Comic strip character surnamed DeGroot / FRI 8-28-31 / Barely communicates on smartphone / Actress Carano of Fast Furious 6 / Maniac Mansion console / 1987 B'way smash / Captain Clutch of baseball /

Friday, August 28, 2015

Constructor: Samuel A. Donaldson

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: Wanda SYKES (39A: Star of the sitcom "Wanda at Large") —
Wanda Sykes (born March 7, 1964) is an American comedian, writer, actress, and voice artist. She earned the 1999 Emmy Award for her writing on The Chris Rock Show. In 2004, Entertainment Weekly named Sykes as one of the 25 funniest people in America.[2] She is well known for her role as Barbara Baran on The New Adventures of Old Christine and for her appearances on HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm. // In November 2009, The Wanda Sykes Show, her own late-night talkshow, premiered on Fox, airing Saturday nights, until it was cancelled in April 2010.[3][4] Sykes has also had a successful career in film, appearing in Monster-in-Law, My Super Ex-Girlfriend, Evan Almighty, and License to Wed, and voiced characters in Over the Hedge, Barnyard, Brother Bear 2, Rio, and Ice Age: Continental Drift. (wikipedia)
• • •

This is a nice, solid Friday. I'm in the middle of a constructing binge after a several-year hiatus, so I am on Red Alert for unclean fill, and there's not too much of it here. In a high word-count themeless, there shouldn't be. If this were my puzzle, this is the stuff that would gnaw at my conscience: ANOS (I will never ever ever use this ... and I clue ANO as a partial, so bad is my aversion to the whole tilde issue here), ISAO, VAS, PSS. There's other stuff I don't love, but can tolerate (AGORAE for its crosswordesiness and dumb plural, "LUANN" because I don't even know who reads that ...). But honestly it's hard to find weak spots in this grid, and some of the good stuff is Really good. First and last Acrosses are both killer. Sam is a law professor, so LAWYER UP is a little bit of self-referentiality, but not so that it's irksome. "WAIT, WHAT?" is just perfectly colloquial. I love when constructors snatch common spoken expressions out of the air and put them in the grid. On my printed out grid, I've also got stars next to MASS EXODUS (12D: Lots of outgoing people) and FREAK OUT ON (which also has nice misdirection in the clue—looks like an adjective phrase, acts like a verb phrase: 26D: Subject to a hissy fit).

I gotta get some sleep. Been staring at grids on a screen too long. Not much interesting happened during the actual solve. It's a pretty segmented grid, so I just followed it like a maze from the "start' in the NW, down to the SW, up through the center to the NE, and then down to the "finish" in the SE. Once I got going, there were no real hold-ups. I felt guilty about how much I relied on ENBERG to get started (5D: Sportscaster Dick). And I felt ashamed and slightly dirty that the first answer I threw down there was VITALE (shudder).

OK, I need to sleep. Good night.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. this:

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:08 AM  

Top half very easy, SW medium, SE tough although looking back at it I'm not sure why?  Perhaps not seeing single and double as verbs, perhaps having PArole before PÂTÉNT, perhaps because GINA (as clued) was a WOE, or because I was reluctant to put in FEW...anyway, tough.

Any puzzle with LUANN, JETER, SYKES, ISAO, VERDI, ENBERG, JED Bartlet, ENYA, and the WOE GINA in it not only covers a lot of territory, but also has my vote, liked it a lot!  A fine Fri. debut!

wreck 12:25 AM  

Overall, it was pretty decent Friday.
I'm looking forward to your puzzles, Rex - but I'm guessing we won't be looking for them in the NYT. :-)

chefwen 12:31 AM  

Hey Rex, I read Luann every day along with about 50 other comics. The funnies are number two in my book, right after crosswords.

Really messed myself up with filling in make a scene at 26D. Good 'ol Wanda SYKES clued me in that I was way off base. Really liked WAIT WHAT? Googled 5D ENBERG. AYE aye before AYE SIR, so I had my problems but managed to work through them once I SNAPPed to.

Tom R 1:16 AM  

Well, I read Luann. Its the only comic I read. And I also stuck in Vitale.

