Topkapi Palace resident / FRI 5-6-16 / Architect sculptor with eponymous New York museum / Home to naturally pink Lake Retba / Mamie Eisenhower hairstyle / Like atoms with full outer shells / Speedball component

Friday, May 6, 2016

Constructor: Julian Lim

Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: Isamu NOGUCHI (36A: Architect/sculptor with an eponymous New York museum) —
Isamu Noguchi (野口 勇 Noguchi Isamu?, November 17, 1904 – December 30, 1988) was an American artist and landscape architect whose artistic career spanned six decades, from the 1920s onward. Known for his sculpture and public works, Noguchi also designed stage sets for various Martha Graham productions, and several mass-produced lamps and furniture pieces, some of which are still manufactured and sold. // In 1947, Noguchi began a collaboration with the Herman Miller company, when he joined with George Nelson, Paul László and Charles Eames to produce a catalog containing what is often considered to be the most influential body of modern furniture ever produced, including the iconic Noguchi table which remains in production today. His work lives on around the world and at the Noguchi Museum in New York City. (wikipedia)
• • •

This really looks like a face to me. Like a simian robot muppet face. I think it is benevolent, but that's what the cylons would want me to think so ... not sure. One unique thing about this face—its cheeks are made of proper nouns that I've never seen before (not in the grid, anyway). "West Wing" is one of those shows that people like to gush about, and that I know I'm just never ever going to watch. But I've heard people talk about it enough (you know who you are ...) that somehow Allison Janney's character C.J. CREGG crept into my brain and lodged there (33A: Allison Janney's role on "The West Wing"). Well, the "C.J." part definitely did. The CREGG part is only vaguely familiar, but except for the "C" it was easy to come up with. The other cheek is NOGUCHI, whose name I briefly forgot but whom I was once interested in because his designs are so cool. Very mid-century space age. He makes shapes that look a lot like the shapes I often see on the covers of the vintage scifi paperbacks in my collection. The artist Richard Powers in particular seems to have been highly influenced by NOGUCHI (or vice versa)?





This played very easy overall; I came in the low 6's, going at a very leisurely pace, and taking the time to take a screen grab at the point I hit one of my most-disliked abbrs.: ATH.

ATH is on my personal No-Fly List (6D: Sports person: Abbr.). I might actually let it fly, but the circumstances would have to be extraordinary. Also on that list: ATTU (51D: Battle of ___ (1943 U.S./Japanese conflict). REPEN wasn't on it, because I never fathomed such a word, but it's on the list now (15D: Transcribe). Otherwise, this grid is very solid. Those center parts were probably the hardest to get into, if only because of the aforementioned proper nouns ("cheeks"). Also, I don't consider BANGS a "hairstyle." More *part* or a hairstyle—the front part. Your overall hairstyle might be doing any number of things and also have BANGS.

[also from my collection]

Had HASSLES for 16A: Snags (LASSOES), which more than half worked out. Wanted SEABEDS instead of SEALABS (20A: Locales for deep investigaions?) and took way more time than I should've needed getting the last four letters of MAKE THE BEST ----. I could think of only OUT OF (too long) and OF (too short). But of course the actual answer (MAKE THE BEST OF IT) works perfectly for the clue (53A: Turn lemons into lemonade, so to speak).

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Anonymous 12:02 AM  

Loved the grid, the puzzle and Sirens of titan.

jae 12:05 AM  

Mostly easy. I had two serious hang ups: @Rex SEAbedS before LABS and knowing C J CREGG but having no idea how to spell it....Craig anyone? Although, it helped that she was on the news recently in the White House briefing room talking about opioid addiction (plus she's a Kenyon grad). The rest of it was early week easy.

Interesting looking grid, nice stacks, a bit of zip, liked it.

John Child 12:28 AM  

Constructor's note says that this is a figure eight rather than an alien monkey face, but I like @Rex's image. I expected this to be a whiz with only six long answers (which all fell quickly), but the "cheeks" we're hard for me. SEAbedS here too, and with no idea how to fill in CJC _ _ _ G, those three downs were hard. Eventually I looked up the role played by an unfamiliar actress on a tv show I've never seen, and finished up. Second DNF in a row since I got Naticked yesterday at Derr / Leger.

Nit: Sealabs were never very deep (200 - 600 feet). SEABeds are deep. Harrumph. And get off my lawn.

thursdaysd 1:10 AM  

Anytime I finish a Friday with no help it must have been easy, although I looked at NOGUCHI with disbelief.

The West Wing clue was timely. There's a new podcast devoted to it:

Alby 1:37 AM  

Pretty easy, as puzzles with few black squares tend to be, but liked the fullness of the grid and the ineffable joy of tapping out those long answers. Especially after the hell that was yesterday's puzzle. GAMEOFTHRONES was a gimme if ever there was one, and NOGUCHI seemed to be written just for me. Used to live a brisk walk from his museum in my NYC/Astoria days.

puzzle hoarder 1:43 AM  

My impression of the puzzle almost perfectly matches the review. I even hesitated on filling in ATH and REPEN because they were such outliers to the quality of most of the short fill those long cross entries required. It's no surprise to me that there are no debuts in the downs. The wealth of short entries made it easy to recognize the long acrosses. The top and bottom were the easy parts and the middle brought it up to medium.

chefwen 4:12 AM  

Repen, seriously? Made me cringe.

Loren Muse Smith 4:27 AM  

First entries: OTRA, CHASM, MAKE THE BEST OF IT. I did have to do a quick cross check to see if it was "most" or BEST. Rex – I agree that the clue for MAKE THE BEST OF IT works perfectly.

After I erased "sheen" for GLOSS, I put in GOT INTO HOT WATER bam bam bam.

Yeah – REPEN was weird. I think I'd have liked it better as a "cage again" kind of thing. As in I need to call Gail because the two coon dogs (Streak and Cindy- who names a dog Cindy?) he brought over to help him hunt tonight are out and enjoying a bit of a cavort around the bottom of the field.

