Major quinoa exporter / FRI 1-15-16 / Lincoln signed it into law in 1862 / I forbid to Caesar / Der Judenstaat movement / Rockaria band briefly

Friday, January 15, 2016

Constructor: Patrick Berry

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: HARROW (11D: School attended by Churchill) —
Harrow School /ˈhær/, commonly referred to as "Harrow", is an English independent school for boys situated in the town of Harrow, in north-west London. There is some evidence that there has been a school on the site since 1243, but the Harrow School of today was formally founded in 1572 by John Lyon under a Royal Charter of Elizabeth I. Harrow is one of the original ten public schools that were regulated by the Public Schools Act 1868. (wikipedia)
• • •

SPECIAL MESSAGE for the week of January 10-January 17, 2016

Hello, solvers. Somehow, it is January again, which means it's time for my week-long, once-a-year pitch for financial contributions to the blog. The idea is very simple: if you read the blog regularly (or even semi-regularly), please consider what it's worth to you on an annual basis and give accordingly. In making this pitch, I'm pledging that the blog will continue to be here for you to read / enjoy / grimace at for at least another calendar year, with a new post up by 9:00am (usually by 12:01am) every day, as usual. This year is special, as it will mark the 10th anniversary of Rex Parker Does the NYT Crossword Puzzle, and despite my not-infrequent grumblings about less-than-stellar puzzles, I've actually never been so excited to be thinking and writing about crosswords. I have no way of knowing what's coming from the NYT, but the broader world of crosswords looks very bright, and that is sustaining. Whatever happens, this blog will remain an outpost of the Old Internet: no ads, no corporate sponsorship, no whistles and bells. Just the singular, personal voice of someone talking passionately about a topic he loves. As I have said in years past, I know that some people are opposed to paying for what they can get for free, and still others really don't have money to spare. Both kinds of people are welcome to continue reading my blog, with my compliments. It will always be free. I have no interest in cordoning it off, nor do I have any interest in taking advertising. I value my independence too much. Anyway, if you are so moved, there is a Paypal button in the sidebar, and a mailing address here:

Rex Parker
℅ Michael Sharp
54 Matthews St
Binghamton NY 13905

And here: I'll stick a PayPal button in here for the mobile users.

There. Hope that helps.

For people who send me actual, honest-to-god (i.e. "snail") mail (I love snail mail!), this year my thank-you cards are "Sibley Backyard Birding Postcards"—each card a different watercolor illustration by ornithologist David Sibley. You could get a Black PHOEBE. A California TOWHEE. Or maybe even a picture of some fabled SCARLET TANAGERS (15). Or give via PayPal and get a thank-you email. That's cool too. Please note: I don't keep a "mailing list" and don't share my contributor info with anyone. And if you give by snail mail and (for some reason) don't want a thank-you card, just say NO CARD.  As I say in every thank-you card (and email), I'm so grateful for your readership and support. So thanks, not A TAD, but A TON (partial fill! coming in useful!). Now on to the puzzle …

• • •
Today: one minute faster than yesterday, three minutes faster than Wednesday. Weird, weird week. What happened in this puzzle? I barely remember. I had a little trouble with 23A: Number of letters (ZIP CODE), because that clue is wicked. I somehow rendered the HOMESTEAD ACT as the COMSTEAD ACT—hmm, let's see ... there was the Comstock Law regulating the traffic in obscenity (which included contraception!). Maybe I was thinking of that. It passed in 1873, which is *close* to 1862, at any rate. But otherwise ... there was virtually no resistance today. Maybe I had a little trouble finishing off SISTERS-IN-LAW (wanted SISTER WIVES ??), and ONLINE POKER (wanted ONLINE ... nothing, actually). First thought for [Eight-footer?] involved octopuses, after which I Could Not Think Of Another 8-Footed Animal. Sigh. But crosses came quickly, so no big deal. The APENNINES clue was very tricky / clever (2D: Boot hills?) (get it? 'cause Italy is shaped like a "boot"?). But again, all surrounding material was so easy that I just waited it out.

First footing in the grid was PERU (1D: Major quinoa exporter). I've weirdly read a number of articles about quinoa, but even if I hadn't, there aren't that many four-letter South American countries. There's one. Is there another? I don't think so. After that, EPEE and RENO were transparent. UNCLOGS SWIG TANS, bang bang bang. I wish this sounded more heroic—it was really pretty rudimentary. The grid is gorgeous, if not exactly contemporary—which is to say, very very Berry. I almost went to college in WALLA WALLA. Well, I applied to college in WALLA WALLA. And got in. I think "almost went" is an exaggeration. But my family's from the NW and Whitman's a good regional liberal arts school. This is all to say that with WA- in place, WALLA WALLA was a gimme, onions or no onions. I'm about to relearn pre-NEOLATIN, i.e. classical Latin. My classicist friend has given me the textbooks. Seriously, I'm starting this week. Self-directed. I had Latin back in grad school, and loved it, but like my old concert t-shirts and my love for the podcast "Serial," it has faded. So I'm pretty excited to get back at it (the nerdiest version of a midlife crisis you're ever apt to see). The RAMS are headed back to L.A. as of this week, where they were located when they were [Merlin Olsen's team] (before he became a TV star on "Little House" and ... other things, I assume).

