Indian Zoroastrian / FRI 9-25-15 / Old newspaper humorist Arthur "Bugs" / Pianist Schnabel conductor Rodzinski / Worker for Walt Disney theme parks

Friday, September 25, 2015

Constructor: James Mulhern

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: none

Word of the Day: PARSEE (39D: Indian Zoroastrian) —
Parsi /ˈpɑrs/ (or Parsee) is one of two Zoroastrian communities (the other being Iranis) which are primarily located in India. According to the Qissa-i Sanjan, Parsis originally migrated from Greater Iran to Gujarat and Sindh at some point during the 8th to 10th century to avoid the persecution of Zoroastrians by Muslim invaders who were in the process of conquering Iran. (wikipedia)
• • •

I slept like 11 hours! That was fun/weird. Woke to this crossword, which I enjoyed quite a bit. There were some rough patches—mainly, and not surprisingly, the result of the puzzle's odd fondness for marginally famous proper nouns—but mostly I found it interesting and entertaining. The middle section is most impressive. In fact, the corners seem like afterthoughts; they aren't nearly up to the caliber of the center, which (excluding LEONORE) came out all fluffy and clean and gorgeous. Nice stagger-stack of 12s with a cool new 15 (INTERNET ECONOMY) driven right down through it (8D: Google and Alibaba are parts of it). On top of that, none of the surrounding fill is terribly compromised. If QUOD, LEONORE, and ANODIC are the cost of that center, I'll gladly pay the price. Speaking of QUOD, that is the answer that broke open the whole puzzle for me. Unexpected! I had poked at the NW but couldn't find any of the Acrosses, and then I had solved the NE outright, but couldn't throw any of those 12s across the middle of the grid from their back ends alone. Then I stumbled in the Latin clue (32D: Which, in Latin), and while I wasn't sure which "which" it was, I put my money on "Q" in that initial spot, and bang—there went QUOTE UNQUOTE (32A: So-called (but not really)). And PIQUES (25D: Stimulates). And etc. Weird how a throwaway 4-spot can do that to your solve.

I was less than fond of AMINES / NEVINS (3D: Civil War historian Allan) (who?) in the NW, and BAER (45A: Old newspaper humorist Arthur "Bugs" ___) (who?) / PARSEE in the SE. Also the twin vowelly "heroines" IONE / LEONORE. I can never remember which vowels go where, especially whether I'm dealing with terminal As or Es. There should be a pre-20c. heroine cap. That cap should be one. Make it so. I was also kind of iffy on NY YANKEES (58A: Ones getting a Bronx cheer, for short?). Not sure where they appear that way, but certainly not in my mouth, they don't. The Dodgers are actually referred to as the L.A. DODGERS. The Yankees aren't called the NY YANKEES. It's a somewhat legit abbr (as something someone might see in print somewhere), but it's weak as longer crossword answers go. It actually doesn't make much sense as an abbreviation. I mean, if you're concerned about saving space, why not just ditch the NY? Or go down to YANKS, as folks often do? Further, GAY marriage gave me ambivalence. While I'm happy to see GAY in the puzzle any time, I think GAY marriage is just called "marriage" now.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. my blog turns 9 today. Thanks to the 10s of thousands of you who have made the work feel less like work. 

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Loren Muse Smith 7:51 AM  

This one played like a Saturday for me until I saw TIP IN and QUOTE UNQUOTE, and then all hell broke loose as I tore through the rest.

So many missteps:

"nothing" for NOT A ONE
"pace car" for POLE CAR
"rye" for OAT
"curry" for CUMIN

Liked CUMIN crossing TACOS. I put enough CUMIN in Tex-Mex meat to sink a ship. Love the stuff. And that smell, Eau de Metro on a Late August Day.

For a while I was so stumped that I considered a ridiculous "Pere Josef" for PINOT NOIR. Ridiculous because it's misspelled and ridiculous because it's a cheese. A really, really nice cheese if you're into the stinky stuff.

I also had a desperate "anacronym" for AMERICANA when "anachronism" didn't fit. Not proud of that one.

"Pia Zadora" has the same number of letters as PAVAROTTI. I kept thinking, "No way. No way."

Entertained "gpas" for CEES, knowing it couldn't be right. I always like those letter clues that so many hate. "Soccer center?" "Climactic ends?" Too runtsome, I guess. Hi, @M&A.

Had a fine time with this one.

AliasZ 7:55 AM  

I know people who go ballistic when someone says QUOTE UNQUOTE. UNQUOTE? What the hell does that even mean? Can you unquote something you just quoted? UNQUOTE seems to imply that you changed your mind and no longer intend to quote what you had just CITED. "Never mind, I hereby unqoute my previous quote." "Let me unquote that for you, dear." The phrase is "Quote, close quote", "end quote" or "end of quote." This doesn't mean that people don't say QUOTE UNQUOTE--people say many weird things--but I cringe every time I hear it.

"Tampa papa PAPAYA": Florida grandfather's fruit stand fare? "Beluga GAGA Gagarin": Soviet astronaut crazy for caviar? Oh never mind, that was yesterday's theme, let me unquote this whole paragraph.

But QUOTE enough of that UNQUOTE.

I am not sure about INTERNET ECONOMY, it sounds off-kilter to me. Isn't that e-commerce or some other e-word? TPS -- what is a TPS? I have no idea, and I'm too lazy to INTERNET-ECONOMY it. AYS, ACS, TPS, CEES -- I love to see pluralized two-letter words, pronounced consonants and abbr.'s, don't you? Then there is PARSEE which is Parsi, I guess. Oof...

Still, I SUBMIT to you that I liked this puzzle TO SOME DEGREE because it was real easy *for a Friday*. I also enjoyed seeing musical references INUNDATE the grid: one of the three tenors and his rendition of "It's Now or Never," LEONORE, Schnabel and Rodzinski.

