Aron's girlfriend in East of Eden / FRI 7-10-15 / 11th-century conquerors / 1920 birthplace of NFL / Tycoon with middle name Socrates / German architect who spent 19 years in Spandau prison /

Friday, July 10, 2015

Constructor: Barry C. Silk

Relative difficulty: Medium-Challenging

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: David GROH (43A: David of "Rhoda") —
David Lawrence Groh (May 21, 1939 – February 12, 2008)[2] was an American actor best known for his portrayal of Joe Gerard in the 1970s television series Rhoda, opposite Valerie Harper. (wikipedia)
• • •

My feelings were all over the map today. Jarring to get -IEST (The Worst) and then immediately get BEER O'CLOCK (The Best). More than jarring. Neck-snapping. Much of the rest of the solve was like that, though not quite so dramatic. Cluing also felt like it was everywhere at once. Some clues were just transparent (50A: Shankar at Woodstock), some cleverly hid their answers (7D: It may be thrown around at a party), some were dated trivia (GROH?), some dealt in bizarre red herrings (FIBER OPTICS, general; [Laparoscopy technology], absurdly specific). Whole puzzle skewed slightly older, in its cultural references (GROH!) as well as its acceptance of some terrible crosswordese that used to be considered QUITE normal (i.e. ABRA, ARILS, AARE, BRIC, etc.). I mostly enjoyed solving this, I think. The red patches on my printed-out grid (I mark the puzzle's trouble spots before blogging) are dense and livid in a couple areas (NW, SE), but non-existent in others. PLUSes outweight the minuses today, I'd say.

[Please stop watching after the great Perot bit (with Phil Hartman as Larry King!!), 'cause it gets real racist real fast in the next segment]

Here's that opening gambit. BEER O'CLOCK (15A: When it's acceptable to start downing brews) totally rescues that corner, which was nearly fatally wounded right out of the gate by ABRA and -IEST. I haven't even put ABRA in at this point, mostly because I'm hoping I've misremembered it.

I think maybe Barry's from Baltimore. He was at a dinner with me and a bunch of my friends in suburban D.C. recently, and I know he lived nearby, so ... maybe. Anyway, very Baltimore puzzle today, what with CHARM CITY and ORIOLE PARK (which I thought was "Camden Yards" ... full name = "ORIOLE PARK at Camden Yards," FYI). I got hung up badly in a few places. Weirdly, despite my early success in the NW, I couldn't get ARI ONASSIS to save my life. Was not looking for / expecting the shortened form of his first name, and having -RIO... had me looking for, I don't know, ORION somebody ... I certainly didn't imagine a break between the "I" and the "O." That "Socrates" part should've been a dead giveaway, but wasn't. Also had "I KNOW" (a thing people actually say) instead of "I KNEW" (less so), and that caused some trouble.

After that, though, all my trouble was in the SPEER / GROH / AREOLE / SCORNER (?) area. That is an unpretty ... area. Nabokov saved me down there. Protip: Nabokov novel in three letters: ADA; in four letters: PNIN. Finished with the "R" in AREOLE/GROH ... then realized I'd gone with ACED instead of ICED at 9D: Sewn up, resulting in ONASSAS ... fixed it. Finished.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


jae 12:05 AM  

Second day in a row that Rex found it tough and I thought it was QUITE easy. Put in ARI ONASSIS with no crosses and just kept going.  The downs in the SE corner were a bit tough but the 10s were gimmes. 

Erasures:  amPs before PEPS and fouR before BEER

CHARM CITY I knew fromHomicide Life on the Streets

AARE is one of the European rivers that I actually know the location of.

A nice sprinkling of zip, liked it except for the too easy part and some cringy stuff like...SCORNER, IEST, ACRO...

wreck 12:23 AM  

This was a very easy Friday for me as well. My big cringe was my own idiocy - I originally had DESERT AREA! ( not my ideal vacation spot!)
I can understand some trepidation on quite a few iffy fills, but it was fast and fun.

Music man 12:43 AM  

Fell pretty quick with me too, relatively, except for CHARM CITY, had no idea, shark city? Same problem with KNoW. I also misread the 20a/38a pairing there and I thought it was giving me mined strip, instead of strip-mined, was really hating it before I realized my mistake. Liked DINNER TIME, hated BUGGY WHIP. Not my favorite Friday for sure.

MDMA 12:43 AM  

I finished this puzzle pretty quickly and felt like it skewed on the easy side, but frankly disliked it. The fill and cluing just seemed off. Nothing delightful, no aha moments. Mucho meh.

Like @jae, I put in ARI ONASSIS with no crosses. Same with UNMET. Sometimes things just click for some reason.

Never heard of BEER O'CLOCK and don't think much of it. Crosses with the WoEful ABRA. Knew ARILS from having seen "aril" recently in a puzzle, can't recall where. GROH is kind of grohss.

CHARM doesn't really spring to mind at the mention of Baltimore these days.

Write-overs include magyArS for NORMANS (made me question the cross ARI ONASSIS), bliNG for SLANG, amPS for PEPS. Thought about suppERTIME for DINNERTIME but quickly changed it.

MDMA 12:48 AM  

PS, lately every time the iPad app updates to a new version, it breaks my streak. The previous days's successfully completed puzzle turns blue in the calendar instead of gold, and suddenly I'm on a 1-day streak (today's puzzle). This is the second time in a row it's happened, and it wasn't an issue with any of the prior updates before that.

Is anyone else having this problem?

dmw 1:09 AM  

What parent with surname Onassis names their kid "Aristotle Socrates"?

The longs came pretty easily (except never heard of Beeroclock - sounds a bit corny).

Impressed with both long acrosses and downs.

Groh over Speer unfair.

Found it pretty easy, and sort of liked it (but any Friday or Saturday I can complete I like).