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:14 AM  

Easier than yesterday's, and easy period. No erasures and no WOEs. I keep looking at this to see where the Fri. difficulty is and it's just not there. And, while it's reasonably smooth it's also pretty boring. Yesterday's was a LOT more fun.

Diana,LIW 12:22 AM  

More blasts from the past, if you allow a 5-week syndie stretch!!

George B - thanks so much for the Roz Chast utube of 12/9 - WOW! Laffed my butt off - she's so SASSY.

Thanks Tita and Teedmn for visiting - welcome to Syndieland - so very happy to see you!!!

Teedmn - Finns don't have allspice - all of their foods and food products are white. Bland. Think cauliflower and mashed potatoes. With some bread. and white sauce. butter. did I mention bread? and, well, bread. yeah. or pasta, like noodles, if you're desperate. And there's always coffee.

Diana, Lady-In-Waiting for Crosswords

kozmikvoid 12:25 AM  

Fastest Friday to date. It was fun, but it was over far too quickly. I didn't dislike any of the fill...liked quite a bit of. Started with OZONELAYER and just headed NE, filling in everything on that diagonal. Then SW fell quickly and closed out in the NW. I consider this one containing two wine clues: WINESELLER (great clue) and WALLAWALLA, which I got mainly due to the great pinots coming out of the Columbia Valley lately (I recommend trying them sans onion).

rondo 12:36 AM  

@jae - from 5 weeks and one day ago, "Like Mila Kunis" as a clue for ULTRAHOT. Fantastic! After my own heart, and probably @Burma Shave if you ever check back for his daily verse.

Carola 12:40 AM  

Easy, I guess, in retrospect, but it gave me plenty of trouble, due to tricky cluing (ZIP CODE!) combined with solver dimness: I had Lincoln signing an eDiCT; OkrA being part of a pod, WINE Stores being a supplier, and rYE being a strong base (for a drink). Despite my knowing a bunch of things from PERU to WALLA WALLA, it took a long time for it to all come together.

I liked the cross of ILIAD with STEALTHIER (the Greeks, in their Trojan horse), complemented by HELENS (although one was enough for Troy) and maybe even the SEER Cassandra.

Dolgo 3:33 AM  

Cute, but MUCH too easy for a Friday!

Loren Muse Smith 4:20 AM  

The man. There's no stealthier grid ninja than our Patrick Berry.

The clue for WENCESLAS – excellent. ZIP CODE, too.

Oh, and the clue for SEER. It's future reporter, not future reporter. Cool.

Surely I'm not the only one to bite on the "pod" clue and put in "okra" first off the O _ _ A?

RANON/OZONE – former looks like some kind of greenhouse gas. Maybe used in firefighting. Maybe not.

Rex – my first thought was SISTERS IN LAW, but I waited.

WINE SELLER feels playful. Man, that WINE SELLER's cellar is huge! I can't ever hear FAVA beans without picturing Anthony Hopkins and his Chianti.

@Z – thanks for the article. I loved his "tweedy pop-prescriptivists, … self-appointed grammar guardians who didn't really know what they (are) talking about, and their ill-informed pettiness has poisoned the well for the rest of us." (bold-faced is mine)


Charles Flaster 4:38 AM  

Easy despite 4 write overs.
ALAS for ratS
Liked cluing for VETO and LENS COVERS.
Overall, the symmetry was well done.
No crossword EASE.
Thanks PB

GILL I. 5:05 AM  

I wanted this puzzle to last a bit longer....I was really enjoying it but then my cowboy RIDES OFF into the sunset and RATS, it's over.
Lots of posh words. APENNINES gave me the elaborate shakes. I know it as Appennino. Even so, It was in there because everything else fit so I Googled it and YAY, it's true. Same for ELUTE. Still don't get that one since it means to extract?
I reached way over my shoulder and padded my back for getting HOMESTEADACT off of the first H and the last T. I love when that happens.
Cab supplier is just stellar. FAVA will always remind me of liver, WALLAWALLA is like the watusi and ENSCONCED makes me think of candles in the wind.
I wish I still had my MEW but for now we have two ARFs.

Phil 5:45 AM  

PB tends to clue to entertain so they are fun and can be easier than diabolical cluing.
It's all in the clueing. I remember a paper years ago that gave two sets of clues for the same puzzle.

GILL I. 5:49 AM  

I swear...I didn't pad my back.

Anonymous 6:27 AM  

@Carola - OkrA pod member! There's a great clue in there somewhere!

Sir Hillary 7:33 AM  

A typical Berry gem. Easy for a Friday, but the clues for APENNINES, WENCESLAS, ZIPCODE, LADIESFIRST, SEER, WINESELLER and LENSCOVERS are absolutely wonderful.

