Sonnet-ending unit / FRI 4-29-16 / Slangy true no / Questel who voiced Olive Oyl / Onetime motel come-on / Old radio dummy / Result of holding hooking / Shot from behind arc informally

Friday, April 29, 2016

Constructor: Andrew Kingsley

Relative difficulty: Easy

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: MAE Questel (6D: Questel who voiced Olive Oyl) —
Mae Questel (pronounced ques-TELL; September 13, 1908 – January 4, 1998) was an American actress and vocal artist best known for providing the voices for the animated characters Betty Boop and Olive Oyl. She began in vaudeville, and played occasional small roles in films and television later in her career, most notably the role of Aunt Bethany in 1989's National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. (wikipedia)
• • •

Super easy, a little rough around the edges, but mostly entertaining. Just when it seemed in danger of sinking into tiresome territory, it would zag back to something unexpected or modern, fresh or lively. A real yo-yo rollercoaster elevator, this one. One minute I'm down with EDIE and ACADIA, then up with VALUE MENU and ICY STARES, then down with oldey-timey MAE and SNERD, then up with GOOD TIME SLAM POETRY. Ugsome ARME and ETERNE get made up for with VIRUS SCAN and "THE RAVEN" (58A: 72 of its 108 lines end in "-ore" sounds). Less than great fill like SUP and TREY at least get nice modern clues. Ultimately, I'm FOR this one—but what is with the easiness. The EASE! I broke 5 minutes last week, and I nearly broke it again this week, despite what felt like a very slow start in the NW (FOUR A.M. really loused me up at 1A: Graveyard hour), and despite not really having my speed-solving hat on. Longer answers like JET BLACK, ICY STARES, and LATIN LOVER came together with just one or two letters in place. I got FINLAND off just the "F" (40D: First country in the world with universal suffrage (1906)). I know I'm asking for trouble when I say this, but More Teeth, please. I need late-week puzzles to put up something of a fight.

OMSK OREL and OREM are all located in the same room in my brain, and I couldn't figure out which one I needed for a while today at 30A: City on the Oka River. OREM is in Utah, so I mostly ruled that out (though I wouldn't have been stunned if it had turned out that Utah had an Oka River). OMSK was contradicted by crosses, so ... OREL. I thought COMER was COMET (13D: Star on the horizon?). I imagined a scenario like this—Person 1: "Is that a star on the horizon?" Person 2: "No, it's a COMET." End scene. Cool that POETRY intersects "THE RAVEN" (*and* contains the letter string "POE"). The toughest clue to parse was 48A: Answering to (UNDER). I'm still not sure I can find a good example of how those can substitute for one another, but I assume ... oh, no, wait, I just got it. Of course. You answer to your boss. You're UNDER your boss. Figuratively. Probably just figuratively. I was thinking it had something to do with going UNDER a different name, answering to a different name. But no, that's absurd. The boss thing is right. LMAO. Good night.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

P.S. Just remembered that my friend Laura wrote me earlier in the week telling me that this Friday's puzzle was going to be a debut by one of her students at Dartmouth. She was like "be kind" and I was like "You're Not The Boss Of Me!" So happy that I totally forgot about that exchange until just this second, as it had no bearing on the write-up whatsoever. Also happy that this crossword debut is so promising.

P.P.S. One of my readers (Amy Gaidis) just reminded me of something that I really really should've remembered (since I'm married to a Kiwi—and one with a Ph.D. in women's history no less). Per wikipedia: "In 1893 New Zealand became the first nation in the world (bar the short-lived 18th century Corsican Republic) to grant universal, male and female adult suffrage." So ... I don't know how that FINLAND clue (40D: First country in the world with universal suffrage (1906)) isn't wrong.

P.P.P.S. Now another reader tells me that New Zealand was not yet a "country" in 1893. It did not become a "country" (actually, a "dominion"), as opposed to a colony, until 1907. This seems phenomenally nitpicky if it's the alleged factual basis for claiming that FINLAND was first. Hey, wait ... FINLAND doesn't even become independent until 1917 (!?!?). So ... I'm sticking by "This Clue Is Wrong." Point, NZ.

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


jae 12:07 AM  

Easy for me too except for the NW which took quite a bit of staring because:

I had no IDEA 5AM was the graveyard hour,
kept wanting credit for BYLINE and TNT for FAB,
MAE as clued was a major WOE,
ICY and AINT just weren't coming,
and technically EDIE an ancillary character and not one of the four desperate housewives pictured in the opening credits.

Solid Fri., what @Rex said, liked it.

kitshef 12:30 AM  

Is it OK to have EASYREAD and EASE in the same puzzle?

Not EASy here. Tough clue for FAB plus WoEs EDIE and MAE made the NW particularly hard to crack. beEr before IDEA, namEd before UNDER, scOrE before TROVE. And in semi-desperation tried DOLLAMENU at one point.

I vote for UNDER meaning living under an assumed name. If I am living under the name of Sanders, I answer to the name of Sanders (though Pooh did not).

Angela 1:47 AM  

Never having heard of SNERD, I had "COMET" for "Star on the horizon?" Ugh.

Anonymous 3:33 AM  

Definitely too easy for a Friday. I liked the hockey clue. I predict the Capitals to win the greatest sports tournament, the Stanley Cup Playoffs.


George Barany 5:51 AM  

Congratulation to Dartmouth College senior @Andrew Kingsley on his New York Times debut crossword BYLINE. While waiting for my local Starbucks to open at FIVE_AM, I solved the puzzle in what for me counts as an unusually fast Friday time.

LMAO at 36-Down, a New York Times debut word, as well as the two different meanings of "shot-putter" in the clues for 37-Across and 26-Down respectively (and the further use of "shot" in a timely basketball context to clue TREY at 25-Down). Very relieved to see PENALTY emerge as the correct answer for the tricky 35-Across clue, and interesting tidbits in THE_RAVEN clue at 58-Across and the FINLAND clue at 40-Down.

Loren Muse Smith 6:21 AM  

Rex – I have that same area in my brain of four-letter cities, but mine has Ames, too, which is what I led with this morning. Then Orem. Then Orel.

Two pretty big goofs stalled my progress briefly:

• misread the number for the suffrage clue, so I put in Sweden at 43D. But that had me erasing a funnier goof….
• "The Lorax" for THE RAVEN - (It was my plan to note that "Lorax" has the "ore" sound, too.) .The last time I went so wildly wrong was putting in "Dr. Seuss" for DRACULA. Sheesh.

