Super Six maker of 1920s / FRI 4-17-15 / Lover of Jane Porter / Man who went into self-imposed exile in 2013 / Title Inuit of film / Longtime food product with mascot in cowboy hat

Friday, April 17, 2015

Constructor: Mary Lou Guizzo

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none

Word of the Day: OCULI (15A: Eyelike designs) —
plural noun: oculi
  1. a round or eyelike opening or design, in particular.
    • a circular window.
    • the central boss of a volute. (google)
• • •

I could tell by the grid pattern that this would likely be less than satisfying. Minimal marquee answers, a half dozen latticed 15s—thus, a highly segmented grid with tons and tons of 3-to-5-letter fill. So *all* of the interest ends up in the 15s, and some of those are likely to be contrived—most likely the Across ones, since you have to drive them through the four pre-existing Down 15s. And the puzzle pretty much lived up to my expectations. Those Across 15s are, indeed, contrived—that is, they are phrases one might say, but they don't stand alone very well. And then the overall fill is, indeed, below normal themeless standards. I knew just from solving the NW that this was going to be a semi-painful solving experience:

Actually, it was 4D: Sound heard a lot by new parents that was the harbinger of doom. Three seconds in to the solve and I have one of those "how do you spell the non-word sound?" moments. Solved the surrounding answers and at SUR- I was satisfied that the WAH thing wasn't an outlier—*all* of the short fill was going to be like this, and there was a Lot of it to get through. It was one of those puzzles that really benefits veterans w/ a deep store of crosswordese. I got OCULI no crosses (though I called it OBELI at first—those are words I'd put in the same category of desirability, i.e. Low). I somehow remembered ICAHN (yuck). SERIA STRO CERT NTHS ESSO ETNA BARI … the oldie/goodies kept coming. How could they not when you build a grid like this? Well, maybe if you actually cared about eliminating them. But the current state of affairs continues to be: if the theme is good, the fill doesn't matter, and if the 15s are acceptable / interesting (as some of these are) then whatever. This is what (some) constructors are learning. Here's what I wish they'd learn—compromises in the fill are OK if they are minimal and if the payoff (the marquee stuff) is gold. Here, the compromises are big, and the payoff is just pretty good. I really like all the long Downs. I do. I particularly love the semi-juxtaposition of MISTER PRESIDENT and ELIZABETH WARREN. But these 15s aren't worth everything else.

One other thing to note: CLEAN SWEEP and WHERE'S THAT? and (for timeliness) SNOWDEN are wonderful. But they are the *only* answers in that mid-range length (besides TIE GAME, which is also acceptable). It's either 15s or 3-4-5s with this one. On a Friday, you're going to get a much better payoff if you can get into that middle answer length (say, 7-10), where answers can really shine. Minimize the short stuff, don't fetishize the 15, and you can have yourself a great Friday puzzle. But this choppy, bullet-riddled, highly segmented grid spells trouble right out of the gate. All those short answers will bog a Friday themeless down right quick. Construct a grid that allows you to avoid over reliance on the 3-4-5s. I beg of you.
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


    Mohair Sam 8:04 AM  

    I'm early?

    Good puzzle. Disagree with OFL, thought the long answers were worth slightly more "ese" than normal.

    Senators only write books when they are eyeing the White House - so although I'd never heard of her book, the 15 letter Senator WARREN was a gimme.

    Easy-medium for us too, btw. Got hung up a while because we thought ASTRO had something to do with the heavens and we cannot name a Kardashian, nor a shoe designer (Thom something?).

    All in all a pleasant, if slightly easy, Friday.

    Dorothy Biggs 8:12 AM  

    I finished with no Google or spell checking and the with the last letter I got the happy jingle...but it took a while, so I agree with Rex's arbitrary scale of difficulty. I took a couple of breaks from doing this to do other things and when I came back to it, some answer, previously hidden, would just pop out to me. Once I got a couple of footholds I was in like Flynn. I did notice, again as Rex pointed out, that the puzzle was very segmented, so the puzzle fell in chunks.

    TARZAN, NANOOK, SAINT BEDE were a few of those "How In The Hell Did I Know That?" moments. I groaned at SLAW, not because of the lameness of the clue/answer, but because I refused to see "dog" as a hot dog and not, say, a sled dog.

    STRO? Seriously? I need corroboration here from an ASTRO fan. Is 'Stro so much easier to say? To spell?

    ONINTIMATETERMS seems wonky to me.

    And am I supposed to know ICAHN? Is this a famous venue I'm missing?

    All in all, I liked it because I didn't have to fix anything in the end. Feeling of smug self confidence achieved!

    Anonymous 8:13 AM  

    Great challenging puzzle. Lotsa fun. Near Natick on BARI / BEDE, but it must have been in there somewhere because I guessed right. Loved the clues for SLAW and SUR. Did not like CERT, and I'm sick of the Kardashians.

    Sir Hillary 8:14 AM  

    I found this neither easy nor unpleasant, and our host's grumpiness ain't changin' my mind. The 15s are all good, and I enjoyed the mix of old-school (ETNA, ESSO, NANOOK, ESSEX) and relatively contemporary (CHOO, SNOWDEN, EFRON, OMG). Cool anagrams at 27D and 48D.

    I have a feeling some people will bemoan an over-reliance on proper nouns, which is a fair critique but not something that bothers me personally.

    Finally, at the risk of sounding gratuitous and/or condescending, it is nice to see a female byline on a Friday.

    Anonymous 8:29 AM  

    I was far from finishing this puzzle on my own and only got 2 of the long answers. Having 4 long answers intersecting 3 long ones is pretty impressive and they all made sense to me after seeing them. Nothing contrived except for HOSTESS TWINKIES.
    I wanted to agree with Rex but I think his critique is heavy handed.

    Rhino 8:30 AM  

    I struggled through the crosses and the first gimme was KRIS Kardashian... So I've wasted my life.