Only brief mistake was ULpLuGS at 19A...which would have been another great clue had it been correct (think laptop).

Happy weekend, everyone.

Glimmerglass 7:55 AM  

Very Berriesque at the top -- which is to say quite hard until crosses start to yield aha moments. But the bottom was much too easy for a Friday.

Dorothy Biggs 7:58 AM  

This was easier than a normal Friday for me.

The "Boot hills" clue was transparent enough that I figured it had to do with some range of mountains in the boot of Italy...but I shrugged it off because a) I don't know what they are off hand, and b) I thought, "How in the name of all that is Italian am I supposed to know what those mountains are?" And so I thought it had to do with oPENlines? Open-something or something-lines. "Little man" didn't help much. So that area stayed blank for a while.

The heart of my issues though was in the heart of the puzzle with Judenstaat, Eight-footer, and Man in black...all clues conspired to twist and turn until LADIESFIRST appeared. Then INKJET, NINJA, ZIONISM, etc.

I had limA bean before FAVA.

FWIW, ninjas did not wear black. They're goal was to blend in and not be seen...if they were the only ones wearing black, then they'd stand out. So during the day they would dress like everyone else...just like undercover cops. At night they would wear dark blue since that blended in better with night than black does. So this ninja black-wearing thing is purely a Hollywood fiction.

Anonymous 8:00 AM  

It's "in memoriAm," making the down clue "elAte." As in..."give a lift to" one's mood. :)

Tim Pierce 8:27 AM  

Lots of fun, but I'm calling foul on SEC, which signifies a champagne on the sweeter side and not a dry wine.

Egri Bukaver 8:43 AM  

This was a smooth and fun puzzle, but quite easy. Much easier than yesterday's puzzle for me.

Loved the clues for WINESELLER and LENSCOVERS.

I know I'm late to the table with this, but speaking of preserved fish (nova lox), I once had a friend, Mischa, who, while attending school at the University of Southern North Dakota, or perhaps the other way around (U of NSD) at Harple, dined on lutefisk daily until until he developed an embarrassing medical condition and had to stop. (How's that for a run-on sentence!)

Teedmn 8:47 AM  

RATS, DNF'd again, due to the mountain-range-sized hole in my geographical knowledge. "Boot hills?" had me thinking of ski boots so APENlINES were a sort of chair lift? (APEN close to Alpine...) And NEAP, my old friend, I had forgotten all about you.

SISTERS-IN-LAW went in first. I have four of them, though one is my husband's sister, and I kept my maiden name so only three out of the five of us share the same surname.

I had the two L's in 48A so I plopped in napa vaLLEy in there; AWOL fixed that. Good King WENCESLAS is one of my favorite Carol Kings - I know all five verses so don't get me started, you'll be sorry. And I learned something new today. I didn't know that ELM trees were traditionally grown to hold grape vines and I didn't know that SPIDERs had claws at the end of their "feet", usually two, and they have 48 knees.

Thanks, PB1, for the NEAP puzzle.

jberg 8:50 AM  

@Gill I.--sadly, it's not ELuTE -- what a great word! -- but ELATE. Something to do with NEOLATIN declensions, which give us IN MEMORIAM. I had it the other way at first, too.

Does SEC mean "dry?" Yes!
Does it mean "dry" on a champagne bottle? No! That word would be "brut." I don't think anyone living knows why this is so (I expect to be corrected on this point!)

Fun puzzle -- I was thrilled to get HOMESTEAD ACT off the S, but apparently everyone got it off one or two letters. Once you get past the Emancipation Proclamation, the only Lincoln-era laws famous enough for crosswords, I guess, are that and the Morrill Act, also passed in 1862. I guess that was a good year for giving away land; fortunately, they're not the same length.

I loved WENCESLAS,too.Lots of great, tricky clues, but I guess to the crossword-habituated mind they made it on the easy side.

Hartley70 9:01 AM  

Patrick Berry gave us his smoothest ride to date for me. Smooth as a baby's ---, in the common lingo. It was quicker than Wednesday or Thursday and my only write over was slug to SWIG. His real talent is that with that ease of completion, one doesn't feel disappointed in the complexity. Quick and utterly painless. I have slippery veins, and I sure wish he was around the doctor's office when I was scheduled for a blood draw. I've never found a nurse with quite that skill.

Lobster11 9:02 AM  

Really, am I the only one who didn't have the faintest idea about either APENNINES or WENCESLAS? Looking at them in the sentence I just typed, they both still look like random strings of letters to me. I finished the rest of the puzzle pretty quickly, only to be left with P--N for 1A. I immediately saw PAWN, but couldn't bring myself to write it in because neither 2D or 3D made any sense to me. Eventually I broke down and wrote in the A and W, but only after exhausting all other possibilities in a desperate attempt to make anything meaningful out of those two downs. I suppose if I was able to get them both by crosses it's technically not unfair, but geez! If I hadn't enjoyed the rest of the puzzle so much (notwithstanding it being over too quickly) I'd pretty ticked off.