FREE TV. Remember back in the day when we bit the bullet and started actually paying for TV (cable) because it was commercial- free? Commercials are so bad these days that I despise watching anything that hasn't been recorded. I'm stunned at how many minutes there are of ads several times an hour. I'm also stunned by the decision to put the bajillion side effects at the end of medicine commercials. Do not take if you develop an uncontrollable compulsion to chew on plastic forks. Contact your doctor if you begin to grow tentacles behind your shoulder blades or if your kneecaps start migrating toward your ankles. DOES ANYONE LISTEN TO ANY OF THIS?

That Haggis ingredient – bet @Tita got it lickety split. Off the T, I was entertaining "dirt," "peat," "newt," "butt," "gnat". . . Ok. Not really, but still. Mystifying dish for the uninitiated.

So aside from the above (and wanting "sunned" tea for SUN TEA), I had no problems.

Very impressive debut, Andrew. Congrats.

Charles Flaster 6:56 AM  

Enjoyed many of the clues but should have been a Wednesday offering.
Many creative clues--KNEAD, TROVE, FREE TV ( has now morphed into "free WIFI"), UNDER, and BYLINE.
Only write over-- SUMMA for magnA.
Thanks AK.

Tita A 7:27 AM  

One of your best write ups, Rex!
(Though please explain why THERAVEN isn't musty. I mean, Poe is SO two centuries ago. And one of my favorites. I mean, just seeing "Hopfrog" in a clue recently sent disturbing chills down my spine, even though I hadn't read that one since high school.)

Loved 7D. My mom always has a JIGSAW puzzle going. Even has a board that lets her fold it up off the dining room table and serve a twelve course meal.
My dad used to make JIGSAW puzzles on the JIGSAW in the basement. My mom would paste a page from Life Magazine, usually of some exotic port, on a thin piece of wood, then he would cut it. Wish I still had one of them.

I'm sure I won't be the first to point out that it should be SUNnedTEA. Sheesh. Don't they teach these kids anything at Dartmouth?

There's tons of fun fill in this puzzle, that was easy until my DNF thanks to OREm and TERsET..
Thanks, and congratulations on a fine debut, Mr. Kingsley.

John Child 7:31 AM  

A lovely puzzle from Andrew Kingsley. Many congratulations on the debut. I hope we see more from you.

I'll give OFL the courtesy to assume that he recognizes the Tom of Finland graphic and knows its context. I howled with laughter though. Tom's men will give you all the teeth you want, and much more too!

The ETERNE and SERA section was my last fill, and the least attractive part of this fine puzzle. As a Dartmouth boy I assume Mr Kingsley knows another definition for HEAVING, one that does not pass the breakfast test.

Yesterday's puzzle drew mixed reactions. But really, is there anyone who would prefer it to today's? Anyone?

Robso 7:35 AM  

Had a slight problem with the ACADIA, but remembered my Cajun history at the last second.
This was fun, but yeah--for a Friday, a little too easy.

Conrad 7:48 AM  

Easy-medium here, with the NW last to fall. My graveyard hour was twelve (thinking midnight), which made my dynamite tnt (not the same, but related). That made Ms. Questel eva and me confused. I was slowed down working my way up from the SW because I'd never heard of SLAM POETRY, and the room in my brain only holds OREM and OSLO. If there were a YMCA on the banks of the Oka river would that be an OKA Y?

Glimmerglass 7:48 AM  

I had always thought that haggis must be the world's worst idea of food--until I went to a Robert Burns dinner, and the disgusting thing was carried into the hall with great ceremony (including bagpipes, an instrument not intended to be played indoors). I had a bit to be polite, and then had seconds! I still think it's a disgusting idea, but it's not bad. Today wasn't quite easy for me --I struggled in the NW and did no better in the midwest. Eventually the bottom turned out to be easy, and I could work back up via SLAM POETRY, ICY STARES, and VALUE MENU. I quibble about TERCET. A sonnet ends with a couplet or a sEstET, not two tercets. It's about the rhymes!

Tita A 7:54 AM  

Oh thanks, @lms...I KNEW my post was too short...
I do so need to go on and on about 19A... (Warning...may not pass your breakfast test - unless you're a Scot. And even then...)

First, You pretty much have the entire recipe listed in your post...well done

When we went for daughter's wedding 2 years ago, we stayed in a friend's place on the Kintyre Peninsula, In the kitchen was a modern cookbook with a recipe for haggis. What struck me most of all, beyond all those puppy-dog-tail-style ingredients, was that you had to make sure that you draped the trachea out over the rim of he pot, and...and...kept a bowl under that to catch "whatever" might dribble out during the cooking.

No, we did not attempt the recipe ourselves, though we did partake twice, at 2 restaurants where family assured us it was traditional and delicious. And in fact, it was!

However, I believe deep in my paranoid heart that haggis is never eaten by real Scots...oh is an ever-reliable source of local amusement... "Ach, Angus...get a load of the Americans over by the window...that's quite a grimace on his face..."
"Aye, Hamish...why, the wife is actually holding her nose as she eats it. What did you tell this pair, that it tastes just like grouse?"

marysue 8:05 AM  

Hats off for a enjoyable debut puzzle! I enjoyed 27A HAMSTERWHEEL and 42A PASSIONFRUIT. I had no idea that there was a graveyard hour. But graveyard shift, yes. The long down answers were entertaining: VALUEMENU, SLAMPOETRY, and even ENGINEERS (although I seem to know none of the rail variety and plenty of the rocket and earth science varieties.) I wasn't sure about LATINLOVER, but not sure if it was due to a false PC indignation or that I simply didn't figure out what kind of *****LOVER 11D might be. All in all, I enjoyed a puzzle that entertained in the nicest way. Congrats to Andrew Kingsley on a NYT debut.

And @Tita A, say something more about the folding mechanism that allows your mom to store a jigsaw puzzle until her 12-course dinner party is over. I enjoy a jigsaw once in a while, and would love a gizmo that would let me use the dining table for its intended design.

NCA President 8:08 AM  

Really easy today...just seconds off my best time.

I thought the "Graveyard hour" was something similar to the "bewitching hour" which, IIRC, is either midnight or I figured FourAM was close enough. Eventually I got that it was FIVEAM...which is too late for I'm guessing this has to do with when the graveyard shift ends?

