TV show with RIN TIN TIN . Character portrayal was so fifties.
Thanks ES.

Tita 9:29 AM  

@SirH - I thought of DROIT, but suspected that was too straightforward for a Friday, so waited. I am not encumbered by being a golf fan, so just prayed I would get enough crosses to show if it's snead, palmer, woods, els...the only golfers I know.

This was a (almost) a clean finish for me! As you predicted, I "finished" with a hOG. Oops.

Loved RINTINTIN. Liked learning that REDELM is the wood used for barrels. My mom loves to paint scenes on barrel staves.
Until a few years ago, there was a cooperage on Cape Cod. They started selling their seconds...staves, I suppose of REDELM, that weren't barrel-worthy.
Eventually, they started making "staves" just to sell for crafters.
If you come to any of our houses, or the house of almost anyone my mother knows, you will see examples of her work.

Thank you, Mr. feeling of superiority was running thin.

Tita 9:30 AM  
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Hartley70 9:31 AM  

I thought elms had nearly disappeared from the American landscape. And we're making barrels from them? I hung onto oak for. Long time, making that quadrant the toughest for me. Also GEST did not come easily. I did NOSE OUT the longer clues and they were just tough enough to exercise my memory this morning. I liked this one a lot.

bswein99 9:32 AM  

I was getting nowhere with the clue "kin of lambs" when I finally realized it was "kin of iambs." Either I gotta start doing the puzzle online or get better reading glasses.

Hartley70 9:39 AM  

It's not a trade union in the Jimmy Hoffa sense. It's a community of European countries for trade purposes.

Maruchka 9:47 AM  

Medium here, due to not knowing GEOCACHING, reading 'lambs' for iambs (cataracts begone!) and, like Rex, staring the longest at _OBS and not seeing (good clue). None so blind as those who will not cede. Anyhoo, PRESS(ed) ON and sorta-kinda finished.

Nicely smooth solves. Thanks, Mr. Sessa.

Fav of the day - ANAPESTS. Originated in Buda-PEST?

Love all the ESKIMO[h]OG takes. Mush, you porkers!

@AliasZ: Too true, alas. A friend has coined a variation on millennials - SELF-ennials. Apres c'est tout sur moi, le deluge.

Cheerio 9:52 AM  

Hands up for Kin of Lambs and Eskimo Hog. I loved this puzzle. I'm a fan of Ed Sessa's puzzle's generally. The cluing has misdirects, but something about them is more enjoyable to me than most misdirects. Except for the SE, I sped through it. I could not remember Fair Isle, despite that years ago in 10th grade, a certain fair isle sweater was my most prized item of clothing.

Bob Kerfuffle 9:52 AM  

Fine puzzle; easy-medium for me.

Geezers' Delight, you say? Well, that's me.

Some thinking required in spots, for me mostly in the NW. After yesterday's MUSLIM/MOSLEM flap (which one might easily have missed), I thought 1 A was clued with the word "Inuit" to avoid that horrible, non-PC, pejorative "Eskimo," and really wanted SLEDGE DOG, but never put it in, so avoided any write-overs and finished with a very clean grid.

Whirred Whacks 9:52 AM  

Most evocative clue (perhaps the bluest as well): goes to "Many a Snapchat snap," for SELFIE -- when you consider the kinds of pictures Snapchat is famous for.

Zygotic 9:53 AM  

21st Century Clue: Ending point of a trip from San Berdoo, in song. It is interesting to me that the boys from Akron decided to record their last album in Benton Harbor, MI and KALAMAZOO shows up in a lyric.