Oh, and I briefly considered "audited" for SAT IN ON. With CHIFFON in the grid, SAT IN ON begins to look like a lingerie alternative. Which teddy to you like? The blue CHIFFON or the black SATINON?

NOGUCHI was easy enough because of the crosses, but I gave up on CJ CREGG. I just couldn't see BANGS. Maybe you're right, Rex – the clue threw me. Shag, crewcut, afro, wedge… hairstyles for me involve every hair on the head. And I didn't really know "tally" could mean AGREE, so I just had "agrae" next to "banis" knowing it was wrong. (Hi, @jae)

Really cool-looking grid. I think Julian did a fine job filling all the white, but that CJ CREGG did me in.

George Barany 6:24 AM  

I'll comment on @Julian Lim's puzzle shortly, but first bear with me on another matter.

In the spirit of @PuzzleGirl's plug yesterday for the Indie tournament on Saturday June 4, allow me to plug one more that will be held 8 days later.

The Minnesota Crossword Tournament will be held on Sunday, June 12. I have hyperlinked to general information, but you can also click here for direct registration. We hope that many of you can join us!

George Barany 6:37 AM  

@Julian Lim's puzzle marks the third consecutive day that we get a chemistry lesson on the New York Times puzzle page. Today, we have INERT, and yes, those row VIII elements do all have full outer shells, but it turns out that a few of them form chemical compounds anyhow. In my mind, the discovery of noble gas compounds such as XeF4 has to be right on the top of any list of scientific breakthroughs made in my lifetime that were never rewarded by a Nobel Prize.

As always, I am in admiration of @Rex for finding the puzzle easy. I wrestled through it without googling in just under my self-imposed time limit for such activities. It certainly helped that "West Wing" was appointment TV for us when it was still on the air, and that 12-Across--a show that I have never seen--is a favorite of a friend for whom I was persuaded (by his girlfriend) to write a birthday tribute puzzle.

Anonymous 7:22 AM  

Loved it, finding it both easy and interesting, which don't always go together. I needed that, after totally missing the ACE in yesterday's puzzle.

oconomowoc mom 7:26 AM  

Rex, that's funny you mentioned the Cylons!! Just last month my sons were testing my memory on Battlestar and other 70s shows, and I just couldn't remember that name. They loved that show, and I'm guessing you must be pushing 50 too!!

tb 7:37 AM  

Very enjoyable puzzle. But repens? I thought that was what you do with an escaped hog. Would appreciate a scholarly discourse on inert atoms.

Lobster11 7:40 AM  

As is usually the case, "easy/medium" for Rex on a Friday means I can finish it (eventually), or at least almost finish it. I came up just short this time because of that AGREE/BANGS/CJCREGG/ARNO thing. I used to watch "West Wing" fairly often, but I had no idea how to spell the last name; BANGS is decidedly *not* a "hairstyle" and so never crossed my mind as a possibility; and for some reason I cannot recall ever having heard the word "tally" used as synonymous with AGREE.

I make no apologies for not knowing ARNO. This is one of those "words" that, if you know it, you know it only from doing crosswords. I hate knowing things only from crosswords. Nothing ticks me off more than Googling a clue when I get stuck in a tough puzzle, and seeing that the first five pages of hits are all sites devoted to crossword clues and answers. I will never become a really good solver because I refuse to devote brain space to such things. My brain is already full of useless knowledge -- Why oh why do I still remember all the lyrics to the "Gilligan's Island" theme?! -- and I need to save whatever space is left for stuff that might matter. That "tally" can be used as synonymous with AGREE is such a thing that I am glad to have learned. ARNO is not.

steven 8:00 AM  

Great that you mentioned Richard Powers, a real pioneer in book cover illustration.

Dorothy Biggs 8:16 AM  

Did better than average (as usual) did seem to play easier than normal. Maybe it's because my first pass yielded no fruit, but by the second and third those long crosses were falling relatively easily. CARDCATALOG and it's partner, ISBNS, went fast. MAKETHEBESTOFIT and RECRIMINATIONS (?) fell quickly too. DOAGOODTURN was a bit more stubborn because I wanted DOAGOODdeed or later, something ending in -TURe. I doubt there is any saying that is equivalent that has a word ending in -TURe...which is why I was so stuck, obv.

CJCREGG/LEARN was the only real hang up...or PEND up, if you will. Cregg is a spelling I've never seen before, and if you watch the show regularly, do you ever see that name in print? Unless you watch the credits...then, well, good on you. And NOGUCHI was no good-chi...I got it from crossings.

No groans today. I actually liked this one.

kitshef 8:28 AM  

Fun-looking grid, but the solve itself was more like work than play.

I attribute this in part to the high number of either/or answers:
urIS or AMIS?
I guessed wrong initially on every one of those.
Also had StarTs before SetsTo and Index before ISBNS.

The other reason it felt like work was the two WoEs CJCREGG and NOGUCHI needed every cross, and CJCREGG in particular no letter except perhaps the final G can be inferred from the pattern of letters.

Last of the longs in was GAMEOFTHRONES. I really expected the answer to be something from the early days of television, when there was less competition. And that is another show, like The West Wing, that I have never seen.

There is much to admire in this puzzle. I just wish I had enjoyed it more.

Sir Hillary 8:35 AM  

Fun Friday. Love the low word count, vast white spaces and figure-eight design. Nobody's gonna do cartwheels over REPEN, ATH and ONAT, but the highs far outweigh the LOWS.

-- I like THOU ARTS next to oneth another.
-- GET...and GOT...will get some dings from the purists, no doubt. Fair enough.
-- Sure took me a long time to figure out how a star can represent a USSTATE. I was thinking map, not flag.
-- Sign of a healthy NFL player? NO IR.
-- Anagrams at 14D and 24D.
-- Not 12 (and obviously not in one year) but Allison Janney won several Emmys for playing CJCREGG.
-- When they fall with legs facing up, CATSCAN often DOAGOODTURN and MAKETHEBESTOFIT.

Happy weekend, all.

