Glassmaker's oven / FRI 2-20-15 / Orphan in Byron's Don Juan / Island due south of Livorno / Sporter of eagle insignia / Cousin of contrabass / Man's name meaning manly / Story of building in France / Dagger of yore / Mysterious figure in I am walrus

Friday, February 20, 2015

Constructor: David Woolf

Relative difficulty: Medium


Word of the Day: LEHR (55A: Glassmaker's oven) —
lehr is a temperature-controlled kiln for annealing objects made of glass. The name derives from the German verb lehren meaning to teach and is cognate with the English lere also meaning to learn or acquire knowledge of (something).
Rapid cooling of molten glass generates an uneven temperature distribution in the body of the glass which results in mechanical stress sufficient to cause cracking before the object has reached ambient temperature, or to result in susceptibility to cracking in later use, often resulting from thermal shock. To prevent this, objects manufactured from molten glass are annealed by cooling gradually in a lehr from a temperature just below the solidification point of the glass. Anneal cooling rate depends on the thickness of the glass, and can range from several tens of degrees Celsius per hour for thin sections to a fraction of a degree Celsius per hour for thick slabs or castings.
In glass manufacture, a lehr is typically a long kiln with a temperature gradient from end to end, through which newly made glass objects such as glasses or vases are transported on a conveyor belt. However, the same effect can be obtained in a small kiln by controlling the cooling rate with an electronic temperature controller. (wikipedia)
• • •

Overall quality of the grid is not bad but I do not understand, and I mean do Not understand, how you do this pseudo-theme thing where you link two long answers in the NW … and the SE … and the SW … and … that's it. You just leave the NE hanging? What the hell is that? Are you doing the Thing or are you not doing the Thing? What a weird, oddly maimed concept. I also don't understand how you go to press with -EOUS in your grid. That is quite possibly the single worst suffix in the history of crossword answers. Look at it. Go on. Jeez louise. Wow. It hurts. It makes ADES look like ZYZZYVA, that answer. Horrific. Most of the other terrible fill is neatly contained and harmless. SNEE and OLIOS cause very little discomfort. ETAGE is mostly BENI(g)N. And I had a pretty good (toughish) time puzzling out the double-stacked answers in the NW and SE. I'd say that overall I actually enjoyed this. It's just flawed in slightly maddening ways. Between BIG-BREASTED (1A: Buxom) and the Bond girl (ANYA), the puzzle feels slightly leering . . . and I'm almost 100% certain the original clue on 13D was different. In a way that relates to the leeringness I'm talking about. But it's certainly not offensive so I'll try to ACT NORMAL.

I like APPLEID (45A: Need for an iTunes Store account) even though it looks like a typo of "applied." I forgot LEHR was a thing, so that was awkward. Four-letter ovens … let's see, I've got KILN, and … OAST and … I'm out. My giggles sound more HEEHEE or TEEHEE than HEHE (?), but I think that's some kind of industry-accepted variation. Considered TEHE but LETR seemed pretty wrong. I had Steve Jobs at YALE and BARD before I placed him correctly at REED. I also had [HuffPo's parent] as NYT (?) before AOL. I am having a hard time accepting SAME-AGE as an adjective (that is, as it is clued) (40A: Like George W. Bush vis-à-vis Sylvester Stallone). But they really are the same age—exactly, not just roughly (7/6/46). It's weird to me how confident I was in IDAHO as the answer to 51D: Home to Shoshone Falls. My mom grew up in IDAHO, and my grandma still lives there, so maybe the name just sunk in somewhere along the line—I can't tell you where it is, or what it's near, or anything. But at five letters, I plunked IDAHO down immediately.  If you don't know the word PELOTA you should learn the word PELOTA because that thing will come back at you. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and for the rest of your life.
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


    jae 12:05 AM  

    Easy-medium again for me with the SE being the toughest.   LEHR was a WOE and DEAR TO took some staring for some reason.  The 64/65a pair reminded me of my Grandmother who used the phrase "in one ear and gone with the wind" to describe memory lapses.

    Really wanted Rubenesque for 1a but not enough letters.

    I prefer Lone Ranger clues for CLAYTON.

    Nice Beatles mini theme.

    Zip APLENTY, liked it a lot!

    Steve J 12:10 AM  

    I also found it odd that three of four corners had the paired-answer thing going on, but the NE was just left hanging. Would have liked to have seen full symmetry on that idea.

    That said, this was good overall, even with the eyebrow-raising 1A. (Over at Xwordinfo, the constructor notes his original clue referenced chicken, to try to make it have a less leery vibe, and 13D was indeed clued with reference to Seinfeld; obviously, Shortz changed both of those.) The long fill, including the paired answers, are all good, and a LEHR or EOUS aside, the short fill was pretty clean. Some nice cluing, too. Good Friday puzzle.

    wreck 12:13 AM  

    I penciled in BIGBREASTED right off the bat, but felt pretty sure it was going to be something else entirely. It certainly didn't bother me, but I'm battening down the hatches awaiting the storm!!
    This took me darn near an hour, but I stuck with it and limped home. Overall, I liked it!

    Unknown 12:16 AM  

    Clean solve in 37, so faster and easier than Thursday's loops. I agree with @Jae: easy-medium.

    I jumped right in with 1a [Buxom] wellendowED, so I was playing catch up out of the gate. The center and SW fell quickly. SE was next .

    I think I was just lucky. I've criticized David Woolf for making things up (ARIZONIANS, E/MC) but this time his entries were merely way on the edge of the language.

    Clues for CHE, TRE, LEHR, ARKS are all WOEs. But it is a testament to editing that those as well as LEILA, ANYA, EGGMAN and ISHOULDHAVEKNOWNBETTER all had gettable, or at least guessable, crosses.

    Triple 11s with two lines tied together seems to give some solvers a huge advantage while making the solve nearly impossible for others. Fortunately, it only cost me time. INONEEARAND OUTTHEOTHER was gettable enough.

