Project Mercury primate / FRI 4-22-16 / Roller on carriageway / Hills counterparts / Title food in children's literature / Relative of Sinhalese

Friday, April 22, 2016

Constructor: Robyn Weintraub

Relative difficulty: Very, very easy

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: Ken OLIN (39A: Co-star of TV's "thirthysomething") —
Kenneth Edward "Ken" Olin (born July 30, 1954) is an American actor, director and producer. He is known for his starring role on the television series thirtysomething, and most recently as executive producer, director, and recurring guest star of the television series Brothers & Sisters (2006–2011). (wikipedia)
• • •

"Shoulders" (sides of the road)
"Cells" (boxes that hold data)
"Pacers" (people walking back and forth)

These are the clue words I could not get my head around. Those three words specifically, and the clues they are found in more generally, gave me fits. They were also the Only resistance this puzzle provided. I went through this like the Kool-Aid Man through drywall. I SMOTE it good. The clues were saran-wrap transparent. SMOTE MARIN ENOS ADDTO TITLE and see you later.

It's too bad this was so easy because I think it's a nice grid. I think. Now that I look it over. In retrospect. Hard to appreciate it when you're driving by at 90 mph, but it strikes me as very clean, with any ugliness being both short and uncommon. RARE, even. EES YOO ANOS ANAS. Maybe AGA. Maybe AREST. These are the only answers I'd seriously rue, and they're none of them that bad. Also, they're seriously outnumbered by good stuff. ORDER ONLINE has a slightly wobbly quality, but its counterparts in the NW are great, and the SE looks nice as well. All the Acrosses through the middle are whistle-clean. This was a nice, easy Friday. A gateway themeless for aspiring late-week solvers. All funk, no junk.

[You can skip to 3:20; that's when He takes over]

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:06 AM  

Yes, extremely easy! I said to my bride as it was coming out of the printer "I wonder if SMARTY PANTS will work for 1a". It did and I was off to the races. BOob before BOZO and wolf before PUMA were it for erasures.

Lively stacks, limited dreck, and I'm guessing low on PPPS, liked it except Fridays need to be tougher.

I skip M-W 12:27 AM  

I blew through this i n record time also, and turned tot he blog to gloat the difficulty, only to find there was none. Oh well.

Unknown 12:37 AM  

Loved the Prince video - left me breathless! Blazed a trail through the puzzle - fastest ever! Guess it wasn't just me. And even the cheesy KoolAid video brought back memories! Thanks for all you do, Rex. You made my day a little brighter.

Pete 12:42 AM  

Yeah, super easy - about 1/2 (well, maybe 6/10, but I'd have to convert MM:SS to SSS and I'm one lazy SOB so 1/2 will have to do) of a good time for me on a Friday, but a very nice puzzle. However, I'll never, ever, like OLIN clued via Ken rather than Lena. Ken OLIN is second in the "smuggest, smarmiest actor ever" contest, second only to Jeremy Piven. Lena, on the other hand, is lovely.

Trombone Tom 1:10 AM  

Pretty much what @Rex said. Those stacked elevens looked daunting but played smoothly. SMiTE before SMOTE and wolf before PUMA.

I really liked SMARTYPANTS and MADEYOULOOK. I'm not a timer, but this went fast.

Thank you Robin Weintraub and Will Shortz for a fun puzzle.

Dolgo 3:17 AM  

MUCH too easy for a Friday! The only one that gave me the slightest pause was "Enos," but it filled itself in with the easy clues all around it. I should have known it anyway since it seems to be one of those common fills now that nobody remembers Enos Slaughter!

Anonymous 4:08 AM  

Very clean indeed. Also happily free of occasion for virtue signaling.

Loren Muse Smith 4:11 AM  

Rex – on "pacers," "cells," and "shoulders," I luckily went straight to the right meanings. But for SPREAD SHEET, I was thinking "excel" something first.

"Pram" for TYRE first. And I flirted with "eclectic/trod" before CATHOLIC/LIMP. Hmm. I never knew CATHOLIC had that meaning. I also didn't know TONG could be a verb. I just looked. "Prong" can be an action, too. So should I TONG that fat little olive as I help myself to some salad or just prong it with my fork when no one is looking?

And then because I'm So Over paying close to 5 dollars for a Hallmark card commemorating the latest what I suspect is some made-up holiday, I had "Earth DAY" before BIRTHDAY.

