Metrosexual satchel / FRI 6-5-15 / Up or down 12 semitones in musical notation / Popular series of 1990s compilation albums / King in Elgar title / Eternally nameless thing / Louisville-based restaurant chain

Friday, June 5, 2015

Constructor: James Mulhern

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: none

Word of the Day: OTTAVA (48D: Up or down 12 semitones in musical notation) —
 at an octave higher or lower than written —used as a direction in music. (
• • •

This has some nice moments—there's a liveliness to OH GOD NO and FAKE PUNT and SNARKY—but there's also a certain forced hipness. I lived through the '90s and paid attention to music/pop culture and JOCK JAMS rings only the faintest of bells. MONSTER BALLADS and NOW THAT'S WHAT I CALL MUSIC! were all I could think of. I can't see JOCK JAMS bringing a lot of joy to or having much currency with NYT solvers, but I'm not mad at it. Double-J-ness alone makes it respectable. MURSE, however, is absurd in the extreme. It's a non-word. No one but no one uses that word, would claim to own one, etc. Maybe some TV episode or pop culture joke somewhere made the term briefly, unfortunately viable, but please. No. Terrible. MURSE is better as a portmanteau of "male nurse," and it's not good there, either, as male nurses are just nurses.

[even sites that sell "MURSEs" don't actually sell them]

JACKASS has a "look at me pushing the envelope!" feel that I found slightly off-putting. I use the term all the time (in private), so I'm not (at all) offended by the word, but (and perhaps this will be surprising to you), I'm not a big fan of crassness / coarseness in my puzzles. It's sort of how I feel about public use of profanity. Like, go to town if you're at home, or if just you and your friends can hear, but rein it in if you're in line at the grocery store. Blah blah something about public discourse something about I'm becoming an old man. Whatever. I know JACKASS isn't profanity, but I still wasn't as thrilled as I think I was supposed to be.

Basically you have a super-common Friday grid design today—black X (roughly) through the center with 3-wide L-corners all around (that is, 3 longer Acrosses crossing 3 longer Downs in every corner), and the results are mixed. I'd say the fill is mostly good, rarely terrible, but too often mediocre. Entire NE is entirely forgettable. With exception of JACKASS (which is at least unusual), SW isn't much better—lots of AREAARREARSIERRAERR, which is to say it's mostly the same three letters over and over and over. It's an entirely acceptable puzzle, but I wish there were more stand-out answers, and I wish the fill were somewhat smoother. REJIGGER is not and will never be a thing. Also, TEENTSY does not and will never contain that second "T." It hurts just to look at. POO, also, never acceptable.

Look how terribly I started out. I got so frustrated that I just plowed ahead, bull-in-china-shop style, refusing to stop until I'd traversed the entire grid from NW to SE. As you can see, horrific start suddenly gives way to impressive grid-spanning streak:

First four answers in the grid were wrong. Yeesh. I still don't really get how [Give a turn] makes sense for JOLT, but I'm sure that some idiom somewhere can be stretched to make that meaning work, somehow. After ARABS, though, I cut right through this thing. Doesn't mean it got Easy all of a sudden—just means it got doable. At this point, I actually wasn't at all sure about JOE or PILLS. Got screwed up by writing in NO NO NO for OH GOD NO, which made ELDEST impossible to see, which made me doubt both JOE and PILLS. Again, the elephant in the grid is REJIGGER, which is still not a thing. But once I got the NE settled, I came down and realized that all my first instincts (shown above) had been right. I made a few more mistakes along the way—GULE (?) for ORLE (53A: Edge on a shield), DIRE for DARK (55D: Forbidding), WAIT A SEC for JUST A SEC (38A: "Hold on")—but except for the WTF-ery of OTTAVA (48D: Up or down 12 semitones, in musical notation), nothing else held me up much. Puzzle took some work, but no more than you might expect on a Friday.
    Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

    [Follow Rex Parker on Facebook and Twitter]


    jae 12:07 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    jae 12:09 AM  

    South easy (except for OTTAVA), north medium-tough partly because I held on to dEAmAN for too long.  (Smuggler's Blues...hey, Miami Vice was all about the music.) Finally figured out MURSE and finished. 

    Cringe: TEENTSY - try typing it into Google. 

    Never heard of JOCK JAMS but according to wiki the albums have some good tunes. 

    You really gave me a turn.  You really JOLTed me....

    This was just fine for a Fri.  A tad crunchy with some zip.  Liked it!

    Anonymous 12:20 AM  

    I'm usually agree with you on re- words, but I think rejigger is a word that people,use a lot. I know I use it I conversation. In fact, you never see jigger without the re-.

    John Child 12:41 AM  

    I filled in the lower left triangle quite quickly, but ran into heavy sledding in the upper half. WOEs and clues double-timed me, and I cheated to finish. MENTOS and TAGALOG didn't seem worth the struggle.

    I've heard a SALVE of MURSE ORLE will clear up the JOCK JAMS.

    POO. No. It doesn't matter how it's clued.

    "Boris, ve're beink sent to OTTAVA on our vay to kill Moose and Squirrel."

    Google Ngram viewer on TEENTSY versus teensy.

    MDMA 1:07 AM  

    Needed every cross for JOCK JAMS.

    TBILISI was a "d'oh" forehead slapper, took way to long to get from ample crosses after fixating on the wrong Georgia.

    Feels stupid that I didn't get "red and white" (wines!) for CARAFES until after finishing, so had to rely on "quadragesimal" to get FORTY, and the cross OTTAVA didn't help. Ottáva is the stolitsa of Kanáda (stress on the second syllable in both cases).

    TEENTSY is just wrontg.

    30D wanted to be PestS instead of PILLS, that held up progress for a while.

    "wait A SEC" for JUST A SEC, and "let in" for ASK IN, but was soon resolved.

    Not sure why I loved this puzzle, but I had a big smile as I finished.

    Per Xwordinfo, JACKASS already appeared in NYT in 2013 and 2011. The latter was a Patrick Berry, and the archives show Rex had no problem with it then.

    DLF 1:33 AM  

    I though REJIGGER was great - definitely a word I've seen before. JOCKJAMS also came easy, but maybe that's the result of being a kid in the 90s. TBLISI was a nice, tricky answer, and EVENODDS is clever. TEENTSY is horrible. Just horrible. Some other messy stuff (DONATOR is barely a word; it's "Donor"), and ASKIN crossing USHERIN just feels wrong, somehow.

    This was one of my fastest fridays in quite a while. One of my fastest ever, in fact.

    Anonymous 1:36 AM  

    Can someone please explain the clue for Reagan?

    Anonymous 1:38 AM  

    Oh, nm, got it.

    Anonymous 1:42 AM  

    Face it, this puzzle was FAIL from start to finish. Rex says it was sorta okay, then points out all the reasons it wasn't. I was convinced of failure at the awful JOE intersection, although I should have seen it--but I became inured to lousiness.

    BTW, other acceptable answers (by this puzzle's lack of standards) to 18A are TRUMAN, GENIKE, LANCER, RNIXON, GRFORD, CARTER, GIPPER, GWBUSH, BARACK, or any other variation on a president since 1934. In other words, if one wants to clue a presidential name, try to avoid editorializing.