Anonymous 8:35 AM  

The long accrosses reminded me that I haven't seen so many "ones" in a while, as in DO one A GOOD TURN or some such. Is @Rex's carping paying off? Had to Google Janney role.

marysue 8:39 AM  

Enjoyed this puzzle a lot, with the lone exception of REPEN. Is that actually a word, especially in the context of its clue? It doesn't register with a couple of dictionaries I checked. Agree with @LMS that changing the clue to indicate putting the dogs back into the pen makes it a stronger entry.

The long entries were fun to suss out. I loved NOGUCHI, although the center east section was the hardest for me. I've been wanting one of those classic Noguchi glass/wood coffee table for years. It will never happen, but I just love it.

Fun puzzle.

Hartley70 8:45 AM  

No @Lobster, If one spends any time in Florence, the ARNO is as familiar as the Hudson or the Thames. I don't think it's crosswordese, although I understand your frustration. Three letter baseball players drive me nuts.

@Rex, thank you. Just the thought of a cylon makes my day. RIP.....I hope.

I love stacks and this was a fun Friday. I knew CJ but not her last name so I had to work out the crosses to finish up. I wanted BEDS for LABS. I had no idea NOGUCHI had a NYC museum. I've been in the burbs too long, obviously.

CARDCATALOG, where are you? I miss the sound of flipping through the cards and the satisfying heft of your wooden little drawers. It was always possible to discover something completely new to read as one looked for a title. You felt like home. Are the cylons treating you well in that alternate universe?

John V 8:57 AM  

Yes, easy.

Z 9:10 AM  

Taking a step back, this is a good puzzle. My first thought was "cool looking grid." Somehow, though, it just didn't manage to tickle my fancy. I got close, but CJ CRaiG did me in. I found using Ponte Santa Maria instead of the more famous Ponte Vecchio irksome. That "Santa" was just enough to make me wonder if "Ponte" was Spanish, too, so "four-letter Spanish River" would have been ebrO. I probably walked across the Ponte Santa Maria when I was in Florence, but never knew its name.

I was not familiar with NOGUCHI, either, so I was surprised to read of his connection to Zeeland, MI. There are exactly two things worth knowing about Zeeland: Herman Miller makes furniture there and it is where I was born. I have oft opined that people move to Zeeland when they find Holland too liberal. You probably have to be from west Michigan to truly get why that is funny.

Things I learned today that I still don't care about, STEPHEN and Colbert have the same number of letters, LASSO can be pluralized by adding ES, audited and SAT IN ON have the same number of letters, some people DO A GOOD TURN while most sane people DO A GOOD deed, there are prep books for the LSAT (probably as good an investment as prep books for the pSAT), Florence has more than one really old bridge, and if you throw in enough sexual violence and gore with lots of bad people doing bad things your derivative nonsense can win 12 Emmys.

Pop Culture, Product Names, and Proper Nouns Analysis

With only 62 words the threshold for excessive PPP is low. Lim comes in at just 17/62, 27%. As I said at the top, this is a good puzzle. I didn't much like it, but that is purely a matter of taste. This is well-constructed.

Wm. C. 9:35 AM  

I had no trouble with ARNO, after discarding the 5-letter TIBER as a possibility. It runs through Florence, where I stayed for three days on a family trip through the northern half of Italy years ago. In E. M. Forster's classic novel "A Room with a View," the view was of the River Arno.

Anonymous 9:38 AM  

Found this to be an easy Fri as I rarely even get a toehold. Her bangs were about the only thing I remember about mamie. Had to look up g and speedball, thought it was a sport.all else easily fell into place. Highly recommend nogucci museum, wonderful sculpture and very meditative environment. It'in Astoria queens.

Wm. C. 9:41 AM  

Hey, @Lobster

You may know the Gillinan's Island theme, but how about this?

A horse is a horse, of course, of course,
And no one can talk to a horse, of course,
That is, of course, unless the horse
Is the famous Mister Ed!

Heh, heh ...

jberg 9:45 AM  

Did you know that GOOGLE BOOKS has the same number of letters as CARD CATALOG? Fortunately, I thought of both of them, so I checked the crosses until I got DOTE, and could then see that Washoe County was in Nevada (RENO) not Utah (Orem) (brain confused by the WASatch mountains, I think).

Other sticking points: count before AGREE, of course (side note: that meaning is derived from the normal one; if I count something, then you count it, and we get the same number, then the TALLY is correct); and I wanted to DO A GOOD deed before TURN.

Then there was the whole SETS in/up/TO thing -- I had to wait for TAROT>ITS LATE to see that -- and straining to come up with NOGUCHI. I think if I was strolling through an art museum and saw a piece of his sculpture I would think "Ah, NOGUCHI" -- but here in the crossword, not knowing either that he was an architect or that he had his own mseum, I was stupmed.

Of course, like everyone, I saw REPEN right away and refused to write it in until absolutely forced to.

Somewhere in grade school social studies we learned that, aside from the Tiber (which you learn about in Latin class, instead), Italy has two rivers, the Po and the ARNO. The former is barred from respectable crosswords because it can't make the length limit, so if you see an Italian river that's all you need to know. That rule has served me well so far.

I know it's not the OED -- but denies the existence of REPEN. It could be clued legitimately as "start to feel sorry," I guess.

QuasiMojo 9:52 AM  

"Repen" sounds more like something you would do to a pig than to a manuscript.

The Arno is one of the most famous rivers in the world. It's where Dante met Beatrice. It's hardly crosswordese.

Great puzzle. And again, Rex, I must commend you on your choice of illustrations. That pink lake looks rather Noguchi-esque.

No BS 9:55 AM  

Tally means add up. And add up can mean both reach a sum and make sense, as in that just doesn't add up (in a way that makes sense). Similarly we can say these two figures, or facts, tally. Make sense?

Chaos344 9:58 AM  

Agreed, pretty easy Friday. Had no major issues except for CJCREEG, but the downs to fill that in were all easy enough. I only know Allison Janney from HBO's Masters Of Sex, where she portrays the sexually frustrated wife of Dr. Barton (Beau Bridges) Scully. Allison does an excellent job of evoking the pathos in Margaret Scully. Considering her age, I give her a lot of credit for eschewing a body double in her nude scenes.

