Noted kidnapee of 1613 / FRI 1-8-16 / Cosmetician Laszlo / Treaty of Rome creation for short / Hit 1981 Broadway musical made into 2006 film / Krenz last communist leader of East Germany / Combustion contraption / Bogus to Brits

Friday, January 8, 2016

Constructor: Peter A. Collins

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: ARGOS (48A: Old Peloponnesian power) —
Argos (/ˈɑrɡɒs, -ɡəs/; Modern Greek: Άργος [ˈarɣos]; Ancient Greek: Ἄργος [árɡos]) is a city and a former municipality in Argolis, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it has been part of the municipality Argos-Mykines, of which it is a municipal unit. It is 11 kilometres (7 miles) from Nafplion, which was its historic harbour. A settlement of great antiquity, Argos has been continuously inhabited as at least a substantial village for the past 7,000 years. The city is a member of the Most Ancient European Towns Network. // A resident of the city of Argos is considered an Argive (pronounced /ˈɑːrɡv/, "AHR-gahyv"). However, this term is most often used to refer to those ancient Greeks generally who assaulted the city of Troy during the Trojan War, many of whom came from Argos. // At a strategic location on the fertile plain of Argolis, Argos was a major stronghold during the Mycenaean era. In classical times Argos was a powerful rival of Sparta for dominance over the Peloponnese, but was eventually shunned by other Greek city-states after remaining neutral during the Greco-Persian Wars. Numerous ancient monuments can be found in the city today, the most famous of which is the Heraion of Argos, though agriculture (particularly citrus production) is the mainstay of the local economy. // In 700 BC there were at least 5,000 people living in the city. In the fourth century BC, the city was home to as many as 30,000 people. (wikipedia)
• • •

I seem to have missed "DREAMGIRLS" both times, in both its stage and movie incarnations. I mean, I am familiar with the musical, vaguely, but I have no memory of its existing in 1981 (for which I can forgive my stuck-in-central-California 11-year-old self), and no memory of its being a movie in 2006. Was Jennifer Hudson in that? Whoa. Yes. Looks like that's the movie she won her Oscar for. Playing a character named EFFIE White. That's cool—the only other EFFIE I know is Perine, Sam Spade's secretary / Girl Friday in "The Maltese Falcon." Anyway, I had to pepper that 1-Across answer with crosses before I realized what I was dealing with. Luckily, the peppering didn't take too long, as DDAY and RONA dropped early, and then ANOINTINGS, and then RONDO, SRS, GET. Oh, and AGINCOURT, which was a gimme (4D: "Henry V" battle setting). After that, it was a pretty normal Friday *except* for everything in and around SHORT O (24A: Plot element?). Never pleased when the answer that gives me fits is one of these literal (letter-al) clues, referring to a long or short vowel, or a silent letter, or a "hard" G or C, etc. It's tricksiness in a can. My principle of "don't put the difficulty in the ugliest part of your grid" applies here. SHORTO (inherently not great) is up there rubbing elbows with a bad element: SSR and WSW and the unpleasant crossing of ASTO and PASTO. By contrast, the SE was cleaner and STURDY-er, but it also far, far easier.

Had to ask a friend what the "Stock" referred to in 9D: Stock to be split? (LOGS). My suspicions were confirmed: it's just a general word meaning "supply." That isn't log-specific enough for my taste. I get that the misdirection here is stock market-oriented, but that bit of wordplay wasn't worth it. It took me forever to get ABSORPTION, despite thinking "paper towels" immediately. Perhaps that's because even now, looking at the word ABSORPTION ... it just looks so awkward and wrong. Zorption. Orption. Something about the way the letters collide in the middle just feels terribly unnatural to both my eye and my mouth. I have no excuse. Just couldn't process it. I have no idea what a HEAT ENGINE is (26D: Combustion contraption), and PHONEY ... looks it. I have trouble believing in the singular DREG. I prefer my EGONs to be Schiele.

I had SLIM for TRIM at first (54A: Slender). No other issues of note.

Thanks to Prof. Byron McCane (aka archaeoprof) and his winter Crossword class at Wofford College for having me into their classroom yesterday (via Skype) to talk about crosswords. It was my sincere pleasure. Sorry the camera wasn't working on my end. I assure you I looked fabulous (as did you).

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

PS Yes, I see that the 60A clue mirrors the 1A clue, and no, I don't consider that a theme, or even a mini-theme. Also, been done. As an *actual* theme. Long ago and far away ...  (actually not that far: Patrick Blindauer, NY Sun, 2008: DREAM GIRLS, JERSEY BOYS, A FEW GOOD MEN, LITTLE WOMEN)

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:05 AM  

Easy for me. Knowing DREAM GIRLS and JERSEY BOYS helped quite a bit.

Erasures: sitU before LIEU, lusH before POSH, lOVin before MOVES, and a couple of spelling issues.

And, speaking of Hawkeyes I'm currently on the third book of Jane Smiley's series about the Langdon family which begins in 1921 on a farm in the fictional town of Denby, Iowa and ends in 2019. One interesting aspect of the series is that each chapter covers one year. It is a terrific read and I highly recommend it.

This went way faster than yesterday's and was not as interesting. Still a solid Fri. Liked it except for the too easy part.

Da Bears 12:05 AM  

Alas, Rex, it appears you liked this at least as much as I did. I also noted the SRS followed by the SSR as a nice touch.