    AliasZ 1:52 AM  

    This puzzle proves that a crossword constructor's idea of an inspiring and sparkling seed entry may not necessarily be worthy of a NYT puzzle and its solvers. Today's JOCKJAMS is a perfect case in point, as was David Steinberg's FOSHIZZLE a while ago. Once again, it seems made-up words and phrases that nobody ever needs or uses trump a rich vocabulary.

    Zippy or hip is not all it's cracked up to be, yet neither of the above examples could be called that. Perhaps James Mulhern's fault was that he, like a proud stage mother, pushed it up front, in our faces, into the grid's most prominent real estate at 1A, as did David Steinberg if memory serves. Hiding it below at 60 or 63A would have given the puzzle a different feel. As it is, JOCKJAMS cast a long ugly shadow on the whole grid.

    Too bad, because there was plenty of decent stuff further down, my favorites being ALL FOR IT, JUST A SEC, OH GOD, NO! and TAGALOG. I DECLARE, TBILISI and REJIGGER were STELLAR as well, while IDEATE and ORLE cast a Maleskan hue over those starlit patches. I did like much of the clever cluing though, one that stood out was "It's between the lines."

    ASK IN crossing USHER IN was perhaps the worst offense in the grid, although TEENTSY and MURSE were clearly the worst individual entries.

    Given that JOCKJAMS and MURSE set a tone of trying too hard to be zippy and hip, I was fully prepared for 38D to end with "off" instead of ASS. In fact I entered "off" at first, although JACKASS comes close to being in equally questionable taste.

    SAD TO SAY James, on the whole this one didn't do it for me. Oh well... I hope Saturday will be better.

    Jillian 1:58 AM  

    I've been reading your posts for years and this is the first time I felt the need to comment. Normally, I agree with you on word choice -and do today for rejigger and teentsy. Jock Jams seemed odd given the relative fame "Now! thats what I" experienced in the 90s (but maybe this belief is due to where I grew up. I recall every commercial break during high school in CA airing a "Now" ad yet never once saw anything advertising for Jock Jams).

    Murse, however, is a fairly common term. About 10 years ago I'd say that 'man bag' was the more common phrase for the idea but now murse is also acceptable. In fact, it was the first word I got in today's grid and helped me quickly fill in the rest of NE. I, for one, was happy it was included. The puzzle would have been a non starter for me without it.

    PS I loved the clue for Reagan

    Anonymous 2:01 AM  

    I have definitely jiggered, and then rejiggered.

    Charles in Austin 2:10 AM  

    JACKASS seems less "profane" than ASS, which we see rather frequently. It doesn't seem like a push-the-envelope word to me.

    chefwen 2:18 AM  

    We were going along swimmingly. Went around the grid and ended up in the NE where the fun and games ended. MENTOS, can't stand them, so,I never would have known of the slogan.. Had NFL before NBA, whatta I know about where sport teams are from, other than " Da Pack". Thought the purse was a manny, I guess that's a male nanny. Hated TEENTSY, lose that extra T, doesn't belong.

    Other than that corner, it was great.

    Anonymous 3:22 AM  

    @Anon 1:35 - The War on Drugs was started by the Reagan administration, with Nancy famously telling us all to "just say no."

    MDMA 4:32 AM  

    @Anonymous 3:22

    The term "War on Drugs" itself was popularized during the Nixon administration. There was a renewed emphasis during the Reagan administration ("Just Say No", D.A.R.E., etc).

    However, most of the alternate suggestions by Anon 1:42 are implausible in the extreme (as crossword answers, rather than as references to people). For instance you could have a NIXON or a RICHARDNIXON, but an "R. NIXON" would just be bad fill.

    George Barany 5:03 AM  

    SPLENDA review by @Rex of @ James Mulhern’s puzzle, short and Nutrasweet, and hardly as SNARKY as one might have expected. SAD_TO_SAY that while I was pleased with myself for figuring out JOCK_JAMS, whatever those may be, strictly from the crossing down words, I_DECLARE that I had a different last three letters after JACK??? . Of course, EVEN_ODDS reminded me of @Jeff Chen’s puzzle of 8 days ago, and another one, a baseball theme written with @Charles Flaster a year and a half ago.

    My biggest problems, though, were in the NE, like not knowing enough about metrosexual culture to IDEATE any answer other than PURSE for 9-Down, nor having ever learned TAGALOG (was looking for a language ending in EAN, the A crossing King LEAR). Which is kind of too bad, because MENTOS form the basis of one of the most amazing demos that we provide to our general chemistry students. Click on this link and enjoy!

    mac 5:04 AM  

    This looked hard when I just started out, putting in "solo" first. Several unknowns, but I got it right anyway: Jock Jams, teenTsy, rejigger, Snape.

    My first thought at 18A was Nancy Reagan and her slogan. Nice clue for old Olaf.

    Pretty good Friday for me.

    Jim Walker 5:08 AM  

    SADTOSAY Did not care for it.

    Of all the things REAGAN is known or remembered for, waging a war on drugs would be very far down the list.
    MURSE, JOCKJAMS, TEENTSY SNAPE OREL etc. leave a bad aftertaste.

    Had Saul for OLAF for too long.


    David 6:10 AM  

    I expected ASKIN/USHERIN to be a bigger offender in the write-up, as I was specifically trying to avoid duplicating the IN when solving the second one. Agree that TEENTSY seemed all wrong---I started from the SY, so I could see where it was headed, but I resisted in the hopes that something more sensible would show up.

    But I'm in the camp that got MURSE right away. Which may be an indictment of how many sitcoms I've watched, as the term feels far more common in pop culture poking fun at the concept than in real life. But I think I literally put it in with no crosses, as the clue seemed to be worded to send me directly to that answer---the directness of the clue made it feel like an acceptable balance. If it had been clued with something odd like "Holder for uncommon holder?" then it would have been cruelly opaque, certainly.

    I also thought REJIGGER was great. It feels like a very common term, I'm sure I say it often. Felt fresh and intuitive, to me, rather than either fake or forced like it did to Rex and others. Always interesting to find out how people's vocabularies differ, as this isn't one I'd have expected to see such stark disagreement about.

    I did pause at JACKASS, though. I'm fine with the word, certainly, but I held off briefly because I for some reason instinctively thought the puzzle wouldn't use it. Given how often we see ASS, that may be a little silly, though---this may be more an issue of what we expect the puzzle to be okay with, rather than what we ourselves are okay with seeing in it. But mileage may vary.

    All in all, a fun puzzle, and a bit faster than my usual. A bunch of solving missteps throughout (canasta instead of OLDMAID, spin instead of JOLT, JOCKrock because why not), including a few Hail Marys (TBILISI had 4 out of 5 of my final letters, I think) but they mostly felt like part of the game, so I even appreciated those mistakes.

