Multimedia think piece / FRI 8-26-16 / City with world's largest clock face / Statue outside Boston's TD garden / Only highest-grossing film of year that lost money

Friday, August 26, 2016

Constructor: Andrew Kingsley

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: none 

Word of the Day: DROP CAP (40D: Large letter in a manuscript) —
In desktop publishing, the first letter of a paragraph that is enlarged to "drop" down two or more lines, as in the next paragraph. Drop caps are often seen at the beginning of novels, where the top of the first letter of the first word lines up with the top of the first sentence and drops down to the four or fifth sentence. (webopedia)
• • •

Just solved this, on Friday morning, after a long sleep after a two-drink meal after my first day of classes, so I was a little ... sluggish. Groggy. Foggy. Boggy. I adjusted the difficulty level accordingly (i.e. this was more in the Medium-Challenging range, solving time-wise). You know that thing I have said a lot about 1-Across gimmes and how they are predictive of the overall easiness of the puzzle? Yeah, well, the opposite is apparently true, too. I had no idea about 1A: Social app with the slogan "the world's catalog of ideas" (PINTEREST), and so after about a minute in the NW, I had (fittingly) nothing but ERR. I know very well what PINTEREST is, but I would never ever have called it a "social app" (largely because my experience of it has only been on my laptop) and I had no idea that site was associated with "ideas" (?!). "The world's catalog of ideas??" Not the world's catalog of gluten-free brownie recipes and babies wearing cute knit caps? "Ideas" makes it sound pretty high-falutin'. Anyway, crash and burn there. Steph Curry got me going, finally, in the NE (MVP), and things flowed from there, however unspeedily. I think starting in the NE is really bad way to proceed: you're basically solving the grid right-to-left, i.e. backwards., i.e. entering all the Acrosses from the back (!). If you're continually front-of-the-word-blind, you aren't going to make great time. Consider: it took me until the very last cross to get BE THERE! When you come at it backwards, GET HERE! seems a very distinct possibility.

There were good parts and not-so-good parts to this puzzle. CLOSE VOTE (12D: Feature of the 1876 or 2000 presidential election) feels very much like Green Paint, and EX-GOV feels even greener (56A: Bill Clinton or George W. Bush, informally) (and both of them involve Bush ... weird). Nobody says ENOUNCE or PAH, LOD is a real place but not really a place you wanna go with your grid, and EARED ... just makes me laugh (11D: Like some seals). I get that there are seals without ears, but EARED is about as ridiculous-looking as NOSED without an adjective-hyphen in front of it. None of the stacks really gleamed. ANTI-TOXIN and TEEN ANGST are a very nice pair, but the rest are ho-hum. I did love some of the cluing, esp. on MOAT (54D: It's water under the bridge) and ATTACK ADS (61A: Spots that might smear). I also loved the clue on "CLEOPATRA" (58A: Only highest-grossing film of the year that lost money), a legendary over-budget and mediocre-to-bad film. Also, coincidentally, the first drink I ordered last night was called an "Elizabeth Taylor"—probably for the color more than anything, although it also smelled good (I'm imagining Elizabeth Taylor did too):

[Shout-out to Lost Dog Cafe]

Most confusing clue was 42A: Bit of bronze (TIN). I get that bronze is an alloy made of TIN and other metals, but "bit" implies something discrete and countable. Also, confronted with [Bit of bronze] and T-N ... well, TAN seemed like a perfectly good answer.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Facebook]


Anonymous 8:12 AM  

Seals come in two varieties: Eared and Non Eared.

Loren Muse Smith 8:16 AM  

Massive dnf. Where to start. I don't do PINTEREST – never could figure it out – so I had Fibonacci being a "miser" 1D crossing a "reed" 23A that a crane stands over. Dumb. And NAPES for those pick-up points. Must be getting senile; felines never occurred to me.

(And while we’re talking senile felines, do geese see God? Think about it.)

Then, with "et tu" 55A for LIAR, I was doomed in the southeast. I did take "Wales" 47D out but never saw CLEOPATRA or PAST TENSE.

I enjoyed learning DROP CAP. Never thought about the fact that that fancy schmancy first letter has to have a name. Cool. Spot on, man.

Well, WET has faded out, and the new grid darling seems to be BE THERE.

I haven't had a fail this big on a Friday in a long time. Oh well. At least it's Friday – sure snuck up on me this week.

Congrats to any who found this easy. No idea yet, since the Friday page isn't up yet.

Z 8:44 AM  

The 1A clue was a gimme here, and I don't pin anything. 9 first letters and the NW flowed into the NE in Monday/Tuesday fashion. That George Cross like block of black in the middle caused a real chokehold, and I had nothing but THC to go on as I entered the SW. Nothing but THC is fine if you're filled with TEEN ANGST, not so much if you're trying to solve a puzzle. ONE SET, ORR, and RONA provided sufficient toe holds to get rolling and finish this up in what felt like a Wednesday or challenging Tuesday time. In other words, an easy Friday here.

After yesterday, ATTACK ADS, LIAR, and SPASM all seem too appropriate. Which reminds me, @Pete - great observation, I wish I had noticed that. I wonder if it was intentional.

BE THERE? Again? Expecting "Be Square" tomorrow.