I liked SLAMPOETRY...nothing like watching a couple of bards engaged in smack talk. I bet that's captivating...

The last to fill was the TROVE/SERA crossing. I liked both clues there...and crossing them made the T-OVE/SE-A really the only challenge to me. I closed my eyes and just picked a letter...happened to be an R...

Speaking of TSE, if you're in the neighborhood, come up to Woodstock, VT this weekend and see CATS. It's a pretty good show.

Anonymous 8:09 AM  

WTF filled in whole puzzle in a few minutes then stuck at COMER/SNERD crossing. Was thinking CaMEo as in Hitchcock loitering about in some scene but obviously didnt work. Im payin'for this crap! THERAVEN clue really reeked of monday...
l Ted in Denver

CFXK 8:10 AM  

In order to call New Zealand's 1893 grant of suffrage to both men and women "universal," you would have to concede that the separate Maori elections which gave (and still give) separate reserved seats in the Parliament to Maori but exclude Maori from participating in the general elections constitutes universal suffrage. To my mind, such separate and certainly not equal suffrage does not constitute universal suffrage.

A reminder that we should be cautious about cutting and pasting sentences and phrases from Wikipedia out of context.

Maybe...? 8:12 AM  

NZ was a colony in 1893, became a dominion in 1907, and then progressed to other things. I'm not sure the point at which it's considered a country...

Sallie (FullTime-Life) 8:16 AM  

Checking in from the older side of the solver demographic to say "that's what I'm talking about". (On Monday, when I solved an old-slanted puzzle with ease, I said I liked the kind that was a mix of both young and old). This was and I loved it. Five a.m. caused a bunch of problems, still don't know why that is true. Lower half was a breeze. Knew sup and LMAO. Not sure if I'm proud or embarrassed about that.

Anonymous 8:23 AM  

STE and STMARK seemed like a dupe to me...

Rex Parker 8:26 AM  

"As an autonomous Grand Principality in the Russian Empire, Finland achieved women's suffrage in 1906, becoming the second country in the world to adopt universal suffrage."

We can parse what we think "universal suffrage" means all day long, but by common consensus definitions, today's clue is just wrong. If you want to talk about whether Maori were treated fairly (they weren't) then we have to get into the treatment of minorities (particularly black people) in this country—some would argue we *still* don't have "universal suffrage" in practice.


Z 8:41 AM  

Between the MAE clue and SNERD I was wondering just how old this Kingsley character whose BYLINE I didn't recognize was. But then LATIN LOVER crossing PASSION FRUIT (with a quick VIRUS SCAN) and then a little HEAVING made this a fun solve.

The graveyard shift starts at eleven, so the NW started opaque (hand up for "dollarme - shit")*, but SUP, IDEA, and SNERD opened up the NE. I worked down the east coast, across the south to the west coast, and then back north. I have Enid in the OREL** section as well, and Oka looks like it could be in Oklahoma, so I considered it but never wrote it in (I was pretty sure it would be SLAM POETRY but hadn't written it in yet). With ICY STARES and AIN'T IT in place I also briefly considered ShiT for the haggis ingredient. I finished where I hadn't started, at FIVE AM in ACADIA.

Despite the hoariness of a couple of clues, this puzzle is a very clean 14/70, 20% in the PPP (Pop Culture, Product Names, and Proper Nouns as a percentage of the puzzle). To answer @John Child's question - Yes, there's always someone, but I predict mostly accolades.

*Anyone else remember the "Change back from your dollar" McDonalds ad campaign?
**Maybe a Law School should open first year only satellite campuses, ONE L in OMSK, OREL, and OREM.

Lobster11 8:45 AM  

OFL's writeup almost made me LMAO because it so perfectly described my own "yo-yo" experience: Every time something stale or ugly made me grimace, something zippy made me grin and made up for it. The only difference was that the puzzle being "too easy" almost tipped the balance for him to the thumbs-down side, whereas the "easiness" tipped the balance for me in the other direction. A Friday that's too easy for him is usually one that I'm just glad to be able to finish without cheating, which makes me happy, so today's was perfect for me difficulty-wise.

I'm not quite old enough to know, so can someone please explain how a ventriloquism act works over the radio?

I think @Maybe..? is right that New Zealand was a (self-governing) colony at the time, and hence is technically not the first "country" with universal suffrage.

kitshef 8:53 AM  

@John Child - yes, I preferred yesterday's puzzle, and it is not even close.

On universal suffrage, the first was Corsica, in 1755, which at that time was an independent nation. So both Finland and New Zealand were more than a century late to the party.

Bookin' the Cooks 8:56 AM  

Jae, you nailed exactly what my issues with this puzzle were! As for Desperate Housewives, I kept trying BREE and even thought maybe GABY for Gabrielle. You're right, EDIE was ancillary; the name finally came as a result of neighboring answers being filled in.

I'd thought the graveyard hour referred to a graveyard workshift, which I suppose might end at FIVEAM but I tried TWELVE for midnight. Obviously that didn't click.

And now I need coffee and more sleep, not in that order!

George 9:08 AM  

Kudos on the Tom of FINLAND drawing!!

Z 9:09 AM  

Pretty sure there'll be a correction in tomorrow's paper. And then there is this (lame) attempt at Finnish primacy.

Chuck McGregor 9:15 AM  

Started with 1a “twelve” and 1d “tnt.” (Hi @Conrad 7:48) Not exactly a FAB beginning. I ended up KNEADing to solve it from the bottom up. I had a really GOOD TIME with it. It was tough in spots but doable.

Loved the 12d clue, a great theatrical term. For those wondering, it is the proscenium, the non-existent “wall” between actors and audience.

As an ASIDE, the fourth wall is but one of many odd terms in theater. I keep a list of them. Here are a few for your amusement and amazement:

Out = up
In = down
Up = rear
Down = front
Right = left
Left = right
Trap = hole
Strike = work
Enter = go out
Exit = go off
Spike = locate
A barn door would be useless on a farm
A running crew usually stays in place
A tormentor causes no pain
A teaser doesn’t make fun of anyone
The green room usually isn’t
A leg isn’t a body part; if it is and you break one, people applaud

ERGO, “There’ SNO business like show business.”