Tita 9:03 AM  

Oh joy...finished!
I worked for an Italian company...the view out the windows was the APENNINES., so I got that with no crosses. I was shocked to see they are snow-covered the year round.

With all the cutesy-clues, I was suspicious of 54A...way too straightforward.

I like quinoa, but am sure that PERUvians don't pay $12/lb. trendiness on produce irks me, when the food of the "poor" gets on the menu in midtown as a $35 entree salad. (I'm lookin at you, kale. Watch out...OkrA, you might be next!)

Nice Friday. A trifle harder than last week's.
Thanks Mr. Berry.

Z 9:03 AM  

I sussed the Carol king clue immediately, but not knowing how to spell really slowed me down. WENCElaus made me doubt SISTERS IN-LAW and made DEAN invisible for a long time. On the east end I spelt it HARRah. Odds are those two mistakes doubled my solve time.

@Gill I - Shoulder pads were big in the 80's and padded bras are never out of style, but a padded back could be a new fashion trend. Très chic chic.

@LMS - I want a t-shirt with "Tweedy Pop Prescriptivist" scrawled across the front, maybe in an Old English font.

Nancy 9:20 AM  

I agree with @Glimmerglass. Not so easy at the top and too easy for a Friday at the bottom. Because I didn't know how to spell WENCESLAS -- and was much too proud and stubborn to look it up -- I made the top much harder and slower than it needed to me. (I initially spelled it WENCELAUS, keeping me from seeing SISTERS IN LAW and ON LINE POKER.) I also thought that maybe the snooty clothing store had been named after a snooty school, and so I tried to put Churchill in HARROD for a while. (That didn't help with SISTERS IN LAW either.) I loved IN MEMORIAM since it brought to mind the great, great Tennyson poem (go read it everyone, if you never have before), but my initial thought for 18A was DUST TO DUST, though it didn't work. I enjoyed this puzzle, but did find it easier than most PBs.

Maruchka 9:21 AM  

(Z)ENSCONCED: Sunlight. No wind. I sit, quiet, paper fold, poised pen, mind open, it comes.

Gassho, Mr. Berry.

Ludyjynn 9:33 AM  

This Patrick Berry gem went down "like buttah" w/o the CLOGged arteries.

Can we agree to call a MORATORIum on further discussions of 'nova' for the rest of the winter SEASON? Pretty PLEASE!

Sweet onions purchased locally are typically grown in Vidalia, Ga. Nice to learn of a western counterpart. That said, Mount St. HELENS went in first as I suppose it did for many others here.

Many thanks to PB and WS for this PRIZE offering.

Nancy 9:35 AM  

@GILL -- I would opt for two ARFs over a MEW any day of the week.

@Tita (you lucky stiff!) -- Your view out your office window in Italy was the APENNINES? My view out my office window was...oh, wait, now I remember. I didn't HAVE an office window! My envy knows no bounds.

@ Egri Bukaver. Now that you're no longer MICHAEL SHARP, just who are you this time?

RooMonster 9:39 AM  

Hey All !
Wow, everyone said this was easy... now I feel like a Dimwit. Very difficult for me, to the tune of stopping with the center blank, and NE corner and E center unsussable. Normally PB1 puzs start quasi-hard, but I can figure out most answers and end up fairly easy-mediumish. Not today. The ole brain petered out on me. NE and SW were easy, yes, even little SW corner was grocked. But the rest... hoo boy. Normally I'll stick with a puz, and answers will slowly appear. But, after I took my large DNF, I still never would have gotten WENCESLAS. Still don't know what it means. Anyone?

Had PRE----, wanted PREmies, couldn't think of HOMESTEAD ACT, LADIES FIRST, NINJA, ONLINEPOKER, RENAME, SPIDER, ZIONISM, hence the middle staying blank. Never would've gotten ZIONISM, even if I stared at it forever. Clues too clever for me today. The POKER one, LADIES one, INKJET, and RENAME.

So I bow my head in shame, putting it all out there for all to see my failures! Feel very humbled. Can at least one other person say this was hard?

WALLA WALLA walloped

Lewis 10:34 AM  

Yes is was easy, but also fun as hell, with clues such as those for TANS, ZIPCODE, RENAME, SPIDER, PRETERM, and WENCESLAS. I liked seeing SWIG, WALLAWALLA and ENSCONCED. And here it is, the definition of a clean grid. We also had a mini-theme of words ending in ER (6), and a FADE out.

This was a great ride, even if it was short lasting. Sometimes quickies hit the spot.

old timer 10:43 AM  

Easy because all PB puzzles are easy. Why? Because you know not to look for the answer obscure and the trick fiendish and the fill drecky.

I hesitated between mothers- and SISTERS-IN-LAW and moved on. WALLA WALLA was a gimme -- been there to visit Whitman with one of my daughters (she chose Willamette instead). ZIONISM and SPIDER gave me LADIES FIRST. HELENS gave me HOMESTEAD ACT. The toughest part was the NW, but "Carol king" (what a great clue) made WENCESLAS a gimme. APENNINES confused me because I thought it had two p's, not just one. But it had to be right, so I changed "leap" to NEAP and the solve was over.