Nancy 8:46 AM  

The top of this was medium hard, but I found it progressively more challenging as I moved South. I avoided the PASTA trap at 1D and waited until I had some crosses that gave me PISAN. But I fell into a few other traps: TAN before TIN at 42A and BARROOMS before TAPROOMS at 45A. Fortunately, ANTIbOXIN is not a thing.

I don't think that BE THERE is such a wonderful phrase that it should appear in a puzzle two days in a row. I agree that CLOSE VOTE is green paint. I'm wondering if I'm the last person alive who remembers who RONA was. I worked in publishing for years and I haven't a clue what a DROPCAP is (40D). And here's something that falls into the category of "Too much learning is a dangerous thing": As a tennis player, I had to wait to fill in 37A, because I wasn't sure if it was ONE SET or PRO SET. Doubt that too many of you had that problem. And, speaking of tennis, I dithered between RAFA and NOLI at 6D. My favorite clue and answer? ATTACK ADS at 61A. A good, solid Friday, with no junk and plenty of challenge. Liked it fine, but didn't love it.

Roo Monster 8:50 AM  

Hey All !
Difficult FriPuz, but no answers that really jumped out of the grid and said, "Look at me!" Kind of an Eh puz. I do think the SW needs a redo. EX GOV over LISLE over ON TOE? Yeesh. Plus RONA. Maybe SE needs a clue redo. Get 50D, but clue seems off. 51D jusr weird. Although, MOAT clue clever. Got STOOGES next to IDIOTS on top of an ASS, so that was fun. HAT TREE another off one, I'm sure HAT TREEs exist, but mostly they're psrt of a coat rack, no?

NiceIDEA-NEATIDEA, other writeovers I don't remember. Did online today, so Check Puz feature used unabashedly! :-)


AliasZ 8:51 AM  

I consider myself a headed person. Not armed.
Two days in a row we had to BE THERE. This one should've been a casino sign: BET HERE.
Enunciate or ENOUNCE? Oh, for an ounce of wisdom.
For some reason LOD was NOD at first, but TED TANK made less sense than TED TALK.

Fun puzzle, of a bit on the RAFA side in places, like chickADEE and RELO. Which reminds me, I must get ON TOE and GOATEE off.


Anonymous 8:59 AM  

Musing on the green paint idea... CLOSE call is a cliche, so not a candidate. CLOSE shave is an idiom, so would only qualify as green paint in actual reference to a shave, no? But I don't think CLOSE VOTE is a pure example of the phenomenon, maybe because the adjective CLOSE describes something so inherent to voting. In the same way wet paint, or better dry paint (as it doesn't refer to signage) isn't as green painty as green paint. In my mind anyway. Moist paint seems a little more so. GITMO.

Stanley Hudson 9:00 AM  

What @Roo Monster said: southwest could stand some polishing but the rest fine.

Ellen S 9:04 AM  

I thought it was easy -- for me, for a Friday. I tapped that "clear errors" button for a lot of words, but they were almost all correct, which surprised me. ON TOE was the last thing to go in, didn't sound real.

In the olden days, EARED seals were everywhere in the Crossworld, most often in the clue, in which case the answer was "otary". Maybe a puzzle coming soon will feature the clue "mine entrance" -- in that case, folks, the answer is ADIT. And I think if the clue features an Italian, the answer must be PISAN. It went in right away.

Weird Al Yankovic 9:07 AM  

@Loren Muse Smith

'Do geese see God'? Ask Bob.

Mohair Sam 9:15 AM  

Seems like every brilliant Italian has links to Pisa so we threw in PISAN, and the gimme ERR, then the probable TEDTALK, then aha'd PINTEREST and figured we were off and running. But Andrew Kingsley threw up more resistance along the way and this enjoyable Friday played medium for us.

Neat factoid for CLEOPATRA. Nifty clue for MOAT. MECCA a gimme off the M. Bet a lot of you ex-stoners forgot THC. Like @Nancy we had "bar" before TAPROOMS, then realized that meant bacteriologists were against pugilism (antiboxin') and made the change. TEENANGST. Howcum we never hear of senior angst? Maybe I'm suffering from it.

Clean, solid Friday, we enjoyed.

Mr. Benson 9:16 AM  

When I saw "CLOSE VOTE" I immediately thought, "hmm, looks like I'll be reading about green paint today!"

I didn't know PINTEREST right away, but PISAN at 1D was a gimme so it didn't take me long at all to finish off the NW. The hardest section for me was the SW, where I stubbornly insisted on bArROOMS and couldn't see ANTITOXIN. I actually made a wild guess on EX- (something) (EXGOV) and then it became clear.

John V 9:23 AM  

Easy here, save for NW. What @Rex said, esp 1A.

Brett 9:33 AM  

I liked this one--solid Friday effort. The discussion about Pinterest's slogan reminds me of an old electric utility we used to have whose catchphrase was "Your Source for Everything."

evil doug 9:35 AM  

'flammability' didn't fit 16A.

Interesting clue for 'stooges'. Never think of "The 3_" as 'straight men'. But 'idiots' next door would work.

evil doug 9:36 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous 9:39 AM  

International edition of the NYT has the incorrect grid. Makes solving extremely difficult.