@LMS: LMAO as usual. Why are you hatin on Cindy? Cindy Bluetick sounds like a good name for a girl doggie. Cindy Redbone? Not so much! Best to save that appellation fer the boy doggies, right? What would be yer idea of a good name fer a lady coon hound?

So, about these designer fabrics yer conjurin up. I like the SATINON thing, but if I was namin the fabric, I think I'd go the Mr. Miyagi route. WAX ON, WAX OFF! CHIFFON, SATINOFF! Especially since we're talkin negligees here, ya know?

@Z: Regarding JV's recent betrothal, I left a late comment to yours on yesterday's blog.

Tita 10:10 AM  

@Lobster...since I read you last, I'll start with you. I agree in cookie sheet analogy for my brain means that if I now am remembering the cookie of which show that I never watch won how many Emmys, then some valuable cookies have fallen off the sheet on the other side.
But I you'll never see consensus on what is valuable. Geographical knowledge is one of those things that I can never know enough about. (having said that, knowing county seats is not high on my list...)

Puzzle? Yes, I finished! Though I had to fight for much of it.

sheen, SEAbed, moST (though I knew it might be BEST), really wanting highnoON and some Italian named GUCcI all gave me a fair struggle.

Rex is totally right on BANGS.

Thanks, Mr. Lim.

RodeoToad 10:14 AM  

I'm watching The West Wing now (I'm on season 6, out of 7 seasons.) I didn't see it the first time around, because everybody on the show talked too fast, but the ubiquity of closed-captioning has made the show available to me. Notwithstanding that it was obviously served up as a liberal alternate reality during the Bush years (and the plots start recycling themsleves, just like real life!), it holds up pretty well. Martin Sheen's performance is a bit irksome, but Janney and John Spencer are especially good.

Nancy 10:17 AM  

I found this both easy and lively, and I enjoyed it -- other than the truly execrable REPEN, which seems to have set just about everyone's teeth on edge. Although I've never seen a single episode of GAME OF THRONES (which is probably on one of the many expensive special channels I don't get), the title is in the ether and I had no problem with it. I've lived in NY my whole life and had no idea there was a NOGUCHI museum. But then, museum-going has never been one of my great passions. I commend the puzzle for having absolutely no pop trivia in it, other than CJ CREGG, which I got, but was sure had to be wrong. Doesn't everyone spell it Craig? Learned that a GOATEE is sometimes called a soul patch -- although I'm not sure what I'm going to do with that new knowledge. A nice Friday, but I wouldn't have minded a bit more challenge.

Mike Rees 10:24 AM  

I lost a bunch of time at the start when I confidently dropped BIGBANGTHEORY in a spot that was clearly meant for it. Shows you how much I give a damn about awards, I guess.

Also had SEAlabS. Had to google a couple items on the left monkey cheek to get any headway there, mostly because I was certain of SENEGAL but couldn't (and still can't) figure how "Tally" = AGREE.

Couple other overwrites previously mentioned here ... LASSOES over hASSlES, STEPHEN over Colbert (early on) and switched back and forth at least three times between BEST and moST for the lemonade clue.

Still much fun, very minimal dreck.

RooMonster 10:34 AM  

Hey All !
Top half easy, bottom half had me in fits. Middles took cheating. Yep, had to Goog for CJCREGG (don't watch that show), and NOGUCHI (definite WOE). But with each Goog, was able to suss put the rest. Along with ridiculous REPENS, also don't like plural ISBN. ISBNS? Ugh. Also had to Goog ATTU. Bless you! :-) Writeover was waitFOR-PLANFOR, further wrecking my S.

But, funky grid (figure eight, though? Not seeing it.) Maybe he meant a figure of eight , that I can see. To-may-to, to-mah-to.
Overall, liked it. Some cool words, nice FriClues, didn't kill too many (few remaining) brain cells!

Make s 180 well? DO A GOOD TURN
Look over Fluffy? CAT SCAN
Rock that's In? IT SLATE
Go with Prada? NO GUCHI :-)


Z 10:38 AM  

@QuasiMojo - the ARNO is one of the most famous rivers of the European Renaissance. This is quite a bit different than being "one of the most famous rivers in the world." As soon as the Euphrates catches up in appearances I'll grant you your "not crosswordese" contention. Until then it is the Enya of rivers.

Dan Quayle 10:42 AM  

Under the heading "You can't fool me twice", there's an obvious error @16A: LASSOES. I hope Will is subjected to as much ridicule re this as I was re potatoes.

Andrew Heinegg 11:01 AM  

Today's puzzle was a good example,for me that,just because you have no knowledge of a particular clue's point of reference, that does not mean the puzzle cannot still be easy to do. I have never seen or read anything about Game Of Thrones or West Wing. But, the crosses made the answers there simple to get.

I too enjoyed the pink picture from OFL. How bangs is a hairstyle is also a mystery to me.

Unless his ratings make some serious upward movement, 41a will soon be an incorrect answer to the clue given. He just doesn't look comfortable in that chair.

mac 11:12 AM  

I had a hard time getting into this puzzle, then finally worked from the bottom up. Very enjoyable! Card catalog is a term I have never used, so that was tough, even with isbns in place. Noguchi was a gimme, my brother in low has that table and I have been to the museum on the other side of the river. Not far from Mark DiSuvero's place.

Charles Flaster 11:13 AM  

Loved this one as it was medium/ hard pour moi. The form is intriguing and seems rather unique.
No CROSSWORDease which amazes me.
Write overs--CFOS for mbaS
, LEARN for bEset, and LSAT for pSAT.
DNF as West Wing is perfectly described by Rex; so I had spASM which is more of a yawn than CHASM. Did not know NOGUCHI but I knew NO GUCCI would sadden a plethora of females.
Really enjoyed this one.
Thanks JL
BTW-- try GB's "Zodiac" puzzle on his site.
Really superb. (George Barany(

Hungry Mother 11:22 AM  

Easy Friday for this Vonnegut fan.

orangeblossomspecial 11:31 AM  

I had a hiccup with ODA as a Topkapi Palace resident but it's odalisque.