Favorite word: PORNO, a real classy NYT-endorsed word following Wednesday's ORGY. Cool beans.

Then there is ANODIC. Do you mean, the positive end of the battery behaves like an anode, or is characterized by ANODIC attributes but it really isn't? Its opposite end must be cathodic.

Speaking of cathodic, did you catch a glimpse of Pope Francis yesterday?

Happy Friday all.

Unknown 7:55 AM  

Happy Birthday to Rex Parker's Blog! Thank you, Rex, for your tens of thousands of hours spent on behalf of all of us in crossworld.

Loren Muse Smith 7:57 AM  

Congrats on the blog’s birthday! I’m so grateful for Rexworld that I’m just going to go with the flow on this new procedure. I think I’m among those who appreciate the new format despite the loss of spontaneity. I find myself reading almost every post now, even the ones by anonymous people. Yeah, we could scroll past all the childish, predictable, tiresome jerks, but I have a mean enough little heart that the thought of these guys trying to ruin our party and not able to get in now just thrills me to the core.

So ….. this is a big digression, but the clue for PAVAROTTI brought this story to mind:

When I was at Georgia Southern, I was such a Eurosnobwannabe – spent my time hanging out with wicked smart Rotary Scholars from various countries. When the Vienna Boys Choir came to Statesboro, I just so happened to have myself a bona fide Austrian boyfriend. Well, the English professors required attendance to the concert. At the time Southern had no minimum requirements to be accepted and as a result, many of these English students were in remedial classes. Sigh. These onion farmers from Vidalia just weren’t gonna “get” the Vienna Boys Choir but I certainly would because I was so cultured and so smart and so Austrian-boyfriended. Sigh again. What a waste this concert would be on the hoi polloi.

The auditorium was dutifully packed. These boys came out on stage and began to sing a cappella and the place was spellbound. The onion farmers were getting it. The concert was so long that there were two intermissions and I’m not making that up. Even after roll was taken, the place was still packed. The choir sang in German, they sang in French, and they did a mini little operetta in Italian.

When it was over, these students at Georgia Southern jumped to their feet for a heartfelt standing ovation and what was the first of four encores. When the boys came back out on stage for the first encore, they sang the only song they sang in English all night. They. Sang. Dixie. The place went berserk, and it was the most remarkable, moving thing I had ever experienced.

Anonymous 8:02 AM  

I'm sure there's a comment (or ten) out there. Just haven't been paroled yet.


Gubdude 8:19 AM  

Solid puzzle. I liked IMAGINEER. And did PINOTNOIR remind anyone else of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt?

Real trouble spot for me was the SE, with BAER over GARRET next to ARTURS.

And I wrote in TaPIN at first as well as PacECAR. Can't be the only one who did that.

joho 8:21 AM  

Last night I started writing the answers I loved in this puzzle in the margin but stopped when I realized there were just too many to list: PIQUES, PROTOCOL, INUNDATE, SNOUT etc. etc. Loved the YY in NYYANKEES and QUOTEUNQUOTE is just plain beautiful..

I thought it was funny that PAVAROTTI won a Grammy for OSOLEMIO.

I finished this pretty quickly for a Friday so this was on the easy side for me but I loved every minute of it. Thank you, James Mulhern, for this outstanding puzzle!

Dorothy Biggs 8:24 AM  

I haven't heard the linked Lindsey Buckingham song in years...and I mean YEARS. Wow...a strong 80s breeze just wafted through my living room carrying with it visions of mullets, teal and aqua, parachute pants, and my college days working in the cafeteria listening to that song on the radio.

The NYT has this new applet on the website that I kinda like better than .puz, but it automatically keeps track of your average and how you did relative to your average. I think I don't like that part. I'm almost always below my average (is that even possible?) but what ruins the whole thing is that I can't seem to beat my best scores. Now I find when I'm doing the puzzle, beating the best score is in the back of my head and it freezes me up, whereas before I didn't care and could go faster. Not that it used to matter, but now that I continually see how I'm doing relative to what I've done, I get all competitive with my former self.

Today might have gone faster had I just ignored my previous Friday scores. But I got hung up on 42A Come together. I wanted wEd. That's all I could think of. I couldn't unthink it. I figured OSOLEMIO was right. It didn't help that towENDS seemed to work too. So I froze, just sat there feeling by Best Time slip away from me. I finally decided to scrap the wEd thing altogether, and as often happens, the actual answer emerges. But damn that Best Time.

I liked the puzzle aside from the fact that I managed to do just better than average on it. ::frownieface::

jberg 8:28 AM  

Happy Birthday, Blog! And @Rex, thanks for all you've done to stimulate interest in and appreciation of puzzles.

LEONOR_ was a gimme for me, though like Rex I wasn't sure of the last vowel. Not only do symphonies play the Leonore Overture all the time, but one of the most memorable musical moments of my life was seeing (and hearing) Jon Vickers as Fidelio singing from his prison cell. Pure beauty, and unforgettable.

Harder was MOGADISHU, which I should have known -- I tried mentally circling the ocean naming all the capitals, but couldn't come up with that one until I had the M_GA...

But yeah, that beautiful center makes up for everything.

Zero comments so far but I'm betting I'll be about 33rd once they're moderated. (Hey, that would make a fun game, predicting one's number!)

Jamie C 8:32 AM  

Another in a recent string of easy Fridays. Tied, to the second, my all time Friday record. How bizarre.