So I have a connection. We visited Muir Woods in MARIN County on our honeymoon. My favorite BIRTHDAY card -

Cover: Birthdays always remind me of the giant redwoods on the West Coast. The way they stand tall and proud, year after year, century after century. Their majestic beauty never fails to take my breath away.
Inside: Thank you for planting them. Happy Birthday

Man, oh man, haven't we all sat through a sermon that seemed to DRAG ON forever?

I really enjoyed this one, Robin. Favorite clues were for FUR and NAIL GUN.

(Also – I just watched this footage of a fisherman as he REELS in an angry PUMA who had just been trying to get a quick drink from a river.)

chefwen 5:09 AM  

Finally, a Friday that I get through without breaking a sweat and it's rated not only easy, but VERY, VERY EASY. Talk about taking the wind out of ones sails. Oh well!

A few minor adjustments were made. PEDI over PErm, spelled SKEIN with an IE first (I always do that). Plod before LIMP and BOob before BOZO.

New word for me ZYDECO, gotta read up on that one.

Sure do like an easy Friday, I suspect we'll pay the price tomorrow.

mac 6:00 AM  

Very, very easy. My slowest and last section was the catholic and cafe. Still not sure about the clue for "catholic". Thought that meant conservative, dogmatic.

Nice one, though, done very early in the morning in a London hotel room.

Susierah 6:13 AM  

Yes, a very nice puzzle. But this was way too easy for a Friday. I bet I am not the only one who finished with their best Friday time ever, about one half of what it usually takes me!

Aketi 6:30 AM  


LIVE A LITTlE on your BIRTHDAY, you could AMP it up with both ZYDECO music and a CONGA line and party like its 1999 (RIP Prince) until you finally end up PASSED OUT. You might have to have attendees sign a WAIVER in case of EMERGENCIES.

That was a fun filled puzzle,

LaurieG in Connecticut 7:02 AM  

how was this even marginally a Friday puzzle?

RooMonster 7:40 AM  

Hey All !
Agree with Easy-for-a-FriPuz. Only one writeover for me today. eclectIC-CATHOLIC. Still don't know that clue-answer combo. How does CATHOLIC=Broad in tastes? Anyone? Bueller?

I'm sure Rex figured it out, even though he said he couldn't wrap his brain around Shoulders, but I'm gonna tell ya anyways :-). Refers to the side of the road. You pull over to the Shoulder when you have a flat or stall. And would've been looking for something auto related if pacer was capitalized, but knew it to be a walker-back-and-forther. (That's proper English, right?)

Liked the Scrabbley-ness in W center. Some nice clues that weren't technically misdirectional, but still made ya think for a few seconds. EES is bogus, however. Elec. EngineerS, is that what it stands for? Otherwise, cleanly filled for the most part.

1A and 15A together sound like a schoolyard taunt, Hey, SMARTYPANTS, MADE YOU LOOK! Also, gonna beat @Chuck McG on the cool together answers of BIRTHDAY DRAGON, ZYDECO SOLOISTS, FUR EMERGENCIES. Good stuff!

I guess you did LIVE A LITTLE if you PASSED OUT!

Debra 7:41 AM  

Easy as a Monday, but more fun

Annette 7:50 AM  

My crazy smart niece is re-visiting her 4th university today before she makes her final choice from UVA, Brown, Duke, and U-Penn. SMARTPANTS, IVY LEAGUE, GPA hit close to home.

Easy, maybe, but very good fun.


RooMonster 7:51 AM  

@LMS, Har! Almost as good as being Rick rolled!


Dorothy Biggs 8:14 AM  

I had soRE before RARE, tejanO before ZYDECO, eclectIC before CATHOLIC. Those were my only hiccups and so the puzzle never really gave me any problems overall.

More than Bowie, Prince was a little closer to the kind of music I listen to so his death is a tad more dear to me. As a keyboard player, rock and roll music is more of a spectator sport. While there are a lot of really great rock and roll/soul keyboardists out there (Winwood and Preston in the video, for example), the electric guitar reigns supreme. Listening to someone play a solo with such soul and emotion is, dare I say even for a keyboard player, a profound experience. There is nothing like it.

Unknown 8:30 AM  

@George Barany yesterday: Given the EDGINESS of other comments about that puzzle, your last paragraph was the best by far and spot on. Well said!

That said, I liked this a lot better than yesterday’s. The MELEE of long stacks throughout certainly did ADD TO the fun with no “REEL” complaints. FINE fill to make those stacks work.