Carola 12:43 AM  

An easy clockwise sweep around the grid beginning at POSH x PASTO brought me to a more resistant NW. I happened to be teaching contemporary German culture at the time East Germany was disintegrating and so remembered EGON Krenz. That confirmed my guesses at YANNI and then D-DAY, and the final corner yielded. I remember when I learned the ODER, as well: as a high-school exchange student in the early 1960s, I was taken by my host family to the West-East German border area that was peppered with signs: "Niemals Ja zu der Mauer! Niemals Ja zu der Oder-Neiße!" (Never Yes to the Wall! Never Yes to the Oder-Neisse Line!).

I liked I DID MY BEST + TOOK A STAB and the complementary COTTON SWAB and ABSORPTION.

Anonymous 2:40 AM  

Had sItU in place of LIEU. GIRL, I never DREAMed of replacing it.

George Barany 3:18 AM  

Well, I_DID_MY_BEST on @Peter Collins' puzzle, but after half an hour, was stuck with PASTA/SHARTO (sic); CASTA/POCAHANTAS (sic); and couldn't quite GET the East German E??N and the two long answers that it crossed.

All this, despite having pulled myself out of the clever trap at 43-Across (had GOPHER, naturally, ahead of HUSKER), having known what the Indiana University logo looks like, and having sorted out ABSORPTION ahead of ADSORPTION--or the slightly less implausible ABSORB-TION.

Thanks, @Rex, for the perspective in today's p.s., concerning DREAMGIRLS and JERSEY_BOYS. If we can go back just a bit to yesterday's DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS theme, the issue of constructors independently stumbling on the same theme is addressed here; those of you with a bit more time might want to solve Think Twice ahead of clicking on the aforementioned link.

Loren Muse Smith 4:33 AM  

I sniffed around all over the place looking for an entry after my customary fill-in-the-blank clues failed me. Even 21A: "Don't _____!" Hmm. I entertained "speak," but then considered oodles of reasonable admonitions:

"smack," "belch," "snort," "bleat," "grunt" - you should share a meal with my son.

"laugh," "judge," "smirk" - my daughter keeps up with fashion. I don't. (STARE fits in this group.)

"panic" - I tried to teach said daughter once to bake cod smeared with butter. Smoke ALARM. 'Nuff said.

"yodel" – When I was in 6th grade, I was certain I could sing The Lonely Goatherd really well as long as it was loud enough. Mom disagreed.

So… I felt pretty fancy when RONDO ended up being my first entry, but only thanks to COSMO, whose quizzes I always used to take and then totally believe and worry about.

Rex – me, too, for "slim" before TRIM. LACERATED fixed that. Just yesterday I was wondering why anyone, even doctors, would say LACERATE when "cut" works. Why do we always try to use official-sounding expressions? When you're trying to find your way into city hall, you're not looking for the "building entrance." You're looking for the damn DOOR. And don't even get me started on my pediatrician's "dried rhino plug." (The real word rhymes with sugar.)

I can't spell worth a flip, so I had "absorbtion" crossing SWABS before I noticed the dupe and cleaned up the northeast. I also always want it to be "annoint."

I thought this was a terrific puzzle with clever clues, esp. the SHIPS/SEA, CATER/BUS, and the two shows.

GILL I. 6:58 AM  

Well, "Brace yourself" was DDE thinking to myself that maybe it was Eisenhower who was all concerned about the development of the H Bomb and we should all hide under our seats in case the Russians dropped one on us....or was that Korea?
I guess a SEA SHIP is different from, say, a lake SHIP?
I rather enjoyed this puzzle. AGINCOURT was a sweet cherry on a Sundae for me. I had to read all about the Hundred Years' War because my grandmother told me to. Too bad it crosses yawning YANNI.
Are there any more LETTER TRAYs in existence? Liked the clue for DOGGIE DOOR and then we have a VET taking care of a HUSKER with an ODER problem. NO MSG please....PSI

Leapfinger 7:21 AM  

@Rex, how can you be anti-PASTO?

DavidC 7:50 AM  

Stock to be split is not entirely random as a clue for logs. Stock has a basic meaning - prior to its expanded current reference - of the main stem of trees. Etymologically, stock and stick are siblings. Jes' sayin'.

Dorothy Biggs 8:01 AM  

Challenging for me because of the SHORTO/PASTO crossing. I am of a similar mind to Rex with regard to these "meta" clues picking a random word and then commenting on the word itself. There are lots and lots of ways to define "lot," and every down seemed pretty believable. PASTa was, you know, believable. So not knowing what "lot" was referring to and having solid/STURDY crosses, I was stuck.

Nice to see YANNI getting a shout out over the usual Enya.

Hand up for sitU in lieu of LIEU. I also had thIn, then slIM, then TRIM.

I didn't know EEC...but got it on crosses. Is it the Economic European Community?

chefbea 8:07 AM  

Too tough for are most Fridays. Did like Pasto and bus and cater

Anonymous 8:13 AM  

Was stuck on P___TERROR for 29 down for some time and could only think, "what is PROTOTERROR?" (which doesn't even fit). Also got messed up by PASTa/SHaRTO.

Nice puzzle.

RAD2626 8:15 AM  

Very easy for a Friday i think. Liked lots of the long entries. Bringing the dishes and taking them away in the same section was cute. Whole HOMEOWNER/DOGGIEDOOR clouding very odd. Needed crosses because clues were no help. If the former clue was a play on the word "lots" I missed it entirely until just now. Homeowners have much more to worry about daily than their land.