    GILL I. 6:11 AM  

    I loved this one. There wasn't one single word I didn't like - even though a couple of them were new to me.
    JOCK JAMS sounds like some kind of itchy fungus in the JACK ASS area. TEENTSY needs a little winky and dang, I didn't know TBILISI (Who named it that?)
    REJIGGER is just fun to say but it does sound like some kind of southern cootie.
    CARAFES and EARBUDS were the hardest for me to get but, by gum, I got it done.
    Did anyone want a CAKE WALK for 60A? No, I'm sure I was the only idiot...

    Loren Muse Smith 6:34 AM  

    My first gimme was TAGALOG which I promptly rejiggered to "Tagalag" to fit "phase" for snap, as in I'm in a bit of a goucho and tam phase at the moment. How do I look? Be honest.

    I've never seen REJIGGER before, either, but I would say that there've been times I've squinted at the level of Bombay in my glass and rejiggered that baby a couple of times.

    JACKASS didn't bother/surprise me. (Just felt a bit miffed for a friend who had a puzzle rejected once because of "rat's ass.") Funny, though that it crosses ARREAR.

    I've spent most of my post-puzzle-pondering-pre-public pontificating thinking about POO. It's definitely a cutesy ending, but it seems to work only with one-syllable words, and it has to be, in fact, "i-poo” unless said word or name unless already ends in Y or I.

    Rexipoo-yep, Rexpoo - nope
    Murseypoo – yep, Mursepoo - nope
    Dougypoo – yep, Dougpoo - nope
    Kerfufflepoo – not so much. Sorry, Bobbypoo.

    Adding that “ie” sound is crucial to using the suffix. Ask someone to let you touch their* doggiepoo and they’ll happily oblige, but ask them to let you touch their dogpoo and they’ll grab the leash and back away, careful not to make any sudden movements.

    One of my dearest friends in NJ, a math tutor, always carried a MURSE (never seen the word, either); he and his wife were pretty much my favorite people in all of Ridgewood. This man, in his 60s, was quiet and preferred to stay in the background. We were all at this going away party for a heavy-hitter guy who had been promoted and was moving to St. Louis where he was to be an even heavier hitter. All the uber-cool 40-something mover and shaker Wall Street guys were coolly smoking their cigars and coolly playing pool in the coolly-rejiggered gazillion dollar basement compound. As Bob (MURSE guy) and I were watching, he quietly mentioned to me that he used to play some pool. I knew Bob. I knew what this meant. I chimed in over Cool Guys and asked how someone else could get in on the game. So I held Bob's MURSE as he Wiped. The. Floor. With. These. Guys. I mean, it was like pool you see on TV. Super satisfying moment for me. Bob probably didn't really care. He was just that cool.

    James – fun time. Loved OH GOD, NO, SAD TO SAY, and SNARKY.

    *I've come down very firmly on where I stand with using this singular their/they.

    Anonymous 6:41 AM  

    There isn't anything really remarkable about a word, over the course of four years, shifting in a person's estimation from not warranting comment to being "slightly off-putting."

    emspop1 6:57 AM  

    OK with MURSE (40+ hits on Hear REJIGGER all the time. Same with SNARKY. Mostly loved Rex's use of "WTF-ery" in his post. I'll have to find a way to work that into a conversation today. I don't always agree with him but I love his style.

    elitza 7:28 AM  


    Also, EVENODDS was a theme not very long ago, so that was a little weird.

    Z 7:44 AM  

    Was thinking USDOJ or some such until a couple of the downs flipped the switch to Nancy REAGAN (@anon Brennan - "Just Say No" is one of the more infamous ironies of the 80's).

    Atlanta has the same number of letters as TBILISI. Fortunately I've been tricked by "Georgia" before so it did not take me long to get to the Caucasus.

    waiT A SEC really slowed me down, causing me to wonder what sort of iKeA item a "Chamonix" might be. To be fair it's been more than thirty years since I've been to Chamonix and less than a year since I've been to Ikea..

    REJIGGER was easy, if you live in a house built in 1939 for 18 years you find yourself REJIGGERing things all the time.

    If you're ever in Detroit you might want to eat at OTTAVA Via. It's on 8th St.and Michigan Ave. in the Corktown neighborhood.

    I don't see many MURSEs in Detroit, it seems to be more of a coastal phenomenon. Backpacks are the thing. I've seen men In suits and very professionally dressed women toting backpacks to work. I also notice that men seem to get away with business very casual a lot more than the women.

    Jerk -> JACKASS strikes me as unnecessarily crass as well. Not in a "you shouldn't do that" way but more in a "why choose the pejorative when you don't have to" way. If you're going to go "cute suffix" for POO why call names with JACK ASS?

    Anonymous 7:51 AM  

    I may have been on the Sam wavelength as the constructor.

    This Mon-Wed solver found this puzzle a delight to solve because he was able to conquer almost the entire west side and SE without resorting to any Google or peeks. Had waiT A SEC instead of JUST A SEC and see IN instead of ASK IN but that was easily corrected. On the NE got bogged down. Had tex for NBA at 11D and Mexico for REAGAN at 18A. Why Reagan?
    On most Fridays I stare at blank spaces for the longest of time stumped by an unending string of trivia related clues. This puzzle had a limited number of trivia that allows someone like me to make inroads into the puzzle.
    Like REX I did not like JACKASS. I don't use this term even in private conversation.

    My verdict - easy and enjoyable.

    Anonymous 7:56 AM  

    I think the issue is "rejigger" instead of simply "rejig"

    Unknown 8:03 AM  

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    r.alphbunker 8:10 AM  

    Took me 15% of total solve time to enter half the letters correctly. Had upnExT for {First in line} and sENsen for {Packaged candy once promoted with the slogan "The Freshmaker." I finally needed to be told that these were wrong.

    DShawMaine 8:28 AM  

    I'm glad that Rex (and others) hated TEENTSY, cuz that just made me mad! You don't get to spell words any way you want, to fit them in (well, I guess you do, but you shouldn't).

    Tom R 8:31 AM  

    18 Across - war on drugs wager. Terrible clue. Richard Nixon coined the term at a press conference and since that, didn't all Presidents wage the war? This clue doesn't exactly pinpoint an answer. Like Nancy Reagan I "Just say no" to this one.

    Not-quite-quotidian Dad 8:43 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Anonymous 8:45 AM  

    John Child said: "TAGALOG didn't seem worth the struggle" That's pretty rude seeing as that's the native language of the Philippines. Do you have the same disdain for Nepali?

    I'm chiming in against "teentsy" with the extra "t".

    And Loren Muse Smith, your postings have been a hoot lately.

    Not-quite-quotidian Dad 8:46 AM  

    TEENTSY is the worst thing i've ever seen. at least i've heard someone say REJIGGER in my lifetime. MURSE was my first answer, so i don't know what that says about me. JACK... OK sure, ASS works I guess.

    dk 8:47 AM  

    🌕🌕 (2 mOOns)

    Psst, hey, over here. It is I, Dr. Brave. The evil Dr Aluta has banished me to the dark side of the moon (as seen in dk's little picture). What ever you do - do not contact her! Think Medusa. She will take your ex add a little salt and have them for dinner…. using the plates she bought with your lottery winnings. And, she will force you to look up on Goggle fill for your x-words. She did it to dk today for 20a. As a result dk is crestfallen. He hates to look up fill. Anyway you have been warned.