Another example of a puzzle where I had to overcome vast areas of ignorance; who west of the Mississippi started a Lewis and Clark College (first guess-fargO), a Dr. Quinn co-star, TR's historic home (do we still do presidential historic homes?), a sweater style, that RED ELM is used for crates, an Inuit companion (I fixed that hOG, but hAZy fits the 7D clue better to my ear), ROMania joined the EU in 2007, and whatever EIS is (E-IS maybe, texting while autobahning). And then the self-imposed slow downs; imaX -> PLEX, eloper -> NO SHOW, megaHERTZ -> KILOHERTZ, Email -> EFILE, MIMERy -> MIMERS (extraneous Rs are the best) DINGy -> DINGE, CHarm -> CHEER. I'd go with "challenging."

@Anon6:54 - "Bill Belicheat." That's a good one. I know ball inflation is an area of major concern to all. /sarcasm

Nancy 9:59 AM  

Kudos to @Alias Z for antipathy to selfies. I also read lambs for iambs initially. Never heard of GEOCACHING or FACE PALM or FAIR ISLE. And I wouldn't recognize a VALVE STEM if I fell over one. Nevertheless, plenty of footholds here (I remember the GERITOL ads from the bad old days before the mute button was invented) and I found this puzzle much easier than the usual Friday.

Unknown 10:02 AM  

Challenging. Undoable. Half-dozen googles and still managed to end with 5 errors in 70 minutes. DROIT, IMALOSER, MIAMI, KALAMAZOO, LANDO, SAGAMORE were just unknown to me as clued, and wholly uninferrable. FALDO, AGORA, IDAHO, EEC, GEOCACHING, etc were inferrable after the 6 inserted googles.

30 minutes into the puzzle I had 3 words I could trust. [Runaway bride, e.g.] eloper for NOSHOW was one of them.

@Gill I finished with ESKIMOhOG/hAZE, having suspended disbelief. Also EvItE//OrEO/vAIRISLE for EFILE/OLEO?/FAIRISLE.

FACEPALM = headslap? The clue needs a ? since the sense of the clue is inverted.

@Hartley70, I'd use REDoak for any woodbending job, including barrels & buckets. Pine is fine for crates.

dick swart 10:02 AM  

WOW! Today was a slog compared with yesterday!

The answers were fair, the clues were work.

Immediately writing in 'crew neck' didn't help a lot either for Shetland type. Always my favorite sweater from the 50's on campus and in green lovat.

And … a great decision to ditch those poorly lit, out-of-focus proofs on non-robotics. They lacked the elegance of the simple proof with their clunky analog dependence!

aa 10:15 AM  

I liked this one. Found it satisfying as I sit on the couch recovering from yesterday's reconstruction of one of my LIGAMENTS.

But: is BODED really a word? I couldn't fill it in due to my certainty that the word is "bade". Am I wrong?

Unknown 10:22 AM  

@Z EIS is an English homophone for the road hazard in Germany, and KALAMAZOO, too.

jae 10:33 AM  

Seemed just about right for a Fri., so medium for me.  

@Hartley 70 - Me too for oak before ELM which took a while to fix.

 I thought MIMERS were some sort of bird for a brief interlude.

@Rex Star Wars I've seen Dr. Quinn not so much.

Solid workout with just a hint of zip...FACE PALM, IM A LOSER...liked it.

nuzzle put 10:34 AM  

Hmm... 18A would work better as from work Take the delevator to work!

demit 10:36 AM  

Nobody considered ESKIMO HON for Inuit companion, even briefly?

(Geocaching stopped me for the longest while. It's one of those words I recognize when I see it, but not one I'd come up with on my own.)

Malsdemare 10:41 AM  

I liked it. It surely took a while, but I PRESSed ON and got the whole thing. It's been a while since I've gotten a Friday without a little help from my friend Google.

It's MINER, not MImER. EIS is German for Ice. Bade is the past tense of bid. BODED tripped me for a second but then "It BODED" well popped in my head.

For someone with MALAMUTES (big cheer for yesterday!) it took a long while to see ESKIMODOG in there, even with the K. Hand up for the silly lamb for iamb mistake.

I liked it, but I am a woman of a certain age . . .