Two famous songs in the puzzle:

Rick Nelson had a hit with 'IT'S LATE'

Harry Reser's Clicquot Club Eskimos did a fine rendition of 'At SUNDOWN'

Nancy 11:45 AM  

@Hartley (8:45) Re your comment: "Three-letter baseball players drive me nuts." -- Think OTT, and you'll be right 92.3% of the time. (Unless it's a nickname. Then think YAZ.) And while you're at it, you may as well prepare now for three-letter hockey players. Think ORR, and you'll be right 93.2% of the time. You're welcome. I love to DO A GOOD TURN.

Oh, and btw I agree with you on the major-ness of the ARNO river.

Mohair Sam 11:47 AM  

Well we liked it enough, and it played medium/challenging here because we insisted on dnALABS, NOGUCcI, and pSAT. Yeah, and hi @Z with the Colbert/STEPHEN letter count discovery.

Never watched "West Wing" - and like @Rex we had to resist friends insisting - so CJCREGG had to fill, but crosses fair. REPEN, yuck. On the other hand really liked clues for WHIG and CARDCATALOG. Speaking of which, ISBNS had to be tough for non-librarians/booksellers. Remember the musical "The CHIFFONs"? - kinda the female response to "The Four Plaids"? We saw it in summer stock in Upstate New York years back, lots of fun.

Need to pile on old @Lobster. Knew ARNO long before I ever did a crossword puzzle or visited Italy, and I don't have a degree in geography or history. The ARNO flood in Florence in 1966 remains arguably the single greatest disaster in the history of art, and the river runs through Italian history as the Mississippi runs through ours. And a tip of the cap to @Wm. C. - I had forgotten - Forster's famous room that caused all the kerfuffle did indeed overlook the ARNO. Anything but a crossword specific word.

Today's lesson from the Times puzzle is the pink lake in SENEGAL. Google says the pinkness is caused by salt. The Lake is damned pretty, look it up. How come our Great Salt Lake is so blasted ugly?

Tough Friday Julian Lim, but we persevered. Thanks.

gifcan 11:51 AM  

I liked the puzzle but was not attracted to the layout.

Not sure why. Had to look up CJ Cregg, otherwise did okay.

Bangs? Not a hairstyle.

First answer? OTRA. Last answer? SLOGS.

Crossword newbie 11:58 AM  

There's nothing wrong with the tally clue. "The numbers on the packing slip and the invoice don't tally".

GILL I. 12:03 PM  

BANGS...Took me forever! I think it is a hairstyle - at least on Mamie.
I've seen soul patch before and yet GOATEE took forever. I kept asking myself "what is another name for a little nob of hair sticking out right underneath your lower lip called?"
Anyway, I did love this puzzle. I knew I would from the beginning. You sort of get a good vibe with the first entry. Although this took me a lot longer than a low 6, it was fun getting some (no Google) right answers except I spelled our famous architect as NOGUCZI which gave me zEROOIN for the speedball (never hear of) component.
And WHIG for Clay...cute

Martin Sheen 12:24 PM  

@RodeoToad - The West Wing premiered in Sep 1999, Dubya in Jan 2001, so no about the "liberal alternate reality during the Bush years". Irksome, no?

Aketi 12:33 PM  

This one was in my KITBAG, I have no ideas how I knew NOGUTCHI, but I did, and I'm pretty sure it wasn't LFC.

I loved BANGS as a reprieve from all the fraught discussions about hairdos. Some of Maimie' ohotos have the same style of BANGs that We suffered from when our mother cut our hair when we were little, the upside down arch with shorter hair on the sides than the middle. Maimie, however, did not have the suffer the accompanying humiliation if skinny pig tails along with what were called "baby BANGS". My sister and I were firmly convinced that all the mothers In our neighborhood picked the worst hairstyle on the planet on purpose to humiliate their daughters to make them look as unattractive as possible.

Joe Bleaux 12:34 PM  

Help a tyro out here, please: What's a WOE? I've been unable to suss it out from context. Thanks.

RAD2626 12:42 PM  

I really liked the puzzle a lot and really hated REPEN which puts me right in the mainstream. Pretty straightforward clung for a Friday. DO A GOOD deed slowed up SE for a bit and always confuse IBSN with IMDB. Thought grid was very cool.

old timer 12:45 PM  

I'm with @mac here. Did the bottom with no trouble, But had to resort to Dr. Google for CJCREGG, after which the W side was Easy, since I did have ARNO. GOATEE and CATSCAN gave me that super-popular TV show, but I quailed at LASSOES. Surely it's "lassos"???

Wanted "t.i.d" for TSP and when I put that in, was faced with the ugly and unforgiveable REPEN. Confidently wrote in "title" for ISBNS, which struck me at first as a no-no, but on reflection I decided librarians do sometimes say ISBNS. Googled with no success for NOGUCHI but got it on crosses. And here I thought I had seen every important cultural institution in NYC, or at least heard of it. No, I've only heard of the ones in Manhattan, I find.

I am in bed before STEPHEN Colbert comes on, these days. But I well remember how the audience shouted STEPHEN STEPHEN on his old show, so that answer brought a smile to my face.

I wrote in SETSTO with more reluctance than I wrote in REPEN. Because I don't think that phrase is ever used to mean "commences".

Best answer: RECRIMINATION. In the old days, it was a common legal term in California in divorce cases. Then we went no-fault and the word vanished. I suppose it is still used elsewhere.

Masked and Anonymous 1:17 PM  

Prez Bartlet, to his White House Chief of Staff and longtime good friend Leo, after some big stinky crisis arises: "When I think back on those early days, when you talked me into running for president … [begins to laugh] … I could pummel you with a baseball bat!" Hard to beat West Wing show's writing. Don't start streamin it on the Netflix … U might have a binge-O.