    Anonymous 8:31 AM  

    Sorry 4 intersecting 2

    Lewis 8:32 AM  

    I don't believe ONINTIMATETERMS is "contrived". The only 15 that felt a little archaic was OFTHESAMESTRIPE, and that didn't bother me either, considering the other 15s.

    I liked the clues for HOOP, SLAW, and TEEN. Don't like the answers TAXER (does anyone say this?). I don't see a puzzle filled with ugliness as Rex does. Where he sees NTHS, ESSO, ETNA, and BARI as dreck, they seem perfectly legitimate to me.

    This basically felt easy for a Friday with just a couple of sticky areas. I sure as heck enjoyed the solve. Where Rex saw NOFUN, I saw WAHOO. Thank you ma'am!

    Lewis 8:34 AM  

    @rhino -- Made me laugh!

    Name that tune 8:38 AM  

    Today I will pan the puzzle without even looking at a single clue. Then I will look at some clues, and some answers, and I will pan it some more. Then there was some bad fill, like there is in every puzzle, but today I'll use it to pan the puzzle even more. Some days it's "kept to a minimum" and acceptable, but today I'll use it to pan the puzzle even more. Oh, and I'll be condescending towards the constructor of an overall complex and interesting puzzle that was accepted in the New York Times, even though I haven't published a puzzle of any interest since 1983. This puzzle was chosen for publication in the New York Times by Will Shortz, and therefore it sucks.

    Anonymous 8:42 AM  

    Just couldn't see A STROKE... in ASTRO...

    Could Rex Porker be OFL's super ego?

    Elle54 8:49 AM  

    Saint bede, Bari, Teton

    Anonymous 8:49 AM  

    @Rhino: As Socrates said, "The unexamined life without the Kardashians is not worth living."

    Bob Kerfuffle 8:53 AM  

    Medium for me, with side-by-side write overs at 18 D, END AT --> END ON (and thanks to my blessed ignorance of the Kardashians, never made it to END IN); 5 D, HOSTESS CUPCAKES --> HOSTESS TWINKIES (had even noticed there would be a K from NANOOK, but failed to see that it was in the wrong place - but "contrived?" Never! I grew up two doors away from a Wonder Bread/Hostess thrift shop, and Hostess Twinkies was an everyday term.); and 33 D, YAHOO! --> WAHOO! (not quite onomatopoetic, but not immediately determined); and not helped by initially putting STEER, the answer to 25 D in 27 D. Not quite a CLEAN SWEEP of errors, but darn close!

    Twinkie fan 8:55 AM  

    I did like how HOSTESSTWINKIES was clued as "food product" rather than food.

    GeezerJackYale48 8:55 AM  

    Just a small complaint: although the answer to 43 across was pretty obviously "slaw", I have never known anyone in my very long life to eat slaw with a "dog"; sauerkraut, relish, and of course mustard. But slaw? Never never.

    RooMonster 8:59 AM  

    Hey All !
    Agree with the easy-med rating. It seemed to flow steadily for me. Didn't fly through puz, however. Still had a DNF, :-( , wanted SAINT juDE, also WoHOO. Oh well. Not too shabby for me on a FriPuz! At least it wasn't GROSS & NO FUN!

    Short and sweet!


    Aketi 9:01 AM  

    @rhino, OMG you made my day.

    RnRGhost57 9:12 AM  

    Liked it more than MRex, which I could write pretty much every day.

    What @GeezerJackYale wrote about slaw.

    @rhino, genuine LOL.

    Carola 9:14 AM  

    This was an occasion when @Rex's critique really surprised me, as I found this puzzle a real pleasure to solve. Somehow, I don't mind (or perhaps don't really notice) the OAFS and WAHs that rankle him. I kind of like the mix of old-style crosswordese with some newer handy fill (OMG, MEME). And I thought all of the long answers were good - especially HOSTESS TWINKIES as A STROKE OF GENIUS. One rankle moment for me, though: MAMMY as a "housemaid."

    slaw dog 9:16 AM  

    @GeezerJackYale48: You need to get out more. Slaw on hot dogs is extremely popular in the South, especially North Carolina.

    From Wiki: "In North Carolina, hot dogs are prepared Carolina style which includes chili, slaw and onions; locally, mustard sometimes replaces slaw, or is added as a fourth item."

    slaw dog 9:19 AM  

    Here's the web site serious eats on nthe subject: "Hot dogs slathered with a sweeter, finely chopped, mayo-based slaw are popular in the South, where variations can include the chili-slaw (cole slaw, mustard, raw onion, minced all-meat chili) and BBQ slaw. Some places, like Nu-Way in Macon, Georgia, use red hots, while others may go for the all-beef with natural casings."

    Anonymous 9:26 AM  

    And, the clue for 43A specifies a side with dogs. When I go to a barbeque, I frequently have a side of coleslaw with my hotdog.

    Michael Aarons 9:27 AM  

    @Carola 9:14: Tip for not being surprised by Rex's critiques: Count on them being mean and petty, and you will be unsurprised 95% of the time.

    Norm 9:37 AM  

    I found this one a real slog and not enjoyable at all, so I'm in Rex's camp for once.

    mathguy 9:50 AM  

    I thought that Rex's criticisms were fair, but I still liked the puzzle.

    About average difficulty for a Friday. MGI was 23, slightly below average (easier).

    We're going to be in Charleston and Savannah next week. I'll check out the dogs with slaw. I'll also be going for she-crab soup (which friends have raved about). What else should this West Coast guy, who has never been to the South, sample?

    joho 9:53 AM  

    I love the word WAH!!!!

    Great clue in "Rounded up figure" for STEER, too.

    And the mis-parsing of ASTRO intstead of A STRO led to a great aha moment and great answer. I can't decide which I like better, ASTROKEOFGENIUS or HOSTESSTWINKIES.

    Wonderful to see the contemporary SNOWDEN and ELIZABETHWARREN. Questions: are they OFTHESAMESTRIPE? Do you think they are ONINTIMATETERMS?

