Cassim's brother of folklore / FRI 12-18-15 / Prison design that allows surveillance of any inmate at any time / Indian drawer / Massenet opera set in 11th-century Spain / Coins worth 100 kurus each / Sparky of 1970s Yankees / Llike ET riding Elliott's bicycle / Nickname of dictator who created Tontons Macoutes

Friday, December 18, 2015

Constructor: Andrew Zhou

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: PANOPTICON (1A: Prison design that allows surveillance of any inmate at any time) —
The Panopticon is a type of institutional building designed by the English philosopher and social theorist Jeremy Bentham in the late 18th century. The concept of the design is to allow all (pan-) inmates of an institution to be observed (-opticon) by a single watchman without the inmates being able to tell whether or not they are being watched. Although it is physically impossible for the single watchman to observe all cells at once, the fact that the inmates cannot know when they are being watched means that all inmates must act as though they are watched at all times, effectively controlling their own behaviour constantly. The name is also a reference to Panoptes from Greek mythology; he was a giant with a hundred eyes and thus was known to be a very effective watchman. // The design consists of a circular structure with an "inspection house" at its centre, from which the manager or staff of the institution are able to watch the inmates, who are stationed around the perimeter. Bentham conceived the basic plan as being equally applicable to hospitals, schools, sanatoriums, daycares, and asylums, but he devoted most of his efforts to developing a design for a Panopticon prison, and it is his prison which is most widely understood by the term. // Bentham himself described the Panopticon as "a new mode of obtaining power of mind over mind, in a quantity hitherto without example." Elsewhere, in a letter, he described the Panopticon prison as "a mill for grinding rogues honest". [...] Most influentially, the idea of the panopticon was invoked by Michel Foucault, in his Discipline and Punish (1975), as a metaphor for modern "disciplinary" societies and their pervasive inclination to observe and normalise. "On the whole, therefore, one can speak of the formation of a disciplinary society in this movement that stretches from the enclosed disciplines, a sort of social 'quarantine', to an indefinitely generalizable mechanism of 'panopticism'". The Panopticon is an ideal architectural figure of modern disciplinary power. The Panopticon creates a consciousness of permanent visibility as a form of power, where no bars, chains, and heavy locks are necessary for domination any more. Foucault proposes that not only prisons but all hierarchical structures like the army, schools, hospitals and factories have evolved through history to resemble Bentham's Panopticon. The notoriety of the design today (although not its lasting influence in architectural realities) stems from Foucault's famous analysis of it. (wikipedia)
• • •
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• • •

Shout-out to all my fellow 1990s humanities / social sciences grad students, every last damn one of whom likely got 1-Across (PANOPTICON) immediately, after (probably) doing a massive double-take. Very cool answer, very specific (in my mind, and in that of many others, I have no doubt) to Michel's Foucault's "Discipline and Punish," a book on heavy grad-seminar-syllabus rotation In My Day. The PANOPTICON always reminds me of my grad school friend Sean who liked Pearl Jam (it was the style at the time) and would sing "Jeremy Bentham" (the name of the PANOPTICON's designer) to the tune of "Jeremy spoke in" (a repeated phrase in the song "Jeremy"). Ah, Ann Arbor in the early '90s. Good ... well, sometimes good ... times. Knowing that answer right off the bat resulted in my having a rather weird opening answer structure:

Three answers of 7+ letters in length that I got with no letters, one letter, and one letter in place, respectively. This, right here—these three answers—is why the west was so much easier for me to tackle than the easy. This is the "Easy" part of the "Easy-Medium" difficulty rating. Even though there are four passages to the east of this grid, they are all very narrow, which gives the sense that the grid has two very distinct hemispheres. I found getting into the eastern hemisphere a minor challenge, despite NO LOVE LOST being not too difficult to come up with. 14D: Capable of doing well does not seem parallel to ADEPT AT. It seems parallel to ADEPT. So I hesitated there. And at 30A: First name in W.W. II (ENOLA), where I had the EN- and first wrote EN LAI (!?!). Eventually I took a flier on ATM at 11D: Bill passer?, and that began to open things up. Once I stormed down into the SE, the puzzle was over very shortly thereafter.

The grid has a weird leering quality, with the WOLFISH CATCALL, and the boobs served up for men's delectation (39A: Products once advertised with the slogan "Hello boys" => WONDERBRAS) combined with the slut-shaming UNLADYLIKE. But overall I found this really varied and entertaining. My main objection is that the answer to 31A: Reality show gear, informally (CAMS) is not CAMO. I had CAM- and plunked that "O" down with a flourish of certainty. Exhibit A:

The defense rests.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Anonymous 7:54 AM  

A little harder for the rest of us. No More Mr Nice Guy took a while to suss. And the SW corner was hard with La Cid. Who knew?


LaurieG 8:00 AM  

I found this puzzle to be more wildly entertaining than anything that's happened in the last weeks or months. Unlike @Rex I did not know panopticon off the top of my head and so it emerged from the fog like some impossible beauty. And wonderbra!? If the puzzles are going to have commercial references, please let them be as absurd as this one was...!

Anonymous 8:26 AM  

The panopticon figures prominently in the "Traveler" trilogy by John Twelve Hawks.

Z 8:43 AM  

Michael Foucault was not much read in my Ed Leadership programs, so my take was more medium challenging with the west being nigh on impossible. LFC* ROREM, LE CID, some four letter Fort, a college I've never heard of in a city I've never heard of named after a tribe I don't know, specialized COTTON, DARE clued in the most euro-centric trivial trivia way possible. Wow. Just a trivial trivia contest on steroids in the west. Heck, I even had to wait on crosses to decide between PAPA DOC or baby DOC. Sigh. Really not much fun, just the slog of piecing together trivia answers, --GA... olGA or INGA?