Mohair Sam 9:15 AM  

Great debut puzzle, thoroughly enjoyed - though it played a bit easy for a Friday. I zipped through most it but got stopped cold in the NW because I insisted on 'French' for ACADIA and wanted 'credit' for BYLINE. Put the puzz in front of the distaff half of the house and was quickly corrected.

@Rex - Until 1974 Maori's in NZ (both men and women) could vote for only specified Maori seats (by law, not defacto "fair treatment"). If this is your idea or universal suffrage, then so be it - they beat Finland.

Steve Reed 9:18 AM  

Agree with the creative clue "work digitally", but I so wanted the answer to be COUNT.

QuasiMojo 9:31 AM  

My own "suffrage" came from putting in EverSo at the end rather than EvenSo, and providing me ultimately with a Virus Scar. Alas. Anyway, Rex, thanks for the delightful Tom of Finland drawing.

Steve M 9:33 AM  

Ahh that's more like it....,,

jberg 9:43 AM  

I actually had URSK before OREL. I'm not sure if there is such a thing, I was probably thinking of Kursk. But I fixed it soon enough.

For those who don't know Mortimer SNERD -- your loss. But the clue got me thinking about how hard it must have been to do a successful ventriloquy routine ON THE RADIO! He did have the puppets, and later took it to TV, but for years just relied on his funny voices to carry it off, convincingly.

This one was hard until I got to ACADIA, then I just worked backward into that top row. No other problems, except for figuring out how TREY was right. I didn't think of basketball until I came here.

@Rex posted so late yesterday that I never commented; I'll just say I'm with @Lewis, the fun of figuring out the gimmick made it worthwhile.

Never had haggis, but I have had natto -- only about half a spoonful, that was all I could get down.

Maruchka 9:46 AM  

Nice debut, Mr. Kingsley. Enjoyed it muchly.

Last bit to solve was, once again, the evil NW. Be it twelve or FIVEAM, I still have no idea who EDIE is. Or care.

Quibble for Fourth Estate mavens: Magazines and newspapers employ or hire-on a 'stringer', who often does not get a BYLINE. I'm not sure that what a 'ghostwriter' doesn't get is ever called anything but 'credit'. True/not true?

Roo Monster 9:48 AM  

Hey All !
Wrote in AM at the end of 1A instantly, so avoided the whole twelve/tnt that tripped up alot of the commentariat. #Humblebrag :-)

I wanted CaMEo also at first, but didn't write it in, and from some unused place in the brain, SNERD came to light. Even so, COMER looks weird without its NEW. IN REASON held me up a tad, too.

Couldn't figure out Haggis ingredient, (just what the hell is SUET, anyway?) so had ICYglARE, giving me gUET (sounds equally disgusting) and SlE for STE. STE as clued a WOE.

Also, DNF'd in SW, had cOReDATA and fAStREAD, which gave me SLAM POE aRt! And a non-sensical TAcTf for 45D, but since that was my only bit left, the ole brain shut down and I said Screw It, I'll take the DNF and see what it's supposed to be.

Guess it was easy-mediumish, as had no writeovers, but did have the wrongness.

So, nice themeless FriPuz. Debut, good for AK. One of these days...

We want FREE TV!

Nancy 9:51 AM  

Except for the NW corner, I thought this was fairly easy for a Friday, too. But very enjoyable, nonetheless. Lots for this publishing person/writer to like: BYLINE; THE RAVEN; EASY READ; TERTET; SLAM POETRY. I have an anecdote about SLAM POETRY. Last week, on Shakespeare's 100th, I saw something in the NY Times that referred to a "Shakespeare sonnet slam" at the Bandshell that afternoon in Central Park. It started at 1 pm; it was now after 11 am; and you had to register. "Heck", I thought, "I can write a sonnet in under two hours. I can write a sonnet in under 20 minutes, if push comes to shove. It's only 14 lines, after all." So I went to the registration website and saw, to my keen disappointment, that the "sonnet slam" was to be a bunch of people reading Shakespeare's own sonnets out loud. "Who wants to hear that?" I thought, "unless it's Vanessa Redgrave or Ian McKellen?" So the sonnet I was prepared to write went unwritten. A veritable loss for the ages, AIN'T IT?

@Tita -- THE RAVEN will never be "musty" to me. I learned it by heart many moons ago and have never forgotten it. Press a button and out comes THE RAVEN, word for word. It was one of my first answers in.

My only quibble with this lively and fun puzzle: IN REASON. As far as I'm concerned, it's WITHIN REASON. Does anyone say IN REASON?

Ludyjynn 9:53 AM  

I had a GOOD TIME w/ this EASY/medium solve. A TROVE of lovely clues made up for the few clunkers Rex and others have noted.

LMAO at the epiphany @Tita gave me. Would you believe, despite a childhood spent happily assembling JIGSAW puzzles on Mom's folding card table, it never dawned on me to ask why the hell they're called jigsaw puzzles?! Made w/ a jigsaw; duh! Learn something new every day.

@John Child, you know my response to your last query.

Thanks, AK and WS. ALOHA, all.

Nancy 9:54 AM  

kitshef (12:30 a.m.) -- I have to answer to my boss; I am, therefore, UNDER my boss, figuratively speaking.

Anonymous 9:59 AM  

Whenever I get to write SNERD I'm having a good day. Congrats to Andrew Kingsley on a very good puzzle.

Timjim 10:00 AM  

Fourth-wall breaker=ASIDE ???

Fansince1939 10:09 AM  

Hard for me to accept "sup"and "ain't it", let alone "LMAO" in a New York Times puzzle. I like to think if we ignore this sort of trashy communication it will go away. Yes, I know, I am living in the past (which is why I easily got SNERD and LATINLOVER, refugees from the 1930-40's - like me I guess.) While I am at it, when did FIVEAM become the graveyard hour?

Chuck McGregor 10:17 AM  

One more:

The front of house is often in the back of house.

If this is that case, then the back of house is in front of the front of house.

Ryan 10:27 AM  

My inner fashionista wanted LABEL LOVER for a Valentino type instead of LATIN LOVER. Twas my only real hang-up on this enjoyable debut puzzle.

Chuck McGregor 10:33 AM  

@Fansince1939 10:09 AM: "When did FIVEAM become the graveyard hour?"

There was no "the" in the clue. ERGO cf. "daylight hour" - take yer pick of one.