    Thanks James. A fine puzzle. Solved from the bottom as I read others did. Had no idea for 20a. Had it filled in from the crosses and still looked it up. I did not get into the groove (60's lingo for ebb and flow) of this one.

    Anonymous 8:50 AM  

    Wanted to get some phrase with K-Tel in the space for record compilations, even though the timing is a bit off.

    G 8:52 AM  

    I carry a murse, and call it a murse. MURSE was my second answer. One of my faster Fridays.

    joho 8:53 AM  

    I love my Cock-a-POO. I would have used a dog-related clue.

    First I spelled it TEENsie. It is hard to accept TEENTSY.

    I also had a problem with ASKIN/USHERIN.

    But those were the only problems I had with this excellent puzzle!

    Loved OHGODNO and SADTOSAY which make a good team. Speaking of which, cute clue for YOKED.

    I liked JACKASS. I can just hear somebody muttering, "That guy, what a JACKASS." (@Loren, I was actually referring to the tiny little rear ends of baby rats!)

    SNARKY is just plain fun to see and say!

    Thank you, James Mulhern, STELLAR job!

    GeezerJackYale48 8:56 AM  

    Still have no idea what a jockjam is/was. Obviously a few generations behind/ahead of me. I do declare!

    Dorothy Biggs 9:00 AM  

    Not as bad as yesterday, still not very fun. I was doing lots of pop music in the 90s...never heard of JOCKJAMS. I see that there were several yearly releases of mostly dance music, which is probably why I never heard of it...or maybe because I wasn't a jock?

    To yesterday's faux Schrödinger's Cat puzzle, today's REJIGGER/JOE/ELDEST crossing, I had the "equally correct-ish" REgIGGER/gOo/oLDEST. Two out three isn't bad, no? But I wonder what the percentage of solvers would know...oh, never mind.

    USHERIN crossing ASKIN is a bit dubious.

    Do any of you often use SALVE as a verb? Can something used as a salve be a salve? And really, nothing to do with the puzzle, but "salve" ranks right up there for me with moist. That "L" in there is just...OHGODNO.

    Overall, I found the cluing to be on the gratuitously difficult side.

    I liked SNARKY because, well, I do. I wonder what the percentage of solvers...

    Elaina 9:19 AM  

    When we travel, my husband refers to the bag he carries with the guidebook, umbrella, tissues and whatever as the MURSE. But his tone is always SNARKY when he says it.

    quilter1 9:30 AM  

    Yep, solved from the bottom up, too. REJIGGER is common. I do it in quiltmaking all the time. Also frequently REJIGGER our 114 y/o house. Hated what others hated, but really enjoyed doing the puzzle.

    Generic Solver 9:36 AM  

    @r.alphbunker @8:10 AM

    Your solving experience seems like some variant to the "80-20 Rule", as in a small percentage of the answers caused most of your grief. I just learned from Wikipedia that there is a formal name for this rule, the Pareto Principle or principle of factor sparsity.

    Anonymous 9:37 AM  

    I had to rely on the crosses to get JOCKJAMS - never heard of it. MURSE was no problem, although it isn't a term I use or hear much. The extra T in TEENTSY annoyed me, but it served FAKEPUNT well. I got stupidly stuck by using OLDEST in place of ELDEST, but that formed JOO for JOE. I wondered far too long if JOO was some icky term for mud. Lost at least a minute or more on that error alone. Nevertheless, my solve time was HALF my normal solve time for a Friday. Something isn't right about that. I'm not nearly as proficient a solver as Rex or most of the posters here, but still...

    Michael Hanko 9:39 AM  

    I own (and use) a MURSE, so that came easily. It's a strange word, which always causes me to cringe a bit when I use it, but what else is a guy going to call his carrier-of-things? Not a purse, certainly. The word was originally used pejoratively, it seems, primarily by those who would never be caught dead carrying one. Now it's in a phase of being "reclaimed" by MURSE-carriers; we're attempting to feel good about our accessorizing. Perhaps in a year or so, the word will just mean what it means with no extra connotations regarding manliness or the lack thereof. ("Manbag" evokes an unfortunate—or at least, unintended— anatomical image.)

    Doesn't the clue for EREI break some kind of convention, in its repetition of the I in the quotation in the clue? I can't remember seeing an example of this in the NYT.

    Billy C 9:55 AM  

    There goes @Professor Barany again, using this space to promote one of his puzzles again, after having resisted doing so for longer than usual. Give it up, George!

    jrstocker 10:05 AM  

    Reagan was known for other things more than the War on Drugs, but it's a Friday clue. It should be a bit esoteric. Unbunch your panties, please.

    Incidentally, I thought this was a snap. First Friday I've ever finished in under 10.

    NeilD 10:09 AM  

    I think you really had to be a kid in the 90s to appreciate JOCK JAMS because I absolutely loved that throwback. MURSE is most definitely a thing - people don't claim to own one because it's a somewhat derogatory term, but it's certainly familiar. REJIGGER I've heard of before, but I agree with Rex on TEENTSY.

    Nancy 10:10 AM  

    Here is proof positive that when I venture into my first crossword tournament in NYC in August, it won't just be lack of speed that does me in. Today, as I was skimming Rex, I was thinking "MURSE???? What a perfectly silly answer. Why didn't he see PURSE, like perfectly brilliant moi? And why didn't he know, therefore, that the candy has to be PENTOS, not MENTOS?" (Truth be told, I've never heard of either of them.) Oh, but it gets worse...

    For 48D, I had OCTAVA instead of OTTAVA. OCTAVA sounds sort of like an octave, meaning it sounded perfectly right to me. Unfortunately, that gave me the well-known word, FORCY at 51A. Did I correct it to FORTY? Hell, no. I simply thought it was some sort of foreign word that would pair nicely with "quadragesimal," which also sounds sort of foreign.

    In short, I enjoyed this puzzle, but I also butchered this puzzle. I thought I'd finished it successfully, but I didn't. Don't look for my name among the winners at Lollapuzzoola.

    oldbizmark 10:11 AM  

    STRONGLY DISAGREE. This was EASY as all get up. I was extremely disappointed to have another unchallenging, non-Friday-like puzzle. Found the fill to be pretty good. Just felt like a Tuesday or maybe Wednesday. Certainly not Friday worthy.

    Anonymous 10:28 AM  

    Jock jams? Was new to me. Jock Rock seemed more like something I membered from the misty past, and that gave me roll instead of jolt so stumbled there for a bit until I got back on track.

    ghkozen 10:35 AM  

    I think there may be a generational thing going on here. (Sorry if that is rude!) MURSE was my favorite answer in the grid. It's fresh, it's current, and the people I know say it All The Time. Rex, the reason you don't find it on shopping sites is that it is generally used as a pejorative. The owner may claim to have a satchel or a messenger bag, but it's a MURSE.

    Again, I also quite liked JOCKJAMS. Spent a lot of time listening to them during sports workouts in the mid-90s to early 2000s. As far as I am concerned, a much more reasonable and fair clue than most of the operas that the NYT inflicts on solvers regularly.