This was one of those puzzles where things mostly just fell into place, like SOLOISTS and SINCERE off of only the last S (gimme plural) in the former. As well with no help were ZYDECO and ECLECTIC. Oops, the latter was wrong but the “I” was not, so was a help. ENOS somehow surfaced from my memory’s file server with no help to open up the NW.

I’m registering my usual complaint that AMPS is just awful. No one, and I mean no one, who actually tours has ever, and I mean, ever called AMPS “gear.” You go fishing with gear, you tour with equipment. In the past 50 years of dealing with tours in one way or another, I never heard anything like, “Let’s unload the gear from the truck.”

Speaking of fishing, there was 50d “Bass part”: Of course my first thought was the musical instrument which I immediately resisted in favor of its aqueous namesake. I had this conundrum coming up with my vanity plate to somehow signify I play bass. However, it was clear that using “bass” in any way here in Maine would signify I was a fisherman (and thus having REELS). I finally settled on F-CLEF.

I had to laugh at SPREADSHEET. Just yesterday I wrote a tale to a computer maven about my crashing one in the early 1980s using Lotus. This was because either the BOZO, SMARTYPANTS Lotus or computer programmer thought they would LIVE A LITTLE and allow dividing a number by zero. The computer actually tried mightily to do so for bit, scrolling through screen-fulls of ASCII characters before it quietly PASSED OUT from its efforts.

Who knew TONG (“pick up”) could be a verb? The Oxford Dictionary says yes. Let’s’ go to a bar and try to TONG some women.

In case you had NO IDEA (like @Rex), there is a fairly extensive musical theme that can be gleaned from the grid:

REELS (the Virginia type)
BASS (with a long “A”)
AMPS (still ugh)
RADIATORS (what loudspeakers are for sound, and yes, the term is used as such)
A REST (often one of many in orchestrations)
FINS (with “The,” a New Jersey band)
FUR (describes a certain type of high frequency distortion)
RAM (a Paul McCartney album)

And --
NO LO (music without a bass)


Z 8:33 AM  

While My Guitar Gently Weeps is an amazing song and that is an amazing performance. Look at the other performers during that solo. One of the many eulogies yesterday called him "the Best Songwriter Ever Produced by the State of Minnesota." I, of course, agree, though I know some here will beg to differ. One thing most will agree on is that he wrote the best song ever about a one night stand.

SMiTE before SMOTE, briefly considered whether or not I could really buy an eaRTHDAY card. Otherwise, I flew through this. Learned CATHOLIC means universal way back in cathechism class because "catholic church" certainly wasn't a reference to Rome. Clean, fun Friday.

The counting exercises:
PPP - 12/70, just 17%. 4 of the 12 are PPP through their clues. This has to close to a record low of Pop/Product/Proper nouns.

Non-OWM - I found two that could, could, be considered non-OWM answers, both foreign words; NEPALI, AGA. I suppose you could throw in AÑOS and RIOS to try and convince yourself that the count is four. The PPP is so low that it is hard to say much about this puzzle specifically. Nevertheless, it still fits Rex's observation that minorities only appear when their hairdo or convienently spelt names are needed. Interesting, too, that with so little pop culture otherwise the NYTX took a pass on cluing ZYDECO by referencing Buckwheat ZYDECO. Once again this a puzzle that is 100% OWM.

Suzy 8:44 AM  

I thought Fridays were supposed to be tough?

Carola 8:49 AM  

Yes, a fast Friday for me, too. Usually on a Friday I have a string of "NO IDEA, NO IDEA..." but today only"Pacers" gave me pause, as I was thinking of racing.
I wrote in eclectic with no crosses, but the Downs quickly poked HOLES in it; remembering the phrase "CATHOLIC tastes" helped me correct it quickly.

kitshef 8:55 AM  

This was as wonderful as yesterday was disappointing. Certainly easy for a Friday, but not as easy for me as for, apparently, everyone else in the world. Went straight for wolfwhistle at 15A which killed that section for a long time. Worked the rest of the puzzle and at the end ALLERGY convinced me to take it out.

Other than that, hand up for BOzo, PErm and wolf.

I do feel like 'ham' should have been worked in somewhere - tough to do with so few three-letter spots - but GREENEGGS feels incomplete.

Loved even some of the shorter stuff: NAILGUN, ZYDECO, CONGA, OVARIES.

And thank you @Rex for the video. I feel like Prince never got the credit he deserved as a musician or a songwriter. I think we've had the discussion before that he is perceived (in the US) as a star from the 80s. But he has a lot of great work since then, which is more recognized in, say, the UK.

Steve M 9:02 AM  

Fast Friday fun!