    I DNF with mEDE for BEDE, dumb! But all in all this was an easy, breezy Friday which I enjoyed a lot. Thank you, Mary Lou!

    southern man 9:55 AM  

    mathguy--shrimp and grits, for the win.

    Mohair Sam 9:57 AM  

    @Geezer Jack - Not to pile on, but:

    Have a sister-in-law who's a native of Charlotte, N.C. Years ago at a family picnic in Syracuse she piled coleslaw on a Hoffman's hot dog. We Yanks were aghast - but she said, "All y'all don't do that? Goddamn, you're missin' a treat." And she was right.

    jberg 10:06 AM  

    @mohair, I'm suspicious -- if you couldn't name any Kardashians, how did you know those names were theirs? But then, I finished with an error at KRoS/END oN. I like the on better than IN, but if I had thought to check it I'd probably have figured out it must be KRIS.

    I too fell for the HOSTESS cupcakes misdirect -- partly because I figured TWINKIES were just that. Dan White didn't use the "Hostess Twinkies defense," after all. But OK. And as a non-religious person, I'd figured that the "venerable" in "The Venerable BEDE" was something like the "blessed" in "Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta" -- i.e., a step of holiness just short of sainthood. Turns out I'm wrong, and the crosses finally forced me to admit it.

    I liked the puzzle though. NANOOK of the North would have been enough for me all by itself. If only 52A had been clued as "Ethiopian prince" then that whole NANOOK BEDE RAS line would have had a nice old-timey feel.

    Other nice touches: MOM crossing MUMS, and TARZAN paired with NANOOK at opposite ends of that ladder going up across the middle.

    What I learned, aside from the BEDE sainthood: there was an Empress ANNA, and Zac EFRON is not related to Nora and Delia Ephron. And from the comments, that there are reference works to tell you what to eat with your hot dog.

    Nancy 10:29 AM  

    How appropriate. It was MAMMY who let me in.

    I didn't find this puzzle easy at all, because, even though I had GNAW at the outset, I didn't see GROSS (all I could think of was Gate for 1 down) and therefore the NW was just not filling in. So it was exactly the sort of struggle I love on a Friday, and when I finally finished it, it felt like A STROKE OF GENIUS on my part. I couldn't wait to come here and tell everyone how much I enjoyed it.

    Put me in the camp of those who don't know any Kardashians. So I'm glad to learn I haven't wasted my life. (What do these people DO, anyway?)

    Today, I especially enjoyed the comments of @Lewis, @Mohair, @rhino and @Twinkie fan.

    wreck 10:41 AM  

    I can confirm that Houstonians do in fact call the Astros "The STROS." They are named the Astros after NASA's Johnson Space Center being based there. ("Houston, we have a problem!")
    A Friday puzzle that I can do without a Google in less than 40 minutes is "easy" in my books! Wheelhouse.

    OISK 10:44 AM  

    Similar experience to Nancy's. Would have preferred clue for "Mammy" to be something like "Song with lyric 'The Sun shines East, The Sun shines West..." I liked the puzzle, was annoyed by the product reference in 5 down - until I got it. Oh, Hostess Twickie! Alrighty then. But I ruined a two week streak with a DNF on "Esso" and "Condo" What was I thinking?? As usual, a brand name got me, although an easy one, but had no connection between Imperial and Esso. And down? A condo as a House alternative? Can't a condo BE a house - that is can't it consist of separate units? But this is completely brain freeze on my part - I had Conde. Why? Well, what if "House" is a magazine? Sometimes I am staggered by my own stupidity. Have no idea about "The Lorax", tired of Kardashian clues, what is "emo"? Nevertheless, I liked the puzzle more than Rex did.

    Steve M 10:44 AM  

    Ok doable

    Arlene 10:46 AM  

    Good stuff in this puzzle - ELIZABETH WARREN and TWINKIES! Wow! An enjoyable solve!

    Maruchka 10:51 AM  

    Easy-peasy here. Only hang up was TAXER/SEXES cross, since I'd written 'WoHOO'. Wossat?

    Liked it just fine, @Rex. Is Binghamton too cloudy this morning?

    Fav of the day - BEDE, the venerable.

    Re: SLAW. Excellent with pork. If I remember correctly, Southland dogs, unlike NYC, are mostly made of that. Great with Polish sausages, too.

    @Rhino - Heehee!

    @jberg - The successful TWINKIE defense (much backstory). A terrible time in SF. I was at City Hall, saw the bodies wheeled out. Criminal that he wasn't put away for life.

    Gloria Steinem 10:51 AM  

    This puzzle was clearly constructed by a woman: ROSA, ANNA, KRIS, RENO, ELIZABETHWARREN, EFRON (a TEEN idol), HIMOM, MUMS, MAMMY, RIPA, CHOO (a shoe designer), and a TWINK for good measure. At least we had TARZAN and NANOOK to balance them out.

    Anonymous 10:52 AM  

    "Steer" = "rounded up figure"??
    I'm missing?

    Nancy 10:55 AM  

    @Anon 10:52 -- Cowboys round up steers at round-ups.

    yahoo wahoo 10:55 AM  

    Two brief comments:

    1)I was looking for SCRUBS (with Zac EFRON) or some other doctor TV show as an alternative to "House."

    2)Are "Choo shoes" often confused with trains by small children?

    RooMonster 10:56 AM  

    Anon 10:52, think cattle. Steers and cows and such.
    Yeehaw, git along lil doggies!


    RooMonster 10:58 AM  

    That was Zach Braff on Scrubs. :-)


    Z 11:05 AM  

    I'm with @mathguy - Rex's critique is fair but I still liked the puzzle fine. Loads of threes and fours are fine in the early week, but NTHS on a Friday should generally be avoided. Still, I liked all the 15s at least a little (that OF seemed a little like cheating), and the short fill wasn't the most worn (no erne, eel, RRN, or Pope Leo to be found).

    I assume SEXES is supposed to read upward. Read ESSEX from the middle for the same result.

    HI MOM - MUMS - MAMMY - Boobs. Seems a little SEXES to me.