Anonymous 10:38 AM  

@Timjim - The "Fourth-wall" is the separation between the actors on a stage and the audience - the actors have to pretend the audience isn't there, only the other actors and the set. An ASIDE breaks that separation by having the actors speak directly to the audience.

Hartley70 10:40 AM  

Yes, @John, there is someone who prefers yesterday's puzzle. Thursday with a twist is always more fun than a themeless Friday to me. That is not to say that this isn't a worthy debut and I found it enjoyable.

This played fast for me although the answers didn't feel easy, always a nice combination for the ego. Thanks, Andrew! @Rex's under 5 minute Fridays are a bit disheartening to this mere mortal. He might be a Superhero, but I'm leaning toward alien.

I had LATINLOVER and PASSIONFRUIT right away and so I began to believe I had the rare,but longed for, themed Friday on my hands....until the dreaded HAMSTERWHEEL of romance.

Mortimer SNERD, is a wonderful moniker. I like the sound of it even more than DWELT from yesterday. I think the name has outlived any recollection of his puppet visage or voice. @Lobster raised an excellent question as to the point of radio ventriloquism. I suspect there's not much "work" involved. It would be a very easy gig! LOL!

@marysue, stop by any online jigsaw store and they are readily available in varying degrees of sophistication. I might get one myself.

Nancy 10:47 AM  

Oops! DNF. I've just been reading you all, and I saw TERCET. And I have TERteT, (first cousin of SESTET), producing that well-known neighbor of Afghanistan and Pakistan -- the fearsome and dangerous part of the world that people enter but never leave: VIRUSStAN.

Vincent Lima 10:50 AM  

While Finland and New Zealand duke it out, I'll add that Armenia had universal suffrage (including women and minority groups elected as well as voting) in 1918, when it became independent. It appointed a woman as ambassador (to Japan) two years later. (And soon after lost independence to become a Soviet republic.)

Oh, about the puzzle.... Enjoyed it. To have a long answer like PASSIONFRUIT (and many others, such as JETBLACK) as a gimme takes the difficulty rating way down. All the same, it was fun to fill.

Hartley70 10:54 AM  

A character in a play breaks the fourth wall when he comments on the stage action in an aside to the audience.

Maruchka 10:58 AM  

@Fansince - Graveyard shifts usually start around midnight and last up to eight hours. So, anytime therein can be considered a 'graveyard hour', I guess.

@Timjim - An ASIDE can 'break' the 4th wall convention in theatre if addressed to the audience. Not all asides are wall breakers, though.

old timer 11:09 AM  

Attributed to Dorothy Parker:

I love to have a Martini
One, or two at the most
With three I'm UNDER the table
With four I'm UNDER the host!

I liked today's review and agree with it for the most part. Easy, for a Friday. Writeovers: "four" AM before FIVE, VALUE "meal" before MENU, and "Orem" before OREL. And I was looking for another POE poem before THE RAVEN came to mind.

But surely if New Zealand or Finland are right, then the USA was the first country to have universal suffrage, with voting for all citizens regardless of race, creed or color. Wyoming adopted it when still a territory, sometime before 1890. True, a territory is not a country. But neither was Finland in 1906. And in both New Zealand and Australia, there were racial restrictions on voting.

AliasZ 11:15 AM  

As debuts go, this was one. For his first ever BYLINE in the NYT, heartfelt congrats must go to Andrew Kingsley. However, to me the puzzle seemed somewhat of a bland fare that Will picked from his VALUE MENU folder.

When I saw FAB, I was sure FOUR AM will be correct for graveyard hour. I didn't know there was a FAB FIVE. Also, I never saw or heard IN REASON without the with- prefix.

I love all things Latin, which makes me a LATIN LOVER. The Latin word SUMMA on a diploma was easy for me. But then GOOD TIME should've been two English words on a public bathroom wall, as in "For a GOOD TIME call..."

SLAM POETRY is so bad, you have to storm out of the room and slam the door behind you. Hence the name.

Speaking of GOODTIME, the ST. MARK PASSION by J.S. Bach, the music for which was lost to history, however multiple reconstruction have been published, performed and recorded. Most purists argue however that Bach cannot be faked. This excerpt is from one of these, conducted by Roy GOODTIME.*

Enjoy your Friday.
*Actually, Roy Goodman.

oldactor 11:21 AM  


When an actor speaks an "aside" it is spoken directly to the audience therefore "breaking the fourth wall".

Hungry Mother 11:34 AM  

Easy for a Friday, but not a breeze for me, just a quicker slog.

GILL I. 11:42 AM  

@Tita A...but did you have a side of "neeps n tatties"?
I really liked this puzzle. Every time I got a right answer, I did a little happy dance. I also got a lot of wrong ones. One wrong was not wanting to change that double-dipping TACKY to the correct TABOO. PASSION FRUIT was my first entry and I was scared that it was probably something else and it would screw up the entire puzzle so I had to peek at Google (my one and only) just to make sure it was correct.
SUNTan went in proudly and also wrong, but I got HAMSTER WHEEL just off of HAM....
Learned SLAM POETRY and LMAO...I thought it was LMOL.
Congratulations Andrew Kingsley. Great debut, great Friday...!

Amelia 11:57 AM  

I didn't mind the puzzle. Nice debut. But it was a Monday or Tuesday puzzle I don't know what's up with the NY Times. I think no one is minding the store. Something like this happened years ago and I stopped doing them. At least now, they have some competition.

Nancy 11:57 AM  

@John Child -- I missed your query, until I saw other people's responses to it. Let me join @kitshef, @Hartley, @Tita & @Ludy in saying that I much preferred yesterday's puzzle to today's. Like them, I love tricks and gimmicks that challenge you to think outside the box. Nothing wrong with a good, lively themeless like today's, but it's the twisty, fiendish puzzles that I remember.

Z 12:07 PM  

The second link in my second comment goes to a website with the url Helsinki.FI. At this link you will find this quote:

For example, according to the volume Suffrage and Beyond: International Feminist Perspectives (1993), Finland comes in at 13 th in the statistics on women’s suffrage around the world, behind New Zealand, Australia, the Fiji Islands, the Pitcairn Islands, all the Australian states apart from Victoria and a large group of North American states, among others. It should also be pointed out that in 1906 Finland was a Grand Duchy of the Russian Empire, not an independent state.