Anonymous 8:40 AM  

To continue yesterday's discussion:
I am the anon @11:05 yesterday who berated Rex and his crew for destroying this blog and this community. To their credit, and my surprise, they allowed my screed to be published.
I'd like to add one thing: though there were some nasty comments and a lot more political crap (and not a few spam posts regarding spellcasters) before moderation, I NEVER saw a comment that should have truly been banned. I never saw a racist slur, I never saw a threat, and I never saw foul language directed at another commenter (although there were some directed at OFL). Most of what was found offensive was extremely mild compared to what is seen on much of the INTERNET (OF COMMERCE and otherwise) and involved things like a discussion of the word BIMBO, an insult about OBAMA, or making fun of another commenter's perceived errors. Those comments that might be found offensive were easily ignored. In my opinion, the cost of moderation does not warrant its benefit.

joho 8:46 AM  

@Rex, I forgot to say: Happy Blog Birthday!!!!

Wm. C. 9:03 AM  

@AliasZ --

"TPS" is "Toilet Papers." Wraps TP around something on campus as a prank.

Questinia 9:04 AM  

I RUN into Professor Rex's classroom having been chastened and disabused of using QUOTE UNQUOTE improperly.

INTERNET ECONOMY is luscious crossword PORNO and IMAMAC recapitulates yesterday's theme TO SOME DEGREE.

There seems to be a general elegance to Mr. Mulhern's puzzles.

Generic Solver 9:09 AM  

Wow, the extended version of the song "Trouble" is even worse than the airplay version. Talk about a song that goes nowhere and takes more time to do so. And I was a big fan of Fleetwood Mac's pop hits.

This puzzle played easier than advertised for me. Whenever you can completely fill in the NW corner and radiate out bidirectionally, you're typically on your way to a good solve. And there were some good fresh clues such as INTERNET ECONONY and QUOTE UNQUOTE (whether you care for the phrase or not), so thumbs up here.

Sheik Yerbouti 9:13 AM  

Happy anniversary to Rex. Finished almost all of this in about 9 minutes, then spent a full minute parsing the BAER/GARRET/PARSEE section. Oof. At least one of those should have been easier.

Patrick M 9:13 AM  

Congrats on 9 years! I remember the first time seeing your blog, like your first week, and wondering who this person was who was putting all this stuff together, both the commentary and the stream-of-consciousness-related photos.

Zwhatever 9:26 AM  

@LMS - Hand up for most of your errors. I left OAT blank, so was okay there. Also, Pia Zadora - Har!
@LMS II - great story.
@Alias Z - I was quietly cursing you as this one played challenging for me and I knew you'd be plunking in answers all over the place. I did enjoy imagining PAVAROTTI singing, QUOTE/UNQUOTE "OSO LE MIO" (bear, him mine). As for QUOTE, UNQUOTE, it never bothers me if said with the double finger quote motion to mean "sic."

Both southern coasts played very tough for me. Stacking BAER on GARRETT, NEMEA, TAG ENDS, even PTA (an organization whose primary purpose, from an educator's perspective, has become keeping helicopter parents busy so that their children have some room to breath) gave me trouble.

@Anon8:40 - "But, officer, I was only doing 80. I was passed by guys doing 90. Why are you pulling me over?" Yeah, that'll work every time.

Unknown 9:27 AM  

This one took me forever. Couldn't crack the NW, soI had to cheat to get NEVINS, but then it opened up.

Regarding the commentary, I appreciated it when it was implemented. Things had gotten weird around here. There were people pretending to be other people, and strange side-fights about nonsense. I read it, but usually while cringing and wondering how people could ruin a blog about crossword puzzles. So given moderation or that hot mess I prefer moderation, but wonder if there would be a third way. Maybe require everyone to register before they can comment?

Mohair Sam 9:27 AM  

@LMS - Can still taste the coffee in my nose after reading your Pia Zadora comment.

This one played medium-challenging for us, especially in the SE where we had the perfect crossword experience of finding words we didn't know we knew and sussing others (like IMAGINEER). Thought this was an exceptionally well constructed puzzle - lots of stacks with relatively little junk fill, and all the long answers well-clued and lively - loved the staggered stack in the middle.

@steve J - Would like to see you repost what you said late yesterday so more could see it. I tried to make the same points but did not put it nearly so well - and a I agree totally with your conclusion.

Finally - Happy birthday Mr. Parker's blog. We've many hours reading, posting, learning, laughing, and complaining. Thank you.

Anonymous 9:47 AM  

Happy Blog Day, Rex. I guess the 15th birthday celebration hit you hard. That might explain the 9 hour sleep. "My little girl is growing up so fast!" The prank calling report from the other day took me back a hundred years to my own 15th B'day. I didn't know anyone prank called anymore. I'm so out of it!

Loved the puzzle, too. In a word, it was:


Nancy 9:52 AM  

A very nice puzzle, but much too easy for a Friday, I think. I raced down from the top to the QUOTE UNQUOTE midsection, finding no resistance at all. Only then did the puzzle get a bit harder. A bit, but not all that much. QUOTE UNQUOTE and DONE DEAL were my favorite answers. Smooth, but I needed more of a challenge.

From yesterday: I guess the techie suggestions of a non-techie Luddite like me aren't worth the paper they're printed on. Sorry, everyone. I had hoped there might be a tech "fix" for the blog moderation problem, but I'll take the word of all you sophisticated digital types out there that it simply can't be done. Too bad. And was it you, @Z, that suggested I include an email on my Blogger account? Because of the troll situation, I've been scared to do that. I've managed to get my personal info to quite a few wonderful people on the blog, but to put it up there for the entire world to see -- I don't know. I'm just not comfortable doing that. But if your info is up there, Z, I'll email you directly. Let me take a look now.

Pia Zadora 9:58 AM  

@Rex: You should definitely take 166 curtain calls in celebration of the blog's birthday just to best Mr. Pavarotti. You are clearly superior to him in every way.