Malsdemare 10:43 AM  

Oops! My apology. I never even noticed that sneaky MIMERS in there.

old timer 10:49 AM  

If you want to spend your old age acing the NYT crossword, spend part of your youth learning French. Won't do you much good in MIAMI, I guess, but it will make answers like DROIT a gimme.

This was an absolutely delightful puzzle with very tricky cluing that brought a smile to my face as each misleading three-letter word finally came into view. My real FACEPALM was when I confidently wrote "Kilocycle" as something to do with radio bands. I doubt that is a mistake anyone over 55 would make. It's been KILOHERTZ for a very long time now.

I had similar experiences as the rest of you, at first, looking for a dog breed before concluding that the generic ESKIMODOG was called for. Read "lamb" for "iamb" too, and tried to think of some ovine or caprine critter.

I think what I liked best about the puzzle was that it was equally hard (or easy) in every quadrant.

Steve J 10:56 AM  

This started off easy and smooth, and then things took a turn. It was a good reflection of the very up-and-down nature of this one.

There's some very good fill, like FACEPALM, GEOCACHING, KILOHERTZ, ZIMBABWE and KALAMAZOO. And then there's a healthy dose of bad stuff that many have noted.

@Casco: "EIS is an English homophone for the road hazard in Germany." Huh? EIS is the German word for ice. Also, don't see a need for a ? in the FACEPALM clue. It's not a third part doing the slapping; it's self-administered (think old V-8 commercials).

@Anon 9:09 a.m.: EEC = European Economic Community, the former name of the European Community, which is the free-trade zone within the European Union.

@No one in particular: I don't understand the contemporary antipathy toward selfies. It's one of the most basic of human impulses. One of the very first photographs ever was a selfie; artists have been doing self-portraits or sneaking themselves into the crowds of their paintings for centuries; cave paintings probably involved self-drawing as well. The only difference today is the technology that eases the taking of them and the dissemination of them.

John V 11:16 AM  
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Clark 11:17 AM  

@NCA President --

There is very little downside to thinking the m.d. and m.s. of musical notation en français. But the derivation is actually italian: mano destra and mano sinistra.

mac 11:19 AM  

Nice Friday, not too hard. Had a big help when my husband remembered Sagamore, but otherwise I just pieced it together.

I'm not a great golf enthusiast, but I did get Faldo off the d of droit. I just remember seeing him put on the ugly green jacket.

A (former) poster, Shari, does geocaching in the wild, but I know it's also done in urban settings. It sounds like fun to me.

RAD2626 11:35 AM  

Puzzle was a good Friday test. I liked I'M A LOSER adjacent to MIMERS which completely reflects my view of that fine "art", no offense intended of course to any mime posters.

Agree with negativity about certain plurals. I would add OASES to that list.

Zygotic 11:42 AM  

@Steve J - I have selfies. Alejandro Escovedo and me is my iPhone wall paper, for example.


But then there are people like the two who have the seats in front of me at Comerica Park. We were only at the same game twice last year, thank all that is good in the universe. These two show up in the second inning, leave in the seventh, don't use the seat service (our order taker is a hard working single mom who uses the Tiger job to supplement her income - I order from her and tip her well), and DON'T WATCH THE BALL GAME BUT TAKE HUNDREDS OF SELFIES. And when I say "hundreds" I mean "thousands." Between innings while the guy was getting pop and chips I counted 27 photos taken by her of herself. Given a pause here and there to nibble on food, let's put it at 10 pics per minute FOR 2 EFFING HOURS!!!!!!!!!! Self-Absorbed and cheap (which is weird because our seats aren't cheap), two of my top indicators that someone might be an arsehole. It is a good thing I have self control because the temptation to drop their phones and pocket cameras (Yes - they took selfies with 4 different devices) into their Pepsis was overwhelming.


Other than that, I have no problem with selfies.

mathguy 11:47 AM  

Lots here I didn't know. Only 19 squares filled with gimmes, 77 squares filled with unknowns, giving an MGI of 58, the highest in the two months I've been calculating it.