    Arlene 10:39 AM  

    I must be getting better at this crossword stuff. If it had been a few decades ago, I wouldn't even have started. Turned out that I got some traction along the way - and enough to actually finish. The difference now is that I got correct answers which I hated - the ones that have already been discussed.
    I had OCTAVE, but knew I had to switch to OTTAVA to accommodate FORTY and SADTOSAY.
    And FAKEPUNT had to go in, but that meant TEENTSY??? OY!!!
    And I knew it had to be JOLT, but that meant somewhere in Georgia (which I figured was no longer referring to the US of A) - but a name starting with TB - well, so be it!
    And I thought initially to put in MURSE, but really didn't think that was going to be right - but MENTOS had to go in, and so MURSE was there to stay.

    So the revelation was that words I would normally reject ended up staying and were correct. Not sure what to make of this, except a big pat on my back!

    Bob Kerfuffle 10:40 AM  

    @lms - LOL!

    Good puzzle to me, Medium difficulty.

    Clever cluing, and I did have to rejigger (definitely in my vocabulary) a few answers: PURSE >> MURSE; GOO >> JOE; TEENSEY >> TEENTSY.

    Hartley70 10:50 AM  

    I filled in most of the bottom first, but it became clear that I wasn't going to get the top without 20a. I knew I could have googled it, because I knew it wasn't the state once ATLANTA didn't work, but I was just too darn lazy this morning. I let the magic reveal button give me TBILISI which I can recognize as correct, but never would have remembered.
    Like @r.alphbunker, I wanted sensen because it's old timey and fun. I hate the word MURSE. Please guys, call it a satchel when I'm around. I wanted "Now that's what I..." for 1a. I have never heard or used REJIGGER, and I live in a 100 year old house which needs a lot of rejiggering on a daily basis. TEENTSY is just sad. POO was fine with me (not to worry, Aketi. I like all your stories even if I don't get the whole snail thing). JOLT for shock as in "I had quite a turn", as my grandmother would say, was not a problem.
    And boom, there went an hour of my morning. Disgraceful, but I'll remember TBILISI in the future, so there's that! I'm sure I can work it into my conversation on a regular basis.

    wreck 10:59 AM  

    Yesterday was slow, then fast; today was fast, then slow. I struggled with TBILISI,TAGALOG,REJIGGER,and took a long time to sort out the SE with the confluence of ASKIN, USHERIN, and JUSTASEC.

    wreck 11:01 AM  

    ... uhh, I meant SW!

    Hartley70 11:06 AM  

    @Loren, I'm trying to get the look straight. Is it a pair of Argentinian gaucho pants with a Scottish tam, or a moustached, cigar smoking, Marx brother and a parrot in a hat? Pick the one that doesn't make you look fat.

    Lojman 11:09 AM  

    MURSE - definitely a thing. Seinfeld, anyone? Anyone? Classic stuff.
    REJIGGER - definitely a verb, useful in myriad situations.

    Interestingly, MURSE googles 5:1 greater than REJIGGER. Would've never guessed.

    JOCKrock before -JAMS, definitely slowed me down.
    USHER IN crossing ASK IN? I'm surprised @Rex didn't break the internet over that one.

    Warren Howie Hughes 11:12 AM  

    An absolutely SPLENDA offering from the mind of James Mulhern that was just a TEENTSY bit challenging...AISLE say!

    Certainly was no SNAPE...I need ADD!

    Anonymous 11:21 AM  

    POO is an ending for cutesy, no? JACKASS, like jackrabbit, refers to the male of a particular species.

    Carola 11:31 AM  

    This was a workout for me, and I was happy to finish. After a running start with ALL FOR IT, I had to claw my way from square to square in the top tier. The MIRIAM - STELLAR - TBILISI - SALVE - MAI - IVIES nexus really vexed me. It didn't help that I thought the city was one letter shorter: TBLISI or that I didn't know how to spell STELLeR. Ran the alphabet six ways to Sunday for S???E = "Mollify." The REJiGGER that underlined that area made me think, "And how!." Agree that the bottom half was easier.

    Loved all the talk - I DECLARE, JUST A SEC, SAD TO SAY, OH, GOD NO - kept me entertained during the struggle.

    @John Child: OTTAVA - zhat vas nice!

    Charles Flaster 11:32 AM  

    Agree with Rex.
    Otherwise it was a medium solve.
    waiT A SEC for JUST A SEC.
    Don't forget to try my even odds puzzle which can be accessed in today's George Barany comment.
    Thanks JM

    RooMonster 11:39 AM  

    Hey All !
    Had the same thing as @NCA Pres REgIGGER/gOo/oLDEST. Great minds and all that! Really wanted JOCKrock, as that seems a cooler name. Haven't heard of JOCKJAMS. After not having any US Georgia cities fit 20A, knew it had to be former SSR Georgia, but still took a shot in the dark with TBILISI. But the JOLT and ARABS answers had to be correct. Since I had to Goog MIRIAM anyway, I went ahead and filled it in, already having a DNF with the cheat. (Again, not a well read person, apparently books scare me!:-))

    Also didn't like the two INs, never mind that they cross each other. That EVENODDS was odd, even, that we just had a theme around it last week. Writeovers same as others, seeIN-> ASKIN, DiRe-> DARK, OcTAVA-> OTTAVA.

    So not a terrible puz, agree with the med-challenging ranking. 3 wrong letters, 5wrong answers and 1 Goog. Not too shabby for a FriPuz!



    wreck 11:44 AM  

    Everyone needs to relax and get jiggy with it! :-)

    Andrew Heinegg 11:50 AM  

    Rex was spot on in all of his comments today. Murse is an 'oh, please!'. I never heard of Mentor or Jock Jams but, they seem like fair play. Reagan was a fine ' You fooled me with the wording of the clue' crossword answer as I tried to figure out what the bet of the war on drugs was. Doh!

    Masked and Anonymo3Us 12:03 PM  

    Well I thought this puz was a total hoot. Well done, James M. The four J's and four M's were a nice extry touch.
    JACKASS has Patrick Berry use immunity, btw.
    JOCKJAMS ... I could just sit here, with a pot of hot tea plus a few choice gourmet c-rolls, and dream up a list of top clues for that, all day ...

    EARBUDS was immediately nailed, as friend Crazy Connie was just tellin me about her granddaughter's latest acquisition of Beats.

    M&Araming salaM&At,

    ** twirunt zone gruntz **

    old timer 12:11 PM  

    As my nom de Rex may suggest, I have *never* heard of a MURSE. So I put in "purse" and figured Pentos must be a Thing. MENTOS are, but did not think of it. That entire NE corner is full of writeovers, because I thought Elgar was writing about "olde" King Cole at first.

    I had "rejiggle", which seemed wrong, and maybe "rejuggle" before REJIGGER. Which is in my dictionary (MW Collegiate) and therefore fair game.