David 1:53 AM  

Oh man, I made it into the blog post. I wish I could pretend that that's an off-brand joke for me, but, really. For the record, fixing that "wrong" square was the absolute last change I made.

Fun stuff. Lots of funky little connections or twists between various clues and answers, kept things interesting. Nice little legal mini-theme, certainly. Had one hang-up for a while in the west, with kEywoRd as cover sheet info crossing bOy instead of SON. The two fit, and bOy seemed obviously correct, so parts of that section took a while to make sense. I didn't want to read "Single or double" as a verb, so I felt very good about baseHIT at first, but ultimately everything came together. Oh, and my hypothetical trickster was more proud of his handiwork, celebrating that "I fooleD you!"

I might have liked E STREET to be clued based on the E Street Band, so that the first square didn't feel like it could be any letter, and DOA is more interesting to me as an acronym than as a partial with "good job." But other than a few nitpicks, the puzzle was an enjoyable solve and a bit of a workout. Felt like just the right level of difficulty, and it had something for everyone between law, sports, TV, and theater. Kudos to the constructor.

Anonymous 1:59 AM  

With I DIDN'T DO IT and HAS A COW, there seems to be a little Bart Simpson mini-theme going on. I like it.

Kennett Square 2:07 AM  

A remarkable puzzle for its grammatical play. "Single" and "double" are certainly adjectives...or perhaps nouns? Nope, specialized verbs! Lots of outgoing people are gregarious or extroverts -- but no, it's the event during which many people go out. "Barely communicate" should win a prize of some kind; the adverb must modify the verb, just as "hopefully" would mean "in a manner full of hope" were English not in need of a shorter way to say "I hope that it's true that..." This time around, though, it modifies the person doing the communicated, as "drunkenly," perhaps: he or she is bare, so anything he or she does could be said to be BARELY done! (I'm a fan of BARELY swimming, myself....) A terrific piece of cleverness, which must be done PARSLEY -- in the spirit of parsing, right? Amazing!

Anonymous 2:59 AM  

Once I got AYESIR the NE fell. But the tense is off on 26D.


George Barany 3:36 AM  

Elsewhere, it has been reported that @Sam Donaldson (the law professor, not the TV newsman) now has had a New York Times puzzle published on every day of the week, so congratulations for that, @Sam! There were some interesting and tricky clues here. I enjoyed seeing VERDI ... of his two dozen or so operas, "Macbeth," "Otello," and "Falstaff" were based on Shakespeare plays.

I tried EXTROVERTS ahead of MASS_EXODUS, but the crossing across word SEXTS locked in the X. Before LES_MIZ (mid-80's) there was THE_WIZ (mid-70's) ... both six letters ending with Z (the crossing down word ZERO was pretty much a lock). Also, had BOY ahead of SON, and JEB ahead of JED.

The writeup by @Rex contains a hilarious P.S. Assuming for arguments sakes that a solver would end 38-Across with a G instead of a K. In this hypothetical scenario, the crossing down word would then be STAGE, an unacceptable dupe of EARLY_STAGE elsewhere in the puzzle.

IAmSethward 3:46 AM  

I am not a great solver and certainly not a constructor, but 13 down, Results of knocking things off, gave me the idea to have the clue/answer combination C: Result of knocking it off? A: something like COMMOTION, CLATTER, or RACKET.

Loren Muse Smith 7:04 AM  

After SEXTS, I had a quick, wrong “lib” for Rush target and crossed it with “cults” for groups sharing views. Next was “boy” for SON. Glad I’m a pencil solver.

I agree with Rex about liking it when a constructor will “snatch common spoken expressions out of the air and put them in the grid.” WAIT, WHAT? Is terrific. Add it to the Famous Last Words list.

I especially like FREAK OUT ON with its ON indicating that it’s to someone else’s detriment. You can quietly, privately FREAK OUT in your bedroom because your jeans our too tight, but when you FREAK OUT ON, someone else is paying some kind of price. A lot of times we preface it with a kind of go/went and deal.

Dick went and FREAKED OUT ON me. I’m screwed.