And then there is the whole issue Sweden-FINLAND in 1718.

Let FINLANDGATE* continue.

*Thanks @GB

Fred Romagnolo 12:07 PM  

To add to theater talk: in Brit theatre talk the "Gods" are the highest galleries; and, of course, all xword solvers know that SRO means a hit show with "Standing Room Only." Suet is beef fat, also found in Brit mince pie. In my youth the graveyard shift was 10pm to 6am, so FIVE A M is a legit answer. I wanted Kiddie MENU, but it didn't fit. Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer SNERD were recognized dummies before they were on radio; the popularity was based on Edgar Bergen's wit and agility (Candice's farther, famously bad at disguising his lip-movement). I"m with sEsTET being the better answer. I'm also with questioning the propriety of LMAO in the NYT. It's O.K. for this blog, God knows we've seen worse, especially in the days before OFL blotted out the trolls. ASIDE's should be thought of as a character talking to himself (herself for you PC'ers).

Proud Mamma 12:24 PM  

Editors and @Rex:
sup=´sup=t'sup=what's up.
So sup can't be clued by "What's hangin'?"

Amy Seidenwurm 12:32 PM  

My favorite thing about this puzzle is that EIGHT (D) is ENOUGH!

GeezerJackYale48 12:59 PM  

Strange thing: I submitted a comment, and it appeared under a different name than mine. I am not "Fansince1939" although I am more than old enough to be. Hmm?

Masked and Anonymous 1:02 PM  

Hey, nice debutpuz, Andrew Kingsley. Even @indie009 kinda liked it. U pretty much had us both at 1-Across, becuz the answer weren't TNARG.

Some mop-up bullets:

* The Universal Suffer Age in the world cannot be achieved, unless either the Donald/Trump or Lucifer/Fiorina ticket gets elected.
* 5 U's. Admirable debut quota-filling.
* LMAO. Confused the M&A. Would've expected the now-customary {50s chairman} type clue, on this puppy. (Think green Renminbis, to solve.)
* fave weeject: DAR. M&A misfired in his clue-targeting, and thought {Literary monogram} was the DAR clue. Then, got the crosses and never revisited this, to build a possible list of D.A.R. authors.
* ARME = {Pistolet ou canon}. Do French crossword constructioneers throw in an English word and clue, when cornered like a rat? May-urd.
* fave clue word: OU. Sounds like a promissory note with no promiser.
* AINTIT. Best fill, in a puz chock full of it. Only confusin factor: What is the dif between "True, no?" and "True, yes?" They are different. Yes? No? … true, maybe?

Masked & Anonymo5Us

(OU one LMAO-inspired runt)

Chip Hilton 1:02 PM  

Solid puzzle, well done, Andrew!

Why is it that I seem to get my foothold in the SW four out of five times on Thurs. through Sat. puzzles? Just me, I'm guessing.

Master Melvin 1:03 PM  

Interesting conversation about Bergen and radio ventriloquism. I think he was successful on radio because he was able to project distinctive voices for his characters. When he made an appearance on early TV it was unsuccessful, in part because his lips moved so much. I suspect his early success was onstage where that was not crucial because he was some distance from the audience.

Paul Winchell, on the other hand, was quite successful on TV because he was so skilled at disguising lip movement. When he was in profile you could see his throat moving, so he was pretty careful to face the camera where there was little to no lip movement.

Ellen 1:08 PM  

Thank you! I loved this puzzle otherwise, but INREASON made me twitch. It's definitely *within*, not in!

Lewis 1:23 PM  

@z -- My inner 17-year-old saw that LATINLOVER and BED crossing GOODTIME (clued "ball"). I saw more in the area, but I think I'll move on.

Loved the clues for IDEA, KNEAD, and SERA, and the answers JETBLACK and SNERD (which I will always love), and I learned SUNTEA. Though I think the cluing should have had more bite, this is a debut that shows promise. Please keep at it, Andrew!

Tim 1:27 PM  

"We can parse what we think "universal suffrage" means all day long, but by common consensus definitions, today's clue is just wrong. If you want to talk about whether Maori were treated fairly (they weren't) then we have to get into the treatment of minorities (particularly black people) in this country—some would argue we *still* don't have "universal suffrage" in practice."

No, we really don't have to "parse" it a lot. If the common consensus definition of "universal suffrage" is "all adult citizens have the right to vote regardless of gender, religion, or skin color" -- which IMHO is indeed the common consensus definition -- then it sounds like in 1906, Finland had it and New Zealand did not.

Of course we can argue all day long about unfair treatment of minorities, and whether marginalized citizens are still being denied the right to vote despite having it theoretically enshrined in the law. And we should have that conversation. But under the plainest and most objective meaning of the word "suffrage," the puzzle has this one right.

Teedmn 1:29 PM  

Like @Nancy, I thought the NW was the toughest segment today. I threw AM in at the end of 1A and "oats" in for the haggis recipe ingredient, congratulating myself that I hadn't been led astray by the non-pluralization of the clue. I then had to jump around the grid because no further answers came to me up there. Started writing in "spam filter" for 33D but it was too long.

Getting back to the NW, with the west central section mostly filled (was it glARES or STARES?) and considering "twelve" for 1A crossing "tnt" dynamite I finally cleaned up with AIN'T IT. And I agree that this was a pretty easy Friday, though not at last week's level of EASE.

Thanks for the VIRUSStAN laugh, @Nancy!

Ludyjynn 1:35 PM  

@Nancy, I loathed yesterday's puzzle, in accord w/ @JohnC. I don't mind a gimmicky Thursday as long as it doesn't give me a migraine headache like that one did.

@AmyS, nice catch! How'd I miss that?

puzzle hoarder 1:40 PM  

Kudos to Mr. Kingsley for hitting a home run on his first at bat. This puzzle has 10 debut words and 17 more of the long entries are near debuts. They're good looking words too. Uniqueness does not always create difficulty and this puzzle is a prime example. The editor was aware of this and made an extra effort to keep it from being even easier. A number of the shorter words had what I call debut cluing. The clues for MAE,ASIDE and DELTAS are all clear departures from the usual fare. EDIE as clued has been used only eight times. I had to pass on 1A as it could be four as well five am. With a clue like Questel 5D could have been MUD for all I knew. 5D was one of the debut words so I couldn't support the A either. BYLINE gave me FAB and from there on the puzzle was easy.
I hate to be a downer but to me graveyard hour refers to when old people are most likely to die in their sleep. I've gone on 911 calls for over 29 years. When we get a call of unconscious not breathing before say 9:00 am it's pretty much guaranteed to be a DOA.