Good King WENCESLAS is in some ways my favorite carol. I like story songs and songs that let you build up a picture of a scene , in your mind. And the moral ain't bad either: "Therefore Christian men be sure, wealth or rank possessing, ye who now will bless the poor shall yourselves find blessing."

Joseph Michael 10:55 AM  

Great puzzle, but how is NEAP the opposite of SPRING?

Howard F 11:02 AM  

@lobster11 Ditto for me!

crabsofsteel 11:02 AM  

Agree with @jberg; dry champagne is brut, not sec.

Geoff Ghitter 11:07 AM  

ONE is the smallest prime number! Terrible miss by the editors.

MetroGnome 11:42 AM  


The APENNINES aren't exactly the ALPS, the URALS, or the GRAND TETONS in terms of immediate recognition!

How in the world is a "cab supplier" a WINE SELLER? (Have Ernest and Julio gone into the taxi business, or is this some kind of ultra-hipster/obscure Uber reference)?

A NEAP tide, as I understand it, comes twice a month, when the gravitational pulls of the sun and the moon counteract each other perfectly. How is this the opposite of "spring"?

MetroGnome 11:45 AM  

P.S. Even if one did remember the Apennines, how are they "boot hills"? I'm sure they have foothills as most mountains do, but that's hardly the same thing.

MetroGnome 11:57 AM  


Tita -- be thankful for small favors. Here in Chicago, on the artsy-fartsy-boho-trendy North Side, there are ersatz "southern cuisine" bistros that offer hamhocks and collared greens for upwards of $30.00 a pop! (Fortunately, though, you can still go to the South and West Sides and find the same thing, cooked/spiced much better, in a legitimate neighborhood soul food restaurant.)

archaeoprof 11:59 AM  

Another wonderful one from Patrick Berry. Loved the clue for ZIPCODE.
@Rex: I'll be glad to help with the pre-NEOLATIN. Call or email anytime.

AliasZ 12:01 PM  

Great to see PB's byline on a Friday. It guarantees us no rap slang, street lingo, borderline offensive terms or phrases, only plain old English words. How refreshing!


Much has been written and said of the sad, premature departure of David Bowie, however many other prominent deaths have gone without much notice:

Jan. 1 -- Vilmos Zsigmond (1930-2016) Oscar-winning Hungarian-American cinematographer for such notable movies as McCabe & Mrs. Miller, Deliverance, The Long Goodbye, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Deer Hunter, The Rose, Heaven's Gate, The Witches of Eastwick and many others.
Jan. 1 -- Gilbert Kaplan (1941-2016) American conductor, most notably of Mahler's Second Symphony.
Jan. 5 -- Pierre Boulez (1925-2016) French composer, conductor and writer, preeminent exponent of the works of Bartók, Berg, Debussy, Ravel, Mahler, Stravinsky, Webern et al. His conducting was illuminating, and the crystalline detail he was able to elicit brought to life the music of the French impressionists. One of the most memorable concerts I ever attended was his performance of Bartók's "Bluebeard's Castle" in Carnegie Hall a few years ago.
Jan. 14 -- Alan Rickman (1946-2016) British actor of stage and screen, most notably Severus Snape in the Harry Potter movies. For me however, his performances as Dr. Blalock in Something the Lord Made (2004) was the most memorable.

Here is IN MEMORIAM by British composer Arnold Bax (1883-1953) to commemorate the lives of these extraordinary people we lost so far this year. R.I.P.


Martel Moopsbane 12:17 PM  

I sense a Latin theme to this puzzle, with INMEMORIAM, VETO, MORATORIA, and NEOLATIN in the grid. Throw in PERU (Latin America)if you like.

And isn't WENCESLAS the Latinized version of Vaclav?

Trombone Tom 12:33 PM  

Unexpectedly easy for a Friday and pretty straightforward for a PB. Tried SErialS before SEASONS. WINESELLER came easily as I grow Cab.

Unknown 12:47 PM  

@ Yet Another No.1 Fan -- I posted a reply this am on yesterday’s @Rex blog. Don’t know if/when it will get posted.

Without reading @Rex or any comments, I thought this was a VERY cool puzzle, a few cheats I had to do (2 letters & 1 word) and some ERRS needing write-overs notwithstanding. That written, I just now looked at the constructor’s name and now I know why I thought it so.

What I seem to find with those I am learning are the top constructors are a paucity of what I think are weird/fun/interesting word juxtapositions in their grids. Today is no exception. The few:

INKJET SEER (that on-screen pop-up that says soon you won’t able to print)

WENCESLAS RAN ON (…pretty much what EMMA Lazarus wrote -- I know, he wasn’t elected, but if he had been…) [“Ye who now will bless the poor / Shall yourselves find blessing”]

ASS LADIES FIRST? (I think, prudently, no comment)

This one? Well here goes….

UNCLOGS RATS --- !!! WARNING !!! – Grossness to follow !!!