Whirred Whacks 1:10 AM  

Odd coincidence. This morning I read a story about all the murders in Baltimore this year. The piece referred to it as "CHARM CITY" -- which was new for me (I've only been there once back in 1993 -- actually the day Clinton was inaugurated). So I used my new found knowledge just hours later on this puzzle.

mathguy 1:13 AM  

I'm early because I zipped through it. Not much spark except for BEEROCLOCK.

In today's NYT I was reading about the horrendous number of murders this year in CHARMCITY.

Very clean puzzle. Very Silk-like.

George Barany 1:37 AM  

I did not have much trouble with this Baltimore-centric puzzle by @Barry Silk, other than my refusal to let go of FOUR_O_CLOCK once ???R_O_CLOCK appeared in the grid. Like @Rex, I knew of the ballpark where the Orioles play only as Camden Yards, but Google confirms the clue. A childhood friend is currently the conductor at the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra, so I knew the CHARM_CITY nickname from a recent project honoring said friend's 60th birthday. But I did have a problem with the clue for 1-Across: the longtime lover of opera diva Maria Callas, and the 2nd husband of JFK's widow, was known as ARI_ONASSIS, that's true, but Ari was his nickname, not his given first name. Following this reasoning, shouldn't the clue have made reference to Soc as this middle nickname? It's all Greek to me. Exit and out (of euros).

chefwen 2:09 AM  

Wow, started this one at 4:15 and was done by 4:30, a record time for me on a Friday.

I've heard of wine thirty (my beverage of choice) but beer o'clock works for me. I'll be using that for the upcoming football season.

Had Laparscopic surgery about two years ago so that was a gimme.

Knew CHARM CITY from The Ace of Cakes.

Easiest Barry Silk puzzle in recent memory. Wanted it done before company was due for dinner and I had time to spare. Loved it!

Anonymous 2:31 AM  

Agree with earlier posters. Probably my fastest Friday solve ever. Not sure if that's good or bad.

Never heard of PNIN, but IKNEW SPEER, so there it is.


JTHurst 2:34 AM  

Is this why we solve puzzles? I don't like stacks and usually flounder hopelessly on Friday but today. Oh my! Dropped in Ari Onassis, put in Normans flowed down to Fang and then Fiber Optics. I thought what is going on. I dropped to the bottom and saw the clue "6 PM for many" and thought that is dinnertime for me and of course chia and coke were obvious. All the clues that were oblique seemed crystal clear, like bikini feature - it had to be reef while my mind would be normally involved in apparel. NTests and Oink led to Pocketwatch and of course Dana Carvey was a given and all of a sudden I had all of the "downs".

What is the hardest command for a dog to learn? Come! It was like this puzzle was responding to my command. Even those cryptic spots like the 'Pnin', 'Groh', Speer', 'Areole' seemed to become apparent. The last to fall was the 'Desert Area', which is my favorite vacation area like Palm Springs, and 'Abda' and "Ore', where I might have DNFed. But I thought what is valuable about "ore" and it is in a motto that is usually latin, thus 'oro', and bingo.

I recommend to any Monday through Wednesday solver (like me) keep trying the harder puzzles because you do not know when one of those puzzles will open up like a lotus flower. Especially rewarding when Rex says medium to challenging and you find it to be easy to medium.

Charles Flaster 3:07 AM  

EZ vote pour moi.
Knew all the proper names save CHARM CITY.
CrosswordEASE-- PNIN and ARILS.
Enjoyed an entire bunch of Silk clues--FANG, SKEWS, ARCH, BUGGY WHIP and COERCE.
My first answer slowed down the upper right but LIONS SHARE owned it up.
Very entertaining overall so thanks to BCS.

Moly Shu 4:01 AM  

C'mon @Rex, at least try to show some consistency. Today's IEST is as bad as yesterday's OES that got (justly) slammed. RESORTAREA? Talk about your green paint. I thought this was not up to Silk standards. Frankly I didn't like it. Maybe @Porker can offer some insights.

IKNEW that Baltimore was CHARMCITY form watching endless episodes of John Munch's original TV series, Homicide. Well, that and many other Barry Levinson offerings.

Unknown 4:08 AM  

I haven't been commenting much cuz I haven't had much to say!

Today, though, it was nice to solve this while lying in bed in CANTONOHIO!

Unknown 6:41 AM  

Definitely "easy." I think that was my fastest Friday ever: 11:15.

Z 6:43 AM  

@JTHurst - congrats. Keep on truckin'

I tried every iteration of a-bomb and h-TEST, but that N in NAG only fell because hAG didn't fit the clue any which way. Just under 22, but I don't really know what my average Friday is. Felt mostly easy in the west (thanks to ARI), and medium plus in the east.

RAVI SHREK on the ELECtric KEYS is a new EDM trio.

Unknown 6:45 AM  

"What parent with surname Onassis names their kid 'Aristotle Socrates'?"

Greek parents. Similarly, there were plenty of parents in this country who named their kids "George Washington."

Scott Thomas 6:46 AM  

Beyond its utility as a crossword answer, I recommend Nabokov's "Pnin," a wonderful comic novel about a hapless college professor. It was the follow-up to "Lolita."

Glimmerglass 7:26 AM  

I thought this was pretty easy for a Friday, though I had one error (where SPEER crosses AREOLE). I'm always irked by the LION'S SHARE. In everyday speech, the phrase means "almost all," so the clue is correct. But in Aesop's fable, the lion gets everything, not just almost all. So "the lion's share" should mean 100%. @JTHurst: COME is the second-easiest command to teach (sit is the easiest). "Heel" is much harder. "Stay" is hard, too.

dk 7:51 AM  

🌕🌕🌕 (3 mOOOns)

I am off to CHARMCITY on Tuesday. Followed by 2 weeks in Maine. I will be in Grand Lake Stream where they once tanned leather for carriage reins using the tannin found in Hemlock and other trees. Catechols is the name of the tannin. Always amazes me to think of entire industries that no long exist like a BUGGYWHIP factory. Go to Southfield MA and visit the BUGGYWHIP museum. Stay at a nearby RESORTAREA.