One wry smile at WONDERBRA and NO TIT in the same puzzle.

*LFC - Learned From Crosswords

UMGBlue 9:08 AM  

Nene again

Face Pepler 9:13 AM  

Do we have a virtual, sort of, panopticon now? We have the inmates… we have the total coverage...
Jeb! finally demonstrated that he is NOMOREMRNICEGUY when he DAREd to go after You-Know-Who. “You can’t insult your way to the presidency.” The facial responses of his FOE were to DIE DIE DIE for. Of course, the line lost its punchwhen JEB! repeated it a few minutes later.

RandPaul SPARred with the fellow who would need an XXX large OBE, after the 24/7 Terror governor said he would bomb a Russian plane over Syria. In a positively WOLFISH one-liner (for an EYE DOC) Rand looked at the audience and said, “If you want WW III this is your candidate.” Boom.

We played the old drinking game at our house: a shot every time a candidate said the words “BARACKOBAMA” referring to PRESIDENT Obama. We were a MITE inebriated, and not on air, * by 9:10 P.M. The only person on the stage who never said the phrase was PAPADOC Carson. He made up for it by saying he had no idea why we weren’t arming the Kurds! The NOISELEVEL made for an entertaining show, almost as good as STUB hub tickets to Hamilton. There was NOLOVELOST between any of them (I say, give them some pucks and hockey sticks for the next one.. the NHL has nothing on them…). But interesting were the positive cuddles between the two in center stage. By 10:30 we had to ABORT the viewing for a NAP and some meditation, attempting to penetrate what was going on in the INNER sanctums of the new budget deal, one that raises the deficit by just an amount over what an ATM gives out in ten, or twenty, years. A PACT with the devil after all the trash talk? Time to cash out your IRAS, ‘cause the same shananigans are still going on down on the Street.

*Inebriate of Air - Am I
Debauchee of Dew -

bobr 9:31 AM  

4D, shouldn't it be El's end?

Anonymous 9:40 AM  

Please explain cees for 70 something.

NCA President 9:44 AM  


I typically solve puzzles an admittedly slower way...I go through all of the acrosses and double back on the downs and do that until something emerges then I work out sections from there. Almost always a constructor throws a gimme in there that provides some kind of toe-hold, even if it's an S here or a -ER there, almost always I get something.

Not today, my friend. Today I went through the acrosses and had virtually nothing (ADES was about it)...with only a slight bit of panic stirring in my soul, I moved onto the downs. Yeah, not much there either. So I settled in for the long haul...and it was long. But what's funny about these puzzles is that stuff always seems to rise from the muck and reveal itself.

So I went to work on ADES and got most of the east coast figured out. Then to the south west because of the INNER/NOLOVELOST crossing.

I will say this, as a musician who prides myself in knowing some pretty arcane classical repertoire, this puzzle's opera references were pretty damned deep. The dyslexic LECID and ROREM (I think I know him mostly from the random choir pieces I used to sing in college) are, unless you're an opera buff, pretty off the beaten path. I wanted Manon for LECID, and Bizet in place of Rorem. But no. And with the added pleasure of a tangential art's rather arcane datum of KIROV. Bolshoi, yes. Kirov, no.

And I apologize to my friends who are NHL fans...when confronted with a league that starts with N--, I only had NFL and NBA...both of which I knew weren't that old...NRA? Nope. MLB? Nope. Oh yeah, that OTHER sport...the one with pucks and ice and all that skating...the one that used to be televised heavily at the end of football season but before baseball season. I even have an NHL team in my city. Sorry, hockey fan. Your sport, while in the top 4, is still in 4th place in my mind. And in a distant 4th place at that.

WONDERBRAS and "Hello, boys!" Ugh. Thank god we seem to be evolving since those days.

deerfencer 9:45 AM  

Wonderbra slogan made my morning

Anonymous 9:46 AM  

I got it....cee as a grade is 70 something. Nevermind.

thursdaysd 9:50 AM  

Well, that was a slog. Have only encountered Jeremy Bentham as a well-dressed skeleton in University College London's main building, so although I could picture the prison I couldn't remember the name. Add in a bunch of trivia and I needed multiple reveal errors. Although I did make better progress this morning than last night. No doubt my morning Nespresso helped.

mac 9:51 AM  

Great Friday puzzle! I had to work from the bottom up, and panopticon/OHare/pact was the last section.
Good word, panopticon, I pieced it together letter by letter.

Couldn't believe the wonder bra ad, should really have been Hello Girls!

Pete 9:51 AM  

PANOPTICON was a huge WTF for this non 1990s/non humanities/social science grad student. It kind of ruined the top triple stack of 10s for me. Also, couldn't anyone involved find a female singer to complete the UNLADYLIKE/NOISELEVEL stack in the bottom? I've no love for Seth Meyers, but he doesn't deserve to complete that idea.

Having Alvin AILEY in the puzzle after just watching B Walter's end of year special made me want to revisit the SERENA controversy of earlier in the week - Misty Copland should have been SI's Athlete of the Year. If you don't recognize ballet dancers as athletes you're not paying attention, and Ms Copland is so good that she's managed to break through one of the few remaining institutionalized white only careers.

AliasZ 9:54 AM  

Z 10:04 AM  

@bobr - OMG, I forgot to rant about that one. It's not the L, it's the El(evated train). Thought briefly it might be referencing "Lohare," but the Punjab city is Lahore. I've done an Internet search and apparently official sources call it "The Chicago 'L'" (with the single quote mark, no less). So, Chicagoans, which is it in daily usage? Is it the 'L' or the El? And if it is the second what are you doing to remove the officials who created the abominable 'L' from power?