    Both JACK and ASS can be risque words. But JACKASS is definitely not -- it is the normal name for a male donkey, which if mated to a mare will produce a mule. If mated to a she-ass, it will of course produce an ass colt. It was our prudish American ancestors who invented "donkey" as a substitute for "ass", though they could not avoid the word "ass" when the Gospels were read in church -- Jesus rode on an ass when entering Jerusalem to attend the Last Supper. Why *American* ancestors? Because the English, to this day, refer to the human backside as an "arse" and therefore did not find "ass" a particularly embarrASSing word.

    This was a very gritty Friday puzzle. I'd rate it "challenging". But except for MURSE, certainly doable. It did not take me long to remember OTTAVA, which is s standard musical term. I thought the cleverest clue was for OLDMAID, the cleverest answer was OHGODNO.

    Mr. Mulhern's creation was better than "workmanlike" I thought. The only bit of crosswordese that made me say "not again" was ASKIN.

    Anonymous 12:14 PM  

    Two interesting notes on today's solving:

    First off, having lived for a while in the Republic of Georgia, I saw through the TBILISI clue easily, but still wanted to call foul on it -- although TBILISI is the capital of Georgia, I was pretty sure its highest court was in the city of Batumi instead. Turns out that Georgia is one of those countries with separate Constitutional and Supreme Courts -- the Constitutional Court is out of the capital, the Supreme Court is not. So the clue is correct, but I spent most of the puzzle thinking "wait, there's an error here!"

    Rather more entertainingly, when trying to break into the SW corner with the incorrect answer waitASEC, I started thinking "they couldn't have allowed wACKoff as an answer for 38D, could they?" I actually had it written in for a while before I tracked down my error.

    mike253 12:18 PM  


    Lewis 12:30 PM  

    Late to the game, and my points have been well made by others. I liked the struggle, didn't blink at MURSE, am not sure if I heard of REJIGGER but I like it, @Loren good catch with JACKASS/ARREAR, liked FAKEPUNT, OLDMAID, and the sound of TAGALOG, and like the cross of MURSE and URBANE. I want a fight on Friday, and got it, and I wasn't bored. Thank you, Sir James!

    RooMonster 12:43 PM  

    Hey, just noticed something else not quite kosher in this puz, as I was about to post some Random Nonsense for y'all. Don't think anyone else caught it. There are 4 FORs! ALL FOR IT, SEND FOR, FORTY, FORAY. Sure, those last two may not exactly count, but they're there.

    Interesting idea for you, @M&A, although not sure if it's even possible. Change the P in POO to me, (that is, ROO :-)) and you get FAKE RUNT! Something to ponder.


    Fake punt 12:43 PM  

    Two classes
    Of JACKASSes
    Prowl among us
    Like a fungus.

    Class one comments without reading
    Early posters, and repeating
    Word by word what others said.

    Class two has but one sole member,
    It behooves you to remember:
    His job is to scratch his head.

    He's Professor Barany's troll,
    Whom neither Rex nor you control:
    Self-appointed George patrol.

    Is no high-class,
    We clearly see
    It's Billy C.

    RnRGhost57 1:09 PM  

    REJIGGER . . . How in Hades can an English prof never have heard of this word?

    Mohair Sam 1:12 PM  

    DNF'd on second J in JOCKJAMS. And I'm unhappy. We were arguing "J" or "M" having never heard of the erstwhile "popular" compilation albums (as have few here), so we called an English friend who uses "That gave me a turn" all the time. A turn to her is a surprise, a JOLT is a shock - so we went mOLT for "turn" and failed. I am taking a ton of crap from Mrs. Mohair over this (she had voted J).

    Otherwise we enjoyed. Had leAr for OLAF for what seemed like all morning because blasted Elgar did write something for Lear that I had actually heard. The perfect personal misdirect.

    Suspected TBILISI, the wrong Georgia trick has been used a few times; and this stuck-in-the-previous-century couple has heard of MURSE's, what's with @Rex?

    The War on Drugs term was coined by Nixon's people - there are better clues for REAGAN, but it wasn't a problem here.

    jp flanigan 1:20 PM  

    I got jock jams and Mentos right away and murse came next easily, so i didn't find that weird. Same with rejigger, came naturally and didn't pop out as odd or wrong. Teentsy however is just awful.

    mathguy 1:26 PM  

    Very tough. I called in The Closer early but she wasn't able to open it up. The NE was empty until we saw that the wager in "War on drugs wager" wasn't a bet.

    I learned eight things although only one (TBILISI) is likely to stick. So not a great learning episode.

    I thought I knew Truman Capote's work pretty well but I hadn't heard of MIRIAM. That makes a second thing I learned. I'm going to get it.

    Fun? Just the satisfaction of solving it without the internet. But there was some excellent cluing.

    The Angel City Kid 1:30 PM  

    Wanted teensey to cram in fakepass but splenda fixed that.

    jberg 1:30 PM  

    @RnRghost57 -- Thank you, that's my very favorite kind of comment, the "how can a professor of ... not know that?" Just like I didn't know the constitutional court of Georgia is in Batumi, despite teaching politics.

    Anyway, chalk me up among the pURSE/pENTOS set. I've heard man-purse, but never MURSE. Especially disappointing DNF after I crawled out of the Laotian rabbit-hole at 12D with so much difficulty.

    REJIGGER is fine by me. You CAN use it without the re-, however, as in 'you've gotta jigger the handle a bit to get that thing to flush.'

    @Loren, I'm with you on the singular they/their. I was convinced by an article analogizing it with the replacement of the second-person/familiar singular (thou/thee/thy) with the plural/respectful 'you.' In both cases, the change comes from the wish not to recognize a social distinction that is now seen as invidious.

    Gotta go get me some PENTOS!

    cwf 1:35 PM  

    rejigger |rēˈjigər| (Brit. rejig)
    verb [ with obj. ]
    organize (something) differently; rearrange: he rejiggers his stump speech ever so slightly to fit the crowd, then sounds the same messages.

    (This is from OSX's built-in dictionary.)

    TEENTSY, though, not to mention MURSE, are right out. "Manpurse" I've heard.

    Nancy 1:37 PM  

    @old timer (12:11)-- Your explanation of when and why and by whom the word "donkey" was coined was one of the more colorful facts I've learned here. (I also now have a soft spot in my heart for you, because, like me, you don't know a MURSE from a PURSE or a PENTO from a MENTO.)

    M and Inspired 1:45 PM  

    Ver-ERR-errrrry interestin observation , my son.
    Sorta like a Shroe dinger's cat poo experiment...

    "Puttin POO in Puzs, Since 2012"

    Lewis 1:46 PM  

    Factoid: Ronald REAGAN started out as a Democrat and supported FDR's New Deal efforts; also, Reagan is the only president to have been divorced.

    Quotoid: "Weather forecast for tonight: DARK." -- George Carlin

    Anonymous 2:15 PM  

    When have you ever heard anyone refer to a singular ARREAR? Some dictionaries (not American Heritage) allow for the theoretical possibility of a singular, but the only quoted use I have seen is adjectival, not nominative.

    Airymom 2:21 PM  

    All year I've looked forward to this weekend. My college son and I headed to our condo at the Maryland shore, ready to enjoy the sunshine, beach and boardwalk. It's June 5th. It's 59 degrees and drizzling. This needs some rejiggering.