    My wife's hobby is stained glass and she owns a kiln for melting/mixing glasses. kiln was screamingly obvious for 55A [Glassmaker's oven], but I didn't force it, so kiln melted and recrystalized as LEHR after a fashion.

    18A [Ill, now] TRE is a total mystery here. Is that the roman number III or ill with a capital I that looks like a little L in sans serif? Neither clue nor entry makes sense. Ideas, anyone?

    [Temporal cusp] EVE is a pretty wacky clue-entry pair. Yesterday is "a cusp" for today, I guess.

    I'm just happy I finally got a W on a Woolf-constructed puzzle.

    Ω 12:22 AM  

    That PELOTA/LEHR cross can only ever be loved by crossword solvers.

    The puzzle went from BIG BREASTED to SHRINKAGE a little too quickly.

    Anonymous 12:38 AM  

    Tre is a common modern nickname for someone who is a "third", like George III. Roman numeral 3.

    Mike 12:40 AM  

    Very quick solve for me. Came in 10 min under average. Weird to leave out the NE. Put LEHR in last, as it seems everyone did.

    AliasZ 12:49 AM  

    @Casco Kid,

    The numeral III of ancient Rome is TRE in modern Rome (Italian).

    Anonymous 1:01 AM  

    Often on Fridays, I wish the app gave percentage scores, i.e. '85% completed,' so schmucks like myself who always DNF this late in the week can exact a sense of accomplishment. ('That my highest Friday score ever'). Heresy, I'm sure.

    But nailed this one from top to bottom -- with added bonus, I didn't come here to find it rated easy by Rex.
    A red-letter day. You don't no stupid app to figure out 100%.

    Anonymous 3:15 AM  

    The LEILA/LINES cross got me. Other than that, good puzzle.


    Elle54 3:53 AM  

    Love the Beatles! Liked the modern feel (GMAIL, APPLEID) Lehr went in last for me too. Maybe Jobs hold have stayed at Reed and then maybe some of us would have heard of it!

    John Child 3:59 AM  

    I liked this too: Crunch and freshness, plus a shout-out to my inner 14-year-old. IMO [Buxom] is a bit tin-eared: The original clues there and at 13D should have stayed.

    Nothing in the constructor's note about the SW. I find it inelegant to have 3 pair of answers rather than four, but that may have been editing too. If the constructor sent it in with un-paired clues like [Type of trashy novel] and [Source of a common blood-thinning medicine], then I say no foul.

    EOUS has been used only once in the last 20 years by ...drumroll please... David Woolf.

    Loren Muse Smith 4:20 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Loren Muse Smith 4:22 AM  

    I had fun with this one and sat staring out the window (into the dark) wondering how the clues for SHRINKAGE and ACT NORMAL could be crossed- referenced. Oh the possibilities. I'm not brave enough to post something racy, but there was this time once in Innsbruck… well, anyway.

    HIS SHTICK. Ok. I'm done.

    Rex – good catch on the applied APPLE ID.

    ROOM KEY. Hmm. Do we call those cards room keys? Back when they were still actual keys, I once was a front desk clerk who accidentally gave the wrong key to an older woman who let herself into a room where a youngish man was just getting out of his shower. Mercifully, they were both good sports. Sheesh.

    RAT POISON Tucker update – he lives with us now because he's too rotund to make weight in my mother-in-law's retirement home. What a trooper (trouper? I never know and honestly don't care) that fat little guy is. In dog years, he's about the same age as me but has adjusted beauteously to his rural life.

    And there it is. EOUS. I see that and immediately smile, conjuring M&A's take on such entries. Sweet desperation. I stopped again to ponder other clue possibilities, but they're all pretty runtishesque: Right flank? Court extension? Right wing? Right rear?

    Ah me – that southeast was my undoing. Never heard of REED college, so I was guessing UC San Diego, just couldn't accept any kind of "te he" or "he he," and never thought of LINES.

    @Z – I'm up to my eyeballs learning how to be an elhi teacher. The periphery CYA paperwork, meetings, minutes, bureaucracy. . .Un. Believe. Able. I just got an email from the principal reminding us teachers to have at least two learning groups/lessons (in each and every one of my seven different classes), plug in (one-by-one) all 90 scores of a recent standardized test, go online and do the self-evaluation and goals, update some minutes from some meeting, calculate behavior points for all juniors and seniors and send a list of students who do not qualify for a rewards trip. . . and the last line was and I'm not making this up, "Take time to get to know your students." Uh. When?

    David – nice job. I enjoyed all four stacked corners!

    pfb 5:25 AM  

    Pretty fast solve; Two Beatles clues was great even if I did not get them as quickly as I expected.

    Ellen S 5:38 AM  

    @Loren, how good to hear from you! I had lunch the other day with @Gill I. and a lurker who came forward when she found more Sacramentans. We remarked that we all missed your posts, et voila!, here you are. I can see why you don't get to post more often!

    I found this easy-ish for a Friday; finished it with two references (Google Maps to get IDAHO, and IMDB for ANYA). I guess using IMDB is more of a cheat than using a map, but I don't care.

    I am really impressed with @Casco Kid, though. Mr. Kid, when you first came here, you were struggling with early-week puzzles, but you really applied yourself and have really nailed it. I've been solving halfheartedly since 1980 (crossword hubby taught me OAST but not LEHR, shame on him), but without any notable change in my skill level; Fridays remain tough for me and Saturdays occasionally unsolvable.

    Glimmerglass 7:43 AM  

    No one has commented on the unfettered connection between BIG BREASTED and STAYED LOOSE. Something to do with ACT NORMAL(ly) or I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER, but not SHRINKAGE.

    Anonymous 7:52 AM  

    Pretty easy for a Friday, but...I initially had great confidence in WELLENDOWED for 1A buxom. Several problems with downs, so I asked my husband for help. He immediately said BIGBREASTED. I thanked him and he said that all I needed to do was ask an expert. HEHE.