Suzy 10:04 AM  

I don't comment often, but totally agree with @mohairSam! Thanks, Rex! And I don't miss all the sniping and trash talk one bit!

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 10:14 AM  

I liked this one. The hard stuff was real stuff that a good polymath should know. Mogadishu, Leonore, amines, Artur, Pinot Noir. Classy. Not all crosswordese or TV shows or mediocre bygone hit songs.

jae 10:25 AM  

Easy-medium with just few clunkers and plenty of zip.  The center stack was delightful.   My last entry was the A in PARSEE which was TO SOME DEGREE a guess as BAER was a WOE. 

CUrry before CUMIN (hi @lms) and also AnTons  before ARTURS (I almost tried AndreS but GARRET was already there). 

AYS seems to be missing an E, at least aboard the ship I served on.

A missed zip opportunity was not using Betty White for the 3d clue. 

Happy B- Day Rex (we can now actually sing the song) and thanks.  

I'm with Steve J,  lms, Mohair Sam, The Rhino,...on blog moderation.  It has it's drawbacks but the peacefulness is worth it.

Fun Fri., liked it.

GILL I. 10:26 AM  

This smooth puzzle reminded me of watching my dad in his favorite red sweater, sitting in his favorite ratty old leather chair and listening to Carmen for the billionth time. Brings a comfort smile because you can anticipate pretty much everything.
I just kept up this gentle flow of words one right after the other. Very little gave me pause (smarty pants me) other than the word ANODIC. Sounds a bit idiotic.
When I got downstairs I plunked in PARSEE without a blush (although I prefer Parsi) because at one time I was fascinated with Zoroastrian teachings. Anything Persian held my interest and in particular a Persian UCLA student who looked like Omar Shariff, drove a green Jag, and could melt the lipstick of your lips by just looking at you. I wonder where he is today...
I got MOGADISHU just of the MOG but without blinking I had NYDODGERS. I knew they were Brooklynn at one time since my dad was a huge fan (my mom was a YANKEES fan) but lady GAGA made me see the error or my ways QUOTE UN QUOTE...
Happy Blog birthday @Rex. What fun you;ve brought these last 9 years. speaking of meeting up and keeping in e-mail touch, Our friends @EllenS and @DebfromSacto and I are meeting up at 3 Hermanas to fill our faces with TACOS and muchas Margaritas.....Ole Ole!

chefbea 10:27 AM  

tough puzzle. Will get back to it later. Just wanted to chime in and say happy birthday to the blog. Had I known in advance I would have baked a cake.

cwf 10:44 AM  

@Rex: happy birthday!

I really liked this puzzle. It was one of those where I read all the clues and little to show for it, then got an aha in one corner (NE in this case), and then watched the whole thing weave itself together.

@Z and @Alias Z, I think you say QUOTEUNQUOTE either in conjunction with the quad-curly-finger gesture or when your interlocutor cannot see you, as in the case of a phone call.

Happy to see a different member of 'QUOD erat demonstrandum' getting dusted off; I was surprised to see that it has been used pretty often, four times by Nosowsky alone.

Ellen S 10:52 AM  

@Nancy, @Steve J, and @Rex -- I just looked it up and Blogger does allow the option that "only registered users" (QUOTE UNQUOTE) can post, or, alternatively, "only users with Google Accounts" or "only members of this blog". I don't know the difference between a "registered user" and a "member of the blog" but any of those options would mean anonymous commenters and people who can put some identifier at the top but don't have a Google account would have to register, but for those who make the leap, it would mean our posts would appear immediately, and @Rex won't have to spend the next nine years moderating the comments.

I enjoyed this puzzle, btw, to return to the topic we're supposed to be discussing. DNF due to "TiPIN" rather than "TaPIN" and even though IONE appeared in yesterdays puzzle, I don't know from nothin' about the Last Days of Pompeii. It had Nereids? So "aONE" looked good enough. Alas.

Seth 10:57 AM  

Flew through this (unusual for me for a Friday), then got stopped dead by a few Naticks:

NEVINS/AMINES. Any vowel can go there. I guessed the I because of the word "amino." No idea.
TIPIN/IONE. I had TAPIN/AONE, because why not? What's IONE?
Triple Natick: BAER/PARSEE/GARRET. Never heard of any of these.

Still, fun puzzle.

Amitybeaux 11:07 AM  

The baseball team is very widely called the NYYankees.

Ellen S 11:13 AM  

PARSEE didn't seem odd to me. I've seen it somwhere in the wild (Moby Dick, I think) and don't remember ever seeing PARSI. I've heard the term in movies but it's not spelled out there, so no help. Anyway, my limited knowledge was helpful for once.

Carola 11:19 AM  

Lovely Friday, which came out medium after a slow start. First in: ESL x LEONORa (mix-up with "Trovatore") in the center, followed by YANG on the upper left and ARTURS in the lower right. Then one thing led to another, as LEONORa will lead to an OILCAN, and eventually my slow grid CREEP led to a cascade of answers.

I liked EDEN bordering NEMEA. Not sure exactly where either are located. Favorite fake-out: having to erase the plural -s to get AMERICANA. Other do-overs: AciDIC, gpaS, TaP IN, wanE (for TIRE).

@jberg, in case you didn't see it, Opera News had a nice appreciation of Jon Vickers recently. I never heard him in "Fidelio" but saw an unforgettable "Peter Grimes" when the Met (in the old days) toured to Minneapolis.

@Rex, happy blogiversary! And thank you for taking the extra time for moderating.

Anonymous 11:20 AM  

Happy Birthday to the blog as well! I've been here 2-1/2 years, but it seems much longer as I come here every day!
Hats off to Mohair for tipping me off to SteveJ's last post yesterday - well put, and I agree.