Masked and Anonymous 2:04 PM  

@Proud Mama: "What's hangin?" is a fairly common inquiry; they get it a lot, at the MOMA.

M&A Help Desk


Chronic dnfer 3:28 PM  

Great puz. Dnf'd at scam/orec. I chalk it up as a rare Friday triumph.

Anonymous 3:40 PM  

Is that Rudy Vallee as the judge in the Betty Boop short?

Anonymous 3:43 PM  

Yes, it was easy, but a few things disturbed me. "LATIN LOVER"?? Really? In 2016? Why don't they just put the puzzle next to a picture of a guy with a sombrero snoozing in a doorway beside a cactus? And "ease" and "easy read" in the same puzzle is just sloppy. Also originally had "COMET" instead of "COMER," but "SNERD" gave it away.

Karl Bradley 4:09 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dave Snell 4:21 PM  

Via Wickipedia:
"Breaking the fourth wall should not be confused with the aside or the soliloquy, dramatic devices often used by playwrights where characters on stage are delivering inner monologues, giving the audience insight into their thoughts.[7]

[7] "Aside". Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English. Retrieved 17 May 2015."

Shere Hite of Passion 4:40 PM  

If you have a LATIN LOVER on A SIDE of the BED, and right off there's a COMER, can PASSION FRUITion be far away?

Arlene 5:46 PM  

Tercet seemed a stretch, if not wrong. A Petrarchan sonnet ends in a sestet, a Shakespearean one in a couplet.

Z 5:49 PM  

Plagiarism update.

Rex Parker 6:24 PM  

" sounds like in 1906, Finland had it and New Zealand did not." Just factually wrong. On every level. Just google [first country to have universal suffrage] for god's sake. The crossword is wrong.

"The short-lived Corsican Republic (1755–1769) was the first country to grant limited universal suffrage for all inhabitants over the age of 25. This was followed by other experiments in the Paris Commune of 1871 and the island republic of Franceville (1889). In 1893, New Zealand became the first major nation to practice universal suffrage, and the Freedom in the World index lists New Zealand as the only free country in the world in 1893.[11][12] In 1906, Finland became the second country in the world, and the first in Europe, to grant universal suffrage to its citizens.[13] At this time, however, women in New Zealand did not have the right to run for office. In 1906, Finland became the first country in the world to grant women full political rights." (wikipedia's "Universal suffrage" entry)

So hurray Finland for "full political rights." But the clue says "suffrage" so NZ wins. End of story.


Z 6:47 PM  

@Lewis - Yep. And on and on and on like a dangerous viagra side effect.

Gee willickers people - did it ever occur to you that a sestet is just two TERCETs?
Here's more that really shows the "two TERCETs" thing.

@Dave Snell - While every ASIDE may not be a breaking of the fourth wall, every breaking of the fourth wall is an ASIDE. I would go farther and say that interpreting soliloquies as purely internal monologues overheard by the audience is only one way, and an overly limiting way, of interpreting them.

Finally, as stereotypes go, I'll take LATIN LOVER over "drug dealing beaner" any day. It sucks to be objectified as a sex object, but it could be far worse.

Tita A 6:49 PM  

@Gill - aye, lassie - I did indeed have both neeps and tatties!! Alot tamer than they sound - turnips and taters is all...

@Ludy - you're welcome...! My boss in Frankfurt had one of those epiphanies... Though his English was excellent, he was wondering aloud why the then new Palmtop devices were called that. I explained it was a natural extension of laptop - a computer small enough to sit on your lap, and now we have one small enough to fit in the palm of your hand.
The look on his face was priceless! Up until that moment, 'laptop' was just the sound you make to describe that thing.

Also, when I asked my French friend why they stopped naming numbers at 69, making the rest of them a math test - "four twenties and seventeen" instead of "ninety-seven"?! Really?
It had never occurred to her what those sounds actually meant - they were just the noises you make to represent that thing.

@marysue (I replied to you late yesterday too...) As Hartley said, you can find 'em online. The closest to the type I like is the "Puzzle Pal Premier Edition". (Good grief - it's just a foam board, guys..!!)

@Nancy - that was a poke at mustophobe Rex. I love Poe.

Leapfinger 7:29 PM  

I think there's been too much criticism of this fine debut out reason.

@M&A's remark raises the question of whether there's a minim Suffer Age. Maxim?

Keep a stiff upper chin, Andrew K, and soldier on.

The Elder Corsican Brother 7:39 PM  

@Rex, can a short-lived Republic have Universal Suffer Age? Of Corsican.

Awright, we get it. But not everyone's virgin is your virgin.

Roo Monster 7:59 PM  

Hell, I'll vote for as first suffrage nation @Nancy's Virusstan! Har. :-P


Diana,LIW 8:11 PM  

H'lo @ Hartley

More "timely" Syndertrivia:

We all (Futurelanders and Synders) can post on any thread on any day. When Rex swoops down in his RexMobile to read and approve/axe posts, he does them in real time and past time at the same time. Rex, you see, is timeless. So he gets all the posts that haven't been approved, reads them, and promptly sends them to crossword heaven or... heck, I don't know.

But any time you want to come to Synderland, just click on the "Syndicated Puzzle" button at the top of Rex's blog. Whoosh. You're not in Kansas anymore. You'll be 5 weeks in the past. Reliving past holidays with us, and wondering what the future will hold in store. Bring Toto.

So we Synders get the same number of post timeframes (or cut off times) as you "real" folks do. Morning, noon, night. However often Rex checks in.

A few folks, Teedmn, Tita, Z come to mind (there are others), are frequent flyers from the Future. Be one. Tis a quick run. It's fun. A ton! I'm done.

Diana, Lady-In-Waiting for Crosswords (Synderella)

Nancy 11:16 PM  

@Tita (6:49 pm) -- I love "mustophobe".

@Leapfinger (7:29 pm) -- I love "out reason".

Hartley70 12:43 AM  

Will do @Diana. I'm searching for the transporter button but apparently it's not available on the mobile site. I'll need to use the computer. Meanwhile I'll be perfecting my curtsy. It's been lovely to cross time streams with you!