    Unknown 7:58 AM  

    @AliasZ Thanks. III and Ill look nearlr identical on my iPad. OK the kerning is slightly different. I began with the (ill) form, thought of rap, and tried out dRE for a while. When it mutated to TRE, I had to wonder what David Woolf was trying to do to us this time. Nothing, it seems. Good! But too bad about sans serif type in general and Arial in particular.

    @Ellen How kind of you to say. Today felt lucky. You'll still find me at the back of the pack on most days. To be graduated from Rex's first grade to Rex's second grade, I have to have 7 consecutive clean solves. Also, I'm supposed to show better bladder control and cut way back on the tantrums. Sigh. Growing up is hard work!

    Dorothy Biggs 8:05 AM  

    I finished this quicker than my usual Friday, not that I'm keeping track of that, but I only looked because it felt faster. was. So I guess it was "easier" than usual.

    I thought the lack of a related stack in the NE was as odd as the apparent balking at a Beatles theme. You have the B-side clue, APPLE(ID), and EGGMAN. Then nothing else. Kind of like yesterday at Subway when I got a couple of cookies and found out that one of them had been broken and was shy a full cookie by about 1/5. Not that that 1/5 would have mattered, but after eating both cookies, I felt just a wee bit wanting. Like this Beatles non-theme.

    I had cardKEY before ROOMKEY. I sidestepped the BIGBREASTED answer for a few minutes thinking it couldn't possibly be that.

    And wasn't there a thing recently about Aspergers and AUTISM? Like either that there is no Aspergers anymore, swallowed up by the AUTISM label...or something like that.

    I liked APPLEID...but I hate APPLEIDs. Do you know those things never go away? And they can not be consolidated. I have three of them for various reasons all with purchased music associated with them but I can't unite them into one big APPLEID that is mine. Apple...ugh.

    I hate the word "crunchy" for a puzzle...but I guess, if I were to use it, today's would be "crunchy" like a granny smith apple.

    evil doug 8:10 AM  

    Clues for 12d and 13d should have been "What to do when you have 13d" and "see 12d," respectively.
    Very much enjoyed this Friday masterpiece.


    Sir Hillary 8:14 AM  

    To me, the paired answers only work in the NW and SE. Not sure why the tenuous link between TRUECRIME and RATPOISON was deemed sufficient to pair them, so why not just clue them separately?

    Speaking of tenuous links (or at least roundabout ones), ANYA Amasova's portrayer has been married since 1981 to the drummer on ISHOULDHAVE KNOWNBETTER.

    Bond dork that I am, I dropped ANYA in first, which led to the whole Tennessee region being filled in. That was a nice launching point to many other sections.

    Couple of brief mistakes -- amenitY and GHOst -- but both were easily fixed.

    I so wanted wellendowED at 1A. Post-solve, I realized that I associate that term as much with men as with women. Pre-SHRINKAGE, of course.

    Jack Gladney 8:16 AM  

    Quick, clean solve except for the fact that I plunked down EMAIL at 37-Down which ultimately led to EELMAN at 36-Across. I didn't blink at ETALE 22-Down because French.


    Anonymous 8:20 AM  

    Now rex is just being a dick for the sake of being a dick. This was a themeless with a few cross-referenced clues. It's that simple. I am disgusted by rex's constant need to disparage puzzles and their construction, especially in a case like today when there was such a brilliant effort. This puzzle was expertly and creatively clued, had a wonderful grid, had very little dreck, and had plenty of AHAMOMENTS.
    This has been the easiest work week of crosswords in a very long time. Bracing for the weekend.

    AliasZ 8:50 AM  

    I had great fun with David Woolf's puzzle today. It is a thinking person's puzzle. I love puzzles that make you think.

    Looking at the first clue, I was thinking: it can't be that there is no trick to this clue. It can't be WELL ENDOWED. As a joke, I entered FLAT CHESTED instead. It fit. I almost fell off my sofa when it turned out that its opposite was correct. But then I started thinking: what the hell is wrong with being BIG BREASTED? Nothing. Nothing at all. I see subway car ads in NYC every day offering reasonably priced breast augmentation. It's right there for everyone to see, the kids, the elderly. Even I could get one. And ANDRE too.

    Speaking of manly ANDRE, I was thinking, he probably never experienced the effects of SHRINKAGE. Since no one else is willing to risk it, let me be the first one to state the obvious. The long down pair in the NE should have been clued: "Advice given to a guy walking out of the ocean's ice cold water not realizing he has lost his swimming trunks." If you ACT NORMAL, no one will point and giggle. No, I've never BENIN that situation. [Thinking of which, "long down pair" is an unfortunate choice of words, but I'm leaving it.]

    I was also thinking, watching a bunch of three-year-old children run the Kentucky DERBY would be more fun than Puppy Bowl XI.

    LEILA didn't get me on my knees, I man-AGEd to survived three AGEs in the NE: ET AGE, SAME AGE and SHRINK AGE, I have remembered ELBA as Napoleon's exile island, I stumbled through some EOUS (Eye Owe U'S), MPS, ANYAs, STRs, EMOs and CHEs, et VIOLA! I was done.

    As a teaser, let me close with this very brief portion of the last movement from the Concerto for VIOLA and Orchestra by Béla Bartók. I urge you to listen to the entire masterpiece. It is well worth the effort.


    Don McBrien 9:00 AM  

    Pretty average Friday for me. Only error was guessing BANIN / ATAGE instead of BENIN / ETAGE.

    Unknown 9:10 AM  

    Constructor here,

    Thanks for all the nice feedback everyone. Two things to add to the comments I've made elsewhere.

    I'm pretty sure I cross-clued RAT POISON and TRUE CRIME in my submission, without ever thinking that this would be considered part of the mini theme, since the NW and SE pairs are one phrase. However, I can totally see the inelegance there, and now realize that I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER.

    Further, EOUS was *not* in my original submission. The upper left had the equally bad/worse partial "ISN'T A' instead of IS NOT. I resubmitted with EOUS, not sure if that would fly either, but that corner was nearly impossible to fill anyway, and Will accepted the second version.