    Billy C 2:23 PM  

    @Faker -- Heh, heh, I'm pleased as punch to be memorialized in such clever (?) verse!

    @Lewis, re: Ronnie's early politics. If memory serves, he was also a Union man, serving for several years as President of the Screen Actor's Guild.

    OISK 2:38 PM  

    AliasZ really speaks for me. Jock jams? To begin? Murse? Not as bad, because once I got "Mentos" (all chem teachers know that name) murse made some sense to me. But I finished in near-record time. I have also had enough of Harry Potter characters (and Lord of the Rings, for that matter) in puzzles.

    Still despite the annoyances that result from my ignorance of pop culture, and distaste for brand names, I enjoyed the puzzle, thought the cluing was clever, and there was no over reliance on one type of culture clue. (This week I suffered through a Mexican beer, a car model, (Azera??) and one more NSYNC clue, Adia, and Tori Amos but I managed to get through all of them.)

    Really hoping to complete my first perfect week in quite a while tomorrow.

    Z 2:50 PM  

    Nixon, with a little assist from the media, does appear to have coined the phrase, "War on Drugs." But I do not think of him, or Jimmy or Ronnie or George I or Billy C or George II or Barry, when I hear that phrase. No, if you ask me who I think of when you mention the "War on Drugs" it is Nancy Reagan and "Just Say No." Personally, I disapprove of the phrase "War on...." "War" involves two groups trying to kill each other, not a government tackling serious internal policy issues (although "Civil War On Drugs" seems too apt). Anytime a politician asks as to fight a war on something, whether it is LBJ and poverty or RMN and drugs, its rhetoric for "we don't know what the hell we're doing but we think we need to try something."

    @Generic Solver - Good old Pareto. In my experience it is usually more like 95-5, 95% of my problem comes from 5% of the clues, sometimes on Friday or Saturday it can be one "right answer" (e.g. waiT A SEC) that takes my time from a normal 25 into 40+ minute range. I first ran into Pareto as a school administrator. I remember looking at discipline data for a school year. Over 25% of students had had an office contact, but only 6% had had more than 1 office contact. It's good to know Pareto but also important to remember that it is more estimate than law.

    @Anon 12:14 - A classic "einstein." My only problem was I couldn't remember if there was an L or an R in TBILISI after the TB got me out of the US.

    @JACKASS defenders - my issue is the clue/answer pair. Of all the possible ways to clue JACKASS why go with the clue that evokes the pejorative? Makes the constructor/editor sound like an anonytroll. I bet the commentariat can come up with 20 better clues. I'll start: "Nick Bottom for one."

    Saw a man carrying a camouflaged something or other to carry his stuff (big enough for a laptop). MURSE or not? My wife says only hipsters carry MURSEs, not sure I know enough to disagree.

    Fred Romagnolo 3:17 PM  

    @Nancy: Right on with MURSE-MENTOS. @Billy C: to quote you, "give it up." @Charles Flaster: I'm gonna tell Billy C on you! New to me: JOCKJAMS, MENTOS, MURSE, SNAPE, and unacceptable to me, TWEENTSY (shame on Shortz).

    Fred Romagnolo 3:23 PM  

    P. S. I always enjoy @Lewis and the @Z's

    Fred Romagnolo 3:24 PM  

    and when he's around, @Evil

    Billy C 3:27 PM  

    @FredR --

    I'm giving Mr. Flaster a break. The poor guy has fallen into bad company, but I'm hopeful that he'll come to his senses.m ;-)

    On your other point, I'll repeat what I've said to others: I'll "give it up," when my friend George does likewise.

    Ludyjynn 5:19 PM  

    PUNTed in the SE due to my Harry Potter illiteracy crossing ORLE, I'm SADTOSAY.

    Not much to ADD at this late hour that hasn't already been DECLAREd by others. Too busy munching on my STELLAR lobster lunch to get to the puzz. as early as usual. Could probably use a MENTOS, but I'm SOLO here except for my cockaPOO, so no one else to make a SNARKY comment about my breath. (Felix the lapcat is on assignment patrolling the back garden for unwanted long-tailed intruders.)

    Haven't decided yet whether I like the new KFC commercials w/ the reincarnated Col. Sanders character. A bit offputting, perhaps?

    Thanks, JM and WS, for a crunchy Friday.

    Rug Crazy 5:40 PM  

    Rex is right again: TEENTSY does not and will never contain that second "T."
    and rejigger sucks
    never heard of jock jams, either

    There is a theme: LOTS of "j's"

    old timer 6:08 PM  

    To Z: Why not go with the clue that evokes the pejorative? I read "jackass", I hear 'Hee-haw" in my mind, and human jackasses are about as silly-sounding as their animal counterperts. A damn strong memory, too -- decades ago a friend and I camped out at a spring in Cottonwood Canyon, in Death Valley. We *heard* the jackasses (HEE_HAW!), and the next day were privileged to see the far more quiet wild horses. (Hint: if you go even a little bit off road in Death Valley, the *human* jackasses are no longer with you -- we walked about a mile from where the road looked too unlikely in a VW bus, carrying water and food, and the few humans we met were very nice folks.)

    To Nancy: Thanks!

    To Anon @12;14: If you are a regular here, get yourself a moniker (or as I called it today, a "nom de Rex". I certainly appreciated what you wrote, and the way to get listened to is IMO to have a continuing personality and POV.

    Colby 8:11 PM  

    Generation gap at play here. JockJams and murse were easy and relevant for me (in my mid-20s). JockJams was huge growing up in the 90s.

    Anonymous 8:19 PM  

    Nancy - Just say no

    Tita 8:40 PM  

    At 17A I could only think of Joe Jackson's song:
    "Fat and forty but lordy lordy... you're my meat."

    Liked the puzzle ok except for the stuff I didn't like. It was a DNF, not knowing Harry Potter or football or a JOCKJAM from a JOCKrAp.

    @BillyC...this is a democracy, not a trollocracy. The votes have been counted, and It's George by a landslide!

    Anonymous 9:11 PM  

    You whine a lot.

    Aketi 10:01 PM  

    @ Roo, I actually contemplated FAKE RUNT. My head is definitely not in this game, since tommorrow is literally D-Day and also my black belt test day.
    @ John Child, seltzer water went up my nose when I read your post. I decided no wine before D-day.
    @ Nancy, the only reason I know about MENTOS is from having an inquisitive son who found out what you can do with MENTOS and coke online. Not nearly as scary as creating a plasma reaction in the microwave with a grape. He failed to inform me that it can cause the microwave to explode. Fortunately that didn't happen. The plasma reaction actually did work. I had planned to see if I could bump into you at the reservoir before D-day, but anxiety got the better of me. I tried doing Wednesday's puzzle and quickly gave up puzzles altogether until tonight. I must have fallen asleep on the iPad because when I picked it up again to solve wednesday's puzzle today I ended up with a more than 11 hour solve time.
    @ old timer, my sister lives in an area of Southern California where the jackasses roam free. They will accept carrots.