I found the misdirection in Mr. Silk's clueing to be delightful. Now if I could only consistently spell ORIOLE correctly life would be good.

Big hump was knowing that atoll would not fit in 2d and not being able to come up with an alternative. AFT and 15a saved the day. Although I know 15a as beer thirty. You know puzzle solving is thirsty work…..

Rhino 7:53 AM  

I liked this one. East of Eden is the greatest novel ever. Beer o'clock reminded me of the weekend at the lake.

But I didn't like IKNEW. No one says ''I knew". We all (including Han Solo) say "I know."

AliasZ 7:55 AM  

Guess what time it is? It's bacon-and-eggs-o'clock. Actually in my office we commonly use the term "f**k-this-s**t-o'clock" when it nears let's-blow-this-joint-o'clock. I am not sure BEEROCLOCK is QUITE as colorful as these, but I'll take it an hour or so before DINNERTIME.

RESORT AREA has a greenish tint to it. "Rest area" is an actual place for which you see signs on highways miles ahead, but RESORT AREA sounds more like a specific location in the post office where missorted mail is resorted. Not my ideal vacation spot.

In Greek mythology there is a very fast, immortal horse that was blessed with the gift of speech, like Mr. Ed. It is believed to be the offspring of Poseidon and Demeter. The horse is called Arion or Areion (Ἀρίων/Ἀρείων). It is the hind quarters where the ARION ASS IS located.

All the above can be found neatly wrapped up in an attractive package in Athens, Greece. If you plan to go there at BEEROCLOCK in an Arion-drawn vehicle, be sure you use the BUGGYWHIP sparingly, and by all means bring a few thousand €'s with you. You will have Greek friends for life.

Listening to Georg Philipp Telemann's "Tafelmusik" at DINNERTIME may help your digestion.

After all this drinking, eating and carousing, you may also need some SNAPTO-Bismol.


evil doug 8:28 AM  

When Michael said not to watch the end of the video, admit it: You watched it, didn't you. Didn't you!

Phil Hartman: Genius.

Aketi 8:33 AM  

I'm off to a RESORT AREA in a week and to CHARMCITY a few weeks later to revisit one my my alma maters with my son and his friends for the second of probably many college tours.

@leapy from yesterday, I would be afraid of army ants if they were as big as a GIANT SQUID. Since they are small it is not hard to merely step over them and as long as you look before you sit down and wear long pants and socks on jungle hikes they are wasy to avoid. Haven't yet watched Ant Man. You are entirely right about my choice of boat, but it was a nice fantasy.

@rexporker from yesterday. If you ever read about the Bradley birthing method, you would know that Bradley assumes cows have no pain when birthing. He equates women with cows and if we could just envision our inner cow, birth would be beautiful. Actually his method has a far better success rate for unmedicated births. Even so, I did not appreciate being compared to a quadrupedal mammal.

@dk and z from yesterday, when my son was in elementary school I learned that reporting bullying to the assistant principals (who actually witnessed my son's head hit the brick wall) was completely ineffective since they were part of the problem. Self defense strategies from Martial Arts, on the other hand, put a complete stop to the problem without physically damaging the bully.

Maruchka 8:33 AM  

Smooth as Silk, here (ref.@mathguy). Enjoyed the B-More cluing. I LOVE Homicide-Life on the Streets (shout out to @Jae). Wish it was streaming..

Agree that it's dated. I, too. Vanilla COKE? Mmm. No techno-speak (hurrah!), unless you count FIBER OPTICS. Thanks, BS.

Fav of the day - POCKET WATCH (supra).

Baltimore news - Sad. It's a great small city in so many ways.

Dorothy Biggs 8:33 AM  

Pretty easy for me today as well with just a couple of hang-ups: SPEER/PNIN crossing. I could see a T going in at that P spot, or given that a P is silent, so could a W. Didn't know SPEER, didn't know PNIN.

To a lesser degree at 1A, I knew it was ARIONASSIS (who else but a Greek would name give their kid a Greek philosopher for a middle name?), but alas, I labored up there because I insisted that ARI had an "e" in it: ARIe. It's all those xwords I do with Elie in them, I think. Anyway, once it dawned on me that I was wrong about that E, then the dominoes fell.

I don't care for RESORTAREA, it seems green paintish to me. Early on I had spA penciled in, then later sEA...(I was getting warmer...). It doesn't help that SORE was clued really obtusely (read: gratuitously obtusely) so that sEA last for a while. Meh. Friday.

I'd never heard of NEALE Griese. Never heard of METZ. Never heard of ABRA. I'd barely heard of Vanilla COKE and GROH.


Decent Friday...tough start with the NW, but finished around the usual time with few groans or spiteful feelings.

Loren Muse Smith 8:35 AM  

I'm with @George Barany – my first thought was ONASSIS, but I immediately dismissed it because I wasn’t looking for a truncation of his first name. Agreed, that's quite a name.

@Joseph Welling, along the same lines as naming a kid George Washington – my uncle and grandfather are both named Wade Hampton after some confederate soldier. @dmw – a family friend married a guy whose last name is Pottle, and we all hoped they would name their kid Aristotle.

I agree with most; for me this was an easyish Friday, even though I had a dnf: "desert area"/"Abda"/"ore." (Morning, @wreck) And I forgot to go back and guess the PNIN/SPEER cross (Hi, @Brennan). I don't know if I'd have gotten that. Lots of letters would look ok there to me.

@JT Hurst –Hah! COME is a command my dogs haven't quite mastered! I would think the very hardest thing for a dog to learn would be a service dog learning when to deliberately disobey a command because to obey would be dangerous.