Tita 9:08 AM  

Also quite deflated when I saw the rating. Smugness factor very low today...

@lms...I think I remember Foghorn Leghorn pushing a pram on a carriageway...oh...that would be cartoon-worthy!!

Love that birthday card...I do believe I will plagiarize it from now on. Yes, I make my own cards...originally just because my mother always had me do so, now because it's fun. And now that the cards cost as much as what I used to spend on the present... Is card flatiron a thing? I don't think I remember the price of the card as ever being a line item I noticed.

I make a point of learning how to say NOIDEA in the language of a country I am visiting.

Love 1 and 15 across!
Thanks, Robyn Weintraub!

Wm. C. 9:14 AM  

@LMS --

Heh, heh .... Made Me Look. :-)

QuasiMojo 9:20 AM  

Well considering "Earth Day" actually is my "birthday" and I finished this puzzle in a new record time for a Friday, I definitely feel like going out to "live a little." Thank you Robyn!

Nancy 9:27 AM  

If this hadn't appeared on a Friday, it would have been one of my favorite themelesses ever. Yes, it's too easy, but look at the liveliness of the answers: SMARTY PANTS; MADE YOU LOOK; LIVE A LITTLE. And also look at the playful, oblique cluing of OVARIES (35A); FUR (55A); FINS (50D); RADIATORS (31D); MELEE (46D); NAILGUN (36A); EMERGENCIES (56A). To all constructors who give us blah, on-the-nose cluing, I'd say: Study this beauty and learn from it.

One early mistake that slowed me down: PErm instead of PEDI at 27A. Worse, I was absolutely sure of it, so I thought I was going crazy when I couldn't get 13D. PASSEr--T? PASSEr--R? Finally, I corrected. Now that's an age thing. In my youth, people got PERMS all the time; whereas no one had ever even heard of a PEDI. Having your feet done??? In a public place??? Yuck! Now of course, no one ever gets a PERM, whereas the entire female world is getting a PEDI it seems. If one is going on near me while I'm having a haircut, I actually close my eyes. Can't watch, but I guess that's just me.

Nancy 9:29 AM  

Just looked and I see I have a DNF. BObO and bYDECO instead of BOZO and ZYDECO.

Anonymous 9:38 AM  

@Z - OVARIES falls into the OWM category?

Hartley70 9:54 AM  

This may not have given us the usual Friday difficulty level, but it was a nifty little puzzle all the same. I love stacks, and these felt current and colloquial. The answers popped into my head immediately, but they still made me smile. IVYLEAGUE was really well clued. I fell for wolf, of course. PUMAs aren't getting much press lately.

Thanks for the romp, Robyn. Come back again soon, you hear?

Bob Kerfuffle 10:09 AM  

Nice puzzle; I didn't find it all that easy.

When I first looked at 1 A, I had to count spaces to see that WEISENHEIMER didn't fit.

Actual w/o's: 4 D, ROLES >> REELS; 29 A, EARTHDAY >> BIRTHDAY; and, 48 A, ECLECTIC >> CATHOLIC.

So GREEN PAINT is bad, but GREEN EGGS are good? ; > )

Mohair Sam 10:11 AM  

Very easy, very clean - total agreement with @Rex. Seemed like all of your guesses for the long answers were right first try, didn't it?

New word for us - ZYDECO. Knew the "broad" meaning of CATHOLIC. Kept trying to fit "harnESS" for a horse into EDGINESS space for too long.

Could be that @Z's near record low PPP score is the reason we see unanimity of praise for this one. I know we enjoyed it here.

crabsofsteel 10:12 AM  

At least there was no SKYEY.

Ludyjynn 10:39 AM  

Agree this was my easiest Friday RODEO ever, but attribute that, at least in part, due to the plethora of lovely clues. Esp. liked ESP, TRENCH, FUR, NENE.

MARIN evokes beautiful memories of a friend's place there, nestled in a redwood tree canyon. The canopy was so immense, they built the road so as not to interfere w/ the trees. Street signs read, "Caution--Trees Crossing".

REELS evokes the time my Dad left his favorite fishing rod and reel at home when we were vacationing 'down the shore'. He and my older brother drove back home to retrieve it, in the middle of the day, when much to their surprise, they encountered my oldest brother, who was stuck at home, supposedly for the purpose of taking a summer school college make-up course, IN MY PARENTS' BED doing the deed w/ his male lover. (Insert the word LIMP here in response to Dad threatening both w/ bodily harm)! Brothers were sworn to secrecy and I was not in the loop til years later, when older brother spilled the sordid details. One thing to find out your kid is gay; quite another to discover it in your own bed. As far as I know, Mom never found out about the incident, but being a mother, she already knew his preference, anyway.