    Has anyone ever said ME ME over ONYX?

    Okay - I'm done with random observations.

    Unknown 11:09 AM  

    I spent forever trying to fit "VENERABLE" into the 5 squares of 60A. That's how this solve went for me. I was always close, but not on the right wavelength.

    GILL I. 11:10 AM  

    I enjoyed this puzzle. I knew I would, seeing ELIZABETH WARREN whom I admire greatly. Smart as can be...too bad she's not running for PRESIDENT.
    Then I saw MAMMY, I wasn't so sure. I wanted HATTY but I think it's spelled ie at the end. Then I saw A STROKE OF GENIUS and I got all happy again. So...I'm in the @Carola camp.
    @Mathguy....Yes, shrimp and CHEESE grits. My sister lives in Charleston and when I visit, I always order that dish....Just don't eat any okra!
    @Geezer...I was agreeing with you because I've never ever seen someone order a side of slaw with their dogs. I guess we're the rubes here according to those that do!

    AliasZ 11:10 AM  

    - I was wondering why STRO and A STRO____ were allowed in the same puzzle.
    - I never, ever used the word WAHOO or heard anyone else use it. Yes for yahoo, woohoo, yoohoo, wazoo, kazoo, Zuzu's petals, ZaSu Pitts, but never WAHOO. WAH~WAH~WAH~~WAAAAH~~
    - Nor NTHS. Yes for ANTS, tents, tenths, tops, but never NTHS. I was racking my brain to come up with a sentence in which NTHS may be used. "Hey Dr. Stprlzewsky, what degrees are those hanging on your wall?" "Oh, those are the NTHS, from top schools only." I like this better: "Hey squirt, stop fidgeting already! Do you have NTHS in your penths?"
    - Likewise, WHERE'S THAT is not too common in the wild. I normally hear WHERE'S THAT AT?
    - I sometimes have a hard time selecting the correct tie for my jacket or for the occasion. In such cases I take all my ties, lay them out on the bed and say: "Eenie, ME-ME, MAMMY, Moe, who's the one I favor moah?" I call this the TIE GAME. Yes, I do.
    - I hope to retire soon and be put out to STUD.

    In spite of these, ICAHN say I enjoyed this puzzle by Ms. Guizzo. I could also say that I didn't think it was NOFUN. Two 15's crossing four more is never easy. A brush movement of Van Gogh, or Einstein's brain hemorrhage may be called A STROKE OF GENIUS, and this puzzle may fall a bit short of that, but I still enjoyed it.

    Let us enjoy some beautiful singing in the aria "Scherza infida" from the opera SERIA Ariodante by G. F. Handel.


    Unknown 11:11 AM  

    This puzzle was more WAH and less WAHOO for me.

    Steve J 11:12 AM  

    Easy, middle-of-the-road Friday. The grid is a little choppy in that there's a lot of 3- and 4-letter fill. But there are six 15s, which is pretty healthy for a Friday, and they were all fine. I don't think any of them were fantastic, but they were all solidly good. And not contrived.

    Would have been nice to see more medium-length answers (there are only two longer than 6 letters, outside the 15s), but that's the tradeoff with this kind of grid. That might have helped give this a bit more zip. As it is, this is a perfectly fine Friday. They're not all going to be scintillating.

    @Anon 8.29 a.m.: How on earth is HOSTESS TWINKIES contrived?

    @mathguy: I visited Charleston and Savannah last fall. Beautiful cities. Click my name/avatar, and drop me an email. I'll send you some recommendations on some places to go for fantastic Southern food.

    jae 11:13 AM  

    Easy-medium for me too.  No erasures and ICAHN was the only WOE.  Rex is right that having done a ton of puzzles was helpful on this one.  BARI, STRO (BEQ introduced me to this version of Astros), ESSO...all gimmes.

    This one covered a lot of interesting territory from SAINT BEDE to KRIS Jenner with some RENO, EFRON, and SNOWDEN mixed in.  The 15s were lively and the fill wasn't that awful.  Liked it much more Rex did.  Nice debut themeless MLG!

    Thomas 11:14 AM  

    Cowboys round up steers

    old timer 11:21 AM  

    I spent the longest time staring at this puzzle, unable to come up with an answer to anything other than CHOO (for some reason, SNOWDEN remained hidden: "NSA guy now in Russia" I knew. Then an easy little SW corner gave me the long Down on the left, and an easy top-middle gave me HOSTESS (I too wrote down "cupcakes" at first).

    I did not know TARZAN. Had I known it, Sen. WARREN would have been more obvious. And I wanted "Where are we?" instead of WHERESTHAT. So the puzzle took a long time to fill.

    I'll agree with Mr. Porker and not Mr. Parker this time around. I thought it was a fine puzzle. My one nit: The Venerable Bede was never a saint, in the modern sense, because he was not canonized by the Pope. Nor was a a Saint in the same sense the Apostles were or St. Patrick -- by being called "sancta" (holy) and being assigned a day in the liturgical calendar by a bishop. Bede was always referred to as "Venerable" and almost never called a saint.

    Name that tune 11:26 AM  

    I appreciate a nice, "rounded-up figure."

    Hartley70 11:26 AM  

    I'm abashed to say that KRIS let me in the door today and the TAXER shut it on my way out. SEXES up by the Gray Lady just felt all wrong to me.

    I loved HOSTESSTWINKIE. I was delighted to see them resurrected after the bakery shut down several years ago. I don't want to eat one, but their rubbery sponginess can be very useful in a time capsule. These babies are indestructible and a marvelous example of the power of the American preservative industry. My son spent part of his junior year of college in a leper colony in India. (Ain't college grand!) As his birthday approached I wondered how I could send him a cake, by slow boat of necessity. TWINKIES were my solution. I posted a case of Twinkies and a box of candles and they arrived in perfect condition. Was there any doubt? A Twinkie never dies.