Old timer 8:20 AM  

First rate puzzle. Why I did not think of paper towels I'll never know. I got PASTO because of antipasto. I am in NYC right now and ready for BREAKfast

Tita 8:22 AM  

Lots to like today. For one, finishing a Friday on a Thursday...!

Have always loved playing badminton, though have almost never had success with keeping the NET intact from one session to the next.

Crossed the bridge over the ODER on foot, just to get one other country under or belts. Yea, I know, w can't *really* say we've been to Poland, but I'm pretty sure we got our passports stamped.
Most people on foot were laden with add many cigarettes cartoons as they could carry.

@lms...I was told don't STARt!

Knowing (that is, guessing) OSCARWILDE, based on knowing ODER, is an example of my mile-wide inch-deep knowledge. I boast here about how superior I feel, but you who know me know that's bunk...

Sitting by puzspouse while waiting for his 5th's gotten routine enough that I've threatened to get one of those portable defibrillators and doing it myself.
Let's hope he'll be back to splitting LOGS, one of his favorite things, soon.

Thanks Mr Collins!

Hartley70 8:51 AM  

Excellent Friday for me. I got held up in several places. I imagined IU would make a letter "Pee" in a logo. I don't see why the bogus/PHONEY synonym is clued as Brit since it works here too. I was expecting an alternate spelling that would lead to fireENGINE as a combustion machine. Other than that the solve went quickly, helped by the Broadway bookends which were gimmes for me. Thanks for the fun, Mr. Collins!

Sir Hillary 9:07 AM  

I won't remember it in a month, but this was a nice workout, as well as a very impressive construction. Had lots of confusion as to As and Os -- like @Barany, PASTa went in first, and I can never remember the vowel progression in POCAHONTAS. Now, I'll never forget it: O, then A, repeat. Also got my Greek letters mixed up, but PhI was easily fixed.

Last letter in was the V in the VET/MOVES cross. Both clues threw me off (Shakespeare, gambling) and I had to run the alphabet twice.

I know the HUSKERs play in the 14-member Big 10 and not anymore in the 10-member Big 12, but to me the Sooners are still their biggest rivals, not the Hawkeyes.

More random sports nonsense...every time I see the word RENNET, I think of the old Pirates second baseman Rennie Stennett, perhaps best known to baseball trivia dorks (hello there!) as the only player since the 1800s to have 7 base hits in a 9-inning game.

Lars H. Impeach 9:17 AM  

I knew an Effie in school. Also grew up in a town not far from another town called Effingham. And it was.

I enjoyed this puzzle a lot, except for shorto/pasto crossing, which was the last to fall.

Pete 9:29 AM  

As a child, I was such a contrary, obstinate brat that my parents had to resort to constantly telling me "Don't SHARE". It failed then, my memory of it failed me today.

kozmikvoid 9:51 AM  

So much for improving my average times in 2016! Challenging again for me today. Couldn't get the NW to drop for the longest time. Originally wrote sacrifIceS, then saw DREAMGIRLS and GET, then I stared at that section like a dog who has just been shown a card trick (thank you, Bill Hicks). Had DDAY fell quickly like Rex mentions, this probably would've been done in half the time. But I stubbornly tried to make Dawn work there (as in, "we strike at dawn"). DOGGIEDOOR ended up saving me from a DNF. I'd be willing to wager that PASTa/SHaRTO cross did a number of people in today. I had that error in there as well, but the (Italian) wife quickly came to the rescue there. Blown opportunity in this one, as COSMO surely should've been clued as Seinfeld-ese.

Ludyjynn 9:55 AM  

Lotsa writeovrs: 'dawn' before DDAY, 'pasta' before PASTO, 'start' before STARE, 'slim' before TRIM, 'lab' before SWAB, 'LOL' before SEW. Jeez!

But in the end, I got the SOLVE! Of course, it was the Broadway shows which opened up the puzzle for me. Saw JERSEYBOYS live when the national co. came to Balto. in 2014. Loved it. Saw DREAMGIRLS, the movie, when it came out and thought, Beyonce needs some serious diction and acting lessons. Heard her speak in a recent interview and she has not improved much. She's crying all the way to the bank, I guess.

Is RONA Barrett still around? I used to love her dishy reports, but that was EONS ago.

Didn't YANNI used to date the actress from "Dynasty", Linda Evans? Whatever happened to both of them?

@Hartley, who is your new avatar?

Favorite clue was the second reference in the last two weeks for Boris and Natasha. Brings back wonderful childhood cartoon watching memories.

Thanks, PAC and WS. A nice, chewy Friday.

Nancy 10:07 AM  

Medium for me, too. I liked the DREAMGIRLS to JERSEY BOYS progression and liked some of the answers (COTTON SWAB, DOGGIE DOOR, PILOT ERROR) and some of the clues (for MOVES, HOMEOWNER, PAN). Could have skipped YANNI and EGON and MACY and HUSKER (huh?), but I liked OSCAR WILDE, POCAHONTAS and AGINCOURT. A pleasantly diverting Friday.

Nancy 10:32 AM  

@lms -- Loved your variations for answers to "Don't _____!" And your Lonely Goatherd/yodel story -- it reminds me of what my extremely musical younger brother once pulled on me:

"Nancy," he said, "I'm going to ask you a deep personal question, and I want you to be truly honest with me in answering. A very deep, very important question." This from my fairly introverted brother, who seldom talks about deep personal feelings.

"Yes, Jimmy", I said. "What is it?" I could not imagine what on earth was coming.

"Tell me, Nancy, in all the years you've been alive, in all the years you've been on the planet, has anyone, even once, ever turned to you and said: Nancy please sing for me"?