Tita A 9:41 AM those really just come to you?? Nicely done, madam.

I led off with PINTEREST...thoug I didn't know the slogan. It really should be "world's catalog of *other people's* ideas".

Have to laugh at SUPERFOODS...or that was once for poor people now "discovered" and on Manhattan menus for $32. And that's not even for foamed baby kale shoots...that's for just straight-out full-on cabbage. Foamed is gonna cost you more, baby...
/Trendy food rant

An inexplicable sEE/EXGOs instead of V gave me a DNF. I liked the puzzle plenty.
Thanks Mr. Kingsley,

rachelrauch 9:43 AM  

As a few others have mentioned, EARED seals are definitely a thing! They even have their own wikipedia page, (whereas, I'm sure, tailed cats, maned horses, and legged monkeys do not...haha). This was one of those puzzles that was so rough for me that I came away feeling like a total idiot for how few of the clues I knew...made worse by the fact that I got PINTEREST and SUPERFOOD straightaway and still struggled massively overall.

NCA President 9:47 AM  

Normal Friday for me. Why is Fibonacci "notably" PISAN? Is there something in the water there that requires a special footnote in all biographies about him? He came from there, sure...but why is that notable or remarkable or at all important?

I pretty much liked the puzzle overall, but just a few things I didn't: PASTTENSE as clued was gratuitous, BETHERE (again), HETEROS is just plain awful, and ENOUNCE. I did like MALTA (which is sometimes weird to think of as European since it has a pretty mottled could easily be considered North African in some ways), TAPROOMS (not sure why I liked it, I just did), and STOOGES next to IDIOTS.

My only real nit was the ONTOE clue/answer. A pirouette is a French term for a spin. So the French clue would indicate a French answer: en pointe. But if you're going to go for an English translation, then the clue should have been in English..."whirling," or "spinning," or any other very non-sexy English term for what a pirouette is. ONTOE =/= pirouette in xwordland.

As to "HETEROS" as mentioned above...the alternative is, I guess, "homos," which has become a pejorative that ranks up there with queers or worse. In my humble opinion, heteros implies homos and is just enough off color for it to get permanently banned from use. Yeah, I know..."PC alert!"

But seriously, PC is a way of communicating that is sensitive to others. Our language is coarse and yet can be why not take the extra time to speak with more than just a few words? The aversion to PC seems to me to be more about requiring the speaker to expand their vocabulary to include subtleties that actually benefit others. This takes a little extra effort on the part of the speaker, but the effort is beneficial for all in the end.

Sir Hillary 9:49 AM  

Wow, this was a real wheelhouser for me -- ripped through it with little trouble. Brief ERRor with bArROOM, but that was it. Tuesday's took me longer. Weird.

-- Both BETHERE and VEE in consecutive puzzles? What are the odds?
-- Nice political vibe with CLOSEVOTE, EXGOV, ATTACKADS and LIAR. Could've added IDIOTS, STOOGES and ASS given the 2016 crop. Makes me want to reach for the THC.
-- Wouldn't it really be EXGuV?
-- How are NAPES "pickup points"?
-- TREMOR made me queasy, given the sadness in Italy.

Finally, a big shout-out to the Endwell, NY Little Leaguers, not far from @Rex. Here's hoping they go all the way, VIA many hits and a few timely walks (non-martini variety, of course.) LISLE is another upstate NY town about an hour or so away -- I'll miss driving through it now that daughter #1 is out of college.

Anonymous 9:49 AM  

I have no idea how, but I must have been on the constructor's wavelength. I kept easily filling in things that I had no idea I knew (PINTEREST, "What emo songs may convey" -- what's an emo song?!? -- and more). Very quickly picked up on misdirects ("Bought or sold, e.g.," "Spots that might smear"), and never heard of Stephen Curry but plopped down MVP.

Sometimes it happens, I guess.

Trombone Tom 9:54 AM  

On the easy side, but pretty much what @Rex said. Liked the clue for CONTAINER.

Like @Ellen S I learned about eared seals from those older crosswords.

As a former metallurgist I, too, take exception to TIN being a "bit of bronze."

Nancy 9:56 AM  

@Sir Hillary (9:49) -- I gather there are animals that pick up their young by their NAPES. And that, likewise, there are pet owners who pick up their pets by their NAPES. I wouldn't. I would scoop up my pet under the belly, bring it to my chest and cuddle it, but that's probably just me.

mathgent 9:57 AM  

A lot of clunky entries.

DROPCAP: @Nancy was in the business and had never heard of it.

ONTOE: I Googled "On toe" and didn't come up with anything.

VALOR: Why Joan of Arc in particular?


My only satisfaction was in finally solving the damn thing despite all these flaws.

QuasiMojo 9:57 AM  

Hey, @Nancy, I'm "antiboxin'" too! I'm sure I'm not the only one who first had "naval" for seals. haha. Very little of "Pinterest" in this dated puzzle (emo angst, again??) aside from the trivia about "Cleopatra," on which I beg to differ. It may be overblown, ridiculously long (it was supposed to be released as two separate movies), loggorheic, and kitschy to the gut-splitting max, but at least it's literate, unlike so much of the illogical comic book CGI single-digit-IQ dreck being served up these days.