This puzzle went smoking by until the SE -- then it slowed down to a crawl. Not my fastest Friday ever, but considering the crosses were pretty fair, very gettable without Google.

Master Melvin 11:43 AM  

I believe Bugs BAER was a sportswriter early in his career. He's the one who said Lefty Grove was so fast he could throw a lamb chop past a wolf!

@Amitybeaux: re NY YANKEES. Yeah, I don't know what @Rex is taking about here.

Joseph Michael 11:47 AM  

Nice meaty puzzle with spme great fill, especially the stack of QUOTE UNQUOTE, DOUBLE TROUBLE, and TO SOME DEGREE with INTERNET ECONOMY running through it.

Well done, James, and Happy Anniversary, Rex. Thanks for all your work to make the blogosphere a better place.

Tita 11:53 AM  

Happy birthday dear blog...!
Thanks Rex and everyone else.

As to comments about comments, here's how I want that to work...
However the hell Rex wants it to work. I imagine a razor thin line - or maybe it's a very fuzzy line, over which he will simply drop the whole thing. I don't want that to happen.

I'm in the camp of having comments in real time, and scrolling past, but I do have to admit that I like the vibe, if not the rhythm.

Puzzle - another unbelievably rare Friday finished on Friday. I love when that happens.

NYYANKEES not a thing? Come on, Rex - you used to be much better at lobbing in grenades for us all to bicker over. How on earth is it not a thing?

@Loren - love your Choir story.

Thanks Mr. Mulhern.

P.S. hte fact that Rex is allowing all this metacommentary is a big deal - he has twice been very vocal about "it is what it is, so don't bother to change my mind..."

mac 11:55 AM  

Happy birthday to the blog and many, many thanks to Rex! This calls for a donation.

I enjoyed this puzzle a lot, the top being so smooth my paper looks pristine. Just a little trouble in the PTA/Baer/Parsee section, but it worked itself out.

We once went to an outdoor concert by Pavarotti when we were living in Hamburg. I think they were feeding him in between sets, because he kept coming out holding a large, white napkin. I was so surprised when he sang O Sole Mio holding a paper with the lyrics in his hand!

Leapfinger 11:59 AM  

@NCA_Prez, is almost always below average possible? cf Lake Woebegone/ GARRET Keillor.

@jberg, predicting one's comment number is pure South Pacific/ Cockeyed Optimist. Too many lemons, not enough lemonade. Everhow, I completely agree about the staggerstack centerpiece and @Questinea's 'general eleglance'.

I thought ANODIC was a category in the former Bravo Awards that honoured the "Twit of the Year".

With luck, I can come back after getting some 'useful' things done.

TOCraig 12:01 PM  

Happy anniversary.
And thank you.

Masked and Anonymous 12:04 PM  

Congrats to @009 on 009 years of Parkering. Thanx for all the thought-full entertainment. U write real real good. If not for U, M&A would not exist -- but I hasten to add that your blog has had a lotta pluses goin for it, over the years, too. Hopin U can go for a nice, round 20.

Also happy belated B-day to daughter of @009; party on, kiddo.

This FriPuz was a great solve, with U's constantly popping up like little tasty tart treats, until M&A hit P?RSEE/B?ER. Got greedy, and guessed ?=U. That would've bumped the U-count up to 9, but was not to be.

Performance High: Got PIQUES off only a filled-in I.
Performance Low: Finally got OILCAN/LUBE combo, after having everything except the day-um crossin letter L. duh

Had NOTHING, before NOTAONE. (yo, @muse) (U 2, E.T. Al)
Had INTERNETECOLOGY, before INTERNETECONOMY. Was probably thinkin of the runtpuz websites at first, there.

fave weeject: AYS. Better clue, of course, would be: {Say in an unusual manner??} Honrable mention to: ACS, as that was my first entry into the puz.

Got the whole EDEN today, not just the compact model EDE. Shortzmeister just wanted to show us they can do it, if they really want to.

re:Moderation: Feel strongly, both ways. Pluses and minuses. I'm a moderate. Do kinda miss that spell caster dude, tho … (yo, @Z the Magnificent) (and E.T. Al)

Masked & Anonymo8Us
"The Diesel VW of Commenters" (pulling my finger turns off anti-pollution software)

Tita 12:18 PM  

Oops...meant to boast about a rare Friday finished on *Thursday*...

And as long as I'm back, why doesn't Microsoft, Apple, Google, etc. let me highlight a word or phrase, press the quote button, and have my phrase automatically QUOTEUNQUOTEd.

Lewis 12:19 PM  

@rex -- congratulations, and if your comments didn't have the wit, substance, humor, and verve that they have, you wouldn't have lasted so long, or grown as you have. Thank you for what you do.
@ellen s -- I would love to see that implemented, having people register, so that more life would return to the comments, not to mention taking an extra load off Rex. I think it's more than worth a try. What is the argument against?
@aliasz -- "Cathodic" -- good one!

The strength of this puzzle to me was in the plethora of quality answers. As @Joho said, too many to mention, but what the hell: AMERICANA, PAVAROTTI, QUOTEUNQUOTE, DOUBLETROUBLE, MOGADISHU, PROTOCOL, POLECAR, IMAMAC, and DONEDEAL -- and others have mentioned more. I liked the mini-theme of EE's (8). I thought "Lip" was a stretch for BRINK, and almost fell for the "banana" trap in the smoothie. Not knowing some of the names slowed this down and I guessed on TIPIN vs. TaPIN. Learned GARRET.

James, thank you for the jaunt!

George Barany 12:22 PM  

Many nice comments today, and congratulations to @Rex on the 9th anniversary of this blog.