Only a younger brother knows how to throw zingers like that. But it's never stopped me. I'll sing at the drop of a hat, and I'm always sure to have a hat within arm's reach. I try not to disturb anyone as I'm walking around the Central Park Reservoir, but since I'm walking and they're mostly running, they won't have to suffer for long. That's my justification.

Also, Jimmy notwithstanding, I happen to think I sing pretty well. But it's hard to have a brother who plays piano by ear and who was the lead in his high school productions of MIKADO and GUYS AND DOLLS. Sigh.

Lewis 10:35 AM  

This one gave me a good tussle at the end after filling in a lot without much trouble. I love tussles if they're fair, and this one was. Terrific clues for VET, DOGGIEDOOR, ABSORPTION, and SHORTO, and I liked seeing NOMSG and AGINCOURT. I also liked that EYES right.

I've learned now what a HEATENGINE is, simply a device that converts heat into mechanical energy, like an internal combustion engine or a steam engine. You're welcome.

For a long time I saw PILO TERROR instead of PILOT ERROR, thinking that the former was a newfangled term for the acts of a pilot who turns out to be a terrorist, and I was about to complain loudly about this term, or even bringing terrorism into a puzzle, until the reasonable side of my brain tapped me on the shoulder.

Mohair Sam 10:39 AM  

Agree with the throng here that this was an enjoyable and testing Friday. Played medium for us,although we got the musical frames fairly quickly and I knew AGINCOURT and she got POCAHONTAS off the S. Rest of the puzzle was still a challenge even with that head start.

Learned that I've been spelling ABSORPTION wrong all my life (with a second b), or maybe not - I can't recall ever writing the word. How is PHONEY uniquely British? I hear it all the time. We stand with the group who had PASTa before PASTO and wondered what the hell SHaRTO is. And hand up with the folks looking for some kind of TERROR group before seeing PILOT.

Had a neighbor take in a stray cat one summer and dutifully put in a DOGGIE DOOR for the little night owl. The morning after constructing the thing I heard said neighbor hammering away on the door. Walked over and asked him what was up. Turned out the cute little kitty had invited all of his friends in that rainy evening. My neighbors had awoken at 4:00AM to a houseful of wet alley cats.

Those of you who have had a dog skunked will know why a DOGGIE DOOR is a bad idea. We have, and we know.

Z 10:42 AM  

It's just a little ironic that so many played Whac-A-Vowel at the SHORT O answer. if the clue resulted in Whac-A-Vowel at the terminal O I'd change it from ironic to devious.

Had a hard time getting into first gear this morning. In retrospect this should have been a medium solve, but it just took me forever to get started. A few gimmes in the SW, including PILOT ERROR, were neutralized by sIte and Pseudo. I also tried yseR and Oise before getting to crossriver #3. Hand up for always flipping the middle vowels in POCoHaNTAS. Every Single Time. And then there is that eternal question, why is it that a paper towel absorbs but the process is ABSORPTION?

@DavidC - If that meaning of "stock" was the clue writers intent I give the clue an A++.

archaeoprof 10:50 AM  

One writeover today: PASTa/PASTO.
@Sir Hillary: I remember Rennie Stennett, too. Fine all-around player.
@ChefBea: nifty cluing for CATER and BUS, wasn't it?

Bob Kerfuffle 11:12 AM  

Fine, medium Friday for me; stuff I wasn't sure of filled in nicely from crosses.

In general I skip over posts that string together words from the grid into short fictions, but just for today, while others gripe about three- and four-letter words, I couldn't help noticing that OSCAR WILDE STARTS OVER as a HOME OWNER in the NE!

Not the Bard 11:26 AM  

Yea, verily, Henry V's speech (4D) is all about war and injury and death, but the words still sound great. So here it is.

Chaos344 11:37 AM  

@Leapfinger said:

"@Rex, how can you be anti-PASTO?" [End Quote]

It's O.K. for Rex to be anti-PASTO Leapy. He may be on a serious diet,and thus eschewing all but the most meager forms of sustenance?

Having said that, Rex should never suggest he is anti-PASHTO! The SJW would come down on his liuly-white ass like the World Trade Towers! Screams of Zenophobia, Islamophobia, insensitivity to diversity, etc, would descend on this blog column like a Perseid meteor shower!

Oh wait! This isn't Wordplay.

As Roseanne Rosannadanna used to say, "NEVER MIND!"

Marty 11:39 AM  

I went to Indiana for my Master's, and I always thought the "IU" looked like a PSI. After all these years, I'm glad to know I'm not the only one.

A lot of Midwest/Big 10-related clues today.

Greater Fall River Committee for Peace & Justice 11:44 AM  

Puz was OK, I have nopthing much to say about it. But I do have two things to say: 1. Learned something yesterday, as a person who pays for the print edition of the times to be home delivered 7 days a week and doesn't always get it. THEY PUT THE CROSSWORD PUZZLE IN THE TIMES DIGEST as a PDF and you can print it out! I normally only look at the digest when I'm traveling and have no printer so it's just annoying. But I now know there is a use to it.
2. Somebody wants to know about Fall River Politics. Some ways it's looking up, we now have a majority of people on the school committee who went to high school, for the first time ever. Otherwise, inscrutable as always. The big current issue is purple trash bags. The mayor who got elected by promising to eliminate the rainwater tax and didn't got impeached for trying to put in recycling, the person who defeated him in the special election also didn't get rid of recycling so has been replaced by a 24-year-old whose first big move was to require tuxedos at the inaugural ball. Ergo we must be getting classier.

r.alphbunker 11:53 AM  

Great puzzle!