Went to sleep with NW undone and MEGAHERTZ sitting there. This morning I crossed out MEGA and guessed that 1A began with ESKIMO but I still struggled to finish. Didn't like ONA (crusade), MIMERS, and STOLE.

Lewis 12:01 PM  

I did like the clues for HORN, SLAT, and RINTINTIN. Like Rex, I started with little, but things opened up in dribs and drabs. Next thing I knew I was done. Putting megaHERTZ in there slowed me up. That SE corner, with its VALVESTEM, EMAILLIST, LIGAMENTS, GERITOL and DINGE lacked spark, but elsewhere things perked up with the bigger Z words, AGILE, PRESSON and those ANAPESTS (is there a department of anapest control somewhere?).

Definitely blue collar with a feeling of accomplishment at completion. Thank you, Sir Ed S.

Joseph Michael 12:06 PM  

The north fell quickly, but the south was a tough go. Couldn't figure out what REDELM was until I finally realized it was two words. Never heard of FAIR ISLE or FACE PALM (though it is a cool term) or FALDO. Still don't grok how EFILE means "Click to send a return." But puzzle had some assets, such as RIN TIN TIN, ANAPESTS, and KALAMAZOO.

Boo on SELFIE. Great word, but sad sign of the times.

GILL I. 12:12 PM  

Thanks @ED (I think?) I was thinking more in terms of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros...or the Gore Gore girls.
@Z...Hah! I would have accidentally spilled my cheap beer on them....;-)

Anonymous 12:17 PM  

@joseph michael, etal.

E-File is how many tax returns are done. You can't escape the H&R Block and other professional tax preparer ads that start flooding the airways between now and 4/15.

Tough puzzle that played like 4 mini-puzzles. Took me a lot more work to get into the SW than other corners, but nice mix of gimmes, groaners and clues/answers that took a while to make sense.


Lewis 12:24 PM  

Factoid: The original RIN TIN TIN was rescued by an American (Lee Duncan) from a WWI battlefield.

Quotoid: "There are no traffic jams along the EXTRA mile." -- Roger Staubach

AliasZ 12:24 PM  


The lady in this photo is just like Vincent van Gogh.


Who of us has not suffered through a friend's post-vacation showing of "ME in front of the Eiffel Tower; ME in front of the Fountain of Trevi; ME at the Grand Canyon; ME in front of the Brandenburg Gate; ME on the Great Wall of China"; Me and the Pope"?

I often wonder what drives these people to concentrate so much on themselves that they miss all the beauty and greatness around us.

Joseph Michael 12:24 PM  

@anon 12:17 PM
Thanks for the clarification. I guess It's time to start thinking about taxes.

RooMonster 12:33 PM  

Hey All !
FriPuz difficulty. Didn't fall into the hOG trap, as has DAZE first before 1A. Still had use for the old Check feature, though...

FACEPALM? Never heard of it.Wanted FACEfALl. Also, PLEX as clued, no bueno. Multi-PLEX, yes, Theatre-PLEX? Um, no. Just sayin'.



Masked and Anonym0Us 12:38 PM  

It's a heartache,
Nothin but a heartbreak.
Hits you when no U's late,
Hits you at 62-Down.

It's a fool's game
For nothin but a lamebrain.
Masked and in the pourin rain,
Missin U like a clown.

Oh, it's a heartache,

Imperfectly good puz. Personally, woulda been 13-downed-up quite a little bit, if there'da been a debut weeject. Had high hopes for XYZ, ... but, nope; been used many a time. Facepalm it.

Lookin forward to a puz from Mr. Sessa's brother Ud, tho. Hope springs eternal, in the M&A heart. And I do thoroughly appreciate Ed's hard work... gets an XYZ for Effort. You'da thought the editor coulda slipped a U in somewheres, tho...


Carola 12:42 PM  

Lotz of fun, and E-Z for me. Maybe it helped to be of the GERITOL generation and a FAIR-ISLE sweater wearer of eld.