Beethoven only wrote one opera, called "Fidelio" -- the "title" soprano is actually LEONORE, but she takes on the name "Fidelio" when she disguises herself as a boy to work in the prison where her husband Florestan has been unjustly imprisoned. Beethoven composed four overtures for the opera, and the most famous of them, called Leonore #3, is typically played between the first and second scenes of Act 2 (right after "Fidelio" heroically frees Florestan), a practice introduced by my very very very distant relative Gustav Mahler. Florestan was a signature role for the tenor Jon Vickers, who recently passed away.

Luciano PAVAROTTI was yet another favorite tenor, and it was my privilege to witness his Metropolitan Opera debut (opposite Joan Sutherland) in "The Daughter of the Regiment" -- that includes the famous aria with nine high C's. O_SOLE_MIO is a well known folk song that Elvis repurposed (same melody, different words) as "It's Now or Never."

Finally, far be it for me to complain about AMINES, though the given clue could apply to other classes of organic compounds, including amides.

old timer 12:24 PM  

I'd rate the puzzle as easy (for a Friday). PROTOCOL went right in, and though I thought about "Nothing" I did not write it -- too lame, I thought. I had Quae for QUOD for a while. And started to write "Paganini" before OAT led me to PAVAROTTI. But other than that, I soon found myself with a completed grid except for the SE. Where I got BAER only by crosses. ARTURS is pretty obvious, because it has to be a German name. I think NYYANKEES is just fine -- you see it in print pretty often, though you never would hear it spoken. ANODIC was idiotic, but that was the only bad thing in the puzzle.

Great reminiscence, Loren Muse Smith. I enjoyed reading every word.

And yeah, this was very much a puzzle for polymaths. In my case, I knew NEMEA not because I remember reading the Labors of Hercules as a child, but because of a fine collection of Hercule Poirot stories based on those 'Labours" -- one of the cleverest things Agatha Christie did with her favorite detective.

OISK 12:25 PM  

I wrote in "Leonora" as one of my first answers, and changed the last letter only when "CEAS" made no sense. (probably because the final "e" in Leonore is pronounced in German, I thought there was an "a" there. ) Very nice Friday puzzle, and no complaints at all!

I was grumbling about another "pop culture" clue at "Singer with the Guinness Book..." until I got "O sole mio" and realized who it was! I actually heard Pavarotti sing Rodolfo (in Boheme) at the Arena di Verona in 1973, and while there may not have been 165 curtain calls, there was a 10 minute ovation after "Che gelida manina."

Steve J 12:31 PM  

First, the puzzle:

Really enjoyable overall, but there were a couple rough spots that stood out. Vowel roulette at the BAER/PARSEE crossing, QUOD, etc. But that's more than made up for with some great fill: AMERICANA, QUOTE/UNQUOTE, DOUBLE TROUBLE, PIQUES, MOGADISHU.

Am I alone in thinking the clue for 31D is off? I thought a lube job was something that was done in addition to an oil change, featuring greasing of drivetrain parts that are now sealed and don't need that sort of ongoing maintenance. A grease gun would be the key tool used, not an OIL CAN.

Second, the blog:

Rex, congratulations on nine years. It can't be an easy thing to do come up with something to say about puzzles every day for that long, even accounting for various guest stints and the days where it shows that it's tough to come up with anything to say. Like many, I've learned a lot about crosswords, why some things are better than others, and I've enjoyed sharing thoughts with a lot of like-minded people.

Third, comment moderation:

@Mohair Sam: Glad you liked the post from last night. I won't repeat it (anyone who's interested can ready yesterday's comments), but the summary is that moderation is the only way to keep out people committed to trolling. (@Ellen S: Even requiring registration won't stop it, as anyone can create a Google account under any name - one of the issues pre-moderation was people creating sock-puppet accounts to make it look like they were other regular posters. And if you ban one account, it's easy to create another.)

Yes, I miss some of the rapid back-and-forth. I think we can all agree on that. And while it's true that things never led to the levels of abject nastiness you find in places like YouTube comments, that doesn't mean it didn't sour the atmosphere. I'm in favor of a better signal-to-noise ratio over timeliness. I get that other people like the equation the other way around. And either way, it's Rex's blog to do with as he wishes.

gifcan 12:48 PM  

Every Friday and Saturday I look at the puzzle and wonder whether I'll be able to do it. Then I get a toehold and I'm off. Loved this puzzle.

Oh, and just when you think you're out of the woods the language changes. The new distinction is between marriage and sacramental marriage. Even with Pope Francis' popularity that separation won't disappear in our lifetime.

Tita 12:50 PM  

Oops...meant to boast about a rare Friday finished on *Thursday*...

And as long as I'm back, why doesn't Microsoft, Apple, Google, etc. let me highlight a word or phrase, press the quote button, and have my phrase automatically QUOTEUNQUOTEd.

Zwhatever 1:50 PM  

Re: Rex on NY YANKEES... If you see "L.A. Dodgers" you say "El A Dodgers." If you see NY YANKEES you say "New York Yankees. I think NY YANKEES is fine, personally, but agree that as written it is less a thing than LA Dodgers is.

@Steve J. - Agree with everything you said except I think OIL CAN is fine as clued. I think the distinction between an oil change and lube job has basically disappeared from the language. Of course, if you google "lube job" you'll find that it's profane meaning is at least as popular as its original meaning, and has very little (I think) to do with an OIL CAN.

@M&A re:Moderation - I feel strongly both ways, too, but my pro-moderation side is winning at the moment. I certainly agree most with @Tita - wouldn't want Rex to pull a Boehner.

Teedmn 1:59 PM  

Liked it - a lot. Two DNFs though, ironically in the two quadrants I finished first. MIsters BAER, Schnabel and Rodzinski were all WOEs for me so my AuTURS didn't get fixed. 19A was stupidly left as AMINOS so TIRo was some sort of film term for "fade", I guess. Drat.