Carola 10:02 AM  

Easy and fun. Thanks to previous crosswords, PISAN went in first, which gave me PINTEREST and the rest of the grid flowed from there. The EARED seal (another thanks) saved me from thinking the clock was in Milan. I liked the stocking's LISLE positioned ON TOE.

Studying Italian, I've learned that foods aren't on the plate but in the plate: nel piatto. When we rented an apartment in Rome I understood why: the dinner plates had bowl-like sloped sides, presumably to CONTAIN the pasta or risotto. Not a flat one in the cupboard.

Ettie Moll 10:13 AM  

@NCA_Prez, do you not have 'pirouette' in your English-language dictionary? Will be glad to send you one of mine.

Care to expound on ANGST, MECCA, KOI, LISLE and HETERO?

A TITANic PAH, Sir!!

Loren Muse Smith 10:14 AM  

@Weird Al – Yay!

@Tita – oh, heck no. I thought you may have seen this video. I can’t stop watching and marveling. . .

Nurse, I spy gypsies. Run!

Maruchka 10:23 AM  

Well, SLAKE my KOI POND and call me ENOUNCE! Lost PINTEREST early on. Maybe it was too early for this slow solver. Not a CLOSE RACe atoll. bAH, don't goTHERE.

Liked the overall randomness, though. PRONG's a nice word. Doesn't it pop-up in 'The Iliad'?

CLEOPATRA ('Caesar, Caesar, the library's burning!') One of the worst biopics ever. See Stacy Schiff's book for the real deal.

TREMOR. Wish Umbria had had a 4.0 instead of 6.2. Terrible, tragic.

NCA President 10:25 AM  

@Ettie Moll: the answer to "how pirouetting is done" is that it is universally regarded as being done "en pointe" or maybe even "on pointe." Period. No one in ballet pirouettes "ONTOE." So in order for the clue to reflect the unconventional answer, it needs to reflect that.

Probably neither one of us has had a xword published in the we can agree to disagree. If it were me, I would have changed the clue. If you have had a xword published in the NYTimes...congratulations, but my opinion still stands as defended.

I hope that clears it up for you.

Z 10:27 AM  

First, CLOSE VOTE is not green paint. Most elections are not close because we are very predictable in our voting habits and political parties have figured this out. The clue picks out the 1876 and 2000 presidential elections precisely because such CLOSE VOTEs are rare.

Second, @Evil Doug - "fanatic" was my first thought. "Flammability" is much better.

Third, @NCA Prez - I had the same reaction. I don't use "Homo" because it now feels a little like using "nigger." HETEROS isn't bad, but it isn't good anymore for exactly the reason you describe. Besides, I really don't care who anyone sleeps with unless they are the sort who wants to tell others who they can sleep with. Hypocrisy is always worse than philandering in my book.

As for EX-GOV, aren't they the KOI PONDs of electoral politics? We keep them around, but they're mostly just decorative.

Mike Rees 10:27 AM  

I suppose that technically, this one defeated me. I had bArROOM in place and could not figure out anything beneath it in the SW. Googled the painter and found my mistake, wrapped up quickly from there. I had 52 and 62A filled in, 52D and ANGST, and nothing was coming to me.

@Mohair Sam - MECCA wasn't a gimme for me, sadly. I had Milan in for a while, slowed my solve up there.
@several of you - WTH is "green paint" in this context?
@NCA Pres - nice to see someone use positive language and courtesy defending the use of PC vocabulary. I personally lean much more toward the Carlin view on language, and tend to believe that PC language came about because people couldn't handle their own emotions or realities, and therefore we became obligated to do it for them with euphemisms. See Carlin's routine on the condition once known as "shell shock" as a perfect example.

I enjoy coming here just a little more each day.

Anonymous 10:30 AM  

I don't know why, and no one will care, but I filled in Pisan thinking it was an alternate form of Paisan. I didn't cotton to the correct word until I read the comments. Sheesh.

Hartley70 10:36 AM  

This just irritated me. Perhaps it was my first entry SUPERFOOD that made me cranky. I paid that $32 @Tita for a NYC kale salad and I from the first bite I felt like a cow chewing her cud. The only thing that would have made the dish worse was quinoa on top. This generation of foodies are nuts.

No dancer does a pirouette ONTOE. Actually, I'd like to scream that one!! They are not TOE shoes! The word is pointe. You pirouette on pointe in your pointe shoes. Thank you for listening.

Yes, @Nancy, someone else was afraid the answer would be RONA. Really? RONA? I remember her, but gossip has a timeliness to it that RONA does not. If you're looking for an historical reference use Hedda. If not, give us Perez, please.

It was topical to see PINTEREST. The SE corner was the best. I can't remember the abreviation for the active ingredient in pot. I haven't even seen pot in 46 years. If my kids brought it in the house, and they probably did, they were crafty enough to hide it really, really well.

So there.

Numinous 10:44 AM  

Today was a nice change for me. I can't say it was easy but I finished it in eight minutes + under my Friday average. At first I was thinking gEnoA until MECCA hove into view (nice bit of trivia there) and then MVP gimmied into place. PINTEREST also fell into place once I'd decided on INURED and TEDTALKS (I'm a YouTube subscriber there). That more or less gave me PISAN. CLEOPATRA took some thinking since I had been considering SalvE and had entered the L. But that gave me SLAKE. And so on and on.