Thanks, RW and WS for making all of us solvers feel like SMARTYPANTS.

GILL I. 10:47 AM  

I only drink one cup of very strong black coffee in the morning. French pressed, waiting lovingly for 4 minutes until it's perfectly brewed and I pour. Sit in my favorite chair, puzzle and pen in hand, then take a breath and commence with my favorite part of the day....Whaaaaat? I only took one sip. Damn, not even a BEQ to do. I seriously feel cheated. I want at least 20 more minutes.....What to do? AAAACK.
I'm with @kitshef...My GREEN EGGS need some ham.
Thank you @Loren....! :-)

old timer 10:51 AM  

I was on Mr. Weintraub's wavelength today. I suppose many of us were. Got a start with GREENEGGS and GPA and never looked back. Finished in the NE where SKEIN immediately gave me MADEYOULOOK, and the Amazon reference immediately convinced me the answer would end in ONLINE.

Paging @AliasZ in the hope he will put up that part of Bach's B-Minor Mass that has "et unam sanctam" I learned very early that a true Church is one (unam) holy (sanctam) catholic [ie. universal] and apostolic (founded by the Apostles).

Only writeover: EACH where I at first put in "inch". I uncharitably feared the answer to 30-down would be "NFL League" but decided that was impossible so "inch" was, IMO, a "unit". I was glad to find the LEAGUE was IVY, though the Princeton Tigers are the only animal I recognized right off.

Good luck to Miss SMARTYPANTS who is considering Brown. A good friend went there, and enjoyed every minute. Was going to be a lawyer but taught school instead to avoid the draft, and a decade or so later went to Rice to get an MBA.

Anonymous 10:53 AM  

Q.What is so rare....? A. Me completing a Friday puzzle and with minimal resistence. Had eclectic before catholic but trench showed the way.

Andrew Heinegg 11:05 AM  

This would have been an okay Tuesday or Wednesday but, as a Friday, it is ego boosting but too quick of an exercise. BTW, if a puma sees a moose as a meal, it had better be eyeing one that is very young and away from mom or very weak from age or infirmity because moose are much larger than pumas and are ill tempered and ready to fight.

Lewis 11:08 AM  

@loren -- That birthday card actually made me lol.

Clean and zippy Friday with lots of clever clues -- ESP, CONGA, OVARIES, NAILGUN, FUR, TRENCH, MELEE, FINS -- that I liked because they all (except for NAILGUN) were right on my wavelength and went right in. Good answers too: LIVEALITTLE, ZYDECO, MADEYOULOOK, SMARTYPANTS. I like the high GPA to go along with the high FQ. Brava!

(fun quotient)

American Heritage 11:13 AM  

1. Of broad or liberal scope; comprehensive: "The 100-odd pages of formulas and constants are surely the most catholic to be found" (Scientific American).

[Middle English catholik, universally accepted, from Old French catholique, from Latin catholicus, universal, from Greek katholikos, from katholou, in general : kat-, kata-, down, along, according to; see CATA- + holou (from neuter genitive of holos, whole; see sol- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots).]

Joseph Michael 11:19 AM  

Finally this week a puzzle I enjoyed solving. Lots of clever misdirection in the cluing and great stacks of 11 in the NW and SE corners.

The answer that had me most stumped was EDGINESS, even after I had filled it in. It wasn't until I came here that I realized that "pacer" refers to someone walking back and forth.

Favorite entry: MADE YOU LOOK.

John V 11:20 AM  

I was hoping that I was getting smarter and better. Perhaps I am but this puzzle, while fun, was way too easy; felt like a Tuesday themeless.

Anonymous 12:10 PM  

Oh look Ma. I did it all by myself. Solo and no google. I did not quite finish it but filled over 95% of the white squares. For me it is a feat of biblical proportions. Left a couple of blank squares and a few laughable mistakes.
Based on my performance it must have been a very easy puzzle. But it was so clever and refreshingly lacking of trivia.
So yes it must have been very easy for the pros.
Please give me more of these puzzles.

Master Melvin 12:30 PM  

Yes, a little easy for a Friday, but a nice clean well-crafted puzzle. Only 2 proper names. No crappy commercial initials. Very little crappy fill that wasn't all that crappy to begin with. A bunch of nice lively words and phrases: SMARTY PANTS, MADE YOU LOOK, LIVE A LITTLE, etc. An excellent clue for CATHOLIC which seems to have surprised (and enlightened?) some people.