Steve M 10:14 AM  

Not easy in any way

Roo Monster 10:15 AM  

Hey All !
Tough 'un for me today. Plenty of writeovers. New for me, PANOPTICON, PIMACOTTON, KIROC, ONEONTA, LECID, AILEY, ROREM (as clued).

Had to cheat a touch to get through the puz. Almost gave up, but managed to finish. Hey, can't be a winner every day. :-)

@Z, NO TIT! Hahahahahaha, awesome!


Jill Sullivan 10:19 AM  

Anything that invokes Foucault is incredibly apt at the moment, I think. It wouldn't have mattered to me what happened in the rest of the puzzle once I put in PANOPTICON, and did a little jig.

And the fact that it crossed PAPADOC - Beautiful!

Mohair Sam 10:25 AM  

Really great Friday. Clean stacks, clever long downs, and a good laugh at WONDERBRAS - what's not to like?

PANOPTICON came to us not from our reading, but rather from our tour of the PANOPTICON which is Eastern State Penitentiary (opened in 1829) in Philadelphia. Only a few blocks from the Museum of Art, it is one of the most unusual and informative tours you'll ever take. The audio tour voice is that of Steve Buscemi, btw.

Are we alone here or has the quality of NYT puzzles trended up over the past few months?

GILL I. 10:36 AM  

Phew....what a work-out. I loved every minute of it even though I never heard of PANOPTICON or PIMA COTTON or RHOMB or CASS or wondering like @Z whether it was PAPA or Baby DOC.
I got WONDERBRAS..! When that slogan was around, were those the pointy, "I'll poke your eyes out if you look too hard" kind? Maybe it was UNLADY LIKE, but after those missiles came out, I think most women decided BRAless was the way to go.
WEST coast was my "I better Google or I'll never finish." The East, like @Rex, was a MITE easier. KIROV took a while - my brain couldn't get pass Bolshoi.
I'm a TATER type person when I Lyonnaise and doesn't LE CID look backwards?
Nice job Andrew Zhou (love your name)...

Bob Kerfuffle 10:37 AM  

Nice Friday puzzle, on the Easy side but a lot of fun.

If one were looking for a quibble, just to show that we are paying attention: Re: 60 A, "Something shown to an usher," STUB, I must note that in recent years, my movie tickets have been torn, leaving a stub, but there has been no usher to whom to show it, while in live theaters my ticket has always been scanned at the entrance with a bar code reader, leaving the entire ticket to be shown to the usher, who still also gives me a Playbill. Or is this only in New York?

Meanwhile, @bobr, 9:31 AM, you make an interesting case about Chicago and 4 D, "L's end?", enough to make me look it up, and whadya know, the puzzle is correct!

Charles Flaster 10:41 AM  

Medium but cluing was not smooth
El's not L's and 3down should have indicated an abbr. for Mister.
Liked cluing for ATM,ASH, and NO LOVE LOST.
Very little CrosswordEASE.
Also liked Rex' review.
Thanks AZ.

@AliasZ's Backup Elf 10:49 AM  

[Sometimes I don't know what date I'm playing, either.]

Blogger AliasZ said...

Very nice themeless today with Friday-appropriate tough cluing, and at least one interesting entry. The two grid spanners were fine, if a little too easy to figure out. I also liked PANOPTICON, WONDER BRAS, NO LOVE LOST and the UNLADYLIKE NOSE LEVEL, like what fans at a baseball game produce.

The word PANOPTICON is derived from the Greek mythological giant with 100 EYEs, Argus Panoptes (Ἄργος Πανόπτης = all-seeing Argus), the guardian of Ios. EYE wonder who counted his EYEs to make sure there weren't only 87 of them, or worse, 106. But it can also mean PAN all the closed-circuit OPTIcal devices or CAMS, to see every CON all the time, or PAN-OPTI-CON, resulting model behavior, since they feel they are being watched all the time. Like I feel when I take a NYC subway, or cross a street under the watchful EYE of big brother.

The Wikipedia page on PANOPTICON shows a photo of the perfect prison building in, you guessed it, Cuba. How fitting. We must admire and open our arms to a country that is ADEPT AT controlling its population so admirably, where you will never see a guy holding up a sign "We Are All Prisoners" in front of the Castros' presidential hacienda.

When the noisy baseball fans forget the words to the Anthem, they ROREM.
If you combine CANOE with ENOLA, you get cooking oil. Weird.
I've got NOTIT, so I need no WONDERBRAS.
LECID rain, said @Leapy precipitately.

I enjoyed this one, thank you Andrew Zhou.

Nancy 11:07 AM  

Yay! I way overslept this a.m. (but needed it), then had breakfast (as I always do), then tackled the puzzle, which did not go quickly. But if I type really fast and say really little, I may be in time to make the first cut.

Never heard of PANOPTICON and had to come here to find out if my last answer in was correct. I started in the SE and worked my way up. I needed one cheat: looked up ONEONTA (I always allow myself World Atlas cheats.) Without that answer, I wouldn't have finished.

I just loved NO MORE MR NICE GUY and NO LOVE LOST. I'm laughing that yesterday we had BIKINI and today we have WONDER BRA. Is there a pattern here, WS?

How many objections will there be to LADYLIKE? Are men allowed to be coarse and ladies not so much? (I'm just kidding. I don't really care, but others probably will.)

Found this a real challenge that involved all of my gray cells. Liked it a lot!

Anonymous 11:08 AM  

Could someone please explain Ohare as the answer to L's end? I'm stumped.

jae 11:10 AM  

Easy-medium for me too.

Did not know PANOPTICON.

Erasures: Like Jeff Chen, Cal before ITT.  Also RaceS before RENDS.