However, if you had or have, say, some sort of farm, read on. You will definitely relate and could well benefit from this.

The other day I learned of an eco-friendly, sure-fire way to rid of RATS, say, in a barn. Probably would work on mice too. Just mix some “Quikrete” in with some cornmeal. I leave it to you, dear reader, to figure out how this works. Suffice it to say the very nice, older lady who related this to me says she has no more rats in her horse barn / hay loft, complete MORITORIA on their presence as it were. (I seriously doubt they can be unclogged.)

I just read @Rex and comments to date. I see I’m in the in crowd as to my brief review of this puzzle before reading the others. I kept saying to myself, “Self? That’s such a great clue!” or “Self? That’s such a great answer!” Ergo, my primary “reveal” was seeing PB’s name.


Ellen 1:33 PM  

The NE was my last corner to fall, because I confidently wrote in chuG for SWIG and couldn't think of any Washington cities beginning with 'H'!

Hungry Mother 1:41 PM  

Worthwhile, but twice as fast as my usual Friday.

gifcan 2:23 PM  

Yes, it was easy for a Friday but very enjoyable. I worked it with my 22-year old son and had a comfortable time of it.

WALLAWALLA has something to do with many waters. Like drinking too much ALE and having to frequent the LAV.

Yes @Hartley, as smooth as a baby's SKIBUM.

PB and J, a nice combination (Patrick Berry and January).

Unknown 2:49 PM  

A note about my comments on this blog. I did not set out to have a career doing writing but that’s what I ended up doing as a large part of my activities. However, it all involved technical writing, specifically about audio technology. I was writing equipment specification sheets, audio system specifications, technological white papers, marketing literature, operating manuals for hardware and software, measurement standards, magazine articles, technical papers (for presentation), and so on. Dull. Dull. Dull. (At least to “civilians”).

So, trying to write with some humor is a certainly a refreshing change. However, posting such stuff amongst some of the true wits here that make me spit coffee on a regular basis is a challenge and humbling, but a LOT of fun. Thankfully, I’ve always been weird and warped enough to find humor in just about anything. Whether others have seen it is another matter!!

As I’ve been posting about lobsters recently I leave you with this bit of humor, a favorite lobster joke of mine (though it’s not my joke):

After a day fishing in the ocean a fisherman is walking from the pier carrying two lobsters in a bucket. He is approached by the Game Warden who asks him for his fishing* license.

The fisherman says to the warden, "I didn’t catch these lobsters, they are my pets. Every day I come down to the water and whistle and these lobster jump out. I take them for a walk and return them when they get tired."

The warden, not believing him, reminds him that it is illegal to fish without a license. The fisherman turns to the warden and says, "If you don't believe me then watch," as he throws the lobsters back into the water.

The warden says, "Now whistle for your lobsters and show me they’ll come back out of the water."

The fisherman turns to the warden and says, "What lobsters?"

* In Maine, (maybe elsewhere as well) lobstering is officially referred to as fishing. Example: a question the State of Maine “Lobster & Crab Harvesting” license form: “You must declare one zone in which you fish the majority of your lobster traps.” (my emphasis)

Trivia: Lobster traps do not really trap lobsters.

Dumbest questions to ask a lobster fisherman:

“Why do you park all your boats in the same direction in the harbor?”

“Does it hurt if one bites you?”

Let’s see how dumb that last one is….A lobster's crusher claw can exert up to about 1,200 psi (pounds per square inch). The estimated bite force of a T-Rex is only about twice that at 2,500 psi, while the bite force of an @-Rex would be around 700 psi.

Alrighty then….That would likely be a yes, unless you think being half-bitten by a T-Rex (or even fully bitten by an @-Rex) would not hurt.

The simple Socratic answer: "Gee, does it LOOK like it would hurt? (I would SO want to follow that up with, "Gimme your finger and let's see.")

Oh, Lord, give me the wisdom to always know the difference between stupidity and ignorance. At least there's hope of fixing the latter.


OISK 4:05 PM  

So nice...Yes, a bit easier than most Fridays, but so smooth, beautifully constructed. Have no idea what ELO is, but as usual in a Berry puzzle, the crossing clues made it work. Such clever, witty cluing for lens covers, on line poker, unclogs, ladies first...I smile as I fill them in! Thanks again, Patrick!

Z 4:33 PM  

@Geoff Ghitter - An actual mathematician could explain it, but the best I can do is link to an article about 1 not being a prime number.

@MetroGnome - Rex answered this - Italy looks like a boot on a map so the APENNINES are "boot hills."

kozmikvoid 4:40 PM  

Cab is a commonly used shortening of Cabernet Sauvignon. And Italy looks like a boot.

Anonymous 4:44 PM  

Sorry @Geoff: one is not prime, at least not in modern mathematics. The multiplicative identity is excluded from the sequence of primes.

It is simply meaningless to say N has factors N and one.