    Billy C 10:19 PM  

    Hey @Tita, my love --

    You're wrong. I have 7200 votes for me over the Prof!

    Fred Romagnolo 3:20 AM  

    Billy C: Gallup, Pew, or fantasypoll?

    +wordphan 3:42 AM  

    What the heck does WILL SHORTZ do? He "edits" what? "Rejigger" is not a word. "Teentsy"? This puzzle is becoming a GUESSING GAME! Major dud!

    Billy C 8:22 AM  

    @Fred R.

    Heh, heh ... Not bad!

    Fred Romagnolo 3:56 PM  

    @Billy C: if you ever see this (so late in the day) I did Saturday's and saw in the blog that you were quite respectful of the prof; you're a quandary to figure out. But you aint one of the loathsome trolls of anonymity.

    Anonymous 7:38 PM  

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    weingolb 7:50 PM  

    You look at this puzzle and you see something clever.

    Or you look at it and see an attempt at clever behind a whack of mistakes, à la ARREAR, TEENTSY, et al. That's what I see—especially with the gratuitously difficult cluing. "Red and white containers" screams incorrect to me. It's semantically wrong if you want to get CARAFES as the answer. That'd be "Red or white containers" ...unless you think all wine is either red or white. (And yes, I currently have a rosé in a CARAFE at this very second in fact!)

    Unknown 12:58 PM  

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    (5) If you want a child.
    (6) You want to be rich.
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    Contact him today on:

    Torb 11:31 AM  

    Finished it. Totally despised Rejigger, Teentsy, & Murse. Oh well.

    Burma Shave 12:22 PM  


    The ELDEST OLDMAID took me out ONADATE and got hot in JUSTASEC, EREI could ignore it,
    She’d CLEANSE MAI SNAPE with FORTY caresses of SALVE, AISLE say now that I was ALLFORIT.

    But OHGODNO, she fed me some DARK blue PILLS, ASKIN’ if I’d be a DONATOR,
    It may be SADTOSAY, but the SPLENDA’s BEN great, IDECLARE it’s BEN STELLAR to date her.


    spacecraft 1:01 PM  

    After staring at this baby for a solid half hour, I had one letter: the A of "Mauna___." Was it KEA or LOA? Not a promising start.

    An hour after that I was done, no thanks to some really weird entries. Hand up for (actually against) the second T in TEENTSY--see? Spellcheck agrees! Also REJIGGER: not a word. But especially DONATOR. That one also gets a red line, but IS, in fact, a real word. It shouldn't be, but it is. Don'tcha think DONOR takes care of that idea? DONATOR, word or not, is so bad it gets the flag. You will not ever force me into writing that awful thing again.

    And excuse me, Mr. Fearless, but I wear a MURSE. There's absolutely nothing wrong with the idea. Unless, perhaps, you're not secure?? I find it handy, and it beats squishing the contents of a fanny pack when one's bay window, um, expands.

    Two writeovers, waiTASEC before JUSTASEC, soon fixed. Not sure ASKIN should be crossing with USHERIN. And of course REJuGGle--which IS a real word, before that nonsense in the "correct" solution.

    No puzzle challenging enough to convince me (at first) that I'll never solve it could get worse than a C from me, so so be it. C.

    rondo 1:04 PM  

    Definitely a challenge, but less write-over than yesterday. I fell into a waiTASEC trap that slowed things down that way.

    In my locale Chamonix is the name of a golf course, so SKIAREA was nowhere in my mind.

    Does anyone else remember Leon ASKIN? General Burkhalter on Hogan’s Heroes. Maybe too obscure? But it might calm down the ASKIN/USHERIN kerfuffle.

    I went ONADATE with a woman (yeah baby) in Baku, Azerbaijan quite a number of times, and before my last planned visit there I tore up my arm playing ball, requiring surgery. We had planned to take the train from Baku to Georgia and visit TBLISI. Yes, it has one less “I” in it than the puzzle, but that’s the way they spell it and pronounce it over there. The extra “I” is an Anglicization for those who can’t put TBL together and make it sound right. SADTOSAY that I never made it back there to take that trip to TBLISI, but I will always remember singing “Only You” to my dear Sevda in Klub Nostalgie while the gangsters and politicians anxiously waited for me to finish, since the second half of the World Cup futbol game had resumed on the big screen. It’s TBLISI, always will be for me, wish I could have gone there

    IDECLARE, that was a reminiscence that speed solvers probably wouldn’t have. This puz was a good challenge. I enjoyed it. TBLISI.

    Anonymous 3:30 PM  

    What a great puzzle and yes I aced it. Med/Chall for me and I did have to look up Tbilisi. Atlanta just didn't work so knew it had to be the country, Georgia.

    To rain forest: Got your message and sympathize. Had a friend who lived in Anacortes and who loved to buzz over to Vancouver, which he always raved about. Hope there is adequate rain in your future.

    I really like this kind of puzzle even with its abnormalities like rejigger being a little funky. I had write-overs galore like Wait a sec and oldest before eldest and call for instead of send for. But....that's what makes it fun and clever. So, kudos to Mr. Mulhern.

    To those who insist on PERFECTION, I say.....are you? Lighten up.

    Ron Diego, One of the older elders sitting under an Alder in La Mesa, CA

    centralscrewtinizer 3:30 PM  

    Threw down TBILISI and ARABS and thought I was rolling. Not.

    centralscrewtinizer 3:32 PM  

    Threw down TBILISI and ARABS and thought I was rolling. Not.

    rain forest 6:03 PM  

    DNF due to brain fart (can I say that?). I *knew* that 12 semitones contain an OcTAVe, so OcTAVA seemed like a perfectly good musical term. Alas, I didn't think too hard about the cross, and quadragesimal should have shouted FORTY to me, but I wasn't listening.

    I liked this puzzle with lots of slash and dash in it. Regarding REJIGGER: apparently it is a word, but I've only heard of REJIG. No matter. I'm hoping that MURSE will eventually be able to be called a purse, which is what it is. Also, my Mom used to say TEENTSY-weentsy, but I guess she was the only one, ever. Never mind Mom, I plopped it right in there.

    A lot of fun, even with a DNF.

    leftcoastTAM 6:59 PM  

    Ah, Friday and Saturday NYTXwords. I need to set aside a chunk of the day for them, hoping to emerge with ego intact, meaning an hour or two well spent. Almost did it today, but the MURSE/MENTOS cross was something of a downer: bURSE/bENTOS anyone? Still, I'm not feeling too slow or stupid at this point, and the puzzle was a worthy challenge.

    On to Saturday.

    Anonymous 2:57 PM  

    "Rejiggered" reminds me of my African American grandfather, who was almost hung by an angry mob one night in New Orleans about 100 years ago. He used to say "Well, I'll be jiggered," when surprised by some thing, and then pause and add, "two times." A friend taught me that the saying "The jig is up," refers to the hanging of an African American, jig being a substitute for the N word. "Rejiggered" is therefore much more offensive than the use of the word God or Poo, folks. My grandfather took off for California, and then sent for my grandmother and aunt when he could, and our whole family is grateful. "When the going gets tough, the tough get going," was something else he used to say.

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