Here's a magnificently wrong thought I had – F _ _ E _ O _ _ I _ S and kept trying to remember if there were people running around with "fake tonsils." I have no idea what "laparoscopy" is, and I was just talking with one of my daughter's friends who wants to become a prosthetics designer. I was asking her what kind of thing is considered a prosthetic – does it have to do work (arm, leg) or can it just be cosmetic? She didn't know. Then I asked if there was such thing as a prosthetic tongue. Not sure. But we stopped to imagine all the moving parts on the body that do work. Eyelids, maybe? She didn't know. Mercifully I stopped before I asked about prosthetic lips, but I never considered asking about prosthetic tonsils. I know – what would be the point, right?

@Tita – saw your comment late last night. Interesting discussion on the plural/singular phenomena/phenomenon. I'm afraid I don't have much to add other than

Twenty head of cattle vs, well, I got nothing. But I bought twenty head of lettuce. would be weird on many fronts.

I was, though, recently thinking about when two similar phrases can be both plural and singular:

There was three feet of snow outside my window this morning.
There were three angry cats outside my window this morning.

*There were three feet of snow makes me laugh.

I liked the TIME vibe today with DINNER TIME, BEER O'CLOCK, and POCKET WATCH. All in all a spot-on Friday puzzle for me. To quote @jae – Liked it.

Nancy 8:46 AM  

Rex is surely the outlier today. Like so many here, I found this very easy -- in fact the easiest Friday I can remember. Ever. I knew I had this puzzle at 1A, which was a gimme. (Although I can imagine ONASSIS saying: "Hey, Barry, I don't believe we've met. It's ARIstotle to you, pal.")

Just about everything was in my wheelhouse, and what wasn't came in easily from the crosses. Never knew that Baltimore is known as CHARM CITY (hi, @Ludy) and never heard of BEER O'CLOCK. But there was absolutely nothing in the puzzle that presented any problem. Plenty of time left to watch some early a.m. tennis. I'm sure the first set of the first match is still going on.

joho 8:47 AM  

Yes, on the easy side for Barry Silk, but even his most difficult puzzles ultimately feel "easy" because they are so well put together.


Bravo, Barry!

Generic Solver 8:50 AM  

As someone who used to live in the DC area for many years, I was thrilled to see a fun puzzle with all those B'more clues. Some DC folks I've met turn their noses up on CHARM CITY, but Baltimore is a great city with great food (yum: Italian, seafood) a beautiful ballpark, and lots more.

Every city has it "hot button" issues and Baltimore is no exception, but I choose to celebrate the good when discussing crossword puzzles.

quilter1 9:08 AM  

@chefwen, I also knew Charm City from Ace of Cakes. This was an easy Friday. Guess Old lady me was just on Barry's wavelength today. Very pleasurable indeed.

ArtO 9:33 AM  

When I finish a Friday puzzle it can't be anything other than easy. Rex must have been having an off night.

That Baltimore could be considered CHARMCITY these days takes quite a stretch of the imagination.

Anonymous 9:39 AM  

Frustrating part was that 17 across "vacation spot." For me, it would be desert area, not resort area. Hey, I'm a Utah guy. and I couldn't bring myself to erase it, even as I rejected that "many israelis" was "arabs." Not a good day for my desert biases.

Tita 9:43 AM  

C'mon, Rex - you rated this Med-Chal just to see how many of solvers like me would have our hearts all aflutter because we aced it...

This was on the easi-er side of Fridays, though it packed plenty of crunch. And I ended with 1 letter wrong - yes - my architect was SŒIR. So wait - that makes 2 wrong letters...I figured ARiOLE made that architect look better than AREOLE would. Besides - where is the missing U? Maybe M&A swiped it.

I was QUITE surprised that Barry resorted to some of that unclean fill and/or simple clues, but plenty of great ones made it fine by me.

I attended New York Institute of Technology for a year. The Manhattan campus was in a building owned by ARIONASSIS. It had a 13th floor, but no 14th.
Do Greeks have dekatésseraphobia? Can any resident Greeks here explain? I was told at the time that Greeks AARE superstitious not about 13, but 14.

I have an onion shell POCKETWATCH that was my aunt's. It has an external "skin" that the watch can be removed from. It also has a tiny chime - so if you can't actually remove the WATCH from your POCKET, you can just push the crown and get the time to the nearest quarter hour.

Thanks, Barry!

Bob Kerfuffle 9:48 AM  

Very doable if not flat-out Easy.

Amen to @Glimmerglass's observation re: Aesop and the LION'S SHARE.

Lewis 9:48 AM  

Jarring to Rex, the opposite for me, as Barry's puzzles usually are. It felt easy for a Friday, but sometimes easy for a Friday is just right!

There was some good misdirects in the cluing, but i would have liked some more Friday cleverness, though I did like the clue for REEF. Never heard of BEEROCLOCK and it made me smile, and I like LIONSSHARE. Agree with @rhino that IKNoW would be the better answer, and with @aliasz that RESORTAREA has a greenish tint. Has anyone ever said SCORNER? And why is a party especially suited for SLANG?

These are nits, but no more than that. The smoothness and just enough bite made this very enjoyable overall.

Carola 10:03 AM  

Me, too, on finding the puzzle very easy, an all too fleeting pleasure. I especially loved how LION'S SHARE was clued as "Hog's portion" and crossed OINK.

pmdm 10:20 AM  

Of course, I could not finish with a bit of research, but like others here I found the puzzle easier than normal for a Friday puzzle.

Steve J: Your comments yesterday makes a good point. Actually, unlike science, language and style have no "rules" but just conventions that can certainly evolve with time, with clarity and lucidness hopefully the prime consideration.

Before I posted my comment, I did not research in the online Free Dictionary. Surprising to me, os and oes has a listing for the plural of o but ohs is not to be found. I like your convention better.