    To conclude, trying to put two 22-letter phrases in stacked pairs in a puzzle is highly constraining, and is probably something I won't attempt again.

    Anonymous 9:14 AM  

    Good day for me when I can fill 50% of the white spaces before asking for Google help. Some clever answers.
    I don't get the theme that Rex refers to. Can anyone explain?

    Whirred Whacks 9:19 AM  

    I've never immediately (within 10 seconds from start) solved two stacked 11s until today.

    was my favorite song from the "Hard Day's Night" album back in summer of '64. The NW fell quickly.

    David Woolf: I enjoyed your puzzle, and appreciate the way you got the pair of 22-word answers to line up. Thanks!

    evil doug 9:26 AM  

    And 61d should have been "body part that might experience 13d."


    Hartley70 9:36 AM  

    Well done @Casco! You might have to drop the "kid" soon. I'm sure pull-ups will take care of one of your little issues and tantrums are part of the genre I've noticed.

    I ZIPped along with this until I got to the SE. I've never heard of LEHR (neither has autocorrect) and it's just cruel to cross it with a foreign sports term. I had to run the alphabet for the L. I also wasted time on Leila. It didn't sound very Spanish to me (see ignorance of PELOTA) and I kept trying to get Luisa to fit. Funny how your brain gets stuck on a NUT and just won't let it go. But if I let the time issue go and just concentrate on the fun factor, I thought this was a very decent romp on a Friday.

    Arlene 9:48 AM  

    I enjoy solving puzzles like this as a research project. One of the benefits is that I got to see images of SHOSHONE FALLS, IDAHO. Absolutely beautiful! I even clicked through to see more images!

    And I see that others have already commented about 13D - with references to a certain Seinfeld episode.

    R. McGeddon 9:52 AM  

    So BIGBREASTED is stacked over a double answer.

    mathguy 9:55 AM  

    Rats! I struck out on this one. My screwup was APPLE?? I put in APPLETS, not that I know what applets are. That kept me from getting GMAIL. Another hole in my knowledge is APPLEID. I haven't heard that term. I suppose that my iTunes password is an Apple ID.

    I'm surprised that Shortz wouldn't allow a Seinfeld clue for SHRINKAGE. I'd like a themer based on Seinfeld expressions. But then again I guess that Shortz would not allow SPONGEWORTHY or HEPULLEDITOUT.

    If I had solved it, I probably would have called it a great puzzle. Some excellent cluing. But I'm a sore loser.

    Bob Kerfuffle 9:58 AM  

    Fine puzzle, IMHO.

    (Hi, @lms!)

    Steve M 10:02 AM  

    Good Friday

    Queenie 10:02 AM  

    @Ellen S not quite a Sacramentan, does Woodland count?

    Easy for me, for some reason. I seem to either speed through or DNF on late week puzzles. I suppose it just feels that way. I don't actually DNF too often and I'm sure as heck not setting any speed records. LEHR was last for me, too.

    jberg 10:09 AM  

    As I've mentioned before, I don't have a TV. Mostly I don't regret it, but every once in a while there's something like this Seinfeld/SHRINKAGE discussion that lets me know tEHE, just had to guess that LEHR was more likely than LET-R or something.

    39D is a little unfair, I thought -- there are contra-bass saxophones, flutes, bassoons -- I've actually played a contra-bass recorder. It wasn't a problem, since I had the VI, but seemed a little off.

    Otherwise, a great puzzle -- the SW paired answers didn't bother me since, as @David Woolf says, they weren't a single answer like the ones in the NW and SE.

    Signs of age: writing in Gabon at 21A because I couldn't remember any other 5-letter West African country (well, I knew it wasn't Niger).

    What I learned: ST. LEO met with Attila the Hun. It's stuff like that that keeps me coming back.

    mathguy is NOT spongeworthy 10:14 AM  

    @mathguy 0955: People have made some embarrassing comments on this board before, but the Seinfeld answer you imagine would be HETOOKITOUT not HEPULLEDITOUT. Puh-lease!

    Casual Observer 10:14 AM  

    Gee, it's been over an hour since David Woolf dropped by to agree with Rex about the three cross-referenced pairs and the one not cross referenced inelegance. I would have thought the anon-a-trolls who called Rex a "dick" for pointing this out would have stopped by to apologize by now.

    anon-a-troll 10:39 AM  

    anon-a-troll here. The thing is, rex is a dick because he says things like "but I do not understand, and I mean do Not understand,..." and "Are you doing the Thing or are you not doing the Thing? What a weird, oddly maimed concept." When what a non-dick would say would be "I think the puzzle would have been more elegant had the constructor...". This is what he would have said if one of his many crossword-constructing friends had made this puzzle. He's a dick, he knows he's a dick, he loves being a dick, and you blind worshipers of rex love that he's a dick.

    mac 10:47 AM  

    Very enjoyable Friday puzzle, and a good write-up.

    Great to have you back here, Loren! And I noticed Bob Kerfuffle easing back in as well.

    Oh, good, it's up to 4 degrees F now.

    Maruchka 11:13 AM  

    'Trey' for ADIN and 'dote on' (I know, wrong tense) for DEAR TO. One google for LEILA. 'Lovely LEI[c]A lay' (I know, wrong poet and spelling) kept popping into my frozen North. PELOTA is an old-timey friend, and REED made LEHR happen.

    A pretty smooth fill day. Love the two Beatles refs. There are sooo many ways to violate court orders (could have added a 'say', say, Mr. Woolf) I was thinkin' in Latin.

    No Fav of the day. BIG BREASTED and SHRINKAGE proximity got a HEHE. RAT POISON - One very good non-TRUE CRIME (to my knowledge) usage is in a Ngaio Marsh story, 'Final Curtain'. Actors are involved but can't remember if LINES are read. Fun!

    @LMS - My Danish grandmother would get us kids in stitches with her translation for 'bra' - holdemfremfloppen.

    @AliasZ - Do you like a VIOLA da gamba? I do. Any favorites?