Plausible Incorrect Entries (PIEs as in the face)
54A. {Slender}

13D. {Goes from the top}

56D. {Scratch}

50A. {"I'm at your disposal"}

24A. {Plot element?} (Major AHA here) M&A would have used "device" instead of "element"

11D. {Meal, in Italy}

Loved your list of don'ts. In fifth grade, teacher asked me to just move my lips during a class song. My career in opera was nipped in the bud then and there!

RooMonster 12:32 PM  

Hey All !
This puz put up quite a fight! Was thinking SatPuz level as I was solving, but looking back now, firmly Friday. Some writeovers, TOOKAShot, leaving tOYS for the Show, mucking things up in SE corner. HUSKie, wanred ABSORb--, till I ran into the T. Knew the SHIPS just had to be right, finally the ole brain clicked into seeing ABSORPTION. Wanted some sort of lAB at first for COTTONSWAB. luSH-POSH.

Some nice clues, but also third-dictionary-meaning ones also. (EG: Scratch)

Liked it overall, as far as themlesses are concerned.


AliasZ 12:37 PM  

I enjoyed this themeless by Peter A. Collins, and his historical musings at xwordinfo. A very pleasant SOLVE, although I can't decide which was worse, the singular COATTAIL yesterday or the plural ANOINTINGS today. Both hurt my ear. What I liked best was the unexpected clue for ERNŐ.

What the H is the difference between Pashto and PASTO? I am not anti Pashto, but I love my hot antipasto. [Hi, @Leapy]

My EGONs of choice would be Dutch pianist EGON Petri (1881-1962), here playing a piano transcription of J.S. Bach's Toccata, Adagio and Fugue in C major by his teacher Ferruccio Busoni (1866-1924), and Austrian-born (of Hungarian parents) British composer EGON Wellesz (1885-1974), represented by his Sinfonia No. 5. The cover image on the video clip by sheer coinkidink is a painting by @Rex's choice EGON Schiele (1890-1918).


mac 12:41 PM  

Odd Friday, some of it very easy, than I got all snarled up with Shorto and pasto, and that doggie door took a long time, too.

I know Effie from "Effie Briest", required reading when you do German in high school in Holland.

Berselius 1:01 PM  

I kept thinking something mutiny or sailing related for the Bounty clue, only until after I had gotten EVERY cross did I think of paper towels :P

No love for EGON Spangler?

nick 1:18 PM  

Today I learned that cluing a gossip columnist from 40 years ago (2D) puts me off the whole puzzle.

Anonymous 1:31 PM  

I didn't even bother finishing this puzzle because the clues.... for me... were obscure, even after I looked at the final grid.

Teedmn 1:34 PM  

Ah, sweet redemption - after a week of stupid errors, I managed to successfully solve today's. I always appreciate a Peter Collins puzzle, tough but doable.

Partials in the NE got me started and I continued counter-clockwise to wind up in the NW. Many writeovers. I initially ended 37A with lAB but SEW finally helped fix that. Considered mACERATED but that didn't pass the "taste" test for "slashed". YANNI was based in MN for a long time so that was my first thought for 19A but I didn't have the nerve to put it in. PHOoEY didn't seem very British to me and I couldn't think of anything Boris and Natasha related that would end in IOO so MINION it was, not clued as the more current Despicable Me reference.

I was looking over my grid to see if there was anything else of note when my eye was caught by NOMSG and I panicked thinking I had actually had a DNF but now I remember NO MSG, one I was proud to have sussed out at the time. I agree that SHORT O was annoying. USE ME sounds so S&M rather than an offer of help. I liked the CATER and BUS duo and of course the clue for HOMEOWNER.

Thanks, PJC. Have a nice weekend, everybody.

Hungry Mother 1:48 PM  

Felt good today after yesterday's DNF, almost a DNS. Chilling out for Disney World Goofy Challenge tomorrow and Sunday, so in no hurry today.

beatrice 2:48 PM  

It's chilly and damp here in S. Carolina, so when I wrote in PERE I thought of the pieces I was going to post yesterday, but didn't. The great Josquin, in 1497, wrote a lamentation on the death of his great predecessor Ockeghem, in which he adjures his fellow composers to
... weep great tears from your eyes,
For you have lost your good father

(...plore grosses larmes doeul
Perdu aves votre bon pere)

While this piece is one of the best known of this genre, Ockeghem himself wrote a 'deploration' on the death of his predecessor and perhaps mentor, Giles Binchois, in 1460, which begins

Death, you have wounded with your dart
the father of joy

(Mort, tu as navré de ton dart
le père de joieusete)

Apparently Ockeghem, in combining 'the ancient courtly genre of the complainte - a French poem conventionally lamenting a death - and the new humanist ethos of praising a forerunner through imitation of his style', 'incidentally' began a 'lengthy tradition of Renaissance and Baroque laments'. (ALLMUSIC) This I didn't know, and I hope someone else finds it interesting, as well.

OISK 3:14 PM  

DNF for me. They have been happening more frequently lately, and they always annoy the heck out of me. I had Pasta , not Pasto, and CSR, ( Czech socialist republic) instead of SSR. That left me with CHARTO, which I know was wrong. Because it would have taken two changes to fix it, I just didn't see it. Short O. Yeah. They do that from time to time. Plot element. Very clever. But I don't like it. Never do.