    As with yesterday's puzzle, I had a good time. I found today's a bit easier because I tend to know the trendier answers better than the esoteric fill. But, it was all inferable from the crosses so my time was fast with no cheats. I bet KRIS has a ton of JIMMYCHOO heels, and I'm really cheesed at John Oliver for giving SNOWDEN a platform to improve his image.

    yahoo wahoo 11:29 AM  

    Dangit I always get those two pretty-boy Zacs confused. EFRON, BRAFF. They're the same to me...
    Thanks for the correction.

    GeezerJackYale48 11:33 AM  

    I give up on the hot dogs. Just too much of a damn Yankee I guess, or just not with it. Lived in Kinston North Carolina for a few months - never happened to see a slaw-accompanied hot dog.

    Mohair Sam 11:35 AM  

    @jberg - KRIS filled, although ENDIN could well have been ENDoN - KRoS didn't sound like a name. We'd heard of "Keeping up with the Kardashian's" TV show and I Googled before I posted here to make sure all the "K"s were them.

    Hartley70 11:36 AM  

    And I meant to add a WAHOO for ELIZABETHWARREN!!! It's too soon but her time will come. Why haven't New Englander thrown some slaw on our dogs? It seems like a good idea to me! Maybe for lunch.

    TimJim 11:39 AM  

    Hand up for Natick at BARI/BEDE. Carl ICAHN is a villain here in St. Louis for his decimation of TWA. And "A Fighting Chance" is a surprisingly compelling read, much better than your typical campaign-y bio.

    Anonymous 11:48 AM  

    So, if the answer to 43A "side with dogs" was 11 letters long, and you had POT________, would you all still be questioning whether people actually put POTATOSALAD on their hot dogs? As was mentioned before, the clue says side, as in a side dish.

    You go to a backyard cookout, get a dog or a burger off the grill, go to the serving table, load up on coleslaw, corn, and potato salad, grab a breski and dig in.

    GeezerJackYale48 11:54 AM  

    OK Anonymous, maybe I'm beating this to death, but my comment was that "obviously the answer was slaw"; I had just never personally heard of it on/with a hot dog.

    Anonymous 11:57 AM  

    I, for one, will always "side with a dog" versus a cat.
    At this point it seems we can agree--slaw sometimes goes ON a dog, and often it's a side dish WITH a dog. Great frickin' clue for the double misdirect.

    Lewis 12:05 PM  

    Factoid: ELIZABETH WARREN has debating chops. Not only was she a high school debating champion, but she also got a full ride to George Washington University from the debate team.

    Quotoid: "'Escargot' is French for 'fat crawling BAG of phlegm'." -- Dave Barry

    Zac Who?! 12:09 PM  

    I, also, can never remember exZACly which shows Braff and EFRON See what I did there?

    barryevans 12:19 PM  

    Anytime I can finish a Friday without reference is a good day = a good puzzle. Sucks to you, Rex. I loved this one.

    (Anytime I can't finish, and Rex is his usual grump, Yeah Rex!)

    RooMonster 12:23 PM  

    I only knew Braff from being a huge fan of Scrubs. What an awesome show, it was very well written, sure, their main focus was comedy, but had some drama and just outstanding acting, with an everyday, everyman (or woman:-) ) feel to it.

    Do I say I liked it?


    Anonymous 12:25 PM  

    Shoot, I had cleat sweep instead of clean sweep. I was like, I've never heard of that, but maybe it's a new thing being said. Makes a little sense sorta. Try Cobb would have appreciated it.

    Gunnery Sergeant Hartman 12:28 PM  

    "Only STEERS and queers come from Texas, Private Cowboy, and you don't look much like a steer to me, so that kinda narrows it down. Do you suck dicks?"

    Whirred Whacks 12:28 PM  


    Agree with you: I'd love to see ELIZABETH WARREN run for president!

    TGIF 12:32 PM  

    Add me to the "I don't know EFRON from Braff" club. I also can't keep Scrubs and Grey's Anatomy straight. I've got House though. I'd really love to see 50 Shades of Grey's Anatomy! Sorry, it's Friday evening and I'm a tad buzzed.

    Anonymous 12:34 PM  

    Geez, Why is it pick on Rex day here?

    I liked the puzzle more than he did, to be sure, but he's way more accomplished at solving than I am - and I solved. So I liked it. :)

    I did think the three letter fill was a bit above average. The 15 letter answers really jumped around in subject. All in all, a nice puzzle, but it didn't bring much of a smile to my face by the end, just satisfaction on doing it.

    Joseph Michael 12:39 PM  

    As usual of late, thought Rex's critique was way off base. This boy is determined to have NO FUN.

    Had a good time with this one. Four intersecting 15s, timely answers like ELIZABETH WARREN and SNOWDEN, lots of sparkle with MISTER PRESIDENT, HOSTESS TWINKIES, HI MOM, NANOOK, and SEXES up. What's not to like?

    Congrats, Mary Lou, on your first NYT themeless.

    Martel Moopsbane 12:42 PM  

    Banish the STROs, bring back the Colt .45s.

    Charles Flaster 12:48 PM  

    Easy but naticked BARI/BEDE.
    Write over: WAHOO/yAHOO , END IN/ENDIt.
    Liked cluing---STEER, SLAW, TEEN and MISTER PRESIDENT.
    ÇrosswordEASE-- STRO, ILIE and OLE
    Opera SERIA ?
    Thanks MLG.

    Anonymous 12:49 PM  

    Re: Elizabeth Warren --

    I doubt that she'll run for the Democratic Presidential nomination, because it would cause her apparent claim to be descended from a Native American to resurface.

    There has been some confusion as to whether she made this claim on her own behalf when she was being considered for a faculty position at Harvard Law School. But there is apparently no evidence that she did so.

    What is apparently the fact, though, is that she made that claim when she was on the Law School faculty at Penn. And apparently the Harvard Law School picked up this information from her Penn records without any action on her own part.

    If all true, the folks in Massachusetts who refer to her as "Lie-a-Watha" are justified in doing so. And also, if true, this bit of history, though not disqualifying to Massachusetts libs, would be problematic in a national contest.