    Praying for 30 degrees. -20 at some point last EVE.

    Anonymous 11:14 AM  

    @Anon 12:38

    That would be TREy for Junior's junior, would it nor?

    evil doug 11:14 AM  

    Me, too.

    Chip Hilton 11:14 AM  

    Fun puzzle with nice flow. I was embarrassed by the time it took me to get B-Side. I'm not the EGGMAN.

    Nancy 11:15 AM  

    Love your Casablanca quote, Rex.
    But didn't love this puzzle.

    If you don't know the B sides of pop records and you are congenitally opposed to Googling, the combo of 15A &17A, taking up most of the NW, would seem to make this puzzle unsolvable. And so it seemed to me, as I looked for toeholds elsewhere. But there were also all those damned names: BOWSER and CLAYTON and ANYA and LEILA to contend with. Grrrr.

    And yet I solved this without a single error! Stubbornness and perseverance helps. And as I solved, certain non-name, non-title rewards emerged: IN ONE EAR AND OUT THE OTHER (clued misleadingly, as you think it's the person, not the info that's being ignored). THEY at 54D is funny and oh, so true. OOZES is lovely; ditto SHTICKS and TATTLE. So I guess I didn't hate this as much as I thought I did while struggling through it. Eventual success often means "All is forgiven." Right?

    evil doug 11:17 AM  

    Okay, your audition has officially begun. Good luck, try to elevate your game, and leave the brand in as good a condition as you found it.

    That's it for me! Good night, everybody!

    The artist formerly known as Evil Doug

    Danield 11:36 AM  

    Two thoughts as I was completing this puz...first, how fortunate I am to be able to enjoy such fine work: creativity and intellectual horsepower that are remarkable. Thank you, David. Second, with a tip of the hat to Groucho, I was suspicious of any Friday puzzle that would allow someone like me to solve it. Thought Rex and others would label it a cakewalk. Must have been directly in my wheelhouse.

    Ω 11:42 AM  

    @evil doug - Instead of "The Artist Formerly Known as Evil Doug," how about a good pictogram like, ☿ or ➰ or 🀄️?

    @David Woolf - EOUS bothered me a lot less than PELOTA/LEHR. An eel or a Leo bothers me far less than crossing obscurities. I wonder if trying to fix the NW led to less attention to the south. Over-all, I give this a thumbs up. As for the NE - maybe a Lake Superior cross ref or a Viagra cross ref would have upped the elegance. Or maybe just the snickering.

    RooMonster 11:46 AM  

    Man, evil, first you had an ass#!@$ troll, now you've got a doppelganger! Maybe if you changed your name to good doug... :-)

    Lewis 11:49 AM  

    I agree with @sirhillary that the puzzle would have been more elegant if 33D and 34D were clued apart from each other, but I didn't object to how it was. In a themeless puzzle, anything like paired answers is just icing on the cake.

    Hi Loren!!!!

    Lots of SHRINKAGE LINES in the comments today. So let me say, if they wanted to do another pairing, how about the adjoining words PELOTA and NUT?

    Yes, EOUS is ugly, but it is legit as a gas suffix, no? I thought this puzzle was excellent, with plenty of crunch and mind work, but possible to get with persistence. My last square was the R in REED.

    High marks here, David. Bravo!

    Mr. Benson 11:53 AM  

    I was a big-time Beatles junkie in high school (1980s) and was able to fill in a lot of spaces in the NW right off the bat. That gave me great traction that seemed to propel me all the way through the grid easily, except for that PELOTA-LEHR thing. (And really, "L" was the only letter that made both sound like real words.)

    Leapfinger 11:58 AM  

    I had a ton o' fun with this solve, but the comments have been a megaton blast!!

    Just briefly:
    @Loren, don't have to go all the way to Innsbruck; the icy waters off the Maine coast do just fine. Love your SHTICK; like Mr. Natural, keep on truckin'!

    @Alias and Evil, thanks for the long and the short of it. Long Downs, indeed.

    Did a lot of what many have mentioned, but will just say I agree with @jae et ff that Buxom is more Rubenesque (Rubensesque?), ie, more broadly well-endowed. Whatever, I s'pose zaftig is as zaftig does; but how is one to know if one is or IS NOT?

    Now, I don't want to get a load of hate mail, but I know some busy do-gooders who suffer from Ought-ism.

    And re the SE couplet: Many fads are IN ONE ERA AND OUT THE OTHER.

    Enjoyed having the Woolf at the door; he left us a rightEOUS solve.

    [Dang.They want me to verify my non-roboticity again. Must be a secondary spellcaster effect]

    Lewis 12:00 PM  

    Factoid: When Napoleon was exiled to ELBA, he was allowed to keep a personal guard of 600 men.

    Quotoid: "I don't know why people are so KEEN to put the details of their private life in public; they forget that invisibility is a superpower." -- Banksy

    RooMonster 12:03 PM  

    Hey All !
    Another ass-kickage. Got the SW, and that was about it. Had to Goog the Beatles B side, not a fan. Even after the Goog, just gave up.

    The best thing was seeing LMS here and with her Sheesh! Love that!


    Andrew 12:03 PM  

    I'm in the camp that SW pair was not part of the mini - theme as it was not one phrase, so no harm no foul in my mind.

    Overall I enjoyed the puzzle.

    At 12D I dropped in seeNOeviL with waaay too much confidence. I was fearing a DNF, but luckily our failing NJT/Amtrak infrastructure couldn't handle the cold temps, so as my train (nicely heated) sat
    in the icy Meadowlands for 40 mins I took some time to address some work emails. As we finally entered the tunnel under the Hudson, I picked the paper up again and finally grokked ACT NORMAL. The rest of the puzzle fell quickly before we hit Penn.

    Always amazes me how putting the puzzle down for a spell and picking it back up can break open a log jam. I think that is what separates the elite solvers from the not-so-elite - the ability to 'reboot' on the fly.

    dk 12:10 PM  

    🌕🌕🌕 (3 mOOOns) I use moons as others are using 32d ratings,. I am certain you needed to know that.