Just a fine puzzle. The difficulty level could have been addressed by making some clues a bit harder.

OISK 12:50 PM  

Never heard of zydeco, and the down clue - Bozo - could it be bobo and bydeco? Got it right, but was not absolutely certain. Otherwise, what others said - very easy for a Friday. I don't really mind that, though, sitting in the Sun on another lovely morning.

Anonymous 1:06 PM  

Are there words other than "opioid" having the IOI sequence?

Teedmn 1:10 PM  

Ah, the RARE Wednesday themeless - on a Friday. I had some messes: PErm before PEDI a la @Nancy, wolf before PUMA a la @jae and flaws before HOLES. But I was not enough of an idiot to put in "idiot savant" in for SMARTY PANTS.

Easy but fresh cluing made it fun, with many misdirections using words which don't change with tense (set, hit) or just clever wording (see clues for 20A, EDGINESS and 55A, FUR) all good examples in my opinion.

Thanks for the Friday puzzle, Robyn Weintraub.

Z 2:39 PM  

First, it is Robyn with a Y and she has a very nice head shot over at She is now 4/7ths of the way to completing the cycle so the Commentariat should probably get her name and gender correct (confession - I had no idea if that "Y" was important when I noticed it nor did I know her gender, so I went and looked at xwordinfo. Thankfully most constructors provide head shots).

@anon9:38 - Good catch. I'm most interested in people, but I have included more and so should have noted the OVARIES.

@kitshef - Being an iconoclast cost him some record sales. Like Bowie, though, an influence that goes far far beyond top 10 hits. This is one of the best pieces on his legacy (warning, it's the Playboy website and the article has some profanity).

Anonymous 2:46 PM  

Too easy for a Friday. Checked in here to see how Rex and comments would rate it just to confirm. No write-overs, no mistakes. Decent puzzle, but a bit of a let down when settling in for a Friday challenge. Breezed through it.

Masked and Anonymous 2:50 PM  

@muse - doh! U 15-A-ed me. Revenge is a dish best served in a 7x7 container …*

@Indie009: How does this puppy's difficulty level compare to "Very, very, very easy"? Easy for U to say, btw. Try spellin CONGA with a K sometime, and see how easy this all is. snort.

Just what kinda RODEO does the Shortzmeister think he's runnin, here? Goat tyin?!? All M&A can say is: tie up the old goat first thing, before he hurts hisself. Then bring on the broncs and send in the clowns. (… There have to be clowns …)

Really smooth fillins. Fun solve. Lost a few invaluable nanoseconds, when I wrote in ZYDECO, erased it to put in DODO, erased DODO to put in BOZO, yada yada.

Thanx all a round Robyn.

Masked & Anonymo4Us

* pull my finger:
[Warnin: Only use Down Home, to solve it]

Fred Romagnolo 3:24 PM  

At his death, Eugene Ormandy was referred to as the most catholic of conductors because there was no kind of classical music he couldn't handle. He was universal in range. The Episcopal Church refers to itself as a protestant catholic church. In the 40's, when the conga first became a rage, there was an amusing pop song with words "six lessons from Madame La Zonga, you'll learn to rhumba, and the new la conga." There is a marvelous conga sequence in Roz Russel's "My Sister Eileen," involving the Brazilian navy.

puzzle hoarder 3:30 PM  

This puzzle required the same amount of time as Tuesday's (the heads up one) but it felt even easier. When I printed it out those stacked 11s and double 9 columns promised a good fight. Four of those 11s are debuts, so are two of the 9s. Why is it so easy?
My theory is that this lady is so nice that constructing a puzzle that confounded or frustrated anyone would be anathema to her. Look at her photo and read her comments at xwordinfo. When she's not making puzzles I picture her rescuing cats or volunteering at soup kitchens. Even NAILGUN and CATHOLC are debuts. Speaking of which the people with the ECLECTIC/ CATHOLIC write overs must have solved clockwise and seen the IC ending first. I went counterclockwise and had the ATH before I even read the clue. This was a beautiful puzzle, I just hope tomorrow's constructor has a little more evil in them.

kitshef 4:23 PM  

@Andrew Herring - yes, the PUMA clue gave me pause but it checks out - they prey on young moose.

I also had to check whether NENE can fly (they can) and whether ANO needed a tilde (no, not in Portuguese).

Constructor clearly did his/her homework.