Had another error as well, totally stupid - once again the fear of old age brain freeze is sneaking up on me.

My own personal problems aside, actually an apt, well clued Friday puzzle.

John V 3:24 PM  

Always like Pete Colins' puzzles and am willing to forgive SHORTO. Nice mini-theme, 1A and 60A.

Masked and Anonymous 3:29 PM  

yep. That
"Don't ___!" (parental admonition)
clue alone was worth the price of the (Ft.) Collins battle.

Like one of @muse's choices, started with SMACK there. My lovelyspouse's pa, who worked on the Santa Fe RR, once told me about how if the circus was sold out, local parents'd take their kids down to the small town's hotel, to watch the railroad men eat.

Pretty much always enjoy a Collins dude puz. While yesterday's was borderline brutal, was able to sorta work thru today's with slow but pathetic progress. For some odd reason, was able to solve the lower half mucho faster than the upper half. Lotta dangerous name-crossins up there maybe got to me, especially in that there NW startup zone. Sure like MINIONs, tho. Any film franchise that features fartguns is A-OK Primo, in my book.

Nice mini-theme that evidently ain't one. Again, got JERSEYBOYS much faster than DREAMGIRLS, even tho have seen both films and neither Broadway musical. Other future musicals in the works, hinted at by the puz:
1. BREAK DANCES. Employees reveling in their 15-min. lunch break.
2. COTTON SWABS. Sailors with cargoes of t-shirts.
3. DOGGIE DOORS. Follow-up to Tucker Everlasting.
4. HOME OWNERS. This sounds kinda dull, but ...
5. PILOT ERRORS. Might sell, if somehow cleverly paired with #4.
6. HEAT ENGINES. Like @009, I have no idea what this might be. Snappier title: SEAT HEAT ENGINES.

fave whymin weejects: EEC and EKE.

3 U's, this time out. (lil heat engines)

"Borderline Solver, since yesterday"


chefbea 3:36 PM  

@Beatrice Where in South Carolina are you? We go to Myrtle beach a lot

Hartley70 3:46 PM  

@Tita, I hope your husband finds his rhythm soon, metronome not cha cha. It can't be a fun day for either of you.

@LudyJynn, Rubin is a rescue beagle I call "Little Treasure" or LT. He made his way east from Kentucky and moved in for 5 months until my son and his wife closed on a house. He's here nearly half the time so we pretend he's ours and they let us because they travel and we're free dog sitters. Finally, a grandkid!

Z 4:02 PM  

@anonymous1:31 - Your post suggests that you think knowing this stuff is a requirement for solving the puzzle. So:

DREAM GIRLS & JERSEY BOYS - Not a clue. I have heard of JB, so that helped eventually, like 6 letters in.
DOGGIE DOOR & HOME OWNER - Cutsey cluing. Once I had enough letters to suss the latter I had enough to fill in DOGGIE DOOR.
YANNI - Vaguely familiar, Moreso now from crossword appearances. Went to put in Enya (2nd choice Tesh if crosses don't pan out) until I saw the five squares.
AGINCOURT - I knew this one. Part of my mile wide inch deep knowledge base.
PSI - Most of my Greek alphabet knowledge has come via Crossworld.
RENNET - politely known as a WOE, though privately called a WTF. I do like how some remember this through a baseball player.
POCAHONTAS - Isn't there a Disney misrepresentation of this woman out there? Anyway, at least a little of the misinformation they taught us in grade school stuck. The year and the P from P-I (PSI or PhI, wasn't positive) led me to my guess.
OSCAR WILDE - Quote = Wilde, Twain, Churchill, Shaw, Shakespeare, sometimes Seuss or Nash. Three letter writers = RLS, TSE, GBS, EAP. Three letter somethings in the bottom row or rightmost column = SSS, SSA, ESS, ESE, SSR (Peter trickily used his SSR not for plurals).
LBJ - Helps to know a little about when presidents were president. And, Hey, it rhymes.
ODER - Four letter rivers - Yser, Oise, Oder. Hey, did you know Edina is a town near Minneapolis and that the Boston Marathon goes through Natick? I can never keep my Oren and Orem straight (one is in Utah, the other is either a conductor or a diplomat). Utes, Oto, Otoe, Fox - these are part of my millimeter deep knowledge of North American tribes, although I do know that Ono, Eno, Nye, Che, and Idi were not members. Onan was a member, just a different tribe.*

In SHORT O - Knowledge is useful in doing crosswords, but not as required as it may seem. I've learned to not worry about my ignorance and just go with what I know or can suss (for those ? clues). The Commentariat is a pretty smart group, but don't be fooled. Solving is a weird mishmash of knowledge, facility with the language, and learned minutia with useful letters. It's a puzzle, not a trivia contest.

Leapfinger 4:56 PM  

Since I have no class, my EGON of choice is a Ghostbuster, and the best DOGGIEDOOR scene ever is in Ferris Bueller's Day Off. EFFIE reminds me of the ad "When F.E. Hutton talks, people listen.

@Bob Kerfuff, I also saw that corner, thought OSCAR WILDE STARTS OVER as HOMEOWNER in LIEU of tenant at Reading Gaol. In the SW, the PILOT ERROR was thinking the HEAT_ENGINE was ACE-RATED, and so wound up LACERATED.

@GeorgeB, some are anti-PASTO, others are AGIN COURT MOVES to the NET.

@AliasZee, not only the singular coattail, but that one lonesome DREG at the lee bottom. Sometimes, there are serial ANOINTINGS, aren't there? (I also liked seeing DOCTOR ERNO Laszlo: My cousin's bathroom had rows of the white jars with black lids full of his decoctions. Very classy.