Nancy 5:17 PM  

@Z (9:03) -- Great minds think alike and also misspell alike (see my 9:20 post.) It seems both of us were too proud to check the spelling of WENCESLAS and were negatively impacted in the exact same way. I also thought your padded back shout-out to @Gill was priceless.

old timer 5:33 PM  

Thank you as always, @AliasZ for the great music you point us to. In this case, a lovely piece by Arnold Bax, whose brother Clifford wrote many plays no longer performed, but many hymns, too. "Turn Back O Man" (1919) is the one I know best. Here's maybe the best verse:

Earth might be fair, and all her folk be wise;
Age after age, their tragic empires rise,
Built while they dream, and in that dreaming weep.
Would man but wake from out his haunted sleep!
Earth might be fair and all her folk be wise.

Geoff G., 1 is not a prime number. Just isn't, for reasons a math whiz could explain. The simple answer is that any prime must have only two divisors, itself and 1. 1 has only one divisor, 1. So the first prime number is TWO.

Metrognome, a cab supplier, in this case, sells cabernet sauvignon. We winos know what a "cab" is: a red wine that can be elegant, but rarely tastes as good as a Zin. Unless you spend beaucoup bux.

Carola 5:48 PM  

@Teedmn, @old timer, I join you in loving "Good King Wenceslas." A friend hosts an annual carol sing for the neighborhood, with the group led by a lively maestro at the piano. For carols with multiple verses, he always asks, "Which stanzas?" so that there will be time for plenty of different carols. This year, when "Wenceslas" was requested, I couldn't resist interrupting with, "All of them - it's a story!" He graciously acceded and divided the group up into narrator, king and page, with all joining in at the end for the lovely "lesson." It was awesome :)

gifcan 6:11 PM  

I got SPIDER and RENAME but my son got the rest of the middle. Had he not joined me - tag team and then side by side - I certainly would have struggled more.

Aketi 8:35 PM  

@Tita, I ate a lot of QUINOA in Peru in lots of little pueblos that I randomly selected for a survey on.primary health care. It was definitely not considered gourmet by any stretch of the imagination, although it is fairly nutritious. Which is not something I can say about many of the developing area state foods, Kale actually interferes with iodine absorption so if you are going trendy and eating it frequently you should eat seaweed to offset the negative effects. Do not feed it to a pet guinea pig; it will die.

The most ridiculous trendy adoption of developing area staple foods is yucca (otherwise know as cassava or manioc) chips. There is absolutely no nutritional value in that staple. It is about the equivalent of earring sawdust. In the Congo it is a major staple because it is resistant to pests. In Central Africa there are two forms, sweet and bitter. The bitter form has to be soaked for days so it's not outright toxic and even after that it still interferes with iodine absorption. The worst thing I ever ate in my life was a fermented form of the bitter type that had been ground into a paste and wrapped in banana leaves until it formed the consistency of rubber baton served with canned spam. Just waiting for that to show up in a trendy restaurant in Manhattan.

Been enjoying many of the comments here and the puzzles, but too busy to comment myself.

GILL I. 8:43 PM  

@jberg...@Z....I hang my pads in shame.

Eszencia 10:59 PM  

@Egri Bukaver, Czech your spelling.

Saddening to read even the abbreviated list of of who all we've already lost in the first weeks of this year. I used to watch the end-of-year TV segments that catalogued (ever so briefly) the notable persons who'd passed in the previous 12 months. I'm sure the most common reaction is to wonder how the world can replace such people. On a more upbeat note, today an INLAW to the family underwent some extensive surgery after a few days that were definitely touch-and-go. It was never said explicitly, but everyone knew the outcome was uncertain, so it was a relief that touch-and-go turned into touch-and-stay. Day 1 and counting, but it's always good to know Someone has our Bax.

Thanks to Patrick Berry who got us to third base today with a PRETERnaturally fine puzzle, and to all my FAVArite commenters and ONLINEjOKERs.

Diana,LIW 11:04 PM  

Love that name!!!
You said "How in the world is a "cab supplier" a WINE SELLER? (Have Ernest and Julio gone into the taxi business, or is this some kind of ultra-hipster/obscure Uber reference)?"
A cab can be a type of wine - cabernet - thus a cabernet seller sells wine.
Hope I'm not the 33rd person to post this.
Diana, Lady-in-Waiting of Crosswords

Anonymous 11:21 PM  

I took about five hours to do this puzzle, if you count a three-hour nap.

2D and 3D were just luck, as I had never heard of either.

NEOLATIN and NEAP were the last two answers I wrote in that I actually understood.

Anonymous 9:52 AM  

Am considering a name-change to Neapfinger

John Hoffman 10:23 AM  

I'm glad this Friday was easy; it's the first Friday I've ever completed. Hooray!

Tita 12:23 PM need to know where to look for those genuine restaurants serving up real food.

@ChuckM...great stories. But you poor lobsterman wound up lobsterless!