Weeject wrating, in order of M&A-perceived desperation:
[last one bein the most desperate]

1. IRE. Word. Commonly seen, like most 3-letter vowel-consonant-vowel pups that are real words.
2. BIO. Near-word. Kinda the lazy version of some real words, so … pretty solid.
3. AGA. Makes the dictionary, as "chiefly historical [and mostly foreign]". Constructioneer would probably try briefly to avoid, but wouldn't tear up the whole grid enchilada, over it.
4. TSP/OTC. Pretty much an abbr. tie, here. Would make a cool runtpuztheme, having combo-abbr. phrases, like OTCTSP of cough syrup, etc. I would think that constructioneers try to avoid abbrs., when they can, but don't mind an occasional one, if it'll buy em a great entry or two, in exchange.
6. ATH. har. Pleasingly desperate. Staff pick. Google research by the M&A Help Desk staff on "ath." turns up "All Time High" and the ATH-M70x Professional Monitor Headphones. Official Help Desk Dictionary turns up zipadeedodah. Wikipedia goes for "Belgian municipality", and -- M&A's all-time-high fave -- Polish abbreviation foe University of Bielsko-Biala. But, I tend to digress.

Last, but not least: NOGUCHI. Had not heard of Isamu's work, I don't think. looks like primo art, tho. Got him from fairly fair crossins, altho misread ISBNS clue at first to be info in a CATSCAN, so … lost precious nanoseconds.

Thanx, Mr. Lim. Easy-Medium sounds about right, @indie009.

Masked & Anonymo4Us

test solvers annihilated this puppy

Teedmn 1:18 PM  

This started out hard, eased into fill in the blank territory and had a nerve-jangling photo finish. I had nothing until OTC, which gave me CATSCAN (ever aware that it might have to turn into pet SCAN). SEA beds caused much delay in the "cheeks" (thanks, @John Child) and having the same attitude towards "West Wing" as @Rex but not the peripheral knowledge made CJCREGG needing all the crosses.

Finally taking out "beds" and throwing in ARNO let me turn _AN_S into BANGS and the left cheek was filled like a greedy gopher who found the acorn stash! Who knew that having BANGS means I have a "hairstyle"?

So with everything filled in except ISB_S crossing _OGUCHI, I squinted my eyes and squeezed my brain for Japanese names and the N plopped in. ISBNS looked totally natural and voilà, no DNF.

Thanks, Julian Lim, for a fun Friday.

ArtOl 1:32 PM  

First time in a long time a Friday finish rated slightly harder than Easy. But did need Google for CJGREGG as never watched West Wing. Loved the grid shape and half expected it to play into a theme.

Lewis 1:58 PM  

@jberg -- I like that REPEN clue!

My solve was kind of like drip, drip, drip... FLOOD! I liked all the long answers, plus SATINON and CRANKED, and good clues for CARDCATALOG, STAGE, and THOU. I'm guessing a huge majority got RENO from the crosses rather than the clue.

It was a lovely grid, quite a feat, with all the stacking and very little junk. It didn't feel like the kind of grid made to impress, rather, it felt like it was meant to serve the solver. That's a feat I can get behind. Thank you, Julian!

Anonymous 2:01 PM  

Non puzzle related tidbit of info for Rex - Moist tops the list of "everyday words that drive people crazy".

Mr. Benson 2:01 PM  

I had the INTO part of GOT INTO HOT WATER, and entered RAN INTO A BUZZ SAW, and thought it was a really cool-looking answer. Alas, it came out pretty quickly. To any constructors out there: just letting you know, RAN INTO A BUZZ SAW has 15 letters and would look cool in a crossword puzzle.

Lobster11 2:45 PM  

@Hartley 70: Sorry, but you cannot defend a bit of geographical trivia persuasively with any sentence that begins, "If one spends any time in Florence...."

@Tita A.: Love your cookie-sheet metaphor for memory. An amusing fact I've noticed about myself is that my brain seems to contain a separate cookie sheet for jokes, and this particular cookie sheet has a capacity of exactly one. If someone asks me if I've heard any good jokes lately, I can usually produce one: specifically, the last one I heard. This is a real problem, however, when someone tells ME a joke first and then expects me to reciprocate....

@Wm. C: Great, thanks; now I've got the theme to Mr. Ed stuck in my head. At least this will shut off that damned Gilligan's Island theme for awhile. But I've got band practice in a few hours, and this is definitely not one of the songs I'll be expected to know.

Unknown 2:47 PM  

@Z - good one. I grew up in Holland and know what you mean...

Unknown 2:55 PM  

This strikes me as a particularly difficult grid layout to fill. I don't see any places where there is much flexibility. Long answers in the north and south. In the center, those 5x4 sections that involve four 7-letter answers. With such heavy interlocking, I'd be afraid of not being able to connect the bottom and top halves.

Looking at it closely, I think that Lim chose his words wisely in the north: he left himself with a lot of options in the NE with GET A___, SET___, and RE___. I wonder if Lin started at the top, filled counter-clockwise (one section leading to another), and trusted that the NE would provide enough flexibility to get the puzzle to loop. REPEN, then, would have been the last link in the puzzle.

Anyway, I enjoyed this puzzle a great deal. Loved the clue and answer for 1-Across (Holder of many titles: CARD CATALOG). Liked the expressions in the 15-letter answers: GOT INTO HOT WATER and MAKE THE BEST OF IT.

Didn't like GOATEE because I don't like goatees. Goatees are lame.

Anonymous 3:27 PM  

Got stuck because I thought CREGG was CRaiG and SEALABS was SEAbedS. I though SLOGS had confirmed but I couldn't think of ARNO to right by wrong.

Unknown 3:33 PM  

The "fix" (with help corrected) I came up with (11:48 AM yesterday) for the natick in response to @GB's challenge clearly informed me of three things:

1) Fun to try though it was, it was a LOT harder than I imagined, as in don't ask how long it took, and I still goofed it up even with Google at hand.