Wanda cut her hair.
Wand went and cut her hair on me. Bitch.

I also appreciated those words to a tot, “YOU’RE OK.” That was the kind of mother I was, not the oh-my-gosh-grab-some-ice-the-Neosporin-and-Bandaids mom. YOU’RE OK. Just a flesh wound. Run along now.

Loved the clues for MASS EXODUS and IMITATIONS and the two “court” clues/answers stacked in the northwest. Oh, and E STREET is not in the northwest Washington. Sheesh. I kept going “Spokane” or “Seattle.”

All in all – good Friday fare.

Susierah 7:36 AM  

Challenging for me ! Last Friday was my best ever, but today was more like when I first started solving. I had white space in all four corners, with no way to crack into those areas. An hour in, had to peak at the blog to finish up. I hate when that happens! But I can't complain about the puzzle, all seems fair, I just couldn't conquer it. I had several wrong entries that I was sure we're right, that's not good.

DrLee77 7:36 AM  

Pretty tough for me at first. ERS vs oRS; thought WEPT for 3 down but didn't feel sure enough to enter it. NES helped and PSS as well. YOUR_EOK, PEA and PARSLEY, helped getting a foothold. in the middle which led to STY/SEXTTS cross. That opened up the northwest and middle. Didn't know tED talks but CD_RATES answered that one. JETER fell and helped me remember JED from West Wing. (I'm not usualy very good on sports clues). NW, SW, and NE all fell quickly after that. It would have helped if I hadn't skipped the clue for ENBERG which would have helped whole lot.

I loved the two court clues with LAWYER-UP over the nice misdirect Common court battle for ONE_ON_ONE. Also liked the SADDLED and FOISTED clues next to each other in the grid.

I bet I'm not the only one who entered HAVE_A_fit for HAVE_A_COW but FIRE_CODE fixed that. Thank goodness I remembered HOTH that led to completing the SE and the puzzle.

Very nice puzzle Mr. Donaldson and nice write-up @Rex. I didn't get to post this week but I want to second all of the others who felt your tributes to MERLE were deeply heartwarming. I look forward new constructions from @Michael Sharp

pmdm 8:15 AM  

Nothing to say about this puzzle. Straightforward enough. Just want to point out that fans of the NY Times crossword puzzle archive should read today's administrative note in the WordPlay blog.

Glimmerglass 8:19 AM  

@Rex. Glad you're constructing again. Has to keep your blogging in perspective. I know you've been a constrictor, but it's easy to forget. As a teacher, I was often impatient with school administrators who had clearly forgotten what it was like to teach. The only worse sort was an administrator who had never been a teacher. When I became an administrator (in a small independent school), I was careful to teach at least one class a year.

Z 8:34 AM  

Dick jokes two days in a row. Gotta love it. @David, I had -UNK and briefly considered the Anthony Weineresque J. We had SEXTS in LesPuz already, so it seemed to fit.

baseHIT slowed me down in the SE, making me wonder if saRDI did opera. Nope. Otherwise pretty straight forward. I do think that if you are going to clue TED with "-- talk" it should be "-- Talk," it being a title and all.

@LMS - I hate it when I don't get your daily avatar. That's not Wanda SYKES, Dick ENBERG, or ISAO Aoki. I'm guessing ENYA right before causing a MASS EXODUS from LES MIZ.

r.alphbunker 8:40 AM  

Puzzle report
Awesome puzzle that beat me fair and square. Details are in the report.

Merl Reagle once commented that the reason why crossword puzzles are so popular is they are like tests with hints. After finishing the puzzle I converted it to a regular test by listing the clues sequentially and only giving the number of letters in the answer (which is also a hint). I knew 10 of the 72 answers.

The test is at the end of the puzzle report. When you take it you have to pretend that you have to imagine the knowledge you had before you started the puzzle.

Crossword puzzles are also nice because you know there is an answer, i.e., this old proverb does not apply. It is very difficult to find a black cat in a dark room. Especially when there is no cat.