I don't know why but I hate ONTOE. I know that EARED is a legitimate category of seal.

Place for bowlers had me considering Fleet Street which obviously wouldn't fit. TSA squelched the notion of HATrack (besides, isn't it coat rack?). So, HATTREE emerged. I used to have one of those next to my front door but I still called it a coat rack.

I wondered if CLOSE VOTE might be celebrated as GREEN PAINT but I can hardly think of any words to replace CLOSE and only the above mentioned call and shave don't seem to represent a range of randomness. TTEST on the other hand might seem that way but is there a k TEST, an s TEST, an d TEST? Ok, ok, I seem to have had quite a few D TESTs in high school, I was a terrible high school student.

Interesting that Andrew Kingsley has had three themeless puzzles in the NYTX since April which was his debut. I hope he keeps it up, I like his puzzles.

Hungry Mother 10:52 AM  

Thanks to a couple of WAGS, pretty easily done.

Unknown 10:55 AM  

MOOT instead of MOAT held me up for a minute. I think the problem is I'm also doing NYTs from 2006, so these somewhat easier Fridays can throw me.

Lewis 11:03 AM  

My favorite section was the SE with those great clues for PASTTENSE, ATTACKADS, and MOAT. Some sections filled in quickly, others were a battle. TED_TALK is a nice cross for NEAT_IDEA. All told, a great mental exercise taking me all over my brain!

Mohair Sam 11:07 AM  

@Mike Rees - Milan popped into my mind first too, then I asked myself which five letter city starting with "M" might need a giant clock and thought of the Grand Mosque and the 5 times a day call to prayers.

George Barany 11:17 AM  

All is well today, a decent puzzle by @Andrew Kingsley, his third this calendar year; a well-balanced review by @Rex; and a range of well-considered responses from the commentariat. The sorts of things that I would contribute have been rather well covered, so I won't pile on.

However, nobody seems to have yet pointed out that a person of considerable interest to the crossword community has a birthday today. Find out who with the final across answer in He's So Shy, or the longest down answer in Crosswords with Friends ... of the University of Minnesota Libraries.

Joseph Michael 11:31 AM  

When "recurring paracusia" wouldn't fit in 16A, I went with VALOR.

Great Friday puzzle with some fine cluing, especially that for ATTACK ADS. NAPES, and CLEOPATRA. Also really liked the entries TEEN ANGST and SUPER FOOD.

Today's BE THERE is much more reserved than the threatening one we last encountered.

DIdn't know that ENOUNCE was a word, but was quite familiar wigh DROP CAP, a typographical element I have used a lot in formatting docs.

G.Harris 11:34 AM  

Interesting that in the two close elections the winner lost the popular vote, calling into question the validity of the Electoral College.

Anonymous 11:53 AM  

@G.Harris - make that affirming the validity of...

Larry Gilstrap 12:39 PM  

Why not have a little science with our Friday? EARED seals and hovering cranes seem pleasant enough. I, like OFL, had a tough go up around Puget Sound and being certain about RAFi didn't help matters. I had an opportunity to know Michael McDonald and his family during his post Doobie days, and he was a kind, gentle husband and father and a very talented musician, and I am certain he still is. During the production of CLEOPATRA, the stories of glamorous rancor dominated the media. I remember a joke from the era, please indulge me: What did Richard Burton say when he got back from Rome? "You haven't lived 'til you've had lasagna." (Cue punny mispronunciation.)

old timer 12:44 PM  

I cheated in two places. First, to get PAOLO Veronese's name (thereby learning that Verona once belonged to Venice), And second to figure out what country has the George Cross on its flag. I had put in "Wales" but became obvious there was no word ending in O-WS.

Other than that, it was pretty easy going for a Friday. MVP pretty much gave me the entire East side. Though I started with "bah!" before the more exotic but more apt PAH! MALTA made TAPROOMS obvious. Which made ANTITOXIN obvious in its turn. Being a Person of Hat, I have, yes, a HAT TREE in our front room. PISAN had gone in immediately, of course -- I think for some reason Pisa was a hotbed of mathematical genius back in the day. I needed the X in ANTITOXIN to decide that neither "prexy" nor "Potus" (which I had confidently written in) would do. And yes, both Bush the younger and Clinton were governors.

Joe Bleaux 1:02 PM  

I loved this puzzle because after scanning the clues and finding nary a gimme, I tackled it anyway -- and finished! Thanks, Mr. Kingsley, for enabling me to feel like I'm not always dense -- except when I'm trying to figure out that geese-seeing-God thing a couple of posters mentioned. Can someone please enlighten me on that?

AliasZ 1:05 PM  

My little chick ADEE,
Fingers raised like a VEE,
Looking like Sandra Dee
Sporting a sharp GOATEE,
Was asked for an I.D.,
So she posed as HAT TREE.
(Was this a NEAT I-DEE?)

Now I must bounce.
First, I denounce
Without an ounce
Of shame.