Lots of write overs. My meter started out as an Ohm meter (though PROTOCOL went in with no crosses) and once again, I could not bring POLE to mind and my PaceCAR slowed down the pace of the middle solve considerably! EDEN went in, came out and went back in again, no utopia there. With my iffy geographical knowledge, I was very happy to get MOGADISHU off only the M, O and D, though it helps that I live in the state with the largest Somali population. PAPAYA, bAnAnA, what can I say?

Great Friday, JM!

Charley 2:07 PM  

What is an imagineer? Not in Miriam Webster.

Mike Huckabee 2:44 PM  

Before blog moderation, there would have been at least a handful of right-wing reactionaries on this board commenting about how the GAY marriage clue was just another example of the liberal rag NY Times pushing its leftist agenda. Now...crickets.

Masked and Anonymous 3:00 PM  

@Z: "Pull a Boehner". har
I just feel somewhat sad that a talented dude like @009 has to spend precious nanoseconds of his life herdin cats (a.k.a. moderatin a comment peanut gallery). Like @Tita, tho -- whatever makes him happiest is OK by m&e. Just want him to hang in there, until @009daughter is ready to take over.

@Charley (2:07PM, RexStdTime): U should check out Wikipedia, on that IMAGINEER. Its explanation startup:
"Walt Disney Imagineering Research & Development, Inc. (also known as WDI or simply Imagineering) is the design and development arm of The Walt Disney Company, responsible for the creation and construction of Disney theme parks worldwide."

Speakin of imagineerin: Most disturbin image in today's puz: Spice in Indian cuisine = CUMIN. Woof. Boehner strikes, again!

M&A Help Desk

t-dawg 3:01 PM  

Can someone explain ADIN (Game point situation)? Is it "a din" as in loud noise? If so, that is really terrible!!

Pcrest Bob 3:02 PM  

Congrats Rex !! thanks for so many insights and chuckles

Zwhatever 3:10 PM  

@t-dawg - tennis. AD IN. Server is up 1 and wins the game if s/he wins the next point. Here's more on scoring in tennis.

Serena 3:15 PM  

Tennis score: deuce, ad in ( or out ) then game.

Wednesday's Child 3:47 PM  

I agree, sailors say 'aye' not ay. But AYES looks like A YES and AYS looks like AYS. Or perhaps a dropped j, jAYS. Like the Blue Jays that took two out of three from the NYYANKEES last week.

DAISY is a symbol of freshness but it is also a name brand for air rifles. Fresh as a DAISY packed with mud and aimed at you.

I knew yin and YANG but didn't know which was which. Four spaces as opposed to three spoke the answer. How does the spectrum of sexuality fit into yin and yang. Seems black and white to me.

Guessed at PARSEE. Had TaPIN and was ok with it until I saw the correct answer. Had AMERICANs and forgot to revisit it. DNF for sure.

But very enjoyable.

It's a good day to make a donation to OFL.

MIEinMA 3:49 PM  

Congrats @Rex on 9 years. I have been hanging around for about a year and a half since I retired.

I come down on the side of moderation for now. It was getting pretty ugly before, especially with people pretending to be someone else. I do miss Lewis' factoids and quotoids.

Today was real slow for me. I rarely get through a Friday with help from Mr. Google. But today's NW was a no go except for PAVAROTTI until I wet for help. Both NEVINS and IMAMAC were WOEs for me.

TIPIN has been clued like today another time recently. I SUBMIT that a TIP IN is not an easy score. A layup is easy.


Wednesday's Child 3:51 PM  

Oh, and ADIN is a tennis term used when the server is one point away from game.

Jamie C 3:53 PM  

Also in the old days, people would be poking merciless fun at 1)Charley, for not just googling "imagineer", and 2) t-dawg, for mis-parsing "AD IN" (as in tennis). (Although yours truly once spent an entire day pulling his hair out wondering what "A TOZ" was, and deserved to be mercilessly made fun of for it.)

Wm C 3:59 PM  

@teedmn, when you make foolish mistakes like "auturs:" you're only CUMIN, after all...

dowhat327 5:18 PM  

Happy B-Day Blog. Be prepared. She's at the age when she could bring home the TV Guide puzzle, just to nettle you.

This was easy for a Friday. At first I thought lay up, then tap in or tip in.

Mohair Sam 5:32 PM  

@Z - "Wouldn't want Rex to pull a Boehner" - Yes.

@MIEnMA - Nice catch on the TIPIN clue. Having been a scrub small forward on a Division 2 basketball team many decades back I can attest that a TIPIN in traffic is anything but an "easy score" for those of us under 6'6".

@Rex - Please don't publish any more explanations of ADIN for @t-dawg. We established 8 as the over/under in this house and I have the under. Who cooks tomorrow's dinner is on the line. Thanks.

jae 5:48 PM  

@MIEinMA - layup was my first thought.

@Lewis - @Steve J did a nice job of explaining why registration is not a good solution. Think back to when we had multiple Evil Dougs all registered. Anyone can be anybody they want to be. Sentient AI may one day work for these kinds of situations but we are not there yet.

chefwen 6:18 PM  

@Mohair - That's what happens when you have to wait hours for the comments. Commenters two through eight don't know the question has already been answered.

Teedmn 7:24 PM  

It's close to my one-year anniversary commenting here - I just wish I'd been here for the first 8 also. Thanks, Rex.

Teedmn 7:29 PM  

And @Wm C I'd much rather be CUMIN than CUrry favor - or is that CUrry flavor?