Remembered GEOCACHING from a previous puzzle, had to erase eloper (hi, guys), loved getting faked out by HORN and RIN TIN TIN.

SELFIE story: 18-month-old granddaughter fascinated by looking at self in mirror. Demands of mom, "Mirror! Mirror!" Mom hands her her iPhone and granddaughter takes SELFIE and checks self out. I wasn't sure whether to react with horror or CHEER.

@Steve J - Did you notice that there are some German things - DINGE - next to that EIS? :)

Anonymous 12:43 PM  

I'm not the best puzzler, never completed a Friday or Saturday, but still a fan of trying nonetheless. GEOCACHING was the first word I put in. The clue was fantastic! Posted it on the south jersey geocaching forum I liked it so much.

M and Also with black armband 12:44 PM  


Knew SAGAMORE and GERITOL. Was ZIMBABWE spellin-challenged, tho.


** coupla gruntz (with U's), over at **

dk 12:46 PM  

🌕🌕 (2 mOOns)

This is highly subjective but ESKIMODOG and GEOCACHING killed the buzz pour moi.

The rest of the fill worked except for SLAT as a spot.

Now that I think about it FACEPALM is odd-I-see. See classic Greek lit to get the "joke."

34 in the Shire today -- off to tan.

okanaganer 12:46 PM  

47 across "Tonic for tired blood", I had GELATOS. Why not?

@Rex: "MINERs take an elevator to and (if they're lucky) from work". Hyuk!

Hmmm... SELFIE is an anagram of EFILEs.

Zygotic 1:01 PM  

@Roo - MultiPLEX, cinePLEX, or even DuoPLEX - so -PLEX can be used for any theater comPLEX with more than one screen.

@Steve J - "The only difference today is the technology that eases the taking of them and the dissemination of them." Yep - and it is that ease that is the source of the antipathy. @Alias Z - You lost me with "van Gogh." Was that a response to something? I remember my teacher in my very first art history class in high school suggesting that all art is an attempt at immortality, an attempt to leave "the fingerprint of Man on the world," a cry into the abyss that, "I am." Like so much else in life, though, if you obsess about your mortality you risk forgetting to live.

@Gill I. - Even the cheap beer ain't cheap at the ball park or I might have. I am extremely impressed with your taste in music, especially name-checking Detroit's Gore Gore Girls.

Anonymous 1:08 PM  

i had "natures" backwards instead of geritol. i don't understand oleo.

Anonymous 1:11 PM  

And his favorite opera is die fledermaus

Fred Romagnolo 1:31 PM  

Hands up for lambs; I have always had trouble with the NYT's "i's" and "l's"; often have to resort to a magnifying glass. The word "DINGE" was considered a very non-PC term in the 1950's; a racial epithet. @NCA Prez: when I was a high-school senior I played a combined Fabian-Feste role in a version of T.N., even wrote my own song! (1949) I knew there was no such thing as GEOCAbHING, so COBS occurred to me and allowed me to finish without a DNF.

Anonymous 1:32 PM  

Great puzzle. Rex is wrong, as is do often the case these days.

Bob Kerfuffle 1:43 PM  

@Anonymous, 1:08 PM - Imperial is a brand of margarine distributed by Unilever.

Just musing: Not an art history major, but isn't one of the very oldest forms of "art" the cave markings made by ancients placing their hands on the wall and blowing pigment to create an outline? That would make the "selfie" the oldest art form around!

Anonymous 1:56 PM  

Made so many mistakes early that there was no way much of the rest made a lot of sense. Ergo a big fat DNF--a result shared by many of the otherwise reliable regulars here. GEOCACHING?, KILOHERTZ (I used CYCLE)), FALDO (I used WOODS), etc. No amount of Googling helped. Big pain in the tush Friday. M
Cub admiration for the finishers.

LaneB 1:58 PM  

@ last Anonymous
That was LaneB.