Missed opportunity: COSMO has a SHORTO and a LONGO, as well.

Dead ends:
WELL I TRIED; can't say for sure if ever I absolutely DID MY BEST
HOOVER: I know my brain was thinking HOOSIER, but that isn't how it got wrote down. Just something corny on the way to HUSKER.

@GILL, yes, there are SHIPS that are Lakers, some as long as 1000', that ply the Great Lakes. The biggest ones can't get through the locks of the Welland or Rideau Canal, whichever gives access to the St Lawrence R, so they never can put to SEA. I knew of these lakers because Gordon Lightfoot, but learned more a couple of puzzles ago, because I SOOED Ste-Marie.

A POSH FriDAY; with a little D-REG, the EYES have it.

David in CA 5:14 PM  

Man, I was like so smart on this one - from just the D in DDAY I slapped in 14D ARCHITECT and 15A DREAMHOUSE . Yee-hah! What a start on a PC puzzle.
....hour+later I finally dug myself out of that hole! Still think my answers were better though!

DNF due to the POCAHaNTAS/CaSTA crossing - seems a might unfair!
And what is "PASTO"? Is it Italian? If so, shouldn't the clue and read "in Italia" rather than "Italy"?

Nancy 5:57 PM  

@Tita -- Wishing you and your husband all the best with the treatment. Hope it quickly restores his heartbeat to normal.

@Z (4:02) Really enjoyed your droll and delightful post. It sums up the tricks of the trade of the experienced and savvy puzzle solver very well.

Hartley70 6:33 PM  

@Nancy, Well Yanni and Macy have been around so long as musicians I'd hardly think of them as current artists or pop names. Huskers is college sports, your bag. And I don't know who this Egon is, could be from the 16th C for all I know. The only Egon I'm familiar with gave Diane Von Furstenberg her last name as her first husband. Egon and I shared a cab once.

GPO 6:59 PM  

Am I the only one who just spent the better part of a beer wondering what the hell a SHaRTO is?

beatrice 9:33 PM  

@chefbea - Hi! I'm in Columbia - not as nice as either the foothills or the coast, I'm afraid! Would be nice to meet you though. And I'm a bit of a 'chef' myself!

Anonymous 9:43 PM  

Rex, why don't you open up your blog for posts when the puzzles become available, which is 21:00 CST the day before? I like to get to bed early, right after I solve the next day's puzzle---those cows ain't gonna milk themselves!

GILL I. 9:55 PM  

@Tita....Te deseo lo mejor y que todo salga bien...
@Leapster. OK..I looked it up because a lake SHIP sounded made up. "Lakers" and "Salties" makes me want to go stare at the Mississippi...!
Hey, that would be a good name for an NBA team!

Unknown 11:05 PM  


teevoz 2:26 AM  

Because here it's spelled PHONY.

chefbea 7:16 AM  

@Beatrice E-mail me. Perhaps we can meet and discuss xwords and food

Waldo 12:43 PM  


Thank you for your taking the time to Skype with us here at Wofford during our interim crossword class! It was really cool to here about your insights into crossworld from someone who is an expert!

Matt W.

spacecraft 12:09 PM  

My experience was diametrically opposite of OFL's. I sure wish I had thought of the towels immediately; it would have saved me at least half an hour. No, I was all over the SHIP, as well as Dog and his crew. And the SE easy???? Not for me, me brothers. (Sorry, just watched "A Clockwork Orange" last night. Disturbing.) For the Hawkeye clue I was thinking M*A*S*H, then Natty Bumppo, but not the Big Ten--which is represented here already and which caused further problems. OK, what does I over U look like? A trident, a W, the devil's pitchfork (that one's really close, IMO)? No. A Greek letter. Sorry, I'm not a Greek scholar. Nor did it help that I put in tAg for "Label a [photo]bomb."

And the NE was no better. "Don't___" begged for START; I can't count the times my mom said to me, "Don't start," sometimes including "...with me." But START was not only already in the grid--it was crossing my word. Fine, don't STARE. Yeah, I guess she said that too. But the one underneath that, the old SHORTO, gave me fits, as those devices always do. My mind just doesn't work that way, and it seems I can't train it. so for me, a penalty flag, and a gigantic DON'T DO THAT!!! It's horrible fill; I think most would agree if not so vociferously.I finally got all that straightened out; the SEA travelers weren't people, they were just SHIPS, duh, don't overthink; and the kidnapee was (double DUH!) POCAHONTAS. Writeovers PASTa to PASTO and tAg to PAN, and I was done. Very challenging for me.

What the heck is a HEATENGINE? Isn't that what they all are? I very much prefer the symmetrical opposite OSCARWILDE. Well, I TOOKASTAB, IDIDMYBEST, avoided PILOTERROR, and came out on top. The triumph factor counts, but so do the RCD and the ESL (egregious sounded letter: SHORTO, SILENTH, etc.). B-.

Burma Shave 1:21 PM  


But he TOOKASTAB at the JERSEYBOYS, ASTO who’d GET defiled.


leftcoastTAM 2:14 PM  

Slow going with many proper nouns/names, but finally finished without help.

Light bulbs started flashing with some well-known names: POCAHANTAS, DREAMGIRLS, JERSEYBOYS. Lotsa help in getting the NW and SE corners.

Is HEATENGINE really well characterized as a "contraption"?

RENNET was a WOE, especially with the crossing NET.