Mohair Sam 10:24 AM  

Raising our hands with the huge group that found this surprisingly easy for a Barry Silk Friday entry. The two triple stacks took only seconds to complete (loved BEEROCLOCK, btw).

Unusual Friday for us in that GROH was the only unknown-to-us answer. For several years the Nazi Albert SPEER was in the news as the only remaining prisoner in Spandau, very much a gimme for us.

Liked the puzz a lot, but maybe Will should have run it as a tough Wednesday.

Steve M 10:25 AM  

Tough but doable

Arlene 10:25 AM  

So much white space always scares me - but I got traction in the NE - and then sputtered a bit. Got going after checking on DANA CARVEY - just not something I knew. I found the clues a little too too sometimes - like forcing it just for the sake of forcing it. But I guess that's what happens on Fridays and Saturdays. Things got moving to completion once I changed CYBEROPTICS to FIBEROPTICS. I never heard of BEEROCLOCK, but filled it in anyway with the crosses - and I like the concept, although my preference is probably RUMOCLOCK.

Hartley70 10:25 AM  

I finished this, but not quickly, and didn't find it as easy as most of you. Could it be that I was determined to use casKETWATCH? I somehow thought it was an acceptable term for the upper half of the lid that swings open to view the poor soul's face. Nice to know I can think outside the box.

I wrestled with the one letter Naticks, PNIN/SPEER, never heard of ARILS/ACRO, CHARMCITY or ORIOLEPARK. I spent a pleasant hour in Baltimore many years ago on the way home from DC and watched "Diner". That's the extent of my Baltimorese. It wasn't enough to help me today. There was no chance in Baltimore I would know anything about the NFL in CANTONOHIO! I'm ashamed to say a little Kardashian rapper thrown in somewhere would have been a blessing.

With all that said, I always enjoy a Barry Silk puzzle and this is no exception. Tough but worth the struggle for me.

Leapfinger 10:34 AM  

My solve didn't quite flower like @JTHurst's, but it did flow. Hand up for another with a gimme for ARI. (The list of Greek tycoons has shrunk significantly.) BEER O'CLOCK was a fun bit of SLANG, reminded me of BEER goggles, which I didn't like as well.

Had RING before REEF, because the wearable kind of Bikini often has a ring, both top and bottom. Overthinking, was I? STRIP MINE is UGLY, but I went get SORE at the puzzle; gotta GROH up.

RAVI ShankAARE lost his Shank, I see. Can't say I'm SARI.

ARABS/ sabra...Hmm

Noticed the Baltimore themelet, but was more taken with how the puzzle seemed to focus on I KNEW-FANGled thing after another, what with FIBEROPTICS, HERTZ and QUARTS. PLUS, there's a Nuclear TEST hidden in the puzzle's strange and quarky CHARM, evident both up and down,top and bottom. Maybe I'm putting too much spin on things, me sons and daughters If so, I'll Fermi ma bouche.

SKEWS me for the above. On the PLUS side, it's sufficient to spare you my thoughts about the LION'S HARE and the story featuring CAN'T, ON OHIO. (Some similarity with @lms' Innsbruck)

TGIF, the kids aare back from Italy tonight. Colour me relieved.

Thanks for another smoooth one.

Not-quite-quotidian Dad 10:38 AM  

for sure i figured Rex would call this one "EASY" since it was likely my fastest Friday solve EVER. ARIONASSIS was the first thing i put in the grid, also had camdenPARK and said "that can't be right, but the PARK part definitely is". I hate football, but thanks to xwords CANTONOHIO was the gimmiest of gimmes as far as long answers go. The P in SPEER/PNIN was the last domino to fall...

Joseph Michael 10:42 AM  

Easier than usual Friday. Liked it that HERTZ is not a rental car and that ICED is not a way to serve tea.

Most appeciated answer: BEER O'CLOCK

Most annoying answer: SCORNER.

Sir Hillary 10:42 AM  

I loved this puzzle, especially after yesterday's right turn that was really a left turn.

My friends and I call it BEERthirty, but same thing really. Guess I'm a hands-down guy.

I'm with @Lewis in not really getting the clue for SLANG. Can someone help?

ORIOLEPARK at Camden Yards is a great place to see a game. When I went ten years ago, I had some of Boog Powell's barbecue, cooked by the man himself. Lots of fun.

Leapfinger 10:46 AM  

On my street, we have a neighbourhood WATCH. It's too big to go in a pocket.

@lms, those 'three feet of snow' --- I can seethe Gary Larson cartoon...

@NqqD, is it the 'Dad' or the 'quotidian' that's 'Not quite'

@Alias,your "wtf o'clock" will carry me through the day.


Ludyjynn 10:48 AM  

I don't care for the moniker, CHARMCITY, which was a meaningless name adopted in 1975 for advertising and promotional purposes in Balto. before I moved here. I do like the more enduring 'Land of Pleasant Living' slogan created for locally brewed National Bohemian beer many years prior. Because it is always BEEROCLOCK in this town, of course, it has stuck!

IKNEW I would solve this one when GROH went in first. Who doesn't remember Rhoda's hubby, Joe, and their memorable highly-rated tv wedding from the "Mary Tyler Moore" show spin-off (if you were alive in the '70s)?

Hand up for 'desert'AREA first. I really liked FANG and ITRY.

Seems like yesterday that Cal was honored at ORIOLEPARK. Where does the time go?

I QUITE enjoyed this solve. Thanks, BCS and WS.

old timer 10:57 AM  

Way easy for a Friday, except for the SE, the same corner Rex had trouble with. Didn't know GROH, but fortunately SPEER came to mind. I actually have seen road signs warning of a RESORTAREA ahead. Which means lots of pedestrians to watch out for. One such area is South Lake Tahoe, and you really do not want to stay on U.S. 50 if you can take the alternate route away from the lake.

jberg 11:03 AM  

I'm surprised more solvers aren't objecting to ARI -- so far only @George Barany and @Loren. I get it right off, but needed lots of confirmation before I was willing to put it in. That made this one hard for me, at least when combined with my having no idea about DANA CARVEY and not knowing that Albert SPEER was an architect.