MDMA 2:01 PM  

According to XwordInfo, this is the first time that SELFIE has ever been used in a NYT crossword puzzle! But certainly not the last. (See the list of grid entries at the bottom of the page; the SELFIE link is red rather than blue)

So Rex missed a golden opportunity to use #SELFIE as one of his music video clips. Go ahead, click on it, you know you want to. I guarantee you won't be annoyed, or I will cheerfully refund every penny you spent to read this comment.

MDMA 2:14 PM  

Here's a list of Wikipedia and other links related to this puzzle:

OLEO (note "margarine" is a.k.a. oleomargarine a.k.a. oleo),

ROM = Romania
EIS = German for "ice"
"Ear pieces" = ears of corn = COBS

Chip Hilton 2:31 PM  

Exactly what I want from a Friday puzzle. Challenging, but footholds in each corner. Lambs, for a while. Eventual answer, ANAPESTS, new to me. All in all, Sessa-tional.

Benko 2:57 PM  

Yeah, SELFIES are the worst part of human nature. Not torture, rape, genocide, or child abuse. People taking pictures of themselves, that's the worst thing people are capable of.

Numinous 3:28 PM  

Yeah, I saw Lambs for Iambs at first too. After a closer look, though, I realized the error and was pleased to find ANAPESTS, one of my favorite meters. After all, the ANAPEST is the basis of the Limerick which is made up of two lines of three ANAPESTS, two lines of two ANAPESTS, and one line of one ANAPEST, with the rhyme scheme AABBA. Not all limericks follow this rule but the best ones do. The best ones that don't do maintain internal consistancy.
I've ranted about this before but I'm a lover of limericks, so . . .

I thought this puzzle was fine and agree with many of the comments above. I've been doing puzzles from the archives in the iPad app for the upcoming day to get myself into the proper mindset. It seems to be working. Doing several in a row, my times are steadily falling.

MDMA 3:39 PM  


Speaking of the archives in the iPad app, is the October 25 2014 puzzle finally "solvable"?

That's the one where they delayed the solution because of the contest, so if you finished it correctly it did nothing, and if you hit "Reveal" it told you every single square was wrong.

RooMonster 4:16 PM  

Hey @M&A,

managed to get you 2 U's in W center, observe...


There ya go! Now wipe your tears away, and carry on your day with gUsto!


Doc John 4:22 PM  

SAGAMORE Hill- one man's WTF is another man's gimme. Of course, it helps that TR is my hero and I've read many biographies of him including Edmund Morris's tremendous "Theodore Rex" trilogy.
And OLEO may be tired as fill but that sure was a great clue!

Stephen 4:32 PM  

Wow, I'm so surprised by the difficulty ratings that I feel compelled to post my first comment. For me it was one the easiest Fridays ever. I'm not bragging, just saying how different the experience can be for different people. This makes me feel better about those times when I find the puzzle difficult while everyone else says it's easy.

Melodious Funk 5:22 PM  

I haven't read all the comments and rants here, but I'll offer this bit of trivia.

There was a convention in medieval Europe which allowed the lord of the manor to have sexual intercourse with any serf's betrothed before the wedding night. Droit de Seigneur. A RIGHT?! Another sense maybe.

It was otherwise known as jus primae noctis, taking the virginity of the serf's daughters before any consummation, as it were.

I post late, maybe @EDoug will not notice, but I hope he does.


Mohair Sam 5:48 PM  

Delightful Friday puzzle for me. Got to this one late and had to solve without Mrs. Mohair. Zipped through it in less than 45 minutes which means it was Friday medium here.

Absolute truth: Have relatives in KALAMAZOO who took us on one of their GEOCACHING adventures last time we visited - KALAMAZOO was a gimme (love the stupid song) and when the "O" popped in I said - "Nah, can't be GEOCACHING." But it was. Great head start.

RINTINTIN was a German Shepard (great clue, btw) who lived 30 years before his breed existed if you fact check the old show. BUt what spoil sport would do that?