    I'll not post here under my usual "Nom de Rexville," for fear of having a trail of claims of racism, misogyny, and worse follow me forever. ;-)

    Thomaso808 1:10 PM  

    HIMOM, seems like I just saw you yesterday!

    HIMOM was my first write-in, which right away led to MISTERPRESIDENT. I thought it was going be pretty easy from there, but turned out to be on the more difficult side for me. Like @Nancy, I got bogged down in the NW. I had peR, thinking "charge leader" referred to $ per ___. So the only thing I could come up with for 1D was GRipS. Typical wrong turn that took 10 minutes to unravel.

    I somewhat agree with Rex on this one. I did not like either CLEANSWEEP or WHERESTHAT. The first applies to a series of victories, not a single victory as implied by the clue, and the second to me is a green paint phrase. But the 15s were pretty good, and getting four of them to cross two is great to see.

    Even though I live in Hawaii, I get junk mail from ELIZABETHWARREN asking for my support. Her machine has a long reach!

    Nancy 1:18 PM  

    Is there a liberal Democrat with a beating heart and an active pulse who doesn't like and admire ELIZABETH WARREN? Ah, yes, but at my great age, I can't help but remember my acute disappointment at the Gene McCarthy and George McGovern debacles of the past. (Though I liked Gene a lot more than George). And what I don't want to see any more of at this critical moment in American politics is yet again another quixotic, unelectable liberal Democratic candidate. So while I like Liz a lot, I won't support her. And whatever Hillary's flaws, I believe she'll be the Democratic candidate most likely to win. I was a Government major and learned early on that "pol-
    itics is the art of the possible."

    Masked and Anonymo3Us 1:22 PM  

    @12:49pm anon potshot taker - Warren's mother and grandmother's side of the fam have long claimed Cherokee and Delaware tribe ancestry. OK Historical Society says this is sometimes a difficult thing to prove. Or disprove.

    Liked the puz's themeless mix of long, medium-sized, and weeject-sized entries. BARI and ETNA have Patrick Berry usage immunity, btw. And many other short entries @63 didn't like have been widely used by great constructioneers. So... Do WAH Diddy Diddy, dude.

    Really liked the TAXER clue. Wanted nanoUk.
    Plus, puz keeps us up with the Kardashians. Commendable.


    GILL I. 1:44 PM  

    @Nancy....I'm not a liberal Democrat but I still admire her smarts and her tenacity. I also agree with her on her take and championing of the middle class as well as her disdain for bankers and their bailouts....
    Wow, that was a mouth full...
    @AliasZ. I'm so glad no coffee passed my lips while reading your post....I love a morning laugh!

    Dan Snyder 2:16 PM  

    The horribly offensive mascot of the Cleveland Indians, a caricature of a grinning Native American, is named "Chief Wahoo."

    Thankfully there's nothing like that in the NFL, a much classier league.

    Leapfinger 2:37 PM  

    I thought it a STROKE OF [in]GENIoUS -- a bit of synchronicity there, right, @Alias? -- to misdirect 3D into the direction of something ASTROnomical; one could even call that ASTRO-logical.

    It was also pretty subtle to cross HIMOM with MUMS, and to INTIMATE that NANOOK of the North calls his CONDO a SNOW DEN instead of a plain old iglu.

    otoh, there was plain old EFRONtery in "O C, U LI, I LIE..." CERTainli, we all LIE, if only out of pure politesse.

    Not quite ESS O subtle was the STrain of religiosity. It STarted with SAINT BEDE, WHERE I went with SAINT JUDE, because Beatles. In no time at all, I spotted:
    ST HAT, patron SAINT of milliners
    ST RO, patron SAINT of scullers
    ST ESS, patron SAINT of curvy roads
    ST E'ER, patron SAINT of poetic verbiage
    ST ERP, patron SAINT of Marshalls named Wyatt; also of overeaters
    ST RIPE, patron SAINT of runny cheeses
    ST UD, patron SAINT of milkmaids
    ST WINKIE, patron SAINT of oglers

    Liked it a bunch, Mary Lou; the clues had plenty of DisGuises in dis Guizzo.

    Anonymous 2:47 PM  

    @mathguy: This yankee moved to the sorta south (Arkansas) a couple years ago, and I have one word for you: barbecue (and every other way it's spelled). If you think, as I did, that it's what's done in a few minutes on a grill in the backyard, you, as I was, are SO WRONG. Ask around where the best is and go git you some. If you're not drooling from the parking lot wafts, you're at the wrong place. (Hard to go wrong with a side of slaw, by the way.)

    Anonymous 2:52 PM  

    Hey Leapy, stop being such a homOCULI.

    Anon12:49 3:04 PM  

    MaA --

    Slopes says that while at Penn she put herself on the "minority Law Teacher" list as Native American in the Faculty Directory of American Law Schools, and at Harvard she was listed as a Native American faculty member.

    This, on the strength of a grandmother's claims of being descended from Cherokees and Delawares? So she MAY (based on unsubstantiated claims) be 1/8th or 1/16th, or 1/64th a "minority," and she thereby claims Minority Law Teacher status?

    Aw, c'mon MaA, stop being an apologist...

    Anon12:49 3:06 PM  

    Oops, sorry, that's Snopes, of course.

    Mark 3:18 PM  

    Time to GNAW on SLAW while watching a STRO of genius

    wreck 3:25 PM  

    Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that Houston's baseball team is even more commonly called the "DisAstros." ;-)

    Fredd Smith 3:37 PM  

    @Dan Snyder--

    Nothing like Chief Wahoo in the NFL?

    I assume you're kidding. "Redskins" is a pretty offensive name, isn't it?

    andy 3:46 PM  

    This was the first Friday I've ever completed without error or Google, so "easy" is a fair rating. Review, on the other hand, is typically petty.

    That said, I just noticed that my attack on Rex the other day was unwarranted - I see in today's comments that Rex PORKER is lurking, and I didn't see the snarky post for what it was a few days ago (although Mr. Porker channels my thoughts better than I can).