AliasZ 8:52 AM  

It VAS going swimmingly until I got to UNTAME. I got stuck there because I was sure it could not be correct, even though it seemed the only possible answer. I would have had the same hangup if the clue were "Different" and the only answer that fit were UNSAME. The word is feral. UNTAME my heart, baby let me go.

Has anyone ever said AYE, SIR? I am sure, but that doesn't make it a good entry. It's always "Aye, aye, Sir!" as far as I can tell. It is highly likely that sailors skip an AYE, but by that logic an unlimited number of uncrossworthy utterances may become part of a constructor's database.

These are the kinds of entries out on which I tend to freak.

There were others: the number of trivia which you either know or you don't. I have no idea why E-STREET is any more significant than O-STREET or S-STREET or any other. I have heard that Bruce something-stein had a band on E-STREET, but that's it. No, wait, Maniac Mansion is located on the north end of E-STREET, or NES for short, I think.

I didn't know HOTH, I only knew Sith. I didn't know GINA Carano, only Lollobrigida. I did know Wanda SYKES, but not JED, or whoever Leo was. ENBERG I dug up from the bottom of some AÑOS-old brain sediment. I had no idea what a LUANN DeGroot is or was. I knew ENYA and her Orinoco flow. I also knew JETER (he is sorely missed) and VERDI. Same with ISAO Aoki whom I only know from doing too many puzzles. Others may know what I didn't, and vice-versa.

The large number of shorts (almost 42% of all entries were threes & fours) and trivia answers do not a good themeless make.

But despite this, there was plenty to like here as mentioned above @Rex's charmingly sophomoric Twitter screen shot (@Rex, you two missed UNIT). My favorite: the faithful crowds piling out of churches around 1:00 PM on any given Sunday.


jberg 9:25 AM  

FOISTED! Right down the middle -- I just loved that word, somehow, especially since it makes a central cross with PARSLEY, as in "my mom foisted off some parsley on us in the lasagna last night."

The West Side came in pretty easy, once I figured out those decks were not on a ship -- otherwise I'd still be trying to remember which street the Red Cross building was on. But then I got stuck with savAgE before UNTAME, and HAS A fit next to PArdon (mixing my Constitutional articles up -- I even said to myself, 'but isn't Article I about Congress?). But GET A HIT straightened that out. Pretty nice puzzle.

@Loren, I always tried to comfort them with satire -- "You hit your head on the table? My God, did you leave a dent?" It didn't work all that well.

35A seems like praise for a hit man. 'DOA? Good job!'

Only 11 comments showing so far, I'll come back this afternoon or tomorrow to see what everyone else said.

Norm 9:33 AM  

Anonymous[Brennan]@2:59. 26D is perfectly correct. Try emphasis on the second syllable.

Dshawmaine 9:35 AM  

I was STYmied by the SE corner - had "broke" and "ballot" at 41a & d, so couldn't get a foothold and ended my longest streak ever (11 days!). :(

Mohair Sam 9:41 AM  

Fun Friday for sure. Played easy-medium at this breakfast table. Didn't know actress Carano nor the Ice planet so the misdirection at 47a (Single or Double) held us up a while, but we got it eventually.

Only nit: Having spent 5 years as an enlisted man I can guarantee that AYESIR is not an on-deck "approval". On-deck agreement, on-deck capitulation, on-deck groveling all work. But never "approval".

RickA 9:44 AM  

@Brennan (2:59 am): "Subject" in 26D is a verb (emphasis on second syllable).

demit 9:46 AM  

I guess no one cares in, too many people use the phrase now so may as well give up…but "exodus" means a large group is going out. So "mass exodus" is redundant. A puzzle maker who is scrupulous about the Latin plural for agora but not the meaning of exodus? Liked the puzzle otherwise. Loved WAIT WHAT and the sneaky cluing. For "having no currency" I almost put in "broke."

Lobster11 9:47 AM  

Got tied up in knots in NE forever after seeing the "Z" in ZERO and immediately writing in -- with unshakable confidence -- "The Wiz" instead of LESMIZ. Knew something was wrong, but was absolutely certain that this wasn't it. Ack.

joho 9:54 AM  

There is so much to love in this puzzle starting at LAWYERUP all the way to WAITWHAT?! as @Rex has pointed out. It's not often a Friday grid is filled with so many fun colloquial phrases ... great job, Sam Donaldson! And congratulations on your having published a puzzle on every day of the week!