At least I avoided the misdirect to ice cream floaTS at 27A, and got over my feeling that if Bikini was an atoll at 23A then it had to be a bathing suit at 2D. Then my only problem was looking for a noun for 43D, "Board" and not knowing GROH.

I grew up in a RESORT AREA, and we often called it that -- as in "I come from Door County, Wisconsin; it's a resort area." I think the original usage was that the 'resort' was the area, but then the word got taken over to mean a particular commercial establishment, hence the addition of AREA.

@Loren, your singular/plural thing got me thinking. I think '3 cats' is plural because 'cats' is the predicate noun, and there are 3 of them. But in the other example, the predicate noun is 'snow,' but the 3 refers to the number of feet, not the number of snow. (Inelegantly put, but I think you'll get it!)

MDMA 11:20 AM  

@Mohair Sam,

Actually it was Hess who was the final Spandau prisoner. Speer wrote some books and accepted responsibility for his role in the regime.

r.alphbunker 11:56 AM  

I have heard of "beer googles" and "beer, it's not just for breakfast anymore" but this is the first time I have seen BEER OCLOCK.

As per your request yesterday I have detected words in this puzzle that normally do not occur frequently but that have been appeared recently. The word MINED is the winner here. It has only been used 13 times in the Shortz era with an average of about 2 years between reuse but it was used only 12 days ago. Details are here.

Please let me know if there is anything else I can do for you.

Leapfinger 12:08 PM  

"What did one swall say to the other swall?"
"Meet you at the SCORNER!"

@Hartley: Thinking outside the box?? Sssss...

Anais PNIN? Pnever! No problem with Lolita and Ada,but I always have trouble dredging up the title of this Nabokov. Perhaps pnow I've found a good pnemonic.

In the interests of full disclosure, I admit to thinking SPEiR seemed more Teutonicized than SPEER, and ARiOLE still looked perfectly fine. So, easy Friday though it was, I still managed to snatch de feet from that high pile of snow.

Fancy AREOLE crossing ORIOLE at the PARK. Looks as if we have the makings for an alphabet run.

That's a wrap. It's Time's-running-out o'clock.

Bird 12:09 PM  

Good poser today but DNF ARiOLE/SPEiR crossing.

Also had I KNOW (I KNEW that), arrive instead of ACCESS and edge before PLUS.

I know BEER O'CLOCK is a thing (that and "it's five o'clock somewhere") just didn't think it worthy of NYT crossword so I wanted more letters before I completed that one.

Martel Moopsbane 12:10 PM  

As Scott Thomas said, PNIN is well worth a read. It enlivens the motuweth frisas quality of one's life.

RooMonster 12:23 PM  

Hey All !
Will give this one an easy-med rating, but the SPEER/AREOLE/SCORNER/GROH area was challenging. The bottom three 10's were easier than the top three (for me). Did get ARI ONASSIS even though wasn't a gimmie. However, that BEER was not gonna happen, so put in four, and called it a day. I KNEW it wasn't right, but hey, it is what it is. :-P

Was thinking Babymomma for BUGGYWHIP for a second! Some other writeovers: edge->PLUS, stay->COME, ?bombS->?TESTS.

Looking for the pangram, no J or X. DNF with the fourOCLOCK, and SCOoNER for SCORNER. Also spelled it ARiOLE. But, otherwise... :-)

@AliasZ's parse, ARION ASS IS had me laughing and groaning at the same time!


OISK 12:36 PM  

Beeroclock was the last entry for me. Although I have read East of Eden, just couldn't remember that there was an "Abra". Thought I had never seen that four letter combination anywhere except before "Cadabra." But otherwise, like many others here, pretty much flew through this one, and enjoyed it a lot. Barry Silk just seems always to be close to my wheelhouse - notice no product clues, no hip-hop, no rock bands, yes sports clues, geography, history, science, aah. I am not saying that all crosswords OUGHT to be that way. Gosh it is nice though when I find one that is.

Dana Carvey...I want to share a story. He was on with Jay Leno one night, perhaps 12 years ago, and the topic of global warming came up. Carvey said "If we want to stop global warming, we should elect Hillary.""Why is that?" "That is one cold bitch," said Dana Carvey. The next evening, I was lecturing in chemistry at Brooklyn College, and someone asked me about global warming. Well, Dana was on my mind, so I quoted him. "Just last night the comedian Dana Carvey had this to say about global warming..." Got a big laugh from my students. But after the term was over, I got a card from a female student, saying that outside of my sexism, I was a very good teacher. She went on to specifically cite my use of the "B" word, even though, as she acknowledged, I was quoting someone else. And maybe she was right. I grew up in a far less "sensitive" time, and have had trouble adjusting my sense of humor to modern sensibilities. Maybe I should have said "Bimbo...."

Lewis 12:37 PM  

Factoid: Perhaps the most famous POCKETWATCH is in a portrait of Henry VIII by Hans Holbein the Younger, in which Henry wears the watch on a chain around his neck.

Quotoid: "“There is an old American saying, 'He who lives in a glass house should not try to kill two birds with one stone.'” -- Vladimir Nabokov, PNIN

Fred Romagnolo 12:45 PM  

I'm always late 'cause my NYT doesn't arrive 'til at least 5 A M. @Mathguy: How do you do it? So I can say I pretty much echo @Lewis' sentiments here. I did learn BEER instead of four O CLOCK. I also went through the H bomb - N bomb - N TESTS routine. But it all worked out, and I finished without any references, so a good rating from me.