Charles Flaster 4:24 PM  

Really liked this easy one.
Favorite clues were FUR and MADE YOU LOOK.
Writeover-- PITCH for PaTCH ( thinking Singer Sewing Machine). Anyone else?
Thanks RW.

Hungry Mother 4:29 PM  

PTL, simple today!

Anonymous 4:37 PM  

What does OWM mean?

Anonymous 4:48 PM  

Yesterday, Blue Stater commented: "And typical of the WS era. Too clever by (at least) half." I remembered that and so wanted the answer to 1A to be Will Shortz.

Phil 8:05 PM  


Ha, rascal, bet you're fun on april 1

Z 10:19 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Z 11:18 PM  

@Anon4:37 - Old White Male, comme moi. Rex criticized a recent puzzle for only using minorities for their hairdos and conveniently spelt names (e.g. Afro, Dr. Dre and Nas) Rex was then criticized for his criticism. So I've been counting any references that suggest any awareness outside the narrow milieux of OWMs. So far (two days) Rex has not been refuted.

kitshef 11:36 PM  

@Anonymous at 1:06 - radIOIsotope, cardIOId
@Anonymous at 4:37 - Old White Male

Skyey Bluey 11:53 PM  

@Anonymous4:37pm, OWM stands for OldWhiteMen

OldWhiteMen are those who have GreenEggs in their Ovaries, so I wouldn't be too concerned about all that mishmosh presented.

Leapfinger 12:09 AM  

Anonymous @1:06 re looking for -ioi-containing words

I suppose it depends on what you accept as a word. There's Radioing, Radioisotopes and Radioimmuno-assays, and a host of science-based/ compound words. This source gives the most complete list anyone could want:

Maybe there's a scenarioist that can help resolve any ilioinguinal spasms these bioinspired words cause you.

Robbie B 12:54 PM  

"Powered on" for "booted?" Finally did a head slap when it dawned on me... Like rebooting your computer.

Burma Shave 9:01 AM  


Hey BOZO, LIVEALITTLE on your BIRTHDAY and I’ll see ya,
if YOO’re LIMP or PASSEDOUT YOO will miss a RARE chance.


spacecraft 9:43 AM  

Yeah, pretty easy--once you grok that the verbs in the 1-down and 54-down clues are PAST tense...hit and set are the same now as then. I hate these verbs! Also easier if you didn't go to the salon for--duh!--a PErm, but merely for a PEDI. So, maybe a tad more on the mediumish side of easy. Oh, one more thing: shouldn't the clue for 32-down have included "in W.W.1?" Far as I know, that's the last time a TRENCH was used. Nowadays that clue would be answered by PTSD.

And "Sharp shooter?"? What, are we calling nails sharps now? I guess. I'm still red, or soRE, about 23-across. I shoulda known; that's how I like my steak: RARE. No DOD in sight, but I liked this one so much, maybe I'll make the constructor today's honoree. Birdie.

rondo 10:03 AM  

I had NOIDEA a Fri-puz could go so quickly. Filled it in in a clock-wise fashion thinking “What’s a Monday puz doing here on Friday?” Until I boldly entered eclectIC from the IC. Had to TRENCH in before I could LIMP to the finish. By accident I timed myself – 17 minutes, which is just about as fast as I can read and then write. If I’d been CATHOLIC, probably 15 minutes. Surely fastest Friday ever.

I have a feeling there will be ZYDECO streaming today since no one seems to be at work today and I can turn it up ALITTLE. I’m thinkin’ Queen Ida and Clifton Chenier. Youtube will probably suggest others. Like maybe even the RADIATORS who I believe are from the NOLA area, but are not a ZYDECO band. Saw them live in Mpls once, New Years Eve methinks; my date wanted to leave early which LED to an earlier-than-anticipated RODEO. Hey, LIVEALITTLE, no?

I would always clue it as yeah baby Lena OLIN. How can you argue with a former Miss Scandinavia?

Queen Ida streaming already – “ZYDECO Taco”

This EZ puz is a good way to prepare for the long weekend. Long for me only as it appears I will be working Sun and Mon after which I’ll be DRAGON.

rondo 10:13 AM  

Beau Jocque & The Zydeco Hi Rollers - I'm on the Wonder


spacecraft 12:18 PM  

Easy...but with glitches:

--> "hit" and "set" are two of those NASTY verbs that don't change from present to past tense. Why I always assume present I can't say, but that gets me every time.

--> Silly me, I went to the salon for--duh!--a PErm, when all I needed was a PEDI.

--> I'm still red (soRE) for not thinking about my favorite RARE steak.