I also liked that LAWYERUP crosses YOUREOK.

Surprisingly I only had two write overs at BLOgs to BLOCS and pEp to TED.


Bob Kerfuffle 9:55 AM  

Good one.

Agree with Medium.

At 44 D, "One who made many Shakespeare characters sing?", without looking at the number of letters, and with absolutely no basis in fact, for some reason DISNEY briefly flitted across my mind! (but didn't make it to paper.)

David 9:57 AM  

@George Barany---seeing that I now had a duplicate STAGE in the SW was, in fact, what made me realize my "mistake" and "fix" it.

Airymom 9:59 AM  

"Locale of the American Red Cross headquarters in Washington, D.C."?


Who knows, who cares?

"Boss's colleagues"--now that's a clue!

Nancy 10:10 AM  

For me, this was the best puzzle of the week by far. Lively, with plenty of challenge, but doable. I went astray where everyone else will, I'm sure: BASE HIT before GET A HIT. But HAD A COW meant I had to swap the E for an A...somehow. I also had STUDIOS before STUDIES and TENDON before TENSOR ( didn't think a tendon was a muscle, but even so...) It took JETER to straighten me out on both, since I didn't know JED. Answers I liked a lot include LAWYER UP, GO PUBLIC, EARLY STAGE and MASS EXODUS. A few too many names for my liking, but enough non-name crosses that the puzzle was fair. Nice job.

RooMonster 10:17 AM  

Hey All !
So far I'm the only one who had Butkus as the Dick-caster! He did football for a while. (I think...) Fell into the bOy->SON trap. Also had TENdOn before TENSOR, ans STUDIoS for STUDIES. Along with tED for 43A (just now seeing I already had TED at 40A), had a two-letter DNF. Was wondering who toTER of baseball was!

YOUREOK vastly helped in the NW, once I straightened out ENBERG. It let me get that corner. Wanted good ole neYo in the NE, but sussed out LUANN (a comic I've seen before, but no longer in our local paper) and went with the other third-letter-Y singer ENYA. So then finished up the NE. Wanted HAS A fit in the SE, but finally sussed FIRE CODE, changing it to COW, then figuring out FEW, made that corner gettable.

So I agree with the medium rating. Some good stuff in here, FOISTED, MASS EXODUS, LAWYER UP, HAS A COW. Fun clue for IDEA.


Nancy 10:27 AM  

LES MIZ gives me the excuse to GO PUBLIC with this fairly EARLY STAGE rave. GET A HIT on your must-see Broadway musical list by scoring tickets to "Hamilton" soonest. Amused by @OISK's humorous anti-rap and anti-rap clues post yesterday, I emailed him last night to tell him how highly I recommend it. But I haven't yet told any of you. I normally hate hip hop every bit as much as @OISK does, but this is hip hop by someone I see as the first true musical theater genius since Sondheim -- someone who studied the musical form at Yale and really understands it. This is just a brilliant tour de force and will be talked about in the same way that "Porgy", "Show Boat" and "Oklahoma" were talked about in their time -- as a show that reinvents the musical for a new age. That doesn't mean that all musicals will -- or should -- follow suit, but this show really stretches the form in a way that's truly thrilling. It's also MUCH more melodic than you might have been led to believe; the score contains many lovely ballads and other non hip hop genres. If you find it hard to get tickets, don't despair. You have plenty of time. This show will run at least ten years. You heard it here first.

Ludyjynn 10:30 AM  

Early thoughts: 'Button' for ENBERG, 'extroverts' for MASSEXODUS, HASA 'fit' for COW, AYE 'aye" for SIR, STUDI'o'S for E, 'stud' for HUNK, 'boy' for SON. Oy!

Sadly, it was only after I STEPPED away from the puzzle and read the LATEST NYT front page "Migrant Crisis" story, that "mass exodus" instantly crystalized for me.