GILL I. 1:06 PM  

@Loren: Murder for a jar of red rum..Wouldn't you?
@evil: Gaaah. "Flammability" I almost fell off my chair.
@NCA Pres and @Hartley70. That ON TOE, for some eerily, totally unprovoked reason, gave me the TREMORs. Maybe because I took ballet for about 5 years. My teacher taught us all of our steps in French, as God intended. ON TOE does not exist. Pirouetting is French. It's en pointe. Punto final...
@Hartly70 again. Pots not legal in Connecticut? Come visit California.
The puzzle: I had a hard time with this one. Still don't know why STOOGES are straight men. MECCA and MALTA I should have known. Had enraged instead of STEAMED and DROPoff instead of its CAP. It took several sittings and I finally got her done with a Google lookee or two. I also thought Beagles were hare hunters. Poor Hare.

Pete 1:18 PM  

@Mike Rees "green paint" refers to an adjective/noun pair that has no real currency as a phrase in common language. For example, "wet paint" is a real phrase, whereas "green paint" isn't (though it is now; welcome to existential anguish about the world ever slowing down long enough for it to make sense). Similarly "close vote" isn't a phrase, whereas "close race" is.
WETPAINT belongs in a puzzle, GREENPAINT doesn't.

Mike Rees 1:22 PM  

Thanks, @Pete. That makes sense.

Aketi 1:30 PM  
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Teedmn 1:35 PM  

Where to begin....This the hardest Friday I've done in ages, I think. Brain FOOD, @AliasZ's TED TAnK, my water under the bridge was MOoT for too long, mis-entering MPV for MVP made Joan's quality "piety".

I was quite enrAgED that 39A was STEAMED and I was convinced that "passing" in the 50D clue had something to do with death, so Y____ had something to do with Yield? (I didn't actually put that last one in but oh, so close.)

That I climbed out of each and every one of those holes is a "must seE" (my original entry at 41A) smear of ink event. Thanks for a Friday puzzle with teeth like a BASSET hound, Mr. Kingsley.

Aketi 1:45 PM  

I sooo wanted lawn gnome instead of KOI POND, but it was clear from the get go that it was a no go. When I was in Ann Arbor last week, we say a house that actually had such an over the top garden in their front yard, filled with flowers and garden gnomes that you could barely see the house. I don't think they had a KOI POND but it may have been hidden in the shrubbery.

@NCA Pres, you always seem to make excellent comments about the case for civil and respectful language, not that I always manage to rise to those standards myself.

@Hartley70 and @Tita, I've always had the trouble with the concept of cpbranding foods from developing areas as SUPERFOODs. While I do like quinoa from time to time in some dishes, but not enough to pay for it at a fancy As fir yesterday's food selection, When I grew up GREEN PEAS were merely fresh PEAS, dried PEAS were "split PEAS" as in the kind you cook in soup. I can eat the soup and even the shoots, but never present me with the fresh round variety or I would definitely end up violating the standards of respectful language,

I actually followed through on my ROAD PAVED WITH GOOD INTENTIONS yesterday to accomplish the tedious time consuming tasks of starting to prepare financial aid firms and complaining a list if deadlines and all the "supplementary essays" that my TEEN has to complete to apply to the universities he's selected. He doesn't appear to be having much ANGST but I am exoerienzing a little. So I didn't get to the HELL in yesterday's puzzle until today.

@rex, remember how you didn't think ACID HEAD was a thing? As I was reading the essay prompts for University of Chicago, I found them to be so bizarre that I concluded that they must have been written by ACID HEADs. Lehigh University had "interesting questions" as well, but I'd rate theirs as merely written by POT HEADs. The essay prompts made me remember what I hated about English classes. Thankfully I think my son is up to the challenge.

Masked and Anonymous 1:59 PM  

This sucker put up a fight, at our house. Agree with @RP: tough puz 1-Acrosser. Had no earthly idea, but near the end really wanted U-INTEREST. Along with TTEST, made NW the toughest puzsector, by far. Finished, but had only wobbly confidence that we were all-correct.

fave weeject: THC. Can never remember those letters, especially when "high on crosswords".

fave stuffins:
* {Joan of Arc quality}: SMOKY? was my only early idea, sadly. (yo, @Evil-D)
* KOIPOND. The NYTPuz seems to carp on these things, lately.
* EXGOV. Like. Now, let's hear it, y'all, for: EX-PAH!
* CLEOPATRA. Liked, mainly becuz of the intriguin drinks menu pic that @RP posted. Much more entertainin, than the movie. "1911 gin"? Well, certainly sounds old enough, to be out on its own.
* ONTOE. M&A Help Desk staff desperation pick.

Thanx, Mr. Kingsley, for the excellent challenge. Can't help but wonder what yer seed entries were?

Masked & AnonymoUUs


Hartley70 2:15 PM  

@Gill I, no need for a transcontinental flight. I googled and discovered it's available with a special card less than 10 miles from home. Who knew? CT is not to be outdone by CA. My glaucoma would qualify I presume, but for now I'm sticking with the drops. I prefer to keep my memories in the 60's where they belong and I am forever young.

jae 2:19 PM  

Easy for me. Knew it had to be PISAN from past puzzle experience, knew T TEST, knew TED TALK and was off and running. Only erasures like many others were bar before TAP, gET HERE before BE THERE, and HAT rack before TREE. Liked it but it was a bit bland.