Helpful gimme: PIMA COTTON.  Yes, I have shopped for sheets.

Terrific 15s and plenty of other fine stuff.  Liked it a lot.

Nancy 11:12 AM  

I meant UNLADYLIKE. (I was rushing to make the first cut.) Also, I don't get 4D. And I had EL CID before LE CID and STARLIT before REAR LIT.

demit 11:12 AM  

Could someone explain ABS as core components? Does it have to do with cars or with working out?

Sandy 11:23 AM  

Help! How is seventy-somethings cees?

Slow Motion 11:28 AM  

Unlike Rex, the LAST word I filled in was PANOPTICON, and I only got it because I guessed the CON was short for "convict", which I guess it isn't. Very enjoyable puzzle, with many answers I just barely knew but eventually sussed.

Is REARLIT a thing? I've only heard of "backlit."

Rug Crazy 11:36 AM  

Rear Lit isn't a thing. I had back lit and moon lit. Never heard of PANOPTICON, or clue for DARE

atavist 11:36 AM  

Could not imagine that the Spanish opera was anything other than EL CID. Stared at WOEF_S_ for the longest time before deciding that it *had* to be WOLFISH. From there, plugged in the horrific looking ONEONTA and was shocked by the ensuing puzzle complete music.

Chaos344 11:38 AM  

Great puzzle! I agree with Rexs' assessment of the difficulty level, although my solving experience was the mirror image of his. Started in the NW as usual. Put in PAPADOC immediately and got OBE off that. Nothing else jumped out at me so I switched to the NE. Got ENOLA and NOTIT off SNEER, and then it was off to the races. Had all the SE and most of the NE done in about 15 minutes, and was thinking about the possibility of a sub 30 minute Friday? NOT!

Stalled badly in the SW. Desperately wanted PANATELLAS at 39A off the AS ending. I was sure it was Edie Adams in those Dutch Masters commercials. Who could forget her? She definitely didn't need a WONDERBRA! Soon realized PANATELLAS couldn't be right. Got ONION, FOE, INGA and STUB. After that the SW fell. As mentioned by Z, I howled at seeing WONDERBRA and NOTIT in the same puzzle. I'm a big fan of puerile locker room humor, and I detest political correctness in any form.

Jumped back up to the NW. Popped in ABORT, DARE, and ALIBABA, then went cold. Unlike Rex, I has absolutely no idea what 1A was. Couldn't make any kind of GON or THON fit at the end. That was compounded by the fact that LASTCALL wouldn't fit in 8D. Anytime someone tells me I can only have one more drink, that's definitely RUDE in my book! Finally the light went on with 1959 and ALOHASTATE gave me enough to greet MPH at the 42 minute mark. I also agree with @bobr who said 4D should have been EL's end. Friday misdirection is fair game, but IMHO, that cluing was a bit over the top.

Carola 11:39 AM  

Very enjoyable. I got a laugh out of my "eclectic" knowledge of PANOPTICON from Foucault and PIMA COTTON from the Lands' End catalog, only the latter of which I have actually read. Agree with @Rex that knowing 1A right off the bat made the west side easy, while the east was tough to break into. I thought the WWII name might be Ernst (Rommel).

Speaking of Foucault and of getting a laugh, in a philosophy seminar I sat in on, the assistant professor (obviously with tenure worries on his mind), quoted the book title as "Discipline and Publish."

old timer 12:00 PM  

What a great puzzle! I write in PANOPTICON at once, too, followed by PAPADOC (which sounds like something you get at an Indian restaurant). I hit the SW next, where I put in "el" CID. When I changed it to LE CID it was easy going. "Camo", eh? I had CAMS myself, but I do like the concept of "Oo! Do I!.

Lots of tricky stuff here, like RHOMB. Not a word I ever have occasion to use. In the SE I confidently wrote in "Adler" for AILEY, whom I finally remembered. At the end, I just could not figure out "drove diagonally" and had to run the alphabet to get TOED. Obviously the ATM cross worked, so I was done. It came to me that it wasn't a car that was gonna be TOED, but a nail. Though, according to the Firesign Theatre, cars can be TOAD away:

Toad away, Toad away
Toad away-ay toad away
Where do you go when you're Toad Away?

(Hands up, friends if you remember that one)>

Chuck McGregor 12:06 PM  

Tough puzzle (for me) but it yielded some fun (or not) phrases. At the risk of being too WOLFISH, we have:

ADEPT AT TASSELS (can spin those things attached to her “Hello boys;” certainly nothing to SNEER at!)

INGA UNLADYLIKE (doing what she is ADEPT AT without her WONDERBRA)

IRA’S NOTIT (hmmmm….DARE I go on with this theme?)

OKAYS. Nothing to EYE here so move right along…

ATM ON LOW (you know, that one located in the AILEY)

RETAILS SNEAKERS (job description for someone whom one might also say would make a good used car salesman)

PIMA COTTON MITE (bed bug…what else?)

ONION EYE (someone in “Tears”)

TSO, I will ABORT this message by saying say ALOHA and


Aketi 12:13 PM  

@Z, you forgot to add TASSLES to the NOTiT WONDERBRA combo. I LFCed the tribe.

@Face Pepier, How did you know what popped into my head when I figured out the term PANOPTICON? Definitely not a term I learned in grad school studying epidemiology and nutritional sciences. Would have liked to see them all dressed in CAMO for the event.

The ALOHA STATE does seem to be an island of solace in a sea of aggressive words.

Lewis 12:16 PM  

My favorite part was the two beautiful grid spanners and the ahas when I figured them out. As @z points out, lots of trivia, and I finally needed to Google. Lots of tricky cluing, I did love the clues for ABS and ENOLA. Without Grandpa Google I would not have completed this, but with his short visit, this turned out to be a lot of fun.