Doc John 7:34 AM  

At least now I know why the write up was led off by a Tom of FINLAND drawing.

Burma Shave 10:26 AM  


So until FIVEAM we had a GOODTIME in BED.
EVENSO, with INREASON, I KNEAD a real up and COMER,
and my LATINLOVER had ENOUGH to last FOR all SUMMA.


rondo 11:59 AM  

Starting with “twelve” and “tnt” is a bad start, AINTIT? So the NW was an inkfest and last to fall, while the rest was clean as can be. Except for beEr and not an IDEA coming to a head.

My degree does have that SUMMA word on it. Also Cum and Laude. Make your own joke here.

So we have a MAE and it’s not original yeah baby West? Unheard of.

That FREETV answer reminds me of the ads that try to sell you an antenna. Did you know that you don’t need a cable or satellite connection to get FREE HD TV? Even 100 feet offshore in the Gulf of Mexico? Imagine. How dumb are some people? I guess 50% are of below average intelligence. That’s the SORT of DATA I can provide.

HEAVING made me feel a bit queasy, ERGO I say ALOHA.

spacecraft 12:59 PM  

Hand up FOR FourAM. Thus the NW waits till last yet again. What IS it with NW's? Come on, my #1 favorite movie of all time is North By Northwest. Cut me a break up there!

A relatively easy Friday, with just a few nasty clues. Leading this pack is "Shot putter's supply?" for SERA. That's a humongous stretch. They "administer" or "give" shots, but they sure don't "put" them. The hankie fluttered, but stayed in. I had a near natick at that Oka River city; never heard of the term "SLAMPOETRY." Possibilities included OREC, OREH, and OREP. These didn't look too likely, so I went with the L.

The PASSIONFRUIT, or Damsel, of the Day will be Nicolette Sheridan's EDIE. Or, EDIE's Nicolette Sheridan. Either way, AINTIT? Birdie.

rick 2:50 PM  

What am I missing about SERA that makes it such a great answer for its clue? I got it by default from TROVE. Is it the plural of serum?... is it the name of an item of equipment? Can someone tell me where my blind spot is?

Sailor 3:13 PM  

Greetings to any who are still around at this late hour. I’ve been posting occasionally and anonymously for some time now. Seeing the growing camaraderie in Syndiland, I thought I would join the conversation by (a) name. Up from anonymity to nom-de-plumity, if you will. In my defense, however, I would like to clarify that only a small fraction of those anonymous posts are mine. The courteous and perspicacious ones, natch.

Just checking in today to send this message:

@The Elder Corsican Brother: LMAO!

And also, to note that the length, breadth and depth of this particular conversation demonstrates the complete lack of any “common consensus” as to what constitutes “universal” suffrage. To once again misquote H.L. Mencken: for every complicated question, there is an answer that is clear, simple and wrong.

Congrats to Mr. Kingsley for a fine NYT debut.

Diana,LIW 3:31 PM  

Oh my. No synders have posted (or at least, have not met moderation standards) yet today. My earlier post was from the past.

Where to start? Finland gets no respect. The one answer where I said, "Oh. Of course. Finland." But noooooooooo. Big fight must ensue. Words are spoken. Fistacuffs lead to a TKO.

EVENSO, there is another Finnish dis of sorts going on. Yeah, Tom Finland is one of the very, very, very few references to the astonishingly racy (for nytp) clue, "What's hanging'?" which we all more likely know as, "How's it hangin'?" And we all know what it is. Mr. Finland's drawing sure does. I'm sure the honest answer would be an individual matter. Not that I would know - I'm a lady. And not a lady like the Lady Chablis. (Midnight is also part of the 11 pm to 7 am graveyard shift.) soooo

I declare FIVEAM to be green paint.

I dnf'd on the trifecta of TROVE, SERA, ETERNE catastrophe.

Which brings up the easy factor. No. Not. Took my usual couple of hours. Can't even blame the cats today, as they are napping from a major FRAP (frenetic rapid activity period) yesterday. So here I come with my 95% happy on a Friday solve, and get the Big Easy again.

Ursule anyont? MARK my words.

And speaking of saints, what in the name of all that's holy is wrong with ACADIA? I loved remembering that. (And...I was named after Anne of Green Gables' best friend.)

Oh - yes - I looked up that usage of DELTA in the OED - not there, tho engineer husband often uses it to mean a mathematical difference.


Diana, ALOE? ALOHA? Anyone hear me?

rain forest 3:44 PM  

Liked this one a lot. Mediumish for me, but it was fun.

I really don't care which country had universal suffrage first. I don't think the NYT xword is a go-to source of facts. "Hey, it was in a crossword puzzle, so it must be right!" Clearly, from the discussion, there is room for debate, but the country in question had F as the first letter. Let's see...Few Zealand or FINLAND. I always think Finland is the first or best at anything, and I'm half Romanian.

I love how it has become almost de rigueur to make disparaging remarks about haggis. One can't be considered sophisticated if they say they like it, which I guess is why I like it. It is the perfect dish to have at a Robbie Burns dinner, with a wee dram of scotch to wash it down.

That is all.

leftcoastTAM 4:43 PM  

Found this easy until it wasn't--in the NW, where the down crosses finally made it gettable.

Didn't know LMAO or TERCET, but, again, crosses....
EVENSO, I DNF'd with "i" instead of P at the TROP/SUP crossing!

Interested in the FINLAND controversy (source of half my ancestry), which apparently won't be resolved soon due to varying definitions: How "universal" the suffrage has to be, and what precisely constitutes a "country."

Diana,LIW 11:49 PM  

I'm really worried - can't post, and haven't seen a post for over 12 hours. Is everything ok with Rex?


rain forest 1:42 AM  

Hey @sailor, and I mean that only in the best of senses. Welcome aboard. We need more sailors. Actually, I was a sailor of sorts as an officer cadet in my first two years of university. I washed out because I disliked giving orders to men twice my age who knew more than twice as much as I. So, I became a teacher, the best part of which was that I got to say, hey, I was in the navy. No sailors I met ever said "hey, I was a teacher". And so it goes.

rondo 8:21 AM  

Tried haggis at a restaurant somewhere between Loch Ness and Edinburgh. Served with neeps and tatties (turnips and potatoes, not what YOU were thinking). Nothing short of fantastic.

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