Diana, LIW 7:31 PM  

A friend's brother was such a huge Pavarotti fan that he held a party for him in South Philadelphia once when P appeared there. My friend asked him what it was like to sing like he did. He responded that anyone could, as long as they listened. That's like Rex saying anyone can finish a puz in 2 1/2 minutes if only they pay attention.

That said, Bravo Rex. Mi no parlo Italiano molto bene, but Bravo mille! Grazie! Happy Birthday dear Bloggy!

Heady from figuring out a (5-week-old syndicated) rebus yesterday, I bought a NYT to attempt a Friday in real time. (Quote unquote) Got a 50/50 solve - not a huge surprise. Hey, here in puz kindergarten that's not a CEE average.

Also wanted to see the comments on "fixes" (quote, unquote?) for the blog monitoring situation. Those who explained how difficult a simple solution would be make much sense. Rats. (Or mice.) We gotta build a better mouse trap. But just wanna say how much I appreciate all of you brilliant bloggers - you make my day!

Diana, Lady in Waiting for Crosswords

Unknown 8:15 PM  

Interesting and challenging

Steve J 8:57 PM  

@chefwen: To be fair, the old days of instantly appearing posts did nothing to stop people asking and answering the same question over and over.

Diana,LIW 10:07 PM  


Your comments just reminded me of PD Q Back's "to curry favor, favor curry."


Knitwit 10:33 AM  

Loved this, though it took me until Sat. AM to finish. Congrats Rex! I am a avid follower and owe much of my improved solving skills to you!

kitshef 3:23 PM  

Oof. First DNF in a while and it was a triple-header: TaPIN/aONE instead of TIPIN/IONE, AMeNES/NEVeNS instead of AMINES/NEVINS, fTA/fARSEE instead of PTA/PARSEE. In retrospect, I should have caught AMINES, but the other two were never gonna happen. Sigh. Still, a very well done puzzle. I liked the NW and SE stacks way better than the center. I feel like with the first two in the center repeating a five-letter string, the third should have also. Instead, we got the someone lame TOSOMEDEGREE. There is some junk -- CEES, ESL, ODO come to mind. But minimal garbage and lots and lots of goodies.

Torb 11:15 AM  

Didn't think I'd get a single word at first but finally finished it. Great puzzle!

Anonymous 11:29 AM  

A solid good Friday grid and, yes, I agree it was on the Medium side. Only two look-ups: Baer and the spelling of Mogadishu. Sounds like a mocha plate.

Didn't like anodic and imagin-eer but there is always a "twister" somewhere.

Anyway, Happy Halloween to all the Syndies.

ARR Diego, L. Mesa, CA (Where Boo is heard more at political rallies than on All-Hallows Eve).

spacecraft 12:14 PM  

A single fatal error caused a complete block of the entire SE and a DNF. If you say "Indian spice" to me, I--and 99% of the rest of us--will say CUrry. That is the most blatant misdirect I've ever seen. Of COURSE we're going to put CURRY in there, and if we don't know any of the acrosses, which I don't (or the downs either!), we are toast. 75% of this puzzle was easy breezy, but that corner: impossible! And I agree that the term "GAY marriage" is preposterous. Grow up and join the 21st century, James! Too bad, too, because the rest of it was pretty good. But PARSEE and those obscure ARTURs? No way. INC.

Brma Shave 12:28 PM  


pranking that PORNO CREEP from down the hall, (ANODIC ying-YANG with a gun),
but when DOUBLETROUBLE hit the wall, OSOLEMIO did we RUN,
it seemed a DONEDEAL we’d take the fall, but they CITED NOTAONE.


rondo 1:34 PM  

I SUBMIT that I liked this puz a lot. Seemed about right for Friday except for a couple of those names.

@rain forest - we should have warned you that since you've been out of the country for so long, the moderation that is being used has cut back on the more-or-less instant back-and-forth commenting. But the spellcasters are gone, along with f-bombs and personal attacks.

No yeah babies as clued, but DAISY and GAGA could be a Duke and his Lady. The thought PIQUES my URGES,TEEHEE.

And then there's CUMIN across TACOS . . .not a word from me, NOTAONE.

I seems that I remember OILCAN Boyd's nickname coming from drinking beer (like Foster's) that comes in larger than normal cans. Or maybe I'm combing two memories.

Would have liked to see DOUBLETROUBLE clues as Stevie Ray Vaughn's band. I hoist an OILCAN or two to him every year on the anniversary of his death, since he died on my birthday. Hard to forget.

Compared to yesterday, this puz was thoroughly enjoyable.

leftcoastTAM 3:43 PM  

This played Wednesday-ish to me, particularly after seeing how the middle could be filled in fairly easily.

Corners required more time, especially the SE where PARSEE crossed BAER and IMAGINEER looked like a questionably made-up word. Also had some trouble spelling PAVAROTTI right.

He was great, but a 165 curtain calls? I wonder where that was.

rain forest 6:39 PM  

using a tablet; computer in the shop for a lube job. BTW, I believe that LUBE is short for lubricate, which is what oil does. (this tablet thing is arduous).
Liked the puzzle a lot.
I think curry is a mixture of spices and can vary depending on the cook, whereas CUMIN is a single spice.
OKAY, HB to the blog.
Hope the computer is back tomorrow

leftcoastTAM 7:07 PM  

On that Pavarotti "curtain call" business. So it was set up for Guinness purposes. And the great one went along with that??

centralscrewtinizer 7:20 PM  

Southwest corner was a bear. LABIA instead of BRINK. GONE instead of GAGA. TITTER instead of TEEHEE. And CURRY plus a lack of tennis scoring acumen left me in the the lurch.
Happy birthday from a lurker.

Anonymous 12:53 AM  

A curry is a dish. Cumin is one of the (several) spices used to flavor a curry.

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