Bounty work led me to NAVIGATION before ABSORPTION.

Pretty STURDY if not perfectly solid Friday puzzle.

LongBeachLee 2:18 PM  

A heat engine coverts thermal energy to mechanicaal energy. Nothing says the heat has to be from a combution proess. A mtch and a can of Sterno are combustion devices.

RONDO 2:38 PM  

I can capitalize today since I’m right there top-center. But for some reason this took me a lot longer than it probably should have. Even though DDAY and YANNI dropped right in, I SOLVEd it mostly south to north and east to west. PASTa and lIeU hung things up in those places.

Never thought much about it but RONDO has a SHORTO and a longo. So does COSMO. So does longo.

As I recall, MACY Gray is, or at least was, a musical yeah baby. I haven’t kept up with her.

Perhaps the last used random direction was used today in WSW.

Had to STARE at a bunch of clues and ponder to get this SOLVE.


Cathy 2:48 PM  

DREAM GIRLS crossing RONDO! Classic. But wait, there's more! I'm leaving this to BURMA SHAVE:)

Fun puzzle for moi. Got stuck on 13 down, goes from the top. Insisted on starts anew. Hands up with SHARTO.

Funny in Lake Tahoe, splitting LOGS is a serious Issue. The more wood you have stocked on the side of your house/cabin, the bigger man you are. The saying is- If you steal my wife, I'll kick your ass. If you steal my wood, I'll kill you. Not quite Woodstock..:)

BS2 2:50 PM  


the VET said I’d GET jaundice.
He used his COTTONSWAB then SEWed up the sore
and said, “Next time, POCAHONTAS.”


today’s stream of unconsciousness brought to you by PILOTERROR

Diana,LIW 2:57 PM  

Finished with some help from Uncle Google, so non victory. But I enjoyed the Collins' wordplay. Completely missed the "pet" project and was looking for some kind of DIY stuff - ha!

Totally agree with Rex that I've never heard of a "stock" of wood. Woodstock, yes. Stack of wood, yes. So I started with ewes because what's a day without an ewe? Or two?

Thin to slim to TRIM. Area to LIEU.

Some of the longer answers just came right to me - others, not so much.

Happy Friday, all.

Mr. Waiting and I are waiting for Mr. Comcast - for the 2nd day in a row for our guaranteed repair time. He's got 5 minutes to get here.

Diana, Doomed to Wait...

leftcoastTAM 7:22 PM  

@Z 4:02p.m. Yes, I agree. Except for a qualification: knowledge of trivia helps, and doing the xwords themselves teaches you a lot of what you have to know about solving them.

rain forest 7:31 PM  

Everyone's late, or deep into moderation today. I liked this quite a lot and of course dnf at SHORTO/PASTO. Should've seen that tricky one which will make @Spacey howl with indignation, red flag waving madly.

Lots of good stuff in this puzzle, but because I did it so late, and no one else is here, I'm taking my bottle of Gigondas over to my girlfriend's to celebrate an early Valentine's Day.


leftcoastTAM 8:44 PM  

@rain forest:
Happy ValenWine's Day. (Is Gigondas a wine?)

Diana,LIW 9:05 PM  

I am just so in awe of what you guys know! (I used to work for a department named "Life Skills/Women's Programs," and one day we declared that we also owned the term "guys." Kinda like actor/actress. Onlymore so.

Anyway, I think Z's post re crosswordese is worth printing and posting on my wall. And I should go memorize my Alpha, Beta, Gammas, along with their symbols. I knew what Ind. U. looked like, but couldn't fit a triton in the puz. Ahhhh... Psi. I need one of those programs that teach you 1,000 languages overnight. I guess.

I used to be a Jersey Girl, but now live with my Dream Boy in the west. We were married on the COSTA Classica Cruise SHIP in the Carib on a blues cruise, so not knowing Macy really hurt - and Rondo, she is really a yeah baby!

Just had to tell ya. A few weeks ago I noticed a very large bird descend onto some roadkill prey in my neighborhood. By the time I drove around the block again, this bird was gone. Thought it was some kind of red-headed eagle. Then yesterday, I saw this absolutely dinosaur-like bird circling in the sky. Huge. Huger than Trump. That's HUGE! Looked in our local museum's website - a California Condor. These puppies were almost extinct, and now I see one flying over my neighbors. So amazing. 10-foot wingspan.

Did I mention huge? Also learned that there are over 480 species of birds in the Monterey area. Also learned, yesterday, that we have hundreds of mushroom varieties (thousands??) in the area. As well as the aforementioned hundreds of Bantu languages in Africa. Who knew?

Diana, Lady-who-doesn't-have-to-wait-for everything

Z 10:15 PM  

@leftcoastTAM - Agreed. I had to go back and read what I wrote. There was a similar question in the non-Syndie blog today. My response wasn't (won't be) nearly as good.

RONDO 10:31 PM  

Yeah, some DREAMGIRLS have crossed RONDO, and many more have crossed RONDO's path. IDIDMYBEST with all of them, never a complaint about that. @Diana and @Cathy, I would let you USEME. It won't COSTA nickel.

Ando 8:23 AM  

OK, I give. Why are "SSR" geographical initials?

Bob Kerfuffle 10:36 AM  

@Ando - Too lazy to look up the original clue, but assume it included "former": Soviet Socialist Republic.

Ando 5:47 PM  

Thanks @Bob -- yes it was "Old geographical inits", which I don't think was a great clue as there is probably a near endless series of possible three-letter answers.

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