@Aketi...didn't know kale would kill a Guinea pig...! It is a staple of Portuguese cooking...Caldo Verde, or green broth, is based on it. I suppose Guinea pigs were never a popular pet there.
On a walk through the Amazon jungle, our guide explained the process of taking toxic manioc to the point where it won't actually kill you when you eat it. winds up tasting exactly like sawdust! I wondered...with all the bounty of the rain forest around you, would you stubbornly insist on trying yet another variation on eating this thing that just killed the last guy who ate it. And to learn that it has little nutritional value...even odder!

@Alias Z...thanks for that list.

Bob Kerfuffle 2:49 PM  


Torb 11:05 AM  

Heck of a lot easier than Thursday's puz. Banged it right out.

spacecraft 11:30 AM  

Well, I was in that camp of apparent ignorami who assumed (know what that does?) that ONE was the smallest prime. That ERRor left the NE in a mess, and last to finish. I might point out, though, that in the movie "Contact" the alien-sent progression of primes started with a single pulse. Do they know something we don't? Sagan's my idol; I'd hate to think that such a faux pas got by HIM.

Were it not for that glitch, I'd have INKJETted my way through this in way shorter than Friday time. Some of the clues were appropriately tricky, but too many others just gave away the store. Yes, it's a 68-word themeless, but somehow it belongs to, say, Wednesday. I have a feeling only PB1 can do that!

Absolutely loved the clue for WENCESLAS, because I absolutely love Carol(e) King. Too bad the WINE in 48-across' clue wasn't Chianti, creating a mini-theme (F-F-F-F-F!). But cab did make it a bit harder. To me a big gulp would be a SluG; very nearly inked it in off the G, but wisely held off. TWO was my only writeover; sorry for messing up a pristine grid, Patrick. A+.

Burma Shave 11:53 AM  


Take a SWIG of ALE INMEMORIAM of anyone
That’s what my TWO SISTERSINLAW have done,
I’m PLEASEd and ELATEd that it was LADIESFIRST.


centralscrewtinizer 12:53 PM  

I finish a Friday Berry and, of course, it's considered easy. One write over where I had to change UNpLuGS to UNCLOGS, which made the tough NW even tougher, even with EPEE and PERU in place.
SINISTER SLAWS made by my sisters-in-law.

Cathy 1:46 PM  

Gotta love Patrick Berry.

Wanted series for SEASONS but FAVA corrected me.

My husband is a sommelier so fun to see wine seller (wine cellar)
SEC is dry in French, brut is dry in English.

Fun and satisfying:)

leftcoastTAM 2:17 PM  

Friendly Friday.

This one played more like a normal Wednesday except for the NW, mainly because of the APENNINES and NEOLATIN entries.

The longer entries generally went in early except for the cleverly clued ONLINEPOKER and LENSCOVER. "Eight-footer?" for SPIDER was a good one, too.

I'm feeling well ENSCONCED, but not smug, for the weekend.

rain forest 3:45 PM  

Like @Spacey, I ToO wrote in 'one' for the smallest prime, since it is the smallest number divisible by itself and 1, redundant as that is. I almost had another w/o at SEC because with champagne, dry is brut, but of course that is four letters, and the crosses settled it inn any case.

But, what a smooth puzzle which had a momentum all its own. Sure, easy, but if you get on Berry's wavelength (whatever that means), you can almost feel your pen being guided by him.

Very enjoyable. Wonderful cluing.

rain forest 3:48 PM  

@Masked and Anonymous - I just realized: every entry in the grid has PB1 immunity!

rondo 4:02 PM  

Got almost half the way through and it was going so well that I forgot to see who the constructor was. Could probably have guessed. This is what a really good puz is like. Clever clues and answers that pay off. I did have a couple of quickly fixed write-overs at INMEMORyof and the mis-spelled FeiF.

Carol king, gotta love that. I think we just recently celebrated Carole King’s birthday, no? Seems to me she was featured on The Current 89.3 as an 8:00AM musical history highlight. Stream it ONLINE.

Might have gone with “disc” for HARROW. I know there are other kinds of HARROWs and maybe that’s a little too farmy for all the urbanites.

Never read her stuff, but we’ll give RONA Jaffe a posthumous yeah baby today.

I don’t know WATT more to say except this puz was a real PRIZE.

Diana,LIW 7:34 PM  

Berry punny - loved it.
Smiles around every corner as the answers became revealed. WENCESLAS was my first entry, and I knew by that this would be fun.

Smooth going, except for my Natick at APENNINES/NEAP/NEOLATIN. I wanted kEeP for opposite of springs (as springs out of jail), don't know those mountains personally, tho I've been in them (sigh), and thot NEO was leading to some kind of specialized vocabulary.

Close enuf on a Fri for me - thanks PB/WS!

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting for Crosswords

Cathy 8:34 PM  

To somewhat clarify my earlier post-

There was a growing demand from Britain for champagne with more finesse and less sugar. Perrier-Jouet decided not to sweeten his 1846 vintage prior to exporting to London. Queen Victoria served it.

The designation BRUT champagne (came from the word BRUTAL, for being so dry) was created for the British in 1876.

aaliyahaaren 1:24 PM  

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