Not a FAN of the expression, to LAWYERUP. In all the years I practiced, never heard the term. It sounds like something invented by the tabloid press. Ugh! I did like the juxtaposition of "court" in 1 Across v. 15 Across. Clever, that.

I drive my Chinese carry-out restaurant crazy by my constant refrain to omit the PEAs from the fried rice and from the shrimp w/ lobster sauce. We need world peace, not more damned peas!

Thanks, SAD and WS for a feisty Friday.

Maruchka 10:36 AM  

Took too long, plenty of do-overs, and had a google or three. Red Cross building? Argh.
E STREET bin Springsteen. NW acrosses are so DC. Should have trusted early WEPT instinct. Lacrimosa, dies illa, salve me. MASS EXODUS to follow.

HOTH? If Little Joe had a lisp..

GET A HIT/JETER proximity is very nice. I got to see his last home game - thrilling.

Fav of the day - FOISTED.

Thanks, @LMS. YOURE OK, now run and play. Words of wisdom.

Hartley70 10:45 AM  

Like the best of Fridays, I began with almost zippo. On my first pass I had WEPT, SYKES, FAN and COD. But with a lot of patience and a lot of time, I worked it out. All the wrong guesses I made have been described already, but for me the NW corner was the toughest. Once I got LOGE, I was done. Really tough but satisfying Friday.

Hartley70 10:52 AM  

Oh, and I'm a bit confused as to today's "big reveal" of Thursday's theme. Why was it assumed that solvers would need an explanation? There apparently wasn't a magical property involved, more's the pity.

crabsofsteel 11:16 AM  

To my understanding, a couple and a FEW are distinct. A couple means two and a FEW means three or more, so I did not think "Couple or so" was an appropriate clue. I HAD A COW!

OISK 11:16 AM  

Wanda at large? Never heard of it, let alone knowing who stars in it. What is Ted talk?? Gina Carano?? A planet in The Empire Strikes Back?? Hoth ye no shame? Got off to a very slow start with this one, but after about a half hour, I suddenly snapped to, and finished it. (Just Googled Ted Talks. Nope. I had never heard of them, but seems like a common enough term for the puzzle)

So, a very suitable Friday with no Naticks, and despite a few annoying pop references, ( Does Hoth rhyme with Goth or with Both?) an enjoyable one.

Anyone else start out with "Wait wait"? (as in the radio show...) instead of "wait what?" Rex calls the latter a common colloquial expression - I disagree on "Common."

Andrew Heinegg 11:31 AM  

Perhaps Rex has been considered a constrictor by some of the blog critics but, not me. And yes, I do know it was spell-correct deal but, it is amusing.

oldbizmark 11:33 AM  

another easy Friday for me after trouble earlier in the week. not sure what it is about the end of the week puzzles for me but i have been having a much easier time with them then i think i should. thought it was fun, lots of long good answers. got LOGE (i miss the blue seats at Shea) off the bat and killed the right side before getting slowed down a bit with LESMIZ. good, clean puzzle.

quilter1 11:38 AM  

Had a fit before a cow and can never remember the golfer, but liked the puzzle a lot. I sat and stared for minutes on end before seeing the light and filling in a bunch. Good Friday workout. Have a great weekend.

Masked and Anonymous 11:55 AM  

Exceptionally primo clues, in this puppy. Also, very smooth fill.
Really like WAITWHAT. Could do a whole theme of confusion, with lil jewels like that…

Speakin of lil jewels, 5 U's today. One each in first three rows; strong outta the gate.

And finally, WOTD: VAS. [W.= weeject] Ain't that another way to say "vase", if U are an
appraiser on Antique Roadshow?

Thanx, Sam. themelessthUmbslawyeredUp, and congrats on makin it to the rinse cycle.


** gruntz **

Carola 12:05 PM  

Challenging for me, and I loved every minute. I began with the grid dotted with a few crosses: AYE x ENYA, SEXTS x STY, I AM x PARSLEY, VAS x VERDI and the random individual PEA, COD, and FAN and then palpated the surrounding areas until the wonderful long phrases materialized, one treat after another. Last in, after a partial alphabet run, the G in GINA with the delight at understanding 47A was looking for a verb.