Masked and Anonymous 12:47 PM  

This was a themelessthUmbsUp-great FriPuz. Fun and buckets-o-challengin, at my house. I also experienced the @009 Double Hemispherical Effect, solving everything in the E grid hemisphere first, with only a few stragglers, at first, in the W.

fave mini-theme pairing: WONDERBRAS/NOTIT. One in each hemisphere. M&A likes this vibe a whole lot better than WedPuz's DEAD and ThursPuz's DIE. More all-I-want-for-Christmassy-ish.

weeject cafe faves: OBE = {To be, but not quite to be??]
ITT = {Pre-39-Across shape??}

fave clue: {Seventy-somethings?} = CEES. So far, I'm still a BEE.

Stuff I didn't know I knew and still kinda don't: ROREM. KIROV. LECID. ONEONTA. Auto-correct is just itchin, to go to work on ONEONTA.
Stuff PuzEatinSpouse helped with: PIMACOTTON. SNEAKER. TASSELS. REARLIT (but with a snarl).

fave entry: NOMOREMRNICEGUY. Primo.

Masked & Anonymo2Us

**gruntz with seasonaling**

Nancy 12:53 PM  

@demit -- This will probably be the 50th post to let you know that: your midsection is your "core" and if your core is very, very strong and well developed, you will have six-pack ABS. If it's not, you will probably still have ABS, but they will be woefully unworthy and no one will ever mention them. People may, however, continue to mention your "core", as the friend I visited, right after my fall on the pavement of two weeks ago, did. She's my age, but a dancer, has been all her life, and has exceptional balance. "A lack of balance isn't due to weak legs," she said. "It's all about your core," she explained, eyeing my core with a dismissive glance. "The stronger your core, the better your balance. Maybe you should work on your core." Now we tennis players do strengthen many important parts of our body, but our core, alas, is not one of them. Dancers have great cores. Tennis players, unless they specifically do things like crunches and and sit-ups (which are not fun, besides hurting quite a bit) do not have great cores. And that is the explanation for clue #56D.

Andrew Heinegg 1:04 PM  

Never having heard of Panopticon, I struggled mightily with the N.W. and I do think that 4 down should have been clued as El's end as bobr suggests. But, any puzzle that comes up with the clue for and answer of Wonder bra must be given a virtual pat on the back as it is both amusing and amazing. I do remember the product but not the ads probably because they only showed the models with a blouse on over the bra. I am still trying to get over the idea that something like that would have been advertised in that manner back then. Wife says she is shocked they would have ran that ad in that era.

mac 1:08 PM  

Fess up: nobody had Adolf instead of Enola?

Joe Bleaux 1:09 PM  

@anonymous, thanks for first raising the question on CEES. It's always good when it's not just me (as it obviously wasn't on -- groan -- "L's end"). Despite sporadic tediousness and clunkiness, overall it was fun Friday fodder.

Wm. C. 1:13 PM  

@Demit --

ABdomenS are a component of the body's core.

Wednesday's Child 1:16 PM  

I ran out of gas in the NW. PANO and PIMA were nowhere to be found. I thought that "hello boys" might be referring to make-up or some hair product. Or perhaps a Virginia Slim type of cigarette. But no, it was like the SNL skit that began "I'm Annette Funicello and these are my breasts." Lindsay Lohan would be a more contemporary version of this same idea.

sanfranman59 1:30 PM  

Easy-Medium? Really? My stats certainly say otherwise. I found the cluing tough, even by Friday standards, and there were too many 'I-got-no-ideas' (PANOPTICON, "Bertha", LECID, CASS, kurus, ONEONTA) for this to be anything less than challenging for me. But in the end, it was a satisfying slog when I managed to complete it without cheating.

Teedmn 1:36 PM  

Easy-medium, my EYE. This was a classic Friday solve, filled with musings such as "I WONDER if I'm ever going to get an entry into this puzzle" and "Who the heck is LYLE, AILEY, where is ONEONTA, and why wasn't the bicycle ride "moonLIT?" PANOPTICON was a WOE, not a gimme, I wanted to GO INTO hyPER DRIVE but it wouldn't fit, and my INNER RHOMB IRAS are so ink filled, they look like camel droppings, and I'm not talking ASH here!

Great puzzle, thank you Mr. Zhou.

Indypuzzler 1:43 PM  

I live relatively near Chicago and, like @Z, always thought of the train as the El. However, if the CTA wants to constantly cloak the name in quotation marks I guess it's their prerogative.
I'm happy that PANOPTICON was in @Rex's sure made HIM happy. Since BABYDOC just took over the reins, I guessed that PAPADOC was the right answer. It still took many crosses for PANOPTICON to fall into place.
Not easy medium for me but a nice puzzle nonetheless.

Aketi 1:48 PM  

@Nancy, I thought of you when I looked at the clue for SNEAKER. I have never heard them called "tennies", but I grew up calling them tennis shoes even if they were for running or basketball. It was only when I moved to the East Coast that I realized that people called them SNEAKERs. As for flip flops, I have a hard time reminding myself to avoid using another name that I grew up calling them before that word was repurposed for a certain style of underpants.

Hartley70 2:17 PM  

I got through this puzzle without much trouble despite PANOPTICAN, until I started the NE. That little area drove me nuts. I put it down twice before finally seeing ATM and AGRA and finishing it off. I still don't get TOED, but I can live with that mystery. Thanks for the challenge, Mr. Zhou!