    Had the same oast/kiln and then LEHR experience. I have no excuse as number 1 son was a glass artist for a while and used… drum roll… a LEHR.

    I wanted right wing supply side morons for 40a and by god I made it fit.

    koo koo ka-choo see how they run...

    pmdm 12:16 PM  

    This Sunday's Times Magazine section begins a new make-up. Apparently, Patrick Berry is going to have one of his puzzles published every week (not a simple crossword). There is more information on WordBlog, including a post by Mr. Shortz going over some of the changes. Diagramless puzzle solvers will be unhappy.

    Andrew 12:33 PM  

    I also used to work myself into a pretty good lather over Rex's tone, but have come to terms with it over the years (!). As has been said by many, it his blog and he can assume whatever tone he wants (even if it ventures toward dickishness at times), none of us are forced to come here. More often than not his observations are on point even if occasionally i am not a fan of how he expresses them. The fact that he has been doing this as long as he has counts for quite a bit in my book (and probably also contributes to perceived (or real) surlishness or favoritism over time).

    Ω 12:36 PM  

    The Sunday Magazine changes announcement. Diagramless fans will be unhappy.

    Joseph Michael 12:44 PM  

    Impressive construction. Enjoyed the R-Rated subtext APLENTY.

    Didn't think it was a TRUE CRIME that 12/13D and 33/34D aren't parallel since it is a themeless. When I stay at hotels, the card that opens the door is always referred to as a ROOM KEY, so no problem there either.

    Didn't like OILMAN and EGGMAN in the same puzzle and pretty much hated LEHR crossing PEROLTA. But otherwise this puzzle OOZES confidence and gets a gold STAR.

    Masked and Anonymo4Us 12:56 PM  

    Thought the long double-liner entries in the NW and SE were superb. Made the grid really sparkle.

    Didn't really think of the SW double dealy as the same kind of thing, at all...
    No continuation, there. Just a cross-reference. QED. Or as I used to say in Latin Lives Today class, "Eous Asit Be Nin".

    Yo, @muse! Real sorry about that workload but sure glad yer backside is still thermally covered. Thanx for the update on Tucker Doggie. Good to hear he is lookin so prosperous. Just one thought: Westminster Dog Show. Next year they are finally debuting the long-awaited Wider Than Snot category.

    fave extwa-wide weejects: HEHE. EOUS. Knee-slappinly good desperation, as @muse has so rightEOUSly pointed out.
    fave wegulaw weeject: STR.


    This here one's for that Lovely Mysterious Lady...

    Top Seven "Class" EOUS Clues (desperation is a key concept, in accomplishin this. M&A studied up, all night.):

    * {Suspiciously titled IOU's??}.
    * {Elmer Fudd's personal promisory notes??}.
    * {Full relative??}.
    * {Platform for many an iPad knock-off brand??}.
    * {DNTR-FPVT go-between??}.
    * {Nauseous ending??}.
    * {A.I. wannabes??}.

    First runnerup, in case any of the above is unable to do whatever it is these things do:
    * Diversion of the river Ouse??}.

    Alby 1:08 PM  

    I knew (or guessed) PELOTA because of Lance Armstrong. The cafe at his bike shop in Austin is named Juan Pelota, a play on "one ball."

    M and A Correction Desk 1:14 PM  

    Make that "Lovely Mysterious Stranger".
    Day-um ... hope I didn't blow her (thermal) cover, there ...


    Nancy 1:24 PM  

    To @Z (and Will Shortz, too)
    RE: Missing Diagramless
    Reaction: Quelle disappointment!

    Thanks, Z, for letting us know. It's taken me the better part of a lifetime to be even able to ATTEMPT this puzzle, but I've improved to the point where I can solve it maybe 1/3 of the time. It's one of the best mental challenges out there and I, for one, will miss it.
    There is some compensation in the increase in Cryptics and Surprises, as I really dig these. I adore both Spirals and Split Ends, for example. The puns and anagrams leave me cold. I find them pedestrian and pro forma. And the expanded number of Easy puzzles on an added page will add nothing to my pleasure, but may, admittedly, bring in new puzzle aficionados.
    I'm hoping that some of the changes will make me happy enough that they'll compensate for the loss of the diagramless. We shall see.

    Fred Romagnolo 1:49 PM  

    You wanna know why it's a good puzzle? I didn't know tons of stuff, but eventually solved it without having to check references or google, because of the crossings. What could be fairer? Didn't know the following: Beatle's songs or other sides, I am the Walrus, Mario games, where Jobs went, or LEILA. Thank you, David Woolf! @dk: I offer you one, and it aint a 32D rating.

    OISK 2:00 PM  

    What Fred said. The Beatle references were meaningless to me; I know Leila only as some sort of lengthy rock song, dislike product clues (AppleID) and AOL, but I stayed loose, and finished the puzzle with no errors. That's one in a row, Casco kid, so you are ahead of me! Fine puzzle, and nice to finish it after a Crumb-y DNF yesterday.

    chefbea 2:10 PM  

    Look forward to the new sunday NYT magazine. Lots more puzzles

    Martel Moopsbane 2:29 PM  

    If the clue referenced the Derek & the Dominos hit, "LayLA" not LEILA would be the answer.

    GILL I. 2:33 PM  

    I'm loving the comments today (except for the boring dick heads who keep posting the same crap about @Rex)
    @Loren....Yikes !! but it's good to hear from you again.
    @Queenie....Yes! Woodland is just a hop-skip away. Come join us!
    @Maruchka... "holdemfromfloppen" ..hee hee. Flying saucers, traffic stoppers.
    @David W loved your puzzle. See what happens when you make a boob, PELOTA, NUT and SHRINKAGE puzzle?
    Oh, I've read all the comments but I don't think anyone made a comment about EMO at 63A. Why are some angsty teens EMO?