Martel Moopsbane 12:09 PM  

Channeling Anoa Bob from yesterday, what the heck is a OÑEONONE court battle?

Z 12:13 PM  

@Airymom - I love the boss but still.... The <a href=',_D.C.#Cityscape">layout</a> of Washington D.C. was planned. Have fun looking for J Street.

MetroGnome 12:29 PM  

How is "ORE" a "rush target"? And what the hell is a "Ted Talk"???

Pete 12:37 PM  

@Airymom - The answer to your explicit questions are, in no particular order, virtually no one, and virtually no one. The answer to the real question is, you're not supposed to know. What you're supposed to know is that DC roads are in a hub and spoke pattern, the radii are named A Street, B Street, ... (with some hankypanky going on with I and J streets). The reason it wasn't clued as the E Street Band is that it's Friday, and you don't get clues like "Please write out C A T in 24A".

Speaking of the E Street Band, my brother's best friend was under serious consideration as the piano player for the E Street Band back before they hit it big - he was my brother's best man, the name sake of my brother's eldest son. The reason this friend always gave as to why he wasn't in the band was that he "wanted to do his my thing, make my own music". While this was most likely face-saving BS, I've always had a nagging fear it was true, and my brother named his child after the stupidest person on the earth.

MetroGnome 12:47 PM  

Arrghh! Too many names I didn't know ("Enya"? "Sykes"? "Hoth"?) -- so couldn't finish.

Also -- how is "ORE" a "rush target"? And what the hell is a "Ted Talk"???

Lewis 1:03 PM  

@demit -- Could it be that you are/were the GN????

This one fought me hard, but then I'd get a little more and wonder why I didn't get it before. That's the kind of puzzle I love. I liked the mini-theme of double-s (4), and to go with that PARSLEY, if you start with the S in STUDIES, you can find a Boggle-style SAGE. Loved the clues for SEXTS, MASSEXODUS and ONEONONE, and the answers FOISTED, LAWYERUP, and WAITWHAT. This puzzle was tough and delightful.

nick 1:16 PM  

Lots of fun. Saddled and foisted and have a cow made me happy.

Joe 1:40 PM  

Anyone else have studios for studies? I stared at Captain Clutch Joter for way too long. Who outside of NYC has ever heard Jeter called that? Such a provincial puzzle...

mathgent 4:24 PM  

As is often the case, @Nancy and I agree completely.

@Glimmerglass: I also taught a class when I was principal of a San Francusco high school. The faculty loved it and I found it very useful

Mariela 4:49 PM  

In Barcelona you're more likely to see ANYS, since Catalan is the local tongue.

ANOS in Spanish really means assholes, and someday I would love to see it clued correctly to reflect that.

Hartley70 5:11 PM  

@Pete, your suspicions are well founded and you gave me a great laugh when I got to that last line. Well done!

Anonymous 5:30 PM  

A top-notch puzzle.

Anonymous 5:36 PM  

TED Talks are those brief seminars on a range of topics. Broadcast on NPR and there's an APP too.

Ludyjynn 5:46 PM  

@LMS, just noticed your avatar homage to LUANN de Lessops, a/k/a The Countess, from RHNYC. Cute. Did you catch the bitchy reunion?

@MetroGnome, think Gold Rush for ORE.

TGIF, all.

Mohair Sam 6:47 PM  

@OISK - Gotta get you into the 21st century my man. We Mohair's are as old and unhip as they come (Erskine started the first baseball game I attended) but even we know that WAITWHAT is common as heck (and wonderfully clued, btw).

@Nancy - Might just give your recommendation a try. Mrs. Mohair and I were eating out today and the restaurant had rap music on the outdoor speakers. We got into a long conversation with our friends that in recent years the sounds of that genre had become more and more palatable, and some of it creative as all hell. We can't decide if it is us growing or the industry adjusting to a broader audience.

old timer 6:48 PM  

I had almost all the problems everyone reported. Though when I could not think of a fraternity/sorority target for "rush", ORE was pretty obvious. Never even *dreamed* of "hung" for HUNK, though. I think that sort of entertainment fits "bored housewives" more than "bachelorette" party. At least I assume a hired HUNK keeps his Speedos on.