Just finished a book about Teddy Roosevelt and still put SycAMORE before SAGAMORE.

Lost time because I knew the golfer had to be one of four: Hogan, Woods, Snead, or Jones. I guess having a five letter name helps you reach golf immortality.

@Z - Feel your SELFIE pain. It's my experience that selfies are usual taken by good-looking people, so there's that to be happy about at your next Tiger game. Although I can't be sure - I've never taken one.

Last Silver Bullet 6:00 PM  

Thanx, @Roo.
U do good wUrk.


Anonymous 7:43 PM  

Great GEOCACHING reference, I DNF'd much of the puzzle myself, besides that :)

Teedmn 8:05 PM  

GERITOL, I definitely remember the TV ads. I just realized, when the puzzle brought them to mind, that the target audience was only a bit older than I am now. Aargh! And as young as I was at the time, the line, "My wife, I think I'll keep her" made me wonder why he hadn't been punched instead of hugged. The good old days!

First in was megaHERTZ but I swung south from there and then back up, eventually gettin IMALOSER so was able to fix it.

GEO_ A_HING was something I knew and _OBS would have finished it for me if my impatience hadn't prompted me to ask my husband first. So DNF due to that and a use of the "check" button when R_DEL_ wasn't bringing any trees to mind.

A great puzzle with only two head-shakes at XYZ and CIAOS. Thanks, Ed Sessa.

Numinous 8:46 PM  

I will check that puzzle tonight or in the morning and I will let you know

– Numi

Zuckerberg 8:56 PM  

Re SELFIES: it depends on your persective if they are good or bad. Sometimes you see one and smile. Other times you cringe. I guess it's kinda like the saying about porn, "you know it when you see it"

Elaina 9:48 PM  

I follow my 20-something daughter's twitter - therefore FACEPALM was a gimme.

Anonymous 10:31 PM  

Agreed. Glad u said it. Sloppy usage.

Leapfinger 3:06 AM  

Oh man, after Calrissian, O'Lakes and O'Goshen, I'm fresh out of LANDOs!

Joining the fray:
FACE it, we live in a SELFIEndulgent age, and too many want their 15 seconds of fame, over and over and over again. The early cavemen (et seq) may have been giving in to the same impulse, but they didn't glut the market to the same extent, and presumably the motivation was for quality more than quantity. That said, @MDMA's link was a hoot!

@SteveJ, if I may very sweetly disabuse you -- The old V-8 commercials involved a Headslap. The FACEPALM comes in 2 forms: (a) the one-handed FACEPALM, wherein one hand covers both eyes [thumb pointing to hairline], and (b) the two-handed FACEPALM, in which each hand covers the ipsilateral side of the face [nose remaining exposed].

Obviously, with a lengthy snooze, one loses; everyone's picked out all the high- and low-lights, the Zanzibars and KALAMArOOS. @Maruschka traded my ANA- for a BudaPEST, @MohairS trumped my SagaMORE Hill, and @MDMA beat me to DROIT du Seigneur. I was under the impression, however, that even though the lord of the manor got dibs on the bride, it was only on the wedding night, and not before. Some sources indicate it was the Seigneur partner's right to confirm the bride's maidenhood. Or head. Or something.

All the good stuff has been said about the hazy ESKIMODOG and RINTINTIN; I just wish that Ed Sessa had extended that minitheme with BALTO in place of FALDO. Actually, I'd take most anything in place of FALDO.

Some others also wanted GESTe instead of GEST, but it seems I'm alone in thinking it KILOHERZ -- like Mad Magazine, I reserve HERTZ for car rentals.

OASES: In case there's a second O.A.S.
LOAFS: optical isomer of DOAFS
Now, can we stave off that REDELM until we first figure out how to DELM?
Gee-oh, CA-CHING!!

[I figure I'm playing to an empty room, so can indulge myself. If anyone is reading this: Why aren't you asleep?]