    Ω 2:59 PM  

    @Gill I. - EMO is usually a reference to "emotional Punk." Think black clothes and hair, sullen looks, and "no one understands me." Definitely an adolescent thing.

    wreck 3:00 PM  

    @Gill I.

    "Emo" is short for "emotional." It was initially kind of a punk rock genre meaning a kind of "emotional ballad" type music, but has sort of morphed into an all encompassing term for brooding type behavior.

    Leapfinger 3:01 PM  

    I wouldn't mind having dinner with a BIGBREASTED ANDRE the Giant.

    O, an interesting bit of parallel between Atli and ST LEO!

    OISK 3:26 PM  

    Thanks Martel for explaining that Layla isn't Leila. (No one who knows me is surprised that I didn't know that!) Hands up if you actually knew "Pelota" (as I did) because you bet on Jai Alai...

    GILL I. 3:47 PM  

    @Z and @wreck...Thanks...Hoo boy. I knew one like that but didn't know the name. A very close friend of mine had an only son that went through that phase. He was a very late bloomer; was held back a grade, didn't learn to ride a bike until he was about 12, never got a drivers license and at about 14 began wearing black nail polish and, well, the rest of the nine yards. I thought my friend would die a slow death... He now resides in New York City. He got a BFA from NYU and set out to conquer the world. He started his first job with the National Endowment of the Arts and went on to do several stints with Habitat for Humanity. I think he's now somewhere in Africa with Global Volunteers.
    I love this country!

    big steve46 4:16 PM  

    RE: 27 A (ROOMKEY) Just returned from a month-long trip to California. Surprisingly, at two kind of high-end suite-type hotels, they had an old-fashioned key instead of one of those annoying credit-card type things - a small plus, as far as I am concerned. Especially, since at the modern hotels, at one hotel the little credit-card-like device had to be inserted 3 or 4 times, each time, before it actually worked and at the other hotel it actually had to be replaced, when the door wouldn't open. Both old-style keys worked just fine.

    As for Rex's crankiness: its kind of amazing to me that someone can write a daily commentary on something as cosmically insignificant as the NYT crossword puzzle and still be interesting enough so that I, at least, check in almost every day to see what he has to say. Helps to be a tenured NY State college professor to have the time- but still its an accomplishment.

    beatrice 4:18 PM  

    @Marushka - I began thinking about some possibilities to link for examples of music of the VIOLA da gamba before I saw your request to despite feeling awkward about it, I'll go ahead and post my choices, hoping Mr.Z will add his own, as well.

    Here are two pieces written for a consort of viols. This configuration apparently began on the Continent in the late 15th century, but developed into a genre of peculiar complexity and intensity in England.

    First, a delightful piece by the idiosyncratic William Lawes (1602-1645):

    Now, something mesmerizing by the incomparable William Byrd (c.1540-1623):

    Numinous 5:42 PM  

    I started this one early, in bed with my coffee as we prepared to go to the Wound Center. Finished it off, to my surprise, in the waiting room there. The surprise was the H in LEHR. I actually hadn't noticed that everything else was filled in. With two Es and a D, it had to be REED and the H for _EHE was obvious. I'd considered tEHE thinking anything is possible with answers like that where var. can appear without notice.
    BIG BREASTED shocked my pre-breakfast sensibility but delighted my inner 14 y/o who thinks of those as early warning systems providing several seconds notice before entering a room. 19 A. reminded me of Sunday's 12 D GASEOUS four of the eight planets as it was my 17 y/o assistant who gave me the EOUS part of that answer.

    I should have known better with a girl like you That I would love everything that you do And I do, hey, hey, hey, and I do. . . etc. has been running through my head all day: that and, after looking up the lyrics, the imperfectly remembered third verse. Uh, thanks a bunch Mr. Woolf. HEHE.

    @jberg, I used to play the recorder. My favorite was the alto but at one time I owned a set from sopranino to tenor. A friend of mine had a bass which he let me try out once or twice but I've never seen a contrabass recorder until I googled. Impressive!

    @Loren, so very nice to see you here today. It sounds like your days are exhausting so I forgive you for your abscences. I'd just like you to count me among those of us who miss you. (Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like an APPLE[ID]).

    @ those of you who asked. I'm doing well, country living agrees with me and I'm generally more active than I've been in a few years. Mrs. Numi had an outpatient debridement last Friday which seems to have set her healing back a bit, the wound is somewhat larger than it was but hopefully that procedure will aid the healing process. She had a very painful week because a new dressing made from a special honey that only comes from New Zealand has debriding property and prooved to be uncomfortable for her. For now, she's back to the previous anti-bacterial dressing and has been much more comfortable this afternoon after the change.

    Ok, the mini-theme. It never crossed my mind. Yeah, I get it that there are paired answers in the puzzle but theme? Somehow that may comprise some sort of meta-theme with the answers connected by some commonality of cluing but to call that a theme IMHO is way overthinking what becomes a green paint theme.

    @Whomever wanted to know his percentage of success it's easy enough to do. Count the clues or go to to find out the number, count your correct answers and do the math.
    Although I had the same write-over at GHOst that others had and corrected with crosses, I got 72/72nds or 100%.

    Mohair Sam 5:47 PM  

    Had to wait until the wife got home from work to avoid natick at the infamous "L" in PELOTA. She shook her head sadly that I didn't know the word, and then we both got a great laugh at @Rex's Casablanca line concerning said object.

    I thought the fact that the term BIGBREASTED was stacked would draw more attention here, but ISHOULDHAVEKNOWNBETTER.

    Thanks for chiming in David Woolf, loved today's puzzle. Keep stackin' 'em.

    Carola 8:28 PM  

    Truly, I'm lovin' it - fine puzzle, super comments. Puzzle: easy until the SE, in part because of self-doubt on PELOTA and REED, and wanting ANYA to be eNYA.

    I learned la PELOTA from watching the world cup on Univision (ESPN being too annoying). I know no Spanish but learned two words, at least.

    @pmdm, @Z - I am indeed unhappy! I remember the good old days when, in Diagramless weeks, there were 2 puzzles. Solvers provided their own grids.