Numinous 2:29 PM  

I was in Anchorage, Alaska in the summer of 1959. Now I know that Alaska became a state when IKE signed the statehood proclamation in January of that year but somehow became official on July 4th when the 49 star flag was first raised. There was enormous pride on that day and in that flag in Alaska. We all knew that Hawaii was about to become a state and, indeed, it did that August but it was not until July 4th, 1960, when the 50 star flag was first raised that the Aloha State became "official" and universally recognized on the symbol of our nation. For a whole year, in the hearts of Alaskans, it was the most recent state in the union. Fireworks are interesting when it never really gets dark.

I found this one to be pretty average for me on a Friday, coming in at 4 seconds under. I googled for, then goggled at, the WONDER BRA ads. I also had to google for LYLE and AILY who's name I knew but couldn't remember (senescence? Maybe just anemia).

I had adOLf before ENOLA. Oddly enough, Der Führer nearly worked even though I was not tempted to seig HIEL after yesterday. I was thinking OTOES but didn't want to believe it (I have no idea where the Big Blue River is). I had olGA before INGA. I had dNA before RNA. I had a lot of false starts but PAPADOC wasn't one of them. PANOPTICal before PANOPTICON. NENE and OTOES settled it and that was that.

NO TIT? No comment but I enjoyed the workout. Thanks Andrew.

Ellen S 2:34 PM  

I was rather delighted with myself to get PANOPTICON right off with no crosses, although I doubted myself so I corroborated with downs. Still, only knew it from reading articles on the modern Prison Industrial Complex. The National Security State would have a similar effect except we all think we're free. Oh, not all: white people not wearing turbans or headscarves.

Anyway, I notice a lot of late posters who didn't read the earlier ones:
Anon 11:08 and Nancy 11:12, if you haven't figured it out yet, The El(evated) trains in Chicago runs out to O'Hare Airport. I grew up there and never saw it in print other than "El", but if it's now officially "L", well think of how much ink they saved sending out notices that the train system is one letter shorted.

(Can I turn off Autocorrect? It changed "Anon" into "Anna". I need a PANOPTICON to watch for what that "feature" is doing to my deathless prose.)

Demit (not "Demi's" and not "Demitasse"!!!) 11:12, I'm pretty sure ABS is your abdominal muscles, a component of your body's core.
Sandy 11:23: also previously stated, CEES are the grades you might get if your test scores are 70-something. Although sometimes you're lucky if it's not a DEE.

I sort of heard of pretty much all the answers here, although as I was filling in the rest after PANOPTICON and PAPADOC, they mostly just emerged. I guess LE CID is French. There used to be a restaurant in the aforementioned Chicago called La Petite Gourmet. My aunt frequently lunched at "the La" as she called it. By that logic the opera should be "La El Cid".

Anyway, fun puzzle.

Michael Knight 2:37 PM  

I had a very hard time with 'rhomb', but it was otherwise surprisingly easy for an NYT Friday.

Chaos344 2:50 PM  

Wow! So many great comments in the second posting. There were only 7 when I posted at 11:38 AM. Seems like most everyone really loved this puzzle. It was especially gratifying to see that so many people shared my mirth at the inevitable pairing of 26A with 39A. Who could miss that? The refusal to have fun with it, is exactly why I no longer post at Wordplay. No one expects the NYT to become the Onion, but Shallot it never deign to take a Leek on the sensibilities of the overly gentile?

Ergo, it begs the following question. Is it possible that Mr. Zhou knew exactly what he was doing and decided to push the envelope? If so, Bravo to you Mr. Zhou! Is it further possible that neither WS or JF caught the obvious parsing of 26A and it's association with 39A? I think not! Those guys are just too sharp to let that happen by chance, no? I'd love to hear other opinions on my theory.

Having said all that, the manner in which this particular(perhaps unintentional) bit of humor was embraced on the blog, gives me great hope for the future of the American people? Maybe in a century or two, history will reflect on this era of Political Correctness and look upon it in the same light as we now look upon,(Oh,I don't know) say McCarthyism or the Spanish Inquisition? Safe spaces will be documented as areas where banks once located their vaults? The term "microaggressions" debated as probably pertaining to those who farted in public?

Like oldtimer, I'll probably never live to see the day, but perhaps my sister and brother's grandchildren will? One can only hope.

Chuck McGregor 2:56 PM  

PANOPTICONally looking at this puzzle, SOSAYSME about the NOISELEVEL of the insisters that this is themeless:

NO! NO! NO!, 15 times NO! (or, for dyslectics like me, ON).

Right there in the middle there is NOLO as in “nolo contendere,” popularly, though not legally, referred to as NO contest. I see this as a sly prediction as to whether the constructor thought he could successfully hide this “NO” theme or solvers figure it out.

Several reveals:
Again in the middle, a 15-sided figure is NO RHOMB. (Wiki:) The E-NO-LA Gay dropped it’s bomb at 8:15 and traveled11.5, miles before it felt the shockwave.

The most obvious is that the 15 NOs appear ON a 15 x 15 grid.

And, if that were not enough, 15 x 15 is 625 which just happens to be the world record for those ADEPT AT TASSEL spinning using those “Hello boys.” [ref. my previous post 12:06 pm] For modesty’s sake I understand she was REARLIT.

(OKAYS, I made that last ONe up.)

TSO, I could go ON and ON, but I bet you’re SNEERing at and NOt buying any of this, so I’ll CEES and desist…. but still…a lot of NO/ONs.

Or maybe the theme is NOON? Luckily Yoko ONO has ONly ONe “N,” but I digress…


cwf 4:27 PM  

Having also read my Foucault, 1A was an immediate gimme. Any Philadelphia residents reading can easily go see one.