    Rug Crazy 4:16 PM  

    Cirri crossing seri a seriously sucked (and I'm an opera fan).
    Cert should have been clued "A single breath/candy mint".... It would have sucked (no pun intended) a kettle less.

    Karl 4:31 PM  

    I am very proud to say I needed all of the crosses to get KRIS! I must be doing something right...

    Benko 4:33 PM  

    At @1249 you said "If all this were true..." Can it be that between 1249 and 304 you decided that it was all absolutely true?
    Quick research.
    Warren defends herself against those allegations in her book. Personally it just seems like more petty political sniping to me.

    Z 4:39 PM  

    @12:49 - Assuming the absolute worst case scenario (which isn't related to reality but I'm fine with pretending that it is), the "lie" pales compared to any of the current load of bovine excrement being shoveled by the crop of neo-confederates pretending to be Republicans. It is the failure of voters on the right of the political spectrum to discriminate between issues that matter and ad hominem bovine excrement that makes liberals worry about the future of our country. Jon Stewart did another funny skit on this just last night.

    Favorite Tweet today from The Hill, "Hillary Clinton is in a hurry to boost her appeal among liberals:" I've said it before, I'll say it again, The best Republican presidents of the past five decades have been Clinton and Obama.

    Anonymous 5:05 PM  

    Fredd @3:37: you are a consummate bonehead. Dan Snyder is the name of the despised owner of the Washington football team who refuses to change the team name. The comment was obviously made to demonstrate what an ass he is.

    Anonymous 5:10 PM  

    Look, all politicians lie. I'd rather have people who lie about who they're sleeping with (have at it, grammar nazi) or what their background is than people who lie about selling arms to Iran or the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The latter two resulted in massive death and destruction--the former two resulted in a stained dress and a few hurt feelings.

    Ludyjynn 5:29 PM  

    @MathGuy, I am jealous of your upcoming trip. Here are my tips: Wiley's Championship BBQ, White Marsh Island, 4700 Highway 80 East (strip mall) en route to Tybee Island, just outside Savannah proper; in Charleston, Virginia's on King for the best she-crab soup I've ever eaten, 412 King St., Coast Bar and Grill for great seafood, 39 John St., SNOB for consistently fabulous low country cuisine, 192 E. Bay St., Bowens Island Restaurant for oysters, 1870 Bowens Island Rd., and 39 Rue de Jean for great mussels and French bistro food, 39 John St. The history and architecture of Charleston is extraordinary. Have a wonderful trip!

    @Nancy, from what I can tell, Kim Kardashian's sole claim to fame is a sex tape and other whorish behavior. Mother, KRIS, serves as chief Madam and procurer for the clan. I'm such a fan...not.

    Speaking of sex, I DNFed on the SEXES/TAXER cross. OMG.

    @Geezer, not to beat a dead horse, but thus Yankee loves the taste of SLAW either on or as a side to a kosher dog. Yum.

    Thanks, MLG and WS.

    Ludyjynn 5:46 PM  

    @MathGuy, one more thing; the fried green tomatoes on menus all over Charleston are not to be missed.

    Nancy 6:44 PM  

    @Leapfinger -- Much enjoyed your parade of Saints, with daffy definitions, as I glanced hastily at this blog between coming home late from outdoors on this beautiful spring day in NYC and rushing out for dinner. And in my rush, I can't find the NY Times puzzle section, hence don't remember some of the answers. I remember ST RO, ST RIPE and ST UD, but I don't remember ST HAT. No time to search, but I trust you, I truly do. Nice post!

    Thomaso808 7:07 PM  

    @Nancy, it comes from the eminently forgettable green paint WHERESTHAT :)

    Teedmn 7:29 PM  

    This puzzle was a bit harder than I thought it would be at first, but still easy for a Friday. It took me longer than it should have to see ELIZABETH WARREN because even with the Z and second E, I had tAS at first,which didn't let me see WARREN.

    Barney Frank just spoke at the U of Minn and when asked why he supports Hillary Clinton over WARREN, since Clinton has been seen as cozy with Wall Street, Frank just replied, "On what issues do they differ?”

    No real ahas or misdirects here but a nice puzzle. Thanks, Ms. Guizzo!

    And thanks @Leapfinger for the saints, and @AliasZ for the NTHS, WAHOO mini rants.

    Fredd Smith 7:59 PM  

    @Anon5:05 --

    So I'm a "consummate bonehead" for not knowing that the name of the owner of the Washington Redskins is Dan Snyder.

    And a good day to you, sir, as well.

    Anon12:49 8:09 PM  

    All sniping aside, Senator Warren's racial makeup is irrelevant.

    It would take a major unexpected event to keep Hillary from getting the nomination and winning the Presidency.

    Apart from the fact that she is arguably the best-qualified candidate in history (senate, State Dept, 8 years of insider White House experience, there are many who will vote to elect the first woman President, just as many voted for Obama to elect the first black.

    Anonymous 10:34 PM  

    Oh relax fredd. You got on your high horse for no reason, you got called out about it, and you looked foolish. It's happened to all of us.

    Anonymous 10:35 PM  

    Not to mention she's not running.

    Leapfinger 1:15 AM  

    Hey Anony2:52, in case you were waiting for a response, sorry to have kept you waiting. You know, Life. Must admit your comment is way over my head; I can't tell whether it's a clever pun or a biting insult. All I can see is a cloudy resemblance to 'homunculus'. Cirriously, any help will be appreciated.

    @Gill I, lips rhat spew coffee shall never touch mine.

    @Thomaso808, thanks for stepping up for @Nancy, who needs to remember that trust must be earned. (Blesh your heart!)

    Leapfinger 1:39 AM  

    PS to @AliasZ
    In my hardware drawer, I have a stud finder, but I haven't had much use out of it yet.

    Elephant's Child 1:52 AM  

    Wrats! How did we miss this?