    @loren - Great to see you! May the Force be with you.

    @Numinous - All good healing wishes.

    Anonymous 9:17 PM  

    Love you all but hate when you bash each other and Rex( it is HIS blog) but what's with the spellcaster pest

    chefmanque 10:18 PM  

    So we had the EGGMAN and the OILMAN. What we should have had is the MAYONNAISEMAN,fits in the grid, don't it?

    Too bad there wasn't GARLIC, we could have had AIOLIMAN.

    Teedmn 1:47 AM  

    My favorite Napoleon movie is "The Emperor's New Clothes". Although it's set in the time when Napoleon was on St. Helena, not ELBA. I found it hilarious but it might just be me.

    Hard SE for me, DNF at PELOTA/LEHR. Laughed at @Rex's comment because it is all too TRUE - if I'd only memorized the Jai Alai ball (as opposed to NUT? :-) )

    Anonymous 9:39 AM  

    Not enough 61D's to stack 12&13D. Where's Seinfeld when you need him? Great puzzle.

    Unknown 10:00 AM  

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    aging soprano 12:28 PM  

    I read the whole synopsis of Dante's Don Juan, also. Very interesting.

    aging soprano 12:29 PM  

    Bravo Alias. (Brava?)

    h_lina_k 12:50 PM  

    The clue for hypertext is just plain wrong. Hypertext is all of the text on a web page, hyperlinks are what connects two pages. That is like asking what connects LA and San Diego and you answer California. Sure a tiny bit of California connects the two cities, but you really mean I-5.

    aging soprano 12:52 PM  


    aging soprano 12:59 PM  

    After filling in hundreds of "alai"s and "jai"s in past puzzles, I was overjoyed to learn that the game is played with a ball. Thank yeous Mr. Woolf.

    aging soprano 1:00 PM  

    After filling in hundreds of "alai"s and "jai"s in past puzzles, I was overjoyed to learn that the game is played with a ball. Thank yeous Mr. Woolf.

    aging soprano 1:00 PM  


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    spacecraft 10:55 AM  

    Spellcasting must be a whole subculture that most of are blissfully unaware of. I can't believe that many people could be so outright stupid. Honey, if you believe in them, I'm NOT taking you back. Ever.

    Now then, to today. I had to smile at 1-across, because it reminded me of an incident while I was working in the newborn nursery of a military hospital. We had a 1-a nurse, who put a broken piece of equipment on the counter with the note "busted." After our pediatrician made his rounds one day, I saw that he had written "big" above the word. It was a real HEHE.

    Yes, finally: an easy NW! Can't get much easier than all three 11s being gimmes. Other areas offered a little more resistance, but for a Friday, I'd say this was easy-medium. Toughest was figuring out what letter came at the end of APPLEI_. The only LEILA I know is ALI, but soon I sussed out the Awkward Partial DEARTO and was done.

    There's lots to like and dislike today. EGGMAN is fine, but OILMAN to me is the rich baron who OWNS the company, not a "worker." The workers, I think, should have more specific job descriptions than "OILMAN."

    I do like that TRIAL intersects TRUECRIME and RATPOISON, and a lot of the longer answers, but agree that the poor NE got slighted. And, I didn't fall into the GHOst trap, preferring to wait on the ending for more info. So, done timely and with no w/os. Say, B-.

    Burma Shave 11:44 AM  


    Try to ACTNORMAL around BIGBUSTED gals,
    give them your ROOMKEY and THEY will be KEEN pals.
    ADIN your best LINES if you’ve a YEN for linkage.
    It’s a TRUECRIME if you experience (significant) SHRINKAGE.


    rondo 12:42 PM  

    The write-over ink has not been spilled much this week. Another remarkably clean grid today. Seems that this week’s puzzles have all been rather on the easy side.

    Much liked the stacked 11s that belonged to each other, must be hard to find those that work into a puz.

    This week’s puzzles make me feel like a STAR.

    Anonymous 1:05 PM  

    Good puzzle with a lot of new stuff. If you gave it a stretch, at the NE you might think act normal instead of being a shrinking violet. ??? This was dead-on Medium for me and I had one wrong: eelman instead of eggman. Me bad so I slapped my other hand with a ruler. And now I feel better. HeHe I think someone cast a spell on me.

    Ron Diego, La Mesa, CA

    rain forest 3:26 PM  

    Yep, good puzzle. There is no "theme" here. There are two stacked 11's which comprise a single phrase each, and a down pair which are cross-referenced. Where's the need to have some sort of pairing in the NE? I don't see it.

    Mostly pretty smooth here, but the last two entries of my solve--HEHE, and REED, and hence LEHR, took longer than most of the rest of the SE. EOUS is the *only* four-letter suffix for gas, and I think it looks kind of cute...

    Nice job. Good week so far.

    DMG 4:37 PM  

    Undone by the music world again! Did get most of this, but I had no idea about the Beatles' thing. A couple of messed up downs, (IStooand Ghost) and no idea about anything Mario were no help, so pretty much a blank there. Also had no idea about Kershaw, and could make no sense out of --AY--ON. Last, but not least, ended with eMAIL giving me EelMAN. Is the walrus thing also music related? I guess it's the generation thing again!! Maybe tomorrow....

    Anonymous 7:56 PM  

    Is there some market research suggesting that cruciverbalists need spell casting?
    I would think they'd have more luck on a
    NASCAR site!

    Joe in syndicationland 9:48 PM  

    Syndicationland chiming in here. I don't get ADIN. Help?
    I didn't mind EOUS because it could have been OHOL. I didn't like OLIOS because I had to wait to find out if it was I or E.

    spacecraft 11:53 PM  

    @Joe: Tennis scoring after deuce is "ad[vantage] (name of player)," or if the server is ahead AD IN; if the receiver, AD OUT.

    Ω 11:54 PM  

    @Joe in Syndyland - I can't be sure, but AD IN is probably tennis related, the point after deuce.

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    Anonymous 6:40 PM  

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