Eileen 4:58 PM  

A test score of 70 would be a grade of C.

jberg 6:01 PM  

This one was really up my alley, but I still struggled. I came to Foucault later in life, so PANOPTICON wasn't quite a gimme, but PAPA DOC was, along with TSO, and that was enough for me. Then Odyssey Opera here in Boston actually performed LE CID (LE because it's in French) this fall -- great, by the way -- and I use to run a collaborative program with Hartwick College, which involved going there twice a year. (My advice: don't go by air. The last time I did it was so terrifying I always drove after that.) I knew PIMA, but not that you added the COTTON to it, but that fit. And my ex-inlays used to live in Manhattan KS, where Fort HAYS is. Also, I went to the KIROV ballet in 1979, in what was then Leningrad. Ned ROREM is crosswordeses, though also a pretty good composer.

I too struggled to see TOED, and was having trouble thinking of PUT IT IN -- I wanted to 'go into' OVERDRIVE, but came up short. And no idea about SETH MEYERS.

I didn't understand either CEES or OHARE until I came here. Yeah, I'd say "el."

I used to sneer at people who asked questions that had been answered 10 comments above, but now that we're being monitored I realize that it's just the lag.

As for Jeremy Bentham -- never saw him myself, but had always heard that he'd been stuffed by a taxidermist. Is he really just a skeleton?

Z 6:24 PM  

Nothing since the noon hour, so I hesitate to point out scores in the 70's are often given the grade of C, spelt CEE in crosswords, or that workouts focusing on one's core, like ABS, are a current fad, or that the Chicago Metro System, the 'L' , has one line that goes out to O'Hare Airport (airport code ORD, making it the L-ORD Train). I will, however, empathize with @anon9:40/9:46. We've all had that "right after I hit publish" Aha moment. It's as if that button has some sort of enlightenment power.

@Chuck M and @Aketi - I can't believe I missed the spinning TASSEL. Dirty minds think alike and all that...

@Carola - Liked your "Discipline and Publish."

michael 6:25 PM  

This was an easy Friday for me, helped by knowing "panopticon" immediately. I know I must be missing something obvious, but could someone explain why "drove diagonally" is "toed." I know there is an expression something like "toed the ball," but am not sure what it means. I go see if google helps me here,

Ludyjynn 7:15 PM  

Just watched Will Shortz on "Jeopardy" giving the answers in the NYT xword category. Contestants got them all right; nice job, ladies! Funny that this was the last category left, as they clearly were avoiding it.

Wednesday's Child 8:11 PM  

Why are we so fascinated with breasts? If we lived on an exotic island where topless women were the norm we wouldn't be having this conversation. But here we are in our north American society loving the breast in all its configurations. What a wonderful world we live in (even if it is a tad adolescent).

Elephant's Child 8:40 PM  

@michael, toenailing is a carpentry term for driving nails at an angle. I've only done it for simple things like fitting molding into an inside angle, but in most cases it takes real skill to toe properly. Done properly, it's a strong and useful technique in joinery.

Hartley70 8:43 PM  

@Nancy, I hate to sound contentious, but I bet SERENA has a great core!

Z 8:55 PM  

Not many votes but all of them for El, not 'L'. Time to fix the CTA.

@mac - despite yesterday's inclusion, the closest I got was Josef before deciding to wait for crosses. I did give a mild side-eye to ENOLA. The plane would always be "ENOLA Gay," never just ENOLA. Wikipedia tells me the plane was named for the pilot's mother, but I don't think that is whom/what the clue is referencing.

I see that mendacity, at least, is bi-partisan.

Anonymous 9:17 PM  

We are fascinated with breasts because we have evolved to be so.

I loved the WONDERBRA, as a clue and in real life!

tea73 9:42 PM  

As an architect panopticon was a gimme. I still remember Kenneth Frampton saying, "Would you have stayed for the whole lecture if you had known I was only going to show one slide?" Husband got "No more Mr. Nice Guy" right away too, so we started just like Rex, but then it was a slog after that.

Mohair Sam 9:52 PM  

@Wednesdays Child - "This positively infantile preoccupation with bosoms." - Terry Thomas' complaint about American men in the movie "Mad, Mad, Mad World"

Nancy 11:15 PM  

@Hartley 70 (8:43 pm)-- Yes, she does, but she didn't develop it playing tennis. She does crunches and weight lifting and road work up and down steep hills and all those unpleasant things that hurt. She works hard to maintain her great core. (As someone you know does not.)

Tita 11:21 PM  

Woe is me. Dismal DNF today.
One gimme was CASS Gilbert because I originally majored in architecture, and, I lived in Ridgefield CT for 15 years.
He designed a fountain that sat at the intersection of Rtes 35 & 33.

Oblivious drivers would regularly crash right into it. A drunk Hummer driver demolished it.'

Anyhow, it features in my Presépio (my Christmas village that I'm currently building- see my blog), and in the mural in my kitchen.

kitshef 11:35 PM  

Waaay chllenging here, with WoEs galore ... PANOPTICON, PIMA, ROREM, LECID, INGA, HAYS, CASS, SETHMEYERS. Cross of LECID and ONEONTA was an educated guess. It speaks to the brilliance of this puzzle that despite all that, it was finishable.

Oh! I just now got Scissors Palace.

Too many overwrites to list, so here are just the ones I put in, then took out, then eventually put back in: MITE, ABORT, ALIBABA, TSO, GOINTOOVERDRIVE.

Tita 11:35 PM  

@Ludy - thanks for reminding me about Jeopardy - I tape one day's worth, but don't keep it, so your reminder was well-timed.

That is odd that Will's category was shunned!

kitshef 11:40 PM  

@Mohair Sam, @Wednesdays Child --the funny thing is the Hello Boys ad was designed in and ran in the UK.