2) Based on #1, I won't ever be a puzzle constructor, not that I've ever aspired to be one.

3) I have a far deeper appreciation for the talents and abilities of those that are

For non-onstructors a n “appreciation” test


Don’t like an answer in a puzzle? Instead of or in addition to complaining about it, try to change it to something you do like., of course with a good clue.

In today’s, because of the complaints, try REPEN or CJ CRAGG.

This is sort of like putting your money where your mouth is..

And, I guess –

4) I don’t know how they manage to do it, like today’s with only 110 words in a 15x15 grid. This, even after reading GB’s explanation of how it’s done, tools used, et al on these two pages. If you want to know what a constructor and, by inference, what an editor does, these are must-reads!!

A no-cheat finish today!! Amazing how many of those many long answers had to somehow gotten with sometimes only one or two letters to get traction. Speaking of long, that’s what it took:aloooooong time, but loved it all and every minute of the solve.


PS I’m with you all on REPEN . I did try to fix it and actually did, but ended up with the well-known (not) abbreviation for the The Lord's Resistance Army: LRA.-- and some not so-good other fill,

PPS @Nick Danger 2:47 PM re @Z - good one. My sister lived in Holland and know what you mean...

kitshef 3:35 PM  

@Joe Bleaux - WOE, or WoE, is an acronym for What on Earth (or Who on Earth, if a person), and is used to denote a word or clue that one does not recognize. If Glenn Gulliver appeared in a crossword, your understandable reaction would be 'WoE?'.

Wm. C. 3:41 PM  



It can be read either of two ways, similar but not exactly the same.

What On Earth??? (i. e. No idea what that clue means.)

Or: that clue brought me to woe.

Tom 3:45 PM  

Learned something interesting today. I didn't know that my living room coffee table was a NOGUCHI. Won't forget that one for a while. Easy Friday for me, under 12 minutes, much to my surprise. Sometimes takes until Sunday morning to finish, but started with CATSCAN in NW and just kept going counterclockwise until finished. Had DO A GOOD DEED for a few moments until nothing else down fit. Agree REPEN is rather arcane. Looking for a harder tomorrow.

Tita 4:11 PM  

Lol, @Lobster... My variation... I have the potential to remember a random one of the same three jokes.
The only one that is clean is this one, that the puzzle jogged into pole position.

A woman brought a very limp parrot into a veterinary hospital. As she lay her pet on the table, the vet pulled out his stethoscope and listened to the bird's chest. After a moment or two, the Vet shook his head sadly and said, "I'm so sorry, Polly has passed away."

The distressed owner wailed, "Are you sure? I mean, you haven't done any testing on him or anything. He might just be in a coma or something."

The vet rolled his eyes, shrugged, turned and left the room returning a few moments later with beautiful black Labrador. As the bird's owner looked on in amazement, the dog stood on his hind legs, put his front paws on the examination table and sniffed the dead parrot from top to bottom. He then looked at the vet with sad eyes and shook his head.

The vet led the dog out but returned a few moments later with a cat. The cat jumped up and also sniffed delicately at the ex-bird. The cat sat back, shook its head, meowed and ran out of the room. The vet looked at the woman and said, "I'm sorry; but like I said, your parrot is most definitely, 100% certifiably ...dead."

He then produced a bill and handed it to her. Still in shock, she took the bill. "$150 just to tell me my bird is dead?!"

The vet shrugged. "If you'd taken my word for it, the bill would only have been $20, but with the Lab Report and the Cat Scan, what did you expect?"
[ least this might knock Mr. Ed off the tray for a while. And yes, I lifted this version off the intertubes.]

Hartley70 4:21 PM  

@Lobster, Touché.

Nancy 4:50 PM  

@Dan Quayle (10:42) -- If I hadn't been having a major crisis on my email account (which @Hartley 70 got me through before my blood pressure passed the point of no return), I would have commented earlier on how much I loved your LASSOES comment.

GILL I. 5:45 PM  

@Aketi....BANGS...No freckles?

Aketi 6:58 PM  

@GILL I, of course I had a few freckles, but not the red hair to complete the look, The red hair skipped several generations from my great grandfather to my niece..

Z 7:14 PM  

Quality Puzzle Alert with a nice surprise ending. If you are reading later on, the May 5 puzzle titled Squished Bugs is the puzzle I'm referencing.

@Nick Danger - I'm HHS Class of '79. If you ain't Dutch you ain't much. (Yes, we really did yell that from the stands, with feeling)

GILL I. 8:53 PM  

@Tita...Yoiks...I laughed...Again!

Leapfinger 10:21 PM  

@Hartley, I like your idea of the little wooden drawers. Makes a nice counterpart to the CHIFFON and SATIN lingerie (Which looks best in NOIR, I think. The rouge looks best in the cheeks.)

Indeed, REPEN works better for them that coon* dogs, whom after the repenning would be repenned. The REPENT belongs to them what done the repen-ing.
*@lms, ya hadda make them hounds be coon hounds, didnja?

Kinda cool that yesterday we had VERSACE, and today No Versace, NOGUCHI.

Liked it all, but it were the SW had that certain HAR-NESS that particularly pleases so many.



ps: Got back home tonight and checked the Commentariat,saw my comment wasn't there and was all set to start expostulating about the moderation. Checked my other laptop and saw I hadn't it 'Publish' before I left the house.Sorry, @Rex.

Larry 10:45 PM  

After griping all week, I wanted to like this puzzle even more than I wanted to like yesterday's (which I found disappointing).

Alas, it was not to be. CARD CATALOG? They are extinct. Not crazy about words that others mentioned (REPEN, ATH). WHIG for Clay took me a couple of minutes. I'm a fan of Colbert but did not expect STEPHEN as "Big-name in late-night").

Honestly, I had more fun last night doing an old Mel Taub Puns and Anagrams from an anthology that must date from the 1960s.

Mel Curry 1:27 PM  

somebody please explain 7D. How do "G" and "thou" have anything to do with each other?

Tita 2:11 PM  

@Mel... One G is old mob slang for a thousand dollar bill.
So is a Thou...short for thousand.