Fred Romagnolo 12:53 PM  

@Oisk: Carvey had the beginnings of what looked like a winning show, but he voiced an opinion of Princess Diana that was similar to his opinion of Hillary just before her tragic death - his show was cancelled.

Anonymous 12:56 PM  

I just now got tired of this puzzle because it is too much like a quiz.
18 of the clues are quiz like. Hope you all know what I mean, think I'm just frustrated with this puzzle.

Ellen S 1:19 PM  

I did a little bit of the NW (with many "check letters" cheats). When "BEER O'CLOCK" appeared, I thought it meant the puzzle would have a theme of made-up phrases, so I gave it up and came here.

Masked and Anonymous 1:35 PM  



Don't recall ever hearin about CHARMCITY, but it's a neat nickname, and M&A always likes learnin about stuff, other than yer chlorofluorocarbons.

M&A also always likes readin the @muse comments with regularity. There are at least 3-4 ideas for runtpuz themes, buried inside each one of em. Actually, most all the comments here are a positive hoot.

Only 6 weejects to choose from, but CFC lends some nice bite to that runty pack. Only 3 U's; I wonder how the Silkmeister ranks, as far as constructioneer U-count? This one won't help him all that much.
But it was a fun, semi-feisty FriPuz that did have its charms and whips. themelessthUmbsUp.

@009: grOOOOh… "Protips!" M&A like. If U keep em comin, M&A envisions movin up to at least #010 at the next Yahoo City Crossword Festival, late this summer. This blog is very educational, and @009 is a very good teacher. He taught me just recently about the heartbreak of OES…

Maybe GROES would be OK?


**desperate gruntz** (a delicacy)

mathguy 1:49 PM  

@Fred Romagnolo: I print up the puzzle off my computer at 7pm Pacific time the night before.

evil doug 2:35 PM  

@Steve M.@10:25: So's your mom.

Mariela 3:05 PM  

I'm with the two people above who were puzzled by the SLANG cluing. I prefer my wrong answer, BLING.

Mohair Sam 3:38 PM  

@MDMA - You are right of course. I stand corrected and red-faced. I was so sure of my mental picture of Speer peering out of the prison (indeed accurate) that I did not bother to Google-check my memory of who got out when. Speer was released from Spandau in '66. Hess died there in '87, after which they tore the place down.

Anonymous 5:14 PM  

Hands up for BLING --> SLANG. generally hated the cluing today. BEER O'CLOCK was the first thing I got and the only thing I liked. Next, please!

Billy C 5:22 PM  

One interesting thing about Hess was that, as the Deputy Fuhrer, and putatively the third-most powerful person in Germany (after Hitler and Goring), he single-handedly flew to Scotland in May 1941, in an attempt to negotiate peace with The U. K. He felt (correctly) that with Germany about to invade the Soviet Union, it was vital to close down the Western front.

On arriving, he was immediately imprisoned and held in England until the Nurenburg trials in 1946. He was convicted there on two of the four counts against him (but not the count of Crimes Against Humanity, successfully --but falsely-- claiming ignorance of the atrocities against Jews and others). He was sentenced to life, and remanded to Spandau. Several times before he died, several Western politicians lobbied for a mercy release, but this was consistently blocked by tha Soviets.

Immediately after his flight and capture, Hitler disowned him and even eliminated his position, characterizing him as a madman. Naturally, this claim called to question Hitler's judgement in partnering with him for 15 years. In fact, though, one does have to question his judgement; the likelihood that The UK was going to make peace, after suffering the losses that they endured in Normandy and in the Nazi blanket-bombing of population centers, and subsequently prevailing in the Air Battle of Britain -- and while fervently working with FDR to bring the U.S. into the war -- was very remote indeed.

John Child 5:27 PM  

Dead easy. Ugly segmented grid. This felt "old fashioned" to me.

Anonymous 5:42 PM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous 5:44 PM  

I forgot to mention last night when I posted that my other original wrong answer was "BEER THIRTY", before BEER OCLOCK! (That's how I heard it in the past - Beer:30 am or pm)

Boy, is my arm tired! 6:03 PM  

Hess flew 'singlehandedly? Solo, maybe...

Kretch 6:54 PM  

Enjoyed the quick interview I heard on CBC.CA today with Will Shortz. He's across the Georgia Strait in Vancouver at a convention this week/weekend. Seems nicer than the impression I get from reading here :)

Anonymous 7:12 PM  

Albert Speer served 20 years in Spandau prison, not 19.

David IN CA 7:24 PM  

Comments today show why trying to assign a global difficulty rating is really pretty meaningless in these puzzles NYT seems to favor more and more with lots of crossing proper nouns. If you know them - easy; don't know them - guess! Problem is no wordplay. What is the point, beyond feeling proud of one's trivia knowledge?
SE section: Actor on top of architect on top of city on top of ball park, all crossing a book name (which isn't even a word, is it "PNIN"?
What I just don't get is why people consider these good puzzles? Regardless of whether one thinks an educated person "should" know these names, where is the word fun in either filling in gimmes or just guessing letters?

Now BEEROCLOCK is great! Never heard of it, but a few crosses and "aha! What a good phrase!"

This might be gt 3 8:02 PM  

@Mmmm Moopsbane, you didn't say 'motuweth frisasU, soat first I didn't understand.


Z 8:22 PM  

Off topic reply

@Aketi - When I became a middle school principal making my building safe for all kids was one of my direct charges from the superintendent. I was flabbergasted by what I found. One day in my first month of school I walked past three adults (two teachers who were paid to supervise lunch and a principal from a feeder elementary), interceded to stop a fight, sent the obvious aggressor in to my office, and did some more monitoring of the yard. The adults never noticed a thing. I also soon made lots of enemies among staff and parents alike by banning "wall ball" (think dodge ball with a tennis ball and kids lined up against a wall). The adults had no idea how the game could lead to bullying. I have more examples I could list. My first report to my boss was that the issue was as bad as he had feared, and the adults did not (almost could not) see the how they created an environment that allowed bullying behavior to flourish. It was an interesting 6 years. Bullying is hard enough to deal with when you recognize the dynamic as a staff and work aggressively against it. When the adults don't even believe that bullying is happening, though, kids (lots of kids) have miserable school experiences.