Aketi 3:16 PM  

Hah, I think the road to typographical HELL is paved with bad autocorrects and annoying progressive lenses,

emily 3:20 PM  

Funny, I am not a very successful Friday solver, but even I got Pinterest ! But I spelled it wrong!

Jack Lee 3:23 PM  

Spare a thought for us poor solvers who get the crossword in the INYT. They printed the WRONG GRID for us, which had me wondering if there was some diabolical theme involving across clues that were to be written down and vice versa. Finally checked here to confirm if there was an error. :-(((

Anoa Bob 3:48 PM  

TEEN ANGST? What's next? Toddler ANGST? I think Emo Rock often sounds more like a Screaming Tantrum SPASM than ANGST. Wouldn't THC work as an ANTITOXIN for that sort of thing.

Burning-at-the-stake jokes always crack me up. Right in there with Brazen Bull jokes. Yuks aplenty.

Would like to see PAOLO RELO ONTOE.

ADEE PAH to all.

AliasZ 4:16 PM  

I can't not offer this mesmerizing madrigal, Era Venus al termin del suo giorno, by Florentine (not PISAN) composer PAOLO de Firenze (c.1355–1436), also known as "PAOLO Tenorista, Magister Dominus Paulas Abbas de Florentia", who as can be heard here, was greatly influenced by the ars subtilior school of his time.

Three and out.

Roo Monster 5:16 PM  

Hey @LMS! Funny stuff. But it brought me to links of other Weird Al songs, and you Really need to check out "Word Crimes". Talk about right up your alley! Just follow your previous link.

Weird Al rules!


MetroGnome 6:25 PM  

Seems t'me that the criterion for including a word or a definition in a puzzle should be whether that word, or a specific meaning/ connotation of that word, EXISTS in the English language, not whether it SHOULD exist. If we were involved in a discussion/debate about propriety, that might not be the case. But we're not -- we're solving a puzzle about the English language as it IS spoke, not necessarily as it "should be" spoken. To excise a word or a definition from a crossword puzzle simply because some might find it offensive or inappropriate is the equivalent, I think, of not putting it in a dictionary because it "shouldn't" be in the language (but, alas, it is!) -- A puzzle tests our knowledge, our imagination, and our wit; it's not supposed to be a moral litmus test.

Weird Al Yankovic 6:41 PM  

@Joe Bleaux

*Senile felines
*Do geese know God?
*Able was I ere I saw Elba

Click on @lms' 10:14 link (Nurse, I spy gypsies. Run!) and prepare to have your socks blown off, lol!!

Michael 9:13 PM  

I liked this puzzle. Not much really obvious, yet I was able to get through it without a whole lot of trouble. The clues seemed fine.

I don't get what people are saying about "close vote." I've often heard this expression -- as in "it was a close vote" and have said and written it myself. Maybe "the vote was close" is a bit more common, but it seems like the same thing. In my professional association, we recently had a controversial resolution that was narrowly defeated and many people commented that "it was a close vote."

Beth K 10:19 PM  

Had that problem also!

Elephant's Child 11:12 PM  

@AliasZ, it seems fitting that Venus arrives at the end of the day. It's hard to know whether it's PAOLO Tenorista, the Narcisso Speculando, or the Mala Punica that's most responsible, but that's a stunningly exquisite piece. It will be a pleasure to work on answering the question.

Anonymous 11:24 PM  

G.Harris 11:34 and Anonymous 11:53. The Constitution says the States elect the president, not the people. How the States select their representatives to the Electoral College is up to them. The States are sovereign, not the other way around. The was reinforced by the inclusion of the tenth amendment.

I find the general election a great source of entertainment. Would you rather have runoff elections when no one gets the majority of the popular vote? That has happened fairly often of late.

Tita A 11:39 PM  

Oh - hilarious wrong answer...stone for Passing concern?
@lms - thank you sooo much for that video - no - I never saw it - LOL!!

@Carola - those finicky prepositions are so hard to learn - I'm leaving on a jet plane, I'll be on the 3:10 to Yuma, I'm riding in my car...

@NCA P - while I agree with, your (and others') argument against ONTOE, "pirouetting" is the English gerund form of the English borrowed word. So in fact, in a really wrong way, the clue/answer pair is correct.
Were the answer ENPOINTE, then The clue should have been written as "How 'une pirouette' is done."

Joe Bleaux 1:09 PM  

Ah, the old palindrome! DOH! Thanks! (But geese gotta SEE, not KNOW😉)

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kitshef 10:25 PM  

I've mentioned the Thursday-Friday inversion on difficulty before. This week it's taken to extremes. Had the entire NE filled in in less time that it took me to get a single word yesterday. Finished something like 20 minutes faster than yesterday.

Yet other than MALTA, and maybe EARED I didn't feel like this was particularly in my wheelhouse. Never used PINTEREST. Never seen a TED TALK. Never heard of a HAT TREE. Didn't know LISLE. So getting a lot of these through crosses or social osmosis.

amit gupta 1:57 AM  

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Burma Shave 12:24 PM  


I was INATRANCE on THC and had a TREMOR then a SPASM,

this stream of unconsciousness brought to you by IDIOTS and STOOGES

spacecraft 12:52 PM  

Uh-oh, I see the unwanteds are creeping back in. How long till the first spellcaster? *shudder* Oh well, can't have it both ways.