Anonymous 1:02 AM  

Hello. For all the ppl who like me were like TOED what!?

mikeametrics 10:46 AM  

L as in elevated train; can't day I've ever seen it spelled like that though (usually "el")

mikeametrics 10:47 AM  

as in abdomen as in six-pack

Sandy 10:51 AM  

Bleach! And thanks.

Mr. Day Late 11:28 AM  

What got me on the clue for OHARE is that "L" is short for "el" which is short for "elevated," but the CTA Blue Line, which ends at O'Hare Airport, doesn't run on the el tracks that define the Loop in downtown Chicago. It runs in the Dearborn St subway. You can see all this on the map at this site (wish I knew how to create a link):

But as the map title incontrovertibly shows, in Chicago they consider all their rail transit trains to be part of the 'L' system, so what do I know? I'm from NYC, where we still say el a bit, but never said L.

Otherwise, I thought this was a very good Friday-appropriate puzzle, but definitely tougher than Rex gave it credit for. Getting ALOHASTATE was the real light-bulb moment for me.

Sue Who Knits 7:55 PM  

The Panopticon is a wonderful blog by Franklin Habit. It is devoted to knitting and fiber arts and life in general.

spacecraft 10:30 AM  

Easy-medium for me too, the medium part being the NE. Took a while to see TOED as "Drove diagonally," although from a golfing standpoint it's only too true! Hit one off the TOE and your ball WILL travel "diagonally" to your projected path. Painfully funny.

Didn't actually know the word PANOPTICON, but was able to suss out most of it via word roots. PAN = all; OPTIC = seeing. I thought it might be "panoptical," but when ALOHASTATE fell in and gave me NENE, Who could the tribe be but OTOES? Hmmm...OTOES TOED? Did a rain dance, perhaps?

Really? "Hello, boys??" Hard to believe that any slogan could be that overtly sexist. Anyway, wouldn't "Hello, GIRLS!" be more to the, um, point? I better quit while I'm behind.

@BS is gonna have a field day with this one. Hand up for the frown at REARLIT. Say backlit or don't say it. My only other nit is for the unwelcome resurgence of that NON-word ADES. Thanks, though, for the shout-out to one of my favorite singers:

"And everybody's gettin' fat 'xcept Mama CASS!" RIP, honey.

With only the above exceptions, this grid is clean and smooth, a MITE on the easy side for a Friday. A-.

Diana,LIW 11:46 AM  

Haven't yet looked at the puzzle and avoided looking at any comments. Just came to declare that I'm going to have patience and FINISH today. The gauntlet is down.


Burma Shave 12:04 PM  


but a WOLFISH SNEER or CATCALL MITE be hassles,


rondo 12:35 PM  

No way this puz was easy or medium. Just look at that middle row of ROREM and KIROV. And later LECID. Easy?? Medium?? Without ALOHASTATE, its accompanying NENE, and SETHMEYERS just falling in, there wasn’t much else filled after going through once quickly. Is ONEONTA on the way to Natick?

Did not like L for el in that clue. I know that the train ends at OHARE, but what the L? Two write-overs with stARLIT and metOo (SODOI) that slowed that area.

I did know CASS Gilbert as he also designed the MN state capitol building. And I’ve actually been to an Alvin AILEY dance company production. And have portaged a CANOE. And have TOED in nails. And made potatoes Lyonnaise with ONION (on a Boy Scout hike, no less). It pays off to have multiple interests, at least for xwords.

I guess that INGA Swenson is yeah baby by default, but probably not from the Benson days.

I’m usually fairly ADEPTAT a Fri-puz, but this one took plenty to get. I will just STATE ALOHA.

Unknown 2:04 PM  

The Aloha State is just inaccurate, and Will Shortz (not to mention Rex) should be ashamed. Hawaii didn't become a state until 1960. Any reference to the Aloha State in 1959 would have been to the Aloha Territory.

Longbeachlee 4:31 PM  

As this blog evolves it seems like no tit as the answer for 26 across also evolves
I'm sure the intent is not it, as in the game of tag. But that's actually weak, because I only remember you're it, never not it. I am 85 years old, so that was a while ago.

Diana,LIW 7:32 PM  

What's worse?

1) a clue that you KNOW you don't know the answer to - tru WOE
2) A clue where you know you know the answer, but it's hiding in some remote cavern in your brain
3) a clue where you know you know the answer but can't remember it, and when you remember it, you were wrong, wrong, wrong
4)a clue where you KNOW you don't know the answer, and then you realize that you know it very well thank you very much indeed
5 a bad clue
Examples from our most recent NYT romp:
1) Rorem, Le Cid, Lyle - Why not just clue: "He played 2nd base for 3 months in 1937 for a mid-west team."
2) CASS Gilbert. Seth Meyers. Off course I knew. but...
3) I could just about hear Edie Adams singing about some alcohol product or cigar, and couldn't remember the whole ad. Could hear the music. Ahh yes! Muriel Cigars. But that doesn't fit. And then...WONDERBRA??? Never, never saw those ads. The Calvin Klein ads in Times Square? Sure! A bra ad caused accidents? Gimmee a break. Or a brake, I guess.
4) I studied Foucault in grad school, and can picture the day one prof filled the board with examples, leading to, of course, hegemony. AND I used to live a couple of blocks from the panoptic prison (Eastern State Penn) in Philadelphia. I moved near it a few years after it closed, and it already looked like it had shut its doors 100 years earlier. Eerie.
5) I completed my Ed.D. in Chicago. Flew in from Spokane to O'Hare once a month for 4 years. Took the BLUE LINE, did you hear me, the BLUE LINE to and from the airport. It was not part of the Elevated, or the El for short. No one says L. Except I guess some STA folks who want us to shrink everything into its tiniest text format. But is, was, and always will be the El.

You can guess that I had a DNF, but I still get a CEE for what I got.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

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