Numinous 3:21 AM  

Because I have a cold 😢

Mohair Sam 5:37 AM  

@Leapfinger - 'cause I had to get the snow-blower working. And thanks for ipsilateral, great word.

@Numinous - Feel better.

Unknown 6:35 AM  

So did I.

MDMA 1:38 PM  


It was Melodious Funk who came up with droit du seigneur, not me. It's a curious example, though, because in French the word droit applies to any kind of legal right or entitlement, or "the law" itself, as a discipline or course of study. And obviously, as in English, it also means "the opposite of left".

spacecraft 1:19 PM  

Amazing. One person actually said "GEOCACHING was the first word I put in." Really.

Ne. Va. Hoidofit.

In fact, DNF. I still have hAZE, not having glommed onto the DOG thing--stupid me--but had asolutely NO IDEA what 9d was. EEC? Again, no clue. That C square should have been my only omission, but that's as total a natick as I have ever seen. Two asolute unknowables crossing. Bah.

Difficulty elsewhere was eased by the "Z" entries. 10a/d felled the NE; XYZ/KILOHERTZ gave away most of the NW.

Interesting that two names fit the golf statistic, but as I already had LOAFS, I knew which one it was.

Starting point: GERITOL. Mr. Anonymous, I hope you needed every cross for that sucker!

ronodo 2:04 PM  

KALAMAZOO was my first entry. Had some trouble across the south, but eventually made it. Almost left in ESKIMOhOG (a walrus or seal?) until the light came on. Duh.

Had a dish called Sac ICI when in Azerbaijan in 2006. Sort of a hot pot stew sort of thing - most excellent!

a TERI that's not a Hatcher or Garr, yeah babies all.

VALVESTEM and RINTINTIN gimmes in the SE but still had some issues there. Tough but enjoyable puz. Knock on wood still no DNF in 2015 for me.

DMG 2:05 PM  

SAGAMORE Hill was my entry point into this puzzle. It's a pretty fantastic place, and a real reminder of another era. The rest of this one came more slowly. Guess I can thank my age for Mother Nature's Imperial OLEO and for GERITOL. Do they still make that? Got ANAPESTS, and wondered why it had been clued with reference to lambs!! Thanks to all who pointed out I'm not the only one with i/l problems! At the last minute realized that the Inuits are more likely to pal with pets than motorcycles. But, unable to name the defunct union, my activists were GEOrACING. Why not? so a one square DNF.

55th Anniversary today- no wonder I got the "dated " stuff.

ecanarensis 2:29 PM  

I missed ESKIMO DOG despite having one sleeping on my feet as I was working the grid (big FACEPALM) ...tho I didn't think of the generic reference, tending to think of an Inuit's dog as being more of an employee than a 'friend.'

@rex, "American ESKIMO" DOGs are so named because as they were getting popular (as circus dogs) in the early part of the 20th century they were known as "Spitz," & all things German-sounding were verboten "frankfurters" becoming "hot dogs" & so forth. Hence the name change. Eskies are terrific, smart dogs. Google 'em; they're incredibly cute & gorgeous, too.

rain forest 2:31 PM  

Liked this one a lot, and finished in style. I was so proud of myself that I considered taking a selfie with the completed puzzle.

Only recently learned about GEOCACHING, and that was yer rodeo, per @M&A.

Burma Shave 2:43 PM  

moved to IDAHO.
and now he is a NOSHOW.

leftcoastTAM 7:32 PM  

An ESKIMO DOG is not a hOG,
Ah, shoot!
In my time in Alaska
There was no such dog,
But only a Husky or Malamute.

Anonymous 7:25 AM  

Nosing around? The nosy neighbor? A nice metonymic usage -- and a (chance?) nod to the ESKIMO DOG, as it's etymology must connect to bloodhounds and terriers (and truffle-hunting pigs!) originally. "Nosing" as a substitute for "by a nose" is inelegant in comparison, I'd say.

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