To the puz. I "knew" I wasn't going to get this one; I knew no-THING (clue Sgt. Schultz). But...well, start with MVP: GMTA, fearless one! However, your puzzlement at EARED puzzles me. I've only been doing these a few years, but EARED has appEARED before--and more than once. It's an official zoological name.

I hesitate to categorize a plate as not a CONTAINER. Semantics, I guess. Another tough point is the clue for ERR: it's almost unfair to omit quotemarks around "irregardless." I have only vaguely ever heard of PINTEREST and TEDTALK--the latter only VIA xwords--but was able, at the last, to get them VIA crosses. (Those would be Maltese; I didn't know George.)

Somehow or another, with a lot of guesses, I finished this with neither an error nor a writeover. The triumph factor is off the charts. SLAKE always makes me think of that M*A*S*H episode when Radar becomes fascinated with that word. DOD, of course, is the magnificent Elizabeth Taylor as she appeared in CLEOPATRA. It may have lost money but it got MY two bucks. Man, remember those days?

Nothing to get in a sweat about fill-wise...hey, is that a George cross in the middle? With MALTA right under it? Sweet! Closest football analogy: a hail mary...CAUGHT! Game-winning TD!

connie in seattle 2:07 PM  

She was a pomme frite.

connie in seattle 2:09 PM  

She was a pomme frite.

rondo 2:31 PM  

Found this to be rather easy, especially after fixing HATrack and the common ERRor bArROOMS. Not a yeah baby in sight except for what @spacey said about Liz. I’m going to have to post earlier to beat him to the punch.

ATTACKADS, IDIOTS, STOOGES – a HOST of election terms. EXGOV coulda been clued as Jesse Ventura and Arnold; see last two election terms above. Jesse won on a rather CLOSEVOTE.

Not much more to say. Unexciting but nice puz except for PAH ADEE. Sounds like the Beastie Boys.

William Coddington 2:35 PM pun intended?

rain forest 2:39 PM  

I found this much easier than Friday's puzzle, and also as much fun to do. Maybe the fun factor was there because I had no hold-ups, aside from PINTEREST. However, in the NW, the downs came easily, and so PINTEREST was obvious. In Canada, we say "catalogue of ideas".

It is rare that when others find a puzzle challenging that I breeze through, and so I'll enjoy this for awhile. I might even go ON TOE.

leftcoastTAM 3:41 PM  

First run through yielded very little. Thought, oh-oh, here comes trouble. And it came, in the West, while the East turned out to be relatively easy after getting a good TOE hold.

SW was the toughest. Wanted something about grade point average for the "4.0" clue, finally realizing that it was a seismic measure, and just a TREMOR. (We've become quite sensitive about earthquakes here one the West Coast, and the prospect of the "Big One".)

Had to change barrooms to TAPROOMS and figure out the unknown DROPCAP. Difficulties were resolved once getting EXGUV and the hockey great and a king of crosswordese, Bobby ORR.

A lot of clever and tough cluing made for a challenging and ultimately satisfying solve.

No, dammit, I'm not a LIAR. It was CLOSE to a solve: Ended in a DNF with PeNterest crossing eNURE instead of you know what.

Diana,LIW 5:31 PM  

The best thing about dnf puzzles is that you get to learn something. Uneared seals. Heard of, even have seen, PINTEREST, but wouldn't think of it as an app. But I don't "app." After looking that up, everything eventually came to me.

Is AREA the god of everything?

The number guy is from Pisa. OK.

LISLE, not nylon?

Some of the clueing was a NEATIDEA, but not as zippy as the last two days, IMO.

Diana, Lady-in-Waiting ONTOE

Sailor 6:50 PM  

Re the ONTOE/en pointe controversy: I'm with @Tita A (at 11:39 PM). Purists may disagree. Loan words are complicated, and often a vehicle for social oneupmanship. I've known dancers who call their footwear "toe shoes" in normal conversation, and "pointe shoes" only when in the company of snobs. So that tells ya somethin.

I'm also in agreement with you, @Diana, that the Wednesday and Thursday puzzles had more zip. Today, the commentary was more entertaining than the puzzle. I particularly enjoyed the Gaffigan and Yankovic vids.

And the world's largest clock face is in Mecca! Just across the street from the Masjid al Haram mosque, and the Kaaba, it turns out. Who knew? I guess I wasn't paying attention in 2002 when the Saudi government demolished the historic Ottoman-era Ajyad Fortress to make way for a five-star hotel and upscale shopping mall next door to Islam's holiest site.

I'm not a fan of crossword trivia, but that tickled me for some reason. Does anybody really know what time it is?

leftcoastTAM 9:18 PM  

@Lady Di--

I still don't think doing x-words adds to our knowledge or understanding about much of anything. I do think they are a good mental exercise, a test of our mental agilities, and a fairly reliable source of everyday entertainment.

Diana,LIW 10:16 PM  

Hey, Leefty

Even a little learning can lead to something more, because you now have new info to attach something new to.


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