Teedmn 8:58 PM  

My time on this puzzle didn't translate to easy but it felt easy. On Fridays I usually solve during DINNER TIME, which makes for a more leisurely experience.

Looking at my ink blots, the inkIEST is SORE which started out as Send. Hand up for IKNoW. And similar to @Tita, my alleged alter-ego :-) @Hartley70, I had SŒER but fixed that in AcrossLite when no Happy Pencil AAREived. So no ARCH de Triomphe here with the official DNF.

kitshef 11:41 PM  

I just don't get it. Yesterday @Rex goes bats*** over OES, then today he barely bats an eye over the much, much worse IKNEW. NTESTS is also unacceptable, SCORNER is weak, and I know I'm going way against popular sentiment here but BEEROCLOCK is crap.

Rant aside, puzzle has some very nice stuff, CANTONOHIO, CHARMCITY, ORIOLEPARK, FIBEROPTICS, POCKETWATCH - sorry, better than very nice, it's excellent stuff.

Overall easy but a DNF for me due to Natick at SPEER/PNIN. I went with an N at the cross, which seemed highly unlikely, but so did everything else.

horseWHIP before BUGGYWHIP, aTESTS before NTESTS, oFf before AFT.

paulsfo 12:48 AM  

I'll be the fourth or so person to ask. In what sense does the clue for slang make sense? [and, to whoever gives an answer, I'll tell you in advance that you're probably wrong. :) ]

I finished with no errors, which means this was an easy Friday.

MDMA 4:24 AM  

@Anonymous 7:12 PM,

Per Wikipedia, the Nuremberg trials ended in October 1946, but the convicted defendants were not transfered to Spandau prison until July 1947. Hence 19 years, not 20.


One online dictionary defines "throw around" as "To throw or exchange something back and forth casually". In a party setting, people are more likely to exchange slangy banter than, say, at the office.

brandsinger 9:05 AM  

I'm not surprised that Rex labels that old foolish SNL bit as "racist" -- We've reached a state in our culture where anything remotely edgy -- including playful satire -- must be condemned. Thanks, Rex, for the warning -- Hey, otherwise I might have risked making up my own mind -- which is increasingly frowned upon. Or worse, I might have registered my outrage for having to watch -- horrors -- ethnic stereotyping.


Now you see it, now you don't 10:30 AM  

Oh yes, it's becoming extremely problematic to express any given POV, no matter what the reasons for the opinion nor what facts may shore it up. Someone with an opposin POV is bound to tear it to shreds. (@brandsinger, I notice you carefully avoided self-identifying ;D)

Of course, if you look back into art history, it's the putting together of many different POVs that created... what do you call that?... oh yes, perspective.

paulsfo 10:08 PM  

@MDMA: that's for the explanation of the clue for SLANG but it still feels like a green-paint clue to me (if one can say that).

rondo 11:43 AM  

Had some trouble in the NW - with BEEROCLOCK of all things! Maybe because we used to call it BEERthirty. But I had the --OCLOCK from SKA, so , my bad there.

Kind of had a Natick at the PNIN/SPEER cross, had to ask the wife about the Nabakov book, since she's Russian. Does that make a DNF??

A few sports clues/answers - always OK by me.

No yeah babies today? Alicia KEYS would make me SNAPTO.

I s'pose Phyllis Diller's hubby FANG SKEWS too old these days?
Gotta check out more of this RESORTAREA. Zipline today, hot tub tonight, mountain bikes tomorrow. It HERTZ to think about it. Tough Fri-puz for me.

spacecraft 11:44 AM  

Despite never having heard of 15- or 36-across, I can't assign more than a medium rating to this one. I mean, when the first six downs are gimmes, what tycoon begins ARIONA? Only one. And how would you continue BEEROC? The only thing that makes sense is BEEROCLOCK which, though unfamiliar, is certainly a predictable term for those of us who enjoy the suds. The NE and east fell even more quickly.

The W/SW was a little tougher. Sure, I had _____CITY, but what? I've been to Baltimore once, long ago, and the part I was in would NEVER have elicited the word "CHARM." Also had a bit of trouble seeing SNAPTO as an answer to "Become attentive." Sly cluing, at best.

In the SE, I didn't want to write SCORNER; I really didn't. Ah, Barry, that one must've hurt going in. But the rest of it: those softball acrosses...I had the feeling: Is that all there is? It's Friday, isn't it? This feels like about a Wednesday. Of course, when it's Silk, it goes down smooth. A couple of UGLY fills, but otherwise, like Southern Comfort. Hold the beer. A-.

Anonymous 2:37 PM  

Almost everyone likes Barry S. and I do too. My last entry was beeroclock, as a guess. In this house it's wineoclock, although beer goes well with pizza.

I had one lookup (Groh) so I finished but DNF, according to the purists and idealists of the crossword kingdom.

We're having the annual State Barbeque in Northern California so come on down and bring your wieners and smores. No, not funny. Patientyly waiting for El Nino to take effect.

Ron Diego, La Mesa, CA (Where all the butterflies have switched to oleo).

leftcoastTAM 6:28 PM  

A relatively easy Friday for me, too; in my bailiwick (which is, I think, a better term than the apparently favored "wheelhouse." Look'm up.)

Never heard the CHARMCITY nickname, but can appreciate the irony. METZ was another unknown, but "M" fit bestIEST, which avoided the potential Natick.

Also never heard of BEEROCLOCK, but the clue made it unavoidable.

  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by 2008

Back to TOP