    The middle row: HOOP TAXER ANTE

    Collins and Krozel have comeback to haunt us.

    paulsfo 4:13 AM  

    @‪NCA President‬ and @‪Elle54‬: I didn't know ICAHN from the stadium or TETON as an Indian tribe. However, Carl ICAHN has been the most famous "activist investor" for decades, and TETON names both a mountain range and a national park. Using an obscure clue for a very well-known answer seems perfectly fair and normal to me.

    operapianist 2:52 PM  

    Come down south of the Mason-Dixon Line and you'll find plenty of slawdogs!

    Fred Romagnolo 5:10 PM  

    Well, with all the comments about Elizabeth Warren, I have to speculate: are the majority of these bloggers liberals because the NYT is liberal, or because crossword puzzle solvers are liberal? As to Hillary: she was a lot more liberal before she ran for Senator from New York and had to get the Jewish vote. (check her history on the question of Palestinians)

    Dave 10:23 AM  

    My beef was simple- I got all the 15 letter downs at first glance, the rest of the fill was just too easy for a Friday. As I'm not into Bronze Age fairy stories, I whiffed on St. Need/Bari.

    Just seemed like a Wednesday puzzle...

    Anonymous 4:56 PM  

    I agree, solving 15's is my main pleasure in xword puzzles. Incedently, I often use the so-called "fill" to solve the big long words or phrases the constuctor has provided to the NYT for a nominal fee. While I try not to trash talk people from the safety of my living room, I must say the comments, not the ones at the top, are why I visit this site.

    rondo 10:02 AM  

    Did not have the same dislike as OFL. Enjoy the 15s when spread out.

    Thanks @Rain forest for splainin’ LBOS from yesterday. Otherwise I wouldn’t have ever bothered to look it up and probably would never know.

    When my MN Twins are not doing so well (like the last 3 seasons) they are derided as being the TWINKIES. Local musician Craig Finn has a song about some of the (good) Twins history and the chorus includes “Please don’t call them TWINKIES.”

    Last letter to fill the grid was dead central X in SEXES, had to run the alphabet to get it. Duh.

    I kinda liked this Friday puz here in SAINT Paul. Go TWINKIES! Oops.

    260 pretty good

    rondo 10:18 AM  

    Forgot again, Kelly RIPA, yeah baby.

    Burma Shave 11:20 AM  


    She calls me a STUD, WAHOO! And wants more of this,
    For SEXES she found me
    And when she WRAPS her legs ‘round me


    spacecraft 12:25 PM  

    @leapie's "saint list" is hilarious! A tip of the 'STRO hat to ya, sir. For my own part, I made a big guess there, naticked at #51, and went with BEDE, because I'd heard of "The Venerable" one. I didn't know TETON was a tribe; tried for a while to rework that area to admit hurON.

    More troubles: I had WHERE are we? for ever. It seemed so natural it was hard to give it up. That whole E/SE section gave me fits. Wanted ROVE/IVAN before RENO/ANNA--it's obvious I don't know my history very well. But that V cross sure looked inviting.

    Finally fixed all the trouble spots--including running the alphabet for the central letter and having to go all the way to X (TAXER?? No one says that. And SEXES up? I suppose so, but that clue made the hankie flutter). Thus I ENDIN a messy but correct grid--as opposed to yesterday's ENDAT. Ugh to both.

    One more nit: a rout is not really OFTHESAMESTRIPE as a CLEANSWEEP. The latter refers to an opponent's goose egg. Sweep commonly refers to a series. But if a team takes the, say, World Series 4 games to none, they've made a CLEANSWEEP--but if they were all one-run games, you'd hardly call it a rout, which is a victory by a wide margin. Just sayin.'

    Nice to see TARZAN and NANOOK in symmetry; and SLEET to complete the weather extremes. While I wouldn't call this one ASTROKEOFGENIUS, it's still pretty good. Far from easy-medium, I make it medium-challenging. B.

    BS2 12:51 PM  


    Some say “50 Shades” is NOFUN or GROSS , but just the same,
    I like the scene that will ENDIN a TIEGAME.

    --- ROSA RENO

    rondo 2:29 PM  

    @Spacey - agree re: rout. I had the exact same thought. Great minds?

    rain forest 2:44 PM  

    Just plain challenging here. Much Americana which always slows me down (needed every cross to get ELIZABETH WARREN - is she the one who was shot in Arizona?), and a few areas where I just guessed.

    Like @Spacey, ran the alphabet to get the X in the centre.

    So, anyway I finished not knowing several entries, but that's the way some of these puzzles get done, and this one was a TAXER.

    702 My reward.

    DMG 3:20 PM  

    I seem to be the only one who ended with a DNF. Got most of it, but couldn't hack the East. Had tryon for RETAG, tAS for RAS, no idea about the Martian atmosphere, and the list goes on. So I finished withiout enough correct crosses to fill the blanks for the Senator/author. Should pay ore attention to the political world! On to tomorrow!

    Where I hope to do better than 191!

    rain forest 3:40 PM  

    Clearly I'm not up on current American politics. Apparently Senator Warren is not who I thought she was. People here seem to admire her, and so she is probably worth looking up.

    Otherwise, for what it's worth, it seems to me that Americans are divided into two groups: Democrats parading as Republicans; and red-neck, climate-change denying, pseudo-Christian, racist, NRA-loving er, people. Canada, sadly, is trending that way. Hope I didn't offend anyone.

    leftcoastTAM 5:28 PM  

    @Burma Shave is wickeder than Doug was ever evil.

    I liked the 15s, which helped a lot in filling in much of the rest of the grid.

    DNF at the CHOt/tMG (text message?) crossing.

    BS3 6:20 PM  

    Thank you, I think.

    Teedmn 12:50 AM  

    @leftcoastTAM, yes but BS1, 2 and now 3, rhymes!, which makes all the difference :-).

    @BS1, gotta love ASTROKEOFGENIUS usage.

    @rondo, liked 'em when they were Lifter Puller before the Hold Steady.

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