--> "Sharp shooters?"? So, NAILs are "sharps" now, along with needles?

--> TRENCH: surely we should ADDTO the clue "in WW1." I doubt they've been used since then.

Despite all that, I did it in not too long, so fundamentally agree with the easy rating. This puzzle had a pleasant, conversational flow to it: SMARTYPANTS, MADEYOULOOK, LIVEALITTLE. A minimum to complain about in the fill makes it a birdie. For DOD, why not our charming and skilled constructor? Enjoy your new TITLE, Robyn!

Torb 1:11 PM  

Crazy easy. Lately, Fridays have been gimmes. New trend?

rain forest 1:18 PM  

Right off the bat I guessed 1A and I was off. It seems this puzzle was on everyone's wavelength or in their wheelhouse, or just had clues coming right over the plate, hence right off the bat. Har

Criticizing a puzzle because it is TOO easy is fatuous, in my opinion. Here there were no moo-cow clues, no RRNs, no "Snow White and the 7______". It just flowed, in a nice-looking grid that sparkled.

Liked it a lot.

leftcoastTAM 3:26 PM  

Yes, relatively easy Friday, and enjoyable. Good long answers NW and SE.

Some pauses: ZYDECO and BOZO, RARE and CONGA, TYRE, and had eclectic before CATHOLIC.

Resisted TONG as a verb, and really wanted wolf as the more threatening moose predator than PUMA.

Does a heart pacer really pick up EDGINESS?

leftcoastTAM 3:41 PM  

Oh, not heart pacers, but those edgy pacers in, say, hospital waiting rooms. [Doh!]

Diana,LIW 4:11 PM  

YOO-hoo! Thank you Rainy and Spacey for at least admitting you couldn't have done this blindfolded. Easy. Of course. Since I finished it, wrestling it to the ground in the bottom half. Well nyah, nyah, nyah all you easy/peazy solvers - I had a very good time indeed with this one. Loved the clueing and word play. Only one pop culture WOE (never saw one episode of Thirty-something) that came easily with the crosses. And I forgot "Monk's" café, but some remote corner of my brain finally released it.

From yesterday, late:

@Longbeach - According to the OED, the suffix "ette" can mean feminine, as in suffragette, drum majorette, usherette. And yes, it is more rare than a diminutive ette. Et tu?

@Anon 12:28 - Again, the OED clarifies which colo(u)r of sky the word-of-the-day referred to. The definition, in entirety: "(a) of or pertaining to the sky; emanating from the sky or heaven; (b) of the colour of the sky, azure" AZURE: (partial def.) "a bright blue pigment or dye, ultramarine The blue colour of the unclouded sky (orig. the deep intense blue of more southern latitudes" So it appears that "brilliant" blue is apt.

And more from what I learned yesterday, this morning I had a nosedud while Lambo was sitting on my lap. He chided me, as usual.

Diana, Still waiting in Opposite Land

Cheerio 5:30 PM  

Am I the only one who used "SMARmYPANTS?" Alrighty, then....

Anonymous 2:07 AM  

@Diana,LIW 4:11 PM - It is gracious of you to take the time to respond to my comment of yesterday.

As daunting as it is to be confronted with a quote from the OED, I'm afraid that venerable reference work has given short shrift to this rarely-used adjective, thereby demonstrating the danger of relying upon a single source, however authoritative. I must respectfully disagree with your conclusion.

"Sky blue" is frequently used to describe shades that range from celeste through baby blue to azure. In English heraldry, "bleu celeste" or "sky blue" is a medium blue, much lighter than azure. And azure itself is an indefinite term, generally understood to mean a deep blue, but also used to describe variations of blue ranging from Alice blue to lapis lazuli.

As it was typically used by poets, the essence of the word "skyey" was its connotation of etheriality or delicateness; intensity is its antithesis, unless it is the intensity of mystery, rather than color. The Lovecraft quotation cited yesterday, e.g., evoked the unease brought on by the perception of the vastness of the cosmos under a darkening twilight sky. Although there are exceptions,the word was so rarely used to signify "brilliant" as to make that a singularly poor choice of descriptors.

In any event, a word so rarely used since the age of romantic poetry (and uncommon even then) needed a clue suggesting its archaism or poetic nature, as we would expect with the dreaded "e'en" or "o'er."

And BTW, HATTRICK is definitely not a scoring play. ;-)

Prince raj 4:16 PM  

Coach Rental and Bus Charter Services Grow in Popularity as More People Value Travel.
Brunswick to New York City

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