Back when z that was real money.

Burma Shave 10:01 AM  


To GETATAN all over, PLANFOR it and LEARN


rondo 10:29 AM  

Easy my @$$. Not easy for me. Can’t say exactly why, but just look at that 33a and 36a line of CJCREGG and NOGUCHI. That contributed to this puz being one of the all-time SLOGS for me. I watched West Wing some, but CJCREGG would never have surfaced. And I’m still not liking AGREE for “tally”. That clue should be REPENned.

And there ARNO yeah babies to be found, unless we go back to CJCREGG and Ms. Janney. There, I’ve mentioned CJCREGG a bunch, so you can feel my disdain.

Planning to meet @teedMN and @Diana,LIW tomorrow. Anyone else coming to the MN Xword tourney on Sunday?

No joy for me as I made my PLANFOR a DNF. DNL.

spacecraft 12:17 PM  

This presented varying degrees of difficulty. I'd have called it overall medium were it not for the right "cheek." (The grid doesn't look like a face of any kind to me; I thought it was a goalpost with a quarter turn.) Had CHIFFON and INERT poking up from below, but I'm proud to say I am ignorant of the contents of a "speedball" as clued. Except for THIS kind:

"He could throw that speedball by you; make you look like a fool!"

Ah, glory days: when Ed MCMAHON was a late-night big name. Which fits the H_N ending. How close I came to a DNF with THAT gaffe. "Bronze" as a VERB?? OK, maybe in Olympics: "I finished third; I BRONZED." But..."I think I'll go outside and BRONZE." Nah. Doesn't work. How we're supposed to arrive at GETATAN for "Bronze" is an unfair, convoluted journey. I did end up with it--on crosses. That whole section was monstrously tough. LITUP, and OMG--it's a FIRST name! But of all the STEPHENS you could pick for a clue, it had to be that goofball. Never mind one of the greatest storytellers of all time: King. Never mind one of the most brilliant minds of all time--who just now has come up with a new black hole theory: Hawking. No. You pick that ass Colbert. I am not going to be kind scoring this hole, brother.

Of all the fill weaknesses listed by OFL, how did he miss ONAT? See, @Rainy, now THERE's an awkward partial. If you can't see that, I can explain no further.

Hand up for deed before TURN. Med-chall. Liked most of it. He sinks a snaky 60-footer to save par.

Sailor 12:22 PM  

So, I guess this was easy if you watch nighttime TV, go to obscure New York museums, and spend any time in Florence. I don’t, and it wasn’t. 1A was fun - can’t remember when I last saw one of those, but I'm sure it's been decades. I would have wagered that they had disappeared before ISBNS came into use, but I would have lost that bet. The rest of the long answers were just...long. ATH, REPEN and BANGS were all groaners. I’m pleased to have finished without Googling, but did not enjoy it much.

leftcoastTAM 2:07 PM  

Medium and fun for me, with some tough spots, all arrayed in four semi-distinct sections.

First opening was CARDCATALOG paired with ISBNS. This helped a lot in completing that Northern stack. The Southern stack was harder, but the crosses made that quite gettable.

The last to go were the two names in the middle: CJCREGG and NOGUCHI. I liked Janney a lot in West Wing, but had a hard time recalling her character's name; hadn't heard of NOGUCHI, but crosses came to the rescue.

Didn't recall Henry Clay as a WHIG but it fit.

Good Friday exercise, and I enjoyed it. Now to the gym for another workout.

Sailor 4:21 PM  

BTW, @Rex, I know you had puzzles, not history, in mind when you wrote your review; nevertheless, I had a twinge of pain at your casual dismissal of ATTU. Though much less well-remembered than later battles in the South pacific, the casualty rate of American forces at the Battle of Attu in 1943, measured as American casualties relative to size of the enemy force, was second only to Iwo Jima. Attu was the site of the only enemy occupation of incorporated American territory during WWII, the only land battle of World War II fought on incorporated US territory, and the only place where non-combatant US citizens were taken captive by enemy forces on American soil. The US Seventh Infantry Division suffered more than 1,500 casualties retaking the island. Of the occupying Japanese force of 3,000 men, only 29 survived. The battlefield is today a National Historic Landmark, and the site of a monument to fallen soldiers of both nations. It may be overused in crosswords, but deserves to be remembered.

rain forest 5:18 PM  

The "cheeks" sections almost did me in. No, I don't see cheeks either, although I thought the grid bore a resemblance to Bert of Muppets fame.

I take pride in only watching one episode of GAME OF THRONES and vowing to never watch another. However, got it from GA-. The CJCREGGS area was by far the toughest, having to mull over ebrO vs ARNO, but finally AGREE came to me. Over on the East cheek, I had no idea who NOGUCHI was/is, but eventually the crosses saved the day. I spent more time on the two "cheeks" than on the rest of the puzzle. Re BRONZE, I think there is a product that you slap on to give you a pseudotan, a la Trump, and I think people call this BRONZing, maybe.

Btw, a propos of nothing, SUNDOWN of course was a Billboard #1 for the still-great Gordon Lightfoot.

Regarding partials, @Spacey, all I can say is that I partially understand.

kitshef 9:48 PM  

@rondo - Janet RENO not to your taste, I take it?

kathy of the tower 12:18 AM  

I always loved card catalogs. Those enticing tiny drawers filled with reading adventures. I miss them, My son is a librarian and used old cards to write notes and reminders. I loved those notes because I could turn them over and see if it was a book I wanted to read.

I also miss Pluto as a planet and brontosaurus, although I read that they are reassessing the skeleton.

I enjoyed the puzzle, I read and watch Game of Thrones, you haters should know that there is a lot more going on than just sex and violence. Also, I'm a quilter so rather than lemonade, When life gives you scraps, make quilts.

I'll be at the tourney Sunday. I'll be on the lookout for rondo, teedmn and Diana.

rondo 8:44 AM  

@kitshef - now that's funny

Anonymous 7:03 PM  

Basically a polite WTF.

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