VERDI was a brilliant answer, one of the best I've seen for awhile. So was LAWYEREDUP, which is fresh and modern.

My problem wit "aye aye" was precisely that a sailor on deck doe snot necessarily agree. "Aye sir" could come from a lieutenant to the captain

Wm. C. 7:16 PM  

@MartelM --

One on one in basketball (on the court), when there's a breakaway with one defender opposing the offensive player with the ball.

Anonymous 8:42 PM  

My clue just says Washington, no D.C. Coulda been anywhere from PDT to EDT. Solvable but ive never heard of loge so finding any letter in the alphabet to precede __street didnt help at all

Hartley70 11:19 PM  

@Ludy, correction: "The Cool Countess". Don't be all uncool.

Burma Shave 12:08 PM  


ONEONONE SENDERS of SEXTS: Don’t GOPUBLIC when you view it,
don’t FREAKOUTON what happens next, but LAWYERUP to say IDIDNTDOIT.


spacecraft 12:15 PM  

I have been a comics reader since the days of Smilin' Jack and Smokey Stover, and I never. NEVER EVER! saw any "LUANN." I don't know where it could have been published, but not anywhere in MY world. ZERO. I have seen a first: an obscure comic strip!

Still, I managed a solve on crosses. Really doubted it, but left it in with a shrug. More trouble was the SE, where (of course) baseHIT seemed automatic. But in keeping with today's cluing theme--BEFOG the part of speech--Single and double can also be verbs. Nicely placed, in any event, close to the great #2.

So the west went well; the east less so. I have a quibble with "On-deck approval." To me an approval is something granted from above, hardly given by a subordinate. AYESIR does not fit with "approval." Acquiescence, maybe, but not approval. I have to flag that one. B.

Torb 12:22 PM  

Only gotcha for me was "get a hit". Hoth and Gina baffled me. Terrific puz!

rondo 12:39 PM  

More than medium , tough for me. Especially with that baseHIT like so many others. A FEW other write-overs include AYEaye, bOy, and enFOG (cringeworthy either way). NW was a snap, SE not so much – HOTH? 38a with a G instead of K. Funny, but likely, no?

Agree with others that ESTREET should have referenced the band somehow – Boss’s group?

ENYA, underappreciated for her yeah babiness, methinks. And ethereally pleasing, to boot. Wanda SYKES, not so much.

GINA Carano, hardbody yeah baby. Hard to forget. Could have lived with Lollobrigida as a clue, but I suppose that’s too ancient, like a Studebaker LARK.

Dick ENBERG “Oh my!”, glad I didn’t fall for Vitale, but then I had LAWERUP already in there without thinking twice.

I didn’t FREAKOUTON this puz, but it was a real test of perseverance.

Anonymous 2:00 PM  

From Syndication Land

Rex has made comments before about NY Times crossword solvers not being readers of the comics. I think most crossword solvers read the comics, because they are on the same page in most newspapers! Today The Oregonian had a reader survey of their favorite comics, and Luann was in the top 10 amongst 29 strips. I for one read it every day.

leftcoastTAM 4:30 PM  

Easy side of medium and of course enjoyed it. Good entries: FREAKOUTON, GETAHIT (a base hit is a single only), ESTREET, IDIDNTDOIT, WAIT[,]WHAT, and others. All around solid Friday puzzle. Thanks, SAD and WS.

Diane in Portland OR 5:06 PM  

@joe 1:40
Not all Yankees fans are from NYC! He was long known as Capt. Crunch & hit more doubles than any other Yankee. Too bad we can't get YES out here.

Anonymous 5:16 PM  

Finished it correctly but it took too much time. The clue for Freakouton doesn't add up and ayesir the same. Also had basehit before changing. The Chimichurri (never heard of it) answer was parsnip at first.

Talk about a work-out. I'm gonna take a nap after this.

Ron Diego, La Mesa, CA (Where everyone is in STEPped).

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